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YOU'LL COME TO OUR BALL.
“ Comment! c'est lui ?-que je le regarde encore !-c'est que vraiment il est bien changé; n'est pas, mon papa ?”—Les premiers Amours.
You'll come to our Ball ;-since we parted,
I've thought of you, more than I'll say ;
For a week, when they took you away.
Which you used to sing to me then.
Twere idle, or worse, to recall :-
But, Clarence,-you'll come to our Ball!
You put on your cap and your gown;
And changed from the spur to the crown:
Is fuller and firmer in tone;
Dear Clarence,- it is not your own:
Your coat don't become you at all;
You must have it curled for our Ball.
To look for a covey with Pup;
To see how your boat is laid up:
I've ridden the filly you broke ;
In the shade of your favourite oak:
I sat in your love of a shawl;
Perhaps, if you'll come to our Ball.
We've set National School;
And Ellen has married a fool;
Miss Hyacinth threatens a rout;
Papa is laid up with the gout:
And Anne has gone off with Sir Paul;
And I'll tell you the rest at the Ball.
You'll meet all your Beauties;—the Lily,
And the Fairy of Willowbrook Farm, And Lucy, who made me so silly
At Dawlish, by taking your arm; Miss Manners, who always abused you,
For talking so much about Hock;
By raving of rebels and Rock;
An heiress, quite fresh from Bengal ;-
You'll dance, just for once, at our Ball.
It shuts out the sunshine of truth;
It makes an old age of our youth:
Like a streamlet beginning to freeze,
Grows harder by sullen degrees.
Sweet honey is turned into gall:-
That ever you danced at our Ball.
To-day you have critical ears :
Alas! you've been dining with Peers :
You've forgotten the when and the how: There was one you liked better than any ;
Perhaps you've forgotten her now. But of those you remember most newly,
Of those who delight or enthrall, None love you a quarter so truly
As some you will find at our Ball. They tell me you've many who flatter,
Because of your wit and your song; They tell me (and what does it matter?)
You like to be praised by the throng: They tell me you're shadowed with laurel,
They tell me you're loved by a Blue; They tell me you're sadly immoral,
Dear Clarence, that cannot be true!
Before you grew clever and tall;
And you'll come-won't you come?-to our Ball !
E. PARIS IN 1828.
You wonder you
don't hear from me!--You hear nothing of, or from, me!-You begin to think that I, (or, at least, my carcase) must have found my way to the Morgue ;-and thus have terminated the career, and perished at once the hopes and prospects of the once highreaching
• 'Tis a shrewd guess," my friend ;-but the thing, however likely, has not happened yet.
The fact is-I am in that humour with myself and the world, that I am not in a humour to scribble letters, or, indeed, any thing else ; and though the whim has for the moment seized me to commence this epistle to thee, mine ancient friend, ten to one whether the said whim will last so long, as to make me finish it. Why, I say, what has such a fellow as I to do crawling upon the surface of this lump of clayspeculating in darkness and doubt upon the said clay-ball, and the creatures who crawl in crowds upon it along with him-and scribbling he knows not what about things, of the real nature of which he knows nothing-—no, nothing !-no more than the things themselves do. I declare to God, I have been living for six months now in this most civilized of cities; and yet, if I were called upon to declare what I know of it, and its inhabitants, I should be somewhat puzzled for an answer, It is clear, for instance, to every two-legged creature, who belongs to the species man, and has had an opportunity of comparing it with other capitals,--say, London—that the houses are built of stone, instead of brick, and that they are loftier than those of London; that the streets, moreover, are narrower, and stink infinitely more; that the air is clearer, and much freer from smoke and fogs. Moreover, the said two-legged creature may discern that those animals, which are not the slaves of art, as man is—the dog, for instance-express their feelings or sensations in the same manner as they do in other countries-an important discovery. But for much more—for giving an opinion upon the people,—their customs, manners, morals, and so forth-heaven preserve me from all such presumption, even in a private letter to a friend. And yet you shall have your smart tourist live from a fortnight to three weeks at a place—and in three weeks more he shall patch you up a book upon it, giving a minute and copious history of the said place, from the creation of the world down to the memorable era when the said tourist did it the honour of a visit, with a full and detailed account of all sorts of other things, and every thing in the world connected with it. Aye! and he shall “put money in his purse” by this same speculation, too. And I confess, Clinton, that sometimes when my purse begins to wax lean and lanky, and I wish to “put money in it,” I feel a wish that I possessed some of the confident and learned ignorance of those accomplished ladies and gentlemen. But, unluckily for my purpose, a fit of spleen again comes over me. I toss down, with derision, my half-grasped grey goose-quill;" settling in my own mind that any thing is preferable to telling oceans of lies, making mountains of mistatements, and drivelling seas of stupidity and nonsense. Moreover, as you are aware, Clinton, with a certain learned personage, “I doubt" too much; and indeed, with another very eminent personage, I begin to thiuk that there is nothing worth giving an opinion about. Is this spleen ? you say, or philosophy? Or is it the effect of
The wasted frame-the ruin'd mind
The wreck by passion left behind ? It is!--What does it matter?- It is so.
Talking of the Morgue-that is a singular institution; so singular, that it and things 'connected with it have occupied a good deal of my attention. I have been there frequently (I mean, of course, like George Selwyn among the hangmen, merely as an amateur,) and have seldom found it empty. I have seen two, three, and even four bodies exposed; and generally with marks of having met with a violent death. I do not mean merely death by suicide, though unquestionably there are many of those; but violent death from the hands of others, whether regular assassins or personal enemies. I have seen some with wounds about the face and breast; and many, as a friend of mine has expressed it, terribly licked about the head”—that is, with marks of many violent contusions about the head. I grant, that a contusion might be received by a person, when he throws himself into the river, coming in contact with a stone, or any hard substance at the bottom. But, then, that would cause but one contusion—and would never account for the manifold and awful contusions that are to be seen almost every day at the Morgue; for heads and countenances, and sometimes whole carcases, evidently beat out of the resemblance and form of any thing human. This, I have seen with my own eyes, and can attest. But, as to giving any opinion upon it, c'est une autre chose. Yet the natural inference would certainly be, that assassinations are very frequent here, indeed-and suicides more so. So that stuff about the English being comparatively such a suicidal race is fudge. The French are very much more so; and gambling is assigned as the
There are gambling-houses in Paris, where a man may play two francs. And thither repairs the labourer, with his week's wages, which has to maintain his family for the following week—plays—loses it-comes out and throws himself into the Seine ; out of which the government, having pocketed a very respectable per-centage upon his gambling losses, can afford to pay for having him taken and exposed in the Morgue ; and still be gainers by the “ adventure," as the mercantile slang has it.
It ought to be remarked moreover, that his relatives or friends cannot claim and take him from the Morgue, without paying the expenses just mentioned. So that in this case those highly respectable gains of the French Government are clear and without deduction,
What a spectacle that Morgue is! with its iron grating through which so many (particularly those who go there to look for friends or relatives) must shudder while they look, and “tremble as they gaze;" and its black marble tables of death, each supporting its ghastly burthen! In the heat of battle, while the hot work of death is going
on, there is to be seen enough of ghastly sights, but then there is no time to think of them.-When the battle is over too-when the sound of drum and trumpet, and bugle and bagpipe, and musketry and artillery is hushed—and the setting sun or rising moon gleams redly or palely over the hard-contested and carnage-strewed battle-field; there indeed lie the dying and the dead, the wrecks and remains of what was once human,-thick-thick, as
The mower's grass at the close of day. But there the wounds you behold, ghastly and horrible though they be, have been taken and given in the face of day, and in open and avowed enmity—and probably in a cause which victor and victim alike deemed honourable. But here you behold, as it were, before you, the mangled and blood-besmeared work of the vile and midnight assassin, dragged from its obscure hiding-place, and exposed to the light of day and the observation of men. As you behold the ghastly and appalling spectacle before you, you can picture to yourself, without any very great effort of imagination, the ruthless ruffian inflicting blow after blow and wound after wound upon his overcome or unresisting victim, until his groans and struggles of agony are silenced and ended by death—or are left to
rave themselves to rest” in the midst of the azure waters of the Seine, into which he has been precipitated by the assassin or assassins over the battlement of the bridge upon which he has been attacked, or which may happen to be nearest to the fatal spot. For, be it known to you that the bridges here are (or at least are said to be, I have never yet been attacked on them myself) the favourite places for assassination it is supposed, from the circumstance of the victims being so easily disposed of by being thrown over the parapet into the river, either with or without a stab of the knife. The cabriolets here too are said to be vastly convenient things for pitching a fellow out of into the stream below—and the cabriolet-drivers are said to be adepts in the art. I cannot vouch for the universal truth of this on dit, but this I can vouch for, that many of these men, like the class to which they belong in most other places, are insolent, rascally, and ferocious. They generally carry large knives about their persons. There was a scuffle not long since took place some time after midnight, immediately under the lodgings of a friend of mine, between three gentlemen and some of these men, in which two of the gentlemen were dangerously wounded by their knives; and would probably have been killed if an alarm had not been given to the garde stationed in the neighbourhood. When the garde came up, they found the gentlemen in the street wounded as I have mentioned, and a fiacre and cabriolet driving off at full speed, brûlaient le pavé.
In a dispute which a friend and myself had with one of these men one evening, I had also an opportunity of observing their extreme ferocity, when fully awakened. The fellow, among other polite epithets, which he liberally applied, called my friend a voleur for refusing to comply with his exorbitant demand. Upon this my friend also waxed somewhat ferocious in his turn, and told the man he would bring him before the police for applying such a term to him, at the same time taking down the number of the cabriolet. From this accusation the rogue pretended to free himself by saying that the charge was false, and