13 DECEMBER 1834, Page 18


LAST year we observed that the litemry part of Turner's Tour mats about the best that the season had produced in Annual literature. Excepting the Oriental, which is more real and sober, and equally amusing. the remark may be extended to the present volume. RITCHIE is himself again, and perhaps more than him- self. His subjects have more of the interest of truth, than those had u hich he last year selected. There is more of biography, of criticism, or the real romance of history, than of mere mill- tional and fanciful tales; the disquisitions are fewer; the sketches of existing life and manners equally good. It might be that the route from Rouen to Paris—passing as it does by the old resi- dences of the Gallic Monarchs—was more fruitful in matter: or the writer might feel the necessity of varying his volumes, and so call up the stores he had amassed from amongst the old French writers when reading for his " Romance." Be this as it may, the two series of the Wanderings by the Seine form a couple of volumes valuable to give and more valuable to keep.

The worst parts of the present book are those which expecta- tion would have predicted to be the best,—Paris, and the source of the river itself. The latter may be barren of interest; but the reader naturally expects a description of the scene such as it is ; whereas Mr. RITCHIE huddles it up as if he were pressed for time to finish the last periods. The account of Paris might have been written by a person who had never been there: it is anti- quarian, not descriptive; it deals with the shadow of the past, instead of the substance of the present; and, however good, will scarcely be appreciated, for it is disappointing.

Our extracts, like the source whence we draw them, shall be various.


The narrow street was crowded with youths and girls hurrying to and fro,— time former sometimes singing, sometimes hallowing, with what seemed to us a strange unnatural mirth. Occasionally an old woman u-as seen in the throug, either snapping her fingers and screaming with shrill joy, or tottering along with a pale, anxious look, and silent but moving lips. Small !slops of suldiersparude mug in the middle of the street-

" Gallant and grave, the lords f

with their ceaseless drunk reverberating through the avenues of the town, give a military character to the confueion ; soil the clusters of ribarels with which the hats of many of the young men were decorated, so ved as conclusive tokens, if any more were wanted, that we had arrived at Bray-sur-Seine at the moment when the Conscription was drawn.

Posting ourselves in a cafe, which seemed the favourite resort, we witched the scene with much interest. The sortes were just going on in the neighbour.. hood ; and news were brought every few minutes of the fate of individuals, either by themselves in person, or by some of their friends. Wises a youth entered the room with the ominous riband in his hat, his face was in gerunel flushed, and his manner confused and excited ; but these tokens of emetion, if such they were, were drowned in an exhibition of boisterous mirth. One might have thought, at first sight, that it was the patronal fete of the town, rather than a day on which ems were torn from their mothers, brothers float their sisters, and young lovers from their sweethearts.

Sometimes, however, we saw a sudden shade descend upon one of these youthful and apparently happy brows. For a monient the thoughts of the con- script wandered, and the scene of tumult vanished from his eyes; but presently bursting from his reverie with a shout, he startled even his wild comrades by a sung still louder and gayer than their own. Among the groups of women har- rying along the street, we observed one pale, fair, slight, young creature, throw a hasty, searching, but apparently stolen, glance into the cafe as she glided by. She was observed also by a conscript, who was then at the height of hi* mirth, in the middle of a military drinking-song, and with his glass held at arm's-length before him. his eye no sooner caught the pale apparition, than he stopped suddenly in the midst of a stanza, set down the unta-ted glass, and hurried one

The soldiers, in the mean time, afforded a fine contrast, both moral and physical, and added greatly to the effect of the scene. Their erect, artificial- looking figures, and weather-beaten faces mingled well 'with the rounded lines and glossing cheeks of the young conscripts. They appeared to look with a kind of grave zidicule upon what was going on around them, as they accepted the otrered wine or brandy, with a complacent shrug. Years, and war, and travel, and new sweethearts, had obliterated all their early recollections. Even the seTtie before their eyes had no power to call up those old associations, which sometimes make a man pause suddenly in the hurry of the world, and looking round bewildered, demand, in utter loneliness and desolation of heart—Is this a dream?


When the migratory Court arrived at the town where it was the pleasure of Majesty to reside, and where there was a Royal residence, the first thing to be dune was to secure lodgings, the chateau being incapable of holding all. This was a simple business. The fourrier, or harbinger, went gown! the streets, marking such doors as found favour in his sight, with white chalk, if destined for the reople of the King, with yellow chalk if for those ef the Princes. At this sign of power, the lodgers instantly decamped, and the courtly travellers established themselves in their places. At former and ruder periods of the monarchy, cettain houses possessed brevets of exception ; but at the time we write of, all, indiscriminately, were at the mercy of the fourrier and his chalk. If airy one, however' usurped the functions of this officer, and took the liberty ofniarking a liour for himself, his audacious band was cut off; while the same inesishinent awaited the wretch who effaced the chalk-marks of the filmier.

Fur these lodgings the lords of the Court paid three sous a day, and for each horse une luaus ; amid persons of inferior quality two sous for themselves, anil six deniers for their horses. No matter what the previous lodgers haul paid, what the landlord was accustomed to expect, or what was the relative value of the ditheent houses, this was the established rule.

The next thing was to provide food, for your travellers are always hungry ; and here again touch trouble of haggling and chaffering was saved, by the inter-

vention of a little wholsome autlan ity. The preek de l'hUtel merely went round the markets, proclaiming, such is the price • of a pound of !stead, of a ilound of beef, mutton, bacon, and so forth ! And thus the dealers knew at once the real value of their goods, and the purchasers what price they were to pay. If any individual, however, presumed to cook his own 4:inner at home, it was considered, as the regulation says ( 1st January llSeKe), " pour estre chose trump deshonuete et indigne du respect que Pon doiht porter a at Majeste;" and the offender was justly punished for his want of sociality by expulsion from the Court,—" la hunte d'estre deloge du chit chasteau." At Court, the men wore sword and dagger; but to be found with a gun or pistol in the palace, or even in the town subjected them to a sentence of death. To wear a casque or cuirass was punished by imprisonment. The laws of politeness were equally strict. If one man used insultins. woids to another, the olharce was construed as being given to the King ; and 'the offender was °Wised

to solicit pardou of his Majesty. If one threatened another by clappieg his hand to the hilt of his sword, he was to be assomatj according to the ordon. nrtice ; which may either mean knocked down, or soundly mauled—or the two together. If two men came to blows, they were both assomnte. A still more serieus breach of politeness, however, was the importunity of petitioners. 'file King would not hear, any more than God, for much speaking; and Francis the Secoad at length erected a gallows, ite terrorem, as high, we take it, as that of Hainan, it being higher than the tower of the parish church.


The abodes of the poorer classes inhabiting this district of the Seine, consist frequently of a hut comprising only a single apartment; in whieh husband,

wife, and children, eat and sleep. This, when the circumstances of the family are a little better, is divided into two unequal parts by a partition, generally of boards. In addition, they have a cellar, sometimes dug in the rock ; a pig- house, a poulti y- house, and occasionally a cow-house and a stable—at least for asses—anti almost always a little court in front, and a little garden behind.' Advancing in riches, another floor is added to this for the sleeping apartments; the roof is covered with tiles or slates, instead of thatch ; the walls of the rey- de-chaussee are papered ; the rude mantelpieces are changed into marble and, above all things, a large mirror reflects the image of comparative wealth aed prosperity. 'The inhabitant of the cottage gets up at the sound of the angdos, at four o'clock in summer, when he begins the day by breakfasting on bread and cheese. At eight o'clock, another meal of the same kind, perhaps wills the addition of a bunch of grapes or an apple, if these are in season, keeps up the system. At midday, he dines, generally on soup made of vegetables, with a little cheese, or fruit ; at four or live o'clock, comes a luncheon of brearl sod cheese ; and at seven eight, nine, or ten o'clock, according to the timed the year, the soup left at :limier is reproduced for supper, with the addition of a said, dressed with oil and vinegar. It is not on the fire, however—extieguished long ago—that they seek the soup-kettle for their last meal ; but in the bed, where, covered up with the pillow, it has preserved a kind of memory of the chimney. Eggs, milk, or herrings, serve as an occasional variety in the aim'* fare; and more frequently beans, lentils, cabbages, turnips, amid potatoes.

• M. Cassan makes a very acute remark on the improvidence of the pair with regard to their habitations. Be says, that if they were protected from the c,,ht, {:amp me of It-utter. hue thn door, Sze. being properly fitted, their wing in fuel ahmt• ii,r a sit,,;:e year (not to talk of the a•hlitional comfort) would abundantly. cover the expense. .1r those b,mevolent persons whu are in tin. habit of scanting coals to the c. 'miry pour mm England, woul.1 udiniaisis tee quantity by one-half, rani lay Omit tin:val.:ea the remoUI- di carpenters' aa.1 masons' sunk, they would pethape muter a still greater serv•ce to the objeeis ot their beneficence.