图书图片
PDF
ePub

the plidge yersilf, sergeant?' ses he, which can be done at the same time,' ses he, 'an' no throuble in life,' ses he. An’so, yer honor, the poor sergeant hardly knew what to say to Father Matchew, but began to tell him it wouldn't quite shute his business, by rason the young recruits wor mighty aygar afther the punch entirely, an' so he was affear'd he must decline the honor; for if he didn't dhrink purty hearty an' free wid 'em, the divil a sowl would he be apt to get, an' so his thrade would be all quinched at wanst wid the water. Oh, jist as you plase, ses Father Matchew, quite aisy an' unconcerned ;

stand a one side so, sergeant,' ses he. An' now, boys, down on yer knees, and repeat the plidge.'— I promise,'-—'I promise,'—an’so on, as yer honor knows; an' away they wint with their cards an’ medals, an' a blessing for the voy’ge; that was worth any money. But now, the Lord preserve us! see what happened to Sergeant O'Callaghan ! Well, yer honor, he had never beerd the words of the plidge till that blessed day; an' though he didn't say one word out loud, so as to be heerd beyant the slightest taste of a whisper, still his lips 'ud be movin' and follyin' on wid the men's answers, jist as yer honor would tap a little wid yer fingers, an'me playing the pipes; but he thought nothing of it, only gloried not takin' the plidge, that would have made him, as himsilf said, only fit for the wather-gaards. So ses he, "Well, boys, I'm sorry we dbrink no more together,' ses he; but here, landlord ! quick wid a tumbler an' matariels, till I dhrink ther healths.' So down he sot, an' a fine hot tumbler of punch before him, an' he pulling off his cap an' feather, an' ribbons, an' one of his fine white gloves, an' shmellin' to it all the time, and then ses the sergeant, ses he, O boys, ye don't know what ye 've denied yerselves av ; for the very shmell of this fine warm punch bates the roses and lilies through the world. So here's to ye, my lads, an' niay I live to see ye all come back commissioned officers !' ses he. An' wid that he put out his two grand legs, to show the fine calves he had on them; an' be the same token, his fist was aqual to half a calf's head for size, an' he takin a grip at the tumbler. But, the Lord save us! not wan bit av it could he move aff the table! There it stud, as if a tinpenny nail was driv through it. The big sergeant got red in the face, an' thried, an' thried, pullin' away at it as hard as he could; but all wouldn't do! Divil a one inch it would move!

I’m bate out,' ses he. — Faix, y’are so,' ses the boys ; 'for you couldn't keep yer two lips quite, an' they movin', an' we rapatin' the plidge.'— Be me sowkins, that's it!' ses the sergeant. •I see it all now,' ses he; 'an' there's no use shtrugglin' with Father Matchew,' ses he. •Be the powers of Moll Kelly, it's over wid me!'ses Sergeant O'Callaghan, av the arthillery.”

JOURNAL OF OLD BARNES, THE PANTALOON,

ON A TRIP TO PARIS IN 1830.

“AFTER the scrutiny by the douaniers, we made the best of our way to the Hôtel de Lisle, to which our director had desired us to go. Remarked hastily the difference between the streets of Paris and my own beloved London, where, by the by, I made my first appearance at Bartholomew Fair. I am not ashamed to own it. Many others, who have prospered much more than I have, began there. There were *** ****-No, d-n it! I am only an old pantomimer, whom anybody may laugh at, and nobody cares for. Some of my contemporaries are now in possession of good homes, and mix in genteel society. Mind, they did not tumble head over heels as I did. Old Richardson was my manager. My first good engagement in London was at the Lyceum theatre, when the Drury Lane Company acted there, after the destruction of Mr. Sheridan's splendid editice, in February 1809. Christmas 1810, I was the Pantaloon in the pantomime of the White Cat ;' and an excellent pantomime it was. Mr. Arnold was the manager, and he did a clever thing. Generally, the night before the Christmas eve is considered a bad theatrical night ; you cannot depend on a good house. Mr. Arnold produced the White Cat' on that evening, and called it "A Night Rehearsal to the Public. This drew an immense second price (and that little old dog-hole of a theatre held three hundred pounds); and the pantomime going with perfect success, the manager got the descriptions and critiques of it in all the newspapers of an intervening Sunday, which happened to fall on Christmas day. The success of the White Cat' (and I suppose they liked their Pantaloon) procured me London engagements until the year 1834. I think the White Cat' was performed nearly sixty nights in the first season.

“After we had refreshed ourselves with soap and water, and brandy and water, we promenaded into the Palais Royal. Our sandy-haired tourist joined us at the same hotel, and in our walk. Nobody asked him, but he came. He had not the slightest idea that I was an actor. If he had been apprised of that fact, he would, from his peculiar religious notions, have avoided me as a pestilence.

“We were all delighted with the fairy-land scene that was presented to our eyesight by the brilliancy of the shops in the Palais Royal. Seymour extolled them as perfectly plummy and slam. The ladies had never seen anything by any manner of means anywhere (and would call anybody as witnesses) half so charming and interesting.

“Our tourist remarked, that it was the Temple of Babylon, and filled with scarlet females : it was all heathenish and demoralising.

“ Swarms of company, -all sorts, ranks, sizes, shapes, ages, and nations,—no two human beings alike ; and there never were, until the Siamese twins were exhibited, with their little battledores and shuttlecocks: they were exactly alike-I saw them.

If you wish to see the Palais Royal to advantage, enter it at the passage from the Rue Vivienne ; thence the brilliancy is more apparent. Try it on a moonlight night, and the light and shade is new and startling. My old kind friends (God bless them !) the Messrs. Grieve, the scenic artists of Covent Garden and Drury Lane theatres, are precisely the men to catch and depict such an etfect. Then the gay shops for everything, — the jewellers, clock-makers, the hattery, hosiery, stickery, stockery, perfumery, bootery, wiggery, - the printsellers, the cafés, the estaminets (N.B. Bad Baccy !) told that the commodity was a Government monopoly. Could immediately understand why the tobacco was of an inferior quality. Then the eatables and drinkables !-Lord ! it did your appetite good only to look at them !-the dindon aux truffes, which means turkey cut up, and stuffed with small pieces of India rubber. I did not touch it, on account of the latter material. Don't catch me munching catchouch. Have to poke it down, perhaps, with a black-lead pencil!

Then there were the theatres in the Palais Royal, and the concerts, and the puppet-shows. In one of the latter I saw Mr. Punch, three times the size that he is ever exhibited in London, bebave infamously to his wife, slapping her in the most indecorous manner; ay, and fifty females in the salon stood by enjoying it, but not one Englishwoman. Mark that, for the honour of my country! Then you may enter a splendid café, with a half hundred marble tables in it, superb-looking glasses on the walls, every appurtenance and impertinence in the most expensive style ; yet the proprietor, civil to his visiters, does not object to two of them playing twenty games of dominoes for the stake of two glasses of eau sucré.' Perceiving the interest this beverage excited, and the play and skill depending on it, though I never would encourage gaming, I ordered some 'eau sucré.' When it came, and I tasted it-Lord! where were their palates ?

"Is not it strange that travelling only 150 miles, there should be such a vast difference in tastes in human beings ? I could not touch their insipid drink, and they had positively endured the trouble of twenty games of dominoes for it!

“Returned to the Hôtel de Lisle, having partaken of some wine and eau de veau, as Ronaldson (the old calf!) would still call it. Went to bed, thought of home and Old England, Poor dear Mary, Tom Ellar, Paulo, and of Mr. Bradwell and his mechanical changes. Ruminated, —that is, 'chewed the cud' of reflection, until I went to sleep.

« Up betimes. I am like the late Mr. Simmons; I never can lie long in bed. Roused the rest of our party, and out to breakfast—very un-English, An Englishman likes his breakfast at home-the very paying for it strikes you. Columbine's mamma said the green tea tasted of copperas (why did not she take coffee, the old fool !); and when I mentioned that the white sugar was possibly made of beet-root, she avowed that she tasted the salad in it. —MEM, Poor thing's stomach out of order already. I was sure of it; for she left her egg for any one else to foster like a cuckoo. Harlequin ate it (the Jew Frenchman), and would have swallowed anything. He drove me wild by seeing him devour a nearly-raw beefsteak, cut very thick, which reminded me forcibly of 'a pound of Antonio's flesh, nearest his heart.' I really was compelled to call for a little brandy, and a little more after that, to compose my nerves. How can people be so filthy in their appetites ?

“ Noticed a much cheaper and better display of the theatre play-bills than in London. There are certain stations on columns or buildings, in various parts of Paris, on which the bills of all the theatres are posted daily, and where the public regularly look for them. Should there be no performance at night, the word RELACHE is in a large type, conspicuous on the bill. This sometimes appears, on two or

three play-bills. Seymour remarked to me knowingly, that there must be a very popular piece being acted at the time, for it was performed at three different theatres, and was called RELACHE. He advised me, if it was printed to buy it, and send it over to Mr. Moncrieff to translate for the Coburg theatre.

“ Promenaded the streets ; Paris all gaiety; the Boulevards crowded with well-dressed ladies; coffee roasting under a wood fire, in a tin turn-about machine, before almost all the grocers' shops ; flock-mattresses ripped up, beaten, and re-made in the open thoroughfares; old women trimming poodles on the bridges; letter-writers in stalls, on any subject; prints exhibited for public sale, which would be torn down in London by any coal-heaver who was a father of a family. Many more theatrical portraits in the print-shops than in our metropolis. The public think much more of actors and anthors than they do with us; both are encouraged. Monsieur Scribe, a comic dramatic writer, gets above two thousand pounds a-year. The Parisian public respect and uphold him.

« Asked our serious friend, whose name I found out (by seeing it written in his hat) was Mudpole, what he thought of the bustle of the Boulevards ? He replied, — that it was a scene which would have provoked the pious indignation of a Nehemiah, zealous for the glory of his Maker, to an irascible state of choleric exacerbation, — a scene, in fine, so opposed to everything that was barely moral, that even a Christian of moderate piety would have inwardly experienced pity, disgust, and shame.

“Wandered till dinner-time, when we all entered a restaurateur's, -carte almost as long as the carts in the street, which appear to be made to go into next week. But the Paris carte, or bill of fare, gives you an infinite variety of eatables. Put on my spectacles, but was horribly bothered with the names of the French dishes. Seymour had a bill also in his hand, and he pulled my elbow, and said, “Look here, Mr. Barnes.' He then put his finger on the word 'POISSONS,' which he very naturally, poor fellow, read as ' poisons.' This puzzled me a little, and I proceeded to look for the names of these poisons : I copied them in pencil,—'anguilles étuvés, ‘merlan frit,' morue bouillé,'

éperlans,''truite grillée,' - and yet, strange to say, all these poisons were priced, like the other eatables in the bill. Sorry I had not my French dictionary, and did not choose to expose my ignorance by asking questions.

“But it now came to the point what we were to have for dinner. All of them said that I was to order. (N. B. That cursed Harlequin, who could have interpreted, had left us.) I asked Columbine and her mamma if they would take some soup? The latter replied,—that it never agreed with either of them. No go there. I then thought they might like some fish ; but did not know how to ask for it ; and that infernal word, ' poissons, again caught my eye, and made me hesitate. Seymour inquired if I happened to know the French for 'brown stout?' I confessed to having looked in my dictionary in the morning for the two words, and bad written them down in my little memorandum-book. So, putting on my spectacles, I read them, Brune, qui a du caur.' This rejoiced Seymour, who begged me to order him a pot of it ; but I could not make the fool of a waiter understand me; and, if his porter had no better head than he had, it could not have been good for much. They were now all becoming very impatient, picking and nibbling their bread, and kept me in a state of nervous trepidation as to ordering dinner. I never in my life was in such a twitter, as we had all the eyes of the room upon us, which was not a little increased by Columbine's mamma sweeping a large glass decanter of water off the table with her elbow, which crashed into fifty pieces, and wetted through a French gentleman's cross-barred black silk stockings at the next table. We could not apologise ; and he kept shaking his feet like a cat: and, worse than all, those brutes, Seymour and Ronaldson, could not refrain from laughing. Columbine, blushing, said,

Do make haste, Mr. Barnes, and order something; I am very hungry. So I was compelled to make a dash at the first dish that then caught my eye on the bill of fare, des raves.' So I beckoned the waiter, and pointed to the article. Pour quatre, monsieur ? said he. — Yes,' said I, with the carte in my hand. He stared ; but immediately went to order for us. Thank Heaven!' exclaimed Ronaldson, we shall now get something nice and hot. What a comfort it is to have in a foreign country such a person as Mr. Barnes for a fellow-traveller!' I felt cock-a-hoop’ at this compliment, and quoted Old Rapid in the ‘Cure for the Heart-Ache,' - If it is ever so little, let me have it hot.' But, Lord ! how their faces all turned blue when the waiter put on the table four dishes of turnip radishes ! (You might have knocked me down with a straw. Now, pray, how was the pantomime to succeed when the first scene was a dead failure !) When, as luck would have it, the Jew Frenchman, (harlequin) came to seek us; and, on explaining the dilemma, got us roasted turkey stuffed with chestnuts; cotelettes à la Maintenon which are mutton-chops with writing-paper sauce, and some other dishes of which we were afraid even to ask the names ; all very savoury, and plenty of onions and garlic ; but, whether they were composed of squirrels, parrots, dormice, hippopotamus, or alligator, we never inquired, and never knew.

“Mr. Mudpole said the longest grace before dinner I ever heard in my life, with the whites of his eyes turned up, and shaking his head. As a contrast to that, I remember an old fat curmudgeon of a Norfolk farmer, who always repeated this ‘grace after meat,'— Thank God! I've had a good dinner: and I don't care who harn't!'

“ Received directions to attend the theatre in the evening, at which we were engaged. Went, and we were introduced to the principal manager, who welcomed us to Paris. Saw part of the performance, but did not understand a word of it. N. B. The French good comedians by nature.

“Returned to the hotel ; had some conversation with our tourist, Mr. Mudpole. He had been seeing Paris in his own way; but, somehow or other, he contrived to be very unfortunate in his lion-hunting. He visited the · Bourse et Tribunal de Commerce. There he was told that all commercial operations being ended, the exchange was closed. It, however, cost him nothing,—so he proved the old adage that · Exchange was no robbery. He then, as he expressed it, 'inclined his feet' towards the Tuileries ; but as Paris was at this period in a state of great political excitement, I don't think that Messieurs the sentinels much liked his appearance, Mudpole then poked his way to Notre Dame ; where he found a great religious ceremonial in agitation. Tapestry, flags, horse and foot soldiers patrolling. It turued out to be, that under the sapient government of Charles X, Polignac, and

« 上一页继续 »