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TABLE TALK.

[Under this head it is our intention to collect every month the miscellaneous varieties of extract, opinion, and short original paragraphs, which we have no other more convenient mode of arranging for our publication. We shall place it at the end, for it is in reality the "sweepings" of our monthly preparations for the Magazine. It may be entitled TABLE TALK, as well as any thing else; for it chiefly consists of those passages from the books of the day, which are calculated to make an impression on the mind of the reader, and are thus likely to be introduced in the desultory conversation of the table.]

DUEL BETWEEN PRINCE NASSAU AND COUNT SEGUR.-When we arrived at his house, every one was asleep, master and servants, and it was not without some difficulty that we succeeded in awaking the porter, obtaining admission, and reaching the chamber of the Prince, who started from his sleep as we abruptly entered the apart

ment.

He had lost all recollection of what had occurred the preceding day; every trace of it had vanished with the fumes of the champagne he had drunk. "To what accident, gentlemen," said he, "am I to ascribe this very early visit?"-" You must know," I replied, "since it was yourself who desired it."" The devil take me," said he, " if I know a word about it."

I was therefore compelled to remind him, in a few words, of his unbecoming behaviour. "You are perfectly right," he then said; "I behaved like a madman, the wine had disturbed my head; but you must think no more of it; and, as Viscount Noailles is here, I declare in his presence that I am your servant and your friend, and that I had no intention to offer you the smallest offence."

"All that is very well," I replied in my turn; "but it is mentioned too late; I should have been delighted to receive from you yesterday such an acknowledgment; but the twenty persons with whom we dined are not now present to hear it, it is, therefore, no longer sufficient."

"It is most true," added he; "you are right again; let us fight; let us fight; but pray let no animosity enter into the affair; let it be merely a sacrifice that we make to prejudice and to a point of honour."-I pressed his hand in a friendly manner, and he

rose.

He proposed that we should breakfast; but when I replied that I should prefer breakfasting after the affair should be decided, he appeared somewhat piqued, and said: "The answer is tolerably presumptuous, I think; we shall see which of us will be able to breakfast after the affair."

As soon as he was dressed, we went out, and I enquired where he proposed to go. "Oh," said he, "I have, not far from here, a very convenient spot for this kind of exercise;" to which I replied, that it was easy to see he was accustomed to the business. Stopping then, I observed to him, that I was accompanied by nty second, whereas he he had none, which was contrary to rule. "Good," said he; "Noailles is our common friend, and a man of honour; I appoint him my second also; he is well worth two."

We walked on till we came into a narrow lane between two garden walls, when each of us, in a moment, took off his coat and waistcoat, and placed himself on the defensive. Our blades were scarcely crossed, when, casting his eyes upon a large knot of pink ribbon appended to the hilt of my sword, he cried, "That, I suppose, is a recent favour from some fair one; I am afraid it portends you success."-"That we shall presently see," I replied; upon which we commenced a vigorous attack.

The Prince fought like no other man; he observed none of the rules of fencing, but, being remarkable for strength and agility, he at one moment darted forwards upon his adversary with the rapidity of a deer, and at the next retired from him with the same

celerity, so that it was equally difficult either to parry his rapid strokes, or to reach him in his sudden retreat.

By this method, which surprised me not a little, he had been successful in almost every affair of the kind in which his impetuosity had involved him; and, notwithstanding my vigilance and coolness, he several times pierced my shirt, though, fortunately, without touching me, whilst I was vainly stretching myself forward to reach him in my turn.

After a few seconds, however, my sword scratched his hand and the blood flowed, apon which I enquired if he was satisfied and disposed to leave matters as they were. "Satisfied!” said he eagerly ; “ I was a short time ago, but am far from being so now ; let us go on."

We then continued. His blade, too impetuously urged, missed its aim, and passed my body several times, when, at length, mine took effect on his arm, and broke, at the moment I was about parrying a thrust he made at me in return. "There!" said I, ་་ now we must send for another sword."

"You are both stark mad," cried Viscount Noailles; "for a hasty expression, not injuriously offensive, surely a couple of wounds, and a broken sword may suffice. I vow the first man of you that refuses to desist, shall have to do with me."

We laughed at this sally." Upon my word," said Nassau," he is right, and I feel it the more sensibly, as my hand begins to refuse its office."-" Well," said I," shall we embrace, and consider the thing as settled?"-" With all my heart,” replied he, "on condition that we engage, upon horrour, happen what may, never to fight each other again, but to remain brothers in arms for life."-We then embraced, and the affair terminated.-Segur's Recollections, pp. 86-89.

PRACTICAL ALLEGORY.-During the diet, a singular spectacle was exhibited. At a grand repast, at which the Emperor Charles V., Ferdinand his brother, several princes of the empire, other distinguished personages, and a great concourse of people attended, a man appeared in the costume of a doctor; he carried a faggot; some twigs were straight and some were bent; a label upon his back contained the word "Reuchlin." He threw the faggot upon the floor, and walked away. Another, in the dress of a priest, then appeared; a label upon his back contained the word "Erasmus;" he endeavoured, for a time, to put the twigs in order, and to straighten those that were bent; not succeeding, he got out of humour and walked away. A person in the habit of a monk then entered; on a label upon his back was written the word " Luther;" he put some coals under the twigs, set fire to them, and walked away. Then a man in the guise of an emperor entered: he drew his sword, stirred the fire, increased the flame, and walked away. Then a person in a pontifical dress entered; on a label upon his back was written the word" Leo;" he held two vases, one filled with oil, the other with water; he lookened frightened, hastily seized the vase of oil, and poured it upon the flames; they suddenly rose to a great height, and he walked away. The actors in this scene were never discovered.-Butler's Life of Erasmus.

MOISTURE IN PLANTS.-The quantity of simple moisture, or rather of pure water which some plants raise from the earth is uncommonly great. This is beautifully exemplified in the organization of some creeping plants, in which the moisture is frequently conveyed the distance of forty, or fifty, or a hundred yards, before it reaches the leaves or fruit, or perhaps the assimilating organs of the vegetable. I have seen a plant of this sort that had been accidentally cut across, continue to pour out pure, limpid, and tasteless water, in such a quantity as to fill a wine-glass in about half an hour.Finlayson's Mission to Siam.

THE MARCH OF CATERPILLARS.-The naturalist may, perhaps, be interested by being informed that our route was crossed in this place by a singular procession; it consisted of upwards of a hundred large black caterpillars, which were performing their migration from one spot to another. They were led by three ranks, two deep; the remainder followed in line, each taking hold of the rear of his predecessor and performing their movements at the same moment; the rear was again closed by three lines, two deep, and the whole moved on slowly, but with extreme precision, across our path.-Emerson's Picture of Greece in 1825.

PROPHECY. It is easy to see (written in 1760) that England, with all its glory, will be ruined in twenty years; and will, moreover, have lost all that remains of its fiberty. Every body tells me that agriculture is flourishing in this island, but I tell them, that I will lay a wager that it is dying away. London is getting bigger every day, and consequently the kingdom is unpeopled. The English desire to be conquerors; hence they will soon be slaves. ROUSSEAU in his Extrait du Projet de paix perpetuelle de M. l'Abbé de Saint Pierre.

WHITE ELEPHANTS.-The greatest regard is entertained in Siam for a white elephant. He who discovers one is regarded as the most fortunate of mortals. The event is of that importance that it may be said to constitute an era in the annals of the nation. The fortunate discoverer is rewarded with a crown of silver, and with a grant of land equal in extent to the space of country at which the elephant's cry may be heard. He and his family, to the third generation, are exempted from all sorts of servitude, and their land from taxation.

The present is considered a most prosperous moment, for there are no less than five white elephants in the royal stables. The white elephant is a quadrupedal Albinos.Finlayson's Mission.

LORD BYRON.-We had shortly after a visit from an old Roumeliot, Captain Demetrius, who had been attached to Lord Byron. On seeing Gamba be embraced him; and immediately on mentioning Byron, burst inte tears, saying, that in him he had lost a father, and Greece her truest friend. His language in speaking of him was very characteristic of the Græco-oriental style. He said, as soon as they understood that a great English effendi was coming to assist them, they awaited his arrival like young swallows for their mother; "and he came, and he gave us his counsels, and his fortune, and his life; and when he died, we felt like men suddenly struck with blindness, when the only thing that could equal our sorrow for his loss was our perplexity for the future."- Emerson's Greece in 1825.

SIAMESE PREPARATIONS PREVIOUS TO BURYING THE DEAD.-After washing the body with water, the first step is to pour a large quantity of crude mercury into the mouth. If mercury cannot be procured honey is used, but not so beneficially. The body is placed in a kneeling position, and the hands brought together before the face in an attitude of devotion. The body and extremities are then bound tightly with narrow strips of cloth, in order to press out the moisture. In this posture the corpse is next placed in an air-tight vessel of wood, brass, silver, or gold, according to the rank of the deceased. A tube or hollow bamboo inserted into the mouth of the deceased, passes through the upper part of the box, and is conducted through the roof of the house to a considerable height. A similar bamboo is placed in the bottom, and terminates in a vessel placed under it to receive the draining off from the body. If the deceased is of the rank of a prince, the sordes thus collected is conveyed with great formality and state in a royal barge, highly ornamented, to be deposited at a particular part of the river below the city. That collected from the body of the King is put into a vessel and boiled, until an oil separates, which oil is carefully collected, and with this they, on certain occasions, anoint the singular image, called Sema, usually placed in the temple after his death. The body is afterwards burnt with great ceremony.Finlayson's Mission.

COCHIN CHINESE DELICACIES.-Fat pork and rotten eggs they seemed to consider as delectable morsels, and were not sparing in their powers of consumption. It will appear scarcely credible to an European, that both here and in many parts of China, fresh eggs are looked upon with indifference, while those that have become putrid are much esteemed, and that the latter cost in the market thirty per cent more than the former; eggs that contain young ones are still more highly esteemed, and, amongst the numerous dishes sent to us by the King, were two plates full of hatched eggs, containing young that were already fledged. We were assured that this was considered a mark of great distinction. Doubting still of the fact, we sent them to the soldiers appointed as our guard, who gobbled them up in haste with the most luxurious voracity.Finlayson's Mission to Sium and Cochin China.

TURKISH COMMISSARIAT.-After Drama Ali, in the last Turkish campaign, had been beaten by Colocotroni, he retreated to Corinth, and thence wrote to the Turkish Admiral to relieve him from a part of his troops, and also to Yuseph Pacha, for a supply of provisions, for the army were actually dying of want. These two Chiefs, instead of complying with these just demands, blocked up the gulf, and stopped all supplies. Yuseph then opened the state magazines, and sold at an enormous price (at five francs the oke), his biscuit to the Turkish soldiers, which they of course ought to have had for nothing. The Admiral laid his hands upon all merchant vessels from the Ionian Islands, bought their cargoes as well as he could, and then made his own market with the Turkish troops. Drama Ali, the General, seeing the game his colleagues were playing, saw that he should get nothing unless he connived at their practices; he did so, but insisted on a considerable per-centage on all their gains, which he had. The soldiers were reduced to sell their arms for bread to the Jews of Lerissa, who in their turn made their bargain. Thus the miserable soldiers perished between the plague that raged among them, and the starvation that their merciless leaders inflicted upon them. Pouqueville.

MISER'S POVERTY.-M. de Palavicine being asked by some friends to join in a matter which would have cost him some trifle, hastily interrupted them, and said, that he was by no means so rich as it was supposed. He then shewed them a cabinet in his chamber; "in that cabinet now," said he, "I have five hundred thousand livres in bars of silver, that do not bring me in one farthing;" in the bank of Venice he had a hundred thousand crowns, but then they only paid three per cent. interest; then at Genoa he had four hundred thousand livres, where the rate of interest was equally low, and therefore "that can be no great things"—and so he went on.--Memoires de Gourville.

PROPER BEHAVIOUR AT SIAM.-During the whole of the visit the suite of the Chief lay prostrate on the earth before him, and at a distance. When addressed, they did not dare to cast their eyes towards him; but, raising the head a little, and touching the forehead with both hands, united in the manner by which we would express the most earnest supplication, their looks still directed to the ground, they whispered an answer in the most humiliating tone. The manner in which he was approached by the servants of his household was even still more revolting to nature:-When refreshments were ordered, they crawled forward on all fours, supported on the elbows and toes, the body being dragged on the ground. In this manner they pushed the dishes before them from time to time, in the best manner that their constrained and beastlike manner would admit, until they had put them into their place, when they retreated backward in the same grovelling manner, but without turning round.-Finlayson's Mission to Siam. REBUKE OF A KING BY A GRENADIER.-I often recollect an expression that escaped a grenadier during a dinner given to Louis XV., at his camp in Compiegne, and which made a strong impression on my mind. The table was laid out under an immense tent; it held about one hundred covers; the dishes were brought in by grenadiers. The delicacy of the Prince's organs was shocked by the smell that proceeded from these soldiers, in a warm and confined room. "These good people," said he, rather loudly," smell strongly of the socks."-" No doubt," bluntly replied a grenadier," because we have none to wear." A deep silence followed this reply.-Segur's Recollections, p. 28.

"

A GENTLEMAN TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF AGE.-A man, who was quite as astonishing as his fortune-teller, often visited Madame de Pompadour. This was the Count de St. Germain, who wished to have it believed, that he had lived several centuries. One day, at her toilet, Madame said to him, in my presence, What was the personal appearance of Francis I.? He was a king I should have liked."—" He was, indeed, very captivating," said St. Germain; and he proceeded to describe his face and person, as one does that of a man one has accurately observed. "It is a pity he was too ardent. I could have given him some good advice, which would have saved him from all his misfortunes; but he would not have followed it; for it seems as if a fatality attended princes, forcing them to shut their ears, those of the mind at least, to the best advice, and especially in the most critical moments."-" And the constable," said Madame, "what do you say of him?"-"I cannot say much good, or much harm of him," replied he. "Was the court of Francis very brilliant ?"— Very brilliant; but those of his grandsons infinitely surpassed it. In the time of Mary Stuart, and Margaret of Valois, it was a land of enchantment, a temple, sacred to pleasures of every kind; those of the mind were not neglected. The two queens were learned, wrote verses, and spoke with captivating grace and eloquence." Madame said, laughing, "You seem to have seen all this."-"I have an excellent memory," said he, " and have read the history of France with great care. I sometimes amuse myself, not by making, but by letting it be believed, that I lived in old times.""""" You do not tell me your age, however, and you give yourself out for very old. The Countess de Gergy, who was ambassadress to Venice, I think fifty years ago, says she knew you there exactly what you are now."-" It is true, Madame, that I have known Madame de Gergy a long time."-" But according to what she says, you would be more than a hundred."-"That is not impossible," said he, laughing,

44

but it is, I allow, still more possible that Madame Gergy, for whom I have the greatest respect, may be in her dotage."-" You have given her an elixir, the effect of which is surprising. She declares, that for a long time she has felt as if she was only four-and-twenty years of age; why don't you give some to the king ?"—" Ah! Madame," said he, with a sort of terror, I must be mad to think of giving the king an unknown drug." I went into my room to write down this conversation.

""

Some days afterwards, the King, Madame de Pompadour, some lords of the court, and the Count de St. Germain, were talking about his secret for causing the spots in diamonds to disappear. The King ordered a diamond of middling size, which had a spot, to be brought. It was weighed; and the King said to the Count, "It is valued

at two hundred and forty pounds, but it would be worth four hundred, if it had no spot. Will you try to put a hundred and sixty pounds into my pocket?" He examined it carefully, and said, “It may be done; and I will bring it you again in a month." At the time appointed, the Count brought back the diamond, without a spot, and gave it to the King. It was wrapt in a cloth of amianthus, which he took off. The King had it weighed, and found it but very little diminished. The King sent it to his jeweller, by M. Gontaut, without telling him any thing of what had passed. The jeweller gave three hundred and eighty pounds for it. The King, however, sent for it back again, and kept it as a curiosity. He could not overcome his surprise, and said, that M. de St. Germain must be worth millions, especially if he had also the secret of making large diamonds out of a number of small ones. He neither said that he had, nor that he had not; but he positively asserted, that he could make pearls grow, and give them the finest water. The King paid him great attention, and so did Madame de Pompadour. It was from her I learnt what I have just related. M. Quesnay said, talking of the pearls," They are produced by a disease in the oyster. It is possible to know the cause of it; but, be that as it may, he is not the less a quack, since he pretends to have the elixir vitæ, and to have lived several centuries. Our master is, however, infatuated by him, and sometimes talks of him as if his descent were illustrious."

I have seen him frequently; he appeared to be about fifty; he was neither fat nor thin; he had an acute, intelligent look; dressed very simply, but in good taste; he wore very fine diamonds in his rings, watch, and snuff-box. He came, one day, to visit Madame de Pompadour, at a time when the court was in full splendour, with knee and shoe-bnckles of diamonds so fine and brilliant, that Madame said, she did not believe the King had any equal to them. He went into the anti-chamber to take them off, and brought them to be examined; they were compared with others in the room, and the Duke de Gontaut, who was present, said, they were worth at least eight thousand pounds. He wore, at the same time, a snuff-box of inestimable value, and ruby sleeve buttons, which were perfectly dazzling. Nobody could find out by what means this man became so rich and so remarkable; but the king would not suffer him to be spoken of with ridicule or contempt. He was said to be a bastard son of the King of Portugal.-Memoirs of Madame du Hausset, p. 100.

DEATH OF ALI PACHA.-Different Pachas, of inferior rank, had been several times to visit Ali. On the 13th day of the Moon, Djemaziul Awwel (the 5th of February) Mohamed Pacha, Governor of the Morea, offered to procure for Ali every possible comfort; naming, particularly, provisions. Ali replied to this offer, that he desired nothing more than a supply of meat; he added, however, that he had still another wish, though his unwillingness to offend the scruples of religion forbade him to give utterance to it. Being pressed to name it, he owned that it was wine which he wished for, and Mohamed Pacha promised that he should receive it. The conversation continued for some time in the most friendly manner, till at last, Mohamed Pacha rose to take leave. Being of the same rank, they rose at the same moment from the sofa, according to the usual ceremony, and before leaving the room, Mohamed Pacha bowed profoundly. Ali returned the compliment; but, at the instant of his inclination, Mohamed executed the will of his sovereign, and put him to death by plunging a poniard into his left breast.

He immediately quitted the apartment, and announced that Ali had ceased to exist. -Waddington's Visit to Greece, p. 234.

HISTORY OF COFFEE IN EUROPE.-Hitherto, coffee-houses were confined to the east, and it is not easy to determine, exactly, when its use was introduced into Europe. Pietro de la Valle, writing from Constantinople in 1615, says, that when he returns to Italy, he will bring some coffee with him; whether he did or not, cannot be ascertained; but in 1644, it was certainly introduced into Marseilles; in 1660, a considerable quantity was imported from Egypt into that city; and in 1671, a coffeehouse was opened in it. In 1657, Thevenot brought a small quantity to Paris; its use, however, was confined to those persons who had been in the Levant, and their friends.

Its general introduction and firm establishment in France, were brought about in a manner truly characteristic of the inhabitants of that country. In 1669, an ambassador from the Porte, arrived at Paris, who rendered himself very fashionable, as well as a great favourite by his politeness, gallantry, and wit; persons of rank, especially ladies, visited him to them he gave coffee; and thus a bitter and black beverage, which, prescribed by a Frenchman, would have been rejected with disgust, became a favourite and fashionable liqueur, simply from the circumstance that it was presented by a Turk of wit and gallantry. The rage for coffee having been thus spread, an

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