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cealing the whole of the interior apartment, there was placed a Chinese screen, covered with landscapes and small plates of looking-glass. We halted for a moment on the threshold, and taking two or three steps to the right, so as to get round the screen, we found ourselves suddenly, and somewhat unexpectedly, in the presence of majesty. A more curious, more extraordinary, or more impressive sight has, perhaps, rarely been witnessed, than that on which we now gazed, with mingled feelings of regret, (I should say of indignation,) and of wonder : of wonder excited by the display of taste, elegance and richness in the decorations; of regret, or of indignation, caused by the debased condition of a whole nation. Such a scene was well calculated to take a firm hold ou the imagination. I shall, however, endeavour to describe it in its true colours, and with the least possible aid from that faculty. The hall was lofty, wide, and well-aired, and appeared to be about sixty or eighty feet in length, and of proportionate breadth. The ceiling and walls were painted with various colours, ebiefly in the form of wreaths and festoons; the roof was supported by wooden pillars, teu on each side, painted spirally red and dark green. Some small and rather paltry mirrors were disposed on the walls, glass lustres and wall shades were hung in the centre, and to the middle of each pillar was attached a lantem, not much better than our stable lanterns. The floor was covered with carpets of different colours. The doors and windows were in sufficient numbers, but small and without ornament; at the further extremity of the hall, and a large handsome curtain, made of cloth covered with tinsel or gold leaf, and suspended by a cord, divided the space occupied by the throne from the rest of the apartment. On each side of this curtain there were placed five or six singular but handsome ornaments, called chutt, consisting of a series of small circular tables suspended over each other, diminishing gradually so as to form a cone, and having a fringe of rich cloth of gold, or tissae, suspended from each tablet.
A few of the presents from the Governor-General, as bales of cloth and cut-glass, were placed nearly in the middle of the room, and on one side ; but we neither re. marked the letter from the noble Marquis, nor did it appear that any notice whatever was taken of it on this public occasion.
With the exception of a space about twenty feet square, in front of the throne, which was kept clear, the liall was crowded with people to excess. Those of every rank, from the highest to the lowest, from the heir apparent to the throne, to the meanest slave present, had his proper place assigned to him, by which alone he was to be distinguished. The costume of all ranks was plain, peither rich nor shewy.
The curtain placed before the throne was drawn aside as we entered. The whole multitude present lay prostrate on the earth, their mouths almost touching the ground; not a body or limb was observed to move, not an eye was directed towards us, not a whisper agitated the solemn and still air. It was the attitude, the silence, the solemnity of the multitude simultaneously addressing the great God of the universe, rather than the homage of even an enslaved people. Not even Rome, fertile in the race of tyrants, nor Dionysius himself, ever produced any degradation to compare with this ignominy,
Raised about twelve feet above the floor, and about two yards behind the curtain alluded to, there was an arched niche, on which an obscure light was cast, of sufficient size to display the human body to effect, in the sitting posture. In this niche was placed the throne, projecting from the wall a few feet. Here, on our entrance, the king sat immoveable as a statue, his eyes directed forwards. He resembled, in every respect, an image of Buddha placed upon his throne, while the solemnity of the scene, and the attitude of devotion observed by the multitude, left little room to doubt that the temple had been the source from which the monarch of Siam had borrowed the display of regal pomp. He was dressed in a close jacket of gold tissue, on bis left was placed what appeared to be a sceptre ; but he wore neither crown nor other covering on the head, nor was the former emblem of the office of royalty displayed on the occasion. The throne was hung round with the same sort of cloth which formed the curtain in front, and behind it were placed two of the comical shaped ornaments formerly mentioned ; except in the quality of the cloth with which the throne was surrounded, we could observe no indication of opulence, or of maguificence. There were neither jewels, nor costly workmanship, nor precious stones, nor pearls, nor gold observable about the person of the king, his throne, or his ministers. The latter were disposed in three lines laterally, extending from the curtain in front; and thus bounded on each side the empty space at the foot of the throne, according to their respective ranks. The chief Suriwong was placed at a very respectable distance. A considerable degree of light was thrown laterally on the floor at the base of the throne, where large and elegant fans were waved by persons placed behind the curtain. This circumstance added considerable effect to the scene.
Such is a sketch of the form and appearance of Siamese royalty, displayed on our entering the hall. When we had passed the screen, and come in sight of the throne, we pulled off our hats and bowed in the European manner, the two Moormen at the same time falling prostrate, and crawling before us on the ground towards the throne. We were desired to advance in a stooping posture ; a narrow space, about three feet in width, was left open in the centre for us to advance thr ugh. Then we had advanced a few paces in this narrow space, being closely surrounded by the crowd of people, and distant from the throne more than half the length of the hall
, all the ministers being a considerable way in front of us on either side, we were desired to seat ourselves on the carpet, in the narrow lane or space through which we had advanced, which we did in the best way we could, the two Moormen placing themselves immediately in front of the Agent to the Governor General and his Assistant, for the space would only admit of two persons sitting beside each other. Mr. R. and I, therefore, placed ourselves immediately behind the former. We now performed the salutations agreed upon, after which, a voice from behind the curtain in front of the throne interrupted the silence which had hitherto prevailed, by reading in a loud tone, a list of the presents which had been sent by the Governor General.
The King now addressed some questions to the Agent of the Governor General. He spoke in a firm though not a loud voice; in his person he was remarkably stout, but apparently not bloated or unwieldy; he appeared to be about sixty-five years of age. The questions were repeated by the persons who had read the list of presents, and from him they were conveyed in whispers by several individuals, till they reached the Moorman, Kochai-Sahac, who, prostrate like the rest, on the ground, whispered them to the Agent to the Gorernor Ge eral, in a tone which I could not hear, though placed immediately behind the latter. The answers to the throne were passed on in the same way. From the tenor of these questions, as related afterwards by Captain Dangerfield, it would appear that they were of a very general nature, and not particularly interesting. While these questions were passing, betel was introduced in handsome silver vessels and gold cups. The audience having lasted about twenty minutes, the King rose from his seat, and turned round to depart, the curtain was iminediately drawn in front of the throne. On this all the people raised a loud shout, and turning on their knees, performed numerous salutations, touching the earth and their forehead alternately, with both hands united. The princes and ministers now assuning a sitting posture, by which, for the first time, we were enabled to observe their respective places. We left the hail of audience without further ceremony. heavy shower of rain had fallen during the interview, and the roads leading to different parts of the palace, at no time noted for clcanliness, were now covered with water, and converted into a dirty puddle ; we therefore requested to have our shoes, but in vain, for no notice whatever was taken of our request. On leaving the door of the audience. hall, a paltry Chinese umbrella, which might be purchased in the bazaar for a rupee, was given to each of us. Not knowing with what view it was presented, I was about to reject it, when I was told it was meant as a present from the King.
We nuust not neglect to add that the Memoir of Mr. Finlayson exhibits his character in a very amiable and instructive point of view. The circumstances of his life, his zcal and industry, and benevolent disposition, are most exemplary, and inspire the reader with sincere regret for his death.
Mr. Murray, in his list, has announced this Mission as a visit to Huè, the capital of Cochin China “ never before visited by any European.” Before Mr. Murray particularises the virtues of his publications, he should at least cast an eye on their contents. The announcement is not only ridiculously false, but contradicted by the book itself. Mr. Finlayson finds two Frenchmen who had been at Huè since the French Revolution, and mentions twenty persons of the same country who had been in the service of the late King.
Granby, a Novel, 8vo.3 Vols. London, 1825: Colburn. This is one of those books which profess to gratify the very vulgar taste for peeps at the drawing-rooms of the great, and glimpses of the manners and customs of the quality. It is one of the many manuals for the instruction of those who are ambitious of playing
“ High Life below Stairs," and it is the worst specimen that we have
Literature between the Tenth and Sixteenth Centuries.
Mr. Butler is a meagre but an industrious and a conscientious writer. His works are neither interesting from any power of narrative, nor from any curious compilation of facts. Neither are they unworthy of perusal; for though feeble and prolix, his line of study and habit of research generally supply, at least, some recondite facts or remarkable quotations. This Life of Erasmus has nothing, however, of any kind whatever to recommend it. It is the jejunest composition we ever remember to have met with, and we are inclined to think the subject one of the richest. Mr. Butler has, however, made nothing of the materials collected in abundance by former writers, not having even copied them. Except that this life is entirely deficient in philosophical spirit, and destitute of any general view, either of the man, or his works, or his times, its fittest place would have been in the pages of a Biographical Dictionary or an Encyclopædia. A more worthy employment for a man of letters than the life and times of Erasmus, we know not, unless indeed it be, as is suggested by Mr. Butler, the life and discoveries of Roger Bacon.
An Essay on Education, applicable to Children in general : the
Defective, the Criminal, the Poor, the Adult and Aged. By Richard Poole, M. D. Edinburgh: Waugh and Innes. 12mo. 1825.
If we were to propose to change the title of this book to Thoughts on Education, it would perhaps be at once to give our readers a clearer idea of its nature. They might expect to find a System of Education. It is a sensible and a well-written book, in as far as its pretensions in point of design and arrangement go; and if, on this subject, there can be no great expectations of finding any thing very new, yet the author has, by the approximation of various opinion, pot met with in books under this title, contrived to render it both interesting and entertaining. Finding the author's name in the list of a Phrenological Society, as an active member, we had expected much more allusion to this system, and more projects founded upon it. There is not much, and there is nothing extravagant. Let us add, since our plan does not admit of a critical analysis, that the book bears, throughout, the marks of a benevolent mind.
Pandurang Hàri; or, Memoirs of a Hindoo, 12mo. 3 cols.
London, 1826. G. B. Whittaker.
Ever since the time of Le Sage, who chose a knave for the hero of his Spanish adventures, the fictitious personages who have favoured the world with the story of their exploits, have generally discovered a strong propensity to roguery in all its branches. There may be something in this, however, besides the mere spirit of imitation. The world itself is made up three parts of villainy, and unless a man have a key in his own bosom to the various frauds and stratagems with which it abounds, he will be but a very inadequate historian of human life. Be this as it will, such has of late been the practise in our country. Anastatius combined a very sufficient portion of knavery, with more than enough of sentiment and passion. Hajji Baba, a much more amusing rogue, comes nearer to the standard of Le Sage. The hero of the present work is a Hindoo villain, and if he fall short of his predecessors in liveliness and spirit, bids fair to outstrip them, at least, in the score of rascality. The whole piece is a complicated web of Mahratta craftiness, fraud, violence, and despotism. The different scenes in which these qualities are exhibited are so numerous—the adventures springing out of them so manifoldand the absence of any unity of design, except that of the mere unity of person, so total, that we are involved in a maze of perplexity, and on laying down the book retain nothing but a confused impression of the excessive insecurity of Mahratta property and life. Whatever truth there may be in the work as respects other peculiarities of the Hindoo character, that, at least, is truly oriental. Among the various scenes of villainy, more or less successful, more or less detestable, we recollect none that left very strong impressions upon the mind; and this, perhaps, more than the miscellaneous nature of the adventures, contributes to that confusion we complain of. There is nothing very powerful in the descriptions, and nothing striking or forcibly conceived in the characters. Neither the hero, nor any body with whom he is brought into contact, has any personal identity-he is but a name, and they are but names. The incidents and situations are occasionally such as a more picturesque and powerful pen, Cooper's for example, might have turned to account. The chief interest of the work arises from the author's evident familiarity with Indian customs, marners, and character. It is to be regretted, that instead of attempting to weave the particulars of his knowledge into a regular narrative, and to communicate them by the mouth of a fictitious character, the author had not undertaken the easier task of relating what he knew in his own person, and in a miscellaneous form. The authority of intelligence is necessarily rendered doubtful, when the intelligence itself is conveyed by the suspicious medium of a fictitious narrative. This defect is only to be compensated, by the advantage which this mode of writing affords to those who can avail themselves of it; of making a stronger impression upon the mind, by embodying their ideas in a well-conceived character. Some latitude is, no doubt, required for this purpose, as regards the truth of facts; but the lasting impression left with the reader, even if it be a lit:le erroneous, compensates by its durability for the exaggeration of the features. This remark applies, we think, to Hajji Baba, where more is gained by the interven
tion of a fictitious character, than is lost by the suspicion necessarily thrown upon the reality and truth of the descriptions. Where there are not powers sufficient to sustain a clever fiction, and people it with striking characters, it had better be dispensed with altogether. In the travels of Anacharsis, every reader is sensible of the coldness and weariness of the imaginary part: the information would have been more acceptable in the ordinary shape of simple dissertation. The writer of the present work would have served himself, and the world better, if he had communicated what he knew in the usual form of travels, or personal narrative. The circumstance that amused us most in the perusal of his work, was the not unfrequent sight we obtained of the Englishman peeping from beneath the garb of the Hindoo. Those who remember the long ladder by which my uncle in Roderick Random proposes to climb into employment again, when his fortunes were at their lowest ebb, will be at no loss to recognise the country to which the author of these Hindoo memoirs belong. had a good chance of success, for his wife's brother was chief packer in the warehouse, and the chief packer was on good terms with the head carpenter, and the latter was related to one of the under clerks, who was very intimate with the head clerk, as the latter was with the Toper Wallas (English) all of whose business he managed for them, and such interest could not fail. I could scarcely suppress a smile” (Roderick's own reflection) “ at the ladder by which the fellow designed I should mount to the peonship.” It is not fair to be thus tricked, and have English character returned back upon us for genuine Mahratta-yet the author talks of vraisemblance.
Varieties of Literature: being principally Selections from the
Portfolio of the late John Brady, Esq. Author of “ Clavis Calendaria." Arranged and adapted for publication, by John Henry Brady, his Son. London: Whittaker, 1826.
We have been much disappointed in this book, and cannot recommend it. From the "Author of the Clavis Calendaria, much curious and erudite matter might have been expected. The truth is, however, that his son has formed nothing but selections from other and very obvious sources of information among his father's papers, which Mr. Brady might, perhaps, himself have turned to some account; but which, in themselves, are utterly unworthy of publication. The volume is made up of different materials, such as explanations of Proverbs ; the Editor's Pocket Book, &c. &c. and altogether, to say the truth, is little better than a clumsy piece of book-making. We can quote nothing, for it is itself but quotations from Pennant, the Universal, and Gentleman's Magazines, &c. &c.
The Plays of Clara Gazul, a Spanish Comedian, with Memoirs of
her Life. London: Whittaker, 1825.
We were the first to introduce this work to the notice of the English public, and are extremely glad to find that it has been translated. Our opinion of its merit was then very decidedly expressed. These short dialogues, for they cannot with propriety be called “ plays," are