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THE LESS DISTINGUISHED FOREIGNERS: 151
prophet is esteemed in his own country,” is no where so perfectly or frequently verified as in England.
I have described the reception given to foreign lions in London : let me now state that given to strangers with less claims to attention.
A foreigner arrives with letters of introduction; or, in other words, certificates of birth, parentage, and — not education.
- not education.' He delivers them at the houses to which they are addressed, and, in return, receives a soup-ticket, bon pour un jour.
“ What a horrid bore to have this man thrown on our hands!” says Madame la maitresse de maison ; « his aunt was so pré
venante for us at Versailles, that we must be civil to him. What is to be done with him?"
“ Ask him to dinner, to be sure," replies Monsieur le mari.
“But whom can one get to meet him?" demands Madame, with an air of chagrin and embarrassment; people dislike so much meeting foreigners, until they are, at least, somewhat broken into our habits.”
“Let me see: oh, yes — the Heberdens have been passing the winter at Paris; they, probably, know him ; at all events, the gaieties of the Parisian season will furnish them with a subject in common. Yes, we'll engage the Heberdens."
“ Here is a letter and a card from le Comte
de Bellechasse,” exclaims Lady Grandison. « How tiresome! what is to be done with
him? His mother was so civil to us at Paris,
that we must be attentive to him."
“ Send him a ticket for our box at the opera, mamma,” says Lady Anna-Maria.
“ And a card for our ball on Friday,” lisps Lady Georgina.
THE EMBARRASSMENT HE EXCITES ;
“ But if, through not knowing London usages, he should become a fixture in the box ?” soliloquises mamma.
“ But even if he should, mamma, ours is, you know, a double box, and
“ We have always plenty of spare room for a beau, you would add-n'est-ce pas, AnnaMaria? Well, there is one advantage in a double box,” continues Lady Grandison, “it enables one to return civilities cheaply.”
“Yes," answers Lady Georgina, “ a double box at the opera is nearly as cheap a mode of returning civilities in London, as the sending tickets for the Chapelle is Royale, at Paris. Do you remember how we were inundated with
The poor foreigner receives the invitations, the necessity of giving which has caused so much embarrassment to the hospitable donors. After a dinner at each of the houses, to the proprietors of which he has brought letters of credence, he is engaged to make one of a party to Greenwich. Thither he, with some difficulty, finds his way on the appointed day. Having duly admired the exterior of the hospital, and refrained from expressing his disapprobation of the exhalations arising from the mud, observing that the ladies do not object to them, his olfactory nerves are regaled with the mingled odours of fried fish within doors, and the fume of tobacco without. Such are some of the agrémens of this interesting excursion: and at last, fit termination, the bill being demanded, the luckless foreigner finds that, for the refined enjoyment he has been invited to partake, he has a sum to pay that would have defrayed the expenses of a month in the land of his birth.
This is another cheap mode of returning civilities peculiar to London : cheap only to the inviters, however; for, to the accepters, it is rather a costly purchase.
The poor man returns, half dead, to his lodging, determined to eschew white - bait, cider-cup, and pink champagne, while he lives. After three days' suffering, and an apothecary's bill even longer than the Greenwich one, he is able to shew himself once
How you would pity the unfortunate victim, could you behold the lodging in which he has passed those three days, knowing, as you do, how luxurious is the accommodation of the apartment of a Frenchman comme il faut! No longer does he inhabit a spacious and lofty suite elegantly furnished; or an entresol, whose tasteful decoration and comfort are so inviting. Behold him in a small room, three parts of which are occupied by a fourpost bed sufficiently large to contain half a dozen persons; this same bed piled with matrasses,