Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

enthusiasm of the lieges hang fire, it may proverb-mongers, barber, parson, nay, be exploded at once by an allusion to their postmaster, whose tenure was for life. intelligence or patriotism, and at a literary The great political engine did not then festival, the first Latin quotation draws come down at regular quadrennial interthe first applause, the clapping of hands vals, like a nail-cutting machine, to make being intended as a tribute to our own all official lives of a standard length, and familiarity with that sonorous tongue, and to generate lazy and intriguing expectannot at all as an approval of the particular cy. Life flowed in recognized channels, sentiment conveyed in it. For if the narrower, perhaps, but with all the more orator should say, "Well has Tacitus re individuality and force. marked, Americani omnes sunt naturali There was but one white-and-yellowter fures et stulti,it would be all the same. washer, whose own cottage, fresh-gleamBut the Gravelpit was patient, if irrespon- ing every June through grape-vine and sive, nor did the declaimer always fail to creeper, was his only sign and advertisebring down the house, bits of loosened ment.

He was said to possess a secret, earth falling now and then from the pre which died with him like that of Luca cipitous walls, their cohesion perhaps over della Robbia, and certainly conceived all come by the vibrations of the voice, and colors but white and yellow, to savor of happily satirizing the effect of most popu savagery, civilizing the stems of his trees lar discourses, which prevail rather with annually with liquid lime, and meditatthe clay than with the spiritual part of ing how to extend that candid baptism the hearer. Was it possible for us in even to the leaves. His pie-plants (the those days to conceive of a greater poten best in town), compulsory monastics, tate than the President of the University, blanched under barrels, each in his little in his square doctor's cap, that still filially hermitage, a vegetable Certosa. His fowls, recalled Oxford and Cambridge? If there his ducks, his geese could not show só were a doubt, it was suggested only by the much as a gray feather among them, and Governor, and even by him on artillery he would have given a year's earnings for election days alone, superbly martial with a white peacock. The flowers which epaulets and buckskin breeches, and be decked his little door-yard, were whitest striding the war-horse, promoted to that China-asters and goldenest sun-flowers, solemn duty for his tameness and steady which last, backsliding from their tradihabits.

tional Parsee faith, used to puzzle us urThirty years ago, the Town had indeed chins not a little, by staring brazenly a character. Railways and omnibuses every way except toward the sun. Celehad not rolled flat all little social promi- ry, too, he raised, whose virtue is its palenences and peculiarities, making every man ness, and the silvery onion, and turnip, as much a citizen every where as at home. which, though outwardly conforming to No Charlestown boy could come to our the green heresies of summer, nourish a annual festival, without fighting to avenge purer faith subterraneously, like early a certain traditional porcine imputation Christians in the catacombs. In an obagainst the inhabitants of that historic scure corner grew the sanguine beet, tollocality, and to which our youth gave erated only for its usefulness in allaying vent, in fanciful imitations of the dialect the asperities of Saturday's salt fish. He of the sty, or derisive shouts of " Charles loved winter better than summer, because town hogs !” The penny newspaper nature then played the whitewasher, and had not yet silenced the tripod of the challenged with her snows the scarce inbarber, oracle of news. Everybody ferior purity of his over-alls and neckknew every body, and all about every cloth. I fancy that he never rightly liked body, and village wit, whose high 'change Commencement, for bringing so many was around the little market-house in the black coats together. He founded no town-square, had labelled every more school. Others might essay his art, and marked individuality with nick-names that were allowed to try their 'prentice hands clung like burrs. Things were establish on fences and the like coarse subjects, but ed then, and men did not run through all the ceiling of every housewife waited on the figures on the dial of society so swift the leisure of Newman (ichneumon the ly as now, when hurry and competition students called him for his diminutiveness) seem to have quite unhung the modulat nor would consent to other brush than ing pendulum of steady thrift, and com his. There was also but one brewer, petent training. Some slow-minded per Lewis, who made the village beer, both sons, even followed their father's trade, an spruce and ginger, a grave and amiable humiliating spectacle rarer every day. Ethiopian making a discount always to We had our established loafers, topers, the boys, and wisely, for they were his

chiefest patrons. He wheeled his whole tervals, in what we believed (on R.'s austock in a white-roofed handcart, on whose thority) to be the Hottentot language. front a signboard presented at either end He had an unveracious air, but what inan insurrectionary bottle, yet insurgent ventions of former grandeur he was inafter no mad Gallic fashion, but soberly dulging in, what sweet South-African and Saxonly discharging itself into the Argos he was remembering, what tropirestraining formulary of a tumbler, sym cal heats and giant trees by unconjectured bolic of orderly prescription. The artist rivers, known only to the wallowing hiphad struggled manfully with the difficul popotamus, we could only guess at. The ties of his subject, but had not succeeded walls were covered with curious old Dutch so well that we did not often debate in prints, beaks of albatross and penguin, which of the twin bottles Spruce was and whale's teeth fantastically engraved. typified, and in which Ginger. We al There was Frederick the Great, with head ways believed that Lewis mentally distin- drooped plottingly and keen side-long guished between them, but by some pecu glance from under the three-cornered hat. liarity occult to exoteric eyes. This am There hung Bonaparte, too, the long-hairbulatory chapel of the Bacchus that gives ed, haggard General of Italy, his eyes the colic, but not inebriates, only appear sombre with prefigured destiny; and there ed the Commencement holidays. And was his island grave ; the dream and the the lad who bought of Lewis, laid out fulfilment. Good store of sea-fights there his money well, getting respect as well was also ; above all, Paul Jones in the as beer, three sirs to every glass—“ beer, Bonhomme Richard ; the smoke rolling sir ? yes, sir : spruce or ginger. sir ? ” I courteously to leeward, that we might see can yet recall the innocent pride with him dealing thunderous wreck to the two which I walked away aster that some hostile vessels, each twice as large as his what risky ceremony (for a bottle some own, and the reality of the scene corrobotimes blew up), dilated not alone with rated by streaks of red paint leaping from carbonic-acid gas, but with the more the mouth of every gun. Suspended over ethereal fixed air of that titular flattery. the fireplace with the curling-tongs, were Nor was Lewis proud. When he tried an Indian bow and arrows, and in the corhis fortunes in the capital on Election days, ners of the room stood New Zealand padand stood amid a row of rival vendors in dles and war-clubs quaintly carved. The the very flood of custom, he never forgot model of a ship in glass we variously eshis small fellow-citizens, but welcomed timated to be worth from a hundred to a them with an assuring smile, and served thousand dollars, R. rather favoring the them with the first.

higher valuation, though never distinctly The barber's shop was a museum, committing himself. Among these wonscarce second to the larger one of Green ders, the only suspicious one was an Inwoods in the metropolis. The boy who dian tomahawk, which had too much the was to be clipped there, was always ac peaceful look of a shingling-hatchet. Did companied to the sacrifice by troops of any rarity enter the town, it gravitated friends, who thus inspected the curiosities naturally to these walls, to the very nail gratis. While the watchful eye of R. that waited to receive it, and where, the wandered to keep in check these rather day after its accession, it seemed to have unscrupulous explorers, the unpausing hung a lifetime. We always had a theoshears would sometimes overstep the ry that R. was immensely rich, (how boundaries of strict tonsorial prescription, could he possess so much and be otherand make a notch through which the wise ?) and that his pursuing his calling phrenological developments could be dis was an amiable eccentricity. He was a tinctly seen. As Michael Angelo's design conscientious artist and never submitted was modified by the shape of his block, it to the choice of his victim whether he so R., rigid in artistic proprieties, would would be perfumed or not. Faithfully was contrive to give an appearance of design the bottle shaken and the odoriferous mixto this aberration, by making it the key ture rubbed in, a fact redolent to the whole note of his work, and reducing the whole school-room in the afternoon. Sometimes head to an appearance of premature bald the persuasive tonsor would impress one ness. What a charming place it was, how of the attendant volunteers and reduce full of wonder and delight! The sunny his poll to shoe-brush crispness, at cost little room, fronting southwest upon the of the reluctant ninepence hoarded for common, rang with canaries and java-spar Fresh Pond and the next half-holiday. rows, nor were the familiar notes of robin, Shall the two groceries want their vates thrush, and bobolink wanting. A huge sacer, where E. & W. I. goods and white cockatoo harangued vaguely, at in- country prodooce were sold with an energy

Well

, no,

mitigated by the quiet genius of the place, tories of the Forty-twa, and showing an and where strings of urchins waited, each imaginary French bullet, sometimes in one with cent in hand, for the unweighed leg and sometimes in the other. With dates (thus giving an ordinary business this claim to military distinction he transaction all the excitement of a lottery), adroitly contrived to mingle another to a and buying, not only that cloying sweet natural one, asserting double teeth all ness, but a dream also of Egypt, and round his jaws, and having thus created palmtrees, and Arabs, in which vision a two sets of doubts, silenced both at once print of the pyramids in our geography by a single demonstration, displaying the tyrannized like that taller thought of grinders to the confusion of the infidel. Cowper's ?

The old court-house stood then upon At one of these the unwearied students

the square. It has shrunk back out of used to ply a joke handed down from sight now, and students box and fence class to class. Enter A. and asks gravely, where Parsons once laid down the law, "Have you any sour apples, Deacon?" and Ames and Dexter showed their skill

I haven't any just now that in the fence of argument. Times have are exactly sour; but there's the bell

changed, and manners, since Chief Justice flower apple, and folks that like a sour Dana (father of Richard the First, and apple generally like that.” (Exit A.) grandfather of Richard the Second) caused

Enter B. “Have you got any sweet to be arrested for contempt of court a apples, Deacon ?"

butcher who had come in without a coat "Well, no, I haven't any just now that to witness the administration of his are exactly sweet; but there's the bell

country's laws, and who thus had his flower apple, and folks that like a sweet curiosity exemplarily gratified. Times apple generally like that.” (Exit B.) have changed also since the cellar beneath

There is not even a tradition of any it was tenanted by the twin brothers Snow. one's ever having turned the wary dea Oyster-men were they indeed, silent in con's flank, and his Laodicean apples per their subterranean burrow, and taking sisted to the end, neither one thing nor the ebbs and floods of custom with bivalanother. Or shall the two town-con

vian serenity. Careless of the months stables be forgotten, in whom the law

with an R in them, the maxim of Snow stood worthily and amply embodied, fit

(for we knew them but as a unit) was, either of them to fill the uniform of an

when 'ysters are good, they are good; English beadle ? Grim and silent as

and when they ain't, they isn't." Grecian Ninevite statues they stood on each side F. (may his shadow never be less !) tells of the meeting-house door at Commence

this, his great laugh expected all the ment, propped by long staves of blue

while from deep vaults of chest, and then and red, on which the Indian with bow

coming in at the close, hearty, contagious, and arrow, and the mailed arm with the

mounting with the measured tread of á sword, hinted at the invisible sovereignty jovial but stately butler who brings of the state ready to reinforce them, as ancientest goodfellowship from exhaust"For Achilles' portrait stood a spear

less bins, and enough, without other Grasped in an arméd hand.”

sauce, to give a flavor of stalled ox to a Stalwart and rubicund men they were, dinner of herbs. Let me preserve here second only, if second, to S., champion of an anticipatory elegy upon the Snows, the county, and not incapable of genial un written years ago by some nameless bendings when the fasces were laid aside. college rhymer. One of them still survives in octogenarian vigor, the Herodotus of village and college

DIFFUGERE NIVES. legend, and may it be long ere he depart,

“Here lies, or lie,-decide the question, yon, to carry with him the pattern of a cour If they were two in one, or one in two,tesy, now, alas! old-fashioned, but which P. & S. Snow, whose memory shall not fade, might profitably make part of the in Castor and Pollux of the oyster-trade: struction of our youth among the other

Hatched from one egg, at once the shell they burst, humanities!

(The last, perhaps, a P. 8, to the first)

So homoousian both in look and soul, In those days the population was almost

So undiscernibly a single whole, wholly without foreign admixture. Two

That, whether P. was 8. or 8. was P., Scotch gardeners there were, -Rule, whose Surpassed all skill in etymology; daughter (glimpsed perhaps at church, or One kept the shop at once, and all we know possibly the mere Miss Harris of fancy)

Is that together they were the Great Snow, the students nicknamed Anarchy or Miss

A snow not deep, yet with a crust so thick

It never melted to the son of Tick; Rule,--and later Fraser, whom whiskey

Perpetual? nay, our region was too low, sublimed into a poet, full of bloody his Too warm, too southern, for perpetual Snow;

62

Still like fair Leda's sons, to whom 'twas given

If e'er be laughed, 'twas with no loud guffaw, To take their turns in Hades and in Heaven,

The fun warmed through him with a gradual thaw; Our new Dioscuri would bravely share

The nicer shades of wit were not bis gift, The cellar's darkness and the upper air;

Nor was it hard to sound Snow's simple drift; Twice every year would each the shades escape His were plain jokes, that many a time beforo And, like a seabird, seek the wave-washed Cape, Had set bis tarry messmates in a roar, Where (Rumor voiced) one spouse sufficed for both; When foundering cod beslimed the deck's wet No bigamist, for she upon her oath,

planks,Unskilled in letters, could not inake a guess

The humorous specie of Newfoundland banks. At any difference 'twixt P. and S.,A thing not marvellous, since Fame agrees

But Snow is gone, and, let us hope, sleeps well They were as little different as two peas,

Buried (his last breath asked it) in a shell; And she, like Paris, when his Helen laid

Him on the Stygian shore my fancy sees Her hand 'mid snows from Ida's top conveyed

Noting choice shorls for oystery colonies, To cool their wine of Chios, could not know,

Or, at a board stuck full of ghostly forks, Between those rival candors, wbich was Snow.

Opening for practise visionary Yorks,

And whither he has gone, may we, too, go Whiche'er bebind the counter chanced to be

Since no hot place were fit for keeping Snow! Oped oysters oft, his clamshells seldom he;

Jam satis nivis. (Concluded next month.)

THE GREAT PARIS CAFÉS.

IF

the cafés and the restaurants owe and placed before him his finest wines, their origin to the storms of 1789, and when the bill came, its total was only when, in the raging fever which then mad six francs: the rich cook treated the poor dened the French nation, every one was farrner-general. But the cafés and the anxious both in the morning and the even restaurants of the Empire shared the ing, to learn the news (news such as the common grossness of that epoch; drunkworld had never read the like before), enness and gluttony were common vices and to read the different exponents of the to all of them, until the Restoration inseveral public men; and to discuss the troduced more courtesy, and more of the politics of the day, and to indulge in liter arts of peace. Our reader is aware that ary debates; if they owe their origin, we cafés and restaurants are, perhaps, the say, to the storms of '89, it was especially most characteristic feature of French life; under the Empire and the Restoration, there is nothing which an absent Frenchthat these establishments multiplied, and man more regrets while wandering from appeared in the brilliancy and the luxury home, than the cafés and the restaurants, for which they are now celebrated. The where his meals were taken, and his idle most of them were founded by the chefs hours passed away, and his friends ende cuisine, or the head cooks (to use our countered, and himself seeing and seen. more homely phrase), of the great aristo Besides, being the Temples of Fame of cratic houses, whose names had become the town, they are the chapels of ease to extinct in the prison massacres, or on the limited fortunes: their ample porcelain guillotine, or whose fortunes had been stoves, piled high with plates, their brilmelted in the agrarian crucible of the re liant gas chandeliers, the numerous newsvolutionary decrees: Beauvilliers had been papers, their well-stuffed seats, their exthe chef de cuisine of the Prince de cellent attendance, enable those of straitCondé, and his restaurant was chiefly ened circumstances to efface from their patronized by distinguished persons; the account-books many sources of expense, Duke d’Angoulême and M. de Chateau without in the least suppressing (so briand dined there together, more than blunted are the French people to the once, and in the public room. Robert had sense of the observation of others) any been the chef de cuisine of M. de Chal of their comforts. We are persuaded, andray, an ex-farmer-general: on his re that our reader will find the same susturn from exile, M. de Chalandray, with tained interest which we took in reading out more than the shadows of his former M. Veron's account of the celebrated fortune, went into Robert's restaurant and cafés and restaurants of Paris, where he recognized his old cook ; Robert served enables us to form a quite clear concephis old master a most exquisite dinner tion of those stages, where, more than any

ron:

where else, " men and women are merely Frères Provençaux were far from resemplayers;" a far clearer conception, we dare bling the present saloons of that wellsay, than many of our countrymen who known restaurant; the furniture was exare in the city of Paris itself, are able to ceedingly modest, the tables were covered frame in consequence of the ignorance of with oil-cloth, the salt-cellars were of the French language, and their position as wood, silver-plate was rare. The Trois foreigners. We abandon, then, our read Frères Provençaux, nevertheless, already er to the admirable guidance of M. Ve nuinbered a large number of customers;

the wine there was unadulterated, and the - For now some thirty years I have vaults were rich in vintages of good years lived in Paris almost as if I had been a and good growths; the cooking was highforeigner, and since 1823 (under the Res ly esteemed; and the Trois Frères Protoration), I have indulged my passion of vençaux was instanced for the excellence observation, in those numerous restaura of its dishes à la Provençale. General teurs which are peculiar to Paris. None Bonaparte and Barras often dined togeof the great capitals of Europe are adorn ther at the Provençaux, and from there ed with these sumptuous establishments, they both went to the neighboring thewith a luxurious service, open day and atre of Mademoiselle Montansier. The night, where a meal is ready, at all hours, great fortune of the Trois Frères Provenwhere silence and solitude may be enjoy çaux, dates especially from 1808, from the ed in the midst of a crowd. Writers, first war with Spain. Troops for that princes, artists, magistrates, ministers, le war were summoned from all parts of gislators, diplomatists, warriors, foreign Germany; these troops passed through ers from every quarter of the globe, Croe Paris: generals and officers selected the suses of every rank and of every age, beau saloons of the Trois Frères Provençaux for ties from the North, and beauties from the their junketings. Gold was rare at this South, how many generations, how many period, and the receipts were so large that original characters, have offered themselves several times during the day and evening, to the observer, inter pocula before those they were obliged to empty the safe which tables open

to the first and to all comers. overflowed with silver into additional safes. There is not a bourgeois of Paris, who The receipts were not less than twelve or on some days does not treat himself to fifteen thousand francs a day (some $2400 a dinner at the Café de Paris, or at the or $3000). The Trois Frères ProvenFrères Provençaux, or at the Café An çaux also saw, with all the then famed glais, or at Riche's or Véry's, or at Ve restaurants, the fortunate days of 1808 four's. I have easily collected some very reproduced in 1814 and 1815. This escurious historical details about the restau tablishment was managed and kept by its rateurs and the celebrated cafés of Paris, founders, for fifty years. A man named and I must initiate my readers to this Lionnet, still the butler of the establisherudition which I have gained at the sour ment, has occupied that same post for forces, and which throws, too, some light ty-eight years. About 1836 the restauupon other times. Let us enter as chance rant of the Trois Frères was purchased may direct into all of these establish by the brothers Bellenger, who kept it ments; the origin of many of them dates only a year; the title, name and the resmany years back. The establishment, taurant were then sold by them to M. known under the name of the Frères Collot, who for the last fifteen years has Provençaux was founded in 1786; three succeeded in maintaining the brilliant reyoung men born in Provence, united to

putation and prosperity of this house. gether by a warm friendship, but without It was only in 1805 the restaurant Véry the least fraternal relation, MM. Barthél was founded; it was situated in the Garemy, Manneilles, and Simon, rented a den of the Tuileries, Terrasse des Feuillhouse near the Palais Royal and served ants; its rival and neighbor on this terrace meals there. When the stone arcades was the restaurant Legacque. Véry's soon were constructed, they opened in them became fashionable ; it obtained the orders some saloons, which still form a portion for all the great dinners frequently given of the splendid and vast apartments of at the Ecole Militaire during the first the Frères Provençaux. One of these years of the empire. The higher functionthree friends was charged with the man aries, generals, and especially Marshal agement and the surveillance of the es, Duroc, were the constant frequenters of tablishment, the two others were attach Véry's. It was indeed Marshal Duroc, ed, in the house of the Prince de Conti, the Grand Master of the Palace, who had to the service of the kitchen and the offi obtained for Véry the perinission to open ces. In 1786 the saloons of the Trois what was then called La Tente des Tuil

« PoprzedniaDalej »