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and tractable. They startle our English Peregrine by their huge, long backs, and the four horns, or chimneys, which grow out of their backs, and discourse murky vapours. They roll across the billows, and their steel viscera move harmoniously, with a sort of peristaltic motion. Peregrine, sitting afar off, hears the clank of the steel viscera, uttering their chant monotonous.
The sea monster has done its work, and lies gasping and blowing alongside, secured by a halter from its neck to the shore. Peregrine has stepped on to the land-to King's land-the special town which was rebaptized after the First Gentleman of Europe. A little granite pawn marks this consecration; and Peregrine's heart thrills with a sort of First-Gentlemanly sensation as he sees the affectionate tribute to this great and good
EBLANA at last! Peregrine debouching from the railway, adrift, as it were, upon the city, and uneasy under the responsibility of luggage, would have a dim instinct of where he was from the children of the whip, who with wild cries and a pleasant animation, compete for him, as though he were a prize belt. The sort of gipsy vehicle, wild and irregular, too the shelf-car of the country-so characteristic and agreeable-brings with it certain recognition. Elsewhere the stolid drivers sit placidly aloft, scornfully ignoring the overtures of a single traveller beside the more profitable claims of a numerous family, crushed under mountains of luggage. But here there is personal importunity, cheerful gibe, lively joke, vehement gesture, and flourish of whips; and then Peregrine again, if he has ever stood in the Piazza della Minerva, thinks of the lively cocchieri on that "stand," who, when he lifts up his finger, charge at him en masse, like a troop of horse.
A little comforted at a restaurateur's and hostelry, Peregrine goes forth upon the street to see Eblana for the first time. He has taken, it may be supposed, Eblana at its most favourable time-at the end of the month of January, when her "season" is "on" -a festival which endures from that month until June. Rusticus, down at Ballingarry, on the family "esteet," puts Mrs. Rusticus and her three
daughters into the train, and comes up joyfully to take a house in some street not far away from the leading 'squeares." The Earl of Tumbletowers and his family come up from Tumbletowers to the ancestral town mansion, and the family coach, with the faces of the Hon. Misses Shindyman looking from the windows, may be seen in the streets. Everything tends, by a natural, social gravitation, towards Eblana and its season.
Taking it, then, to be this most favourable time, and that it is a bright, clear morning (perhaps an unreasonable postulate, for, in respect of rain, Eblana is held to be suffering an eternal douche), Peregrine goes forth upon the streets, beginning with the Belgravian quarter, and wanders into the decent solitude. Naturally, he is confounded by the spectacle of a gigantic private square, which is exactly one mile round, holding twentyfour acres of ground, and which, as may be conceived, cannot be easily matched in Europe. He will be told of some enthusiasts who are anxious further to develop this ornament, and by the agency of statues, fountains, walks, and planting, import a little French refinement, and create a sort of Irish Place de la Concorde. There is no impediment from absence of the root of all evil; that esculent is offered in plenty. But the old dilly, with six insides, basket and all, complete, still lumbers along the road, and stops the way; and so a really magnificent project, indentified, too, with a memorial for the dead, is on the verge of miscarriage. With this, too, was associated an Hibernian Rotten-row and a mimic "dwive"-a concentration of equestrians and vehicles at the legitimate hour. That elements are not wanting for a suitable display may be gathered from this:-of a brilliant day, a train of between five and six hundred mounted ladies and gentlemen may be seen galloping over the pleasant slopes of the "Phaynix."
Here, too, is the quiet majesty of the Belgrave-square of Eblana, and which has yet a sort of therapeuticolegal atmosphere; for it is growing gradually to be the quarter of those two great learned guilds-and Galen, F.R.C.S., rising rapidly, and Rebutter, now a virgin Q.C., looks fondly towards a mansion in this sacred
quarter. No wonder. Here are stately old edifices, ripe and mellow, and of a date before a certain Union, with grand staircases and gorgeous stucco ceilings, and Pompeian walls, and painting on that ample scale the old Hibernian magnates delighted in. If Peregrine be curious in such things, he may turn back to that monster Green" he has just left behind, and look up at the rows of stately old-fashioned mansions, with huge porches, to which he must ascend by some twenty to thirty steps. Here are huge, spacious halls, flowered all over with elaborate stucco devices, wrought by cunning Italians, whom the Irish virtuosi imported specially, and with capacity for holding a dozen or so "sedan chairs" of a festive sort. Here are broad, stone staircases, and exquisite Italian chimney-pieces, and ceilings, and door-panels decorated with medallions, painted by famous Angelica Kauffman's own hand. With some there is a portecochere too, that might have been imported from Paris. These are the glories of the Saint's Green. But there could be pointed out to Peregrine, structures more imposing still-perfect palaces -built by the fine old Irish noblemen (with the titles out of sentimental novels), and which dot the city to the amount of a dozen or so. Beside these, the mansions of the great seigneurs, ducal and otherwise, seem feeble. There is one, now degraded into a counting-house, as grand and stately as a Roman palace. Some are barracks-some, public institutions; but all attest a rich and costly taste, and a boundless expense. Some had their theatre attached. Artists and carvers were brought from Italy and France to do the painting and decorative work. It has been whispered, however, that the mere drudges, who did the contractor's work for the noblemen with the romantic names, have not been paid for it to this hour, or have been expunged in the grand balance-sheet of the Incumbered Estates Court.
Now Peregrine plunges into Irish Bond-street-narrow, winding, and hilly, yet very rich and opulent, and where nearly every hour of the day there is a perfect blockade and stoppage. This, of course, must be accepted as the inevitable law in all climes and cities, that the glut of
traffic shall accumulate on the quarter least suited to it. Here may be seen lines of broughams, locked in inextricable confusion, to which universal chaos the key may readily be foundfor in this street are the temples of your Madame Augustes and Palmyres and Victorines (from Paris, but nées Murphy), who regulate the mode in Eblana. The sacrifices to these divinities are gigantic, for Eblana belles are frantic devotees, and are indeed entitled to all unreasonable decoration at any cost.
Peregrine marvels at the bustle, the activity, the dense crowds walking arm in arm-the vitality, in short. And yet here is no token of tradeof prosy, unromantic trade, which takes the bloom off all things. The eye is not offended with wains and drays. This is the city of the dolce far niente-the city of money, and of money spent by retail; for no one hoards meanly in Eblana, and so shops thrive.
Foreigners who come into Eblana protest it has a sort of half-foreign air, which more nearly recalls their own delightful cities, than any other British city. Foreign architects have more than once pronounced it one of the most architectural cities of Europe. Peregrine, as he stands on the hill which descends from Irish Bondstreet, and looks towards the University, and the grand, graceful temple where the Hibernian Lords and Commons used to meet, must own to a most striking effect. All the public buildings in Eblana are of the same Grecian order, and have a certain uniformity. He will note, too, how they form part of the street everywhere, and are not jealously cut off, or separated by paling. The lawyer in Eblana walks under Grecian porticoes and Corinthian capitals, and pediments crowned with statues by Flaxman. As for the quiet grace and beauty of the ancient House of Parliament, architects of all nations have vied with each other in its praises. It now performs the more prosaic duty of a bank; but it is a bank such as no bank in Europe can compare with.
Going steadily forwards, and crossing the river, all quayed, like Paris, and crossed at every two or three hundred yards, or so, by a bridge, he gets into that famous causeway which
ranks with the New York Broadway, and the Russian Nevskoi parade-its breadth and spaciousness unsurpassed, and, when planted with rows of fine old limes, which a barbarous municipality cut away, must have had a unique effect.
No wonder these foreigners have their own associations recalled to them, when we think of the odd, exceptional look of the actors before this scenery; the national vehicles spinning about, and the easy Neapolitan attitude of those who ride on them; the bright cloaks of the West, copied from the peasants, of deep blue and Spanish scarlet; the fresh cheeks; the bright eyes; the gay ring of voices chattering like children; the platoons of the reaping interest, in the characteristic stage dress which Mr. Boucicault wore for so many nights, and who are hurrying away to the ships; the ballad singers, and the dreary funeral processions which, at all hours, come trailing down the broad street, with all the sudden effect of a Misericordia procession at Florence; and the strange, rakish figures of the American fire brigade, in their scarlet shirts, white breeches, and boots, always lounging together in twos and threes all this makes up a wonderful picture for one whose eye loves colour and shifting effects, and which has, indeed, something verging on the foreign. But what does not verge upon the foreign are the troops of bright, fresh faces, wonderful eyes, and rich, shining hair-articles cheap from mere plenty-not the mere rustic charms of a robust health, but striking Spanish-looking creatures-children of the Mezzo Ceto, and with which this capital abounds.
For two special blessings of human existence, which verge in the direction of wines and cigars, has Eblana a particular notoriety. She has a sort of pride in purveying these comforts, of the best and soundest quality, in their degree. In the more remote periods, when there was a palpable indifference abroad as to the fiscal rights of the revenue, a sort of affectionate sympathy had grown up between wine-exporting countries and the absorbing earth of Eblana, which resulted in a mutual respect and admiration. Henceforth there was a steady, unbroken chain of claret
hogsheads between the nations; and a special growth was always destined for 't' Hibernian shore"- -a distinction which tradition has kept up to this hour. There are cellars of wondrous efficacy in Eblana. So with tobacco. You will with difficulty light on the luxury of a penny cigar. And Peregrine, or any unknown wandering Particulier, entering a stall and laying down upon the counter the smallest silver coin known to our currency, will have handed to him, not, indeed, a fragrant regalia, but a sound, acceptable, genuine, smokable cigar, that will not give him a nausea, or have any arrière pensée of the kitchen garden. The careless stranger will, in fact, receive a fair cigar. In Babylon, alas! it is but too certain what cruel treatment will befall the careless stranger entering a gaudy temple of this sort, and laying down a large silver coin, which brings this result-that many leading Britons send regularly to Eblana for all comforts in these two directions.
Peregrine has noted the special block of carriages about Madame Mantilini's Temple of Fashion-a sort of polite route of miniature broughams, and flashy open barouches, inside of which, as it were, in a dainty flower-pot upon wheels, bloom the precious hot-house plants-the gardenias and geraniums of the upper circles of Eblana. Peregrine has come towards the latter days of January, which accounts for the conflux of vehicles towards Madame Mantilini's. That unhappy artiste, speaking French with a slight "suspicion" of a richer native Doric, has but a miserable time of it. Her nights are wretched; her days are like the agonies of the dying whale-a ceaseless "flurry." Gentle stranger, Peregrine! these things are signs. and warnings, as it were, in the heavens. As you came along, you marked the garb of the late revered Samuel Johnson, LL.D., author of the English Dictionary and other works, unaccountably set out in the windows of tailors' shops, with the corresponding steel spike of the period balanced on its point. The "ancient and fish-like" sprigged waistcoat, too, a little frayed and tarnished, with a significant splash here and there as from the wine cup. At what mahogany, O effete garment? Where is Lucullus
now, erst measured for that finery? Where? Were this a Roundabout Paper, how easily we might now mount the pulpit, and with the old waistcoat for a text, what an affecting sermon might be preached! The Consul Plancus (that is under-when the Duke of Dorset was Lord Lieutenant); and the locks of hair of our mistresses; and the "faded old letters;" all fished out of the pocket of the old waistcoat--"On an old Court waistcoat!" It would sound prettily. For why should there be a monopoly of letters patent for these things?
If Peregrine has read this handwriting on the wall aright, he will know that a grand ceremonial is imminent" THE LEVEE" and " THE DRAWING-ROOM," or what, by an excusable provincialism, is more familiar as "the Levy" and "Drawn-room." Hence the crowding in the streets; hence the block of broughams; hence the temporary insanity of the hapless Mantilini. For what gives Eblana this peculiar attraction is that it is the seat of a Court-miniature, if you will, yet complete and perfect in all details. Very different from the feeble dulness of the reigning Duke of Pumpernickel, or the Landgrave of Selbzerbrunnen. Eblana has its palace or "Castle," well known every where, with its banqueting halls, ball rooms, reception rooms, galleries, and "Royal Chapel," and suitable finery, complete. It has its courtyards and guard-house, where the ceremony of "guard mounting," with military music, is performed, as at a greater palace. Here dwells the ViceKing and his court-chamberlains, gentlemen-at-large, and of the bedchamber, aides-de-camp, masters of the horse, all complete. Cynicus, who has been listening scornfully, here bursts out with Mr. William M. Cornhill's well-known remark (fresh out of the aloe jar), to the effect "that a court calendar is bad enough; but a shum court calendar, how intolerable!" Yet, pace tanti viri, there is something to be said. The institution is of a prodigious antiquity, and has, therefore, the respectability which long standing imparts to other institutions. When, too, sixty years ago, by an unblushing traffic in peerages, pensions, and ready money, and at an outlay of more than a million sterling, the parliament
which sat in Eblana was bought up (a piece of public morality which, if adopted by the House of Hapsburg toward its Hungarian Diet, would excite a scream through Europe), it was felt that some little compensation was due to the despoiled natives, and it was bargained and covenanted that, henceforth, this semi-royal institution should be preserved inviolate. The men and women of Eblana do not bow down before the Molochs of cotton or iron. They are a little Gallic in their temperament, and prefer a little scenic effect, and the exhibition of this semi-royalty, even though Cynicus and his brethren snarl at it, as being "sham" or "Brumagem;' they do not want the dead provincialism-in tone and thought, at least
of Cottonopolis, and Navipolison-the-Mersey. Sham? Wherefore sham? Vice-king at home is but a nobleman of England; but sitting on a throne at Eblana Castle, is governor of six or seven million of lieges, with powers of giving titles and high offices, of pardon, of life and death, of proclamations, of making laws, and what not. He is "Depute" for the Queen of these Islands.
"Levys" are pretty much the same all the world over. But let the gala night of the drawn-room" have room, and let Peregrine, the stranger, either recklessly purchasing, or prudently hiring for both these operations are within his power-one of the becoming suits of the courtly period, with the attendant spike of defence or offence, go up magnificently to Eblana Castle. With his florid waistcoat of the period, and his lower limbs so heartlessly exposed, with an effect generally suggestive in the jackdaw direction, he will yet present a less conspicuous image of degradation by lamplight. He will have journeyed up in broad noon-day to the "Levée," enter his qualification in an effete vehicle, a fossil "job," which the rest of the year has lain, like Mr. Sterne's desobligeant, "in the corner of a coach-yard," a sort
of vampt up business," for the whole year, and now, like everything that can at all trundle upon wheels, is dragged forth and brings gold. However feeble and decrepid, a few streets progress at a funeral is no great intrusion upon the retirement of an honourable old age. In Eblana,
too, there is a strange and unique vehicle-a square, sombre, packing case-into which light penetrates by four cell windows, and which is cleverly balanced upon a pair of wheels. A strange oubliette-or diminutive prison van-moving with spasmodic jerks, and which by the action of the horse imparts a charming motion to the prisoner within. It has a certain undignified aspect, to see a gentleman of the period of George the Third looking from the window; so, therefore, Peregrine will not "take up" one of these triumphal
But as the conditions on which Melrose is to be seen aright are sufficiently familiar to the public, and moonlight is indispensable to a proper effect, so, after all, the natural and appropriate condition fitted to Drawing-room" is by the flare of wax-light. They order, then, this matter" better in Eblana. Yonder, in Babylon the Great, it seems a frigid and piteous spectacle to see the train of beauties fluttering up to court, with all their trappings on, in the ruthless and unfeeling light of day. There is a monstrous discordance in the effect. It is as chilling as a rehearsal at the Theatre Royal, Bullock Smithy--when a cold streak of blue daylight falls on the faded scenery and the dull tinsel, and the footlights have not been lighted. Diamonds, and bouquets, and lace, and tulle, and feathers (and may it be just whispered, anything in the direction of artificial complexion), belong to a distinct element, and seem to fade and die in this unnatural atmosphere. But in Eblana they are wiser in their generation. The daughters of that picturesque generality, who always sits with a harp at her knee, know what theatre best suits their charms.
The wayfarer of this festive night, wandering towards Irish Downingstreet, will find his progress cut off by long lines of caskets or jewel cases on wheels, waiting patiently, and converging steadily on Eblana Castle, from all points; and, dark though it be, he will see, nestling within each casket, something glittering-together with clouds of vaporous tulle, with a little female humanity, and eyes that light up all. From north, east, west, and south, do these snake
like lines concentrate into one. Loud and hoarsely in the ear rings out the cries of mounted policemen, in sepulchral military cloaks, prancing hither and thither, and intimidating drivers with a fierce and superfluous declamation. Towards Irish Downingstreet, the causeways are filled with an idle and eager crowd, who spend the night peering into the wheeled jewel, and criticising pleasantly and epigrammatically the contents of the wheeled jewel caskets. As the train toils up the steep hill, and when it stops is kept from receding by a skilful corps of "blockers," Eblana Castle comes--ranges of windows all ablaze--shadows flitting past-courtyard thronged--and sounds of military music wafted to the ear. Many a young heart, about to debuter, flutters as we roll in.
This is the hall of Eblana Castle, spacious, dazzling, almost—at least to debutante, who flutters timorously alone, sheltered behind the parental magnificence, between rows of soldiery, up the grand flight, a mass, of what seems to debutante-a mass of indistinct menials and powder confused together; magnificent and sumptuous menials, courtly creatures, with a palatial flavour. Then this long corridor, then through this chamber (menials still abounding), then into a large room-one mass of passing feathers, diamonds, jewels, gold, silver lace, stiff moire trains, fans, and uniforms, and a perfect Babel of tongues. A sort of crush-room, where all wait their turn, which becomes, for the nonce, a sort of garden of rare and choice flowers, where the anxious stranger will see many that he would like to pluck for his button-hole. We hear of the "violet eyes" of Eblana, and of glowing Magenta complexions; but here is the best opportunity for having these charms focussed. For many are drawn hither, fresh from the provincial hills, before the bloom has been brushed from their cheeks by the sleeves of a hundred waltzers. Here we may see Mrs. Dolan, of "Kestle Dolan," from the west-south, a gross and earthly creature, possessed by her seven demons of vulgarity; and yet, after her walks something so metropolitan-so refined-that it would seem incomprehensible how there should be any relationship between them. Here, in this direction, coming,