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MUSINGS ON MINES, MECHANICS, AND MONEY MATTERS.

By BAVIUS.

LAY OF A RAILWAY.

WITCH.

“ Hist! where are you riding ?” the weird sister said ;
“ Hist, brother! ye hurry away :

Do ye carry a bride to the mine-demon's bed,
And

go

to his revel to-day ??

STOKER.

“ I hear ye not, sister," the wizard replied,

And his iron wand thrust in the fire :
“O'er the fields of old England her commerce I guide,
And I finger her gold for my

hire."

WITCH.

“But, brother, ye travel ! deep groaning I heard

And the clatter of fetter and glaive;
And screams like the shriek of that ill-omen'd bird
That sits at the mouth of my cave.”

STOKER.

“ In this caldron a spirit imprison'd I have,

Beneath him I kindle a fire ;
Ye heard from your cavern the groan that he gave,
The snorting and screech of his ire.

Beneath him I light a fierce fire of coke,
He tugs and attempts to get free,
Then onward he rushes in thunder and smoke.
Will

ye travel old lady with me?

'Tis not so indecent, and fully as quick,
As the way that ye ride in rough weather;
So come down, old girl, from your tough bit of stick,
And we'll sit on the tender together.”

WITCH.

“Oh, brother, thy riding is better than mine,

With thee over earth will I fly,
My broom and its broomstick to thee I resign,
Withal that strong spirit to fry.

And I'll fire a rick as we thunder along,
Or cut off a man at the knee.
Or blind with hot ashes a few of the throng
That ride with the spirit and thee.”

NIMROD IN FRANCE.

UNFORTUNATELY for humanity, a transient glance into the annals of vice, crime, or misfortune, will supply the pencil of the moral painter with materials for a picture, which to persons of merely natural sensibility would be unpleasing; to others, the object of disgust. Neither is the recital of misfortunes, not the consequence of crime, a subject of agreeable interest unless to those persons who, sympathizing with the sufferers, have the power as well as the inclination to relieve them. But if the mere representation or contemplation of extreme wretchedness is offensive to the human mind, what must be its reality ? From this—and I am thankful for it-I have thus far through life been exempt; still, to be put to the option of a prison in one's own country, for a debt not justly due, or a sojourn in a foreign land, is no small trial, and to such have I been exposed.

I sought the nearest port of France as an asylum. It is now nine years since that untoward event occurred, and as a residence to that extent in the country has given me an insight into the manners and customs of its people, I make an offer of the result, with the hope that, although not exactly in character with the generality of the contributions to the classic pages of the New Monthly Magazine, the simple detail may be not altogether uninteresting to a certain portion of its readers. My pursuits as well as inclinations, leading me into contact with nearly all ihe orders of society, alone qualify me for the task I have imposed upon myself—a task which has so often been executed by abler hands. And who can be surprised that such should have been the case ? Next to our

own country, France will ever be the most interesting object of an Englishman's inquiries. Our ancient possessions in it, and the frequent contests we have been engaged in with its inhabitants, connect their history with our own; the extent of their dominion and influence; their supposed superiority in elegance and politeness in the common relations of life; their eminence in the arts and sciences, and that intercourse of thought, if I may so call it, which subsists between us by the mutual communications of literary productions, together with the changes that have lately taken place in our relative situation as nations, make them peculiarly interesting to us at the present time. To use the language of a clever writer, “ we cannot but find our account in knowing their whole story: to be intimately acquainted, in short, with the character, genius, and sentiments of this great nation.”

For the readier elucidation of my subjects, I shall class them under sundry heads, and agreeing with the immortal Cicero, that the first great law of writing history is not to dare to say any thing that is false; and the next not to be afraid to speak the truth, I shall speak of things as I have found them,

MY ARRIVAL AT CALAIS.

Whoever has undergone the punishment of travelling from London to Dover by a night-coach, must recollect the usual meeting of the passengers “ up and down ones”as they are called on the road (and truly so,

Jan.-V0L. LVIII. NO. CCXXIX.

с

room

for it is all “ up and down” on this road) in a comfortless-looking roo in the straggling town of Rochester. Such having been my situation on a dark and wet night in October, 1830, and in none of the happiest moods, forasmuch as, according to Johnson, we never do any thing consciously for the last time without sadness of heart,—and I had just quitted a residence very much to my mind, and in which I had passed ten of the happiest years of my whole life, I was attracted to a discussion that was going on touching the hotels of Calais, and particularly to the following sentence from a respectable-looking

Englishman : “ I was very well accommodated,” said he, “at the · Flying Horse;' Mrs. Symmonds, the landlady, is an excellent old woman, and her charges are reasonable.” That is the house for me, thought I within myself; although neither a flying nor any other sort of horse will now avail me, the reasonable charges may. Then, reader, imagine me at the “ Flying Horse,” ushered into a room with a well-sanded floor, and vis-à-vis to a dead wall—the room in which I was to live and dine! Then the persons I was to live with! They consisted of a retired London tradesman; a lieutenant-colonel of the East-India service, with about an ounce of liver, and in the last stage of both mental and bodily existence; and a man who took more liberties with the English language in half an hour, than the Roman writers did with theirs in an age. But enough of this; at least I had enough of it after the first evening, and, Englishmanlike, sat and sulked by myself in a private room for the next ten days.

But at the expiration of this period, what was the impression on my mind of Calais and of France? Why, to speak the truth, I was thoroughly disgusted with a great deal that I saw — particularly with the filthy state of several of the streets and lanes, and also with some of the unsightly habits of the people.

“ I shall never endure all this,” said I to myself; "I will return to my own country at all hazards;" when the door of my sitting-room opened, and in walked my family, who had necessarily been detained in Hampshire, until the sale of my effects was accomplished. Grumbling now was of no avail. “ Here I am,” recurred I, “and I must make the best of of a bad bargain." I had, in fact, nothing for it but to endeavour to put my mind into that state, which Horace recommends, which would make a man, if not happy, contented, even at Ulubræ. I took a house in the town and furnished it; and afterwards found out the difference between looking out of my windows in Hampshire on a tastefully laidout flower-garden, inhaling the perfume of the rose, and various other sweet-scenting shrubs, and looking out of those in Calais upon a small butcher's shop, and inhaling the odours from a filthy gutter on the opposite side of the street. Luckily for my comfort, however, at the end of a year I got a person to take the lease off my hands, and I retired to a pretty little chateau in the country, at which I now reside. But I was not idle during my residence at Calais. I wrote and published a pamphlet on the currency, which nobody read, and three papers in the Quarterly Review, which every body read.

It would be absurd in me to say much more of the town of Calais, notwithstanding it once cut so conspicuous a figure in British history, some signs of which are now visible,-the figure of the cat on the top of one house in the Grande-place, and of a duck on the other, for examples.* Still, as there may be some amongst your numerous readers who, like myself, have been satisfied with old England, despite of all her faults, and not visited foreign parts from inclination, it may not be amiss to observe, that it is rather a pretty town, and very much improved in many respects since I first knew it-particularly as to the cleanliness of the streets and lanes, although further improvement is desirable. Its noble church, built by the English, is its chief ornament; but its astounding feature is the number and magnificence of its hotels, two-and-twenty in number, with about as much business doing in all of them, collectively, as would suffice for six. The country about it is about the ugliest my eyes ever beheld; notwithstanding which-taking into consideration matters of more importance, such as the speedy communication with England, its noble pier extending nearly a mile into the sea; its fine range of sands, as sound as a brick floor, and the salubrity of the air—highly salubrious to those who are quite sound in their lungs.

Calais, or its vicinity, is, in my opinion, the most desirable place in France for an Englishman to reside at, whose ambition does not lead him at once to the capital of la belle France. It is called a dull town; but I do not admit the charge. If the daily arrival of three steam-boats, and often of double that number, together with at least half a dozen public coaches, together with families en route, do not satisfy the gapers, it is hard to say what would. And amongst the advantages of Calais to the generality of John Bulls and their ladies, is the fact of almost every tradesman in the town speaking, or at least understanding, the English language ; and if the latter—the ladies must dance and go to the theatre, they will not be disappointed in those respects, and on every day in the week !

But, have I forgotten the splendid new rooms, and the baths, erected two years back? They are certainly a great acquisition to the place, and if they had been built ten, instead of two years back, the town would have found its account, by not being nearly eclipsed, as it is, by the superior allurements of Boulogne.

There are two trilling features in the character of Calais which I do not feel inclined to pass over, inasmuch as they have often been contemplated by me, without having been satisfacturily accounted for.

The first is, that with ten thousand inhabitants, which may be considered the population of a city, Calais exhibits the quiet of a village. The second relates to the fact that, notwithstanding the number of travellers—families and others—that must be daily in the town, it is only now and then that any of them are to be seen in the streets, when once conducted to their hotels. This can only be accounted for by one or other of the following causes :— They may think there is nothing in the town worthy of their looking at; those who have been travelling by land may be fatigued, and those landed from the steam-boats may be sick ; and consequently they keep within doors. What Calais was, previously to the last peace, I am unable to say ; but on the authority of Mr. Brummel there were only thirteen houses in the Grande place which had glass in the windows of them. That English money has

During the extremities to wbich the Calaisians were put, when their town was besieged by Edward the Third, the two houses here alluded to are said to have been sold by their famishiog owners, one for a duck, the other for a cat.

made it what it now is, no one will be inclined to deny; and when I first knew it, it was in a most flourishing condition, but which cannot now be said of it.

LIVING AT CALAIS.

of the expenses of housekeeping; or, of what is expressed by the broader term of “living,” in the town and neighbourhood of Calais, I am now pretty well able to form a judgment. In the articles for eating, merely, including grocery, I consider there is not more than five per cent. difference between this part of France (including Boulogne) and England; but be it remembered that, for obvious reasons, this part of France is the dearest in the kingdom. It is in the cellar that the great saving is effected; next, in taxes and house rent. My own taxes, although I have two houses and a fourwheel carriage, only amount to twenty-six francs per annum; and, for a house pleasantly situated and detached, with three sitting-rooms, with large garden and paddock, double coach-house, stable, &c., I only pay 261. per annum. Brandy I seldom touch ; but for 2s. per bottle I drink, purchased by the “piece," as good claret as I would desire to drink; and there is no doubt, but that the cheapness of vinous and spirituous liquors is the inducement to many thousands of persons living in this country, and the cause of their dying here as well.

There is one other little feature-call it a dimple if you will—in the the history of this place. Every day in the year, a waggon-load of champagne arrives in it for shipment to England! And the mention of an article of merchandise leads me to the fact, that the lace trade, carried on here chiefly by the English, is now-flourishing to an unheard-of extent. Operatives, as they are called, are earning from two to three pounds a week, whilst their employers are getting rich. It is only lately that spotted lace has been manufactured by machinery, and the trade in that article is both flourishing and profitable, but confined to the English, in a company of whom, as the inventors, is the patent invested. Still the introduction of machinery here, and its occasional beneficial results, have not been without their accompanying, and we may say, natural evils. By giving an unnatural stimulus to an increase of population, it has spread poverty when the new source of demand for labour has removed, and produced much misery.

TRADESMEN.

I have dealt with the same tradesmen ever since I have been in France, with one exception, and I returned to him the last year, finding that I had not gained by the change. I have found them correct in their accounts, uniformly civil and accommodating. They are partly accused of having one price for the English and another for the French, but I have not been able to detect that species of imposition. I am, however, able to state on authority, that one of this class of persons has admitted that he cheats the English whenever he can; but, within my knowledge, he forms a solitary instance. It is possible that a little latitude of conscience may be exercised by some in making those who do pay contribute towards loss sustained by those who do not pay, but

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