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Claret And Olives. Claret And Olives, Fr...
thereon ; of all shams sham erudition is the most wearisome ! but sthat a reason for implying—as in this passage he implies-a sort of laughing superiority drawn from a negation ? rfe « traveller of ^ te " may be a dull dog , and the gay litterateur may turn from his formalities with scornful and suspensive nose ; but there is no wisdom in the violet congratulating itself upon not being a dahlia ; and Mr .. Reach ' s pages would have been none the less amusing if he had refrained from pluming himself upon their deficienciesl .. ' "• ,. "' , ' > -l- v Jj What he lias done he has done well ; with a light , free , graphic hand , powerful because not straining at effect , but touching all aims with easy mastery . A sunny picture of the bants of the Garonne and the grape country—a clear and interesting description of the vendanges , —* much gusto in the talk about wines- ^ -ant artistic sense of the picturesque —some information worth having about the wine manufacture—a sprinkling of legends—and a complete absence of dulness—all these you will find in the volume , together with some woodcut illustrations to help the
text . tr " We shall dip somewhat at random for passages to extract . ± Lere is a picturesque view of Bordeaux , apropos of M . de Tournay ' s statue : " Under his auspices the whole tribe of dolphins and heathen gods and goddesses were invoiced to decorate the city . He reared great sweeps of pillared and porticoed buildings , and laid out broad streets and squares , on that enormous scale so characteristic of the grand monarque . He made Bordeaux , indeed , at bnce vast , prim , and massively magnificent . The mercantile town got quite a courtly air ; and when the tricolor no longer floated in St . Domingo , and the commerce of the Gironde declined , so that not much was left over and above the wine trade , which , as all the world knows , is the genteelest of all the traffics , Bordeaux became what it is—a sort of retire deity , having declined business—quiet , and clean , and prim , and aristocratic . Such , at least , is the new town . With old Bordeaux , M . de Tournay
meddled not ; and when you plunge into its streets you leap at once from eighteenth century terraces into fourteenth century lanes and tortuous by-ways . Below you , rough , ill-paved , unclean , narrow thoroughfares ; above , the hanging old houses of five ages ago , peaked gables , and long projecting eaves , and hanging balconies ; quaint carvings in blackened wood and mouldering stone;—the true middle-age tenements , dreadfully ricketty , but gloriously picturesque—charming to look at , but woful to live in ; deep black ravines of courts plunging down into the masses of piled up , jammed together dwellings ; squalid , slatternly people buzzing about like bees ; bad smells permeating every street , lane , andr alley ; and now and then the agglomeration of darksome dwellings clustering round a great old church , with its vast Gothic portals , and , high up , its carven pinnacles and grinning goutibres , catching the sunshine far above the highest of these high-peaked roofs . This is the Bordeaux of the English and the Gascons—the Bordeaux which has rung to the clash of armour—the Bordeaux which was governed by a seneschal—the Bordeaux through whose streets defiled , ' With many a Gross-bearer before , And many a spear behind ;' the christening procession of King Bichard the Second . " Here we see THE MOBALIST AMID THE VINES . " If ever you want to see a homily , not read , but grown by nature , against trusting to appearances , go to Medoc and study the vines . Walk and gaze , until you come to the most shabby , stunted , weazened , scrubby , dwarfish , expanse of snobbish bushes , ignominiously bound neck and crop to the espaliers , like a man on the rack—these utterly poor , starved , and meagre-looking growths , allowing , as they do , the gravelly soil to shpw in bald patches of grey shingle through the straggling branches—these contemptible-looking shrubs , like paralysed and withered raspberries , it is which produce the most priceless and the most inimitably flavoured wines . Such are the vines which grow Chateau Margaux at half-a-soverejgn the bottle . The grapes themselves are equally unpromising . If you saw a bnnch in Covent-garden you wotild turn from them with the notion that the fruiterer was trying to do his customer , with over-ripe black currants . Lance ' s soul would take no joy in them , and no sculptor in his senses would place such meagre bunches in the hands and over the open mouths of his Nymphs , his Bacchantes , or his Fauns . Take heed , then , by the lesson , and bewaro of judging of the nature of either men or grapes by their looks . Meantime let us continue our survey of the country . No fences or ditches you see—the ground is too precious to be lost in such vanities —only , you observe from time to time a rudely carved stake stuck m the ground , and indicating the limits of properties . Along either side of the road the vines extend , utterly unprotected . No raspers , no ha-ha ' s , no fierce denunciations of trespassers , no polite notices of spring-guns and steel traps constantly in a state of high go-offism—only , when the grapes are ripening , the people lay prickly branches io the way-side to keep the dogs , foraging for partridges among the espaliers , fronftaking a refreshing mouthful from the clusters f ^ P ™ ' ^^ * °£ a fact that everybody , every benst , and every bird , whatever may bo his , her , or its nature in other parts of the world , when brought among grapes , eats grapes . As Si the peasants their appetite for grapes is perfectly propostorous Unlike . the surfeit-sickened grocer ' s boys , who , after the first week loathe figs andturn poor y when sugar-candy is hinted at , the love of grapes appears literally to grow by whaUtfeeds on * Every garden is fall of table vines . The ¦ peop e eat grapes with breakfast , lunch , dinner , and supper , and between break ast , lunch , dinner and supper . The labourer plods along the road munching a cluster . I ho child in its mVther ' * anm is tugging away with its toothless gums at a blecdl"g ^ ; while ns for the vintagers , male and female , in the Ichs important plantations , Heaven only knows whore the masses of grapes go , to , which they devour , labouring incessantly at tlio matter , as they do , from dawn till fluiwot . In the bay of Arcachon he talcos a sail , and gives us this lovely bit o f description : — ., ' « < You can sec how fast we ' re going by the bottom , ' said tho boatman . I leant over the gunwale , and looked down . Oh , tho marvcllouH brightness of that shining Z' I gazed from tho boat upon tho sand through the water , almost as you might « routrli the air upon the earth from a balloon . Ghoat-like fish gleamed in tho do 2 andtllir ahadowH followed them below upon the ribbed sea-sand . Long itS w " edTliko rich green ribbons , waved and streamed in the gently running tZl current / You could see the white pobl j lcs and «» f- ^ ^^^ there a dark bed of sea-wced ; and now and then » great flat-fish , ^ for all tho world like iv burnished pot-lid sot in motion—wont gloaming along tho bottom .
At . ' Ageft he went to see Jasmin of course , and fptind the « 'Xast of the Troubadours , " the poet-barber , what all travellers describe him to be one trait we will quote : —• " There is a feature , however , about these recitations , which is still more extraordinary than the uncontrollable fits of popular enthusiasm which they produce . His last entertainment before I saw him was given in one of the Pyreneari citiea ( I forget which ) , and produced 2000 francs . Every sou of this went to the public charities ; Jasmin will not accept a stiver of money so earned . With a species of perhaps overstrained , . but certainly exalted , chivairic feelings he declines to appear before an audience to exhibit for money the gifts with which nature has endowed him . After , perhaps , a brilliant tour through the South of France , delighting vast audiences in every city , and flinging many thousands of francs into every
poorbox which he passes , the poet contentedly returns to his humble occupation , and to the little shop where he earns his daily bread by his daily toil , as a barber and hair-dresser . It will be generally admitted , that the man capable of self-denial of so truly heroic a nature as this , is no ordinary poetaster . One would be puzzled to find a similar instance of perfect and absolute disinterestedness in the roll of minstrels , from Homer downwards ; and > to tell the truth , there does seem a spice of Quixotism mingling with and tinging the pure fervour of the enthusiast . Certain it is , that the Troubadours of yore , upon whose model Jasmin professes to found his poetry , were by no means so scrupulous . * Largesse * was a very prominent word in their vocabulary ; and it really seems difficult to assign any satisfactory reason for a man refusing to live upon the exercise of the finer gifts of his intellect , and throwing himself for his bread upon the daily performance of mere mechanical drudgery . "
Gg2 Tjtie Leader. Csattmi>A^
gg 2 TJtiE LEADER . CSATtmi > A ^
The School Fob Fathebs. The Sc7iool For ...
THE SCHOOL FOB FATHEBS . The Sc 7 iool for FaHiers . An old English Story . ByjF . Gwynne . ¦ - ¦ Smith , Elder and Co . Do you want something ; fresh , piquant , true , and perfectly charming P something that has little or none of those Wearisome circulating library accents , " vexing the dull ear of a drowsy" novel reader P something that has the aspect and the form of life P send for this single volume—the School for Fathers—and you will not leave a page unread . That is high praise ; it is meant as such : and yet recalcitrant authors accuse us of " never admiring ! " Ah ! if they knew how delightful it is to admire , •' never admiring ! " Ah ! if they knew how delightful it is to admire ,
they would not believe that critics went out of their way to find fault . Here is a volume which we do not present to you as anything vastly profound , or as displaying more genius than many a volume we are forced to condemn ; and yet , by a certain sobriety of touch , by the union of excellent qualities never strained beyond their compass ; by the mere charm of vivacity , truthfulness , and the absence of phrase-spinning , it is a most readable novel . To convey-our opinion of it by an encroachment upon Vivian ' s domain , we should say that as many a " robust tenor" disappoints the audience by an unwise straining alter " effects" not within his reach , while perhaps his rival , who contents himself with warbling a sweet melody melodiously , succeeds , because he has no ambitious ut de poitrineso in the School for Fathers the delighted reader is never fatigued
, by unsuccessful effort—there is no ut de poitrine in these pages ! There is freshness in the scene , freshness in the characters , freshness in the style . It is a tale of the eighteenth century , Les talons rouges move across the scene . The types of old English life , both town and country , are before us . A jovial fox-hunting squire brings up his nephew in all the joviality of fox-hunting animal spirits ; the youth is a good youth , a brave youth , sound in heart and limb r not over bright , not at all elegant , and somewhat red-handed : a lout , in short , in the estimation of his foppish , town-bred father , whose ambition it is to polish him into a gentleman , and a statesman . For this purpose , poor Jack is torn from the charms of fox-hunting , and , what is worse , is torn from the charms or "Lvdia . the sweet little daughter of the portly and pedantic vicar ; but education 01
not before Jack and Lydia have engagedf themselves . The a young cub brought up to London is ludicrously and vividly depicted ; and the highest praise is due to the author for the dramatic consistency with which he preserves the . integrity of his characters . We will noc spoil the reader ' s interest by even hinting at the course of the story . Enough , if we direct attention to its qualities , which are—truthfulness ana vivacity in the representation of life and character , with consideraDie skill in tho conduct of a very simple story . The only ohJect \ on / L **! u to make is to the profuse , and not very accurate , employment ot ^ , reni / " phrases , very carelessly printed . Without interdicting the use of * rencu in certain passages , every one must be aware of the abuse of it in n 0 ™ V and we were sorry to observe so original a writer following in tlio trat
of the worst writers . 1 As wo mean you to read tho School for Fathers , we shall mate no o * tract but this , which tempts us by its being easily separated from van context : —
THE COUNTRY DANCE AND THE POLKA . " The country dance is a good honeBt old English dance , fit for this land . Bej how every one brisks up when a country dance is announced , and how ro " ,, , home every one appears directly to be ! See the same beings labouring at a I > . J which most of the men have learnt from sisters or other young ladies , ftna they usually dance flat-footed with bent knees I See them hug their P ™ close as to crush the bouquet on her corsage ; which lack of courtesy tnej _ ° . . _ . , . , ,. ., * , - -, i i . „* : „« , „« + /» linn 11 D lUlCl UO «" and is too timid to resent resistbut continues to hop tip
lady feels , or , ^ g ^ among tho cohue , breathless , her chin over her partner ' s shoulder , her * a ce ^^ and terrified , and her eyes wild ; whilst he takes . her on , h }» forehead m < ^ ft < flOfl > moist , panting , stamping , running against other barks in the agitate" p voting it " siichfun , " arid that " the girls ' like it . Anon they stop , £ * ^ driven posters after a long stage . The young lady , with hewing shomuo r ^ her face in her bouquet ; the gentleman " b lows , " and draws f ° /" ' hoP chief ; they gasp a few words—after a apace ho puts his arm »? att 0 PJJ d down , waist , utters " take another turn "—and off they go again , J ' f "J , * ^ and looking like two tumble-down waxwork figures from " Mrs . *^« J * show , " stuck up pro tempore with their head * over each others ^ ulaorB . _ ^ " Oh ! young ladies , how tho polka puts you at every gangers m J ^ there are bright exceptions . See it danced abroad ! ^ m ^^ lti ^ tho room , but ft regular order preserved . See the oavaber take hi * *«<**> »*
Leader (1850-1860), April 10, 1852, page 20, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/cld_10041852/page/20/