The Fudge Family In Paris Letter VIII. From Mr. Bob Fudge To Richard ----, Esq.

A poem by Thomas Moore

Dear DICK, while old DONALDSON'S[1] mending my stays,--
Which I knew would go smash with me one of these days,
And, at yesterday's dinner, when, full to the throttle,
We lads had begun our dessert with a bottle
Of neat old Constantia, on my leaning back
Just to order another, by Jove, I went crack!--
Or, as honest TOM said, in his nautical phrase,
"Damn my eyes, BOB, in doubling the Cape you've missed
stays."[2]
So, of course, as no gentleman's seen out without them,
They're now at the Schneider's[3]--and, while he's about them,
Here goes for a letter, post-haste, neck and crop.
Let us see--in my last I was--where did I stop?
Oh! I know--at the Boulevards, as motley a road as
Man ever would wish a day's lounging upon;
With its cafés and gardens, hotels and pagodas,
Its founts and old Counts sipping beer in the sun:
With its houses of all architectures you please,
From the Grecian and Gothic, DICK, down by degrees
To the pure Hottentot or the Brighton Chinese;
Where in temples antique you may breakfast or dinner it,
Lunch at a mosque and see Punch from a minaret.
Then, DICK, the mixture of bonnets and bowers.
Of foliage and frippery, fiacres and flowers,
Green-grocers, green gardens--one hardly knows whether
'Tis country or town, they're so messed up together!
And there, if one loves the romantic, one sees
Jew clothes-men, like shepherds, reclined under trees;
Or Quidnuncs, on Sunday, just fresh from the barber's,
Enjoying their news and groseille[4] in those arbors;
While gayly their wigs, like the tendrils, are curling,
And founts of red currant-juice[5] round them are purling.

Here, DICK, arm in arm as we chattering stray,
And receive a few civil "Goddems" by the way,--
For, 'tis odd, these mounseers,--tho' we've wasted our wealth
And our strength, till we've thrown ourselves into a phthisic;--
To cram down their throats an old King for their health.
As we whip little children to make them take physic;--
Yet, spite of our good-natured money and slaughter,
They hate us, as Beelzebub hates holy-water!
But who the deuce cares, DICK, as long as they nourish us
Neatly as now, and good cookery flourishes--
Long as, by bayonets protected, we Natties
May have our full fling at their salmis and pâtés?
And, truly, I always declared 'twould be pity
To burn to the ground such a choice-feeding city.
Had Dad but his way, he'd have long ago blown
The whole batch to old Nick--and the people, I own,
If for no other cause than their curst monkey looks,
Well deserve a blow-up--but then, damn it, their Cooks!
As to Marshals, and Statesmen, and all their whole lineage,
For aught that I care, you may knock them to spinage;
But think, DICK, their Cooks--what a loss to mankind!
What a void in the world would their art leave behind!
Their chronometer spits--their intense salamanders--
Their ovens--their pots, that can soften old ganders,
All vanisht for ever,--their miracles o'er,
And the Marmite Perpétuelle bubbling no more!
Forbid it, forbid it, ye Holy Allies!
Take whatever ye fancy--take statues, take money--
But leave them, oh leave them, their Perigueux pies,
Their glorious goose-livers and high pickled tunny!
Tho' many, I own, are the evils they've brought us,
Tho' Royalty's here on her very last legs,
Yet who can help loving the land that has taught us
Six hundred and eighty-five ways to dress eggs?

You see, DICK, in spite of them cries of "God-dam,"
"Coquin Anglais," et cetera--how generous I am!
And now (to return, once again, to my "Day,"
Which will take us all night to get thro' in this way.)
From the Boulevards we saunter thro' many a street,
Crack jokes on the natives--mine, all very neat--
Leave the Signs of the Times to political fops,
And find twice as much fun in the Signs of the Shops;--
Here, a Louis Dix-huit--there, a Martinmas goose,
(Much in vogue since your eagles are gone out of use)--
Henri Quatres in shoals, and of Gods a great many,
But Saints are the most on hard duty of any:--
St. TONY, who used all temptations to spurn,
Here hangs o'er a beer-shop, and tempts in his turn;
While there St. VENECIA[6] sits hemming and frilling her
Holy mouchoir o'er the door of some milliner;--
Saint AUSTIN'S the "outward and visible sign
"Of an inward" cheap dinner, and pint of small wine;
While St. DENYS hangs out o'er some hatter of ton,
And possessing, good bishop, no head of his own,[7]
Takes an interest in Dandies, who've got--next to none!
Then we stare into shops--read the evening's affiches--
Or, if some, who're Lotharios in feeding, should wish
Just to flirt with a luncheon, (a devilish bad trick,
As it takes off the bloom of one's appetite, DICK.)
To the Passage des--what d'ye call't--des Panoramas[8]
We quicken our pace, and there heartily cram as
Seducing young pâtés, as ever could cozen
One out of one's appetite, down by the dozen.
We vary, of course--petits pâtés do one day,
The next we've our lunch with the Gauffrier Hollandais,[9]
That popular artist, who brings out, like SCOTT,
His delightful productions so quick, hot and hot;
Not the worse for the exquisite comment that follows,--
Divine maresquino, which--Lord, how one swallows!
Once more, then, we saunter forth after our snack, or
Subscribe a few francs for the price of a fiacre,
And drive far away to the old Montagnes Russes,
Where we find a few twirls in the car of much use
To regenerate the hunger and thirst of us sinners,
Who've lapst into snacks--the perdition of dinners.
And here, DICK--in answer to one of your queries,
About which we Gourmands have had much discussion--
I've tried all these mountains, Swiss, French, and Ruggieri's,
And think, for digestion,[10] there's none like the Russian;
So equal the motion--so gentle, tho' fleet--
It in short such a light and salubrious scamper is,
That take whom you please--take old Louis DIX-HUIT,
And stuff him--ay, up to the neck--with stewed lampreys,[11]
So wholesome these Mounts, such a solvent I've found them,
That, let me but rattle the Monarch well down them,
The fiend, Indigestion, would fly far away,
And the regicide lampreys[12] be foiled of their prey!
Such, DICK, are the classical sports that content us,
Till five o'clock brings on that hour so momentous,
That epoch--but whoa! my lad--here comes the Schneider,
And, curse him, has made the stays three inches wider--
Too wide by an inch and a half--what a Guy!
But, no matter--'twill all be set right by-and-by.
As we've MASSINOT's[13] eloquent carte to eat still up.
An inch and a half's but a trifle to fill up.
So--not to lose time, DICK--here goes for the task;
Au revoir, my old boy--of the Gods I but ask
That my life, like "the Leap of the German," may be,
"Du lit à la table, d'la table du lit!"

R. F.

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