Dear DICK, while old DONALDSON'S 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
So, of course, as no gentleman's seen out without them,
They're now at the Schneider's--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 in those arbors;
While gayly their wigs, like the tendrils, are curling,
And founts of red currant-juice 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 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,
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
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,
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, 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,
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 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 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!"