The Fudge Family In Paris Letter I. From Miss Biddy Fudge To Miss Dorothy ----, Of Clonkilty, In Ireland.

A poem by Thomas Moore


Dear DOLL, while the tails of our horses are plaiting,
The trunks tying on, and Papa, at the door,
Into very bad French is as usual translating
His English resolve not to give a sou more,
I sit down to write you a line--only think!--
A letter from France, with French pens and French ink,
How delightful! tho', would you believe it, my dear?
I have seen nothing yet very wonderful here;
No adventure, no sentiment, far as we've come,
But the cornfields and trees quite as dull as at home;
And but for the post-boy, his boots and his queue,
I might just as well be at Clonkilty with you!
In vain, at DESSEIN'S, did I take from my trunk
That divine fellow, STERNE, and fall reading "The Monk;"
In vain did I think of his charming Dead Ass,
And remember the crust and the wallet--alas!
No monks can be had now for love or for money,
(All owing, Pa says, to that infidel BONEY;)
And, tho' one little Neddy we saw in our drive
Out of classical Nampont, the beast was alive!

By the by, tho' at Calais, Papa had a touch
Of romance on the pier, which affected me much.
At the sight of that spot, where our darling DIXHUIT
Set the first of his own dear legitimate feet,[1]
(Modelled out so exactly, and--God bless the mark!
'Tis a foot, DOLLY, worthy so Grand a Monarque).
He exclaimed, "Oh, mon Roi!" and, with tear-dropping eye,
Stood to gaze on the spot--while some Jacobin, nigh,
Muttered out with a shrug (what an insolent thing!)
"Ma foi, he be right--'tis de Englishman's King;
And dat gros pied de cochon--begar me vil say
Dat de foot look mosh better, if turned toder way."
There's the pillar, too--Lord! I had nearly forgot--
What a charming idea!--raised close to the spot;
The mode being now, (as you've heard, I suppose,)
To build tombs over legs and raise pillars to toes.
This is all that's occurred sentimental as yet;
Except indeed some little flower-nymphs we've met,
Who disturb one's romance with pecuniary views,
Flinging flowers in your path, and then--bawling for sous!
And some picturesque beggars, whose multitudes seem
To recall the good days of the ancien regime,
All as ragged and brisk, you'll be happy to learn,
And as thin as they were in the time of poor STERNE.

Our party consists (in a neat Calais job)
Of Papa and myself, Mr. CONNOR and BOB.
You remember how sheepish BOB lookt at Kilrandy,
But, Lord! he's quite altered--they've made him a Dandy;
A thing, you know, whiskered, great-coated, and laced,
Like an hour-glass, exceedingly small in the waist;
Quite a new sort of creatures, unknown yet to scholars,
With beads so immovably stuck in shirt-collars,
That seats, like our music-stools, soon must be found them,
To twirl, when the creatures may wish, to look round them,
In short, dear, "a Dandy" describes what I mean,
And BOB's far the best of the genus I've seen:
An improving young man, fond of learning, ambitious,
And goes now to Paris to study French dishes.
Whose names--think, how quick! he already knows pat,
À la braise, petits pâtés, and--what d' ye call that
They inflict on potatoes?--oh! maître d'hôtel--
I assure you, dear DOLLY, he knows them as well
As if nothing else all his life he had eat,
Tho' a bit of them BOBBY has never touched yet;
But just knows the names of French dishes and cooks,
As dear Pa knows the titles of authors and books.

As to Pa, what d' ye think?--mind, it's all entre nous,
But you know, love, I never keep secrets from you--
Why, he's writing a book--what! a tale? a romance?
No, we Gods, would it were!--but his travels in France;
At the special desire (he let out t'other day)
Of his great friend and patron, my Lord CASTLEREAGH,
Who said, "My dear FUDGE"--I forget the exact words,
And, it's strange, no one ever remembers my Lord's;
But 'twas something to say that, as all must allow
A good orthodox work is much wanting just now,
To expound to the world the new--thingummie--science,
Found out by the--what's-its-name--Holy Alliance,
And prove to mankind that their rights are but folly,
Their freedom a joke (which it is, you know, DOLLY),
"There's none," said his Lordship, "if I may be judge,
Half so fit for this great undertaking as FUDGE!"

The matter's soon, settled--Pa flies to the Row
(The first stage your tourists now usually go),
Settles all for his quarto--advertisements, praises--
Starts post from the door, with his tablets--French phrases--
"SCOTT'S Visit" of course--in short, everything he has
An author can want, except words and ideas:--
And, lo! the first thing, in the spring of the year,
Is PHIL. FUDGE at the front of a Quarto, my dear!
But, bless me, my paper's near out, so I'd better
Draw fast to a close:--this exceeding long letter
You owe to a déjeûner à la fourchette,
Which BOBBY would have, and is hard at it yet.--
What's next? oh? the tutor, the last of the party,
Young CONNOR:--they say he's so like BONAPARTE,
His nose and his chin--which Papa rather dreads,
As the Bourbons, you know, are suppressing all heads
That resemble old NAP'S, and who knows but their honors
May think, in their fright, of suppressing poor CONNOR'S?
Au reste (as we say), the young lad's well enough,
Only talks much of Athens, Rome, virtue and stuff;
A third cousin of ours, by the way--poor as Job
(Tho' of royal descent by the side of Mamma),
And for charity made private tutor to BOB;
Entre nous, too, a Papist--how liberal of Pa!

This is all, dear,--forgive me for breaking off thus,
But BOB'S déjeûner's done, and Papa's in a fuss.

B. F.

P. S.

How provoking of Pa! he will not let me stop
Just to run in and rummage some milliner's shop;
And my début in Paris, I blush to think on it,
Must now, DOLL, be made in a hideous low bonnet.
But Paris, dear Paris!--oh, there will be joy,
And romance, and high bonnets, and Madame Le Roi![2]

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'The Fudge Family In Paris Letter I. From Miss Biddy Fudge To Miss Dorothy ----, Of Clonkilty, In Ireland.' by Thomas Moore

comments powered by Disqus