looks and whispering about something which
stood on a table at one end of the room.
" My flowers 1 You envy me my flowers,"
said Mademoiselle Gaubion. " Smell them then.
Are they not sweet as they are full blown ? "
Not all the politeness which Charlotte could
muster enabled her to say that the smell was very
sweet. Instead of white-thorn, mignionette, and
carnation, the perfume was rather that of musk.
She caught Mademoiselle Gaubion's hand in the
midst of its flourishes to and from her nostrils, and
obtained a close view of the bouquet. It was
artificial. — Lucy agreed with her that neither had
ever before seen such artificial flowers ; and it
was long before they were tired of placing them in
MATTERS OF TASTE. 21
various lights, and trying how easy it would be
to deceive nurse and their youngest sister as they
had themselves been deceived. Harriet Breme
would hardly wear her lily of the valley any more
if she could see these. She might look through
her father's stock many times before she would
find any so fresh looking, — so very natural.
In a little while, Mademoiselle Gaubion observed,
such flowers as these might be had in every shop
in London where such goods were sold. In
" O, that is when French silks may be had,
papa savs. But these flowers cannot be made of
Mademoiselle Gaubion explained that the co-
coons of silk-worms were used for these flowers,
and showed how they were painted and embroidered
into the semblance of real flowers. She ottered
to teach Charlotte how to make them, if it was
thought worth while. Charlotte thought it would
be well worth while, as all flowers except such
coarse-daubed bunches as she did not like to wear,
cost a great deal of money.
Adele also had yet to learn. She had had
plenty of flowers for her doll's robe and turban
at Lyons ; but she had bought them, as they
cost next to nothing there.
" Ah," said Lucy, " we were wondering how
some French things can be made so cheap.
Nurse has a beautiful box that her son got some-
how from France, and it cost only a shilling.
He told her so, for fear she should think he had
done an extravagant thing. There is a glass at
22 MATTERS OF TASTE
the bottom ; and the sides are of pink paper,
beautifully plaited ; and there is an enamelled
picture of the Virgin and St. Somebody ; and
round the picture, the prettiest wreath of flowers ;
— tiny roses and forget-me-not, and yellow buds
and green leaves between. It is a large box, —
as large as my hand ; and it cost only a shilling.
The flowers alone would cost two, papa says, if
we ordered such to be made here."
" We would show vou that box," said Char-
lotte, " but that we do not like to ask nurse now
for anything that her poor son gave her. She
can think of nothing but him all the day after,
if we do."
" Poor nurse ! has her son left her ?" asked
" O, he died, — and so shockingly ! It is more
than two years ago now ; but nurse is as grieved
as ever when anything puts her in mind of it. It
was so dreadful for the first few days, — before
it was known exactly what had become of him !
Nurse would not believe he was dead ; and she
was always saying that the smugglers had carried
him out to sea, and sold him for a sailor, like
somebody she once heard about. She was sure
he would come back one day, either a rich India
merchant, or begging at the door, — or somehow.
And then, when the next letter came "
" Did it tell ? Was he dead ?"
" O yes. Papa would not let us tell Maria,
for fear of its making her afraid to go to bed ;
and I believe he did not mean us elder ones to
know ; but nurse set us to ask my brother Robert;
MATTERS OP TASTE. 23
for slie never believed that papa had told her
everything. Do you know, when they had shot
him dead, they put his body into a cavern in the
cliff, on the top of a flight of steps, and sitting
up so that he looked as if he was alive, the first
moment they found him."
" But O, what do you think put it into their
heads to look for him there ?" interrupted Lucy.
11 They saw two cliff-ravens fly out when some-
body went near the cavern ; and then they knew
that there must be a body there."
Lucy stopped short at a sign from her sister,
who thought the rest of the story too horrible to
be told. Since Adele could not make out by
any mode of cross-questioning, what these fur-
ther particulars were, she wanted next to know
what caused Nicholas to be murdered. Her
sister explained to her, with so much feeling, the
nature of the service on which he had been en-
gaged, and showed so much concern at his fate,
that Lucy said, half to herself, and looking wist-
fully at Mademoiselle Gaubion,
" I shall tell nurse how sorry you are."
" Tell her, if it can comfort her to have the
sympathy of a stranger."
" A stranger, — a foreigner," repeated Lucy,
still half to herself.
" I said a stranger, not a foreigner," replied
Mademoiselle, smiling. u As long as it is a
stranger who sympathizes, what matters it whether
she be native or foreign ?"
" Nurse thinks," replied Charlotte, " that
French people are not sorry when any harm
24 MATTERS OF TASTE.
comes to those who try to prevent their smuggling.
She was saying this morning
Another sign from Charlotte.
*' Tell me what she said," replied Mademoiselle,
smiling in a way which emboldened Lucy to
" She said she did not want to have anybody
in the neighbourhood that had helped to murder
her son ; and that every French person had helped
to murder him, because it was the trying to get
in French goods that made all the mischief.''
" Nurse does not know, perhaps, that the
French suffer no less than the English in this
kind of struggle. Frenchmen are sometimes
thrown overboard into the sea, or shot on the
shore. Frenchmen run the risk of losing their
goods ; and in such a contention, I am afraid it
sometimes happens that a Frenchman hates an
"What! for smuggling each others' goods?
If they want each others' goods, why do not
they buy and sell them at once, without loss and
fighting and cheating and murder ? : *
" Are you French really sorry about smug
gling?" asked Lucy. " Because, if you are-
" You may see in a moment that my brother
is sorry. Why else should he leave his country,
and come to live here? He comes to make silk
here which may be sold without cheating and
" And if papa went to Lyons, would the people
there be glad or sorrv to see him ? "
" If he went to make silks, they would not be
MATTERS OF TASTE. 25
either particularly glad or sorry, because the
people at Lyons make silks better than your papa,
or any other Englishman, knows how to make
them yet. But if your papa went to make cotton
goods, or knives and scissors, or if he set up
iron works, they would be very glad to have
him ; for all these things are made by the English
better than by the French."
" Then you would get artificial flowers 'so
cheap that you need not make them yourselves,"
added Allele : " and you would have silk frocks,
like the Bremes ; for the prettiest silk frocks cost
twelve or fourteen shillings less there than here."
Charlotte thought she should like to so to
Lyons ; it would be such a saving of money ;
and she thought the Lyons people must like
coming to London, if they could get things made
of iron, and steel, and cotton, cheaper than in
France. Adele proposed that there should be a
general change ; that all the Lyons people should
come to London, and as many Londoners go to
Lyons. As it was plain, however, that this would
leave matters just where they were at first, as the
French could not bring their silk- worms from the
south with them, nor the English carrv their iron
mines on their backs, the simple expedient oc-
curred to the young ladies of the inhabitants
sending their produce freely to one another, in-
stead of wandering from home to produce it.
11 If the French would send me my silk," ob-
served Charlotte, " I might save my fourteen
shillings here just as well as at Lyons ; and if I
had to pay a little for the bringing, some Lyons
26 MATTERS OP TASTE.
girl would pay papa for the sending of the cotton
gowns she would buy of him. What a capital
bargain it would be for us both ! Do not you
think so, Mademoiselle?"
" I do ; but there are many who do not. When
some of our French rulers wished that our people
should save their money by buying your cottons
where they could be had cheapest, our people
were frightened. They sent and told the king
that France was ready to bathe his throne with
her tears in agony at the idea of buying English
goods so easily : and now, you know, some of
you English are just as much alarmed at being
allowed to get silks cheaper than you can make
" But it is so very silly !" exclaimed Charlotte.
" Such people might as well prefer paying five
shillings for a bad bouquet to paying half-a-crown
for a pretty one, like that. I do not see why
they should give away money to bad flower-
makers at that rate."
" Especially when the bad flower-makers might
get more money still by doing something which
they could do much better. Yet this is just the
way that Buonaparte made his people waste their
money, some time ago. He would not let them
have sugar and coffee from the places where they
could be had best and cheapest, but would try to
produce them at home. He made people press
out the juice of carrots and beet-root, and what-
ever tasted sweet, as the sugar cane will not grow
in France ; and, with a world of trouble, they
made a little sugar ; but it was far too dear for
MATTERS OP TASTE. 27
many people to buy. They tried to make tea of
many kinds of herbs, and coffee of bitter and
burnt roots ; while, all this time, there was plenty
of tea in China, and sugar and coffee in the West
" I would have left off all those things, if
I might not have had them properly," said
Lucy thought it would be very hard to be so
stinted by any man's caprice and jealousy ; and
she saw that the saving would be only in one
way, after all. The French might save the money
they were bidden to spend on dear sugar and bad
tea, but they would still lose the opportunity of
selling the goods of their own manufacture which
the Chinese and the West Indians would have
taken in return for their tea and sugar. It was
very odd of Buonaparte not to see that his plan
caused a loss in everyway. — Mademoiselle thought
that he did see this ; but that he did not mind
the loss to his own people, provided he made the
English suffer. She had nothing to say for the
good-nature of this ; but who thought of good-
nature when kings go to war, with the express
purpose of ruining one another as fast as possible,
while they each boast that God is on their side ?
She remembered that her father admired Buona-
parte as much as anybody could ; but even her
father could not thank him for making many of
the necessaries and comforts of life so dear as
to prevent his getting on in the world. She re-
membered the clay when the news came that
foreign trading was to go on again. Her father
23 MATTERS OF TASTE.
found himself able then to make her brother Marc
a farmer. Marc had long wished to be a farmer ;
but his father had not had the power to do any-
thing for him while much of his money was
swallowed up in the consumption of things which
were only to be had dear and bad as long as the
ports were shut.
" I suppose," said Charlotte, " that must have
been the case with many people besides your father.
Everybody that kept house must have saved as
soon as the ports were opened. I wonder what
they did with their savings 1"
" Madame Mairon began to dress her daugh-
ters in the prettiest English muslins that ever
were seen. All Lyons began to admire those
girls, though some complained that they spent
their money on foreign goods. But I am sure
thev laid out a great deal on native ribbons and
lace at the same time, which thev could not have
afforded if tea and su^ar had been as hitrh as
ever. Then there were the Carillons. They
set up a hundred more looms directly ; and every
body called them proud and speculative ; but the
looms are still busy, I fancy."
" Ah, that is the worst of it," observed Char-
lotte. " While their looms are going, ours are
" Not because theirs are going. Witness my
brother's. The Carillons made silks for many
countries, but not for England ; for they have
never smuggled, I believe. When your father's
weavers see the goods the Carillons will send
over, after next July, they may learn to weave as
MATTERS OF TASTE. 29
well ; and then your father may sell as many ;
for there will be more people to wear silks every
year, in proportion as more countries send us
goods, and want some in return. There is plenty
of room in the world for your father, and my
brother, and the Carillons."
M I wish," said Adele, " you would show
Lucy the shells M. Carillon gave you."
" What sort of shells ?" Lucy asked : and for
an answer she was shown into a room at the
rear of the house, which was unlike any room
she had ever seen before. One side of it was
occupied by cases of stuffed birds, some from all
the four quarters of the world. There were
other curiosities in great abundance, less capti-
vating to young eyes than gold-dropped African
partridges, and burnished American humming-
birds ; but the shells transcended the most bril-
liant of the winged __ creatures. Speckled,
streaked, polished, they were held before the eye.
Fluted, indented, ribbed in waving lines, they
were examined by the touch. Murmuring, they
were held to the delighted ear. There was no
end of admiring the pearly hues of some, the
delicate whiteness of others, and the fantastic
forms of those which lay in the centre of the
" So M. Carillon gave you these shells !"
M Some of them. Those in the compartment
that Lucy is looking at. M. Carillon's sons have
not quite all the world to themselves to trade in ;
though they do sell their father's goods on many
shores. When your brothers grow up to be
30 MATTERS OF TASTE.
merchants, and sell your father's silks in many
countries, they will bring you shells as beautiful
as these, if you ask them."
" I should like a parrot better, '* said Lucy.
" I should like some plums and chocolate,
like those that Pierre had sent him from South
America," observed Adele.
"Well, anything you please," replied Ma-
demoiselle. " Only let the nations be in good
humour with one another, and we may all have
what we like. I know I should never have pos-
sessed this pretty museum if Jean Carillon had
not been trading to India, and fallen in with
these shells ; and there is not a museum in Paris
that will not be improved, year by year, as our
ships go into new countries, and bring fresh cu-
riosities for us to study and admire."
" But I suppose these shells cost a great deal ;
and the birds, too?"
" They do at present, because it is a sort of
new taste, and very little pains have been taken
to gratify it. But there are shells enough in the
deep and wide Indian seas to furnish the cabinets
of the world ; and there are birds enough in the
western forests and gardens to show every child
in our close cities what beautiful creatures God
has made to flutter in his hottest sunshine. The
taste will be sure to spread, as it is for the good
of everybody that it should spread. Many na-
tives of foreign countries who now lie dozing
on the burning shores, trying to forget their
hunger and not to regard the heats, will dive into
the green sea for the beautiful things that are
MATTERS OF TASTE. 31
hidden there. They will be up and busy when
they see European ships on the horizon, and
sing as they sit polishing and preparing the curi-
osities which are to bring them bread for their
children, and raise a roof over their own heads."
" But we must pay for these curiosities," ob-
jected Lucy. " We must pay very high ; and I
think that is not fair, when birds can be had for
the catching, and shells by being just taken out
of the sea."
" When those days come, my dear, we shall
pay what will be a high price to those natives,
but a low one to us. People in their country
will begin to wish for our curiosities, as we wish
for theirs. A savage gave this noble shell, as
large as my hand, and more finely veined than
any marble in the world, for six nails ; and when
that savage's children grow a little more civilized
than we are now, they will give another such shell
for a square inch of your Derbyshire lead ore,
or half-a-dczen dried English plants. Then the
drying of plants here, and the diving for shells
there, will be a business which will support a
family ; and both countries will be wiser and
happier than they were before, by having ob-
tained something new to study and admire."
" I think," said Adele, " that people will not
know, till that time, all that they might and
should know of what God has made for them." .
" They will certainly not know all the happi-
ness that God has made for them, till they share
as equally as possible what He has given to each ;
whether it be that which belongs to sea, air or
32 MATTERS OF TASTE.
earth, or the produce of man's skill. Whatever
any country produces best, that let it exchange
for what other countries produce best. Thus will
all be best served, and in the best humour with
" If you might choose what you would have
from the finest country in the world, what should
it be ?" asked Lucy of Mademoiselle.
" I should like a great number of things to
make our museum more complete. Here are
only a few stray treasures."
" But M. Carillon is going to send you
something very strange and very valuable," ob-
served Adele. " Something from Egypt, is not
" Yes ; and I shall be very glad of whatever he
may send me ; but lie cannot give me what I
should like best."
" I know what you mean. You want some
plants. Well, perhaps this may be a dried lotus,
or the flowering reed of the Nile. His son lias
been in Egypt ; and how do you know that he
may not be sending you plants ?"
" I should like them alive," replied Mademoi-
selle. " The potato was brought alive, and it
grew and flourished ; and I should like to try
whether some of the American shrubs could not
be made to grow here. There are some of the
Madeira mountain plants which I would rather
have than wine and oranges."
" But what would you do with them ? There
is no room here for such a garden as we had by
the river-side at Lyons ; and even in a conserva-
tory the plants would get smoked."
MATTERS OF TASTE. 33
" Why, that is true," replied Mademoiselle,
sighing. - " We must be content with our little
" Are you very fond of plants ?" enquired
Charlotte. " Then I will take you to two or
three of papa's weavers "
She stopped short, and bit her lip, and Lucy
frowned at her. Mademoiselle asked with a
" "What of the weavers ? Will they show me
Charlotte answered constrainedly that the ope-
ratives of Spitalfields were very fond of their
little gardens, and succeeded in raising beautiful
tulips and auriculas.
" O, let us go ! It cannot be far, and it is a
very fine evening," said the eager little lady,
looking up to the yellow sunshine which streamed
in from between two opposite chimneys. Char-
lotte and Lucy glanced at each other, and nei-
ther offered to move.
" Why, my children, is it possible ?" cried
Mademoiselle, putting a hand on the shoulder of
each, and looking them full in the face with a
smile. " You are afraid, I see, to introduce me
to your father's weavers. You are afraid to tell
nurse that you have done so, because poor nurse
is jealous of the French gentleman, and his little
French sister. Is it not so?"
The girls seemed about to cry. Mademoiselle
" You shall request your father to introduce
me to a florist or two. Meantime, we will ask
34 MATTERS OF TASTE.
my brother whether there are such among those
whom he employs. My girls, we are of one
country now, — you and I. Why should there
be any tormenting, unworthy jealousy ? Tell
Charlotte only knew that some people thought,
— some people feared, — it seemed so very natu-
ral that manufacturers should get the best weavers
from one another.
" So very natural IV exclaimed Mademoiselle.
"I tell you, my girl, that my brother has it not
in his nature to feel jealousy of a neighbour ;
and I tell you also that my brother will in time
give good weavers to your father and to all of
the same occupation in this neighbourhood. If
the suspicion you speak of were natural, it would
be for my brother to feel it ; yet, I will take you
among his men without fear, if we find that they
have tulips and auriculas."
Before Charlotte had quite ventured to look
again in Mademoiselle's face, M. Gaubion came
in, and gave her the address of several of his
men who were as fond of flowers as herself.
When she gaily asked him if he was afraid of
the Miss Culvers being admitted to intercourse
with persons who were working for him, he
smiled and added the address of a woman who
was weaving velvet of a particularly curious pat-
tern, which he thought the young ladies might
like to see. This woman might have auriculas
too, for aught M. Gaubion knew ; and the party
set out to ascertain the point.
Mrs. Ellis was found at her loom, and over-
MATTERS OF TASTE. 35
heard to be scolding lustily till her visitors popped
their heads through the gap by which the stairs
opened into the room. Her natural tone of voice
was not immediately recoverable, and she spoke
in something between a whine and a scream,
which suited ill with the languid air with which
she hung her head aside, and fumbled with the
gilt locket which hung by a worn hair- chain round
her neck. She had so much the appearance of
an actress of the lowest grade, that Mademoiselle
thought there could be no mistake in conjectur-
ing that she had not always pursued her present
occupation, nor offence in asking how the con-
finement suited her health. She had sat at the
loom, she said, since she was the age of that boy,
— pointing to a lad who had evidently been the
object of her wrath. Not that she had had work
all that time. O, no! She had suffered her
share from want of work. Indeed, it was hard
to tell which was worst for the health ; — the load
on the spirits of having no work, or the fatigue
of weaving. If the ladies would believe her, it
was a killing occupation. It sat very hard upon
her stomach, and her heart turned half round ;
and her lungs, — O, if they knew what lungs she
M You let us know that before we came up to
see you," observed Mademoiselle. M If you
think your lungs weak, is it not a pity that you
should exert them as you did just now ? And,
this minute,, you spoke much louder than we
need trouble vou to do."
' k Ah ! ma'am, 'tis the way with my voice.
36 MATTERS OF TASTE.
When it once gets up, I can't, somehow, get it
The boy at the loom confirmed this by a side-
long look of great meaning. His mother sighed
so as to show a fine remaining capacity of lung,
and was about to proceed about her infirm head,
and a weak ancle that she had had all her life,
when her visitors turned the current of her com-
plaints upon the times. Poor wages ! very poor
wages ! and hard work. It was a bad sort of
" Why, then, do you bring up your children
to it ? Here are five looms in this room."
" Yes, ma'am ; but only three for my own
family. My eldest girl is a filler. Those two
farther looms are let to neighbours."
" And both with work in them, I see. This
seems a pretty piece of black silk that your boy
is about ; and he seems to be doing his work
" Pretty well, ma'am : pretty well, for the
time. I thank the Almighty, Tom is a mid-
The little lad had all the appearance of being
better than a middling boy. He worked with
might and main while the ladies stood by, shout-
ing the shortest possible answers to their ques-
tions, amidst the noise of his machine. His
mother gave him a smart rap on the head, and
asked him where his manners were, to go on
with his weaving while the ladies spoke to him.
His looks conveyed his apprehension that he
should have been equally found fault with if he
MATTERS OF TASTE. 37
had quitted his grasp of his shuttle without leave.
He now related that he was twelve years old, had
learned to weave three weeks, and had in that