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taniioB of opeang padimient in pe rna .

PariiMnMri- is catted togadier bj nioifltera for tfaa eo^picH aai Ma^
naaiaww ii p arpoae of kaving thar condoet pidiEch^ frithnitd fer owtaw
Vbex&BB latelj taken w^ John Ball's oootkatioo, while dianees ef
peace or war, Lsdiao affittr% and a iiAiiiu bitty mn- to he aned op in
tha jFHi^ ber aieat gradont Maiertj wiii offer to die pnbfo ia att fbraa
ml state. However anpalataue die werda of dw zniaiBterial mixtapa
maj be^ when reed by Her in die eweelmt and clearest of att iMMoes^ for
the BBOoieBt who can €nd hxJk ? But people vM find hmU, not wkh
the leader, but with the spteek

Thatoradeof fashion die If oriisn^r Ati henddi fbvdi that the deota
am ta be op en e d at twdve o^cfeek* ^ Bfiad, whateiar jam ia, do not
go oaer-€ireMad^" waa the sennUe adrice read out at breakfivt hj a finr
Uiy feam a letter jost reoeired, infiormiw her dbat riie dioidd be eafied
for at eoe o^doek to go to the Heme of Leeds.

Aa I wend my way to St Stephen's, groape of fiwes people the liae^
whetherin windbwa or baksoniee ; and the raflingy p i e wnt their foH ooaa-
plencni of atarera^ ae there ahraja are and alwaja witt be to witneaa
mj ngbi m London* Carnages ahoond of efeij dastr^tiony froax dia
most ^rgeous to the most bumble. But it is astonishing haw die aai*
Tersality of travelling by nulways (for to that go-abead system it must
be traced) tends to the abasement of hammeroloth, plushy and pow-
der ! It is a pity, some say, to mark year after year the falling off
in these splendid turns-out — wigs, eold-beaded canes, cocked-hats, high-
stepping horses, superb harness, and perfection of carriages ! Brough^ns
and caM take the place of splendour and exclusiveness. The million
will have it so. Even in court modem innovations gradually penetrate.
The yeomen of the guard and her Majesty's uds-de-camp follow the
fiishion, while the Beefeaters, in their quaint old costume, serve to con-
nect the ancient regal link between state coachman and state steward.

Never bavmg seen the operation of her most august Majesty open-
ing parliament in person, I flattered myself that my privilege of M.P.
would enable me to satisfy my curiosity. Accordingly, I widked along
the lofty corridor where some statues of our greatest statesmen already
occupy their appointed pedestals, but where many others wait the sculp-
tor's chisel ; and then on into the grand octagonal hall.

I find the door into the Lords' corridor to the right closed, and care-
fully guarded by a policeman !



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▲ IMt or TIB BOHBB W COMKOBS* 313



«I wflBt ti> gaft ista Ifae Booie of LOTdir

^Toa esmol fam ikis mij. Rooul bj tbe Lofdi' ealnnee^ fir,**
WW iiie zBdier curl njokoier.

* Birt to nadi tbe ga^&trj ? Wed ibb Cemmoms lisfe places there;
B^bi and left of the repotten.'*

'<La£ef CD Aoae pfacea, sir. No membera can eater until Ae
aser coBsea :

'W^*^ thought I, «<oldH«dihr«iiB right: 'When a lad/a in Ae
cme, aD other reaaona nraat ghra place/ andy of eonraey the Commona toow
Botn^iatainltador

'^Tou muet go round to the Lofda* eDtranee.''

I obey, and confront a pair of officiab right and left of Ae decn*,
hamig en their heads ahakoa aurmountad by bladreock tails, and each
boaiin g in hia hand a staff like a field-anardial's bAton !

<< Cannot paasheier

^But I belong to the House of CommoBs^ and erery one is gobgiay
eannoi 17^

^ Ko^ sir ; must m round thro«^ ^m lobby.^

The Terj place I nad been repi£ed 6ofl& ! There was nothings then,
6r it but to wait ! The day was r^rr fine, and as it wanted an hour
to the time the Queen was expected, I thois^t I migfat amuse mysdf in
looidng at the ladies. I mual confess to the weakness of lo?ing to steal
a ily peep at any lady as she steps from her carriage— there is a certain
ayatery about the wMe procee din gs

A carrii^ draws up— a hired brougham. I do not knew why or
wherefore it is, but I nerer eotdd abide a hired brougham; there is
a aert of pretension to my mind about it. I infinitely prefer a eood,
cfam, (?) unpretending conmion cab. Well, the brougham, hired
for Ae mor n ing , stops the way, and contains an apparently magni-
fioent-looldng creature. A Norma wieatli of gilt ba^-leayea enciraea
her head, whifo the scarlet opera doak (wnnsh oi^t to be *jpea
her ahouUers^ bordered with its gold shiawl-werir, has got duen-
gwed, and disfteys a superb neck and shocdders, the oonmlezion of
wltach is as beautiful as Houbigant's ^^crftme de beauts, or e?en
Madame Moreau herself, could hq>e to make it, for this yery day the
Morning Post sets forth that that important personage begs to inform
the nobflity Asi she is now in En^andfor the purpose of attending upon
la£es, whom she ** abbahgbs m court or bjlll ** witt peparatiooa
^ledaHy her own, rendering the com^ezion brilliant, the arms and
neck l>eautifiilly white and soft, giymg unparalleled lustre to die
eje; and off to be had at 88, Regent-street! Perchance riie of the
Itonna wreath had found her out ! But she is in the act of stepping
out of the brougham. Hie huge bulee of drapery, which filled the
carriage to oyerflowing (at boSi windows), begins to be i^tated^
and a lore of a foot, encased in a most mischieyous-loddng partieu-
hrty well-fitting slipper, makes its appearance— a jerii, and the
aalue next appears — another wriggle^ and somewhat more than the
ankle comes to light — silk stockmg — well pulled up— not a wrinkle
to be seen! The satin slippers, too» are fimMess, and her sandab
GTOas at the most becomng pomt. They are not French, that is easily
seen; ihey are not Hook's, neither are they Godfrey's; they are num



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314 A DAT IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS*

by Patterson — ^there is no mistake. Anotiier struggle, and the ibree
lower bars <^ a steel petticoat, skeleton-like, make tbeir appeamnee.
Now a grand bitch — and the main body of the under garments, steel
hoops and all, have got (as the sailors say) athwart ships, and look b& if
they mean to turn rusty, and a desperate effort is required by. the hat
possessor to extricate herselF. And it is made, while she protrudes,
ephemera-like, from her brougham ; the more one sees, the more perfect.
Now a most serious strucpgle of crinoline, and all the most modem acces-
sories come flop out of trie carriage, with a noise peculiarly theur own.
The fourth bar of the steel petticoat discloses a perfect leg — but the
same silk stocking— fAaf ceased to exist above the fourUi btu*. Dread-
ful to relate, the top was cotton !

" Fine feathers make fine birds,** said a fnend of mine, standing by, to
a friend of his. *^ Yes, they do," said he. And talking of feathers
puts me in mind of a very odd thing which happened yesterday. I
went to the Crystal Palace, and, as I was passing the avarium, I was
called to by a parrot I went up to the bird, having always had a liking
for polls, and recognised an old acquaintance. I came back from Aus-
tralia in 1850, and this bird was on board ; he used to sit upon my
shoulder, and I took a great fancy to him. He told the story can
amare^ and I am sure it is the truth. There is nothing very extraordi-
nary in it, but the lovers of parrots may be interested, and pay the bird a
visit.

Next dashes up a perfectly appointed chariot with a couple of pow-
dered footmen dressed in full ng, and as the dappled browns covered
with foam are brought up in coachman-like style, the footmen descend
from their platform, open the door, and the steps fall. They flank the
exit, and a lady in the bloom of youth and beauty, and dressed to per-
fection, steps forth as *' a lady" only can do. She has crinoline d mer^
veUUy ht more than she of the golden tiara, but somehow it does not
seem so. She is dressed in black — all black — the toumure is faultless,
so is the chaussure ; that is unmistakable, they came from Jacob's. The
slippers have no sandals, only a knot of ribbon fashioned into a bovr,
placed with care on the proper spot, and high heels allow of die
utmost rigour as to their being dicoUetSs. The mass descends, volu-
minous as it is, without effort, and she glides, duchess-like, from, but still
within, her cae®, &Q<1 there is visible sensation amongst the bystanders.
Again, and a foreign equipage stops the way — 'tis the Malakoff — ^his
coachman encased in bearskin, his better half in the most recherchS of
Parisian toilettes.

It was one o'clock, and I leave for *^ the House.'' Two new frescoes, very
£sir works of art in their way, have been placed in the corridor leading
from the central hall to the Commons. The door is passed, and in the
comer to the right is the refreshment stall. Piles of beef and ham
sandwiches under their glass dome, galantine, buns, sherry, bitter beer,
liqueurs, and the same civil waiter l^hind them, ffe is glad to see me !

To the library I go, to shake hands with Risdon, the most obliging
and good-natured person in the world. He had everything at his
fingers' ends, from a penny stamp to the most antiquated act of par-
liament. But he is gone, poor fellow, to his long home, and his place
*.* knows him no more."



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A DAT IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS* 316

Then the doorkeepers.

Apropos, a eood story is told of the late man Williams, who figwrea
in the front of Hayter's pcture of the Reformed House of Commons
in the tea-room. He was known, and is still remembered by many
members of the House, but particularly by those who unfortunat^y
came into contact with him in his capacity of Cerberus. A certain
retainer of the Liberator (and, of course, an expectant, too), who
had been for some years pursuing many failing arocations within
the walls of the political arenas of the Irish metropolis, thought it
high time to try his hand on the other side the water m the obtainment
of some more lucrative employment, and which he hoped to do, like many
others, through the influence or agency of his patron.

** What do you want ?" said Williams, when he made his ^pearance
Sit the door of the House of Commons. ** Move out of the passage."

"I want to see Dan O'Connell," said he, <<the member for all
Ireland."

" Give me your card. Move out of the passage.**

** What card ? I will write my name on a scrap of paper if that will
do ; and if that won't, and if you want to know who I am, my £nend, I
will tell you. Before lonf I'll be member for Kilkenny — that I will— >
and by this and by that, Uie very first motion I make in the House after
I have taken my sate will be, ye spalpeen, to have you taken out of
your broadcloth, and stuffed into plush !

But a thin attendance of members, most of whom are standing round
the table writing their names on slips of paper, and disappear to deposit
the same in a glass receptacle, over whidi an official of tne House keeps
guard — a sort of lottery — and as they draw the numbers, they can
toUow the Speaker into the House of Lords, at the bar of which but
a small proportion of the M.P.s find standing room.

A good many how«de-dos, a good deal of talk as to Reform, and fresh
troubles, political and warlike, looming.

Big Ben, not Disraeli, has been recast; Big Pam (not Lord Palmer*
flton) is as sound as a bell, and not cracked. The monster mortar is one
yard in diameter across its muzzle, and so can project an infernal machine
or ball one yard thick, which can be thrown as far, if not farther, than
any smaller shell ; it will contain a charge of 5001bs. of powder !

Apropos of Lord Palmerston, who has fathered this pocket-pistol, a
foreigner, writing five years ago, says : " He has a telling answer to
eveiT questbn ; but, withal, he does not get personal and offensive.
He IS a general favourite, and e^^ry one is silent when he rises. That
is Lord P., the notorious Lord ^rebrand, he who, according to the
opinion of the continental politicians, thinks of nothing but the most
convenient means of overthrowing all the thrones in Christendom."

*« The Matrimonial Causes and Divorce Bill" works so well, that above
two hundred causes are now on the list. No wonder either, as its parent,
the Attorney-General, like every other member in the House, could not
make head or tail of it. Curious enough, though, the Proctors, its direst
enemies (now they are to receive compensation), no longer find fault
with it. Their consolation is, that at any rate if they do not get quality
they will quantity.

^< FoUew the leader," so I go to the table and write my name on a

VOL. XLV. Y



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S16 A DAT nr THB HOUSB Or COMMONS.

piece of paper as others are domg, but I observed ihey were dnefly the
sew members, and I began to ^* smell a rat," as it is ealled ; boweyer, I
j^aeed my paper, having carefully folded it up, in the glass empononi^
over which the ei'devant offidal of the House stood sentry, ^bribery
and comqition ** fell from me as I threw my name in, and he smiled.

The Black Rod makes his appearance, summonses the House to the
prosenee of her Majesty ; the Speaker descends from his chair, and some
one begins calling out the names as they are taken from the glass con-
juring receptacle. There is a murmur, and a palpable rush. Names ! all
my eye ! It is evident, in a moment^ that there is no order; oxd&t la
out 0^ the question ; all are mingled in one common mass, pressing on.
I make a rush and get close behmd the l^eaker, and on my right mnk,
but a Kttle more in advance, was the ourly figure of the M.P. fer
Leitrim. I felt my flank was protected, for it flashed upon me all at
once that the M hands would, in all probability, be awaiting die
advance of the Speaker, and rush down upon us from the diffisrent
lateral passages and openings which crossed our route at right angles.
Scarcely had we got into the Circular Hall before I found my presen-
timent realised, and ten or a doien M.P.S charged straight upon our
column, but a little en echdoHj and we staggered again ; but Ltttrim
was to the fore, and if it had not been tot the interposition of hia
body, and his positively buttmg the avalanche with his shoulder, the
ChanceUor of the Exchequer miffht have been boiled over. Two
more shocks of this sort did we bear before readiing the door into
the Lords, which was not thrown open until the moment the Speaker,
at the head of the column, arrived close to it. I kept my place well up
to this, thanks to the shelter afforded by Leitrim. It was evident that
tins would be ^ moment that the crush, por sercettence, would con-
summate. " Order ! Order V* Quite out of the qnestion-^it was eveiy
one for himself. They are a long time <^>ening die door, and the crowd
from behind press us up tight against it, and the veiy breath is squeeied
out of one's body. Order, indeed, or management!

I had witnessed the first drawing-room held by her Majesty in Dub-
lin — her first visit to Ireland — and there saw waxtiOTs &int^ and the masa
sent dripping into the presence of royalty ; I was at that drawing-room in
London which witnessed die scenes at the barrier, and saw one lady, pass-
ing foir but under forty, perform a regular summersault over a boich left
across the entrance to the pen-room, and I saw it attempted to be repre-
sented in Punch afterwards, — but neithw of these penbrmances could
for a moment be compared to this rush of her Mi^s^ty's fruthful Com-
mons, so anxious were diey to get into her presence. Then comes
the noise of a bolt being withdrawn. And the door is attempted to be
thrown wide open by the servants ; but they can only partially succeed,
as the head of the column, pressed from the rear, are hurried — ^forced,
pushed nolentes volenies — tlurough the aperture. In they gx>, shouting,
hustling, roaring, like a mill-race let loose as the sluice is raised ; and I
hear an oath, distinctly an oath, from some quarter. It was not, in all
probability, from a member. Any one might have come in ; I am sure it
was not from a member — ^that could not be, he would have been out of
order.

What a disgracefrd proceeding! yet they tell me it happens time after



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ALEXANDBE DUHAS IN ST. FBTSBSBOBO. 317

tim^ tnd no attempt ia made to better the arrangement. Well, I see
that it will be Tain to attempt the centre, so making a race as hard as
eter I can, I seiie upon a ci^ital place high up on one side. I get my
elbows {4aeed on the railing, sod feel sore I cannot be dislodged ; the
crowd in the rear fills up the space in a momwit, and the ncute sobsidas.
The sight is imposing, and I hiye a capital fiew of the £ur occimants of
the Lords' places. They had to take off their cloaks jnst bd^ her
Majesty amve^ and now presented a very decollete appearance, some
very much orer-dressed; amongst them, most conqpicaons, was she of
the goLd tiara and silk stockings with their cotton tops. Her scarlet
opera doak was not there, of coarse, but the magnificent pair of very
white shoulders were in its stead. What a pity that a little bit of &lse
economy should have disenchanted <me with dus fiair one 1



ALBXANBBB DUMAS IN ST. PBTBBSBXIBG.*

It is just twenty-four years back since Alexandre Dumas I. bound
himself by a solemn pledge to his readers that he would perform the
periplus of the Mediterranean, and spite of tiie bad jokes this pronnse
entailed on him, he has kept his word like a man. Up to the present he
has made four yoyages or tours of inspection about the littoral of the
llCddle Sea, and expended^for that purpose 51,000 fir., firom which deduct
10,000 fir. granted mm by the Minister of Public Instruction. What be
saw he has described, as we all know, famously in some thirty volumes ;
but he has still a portion of his task to accomplish. He has yet to visit
Greece, Turkey, Asia KGnor, and the adjcmiing countries; and although
the managers of the Messageries Imp^riales, so soon as they heard of his
sdieme^ oSered him free passage fi>r self and secretary, he must have a
yadit, for he was not gomg to make an every-day tour. His soul was
thirsting for combats with truculent pirates in the sunny JSgean, and he
had hopes of meeting with his Haid^ for which consummation he, too,
was ready to endure a shipwreck. Hence M. Dumas very wisely ordered
a three^mast lugger of 66 tons, entirely made of cast steel, with a ten-
horse power engine. Unfortunately, the builder, thourh the first in
France, required five months to build the vessel, and during that pmod
Alexandre I. was doomed to inactivity. Undw these drcumstanoes he
accepted an invitation to be present at a wedding in St. Petersburg, and
tiiougfat he might as well come back tnd Astrakan. This excursion gave
birth to the new romance of travel, to a p<nrtion of ^faieh we propose
calHng our readers* attention.

The Russian Count Koucheleff Beiborodko, while making the grand
tour, remained for a while at Paris, where he had the felicity of making
M. Domas's acquaintance. An intimacy sprang up between them whi^
led to the historian b^g invited to be present at the marriage of Count

« De Pads ^ Astrakaa. Par Alexancfare Dwum. TNneaL— III.
t2



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818 ALEXAimBE DUICAS IK ST. PETEBSBUBG.

Kouchdeff Beiborodko'f otter, as we before ftated. There was nothing
snrprising in the hct of a yonng lady being married, but die bridc^^room
was a cefebrity, being no other than the renowned spirit-rapper Home.
How coold Dumas refuse such an inyitation, or the temptation to make
a chapter or two out of the bridegroom's history ? which he does some-
diing after the following fashion. Home — ^Daniel Douelas Home — was
bom at Currer, near Edinburgh, in 1833. Hb mother, prior to his
Inrth, had a vision, in which she saw him seated at table with an emperor,
an empress, a king, and a grand-duchess, which was, of course, eventually
realised. At the early age of three years he bep^n indulgmg in second
sight, and must have been rather an uncomfortable bov to live with, for
he was continually predicting deaths, which came about with perfect
accuracy. At the age of teo, however, fearing that the bov's gifts would
be wasted at home, his parents transferred mm to America, where lus
talent soon became fully developed. So sure as he eained a new friend,
so surely did he predict his decease before long, and, finally, his mother
became the object of his visions. But this was not all ; he began to be
torment^d by spirits who evinced their presence by the usual rappings.
Some deigymen were called in to exorcise the demon, but were utterly
foiled, and Home's fortune was made. The Americans flocked in to see
him, but his aunt, whom he lived with, growing tired of the perpetual
polldng of the chairs and tables, shovel and tongs, frying-pan and kettle,
turned him out of doors. At last, the spirits finding his company rather
slow, deserted him en ma$$e ; but he became, instead, a somnambulist.
After amassing enormous sums at Boston, his health failed him, and he
proceeded to recruit on the Continent. At Florence he became the
occasion of an imeuU : it was a very long time since a sorcerer had been
burned in that city, and the worthy people desired to make an example
of the American. lEIe managed to escape to Naples, where the spirits
left him once more, " on urgent private affairs," on the 10th of Februaiy,
1856, with a promise of returning that day year punctually. Home now
thought it time to take some precautions, and went to Rome, where he
became a Catholic, and was honoured by an interview with the Pope^
on condition that he came in the company of a priest It is evident
from this that Fio None was not quite assured of his power over the
spirits. From Rome the magician went back to Paris, and consulted
Father Ravignan on the subject of his spirits. The father consoled lum
by stating that since he had become a Catholic the spirits had been exor*
cised, but Home could not believe diis; the spirits were Scotch, and,
consequently, horribly obstinate. Thev had promised to come back, and
would keep dieir word; and so they did. Of course it was not lone ere
Home was invited to the Tuileries, where he effected wonders, if we
believe only half the stories that were current about him. At any rate^
the empress adopted his sister as a mark of her satisfJEU^tion with Unu
From Paris, Home mx)oeeded to Baden-Baden, where he held six stances.
Soon after, an old Englbh lady died, leaving him six thousand a year,
and he was enabled to become a gentleman at large. He went once
more to Rome in the beginninfl^ of 1858, where he formed the acquaint-
ance of Count Koucheleff, and eventually fell in love with his sister*
Soon after die return of the count and his party to Paris, Home desired
to know the great DumaSi who was introduced by him to the count and



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ALEXANDRE DUHAS IK ST. PBTEBSBUBO. 319

countess. As was jperfectly nattiral, they formed a tremendous affection
for the great histonan of France, and insisted on hb accompanying them
to Petersburg. For a while he refused, but as the count declared that
he would break off the match with Home unless Dumas consented to go,
how could he refuse ? This explanation was necessary to proTO the false-
hood of the assertions that M. Dumas went to Russia to write a new
piece for the The&tre-Fran^ais, or to acquire the collar of St. Stanislaus.
We regret we cannot find space for the description of the journey to
Berlin, in which our author gives a most humorous account of the
dilemma in which the Prussian conductors are placed by a favourite cat^
about whose proper mode of conveyance no regulations are laid down.
They know exactly what to do with dogs, but the other animal was
a novelty to them. After a grand consultation, however, they consented
to let it ride with the countess. At Berlin, owing to the fulness of the
hotel, M. Dumas and his secretary were obliged to sleep in a bath-room.
We note this fact-, not so much mr its curiosity, but because the world
likes to know the smallest movements of its emperors and kings : then
why should we not chronicle such a simple event in the life of die kaiser
of literature ? On board the steamer running from Stettin to Cronstadt,
M. Dumas naturally formed the acquaintance of the traditional English-
man, who was going to Borneo to see the sun at midnight on the 24th of
June, the only night of the year on which the phenomenon is possible.
He had made the same voyage the year before, but enjoyed such a com-
fortable sleep on that memorable night that he could not make up his
mind to get up, so he deferred the treat for another year. How curious
it is, by the way, that only Frenchmen fiall in with these Anglais pour



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