« AnteriorContinuar »
of the bottles then thinks it high time to remind you of such cordial beverages as Champagne, Burgundy, Lafitte, Pacharete, Vin du Commandeur, du Johannisberg, de la Comète, and so on, until you know not which choice to make, Mine was the easiest task on such occasions, for I took none, and I am the better for it: but the quantity of champagne that I saw drank in St. Petersburgh, actually astounded me. I feel confident that there must be another Champagne country somewhat nearer to Russia than the French champagne, to supply what is actually consumed of that wine. In general the Russians are excellent connoisseurs in wine. I have often been present at learned discussions among them on this subject, and particularly on the wines of the Crimea, which a chartered company, supported and encouraged by the Emperor and several high characters, is endeavouring to multiply, improve, and introduce at the St. Petersburgh tables. They may succeed. But, ápropos of vareniky! It is a dish of which many are very fond, made of a thin paste of buck-wheat flour, not baked, having fresh cream-cheese inside, melted butter thrown over it, and eaten with sour cream. Yet this heterogeneous kind of fare is nothing compared to another called Batvinia, which is, indeed, the king of the Ollas, as may be judged from the enumeration of its ingredients, which are as follow: Kvass, (the vehicle,) kislistchi, salt-fish, craw-fish, spinage, salt-cucumbers, and onions. These form a mixture (a mixture with a vengeance!) which is used and served up with a piece of ice in the middle. When the late Emperor Alexander, who is said to have been very fond of this national dish, was at the congress of Vienna, he ordered it to be presented at a dinner at which the corps diplomatique had been invited, and turning to a noble and military lord, more remarkable for blunt straightforwardness than machiavellian diplomacy, asked him how he found the Batvinia. "Je le trouve detestable, Sire," was the answer.vol. ii. pp. 363-365,
Dr. Granville is very minute in his statements of the prices of different articles of food, which he observed in the Petersburgh market. We were highly amused with his account of his notetaking among the rustics of the stalls. They must have been prodigiously astonished on seeing the foreigner going from stand to stand, and entering in his pocket book the prices which they mentioned. The best of the joke was, that the Doctor could hardly hold his pencil in his fingers, the mercury being at the time some degrees below Zero.
On the Doctor's return from Petersburgh through Warsaw, he had an opportunity of seeing the Grand Duke Constantine. With his description of that personage we shall take leave of our author.
'At half-past ten o'clock precisely, an elegant calash, drawn by two horses, arrived on the ground, the drums beating a general raulade, as his Imperial Highness alighted from the carriage. He walked briskly towards the centre of the square, addressing General Fanshawe, who had left us to go to him. When all the troops had filed off before his Imperial Highness, and he had issued the order of the day, and given general instructions to the colonels of regiments, the General beckoned us to advance to the centre of the square, where the Grand-duke was sur
rounded by all his staff, and upon my name being mentioned by the general, his Imperial Highness stepped briskly forward to where I stood, and having desired me to keep myself covered, asked, in a very rapid manner, a variety of questions respecting England, mentioning the names of several illustrious or eminent persons, respecting whom he was desirous of information; the different parts of the continent I had visited, and lastly, whether her Majesty the Empress-mother and the reigning Empress of Russia were in perfect health when I left St. Petersburgh; upon my replying in the affirmative, he exclaimed, "Dieu soit loué." Turning afterwards to General Fanshawe, he told him not to fail to show me the military hospitals. "Je serais bien aise de connoître là dessus son opinion." Having informed his Imperial Highness, in reply to his inquiries of the object of my journey, and that I was not travelling for pleasure, but was on my way to England, to resume the duties of my profession; he requested that I would take charge of a letter for the Duke of Wellington, which he would give orders to be sent to me before my departure, and wishing me a pleasant journey, took his leave. The Grand-duke, though above the middle stature, is not so tall as either of his two brothers; he stoops a little, yet notwithstanding that circumstance, and a considerable embonpoint, he has a very military appearance. He was dressed in a green uniform much serré, and wore the cocked hat as his late Imperial brother used to do, square in front, and inclined a little on one side. It struck both my young friend and myself, that he resembled not a little the portrait of the Emperor Paul, which we had so often seen at St. Petersburgh. He has the habit of rubbing his hands briskly together, like a man who is pleased; and he several times expressed his satisfaction in that manner, at particular officers and regiments, as they passed by him in columns. The Grand-duke Constantine is much liked, both by the officers and soldiers; and yet it is not from any leniency used towards them when in fault; for although he has never been known to forget to recompense his men when they deserved it, military delinquency or neglect have invariably met with punishment. He is, indeed, very strict in regard to military discipline, and seldom misses to attend the parade, and then only in consequence of extremely bad weather. He rises at five o'clock in the morning, and transacts business with his military secretary until eight o'clock, breakfasting in the meanwhile. From that hour until nine, he receives the officers on duty, and the military reports of the day. After the parade, and until two o'clock, he transacts business with Baron Mohrenheim, who is at the head of his Chancellerie. He next drives or rides out till three o'clock, when he dines en famille; seldom giving any gala dinners, except on grand occasions. At five, he retires to his private apartment, reads, or takes a siesta; after which he dresses for the play, or for the purpose of receiving company, and goes to bed at ten o'clock. The Grand-duke seems to get through a great deal of business, by this regular mode of active life, which he seldom varies. He confines himself entirely to his military jurisdiction, and never interferes with the administration of the civil government, the entire machinery of which is, with a peculiar delicacy of feeling and soundness of judgment on the part of the Sovereign, left entirely in the hands of purely Polish officers; different in this respect from the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom, which is overrun with Austrian lieutenants, commissaries, administrators, judges,
employés of every description, and even professors of universities sent thither by the Monarch to lecture to an audience, with the language of which they are thoroughly unacquainted. The Grand-duke Constantine resides, in general, at a country-house called Belvedere, and lives very happily with Jeanne Grazynska Princess of Lowicz, whom he chose in 1820 for his consort, after his divorce from his former Grand-duchess, of the family of Cobourg. His attachment to her is said to be unabated, and public report ascribes to that lady a very powerful influence over the Grand-duke, which she is said to have exercised in a discreet, judicious, and most salutary manner. Both live on the best terms with the families of distinction resident in the capital, all of whom, I understood, unite with one voice in speaking favourably of the Princess's amiable disposition, and distinguished manners. The Grand-duke is very fond of children, and attached to his own, even those which are not born in wedlock. We met one of them in the evening at a party, a lieutenant in the Polish army, by a French lady now dead; he is much cherished by the father, seems a very agreeable person, and is received in society, where he is much liked. His name is Paul Constantinovitch. The disinterested manner in which the Grand-duke surrendered his claim to the throne of his fathers, raised his character with the Polish people, even higher than it stood before, when by his impartial conduct since his appointment as Commander-in-chief, he was said already to have conciliated their regard. Constantine, it will be recollected, made a voluntary surrender of that claim as far back as 1820, the year of his second marriage; and in a more formal and legal manner, renounced the succession in the hands of the late Emperor, as appeared from official documents published at the succession of his present Imperial Majesty.
Although a strict disciplinarian, the Grand-duke is, as I just now observed, in great favour with the army, both Polish and Russian. General Fanshawe assured me that no commander-in-chief can be more beloyed than Constantine is by the whole Polish army, to whom he behaves with great affection when their conduct is meritorious. knows almost every soldier by name, and can relate the history of almost every veteran in his guards. During the visit which the Duke of Wellington paid to Warsaw on his return from his mission to St. Petersburgh, the Grand-duke Constantine evinced, by his own example, how sincerely he felt the value of military subordination; for during the short stay of the Duke at Warsaw, he insisted on considering his Grace as his superior officer, in consequence of his being one of the three Russian marshals, and in the presence of the assembled troops received orders from, and made the general report of the state of the garrison to, his Grace at the parade. Nothing, it is said, could equal the urbanity and high personal regard toward his illustrious visitor, which the Grand-duke evinced by his conduct on that occasion.-vol. ii. pp. 543–547.
We abstain from making any remarks on the complaint which Dr. Granville has made in his appendix against the council of the London University. We may, however, add, from what we happen to know of Mr. Brougham, that we feel perfectly assured he will be enabled, if the duty be forced upon him, to give the Doctor a satisfactory answer.
ART. XII.-A Description of the Antiquities and other Curiosities of Rome, from personal observation. By the Rev. Edward Burton, M. A. Second edition. 2 vols. 8vo. London. pp. 351–326. WE are glad to see a second edition of this very sensible and useful book. Mr. Burton has here detailed to us what he himself saw of Rome, with great accuracy; and has illustrated the accounts of the several objects which came under his observation, with very considerable learning. Although without any pretensions to the eloquence and enthusiasm of Mr. Eustace's celebrated work, the present volumes are, perhaps, still better adapted to form a companion and guide to a stranger, in his perambulations through the eternal city;' inasmuch as the descriptions they contain are hardly, in any case, in the least degree coloured from imagination; but being almost always confined to a simple statement of the literalities of the scene, are on that account less likely to mislead, or to occasion disappointment, when contrasted with the reality. While studiously abstaining, however, throughout his pages, from any thing like display or exaggeration, Mr. Burton has contrived to render his delineations exceedingly interesting, merely by their truth and minuteness; and the amount of curious information which he has brought together, from a variety of sources, in relation to almost every point which he discusses. A very commendable part of his plan is the great care he has bestowed inssupplying his readers with references to the best authorities on all matters demanding attention from an investigator of Roman topography. The young student in particular, will, from this peculiarity, find the book an admirable elementary manual, and introduction to more elaborate works on the same subject. It is, in fine, a publication, whose utility is so indispensable, and the skill and diligence that have been bestowed upon the composition of which are so manifest, that it is sure to become popular.
ART. XIII.-Specimens of the Lyrical, Descriptive, and Narrative Poets of Great Britain, from Chaucer to the present day. By John Johnstone, 24mo. pp. 560. Edinburgh. 1828.
THE manner in which this very cheap and comprehensive little volume has been got up, is exceedingly creditable both to the editor and the publishers. It is evidently not the work of an ordinary compiler, but of a person who really knows and loves his subject; and who has left, accordingly, upon every page of his labours, the impress of taste and intelligence. For Mr. Johnstone has not satisfied himself with merely cutting out for us a few of the inore popular passages from some of those poetic works, the names of which are most familiar to common readers, and stitching them together into a volume, which is the modus operandi of our regular hacks in this department of literature, but has given us a collection of the beauties of our national muses, which, both on the score of the research and discrimination which have been employed in its formation, and from the
quantity of original matter with which it is intermixed, he is entitled to consider as a work of his own, and to usher into the world, as he has done, with his name attached to it. The specimens with which he has presented us, are selected from nearly a hundred different authors; and are not, in our opinion, the less valuable, because some of them have been sought for in volumes which the popular taste is not much in the habit of opening. The book has, at all events, on this account, more than it otherwise would have had of what is not to be found in similar repositories; and its contents are at the same time, we may safely affirm, such as are certainly not surpassed in excellence and attractiveness by any of its rivals of the same extent. To the extracts from each writer is generally prefixed a short notice of his life and poetic character; and the whole is besides prefaced by a sketch of our early poetry, occupying above a hundred pages, which, as well as many of the subsequent notices, is composed with very considerable eloquence, and in the best spirit of poetic criticism. In fine, this is a little volume, which seems to us calculated to diffuse much both of enjoyment and of refinement of feeling among the families of our land, with the rising portion of whose members especially we have no doubt it will soon become a favourite manual.
ART. XIV.-Essays on the Nature, Causes, and Effects of National Antipathies, &c. With an Historical Review of the Revolutions of Empires. By R. Otley. 8vo. pp. 328. London. 1828.
WE cannot congratulate Mr. Otley on the success of this attempt at authorship. It may be quite true, as he intimates, that he has studied languages, searched into the works of the learned dead, waded through histories, traced the progress of art and science, attended to the wiles of the political, turned aside the veil of superstition, and given the closest attention and application to discern the nature of man,' but his book is certainly, for all that, good for nothing. His Essays' in particular, are dismal trash, and miserably unlike the picture he draws in his preface, of that species of composition, in which he tells us, 'truth is dispassionately sought after, her irresistible weapons dexterously and successfully wielded, error detected and exposed, liberty in all her forms asserted and maintained, and the general cause of humanity promoted.' The present Essays are throughout as dull as an index, with the exception, perhaps, of some strictures they contain upon the people of China, with certain of whose extravagant assumptions Mr. Otley seems to be a good deal staggered. 'Many corruscations,' he remarks, however, have doubtless burst forth from the Celestial Empire, but the world has had many other luminaries, which have attended her, during the revolutions of time, as so many satellites. There have been Egypt, Greece, and Rome; and there is now several nations in Europe, as France, Holland, and Great Britain.' The originality of this last discovery, and, we may add, of the style too, in which it is conveyed, is undoubtedly considerable, but hardly, we fear, sufficient to redeem a whole volume of common-place. The Historical Review' is better than the Essays; but even it contains nothing that is not quite familiar to every body. Upon the whole, we recommend Mr. Otley to keep to the reading of books, and to leave to others the trouble of writing them -an occupation in which he is evidently quite out of his element.