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(if it be a key). His hand turned first upwards and then back again, but the movement was so rapidly made, and the windows so obscured, as I have before said, that it might be a pencil-case which he returned (but with an evident look of satisfaction) so quietly to his waistcoat-pocket, probably intending to write his address or something on the card, which he now holds in his hand, but which he goes away without giving to the maid.
He could not have reached the corner, but still was out of my sight, before she was at the window again; and this time I see her profile. Corpo di Bacco! she is lovely—so piquante ! a straight nose, slightly retroussé, a full under lip—But what is she at? What strange maneuvring is going on? She is arranging more balls of white cotton on the bow of the window-one, two, three, four, five, six, seven-and the one placed there in the first instance, that makes eight. I looked at my watch, shook the ashes off my cigar, took my hat and gloves, and returned once more to the Esplanade.
The evening is lovely, and the inhabitants of Brighton are pouring out from every house and street like bees from a hive, and the buzz along the Esplanade increases, and is even heard above the rumbling of the carriages or the murmuring of the retiring tide. What a sight it was ! all pleasure-seekers--at least apparently so ; no poverty appears here no rags at any rate ; but the back-slums of Brighton might tell a different tale. No beggars save the few professionals dare to follow the rich crowd. A propos of professional beggars, I recollect a good story told of one of this race, a well-known character, one Maggy, in a town in Ireland. The poor-house had just been completed, to their horror. One of the great unpaid guardians, strutting in all the importance and dignity of his appointment, to which he had that day been elected, accosted Maggy
Well, Maggy, how are you? Have you seen the fine house we have built for
your honour! long life to ye! Remember your poor ould widders, and give me a little sixpence this morning to break my
fast !" “Oh! po, Maggy; no more begging allowed now ! go to the poor-house, and I will take care that you are admitted.” it to that place you would send me, your honour ? I go to the poorhouse to be washed !-to be washed like a baby! I'd die first !"
The crowd along the Esplanade seemed a motley one, and to be com. posed of collections from Hyde Park of a Sunday and from Rotten-row and the Drive on a week-day. Here all amalgamated. Some few friends, and many faces one had often seen --somewhere ; and how smartly dressed are the ladies, and how well chaussé-d! There is something mischievous about those well-fitting Balmoral boots, so nicely and pliantly laced up, and the old custom revived of looping up the dresses, the parti-coloured petticoats sufficiently distended to show their well-turned ankles : but this is a sea-side privilege.
An open barouche dashes by-a dark-blue body with light-blue wheels, and black horses—such steppers! and such a love of a crimson bonnet! Amongst the pedestrians, Captain O'Grady, a regular watering-place half-pay lady-killer, of a forid complexion, rather given to corpulency, but very upright (in his appearance), whiskers which, were they combed out to their fuli extent, must have been enormous,
but now more curled up tight with an instrument called a Bostrokizon. I fancied I had seen a pair very like them lately. Captain O'Grady has been heard to say that he never saw sueh illegant famales in his life, that Carrick-on-Shannon was a joke to Brighton, and that no man in his senses could stand them, with their nes little heads, the darlings, and their little boots, and those petticoats! Did you ever see anything so gaudy? By the powers ! if they were only to be walking along the banks of the Shannon instead of the Esplanade, why the very salmon themselves would rise at them!
As I neared the Flagstaff, and crossed with the crowd, I came upon Mason's Repository of Arts, and found myself (by permission of somebody) confronted with “General Havelock;" a little lower down, in the morning, I had 'seen a crowd staring at “What o'Clock it was at Lucknow"-two long rival prints; the "Duke on the field of Waterloo," by Landseer ; and the “Horse Fair," by Rosa Bonheur-both beautiful engravings. It would be treason to say I liked the latter the best : long as it was, it did not appear, at any rate, so long as the other.
The Brighton Talbotype Gallery, in large letters, above that of the Repository of Arts, induced me to make inquiries, and to find my way through the shop and up a couple of Alights of steps until I was brought up by the formidable machine of Messrs. Henna and Kent, where there were numerous duplicate likenesses of the Brighton and other swells. The thought at once struck me that I would submit to the operation myself, in case any lady should fancy herself in love with the author of “A Day with the Brookside Harriers.” Talk of the face pulled when at a dentist's, the same cold thrill runs up the spine as our head is leaned (quietly to be sure) against the iron support, to “steady it just for the moment." They say it is better to look rather away than towards the instrument, but look as you may, when the glass upon which the likeness is taken has had its bath in the acid, you will come out excessively cross, and so did I ; therefore I warn my lady friends that I have not had justice done me.
For dinner a sea-side appetite again. Among other things, stewed pears made their appearance : they were coarse and rough, and the syrup very thin. No other disagreements as to the repast, save the chesnuts at dessert : they were not sufficiently roasted ! had not been nicked, or probably not boiled enough before the roasting process; at any rate, the brusiata was not correct, and even a red-hot shovel did not mend matters. So, lighting another cigar, my second this day, I left for the Esplanade once more, en route to the theatre. Some one lets himself in at the opposite door, and a shadow of a large pair of whiskers disappears along the glazed passage-papered walls, and the door closes gently. The eight balls of cotton ! And it is now eight o'clock—so, Captain O'Grady, I smell a rat.
But then the state of my windows in the morning it may be a mistake after all,
The moon is up, and a great deal of company is on the Esplanadenot exactly the same sort of company as were there three hours ago—but still there were numbers of red petticoats, as well as I could see ; and a great many cigars were alight.
“A beggarly account of empty boxes” indeed the theatre presented. It is not supported by the élite of Brighton, that is evident; there were not half a dozen people in what is called the “ Dress circle;" but I passed the remainder of the evening pleasantly enough. Lit another cigar (my third and last),—they were small but very good—Dash's king's regalias—and thus concluded to me, at least, a very pleasant day in jolly, gay Brighton. I went to bed and slept like a top, and if the reader be not bored, we may meet elsewhere some other day.
OUR POPULAR AMUSEMENTS.
It is a prize night at the Circus. Six geese, that have performed the arduous feat of dragging a greater goose than themselves all the way
from the quay to the “hard” in the populous and fashionable watering town of T-are to be given away to-night, after being hunted down in the house, by way of making their flesh a little more tender, by such of the spectators as shall be elevated to that honour by dint of ballot. The excitement is very fierce, for the whole town of T—have been witnesses to the wonderful performances of these same geese. We ourselves can speak feelingly on the subject; having taken our small family a birth. day water-trip in a very dirty-looking coble-boat, steered by an old sailor, and were horrified on returning to find the landing at the quay quite impossible, on account of the thousands of people swarming thick like bees both on it and along the side of the hard. Circumstances being too mighty for us, we gave in at last to the reiterated requests of our brood, and allowed our "ancient mariner" to steer us right into the very
thick of the boats that were following in the rear of the hero of the tub. There he sat, with a white clown's cap perched cunningly on his head, quite indifferent to the uproar going on around him, only urging ever and anon, with stick and rein, the unfortunate geese, who, exhausted and halfdrowned, lay on their sides on the water before him, and who, in our humble opinion, would never have reached the hard at all but for the presence of the boats behind, which impelled the tub forward, and kept them going whether they would or no. There was a Circus band close to the tub hero to enliven him; and if he wanted more encouragement, there were the shrieks, laughs, and cries to listen to, where the crowd, bent on mischief, were pushing whole files of those before them into the water, and laying bets one against the other that he would never reach the hard within the appointed time.
How little it takes to satisfy a mob! how easy it is to be a hero to a rabble! Above and over all this dense mass of careless, grinning, ragged,
hungry, miserable population, there is a glorious sunset pouring down rosy light upon their heads, and spreading out a liquid sea of glory on the placid evening sky, whose colours blend softly and harmoniously with it. What cares John Bull for sunsets ?—they are neither food nor clothing, mirth nor mischief. He infinitely prefers Gionetto's Circus. In another hour the performance is to commence, and we, of course, are to be amongst the spectators, for have not our appetites been whetted by the geese just for this one particular purpose? We want, though, to see the fun, and so go second class. What is the good of sitting apart to be stared at, and having all our gentility to ourselves ? Cecil Vane, our younger hope, is quite of our opinion, and has established himself already on the very lowest bench, to be nearest the horses. Sawdust is cheap here, and the ring smells like a stable. How the children clap their hands as all those warriors and fair ladies come in on horseback, with their shining gilt garments and lavish expenditure of pomatum-grease on their tresses ! How noble the men look-though rather thick about the legs, it is true—as they tilt against one another, and deal blows with such utter disregard of the sufferings they must inflict! What beautiful habits the ladies ride in, and how nice it must have been in the olden times (which we suppose this represents), when every lady donned feather plumes for equestrian exercises, as ladies do now-a-days at court balls ! How sadly degenerate we have grown.
But there is a pause in the entertainment, and the clown makes his appearance. He has got on a fool's cap that looks very like a white cotton nightcap, and has great patches of red and white on his face, and a striped zebra dress, and long shoes that turn up at the toes. Everybody laughs directly he comes in, because he is paid to make us laugh, which knowing, we like to have our money's worth. The worst of the affair is, that we have been at Circuses before, and we know so perfectly well just how he will jump about when the riding-master cracks his whip at him, and how he is sure to show us how ladies walk who wear crinolines, and how gentlemen act who are in love. We know, too, exactly the start he will give when the two servants in their red and yellow jackets come near him, and how he will say, “ If he doesn't catch the yellow fever he is in for a dose of scarletina." We know, too, that very stale joke of his about cards being like the game of life—because we follow suit
, and something about hearts being trumps! We are not at all startled, either, when we see him suddenly climb up the circus-poles and drop down like a monkey in the midst of the grinning people, who open their mouths quite wide enough to swallow him ; neither are we concerned for his limbs when he throws six summersaults one after another, and finally distorts his persodal appearance to that degree that we are persuaded his legs have become arms, and his arms legs. It is rather a relief when he vanishes -only that it is now half-price, and the Circus has increased very uncomfortably in number. A little pony now makes his appearance and does wonders. He bows to the people (poor wretch !), and sits down on his haunches and eats sawdust out of a plate, under the popular idea that it is meat. Wonders, too, he does in pointing to the cleverest, the prettiest, and the greatest thief in the house ; and sends the whole place into a roar of laughing by marking out with his hoof a young woman with a red face and crimson flowers who is given to thinking much about
eye as he
her sweetheart. Finally, he turns tail and rushes off the stage in a desperate hurry, as though he dreaded having a cut on the road. Then we have the greatest wonder of the age," the infant Clarina Somnina, who performs prodigies on horseback, and ends with being placed as a tower on her father's head, and so carried in triumph round the Circus, bowing and kissing her little hand to the admiring audience. We have rope-dancing also, and the youth Alonzo, who drives an imaginary chariot with five horses abreast, all of which he manages to bestride (we wonder he does not come in two pieces), and who ends by leaping through three successive hoops and throwing a spear straight into the bull's
Other amusements follow ; and, to crown all, the poor geese who drew the clown's tub are let out upon the stage considerably
the worse for water, and running up into corners, submit mildly and considerately to to be caught by six rough-looking fellows who are launched upon them. How fresh the night-air feels after the orangepeel, and the sawdust, and the excitement, and the ginger-beer bottles ! How we smile to ourselves at the children's rapture, and wish we could be a child again! We think, though, that we will take places in the first class next time. It is not so pleasant to have ill-looking fellows sitting into one's skirts, and sitting not without a reason either, for as we divest ourselves of our paraphernalia, we remember our purse was in our pocket; and lo and behold! it is now absent without leave!
We must take one more look at our last night's Circus and have done with it. We pay Mr. Ginnetto a visit in the morning, and find him after some little difficulty, as he appears to have had a fancy for trying all the lodgings down the street and never resting in any of them. At length, he is secured as he is entering a doorway with two other Jewish-looking individuals, smelling strongly of tobacco and brandy, and on being told our errand is to recover a purse that has been stolen, sets off philanthropically with us to the Circus on this second goose's exploit, ten times greater than that of yesterday's. Yester evening he stood, the idle, rich owner, at the entrance where the horses come in, with a new suit of clothes and white gloves, a dandy's cane, and an imposing air ; now he has a yellow skin, a vulgar voice, and an ungraceful manner. How much he ought to be indebted to gas and gilding! The Circus itself has contracted into a rotunda of dirty benches, faded hangings, and damp, black, mouldy-looking sawdust, plentifully bestrewed with nuts and orange-peel. Mr. Ginnetto calls pompously to “his servants” to hunt under the benches for the missing purse, as it may have fallen through. Their farthing dips go groping about in the Egyptian darkness, but of course they find nothing. We never expected they would, though we are profoundly impressed all the same by the assurance Mr. Ginnetto gives us, that if the purse is found it shall be restored to us. And so, having satisfied our curiosity as to what a Circus looks like by daylight, we return somewhat the wiser to our lodgings.