Page images

it; but the Commissaries of the Directory, Monge and Berthollet, who presided, as the honest Courier expresses it, at " the illustrious pillage" of that time, were inexorable ; and the fiat of a mathematician and a chemist sent the St. Jerome on his travels to the banks of the Seine. In 1815, the Allies, having entered Paris for the second time, thought it a fit opportunity to give future conquerors a lesson on the rights of nations to their public property, and the St. Jerome was t:\ken down from the walls of the Louvre, packed up, and returned to Parma, where it is now to be seen.

STANDS, 163-t.

"I Cannot omit <o mention any new thing that comes up amongst us, tho' never so trivial: Here is one Captain Baily; he hath been a sea captain, but now lives upon the land, about this city, where he tries experiments. He hath erected according to his ability some four hackneycoaches, put his men in a livery, and appointed them to stand at the May-Pole in the Strand, giving them instruction at what rates to carry men into several parts of the town, where all day they may be had. Other hackneymen seeing this way, they flocked to the same place, and perform their journeys at the same rate; so that sometimes there is twenty of them together, which disperse up and down, that they and others are to be had every where as watermen are to be had by the waterside. Everybody is much pleased with it, for, whereas before, coaches could not be had but at great rates, now a man may have one much cheaper."—Strafford's Letters and Despatches, vol. i. p. 227.

The letter from which the above extract is made, is dated April 1st, 1634.



The Lord Viscount Wimbledon to the Mayor of 'Portsmouth, &c.

"Mr. Mayor, and the rest of your Brethren,

"Whereas at my last being at Portsmouth I did recommend the beautifying of your streets by setting in the signs of your inns to the houses, as they are in all civil towns, so now I must recommend it to you most earnestly in regard of his Majesty's figure or statue, that ithath pleased his Majesty to honour your town with more than any other: so that these signs of your inns do not only obscure his Majesty's figure, but outface it, as you yourselves may well perceive. Therefore 1 desire you all, that you will see that such an inconveniency be not suffered; but that you will cause, against the next spring, that it be redressed, for that any disgrace offered his Majesty's figure is as much as to himself. To which end, 1 will and command all the officers and soldiers not to pass by it without putting off their hats. I hope I shall need to use no other authority to make you do it; for that it concerneth your obedience to have it done, especially now you are told of it by myself. Therefore I will say no more, but wish health to you all, and so

This Lord Viscount Wimbledon was a general in Charles's army, and a very bad one. He would have made a better master of the ceremonies. In what capacity he sent the above rating to the Worshipful the Mayor and the Aldermen of Portsmouth we are not aware; but he probably had the military command of that town. The officers and courtiers of Charles the First were not very nice in keeping within the jurisdiction of their offices.


Your assured loving friend.


Oct. 22, 1635.

* Strafford's Letters and Despatches, vol. i. p. 491.

The old signs, swinging on enormous posts, stuck out in the middle of the streets, as they once were all over England, were decided nuisances very proper to be removed; but the notion of making the disregard of the King's statue almost equivalent to treason, seems very preposterous. Such notions, however, still obtain in certain countries. In 1821, old King Ferdinand, of Naples, stuck up a colossal statue of himself on the g rand staircase of the National Museum. It was a work of Canova's, but the genius of that great artist had failed before such a subject; and though poor Ferdinand was costumed all' antica, with the Roman toga round his body, and the Roman helmet on his head, he only looked like an overgrown lazzarone masquerading on a day of Carnival. Orders, however, were given that every person passing this big stone man should take off his hat, and a sentinel was placed hard by, to see these duties performed. This regulation led to some ludicrous scenes. One day some poor students, just arrived from the wilds of Calabria, were challenged because they had not doffed their beavers. "Ma, infine," said they in excuse, "il Re rum e il santissimo, ne neppure santo, e rum ci tocca di cavar il capello."* "Ma in somma," replied the sentry, "il Re e Re, e lastatua suaestatua sua!" And then he knocked off their hats with the butt-end of his musket. After a very short time, these' orders, which originated, wc believe, in the Prince of Canosa, a fanatic royalist and a madman, were dropped altogether. They would not go down even at Naples; and it was quite certain the old King, who had rather a lively sense of the ridiculous, had never prescribed them. Bating a trifling damage to hats, this business ended in fun ; but the case was very different with the statue of Ferdinand's father, Charles III. of Naples and of Spain. This latter figure stood in the

* "But, after all, the King is not the Host, nor is he even a saint; and we are not bound to take off our hats to his image." The soldier's words are, " But, iu short, the King is King, and his statue is his statue." The poor maccaronieater's ratiocination was really worthy of my Lord 'Wimbledon.

Largo, or square del Mercatelh, at Naples. As a work of art it was contemptible enough; but it represented a King who certainly deserved more respect from the Neapolitans. However, when the French armies marched in 1798, and made Naples a republic, in the fashionable hatred of all kings the statue was overthrown and broken to pieces. When the Republic, in its turn, was upset, in 1799, a frightful vengeance was taken for this act of disrespect. The noble youths Serra, Riario, and Genzano, were found guilty of high treason, and lost their heads on the scaffold^ for having taken part in, or been present at, thedemohtion of the stone King. They belonged to three of the highest families in the kingdom. Serra and Riario were under twenty years of age; Genzano, a beautiful boy, was not quite sixteen 1 Other Neapolitans, of obscurer names, fell victims to their iconoclastic zeal in the same manner. The statues of kings were indeed something at Naples in the year 1799!


In a paper on "Literary Blunders," in the second volume of his "Curiosities of Literature," Mr. DTsraeli gives us a few amusing specimens of the innumerable mistakes which have been committed by translators in all languages. It is our intention to add a few more to the list, and, out of respect to the man, we will begin with Mr. DTsraeli himself. In his third volume, he translates the word custode, which means a keeper, by "a large cap."

In describing the death of Charles IX. of France, whose last hours were embittered by the recollection of the part he had taken in the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, Mr. DTsraeli says that the King, after some talk with Mazzille (Mazzillo), his principal physician, begged him to withdraw his custode, that he might try to rest. The King, as the son of an Italian mother (Catherine of Medici), who had filled the French court with her countrymen, of course spoke Italian; and, be it remarked, he was then speaking to an Italian physician, with whom he would naturally employ his own language. In Italian, the word custode means a guard or keeper, or one who takes care of another; and the term is especially applied to a man having charge of an insane person, in which condition Charles, on account of his remorse, was considered to be by his mother, who had the most urgent motives for preventing him from holding any private intercourse with the then protestant King of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV. of France. In French, there is no such word as custode. Mr. D'Israeli translates it into English by "a large cap." Instead of having their night-caps taken off, people generally have them put on when they wish to go to sleep. But how did the Italian physician withdraw this "custode or large cap?" Why, in the context, in Mr. D'Israeli's own words, which immediately follow the King's request, it is said that "Mazzillo withdrew, and left orders that all should leave the King except three viz. La Tour, St. Pris, and his nurse, whom his Majesty greatly loved although she was a Huguenot." If the worthy translator had reflected, this ought to have let him into the meaning of the word, and of the wish of the King, which was, that he should be relieved of the presence of his keeper or keepers, (for the term used was probably custodi, the Italian plural,) that he might be quiet. But Mr. D'Israeli cannot get the "large cap" out of his head; and his next words are, "As she (the nurse) had just seated herself on a coffer, and began to doze, she heard the King groan bitterly, weeping and sighing; she then approached the bed softly, and drawing away his custode, (which the translator thinks was the large cap that the doctor had been told to withdraw before,) the King said to her, {being open, and confidential, we suppose, when the night cap was off!) giving vent to a heavy sigh, and shedding tears plentifully, insomuch that they interrupted his discourse, "Ah! my dear nurse, my beloved woman, what blood! what murders! Ah! I have followed wicked advice!" (meaning

« PreviousContinue »