The reader may remember how my recollections started from their hiding-place when I came, in one of our excursions, upon the name of Lechmere, as belonging to the owner of a fine estate by or through which we were driving. I had a similar twinge of reminiscence at meeting with the name of Gorges, which is perpetuated by a stately monument at the end of the north aisle of the cathedral. Sir Thomas Gorges, Knight of Longford Castle, may or may not have been of the same family as the well-remembered grandiose personage of the New England Pilgrim period. The title this gentleman bore had a far more magnificent sound than those of his contemporaries, Governor Carver and Elder Brewster. No title ever borne among us has filled the mouth quite so full as that of "Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Lord Palatine of the Province of Maine," a province with "Gorgeana" (late the plantation of Agamenticus) as its capital. Everywhere in England a New Englander is constantly meeting with names of families and places which remind him that he comes of a graft from an old tree on a new stock. I could not keep down the associations called up by the name of Gorges. There is a certain pleasure in now and then sprinkling our prosaic colonial history with the holy water of a high-sounding title; not that a "Sir" before a man's name makes him any better,--for are we not all equal, and more than equal, to each other?--but it sounds pleasantly. Sir Harry Vane and Sir Harry Frankland look prettily on the printed page, as the illuminated capital at the head of a chapter in an old folio pleases the eye of the reader. Sir Thomas Gorges was the builder of Longford Castle, now the seat of the Earl of Radnor, whose family name is Bouverie. Whether our Sir Ferdinando was of the Longford Castle stock or not I must leave to my associates of the Massachusetts Historical Society to determine.
It seems as if Compton Wynyate must have been written about in some novel or romance,--perhaps in more than one of both. It is the place of all others to be the scene of a romantic story. It lies so hidden away among the hills that its vulgar name, according to old Camden, was "Compton in the Hole." I am not sure that it was the scene of any actual conflict, but it narrowly escaped demolition in the great civil war, and in 1646 it was garrisoned by the Parliament army.
I suppose I ought to form no opinion at all about the aspect of Paris, any more than I should of an oyster in a month without an r in it. We were neither of us in the best mood for sight-seeing, and Paris was not sitting up for company; in fact, she was "not at home." Remembering all this, I must say that the whole appearance of the city was dull and dreary. London out of season seemed still full of life; Paris out of season looked vacuous and torpid. The recollection of the sorrow, the humiliation, the shame, and the agony she had passed through since I left her picking her way on the arm of the Citizen King, with his old riflard over her, rose before me sadly, ominously, as I looked upon the high board fence which surrounded the ruins of the Tuileries. I can understand the impulse which led the red caps to make a wreck of this grand old historical building. "Pull down the nest," they said, "and the birds will not come back." But I shudder when I think what "the red fool-fury of the Seine" has done and is believed capable of doing. I think nothing has so profoundly impressed me as the story of the precautions taken to preserve the Venus of Milo from the brutal hands of the mob. A little more violent access of fury, a little more fiery declamation, a few more bottles of vin bleu, and the Gallery of the Louvre, with all its treasures of art, compared with which the crown jewels just sold are but pretty pebbles, the market price of which fairly enough expresses their value,--much more, rather, than their true value,--that noble gallery, with all its masterpieces from the hands of Greek sculptors and Italian painters, would have been changed in a single night into a heap of blackened stones and a pile of smoking cinders.
"Who sweeps a room as for thy laws
I was very sorry not to meet Mr. Ruskin, to whom Mr. Norton had given me a note of introduction. At the time when we were hoping to see him it was thought that he was too ill to receive visitors, but he has since written me that he regretted we did not carry out our intention. I lamented my being too late to see once more two gentlemen from whom I should have been sure of a kind welcome,--Lord Houghton and Dean Stanley, both of whom I had met in Boston. Even if I had stayed out the whole time I had intended to remain abroad, I should undoubtedly have failed to see many persons and many places that I must always feel sorry for having missed. But as it is, I will not try to count all that I lost; let me rather be thankful that I met so many friends whom it was a pleasure to know personally, and saw so much that it is a pleasure to remember.
"Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother,"
Well, just wait until I have your hands free, said the white mouse. "Then I'll see what can be done. There! I've bitten through one strand. Now wiggle your hands a bit and you can undo the whole rope."
On the other hand, some of the first-class tradesmen and workmen make no show whatever. The tailor to whom I had credentials, and who proved highly satisfactory to me, as he had proved to some of my countrymen and to Englishmen of high estate, had only one small sign, which was placed in one of his windows, and received his customers in a small room that would have made a closet for one of our stylish merchant tailors. The bootmaker to whom I went on good recommendation had hardly anything about his premises to remind one of his calling. He came into his studio, took my measure very carefully, and made me a pair of what we call Congress boots, which fitted well when once on my feet, but which it cost more trouble to get into and to get out of than I could express my feelings about without dangerously enlarging my limited vocabulary.
Emerson himself fully recognizes his obligations to "the beautiful psalmist of the seventeenth century," as he calls George Herbert. There are many passages in his writings which sound as if they were paraphrases from the elder poet. From him it is that Emerson gets a word he is fond of, and of which his imitators are too fond:--