Page images

ducted round the hills in a kind of rugged stair-case, and yet no accident occurred in our progress, not a false step disturbed the regularity of our cavalcade, though the horses are spirited, and all of them unshod, From the great irregularity of the ground, and the various heights to which we ascended, we had opportunities of catching many magnificent points of view by detached glances; but, after wandering for several hours, (and yet, never wearied with wandering,) we at last reached a covered pavilion, open on all sides, and situated on a summit so elevated, as perfectly to command the whole surrounding country to a vast extent. The radius of the horizon I should suppose to be at least twenty miles from the central spot where we stood; and certainly so rich, so various, so beautiful, so sublime a prospect my eyes had never beheld. I saw every thing before me as on an illuminated map; palaces, pagodas, towns, villages, farm-houses, plains, and valleys, watered by innumerable streams, hills waving with woods, and meadows covered with cattle of the most beautiful marks and colours. All seemed to be nearly at my feet, and that a step would convey me within reach of them.

I observed here a vast number of what we call, in England, sheet cows; also sheet horses, many pyeballs, dappled, mottled, and spotted, the latter chiefly strawberry. From hence was pointed out to us, by the minister, a vast inclosure below, which, he said, was not more accessible to him than to us, being never entered but by the emperor, his women, or his eunuchs. It in. cludes within its bounds, though on a smaller scale, most of the beauties which distinguish the eastern and the western gardens, which we have already seen; but,

[ocr errors]

from every thing I can learn, it falls very short of the fanciful descriptions which father Attiret and Sir Williama Chambers have intruded upon us as realities. That, within these private retreats, various entertainments, of the most novel and expensive nature, are prepared and exhibited by the eunuchs, who are very mumerous (perhaps some thousands) to amuse the emperor and his dadies I have no doubt; that they are carried to all the lengths of extravagance and improbability, those gentlemen have mentioned, I very much question, as from every enquiry I have made and I have not been sparing to make them) I have by no means sufficient reason to warrant me in acceding to, or confirming the accounts which they have given us. - If any place in England can be said, in any respect, to have similar features to the western park, which I have seen this day, it is Lowther Hall, in Westmoreland, which (when I knew it many years ago), from the ex. tent of prospect, the grand surrounding scenery, the noble-situation, the diversity of surface, the extensive 'woods, and command of water, I thought might be rendered, by a man of sense, spirit, and taste, the finest scene in the British dominions. '


H... Whether our style of gardening was really copied from the Chinese, or originated with ourselves, I leave for vanity to ‘assert and idleness to discuss. A discovery, which is the result of good sense and reflexion, may equally occur to the most distant nations, without either borrowing from the other. There is certainly a great analogy between our gardening and the Chinese,

most distantense and refer: 4

but our excellence seems to be rather in improving Nature, theirs to conquer her, and yet produce the same effect. It is indifferent to a Chinese where he makes his garden, whether on a spot favoured, or abandoned, by the rural deities. If the latter, he invites them, or compels them to return. His point is to change every thing from what he found it, to explode the old fashion of the creation, and introduce novelty in every corner. If there be a waste, he adorns it with trees; if a dry desert, he waters it with a river, or floats it with a lake, If there be a smooth flat, he varies it with all possible conversions. He undulates the surface, he raises it in hills, scoops it into valleys, and roughens it with rocks. He softens asperities, brings amenity into the wilderness, or animates the tameness of an expanse, by accompanying it with the majesty of a forest. Deceptions and eye-traps the Chinese are not unacquainted with, but they use them very sparingly. I observed no artificial ruins, caves, or hermitages. Though the sublime predominates in its proper station, you are insensibly led to contemplate it, not startled by its sudden intrusion; for, in the plan, cheerfulness is the principal feature, and lights up the face of the scene. To en. liven it still more, the aid of architecture is invited; all the buildings are perfect of their kind, either elegantly simple, or highly decorated, according to the effect that is intended to arise, erected at suitable distances, and judiciously contrasted ; never crowded together in confusion, nor affectedly confronted and staring at each other, without meaning. Proper edifices in proper places. The summer-house, the pavilion, the 'pagodas, have all their respective situations, which they distir

guish and improve, but which any other structures would injure or' deform. The only things disagreeable to my eye are the large porcelain figures of lions, tigers, &c, and the rough-hewn steps, and huge masses of rockwork, which they seem studious of introducing near many of their houses and palaces. Considering their general good taste in the other points, I was much surprised at this, and could only account for it by the expence and the difficulty of bringing together such incongruities; for it is a common effect of enormous riches to push every thing they can procure to bombast and extravagance, which are the death of taste. In other countries, however, as well as in China, I have seen some of the most boasted seats, either outgrowing their beauty, from a plethora of their owner's wealth, or becoming capricious and hypocondriacal by a quackish application of it. A few fine places, even in England, might be pointed out that are labouring under these disorders; not to mention some celebrated houses where twisted staircases; window-glass, cupolas, and embroidered chimney-pieces, convey nothing to us but the whims and dreams of sickly fancy, without an atom of grandeur, taste, or propriety. The architecture of the Chinese is of a peculiar style, totally unlike any other, irreducible to our rules, but perfectly consistent with its own. It has certain principles, from which it never deviates; and although, when examined according to ours, it sins against the ideas we have imbibed of distribution, composition, proportion; yet, upon the whole, it often produces a most pleasing effect, as we sometimes see a person without a single good feature

in his face, have, nevertheless, a very agreeable coun« tenance.



They do not truly live.- STEPNEY, The Savoir-vivre, of which we here give instances, is not the '

Savoire vivre of St. James's, the voluptuary, and the epicure, but that which consists in the knowing how to live where others would starve,

.... A well-dressed man, of noble appearance, who, over his dish of bavaroise*, talks fluently, tells all kinds of pleasant anecdotes, and jokes with great ease and freedom, may be seen every day in the Caffé de Chartres; And how does he live ? --By the sale of bills pasted up, which every night, when all others are asleep, he tears down from the corners of the streets, and carries them to the pastry-cooks, who give him a few sous for his trouble. He then lays himself down quietly on his bundle of straw, in some grenier (garret) and sleeps sounder than many a Cresus....

.... Another, who is seen every day at the Thuil. leries and the Palais Royal, and who, by his dress, might be taken for an ecclesiastic, is a farmer; and what kind of a one do you think? He farms the hair pins which are lost in the Italian theatre. When the curtain drops, and the company are leaving the house, he makes

* A bavaroise is a glass of milk and capillaire, with or with * out brandy; a dish of bavaroise, therefore, is nonsense.

« PreviousContinue »