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houses, large or small, according to the size OUR FURNITURE.

of the inmate, but all on the same identical

pattern. In the great majority of cases, the manner Now, the fashion of our furniture, to our in which a household is furnished may be con- mind, is by no means a matter of indifference. sidered as a fair index of the habits and taste Chairs and tables may be dumb, inanimate of the inmates. Those people who think about things ; but, at least, when once bought, they the matter may be said to exude the little are intended to be our companions for our elegances and appliances of their domestic natural lifetime. Their owner has to make adornments as naturally as the fish exudes the friends of them; he pets them ; if well selected, mother-of-pearl shell. The character of their they fit his nature and conform to his habits, minds is plainly written upon their chairs and but they can only do this when they are the tables, their pictures, and their statuary ; and result of his own choice. A man of a refined a person of discernment can instantly make and sensitive nature may as well marry a a very shrewd guess at the tone of the per- woman that had been selected for him by some son's mind in whose house he may happen friend, as fit his house up according to the to be.

A lady glances at the pretty trifles on ideas of some West-end tradesman. Imagine her friend's mantelpiece, skims over the card- a man of delicate tastes happening to put his basket by way of indorsing her opinion re- new house into the hands of an upholsterer specting the position of the inmates, and sums accustomed to fit-up for the fast class of stockup the total at once, as ladies are apt to do. ! brokers ; imagine his despair at finding his The man generalises as to the fitness of things walls covered with glaring coloured paper, around him, their keeping, &c., and at once every inch of furniture as fine as gilding can goes to the pictures. Therein he sees, as make it, and all doubled and trebled by pierclearly as in a glass, the artistic as well as the glasses, reflecting the grandeur in every posmoral tendencies of the host's mind, and a sible direction. Could he make friends of very slight glance at the book-range enables such fine things as these ? Impossible! A him to make a close estimate of his whole man may live among such furniture for ever, character. As it is evident that we are judged and hate every article every day more and of by our surroundings, it cannot be a matter of

But there is a lower depth than this, indifference what those surroundings are ; in- to which the spirit of cheap trading has indeed, so well is this understood, that people vited customers to descend ; but, happily, the are but too prone to “ assume a virtue if they class is so obtuse and dull that they do not have it not ;” hence all kinds of attempts at feel the degradation. Some of the cheap furdisplays of taste, and, more commonly still, of niture warehouses issue illustrated catalogues, wealth and luxury, which, to the refined eye, in which they give estimates for furnishing marks the character of the man at once. different-sized houses. A four-roomed house Whilst, however, it is easy enough to judge of may be furnished, we are told, for 191. 158. ! a man of any individuality by the test of his -shade of my aunt ! why, her Dresden china “ belongings,” yet there is a very large class, poodle dog cost more money ; a six-roomed indeed by far the largest, who have no indi- house for 671. 178. ; and a ten-roomed ditto viduality at all in such matters ; who believe in for 2891. 10s. 6d. Imagine, good reader, upholsterers, and who think that all they have having the self-same set of furniture, from the to do is to pay the bills, and to buy taste as glaring veneered “bandsome Spanish mahogany they would so much meat or sugar.

With a

sideboard,” that is already beginning to shed full knowledge of their power, these trades- its veneer at the corners, down to the "two men dictate the position of the chairs and fancy occasional chairs,” groggy in their legs tables to these customers just as despotically as with the weight of the varnish they carry ; the modiste dictates the shape bonnets shall be imagine, I said, having to participate in the year by year. The upholsterer has certain comforts of such surroundings, knowing that the rules of thumb by which he settles for his five hundred other customers of the firm are customer the minutest details of every room in lounging in the self-same sticky chairs, and his house. It may happen that an upholsterer being contorted by the like untrue Brummagem is a man of good taste himself, in which case looking-glasses. his customer does well to leave matters in his It is a remarkable thing, that the lower the hands, but in ninety-nine cases out of a hun- price of the articles to be obtained in these dred, he is a mere machine, and goes on one cheap furniture warehouses, the finer the deset rule, as though all men were alike in their sign. The Louis Quatorze style, for instance, tastes and habits, and he furnishes them on is universally adopted in such cases.

We are the same principle that he would furnish dogs' at a loss to account for this, unless it be that

vulgar people like fine out-of-the-way forms in as genuine works. The hideous trash possessed their chairs and tables, just as they like fine by respectable men in London, who give good out-of-the-way words in their conversation. dinners, and would, like Dogberry, have Simplicity in tastes is a virtue rarely to be “everything handsome about them ” at a found, excepting in those classes so highly small cost, is absolutely appalling. The stuplaced as to be able to afford to think as they pidity of the middle-class Englishman in this like.

respect is fathomless, but some soundings with But, to return to our position, that the respect to the extent of this folly may be majority of persons are entirely in the hands of made by watching the advertisements of the their upholsterers as to the matter of furnish- sales of the “old masters,” which appear every ing. Rules are laid down by these worthies day in the Times. We will venture to say, which seem to have no foundation whatever in that more of these pretended “old masters common sense or sensibility. Pictures, we are pass through the hands of our London auctiontold, should generally be hung in the dining- marts in the course of the year than all of room. This is a dictum which we see almost them have painted for these last five hundred universally carried out, excepting in those cases years.

If men who wish to adorn their walls where the individual taste of the proprietor is with good works, but have no taste or means exerted. The fashion is to cover the walls as in that direction, would only put up with close as they can hold with pictures, totally good engravings, or photographs of worldregardless of whether they can be seen or not; famous pictures, they may, by dint of constantly in fact, it is quite as well, in some instances, looking at them, imbibe some of their spirit ; that they are placed out of sight; then the at least they would not be able to bore their guests, at a given signal, are shown into the guests by asking their opinions respecting the room, with their backs towards them, and at merits of their genuine “old masters,” just no moment have they an opportunity of ex- freshly manufactured in the neighbourhood of amining their merits. Surely the room devoted Wardour Street, to a purely sensual pleasure is the last place to As a rule, the walls of a dining-room should devote to works of art. Artists in spirit, how- be painted, and for the simple reason, that ever, never commit this error; the choice paint does not, like flock-paper, retain those picture is hung in a choice place in the draw- grosser odours which should depart with the ing-room or the library, and is never degraded meal. The paper of the drawing-room, in into doing duty as a mere article of furniture. colour at least, should depend upon the degree The most painful and pitiful aspect of modern of light it possesses, and, we will also add, furnishing is connected with this question of upon the complexions of the young ladies of pictures. Ninety out of every hundred houses the family. We have been really startled by boast a certain allowance of works of art. the effect given to the head of a brunette by

There is very little artistic feeling in this its simple juxtaposition with a yellow wallcountry, but there is much money, and the

paper or curtain.

In like manner, the delicate rich indulge in “old masters,” in order that apple-greens suit the fair blonde daughters of they may talk about them.

England. A friend of mine has his rooms Look at my 'Murillo,' purchased at the coloured rose du Barri, and this suits nearly sale of Louis Philippe's collection !”

everybody, by daylight or candlelight. But The picture may be a good one, but it never he is a man of remarkable taste, and his gave its owner one particle of pleasure as a combinations in other respects are unusually work of art, because he is incapable of feel- | agreeable. ing it ; but it flatters him to be the known In no article, perhaps, of furniture has so possessor of works that have once adorned much good taste been expended as in wallpalaces.

papers.

Owen Jones has revolutionised the The rich cotton-lords of the North patronise manufacture, and we can wish for nothing modern pictures in the same spirit. It is the better than his designs. thousands of pounds they represent, and not The upholsterers, ever on the watch to bring their real merit, which gives any satisfaction forward novelties that require constant renewto their owners. There is another class of men, ing, have lately introduced panelled walls, the again, who cannot afford really good works, squares of the panels being fitted up with but who think that anything but oil-paintings quilted satin. The style is hot and heavy,

, are below their dignity. They crowd their and is, moreover, an arrangement which does dining-rooms with “Raffaelles," and “Guidos,” not admit of hanging pictures—the true ornaaud “ Claude Lorraines,” picked up for a few ment of a drawing-room. Upholsterers seem pounds at some auction, and are never tired of to have an invincible dislike to real art in any attempting to palm them off upon their victims form, and to the pictorial art in particular, for

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the reason, we suppose, that it interferes with patched over with white spots in the shape of their own handicraft. The articles that fur- anti-macassars. There are very few ladies who nishing warehouses supply us with that are appear to have any idea of the harmony of most obnoxious to good taste, are our curtain colour, when applied to large surfaces. The hangings and table-cloths. The whole tribe of

very same persons who are instinctively excelreps, and tabarets, and merinos are ineffective | lent with regard to the agreement of colour in and vulgar: when covered with designs, they their wearing apparel, and who never, in fact, are simply detestable, particularly table-covers, commit a solecism with respect to it, will but in all cases the colours are glaring and make the most egregious blunders in the arpainful to the eye. Our manufacturing pro- rangement of colours in their drawing-rooms. cesses are perfect, but the taste which directs | It would seem as though their hands were inthem has fallen to a minimum. The rude capable of applying art principles to anything weavers of Africa and India possess infinitely larger than their own personal adornments. more refinement in their colours. In the Thrift, perhaps, has something to do with the International Exhibition of 1862, in the fur- ill taste which covers up every article of furniniture department, were some specimens of ture with patches of white druggeting, shrouds stuffs, manufactured in imitation of old dra- the gilt of the pier-glass with yellow gauze, and peries, which immediately struck the eye by even surrounds the gilt of picture-frames with the judiciousness of their secondary and ter- the same material, totally regardless of the tiary colouring, forming, as they did, such a fact that the gaudy and fimsy gambogegrateful contrast to the eye, to the hard crim- coloured covering is sure to kill the effect of sons and greens of the modern manufacturers. the picture, and to transfer the attention of In the same room we saw what common deal the offending flies to the precious work of art was capable of in the hands of the artistic itself—a matter they seem to care nothing joiner. The fiery mahoganies, which meet the about. There may be some excuse for that eye wherever we go, have supplanted most other class of persons who seem to think that all furniture-woods, but it is infinitely inferior in their finery should be kept for company ; but delicacy of colouring to the walnut-wood of for persons who can really afford to allow their our ancestors, and, for some articles, even to carpets to wear out in a fair manner, this petty the old English oak. The graining of deal is principle of putting everything in pinafores is also charming, and we have seen some really really contemptible. A well-made carpet or a artistic articles of furniture made in this mate-good chintz will bear the advance of time riai, at a cost within the means of all. The kindly, and with a grace, just as a good senturning-lathe has so supplanted the art of sible face does. The gentle gradations by design in what we may term the anatomy of which the hangings and the velvets, the gildour furniture, that to see simple forms, un- ing and the carpeting, fade and tone down tainted with the set shapes—rings and bulging ! harmoniously together may sometimes be witpear-shaped forms, which turners think essential nessed in households where the fussy spirit of to beauty—is really quite a relief. The Crom- | newness is in abeyance. In such apartments wellian chair for the dining-room, for instance, the silver grey of age seems at home, and the is supplanting all the tribe of seats mounted on fresh bloom of youth is only the more brightly balustrade leys; and the Oxford chair, revived set off. Of late years, we must confess, a from the time of the venerable Bede, shows us very great advance has been made in the dewhat real beauty of form may be attained by signs of our carpets of a better class, and the a very simple arrangement of parts. In the hideous groups of flowers which used to sprawl rooms of an artistic bachelor, now and then, across small closet-like rooms are no longer to we see designs such as these, which redeem the be seen ; but among the cheaper articles they age from the charge of being utterly ugly in seem as bad as ever, and we suppose will all its domestic details.

continue so until the masses obtain some artThe drawing-room, where “taste,” that cultivation, in which they are now much less much-abused word, is supposed to reign 'advanced than semi-barbarians. triumphant, is generally given up to such a' The only articles of domestic use in which a medley of monstrosities, that it is without the real and universal advance has been made is pale of criticism : settees that are constructed in glass and stoneware, china, &c.

It only on the pattern of woolsacks ; chairs in pina- seems the other day that we depended upon fores, which so cover them up that all sense of the barbarous drawings of the Chinese for the form is lost ; carpets of gorgeous patterns, cut designs on our plates. The willow pattern up in every direction by druggets of conflicting was the standard of taste among the middlecolours ; easy-chairs, with quilted backs, in classes; now it is no longer to be seen, at least the form of large cockle-shells ; and sofas : in respectable houses in the metropolis, and a

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hundred designs more or less good have taken our better class of furniture. We have workers its place. We owe this, perhaps, to the length in silver and in gold who equal the best efforts of of time art has been made a ruling principle in the ancients. Where the workers in our potteries : it is now beginning to bear fruit, wood ? If some of the art-students now at even to the most humble in the land. We the South Kensington Museum, and at other never see such a thing now as an ugly teacup art-schools throughout the country, would only in the better-class china-shops. The same may cultivate this field, they would find an eayer be said of our manufactured glass. Perhaps public ready to reward their labours, and they there was no department in the Great Exhibi- would have the satisfaction of redeeming from tion of 1862 which so delighted the connois- utter ugliness a very large and important seurs of art-manufactures, as the glass depart- branch of art-manufacture.

A. W. ment. Sometimes, dining with an old aunt, we are compelled to do the civil thing, and ADVENTURES IN THE WILDS OF take some of her own-made currant wine out

CONNEMARA. of the wine-glasses bought in her youth, and BY THE AUTHOR OF “ LIFE AMONGST CONVICTS.” out of the decanters that suited the tastes of a

PART III. bygone generation. When we think of their I was musing over the resolute conduct of clumsy forms and cloudy colour, it seems as the Connemara maiden, and on the woman's though it must be another race of people who wit with which she had saved her life and denow quaff their champagne or claret from the stroyed the monster, Captain Webb, by pushelegant crystal of our modern manufacturers. ing him, head foremost, into the “Murdering If the arts of design have made such an ad- Hole,” when I saw in the distance a peasant vance in these fragile fabrics, why, we ask, approaching, driving a pony with a pair of may we not look for similar results among our panniers, that were evidently well filled and more substantial domestic appliances ? A chair carefully covered. is as good an object for the application of “ God save you !” said the peasant, a rakishartistic principles as a cup or a wine-glass ; in- I looking young fellow, with his hat on the side deed, we see what can be done in certain of his head, and an ash stick in his hand. departments when special and learned classes “God save you kindly, Ned,” was young are catered for. Let us instance church furni- | Joyce's reply. ture. Never, in the palmiest Roman Catholic I walked my pony gently on, while the two days, were articles of this description better young men stopped to converse. I had not made, or of purer design, than by those persons proceeded far when young Joyce called after who devote themselves to this class of furni- me, “ Are you dhry, sir ?" ture. It is clear the men who design them “ Dry. What do you mean ?” are artists who work with love. Pugin struck “Would you like a dhrink, sir ?the note, and since his time it has not dege- 'Well, that would depend." nerated. What a distance divides works such “Would you like a dhrink of wine, sir ?” as these from the mere handicraft work! Take, I would, or a drink of wine and water ; for example, a gaselier, such as a Hardman for the day is getting very warm." would provide his customers with, and com- “ Then come back, sir.” pare it with a similar article of Brummagem As I returned, the young man with the work, to be seen in any ordinary gasfitter's jaunty caubeen and ash stick drew a bottle of windows. The Brummagem maker throws light French wine from one of the panniers, more twisted work into his design, displays poured more than the half of it into a little more splendacious cut glass in his shades, or- wooden noggin, and handed it to me. molus with great redundancy of lacquer ; but I emptied the noggin, as if it were water. the whole thing is a frightful botch, giving “Come, sir, finish it." absolute pain to the artistic mind. Why can

“Oh no, thank you.

I have drunk more not we impart a little simplicity into such than a pint as it is." matters ? Our schools of design surely cannot A pint! What would your father say to be making much progress either with the a pint, Rob?" artisan-class or with their masters, otherwise Robert grinned. the world would not be flooded as it is with such vile designs. We can understand the I held out my noggin, received the remainder manufacturers for the cheap furniture ware- of the bottle of wine, and finished it.

“Upon houses employing certain set patterns, which my word that is good,” smacking my lips. are easily reproduced by steam machinery in

" What shall I pay you

?large numbers ; but what we cannot under- “ We'll settle that the next time we meet, stand is the absence of really good designs in sir ; but I'm glad you like the wine.”

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". The wine was excellent ; but we may never was well known to the excise ; but they were meet again, my good fellow ; so we had better afraid to enter the country. Death's head and settle the matter now.”

cross bones were placed over the gates of “Why, the thruth is, sir," with a grin, “and Connemara. It was, at the time I write, like you know there's nothing like the thruth, the coiner's haunted house, from a niche in sir-2

whose wall a gigantic figure in clanking chains “Nothing.”

walked out. Big Joyce may have intended to “I haven't taken out a licence for selling try this trick on me, but he changed his mind. this wine.

Perhaps he saw the clasped knife, and con“Oh, I

cluded I would fight it out ; or that I might “ You understand now, sir ?”

not be a gauger, or an exciseman, after all. “ You just keep it as presents for your Cæsar Otway tells a story of a courageous friends."

little dapper exciseman, who entered ConneJust as presents for my friends, sir." mara, single-handed, to seize a fat lady who

“Or to refresh a thirsty traveller, like did a good business in French silks and laces. myself ?

He met the contrabandist in a narrow pass, “Or to refresh a thraveller like yersilf, sir,” and came upon her, if I recollect aright, unexgrinning

pectedly, from behind a rock.

The lady,

who “Well, Ned—I believe your name is Ned ?” was very large and fat, was riding on a pillion “Ned Nowlan, sir.”

behind a servant boy. Although taken by sur"Ned Nowlan ! I have heard that name prise, she proved herself more than a match for before,” I said, looking at young Joyce.

the excise officer, “He's the grandson of Ned Nowlan, the “I shall thank you, ma'am,” said he, taking lieutenant of Captain Mac Namara, that made the horse by the bridle, “ to dismount.” the great leap on the back of his mare, Binnish," Dismount ! Arrah, what for, sir?” asked that I was telling you of,” replied young Joyce. the lady.

Are you the grandson of Lieutenaut Now- “I am an officer in His Majesty's service, lan, the friend of Captain Mac Namara ?” ma'am, and have reason to believe that you

“ I am, sir,” said young Nowlan, looking as have contraband property about your person, proud as the son of an Irish king.

or beneath the saddle of the horse." “ Well, Nowlan, I am obliged to you for the I

Fortunate for the contrabandist she had wine, and hope you may get your panniers safe none of the goods about her person : they home without meeting an exciseman.”

were all stowed away beneath the pillion, or “ I'd like to see one of them darring to put saddle, on which she sat. his nose into this part of the counthry.”

“I really cannot come down," said the large “You'd rub him down with that ash towel fat woman. in your hand ?

“But really, ma'am, you must,” said the “Be my troth he'd have sore bones leaving courageous little man, looking up at the Connemara. So if you have a friend in that mountain. line, you had better recommend him to keep Then if I do, sir, you must help me." clear of us."

“ With the greatest pleasure, ma'am," said “To give you a wide berth ?

the miniature exciseman, holding up his hands

to assist her. “But I have no friend in the profession.” The lady, who came “down at a run,"

“So much the better, sir ; they are no credit plopped into his arms with a weight and veto any gentleman."

locity which threw him on his back in the Good-day to you, Nowlan, and many road, where she held him pinned beneath her. thanks for your good wine.”

“Ride away, ma bochal," said she, in Irish, Good-day to you, sir, and good luck ; and turning round her head to the servant-boy ; you are welcome, if it were better."

“it's me the gentleman wants, and not you.” From what I saw, and afterwards learned of “Let me up, madam," roared the excisethe peaceable and friendly character of the people of Connemara, I came to the conclusion "Oh dear me, sir! what a fright you gave that they traded on a bad name. They did a me !” rolling herself leisurely off ; and I very large trade in illicit distillation in the declare that boy las rode off with the horse." heart of Connemara, and carried on, along the My friend had chosen for his residence one western coast, an active traffic in contraband of the wildest parts of Connemara, near the goods with French vessels. It was from this western coast. The roll and rush of the Atquarter that Dan Nowlan had come with his lantic was distinctly heard at his house during panniers of wine and French brandy. All this the prevalence of westerly winds. The rocky

6 Just so.

man,

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