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THE ENVIRONS OF GENEVA.
From the summit of the Jura, a height of some thousand feet, is seen as a garden, the heavenly country that surrounds Geneva and its silver lake; with the gigantic Alps rearing their heads in the distance.
The view opens to the traveller on a sudden, and there is not in the world a grander coup d'æil. It is like being suspended in the air, looking down on the garden of Eden, which never in my most extravagant fancy seemed more enchanting. I exclaimed at once“ If there's a heaven on earth, I see it now." The recollection of Milton's Satan when he first viewed our little world forcibly struck me.
The lake is beautifully. clear and transparent; it reflects as a faithful mirror the surrounding scenery ; the Rhone which traverses it from east to west, full fifty miles, may be traced in its whole course by the different hue of its waters. The town of Geneva is delightfully situated on the western extremity of the lake, and through it the Rhone gushes in two clear streams, and resumes its rapid course towards the Mediterranean.
What can excel the delight afforded by a sailing excursion on the tranquil surface of the lake, in the oblique rays of a declining sun! the cloudless sky, the pure unruffled air, the verdant bank, sloping to the water's edge, the vineyards that ornament the rising ground, the innumerable villas, their Howery gardens, which seem stolen from the lake, the rich appearance of the country around, even to the tremendous mountains that form a barrier designed by nature to shut in this little paradise from the rest of the world, their heads covered, with snows during the greater part of the summer, as if to shew an agreeable freshness on the glowing bosom of the valley, the boary crest of Mount Blanc, grey with eternal snows, standing like a venerable patriarch amidst his numerous offspring of many generations--all these combine in finishing a picture, which none but the pencil of nature could design.
PARISIAN ON DISS.
There is nothing new at our great theatres ; the people are too busy at the elections to attend to other things.
An interesting volume, composed during a residence of some years at Rome, has made its appearance, under the title of Tablettes Romaines. It contains
many amusing anecdotes. The author appears to be both a wit and a philosopher. The following is one of the anecdotes :
“ After Napoleon had married Marie Louise, he appeared dissatisfied that Canova (who was very intimate with him) did not compliment him; “ Puis je vous feliciter (rejoined Canova), d'avoir fait divorce avec la fortune?"
A new Romance from the pen of a lady, of which report speaks highly, will soon appear, entitled “ Le Mulatre."
Lady Morgan's Life of Salvator Rosa has been translated and published here.
The last picture at the Diorama is painted by Mr. Da Guerre : it represents the ruins of the chapel at Holyrood-house, of which it affords a very favourable idea. The picture is full of spirit; the effect is natural, and altogether it is very much admired.
A DISSERTATION ON CLOAKS.
(For the benefit of the hoodwinked.) SURELY the goddess of fashion was in one of her most accommodating and most economical moods when she sanctioned the importation of the roquelaure, and the revival of cloaks for walking gentlemen. It is rather surprising, that she who delights in disguises, and performs such wonders by means of concealment, should ever have suffered an age to pass by unmuffled and uncloaked. That she who, in Rome, presided over the ample draperies of senators, and arranged the folds of the imperial purple, should, in England, have connived at such scanty and pitiful mantles, as half-covered and half-revealed the lank figures of the bareboned Puritans. At a subsequent period, however, even when the garment had dwindled still less, she did well to abolish it altogether, on discovering to what base uses it might be prostituted by such malignant spirits as Guy Faux and his confederates, in cloaks and combustibles. But a quarantine of some ages duration having, in a manner, bleached out the shade cast upon it, by the dark lantern, so nefariously concealed under it, a license seems to have been recently issued for its restoration, and accordingly, cloaks of all sorts have, for the last two or three winters, been spreading far and wide, until they have obtained that happy universality which renders them comé-at-able by persons of all conditions: from him who can order one with linings of für and scarlet, and gorgeous trappings, in St. James's-street, to him who is at his wits'end to muster a sum sufficient to pay for one, without lining or trappings, in the purlieus of Monmouth-street, or Rosemary-lane.
The best of it is, that the most shabby-genteel gentleman in town is able, when enveloped in his roquelaure—which, like gentle charity, covereth a multitude of defects—to keep pace with those of most exquisite apparel : the one wearing it to conceal, the other to preserve, their under garments. Mr. Wilkins declares, that if the cloaks had not come into vogue, just at the critical season they did, he should long since have been left without a single acquaintance, and have been turned away from the doors of that public office at which he has been dancing attendance for the last two seasons, for the purpose of ascertaining, if the post, which he has been a long time expecting, is yet vacant. Far distant is the day since I beheld the poor applicant without a cloak, or
W. L. M. vol 1, NO. VIII.--Second Edition.
could discover what he wears beneath it. The collar is carefully closed, and raised as high as his cheek-bones; for poor Mr. W. is troubled with a perpetual face-ache; the cape is never unbuttoned ; as his lungs are exceedingly delicate--and the skirt is prevented from flying open, by a trusty hook and eye, a little below the knee; the wearer being, according to his own account, of a temper so irritable and furious, that when he formerly suffered his train to flow behind him, and it was constantly getting entangled with the trains of other passengers, he as constantly got embroiled in quarrels and affrays.
The shapes and species of cloaks are multiplied beyond enumeration, and multiform beyond description. The most general favourite seems to be the cloak martial. This very nearly resembles that comprehensive habiliment which, at once, protects the armour of the life guards, and the loins of their horses, from the effects of wet weather. It is a close imitation of this warlike covering, that has so taken the fancy of the city clerks and shopmen, as to give the bridges over which they pass, and the suburban roads along which they march, in their daily progress to and from their peaceful desks and counters, ---the appearance of military stations, visited and inspected at stated periods of the day, by so many warriors and chieftains in disguise. And then the sudden and rapid advance of some, who, in the midst of their stateliness hear the town clocks, announce the hour which their punctual principals consider high time for all diligent young men to be mounted on a stool, with a pen in their hand-and the precipitate retreat of others in the evening, who have been detained at business, by some curmudgeonly cit, till after the period fixed for the assembly of the “ Pancras' free and easy,” or the * Shacklewell pic-nic”—are movements which must have inspired not a little alarm and agitation, in the breasts of those, whose locality compels them to witness such marchings and counter-marchings, and whose property lies in the vicinity of these redoubtable operations. For my part, I have no danger to apprehend, living in a corner, far remote from the seat of war, and having little cause to be alarmed for the security of my possessions. Still I must take the liberty of requesting, that the officers of this corps, when despatched with Christmas accounts, or commissioned on the dunning service, will deport themselves as gently as their dignity will permit, and so as not to increase the horrors of the disagreeable duty in which they are engaged, by any gratuitous impertinence, or wanton cruelty of their own. The other day, just as I was sitting down to dinner in a coffee-room, its two swinging doors were thrown open with a bounce, and there entered a tall figure, enveloped in the cloak martial, accoutred with Wellington boots and clanking spurs, holding in his hand a fearful bludgeon, and wearing on his head a fur travelling cap with a glittering gold tassel.* The waiters, seemed petrified—a gourmand who sat before me, and who had, up to that awful moment, eaten with such laborious avidity, as to produce a perspiration on his forehead, arrested his uplifted fork, charged with a morsel of savoury venison, and without closing his expectant mouth, paused to gaze upon the mysterious stranger. Reckless of the commotion he had excited, that haughty personage made his way to the bar, at the farther end of the room, and there, in an effeminate tone, which must have been inaudible, but for the silence which his appearance had obtained, was heard to inform mine host, that Messieurs Pipe and Sloe would feel particularly obliged by the immediate settlement of their last account. As soon as this notable
message was pronounced, the gourmand knit his brows, and consigned the suspended morsel to its destination—the general business of refection was resumed—and the intruder either departed, or remained in peace, though it was not worth any body's while to notice what really did become of him.
The cloak pedantic is remarkable for the number of its plaits and the amplitude of its cape, which descends upon the arms of the wearer, in a form closely resembling the gowns of clergymen and lawyers; besides serving, at the same time, to conceal the natural insignificance of the wearer. This is a great favourite with those gentlemen of grave aspect, and solemn carriage, who seem at every step to solve a problem; and who, disdaining to notice the vulgar people and objects through which they pass, possess just as many sensible ideas when they first set out, as they do at the conclusion of their perambulations. Sometimes they pause to collect their wandering thoughts and flowing draperies, and to ensconce themselves still more securely. Anon, they quicken their pace, swing their arms about most emphatically, and produce as much rustling as a high wind in a forest. I cannot charge them with any overt instances of fraud or folly ; since, if ever they pass for wise men in the estimation of the simple, or are mistaken for bishops and judges, by rustics and children, the imposition is harmless, and chiefly attributable to the shallowness of the dupe.
The cloak romantic' is long and flowing, and is more susceptible of varied and picturesque disposition than any other habit of modern adoption: allowing, as it does, one shoulder to be bare, and the other to be invested with a manifold covering, it effectually secures the latter from every inclemency of the weather; though it must be conceded, that the former is rather unfairly dealt with, by its entire exposure. One corner of the cloak may be carried in the hand, and from time to time, may be Aung behind the back, whenever it becomes expedient to assume a consequential air, or a striking attitude to overawe the insignificant, or to captivate a leering fair one. For these and many other good reasons, this species of cloak is decidedly the best, for lovers, authors, theatrical candidates, subjects of portrait painters, and all who desire to exhibit an elegant slovenliness, or a dignified eccentricity.
The cloak serviceable is an article of female apparel. It is that comfortable garb which benevolence wraps round the cold and naked, forming a portable shelter for “ the houseless child of want;" and a covert to the palsied and decrepit, from the piercing winter wind. This is the cloak which when new, is the holiday pride, and when old, the every-day wear, of the rustic matron'; which the Irish peasant girls contrive to render one of the most becoming, and bewitching dresses in the world; and in the capacious hood of which is “scope and verge enough” for the infant progeny of beggars, gypsies, wanderers, and haymakers.
The cloak irresistible belongs to the ladies, by whom it has been worn, on and off, for many generations; notwithstanding, it has been latterly revived, with fresh lustre, under the title of the new French silk cloak. The effects produced by its graceful folds, when negligently falling upon the shoulders of a beauty, at the opera; or, when closed at the throat, it guards the neck of some fashionable fair as she takes her morning drive, are truly triumphant. The Marquis of - was taken captive by, he knows not whom, as she sat in a peach-blossom, at Catalani's first re-ap
pearance; and Sir T. F
was totally overcome by a little brunette in a puce, of whom he only caught a glimpse, as her victorious chariot whirled into Hanover-square. But while I admit the wonderful success of this elegant habiliment, it is but fair to say, that I have no reason to owe it any remarkably good will, but rather the contrary. My second cousin, Miss Barbara Merton, was tenant for life to some estates which were bequeathed to her, and the heirs of her body, or in default thereof, to that branch of the family to which I have the honour to belong. Now, in her youthful days, Barbara was desirous of marrying for her own gratification; and to bring about her wishes, she left no device untried: but my grandmother wishing to secure the property for her own posterity, was equally active and intriguing, to thwart my cousin in her matrimonial enterprises. In this she succeeded so far as to keep her unmarried, not only in the heyday of her youthful blood, but long after she had passed the grand climactric. Whether my maternal ancestor, thinking the danger was over, grew remiss in her pursuit, or whether Barbara, stirred up by spite and desperation, resolved to be no longer counteracted, I am not certain. But, in her fifty-ninth year, she ventured upon the following experiment:-She attired herself in a geranium coloured silk cloak, of the same fashion as the present; through the arm-holes of which, her withering arms were thrust, encompassed with a pair of most costly and exquisite poyntz lace ruffles, which had, time out of mind, been a sort of heir loom to the estate in question: underneath this accommodating envelope, she revealed a stomacher, richly studded with precious stones-and on her head, she fantastically placed a straw-hat, turned up both before and behind, with a lining of maiden's blush, and liberally trimmed with cherry-coloured ribbons--and from beneath this again, there crept out a profusion of auburn ringlets. Thus apparelled and adorned, she betook herself to an eminent painter-Gainsborough, I think-who was equally skilful in landscape, and the figure. To him she sat for her portrait, giving him to understand, by no very obscure intimation, that she should not think the worse of his art, if he imparted a little of the hue of her cloak to her complexion, which was by nature, the colour of her straw-hat. For a back-ground, she directed the manor house to be delineated, in the most advantageous perspective. When the picture was finished, she most condescendingly permitted it to be exhibited at the new rooms of the Royal Academy; where it had not been many days, before it attracted the notice of a London attorney, of some respectability, who shrewdly guessed that the lady and her estate were both to be disposed of. Finding, after a little inquiry, that his supposition was correct, he lost no time in throwing himself in the way of Miss Barbara, to whom he declared the anxietude he had experienced ever since he had caught a glimpse of her interesting picture. As no time was to be lost, the match was concluded ; and he soon had the felicity of leading to the hymeneal altar, a maiden who stood confessed in all the charms of blooming sixty. They lived together in a very harmonious and friendly manner for five years, when, as there appeared but little prospect of an heir to cut off the entail, the lawyer took care to cut it off himself, by means of a common recovery; whereby the estates departed as completely from our side of the house, as if Barbara had been the mother of endless generations. And since all this mischief may be traced to the effects of the geranium silk cloak, it is not to be wondered at, if I look upon all