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should die, are not to be taught how to world--as it is called-people seemed to live; they are kept at home, because have no other object in life than to one boy of theirs died at school.”
meet every evening to shuffle cards and One more bucolic sketch, and then we to win or lose money. Nor was the move on to different scenes. It is of passion confined to men and dowagers ; the vicar of Tunbridge, and might be young women, mere girls, were as deepplaced beside Fielding's picture of the ly infatuated by the vile pursuit as were clergy of the period. The good par. their elders. No party, ball, or assemson made some apology for his undress, bly would have been tolerated or atwhich was a true canonical dishabille. tended unless accommodation had been He had on a gray striped calamanco provided for the indulgence of this night-gown, a wig that once was white, vice; as an instance, in the Duke of but by the influence of an uncertain cli- Richmond's house there were always mate turned to a pale orange, a brown eighteen card-tables set for the amusehat encompassed by a black hat-band, a ment of his guests; the only conversaband somewhat dirty that decently re- tion heard was the jargon of the differtired under the shadow of his chin, a ent games, and disputes between partpair of gray stockings well mended with ners and opponents as to the correctness blue worsted. When we had seen the or incorrectness of the play ; men would church, the parson invited us to take gamble away their patrimonies and fall some refreshment at his house, but Dr. from wealth to poverty in a single night, Young thought we had before enough and a woman would stake her jewels, her trespassed on the good man's time, so husband's fortune, and even her honor desired to be excused, else we should upon the cut of a card. Instead, howno doubt have been welcomed to the ever, of following the fashion, Mrs. house by madam in her muslin pinners Montagu and a few friends, Miss Bosand sarsanet hood, who would have cawen and Mrs. Vesey, who, like herself, given us some mead and a piece of cake were untainted by this wolfish passion, that she had made in the Whitsun holi- resolved to make a stand against the days to treat her cousins.” The par- universal tyranny-of a custom which abson is invited to dine with the visitors ; sorbed the life and leisure of the rich to he excuses himself, but comes after the exclusion of all intellectual enjoyward “in hopes of smoking a pipe. ment, and, borrowing the idea from the To say the truth, I saw a large horn Parisian salons of Madame du Deffand, tobacco-box, with Queen Ann's head Madame l’Espinasse, and their rivals upon it, peeping out of his pocket.' and imitators, to found a society in
In 1742 Miss Robinson became the which conversation should supersede wife of Edward Montagu, a grandson cards. This was about the year 1750. of the first Earl of Sandwich. He was How these assemblies first came to be an elderly man, very wealthy, and ap- called “ Blue-Stockings” has been varipears to have made an excellent hus- ously explained. One anecdote relates band to a young lady who had very how Mrs. Vesey, one of the principal common sense and practical ideas upon ladies of the movement, having met Mr. the subject of matrimony. Only one Stillingileet at Bath, invited him to one child, a son, was born to them, which of these reunions, then just being estabdied in its infancy. Mr. Montagu was lished. This gentleman, who was noted a student who devoted all his leisure to for the unfashionable carelessness of mathematics, and, being a large owner his dress, objected that he was not in the of coal-mines, he was a man of business habit of appearing in proper equipments as well. Free of family cares, and prob- for evening parties. “Oh, never mind," ably little troubled with marital com- said the lady ; come as you are, in panionship, it would have been but nat- your blue stockings. To this, as an ural for the young wife to fall into the addendum, we must add a paragraph usual fashionable round of the time, of from Boswell which completes the anecwhich card-playing was the principal dote. “One of the most eminent memoccupation.
bers of these societies was a Mr. StilThe passion for gambling was at this lingfleet (a grandson of the bishop), period at its height, and in the great whose dress was remarkably grave, and
in particular it was observed that he Mrs. Vesey, Boswell, Johnsun, Burke, wore blue stockings. Such was the ex- Miss Burney, Mason, Garrick ; and in cellence of his conversation, and his time almost every literary celebrity of absence was felt so great a loss, that it the period was included among the visused to be said, “We can do nothing itors. without the blue-stockings,' and thus by A certain little chatty French lady, degrees the title established named Madame du Bocage, in her Forbes, in his “ Life of Beattie," gives “ Letters on England, Holland, and a similar derivation of the title, and fur- Italy,” gave some amusing descriptions ther informs us that it was Admiral Bos- of Hill Street society. At this period cawen who, from the circumstance everything was à la chinoise. Voltaire above quoted, first used the term Blue- wrote a Chinese play, L'Orphelin de la Stocking Society, and that a foreigner Chine, which was translated by Murphy ; of distinction, hearing the expression, imaginary Chinese philosophers descanttranslated it literally Bas-bleu, by which ed upon the manners of the Western name these meetings were ever after dis- barbarians, every house was decked out tinguished But I think a yet more with the monstrosities of China ware, probable derivation of the term is given and rooms were furnished after the in a note to Hayward's “ Life and Cor- Pekin pattern ; the only wonder is that respondence of Mrs. Thrale," upon, we we did not shave our heads, wear pigare told, the authority of a daughter of tails, and distort the feet instead of the Lady Greville, who was one of the Bas- waists of our female children, and take bleu. When these assemblies were still for the nonce to the worship of Buddha. in their infancy Madame de Polignac, Madame du Bocage describes how she being in London, was invited to one of breakfasted at Mrs. Montagu's in a the breakfasts ; she wore on the occa- room lined with Pekin paper, and fursion a pair of blue silk stockings, which nished with the choicest furniture of the fashion was then all the rage in Paris ; Celestial Empire. “A long table, covand thereupon her English friends, ered with the finest linen, presented to who, with all their learning, were not the view a thousand glittering cups, above such feminine weaknesses, adopt- which contained coffee, chocolate, bised this color for their nether casings. cuits, cream, butter, toast, and exquiIt seems more probable that the name site tea ; you must understand that there should have arisen from such a peculi- is no good tea to be had anywhere but arity of feminine costume, rather than in London. The mistress of the house, from an accident of male eccentricity: who deserves to be served at the table John Timbs, in “ Clubs and Club Life, of the gods, poured it out herself. This traces the Bas-bleu back to ancient is the custom, and in order to conform Greece ; he also quotes Mill's “ History to it, the dress of the English ladies, of Chivalry," to show that there was which suits exactly to their stature, the established in Venice, in the fifteenth white apron, and the pretty straw hat, century, a literary society that distin- becomes them with the greatest propriguished itself by its stockings, which ety, not only in their own apartments, were sometimes of blended colors and
but at noon in St. James's Park, where sometimes wholly blue. As the found- they walk with the stately and majestic ers of the “ Blue-Stockings," however, gait of nymphs." These literary breakhave left no record of the origin of the fasts were imitated by others, but none term, the reader must take a choice approached the magnificence of the among these several explanations. original.
Mrs. Montagu's first assemblies were Mr. Montagu died in 1775, leaving held at her house in Hill Street, Berke- his widow an estate of 7000l. a year ; ley Square, then an unpaved suburban soon afterward she had a mansion erectthoroughfare, dangerous to be abroad in ed for herself in Portman Square, then after dusk, on account of footpads and in the process of formation ; it is still highwaymen that infested the neighbor- standing, a detached building at the hood. Among the earliest frequenters north-west corner, and is now the town were Lord Lyttleton, Pulteney, Horace house of Lord Portman ; but doubtless Walpole, Miss Boscawen, Mrs. Carter, it is much altered since the days of the
Bas-bleu assemblies. Hither she re- ing Mr. Observer beholds something moved in 1781. Like all other institu- approaching which looks like columns, tions of the kind, the Blue-Stocking arches, and porticoes in the perspective Society in time began to degenerate of a theatrical scene ; this is Vanessa, from its primitive simplicity into eccen- attired in a petticoat upon which are tricities and undue splendor. The embroidered the ruins of Palmyra in queen now held her court in an extraor- colored silks. The company is diverse; dinary apartment entirely hung with there are an inventor of a diving-bell, of feathers. This room has been im- a powder to kill vermin on trees, a mortalized by Cowper in the little poem young lady novelist (probably "little "On Mrs. Montagu's Feather Hang- Burney''), an old woman who models ings," commencing :
heads in wax, and who informs him that “The birds put off their every hue,
she is the descendant of the witch of To dress a room for Montagu ;
Endor, a philosopher (Johnson), and a The Peacock sends his heavenly dyes, famous actress (Mrs. Siddons), about His rainbows and his starry eyes ;
whom gather a fashionable mob, who The Pheasant, plumes which round enfold His mantling neck with downy gold ;
stare at her as though she were some The Cock, his arched tail's azure show;
abnormal beast, and question her and And, river-blanched, the Swan his snow,' cross-question her about every detail of
her art ; presently a young lady dressed In one of his “ Observers,” Cumberland in white and crowned with a wreath of has given a somewhat satirical and exag- flowers is introduced by Vanessa as “ a gerated picture of the Montagu house young noviciate of the Muses," and adassemblies, but of which the outlines dresses the mortified actress in a copy were doubtless tolerably correct. Un- of fulsome verses. There is a confirder the name of Vanessa, he describes mation of the last sketch in one of Mrs. the hostess as a lady who had been Siddons's letters, in which she describes either a beauty or a wit all her life, but the scene much as it is given in “ The whose vanity was excusable from the Observer." Hannah More, who was a pleasing colors it threw upon her char- frequent visitor in Portman Square, and acter. "It gives the spring to charity, who has capitally described the assemgood nature, affability ; it makes her blies in her poem of “ The Bas-bleu, splendid, hospitable, carries her into complains about this time that “the old all the circles of fine people, and crowds little parties are not to be had in the all the fine people into hers; it starts a usual style of comfort. Everything is thousand whimsical caprices that furnish great, and vast, and late, and magnifiemployment to the arts, and it has the cent, and dull." merit of opening her doors and her purse Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, in his “ Histo the sons of science ; in short, it ad- torical Memoirs of his Own Time, ministers protection to all descriptions gives a more sober and reserved picture and degrees of genius, from the manu- of Mrs. Montagu in her sixtieth year. facturer of a toothpick to the author of He calls her the English Madame du an epic poem ; it is a vanity that is a Deffand, and says that her house was sure box at an author's first night, and the central point of union for all who a sure card at a performer's benefit ; it were already known, or who sought to pays well for a dedication, and stands become known, by their talents and profor six copies in a subscriber's list.” ductions. He describes her as thin but On the occasion of his visit he finds a well preserved, with a cast of features number of new works upon the table, which was rather satirical and severe with bits of paper between the leaves, than amiable and inviting, with a manand here and there a corner turned more dictatorial and sententious down; a cynical-looking personage in than conciliating or diffident; he says the room tells him that you may always that there was nothing feminine about know what company to expect by the her, and that her voice was harsh and books that are out, as these are delicate unmusical ; that she was destitute of ruses to flatter the authors' vanity and taste in dress, but paid more attention to make them believe that she is reading her toilet than was altogether consistent their works. While these two are talk- with a philosophic mind. “Even at
fourscore she could not relinquish her pregnated with meaning. But, although diamond necklace and bows, which he was a frequent guest at Montagu formed of evenings the perpetual orna- House, Johnson had seldom a good ment of her emaciated person ;' and he word for the hostess ; probably the hints that these glittering appendages of Thrale influence had something to do opulence sometimes dazzled those whom with this, for the brewer's wife aspired her arguments and literary acquire to be a literary queen herself, and she ments might not have convinced or in- would not have been a woman could she timidated. Yet, notwithstanding such have serenely endured to be cast into weaknesses, he acknowledges that she the shade by one of her own sex, The possessed a cultivated and enlightened tone of somewhat contemptuous patronunderstanding, expanded by books and age in which he reviewed the works of society, and that she was constantly sur- Lord Lyttleton, who was Mrs. Monrounded by all that was distinguished tagu's most cherished friend, in his for attainments, male or female, Eng. "Lives of the Poets," gave great lish or foreign. Still, the society at offence to the lady. Montagu House had something of the In Portman Square the old sociable narrowness of a clique when compared and sensible breakfast gave place to the with the universality of the French French fashion, then first introduced, of salons, in which neither creed nor no- eight-o'clock teas, at which some fifty creed was black-balled, and where every to a hundred guests would assemble at man of talent from a Jesuit priest to an long tables and small tables, and eat hot agnostic was equally welcomed. In her buttered rolls and muffins, and make youth Mrs. Montagu had not been un- their own tea, and talk learnedly or tainted with the freethinking spirit of foolishly, according to their lights. the age, but orthodoxy grew with years. These eight-o'clock teas became as fashand no Voltaire or Diderot would have ionable as our own five-o'clock teas, been welcomed in her Feather Room ; and we hear of the Duchess of Bedford hence among the names of its frequent- ' sending out invitations from her Bloomsers we do not find that of Hume or bury mansion, in the summer months, Gibbon.
for tea and a walk in the fields ; while A great impetus to her celebrity was Lady Clermont, who lived near St. given by her one literary production, James's Palace, assembled guests for tea the “ Essay on the Genius and Writings and a stroll in the Park.
How strange of Shakespeare," written in answer to all this sounds to us sojourners in the Voltaire's despicable attack upon the great unwieldy Babylon of to-day, that, great poet ; it created a considerable like some monstrous devil-fish, is ever sensation both in France and England, stretching its giant limbs farther and and, together with the fabulous accounts farther among the green fields, and deof her wealth that preceded her, made vouring them with insatiable voracity! her the lion of Paris during a visit she As has been already stated, Mrs. paid to that capital. Johnson, in his Montagu's assemblies found many imiusual envious, irascible fashion, pro- tators; Horace Walpole, in one of his nounced a contemptuous judgment upon letters, has given an amusingly satirical the brochure, but it has at least the picture of a certain provincial Bluemerit of being greatly in advance of the Stocking Assembly, presided over by time in true appreciation of its subject. one Mrs. Miller, of Bath. “They have Her letters abound in excellent exam- introduced bouts-rimés as a new discovples of such an appreciative faculty, ery. They hold a Parnassus Fair every and the remarks upon contemporary Thursday, give out rhymes and themes, literature-notably upon Richardson's and all the flux and quality of Bath “Clarissa Harlowe"-with which they contend for the prizes. A Roman vase abound may still be read with profit and decked with pink ribbons and myrtles interest. In one of his gentler moods receives poetry, which is drawn out even the great Doctor was fain to admit every festival. Six judges of these that she was very extraordinary Olympic games retire and select the woman, that she had a constant stream brightest compositions, which the reof conversation which was always im- spective successful acknowledge, kneel
to Mrs. Calliope Miller, and kiss her year of the present century, being then fair hand, and are crowned with myrtle. in her eightieth year ; the Blue-StockThe collection is printed, published- ing Assemblies, died with her, and the yes, on my faith, there are bouts-rimés literary salon became extinct in Eng. on a buttered muffin, by. Her Grace the land, until it was once more, but only Duchess of Northumberland, receipts to for a brief season, revived by Ladies make them by Corydon the Venerable, Morgan, Holland, and Blessington.-alias George Pitt, etc.
Belgravia Magazine. Mrs. Montagu survived until the first
M. KAUFMANN, M.A., AUTHOR OF SOCIALISM : ITS NATURE, ITS DANGERS,
AND ITS REMEDIES CONSIDERED, ETC.
How are the demands of Nihilism to formalism, the religious sentiment of be met ; what are the measures to be the people has been considerably weakadopted, if any, to quell the growing ened, while the ranks of Nihilism have spirit of discontent? What shall I been reinforced by clerics and their do with Bakunin ?" said the Emperor families, the so-called clerical proletariat, Nicholas, after that revolutionist's re- and also by a large number of perselease from the Austrian prison where he cuted dissentients from the “ orthodox had been incarcerated on account of his church.” Again, as to the army, we political agitation ; "I cannot hang are told by Signor Arnaudo, in his able him.” And so the Tzar of all the Rus- and comprehensive book on Nihilism, sias sent him into Siberian exile, from that here, too, there are no less than which Bakunin, however, escaped after three kinds of malcontents : those who some time, not a wiser, but a wilder are enrolled by a merciless system of man. It was a typical act of autocratic conscription against their will; those clemency, which has been all along the who are pressed into the service as a characteristic of imperial policy toward punishment for political offences and Nihilist conspirators. It is no less than misdemeanors; and, finally, those disa confession of impotence on the part of contented non-commissioned officers despotism when brought face to face who are not permitted to rise from the with the hydra of anarchy which it ranks, but are condemned
to pass helped in creating but cannot destroy. their lives in subordinate posts while
It is thus that the Nihilist revolution sprigs of the nobility are set over them, has taken its course, gaining volume and whose supercilious air toward veterans momentum, sometimes through the en- grown old in the service adds to the ircouragement given by judicial leniency ritation, and makes the army a fruitful and imperial connivance, at other times field for the seeds of discontent sown gaining strength through the resistance sedulously by Nihilist agitators. As for and repression of those in power. the loyalty of the educated classes, it is
The latter method has been recom- well known that the sympathies with the mended by some. There is no danger Nihilist propaganda are as strong here as in a strong policy of repression, says among the enlightened circles of French Nicolai Karlowitsch, whose work on the society before the outbreak of the Revodevelopment of Nihilism has been re- lution. And, it may be added, as the ceived with general approbation by the legists of France, the administrators of Russian press. And for this he relies the ancien régime, were among the very on the religiously monarchical disposi- first to receive with enthusiasm the subtion of the people, the trustworthiness versive Socialist theories of the eighof the army, and the loyalty of the teenth century, so in the ranks of Rusgreater portion of the educated people. sian officials there are numerous sympaBut it is a notorious fact that, with the thizers with the Nihilist movement. In growing contempt for an ignorant and fact, it may be said of every educated corrupt clergy and their superstitious Russian of the day, that, Nihilist or not, New SERIES. – VOL. XXXIII., No. 6