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as a great philosopher, but not by any means to read till there is a Family Carlyle published, for I understand that he treats of many things which are not proper for a young lady to know); Mr. Lampkin tells me that he digresses in the most wonderful manner about all sorts of things. And while I am upon the topic of eminent literary men,
you not tell me in your last letter that you had been to hear Mr. Albert Smith's “ China,” at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly—(he is a clever, good-natured man, my dear, and had written “Ledbury,” and “ Tadpole,” and “Scattergood,” and the "Gent," and innumerable amusing plays, novels, and papers, before I left the world, and his industry must have been prodigious; but I wish he had not grown a beard ; he had a fine head of hair in ’49, and his whiskers were genteel) —did you not tell me that, mixed up with his quaint Chinese curiosities (gongs and dried ducks, concentric balls, ivory chessmen, edible bird's-nests and things) and Mr. Beverley's beautiful pictures, Mr. Albert Smith told you all sorts of funny stories about people eating penny buns and making speeches at wedding breakfasts, and crinoline, and engineers with incomprehensible grievances ? Wasn't that digression ? And very entertaining digression you may say, too.
Thus, while the gentlemen do their shopping : choosing their wines—the liqueurs they ought to leave to the ladies, as having proverbially sweet teeth)-picking out the very best brands of cigars, besides laying in such stocks of men's matters as are included in shaving materials, dispatch boxes, men's books—those heavy thick squat volumes full of matter that only men can understand, that look so well on the library shelves, with their shining backs gilt-lettered, under the vandyked morocco valanco—but are so painfully uninteresting to our sex, when aux abois for literature, we
take them out on a wet day :-leaving them this description of purchases, to us remain a whole host of shops, and a whole catalogue of shopping to do. I have already touched on the extent to which a lady may reasonably interfere in the mere eating and drinking necessaries of life. Lazy housekeepers leave the commissariat entirely in the hands of their domestics, or to the alternately obsequious and impertinent people who haunt genteel streets in the forenoon, calling " for orders ” in light carts and vans; and at Christmas time, when those fatal bills come in, they discover the mistake they have committed. Again, stingy housekeepers are equally to be regarded as examples to be shunned. Don't be always poking and prying into the mysteries of the stillroom and the store-cupboard—you make your servants hate you, and do yourself no good ; although there are many ladies of rank who adopt this nip-cheese, candle-end saving, pebble-peeling, flea-skinning principle. Believe me, there is little of romance in the story of the immensely rich nobleman who, when his family were out of town, put his servants on board wages, and went himself into Bond Street to purchase a fowl for his dinner; and after ordering the smallest, cheapest chicken the shopman could find him, retraced his steps, and said, that as he was such a very small eater, he thought that half the fowl would be enough for him ; which moiety of a pullet was accordingly sent to Sardanapalus House, and debited to his lordship's account. Know what you have, and what you have to pay for it; but don't ask where the last of the pound of rushlights has gone to, oras I have known une grande dame de par le monde do-lock up the cold potatoes in a buhl cabinet. The usages of London society may have changed since my time, dear, and housekeeping may be managed very differently from the manner I knew it to be in 1849; but I know that meanness, and
avarice, and penny-wisdom and pound-foolishness are as prevalent now as ever, and that the Harpagons, the Hopkinses, the Elweses, and the Cutlers of society never die.
For your miscellaneous and amusing shopping you have that dear, delightful Hanway Yard, leading from Oxford Street to Tottenham Court Road, with its old point lace, its gold beads, its Dresden china, coral ornaments, filagree brooches, Venetian mirrors, Bohemian glass, ivory boxes, agate bracelets, tortoiseshell housewives, and quaint bric-àbrac of almost every imaginable description. The Pantheon is a nice place, too, for such women's ware—things worth a great deal to buy and nothing to sell ; and the Soho Bazaar offers many attractions of a similar nature. There is the German Fair, too, if you want to purchase toys and toilet ornaments, and a very curious warehouse, full of articles de Paris, or rather d'Allemagne, at Kossmann, brothers, in Wellington Street, Strand; but I prefer Hanway Yard. My dear, the shops are kept by Jews, and with Jews those close bargains which women delight in so are always to be made. Christian bric-à-brac dealers are honest enough, but gruff, opinionated, and occasionally uncivil; whereas the Hebrews are always obliging, bland, and courteous. I believe they take as keen a pleasure in bargaining as do their customers; and besides, as a rule, the Jews don't refuse money. Beat them down as much as ever you like, but leave them the most infinitesimal margin of profit, and they will close with your offer. 'Tis by the accumulation of those farthing profits that they gather millions, and from their dusky countinghouses foment or crush revolutions, and rule the proudest empires in the world.
Never enter the Lowther Arcade, save at Christmas time, and then only to see the pretty spectacle of the children buying toys. At other seasons of the year the Lowther Arcade is coufusion. Nothing is sold but rubbish–the sweepings of the cheap hucksters' stalls of the Palais Royal ; and the place is besieged, besides, by grinning whippersnappers and indifferent characters of all descriptions. As the Lowther Arcade is vulgar and impertinent, so is its more aristocratic Burlington Arcade dangerous and dissolute; you must go there sometimes, for they sell some of the very prettiest things in the world in its darksome shops, but I conjure you never to enter its precincts after noon has struck.
LETTER THE SIXTH.
EATING, AND COOKING DINNERS, AND
Pumpwell-le-Springs. I HAVE been ill, my sweetest—that is, worse than usual. To be a regular correspondent is a hard task for a hopeless valetudinarian ; and I do not wonder at your respectful insinuation, that my last two letters have been dull and prosy. The vile fog, my dear, which has penetrated even to the usually clear-skied Pumpwell, has distressed your mamma's thorax; and I can pity, now, the influenza of Amelia-Charlotte, as I have been subject to its vindictiveness myself. This confession militates a little against that which I said concerning sympathy in my last; but you will never forget, I trust, that I am a Woman, and that I have a right to change my mind at least once a day. If women were all stable, and never varied in their opinions, there would be an end, I take it, to fashion, to flirtation, to polite conversation, and to polite society generally. Imagine what a tiresome, distressing world it would be, if two and two always made four, and the sum of the parts were equal to the whole. There was a Count Algarotti, once, who tried to make ladies as scientific as M. de Voltaire made Madame du Châtelet. He wrote a
little book called “Il Newtonismo per le dame : only think! the Principia for ladies! and it was all very lucid and rational, I dare say; but to my mind, he should