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wonder becomes less wonderful, and admiration, still kept up, here and there chilled by criticism. First impressions need revision. A confession of the dinner table has a wider application out-of-doors than its admirable individual lessons within. "I dined with Lord Holland; there was at table Barras, the Ex-Director, in whose countenance I immediately discovered all the signs of blood and cruelty which distinguished his conduct. I found out, however, at the end of dinner, that it was not Barras, but M. de Barente, an historian and man of letters, who, I believe, has never killed anything greater than a flea." Sir Sidney Smith, the Admiral, was then in Paris, and there is some pleasant confusion between the two celebrities. The clerical Sydney meets Talleyrand, Humboldt and Cuvier; sees Mars and Talma at the theatre, attends the opera; finds Charles X. growing very old since he dined with him at the Duke of Buccleugh's, in Scotland, and acting very foolishly in his government, which leads to the prophecy, soon to be fulfilled, that "if this man lives, another revolution is inevitable." The local pictures are exquisite. "It is curious to see in what little apartments a French savant lives; you find him at his books, covered with snuff, with a little dog that bites your legs." "The Parisians are very fond of adorning their public fountains: sometimes water pours forth from a rock, sometimes trickles from the jaws of a serpent. The dull and prosaic English turn a brass cock or pull out a plug. What a nation!" He finally leaves France, having purchased for himself the coat-of-arms of a French peer, on a seal, which took his fancy, as he professed, for family "Cuisinier Bourgeois," and some rolls of French paper, to * Smith was fond of joking on this subject, as on all others, for that matLady Holland has the following anecdote of Combe Florey, later:-" He was writing one morning in his favourite bay-window, when a pompous little man, in rusty black, was ushered in. May I ask what procares me the honour of this visit?' said my father. 'Oh,' said the little man, 'I am compounding a history of the distinguished families in Somersetshire, and have called to obtain the Smith arms.' I regret, sir,' said my father, 'not to be able to contribute to so valuable a work; but the Smiths never had any arms, and have invariably sealed their letters with their thumbs.""
add a cheap magnificence to the humble Foston. So closed this charming episode in the life of the north country Rector. It may be here added that Sydney Smith did carry out his good intention of taking Mrs. Sydney to Paris. The visit came off in the autumn of 1835. Dessein's hotel, at Calais, was still magnificent; Rouen afforded a glowing sensation; gentlemen and ladies in blouses and caps were as common on the streets as before; the cookery of Paris had a nicer appreciation from a palate which had been much cultivated by London dinners in the interval:-"I shall not easily,” he writes to Lady Grey, "forget a matelote at the Rocher de Cancale and almond tart at Montreuil, or a poulet a la Tartare, at Grignon's. These are impressions which no change in future life can obliterate." "* Sydney Smith crossed the channel once more in 1837, to visit Holland, but the gout was then the companion of his journey, and the rose-coloured atmosphere had vanished. Worldly prosperity had advanced, but youth had receded.
In the beginning of 1828, his youngest daughter was married at York, and in the same month of January, he received the prebendal stall at Bristol, intelligence of which was gracefully communicated to him by Lady Lyndhurst. Thither he at once removed, and inaugurated his labours by preaching a sermon before the startled mayor and corporation, in the Cathedral, on the fifth of November, Guy Faux's day, in support of religious toleration, particularly in reference to the Catholics.t
* Sydney Smith was not an epicure, in the vulgar sense of the word; but he was undoubtedly something of the gourmet. He knew the value of flavours and sauces to life. He seasoned his curate's dish of potatoes, on Salisbury Plain, with ketchup; studied, as we see, the mysteries of taste in Paris, and on one occasion (recorded by Dyce, in the Table Talk of Rogers) rose in a bravura of fancy to the declaration that "his idea of heaven was eating foie gras to the sound of trumpets" Smith wrote well on temperance, and practised it. Fine sayings like these, however, the immortal salad reccipt, and records of innumerable "dinings out," in the Memoirs and Letters, will render his memory fragrant in the traditions of gastronomy.
"MY DEAR LORD HOLLAND, To-day I have preached an † He thus mentions it in a letter to Lord Holland, Bristol, Nov. 5, 1828:
honest sermon [5th
CANON OF ST. PAUL'S.
It is published in his works, and remains a plain, sin.ple, sincere assertion in the words of its title, of "Those Rules of Christian Charity, by which our Opinions of other Sects should be formed." The Bristol preferment brought with it a living, and Foston-le-Clay was exchanged for the more euphonious Combe Florey, situated in a scene of natural beauty, near Taunton; in Smith's own description, "a most parsonic parsonage, like those described in novels." This increase of prosperity was darkened by the death of his son Douglas, in 1829-a sorrow which accompanied the father through life. In his note book of the time, he writes, "April 14th, My beloved son Douglas died, aged twenty-four. Alas! alas!" And afterward: "So ends this year of my life-a year of sorrow, from the loss of my beloved son Douglas — the first great misfortune of my life, and one which I shall never forget." Lady Holland adds the touching trait, "in his last hours he often called his youngest son by the name of Douglas."
A year after, his friend Lord Grey having become minister, Sydney Smith's cathedral stall at Bristol was exchanged for a similar but more profitable post in London, and he became Canon Residentiary of St. Paul's.* Combe Florey he still continued to hold, and thus, between town and country, "dining with the rich in London, and physicking the poor in the country, passing from the sauces of Dives to the sores of Lazarus," he continued his clerical career through life.
of November] before the Mayor and Corporation, in the Cathedral-the most protestant Corporation in England! They stared at me with all their eyes. Several of them could not keep the turtle on their stomachs." * The following letter to his friend, Mrs. Meynell, records the event:"SAVILLE ROW, September, 1831. “MY DEAR G., I am just stepping into the carriage to be installed by the Bishop, but can not lose a post in thanking you. It is, I believe, a very good thing, and puts me at my ease for life. I asked for nothing-never did any thing shabby to procure preferment. These are pleasing recollections. My pleasure is greatly increased by the congratulations of good and excellent friends like yourself. God bless you! "SYDNEY SMITH.”
1 Lette: to M. Eugrue Robin. Memoir, ii. 497.
Nor were his duties at either place neglected.
He became a most zealous guardian of the church property and affairs at St. Paul's, superintending building accounts and expenses toilfully and skilfully; and reaching in his turn, to the close of his life, with dignity and eloquence; while in the summer months, at Combe Florey, his heart expanded among his parishioners, whom he attended with faithful tenderness; entering into their circumstances, and, what is so rare in the world with persons of superior station, surveying, with heartfelt sympathy, the cares and enjoyments of life on a lower level. Hodge had always, in Sydney Smith, a friend, who understood him, and when it was threatened that Hodge's beer would be cut off by meddling licensers, or Hodge was in danger from the game laws, he had, in his clerical visiter, a useful protector. Sydney Smith's Advice to Parishioners is worthy of the philanthropy, humanity, and good-humoured shrewdness of Poor Richard. For Franklin, indeed, Smith entertained a generous admiration, and the manners of the two sages were, in many things, not unlike.
To the domestic sketches of Foston, must be added, as a pendant, this pencilling, by Lady Holland, of "glorified" Combe Florey:-"I long to give some sketches of these breakfasts, and the mode of life at Combe Florey, where there were often assembled guests that would have made any table agreeable anywhere; but it would be difficult to convey an adequate idea of the beauty, gayety, and happiness of the scene in which they took place, or the charm that he infused into the society assembled round his breakfast-table. The room, an oblong, was, as I have already described, surrounded on three sides by books, and ended in a bay-window, opening into the garden: not brown, dark, dulllooking volumes, but all in the brightest bindings; for he carried his system of furnishing for gayety even to the dress of his books. "He would come down into this long, low room in the morning like a ‘giant refreshed to run his course,' bright and happy as the Thank God for Combe Florey!' he would
scene around him.
GLORIFIED COMBE FLOREY.
exclaim, throwing himself in his red arm-chair, and looking around; 'I feel like a bridegroom in the honeymoon.' And in truth I doubt if ever bridegroom felt so joyous, or at least made others feel so joyous, as he did on these occasions. Ring the bell, Saba;' the usual refrain, by-the-by, in every pause, for he contrived to keep every body actively employed around him, and nobody ever objected to be so employed. Ring the bell, Saba.' Enter the servant, D- 'D, glorify the room.' This meant that the three Venetian windows of the bay were to be flung open displaying the garden on every side, and letting in a blaze of sunD- glorifies the room with the utmost You would not believe it,' he said, 'to look is a reformed Quaker. Yes, he quaked,
shine and flowers. gravity, and departs. at him now, but D
or did quake; his brother quakes still: but D is now thorough ly orthodox. I should not like to be a Dissenter in his way; he is to be one of my vergers at St. Paul's some day. Lady Bcalls them my virgins. She asked me the other day, 'Pray, Mr. Smith, is it true that you walk down St. Paul's with three virgins holding silver pokers before you?' I shook my head, and looked very grave, and bid her come and see. Some enemy of the Church, some Dissenter, had clearly been misleading her.'
"There now,' sitting down at the breakfast-table, 'take a lesson of economy. You never breakfasted in a parsonage before, did you? There, you see my china is all white, so if broken can always be renewed; the same with my plates at dinner: did you observe my plates? every one a different pattern, some of them sweet articles; it was a pleasure to dine upon such a plate as I had last night. It is true, Mrs. Sydney, who is a great herald, is shocked because some of them have the arms of a royal duke or a knight of the garter on them, but that does not signify to me. My plan go into a china shop and bid them show me every plate they have which does not cost more than half a crown; you see the
Smith's London life, at his residence in Charles street, appears