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We would rather pay a shilling to Mr Colnaghi of Cockspur Street, or Mr Molteno of Pall Mall, to look at his windows on one of their best-furnished days, than we would for many an exhibition. We can see fine engravings there,-translations from Raphael and Titian, which are newer than hundreds of originals. We do not despise a pastry-cook’s, though we would rather not eat tarts and puffs before the half-averted face of the prettiest of accountants ; especially with a beggar watching and praying all the while at the door. We need not expatiate on the beauties of a florist's, where you see unwithering leaves, and roses made immortal. We think they would do their trade more good if they hung their windows with a greater number of flowers, ticketing some of them with their names and prices, and announcing crowns and wreaths for hanging up in rooms as well as wearing on the head. A dress warehouse is sometimes really worth stopping at, for its flowered draperies and richlycoloured shawls. But one's pleasure is apt to be disturbed (ye powers of gallantry! bear witness to the unwilling pen that writes it) by the fair faces that come forth, and the half-polite, half-execrating expression of the tradesman that bows them out; —for here takes place the chief enjoyment of the mystery yclept “shopping ;”and here, while some ladies give the smallest trouble unwillingly, others have an infinity of things turned over, for the mere satisfaction of wasting their own time and the shopman's. We have read of a choice of a wife by cheese. It is difficult to speak of preference in such matters, and all such single modes of trial must be something equivocal : but we must say, that, of all modes of the kind, we should desire no better way of seeing what ladies we admired most and whom least, than by witnessing this trial of them at a linen-draper's counter. It is on such occasions, we presume, that snuff-takers delight to solace themselves with a pinch of Thirty-seven ; and we accordingly do so in imagination at our friend Gliddon's in Tavistock Street, who is a higher kind of Lilly to the Indicator,-our papers lying among the piquant snuffs, as those of our illustrious predecessor,
the Tatler, did among Mr Lilly's perfumes at the corner of Beaufort Buildings. Since the peace with France, the shops of our tobacconists have become as amusing as print-shops ; though not always, it must be confessed, in a style of delicacy becoming their enamoured boxes. At our friend's in Tavistock Street everything is managed in a way equally delicate and cordial; and while the leisurely man of taste buys his "Paris" or his Indicator, the busier one may learn how to set up his gaslight in good classical style, and both see how completely even a woman, of true feelings, can retain the easiest and pleasantest good-breeding in the midst of observant eyes and a humble occupation,
In the general glance we took in our last paper at shops, we found ourselves unwillingly compelled to pass some of them too quickly. It is the object, therefore, of the present article to enter into those more attractive thresholds, and look a little about us.
We imagine a fine day; time, about noon ; scene, any good brilliant street. The ladies are abroad in white and green; the beaux lounging, conscious of their waists and neckcloths ; the busy pushing onward, conscious of their bills.
To begin then, where our shopping experience began, with the toy-shop.
“ Visions of glory, spare our aching sight!
Ye just-breech'd ages, crowd not on our soul!" We still seem to have a lively sense of the smell of that gorgeous red paint which was on the handle of our first wooden sword ! The pewter guard also,-how beautifully fretted and like silver did it look ! How did we hang it round our shoulder by the proud belt of an old ribbon ; then feel it well suspended; then draw it out of the sheath, eager to cut down four savage men for ill-using ditto of damsels ! An old muff made an excellent
grenadier's cap; or one's hat and feather, with the assistance of three surreptitious large pins, became fiercely modern and military. There it is, in that corner of the window,--the same identical sword, to all appearance, which kept us awake the first night behind our pillow. We still feel ourselves little boys, while standing in this shop; and for that matter, so we do on other occasions. A field has as much merit in our eyes, and gingerbread almost as much in our mouths, as at that daisyplucking and lemon-cake-munching period of life. There is the trigger-rattling gun,-fine of its kind, but not so complete a thing as the sword. Its memories are not so ancient ; for Alexander or St George did not fight with a musket. Neither is it so true a thing ; it is not “like life.” The trigger is too much like that of a cross-bow ; and the pea which it shoots, however hard, produces even in the imaginative faculties of boyhood a humiliating flash of the mock-heroic. It is difficult to fancy a dragon killed with a pea; but the shape and appurtenances of the sword being genuine, the whole sentiment of massacre is as much in its wooden blade as if it were steel of Damascus. The drum is still more real, though not so heroic. In the corner opposite are battle-doors and shuttle-cocks, which have their maturer beauties; balls, which have the additional zest of the danger of breaking people's windows ; ropes, good for swinging and skipping, especially the long ones which others turn for you, while you run in a masterly manner up and down, or skip in one spot with an easy and endless exactitude of toe, looking alternately at their conscious faces; blood-allies, with which the possessor of a crisp finger and thumb-knuckle causes the smitten marbles to vanish out of the ring ; kites, which must appear to more vital birds a very ghastly kind of fowl, with their grim long white faces, no bodies, and endless tails; cricket-bats, manly to handle ; trap-bats, a genteel inferiority ; swimming-corks, despicable ; horses on wheels, an imposition on the infant public; rocking-horses, too much like Pegasus, ardent, yet never getting on ; Dutch toys, so like life, that they
ought to be better ; Jacob's ladders, flapping down one over another their tintinnabulary shutters; dissected maps, from which the infant statesmen may learn how to dovetail provinces and kingdoms; paper posture-makers, who hitch up their knees against their shoulder-blades, and dangle their legs like an opera-dancer; Lilliputian plates, dishes, and other household utensils, in which a grand dinner is served up out of half an apple ; boxes of paints, to colour engravings with, always beyond the outline ; ditto of bricks, a very sensible and lasting toy, which we except from a grudge we have against the gravity of infant geometrics; whips, very useful for cutting people's eyes unawares; hoops, one of the most ancient as well as excellent of toys ; sheets of pictures, from A apple-pie up to farming, military, and zoological exhibitions, always taking care that the fly is as large as the elephant, and the letter X exclusively appropriated to Xerxes ; musical deal-boxes, rather complaining than sweet, and more like a peal of bodkins than bells; penny trumpets, awful at Bartlemy-tide ; Jew's harps, that thrill and breathe between the lips like a metal tongue ; carts, carriages, hobby-horses, upon which the infant equestrian prances about proudly on his own feet ; in short,—not to go through the whole representative body of existence, -dolls, which are so dear to the maternal instincts of little girls. We protest, however, against that abuse of them which makes them full-dressed young ladies in body, while they remain infant in face ; especially when they are of frail wax. It is cultivating finery instead of affection. We like good honest plump limbs of cotton and saw-dust, dressed in baby-linen; or even our ancient young friends, with their staring dotted eyes, red varnished faces, triangular noses, and Rosinante wooden limbs, --not, it must be confessed, excessively shapely or feminine, but the reverse of fragile beauty, and prepared against all disasters.
The next step is to the pastry-cook's, where the plain bun is still the pleasantest thing in our eyes, from its respectability in
those of childhood. The pastry, less patronised by judicious mothers, is only so much elegant indigestion ; yet it is not easy to forget the pleasure of nibbling away the crust all round a raspberry or currant tart, in order to enjoy the three or four delicious semicircular bites at the fruity plenitude remaining. There is a custard with a wall of paste round it, which provokes a siege of this kind; and the cheese-cake has its amenities of approach. The acid flavour is a relief to the mawkishness of the biffin or pressed baked apple, and an addition to the glib and quivering lightness of the jelly. Twelfth-cake, which, when cut, looks like the side of a rich pit of earth covered with snow, is pleasant from warmer associations. Confectionery does not seem in the same request as of old. Its paint has hurt its reputation. Yet the schoolboy has still much to say for its humbler suavities, such as elecampane, hardbake, bull's-eyes, comfits, the rucky crystals of sugar-candy, the smooth twist of barley-sugar, which looks like a petrified stream of tea, and the melting powderiness of peppermint. There used to be a mystery called mimpins, which, as Dr Johnson would say, made a pretty sweetmeat. Kisses are very amiable and allegorical. Eight or ten of them, judiciously wrapped up in pieces of letter-paper, have saved many a loving heart the trouble of a less eloquent billetdoux. Candied citron we look upon to be the very acme and atticism of confectionery grace. Preserves are too much of a good thing, with the exception of the jams that retain their fruitskins. “Jam satis." They qualify the cloying. Yet marmalade must not be passed over in these times, when it has been raised to the dignity of the peerage. There is a Duke of Marmalade in Hayti, and a Count of Lemonade—so called, we presume, from places in which those eminent relishes are manufactured. We have not yet heard of a Lord Viscount Jam. After all, we must own that there is but one thing for which we care much at a pastry-cook's, except our old acquaintance the bun, especially as we can take up that and go on. It is an ice. Fancy a very hot day, the blinds down, the loungers unusually languid, the