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Greek Article, is supposed to contain one of the best vindications extant of the Christian Scriptures from the glosses of Socinian commentators. But it may not perhaps be quite so easy to define the precise character of Coleridge's exposition of that supremely important doctrine.*
I arrived at Gottingen on the 22d of March, 1799, having taken the precaution of previously writing to a friend, with whom I had been for two years an undergraduate of Pembroke College, Cambridge, to apprize him of my intention of rejoining him at this celebrated Hanoverian University, where he had been residing above twelve months. Our first concern was to look out for lodgings, which, with his assistance, I had no difficulty in procuring at the house of Herr Dieterich, a wholesale bookseller, who occupied an extensive range of premises, of which part was appropriated to the accommodation of his own family and the book-trade, and the rest let out to lodgers, with suitable arrangements for supplying likewise all that was requisite in the way of board. There are two of my messmates now living who will not have forgotten the comfortable little dinners which Frau Knoopen, the old house-keeper and cook, used to serve up to us at a very moderate price; the beef, not over fat certainly, but roasted after the English fashion; the eyerkuchen (omlette), the frog's-legs fried in batter by way of a treat, the plum-puddings, &c. &c, not to omit mentioning, however, the "gebratene katze," which, at the waggish suggestion of our young friend, Fred. Parry, the old lady once imposed upon us for a roast rabbit, with perfect success, till by the accidental discovery of an extraordinary long tail, the trick transpired; but, being fortunately healthy feeders, we had no difficulty in stomaching the joke, with the sauce piquante of a hearty laugh to help digestion.
* Aids to Reflection, 2d ed. p. 173; Table Talk, p. 77.
I had scarcely become settled at Gottingen, when it was proposed to me to make a short excursion to Dresden, in the approaching Easter vacation, with
Messrs. Charles and Frederick Parry, and .
To this proposal I readily acceded, and we rambled together three weeks, very agreeably.
At Leipsic, we fell in with the spring fair, the greatest of the three held there annually; and as, at this period of the Revolutionary war, the commerce of England with the rest of Europe was nearly confined to the North-German market, we found ourselves seated, at the table d'h6te of our hotel, with several of our fellow-countrymen from Manchester, Birmingham, and elsewhere. These were the men, of all others, to show us the lions of the fair where merchants were assembled from every quarter of Europe, if not of the world; and we exceedingly enjoyed the interesting scene. Even at the table d'hftte, you are sure to fall in, on such occasions, with an amusing variety of company, good entertainment, and a respectable band of musicians. There was, moreover, a theatre, at this time, open, which was rendered particularly attractive by the presence of some theatrical stars from Dresden or Berlin. We twice visited it; but it happened unfortunately that, on one of these evenings, when something very pathetic was enacting, and their favourite Kotzebue was commanding tears to flow on all sides of the house, we, the English party, who occupied in pretty strong force a box to ourselves, instead of sympathising with the sobbing and lachrymose Germans, were suddenly seized with a fit of laughter, arid, by the noise we made, so disturbed the audience, that all eyes were turned towards us, whilst by far the greater number, who were standing, as is usual in the German theatres, in the Parterre, also faced round upon us bodily. This not a little alarmed, and, for a while, sufficed to quiet us; but an incident occurring soon after to re-excite our risible faculties, we again burst into loud laughter. This could be put up with no longer; and "Out with the Englanders," was vociferated from every quarter; all faces were again directed towards us; and a file of soldiers, in attendance upon the theatre, was soon at our box-door, prepared to give effect to the sentence thus passed upon us by acclamation. We, however,
succeeded in making our peace a second time, and took care not to offend the good-natured audience by any further exhibition of our ill-manners. I have mentioned this really disgraceful occurrence partly to show to what an extent young Englishmen can play the fool abroad, or rather were apt to do so formerly; they are obliged, I believe, to be more on their guard at the present day. It would not, in fact, have been safe at any time to have forgotten ourselves in a similar way in a French theatre, for I remember two of our countrymen getting into a serious scrape by stripping their coats off, on account of the excessive heat, and exhibiting themselves in their shirt sleeves in a front box of the Opera-house at Paris; which was no sooner perceived than resented by the audience, who were only to be appeased by turning out the delinquents. This took place during the short peace of Amiens, when the English crowded to Paris to see the wonderful specimens of art, of every age and country, and the still more wonderful man at that time First Consul, whose policy it was to enrich the galleries of his capital with the spoils of conquest, the trophies chiefly of his Italian campaigns. Foreigners were admitted gratuitously to the Louvre, where there seemed to be no other precaution taken than that of posting on the walls of the saloons— "La conservation des biens publics exige quon ne les touche pas." This was, however, in fact, far from
--being all, for I was witness to a sad misfortune, which befel an incautious admirer of the very centre piece of a magnificent collection of vases in a gallery set apart for their exhibition. A friend and myself were reposing on a sofa, and enjoying the fine display before us, when we saw a gentleman approach and touch the vase in question. It fell, as if by the magic wand of an enchanter, from its pedestal, and was irreparably broken. The unconscious magician, who was immediately opposite to us, turned pale as death, and standing for a moment motionless, was instantly after surrounded by gens-d'armes, and led away we knew not whither; whilst there ran a murmur through the room that he was an Englishman; but this we had the satisfaction of being fully persuaded that he was not. We never learnt what became of him, and felt not a little surprised at the delicate vigilance with which, without our being aware of the presence of a single "gentleman-at-arms," les Mens publics were guarded. At Dresden, to return from this long digression, we found a great many English got together. The Elector of Saxony remained neuter as long as he was able; and his chief city, at all times attractive on account of its fine situation, its imposing edifices, its splendid gallery of pictures, and other rare collections, was more so at that time, when travellers, in search of adventures, hardly knew which way to turn. The court likewise, with all its stiffness and formality,