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Unking in the suu, dreaming doubtless of the Fioiflsula and Waterloo, and as I passed under the few trees that grew there, I thought of the times when those same trees were bright r.iih coloured lamps, and all the world was gay where the old pensioners tat dozing, for here race stood Ranelagh Gardens. Here the ladies of fashion excited each other's envy by displaying the much-coveted novel, "Pamela," just written by Samuel Richardson, the printer, of Parton's Green. Here came Horace Walpole and the Prince of Wales, and here with mighty tread stalked Dr. Johnson. "When I first entered Ranelagh," he writes, "it gave an expansion and gay sensation to my mind, such as I serer experienced anywhere else. But as Xerxes wept when be viewed his immense army, and considered that not one of that great mulnude would be alive a hundred years afterwards, w it vent to my heart to consider that there nj not one in all that brilliant circle that was not afraid to go borne and think, but that the thoughts of each individual there would be distressing when alone." To how many of us does the same thought occur in the gay haunts where comes no truthful moralist like Samuel Johnsonr

We may gain a fair idea of how the world disported itself at Ranelagh from this description given by the poet Blooinfield :—

"ToEjodsKh, once in my life,
Bj good-Mured force I was driven;
He nations had ceased their long strife,
■And peace beamed her radiance from heaven.
Wlaf wonders were here to be found,
Tilt a clown might enjoy or disdain?
First, we traced the gay circle all round,
Ay—and then we went round it ngain!"

Such was the dancing in the rotunda at Rane-
lagh Gardens. Here comes George the Third
in his bag wig and laced coat; here the ground
was swept by the hoops and satin trains of the
Court ladies; and now where are they all?
"An echo answers—where?" In 1805 the
ntt rotunda, so often traversed by the nimble
feet of dancers, the temples, the arbours, and
the green walks, were swallowed up into the
insatiable vortex of bricks and mortar. There
is but little in common between Ranelagh Gar-
dens and the old India House, and yet there
u a link which binds them together in memory,
for both are vanished things. In vain now we look
for the somewhat sombre temple of " John Com-
pany's" greatness, where such mighty schemes
were laid, whence such terrible edicts went forth
causing dismay in the breasts of newly-appointed
robalteras. How firm and powerful and im-
movable seemed the India House and its
supporters in those times, when the world was
talking of Olive's greatness and shortcomings,
and when Warren Hastings was labouring so
zealously to reap the tribute of a nation's ingra-
titude which awaited him in his own land. And
now the great East India Company is a breath
in men's mouths, and its house is no more.
Let us look back but once more into the

pat>t, aud I havo done. The distance is only a few years, and tbo vanished thing is a huge building now dismantled.* I wander very often by that great building, so much abused by the people who enjoyed it most, and who held their peace till the whole thing was completed, and then suddenly discovered that they had foreseen its failure from the beginning. I look at the now glassless domes on which the hailstorm of criticism descended so fiercely, and visions and ghosts of its past splendour flit before me as I gaze in at the open doors of what once was the great International Exhibition of 1862. The vast nave, lately blazing with the gorgeous treasures of many lands, is bare and desolate now; no more does Minton's fountain afford its perfumed showers, tempting the rustic visitors to dip their handkerchiefs, which were wetted but not scented by the treacherous waters. The side courts are gloomy deserts, where once stood the graceful sculptures of Rome, and the rich treasures of France. Cleopatra has fled from her pedestal, and the tinted Venus has transported her cream-coloured charms elsewhere. No longer does the "Reading Girl" attract a pugilistic crowd of squeezing spectators, eager to gaze upon her pensive beauty; but she is reading on as calmly as ever in a photographic saloon in Regent-street, and there I saw her not long ago. "The Sleep of Sorrow," and "The Dream of Joy," are both ended, as far as the Exhibition is concerned, and the sad Georgian solicits sympathy in the adjacent gardens. And what of the frog which the enthusiastic Welshmen found in a block of coal, and wondered how it got there? That most unfortunate of animals, after causing great excitement, and puzzling many learned men, and many foolish, and after hearing daily discussions as to whether or not he was really alive, finally ended the controversy by dying outright; and, truly, after being stared out of countenance so long, and argued about so vexatiously, it was the very best thing for the poor frog to do.

Hark I was that the sound of the great organ swelling through the deserted building? But no, it is but Nature's organ which the wind is playing up and down the melancholy galleries. There solitude reigns supreme wl:ere lately were displayed the wealth of the Lancashire looms, the produce of the widest and remotest lands, and the matchless works of the world's artists. The wind is playing hide-and-seek in the obscure corner where stood Mr. Babbage's calculating machine, perhaps the most wonderful of all that treasure-house of wonders, and an insolent vagrant sparrow who has lost bis way flutters about, the sole living inhabitant of the spot where so lately the world and his wife, aye, and his children to boot, «andered and wondered, and gaped and stared, then gaped and stared again. But the sparrow has flown away, and my visions are becoming also mere phan

This paper was written in 1868.

toms of thin. air. Still, "in my mind's eye, Horatio," I can see that vast building peopled once again; I can see the hungry crowd plunging at the counters of the refreshment rooms, and the worthy people from Somersetshire devouring pork-pies, apples, and bottled beer in fabulous quantities at the foot of Shakespeare's monument.

I can hear the bell clanging discordantly, and hurrying the crowds out into the evening sunset or pouring rain, and nerving them to fight manfully for omnibuses to bear them I know

not where, or how, so numberless do they seem. But now the bell has ceased to ring, or the ringing in my ear has ended, the last visitor has passed out, and I am alone. Vanished things are all these. Why should I linger longer over the ashes of the past? I have raked out my last cinder; this ramble is made and ended; it, too, will soon be among the vanished things. To-day will be part of the dim past, the curtain will have fallen on our life's drama, and the play will be played out. Come, let us turn over a new page!

CHARLEMAGNE.

It is a difficult question to decide how far the epithet " great" has been rightly bestowed upon men of mark. Popular prejudice, a devotion to hero-worship, and many other causes, operate to blind men's judgment in their estimate of character. The lives and deeds of most wellknown characters are surrounded by such a fictitious glare of praise and romance, that, like a scene at the theatre beheld through the light of red fire, everything is invested with an unnatural splendour. It may be reasonably doubted whether a great conqueror is "great" in any other sense than that of a destroyer— whether many so-called "great" writers are so except in the estimation of a body of readers who have made it fashionable to praise their protege". In old times the title was not so easily gained as it is now, when the newest musichall singer, or the latest performer on the trapeze, earns the meed of greatness; and among those so-called great ones of the past, none, perhaps, deserved the title more thoroughly than Charlemagne, the Karolus Magnus of the middle-age writers.

The source from which most details of Charlemagne's life are taken is not, perhaps, very well known to the general reader. We are indebted for them to Eginhard, the secretary of the great Emperor, who in his "Vita Karoli Magni," and "Annales," gives not only the history of his master's reign, but many glimpses of his private life. This Eginhard, or Einhardus as he calls himself in Latin, was born in Franconia, and was, during part of his life, Abbot of the monastery of St. Bavo, the patron saint of Ghent. He married Imma, or Emma, a daughter of Charlemagne. Eginhard tells his story of the life of the Emperor in Latin, in a very simple, straightforward style, beginning with a slight retrospective glance at the events which brought the dynasty of the long-haired Merovingians to a close. That race had steadily sunk into weakness and obscurity since the

fame of their founder, Clovis, or Clodovicb, had expired. The same brilliant origin, ending in rapid decline and ruin, marked the Merovingians, as it did so many of the nations of the middle ages—just as the descendants of Augustus dwindled down to Romulus Augustulus, the deposed puppet of Odoacer, juat as the Ommiad Caliphs of Damascus were succeeded by the Abbassides —just as the Seljukian Turks gave place to the Mongols, and the Mongols to the Ottomans, so the "long-haired kings" had declined till they became the reges insensati, the rots faineants, whom Eginhard describes.

It seems to have been the fate of all the kings of that age to have masters over them. The Roman Emperors had their barbarian rulers, the Caliphs had their Emirs-al-Omra; so the Merovingians bad their Mayors of the palace. It will not be necessary here to tell the story of Pepin of Herstal, of Charles Martel, whose hammer-like arm did such service against the Spanish Arabs at Tours, or of Pepin le bref, the father of Charlemagne. Before, however, we glance at the life of Charlemagne, it is important to understand rightly the character of the Roman Empire at this time—a subject lately treated with great skill and much research. All the world knows that, after Constantino removed the seat of empire to Constantinople, a line of Emperors still occupied the throne of Rome. Thus two lines of Emperors ruled, one in the east, the other in the west; yet the Roman Empire was supposed to beoneand undivided.The keynote to the politics of the middle-ages is this, that there existed in men's minds a notion that the Roman Empire was eternal and universal; a monarchy of the world on its secular side, a church of the world on its religious side. This fond dream pervaded the middle ages: men saw a phantom fluttering in the purple of the Caesars, and yet reverenced the idea of the Empire though they despised the Emperor.

They saw Rome a horde of robber-nobles, with ao governor but the voice of the mob; yet men, such as Arnold of Brescia, Rienzi, or Stephen Porearo, arose from time to time, and dreamed of restoring a republic such as existed in the days of Brutus. They tried and failed, yet never seemed to realize that they were but "setting up rains."

When the Western Empire was ended by the deposition of Romulus Augustulus, whose very Dame bears a melancholy significance, the Empire was said to exist just the same, only the act of Constantioe was reversed—the east and west were once more united. Rome, however, was left a prey to internal dissensions, and the attacks of external foes. Barbarous hosts had insulted the capitol, and the shrines of dead and gone Caesars, over and over again; and, at the time of which we are treating, the attack came from the descendants of that Alboinwho, in 568, lad led his Lombards into Italy. In the Easttern Empire a ferment of religious excitement had been caused by the attempt of the Emperor Leo, the lsaurian, to destroy image-worship; and this Iconoclastic movement paved the way for the raking up of a line of Teutonic Caesars in Rome. Rome and Italy maintained the worship o{ images, and thus were alienated from their eastern brethren: the Pope was the prisoner of Christian, princes, as he bas so often been since, and his eyes were turned towards the hardy warrior who had displaced the "lazy kings" of the Franks /rem all but nominal power. To the Pope'i call for help Pepin le bref responded, and deJirered the holy father out of the rude hands of Aiitulf, or Aistulphus, the Lombard King, getting, as his reward, the throne of the Franks and the Papal deposition of Childeric, the last of the phantoms of Merovingian royalty. It was the son of this Pepin, Charles the Great, who finished what his father had begun, and, answering the cry of Pope Hadrian, seized the iron crown of Desiderius, the last of the Lombards, and made the kingdom of Lombardy a part of the Prankish realm.

Charlemagne received the title of Patrician of Rome—a name which illustrates the attachment of the Romans to the shadowy memory of their palmy days. It was destined that Hadrian's •accessor (Pope Leo III.) should, by his act, bury for ever the old Roman Empire, and erect another: for, although it was never admitted that the line of Emperors was broken for an initantjyet the Teutonic line, which commenced • with Charlemagne, had nothing in common with the weak successors of Tiberius or Caligula, or with the eastern tyrants who followed Con• Untine.

The moment which Leo III. seized for crowning Charlemagne Emperor was1 most favourable. The line of Eastern Emperors, who were to all intents and purposes Emperors offlome, was an obstacle not easily surmounted; but just at this time the Eastern throne was not rilled by »ny Emperor "born in the porphyry chamber st Byzant;" the Empress Irene had placed

herself upon the throne after deposing and blinding her son Constantino VI.; so cruel an act had excited some indignation even in an age not over scrupulous, and the Pope, in crowning Charlemagne, declared him to be the legitimate successor of Constantino VI., and the legal occupant of a vacant throne. The logic by which this conclusion was reached is, to say the least of it, weak; but it must be borne in mind that in that age the title of an aspirant to royalty mattered very little if he were actually crowned in public: till the crown was upon his brow his title was nothing, afterwards his seat was as secure (till he lost it) as the heir of a thousand kings.

It was necessary to take a retrospect thus far; we have now arrived at that memorable Christmas day, in the year 800, when, in the Basilica of St. Peter, the Pope suddenly, and, as is most probable, without the previous knowledge of Charlemagne, placed upon his brow the imperial crown, and the event was announced by the shout of the assembled concourse, "Karolo Augusto a deo coronato magno et pacifico imperatori vita et victoria." Thus the last day of the eighth century witnessed one of the greatest and withal quietest revolutions in history. We have now to look a little into the private life of the great Emperor as described to us by Eginhard, who deserves a little of the honour accorded to another great man's biographer, Boswell, for the simplicity and quaintness of his relation. He gives a brief though graphic account of Charlemagne's wars in Aquitaine, Lombardy, Saxony, Spain, Bretagne, Italy, Bavaria, with the Sclavonians, the Huns, and the Northmen or Danes. The Saxon war was the most obstinately contested, as in all religious wars the conversion made by the sword, the baptism of blood was worth very little. Though Charlemagne successfully stormed the Erisburg and destroyed the great idol of the Saxons, the Irminsul, yet as often as they vowed to embrace the Christian religion they as often forgot their promise, rebelled, or lapsed into idolatry. This Saxon war was marked by one of the rare acts of cruelty which can be laid to the charge of Charlemagne, the massacre of four thousand Saxon warriors at Verdun. During the Spanish campaign Charlemagne's forces received their first and only defeat. In the Pass of Roncevalles, in the Pyrenees, the troops under the Paladin Roland, called by Eginhard, Hruodlandus, were cut 'off and massacred by the Gascons. This Roland was Prefect of Britanny, and formed one of the trio of legendary heroes in the Middle Ages, of whom Alexander the Great and Arthur were the other two. "Monk" Lewis refers to this event in the lines—

"Sad and fearful is the story
Of the Roncevalles fight;
On those fatal plains of glory
Perished many a gallant knight."

Eginhard tells us of several embassies from the great men of that age to the emphatically great Emperor. Among them were some "Scotornm reges" or Irish chiefs, and more conspicuous than they, Aaron al Rasrid, the familiar Caliph of The Arabian Night*; this Aaron the Just sent to Charlemagne the keys of the Holy Sepulchre, and, among other curiosities, an elephant and a water-clock. The elephant's name we learn was Abulabaz, he survived his translation to the Imperial service nine years and then died suddenly. Charlemagne married in succession four wives named Hermingard, Hildegard, Fastrada, and Liutgarda. He seems to have been very careful in the education of his children: his sons, besides the ordinary branches of a liberal education as known at that date, were most skilful in all athletic exercises; his daughters were taught all the mysteries of spinning and wool-work, and were such favourites with the Emperor that he could never bear them out of his sight.

Charlemagne himself was an ardent lover of knowledge and patron of learned men. In an age of ignorance and half-barbarous ferocity, when Jorliter in re was far oftener the gathering cry than suaviter in modo, the Emperor stands conspicuous, like a bright light among thick and murky clouds. Eginhard telts us that he was fond of strangers, he invited them to his Court with a view to enlarging the circle of his knowledge: we find such men as Alcuin, Peter of Pisa, and Angilbert receiving a warm welcome at Ingelheim. On the personal appearance and habits of Charlemagne Eginhard is minute in his account. The Emperor was large and robust in form, tall and athletic, with large animated ryes, a rather long nose, and a cheerful expression of countenance. He Whs a great adept in the art of swimming, and sometimes more than a hundred of his friends and followers bathed with him at one time, though no one could approach the swiftness and ease of his superior swimming. Eginhard gives us a list of the contents of his wardrobe, and tells us that Charlemagne was much attached to his national Prankish dress, and never wore foreign clothes, except twice on two visits to Rome. His ordinary dress differed little from that of tbe humbler class. He seems to have been very abstemious and temperate, he despised drunkenness, and seldom drank more than thrice during a meal. He seldom gave public dinners, and then only to a few select guests. His custom was to listen to a band of music whilst dining, or to a reader, who usually selected the Emperor's favourite author St. Augustine: after his frugal dinner he usually had an equally frugal dessert of apples. He frequently allowed visitors to come to him whilst his sandals and other parts of his dress were being adjusted. We are reminded of another King of France, St. Louis, who used to hold a levee under an oak tree in the forest.

Of his attainments in literature we learn that

the Emperor knew Latin well, and could understand Greek, but not pronounce it very easily. He studied grammar, rhetoric, and especially astronomy under Peter of Pisa and Alcuin; and with all this, in spite of many arguments on the other side, a passage in Eginhard distinctly proves that he could not write, or, if at all, very little. He was most anxious to acquire the art, and placed his tablets and other writing materials under his pillow at night, as though to get inspiration in his sleep, and all his spare moments were given up to "writing a copy;" but Eginhard says, he began too late, and did not succeed. Shakespere refers to the Emperor's want of peumanship, in "All's well that nds well:"

"I have seen a medicine whose -simple touch
Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay,
To give great Charlemagne a pen in his hand
And write to her a love-line."

The Emperor was a devout Catholic, and adorned several churches, building a beautiful cathedral at Aix-la-Chapelle. He provided this cathedral with such an abundance of consecrated vessels and vestments that every minister and attendant, down to the lowest menial, had a fitting dress. He cultivated the art of public reading and psalmody, though he was never known to read aloud or to sing, except in a low voice, in company with the choir. Space will not permit us to say more of the great Emperor or of his illness, his hatred for doctors, and the wondrouz signs which foretold his death. He made a will, which is given by Eginhard; he died in January 814, and we must now leave him to his rest in the cathedral at Aachen, near the tomb where Otto III. was, at a later period, laid to sleep.

How To Show Lovjt For A Wife.—Show love for your wife and your admiration of her, not in nonsensical compliment; not in picking up her handkerchief, or her glove, or in carrying her fan; not, though you have the means, in hanging trinkets and baubles upon her; not in making yourself a fool by winking nt, and seeming pleased with her foibles or fullies or faults; but show them by acts of real goodness towards her; prove, by unequivocal deeds, the high value you set on her health and life and peace of mind; let your praise of her go to the full eitent of her deserts, but let it be consistent with truth and with sense, and such as to convince her of your sincerity. He who is the flatterer of his wife only prepares her ears for the hyperbolical stuff of others. The kindest appellation that her Christian name affords is the best you cau use, especially before faces. An everlasting "My dear," is but a sorry compensation for a want of that sort of love that makes the husband cheerfully toil by day, break his rest by night, endure all sorts of hardships, if the life or health of his wife demand it. Let your deeds and not your words, carry to her heart a daily and hourly confirmation of the fact, that yon value her health and life and happiness beyond all other things in the world; and let this be manifest to her, particularly at those times when life is always more or less in danger.

THE LINK OF GOLD.

(A Story for the New Year.) BY TIIE AUTHOR OF "CUPID, A MEDIUM," &c, &c.

London, in the first week of December, and

cold, piercing weather. People told each other,

M they stood shivering to talk for a few minutes,

tint Christmas would be like Christmas this

year if the frost would only last, and i/a fall of

mow would only come on. There was every

promise of the former, for the sky was of a

den, ihtrp, dark blue, without a cloud; there

was a keen north wind always blowing, and the

stars shone at night with a metallic brilliancy

almost painful to look at; and with such intense

cold, surely snow might come down at any

moment.

How fast the people walked! how their breath steamed out, and settled in little globules upon the whiskers of the men and upon the women's veils! How warm the rich looked in their thick cloths, and sealskins, and velvets, and furs1, how cold the poor, in their threadbare coats, their ragged shawls, and their miserable boots and Bhoes! The shops in Regentatott were gorgeous; tempting fabrics were pued in the windows, and inside purchasers were made comfortable, and, of course, goodlemperedaod miJing to stay and go on buying, bf the warmth of well-filled stoves.

It u the fashion to call London empty at Chriitmas—and so, perhaps, it is at the fashionable Weit-end—but in the many terraces, gardent, crescents, and squares, in which the comfortable and, in their own "set," fashionable middle class Londoners dwell, there is no lack of life.

And in how many of these happy homes, this cold December weather, are preparations being made for the coming home of the " boys" for the holidays? The little beds, unused since last summer, are shaken out and aired, the atock of toys looked up and dusted, every little pleasure talked about in the family circle is put off by unanimous consent " until the boys come home," and while "mamma" buys materials far the Cbristmas-tree, "papa" engages places far the pantomime.

It was getting towards evening, the sun was WBg fast — indeed, for all warmth-giving purposes, he had been as good as set two hours V. for the cold wind had had everything its own way, and the streets were already dry and ringing with the hard black frost. The lamps wre all lighted, the glow of many a genial fire came up through the area railings and over the blinds in parlour-windows, and those who had homes to go to were hurrying to them fast.

Along the crowded thoroughfare of the Edgware-road, a girl of about fourteen or fifteen Tag walking alone, on her way to the BayswaterF»d •, she wa» an intelllgent-looking child, h«t

she had the pinched, old expression which London children like her so often have. She did not look hungry or poor, but there was that about her which said that she had known both hunger and poverty in her young life. Her clothes were shabby, but neat and clean, and carefully put on; she carried a small parcel, neatly made up in paper, and, as she walked, her keen bright eyes glanced quickly to the right and left, and she hummed softly to herself the air of a popular song.

At the door of one of the public-houses which she passed on her way, there was a group of idle men standing—when, indeed, is there not a group of idle men at the door of a publichouse ?—they had all been drinking more or less, but none of them were actually drunk, and tbey were all, except one, talking and laughing loudly. He was a swarthy-featured man, with dark hair, beard, and eyes, powerfully made, and apparently about forty years of age. He was watching the passers-by from under his overhanging brows, and as his eyes fell upon the girl a strange gleam shot from them just for an instant, and a short, gasping sigh broke from between his closed lips.

"What ails Will?" asked one of his companions. "He is about as good company as a corpse at a wake. Has the old woman at home been a blowing of you up, man? or has she taken up with one of your pals? Whistle her down the wind, say I."

"Let him alone, Ben," said another; "he has no woman at home, that I've ever beard on; and don't you know that when the black fit's on Will, he'll not be put upon by anyone."

"Look how he follows that little gal yonder with his eye," interrupted Ben. "It's a way he has when he's sober, to look after the little gals; when he's drunk"

The girl did not hear the remainder of the speech, which the speaker ended with a coarse drunken laugh.

"What are ye all jawing about?" said the man they called Will. "Mayn't a chap look at what he likes with his own eyes? I'll do as I like with mine, I promise ye."

"And we with ours I" cried a chorus. "We were only wondering why you are always so down in the mouth now, Will? At odd times you're a rare chap for a lark, but"

"Let me alone, I tell ye," interrupted the other gruffly. "Come, I'll stop yer mouths for you inside, if you won't stop them outside." And the speaker chucked, half-a-crown into the air between bis finder and thumb, "Come along, lads,"'

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