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assistance, if any, either to the art critic,
or to the art chronologist. Nevertheless,
it did indubitably possess the claim of being
a collection of the world's masterpieces.
It is of the Gallery of the Louvre, as it was
before its priceless spoils were scattered back
in eighteen hundred and fifteen to the various
capitals from which they had been originally
purloined, that we are now reminded by
the re-distribution of the contents of this
memorable art-gallery at Manchester: a collection
made at the point of the wonder-working
sword, brandished over Europe,
during a quarter of a century by Napoleon

Masterpieces there still are, of course, in the
Louvre, several of even matchless excellence.
Yet, compared with those adorning the same
historic walls fifty years ago in such affluent
profusion, the choicest among all these exquisite
art-possessions of France are but as the
tinselled diadem and sceptre of a play, to the
glittering marvels of the crown regalia. It is
true, the palatial edifice itself has been very
recently completed by the reigning sovereign:
but its interior decorations, the manifold
works of genius wrought either by the brush
or by the chisel, works constituting the
bullion and ingots of this magnificent artistic
treasurythese now-a-days, resolve themselves
into the merest shadowy ghost of their
former glory. Radiant fruit, still hanging
sparsely here and there about the enchanted
garden of Alladin, long after the glorious
crop had fallen from those magical branches,
and strewn abroad to the four winds by the
breath of a hurricane. It is absolutely no
exaggeration to talk thus of the Louvre as it
is now, and as it was under the sway of the
First Napoleon. Now, its chief boast is as a
fabric, is external, is for the most part architectural.
Then, its principal merit consisted in inclosing
one astonishing cluster of masterpieces.
Throughout the fifteen years beginning this
nineteenth century, it was literally with the
Louvre as it might have been with the
acquisitions of some fortunate lapidary, who
had secured to himself examples of all the
various precious stones familiar to his craft;
gems of price, or beyond price, comprising
amongst their number those most renowned
in history. A lapidary, let us say, who had
secured, among diamonds of the purest water,
nothing less than the veritable Kohinoor:
whose store of pearls included the companion
to that melted in the cup of wine, and quaffed
with a dimpling to Antony by Cleopatra.
The rarest among whose rubies proved to
be no other than the famous jewel, once
forming the eye of the one-eyed Idol of
Jemschid. Here, the indisputable
carbuncle that had flamed upon the villauous
forehead of the toad of Sycorax. There,
the sacred emerald green with the profile of
the Redeemer, traditionally said to have
been bartered as a Christian ransom at the
pagan dungeon, bars of Constantinople. The
collection of inimitable worksof art, broken up
in eighteen hundred and fifteen by the Allies,
being in very deed not the less matchless and
unsurpassable. It enumerated the noblest
creations of the greatest painters and sculptors
of whom the world has teasured up the
memory with the masterpieces. Miracles in
marble, preserved almost without a flaw from
the remote ages of antiquity. Miracles on
canvas, blooming to this day as freshly as
when they bloomed first under the pencil of
Urbino, or of Buonarotti. Passing down
those majestic galleries of the Louvre, was
like traversing a suite of halls in one of the
Palaces of the Five Senses, raised in the
Cloudland of Romances by Vathek the
Sybarite. It was here that the French Csesar
appeared for a while to have permanently
gathered together under the shadow of the
Tuileries, trophies of battle that the
conquerors of the classic days would have amused
themselves with, probably, by dragging them
at the heels of their soldiery in triumphal

To appreciate the truth of this more
vividly, it is only necessary to recross those
fifty years in imagination. Reader, you are
then, we will suppose, one of those ill-starred
prisoners of war, the luckless detenûs;
kidnapped, you will but too well remember, on
the rupture of the Peace of Amiens, while
innocently meandering about, mere harmless
sight-seers. You have found your way, somehow,
up to Paris, from that miserable Verdun,
with every pebble of whose trottoirs you have
long since become utterly and heartily
disgusted. Your costume and general appearance
are in every respect sufficiently fashionable
to allow of your passing unnoticed along
the boulevards of the capital, as a gentleman
in no way given to eccentricities. Your
hair, straggling negligently from under the
rim of your little pinched-up beaver, in the
approved locks called oreilles de chien,
reveals just the faintest dash of powder in it
a graceful tribute to the highest and daintiest
of all the taxes upon gentility. Your chin
lies half-buried in the voluminous folds of
cambric, imparting to your cravat its proper
amplitude of dimensions. Your coat-collar
reaches half-way up the back of your head,
its swallow-tails dangling down towards your
heels, while the waist-buttons of glittering
brass (about an inch apart) are situated
somewhere between your shoulder-blades.
Your tight-fitting shorts, of a delicate
fawn-colour, are buttoned at the knee with
mother-o'-pearl; below, there is a gap of stocking, and
finally, to complete all, and to keep the dust
out of your shoes, you are pleasingly embellished
with a pair of little white gaiters.

Otherwise supposing you, gentle reader, to
be some "passing fair," your ringlets are
bunched in small clusters about your forehead,
down even to the eyebrows, the rest of
your tresses being coiled around a monstrous
comb of tortoise-shell, hidden within the