Bulwer's Pompeian Drawing-room





In 1841, the author of Pelham lived in Charles-street, Berkeley-square,

in a small house, which he fitted up after his own taste; and an odd

melee of the classic and the baronial certain of the rooms presented.

One of the drawing-rooms, we remember, was in the Elizabethan style,

with an imitative oak ceiling, bristled with pendents; and this room

opened into another apartment, a fac-simile of a chamber which Bulwer

had visited at Pompeii, with vases, candelabra, and other furniture to

correspond.



James Smith has left a few notes of his visit here: "Our host," he says,

"lighted a perfumed pastile, modelled from Vesuvius. As soon as the

cone of the mountain began to blaze, I found myself an inhabitant of

the devoted city; and, as Pliny the elder, thus addressed Bulwer, my

supposed nephew:--'Our fate is accomplished, nephew! Hand me yonder

volume! I shall die as a student in my vocation. Do thou hasten to take

refuge on board the fleet at Misenum. Yonder cloud of hot ashes chides

thy longer delay. Feel no alarm for me; I shall live in story. The author

of Pelham will rescue my name from oblivion.' Pliny the younger made

me a low bow, &c." We strongly suspect James of quizzing "our host."

He noted, by the way, in the chamber were the busts of Hebe, Laura,

Petrarch, Dante, and other worthies; Laura like our Queen.



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