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Title: The Bed-Book of Happiness
Author: Begbie, Harold, 1871-1929
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Being a Colligation or Assemblage of Cheerful Writings brought together
from many quarters into this one compass for the diversion, distraction,
and delight of those who lie abed,--a friend to the invalid, a companion
to the sleepless, an excuse to the tired, by






  _If, in my pages, those who suffer find
  Such cheer as warms your heart and lights your mind,
  Glad shall I be, but gladder, prouder too,
  If this my book become a friend like you_.






To Mr. Austin Dobson and his publishers, Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench,
Trübner & Co., Ltd.

To Mr. R.A. Streatfeild, Mr. Henry Festing Jones, and Mr. A.C. Fifield,
the publisher, for permission to make use of "The Note Books of Samuel

To Mr. W. Aldis Wright and Messrs. Macmillan for my quotations from "The
Letters of Edward FitzGerald."

To Mr. E.I. Carlyle, author of "The Life of William Cobbett."

To Sir Herbert Stephen and Messrs. Bowes & Bowes of Cambridge for
permission to include verses from the "Lapsus Calami" of J.K. Stephen.

To Mrs. Hole, Mr. G.A.B. Dewar, and Messrs. George Allen & Co., for my
quotations from Mr. Dewar's "The Letters of Samuel Reynolds Hole."

To Messrs. Chatto & Windus for my extracts from the Works of Mark Twain.

To Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons for permission to make a quotation from "Mrs.
Brookfield and her Circle."

To Messrs. Constable & Co. for my raid on the "Letters of T.E. Brown."

To Messrs. George Bell & Son for the verses taken from C.S. Calverley's
"Fly Leaves."

To Mr. E.V. Lucas, prince of anthologists, for the liberal use I have
made of his "Life of Charles Lamb."

To Mr. G.K. Chesterton, and his publishers, Messrs. Methuen, Mr.
Duckworth, Mr. J.M. Dent, and Mr. John Lane.

To Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. (_the owners of the copyright_) for
permission to include letters of Thackeray to Mrs. Brookfield.

To Messrs. Gibbings & Co. for my extracts from the admirable translation
of Sainte-Beuve.

And to all authors, living and dead, who have assembled in this place to
entertain the sick and the weary.



"It is worth," said Dr. Johnson, "a thousand pounds a year to have the
habit of looking on the bright side of things."

It is worth more than all money to have the capacity, the power, the
will to see the bright side of things, to possess the assurance that
there is a veritable and persisting bright side of things, when the mind
is gloomed by physical weakness and the heart is conscious only of
languor and distress. At such a dull time even a long-established habit
may desert us; with our faculties clouded and obscured we are tempted to
doubt the entire philosophy of our former life; we sink down into the
sheets of discomfort, and roll our heads restlessly on the pillow of
discontent; we almost extract a morbid satisfaction from the fuliginous
surrenderings of pessimism. Mrs. Gummidge at our bedside might be as
unwelcome as Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, or Zophar the
Naamathite; but there is a Widow in the soul of all men as mournful and
lugubrious as the tearful sister of Mr. Peggotty, and in our weakness it
is often this dismal self-comforter we are disposed to summon to our
aid. "My soul is weary of my life," cried Job; "I will leave my
complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul."

Now, there is not a wise doctor in the world, nor any man who truly
knows himself, but will acknowledge and confess the enormous importance
to physical recovery of mental well-being. The thing has become
platitudinous, but remains as difficult as ever. If Christian Science on
its physiological side had been an easy matter it would long ago have
converted the world. The trouble is that obvious things are not always
easy. It is obvious to the victim of alcoholic or nicotine poisoning
that he would be infinitely better in health could he abjure alcohol or
tobacco; he does not need to be philosophised or theologised into this
conviction; he knows it better than his teachers. His necessity is a
superadded force to the will within his soul which has lost the power of
action. And so with the will of the sick person, who knows very well
that if he could rid himself of dejection and heaviness his health would
come back to him on swallows' wings. Obvious, palpable, more certain
than to-morrow's sun; but how difficult, how hard, nay, sometimes how
impossible! An honest man like Father Tyrrell confesses that in certain
bouts with the flesh faith may desert us, even the religious faith of a
life-time may fall in ruins round our naked soul.

I was once speaking on this subject to Sir Jesse Boot, telling him how
hard I had found it to amuse and distract the mind of one of my children
in the extreme weakness which fell upon her after an operation. I told
him that I had searched my book-shelves for stories, histories,
anthologies, and journeyings; that I had carried to the bedside piles of
books which I thought the most suitable; and that I had read from these
books day after day, succeeding for some few minutes at a time to
interest the sick child, but ending almost in every case with failure
and defeat. I found that humour could bore, that narrative could
irritate, that essays could worry and perplex, that poetry could
depress, and that wit could tease with its cleverness. Moreover, I found
that one could not go straight to any anthology in existence without
coming unexpectedly, and before one was aware of it, upon some passage
so mournful or sad or pathetic that it undid at a sentence all the good
which had been done by luckier reading. My friend, who is himself a
great reader, and who has borne for some years a heavy burden of
infirmity, agreed that cheerful reading is of immense help in sickness
and also confessed that it is difficult to find any one book which
ministers to a mind weakened by illness or tortured by insomnia.

The present volume is the outcome of that conversation. I determined to
compile a book which from the first page to the last should be a happy
book, a book which would come to be a friend of all those who share in
any way the sickness of the world, a book to which everybody could go
with the sure knowledge that they would find there nothing to depress,
nothing to exacerbate irritable nerves, nothing to confirm the mind in
dejection. And on its positive side I said that this book should be
diverse and changeful in its happiness. I planned that while
cheerfulness should be its soul, the expression of that cheerfulness
should avoid monotony with as great an energy as the book itself avoided
depression. My theory was a book whose pages should resemble rather an
_olla podrida_ of variety than a tautological joint of monotonous
nutriment. And I sought to fill my wallet rather from the crumbs let
fall by the happy feasters than from the too familiar table of the great

"To muse, to dream, to conceive of fine works, is a delightful
occupation." But one must go from conception to execution, crossing the
gulf that separates "these two hemispheres of Art." "The man," says
Balzac, "who can but sketch his purpose beforehand in words is regarded
as a wonder, and every artist and writer possesses that faculty. But
gestation, fruition, the laborious rearing of the offspring, putting it
to bed every night full fed with milk, embracing it anew every morning
with the inexhaustible affection of a mother's heart, licking it clean,
dressing it a hundred times in the richest garb only to be instantly
destroyed; then never to be cast down at the convulsions of this
headlong life till the living masterpiece is perfected which in
sculpture speaks to every eye, in literature to every intellect, in
painting to every memory, in music to every heart!--this is the task of

Even the compiler knows something of this passion of the artist,
experiences some at least of the convulsions of this headlong life,
makes acquaintance certainly with this task of execution. To conceive
such a volume as a Bed-Book of Happiness is one matter, to make it in
very fact a Bed-Book of Happiness is another and a much harder matter.
For, to begin with, one's judgment is not nearly so free and one's field
of selection not nearly so wide as the anthologist's whose book is for
all sorts and conditions of men, who may be as merry as he wishes on one
page, as solemn as he chooses on the next, and as pathetic or
sentimental as he likes on the page beyond. One has had to reject, for
instance, humour that is too boisterous or noisy, wit that is too
stinging and acrimonious, anecdotes that are touched with cruelty,
essays that, otherwise cheerful, deviate into the shadows of a too
sombre reflection. One has sought to compile a book of cheerfulness that
is kind and of happiness that is quiet and composed. One has had always
in mind the invalid just able to bear the effort of listening to a
melodious voice. To amuse, to distract, to divert, and above all to
charm--to bring a smile to the mind rather than laughter to the
lips--has been the guiding principle of this book, and the task has not
been easy. It is really extraordinary, to give but one instance of my
difficulties, how frequently the most amusing work of comic writers is
ruined by some chuckling jests about coffins, undertakers, or graves. If
any reader in full health miss from this throng of glad faces, this
muster of elated hearts, the most amusing and delightful of his familiar
friends, let him ask himself, before he pass judgment on the
anthologist, before he mistake a deliberate omission for a careless
forgetfulness, whether those good friends of his, amiable and welcome
enough at the dinner-table, are the companions he would choose for his
most wearisome hours or for the bedside of his sick child. And if in
these pages another should find that which neither amuses nor diverts
his mind, that which seems to him to miss the magic and to lack the
charm of happiness, let him pass on, with as much charity as he can
spare for the anthologist, remembering the proverb of Terence and
counting himself an infinitely happier man for this clear proof of his
superior judgment.

I wished to include in this book, from the literature of other
countries, such gentle, whimsical humour as one finds in the letters of
FitzGerald or the Essays of Lamb. But, with all my searching I could
find nothing of that kind, and judges whom I can trust assure me that no
other literature has the exquisite note of happiness which sounds
through English letters so quietly, so cheerfully, and so contentedly.
Therefore my Bed-Book is almost entirely an English Bed-Book, for I
liked not the biting acid of Voltaire's epigrams any more than the
rollicking and disgustful coarseness of Boccaccio or Rabelais. It is an
interesting reflection, if it be true, that English literature is _par
excellence_ the literature of Happiness.

"He who puts forth one depressing thought," says Lady Rachel Howard,
"aids Satan in his work of torment. He who puts forth one cheering
thought aids God in His work of beneficence." I have acted in the faith
that life is essentially good, that the universe presents to the natural
intuition of man a bright and glorious expression of Divine happiness,
that to be fruitful, as George Sand has it, life must be felt as a
blessing. One of the characters in a novel by Dostöevsky says, "Men are
made for happiness, and any one who is completely happy has a right to
say to himself, 'I am doing God's will on earth.' All the righteous, all
the saints, all the holy martyrs were happy."

Happiness, in its truest and only lasting sense, is the condition of a
soul at unity with itself and in harmony with existence. To bring the
sick and the sad and the unhappy at least some way on the road to this
blissful state, is the purpose of my book; and it leaves me on its
travel round the world with the wish that to whatever bedside of
sickness, suffering, and lethargy it may come, it may bring with it the
magic and contagious joy of those rare and gracious people whose
longed-for visits to an invalid are like draughts of rejoicing health. I
hope that my fine covers may soon be worn to the comfort of an old
garment, that my new pages may be quickly shabbied to the endearment of
a familiar face, and that the book will live at bedsides deepening and
sweetening the reader's affection for its faded leaves till it come to
seem an old, faithful, and never-failing friend, one who is never at
fault and never a deserter, and without whom life would lose one of its
fondest companionships.


       The Lost Ornament                            191

       The Gentle Reader                             14
       King David and the Gardener                  198
       Sabbath Bells                                275
       From the Greek Anthology                     313
       Letter from an Indian Gentleman to an
         English Friend                             324
       A Babu Letter                                327
       Mary Powell                                  341
       A Tur'ble Chap                               374
       After Mr. Masefield                          384
       Hits and Misses                              443
       The Broken Window                            443

       Letters                                      212

       Charles and his Sister                       193

       Miss Pate                                    190

       Dr. Johnson at Court                         346

       Mr. Brookfield in his Youth                  376

  BROWN, T.E.:
       Letters of T.E. Brown                         85

       Clergyman and Chickens                        15
       Melchisedec                                   15
       Eating and Proselytising                      15
       Sea-sickness                                  17
       Assimilation and Persecution                  17
       Night-shirts and Babies                       17
       Does Mamma Know?                              18
       Croesus and his Kitchen-maid                  19
       Adam and Eve                                  24
       Fire                                          24
       The Electric Light in its Infancy             25
       New-laid Eggs                                 25
       Snapshotting a Bishop                         26

       Apples                                       359

       Visions                                       99
       The Schoolmaster Abroad with his Son         174
       Motherhood                                   257
       "Forever"                                    337

       Richter                                        1

       The Author of "Alice"                        378

       The Wisdom of G.K.C.                         140

       His Marriage                                 230
       Life at Botley                               233
       His Children                                 237


       Tartarin de Tarascon                         176

       Shy Neighbourhoods                            70
       The Calais Night-boat                        200
       Mr. Testator                                 329

       The Secrets of the Heart                      34
       To "Lydia Languish"                          137
       The Cap that Fits                            240
       A Garden Idyll                               286
       Love in Winter                               353
       From the Ballad à-la-Mode                    417

       Letters of Fitz                              127

       Cranford                                     291

       Sir John Waters                               47
       Lord Westmoreland                             51
       Colonel Kelly and his Blacking                52
       John Kemble                                   53
       Rogers and Luttrell                           54
       The Pig-faced Lady                            57
       Hoby, the Bootmaker, of St. James's Street    58
       Harrington House and Lord Petersham           60
       Lord Alvanley                                 61
       Sally Lunn                                    66
       "Monk" Lewis                                  67

       Haydon's Immortal Night                      181

       Miss Stipp of Plover's Court                 385
       Two Old Gentlemen                            424

       Persons one would wish to have seen          180
       Hobson's Choice                              279
       Wit and Laughter                             351

       "The Vulgar Tongue"                          146
       The Happy Dean                               249

       The Carelesse Nurse Mayd                      69
       "Please to Ring the Belle"                   248
       Sally Simpkin's Lament; or John Jones's
         Kit-cat-astrophe                           307
       "Love, with a Witness!"                      328
       Ode to Peace                                 404

       Hints for an Historical Play; to be called
         William Rufus; or, the Red Rover           122
       The Tragedy                                  214
       New-made Honour                              312

       Elia's Tail                                  192

       Music                                        402
       Neatness in Excess                           402
       A Young Lady's "Needs"                       403
       "Irene"                                      403

       The Woodcraft of Jonson                      253

       To his Brother                               186

       "Sixpenny Jokes"                             185
       Lamb's Task                                  186
       In a Coach                                   197

       Landorisms                                   350

       Where--and oh! Where?                         33
       The Answer of Lady Clara Vere de Vere        252

  LEWES, G.H.:
       Goethe's Mother                               28

       "Boswell and Johnson"                        102
       Macaulay's Wit                               290

       From the Greek Anthology                     313

       Odours and Moustaches                        415

       The Great Condé                                2
       A Classical Ass                                3
       Memory                                         4
       "Come in Here"                                 4
       A Pope Innocent                                5
       A Good Paraphrase                              5
       Irish Priest                                   6
       A Digression                                   7
       Fortune-teller                                 7
       Gasconades                                     8
       Tribute to Beauty                              8
       Begging Quarter                                9
       Gascon Reproved                                9
       Absent Man                                    11
       Pride                                         12
       Witty Coward                                  12
       Valuing Beauty                                12
       Pro Aris et Focis                             14

       Epigrams                                     345

       The Happiness of Sir Thomas Browne           244

       Theisse                                        1
       Broken Studies                                 1

       Your Hat, Sir                                191

       The Charming Frenchman: Bossuet, Rousseau,
         Joubert, Mme D'Houdetot, Mme de
         Rémusat, Diderot, La Bruyère               269

       Table-talk of John Selden                    309

       Dreamthorp                                   418

       A Little Moral Advice                        360
       Mrs. Partington                              363

       In a Visitor's Book                          126
       A Sonnet                                     345

       The Supper                                   118
       The Grace                                    120
       Uncle Toby and the Fly                       277

       Old London Sports                            314

       Letters from Thackeray                       406

       Lewis Carroll                                380

       Open Air                                     339

       British Festivities                           38
       Mark's Baby                                  139
       Enigma                                       243
       The Jumping Frog                             259
       How Mark was Sold                            310
       A Newspaper Paragraph                        335
       Mental Photographs                           354
       How Mark edited an Agricultural Paper        365

       Chatter of a Dilettante                      221

       Angling Cheer                                356

       From the Greek Anthology (altered)           313

  WIT ON OCCASION                                   444


[Sidenote: _Richter_]

In his seventy-second year his face is a thanksgiving for his former
life, and a love-letter to all mankind.

[Sidenote: _Carlyle_]

We have heard that he was a man universally loved, as well as honoured
... a friendly, true, and high-minded man; copious in speech, which was
full of grave, genuine humour; contented with simple people and simple
pleasures; and himself of the simplest habits and wishes.

[Sidenote: _Richter_]

I deny myself my evening meal in my eagerness to work; but the
interruptions by my children I cannot deny myself.

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

The Great Condé passing through the city of Sens, which belonged to
Burgundy, and of which he was the governor, took great pleasure in
disconcerting the different companies who came to compliment him. The
Abbé Boileau, brother of the poet, was commissioned to make a speech to
the Prince at the head of the chapter. Condé wishing to disconcert the
orator, advanced his head and large nose towards the Abbé, as if with
the intention of hearing him more distinctly, but in reality to make him
blunder if possible. The Abbé, who perceived his design, pretended to be
greatly embarrassed, and thus began his speech: "My lord, your highness
ought not to be surprised to see me tremble, when I appear before you at
the head of a company of ecclesiastics; were I at the head of an army of
thirty thousand men, I should tremble much more." The Prince was so
charmed with this sally that he embraced the orator without suffering
him to proceed. He asked his name; and when he found that he was brother
to M. Despreaux, he redoubled his attentions, and invited him to dinner.

The Prince on another occasion thought himself offended by the Abbé de
Voisenon; Voisenon, hearing of this, went to Court to exculpate himself.
As soon as the Prince saw him he turned away from him. "Thank God!" said
Voisenon, "I have been misinformed, sir; your highness does not treat me
as if I were an enemy." "How do you see that, M. Abbé?" said his
highness coldly over his shoulder. "Because, sir," answered the Abbé,
"your highness never turns your back upon an enemy." "My dear Abbé,"
exclaimed the Prince and Field-Marshal, turning round and taking him by
the hand, "it is quite impossible for any man to be angry with you."

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

The ass, though the dullest of all unlaughing animals, is reported to
have once accomplished a great feat in the way of exciting laughter.
Marcus Crassus, the grandfather of the hero of that name, who fell in
the Parthian War, was a person of such immovable gravity of countenance
that, in the whole course of his life, he was never known to laugh but
once, and hence was surnamed Agelastus. Not all that the wittiest men of
his time could say, nor aught that comedy or farce could produce on the
stage, was ever known to call up more than a smile on his iron-bound
countenance. Happening one day, however, to stray into the fields, he
espied an ass browsing on thistles; and in this there appears to have
been something so eminently ridiculous in those days that the man who
never laughed before could not help laughing at it outright. It was but
the burst of a moment; Agelastus immediately recovered himself, and
never laughed again.

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

A player being reproached by Rich for having forgot some of the words in
"The Beggar's Opera," on the fifty-third night of its performance, cried
out, "What! do you think one can remember a thing for ever?"

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

Burton, in his "Melancholy," quoting from Poggius, the Florentine, tells
us of a physician in Milan who kept a house for the reception of
lunatics, and, by way of cure, used to make his patients stand for a
length of time in a pit of water, some up to the knees, some to the
girdle, and others as high as the chin, _pro modo insaniæ_, according as
they were more or less affected. An inmate of this establishment, who
happened, "by chance," to be pretty well recovered, was standing at the
door of the house, and, seeing a gallant cavalier ride past with a hawk
on his fist, and his spaniels after him, he must needs ask what all
these preparations meant. The cavalier answered, "To kill game." "What
may the game be worth which you kill in the course of a year?" rejoined
the patient. "About five or ten crowns." "And what may your horse, dogs,
and hawks stand you in?" "Four hundred crowns more." On hearing this,
the patient with great earnestness of manner, bade the cavalier
instantly begone, as he valued his life and welfare; "For," said he, "if
our master come and find you here, he will put you into his pit up to
the very chin."

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

When King James I. visited Sir Thomas Pope, knt., in Oxfordshire, his
lady had lately brought him a daughter, and the babe was presented to
the King with a paper of verses in her hand; "Which," quoth Fuller, "as
they pleased the King, I hope they will please the reader."

  See, this little mistress here,
  Did never sit in Peter's chair,
  Or a triple crown did wear,
        And yet she is a Pope.

  No benefice she ever sold,
  Nor did dispense with sins for gold,
  She hardly is a se'nnight old,
        And yet she is a Pope.

  No king her feet did ever kiss,
  Or had from her worse look than this;
  Nor did she ever hope
  To saint one with a rope,
        And yet she is a Pope.

  A female Pope you'll say, a second Joan!
  No, sure she is Pope _Innocent_, or none!

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

On the eve of a battle an officer came to ask permission of the Maréchal
de Toiras to go and see his father, who was on his death-bed. "Go," said
the general, "you honour your father and your mother, that your days may
be long in the land."

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

An Irish peasant complained to the Catholic priest of his parish that
some person had stolen his best pig, and supplicated his reverence to
help him to the discovery of the thief. The priest promised his best
endeavours; and, his inquiries soon leading him to a correct enough
guess as to the offender, he took the following amusing method of
bringing the matter home to him. Next Sunday, after the service of the
day, he called out with a loud voice, fixing his eyes on the suspected
individual, "Who stole Pat Doolan's pig?" There was a long pause, and no
answer; he did not expect that there would be any; and descended from
the pulpit without saying a word more. A second Sunday arriving without
the pig being restored in the interval, his reverence, again looking
steadfastly at the stubborn purloiner and throwing a deep note of anger
into the tone of his voice, repeated the question. "Who stole Pat
Doolan's pig? I say, who stole _poor_ Pat Doolan's pig?" Still there was
no answer, and the question was left as before, to work its effect in
secret on the conscience of the guilty individual. The hardihood of the
offender, however, exceeded all the honest priest's calculations. A
third Sunday arrived, and Pat Doolan was still without his pig. Some
stronger measure now became necessary. After service was performed his
reverence, dropping the question of "Who stole Pat Doolan's pig?" but
still without directly accusing any one of the theft, reproachfully
exclaimed, "Jimmie Doran! Jimmie Doran! you trate me with contimpt."
Jimmie Doran hung down his head, and next morning the pig was found at
the door of Pat Doolan's cabin.

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

The celebrated Henderson, the actor, was seldom known to be in a
passion. When at Oxford, he was one day debating with a fellow student,
who, not keeping his temper, threw a glass of wine in his face. Mr.
Henderson took out his handkerchief, wiped his face, and coolly said,
"That, sir, was a digression; now for the argument."

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

A fortune-teller was arrested at his theatre of divination, _al fresco_,
at the corner of the rue de Bussy in Paris, and carried before the
tribunal of correctional police. "You know to read the future?" said the
president, a man of great wit, but too fond of a joke for a magistrate.
"In this case," said the judge, "you know the judgment we intend to
pronounce." "Certainly." "Well, what will happen to you?" "Nothing."
"You are sure of it?" "You will acquit me." "Acquit you!" "There is no
doubt of it." "Why?" "Because, sir, if it had been your intention to
condemn me, you would not have added irony to misfortune." The
president, disconcerted, turned to his brother judges, and the sorcerer
was acquitted.

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

A Gascon, passing one night through a churchyard, thought he saw a
spectre drawing forth his sword. He called out aloud, "Aha! do you want
to be killed a second time? I am your man."

Another hero of the same country used to say that he could not look into
a mirror without being afraid of himself.

When Robespierre had been guillotined at Paris, a Gascon officer in the
French army thus expressed the dread he had entertained of that tyrant:
"As often as the name of Robespierre was mentioned to me, I used to take
off my hat, in order to see if my head was in it."

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

As the late beautiful Duchess of Devonshire was one day stepping out of
her carriage, a dustman, who was accidentally standing by, and was about
to regale himself with his accustomed whiff of tobacco, caught a glance
of her countenance, and instantly exclaimed, "Love and bless you, my
lady, let me light my pipe in your eyes!" It is said the duchess was so
delighted with this compliment that she frequently afterwards checked
the strain of adulation, which was so constantly offered to her charms,
by saying, "Oh! after the dustman's compliment, all others are insipid."

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

A French regiment at the battle of Spires had orders to give no quarter.
A German officer, being taken, begged his life. The Frenchman replied,
"Sir, you may ask me for any other favour; but, as for your life, it is
impossible for me to grant it."

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

A descendant of a family in Gascony, celebrated for its flow of language
and love of talking, and not for any deeds of glory, descanted before a
numerous company upon the well-known bravery of his ancestors and
relations. He then, to show that the race had not degenerated,
_modestly_ launched into a _faithful_ description of his own battles,
duels, and successes. He was once, he said, a passenger on board a
French frigate during the war, and, falling in with an English squadron
composed of three seventy-fours, fought with them for five hours, when
luckily, the ship taking fire, he was blown up, with ten of his
countrymen, and dropped into one of the seventy-fours, the crew of which
laid down their arms and surrendered; while the two remaining
men-of-war, struck with dismay at the sight of one of their ships in the
possession of the enemy, crowded sails and ran away!

Such were his _faithful_ accounts, with which he would still have
continued to annoy the company, had not one of his countrymen, more
enlightened, frankly acknowledged the natural propensity which leads the
inhabitants of Gascony to revel in imaginary scenes, resolved to awe him
into silence, and thus addressed him: "All your exploits are mere
commonplace, in comparison to those which I have achieved; and I will
relate a single one that surpasses all yours."

The babbler opened his ears, no doubt secretly intending to appropriate
this story to himself in future time, when none of the hearers should be
present, and modestly owned, that all those he had mentioned were mere
children's tricks, performed without any exertion, but that he had some
in store which might shine unobscured by the side of the most brilliant
deeds of ancient ages.

"One evening," said the other, "as I was returning to town from the
country, I had to pass through a narrow lane, well known for being
infested with highwaymen. My horse was in good order, my pistols loaded,
and my broadsword hung at my side; I entered the lane without any
apprehension. Scarcely had I reached the middle when a loud shout behind
me made me turn my head, and I saw a man with a short gun running fast
towards me. I was going to face him with my horse, when two men with
large cudgels in their hands, rushing from the hedge, seized the reins,
and threatened me with instant death. Undaunted, I took my two pistols;
but, before I had time to fire, one was knocked out of my hand, the
other went off, and one of the robbers fell. I then drew my sword, and,
though bruised by the blows I had received, struck with all my might,
and split the head of the other in two. Freed from my danger on their
side, I attempted a second time to turn my horse." Here he paused a
while; and our babbler, longing to know the end of this adventure,
exclaimed, "And the third!" "Oh, the third!" answered the other; "he
shot me dead."

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

A celebrated living poet, occasionally a little absent in mind, was
invited by a friend, whom he met in the street, to dine with him the
next Sunday at a country lodging, which he had taken for the summer
months. The address was, "near the _Green Man_ at _Dulwich_"; which, not
to put his inviter to the trouble of pencilling down, the _absent_ man
promised faithfully to remember. But when Sunday came, he, fully late
enough, made his way to Greenwich, and began inquiring for the sign of
the _Dull Man_! No such sign was to be found; and, after losing an hour,
a person guessed that though there was no _Dull Man_ at Greenwich, there
was a _Green Man_ at Dulwich, which the _absent_ man might _possibly_
mean! This remark connected the broken chain, and the poet was under the
necessity of taking his chop by himself.

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

A Spaniard rising from a fall, whereby his nose had suffered
considerably, exclaimed, "Voto, a tal, esto es caminar por la turru!"
(This comes of walking upon earth!)

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

A French marquis having received several blows with a stick, which he
never thought of resenting, a friend asked him, "How he could reconcile
it with his honour to suffer them to pass without notice?" "Poh!"
replied the marquis, "I never trouble my head with anything that passes
behind my back."

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

The Persian Ambassador, Mirza Aboul Hassan, while he resided in Paris
was an object of so much curiosity that he could not go out without
being surrounded by a multitude of gazers, and the ladies even ventured
so far as to penetrate his hotel.

On returning one day from a ride, he found his apartments crowded with
ladies, all elegantly dressed, but not all equally beautiful. Astonished
at this unexpected assemblage, he inquired what these European
odalisques could possibly want with him. The interpreter replied that
they had come to look at his Excellency. The Ambassador was surprised to
find himself an object of curiosity among a people who boast of having
attained the acme of civilisation; and was not a little offended at
conduct which, in Asia, would have been considered an unwarrantable
breach of good-breeding; he accordingly revenged himself by the
following little scheme.

The illustrious foreigner affected to be charmed with the ladies; he
looked at them attentively alternately, pointing to them with his
finger, and speaking with great earnestness to his interpreter, who, he
was well aware, would be questioned by his fair visitants; and whom he
therefore instructed in the part he was to act. Accordingly, the eldest
of the ladies, who, in spite of her age, probably thought herself the
prettiest of the whole party, and whose curiosity was particularly
excited, after his Excellency had passed through the suite of rooms,
coolly inquired what had been the object of his examination? "Madam,"
replied the interpreter, "I dare not inform you." "But I wish
particularly to know, sir." "Indeed, madam, it is impossible!" "Nay,
sir, this reserve is vexatious; I desire to know." "Oh! since you
desire, madam, know then that his Excellency has been valuing you!"
"Valuing us! how, sir?" "Yes, ladies, his Excellency, after the custom
of his country, has been setting a price upon each of you!" "Well,
that's whimsical enough; and how much may that lady be worth, according
to his estimation?" "A thousand crowns." "And the other?" "Five hundred
crowns." "And that young lady with fair hair?" "The same price." "And
that lady who is painted?" "Fifty crowns." "And pray, sir, what may I be
worth in the tariff of his Excellency's good graces?" "Oh, madam, you
really must excuse me, I beg." "Come, come, no concealments." "The
Prince merely said as he passed you--" "Well, what did he say?" inquired
the lady with great eagerness. "He said, madam, that he did not know the
small coin of this country."

[Sidenote: _Percy Anecdotes_]

At the establishment of volunteer corps, a certain corporation agreed to
form a body, on condition that they should _not be obliged to quit the
country_. The proposal was submitted to Mr. Pitt; who said he had no
objection to the terms, if they would permit him to add, "_except_, in
case of _invasion_."

[Sidenote: _Anon._]

  No British Museum the fisherman needs:
  He simply goes down to the river and reeds.

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

Why, let me ask, should a hen lay an egg, which egg can become a chicken
in about three weeks and a full-grown hen in less than a twelvemonth,
while a clergyman and his wife lay no eggs, but give birth to a baby
which will take three-and-twenty years before it can become another
clergyman? Why should not chickens be born and clergymen be laid and
hatched? Or why, at any rate, should not the clergyman be born
full-grown and in Holy Orders, not to say already beneficed?

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

He was a really happy man. He was without father, without mother, and
without descent. He was an incarnate bachelor. He was a born orphan.

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

All eating is a kind of proselytising--a kind of dogmatising--a
maintaining that the eater's way of looking at things is better than the
eatee's. We convert the food, or try to do so, to our own way of
thinking, and, when it sticks to its own opinion and refuses to be
converted, we say it disagrees with us. An animal that refuses to let
another eat it has the courage of its convictions, and, if it gets
eaten, dies a martyr to them....

It is good for the man that he should not be thwarted--that he should
have his own way as far, and with as little difficulty, as possible.
Cooking is good because it makes matters easier by unsettling the meat's
mind and preparing it for new ideas. All food must first be prepared for
us by animals and plants, or we cannot assimilate it; and so thoughts
are more easily assimilated that have been already digested by other
minds. A man should avoid converse with things that have been stunted or
starved, and should not eat such meat as has been overdriven or underfed
or afflicted with disease, nor should he touch fruit or vegetables that
have not been well grown.

Sitting quiet after eating is akin to sitting still during divine
service so as not to disturb the congregation. We are catechising and
converting our proselytes, and there should be no row. As we get older
we must digest more quietly still; our appetite is less, our gastric
juices are no longer so eloquent, they have lost that cogent fluency
which carried away all that came in contact with it. They have become
sluggish and unconciliatory. This is what happens to any man when he
suffers from an attack of indigestion.

Or, indeed, any other sickness, is the inarticulate expression of the
pain we feel on seeing a proselyte escape us just as we were on the
point of converting it.

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

We cannot get rid of persecution; if we feel at all we must persecute
something; the mere acts of feeding and growing are acts of persecution.
Our aim should be to persecute nothing but such things as are absolutely
incapable of resisting us. Man is the only animal that can remain on
friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

On Hindhead, last Easter, we saw a family wash hung out to dry. There
were papa's two great night-shirts and mamma's two lesser night-gowns,
and then the children's smaller articles of clothing and mamma's drawers
and the girls' drawers, all full swollen with a strong north-east wind.
But mamma's night-gown was not so well pinned on, and, instead of being
full of steady wind like the others, kept blowing up and down as though
she were preaching wildly. We stood and laughed for ten minutes. The
housewife came to the window and wondered at us, but we could not
resist the pleasure of watching the absurdly life-like gestures which
the night-gowns made. I should like a _Santa Famiglia_ with clothes
drying in the background.

A love-story might be told in a series of sketches of the clothes of two
families hanging out to dry in adjacent gardens. Then a gentleman's
night-shirt from one garden and a lady's night-gown from the other
should be shown hanging in a third garden by themselves. By and by there
should be added a little night-shirt.

A philosopher might be tempted, on seeing the little night-shirt, to
suppose that the big night-shirts had made it. What we do is much the
same, for the body of a baby is not much more made by the two old
babies, after whose pattern it has cut itself out, than the little
night-shirt is made by the big ones. The thing that makes either the
little night-shirt or the little baby is something about which we know
nothing whatever at all.

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

A father was telling his eldest daughter, aged about six, that she had a
little sister, and was explaining to her how nice it all was. The child
said it was delightful, and added:

"Does mamma know? Let's go and tell her."

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

I want people to see either their cells as less parts of themselves than
they do, or their servants as more.

Croesus's kitchen-maid is part of him, bone of his bone and flesh of his
flesh, for she eats what comes from his table, and, being fed of one
flesh, are they not brother and sister to one another in virtue of
community of nutriment, which is but a thinly veiled travesty of
descent? When she eats peas with her knife, he does so too; there is not
a bit of bread and butter she puts into her mouth, nor a lump of sugar
she drops into her tea, but he knoweth it altogether, though he knows
nothing whatever about it. She is en-Croesused and he en-scullery-maided
so long as she remains linked to him by the golden chain which passes
from his pocket to hers, and which is greatest of all unifiers.

True, neither party is aware of the connection at all as long as things
go smoothly. Croesus no more knows the name of, or feels the existence
of, his kitchen-maid than a peasant in health knows about his liver;
nevertheless, he is awakened to a dim sense of an undefined something
when he pays his grocer or his baker. She is more definitely aware of
him than he of her, but it is by way of an overshadowing presence rather
than a clear and intelligent comprehension. And though Croesus does not
eat his kitchen-maid's meals otherwise than vicariously, still to eat
vicariously is to eat: the meals so eaten by his kitchen-maid nourish
the better ordering of the dinner which nourishes and engenders the
better ordering of Croesus himself. He is fed, therefore, by the feeding
of his kitchen-maid.

And so with sleep. When she goes to bed he, in part, does so too. When
she gets up and lays the fire in the back kitchen he, in part, does so.
He lays it through her and in her, though knowing no more what he is
doing than we know when we digest, but still doing it as by what we call
a reflex action. _Qui facit per alium facit per se_, and when the
back-kitchen fire is lighted on Croesus's behalf it is Croesus who
lights it, though he is all the time fast asleep in bed.

Sometimes things do not go smoothly. Suppose the kitchen-maid to be
taken with fits just before dinner-time; there will be a reverberating
echo of disturbance throughout the whole organisation of the palace. But
the oftener she has fits, the more easily will the household know what
it is all about when she is taken with them. On the first occasion Lady
Croesus will send some one rushing down into the kitchen; there will, in
fact, be a general flow of blood (i.e. household) to the part affected
(that is to say, to the scullery-maid); the doctor will be sent for and
all the rest of it. On each repetition of the fits the neighbouring
organs, reverting to a more primary undifferentiated condition, will
discharge duties for which they were not engaged, in a manner for which
no one would have given them credit; and the disturbance will be less
and less each time, till by and by, at the sound of the crockery
smashing below, Lady Croesus will just look up to papa and say:

"My dear, I am afraid Sarah has got another fit."

And papa will say she will probably be better again soon, and will go on
reading his newspaper.

In course of time the whole thing will come to be managed automatically
downstairs without any references either to papa, the cerebrum, or to
mamma, the cerebellum, or even to the _medulla oblongata_, the
housekeeper. A precedent or routine will be established, after which
everything will work quite smoothly.

But though papa and mamma are unconscious of the reflex action which has
been going on within their organisation, the kitchen-maid and the cells
in her immediate vicinity (that is to say, her fellow-servants) will
know all about it. Perhaps the neighbours will think that nobody in the
house knows, and that, because the master and mistress show no sign of
disturbance, therefore there is no consciousness. They forget that the
scullery-maid becomes more and more conscious of the fits if they grow
upon her, as they probably will, and that Croesus and his lady do show
more signs of consciousness, if they are watched closely, than can be
detected on first inspection. There is not the same violent
perturbation that there was on the previous occasions, but the tone of
the palace is lowered. A dinner-party has to be put off; the cooking is
more homogeneous and uncertain, it is less highly differentiated than
when the scullery-maid was well; and there is a grumble when the doctor
has to be paid, and also when the smashed crockery has to be replaced.

If Croesus discharges his kitchen-maid and gets another, it is as though
he cut out a small piece of his finger and replaced it in due course by
growth. But even the slightest cut may lead to blood-poisoning, and so
even the dismissal of a kitchen-maid may be big with the fate of
empires. Thus the cook--a valued servant--may take the kitchen-maid's
part and go too. The next cook may spoil the dinner and upset Croesus's
temper, and from this all manner of consequences may be evolved, even to
the dethronement and death of the King himself. Nevertheless, as a
general rule, an injury to such a low part of a great monarch's organism
as a kitchen-maid has no important results. It is only when we are
attacked in such vital organs as the solicitor or the banker that we
need be uneasy. A wound in the solicitor is a very serious thing, and
many a man has died from failure of his bank's action.

It is certain, as we have seen, that when the kitchen-maid lights the
fire it is really Croesus who is lighting it, but it is less obvious
that when Croesus goes to a ball the scullery-maid goes also. Still,
this should be held in the same way as it should be also held that she
eats vicariously when Croesus dines. For he must return from the ball
and the dinner-parties, and this comes out in his requiring to keep a
large establishment whereby the scullery-maid retains her place as part
of his organism and is nourished and amused also.

On the other hand, when Croesus dies it does not follow that the
scullery-maid should die at the same time. She may grow a new Croesus,
as Croesus, if the maid dies, will probably grow a new kitchen-maid;
Croesus's son or successor may take over the kingdom and palace, and the
kitchen-maid, beyond having to wash up a few extra plates and dishes at
coronation time, will know little about the change. It is as though the
establishment had had its hair cut and its beard trimmed; it is
smartened up a little, but there is no other change. If, on the other
hand, he goes bankrupt, or his kingdom is taken from him and his whole
establishment is broken and dissipated at the auction-mart, then, even
though not one of its component cells actually dies, the organism as a
whole does so, and it is interesting to see that the lowest, least
specialised, and least highly differentiated parts of the organism, such
as the scullery-maid and the stable-boys, most readily find an entry
into the life of some new system, while the more specialised and highly
differentiated parts, such as the steward, the old housekeeper, and,
still more so, the librarian or the chaplain, may never be able to
attach themselves to any new combination, and may die in consequence. I
heard once of a large builder who retired unexpectedly from business and
broke up his establishment, to the actual death of several of his older

So a bit of flesh, or even a finger, may be taken from one body and
grafted on to another, but a leg cannot be grafted; if a leg is cut off
it must die. It may, however, be maintained that the owner dies, too,
even though he recovers, for a man who has lost a leg is not the man he

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

A little boy and a little girl were looking at a picture of Adam and

"Which is Adam and which is Eve?" said one.

"I do not know," said the other, "but I could tell if they had their
clothes on."

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

I was at one the other night, and heard a man say: "That corner stack is
alight now quite nicely." People's sympathies seem generally to be with
the fire so long as no one is in danger of being burned.

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

I heard a woman in a 'bus boring her lover about the electric light. She
wanted to know this and that, and the poor lover was helpless. Then she
said she wanted to know how it was regulated. At last she settled down
by saying that she knew it was in its infancy. The word "infancy" seemed
to have a soothing effect upon her, for she said no more, but, leaning
her head against her lover's shoulder, composed herself to slumber.

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

When I take my Sunday walks in the country, I try to buy a few really
new-laid eggs warm from the nest. At this time of the year (January)
they are very hard to come by, and I have long since invented a sick
wife who has implored me to get a few eggs laid not earlier than the
self-same morning. Of late, as I am getting older, it has become my
daughter, who has just had a little baby. This will generally draw a
new-laid egg, if there is one about the place at all.

At Harrow Weald it has always been my wife who for years has been a
great sufferer and finds a really new-laid egg the one thing she can
digest in the way of solid food. So I turned her on as movingly as I
could not long since, and was at last sold some eggs that were no
better than common shop-eggs, if so good. Next time I went I said my
poor wife had been made seriously ill by them; it was no good trying to
deceive her; she could tell a new-laid egg from a bad one as well as any
woman in London, and she had such a high temper that it was very
unpleasant for me when she found herself disappointed.

"Ah! sir," said the landlady, "but you would not like to lose her."

"Ma'am," I replied, "I must not allow my thoughts to wander in that
direction. But it's no use bringing her stale eggs, anyhow."

[Sidenote: _Samuel Butler_]

I must some day write about how I hunted the late Bishop of Carlisle
with my camera, hoping to shoot him when he was sea-sick crossing from
Calais to Dover, and how St. Somebody protected him and said I might
shoot him when he was well, but not when he was sea-sick. I should like
to do it in the manner of the "Odyssey":

... And the steward went round and laid them all on the sofas and
benches, and he set a beautiful basin by each, variegated and adorned
with flowers; but it contained no water for washing the hands, and
Neptune sent great waves that washed over the eyelet-holes of the cabin.
But when it was now the middle of the passage and a great roaring arose
as of beasts in the Zoological Gardens, and they promised hecatombs to
Neptune if he would still the raging of the waves....

At any rate I shot him and have him in my snap-shot book; but he was not

_From the Note-Books of Samuel Butler._

[Sidenote: _G.H. Lewes_]

That he was the loveliest baby ever seen, exciting admiration wherever
nurse or mother carried him, and exhibiting, in swaddling clothes, the
most wonderful intelligence, we need no biographer to tell us. Is it not
said of every baby? But that he was in truth a wonderful child we have
undeniable evidence, and of a kind less questionable than the statement
of mothers and relatives. At three years old he could seldom be brought
to play with little children, and only on the condition of their being
pretty. One day, in a neighbour's house, he suddenly began to cry and
exclaim, "That black child must go away! I can't bear him!" And he
howled till he was carried home, where he was slowly pacified; the whole
cause of his grief being the ugliness of the child.

A quick, merry little girl grew up by the boy's side. Four other
children also came, but soon vanished. Cornelia was the only companion
who survived, and for her his affection dated from the cradle. He
brought his toys to her, wanted to feed her and attend on her, and was
very jealous of all who approached her. "When she was taken from the
cradle, over which he watched, his anger was scarcely to be quieted. He
was altogether much more easily moved to anger than to tears." To the
last his love for Cornelia was passionate.

In old German towns, Frankfurt among them, the ground-floor consists of
a great hall where the vehicles were housed. This floor opens in folding
trap-doors, for the passage of wine-casks into the cellars below. In one
corner of the hall there is a sort of lattice, opening by an iron or
wooden grating upon the street. This is called the Geräms. Here the
crockery in daily use was kept; here the servants peel their potatoes,
and cut their carrots and turnips, preparatory to cooking; here also the
housewife would sit with her sewing, or her knitting, giving an eye to
what passed in the street (when anything did pass there) and an ear to a
little neighbourly gossip. Such a place was, of course, a favourite with
the children.

One fine afternoon, when the house was quiet, Master Wolfgang, with his
cup in his hand, and nothing to do, finds himself in this Geräms,
looking out into the silent street, and telegraphing to the young
Ochsensteins who dwelt opposite. By way of doing something, he begins to
fling the crockery into the street, delighted at the smashing music
which it makes, and stimulated by the approbation of the brothers
Ochsenstein, who chuckle at him from over the way. The plates and dishes
are flying in this way, when his mother returns: she sees the mischief
with a housewifely horror, melting into girlish sympathy, as she hears
how heartily the little fellow laughs at his escapade, and how the
neighbours laugh at him.

This genial, indulgent mother employed her faculty for story-telling to
his and her own delight. "Air, fire, earth, and water I represented
under the forms of princesses; and to all natural phenomena I gave a
meaning, in which I almost believed more fervently than my little
hearers. As we thought of paths which led from star to star, and that we
should one day inhabit the stars, and thought of the great spirits we
should meet there, I was as eager for the hours of story-telling as the
children themselves; I was quite curious about the future course of my
own improvisation, and any invitation which interrupted these evenings
was disagreeable. There I sat, and there Wolfgang held me with his large
black eyes; and when the fate of one of his favourites was not according
to his fancy, I saw the angry veins swell on his temples, I saw him
repress his tears. He often burst in with 'But, mother, the princess
won't marry the nasty tailor, even if he does kill the giant.' And when
I made a pause for the night, promising to continue it on the morrow, I
was certain that he would in the meanwhile think it out for himself, and
so he often stimulated my imagination. When I turned the story according
to his plan, and told him that he had found out the _dénouement_, then
was he all fire and flame, and one could see his little heart beating
underneath his dress! His grandmother, who made a great pet of him, was
the confidante of all his ideas as to how the story would turn out, and
as she repeated these to me, and I turned the story according to these
hints, there was a little diplomatic secrecy between us, which we never
disclosed. I had the pleasure of continuing my story to the delight and
astonishment of my hearers, and Wolfgang saw, with glowing eyes, the
fulfilment of his own conceptions, and listened with enthusiastic
applause." What a charming glimpse of mother and son!

She is one of the pleasantest figures in German literature, and one
standing out with greater vividness than almost any other. Her simple,
hearty, joyous, and affectionate nature endeared her to all. She was the
delight of children, the favourite of poets and princes. To the last
retaining her enthusiasm and simplicity, mingled with great shrewdness
and knowledge of character, "Frau Aja," as they christened her, was at
once grave and hearty, dignified and simple. She had read most of the
best German and Italian authors, had picked up considerable desultory
information, and had that "mother wit" which so often in women and poets
seems to render culture superfluous, their rapid intuitions anticipating
the tardy conclusions of experience. Her letters are full of spirit: not
always strictly grammatical; not irreproachable in orthography; but
vigorous and vivacious. After a lengthened interview with her, an
enthusiast exclaimed, "Now do I understand how Goethe has become the
man he is!" Wieland, Merck, Bürger, Madame de Staël, Karl August, and
other great people sought her acquaintance. The Duchess Amalia
corresponded with her as with an intimate friend; and her letters were
welcomed eagerly at the Weimar Court. She was married at seventeen to a
man for whom she had no love, and was only eighteen when the poet was
born. This, instead of making her prematurely old, seems to have
perpetuated her girlhood. "I and my Wolfgang," she said, "have always
held fast to each other, because we were both young together." To him
she transmitted her love of story-telling, her animal spirits, her love
of everything which bore the stamp of distinctive individuality, and her
love of seeing happy faces around her. "Order and quiet," she says in
one of her charming letters to Freiherr von Stein, "are my principal
characteristics. Hence I despatch at once whatever I have to do, the
most disagreeable always first, and I gulp down the devil without
looking at him. When all has returned to its proper state, then I defy
any one to surpass me in good humour." Her heartiness and tolerance are
the causes, she thinks, why every one likes her. "I am fond of people,
and _that_ every one feels directly--young and old. I pass without
pretension through the world, and that gratifies men. I never
_bemoralise_ any one--_always seek out the good that is in them, and
leave what is bad to Him who made mankind, and knows how to round off
the angles_. In this way I make myself happy and comfortable." Who does
not recognise the son in those accents? The kindliest of men inherited
his loving, happy nature from the heartiest of women.

[Sidenote: _Henry S. Leigh_]

  Where are the times when--miles away
    From the din and the dust of cities--
  Alexis left his lambs to play,
  And wooed some shepherdess half the day
    With pretty and plaintive ditties?

  Where are the pastures daisy-strewn
    And the flocks that lived in clover;
  The Zephyrs that caught the pastoral tune
  And carried away the notes as soon
    As ever the notes were over?

  Where are the echoes that bore the strains
    Each to his nearest neighbour;
  And all the valleys and all the plains
  Where all the nymphs and their love-sick swains
    Made merry to pipe and tabor?

  Where are they gone? They are gone to sleep
    Where Fancy alone can find them;
  But Arcady's times are like the sheep
  That quitted the care of Little Bo-peep,
    For they've left their tales behind them!

[Sidenote: _Austin Dobson_]

"Le coeur mène où il va"

_SCENE--A Chalet covered with honeysuckle_

  NINETTE                           NINON

  This way--

             No, this way--

                            This way, then.

  (_They enter the Chalet_)
  You are as changing, child,--as men.

  But are they? Is it true, I mean?
  Who said it?

                     Sister Séraphine.
  She was so pious and so good,
  With such sad eyes beneath her hood,
  And such poor little feet,--all bare!
  Her name was Eugénie la Fère.
  She used to tell us,--moonlight nights,--
  When I was at the Carmelites.

  Ah, then it must be right.    And yet,
  Suppose for once--suppose, Ninette--

  But what?

                       Suppose it were not so?
  Suppose there _were_ true men, you know!

  And then?

      Why, if that _could_ occur,
  What kind of men should you prefer?

  What looks, you mean?

                  Looks, voice and all.

  Well, as to that, he must be tall,
  Or say, not "tall"--of middle size;
  And next, he must have laughing eyes;
  And a hook-nose,--with, underneath,
  Oh! what a row of sparkling teeth!

  NINON (_touching her cheek suspiciously_)
  Has he a scar on this side?

  Some one is coming. No; a thrush:
  I see it swinging there.

                         Go on.

  Then he must fence (ah, look, 'tis gone!)
  And dance like Monseigneur, and sing
  "Love was a Shepherd,"--everything
  That men do. Tell me yours, Ninon.

  Shall I? Then mine has black, black hair ...
  I mean, he _should_ have; then an air
  Half sad, half noble; features thin;
  A little _royale_ on the chin;
  And such a pale, high brow. And then,
  He is a prince of gentlemen;--
  He, too, can ride and fence and write
  Sonnets and madrigals, yet fight
  No worse for that--

                       I know your man.

  And I know yours. But you'll not tell,--
  Swear it!

             I swear upon this fan,--
  My grandmother's!

                       And I, I swear
  On this old turquoise _reliquaire_,--
  My great-_great_-grandmother's!--
         _(After a pause)_

  I feel _so_ sad.

  I too. But why?

  Alas, I know not!

  NINETTE (_with a sigh_)
                        Nor do I.

[Sidenote: _Mark Twain_]

Niagara Falls is a most enjoyable place of resort. The hotels are
excellent, and the prices not at all exorbitant. The opportunities for
fishing are not surpassed in the country; in fact, they are not even
equalled elsewhere. Because, in other localities, certain places in the
streams are much better than others; but at Niagara one place is just as
good as another, for the reason that the fish do not bite anywhere, and
so there is no use in your walking five miles to fish, when you can
depend of being just as unsuccessful nearer home. The advantages of this
state of things have never heretofore been properly placed before the

The weather is cool in summer, and the walks and drives are all
pleasant, and none of them fatiguing. When you start out to "do" the
Falls you first drive down about a mile, and pay a small sum for the
privilege of looking down from a precipice into the narrowest part of
the Niagara river. A railway "cut" through a hill would be as comely if
it had an angry river tumbling and foaming through its bottom. You can
descend a staircase here a hundred and fifty feet down, and stand at the
edge of the water. After you have done it, you will wonder why you did
it; but you will then be too late.

The guide will explain to you, in his blood-curdling way, how he saw
the little steamer, _Maid of the Mist,_ descend the fearful rapids--how
first one paddle-box was out of sight behind the raging billows, and
then the other, and at what point it was that her smoke-stack toppled
overboard, and where her planking began to break and part asunder--and
how she did finally live through the trip, after accomplishing the
incredible feat of travelling seventeen miles in six minutes, or six
miles in seventeen minutes, I have really forgotten which. But it was
very extraordinary, anyhow. It is worth the price of admission to hear
the guide tell the story nine times in succession to different parties,
and never miss a word or alter a sentence or a gesture.

Then you drive over the Suspension Bridge, and divide your misery
between the chances of smashing down two hundred feet into the river
below and the chances of having the railway train overhead smashing down
on to you. Either possibility is discomforting taken by itself, but,
mixed together, they amount in the aggregate to positive unhappiness.

On the Canada side you drive along the chasm between long ranks of
photographers standing guard behind their cameras, ready to make an
ostentatious frontispiece of you and your decaying ambulance, and your
solemn crate with a hide on it, which you are expected to regard in the
light of a horse, and a diminished and unimportant background of sublime
Niagara; and a great many people _have_ the ineffable effrontery or the
native depravity to aid and abet this sort of crime.

Any day, in the hands of these photographers, you may see stately
pictures of papa and mamma, Johnny and Bub and Sis, or a couple of
country cousins, all smiling hideously, and all disposed in studied and
uncomfortable attitudes in their carriage, and all looming up in their
grand and awe-inspiring imbecility before the snubbed and diminished
presentment of that majestic presence, whose ministering spirits are the
rainbows, whose voice is the thunder, whose awful front is veiled in
clouds, who was monarch here dead and forgotten ages before this hackful
of small reptiles was deemed temporarily necessary to fill a crack in
the world's unnoted myriads, and will still be monarch here ages and
decades of ages after they shall have gathered themselves to their blood
relations, the other worms, and been mingled with the unremembering

There is no actual harm in making Niagara a background whereon to
display one's marvellous insignificance in a good strong light, but it
requires a sort of superhuman self-complacency to enable one to do it.

When you have examined the stupendous Horseshoe Fall till you are
satisfied you cannot improve on it, you return to America by the new
Suspension Bridge, and follow up the bank to where they exhibit the Cave
of the Winds.

Here I followed instructions, and divested myself of all my clothing and
put on a waterproof jacket and overalls. This costume is picturesque,
but not beautiful. A guide, similarly dressed, led the way down a flight
of winding stairs, which wound and wound and still kept on winding long
after the thing ceased to be a novelty, and then terminated long before
it had begun to be a pleasure. We were then well down under the
precipice, but still considerably above the level of the river.

We now began to creep along flimsy bridges of a single plank, our
persons shielded from perdition by a crazy wooden railing, to which I
clung with both hands--not because I was afraid, but because I wanted
to. Presently the descent became steeper, and the bridge flimsier, and
sprays from the American Fall began to rain down on us in
fast-increasing sheets that soon became blinding, and after that our
progress was mostly in the nature of groping. Now a furious wind began
to rush out from behind the waterfall, which seemed determined to sweep
us from the bridge, and scatter us on the rocks and among the torrents
below. I remarked that I wanted to go home; but it was too late. We were
almost under the monstrous wall of water thundering down from above, and
speech was in vain in the midst of such a pitiless crash of sound.

In another moment the guide disappeared behind the grand deluge, and,
bewildered by the thunder, driven helplessly by the wind, and smitten by
the arrowy tempest of rain, I followed. All was darkness. Such a mad,
storming, roaring, and bellowing of warring wind and water never crazed
my ears before. I bent my head, and seemed to receive the Atlantic on my
back. The world seemed going to destruction. I could not see anything,
the flood poured down so savagely. I raised my head, with open mouth,
and the most of the American cataract went down my throat. If I had
sprung a leak now, I had been lost. And at this moment I discovered that
the bridge had ceased, and we must trust for a foothold to the slippery
and precipitous rocks. I never was so scared before and survived it. But
we got through at last, and emerged into the open day, where we could
stand in front of the laced and frothy and seething world of descending
water, and look at it. When I saw how much of it there was, and how
fearfully in earnest it was, I was sorry I had gone behind it.

I said to the guide, "Son, did you know what kind of an infernal place
this was before you brought me down here?"


This was sufficient. He had known all the horror of the place, and yet
he brought me there! I regarded it as deliberate arson. I then destroyed

I managed to find my way back alone to the place from whence I had
started on this foolish enterprise, and then hurried over to Canada, to
avoid having to pay for the guide.

At the principal hotel I fell in with the Major of the 42nd Fusiliers,
and a dozen other hearty and hospitable Englishmen, and they invited me
to join them in celebrating the Queen's birthday. I said I would be
delighted to do it. I said I liked all the Englishmen I had ever
happened to be acquainted with, and that I, like all my countrymen,
admired and honoured the Queen. But I said there was one insuperable
drawback--I never drank anything strong upon any occasion whatever, and
I did not see how I was going to do proper and ample justice to
anybody's birthday with the thin and ungenerous beverages I was
accustomed to.

The Major scratched his head, and thought over the matter at
considerable length; but there seemed to be no way of mastering the
difficulty, and he was too much of a gentleman to suggest even a
temporary abandonment of my principles. But by-and-by he said:

"I have it. Drink soda-water. As long as you never do drink anything
more nutritious, there isn't any impropriety in it."

And so it was settled. We met in a large parlour, handsomely decorated
with flags and evergreens, and seated ourselves at a board well laden
with creature comforts, both solid and liquid. The toasts were happy,
and the speeches were good, and we kept it up until long after midnight.
I never enjoyed myself more in my life. I drank thirty-eight bottles of
soda-water. But do you know that that is not a reliable article for a
steady drink? It is too gassy. When I got up in the morning I was full
of gas, and as tight as a balloon. I hadn't an article of clothing that
I could wear, except my umbrella.

After breakfast I found the Major making grand preparations again. I
asked what it was for, and he said this was the Prince of Wales's
birthday. It had to be celebrated that evening. We celebrated it. Much
against my expectations, we had another splendid time. We kept it up
till some time after midnight again. I was tired of soda, and so I
changed off for lemonade. I drank several quarts. You may consider
lemonade better for a steady drink than soda-water; but it isn't so. In
the morning it had soured on my stomach. Biting anything was out of the
question--it was equivalent to lockjaw. I was beginning to feel worn and
sad too.

Shortly after luncheon, I found the Major in the midst of some more
preparations. He said this was the Princess Alice's birthday. I
concealed my grief.

"Who is the Princess Alice?" I asked.

"Daughter of her Majesty the Queen," the Major said.

I succumbed. That night we celebrated the Princess Alice's birthday. We
kept it up as late as usual, and really I enjoyed it a good deal. But I
could not stand lemonade. I drank a couple of kegs of ice-water.

In the morning I had toothache, and cramps, and chilblains, and my teeth
were on edge from the lemonade, and I was still pretty gassy, I found
the inexorable Major at it again.

"Who is this for?" I asked.

"His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh," he said.

"Son of the Queen?"


"And this is his birthday--you haven't made any mistake?"

"No; the celebration comes off to-night."

I bowed before the new calamity. We celebrated the day. I drank part of
a barrel of cider. Among the first objects that met my weary and
jaundiced eye the next day was the Major at his interminable
preparations again. My heart was broken, and I wept.

"Whom do we mourn this time?" I said.

"The Princess Beatrice, daughter of the Queen."

"Here, now," I said; "it is time to inquire into this thing. How long is
the Queen's family likely to hold out? Who comes next on the list?"

"Their Royal Highnesses the Duke of Cambridge, the Princess Royal,
Prince Arthur, Princess Mary of Teck, Prince Leopold, the Grand-duke of
Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the Grand-duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Prince

"Hold! There's a limit to human endurance. I am only mortal. What man
dare do, I dare; but he who can celebrate this family in detail, and
live to tell it, is less or more than man. If you have to go through
this every year, it is a mercy I was born in America, for I haven't
constitution enough to be an Englishman. I shall have to withdraw from
this enterprise. I am out of drinks. Out of drinks, and so many more to
celebrate! Out of drinks, and only just on the outskirts of the family
yet, as you may say! I am sorry enough to have to withdraw, but it is
plain enough that it has to be done. I am full of gas, and my teeth are
loose, and I am wrenched with cramps, and afflicted with scurvy, and
toothache, measles, mumps, and lockjaw, and the cider last night has
given me the cholera. Gentlemen, I mean well; but really I am not in a
condition to celebrate the other birthdays. Give us a rest."

[Sidenote: _Captain Gronow_]

Amongst the distinguished men in the Peninsular War whom my memory
brings occasionally before me, is the well-known and highly popular
Quartermaster-General Sir John Waters, who was born at Margam, a Welsh
village in Glamorganshire. He was one of those extraordinary persons
that seem created by kind nature for particular purposes; and, without
using the word in an offensive sense, he was the most admirable spy that
was ever attached to an army. One would almost have thought that the
Spanish War was entered upon and carried on in order to display his
remarkable qualities. He could assume the character of Spaniards of
every degree and station, so as to deceive the most acute of those whom
he delighted to imitate. In the posada of the village he was hailed by
the contrabandist or the muleteer as one of their own race; in the gay
assemblies he was an accomplished hidalgo; at the bullfight the toreador
received his congratulations as from one who had encountered the toro in
the arena; in the church he would converse with the friar upon the
number of Ave Marias and Paternosters which could lay a ghost, or tell
him the history of every one who had perished by the flame of the
Inquisition, relating his crime, whether carnal or anti-Catholic; and
he could join in the _seguadilla_ or in the _guaracha_.

But what rendered him more efficient than all was his wonderful power of
observation and acute description, which made the information he gave so
reliable and valuable to the Duke of Wellington. Nothing escaped him.
When amidst a group of persons, he would minutely watch the movement,
attitude, and expression of every individual that composed it; in the
scenery by which he was surrounded he would carefully mark every object:
not a tree, not a bush, not a large stone, escaped his observation; and
it was said that in a cottage he noted every piece of crockery on the
shelf, every domestic utensil, and even the number of knives and forks
that were got ready for use at dinner.

His acquaintance with the Spanish language was marvellous; from the
finest works of Calderon to the ballads in the patois of every province,
he could quote, to the infinite delight of those with whom he
associated. He could assume any character that he pleased: he could be
the Castilian, haughty and reserved; the Asturian, stupid and plodding;
the Catalonian, intriguing and cunning; the Andalusian, laughing and
merry,--in short, he was all things to all men. Nor was he incapable of
passing off, when occasion required, for a Frenchman; but, as he spoke
the language with a strong German accent, he called himself an Alsatian.
He maintained that character with the utmost nicety; and as there is a
strong feeling of friendship, almost equal to that which exists in
Scotland, amongst all those who are born in the departments of France
bordering on the Rhine, and who maintain their Teutonic originality, he
always found friends and supporters in every regiment in the French

He was on one occasion entrusted with a very difficult mission by the
Duke of Wellington, which he undertook effectually to perform, and to
return on a particular day with the information that was required.

Great was the disappointment when it was ascertained beyond a doubt
that, just after leaving the camp, he had been taken prisoner before he
had time to exchange his uniform. Such, however, was the case; a troop
of dragoons had intercepted him, and carried him off; and the commanding
officer desired two soldiers to keep a strict watch over him and carry
him to headquarters. He was, of course, disarmed, and, being placed on a
horse, was, after a short time, galloped off by his guards. He slept one
night under durance vile at a small inn, where he was allowed to remain
in the kitchen; conversation flowed on very glibly, and, as he appeared
a stupid Englishman, who could not understand a word of French or
Spanish, he was allowed to listen, and thus obtained precisely the
intelligence that he was in search of. The following morning, being
again mounted, he overheard a conversation between his guards, who
deliberately agreed to rob him, and to shoot him at a mill where they
were to stop, and to report to their officer that they had been
compelled to fire at him in consequence of his attempt to escape.

Shortly before they arrived at the mill, for fear that they might meet
with some one who would insist on having a portion of the spoil, the
dragoons took from their prisoner his watch and his purse, which he
surrendered with a good grace. On their arrival at the mill they
dismounted, and, in order to give some appearance of truth to their
story, they went into the house, leaving their prisoner outside, in the
hope that he would make some attempt to escape. In an instant Waters
threw his cloak upon a neighbouring olive-bush, and mounted his cocked
hat on the top. Some empty flour-sacks lay upon the ground, and a horse
laden with well-filled flour-sacks stood at the door. Sir John contrived
to enter one of the empty sacks and throw himself across the horse. When
the soldiers came out of the house they fired their carbines at the
supposed prisoner, and galloped off at the utmost speed.

A short time after the miller came out and mounted his steed; the
general contrived to rid himself of the encumbrance of the sack, and sat
up, riding behind the man, who, suddenly turning round, saw a ghost, as
he believed, for the flour that still remained in the sack had
completely whitened his fellow-traveller and given him a most unearthly
appearance. The frightened miller was "putrified," as Mrs. Malaprop
would say, at the sight, and a push from the white spectre brought the
unfortunate man to the ground, when away rode the gallant quartermaster
with his sacks of flour, which, at length bursting, made a ludicrous
spectacle of man and horse.

On reaching the English camp, where Lord Wellington was anxiously
deploring his fate, a sudden shout from the soldiers made his lordship
turn round, when a figure, resembling the statue in "Don Juan," galloped
up to him. The duke, affectionately shaking him by the hand, said:

"Waters, you never yet deceived me; and, though you have come in a most
questionable shape, I must congratulate you and myself."

When this story was told at the Club, one of those listeners who always
want something more called out, "Well, and what did Waters say?" to
which Alvanley replied:

"Oh, Waters made a very _flowery_ speech, like a well-bred man."

[Sidenote: _Captain Gronow_]

When I was presented at the Court of Louis XVIII. Lord Westmoreland, the
grandfather of the present lord, accompanied Sir Charles Stewart to the
Tuileries. On our arrival in the room where the King was we formed
ourselves into a circle, when the King good-naturedly inquired after
Lady Westmoreland, from whom his lordship was divorced, and whether she
was in Paris. Upon this the noble lord looked sullen, and refused to
reply to the question put by the King. His Majesty, however, repeated
it, when Lord Westmoreland hallooed out, in bad French, "Je ne sais pas,
je ne sais pas, je ne sais pas." Louis, rising, said, "Assez, milord;
assez, milord."

On one occasion, Lord Westmoreland, who was Lord Privy Seal, being asked
what office he held, replied, "Le Chancellier est le grand sceau (sot);
moi je suis le petit sceau d'Angle-terre." On another occasion, he
wished to say "I would if I could, but I can't," and rendered it, "Je
voudrais si je coudrais, mais je ne cannais pas."

[Sidenote: _Captain Gronow_]

Among the odd characters I have met with, I do not recollect any one
more eccentric than the late Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly, of the First Foot
Guards, who was the vainest man I ever encountered. He was a thin,
emaciated-looking dandy, but had all the bearing of a gentleman. He was
haughty in the extreme, and very fond of dress; his boots were so well
varnished that the polish now in use could not surpass Kelly's blacking
in brilliancy; his pantaloons were made of the finest leather, and his
coats were inimitable; in short, his dress was considered perfect.

His sister held the place of housekeeper to the Custom-house, and when
it was burnt down, Kelly was burnt with it, in endeavouring to save his
favourite boots. When the news of his horrible death became known, all
the dandies were anxious to secure the service of his valet, who
possessed the mystery of the inimitable blacking. Brummell lost no time
in discovering his place of residence, and asked what wages he required;
the servant answered, his late master gave him £150 a year, but it was
not enough for his talents, and he should require £200; upon which
Brummell said, "Well, if you will make it guineas, _I_ shall be happy to
attend upon _you_." The late Lord Plymouth eventually secured this
phoenix of valets at £200 a year, and bore away the sovereignty of

[Sidenote: _Captain Gronow_]

John Kemble had the honour of giving the Prince of Wales some lessons in
elocution. According to the vitiated pronunciation of the day, the
Prince, instead of saying "oblige," would say "obleege," upon which
Kemble, with much disgust depicted upon his countenance, said:

"Sir, may I beseech your Royal Highness to open your royal jaws, and say

[Sidenote: _Captain Gronow_]

I saw a good deal of the poet Rogers during his frequent visits to
Paris; and often visited him in his apartments, which were always on the
fourth or fifth story of the hotel or private house in which he lived.
He was rich, and by no means avaricious, and chose those lofty chambers
partly from a poetic wish to see the sun rise with greater brilliancy,
and partly from a fancy that the exercise he was obliged to take in
going up and down stairs would prove beneficial to his liver.

I could relate many unpublished anecdotes of Rogers, but they lose their
piquancy when one attempts to narrate them. There was so much in his
appearance, in that cadaverous, unchanging countenance, in the peculiar
low, drawling voice, and rather tremulous accents in which he spoke. His
intonations were very much those one fancies a ghost would use if forced
by some magic spell to give utterance to sounds. The mild venom of every
word was a remarkable trait in his conversation. One might have compared
the old poet to one of those velvety caterpillars that crawl gently and
quietly over the skin, but leave an irritating blister behind. To those,
like myself, who were _sans_ consequence, and with whom he feared no
rivalry, he was very good-natured and amiable, and a most pleasant
companion, with a fund of curious anecdote about everything and
everybody. But woe betide those in great prosperity and renown; they
had, like the Roman emperor, in Rogers the personification of the slave
who bade them "remember they were mortal."

At an evening party many years since at Lady Jersey's every one was
praising the Duke of B----, who had just come in, and who had lately
attained his majority. There was a perfect chorus of admiration to this
effect: "Everything is in his favour--he has good looks, considerable
abilities, and a hundred thousand a year." Rogers, who had been
carefully examining the "young ruler," listened to these encomiums for
some time in silence, and at last remarked, with an air of great
exultation, and in his most venomous manner, "Thank God, he has got bad

His well-known epigram on Mr. Ward, afterwards Lord Dudley--

  They say that Ward's no heart, but I deny it;
  He has a heart, and gets his speeches by it--

was provoked by a remark made at table by Mr. Ward. On Rogers observing
that his carriage had broken down, and that he had been obliged to come
in a hackney-coach, Mr. Ward grumbled out in a very audible whisper, "In
a hearse, I should think," alluding to the poet's corpse-like
appearance. This remark Rogers never forgave, and, I have no doubt,
pored over his retaliatory impromptu, for he had no facility in
composition. Sydney Smith used to say that, if Rogers was writing a
dozen verses, the street was strewn with straw, the knocker tied up,
and the answer to the tender inquiries of his anxious friends was, that
Mr. Rogers was as well as could be expected.

It used to be very amusing in London to see Rogers with his _fidus
Achates_, Luttrell. They were inseparable, though rival wits, and
constantly saying bitter things to each other. Luttrell was the natural
son of Lord Carhampton, Commander-in-Chief in Ireland, and in his youth
known as the famous Colonel Luttrell of Junius. I consider him to have
been the most agreeable man I ever met. He was far more brilliant in
conversation than Rogers; and his animated, bustling manner formed an
agreeable contrast with the spiteful calmness of his corpse-like
companion. He was extremely irritable, and even passionate; and in his
moments of anger he would splutter and stutter like a maniac in his
anxiety to give utterance to the flow of thoughts which crowded his
mind, and, I might almost say, his mouth.

On one occasion the late Lady Holland took him a drive in her carriage
over a rough road, and, as she was very nervous, she insisted on being
driven at a foot's pace. This ordeal lasted some hours, and when he was
at last released, poor Luttrell, perfectly exasperated, rushed into the
nearest club-house, and exclaimed, clenching his teeth and hands, "The
very funerals passed us!"

[Sidenote: _Captain Gronow_]

Among the many absurd reports and ridiculous stories current in former
days, I know of none more absurd or more ridiculous than the general
belief of everybody in London, during the winter of 1814, in the
existence of a lady with a pig's face. This interesting specimen of
porcine physiognomy was said to be the daughter of a great lady residing
in Grosvenor Square.

It was rumoured that during the illuminations which took place to
celebrate the peace, when a great crowd had assembled in Piccadilly and
St. James's Street, and when carriages could not move on very rapidly,
_horresco referens!_ an enormous pig's snout had been seen protruding
from a fashionable-looking bonnet in one of the landaus which were
passing. The mob cried out, "The pig-faced lady! Stop the carriage--stop
the carriage!" The coachman, wishing to save his bacon, whipped his
horses, and drove through the crowd at a tremendous pace; but it was
said that the coach had been seen to set down its monstrous load in
Grosvenor Square.

Another report was also current. Sir William Elliot, a youthful baronet,
calling one day to pay his respects to the great lady in Grosvenor
Square, was ushered into a drawing-room, where he found a person
fashionably dressed, who, on turning towards him, displayed a hideous
pig's face. Sir William, a timid young gentleman, could not refrain from
uttering a shout of horror, and rushed to the door in a manner the
reverse of polite; when the infuriated lady or animal, uttering a series
of grunts, rushed at the unfortunate baronet as he was retreating, and
inflicted a severe wound on the back of his neck. This highly improbable
story concluded by stating that Sir William's wound was a severe one,
and had been dressed by Hawkins, the surgeon, in St. Audley Street.

I am really almost ashamed to repeat this absurd story; but many persons
now alive can remember the strong belief in the existence of the
pig-faced lady which prevailed in the public mind at the time of which I
speak. The shops were full of caricatures of the pig-faced lady, in a
poke bonnet and large veil, with "A pig in a poke" written underneath
the print. Another sketch represented Sir William Elliot's misadventure,
and was entitled, "Beware the pig-sty!"

[Sidenote: _Captain Gronow_]

Hoby was not only the greatest and most fashionable bootmaker in London,
but, in spite of the old adage, _ne sutor ultra crepidam_, he employed
his spare time with considerable success as a Methodist preacher at
Islington. He was said to have in his employment three hundred workmen;
and he was so great a man in his own estimation that he was apt to take
rather an insolent tone with his customers. He was, however, tolerated
as a sort of privileged person, and his impertinence was not only
overlooked but was considered as rather a good joke. He was a pompous
fellow, with a considerable vein of sarcastic humour.

I remember Horace Churchill (afterwards killed in India with the rank of
major-general), who was then an ensign in the Guards, entering Hoby's
shop in a great passion, saying that his boots were so ill made that he
should never employ Hoby for the future. Hoby, putting on a pathetic
cast of countenance, called to his shopman:

"John, close the shutters. It is all over with us. I must shut up shop;
Ensign Churchill withdraws his custom from me."

Churchill's fury can be better imagined than described.

On another occasion the late Sir John Shelley came into Hoby's shop to
complain that his top-boots had split in several places. Hoby quietly

"How did that happen, Sir John?"

"Why, in walking to my stables."

"Walking to your stables!" said Hoby, with a sneer. "I made the boots
for riding, not walking."

Hoby was bootmaker to the Duke of Kent; and, as he was calling on H.R.H.
to try on some boots, the news arrived that Lord Wellington had gained a
great victory over the French army at Vittoria. The duke was kind enough
to mention the glorious news to Hoby, who coolly said:

"If Lord Wellington had had any other bootmaker than myself he never
would have had his great and constant successes; for my boots and
prayers bring his lordship out of all his difficulties."

One may well say that there is nothing like leather; for Hoby died worth
a hundred and twenty thousand pounds.

Hoby was bootmaker to George III., the Prince of Wales, the royal dukes,
and many officers in the Army and Navy. His shop was situated at the top
of St. James's Street, at the corner of Piccadilly, next to the Old
Guards Club. He was bootmaker to the Duke of Wellington from his
boyhood, and received innumerable orders in the duke's handwriting, both
from the Peninsula and France, which he always religiously preserved.
Hoby was the first man who drove about London in a tilbury. It was
painted black, and drawn by a beautiful black cob. This vehicle was
built by the inventor, Mr. Tilbury, whose manufactory was, fifty years
back, in a street leading from South Audley Street into Park Street.

[Sidenote: _Captain Gronow_]

When our army returned to England in 1814 my young friend, Augustus
Stanhope, took me one afternoon to Harrington House, in Stable-yard,
St. James's, where I was introduced to Lord and Lady Harrington, and all
the Stanhopes. On entering a long gallery, I found the whole family
engaged in their sempiternal occupation of tea-drinking. Neither in
Nankin, Pekin, nor Canton was the teapot more assiduously and constantly
replenished than at this hospitable mansion. I was made free of the
corporation, if I may use the phrase, by a cup being handed to me; and I
must say that I never tasted any tea so good before or since.

As an example of the undeviating tea-table habits of the house of
Harrington, General Lincoln Stanhope once told me that, after an absence
of several years in India, he made his reappearance at Harrington House,
and found the family, as he had left them on his departure, drinking tea
in the long gallery. On his presenting himself, his father's only
observation and speech of welcome to him was, "Hallo, Linky, my dear
boy! delighted to see you. Have a cup of tea?"

[Sidenote: _Captain Gronow_]

From the time of good Queen Bess, when the English language first began
to assume somewhat of its present form, idiom, and mode of expression,
to the day of our most gracious sovereign Queen Victoria, every age has
had its punsters, humorists, and eloquent conversationalists; but I much
doubt whether the year 1789 did not produce the greatest wit of modern
times, in the person of William Lord Alvanley.

After receiving a very excellent and careful education, Alvanley entered
the Coldstream Guards at an early age, and served with distinction at
Copenhagen and in the Peninsula; but, being in possession of a large
fortune, he left the Army, gave himself up entirely to the pursuit of
pleasure, and became one of the principal dandies of the day. With the
brilliant talents which he possessed, he might have attained to the
highest eminence in any line of life he had embraced.

Not only was Alvanley considered the wittiest man of his day in England,
but, during his residence in France, and tours through Russia and other
countries, he was universally admitted to possess, not only great wit
and humour, but _l'esprit français_ in its highest perfection; and no
greater compliment could be paid him by foreigners than this. He was one
of the rare examples (particularly rare in the days of the dandies, who
were generally sour and spiteful) of a man combining brilliant wit and
repartee with the most perfect good-nature. His manner, above all, was
irresistible; and the slight lisp, which might have been considered as a
blemish, only added piquancy and zest to his sayings.

In appearance he was about the middle height, and well and strongly
built, though he latterly became somewhat corpulent. He excelled in all
manly exercises, was a hard rider to hounds, and was what those who do
not belong to the upper ten thousand call "a good-plucked one." His face
had somewhat of the rotund form and smiling expression which
characterises the jolly friars one meets with in Italy. His hair and
eyes were dark, and he had a very small nose, to which, after deep
potations, his copious pinches of snuff had some difficulty in finding
their way, and were in consequence rather lavishly bestowed upon his
florid cheek. He resided in Park Street, St. James's, and his dinners
there and at Melton were considered to be the best in England. He never
invited more than eight people, and insisted upon having the somewhat
expensive luxury of an apricot-tart on the sideboard the whole year

Alvanley was a good speaker; and, having made some allusion to O'Connell
in rather strong terms in the House of Lords, the latter very coarsely
and unjustly denounced him, in a speech he made in the House of Commons,
as a bloated buffoon. Alvanley thereupon called out the Liberator, who
would not meet him, but excused himself by saying, "There is blood
already on this hand"--alluding to his fatal duel with D'Esterre.

Alvanley then threatened O'Connell with personal chastisement. Upon
this, Morgan O'Connell, a very agreeable, gentlemanlike man, who had
been in the Austrian service, and whom I knew well, said he would take
his father's place. A meeting was accordingly agreed upon at Wimbledon
Common, Alvanley's second was Colonel George Dawson Damer, and our late
consul at Hamburgh, Colonel Hodges, acted for Morgan O'Connell. Several
shots were fired without effect, and the seconds then interfered and put
a stop to any further hostilities.

On their way home in a hackney-coach, Alvanley said, "What a clumsy
fellow O'Connell must be, to miss such a fat fellow as I am! He ought to
practise at a haystack to get his hand in." When the carriage drove up
to Alvanley's door, he gave the coachman a sovereign. Jarvey was profuse
in his thanks and said, "It's a great deal for only having taken your
lordship to Wimbledon."

"No, my good man," said Alvanley; "I give it you, not for taking me, but
for bringing me back."

Everybody knows the story of Gunter, the pastrycook. He was mounted on a
runaway horse with the King's hounds, and excused himself for riding
against Alvanley by saying, "Oh my lord, I can't hold him, he's so hot!"
"Ice him, Gunter--ice him!" was the consoling rejoinder.

In the hunting-field in a northern county, Sir Charles S----, whose
married life was not a very happy one, wore one morning at the meet a
wonderful greatcoat, with enormous horn buttons. Alvanley, riding up to
him, and apparently looking at the buttons with great admiration, said,
"A little attention of Lady S----'s, I presume, Sir Charles?"

Alvanley had a delightful recklessness and _laisser aller_ in
everything. His manner of putting out his light at night was not a very
pleasant one for his host for the time being. He always read in bed, and
when he wanted to go to sleep he either extinguished his candle by
throwing it on the floor in the middle of the room, and taking a shot at
it with the pillow, or else quietly placed it, when still lighted, under
the bolster. At Badminton, and other country houses, his habits in this
respect were so well known that a servant was ordered to sit up in the
passage to keep watch over him.

Alvanley's recklessness in money matters was almost incredible. His
creditors having become at last very clamorous, that able and astute man
of the world, Mr. Charles Greville, with the energetic and bustling
kindness in mixing himself up in all his friends' affairs which still
distinguishes him, had undertaken to settle those of Alvanley. After
going through every item of the debts, matters looked more promising
than Mr. Greville expected, and he took his leave. In the morning he
received a note from Alvanley, to say that he had quite forgotten to
take into account a debt of fifty-five thousand pounds.

[Sidenote: _Captain Gronow_]

Some fifty years back, or thereabouts, Albinia, Countess of
Buckinghamshire, lived in her charming villa in Pimlico, surrounded by a
large and beautiful garden. It was here she used to entertain the
_élite_ of London society with magnificent _fêtes, bal champêtres_, and
public breakfasts. After one of those _fêtes_, I called one morning to
pay my respects; and, on ringing the bell, the servant ushered me into
the conservatory, where I found Lady Harrington, the celebrated
cantatrice Mrs. Billington, and the Duke of Sussex, who was said to be
very much _épris_ with the English "Catalani," as she was called.

Mrs. Billington was extremely beautiful, though it was absurd to compare
her to Catalani as a singer; but she was the favourite of the Duke of
Sussex, which made her many friends. During my visit, chocolate and
tea-cakes were served to our party, when Lady Harrington related a
curious anecdote about those cakes. She said her friend Madame de
Narbonne, during the emigration, determined not to live upon the bounty
of foreigners, found means to amass money enough to enable her to open a
shop in Chelsea, not far from the then fashionable balls of Ranelagh.

It had been the custom in France, before the Revolution, for young
ladies in some noble families to learn the art of making preserves and
pastry; accordingly, Madame de Narbonne commenced her operations under
the auspices of some of her acquaintances; and all those who went to
Ranelagh made a point of stopping and buying some of her cakes. Their
fame spread like lightning throughout the West End, and orders were
given to have them sent for breakfast and tea in many great houses in
the neighbourhood of St. James's. Madame de Narbonne employed a Scotch
maid-servant to execute her orders. The name of this woman was "Sally
Lunn," and ever since a particular kind of tea-cake has gone by that

Madame de Narbonne, not speaking English, replied to her customers (when
they inquired the name of the _brioches_), "bon." Hence the etymology of
"bun," according to Lady Harrington; but I confess that I do not feel
quite satisfied with her derivation.

[Sidenote: _Captain Gronow_]

"Monk" Lewis had a black servant, affectionately attached to his master;
but so ridiculously did this servant repeat his master's expressions,
that he became the laughing-stock of all his master's friends. Brummell
used often to raise a hearty laugh at Carlton House by repeating
witticisms which he pretended to have heard from Lewis's servant; some
of these were very stale; yet they were considered so good as to be
repeated at the clubs, and greatly added to the reputation of the Beau
as a teller of good things. "On one occasion," said Brummell, "I called
to inquire after a young lady who had sprained her ankle. Lewis, on
being asked how she was, had said, in the black's presence, 'The doctor
has seen her, put her legs straight, and the poor chicken is doing
well.' The servant, therefore, told me, with a mysterious and knowing
look, 'Oh, sir, the doctor has been here, she has laid eggs, and she and
the chickens are doing well.'"

[Sidenote: _Hood_]

  I sawe a Mayd sitte on a Bank,
  Beguiled by Wooer fayne and fond;
  And whiles His flatterynge Vowes she drank,
  Her Nurselynge slipt within a Pond!

  All Even Tide they Talkde and Kist,
  For She was fayre and He was Kinde;
  The Sunne went down before She wist
  Another Sonne had sett behinde!

  With angrie Hands and frownynge Browe,
  That deemd Her owne the Urchine's Sinne,
  She pluckt Him out, but he was nowe
  Past being Whipt for fallynge in.

  She then beginnes to wayle the Ladde
  With Shrikes that Echo answered round--
  O! foolishe Mayd to be soe sadde
  The Momente that her Care was drownd!

[Sidenote: _Charles Dickens_]

One of the pleasantest things I have lately met with, in a vagabond
course of shy metropolitan neighbourhoods and small shops, is the fancy
of a humble artist, as exemplified in two portraits representing Mr.
Thomas Sayers, of Great Britain, and Mr. John Heenan, of the United
States of America. These illustrious men are highly coloured in fighting
trim and fighting attitude. To suggest the pastoral and meditative
nature of their peaceful calling, Mr. Heenan is represented on emerald
sward, with primroses and other modest flowers springing up under the
heels of his half-boots; while Mr. Sayers is impelled to the
administration of his favourite blow, the Auctioneer, by the silent
eloquence of a village church. The humble homes of England, with their
domestic virtues and honeysuckle porches, urge both heroes to go in and
win; and the lark and other singing birds are observable in the upper
air, ecstatically carolling their thanks to Heaven for a fight. On the
whole, the associations entwined with the pugilistic art by this artist
are much in the manner of Izaak Walton.

But it is with the lower animals of back streets and by-ways that my
present purpose rests. For human notes we may return to such
neighbourhoods when leisure and opportunity serve.

Nothing in shy neighbourhoods perplexes my mind more than the bad
company birds keep. Foreign birds often get into good society, but
British birds are inseparable from low associates. There is a whole
street of them in St. Giles's; and I always find them in poor and
immoral neighbourhoods, convenient to the public-house and the
pawnbroker's. They seem to lead people into drinking, and even the man
who makes their cages usually gets into a chronic state of black eye.
Why is this? Also, they will do things for people in short-skirted
velveteen coats with bone buttons, or in sleeved waistcoats and fur
caps, which they cannot be persuaded by the respectable orders of
society to undertake. In a dirty court in Spitalfields, once, I found a
goldfinch drawing his own water, and drawing as much of it as if he were
in a consuming fever. That goldfinch lived at a bird-shop, and offered,
in writing, to barter himself against old clothes, empty bottles, or
even kitchen stuff. Surely a low thing and a depraved taste in any
finch! I bought that goldfinch for money. He was sent home, and hung
upon a nail over against my table. He lived outside a counterfeit
dwelling-house, supposed (as I argued) to be a dyer's; otherwise it
would have been impossible to account for his perch sticking out of the
garret window. From the time of his appearance in my room, either he
left off being thirsty--which was not in the bond--or he could not make
up his mind to hear his little bucket drop back into his well when he
let it go; a shock which in the best of times had made him tremble. He
drew no water but by stealth and under the cloak of night. After an
interval of futile and at length hopeless expectation, the merchant who
had educated him was appealed to. The merchant was a bow-legged
character, with a flat and cushiony nose, like the last new strawberry.
He wore a fur cap and shorts, and was of the velveteen race, velveteeny.
He sent word that he would "look round." He looked round, appeared in
the doorway of the room, and slightly cocked up his evil eye at the
goldfinch. Instantly a raging thirst beset that bird; when it was
appeased, he still drew several unnecessary buckets of water; and
finally, leaped about his perch and sharpened his bill as if he had been
to the nearest wine-vaults and got drunk.

Donkeys, again. I know shy neighbourhoods where the donkey goes in at
the street-door, and appears to live upstairs, for I have examined the
back-yard from over the palings, and have been unable to make him out.
Gentility, nobility, royalty, would appeal to that donkey in vain to do
what he does for a costermonger. Feed him with oats at the highest
price, put an infant prince and princess in a pair of panniers on his
back, adjust his delicate trappings to a nicety, take him to the softest
slopes at Windsor, and try what pace you can get out of him. Then starve
him, harness him anyhow to a truck with a flat tray on it, and see him
bowl from Whitechapel to Bayswater. There appears to be no particular
private understanding between birds and donkeys, in a state of nature;
but in the shy neighbourhood state you shall see them always in the same
hands and always developing their very best energies for the very worst
company. I have known a donkey--by sight; we were not on speaking
terms--who lived over on the Surrey side of London Bridge, among the
fastnesses of Jacob's Island and Dockhead. It was the habit of that
animal, when his services were not in immediate requisition, to go out
alone idling. I have met him a mile from his place of residence,
loitering about the streets; and the expression of his countenance at
such times was most degraded. He was attached to the establishment of an
elderly lady who sold periwinkles, and he used to stand on Saturday
nights with a cartful of those delicacies outside a gin-shop, pricking
up his ears when a customer came to the cart, and too evidently deriving
satisfaction from the knowledge that they got bad measure. His mistress
was sometimes overtaken by inebriety. The last time I ever saw him
(about five years ago) he was in circumstances of difficulty, caused by
this failing. Having been left alone with the cart of periwinkles, and
forgotten, he went off idling. He prowled among his usual low haunts for
some time, gratifying his depraved tastes, until, not taking the cart
into his calculations, he endeavoured to turn up a narrow alley, and
became greatly involved. He was taken into custody by the police, and,
the Green Yard of the district being near at hand, was backed into that
place of durance. At that crisis I encountered him; the stubborn sense
he evinced of being--not to compromise the expression--a blackguard, I
never saw exceeded in the human subject. A flaring candle in a paper
shade, stuck in among his periwinkles, showed him, with his ragged
harness broken and his cart extensively shattered, twitching his mouth
and shaking his hanging head, a picture of disgrace and obduracy. I have
seen boys being taken to station-houses, who were as like him as his own

The dogs of shy neighbourhoods I observe to avoid play, and to be
conscious of poverty. They avoid work, too, if they can, of course; that
is in the nature of all animals. I have the pleasure to know a dog in a
back street in the neighbourhood of Walworth who has greatly
distinguished himself in the minor drama, and who takes his portrait
with him when he makes an engagement, for the illustration of the
playbill. His portrait (which is not at all like him) represents him in
the act of dragging to the earth a recreant Indian, who is supposed to
have tomahawked, or essayed to tomahawk, a British officer. The design
is pure poetry, for there is no such Indian in the piece, and no such
incident. He is a dog of the Newfoundland breed, for whose honesty I
would be bail to any amount; but whose intellectual qualities in
association with dramatic fiction I cannot rate high. Indeed, he is too
honest for the profession he has entered. Being at a town in Yorkshire
last summer, and seeing him posted in the bill of the night, I attended
the performance. His first scene was eminently successful; but, as it
occupied a second in its representation (and five lines in the bill), it
scarcely afforded ground for a cool and deliberate judgment of his
powers. He had merely to bark, run on, and jump through an inn window,
after a comic fugitive. The next scene of importance to the fable was a
little marred in its interest by his over-anxiety; forasmuch as while
his master (a belated soldier in a den of robbers on a tempestuous
night) was feelingly lamenting the absence of his faithful dog, and
laying great stress on the fact that he was thirty leagues away, the
faithful dog was barking furiously in the prompter's box, and clearly
choking himself against his collar. But it was in his greatest scene of
all that his honesty got the better of him. He had to enter a dense and
trackless forest, on the trail of the murderer, and there to fly at the
murderer when he found him resting at the foot of a tree, with his
victim bound ready for slaughter. It was a hot night, and he came into
the forest from an altogether unexpected direction, in the sweetest
temper, at a very deliberate trot, not in the least excited; trotted to
the foot-lights with his tongue out; and there sat down, panting, and
amiably surveying the audience, with his tail beating the boards, like a
Dutch clock. Meanwhile the murderer, impatient to receive his doom, was
audibly calling to him "Co-o-ome here!" while the victim, struggling
with his bonds, assailed him with the most injurious expressions. It
happened, through these means, that when he was in course of time
persuaded to trot up and rend the murderer limb from limb, he made it
(for dramatic purposes) a little too obvious that he worked out that
awful retribution by licking butter off his blood-stained hands.

In a shy street behind Long Acre, two honest dogs live who perform in
Punch's shows. I may venture to say that I am on terms of intimacy with
both, and that I never saw either guilty of the falsehood of failing to
look down at the man inside the show, during the whole performance. The
difficulty other dogs have in satisfying their minds about these dogs
appears to be never overcome by time. The same dogs must encounter them
over and over again, as they trudge along in their off-minutes behind
the legs of the show and beside the drum; but all dogs seem to suspect
their frills and jackets, and to sniff at them as if they thought those
articles of personal adornment an eruption--a something in the nature of
mange, perhaps. From this Covent-garden window of mine I noticed a
country dog only the other day, who had come up to Covent Garden Market
under a cart, and had broken his cord, an end of which he still trailed
along with him. He loitered about the corners of the four streets
commanded by my window; and bad London dogs came up and told him lies
that he didn't believe; and worse London dogs came up and made proposals
to him to go end steal in the market, which his principles rejected; and
the ways of the town confused him, and he crept aside and lay down in a
doorway. He had scarcely got a wink of sleep, when up comes Punch with
Toby. He was darting to Toby for consolation and advice, when he saw the
frill, and stopped, in the middle of the street, appalled. The show was
pitched, Toby retired behind the drapery, the audience formed, the drum
and pipes struck up. My country dog remained immovable, intently staring
at these strange appearances, until Toby opened the drama by appearing
on his ledge, and to him entered Punch, who put a tobacco-pipe into
Toby's mouth. At this spectacle the country dog threw up his head, gave
one terrible howl, and fled due west.

We talk of men keeping dogs, but we might often talk more expressively
of dogs keeping men. I know a bull-dog in a shy corner of Hammersmith
who keeps a man. He keeps him up a yard, and makes him go to the
public-houses and lay wagers on him, and obliges him to lean against
posts and look at him, and forces him to neglect work for him, and keeps
him under rigid coercion. I once knew a fancy terrier who kept a
gentleman--a gentleman who had been brought up at Oxford, too. The dog
kept the gentleman entirely for his glorification, and the gentleman
never talked about anything but the terrier. This, however, was not in a
shy neighbourhood, and is a digression consequently.

There are a great many dogs in shy neighbourhoods who keep boys. I have
my eye on a mongrel in Somerstown who keeps three boys. He feigns that
he can bring down sparrows and unburrow rats (he can do neither), and he
takes the boys out on sporting pretences into all sorts of suburban
fields. He has likewise made them believe that he possesses some
mysterious knowledge of the art of fishing, and they consider themselves
incompletely equipped for the Hampstead ponds, with a pickle-jar and
wide-mouthed bottle, unless he is with them and barking tremendously.
There is a dog residing in the Borough of Southwark who keeps a blind
man. He may be seen most days, in Oxford Street, haling the blind man
away on expeditions wholly uncontemplated by, and unintelligible to, the
man; wholly of the dog's conception and execution. Contrariwise, when
the man has projects, the dog will sit down in a crowded thoroughfare
and meditate. I saw him yesterday, wearing the money-tray like an easy
collar, instead of offering it to the public, taking the man against his
will, on the invitation of a disreputable cur, apparently to visit a dog
at Harrow--he was so intent on that direction. The north wall of
Burlington House Gardens, between the Arcade and the Albany, offers a
shy spot for appointments among blind men at about two or three o'clock
in the afternoon. They sit (very uncomfortably) on a sloping stone
there, and compare notes. Their dogs may always be observed, at the same
time, openly disparaging the men they keep, to one another, and settling
where they shall respectively take their men when they begin to move
again. At a small butcher's in a shy neighbourhood (there is no reason
for suppressing the name; it is by Notting Hill, and gives upon the
district called the Potteries), I know a shaggy black-and-white dog who
keeps a drover. He is a dog of an easy disposition, and too frequently
allows this drover to get drunk. On these occasions it is the dog's
custom to sit outside the public-house, keeping his eye on a few sheep,
plainly casting up in his mind how many he began with when he left the
market, and at what places he has left the rest. I have seen him
perplexed by not being able to account to himself for certain particular
sheep. A light has gradually broken on him, he has remembered at what
butcher's he left them, and in a burst of grave satisfaction has caught
a fly off his nose, and shown himself much relieved. If I could at any
time have doubted the fact that it was he who kept the drover, and not
the drover who kept him, it would have been abundantly proved by his way
of taking undivided charge of the six sheep, when the drover came out
besmeared with red ochre and beer, and gave him wrong directions, which
he calmly disregarded. He has taken the sheep entirely into his own
hands, has merely remarked with respectful firmness, "That instruction
would place them under an omnibus; you had better confine your attention
to yourself--you will want it all"; and has driven his charge away, with
an intelligence of ears and tail, and a knowledge of business, that has
left his lout of a man very, very far behind.

As the dogs of shy neighbourhoods usually betray a slinking
consciousness of being in poor circumstances--for the most part
manifested in an aspect of anxiety, an awkwardness in their play, and a
misgiving that somebody is going to harness them to something, to pick
up a living--so the cats of shy neighbourhoods exhibit a strong tendency
to relapse into barbarism. Not only are they made selfishly ferocious by
ruminating on the surplus population around them, and on the densely
crowded state of all the avenues to cats'-meat; not only is there a
moral and politico-economical haggardness in them, traceable to these
reflections; but they evince a physical deterioration. Their linen is
not clean, and is wretchedly got up; their black turns rusty, like old
mourning; they wear very indifferent fur; and take to the shabbiest
cotton velvet, instead of silk velvet. I am on terms of recognition with
several small streets of cats, about the Obelisk in Saint George's
Fields, and also in the vicinity of Clerkenwell Green, and also in the
back settlements of Drury Lane. In appearance, they are very like the
women among whom they live. They seem to turn out of their unwholesome
beds into the street, without any preparation. They leave their young
families to stagger about the gutters, unassisted, while they frouzily
quarrel and swear and scratch and spit at street corners. In particular,
I remark that when they are about to increase their families (an event
of frequent recurrence) the resemblance is strongly expressed in a
certain dusty dowdiness down-at-heel self-neglect, and general giving up
of things. I cannot honestly report that I have ever seen a feline
matron of this class washing her face when in an interesting condition.

Not to prolong these notes of uncommercial travel among the lower
animals of shy neighbourhoods by dwelling at length upon the exasperated
moodiness of the tom-cats and their resemblance in many respects to a
man and a brother, I will come to a close with a word on the fowls of
the same localities.

That anything born of an egg and invested with wings should have got to
the pass that it hops contentedly down a ladder into a cellar, and calls
_that_ going home, is a circumstance so amazing as to leave one nothing
more in this connexion to wonder at. Otherwise I might wonder at the
completeness with which these fowls have become separated from all the
birds of the air--have taken to grovelling in bricks and mortar and
mud--have forgotten all about live trees and make roosting-places of
shop-boards, barrows, oyster-tubs, bulk-heads, and door-scrapers. I
wonder at nothing concerning them, and take them as they are. I accept
as products of nature and things of course a reduced Bantam family of my
acquaintance in the Hackney Road, who are incessantly at the
pawnbroker's. I cannot say that they enjoy themselves, for they are of a
melancholy temperament; but what enjoyment they are capable of they
derive from crowding together in the pawnbroker's side-entry. Here, they
are always to be found in a feeble flutter, as if they were newly come
down in the world, and were afraid of being identified. I know a low
fellow, originally of a good family from Dorking, who takes his whole
establishment of wives, in single file, in at the door of the jug
department of a disorderly tavern near the Haymarket, manoeuvres them
among the company's legs, emerges with them at the Bottle Entrance, and
so passes his life. Over Waterloo Bridge there is a shabby old speckled
couple (they belong to the wooden French-bedstead, washingstand, and
towel-horse-making trade) who are always trying to get in at the door of
a chapel. Whether the old lady, under a delusion reminding one of Mrs.
Southcott, has an idea of entrusting an egg to that particular
denomination, or merely understands that she has no business in the
building and is consequently frantic to enter it, I cannot determine;
but she is constantly endeavouring to undermine the principal door;
while her partner, who is infirm upon his legs, walks up and down,
encouraging her and defying the Universe. But the family I have been
best acquainted with, since the removal from this trying sphere of a
Chinese circle at Brentford, reside in the densest part of Bethnal
Green. Their abstraction from the objects among which they live, or
rather their conviction that those objects have all come into existence
in express subservience to fowls, has so enchanted me that I have made
them the subject of many journeys at divers hours. After careful
observation of the two lords and the ten ladies of whom this family
consists, I have come to the conclusion that their opinions are
represented by the leading lord and leading lady: the latter, as I
judge, an aged personage, afflicted with a paucity of feathers and
visibility of quill, that gives her the appearance of a bundle of
office-pens. When a railway goods van that would crush an elephant comes
round the corner, tearing over these fowls, they emerge unharmed from
under the horses, perfectly satisfied that the whole rush was a passing
property in the air, which may have left something to eat behind it.
They look upon old shoes, wrecks of kettles and saucepans, and fragments
of bonnets, as a kind of meteoric discharge, for fowls to peck at.
Peg-tops and hoops they account, I think, as a sort of hail;
shuttlecocks, as rain, or dew. Gaslight comes quite as natural to them
as any other light; and I have more than a suspicion that, in the minds
of the two lords, the early public-house at the corner has superseded
the sun.

[Sidenote: _J.K. Stephen_]

  There are people, I know, to be found,
    Who say and apparently think
  That sorrow and care may be drowned
    By a timely consumption of drink.

  Does not man, these enthusiasts ask,
    Most nearly approach the divine
  When engaged in the soul-stirring task
    Of filling his body with wine?

  Have not beggars been frequently known,
    When satisfied, soaked and replete,
  To imagine their bench was a throne
    And the civilised world at their feet?

  Lord Byron has finely described
    The remarkably soothing effect
  Of liquor, profusely imbibed,
    On a soul that is shattered and wrecked.

  In short, if your body or mind
    Or your soul or your purse come to grief,
  You need only get drunk, and you'll find,
    Complete and immediate relief.

  For myself, I have managed to do
    Without having recourse to this plan,
  So I can't write a poem for you,
    And you'd better get some one who can.

[Sidenote: _T.E. Brown_]

Thank you very much for the satire. Satire is an undoubted branch of
poetry; but I do not affect it much. There is a strong, healthy, noble
satire, the _sæva indignatio_of the Latin classics. But, short of that,
satire seems only an element of discontent and unhappiness.

I know the "pip," the "black pigs" too, know them well; but they are
quite beneath contempt; and nothing on earth would induce me to cross
the bright blue of my serenity. I have a great notion of being the
master of my own happiness, and not suffering it to be contingent on the
manners and conduct of other people.

If a man slights me, he does me no harm; but if his conduct is
detrimental to the general good, if he is unjust, a villain in high
place, a seducer, a poison, a snare to the innocent, then have at him!
though, _constitutionally_ I had rather leave him alone.

The sum of happiness in the world is not too large. I would like, if
possible, to increase it by the modest contribution of my own store. If
so, I must guard it from all disturbance; and poetry enables me to do
this, gives me a thousand springs of joy, in none of which there is one
drop of bitterness--and thank God for that!

We are here in the I. of Wight, busy comparing it with the I. of Man,
of course. It is really a beautiful island, not merely as regards
richness of vegetation, an ornament that just now is not available, but
also for its configuration. The "lay of the land," the attitude, and
gesture of the lines are admirable. The coast is dismally inferior to
ours; glens are not to be seen, and streams are puny, but very clean. On
the whole we give the preference to Mona, and that upon purely æsthetic,
not patriotic, grounds.

I hope you are all well and thriving. Accept my best wishes for the New
Year. Your satire discloses perhaps a slight biliary secretion--all
satire, I fear, is bile. I hope I may impute it to Christmas festivities
rather than to any permanent disorder!

P.S.--I return the verses, as I think you would like to keep them....

       *       *       *       *       *

I did very well in the Isle of Man; had two good solitary walks, drank
deep draughts of--don't know how to describe it--that social brewage
which I get nowhere else. Very likely other people get it in their own
habitats. But it really does seem to me as if the whole island was
quivering and trembling all over with _stories_--they are like leaves on
a tree. The people are always telling them to one another, and any
morning or evening you hear, whether you like it or not, innumerable
anecdotes, sayings, tragedies, comedies--I wonder whether they lie
fearfully. They are a marvellously _narrational_ community. And you've
not been there a day before all this closes round you with a quiet
familiarity of "use and custom" which is most fascinating. Nothing else
in the universe seems of any consequence.

  And warly cares, and warly men,
    May a' gae tapsalteerie, O!

A week more and I should have become reabsorbed into this medium past
recovery and past recognition....

I have been musing a good deal over my "Dooiney-molla"[1]: he is now
taking shape, and looms rather large. I believe you will like him, and
his fiery little groom. These good souls do well to visit my dreams:
they are such a comfort; and, do you know, they positively do "go on" in
my dreams. Here are two lines which came tripping at the window of my
slumbers last night:

    1. "When the sun was jus' puttin' on his shoes" (morning),

for which I instantly seemed to discover a parallel--to wit:

    "Sthreelin' oft his golden stockings" (the sun again, evening).

    2. "Jus' rags tore off the Divil's ould shirt" (=witches' charms, or

There will be a very good witch in this poem, I promise you: look out!
----[2] are sounding me about "The Doctor";... They would try to make it
a popular book. The others tried to make it a drawing-room book, with
the result that the few purchasers thereof hid it somewhere behind their
book-shelves, and even there trembled for the morals of the

       *       *       *       *       *

We went into the church, and sat at a long service. The curate preached
on Judas Iscariot; the vicar conducted a service in the churchyard.
"Judas did this, Judas thought that"; then from the churchyard, in
stentorian chorus, "Crown Him! crown Him! crown Him! crown Him Lord of
all." Thus, you see, there was an element of the comic; but how, how sad
it was to me, how incomprehensible! Verily, I am left behind; I can't,
after all these years, adjust myself to the dimensions of such a change.
The people behaved better than they used to do in our time; but the
numbers! the systematisation! the total absence of the native
population! the show atmosphere! the "Walk up, gentlemen" style of
thing! Over all this Vanity Fair the dear old bells rang out precisely
as of old....

       *       *       *       *       *

Yesterday, at the Kerroo-Kiel, I met a delightfully bright and witty
man. He soon got to know who I was, and we had the most glorious talk.
The mischief of it is that these worthies are only too glad to get into
a _coosh_ with you, and they would talk all day, leaving a spade, or
forsaking plough and horses to lean over a hedge, leaning on something
at any rate, and talking away. Their talk is bright, aimless, rambling,
not without dives into the depths, and pokes into your personality,
above all, _engouement_ the most absolute, and desire of
intercommunication the most insatiable. And you are up on the
mountain-side at the farther limit of plough-range, and the wind
whistles just the right sort of accompaniment to such talk.

I think I must have a sail here. But, do you know? the Manx seamen and
fishermen tend to become self-conscious: the "strangers" are spoiling
them. Not so the farmer; of course no one can make him understand that
the visitors do him any good by raising the prices of his produce, so he
cares very little about them, and in no way guides himself according to
them or their fashions. So far as the outer world comes to him, it is by
the channel of the newspapers. He has all the boundless curiosity, the
thirst for knowledge miscellaneous, pulpy, and piquant, which
characterise those that dwell remote. When he gets hold of you he flies
at you, hugs you, gets every blessed thing he can out of you.
"Favourable specimen," you will say. That is true; but, as regards the
independence and primitive state of mind, what I say applies to almost
all. You see, you must get down beneath the gentleman or would-be
gentleman-farmer, down to the man who never conceived the idea of
ruffling it with gentlefolk. Also, you must not go down to the mere
labourer. But they are desperate gossips--gossips not so much in matters
local and insular, as in matters universal. The gossiping tone does
proceed into the universal, does it not? The hilarity with which they
will range the far horizons of thought is so childlike (you know how
children are about that); a chatter that sparkles on the surface like
their own _divers_, and then, with an "Aw bless me sowl," or "Aye, man,
aye," down into the deepest soundings of the spirit....

       *       *       *       *       *

A charming Hibernian called on me the other day. Portentous! alarming!
He had been sent from Douglas by some evil-disposed friends of mine
there, to consult me as the supreme authority on matters Manx. Now of
this language I am, if not wholly, yet at least grammatically ignorant.
He was a tall, stalwart fellow; black-bearded, not handsome, but with a
tremendously Irish face, eyes of fire, nose of peremptory interrogation.
Flourishing a wretched grammar in one hand, he proceeded rapidly to
demonstrate its ineptness, and sternly to demand my explanation. As my
weak-kneedness grew more painfully evident--

  So scented the grim feature, and upturned
  His nostril wide into the murky air,
  Sagacious of his quarry--

he almost shouted with exultation. All the Manx scholars had completely
failed--here was another. "Glory be to God! I'll smite him hip and
thigh." He was a splendid Irishman, and, of course, kind and generous.
He didn't spare me, _destructed_ me utterly; but speedily constructed me
upon new lines, and told me a lot about Celtic difficulties and how to
overcome them. He spoke Irish like a bird, and, after about
three-quarters of an hour, he rushed forth to catch the train, hairy,
immense, with some wild wirrasthru of farewell. Imagine a very learned
and linguistic Mulligan of Ballymulligan!...

       *       *       *       *       *

O Wallaston, the delight of this leisure! I read, I write, I play. Good
gracious! I shouldn't wonder if my music came to something yet. I have
actually gone back to singing, a vice of my youth. Don't mention it at
Clifton! I always think the sea the great challenger and promoter of
song. Even the mountain is not the same thing. There may always be some
d----d fool or another behind a rock. But the sea is open, and you can
tell when you are alone, and the dear old chap is so confidential: I
will trust him with my secret.

How about Devon! was it good? Did you all bathe and "rux" yourselves
well about in the brine? I have not done much in that way: the storms
have been so furious--unkind of them, eh? Well, I fancy it is like the
boisterous welcome of some great dog--at least I take it in that sense.
And the old boy is so strong, and he doesn't know, he thinks I am what I
used to be. But I'm not: and every now and then he remembers that, and
creeps to my feet so fawningly....

[Sidenote: _T.E. Brown_]

At a great prayer-meeting requests were being made that divers souls,
supposed to be in evil case, should be interceded for. One arose and
asked the prayers of the meeting for a little town on the east coast of
Scotland, which was "wholly given to idolatry." Such was the expression.
A little city, with many schools, also the seat of a University. Having
thus mysteriously indicated the place, the excellent individual plainly
felt that no mortal could possibly guess what place he meant; and,
putting his hand over his mouth, he said to his friends on the platform,
in a hoarse whisper distinctly heard over the entire hall, "St.
Andrews!" Isn't that consummate? Isn't it Scotland?...

[Sidenote: _T.E. Brown_]

Walters did an extremely kind thing the other day. Two old things going
about with an _entertainment_ (!) of Recitations (really old, for I
heard them "at it" thirty-five years ago), took a letter with them from
me to Walters. It was the merest chance, I thought, but I suggested
that just possibly Walters might give them an evening at the College.
By Jove! sir, he did give them an evening, and gave them a substantial
fee, and filled their poor trembling cup of Auld lang syne with joy and
thanksgiving, and dismissed them with honour, almost reeling with the
intoxication of so unwonted a success, the boys giving them a mighty
three-times-three which shook the welkin, and stirred amazingly the
pulsation of two hearts that have long desisted from the exercise of

[Sidenote: _T.E. Brown_]

I heard one or two good stories at Braddan when I preached there (last
Sunday). One was of a child at the Sunday-school. "What ought you to do
on Sunday?" "Go to church." "What ought you to do next?" "Go to chapel."
Was it not precisely the story for a vicar to tell? You feel the

[Sidenote: _T.E. Brown_]

We sat down in some cottages. Some of the people were magnificent,
throwing themselves upon you with such vigour of accent, such warmth and
fun, and endless receptivity, bright, well pulled together, sonorous,
that I nearly staggered under it--not chaff--good heavens! no--but
would have been chaff, only it wasn't, for they can't chaff.

Kitty Kermode, _alias_ Kinvig, was the best. She said a very sweet and
profound thing (but I can't phrase it as I ought) about the value of
friendship, as compared with that of love. A little happy creature of
some seventeen giggled in a dark corner, but I let her giggle; the old
woman pierced me through and through. Oh _fortunati_--Oh indeed! And
these dear things seemed to know that their lot was a happy one. _Quod
faustum!_ Unutterably precious to me is the woman, the native of the
hills, almost my own age, or a little younger, whose spirit is set upon
the finest springs, and her sympathies have an almost masculine depth,
and a length of reflection that wins your confidence and stays your
sinking heart.

The lady can't do it. This class, of what I suppose you would call
peasant women (I won't have the word), seems made for the purpose of
rectifying everything, and redressing the balance, inspiring us with
that awe which the immediate presence of absolute womanhood creates in
us. The plain, practical woman, with the outspoken throat and the
eternal eyes. Oh, mince me, madam, mince me your pretty mincings!
Deliberate your dainty reticences! Balbutient loveliness, avaunt! Here
is a woman that talks like a bugle, and, in everything, sees God.

[Sidenote: _T.E. Brown_]

... The wreck of the _Drummond Castle_ is much in my mind. What lovely
creatures those French are! The women and children, carrying their poor
drowned sisters! that little baby in its coffin decked with roses! Don't
you yearn towards those dear souls? What are Agincourt and Waterloo in
the presence of such sweetness? Well, I love them anyway, and shall
brood over them and pray for them while I live....

[Sidenote: _T.E. Brown_]

I am generally rather a happy "sort" of man, but your letter makes me
very happy. How kind you are! Up in the morning betimes to catch people
still in their beds warm with a generous enthusiasm, to surprise their
sympathies before they had "faded into the light of common day," and to
collect all their "loving" words for me. That was a good and faithful
act; and I am deeply grateful.

Yes, the man was right. I do love the poor wastrels, and you are right,
I have it from my father. He had a way of taking for granted, not only
the innate virtue of these outcasts, but their unquestioned
respectability. He, at least, never questioned it. The effect was

Some of the "weak brethren" felt uncomfortable at being met on those
terms of equality. My father might have been practising on them the most
dreadful irony; and they were "that shy" and confused. But it was not
irony, not a bit of it; just a sense of respect, fine consideration for
the poor "sowls," well--respect, that's it, respect for all human
beings; _his_ respect made _them_ respectable. Wasn't it grand? To
others my father was a perfect Port-y-shee.[3] To be in the same room
with him was enough. To be conscious that he was there, that he didn't
fight strange of them, that he never dreamt of "scowlin'" them, that
they were treated as gentlemen. Oh the comfort, the gerjugh,[4] the
interval of repose! Extraordinary, though, was it not? To think of a
_Pazon_ respecting men's vices even; not as vices, God forbid! but as
parts of _them_, very likely all but inseparable from them; at any rate,
_theirs_. Pitying with an eternal pity, but not exposing, not rebuking.
My father would have considered he was "taking a liberty" if he had
confronted the sinner with his sin. Doubtless he carried this too far.
But don't suppose for a moment that the "weak brethren" thought he was
conniving at their weakness. Not they--they saw the delicacy of his
conduct. You don't think, do you, that these poor souls are incapable of
appreciating _delicacy_? God only knows how far down into their depths
of misery and degradation the sweetness of that delicacy descends. It
haunts the drunkard's dreams, and breathes a breath of purity into the
bosom of the abandoned. That is the power of a noble innocence, a
_respect_ for our fellow creatures--glib phrases, but how little
understood and acted on! With my father it was quite natural.... He was
a hot hater, though, I can tell you. He hated hypocrisy, he hated lying,
and he hated presumption and pretentiousness. He loved sincerity, truth,
and modesty. It seemed as if he felt sure that, with these virtues, the
others could not fail to be present. Was he far wrong? Yet how many
people would have thought him stern!

One dear old cousin of his comes to my mind. We called him U.T., that is
Uncle Tom. He was not our uncle--we never had one--but the uncle of our
predecessors at Kirk Braddan. And almost every Sunday evening he spent
at the Vicarage--poor old thing! He was quite silent. One thing, though,
he would say, as "regglar as clockwork." My mother occasionally
apologised for the evening being so exclusively musical (we were great
singers). Whenever she did so, the reply was prompt from U.T.: "I'm
passionately fond of music." This, to us children, was highly ludicrous.
Indeed, my mother was amused--she had no Manx blood in her--but my
father accepted U.T.'s assurance with the utmost confidence. His
chivalrous nature, more deeply tinged than hers with Celtic tenderness,
or the very finest kind of Celtic make-believe (_Anglicè_--humbug; oh
those English!), had no difficulty in accepting U.T.'s "passionately."
_Passion_ in U.T.! Well, to us it was a splendid joke. I sometimes
wonder whether the vicar, too, at times, had lucid intervals of the
bare, naked reality. He had a fine sense of humour, and he would have
considered it a baseness to laugh at the poor thing, with its pretence
of passion, trying to screen its forlornness. What U.T. felt was not the
passion for music, but just the soothing, comforting sense of being at
home with us, of being accepted as one of ourselves, of not being
"scoulded," of indisputable respectability, of being thought capable of
"passion," even so ethereal a passion as that of music. How blessed
those hours must have been to U.T.! He sometimes missed them. But it
never was my father's fault. Was it U.T.'s? Well, we children had no
idea that he drank. But now, of course, I know that when U.T. did not
appear on a Sunday, he must have been "hard at it" on Saturday; and into
the kingdom of heaven he must have taken the Sundays, not the Saturdays.

Forgive all this. But I have been so much touched with your taking up my
reference to the dear old Vicar of Braddan that I could not help
extending the portrait a little.

And for the backsliders, the "weak brethren, the outcasts--aw! let's
feel for the lek, and 'keep a houl' o' their ban.'"

Do write again. You will do me so much good.

[Sidenote: _Calverley_]

  In lone Glenartney's thickets lies crouched the lordly stag,
  The dreaming terrier's tail forgets its customary wag;
  And plodding ploughman's weary steps insensibly grow quicker,
  As broadening casements light them on toward home, or home-brewed liquor.

  It is, in brief, the evening--that pure and pleasant time
  When stars break into splendour, and poets into rhyme;
  When in the glass of Memory the forms of loved ones shine--
  And when, of course, Miss Goodchild's is prominent in mine.

  Miss Goodchild!--Julia Goodchild!--how graciously you smiled
  Upon my childish passion once, yourself a fair-haired child:
  When I was (no doubt) profiting by Dr. Crabb's instruction,
  And sent those streaky lollipops home for your fairy suction!

  "She wore" her natural "roses, the night when first we met"--
  Her golden hair was gleaming 'neath the coercive net:
  "Her brow was like the snawdrift," her step was like Queen Mab's,
  And gone was instantly the heart of every boy at Crabb's.

  The parlour boarder _chasséed_ tow'rds her on graceful limb;
  The onyx deck'd his bosom--but her smiles were not for him:
  With _me_ she danced--till drowsily her eyes "began to blink,"
  And _I_ brought raisin wine, and said, "Drink, pretty creature,

  And evermore, when winter comes in his garb of snows,
  And the returning schoolboy is told how fast he grows;
  Shall I--with that soft hand in mine--enact ideal Lancers,
  And dream I hear demure remarks, and make impassioned answers:--

  I know that never, never may her love for me return--
  At night I muse upon the fact with undisguised concern--
  But ever shall I bless that day: I don't bless as a rule,
  The days I spent at "Dr. Crabb's Preparatory School."

  And yet we two _may_ meet again--(be still, my throbbing heart!)--
  Now rolling years have weaned us from jam and raspberry-tart.
  One night I saw a vision--'twas when musk-roses bloom,
  I stood--_we_ stood--upon a rug, in a sumptuous dining-room:

  One hand clasped hers--one easily reposed upon my hip--
  And "Bless ye!" burst abruptly from Mr. Goodchild's lip:
  I raised my brimming eye, and saw in hers an answering gleam--
  My heart beat wildly--and I woke, and lo! it was a dream.

[Sidenote: _Macaulay_]

The Life of Johnson is assuredly a great, a very great work. Homer is
not more decidedly the first of heroic poets, Shakespeare is not more
decidedly the first of dramatists, Demosthenes is not more decidedly the
first of orators, than Boswell is the first of biographers. He has no
second. He has distanced all his competitors so decidedly that it is not
worth while to place them. Eclipse is first, and the rest nowhere.

We are not sure that there is in the whole history of the human
intellect so strange a phenomenon as this book. Many of the greatest men
that ever lived have written biography. Boswell was one of the smallest
men that ever lived, and he has beaten them all. He was, if we are to
give any credit to his own account or to the united testimony of all who
knew him, a man of the meanest and feeblest intellect. Johnson described
him as a fellow who had missed his only chance of immortality by not
having been alive when "The Dunciad" was written. Beauclerk used his
name as a proverbial expression for a bore. He was the laughing-stock of
the whole of that brilliant society which has owed to him the greater
part of its fame. He was always laying himself at the feet of some
eminent man, and begging to be spit upon and trampled upon. He was
always earning some ridiculous nickname, and then "binding it as a
crown unto him," not merely in metaphor, but literally. He exhibited
himself at the Shakespeare Jubilee, to all the crowd which filled
Stratford-on-Avon, with a placard round his hat bearing the inscription
of "Corsican Boswell." In his Tour, he proclaimed to all the world that
at Edinburgh he was known by the appellation of Paoli Boswell. Servile
and impertinent, shallow and pedantic, a bigot and a sot, bloated with
family pride, and eternally blustering about the dignity of a born
gentleman, yet stooping to be a talebearer, an eavesdropper, a common
butt in the taverns of London; so curious to know everybody who was
talked about that, Tory and High Churchman as he was, he manoeuvred, we
have been told, for an introduction to Tom Paine; so vain of the most
childish distinctions that, when he had been to Court, he drove to the
office where his book was printing without changing his clothes, and
summoned all the printer's devils to admire his new ruffles and
sword,--such was this man, and such he was content and proud to be.
Everything which another man would have hidden, everything the
publication of which would have made another man hang himself, was
matter of gay and clamorous exultation to his weak and diseased mind.
What silly things he said, what bitter retorts he provoked, how at one
place he was troubled with evil presentiments which came to nothing, how
at another place, on waking from a drunken doze, he read the
prayer-book and took a hair of the dog that had bitten him, how he went
to see men hanged and came away maudlin, how he added five hundred
pounds to the fortune of one of his babies because she was not scared at
Johnson's ugly face, how he was frightened out of his wits at sea, and
how the sailors quieted him as they would have quieted a child, how
tipsy he was at Lady Cork's one evening and how much his merriment
annoyed the ladies, how impertinent he was to the Duchess of Argyle and
with what stately contempt she put down his impertinence, how Colonel
Macleod sneered to his face at his impudent obtrusiveness, how his
father and the very wife of his bosom laughed and fretted at his
fooleries--all these things he proclaimed to all the world, as if they
had been subjects for pride and ostentatious rejoicings. All the
caprices of his temper, all the illusions of his vanity, all his
hypochondriac whimsies, all his castles in the air, he displayed with a
cool self-complacency, a perfect unconsciousness that he was making a
fool of himself, to which it is impossible to find a parallel in the
whole history of mankind. He has used many people ill; but assuredly he
has used nobody so ill as himself.

That such a man should have written one of the best books in the world
is strange enough. But this is not all. Many persons who have conducted
themselves foolishly in active life, and whose conversation has
indicated no superior powers of mind, have left us valuable works.
Goldsmith was very justly described by one of his contemporaries as an
inspired idiot, and by another as a being

    "Who wrote like an angel, and talked like poor Poll."

La Fontaine was in society a mere simpleton. His blunders would not come
in amiss among the stories of Hierocles. But these men attained literary
eminence in spite of their weaknesses. Boswell attained it by reason of
his weaknesses. If he had not been a great fool, he would never have
been a great writer. Without all the qualities which made him the jest
and the torment of those among whom he lived, without the officiousness,
the inquisitiveness, the effrontery, the toad-eating, the insensibility
to all reproof, he never could have produced so excellent a book. He was
a slave, proud of his servitude, a Paul Pry, convinced that his own
curiosity and garrulity were virtues, an unsafe companion who never
scrupled to repay the most liberal hospitality by the basest violation
of confidence, a man without delicacy, without shame, without sense
enough to know when he was hurting the feelings of others, or when he
was exposing himself to derision; and because he was all this, he has,
in an important department of literature, immeasurably surpassed such
writers as Tacitus, Clarendon, Alfieri, and his own idol Johnson.

Of the talents which ordinarily raise men to eminence as writers
Boswell had absolutely none. There is not in all his books a single
remark of his own on literature, politics, religion, or society which is
not either commonplace or absurd. His dissertations on hereditary
gentility, on the slave-trade, and on the entailing of landed estates,
may serve as examples. To say that these passages are sophistical would
be to pay them an extravagant compliment. They have no pretence to
argument, or even to meaning. He has reported innumerable observations
made by himself in the course of conversation. Of those observations we
do not remember one which is above the intellectual capacity of a boy of
fifteen. He has printed many of his own letters, and in these letters he
is always ranting or twaddling. Logic, eloquence, wit, taste, all those
things which are generally considered as making a book valuable, were
utterly wanting to him. He had, indeed, a quick observation and a
retentive memory. These qualities, if he had been a man of sense and
virtue, would scarcely of themselves have sufficed to make him
conspicuous; but, because he was a dunce, a parasite, and a coxcomb,
they have made him immortal.

Johnson grown old, Johnson in the fulness of his fame and in the
enjoyment of a competent fortune, is better known to us than any other
man in history. Everything about him, his coat, his wig, his figure, his
face, his scrofula, his St. Vitus's dance, his rolling walk, his
blinking eye, the outward signs which too clearly marked his approbation
of his dinner, his insatiable appetite for fish-sauce and veal-pie with
plums, his inextinguishable thirst for tea, his trick of touching the
posts as he walked, his mysterious practice of treasuring up scraps of
orange-peel, his morning slumbers, his midnight disputations, his
contortions, his mutterings, his gruntings, his puffings, his vigorous,
acute, and ready eloquence, his sarcastic wit, his vehemence, his
insolence, his fits of tempestuous rage, his queer inmates, old Mr.
Levett and blind Mrs. Williams, the cat Hodge and the negro Frank, all
are as familiar to us as the objects by which we have been surrounded
from childhood....

From nature, he had received an uncouth figure, a diseased constitution,
and an irritable temper. The manner in which the earlier years of his
manhood had been passed had given to his demeanour, and even to his
moral character, some peculiarities appalling to the civilised beings
who were the companions of his old age. The perverse irregularity of his
hours, the slovenliness of his person, his fits of strenuous exertion,
interrupted by long intervals of sluggishness, his strange abstinence,
and his equally strange voracity, his active benevolence contrasted with
the constant rudeness and the occasional ferocity of his manners in
society, made him, in the opinion of those with whom he lived during the
last twenty years of his life, a complete original. An original he was,
undoubtedly, in some respects. But if we possessed full information
concerning those who shared his early hardships, we should probably find
that what we call his singularities of manner were, for the most part,
failings which he had in common with the class to which he belonged. He
ate at Streatham Park as he had been used to eat behind the screen at
St. John's Gate, when he was ashamed to show his ragged clothes. He ate
as it was natural that a man should eat who, during a great part of his
life, had passed the morning in doubt whether he should have food for
the afternoon. The habits of his early life had accustomed him to bear
privation with fortitude, but not to taste pleasure with moderation. He
could fast; but, when he did not fast, he tore his dinner like a
famished wolf, with the veins swelling on his forehead and the
perspiration running down his cheeks. He scarcely ever took wine; but,
when he drank it, he drank it greedily and in large tumblers. These
were, in fact, mitigated symptoms of that same moral disease which raged
with such deadly malignity in his friends Savage and Boyse. The
roughness and violence which he showed in society were to be expected
from a man whose temper, not naturally gentle, had been long tried by
the bitterest calamities, by the want of meat, of fire, and of clothes,
by the importunity of creditors, by the insolence of booksellers, by the
derision of fools, by the insincerity of patrons, by that bread which
is the bitterest of all food, by those stairs which are the most
toilsome of all paths, by that deferred hope which makes the heart sick.
Through all these things the ill-dressed, coarse, ungainly pedant had
struggled manfully up to eminence and command. It was natural that, in
the exercise of his power, he should be _eo immitior, quia toleraverat_;
that, though his heart was undoubtedly generous and humane, his
demeanour in society should be harsh and despotic. For severe distress
he had sympathy, and not only sympathy, but munificent relief; but for
the suffering which a harsh world inflicts upon a delicate mind he had
no pity, for it was a kind of suffering which he could scarcely
conceive. He would carry home on his shoulders a sick and starving girl
from the streets. He turned his house into a place of refuge for a crowd
of wretched old creatures who could find no other asylum; nor could all
their peevishness and ingratitude weary out his benevolence. But the
pangs of wounded vanity seemed to him ridiculous; and he scarcely felt
sufficient compassion even for the pangs of wounded affection. He had
seen and felt so much of sharp misery that he was not affected by paltry
vexations; and he seemed to think that everybody ought to be as much
hardened to those vexations as himself. He was angry with Boswell for
complaining of a headache, with Mrs. Thrale for grumbling about the dust
on the road, or the smell of the kitchen. These were, in his phrase,
"foppish lamentations," which people ought to be ashamed to utter in a
world so full of sin and sorrow. Goldsmith crying because _The
Good-natured Man_ had failed, inspired him with no pity. Though his own
health was not good, he detested and despised valetudinarians. Pecuniary
losses, unless they reduced the loser absolutely to beggary, moved him
very little. People whose hearts had been softened by prosperity might
weep, he said, for such events; but all that could be expected of a
plain man was not to laugh. He was not much moved even by the spectacle
of Lady Tavistock dying of a broken heart for the loss of her lord. Such
grief he considered as a luxury reserved for the idle and the wealthy. A
washerwoman, left a widow with nine small children, would not have
sobbed herself to death.

A person who troubled himself so little about small or sentimental
grievances was not likely to be very attentive to the feelings of others
in the ordinary intercourse of society. He could not understand how a
sarcasm or a reprimand could make any man really unhappy. "My dear
doctor," said he to Goldsmith, "what harm does it do to a man to call
him Holofernes?" "Pooh, ma'am," he exclaimed to Mrs. Carter, "who is the
worse for being talked of uncharitably?" Politeness has been well
defined as benevolence in small things. Johnson was impolite, not
because he wanted benevolence, but because small things appeared
smaller to him than to people who had never known what it was to live
for fourpence halfpenny a day....

Many of his sentiments on religious subjects are worthy of a liberal and
enlarged mind. He could discern clearly enough the folly and meanness of
all bigotry except his own. When he spoke of the scruples of the
Puritans, he spoke like a person who had really obtained an insight into
the divine philosophy of the New Testament, and who considered
Christianity as a noble scheme of government, tending to promote the
happiness and to elevate the moral nature of man. The horror which the
sectaries felt for cards, Christmas ale, plum-porridge, mince-pies, and
dancing bears excited his contempt. To the arguments urged by some very
worthy people against showy dress he replied with admirable sense and
spirit, "Let us not be found, when our Master calls us, stripping the
lace off our waistcoats, but the spirit of contention from our souls and
tongues. Alas! sir, a man who cannot get to heaven in a green coat will
not find his way thither the sooner in a grey one." Yet he was himself
under the tyranny of scruples as unreasonable as those of Hudibras or
Ralpho, and carried his zeal for ceremonies and for ecclesiastical
dignities to lengths altogether inconsistent with reason or with
Christian charity. He has gravely noted down in his diary that he once
committed the sin of drinking coffee on Good Friday. In Scotland, he
thought it was his duty to pass several months without joining in
public worship, solely because the ministers of the kirk had not been
ordained by bishops. His mode of estimating the piety of his neighbours
was somewhat singular. "Campbell," said he, "is a good man, a pious man.
I am afraid he has not been in the inside of a church for many years,
but he never passes a church without pulling off his hat: this shows he
has good principles." Spain and Sicily must surely contain many pious
robbers and well-principled assassins. Johnson could easily see that a
Roundhead who named all his children after Solomon's singers, and talked
in the House of Commons about seeking the Lord, might be an unprincipled
villain whose religious mummeries only aggravated his guilt; but a man
who took off his hat when he passed a church episcopally consecrated
must be a good man, a pious man, a man of good principles. Johnson could
easily see that those persons who looked on a dance or a laced waistcoat
as sinful deemed most ignobly of the attributes of God and of the ends
of revelation; but with what a storm of invective he would have
overwhelmed any man who had blamed him for celebrating the redemption of
mankind with sugarless tea and butterless buns!...

Johnson, as Mr. Burke most justly observed, appears far greater in
Boswell's books than in his own. His conversation appears to have been
quite equal to his writings in matter, and far superior to them in
manner. When he talked, he clothed his wit and his sense in forcible
and natural expressions. As soon as he took his pen in his hand to write
for the public, his style became systematically vicious. All his books
are written in a learned language; in a language which nobody hears from
his mother or his nurse; in a language in which nobody ever quarrels, or
drives bargains, or makes love; in a language in which nobody ever
thinks. It is clear that Johnson himself did not think in the dialect in
which he wrote. The expressions which came first to his tongue were
simple, energetic, and picturesque. When he wrote for publication he did
his sentences out of English into Johnsonese. His letters from the
Hebrides to Mrs. Thrale are the original of that work of which the
"Journey to the Hebrides" is the translation; and it is amusing to
compare the two versions. "When we were taken upstairs," says he in one
of his letters, "a dirty fellow bounced out of the bed on which one of
us was to lie." This incident is recorded in the Journal as follows:
"Out of one of the beds on which we were to repose started up, at our
entrance, a man black as a Cyclops from the forge." Sometimes Johnson
translated aloud. "_The Rehearsal_" he said, very unjustly, "has not wit
enough to keep it sweet"; then, after a pause, "it has not vitality
enough to preserve it from putrefaction."

Mannerism is pardonable, and is sometimes even agreeable, when the
manner, though vicious, is natural. Few readers, for example, would be
willing to part with the mannerism of Milton or of Burke. But a
mannerism which does not sit easy on the mannerist, which has been
adopted on principle, and which can be sustained only by constant
effort, is always offensive. And such is the mannerism of Johnson.

The characteristic faults of his style are so familiar to all our
readers, and have been so often burlesqued, that it is almost
superfluous to point them out. It is well known that he made less use
than any other eminent writer of those strong, plain words, Anglo-Saxon
or Norman-French, of which the roots lie in the inmost depths of our
language; and that he felt a vicious partiality for terms which, long
after our own speech had been fixed, were borrowed from the Greek and
Latin, and which, therefore, even when lawfully naturalised, must be
considered as born aliens, not entitled to rank with the King's English.
His constant practice of padding out a sentence with useless epithets,
till it became as stiff as the bust of an exquisite, his antithetical
forms of expression, constantly employed even where there is no
opposition in the ideas expressed, his big words wasted on little
things, his hard inversions, so widely different from those graceful and
easy inversions which give variety, spirit, and sweetness to the
expression of our great old writers--all these peculiarities have been
imitated by his admirers and parodied by his assailants till the public
has become sick of the subject.

Goldsmith said to him, very wittily and very justly, "If you were to
write a fable about little fishes, doctor, you would make the little
fishes talk like whales." No man surely ever had so little talent for
personation as Johnson. Whether he wrote in the character of a
disappointed legacy-hunter or an empty town fop, of a crazy virtuoso or
a flippant coquette, he wrote in the same pompous and unbending style.
His speech, like Sir Piercy Shafton's Euphuistic eloquence, bewrayed him
under every disguise. Euphelia and Rhodoclea talk as finely as Imlac the
poet or Seged, Emperor of Ethiopia. The gay Cornelia describes her
reception at the country-house of her relations in such terms as these:
"I was surprised, after the civilities of my first reception, to find,
instead of the leisure and tranquillity which a rural life always
promises, and, if well conducted, might always afford, a confused
wilderness of care, and a tumultuous hurry of diligence, by which every
face was clouded, and every motion agitated." The gentle Tranquilla
informs us that she "had not passed the earlier part of life without the
flattery of courtship and the joys of triumph; but had danced the round
of gaiety amidst the murmurs of envy and the congratulations of
applause, had been attended from pleasure to pleasure by the great, the
sprightly, and the vain, and had seen her regard solicited by the
obsequiousness of gallantry, the gaiety of wit, and the timidity of
love." Surely Sir John Falstaff himself did not wear his petticoats with
a worse grace. The reader may well cry out, with honest Sir Hugh Evans,
"I like not when a 'oman has a great peard: I spy a great peard under
her muffler."

We had something more to say; but our article is already too long, and
we must close it. We would fain part in good-humour from the hero, from
the biographer, and even from the editor, who, ill as he has performed
his task, has at least this claim to our gratitude, that he has induced
us to read Boswell's book again. As we close it, the club-room is before
us, and the table on which stands the omelet for Nugent and the lemons
for Johnson. There are assembled those heads which live for ever on the
canvas of Reynolds. There are the spectacles of Burke and the tall, thin
form of Langton; the courtly sneer of Beauclerk and the beaming smile of
Garrick; Gibbon tapping his snuff-box and Sir Joshua with his trumpet in
his ear. In the foreground is that strange figure which is as familiar
to us as the figures of those among whom we have been brought up--the
gigantic body, the huge, massy face, seamed with the scars of disease,
the brown coat, the black worsted stockings, the grey wig with the
scorched foretop, the dirty hands, the nails bitten and pared to the
quick. We see the eyes and mouth moving with convulsive twitches; we see
the heavy form rolling; we hear it puffing; and then comes the "Why,
sir!" and the "What then, sir?" and the "No, sir!" and the "You don't
see your way through the question, sir!"

What a singular destiny has been that of this remarkable man! To be
regarded in his own age as a classic, and in ours as a companion! To
receive from his contemporaries that full homage which men of genius
have in general received only from posterity! To be more intimately
known to posterity than other men are known to their contemporaries!
That kind of fame which is commonly the most transient is, in his case,
the most durable. The reputation of those writings which he probably
expected to be immortal is every day fading, while those peculiarities
of manner and that careless table-talk the memory of which, he probably
thought, would die with him, are likely to be remembered as long as the
English language is spoken in any quarter of the globe.

[Sidenote: _Sterne_]

A shoe coming loose from the fore-foot of the thill-horse, at the
beginning of the ascent of Mount Taurira, the postillion dismounted,
twisted the shoe off, and put it in his pocket. As the ascent was of
five or six miles, and that horse our main dependence, I made a point of
having the shoe fastened on again as well as we could; but the
postillion had thrown away the nails, and the hammer in the chaise box
being of no great use without them, I submitted to go on.

He had not mounted half a mile higher when, coming to a flinty piece of
road, the poor devil lost a second shoe, and from off his other
fore-foot; I then got out of the chaise in good earnest, and, seeing a
house about a quarter of a mile to the left hand, with a great deal to
do, I prevailed upon the postillion to turn up to it. The look of the
house, and of everything about it, as we drew nearer, soon reconciled me
to the disaster. It was a little farm-house, surrounded with about
twenty acres of vineyard, about as much corn, and close to the house, on
one side, was a _potagerie_ of an acre and a half, full of everything
which could make plenty in a French peasant's house; and, on the other
side, was a little wood, which furnished wherewithal to dress it. It was
about eight in the evening when I got to the house, so I left the
postillion to manage his point as he could; and, for mine, I walked
directly into the house.

The family consisted of an old grey-bearded man and his wife, with five
or six sons and sons-in-law, and their several wives, and a joyous
genealogy out of them.

They were all sitting down together to their lentil-soup, a large
wheaten loaf was in the middle of the table, and a flagon of wine at
each end of it promised joy through the stages of the repast; 'twas a
feast of love.

The old man rose up to meet me, and with a respectful cordiality would
have me sit down at the table; my heart was set down the moment I
entered the room; so I sat down at once, like a son of the family; and,
to invest myself in the character as speedily as I could, I instantly
borrowed the old man's knife, and, taking up the loaf, cut myself a
hearty luncheon; and, as I did it, I saw a testimony in every eye, not
only of an honest welcome, but of a welcome mixed with thanks that I had
not seemed to doubt it.

Was it this? or tell me, Nature, what else it was that made this morsel
so sweet; and to what magic I owe it, that the draught I took of their
flagon was so delicious with it, that they remain upon my palate to this

If the supper was to my taste, the grace which followed it was much more

[Sidenote: _Sterne_]

When supper was over the old man gave a knock upon the table with the
haft of his knife, to bid them prepare for the dance. The moment the
signal was given, the women and girls ran off together into a back
apartment to tie up their hair, and the young men to the door to wash
their faces and change their _sabots_; and in three minutes every soul
was ready upon a little esplanade before the house to begin. The old man
and his wife came out last, and, placing me betwixt them, sat down upon
a sofa of turf by the door.

The old man had, some fifty years ago, been no mean performer upon the
_vielle_; and at the age he was then of, touched it well enough for the
purpose. His wife sang now and then a little to the tune, then
intermitted and joined her old man again, as their children and
grandchildren danced before them.

It was not till the middle of the second dance, when, for some pauses in
the movements wherein they all seemed to look up, I fancied I could
distinguish an elevation of spirit different from that which is the
cause of the effect of simple jollity. In a word, I thought I beheld
religion mixing in the dance; but, as I had never seen her so engaged, I
should have looked upon it now as one of the illusions of an imagination
which is eternally misleading me, had not the old man, as soon as the
dance ended, said that this was their constant way; and that all his
life long he had made it a rule, after supper was over, to call out his
family to dance and rejoice; "believing," he said, "that a cheerful and
contented mind was the best sort of thanks to Heaven that an illiterate
peasant could pay"--

"Or a learned prelate either," said I.

[Sidenote: _Ingoldsby_]

_Act_ 1

  Walter Tyrrel, the son of a Norman papa,
  Has, somehow or other, a Saxon mama:
  Though humble, yet far above mere vulgar loons,
  He's a sort of a sub in the Rufus dragoons;
  Has travelled, but comes home abruptly, the rather
  That some unknown rascal has murder'd his father;
  And scarce has he picked out, and stuck in his quiver,
  The arrow that pierced the old gentleman's liver,
  When he finds, as misfortunes come rarely alone,
  That his sweetheart has bolted--with whom is not known.
  But, as murder will out, he at last finds the lady
  At court with her character grown rather shady:
  This gives him the "blues," and impairs the delight
  He'd have otherwise felt when they dub him a Knight
  For giving a runaway stallion a check,
  And preventing his breaking King Rufus's neck.

_Act 2_

  Sir Walter has dress'd himself up like a Ghost,
  And frightens a soldier away from his post;
  Then, discarding his helmet, he pulls his cloak higher,
  Draws it over his ears and pretends he's a Friar.
  This gains him access to his sweetheart, Miss Faucit;
  But, the King coming in, he hides up in her closet;
  Where, oddly enough, among some of her things,
  He discovers some arrows he's sure are the King's,
  Of the very same pattern with that which he found
  Sticking into his father when dead on the ground!
  Forgetting his funk, he bursts open the door,
  Bounces into the drawing-room, stamps on the floor,
  With an oath on his tongue, and revenge in his eye,
  And blows up King William the Second sky-high;
  Swears, storms, shakes his fist, and exhibits such airs,
  That his Majesty bids his men kick him downstairs.

_Act 3_

  King Rufus is cross when he comes to reflect,
  That, as King, he's been treated with gross disrespect;
  So he pens a short note to a holy physician,
  And gives him a rather unholy commission,
  Viz., to mix up some arsenic and ale in a cup,
  Which the chances are Tyrrel may find and drink up.
  Sure enough, on the very next morning, Sir Walter
  Perceives, in his walks, this same cup on the altar.
  As he feels rather thirsty, he's just about drinking,
  When Miss Faucit, in tears, comes in running like winking;
  He pauses, of course, and, as she's thirsty too,
  Says, very politely, "Miss, I after you!"
  The young lady curtsies, and, being so dry,
  Raises somehow her fair little finger so high,
  That there's not a drop left him to "wet t'other eye";
  While the dose is so strong, to his grief and surprise,
  She merely says, "Thankee, Sir Walter," and dies.
  At that moment the King, who is riding to cover,
  Pops in _en passant_ on the desperate lover,
  Who has vow'd, not five minutes before, to transfix him--
  So he does--he just pulls out his arrow and sticks him.
  From the strength of his arm, and the force of his blows,
  The Red-bearded Rover falls flat on his nose;
  And Sir Walter, thus having concluded the quarrel,
  Walks down to the footlights, and draws this fine moral:
  "Ladies and gentlemen, lead sober lives:
  Don't meddle with other folks' sweethearts or wives!--
  When you go out a-sporting take care of your gun,
  And--never shoot elderly people in fun!"

[Sidenote: _J.K. Stephen._]

  Within the bounds of this Hotel,
    Which bears the name of Pen-y-Gwryd,
  A black and yellow hound doth dwell,
    By which my friend and I were worried.

  Our object is not to imply
    That he assaulted, bit, or tore us;
  In fact he never ventured nigh
    Except when food was set before us.

  But when the scent of ham and eggs
    Announced the breakage of our fast,
  He came and twined about our legs,
    And interrupted our repast.

  We drove him from us through the door;
    He reappeared; we tried the casement;
  He seemed to rise out of the floor,
  And importuned us as before,
    To our unspeakable amazement.

  But timely succour Fortune brought us;
    One word of Welsh we chanced to know,
  And that a fellow-guest had taught us;
    It meant "Unpleasant creature, go!"

  Stranger! If you should chance to meet him,
    Oh do not pull, or kick, or push,
  Or execrate, or bribe, or beat him,
    But make a sound resembling "Cwsh"!

[Sidenote: _Edward FitzGerald_]

Mazzinghi tells me that November weather breeds blue devils--so that
there is a French proverb, "In October de Englishman shoot de pheasant;
in November he shoot himself." This, I suppose, is the case with me: so
away with November, as soon as may be....

Have you got in your "Christian Poet" a poem by Sir H. Wotton--"How
happy is he born or taught, that serveth not another's will"? It is very
beautiful, and fit for a Paradise of any kind. Here are some lines from
old Lily, which your ear will put in the proper metre. It gives a fine
description of a fellow walking in spring, and looking here and there,
and pricking up his ears, as different birds sing: "What bird so sings,
but doth so wail? Oh! 'tis the ravished nightingale: 'Jug, jug, jug,
jug, terue,' she cries, and still her woes at midnight rise. Brave
prick-song! who is't now we hear? It is the lark so shrill and clear:
against heaven's gate he claps his wings, the morn not waking till he
sings. Hark, too, with what a pretty note poor Robin Redbreast tunes his
throat: Hark, how the jolly cuckoos sing, 'Cuckoo' to welcome in the
spring: 'Cuckoo' to welcome in the spring.'" This is very English, and
pleasant, I think: and so I hope you will. I could have sent you many a
more sentimental thing, but nothing better. I admit nothing into my
Paradise, but such as breathe content, and virtue....

The Church, like the Ark of Noah, is worth saving: not for the sake of
the unclean beasts that almost filled it, and probably made most noise
and clamour in it, but for the little corner of rationality, that was as
much distressed by the stink within as by the tempest without....

[Sidenote: _Edward FitzGerald_]

Some one from this house is going to London: and I will try and write
you some lines now in half an hour before dinner. 'I am going out for
the evening to my old lady, who teaches me the names of the stars, and
other chaste information. You see, Master John Allen, that if I do not
come to London (and I have no thought of going yet) and you will not
write, there is likely to be an end of our communication: not, by the
way, that I am never to go to London again; but not just yet. Here I
live with tolerable content: perhaps with as much as most people arrive
at, and what if one were properly grateful one would perhaps call
perfect happiness. Here is a glorious sunshiny day: all the morning I
read about Nero in Tacitus, lying at full length on a bench in the
garden, a nightingale singing, and some red anemones eyeing the sun
manfully not far off. A funny mixture all this, Nero, and the delicacy
of spring, all very human however. Then at half-past one lunch on
Cambridge cream cheese: then a ride over hill and dale: then spudding up
some weeds from the grass: and then, coming in, I sit down to write to
you, my sister winding red worsted from the back of a chair, and the
most delightful little girl in the world chattering incessantly. So runs
the world away. You think I live in Epicurean ease; but this happens to
be a jolly day: one isn't always well, or tolerably good, the weather is
not always clear, nor nightingales singing, nor Tacitus full of pleasant
atrocity. But such as life is, I believe I have got hold of a good end
of it....

Give my love to Thackeray from your upper window across the street.

... I am living (did I tell you this before?) at a little cottage close
by the lawn gates, where I have my books, a barrel of beer, which I tap
myself (can you tap a barrel of beer?), and an old woman to do for me. I
have also just concocted two gallons of tar-water under the directions
of Bishop Berkeley: it is to be bottled off this very day after a
careful skimming, and then drunk by those who can and will. It is to be
tried first on my old woman; if she survives, I am to begin; and it will
then gradually spread into the parish, through England, Europe, etc.,
"as the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake."

... Does the thought ever strike you, when looking at pictures in a
house, that you are to run and jump at one, and go right through it into
some scene-behind-scene world on the other side, as harlequins do? A
steady portrait especially invites one to do so: the quietude of it
ironically tempts one to outrage it. One feels it would close again over
the panel, like water, as if nothing had happened. That portrait of
Spedding, for instance, which Laurence has given me: not swords, nor
cannon, nor all the bulls of Bashan butting at it could, I feel sure,
discompose that venerable forehead. No wonder that no hair can grow at
such an altitude; no wonder his view of Bacon's virtue is so rarefied
that the common consciences of men cannot endure it. Thackeray and I
occasionally amuse ourselves with the idea of Spedding's forehead. We
find it somehow or other in all things, just peering out of all things:
you see it in a milestone, Thackeray says. He also draws the forehead
rising with a sober light over Mont Blanc, and reflected in the Lake of
Geneva. We have great laughing over this. The forehead is at present in
Pembrokeshire, I believe; or Glamorganshire; or Monmouthshire: it is
hard to say which. It has gone to spend its Christmas there....

[Sidenote: _Edward FitzGerald_]

I wish you would write me ten lines to say how you are. You are, I
suppose, at Cambridge, and I am buried (with all my fine parts, what a
shame!) here; so that I hear of nobody--except that Spedding and I abuse
each other about Shakespeare occasionally, a subject on which you must
know that he has lost his conscience, if he ever had any. For what did
Dr. Allen ... say when he felt Spedding's head? Why, that all his bumps
were so tempered that there was no merit in his sobriety--then what
would have been the use of a Conscience to him? Q.E.D.

Since I saw you, I have entered into a decidedly agricultural course of
conduct: read books about composts, etc. I walk about in the fields also
where the people are at work, and the more dirt accumulates on my shoes,
the more I think I know. Is not this all funny? Gibbon might elegantly
compare my retirement from the cares and splendours of the world to that
of Diocletian. Have you read Thackeray's little book--"The Second
Funeral of Napoleon"? If not, pray do; and buy it, and ask others to buy
it, as each copy sold puts 7-1/2d. in T.'s pocket, which is very empty
just now, I take it. I think this book is the best thing he has done.
What an account there is of the Emperor Nicholas in Kemble's last
Review! The last sentence of it (which can be by no other man in Europe
but Jack himself) has been meat and drink to me for a fortnight. The
electric eel at the Adelaide Gallery is nothing to it. Then Edgeworth
fires away about the Odes of Pindar, and Donne is very æsthetic about
Mr. Hallam's book. What is the meaning of "exegetical"? Till I know
that, how can I understand the Review?

Pray remember me kindly to Blakesley, Heath, and such other potentates
as I knew in the days before they "assumed the purple." I am reading
Gibbon, and see nothing but this d----d colour before my eyes. It
changes occasionally to bright yellow, which is (is it?) the Imperial
colour in China, and also the antithesis to purple (_vide_ Coleridge and
Eastlake's "Goethe")--even as the Eastern and Western Dynasties are
antithetical, and yet, by the law of extremes, potentially the same
(_vide_ Coleridge, etc.). Is this æsthetic? Is this exegetical? How glad
I shall be if you can assure me that it is! But, nonsense apart and
begged pardon for, pray write me a line to say how you are, directing to
this pretty place. "The soil is in general a moist and retentive clay,
with a subsoil or pan of an adhesive silicious brick formation; adapted
to the growth of wheat, beans, and clover--requiring, however, a summer
fallow (as is generally stipulated in the lease) every fourth year,
etc." This is not an unpleasing style on agricultural subjects--nor an
uncommon one....

       *       *       *       *       *

You know my way of life so well that I need not describe it to you, as
it has undergone no change since I saw you. I read of mornings--the same
old books over and over again, having no command of new ones; walk with
my great black dog of an afternoon, and at evening sit with open
windows, up to which China-roses climb, with my pipe, while the
blackbirds and thrushes begin to rustle bedwards in the garden, and the
nightingale to have the neighbourhood to herself. We have had such a
spring (bating the last ten days) as would have satisfied even you with
warmth. And such verdure! white clouds moving over the new-fledged tops
of oak-trees, and acres of grass striving with buttercups. How old to
tell of, how new to see! I believe that Leslie's "Life of Constable" (a
very charming book) has given me a fresh love of spring. Constable loved
it above all seasons: he hated autumn. When Sir G. Beaumont, who was of
the old classical taste, asked him if he did not find it difficult to
place _his brown tree_ in his pictures, "Not at all," said C, "I never
put one in at all." And when Sir George was crying up the tone of the
old masters' landscapes, and quoting an _old violin_ as the proper tone
of colour for a picture, Constable got up, took an old Cremona, and laid
it down on the sunshiny grass. You would like the book. In defiance of
all this, I have hung my room with pictures, like very old fiddles
indeed; but I agree with Sir George and Constable both. I like pictures
that are not like nature. I can have nature better than any picture by
looking out of my window. Yet I respect the man who tries to paint up to
the freshness of earth and sky. Constable did not wholly achieve what he
tried at: and perhaps the old masters chose a soberer scale of things
as more within the compass of lead paint. To paint dew with lead!...

       *       *       *       *       *

It is now the 8th of December; it has blown a most desperate east wind,
all razors; a wind like one of those knives one sees at shops in London,
with 365 blades all drawn and pointed. The wheat is all sown; the
fallows cannot be ploughed. What are all the poor folks to do during the
winter? And they persist in having the same enormous families they used
to do; a woman came to me two days ago who had seventeen children! What
farmers are to employ all these? What landlord can find room for them?
The law of Generation must be repealed....

[Sidenote: _Edward FitzGerald_]

I should sometimes write to you if I had anything worth telling, or
worth putting you to the trouble of answering me. About twice in a year,
however, I do not mind asking you one thing which is easily answered,
how you and Mrs. Carlyle are? And yet, perhaps, it is not so easy for
you to tell me so much about yourself: for your "well-being" comprises a
good deal! That you are not carried off by the cholera I take for
granted, since else I should have seen in the papers some controversy
with Doctor Wordsworth as to whether you were to be buried in
Westminster Abbey, by the side of Wilberforce perhaps! Besides, a short
note from Thackeray a few weeks ago told me you had been to see him. I
conclude also from this that you have not been a summer excursion of any

I address from the Rectory (_Vicarage_it ought to be) of Crabbe, the
"Radiator," whose mind is now greatly exercised with Dr. Whewell's
"Plurality of Worlds." Crabbe, who is a good deal in the secrets of
Providence, admires the work beyond measure, but most indignantly
rejects the doctrine as unworthy of God. I have not read the book,
contented to hear Crabbe's commentaries. I have been staying with him
off and on for two months, and, as I say, give his address because any
letter thither directed will find me sooner or later in my little
wanderings. I am at present staying with a farmer in a very pleasant
house near Woodbridge, inhabiting such a room as even you, I think,
would sleep composedly in; my host a taciturn, cautious, honest, active
man whom I have known all my life. He and his wife, a capital housewife,
and his son, who would carry me on his shoulders to Ipswich, and a
maid-servant, who, as she curtsies of a morning, lets fall the teapot,
etc., constitute the household. Farming greatly prospers, farming
materials fetching an exorbitant price at the Michaelmas auctions--all
in defiance of Sir Fitzroy Kelly, who got returned for Suffolk on the
strength of denouncing Corn Law Repeal as the ruin of the country. He
has bought a fine house near Ipswich, with great gilded gates before it,
and, by dint of good dinners and soft sawder, finally draws the country
gentry to him....

Please to look at the September Number of Fraser's Magazine, where there
are some prose translations of Hafiz by Cowell which may interest you a
little. I think Cowell (as he is apt to do) gives Hafiz rather too much
credit for a mystical wine-cup, and cup-bearer; I mean, taking him on
the whole. The few odes he quotes have certainly a deep and pious
feeling, such as the Man of Mirth will feel at times: none perhaps more

Some one by chance read out to me the other day at the seaside your
account of poor old Naseby village from "Cromwell," quoted in Knight's
"Half-Hours," etc. It is now twelve years ago, at this very season, I
was ransacking for you; you promising to come down, and never coming. I
hope very much you are soon going to give us something: else Jerrold and
Tupper carry all before them.

[Sidenote: _Austin Dobson_]

    "Il me faut des emotions"--_Blanche Amory_

  You ask me, Lydia, "whether I,
    If you refuse my suit, shall die."
  (Now pray don't let this hurt you!)
  Although the time be out of joint,
  I should not think a bodkin's point
     The sole resource of virtue;
  Nor shall I, though your mood endure,
  Attempt a final Water-cure
    Except against my wishes;
  For I respectfully decline
  To dignify the Serpentine,
  And make _hors-d'oeuvres_ for fishes;
  But if you ask me whether I
    Composedly can go,
  Without a look, without a sigh,
    Why, then I answer--No.

  "You are assured," you sadly say
  (If in this most considerate way
    To treat my suit your will is),
  That I shall "quickly find as fair
  Some new Neæra's tangled hair--
    Some easier Amaryllis."
  I cannot promise to be cold
  If smiles are kind as yours of old
    On lips of later beauties;
  Nor can I, if I would, forget
  The homage that is Nature's debt,
    While man has social duties;
  But if you ask shall I prefer
    To you I honour so,
  A somewhat visionary Her,
    I answer truly--No.

  You fear, you frankly add, "to find
  In me too late the altered mind
    That altering Time estranges."
  To this I make response that we
  (As physiologists agree)
    Must have septennial changes;
  This is a thing beyond control,
  And it were best upon the whole
    To try and find out whether
  We could not, by some means, arrange
  This not-to-be-avoided change
    So as to change together:
  But had you asked me to allow
    That you could ever grow
  Less amiable than you are now,--

  But--to be serious--if you care
  To know how I shall really bear
    This much-discussed rejection,
  I answer you. As feeling men
  Behave, in best romances, when
     You outrage their affection;--
  With that gesticulatory woe,
  By which, as melodramas show,
    Despair is indicated;
  Enforced by all the liquid grief
  Which hugest pocket-handkerchief
     Has ever simulated;
  And when, arrived so far, you say
     In tragic accents, "Go,"
  Then, Lydia, then ... I still shall stay,
     And firmly answer--No.

[Sidenote: _Mark Twain_]

"Mark, one day, was found at home, in his library, dandling upon his
knee, with every appearance of fond 'parientness,' the young Twain--so
young as not yet to be able to 'walk upright and make bargains.' Mrs.
Twain, on showing the visitor into the sanctum, and finding her spouse
thus engaged, said:

"'Now, Mark, you _know_ you love that baby--don't you?'

"'Well,' replied Mark, in his slow, drawling kind of way,
'I--can't--exactly--say--I--love it,--_but--I--respect--it!_'"

[Sidenote: _G.K. Chesterton_]

Jesus Christ made wine, not a medicine, but a sacrament. But Omar makes
it, not a sacrament, but a medicine. He feasts because life is not
joyful; he revels because he is not glad. "Drink," he says, "for you
know not whence you come nor why. Drink, for you know not when you go
nor where. Drink, because the stars are cruel and the world as idle as a
humming-top. Drink, because there is nothing worth trusting, nothing
worth fighting for. Drink, because all things are lapsed in a base
equality and an evil peace." So he stands offering us the cup in his
hands. And in the high altar of Christianity stands another figure in
whose hand also is the cup of the vine. "Drink," he says, "for the whole
world is as red as this wine with the crimson of the love and wrath of
God. Drink, for the trumpets are blowing for battle, and this is the
stirrup-cup. Drink, for this is My blood of the New Testament that is
shed for you. Drink, for I know whence you come and why. Drink, for I
know when you go and where."--"Heretics."

[Sidenote: _G.K. Chesterton_]

Everything is military in the sense that everything depends upon
obedience. There is no perfectly epicurean corner; there is no perfectly
irresponsible place. Everywhere men have made the way for us with sweat
and submission. We may fling ourselves into a hammock in a fit of divine
carelessness; but we are glad that the net-maker did not make the net in
a fit of divine carelessness. We may jump upon a child's rocking-horse
for a joke; but we are glad that the carpenter did not leave the legs of
it unglued for a joke.--"Heretics."

[Sidenote: _G.K. Chesterton_]

The only way of catching a train I have ever discovered is to miss the
train before.--"Tremendous Trifles."

[Sidenote: _G.K. Chesterton_]

In a hollow of the grey-green hills of rainy Ireland lived an old, old
woman, whose uncle was always Cambridge at the Boat-race. But in her
grey-green hollows, she knew nothing of this; she didn't know that there
was a Boat-race. Also she did not know that she had an uncle. She had
heard of nobody at all, except of George the First, of whom she had
heard (I know not why), and in whose historical memory she put her
simple trust. And by and by, in God's good time, it was discovered that
this uncle of hers was really not her uncle, and they came and told her
so. She smiled through her tears, and said only, "Virtue is its own
reward."--"The Napoleon of Notting Hill."

In a world without humour, the only thing to do is to eat. And how
perfect an exception! How can these people strike dignified attitudes,
and pretend that things matter, when the total ludicrousness of life is
proved by the very method by which it is supported? A man strikes the
lyre, and says, "Life is real, life is earnest," and then goes into a
room and stuffs alien substances into a hole in his head.--"The Napoleon
of Notting Hill."

[Sidenote: _G.K. Chesterton_]

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time
to preach his own heresy.--"George Bernard Shaw."

[Sidenote: _G.K. Chesterton_]

Only in our romantic country do you have the romantic thing called
weather--beautiful and changeable as a woman. The great English
landscape painters (neglected now, like everything that is English) have
this salient distinction, that the weather is not the atmosphere of
their pictures; it is the subject of their pictures. They paint
portraits of the weather. The weather sat to Constable; the weather
posed for Turner--and the deuce of a pose it was. In the English
painters the climate is the hero; in the case of Turner a swaggering and
fighting hero, melodramatic but magnificent. The tall and terrible
protagonist robed in rain, thunder, and sunlight fills the whole canvas
and the whole foreground. Rich colours actually look more luminous on a
grey day, because they are seen aganst a dark background, and seem to be
burning with a lustre of their own. Against a dim sky all flowers look
like fireworks. There is something strange about them at once vivid and
secret, like flowers traced in fire in the grim garden of a witch. A
bright blue sky is necessarily the high-light in the picture, and its
brightness kills all the bright blue flowers. But on a grey day the
larkspur looks like fallen heaven; the red daisies are really the lost
red eyes of day, and the sunflower is the vice-regent of the sun.
Lastly, there is this value about the colour that men call colourless:
that it suggests in some way the mixed and troubled average of
existence, especially in its quality of strife and expectation and
promise. Grey is a colour that always seems on the eve of changing to
some other colour; of brightening into blue, or blanching into white, or
breaking into green or gold. So we may be perpetually reminded of the
indefinite hope that is in doubt itself; and when there is grey weather
on our hills or grey hair on our heads perhaps they may still remind us
of the morning.--"Daily News."

[Sidenote: _G.K. Chesteron_]

Silence is the unbearable repartee.--"Charles Dickens."

[Sidenote: _G.K. Chesterton_]

For those who study the great art of lying in bed there is one emphatic
caution to be added. Even for those who cannot do their work in bed (as,
for example, the professional harpooners of whales), it is obvious that
the indulgence must be very occasional. But that is not the caution I
mean. The caution is this: if you do lie in bed, be sure you do it
without any reason or justification at all. I do not speak, of course,
of the seriously sick. But if a healthy man lies in bed, let him do it
without a rag of excuse; then he will get up a healthy man. If he does
it for some secondary hygienic reason, if he has some scientific
explanation, he may get up a hypochondriac.--"Tremendous Trifles."

[Sidenote: _G.K. Chesterton_]

His soul will never starve for exploits or excitements who is wise
enough to be made a fool of. He will make himself happy in the traps
that have been laid for him; he will roll in their nets and sleep. All
doors will fly open to him who has a mildness more defiant than mere
courage. The whole is unerringly expressed in one fortunate phrase--he
will be always "taken in." To be taken in everywhere is to see the
inside of everything. It is the hospitality of circumstance. With
torches and trumpets, like a guest, the greenhorn is taken in by Life.
And the sceptic is cast out by it.--"Charles Dickens."

[Sidenote: _G.K. Chesterton_]

I have often been haunted with a fancy that the creeds of men might be
paralleled and represented in their beverages. Wine might stand for
genuine Catholicism, and ale for genuine Protestantism; for these at
least are real religions, with comfort and strength in them. Clean cold
Agnosticism would be clean cold water--an excellent thing if you can get
it. Most modern ethical and idealistic movements might be well
represented by soda-water--which is a fuss about nothing. Mr. Bernard
Shaw's philosophy is exactly like black coffee--it awakens, but it does
not really inspire. Modern hygienic materialism is very like cocoa; it
would be impossible to express one's contempt for it in stronger terms
than that.--"William Blake."

       *       *       *       *       *

To the quietest human being, seated in the quietest house, there will
sometimes come a sudden and unmeaning hunger for the possibilities or
impossibilities of things; he will abruptly wonder whether the teapot
may not suddenly begin to pour out honey or sea-water, the clock to
point to all hours of the day at once, the candle to burn green or
crimson, the door to open upon a lake or a potato-field instead of a
London street. Upon any one who feels this nameless anarchism there
rests for the time being the spirit of pantomime. Of the clown who cuts
the policeman in two it may be said (with no darker meaning) that he
realises one of our visions.--"The Defendant."

[Sidenote: _Dean Hole_]

First, of abuses. I protest against those sensational adjectives, which
are so commonly misapplied--against the union of grand and noble words
with subjects of a minute and trivial nature. It is as though a huge
locomotive engine were brought out to draw a child's perambulator, or as
though an Armstrong gun were loaded and levelled to exterminate a

I heard a tourist say the other day that, when he was at Black Gang
Chine, in the Isle of Wight, he had seen the _most magnificent_--what do
you think? A sunset, a man-of-war, a thunderstorm? Nothing of the kind.
He had seen the most _magnificent prawns_ he ever ate in his life.

And when I asked another young gentleman, who was speaking of "_the most
tremendous screw_ ever made in the world," to which of our great
ironclads he referred, he smiled upon me with a benign and courteous
pity, as he said that he "was alluding to a screw into the middle
pocket, which he had recently seen during a game at billiards between
Cook and the younger Roberts."

When you hear one lady informing another that she had just seen simply
the most _exquisite_, the most _lovely_, the most _perfect_ thing in
existence, is she referring to something wonderful in nature, or to
something beautiful in art, or can it be only a bonnet? Has she just
come home from the glaciers of Switzerland, the lakes of Italy, the
mountains of Connemara, or the castles of the Rhine, or can it be that
she has been no farther than Marshall and Snelgrove's shop?

Then there's that awful "_awful_!" Why, if a thousandth part of things
which are commonly affirmed to be aweful were aweful, we should go about
with our faces blanched, like his who drew Priam's curtain in the dead
of night, our teeth chattering, and our hair on end. Everything is
_aweful_--awefully good or awefully bad.

Only last week I handed a plate to a young lady at luncheon, and,
looking sweetly upon me, as though I had brought a reprieve from the
gallows, she sighed, "Oh thanks! how _awfully_ kind!"

And years ago, I went with John Leech to admire Robson in _The Porter's
Knot_, and when that pathetic little drama was over, and the actor had
stirred our souls with pity, an undergraduate in the stalls before us
turned to his companion, as the curtain fell, and said, tremulously,
with an emotion which did him honour, although his diction was queer,
"Awefully jolly! awefully jolly!"

Yes, it amuses, but it pains us more, this reckless abuse and confusion
of words, because it tends to lower the dignity and to pervert the
meaning of our language; it dishonours the best member that we have. If
we use the most startling and impressive words which we can find, when
we do not really require them, when the crisis comes in which they are
appropriate, they seem feeble and commonplace. We are as persons who,
wearing their best clothes daily, are but dingy guests at a feast.

Then comes retribution. They who cry "Wolf!" whenever they see a leveret
are not believed when Lupus comes. They who suffer "excruciating agony"
whenever a thorn pricks, can say no more under exquisite pain, and their
familiar words are powerless to evoke the sympathy which they have
repelled so long. They are more likely to receive the severe rebuke
administered by a gruff old gentleman to his maudlin, moribund
neighbour, who was ever exaggerating his ailments, and who, upon his
doleful declaration that "between three and four o'clock that morning he
had been at Death's door!" was abruptly but anxiously asked--"Oh, why
didn't you go in?"

I protest, in the next place, against the use of long, large words for
the gratification of that conceit or covetousness which seeks to obtain,
from mere grandiloquence, reputations and rewards to which it is not
entitled. Being a gardener, I like to call a spade as spelt; and if any
one terms it an horticultural implement, or a mattock, I do not expect
him to dig much. I have used the monosyllable "shop," and I will not
recall it, though a thousand pairs of gleaming scissors were pointed at
my breast, and I was told by an angry army of apprentices to talk shop
no more--the word was vulgar, or rather obsolete, superseded by the more
graceful terms of mart, emporium, warehouse, repository, bazaar, and

Plain folk, who sold drugs when I was a boy, were not ashamed to be
called druggists, but now they are pharmaceutical chymists, and
analytical Homoeopathists; and one is tempted to quote Canning's
paraphrase, which he made when Dr. Addington had been complimenting the
country party, "I do remember an apothecary, gulling of simples."
Persons who cut hair were known as hair-cutters, and they who attended
to the feet were called corn-cutters; but now the former are artists in
hair, and the latter are chiropodists.

No long time ago I consulted with an intelligent tradesman as to the
best way of protecting from frost a long line of standard rose-trees,
growing near a wall in my garden, and shortly afterwards I received from
him the drawing of a clever design, with a letter informing me that he
had now the pleasure of submitting to my inspection his idea of a
_Cheimoboethus_. When I rallied from my swoon, and was staggering
towards my lexicon, I remembered that, as [Greek: cheimon] was the Greek
for winter, and [Greek: boaethos] for a friend in need, the word was not
without appropriate meaning; but I never took heart to order the
invention, because I felt convinced that, if I were to inform my
gardener that we were going to have a Cheimoboethus, he would say that
he would rather leave.

A bird-stuffer is now a plumassier and taxidermist; and when I asked a
waiter the meaning of "Phusitechnicon," which I read over a shop
opposite his hotel, he told me it meant old china. And he bowed
respectfully, as one who knew how to treat a great scholar, when he met
him, as I remarked gravely, "Ah yes, I see: no doubt from _phusi_--the
ancients, and _technicon_--cups and saucers."

Nor can I leave these long Greek words without noticing another
objectionable abuse of them, whereby, upon the principle that "what in
the captain's but a choleric word, is in the soldier flat blasphemy," a
distinction is made between vice in the rich and vice in the poor, and
that which in the latter is obstinate depravity, to be handled only by
the police, becomes in the former a pitiable weakness or an irresistible
impulse to be gently nursed by the physician. If a poor man steals, he
is a desperate thief; but if a rich man fancies that which does not
belong to him he is a Kleptomaniac, and "the spoons will be returned."
If a poor man is addicted to alcohol he is a drunken sot; but if a rich
man is oft intoxicated, he is afflicted with Dipsomania! Interesting
patient! I should like to prescribe for him. I feel sure I could do him
good with my medicines--the crank and water-gruel!

Leaving him at it, I pass on to another mania, which rather provokes
amusement than anger--the mania to be called "Esquire." Forty years ago,
the title was restricted to those who carried arms. The armiger, no
longer toiling after his knight with heavy helmet and shield, bore his
own arms, as he drove along, proudly and pleasantly upon his carriage
door. People who became rich, and found themselves shut out from
"genteel society" because they had only letters upon their spoons,
instead of birds and beasts, arms with daggers, and legs with spurs,
were delighted to discover, on application at the Heralds' Office, that
one of their ancestors had undoubtedly exercised the functions of a
groom in the establishment of William the Conqueror, and that they were
consequently entitled to bear upon their arms a stable-bucket _azure_,
between two horses current, and to wear as their crest a curry-comb in
base argent, between two wisps of hay proper, they and their
descendants, according to the law of arms. But the luxury was expensive:
a lump sum to the Heralds, and two pound two to the King's taxes; and
so, as time went on, men of large ambition, but of limited means, began
to crave for some more economical process by which they might become
esquires. They met together, and they solved the difficulty. They
conferred the title upon each other, and they charged no fee. And now
the postal authorities will tell you that the number of the "esquires"
not carrying arms, not having so much as a leg to stand on (in the
matter of legal claims), is something "awful!" But the process is so
charmingly cheap and easy that we may expect a further development. Why
should we not all be baronets? Why should we not raise ourselves, every
man of us, on his own private hoist, to the Peerage?

We have all been ladies and gentlemen so long that a little nobility,
with its attendant titles, cannot fail to make a pleasant change. Bessie
Black, who cleans the fire-irons, has for some years been Miss
Cinderella, with a chignon and a lover on Sundays; and Bill, who weeds
in the garden, is Mr. Groundsell with a betting-book and a bad cigar. A
quotation from the newspapers will exemplify the comprehensiveness of
those terms "ladies and gentlemen," which had once such definite and
narrow restrictions. A witness, giving evidence at a trial, says: "When
I see that gentleman in the hand-cuffs a-shinning and a-punching that
lady with the black eye, I says to my missus, 'Them's ways,' I says, 'as
I don't hold to'; and she makes answer to me, 'You better hadn't.'"

Let me not be misunderstood to mean that none are ladies and gentlemen
who do not eat with silver forks, or that all persons that go about in
carriages deserve those gracious names. I have met with persons calling
themselves gentlemen, who evidently thought it manly and high-spirited
to swear at their servants, and who were incapable of appreciating any
anecdote which was not profane or coarse; and I have met, as all who go
amongst the poor have met, men who well deserved that noble epithet in
cottages and corduroy. Who has not seen illustrious snobs in satin, and
sweet, modest gentlewomen in homely print and serge? A gentleman!
There's no title shouted at a reception so grand in my idea as this; and
yet, methinks, that any man may win and wear it who is brave, and
truthful, and generous, and pure, and kind--who is, in one word, a

Some people think to make themselves gentlemen by tampering with their
patronymics, and by altering their family name. Brown has added an _e_
to his; and greedy Green, though he had two already, has followed his
example; and White spells his with a _y_; and Bob Smith calls his son
and heir Augustus Charlemagne Sacheverel Smythe; and Tailor calls
himself Tayleure. And one day Tailor went out a-hunting, and he worried
a whipper-in, who had plenty of work on his hands, with a series of
silly questions, until, upon his asking the name of a hound, he received
an answer which put an end to the discourse: "Well, sir," said the Whip,
"we used to call him Towler; but things has got so fine and fashionable
we calls him _Tow-leure."_

Passing from abuse to disuse, I would not refer to words which are
gradually becoming obsolete, but which some of us, partly from
admiration of the words themselves, and partly from old associations,
would not willingly let die. Beginning alphabetically, the adjective
_ask_ is one of those grand old English monosyllables which convey the
sense in the sound, It speaks to you of a day in March, when the wind
is in the east, and all the clouds are of a dull slate colour, and the
roads are white, and the hedges black, and the fallows are dry and hard
as bricks, and a bitter, searching, piercing wind whistles at your
sealskins and Ulsters, your Lindseys and Jerseys, your foot-warmers and
muffatees, and you feel, with Miggs, "as though water were flowing
aperiently down your back," and sit shuddering--dithering (there's
another word rarely used, but with a sufficient amount of chilliness in
it to ice a bottle of champagne) "dithering in the _ask_, ungenial day."

Then I like _abear_ (the penultimate _a_ pronounced as _e_)--"I can't
abeer him"; _addled_--"Bill's addled noat a three week"; _agate_--"I see
you've agate on't"; _among-hands_--"Tom schemed to do it among-hands";
_all along of_--"It was all along of them 'osses"; etc.

Of B's there is a swarm: _beleddy_ (a corruption, as most men know, of
"by our lady"), and I can only notice a few of the Queens. _Botch_ is a
word which, though found in Shakespeare and Dryden, and other authors,
is rarely used by us; and yet, methinks, in these days, when the great
object seems to be to get quantity in place of quality, and to make as
much display as we can at the price--when so much is done by contract,
and there is, in consequence, strong temptation to daub with untempered
mortar, to use green timber, to put in bad material where it will not be
seen, the verb _to botch_ is only too appropriate to all such scampish

And what do you think of _bofen-yed_? I once heard a farmer, shouting
from the garden fence, with the vocal powers of a Boanerges, to a
labourer at work about a quarter of a mile away, "Yer gret bofen-yed,
can ter ear noat?" (_Anglicè_, "You ox-headed lout, are you stone
deaf?"); and more frequently the terms, _pudding-yed_ and _noggen-yed_
have been addressed in my hearing to obtuse and stupid folk. The former
requires no comment, and an explanation of the latter--_noggen_, hard,
rough, coarse--may be found in Johnson. "Nay, I did na say thee wor a
noggen-yed; I said Lawyer said thee were a noggen-yed," was a poor
apology, once spoken in Lancashire. And there also, in time-honoured
Lancaster, was made the following illustrative speech. A conceited young
barrister, with a _nez retroussé_ and a new wig, had been bullying for
some time a rough, honest Lancashire lad, who was giving evidence in a
trial, and at last the lawyer, thinking that he saw his opportunity,
turned sharply upon the witness and said, "Why, fellow, only a short
time ago you stated so and so." To which came the indignant answer,
"Why, yer powder-yedded monkey, I never said noat o' sort; I appeal to
th' company!"

I have a loving faith in children. Mixing with them daily--in church, in
school, and at their play--I think that I know something about them; and
I maintain that a disagreeable child is a sorrowful exception to the
rule, and the result of mismanagement and foolish indulgences on the
part of parents and teachers. But when this abnormal nuisance is found,
a peevish, fretful child--a child who is always wanting to taste, a
child who ignores the admirable purposes for which pocket-handkerchiefs
were designed, such an _enfant terrible_ as he who told the kindly
mother, offering to bring her 'Gustus to join him in his play, that "if
you bring your 'Gustus here I shall make a slit in him with my new
knife, and let out his sawdust"--when, I repeat, we come in contact with
such an obnoxious precocity as this, what word can describe him so
satisfactorily as the monosyllable--_brat_?

More detestable, because more powerful to do hurt, and with less excuse
for doing it, is _the Blab_; the unctuous, tattling Blab, who creeps to
your side with words softer than butter, but having war in his heart; he
"always thought that Sam Smith was such a friend of yours, and" (hardly
waiting for your "So he is") "was surprised and rather disgusted by his
remarks at the Club last Thursday." And then he tells you something
which, for a moment, and until principle prevails over passion, suggests
the removal by violence of several of Sam's teeth, and he leaves you
distressed and distrustful, until you discover, as you most probably
will, that there has been cruel misrepresentation. Ah, if poor
Jeannette's desire were realised, and they who make the quarrels were
the only men to fight, how nice it would be to sit upon an eminence and
watch the Battle of the Blabs!

There was a battle once on a small scale, the only rational duel ever
fought, in which a brace of Blabs were sweetly discomfited. They had
succeeded in separating "very friends," and had arranged a hostile
meeting; but, through the intervention of better men, and without their
cognisance, the principals entered into explanation, and, finding that
they had been misled, mutually agreed to fire at the seconds, who had
made the mischief. One Blab received a bullet in the calf of his leg,
and the other a _ping_ close to his whiskers; and then the combatants
said that their honour was satisfied, and the party broke up.

Some years ago there lived in our village an individual who was known to
us as _Brawnging_ Bill. Does not the epithet describe the man? As you
pronounce it, does not William's photograph present itself to your
mental eye? A large, obese, idle _hulk_ of a man (fine old Saxon word,
that _hulc_!) lounging about with his hands in his pockets and a pipe in
his mouth; a man who talks at the top of his voice, and laughs the loud
laugh which tells the vacant mind, and lies with such volubility that
you would think truth was a fool. Eloquent, didactic, imperious was he
in the taproom and by the blacksmith's forge, in the quoit-yard and in
the alley of skittles, and yet, whene'er his tongue led him into
trouble, and there was whisper of peril to that fat form of his, at the
first utterance of a threat, the first sign of aggressive anger, there
was a dissolving view of our Brawnging Bill.

From B to C.--Whenever the fairer sex enter Parliament (breathes there a
man with ears so deaf as to doubt their powers of parlance?) and we have
a House of Ladies as well as a House of Lords, I anticipate that among
the first measures introduced will be a coercive Bill for Regulating in
the Clay Districts the scraping, wiping, and cleaning of men's boots on
their return from the garden or the field. A sore provocation it must
surely be to those who love order and brightness to find slabs of dirt
upon their new oil-cloth, Indian mats, and bright encaustic tiles.
Justly may the gentlest spirit _chunter_ and complain while the guilty
husband, from his dressing-room hard by, vainly essays to evade his
shame by a quotation--"Would my darling have me come bootless home--home
without boots, and in wet weather, too?" Better to give the real, the
only excuse, and say that the soil is so--no, not adhesive, not sticky,
not tenacious, but, to use a word ten thousand times more expressive
than these, so _clarty_.

And do you not remember (on we go, voyaging among the C's,) a time, a
happy time, before you knew what digestion meant, when you delighted to
_cranch_ the unripe gooseberry, until you heard the _clomp_ of the
paternal tread on the _causey_, and crouched lest you should _catch
it_, hid to escape a hiding; and how, nevertheless, swift retribution
followed upon the track of crime, and you suffered those internal pains,
which were vulgarly known as _colly-wobbles_, and were _coddled_, in
consequence, upon your mother's knee?

Going on to D--Dickens, in a description of a street row, represents one
of the lady disputants as saying to her adversary, "You go home, and,
when you are quite sober, mend your stockings"; and he adds that these
allusions, not only to her intemperate habits but to the state of her
wardrobe, were so exasperating to the accused party that she proceeded
to comply, not with the suggestion of her accuser, but with the request
of the bystanders, and to "pitch in" with considerable alacrity.
Assuming that her hose was as reported, let us hope that she had the
worst of the combat, for there is something in the idea of a _dowdy_
which is hateful to the manly mind. How life-like the portrait which the
word paints for us! a coarse, fat female, her dingy cap, with its faded
ribbons, awry upon her unkempt hair; eyes hookless, holes buttonless,
upon her shabby gown; a boot-lace trailing on the ground. When we clergy
visit Mrs. Dowdy's home, or the residence of her sister, Mrs. Slattern,
and find that, though it is towards evening, they have not tidied either
self or house, we know why the children are unhealthy and untaught, and
why the husband prefers the warmth and cleanliness of "The Manor Arms"
to his own miserable hut. As a house-keeper, Mrs. Dowdy could only
"please the pigs"; and this reminds me what an apt word we have in
_dunky_ for a rotund, obese, little porket. I do not find the latter in
Johnson, but dowdy in Shakespeare, and _slattern_ is from the Swedish.

No word suggests itself as I stand at E's, and I therefore proceed with
a sonata in F, composed, not by Beethoven, but by a horse-breaker, with
certain amplifications of my own: "The young horse was in famous
_fettle_, and _framed_ splendidly over the _flakes_; but he seemed all
of a _flabber-gaster_ when he caught sight of the water, put himself
into a regular _fandango_, and the more I _flanked_ him the more he
_funked,_ till in he went with a _flop._"

I come now to a gem of purest ray serene. To me the monosyllable _gorp_
is a thing of beauty and a joy for ever. Take a youth, who has passed
his life as an underling on some secluded farm, to an exhibition of wax
figures, gorgeously attired, rolling their eyes and lifting up their
arms to slow music, and you shall see him _gorp_. Or go with that young
man to a display of fireworks, and when the first asteroid rocket sends
out its glowing stars you shall see that wide-mouthed, wobbling
agriculturist so gorp as to make it almost impossible for the descending
stick to go anywhere save down his throat.

But we are all of us naturally fond of gorping. We abstain in our
sensitive days, because somebody said it was vulgar; but, as we grow
older and wiser, and that bell-wether Fashion tinkles vainly in our
ears, we flatten our happy noses upon the shop-windows once again, and
thoroughly enjoy our _gorp_.

At Oxford, I remember, it was considered very low indeed to gorp. In
fact, we did not allow ourselves to be astonished at anything, unless it
was the audacity of trades-people with reference to the payment of their
little bills. Wherefore I the more honour the conduct and courage of a
college friend who, honest himself, and as free from humbug as any man I
know, was bored, especially in London, by the society of an affected
coxcomb, who persisted in attaching himself whenever they met, giving
himself all sorts of silly airs, enlarging upon his intimacy with titled
folks, and asserting himself to be, like Mrs. Jarley's show, the delight
of the nobility and gentry of the day. "Gradually," said my friend to
me, "I discovered a process by which I might execute a deed of
separation. First, I rattled my stick against the area railings, and I
saw him wince; then I whistled an Ethiopian serenade, and 'o'er his face
a tablet of unutterable thoughts was traced'; but when I set my hat well
on the back of my head, and _gorped_ with open mouth at six legs of pork
in a butcher's shop, he fled, and I saw him no more."

Thus did my friend successfully assume the lineaments of a _gawk_, and
the deportment of a _gorby_, that he might evade the oppressive
attentions of a companion given to _gawster_. The enemy whom he so
adroitly dispersed bore a strong family likeness to a fraternal
nuisance, whom we recently inspected, being, in fact, a new edition, on
toned paper and elegantly bound, of the braggart, "Brawnging Bill," and
exhibiting the same feeble powers of resistance when his silly conceits
were thwarted. Honest men, hoping reformation, rejoice to see him slink
away, rejoice to see the _gawsterer_ subdued, as when Theodore Hook
rushed across Fleet Street to one, who was walking as proudly down it as
though the Bank of England was his counting-house and St. Paul's his
private Chapel, and, almost breathless with admiring awe, gasped his
anxious question--"O sir, O pray sir, may I ask, sir--are you anybody in
particular?" Certainly it is either a great amusement or a great
irritation (as the weather, or disposition, or digestion may influence),
to meet with persons in parks, promenades, esplanades, and spas who
ostensibly expect you to look at them in an ecstasy of wonder, as though
they were a sunset on Mont Blanc or the Balaklava Charge.

Only in three exceptional cases is it permissible, as I think, to
_gawster_. I like to see a drum-major, with my grandmother's
carriage-muff on his head, and a baton in his hand as long as a
bean-rod, swaggering at the head of his regiment, as though he had only
to knock at the gates of a besieged city and the governor would
instantly send the keys. Secondly, I was disappointed the other day at
the stolid behaviour of a sheep, who went on grazing with a sublime
indifference when a peacock, having marched some distance for the
purpose, wheeled round within a yard of his nose, displaying his
brilliant charms in vain; and all the eyes of Argus seemed to pale their
ineffectual fire, as when Mercury, with his delightful music, in
accordance with the command of Jupiter, and with Lemprière's dictionary,
made them wink in a delicious drowse. And, thirdly, in the case of a
game bantam, once my property, who flew up every morning to the top of a
tall pump, and challenged Nottinghamshire to fight, I could not but
admire the gawstering spirit, because he so thoroughly meant all that he
said, and would have gladly matched himself against a mad elephant, or
would have crowed defiance, midway between the rails, as the express
rushed on at speed.

But in other animals I would pitilessly suppress proclivities to
gawster. I would ask power from Parliament to whip, when mild persuasion
failed, the precocious prig, "neither man nor boy," who struts about on
Sundays, scoffing at religion, and polluting the air with bad tobacco
and worse talk; and I would authorise the police to supervise, and to
send home at their discretion, those small giggling girls who, having
lost the shame which is a glory and a grace, and coveting every
adornment but one, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, are seen in
our streets, with nearly half a year's wage upon their backs, and the
change on their faces--in brass.

To gawster, in fine, is a sure indication of moral and physical
debility. He who gawsters is like a show, which has enormous pictures
and clanging cymbals, and gongs, and drums, and an obese showman, in his
shirt-sleeves, lying through a speaking-trumpet at the top of his voice,
_outside_, and little more than a three-headed puppy, or a seven-legged
lamb (not in vigorous life, as shown upon the canvas, but in glass and
spirits of wine) _within_. When, for example, you hear a man gawster
about his horsemanship, you may be sure that he will never be first over
a fence, unless it be some wee obstacle, which you could almost arrange
on a rocking-horse, and then he will rush wildly at it, as though he had
made up his mind to die; or, if his boasting be of cricket, you may
expect next morning to see him miss the first easy catch which comes.

I need hardly ask whether you have known, my reader, what it is to feel
yourself _gloppened_, as when in boyhood (if feminine, please ask your
brother), you had just finished your first pipe of the herb called shag,
and on your face a tablet of unutterable thoughts was traced, as
represented in that marvellous sketch by John Leech, "Old Bagshawe under
the influence of tobacco"; when you went forth with your mother for an
innings, as you hoped, at the confectioner's, and a second ditto at the
toyshop, and saw her ringing the dentist's bell; when you had carefully
adjusted that cracker to Mr. Nabal's knocker, and were lighting the
lucifer within the quiet seclusion of your cap, and suddenly the
knuckles of Mr. Nabal's left pressed rudely on your nape, and the thumb
and finger of his right essayed to meet each other through the lobe of
your ear; when your dearest friend, in the strictest confidence, and
having sworn you to secrecy, showed you a lock of gleaming hair, given
to him by the girl whom you adored.

  And it was you, my Thomas, you,
  The friend in whom my soul confided,
  Who dared to gaze on her--to do,
  I may say, much the same as I did.

Or when, in after-years, unequally mated, you groaned, with Parolles,
under the subjection of a stronger will, "a man that's married is a man
that's marred"; and it might be said of you, as once it was said by a
labourer of one of his neighbours (so have I read in a book about roses,
a charming volume, which should be on every table), "Bill has been and
married his mestur, and she has _gloppened_ him a goodish bit."

I remember an occasion when a gawsterer was gloppened sorely. There was
an ancient mansion, wainscoted and floored with shining oak, _glib_--I
have not heard that apposite, terse little monosyllable since I went
_slurring_ with the village boys--glib as glass; and in that ancient
mansion there was a banquet; and to that banquet came, with other
guests, "a fop in a gay coat," a coxcomb wearing the bright vestment of
the hunter, albeit in the hour of chase he only hunted gates and gaps;
and upon the white satin lining of his "pink" there was a tiny
button-hole bouquet, such as Mab might have held with her fairy fingers
at the time of her coronation; and in collar, if in nothing else, he
resembled the immortal Shakespeare; and his bosom was broad and snowy as
the swan's; and his pumps were glossy as the raven's wing; and he was
going dinnerward, with a winsome damsel on his arm and a complacent
smile of self-conceit upon his countenance, when the smooth soles of
these new and shining shoes suddenly performed a rapid evolution, as
though they were skates upon ice; and there was a little shriek from the
winsome damsel in particular, and a large "Oh!" from the procession in
general, and a flash of horizontal scarlet, as when a soldier falls in
battle; and then the bruised and bewildered dandy picked himself up, as
best he could, to perform a part for which his qualifications were
small--the personification of a man who had a relish for pain; and I
sympathised with, though I did not love him--not so much because his
feelings, as because his raiment was torn, and he, who was generally the
most lively and locomotive of all, was now depressed and sedentary, like
the lover of Constance, brooding upon his silent grief, as on its nest
the dove, while we remained at the dinner-table, and finally backing out
of the drawing-room at an early hour, as though our hostess were the

And his involuntary gymnastics remind me, as I pass on to that
"terrible thoroughbred" letter H (I have heard men speak of others who
ignored it in conversation as though they must be capable of any crime),
of a stout old lady in the manufacturing districts, whose husband had
been very successful in business, and had purchased a fine old country
residence from some dilapidated squire. She was complaining to a visitor
of the difficulty which she had in walking upon the polished floors.
"First I sluther," she said, "and then I hutch; and then I sluther, and
then I hutch; and the more I hutch the more I sluther."

Only one other specimen (for I must hurry on helter-skelter and
harum-scarum) from words beginning with H--to be, or cause others to be,
on the _hig_, that is, to go about, or cause others to go about, in a
fume, angrily excited, menacing revenge. "Betty," I asked one of my
parishioners, "why do you make these ill-natured, irritating speeches to
your next-door neighbour?" "Oh, bless yer," was the reply I received, "I
only said 'em just to set old Sally on the _hig_." She knew that not to
many was it given to hear resignedly the bitter word, that not to many
was given in its reality the resignation affected by another of my old
women, who (one of those wretched combinations of religion and rancour,
"who think they're pious when they're only bilious") accosted me with
the startling intelligence--"Oh, Mestur 'Ole, I've got another lift
towards 'eaven. Bowcocks" (tenants of the cottage adjoining her own),
"Bowcocks has been telling more lies; blessed are the parsecuted!"
Better open war than this dismal affectation of peace! Better to confess
ourselves _hity-tity_, and to raise a _hullabaloo_, than such _humbug_
as this!

I, the egotist, has for once nothing to say; but J recalls to me an
extract from a conversation which took place during one of my parochial

_Pastor_.--"Did I not see old Nanny Smith talking with you at your door
just now?"

_Parishioner_.--"Oh yes, she wor' here not three minutes sin', and
_jabbering_, as usual, like a clamm'd [famished] jay in a wood; but when
she see your reverence coming up th' lane, th' old lass wor' gone in a

K makes no suggestions, and L but few. "I'll _lay_," has no reference to
eggs or to a recumbent posture, but implies a wager. Some years ago, I
was riding to the meet, and came up inaudibly, upon the wayside grass,
with two grooms on their masters' hunters, peering over their pummels at
a mounted horse in the distance before them and anxiously discussing his
identity. Just as I was passing the disputants, the one turned to the
other and said, "I shall _lay yer_ three threepenny gins to one as it's
Colonel's rat-tailed 'oss."

_Lig_ is still commonly used for "lie." "Our Bob has ligabed sin'
Monday." "The moon wor _ligging_ behind a cloud, so they couldn't see
keepers coming." To _lorp_ is to move awkwardly or idly, and the word
suggests a noble line for the alliterative poet:

  Lo, lazy lubbers loutish, lorp and loll.

In the days of my boyhood I was perplexed conjecturing by what process
of the rustic mind moles had changed their names into _Mouldi-warps_;
but I have since discovered that in this instance, as in countless
others, the bucolic brain was not so mollified by beans and bacon as
some would have us believe. The _mould_--and very fine mould it is--is
_warped_, turned up by the mole; and this reminds me of a mole-catcher,
whose principles were warped also, and whose occupation was gone awhile
in our parts, when it was discovered that he carried a collection of
dead moles about with him, with which, the morning after his traps had
been set, he made a grand display on some contiguous hedge, inducing his
employer fondly to imagine that his enemies (as he thought of them) had
been all destroyed in a night.

Flying onwards--for this is a very fugitive piece--I would ask
admiration for the adjective _muggy_, as exquisitely descriptive of
weather, not uncommon in this climate, where a fog gives one the idea,
suggested by Dickens, that nature is brewing on an extensive scale
outside, and there's dampness everywhere, taking the curl from ringlet
and whisker, and causing our adhesive envelopes to fasten themselves on
our writing-table, as though practising the duties of their post.

          No sun, no moon,
          No morn, no noon,
  No dawn, no dusk, no proper time of day--
        No sky, no earthly view,
        No distance looking blue.
  No road, no street, no t'other side the way--
    No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
      No comfortable feel in any member,
    No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
          No ... vember!

I love, though not as licensed victuallers love, the little monosyllable
_nip_. What a nimble agility, what a motive power, in that curt,
imperative word!--the pistol-shot which starts the boat-race, the brief,
shrill whistle which starts the train. "Just nip off your horse and pull
out that stake." "You nipped out o' the army," said a snob to a friend
of mine, who had retired some years before the Crimean invasion, and
who, in his magisterial capacity, had offended the snob; "you know'd t'
war wor' a-coming; you nipped out, you didn't relish them Rooshan
baggonets a-prodding and a-pricking. You nipped out o' th' army; you
know'd t' war wor' coming. Good morning. I think you were right."

When the wind bloweth in from the Orient, or when our discretion has
collapsed before a lobster salad (that claw looked so innocently pink,
and that lettuce so crisp and green!) then is poor human nature but too
prone to be querulous; we disagree, like the lobster, with our fellow
creatures; we are peevishly disposed to _nag_. "My mestur has been a
good husband to me," said one of the matrons of my flock, "but he can
chime in nasty when he wants to _nag_."

Times of refinement are probably at hand when, under the sacred
influence of School Boards, the rural tongue shall cease to substitute
the word _no-at_ for nought, or nothing. I am not sorry that when that
epoch comes I shall no longer be attached to this machine. I cling to
those expressions, which I have heard from childhood: "He's like a
_no-at." "_He's up to _no-at_." One day, years ago, we waited for the
train at, not Coventry, but Ratcliffe-on-Trent, and while we waited a
weary workman, with his bag of tools on his back, came and sat on the
bench beside. Presently we were joined by a third person in the
garrulous phase of inebriety, and he pestered the tired artisan with his
_bosh_and _gibberish_ (two words which should have been introduced at an
earlier period of my history) until he provoked the righteous
expostulation, "Oh, don't bother me; you're drunk." Then, with an air of
outraged dignity, and with a stern solemnity, which, if he had not
wobbled in his gait and stammered in his utterance, might have suggested
the idea that he had just been appointed Professor of Philosophy for the
Midland Districts, he delivered an oration: "Now just you listen to me.
Do you suppose as a Mighty Power 'ud mak the barley to grow, and the
'ops to grow, and then put it into the minds of other parties to mak'
'em foment, and me not meant to drink 'em? why, you know _no-at_!"
Whereupon the apt rejoinder: "I know this--that a Mighty Power never
meant the barley to grow, nor the hops to grow, for you to take and turn
yoursen into a be-ast."

_Nobbut_ is still common in these parts, in abbreviation of "nothing
but." I congratulated an invalid parishioner on the presence of the
doctor, and he said dolefully, "Oh yes, sir; thank yer, sir--but it's
_nobbut_ th' 'prentice."

My limits do not allow me to mind my L's and Q's and R's, or I might
have enlarged upon such words as _palaver_, and _pawling_, and _peart_,
and _prod_, and_romper_, and _ramshackle_, and _rawm_; and I can only
dwell upon one selection from the S's, of which there is a long
Sigmatismus, such as _snag_ ("Billy and Sally's always at _snags_"), and
_scuft_, and _scrawl_ ("he wor' just a glass over the scrawl," _i.e._
the line of sobriety), and _scrawm_, and _slape_, and _snigger_, and
_slive_ ("I see that _shack a-_sliving_ and a_-skulking about"), and
_slare_, and_slawmy_, and _sneck_, and _snoozle_, and _spank_, and
_stodge_, and _stunt_, and _swish_.

The word which I would illustrate is _skimpy_. It signifies something
mean and defective; and in the following history, told to me by a
clerical friend, it refers to an attenuated and bony female. When a
curate in a remote country parish, he took a raw village lad into his
service, to train him for some better place; and, when his education was
sufficiently advanced, and he had made some progress in the art of
writing, he was permitted to accompany his master to a large
dinner-party given by a neighbouring squire. Next morning he
communicated his experiences to the housekeeper, and she treacherously
repeated them to my friend. "'Oh,' he said, 'it just wor' grand. Me and
t'other gentlemen in livery we stood i' th' 'all, and they flung open
folding-doors, and out comes the quality tu and tu, harm i' harm, all
a-talking and a-grinning, and as smart as ninepence. I wor' quite
surprised at mestur. He come out last of all, with a _skimpy_old woman.
I should say she wor' sisty off, and there were squire's daughter,
looking as bewtifle as bewtifle, and dressed up as gay as waxwork. I
never made no mistake, except giving one gentleman mustard wrong side,
and just a drop or so o' gravy down a hunbeknown young lady's back.'" I
have reached the length of my tether, and will go no longer a-_tweing_
after words, lest I put my readers in a _tiff_, and leave them in a
_tantrum_. I will _yark_ off. Said an underkeeper who had just shot at a
snipe: "It _yarked_ up and screeted, and I nipped round and blazed; but
I catched my toe on a bit of a tussock, and so, consarn it, I missed."
Let me hope that I have not so completely failed in my aim, while firing
my small shot against certain abuses and disuses connected with The
Vulgar Tongue.

[Sidenote: _Calverley_]

  O what harper could worthily harp it,
    Mine Edward! this wide-stretching wold
  (Look out _wold_) with its wonderful carpet
    Of emerald, purple, and gold?
  Look well at it--also look sharp, it
    Is getting so cold.

  The purple is heather _(erica)_;
    The yellow, gorse--call'd sometimes "whin."
  Cruel boys on its pickles might spike a
    Green beetle as if on a pin,
  You may roll in it, if you would like a
    Few holes in your skin.

  You wouldn't? Then think of how kind you
    Should be to the insects who crave
  Your compassion--and then, look behind you
    At yon barley-ears! Don't they look brave
  As they undulate _(undulate_, mind you,
  From _unda, a wave_).

  The noise of those sheep-bells, how faint it
    Sounds here--(on account of our height)!
  And this hillock itself--who could paint it,
    With its changes of shadow and light?
  Is it not---(never, Eddy, say "ain't it")--
    A marvellous sight?

  Then yon desolate eerie morasses,
    The haunts of the snipe and the hern--
  (I shall question the two upper classes
    On _aquatiles_ when we return)--
  Why, I see on them absolute masses
    Of _felix_, or fern.

  How it interests e'en a beginner
    (Or _tiro_) like dear little Ned!
  Is he listening? As I am a sinner,
    He's asleep--he is wagging his head.
  Wake up! I'll go home to my dinner,
    And you to your bed.

  The boundless ineffable prairie;
    The splendour of mountain and lake,
  With their hues that seem ever to vary;
    The mighty pine-forests which shake
  In the wind, and in which the unwary
    May tread on a snake;

  And this wold, with its heathery garment,
    Are themes undeniably great.
  But--although there is not any harm in't--
    It's perhaps little good to dilate
  On their charms to a dull little varmint
    Of seven or eight.

[Sidenote: _Daudet_]

At the time of which I am speaking, Tartarin of Tarascon was not the
Tartarin that he is to-day, the great Tartarin of Tarascon, so popular
throughout the South of France. However--even then--he was already king
of Tarascon.

Let me tell you whence this kingship.

You must know, first, that every one there is a huntsman, from the
greatest to the smallest.

So, every Sunday morning, Tarascon takes arms and leaves the walls,
game-bag on the back, gun on the shoulder, with a commotion of dogs,
ferrets, trumpets, and hunting-horns. It is a superb sight.
Unfortunately, game is wanting, absolutely wanting.

However stupid animals may be, in the end they had become wary.

For five leagues round Tarascon warrens are empty, nests deserted. Not a
thrush, not a quail, not the least little rabbit, not the smallest

And yet these pretty Tarascon hillocks are very tempting, perfumed with
myrtle, lavender, and rosemary; and these fine muscat grapes, swollen
with sweetness, which grow by the side of the Rhone, extremely
appetising too--yes, but there is Tarascon behind, and in the little
world of fur and feather Tarascon has an evil fame. The birds of passage
themselves have marked it with a big cross on their maps of the route,
and when the wild-ducks, descending towards Camargue in long triangles,
see the steeples of the town in the distance, the leader screams at the
top of his lungs, "There is Tarascon!--There is Tarascon!" and the whole
flight turns.

In short, as far as game is concerned, only one old rogue of a hare
remains, who has escaped by some miracle from the September massacres of
the Tarasconners, and who insists on living there. In Tarascon this hare
is well known. They have given him a name. He is called "The Express."
It is known that his form is in M. Bompard's ground--which, by the way,
has doubled and even trebled its price--but so far no one has been able
to get at it.

At the present moment there are one or two desperate fellows who have
set their hearts upon him.

The others have made up their minds that it is hopeless, and "The
Express" has become a sort of local superstition, although the
Tarasconners are not very superstitious and eat swallows in a salmi when
they can get them.

"But," you object, "if game is so rare in Tarascon, what do the Tarascon
sportsmen do every Sunday?"

What do they do?

Well, bless me! they go out into the open country two or three leagues
from the town. They gather into little groups of six or seven, stretch
themselves tranquilly in the shadow of an old wall, an olive-tree, take
out of their game-bags a great piece of beef seasoned with _daube_, some
uncooked onions, a large sausage, some anchovies, and begin an
interminable luncheon, moistened by one of those nice little Rhone wines
which make a man laugh and sing.

After that, when one has laid in a good stock of provisions, one rises,
whistles the dogs, loads the guns, and the chase begins. That is to say,
each gentleman takes his cap, flings it into the air with all his might,
and fires at it.

He who puts most shots into his cap is proclaimed king of the hunt, and
returns in the evening to Tarascon in triumph, with his peppered cap on
the end of his gun, amidst yappings and fanfares.

Needless to say, there is a great trade of caps in the town. There are
even hatters who sell caps torn and full of holes for the use of the
clumsy. But hardly any one but Bézuquet, the chemist, buys them. It is

As a cap-hunter, Tartarin of Tarascon has no equal. Every Sunday morning
he starts with a new cap; every Sunday evening he returns with a rag. At
the little house with the baobab-tree the greenhouses were full of the
glorious trophies. For this reason all the Tarasconners recognised him
as their master, and as Tartarin knew the code of a sportsman through
and through, had read all the treatises, all the manuals of every
conceivable hunt, from the pursuit of caps to the pursuit of Bengal
tigers, these gentlemen made him their great sporting justicier, and
appointed him arbitrator in all their discussions.

Every day, from three to four, at Costecalde's the gunsmith, a fat man
was to be seen, very grave, with a pipe between his teeth, sitting in a
chair covered with green leather, in the middle of a shop full of
cap-hunters, all standing and wrangling. It was Tartarin of Tarascon
administering justice, Nimrod added to Solomon.


[Sidenote: _William Hazlitt_]

... "There is one person," said a shrill, querulous voice, "I would
rather see than all these--Don Quixote!"

"Come, come!" said Hunt; "I thought we should have no heroes, real or
fabulous. What say you, Mr. Lamb? Are you for eking out your shadowy
list with such names as Alexander, Julius Caesar, Tamerlane, or Genghis

"Excuse me," said Lamb; "on the subject of characters in active life,
plotters and disturbers of the world, I have a crotchet of my own, which
I beg leave to reserve."

"No, no! come out with your worthies!"

"What do you think of Guy Fawkes and Judas Iscariot?"

Hunt turned an eye upon him like a wild Indian, but cordial and full of
smothered glee. "Your most exquisite reason!" was echoed on all sides;
and all thought that Lamb had now fairly entangled himself.

"Why, I cannot but think," retorted he of the wistful countenance, "that
Guy Fawkes, that poor, fluttering, annual scarecrow of straw and rags,
is an ill-used gentleman. I would give something to see him sitting pale
and emaciated, surrounded by his matches and his barrels of gunpowder,
and expecting the moment that was to transport him to Paradise for his
heroic self-devotion; but if I say any more, there is that fellow Godwin
will make something of it. And as to Judas Iscariot, my reason is
different. I would fain see the face of him who, having dipped his hand
in the same dish with the Son of Man, could afterwards betray Him. I
have no conception of such a thing; nor have I ever seen any picture
(not even Leonardo's very fine one) that gave me the least idea of it."

"You have said enough, Mr. Lamb, to justify your choice."

"Oh! ever right, Menenius--ever right!"

"There is only one person I can ever think of after this," continued
Lamb; but without mentioning a name that once put on a semblance of
mortality. "If Shakespeare was to come into the room, we should all rise
up to meet him; but if that person was to come into it, we should all
fall down and try to kiss the hem of his garment."

[Sidenote: _B.R. Haydon_]

On December 28th the immortal dinner came off in my painting-room, with
Jerusalem towering up behind us as a background. Wordsworth was in fine
cue, and we had a glorious set-to--on Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, and
Virgil. Lamb got exceedingly merry and exquisitely witty; and his fun in
the midst of Wordsworth's solemn intonations of oratory was like the
sarcasm and wit of the fool in the intervals of Lear's passion. He made
a speech and voted me absent, and made them drink my health. "Now," said
Lamb, "you old lake poet, you rascally poet, why do you call Voltaire
dull?" We all defended Wordsworth, and affirmed there was a state of
mind when Voltaire would be dull. "Well," said Lamb, "here's
Voltaire--the Messiah of the French nation, and a very proper one too."

He then, in a strain of humour beyond description, abused me for putting
Newton's head into my picture--"a fellow," said he, "who believed
nothing unless it was as clear as the three sides of a triangle." And
then he and Keats agreed he had destroyed all the poetry of the rainbow
by reducing it to the prismatic colours. It was impossible to resist
him, and we all drank "Newton's health, and confusion to mathematics."
It was delightful to see the good-humour of Wordsworth in giving in to
all our frolics without affectation, and laughing as heartily as the
best of us.

By this time other friends joined, amongst them poor Ritchie, who was
going to penetrate by Fezzan to Timbuctoo. I introduced him to all as "a
gentleman going to Africa." Lamb seemed to take no notice; but all of a
sudden he roared out, "Which is the gentleman we are going to lose?" We
then drank the victim's health, in which Ritchie joined.

In the morning of this delightful day, a gentleman, a perfect stranger,
had called on me. He said he knew my friends, had an enthusiasm for
Wordsworth, and begged I would procure him the happiness of an
introduction. He told me he was a comptroller of stamps, and often had
correspondence with the poet. I thought it a liberty; but still, as he
seemed a gentleman, I told him he might come.

When we retired to tea we found the comptroller. Introducing him to
Wordsworth, I forgot to say who he was. After a little time the
comptroller looked down, looked up and said to Wordsworth, "Don't you
think, sir, Milton was a great genius?" Keats looked at me, Wordsworth
looked at the comptroller. Lamb, who was dozing by the fire, turned
round and said, "Pray, sir, did you say Milton was a great genius?" "No,
sir; I asked Mr. Wordsworth if he were not." "Oh," said Lamb, "then you
are a silly fellow." "Charles! my dear Charles!" said Wordsworth; but
Lamb, perfectly innocent of the confusion he had created, was off again
by the fire.

After an awful pause the comptroller said, "Don't you think Newton a
great genius?" I could not stand it any longer. Keats put his head into
my books. Ritchie squeezed in a laugh. Wordsworth seemed asking himself,
"Who is this?" Lamb got up, and, taking a candle, said, "Sir, will you
allow me to look at your phrenological development?" He then turned his
back on the poor man, and at every question of the comptroller he

  "Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John,
  Went to bed with his breeches on."

The man in office, finding Wordsworth did not know who he was, said in a
spasmodic and half-chuckling anticipation of assured victory, "I have
had the honour of some correspondence with you, Mr. Wordsworth." "With
me, sir?" said Wordsworth, "not that I remember." "Don't you, sir? I am
a comptroller of stamps." There was a dead silence--the comptroller
evidently thinking that was enough. While we were waiting for
Wordsworth's reply, Lamb sung out:

  "Hey diddle fiddle,
  The cat and the fiddle."

"My dear Charles!" said Wordsworth--

  "Diddle, diddle dumpling, my son John"--

chaunted Lamb, and then, rising, exclaimed, "Do let me have another look
at that gentleman's organs." Keats and I hurried Lamb into the
painting-room, shut the door, and gave way to inextinguishable laughter.
Monkhouse followed and tried to get Lamb away. We went back, but the
comptroller was irreconcilable. We soothed and smiled and asked him to
supper. He stayed, though his dignity was sorely affected. However,
being a good-natured man, we parted all in good-humour, and no ill
effects followed.

All the while, until Monkhouse succeeded, we could hear Lamb struggling
in the painting-room and calling at intervals, "Who is that fellow?
Allow me to see his organs once more."

It was indeed an immortal evening. Wordsworth's fine intonation as he
quoted Milton and Virgil, Keats's eager, inspired look, Lamb's quaint
sparkle of lambent humour, so speeded the stream of conversation that in
my life I never passed a more delightful time. All our fun was within
bounds. Not a word passed that an apostle might not have listened to. It
was a night worthy of the Elizabethan age.

[Sidenote: _Charles Lamb_]

There is no _virtue_ like _necessity_, says the proverb. If that be
true, what a quantity of _virtue_ there must be among the lower orders
of people in this country!

       *       *       *       *       *

A _bench_ of Justices certainly gives us an idea of something _wooden_.
Shakespeare, in his Seven Ages, represents a Justice as made up with

       *       *       *       *       *

Locke compares the mind of a new-born infant to a sheet of white paper
not yet written on. It must be confessed that, whoever wrote upon Mr.
A----n's mind has left _large margins._

[Sidenote: _Keats_]

The thought of your little girl puts me in mind of a thing I heard Mr.
Lamb say. A child in arms was passing by his chair towards the mother in
the nurse's arms. Lamb took hold of the long-clothes, saying, "Where,
God bless me, where does it leave off?"

[Sidenote: _Charles Lamb_]

In those days every morning paper, as an essential retainer to its
establishment, kept an author, who was bound to furnish daily a quantum
of witty paragraphs. Sixpence a joke--and it was thought pretty high
too--was Dan Stuart's settled remuneration in these cases. The chat of
the day, scandal, but, above all, _dress_, furnished the material. The
length of no paragraph was to exceed seven lines. Shorter they might be,
but they must be poignant.

A fashion of _flesh_-, or rather _pink_-coloured hose for the ladies,
luckily coming in at this juncture, when we were on our probation for
the place of Chief Jester to S----'s paper, established our reputation
in that line. We were pronounced a "capital hand." Oh the conceits which
we varied upon _red_ in all its prismatic differences! from the trite
and obvious flower of Cytherea to the flaming costume of the lady that
has her sitting upon "many waters." Then there was the collateral topic
of ankles. What an occasion to a truly chaste writer, like ourself, of
touching that nice brink, and yet never tumbling over it, of a seemingly
ever approximating something "not quite proper," while, like a skilful
posture-maker, balancing betwixt decorums and their opposites, he keeps
the line, from which a hair's-breadth deviation is destruction; hovering
in the confines of light and darkness, or where "both seem either"; a
hazy uncertain delicacy; Autolycus-like in the play, still putting off
his expectant auditory with "Whoop, do me no harm, good man!" But, above
all, that conceit arrided us most at that time, and still tickles our
midriff to remember, where, allusively to the flight of Astræ--_ultima
Coelestum terras reliquit_--we pronounced--in reference to the stockings
still--that _Modesty taking her final leave of Mortals, her last blush
was visible in her ascent to the Heavens by the tract of the glowing
instep._ This might be called the crowning conceit; and was esteemed
tolerable writing in those days.

But the fashion of jokes, with all other things, passes away; as did the
transient mode which had so favoured us. The ankles of our fair friends
in a few weeks began to reassume their whiteness, and left us scarce a
leg to stand upon. Other female whims followed, but none, methought, so
pregnant, so invitatory of shrewd conceits, and more than single

Somebody has said that, to swallow six cross-buns daily consecutively
for a fortnight would surfeit the stoutest digestion. But to have to
furnish as many jokes daily, and that not for a fortnight, but for a
long twelvemonth, as we were constrained to do, was a little harder
execution. "Man goeth forth to his work until the evening"--from a
reasonable hour in the morning, we presume it was meant. Now, as our
main occupation took us up from eight till five every day in the City;
and as our evening hours, at that time of life, had generally to do with
anything rather than business, it follows that the only time we could
spare for this manufactory of jokes--our supplementary livelihood, that
supplied us in every want beyond mere bread and cheese--was exactly that
part of the day which (as we have heard of No Man's Land) may be fitly
denominated No Man's Time; that is, no time in which a man ought to be
up, and awake, in. To speak more plainly, it is that time, of an hour,
or an hour and a half's duration, in which a man whose occasions call
him up so preposterously has to wait for his breakfast.

Oh those headaches at dawn of day, when at five, or half-past five in
summer, and not much later in the dark seasons, we were compelled to
rise, having been perhaps not above four hours in bed--(for we were no
go-to-beds with the lamb, though we anticipated the lark ofttimes in her
rising--we liked a parting up at midnight, as all young men did before
these effeminate times, and to have our friends about us--we were not
constellated under Aquarius, that watery sign, and therefore incapable
of Bacchus, cold washy, bloodless--we were none of your Basilian
water-sponges, nor had taken our degrees at Mount Ague--we were right
toping Capulets, jolly companions, we and they),--but to have to get up,
as we said before, curtailed of half our fair sleep, fasting, with only
a dim vista of refreshing Bohea in the distance--to be necessitated to
rouse ourselves at the detestable rap of an hag of a domestic, who
seemed to take a diabolical pleasure in her announcement that it was
"time to rise"; and whose chappy knuckles we have often yearned to
amputate, and string them up at our chamber-door, to be a terror to all
such unreasonable rest-breakers in future--

"Facil" and sweet, as Virgil sings, had been the "descending" of the
over-night, balmy the first sinking of the heavy head upon the pillow;
but to get up, as he goes on to say--

  Revocare gradus, superasque evadere ad auras

--and to get up, moreover, to make jokes with malice prepended--there
was the "labour," there the "work."

No Egyptian taskmaster ever devised a slavery like to that, our slavery.
No fractious operants ever turned out for half the tyranny which this
necessity exercised upon us. Half a dozen jests in a day (bating Sundays
too), why, it seems nothing! We make twice the number every day in our
lives as a matter of course, and claim no Sabbatical exemptions. But
then they come into our head. But when the head has to go out to
them--when the mountain must go to Mahomet--

Reader, try it for once, only for one short twelvemonth.

It was not every week that a fashion of pink stockings came up; but
mostly, instead of it, some rugged, untractable subject; some topic
impossible to be contorted into the risible; some feature, upon which no
smile could play; some flint, from which no process of ingenuity could
procure a distillation. There they lay; there your appointed tale of
brick-making was set before you, which you must finish, with or without
straw, as it happened. The craving Dragon--_the Public_--like him in
Bel's temple--must be fed; it expected its daily rations; and Daniel,
and ourselves, to do us justice, did the best we could on this side
bursting him.

[Sidenote: _M.M. Betham_]

A Miss Pate (when he heard of her, he asked if she was any relation to
Mr. John _Head_, of Ipswich) was at a party, and he said, on hearing her
name, "Miss Pate I hate." "You are the first person who ever told me so,
however," said she. "Oh! I mean nothing by it. If it had been Miss Dove,
I should have said, Miss Dove I love, or Miss Pike I like." ... Another,
who was very much marked with the small-pox, looked as if the devil had
ridden roughshod over her face. I saw him talking to her afterwards
with great apparent interest, and noticed it, saying, "I thought he had
not liked her." His reply was, "I like her internals very well."

[Sidenote: _Washington Allston_]

Lamb was present when a naval officer was giving an account of an action
which he had been in, and, to illustrate the carelessness and disregard
of life at such times, said that a sailor had both his legs shot off,
and as his shipmates were carrying him below, another shot came and took
off his arms; they, thinking he was pretty much used up, though life was
still in him, threw him out of a port. "Shame, d----d shame," stuttered
our Lamb, "he m-m-might have l-lived to have been an a-a-ornament to

[Sidenote: _Crabb Robinson_]

I dined at Lamb's, and then walked with him to Highgate, self-invited.
There we found a large party. Mr. and Mrs. Green, the Aderses, Irving,
Collins, R.A., a Mr. Taylor, a young man of talents in the Colonial
Office, Basil Montagu, a Mr. Chance, and one or two others. It was a
_rich_ evening. Coleridge talked his best, and it appeared better
because he and Irving supported the same doctrines. His superiority was
striking. The idea dwelt on was the higher character of the internal
evidence of Christianity, as addressed to our immediate consciousness of
our own wants and the necessity of a religion and a revelation. In a
style not to me clear or intelligible, Irving and Coleridge both
declaimed. The _advocatus diaboli_ for the evening was Mr. Taylor, who,
in a way very creditable to his manners as a gentleman, but with little
more than verbal cleverness, and an ordinary logic, and the confidence
of a young man who has no suspicion of his own deficiencies, affirmed
that those evidences which the Christian thinks he finds in his internal
convictions, the Mahometan also thinks he has; and he affirmed that
Mahomet had improved the condition of mankind. Lamb asked him whether he
came in a turban or a hat.

[Sidenote: _J.B._]

When I first knew Charles Lamb, I ventured, one evening, to say
something that I intended should pass for wit. "Ha! very well; very
well, indeed!" said he. "Ben Jonson has said worse things" (I brightened
up, but he went stammering on to the end of the
sentence)--"and--and--and _better_!" A pinch of snuff concluded this
compliment, which put a stop to my wit for the evening. I related the
thing to Hazlitt, afterwards, who laughed. "Aye," said he, "you are
never sure of him till he gets to the end. His jokes would be the
sharpest things in the world, but that they are blunted by his
good-nature. He wants malice--which is a pity." "But," said I, "his
words at first seemed so--" "Oh! as for that," replied Hazlitt, "his
sayings are generally like women's letters: all the pith is in the

[Sidenote: _Mrs. Balmanno_]

Miss Lamb, although many years older than her brother, by no means
looked so, but presented the pleasant appearance of a mild, rather
stout, and comely maiden lady of middle age. Dressed with quaker-like
simplicity in dove-coloured silk, with a transparent kerchief of
snow-white muslin folded across her bosom, she at once prepossessed the
beholder in her favour by an aspect of serenity and peace. Her manners
were very quiet and gentle, and her voice low. She smiled frequently,
but seldom laughed, partaking of the courtesies and hospitalities of her
merry host and hostess with all the cheerfulness and grace of a most
mild and kindly nature.

Her behaviour to her brother was like that of an admiring disciple; her
eyes seldom absent from his face. Even when apparently engrossed in
conversation with others, she would, by supplying some word for which
he was at a loss, even when talking in a distant part of the room, show
how closely her mind waited upon his. Mr. Lamb was in high spirits,
sauntering about the room, with his hands crossed behind his back,
conversing by fits and starts with those most familiarly known to him,
but evidently mentally acknowledging Miss Kelly to be the _rara avis_ of
his thoughts, by the great attention he paid to every word she uttered.
Truly pleasant it must have been to her, even though accustomed to see
people listen breathless with admiration while she spoke, to find her
words have so much charm for such a man as Charles Lamb.

He appeared to enjoy himself greatly, much to the gratification of Mrs.
Hood, who often interchanged happy glances with Miss Lamb, who nodded
approvingly. He spoke much--with emphasis and hurry of words, sorely
impeded by the stammering utterance which in him was not unattractive.
Miss Kelly (charming, natural Miss Kelly, who has drawn from her
audiences more heart-felt tears and smiles than perhaps any other
English actress), with quiet good-humour listened and laughed at the
witty sallies of her host and his gifted friend, seeming as little an
actress as it is possible to conceive. Once, however, when some allusion
was made to a comic scene in a new play then just brought out, wherein
she had performed to the life the character of a low-bred lady's-maid
passing herself off as her mistress, Miss Kelly arose, and with a kind
of resistless ardour repeated a few sentences so inimitably that
everybody laughed as much as if the real lady's-maid, and not the
actress, had been before them; while she who had so well personated the
part quietly resumed her seat without the least sign of merriment, as
grave as possible. Most striking had been the transition from the calm,
lady-like person, to the gay, loquacious soubrette; and not less so the
sudden extinction of vivacity and resumption of well-bred decorum. This
little scene for a few moments charmed everybody out of themselves, and
gave a new impetus to conversation....

Mr. Lamb oddly walked all round the table, looking closely at any dish
that struck his fancy before he would decide where to sit, telling Mrs.
Hood that he should by that means know how to select some dish that was
difficult to carve, and take the trouble off her hands; accordingly,
having jested in this manner, he placed himself with great deliberation
before a lobster-salad, observing _that_ was the thing. On her asking
him to take some roast fowl, he assented. "What part shall I help you
to, Mr. Lamb?" "Back," said he quickly; "I always prefer the back." My
husband laid down his knife and fork, and, looking upwards, exclaimed:
"By heavens! I could not have believed it, if anybody else had sworn
it." "Believed what?" said kind Mrs. Hood, anxiously, colouring to the
temples, and fancying there was something amiss in the piece he had
been helped to. "Believe what? why, madam, that Charles Lamb was a
backbiter?" Hood gave one of his short, quick laughs, gone almost ere it
had come, whilst Lamb went off into a loud fit of mirth, exclaiming:
"Now, that's devilish good! I'll sup with you to-morrow night." This
eccentric flight made everybody very merry, and amidst a most amusing
mixture of wit and humour, sense and nonsense, we feasted merrily,
amidst jocose health-drinking, sentiments, speeches, and songs.

Mr. Hood, with inexpressible gravity in the upper part of his face and
his mouth twitching with smiles, sang his own comic song, "If you go to
France, be sure you learn the lingo," his pensive manner and feeble
voice making it doubly ludicrous. Mr. Lamb, on being pressed to sing,
excused himself in his own peculiar manner, but offered to pronounce a
Latin eulogium instead. This was accepted, and he accordingly stammered
forth a string of Latin words; among which, as the name of Mrs. Hood
frequently occurred, we ladies thought it was in praise of her. The
delivery of his speech occupied about five minutes. On inquiring of a
gentleman who sat next to me whether Mr. Lamb was praising Mrs. Hood, he
informed me that it was by no means the case, the eulogium being on the

[Sidenote: _Charles Lamb_]

The incidents of our journey were trifling, but you bade me tell them.
We had, then, in the coach a rather talkative gentleman, but very civil,
all the way, and took up a servant-maid at Stamford, going to a sick
mistress.... The _former_ engaged me in a discourse for full twenty
miles on the probable advantages of Steam Carriages, which, being merely
problematical, I bore my part in with some credit, in spite of my
totally un-engineer-like faculties. But when, somewhere about Stanstead,
he put an unfortunate question tome as to the "probability of its
turning out a good turnip season," and when I, who am still less of an
agriculturist than a steam-philosopher, not knowing a turnip from a
potato-ground, innocently made answer that I believed it depended very
much upon boiled legs of mutton, my unlucky reply set Miss Isola
a-laughing to a degree that disturbed her tranquillity for the only
moment in our journey. I am afraid my credit sank very low with my other
fellow-traveller, who had thought he had met with a _well-informed
passenger_, which is an accident so desirable in a stage coach. We were
rather less communicative, but still friendly, the rest of the way.

[Sidenote: _Anon._]

  Vrom readin' Scripture well Oi knows
  Pzalmist 'e had na rest vrom voes;
  Vor po-or ole Dave gre-at pits they'd delve,
  An' then, dam loons, vail in theirselve.
  This iz ma readin' ov the Book,
  An' to ma self do mak' me look;
  Wi' dew respeck, Oi veel loike him,
  Tho' later born, and deal more slim.

  Vor ev'ry day, wi' buzz an' hum,
  Into ma garden voes do come;
  The waspies starm ma gabled wall
  An' into t' trenches t' grub do crawl.
  The blackbird, sparrer, tit, an' thrush
  Do commandeer each curran' bush,
  While slugs off lettuce take their smack,
  And maggots turn the celery black.

  Wi' greenfly zlimin' roun' ma roses,
  An' earwigs pokin' be-astly noses
  In dahlias vit vor virst at Show,
  Oi ha' ma troubles, as yew may know;
  But Dave did circumwent the Devil,
  An' wi' ma insecks Oi get level,
  Lard! wi' what piety Oi tend 'em,
  An' wi' ma boot rejoicin' end 'em!

  Zo, maister gets his dish o' peas,
  An' mum her roses, if yew please,
  But, lawks, they little knaw, Oi 'speck,
  What Oi've laid out in intelleck;
  But Dave got little praise vrom man,
  An' as Oi ta-ake ma wat'rin'-can,
  Oi zays, zays Oi, next world wull show
  Who wuz tip-tappers here below.

[Sidenote: _Charles Dickens_]

It is an unsettled question with me whether I shall leave Calais
something handsome in my will, or whether I shall leave it my
malediction. I hate it so much, and yet I am always so very glad to see
it, that I am in a state of constant indecision on this subject. When I
first made acquaintance with Calais it was as a maundering young wretch
in a clammy perspiration and dripping saline particles, who was
conscious of no extremities but the one great extremity,
sea-sickness--who was a mere bilious torso, with a mislaid headache
somewhere in its stomach--who had been put into a horrible swing in
Dover Harbour, and had tumbled giddily out of it on the French coast, or
the Isle of Man, or anywhere. Times have changed, and now I enter Calais
self-reliant and rational. I know where it is beforehand, I keep a
look-out for it, I recognise its landmarks when I see any of them, I am
acquainted with its ways, and I know--and I can bear--its worst

Malignant Calais! Low-lying alligator, evading the eye-sight and
discouraging hope! Dodging flat streak, now on this bow, now on that,
now anywhere, now everywhere, now nowhere! In vain Cape Grinez, coming
frankly forth into the sea, exhorts the failing to be stout of heart and
stomach; sneaking Calais, prone behind its bar, invites emetically to
despair. Even when it can no longer quite conceal itself in its muddy
dock, it has an evil way of falling off, has Calais, which is more
hopeless than its invisibility. The pier is all but on the bowsprit and
you think you are there--roll, roar, wash!--Calais has retired miles
inland, and Dover has burst out to look for it. It has a last dip and
slide in its character, has Calais, to be specially commended to the
infernal gods. Thrice accursed be that garrison-town, when it dives
under the boat's keel, and comes up a league or two to the right, with
the packet shivering and spluttering and staring about for it!

Not but what I have my animosities towards Dover. I particularly detest
Dover for the self-complacency with which it goes to bed. It always goes
to bed (when I am going to Calais) with a more brilliant display of lamp
and candle than any other town. Mr. and Mrs. Birmingham, host and
hostess of the Lord Warden Hotel, are my much-esteemed friends, but they
are too conceited about the comforts of that establishment when the
Night Mail is starting. I know it is a good house to stay at, and I
don't want the fact insisted upon in all its warm bright windows at such
an hour. I know the Warden is a stationary edifice that never rolls or
pitches, and I object to its big outline seeming to insist upon that
circumstance, and, as it were, to come over me with it, when I am
reeling on the deck of the boat. Beshrew the Warden likewise for
obstructing that corner, and making the wind so angry as it rushes
round. Shall I not know that it blows quite soon enough, without the
officious Warden's interference?

As I wait here on board the night-packet, for the South-Eastern train to
come down with the mail, Dover appears to me to be illuminated for some
intensely aggravating festivity in my personal dishonour. All its noises
smack of taunting praises of the land, and dispraises of the gloomy sea,
and of me for going on it. The drums upon the heights have gone to bed,
or I know they would rattle taunts against me for having my unsteady
footing on this slippery deck. The many gas-eyes of the Marine Parade
twinkle in an offensive manner, as if with derision. The distant dogs of
Dover bark at me in my misshapen wrappers, as if I were Richard the

A screech, a bell, and two red eyes come gliding down the Admiralty Pier
with a smoothness of motion rendered more smooth by the heaving of the
boat. The sea makes noises against the pier, as if several hippopotami
were lapping at it, and were prevented by circumstances over which they
have no control from drinking peaceably. We, the boat, become violently
agitated--rumble, hum, scream, roar--and establish an immense family
washing-day at each paddle-box. Bright patches break out in the train as
the doors of the post-office vans are opened, and instantly stooping
figures with sacks upon their backs begin to be beheld among the piles,
descending as it would seem in ghostly procession to Davy Jones's
Locker. The passengers come on board; a few shadowy Frenchmen, with
hatboxes shaped like the stoppers of gigantic case-bottles; a few
shadowy Germans in immense fur coats and boots; a few shadowy Englishmen
prepared for the worst and pretending not to expect it. I cannot
disguise from my uncommercial mind the miserable fact that we are a body
of outcasts; that the attendants on us are as scant in number as may
serve to get rid of us with the least possible delay; that there are no
night-loungers interested in us; that the unwilling lamps shiver and
shudder at us; that the sole object is to commit us to the deep and
abandon us. Lo, the two red eyes glaring in increasing distance, and
then the very train itself has gone to bed before we are off! What is
the moral support derived by some sea-going amateurs from an umbrella?
Why do certain voyagers across the Channel always put up that article,
and hold it up with a grim and fierce tenacity? A fellow-creature near
me--whom I only know to be a fellow-creature because of his umbrella:
without which he might be a dark bit of cliff, pier, or
bulkhead--clutches that instrument with a desperate grasp that will not
relax until he lands at Calais. Is there an analogy, in certain
constitutions, between keeping an umbrella up and keeping the spirits
up? A hawser thrown on board with a flop replies, "Stand by!" "Stand by,
below!" "Half a turn ahead!" "Half a turn ahead!" "Half speed!" "Half
speed!" "Port!" "Port!" "Steady!" "Steady!" "Go on!" "Go on!"

A stout wooden wedge driven in at my right temple and out at my left, a
floating deposit of lukewarm oil in my throat, and a compression of the
bridge of my nose in a blunt pair of pincers--these are the personal
sensations by which I know we are off, and by which I shall continue to
know it until I am on the soil of France. My symptoms have scarcely
established themselves comfortably, when two or three skating shadows
that have been trying to walk or stand, get flung together, and other
two or three shadows in tarpaulin slide with them into corners and cover
them up. Then the South Foreland lights begin to hiccup at us in a way
that bodes no good.

It is at about this period that my detestation of Calais knows no
bounds. Inwardly I resolve afresh that I never will forgive that hateful
town. I have done so before, many times, but that is past. Let me
register a vow. Implacable animosity to Calais everm--that was an
awkward sea, and the funnel seems of my opinion, for it gives a
complaining roar.

The wind blows stiffly from the nor'-east, the sea runs high, we ship a
deal of water, the night is dark and cold, and the shapeless passengers
lie about in melancholy bundles, as if they were sorted out for the
laundress; but, for my own uncommercial part, I cannot pretend that I
am much inconvenienced by any of these things. A general howling,
whistling, flopping, gurgling, and scooping, I am aware of, and a
general knocking about of Nature; but the impressions I receive are very
vague. In a sweet, faint temper, something like the smell of damaged
oranges, I think I should feel languidly benevolent if I had time. I
have not time, because I am under a curious compulsion to occupy myself
with Irish melodies. "Rich and rare were the gems she wore," is the
particular melody to which I find myself devoted. I sing it to myself in
the most charming manner and with the greatest expression. Now and then
I raise my head (I am sitting on the hardest of wet seats, in the most
uncomfortable of wet attitudes, but I don't mind it) and notice that I
am a whirling shuttle-cock between a fiery battledore of a lighthouse on
the French coast and a fiery battledore of a lighthouse on the English
coast; but I don't notice it particularly, except to feel envenomed in
my hatred of Calais. Then I go on again, "Rich and rare were the ge-ems
she-e-e-e wore, And a bright gold ring on her wa-and she bo-ore, But O
her beauty was fa-a-a-r beyond"--I am particularly proud of my execution
here, when I become aware of another awkward shock from the sea, and
another protest from the funnel, and a fellow-creature at the paddle-box
more audibly indisposed than I think he need be--"Her sparkling gems, or
snow-white wand, But O her beauty was fa-a-a-a-a-r beyond"--another
awkward one here, and the fellow creature with the umbrella down and
picked up--"Her spa-a-arkling ge-ems, or her Port! port! steady! steady!
snow-white fellow-creature at the paddle-box very selfishly audible,
bump roar wash white wand."

As my execution of the Irish melodies partakes of my imperfect
perceptions of what is going on around me, so what is going on around me
becomes something else than what it is. The stokers open the
furnace-doors below, to feed the fires, and I am again on the box of the
old Exeter Telegraph fast coach, and that is the light of the
for-ever-extinguished coach-lamps, and the gleam on the hatches and
paddle-boxes is _their_ gleam on cottages and haystacks, and the
monotonous noise of the engines is the steady jingle of the splendid
team. Anon, the intermittent funnel-roar of protest at every violent
roll becomes the regular blast of the high-pressure engine, and I
recognise the exceedingly explosive steamer in which I ascended the
Mississippi when the American Civil War was not, and when only its
causes were. A fragment of mast on which the light of a lantern falls,
an end of rope, and a jerking block or so become suggestive of
Franconi's Circus in Paris, where I shall be this very night mayhap (for
it must be morning now), and they dance to the selfsame time and tune as
the trained steed, Black Raven. What may be the speciality of these
waves as they come rushing on I cannot desert the pressing demands made
upon me by the gems she wore, to inquire, but they are charged with
something about Robinson Crusoe, and I think it was in Yarmouth Roads
that he first went a-seafaring and near foundering (what a terrific
sound that word had for me when I was a boy!) in his first gale of wind.
Still, through all this, I must ask her (who _was_ she, I wonder!) for
the fiftieth time, and without ever stopping, Does she not fear to
stray, so lone and lovely through this bleak way, And are Erin's sons so
good or so cold, As not to be tempted by more fellow-creatures at the
paddle-box or gold? Sir Knight, I feel not the least alarm, No son of
Erin will offer me harm, For though they love fellow creatures with
umbrella down again and golden store, Sir Knight, they--what a
tremendous one!--love honour and virtue more: For though they love
stewards with a bull's-eye bright, they'll trouble you for your ticket,
sir--rough passage to-night!

I freely admit it to be a miserable piece of human weakness and
inconsistency, but I no sooner become conscious of those last words from
the steward than I begin to soften towards Calais. Whereas I have been
vindictively wishing that those Calais burghers who came out of their
town by a short cut into the History of England, with those fatal ropes
round their necks by which they have since been towed into so many
cartoons, had all been hanged on the spot, I now begin to regard them as
highly respectable and virtuous tradesmen. Looking about me, I see the
light of Cape Grinez well astern of the boat on the davits to leeward,
and the light of Calais Harbour undeniably at its old tricks, but still
ahead and shining. Sentiments of forgiveness of Calais, not to say of
attachment to Calais, begin to expand my bosom. I have weak notions that
I will stay there a day or two on my way back. A faded and recumbent
stranger, pausing in a profound reverie over the rim of a basin, asked
me what kind of place Calais is? I tell him (Heaven forgive me!) a very
agreeable place indeed--rather hilly than otherwise.

So strangely goes the time, and on the whole so quickly--though still I
seem to have been on board a week--that I am bumped, rolled, gurgled,
washed, and pitched into Calais Harbour before her maiden smile has
finally lighted her through the Green Isle. When blest for ever is she
who relied On entering Calais at the top of the tide. For we have not to
land to-night down among those slimy timbers--covered with green hair as
if it were the mermaid's favourite combing-place--where one crawls to
the surface of the jetty, like a stranded shrimp; but we go steaming up
the harbour to the Railway-station Quay. And, as we go, the sea washes
in and out among the piles and planks with dead, heavy beats and in
quite a furious manner (whereof we are proud), and the lamps shake in
the wind, and the bells of Calais striking One seem to send their
vibrations struggling against troubled air, as we have come struggling
against troubled water. And now, in the sudden relief and wiping of
faces, everybody on board seems to have had a prodigious double-tooth
out, and to be this very instant free of the dentist's hands. And now we
all know for the first time how wet and cold we are, and how salt we
are; and now I love Calais with my heart of hearts!

"Hôtel Dessin!" (but in this one case it is not a vocal cry; it is but a
bright lustre in the eyes of the cheery representative of that best of
inns). "Hôtel Meurice!" "Hôtel de France!" "Hôtel de Calais!" "The Royal
Hotel, sir, Anglaishe 'ouse!" "You going to Parry, sir?" "Your baggage,
registair free, sir?" Bless ye, my Touters; bless ye, my
commissionaires; bless ye, my hungry-eyed mysteries in caps of military
form, who are always here, day or night, fair weather or foul, seeking
inscrutable jobs which I never see you get! Bless ye, my Custom-house
officers in green and grey; permit me to grasp the welcome hands that
descend into my travelling-bag, one on each side, and meet at the bottom
to give my change of linen a peculiar shake-up, as if it were a measure
of chaff or grain! I have nothing to declare, Monsieur le Douanier,
except that, when I cease to breathe, Calais will be found written on my
heart. No article liable to local duty have I with me, Monsieur
l'Officier de l'Octroi, unless the overflowing of a breast devoted to
your charming town should be in that wise chargeable. Ah! see at the
gangway by the twinkling lantern my dearest brother and friend, he once
of the Passport Office, he who collects the names! May he be for ever
changeless in his buttoned black boat-surtout, with his note-book in his
hand, and his tall black hat surmounting his round, smiling, patient
face! Let us embrace, my dearest brother. I am yours _à tout
jamais_--for the whole of ever.

Calais up and doing at the railway-station, and Calais down and dreaming
in its bed; Calais with something of "an ancient and fish-like smell"
about it, and Calais blown and sea-washed pure; Calais represented at
the Buffet by savoury roast fowls, hot coffee, cognac, and Bordeaux; and
Calais represented everywhere by flitting persons with a monomania for
changing money--though I never shall be able to understand, in my
present state of existence, how they live by it; but I suppose I should,
if I understood the currency question; Calais _en gros_ and Calais _en
détail_, forgive one who has deeply wronged you,--I was not fully aware
of it on the other side, but I meant Dover.

Ding, ding! To the carriages, gentlemen the travellers. Ascend then,
gentlemen the travellers, for Hazebroucke, Lille, Douai, Bruxelles,
Arras, Amiens, and Paris! I, humble representative of the uncommercial
interest, ascend with the rest. The train is light to-night, and I share
my compartment with but two fellow-travellers; one, a compatriot in an
obsolete cravat, who thinks it a quite unaccountable thing that they
don't keep "London time" on a French railway, and who is made angry by
my modestly suggesting the possibility of Paris time being more in their
way; the other, a young priest, with a very small bird in a very small
cage, who feeds the small bird with a quill, and then puts him up in the
network above his head, where he advances twittering to his front wires,
and seems to address me in an electioneering manner. The compatriot (who
crossed in the boat, and whom I judge to be some person of distinction,
as he was shut up, like a stately species of rabbit, in a private hutch
on deck) and the young priest (who joined us at Calais) are soon asleep,
and then the bird and I have it all to ourselves....

[Sidenote: _Walter Bagehot_]

The complete letter-writer is now an unknown animal. In the last
century, when communications were difficult, and epistles rare, there
were a great many valuable people who devoted a good deal of time to
writing elaborate letters. You wrote letters to a man whom you knew
nineteen years and a half ago, and told him what you had for dinner, and
what your second cousin said, and how the crops got on. Every detail of
life was described and dwelt on, and improved. The art of writing, at
least of writing easily, was comparatively rare, which kept the number
of such compositions within narrow limits. Sir Walter Scott says he knew
a man who remembered that the London post-bag once came to Edinburgh
with only one letter in it. One can fancy the solemn, conscientious
elaborateness with which a person would write, with the notion that his
letter would have a whole coach and a whole bag to itself, and travel
two hundred miles alone, the exclusive object of a red guard's care. The
only thing like it now--the deferential minuteness with which one public
office writes to another, conscious that the letter will travel on her
Majesty's service three doors down the passage--sinks by comparison into
cursory brevity.

No administrative reform will be able to bring even the official mind of
these days into the grave inch-an-hour conscientiousness with which a
confidential correspondent of a century ago related the growth of
apples, the manufacture of jams, the appearance of flirtations, and
other such-like things. All the ordinary incidents of an easy life were
made the most of; a party was epistolary capital, a race a mine of
wealth. So deeply sentimental was this intercourse that it was much
argued whether the affections were created for the sake of ink, or ink
for the sake of the affections. Thus it continued for many years, and
the fruits thereof are written in the volumes of family papers, which
daily appear, are prized as "materials for the historian," and
consigned, as the case may be, to posterity or oblivion. All this has
now passed away. Mr. Rowland Hill is entitled to the credit, not only of
introducing stamps, but also of destroying letters.

[Sidenote: _Ingoldsby_]

  Quæque ipse miserrima vidi.--_Virgil_

  Catherine of Cleves was a Lady of rank,
  She had lands and fine houses, and cash in the bank;
    She had jewels and rings, And a thousand smart things;
    Was lovely and young, With a rather sharp tongue,
  And she wedded a Noble of high degree
  With the star of the order of _St. Esprit_;
    But the Duke de Guise Was, by many degrees,
  Her senior, and not very easy to please;
  He'd a sneer on his lip, and a scowl with his eye,
  And a frown on his brow,--and he look'd like a Guy,--
    So she took to intriguing With Monsieur St. Megrin,
  A young man of fashion, and figure, and worth,
  But with no great pretensions to fortune or birth;
    He would sing, fence, and dance
    With the best man in France,
  And took his rappee with genteel _nonchalance_;
  He smiled, and he flattered, and flirted with ease,
  And was very superior to Monseigneur de Guise.
  Now Monsieur St. Megrin was curious to know
  If the lady approved of his passion or no;
    So without more ado, He put on his _surtout_,
  And went to a man with a beard like a Jew,
    One Signor Ruggieri, A cunning man near, he
  Could conjure, tell fortunes, and calculate tides,
  Perform tricks on the cards, and Heaven knows what besides,
  Bring back a stray'd cow, silver ladle, or spoon,
  And was thought to be thick with the Man in the Moon.
    The Sage took his stand With his wand in his hand,
    Drew a circle, then gave the dread word of command,
  Saying solemnly--"_Presto!--Hey, quick!--Cock-a-lorum!_"
  When the Duchess immediately popp'd up before 'em.

  Just then a conjunction of Venus and Mars,
  Or something peculiar above in the stars,
  Attracted the notice of Signor Ruggieri,
  Who "bolted," and left him alone with his deary.--
  Monsieur St. Megrin went down on his knees,
  And the Duchess shed tears large as marrow-fat peas,
    When,--fancy the shock,--a loud double-knock,
  Made the lady cry, "Get up, you fool!--there's De Guise!"--
    'Twas his Grace, sure enough; So Monsieur, looking bluff,
  Strutted by, with his hat on, and fingering his ruff,
  While, unseen by either, away flew the dame
  Through the opposite key-hole, the same way she came;
    But, alack! and alas! A mishap came to pass,
  In her hurry she, somehow or other, let fall
  A new silk _bandana_ she'd worn as a shawl;
    She used it for drying Her bright eyes while crying,
  Ane blowing her nose, as her beau talk'd of dying!

  Now the Duke, who had seen it so lately adorn her,
  And he knew the great C with the Crown in the corner,
  The instant he spied it, smoked something amiss,
  And said, with some energy, "D---- it! what's this?"
    He went home in a fume, And bounced into her room,
  Crying, "So, Ma'am, I find I've some cause to be jealous!
  Look here!--here's a proof you run after the fellows!
  --Now take up that pen,--if it's bad choose a better,--
  And write, as I dictate, this moment a letter
    To Monsieur--you know who!" The lady look'd blue;
  But replied with much firmness--"Hang me if I do!"
    De Guise grasped her wrist With his great bony fist,
  And pinched it, and gave it so painful a twist,
  That his hard gauntlet the flesh went an inch in,--
  She did not mind death, but she could not stand pinching;
    So she sat down and wrote This polite little note:--

    "Dear Mister St. Megrin, The Chiefs of the League in
    Our house mean to dine This evening at nine;
    I shall, soon after ten, Slip away from the men,
  And you'll find me upstairs in the drawing-room then;
  Come up the back way, or those impudent thieves
  Of servants will see you; Yours
                       CATHERINE OF CLEVES."

  She directed and sealed it, all pale as a ghost,
  And De Guise put it into the Twopenny Post.
  St. Megrin had almost jumped out of his skin
  For joy that day when the post came in;
    He read the note through Then began it anew,
  And thought it almost too good news to be true.--
    He clapp'd on his hat, And a hood over that,
  With a cloak to disguise him, and make him look fat;
  So great his impatience, from half after Four,
  He was waiting till Ten at De Guise's backdoor.
  When he heard the great clock of St. Genevieve chime,
  He ran up the back staircase six steps at a time,
    He had scarce made his bow, He hardly knew how,
    When alas! and alack! There was no getting back,
  For the drawing-room door was bang'd to with a whack;--

    In vain he applied To the handle and tried,
  Somebody or other had locked it outside!
  And the Duchess in agony mourn'd her mishap:
  "We are caught like a couple of rats in a trap."

    Now the Duchess's page, About twelve years of age,
  For so little a boy was remarkably sage;
  And, just in the nick, to their joy and amazement,
  Popp'd the gas-lighter's ladder close under the casement.
    But all would not do,--Though St. Megrin got through
  The window,--below stood De Guise and his crew.
  And though never man was more brave than St. Megrin,
  Yet fighting a score is extremely fatiguing;
    He thrust _carte_ and _tierce_ Uncommonly fierce,
  But not Beelzebub's self could their cuirasses pierce:
    While his doublet and hose, Being holiday clothes,
  Were soon cut through and through from his knees to his nose.
  Still an old crooked sixpence the Conjurer gave him,
  From pistol and sword was sufficient to save him,
      But, when beat on his knees, That confounded De Guise
  Came behind with the "fogle" that caused all this breeze,
  Whipp'd it tight round his neck, and, when backward he'd jerk'd him,
  The rest of the rascals jump'd on him and Burked him.
  The poor little page, too, himself got no quarter, but
  Was served the same way, And was found the next day
  With his heels in the air, and his head in the water-butt;

    Catherine of Cleves Roar'd "Murder!" and "Thieves!"
    From the window above While they murder'd her love;
  Till, finding the rogues had accomplish'd his slaughter,
  She drank Prussic acid without any water,
  And died like a Duke-and-a-Duchess's daughter!

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

The people are good-humoured here and easy; and, what makes me pleased
with them, they are pleased with me. One loves to find people who care
for one, when they can have no view in it.

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

As to "Hosier's Ghost," I think it very easy, and consequently pretty;
but, from the ease, should never have guessed it Glover's. I delight in
your, "the patriots cry it up, and the courtiers cry it down, and the
hawkers cry it up and down."

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

There is a little book coming out that will amuse you. It is a new
edition of Isaac Walton's "Complete Angler," full of anecdotes and
historic notes. It is published by Mr. Hawkins, a very worthy gentleman
in my neighbourhood, but who, I could wish, did not think angling so
very _innocent_ an amusement. We cannot live without destroying animals,
but shall we torture them for our sport--sport in their destruction? I
met a rough officer at his house t'other day, who said he knew such a
person was turning Methodist; for, in the middle of conversation, he
rose and opened the window to let out a moth. I told him I did not know
that the Methodists had any principle so good, and that I, who am
certainly not on the point of becoming one, always did so too. One of
the bravest and best men I ever knew, Sir Charles Wager, I have often
heard declare he never killed a fly willingly. It is a comfortable
reflection to me, that all the victories of last year have been gained
since the suppression of the Bear Garden and prize-fighting; as it is
plain, and nothing else would have made it so, that our valour did not
singly and solely depend upon these two Universities. Adieu!

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

Can we easily leave the remains of such a year as this? It is still all
gold. I have not dined or gone to bed by a fire till the day before
yesterday. Instead of the glorious and ever-memorable year 1759, as the
newspapers call it, I call it this ever-warm and victorious year. We
have not had more conquest than fine weather; one would think we had
plundered East and West Indies of sunshine. Our bells are worn
threadbare with ringing for victories. I believe it will require ten
votes of the House of Commons before people will believe it is the Duke
of Newcastle that has done this, and not Mr. Pitt. One thing is very
fatiguing--all the world is made knights or generals. Adieu! I don't
know a word of news less than the conquest of America. Adieu! yours

P.S.--You shall hear from me again if we take Mexico or China before

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

You are so thoughtless about your dress that I cannot help giving you a
little warning against your return. Remember, everybody that comes from
abroad is _censé_ to come from France, and whatever they wear at their
first reappearance immediately grows the fashion. Now if, as is very
likely, you should through inadvertence change hats with a master of a
Dutch smack, Offley will be upon the watch, will conclude you took your
pattern from M. de Bareil, and in a week's time we shall all be equipped
like Dutch skippers. You see I speak very disinterestedly; for, as I
never wear a hat myself, it is indifferent to me what sort of hat I
don't wear.

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

Lord Frederick Cavendish is returned from France. He confirms and adds
to the amiable accounts we have received of the Duc d'Aiguillon's
behaviour to our prisoners. You yourself, the pattern of attentions and
tenderness, could not refine on what he has done both in good-nature and
good-breeding: he even forbad any ringing of bells or rejoicings
wherever they passed--but how your representative blood will curdle when
you hear of the absurdity of one of your countrymen: the night after the
massacre at St. Cas, the Duc d'Aiguillon gave a magnificent supper of
eighty covers to our prisoners--a Colonel Lambert got up at the bottom
of the table, and, asking for a bumper, called out to the Duc, "My Lord
Duke, here's the Roy de Franse!" You must put all the English you can
crowd into the accent. _My Lord Duke_ was so confounded at this
preposterous compliment, which it was impossible for him to return, that
he absolutely sank back into his chair and could not utter a syllable:
our own people did not seem to feel more.

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

Well! and so you think we are undone!--not at all; if folly and
extravagance are symptoms of a nation's being at the height of their
glory, as after-observers pretend that they are forerunners of its ruin,
we never were in a more flourishing situation. My Lord Rockingham and my
nephew Lord Orford have made a match of five hundred pounds, between
five turkeys and five geese, to run from Norwich to London. Don't you
believe in the transmigration of souls? And are you not convinced that
this race is between Marquis Sardanapalus and Earl Heliogabalus? And
don't you pity the poor Asiatics and Italians who comforted themselves,
on their resurrection, with their being geese and turkeys?

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

Here's another symptom of our glory! The Irish Speaker, Mr. Ponsonby,
has been _reposing_ himself at _Newmarket_. George Selwyn, seeing him
toss about bank-bills at the hazard-table, said, "How easily the Speaker
passes the money-bills!"

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

You would be more diverted with a Mrs. Holman, whose passion is keeping
an assembly, and inviting literally everybody to it. She goes to the
drawing-room to watch for sneezes; whips out a curtsy, and then sends
next morning to know how your cold does, and to desire your company next

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

For my own part, I comfort myself with the humane reflection of the
Irishman in the ship that was on fire--I am but a passenger! If I were
not so indolent, I think I should rather put in practice the late
Duchess of Bolton's geographical resolution of going to China, when
Whiston told her the world would be burnt in three years. Have you any
philosophy? Tell me what you think.

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

If it was not too long to transcribe, I would send you an entertaining
petition of the periwig-makers to the King, in which they complain that
men will wear their own hair. Should one almost wonder if carpenters
were to remonstrate that since the peace their trade decays, and that
there is no demand for wooden legs? _Apropos_ my Lady Hertford's friend,
Lady Harriot Vernon, has quarrelled with me for smiling at the enormous
head-gear of her daughter, Lady Grosvenor. She came one night to
Northumberland House with such display of friz that it literally spread
beyond her shoulders. I happened to say it looked as if her parents had
stinted her in hair before marriage, and that she had determined to
indulge her fancy now. This, among ten thousand things said by all the
world, was reported to Lady Harriot, and has occasioned my disgrace. As
she never found fault with anybody herself, I excuse her. You will be
less surprised to hear that the Duchess of Queensberry has not yet done
dressing herself marvellously: she was at Court on Sunday in a gown and
petticoat of red flannel.

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

You perceive that I have been presented. The Queen took great notice of
me; none of the rest said a syllable. You are let into the King's
bedchamber just as he has put on his shirt; he dresses and talks
good-humouredly to a few, glares at strangers, goes to mass, to dinner,
and a-hunting. The good old Queen, who is like Lady Primrose in the
face, is at her dressing-table, attended by two or three old ladies, who
are languishing to be in Abraham's bosom, as the only man's bosom to
whom they can hope for admittance.

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

Old age is no such uncomfortable thing, if one gives oneself up to it
with a good grace, and don't drag it about

  To midnight dances and the public show.

If one stays quietly in one's own house in the country, and cares for
nothing but oneself, scolds one's servants, condemns everything that is
new, and recollects how charming a thousand things were formerly that
were very disagreeable, one gets over the winters very well, and the
summers get over themselves.

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

As I was writing this, my servants called me away to see a balloon; I
suppose Blanchard's, that was to be let off from Chelsea this morning. I
saw it from the common field before the window of my round tower. It
appeared about a third of the size of the moon, or less, when setting,
something above the tops of the trees on the level horizon. It was then
descending; and, after rising and declining a little, it sunk slowly
behind the trees, I should think about or beyond Sunbury, at five
minutes after one. But you know I am a very inexact guesser at measures
and distances, and may be mistaken in many miles; and you know how
little I have attended to these _airgonauts_: only t'other night I
diverted myself with a sort of meditation on future _airgonation_,
supposing that it will not only be perfected, but will depose
navigation. I did not finish it, because I am not skilled, like the
gentleman that used to write political ship-news, in that style which I
wanted to perfect my essay; but in the prelude I observed how ignorant
the ancients were in supposing Icarus melted the wax of his wings by too
near access to the sun, whereas he would have been frozen to death
before he made the first post on that road. Next, I discovered an
alliance between Bishop Wilkin's art of flying and his plan of universal
language; the latter of which he no doubt calculated to prevent the want
of an interpreter when he should arrive at the moon.

But I chiefly amused myself with ideas of the change that would be made
in the world by the substitution of balloons to ships. I supposed our
seaports to become _deserted villages_; and Salisbury Plain, Newmarket
Heath (another canvass for alteration of ideas), and all downs (but
_the_ Downs) arising into dockyards for aerial vessels. Such a field
would be ample in furnishing new speculations. But to come to my

"The good balloon Dædalus, Captain Wingate, will fly in a few days for
China; he will stop at the top of the Monument to take in passengers.

"Arrived on Brand-sands, the Vulture, Captain Nabob; the Tortoisesnow,
from Lapland; the Pet-en-l'air, from Versailles; the Dreadnought, from
Mount Etna, Sir W. Hamilton, commander; the Tympany, Montgolfier; and
the Mine-A-in-a-bandbox, from the Cape of Good Hope. Foundered in a
hurricane, the Bird of Paradise, from Mount Ararat. The Bubble, Sheldon,
took fire, and was burnt to her gallery; and the Phoenix is to be cut
down to a second-rate."

In those days Old Sarum will again be a town and have houses in it.
There will be fights in the air with wind-guns and bows and arrows; and
there will be prodigious increase of land for tillage, especially in
France, by breaking up all public roads as useless.

[Sidenote: _Horace Walpole_]

One of the Duke of Marlborough's generals, dining with the Lord Mayor,
an Alderman who sat next to him said, "Sir, yours must be a very
laborious profession." "No," replied the general, "we fight about four
hours in the morning, and two or three after dinner, and then we have
all the rest of the day to ourselves."

[Sidenote: _William Cobbett_]

When I first saw my wife she was _thirteen years old_.[5] I was within a
month of _twenty-one_.[6] She was the daughter of a sergeant of
artillery, and I was the sergeant-major of a regiment of foot, both
stationed in forts near the city of St. John, in the province of New
Brunswick. I sat in the same room with her for about an hour, in the
company of others, and I made up my mind that she was the very girl for
me. That I thought her beautiful is certain, for that, I had always
said, should be an indispensable qualification; but I saw in her what I
deemed marks of that sobriety of _conduct_ ... which has been by far the
greatest blessing of my life. It was now dead of winter, and, of course,
the snow several feet deep on the ground, and the weather piercing cold.
It was my habit, when I had done my morning's writing, to go out at
break of day to take a walk on a hill at the foot of which our barracks
lay. In about three mornings after I had first seen her, I had, by an
invitation to breakfast with me, got up two young men to join me in my
walk; and our road lay by the house of her father and mother. It was
hardly light, but she was out on the snow scrubbing out a washing-tub.
"That's the girl for me," said I, when we had got out of hearing.

One of these young men came to England soon afterwards; and he, who
keeps an inn in Yorkshire, came over to Preston at the time of the
election (in 1826) to verify whether I were the same man. When he found
that I was he appeared surprised; but what was his surprise when I told
him that those tall young men whom he saw around me were the _sons_ of
that pretty little girl that he and I saw scrubbing out the washing-tub
on the snow in New Brunswick at day-break in the morning!

From the day that I first spoke to her I never had a thought of her ever
being the wife of any other man, more than I had a thought of her being
transformed into a chest of drawers; and I formed my resolution at once,
to marry her as soon as we could get permission, and to get out of the
army as soon as I could. So that this matter was at once settled as
firmly as if written in the book of fate. At the end of about six months
my regiment, and I along with it, were removed to Fredericton, a
distance of _a hundred miles_ up the river of St. John; and, which was
worse, the artillery was expected to go off to England a year or two
before our regiment! The artillery went, and she along with them; and
now it was that I acted a part becoming a real and sensible lover. I was
aware that, when she got to that gay place Woolwich, the house of her
father and mother, necessarily visited by numerous people, not the most
select, might become unpleasant to her, and I did not like, besides,
that she should continue to _work hard_. I had saved _a hundred and
fifty_ guineas, the earnings of my early hours, in writing for the
paymaster, the quartermaster, and others, in addition to the savings of
my own pay. _I sent her all my money_ before she sailed, and wrote to
her to beg of her, if she found her home uncomfortable, to hire a
lodging with respectable people, and, at any rate, not to spare the
money by any means, but to buy herself good clothes, and to live without
hard work, until I arrived in England; and I, in order to induce her to
lay out the money, told her that I should get plenty more before I came

As the malignity of the devil would have it, we were kept abroad _two
years longer_ than our time, Mr. Pitt (England not being so tame then as
she is now[7]) having knocked up a dust with Spain about Nootka Sound.
Oh, how I cursed Nootka Sound, and poor bawling Pitt too, I am afraid!
At the end of _four years_, however, home I came, landed at Portsmouth,
and got my discharge from the army by the great kindness of poor Lord
Edward FitzGerald, who was then the major of my regiment. I found my
little girl _a servant of all work_ (and hard work it was) _at five
pounds a year_, in the house of a Captain Brisac; and, without hardly
saying a word about the matter, she put into my hands the whole of my
hundred and fifty guineas unbroken!

[Sidenote: _William Cobbett_]

But, to do the things I did, you must love _home_ yourself. To rear up
children, in this manner, you must _live with them_; you must make them,
too, _feel_ by your conduct, that you _prefer_ this to any other mode of
passing your time. All men cannot lead this sort of life, but many may;
and all much more than many do. My occupation, to be sure, was chiefly
carried on _at home_; but I had always enough to do. I never spent an
idle week, or even day, in my whole life. Yet I found time to talk with
them, to walk, or ride, about _with them_; and, when forced to go from
home, always took one or more with me. You must be good-tempered, too,
with them; they must like _your_ company better than any other person's;
they must not wish you away, not fear your coming back, not look upon
your departure as a _holiday_....

When I went from home, all followed me to the outer gate, and looked
after me, till the carriage, or horse, was out of sight. At the time
appointed for my return, all were prepared to meet me; and, if it were
late at night, they sat up as long as they were able to keep their eyes
open. This love of parents, and this constant pleasure _at home_ made
them not even think of seeking pleasure abroad; and they, thus, were
kept from vicious playmates and early corruption.

This is the age, too, to teach children to be _trustworthy_, and to be
_merciful_ and _humane_. We lived _in a garden_ of about two acres,
partly kitchen-garden with walls, partly shrubbery and trees, and partly
grass. There were the _peaches_, as tempting as any that ever grew, and
yet as safe from fingers as if no child were ever in the garden. It was
not necessary to forbid. The blackbirds, the thrushes, the
white-throats, and even that very shy bird the goldfinch had their nests
and bred up their young ones in great abundance, all about this little
spot, constantly the play-place of six children; and one of the latter
had its nest and brought up its young ones in a _raspberry-bush_, within
two yards of a walk, and at the time that we were gathering the ripe
raspberries. We give _dogs, _and justly, great credit for sagacity and
memory; but the following two most curious instances, which I should not
venture to state, if there were not so many witnesses to the facts, in
my neighbours at Botley, as well as in my own family, will show, that
_birds_ are not, in this respect, inferior to the canine race. All
country people know that the skylark is a very shy bird; that its abode
is the open fields; that it settles on the ground only; that it seeks
safety in the wideness of space; that it avoids enclosures, and is never
seen in gardens. A part of our ground was a grass-plot of about _forty
rods,_ or a quarter of an acre, which, one year, was left to be mowed
for hay. A pair of larks, coming out of the fields into the midst of a
pretty populous village, chose to make their nest in the middle of this
little spot and at not more than about _thirty-five yards_ from one of
the doors of the house, in which there were about twelve persons living,
and six of these children, who had constant access to all parts of the
ground. There we saw the cock rising up and singing, then taking his
turn upon the eggs; and by and by we observed him cease to sing, and saw
them both _constantly engaged in bringing food to the young ones_. No
unintelligible hint to fathers and mothers of the human race, who have,
before marriage, taken delight in _music_. But the time came for _mowing
the grass!_ I waited a good many days for the brood to get away, but at
last I determined on the day; and if the larks were there still, to
leave a patch of grass standing around them. In order not to keep them
in dread longer than necessary, I brought three able mowers, who would
cut the whole in about an hour; and, as the plat was nearly circular,
set them to mow _round_, beginning at the outside. And now for sagacity
indeed! The moment the men began to whet their scythes, the two old
larks began to flutter over the nest, and to make a great clamour. When
the men began to mow, they flew round and round, stooping so low, when
near the men, as almost to touch their bodies, making a great chattering
at the same time; but, before the men had got round with the second
swath, they flew to the nest, and away they went, young ones and all,
across the river, at the foot of the ground, and settled in the long
grass in my neighbour's orchard.

The other instance relates to a house-marten. It is well known that
these birds build their nests under the eaves of inhabited houses, and
sometimes under those of door-porches; but we had one that built its
nest _in the house_, and upon the top of a common door-case, the door of
which opened into a room out of the main passage into the house.
Perceiving that the marten had begun to build its nest here, we kept the
front door open in the day-time, but were obliged to fasten it at night.
It went on, had eggs, young ones, and the young ones flew. I used to
open the door in the morning early, and then the birds carried on their
affairs till night. The next _year_ the marten came again, and had
_another brood in the same place_. It found its _old nest_; and, having
repaired it, and put it in order, went on again in the former way; and
it would, I dare say, have continued to come to the end of its life, if
we had remained there so long, notwithstanding there were six healthy
children in the house making just as much noise as they pleased.

[Sidenote: _William Cobbett_]

We wanted no stimulants of this sort [he is referring to social
dissipation, romances, and playhouses] to _keep up our spirits_; our
various pleasing pursuits were quite sufficient for that; and the
_book-learning_ came amongst the rest of the pleasures, to which it was,
in some sort, necessary. I remember that, one year, I raised a
prodigious crop of fine _melons_, under hand-glasses; and I learned how
to do it from a gardening-_book_; or, at least, that book was necessary
to remind me of the details. Having passed part of an evening in talking
to the boys about getting this crop, "Come," said I, "now let us _read
the book."_ Then the book came forth, and to work we went, following
very strictly the precepts of the book. I read the thing but once, but
the eldest boy read it, perhaps, twenty times over; and explained all
about the matter to the others. Why, here was a _motive_! Then he had to
tell the garden labourer _what to do_ to the melons. Now, I will engage,
that more was really _learned_ by this single _lesson_, than would have
been learned by spending, at this son's age, a year at school; and he
_happy_ and _delighted_ all the while. When any dispute arose among them
about hunting or shooting, or any other of their pursuits, they, by
degrees, found out the way of settling it by reference to some book;
and, when any difficulty occurred as to the meaning, they referred to
me, who, if at home, _always instantly attended to them_ in these

They began writing by taking words out of _printed books_: finding out
which letter was which, by asking me, or asking those who knew the
letters one from the other; and, by imitating bits of my writing, it is
surprising how soon they began to write a hand like mine, very small,
very faint-stroked, and nearly plain as print. The first use that any of
them made of the pen, was to _write to me_, though in the same house
with them. They began doing this in mere _scratches_, before they knew
how to make any one letter; and, as I was always folding up letters and
directing them, so were they; and they were _sure_ to receive a _prompt
answer_, with most _encouraging_ compliments. All the meddling and
teasing of friends, and, what was more serious, the pressing prayers of
their anxious mother, about sending them to _school_, I withstood
without the slightest effect on my resolutions. As to friends,
preferring my own judgment to theirs, I did not care much; but an
expression of anxiety, implying a doubt of the soundness of my own
judgment, coming, perhaps twenty times a day, from her whose care they
were as well as mine, was not a matter to smile at, and very great
trouble did it give me. My answer at last was, as to the boys, I want
them to be _like me_; and as to the girls "in whose hands can they be so
safe as in _yours_? Therefore my resolution is taken; _go to school they
shall not_."

Nothing is much more annoying than the _intermeddling of friends_ in a
case like this. The wife appeals to _them_, and "_good breeding_," that
is to say _nonsense_, is sure to put them on _her side_. Then they,
particularly the _women_, when describing the _surprising progress_ made
by their _own sons_ at school, used, if one of mine were present, to
turn to him, and ask to what school _he went_, and what _he_ was
_learning_? I leave any one to judge of _his_ opinion of her; and
whether _he_ would like her the better for that! "Bless me, so tall, and
_not learned_ anything _yet_!" "Oh, yes, he has," I used to say; "he has
learned to ride, and hunt, and shoot, and fish, and look after cattle
and sheep, and to work in the garden, and to feed his dogs, and to go
from village to village in the dark." This was the way I used to manage
with troublesome customers of this sort. And how glad the children used
to be, when they got clear of such criticising people! And how grateful
they felt to me for the _protection_ which they saw that I gave them
against that state of restraint, of which other people's boys
complained! Go whither they might, they found no place so pleasant as
home, and no soul that came near them affording them so many means of
gratification as they received from me.

[Sidenote: _Austin Dobson_]

  "Qui sème épines n'aille déchaux"

_SCENE--A Salon with blue and white panels. Outside, persons pass and
repass upon a terrace_.


  HORTENSE _(behind her fan)_
  Not young, I think.

  ARMANDE _(raising her eye-glass)_
                      And faded, too!--
  _Quite_ faded! Monsieur, what say you?

  Nay,--I defer to you. In truth,
  To me she seems all grace and youth.

  Graceful? You think it? What, with hands
  That hang like this? _(with a gesture)._

                     And how she stands!

  Nay,--I am wrong again. I thought
  Her air delightfully untaught!

  But you amuse me--

                             Still her dress,--
  Her dress at least, you _must_ confess--

  Is odious simply! Jacotot
  Did not supply that lace, I know;
  And where, I ask, has mortal seen
  A hat unfeathered?

                     Edged with green!!

  The words remind me. Let me say
  A Fable that I heard to-day.
  Have I permission?

  BOTH _(with enthusiasm)_
                     Monsieur, pray!

  "Myrtilla (lest a scandal rise
  The lady's name I thus disguise),
  Dying of ennui, once decided--
  Much on resource herself she prided--
  To choose a hat. Forthwith she flies
  On that momentous enterprise.
  Whether to Petit or Logros,
  I know not: only this I know;--
  Headdresses then, of any fashion,
  Bore names of quality, or passion.
  Myrtilla tried them, almost all:
  'Prudence,' she felt, was somewhat small;
  'Retirement' seemed the eyes to hide;
  'Content,' at once, she cast aside.
  'Simplicity,'--'twas out of place;
  'Devotion' for an older face;
  Briefly, selection smaller grew,
  'Vexatious! odious!'--none would do!
  Then, on a sudden, she espied
  One that she thought she had not tried:
  Becoming, rather,--'edged with green,'--
  Roses in yellow, thorns between.
  'Quick! Bring me that!' 'Tis brought. 'Complete,
  Superb, enchanting, tasteful, neat,'
  In all the tones. 'And this you call--?'
  '"Ill-Nature," Madame. It fits all.'"


  A thousand thanks! So naively turned!


  So useful too ... to those concerned!
  'Tis yours?

         Ah no,--some cynic wits;
  And called (I think)--
  (_Placing his hat upon his breast_),
                          "The Cap that Fits."

[Sidenote: _Mark Twain_]

Not wishing to be outdone in literary enterprise by those magazines
which have attractions especially designed for the pleasing of the fancy
and the strengthening of the intellect of youth, we have contrived and
builded the following enigma, at great expense of time and labour:

I am a word of 13 letters.

My 7, 9, 4, 4 is a village in Europe.

My 7, 14, 5, 7 is a kind of dog.

My 11, 13, 13, 9, 2, 7, 2, 3, 6, 1, 13 is a peculiar kind of stuff.

My 2, 6, 12, 8, 9, 4 is the name of a great general of ancient times
(have spelt it to best of ability, though may have missed the bull's-eye
on a letter or two, but not enough to signify).

My 3, 11, 1, 9, 15, 2, 2, 6, 2, 9, 13, 2, 6, 15, 4, 11, 2, 3, 5, 1, 10,
4, 8 is the middle name of a Russian philosopher, up whose full cognomen
fame is slowly but surely climbing.

My 7, 11, 4, 12, 3, 1, 1, 9 is an obscure but very proper kind of bug.

My whole is--but perhaps a reasonable amount of diligence and ingenuity
will reveal that.

We take a just pride in offering the customary gold pen or cheap
sewing-machine for correct solutions of the above.

[Sidenote: _Religio Medici_]

In my solitary and retired imagination (Neque enim cum porticus, aut me
lectulus accepit, desum mihi) I remember I am not alone, and therefore
forget not to contemplate Him and His Attributes who is ever with me,
especially those two mighty ones, His Wisdom and Eternity; with the one
I recreate, with the other I confound, my understanding; for who can
speak of Eternity without a soloecism, or think thereof without an
Extasie? Time we may comprehend; 'tis but five days elder than
ourselves, and hath the same Horoscope with the World; but to retire so
far back as to apprehend a beginning, to give such an infinite start
forwards as to conceive an end in an essence that we affirm hath neither
the one nor the other, it puts my Reason to _St. Paul's_ Sanctuary: my
Philosophy dares not say the angels can do it; God hath not made a
Creature that can comprehend Him; 'tis a privilege of His own nature....

[Sidenote: _Religio Medici_]

Art is the perfection of Nature: were the World now as it was the sixth
day, there were yet a Chaos: Nature hath made one World, and Art
another. In brief, all things are artificial; for Nature is the Art of

[Sidenote: _Religio Medici_]

There is surely a piece of divinity in us, something that was before the
Elements, and owes no homage unto the Sun. Nature tells me I am the
Image of God, as well as Scripture: he that understands not thus much,
hath not his introduction or first lesson, and is yet to begin the
Alphabet of man. Let me not injure the felicity of others, if I say I am
as happy as any: _Ruat coelum, Fiat voluntas tua_, salveth all; so that
whatsoever happens, it is but what our daily prayers desire. In brief, I
am content, and what should providence add more? Surely this is it we
call Happiness, and this do I enjoy; with this I am happy in a dream,
and as content to enjoy a happiness in a fancy, as others in a more
apparent truth and reality. There is surely a nearer apprehension of
anything that delights us in our dreams, than in our waked senses;
without this I were unhappy: for my awaked judgment discontents me, ever
whispering unto me, that I am from my friend; but my friendly dreams in
night requite me, and make me think I am within his arms. I thank God
for my happy dreams, as I do for my good rest, for there is a
satisfaction in them unto reasonable desires, and such as can be content
with a fit of happiness. And surely it is not a melancholy conceit to
think we are all asleep in this World, and that the conceits of this
life are as near dreams to those of the next, as the Phantasms of the
night, to the conceits of the day. There is an equal delusion in both,
and the one doth but seem to be the emblem or picture of the other; we
are somewhat more than ourselves in our sleeps, and the slumber of the
body seems to be but the waking of the soul. It is the ligation of
sense, but the liberty of reason, and our waking conceptions do not
match the Fancies of our sleeps. At my Nativity, my Ascendant was the
watery sign of _Scorpius_; I was born in the Planetary hour of _Saturn_,
and I think I have a piece of that Leaden Planet in me. I am no way
facetious, nor disposed for the mirth and galliardize of company; yet in
one dream I can compose a whole Comedy, behold the action, apprehend the
jests, and laugh myself awake at the conceits thereof: were my memory as
faithful as my reason is then fruitful, I would never study but in my
dreams; and this time also would I chuse for my devotions: but our
grosser memories have then so little hold of our abstracted
understandings that they forget the story, and can only relate to our
awaked souls, a confused and broken tale of that that hath passed.

[Sidenote: _Religio Medici_]

He is rich, who hath enough to be charitable; and it is hard to be so
poor that a noble mind may not find a way to this piece of goodness. _He
that giveth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord;_ there is more Rhetorick
in that one sentence, than in a Library of Sermons; and indeed if those
Sentences were understood by the Reader, with the same Emphasis as they
are delivered by the Author, we needed not those Volumes of
instructions, but might be honest by an Epitome. Upon this motive only I
cannot behold a Beggar without relieving his Necessities with my Purse,
or his Soul with my Prayers; those _scenical_ and accidental
_differences_ between us, cannot make me forget that common and untoucht
part of us both; there is under these _Cantoes_ and miserable outsides,
these mutilate and semi-bodies, a soul of the same alloy with our own,
whose Genealogy is God as well as ours, and in as fair a way to
Salvation as our selves.

[Sidenote: _Hood_]

  I'll tell you a story that's not in Tom Moore:--
  Young Love likes to knock at a pretty girl's door:
  So he call'd upon Lucy--'twas just ten o'clock--
  Like a spruce single man, with a smart double knock.

  Now, a handmaid, whatever her fingers be at,
  Will run like a puss when she hears a _rat_-tat:
  So Lucy ran up--and in two seconds more
  Had questioned the stranger and answered the door.

  The meeting was bliss; but the parting was woe;
  For the moment will come when such comers must go:
  So she kissed him, and whispered--poor innocent thing!--
  "The next time you come, love, pray come with a ring."

[Sidenote: _Dean Hole_]

My dear Hall,--I don't like the writing of this letter. I feel as I felt
in childhood when they were measuring out the castor-oil in a spoon; or
when, in boyhood, it was suggested "that kind Mr. Crackjaw should _just
look_ at my teeth."

But the gulp and the "scrawnsh" must come.

My Master, the Archbishop, wishes me to speak at the Annual Meeting of
the Church Defence Society in London, on the 9th of July, and as this is
his first invitation to duty since I became his Chaplain, I cannot plead
pleasure as an excuse.

Regarding the Fete des Roses at Larchwood, as the _most joyful holiday_
of my year, from my first entrance into that pleasant home until you
chaperon me to the Omnibus at the gate of the Show-ground, I need not
enlarge on my disappointment. The less said the better.

  When Dido found Æneas did not come,
  She mourned in silence, and was Di do dum.

Roses are improving here, but they will be very late. May you add to the
victories which your zeal and care have so well deserved. Shall you be
at Sheffield? If so, you might return with me and have a quiet day's
talk and ramble. With kindest regards and most obnoxious regrets, I
remain yours most sincerely,

       *       *       *       *       *

When the Church Conference was held at Newcastle, Hole told a story of a
young curate who was preaching in a strange church from which the rector
was away. He preached a very short sermon, and in the vestry afterwards
the churchwarden remarked upon its shortness, and the curate told him
that a pup at his lodgings got into his room and ate half his sermon,
whereupon the churchwarden said: "I should be much obliged if you could
get our rector one of the breed." Reading this story, Mr. Boultbee wrote
to ask Hole if he could say what happened to the dog after eating the
sermon, and the reply was:

Dear Sir,--You will be pleased to hear that when the dog had inwardly
digested the sermon which he had torn, he turned over a new leaf. He had
been sullen and morose; he became "a very jolly dog." He had been
selfish and exclusive in his manger; he generously gave it up to an aged
poodle. He had been noisy and vulgar; he became a quiet, gentlemanly
dog; he never growled again; and when he was bitten he always requested
the cur who had torn his flesh to be so good, as a particular favour, to
bite him again. He has established a Reformatory in the Isle of Dogs for
perverse puppies, and an Infirmary for Mangy Mastiffs in Houndsditch.
He has won twenty-six medals from the Humane Society for rescuing
children who have fallen into the canal. He spends six days of the week
in conducting his brothers and sisters, who have lost their ways, to the
Dog's Home, and it is a most touching sight to see him leading the blind
to church from morning to night on Sundays.

[Sidenote: _Dean Hole_]

My dear Lord Bishop,--I have a strong suspicion that the inundation of
the Nave at Rochester was a knavish conspiracy of the Tee-totallers to
submerge the Cathedral during the absence of the Dean. The vergers have
had Water-on-the-Brain, but Messrs. Bishop and Sons from London have
assured Mr. Luard Selby that there is no organic disease.

I have regarded it as my duty, in anticipation of your lordship's visit
to North Wales on Wednesday next, to see that all due preparations are
made to receive you. I have been to ----, and found that the new chancel
is making satisfactory progress. The new altar frontal is beautiful, the
tea and bread and butter at the Rectory are excellent, the roses in the
garden are making extra efforts, the school-mistress is in good health,
the mountains are drawn up in saluting order, the mines are smoking
peacefully, there will be cold lamb at the luncheon, weather permitting,
and all frivolous persons will be banished to England, including yours

[Sidenote: _Henry S. Leigh_]

  The Lady Clara V. de V.
    Presents her very best regards
  To that misguided Alfred T.
    (With one of her enamell'd cards).
  Though uninclin'd to give offence,
    The Lady Clara begs to hint
  That Master Alfred's common sense
    Deserts him utterly in print.

  The Lady Clara can but say,
    That always from the very first
  She snubb'd in her decisive way
    The hopes that silly Alfred nurs'd.
  The fondest words that ever fell
    From Lady Clara, when they met,
  Were, "How d'ye do? I hope you're well!"
    Or else, "The weather's very wet."

  Her Ladyship needs no advice
    How time and money should be spent,
  And can't pursue at any price
    The plan that Alfred T. has sent.
  She does not in the least object
    To let the "foolish yeoman" go,
  But wishes--let him recollect--
    That he should move to Jericho.

[Sidenote: _Ben Johnson_]

Nothing is a courtesy unless it be meant us; and that friendly and
lovingly. We owe no thanks to rivers, that they carry our boats; or
winds, that they be favouring and fill our sails; or meats, that they be
nourishing; for these are what they are necessarily. Horses carry us,
trees shade us, but they know it not. It is true, some men may receive a
courtesy and not know it; but never any man received it from him that
knew it not. Many men have been cured of diseases by accident; but they
were not remedies. I myself have known one helped of an ague by falling
into a water; another whipped out of a fever; but no man would ever use
these for medicines. It is the mind, and not the event, that
distinguisheth the courtesy from wrong. My adversary may offend the
judge with his pride and impertinences, and I win my cause; but he meant
it not to me as a courtesy. I 'scaped pirates by being ship-wracked; was
the wrack a benefit therefore? No; the doing of courtesies aright is the
mixing of the respects for his own sake and for mine. He that doeth them
merely for his own sake is like one that feeds his cattle to sell them;
he hath his horse well dressed for Smithfield.

[Sidenote: _Ben Johnson_]

Many might go to heaven with half the labour they go to hell, if they
would venture their industry the right way; but "The devil take all!"
quoth he that was choked i' the mill-dam, with his four last words in
his mouth.

[Sidenote: _Ben Johnson_]

A good man will avoid the spot of any sin. The very aspersion is
grievous, which makes him choose his way in his life as he would in his
journey. The ill man rides through all confidently; he is coated and
booted for it. The oftener he offends, the more openly, and the fouler,
the fitter in fashion. His modesty, like a riding-coat, the more it is
worn is the less cared for. It is good enough for the dirt still, and
the ways he travels in.

[Sidenote: _Ben Johnson_]

Money never made any man rich, but his mind. He that can order himself
to the law of Nature is not only without the sense but the fear of
poverty. O, but to strike blind the people with our wealth and pomp is
the thing! What a wretchedness is this, to thrust all our riches
outward, and be beggars within; to contemplate nothing but the little,
vile, and sordid things of the world; not the great, noble, and
precious! We serve our avarice, and, not content with the good of the
earth that is offered us, we search and dig for the evil that is
hidden. God offered us those things, and placed them at hand, and near
us, that He knew were profitable for us, but the hurtful He laid deep
and hid. Yet do we seek only the things whereby we may perish, and bring
them forth, when God and Nature hath buried them. We covet superfluous
things, when it were more honour for us if we could contemn necessary.
What need hath Nature of silver dishes, multitudes of waiters, delicate
pages, perfumed napkins? She requires meat only, and hunger is not
ambitious. Can we think no wealth enough but such a state for which a
man may be brought into a præmunire, begged, proscribed, or poisoned? O!
if a man could restrain the fury of his gullet and groin, and think how
many fires, how many kitchens, cooks, pastures, and ploughed lands; what
orchards, stews, ponds and parks, coops and garners, he could spare;
what velvets, tissues, embroideries, laces, he could lack; and then how
short and uncertain his life is; he were in a better way to happiness
than to live the emperor of these delights, and be the dictator of
fashions. But we make ourselves slaves to our pleasures, and we serve
fame and ambition, which is an equal slavery.

[Sidenote: _Ben Johnson_]

I remember the players have often mentioned it as an honour to
Shakespeare, that in his writing (whatsoever he penned) he never blotted
out a line. My answer hath been, "Would he had blotted out a thousand,"
which they thought a malevolent speech. I had not told posterity this
but for their ignorance who chose that circumstance to commend their
friend by wherein he most faulted; and to justify mine own candour, for
I loved the man, and do honour his memory on this side idolatry as much
as any. He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature; had an
excellent phantasy, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he
flowed with that facility that sometimes it was necessary he should be
stopped. "Sufflaminandus erat," as Augustus said of Haterius. His wit
was in his own power; would the rule of it had been so, too! Many times
he fell into those things could not escape laughter, as when he said in
the person of Caesar, one speaking to him, "Caesar, thou dost me wrong."
He replied, "Caesar did never wrong but with just cause"; and such-like,
which were ridiculous. But he redeemed his vices with his virtues. There
was ever more in him to be praised than to be pardoned.

[Sidenote: _Ben Johnson_]

Wisdom without honesty is mere craft and cozenage. And therefore the
reputation of honesty must first be gotten; which cannot be but by
living well. A good life is a main argument.

[Sidenote: _Calverley_]

      She laid it where the sunbeams fall
  Unscann'd upon the broken wall,
  Without a tear, without a groan,
  She laid it near a mighty stone
  Which some rude swain had haply cast
  Thither in sport, long ages past,
  And Time with mosses had o'erlaid,
  And fenced with many a tall grass-blade,
  And all about bid roses bloom
  And violets shed their soft perfume.
  There, in its cool and quiet bed,
  She set her burden down and fled:
  Nor flung, all eager to escape,
  One glance upon the perfect shape
  That lay, still warm and fresh and fair,
  But motionless and soundless there.

      No human eye had mark'd her pass
  Across the linden-shadow'd grass
  Ere yet the minster clock chimed seven:
  Only the innocent birds of heaven--
  The magpie, and the rook whose nest
  Swings as the elm-tree waves his crest--
  And the lithe cricket, and the hoar
  And huge-limb'd hound that guards the door,
  Look'd on when, as a summer wind
  That, passing, leaves no trace behind,
  All unapparell'd, barefoot all,
  She ran to that old ruin'd wall,
  To leave upon the chill dank earth
  (For ah! she never knew its worth)
  'Mid hemlock rank, and fern, and ling,
  And dews of night, that precious thing!

      And there it might have lain forlorn
  From morn till eve, from eve to morn:
  But that, by some wild impulse led,
  The mother, ere she turn'd and fled,
  One moment stood erect and high;
  Then pour'd into the silent sky
  A cry so jubilant, so strange,
  That Alice--as she strove to range
  Her rebel ringlets at her glass--
  Sprang up and gazed across the grass;
  Shook back those curls so fair to see,
  Clapp'd her soft hands in childish glee;
  And shriek'd--her sweet face all aglow,
    Her very limbs with rapture shaking--
  "My hen has laid an egg, I know;
  And only hear the noise she's making!"

[Sidenote: _Mark Twain_]

In compliance with the request of a friend of mine, who wrote me from
the East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler, and
inquired after my friend's friend, _Leonidas W_. Smiley, as requested to
do, and I hereunto append the result. I have a lurking suspicion that
_Leonidas W_. Smiley is a myth; that my friend never knew such a
personage; and that he only conjectured that, if I asked old Wheeler
about him, it would remind him of his infamous _Jim_ Smiley, and he
would go to work and bore me nearly to death with some infernal
reminiscence of him as long and tedious as it should be useless to me.
If that was the design, it certainly succeeded.

I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the bar-room stove of the
old, dilapidated tavern in the ancient mining camp of Angel's, and I
noticed that he was fat, and bald-headed, and had an expression of
winning gentleness and simplicity upon his tranquil countenance. He
roused up and gave me good-day. I told him a friend of mine had
commissioned me to make some inquiries about a cherished companion of
his boyhood, named _Leonidas W_. Smiley--_Rev. Leonidas W_. Smiley, a
young minister of the gospel, who he had heard was at one time a
resident of Angel's Camp. I added that, if Mr. Wheeler could tell me
anything about this Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, I would feel under many
obligations to him.

Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner, and blockaded me there with his
chair, and then sat me down and reeled off the monotonous narrative
which follows this paragraph. He never smiled, he never frowned, he
never changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key to which he tuned
the initial sentence, he never betrayed the slightest suspicion of
enthusiasm; but all through the interminable narrative there ran a vein
of impressive earnestness and sincerity, which showed me plainly that,
so far from his imagining that there was anything ridiculous or funny
about his story, he regarded it as a really important matter, and
admired its two heroes as men of transcendent genius in _finesse_. To
me, the spectacle of a man drifting serenely along through such a queer
yarn without ever smiling, was exquisitely absurd. As I said before, I
asked him to tell me what he knew of Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, and he
replied as follows. I let him go on in his own way, and never
interrupted him once:

There was a feller here once by the name of _Jim_ Smiley in the winter
of '49--or maybe it was the spring of '50--I don't recollect exactly,
somehow, though what makes me think it was one or the other is because I
remember the big flume wasn't finished when he first came to the camp;
but, anyway, he was the curiosest man about, always betting on anything
that turned up you ever see, if he could get anybody to bet on the
other side; and if he couldn't, he'd change sides. Anyway that suited
the other man would suit him--anyway, just so's he got a bet, _he_ was
satisfied. But still he was lucky, uncommon lucky; he most always come
out winner. He was always ready and laying for a chance; there couldn't
be no solit'ry thing mentioned but that feller'd offer to bet on it, and
take any side you please, as I was just telling you. If there was a
horse-race, you'd find him flush, or you'd find him busted at the end of
it. If there was a dog-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a cat-fight,
he'd bet on it; if there was a chicken-fight, he'd bet on it; why, if
there was two birds sitting on a fence he would bet you which one would
fly first; or if there was a camp-meeting, he would be there reg'lar to
bet on Parson Walker, which he judged to be the best exhorter about
here--and so he was, too, and a good man. If he even seen a straddle-bug
start to go anywheres, he would bet you how long it would take to get
wherever he was going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that
straddle-bug to Mexico, but what he would find out where he was bound
for and how long he was on the road. Lots of boys here has seen that
Smiley, and can tell you about him. Why, it never made no difference to
_him_--he would bet on _any_ thing--the dangest feller. Parson Walker's
wife laid very sick once, for a good while, and it seemed as if they
warn't going to save her; but one morning he come in, and Smiley asked
how she was, and he said she was considerable better--thank the Lord
for his inf'nit mercy--and coming on so smart that, with the blessing of
Prov'dence, she'd get well yet; and Smiley, before he thought, says,
"Well, I'll risk two-and-a-half that she don't, anyway."

Thish-yer Smiley had a mare--the boys called her the fifteen-minute nag,
but that was only in fun, you know, because, of course, she was faster
than that--and he used to win money on that horse, for all she was so
slow and always had the asthma, or the distemper, or the consumption, or
something of that kind. They used to give her two or three hundred
yards' start, and then pass her under way; but always at the fag-end of
the race she'd get excited and desperate-like, and come cavorting and
straddling up, and scattering her legs around limber, sometimes in the
air, and sometimes out to one side amongst the fences, and kicking up
m-o-r-e dust and raising m-o-r-e racket with her coughing and sneezing
and blowing her nose--and always fetch up at the stand, just about a
neck ahead, as near as you could cypher it down.

And he had a little small bull-pup, that to look at him you'd think he
wan't worth a cent, but to set around and look ornery, and lay for a
chance to steal something. But as soon as money was upon him, he was a
different dog; his under-jaw'd begin to stick out like the fo'castle of
a steamboat, and his teeth would uncover, and shine savage like the
furnaces. And a dog might tackle him, and bully-rag him, and bite him,
and throw him over his shoulder two or three times, and Andrew
Jackson--which was the name of the pup--Andrew Jackson would never let
on but what _he_ was satisfied, and hadn't expected nothing else--and
the bets being doubled and doubled on the other side all the time, till
the money was all up; and then all of a sudden he would grab that other
dog jest by the j'int of his hind leg and freeze to it--not chaw, you
understand, but only jest grip and hang on till they throwed up the
sponge, if it was a year. Smiley always come out winner on that pup,
till he harnessed a dog once that didn't have no hind legs, because
they'd been saw'd off by a circular saw, and when the thing had gone
along far enough, and the money was all up, and he come to make a snatch
for his pet holt, he saw in a minute how he'd been imposed on, and how
the other dog had him in the door, so to speak, and he 'peared
surprised, and then he looked sorter discouraged-like, and didn't try no
more to win the fight, and so he got shucked out bad. He gave Smiley a
look, as much as to say his heart was broke, and it was _his_ fault, for
putting up a dog that hadn't no hind legs for him to take holt of, which
was his main dependence in a fight, and then he limped off a piece and
laid down and died. It was a good pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and
would have made a name for hisself if he'd lived, for the stuff was in
him, and he had genius--I know it, because he hadn't had no
opportunities to speak of, and it don't stand to reason that a dog
could make such a fight as he could under them circumstances, if he
hadn't no talent. It always makes me feel sorry when I think of that
last fight of his'n, and the way it turned out.

Well, thish-yer Smiley had rat-tarriers, and chicken-cocks, and
tom-cats, and all them kind of things, till you couldn't rest, and you
couldn't fetch nothing for him to bet on but he'd match you. He ketched
a frog one day, and took him home, and said he cal'klated to edercate
him; and so he never done nothing for three months but set in his back
yard and learn that frog to jump. And you bet you he _did_ learn him,
too? He'd give him a little punch behind, and the next minute you'd see
that frog whirling in the air like a doughnut--see him turn one
summerset, or maybe a couple, if he got a good start, and came down
flat-footed and all right, like a cat. He got him up so in the matter of
catching flies, and kept him in practice so constant, that he'd nail a
fly every time as far as he could see him. Smiley said all a frog wanted
was education, and he could do most anything--and I believe him. Why,
I've seen him set Dan'l Webster down here on this floor--Dan'l Webster
was the name of the frog--and sing out, "Flies, Dan'l, flies!" and
quicker'n you could wink, he'd spring straight up, and snake a fly off'n
the counter there, and flop down on the floor again as solid as a gob of
mud, and fall to scratching the side of his head with his hind foot as
indifferent as if he hadn't no idea he'd been doin' any mor'n any frog
might do. You never see a frog so modest and straightfor'ard as he was,
for all he was so gifted. An' when it come to fair and square jumping on
a dead level, he could get over more ground at one straddle than any
animal of his breed you ever see. Jumping on a dead level was his strong
suit, you understand; and when it come to that, Smiley would ante up
money on him as long as he had a red. Smiley was monstrous proud of his
frog, and well he might be, for fellers that had travelled and been
everywhere, all said he laid over any frog that ever _they_ see.

Well, Smiley kept the beast in a little lattice box, and he used to
fetch him down town sometimes and lay for a bet. One day a feller--a
stranger in the camp, he was--come across him with his box, and says:

"What might it be that you've got in that box?"

And Smiley says, sorter indifferent-like, "It might be a parrot, or it
might be a canary, maybe, but it ain't--it's only just a frog."

And the feller took it, and looked at it careful, and turned it round
this way and that, and says, "H'm--so 'tis. Well, what's _he_ good for?"

"Well," Smiley says, easy and careless, "he's good enough for _one_
thing, I should judge--he can outjump any frog in Calaveras county."

The feller took the box again, and took another long, particular look,
and gave it back to Smiley, and says, very deliberate, "Well, I don't
see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other frog."

"Maybe you don't," Smiley says. "Maybe you understand frogs, and maybe
you don't understand 'em; maybe you've had experience, and maybe you
ain't only a amateur, as it were. Anyways, I've got _my_ opinion, and
I'll risk forty dollars that he can outjump any frog in Calaveras

And the feller studies a minute, and then says, kinder sad like, "Well,
I'm only a stranger here, and I ain't got no frog; but if I had a frog,
I'd bet you."

And then Smiley says, "That's all right--that's all right--if you'll
hold my box a minute, I'll go and get you a frog." And so the feller
took the box and put up his forty dollars along with Smiley's, and set
down to wait.

So he set there a good while thinking and thinking to hisself, and then
he got the frog out and prized his mouth open and took a teaspoon and
filled him full of quail shot--filled him pretty near up to the
chin--and set him on the floor. Smiley he went to the swamp and slopped
around in the mud for a long time, and finally he ketched a frog, and
fetched him in, and gave him to this feller, and says:

"Now, if you're ready, set him alongside of Dan'l, with his forepaws
just even with Dan'l, and I'll give the word." Then he says,
"One--two--three--jump!" and him and the feller touched up the frogs
from behind, and the new frog hopped off, but Dan'l give a heave, and
hysted up his shoulders--so--like a Frenchman, but it wan't no use--he
couldn't budge; he was planted as solid as an anvil, and he couldn't no
more stir than if he was anchored out. Smiley was a good deal surprised,
and he was disgusted too, but he didn't have no idea what the matter
was, of course.

The feller took the money and started away; and when he was going out at
the door, he sorter jerked his thumb over his shoulder--this way--at
Dan'l, and says again, very deliberate, "Well, _I_ don't see no p'ints
about that frog that's any better'n any other frog."

Smiley he stood scratching his head and looking down at Dan'l a long
time, and at last he says, "I do wonder what in the nation that frog
throwed off for--I wonder if there ain't something the matter with
him--he 'pears to look mighty baggy, somehow." And he ketched Dan'l by
the nap of his neck, and lifted him up and says, "Why, blame my cats, if
he don't weigh five pounds!" and turned him upside down, and he belched
out a double handful of shot. And then he see how it was and he was the
maddest man--he set the frog down and took out after that feller, but he
never ketched him. And--

(Here Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front yard, and got
up to see what was wanted.) And, turning to me as he moved away, he
said: "Just set where you are, stranger, and rest easy--I ain't going to
be gone a second."

But, by your leave, I did not think that a continuation of the history
of the enterprising vagabond _Jim_ Smiley would be likely to afford me
much information concerning the _Rev. Leonidas W._ Smiley, and so I
started away.

At the door I met the social Wheeler returning, and he buttonholed me
and recommenced:

"Well, thish-yer Smiley had a yaller one-eyed cow that didn't have no
tail, only just a short stump like a bannanner, and--"

"Oh! hang Smiley and his afflicted cow!" I muttered good-naturedly, and,
bidding the old gentleman good-day, I departed.


[Sidenote: _Sainte-Beuve_]

As for the happiness itself, of which he would give us a just idea, the
purely spiritual and internal happiness of the soul in the other life,
he sums it up in an expression which concludes a happy development of
the subject, and he defines it: _Reason always attentive and always
contented_. Take reason in its liveliest and most luminous sense, the
pure flame disengaged from the senses.

[Sidenote: _Sainte-Beuve_]

It is from him that the sentiment of nature is reckoned among us, in the
eighteenth century. It is from him also that is dated, in our
literature, _the sentiment of domestic life; of that homely, poor,
quiet, hidden life, in which are accumulated so many treasures of virtue
and affection_. Amid certain details, in bad taste, in which he speaks
of robbery and of eatables, how one pardons him on account of that old
song of childhood, of which he knows only the air and some words
stitched together, but which he always wished to recover, and which he
never recalls, old as he is, without a soothing charm!

[Sidenote: _Sainte-Beuve_]

Taste, for him, is the literary conscience of the soul....

M. Joubert was, in his day, the most delicate and the most original type
of that class of honest people which the old society alone
produced,--spectators, listeners who had neither ambition nor envy, who
were curious, at leisure, attentive, and disinterested, who took an
interest in everything, the true amateurs of beautiful things. "To
converse and to know--it was in this, above all things, that consisted,
according to Plato, the happiness of private life." This class of
connoisseurs and of amateurs, so fitted to enlighten and to restrain
talent, has almost disappeared in France since every one there has
followed a profession. "We should always," said M. Joubert, "have a
corner of the head open and free, that we may have a place for the
opinions of our friends, where we may lodge them provisionally. It is
really insupportable to converse with men who have, in their brains,
only compartments which are wholly occupied, and into which nothing
external can enter. Let us have _hospitable hearts and minds_."

       *       *       *       *       *

Life is a duty; we must make a pleasure of it, so far as we can, as of
all other duties. If the care of cherishing it is the only one with
which it pleases Heaven to charge us, we must acquit ourselves gaily and
with the best possible grace, and poke that sacred fire, while warming
ourselves by it all we can, till the word comes to us: That will do.

[Sidenote: _Sainte-Beuve_]

In the years to which we refer--that is, the years immediately preceding
1800--there were gathered in the salon of this charming old lady the
remnants both of fashionable and philosophical society--never, indeed,
entirely exiled thence. It may be said of Mme d'Houdetot that her ideal
existence was always bounded by that Montmorency valley where the ardent
devotion of Jean Jacques has engraved her memory, as it were, in
immortal characters. There, again and again, her idyllic spring-time
renewed its bloom, and the freshness of her impressions continued
unimpaired until her dying day. She even remained in the country during
the Reign of Terror, her retreat being respected, and her relatives
flocking about her; and "I can readily believe," writes Mme de Rémusat,
in a charming portrait of her venerable friend, "that she retains, of
those frightful days, merely the memory of the increased tenderness and
consideration which they procured for her."

[Sidenote: _Sainte-Beuve_]

O mothers, gather your children about you early. Dare to say, when they
come into the world, that your youth is passing into theirs. O mothers,
be mothers, and you will be wise and happy!

[Sidenote: _Sainte-Beuve_]

If the _Encyclopedia_ was in Diderot's time considered his principal
social work, his principal glory in the eyes of the men of to-day
consists in his having been the first to create the emotional and
eloquent style of criticism. It is through this that he has become
immortal, through this that he will be for ever dear to us journalists
of every sort and condition. Let us bow down to him as our father, and
as the founder of this style of criticism.

Before Diderot's time, the French style of criticism had been, firstly,
as offered by Bayle, of a precise, inquiring, and subtle tone. Fénelon
represented criticism as an elegant and delicate art, while Rollin
exhibited its most useful and honest side. From a due sense of decency,
I refrain from mentioning the names of Fréron and Des Fontaines. But
nowhere yet had criticism acquired anything like vividness, fertility,
and penetration; it had not yet found its soul. Diderot was the first to
find it. Naturally inclined to look over defects, and to admire good
qualities, "I am more affected," he remarked, "by the charms of virtue
than the deformity of vice; I quietly turn away from the wicked and _fly
forward to meet the good_. If there happens to be a beautiful spot in a
book, a character, a picture, or a statue, it is there that I let my
eyes rest; I can only see this beautiful spot, I can only remember it,
while the rest I nearly forget. What do I become when everything is
beautiful!" This inclination to welcome everything with enthusiasm--this
sort of universal admiration--undoubtedly had its danger. It is said of
him that he was singularly happy "in never having encountered a wicked
man nor a bad book." For, even if the book were bad, he would
unconsciously impute to the author some of his own ideas. Like the
alchemist, he found gold in the melting-pot, from the fact he had placed
it there himself. However, it is to him that all honour is due for
having introduced among us the fertile criticism of _beauties_, which he
substituted for that of _defects_. Châteaubriand himself, in that
portion of the _Genius of Christianity_ in which he eloquently
discourses on literary criticism, only follows the path opened by

"A pleasure that I enjoy alone affects me but slightly, and is of short
duration. It is for my friends as well as myself that I read, that I
reflect, that I write, that I meditate, that I listen, that I look, that
I feel. In their absence I am still devoted to them; I am continually
thinking of their happiness. If I am struck with a beautiful line, they
must know it. If I meet with a fine passage, I promise myself to impart
it to them. If I have before my eyes some enchanting spectacle, I
unconsciously plan a description of it for their benefit. I have
consecrated to them the use of all my senses and faculties; and it is
perhaps for this reason that everything becomes somewhat enriched in my
imagination and exaggerated in my discourse. Nevertheless, the
ungrateful creatures sometimes reproach me."

[Sidenote: _Sainte-Beuve_]

That philosopher, always accessible, even in the deepest studies, who
tells you to come in, for you bring him something more precious than
gold or silver, _if it is the opportunity of obliging you._

[Sidenote: _Anon._]

  Ding--ding-a-ding! Ding--ding-a-ding!
      The church bells they du ring,
  Ding--ding-a-ding! Ding--ding-a-ding!
      An' seems they bells du zing:
  "O merry be! O merry be!
      The work it all be done,
  Zee, peas and brocoli du graw
      Tremenjus in the zun;
  An' hot it is, an' calm it is,
      Bees buzz an' cattle doze;
  Zo, laze about, an' talk about,
      All in your Zunday clo's."
  _Ding--ding-a-ding_! Ding--ding-a-ding_!

  Ding--ding-a-ding! Ding--ding-a-ding!
      The church bells merry ring,
  Ding--ding-a-ding! Ding--ding-a-ding!
      An,' dang it! doan't they zing?--
  "O rest awhile! O rest awhile!
      Vor 'tis amazin' sweet
  To watch the white-heart cabbages
      All bustin' in the heat;
  Zo, zit about, an' stand about,
      Beside ov Early Rose,
  An' puff a pipe, an' think ov things,
      All in your Zunday clo's."
  _Ding--ding-a-ding_! Ding--ding-a-ding_!

  Dong! Dong! Dong!
     There's a shadow on the marn,
  Dong! Dong! Dong!
     The one larst bell du warn:
  "O fulish mun! O fulish mun!
     Life be no more than grass,
  It glitters in the shinin' zun--
     Until the Reaper pass!
  An', hark! I call 'ee up to prayer,
     Wi' passen, clerk, an' schule,
  Come up along, an' take thee seat
     Thou ole pig-headed fule!"

  _Dong_! _Dong_! _Dong_!

[Sidenote: _Sterne_]

My uncle _Toby_ was a man patient of injuries;--not from want of
courage,--I have told you in a former chapter, "that he was a man of
courage":--And will add here, that where just occasions presented, or
called it forth,--know no man under whose arm I would have sooner taken
shelter;--nor did this arise from any insensibility or obtuseness of his
intellectual parts;--for he felt this insult of my father's as feelingly
as a man could do;--but he was of a peaceful, placid nature,--no jarring
element in it,--all was mixed up so kindly within him; my uncle _Toby_
had scarce a heart to retaliate upon a fly.

--Go--says he, one day at dinner, to an over-grown one which had buzzed
about his nose, and tormented him cruelly all dinner-time,--and which,
after infinite attempts, he had caught at last, as it flew by him;--I'll
not hurt thee, says my uncle _Toby_, rising from his chair, and going
across the room, with the fly in his hand,--I'll not hurt a hair of thy
head;--Go, says he, lifting up the sash, and opening his hand as he
spoke, to let it escape;--go, poor devil, get thee gone, why should I
hurt thee?--This world surely is wide enough to hold both thee and me.

I was but ten years old when this happened: but whether it was, that the
action itself was more in unison to my nerves at that age of pity,
which instantly set my whole frame into one vibration of most
pleasurable sensation;--or how far the manner and expression of it might
go towards it;--or, in what degree, or by what secret magick,--a tone of
voice and harmony of movement, attuned by mercy, might find a passage to
my heart, I know not;--this I know, that the lesson of universal
good-will then taught and imprinted by my uncle _Toby_ has never since
been worn out of my mind: And tho' I would not depreciate what the study
of the _Literæ humaniores,_ at the University, have done for me in that
respect, or discredit the other helps of an expensive education bestowed
upon me, both at home and abroad since;--yet I often think that I owe
one half of my philanthropy to that one accidental expression.

[Sidenote: _William Hazlitt_]

One of the pleasantest things in the world is going a journey; but I
like to go by myself. I can enjoy society in a room; but, out of doors,
nature is company enough for me. I am then never less alone than when

  The fields his study, nature was his book.

I cannot see the wit of walking and talking at the same time. When I am
in the country I wish to vegetate like the country. I am not for
criticising hedge-rows and black cattle. I go out of town in order to
forget the town and all that is in it. There are those who for this
purpose go to watering-places, and carry the metropolis with them. I
like more elbow-room and fewer encumbrances. I like solitude, when I
give myself up to it, for the sake of solitude; nor do I ask for

    A friend in my retreat,
  Whom I may whisper, Solitude is sweet.

The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty to think, feel, do,
just as one pleases. We go a journey chiefly to be free of all
impediments and of all inconveniences; to leave ourselves behind much
more to get rid of others. It is because I want a little breathing-space
to muse on indifferent matters, where Contemplation--

  May plume her feathers and let grow her wings,
  That in the various bustle of resort
  Were all too ruffled, and sometimes impair'd--

that I absent myself from the town for a while, without feeling at a
loss the moment I am left by myself. Instead of a friend in a postchaise
or in a Tilbury, to exchange good things with, and vary the same stale
topics over again, for once let me have a truce with impertinence. Give
me the clear blue sky over my head and the green turf beneath my feet, a
winding road[8] before me and a three hours' march to dinner--and then
to thinking! It is hard if I cannot start some game on these lone
heaths. I laugh, I run, I leap, I sing for joy. From the point of yonder
rolling cloud I plunge into my past being, and revel there, as the
sun-burnt Indian plunges headlong into the wave that wafts him to his
native shore. Then long-forgotten things, like "sunken wrack and sumless
treasuries," burst upon my eager sight, and I begin to feel, think, and
be myself again. Instead of an awkward silence, broken by attempts at
wit or dull commonplaces, mine is that undisturbed silence of the heart
which alone is perfect eloquence. No one likes puns, alliterations,
antitheses, argument, and analysis better than I do; but I sometimes had
rather be without them. "Leave, oh, leave me to my repose!" I have just
now other business in hand, which would seem idle to you, but is with me
"very stuff o' the conscience." Is not this wild rose sweet without a
comment? Does not this daisy leap to my heart set in its coat of
emerald? Yet if I were to explain to you the circumstance that has so
endeared it to me, you would only smile. Had I not better, then, keep it
to myself, and let it serve me to brood over, from here to yonder craggy
point, and from thence onward to the far-distant horizon? I should be
but bad company all that way, and therefore prefer being alone. I have
heard it said that you may, when the moody fit comes on, walk or ride on
by yourself and indulge your reveries. But this looks like a breach of
manners, a neglect of others, and you are thinking all the time that you
ought to rejoin your party. "Out upon such half-faced fellowship," say
I. I like to be either entirely to myself, or entirely at the disposal
of others; to talk or be silent, to walk or sit still, to be sociable or
solitary. I was pleased with an observation of Mr. Cobbett's that he
thought it a bad French custom to drink our wine with our meals, and
that an Englishman ought to do only one thing at a time. So I cannot
talk and think, or indulge in melancholy musing and lively conversation
by fits and starts. "Let me have a companion of my way," says Sterne,
"were it but to remark how the shadows lengthen as the sun declines." It
is beautifully said; but, in my opinion, this continual comparing of
notes interferes with the involuntary impression of things upon the
mind, and hurts the sentiment. If you only hint what you feel in a kind
of dumb-show, it is insipid: if you have to explain it, it is making a
toil of a pleasure. You cannot read the book of nature without being
perpetually put to the trouble of translating it for the benefit of
others. I am for this synthetical method on a journey in preference to
the analytical. I am content to lay in a stock of ideas then, and to
examine and anatomise them afterwards. I want to see my vague notions
float like the down of the thistle before the breeze, and not to have
them entangled in the briars and thorns of controversy. For once, I like
to have it all my own way; and this is impossible unless you are alone,
or in such company as I do not covet. I have no objection to argue a
point with any one for twenty miles of measured road, but not for
pleasure. If you remark the scent of a bean-field crossing the road,
perhaps your fellow-traveller has no smell. If you point to a distant
object, perhaps he is short-sighted, and has to take out his glass to
look at it. There is a feeling in the air, a tone in the colour of a
cloud, which hits your fancy, but the effect of which you are unable to
account for. There is then no sympathy, but an uneasy craving after it,
and a dissatisfaction which pursues you on the way, and in the end
probably produces ill-humour. Now I never quarrel with myself, and take
all my own conclusions for granted till I find it necessary to defend
them against objections. It is not merely that you may not be of accord
on the objects and circumstances that present themselves before
you--these may recall a number of objects, and lead to associations too
delicate and refined to be possibly communicated to others. Yet these I
love to cherish, and sometimes still fondly clutch them, when I can
escape from the throng to do so. To give way to our feelings before
company seems extravagance or affectation; and, on the other hand, to
have to unravel this mystery of our being at every turn, and to make
others take an equal interest in it (otherwise the end is not answered),
is a task to which few are competent. We must "give it an understanding,
but no tongue." My old friend Coleridge, however, could do both. He
could go on in the most delightful explanatory way over hill and dale a
summer's day, and convert a landscape into a didactic poem or a Pindaric
ode. "He talked far above singing." If I could so clothe my ideas in
sounding and flowing words, I might perhaps wish to have some one with
me to admire the swelling theme; or I could be more content, were it
possible for me still to hear his echoing voice in the woods of
All-Foxden. They had "that fine madness in them which our first poets
had"; and, if they could have been caught by some rare instrument, would
have breathed such strains as the following:

               Here be woods as green
  As any, air likewise as fresh and sweet
  As when smooth Zephyrus plays on the fleet
  Face of the curled streams, with flowers as many
  As the young spring gives, and as choice as any;
  Here be all new delights, cool streams and wells,
  Arbours o'ergrown with woodbines, caves and dells;
  Choose where thou wilt, whilst I sit by and sing,
  Or gather rushes to make many a ring
  For thy long fingers; tell thee tales of love,
  How the pale Phoebe, hunting in a grove,
  First saw the boy Endymion, from whose eye
  She took eternal fire that never dies;
  How she convey'd him softly in a sleep,
  His temples bound with poppy, to the steep
  Head of old Latmos, where she stoops each night,
  Gilding the mountains with her brother's light,
  To kiss her sweetest.

Had I words and images at command like these, I would attempt to wake
the thoughts that lie slumbering on golden ridges in the evening clouds:
but at the sight of nature my fancy, poor as it is, droops and closes up
its leaves, like flowers at sunset. I can make nothing out on the spot:
I must have time to collect myself.

In general, a good thing spoils out-of-door prospects: it should be
reserved for table-talk. Lamb is for this reason, I take it, the worst
company in the world out of doors; because he is the best within. I
grant there is one subject on which it is pleasant to talk on a journey,
and that is, what one shall have for supper when we get to our inn at
night. The open air improves this sort of conversation or friendly
altercation, by setting a keener edge on appetite. Every mile of the
road heightens the flavour of the viands we expect at the end of it. How
fine it is to enter some old town, walled and turreted, just at approach
of night-fall, or to come to some straggling village, with the lights
streaming through the surrounding gloom; and then, after inquiring for
the best entertainment that the place affords, to "take one's ease at
one's inn"! These eventful moments in our lives' history are too
precious, too full of solid, heartfelt happiness to be frittered and
dribbled away in imperfect sympathy. I would have them all to myself,
and drain them to the last drop: they will do to talk of or to write
about afterwards. What a delicate speculation it is, after drinking
whole goblets of tea--

  The cups that cheer, but not inebriate--

and letting the fumes ascend into the brain, to sit considering what we
shall have for supper--eggs and a rasher, a rabbit smothered in onions,
or an excellent veal cutlet! Sancho in such a situation once fixed on
cow-heel; and his choice, though he could not help it, is not to be
disparaged. Then, in the intervals of pictured scenery and Shandean
contemplation, to catch the preparation and the stir in the kitchen
(getting ready for the gentlemen in the parlour). _Procul, O procul este
profani!_ These hours are sacred to silence and to musing, to be
treasured up in the memory, and to feed the source of smiling thoughts

[Sidenote: _Austin Dobson_]

  A LADY             A POET


  Sir Poet, ere you crossed the lawn
    (If it was wrong to watch you, pardon),
  Behind this weeping birch withdrawn,
    I watched you saunter round the garden.
  I saw you bend beside the phlox,
    Pluck, as you passed, a sprig of myrtle,
  Review my well-ranged hollyhocks
    Smile at the fountain's slender spurtle;

  You paused beneath the cherry-tree,
    Where my marauder thrush was singing,
  Peered at the bee-hives curiously,
    And narrowly escaped a stinging;
  And then--you see, I watched--you passed
    Down the espalier walk that reaches
  Out to the western wall, and last,
    Dropped on the seat before the peaches.

  What was your thought? You waited long.
    Sublime or graceful,--grave,--satiric?
  A Morris Greek-and-Gothic song?
    A tender Tennysonian lyric?
  Tell me.   That garden-seat shall be,
    So long as speech renown disperses,
  Illustrious as the spot where he--
    The gifted Blank--composed his verses.

[Sidenote: _Austin Dobson_]

  Madam,--whose uncensorious eye
    Grows gracious over certain pages,
  Wherein the Jester's maxims lie,
    It may be, thicker than the Sage's--
  I hear but to obey, and could
    Mere wish of mine the pleasure do you,
  Some verse as whimsical as Hood,--
  As gay as Praed,--should answer to you.

  But, though the common voice proclaims
    Our only serious vocation
  Confined to giving nothings names
    And dreams a "local habitation";
  Believe me, there are tuneless days,
    When neither marble, brass, nor vellum,
  Would profit much by any lays
    That haunt the poet's cerebellum.

  More empty things, I fear, than rhymes,
    More idle things than songs, absorb it;
  The "finely frenzied" eye, at times,
    Reposes mildly in its orbit;
  And--painful truth--at times, to him,
    Whose jog-trot thought is nowise restive,
  "A primrose by a river's brim"
    Is absolutely unsuggestive.

  The fickle Muse! As ladies will,
    She sometimes wearies of her wooer;
  A goddess, yet a woman still,
    She flies the more that we pursue her;
  In short, with worst as well as best,
    Five months in six, your hapless poet
  Is just as prosy as the rest,
    But cannot comfortably show it.

  You thought, no doubt, the garden scent
    Brings back some brief-winged bright sensation
  Of love that came and love that went,--
    Some fragrance of a lost flirtation,
  Born when the cuckoo changes song,
    Dead ere the apple's red is on it,
  That should have been an epic long,
    Yet scarcely served to fill a sonnet.

  Or else you thought,--the murmuring noon
    He turns it to a lyric sweeter,
  With birds that gossip in the tune,
    And windy bough-swing in the metre;
  Or else the zigzag fruit-tree arms
    Recall some dream of harp-prest bosoms,
  Round singing mouths, and chanted charms,
    And mediaeval orchard blossoms,--

  Quite _à la mode_. Alas for prose!--
    My vagrant fancies only rambled
  Back to the red-walled Rectory close,
    Where first my graceless boyhood gambolled,
  Climbed on the dial, teased the fish,
    And chased the kitten round the beeches,
  Till widening instincts made me wish
    For certain slowly ripening peaches.

  Three peaches. Not the Graces three
    Had more equality of beauty:
  I would not look, yet went to see;
    I wrestled with Desire and Duty;
  I felt the pangs of those who feel
    The laws of Property beset them;
  The conflict made my reason reel,
    And, half-abstractedly, I ate them;--

  Or two of them. Forthwith Despair--
    More keen that one of these was rotten--
  Moved me to seek some forest lair
    Where I might hide and dwell forgotten,
  Attired in skins, by berries stained,
    Absolved from brushes and ablution;--
  But, ere my sylvan haunt was gained,
    Fate gave me up to execution.

  I saw it all but now. The grin
    That gnarled old Gardener Sandy's features;
  My father, scholar-like and thin,
    Unroused, the tenderest of creatures;
  I saw--ah me !--I saw again
    My dear and deprecating mother;
  And then, remembering the cane,
    Regretted--that _I'd left the other._

[Sidenote: _Macaulay_]

I have not the Chancellor's encyclopedic mind. He is indeed a kind of
semi-Solomon. He _half_ knows everything, from the cedar to the hyssop.

The conformation of his mind was such that whatever was little seemed to
him great, and whatever was great seemed to him little.

There were gentlemen and there were seamen in the navy of Charles II.
But the seamen were not gentlemen, and the gentlemen were not seamen.

His imagination resembled the wings of an ostrich. It enabled him to
run, though not to soar.

... Lady Millar, who kept a vase wherein fools were wont to put bad
verses, and Jerningham, who wrote verses fit to be put into the vase of
Lady Millar.

From the poetry of Lord Byron they drew a system of ethics compounded of
misanthropy and voluptuousness, a system in which the two great
commandments were to hate your neighbour and to love your neighbour's

[Sidenote: _Mrs. Gaskell_]

In the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons; all the
holders of houses, above a certain rent, are women. If a married couple
come to settle in the town, somehow the gentleman disappears; he is
either fairly frightened to death by being the only man in the Cranford
evening parties, or he is accounted for by being with his regiment, his
ship, or closely engaged in business all the week in the great
neighbouring commercial town of Drumble, distant only twenty miles on a
railroad. In short, whatever does become of the gentlemen, they are not
at Cranford. What could they do if they were there? The surgeon has his
round of thirty miles, and sleeps at Cranford; but every man cannot be a
surgeon. For keeping the trim gardens full of choice flowers without a
weed to speck them; for frightening away little boys who look wistfully
at the said flowers through the railings; for rushing at the geese that
occasionally venture into the gardens if the gates are left open; for
deciding all questions of literature and politics without troubling
themselves with unnecessary reasons or arguments; for obtaining clear
and correct knowledge of everybody's affairs in the parish; for keeping
their neat maid-servants in admirable order; for kindness (somewhat
dictatorial) to the poor, and real tender good offices to each other
whenever they are in distress, the ladies of Cranford are quite
sufficient. "A man," as one of them observed to me once, "is _so_ in the
way in the house!" Although the ladies of Cranford know all each other's
proceedings, they are exceedingly indifferent to each other's opinions.
Indeed, as each has her own individuality, not to say eccentricity,
pretty strongly developed, nothing is so easy as verbal retaliation;
but, somehow, good-will reigns among them to a considerable degree.

The Cranford ladies have only an occasional little quarrel, spirted out
in a few peppery words and angry jerks of the head; just enough to
prevent the even tenor of their lives from becoming too flat. Their
dress is very independent of fashion; as they observe, "What does it
signify how we dress here at Cranford, where everybody knows us?" And if
they go from home, their reason is equally cogent, "What does it signify
how we dress here, where nobody knows us?" The materials of their
clothes are, in general, good and plain, and most of them are nearly as
scrupulous as Miss Tyler, of cleanly memory; but I will answer for it,
the last gigot, the last tight and scanty petticoat in wear in England,
was seen at Cranford--and seen without a smile.

I can testify to a magnificent family red silk umbrella, under which a
gentle little spinster, left alone of many brothers and sisters, used to
patter to church on rainy days. Have you any red silk umbrellas in
London? We had a tradition of the first that had ever been seen in
Cranford; and the little boys mobbed it, and called it "a stick in
petticoats." It might have been the very red silk one I have described,
held by a strong father over a troop of little ones; the poor little
lady--the survivor of all--could scarcely carry it.

Then there were rules and regulations for visiting and calls; and they
were announced to any young people who might be staying in the town with
all the solemnity with which the old Manx laws were read once a year on
the Tinwald Mount:

"Our friends have sent to inquire how you are after your journey
to-night, my dear" (fifteen miles, in a gentleman's carriage); "they
will give you some rest to-morrow, but the next day, I have no doubt,
they will call; so be at liberty after twelve--from twelve to three are
our calling-hours."

Then, after they had called:

"It is the third day; I dare say your mamma has told you, my dear, never
to let more than three days elapse between receiving a call and
returning it; and also, that you are never to stay longer than a quarter
of an hour."

"But am I to look at my watch? How am I to find out when a quarter of an
hour has passed?"

"You must keep thinking about the time, my dear, and not allow yourself
to forget it in conversation."

As everybody had this rule in their minds, whether they received or
paid a call, of course no absorbing subject was ever spoken about. We
kept ourselves to short sentences of small talk, and were punctual to
our time.

I imagine that a few of the gentlefolk of Cranford were poor, and had
some difficulty in making both ends meet; but they were like the
Spartans, and concealed their smart under a smiling face. We none of us
spoke of money, because that subject savoured of commerce and trade, and
though some might be poor, we were all aristocratic. The Cranfordians
had that kindly _esprit de corps_ which made them overlook all
deficiencies in success when some among them tried to conceal their
poverty. When Mrs. Forester, for instance, gave a party in her
baby-house of a dwelling, and the little maiden disturbed the ladies on
the sofa by a request that she might get the tea-tray out from
underneath, every one took this novel proceeding as the most natural
thing in the world, and talked on about household forms and ceremonies
as if we all believed that our hostess had a regular servants' hall,
second table, with housekeeper and steward, instead of the once little
charity-school maiden, whose short ruddy arms could never have been
strong enough to carry the tray upstairs if she had not been assisted in
private by her mistress, who now sat in state pretending not to know
what cakes were sent up, though she knew, and we knew, and she knew that
we knew, and we knew that she knew that we knew, she had been busy all
the morning making tea-bread and sponge-cakes.

There were one or two consequences arising from this general but
unacknowledged poverty, and this very much acknowledged gentility, which
were not amiss, and which might be introduced into many circles of
society to their great improvement. For instance, the inhabitants of
Cranford kept early hours, and clattered home in their pattens, under
the guidance of a lantern-bearer, about nine o'clock at night; and the
whole town was abed and asleep by half-past ten. Moreover, it was
considered "vulgar" (a tremendous word in Cranford) to give anything
expensive, in the way of eatable or drinkable, at the evening
entertainments. Wafer bread-and-butter and sponge-biscuits were all that
the Honourable Mrs. Jamieson gave; and she was sister-in-law to the late
Earl of Glenmire, although she did practise such "elegant economy."

"Elegant economy!" How naturally one falls back into the phraseology of
Cranford! There, economy was always "elegant," and money-spending always
"vulgar and ostentatious"; a sort of sour-grapeism which made us very
peaceful and satisfied. I never shall forget the dismay felt when a
certain Captain Brown came to live at Cranford and openly spoke about
his being poor--not in a whisper to an intimate friend, the doors and
windows being previously closed, but in the public street! in a loud
military voice! alleging his poverty as a reason for not taking a
particular house. The ladies of Cranford were already rather moaning
over the invasion of their territories by a man and a gentleman. He was
a half-pay captain, and had obtained some situation on a neighbouring
railroad, which had been vehemently petitioned against by the little
town; and if, in addition to his masculine gender, and his connection
with the obnoxious railroad, he was so brazen as to talk of being
poor--why then, indeed, he must be sent to Coventry.... We had tacitly
agreed to ignore that any with whom we associated on terms of visiting
equality could ever be prevented by poverty from doing anything that
they wished. If we walked to or from a party, it was because the night
was so fine, or the air so refreshing, not because sedan-chairs were
expensive. If we wore prints instead of summer silks, it was because we
preferred a washing material; and so on, till we blinded ourselves to
the vulgar fact that we were, all of us, people of very moderate means.
Of course, then, we did not know what to make of a man who could speak
of poverty as if it was not a disgrace. Yet, somehow, Captain Brown made
himself respected in Cranford, and was called upon, in spite of all
resolutions to the contrary. I was surprised to hear his opinions quoted
as authority at a visit which I paid to Cranford about a year after he
had settled in the town. My old friends had been among the bitterest
opponents of any proposal to visit the captain and his daughters, only
twelve months before; and now he was even admitted in the tabooed hours
before twelve. True, it was to discover the cause of a smoking chimney,
before the fire was lighted; but still Captain Brown walked upstairs,
nothing daunted, spoke in a voice too large for the room, and joked
quite in the way of a tame man about the house. He had been blind to all
the small slights, and omissions of trivial ceremonies, with which he
had been received. He had been friendly, though the Cranford ladies had
been cool; he had answered small sarcastic compliments in good faith;
and, with his manly frankness, had overpowered all the shrinking which
met him as a man who was not ashamed to be poor. And, at last, his
excellent masculine common sense and his facility in devising expedients
to overcome domestic dilemmas had gained him an extraordinary place as
authority among the Cranford ladies. He himself went on in his course as
unaware of his popularity as he had been of the reverse; and I am sure
he was startled one day when he found his advice so highly esteemed as
to make some counsel which he had given in jest to be taken in sober,
serious earnest.

It was on this subject: An old lady had an Alderney cow, which she
looked upon as a daughter. You could not pay the short quarter of an
hour call without being told of the wonderful milk or wonderful
intelligence of this animal. The whole town knew and kindly regarded
Miss Betsy Barker's Alderney; therefore great was the sympathy and
regret when, in an unguarded moment, the poor cow tumbled into a
lime-pit. She moaned so loudly that she was soon heard and rescued; but
meanwhile the poor beast had lost most of her hair and came out looking
naked, cold, and miserable, in a bare skin. Everybody pitied the animal,
though a few could not restrain their smiles at her droll appearance.
Miss Betsy Barker absolutely cried with sorrow and dismay; and it was
said she thought of trying a bath of oil. This remedy, perhaps, was
recommended by some one of the number whose advice she asked; but the
proposal, if ever it was made, was knocked on the head by Captain
Brown's decided "Get her a flannel waistcoat and flannel drawers, ma'am,
if you wish to keep her alive. But my advice is, kill the poor creature
at once."

Miss Betsy Barker dried her eyes, and thanked the captain heartily. She
set to work, and by and by all the town turned out to see the Alderney
meekly going to her pasture, clad in dark grey flannel. I have watched
her myself many a time. Do you ever see cows dressed in grey flannel in

Captain Brown had taken a small house on the outskirts of the town,
where he had lived with his two daughters. He must have been upwards of
sixty at the time of the first visit I paid to Cranford after I had left
it as a residence. But he had a wiry, well-trained, elastic figure, a
stiff military throw-back of his head, and a springing step, which made
him appear much younger than he was. His eldest daughter looked almost
as old as himself, and betrayed the fact that his real was more than his
apparent age. Miss Brown must have been forty; she had a sickly, pained,
careworn expression on her face, and looked as if the gaiety of youth
had long faded out of sight. Even when young she must have been plain
and hard-featured. Miss Jessie Brown was ten years younger than her
sister, and twenty shades prettier. Her face was round and dimpled. Miss
Jenkyns once said, in a passion against Captain Brown (the cause of
which I will tell you presently), that "she thought it was time for Miss
Jessie to leave off her dimples, and not always to be trying to look
like a child." It was true there was something childlike in her face;
and there will be, I think, till she dies, though she should live to a
hundred. Her eyes were large, blue, wondering eyes, looking straight at
you; her nose was unformed and snub, and her lips were red and dewy; she
wore her hair, too, in little rows of curls, which heightened this
appearance. I do not know whether she was pretty or not; but I liked her
face, and so did everybody, and I do not think she could help her
dimples. She had something of her father's jauntiness of gait and
manner; and any female observer might detect a slight difference in the
attire of the two sisters--that of Miss Jessie being about two pounds
per annum more expensive than Miss Brown's. Two pounds was a large sum
in Captain Brown's annual disbursements.

Such was the impression made upon me by the Brown family when I first
saw them all together in Cranford Church. The captain I had met
before--on the occasion of the smoky chimney, which he had cured by some
simple alteration in the flue. In church, he held his double eye-glass
to his eyes during the Morning Hymn, and then lifted up his head erect
and sang out loud and joyfully. He made the responses louder than the
clerk--an old man with a piping, feeble voice, who, I think, felt
aggrieved at the captain's sonorous bass, and quavered higher and higher
in consequence.

On coming out of church the brisk captain paid the most gallant
attention to his two daughters. He nodded and smiled to his
acquaintances; but he shook hands with none until he had helped Miss
Brown to unfurl her umbrella, had relieved her of her prayer-book, and
had waited patiently till she, with trembling, nervous hands, had taken
up her gown to walk through the wet roads.

I wondered what the Cranford ladies did with Captain Brown at their
parties. We had often rejoiced, in former days, that there was no
gentleman to be attended to, and to find conversation for, at the
card-parties. We had congratulated ourselves upon the snugness of the
evenings; and, in our love for gentility, and distaste of mankind, we
had almost persuaded ourselves that to be a man was to be "vulgar"; so
that when I found my friend and hostess, Miss Jenkyns, was going to have
a party in my honour, and that Captain and the Miss Browns were invited,
I wondered much what could be the course of the evening. Card-tables,
with green-baize tops were set out by daylight, just as usual; it was
the third week in November, so the evening closed in about four.
Candles, and clean packs of cards were arranged in each table. The fire
was made up; the neat maid-servant had received her last directions; and
there we stood, dressed in our best, each with a candle-lighter in our
hands, ready to dart at the candles as soon as the first knock came.
Parties in Cranford were solemn festivities, making the ladies feel
gravely elated as they sat together in their best dresses. As soon as
three had arrived, we sat down to "Preference," I being the unlucky
fourth. The next four comers were put down immediately to another table;
and presently the tea-trays, which I had seen set out in the storeroom
as I passed in the morning, were placed each on the middle of a
card-table. The china was delicate eggshell; the old-fashioned silver
glittered with polishing; but the eatables were of the slightest
description. While the trays were yet on the tables, Captain and the
Miss Browns came in; and I could see that, somehow or other, the captain
was a favourite with all the ladies present. Ruffled brows were
smoothed, sharp voices lowered at his approach. Miss Brown looked ill,
and depressed almost to gloom. Miss Jessie smiled as usual, and seemed
nearly as popular as her father. He immediately and quietly assumed the
man's place in the room; attended to every one's wants, lessened the
pretty maid-servant's labour by waiting on empty cups and
bread-and-butterless ladies; and yet did it all in so dignified a
manner, and so much as if it were a matter of course for the strong to
attend to the weak, that he was a true man throughout. He played for
threepenny points with as grave an interest as if they had been pounds;
and yet, in all his attention to strangers, he had an eye on his
suffering daughter--for suffering I was sure she was, though to many
eyes she might only appear to be irritable. Miss Jessie could not play
cards; but she talked to the sitters-out, who, before her coming, had
been rather inclined to be cross. She sang, too, to an old cracked
piano, which I think had been a spinet in its youth. Miss Jessie sang
"Jock of Hazeldean" a little out of tune; but we were none of us
musical, though Miss Jenkyns beat time, out of time, by way of appearing
to be so.

It was very good of Miss Jenkyns to do this; for I had seen that, a
little before, she had been a good deal annoyed by Miss Jessie Brown's
unguarded admission (apropos of Shetland wool) that she had an uncle,
her mother's brother, who was a shopkeeper in Edinburgh. Miss Jenkyns
tried to drown this confession by a terrible cough--for the Honourable
Mrs. Jamieson was sitting at the card-table nearest Miss Jessie, and
what would she say or think if she found out she was in the same room
with a shopkeeper's niece! But Miss Jessie Brown (who had no tact, as we
all agreed the next morning) _would_ repeat the information, and assure
Miss Pole she could easily get her identical Shetland wool required,
"through my uncle, who has the best assortment of Shetland goods of any
one in Edinboro'." It was to take the taste of this out of our mouths,
and the sound of this out of our ears, that Miss Jenkyns proposed music;
so I say again, it was very good of her to beat time to the song.

When the trays reappeared with biscuits and wine, punctually at a
quarter to nine, there was conversation, comparing of cards, talking
over tricks; but by and by Captain Brown sported a bit of literature.

"Have you seen any numbers of _The Pickwick Papers_?" said he. (They
were then publishing in parts.) "Capital thing!"

Now Miss Jenkyns was daughter of a deceased rector of Cranford; and, on
the strength of a number of manuscript sermons and a pretty good library
of divinity, considered herself literary, and looked upon any
conversation about books as a challenge to her. So she answered and
said, "Yes, she had seen them; indeed, she might say she had read them."

"And what do you think of them?" exclaimed Captain Brown. "Aren't they
famously good?"

So urged, Miss Jenkyns could not but speak.

"I must say, I don't think they are by any means equal to Dr. Johnson.
Still, perhaps, the author is young. Let him persevere, and who knows
what he may become if he will take the great Doctor for his model." This
was evidently too much for Captain Brown to take placidly; and I saw the
words on the tip of his tongue before Miss Jenkyns had finished her

"It is quite a different sort of thing, my dear madam," he began.

"I am quite aware of that," returned she. "And I make allowances,
Captain Brown."

"Just allow me to read you a scene out of this month's number," pleaded
he. "I had it only this morning, and I don't think the company can have
read it yet."

"As you please," said she, settling herself with an air of resignation.
He read the account of the "swarry" which Sam Weller gave at Bath. Some
of us laughed heartily. I did not dare, because I was staying in the
house. Miss Jenkyns sat in patient gravity. When it was ended, she
turned to me, and said, with mild dignity:

"Fetch me _Rasselas_, my dear, out of the book-room."

When I brought it to her, she turned to Captain Brown--

"Now allow _me_ to read you a scene, and then the present company can
judge between your favourite, Mr. Boz, and Dr. Johnson."

She read one of the conversations between Rasselas and Imlac, in a
high-pitched, majestic voice; and when she had ended, she said, "I
imagine I am now justified in my preference of Dr. Johnson as a writer
of fiction." The captain screwed his lips out, and drummed on the table,
but he did not speak. She thought she would give a finishing blow or

"I consider it vulgar, and below the dignity of literature, to publish
in numbers."

"How was the _Rambler_ published, ma'am?" asked Captain Brown, in a low
voice, which I think Miss Jenkyns could not have heard.

"Dr. Johnson's style is a model for young beginners. My father
recommended it to me when I began to write letters--I have formed my own
style upon it; I recommend it to your favourite."

"I should be very sorry for him to exchange his style for any such
pompous writing," said Captain Brown.

Miss Jenkyns felt this as a personal affront, in a way of which the
Captain had not dreamed. Epistolary writing she and her friends
considered as her _forte_. Many a copy of many a letter have I seen
written and corrected on the slate, before she "seized the half-hour
just previous to post-time to assure" her friends of this or of that;
and Dr. Johnson was, as she said, her model in these compositions. She
drew herself up with dignity, and only replied to Captain Brown's last
remark by saying, with marked emphasis on every syllable, "I prefer Dr.
Johnson to Mr. Boz."

It is said--I won't vouch for the fact--that Captain Brown was heard to
say, _sotto voce,_ "D----n Dr. Johnson!" If he did, he was penitent
afterwards, as he showed by going to stand near Miss Jenkyns's
arm-chair, and endeavouring to beguile her into conversation on some
more pleasing subject. But she was inexorable. The next day she made the
remark I have mentioned about Miss Jessie's dimples.

[Sidenote: _Hood_]

  "Oh! what is that comes gliding in,
    And quite in middling haste?
  It is the picture of my Jones,
    And painted to the waist.

  "It is not painted to the life,
    For where's the trousers blue?
  Oh, Jones, my dear!--Oh dear! my Jones,
    What is become of you?"

  "Oh! Sally dear, it is too true,--
    The half that you remark
  Is come to say my other half
    Is bit off by a shark!

  "Oh! Sally, sharks do things by halves,
    Yet most completely do!
  A bite in one place seems enough,
    But I've been bit in two.

  "You know I once was all your own,
    But now a shark must share!
  But let that pass--for now to you
    I'm neither here nor there.

  "Alas! death has a strange divorce
    Effected in the sea,
  It has divided me from you,
    And even me from me.

  "Don't fear my ghost will walk o' nights,
    To haunt, as people say;
  My ghost _can't_ walk, for oh! my legs
    Are many leagues away!

  "Lord! think, when I am swimming round,
    And looking where the boat is,
  A shark just snaps away a half
    Without a quarter's notice.

  "One half is here, the other half
    Is near Columbia placed:
  Oh! Sally, I have got the whole
    Atlantic for my waist.

  "But now adieu--a long adieu!
    I've solved death's awful riddle,
  And would say more, but I am doomed
    To break off in the middle."

[Sidenote: _John Selden_]

Old friends are best. King James used to call for his old shoes; they
were easiest for his feet.

       *       *       *       *       *

'Tis sometimes unreasonable to look after respect and reverence, either
from a man's own servant, or other inferiors. A great lord and a
gentleman talking together, there came a boy by, leading a calf with
both his hands: says the lord to the gentleman, "You shall see me make
the boy let go his calf"; with that he came towards him, thinking the
boy would have put off his hat, but the boy took no notice of him. The
lord seeing that, "Sirrah," says he, "do you not know me, that you use
no reverence?" "Yes," says the boy, "if your Lordship will hold my calf,
I will put off my hat."

       *       *       *       *       *

King James said to the fly, "Have I three kingdoms, and thou must needs
fly into my eye?"

[Sidenote: _Mark Twain_]

It is seldom pleasant to tell on one's self, but sometimes it is a sort
of relief to a man to make a sad confession. I wish to unburden my mind
now, and yet I almost believe that I am moved to do it more because I
long to bring censure upon another man than because I desire to pour
balm upon my wounded heart. (I don't know what balm is, but I believe it
is the correct expression to use in this connection--never having seen
any balm.) You may remember that I lectured in Newark lately for the
young gentlemen of the Clayonian Society? I did, at any rate. During the
afternoon of that day I was talking with one of the young gentlemen just
referred to, and he said he had an uncle who, from some cause or other,
seemed to have grown permanently bereft of all emotion. And, with tears
in his eyes, this young man said, "Oh, if I could only see him laugh
once more! Oh, if I could only see him weep!" I was touched. I could
never withstand distress.

I said: "Bring him to my lecture. I'll start him for you."

"Oh, if you could but do it! If you could but do it, all our family
would bless you for ever more, for he is so very dear to us. Oh my
benefactor, can you make him laugh? can you bring soothing tears to
those parched orbs?"

I was profoundly moved. I said: "My son, bring the old party round. I
have got some jokes in that lecture that will make him laugh if there is
any laugh in him; and, if they miss fire, I have got some others that
will make him cry or kill him, one or the other." Then the young man
blessed me, and wept on my neck, and went after his uncle. He placed him
in full view, in the second row of benches that night, and I began on
him. I tried him with mild jokes, then with severe ones; I dosed him
with bad jokes, and riddled him with good ones; I fired old, stale jokes
into him, and peppered him fore and aft with red-hot new ones; I warmed
up to my work, and assaulted him on the right and left, in front and
behind; I fumed and sweated and charged and ranted till I was hoarse and
sick, and frantic and furious; but I never moved him once--I never
started a smile or a tear! Never a ghost of a smile, and never a
suspicion of moisture! I was astounded. I closed the lecture at last
with one despairing shriek--with one wild burst of humour, and hurled a
joke of supernatural atrocity full at him!

Then I sat down bewildered and exhausted.

The president of the society came up and bathed my head with cold water,
and said: "What made you carry on so towards the last?"

I said I was trying to make that confounded old fool laugh, in the
second row.

And he said: "Well, you were wasting your time, because he is deaf and
dumb, and as blind as a badger!"

Now, was that any way for that old man's nephew to impose on a stranger
and orphan like me? I simply ask you, as a man and a brother, if that
was any way for him to do?

[Sidenote: _Ingoldsby_]

(Imitated from Martial)

  A Friend I met, some half hour since--
    "_Good-morning_, Jack!" quoth I;
  The new-made Knight, like any Prince,
    Frowned, nodded, and passed by;
  When up came Jem--_"Sir John, your Slave!"_
    "Ah, James;   we dine at eight--
  Fail not"--(low bows the supple knave)--
    "Don't make my lady wait."
  The King can do no wrong? As I'm a sinner,
  He's spoilt an honest tradesman and my dinner.


[Sidenote: _Anon._]

  With nose so long and mouth so wide,
  And those twelve grinders side by side,
  Dick, with a very little trial,
  Would make an excellent sun-dial.

[Sidenote: _Wellesley (altered)_]

  Nicias, a doctor and musician,
  Lies under very foul suspicion.
  He sings, and without any shame
    He murders all the finest music:
  Does he prescribe? our fate's the same,
    If he shall e'er find me or you sick.

[Sidenote: _Anon._]

  Now the Graces are four and the Venuses two,
    And ten is the number of Muses;
  For a Muse and a Grace and a Venus are you,
    My dear little Molly Trefusis.

[Sidenote: _Merivale_]

  Dick cannot blow his nose when'er he pleases,
    His nose so long is, and his arm so short,
  Nor ever cries, God bless me! when he sneezes--
    He cannot hear so distant a report.

[Sidenote: _Stow_]

"Every year also at Shrove Tuesday, that we may begin with children's
sports, seeing we all have been children, the schoolboys do bring cocks
of the game to their master, and all the forenoon they delight
themselves in cock-fighting; after dinner, all the youths go into the
fields to play at the ball.

"The scholars of every school have their ball, or baton, in their hands;
the ancient and wealthy men of the city come forth on horseback to see
the sport of the young men and to take part of the pleasure in beholding
their agility. Every Friday in Lent a fresh company of young men comes
into the field on horseback, and the best horseman conducteth the rest.
Then march forth the citizens' sons, and other young men, with disarmed
lances and shields; and there they practise feats of war. Many courtiers
likewise, when the king lieth near, and attendants of noblemen, do
repair to these exercises; and, while the hope of victory doth inflame
their minds, do show good proof how serviceable they would be in martial

"In Easter holidays they fight battles on the water; a shield is hung
upon a pole, fixed in the midst of the stream, a boat is prepared
without oars, to be carried by violence of the water, and in the fore
part thereof standeth a young man, ready to give charge upon the shield
with his lance; if so be he breaketh his lance against the shield, and
doth not fall, he is thought to have performed a worthy deed; if so be,
without breaking his lance, he runneth strongly against the shield, down
he falleth into the water, for the boat is violently forced with the
tide; but on each side of the shield ride two boats, furnished with
young men, which recover him that falleth as soon as they may. Upon the
bridge, wharfs, and houses, by the river's side stand great numbers to
see and laugh thereat....

"When the great fen, or moor, which watereth the walls of the city on
the north side, is frozen, many young men play upon the ice; some,
striding as wide as they may, do slide swiftly; others make themselves
seats of ice, as great as millstones; one sits down, many hand in hand
to draw him, and one slipping on a sudden, all fall together; some tie
bones to their feet and under their heels, and, shoving themselves by a
little picked staff, do slide as swiftly as a bird flieth in the air, or
an arrow out of a crossbow. Sometime two run together with poles, and,
hitting one the other, either one or both do fall, not without hurt;
some break their arms, some their legs, but youth desirous of glory in
this sort exerciseth itself against the time of war. Many of the
citizens do delight themselves in hawks and hounds; for they have
liberty of hunting in Middlesex, Hertfordshire, all Chiltern, and in
Kent to the water of Cray." Thus far Fitzstephen of sports.

These, or the like exercises, have been continued till our time,
namely, in stage-plays, whereof ye may read in anno 1391, a play by the
parish clerks of London at the Skinner's Well besides Smithfield, which
continued three days together, the king, queen, and nobles of the realm
being present. And of another, in the year 1409, which lasted eight
days, and was of matter from the creation of the world, whereat was
present most part of the nobility and gentry of England. Of late time,
in place of those stage-plays, hath been used comedies, tragedies,
interludes, and histories, both true and feigned; for the acting whereof
certain public places, as the Theatre, the Curtain, etc., have been
erected. Also cocks of the game are yet cherished by divers men for
their pleasures, much money being laid on their heads, when they fight
in pits, whereof some be costly made for that purpose. The ball is used
by noblemen and gentlemen in tennis-courts, and by people of meaner sort
in the open fields and streets.

The marching forth of citizens' sons, and other young men on horseback,
with disarmed lances and shields, there to practise feats of war, man
against man, hath long since been left off, but in their stead they have
used, on horseback, to run at a dead mark, called a quintain; for note
whereof I read, that in the year of Christ 1253, the 38th of Henry III.,
the youthful citizens, for an exercise of their activity, set forth a
game to run at the quintain; and whoever did best should have a peacock,
which they had prepared as a prize. Certain of the king's servants,
because the court lay then at Westminster, came, as it were, in spite of
the citizens, to that game, and, giving reproachful names to the
Londoners, which for the dignity of the city, and ancient privilege
which they ought to have enjoyed, were called barons, the said
Londoners, not able to bear so to be misused, fell upon the king's
servants, and beat them shrewdly, so that, upon complaint to the king,
he fined the citizens to pay a thousand marks. This exercise of running
at the quintain was practised by the youthful citizens as well in summer
as in winter, namely, in the feast of Christmas, I have seen a quintain
set upon Cornhill, by the Leadenhall, where the attendants on the lords
of merry disports have run, and made great pastime; for he that hit not
the broad end of the quintain was of all men laughed to scorn, and he
that hit it full, if he rid not the faster, had a sound blow in his neck
with a bag full of sand hung on the other end. I have also in the summer
season seen some upon the river of Thames rowed in wherries with staves
in their hands, flat at the fore end, running one against another, and
for the most part, one or both overthrown and well ducked.

On the holy days in summer the youths of this city have in the field
exercised themselves in leaping, dancing, shooting, wrestling, casting
of the stone or ball, etc.

And for defence and use of the weapon, there is a special profession of
men that teach it. Ye may read in mine Annals how that in the year 1222
the citizens kept games of defence, and wrestlings, near unto the
hospital of St. Giles-in-the-Field, where they challenged and had the
mastery of the men in the suburbs, and other commoners, etc. Also, in
the year 1453, of a tumult made against the mayor at the wrestling
besides Clerke's Well, etc. Which is sufficient to prove that of old
time the exercising of wrestling, and such like, hath been much more
used than of later years. The youths of this city also have used on holy
days after evening prayer, at their masters' doors, to exercise their
wasters and bucklers; and the maidens, one of them playing on a timbrel,
in sight of their masters and dames, to dance for garlands hung athwart
the streets; which open pastimes in my youth being now suppressed, worse
practices within doors are to be feared. As for the baiting of bulls and
bears, they are to this day much frequented, namely, in Bear gardens, on
the Bank's side, wherein be prepared scaffolds for beholders to stand
upon. Sliding upon the ice is now but children's play; but in hawking
and hunting many grave citizens at this present have great delight, and
do rather want leisure than good-will to follow it.

Of triumphant shows made by the citizens of London, ye may read, in the
year 1236, the 20th of Henry III., Andrew Bockwell then being mayor, how
Eleanor, daughter to Reymond, Earl of Provence, riding through the city
towards Westminster, there to be crowned Queen of England, the city was
adorned with silks, and in the night with lamps, cressets, and other
lights without number, besides many pageants and strange devices there
presented; the citizens also rode to meet the king and queen, clothed in
long garments embroidered about, with gold and silks of divers colours,
their horses gallantly trapped to the number of three hundred and sixty,
every man bearing a cup of gold or silver in his hand, and the king's
trumpeters sounding before them. These citizens did minister wine, as
bottlers, which is their service, at their coronation. More, in the year
1293, for victory obtained by Edward I., against the Scots, every
citizen, according to their several trade, made their several show, but
especially the fishmongers, which in a solemn procession passed through
the city, having, amongst other pageants and shows, four sturgeons gilt,
carried on four horses; then four salmons of silver on four horses; and
after them six and forty armed knights riding on horses, made like luces
of the sea; and then one representing St. Magnus, because it was upon
St. Magnus's day, with a thousand horsemen, etc.

One other show, in the year 1377, was made by the citizens for disport
of the young prince, Richard, son of the Black Prince, in the feast of
Christmas, in this manner: On the Sunday before Candlemas, in the night,
one hundred and thirty citizens, disguised, and well horsed, in a
mummery, with sound of trumpets, sack-butts, cornets, shalmes, and other
minstrels, and innumerable torchlights of wax, rode from Newgate,
through Cheap, over the bridge, through Southwark, and so to Kennington
beside Lambhith, where the young prince remained with his mother and the
Duke of Lancaster his uncle, the Earls of Cambridge, Hertford, Warwick,
and Suffolk, with divers other lords. In the first rank did ride
forty-eight in the likeness and habit of esquires, two and two together,
clothed in red coats and gowns of say or sandal, with comely visors on
their faces; after them came riding forty-eight knights in the same
livery of colour and stuff; then followed one richly arrayed like an
emperor; and, after him some distance, one stately attired like a pope,
whom followed twenty-four cardinals, and after them eight or ten with
black visors, not amiable, as if they had been legates from some foreign
princes. These maskers, after they had entered Kennington, alighted from
their horses, and entered the hall on foot; which done, the prince, his
mother, and the lords came out of the chamber into the hall, whom the
said mummers did salute, showing by a pair of dice upon the table their
desire to play with the prince, which they so handled that the prince
did always win when he cast them. Then the mummers set to the prince
three jewels, one after another, which were a bowl of gold, a cup of
gold, and a ring of gold, which the prince won at three casts. Then they
set to the prince's mother, the duke, the earls, and other lords, to
every one a ring of gold, which they did also win. After which they were
feasted, and the music sounded, the prince and lords danced on the one
part with the mummers, which did also dance; which jollity being ended,
they were again made to drink, and then departed in order as they came.

The like was in Henry IV., in the 2nd of his reign, he then keeping his
Christmas at Eltham, twelve aldermen of London and their sons rode in a
mumming, and had great thanks.

Thus much for sportful shows in triumphs may suffice. Now for sports and
pastimes yearly used.

First, in the feast of Christmas, there was in the king's house,
wheresoever he was lodged, a lord of misrule, or master of merry
disports, and the like had ye in the house of every nobleman of honour
or good worship, were he spiritual or temporal. Amongst the which the
mayor of London, and either of the sheriffs, had their several lords of
misrule, ever contending, without quarrel or offence, who should make
the rarest pastimes to delight the beholders. These lords beginning
their rule on Alhollon eve, continued the same till the morrow after the
Feast of the Purification, commonly called Candlemas day. In all which
space there were fine and subtle disguisings, masks, and mummeries, with
playing at cards for counters, nails, and points, in every house, more
for pastime than for gain.

Against the feast of Christmas every man's house, as also the parish
churches, were decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of
the year afforded to be green. The conduits and standards in the
streets were likewise garnished; amongst the which I read, in the year
1444, that by tempest of thunder and lightning, on the 1st of February,
at night, Paule's Steeple was fired, but with great labour quenched; and
towards the morning of Candlemas Day, at the Leadenhall in Cornhill, a
standard of tree being set up in midst of the pavement, fast in the
ground, nailed full of holm and ivy, for disport of Christmas to the
people, was torn up, and cast down by the malignant spirit (as was
thought), and the stones of the pavement all about were cast in the
streets, and into divers houses, so that the people were sore aghast of
the great tempests.

In the week before Easter, had ye great shows made for the fetching in
of a twisted tree, or with, as they termed it, out of the woods into the
king's house; and the like into every man's house of honour or worship.

In the month of May, namely, on May-day in the morning, every man,
except impediment, would walk into the sweet meadows and green woods,
there to rejoice their spirits with the beauty and savour of sweet
flowers, and with the harmony of birds, praising God in their kind; and
for example hereof, Edward Hall hath noted, that King Henry VIII., as in
the 3rd of his reign, and divers other years, so namely, in the 7th of
his reign, on May-day in the morning, with Queen Katherine his wife,
accompanied with many lords and ladies, rode a-maying from Greenwich to
the high ground of Shooter's Hill, where, as they passed by the way,
they espied a company of tall yeomen, clothed all in green, with green
hoods, and bows and arrows, to the number of two hundred; one being
their chieftain, was called Robin Hood, who required the king and his
company to stay and see his men shoot; whereunto the King granting,
Robin Hood whistled, and all the two hundred archers shot off, loosing
all at once; and when he whistled again they likewise shot again; their
arrows whistled by craft of the head, so that the noise was strange and
loud, which greatly delighted the king, queen, and their company.
Moreover, this Robin Hood desired the king and queen, with their
retinue, to enter the greenwood where, in harbours made of boughs, and
decked with flowers, they were set and served plentifully with venison
and wine by Robin Hood and his men, to their great contentment, and had
other pageants and pastimes, as ye may read in my said author.

I find also, that in the month of May, the citizens of London of all
estates, lightly in every parish, or sometimes two or three parishes
joining together, had their several mayings, and did fetch in Maypoles,
with divers warlike shows, with good archers, morris-dancers, and other
devices, for pastime all the day long; and toward the evening they had
stage-plays, and bonfires in the streets.


Dear Sir,

Since from a long time ago I had hope of a favour of you, but (ah! ah!)
was disappointed for this. I take this opportunity to enquire your
health that how you are in these days. It may not be out of place to
state that I and my two sons are enjoying, but my misfortunes has never
ceased by day and night to embarras me and torture, and I am plunged in
utmost degredation of sorrow to no purpose. At present a law suit is
hurled on me by that unworthy and unnatural or I should rather say that
prodigious blackguard man viz my brother who is son of my father and
mother, and (ah! ah!) how mortifying it is indeed to a person of my
temperature of meekness.

Had my late lamented and disceased father had even the least
scintillation that how his patrimony would involve me in his
mechanitions he would sooner have never died than wish my brother to
share it and his revered bones are now perhaps turning to behold my
misfortunate circumstances. But I must beg leaf to refrain this matter
further to complain to you.

I had heard that your eldest male issue had attended some examination
papers in Allahabad. Kindly inform that for what department he is
constrained and prone to pass and sat for.

If my younger son who is an ambilitous fellow and having read up to F.A.
could obtain some trifling job such as a honest penny turner I would be
greatly gratified for I have now no hope of success of him in the
revenue department. His abilities are superior on the whole and he would
without fail characterise any appointment with honesty. If you could
ensure his jobbery I am well self satisfied of his success.

Think him as your own issue and have kindness upon him. What more can I
request to you than this? His yeares are now entring to 24 and goverment
has fixed 25 yeares for his service so please do needfull in a quick
march time instantly on his behalf. I will be much thankfull to you for

I had not been to shooting lately owing to an iron thorn penetrated into
my foot which made impossible to walk, but my shikari make some prey
latterly of some herin and murghabi birds which I failed to send you on
account of hotness of atmosphere which would make it rotton. Hence you
should excuse my fault. But I will be with all my heart if your sons
will come to prey here. I will myself accompany and shoot him too. At
this season many herins are plentifull and one noise from raifel or gun
will bring down many dead ones.

My elephant also will ride them in the jungles and give shikar to them
as there are lipperds concealed in the thicket adjacent near the river.
I have shooted a lippard latterly and his carcase I have sent to the
chamar to make it very nicely without a bad smell coming. If you will
wish for its carcase then I can send after the bad smell has been
excluded from the carcase.

There is also a janwar called wild bores here which is ferocious and
dangerous sorts to shoot with gun but I can arrange for them also as
they are highly destructivrous to corns of poor peoples and are worthy
for killing because they devast the fields too much by their carnivrous
fooding. I have also four nice horses for riding which I can let your
sons use for the hunting purpose. They are well accustomed to the
bum-bum-budam of guns and are mild and un-shy.

Also please inform to your sons that do not bring any fooding for my
hunble kitchen will supply their all things for eating, also fruits and
etcetera for filling the belly of them.

I have specially provided 5 or 6 big and strong cock fowles and their
females for boiling on the day they will honour my poor house and some
biscuits and sodda waters and whisky. I have also some syrop of home
made which is strong and very delicshous. If your sons are like you and
not taking whisky then I can substitute another unintoxicating liquid
for that. Kindly inform on what day they will arrive at my poor house
that I may arrange their coming comfortably from railway station for the
10 miles to my poor house.

If you can come so much better but send your sons by all means.

With respects,

I am,

Yours sincerely.



Last night while perambulating city in search of evenings zephyrs I came
to learn of the demise of Babu ... of your Honour's office who leaves
widow and sorrowing children who will feed their bellies the Devil knows
how. I submit myself to your Honour's approval and patronage for the
vacancy. For my qualifications I am damnably well up in precise-writing
(Note. He means précis writing) and am much addicted to the swearing of
European oaths. I am no believing old and rotten superstition of ancient
forefathers, but am iconoclast smashing idols to detriment of damn
scoundrels. If I should be successful for the post, I and my wife and
children will fall on our bended knees, as in duty bound, and offer up
prayers for your Honour, your Honour's lady, and your posthumous
children to follow up hereafter.

Your most obedient servant.

[Sidenote: _Hood_]

  He has shaved off his whiskers and blackened his brows,
    Wears a patch and a wig of false hair--
  But it's him--oh, it's him !--we exchanged lover's vows
    When I lived up in Cavendish Square.

  He had beautiful eyes, and his lips were the same,
    And his voice was as soft as a flute--
  Like a Lord or a Marquis he looked, when he came
    To make love in his master's best suit.

  If I lived for a thousand long years from my birth,
    I shall never forget what he told--
  How he loved me beyond the rich women of earth,
    With their jewels and silver and gold!

  When he kissed me, and bade me adieu with a sigh,
    By the light of the sweetest of moons,
  Oh, how little I dreamt I was bidding good-bye
    To my Misses's teapot and spoons!

[Sidenote: _Charles Dickens_]

Mr. Testator took a set of chambers in Lyons Inn when he had but very
scanty furniture for his bedroom, and none for his sitting-room. He had
lived some wintry months in this condition, and had found it very bare
and cold. One night, past midnight, when he sat writing and still had
writing to do that must be done before he went to bed, he found himself
out of coals. He had coals downstairs, but had never been to his cellar;
however, the cellar-key was on his mantelshelf, and if he went down and
opened the cellar it fitted, he might fairly assume the coals in that
cellar to be his. As to his laundress, she lived among the coal-wagons
and Thames watermen--for there were Thames watermen at that time--in
some unknown rat-hole by the river, down lanes and alleys on the other
side of the Strand. As to any other person to meet him or obstruct him,
Lyons Inn was dreaming, drunk, maudlin, moody, betting, brooding over
bill-discounting or renewing--asleep or awake, minding its own affairs.
Mr. Testator took his coal-scuttle in one hand, his candle and key in
the other, and descended to the dismallest underground dens of Lyons
Inn, where the late vehicles in the streets became thunderous and all
the water-pipes in the neighbourhood seemed to have Macbeth's Amen
sticking in their throats, and to be trying to get it out. After groping
here and there among low doors to no purpose, Mr. Testator at length
came to a door with a rusty padlock which his key fitted. Getting the
door open with much trouble, and looking in, he found no coals, but a
confused pile of furniture. Alarmed by this intrusion on another man's
property, he locked the door again, found his own cellar, filled his
scuttle, and returned upstairs.

But the furniture he had seen ran on castors across and across Mr.
Testator's mind incessantly, when, in the chill hour of five in the
morning, he got to bed. He particularly wanted a table to write at, and
a table expressly made to be written at had been the piece of furniture
in the foreground of the heap. When his laundress emerged from her
burrow in the morning to make his kettle boil, he artfully led up to the
subject of cellars and furniture; but the two ideas had evidently no
connection in her mind. When she left him, and he sat at his breakfast,
thinking about the furniture, he recalled the rusty state of the
padlock, and inferred that the furniture must have been stored in the
cellar for a long time--was perhaps forgotten--owner dead perhaps? After
thinking it over a few days, in the course of which he could pump
nothing out of Lyons Inn about the furniture, he became desperate, and
resolved to borrow that table. He did so, that night. He had not had the
table long, when he determined to borrow an easy-chair; he had not had
that long, when he made up his mind to borrow a bookcase; then, a
couch; then, a carpet and rug. By that time, he felt he was "in
furniture stepped in so far," as that it could be no worse to borrow it
all. Consequently, he borrowed it all, and locked up the cellar for
good. He had always locked it, after every visit. He had carried up
every separate article in the dead of night, and, at the best, had felt
as wicked as a Resurrection Man. Every article was blue and furry when
brought into his rooms, and he had had, in a murderous and guilty sort
of way, to polish it up while London slept.

Mr. Testator lived in his furnished chambers two or three years, or
more, and gradually lulled himself into the opinion that the furniture
was his own. This was his convenient state of mind when, late one night,
a step came up the stairs, and a hand passed over his door feeling for
his knocker, and then one deep and solemn rap was rapped that might have
been a spring in Mr. Testator's easy-chair to shoot him out of it; so
promptly was it attended with that effect.

With a candle in his hand, Mr. Testator went to the door, and found
there a very pale and very tall man; a man who stooped; a man with very
high shoulders, a very narrow chest, and a very red nose; a
shabby-genteel man. He was wrapped in a long threadbare black coat,
fastened up the front with more pins than buttons, and under his arm he
squeezed an umbrella without a handle, as if he were playing bagpipes.
He said, "I beg your pardon, but can you tell me--" and stopped; his
eyes resting on some object within the chambers.

"Can I tell you what?" asked Mr. Testator, noting his stoppage with
quick alarm.

"I ask your pardon," said the stranger, "but--this is not the inquiry I
was going to make--_do_ I see in there, any small article of property
belonging to _me_?"

Mr. Testator was beginning to stammer that he was not aware--when the
visitor slipped past him into the chambers. There, in a goblin way which
froze Mr. Testator to the marrow, he examined, first, the writing-table,
and said, "Mine"; then, the easy-chair, and said, "Mine"; then, the
bookcase, and said, "Mine"; then, turned up a corner of the carpet, and
said "Mine!"--in a word, inspected every item of furniture from the
cellar, in succession, and said, "Mine!" Towards the end of this
investigation Mr. Testator perceived that he was sodden with liquor, and
that the liquor was gin. He was not unsteady with gin, either in his
speech or carriage; but he was stiff with gin in both particulars.

Mr. Testator was in a dreadful state, for (according to his making out
of the story) the possible consequences of what he had done in
recklessness and hardihood, flashed upon him in their fulness for the
first time. When they had stood gazing at one another for a little
while, he tremulously began:

"Sir, I am conscious that the fullest explanation, compensation, and
restitution, are your due. They shall be yours. Allow me to entreat
that, without temper, without even natural irritation on your part, we
may have a little--'

"Drop of something to drink," interrupted the stranger. "I am

Mr. Testator had intended to say, "a little quiet conversation," but
with great relief of mind adopted the amendment. He produced a decanter
of gin, and was bustling about for hot water and sugar, when he found
that his visitor had already drunk half of the decanter's contents. With
hot water and sugar the visitor drank the remainder before he had been
an hour in the chambers by the chimes of the church of St. Mary in the
Strand; and during the process he frequently whispered to himself,

The gin gone, and Mr. Testator wondering what was to follow it, the
visitor rose and said, with increased stiffness, "At what hour of the
morning, sir, will it be convenient?" Mr. Testator hazarded, "At ten?"
"Sir," said the visitor, "at ten to the moment, I shall be here." He
then contemplated Mr. Testator somewhat at leisure, and said, "God bless
you! How is your wife?" Mr. Testator (who never had a wife) replied with
much feeling, "Deeply anxious, poor soul, but otherwise well." The
visitor thereupon turned and went away, and fell twice in going
downstairs. From that hour he was never heard of. Whether he was a
ghost, or a spectral illusion of conscience, or a drunken man, who had
no business there, or the drunken rightful owner of the furniture, with
a transitory gleam of memory; whether he got safe home, or had no home
to get to; whether he died of liquor on the way, or lived in liquor ever
afterwards; he never was heard of more.

[Sidenote: _Mark Twain_]

Distressing Accident.--Last evening, about six o'clock, as Mr. William
Schuyler, an old and respectable citizen of South Park, was leaving his
residence to go down town, as has been his usual custom for many years,
with the exception only of a short interval in the spring of 1850,
during which he was confined to his bed by injuries received in
attempting to stop a runaway horse by thoughtlessly placing himself
directly in its wake and throwing up his hands and shouting, which if he
had done so even a single moment sooner, must inevitably have frightened
the animal still more instead of checking its speed, although disastrous
enough to himself as it was, and rendered more melancholy and
distressing by reason of the presence of his wife's mother, who was
there and saw the sad occurrence, notwithstanding it is at least likely,
though not necessarily so, that she should be reconnoitring in another
direction when incidents occur, not being vivacious and on the look out,
as a general thing, but even the reverse, as her own mother is said to
have stated, who is no more, being a Christian woman and without guile,
as it were, or property, in consequence of the fire of 1849, which
destroyed every single thing she had in the world. But such is life. Let
us all take warning by this solemn occurrence, and let us endeavour so
to conduct ourselves that when we come to die we can do it. Let us place
our hands upon our hearts, and say with earnestness and sincerity that,
from this day forth, we will beware of the intoxicating bowl.

[Sidenote: _Calverley_]

  Forever; 'tis a single word!
    Our rude forefathers deem'd it two:
  Can you imagine so absurd
      A view?

  Forever! What abysms of woe
    The word reveals, what frenzy, what
  Despair! For ever (printed so)
      Did not.

  It looks, ah me! how trite and tame!
    It fails to sadden or appal
  Or solace--it is not the same
      At all.

  O thou to whom it first occurr'd
    To solder the disjoin'd, and dower
  Thy native language with a word
      Of power:

  We bless thee! Whether far or near
    Thy dwelling, whether dark or fair
  Thy kingly brow, is neither here
      Nor there.

  But in men's hearts shall be thy throne
    While the great pulse of England beats,
  Thou coiner of a word unknown
      To Keats!

  And nevermore must printer do
    As men did long ago; but run
  "For" into "ever," bidding two
      Be one.

  Forever! passion-fraught, it throws
    O'er the dim page a gloom, a glamour
  It's sweet, it's strange; and I suppose
      It's grammar.

  Forever! 'Tis a single word!
    And yet our fathers deem'd it two:
  Nor am I confident they err'd;
      Are you?

[Sidenote: _Thoreau_]

My spirits infallibly rise in proportion to the outward dreariness. Give
me the ocean, the desert or the wilderness! In the desert, pure air and
solitude compensate for want of moisture and fertility. The traveller
Burton says of it: "Your _morale_ improves; you become frank and
cordial, hospitable and single-minded.... In the desert, spirituous
liquors excite only disgust. There is a keen enjoyment in a mere animal
existence." They who have been travelling long on the steppes of Tartary
say: "On re-entering cultivated lands, the agitation, perplexity, and
turmoil of civilisation oppressed and suffocated us; the air seemed to
fail us, and we felt every moment as if about to die of asphyxia." When
I would recreate myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most
interminable, and, to the citizen, most dismal swamp. I enter a swamp as
a sacred place--a _sanctum sanctorum_. There is the strength, the marrow
of Nature. The wild-wood covers the virgin mould--and the same soil is
good for men and for trees. A man's health requires as many acres of
meadow to his prospect as his farm does loads of muck. There are the
strong meats on which he feeds. A town is saved, not more by the
righteous men in it than by the woods and swamps that surround it. A
township where one primitive forest waves above while another primitive
forest rots below--such a town is fitted to raise not only corn and
potatoes, but poets and philosophers for the coming ages. In such a soil
grew Homer and Confucius and the rest, and out of such a wilderness
comes the Reformer eating locusts and wild honey.

[Sidenote: _Anonymous_]


Forest Hill, _May 1st, 1643_.

Seventeenth Birthday. A gypsie Woman at the Gate would fame have tolde
my Fortune; but _Mother_ chased her away, saying she had doubtless
harboured in some of the low Houses in _Oxford_, and mighte bring us the
Plague. Coulde have cried for Vexation; she had promised to tell me the
Colour of my Husband's Eyes; but _Mother_ says she believes I shall
never have one, I am soe sillie. _Father_ gave me a gold Piece. Dear
_Mother_ is chafed, methinks, touching this Debt of five hundred Pounds,
which _Father_ says he knows not how to pay. Indeed, he sayd,
overnighte, his whole personal Estate amounts to but five hundred
Pounds, his Timber and Wood to four hundred more, or thereabouts; and
the Tithes and Messuages of _Whateley_ are no great Matter, being
mortgaged for about as much more, and he hath lent Sights of Money to
them that won't pay, so 'tis hard to be thus prest. Poor _Father!_ 'twas
good of him to give me this gold Piece.

May 2nd.--Cousin _Rose_ married to Master _Roger Agnew_. Present,
_Father, Mother,_ and _Brother_ of _Rose_; _Father, Mother, Dick, Bob,
Harry_, and I; Squire _Paice_ and his Daughter _Audrey_; an olde Aunt of
Master _Roger's_, and one of his Cousins, a stiffe-backed Man with
large Eares, and such a long Nose! Cousin _Rose_ looked
bewtifulle--pitie so faire a Girl should marry so olde a Man--'tis
thoughte he wants not manie Years of fifty.

May 7th.--New misfortunes in the Poultrie Yarde. Poor _Mother's_ Loyalty
cannot stand the Demands for her best Chickens, Ducklings, &c, for the
Use of his Majesty's Officers since the King hath beene in _Oxford_. She
accuseth my _Father_ of having beene wonne over by a few faire Speeches
to be more of a Royalist than his natural Temper inclineth him to;
which, of course, he will not admit.

May 8th.--Whole Day taken up in a Visit to _Rose_, now a Week married,
and growne quite matronlie already. We reached _Sheepscote_ about an
Hour before Noone. A long, broade, strait Walke of green Turf, planted
with Holly-oaks, Sunflowers, &c, and some earlier flowers alreadie in
Bloom, led up to the rusticall Porch of a truly farm-like House, with
low gable Roofs, a long lattice Window on either Side the Doore, and
three Casements above. Such, and no more, is _Rose's_ House! But she is
happy, for she came running forthe, soe soone as she hearde _Clover's_
Feet, and helped me from my Saddle all smiling, tho' she had not
expected to see us. We had Curds and Creams; and she wished it were the
Time of Strawberries, for she sayd they had large Beds; and then my
_Father_ and the Boys went forthe to looke for Master _Agnew_. Then
_Rose_ took me up to her Chamber, singing as she went; and the long,
low Room was sweet with flowers. Sayd I, "_Rose_, to be Mistress of this
pretty Cottage, t'were hardlie amisse to marry a man as old as Master
_Roger_." "Olde!" quoth she, "deare _Moll_, you must not deeme him olde;
why, he is but forty-two; and am not I twenty-three?" She lookt soe
earneste and hurte, that I coulde not but falle a laughing.

May 9th.--_Mother_ gone to _Sandford_. She hopes to get Uncle _John_ to
lend _Father_ this Money. _Father_ says she may _try_. 'Tis harde to
discourage her with an ironicalle Smile, when she is doing all she can,
and more than manie Women woulde, to help _Father_ in his Difficultie;
but suche, she sayth somewhat bitterlie, is the lot of our Sex. She bade
_Father_ mind that she had brought him three thousand Pounds, and askt
what had come of them. Answered; helped to fille the Mouths of nine
healthy Children, and stop the Mouth of an easie Husband; soe, with a
Kiss, made it up. I have the Keys, and am left Mistress of alle, to my
greate Contentment; but the Children clamour for Sweetmeats, and
_Father_ sayth, "Remember, _Moll_, Discretion is the better Part of

After _Mother_ had left, went into the Paddock, to feed the Colts with
Bread; and while they were putting their Noses into _Robin's_ Pockets,
_Dick_ brought out the two Ponies, and set me on one of them, and we had
a mad Scamper through the Meadows and down the Lanes; I leading. Just at
the Turne of _Holford's Close_, came shorte upon a Gentleman walking
under the Hedge, clad in a sober, genteel Suit, and of most beautifulle
Countenance, with Hair like a Woman's, of a lovely pale brown, long and
silky, falling over his Shoulders. I nearlie went over him, for
_Clover's_ hard Forehead knocked against his Chest; but he stoode it
like a Rock; and lookinge first at me and then at _Dick_, he smiled and
spoke to my Brother, who seemed to know him, and turned about and walked
by us, sometimes stroking _Clover's_ shaggy Mane. I felte a little
ashamed; for _Dick_ had sett me on the Poney just as I was, my Gown
somewhat too shorte for riding: however, I drewe up my Feet and let
_Clover_ nibble a little Grasse, and then got rounde to the neare Side,
our new Companion stille between us. He offered me some wild Flowers,
and askt me theire Names; and when I tolde them, he sayd I knew more
than he did, though he accounted himselfe a prettie fayre Botaniste: and
we went on thus, talking of the Herbs and Simples in the Hedges; and I
sayd how prettie some of theire Names were, and that, methought, though
Adam had named alle the Animals in Paradise, perhaps Eve had named all
the Flowers. He lookt earnestlie at me, on this and muttered "Prettie."
Then _Dick_ askt of him News from _London_, and he spoke, methought,
reservedlie; ever and anon turning his bright, thoughtfulle Eyes on me.
At length, we parted at the Turn of the Lane.

I askt _Dick_ who he was, and he told me he was one Mr. _John Milton_.

[Sidenote: _J.K. Stephen_]

  Two voices are there: one is of the deep;
  It learns the storm-cloud's thunderous melody,
  Now roars, now murmurs with the changing sea,
  Now bird-like pipes, now closes soft in sleep:
  And one is of an old half-witted sheep
  Which bleats articulate monotony,
  And indicates that two and one are three,
  That grass is green, lakes damp, and mountains steep:
  And, Wordsworth, both are thine: at certain times
  Forth from the heart of thy melodious rhymes,
  The form and pressure of high thoughts will burst:
  At other times--good Lord! I'd rather be
  Quite unacquainted with the A.B.C.
  Than write such hopeless rubbish as thy worst.

[Sidenote: _Matthew Prior_]

  To John I ow'd great obligation;
    But John, unhappily, thought fit
  To publish it to all the nation:
    Sure John and I are more than quit.

  Yes, every poet is a fool:
    By demonstration Ned can show it:
  Happy, could Ned's inverted rule
    Prove every fool to be a poet.

[Sidenote: _Boswell_]

In February, 1767, there happened one of the most remarkable incidents
of Johnson's life, which gratified his monarchical enthusiasm, and which
he loved to relate with all its circumstances, when requested by his
friends. This was his being honoured by a private conversation with his
Majesty, in the library at the Queen's House. He had frequently visited
those splendid rooms, and noble collection of books, which he used to
say was more numerous and curious than he supposed any person could have
made in the time which the King had employed. Mr. Barnard, the
librarian, took care that he should have every accommodation that could
contribute to his ease and convenience, while indulging his literary
taste in that place--so that he had here a very agreeable resource at
leisure hours.

His Majesty having been informed of his occasional visits, was pleased
to signify a desire that he should be told when Dr. Johnson came next to
the library. Accordingly, the next time that Johnson did come, as soon
as he was fairly engaged with a book, on which, while he sat by the
fire, he seemed quite intent, Mr. Barnard stole round to the apartment
where the King was, and, in obedience to his Majesty's commands,
mentioned that Dr. Johnson was then in the library. His Majesty said
that he was at leisure, and would go to him: upon which Mr. Barnard
took one of the candles that stood on the King's table, and lighted his
Majesty through a suite of rooms, till they came to a private door into
the library, of which his Majesty had the key. Being entered, Mr.
Barnard stepped forward hastily to Dr. Johnson, who was still in a
profound study, and whispered him, "Sir, here is the King." Johnson
started up, and stood still. His Majesty approached him, and at once was
courteously easy.

His Majesty began by observing that he understood he came sometimes to
the library: and then mentioned his having heard that the Doctor had
been lately at Oxford, asked him if he was not fond of going thither. To
which Johnson answered, that he was indeed fond of going to Oxford
sometimes, but was likewise glad to come back again. The King then asked
him what they were doing at Oxford. Johnson answered, he could not much
commend their diligence, but that in some respects they were mended, for
they had put their press under better regulations, and were at that time
printing Polybius. He was then asked whether there were better libraries
at Oxford or Cambridge. He answered, he believed the Bodleian was larger
than any they had at Cambridge; at the same time adding, "I hope,
whether we have more books or not than they have at Cambridge, we shall
make as good use of them as they do." Being asked whether All-Souls or
Christ Church library was the largest he answered, "All-Souls library is
the largest we have, except the Bodleian." "Aye," said the King, "that
is the public library."

His Majesty inquired if he was then writing anything. He answered he was
not, for he had pretty well told the world what he knew, and must now
read to acquire more knowledge. The king, as it should seem with a view
to urge him to rely on his own stores as an original writer, and to
continue his labours, then said, "I do not think you borrow much from
anybody." Johnson said he thought he had already done his part as a
writer. "I should have thought so too," said the king, "if you had not
written so well." Johnson observed to me, upon this, that "no man could
have paid a handsomer compliment; and it was fit for a king to pay. It
was decisive." When asked by another friend, at Sir Joshua Reynolds's,
whether he made any reply to this high compliment, he answered, "No,
sir. When the King had said it, it was to be so. It was not for me to
bandy civilities with my sovereign." Perhaps no man who had spent his
whole life in courts could have shown a more nice and dignified sense of
true politeness than Johnson did in this instance....

During the whole of this interview, Johnson talked to his Majesty with
profound respect, but still in his firm, manly manner, with a sonorous
voice, and never in that subdued tone which is commonly used at the
levee and in the drawing-room. After the king withdrew, Johnson showed
himself highly pleased with his Majesty's conversation and gracious
behaviour. He said to Mr. Barnard, "Sir, they may talk of the king as
they will; but he is the finest gentleman I have ever seen." And he
afterwards observed to Mr. Langton, "Sir, his manners are those of as
fine a gentleman as we may suppose Louis the Fourteenth or Charles the

At Sir Joshua Reynolds's, where a circle of Johnson's friends was
collected round him to hear his account of this memorable conversation,
Dr. Joseph Warton, in his frank and lively manner, was very active in
pressing him to mention the particulars. "Come now, sir, this is an
interesting matter; do favour us with it." Johnson, with great good
humour, complied.

He told them, "I found his Majesty wished I should talk, and I made it
my business to talk. I find it does a man good to be talked to by his
sovereign. In the first place, a man cannot be in a passion--" Here some
question interrupted him, which is to be regretted, as he certainly
would have pointed out and illustrated many circumstances of advantage,
from being in a situation where the powers of the mind are at once
excited to vigorous exertion and tempered by reverential awe.

[Sidenote: _Landor_]

  From you, Ianthe, little troubles pass
    Like little ripples down a sunny river;
  Your pleasures spring like daisies in the grass,
    Cut down, and up again as blithe as ever.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Metellus is a lover: one whose ear
    (I have been told) is duller than his sight.
  The day of his departure had drawn near;
    And (meeting her beloved over-night)
  Softly and tenderly Corinna sigh'd:
    "Won't you be quite as happy now without me?"
  Metellus, in his innocence replied,
    "Corinna! O Corinna! can you doubt me?"

         *       *       *       *       *

  One leg across his wide arm-chair,
  Sat Singleton, and read Voltaire;
  And when (as well he might) he hit
  Upon a splendid piece of wit,
  He cried: "I do declare now, this
  Upon the whole is not amiss."
  And spent a good half-hour to show
  By metaphysics why 'twas so.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "Why do I smile?" To hear you say,
  "One month, and then the shortest day!"
  The shortest, whate'er month it be,
  Is the bright day you pass with me.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Each year bears something from us as it flies,
  We only blow it farther with our sighs.

[Sidenote: _Hazlitt_]

There is nothing more ridiculous than laughter without a cause, nor
anything more troublesome than what are called laughing people. A
professed laugher is as contemptible and tiresome a character as a
professed wit: the one is always contriving something to laugh at, the
other is always laughing at nothing. An excess of levity is as
impertinent as an excess of gravity. A character of this sort is well
personified by Spenser, in the "Damsel of the Idle Lake":

    Who did assay
  To laugh at shaking of the leavès light.

Any one must be mainly ignorant, or thoughtless, who is surprised at
everything he sees; or wonderfully conceited, who expects everything to
conform to his standard of propriety. Clowns and idiots laugh on all
occasions; and the common failing of wishing to be thought satirical
often runs through whole families in country places, to the great
annoyance of their neighbours. To be struck with incongruity in whatever
comes before us does not argue great comprehension or refinement of
perception, but rather a looseness and flippancy of mind and temper,
which prevents the individual from connecting any two ideas steadily or
consistently together. It is owing to a natural crudity and
precipitateness of the imagination, which assimilates nothing properly
to itself. People who are always laughing, at length laugh on the wrong
side of their faces; for they cannot get others to laugh with them. In
like manner, an affectation of wit by degrees hardens the heart, and
spoils good company and good manners. A perpetual succession of good
things puts an end to common conversation. There is no answer to a jest,
but another; and even where the ball can be kept up in this way without
ceasing, it tires the patience of the bystanders, and runs the speakers
out of breath. Wit is the salt of conversation, not the food.

[Sidenote: _Austin Dobson_]

  Between the berried holly-bush
  The blackbird whistled to the thrush:
  "Which way did bright-eyed Bella go?
  Look, Speckle-breast, across the snow,--
  Are those her dainty tracks I see,
  That wind beside the shrubbery?"

  The throstle pecked the berries still.
  "No need for looking, Yellowbill;
  Young Frank was there an hour ago,
  Half frozen, waiting in the snow;
  His callow beard was white with rime,--
  'Tchuck,--'tis a merry pairing-time!"

  "What would you?" twittered in the wren;
  "These are the reckless ways of men.
  I watched them bill and coo as though
  They thought the sign of spring was snow;
  If men but timed their loves as we,
  'Twould save this inconsistency."

  "Nay, gossip," chirped the robin, "nay;
  I like their unreflective way.
  Besides, I heard enough to show
  Their love is proof against the snow:--
  'Why wait,' he said, 'why wait for May,
  When love can warm a winter's day?'"

[Sidenote: _Mark Twain_]

I have received from the publishers, New York, a neatly-printed page of
questions, with blanks for answers, and am requested to fill those
blanks. These questions are so arranged as to ferret out the most secret
points of a man's nature without his ever noticing what the idea is
until it is all done, and his "character" gone for ever. A number of
these sheets are bound together and called a Mental Photograph Album.
Nothing could induce me to fill those blanks but the asseveration of my
pastor, that it will benefit my race by enabling young people to see
what I am, and giving them an opportunity to become like somebody else.
This overcomes my scruples. I have but little character, but what I have
I am willing to part with for the public good. I do not boast of this
character, further than that I built it up by myself, at odd hours,
during the last thirty years, and without other educational aid than I
was able to pick up in the ordinary schools and colleges. I have filled
the blanks as follows:

What is your favourite...

Colour?--Anything but dun.

Tree?--Any that bears forbidden fruit.

Hour in the Day?--The leisure hour.

Perfume?--Cent, per cent.

Style of Beauty?--The Subscriber's.

Names, Male and Female?--_M'aimez_ (Maimie) for a female, and Tacus and
Marius for males.


Poet?--Robert Browning, when he has a lucid interval.

Poetess?--Timothy Titcomb.

Prose Author?--Noah Webster, LL.D.

Characters in Romance?--The Napoleon Family.

In History?--King Herod.

Book to take up for an hour?--Rothschild's pocket-book.

If not yourself, who would you rather be?--The Wandering Jew, with a
nice annuity.

What is your idea of happiness?--Finding the buttons all on.

Your idea of Misery?--Breaking an egg in your pocket.

What is your _bête noire_?--(What is my which?)

What do you most dread?--Exposure.

What do you believe to be your Distinguishing Characteristic?--Hunger.

What is the Sublimest Passion of which human nature is capable?--Loving
your sweetheart's enemies.

What are the Sweetest Words in the world?--"Not Guilty."

What is your Aim in Life?--To endeavour to be absent when my time comes.

What is your Motto?--Be virtuous, and you will be eccentric.

[Sidenote: _Izaak Walton_]

Let me tell you, Scholar, that Diogenes walked on a day, with his
friend, to see a country fair; where he saw ribbons, and
looking-glasses, and nut-crackers, and fiddles, and hobby-horses, and
many other gimcracks; and, having observed them, and all the other
finnimbruns that make a complete country-fair, he said to his friend,
"Lord, how many things are there in this world of which Diogenes hath no
need!" And truly it is so, or might be so, with very many who vex and
toil themselves to get what they have no need of. Can any man charge
God, that he hath not given him enough to make his life happy? No,
doubtless; for nature is content with a little. And yet you shall hardly
meet with a man that complains not of some want; though he, indeed,
wants nothing but his will; it may be, nothing but his will of his poor
neighbour, for not worshipping, or not flattering him: and thus, when we
might be happy and quiet, we create trouble to ourselves. I have heard
of a man that was angry with himself because he was no taller; and of a
woman that broke her looking-glass because it would not show her face to
be as young and handsome as her next neighbour's was. And I knew another
to whom God had given health and plenty; but a wife that nature had made
peevish, and her husband's riches had made purse-proud; and must,
because she was rich, and for no other virtue, sit in the highest pew in
the church; which being denied her, she engaged her husband into a
contention for it, and at last into a lawsuit with a dogged neighbour
who was as rich as he, and had a wife as peevish and purse-proud as the
other: and this lawsuit begot higher oppositions, and actionable words,
and more vexations and lawsuits; for you must remember that both were
rich, and must therefore have their wills. Well! this wilful,
purse-proud lawsuit lasted during the life of the first husband; after
which his wife vext and chid, and chid and vext, till she also chid and
vext herself into her grave: and so the wealth of these poor rich people
was curst into a punishment, because they wanted meek and thankful
hearts; for those only can make us happy. I knew a man that had health
and riches; and several houses, all beautiful, and ready furnished; and
would often trouble himself and family to be removing from one house to
another: and being asked by a friend why he removed so often from one
house to another, replied, "It was to find content in some one of them."
But his friend, knowing his temper, told him, "If he would find content
in any of his houses, he must leave himself behind him; for content will
never dwell but in a meek and quiet soul." And this may appear, if we
read and consider what our Saviour says in St. Matthew's Gospel; for He
there says: "Blessed be the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed be the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed be the
poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." And, "Blessed be
the meek, for they shall possess the earth." Not that the meek shall not
also obtain mercy, and see God, and be comforted, and at last come to
the kingdom of heaven: but in the meantime, he, and he only, possesses
the earth, as he goes towards that kingdom of heaven, by being humble
and cheerful, and content with what his good God has allotted him. He
has no turbulent, repining, vexatious thoughts that he deserves better;
nor is vext when he sees others possest of more honour or more riches
than his wise God has allotted for his share; but he possesses what he
has with a meek and contented quietness, such a quietness as makes his
very dreams pleasing, both to God and himself.

[Sidenote: _Byron_]

  When Newton saw an apple fall, he found
    In that slight startle from his contemplation--
  'Tis _said_ (for I'll not answer above ground
    For any sage's creed or calculation)--
  A mode of proving that the earth turn'd round
    In a most natural whirl, call'd "gravitation";
  And this is the sole mortal who could grapple,
  Since Adam, with a fall, or with an apple.

[Sidenote: _Sydney Smith_]

It is surprising to see for what foolish causes men hang themselves. The
most silly repulse, the most trifling ruffle of temper, or derangement
of stomach, anything seems to justify an appeal to the razor or the
cord. I have a contempt for persons who destroy themselves. Live on, and
look evil in the face; walk up to it, and you will find it less than you
imagined, and often you will not find it at all; for it will recede as
you advance. Any fool may be a suicide. When you are in a melancholy
fit, first suspect the body, appeal to rhubarb and calomel, and send for
the apothecary; a little bit of gristle sticking in the wrong place, an
untimely consumption of custard, excessive gooseberries, often cover the
mind with clouds and bring on the most distressing views of human life.

I start up at two o'clock in the morning, after my first sleep, in an
agony of terror, and feel all the weight of life upon my soul. It is
impossible that I can bring up such a family of children; my sons and
daughters will be beggars! I shall live to see those whom I love exposed
to the scorn and contumely of the world!--But stop, thou child of
sorrow, and humble imitator of Job, and tell me on what you dined. Was
not there soup and salmon, and then a plate of beef, and then duck,
blanc-mange, cream cheese, diluted with beer, claret, champagne, hock,
tea, coffee, and noyeau? And after all this you talk of the _mind_ and
the evils of life! These kinds of cases do not need meditation, but
magnesia. Take short views of life. What am I to do in these times with
such a family of children? So I argued, and lived dejected and with
little hope; but the difficulty vanished as life went on. An uncle died,
and left me some money; an aunt died, and left me more; my daughter
married well; I had two or three appointments, and before life was half
over became a prosperous man. And so will you. Every one has uncles and
aunts who are mortal; friends start up out of the earth; time brings a
thousand chances in your favour; legacies fall from the clouds. Nothing
so absurd as to sit down and wring your hands because all the good which
may happen to you in twenty years has not taken place at this precise

The greatest happiness which can happen to any one is to cultivate a
love of reading. Study is often dull because it is improperly managed. I
make no apology for speaking of myself, for as I write anonymously
nobody knows who I am, and if I did not, very few would be the
wiser--but every man speaks more firmly when he speaks from his own
experience. I read four books at a time; some classical book perhaps on
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. The "History of France," we will
say, on the evenings of the same days. On Tuesday, Thursday, and
Saturday, Mosheim, or Lardner, and in the evening of those days,
Reynolds's Lectures or Burns's Travels. Then I have always a standing
book of poetry, and a novel to read when I am in the humour to read
nothing else. Then I translate some French into English one day, and
re-translate it the next; so that I have seven or eight pursuits going
on at the same time, and this produces the cheerfulness of diversity,
and avoids that gloom which proceeds from hanging a long while over a
single book. I do not recommend this as a receipt for becoming a learned
man, but for becoming a cheerful one.

Nothing contributes more certainly to the animal spirits than
benevolence. Servants and common people are always about you; make
moderate attempts to please everybody, and the effort will insensibly
lead you to a more happy state of mind. Pleasure is very reflective, and
if you give it you will feel it. The pleasure you give by kindness of
manner returns to you, and often with compound interest. The receipt for
cheerfulness is not to have one motive only in the day for living, but a
number of little motives; a man who, from the time he rises till
bedtime, conducts himself like a gentleman, who throws some little
condescension into his manner to superiors, and who is always contriving
to soften the distance between himself and the poor and ignorant, is
always improving his animal spirits, and adding to his happiness.

I recommend lights as a great improver of animal spirits. How is it
possible to be happy with two mould candles ill snuffed? You may be
virtuous, and wise, and good, but two candles will not do for animal
spirits. Every night the room in which I sit is lighted up like a town
after a great naval victory, and in this cereous galaxy, and with a
blazing fire, it is scarcely possible to be low-spirited; a thousand
pleasing images spring up in the mind, and I can see the little blue
demons scampering off like parish boys pursued by the beadle.

[Sidenote: _Sydney Smith_]

As for the possibility of the House of Lords preventing ere long a
reform of Parliament, I hold it to be the most absurd notion that ever
entered into human imagination. I do not mean to be disrespectful, but
the attempt of the Lords to stop the progress of Reform reminds me very
forcibly of the great storm of Sidmouth, and of the conduct of the
excellent Mrs. Partington on that occasion. In the winter of 1824 there
set in a great flood upon that town--the tide rose to an incredible
height, the waves rushed in upon the houses, and everything was
threatened with destruction. In the midst of this sublime and terrible
storm, Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach, was seen at the door
of her house with mop and pattens, trundling her mop, squeezing out the
sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic
was roused, Mrs. Partington's spirit was up; but I need not tell you
that the contest was unequal. The Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington.
She was excellent at a slop or a puddle, but she should not have meddled
with a tempest. Gentlemen, be at your ease--be quiet and steady--you
will beat--Mrs. Partington.

[Sidenote: _Mark Twain_]

I did not take the temporary editorship of an agricultural paper without
misgivings. Neither would a landsman take command of a ship without
misgivings. But I was in circumstances that made the salary an object.
The regular editor of the paper was going off for a holiday, and I
accepted the terms he offered, and took his place.

The sensation of being at work again was luxurious, and I wrought all
the week with unflagging pleasure. We went to press, and I waited a day
with some solicitude to see whether my effort was going to attract any
notice. As I left the office, toward sundown, a group of men and boys at
the foot of the stairs dispersed with one impulse, and gave me
passage-way, and I heard one or two of them say, "That's him!" I was
naturally pleased by this incident. The next morning I found a similar
group at the foot of the stairs, and scattering couples and individuals
standing here and there in the street, and over the way, watching me
with interest. The group separated and fell back as I approached, and I
heard a man say, "Look at his eye!" I pretended not to observe the
notice I was attracting, but secretly I was pleased with it, and was
purposing to write an account of it to my aunt. I went up the short
flight of stairs, and heard cheery voices and a ringing laugh as I drew
near the door, which I opened, and caught a glimpse of two young
rural-looking men, whose faces blanched and lengthened when they saw me,
and then they both plunged through the window with a great crash. I was

In about half an hour an old gentleman, with a flowing beard and a fine
but rather austere face, entered, and sat down at my invitation. He
seemed to have something on his mind. He took off his hat and set it on
the floor, and got out of it a red silk handkerchief and a copy of our

He put the paper on his lap, and, while he polished his spectacles with
his handkerchief, he said, "Are you the new editor?"

I said I was.

"Have you ever edited an agricultural paper before?"

"No," I said; "this is my first attempt."

"Very likely. Have you had any experience in agriculture practically?"

"No; I believe I have not."

"Some instinct told me so," said the old gentleman, putting on his
spectacles, and looking over them at me with asperity, while he folded
his paper into a convenient shape. "I wish to read you what must have
made me have that instinct. It was this editorial. Listen, and see if it
was you that wrote it: 'Turnips should never be pulled; it injures them.
It is much better to send a boy up and let him shake the tree.' Now,
what do you think of that?--for I really suppose you wrote it?"

"Think of it? Why, I think it is good. I think it is sense. I have no
doubt that every year millions and millions of bushels of turnips are
spoiled in this township alone by being pulled in a half-ripe condition,
when, if they had sent a boy up to shake the tree--"

"Shake your grandmother! Turnips don't grow on trees!"

"Oh, they don't, don't they? Well, who said they did? The language was
intended to be figurative, wholly figurative. Anybody that knows
anything will know that I meant that the boy should shake the vine."

Then this old person got up and tore his paper all into small shreds,
and stamped on them, and broke several things with his cane, and said I
did not know as much as a cow; and then went out and banged the door
after him, and, in short, acted in such a way that I fancied he was
displeased about something. But, not knowing what the trouble was, I
could not be any help to him.

Pretty soon after this a long, cadaverous creature, with lanky locks
hanging down to his shoulders, and a week's stubble bristling from the
hills and valleys of his face, darted within the door, and halted
motionless with finger on lip, and head and body bent in listening
attitude. No sound was heard. Still he listened. No sound. Then he
turned the key in the door, and came elaborately tip-toeing toward me
till he was within long reaching distance of me, when he stopped, and,
after scanning my face with intense interest for a while, drew a folded
copy of our paper from his bosom, and said:

"There, you wrote that. Read it to me--quick! Relieve me. I suffer."

I read as follows: and, as the sentences fell from my lips, I could see
the relief come, I could see the drawn muscles relax, and the anxiety go
out of the face, and rest and peace steal over the features like the
merciful moonlight over a desolate landscape:

"The guano is a fine bird, but great care is necessary in rearing it. It
should not be imported earlier than June or later than September. In the
winter it should be kept in a warm place, where it can hatch out its

"It is evident that we are to have a backward season for grain.
Therefore it will be well for the farmer to begin setting out his
corn-stalks and planting his buckwheat cakes in July instead of August.

"Concerning the Pumpkin.--This berry is a favourite with the natives of
the interior of New England, who prefer it to the gooseberry for the
making of fruit-cake, and who likewise give it the preference over the
raspberry for feeding cows, as being more filling and fully as
satisfying. The pumpkin is the only esculent of the orange family that
will thrive in the North, except the gourd and one or two varieties of
the squash. But the custom of planting it in the front yard with the
shrubbery is fast going out of vogue, for it is now generally conceded
that the pumpkin as a shade tree is a failure.

"Now, as the warm weather approaches, and the ganders begin to spawn--"

The excited listener sprang toward me to shake hands, and said:

"There, there--that will do. I know I am all right now, because you have
read it just as I did, word for word. But, stranger, when I first read
it this morning, I said to myself, I never, never believed it before,
notwithstanding my friends kept me under watch so strict, but now I
believe I _am_ crazy; and with that I fetched a howl that you might have
heard two miles, and started out to kill somebody--because, you know, I
knew it would come to that sooner or later, and so I might as well
begin. I read one of them paragraphs over again, so as to be certain,
and then I burned my house down and started. I have crippled several
people, and have got one fellow up a tree, where I can get him if I want
him. But I thought I would call in here as I passed along, and make the
thing perfectly certain; and now it _is_ certain, and I tell you it is
lucky for the chap that is in the tree. I should have killed him, sure,
as I went back. Good-bye, sir, good-bye; you have taken a great load off
my mind. My reason has stood the strain of one of your agricultural
articles, and I know that nothing can ever unseat it now. _Good_-bye."

I felt a little uncomfortable about the cripplings and arsons this
person had been entertaining himself with, for I could not help feeling
remotely accessory to them. But these thoughts were quickly banished,
for the regular editor walked in! (I thought to myself, Now if you had
gone to Egypt, as I recommended you to, I might have had a chance to get
my hand in; but you wouldn't do it, and here you are. I sort of expected

The editor was looking sad and perplexed and dejected.

He surveyed the wreck which that old rioter and those two young farmers
had made, and then said: "This is a sad business--a very sad business.
There is the mucilage bottle broken, and six panes of glass, and a
spittoon and two candlesticks. But that is not the worst. The reputation
of the paper is injured--and permanently, I fear. True, there never was
such a call for the paper before, and it never sold such a large edition
or soared to such celebrity;--but does one want to be famous for lunacy,
and prosper upon the infirmities of his mind? My friend, as I am an
honest man, the street out here is full of people, and others are
roosting on the fences, waiting to get a glimpse of you, because they
think you are crazy. And well they might, after reading your editorials.
They are a disgrace to journalism. Why, what put it into your head that
you could edit a paper of this nature? You do not seem to know the first
rudiments of agriculture. You speak of a furrow and a harrow as being
the same thing; you talk of the moulting season for cows; and you
recommend the domestication of the polecat on account of its playfulness
and its excellence as a ratter! Your remark that clams will lie quiet if
music be played to them was superfluous--entirely superfluous. Nothing
disturbs clams. Clams _always_ lie quiet. Clams care nothing whatever
about music. Ah, heaven and earth, friend! if you had made the acquiring
of ignorance the study of your life, you could not have graduated with
higher honour than you could to-day. I never saw anything like it. Your
observation that the horse-chestnut as an article of commerce is
steadily gaining in favour is simply calculated to destroy this journal.
I want you to throw up your situation and go. I want no more holiday--I
could not enjoy it if I had it. Certainly not with you in my chair. I
would always stand in dread of what you might be going to recommend
next. It makes me lose all patience every time I think of your
discussing oyster-beds under the head of 'Landscape Gardening.' I want
you to go. Nothing on earth could persuade me to take another holiday.
Oh! why didn't you _tell_ me you didn't know anything about

"_Tell_ you, you cornstalk, you cabbage, you son of a cauliflower? It's
the first time I ever heard such an unfeeling remark. I tell you I have
been in the editorial business going on fourteen years, and it is the
first time I ever heard of a man's having to know anything in order to
edit a newspaper. You turnip! Who write the dramatic critiques for the
second-rate papers? Why, a parcel of promoted shoemakers and apprentice
apothecaries, who know just as much about good acting as I do about good
farming, and no more. Who review the books? People who never wrote one.
Who do up the heavy leaders on finance? Parties who have had the largest
opportunities for knowing nothing about it. Who criticise the Indian
campaigns? Gentlemen who do not know a war-whoop from a wigwam, and who
never have had to run a footrace with a tomahawk, or pluck arrows out of
the several members of their families to build the evening camp-fire
with. Who write the temperance appeals, and clamour about the flowing
bowl? Folks who will never draw another sober breath till they do it in
the grave. Who edit the agricultural papers, you--yam? Men, as a general
thing, who fail in the poetry line, yellow-coloured novel line,
sensation-drama line, city-editor line, and finally fall back on
agriculture as a temporary reprieve from the poorhouse. _You_ try to
tell _me_ anything about the newspaper business! Sir, I have been
through it from Alpha to Omaha, and I tell you that the less a man knows
the bigger noise he makes and the higher the salary he commands. Heaven
knows if I had but been ignorant instead of cultivated, and impudent
instead of diffident, I could have made a name for myself in this cold,
selfish world. I take my leave, sir. Since I have been treated as you
have treated me, I am perfectly willing to go. But I have done my duty.
I have fulfilled my contract as far as I was permitted to do it.... I
said I could run your circulation up to twenty thousand copies, and if I
had had two more weeks I'd have done it. And I'd have given you the best
class of readers that ever an agricultural paper had--not a farmer in
it, nor a solitary individual who could tell a water-melon tree from a
peach-vine to save his life. _You_ are the loser by this rupture, not
me, Pie-plant. Adios."

I then left.

[Sidenote: _Anon._]

      If all t' kisses as Oi ha' tuke
      Wuz zet down vair an' square inter buke,
      Lard! Lard! 'twud make t' greaät volk say:
      _"What a tur'ble chap is ole Joe Gay!"_
      Vor it du zet ma brain a-swimmin'
      Tu think o' all t' _hundered_ wimmin
      As Oi ha' bussed 'hind hedge an' door
      Zince vust Oi cuddled dree or vour.
  Polly Potter, Trixie Trotter, Gertie Gillard, Zairy Zlee,
  Zusan Zettle, Connie Kettle, Daisy Doble, La'ra Lee,
  Hesther Holley, Jinny Jolly, Nelly Northam, Vanny Vail,
  Ivery maid in Coompton Regis--dang it, whoy,
        Oi've bussed 'em all!

      When Oi vust went to Zunday skule,
      Passen's darter, on greaät high stule,
      Taakes me oop on 'ur lady knee,
      An' kissed ov Oi, zo Oi kissed ov she!
      An', arter skule, zure-ly, Oi vollers
      T' little blushin' vemale scholars
      All round t' orchards, an' under stacks,
      Oi bussed t' lot, an' yew can ax--
  Polly Potter, Trixie Trotter, Gertie Gillard, Zairy Zlee,
  Zusan Zettle, Connie Kettle, Daisy Doble, La'ra Lee,
  Hesther Holley, Jinny Jolly, Nelly Northam, Vanny Vall,
  Ivery gal in Coompton Regis--ax the lot, Oi've kissed 'em all!

      Thur's not a lane vur moiles around
      But hassen heerd ma kisses zound,
      Nor dru t' parish will 'ee vind
      A door Oi hanna kissed behind;
      An' now, wid crutch, an' back bent double,
      T' rheumatiz doän't gie naw trouble,
      Vor all t' ould grannies handy-boi
      Iz mazed, vair mazed, on cuddlin' Oi!
  Pore-house Potter, toothless Trotter, gouty Gillard, splea-foot Zlee,
  Zilly Zettle, cock-eyed Kettle, deaf ould Doble, limpin' Lee,
  Husky Holley, jaundy Jolly, Nanny Northam, vractious Vall,
  All t' ould gals in Coompton Regis, bless their hearts, Oi love 'em all!

[Sidenote: _W.H. Brookfield_]

My Dear Venables,

Notwithstanding the proverbial irregularity of the English mails and the
infamous practice of Government in embezzling all private letters for
the King's private reading, yours of the 17th eluded observation at the
post office so as to reach me; and was as acceptable as, considering the
wearisome frequency of your communications lately, could possibly be

My last was a scrawl from Althorp--where we spent six weeks. That there
are 60,000 volumes you know. I read them all, excepting a pamphlet in a
_patois_ of the Sanscrit, written by a learned, but, I regret to add,
profane Hindoo Sectarian, the blasphemous drift of which was to prove
that Bramah's locks were not all patent.

We went to town to the fiddling[9] which it was the pill[10] of the day
to cry down. I was much gratified by the show and altogether. I sate by
the Duke of Wellington, who was good enough to go out to fetch me a pot
of porter. When "See the Conquering Hero comes" was sung in _Judas
Maccabeus_, all eyes were turned upon me. I rose and bowed--but did not
think the place was suited for any more marked acknowledgment. The King
sang the Coronation Anthem exceedingly well, and Princess Victoria
whistled the "Dead March" in _Saul_ with, perhaps, rather less than her
usual effect. But the _chef d'oeuvre_ was confessed by all to be
Macaulay in "The Praise of God and of the Second Day." I rose a wiser,
and, I think, a sadder man.

Bishop of Worcester spent two days here last week. He begged me with
tears in his eyes to be Bishop instead of him. I took a night to
consider of it and to examine into my fitness for such a charge--but in
the morning gave answer with the elaborateness which the occasion
demanded that I would see him ... first.

[Sidenote: _Lewis Carroll_]

DEAR SENIOR CENSOR,--In a desultory conversation on a point connected
with the dinner at our high table, you incidentally remarked to me that
lobster-sauce, "though a necessary adjunct to turbot, was not entirely

It is entirely unwholesome. I never ask for it without reluctance; I
never take a second spoonful without a feeling of apprehension on the
subject of a possible nightmare. This naturally brings me to the subject
of Mathematics, and of the accommodation provided by the University for
carrying on the calculations necessary in that important branch of

As Members of Convocation are called upon (whether personally, or, as is
less exasperating, by letter) to consider the offer of the Clarendon
Trustees, as well as every other subject of human or inhuman, interest,
capable of consideration, it has occurred to me to suggest for your
consideration how desirable roofed buildings are for carrying on
mathematical calculations; in fact, the variable character of the
weather in Oxford renders it highly inexpedient to attempt much
occupation, of a sedentary nature, in the open air.

Again, it is often impossible for students to carry on accurate
mathematical calculations in close contiguity to one another, owing to
their mutual conversation; consequently these processes require
different rooms in which irrepressible conversationalists, who are found
to occur in every branch of Society, might be carefully and permanently

It may be sufficient, for the present, to enumerate the following
requisites--others might be added as funds permit:

A. A very large room for calculating Greatest Common Measure. To this a
small one might be attached for Least Common Multiple: this, however,
might be dispensed with.

B. A piece of open ground for keeping Roots and practising their
extraction: it would be advisable to keep Square Roots by themselves, as
their corners are apt to damage others.

C. A room for reducing Fractions to their Lowest Terms. This should be
provided with a cellar for keeping the Lowest Terms when found, which
might also be available to the general body of Undergraduates, for the
purpose of "keeping Terms."

D. A large room which might be darkened, and fitted up with a
magic-lantern, for the purpose of exhibiting circulating Decimals in the
act of circulation. This might also contain cupboards, fitted with glass
doors, for keeping the various Scales of Notation.

E. A narrow strip of ground, railed off and carefully levelled for
investigating the properties of Asymptotes, and testing practically
whether Parallel Lines meet or not: for this purpose it should reach, to
use the expressive language of Euclid, "ever so far."

This last process of "continually producing the lines," may require
centuries or more; but such a period, though long in the life of an
individual, is as nothing in the life of the University.

As Photography is now very much employed in recording human expression,
and might possibly be adapted to Algebraical Expressions, a small
photographic room would be desirable, both for general use and for
representing the various phenomena of Gravity, Disturbance of
Equilibrium, Resolution, etc., which affect the features during severe
mathematical operations.

May I trust that you will give your immediate attention to this most
important subject?

  Believe me,
       Sincerely yours,

[Sidenote: _Miss E.G. Thomson_]

It was at the end of December, 1878, that a letter, written in a
singularly legible and rather boyish-looking hand, came to me from
Christ Church, Oxford, signed "C.L. Dodgson." The writer said that he
had come across some fairy designs of mine, and he should like to see
some more of my work. By the same post came a letter from my London
publisher (who had supplied my address) telling me that the "Rev. C.L.
Dodgson" was "Lewis Carroll."

"Alice in Wonderland" had long been one of my pet books, and, as one
regards a favourite author as almost a personal friend, I felt less
restraint than one usually feels in writing to a stranger, though I
carefully concealed my knowledge of his identity, as he had not chosen
to reveal it.

This was the beginning of a frequent and delightful correspondence, and,
as I confessed to a great love for fairy lore of every description, he
asked me if I would accept a child's fairytale book he had written,
called "Alice in Wonderland." I replied that I knew it nearly all off by
heart, but that I should greatly prize a copy given to me by himself. By
return came "Alice," and "Through the Looking-glass," bound most
luxuriously in white calf and gold. And this is the grateful and kindly
note that came with them: "I am now sending you 'Alice,' and the
'Looking-glass' as well. There is an incompleteness about giving only
one, and besides, the one you bought was probably in red, and would not
match these. If you are at all in doubt as to what to do with the (now)
superfluous copy, let me suggest your giving it to some poor sick child.
I have been distributing copies to all the hospitals and convalescent
homes I can hear of, where there are sick children capable of reading
them, and though, of course, one takes some pleasure in the popularity
of the books elsewhere, it is not nearly so pleasant a thought to me as
that they may be a comfort and relief to children in hours of pain and
weariness. Still, no recipient _can_ be more appropriate than one who
seems to have been in fairyland herself, and to have seen, like the
'weary mariners' of old--

  "Between the green brink and the running foam
  White limbs unrobèd to a crystal air,
  Sweet faces, rounded arms, and bosoms prest
  To little harps of gold."

"Do you ever come to London?" he asked in another letter; "if so, will
you allow me to call upon you?"

Early in the summer I came up to study, and I sent him word that I was
in town. One night, coming into my room after a long day spent at the
British Museum, in the half-light I saw a card lying on the table: "Rev.
C.L. Dodgson." Bitter, indeed, was my disappointment at having missed
him, but, just as I was laying it sadly down, I spied a small T.O. in
the corner. On the back I read that he couldn't get up to my rooms early
or late enough to find me, so would I arrange to meet him at some museum
or gallery the day but one following? I fixed the South Kensington
Museum, by the "Schliemann" collection, at twelve o'clock.

A little before twelve I was at the rendezvous, and then the humour of
the situation suddenly struck me, that I had not the ghost of an idea
what _he_ was like, nor would _he_ have any better chance of discovering
_me_! The room was fairly full of all sorts and conditions, as usual,
and I glanced at each masculine figure in turn, only to reject it as a
possibility of the one I sought. Just as the big clock had clanged out
twelve, I heard the high, vivacious voices and laughter of children
sounding down the corridor.

At that moment a gentleman entered, two little girls clinging to his
hands, and, as I caught sight of the tall, slim figure, with the
cleanshaven, delicate, refined face, I said to myself, "_That's_ Lewis
Carroll." He stood for a moment, head erect, glancing swiftly over the
room, then, bending down, whispered something to one of the children;
she, after a moment's pause, pointed straight at me.

Dropping their hands, he came forward, and, with that winning smile of
his that utterly banished the oppressive sense of the Oxford don, said
simply, "I am Mr. Dodgson; I was to meet you, I think?" To which I as
frankly smiled, and said, "How did you know me so soon?"

"My little friend found you. I told her I had come to meet a young lady
who knew fairies, and she fixed on you at once. But _I_ knew you before
she spoke."

_The Gentleman, January 29, 1898_.

[Sidenote: _Anon._]

  From '41 to '51
  I was an almost model son.

  From '51 to '62
  I wished to, but I didn't do.

  From '62 to '67
  I took the shortest cut to heaven.

  From '67 to '79
  I only drank one glass of wine.

  From '79 to '84
  I felt that I could do with more.

  From '84 to '96
  I found how hard it is to mix.

  From '96 to Nineteen-odd

[Sidenote: _H.B._]

In a neighbourhood of narrow streets and tunnelling alleys, where there
are few lamps and the policemen go two and two, where all day long you
see fierce-eyed women hooded with shawls coming out of greasy
street-doors with jugs in their hands, and where all day long sullen men
stand at the dark entry to court and alley with pipes in their mouths
and their hands in their pockets, and where the little children "awfully
reverse our Saviour's words, and are not of the Kingdom of Heaven, but
of the Kingdom of Hell"--in this dark, dangerous riverside
neighbourhood, with its foul odours and its filthy gutters, lives one of
the most defenceless women who ever came into human existence.

I knock at a door in Plover's Court, and a half-dressed, half-starved,
and wholly dirty child, with no boots to her feet, opens to me; and when
this miserable heir of the ages, after she has stared at me like a
famished animal, learns that I wish to see Miss Stipp, she bids me "go
up." The narrow passage is hung with two lines of washing; and, pushing
through the avenue formed by these dank garments, I catch sight in the
stone-paved kitchen beyond of a big-headed, whitewashed-looking infant
sprawling on the floor collecting soap-suds, and a woman in the midst of
voluminous steam working her arms about in a dripping wash tub.

The stairs up which I make my difficult way are strung with washing as
far as the first bend. The dampness of the atmosphere has converted the
dust and grime on banisters, wall, and stairs into a muddy dew. The
little doll's-house of a place reeks with the suffocating odour of gas,
fried fish, onions, and steam. In one of the two rooms on the first
floor, the door of which stands open, I see--and myself am seen, not to
say scowled at, by a couple of pipe-smoking navvies, three or four
ragged children, and a little rabbit of a flat-chested woman whose
complexion and the colour of her garments bear a striking resemblance to
moleskin, and whose thin hair is twisted up in front and held
comfortably in its place by a single steel curling-pin which seems to
occupy the whole breadth of her forehead.

My rap on the panel of the other door is soon answered by a shrill,
cracked voice like the sputtering of a cheap phonograph, and opening the
flimsy door I find myself in a tiny topsy-turvy chamber, with all its
furniture dragged out of place, a pail of water in the centre of the
floor, a piece of scrubbing-soap on the table, and an unwrung
house-flannel soaking on the seat of a wooden chair. There is a nice,
old-fashioned, round-fronted chest-of-drawers with brass handles in the
room, but the most striking detail of its equipment is a stumpy and
amazingly abrupt bedstead against the wall, which is just big enough for
a big doll. The bedclothes of this eerie little cot are thrown back,
and in the centre of the rumpled mattress, in the hollow made by my
heroine's recumbent form, curled up in a sublime indifference to the
puffing and blowing of its mistress on the hearth, lies a shabby,
emaciated, and disgusting cat.

At first I suppose Miss Stipp--Miss Emma Jane Stipp--who is polishing
the grate, to be _kneeling_ on the hearthstone; but when a bird-like
claw is stretched out to me, and the shrill, cracked voice says, "I'm
dirty, but hearty; sit down and enjoy yourself," I observe that the
little dwarf is actually _standing_ on the hearthstone, although her big
head does not come within several inches of the mantelpiece. Indeed,
with her twisted feet crossed over one another, so that the left foot
appears to be kicking and worrying the right foot, in order to take its
place, and the right foot, which turns upward, appears to be trying to
creep away from its enemy, as though it wanted to crawl up that enemy's
leg to laugh at it from the mocking vantage of its own knee--the little
old lady walks up and down on the hearthstone, her hand blacking and
polishing the grate as she goes, just as you may see another lady
walking up and down and taking the air on her doorstep.

       *       *       *       *       *

The little dwarf is familiar to hundreds of Londoners. Always nursing
the wall, and using a miniature crooked stick exactly like a
question-mark, she hobbles through the streets like a half-human beetle,
until she reaches some such place as the approach to a railway station,
where she finds it profitable to stand as though in great pain, rolling
sheep's eyes at the hurrying crowd. And many of those tenderhearted
gentlemen and kind old ladies, and dear little overdressed children
returning from a visit to Old Drury or the Tower of London, who have
slipped a penny or a sixpenny-bit into the claw of the dwarf, must often
have asked themselves at the time what manner of woman she is, and
bothered themselves to imagine how on earth she lives. The old
creature--for she is over seventy--is counted in statistics among the
proud population of this Seat of Empire, and she is as much subject to
the cosmic laws and as much a member of the human family as the tallest
and most swaggering Lifeguards-man who ever had "Cook's Son!" shouted at
him by irreverent urchin.

How she views the universe from her altitude of a yard, or a yard and
three inches; what her attitude is to God and man, and how life goes
with the old veteran after seventy odd years of its buffeting--these
were some of the mysteries which I brought with me into her back room by
the riverside for their unveiling by Miss Emma Stipp herself.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I'm late this mornin', I am," she says, in her shrill fashion, standing
right against the fire like a demon that no flame can consume, and
vigorously rubbing at the grate with her black-lead brush. "The cause is
_'im_," she continues, turning to point the brush at the cat sleeping
on her bed, after she has rubbed the red tip of her long nose with a
portion of her knuckles and a portion of the brush. "Oh, he's a villain,
a dreadful villain he is," she cries, with exasperation, returning to
her work; "he worries my life out, he do, the 'orrid varmint. Last night
he didn't come home, he didn't. I set up for him, but he didn't come.
'Oh,' I says, 'if you're keepin' low company again,' I says, 'you can
stop out all night,' I says, 'for I'll sit up for you no longer; so
there, my ugly beauty.' And then in the middle of the night I wake up, I
do, feeling that cold, and sneezin' and snuffin', and irritatin' I was
from top to toe; and blest if Master Tom hadn't got upon the
window-sill, bust open that there piece of brown paper I had pasted over
the broken pane, I had, and let hisself in Yankee-doodle fashion, and
left me to perish with the cold."

Her lined and wrinkled face, when she turns it to us, is not without the
vestiges of attraction. The head, with its grey hair parted down the
centre, is well-shaped; the forlorn-looking eyes are a pale-blue, like
faded forget-me-nots; the thin, flexible nose, which is always moist,
and the long, firm chin incline towards the formation known as the
nut-cracker. But for her abbreviated trunk, and those few pathetic
inches of twisted leg--chiefly feet--she might have passed for a
matronly-looking and rather handsome old harridan, half Scotch and half

"What with the cat," she says, and then, letting her voice run up to a
screech, she proceeds furiously, "and that devil of a woman downstairs!
Oh! she's a wicked woman, she is, a _wicked_ woman, a _very_ wicked
woman; she's got some of my things because I'm behind-hand in my rent,
and she says she won't give them up; but she _shall_. I'll see that she
do. Ah! I'll have the law on her--the nasty, swearing, beastly--Oh!
she's a _wicked_ woman."

       *       *       *       *       *

Think of the majesty of the English law which enables this pathetic yard
of twisted womanhood to hold her own in a foul court against "a wicked
woman" with arms like a bluejacket! But Miss Stipps is used to fighting
her own battles. When children yell after her, "Old Goody Witch!" she
swings about and takes her stick to them, pouring out such a flow of
imprecation upon their young heads that they run away in a panic of
alarm. Moreover, I have it on reliable authority that when Miss Stipps
steps over the way with her jug for a pint of porter, she is in the
habit, after reaching up her arm to receive the jug back from the
barman, of telling the young man pretty sharply that she isn't buying
froth, and that she'll trouble him to do a blow at the jug and to give
another pull to his tap, which won't hurt him, it won't, as he ain't yet
the proprietor of the place, and not likely to be, neither, if he treats
poor ladies in sich a wulgar and Sheeny fashion.

I beg Miss Stipp to desist from her labour of dabbing the grate with
streaky spots of black-lead, and implore her to take a seat and indulge
herself for an easy hour in anecdotal reminiscences. Miss Stipp yields
to my blandishments--that is to say, she backs against a little
cobbler's stool, a stool which the Baby Bear in that immortal legend of
"The Three Bears" would have found several sizes too small for it, and
appears to slope half an inch to the rear. By the action of crossing her
hands in her lap, and by the society smile on her face as she turns her
dewy nose in my direction, I gather, though I should never have
discovered it for myself, that Miss Stipp is seated.

We are now in for a thoroughly comfortable and intimate conversation.
The cat is fast asleep. The spinster's mantelpiece, which is decorated
with pictorial advertisements of such highly inappropriate commodities
as baby's food and tobacco, wears an aspect which I am content to regard
as social. And the cupboard beside the fireplace, although the bottom
floor is used as a coal-cellar, suggests, with its crowded shelves of
dishes, egg-cups, plates, biscuit-boxes, and paper bags, that we are in
for a little friendly banquet, which, if not good enough for his Grace
of Canterbury, might yet have inspired him of Assisi to ask a blessing.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Well, you must know," says Miss Stipp, looking at the fire, and nodding
her head as she speaks, "that I am one of ten, that I was born in
Blackfriars--born in Blackfriars, I was--and that all the boys died, and
that only me, who was born a cripple--born a cripple, I was--and my two
sisters ever grew up to be a comfort to my poor mother. What father was,
if ever he was anythin' at all, I _don't_ know; and if I ever did know I
think it was somethin' connected in some roundabout fashion, it was,
with drains. But he died early, and that was an end of _him_. My poor
mother, she was a laundress--a beautiful laundress she was, a very
beautiful laundress--and she used to do for a gentleman who was a
dissentin' minister--a dissentin' minister he was--and most particular
about his linen, and lived in the big square just by the church at the
corner, number five; and I've knowed my poor mother fret herself almost
to death, she would, if one of them little blisters ever come up on the
gentleman's shirt-fronts. And I used to help my poor mother, I did, by
carryin' the gentleman's linen to number five in the big square, and
that was the fust job I ever did for my poor mother, and proud she was,
and proud I was, too, that I could be sich a help to her.

"We was poorer than 'most anybody in Blackfriars, where we lived, and a
terribly poor neighbourhood it were--terribly poor; and so one of my
sisters got married, she did, and a wonderfully big family she had, but
most of 'em died sharp, so _that_ was all right, excep' that the
berryin' cost a tidy bit of money, it did. Then my other sister went out
to service in Brixton. I useter go there one day a week--Toosday it
was--to clean the silver and the soup tureens, and they give me a
shillin', they did, I useter help sister in the kitchen--not a cook I
wasn't, you must understand, but I useter help with the vegetables and
the dishin'-up, and they give me a shillin'. It was a very nice house; a
nice house, and no mistake about it. The lady had married a gardener--a
gentleman's gardener, he was; and there was a carpet all over the
dining-room floor--a nice carpet, a Brussels carpet, an ol' Brussels
carpet; and she kep' a parrot--oh, a nasty, spiteful parrot, it was--I
useter hate it, I did, the nasty, squawlin' beast; and it was more to
her than any baby; and I useter clean the silver and the soup tureens,
and do the vegetables and dish-up, Toosdays it was; and they give me a

"All by meself I useter go, there and back, and one night"--she lifts
her claws and gurgles at the memory, with a slow smile creepin'
gradually through all the wrinkles on her face--"Oh, didn't I give my
poor mother a fright, and no mistake about it! It was one of them nasty,
stinkin' cold, freezin' nights; the streets like ice, they was, and the
'bus horses couldn't get along nohow, for all they was roughed; and it
was past eleven o'clock, it was--yes, past eleven o'clock, it
was--before ever I got home; and there was my poor mother standing at
the door of the alms-house where we was livin' in Blackfriars--my poor
mother and me--and cryin' and wringin' her hands and makin' a to-do, she
was, thinking as how she had lost me altogether.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Then my poor mother died," says Miss Stipp sadly, drawing her hand
across the end of her nose. "I forgit the year, but it was the fust year
that ever there come a August Bank Holiday. And she died on that day, my
poor mother did. Yuss, she died on that day. She didn't seem like dyin'
at all that there mornin,' she didn't. She eat a beautiful dinner, a bit
of boiled meat--I forgit whether it was beef or mutton--mutton, I think
it was, but anyway boiled meat; and she eat a beautiful dinner, my poor
mother did--boiled meat, greens, and pertaters; and she eat a nice
tea--well, nothin' partickler in the way of a tea, but a _comfortable_
tea; and when I came home, 'Oh Emma Jane,' she says, 'I wish I hadn't
never let you go to church this day; for this here,' she says, 'is my
very last day on earth,' she says, 'and I'm goin',' she says, 'to your
father in heaven, to take care of _him_, and I shall have to leave _you_
all alone,' she says, 'to look after yourself; and I'm most afeard,' my
poor mother said, 'what'll become of you,' she says; 'and don't forgit,'
she says, 'to say your prayers, and go reggeler to the Communion, and
always be good and obedient, and don't git doin' no vile sin, and please
God we'll all meet in heaven,' she says, 'and be more happy,' she says,
'nor what we have ever been here in Blackfriars.' And it was August Bank
Holiday, the first August Bank Holiday that ever was; and it was a
beautiful day, lovely weather it was, and my poor mother had a fit, and
never was quite the same; and she died."

Miss Stipp fetches a sigh, and shakes her head at the fire. She has been
living in the past, watching with the mind's eye her poor mother fade
slowly into eternity on that beautiful August day--the little almshouse
bedroom flooded, let us hope, with golden light, for all it was in
Blackfriars. She comes to herself with a little jerk, turns her head
slowly round to us, and smiles one of her poor, pathetic,
half-entreating smiles which make her seem like another Maggie.

And, strange to relate, Miss Stipp was confirmed in St. George's Church,
on whose muddied steps Little Dorrit, Little Mother, sat in far-off days
with the big head of poor Maggie on her lap. "It was beautiful,
beautiful it was, that there Confirmation," says Miss Stipp. "The
bishop, he put his hands on my head, just there he did, put 'em on, and
I was kneelin' at his feet, and he said the words, whatever they was,
and I felt his hands pressin' on my hair; of course, I had done it werry
nice for the occasion; and I was quite a public character; yuss! and
many's the time I've been up to St. George's Church since those days and
fancied to myself that I was actin' the part again."

       *       *       *       *       *

Upon the death of her mother the orphan went to live with her married
sister, whose large family was always reducing itself by the most
surprising feats in infant mortality. She helped in the house. She
earned her keep by doing little things for the dying babies, and
interviewing the undertaker and bargaining for special terms, seeing
what a good customer her sister was, when those poor babies were dead.
But that great source of crisis in the households of the poor--the
mother-in-law--came to live in the Herodian household, and Emma Jane had
such a warm time of it with this old Tartar of a woman that she
determined to "get out of it" as soon as possible.

"So I had a letter wrote," she says, getting up to scrub the
hearthstone, a feat she performs without kneeling, for the merest
forward tilt of her body brings her hands upon the floor. "Yuss, I had a
letter wrote, for I'm not much of a writer myself, I ain't--a letter
wrote to my other sister what was out in service in the country, down
Brockley way, and then I went to live with her."

"In the house where she was a servant?" I inquire.

"Yuss. That was it. I went to live with her. I was like a little
servant. Blacked the boots, peeled the pertaters, washed the dishes,
cleaned the grates, scrubbed the door-step, polished here, polished
there, helped to dish up, and they give me two shillin's a week. I was
like a little servant."

I remind her of her promise to forgo work and to be a little social,
and, after another rub or two, she wrings out the sopping cloth, lets it
drop on the hearthstone, and then, backing once more to the stool, leans
back and smiles at me, with her wet hands folded in her lap.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The fam'ly where my sister lived in the country," she says, taking up
her tale, "was a large family--five or six sons there was--sich nice
fellers they were! But--ain't it strange?--I never see any think on 'em
now though they come reggeler to London Bridge every day of their lives,
they do. They was Roman Cawtholic--boys and girls alike; but, for all
that, they was good-livin' people, and they was religious in their own
way. And one day a week comes the priest, and that day me and my sister
wasn't allowed to enter the dinin'-room all the mornin', where the
breakfast things was and where the priest was what he useter call
confessin' the young ladies of their sins and givin' 'em what he called
absolution, summat like that, for all they'd been doin' wrong since last
time. Oh my! You never knew such goings on, not in England, you didn't.
But mind, they was good-livin' people. They was Cawtholics, and they
give me two shillin's a week; and I was like a little servant. Kind,
good, religious people they was; and the beetles and the crickets in the
house was somethink beastly. Oh, I do hate they nasty stinkin' things;
_hate_ 'em I do! And they had a garden, a beautiful garden, and it was
full of flowers it was, but I don't remember the names of them, excep'
that I know it was full of flowers--all the colours you can think
of--and that garden was a god to them poor Cawtholics, it really was.
The boys worked in it before they went to the City, and the young ladies
messed about with it all day; and then they all went chipping and
choppin' in it of a evenin', and me and my sister wasn't hardly allowed
to look at the flowers, we wasn't, for it was like a god to them."

Her sister's health began to fail. The housework of the large family
became too much for her, and the brave maid-of-all-work, accompanied by
Emma Jane, was obliged to return to London. They sought the advice of
that dissenting minister whose shirt-fronts, if ever they showed a
blister, had been so frightful a terror to Emma Jane's poor mother. By
the great kindness of this good man--his wisdom is not my concern--- the
invalid maid-of-all-work and the indefatigable dwarf who had been like a
little servant, and who has already confessed to us that she is not much
of a writer herself--were established in Blackfriars as

"We hired a little room--in Green-street, it was--me and my sister, and
we had a few little scholars--oh, yuss, and a tidy lot of good-sized
boys and girls, besides the little 'uns--and they paid us 6d., 4d., and
2d. a week, or whatever they liked; and we done werry well with that
school, and always taught religion and the catechism; and I might have
been continuin' of it now if that nasty, pokin', competitionin' Board
School hadn't come along, which it finished our little lot--pretty sharp
it did--and left us starvin'."

The sister, shortly after this terrific crisis in their affairs, was
carried into the hospital, and, after three months of terrible pain,
which she bore like a martyr, went to join in heavenly places the "poor
mother" and the father who had been in some elusive fashion connected
with sublunary drains.

"And after that," says Miss Stipp, getting up and resting her hands on
the pail of dirty water, and looking down into it as if she saw the
faces of her poor mother, her sister, and all the dead babies of the
other sister shining up at her from the muddy bottom, "I came on the
parish, and I've been on it ever since, and nice kind gentlemen they
are, and I couldn't be treated better."

"People are kind to you?" I inquire.

"Very kind to me they are," she answers. "I often get a shillin' given
to me in the street, and the other evenin' a lady in the Boro'--nicely
dressed, she was, in black--asked me if I wouldn't like a New Testament,
and I said, 'Yuss, I would,' and she give me one; and I told her that I
was converted, not when I was born, but when I was confirmed in St.
George's Church; and the bishop gave us a beautiful address he did, and
I felt werry much better when he laid his hands on my head, and after
he give us the blessin'. If my hands wasn't so black, I'd show you the
cards and things. I've kep 'em ever since--yuss. I've still got 'The Vow
Performed,' or whatever it is called. The wicked woman downstairs, she
hasn't taken _that_. Oh, a wicked woman she is, a _very_ wicked woman;
but I'll have the law on her. Ah!"

       *       *       *       *       *

I ask her if--what with the cat and the woman downstairs, and all her
relatives in heaven--she does not sometimes sigh for the next world.

"I'll be ready when my time comes," she replies confidently, and with
rather a sly grin, "but I'm werry well content to stay where I am till
I'm called, I am. I don't complain of nothink, I don't, excep' this
beastly winder-pane which lets the draught in somethink cruel, it does,
enough it is to blow me out of bed; and that awful devil of a woman
downstairs; and the crossin' at the Elephant and Castle, which tries my
nerves dreadful it does, and oughter be put a stop to, for it ain't safe
for nobody, let alone a cripple. Then there's the children," she cries
fiercely. "Oh, they are dreadful! You never heard sich language.
Foul-mouthed!--oh, it's awful; I never did in all my life hear sich
disgustin' language. And they tease me dreadful, they do, and call after
me, and follow me into shops, and throw muck at me, the dirty little
blasphemin' devils."

She tells me, in conclusion, of a milliner's shop where she goes for
oddments, and where the young ladies sometimes give her a bit of
trimming for her bonnet. Her last action is to drop the scrubbing-brush
into the pail of water, to reach out an arm, and grab with one of her
claws a piece of dirty black ribbon, sticking like an old book-marker
from under a pile of rubbish beside the hearth, and then to pull at the
string till presently there drops upon the floor a small and battered
black bonnet with another string trailing behind it in the heap of

"There!" says Miss Stipp, holding up the fusty old bonnet, "with a bit
of black velvet," she continues, studying the flat bonnet with critical
eyes, "and a nob of jet, and a orstrich feather stuck into it somewhere
about there, or there perhaps, it will last me many a long day yet, and
always look nice and fashionable when I go for my walks about London
Bridge of a evenin'."

She is still holding the bonnet when I stoop down to take my leave. The
beautiful address of the bishop who confirmed her so many years ago in
Little Dorrit's church is not, my life for it, half so urgent and
absorbing a matter for Miss Stipp as the latest fashion.

[Sidenote: _Samuel Johnson_]

"Upon hearing a celebrated performer go through a hard composition, and
hearing it remarked that it was very difficult, Dr. Johnson said, 'I
would it had been impossible.'"

[Sidenote: _Samuel Johnson_]

"I asked Mr. Johnson if he ever disputed with his wife. 'Perpetually,'
said he; 'my wife had a particular reverence for cleanliness, and
desired the praise of neatness in her dress and furniture, as many
ladies do, till they become troublesome to their best friends, slaves to
their own besoms, and only sigh for the hour of sweeping their husbands
out of the house as dirt and useless lumber. A clean floor is so
comfortable, she would say sometimes by way of twitting; till at last I
told her that I thought we had had talk enough about the floor, we would
now have a touch at the ceiling.' I asked him if he ever huffed his wife
about his dinner. 'So often,' replied he, 'that at last she called to me
and said, "Nay, hold, Mr. Johnson, and do not make a farce of thanking
God for a dinner which in a few minutes you will protest not eatable."'"

[Sidenote: _Samuel Johnson_]

"During a visit of Miss Brown's to Streatham, Dr. Johnson was inquiring
of her several things that she could not answer; and, as he held her so
cheap in regard to books, he began to question her concerning domestic
affairs,--puddings, pies, plain work, and so forth. Miss Brown, not at
all more able to give a good account of herself in these articles than
in the others, began all her answers with 'Why, sir, one need not be
obliged to do so,--or so,' whatever was the thing in question. When he
had finished his interrogatories, and she had finished her 'need nots,'
he ended the discourse with saying, 'As to your needs, my dear, they are
so very many that you would be frightened yourself if you knew half of

[Sidenote: _Samuel Johnson_]

"I was told," wrote Sir Walter Scott, "that a gentleman called Pot, or
some such name, was introduced to Johnson as a particular admirer of
his. The doctor growled and took no further notice. "He admires in
especial your _Irene_ as the finest tragedy of modern times;" to which
the Doctor replied: "If Pot says so, Pot Lies!" and relapsed into his

[Sidenote: _Hood_]


  O Peace! oh come with me and dwell--
    But stop, for there's the bell.
  O peace! for thee I go and sit in churches,
    On Wednesday, when there's very few
      In loft or pew--
  Another ring, the tarts are come from Birch's.
  O Peace! for thee I have avoided marriage--
      Hush! there's a carriage.
  O Peace! thou art the best of earthly goods--
      The five Miss Woods.
  O Peace! thou art the goddess I adore--
      There come some more.
  O Peace! thou child of solitude and quiet--
  That's Lord Drum's footman, for he loves a riot.

            O Peace!--
      Knocks will not cease.
  O Peace! thou wert for human comfort planned--
      That's Weippert's band.
  O Peace! how glad I welcome thy approaches--
      I hear the sound of coaches.
  O Peace! O Peace!--another carriage stops--
      It's early for the Blenkinsops.

  O Peace! with thee I love to wander,
  But wait till I have showed up Lady Squander;
  And now I've seen her up the stair,
  O Peace!--but here comes Captain Hare.
  O Peace! thou art the slumber of the mind,
  Untroubled, calm, and quiet, and unbroken--
  If that is Alderman Guzzle from Portsoken,
  Alderman Gobble won't be far behind.
  O Peace! serene in worldly shyness--
  Make way there for his Serene Highness!

  O Peace! if you do not disdain
  To dwell amongst the menial train,
  I have a silent place, and lone,
  That you and I may call our own,
  Where tumult never makes an entry--
  Susan, what business have you in my pantry?

  O Peace!--but there is Major Monk,
  At variance with his wife. O Peace!--
  And that great German, Van der Trunk,
  And that great talker, Miss Apreece.
  O Peace! so dear to poets' quills--
  They're just beginning their quadrilles.
  O Peace! our greatest renovator--
  I wonder where I put my waiter.
  O Peace!--but here my ode I'll cease!
  I have no peace to write of Peace.

[Sidenote: _Thackeray_]

_Tuesday, November 1848_.


Since I came home from dining with Mr. Morier, I have been writing a
letter to Mr. T. Carlyle and thinking about other things as well as the
letter all the time; and I have read over a letter I received to-day
which apologizes for everything and whereof the tremulous author
ceaselessly doubts and misgives. Who knows whether she is not converted
by Joseph Bullar by this time. She is a sister of mine, and her name is
God bless her.

_Wednesday_.--I was at work until seven o'clock; not to very much
purpose, but executing with great labour and hardship the day's work.
Then I went to dine with Dr. Hall, the crack doctor here, a literate
man, a traveller, and otherwise a kind bigwig. After dinner we went to
hear Mr. Sortain lecture, of whom you may perhaps have heard me speak,
as a great, remarkable orator and preacher of the Lady Huntingdon
Connexion. (The paper is so greasy that I am forced to try several pens
and manners of handwriting, but none will do.) We had a fine lecture,
with brilliant Irish metaphors and outbursts of rhetoric, addressed to
an assembly of mechanics, shopboys, and young women, who could not, and
perhaps had best not, understand that flashy speaker. It was about the
origin of nations he spoke, one of those big themes on which a man may
talk eternally and with a never-ending outpouring of words; and he
talked magnificently, about the Arabs for the most part, and tried to
prove that because the Arabs acknowledged their descent from Ishmael, or
Esau, therefore the Old Testament history was true. But the Arabs may
have had Esau for a father and yet the bears may not have eaten up the
little children for quizzing Elisha's bald head. As I was writing to
Carlyle last night (I haven't sent the letter as usual, and shall not
most likely), Saint Stephen was pelted to death by Old Testaments, and
our Lord was killed like a felon by the law, which He came to repeal. I
was thinking about Joseph Bullar's doctrine after I went to bed, founded
on what I cannot but think a blasphemous asceticism, which has obtained
in the world ever so long, and which is disposed to curse, hate, and
undervalue the world altogether. Why should we? What we see here of this
world is but an expression of God's will, so to speak--a beautiful earth
and sky and sea--beautiful affections and sorrows, wonderful changes and
developments of creations, suns rising, stars shining, birds singing,
clouds and shadows changing and fading, people loving each other,
smiling and crying, the multiplied phenomena of Nature, multiplied in
fact and fancy, in Art and Science, in every way that a man's intellect
or education or imagination can be brought to bear.--And who is to say
that we are to ignore all this, or not value them and love them,
because there is another unknown world yet to come? Why, that unknown
future world is but a manifestation of God Almighty's Will, and a
development of Nature, neither more nor less than this in which we are,
and an angel glorified or a sparrow on a gutter are equally parts of His
creation. The light upon all the saints in heaven is just as much and no
more God's work, as the sun which shall shine to-morrow upon this
infinitesimal speck of creation, and under which I shall read, please
God, a letter from my kindest Lady and friend. About my future state I
don't know; I leave it in the disposal of the awful Father--but for
to-day I thank God that I can love you, and that you yonder and others
besides are thinking of me with a tender regard. Hallelujah may be
greater in degree than this, but not in kind, and countless ages of
stars may be blazing infinitely, but you and I have a right to rejoice
and believe in our little part and to trust in to-day as in to-morrow.
God bless my dear lady and her husband. I hope you are asleep now, and I
must go too, for the candles are just winking out.

_Thursday_.--I am glad to see among the new inspectors, in the Gazette
in this morning's papers, my old acquaintance Longueville Jones, an
excellent, worthy, lively, accomplished fellow, whom I like the better
because he flung up his fellow and tutorship at Cambridge in order to
marry on nothing a year. He worked in Galignani's newspaper for ten
francs a day, very cheerfully, ten years ago, since when he has been a
schoolmaster, taken pupils, or bid for them, and battled manfully with
fortune. William will be sure to like him, I think, he is so honest and
cheerful. I have sent off my letters to Lady Ashburton this morning,
ending with some pretty phrases about poor old C.B., whose fate affects
me very much, so much that I feel as if I were making my will and
getting ready to march too. Well, ma'am, I have as good a right to
presentiments as you have, and to sickly fancies and despondencies; but
I should like to see before I die, and think of it daily more and more,
the commencement of Jesus Christ's Christianism in the world, where I am
sure people may be made a hundred times happier than by its present
forms, Judaism, asceticism, Bullarism. I wonder will He come again and
tell it us? We are taught to be ashamed of our best feelings all our
life. I don't want to blubber upon everybody's shoulders; but to have a
good will for all, and a strong, very strong regard for a few, which I
shall not be ashamed to own to them.... It is near upon three o'clock,
and I am getting rather anxious about the post from Southampton via
London. Why, if it doesn't come in, you won't get any letter to-morrow,
no, nothing--and I made so sure. Well, I will try and go to work, it is
only one more little drop. God bless you, dear lady.

_Friday_.--I have had a good morning's work, and at two o'clock comes
your letter; dear friend, thank you. What a coward I was! I will go and
walk and be happy for an hour, it is a grand frosty sunshine. To-morrow
morning early back to London.

       *       *       *       *       *

Madam's letter made a very agreeable appearance upon the breakfast-table
this morning when I entered that apartment at eleven o'clock. I don't
know how I managed to sleep so much, but such was the fact--after a fine
broiling hot day's utter idleness, part of which was spent on a sofa, a
little in the Tuillery gardens, where I made a sketch that's not a
masterpiece, but p'raps Madam will like to see it: and the evening very
merrily with the _Morning Chronicle_, the _Journal des Débats_, and
Jules Janin at a jolly little restaurateur's at the Champs Elysées at
the sign of the Petit Moulin Rouge. We had a private room and drank
small wine very gaily, looking out into a garden full of green arbours,
in almost every one of which were gentlemen and ladies in couples come
to dine _au frais_, and afterwards to go and dance at the neighbouring
dancing garden of Mabille. Fiddlers and singers came and performed for
us: and who knows I should have gone to Mabille too, but there came down
a tremendous thunderstorm, with flashes of lightning to illuminate it,
which sent the little couples out of the arbours, and put out all the
lights of Mabille. The day before I passed with my aunt and cousins, who
are not so pretty as some members of the family, but are dear good
people, with a fine sense of fun, and we were very happy until the
arrival of two newly married snobs, whose happiness disgusted me and
drove me home early to find three acquaintances smoking in the moonlight
at the hotel door, who came up and passed the night in my rooms. No, I
forgot, I went to the play first; but only for an hour--I couldn't stand
more than an hour of the farce, which made me laugh while it lasted, but
left a profound black melancholy behind it. Janin said last night that
life was the greatest of pleasures to him; that every morning, when he
woke, he was thankful to be alive; that he was always entirely happy,
and had never known any such thing as blue devils, or repentance, or
satiety. I had great fun giving him authentic accounts of London. I told
him that to see the people boxing in the streets was a constant source
of amusement to us; that in November you saw every lamp-post on London
Bridge with a man hanging from it who had committed suicide--and he
believed everything. Did you ever read any of the works of Janin?--No?
well, he has been for twenty years famous in France, and he on his side
has never heard of the works of Titmarsh, nor has anybody else here, and
that's a comfort. I have got very nice rooms, but they cost ten francs a
day: and I began in a dignified manner with a _domestique de place_, but
sent him away after two days: for the idea that he was in the anteroom
ceaselessly with nothing to do made my life in my own room intolerable,
and now I actually take my own letters to the post. I went to the
exhibition: it was full of portraits of the most hideous women, with
inconceivable spots on their faces, of which I think I've told you my
horror, and scarcely six decent pictures in the whole enormous
collection; but I had never been in the Tuilleries before, and it was
curious to go through the vast dingy rooms by which such a number of
dynasties have come in and gone out--Louis XVI., Napoleon, Charles X.,
Louis Philippe, have all marched in state up the staircase with the gilt
balustrades, and come tumbling down again presently.--Well, I won't give
you an historical disquisition in the Titmarsh manner upon this, but
reserve it for _Punch_--for whom on Thursday an article that I think is
quite unexampled for dullness even in that journal, and that beats the
dullest Jerrold. What a jaunty, off-hand, satiric rogue I am to be
sure--and a gay young dog! I took a very great liking and admiration for
Clough. He is a real poet, and a simple, affectionate creature. Last
year we went to Blenheim--from Oxford (it was after a stay at
Cl----ved----n C----rt, the seat of Sir C---- E----n B----t), and I
liked him for sitting down in the inn yard and beginning to teach a
child to read off a bit of _Punch_, which was lying on the ground.
Subsequently he sent me his poems, which were rough but contain the
real, genuine, sacred flame I think. He is very learned: he has
evidently been crossed in love: he gave up his fellowship and
university prospects on religious scruples. He is one of those thinking
men who, I dare say, will begin to speak out before many years are over,
and protest against Gothic Christianity--that is, I think he is. Did you
read in F. Newman's book? There speaks a very pious, loving, humble soul
I think, with an ascetical continence too--and a beautiful love and
reverence. I'm a publican and sinner, but I believe those men are on the
true track.

       *       *       *       *       *

And is W. Bullar going to work upon you with his "simple mysticism"? I
don't know about the unseen world; the use of the seen world is the
right thing I'm sure!--it is just as much God's world and creation as
the Kingdom of Heaven with all the angels. How will you make yourself
most happy in it? How secure at least the greatest amount of happiness
compatible with your condition? by despising to-day, and looking up
cloudward? Pish. Let us turn God's to-day to its best use, as well as
any other part of the time He gives us. When I am on a cloud a-singing,
or a pot boiling--I will do my best, and, if you are ill, you can have
consolations; if you have disappointments, you can invent fresh sources
of hope and pleasure. I'm glad you saw the Crowes, and that they gave
you pleasure;--and that noble poetry of Alfred's gives you pleasure (I'm
happy to say, ma'am, I've said the very same thing in prose that you
like--the very same words almost). The bounties of the Father I believe
to be countless and inexhaustible for most of us here in life; Love the
greatest. Art (which is an exquisite and admiring sense of nature) the
next.--- By Jove! I'll admire, if I can, the wing of a cock-sparrow as
much as the pinion of an archangel; and adore God, the Father of the
earth, first; waiting for the completion of my senses, and the
fulfilment of His intentions towards me afterwards, when this scene
closes over us. So, when Bullar turns up his eye to the ceiling, I'll
look straight at your dear, kind face and thank God for knowing that, my
dear; and, though my nose is a broken pitcher, yet, Lo and behold,
there's a well gushing over with kindness in my heart where my dear lady
may come and drink. God bless you,--and William and little Magdalene.

[Sidenote: _Montaigne_]

The simplest and merely natural smells are most pleasing unto me; which
care ought chiefly to concerne women. In the verie heart of Barbarie,
the Scithian women, after they have washed themselves, did sprinkle,
dawbe, and powder all their bodies and faces over with a certain
odoriferous drug that groweth in their countrie: which dust and dawbing
being taken away, when they come neere men, or their husbands, they
remaine verie cleane, and with a verie sweet savouring perfume. What
odour soever it be, it is strange to see what hold it will take on me,
and how apt my skin is to receive it. He that complaineth against
nature, that she hath not created man with a fit instrument, to carrie
sweet smells fast-tied to his nose, is much to blame; for they carrie
themselves. As for me in particular, my mostachoes, which are verie
thick, serve me for that purpose. Let me but approach my gloves or my
hand kercher to them, their smell will sticke upon them a whole day.
They manifest the place I come from. The close-smacking,
sweetnesse-moving, love-alluring, and greedi-smirking kisses of youth,
were heretofore wont to sticke on them many houres after; yet I am
little subject to those popular diseases that are taken by conversation
and bred by the contagion of the ayre: And I have escaped those of my
time of which there hath beene many and severall kinds, both in the
Townes, about me, and in our Armie: We read of Socrates that during the
time of many plagues and relapses of the pestilence, which so often
infested the Citie of Athens, he never forsooke or went out of the
Towne: yet was he the only man that was never infected, or that felt any

[Sidenote: _Austin Dobson_]

  "Ah, Phillis! cruel Phillis!
    (I heard a shepherd say)
  You hold me with your eyes, and yet
    You bid me--Go my way!"

  "Ah, Colin! foolish Colin!
    (The maiden answered so)
  If that be all, the ill is small,
    I close them--You may go!"

  But when her eyes she opened
    (Although the sun it shone),
  She found the shepherd had not stirred--
    "Because the light was gone!"

  Ah, Cupid! wanton Cupid!
    'Twas ever thus your way:
  When maids would bid you ply your wings,
    You find excuse to stay!

[Sidenote: _Alexander Smith_]

I do not think that Mr. Buckle could have written his "History of
Civilisation" in Dreamthorp, because in it books, conversation, and the
other appurtenances of intellectual life are not to be procured. I am
acquainted with birds, and the building of nests--with wildflowers, and
the seasons in which they blow,--but with the big world far away, with
what men and women are thinking, and doing, and saying, I am acquainted
only through the _Times_, and the occasional magazine or review, sent by
friends whom I have not looked upon for years, but by whom, it seems, I
am not yet forgotten. The village has but few intellectual wants, and
the intellectual supply is strictly measured by the demand. Still, there
is something. Down in the village, and opposite the curiously carved
fountain, is a schoolroom which can accommodate a couple of hundred
people on a pinch. There are our public meetings held. Musical
entertainments have been given there by a single performer. In that
schoolroom last winter an American biologist terrified the villagers,
and, to their simple understandings, mingled up the next world with
this. Now and again some rare bird of an itinerant lecturer covers dead
walls with posters, yellow and blue, and to that schoolroom we flock to
hear him. His rounded periods the eloquent gentleman devolves amidst a
respectful silence. His audience do not understand him, but they see
that the clergyman does, and the doctor does; and so they are content,
and look as attentive and wise as possible. Then, in connection with the
schoolroom, there is a public library, where books are exchanged once a
month. This library is a kind of Greenwich Hospital for disabled novels
and romances. Each of these books has been in the wars; some are
unquestionably antiques. The tears of three generations have fallen upon
their dusky pages. The heroes and the heroines are of another age than
ours. Sir Charles Grandison is standing with his hat under his arm. Tom
Jones plops from the tree into the water, to the infinite distress of
Sophia. Moses comes home from market with his stock of shagreen
spectacles. Lovers, warriors, and villains,--as dead to the present
generation of readers as Cambyses,--are weeping, fighting, and
intriguing. These books, tattered and torn as they are, are read with
delight to-day. The viands are celestial, if set forth on a dingy
table-cloth. The gaps and chasms which occur in pathetic or perilous
chapters are felt to be personal calamities. It is with a certain
feeling of tenderness that I look upon these books; I think of the dead
fingers that have turned over the leaves, of the dead eyes that have
travelled along the lines. An old novel has a history of its own. When
fresh and new, and before it had breathed its secret, it lay on my
lady's table. She killed the weary day with it, and when night came it
was placed beneath her pillow. At the sea-side a couple of foolish
heads have bent over it, hands have touched and tingled, and it has
heard vows and protestations as passionate as any its pages contained.
Coming down in the world, Cinderella in the kitchen has blubbered over
it by the light of a surreptitious candle, conceiving herself the while
the magnificent Georgiana, and Lord Mordaunt, Georgiana's lover, the
pot-boy round the corner. Tied up with many a dingy brother, the
auctioneer knocks the bundle down to the bidder of a few pence, and it
finds its way to the quiet cove of some village library, where with some
difficulty--as if from want of teeth--and with numerous
interruptions--as if from lack of memory--it tells its old stories, and
wakes tears, and blushes, and laughter as of yore. Thus it spends its
age, and in a few years it will become unintelligible, and then, in the
dust-bin, like poor human mortals in the grave, it will rest from all
its labours. It is impossible to estimate the benefit which such books
have conferred. How often have they loosed the chain of circumstances!
What unfamiliar tears--what unfamiliar laughter they have caused! What
chivalry and tenderness they have infused into rustic lovers! Of what
weary hours they have cheated and beguiled their readers! The big,
solemn history-books are in excellent preservation; the story-books are
defaced and frayed, and their out-of-elbows condition is their pride,
and the best justification of their existence.

In this pleasant summer weather I hold my audience in my garden rather
than in my house. In all my interviews the sun is a third party. Every
village has its Fool, and of course Dreamthorp is not without one. Him I
get to run my messages for me, and he occasionally turns my garden
borders with a neat hand enough. He and I hold frequent converse, and
people here, I have been told, think we have certain points of sympathy.
Although this is not meant for a compliment, I take it for one. The
poor, faithful creature's brain has strange visitors: now 'tis fun, now
wisdom, and now something which seems in the queerest way a compound of
both. He lives in a kind of twilight which observes objects, and his
remarks seem to come from another world than that in which ordinary
people live. He is the only original person of my acquaintance; his
views of life are his own, and form a singular commentary on those
generally accepted. He is dull enough at times, poor fellow; but anon he
startles you with something, and you think he must have wandered out of
Shakespeare's plays into this out-of-the-way place. Up from the village
now and then comes to visit me the tall, gaunt, atrabilious
confectioner, who has a hankering after Red-republicanism, and the
destruction of Queen, Lords, and Commons. Guy Fawkes is, I believe, the
only martyr in his calendar. The sourest-tempered man, I think, that
ever engaged in the manufacture of sweetmeats. I wonder that the oddity
of the thing never strikes himself. To be at all consistent, he should
put poison in his lozenges, and become the Herod of the village
innocents. One of his many eccentricities is a love for flowers, and he
visits me often to have a look at my greenhouse and my borders. I listen
to his truculent and revolutionary speeches, and take my revenge by
sending the gloomy egotist away with a nosegay in his hand, and a
gay-coloured flower stuck in a button-hole. He goes quite unconscious of
my floral satire.

The village clergyman and the village doctor are great friends of mine;
they come to visit me often, and smoke a pipe with me in my garden. The
twain love and respect each other, but they regard the world from
different points of view, and I am now and again made witness of a
good-humoured passage of arms. The clergyman is old, unmarried, and a
humorist. His sallies and his gentle eccentricities seldom provoke
laughter, but they are continually awakening the pleasantest smiles.
Perhaps what he has seen of the world, its sins, its sorrows, its
death-beds, its widows and orphans, has tamed his spirit, and put a
tenderness into his wit. I do not think I have ever encountered a man
who so adorns his sacred profession. His pious, devout nature produces
sermons just as naturally as my apple-trees produce apples. He is a tree
that flowers every Sunday. Very beautiful is his reverence for the Book,
his trust in it; through long acquaintance, its ideas have come to
colour his entire thought, and you come upon its phrases in his
ordinary speech. He is more himself in the pulpit than anywhere else,
and you get nearer him in his sermons than you do sitting with him at
his tea-table, or walking with him on the country roads. He does not
feel confined in his orthodoxy; in it he is free as a bird in the air.
The doctor is, I conceive, as good a Christian as the clergyman, but he
is impatient of pale or limit; he never comes to a fence without feeling
a desire to get over it. He is a great hunter of insects, and he thinks
that the wings of his butterflies might yield very excellent texts; he
is fond of geology, and cannot, especially when he is in the company of
the clergyman, resist the temptation of hurling a fossil at Moses. He
wears his scepticism as a coquette wears her ribbons--to annoy if he
cannot subdue--and, when his purpose is served, he puts his scepticism
aside--as the coquette puts her ribbons. Great arguments arise between
them, and the doctor loses his field through his loss of temper, which,
however, he regains before any harm is done. For the worthy man is
irascible withal, and opposition draws fire from him.

[Sidenote: _H.B._]

Old Joe, who has been a pirate, a buffalo-hunter, a soldier, a
pastrycook, and a seller of bootlaces, collar-studs, and tie-clips in
the London gutters, sits paralysed in his grandfather chair, which has a
thin pad strung to the back and a flattened cushion on the seat, and
declares, vainly trying to keep his tongue inside his mouth, and with
his whole body shaken by paralysis, that he is happy and jolly.

"Happy and jolly," roars Joe, struggling with his frightful stammer. "It
'tain't no good bein' nuffin kelse. Why, I've been dead and pretty near
buried. In Charing-crost 'orspital; yerse! I heard 'em say, 'He's a
gonner,' and I couldn't give 'em the lie. I come to, wrapped up like a
mummy, and hollered so as they pretty near 'opped out of their skins!
Ho, I've had a terrible life! Run over by a horse and van. Knocked all
to pieces. Been to the bottom of the sea! Many a time. But here I am,
happy and jolly. What's the odds?" He goes off into such a fit of
laughter that the chair is shaken and he himself nearly suffocated by a
cough like an earthquake.

He looks extremely like one of those lay figures employed by
ventriloquists. He is a thin, flat, pasteboard-looking old fellow; his
trousers hang over the edge of his chair apparently empty of legs, and
his shirt and open waistcoat (he never wears a coat) are pressed flat
against the high back of the chair, apparently empty of trunk. His body
and his features are for ever on the jerk. His shoulders twitch. He is
for ever laughing and gurgling. He is for ever struggling to say
something important, ending in a great spluttering stammer and a roar of
tremendous laughter.

For all he is eighty-two years of age, his hair is yet thick, and the
blackness of it is of too stubborn an order ever to go more than
iron-grey. He has glassy eyes, puffed and bagged with flesh; heavy black
eyebrows half-way up his sloping forehead; a heavy black moustache under
his strong nose; a tongue several sizes too large for his mouth; and
under the mouth a chin which recedes so sharply that it becomes neck
before you are really aware that it is chin. He reminds us a little, as
he sits there laughing and chuckling, of early caricatures of Sir
Redvers Buller.

Opposite Old Joe sits Mr. Wells, a little old white-haired gentleman,
very spruce and tidy, with neatly clipped moustache and neatly pointed
beard, and peering little cloudy eyes which are sightless.

       *       *       *       *       *

The two old gentlemen, as they are called, live together in a tiny
two-roomed house in a narrow flagged court which is generally strung
with washing. The low-roofed kitchen is their sitting-room, and its
smoky-panelled walls are decorated only with church almanacs and a few
faded photographs.

The room is beautifully clean, and so is the bedroom above, where the
two pensioners sleep in neat little beds. Out of the money allowed them
by a neighbouring church--some nine shillings a week between the
two--they pay a woman five shillings a week "to do for them." As for
themselves, they smoke their pipes in front of the fire, and laugh to
find themselves, after much rough work on the high seas, so happy and
jolly at the end of their days.

"It wasn't always as clean as this, you must understand," says Mr. Wells
confidentially, his sightless eyes blinking with amusement. "When we
first come here the place was simply swarming; swarming it was--you
know, _gentlemen in the overcoats_ we call 'em down here. And the
amusing thing was--there, I did laugh!--Joe could see 'em but couldn't
catch 'em, and I, who might have caught 'em, couldn't see 'em." He leans
over to Joe and shouts, "I was telling the genneman about the bugs when
we first came here!" And Joe lifts his eyebrows, rubs his shoulder
against his chair, and laughs, and says with his pipe in his mouth,
"Ess, sir!" making a pantomimic gesture supposed to represent the
slaughter of vermin.

Little Mr. Wells has a great and fundamental pride in the fact that he
is "eight year younger nor what Joe is." He tells you this interesting
fact more than once, speaking in his wonted low tone of voice, reaching
out with his pipe between his fingers to touch you lightly with his
elbow, and always concluding with the appeal, "You wouldn't think so,
would you?" And then, as the pipe goes back to his mouth, "Well, it is
so," he says, and nods his head at the fire. And Old Joe, who doesn't
care a brass farden, or a bone button for that matter, whether he is
eighty-two or one hundred and eighty-two, has his point of pride in the
certain conviction that if only he had the use of his legs he would be
as strong now as ever he was.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now, old Joe, for all he is paralysed, has the use of his eyes, whereas
Mr. Wells, who can and does shuffle about pretty freely on his feet, has
not got the use of his.

Joe's sight is a great blessing to him; he can read. He has a sturdy
taste in literature, and will stand none of your milk-and-water stuff.
He likes fighting, plenty of that: and Red Indians, and duels, and
murders, and shipwrecks, and fires, and sudden deaths. He requires of
his author that he keep his mind steeped perpetually in blood and
thunder. You will always find that Old Joe is sitting on a penny
novelette, open at the place, and but little crumpled or creased from
the impress of his skeleton of a body. He is a great reader, one of the
greatest readers in London; and, perhaps, to no man in all the world
more than to Joe has literature brought so complete an escape from the
pressing demands of self-consciousness and the inconvenient emphasis of

It is at this point that we reach, by the reader's leave, the
psychological interest of this our simple story. For the problem
presents itself to Mr. Wells, as well as to me, whether all this violent
reading has not created in Joe's mind the impression of a Joe who never
was on sea or land. In other words: in the tale which Joe tells of his
own life, is any part of it fact, or is it not all a figment of his
brain, the creation of his bloody-minded authors? Joe himself believes
every word of it; Joe believes he was the Joe he tells you about, and
his face grows purple, and his glassy eyes dart fire out of their baggy
flesh, if you insinuate never so delicately that one of his stories is
in the very smallest detail just a little difficult of belief.

Mr. Wells never contradicts Joe; but every now and then (forgetting that
Joe can see) he shakes a sceptic head, and, leaning towards you,
whispers (forgetting that Joe can only hear when you shout at him) that
you must be pleased to remember that "_that's_ what he thinks he done;
and no doubt he _thinks_ that it was so; and it may be it was, and I
should never think of contradicting, not no man; but I has my own
opinion in the matter. _I don't_ think it was so. I think he's half
dreaming and half telling a tale. That's what _I_ think."

"But," you inquire, "is it not true that Joe was once a pirate?"

"Oh, yes," he cries at once, smiling proudly; "Oh, yes. Joe was a
pirate right enough. What, haven't you heard him tell how they boarded a
Spanish ship, and cut the throats and broke the heads of the swarthy
crew? Oh, you ought to hear him tell that. It's as good as a play." And
here he leans forward, and calls across to chuckling and gurgling Joe.
"Joe! Tell the genneman how you boarded that Spanish ship, and cut the
throats of them there swarthy Spaniards."

       *       *       *       *       *

At this Old Joe seems to be smitten with a sudden frenzy. I have never
seen anything like it. After a preliminary canter in the laughing line
he suddenly makes taut his body; his eyes bulge from his head; his face
becomes crimson and his nose blue; then, with his mouth open, while he
hisses like a steam-saw and roars like a bull and sends the most
extraordinary imitation of throat-cutting spluttering wetly from his
distended lips, he waves his right arm madly and frantically in the air,
makes imaginary stabs in front of him, draws imaginary knives across his
throat, and brings down the butt ends of imaginary carbines on the
supposititious heads of the swarthy crew unkindly resurrected to be
slain again.

It is plain that the poor old paralysed fellow is lost to the Present.
He is back in the Past--or in one of his novelettes; and in front of
him, begging for mercy, as he slits their throats, or cracks open their
skulls, are, indeed, hundreds of real and living men. His acting is
superb. It is only made comical by the hanging legs, the fixture of the
body to the seat of the chair, and the furious spluttering of his
frenzied mouth.

When he has quite finished, thoroughly exhausted, he leans back in his
chair, sticks his pipe into his face, strikes a match with his shaking
hands, and covers his laughing face in a wreath of tobacco-smoke.

"Arst him," whispers Mr. Wells, "how many he killed? Go on; you arst

       *       *       *       *       *

So you lean across to Old Joe, who shoots forward to meet your lips
half-way with his left ear, and you calmly, and without dread or horror,
ask the gurgling and chuckling veteran how many men he has killed.

As soon as he has caught your question he bursts out laughing, flings
himself suddenly back, and exclaims, with a splutter: "How many ha' I
killed? How many? I couldn't say. Too many on 'em. Hundreds! Hundreds!
Hundreds of 'em!" Back goes the pipe, and, wreathed in proud smiles, his
shoulders twitching, his hands never still for a moment, he sits square
back in his chair and looks at you proudly, as much as to say:

"Ain't I a devil of a feller? Ain't I a monster? Ho, I've had a terrible
life. You just arst me another!"

Well, I know not how true is the story told by Old Joe of his own

But, however this may be--and it is not the province of Old Joe's
humble historian to speculate--let us be content with the picture of
these two old pensioners from the high seas, living together in the
evening of their days in a narrow court in a London slum, the one
paralysed and the other blind; the one a most brilliant and imaginative
story-teller, the other a most cautious, modest, tentative, and genial
critic. And let us sit between their two chairs for a moment and listen
to the moving story of Old Joe, believing it with all the simplicity, if
not with all the stupefied, admiration of the little slum children who
gaze at the pirate when his chair is moved out into the court that he
may warm his old bones in the sun.

[In brackets, let me say that I have come upon Old Joe literally posing
in the court as a most ferocious pirate before an audience of toddling
infants not more than four years of age.]

Eighty-two years ago Old Joe, surnamed Ridley, was born in the
neighbourhood of the Barbican. He remembers how murderers and highwaymen
used to come and hide in the court where he was born, "because, don't
you see, the police daren't come where we was living." He went to a
school in Charterhouse-square. "Charterhouse School," he says. But Mr.
Wells nudges us with his pipe hand. "That's a mistake," he says. "There
wasn't never no _school_ in Charterhouse Square, in those days. But
never mind; let him go on. Only you must make allowance, you know."

His father was a carman who could drink porter by the two-gallon, and
had an arm like a leg of mutton. But this great, lusty carman found
himself ruled with a rod of iron by the little spitfire he took for his
second wife. She managed the carman, and she managed his brats of
children. She particularly managed Joe because he particularly disliked
being managed.

       *       *       *       *       *

So it came about that Joe found the streets pleasanter than his home,
and took to slouching about with his hands in his pockets, feeling
hungry and sometimes a little concerned, perhaps, as to what was to
become of him. One day, as he was wasting time at a street-corner in
Aldersgate, there came up to him a broad-shouldered, sandy-haired man in
a blue reefer suit, who showed all his teeth when he smiled and whose
voice had a sharp rattle in it like a bag full of gold coins. This
noticeable man hailed Joe as a fine fellow, and asked the fine fellow
whether he wouldn't step with him into a convenient tavern and wet his
whistle with a glass of the best brandy.

The broad-shouldered, easy-smiling gentleman in the reefer suit told
Joe, over a glass of brandy in the sanded-floor parlour of a neat
tavern, that he was a rich man, with a hobby on which he spent a great
deal of money. "It's a hobby of mine," he said, laughing, "to put down
the slave-trade. I don't like it, and so I put it down. Now, a fine
young likely fellow, such as you, is just the man I want for my ship.
How would you like to go sailing the lovely seas catching
slave-dealers, and giving them what-for with the best steel and
gunpowder that money can buy?"

Joe said he could put up with it if the money was all right. And, being
assured that the money was more than all right, he agreed to go down to
Plymouth with a party of the gentleman's friends and try his hand for a
year or two at laying pirates by the heel.

But when our Joe got out to sea and awoke from a terrible bout of
intoxication on the schooner sailed by the gentleman with a hobby, he
discovered that, instead of being on the ocean to catch pirates, he was
there as a pirate himself. The boy had run away from home to make a
fortune catching wicked men; he now found that his bread and butter
depended upon his ability in cracking the heads of perfectly honest men.
Some of the new hands wanted to be put back when the situation was
explained to them, but Joe was among those who felt respect for the
villainous seamen on board (the ship carried 130 men, he says,) who
declared that they had as lief be pirates as catch pirates, and it was
no odds to them what flag they sailed under or for what purpose.

"On board," splutters Joe, striking another match, "there was a turr'ble
fellow--Jack Armstrong--six foot five in socks, strong's a lion, brave's
a tiger. He and me use to fight--every day, pretty near. Bang! crack!
g-r-r-r-r-r! I used to beat him--easy! I was turr'bly strong. Make's
nose bleed--bung's eyes up--split's lips. Ess! And there was a mulatto
aboard. Metsi-metsi-metsi-can, he was."

"He means Mexican," whispers Mr. Wells behind his hand. "That's what Joe
means. A Mexican." And then he gets up from his chair and shouts into
Joe's ear, "You mean a Mex-i-can, Joe."

"Ess; a Metsican," splutters Joe, getting purple in the face under the
impression of a contradiction. "That's what I said--Metsican. Used to
call him Black Peter. I've seen him eat rattlesnake. Swallow him clean
down. Like this, he would--_Gollop!_" Here Mr. Wells goes off into a
quiet chuckle of scepticism, one finger crooked over his pipe-stem, his
sightless eyes blinking at the coals. "Great big bull of a feller.
'Normous chest. Legs o' granite. Used ter fight wi' bar o' iron. Ho! Ho!
Weighed half a hunded. Tremenjus weapon! If he hit you, you
know--_dash_!--out go your brains. Ho! ho! He was fond o' me. If I saw
him sulky, or anythin', up I'd go, an' 'What's matter?' I'd say. Peter'd
say, 'So-a-so.' 'Oh blow,' I'd say, and walk off. He looked up to me.
R'spected me. Peter was always behind me in action. Always. Never let me
be killed. Never! _Bang! Crack!_ Brain any man who come near me. Fond o'

Joe, we gather, was fourteen years at sea without ever coming home. He
was a pirate in the China seas for years. He was in the Baltic during
the Crimea. He has been to the bottom of the sea two or three times. He
has fought hand-to-hand with many a shark. He has been shipwrecked a
score of times. The experience of St. Paul in a good cause hardly
exceeds for suffering the experience of Old Joe in a bad one. For six
days and seven nights he and seven others were tossed about the sea
without food in a row-boat. Two of the men died, and were eaten by the
rest, with the exception of Joe, who could not stomach cannibalism for
all he was such a terrible fellow. Then they were picked up by the
famous _Alabama_, and Joe fought in the great American War of North
_versus_ South.

"I was put in prison," he says, with a roar of laughter. "Two years. In
Allybammer. Two years in dungeon. In the Harbour there. Allybammer

"Alabama, he means," whispers Mr. Wells. "You've heard of Alabama, I
dare say? Somewhere in Ameriky, isn't it? Ah! Well, that's what Joe

"Two years!" laughed Joe; and then, with a great roar of delight, he
adds, "Went off my nut! In dungeon. Clean off my nut!"

"What Joe means," whispers Mr. Wells, slowly and dogmatically, "is that,
while he was in prison in Alabama Harbour, he lost his reason: 'Off his
nut' is slang for losing his reason. Now, I dare say that that is true.
I shouldn't be surprised if it was."

"Then I went Canada," bellows Joe, striking a fresh match. "Buff'lo
hunter! Ho! Ho! Fought the Injuns. Red Injuns. Killed hundreds. _Slish!
C-r-r-r-r! Bang! Dash! Gurrrr!_ Hundreds. Red Injuns! I killed hundreds
myself. Ho! Ho! I dashed their brains out. Ho! Ho! Injuns. Red Injuns!"

It is some time before he grows really calm after illustrating with
tremendous energy his ferocity against the poor Red Indians. Even Mr.
Wells grows enthusiastic, and, sucking his pipe-stem, chuckles proudly
over Joe's enormous valour.

But what a fall it is when Joe resumes his life. From being a pirate, a
fighter, and a buffalo-hunter, he becomes--think of it!--a pastrycook.
He leaves the magnificent society of Jack Armstrong, and Black Peter,
and Red Indians, to mix with the commonplace citizens of London--as a
pastrycook! He makes buns. He makes sponge cakes. Think of it--he makes

       *       *       *       *       *

But romance could not leave Joe, even while he toiled before a London

There was a fire on the premises, and Joe did astonishing things. After
being rescued he walked calmly back, through sheets of fire, to fetch
the cash-box from the parlour. "Never afraid of anythin'--fire, water,
gunpowder, sword, arrows--nothin'! No fear. Always brave. Ho! Ho!
Brave's lion."

"Tell the genneman," shouted Mr. Wells, "what became of the shop."

"Ho, business failed," roars Joe. "Pastry-cook I was. Came
down--_smash_! Lost everythin'. Every penny! Ho! Ho! But what's odds?
Happy and jolly! Nothin' wrong. I'm a'right. What's odds?"

"Your old missus is dead, ain't she, Joe?" shouts Mr. Wells.

"Ess," answers Joe cheerfully. "Gone. Dead." He points towards the floor
with a twitching finger, and stabs downward. "Dead. Years ago. Gone."

"And what about your boy?" asks Mr. Wells.

"No good," roars Joe, in half a rage. "He's no good. No good 't all.
Brought him up like genneman. No good." He laughs again, shakes himself
in his chair, and strikes another match.

"He was selling things in the street when the clergyman found him," says
Mr. Wells behind his pipe. "Had a little tray strapped on to his
shoulders, and two sticks to keep him standing. Collar-studs, tie-clips,
bootlaces, matches--you know. You've often seen trays like that, I dare
say. Well, that was what Joe was doing when the clergyman found him. Not
this clergyman, you understand. The one before, Father Vivian. He's now
a bishop. Out somewhere in Africa. That's his photograph on the wall
over there. He sent us a picture-postcard the other day. Little black
woolly-headed baby with no clothes on! I haven't seen it myself, because
my eyes are bad; but they all laugh at it, and I dare say it's funny
enough. A nice man Father Vivian was. A genneman. He's a bishop now, but
he don't forget his old friends, do he?"

       *       *       *       *       *

And as we listen to the blind man we wonder what his story is, and we
learn that he was born in Trinity Lane, Upper Thames Street, in the days
when poor people did live on that side of the water, and that he was
engaged at an early age in tide work. "Coal trade," he says, quietly.
"Seaham to London. The _Isabella_ brig. Four or five years I had of
that. Then I was off to Russia in the _Prince George_. Then I did the
trade between England and America. Then I was on a brig working the west
coast of Africa. After that I came home and married. My wife lived in
Fivefoot Lane. Her father was a carpenter. She was a good woman. She's
dead now. We buried a sight of little 'uns. I can't tell you how many.
There was a son, Harry: we buried him; a girl, 'Liza: we buried her; and
a boy, Frank: we buried him; but I can't tell you how many little 'uns.
Buried a lot, we did. Three children living now. Doing fair, they are;
pretty fair. As times go, you know. I dare say they're happy enough."

After all these years of seafaring Mr. Wells worked on Brewer's Quay
for eleven years, and after that took a spell of work in City
warehouses. He "entered the Fur Trade." He did good work and earned good
money; but after a bit he got what he describes as "a bit of a blight"
in the eyes. He went to Moorfields hospital and underwent an operation.
The darkness didn't lift. The twilight in which he lived deepened. He
had to give up respectable work, and took to selling toys in the street.
Then, one day, he was knocked down by a cab, and was carried to
hospital, where by good fortune he fell in with Father Vivian. Father
Vivian--whose name is blessed to this day in I know not how many slum
homes--happened to want a companion for Joe, and Mr. Wells was pressed
into the service. The blind man came to take care of the paralytic, and
here they now are in the little two-roomed slum cottage, smoking their
pipes in the blackened kitchen, and declaring that they have never been
so well off in their lives before.

His Majesty the King has no more loyal and affectionate subjects. A
friend of mine carried the two old gentlemen off to a Coronation dinner.
They had a hundred things to complain of concerning the way in which the
plates were whisked off before they had even got the savour of the dish
in their nostrils; but when it came to singing "God save the King" they
roared and cheered and shouted and cheered again, and cried till the
tears ran down their faces. And now, among their possessions, there is
nothing of which they are more proud than the gorgeous card telling how
the King and Queen of England requested the favour of their society to a
banquet. It is splendid to see these two old sea-dogs in their kitchen
fingering that card and smiling over it with a pride not to be matched
in all the world outside.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have never heard them complain. They are old friends of mine. I have
smoked many a pipe in their kitchen; but never yet did I hear murmur or
complaint from their lips. Never once. They are most beautifully happy.
They are radiant in their happiness. I do not believe there is a room in
the world in which laughter is more constant and more spontaneous than
in the little low-roofed black kitchen where the paralytic old pirate
and the blind old seaman smoke their pipes and chuckle over the things
they have done, the sights they have seen, and the storms they have

Opposite to the two old gentlemen lives a great friend of theirs, a
maker of rag-dolls--a grey-headed, bent-back old veteran named Mr.
Kight. I happened to be calling on the two old gentlemen on the Fifth of
November last year, and, entering the kitchen, and while shaking hands
with Joe (who always roars with laughter when he clutches your hand, and
shakes it backwards and forwards as if he meant never to let it go)
little Mr. Wells came fumbling to my side, laughing and chuckling,
evidently with important news.

"You know it's the Fifth of November," he said, nudging me with the
elbow of the hand which held his pipe. "You know that, don't you?
Everybody knows that. Well, I've been telling Old Joe that he ought to
let me and Mr. Kight shove a couple o' broom-sticks under his Grandfer
Chair and carry him out into the streets. He'd make a lovely Guy,
wouldn't he?"

Mr. Wells joined a treble of laughter to the continuous bass of Joe's
gurgle, and then, stooping forward: "Joe," he shouted, "I'm telling the
genneman you ought to let me and Kight take you out in your chair for a
Guy Fawkes."

At this Old Joe's mouth opened wider than ever, his face became purple,
and he pretended very hard indeed to laugh with a relish. But the jest
hurt him. I saw, what Mr. Wells could not see, the hurt look in his old
eyes, and, leaning to his ear, I shouted, "You'd have all the girls
running after you, Joe! You're too handsome for a Guy. They'd run you
off to church and marry you as sure as a gun."

"Ess!" he cried, delighted. "Ess! 'Zactly." And then, after a frightful
effort to master his stammer, his face the colour of claret, his eyes
buried in their flesh, his old body twitching violently, he burst out
with the boast: "I was d----d handsome feller. Once. Ess! Handsome's
paint. Ho! Ho! Girls mad about me!"

Happiness was restored. We drew our chairs nearer to the fire, filled
our pipes, and laughed away the winter afternoon in the best of good

"We've got nothing to complain of," says Mr. Wells. "Everybody is kind
to us. We've got our health, thank God! We've got a roof over our heads.
We've got food in the locker. We've generally got a bit of terbaccer
somewhere about the place. And we've done with the sea." After a pause,
he adds, "When the Call comes, we shall be here to answer it. Early or
late, we shall be ready; me and Old Joe."

Once more he leans across to the pirate. "I'm telling the genneman," he
shouted; "that we've nothing to complain about, that when the Call comes
we shall be ready."

"Ess!" shouts Old Joe cheerfully, with his pipe in the air. "Always
ready! That's me. Always ready. But, don't want to die. Not yet. No! No
fear. Why should I! Happy and jolly I am. Happy and jolly!" And once
more he throws himself back with twitching shoulders, the chin fallen,
the eyes scarcely visible in their bags of flesh, and laughs till the
tears come.

"He's wunnerful hearty for eighty-two," says Mr. Wells quietly.

[Sidenote: _Anon._]

  Shop-windows shivered in the frames
  Do advertise the women's aims.

[Sidenote: _Anon._]

  Till Venus saw a Suffragette
  Cried she, "But women should regret
  A broken glass!" But then, next minute,
  "Poor thing! she saw her image in it!"


_Lamb said that the greatest pleasure in life was to do good in secret
and be found out by accident_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"_I suppose" said Lamb, "that Johnson was thinking of Shakespeare making
Hector talk about Aristotle when he says,

And panting Time toils after him in vain_."

       *       *       *       *       *

_A clergyman who had several livings was under discussion. "Why, such
fellows look at a cure of souls like a cure of herrings--so much per

"Ah, but the herring cures fulfil their contract," said Jerrold.

He called clerical pluralists_ polypi, _parsons with many stomachs and
no hearts_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_A young prince had just been born and they were firing royal salutes to
celebrate the occasion. A bystander exclaimed, "How they do powder these

       *       *       *       *       *

_In a pompous speech of self-defence the orator wound up by declaring
himself the guardian of his own honour. "What a sinecure!" murmured his

"_How do you like babies, Mr. Lamb?" cried the gushing mother._

"_Boi-boi-boiled," answered the stammering old bachelor._

       *       *       *       *       *

_Foote used to say that the Irish take us in and the Scots turn us out._

       *       *       *       *       *

_A stout duellist once said to his diminutive antagonist, "It is a
perfectly unequal contest. It is almost impossible to hit any one of
your size, or to miss any one of mine."_

"_I agree," said his opponent. "And I will chalk my size on your body.
We will not count the shots that go out of the ring_."

       *       *       *       *       *

"_Ah," said Curran, noticing an Irish friend walking along
absent-mindedly with his tongue out, "he is evidently trying to catch
the English accent_."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sydney Smith was asked his opinion of Newton's portrait of Tom Moore.
"Couldn't you," he asked the painter, "put more hostility to the
Established Church into the face?_"

       *       *       *       *       *

_An intemperate duke asked Foote how he should go to a masquerade. "Go
sober," said Foote._

       *       *       *       *       *

"_I'm afraid the salad is gritty," apologised the host.

"Gritty!" mumbled the guest, "it's a gravel path with a few weeds in

       *       *       *       *       *

"_I never read a book before reviewing it" said Sydney Smith to a
friend. "It is so apt to prejudice one_."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Bentley, the publisher, said to Jerrold, "I thought of calling my
magazine_ The Wits' Miscellany, _but I have decided on_ Bentley's

"_My dear fellow," said Jerrold, "why go to the other extreme?_"

       *       *       *       *       *

"_What a magnificent-looking man!" said Goldsmith of a stranger; "he
ought to be a Lord Chancellor."

He was, in fact, a rich baker.

"Not Chancellor," whispered a friend; "only Master of the Rolls_."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Coleridge was dreaming of the time when he was a minister. "Ah,
Charles, you never heard me preach." "My dear fellow," cried Lamb, "I
never heard you do anything else_."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sydney Smith said that the whole of his life had been spent like a
razor--in hot water or a scrape._

       *       *       *       *       *

_As a means of bragging of his acquaintance, a man was remarking to the
company that, although he had often dined at the Duke of Devonshire's,
there had never been any fish. "Is it not_ extraordinary?" _he asked.
Jerrold said, "Hardly. They ate it all upstairs_."

       *       *       *       *       *

_A jealous general was abusing Wolfe to the King.

"The man is mad," he declared bitterly.

George sighed. "I wish," he said, "that I could persuade him to bite all
my generals."_

       *       *       *       *       *

_A rich man, formerly a cheesemonger, was discussing the Poor Law with
Lamb, and boasted that he had got rid of all the sentimental stuff
called the milk of human kindness.

"Yes," said Lamb sadly, "you turned it into cheese long ago_."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Jerrold said of some one who sent his wife effusive letters but not a
farthing of money, that he was full of "unremitting kindness_."

       *       *       *       *       *

_A Turkish proverb says, "The devil tempts the busy man, but the idle
man tempts the devil_."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Gladstone once asked, "In what country except ours would (as I know to
have happened) a Parish Ball have been got up in order to supply funds
for a Parish Hearse?_"

       *       *       *       *       *

"_They're rising in Connaught," shouted a scaremonger, dashing into
Chesterfield's room. Quietly he drew out his watch. "Nine o'clock," he
said gently. "They ought to be_."

       *       *       *       *       *

"_He is one of those people," said Jerrold of a mistaken philanthropist,
"who would vote for a supply of tooth-picks in a time of famine"; and of
another--"He would hold an umbrella over a duck while it was raining_."

       *       *       *       *       *

"_Hark at Boswell," muttered Wilkes, "telling every one how he has had
his handkerchief picked from his pocket--it's merely brag, to show us he
had one_."

       *       *       *       *       *

"_Do you approve of clergymen riding?" Sydney Smith was asked. "Well, it
depends," he replied thoughtfully; "yes, if they turn their toes out_."

       *       *       *       *       *

"_The testator meant to keep a life interest in the estate himself,"
remarked the judge, who was trying a will case._

"_Surely, my lord," said the barrister, "you are taking the will for the

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sydney Smith said of an obstinate man, "You might as well try to
poultice the humps off a camel's back_."

[Sidenote: _Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones_]

At Bideford, died the only master I ever had who had any brains. When I
was fourteen or fifteen he taught me to place my knowledge as it came,
to have its proportion. He so kept me to the drawing of maps that the
earth has ever since lain beneath me as if I could see it all from a
great height, and he so taught me history that I see it now as a
panorama, from the first days. In his time I could draw the coasts of
all the world in very fair proportion, without looking at a map, and I
think I could do it now, though not so well as then, perhaps; and always
afterwards, if ever I heard or saw or read up a thing, I knew in what
little pocket of the mind to put it. Right up to the end of Oxford days
no one could compare with him. His name was Abraham Thompson, a doctor
of divinity he was; black hair grew on the back of his hands which I
used to marvel at, he was very handsome and dark. Funny little boys
are--how they watch. He could be very angry and caned furiously; at
times I caught it. I think he grew poor in his last years and had the
school at Bideford. I never heard about him at the end. I worshipped him
when I was little, and we used to look at each other in class. I wonder
what he thought when he looked; I used to think Abraham of Ur of the
Chaldees was like him, and I am sure if he had bought a piece of land to
bury his Sarah in, he would have been just as courteous as the first
Abraham. I was always sorry that he was called Thompson, for I like
lovely names--should have liked one myself and a handsome form--yes, I
should. So that was Thompson. I have thought how far more needful with a
lad is one year with a man of intellect than ten years of useless
teaching. He taught us few facts, but spent all the time drilling us
that we might know what to do with them when they came. Abraham Kerr
Thompson, that was his name. I wonder if any one remembers him. A
strange thing he would do, unlike any other I ever heard of; he would
call up the class, and open any book and make the head boy read out a
chance sentence, and then he would set to work with every word--how it
grew and came to mean this or that. With the flattest sentence in the
world he would take us to ocean waters and the marshes of Babylon and
the hills of Caucasus and wilds of Tartary and the constellations and
abysses of space. Yes, no one ever taught me anything but he only--I
hope he made a good end. But how long ago it all was! It is forty-five
years since I saw him.

[Sidenote: _Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones_]

When I was fifteen or sixteen he (Newman) taught me so much I do
mind--things that will never be out of me. In an age of sofas and
cushions he taught me to be indifferent to comfort, and in an age of
materialism he taught me to venture all on the unseen, and this so early
that it was well in me when life began, and I was equipped before I went
to Oxford with a real good panoply, and it has never failed me. So if
this world cannot tempt me with money or luxury--and it can't--or
anything it has in its trumpery treasure-house, it is most of all
because he said it in a way that touched me, not scolding nor
forbidding, nor much leading--walking with me a step in front. So he
stands to me as a great image or symbol of a man who never stooped, and
who put all this world's life in one splendid venture, which he knew as
well as you or I might fail, but with a glorious scorn of everything
that was not his dream.

[Sidenote: _Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones_]

The life in Red Lion Square was a very happy one in its freedom. Red
Lion Mary's originality all but equalled that of the young men, and she
understood them and their ways thoroughly. Their rough and ready
hospitality was seconded by her with unfailing good temper; she
cheerfully spread mattresses on the floor for friends who stayed there,
and when the mattresses came to an end it was said that she built up
beds with boots and portmanteaus. Cleanliness, beyond the limits of the
tub, was impossible in Red Lion Square, and hers was not a nature to
dash itself against impossibilities, so the subject was pretty much
ignored, but she was ready to fulfil any mission or do anything for them
at a moment's notice, which was much more important. Never did she
dishonour their bills.

"Mary!" cried Edward one evening when ordering breakfast over-night for
Rossetti, who was staying with them, "let us have quarts of hot coffee,
pyramids of toast, and multitudinous quantities of milk"; which to her
meant all he intended. "Dear Mary," wrote Rossetti, "please go and smash
a brute in Red Lion passage to-morrow. He had to send a big book, a
scrapbook, to Master Crabb, 34, Westbourne Place, Eaton Square, and he
hasn't done it. I don't know his name, but his shop is dirty and full of
account books. This book was ordered ten days ago, and was to have been
sent home the next day _and was paid for_--so sit on him hard to-morrow
and dig a fork into his eye, as I can't come that way to murder him
myself." From these hints she knew exactly what to say.

Her memory was excellent and sense of humour keen, so that some of the
commissions on which she was sent gave her great enjoyment--as one day
when Edward told her to take a cab and go to Mr. Watts at Little Holland
House, and ask him for the loan of "whatever draperies and any other old
things he could spare," and Mr. Watts, amused at the form of the
request, sent her back with a parcel of draperies and an old pair of
brown trousers, bidding her tell Mr. Jones those were the only "old
things" he could spare. This delighted Edward, and he detained Mary
while he took down his "Vasari" and read to her of the old Italian
painter who had his breeches made of leather because they wore out so
quickly; and then he professed to be grateful for Mr. Watts' gift, and
said he would have the brown trousers made to fit him.

Mary wrote a good hand and spelled well, and would sit down and write
with gravity such a note as the following, dictated to her by Edward.
"Mr. Bogie Jones' compts. to Mr. Price and begs to inform him he expects
to be down for Commemoration and that he hopes to meet him, clean, well
shaved, and with a contrite heart." Morris' quick temper annoyed her,
but she once prettily said, "Though he was so short-tempered, I seemed
so necessary to him at all times, and felt myself his man Friday."

[Sidenote: _Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones_]

My reading aloud to him began soon after our marriage, with Plutarch's
"Lives"--an old folio edition. Holland's translation of Pliny's "Natural
History" was also a treasure for the purpose, and the "Arabian Nights"
were ever fresh. The description of "Mrs. Gamp's apartment in Kingsgate
Street, High Holborn," was read over and over again until I, but not he,
was wearied for a time. These were all classics admitting of no
criticism, but some books were illuminated by commentary. For instance,
the frequent comparison of Goethe with Shakespeare which G.H. Lewes
makes in his "Life of Goethe" grew tiresome to the hearer, who quietly
asked me to read the word Elephant instead of Shakespeare next time it
occurred, and the change proved refreshing. But there was a kind of book
that he reserved for himself and never liked any one to read to
him--"The Broad Stone of Honour" and "Mores Catholici" are instances:
they were kept in his own room, close to his hand, and often dipped into
in wakeful nights or early mornings.

"Sillyish books both," he once said, "but I can't help it, I like them."
And no wonder, for his youth lay enclosed in them.

[Sidenote: _Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones_]

"Of course my faces have no expression in the sense in which people use
the word. How should they have any? They are not portraits of people in
paroxysms--paroxysms of terror, hatred, benevolence, desire, avarice,
veneration, and all the 'passions' and emotions that Le Brun and that
kind of person find so _magnifique_ in Raphael's later work--mostly
painted by his pupils and assistants, by the way. It is Winckelmann,
isn't it, who says that when you come to the age of expression in Greek
art you have come to the age of decadence? I don't remember how or where
it is said, but of course it is true--can't be otherwise in the nature
of things."

"Portraiture," he also said, "may be great art. There is a sense,
indeed, in which it is perhaps the greatest art of any. Any portraiture
involves expression. Quite true, but expression of what? Of a passion,
an emotion, a mood? Certainly not. Paint a man or woman with the damned
'pleasing expression,' or even the 'charmingly spontaneous' so dear to
the 'photographic artist,' and you see at once that the thing is a mask,
as silly as the old tragic and comic mask. The only expression allowable
in great portraiture is the expression of character and moral quality,
not of anything temporary, fleeting, accidental. Apart from portraiture
you don't want even so much, or very seldom: in fact you only want
types, symbols, suggestions. The moment you give what people call
expression, you destroy the typical character of heads and degrade them
into portraits which stand for nothing."

[Sidenote: _Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones_]

The different stages of his children's lives were of profound interest
to him, and as they grew up they found in him an elder brother as well
as a father. As soon as Margaret was old enough she began to share and
then almost entirely to take my post as reader-aloud in the studio.
Beside many other books she went through the whole of Thackeray twice in
this way; Dickens was my special province. She and Edward had their own
world of fun, and for her he invented a "little language," besides the
most unheard-of names. I remember hearing him and Millais once talk to
each other about their daughters, each boasting that he was the most
devoted father. "Ah, but _you_ don't take your daughter's breakfast up
to her in bed," said Edward, certain that the prize belonged to him.
Millais' triumphant "Yes, I do!" left them only equal.

[Sidenote: _Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones_]

"Don't lend me any sad stories--no, not if they are masterpieces. I
cannot afford to be made unhappy, and I suspect that book 'Anna
Karenina'--I suspect it is Russian, and if it is I know what to expect,
and I couldn't bear it. There would be a beautiful woman in it--all that
is best in a woman, and she would be miserable and love some trumpery
frip (as they do) and die of finding out she had been a fool--and it
would be beautifully written and full of nature and just like life, and
I couldn't bear it. These books are written for the hard-hearted, to
melt them into a softer mood for once before they congeal again--as much
music is written--not for poets but for stockjobbers, to wring iron
tears from them for once; that is the use of sorrowful art, to penetrate
the thick hide of the obtuse, and I have grown to be a coward about
pain. I should like that Anna so much and be so sorry for her and wish I
had been the man instead of that thing she would have--and it wouldn't
be happy. Look! tells me it ends well and that the two lovers marry and
are happy ever afterwards, and I'll read it gratefully--and I shall wait
your answer."

[Sidenote: _Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones_]

Whilst the Commission was sitting he went once or twice with Sir George
Lewis to the Law Courts and closely listened and watched, sitting where
he could see the face of Mr. Parnell clearly. "Charles Stewart Parnell,"
he once said, "God only knows what he really was, but I saw him in court
and watched him the day long: he was like Christ."

Of the miserable Pigott, the perjured witness against Parnell, he
wrote: "And I have grown philosophical--it came of seeing Pigott in the
witness-box, who looked like half the dreary men one meets, and I don't
see why the rest of the Pigotts shouldn't be found out too. So it made
me reflect on crime and its connection with being found out and made me
philosophical and depressed."

But on another day his mind turned to a more cheerful exercise: "Legal
testimony doesn't affect me at all, and I want people tried for their
faces--so I spent the time in court settling things all my own way, and
I tried the Judges first and acquitted one, so that he sits in court
without a blemish on his character; and one I admitted to mercy, and of
the other have postponed the trial for further evidence: and then I
tried the counsel on both sides, and one of them I am sorry to say will
have to be hanged for his face."

[Sidenote: _Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones_]

On hearing some one quote Carlyle's contempt for invented stories and
his saying that facts were better worth writing of, Edward exclaimed:
"'Frederick the Great's' a romance; 'Monte Cristo' is real history, and
so is 'The Three Musketeers.'" And another time he said: "Ah, the
historians are so few. There's Dumas, there's Scott, there's Thackeray,
and there's Dickens, and no more--after you have said them, there's an

[Sidenote: _Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones_]

"There's a beautiful fellow in London named Paderewski--and I want to
have a face like him and look like him, and I can't--there's trouble. He
looks so like Swinburne looked at twenty that I could cry over past
things, and has his ways too--the pretty ways of him--courteous little
tricks and low bows and a hand that clings in shaking hands, and a face
very like Swinburne's, only in better drawing, but the expression the
same, and little turns and looks and jerks so like the thing I remember
that it makes me fairly jump. I asked to draw from him, and Henschel
brought him and played on the organ and sang while I drew--which was
good for the emotions but bad for the drawing. And knowing people say he
is a great master in his art, which might well be, for he looks
glorious. I praised Allah for making him and felt myself a poor thing
for several hours. Have got over it now."

[Sidenote: _H. Sutherland-Edwards_]

I "breakfasted" again and again with Adolphe Sax, and had always the
same fare--"un bifteck et des oeufs sur le plat." ...

On one occasion Vivier turned up. He was the natural enemy of Sax, for
Sax, by his system of keys, brought effective horn-playing within the
reach of ordinary performers, which lessened the immense superiority of
Vivier over horn-players in general. Vivier, however, was troubled by no
considerations of that kind. The Saxhorn, moreover, did not possess the
timbre of the horn.

I had already met this remarkable engineer, musician, diplomatist and
professor of mystification, in London, when he was complaining with
facetious bitterness that Mr. Frederic Gye had not sent him a box for
one of Angiolina Bosio's touching performances of "La Traviata."

He had written to the manager explaining that he was ready to shed
tears, and that he possessed a pocket handkerchief, but wanted something
more. "J'ai un mouchoir, mais pas de loge," he said. Yet his letter was
left without a reply. After waiting a day or two, and still receiving no
answer, Vivier engaged the dirtiest crossing-sweeper he could find, made
him put on a little extra mud, and sent him with a letter to Mr. Gye
demanding "the return of his correspondence." The courteous manager of
the Royal Italian Opera could scarcely have known that, besides being
one of the finest musicians and quite the finest horn player of his day,
Eugene Vivier was the most charming of men, and the spoiled child of
nearly every Court in Europe. Speaking to me once of the Emperor
Napoleon, he said, in answer to a question I had put to him as to
Napoleon III's characteristics: "He is the most gentlemanly Emperor I

"What can I do for you?" said this gentlemanly Emperor one day, when
Vivier had gone to see him at the Tuileries.

"Come out on the balcony with me, sire," replied the genial cynic. "Some
of my creditors are sure to be passing, and it will do me good to be
seen in conversation with your Majesty."

Besides speaking to him familiarly within view of his creditors, the
Emperor Napoleon III conferred on Vivier several well-paid sinecures. He
appointed him "Inspector of Mines," which, from conscientious motives,
knowing very little of mining, Vivier never inspected; and he was once
accused by a facetious journal of having received the post of "Librarian
to the Forest of Fontainebleau," with its multitudinous leaves.

There were only two other Emperors at that time in Europe, and to one of
them, the Emperor of Austria, Vivier was sent on a certain occasion with
despatches--not, I fancy, in the character of Vely Pacha's secretary,
the only quasi-diplomatic post he held, but partly to facilitate his
travelling, and partly, it may be, for some private political reason.
Instead of being delayed, questioned, and searched at the frontier, as
generally happened in those days--the days before 1859--Vivier was
treated by the Custom House officials, and by the police, with all
possible respect; and journeying as an honoured personage--an emissary
from the Emperor of the French--he in due time reached Vienna, where,
hastening to the palace, he made known the object of his visit. It seems
quite possible that the despatches carried by Vivier may have possessed
particular importance, and that Napoleon III had motives of his own for
not forwarding them through the ordinary diplomatic channels. Vivier
had, in any case, been instructed to deliver them to the Emperor in
person--one of those Emperors whom he numbered among his private

A Court Chamberlain had hurried out to receive the distinguished
messenger, ready after a due interchange of compliments to usher him
into the Imperial presence.

"Your Excellency!" began the Chamberlain, in the most obsequious manner.

"I am not an Excellency!" replied Vivier.

"General, then--Monsieur le Général?"

"I am not a General!"

"Colonel, perhaps, and aide-de-camp to his Imperial Majesty?"

"I am not in the army. I have no official rank--no rank of any kind

"Good heavens! then what are you?" exclaimed the Chamberlain, indignant
with himself for having treated as high-born and high-placed one who was
apparently a mere nobody.

"I am a musician," said Vivier.

Bounding with rage, the Court functionary made an unbecoming gesture,
such as Mephistopheles, according to the stage directions, should make
in one of the passages of Goethe's _Faust_.

"Very well, my friend," said Vivier to himself, "I will tell the Emperor
of your rude behaviour; I will get you rapped on the knuckles" ("Je t'en
ferai donner sur les doigts"); and the uncourtly courtier was, in fact,
severely reprimanded.

At St. Petersburg Vivier took such liberties with the Emperor Nicholas
that, if half the stories of that monarch were true, the imprudent
Frenchman would have been arrested, knouted, and sent to Siberia.

He had just brought to perfection the art of blowing soap bubbles. The
whole secret of his process consisted, as he once informed me, in mixing
with the soap-suds a little gum. Using a solution of soap and gum, he
was able to produce bubbles of such size and solidity that they floated
in the air for an almost indefinite time, like so many small balloons.
In order to entertain the St. Petersburg public, Vivier would, in the
most benevolent manner, take his seat at an open window, and blow his
gigantic and many-coloured bubbles, until these prodigies of aerostation
had attracted a multitude of lookers-on. The delighted crowd applauded
with enthusiasm. Vivier rose from his seat and bowed. Then the applause
was renewed, and Vivier blew larger and brighter bubbles than before.

One evening, or rather afternoon, the rays of the setting sun were
illuminating a number of iridescent balloons floating high above the
point where the Nevsky Prospect runs into the Admiralty Square, when the
Emperor Nicholas drove past, or tried to do so--for his progress was
interrupted at every step by the density of the crowd.

"What is the meaning of all this?" asked the Emperor Nicholas.

"It is M. Vivier blowing his soap bubbles," replied the aide-de-camp in

"What! Vivier, the French musician, who played the horn so wonderfully
the other night at the Winter Palace, and afterwards entertained us so
much with his conversation?"

"The same, sire."

"Go to him, then, and tell him that I should be glad if he would choose
some other time for his soap-bubble performances. How wonderful they

The aide-de-camp forced his way through the crowd, went upstairs to
Vivier's apartments, and told him that the Emperor desired him not to
give his exhibition of soap bubbles at half-past three in the afternoon,
that being the time when his Majesty usually went for a drive.

Vivier took out a pocket-book, consulted it carefully, and, turning to
the aide-de-camp, said with the utmost gravity, "That is the only hour I
have disengaged."

Vivier, meanwhile, had had his joke; and his exhibition of soap bubbles,
or rather of gum-and-soap balloons, was now discontinued.

The horn-playing performance to which the Emperor Nicholas had made
reference was marked by one strange, marvellous, almost inexplicable
peculiarity. The player sounded on his instrument, simultaneously, a
chord of four notes. To produce at the same time four different notes
from one and the same tube seems, and must be, an impossibility. But
Vivier did it, and the fact was certified to by Meyerbeer, Auber,
Halévy, Adolphe Adam, and other musicians of eminence.

The only possible explanation of the matter is that Vivier executed a
very rapid arpeggio, so that the four notes which apparently were heard
together were, in fact, heard one after the other. The effect, however,
was not that of an arpeggio, but of a chord of four different notes
played simultaneously on four different instruments.

Both for home and for out-of-doors use the mystifications practised by
Vivier were as numerous as they were varied. In an omnibus, when some
grave old lady had just risen from her seat, Vivier would assume an
expression of the utmost astonishment, and suddenly take from the place
where she had been sitting an egg, which meanwhile he had been
concealing up his sleeve.

Or, asked to pass a coin to the conductor, he would gravely put it into
his pocket. A well-dressed, well-bred gentleman, of charming manners,
could scarcely be suspected of any intention to misappropriate a
two-sous piece. But it interested Vivier to see what, in the
circumstances, the lawful owner of the coin would do. On one occasion
Vivier, in an omnibus, alarmed his fellow passengers by pretending to be
mad. He indulged in the wildest gesticulations, and then, as if in
despair, drew a pistol from his pocket. The conductor was called upon by
acclamation to interfere, and Vivier was on the point of being disarmed
when suddenly he broke the pistol in two, handed half to the conductor
and began to eat the other half himself. It was made of chocolate!

Vivier could not bear to see people in a hurry. According to him, there
was nothing in life worth hurrying for; and living on the Boulevard just
opposite the Rue Vivienne, he was much annoyed at seeing so many persons
hastening, towards six o'clock, to the post office on the Place de la
Bourse. He determined to pay them out, and for that purpose bought a
calf, which he took up to his apartments at night and exhibited the
next afternoon at a few minutes before six o'clock, in the balcony of
his second floor. In spite of their eagerness to catch the post, many
persons could not help stopping to look at the calf. Soon a crowd
collected, and messengers stayed their steps in order to gaze at the
unwonted apparition. Six o'clock struck, and soon after a number of men
who had missed the post returned in an irritated condition, and,
stopping before Vivier's house, shook their fists at him. Vivier went
down to them, and asked the meaning of this insolence.

"We were not shaking our fists at you," replied the angered ones, "but
at that calf."

"Ah! you know him then?" returned Vivier. "I was not aware of it."

In time Vivier's calf became the subject of a legend, according to which
the animal (still in Vivier's apartments) grew to be an ox, and so
annoyed the neighbours by his lowing that; the proprietor of the house
insisted on its being sent away. Vivier told him to come; and take it,
when it was found that the calf of other days had grown to such a size
that it was impossible to get it downstairs.

[Sidenote: _Anatole France, translated by Lafcadio Hearn_]

I can see once more, with astonishing vividness, a certain doll which,
when I was eight years old, used to be displayed in the window of an
ugly little shop of the Rue de la Seine. I was very proud of being a
boy; I despised little girls; and I longed impatiently for the day
(which, alas! has come) when a strong white beard should bristle on my
chin. I played at being a soldier; and, under the pretext of obtaining
forage for my rocking-horse, I used to make sad havoc among the plants
my poor mother used to keep on her window-sill. Manly amusements those,
I should say! and nevertheless, I was consumed with longing for a doll.
Characters like Hercules have such weaknesses occasionally. Was the one
I had fallen in love with at all beautiful? No. I can see her now. She
had a splotch of vermilion on either cheek, short soft arms, horrible
wooden hands, and long sprawling legs. Her flowered petticoat was
fastened at the waist with two pins. It was a decidedly vulgar
doll--smelt of the faubourg. I remember perfectly well that, even child
as I was then, before I had put on my first pair of trousers, I was
quite conscious in my own way that this doll lacked grace and
style--that she was gross, that she was coarse. But I loved her in
spite of that; I loved her just for that; I loved her only; I wanted
her. My soldiers and my drums had become as nothing in my eyes. I ceased
to stick sprigs of heliotrope and veronica into the mouth of my
rocking-horse. That doll was all the world to me. I invented ruses
worthy of a savage to oblige Virginie, my nurse, to take me by the
little shop in the Rue de la Seine. I would press my nose against the
window until my nurse had to take my arm and drag me away. "Monsieur
Sylvestre, it is late, and your mamma will scold you." Monsieur
Sylvestre in those days made very little of either scoldings or
whippings. But his nurse lifted him up like a feather, and Monsieur
Sylvestre yielded to force. In after years, with age, he degenerated,
and sometimes yielded to fear. But at that time he used to fear nothing.

I was unhappy. An unreasoning but irresistible shame prevented me from
telling my mother about the object of my love. Thence all my sufferings.
For many days that doll, incessantly present in fancy, danced before my
eyes, stared at me fixedly, opened her arms to me, assuming in my
imagination a sort of life which made her appear at once mysterious and
weird, and thereby all the more charming and desirable.

Finally, one day--a day I shall never forget--my nurse took me to see my
uncle, Captain Victor, who had invited me to breakfast. I admired my
uncle a great deal, as much because he had fired the last French
cartridge at Waterloo as because he used to make with his own hands, at
my mother's table, certain chapons-à-l'ail, which he afterwards put into
the chicory-salad. I thought that was very fine! My Uncle Victor also
inspired me with much respect by his frogged coat, and still more by his
way of turning the whole house upside down from the moment he came into
it. Even now I cannot tell just how he managed it, but I can affirm that
whenever my Uncle Victor found himself in any assembly of twenty
persons, it was impossible to see or to hear anybody but him. My
excellent father, I have reason to believe, never shared my admiration
for Uncle Victor, who used to sicken him with his pipe, gave him great
thumps on the back by way of friendliness, and accused him of lacking
energy. My mother, though always showing a sister's indulgence to the
captain, sometimes advised him to fondle the brandy bottle a little less
frequently. But I had no part either in these repugnances or these
reproaches, and Uncle Victor inspired me with the purest enthusiasm. It
was therefore with a feeling of pride that I entered into the little
lodging-house where he lived, in the Rue Guénégaud. The entire
breakfast, served on a small table close to the fireplace, consisted of
pork-meats and confectionery.

The Captain stuffed me with cakes and pure wine. He told me of
numberless injustices to which he had been a victim. He complained
particularly of the Bourbons; and as he neglected to tell me who the
Bourbons were, I got the idea--I can't tell how--that the Bourbons were
horse-dealers established at Waterloo. The Captain, who never
interrupted his talk except for the purpose of pouring out wine,
furthermore made charges against a number of _morveux_, of _jeanfesses_,
and "good-for-nothings" whom I did not know anything about, but whom I
hated from the bottom of my heart. At dessert, I thought I heard the
Captain say my father was a man who could be led anywhere by the nose;
but I am not quite sure that I understood him. I had a buzzing in my
ears; and it seemed to me that the table was dancing.

My uncle put on his frogged coat, took his _chapeau tromblon_, and we
descended to the street, which seemed to me singularly changed. It
looked to me as if I had not been in it before for ever so long a time.
Nevertheless, when we came to the Rue de la Seine, the idea of my doll
suddenly returned to my mind, and excited me in an extraordinary way. My
head was on fire. I resolved upon a desperate expedient. We were passing
before the window. She was there, behind the glass--with her red cheeks,
and her flowered petticoat, and her long legs.

"Uncle," I said, with a great effort, "will you buy that doll for me?"

And I waited.

"Buy a doll for a boy--_sacré bleu_!" cried my uncle, in a voice of
thunder. "Do you wish to dishonour yourself? And it is that old Mag
there that you want! Well, I must compliment you, my young fellow! If
you grow up with such tastes as that, you will never have any pleasure
in life; and your comrades will call you a precious ninny. If you asked
me for a sword or a gun, my boy, I would buy them for you with the last
silver crown of my pension. But to buy a doll for you--a thousand
thunders!--to disgrace you! Never in the world! Why, if I were even to
see you playing with a puppet rigged out like that, monsieur, my
sister's son, I would disown you for my nephew!"

On hearing these words, I felt my heart so wrung that nothing but
pride--a diabolic pride--kept me from crying.

My uncle, suddenly calming down, returned to his ideas about the
Bourbons; but I, still smarting from the blow of his indignation, felt
an unspeakable shame. My resolve was quickly made. I promised myself
never to disgrace myself--I firmly and for ever renounced that
red-cheeked doll.

I felt that day, for the first time, the austere sweetness of sacrifice.

Captain, though it be true that all your life you swore like a pagan,
smoked like a beadle, and drank like a bell-ringer, be your memory
nevertheless honoured--not merely because you were a brave soldier, but
also because you revealed to your little nephew in petticoats the
sentiment of heroism! Pride and laziness had made you almost
insupportable, O my Uncle Victor!--but a great heart used to beat under
those frogs upon your coat. You always used to wear, I now remember, a
rose in your button-hole. That rose which you allowed, as I now have
reason to believe, the shop-girls to pluck for you--that, large,
open-hearted flower, scattering its petals to all the winds, was the
symbol of your glorious youth. You despised neither absinthe nor
tobacco; but you despised life. Neither delicacy nor common sense could
have been learned from you, captain; but you taught me, even at an age
when my nurse had to wipe my nose, a lesson of honour and
self-abnegation that I will never forget.

[Sidenote: _Dean Swift_]

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us
love one another.

       *       *       *       *       *

The latter part of a wise man's life is taken up in curing the follies,
prejudices, and false opinions he had contracted in the former.

       *       *       *       *       *

When a true genius appeareth in the world you may know him by this
infallible sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps
as few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where
sometimes there is a vein of gold, which the owner knows not of.

       *       *       *       *       *

If a man would register all his opinions upon love, politics, religion,
learning, etc., beginning from his youth, and so go on to old age, what
a bundle of inconsistencies and contradictions would appear at last!

       *       *       *       *       *

The reason why so few marriages are happy is because young ladies spend
their time in making nets, not in making cages.

       *       *       *       *       *

"He who does not provide for his own house," St. Paul says, "is worse
than an infidel." And I think, he who provides only for his own house is
just equal with an infidel.

       *       *       *       *       *

An idle reason lessens the value of the good ones you gave before.

       *       *       *       *       *

When I am reading a book, whether wise or silly, it seems to me to be
alive and talking to me.

       *       *       *       *       *

Very few men, properly speaking, _live_ at present, but are providing to
live another time.

       *       *       *       *       *

If the men of wit and genius would resolve never to complain in their
works of critics and detractors, the next age would not know that they
ever had any.

       *       *       *       *       *

As universal a practice as lying is, and as easy a one as it seems, I do
not remember to have heard three good lies in all my conversation, even
from those who were most celebrated in that faculty.

[Sidenote: _W.M. Thackeray_]

In 1831, though he had retired from the world, Goethe would nevertheless
very kindly receive strangers. His daughter-in-law's tea-table was
always spread for us. We passed hour after hour there, and night after
night, with the pleasantest talk and music. We read over endless novels
and poems in French, English, and German. My delight in those days was
to make caricatures for children. I was touched to find (in 1855) that
they were remembered and some even kept to the present time; and very
proud to be told, as a lad, that the great Goethe had looked at some of

He remained in his private apartments, where only a very few privileged
persons were admitted; but he liked to know all that was happening, and
interested himself about all strangers. Whenever a countenance took his
fancy there was an artist settled in Weimar who made a portrait of it.
Goethe had quite a gallery of heads, in black and white, taken by this
painter. His house was all over pictures, drawings, casts, statues and

Of course, I remember very well the perturbation of spirit with which,
as a lad of nineteen, I received the long-expected intimation that the
Herr Geheimrath would see me on such a morning. This notable audience
took place in a little antechamber of his private apartments, covered
all round with antique carts and bas-reliefs. He was habited in a long
grey or drab redingote, with a white neckcloth and a red ribbon in his
button-hole. He kept his hands behind his back just as in Rauch's
statuette. His complexion was very clear, bright, and rosy. His eyes
extraordinarily dark, piercing, and brilliant. I felt quite afraid
before them, and remember comparing them to the eyes of the hero of a
certain romance called "Melmoth the Wanderer," which used to alarm us
boys thirty years ago; eyes of an individual who had made a bargain with
a Certain Person, and at an extreme old age retained these eyes in their
awful splendour. I fancy Goethe must have been still more handsome as an
old man than even in the days of his youth. His voice was very rich and
sweet. He asked me questions about myself, which I answered as best I
could. I recollect I was at first astonished, and then somewhat
relieved, when I found he spoke French with not a good accent.

_Vidi tantum._ I saw him but three times. Once walking in the garden of
his house in the _Frauenplan_; once going to step into his chariot on a
sunshiny day, wearing a cap and a cloak with a red collar. He was
caressing at the time a beautiful little golden-haired granddaughter,
over whose sweet fair face the earth has long since closed, too.

Any of us who had books or magazines from England sent them to him, and
he examined them eagerly. _Fraser's Magazine_ had recently come out, and
I remember he was interested in those admirable outline portraits which
appeared for a while in its pages. But there was one, a very ghastly
caricature of Mr. Rogers, which, as Madame de Goethe told me, he shut up
and put away from him angrily. "They would make me look like that," he
said; though, in truth, I can fancy nothing more serene, majestic, and
_healthy_-looking than the grand old Goethe.

Though his sun was setting, the sky round about was calm and bright, and
that little Weimar illumined by it. In every one of those kind salons
the talk was still of Art and Letters. The theatre, though possessing no
extraordinary actors, was still connected with a noble intelligence and
order. The actors read books and were men of letters and gentlemen,
holding a not unkindly relationship with the _Adel_. At Court the
conversation was exceedingly friendly, simple, and polished.... In the
respect paid by this court to the Patriarch of Letters, there was
something ennobling, I think, alike to the subject and the sovereign.
With a five-and-twenty years' experience since those happy days of which
I write, and an acquaintance with an immense variety of human kind, I
think I have never seen a society more simple, charitable, courteous,
gentlemanlike, than that of the dear little Saxon city where the good
Schiller and the great Goethe lived and lie buried.

[Sidenote: _W.M. Thackeray_]

Air--"Il y avait un petit navire"

  There were three sailors of Bristol city,
    Who took a boat and went to sea.
  But first with beef and captain's biscuits
    And pickled pork they loaded she.

  There was gorging Jack and guzzling Jimmy,
    And the youngest he was little Billee.
  Now when they got as far as the Equator
    They'd nothing left but one split pea.

  Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
    "I am extremely hungaree."
  To gorging Jack says guzzling Jimmy,
    "We've nothing left, us must eat we."

  Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
    "With one another we shouldn't agree!
  There's little Bill, he's young and tender,
    We're old and tough, so let's eat he.

  "Oh, Billy, we're going to kill and eat you,
    So undo the button of your chimie."
  When Bill received this information,
    He used his pocket-handkerchie.

  "First let me say my catechism
    Which my poor mammy taught to me."
  "Make haste, make haste," says guzzling Jimmy,
    While Jack pulled out his snickersnee.

  So Billy went up to the main-top gallant mast,
    And down he fell on his bended knee.
  He scarce had come to the twelfth commandment
    When up he jumps, "There's land I see.

  "Jerusalem and Madagascar,
    And North and South Amerikee:
  There's the British flag a-riding at anchor,
    With Admiral Napier, K.C.B."

  So when they got aboard of the Admiral's
    He hanged fat Jack and flogged Jimmee;
  But as for little Bill, he made him
    The Captain of a Seventy-Three.

[Sidenote: _Hilaire Belloc_]

  When I am living in the Midlands
    That are sodden and unkind,
  I light my lamp in the evening:
    My work is left behind;
  And the great hills of the South Country
    Come back into my mind.

  The great hills of the South Country,
    They stand along the sea:
  And it's there walking in the high woods,
    That I could wish to be,
  And the men that were boys when I was a boy,
    Walking along with me.

  The men that live in North England,
    I saw them for a day:
  Their hearts are set upon the waste fells,
    Their skies are fast and grey;
  From their castle walls a man may see
    The mountains far away.

  The men that live in West England
    They see the Severn strong,
  A-rolling on rough water brown
    Light aspen leaves along.
  They have the secret of the rocks,
    And the oldest kind of song.

  But the men that live in the South Country
    Are the kindest and most wise,
  They get their laughter from the loud surf,
    And the faith in their happy eyes
  Comes surely from our Sister the Spring,
    When over the sea she flies;
  The violets suddenly bloom at her feet
    She blesses us with surprise.

  I never get between the pines
    But I smell the Sussex air;
  Nor I never come on a belt of sand
    But my home is there.
  And along the sky the line of the Downs
    So noble and so bare.

  A lost thing could I never find,
    Nor a broken thing mend:
  And I fear I shall be all alone
    When I get towards the end.
  Who will there be to comfort me,
    Or who will be my friend?

  I will gather and carefully make my friends
    Of the men of the Sussex Weald,
  They watch the stars from silent folds,
    They stiffly plough the field.
  By them and the God of the South Country
    My poor soul shall be healed.

  If ever I become a rich man,
    Or if ever I grow to be old,
  I will build a house with deep thatch
    To shelter me from the cold,
  And there shall the Sussex songs be sung
    And the story of Sussex told.

  I will hold my house in the high wood
    Within a walk of the sea,
  And the men that were boys when I was a boy
    Shall sit and drink with me.

[Sidenote: _Francis Thompson_]

  The hunchèd camels of the night[11]
  Trouble the bright
  And silver waters of the moon.
  The Maiden of the Morn will soon
  Through Heaven stray and sing,
  Star gathering.

  Now while the dark about our loves is strewn,
  Light of my dark, blood of my heart, O come!
  And night will catch her breath up, and be dumb.

  Leave thy father, leave thy mother
  And thy brother;
  Leave the black tents of thy tribe apart!
  Am I not thy father and thy brother,
  And thy mother?
  And thou--what needest with thy tribe's black tents
  Who hast the red pavilion of my heart?

[Sidenote: _Wilfrid Maynell_]

  As high up in a house as a nest
          In a tree,
  They have gone for the night to their rest,
          The Babes three.

  One will say, when they wake, with arms crossed,
          "Jesus blest!"
  One will cry "Mother mine"--and be lost
          In that breast.

  "Ta-ra-ra," then the littlest maid saith,
          Two and gay;
  And loud laughs with the last of her breath,

  What they say, in their nests, these dear birds,
          Is all even:
  For their speech, be whatever their words,
          Is of Heaven.

[Sidenote: _Wilfrid Maynell_]

  She is a very simple maid--
      Nicknamed a "tweeny";
  The cook's and housemaid's riven aid,
      Christ-named Irene.
  And when, in lower regions, she
      Hears hurled request,
  She laughs or cries: "Oh, right you be,
      I'll do my best."

  Her very best, be very sure!
      She holds it fast--
  Religion undefiled and pure.
      And, at the last,
  When Life, from this sad house of her,
      Flits like a guest,
  She'll curtsy to the Judge: "O Sir,
      I did my best."

  The Judge, for sure, will bow His head;
      And, round the throne,
  Angels will know to God they've led
      His very own.
  This sentence then shall gently fall:
      "Irene, you
  Have done your best: and that is all
      Even God can do."

[Sidenote: _Disraeli in "Vivian Grey"_]

In the plenitude of his ambition he stopped one day to enquire in what
manner he could obtain his magnificent ends: "The Bar--pooh! law and bad
jokes till we are forty; and then with the most brilliant success, the
prospect of gout and a coronet. Besides, to succeed as an advocate, I
must be a great lawyer, and to be a great lawyer, I must give up my
chance of being a great man. The Services in war time are only fit for
desperadoes (and that truly am I); but, in peace, are fit only for
fools. The Church is more rational. Let me see: I should certainly like
to act Wolsey, but the thousand and one chances against me! and truly I
feel _my_ destiny should not be on a chance. Were I the son of a
millionaire, or a noble, I might have _all_. Curse on my lot! that the
want of a few rascal counters, and the possession of a little rascal
blood should mar my fortunes!"

[Sidenote: _Disraeli in "Coningsby"_]

"Nay," said the stranger; "for life in general there is but one decree.
Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old Age a regret. Do not
suppose," he added smiling, "that I hold that youth is genius; all that
I say is that genius, when young, is divine. Why, the greatest captains
of ancient and modern times both conquered Italy at five-and-twenty!
Youth, extreme youth, overthrew the Persian Empire. Don John of Austria
won Lepanto at twenty-five, the greatest battle of modern time; had it
not been for the jealousy of Philip, the next year he would have been
Emperor of Mauretania. Gaston de Foix was only twenty-two when he stood
a victor on the plain of Ravenna. Every one remembers Condé and Rocroy
at the same age. Gustavus Adolphus--look at his captains; that wonderful
Duke of Weimar, only thirty-six when he died. Banier himself, after all
his miracles, died at forty-five. Cortes was little more than thirty
when he gazed upon the golden cupolas of Mexico. When Maurice of Saxony
died, at thirty-two, all Europe acknowledged the loss of the greatest
captain and the profoundest statesman of the age. Then there is Nelson,
Clive; but these are warriors, and perhaps you may think there are
greater things than war. I do not: I worship the Lord of Hosts. But take
the most illustrious achievements of civil prudence. Innocent III., the
greatest of the Popes, was the despot of Christendom at thirty-seven.
John de Medici was a Cardinal at fifteen, and, according to
Guicciardini, baffled with his statecraft Ferdinand of Aragon himself.
He was Pope as Leo X. at thirty-seven. Luther robbed even him of his
richest province at thirty-five. Take Ignatius Loyola and John Wesley;
they worked with young brains. Ignatius was only thirty when he made his
pilgrimage and wrote the "Spiritual Exercises." Pascal wrote a great
work at sixteen, and died at thirty-seven, the greatest of Frenchmen.

"Ah, that fatal thirty-seven, which reminds me of Byron, greater even as
a man than a writer. Was it experience that guided the pencil of Raphael
when he painted the palaces of Rome? He, too, died at thirty-seven.
Richelieu was Secretary of State at thirty-one. Well then, there were
Bolingbroke and Pitt, both ministers before other men left off cricket.
Grotius was in great practice at seventeen, and Attorney-General at
twenty-four. And Acquaviva; Acquaviva was General of the Jesuits, ruled
every Cabinet in Europe, and colonised America before he was
thirty-seven. What a career!" exclaimed the stranger; rising from his
chair and walking up and down the room; "the secret sway of Europe! That
was indeed a position! But it is needless to multiply instances! The
history of Heroes is the history of Youth."

[Sidenote: _Disraeli in "Tancred"_]

"What should I be without my debts?" he would sometimes exclaim; "dear
companions of my life that never desert me! All my knowledge of human
nature is owing to them: it is in managing my affairs that I have
sounded the depths of the human heart, recognised all the combinations
of human character, developed my own powers and mastered the resources
of others. What expedient in negotiation is unknown to me? What degree
of endurance have I not calculated? What play of the countenance have I
not observed? Yes, among my creditors I have disciplined that diplomatic
ability that shall some day confound and control Cabinets. Oh, my debts,
I feel your presence like that of guardian angels! If I be lazy, you
prick me to action; if elate, you subdue me to reflection; and thus it
is that you alone can secure that continuous yet controlled energy which
conquers mankind."

[Sidenote: _Disraeli to his Mother (1830)_]

After dinner you take your siesta. I generally sleep for two hours. I
think this practice conducive to health. Old people, however, are apt to
carry it to excess. By the time I have risen and arranged my toilette it
is time to steal out, and call upon any agreeable family whose Tertullia
you may choose to honour, which you do, after the first time, uninvited,
and with them you take your tea or chocolate. This is often _al fresco_,
under the piazza or colonnade of the _patio_. Here you while away the
time until it is cool enough for the _alameda_ or public walk. At Cadiz,
and even at Seville, up the Guadalquivir, you are sure of a delightful
breeze from the water. The sea-breeze comes like a spirit. The effect is
quite magical. As you are lolling in listless languor in the hot and
perfumed air, an invisible guest comes dancing into the party and
touches them all with an enchanted wand. All start, all smile. It has
come; it is the sea-breeze. There is much discussion whether it is as
strong, or whether weaker, than the night before. The ladies furl their
fans and seize their mantillas, the cavaliers stretch their legs and
give signs of life. All rise. I offer my arm to Dolores or Florentina
(is not this familiarity strange?), and in ten minutes you are in the
_alameda_. What a change? All is now life and liveliness. Such bowing,
such kissing, such fluttering of fans, such gentle criticism of gentle
friends! But the fan is the most wonderful part of the whole scene. A
Spanish lady with her fan might shame the tactics of a troop of horse.
Now she unfurls it with the slow pomp and conscious elegance of a
peacock. Now she flutters it with all the languor of a listless beauty,
now with all the liveliness of a vivacious one. Now in the midst of a
very tornado, she closes it with a whir which makes you start, pop! In
the midst of your confusion Dolores taps you on the elbow; you turn
round to listen, and Florentina pokes you in your side. Magical
instrument! You know that it speaks a particular language, and gallantry
requires no other mode to express its most subtle conceits or its most
unreasonable demands than this slight, delicate organ. But remember,
while you read, that here, as in England, it is not confined to your
delightful sex. I also have my fan, which makes my cane extremely
jealous. If you think I have grown extraordinarily effeminate, learn
that in this scorching clime the soldier will not mount guard without
one. Night wears on, we sit, we take a _panal_, which is as quick work
as snapdragon, and far more elegant; again we stroll. Midnight clears
the public walks, but few Spanish families retire till two. A solitary
bachelor like myself still wanders, or still lounges on a bench in the
_warm_ moonlight. The last guitar dies away, the cathedral clock wakes
up your reverie, you too seek your couch, and amid a gentle, sweet flow
of loveliness, and light, and music, and fresh air, thus dies a day in
Spain. Adieu, my dearest mother. A thousand loves to all.

[Sidenote: _Disraeli to his Father (1830)_]

I had no need of letters of introduction here, and have already "troops
of friends." The fact is, in our original steam-packet there were some
agreeable fellows, officers, whom I believe I never mentioned to you.
They have been long expecting your worship's offspring, and have gained
great fame in repeating his third-rate stories at second hand; so in
consequence of these messengers I am received with branches of palm.
Here the younkers do nothing but play rackets, billiards, and cards,
race and smoke. To govern men, you must either excel them in their
accomplishments, or despise them. Clay does one, I do the other, and we
are both equally popular. Affectation tells here even better than wit.
Yesterday, at the racket court, sitting in the gallery among strangers,
the ball entered, and lightly struck me and fell at my feet. I picked it
up, and observing a young rifleman excessively stiff, I humbly requested
him to forward its passage into the court, as I really had never thrown
a ball in my life. This incident has been the general subject of
conversation at all the messes to-day!

[Sidenote: _Disraeli to his Sister (1832)_]

The soirée last night at Bulwer's was really brilliant, much more so
than the first. There were a great many dames of distinction, and no
blues. I should, perhaps, except Sappho, who was quite changed; she had
thrown off Greco-Bromptonian costume and was perfectly _à la Française_
and really looked pretty. At the end of the evening I addressed a few
words to her, of the value of which she seemed sensible. I was
introduced, "by particular desire," to Mrs. Wyndham Lewis, a pretty
little woman, a flirt and a rattle; indeed, gifted with a volubility I
should think unequalled, and of which I can convey no idea. She told me
that she liked "silent, melancholy men." I answered that "I had no doubt
of it."

[Sidenote: _Disraeli to Mrs. Brydges Willyams (1862)_]

They say the Greeks, resolved to have an English King, in consequence of
the refusal of Prince Alfred to be their monarch, intend to elect Lord
Stanley. If he accepts the charge, I shall lose a powerful friend and
colleague. It is a dazzling adventure for the House of Stanley, but they
are not an imaginative race, and I fancy they will prefer Knowsley to
the Parthenon, and Lancashire to the Attic plains. It is a privilege to
live in this age of rapid and brilliant events. What an error to
consider it a utilitarian age! It is one of infinite romance. Thrones
tumble down, and crowns are offered like a fairy tale; and the most
powerful people in the world, male and female, a few years ago were
adventurers, exiles, and demireps.

[Sidenote: _Leigh Hunt_]

  Jenny kissed me when we met,
    Jumping from the chair she sat in;
  Time, you thief, who love to get
    Sweets into your list, put that in:
  Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
    Say that health and wealth have missed me,
  Say I'm growing old, but add,
    Jenny kissed me.


[Sidenote: _Walter Emanuel in "Punch"_]

August 12-October 7

The foresight of the British Public in refusing to subscribe the large
amount of money asked of them for the Olympic Sports in Berlin is now

       *       *       *       *       *

Wilhelm II is said to be extremely annoyed in his capacity as a British
Admiral that he is not being kept fully informed as to the movements of
our Fleet.

       *       *       *       *       *

The coming generation would certainly seem to be all right. Even
children are taking part in the fray. The Boy Scouts are helping
manfully here, and at Liège the Germans, we are told, used nippers for
cutting wire entanglements.

       *       *       *       *       *

The London Museum is open again. The Curator, we understand, would be
glad to add to his collection of curiosities any Londoner who is still
in favour of a small Navy.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Cambridge public-houses," we read, "are to close at 9 p.m." Such dons
as are still up for the Long Vacation are said to be taking it gamely in
spite of the inconvenience of accustoming themselves to the new

Reports still continue to come in as to the outbursts of rage which
took place in Germany when the news of our participation in the War
reached that country. Seeing that we had merely been asked to allow our
friends to be robbed and murdered, our interference is looked upon as
peculiarly gratuitous.

There would seem to be no end to the social horrors of the War. The
Teuton journal, _Manufakturist_, is now prophesying that one of its
results will be the substitution of German for French fashions.

       *       *       *       *       *

According to the _Evening News_ three elephants have been requisitioned
from the Zoo at the White City by the military authorities. In Berlin,
no doubt, this will be taken to signify that our heavy cavalry mounts
are giving out.

       *       *       *       *       *

A somewhat illiterate correspondent writes to say that he considers that
the French ought to have allowed the Mad Dog to retain Looneyville.

       *       *       *       *       *

The German papers publish the statement that a Breslau merchant has
offered 30,000 marks to the German soldier who, weapon in hand, shall be
the first to place his feet on British soil. By a characteristic piece
of sharp practice the reward, it will be noted, is offered to the man
personally and would not be payable to his next-of-kin.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is reported that the Kaiser is proceeding to East Prussia to assume
the chief command there. In Petrograd the news is only credited by
extreme optimists.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Lloyd George's statement that "The Prussian Junker is the road-hog
of modern Europe" has, we hear, had a curious and satisfactory sequel.
Large numbers of adepts in the art of pig-sticking are joining the
Sportsman's Battalion, which is now in process of formation.

       *       *       *       *       *

A regrettable mistake is reported from South London. A thoroughly
patriotic man was sat upon by a Cockney crowd for declaring that the
Kaiser was a Nero.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Germans have had a bright, new idea, and are calling us a nation of
shop-keepers. Certainly we have been fairly successful so far in
repelling their counter-attacks.

[Sidenote: _Jessie Pope in the "Daily Mail"_]

    Kitchener's Army on the march
    Through Marylebone and Marble Arch,
    Men in motley, so to speak,
    Been in training about a week,
    Swinging easy, toe and heel,
    Game and gay, and keen as steel.

    Norfolk jackets, city suits,
    Some in shoes and some in boots;
    Clerk and sportsman, tough and nut,
    Reach-me-downs, and Bond-street cut;
    Typical kit of every kind,
    To show the life they've left behind.

    Marching by at an easy pace,
    The great adventure in every face,
    Raw if you like, but full of grit,
    Snatching the chance to do their bit.
    Oh, I want to cheer and I want to cry
    When Kitchener's Boys go marching by.

[Sidenote: _From the "Times," Sept. 24, 1914_]

A valued contributor writes: "Would you like this new Scotch reel,
inspired by the pipes of the bonny Highlanders, who for a week made a
little Scotland of Melun? On Wednesday, the 2nd, I was in the town and
saw the good women rush from the streets into their houses, crying in
dreadful voices, 'Les Allemands!' And there, by the old church, round
the corner, came the Highlanders! I stood still on the pavement and sang
'Scots wha hae' at the top of my old cracked voice, and they,
appreciating the welcome, and excusing the minstrelsy, waved their hands
to me. The Staff was here, the Flying Corps, three regiments, English
and Scottish--such brave, bright, orderly, kind young men. On September
6 the cannon sounded very near. I went into the street and said to a
demure, douce young Highlander, 'Do ye think the Germans are coming?'
And he replied, 'I'fe been hearing, Matam, that the Chermans will hafe
been hafing a pit of a set-pack.' It was in this modest manner that I
heard of the victory of the Marne."

[Sidenote: _From the "Times" Sept. 24, 1914_]

  Dance, since ye're dancing, William,
    Dance up and doon,
  Set to your partners, William,
    We'll play the tune!
      See, make a bow to Paris,
        Here's Antwerp-toon;
      Off to the Gulf of Riga,
        Back to Verdun--
      Ay, but I'm thinking, laddie,
        Ye'll use your shoon!

  Dance, since ye're dancing, William,
    Dance up and doon,
  Set to your partners, William,
    We'll play the tune!
      What! Wad ye stop the pipers?
        Nay, 'tis ower-soon!
      Dance, since ye're dancing, William,
        Dance, ye puir loon!
      Dance till ye're dizzy, William,
        Dance till ye swoon!
      Dance till ye're dead, my laddie!
        We play the tune!

[Sidenote: _"Touchstone" in the "Daily Mail"_]

  Swift as a bullet out of a gun
    He passed me by with an inch to spare,
  Raising a dust-cloud thick and dun
    While the stench of lubricant filled the air.
  I must admit that I did not like
  The undergrad on his motor-bike.

  I have seen him, too, at the wayside inn,
    A strapping lad scarce out of his teens,
  Grimy, but wearing a cheerful grin;
    A young enthusiast, full of beans,
  While his conversation was little better
  Than pure magneto and carburetter.

  Now he has got the chance of his life,
    The chance of earning glorious scars,
  And I picture him scouring a land of strife,
    Crouching over his handle-bars,
  His open exhaust, with its roar and stench,
  Like a Maxim gun in a British trench.

  Lad, when we met in that country lane
    Neither foresaw the days to come,
  But I know that if ever we meet again
    My heart will throb to your engine's hum,
  And to-day, as I read, I catch my breath
  At the thought of your ride through the hail of death!

  But to you it is just a glorious lark;
    Scorn of danger is still your creed.
  As you open her out and advance your spark
    And humour the throttle to get more speed,
  Life has only one end for you,
  To carry your priceless message through!

[Sidenote: _H.B._]

  Our children will sing with delight for all time
    Of the Briton, the French, and the Russian,
  But most of the man who with humour sublime
    Pulled the goose-stepping leg of the Prussian.

[Sidenote: _C.E.B. in the "Evening News"_]

    This so-remarkable letter on-a-battlefield-up-picked the real
    feeling of the British private soldier demonstrates. Its publication
    by the Berlin Official News Bureau is authorised. The words
    parenthesised are of some obscurity, but apparently are exclamations
    of a disgustful kind.

  Our sojers they was weepin'
    The night we went away
  For some one whispered we was off
    The Germans for to slay.
  To shoot them cultured Bosches
    Would make a Briton shrink
  And so our 'earts was sad to go
    (I _don't_ think).

  An' when we met them blighters
    Of course we turned and ran,
  An' Tubby French 'e shouted out
    "All save theirselves as can";
  An' when the big Jack Johnsons banged
    We didn't cheer and larf
  An' pump the Bosches full o' lead
    (No, not 'arf).

  An' w'en our foes retreated
    We knowed we couldn't win
  For they was out, that artful like,
    To lure us to Berlin.
  But touch that 'ome of culture?
    We'd rather far be shot;
  We simply worship Kaiser Bill
    (P'raps, p'raps not).

[Sidenote: _H.B._]

  What will you lack, sonny, what will you lack
    When the girls line up the street,
  Shouting their love to the lads come back
    From the foe they rushed to beat?
  Will you send a strangled cheer to the sky
    And grin till your cheeks are red?
  But what will you lack when your mates go by
    With a girl who cuts you dead?

  Where will you look, sonny, where will you look
    When your children yet to be
  Clamour to learn of the part you took
    In the War that kept men free?
  Will you say it was naught to you if France
    Stood up to her foe or bunked?
  But where will you look when they give the glance
    That tells you they know you funked?

  How will you fare, sonny, how will you fare
    In the far-off winter night,
  When you sit by the fire in an old man's chair
    And your neighbours talk of the fight?
  Will you slink away, as it were from a blow,
    Your old head shamed and bent?
  Or say--I was not with the first to go,
    But I went, thank God, I went!

  Why do they call, sonny, why do they call
    For men who are brave and strong?
  Is it naught to you if your country fall,
    And Right is smashed by Wrong?
  Is it football still and the picture show,
    The pub and the betting odds,
  When your brothers stand to the tyrant's blow
    And England's call is God's?

[Sidenote: _Owen Seaman in "Punch"_]

To the German Kaiser

  Amazing Monarch! who at various times,
    Posing as Europe's self-appointed saviour,
  Afforded copy for our ribald rhymes
        By your behaviour;

  We nursed no malice; nay, we thanked you much,
    Because your head-piece, swollen like a tumour,
  Lent to a dullish world the needed touch
        Of saving humour.

  What with your wardrobes stuffed with warrior gear,
    Your gander-step parades, your prancing Prussians,
  Your menaces that shocked the deafened sphere
        With rude concussions;

  Your fist that turned the pinkest rivals pale
    Alike with sceptre, chisel, pen or palette,
  And could at any moment, gloved in mail,
        Smite like a mallet;

  Master of all the Arts, and, what was more,
    Lord of the limelight-blaze that let us know it--
  You seemed a gift designed on purpose for
        The flippant poet.

  Time passed and put to these old jests an end;
    Into our open hearts you found admission,
  Ate of our bread and pledged us like a friend
        Above suspicion.

  You shared our griefs with seeming-gentle eyes;
    You moved among us, cousinly entreated,
  Still hiding, under that fair outward guise,
        A heart that cheated.

  And now the mask is down, and forth you stand
    Known for a King whose word is no great matter,
  A traitor proved, for every honest hand
        To strike and shatter.

  This was the "Day" foretold by yours and you
    In whispers here, and there with beery clamours--
  You and your rat-hole spies and blustering crew
        Of loud Potsdamers.

  And lo, there dawns another, swift and stern,
    When on the wheels of wrath, by Justice' token
  Breaker of God's own Peace, you shall in turn
        Yourself be broken.

[Sidenote: _Owen Seaman in "Punch"_]

  Ye that have gentle hearts and fain
    To succour men in need,
  There is no voice could ask in vain
    With such a cause to plead--
  The cause of those that in your care,
    Who know the debt to honour due,
  Confide the wounds they proudly wear,
    The wounds they took for you.

  Out of the shock of shattering spears,
    Of screaming shell and shard,
  Snatched from the smoke that blinds and sears
    They come with bodies scarred,
  And count the hours that idly toll,
    Restless until their hurts be healed,
  And they may fare, made strong and whole,
    To face another field.

  And yonder where the battle's waves
    Broke yesterday o'erhead,
  Where now the swift and shallow graves
    Cover our English dead,
  Think how your sisters play their part,
    Who serve as in a holy shrine,
  Tender of hand and brave of heart,
    Under the Red Cross sign.

  Ah, by that symbol, worshipped still,
    Of life-blood sacrificed,
  That lonely Cross on Calvary's hill
    Red with the wounds of Christ;
  By that free gift to none denied,
    Let Pity pierce you like a sword,
  And Love go out to open wide
    The gate of life restored.

    The Red Cross Society is in need of help. Gifts should be addressed
    to Lord Rothschild at Devonshire House, Piccadilly.


[Footnote 1: "Dooiney-molla--man-praiser--the friend who backs the

[Footnote 2: Certain publishers.]

[Footnote 3: Port of Peace.]

[Footnote 4: Solace.]

[Footnote 5: She was born at Chatham on March 28th, 1774.]

[Footnote 6: Probably he was nearly twenty-four.]

[Footnote 7: Written in 1829.]

[Footnote 8: "The Epicure!" said R.L.S.]

[Footnote 9: A musical festival which took place in Westminster Abbey.]

[Footnote 10: "To pill" was a cant expression used a good deal by "the
set," meaning, apparently, to talk, either pompously or trivially.]

[Footnote 11: The cloud-shapes often observed by travellers in the

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