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was the case on my entrance into the room. And now I hope I have sufliçiently accounted for the attentions, shewn me by my fair neighbour.
In being compelled to shew this, by thus drawing my own minia ture, in which I have endeavoured to avoid the common error, or rather the common fault, of flattery, I may, perhaps, have given to the acuteness of my readers, a key to what may be considered the severity of my rer marks : I grant it; I will consent to all allowances. I will let them have their own way; only ask in return, that they will let me bave mine!
During the operation of tea, each gentleman endeavoured to engage his fair neighbour in conversation, if that term can be applied to a form of, little sentences and remarks, as well known, and as regularly repeated at every similar meeting, as the multiplication table at school; however, let it be conversation, for our present purpose. Some were even bold enough to engage two; but for me, after pondering for some time what to say, and longer how to say it, I resolved to ask my fair neighbour if she had read the last new novel by the author of Waverley This was something I conceived likely to be in her way, and was too somewhat in mine, and I prided myself on the happy selection. The action followed the resolution—the question was put --but unfortunately, her head being turned another way, attending to a warm description going on with the parties on her left concerning the state of the weather, the vibration reached not her ear, or, at least, my words were unheeded, and produced no answer. This was a sad rebuke; I could not muster up courage to pitch my
upon a higher key, and put the question again ; and my confusion was not a little increased, by observing that a lady on my other side, who had heard my question, eyed me with a look, which I shall not attempt to define or describe. However, I had recourse to my only aid in these extremities my pocket handkerchief, and repeated to myself the lines of Voltaire,
l'art le plus nécessaire, N'est pas de bien parler, mais de savoir se faire ;
Resolved to keep a better guard oyer my vocabulary.
Were mankind in the habit of exercising themselves in the precept. of Apollo, and of applying their own actions to the touchstone of every vice and folly, which they are too often compelled to observe in their intercourse with each other, they, indeed, there would be few scenes where an hour of rational amusement and instruction could be more advantageously passed, than in the domestic circles of these friendly parties :-but, unfortunately for us, such is not the case; on the contrary, each folly too frequently begets its reverse, and thus the paths of social intercourse may be said to be so full of its snares, that in stepping back to avoid one, we often fall into another.
I'll now return to my “Party," to pick out an illustration of my rule, and there I find that the folly of my own diffidence had probably given rise to that imposing confidence, and perfect self-satisfaction, which seemed to characterize more than one gentleman of the company, who seemed to have taken
up their station at the opposite corners of the room, in order that the empire of discourse should not, between themselves, come into dispute. Each had collected round him his little audience, and being once in possession of the public ear, appeared resolved not to leave his hold, by giving
any other “aspiring youth” the opportunity of a pause, to put in his claim to attention ; which, to them, was the one with admiration. Thus they talked down all their opponents, ranging from subject to subject, with the facility of a butterfly from flower to flower. Or, if by any accident, they should have been drawn into an argument, they had such abundance of little facts, and public whispers, to enforce their side of the question, (and of those too, if doubted, they could enter into the proof of pedigree from my lord sucha-one, to his valet through twenty generations, and then the happy ability which such persons generally possess of putting a gloss upon dull incidents, or polishing any apparent incongruity, leaves no chance of success to any merely rational opponent. And yet, after all their ratiocination and argument, it would puzzle the memory to recall a single sentence they had uttered worthy repetition, or a subject that would bear a serious reflection; so excellently did they answer the description of Florian,
Chacun, comme à l'ordinaire
These general talkers have, of late, become so numerous, and threates such a general destruction of all intellect, that I cannot resist the impulse of inclination to lend my aid in putting down these commop nuisances of society. Indeed, if something be not done, and “'twere well 'twas done quickly," we may bid farewell to the humble effort of modest ability, which may no longer show its countenance of conscious imperfection amidst the “busy haunts of men,” lest it should meet the self-confident gaze of audacious impudence and ignorance, and be compelled, by dint of mere brass and boldness, to yield the palm of superiority to these blundering nondescripts, or shrink with disgust into their studies, like Diogenes into his cask, and bury their ability in the gloom of retirement.
For the most part the characters of general talkers, will be found identified with that one of effeminate insignificance, “a ladies' man!" a fellow, who, though his tongue is as the pendulum of life, yet can be dumb at the voice of female beauty, and listen with contempt, in the mask of estacy, at the dallest drawl of a conceited prude, or kneel with calm devo tion at the feet of a triumphant coquette ! A fellow who was never guilty of giving form to an abstract idea, or of uttering one polished phrase not stolen from Richardson's novels, or from the Sorrows of Werter. Indeed, take unblushing impudence,-a countenance in which the long expatriated blush“ of ingenuous shame," has given place to that alone of rage or disap pointed vanity-a head stuffed with anecdote and nonsense-a memory groaning beneath the lumber of love-teeming quotations--a brain one
dreary waste," unconscious even of its own existence—then joined to an imagination “all compact,” which can embellish or distort incidents ad libitum, without regard to truth, or virtuous or honourable feeling, and we have at once a picture of “a ladies' man!”
As I have a few things further to say on the subject of this same Party, and have already drawn out my sketch to some length, I will close here for the present, and supply you with a second course in due time.
WHIT MONDAY, OR A TEMPLAR'S RAMBLE.
The two brazen heroes of St. Dunstan's were hammering the hour of eleven last Monday morning, when the sun, brilliantly peering through the dusky avenues of the Temple, beheld me most busily employed with my breakfast at my chambers in Mitre Court; endeavouring in vain to get through the leading article of the Times, and the third dilution of my chocolate. Grimalkin and Butler's Nisi Prius lay snug on the hearth-rug; an unfinished draft, with Chitty on Pleading, was open before me,-more inviting than agreeable; my outer door was shut, and, being holiday time, I had given Peter leave to see his aunt at Bermondsey. So I determined to put off going to the Exhibition, exclude all morning calls, and have a most sober and industrious day's work. : Well, with this commendable resolution, I took up the neglected draftsighed over the many interlineations-yawned thrice-mended my penand then most comfortably found out, I was not in the humour to be industrious. Immediately as this unfortunate discovery was made, a loud rapping at the door, with sundry kicks and curses, proclaimed the near approach of my friend Volatile. “ It's no use," exclaimed I, with something between a sigh and a smile,“ business is over for the day:" and so saying, I unbarred my door, and in stept my
friend. Ned is one of those kind-hearted beings, the very scarecrow of studious and well-disposed young men (like me), who'll neither work themselves, nor let their friends work. “What, Peregrine! why what the d--Tails you ? you look as yellow as if you had been at an Alderman's feast, or a lecture on anatomy. Oh! I see how it is. Doors fast without -caution in opening them within-shoulders sensitive of the tap-you not only follow the law, but I apprehend the law follows you. For shame! just upon twelve, o'clock, with your morning gown and slippers on." I made my apologymuch to do—had been a sad rake the previous week-and determined on that day to turn over a new leaf, and work hard.
“Work hard! hear it, ye gods, and ye Cheapside apprentices! Was there ever such a thing heard of? Work on a Whit Monday! Why, man alive, there's not a mop been twirled-a statute been conned--a wig powdered-or a black letter dusted.
• Oh this is the day for fun and frivolity,
Laughter, love, and jollity:
Work! I am determined you sha'n't. You have often made me industrious against my will, and now, for once, I'll make you indolent against your's. For shame! look at the sun peeping over the sorry chimney pots, and through your dirty windows,--to stay in doors on a day like this !
"But, my dear Ned, where shall we go to ? there's nothing but holiday apprentices and tailors' journeymen abroad. : If we have a drive, we shall be blinded by the dust; it is too warm for a canter, and too cool for a sail. Why I would as leave stay at home, and play scratch-cradle with my sister, card bobbin for my aunt, or read Tyrwhitt's Digest or Bacon's Abridgement from beginning to end." "No, sir, all the world, except you and I, are at Greenwich, and there we shall go."
“Greenwich !” exclaimed I, with a legitimate shudder,—“Greenwich
on Whit Monday! Why not say at once the Lord Mayor's Easter Ball
, or a squeeze in the Opera gallery on a Catalani night? Shade of the departed Coke, plead thy votary's cause !"
Bat all this expostulation, argumentation, and invocation, was of no ávail. Volatile knew too well how to bother a jury, rather than give up his point. So what with his raillery and logic on one side, and laziness, with her bland persuasion on the other, I was nonsuited in one minute, and suited with my "Sanday's best" in the next, and with Ned, all joy, anticipation, and waggery, left my study; not forgetting to leave a note for the Faun dress, when she came, to say I was gone to a consultation, nor to stick “ return immediatelys on my outer door.
“Why confound it, Peregrine, your door, that but a few minutes ago stood as opright a defence against the attacks of a bailiff or dun, as the sentinel at the Horse Guards, now lies most deplorably.”
“Never mind, it is not the first time it has saved its master's lips, and given your's an opportunity of passing a rascally pun."
So punning and talking, and quizzing and laughing, we reached Billingsgate. "Now what, in the name of wonder,” exclaimed I, “đó you mean by bringing me here? Are we to be joined by any ladies of your acquaintance ?"_Fishfags with baskets overflowing with soles and maidswatermen with boats sinking, with bodies and no maids. “Boat, Gemmen,-Boat, Gem'men,” cried fifty voices at once, all anxious to secure a couple of such respectable passengers. Just going off," cried an impudent son of the oar, with a striped cotton shirt, and holiday corduroy breeches. "Two dev'lish fine girls already in; Gem'men," most suspiciously cocking his eye, as if to discover our weak side. Such a temptation was irresistible, and in we got by the side of the damsels aforesaid; who, to do them justice, were not undeserving of the waterman's panegyric.
of one in particular I must make " honorable mention," as having a certain pair of hazel eyes, which I shall dilate more upon hereafter. Ned; who possesses the admirable and useful art of making himself at home, in whatever company he mingles, did not find it a difficult matter to worm himself into the good graces of the prettiest of the girls, leaving me at liberty to do the best I could with the other. I had already fallen into a brown study, when a slap on the shoulder reminded me I was not in Brick Court. "Now for the sake of all that’s agreeable, discard that lengthened visage: why couldn't you for once cut the shop? You are like a Manchester Rider, who always carries his patterns wherever he goes. Flesh and blood, Peregrine, how can you sit with your hands and knees up, as if you were receiving judgment, or put in the stocks for a misdemeanour? One would think that the reflection of such a pair of eyes as those beside you were a little better to muse on than a problem of Euclid, or one of Mansfield's Judgments, which, I darė swear, is the subject of your profound soliloquy.
Our other companions were, a rough-hewn, weather-beaten Greenwich pensioner, and a thorough-bred cockney, in his Sunday's suit of dittos, whom I at once, from the amiable simplicity of his conversation, sét down for no less a personage than the immortal Jemmy Green. Our discourse turned upon the abolition of fairs near the metropolis. The cockney very pathetically lamented the deal of wickedness that was always going on there, and was not at all sorry they were all to be put down. Greenwich,
he was of opinion, would last for ever, and was licensed by Magnay's Carter; a legislator whom I could not, at the instant, call to mind. These aristocratical opinions put the John Bull's blood of the veteran into a ferment, who was ready to take his oath “the good old kings would not have det the statue pass; he was of opinion that the poor had a right to be happy as well as the rich. In this opinion I and Ned, although no radicals, most cordially coincided. “But hang it," said the sailor, “ while I eat His Majesty's bread, I should not grumble at his laws." The hazel eyes gave it as her opinion, that fairs were not of much mischief, and she thought that if they were dver before it was dark, there would be none at all.
The cockney now became the butt of the company. He asked the waterman, if the fishermen ever caught whales thereabout?* if the water was salt at Greenwich? Told is of the narrow escape he had in the Margate Hoy, when she sprung a leak, and how full the hole was of water, and many other particulars of the dangers he had undergone." He expressed his determination not to visit the fair, for the sake of avoiding the “ortid vomen” that frequented it. Told us again of his bravery in rescuing his cousins, when they ran too far in the sea on the Brighton coast.
Just after he had related this last achievement; à clumsy, or else mischievous boy, who was rowing along a heavy ship’s boat, managed to run foul of our wherry. The girls, anxious for the boat to go forward, although we had no sails, set up a squall
, while the cockrey, without a spårk of that heroism, which animated him on a former occasion, made an entrechet that would have done no discredit to Mr. Bologna or Madame Saqui;, and, ás Lord Duberly would say, was, “ in the twinkling of a bed-post,” in a barge some five or six feet distance. One would hardly have thought it possible, interesting as his society had been, his sudden disappearance could have occasioned such great concern; so much so, that I can verily affirm, all of us were near going after him! For his absence created, on one side of the boat, such a great disproportion in regard to ballast, as to immerse the defective side pretty tolerably in the water. However, by the dextrous and timely movements of Ned and the waterman, we were soon restored to our equilibrium, I being at the moment most interestingly engaged with the hazel eyed beauty, who had managed to faint most appropriately in my arms. "Mr. Jemmy Green, having discovered that all was safe, and the waterman more, I believe, out of regard to his unpaid fare, than the pleasure of his company, baving rowed up to the barge, the redoubtable hero condescended to occupy the seat he had so unceremoniously abdicated, receiving from all present the most flattering congratulations on his amazing dexterity, admirable courage and presenee of mind, and above all, for the benevolent feeling which induced him to hazard the lives of six of his fellow-creatures, for the sake of saving his own precious person a wetting! The poor animal bore his blushing honours thick upon him, and began, I think, to wish we were all at the bottom, or he any where else than where he was. The girls were most unmercifully severe ; one asked him whether he had taken lessons from General Jacko, the monkey rope-dancer: the other thought it was distressing to see people labouring under such exquisite sensibility, and thanked him most cordially, in the name of his sex, for the gallantry he had evinced in making his glorious
* This is a fact: the writer heard thre question seriously asked.