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THE MISERIES OF A NOTARY.
Quorum veritatum attestor.
SIR, AMONGST the many miseries which have been described in Periodical and other works, I have never met with any account of those of the class to which I belong.
I am, Mr. Merton, an articled clerk to a Notary; and I will endeavour to describe some of the miseries which are incidental to that kind of life. We resemble the watchman in our exposure to night-weather, but our rounds are longer, and in a storm we have not even the comfort of a “Charley's shelter:” the visits we pay in them are always unwelcome; we are exposed to the vilest language, and it would be well for us, if ill language was always the worst usage we met with. We are very different from the Apprentices, described in your last week's Magnet. We have no hope of holidays, for we cannot have them; we cannot visit Epsom, or even go to see Camberwell or Fairlop Fair, and we are too much tired on a Saturday night to think of taking our favourites to Richmond on the Sunday, and treating them with heavy, (and I cannot see the sin of that, it is a most exhilarating drink, and it is plain the leddies liked it). Ah! Mr. Merton, we are too sober to wish to do so. But I will tell you a few adventures which I myself have met with, and first place myself before you in propria persona. I am in height about 5 feet 4, thick-set, pale, and flat-featured, and of rather a weak constitution; consequently, frequent colds are the results of night walks. I hate assemblies, and would not accept an invitation even to my loved Lord Mayor's Ball, and am fonder of the MAGNET or ADVENTURER,
than of“ Chitty" or Bailey on Bills.” I am but little talkative, a more quiet, peaceable body does not breathe. I am now 18, and have been with my master four years; my articles still last for three more. At school I was but backward in my learning, and from my mild disposition, frequently the dupe, and always the mirth, of the whole school, (as such but ill adapted to struggle with this life). The whole of my Latin is at the head of the page; and French or Italian I can copy, but not translate. I do not understand anecdote telling, and if you can improve my style or method, I will thank you.
In the course of my four years, I have met with innumerable insults, which I have quietly pocketed; how often has the door been slammed in my face by saucy housemaids! how often have I been abnsed while knocking (for the fourth time) at some untenanted house, by the city watchmen, and asked, how I dared disturb the street so? I am now so well known about Cheapside, Cornhill, &c. that boys shout after me, where comes the notary.” Once in a back street, in Camden Town, I nearly fell into the cesspool; another time I was severely horsewhipped for disturbing the slumbers of a gentleman, who had retired to bed vexed with himself and fortune, and was indeed provoked when I awoke him about one o'clock, and reminded him of the bill; poor man, he felt more pain than I did, so I forgave him. But
I can never forgive the wanton wickedness of a saucy maid, who from her window emptied what shall be nameless, on my head,-so I wished to punish her, but wanted resolution. During the late tremendous rains, I was nearly drowned at Battle-bridge, being up to my middle in a second. I have several times been compelled, after receiving a sum in cash to enter (with my last bill), a house of ill-fame, and with difficulty escaped either with or without my money. The circumstance of a young man who presented a bill, having a folded paper returned him instead of it, is of too late occurrence to need my mentioning it; but the consternation it threw me in lest such a thing should happen to myself has not yet left me. I have several times come to the resolution of quitting so disagreeable an occupation, but my articles have then stared me in the face, and told me I must stop nolens volens. These are but few
miseries which have befallen me, but I think they are enough to deter most young men from entering on such a life; and to give more would be taking up too large a space in my favourite Magnet.
AT FERRARA, in the Benedictine Convent, is a full-length Portrait of Ariosto; it is in “a Paradise,” by BENEDETTO DI GARAFOLO, and the Poet is placed between St. CATHERINE and St. SEBASTIAN. He intimated his desire to be thus painted to Garafolo, in the following curious sentence, “ Dipingeteme in questo Paradiso, perche nell'altro io non ci vo." in your Paradise, because I shall not go in the other.
« Oh, sweet youth! how soon it fades.
Sweet joys of youth-how fleeting !”
I stood o'er the grave where the fair one was sleeping,
I clasp'd her cold hand, when fate doom'd us to sever,
I returned to the home, where almost broken-hearted,
THE CAMERA OBSCURA.NO. I.
By Clement Clearsight, Gent.
A Camera Obscura is a machine, wherein the images of external objects are exhibited distinctly in their native colours, exact proportions, and in all their perspectives and foreshortenings.* Such being the meaning of the term, as used in optics, I believe I may, without being accused of a far-fetched analogy, apply it as the medium through which the common affairs of life may be viewed in their lights and shades, native colours, and exact proportions.
The reader, at a glance of the illustration above, perhaps will perceive my meaning as well, or, perhaps, from the skill of the artist, better than my pen can convey. But lest it should be misunderstood, I beg leave to solve the enigma. The pallet and brush, I need not say, are the tools of a painter, but are intended here, as figures representing the means through which the manners of the world (the globe ) may be delineated. The distinction will therefore be, that instead of representing the persons of mankind, my object will be to display their characters and dispositions ;
“ To hold the mirror up to nature.” “ Cutting words," observed an American to Miss Wright, in relation to the conduct of Englishmen towards his country, (and the same observation will apply almost universally,)“ cutting words cut deep; and I fear that we are human enough to feel ourselves gradually estranged from a nation that was once our own, and for which we so long cherished an affection, that I am sure would have grown with our growth, and strengthened with our strength, had not the pen, which cuts deeper than the sword, destroyed it.”+
By free and unstudied observations on men and manners,—by sketches of life in all its stations,—by views of society in every gradation, it will be my endeavour to convey such information as may tend to display the beauty of virtue, while it tears off the mask that hides the hideousness of vice. Of all effectual remedies against the abuses of society, there is none so effectual as the pen. Satire, when employed for the exposure and correction of vice, loses its unamiable appearance, and, when wielded mercifully, keeps folly, and, not unfrequently, crime, in awe.
On the Effects of Refinement.
Attached from habit and choice to retirement, I had taken up my abode in an obscure village, a considerable distance not only from the metropolis, but, as I had hoped, from its follies and vices.
Nature appeared to have bestowed every blessing on the little spot of
+ Wright's Views of Society and Manners in America.
earth. The country was beautiful, and the air was mild and salubrious : as there were very few of the higher or middling classes of society residing near, and there being no town of any consequence adjacent, I looked forward to meet with that primeval simplicity of character, and undisturbed harmony, which generally distinguish mankind, before the artifices and deceit of polished life have extended their baleful influence.
Unfortunately I was not suffered to remain long in this pleasing delusion; when I came to be more thoroughly acquainted with the inhabitants, I found that party faction existed with as much violence in this little village, as it did in any of the most flourishing cities in the world.
Was it on account of whig and tory,high church and low church, principles,-tythes,-or the game laws, those inexhaustible subjects of contention and disagreement among the great world? No, matters of such importance never entered into the heads of those who entered into the factions, that existed between Miss Jones and Miss Baker, the rival ladies of the ton at S
The fathers of these ladies were two of the principal personages of the village, tailors by trade. Jones was formerly king of the place, without a rival to disturb his dignity; till Baker, who had been a foreman at a shop in a neighbouring town, having a little property left him at S, took up his abode there, and in consequence of his importance, as a landed proprietor, became a very formidable rival to Mr. Jones, who had hitherto monopolized all the tailoring of the village.
It was a question of such deep importance, which was the greatest man, that although at the time I was there, it had been discussed for more than twenty years, it remained, like a chancery suit, just as undetermined as ever, and as likely to be no more speedily decided. One half were of opinion it was Jones, while the other half considered Baker was the better entitled to this proud distinction. While they managed to set all about them lecting their concerns, the two thrifty tradesmen took a lesson from their neighbours' folly, and minded their own; apt to differ on every other point, they agreed perfectly in one, which was, to make money as fast as they could; and in consequence of this laudable determination, they both grew comfortably rich.
Each of these aspirants had a daughter, who from their birth, possessed all their fathers' spirit of rivalry, which grew with their growth,
and strengthened with their strength ;” and by the time they had arrived at the years of discretion, they had become two of the most indiscreet girls in the village which
them birth. Miss Jones and Miss Baker were constantly looked up to by the party which each individually headed, as the arbitratrices to decide every dispute, which occurred within their respective circles. If Miss J. or Miss B. did this, or said that, there was an end to the matter, as far as regarded her party; while those enlisted on the other side, were sure to take precisely the contrary course, in order to keep up the true spirit of opposition.
In this manner they jogged on for many years. Neither Miss Jones nor Miss Baker was very handsome, but as they had great expectancies, they were looked upon as prizes by the swains of the village, and therefore had plenty of admirers. Their merits and demerits were so equally balanced, that it was impossible to say, which of the two ladies was the most amiable example. They therefore, like joint monarchs, governed the actions and opinions of this little aristocracy, till an event took place of
such vast importance, as to turn the tide of popularity much in favour of Miss Jones.
This was the importation of a London lady, who had condescended to visit the family of old Jones, being distantly related. What a triumph for his daughter on the Sunday following, when her friend Miss Hodgson entered with her into the church. How she bridled, and what a number of disdainful glances she cast on her rival's approach, who wondered who the forward creature could be that attracted the attention of the whole
Gay doings, such as dances on the green; Pope Joan parties ; tea-drinking assemblies, took place among the Jones's; while the Bakers remained completely crest-fallen : many indeed voluntarily surrendered, and joined
But Miss Jones plainly perceived that all these gaieties, failed of fascinating her elegant friend. Miss Hodgson had more than once declared she could not abide the country sports, since they had never heard of Mr. Irving the great preacher, or read La Belle Assemblee. She possessed such an elegant horror for any thing vulgar, that upon a bale bluff son of the plough giving her a kiss, it is a well authenticated fact,--she scented herself with rose-water, and kept a little camphor next her skin for upwards of a week afterwards.
It may be supposed that upon the pressing invitation of her friend, to spend a short time at her establishment in town, the opportunity was not missed, but most gladly seized, as Miss Jones knew well what a wonderful ascendancy she would acquire over her luckless rival, by a visit to London.
-- Miss Hodgson's papa's establishment was no better nor worse, than a respectable cheesemonger's shop in the neighbourhood of the Seven Dials, . which, although it was nearer St. Giles's than St. James's, Miss Hodgson was continually assuring her young aspirant was the west end. It was here that the unsophisticated Miss Jones was to be initiated into all the mysteries of high life and genteel company.
Never did an event of so much importance occur in the village of S-as that of the young lady's return. She was set down at her father's door from a cheese cart, which had been sent expressly for her accommodation to the place where the stage put her down, the high-road not running through the village.
Her drab beaver bonnet, with five or six feathers towering in the air, and every other part of her dress, afforded conversation for all the Jones's and Bakers' in the village. She was scarcely home, when Miss Jones determined to shew that, she had not been to London for nothing," and accordingly, preparations immediately took place for a fierce campaign.
Miss Baker saw that she was daily losing her strength, and that unless she gathered up her forces and made a vigorous rally, she would be completely beaten off the field.
The first disposition towards hostility, was evinced by Miss Jones in the following acts. A very old acquaintance was cut for calling her christian name without the complimentary adjunct; a little boy was whipped by the schoolmaster (who it was reported was only the cat’s-paw of Miss Jones,) for not bringing his handkerchief to church, or at least forgetting he had one; summary punishment was inflicted on her papa's head, by depriving him of his caxon, and substituting pomatum in its place.
The inhabitants of S--, who, from Miss Hodgson's description, had