Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

how it happened that once he was ""No,' said he never.' Down
in command of a small sloop of he went again, and for a little
war at the mouth of an African longer, when I asked, “Will you
river, whose banks were inhabited now?'
by a colony of Jews, a race of most "No,' said he, for nothing on
strange and mysterious origin, but earth.'
yet to be found there. Amongst "I put him under again, ladies
these there was one, a very vener- and gentlemen; and, I am obliged
able-looking old fellow, who sup- to own, I kept him almost a
plied the sloop with yams and sweet minute, so that when he did come
potatoes, and such other produce; up he was very red in the face, and
* and with him," said the officer, nearly suffocated.
“I had frequent discussions, some ** What do you say now? Will
of them on religious topics. He you be a Christian ?'
interested me at last to that degree "Yes,' said he, with a gulp.
that I began to wish I could con " Then you shan't relapse any.
vert him, though really, from my way,' said I; and so, ladies and
ignorance of polemics, I did not gentlemen, I put him down agein,
know exactly how to set about it; and held him there quite long
and at the same time I was dis- enough to prevent accidents; and
couraged by hearing that, of the that was the only Jew I ever heard
supposed converts made by mis- of who didn't recant."
sionaries on the coast, there was The lieutenant may have been
not one who

had not relapsed. unlucky; but are we more for-
“While I thus hesitated and tunate in our experiences of the
pondered, I received sudden orders “ ticket-o'-leavers " who are the
to sail. I went on shore to settle prize-men of our jails ? Are not
some matters of the ship's accounts, the convictions we daily read of all,
and seeing that Moses was on or nearly all, of men well known to
board I offered him a passage in the police —"old offenders ” ?
my gig, to have a few. last words The almost certainty of detection
with him. We started a religious is your true reformer. Show the
discussion at once; but I found my thief that it “won't pay." Let
friend, long trained to argue with the burglar learn that housebreak-
the missionaries, rather more than ing, like landlordism, has its re-
my match. He knew far more than sponsibilities, ay, and that they
I did, and employed his knowledge are sure to be imposed ; and when
more skilfully. "In my embarrass- you have done this

, the profession ment I grew angry. I was foiled will become unpopular. so often that my men had hard Strengthen your police and scruwork to keep from laughing, and tinise your magistrates, and take this overcame me completely. So my word, you may practise a wise I just seized him by the collar and economy in jail reformers and prichucked him into the sea ; and son disciplinists ; and if, besides after keeping him down for a this, you make jails uncomfortable, second or two, I said, “Will you there will be no more to do than be a Christian now?

"rest and be thankful."

[ocr errors]

SOME PROS AND CONS OF LIFE ABROAD. Ever since that letter of Mrs. society, one can live for half O'Dowd's asking me for the name nothing, I have been revolving in of the town abroad where, with an my mind the delusions of the peoexquisite climate and a charming ple who come abroad for cheapness.

Some years ago, doubtless, the Continent was cheap—one reason, and a great one, of the cheapness being, that you consented to live abroad without many things you would have judged to be indispensable at home; and so, instead of a house, o lived in part of one. In lieu of a regular establishment, your household consisted of two or three “grand utilities;” and your butler was a hairy rascal, who cleaned the windows, polished the parquet, and very possibly coiffeed your wife. You slept on sackcloth and ate out of earthenware; and the only bit of carpet in your salon warmed the legs of a small round table in the middle of the room, upon which, under a glass bell, stood a minature tea-service. All these were very cheap enjoyments, but would you have had them at any price in your own country Of late, however, the Continent, except in some remote and little-visited spots, has become pretty much like England, and the consequence is, just as dear. Paris is far more costly as a residence than London, St. Petersburg double Paris, and Vienna about half-way between the two. Madrid is expensive, but it does not much matter—nobody would live there who was not paid for it. Brussels is fast treading on the heels of Paris in point of expense; Rome is twice as costly as it was ten years ago; and so, too, might we say of Florence. Dresden is dearer also: and now I am at the end of places to live in; for as to Geneva and the Rhine towns, I have no sympathy with those who inhabit them, or a word of counsel to give them. The best cities to sojourn in are Paris and Rome. They are richer in objects of interest, more varied in aspect, and broader socially; and, for the latter reason, there is more personal independence than elsewhere. In speaking thus, I, reject all considerations of government and administration. I have tried a great many govern

ments, and I never found one too bad to live under. I am sure they did not abandon the knout during my visit to Moscow, and I strongly suspect that the Pope would have kidnapped a Jew child even while I prolonged my stay at Rome; but I can aver with a safe conscience I was never molested by either Cossack or Cardinal; and I came away from each of these places with a whole skin and an uninvaded faith. The smaller cities are not, it is true, devoid of social freedom; but, of course, there is more gossip, more neighbourly comment, than in wider circles. They are cer. tainly cheaper too; that is, all fortunes are smaller, and the life of the highest class is no question of tens of thousands. I have passed so much of my life abroad that I only take my home statistics from what my friends are so good as to tell me, and what I can glean from books and newspapers. From these sources I am led to conclude that there is very little difference in cost between England and the Continent generally; and that if we were to draw out a scale of equivalents—taking London, for instance, to rank with Paris, Bath with Baden, Edinburgh with Berlin, and Dublin with, let us say, Grätz in Styria—we should find the cost of living pretty equal. The great difference between life in England and life abroad I take to be, that in England our effort is to do a great many things at the smallest possible cost; and abroad, to do without one half of them. Money is such a standard with us in England, not alone of solvency, but of social claim and personal worth, that a man is continually on the watch lest he should be detected in an economy. He must be liberal in all subscriptions, a free giver in fifty ways, no matter by what . pinchings at home he must readjust the balance of expenditure, unless, indeed, he be very rich, when all his shortcomings will be set down to eccentricity.

Be only eccentric in England, and Now, I ask, is there any excuse there is nothing you may not do short of a fire would palliate a man with impunity short of murder. dropping into a friend's house of an

Now, money abroad is only money. evening in England ? For my own Do not imagine I say this disparag. part, I should as soon think of ingly; Cornelius O'Dowd has had sauntering down to the Old Bailey to too many experiences of the minus pass an hour, as I would of calling sign in his life's algebra to speak upon the man I know best in any disrespectfully of the plus emblem! capital of Great Britain. We have I simply desire to say, that Con- our set periods for company as we tinental people do not accept money have for church, and we are just as as station, rank, education, good solemn in the one as the other. manners, and good connections; and The very fact that an amusement is for this reason no part of a man's inexpensive, stamps it with us as income need be devoted abroad to undesirable. the object of "imposing.” In a Now, apply these instincts to our word, you may keep all your salt- lives abroad, and you will see that petre to make gunpowder, and we do not derive from foreign sonever spend an ounce of it in fire- journ those benefits of economy we works. And, oh dear, what fire- go in search of. Not that we are works do we let off socially at home! too free-handed or too liberal - far What squibs and crackers of dé- from it. Our little facility of speech jeûners and luncheons! what Cath- in the languages of the Continent arine - wheels of stupid dinners ! inspires us with perpetual distrust, what Roman candles of routs and which we discount into shabbiness. evening parties ! - breaking our “We killed our goose " abroad, hearts and burning our fingers, all or we might have enjoyed golden that our rockets may go up a little eggs for many a year. We overdid higher than our neighbours', and cheapness. We showed the foreigner burst 'more gracefully!

that we had come abroad for econoI suspect that, at our very best, my so palpably, as to imply that we are not a very social people, and for no other possible consideration we utterly swamp ourselves by over- would we have consented to his laying all intercourse by costliness. company. Now, this was not civil, We must eat that we may talk, and but it was worse, it was impolitic drink before we can laugh. They We put “Mussoo" on his mettle to manage this better in France. show us that, besides being fifty

Twenty people can assemble of time as brilliant, Paris could be as an evening where there may be a costly as London; and the "concup of tea, or, as often, some eau founded foreigner” took an especial sucrée, and yet go home neither call. pride in exhibiting the rich Milor ing down the infernal gods on the as one of the hardest bargainers host's shabbiness, nor inveighing and craftiest dealers of Europe. against their own folly. They can The flood of Americans over the come and go pleasantly, easily, and Continent of late years has raised socially, discussing what there may the cost of living, and, what I like be of passing interest, and not put- even less, damaged us much as a ting into mere light conversation nation — they are so constantly that terrible earnestness that makes mistaken by foreigners for English. English small-talk like the discus- The effect is precisely like that prosion of a railway dividend; for it is duced in the mercantile world by true unhappily, too — we neither some large issue of false scrip; understand light soup nor lighter people grow frightened, and sell small-talk. We put such a deal of out of the concern altogether. substance into either, that when we Over and over again has it been have tasted we are filled.

my fortune to hear severe comment

on English habits, derived from an back to his native woods and praiunlucky experience of the popular ries, and be as wildly fantastic and customs of Kansas, or "the last new barbarous as Nature intended him. thing in politeness” from Ohio. These people are not the nation; How vain to tell the German or the they are not even like it. They are Italian that he had been imposed on the offshoots of an over.wealthy

--that he had not been dealing with and purse-proud society, who, not the "Old House," but with a new daring to exhibit their impertinences establishment of reckless traders, where they are known, come over who, by puffing placards and lying to Europe to display themselves in advertisements, were trying to kid- all the extravagance of a mistaken nap our customers !

culture. False trade-marks are a terrible “When a good American dies he fraud in commerce, and we have goes to Paris," it is said; and I am suffered sorely of late years from almost tempted to wish that he those whom by some extraordinary would wait for his immortality on figure of speech we call our Trans- his own side of the Atlantic. atlantic cousins. When a well Such people have helped to make known leader of the bar on an the Continent dear, and done very English circuit, presuming on the little to make it pleasanter; and circumstance that he had begun next to these come Russians. life as a midshipman, once took No man mourned the death of the upon him to return thanks at a late Emperor more sincerely than public dinner for the toast of the myself, for with him expired that navy, the explanation of a friend admirable law which forbade Ruswas, that he thought it was spelt sians to leave their country without with a K. Now if these connec- a formal and especial permission tions of ours would allow us to from the Czar himself. The Emcall them "Cozens,” we might ad- peror was a wise man, and he thormit the relationship more easily. oughly appreciated what the first

Not that I include all Ameri. Napoleon said about washing one's cans in this sweeping judgment, for sale linge at home. The present there is a rough unvarnished Yan. head of the nation has revoked kee that I like much. I like his the edict, and we have Scythians self-reliance, his vigour, his daring everywhere - in the Tuileries, in earnestness, and I don't dislike his the Vatican, up Vesuvius, on Mont intense acuteness, and I forgive his Blanc. ill-humour with England. It is If the Russian be better “plated" your travelled Philadelphian, your than the American, the metal beliterary gentleman from Boston, or neath is vastly inferior; and once your almighty swaggerer from Broad- that the outward scale' comes off, way, that I cannot stomach. This the vulgar material appears in all be-ringed and gold-chained masti. its atrocity; and the most polished cator is positively odious to me. production from the banks of the His imitation of the usages of so- Neva is little better than a naked ciety is at once so close and so re- savage with a gold snuff-box. mote, as to afford a cruel mockery Where, with ingredients like of our actual civilisation; and I these afloat, Mrs. O'D. is to find long to read my Darwin backwards, her cheap and pleasant residence, is and fancy the time when he will go more than I know of.

THE IRISH VICEROYALTY.

In the name of all the Lords-in. they are getting up against the Waiting, what is this balderdash Irish Viceroyalty? Are the English

habitually too kind to us

- are we certainly not flattering, Why, thereover-complimented in Parliament, fore, might not we Irish like to wear or over-flattered in the Press? Are as an honour what was instituted we too much distinguished by Court as a penalty, and exhibit from pride favour, or has the Chancellor of the what took its rise in repression ? Exchequer reserved for us any espe It is certainly not as a boon for cial benefits in the Budget? In one our countrymen that we seek to word, have we so much that they maintain the office, since in four will not leave us this -- this one hundred years but seven Viceroys remnant that recalls a time when have been Irish. Not that I comwe used to fancy ourselves a plain of this. I am well satisfied people ?

with the sort of men her Majesty The great ground of attack limits has sent over to rule us. They itself to calling the Viceroyalty a have generally been men of mark; mockery. Now I certainly do not always distinctively impressed with see this.

Is the Viceroy more the great traits of their great a mockery when deputed by her country. Majesty to represent her, than) the These men, whatever their politiLord Chancellor when he has been cal leanings, have conferred great delegated to open or prorogue Par. benefits upon us. They have disliament? It may be a more solemn played to our over-impulsive naoffice, certainly, to convene English- tures the spectacle of a more measmen than to kiss Irish women; ured judgment, a calmer tone, a but I think I can guess which is more patient spirit of inquiry into pleasanter. At all events, nobody things new or difficult, than are to can call it a mockery. I am not be found generally amongst ourvery sure what great substantial selves; and I am certain that the reality appertains to any Court cere. personal characters of English Vicemonial. I opine that there be many roys have done much to raise the things in these displays that a estimate of England amongst all chastened wisdom and a refined classes of Irishmen. The Viceroy taste might demur to; the reflex, was able to do what would have therefore, need not be too closely been very difficult, if not impossiscrutinised, nor too severely judged. ble, for any other. He could bring

But take it to be a mockery, re- together at his table men the most duce it as low as you like in the antagonistic and opposed. These category of reasonable things, we men, fierce enemies till they had in Ireland like it: it amuses us; met, learned to acquire in social inwe accept it, not perhaps as the tercourse a very different estimate best to have, but the best we can of each other, and parted very freget; and surely you might be quently, if not friends, at least with pleased with our humility, even if sentiments of respect and esteem. you laugh at our childishness.

The violence of party is always Half the things men attach value in the inverse ratio of the squares to in life are mere symbols — some of the distance it is exercised in ; times not very intelligible ones. and Dublin being so much narOften are they types of what has rower than London, men were propassed away, never to return. Thus, portionately more bitter in their for instance, the rich gold cord, the dislikes. It was, then, an inestimaaiguillette

of a general, was taken ble boon that there was one house from a Flemish regiment which in Ireland where men of opposing went into battle with the halter sides might sit down together, and round their necks, so that, if defeat- learn, if not to settle their diffeed, they should be hanged; and rences, to subdue their prejudices. yet men are proud enough to dis When, as was often the case, the play a decoration whose origin was Viceroy was a man of tact, the

« AnteriorContinuar »