« AnteriorContinuar »
would frown in his pew, and your clerk would grin in his amen.-Oh, no! you must remain what destiny has made you : you must never hold forth, except, perhaps, at the Crown and Anchor, and never take orders"
“Except, perhaps, from your Ladyship! Farewell then to the cloth and the fathers! Farewell to the tedium of parish duty, and the tome of polemical discussion ! Farewell to tithes and old port, to back-gammon and the British! Farewell to the melons which should have enriched my green garden, and the mitre which should have decorated my grey hairs. Have you heard the Apostle of Hatton Garden, the Caledonian St. Paul ?”
“ Have I read Waverley ?-Have I been to Paris ?-Have I seen the King ?-How can you venture on such a question ? Pall Mall and Parliament-street, Bond-street and Bishopsgate, Dowagers and dancing-schools, red coats and red ribbons, all have been bustling and bawling and shrieking and fainting in most admired confusion. Who would be absent from the levee of the new Minister? There could not have been a more universal ecstasy, if he had promised to swallow the pulpit of his church, or to distribute Bank notes for penny-pieces. He has made miracles common. Lawyers have shuddered, and orators have listened, and soldiers have trembled, and coquettes have wept. I have seen fops in a mob and figurantes in convulsions, brokers gaping for metaphors and barristers begging for salts. Business, and pleasure, and vanity, and ambition, all have been for a season forgotten, and nothing has been talked of, or dreamed of, from the Mansion House to the Row, but Mr. Irving and his hearers, eloquence and heterodoxy, good morality and broad Scotch.
“ Your Ladyship has been disgusted with the buffoonery of the business," said Heron.
“Ah, que non! disgusted, good Eustace, and buffoonery! go and hear the man ! He will not mount his pulpit to show you how
many folios he has read, like our learned Cousin, the Dean; nor solace the Peer by reminding him of the vices of the Peasant, like our worthy acquaintance the Doctor ; nor court the admiration of the great lady, by an exhibition of the whiteness of his teeth and his gloves, like our young friend from Oriel ; but never trust to half-a-dozen scurrilous newspapers, who would make you believe that the man is utterly destitute of power, who has made all England ring with his fame, and dragged half her metropolis at his chariot wheels. There, Murray, be quiet ; I know you were going to speak of Demosthenes; and you, Archibald, I forbid you to say a word of Mr. Brougham; the man is sincere at least, and fervent in his cause; and he shall not be judged or condemned by a reference to this or that precept, or a comparison with this or that man.
“ It is a long time,” said Haller, “ since the pulpit has had so much influence over the drawing-room.
“ Influence! nay, Haller, now you are echoing the cant of his adorers. His countenance is handsome, in spite of his unfortunate eyes, and his voice is magnificent, in spite of his intolerable accent; but to suppose that he exerts, or ever has exerted, or ever will exert, a real and practical influence upon the higher orders of the society of to-day, is to imagine that a Catholic Peer is biassed by the infallibility of the Pope, or a Cornish Member convinced by the speech of a Financier. Is there one Bible the more in Grosvenor-square, or one waltz the less at Almack's ? Is the billiard-table, or the ballet deserted ? Has Sir Thomas sold off his cellar, or Sir Harry laid down his stud? No, no! the day when we were swayed by a simile, and ruled by a deep tone, is gone by for ever; and the most glorious exertions of Mr. Irving, or of greater men, will produce no more decisive effect than a sigh or a swoon, great admiration, and great fatigue, full two hours!' and wonderfully fine!""
" It is well,” said Murray, “ that we entertain such slight apprehensions of the censorship of the pulpit; for if Mr. Irving fall not foul of ourselves in his next discourse upon literature, it will be more of his courtesy than of our deserving." .““ What in the name of decorum do you mean?” cried Vernon; and, as he spoke, a formidable uproar in the antechamber announced the arrival of a score or two of fresh comers from Bedlam or Parnassus. Joyeuse, and Cecil, and Montgomery led the way; Vyvyan laughing, and Davenant arguing, and Gerard standing silently between the two, as thoroughly bored as ever was Garrick between the punning and the poisoning muses.
“ I denounce,” said Vyvyan. “ I protest,” cried Davenant. “ It is atrocious," exclaimed Joyeuse, taking snuff. " It is absurd,” rejoined Cecil, taking breath. “ Tantararara, fools all !” quoth Gerard, snapping his fingers. Moulsey never saw such a row,” said Frederic ;
“ sweet lover of the lakes, mad concoctor of merriment, let us have no hot humours among you.”
"I will be heard," began one.
“ Let us go into the matter orderly and quietly,” said Vyvyan, “.amant alterna. I beg your ladyship's pardon; I stand here to excuse- -but Gerard is a poet, and shall have his indictment in rhyme.
“ Your ladyship of course is well aware
That love and laughter, mirth and immorality,
Are quite exploded from the folks of quality ;
Return at last to prudence and formality;
" Oh! 'tis a serious and a golden age !
Folly has died, and waltzing pass’d away ;
There's no such thing as levity to-day ;
And nobles preach, and fashionables pray;
Warbled and wept beside their own sweet streams,
And startled wandering poets with bright gleams
Have marr'd the quiet of those innocent dreams,
“ And their lorn slaves, the rambling, rhyming singers,
Dare not to charm us as they used to charm;
No more the rapt heart loves, and sees no harm ;
It's worse to babble of a lady's arm ;
“ Sweet Vyvyan,” interrupted Frederic, " what foolery are you fooling now? Jest or earnest, essay or sneer,-in any case, as you love us, let us arrive at a meaning and an end.” 6. In due course, in due course! My meaning is, that every body is growing atrociously good; and my end, that Gerard Montgomery has done up our Magazine. And I will make it as clear as daylight in five minutes and a few stanzas by
“ Then pr’ythee, Vyvyan, put Pegasus into a trot, for his Beppos limp abominably."
“ You are well qualified for criticism, who never composed a distich of more durable stuff than lines on the death of a favourite hunter, or stanzas to a bar-maid at Tadcaster. Where are your qualifications, your certificates, your credentials ?-Have you been stuck in the windows, and lauded in the Quarterly, and abused by Sir Richard, and quoted by the New Times ? Hang thee for a fraudulent empiric! But if you are to continue comptroller of black and white, and dispenser of sleep and song to all lovers of Balaam, I tell you in plain English:
“ Mr. Montgomery's horrible mummeries
Never will do for our dull Magazine ;
And dowager's eyes are so cruelly keen.
66 Wet eyes
and dry amours--treasons and Tryamours,
Kings in a passion, and queens in a pool, -
Infamous cuts at the great and the times,-
Dark double meanings, and light double rhymes !
“ And alas ! who will read us, or buy us, or feed us?
Madam looks serious, Miss looks away!
And the murder is out, and the devil's to pay !
poor Mr. Knight will look terribly white
And the Chancery lawyers dissolve the injunction !"
“I should be pleased to see them venture so far," said Vernon: “ Gerard should lampoon the chancellor, and I would annihilate his wig."
But how happens it, Vyvyan, that you have dressed yourself in the authority of the Censor ? Now, may the spirit of John Knox rejoice in a bacchanalian chorus, and the spirit of Old Wesley lead off a waltz in Grosvenor-square! Why, hardly twelve months have elapsed since you eulogized Epicurus in Pindaries, and toasted Vestris in the combination room! Nay! it was but a week ago that you were in the most glorious spirits imaginable, and you know at this moment you have a translation of Pulci in the press !"
«« I am the repentant wizard. I have parted with my spirits;
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book.'
place in the national feeling; I recommend to you the imita-
“For ever! but then twenty-four hours are your eternity,
“I have heard,” said Lady Mary, rising from her seat: “I have heard something already of the censures to which Vyvyan has called our attention; and without troubling myself to inquire whether Vyvyan is in jest or in earnest, when he puts denunciation of prose, I will desire our trusty secretary to forth so serious a condemnation of levity, and so terrible a make public this our deliberate act, which the friendly may
treaty of peace, and the malicious as a declara
receive as a
- Whereas divers designing persons have wilfully and wickedly made us the object of ultra-moral animadversion, and in particular,
- Whereas Doctor Peter Kemphausen, for whose wig we have all conceivable veneration, has declared that the scene painted in Castle Vernon, No. I,' is such as to blight the characters of all actors under forty years of age then and there present and assisting,
“Whereas Lady Amelia Sorrel, for whose prudence we have the profoundest respect, has made aflidavit in many companies and in various terms, that she burned the book calling itself
the Quarterly Magazine,' upon the perusal of a single page of a single article therein contained, and entitled Rose Aleyn,'
“ Whereas Miss Laura Fitz Eustace, for whose talents we entertain the sincerest esteem, has vouched and averred, that it would be impossible not to admire the stanzas of Gerard Montgomery, if it were not equally impossible to read them,
6. We therefore decree, “ That Doctor Peter Kemphausen shall not take Mrs. Kemphausen and the thirteen Misses Kemphausen to any route,