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The Romany Rye by George Borrow

Part 8 out of 9

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the world scoffs at, he likewise learns Italian, which all the
world melts at. If he learns Gypsy, the language of the tattered
tent, he likewise learns Greek, the language of the college-hall.
If he learns smithery, he also learns--ah! what does he learn to
set against smithery?--the law? No; he does not learn the law,
which, by the way, is not very genteel. Swimming? Yes, he learns
to swim. Swimming, however, is not genteel; and the world--at
least the genteel part of it--acts very wisely in setting its face
against it; for to swim you must be naked, and how would many a
genteel person look without his clothes? Come, he learns
horsemanship; a very genteel accomplishment, which every genteel
person would gladly possess, though not all genteel people do.

Again as to associates: if he holds communion when a boy with
Murtagh, the scarecrow of an Irish academy, he associates in after
life with Francis Ardry, a rich and talented young Irish gentleman
about town. If he accepts an invitation from Mr. Petulengro to his
tent, he has no objection to go home with a rich genius to dinner;
who then will say that he prizes a thing or a person because they
are ungenteel? That he is not ready to take up with everything
that is ungenteel he gives a proof, when he refuses, though on the
brink of starvation, to become bonnet to the thimble-man, an
office, which, though profitable, is positively ungenteel. Ah! but
some sticker-up for gentility will exclaim, "The hero did not
refuse this office from an insurmountable dislike to its
ungentility, but merely from a feeling of principle." Well! the
writer is not fond of argument, and he will admit that such was the
case; he admits that it was a love of principle, rather than an
over-regard for gentility, which prevented the hero from accepting,
when on the brink of starvation, an ungenteel though lucrative
office, an office which, the writer begs leave to observe, many a
person with a great regard for gentility, and no particular regard
for principle, would in a similar strait have accepted; for when
did a mere love for gentility keep a person from being a dirty
scoundrel, when the alternatives were "either be a dirty scoundrel
or starve?" One thing, however, is certain, which is, that
Lavengro did not accept the office, which if a love for what is low
had been his ruling passion he certainly would have done;
consequently, he refuses to do one thing which no genteel person
would willingly do, even as he does many things which every genteel
person would gladly do, for example, speaks Italian, rides on
horseback, associates with a fashionable young man, dines with a
rich genius, et cetera. Yet--and it cannot be minced--he and
gentility with regard to many things are at strange divergency; he
shrinks from many things at which gentility placidly hums a tune,
or approvingly simpers, and does some things at which gentility
positively shrinks. He will not run into debt for clothes or
lodgings, which he might do without any scandal to gentility; he
will not receive money from Francis Ardry, and go to Brighton with
the sister of Annette Le Noir, though there is nothing ungenteel in
borrowing money from a friend, even when you never intend to repay
him, and something poignantly genteel in going to a watering-place
with a gay young Frenchwoman; but he has no objection, after
raising twenty pounds by the sale of that extraordinary work
"Joseph Sell," to set off into the country, mend kettles under
hedge-rows, and make pony and donkey shoes in a dingle. Here,
perhaps, some plain, well-meaning person will cry--and with much
apparent justice--how can the writer justify him in this act? What
motive, save a love for what is low, could induce him to do such a
thing? Would the writer have everybody who is in need of
recreation go into the country, mend kettles under hedges, and make
pony shoes in dingles? To such an observation the writer would
answer, that Lavengro had an excellent motive in doing what he did,
but that the writer is not so unreasonable as to wish everybody to
do the same. It is not everybody who can mend kettles. It is not
everybody who is in similar circumstances to those in which
Lavengro was. Lavengro flies from London and hack authorship, and
takes to the roads from fear of consumption; it is expensive to put
up at inns, and even at public-houses, and Lavengro has not much
money; so he buys a tinker's cart and apparatus, and sets up as
tinker, and subsequently as blacksmith; a person living in a tent,
or in anything else, must do something or go mad; Lavengro had a
mind, as he himself well knew, with some slight tendency to
madness, and had he not employed himself, he must have gone wild;
so to employ himself he drew upon one of his resources, the only
one available at the time. Authorship had nearly killed him, he
was sick of reading, and had besides no books; but he possessed the
rudiments of an art akin to tinkering; he knew something of
smithery, having served a kind of apprenticeship in Ireland to a
fairy smith; so he draws upon his smithery to enable him to acquire
tinkering, he speedily acquires that craft, even as he had speedily
acquired Welsh, owing to its connection with Irish, which language
he possessed; and with tinkering he amuses himself until he lays it
aside to resume smithery. A man who has an innocent resource, has
quite as much right to draw upon it in need, as he has upon a
banker in whose hands he has placed a sum; Lavengro turns to
advantage, under particular circumstances, a certain resource which
he has, but people who are not so forlorn as Lavengro, and have not
served the same apprenticeship which he had, are not advised to
follow his example. Surely he was better employed in plying the
trades of tinker and smith than in having recourse to vice, in
running after milk-maids, for example. Running after milk-maids is
by no means an ungenteel rural diversion; but let any one ask some
respectable casuist (the Bishop of London for example), whether
Lavengro was not far better employed, when in the country, at
tinkering and smithery than he would have been in running after all
the milk-maids in Cheshire, though tinkering is in general
considered a very ungenteel employment, and smithery little better,
notwithstanding that an Orcadian poet, who wrote in Norse about
eight hundred years ago, reckons the latter among nine noble arts
which he possessed, naming it along with playing at chess, on the
harp, and ravelling runes, or as the original has it, "treading
runes"--that is, compressing them into a small compass by mingling
one letter with another, even as the Turkish caligraphists ravel
the Arabic letters, more especially those who write talismans.

"Nine arts have I, all noble;
I play at chess so free,
At ravelling runes I'm ready,
At books and smithery;
I'm skilled o'er ice at skimming
On skates, I shoot and row,
And few at harping match me,
Or minstrelsy, I trow."

But though Lavengro takes up smithery, which, though the Orcadian
ranks it with chess-playing and harping, is certainly somewhat of a
grimy art, there can be no doubt that, had he been wealthy and not
so forlorn as he was, he would have turned to many things,
honourable, of course, in preference. He has no objection to ride
a fine horse when he has the opportunity: he has his day-dream of
making a fortune of two hundred thousand pounds by becoming a
merchant and doing business after the Armenian fashion; and there
can be no doubt that he would have been glad to wear fine clothes,
provided he had had sufficient funds to authorize him in wearing
them. For the sake of wandering the country and plying the hammer
and tongs, he would not have refused a commission in the service of
that illustrious monarch George the Fourth, provided he had thought
that he could live on his pay, and not be forced to run in debt to
tradesmen, without any hope of paying them, for clothes and
luxuries, as many highly genteel officers in that honourable
service were in the habit of doing. For the sake of tinkering, he
would certainly not have refused a secretaryship of an embassy to
Persia, in which he might have turned his acquaintance with
Persian, Arabic, and the Lord only knows what other languages, to
account. He took to tinkering and smithery, because no better
employments were at his command. No war is waged in the book
against rank, wealth, fine clothes, or dignified employments; it is
shown, however, that a person may be a gentleman and a scholar
without them. Rank, wealth, fine clothes, and dignified
employments, are no doubt very fine things, but they are merely
externals, they do not make a gentleman, they add external grace
and dignity to the gentleman and scholar, but they make neither;
and is it not better to be a gentleman without them than not a
gentleman with them? Is not Lavengro, when he leaves London on
foot with twenty pounds in his pocket, entitled to more respect
than Mr. Flamson flaming in his coach with a million? And is not
even the honest jockey at Horncastle, who offers a fair price to
Lavengro for his horse, entitled to more than the scoundrel lord,
who attempts to cheat him of one-fourth of its value?

Millions, however, seem to think otherwise, by their servile
adoration of people whom without rank, wealth, and fine clothes
they would consider infamous, but whom possessed of rank, wealth,
and glittering habiliments they seem to admire all the more for
their profligacy and crimes. Does not a blood-spot, or a lust-
spot, on the clothes of a blooming emperor, give a kind of zest to
the genteel young god? Do not the pride, superciliousness, and
selfishness of a certain aristocracy make it all the more regarded
by its worshippers? and do not the clownish and gutter-blood
admirers of Mr. Flamson like him all the more because they are
conscious that he is a knave? If such is the case --and, alas! is
it not the case?--they cannot be too frequently told that fine
clothes, wealth, and titles adorn a person in proportion as he
adorns them; that if worn by the magnanimous and good they are
ornaments indeed, but if by the vile and profligate they are merely
san benitos, and only serve to make their infamy doubly apparent;
and that a person in seedy raiment and tattered hat, possessed of
courage, kindness, and virtue, is entitled to more respect from
those to whom his virtues are manifested than any cruel profligate
emperor, selfish aristocrat, or knavish millionaire in the world.

The writer has no intention of saying that all in England are
affected with the absurd mania for gentility; nor is such a
statement made in the book; it is shown therein that individuals of
certain classes can prize a gentleman, notwithstanding seedy
raiment, dusty shoes or tattered hat,--for example, the young
Irishman, the rich genius, the postillion, and his employer.
Again, when the life of the hero is given to the world, amidst the
howl about its lowness and vulgarity, raised by the servile crew
whom its independence of sentiment has stung, more than one
powerful voice has been heard testifying approbation of its
learning and the purity of its morality. That there is some salt
in England, minds not swayed by mere externals, he is fully
convinced; if he were not, he would spare himself the trouble of
writing; but to the fact that the generality of his countrymen are
basely grovelling before the shrine of what they are pleased to
call gentility, he cannot shut his eyes.

Oh! what a clever person that Cockney was, who, travelling in the
Aberdeen railroad carriage, after edifying the company with his
remarks on various subjects, gave it as his opinion that Lieutenant
P--- would, in future, be shunned by all respectable society! And
what a simple person that elderly gentleman was, who, abruptly
starting, asked in rather an authoritative voice, "and why should
Lieutenant P--- be shunned by respectable society?" and who, after
entering into what was said to be a masterly analysis of the entire
evidence of the case, concluded by stating, "that having been
accustomed to all kinds of evidence all his life, he had never
known a case in which the accused had obtained a more complete and
triumphant justification than Lieutenant P--- had done in the late
trial."

Now the Cockney, who is said to have been a very foppish Cockney,
was perfectly right in what he said, and therein manifested a
knowledge of the English mind and character, and likewise of the
modern English language, to which his catechist, who, it seems, was
a distinguished member of the Scottish bar, could lay no
pretensions. The Cockney knew what the Lord of Session knew not,
that the British public is gentility crazy, and he knew, moreover,
that gentility and respectability are synonymous. No one in
England is genteel or respectable that is "looked at," who is the
victim of oppression; he may be pitied for a time, but when did not
pity terminate in contempt? A poor, harmless young officer--but
why enter into the details of the infamous case? they are but too
well known, and if ever cruelty, pride, and cowardice, and things
much worse than even cruelty, cowardice, and pride were brought to
light, and, at the same time, countenanced, they were in that case.
What availed the triumphant justification of the poor victim?
There was at first a roar of indignation against his oppressors,
but how long did it last? He had been turned out of the service,
they remained in it with their red coats and epaulets; he was
merely the son of a man who had rendered good service to his
country, they were, for the most part, highly connected--they were
in the extremest degree genteel, he quite the reverse; so the
nation wavered, considered, thought the genteel side was the safest
after all, and then with the cry of, "Oh! there is nothing like
gentility," ratted bodily. Newspaper and public turned against the
victim, scouted him, apologized for the--what should they be
called?--who were not only admitted into the most respectable
society, but courted to come, the spots not merely of wine on their
military clothes, giving them a kind of poignancy. But there is a
God in heaven; the British glories are tarnished--Providence has
never smiled on British arms since that case--oh! Balaklava! thy
name interpreted is net of fishes, and well dost thou deserve that
name. How many a scarlet golden fish has of late perished in the
mud amidst thee, cursing the genteel service, and the genteel
leader which brought him to such a doom.

Whether the rage for gentility is most prevalent amongst the upper,
middle, or lower classes it is difficult to say; the priest in the
text seems to think that it is exhibited in the most decided manner
in the middle class; it is the writer's opinion, however, that in
no class is it more strongly developed than in the lower: what
they call being well-born goes a great way amongst them, but the
possession of money much farther, whence Mr. Flamson's influence
over them. Their rage against, and scorn for, any person who by
his courage and talents has advanced himself in life, and still
remains poor, are indescribable; "he is no better than ourselves,"
they say, "why should he be above us?"--for they have no conception
that anybody has a right to ascendency over themselves except by
birth or money. This feeling amongst the vulgar has been, to a
certain extent, the bane of two services, naval and military. The
writer does not make this assertion rashly; he observed this
feeling at work in the army when a child, and he has good reason
for believing that it was as strongly at work in the navy at the
same time, and is still as prevalent in both. Why are not brave
men raised from the ranks? is frequently the cry; why are not brave
sailors promoted? The Lord help brave soldiers and sailors who are
promoted; they have less to undergo from the high airs of their
brother officers, and those are hard enough to endure, than from
the insolence of the men. Soldiers and sailors promoted to command
are said to be in general tyrants; in nine cases out of ten, when
they are tyrants, they have been obliged to have recourse to
extreme severity in order to protect themselves from the insolence
and mutinous spirit of the men,--"He is no better than ourselves:
shoot him, bayonet him, or fling him overboard!" they say of some
obnoxious individual raised above them by his merit. Soldiers and
sailors, in general, will bear any amount of tyranny from a lordly
sot, or the son of a man who has "plenty of brass"--their own term-
-but will mutiny against the just orders of a skilful and brave
officer who "is no better than themselves." There was the affair
of the "Bounty," for example: Bligh was one of the best seamen
that ever trod deck, and one of the bravest of men; proofs of his
seamanship he gave by steering, amidst dreadful weather, a deeply-
laden boat for nearly four thousand miles over an almost unknown
ocean--of his bravery, at the fight of Copenhagen, one of the most
desperate ever fought, of which after Nelson he was the hero: he
was, moreover, not an unkind man; but the crew of the "Bounty"
mutinied against him, and set him half naked in an open boat, with
certain of his men who remained faithful to him, and ran away with
the ship. Their principal motive for doing so was an idea, whether
true or groundless the writer cannot say, that Bligh was "no better
than themselves;" he was certainly neither a lord's illegitimate,
nor possessed of twenty thousand pounds. The writer knows what he
is writing about, having been acquainted in his early years with an
individual who was turned adrift with Bligh, and who died about the
year '22, a lieutenant in the navy, in a provincial town in which
the writer was brought up. The ringleaders in the mutiny were two
scoundrels, Christian and Young, who had great influence with the
crew, because they were genteelly connected. Bligh, after leaving
the "Bounty," had considerable difficulty in managing the men who
had shared his fate, because they considered themselves "as good
men as he," notwithstanding, that to his conduct and seamanship
they had alone to look, under Heaven, for salvation from the
ghastly perils that surrounded them. Bligh himself, in his
journal, alludes to this feeling. Once, when he and his companions
landed on a desert island, one of them said, with a mutinous look,
that he considered himself "as good a man as he;" Bligh, seizing a
cutlass, called upon him to take another and defend himself,
whereupon the man said that Bligh was going to kill him, and made
all manner of concessions; now why did this fellow consider himself
as good a man as Bligh? Was he as good a seaman? no, nor a tenth
part as good. As brave a man? no, nor a tenth part as brave; and
of these facts he was perfectly well aware, but bravery and
seamanship stood for nothing with him, as they still stand with
thousands of his class; Bligh was not genteel by birth or money,
therefore Bligh was no better than himself. Had Bligh, before he
sailed, got a twenty-thousand pound prize in the lottery, he would
have experienced no insolence from this fellow, for there would
have been no mutiny in the "Bounty." "He is our betters," the crew
would have said, "and it is our duty to obey him."

The wonderful power of gentility in England is exemplified in
nothing more than in what it is producing amongst Jews, Gypsies,
and Quakers. It is breaking up their venerable communities. All
the better, some one will say. Alas! alas! It is making the
wealthy Jews forsake the synagogue for the opera-house, or the
gentility chapel, in which a disciple of Mr. Platitude, in a white
surplice, preaches a sermon at noon-day from a desk, on each side
of which is a flaming taper. It is making them abandon their
ancient literature, their "Mischna," their "Gemara," their "Zohar,"
for gentility novels, "The Young Duke," the most unexceptionably
genteel book ever written, being the principal favourite. It makes
the young Jew ashamed of the young Jewess, it makes her ashamed of
the young Jew. The young Jew marries an opera-dancer, or if the
dancer will not have him, as is frequently the case, the cast-off
Miss of the Honourable Spencer So-and-so. It makes the young
Jewess accept the honourable offer of a cashiered lieutenant of the
Bengal Native Infantry; or, if such a person does not come forward,
the dishonourable offer of a cornet of a regiment of crack hussars.
It makes poor Jews, male and female, forsake the synagogue for the
sixpenny theatre or penny hop; the Jew to take up with an Irish
female of loose character, and the Jewess with a musician of the
Guards, or the Tipperary servant of Captain Mulligan. With respect
to the gypsies, it is making the women what they never were before-
-harlots; and the men what they never were before--careless fathers
and husbands. It has made the daughter of Ursula the chaste take
up with the base drummer of a wild-beast show. It makes Gorgiko
Brown, the gypsy man, leave his tent and his old wife, of an
evening, and thrust himself into society which could well dispense
with him. "Brother," said Mr. Petulengro to the Romany Rye, after
telling him many things connected with the decadence of gypsyism,
"there is one Gorgiko Brown, who, with a face as black as a tea-
kettle, wishes to be mistaken for a Christian tradesman; he goes
into the parlour of a third-rate inn of an evening, calls for rum
and water, and attempts to enter into conversation with the company
about politics and business; the company flout him and give him the
cold shoulder, or perhaps complain to the landlord, who comes and
asks him what business he has in the parlour, telling him if he
wants to drink to go into the tap-room, and perhaps collars him and
kicks him out, provided he refuses to move." With respect to the
Quakers, it makes the young people like the young Jews, crazy after
gentility diversions, worship, marriages, or connections, and makes
old Pease do what it makes Gorgiko Brown do, thrust himself into
society which could well dispense with him, and out of which he is
not kicked, because unlike the gypsy he is not poor. The writer
would say much more on these points, but want of room prevents him;
he must therefore request the reader to have patience until he can
lay before the world a pamphlet, which he has been long meditating,
to be entitled "Remarks on the strikingly similar Effects which a
Love for Gentility has produced, and is producing, amongst Jews,
Gypsies, and Quakers."

The Priest in the book has much to say on the subject of this
gentility-nonsense; no person can possibly despise it more
thoroughly than that very remarkable individual seems to do, yet he
hails its prevalence with pleasure, knowing the benefits which will
result from it to the church of which he is the sneering slave.
"The English are mad after gentility," says he; "well, all the
better for us; their religion for a long time past has been a plain
and simple one, and consequently by no means genteel; they'll quit
it for ours, which is the perfection of what they admire; with
which Templars, Hospitalers, mitred abbots, Gothic abbeys, long-
drawn aisles, golden censers, incense, et cetera, are connected;
nothing, or next to nothing, of Christ, it is true, but weighed in
the balance against gentility, where will Christianity be? why,
kicking against the beam--ho! ho!" And in connection with the
gentility-nonsense, he expatiates largely, and with much contempt,
on a species of literature by which the interests of his church in
England have been very much advanced--all genuine priests have a
thorough contempt for everything which tends to advance the
interests of their church--this literature is made up of pseudo
Jacobitism, Charlie o'er the waterism, or nonsense about Charlie
o'er the water. And the writer will now take the liberty of saying
a few words about it on his own account.

CHAPTER VI

On Scotch Gentility-Nonsense--Charlie o'er the Waterism.

Of the literature just alluded to Scott was the inventor. It is
founded on the fortunes and misfortunes of the Stuart family, of
which Scott was the zealous defender and apologist, doing all that
in his power lay to represent the members of it as noble,
chivalrous, high-minded, unfortunate princes; though, perhaps, of
all the royal families that ever existed upon the earth, this
family was the worst. It was unfortunate enough, it is true; but
it owed its misfortunes entirely to its crimes, viciousness, bad
faith, and cowardice. Nothing will be said of it here until it
made its appearance in England to occupy the English throne.

The first of the family which we have to do with, James, was a
dirty, cowardly miscreant, of whom the less said the better. His
son, Charles the First, was a tyrant--exceedingly cruel and
revengeful, but weak and dastardly; he caused a poor fellow to be
hanged in London, who was not his subject, because he had heard
that the unfortunate creature had once bitten his own glove at
Cadiz, in Spain, at the mention of his name; and he permitted his
own bull-dog, Strafford, to be executed by his own enemies, though
the only crime of Strafford was, that he had barked furiously at
those enemies, and had worried two or three of them, when Charles
shouted, "Fetch 'em." He was a bitter, but yet a despicable enemy,
and the coldest and most worthless of friends; for though he always
hoped to be able, some time or other, to hang his enemies, he was
always ready to curry favour with them, more especially if he could
do so at the expense of his friends. He was the haughtiest, yet
meanest of mankind. He once caned a young nobleman for appearing
before him in the drawing-room not dressed exactly according to the
court etiquette; yet he condescended to flatter and compliment him
who, from principle, was his bitterest enemy, namely, Harrison,
when the republican colonel was conducting him as a prisoner to
London. His bad faith was notorious; it was from abhorrence of the
first public instance which he gave of his bad faith, his breaking
his word to the Infanta of Spain, that the poor Hiberno-Spaniard
bit his glove at Cadiz; and it was his notorious bad faith which
eventually cost him his head; for the Republicans would gladly have
spared him, provided they could put the slightest confidence in any
promise, however solemn, which he might have made to them. Of
them, it would be difficult to say whether they most hated or
despised him. Religion he had none. One day he favoured Popery;
the next, on hearing certain clamours of the people, he sent his
wife's domestics back packing to France, because they were Papists.
Papists, however, should make him a saint, for he was certainly the
cause of the taking of Rochelle.

His son, Charles the Second, though he passed his youth in the
school of adversity, learned no other lesson from it than the
following one--take care of yourself, and never do an action,
either good or bad, which is likely to bring you into any great
difficulty; and this maxim he acted up to as soon as he came to the
throne. He was a Papist, but took especial care not to acknowledge
his religion, at which he frequently scoffed, till just before his
last gasp, when he knew that he could lose nothing, and hoped to
gain everything by it. He was always in want of money, but took
care not to tax the country beyond all endurable bounds; preferring
to such a bold and dangerous course, to become the pensioner of
Louis, to whom, in return for his gold, he sacrificed the honour
and interests of Britain. He was too lazy and sensual to delight
in playing the part of a tyrant himself; but he never checked
tyranny in others save in one instance. He permitted beastly
butchers to commit unmentionable horrors on the feeble, unarmed,
and disunited Covenanters of Scotland, but checked them when they
would fain have endeavoured to play the same game on the numerous
united, dogged, and warlike Independents of England. To show his
filial piety, he bade the hangman dishonour the corpses of some of
his father's judges, before whom, when alive, he ran like a
screaming hare; but permitted those who had lost their all in
supporting his father's cause, to pine in misery and want. He
would give to a painted harlot a thousand pounds for a loathsome
embrace, and to a player or buffoon a hundred for a trumpery pun,
but would refuse a penny to the widow or orphan of an old Royalist
soldier. He was the personification of selfishness; and as he
loved and cared for no one, so did no one love or care for him. So
little had he gained the respect or affection of those who
surrounded him, that after his body had undergone an after-death
examination, parts of it were thrown down the sinks of the palace,
to become eventually the prey of the swine and ducks of
Westminster.

His brother, who succeeded him, James the Second, was a Papist, but
sufficiently honest to acknowledge his Popery, but upon the whole,
he was a poor creature; though a tyrant, he was cowardly, had he
not been a coward he would never have lost his throne. There were
plenty of lovers of tyranny in England who would have stood by him,
provided he would have stood by them, and would, though not
Papists, have encouraged him in his attempt to bring back England
beneath the sway of Rome, and perhaps would eventually have become
Papists themselves; but the nation raising a cry against him, and
his son-in-law, the Prince of Orange, invading the country, he
forsook his friends, of whom he had a host, but for whom he cared
little--left his throne, for which he cared a great deal--and
Popery in England, for which he cared yet more, to their fate, and
escaped to France, from whence, after taking a little heart, he
repaired to Ireland, where he was speedily joined by a gallant army
of Papists whom he basely abandoned at the Boyne, running away in a
most lamentable condition, at the time when by showing a little
courage he might have enabled them to conquer. This worthy, in his
last will, bequeathed his heart to England--his right arm to
Scotland--and his bowels to Ireland. What the English and Scotch
said to their respective bequests is not known, but it is certain
that an old Irish priest, supposed to have been a great-grand-uncle
of the present Reverend Father Murtagh, on hearing of the bequest
to Ireland, fell into a great passion, and having been brought up
at "Paris and Salamanca," expressed his indignation in the
following strain:- "Malditas sean tus tripas! teniamos bastante del
olor de tus tripas al tiempo de tu nuida dela batalla del Boyne!"

His son, generally called the Old Pretender, though born in
England, was carried in his infancy to France, where he was brought
up in the strictest principles of Popery, which principles,
however, did not prevent him becoming (when did they ever prevent
any one?) a worthless and profligate scoundrel; there are some
doubts as to the reality of his being a son of James, which doubts
are probably unfounded, the grand proof of his legitimacy being the
thorough baseness of his character. It was said of his father that
he could speak well, and it may be said of him that he could write
well, the only thing he could do which was worth doing, always
supposing that there is any merit in being able to write. He was
of a mean appearance, and, like his father, pusillanimous to a
degree. The meanness of his appearance disgusted, and his
pusillanimity discouraged the Scotch when he made his appearance
amongst them in the year 1715, some time after the standard of
rebellion had been hoisted by Mar. He only stayed a short time in
Scotland, and then, seized with panic, retreated to France, leaving
his friends to shift for themselves as they best could. He died a
pensioner of the Pope.

The son of this man, Charles Edward, of whom so much in later years
has been said and written, was a worthless ignorant youth, and a
profligate and illiterate old man. When young, the best that can
be said of him is, that he had occasionally springs of courage,
invariably at the wrong time and place, which merely served to lead
his friends into inextricable difficulties. When old, he was
loathsome and contemptible to both friend and foe. His wife
loathed him, and for the most terrible of reasons; she did not
pollute his couch, for to do that was impossible--he had made it so
vile; but she betrayed it, inviting to it not only Alfieri the
Filthy, but the coarsest grooms. Doctor King, the warmest and
almost last adherent of his family, said, that there was not a vice
or crime of which he was not guilty; as for his foes, they scorned
to harm him even when in their power. In the year 1745 he came
down from the Highlands of Scotland, which had long been a focus of
rebellion. He was attended by certain clans of the Highlands,
desperadoes used to free-bootery from their infancy, and,
consequently, to the use of arms, and possessed of a certain
species of discipline; with these he defeated at Prestonpans a body
of men called soldiers, but who were in reality peasants and
artizans, levied about a month before, without discipline or
confidence in each other, and who were miserably massacred by the
Highland army; he subsequently invaded England, nearly destitute of
regular soldiers, and penetrated as far as Derby, from which place
he retreated on learning that regular forces which had been hastily
recalled from Flanders were coming against him, with the Duke of
Cumberland at their head; he was pursued, and his rearguard
overtaken and defeated by the dragoons of the duke at Clifton, from
which place the rebels retreated in great confusion across the Eden
into Scotland, where they commenced dancing Highland reels and
strathspeys on the bank of the river, for joy at their escape,
whilst a number of wretched girls, paramours of some of them, were
perishing in the waters of the swollen river in an attempt to
follow them; they themselves passed over by eighties and by
hundreds, arm in arm, for mutual safety, without the loss of a man,
but they left the poor paramours to shift for themselves, nor did
any of these canny people after passing the stream dash back to
rescue a single female life,--no, they were too well employed upon
the bank in dancing strathspeys to the tune of "Charlie o'er the
water." It was, indeed, Charlie o'er the water, and canny
Highlanders o'er the water, but where were the poor prostitutes
meantime? IN THE WATER.

The Jacobite farce, or tragedy, was speedily brought to a close by
the battle of Culloden; there did Charlie wish himself back again
o'er the water, exhibiting the most unmistakable signs of
pusillanimity; there were the clans cut to pieces, at least those
who could be brought to the charge, and there fell Giles Mac Bean,
or as he was called in Gaelic, Giliosa Mac Beathan, a kind of
giant, six feet four inches and a quarter high, "than whom," as his
wife said in a coronach she made upon him, "no man who stood at
Cuiloitr was taller"--Giles Mac Bean the Major of the clan Cattan--
a great drinker--a great fisher--a great shooter, and the champion
of the Highland host.

The last of the Stuarts was a cardinal.

Such were the Stuarts, such their miserable history. They were
dead and buried in every sense of the word until Scott resuscitated
them--how? by the power of fine writing and by calling to his aid
that strange divinity, gentility. He wrote splendid novels about
the Stuarts, in which he represents them as unlike what they really
were as the graceful and beautiful papillon is unlike the hideous
and filthy worm. In a word, he made them genteel, and that was
enough to give them paramount sway over the minds of the British
people. The public became Stuart-mad, and everybody, specially the
women, said, "What a pity it was that we hadn't a Stuart to
govern." All parties, Whig, Tory, or Radical, became Jacobite at
heart, and admirers of absolute power. The Whigs talked about the
liberty of the subject, and the Radicals about the rights of man
still, but neither party cared a straw for what it talked about,
and mentally swore that, as soon as by means of such stuff they
could get places, and fill their pockets, they would be as Jacobite
as the Jacobs themselves. As for Tories, no great change in them
was necessary; everything favouring absolutism and slavery being
congenial to them. So the whole nation, that is, the reading part
of the nation, with some exceptions, for thank God there has always
been some salt in England, went over the water to Charlie. But
going over to Charlie was not enough, they must, or at least a
considerable part of them, go over to Rome too, or have a hankering
to do so. As the Priest sarcastically observes in the text, "As
all the Jacobs were Papists, so the good folks who through Scott's
novels admire the Jacobs must be Papists too." An idea got about
that the religion of such genteel people as the Stuarts must be the
climax of gentility, and that idea was quite sufficient. Only let
a thing, whether temporal or spiritual, be considered genteel in
England, and if it be not followed it is strange indeed; so Scott's
writings not only made the greater part of the nation Jacobite, but
Popish.

Here some people will exclaim--whose opinions remain sound and
uncontaminated--what you say is perhaps true with respect to the
Jacobite nonsense at present so prevalent being derived from
Scott's novels, but the Popish nonsense, which people of the
genteeler classes are so fond of, is derived from Oxford. We sent
our sons to Oxford nice honest lads, educated in the principles of
the Church of England, and at the end of the first term they came
home puppies, talking Popish nonsense, which they had learned from
the pedants to whose care we had entrusted them; ay, not only
Popery but Jacobitism, which they hardly carried with them from
home, for we never heard them talking Jacobitism before they had
been at Oxford; but now their conversation is a farrago of Popish
and Jacobite stuff--"Complines and Claverse." Now, what these
honest folks say is, to a certain extent, founded on fact; the
Popery which has overflowed the land during the last fourteen or
fifteen years, has come immediately from Oxford, and likewise some
of the Jacobitism, Popish and Jacobite nonsense, and little or
nothing else, having been taught at Oxford for about that number of
years. But whence did the pedants get the Popish nonsense with
which they have corrupted youth? Why, from the same quarter from
which they got the Jacobite nonsense with which they have
inoculated those lads who were not inoculated with it before--
Scott's novels. Jacobitism and Laudism, a kind of half Popery, had
at one time been very prevalent at Oxford, but both had been long
consigned to oblivion there, and people at Oxford cared as little
about Laud as they did about the Pretender. Both were dead and
buried there, as everywhere else, till Scott called them out of
their graves, when the pedants of Oxford hailed both--ay, and the
Pope, too, as soon as Scott had made the old fellow fascinating,
through particular novels, more especially the "Monastery" and
"Abbot." Then the quiet, respectable, honourable Church of England
would no longer do for the pedants of Oxford; they must belong to a
more genteel church--they were ashamed at first to be downright
Romans--so they would be Lauds. The pale-looking, but exceedingly
genteel non-juring clergyman in Waverley was a Laud; but they soon
became tired of being Lauds, for Laud's Church, gew-gawish and
idolatrous as it was, was not sufficiently tinselly and idolatrous
for them, so they must be Popes, but in a sneaking way, still
calling themselves Church-of-England men, in order to batten on the
bounty of the church which they were betraying, and likewise have
opportunities of corrupting such lads as might still resort to
Oxford with principles uncontaminated.

So the respectable people, whose opinions are still sound, are, to
a certain extent, right when they say that the tide of Popery,
which has flowed over the land, has come from Oxford. It did come
immediately from Oxford, but how did it get to Oxford? Why, from
Scott's novels. Oh! that sermon which was the first manifestation
of Oxford feeling, preached at Oxford some time in the year '38 by
a divine of a weak and confused intellect, in which Popery was
mixed up with Jacobitism! The present writer remembers perfectly
well, on reading some extracts from it at the time in a newspaper,
on the top of a coach, exclaiming--"Why, the simpleton has been
pilfering from Walter Scott's novels!"

O Oxford pedants! Oxford pedants! ye whose politics and religion
are both derived from Scott's novels! what a pity it is that some
lad of honest parents, whose mind ye are endeavouring to stultify
with your nonsense about "Complines and Claverse," has not the
spirit to start up and cry, "Confound your gibberish! I'll have
none of it. Hurrah for the Church, and the principles of my
FATHER!"

CHAPTER VII

Same Subject continued.

Now what could have induced Scott to write novels tending to make
people Papists and Jacobites, and in love with arbitrary power?
Did he think that Christianity was a gaudy mummery? He did not, he
could not, for he had read the Bible; yet was he fond of gaudy
mummeries, fond of talking about them. Did he believe that the
Stuarts were a good family, and fit to govern a country like
Britain? He knew that they were a vicious, worthless crew, and
that Britain was a degraded country as long as they swayed the
sceptre; but for those facts he cared nothing, they governed in a
way which he liked, for he had an abstract love of despotism, and
an abhorrence of everything savouring of freedom and the rights of
man in general. His favourite political picture was a joking,
profligate, careless king, nominally absolute--the heads of great
houses paying court to, but in reality governing, that king, whilst
revelling with him on the plunder of a nation, and a set of
crouching, grovelling vassals (the literal meaning of vassal is a
wretch), who, after allowing themselves to be horsewhipped, would
take a bone if flung to them, and be grateful; so that in love with
mummery, though he knew what Christianity was, no wonder he admired
such a church as that of Rome, and that which Laud set up; and by
nature formed to be the holder of the candle to ancient worm-eaten
and profligate families, no wonder that all his sympathies were
with the Stuarts and their dissipated insolent party, and all his
hatred directed against those who endeavoured to check them in
their proceedings, and to raise the generality of mankind something
above a state of vassalage, that is, wretchedness. Those who were
born great, were, if he could have had his will, always to remain
great, however worthless their characters. Those who were born
low, were always to remain so, however great their talents; though,
if that rule were carried out, where would he have been himself?

In the book which he called the "History of Napoleon Bonaparte," in
which he plays the sycophant to all the legitimate crowned heads in
Europe, whatever their crimes, vices, or miserable imbecilities,
he, in his abhorrence of everything low which by its own vigour
makes itself illustrious, calls Murat of the sabre the son of a
pastry-cook, of a Marseilleise pastry-cook. It is a pity that
people who give themselves hoity-toity airs--and the Scotch in
general are wonderfully addicted to giving themselves hoity-toity
airs, and checking people better than themselves with their birth
{6} and their country--it is a great pity that such people do not
look at home-son of a pastry-cook, of a Marseilleise pastry-cook!
Well, and what was Scott himself? Why, son of a pettifogger, of an
Edinburgh pettifogger. "Oh, but Scott was descended from the old
cow-stealers of Buccleuch, and therefore--" descended from old cow-
stealers, was he? Well, had he nothing to boast of beyond such a
pedigree, he would have lived and died the son of a pettifogger,
and been forgotten, and deservedly so; but he possessed talents,
and by his talents rose like Murat, and like him will be remembered
for his talents alone, and deservedly so. "Yes, but Murat was
still the son of a pastry-cook, and though he was certainly good at
the sabre, and cut his way to a throne, still--" Lord! what fools
there are in the world; but as no one can be thought anything of in
this world without a pedigree, the writer will now give a pedigree
for Murat, of a very different character from the cow-stealing one
of Scott, but such a one as the proudest he might not disdain to
claim. Scott was descended from the old cow-stealers of Buccleuch-
-was he? Good! and Murat was descended from the old Moors of
Spain, from the Abencerages (sons of the saddle) of Granada. The
name Murat is Arabic, and is the same as Murad (Le Desire, or the
wished-for one). Scott in his genteel Life of Bonaparte, says that
"when Murat was in Egypt, the similarity between the name of the
celebrated Mameluke Mourad and that of Bonaparte's Meilleur Sabreur
was remarked, and became the subject of jest amongst the comrades
of the gallant Frenchman." But the writer of the novel of
Bonaparte did not know that the names were one and the same. Now
which was the best pedigree, that of the son of the pastry-cook, or
that of the son of the pettifogger? Which was the best blood? Let
us observe the workings of the two bloods. He who had the blood of
the "sons of the saddle" in him, became the wonderful cavalier of
the most wonderful host that ever went forth to conquest, won for
himself a crown, and died the death of a soldier, leaving behind
him a son, only inferior to himself in strength, in prowess, and in
horsemanship. The descendant of the cow-stealer became a poet, a
novel writer, the panegyrist of great folk and genteel people;
became insolvent because, though an author, he deemed it ungenteel
to be mixed up with the business part of the authorship; died
paralytic and broken-hearted because he could no longer give
entertainments to great folks, leaving behind him, amongst other
children, who were never heard of, a son, who, through his father's
interest, had become lieutenant-colonel in a genteel cavalry
regiment. A son who was ashamed of his father because his father
was an author; a son who--paugh--why ask which was the best blood?

So, owing to his rage for gentility, Scott must needs become the
apologist of the Stuarts and their party; but God made this man pay
dearly for taking the part of the wicked against the good; for
lauding up to the skies the miscreants and robbers, and
calumniating the noble spirits of Britain, the salt of England, and
his own country. As God had driven the Stuarts from their throne,
and their followers from their estates, making them vagabonds and
beggars on the face of the earth, taking from them all that they
cared for, so did that same God, who knows perfectly well how and
where to strike, deprive the apologist of that wretched crew of all
that rendered life pleasant in his eyes, the lack of which
paralysed him in body and mind, rendered him pitiable to others,
loathsome to himself,--so much so, that he once said, "Where is the
beggar who would change places with me, notwithstanding all my
fame?" Ah! God knows perfectly well how to strike. He permitted
him to retain all his literary fame to the very last--his literary
fame for which he cared nothing; but what became of the sweetness
of life, his fine house, his grand company, and his entertainments?
The grand house ceased to be his; he was only permitted to live in
it on sufferance, and whatever grandeur it might still retain, it
soon became as desolate a looking house as any misanthrope could
wish to see--where were the grand entertainments and the grand
company? there are no grand entertainments where there is no money;
no lords and ladies where there are no entertainments--and there
lay the poor lodger in the desolate house, groaning on a bed no
longer his, smitten by the hand of God in the part where he was
most vulnerable. Of what use telling such a man to take comfort,
for he had written the "Minstrel" and "Rob Roy,"--telling him to
think of his literary fame? Literary fame, indeed! he wanted back
his lost gentility:-

"Retain my altar,
I care nothing for it--but, oh! touch not my BEARD."
PORNY'S War of the Gods.

He dies, his children die too, and then comes the crowning judgment
of God on what remains of his race and the house which he had
built. He was not a Papist himself, nor did he wish any one
belonging to him to be Popish, for he had read enough of the Bible
to know that no one can be saved through Popery, yet had he a
sneaking affection for it, and would at times in an underhand
manner, give it a good word both in writing and discourse, because
it was a gaudy kind of worship, and ignorance and vassalage
prevailed so long as it flourished--but he certainly did not wish
any of his people to become Papists, nor the house which he had
built to become a Popish house, though the very name he gave it
savoured of Popery; but Popery becomes fashionable through his
novels and poems--the only one that remains of his race, a female
grandchild, marries a person who, following the fashion, becomes a
Papist, and makes her a Papist too. Money abounds with the
husband, who buys the house, and then the house becomes the rankest
Popish house in Britain. A superstitious person might almost
imagine that one of the old Scottish Covenanters, whilst the grand
house was being built from the profits resulting from the sale of
writings favouring Popery and persecution, and calumniatory of
Scotland's saints and martyrs, had risen from the grave, and banned
Scott, his race, and his house, by reading a certain psalm.

In saying what he has said about Scott, the author has not been
influenced by any feeling of malice or ill-will, but simply by a
regard for truth, and a desire to point out to his countrymen the
harm which has resulted from the perusal of his works;--he is not
one of those who would depreciate the talents of Scott--he admires
his talents, both as a prose writer and a poet; as a poet
especially he admires him, and believes him to have been by far the
greatest, with perhaps the exception of Mickiewicz, who only wrote
for unfortunate Poland, that Europe has given birth to during the
last hundred years. As a prose writer he admires him, less, it is
true, but his admiration for him in that capacity is very high, and
he only laments that he prostituted his talents to the cause of the
Stuarts and gentility. What book of fiction of the present century
can you read twice, with the exception of "Waverley" and "Rob Roy?"
There is "Pelham," it is true, which the writer of these lines has
seen a Jewess reading in the steppe of Debreczin, and which a young
Prussian Baron, a great traveller, whom he met at Constantinople in
'44 told him he always carried in his valise. And, in conclusion,
he will say, in order to show the opinion which he entertains of
the power of Scott as a writer, that he did for the sceptre of the
wretched Pretender what all the kings of Europe could not do for
his body--placed it on the throne of these realms; and for Popery,
what Popes and Cardinals strove in vain to do for three centuries--
brought back its mummeries and nonsense into the temples of the
British Isles.

Scott during his lifetime had a crowd of imitators, who, whether
they wrote history so called--poetry so called--or novels--nobody
would call a book a novel if he could call it anything else--wrote
Charlie o'er the water nonsense; and now that he has been dead
nearly a quarter of a century, there are others daily springing up
who are striving to imitate Scott in his Charlie o'er the water
nonsense--for nonsense it is, even when flowing from his pen.
They, too, must write Jacobite histories, Jacobite songs, and
Jacobite novels, and much the same figure as the scoundrel menials
in the comedy cut when personating their masters, and retailing
their masters' conversation, do they cut as Walter Scotts. In
their histories, they too talk about the Prince and Glenfinnan, and
the pibroch; and in their songs about "Claverse" and "Bonny
Dundee." But though they may be Scots, they are not Walter Scotts.
But it is perhaps chiefly in the novel that you see the veritable
hog in armour; the time of the novel is of course the '15 or '45;
the hero a Jacobite, and connected with one or other of the
enterprises of those periods; and the author, to show how
unprejudiced he is, and what ORIGINAL views he takes of subjects,
must needs speak up for Popery, whenever he has occasion to mention
it; though, with all his originality, when he brings his hero and
the vagabonds with which he is concerned before a barricadoed
house, belonging to the Whigs, he can make them get into it by no
other method than that which Scott makes his rioters employ to get
into the Tolbooth, BURNING DOWN the door.

To express the more than utter foolishness of this latter Charlie
o'er the water nonsense, whether in rhyme or prose, there is but
one word, and that word a Scotch word. Scotch, the sorriest of
jargons, compared with which even Roth Welsch is dignified and
expressive, has yet one word to express what would be inexpressible
by any word or combination of words in any language, or in any
other jargon in the world; and very properly; for as the nonsense
is properly Scotch, so should the word be Scotch which expresses
it--that word is "fushionless," pronounced FOOSHIONLESS; and when
the writer has called the nonsense fooshionless--and he does call
it fooshionless--he has nothing more to say, but leaves the
nonsense to its fate.

CHAPTER VIII

On Canting Nonsense.

The writer now wishes to say something on the subject of canting
nonsense, of which there is a great deal in England. There are
various cants in England, amongst which is the religious cant. He
is not going to discuss the subject of religious cant: lest,
however, he should be misunderstood, he begs leave to repeat that
he is a sincere member of the Church of England, in which he
believes there is more religion, and consequently less cant, than
in any other church in the world; nor is he going to discuss many
other cants; he shall content himself with saying something about
two--the temperance cant and the unmanly cant. Temperance canters
say that "it is unlawful to drink a glass of ale." Unmanly canters
say that "it is unlawful to use one's fists." The writer begs
leave to tell both these species of canters that they do not speak
words of truth.

It is very lawful to take a cup of ale, or wine, for the purpose of
cheering or invigorating yourself when you are faint and down-
hearted; and likewise to give a cup of ale or wine to others when
they are in a similar condition. The Holy Scripture sayeth nothing
to the contrary, but rather encourageth people in so doing by the
text, "Wine maketh glad the heart of man." But it is not lawful to
intoxicate yourself with frequent cups of ale or wine, nor to make
others intoxicated, nor does the Holy Scripture say it is. The
Holy Scripture no more says that it is lawful to intoxicate
yourself or others, than it says that it is unlawful to take a cup
of ale or wine yourself, or to give one to others. Noah is not
commended in the Scripture for making himself drunken on the wine
he brewed. Nor is it said that the Saviour, when he supplied the
guests with first-rate wine at the marriage-feast, told them to
make themselves drunk upon it. He is said to have supplied them
with first-rate wine, but He doubtless left the quantity which each
should drink to each party's reason and discretion. When you set a
good dinner before your guests, you do not expect that they should
gorge themselves with the victuals you set before them. Wine may
be abused, and so may a leg of mutton.

Second. It is lawful for any one to use his fists in his own
defence, or in the defence of others, provided they can't help
themselves; but it is not lawful to use them for purposes of
tyranny or brutality. If you are attacked by a ruffian, as the
elderly individual in Lavengro is in the inn-yard, it is quite
lawful, if you can, to give him as good a thrashing as the elderly
individual gave the brutal coachman; and if you see a helpless
woman--perhaps your own sister--set upon by a drunken lord, a
drunken coachman, or a drunken coalheaver, or a brute of any
description, either drunk or sober, it is not only lawful but
laudable, to give them, if you can, a good drubbing; but it is not
lawful because you have a strong pair of fists, and know how to use
them, to go swaggering through a fair, jostling against unoffending
individuals; should you do so, you would be served quite right if
you were to get a drubbing, more particularly if you were served
out by some one less strong, but more skilful than yourself--even
as the coachman was served out by a pupil of the immortal
Broughton--sixty years old, it is true, but possessed of
Broughton's guard and chop. Moses is not blamed in the Scripture
for taking part with the oppressed, and killing an Egyptian
persecutor. We are not told how Moses killed the Egyptian; but it
is quite as creditable to Moses to suppose that he killed the
Egyptian by giving him a buffet under the left ear, as by stabbing
him with a knife. It is true that the Saviour in the New Testament
tells His disciples to turn the left cheek to be smitten, after
they had received a blow on the right; but He was speaking to
people divinely inspired, or whom He intended divinely to inspire--
people selected by God for a particular purpose. He likewise tells
these people to part with various articles of raiment when asked
for them, and to go a-travelling without money, and take no thought
of the morrow. Are those exhortations carried out by very good
people in the present day? Do Quakers, when smitten on the right
cheek, turn the left to the smiter? When asked for their coat, do
they say, "Friend, take my shirt also?" Has the Dean of Salisbury
no purse? Does the Archbishop of Canterbury go to an inn, run up a
reckoning, and then say to his landlady, "Mistress, I have no
coin?" Assuredly the Dean has a purse, and a tolerably well-filled
one; and, assuredly, the Archbishop, on departing from an inn, not
only settles his reckoning, but leaves something handsome for the
servants, and does not say that he is forbidden by the gospel to
pay for what he has eaten, or the trouble he has given, as a
certain Spanish cavalier said he was forbidden by the statutes of
chivalry. Now, to take the part of yourself, or the part of the
oppressed, with your fists, is quite as lawful in the present day
as it is to refuse your coat and shirt also to any vagabond who may
ask for them, and not to refuse to pay for supper, bed, and
breakfast, at the Feathers, or any other inn, after you have had
the benefit of all three.

The conduct of Lavengro with respect to drink may, upon the whole,
serve as a model. He is no drunkard, nor is he fond of
intoxicating other people; yet when the horrors are upon him he has
no objection to go to a public-house and call for a pint of ale,
nor does he shrink from recommending ale to others when they are
faint and downcast. In one instance, it is true, he does what
cannot be exactly justified; he encourages the Priest in the
dingle, in more instances than one, in drinking more hollands and
water than is consistent with decorum. He has a motive indeed in
doing so; a desire to learn from the knave in his cups the plans
and hopes of the Propaganda of Rome. Such conduct, however, was
inconsistent with strict fair dealing and openness; and the author
advises all those whose consciences never reproach them for a
single unfair or covert act committed by them, to abuse him
heartily for administering hollands and water to the Priest of
Rome. In that instance the hero is certainly wrong; yet in all
other cases with regard to drink, he is manifestly right. To tell
people that they are never to drink a glass of ale or wine
themselves, or to give one to others, is cant; and the writer has
no toleration for cant of any description. Some cants are not
dangerous; but the writer believes that a more dangerous cant than
the temperance cant, or as it is generally called, teetotalism, is
scarcely to be found. The writer is willing to believe that it
originated with well meaning, though weak people; but there can be
no doubt that it was quickly turned to account by people who were
neither well meaning nor weak. Let the reader note particularly
the purpose to which this cry has been turned in America; the land,
indeed, par excellence, of humbug and humbug cries. It is there
continually in the mouth of the most violent political party, and
is made an instrument of almost unexampled persecution. The writer
would say more on the temperance cant, both in England and America,
but want of space prevents him. There is one point on which he
cannot avoid making a few brief remarks--that is, the inconsistent
conduct of its apostles in general. The teetotal apostle says, it
is a dreadful thing to be drunk. So it is, teetotaller; but if so,
why do you get drunk? I get drunk? Yes, unhappy man, why do you
get drunk on smoke and passion? Why are your garments impregnated
with the odour of the Indian weed? Why is there a pipe or a cigar
always in your mouth? Why is your language more dreadful than that
of a Poissarde? Tobacco-smoke is more deleterious than ale,
teetotaller; bile more potent than brandy. You are fond of telling
your hearers what an awful thing it is to die drunken. So it is,
teetotaller. Then take good care that you do not die with smoke
and passion, drunken, and with temperance language on your lips;
that is, abuse and calumny against all those who differ from you.
One word of sense you have been heard to say, which is, that
spirits may be taken as a medicine. Now you are in a fever of
passion, teetotaller; so, pray take this tumbler of brandy; take it
on the homoeopathic principle, that heat is to be expelled by heat.
You are in a temperance fury, so swallow the contents of this
tumbler, and it will, perhaps, cure you. You look at the glass
wistfully--you occasionally take a glass medicinally--and it is
probable you do. Take one now. Consider what a dreadful thing it
would be to die passion drunk; to appear before your Maker with
intemperate language on your lips. That's right! You don't seem
to wince at the brandy. That's right!--well done! All down in two
pulls. Now you look like a reasonable being!

If the conduct of Lavengro with retard to drink is open to little
censure, assuredly the use which he makes of his fists is entitled
to none at all. Because he has a pair of tolerably strong fists,
and knows to a certain extent how to use them, is he a swaggerer or
oppressor? To what ill account does he turn them? Who more quiet,
gentle, and inoffensive than he? He beats off a ruffian who
attacks him in a dingle; has a kind of friendly tuzzle with Mr.
Petulengro, and behold the extent of his fistic exploits.

Ay, but he associates with prize-fighters; and that very fellow,
Petulengro, is a prize-fighter, and has fought for a stake in a
ring. Well, and if he had not associated with prize-fighters, how
could he have used his fists? Oh, anybody can use his fists in his
own defence, without being taught by prize-fighters. Can they?
Then why does not the Italian, or Spaniard, or Affghan use his
fists when insulted or outraged, instead of having recourse to the
weapons which he has recourse to? Nobody can use his fists without
being taught the use of them by those who have themselves been
taught, no more than any one can "whiffle" without being taught by
a master of the art. Now let any man of the present day try to
whiffle. Would not any one who wished to whiffle have to go to a
master of the art? Assuredly! but where would he find one at the
present day? The last of the whifflers hanged himself about a
fortnight ago on a bell-rope in a church steeple of "the old town,"
from pure grief that there was no further demand for the exhibition
of his art, there being no demand for whiffling since the
discontinuation of Guildhall banquets. Whiffling is lost. The old
chap left his sword behind him; let any one take up the old chap's
sword and try to whiffle. Now much the same hand as he would make
who should take up the whiffler's sword and try to whiffle, would
he who should try to use his fists who had never had the advantage
of a master. Let no one think that men use their fists naturally
in their own disputes--men have naturally recourse to any other
thing to defend themselves or to offend others; they fly to the
stick, to the stone, to the murderous and cowardly knife, or to
abuse as cowardly as the knife, and occasionally more murderous.
Now which is best when you hate a person, or have a pique against a
person, to clench your fist and say "Come on," or to have recourse
to the stone, the knife,--or murderous calumny? The use of the
fist is almost lost in England. Yet are the people better than
they were when they knew how to use their fists? The writer
believes not. A fisty combat is at present a great rarity, but the
use of the knife, the noose, and of poison, to say nothing of
calumny, are of more frequent occurrence in England than perhaps in
any country in Europe. Is polite taste better than when it could
bear the details of a fight? The writer believes not. Two men
cannot meet in a ring to settle a dispute in a manly manner without
some trumpery local newspaper letting loose a volley of abuse
against "the disgraceful exhibition," in which abuse it is sure to
be sanctioned by its dainty readers; whereas some murderous horror,
the discovery for example of the mangled remains of a woman in some
obscure den, is greedily seized hold of by the moral journal, and
dressed up for its readers, who luxuriate and gloat upon the
ghastly dish. Now, the writer of Lavengro has no sympathy with
those who would shrink from striking a blow, but would not shrink
from the use of poison or calumny; and his taste has little in
common with that which cannot tolerate the hardy details of a
prize-fight, but which luxuriates on descriptions of the murder
dens of modern England. But prize-fighters and pugilists are
blackguards, a reviewer has said; and blackguards they would be
provided they employed their skill and their prowess for purposes
of brutality and oppression; but prize-fighters and pugilists are
seldom friends to brutality and oppression; and which is the
blackguard, the writer would ask, he who uses his fists to take his
own part, or instructs others to use theirs for the same purpose,
or the being who from envy and malice, or at the bidding of a
malicious scoundrel, endeavours by calumny, falsehood, and
misrepresentation to impede the efforts of lonely and unprotected
genius?

One word more about the race, all but extinct, of the people
opprobriously called prize-fighters. Some of them have been as
noble, kindly men as the world ever produced. Can the rolls of the
English aristocracy exhibit names belonging to more noble, more
heroic men than those who were called respectively Pearce, Cribb,
and Spring? Did ever one of the English aristocracy contract the
seeds of fatal consumption by rushing up the stairs of a burning
edifice, even to the topmost garret, and rescuing a woman from
seemingly inevitable destruction? The writer says no. A woman was
rescued from the top of a burning house; but the man who rescued
her was no aristocrat; it was Pearce, not Percy, who ran up the
burning stairs. Did ever one of those glittering ones save a
fainting female from the libidinous rage of six ruffians? The
writer believes not. A woman was rescued from the libidinous fury
of six monsters on--Down; but the man who rescued her was no
aristocrat; it was Pearce not Paulet, who rescued the woman, and
thrashed my lord's six gamekeepers--Pearce, whose equal never was,
and probably never will be, found in sturdy combat. Are there any
of the aristocracy of whom it can be said that they never did a
cowardly, cruel, or mean action, and that they invariably took the
part of the unfortunate and weak against cruelty and oppression?
As much can be said of Cribb, of Spring, and the other; but where
is the aristocrat of whom as much can be said? Wellington?
Wellington indeed! a skilful general, and a good man of valour, it
is true, but with that cant word of "duty" continually on his lips,
did he rescue Ney from his butchers? Did he lend a helping hand to
Warner?

In conclusion, the writer would advise those of his country-folks
who read his book to have nothing to do with the two kinds of
canting nonsense described above, but in their progress through
life to enjoy as well as they can, but always with moderation, the
good things of this world, to put confidence in God, to be as
independent as possible, and to take their own parts. If they are
low-spirited, let them not make themselves foolish by putting on
sackcloth, drinking water, or chewing ashes, but let them take
wholesome exercise, and eat the most generous food they can get,
taking up and reading occasionally, not the lives of Ignatius
Loyola and Francis Spira, but something more agreeable; for
example, the life and adventures of Mr. Duncan Campbell, the deaf
and dumb gentleman; the travels of Captain Falconer in America, and
the journal of John Randall, who went to Virginia and married an
Indian wife; not forgetting, amidst their eating and drinking,
their walks over heaths, and by the sea-side, and their agreeable
literature, to be charitable to the poor, to read the Psalms and to
go to church twice on a Sunday. In their dealings with people, to
be courteous to everybody, as Lavengro was, but always independent
like him; and if people meddle with them, to give them as good as
they bring, even as he and Isopel Berners were in the habit of
doing; and it will be as well for him to observe that he by no
means advises women to be too womanly, but bearing the conduct of
Isopel Berners in mind, to take their own parts, and if anybody
strikes them, to strike again.

Beating of women by the lords of the creation has become very
prevalent in England since pugilism has been discountenanced. Now
the writer strongly advises any woman who is struck by a ruffian to
strike him again; or if she cannot clench her fists, and he advises
all women in these singular times to learn to clench their fists,
to go at him with tooth and nail, and not to be afraid of the
result, for any fellow who is dastard enough to strike a woman,
would allow himself to be beaten by a woman, were she to make at
him in self-defence, even if, instead of possessing the stately
height and athletic proportions of the aforesaid Isopel, she were
as diminutive in stature, and had a hand as delicate, and foot as
small, as a certain royal lady, who was some time ago assaulted by
a fellow upwards of six feet high, whom the writer has no doubt she
could have beaten had she thought proper to go at him. Such is the
deliberate advice of the author to his countrymen and women--advice
in which he believes there is nothing unscriptural or repugnant to
common sense.

The writer is perfectly well aware that, by the plain language
which he has used in speaking of the various kinds of nonsense
prevalent in England, he shall make himself a multitude of enemies;
but he is not going to conceal the truth or to tamper with
nonsense, from the fear of provoking hostility. He has a duty to
perform and he will perform it resolutely; he is the person who
carried the Bible to Spain; and as resolutely as he spoke in Spain
against the superstitions of Spain, will he speak in England
against the nonsense of his own native land. He is not one of
those who, before they sit down to write a book, say to themselves,
what cry shall we take up? what principles shall we advocate? what
principles shall we abuse? before we put pen to paper we must find
out what cry is the loudest, what principle has the most advocates,
otherwise, after having written our book, we may find ourselves on
the weaker side.

A sailor of the "Bounty," waked from his sleep by the noise of the
mutiny, lay still in his hammock for some time, quite undecided
whether to take part with the captain or to join the mutineers. "I
must mind what I do," said he to himself, "lest, in the end, I find
myself on the weaker side;" finally, on hearing that the mutineers
were successful, he went on deck, and seeing Bligh pinioned to the
mast, he put his fist to his nose, and otherwise insulted him.
Now, there are many writers of the present day whose conduct is
very similar to that of the sailor. They lie listening in their
corners till they have ascertained which principle has most
advocates; then, presently, they make their appearance on the deck
of the world with their book; if truth has been victorious, then
has truth the hurrah! but if truth is pinioned against the mast,
then is their fist thrust against the nose of truth, and their gibe
and their insult spirted in her face. The strongest party had the
sailor, and the strongest party has almost invariably the writer of
the present day.

CHAPTER IX

Pseudo-Critics.

A certain set of individuals calling themselves critics have
attacked Lavengro with much virulence and malice. If what they
call criticism had been founded on truth, the author would have had
nothing to say. The book contains plenty of blemishes, some of
them, by the bye, wilful ones, as the writer will presently show;
not one of these, however, has been detected and pointed out; but
the best passages in the book, indeed whatever was calculated to
make the book valuable, have been assailed with abuse and
misrepresentation. The duty of the true critic is to play the part
of a leech, and not of a viper. Upon true and upon malignant
criticism there is an excellent fable by the Spaniard Iriarte. The
viper says to the leech, "Why do people invite your bite, and flee
from mine?" "Because," says the leech, "people receive health from
my bite, and poison from yours." "There is as much difference,"
says the clever Spaniard, "between true and malignant criticism, as
between poison and medicine." Certainly a great many meritorious
writers have allowed themselves to be poisoned by malignant
criticism; the writer, however, is not one of those who allow
themselves to be poisoned by pseudo-critics; no! no! he will rather
hold them up by their tails, and show the creatures wriggling,
blood and foam streaming from their broken jaws. First of all,
however, he will notice one of their objections. "The book isn't
true," say they. Now one of the principal reasons with those that
have attacked Lavengro for their abuse of it is, that it is
particularly true in one instance, namely, that it exposes their
own nonsense, their love of humbug, their slavishness, their
dressings, their goings out, their scraping and bowing to great
people; it is the showing up of "gentility-nonsense" in Lavengro
that has been one principal reason for raising the above cry; for
in Lavengro is denounced the besetting folly of the English people,
a folly which those who call themselves guardians of the public
taste are far from being above. "We can't abide anything that
isn't true!" they exclaim. Can't they? Then why are they so
enraptured with any fiction that is adapted to purposes of humbug,
which tends to make them satisfied with their own proceedings, with
their own nonsense, which does not tell them to reform, to become
more alive to their own failings, and less sensitive about the
tyrannical goings on of the masters, and the degraded condition,
the sufferings, and the trials of the serfs in the star Jupiter?
Had Lavengro, instead of being the work of an independent mind,
been written in order to further any of the thousand and one cants,
and species of nonsense prevalent in England, the author would have
heard much less about its not being true, both from public
detractors and private censurers.

"But Lavengro pretends to be an autobiography," say the critics;
and here the writer begs leave to observe, that it would be well
for people who profess to have a regard for truth, not to exhibit
in every assertion which they make a most profligate disregard of
it; this assertion of theirs is a falsehood, and they know it to be
a falsehood. In the preface Lavengro is stated to be a dream; and
the writer takes this opportunity of stating that he never said it
was an autobiography; never authorized any person to say that it
was one; and that he has in innumerable instances declared in
public and private, both before and after the work was published,
that it was not what is generally termed an autobiography: but a
set of people who pretend to write criticisms on books, hating the
author for various reasons,--amongst others, because, having the
proper pride of a gentleman and a scholar, he did not, in the year
'43, choose to permit himself to be exhibited and made a zany of in
London, and especially because he will neither associate with, nor
curry favour with, them who are neither gentlemen nor scholars,--
attack his book with abuse and calumny. He is, perhaps,
condescending too much when he takes any notice of such people; as,
however, the English public is wonderfully led by cries and shouts,
and generally ready to take part against any person who is either
unwilling or unable to defend himself, he deems it advisable not to
be altogether quiet with those who assail him. The best way to
deal with vipers is to tear out their teeth; and the best way to
deal with pseudo-critics is to deprive them of their poison-bag,
which is easily done by exposing their ignorance. The writer knew
perfectly well the description of people with whom he would have to
do, he therefore very quietly prepared a stratagem, by means of
which he could at any time exhibit them, powerless and helpless, in
his hand. Critics, when they review books, ought to have a
competent knowledge of the subjects which those books discuss.

Lavengro is a philological book, a poem if you choose to call it
so. Now, what a fine triumph it would have been for those who
wished to vilify the book and its author, provided they could have
detected the latter tripping in his philology--they might have
instantly said that he was an ignorant pretender to philology--they
laughed at the idea of his taking up a viper by its tail, a trick
which hundreds of country urchins do every September, but they were
silent about the really wonderful part of the book, the
philological matter--they thought philology was his stronghold, and
that it would be useless to attack him there; they of course would
give him no credit as a philologist, for anything like fair
treatment towards him was not to be expected at their hands, but
they were afraid to attack his philology--yet that was the point,
and the only point in which they might have attacked him
successfully; he was vulnerable there. How was this? Why, in
order to have an opportunity of holding up pseudo-critics by the
tails, he wilfully spelt various foreign words wrong--Welsh words,
and even Italian words--did they detect these misspellings? not one
of them, even as he knew they would not, and he now taunts them
with ignorance; and the power of taunting them with ignorance is
the punishment which he designed for them--a power which they might
but for their ignorance have used against him. The writer besides
knowing something of Italian and Welsh, knows a little of Armenian
language and literature; but who knowing anything of the Armenian
language, unless he had an end in view, would say, that the word
sea in Armenian is anything like the word tide in English? The
word for sea in Armenian is dzow, a word connected with the
Tebetian word for water, and the Chinese shuy, and the Turkish su,
signifying the same thing; but where is the resemblance between
dzow and tide? Again, the word for bread in ancient Armenian is
hats; yet the Armenian on London Bridge is made to say zhats, which
is not the nominative of the Armenian noun for bread, but the
accusative: now, critics, ravening against a man because he is a
gentleman and a scholar, and has not only the power but also the
courage to write original works, why did you not discover that weak
point? Why, because you were ignorant, so here ye are held up!
Moreover, who with a name commencing with Z, ever wrote fables in
Armenian? There are two writers of fables in Armenian--Varthan and
Koscht, and illustrious writers they are, one in the simple, and
the other in the ornate style of Armenian composition, but neither
of their names begins with a Z. Oh, what a precious opportunity ye
lost, ye ravening crew, of convicting the poor, half-starved,
friendless boy of the book, of ignorance or misrepresentation, by
asking who with a name beginning with Z ever wrote fables in
Armenian; but ye couldn't help yourselves, ye are duncie. We
duncie! Ay, duncie. So here ye are held up by the tails, blood
and foam streaming from your jaws.

The writer wishes to ask here, what do you think of all this,
Messieurs les Critiques? Were ye ever served so before? But don't
you richly deserve it? Haven't you been for years past bullying
and insulting everybody whom you deemed weak, and currying favour
with everybody whom you thought strong? "We approve of this. We
disapprove of that. Oh, this will never do. These are fine
lines!" The lines perhaps some horrid sycophantic rubbish
addressed to Wellington, or Lord So-and-so. To have your ignorance
thus exposed, to be shown up in this manner, and by whom? A gypsy!
Ay, a gypsy was the very right person to do it. But is it not
galling, after all?

"Ah, but WE don't understand Armenian, it cannot be expected that
WE should understand Armenian, or Welsh, or--Hey, what's this? The
mighty WE not understand Armenian or Welsh, or--Then why does the
mighty WE pretend to review a book like Lavengro? From the
arrogance with which it continually delivers itself, one would
think that the mighty WE is omniscient; that it understands every
language; is versed in every literature; yet the mighty WE does not
even know the word for bread in Armenian. It knows bread well
enough by name in England, and frequently bread in England only by
its name, but the truth is, that the mighty WE, with all its
pretension, is in general a very sorry creature, who, instead of
saying nous disons, should rather say nous dis: Porny in his
"Guerre des Dieux," very profanely makes the three in one say, Je
faisons; now, Lavengro, who is anything but profane, would suggest
that critics, especially magazine and Sunday newspaper critics,
should commence with nous dis, as the first word would be
significant of the conceit and assumption of the critic, and the
second of the extent of the critic's information. The WE says its
say, but when fawning sycophancy or vulgar abuse are taken from
that say, what remains? Why a blank, a void like Ginnungagap.

As the writer, of his own accord, has exposed some of the blemishes
of his book--a task, which a competent critic ought to have done--
he will now point out two or three of its merits, which any critic,
not altogether blinded with ignorance might have done, or not
replete with gall and envy would have been glad to do. The book
has the merit of communicating a fact connected with physiology,
which in all the pages of the multitude of books was never
previously mentioned--the mysterious practice of touching objects
to baffle the evil chance. The miserable detractor will, of
course, instantly begin to rave about such a habit being common:
well and good; but was it ever before described in print, or all
connected with it dissected? He may then vociferate something
about Johnson having touched:- the writer cares not whether
Johnson, who, by the bye, during the last twenty or thirty years,
owing to people having become ultra Tory mad from reading Scott's
novels and the "Quarterly Review," has been a mighty favourite,
especially with some who were in the habit of calling him a half
crazy old fool--touched, or whether he did or not; but he asks
where did Johnson ever describe the feelings which induced him to
perform the magic touch, even supposing that he did perform it?
Again, the history gives an account of a certain book called the
"Sleeping Bard," the most remarkable prose work of the most
difficult language but one, of modern Europe,--a book, for a notice
of which, he believes, one might turn over in vain the pages of any
review printed in England, or, indeed, elsewhere.--So here are two
facts, one literary and the other physiological, for which any
candid critic was bound to thank the author, even as in Romany Rye
there is a fact connected with Iro Norman Myth, for the disclosing
of which, any person who pretends to have a regard for literature
is bound to thank him, namely, that the mysterious Finn or Fingal
of "Ossian's Poems" is one and the same person as the Sigurd
Fofnisbane of the Edda and the Wilkina, and the Siegfried Horn of
the Lay of the Niebelungs.

The writer might here conclude, and, he believes, most
triumphantly; as, however, he is in the cue for writing, which he
seldom is, he will for his own gratification, and for the sake of
others, dropping metaphors about vipers and serpents, show up in
particular two or three sets or cliques of people, who, he is happy
to say, have been particularly virulent against him and his work,
for nothing indeed could have given him greater mortification than
their praise.

In the first place, he wishes to dispose of certain individuals who
call themselves men of wit and fashion--about town--who he is told
have abused his book "vaustly"--their own word. These people paint
their cheeks, wear white kid gloves, and dabble in literature, or
what they conceive to be literature. For abuse from such people,
the writer was prepared. Does any one imagine that the writer was
not well aware, before he published his book, that, whenever he
gave it to the world, he should be attacked by every literary
coxcomb in England who had influence enough to procure the
insertion of a scurrilous article in a magazine or newspaper! He
has been in Spain, and has seen how invariably the mule attacks the
horse; now why does the mule attack the horse? Why, because the
latter carries about with him that which the envious hermaphrodite
does not possess.

They consider, forsooth, that his book is low--but he is not going
to waste words about them--one or two of whom, he is told, have
written very duncie books about Spain, and are highly enraged with
him, because certain books which he wrote about Spain were not
considered duncie. No, he is not going to waste words upon them,
for verily he dislikes their company, and so he'll pass them by,
and proceed to others.

The Scotch Charlie o'er the water people have been very loud in the
abuse of Lavengro--this again might be expected; the sarcasms of
the Priest about the Charlie o'er the water nonsense of course
stung them. Oh! it is one of the claims which Lavengro has to
respect, that it is the first, if not the only work, in which that
nonsense is, to a certain extent, exposed. Two or three of their
remarks on passages of Lavengro, he will reproduce and laugh at.
Of course your Charlie o'er the water people are genteel
exceedingly, and cannot abide anything low. Gypsyism they think is
particularly low, and the use of gypsy words in literature beneath
its gentility; so they object to gypsy words being used in Lavengro
where gypsies are introduced speaking--"What is Romany forsooth?"
say they. Very good! And what is Scotch? has not the public been
nauseated with Scotch for the last thirty years? "Ay, but Scotch
is not"--the writer believes he knows much better than the Scotch
what Scotch is and what it is not; he has told them before what it
is, a very sorry jargon. He will now tell them what it is not--a
sister or an immediate daughter of the Sanscrit, which Romany is.
"Ay, but the Scotch are"--foxes, foxes, nothing else than foxes,
even like the gypsies--the difference between the gypsy and Scotch
fox being that the first is wild, with a mighty brush, the other a
sneak with a gilt collar and without a tail.

A Charlie o'er the water person attempts to be witty, because the
writer has said that perhaps a certain old Edinburgh High-School
porter, of the name of Boee, was perhaps of the same blood as a
certain Bui, a Northern Kemp who distinguished himself at the
battle of Horinger Bay. A pretty matter, forsooth, to excite the
ridicule of a Scotchman! Why, is there a beggar or trumpery fellow
in Scotland, who does not pretend to be somebody, or related to
somebody? Is not every Scotchman descended from some king, kemp,
or cow-stealer of old, by his own account at least? Why, the
writer would even go so far as to bet a trifle that the poor
creature, who ridicules Boee's supposed ancestry, has one of his
own, at least as grand and as apocryphal as old Boee's of the High
School.

The same Charlie o'er the water person is mightily indignant that
Lavengro should have spoken disrespectfully of William Wallace;
Lavengro, when he speaks of that personage, being a child of about
ten years old, and repeating merely what he had heard. All the
Scotch, by the bye, for a great many years past, have been great
admirers of William Wallace, particularly the Charlie o'er the
water people, who in their nonsense-verses about Charlie generally
contrive to bring in the name of William, Willie, or Wullie
Wallace. The writer begs leave to say that he by no means wishes
to bear hard against William Wallace, but he cannot help asking
why, if William, Willie, or Wullie Wallace was such a particularly
nice person, did his brother Scots betray him to a certain renowned
southern warrior, called Edward Longshanks, who caused him to be
hanged and cut into four in London, and his quarters to be placed
over the gates of certain towns? They got gold, it is true, and
titles, very nice things, no doubt; but, surely, the life of a
patriot is better than all the gold and titles in the world--at
least Lavengro thinks so--but Lavengro has lived more with gypsies
than Scotchmen, and gypsies do not betray their brothers. It would
be some time before a gypsy would hand over his brother to the
harum-beck, even supposing you would not only make him a king, but
a justice of the peace, and not only give him the world, but the
best farm on the Holkham estate; but gypsies are wild foxes, and
there is certainly a wonderful difference between the way of
thinking of the wild fox who retains his brush, and that of the
scurvy kennel creature who has lost his tail.

Ah! but thousands of Scotch, and particularly the Charlie o'er the
water people, will say, "We didn't sell Willie Wallace, it was our
forbears who sold Willie Wallace--If Edward Longshanks had asked us
to sell Wullie Wallace, we would soon have shown him that--" Lord
better ye, ye poor trumpery set of creatures, ye would not have
acted a bit better than your forefathers; remember how ye have ever
treated the few amongst ye who, though born in the kennel, have
shown something of the spirit of the wood. Many of ye are still
alive who delivered over men, quite as honest and patriotic as
William Wallace, into the hands of an English minister, to be
chained and transported for merely venturing to speak and write in
the cause of humanity, at the time when Europe was beginning to
fling off the chains imposed by kings and priests. And it is not
so very long since Burns, to whom ye are now building up obelisks
rather higher than he deserves, was permitted by his countrymen to
die in poverty and misery, because he would not join with them in
songs of adulation to kings and the trumpery great. So say not
that ye would have acted with respect to William Wallace one whit
better than your fathers--and you in particular, ye children of
Charlie, whom do ye write nonsense-verses about? A family of
dastard despots, who did their best, during a century and more, to
tread out the few sparks of independent feeling still glowing in
Scotland--but enough has been said about ye.

Amongst those who have been prodigal in abuse and defamation of
Lavengro, have been your modern Radicals, and particularly a set of
people who filled the country with noise against the King and
Queen, Wellington, and the Tories, in '32. About these people the
writer will presently have occasion to say a good deal, and also of
real Radicals. As, however, it may be supposed that he is one of
those who delight to play the sycophant to kings and queens, to
curry favour with Tories, and to bepraise Wellington, he begs leave
to state that such is not the case.

About kings and queens he has nothing to say; about Tories, simply
that he believes them to be a bad set; about Wellington, however,
it will be necessary for him to say a good deal, of mixed import,
as he will subsequently frequently have occasion to mention him in
connection with what he has to say about pseudo-Radicals.

CHAPTER X

Pseudo-Radicals.

About Wellington, then, he says, that he believes him at the
present day to be infinitely overrated. But there certainly was a
time when he was shamefully underrated. Now what time was that?
Why the time of pseudo-Radicalism, par excellence, from '20 to '32.
Oh, the abuse that was heaped on Wellington by those who traded in
Radical cant--your newspaper editors and review writers! and how he
was sneered at then by your Whigs, and how faintly supported he was
by your Tories, who were half ashamed of him; for your Tories,
though capital fellows as followers, when you want nobody to back
you, are the faintest creatures in the world when you cry in your
agony, "Come and help me!" Oh, assuredly Wellington was infamously
used at that time, especially by your traders in Radicalism, who
howled at and hooted him; said he had every vice--was no general--
was beaten at Waterloo--was a poltroon--moreover a poor illiterate
creature, who could scarcely read or write; nay, a principal
Radical paper said boldly he could not read, and devised an
ingenious plan for teaching Wellington how to read. Now this was
too bad; and the writer, being a lover of justice, frequently spoke
up for Wellington, saying, that as for vice, he was not worse than
his neighbours; that he was brave; that he won the fight at
Waterloo, from a half-dead man, it is true, but that he did win it.
Also, that he believed he had read "Rules for the Manual and
Platoon Exercises" to some purpose; moreover, that he was sure he
could write, for that he the writer had once written to Wellington,
and had received an answer from him; nay, the writer once went so
far as to strike a blow for Wellington; for the last time he used
his fists was upon a Radical sub-editor, who was mobbing Wellington
in the street, from behind a rank of grimy fellows; but though the
writer spoke up for Wellington to a certain extent, when he was
shamefully underrated, and once struck a blow for him when he was
about being hustled, he is not going to join in the loathsome
sycophantic nonsense which it has been the fashion to use with
respect to Wellington these last twenty years. Now what have those
years been to England! Why the years of ultra-gentility, everybody
in England having gone gentility mad during the last twenty years,
and no people more so than your pseudo-Radicals. Wellington was
turned out, and your Whigs and Radicals got in, and then commenced
the period of ultra-gentility in England. The Whigs and Radicals
only hated Wellington as long as the patronage of the country was
in his hands, none of which they were tolerably sure he would
bestow on them; but no sooner did they get it into their own, than
they forthwith became admirers of Wellington. And why? Because he
was a duke, petted at Windsor and by foreign princes, and a very
genteel personage. Formerly many of your Whigs and Radicals had
scarcely a decent coat on their backs; but now the plunder of the
country was at their disposal, and they had as good a chance of
being genteel as any people. So they were willing to worship
Wellington because he was very genteel, and could not keep the
plunder of the country out of their hands. And Wellington has been
worshipped, and prettily so, during the last fifteen or twenty
years. He is now a noble fine-hearted creature; the greatest
general the world ever produced; the bravest of men; and--and--
mercy upon us! the greatest of military writers! Now the present
writer will not join in such sycophancy. As he was not afraid to
take the part of Wellington when he was scurvily used by all
parties, and when it was dangerous to take his part, so he is not
afraid to speak the naked truth about Wellington in these days,
when it is dangerous to say anything about him but what is
sycophantically laudatory. He said in '32, that as to vice,
Wellington was not worse than his neighbours; but he is not going
to say, in '54, that Wellington was a noble-hearted fellow; for he
believes that a more cold-hearted individual never existed. His
conduct to Warner, the poor Vaudois, and Marshal Ney, showed that.
He said, in '32, that he was a good general and a brave man; but he
is not going, in '54, to say that he was the best general, or the
bravest man the world ever saw. England has produced a better
general--France two or three--both countries many braver men. The
son of the Norfolk clergyman was a brave man; Marshal Ney was a
braver man. Oh, that battle of Copenhagen! Oh, that covering the
retreat of the Grand Army! And though he said in '32 that he could
write, he is not going to say in '54 that he is the best of all
military writers. On the contrary, he does not hesitate to say
that any Commentary of Julius Caesar, or any chapter in Justinus,
more especially the one about the Parthians, is worth the ten
volumes of Wellington's Despatches; though he has no doubt that, by
saying so, he shall especially rouse the indignation of a certain
newspaper, at present one of the most genteel journals imaginable--
with a slight tendency to Liberalism, it is true, but perfectly
genteel--which is nevertheless the very one which, in '32, swore
bodily that Wellington could neither read nor write, and devised an
ingenious plan for teaching him how to read.

Now, after the above statement, no one will venture to say, if the
writer should be disposed to bear hard upon Radicals, that he would
be influenced by a desire to pay court to princes, or to curry
favour with Tories, or from being a blind admirer of the Duke of
Wellington; but the writer is not going to declaim against
Radicals, that is, real Republicans, or their principles; upon the
whole, he is something of an admirer of both. The writer has
always had as much admiration for everything that is real and
honest as he has had contempt for the opposite. Now real
Republicanism is certainly a very fine thing, a much finer thing
than Toryism, a system of common robbery, which is nevertheless far
better than Whiggism {7}--a compound of petty larceny, popular
instruction, and receiving of stolen goods. Yes, real
Republicanism is certainly a very fine thing, and your real
Radicals and Republicans are certainly very fine fellows, or rather
were fine fellows, for the Lord only knows where to find them at
the present day--the writer does not. If he did, he would at any
time go five miles to invite one of them to dinner, even supposing
that he had to go to a workhouse in order to find the person he
wished to invite. Amongst the real Radicals of England, those who
flourished from the year '16 to '20, there were certainly
extraordinary characters, men partially insane, perhaps, but honest
and brave--they did not make a market of the principles which they
professed, and never intended to do so; they believed in them, and
were willing to risk their lives in endeavouring to carry them out.
The writer wishes to speak in particular of two of these men, both
of whom perished on the scaffold--their names were Thistlewood and
Ings. Thistlewood, the best known of them, was a brave soldier,
and had served with distinction as an officer in the French
service; he was one of the excellent swordsmen of Europe; had
fought several duels in France, where it is no child's play to
fight a duel; but had never unsheathed his sword for single combat,
but in defence of the feeble and insulted--he was kind and open-
hearted, but of too great simplicity; he had once ten thousand
pounds left him, all of which he lent to a friend, who disappeared
and never returned a penny. Ings was an uneducated man, of very
low stature, but amazing strength and resolution; he was a kind
husband and father, and though a humble butcher, the name he bore
was one of the royal names of the heathen Anglo-Saxons. These two
men, along with five others, were executed, and their heads hacked
off, for levying war against George the Fourth; the whole seven
dying in a manner which extorted cheers from the populace; the most
of then uttering philosophical or patriotic sayings. Thistlewood,
who was, perhaps, the most calm and collected of all, just before
he was turned off, said, "We are now going to discover the great
secret." Ings, the moment before he was choked, was singing "Scots
wha ha' wi' Wallace bled." Now there was no humbug about those
men, nor about many more of the same time and of the same
principles. They might be deluded about Republicanism, as Algernon
Sidney was, and as Brutus was, but they were as honest and brave as
either Brutus or Sidney; and as willing to die for their
principles. But the Radicals who succeeded them were beings of a
very different description; they jobbed and traded in
Republicanism, and either parted with it, or at the present day are
eager to part with it for a consideration. In order to get the
Whigs into power, and themselves places, they brought the country
by their inflammatory language to the verge of a revolution, and
were the cause that many perished on the scaffold; by their
incendiary harangues and newspaper articles they caused the Bristol
conflagration, for which six poor creatures were executed; they
encouraged the mob to pillage, pull down and burn, and then rushing
into garrets looked on. Thistlewood tells the mob the Tower is a
second Bastile; let it be pulled down. A mob tries to pull down
the Tower; but Thistlewood is at the head of that mob; he is not
peeping from a garret on Tower Hill like Gulliver at Lisbon.
Thistlewood and Ings say to twenty ragged individuals, Liverpool
and Castlereagh are two satellites of despotism; it would be highly
desirable to put them out of the way. And a certain number of
ragged individuals are surprised in a stable in Cato Street, making
preparations to put Castlereagh and Liverpool out of the way, and
are fired upon with muskets by Grenadiers, and are hacked at with
cutlasses by Bow Street runners; but the twain who encouraged those
ragged individuals to meet in Cato Street are not far off, they are
not on the other side of the river, in the Borough, for example, in
some garret or obscure cellar. The very first to confront the
Guards and runners are Thistlewood and Ings; Thistlewood whips his
long thin rapier through Smithers' lungs, and Ings makes a dash at
Fitzclarence with his butcher's knife. Oh, there was something in
those fellows! honesty and courage--but can as much be said for the
inciters of the troubles of '32? No; they egged on poor ignorant
mechanics and rustics, and got them hanged for pulling down and
burning, whilst the highest pitch to which their own daring ever
mounted was to mob Wellington as he passed in the streets.

Now, these people were humbugs, which Thistlewood and Ings were
not. They raved and foamed against kings, queens, Wellington, the
aristocracy, and what not, till they had got the Whigs into power,
with whom they were in secret alliance, and with whom they
afterwards openly joined in a system of robbery and corruption,
more flagitious than the old Tory one, because there was more cant
about it; for themselves they got consulships, commissionerships,
and in some instances governments; for their sons clerkships in
public offices; and there you may see those sons with the never-
failing badge of the low scoundrel-puppy, the gilt chain at the
waistcoat pocket; and there you may hear and see them using the
languishing tones, and employing the airs and graces which wenches
use and employ, who, without being in the family way, wish to make
their keepers believe that they are in the family way. Assuredly
great is the cleverness of your Radicals of '32, in providing for
themselves and their families. Yet, clever as they are, there is
one thing they cannot do--they get governments for themselves,
commissionerships for their brothers, clerkships for their sons,
but there is one thing beyond their craft--they cannot get husbands
for their daughters, who, too ugly for marriage, and with their
heads filled with the nonsense they have imbibed from gentility-
novels, go over from Socinus to the Pope, becoming sisters in fusty
convents, or having heard a few sermons in Mr. Platitude's
"chapelle," seek for admission at the establishment of mother S---,
who, after employing them for a time in various menial offices, and
making them pluck off their eyebrows hair by hair, generally
dismisses them on the plea of sluttishness; whereupon they return
to their papas to eat the bread of the country, with the
comfortable prospect of eating it still in the shape of a pension
after their sires are dead. Papa (ex uno disce omnes) living as
quietly as he can; not exactly enviably, it is true, being now and
then seen to cast an uneasy and furtive glance behind, even as an
animal is wont, who has lost by some mischance a very slight
appendage; as quietly however as he can, and as dignifiedly, a
great admirer of every genteel thing and genteel personage, the
Duke in particular, whose "Despatches," bound in red morocco, you
will find on his table. A disliker of coarse expressions, and
extremes of every kind, with a perfect horror for revolutions and
attempts to revolutionize, exclaiming now and then, as a shriek
escapes from whipped and bleeding Hungary, a groan from gasping
Poland, and a half-stifled curse from down-trodden but scowling
Italy, "Confound the revolutionary canaille, why can't it be
quiet!" in a word, putting one in mind of the parvenu in the
"Walpurgis Nacht." The writer is no admirer of Gothe, but the idea
of that parvenu was certainly a good one. Yes, putting one in mind
of the individual who says -

"Wir waren wahrlich auch nicht dumm,
Und thaten oft was wir nicht sollten;
Doch jetzo kehrt sich alles um und um,
Und eben da wir's fest erhalten wollten."

We were no fools, as every one discern'd,
And stopp'd at nought our projects in fulfilling;
But now the world seems topsy-turvy turn'd,
To keep it quiet just when we were willing.

Now, this class of individuals entertain a mortal hatred for
Lavengro and its writer, and never lose an opportunity of
vituperating both. It is true that such hatred is by no means
surprising. There is certainly a great deal of difference between
Lavengro and their own sons; the one thinking of independence and
philology, whilst he is clinking away at kettles, and hammering
horse-shoes in dingles; the others stuck up at public offices with
gilt chains at their waistcoat-pockets, and giving themselves the
airs and graces of females of a certain description. And there
certainly is a great deal of difference between the author of
Lavengro and themselves--he retaining his principles and his brush;
they with scarlet breeches on, it is true, but without their
Republicanism, and their tails. Oh, the writer can well afford to
be vituperated by your pseudo-Radicals of '32!

Some time ago the writer was set upon by an old Radical and his
wife; but the matter is too rich not to require a chapter to
itself.

CHAPTER XI

The Old Radical.

"This very dirty man, with his very dirty face,
Would do any dirty act, which would get him a place."

Some time ago the writer was set upon by an old Radical and his
wife; but before he relates the manner in which they set upon him,
it will be as well to enter upon a few particulars tending to
elucidate their reasons for so doing.

The writer had just entered into his eighteenth year, when he met
at the table of a certain Anglo-Germanist an individual, apparently
somewhat under thirty, of middle stature, a thin and weaselly
figure, a sallow complexion, a certain obliquity of vision, and a
large pair of spectacles. This person, who had lately come from
abroad, and had published a volume of translations, had attracted
some slight notice in the literary world, and was looked upon as a
kind of lion in a small provincial capital. After dinner he argued
a great deal, spoke vehemently against the church, and uttered the
most desperate Radicalism that was perhaps ever heard, saying, he
hoped that in a short time there would not be a king or queen in
Europe, and inveighing bitterly against the English aristocracy,
and against the Duke of Wellington in particular, whom he said, if
he himself was ever president of an English republic--an event
which he seemed to think by no means improbable--he would hang for
certain infamous acts of profligacy and bloodshed which he had
perpetrated in Spain. Being informed that the writer was something
of a philologist, to which character the individual in question
laid great pretensions, he came and sat down by him, and talked
about languages and literature. The writer, who was only a boy,
was a little frightened at first, but, not wishing to appear a
child of absolute ignorance, he summoned what little learning he
had, and began to blunder out something about the Celtic languages
and literature, and asked the Lion who he conceived Finn-Ma-Coul to
be? and whether he did not consider the "Ode to the Fox," by Red
Rhys of Eryry, to be a masterpiece of pleasantry? Receiving no
answer to these questions from the Lion, who, singular enough,
would frequently, when the writer put a question to him, look
across the table, and flatly contradict some one who was talking to
some other person, the writer dropped the Celtic languages and
literature, and asked him whether he did not think it a funny thing
that Temugin, generally called Genghis Khan, should have married
the daughter of Prester John? {8} The Lion, after giving a side-
glance at the writer through his left spectacle glass, seemed about
to reply, but was unfortunately prevented, being seized with an
irresistible impulse to contradict a respectable doctor of
medicine, who was engaged in conversation with the master of the
house at the upper and farther end of the table, the writer being a
poor ignorant lad, sitting of course at the bottom. The doctor,
who had served in the Peninsula, having observed that Ferdinand the
Seventh was not quite so bad as had been represented, the Lion
vociferated that he was ten times worse, and that he hoped to see
him and the Duke of Wellington hanged together. The doctor, who,
being a Welshman, was somewhat of a warm temper, growing rather
red, said that at any rate he had been informed that Ferdinand the
Seventh knew sometimes how to behave himself like a gentleman--this
brought on a long dispute, which terminated rather abruptly. The
Lion having observed that the doctor must not talk about Spanish
matters with one who had visited every part of Spain, the doctor
bowed, and said he was right, for that he believed no people in
general possessed such accurate information about countries as
those who had travelled them as bagmen. On the Lion asking the
doctor what he meant, the Welshman, whose under jaw began to move
violently, replied, that he meant what he said. Here the matter
ended, for the Lion, turning from him, looked at the writer. The
writer, imagining that his own conversation hitherto had been too
trivial and common-place for the Lion to consider worth his while
to take much notice of it, determined to assume a little higher
ground, and after repeating a few verses of the Koran, and gabbling
a little Arabic, asked the Lion what he considered to be the
difference between the Hegira and the Christian era, adding, that
he thought the general computation was in error by about one year;
and being a particularly modest person, chiefly, he believes, owing
to his having been at school in Ireland, absolutely blushed at
finding that the Lion returned not a word in answer. "What a
wonderful individual I am seated by," thought he, "to whom Arabic
seems a vulgar speech, and a question about the Hegira not worthy
of an answer!" not reflecting that as lions come from the Sahara,
they have quite enough of Arabic at home, and that the question
about the Hegira was rather mal a propos to one used to prey on the
flesh of hadjis. "Now I only wish he would vouchsafe me a little
of his learning," thought the boy to himself, and in this wish he
was at last gratified; for the Lion, after asking him whether he
was acquainted at all with the Sclavonian languages, and being
informed that he was not, absolutely dumb-foundered him by a
display of Sclavonian erudition.

Years rolled by--the writer was a good deal about, sometimes in
London, sometimes in the country, sometimes abroad; in London he
occasionally met the man of the spectacles, who was always very
civil to him, and, indeed, cultivated his acquaintance. The writer
thought it rather odd that, after he himself had become acquainted
with the Sclavonian languages and literature, the man of the
spectacles talked little or nothing about them. In a little time,
however, the matter ceased to cause him the slightest surprise, for
he had discovered a key to the mystery. In the mean time the man
of spectacles was busy enough; he speculated in commerce, failed,
and paid his creditors twenty pennies in the pound; published
translations, of which the public at length became heartily tired;
having, indeed, got an inkling of the manner in which those
translations were got up. He managed, however, to ride out many a
storm, having one trusty sheet-anchor--Radicalism. This he turned
to the best advantage--writing pamphlets and articles in reviews,
all in the Radical interest, and for which he was paid out of the
Radical fund; which articles and pamphlets, when Toryism seemed to
reel on its last legs, exhibited a slight tendency to Whiggism.
Nevertheless, his abhorrence of desertion of principle was so great
in the time of the Duke of Wellington's administration, that when
S--- left the Whigs and went over, he told the writer, who was
about that time engaged with him in a literary undertaking, that
the said S--- was a fellow with a character so infamous, that any
honest man would rather that you spit in his face than insult his
ears with the mention of the name of S---.

The literary project having come to nothing,--in which, by the bye,
the writer was to have all the labour, and his friend all the
credit, provided any credit should accrue from it,--the writer did
not see the latter for some years, during which time considerable
political changes took place; the Tories were driven from, and the
Whigs placed in, office, both events being brought about by the
Radicals coalescing with the Whigs, over whom they possessed great
influence for the services which they had rendered. When the
writer next visited his friend, he found him very much altered; his
opinions were by no means so exalted as they had been--he was not
disposed even to be rancorous against the Duke of Wellington,
saying that there were worse men than he, and giving him some
credit as a general; a hankering after gentility seeming to pervade
the whole family, father and sons, wife and daughters, all of whom
talked about genteel diversions--gentility novels, and even seemed
to look with favour on High Churchism, having in former years, to
all appearance, been bigoted Dissenters. In a little time the
writer went abroad; as, indeed, did his friend; not, however, like
the writer, at his own expense, but at that of the country--the
Whigs having given him a travelling appointment, which he held for
some years, during which he received upwards of twelve thousand
pounds of the money of the country, for services which will,
perhaps, be found inscribed on certain tablets, when another
Astolfo shall visit the moon. This appointment, however, he lost
on the Tories resuming power--when the writer found him almost as
Radical and patriotic as ever, just engaged in trying to get into
Parliament, into which he got by the assistance of his Radical
friends, who, in conjunction with the Whigs, were just getting up a
crusade against the Tories, which they intended should be a
conclusive one.

A little time after the publication of "The Bible in Spain," the
Tories being still in power, this individual, full of the most
disinterested friendship for the author, was particularly anxious
that he should be presented with an official situation, in a
certain region a great many miles off. "You are the only person
for that appointment," said he; "you understand a great deal about
the country, and are better acquainted with the two languages
spoken there than any one in England. Now I love my country, and
have, moreover, a great regard for you, and as I am in Parliament,
and have frequent opportunities of speaking to the Ministry, I
shall take care to tell them how desirable it would be to secure
your services. It is true they are Tories, but I think that even
Tories would give up their habitual love of jobbery in a case like
yours, and for once show themselves disposed to be honest men and
gentlemen; indeed, I have no doubt they will, for having so
deservedly an infamous character, they would be glad to get
themselves a little credit, by a presentation which could not
possibly be traced to jobbery or favouritism."

The writer begged his friend to give himself no trouble about the
matter, as he was not desirous of the appointment, being in
tolerably easy circumstances, and willing to take some rest after a
life of labour. All, however, that he could say was of no use, his
friend indignantly observing, that the matter ought to be taken
entirely out of his hands, and the appointment thrust upon him for
the credit of the country. "But may not many people be far more
worthy of the appointment than myself?" said the writer. "Where?"
said the friendly Radical. "If you don't get it, it will be made a
job of, given to the son of some steward, or, perhaps, to some
quack who has done dirty work; I tell you what, I shall ask it for
you, in spite of you; I shall, indeed!" and his eyes flashed with
friendly and patriotic fervour through the large pair of spectacles
which he wore.

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