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pale, care-worn, and miserably anxious. He referred to his book a dozen times–restored it frequently to his pocket, and had it out again immediately for surer satisfaction, or for further calculations. In about ten minutes, “_the missionary_” returned. This time he was the bearer of a better tale. The minister smiled–his brow expanded, and his eye had the vivacity and fire that belonged to it in the pulpit. Another memorandum was written in the pocket book, and the two gentlemen walked quickly, and side by side, along the covered avenue. I had seen sufficient.

“Let us go,” I said to Thompson.

“Why, you don’t mean to say you have had enough!” returned he; “oh, wait a bit, and see the other boy. They make a precious trio.”

I declined to witness the melancholy spectacle any longer. I was oppressed, grieved, sickened, at the sad presentation of humanity. What an overthrow was this! What a problem in the moral structure of man! I could not understand it. I had no power to enquire into it. Against all preconceived notions of possibility, there existed a palpable fact. What could reason do in a case in which the senses almost refused to acknowledge the evidence which they themselves had produced?

Thompson was delighted at the result of our “voyage of discovery,” and continued to be facetious at the expense of the unhappy minister. I implored him to desist.

“Say no more, Thompson. This is no subject for laughter. I have suffered much since your brother carried me to Birmingham. This is the hardest blow yet. I believe now that all is a dream. This is not Mr Clayton. It is a cheat of Satan. We are deluded and made fools in the hands of the Wicked One.”

“You’ll excuse me, sir,” said Thompson, “but if I didn’t know you better, I should say, to hear you talk in that uncommonly queer way, that you were as big a wessel as any of ’em. Don’t flatter yourself you are dreaming, when you never were wider awake in all your life.”

It is perhaps needless to say, that I had no heart to present myself again before my friend and benefactor–the once beloved, and still deeply compassionated minister of religion. I pitied him on account of the passion which had overmastered him, and trembled for myself when I contemplated the ruins of such an edifice. But I could visit him no longer. What could I say to him? How should I address him? How could I bear to meet his eye–I did not hate him sufficiently to inflict upon him the shame and ignominy of meeting mine. I avoided the house of Mr Clayton, and absented myself from his chapel. But I was not content with the first view that had been afforded me at the Exchange. I was unwilling to decide for ever upon the character of my former friend without a complete self-justification. I went again to the house of commerce, and alone. Again I beheld Mr Clayton immersed in the doings of the place. For a week I continued my observation. Proofs of his worldliness and gross hypocrisy came fast and thick upon each other. I no longer doubted the statement of Thompson and the speculator Smith. I resolved upon seeing my preserver no more. I could not think of him without shuddering, and I endeavoured to forget him. One evening, about ten days after the chapel scene, sitting alone in my apartment, I was attracted by a slight movement on the stairs. A moment afterwards there was a knock at my door. The door opened, and Mr Clayton himself walked into the room. I trembled instantly from head to foot. The minister had a serious countenance, and was very placid. He took a chair, and I waited till he spoke.

“You have not visited me of late, Caleb,” he began. “You have surely forgotten me. You have forgotten your promise–our friendship–your obligations–gratitude–every thing. How is this?”

Still I did not speak.

“Tell me,” he continued, “who has taught you to become a spy? Who has taught you that it is honourable and just to track the movements and to break upon the privacy of others. I saw you in the Exchange this morning–I saw you yesterday–and the day before. Tell me, what took you there?”

I gave no answer.

“Your Bible, Caleb, gives no encouragement to the feeling which has prompted you to act thus. You have read the word of truth imperfectly. There is a holiness–a peculiar sanctity”—-

“For heaven’s sake, Mr Clayton,” I cried out, interrupting him, “do not talk so. Do not deceive yourself. Do not attempt to bewilder me. Do not provoke the wrath of heaven. You have been kinder to me than I can express. The recollection of what you have done is ever present to me. Oh, would that I owed you nothing! Would that I could pay you back to the last farthing, and that the past could be obliterated from my mind. I would have parted with my life willingly, gladly, to serve you. Had you been poor, how delightful would it have been to labour for my benefactor! I will not deceive you. I lave learnt every thing. Such miserable knowledge never came to the ears of man, save in those regions where perdition is first made known, and suffered everlastingly. I dare not distrust the evidence of my eyes and ears. The bitterest hour that I have known, was that in which you fell, and I beheld your fall. Whom can I trust now? Whom shall I believe? To whom attach myself? Mr Clayton, it seems incredible to me that I can talk thus to you. It is indeed, and I tremble as I do so. But what is to be done? I can respect you no longer, however my poor heart throbs towards you, and pities”—-

I burst into tears.

“Spare your pity, boy,” said Mr Clayton, coldly; “and spare those hollow tears. You acknowledge that there exists a debt between us. Well have you attempted to repay it! Listen to me. I have been your friend. I am willing to remain so. Come to me as before, and you shall find me as I have ever been–affectionate and kind. Avoid me–place yourself in the condition of my opponent, and _beware_. In a moment, by one word, I can throw you back into the slough from whence I dragged you. To-morrow morning, if I so will it, you shall wander forth again, an outcast, depending for your bread upon a roadside charity. It is a dreadful thing to walk a marked and branded man through this cold world; yet it is only for me to say the word, and _infamy_ is attached to your name for ever. And what greater crime exists than black ingratitude? It is our duty to expose and punish it. It is for you to make the choice. If you are wise, you will not hesitate. If Christianity has worked”—-

“Sir, what has _Christianity_ to do with this? Satan must witness the compact that you would have us make. I cannot sell myself?”

“Your new companions have taught you these fine phrases, Caleb. They will support you, no doubt, and you will remain faithful to them, until a fresh acquaintance shall poison your ear against them, as they have corrupted it to win you from the man whom you have sworn to serve. I have nothing more to say. You promised to be faithful through good report and evil. You have broken your plighted word. I forgive you, if you are sorry for the fault, and my arms are ready to receive you. Punishment shall follow–strict justice, and no mercy–if you persist in evil. Within a week present yourself at my abode, and every thing is forgotten and forgiven. I am your friend for ever. Do not come, be obstinate and unyielding, and prepare yourself for misery.”

The minister left me. The week elapsed, and at the end of it, I had not presented myself at his residence. But, in the mean while, I had been active in taking measures for the security of the office which I held, and whose duties I had hitherto performed to the perfect satisfaction of my employers. I had been given to understand that it remained with Mr Bombasty to continue my appointment, or to dismiss me at once; that he was in the hands of Mr Clayton; and that if the latter desired my dismissal, and could bring against me the shadow of a complaint to justify Mr Bombasty in the eye of the Society, nothing could save me from ejection. It was proposed to me by a fellow-servant of the Society, to place myself as soon as possible beyond the reach and influence of Mr Clayton. He advised me to secede at once from the Church, and to attach myself to another, professing the same principles, and like that in connexion with the Society. By this means, Clayton and I would be separated, and his power over me effectually removed. Exclusion was to me starvation, and I eagerly adopted the counsel of my companion. To be, however, in a condition to join another church, it was necessary to procure, either by personal application, or at the instance of the minister of the new church, _a letter of dismission_, which letter should contain an assurance of the candidate’s previous good conduct and present qualification. In my case, the minister himself proposed to apply for my testimonials. He did apply, and at the end of a month, no answer had been returned to his communication. He wrote a second, and the second application met with no greater respect than the first. At length I received a very formal and polite letter from Mr Tomkins, informing me that “a church-meeting had been convened for the purpose of considering the propriety of affording Brother Stukely the opportunity of joining another connexion, by granting him a letter of dismission,” and that my presence was requested on that very important occasion.

If there was one thing upon earth more than another which at this particular time of my life I abominated with unmitigated and ineffable disgust, it was the frequent recurrence of these eternal church-meetings. Nothing, however trifling, could be carried forward without them; no man’s affairs, however private and worldly, were too uninteresting for their investigation. My connexion with the church had hardly commenced, before two had taken place, principally on my account, and now a third was proposed in order to enable the minister to write a letter of civility, and to state the simple fact of my having conducted myself with propriety and decorum. Still it was proper that I should attend it; I did so, accompanied by Thompson, and a crowded assembly, as befitted the occasion, welcomed us amoungst them, with many short coughs, and much suppressed hissing. There was the usual routine. The hymn, the portion of Scripture, and the prayer of Brother Buster. In the latter, there were many dark hints that were intended to be appropriate to my case, and were, to all appearance, well understood by the congregation at large. They did not frighten me. I was guilty of no crime against their church. They could bring no charge against me. The prayer concluded, Mr Clayton coldly requested me to retire. I did so. I passed into the vestry, which was separated from the main building by a very thin partition, that enabled me to hear every word spoken in the chapel. Mr Clayton began. He introduced his subject by lamenting, in the most feeling terms, the unhappy state of the brother who had just departed from the congregation–(the crocodile weeping over the fate of the doomed wretch he was about to destroy!) He had hoped great things of him. He had believed him to be a child of God. It was not for him to judge their brother now; but this was a world of disappointment, and the fairest hopes were blasted, even as the rose withereth beneath the canker. They all knew–it was not for him to disguise or hide the fact–that their brother had not realized the ardent expectations that one and all had formed of him. Their brother himself carried about with him this miserable consciousness, and under such circumstances it was that he proposed to withdraw from their communion, and to receive a dismission that should entitle him to a seat elsewhere. It was for them to consider how far they were justified in complying with his request. As for himself, he was sorely distressed in spirit. His carnal heart urged him to listen to the desire of his brother in the flesh, and that heart warred with his spiritual conviction. To be charitable was one thing, to involve one’s self in guilt, to encourage sinfulness, and to reward backsliding–oh, surely, this was another! He had no right in his high capacity to indulge a personal affection. It was his glory that he could sacrifice it at the call of duty. Accordingly, in the answer to the application that he had received, he had humbly attempted rather to embody the views of the church, than the suggestions of his own weak bosom. That answer he would now submit to them, and their voice must pronounce upon its justice. He did not fear for them. They were highly privileged; they had been wonderfully directed hitherto, and they would, adorned as they were with humility and faith, be directed even unto the end.

“Ha-men,” responded Buster very audibly, and the minister forthwith proceeded to his letter.

It was my honour to be represented in it as a person but too likely to disturb the peace of any church; whose conduct, however exemplary on my first joining the congregation, had lately been such as to give great reason to fear that I had been suddenly deprived of all godliness and grace; who had caused the brethren great pain; and whom recent circumstances had especially rendered an object of suspicion and alarm. There was much more to the same effect. There was no distinct charge–nothing tangible, or of which I could defy them to the proof. All was dark doubt and murderous innuendo. There was nothing for which I could claim relief from the laws of my country–more than enough to complete my ruin. I burned with anger and indignation; forgot every thing but the cold-blooded designs of the minister; and, stung to action by the imminent danger in which I stood, I rushed at once from the vestry into the midst of the congregation. Thompson was already on his legs, and had ventured something on my behalf, which had been drowned in loud and universal clamour. Silence was, in measure, restored by my appearance, and I took the opportunity to demand from the minister a reperusal of the letter that had just been read.

He scowled upon me with a natural hate, and refused to comply with my request.

“What!” I asked aloud, “am I denied the privilege that is extended to the vilest of his species? Will you condemn me unheard? Accuse me in my absence–keep me in ignorance of my charge–and stab me in the dark?”

I received no answer, and then I turned to the congregation. I implored them–little knowing the men to whom I trusted my appeal–to save me from the persecution of a man who had resolved upon my downfall. “I asked nothing from them, from him, but the liberty of gaining, by daily labour, an honourable subsistence. Would they deny it me?”–

I was interrupted by groans and hisses, and loud cries of “Yes, yes,” from Brother Buster.

I addressed the minister again.

“Mr Clayton,” said I, “beware how you tread me down. Beware how you drive me to desperation. Cruel, heartless man! What have I done that you should follow me with this relentless spite? Can you sleep? Can you walk and live without the fear of a punishment adequate to your offence? Let me go. Be satisfied that I possess the power of exposing unheard-of turpitude and hypocrisy, and that I refrain from using it. Dismiss me; let me leave your sight for ever, and you are safe–for me.”

“Viper!” exclaimed the minister rising in his seat, “whom I have warmed and nourished in my bosom; viper! whom I took to my hearth, and kept there till the returning sense of life gave vigour to your blood, and fresh venom to your sting! Is it thus you pay me back for food and raiment–thus you heap upon me the expressions of a glowing gratitude!–with threats and deadly accusations? Spit forth your malice! Pile up falsehoods to the skies!–WHO WILL BELIEVE THE TALE OF PROBABILITY? Brethren! behold the man whose cause I pleaded with you–for whom my feelings had well-nigh mastered my better judgment. Behold him, and learn how hard it is to pierce the stony heart of him whose youth has passed in dissolute living, and in adultery. Shall I approach thy ear with the voice of her who cries from the grave for justice on her seducer? Look, my beloved, on the man whom I found discarded by mankind, friendless and naked whom I clothed and fostered, and whom I brought in confidence amongst you. Look at him, and oh, be warned!”

The hissing and groaning were redoubled. Thompson rose a dozen times to speak, but a volley assailed him on each occasion, and he was obliged to resume his seat. He grew irritated and violent, and at length, when the public disapprobation had reached its height, and for the twenty and first time had cut short his address almost before he spoke, unable to contain himself any longer, he uttered at the top of his stentorian voice a fearful imprecation, and recommended to the care of a gentleman who had more to do with that society than was generally supposed–Mr Clayton, and every individual brother in the congregation.

Jabez Buster, after looking to the ceiling, and satisfying himself that it had not fallen in, rose, dreadfully distressed.

“He had lived,” he said, “to see sich sights, and hear sich language as had made his nature groan within him. He could only compare their beloved minister to one of them there ancient martyrs who had died for conscience-sake before Smithfield was a cattle market; but he hoped he would have strength for the conflict, and that the congregation would help him to fight the good fight. He called upon ’em all now to do their duty, to exclude and excommunicate for ever the unrighteous brethren–and to make them over to Satan without further delay.”

The shout with which the proposition was received, decided the fate of poor Thompson and myself. It was hardly submitted, before it was carried _nemine contradicente_; and immediately afterwards, Thompson buttoned his coat in disgust, and was hooted out of the assembly. I followed him.

* * * * *




_Tasso_.–She is dead, Cornelia–she is dead!

_Cornelia_.–Torquato! my Torquato! after so many years of separation do I bend once more your beloved head to my embrace?

_Tasso_.–She is dead!

_Cornelia_.–Tenderest of brothers! bravest and best and most unfortunate of men! What, in the name of heaven! so bewilders you?

_Tasso_.–Sister! sister! sister! I could not save her.

_Cornelia_.–Certainly it was a sad event; and they who are out of spirits may be ready to take it for an evil omen. At this season of the year the vintagers are joyous and negligent.

_Tasso_.–How! what is this?

_Cornelia_.–The little girl was crushed, they say, by a wheel of the car laden with grapes, as she held out a handful of vine-leaves to one of the oxen. And did you happen to be there just at the moment?

_Tasso_.–So then the little too can suffer! the ignorant, the indigent, the unaspiring! Poor child! She was kind-hearted; else never would calamity have befallen her.

_Cornelia_.–I wish you had not seen the accident.

_Tasso_.–I see it? I? I saw it not. There is but one crushed where I am. The little girl died for her kindness!–natural death!

_Cornelia_.–Be calm, be composed, my brother!

_Tasso_.–You would not require me to be composed or calm if you comprehended a thousandth part of my sufferings.

_Cornelia_.–Peace! peace! we know them all.

_Tasso_.–Who has dared to name them? Imprisonment, derision, madness.

_Cornelia_.–Hush! sweet Torquato! If ever these existed, they are past.

_Tasso_.–You do think they are sufferings? ay?

_Cornelia_.–Too surely.

_Tasso_.–No, not too surely: I will not have that answer. They would have been; but Leonora was then living. Unmanly as I am! did I complain of them? and while she was left me?

_Cornelia_.–My own Torquato! is there no comfort in a sister’s love? Is there no happiness but under the passions? Think, O my brother, how many courts there are in Italy; are the princes more fortunate than you? Which among them all loves truly, deeply, and virtuously? Among them all is there any one, for his genius, for his generosity, for his gentleness, ay, or for his mere humanity, worthy to be beloved?

_Tasso_.–Princes! talk to me of princes! How much coarse-grained wood a little gypsum covers! a little carmine quite beautifies! Wet your forefinger with your spittle; stick a broken gold-leaf on the sinciput; clip off a beggar’s beard to make it tresses, kiss it; fall down before it; worship it. Are you not irradiated by the light of its countenance? Princes! princes! Italian princes! Estes! What matters that costly carrion? Who thinks about it? (_After a pause_.) She is dead! She is dead!

_Cornelia_.–We have not heard it here.

_Tasso_.–At Sorrento you hear nothing but the light surges of the sea, and the sweet sprinkles of the guitar.

_Cornelia_.–Suppose the worst to be true.

_Tasso_.–Always, always.

_Cornelia_.–If she ceases, as then perhaps she must, to love and to lament you, think gratefully, contentedly, devoutly, that her arms had encircled your neck before they were crossed upon her bosom, in that long sleep which you have rendered placid, and from which your harmonious voice shall once more awaken her. Yes, Torquato! her bosom had throbbed to yours, often and often, before the organ-peel shook the fringes round the catafalc. Is not this much, from one so high, so beautiful?

_Tasso_.–Much? yes; for abject me. But I did so love her! so love her!

_Cornelia_.–Ah! let the tears flow: she sends thee that balm from heaven.

_Tasso_.–So loved her did poor Tasso! Else, O Cornelia, it had indeed been much. I thought in the simplicity of my heart that God was as great as an emperor, and could bestow, and had bestowed on me as much as the German had conferred, or could confer on his vassal. No part of my insanity was ever held in such ridicule as this. And yet the idea cleaves to me strangely, and is liable to stick to my shroud.

_Cornelia_.–Woe betide the woman who bids you to forget that woman who has loved you: she sins against her sex. Leonora was unblameable. Never think ill of her for what you have suffered.

_Tasso_.–Think ill of her? I? I? I? No; those we love, we love for every thing; even for the pain they have given us. But she gave me none: it was where she was not, that pain was.

_Cornelia_.–Surely, if love and sorrow are destined for companionship, there is no reason why the last comer of the two should supersede the first.

_Tasso_.–Argue with me, and you drive me into darkness. I am easily persuaded and led on while no reasons are thrown before me. With these, you have made my temples throb again. Just heaven! dost thou grant us fairer fields, and wider, for the whirlwind to lay waste? Dost thou build us up habitations above the street, above the palace, above the citadel, for the Plague to enter and carouse in? Has not my youth paid its dues, paid its penalties? Cannot our griefs come first, while we have strength to bear them? The fool! the fool! who thinks it a misfortune that his love is unrequited. Happier young man! look at the violets until thou drop asleep on them. Ah! but thou must wake!

_Cornelia_.–O heavens! what must you have suffered. For a man’s heart is sensitive in proportion to its greatness.

_Tasso_.–And a woman’s?

_Cornelia_.–Alas! I know not; but I think it can have no other. Comfort thee–comfort thee, dear Torquato!

_Tasso_.–Then do not rest thy face upon my arm; it so reminds me of her. And thy tears, too! they melt me into her grave.

_Cornelia_.–Hear you not her voice as it appeals to you: saying to you as the priests around have been saying to _her_, Blessed soul! rest in peace?

_Tasso_.–I heard it not; and yet I am sure she said it. A thousand times has she repeated it, laying her hand on my heart to quiet it–simple girl! She told it to rest in peace, and she went from me! Insatiable love! ever self-torturer, never self-destroyer! the world, with all its weight of miseries, cannot crush thee, cannot keep thee down. Generally mens’ tears, like the droppings of certain springs, only harden and petrify what they fall on; but mine sank deep into a tender heart, and were its very blood. Never will I believe she has left me utterly. Oftentimes, and long before her departure, I fancied we were in heaven together. I fancied it in the fields, in the gardens, in the palace, in the prison. I fancied it in the broad daylight, when my eyes were open, when blessed spirits drew around me that golden circle which one only of earth’s inhabitants could enter. Oftentimes in my sleep also I fancied it–and sometimes in the intermediate state–in that serenity which breathes about the transported soul, enjoying its pure and perfect rest, a span below the feet of the Immortal.

_Cornelia_.–She has not left you; do not disturb her peace by these repinings.

_Tasso_.–She will bear with them. Thou knowest not what she was, Cornelia; for I wrote to thee about her while she seemed but human. In my hours of sadness, not only her beautiful form, but her very voice bent over me. How girlish in the gracefulness of her lofty form! how pliable in her majesty! what composure at my petulance and reproaches! what pity in her reproofs! Like the air that angels breathe in the metropolitan temple of the Christian world, her soul at every season preserved one temperature. But it was when she could and did love me! Unchanged must ever be the blessed one who has leaned in fond security on the unchangeable. The purifying flame shoots upward, and is the glory that encircles their brows when they meet above.

_Cornelia_.–Indulge in these delightful thoughts, my Torquato! and believe that your love is and ought to be imperishable as your glory. Generations of men move forward in endless procession to consecrate and commemorate both. Colour-grinders and gilders, year after year, are bargained with to refresh the crumbling monuments and tarnished decorations of rude unregarded royalty, and to fasten the nails that cramp the crown upon the head. Meanwhile, in the laurels of my Torquato, there will always be one leaf, above man’s reach, above time’s wrath and injury, inscribed with the name of Leonora.

_Tasso_.–O Jerusalem! I have not then sung in vain the Holy Sepulchre.

_Cornelia_.–After such devotion of your genius, you have undergone too many misfortunes.

_Tasso_.–Congratulate the man who has had many, and may have more. I have had, I have, I can have–one only.

_Cornelia_.–Life runs not smoothly at all seasons, even with the happiest; but after a long course, the rocks subside, the views widen, and it flows on more equably at the end.

_Tasso_.–Have the stars smooth surfaces? No, no; but how they shine!

_Cornelia_.–Capable of thoughts so exalted, so far above the earth we dwell on, why suffer any to depress and anguish you?

_Tasso_.–Cornelia, Cornelia! the mind has within it temples, and porticoes, and palaces, and towers: the mind has under it, ready for the course, steeds brighter than the sun, and stronger than the storm; and beside them stand winged chariots, more in number than the Psalmist hath attributed to the Almighty. The mind, I tell thee again, hath its hundred gates, compared whereto the Theban are but willow wickets; and all those hundred gates can genius throw open. But there are some that groan heavily on their hinges, and the hand of God alone can close them.

_Cornelia_.–Torquato has thrown open those of his holy temple; Torquato hath stood, another angel, at his tomb; and am I the sister of Torquato? Kiss me, my brother, and let my tears run only from my pride and joy! Princes have bestowed knighthood on the worthy and unworthy; thou hast called forth those princes from their ranks, pushing back the arrogant and presumptuous of them like intrusive varlets, and conferring on the bettermost crowns and robes, imperishable and unfading.

_Tasso_.–I seem to live back into those days. I feel the helmet on my head; I wave the standard over it; brave men smile upon me; beautiful maidens pull them gently back by the scarf, and will not let them break my slumber, nor undraw the curtain. Corneliolina!—-

_Cornelia_.–Well, my dear brother! Why do you stop so suddenly in the midst of them? They are the pleasantest and best company, and they make you look quite happy and joyous.

_Tasso_.–Corneliolina, dost thou remember Bergamo? What city was ever so celebrated for honest and valiant men, in all classes, or for beautiful girls? There is but one class of those: Beauty is above all ranks; the true Madonna, the patroness and bestower of felicity, the queen of heaven.

_Cornelia_.–Hush, Torquato, hush! talk not so.

_Tasso_.–What rivers, how sunshiny and revelling, are the Brembo and the Serio! What a country the Valtellina! I went back to our father’s house, thinking to find thee again, my little sister–thinking to kick away thy ball of yellow silk as thou went stooping for it, to make thee run after me and beat me. I woke early in the morning; thou wert grown up and gone. Away to Sorrento–I knew the road–a few strides brought me back–here I am. To-morrow, my Cornelia, we will walk together, as we used to do, into the cool and quiet caves on the shore; and we will catch the little breezes as they come in and go out again on the backs of the jocund waves.

_Cornelia_.–We will, indeed, to-morrow; but before we set out we must take a few hours’ rest, that we may enjoy our ramble the better.

_Tasso_.–Our Sorrentines, I see, are grown rich and avaricious. They have uprooted the old pomegranate hedges, and have built high walls to prohibit the wayfarer from their vineyards.

_Cornelia_.–I have a basket of grapes for you in the bookroom that overlooks our garden.

_Tasso_.–Does the old twisted sage-tree grow still against the window?

_Cornelia_.–It harboured too many insects at last, and there was always a nest of scorpions in the crevice.

_Tasso_.–O! what a prince of a sage-tree! And the well too, with its bucket of shining metal, large enough for the largest cocomero[9] to cool in it for dinner!

[9] Water-melon.

_Cornelia_.–The well, I assure you, is as cool as ever.

_Tasso_.–Delicious! delicious! And the stone-work round it, bearing no other marks of waste than my pruning-hook and dagger left behind?

_Cornelia_.–None whatever.

_Tasso_.–White in that place no longer? There has been time enough for it to become all of one colour; grey, mossy, half-decayed.

_Cornelia_.–No, no; not even the rope has wanted repair.

_Tasso_.–Who sings yonder?

_Cornelia_.–Enchanter! No sooner did you say the word _cocomero_, than here comes a boy carrying one upon his head.

_Tasso_.–Listen! listen! I have read in some book or other those verses long ago. They are not unlike my _Aminta_. The very words!

_Cornelia_.–Purifier of love, and humanizer of ferocity! how many, my Torquato, will your gentle thoughts make happy!

_Tasso_.–At this moment I almost think I am one among them.[10]

[10] The miseries of Tasso arose not only from the imagination and the heart. In the metropolis of the Christian world, with many admirers and many patrons, cardinals and princes of all sizes, he was left destitute, and almost famished. These are his own words.–“_Appena_ in questo stato ho comprato _due meloni_: e benche io sia stato _quasi sempre infermo_, molte volte mi sono contentato del’ manzo e la ministra di latte o di zucca, _quando ho potuto averne_, mi e stata in vece di delizie.” In another part he says that he was unable to pay the carriage of a parcel, (1590:) no wonder; if he had not wherewithal to buy enough of zucca for a meal. Even had he been in health and appetite, he might have satisfied his hunger with it for about five farthings, and have left half for supper. And now a word on his insanity. Having been so imprudent not only as to make it too evident in his poetry that he was the lover of Leonora, but also to signify (not very obscurely) that his love was returned, he much perplexed the Duke of Ferrara, who, with great discretion, suggested to him the necessity of feigning madness. The lady’s honour required it from a brother; and a true lover, to convince the world, would embrace the project with alacrity. But there was no reason why the seclusion should be in a dungeon, or why exercise and air should be interdicted. This cruelty, and perhaps his uncertainty of Leonora’s compassion, may well be imagined to have produced at last the malady he had feigned. But did Leonora love Tasso as a man would be loved? If we wish to do her honour, let us hope it: for what greater glory can there be than to have estimated at the full value so exalted a genius, so affectionate and so generous a heart!

_Cornelia_.–Be quite persuaded of it. Come, brother, come with me. You shall bathe your heated brow and weary limbs in the chamber of your boyhood. It is there we are always the most certain of repose. The child shall sing to you those sweet verses; and we will reward him with a slice of his own fruit.

_Tasso_.–He deserves it; cut it thick.

_Cornelia_.–Come then, my truant! Come along, my sweet smiling Torquato!

_Tasso_.–The passage is darker than ever. Is this the way to the little court? Surely those are not the steps that lead down toward the bath? Oh yes! we are right; I smell the lemon-blossoms. Beware of the old wilding that bears them; it may catch your veil; it may scratch your fingers! Pray, take care: it has many thorns about it. And now, Leonora! you shall hear my last verses! Lean your ear a little toward me; for I must repeat them softly under this low archway, else others may hear them too. Ah! you press my hand once more. Drop it, drop it! or the verses will sink into my breast again, and lie there silent! Good girl!

Many, well I know, there are
Ready in your joys to share,
And (I never blame it) you
Are almost as ready too.
But when comes the darker day,
And those friends have dropt away; Which is there among them all
You should, if you could, recall? One who wisely loves, and well,
Hears and shares the griefs you tell; Him you ever call apart
When the springs o’erflow the heart; For you know that he alone
Wishes they were _but_ his own.
Give, while these he may divide,
Smiles to all the world beside.

_Cornelia_.–We are now in the full light of the chamber: cannot you remember it, having looked so intently all around?

_Tasso_.–O sister! I could have slept another hour. You thought I wanted rest: why did you waken me so early? I could have slept another hour, or longer. What a dream! But I am calm and happy.

_Cornelia_.–May you never more be otherwise! Indeed, he cannot be whose last verses are such as those.

_Tasso_.–Have you written any since that morning?

_Cornelia_.–What morning?

_Tasso_.–When you caught the swallow in my curtains, and trod upon my knees in catching it, luckily with naked feet. The little girl of thirteen laughed at the outcry of her brother Torquatino, and sang without a blush her earliest lay.

_Cornelia_.–I do not recollect it.

_Tasso_.–I do.

Rondinello! rondinello!
Tu sei nero, ma sei bello.
Cosa fà se tu sei nero?
Rondinello! sei il premiero
De’ volanti, palpitanti
(E vi sono quanti quanti!)
Mai tenuto a questo petto,
E percio sei il mio diletto.[11]

[11] The author wrote the verses first in English, but he found it easy to write them better in Italian. They stood in the text as below:–

Swallow! swallow! though so jetty Are your pinions, you are pretty:
And what matter were it though
You were blacker than a crow?
Of the many birds that fly
(And how many pass me by!)
You’re the first I ever prest,
Of the many, to my breast:
Therefore it is very right
You should be my own delight.

_Cornelia_.–Here is the cocomero; it cannot be more insipid. Try it.

_Tasso_.–Where is the boy who brought it? where is the boy who sang my Aminta? Serve him first; give him largely. Cut deeper; the knife is too short: deeper, mia brave Corneliolina! quite through all the red, and into the middle of the seeds. Well done!

* * * * *





The cumulative or aggregative property of wealth and power, and in a less degree of knowledge also, make up in time a consolidation of these elements in the hands of particular classes, which, for our present purposes, we choose to term an aristocracy of birth, wealth, knowledge, or power, as the case nay be. The word aristocracy, distinctive of these particular classes, we use in a conventional sense only, and beg leave to protest, _in limine_, against any other acceptation of the term. We use the word, because it is popularly comprehensive; the [Greek: hoi aristoi], distinguished from the [Greek: hoi polloi]: “good men,” as is the value of goodness in the city; “the great,” as they are understood by penners of fashionable novels; “talented,” or “a genius,” as we say in the _coteries_; but not a word, mark you, of the abstract value of these signs–their positive significations; good may be bad, great mean, talented or a genius, ignorant or a puppy. We have nothing to do with that; these are thy terms, our Public; thou art responsible for the use made of them. Thou it is who tellest us that the sun rises and sets, (which it does not,) and talkest of the good and great, without knowing whether they are great and good, or no. Our business is to borrow your recognized improprieties of speech, only so far as they will assist us in making ourselves understood.

When Archimedes, or some other gentleman, said that he could unfix the earth had he a point of resistance for his lever, he illustrated, by a hypothesis of physics, the law of the generation of aristocracies. Aristocracies begin by having a leg to stand on, or by getting a finger in the pie. The multitude, on the contrary, never have any thing, because they never _had_ any thing, they want the _point d’oppui_, the springing-ground whence to jump above their condition, where, transformed by the gilded rays of wealth or power, discarding their several skins or sloughs, they sport and flutter, like lesser insects, in the sunny beams of aristocratic life.

Indeed, we have often thought that the transformation of the insect tribes was intended, by a wise Omnipotence, as an illustration (for our own benefit) of the rise and progress of the mere aristocracy of fashionable life.

The first condition of existence of these diminutive creatures, is the egg, or _embryo_ state; this the anxious parent attaches firmly to some leaf or bough, capable of affording sufficient sustenance to the future grub, who, in due course, eats his way through the vegetable kingdom upon which he is quartered, for no merit or exertion of his own; and where his career is only to be noted by the ravages of his insatiable jaws. After a brief period of lethargy or _pupa_ state, this good-for-nothing creature flutters forth, powdered, painted, perfumed, scorning the dirt from which he sprung, and leading a life of uselessness and vanity, until death, in the shape of an autumnal shower, prostrates himself and his finery in the dust.

How beautiful and how complete is the analogy between the insect and his brother butterfly of fashionable life! While yet an _embryo_, a worm, he _grubs_ his way through a good estate, and not a little ready money. Then, after a long sojourn in the _pupa_ or _puppy_ state–longer far than that of any other maggot–he emerges a perfect butterfly, vain, empty, fluttering, and conceited, idling, flirting, flaunting, philandering, until the summer of his _ton_ is past, when he dies, or is arrested, and expiates a life of puerile vanity in Purgatory or the Queen’s Bench.

Let the beginning once be made–the point of extreme depression once be got over: the cares of the daily recurring poor necessities of life–shelter, clothing, food, be of no moment: let a man taste, though it were next to nothing, of the delicious luxury of accumulation, let him, with every hoarded shilling, or half-crown, or pound, carry his head higher, smiling in secret at the world and his friends, and the aristocrat of wealth is formed: he is removed for ever from the hand-to-mouth family of man, and thenceforth represents his breeches pocket.

It is the same with the aristocrat of birth: some fortunate accident–some well-aimed and successful stroke of profligacy, or more rarely of virtue, redeems an individual from the common herd: the rays, mayhap, of royal favour fall upon him, and he begins to bloat; his growth is as the growth of the grain of mustard-seed, and in a little while he overshadoweth the land: Noble and Right Honourable are his posterity to the end of time.

There is a poor lad sitting biting his nails till he bites them to the quick, wearing out his heart-strings in constrained silence on the back benches of Westminster Hall: he maketh speeches, eloquent, inwardly, and briefless, mutely bothereth judges, and seduceth innocent juries to his _No_-side: he findeth out mistakes in his learned brethren, and chuckleth secretly therefor: he scratcheth his wig with a pen, and thinketh by what train of circumstantial evidence he may be able to prove a dinner: he laugheth derisively at the income-tax, and the collectors thereof: yet, when he may not have even a “little brown” to fly with, haply, some good angel, in mortal shape of a solicitor, may bestow on him a brief: rushing home to his chambers in the Temple, he mastereth the points of the case, cogitating _pros_ and _cons_: he heareth his own voice in court for the first time: the bottled black-letter of years falleth from his lips, like treacle from a pipkin: he maketh good his points, winneth the verdict and the commendations of the judge: solicitors whisper that there is something in him, and clerks express their conviction that he is a “trump:” the young man eloquent is rewarded in one hour for the toil, rust, and enforced obscurity of years: he is no longer a common soldier of the bar; he steppeth by right divine, forth of the ranks, and becometh a man of mark and likelihood: he is now an aristocrat of the bar–perhaps, a Lyndhurst.

Again, behold the future aristocrat of literary life: to-day regard him in a suit of rusty black, a twice-turned stock, and shirt of Isabella colour, with an affecting hat: in and out of every bookseller’s in the Row is he, like a dog in a fair: a brown paper parcel he putteth into your hand, the which, before he openeth, he demands how much cash down you mean to give for it: then, having unfolded the same, giveth you to understand that it is such a work as is not to be seen every day, which you may safely swear to. He journeyeth from the east to the west, from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof, manuscript in hand: from Leadenhall Street, where Minerva has her press, to the street hight Albemarle, which John Murray delighteth to honour, but to no purpose: his name is unknown, and his works are nothing worth. Let him once make a _hit,_ as it is termed, and it is no longer hit or miss with him: he getteth a reputation, and he lieth in bed all day: he shaketh the alphabet in a bag, calling it his last new work, and it goeth through three editions in as many days: he lordeth it over “the trade,” and will let nobody have any profit but himself: he turneth up his nose at the man who invites him to a plain dinner, and utterly refuseth evening parties: he holdeth _conversaziones_, where he talks you dead: he driveth a chay, taketh a whole house, sporteth a wife and a minute tiger: in brief, he is now an aristocrat of letters.

The materials for the growth and preservation of these several aristocracies abound in London; and no where on the earth have we the same facilities for the study and investigation of their family likenesses and contrasts, their points of contact and repulsion.


Approach, reader, but _awful_, as Pope says–approach “with mincing steps and bow profound;” we are about to introduce you to persons of quality.

It is an extraordinary fact, illustrative how far the ignorance of a discerning public will carry those who make a living by practising upon their credulity, that notwithstanding there is an immense number of books annually presented to the do-nothing world, under the curiosity-provoking title of fashionable novels, we have hardly more than one or two generally recognised true and faithful pictures of really fashionable life. The caricatures of caricatures of this Elysian state are numberless–imagination has been exhausted, sense confounded, grammar put on the rack, the “well of English undefiled” stirred up from the very dregs, to give the excluded pictures of the life of the exclusives–yet, what have we? You will excuse us, reader, disturbing the current of our thoughts, by recollecting any of this forty novel-power of inanity, vulgarity, and pertness; but if you take up any of the many volumes in marbled boards, with calf backs, that you will find in cart-loads at the circulating libraries, and look over a page of the fashionable “_lingo_” the Lord Jacob talks to the Lady Suky, or the conversation between Sir Silly Billy and the Honourable Snuffy Duffy; or what the Duke of Dabchick thinks of the Princess Molly; and when you are satisfied, which we take it will be in the course of two pages, if you do not throw down the book, and swear by the Lord Harry–why then, read on and be jolly!

The indescribable absurdities, vices, and follies of the bulk of that class of literature called the fashionable novel, are past the power of catalogue-makers to record; but perhaps overwhelming ignorance of the peculiar class they pretend to describe is not the least conspicuous. Next to lack of knowledge, or sound materials deduced from actual observation, we may place want of taste. There are writers to write the exclusives up, and writers to write them down; one raises our envy, and makes us miserable, because we are not permitted to enter their paradise of social life; another devotes three volumes post octavo, in exemplification of the not altogether forgotten moral fiction of the fox and the sour grapes.

The writers of fashionable novels may be divided, as to their social positions, into the tolerated fashionable novel writers, and the intolerable fashionable novel writers; the first, moving in phases more or less equivocal round their centre and their deity, the exclusive set; the last, desperate from the fact of their total and permanent exclusion from society, but still moving round the outside of the boundary wall, and peeping through chinks in the palings. From the former we have the eulogistic, from the latter the depreciatory fashionable novels; these make us familiar with the celestial attributes of countesses-dowager, and the amiability of their pugs. They are slavering, servile, self-degrading productions, and only serve the exclusives as provocatives to laughter; they are usually written by tutors, ladies who have married tutors, or superannuated governesses, patronized by some charitable member of some distinguished family.

The depreciatory or vilificatory fashionable novel delights in exposing the peccadilloes, or imagined peccadilloes, (for it is all the same,) of young or old people of fashion: a _gourmand_ peer, a titled demirep, a “desperate dandy,” a black-leg, and a few such other respectable characters, are dialogued through the customary number of chapters, and conducted to the usual catastrophe: virtue is triumphant, vice abashed, towards the latter end of the last volume; and some low-born hero and heroine, introduced to exhibit, by contrast, the vices of the aristocracy, suddenly, and without any effort of their own, acquire large fortunes, perhaps titles, which it would have been just as easy to have given them at first–go to church in an orthodox manner, and set up a virtuous aristocracy of their own.

We are indebted for this class of fashionable novel to outlaws of both sexes; persons who might have held, but for their own misconduct, respectable positions in society; persons of this sort have the impudence, with their no-characters staring them in the face, to set up as public instructors, and to give us ensamples, drawn from their own perverted imaginations, of a class of which they might have known something, but which it is now past human possibility they can ever know.

These people are not merely not in society–which implies no crime–but they are, notwithstanding their nominal rank or title, _out_ of society, for reasons well and thoroughly known: they are those not merely who cannot come in, but those who, if they did intrude, would be immediately turned out.

Next, ascending from this equivocal class, we have the fashionable novel writers of fashionable life. I do not mean exclusive fashionable life, for there are no writers of these works in that class; but I allude to those who mingle with general fashionable society upon such terms, that if they possessed the talent, they might have supplied with ease the want of which the world complains–that of a just and natural picture of the lives of those forming the Corinthian capital of society in London.

Take, for example, a noble and late viceregal lord and his brother, the Honourable Edmund Phipps. These gentlemen have written fashionable novels, and ought to have written good ones; yet we don’t know how it is, but whenever we send to a circulating library to enquire whether they have “YES AND NO,” the noes have it; and when we venture to ask for the “FERGUSONS,” we find that the three post octavo gentlemen of that title not only do not lodge here or there, but that they don’t lodge _any where_.

The fact is, opportunity of observation will do little or nothing without _faculty_ of observation: though the whole social world, old or new, lay bare under the eyes of some men, not one idea could they extract from it; and who, wanting also the descriptive power, still more rare, fail in any attempt to give to the world the results of their experience.

Of this class is the larger number of writers of the better sort, in the line we are talking of: they go into society as they go to galleries, not to copy pictures, but to enjoy them. They enter into the amusements and dissipation of their class, not to look on merely, but to play the game.

In addition to all this, there is a point of honour involved, we think an erroneous one, among persons of quality, as to violating the freemasonry, the signs, ceremonies, and absurdities, of their privacy. Now, this applies only so far as individuals are indicated, and it is so far right. But fashionable classes are fair game, if not shot at sitting; or poached, or snared, or bagged, in any ungentlemanlike, unsportsmanlike fashion. They belong to human character, and human nature; and the reason they have seldom been painted well is, that they have seldom been painted after nature; and any artist will inform you, that whatever is painted to the life, must be painted from the life.

They have not been painted by themselves, because they would have their lives, like the walls that encircle their town houses, impervious to the curious excursive eye; they have not been painted by themselves, because, secondly, the power of depicting graphically what they are in the daily habit of seeing, is not in them, not having been cultivated by study and practice; and thirdly, not being stimulated to literary activity by that Muse of the imperative mood, Necessity, they find more pleasure in having these things brought under their eyes, results of the mental toil and culture of others.

There is a vulgar error uppermost in the minds of some men, which is this: the world of fashion has not hitherto been painted with effect, for the same reason that nobody thinks it worth while to describe a ditch; both being, in the estimation of these persons, stagnant perfumed entities, rich in peculiarly useless vegetation, abounding in vermin and animalculae, and diffusing a contagious effluvia over the surface of society. This error, like many other errors, is an excuse for ignorance, and only shows the innate uncharitableness of some men; they run down, like other sceptics, what they do not know and cannot understand, nor will they believe there can be any good therein; forgetting, knaves and fools as they are, that the aristocratic classes are human beings, with the same intermingled elements of good and ill as themselves, modified by accidental circumstances, which, as the Parliamentary people say, they cannot control, and possessing at least as much of the ordinary good principles and feelings of our common nature, as any other class of our graduated social scale.

Can any thing be more illiberal, more ignorant, more stupid, than for a low man to turn leveller, because he is a low man, and attack, without ceremony and without mercy, people of whom he can by any possibility know no more than the worst side, that is to say, the _outside_: and whom he considers, like the gilt gingerbread he sees in his biennial visit to Greenwich Fair, as vastly fine, but exceedingly unwholesome?

The truth is, fashionable life has been exalted above its just and proper level, and depressed below it, by the slaverers and the vituperaters, solely because they cannot get at it; the former are idolatrous from hope, the latter devilish in despair; and the result we are familiar with, in caricatures portraying this sort of life alternately as a Heaven and a Hell.

The peculiarities of fashionable life are, it is true, few, but they are characteristic, and we now proceed to–

_You_ proceed to–! Now, my good fellow, tell us, will you, how such a person as you, a garreteer, confessing to dining upon the heel of a twopenny loaf and half an onion; making no secret of running up beer scores at public houses, when they will trust you; retailing your nasty scenes of low life, creatures dying in hospitals, work-house funerals, the adventures of street apple-women, and matters and things incomprehensible to genteel families like ourselves living in Russell Square; an outlaw, living from tavern to tavern, from pot-house to pot-house, without name, residence, or station; a mere fellow, subsisting on the misplaced indulgence of an undiscerning public, and one who, if gentlemen and ladies (like ourselves) would only condescend to write, would find his appropriate circle in a work-house, unless he escaped it by dying in an hospital. _You_ proceed to—-! What, in the name of gentility, can _you_ know of fashionable life?

Sir, or madam, have mercy, or at least have manners. How astonished you will be–we say, how astonished you _will_ be–if in the fulness of time our title shall dignify the title-page; when it might appear, that by the pen of a peer these papers were made apparent; when, instead of the sort of person you have chosen to imagine your caterer for the good things of fashionable life in London, you may discern to your dismay that a lord–a real lord, alive and kicking, has made a Bude-light of himself, illuminating the shadows of your ignorance: you may read a preparatory memoir, informing you how these ideas of ours were collected in a coach and four, and transmitted to paper in a study overlooking the Green Park; with paper velvet-like, and golden pen ruby-headed, upon rose-wood desk inlaid with ivory, you may find that these essays have been transcribed: you will grovel, you will slaver, you will rub your nose in the pebbles, like a salmon at spawning-time, when this very immortal work shall come out, clothed in purple morocco, our arms emblazoned on the covers, and coroneted on the back, after the manner of publication of the works of royal and noble authors. Then, what running to Debrett for our genealogy, our connexions, our _set_, and all that customary inquisition of the affairs of the great which makes the delight of the little: the “Book of Beauty,” and “Pictures of the Nobility,” will be ransacked, of course, for verses by our lordship, or portraits of our lordship’s ladyship, or of the ladies Exquisitina or Nonsuchina, daughters of our lordship, with slavering verses by intolerable poets; then it will be discovered, and the discovery duly recorded, that our lordship’s eldest son, Viscount Ne’er-do-weel, and the Honourable Mr Nogo, are pursuing cricket and pie-crust (commonly called their _studies_) at Eton or Harrow, but are expected at our lordship’s seat in Some-Shire for their holidays: then we will be proposed, seconded, and elected, like other noblemen equally undistinguished in the world of science, a fellow of the Royal Society and a fellow of the Society of Arts–and for the same good reason, because we may be a lord; and you, and all the world, will say it was very proper that I should have been elected, though knowing no more of science than that acoustics (if we mistake not) means a pump; or of arts, than that calico-printing and letterpress printing are, somehow or other, not exactly one and the same thing.

Then, sir, we shall hear no more of the bread and cheese and onions, pot-house scores, and low company, with which you have so unceremoniously taxed our lordship. You will drive your jumped-up coach, with your awkward wives and dowdy daughters, and your tawdry liveries, all the way from Russell Square to the Green Park, to catch the chance of a glimpse of our lordship. You find out from our lordship’s footman that our lordship wears a particular collar to his coat, and you will move heaven and earth to find out our lordship’s tailor. When you apply to him to make a coat in our lordship’s style, our tailor, who sees at a glance that you are not fit to be his customer, will tell you with an air, that he “declines to execute.”

You will discover, from the same authority, that our lordship smokes a particular tobacco, to be had only at a particular shop; and forthwith even real Havannah stinks in your nostrils, and you apply to Pontet. Pontet gives you a tobacco, (_not_ our tobacco,) and you go away in the innocent consciousness of smoking the exclusive weed of a man of fashion.

Prithee, fool, mind thy own business, and stick to thy shop or thy station, whatever it may be; to which while thou stickest, thou must be respectable, but which when thou wouldst quit, desperately to seize the hem of our lordship’s garment, thou becomest the laughing-stock of us and of our class, and we cannot choose but despise thee thoroughly.

When we look at the shelves of a circulating library, groaning beneath that generally despicable class of volumes called fashionable novels, when we take up, only to lay down in disgust, “NOTORIETY, OR FASHIONABLES UNVEILED,” “PAVILION, OR A MONTH AT BRIGHTON,” “MEMOIRS OF A PEERESS,” “MARRIAGE IN HIGH LIFE,” “ALMACK S REVISITED,” or some such stuff, we cannot but infer, that it is not the vices or absurdities of what is ignorantly called fashionable life that creates this never-ceasing demand for trash and nonsense, but rather a morbid appetite for vapidity and small-talk, a lady’s-maid’s curiosity of the secrets of her betters, a servile love of imitating what is unworthy imitation, and of following that which is not worth following, simply because it is supposed that these ridiculous caricatures represent the real life of

“The twice ten thousand for whom earth was made,”

When we recollect, to our shame, that not only these swarms of trashy volumes, which penetrate even into the back-slums, and may be seen unfolded in the paper-patched windows of eighteen-penny milliners in the lowest quarters of our metropolis, find a never-failing succession of ravenous readers, but that newspapers–Sunday newspapers, forsooth–devoted to smutty epigrams, low abuse, vile insinuations, and openly indecent allusion to the connexions, habits of life, and even personal appearance, of fashionable and _pseudo_-fashionable people, receive a disgraceful and dangerous support; we must come to the conclusion, that in this, as in all other merchandize, the demand creates the supply, and that it is among the lower orders of the middle classes that these caricaturers by profession of the upper, their slanderers and their eulogists, find sympathy and encouragement.

There is a sort of “hero-worship,” as Mr Carlyle would term it, attaching to the most absurd, ridiculous, and even vicious doings of people who _might be_ fashionable; a counter-jumper, barber’s clerk, medical student, or tailor’s apprentice, adores the memory of that great man whom we are happy to be able to style the _late_ “markis.” The _pavé_ of the Haymarket he considers classic ground, and the “Waterford Arms” a most select wine-bibbing establishment. If he does not break a dozen bells or wrench three or four brace of knockers in the season, this penny-cigar-smoking creature hardly thinks he attains to his fractional proportion of humanity.

This may be relied on, that the great inducement of young scapegraces of fashion to the committal of their diurnal and nocturnal outrages upon propriety, is the mischievous gratification they derive from the awkward imitation of their inferiors; and the most effectual method of bringing these aristocratic pranks into disrepute, will be, to treat them as merely vulgar outrages, and punish the perpetrators accordingly.

If, indeed, the small-fry of society would set themselves to imitate all that is worthy imitation in the better sort of their betters, following good examples instead of bad, it would be something to talk of. But since it is not to be expected that they will pursue virtue, piety, good sense, and good breeding for their own sakes, and as these attributes, when they exist in fashionable life–and they _do_ exist among the most fashionable of fashionable people–are in their nature retiring and unobtrusive, while all that is bad in good society is pushed into notoriety, for the example of the mob, we must take pains to point out at some length the difference between really “good society” and what is vulgarly called good society; that is, in fact, the difference between good and bad, and to mark the distinguishing characteristics of the truly fashionable and the vulgarly fashionable man, as wide and deep as is the gulf between a gent and a gentleman.

If the fashionable world be truly represented, as it is not, in the swarms of so-called fashionable novels, gleaned from the sloppy conversation of footmen’s ordinaries, or the retail tittle-tattle of lady’s-maids in waiting at the registry-offices, how little is it to the credit of the mass of the reading public that they peruse such stuff; or would it be perused at all, but for that vulgar love, so prevalent about town, of imitation of the Lady Fannys and Lady Mary Dollymops, their _nonchalance_, their insipidity, their studied ease, and their affectation of being unaffected?

We therefore desire, before we begin, that our young lady readers, our jury of maidens, will do us the favour to dismiss from their recollection all that they may have heard and read of the fashionable world; that they will not believe the exclusives to be as dull as so many bottles of stale small-beer, or as lively as Seltzer water from the spring, with a dash of brandy in it; that they will forget that there is, in fashionable life, any thing worthy their imitation or adoption, unless it should otherwise appear by the evidence; and that they will not once take up a professedly fashionable novel till they have carefully studied and slept upon what we are going to say.

The word “world” is a comprehensive term, and should be taken in all its relations with great latitude, whether with adjectives or without. For example, the “fashionable world” is far from being an integral quantity, or capable of being reasoned upon as if it were as definite in its relations and proportions as an equilateral triangle. It contains within itself a complete gradation from fashionable excellence to fashionable villany; from fashionable virtue to fashionable vice; fashionable ladies and gentlemen, fashionable pimps, demireps, and profligates. It must be individualized if we wish to treat it fairly, as judges try prisoners severally, not in a lump. But our impressions of the fashionable world, as a class, must be taken from the general preponderating characteristics of good or evil of the whole.

Hast ever been, reader, to Bartlemy fair? If you have, you may have seen–nay, you _must_ have seen–Richardson’s immortal show. You must have seen a tall platform in front of the migratory edifice, and on that platform you must have delighted your visual orb with the clown, the pantaloon, the harlequin, the dancing ladies, the walking dandy, the king with his crown, the queen in her rabbit-skin robes, the smock-frocked countryman, the top-booted jockey, and all the _dramatis personæ_ of the performance that every moment of every day, during every fair, is for ever “going to begin.” You may hardly have observed, sliding quietly through all this tinselled and spangled poverty, a plain carpenter-like man, in a decent suit, who looks as if he had never seen a performance in the whole course of his life, and as if he never cared to see one. This man is, or rather was, the late Mr Richardson, who died worth thirty thousand pounds, and all the clowns, harlequins, pantaloons, dancing ladies, walking dandies, kings with their crowns, and queens in their rabbit-skins, and the rest, are poor pinch-bellied devils, caricaturing humanity for some twelve or fourteen shillings a-week, finding their own paint and frippery. Now, whenever you wish to form a correct idea of the two great classes of fashionable life, call to your remembrance the gentlemen who, like the late lamented Mr Richardson, are proprietors of shows, and the berouged, bedraggled creatures who exhibit on the platform outside for their living.

To be sure, there may be a little difference in names. The proprietors of the show may be dukes, and earls, and marquisses, and so forth. The mountebanks outside may be called counts, chevaliers, knights of the order of the golden fleece, or of the thimble, or of Malta. But the realities are the same. Fashionable life is a show, truly fashionable people are the proprietors, who are never prominently or ridiculously seen therein; and these several orders of over dressed, under-fed, empty-pocketed mountebanks, are the people put on the platform outside, to astonish the eyes and ears of the groundlings.

The _physique_ of the true fashionable is peculiar and characteristic. From the toe of his boot to the crown of his hat, there is that unostentatious, undefinable something about him distinctive of his social position. Professional men, every body knows, have an expression common to their profession. A purblind cyclops could never mistake the expression of an Independent preacher, an universal free-black-nigger Baptist minister, or a Jesuit. Every body knows an infantry officer, with his “eyes right” physiognomy, his odious black-stock, and his habit of treading on his heels, and can distinguish him from the cavalry man, straddling like a gander at a pond side. Your medical doctor has an obsequious, mealy-mouthed, hope-I-see-you-better face, and carries his hands as if he had just taken his fingers from a poultice; while your lawyer is recognised at once by his perking, conceited, cross-examination phiz, the exact counterpart to the expression of an over-indulged jackdaw.

The gentleman of fashion has nothing in common with the professional gentleman, or any other. He stands alone, “like Adam’s recollection of his fall.” He has an air, it is true, but his air is not a breeze, like the air of a pretender to fashion. The air of the man of fashion is a zephyr.

The expression of the man of fashion is the more difficult to reduce to words, in that it is mostly negative. It is easier to say what this expression is not, than what it is. We can only say, that there is nothing professionally distinctive about it. It is the expression of a man perfectly at ease in his position, and so well aware that he is so, that he does not _seem_ to be aware of it. An absence of all straining after effect; a solicitude rather to avoid than to court observation. If there is any thing positively indicative in his expression, by which I include his manner, it is that of a good-humoured indifference, an inoffensive, unobtrusive stoicism. He would seem to have adopted the excellent advice given by the Apostle to the Thessalonians–“STUDY TO BE QUIET.” This is his rule of life, and he acts upon it upon great and small occasions. He only desires that you will have the goodness to let him alone. If he is cheated by a man of his own _set_, (for he knows that he is cheated, as a matter of course, by tradespeople,) he _cuts_ the fellow coolly. If he is insulted, he coolly calls out his man. He falls in love with coolness, marries coolly, and leads a cool connubial life. Whether he wins or loses, whatever happens to disturb the world or himself, he takes coolly, and if he has an aspiration on earth, it is that he may be cool and comfortable.

His philosophy is the mingled Stoical and Epicurean. With him life is a trifle to be gracefully played with–a “froward child, to be humoured till it falls asleep, and all is over.” His indifference is imputed to him as a crime; but it should not be forgotten that, if there be any fault at all in this indifference, it is the fault of his position. Fortune is to blame, not he, for setting up a man with no other enemy than time, and no other business than amusement. We do not say that this is the true end of life; we do not enter into the enquiry, which might carry us to leeward of our subject, whether men who have the means of enjoying life, do not show the truest wisdom in pursuing enjoyment. We only know that most men similarly circumstanced would act similarly; and whether there is most vice or greatest misery in the idleness of fashionable life, or in the business of the busy world, _as it is carried on in our time_, I leave to those who have experience and leisure to determine.

Those who wish to study the subject further, may read at their leisure the pleasant paper in which an agreeable writer, Fontenelle, describes Aristotle and Anacreon contending for the prize of wisdom; and may decide with the essayist, giving the prize to the generous old toper of Scios, as we should have done, or to the beetlebrowed Reviewer, according to their humour.

The constitutional and habitual indifference of the man of fashion is generally supposed by those who do not know it, to be an effect of pride; but it is, generally speaking, a symptom of something more akin to humility–of timidity, in short. It is part of his system to avoid contact, save with his fellows; and with those who are not his fellows, or of his _set_, he is altogether out of his element. Therefore, as he is afraid of giving, and incapable of taking offence, he entrenches himself in the unstudied reserve which he finds by experience renders his individuality least assailable, exactly as he surrounds his ornamental woods, his shrubberies, and his parterres with fences, not the less strong because they are invisible.

With adventurers, people who are treading upon his kibes, equivocal pretenders who are galling his heel, he is hopelessly exclusive, preserving towards them an armed neutrality. His friendship is extended to his equals, and to his equals alone: with these his intercourse is free and unrestrained. These alone see the English man of fashion as he really exists, denuded of that armour of reserve with which he goes clothed _cap-à-pie_ in public. Towards others he is distantly polite; and with such nice tact does he blend a distant manner with politeness, that you cannot carp at the former, or catch at the latter. He lets you see that you cannot be _one of them_, but in such a way that you may not quarrel with the manner in which he conveys his intimation.

With his inferior he will not be intimate, nor towards him will he be “proudly condescending.” He declines to forget himself so far as for a moment to put you on a level with him; but he will not (as _you_ too often do) degrade you by sinking you below your own level. He holds the even tenor of his way whether you trot, spaniel-like, at his heels or no; nor will he once turn round to bestow upon you either cuffs or caresses.

Although by leisure, education, and intelligence, he is qualified to converse with men of genius, he prefers conversing with them through the medium of their works. He is aware that the days of subscriptions, and “striking for dedications,” are past and gone, and that the public have taken the place of the patron. He knows that the habits, employments, and in most instances the circumstances, of intellectual men preclude their mingling familiarly in fashionable circles, on equal terms, and that upon no other terms will they consent to be met. He neither patronizes nor neglects them, but is content to stand in the relation towards them of one of the reading public.

His indifference to the fate and fortunes of deserving men has been, among the vulgar, a common imputation upon the man of fashion, of which class most frequently is the man of power. He is accused of lavishing his favours only upon the toady and the tuft-hunter, and leaving men of independent mind to the caprice of fortune.

This complaint comes with a very bad grace from men who would be thought independent. The man who wants the patronage of the great, must go in search of it, whether he call himself independent or no. Men in power are accustomed to be met more than half way; and the independent man, whether he have merit or no, who expects people of rank to come in search of him, and to hunt him out of the obscurity of his garret, will find himself very much mistaken.

None are truly independent while in pursuit of objects which are attainable only by the pleasure of another. The truly independent are those who not only do not solicit favours, but those who do not want them: and there is seen too often, among needy and struggling men of merit, an irritable pride, a “_fierté_,” arising not from a sense of independence, but a consciousness of neglect; and many men boast of the pleasure of an independent life, as many ladies exalt the delights of single blessedness, only because they have never had the offer of changing their condition.

It is quite as unfair, too, to accuse people of condition of bestowing all their favours upon toadies, tuft-hunters, and bear-leaders. The truth is, as they are not in the habit of going into the highways to lookout for persons whereupon to confer obligations, they are obliged to take up with such as offer themselves to their notice. While the man of independence is dreaming away his existence over books and papers in his closet, and cursing the barbarism of the age that does not take him by the hand, and set him up in high places, the man of the world is pushing his fortune in a worldly way, and is content not to talk of independence until he has secured it. The hard words, tuft-hunter, toady, and so forth, are applied, it may be, oftener than they are deserved: led-captain is a term of frequent reproach, but it must always be considered that that sort of talent will be chiefly noticed and rewarded which is in demand in certain circles; fashionable people desire neither to be deafened with wit, nor bewildered with philosophy, nor oppressed with learning; their business, to which they have been brought up, is to glide smoothly through life, and their patronage is chiefly extended to those who offer to relieve them of its petty cares and small annoyances, which men of solid and sterling merit are not able, and, if they were able, are not willing to do.

A wealthy cit has as little regard for men of letters as a fashionable, nor has he the same tact of concealing his indifference; the well-bred man of fashion, who is alone truly the man of fashion, studies _tact_ above all things, and his tact prevents him ever regarding men of mind with any thing approaching contempt.

His friendly offices, which his equals never require, he generally bestows upon men whose position in society is marked and permanent, and who never can by any possibility compete with him; to these, if they be _safe_–that is, if they keep quiet, and are content to enjoy a sort of unpretending familiarity, without boasting or pluming themselves upon their position, he does the kindest and most liberal things, in the kindest and most liberal way; in a way that no other man than one truly fashionable can accomplish. He confers benefits with an affable and disinterested air, which, while it increases the burden of obligation, seems to demand no acknowledgement; he bestows without seeming to know that he is bestowing, and knowing enough of human nature to be aware that to the deserving, obligations have something humiliating, he wishes to make the burden as light as possible.

One of the most amiable qualities about the aristocracy is their liberality and kindness to their dependents; you seldom or never hear any one who has served them faithfully and long having reason to complain. To do something for these people is part of their system, and not to see them neglected or in want, a point of honour. This kindly feeling they extend, as far as their power or influence extends–to humble friends, electioneering partizans, poor connexions. They are always kind and considerate, provided only these persons possess that unpresuming quietude of manner, which makes up a considerable part of that character they delight in, and which they call _safe_. If you introduce to one of these people of fashion, any man who may have an object in view, the first enquiry is, what are his claims–that is, what equivalent has he given, or can he give, for the favours he expects? for it is with the high, as with the low world, nothing for nothing; and secondly, you must be prepared to answer for his _safety_, so that, whatever may be said or done, nothing may, by any possibility, leak out of the _protegé_. This accounts for so many perfumed, be-wigged, purblind, silky fellows being taken in and “done for” by the great; and although these fellows dress like fools, and look like fools, depend on’t, they are not the fools you take them for: they are aware, that nothing so effectually throws off their guard and disarms the great, as a well-carried affectation of gentlemanly effeminacy, and “a still small voice, like a woman’s.” We happen to know that some of these people, for this very delicacy of air and manner picked out of the dirt, and carried into high places, who are _au naturel_, as we may say, when they go home, and have laid aside the wigs, silk waistcoats, quizzing-glasses, and the rest of their disguise, as honest, friendly, and unaffected fellows, as are in the world–only they do not desire that any body should say so.

Of a man with a stiff back, black beard, short hair, loud voice, and buff waistcoat, people of fashion, on the contrary, stand in continual awe; his tongue is to them a rattlesnake’s tail wagging only as a signal for them to get out of his way; they quiver like an aspen at the sound of his voice, and for their own particular, would rather hear the sharpening of a saw: if such a one courts their acquaintance, they are hopelessly, despairingly polite; if, as is usual, he then waxes insolent, and, as the fast fellows would call it, _slangs_ them, they are delighted with the opportunity of displaying that placid indifference upon which they pride themselves as one of their exclusive accomplishments.

Another peculiarity of truly fashionable people is, that they never say or do spiteful, or vindictive things; revenge and spite they consider _low_, plebeian, and vulgar; besides, vindictiveness of any kind disturbs their equanimity, puts them out of their way, and levels them with the people who may have injured or annoyed them; they cannot endure jaundice of body or mind, and equally abhor any thing that sticks either in the gall, bladder, or “gizzard.” Their defensive armour, than which none can be less penetrable, is equanimity; their weapons, unstudied indifference and dignified neglect.

Towards their own “order,” they are invariably consistent in kindness and consideration; they stand by, and stand to, one another with a paternal amity, which is only _outwardly_ disturbed by politics; embarrassment or necessity effaces conventional distinctions of politics, and Whig or Tory is always ready to provide for “honest Jack,” or “do something” for “poor Fred.” But we are not to consider their exertions in this way, accompanied with any self-sacrifice or self-denial; holding in their own hands the means of providing for their friends or relatives, they usually so contrive matters that they lose nothing by it.

To the peculiar quietude of manner, and characteristic gentleness of persons of fashion, in their intercourse with each other, we have many concurring testimonies of impartial observers: of these, the most just at once, and eloquent, that we remember to have read, is that contained in an ever-memorable letter from a Mr Tomkins to a Mrs Jenkins, attributed (with what justice, deponent knoweth not) to a noble and learned lord, supreme in natural theology and excitability, remarkable for versatile nose and talents, and distinguished for chequered fortunes, and “inexpressibles” to match. This learned lord, or Tomkins aforesaid, or whoever may have been the inditer of the epistle _ad_ Jenkins, is eloquent exceedingly upon the _narcotine_ of fashionable life: declares that its soothing influences were unequalled by vapour of purest mundungus, or acetate of morphia, or even pill of opium, blended intimately with glass of _eau-de-vie_. Tomkins is quite right: no man, admitted by whatever door, or ascending by whatever staircase, to the _salons_ of the great, fails to be impressed with the idea that there exists among what the _Post_ calls the “gay and fastidious _habitués_” of the place, every disposition to place him perfectly at his ease: and, if he cannot be at ease, the fault is in him, not in his entertainers. To a great _nisi prius_ lawyer, accustomed during a long life to the discrimination of character in the way of his profession, such a contrast as is presented by the repose and unobtrusive _politesse_ of high life, compared with the _brusquerie_ of the world below, must have been doubly delightful; and we are glad to have upon record the just and eloquent testimony to its existence and social value from so eloquent a pen.

The world without is apt to confound reserve and distance among the great, with pride and insensibility: even those who, admitted by sufferance to fashionable circles, behold the peculiar charm of high life through a wintry atmosphere: the free and unrestrained converse of men of fashion with their equals, none but themselves can know, and none but themselves describe.

Their habit of living, among themselves, is generally simple, and devoid of extravagance or ostentation: they have the best of every thing it is true, but then they have all the advantages of unbounded competition. and unlimited credit: they pay when they think proper, but no tradesman ever dares venture to ask them for money: such as have the bad taste to “dun” are “done:” the patient and long-suffering find their money “after many days.” Their amusements among themselves are inexpensive, almost to meanness: the subscription to Almacks, that paradise of exclusives, and envy of the excluded, amounts to not more than half a-guinea a ball, if so much: a stall at the opera costs a young man of fashion, for the season, forty, fifty, or sixty pounds, according to position: for this he is entitled to an ivory ticket, which, when he does not feel inclined to go himself, he can transfer for the evening to another. If he have the misfortune to be a younger brother, many little windfalls come to his share, the results of his relationship. He has an apartment at his elder brother’s town-house, or he resides with the dowager, or with a maiden aunt; somebody keeps his cab horse, and some other body keeps the saddle-horse that Lady Mary or Jack Somebody gave him; his “tiger” has the run of all his friends’ kitchens as a matter of course, and, as a matter of course, himself has two or three invitations a-day during the season; though, like other poor men, he prefers dining independently at his club. He is on very good terms with the “girls” of his _set_, and is allowed a little innocent flirtation, because he is known to have _tact_ enough not to compromise himself or them by falling in love, or paying “ridiculous” addresses: although a little “fast” perhaps, he is perfectly _safe_, and is on good terms with every body except his eldest brother: he is the idol of countesses-dowager, who hand him a few hundreds whenever he is short, pay his debts for him–give him good advice, and call him “Freddy dear:” in short, although he has nothing, excepting his boot-hooks, that he can possibly call his own, he is a merry, good-natured, honest, harmless fellow, a favourite with every body, and envied for his light-heartedness even by his more fortunate elder brother.

In a book published some five-and-thirty years ago, is an account of the then prevailing method of killing a fashionable day: as the pursuit of inanity and folly has a tedious sameness about it, this picture will answer, with a few variations, for the man of fashion of to-day.

“About twelve, he (the man of fashion) rises, lolls upon a sofa, skims the newspaper, and curses its stupidity. He is particularly angry if he does not find in it a paragraph which he sent to the agent of a fashionable newspaper, generally the _Morning Post_, who lives by procuring such sort of intelligence, containing an account of his having dined at some titled man’s table the day before, with whom, if he has no rank himself, he is particularly anxious to mingle. After swallowing several cups of tea and cocoa, and slices of foreign sausages and fowls, he assumes his riding coat, and sallies out to his stables to inspect his horses, and chat with his coachman and grooms.

“Having finished this review and audience, he orders his curricle, and, followed by a couple of grooms, he dashes through most of the principal streets, and calls upon the most celebrated coach and harness makers; at the latter he is shown several new bits for his approbation. He then proceeds to his breeches-maker, thence to Tattersall’s, where he is sure to meet a great number of friends, with whom he kills another hour discussing the merits of the different animals he meets with there. These important duties being done, he strolls to an exhibition, or to a print-shop, and looks over a portfolio of caricatures; thence he keeps on moving to a fashionable hotel, to take white spruce beer(!) and sandwiches; here, after arranging his parties for the evening, be returns home to dress. After looking over the cards which have been left for him, he proceeds to his _toilette_ with his valet, and is dressed about seven, when his chariot is at the door, and he drives either to some family to dinner, or to the hotel he visited in the morning, when he perhaps formed a party of four. At ten o’clock he enters the Opera, and like a butterfly moves from box to box; thence behind the scenes; after which he proceeds to one or two routs, or some fashionable gaming-house, and about four is in bed, to recruit himself for a repetition of the same course the next day.

“These loungers have a phraseology peculiar to themselves. A short time since, if one of them was asked how he was, the answer would have been, ‘we are in _force_ to-day;’ if his wife was enquired after, ‘she is in high preservation;’ if asked how often he had been at the opera, ‘it is my _second_ opera.’ They also say, perhaps, speaking of some illustrious hero, ‘he’s a fine brave fellow, but he ties his handkerchief most shockingly.’ I also remember being one day in Hyde Park, when a gentleman rode up to one of these loungers, and after exchanging salutations, the former said to the latter, I wish much to have the pleasure of seeing you–are you engaged next Wednesday? Upon which the other turned round to a little half starved groom, and said, ‘John, am I engaged next Wednesday?’

“The women of fashion,” observes this writer, “are just as great and as insipid idlers, in their way, as are the male triflers. They seldom walk in the streets, but are almost always cooped up in their carriages, driving about the streets, and leaving their cards at the houses of their friends, whom they never think of seeing, although they may be at home at the time; thence they proceed to the most expensive jewellers, where they order a piece of plate or a trinket; thence to some fashionable milliner.”

This picture is not altogether like, but some of the features may certainly be easily reorganized; if we substitute sherry, a chop, and a club in Pall-Mall, for white spruce beer, sandwiches, and a tavern; replacing the curricle and footman by a cab and tiger, the remainder, with trivial alterations, may stand good of the fashionable idler of to-day, as of him of the last century.

In childhood, nay, even in infancy, for all I can see to the contrary, the _physique_ of persons of fashion is sufficiently distinctive and characteristic of the class. If you walk in the parks and gardens, and notice these young thoroughbreds exercising under the care of their nurses, their tutors, and their nursery governesses, you will be perfectly convinced that they are as easily to be distinguished in all their points and paces from the children of the _mobility_, as is a well-blooded Arabian from a Suffolk punch.

The small oval head, clustered with _rippling_ ringlets, as Alfred Jennyson calls them; the clear laughing eye, the long fair neck, the porcelain skin, warmed with the tenderest tinge of pink, so transparent withal that you almost see the animal spirit careering within; the _drooping_ shoulder, the rounded bust, clean limbs, well-turned ankle, fine almost to a fault, the light springy step, the graceful easy carriage, the absence of sheepishness or shyness, an air cheerful without noise, a manner playful without rudeness, and you have the true son or daughter of the Englishman of fashion.

Then, how characteristic of the class of which these children are the rising hope, is the taste displayed in their dress; they are attired with costly simplicity; or, if a fond mamma indulges in any little extravagance of childish costume, you see that it is the extravagance of taste; there is no tawdriness, no over-dressing, no little ones in masquerade, they dress appropriately, and, at the same time, distinctively.

Pretty souls! Many a time and oft have we wandered forth of the turbulent town, less to brace our unstrung nerves by the elastic air–less to bathe our wearied eyes in the green light of earth’s bosom, than to drive away sad thoughts in the contemplation of your innocent gambols; with our stick; delight we to launch your mimic barks from the sandy shores of Serpentine; with you, glad are we to make haste, expecting the fastest sailer on the further shore; with you, we exult, once more a boy, in the speed of our trim-built favourite.

We love the old Newfoundland dog, ay, and the old footman, as much as you do, and could hang like you about both their necks; we wish you would not think us too big a boy to “stop” for you at single-wicket; imaginary hoops we trundle in your gleesome train; like you, we have a decided aversion to “taw,” considering it not young-gentleman-like; we, too, forgetting that the governess is single and two-and-thirty, wonder on earth what _can_ make governess so cross; we love you, when we see you hand in hand squiring your little sister, saluting your little sister’s little friends, carrying their little parasols, and helping them over little stony places, like little gentlemen. Happy, happy dogs! we envy neither your birth nor the fortune that awaits you, nor repine we that our fate condemns us to tug the unremitting oar against that tide of fortune upon which, with easy sail, you will float lightly down to death; the whole heart, the buoyant spirit, the conscience yet unstung by mute reproach of sin; these things we envy you–not the things so mean a world can give, but the things which, though it cannot give, soon–alas, how soon–it takes away!

Contrast these children with the children of Mr Deputy Stubbs of the ward of Farringdon Within, or common Councillor Muggs of Bassishaw; they really do not look like animals of the same species.

The rising Stubbses and Muggses have heads shaped like a China orange, croppy hair, chubby chins, chubby cheeks, and blazing red and chubby noses–short, pursy, apoplectic necks, like their fathers–squab, four-square figures, mounted upon turned legs, with measly skins; so that, taken altogether, they are exceedingly offensive and disagreeable. Then they eat, these young, Stubbses and Muggses, how they _do_ eat! then they are dressed, how they _are_ dressed! five different tartans, four colours in velvet, seven sorts of ribbons, and a woolpack of fleecy hosiery, as if there wasn’t another Stubbs or Muggs in existence; then how they annoy and infest, with bad manners and noise, the deputies and common-councilmen who visit at Stubbses and Muggses; how the maids “drat them” all day long, and how Mrs Stubbs and Mrs Muggs _hate_ Mr Sucklethumb, the butterman, because he never “notices the child.”

Another extraordinary phenomenon you cannot fail to observe in the children of the aristocracy; they seem to skip over the equivocal period, the neutral ground of human life, and emerge from the chrysaloid state of childhood, into the full and perfect _imago_ of little lords and gentlemen, and little ladies, without any of those intermediate conditions of laddism, hobble-de-hoyism, or bread-and-butterishness, so prominently characteristic of the approaching puberty of the rest of the rising generation. Your Eton boy is not a boy, he is a young gentleman; your Lady Louisa is not a girl, she is only not yet “come out;” how to account for the peculiarity I know not, except the knowledge of the fact, that attention to the _petites morales_ forms so great a part of the education of our rising aristocracy, and is considered so vitally important to their proper carriage, as well in their _set_ as out of it, that their children are as far advanced in this particular at fifteen, as the children of middling people at twenty-five. The petticoat-string by which the youth of the non-fashionable class is tied to their mother, is a ligature not in use among the fashionable world; from the earliest period professional persons are employed in their education, and the _mother_ never shows in the matter. Whether this, or any other peculiarity of the class, be an advantage or a disadvantage, natural or unnatural, right or wrong, it is not for the writer to say; he only points out what he has observed; and if he has failed to state it properly, let him be properly corrected.

Our aristocratic youth we take the liberty to classify, as they do coaches, of which they are so passionately fond, into

1. FAST,

2. SLOW.

The fast youths have several degrees of swiftness, from the railway pace, down through imperceptible gradations, to ten miles an hour, at which rate of going the fast fellows end, and the slow fellows begin.

Of these last there are also many varieties, from the tandem and tax-cart down to the waggon and dog-truck; and it cannot be denied, that as regards the former more especially, there is a great similarity between the youths themselves and the vehicles they govern; they go very fast, don’t know what they are driving at, are propelled in any direction by much more sagacious animals than themselves, and are usually empty inside. The fast fellows are divided, moreover, into the occasional and permanently fast; and first of the occasional fast fellows:–

These form a very considerable proportion of our fashionable youth, and combine the gentleman with a dash of the _petit-maitre_, overlaying a naturally good disposition with a surface of scampishness, which, however, they lay down when they marry, and thenceforward they belong altogether to the slow school.

The permanently fast fellows deserve a more detailed notice, since they are always before the police magistrates and the public, in one shape or another; and although often committing themselves, are seldom or never committed.

The members of this class it is who furnish the democratic Sunday papers with a never-ending succession of articles, headed “THE ARISTOCRACY AGAIN,” “BRUTALITY OF THE HIGHER CLASSES,” “DEPRAVITY OF THE NOBBY ONES,” and the like and it is from these fast fellows, unfortunately, that a great many ignorant people draw their conclusions of fashionable life and conversation in general, extending the vices of a few shameless profligates to the entire of the little world, commonly called the great.

The permanently fast fellows, or, as we think their general demeanour entitles them to be called, “Blackguard Nobs,” are a lot of little, scrubby, bad-blooded, groom-like fellows, who have always, even from childhood, been incorrigible, of whom nursery governesses could make nothing, and whose education tutors abandoned in despair; expelled from Eton, rusticated at Cambridge, good for nothing but mischief in boyhood, regularly bred scamps and profligates in youth, and, luckily for mankind, generally worn-out before they attain the wrong side of forty. A stable is their delight, almost their home, and their olfactories are refreshed by nothing so much as by the smell of old litter, to which attar of roses is assafoetida in comparison.

Their knowledge of horses, which they get at second-hand from Field, or some of the other _crack_ veterinaries, is their only pride, and indeed the only thing they imagine any man ought to be proud of; they reverence a fellow who has a good seat in his saddle, and delight in horsemanship, because horsemanship requires no brains; driving a “buggy” in good style is respectable, but “shoving along” a four-in-hand the highest exercise of human intellect, as for Milton and Shakspeare, and such inky-fingered old prigs, who never had a good horse in their lives, they despise such low fellows thoroughly. Their chief companions, or rather, their most intimate friends, are the fellows who hang about livery stables, betting-rooms, race-courses, and hippodromes; crop-eared grooms, _chaunters_, dog-stealers, starveling jockeys, blacklegs, foreign counts, breeders, feeders; these are all “d–d honest fellows,” and the “best fellows in the world,” although they get their living by cheating the fast fellows, who patronize them.

Of money, they know no more than that it is a necessary instrument of their pleasures, and must be got some how or anyhow; accordingly, they are on intimate terms with a species of shark called a bill-discounter, who commits upon them every sort of robbery, under the sanction of the law; and who also is always a “d–d honest fellow.”

They can be sufficiently liberal of their money, whenever they have any, to all who do not want, or who do not deserve it; if a prize-fighter becomes embarrassed in his circumstances, or a jockey is “down upon his luck,” it is quite refreshing to see the madness with which the fast fellows strike for a subscription; an opera-dancer out of an engagement, or an actress in the same interesting condition, provided they are not modest women, have, they think, a claim upon their generosity–and perhaps they have.

They think it ungentlemanly to cheat, or, as they call it, “_stick_” any of their own set, except in matters of horse-flesh; but “sticking” any body out of their own set, especially tradesmen, is considered an excellent joke, and the “sticker” rises several degrees in public estimation.

We should be doing great injustice to the fast fellows if we omitted a brief notice of their accomplishments. Driving is, of course, the chief; and, by long experience and impunity, wonderfully grand exploits are achieved by the fast fellows in this department.

One of the most original is to get into a strong cab, with a very powerful horse, lamps lit, tiger inside, and to go quietly along, keeping a sharp look-out for any night cabman who may be “lobbing,” as the phrase is, off his stand, the moment the “game,” who is generally one part asleep and three parts drunk, is espied, put your horse to full gallop, and, guiding your vehicle with the precision fast fellows alone attain, whip inside the cabwheel, and take it off. The night cab comes down by the run, the night cabman tumbles off, breaking his nose or neck, as it may happen, and you drive off as if the devil kicked you. When you have gone a couple of miles, make a circumbendibus back again to the night-house frequented by your set, and relate the adventure, with the same voice and countenance as a broker quotes the price of stocks; then order a cool bottle of claret with the air of a man who has done a meritorious action!

Another accomplishment, at which not a few of the fast fellows excel, is that of imitating upon a key-bugle various animals, in an especial manner the braying of an ass: when the fast fellows drive down to the Trafalgar at Greenwich, the Toy at Hampton Court, or the Swan at Henley upon Thames, the bugle-player mounts aloft, the rest of the fast fellows keeping a lookout for donkeys; when one is seen, a hideous imitative bray is set up by the man of music, and his quadrupedal brother, attracted by the congenial sound, rushes to the roadside–mutual recognition, with much merriment, is the result.

The fast fellow who does this best, is considered one of the immortals; and we are not without expectation, in due time, of seeing his talent rewarded by a pension.

Breaking bells, twisting knockers, and “knapping” rail-heads, has descended so low of late that the fast fellows are ashamed of it, and have resigned it to the medical students, patriotic young members of Parliament, and others of the imitative classes; but there yet exists, or very lately existed, a collection of these and various other surreptitiously acquired properties, known among the fast fellow by the title of —-‘s Museum, every article being ticketed artistically, and the whole presenting an example of devotion to the cause of science, we believe, without a parallel.

These are a few of the comparatively innocent amusements of the fast fellows; others there are of graver character, which we need not refer to, especially as the fast school is fast wearing itself out, and many of the fast fellows already begin to “put on the drag,” and go at a more reasonable pace.

Their ignorance, with the single exception of horse-flesh, is appalling. Nobody who does not know the fast fellows, would credit that men could by any possibility grow up in such absolute ignorance of whatever a gentleman is expected to know; whatever a gentleman is expected not to know, they have at their tongues’ and fingers’ ends.

Intellectual men, of whatever description, they regard with the most perfect indifference–an indifference too passive for contempt; they affect to wonder, or probably do wonder, what such men are for, or why people sometimes talk about them. Books they find convenient for putting under the legs of barrack-room tables, to bring them to a level, and think they are made of different sizes for that purpose; but no fast fellow was ever yet detected in looking into one of them, to see whether there was any thing inside. Such as have been taught to spell, employ part of the Sunday in deciphering the smutty jokes of the _Satirist_, and pronounce the jokes “d–d good,” and the paper “a d–d honest paper.” If they happen, by any chance, to come into contact with one of the slow school, or any body who has been taught to read, they have a method of silencing his battery, which they think “capital.” If a man should say in their company, that Chaucer was a great poet, one will immediately enquire, “_how much?_” while another wishes to know if Chaucer is entered for the “Derby?” “How much?” is the invariable slang, whenever a man gets the bit out of his mouth, or, in other words, talks of any thing but horses.

There is no novelty in this; it is only a second edition of Dean Swift’s “new-fashioned way of being witty,” which, in his fashionable day, was called “a bite.” “You must ask a bantering question,” he informs Stella, “or tell some damned lie in a serious manner, and then they will answer or speak as if you were in earnest; then cry you, ‘there’s a _bite_.’ I would not have you undervalue this, for it is the constant amusement in court, and every where else among the great people; and I let you know it, in order to have it obtain amongst you, and teach you a new refinement.”

If they accept an invitation from Lord Northampton to go to one of his _soirées_, which they sometimes do for a “lark,” their antics are vastly amusing; they put on grave, philosophic faces, and mimic the _savans_ to the life; if the noble president, thinking he is doing the polite thing, points out to them a poet, for example, or a professor, they have a knack of elevating the shoulders, looking at the man with a pitying air, and whispering the words “_poor beast_,” with a tone and manner quite inimitable. Indeed this is one of the few clever things they do, and on or off the stage we have never seen any thing like it.

If Dickens were to die–an event that, we hope and trust, may not occur these fifty years, the fast fellows would have some such conversation upon the event, as follows:–

A. So, Dickens, I hear, is dead.

B. How much?

C. What’s that?

A. Why, Pickwick, to be sure.

B. Oh! Eh? Pickwick–Moses–Bath coach–_I_ know.

C. Pickwick–near Chippenham? Paul Methven lives there–_I_ know.

A. No–no–I tell you, he’s a man that writes.

B. Is he? He may be. How should I know?

C. Well–it’s a d—-d hard case, that, at the beginning of the season, I should have lost a d—-d good tiger. Has any body got a d—-d small tiger for sale?

As we are in the humour for dialogue, we may as well give a _verbatim_ report of our last interview with Lord—-, who had been a fast fellow in his youth. We encountered him on the sunny side of St James’s Street, the other day, tottering to Brookes’s: although we don’t expect you to believe it, what passed was, as we recollect it, exactly as follows:–

“Well, my Lord, I hope your gout is better?”

“Eh–how are you? Well, I think I _am_ better, d’ye know.”

“Glad to hear it.”

“Thankee–thankee–d’ye know, eh, I’ve changed my doctor?”

“Well, and how d’ye like your new one?”

“Capitally–eh–d’ye know, he’s a clever fellow. Young–eh–but clever–very. D’ye know, eh–he corresponds regularly with–eh–with Sir _Humphrey_ Newton and Sir _Isaac_ Davy!”

* * * * *


[Lord Nithsdale, as is well known, was condemned to death for his participation in the Rebellion of 1715. By the exertions of his true-hearted wife, Winifred, he was enabled to escape from the Tower of London on the night before the morning appointed for his execution. The lady herself–noble soul!–has related, in simple and touching language, in a letter to her sister, the whole circumstances of her lord’s escape. The letter is preserved in the Appendix to “Cromek’s Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song,” page 313 to 329–London, 1810.]

“Farewell to thee, Winifred, dearest and best! Farewell to thee, wife of a courage so high!– Come hither, and nestle again in my breast, Come hither, and kiss me again ere I die!– And when I am laid bleeding and low in the dust, And yield my last breath at a tyrant’s decree, Look up–be resign’d–and the God of the just Will shelter thy fatherless bairnies and thee!”

She wept on his breast, but, ashamed of her tears, She dash’d off the drops that ran warm down her cheek; “Be sorrow for those who have leisure for tears– O pardon thy wife that her soul was so weak! There is hope for us still, and I will not despair, Though cowards and traitors exult at thy fate; I’ll show the oppressors what woman can dare, I’ll show them that love can be stronger than hate!”

Lip to lip, heart to heart, and their fond arms entwined, He has kiss’d her again, and again, and again; “Farewell to thee, Winifred, pride of thy kind, Sole ray in my darkness, sole joy in my pain!” She has gone–he has heard the last sound of her tread; He has caught the last glimpse of her robes at the door;– She has gone, and the joy that her presence had shed, May cheer the sad heart of Lord Nithsdale no more.

And the prisoner pray’d in his dungeon alone, And thought of the morn and its dreadful array, Then rested his head on his pillow of stone, And slumber’d an hour ere the dawning of day. Oh, balm of the Weary! Oh, soother of pain! That still to the sad givest pity and dole; How gently, oh sleep! lay thy wings on his brain, How sweet were thy dreams to his desolate soul!

Once more on his green native braes of the Nith, He pluck’d the wild bracken, a frolicsome boy; He sported his limbs in the waves of the Frith; He trod the green heather in gladness and joy;– On his gallant grey steed to the hunting he rode, In his bonnet a plume, on his bosom a star; He chased the red deer to its mountain abode, And track’d the wild roe to its covert afar.