The Project Gutenberg eBook of Thackerayana: Notes and Anecdotes

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: Thackerayana: Notes and Anecdotes

Compiler: Joseph Grego

Illustrator: William Makepeace Thackeray

Release date: January 2, 2014 [eBook #44563]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Melissa McDaniel and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)


Transcriber's Note:

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation in the original document have been preserved.

On page 204, "couch" should possibly be "conch".

On page 345, the quote should probably read "ut melior vir"...





Illustrated by Hundreds of Sketches



Depicting Humorous Incidents in his School Life, and Favourite Scenes and Characters in the Books of his Every-day Reading







A LARGE portion of the public, and especially that smaller section of the community, the readers of books, will not easily forget the shock, as universal as it was unexpected, which was produced at Christmas, 1863, by the almost incredible intelligence of the death of William Makepeace Thackeray. The mournful news was repeated at many a Christmas table, that he, who had led the simple Colonel Newcome to his solemn and touching end, would write no more. The circumstance was so startling from the suddenness of the great loss which society at large had sustained, that it was some time before people could realise the dismal truth of the report.

It will be easily understood, without elaborating on so saddening a theme, with how much keener a blow this heavy bereavement must have struck the surviving relatives of the great novelist. It does not come within our province to speak of the paralysing effect of such emotion; it is sufficient to recall that Thackeray's death, with its viii overwhelming sorrow, left, in the hour of their trial, his two young daughters deprived of the fatherly active mind which had previously shielded from them the graver responsibilities of life, with the additional anxiety of being forced to act in their own interests at the very time such exertions were peculiarly distracting.

It may be remembered that the author of 'Vanity Fair' had but recently erected, from his own designs, the costly and handsome mansion in which he anticipated passing the mellower years of his life; a dwelling in every respect suited to the high standing of its owner, and, as has been said by a brother writer, 'worthy of one who really represented literature in the great world, and who, planting himself on his books, yet sustained the character of his profession with all the dignity of a gentleman.'

In such a house a portion of Thackeray's fortune might be reasonably invested. To the occupant it promised the enjoyment he was justified in anticipating, and was a solid property to bequeath his descendants when age, in its sober course, should have called him hence. But little more than a year later, to those deadened with the effects of so terrible a bereavement as their loss must have proved when they could realise its fulness, this house must have been a source of desolation. Its oppressive size, its infinitely mournful associations, the hopeful expectations with which it had been erected, the tragic manner in which the one dearest to them had there been stricken down; with all this acting on the sensibilities of unhealed grief, the building must have impressed them with peculiar aversion; and hence it may be concluded that their first ix desire was to leave it. The removal to a house of dimensions more suitable to their requirements involved the sacrifice of those portions of the contents of the larger mansion with which it was considered expedient to dispense; and thus Messrs. Christie, Manson, and Woods announced for sale a selection from the paintings, drawings, part of the interesting collection of curious porcelain, and such various objects of art or furniture as would otherwise have necessitated the continuance of a house as large as that at Palace Green. These valuable objects were accordingly dispersed under the hammer, March 16 and 17, 1864, and on the following day the remainder of Thackeray's library was similarly offered to public competition. To anyone familiar with Thackeray's writings, and more especially with his Lectures and Essays, this collection of books must have been both instructive and fascinating; seeing that they faithfully indicated the course of their owner's readings, and through them might be traced many an allusion or curious fact of contemporaneous manners, which, in the hands of this master of his craft, had been felicitously employed to strengthen the purpose of some passage of his own compositions.

Without converting this introduction into a catalogue of the contents of Thackeray's library it is difficult to particularise the several works found on his book-shelves. It is sufficient to note that all the authorities which have been quoted in his Essays were fitly represented; that such books, in many instances obscure and trivial in themselves, as threw any new or curious light upon persons or things—on the private and individual, as well as the public or political history of men, and of the events or writings to x which their names owe notoriety, of obsolete fashions or of the changing customs of society—were as numerous as the most ardent and dilettanti of Thackeray's admirers could desire.

The present volume is devised to give a notion, necessarily restricted, of certain selections from these works, chiefly chosen with a view of further illustrating the bent of a mind, with the workings of which all who love the great novelist's writings may at once be admitted to the frankest intercourse. It has been truly said that Thackeray was 'too great to conceal anything.' The same candour is extended to his own copies of the books which told of times and company wherein his imagination delighted to dwell; for, pencil in hand, he has recorded the impressions of the moment without reserve, whether whimsical or realistic.

A collection of books of this character is doubly interesting. On the one hand were found the remnants of earlier humourists, the quaint old literary standards which became, in the hands of their owner, materials from which were derived the local colouring of the times concerning which it was his delightful fancy to construct romances, to philosophise, or to record seriously.

On the other hand, the present generation was fitly represented. To most of the writers of his own era it was an honour that a presentation copy of their literary offspring should be found in the library of the foremost author, whose friendship and open-handed kindness to the members of his profession was one of many brilliant traits of a character dignified by innumerable great qualities, and tenderly shaded by instances uncountable of generous xi readiness to confer benefits, and modest reticence to let the fame of his goodness go forth.

Presentation copies from his contemporaries were therefore not scarce; and whether the names of the donors were eminent, or as yet but little heard of, the creatures of their thoughts had been preserved with unvarying respect. The 'Christmas Carol,' that memorable Christmas gift which Thackeray has praised with fervour unusual even to his impetuous good-nature, was one of the books. The copy, doubly interesting from the circumstances both of its authorship and ownership, was inscribed in the well-known hand of that other great novelist of the nineteenth century, 'W. M. Thackeray, from Charles Dickens (whom he made very happy once a long way from home).' Competition was eager to secure this covetable literary memorial, which may one day become historical; it was knocked down at 25l. 10s., and rumour circulated through the press, without foundation, we believe with regret, that it had been secured for the highest personage in the State, whose desire to possess this volume would have been a royal compliment to the community of letters.

Nor were books with histories wanting. George Augustus Sala, in the introduction to his ingenious series of 'Twice Round the Clock,' published in 1862, remarks with diffidence: 'It would be a piece of sorry vanity on my part to imagine that the conception of a Day and Night in London is original. I will tell you how I came to think of the scheme of "Twice Round the Clock." Four years ago, in Paris, my then master in literature, Mr. Charles Dickens, lent me a little thin octavo volume, which I believe had been presented to him by another master of the craft, Mr. xii Thackeray.' A slight resemblance to this opuscule was offered in 'A View of the Transactions of London and Westminster from the Hours of Ten in the Evening till Five in the Morning,' which was secured at Thackeray's sale for forty-four shillings.

Thus, without presuming to any special privileges, we account for the selection of literary curiosities which form settings for the fragments gathered in 'Thackerayana,' The point of interest which rendered this dispersion of certain of Thackeray's books additionally attractive to us may be briefly set forth.

In looking through the pages of odd little volumes, and on the margins and fly-leaves of some of the choicest works, presentation copies or otherwise, it was noticed that pencil or pen-and-ink sketches, of faithful conceptions suggested by the texts, touched in most cases with remarkable neatness and decision, were abundantly dispersed through various series.

It is notorious that their owner's gift of dexterous sketching was marvellous; his rapid facility, in the minds of those critics who knew him intimately, was the one great impediment to any serious advancement in those branches of art which demand a lengthy probationship; and to this may be referred his implied failure, or but partial success, in the art which, to him, was of all cultivated accomplishments the most enticing. The fact has been dwelt on gravely by his friends, and was a source of regret to certain eminent artists best acquainted with his remarkable endowments.

The chance of securing as many of these characteristic designs as was in our power directed the selection of books xiii which came into our possession in consequence of the sale of Thackeray's library; it was found they were richer in these clever pencillings than had been anticipated.

An impulse thus given, the excitement of increasing the little gathering was carried further; many volumes which had been dispersed were traced, or were offered spontaneously when the fact of the collection became known. From books wherein, pencil in hand, passages had been noted with sprightly little vignettes, not unlike the telling etchings which the author of 'Vanity Fair' caused to be inserted in his own published works, we became desirous of following the evidence of this faculty through other channels; seeing we held the Alpha, as it were, inserted in the Charterhouse School books, and the later pencillings, which might enliven any work of the hour indifferently, as it excited the imagination, grotesque or artist-like, as the case might be, of the original reader, whether the book happened to be a modest magazine in paper or an édition de luxe in morocco.

A demand created, the supply, though of necessity limited, was for a time forthcoming. The energy, which fosters a mania for collecting, was aided by one of those unlooked-for chances which sustain such pursuits, and, from such congenial sources as the early companions of the author, sufficient material came into our possession to enable us to trace Thackeray's graphic ambition throughout his career with an approach to consistency, following his efforts in this direction through his school days, in boyish diversions, and among early favourites of fiction; as an undergraduate of Cambridge; on trips to Paris; as a student at Weimar and about Germany; through magazines, xiv to Paris, studying in the Louvre; to Rome, dwelling among artists; through his contributions to 'Fraser's,' and that costly abortive newspaper speculation the 'Constitutional;' through the slashing Bohemian days, to the period of 'Vanity Fair;' through successes, repeated and sustained—Lectures and Essays; through travels at home and abroad—to America, from Cornhill to Grand Cairo, to Scotland, to Ireland, 'Up the Rhine,' Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and wherever Roundabout 'sketches by the way' might present themselves.

The study which had attracted an individual, elicited the sympathy of a larger circle. The many who preserve mementos similar to those dispersed through 'Thackerayana' enlarged on the general interest of the materials, and especially upon the gratification which that part of the public representing Thackeray's admirers would discover in such original memorials of our eminent novelist; and which, from the nature of his gifts, and the almost unique propensity for their exercise, would be impossible in the case of almost any other man of kindred genius.

Selections from the sketches were accordingly produced in facsimile, only such subjects being used as, from their relation to the context, derived sufficient coherence to be generally appreciable.

The writer is aware that many such memorials exist, some of them unquestionably of greater worth in themselves than several that are found in the present gathering; but it is not probable, either from their private nature, the circumstances of their ownership, or from the fact that, in their isolated condition, they do not illustrate any particular stage of their author's progress, that the public will ever become familiar with them. xv

'Thackerayana' is issued with a sense of imperfections; many more finished or pretentious drawings might have been offered, but the illustrations have been culled with a sense of their fitness to the subject in view. It is the intention to present Thackeray in the aspect his ambition preferred—as a sketcher; his pencil and pen bequeath us matter to follow his career; we recognise that delightful gift, a facility for making rapid little pictures on the inspiration of the moment; it is an endless source of pleasure to the person who may exercise this faculty, and treasures up the most abundant and life-like reminiscences for the delectation of others. It will be understood as no implied disparagement of more laboured masterpieces if we observe that the composition of historical works, the conception and execution of chefs-d'œuvre, are grave, lengthy, and systematic operations, not to be lightly intruded on; they involve much time and preparation, many essays, failures, alterations, corrections, much grouping of accessories, posing of models, and setting of lay-figures; they become oppressive after a time, and demand a strain of absorption to accomplish, and an effort of mind to appreciate, which are not to be daily exerted; long intervals are required to recruit after such labours; but the bright, ready croquis of the instant, if not profound, embalms the life that is passing and incessant; the incident too fleeting to be preserved on the canvas, or in a more ambitious walk of the art, lives in the little sketch-book; it is grateful to the hand which jots it down, and has the agreeable result of being able to extend that pleasure to all who may glance therein. If it was one of Thackeray's few fanciful griefs that he was not destined for a painter of the grand order, it doubtless consoled xvi him to find that the happier gift of embodying that abstract creation—an idea—in a few strokes of the pencil was his beyond all question; and this graceful faculty he was accustomed to exercise so industriously, that myriads of examples survive of the originality of his invention as an artist, in addition to the brilliant fancy and sterling truth to be found in his works as an author.



Voyage from India—Touching at St. Helena—School days at the Charterhouse—Early Reminiscences—Sketches in School Books—Boyish Scribblings—Favourite Fictions—Youthful Caricatures—Souvenirs of the Play 1
Early Favourites—The 'Castle of Otranto'—Rollin's 'Ancient History' 18
Thackeray's last visit to the Charterhouse—College days—Pendennis at Cambridge—Sketches of Universities—Sporting subjects—Etchings at Cambridge—Pencillings in old authors—Pictorial Puns—The 'Snob,' a Literary and Scientific Journal—'Timbuctoo,' a Prize Poem 47
Early Favourites—Fielding's 'Joseph Andrews'—Imitators of Fielding—The 'Adventures of Captain Greenland'—'Jack Connor'—'Chrysal; or, the Adventures of a Guinea' 71
Continental Rambles—A Stolen Trip to Paris—Residence at Weimar—Contributions to Albums—Burlesque State—German Sketches and Studies—The Weimar Theatre—Goethe—Souvenirs of the Saxon city—'Journal kept during a Visit to Germany' 89 xviii
Thackeray's Predilections for Art—A Student in Paris—First Steps in the Career—An Art Critic—Introduction to Marvy's 'English Landscape Painters'—Early Connection with Literature—Michael Angelo Titmarsh, a contributor to 'Fraser's Magazine'—French Caricature under Louis Philippe—Political Satires—A Young Artist's life in Paris—Growing Sympathy with Literature 114
'Elizabeth Brownrigge: a Tale,' 1832—'Comic Magazine,' 1832-4—'National Standard and Literary Representative,' 1833-4—'Flore et Zéphyr, Ballet Mythologique,' 1836—On the Staff of 'Fraser's Magazine'—Early Connection with Maginn and his Colleagues—The Maclise Cartoon of the Fraserians—Thackeray's Noms de Plume—Charles Yellowplush as a Reviewer—Skelton and his 'Anatomy of Conduct'—Thackeray's Proposal to Dickens to illustrate his Novels—Gradual Growth of Thackeray's Notoriety—His Genial Admiration for 'Boz'—Christmas Books and Dickens's 'Christmas Carol'—Return to Paris—Execution of Fieschi and Lacénaire—Daily Newspaper Venture—The 'Constitutional' and 'Public Ledger'—Thackeray as Paris Correspondent—Dying Speech of the 'Constitutional'—Thackeray's Marriage—Increased Application to Literature—The 'Shabby Genteel Story'—Thackeray's Article in the 'Westminster' on George Cruikshank—First Collected Writings—The 'Paris Sketch-Book'—Dedication to M. Aretz—'Comic Tales and Sketches,' with Thackeray's original Illustrations—The 'Yellowplush Papers'—The 'Second Funeral of Napoleon,' with the 'Chronicles of the Drum'—The 'History of Samuel Titmarsh and the great Hoggarty Diamond'—'Fitzboodle's Confessions'—The 'Irish Sketch-Book,' with the Author's Illustrations—The 'Luck of Barry Lyndon'—Contributions to the 'Examiner'—Miscellanies—'Carmen Lilliense'—'Notes on a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo,' with the Author's Illustrations—Interest excited in Titmarsh—Foundation of 'Punch'—Thackeray's Contributions—His comic Designs—The 'Fat Contributor'—'Jeames's Diary' 124
Increasing reputation—Later writings in 'Fraser'—'Mrs. Perkins's Ball,' with Thackeray's Illustrations—Early Vicissitudes of 'Pencil Sketches of English Society'—Thackeray's connection with the Temple—Appearance of 'Vanity Fair,' with the Author's original Illustrations—Appreciative notice in the 'Edinburgh Review'—The impression produced—'Our ixx Street,' with Titmarsh's Pencillings of some of its Inhabitants—The History of Pendennis,' illustrated by the Author—'Dr. Birch and his Young Friends,' with illustrations by M. A. Titmarsh—'Rebecca and Rowena'—The Dignity of Literature and the 'Examiner' and 'Morning Chronicle' newspapers—Sensitiveness to Hostile Criticism—The 'Kickleburys on the Rhine,' with illustrations by M. A. Titmarsh—Adverse bias of the 'Times' newspaper—Thackeray's reply—An 'Essay on Thunder and Small Beer' 161
Commencement of the Series of Early Essayists—Thackeray as a Lecturer—The 'English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century'—Charlotte Brontë at Thackeray's Readings—The Lectures repeated in Edinburgh—An invitation to visit America—Transatlantic popularity—Special success attending the reception of the 'English Humourists' in the States—'Week-day Preachers'—Enthusiastic Farewell—Appleton's New York edition of Thackeray's Works; the Author's introduction, and remarks on International Copyright—Thackeray's departure—Cordial impression bequeathed to America—The 'History of Henry Esmonde, a story of Queen Anne's Reign'—The writers of the Augustan Era—The 'Newcomes'—An allusion to George Washington misunderstood—A second visit to America—Lectures on the 'Four Georges'—The series repeated at home—Scotch sympathy—Thackeray proposed as a candidate to represent Oxford in Parliament—His liberal views and impartiality 171
Curious Authors from Thackeray's Library, indicating the course of his Readings—Early Essayists illustrated with the Humourist's Pencillings—Bishop Earle's 'Microcosmography; a piece of the World Characterised,' 1628—An 'Essay in Defence of the Female Sex,' 1697—Thackeray's Interest in Works on the Spiritual World—'Flagellum Dæmonum, et Fustis Dæmonum. Auctore R. P. F. Hieronymo Mengo,' 1727—'La Magie et L'Astrologie,' par L. F. Alfred Maury—'Magic, Witchcraft, Animal Magnetism, Hypnotism, and Electro Biology,' by James Baird, 1852 186
Early Essayists whose Writings have furnished Thackeray with the Accessories of Portions of his Novels and Lectures—Works from the Novelist's Library, elucidating his Course of Reading for the Preparation xx of his 'Lectures'—'Henry Esmond,' 'The Virginians,' &c.—Characteristic Passages from the Lucubrations of the Essayists of the Augustan Era illustrated with original Marginal Sketches, suggested by the Text, by Thackeray's hand—The 'Tatler'—Its History and Influence—Reforms introduced by the purer Style of the Essayists—The Literature of Queen Anne's Reign—Thackeray's Love for the Writings of the Period—His Gift of reproducing their masterly and simple style of Composition; their Irony, and playful Humour—Extracts from notable Essays; illustrated with original Pencillings from the Series of the 'Tatler,' 1709 221
Extracts of Characteristic Passages from the Works of the 'Humourists,' from Thackeray's Library, illustrated with Original Marginal Sketches by the Author's hand—The Series of The 'Guardian,' 1713—Introduction—Steele's Programme—Authors who contributed to the 'Guardian'—Paragraphs and Pencillings 275
Characteristic passages from the Works of Humorous Writers of the 'Era of the Georges,' from Thackeray's Library, illustrated with original Marginal Sketches by the Author's hand—The 'Humourist,' 1724—Extracts and Pencillings 299
Characteristic Passages from the Works of the 'Humourists,' from Thackeray's Library, illustrated by the Author's hand, with Marginal Sketches suggested by the Text—The 'World,' 1753—Introduction—Its Difference from the Earlier Essays—Distinguished Authors who contributed to the 'World'—Paragraphs and Pencillings 318 xxi
Characteristic Passages from the compositions of the 'Early Humourists,' from Thackeray's Library, illustrated by the Author's hand with original Marginal Sketches suggested by the Text—The 'Connoisseur,' 1754—Introduction—Review of Contributors—Paragraphs and Pencillings 357
Characteristic Passages from the Works of the 'Humourists,' from Thackeray's Library; illustrated by the Author's hand with Marginal Sketches suggested by the Text—The 'Rambler,' 1749-50—Introduction—Its Author, Dr. Johnson—Paragraphs and Pencillings 370
Characteristic Passages from the Works of the 'Early Humourists,' from Thackeray's Library, illustrated by the Author's hand with original Marginal Sketches suggested by the Text—The 'Mirror,' Edinburgh, 1779-80—Introduction—The Society in which the 'Mirror,' and 'Lounger' originated—Notice of Contributors—Paragraphs and Pencillings 408
Thackeray as an Illustrator—The 'North British Review' on Thackeray—Illustrations to 'Men of Character'—'The Whitey-brown Paper Magazine'—'Comic Tales,' illustrated by Thackeray—Allusions to Caricature Drawing found throughout his writings—Skits on Fashion—Titmarsh on 'Men and Clothes'—Bohemianism in youth—Hatred of Conventionality—Sketches of Contemporary Habits and Manners—Imaginative Illustrations to Romances—Skill in Ludicrous Parody—Burlesque of the 'Official Handbook of Court and State' 436 xxii
Thackeray as a Traveller—Journey in Youth from India to England—Little Travels at Home—Sojourn in Germany—French Trips—Residence in Paris—Studies in Rome—Sketches and Scribblings in Guide-Books—Little Tours and Wayside Studies—Brussels—Ghent and the Béguines—Bruges—Croquis in Murray's 'Handbooks to the Continent'—Up the Rhine—'From Cornhill to Grand Cairo'—Journeys to America—Switzerland—'A Leaf out of a Sketch-Book'—The Grisons—Verona—'Roundabout Journeys'—Belgium and Holland 465
Commencement of the 'Cornhill Magazine'—'Roundabout Papers'—'Lovel the Widower'—The 'Adventures of Philip on his Way through the World'—Lectures on the 'Four Georges'—Editorial Penalties—The 'Thorn in the Cushion'—Harass from disappointed Contributors—Vexatious Correspondents—Withdrawal from the arduous post of Editor—Building of Thackeray's House in Kensington Palace Gardens—Christmas 1863—Death of the great Novelist—The unfinished Work—Circumstances of the Author's last Illness—His Death 488




Voyage from India—Touching at St. Helena—School days at the Charterhouse—Early Reminiscences—Sketches in School Books—Boyish Scribblings—Favourite Fictions—Youthful Caricatures—Souvenirs of the Play.

View of Life as seen through the Charterhouse Gates

The fondness of Thackeray for lingering amidst the scenes of a boy's daily life in a public grammar school, has generally been attributed to his early education at the Charterhouse, that celebrated monastic-looking establishment in the neighbourhood of Smithfield, which he scarcely disguised from his readers as the original of the familiar 'Greyfriars' of his works of fiction. Most of our novelists have given us in various forms their school reminiscences; but none have produced them so frequently, or dwelt upon them with such manifest bias towards the subject, as the author of 'Vanity Fair,' 'The Newcomes,' and 'The Adventures of Philip.' It is pleasing to think that this habit, which Thackeray 2 was well aware had been frequently censured by his critics as carried to excess, was, like his partiality for the times of Queen Anne and the Georges, in some degree due to the traditional reverence of his family for the memory of their great-grandfather, Dr. Thomas Thackeray, the well-remembered head-master of Harrow.

An Exile

A Sentry

Sketches of Indian life and Anglo-Indians generally are abundantly interspersed through Mr. Thackeray's writings, but he left India too early to have profited much by Indian experiences. He is said, however, to have retained so strong an impression of the scene of his early childhood, as to have wished in later life to revisit it, and recall such things as were still remembered by him. In his seventh year he was sent to England, and when the ship touched at St. Helena, he was taken up to have a glimpse of Bowood, and there saw that great Captain at whose name the rulers of the earth had so often trembled. It is remarkable that in his little account of the second funeral of Napoleon, which he witnessed in Paris in 1840, no allusion to this fact appears; but he himself has described it in one of his latest 3 works—the lectures on 'The Four Georges,' first delivered in the United States in 1855-56, and afterwards described by the Athenæum as 'an airy, humorous, and brilliant picture of English life and manners, produced by honest reading out of many books, and lighted with the glow of individual sympathy and intellect.'

A highly respectable Member of Society

A Master of Arts

We fancy that Thackeray was placed under the protection of his grandfather, William Makepeace Thackeray, who had settled with a good fortune, the fruit of his industry in India, at Hadley, near Chipping Barnet, a little village, in the churchyard of which lies buried the once-read Mrs. Chapone, the authoress of the 'Letters on the Improvement of the Mind,' the correspondent of Richardson, and the intimate friend of the learned Mrs. Carter and other blue-stocking ladies of that time.

A Man of Letters

In the course of time—we believe in his twelfth year—Thackeray 4 was sent to the Charterhouse School, and remained there as a boarder in the house of Mr. Penny. He appears in the Charterhouse records for the year 1822 as a boy on the tenth form. In the next year we find him promoted to the seventh form; in 1824 to the fifth; and in 1828, when he had become a day-boy, or one residing with his friends, we find him in the honourable positions of a first-form boy and one of the monitors of the school. He was, however, never chosen as one of the orators, or those who speak the oration on the Founder's Day, nor does he appear among the writers of the Charterhouse odes, which have been collected and printed from time to time in a small volume. We need feel no surprise that Thackeray's ambition did not lead him to seek this sort of distinction; like most keen humorists, he preferred exercising his powers of satire in burlesquing these somewhat trite compositions to contributing seriously to swell their numbers. Prize poems ever yielded the novelist a delightful field for his sarcasms.

Early efforts at Drawing

While pursuing his studies at 'Smiffle,' as the Carthusians were pleased to style 'Greyfriars,' Thackeray gave abundant evidences of the gifts that were in him. He scribbled juvenile verses, towards the close of his school days, displaying taste for the 5 healthy sarcasm which afterwards became one of his distinctive qualities, at the expense of the prosaic compositions set down as school verses. In one of his class books, 'Thucydides,' with his autograph, 'Charter House, 1827,' are scribbled two verses in which the tender passion is treated somewhat realistically:—

Love 's like a mutton chop,

Soon it grows cold;

All its attractions hop

Ere it grows old.

Love 's like the cholic sure,

Both painful to endure;

Brandy 's for both a cure,

So I've been told.

When for some fair the swain

Burns with desire,

In Hymen's fatal chain

Eager to try her,

He weds as soon as he can,

And jumps—unhappy man—

Out of the frying pan

Into the fire.

As to the humorist's pencil, even throughout these early days, it must have been an unfailing source of delight, not only to the owner but to the companions of his form. 'Draw us some pictures,' the boys would say; and straightway down popped a caricature of a master on slate or exercise paper. Then school books were brought into requisition, and the fly-leaves were adorned with whimsical travesties of the subjects of their contents. Abbé Barthélemy's 'Travels of Anacharsis the Younger' suggested the figure of a wandering minstrel, with battered hat and dislocated flageolet, piping his way through the world in the dejected fashion in which those forlorn pilgrims might have presented themselves to the charitable dwellers in Charterhouse 6 Square; while Anacharsis, Junior, habited in classic guise, was sent (pictorially) tramping the high road from Scythia to Athens, with stick and bundle over his back, a wallet at his side, sporting a family umbrella of the defunct 'gingham' species as a staff, and furnished with lace-up hob-nailed boots of the shape, size, and weight popularly approved by navvies.

'A Gingham'

Then Ainsworth's Latin Dictionary was turned into a sketch book, and supplemented with studies of head-masters, early conceptions of Roman warriors, primitive Carthusians indulging disrespectful gestures, known as 'sights,' at the rears of respectable governors, and boys of the neighbouring 'blue coat' foundation, their costume completed with the addition of a fool's or dunce's long-eared cap.

Fantastic designs, even when marked by the early graphic talent which Thackeray's rudest scribblings display, are apt to entail unpleasant consequences when discovered in school-books, and greater attractions were held out by works of fiction.

In a state of suspense

Pages of knight-errantry were the things for inspiration: Quixote, Orlando Furioso, Valentine and Orson, the Seven Champions, Cyrus the Grand (and interminable), mystic and chivalrous legends, quite forgotten in our generation, but which, in Thackeray's boyhood, were considered fascinating reading;—quaint romances, Italian, Spanish, and Persian tales, familiar enough in those days, and oft referred to, with accents of tender regret, in the reminiscences of the great novelist. What charms did the 'Arabian Nights' hold out for his kindling imagination,—how frequently were its heroes and its episodes brought in to supply some apt allusion in his later writings! It 7 seems that Thackeray's pencil never tired of his favourite stories in the 'Thousand and One Nights,' precious to him for preserving ever green the impressions of boyhood. How numerous his unpublished designs from these tales, those who treasure his numberless and diversified sketches can alone tell. We see the thrilling episode of 'Ali Baba' perched among the branches, while the robbers bear their spoil to the mysterious cave, repeated with 8 unvarying interest, and each time with some fresh point of humour to give value to the slight tracings.

Fancy sketch
A worthy Cit
A Grey Friar


'Make us some faces,' his school-companions would cry. 'Whom will you have? name your friends,' says the young artist. Perhaps one young rogue, with a schoolboy's taste for personalities, will cry, 'Old Buggins;' and the junior Buggins blushes and fidgets as the ideal presentment of his progenitor is rapidly dashed off and held up to the appreciation of a circle of rapturous critics. 'Now,' says the wounded youngster, glad to retaliate, 'you remember old Figgins' pater when he brought Old Figs back and forgot to tip—draw him!' and a faithful portraiture of that economic civic ornament is produced from recollection.

The gallery of family portraits is doubtless successfully exhausted, and each of the boys who love books, calls for a different favourite of fiction, or the designer exercises 9 his budding fancy in summoning monks, Turks, ogres, bandits, highwaymen, and other heroes, traditional or imaginary, from that wonderful well of his, which, in after years, was to pour out so frankly from its rich reservoirs for the recreation, and improvement too, of an audience more numerous, but perhaps less enthusiastic, than that which surrounded him at Greyfriars.

Virtue triumphant

Early Recreations—Marbles

Holidays came, and 10 with them the chance of visiting the theatres. Think of the plays in fashion between 1820 and '30; what juvenile rejoicings over the moral drama, over the wicked earl unmasked in the last Act, the persecuted maiden triumphant, and virtue's defenders rewarded. Recall the pieces in vogue in those early days, to which the novelist refers with constant pleasure; how does he write of nautical melodramas, of 'Black Ey'd Seusan,' and such 11 simply constructed pieces as he has parodied in the pages of 'Punch:' such as Theodore Hook is described hitting off on the piano after dinner. Think of Sadler's Wells, and the real water, turned on from the New River adjacent. Remember Astley's, and its gallant stud of horses. How faded are all these glories in our time, yet they were gorgeous subjects for young Thackeray's hand to work out; and we can well conceive eager little Cistercians, in miniature black gowns and breeches, revelling over the splendid pictures, perhaps made more glorious with the colour box. How many of these scraps have been treasured to this day, and are now gone with the holders, heaven knows where?

Then there was 'Shakespeare,' always a favourite with 'Titmarsh.' Think of the obsolete, conventional trappings in which the characters of the great playwright were then condemned to strut about to the perfect satisfaction of the audience, before theatrical 'costume' became a fine art! And then there were Braham, and Incledon, and the jovial rollicking tuneful 'Beggar's Opera.' 12 Behold the swaggering Macheath, reckless in good fortune, and consistently light-hearted up to his premature exit.

The Captain

'Since laws were made for ev'ry degree,

To curb vice in others, as well as me,

I wonder we han't better company

Upon Tyburn tree!

But gold from law can take out the sting:

And if rich men like us were to swing,

'Twould thin the land, such numbers to string

Upon Tyburn tree!'

'The charge is prepar'd, the Lawyers are met;

The Judges all rang'd (a terrible show!)

I go undismay'd—for death is a debt,

A debt on demand,—so take what I owe.

Then, farewell, my love—dear charmers, adieu;

Contented I die—'tis the better for you;

Here ends all dispute the rest of our lives,

For this way at once I please all my wives.'


In his 'English Humorists of the Eighteenth Century,' our author does not forget to pay his honest tribute to Gay, some of whose verses we have just quoted.

'At the tree I shall suffer with pleasure,

At the tree I shall suffer with pleasure,

Let me go where I will,

In all kinds of ill,

I shall find no such Furies as these are.'

Thackeray's predilections for the stage survived the first flush of enthusiasm, and, like most of his pleasures, flourished vigorously almost throughout his career.

It may be fresh in the recollections of most of his admirers how in 1848 he describes, in his great work, Vanity Fair, a visit to Drury Lane Theatre—the vivid colouring of which picture outshines his entire gallery of theatrical sketches.

The stout figure and slightly Mosaic cast of countenance of Braham will be recognised opposite, gorgeous in stage trappings, as he appeared in the opera of the 'Lion of Judah;' Thackeray also 15 dedicated to him another portrait, with a copy of mock laudatory verses, in the 'National Standard,' to which engaging production some allusion will be found under the notice of the author's earlier contributions to periodical literature.

Mr. Braham




A formidable foe


A Roman sentry

A Spanish Don

Rouge et Noir



Early Favourites—The Castle of Otranto—Rollin's Ancient History.

The references made by Thackeray to the romances which thrilled the sympathies of novel-readers in his youth are spread throughout his writings. In the 'Roundabout Paper' devoted to reminiscences of fictions which delighted his schooldays, he whimsically deplores that Time, among other insatiable propensities, should devour the glories of novels, and especially of those which have befriended his youth; that no friendly hand should take the volumes down from their long rest on the library shelves; that the profits of the forlorn novelists should dwindle infinitesimally as the popularity of their bantlings fades, until limbo finally takes them into indefinite keeping.

In another paper, 'De Juventate,' he makes an earlier record of his partiality for the imaginary companions of his boyhood. After alluding to the games of his time, which he finds little changed, Mr. Roundabout reverts to his favourite old novels, and challenges the present day to rival their attractions, as far as his boyish imagination was concerned. 'O "Scottish Chiefs," didn't we weep over you? O "Mysteries of Udolpho," didn't I and Briggs minor draw pictures out of you, as I have said?'

On the title-page of one of his old class-books, 'The Eton Latin Grammar,' we find fanciful scribblings, in the manner of 19 Skelt's once famous theatrical characters, of schoolboy versions of Sir William Wallace triumphing over the fallen Sir Aymer de Valence, while Thaddeus of Warsaw, attired in a square Polish cap, laced jacket, tights, and Hessian boots, his belt stuck round with pistols, is gallantly flourishing a curly sabre.

Sketches of this picturesque nature seem to have held a certain charm over the novelist's fancy through life; the impressions of his boyhood are jotted down in all sorts of melodramatic fragments.

Similar reminiscences, applying to different stages of our writer's career, and forming portions of the illustrations to 'Thackerayana,' will be recognised throughout this work.

We endeavour to trace sufficient of the thread of the once familiar story of 'The Castle of Otranto' (published in 1782, the fourth edition), enlivened with highly droll marginal pencillings, to assist our readers in a ready appreciation of the point and character of the little designs, as it is more than probable that, by this time, the interest and incidents of the original fiction are somewhat obscured in the memories of our readers. We follow the words of the author as closely as possible.

'Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter. The latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was only fifteen, and of a sickly constitution; he was the hope of his father, who had contracted a marriage for him with the Marquis of Vicenza's daughter, Isabella. The bride elect had been delivered by the guardians into Manfred's hands, that the marriage might take place as soon as Conrad's infirm health would permit it. The impatience of the prince for the completion of this ceremonial was attributed to his dread of seeing an ancient prophecy accomplished, which pronounced—"that the Castle and Lordship of Otranto should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it."

'Young Conrad's birthday was fixed for the marriage; the company were assembled in the chapel of the castle, everything ready,—but the bridegroom was missing! The prince, in alarm, went in search of his son. The first object that struck Manfred's eyes was a group of his servants endeavouring to raise something 20 that appeared to him a mountain of sable plumes. "What are ye doing?" he cried, wrathfully; "where is my son?" A volley of voices replied, "Oh! my lord! the prince! the helmet! the helmet!" Shocked with these lamentable sounds, and dreading he knew not what, he advanced hastily,—but what a sight for a father's eyes! He beheld his child dashed to pieces, and almost buried under an enormous helmet, a hundred times larger than any casque ever made for human being, and shaded with a proportionable quantity of black feathers. 21

'The consternation produced by this murderous apparition did not diminish. Isabella was, however, relieved at her escape from an ill-assorted union. Manfred continued to gaze at the terrible casque. No one could explain its presence. In the midst of their senseless guesses, a young peasant, whom rumour had drawn thither from a neighbouring village, observed that the miraculous helmet was like that on the figure in black marble, in the church of St. Nicholas, of Alonzo the Good (the original Prince of Otranto, who died without leaving an ascertained heir, and whose steward, Manfred's grandfather, had illegally contrived to obtain possession of the castle, estates, and title). "Villain! what sayest thou?" cried Manfred, starting from his trance in a tempest of rage, and seizing the young man by the collar. "How darest thou utter such treason? Thy life shall pay for it!" The peasant was secured, and confined, as a necromancer, under the gigantic helmet, there to be starved to death. Manfred retired to his chamber to meditate in solitude over the blow which had descended on his house. His gentle daughter, Matilda, heard his disordered footsteps. She was just going to beg admittance, when Manfred suddenly opened the door; and as it was now twilight, concurring with the disorder of his mind, he did not distinguish the person, but asked angrily who it was. Matilda replied, trembling, "My dearest father, it is I, your daughter." Manfred, stepping back hastily, cried, "Begone, I do not want a daughter;" and flinging back abruptly, clapped the door against the terrified Matilda. His dejected daughter returned to her mother, the pious Hippolita, who was being comforted by Isabella. A servant, on the part of Manfred, informed the latter that Manfred demanded to speak with her. "With me!" cried Isabella. "Go," said Hippolita, "console him, and tell 22 him that I will smother my own anguish rather than add to his."

'As it was now evening, the servant, who conducted Isabella, bore a torch before her. When they came to Manfred, who was walking impatiently about the gallery, he started, and said hastily, "Take away that light, and begone." Then, shutting the door impetuously, he flung himself upon a bench against the wall, and bade Isabella sit by him. She obeyed trembling. The iniquitous Manfred then proposed, that as his son was dead, Isabella should espouse him instead, and he would divorce the virtuous Hippolita. Manfred, on her refusal, resorted to violence, when the plumes of the fatal helmet suddenly waved to and fro tempestuously in the moonlight. Manfred, disregarding the portent, cried—"Heaven nor hell shall impede my designs," and advanced to seize the princess. At that instant the portrait of his grandfather, which hung over the bench where they had been sitting, uttered a deep sigh, and heaved its breast. Manfred was distracted between his pursuit of Isabella and the aspect of the picture, which quitted its panel and stepped on the floor with a grave and melancholy air. The vision sighed and made a sign to Manfred to follow him. "Lead on!" cried Manfred; "I will follow thee to the gulph of perdition." The spectre marched sedately, but dejected, to the end of the gallery. Manfred followed, full of anxiety and horror, but resolved. The spectre retired. Isabella had fled to a subterranean passage leading from the Castle to the Sanctuary of St. Nicholas. In this vault she encountered the young peasant who had provoked the animosity of Manfred. He lifted up a secret trap-door, and Isabella made her escape; but Manfred and his followers prevented the flight of the daring stranger. The prince, who expected to 23 secure Isabella, was considerably startled to discover this youth in her stead. The weight of the helmet had broken the pavement above, and he had thus alighted in time to assist Isabella, whose disappearance he denied. A noise of voices startled Manfred, who was alarmed by fresh indications of hostile evidences. Jacques and Diego, two of his retainers, detailed the fresh cause of alarm. It was thus: they had heard a noise—they opened a door and ran back, their hair standing on end with terror.

'"It is a giant, I believe," said Diego; "he is all clad in armour, for I saw his foot and part of his leg, and they are as large as the helmet below in the court. We heard a violent motion, and the rattling of armour, as if the giant was rising. Before we could get to the end of the gallery we heard the door of the great chamber clap behind us; but for Heaven's sake, good my lord, send for the chaplain and have the place exorcised, for it is certainly haunted." The attendants searched for Isabella in vain. The next morning father Jerome arrived, announcing that she had taken refuge at the altar of St. Nicholas. He came to inform Hippolita of the perfidy of her husband. Manfred prevented him, saying, "I do not use to let my wife be acquainted with the affairs of my state; they are not within a woman's province." "My Lord," said the holy man, "I am no intruder into the secrets of families. My office is to promote peace and teach mankind to curb their headstrong passions. I forgive your highness's uncharitable apostrophe; I know my duty, and am the minister of a mightier Prince than Manfred. Hearken to Him who speaks through my organs." The good father—to divert Manfred by a subterfuge from his unhallowed designs—suggested that there might, perhaps, be an attachment between 24 the peasant and his recluse. Manfred was so enraged that he ordered the youth who defied him to be executed forthwith. The removal of the peasant's doublet disclosed the mark of a bloody arrow. "Gracious Heaven!" cried the priest, starting, "what do I see? it is my child! my Theodore!" Manfred was deaf to the prayers of the father and friar, and ordered the tragedy to proceed. "A saint's bastard may be no saint himself," said the prince sternly. The friar exclaimed, "His blood is noble; he is my lawful son, and I am the Count of Falconara!" At this critical juncture the tramp of horses was heard, the sable plumes of the enchanted helmet were again agitated, and a brazen trumpet was sounded without. "Father," said Manfred, "do you go to the wicket and demand who is at the gate." "Do you grant me the life of Theodore?" replied the friar. "I do," said the prince. The new arrival was a herald from the Knight of the Gigantic Sabre, who requested to speak with the Usurper of Otranto.

'Manfred was enraged at this message; he ordered Jerome to be thrust out, and to reconduct Isabella to the castle, and commanded Theodore to be confined in the black tower. He then directed the herald to be admitted to his presence.

'"Well! thou insolent!" said the prince, "what wouldst thou with me?" "I come," replied he, "to thee, Manfred, usurper of the principality of Otranto, from the renowned and invincible knight, the Knight of the Gigantic Sabre: in the name of his Lord, Frederic, Marquis of Vicenza, he demands the Lady Isabella, daughter of that prince whom thou hast basely and treacherously got into thy power, by bribing her false guardians during his absence; he requires thee to resign the principality of Otranto, which thou hast usurped from the said Lord Frederic, the nearest of blood to the last rightful Lord Alonzo the Good. If thou dost not instantly comply with these just demands, he defies thee to single combat to the last extremity." And so saying, the herald cast down his warder. Manfred knew how well founded this claim was; indeed, his object in seeking an alliance with Isabella had been to unite the claimants in one interest.

'The herald was despatched to bid the champions welcome, and the prince ordered the gates to be flung open for the reception of 25 the stranger knight and his retinue. In a few minutes the cavalcade arrived. First came two harbingers with wands. Next a herald, followed by two pages and two trumpets. Then a hundred foot-guards. These were attended by as many horse. After them fifty foot-men clothed in scarlet and black, the colours of the knight. Then a led horse. Two heralds on each side of a gentleman on horseback bearing a banner with the arms of Vicenza and Otranto quarterly—a circumstance that much offended Manfred, but he stifled his resentment. Two more pages. The knight's confessor telling his beads. Fifty more foot-men clad as before. Two knights habited in complete armour, their beavers down, comrades to the principal knight. The squires of the two knights, carrying their shields and devices. The knight's own squire. A hundred gentlemen bearing an enormous sword, and seeming to faint under the weight of it. The knight himself on a chestnut steed, in complete armour, his lance in the rest, his face entirely concealed by his vizor, which was surmounted by a large plume of scarlet and black feathers. Fifty foot-guards, with drums and trumpets, closed the procession. Manfred invited the train to enter the great hall of his castle. He proposed to the stranger to disarm, but the knight shook his head in token of refusal. "Rest here," said Manfred; "I will but give orders for the accommodation of your train, and return to you." The three knights bowed as accepting his courtesy. Manfred directed the stranger's retinue to be conducted to an adjacent hospital, founded by the Princess Hippolita for the reception of pilgrims. As they made the circuit of the court, the gigantic sword burst from the supporters, and falling to the ground opposite the helmet, remained immovable.


'Manfred, almost hardened to supernatural appearances, surmounted the shock of this new prodigy; and returning to the hall, where by this time the feast was ready, he invited his silent guests to take their places. Manfred, however ill at ease was his heart, endeavoured to inspire the company with mirth. He put several questions to them, but was answered only by signs. They raised their vizors but sufficiently to feed themselves, and that sparingly. During the parley Father Jerome hurried in to report the disappearance of Isabella. The knights and their retinue dispersed to search the neighbourhood, and Manfred, with his vassals, quitted the castle to confuse their movements. Theodore was still confined in the black tower, but his guards were gone. The gentle Matilda came to his assistance; she carried him to her father's armoury, and having equipped him with a complete suit, conducted him to the postern-gate. "Avoid the town," said the princess, "but hie thee to the opposite quarter; yonder is a chain of rocks, hollowed into a labyrinth of caverns that lead to the sea-coast. Go! Heaven be thy guide! and sometimes, in thy prayers, remember Matilda!" Theodore flung himself at her feet, and seizing her lily hand, which with struggles she suffered him to kiss, he vowed on the earliest opportunity to get himself knighted, and fervently intreated her permission to swear himself eternally her champion. He then sighed and retired, but with eyes fixed on the gate, until Matilda, closing it, put an end to an interview, in which the hearts of both had drunk so deeply of a passion which both now tasted for the first time.'

We must now crowd the sequel of this remarkable story into the smallest possible space. In the caverns Theodore recovered the distracted Isabella; but a knight arrived at the moment of his happy discovery, and mistrusting her deliverer, while Theodore 27 deceived himself as to the intentions of the stranger, a desperate combat ensued, and the younger champion gained the victory. The stranger knight explained his mistake, and revealed himself as the missing Marquis of Vicenza, father to Isabella, and nearest heir to Alonzo. He anticipated his wounds were fatal, but he recovered at the castle. Manfred artfully pursued his unholy designs for a union with Isabella. He gave a great feast, with this object, but Theodore withdrew from the revelry to pray with Matilda at the tomb of Alonzo. Manfred followed him to the chapel, believing his companion was Isabella, and struck his dagger through the heart of his daughter. He was overwhelmed with remorse for his error, on discovering that he had murdered his child. Theodore 28 revealed to Frederic that he was the real and rightful successor to Alonzo. This declaration was confirmed by the apparition of Alonzo. Thunder and a clank of more than mortal armour was heard. The walls of the castle behind Manfred were thrown down with a mighty force, and the form of Alonzo, dilated to an immense magnitude, appeared in the centre of the ruins. 'Behold in Theodore the true heir of Alonzo!' said the vision, and, ascending solemnly towards heaven, the clouds parted asunder, and the form of St. Nicholas received Alonzo's shade. Manfred confessed, in his terror, that Alonzo had been poisoned by his grandfather, and a fictitious will had accomplished his treacherous end. Jerome further revealed that Alonzo had secretly espoused Victoria, a Sicilian virgin. After the good knight's decease a daughter was born. Her hand had been bestowed on him, the disguised Count of Falconara. Theodore was the fruit of their marriage, thus establishing his direct right to the principality. Manfred and his virtuous wife, Hippolita, retired to neighbouring convents. Frederic offered his daughter to the new prince, but 'it was not until after frequent discourses with Isabella of dear Matilda that he was persuaded he could know no happiness but in the society of one with whom he could for ever indulge the melancholy that had taken possession 29 of his soul,' with which cheerful prospect the 'Castle of Otranto' is brought to an appropriate conclusion.

On the fly-leaf at the end of this worthy novel follows a sketch suggestive of the out-of-door sports alluded to earlier.

An instance of the felicitous parodies to which the works of grave historians are liable at the hands of a budding satirist is supplied by 'Rollin's Ancient History,' one of the books of which we feel bound to give more than a passing notice; we therefore select the more tempting passages of the eight volumes forming the particular edition in question, to which a fresh interest is contributed by certain slight but pertinent pencillings probably referable to a somewhat later period.


Ancient History of the Egyptians, etc. etc.

'... In the early morning and at daybreak, when their minds were clearest and their thoughts were most pure, the Egyptians would read the letters they had received, the better to obtain a just and truthful impression of the business on which they had to decide.'—Vol. I. p. 60.

'... In addition to the adoration practised by the Egyptians of Osiris, Iris, and the higher divinities, they worshipped a large number of animals, paying an especial respect to the cat.'—Vol. I. p. 73.

The Historic Muse supported by the veracious historians.
Frontispiece to Vol. I.

In this sketch Monsieur Rollin is archly classed among the ranks of the writers of fiction—a position to which he is entitled from the remarkable nature of the facts he gravely puts on record.

'Until the reign of Psammeticus the Egyptians were believed to be the most ancient people on the earth. Wishing to assure themselves of this antiquity, they employed a most remarkable test, if the statement is worthy of credit. Two children, 30 just born of poor parents, were shut up in two separate cabins in the country, and a shepherd was directed to feed them on goat's milk. (Others state that they were nourished by nurses 31 whose tongues had been cut out.) No one was permitted to enter the cabins, and no word was ever allowed to be pronounced in their presence. One day, when these children arrived at the age of two years, the shepherd entered to bring them their usual food, when each of them, from their different divisions, extending their hands to the keeper, cried, "Beccos, beccos." This word, it was discovered, was employed by the Phrygians to signify bread; and since that period this nation has enjoyed, above all other peoples, the honour of the earliest antiquity.'—Vol. I. p. 162.

Triumphant Statue of Scipio Africanus.—End of Vol. I.


History of the Carthaginians, etc. etc.

'... Virgil has greatly altered many facts in his "History of the Carthaginians," by the supposition that his hero, Æneas, was a contemporary of Dido, although there is an interval of about three centuries between the two personages; Carthage having been built nearly three hundred years before the Fall of Troy.'—Vol. I. p. 241.

'... By the order of Hannibal a road was excavated through the bed of the rocks, and this labour was carried on with astonishing vigour and perseverance. To open and enlarge this pathway they felled all the trees in the adjoining parts, and as soon as the timber was cut down the soldiers arranged the trunks on all sides of the rocks, and the wood was then set on fire. Fortunately, there being a high wind, an ardent flame was quickly kindled, until the rock glowed with heat as fiery as the furnace burning round it. Hannibal—if we may credit Titus Livius (for Polybius[1] does not mention the circumstance)—then caused a great quantity of vinegar to be poured upon the heated stone, which ran into 33 the fissures of the rocks (already cracked by the heat of the fire), and caused them to soften and calcine to powder. By this contrivance he prepared a road through the heart of the mountains, giving easy passage to his troops, their baggage, and even their elephants.'—Vol. I. p. 406.

Battle of Cannes.—Vol. I. p. 439.

History of the Lydians.

'Crœsus, wishing to assure himself of the veracity of the different oracles, sent deputies to consult the most celebrated soothsayers both in Africa and in Greece, with orders to inform themselves how Crœsus was engaged at a certain hour on a day that was pointed out to them.

'His instructions were exactly carried out. The oracle of Delphi returned the only correct reply. It was given in verses of the hexameter metre, and was in substance: "I know the number of grains of sand in the sea, and the measure of the vast deep. I understand the dumb, and those who have not learned to speak. My senses are saluted with the savoury odour of a turtle stewed with the flesh of lambs in a brazier, which has copper on all sides, above and below!"

'In fact the king, desiring to select some employment which it would be impossible to divine, had occupied himself at the hour appointed for the revelation in preparing a turtle and a lamb in a copper stewpan, which had also a lid of copper.'—Vol. II. p. 129. 34

History of Cyrus.

'... When the people of Ionia and Æolia learnt that Cyrus had mastered the Lydians, they despatched ambassadors to him at Sardis, proposing to be received into his empire, under the same conditions as he had accorded to the Lydians. Cyrus, who before his victories had vainly solicited them to unite in his cause, and who now found himself in a position to constrain them by force, gave as his only answer the apologue of a fisherman, who, having tried to lure the fish with the notes of his flute, without any success, had recourse to his net as the shortest method of securing them.'—Vol. II. p. 232.

'Herodotus, and after him Justinian, recounts that Astyages, King of the Medes, on the impressions of an alarming dream, which announced that a child his daughter was to bear would dethrone him, gave 35 Mandane, his daughter, in marriage to a Persian of obscure birth and condition, named Cambyses. A son being born of this marriage, the king charged Harpagus, one of his principal officers, to put the child to death. Harpagus gave him to one of his shepherds to be exposed in a forest. However, the infant, being miraculously preserved, and afterwards nourished in secret by the herd's wife, was at last recognised by his royal grandfather, who contented himself by his removal to the centre of Persia, and vented all his fury on the unhappy officer, whose own son he caused to be served up, to be eaten by him at a feast. Some years later the young Cyrus was informed by Harpagus of the circumstances of his birth and position; animated by his counsels and remonstrances, he raised an army in Persia, marched against Astyages, and challenged him to battle. The sovereignty of the empire thus passed from the hands of the Medes to the Persians.'—Vol. II. p. 315.

Ancient History of Greece.

'The wealthy and luxurious members of the Lacedemonians were extremely irritated against Lycurgus on account of his decree introducing public repasts as the means best suited to enforce temperance.

'It was on this occasion that a young man, named Alcandres, put out one of Lycurgus's eyes with his staff, during a popular tumult. The people, indignant at so great an outrage, placed the youth in his hands. Lycurgus permitted himself a most honourable vengeance, converting him, by his kindness, and the generosity of his treatment, from violence and rebellion to moderation and wisdom.'—Vol. II. p. 526. 36

Ancient History of the Persians and the Greeks.

'The Greek historians gave to Artaxerxes the surname of "Longhand," because, according to Strabo, his hands were so long that, when he stood erect, he was able to touch his knees; according to Plutarch, because his right hand was longer than the left'—Vol. III. p. 347.

'The stories related of the voracity of the Athletes are almost incredible. The appetite of Milo was barely appeased with twenty "mines" (or pounds) of meat, as much bread, and three "conges" (fifteen pints) of wine daily. Athenes relates that Milo, after traversing the entire length of the state—bearing on his shoulders an ox of four years' growth—felled the beast with one blow of his fist, and entirely devoured it in one day.

'I willingly admit other exploits attributed to Milo, but is it in the least degree probable that a single man could eat an entire ox in one day?'—Vol. III. p. 516.

'... While Darius was absent, making war in Egypt and Arabia, the Medes revolted against him; but they were overpowered and forced into submission. To chastise this rebellion, their yoke, which had until that date been very easy to bear, was made more burdensome. This fate has never been spared to those subjects who, having revolted, are again compelled to submit to the power they wished to depose.'—Vol. III. p. 613. 37

Ancient History of the Persians and the Greeks.

Death of Alcibiades.

Frontispiece to Vol. IV.

'... Alcibiades was living at that time in a small town of Phrygia, with Timandra, his mistress (it is pretended that Lais, the celebrated courtesan—known as "the Corinthian"—was a daughter of this Timandra). The ruffians who were engaged to assassinate him had not the courage to enter his house; they contented themselves by surrounding it and setting it on fire. Alcibiades, sword in hand, having passed through the flames, these barbarians did not dare to await a hand-to-hand combat with him, but sought safety in flight; but, in their retreat, they overcame him with showers of darts and arrows. Alcibiades fell 38 down dead in the place. Timandra secured the remains, and draped the body with her finest vestments; she gave him the most magnificent funeral the state of her fortune would permit.'—Vol. IV. p. 110.

Retreat of the Greeks from Babylon.

'... The troops put themselves in marching order; the battalions forming one large square, the baggage being in the centre. Two of the oldest colonels commanded the right and left wings.'—Vol. IV. p. 190.

'Agesilaus was in Bœotia, ready to give battle, when he heard the distressing news of the destruction of the Lacedemonian fleet by Conon, near Cnidus. Fearing the rumour of this defeat would discourage and intimidate his troops, who were then preparing for battle, he reported throughout the army that the Lacedemonians had gained a considerable naval victory; he also appeared in public, wearing his castor crowned with flowers, and offered sacrifices for the good news.'—Vol. IV. p. 287.

'... Artaxerxes resorted to treason unworthy of a prince to rid himself of Datames, his former favour and friendship for whom were changed into implacable hatred. 39

He employed assassins to destroy him, but Datames had the good fortune to escape their ambuscades.

'At last Mithridates, influenced by the splendid rewards promised by the king if he succeeded in destroying so redoubtable an enemy, insinuated himself into his friendship; and having afforded Datames sufficient evidences of fidelity to gain his confidence, he took advantage of a favourable moment when he happened to be alone, and pierced him with his sword before he was in a condition to defend himself.'—Vol. IV. p. 345.

'... Socrates took the poisoned cup from the valet without changing colour, or exhibiting emotion. "What say you of this drink?" he asked; "is it permitted to take more than one draught?" They replied that it was but for one libation. "At least," continued he, "it is allowable to supplicate the gods to render easy my departure beneath the earth, and my last journey happy. I ask this of them with my whole heart." Having spoken these words, he remained silent for some time, and then drank the entire contents of the cup, with marvellous tranquillity and irresistible gentleness.

'"Cito," said he—and these were his last words—"we owe a cock to Esculapius; acquit yourself of this vow for me, and do not forget!"'—Vol. IV. p. 439.

'... The Greek dances prescribed rules for those movements most proper to render the figure free and the 40 carriage unconstrained; to form a well-proportioned frame, and to give the entire person a graceful, noble, and easy air; in a word, to obtain that politeness of exterior, if the expression is admissible, which always impresses us in favour of those who have had the advantage of early training.'—Vol. IV. p. 538.

'... After these observations on the government of the principal peoples of Greece, both in peace and in war, and on their various characteristics, it now remains for me to speak of their religion.'

End of Vol. IV.

History of the Successes of Alexander.

Battle of Lamia.

'... The cavalry amounted to 3,500 horse, of which 2,000 were from Thessaly; this constituted the chief force of the army, and their only hope of success. In fact, battle being given, it was this cavalry which obtained the victory, under the leadership 41 of Menon. Lennatus, covered with mortal wounds, fell on the field of battle, and was borne to the camp by his followers.'—Vol. VII. p. 55.

Battle of Cappadocia.

'Neoptolemus and Eumenes (the generals in command of the hostile forces) cherished a personal hatred of each other. They came to a hand-to-hand encounter, and their horses falling into collision, they seized each other round the body, and their chargers escaping from under them they fell to the ground together. Like enraged athletes, they fought in that position for a long time, with a species of maddened fury, until Neoptolemus received a mortal blow and expired. Eumenes then remounted his horse and continued the battle.'—Vol. VII. p. 89.

'The reign of Seleucus was described by the Arabs as the era of the "Double-horned," sculptors generally representing him decorated thus, wearing the horns of a bull on his head; this prince being so powerful that he could arrest the course of a bull by simply seizing it by the horns.'—Vol. VII. p. 189.

'... Democles, surnamed the Beautiful, in order to escape the violence of Demetrius, threw himself, while still a youth, into a vessel of boiling water, which was being prepared to heat a bath, and was scalded to death; preferring to sacrifice his life rather than lose his honour.'—Vol. VII. p. 374.

The Engagement of Pyrrhus with the Consul Ævinus.

'... Pyrrhus exerted himself without any precaution for his own security. He overthrew all that opposed him; never losing 42 sight of the duties of a general, he preserved perfect coolness, giving orders as if he were not exposed to peril; hurrying from post to post to re-establish the troops who wavered, and supporting those most assailed.'—Vol. VII. p. 404.

Death of Pyrrhus at Argos, etc. etc.

'... Placing confidence in the swiftness of his charger, Pyrrhus threw himself into the midst of his pursuers. He was fighting desperately when one of the enemy approached him, and penetrated his javelin through his armour. The wound was neither deep nor dangerous, and Pyrrhus immediately attacked the man who had struck him, a mere common soldier, son of a poor woman of Argos. Like the rest of the townswomen, his mother was observing the conflict from the roof of a house, and, seeing her son, who chanced to be beneath her, engaged with Pyrrhus, she was seized with fright at the great danger to which her child was exposed, and raising a heavy tile, with both hands, she hurled it on Pyrrhus. 43 It struck him on the head with its full force, and his helmet being powerless to resist the blow, he became unconscious instantly. The reins dropped from his hands, and he fell from his horse without recognition. Soon after a soldier who knew Pyrrhus observed his rank, and completed the work by cutting off the king's head.'—Vol. VII. p. 460.

'... A few days after Ptolemy had refused the peace proposals of the Gauls, the armies came to an engagement, in which the Macedonians were completely defeated and cut to pieces. Ptolemy, covered with wounds, was made prisoner, his head was cut off, and, mounted on the point of a lance, was shown in derision to the soldiers of the enemy.'—Vol. VII. p. 376.

'... The Colossus of Rhodes remained as it fell, without being disturbed for 894 years, at the expiration of which time (in the year 672 of the Christian era) the Sixth Caliph, or Emperor of the Saracens, having conquered Rhodes, he sold the remains of the Colossus to a Hebrew merchant, who carried it off in 500 camel loads; thus—reckoning eight quintals to one load—the bronze of this figure, after the decay, by rust, of so many years, and after the probable loss of some portion by pillage, still amounted to a weight of 720,000 pounds, or 7,200 quintals.'—Vol. VII. p. 650. 44

'Philip returned to the Peloponnesus shortly after his defeat. He directed all his exertions to deceive and surprise the Messenians. His stratagems being discovered, however, he raised the mask, and ravaged the entire country.'—Vol. VIII. p. 121.

'Philammon (the assassin who had been employed to murder Queen Arsinoe) returned to Alexandria (from Cyrene) two or three days before the tumult. The ladies of honour, who had been attached to the unfortunate queen, had early information of his arrival, and they determined to take advantage of the disorder then prevailing in the city to avenge the death of their mistress. They accordingly broke into the house where he had sought refuge, and overcame him with showers of blows from stones and clubs.'—Vol. VIII. p. 215.

'... Scopas, finding himself at the head of all the foreign troops—of whom the principal portions were Aetolians like himself—believed that as he held the command of such a formidable body of veterans, so thoroughly steeled by warfare, he could easily usurp the crown during the minority of the king.'—Vol. VIII. p. 327.

'... The arrival of Livius, who had commanded the fleet, and who was now sent to Prusias (King of Bithynia), in the quality of an ambassador, 45 decided the resolutions of that monarch. He assisted the king to discover on which side victory might be reasonably expected to turn, and showed him how much safer it would be to trust to the friendship of the Romans rather than rely on that of Antiochus.'—Vol. VIII. p. 426.

Funeral Obsequies of Philopœmen.

'... When the body had been burned, and the ashes were gathered together and placed in an urn, the cortége set out to carry the remains to Megalopolis. This ceremonial resembled a triumphal celebration rather than a funeral procession, or at least a mixture of the two.

'The urn, borne by the youthful Polybius, was followed by the entire cavalry, armed magnificently and superbly mounted. They 46 followed the procession without exhibiting signs of dejection for so great a loss, or exultation for so great a victory.'—Vol. VIII. p. 537.

Attempted Sacking of the Sanctuary.

'... Heliodorus, with his guards, entered the temple, and he was proceeding to force the treasures, when a horse, richly clad, suddenly appeared, and threw himself on Heliodorus, inflicting several blows with his hoofs. The rider had a terrible aspect, and his armour appeared to be of gold. At the same moment two celestial-looking youths were observed on each side of the violator of the sanctuary dealing chastisement without cessation, and giving him severe lashes from the whips they held in their hands.'—Vol. VIII. p. 632. 47


Thackeray's last visit to the Charterhouse—College days—Pendennis at Cambridge—Sketches of University worthies—Sporting subjects—Etchings at Cambridge—Pencillings in old authors—Pictorial Puns—'The Snob,' a Literary and Scientific Journal—'Timbuctoo,' a prize poem.

In Thackeray's schooldays the Charterhouse enjoyed considerable reputation under the head-mastership of Dr. Russell, whose death happened in the same year as that of his illustrious pupil. No one who has read Thackeray's novels can fail to know the kind of life he led here. He has continually described his experiences at this celebrated school—with the venerable archway into Charterhouse Square, which still preserves an interesting token of the old monkish character of the neighbourhood. Only a fortnight before his death he was there again, as was his custom, on the anniversary of the death of Thomas Sutton, the munificent founder of the school. 'He was there,' says one who has described the scene, 'in his usual back seat in the quaint old chapel. He went thence to the oration in the Governor's room; and as he walked up to the orator with his contribution, was received with such hearty applause as only Carthusians can give to one who has immortalised their school. At the banquet afterwards he sat at the side of his old friend and artist-associate in "Punch," John Leech; and in a humorous speech proposed, as a toast, the noble foundation which he had adorned by his literary fame, and made popular in his works.' 'Divine service,' says another describer of this scene, for ever memorable as the last appearance of Thackeray in public life, 'took place at four o'clock, in the quaint old chapel; and the appearance of the brethren in their black gowns, of the old stained glass and carving in the chapel, of the tomb of Sutton, could hardly fail to give a peculiar and interesting character to the service. Prayers were 48 said by the Rev. J. J. Halcombe, the reader of the house. There was only the usual parochial chanting of the Nunc Dimittis; the familiar Commemoration-day psalms, cxxii. and c., were sung after the third collect and before the sermon; and before the general thanksgiving the old prayer was offered up expressive of thankfulness to God for the bounty of Thomas Sutton, and of hope that all who enjoy it might make a right use of it. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Henry Earle Tweed, late Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, who prefaced it with the "Bidding Prayer," in which he desired the congregation to pray generally for 49 all public schools and colleges, and particularly for the welfare of the house "founded by Thomas Sutton for the support of age and the education of youth."'

First Term

Second Term

'O crikey, father, there's a jolly great what's-a-name!'

From Charterhouse School Thackeray went to Trinity College, Cambridge, about 1828, the year of his leaving the Charterhouse, and among his fellow-students there had Mr. John Mitchell Kemble, the great Anglo-Saxon scholar, and Mr. Tennyson. With the latter—then unknown as a poet—he formed an acquaintance which he maintained to the last, and no reader of the Poet Laureate had a more earnest admiration for his productions than his old Cambridge associate, Thackeray. At college, Thackeray kept seven or eight terms, but took no degree; though he was studious, and his love of classical literature is apparent in most of his writings, either in his occasional apt two words from Horace, or in the quaint and humorous adoption of Latin idioms 50 in which, in his sportive moods, he sometimes indulged. A recent writer tells us that his knowledge of the classics—of Horace at least—was amply sufficient to procure him an honourable place in the 'previous examination.'

A University Tradesman

To the reader who would gain an insight into Thackeray's doings at Cambridge, we say, 'Glance through the veracious pages in which he records the University career of Mr. Arthur Pendennis; you will there at least seize the spirit of his own college days, if perchance you do not find the facts of the author's own residence circumstantially stated. Take his studies, for example.'

Pen's circumstances, tastes, and disposition generally, presuming the resemblance to be merely accidental, present a tolerably faithful reflection of those of his biographer at this period. 51

A Mathematical Lecturer

A Classman

A Grinder

A Plodder


University Characters


The entire narrative occupies but scant space; and the chronicler premises that he shall not describe his hero's academical career very minutely. He is reticent, for he candidly declares that this portion of a man's life does not bear telling without certain reservations.


Riding, tandem-driving, and four-in-hands enjoyed in those days the patronage more largely transferred by the present generation to boating, cricket, billiards, &c. It was probably at the University that Thackeray began to take an interest in equestrianism: he made numberless pictures of horses; indeed, he never hesitated to draw them in every attitude. There is a certain rude fitness and grotesque vigour about the animals which he sketched at the period of life we are describing; but his skill in this respect certainly advanced with practice, and the horses he had occasion to introduce into his cuts when his fun was at its height—such, for example, as the burlesque illustrations which we find scattered about the inimitable pages of Mr. Punch—were really very original and spirited; although perhaps they are barely the steeds which would 53 be selected by timid riders, but are rather the tremendous creatures which occur to the imagination.

'Well on'

'Ill off'

It is possible that Thackeray's bill to his livery stable keeper kept pace with his other expenses; but his experience in this respect was not fruitless. When he had occasion to mix with the world, and especially while studying society abroad, it embittered his judgment against the University to realise how little return, beyond that indefinite and somewhat bumptious quality known as 'tone,' he had really obtained in return for the expenses of a college career. The youth of the Continent, with whom he had the fortune to associate for some time, made him conscious, by their own accomplishments, of those parts of a gentleman's education which are ignored at our Universities, and which form, it must be confessed, 55 the standard by which men are chiefly measured beyond the college walls. His early papers in 'Fraser,' and especially those supposed to be contributed by the respectable Fitz-Boodle, drawing upon the experiences he had gained while sojourning amidst the society of the minor German principalities, speak the truth on these short-comings in a manner both forcible and unflinching.

A few University Favourites

'Just a little playful'

Besides his fancy for etching plates of horses and men of ultra and parodied fashion, for designing plates of the modern rake's progress at the Universities, and punning cuts, we may assume that Thackeray shared with his ideal Pendennis most of those tastes indulged by lucky youths when life is opening, and reflection does not trouble them. Like his hero, he enjoyed a fine amateur perception for rare editions, and had a fancy for the glories of costly bindings: we are told that the tall copies, the gilding, marbling, and blind-tooling put on his book-shelves were marvellous to behold. The same just appreciation of true art which, later on, directed Thackeray's criticisms of the picture galleries, taught Pen to despise 56 the tawdry and meretricious pictures of horses and opera dancers which often captivate the judgment of fledglings, and gifted him with a love for fine prints, for Rembrandt etchings, line-engravings after Strange, and Wilkie's before the letter; with which he hung his rooms, to the admiration of those who were capable of understanding his good taste. His mind did not despise the allurements of dress; and Pen was elaborately attired. It was a repeated axiom of Thackeray's, that it was good for a youth at one period to indulge in this vanity of fine apparel as a preliminary stage to more developed ambitions of standing well with the world.

'Sport in earnest'

It will be recollected that eventually Pendennis was plucked; and a feeling, in some degree morose, and unequivocally indignant, seems to have taken possession of Thackeray's mind whenever he dwells on the college careers of the creations of his fancy. In the 'Shabby Genteel Story,' which he first gave to the world in the columns of 'Fraser' (1840), he lashes the system for the defects of the individuals who may have been perverted by its more injurious influences; nor does he credit the Universities with conferring any solid advantages. He enquires, somewhat vengefully, the amount of ruin that has been inflicted by the temptations to which youths are exposed in such a course of training as is understood in England by 'the education of a gentleman.' The 'learning to fight for oneself,' he argues, implants an early habit of selfishness. With 'a pretty knack of Latin hexameters, and a decent smattering of Greek plays,' the neophyte 58 has learned, from his forced attendance at chapel, 'to consider the religious service performed there as the vainest parade in the world.' He has learned to forget the gentle affections of home, and, under certain conditions, to despise his belongings. If naturally endowed with an open hand, he has learned to compete with associates infinitely wealthier than himself, to despise money on its own merits perhaps, but to respect it as a means to the questionable advantage of gaining admission to the company of those whose social positions may chance to be a source of envy to weaker minds. In return for the two thousand pounds or so which had been spent in acquiring 'the tone,' he brings George Brandon—who is certainly as black a sheep as any University can produce—abruptly away from his college, ruined in heart and principle; boasting a small quantity of classics and mathematics; with an utter contempt for his inferiors, an enmity against his equals; a fulsome desire to be reckoned one of those above him, and to copy the extravagances incident to high position; an easy, confident address; sybarite habits, utter heartlessness, and tastes which must be gratified without scruple as to the means: 'pretty compensation,' writes the author, 'for all he had lost in gaining them.'

Occasional Canters from 'Childe Harold's (first and last) Pilgrimage'

Taking in toe

His pencil would seem to have been a 59 recreation of Thackeray's college days as well as of his later career. His first efforts in etching on copper were probably produced about the period of which we treat; the subjects of nearly all of these plates—none of which, we believe, were ever published—were evidently suggested by incidents in the career of an undergraduate.

The margins and fly-leaves of a copy of Ovid's 'Opera omnia,' one of Black's editions of the Classics (1825), offer various whimsical illustrations of certain portions of the poems; we incline to the impression, however, that although some of these parodies may be referred to Thackeray's college days, to others must be assigned a considerably later date.

P. Ovidii Nasonis Opera omnia.

P. Ovidii Nasonis

'Remediorum Amoris,' 'Medicaminum Faciei,' et 'Halieutici Fragmenta.' 60

Epigramma Nasonis in Amores suos.

Qui modo Nasonis fueramus quinque libelli,

Tres sumus: hoc illi prætulit auctor opus,

Ut iam nulla tibi nos sit legisse voluptas:

At levior demtis pœna duobus erit.

Artis Amatoriæ. (Lib. II.)

Ecce! rogant teneræ, sibidem præcepta, puellæ.

Vos eritis chartæ proxima cura meæ.


Remedia Amoris.

Hoc opus exegi: fessæ date serta carinæ

Contigimus portum, quo mihi cursus erat.

Postmodo reddetis sacro pia vota poëtæ,

Carmine sanati femina virque meo.

Death mowing down the Loves


Another amusement at this period was the designing of pictorial puns, after the manner introduced by Cruikshank, which was so successfully practised by Alken, Seymour, and Tom Hood.

Indian Ink


A full length

Among the sketches by the hand of the novelist, which we attribute to these earlier days, are a number of humorous designs, many of them equal to the most grotesque efforts of the well-known artists we have mentioned. 63



Fee Simple

On freeholds—A general clause


A declaration

A rejoinder


Possession.—With remarks on assault and battery

An ejectment



The earliest of Thackeray's literary efforts are associated with Cambridge. It was in the year 1829 that he commenced, in conjunction with a friend and fellow-student, to edit a series of humorous papers, published in that city, which bore the title of 'The Snob: a Literary and Scientific Journal.' The first number appeared on April 9 in that year, and the publication was continued weekly. Though affecting to be a periodical, it was not originally intended to publish more than one number; but the project was carried on for eleven weeks, in which period Mr. Lettsom had resigned the entire management to his friend. The contents of each number—which consisted only of four pages—were scanty and slight, and were made up of squibs and humorous sketches in verse and prose, many of which, however, show some germs of that spirit of wild fun which afterwards distinguished 67 the 'Yellowplush Papers' in 'Fraser.' A specimen of the contents of this curious publication cannot but be interesting to the reader. The parody we have selected, a clever skit upon the 'Cambridge Prize Poem,' appeared as follows:—

Beauty is but skin deep

Prisoners' base


To the Editor of 'The Snob.'

Sir,—Though your name be 'Snob,' I trust you will not refuse this tiny 'Poem of a Gownsman,' which was unluckily not finished on the day appointed for delivery of the several copies of verses on Timbuctoo. I thought, Sir, it would be a pity that such a poem should be lost to the world; and conceiving 'The Snob' to be the most widely-circulated periodical in Europe, I have taken the liberty of submitting it for insertion or approbation.

I am, Sir, yours, &c. &c. &c.


The situation.

In Africa (a quarter of the world)

Men's skins are black, their hair is crisp and curl'd,


And somewhere there, unknown to public view,

A mighty city lies, called Timbuctoo.


The natural history.

There stalks the tiger,—there the lion roars, 5

Who sometimes eats the luckless blackamoors;

All that he leaves of them the monster throws

To jackals, vultures, dogs, cats, kites, and crows;

His hunger thus the forest monarch gluts,

And then lies down 'neath trees called cocoa nuts10


The lion hunt.

Quick issue out, with musket, torch, and brand,

The sturdy blackamoors, a dusky band!

The beast is found—pop goes the musketoons—

The lion falls covered with horrid wounds.

Their lives at home.

At home their lives in pleasure always flow,15

But many have a different lot to know!


They're often caught, and sold as slaves, alas!

Reflections on the foregoing.

Thus men from highest joys to sorrow pass.

Yet though thy monarchs and thy nobles boil

Rack and molasses in Jamaica's isle;20

Desolate Afric! thou art lovely yet!!

One heart yet beats which ne'er thee shall forget. 70

What though thy maidens are a blackish brown,

Does virtue dwell in whiter breasts alone?

Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no!25

It shall not, must not, cannot e'er be so.

The day shall come when Albion's self shall feel

Stern Afric's wrath, and writhe 'neath Afric's steel.

I see her tribes the hill of glory mount,

And sell their sugars on their own account;30

While round her throne the prostrate nations come,

Sue for her rice, and barter for her rum!32

The burlesque prize poem concludes with a little vignette in the 'Titmarsh' manner, representing an Indian smoking a pipe, of the type once commonly seen in the shape of a small carved image at the doors of tobacconists' shops.

Lines 1 and 2.—See 'Guthrie's Geography.'

The site of Timbuctoo is doubtful; the Author has neatly expressed this in the poem, at the same time giving us some slight hints relative to its situation.

Line 5.—So Horace: 'leonum arida nutrix.'

Line 8.—Thus Apollo:

ἑλωρία τεῦχε κύνεσσιν

Οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι.

Lines 5-10.—How skilfully introduced are the animal and vegetable productions of Africa! It is worthy to remark the various garments in which the Poet hath clothed the lion. He is called, 1st, the 'Lion;' 2nd, the 'Monster' (for he is very large); and 3rd, the 'Forest Monarch,' which undoubtedly he is.

Lines 11-14.—The author confesses himself under peculiar obligations to Denham's and Clapperton's Travels, as they suggested to him the spirited description contained in these lines.

Line 13.—'Pop goes the musketoons.' A learned friend suggested 'Bang' as a stronger expression, but as African gunpowder is notoriously bad, the author thought 'Pop' the better word.

Lines 15-18.—A concise but affecting description is here given of the domestic habits of the people. The infamous manner in which they are entrapped and sold as slaves is described, and the whole ends with an appropriate moral sentiment. The Poem might here finish, but the spirit of the bard penetrates the veil of futurity, and from it cuts off a bright piece for the hitherto unfortunate Africans, as the following beautiful lines amply exemplify.

It may perhaps be remarked that the Author has here 'changed his hand.' He answers that it was his intention to do so. Before, it was his endeavour to be elegant and concise, it is now his wish to be enthusiastic and magnificent. He trusts the Reader will perceive the aptness with which he has changed his style; when he narrated facts he was calm, when he enters on prophecy he is fervid.

The enthusiasm which he feels is beautifully expressed in lines 25 and 26. He thinks he has very successfully imitated in the last six lines the best manner of Mr. Pope; and in lines 12-26, the pathetic elegance of the author of 'Australasia and Athens.'

The Author cannot conclude without declaring that his aim in writing this Poem will be fully accomplished if he can infuse into the breasts of Englishmen a sense of the danger in which they lie. Yes—Africa! If he can awaken one particle of sympathy for thy sorrows, of love for thy land, of admiration for thy virtue, he shall sink into the grave with the proud consciousness that he has raised esteem, where before there was contempt, and has kindled the flame of hope on the mouldering ashes of despair!



Early Favourites—Fielding's 'Joseph Andrews'—Imitators of Fielding—'The Adventures of Captain Greenland'—'Jack Connor'—'Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea.'

Thackeray's references to his favourite novels, and his liking, which assumed a sort of personal regard, for the authors who had given him pleasure, especially in youth, occur constantly throughout his writings, both early and late.

Blind man's buff

He has told us how in the boyish days spent in the Charterhouse he began to cultivate an acquaintance with the sterling English humorists whose works had a deeply-marked influence on his own literary training. 'Peregrine Pickle' was familiar to him at Greyfriars; later on, Fielding's masterpieces came into his possession. The buoyant spirit, vigorous nature, and absence of affectation which are peculiarly the property of that great novelist, must have highly delighted the budding author. Not only did Thackeray treasure up 'Tom Jones' and 'Joseph Andrews,' but 72 by some means he managed to get possession of various novels now completely obsolete, the productions of less brilliant contemporaries of Fielding, who were tempted by the success of his frankly penned novels to attempt to reach a similar success by walking servilely in the footsteps of the inaugurator of what may be considered the natural order of English novel writing.


Of 'Joseph Andrews' he has registered his belief that novel-readers should like this work best, and it is stated by Dr. Warton that Fielding gave the preference to this early history above his other writings. The hero, though but dressed in Lady Booby's cast-off livery, Thackeray declares to be as polite as Tom Jones in his fustian, or Captain Booth in his regimentals. 'Joseph,' in his opinion, 'shares the elements of success with those worthies:' he has large calves, broad shoulders, high courage, and a handsome face; qualities apparently deemed by the novelist sure passes to 73 popularity, and sufficiently certain to win the hearts of the impressionable.

In the confidentially chatty Roundabout Essays we are favoured with frequent introductions to the favourites of their author: no opportunity is lost of making the reader acquainted with his friends. Let us now turn to one of them—introducing Thackeray's graphic illustrations.

Pitch and toss



The edition (1742) of Fielding's earliest novel which formed a portion of Mr. Titmarsh's library has been enriched by certain characteristic illustrations of the drollest incidents.

But few of Thackeray's readers can fail to remember his sincere appreciation of the works of his brilliant predecessor, Justice Fielding, the founder of that unaffected school of novel-writing which has since been rendered illustrious by many masterpieces of genius.

It is singularly appropriate that 'Joseph Andrews' happens to form one of the series distinguished with Thackeray's pencillings, as no one acquainted with his writings can fail to recall his tenderly affectionate allusions to the author of 'Tom Jones.'

On the fly-leaf of 'Joseph Andrews' occurs the group of Lady Booby tempting the Joseph of the Georgian era, which is engraved above: the cut gives, without effort, a key to the wittiest of sly satires; for we cannot easily forget that merry mischievous Fielding projected this work as a ludicrous contrast to the exemplary 'Pamela,' whose literary success brought its well-meaning prosy author so much fame, profit, and flattery. The wicked irony of Fielding was peculiarly shocking to sensitive Richardson; and it is certain that the persecuted Pamela appears shorn of much of her dignity when associated with the undignified temptations suffered by her unexceptionable brother 'Joseph.' 75

The substance of this novel is so generally familiar that the merest reference will refresh the memories of our readers so far as the incidents illustrated by these slight pencillings are concerned.

Parson Adams, it may be remembered, endeavoured to raise a loan on a volume of manuscript sermons to assist Joseph Andrews, when Tow-mouse (the landlord), who mistrusted the security, offered excuses.

Poor Adams was extremely dejected at this disappointment. He immediately applied to his pipe, his constant friend and comfort in his afflictions; and leaning over the rails, he devoted himself to meditation, assisted by the inspiring fumes of tobacco.

He had on a night-cap drawn over his wig, and a short great coat, which half covered his cassock; a dress which, added to something comical enough in his countenance, composed a figure likely to attract the eyes of those who were not over-given to observation.

Joseph Andrews and Parson Adams arrived at the inn in no cheery plight, the hero's leg having been injured by a propensity for performing unexpected genuflections, the pride of a horse borrowed by the parson for the occasion. The host, a surly fellow, treated the damaged Joseph with roughness, and Parson Adams briskly resented the landlord's brutality by 'sending him sprawling' on his own floor. His wife retaliated by seizing a pan of hog's-blood, which unluckily stood on the dresser, and discharging its contents in the good parson's face. Mrs. Slipshod entered the kitchen at this critical moment, and attacked the hostess with 76 a skill developed by practice, tearing her cap, uprooting handfuls of hair, and delivering a succession of dexterous facers.

Parson Adams, when he required a trifling loan, ventured to wait on the swinish Parson Trulliber, whose wife introduced Adams in error, as 'a man come for some of his hogs.' Trulliber asserted that his animals were all pure fat, and upwards of twenty score apiece; he then dragged the parson into his stye, which was but two steps from his parlour-window, insisting that he should examine them before he would speak one word with him. Adams, whose natural complacence was beyond any artifice, was obliged to comply before he was suffered to explain himself, and laying hold of one of their tails, the wanton beast gave such a sudden spring that he threw poor Adams full length in the mire. Trulliber, instead of assisting him to get up, burst into laughter, and, entering the stye, said to Adams, with some contempt, 'Why, dost not know how to handle a hog?'

To those writers whose heroes are of their own creation, and whose brains are the chaos whence all their materials are collected—one may apply the saying of Balzac regarding Aristotle, that they are a second nature, for they have no communication with the first, by which authors of an inferior class, who cannot stand alone, are obliged to support themselves as with crutches; but these of whom I am now speaking 77 seem to be possessed of those stilts which the excellent Voltaire tells us, in his letters, carry the genius far off, but with an irregular pace. Indeed, far out of the sight of the reader—

Beyond the realm of chaos and old night.

The pedlar, introduced in these adventures, while relating to Joseph Andrews and Parson Adams the early history of Fanny (then returned from Lady Booby's), proceeded thus: 'Though I am now contented with this humble way of getting my livelihood, I was formerly a gentleman; for so all those of my profession are called. In a word, I was drummer in an Irish regiment of foot. Whilst I was in this honourable station, I attended an officer of our regiment into England, a recruiting.' The pedlar then described meeting a gipsy-woman, who confided to him, on her death-bed, that she had kidnapped a beautiful female infant from a family named Andrews, and sold her to Squire Booby for three guineas. In Fanny he professed to recognise the stolen infant. 78


'The Adventures of Captain Greenland,' an anonymous novel published in 1752, is avowedly 'written in imitation of all those wise, learned, witty, and humorous authors who either have or hereafter may write in the same style and manner.'

The story, divided over a tedious number of books—like the high-flown romances of the 'Grand Cyrus' order—also resembles those antiquated and unreal elaborations in the astonishing intrepidity of its professed hero, Sylvius, who, however, engages, like his model 'Joseph Andrews,' in situations generally described as menial. Captain Greenland himself, denuded of his powerful swearing propensities, might be regarded at this date as an interesting curiosity, a British commander of the true-blue salt type. A parson, and other characters suggestive of the acquaintances we make in 'Joseph Andrews,' contribute to swell the 'dramatis personæ.' A portion of the adventures, which are neither new nor startling, consists of escapes from Spanish convents, and complications connected with the Romanist faith, not unlike somewhat kindred allusions in Richardson's 'Sir Charles Grandison.'

A stage-coach journey occupies ten chapters of one book; and the travellers relieve this lengthy travel (from Worcester to London) by unfinished anecdotes. Captain Greenland relates an adventure with a highwayman who once stopped his coach. The 79 'gentleman of the road' bade the driver 'unrein.' The captain seized his blunderbuss and 'jumped ashore,' thinking it a scandal that a gentleman who had the honour of commanding one of His Majesty's ships of war should suffer himself to be boarded and plundered by a single fellow. Being a little warm and hasty, he salutes his enemy with, '"Blank my heart, but you are a blank cowardly rascal, and a blank mean-spirited villain! You scoundrel, you! you lurk about the course here to plunder every poor creature you meet, that have nothing at all to defend themselves; but you dare not engage with one that is able to encounter with you. Here, you rascal! if you dare fight for it, win it and wear it." With that I pulled out my purse and money, and flung it to the ground between us; but the faint-hearted blank durst as well be blank'd as come near me. So after I had swore myself pretty well out of wind (judging from the captain's ordinary vernacular, the strongest lungs could not have held out long), I ran towards him with my cock'd blunderbuss ready in my hand; but he at that very moment tacked about, and sheer'd off. I now picked up my purse, and went aboard the coach; but, blank my heart! I can't forgive myself for not saluting the rascal with one broadside.'

At the conclusion of ten chapters of stage-coach journeying, the author brilliantly observes, 'He has cooped up his readers for a considerable time,' and the captain swears the coach is somewhat 'over-manned.'

'At night they were all exceedingly merry and agreeable; and the generous captain again insisted upon paying the bill himself, which he found no matter of fault with, but in the customary 80 article (at that place) of sixpence a head for firing; which he swore was as much as could have been demanded if they had supp'd at an inn in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.'

The next day's journey being happily concluded, without any extraordinary occurrences, they arrived about six o'clock in the afternoon at the 'Blue Boar Inn, in Holborn, where they all agreed to sup together, and to lie that night.'

Rosetta the heroine, and her brother, Sir Christopher, attended by the faithful Sylvius as steward, embark at Portsmouth for 81 Lisbon. After some thirty hours' sea-sickness, Rosetta resumed her usual cheerfulness by making merry over her late incapacity. 'Sylvius was yet as bad as any of them. The knight (her brother) was also in the same helpless condition, and continued in the same manner till he was eased of the lofty tosses which were so plentifully bestowed on them by the restless Biscaian Bay.' They all recover at last, and are diverted by the shoals of wanton porpoises. 'By and by their remarks turned on their "little bark's climbing so wonderfully over the vast ridges of the mountainous waves, which formed perpetual and amazing prospects of over-rolling hills and vales, as could scarcely meet belief from those who had never been at sea."'


'Jack Connor' is another instance of the novels written by imitators of Fielding. Aiming to produce an unaffected and easy style of fiction, enlivened by incidents of every-day interest, it falls far short of the standard to which it aspires, as one would reasonably suppose. The book is anonymous, and is dedicated to Henry Fox, 'Secretary at War,' and was published in 1752; it is founded on a rambling plot, detailing the adventures of a 'waif' thrown on the world by his Irish parents. The first volume is mostly occupied by youthful 'amours,' and ends with the 'Story Of Polly Gunn,' which unfortunately bears a certain resemblance to De Foe's 'Moll Flanders,' in a condensed form.

'Jack Connor' had a patron, a marvellously proper man, the 'model of righteous walking,' and the dispenser of admirable precepts, over which the hero grew eminently sentimental; but directly after acted in direct opposition to the teaching of this worthy guardian. The pencilling we have selected from the margin of vol. i. illustrates a passage describing the scandals of the kitchen, which affixed to Jack Connor's benefactor, Mr. Kindly, the questionable honour of being father to his protégé.

'I hope,' said Tittle, 'your la'ship won't be angry with me, only they say that the boy is as like Mr. Kindly as two peas; but they say, "Mem"——' 82

'Hold your impertinent tongue,' said my lady; 'is this the occasion of so much giggle? You are an ungrateful pack. I am sure 'tis false,' &c.

'Indeed,' said Tittle, 'if I've said anything to offend your la'ship——'

'Yes, madam,' said my lady, 'you have greatly offended me; and so you all have,' &c.

Poor Mrs. Tittle was not only vastly disappointed, but greatly frightened. She informed the rest of the reception she had met with. The servants were quite surprised at the oddity of her ladyship's temper, and quoted many examples diametrically opposite.

'I'm sure,' said Mrs. Tittle, 'had I told as much to Squire Smart's lady, we should have laughed together about it the livelong night!'

'Ay, ay,' said Mrs. Matthews, 'God bless the good Lady Malign! When I waited on her in Yorkshire, many a gown, and petticoat, and smock have I gotten for telling her half so much; but, to be sure, some people think themselves wiser than all the world!'

'Hold, hold,' said Tom Blunt, the butler. 'Now, d'ye see, if so be as how my lady is wrong, she'll do you right; and if so be as how my lady is right, how like fools and ninnihammers will you all look!'

In vol. ii. we find Jack Connor resorting to the reputable profession of 'gentleman of the road;' he plans his first 'stand-and-deliver' venture in company with two experienced highwaymen. Hounslow is the popular spot selected for his début. Thither he proceeds in a post-chaise from Piccadilly, having arranged for his horse in advance. Two circumstances favour him; he knows a family in the neighbourhood, and he wears a surtout of a cloth that is blue on one side and red on the other, and that has no other lining. In a blue coat with scarlet cuffs he orders wine, arranges for 83 a return post-chaise, and enquires the address of the people whose name he knows. He then departs, secures his horse, and turns his coat; he is behind-hand, and the coach just then coming up, the two highwaymen lead the attack: one is shot, and the other disabled and captured. Connor escapes in the confusion, ties up his horse, turns his coat, and walks back to the inn for his post-chaise, which is delayed, one horse being wanting. The landlord enters. 'There, now,' said he, 'is two fine gentlemen that have made a noble kettle of fish of it this morning!'

'Bless me, my dear,' said his wife, 'what's the matter?'

'Not much; only a coach was stopped on the heath by three highwaymen, and two of 'em is now taken, and at the next inn.'

'Dear sirs,' said the landlady, ''tis the most preposteroustest thing in life that gentlefolks won't travel in post-chaises; and then they're always safe from these fellows.'

'Well,' said the husband, 'I must send after the third, who escaped; I'll engage to find out his scarlet coat before night.'

Connor, recollecting his situation, chimed in with the hostess, and spoke greatly against the disturbers of the public. At last he took leave, mounted his chaise, and got safe to London; but often thought the horses very bad.

Jack Connor, after various vicissitudes, was at last reduced to service, and was employed as secretary by Sir John Curious, an infirm compound of wealth and avarice, married, in his last days, to a young wife. Connor became unpopular with the ladies of the establishment, on account of his over-correct behaviour. One day he was busy reading to Sir John, when Mr. Sampson, a wine merchant, entered. The knight had a great regard for this gentleman, and was extremely civil to him. 'Well, friend Sampson,' said he, 'time was 84 when we used to meet oftener; but this plaguy gout makes me perform a tedious quarantine, you see.'

'Ah, Sir John,' replied Mr. Sampson, 'you are at anchor in a safe harbour; but I have all your ailments, and am buffeted about in stormy winds.'

'Not so, not so,' answered the knight; 'I hope my old friend is in no danger of shipwreck. No misfortunes, I hope.'

'None,' said Mr. Sampson, 'but what my temper can bear. I have lost my only child, just such a youth as that (pointing to Jack). I have lost the best part of my substance by the war, and I have found old age and infirmities.'

Sir John regretted that he could not assist his friend with a loan, but he paid his account for wine, and handed over Connor to assist Mr. Sampson in his business.

After a long letter on the state of Ireland—which appeared even in 1744 a question beyond the wisdom of legislation to dispose of satisfactorily—the author apologises for his digressions with considerable novelty. 'I am afraid I have carried my reader too far from the subject-matter of this history, and tried his patience; but I assure him that my indulgence has been very great, for, at infinite pains, I have curtailed the last chapter (the Irish question) at least sixty pages. Few know the difficulty of bridling the imagination, and reining back a hard-mouthed pen. It sometimes gets ahead, and, in spite of all our skill, runs away with us into mire and dirt; nay, at this minute I find my quill in a humour to gallop, so shall stop him short in time.'

The life of Connor is chequered. He finally figures as a captain of dragoons in the campaign in Flanders, under the 'Culloden' Duke. He performs deeds of valour with the army, and rescues a Captain Thornton from three assailants, preserves his life and secures his gratitude. He next appears at Cadiz, on a commercial errand, and he regains his long-lost mother in Mrs. Magraph, a 85 wealthy widow, to whom he had made love. This lady, who had saved thirty thousand pounds, was very communicative; she finally recognised him as her son, and acquainted him that Sir Roger Thornton, the life of whose son he had preserved, was in reality his father, and not Connor, as he had previously believed. The hero then set out for Paris. The ship was ready to sail. All were concerned at losing so polite a companion, and he was loaded with praises and caresses. His mother could not bear it with that resignation she at first thought; but, however, she raised her spirits, and with many blessings saw him set sail.

The voyage was prosperous, and he arrived at Marseilles, safe and in good health. He took post for Paris, and embraced his dear friend Captain Thornton, as indicated in the marginal illustration. Jack Connor marries a lord's daughter, and becomes an Irish landed gentleman. The author concludes with the regret that he has not the materials to reveal his hero's future.


We gather from the copy of this work, which was formerly on the shelves of Thackeray's library, that 'Chrysal' had reached seven editions in 1771, having been originally published in 1760, with a highly laudatory dedication to William Pitt.

The bookseller's prefix to the first edition is slightly imaginative. To describe its nature briefly, the publisher, while taking a country stroll in Whitechapel, then an Arcadian village, was overtaken by a shower, and sought shelter in a cottage where a 86 humble family were breakfasting. His eye was caught by a sheet of manuscript which had done duty for a butter-plate. Its contents interested him, and he learnt that the chandler next door wrapped up her commodities in such materials. He made an experimental purchase, which was done up in another leaf of the paper. Cautious enquiries elicited that brown paper being costly, and a quantity of old 'stuff' having been left by a long deceased lodger of her departed mother's, the manuscript was thus turned into use. The enterprising publisher invested 1s. 6d. for brown paper, and secured the entire remaining sheets in exchange. Finding, on perusal, that he had secured matter of some literary value, he pursued his investigations with the same lady, and learned that the author was an unfortunate schemer, who, after wasting his entire fortune in seeking the philosopher's stone, perceived his folly too late, wrote the story of 'Chrysal' in ridicule of the fallacy of golden visions, and expired before he could realise any profit by the publication of his papers. The bookseller secretly resolved to admit the good woman to a half share of the profits of her 'heirship,' and 'Chrysal' appeared. It excited some attention, and had various charges laid to its account.

The scheme is ingenious, tracing the guinea from its projection, and giving an account of the successive stages of its changing existence. We are admitted to contemplate the influence of gold in various situations; with dissertations on 'traffic,' and, in short, follow the history of a guinea through the possession of numerous owners, male and female, while the reader is by these means introduced to some very curious situations.

The little design in the margin occurs in the history of a horned cock, a parody on collectors of curiosities, describing the manner in which a noble 'virtuoso' was imposed upon by a cunning vendor of wonderful productions. There was considerable competition to secure the composite phenomenon, and when his lordship obtained it, a convocation of 'savants' was summoned to report on the marvel. The 87 bird, a game-cock, had unfortunately taken offence at an owl in a neighbouring cage, and when the company arrived it had rubbed off one of the horns and disturbed the other. While arguing that the bird had shed its horn in the course of nature, one of the company dropped some snuff near the bird's eye, who thereupon shook his head with sufficient violence to dislodge the remaining horn; exposing the imposture, and overwhelming the virtuoso with such vexation that the cock was sacrificed to Æsculapius forthwith.

The guinea gets into the hands of a justice of the peace, in the shape of a bribe, and a very remarkable state of corruption and traffic in iniquity is displayed. The little pencilling of a quaint figure holding the scales occurs on the margin of a paragraph which records a warm dispute between the justice and his clerk on the proportioning of their plunder, the clerk revolting against an arrangement by which it is proposed to confine him to a bare third! The dispute is checked by the arrival of some customers, matrons dwelling within the justice's district, who come to compound with him in regular form 'for the breach of those laws he is appointed to support.'

The sketches pencilled in 'Chrysal' do not follow the story very closely; indeed, they can hardly be intimately associated with the text they accompany. This, however, is quite an exceptional case; the drawings found in Mr. Thackeray's books being, in nearly every instance, very felicitous embodiments of the subject-matter of the works they illustrate.

On a fly-leaf of 'Chrysal' is a jovial sketch of light-hearted and nimble-toed tars, forming a realistic picture of the good cheer a guinea may command, and immediately suggestive of bags of prize-money, apoplectically stored with the yellow boys which, in the good old days, were supposed to profusely line the pockets of true salts when they indulged in the delights of a spell on shore: this was the time when sailors experimented in frying, as the story represents them, superfluous watches in bacon-fat, as a scientific relaxation, when the ships were paid off at Portsmouth, 88 and 'jolly tars' had invested in more timekeepers than the exigencies of punctuality strictly demanded.



Continental Ramble—A Stolen Trip to Paris—Residence at Weimar—Contributions to Albums—Burlesque State—German Sketches and Studies—The Weimar Theatre—Goethe—Souvenirs of the Saxon city—'Journal kept during a visit to Germany.'

We cannot take leave of Thackeray's college days without referring to the first trip he made to Paris during a vacation, on his own responsibility, and, indeed, without consulting his pastors and masters on the subject. This little episode occurred when he was nineteen years old; and, excepting for considerable remorse at the subterfuge by which he had got away, he seems to have enjoyed himself very much.


Coachee, 1830



A dowager

A German court chaplain

A postilion


Apollo surrounded by his tuneful band. (Sketched in a music-book.)


Rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima cigno.
(Album oddities. Weimar, 1830)

Weimar, 1830

A Royal banquet

A Weimar sketch

Schiller's plays. Weimar, 1830

Soon afterwards Thackeray seems to have repaired to Weimar, in Saxony, where, as he describes it, he lived with a score of young English lads, 'for study, or sport, or society.' Mr. G. H. Lewes, in his 'Life of Goethe,' tells us that Weimar albums still 94 display with pride the caricatures which the young artist sketched at that period. 'My delight in those days,' says Mr. Thackeray, 'was to make caricatures for children'—a habit, we may add, which he never forgot. Years afterwards, in the fulness of his fame, 95 revisiting Weimar, he found, to his great delight, that these were yet remembered, and some even preserved still; but he was much more proud to be told, as a lad, that the great Goethe himself had looked at some of them. In a letter to his friend Mr. Lewes, inserted by the latter in the work referred to, Thackeray has given a pleasing picture of this period of his life, and of the circle in which he found himself.

Church militant

Triumphal march of the British forces


Opera at Weimar

Readers familiar with the 'Rose and the Ring,' Thackeray's popular Christmas book, will recognise in the sketch on page 93 the artist's fondness for playing with royalty—especially with pantomimic royalty. The Weimar court was full of old ceremony, and yet most pleasant and homely withal. Thackeray and his friends were invited in turns to dinners, balls, and assemblies there. Such young men as had a right appeared in uniforms, diplomatic and military. Some invented gorgeous clothing: the old Hof Marschall, M. de Spiegel, who had two of the most lovely daughters ever looked on, being in nowise difficult as to the admission of 97 these young Englanders. On winter nights they used to charter sedan chairs, in which they were carried through the snow to these court entertainments. Here young Thackeray had the good luck to purchase Schiller's sword, which formed a part of his court costume, and which hung in his study till the day of his death, to put him (as he said) in mind of days of youth the most kindly and delightful.

Shakspeare at Weimar

Operatic reminiscences at Weimar

Here, too, he had the advantage of the society of his friend and fellow-student at Cambridge, Mr. W. G. Lettsom, later Her Majesty's Chargé-d'Affaires at Uruguay, but who was at the period referred to attached to the suite of the English Minister at Weimar. To the kindness of this gentleman he was indebted in a considerable degree for the introductions he obtained to the best 99 families in the town. Thackeray was always fond of referring to this period of his life.

A German fencing bout

The spirited sketch of a German Fencing Bout given on the preceding page, was probably drawn on the spot during the progress of the combat. The collegians enable us to construct a realistic picture of the student of a generation ago.

German student of the period. (Weimar, 1830)

The object of the combatants being to inflict a prick or scratch in some conspicuous part of the face, the rest of the person is carefully padded and protected. In our days the loose cap with its pointed peak has disappeared before its gay muffin-shaped substitute; 100 but the traditional pride in a scarred face is still observable. Even at the present day we find the youths of German University towns rejoicing in a seam down the nose, or swaggering in the conscious dignity of a slashed cheek, as outward and visible evidence of the warlike soul within.

Goethe. A sketch from the Fraser portrait

(Sketched at Weimar, 1830)

Devrient, who appeared some years since at the St. James's Theatre in German versions of Shakspeare, was performing at Weimar at that period, in 'Shylock,' 'Hamlet,' 'Falstaff,' and the 'Robbers;' and the beautiful Madame Schröder was appearing in 'Fidelio.'

The young English students at Weimar spent their evenings in frequenting the performances at the theatres, or attending the levées of the Court ladies.

After an interval of nearly a quarter of a century, Thackeray passed a couple of days in the well-remembered place, where he was fortunate enough to find still some of the friends of his youth. With his daughters he was received by Madame de Goethe with the kindness of old days; the little party once again drank tea 102 in that famous cottage in the park which had been a favourite resort of the illustrious poet.

A souvenir

Album sketches

During his residence at Weimar in 1831 Thackeray saw and shared a great deal of pleasant life; and although the world of the little German capital was one in miniature, the experience he gained in it was turned to good account in after years. It was at this visit he had the happiness of meeting the great Goethe, who had then withdrawn from society: he would, nevertheless, receive strangers with marked cordiality; and the tea-table of his daughter-in-law was always spread for the entertainment of these favoured young sojourners. 103

A swell

A buck

In October 1830, we find Thackeray writing from Weimar to a bookseller in Charterhouse Square, for a liberal supply of the Bath post paper on which he wrote his verses and drew his countless sketches. On certain sheets of this paper, after his memorable interview with Goethe, we find the young artist trying to trace from recollection the features of the remarkable face which had deeply impressed his fancy (see p. 100). There are portraits in pen and ink, and others washed with colour to imitate more closely the complexion of the study he was endeavouring to work out. The letter to which we here refer contains an order of an extensive character, 104 for the current literature, which throws some light on his tastes at this period:—'Fraser's Town and Country Magazine for August, September, October, and November. The four last numbers of the Examiner and Literary Gazette, The Comic Annual, The Keepsake, and any others of the best annuals, and Bombastes Furioso, with Geo. Cruikshank's illustrations. The parcel to be directed to Dr. Frohrib, Industrie Comptoir, Weimar.'

Among the ingenuous confessions of Fitz-Boodle in 'Fraser,' we are admitted to three romantic episodes, all of them being directed as warnings to over-fervent young men—'Miss Löwe' (Oct. 1842), 'Dorothea' (Jan. 1843), 'Ottilia' (Feb. 1843): none of these tender records of his early German experiences are reprinted with Thackeray's 'Miscellanies.' We learn incidentally in 'Ottilia' the delightful fee accorded to gallant drivers on the occasion of sledging parties, which formed a leading amusement of a Saxon winter. A large company of a score or more sledges was formed. Away they went to some pleasure-house previously fixed upon as a rendezvous, where a ball and supper were ready prepared, and where each cavalier, as his partner descended, has the 'delicious privilege of saluting her.'

Thackeray has turned the observations he made during his residence in the Saxon city to famous satirical account in the construction of his typical Court of Pumpernickel, situated on the Pump rivulet. We meet the most effective sarcastic sketches of the mimic court in various parts of his writings, great and small. It was in these sister Duchies that Pitt Crawley served as an attaché to the British representative. It was while dining at the table of Tapeworm, the Secretary of our Legation there, that the author declares he first learnt the sad particulars of the career of Mrs. Rawdon Crawley, née Rebecca Sharp. It was here, too, in the theatre that he describes first meeting with Amelia, then Mrs. Osborne, attended by her brother Jos. Sedley, with her son George, and his guardian, faithful Major Dobbin; when the little party were sojourning, as favoured visitors, in the famous dominions (stretching nearly ten miles) of his Transparency Victor Aurelius XVIII. The reader will remember being presented, in one of the later chapters of 'Vanity Fair,' with a humorous burlesque of the entire Grand Ducal Court—its belongings, society, administration, foreign legations, politics, fêtes, and what not; with a detailed description 105 of the noble bridge thrown across the Pump by his renowned Transparency Victor Aurelius XIV., whose effigy rises above the erection; his foot calmly resting on the neck of a prostrate Turk, and surrounded by water-nymphs and emblems of victory, peace, and plenty. The prince is smiling blandly, and directing with his outstretched truncheon the attention of the passer to the Aurelian Platz, where this great-souled hero had commenced a palace that would have been the wonder of the age, if the funds for its completion had not been exhausted. A previous introduction to the splendours of Kalbsbraten-Pumpernickel had been afforded the readers of 'Fraser,' where we are informed that it contained a population of two thousand inhabitants, and a palace (Monblaïsir, the rival of Versailles) which would accommodate about six times that number. The Principality furnished a contingent of three and a half men to the Germanic Confederation; only three of whom returned from the field of Waterloo. This army corps was commanded by a General (Excellency), two major-generals, and sixty-four officers of lower grades; all noble, all knights of the order of Kartoffel, and almost all chamberlains to his Highness the Grand Duke. A band of eighty performers led the troops to battle in time of war; executed selections daily, in more peaceful intervals, for the admiration of the neighbourhood; and at night did duty on the stage.


There was supposed to be a chamber of representatives, who were not remembered to have ever sat, home and foreign ministers, residents from neighbouring courts, law-presidents, town councils, &c., and all the usual great government functionaries. The Court had its chamberlains and marshals; the Grand Duchess her noble ladies-in-waiting, and beauteous maids of honour. Besides the sentries at the palace, there were three or four men on duty, dressed as hussars; but the historian could not discover that they ever rode on horseback.

A German peasant maiden

The Prime Minister had lodgings in a second floor, and the other great officers were similarly accommodated: their titles were, however, a distinction in themselves—Otho Sigismond Freyherr von Schlippenschlopps, for instance, Knight Grand Cross of the Ducal Order of the Two Necked Swan of Pumpernickel, of the Porc-et-Sifflet of Kalbsbraten, Commander of the George and Blue Boar of Dummerland, Excellency and High Chancellor of the United Duchies, is described as enjoying, with his private income and the revenues of his offices, a total of nearly three hundred pounds per annum, and, in consequence of this handsome provision, being able to display such splendour as few officers of the Grand Ducal Crown could afford.


These high-sounding titles were not confined to the military and diplomatic bodies: the memorable town pump had been designed 108 by Herr Oberhof und bau Inspektor von Speck; whose wife was honourably referred to as 'The Grand-ducal Pumpernickelian-court-architectress, and Upper-palace-and-building-inspectress, Von Speck.'

The preceding sketch of sleighing, which has all the life and spirit of a drawing executed whilst the recollection of its subject is still fresh, was evidently made at the period of Thackeray's residence at Weimar. He has left various pen-and-ink dottings of the quaint houses in this town, which correspond with the little buildings in the landscape on p. 101.

Among the volumes originally in Thackeray's possession was a book, privately printed, containing portions of the diaries of Mrs. Colonel St. George, written during her sojourn among the German courts, 1799 and 1800. As the margins of the book are pencilled with slight but graphic etchings illustrative of the matter, we insert a few extracts while treating of Thackeray's early experience of Weimar, as harmonising with this part of our subject. It may be premised that the actual sketches belong to a considerably later date.


'Vienna, July 18, 1800.—Dined at La Gardie's; read "Les Mères Rivales" aloud, while she made a couvre-pied for her approaching confinement; her mother worked a cap for the babe, and he sat down to his netting: it was a black shawl for his wife. A fine tall man, a soldier, too, with a very martial appearance, netting a shawl for his wife amused me.

'Dresden, Oct. 2.—Dined at the Elliots'.[2] While I was playing at chess with Mr. Elliot, came the news of Lord Nelson's arrival, with Sir William and Lady Hamilton, Mrs. Cadogan, mother of the latter, and Miss Cornelia Knight, famous for her "Continuation of Rasselas" and her "Private Life of the Romans."[3]

A fancy portrait

'Oct. 3.—Dined at Mr. Elliot's, with only the Nelson party. It is plain that Lord Nelson thinks of nothing but Lady Hamilton, 109 who is totally occupied by the same object. She is bold, forward, coarse, assuming, and vain. Her figure is colossal, but, excepting her feet, well shaped. Her bones are large, and she is exceedingly embonpoint. She resembles the bust of Ariadne: the shape of all her features is fine, as is the form of her head, and particularly her ears; her teeth are a little irregular, but tolerably white; her eyes light blue, with a brown spot in one, which, though a defect, takes nothing away from her beauty and expression. Her eyebrows and hair are dark, and her complexion coarse. Her expression is strongly marked, variable, and interesting; her movements in common life ungraceful; her voice loud, yet not disagreeable. Lord Nelson is a little man, without any dignity; who, I suppose, must resemble what Suwarrow was in his youth, as he is like all the pictures I have seen of that general. Lady Hamilton takes possession of him, and he is a willing captive, the most submissive and devoted I have seen. Sir William is old, infirm, all admiration of his wife, and never spoke to-day but to applaud her. Miss Cornelia Knight seems the decided flatterer of the two, and never opens her mouth but to show forth their praise; and Mrs. Cadogan, Lady Hamilton's mother, is what one might expect. After dinner we had several songs in honour of Lord Nelson, written by Miss Knight, and sung by Lady Hamilton. She puffs the incense full in his face; but he receives it with pleasure and sniffs it up very cordially. The songs all ended in the sailor's way, with "Hip, hip, hip, hurra!" and a 110 bumper with the last drop on the nail, a ceremony I had never heard of or seen before.

'Oct. 4.—Accompanied the Nelson party to Mr. Elliot's box at the opera. She and Lord Nelson were wrapped up in each other's conversation during the chief part of the evening.

'Oct. 5.—Went, by Lady Hamilton's invitation, to see Lord Nelson dressed for court. On his hat he wore the large diamond feather, or ensign of sovereignty, given him by the Grand Signior; on his breast the order of the Bath, the order he received as Duke of Bronte; the diamond star, including the sun or crescent, given him by the Grand Signior; three gold medals, obtained by three different victories; and a beautiful present from the King of Naples. On one side is His Majesty's picture, richly set, and surrounded with laurels, which spring from two united laurels at bottom, and support the Neapolitan crown at top; on the other is the Queen's cipher, which turns so as to appear within the same laurels, and is formed of diamonds on green enamel. In short, Lord Nelson was a perfect constellation of stars and orders.

'Oct. 7.—Breakfasted with Lady Hamilton, and saw her represent in succession the best statues and paintings extant. She assumes their attitude, expression, and drapery with great facility, swiftness, and accuracy. Several Indian shawls, a chair, some antique vases, a wreath of roses, a tambourine, and a few children are her whole apparatus. She stands at one end of the room, with a strong light on her left, and every other window closed. Her hair is short, dressed like an antique, and her gown a simple calico chemise, very easy, with loose sleeves to the wrist. She disposes the shawls so as to form Grecian, Turkish, and other drapery, as well as a variety of turbans. Her arrangement of the turbans is absolutely sleight-of-hand; she does it so quickly, so easily, and so well. It is a beautiful performance, amusing to the most ignorant, and highly interesting to the lovers of art. The chief of her imitations are from the antique. Each representation lasts about ten minutes. It is remarkable that, though coarse and ungraceful in common life, she becomes highly graceful, and even beautiful, during this performance. After showing her attitudes, she sang, and I accompanied. Her voice is good and very strong, but she is frequently out of tune; her expression strongly 111 marked and various; but she has no flexibility, and no sweetness. She acts her songs....

'Still she does not gain upon me. I think her bold, daring, vain even to folly, and stamped with the manners of her first situation much more strongly than one would suppose, after having represented majesty, and lived in good company fifteen years. Her ruling passions seem to me vanity, avarice, and love for the pleasures of the table. Mr. Elliot says, "She will captivate the Prince of Wales, whose mind is as vulgar as her own, and play a great part in England."

'Oct. 8.—Dined at Madame de Loss's, wife to the Prime Minister, with the Nelson party. The Electress will not receive Lady Hamilton, on account of her former dissolute life. She wished to go to court, on which a pretext was made to avoid receiving company last Sunday, and I understand there will be no court while she stays. Lord Nelson, understanding the Elector did not wish to see her, said to Mr. Elliot, "Sir, if there is any difficulty of that sort, Lady Hamilton will knock the Elector down, and —— me, I'll knock him down too!"

'Oct. 9.—A great breakfast at the Elliots', given to the Nelson party. Lady Hamilton repeated her attitudes with great effect. All the company, except their party and myself, went away before dinner; after which Lady Hamilton, who declared she was passionately fond of champagne, took such a portion of it as astonished me. Lord Nelson was not behindhand, called more vociferously than usual for songs in his own praise, and after many bumpers proposed the Queen of Naples, adding, "She is my queen; she is queen to the backbone." Poor Mr. Elliot, who was anxious the party should not expose themselves more than they had done already, and wished to get over the last day as well as he had done the rest, endeavoured to stop the effusion 112 of champagne, and effected it with some difficulty, but not till the lord and lady, or, as he calls them, Antony and Moll Cleopatra, were pretty far gone. I was so tired, I returned home soon after dinner; but not till Cleopatra had talked to me a great deal of her doubts whether the queen would receive her, adding, "I care little about it. I had much sooner she would settle half Sir William's pension on me." After I went, Mr. Elliot told me she acted Nina intolerably ill, and danced the Tarantula. During her acting, Lord Nelson expressed his admiration by the Irish sound of astonished applause, and by crying every now and then, "Mrs. Siddons be ——!" Lady Hamilton expressed great anxiety to go to court, and Mrs. Elliot assured her it would not amuse her, and that the Elector never gave dinners or suppers. "What?" cried she, "no guttling!" Sir William also this evening performed feats of activity, hopping round the room on his backbone, his arms, legs, star and ribbon all flying about in the air.

'Oct. 10.—Mr. Elliot saw them on board to-day. He heard, by chance, from a king's messenger, that a frigate waited for them at Hamburg, and ventured to announce it formally. He says: "The moment they were on board, there was an end of the fine arts, of the attitudes, of the acting, the dancing, and the singing. Lady Hamilton's maid began to scold, in French, about some provisions which had been forgot. Lady Hamilton began bawling for an Irish stew, and her old mother set about washing the potatoes, which she did as cleverly as possible. They were exactly like Hogarth's actresses dressing in the barn."'

At Berlin, the fair diarist was introduced to Beurnonville, the French minister, who had gained notoriety for his services at Valmy and Gemappes. He was one of the commissioners despatched by the convention to arrest Dumouriez, who, it may be remembered, treated him with marked cordiality; the special envoy of the republic was, however, arrested, with his companions, and delivered by the general into the hands of the Austrians.

'Nov. 18-23.—I have been to a great supper at Count Schulenberg's. As usual, I saw Beurnonville, who was very attentive. He looks like an immense cart-horse, put by mistake in the finest caparisons; his figure is colossal and ungainly; and his uniform of blue and gold, which appears too large even for his large person, is half covered with the broadest gold lace. His ton is that of a corps-de-garde (he was really a corporal), but when he 113 addresses himself to women, he affects a softness and légèreté, which reminds one exactly of the "Ass and the Spaniel," and his compliments are very much in the style of M. Jourdain. It is said, however, he is benevolent and well-meaning.

'Nov. 30.—Supped at Mad. Angeström's, wife of the Swedish Minister, who is perfectly indifferent to all the interests of Europe, provided nothing interrupts her reception of the Paris fashions, for which she has an uncommon avidity. "N'est-ce pas, ma chère, que ceci est charmant? C'est copié fidèlement d'un journal de Paris, et quel journal délicieux!"

'She wears very little covering on her person, and none on her arms of any kind (shifts being long exploded), except sleeves of the finest cambric, unlined and travaillé au jour, which reach only half way from the shoulder to the elbow. She seems to consider it a duty to shiver in this thin attire, for she said to Lady Carysfort, "Ah, Milédi, que vous êtes heureuse, vous portez des poches et des jupes!" I conversed chiefly with Beurnonville and Pignatelli. Beurnonville says, "Mon secrétaire est pour les affaires, mon aide-de-camp pour les dames, et moi pour la représentation." The people about him are conscious he is peu de chose, but say, "Qu'importe? on est si bon en Prusse, et si bien disposé pour nous." A person asked Vaudreuil, aide-de-camp to Beurnonville, if the latter was a ci-devant. "Non," dit-il, "mais il voudroit l'être"—a reply of a good deal of finesse, and plainly proving how unconquerable the respect for rank, and wish among those who have destroyed the substance to possess the shadow.' 114


Thackeray's Predilections for Art—A Student in Paris—First Steps in the Career—An Art Critic—Introduction to Marvy's English Landscape Painters—Early Connection with Literature—Michael Angelo Titmarsh, a contributor to 'Fraser's Magazine'—French Caricature under Louis Philippe—Political Satires—A Young Artist's life in Paris—Growing Sympathy with Literature.

The Weimar reminiscences show how early Thackeray's passion for art had developed itself. One who knew him well affirms that he was originally intended for the Bar; but he had, indeed, already determined to be an artist, and for a considerable period he diligently followed his bent. He visited Rome, where he stayed some time, and subsequently, as we shall see, settled for some time in Paris, 'where,' says a writer in the 'Edinburgh Review' for January 1848, 'we well remember, ten or twelve years ago, finding him, day after day, engaged in copying pictures in the Louvre, in order to qualify himself for his intended profession. It may be doubted, however,' adds this writer, 'whether any degree of assiduity would have enabled him to excel in the money-making branches, for his talent was altogether of the Hogarth kind, and was principally remarkable in the pen-and-ink sketches of character and situation which he dashed off for the amusement of his friends.' This is just criticism; but Thackeray, though caring little himself for the graces of good drawing or correct anatomy, had a keen appreciation of the beauties of contemporary artists. Years after—in 1848—when, as he says, the revolutionary storm which raged in France 'drove many peaceful artists, as well as kings, ministers, tribunes, and socialists of state for refuge to our country,' an artist friend of his early Paris life found his way to Thackeray's home in London. This was Monsieur Louis Marvy, in whose atelier the former had 115 passed many happy hours with the family of the French artist—in that constant cheerfulness and sunshine, as his English friend expressed it, which the Parisian was now obliged to exchange for a dingy parlour and the fog and solitude of London. A fine and skilful landscape-painter himself, M. Marvy, while here, as a means of earning a living, made a series of engravings after the works of our English landscape-painters. For some of these his friend obtained for M. Marvy permission to take copies in the valuable private collection of Mr. Thomas Baring. The publishers, however, would not undertake the work without a series of letter-press notices of each picture from Mr. Thackeray; and the latter accordingly added some criticisms which are interesting as developing his theory of this kind of art. The artists whose works are engraved are Calcott, Turner, Holland, Danby, Creswick, Collins, Redgrave, Lee, Cattermole, W. J. Müller, Harding, Nasmyth, Wilson, E. W. Cooke, Constable, De Wint, and Gainsborough.

It was, we believe, in 1834, and while residing for a short period in Albion Street, Hyde Park, the residence of his mother and her second husband, Major Carmichael Smyth, that Mr. Thackeray began his literary career as a contributor to 'Fraser's 116 Magazine.' The pseudonyms of 'Michael Angelo Titmarsh,' 'Fitz Boodle,' 'Yellowplush,' or 'Lancelot Wagstaff,' under which he afterwards amused the readers of the periodicals, had not then been thought of. His early papers related chiefly to the Fine Arts; but most of them had some reference to his French experiences. He seems to have had a peculiar fancy for Paris, where he resided, with brief intervals, for some years after coming of age, and where most of his magazine papers were written.

The Two-penny Post-bag


The drawing on p. 117 represents the despair (désespoir) of the Orleans family at the threatened political decease (décès) of Louis Philippe, familiar to Parisians as the 'Pear' (Poire), from 118 the well-known resemblance established by the caricaturists between the shape and appearance of the king's head and a Burgundy pear. Thackeray resided in Paris during the contests of the king with the caricaturists (under the banner of Phillipon), and he was much impressed by their wit and artistic power. If the reader will turn to the 'Paris Sketch Book,' he will see Mr. Thackeray's own words upon the subject.

Under the Second Empire

We may state, for the assistance of the reader unacquainted with the French caricatures of that period, that the figure to the right with an elongated nose is M. d'Argout; the gentleman at the foot of the bed, astride a huge squirt (the supposed favourite implement with every French physician), is Marshal Lobau. Queen Marie Amélie, the Duc d'Orléans, and other members of the royal family, are in the background.

One of Thackeray's literary associates has given some amusing particulars of his Paris life, and his subsequent interest in the city, where he had many friends and was known to a wide circle of readers. 'He lived,' says this writer, 'in Paris "over the water," and it is not long since, in strolling about the Latin Quarter with the best of companions, that we visited his lodgings, Thackeray inquiring after those who were already forgotten—unknown. Those who may wish to learn his early Parisian life and associations should turn to the story of "Philip on his Way through the World." Many incidents in that narrative are reminiscences of his own youthful literary struggles whilst living modestly in this city. Latterly, fortune and fame enabled the author of "Vanity Fair" to visit imperial Paris in imperial style, and Mr. Thackeray put up generally at the Hôtel de Bristol, in the Place Vendôme. Never was increase of fortune more gracefully worn or more generously employed. The struggling artist and small man of letters, whom he was sure to find at home or abroad, was pretty safe to 119 be assisted if he learned their wants. I know of many a kind act. One morning, on entering Mr. Thackeray's bedroom in Paris, I found him placing some napoleons in a pill-box, on the lid of which was written, "One to be taken occasionally." "What are you doing?" said I. "Well," he replied, "there is an old person here who says she is very ill and in distress, and I strongly suspect that this is the sort of medicine she wants. Dr. Thackeray intends to leave it with her himself. Let us walk out together."[4] Thackeray used to say that he came to Paris for a holiday and to revive his recollections of French cooking. But he generally worked here, especially when editing the "Cornhill Magazine."'[5]

The political Morgiana

One of the ornaments of Paris

Thackeray's affection for Paris, however, appears to have been founded upon no relish for the gaieties of the French metropolis, and certainly not upon any liking for French institutions. His papers on this subject are generally criticisms upon political, 120 social, and literary failings of the French, written in a severe spirit which savours more of the confident judgment of youth than of the calm spirit of the citizen of the world. The reactionary rule of Louis Philippe, the Government of July, and the boasted Charter of 1830, were the objects of his especial dislike; nor was he less unsparing in his views of French morals as exemplified in their law courts, and in the novels of such writers as Madame Dudevant. The truth is, that at this Period Paris was, in the eyes of the art-student, 121 simply the Paradise of young painters. Possessed of a good fortune—said to have amounted, on his coming of age in 1832, to 20,000l.—the young Englishman passed his days in the Louvre, his evenings with his French artist acquaintances, of whom his preface to Louis Marvy's sketches gives so pleasant a glimpse; or sometimes in his quiet lodgings in the Quartier Latin in dashing 122 off for some English or foreign paper his enthusiastic notices of the Paris Exhibition, or a criticism on French writers, or a story of French artist life, or an account of some great cause célèbre then stirring the Parisian world. This was doubtless the happiest period of his life. In one of these papers he describes minutely the life of the art student in Paris, and records his impressions of it at the time.

A decorated artist

Back to the past

The painter's trade in France, he discovers, is a good one; it is more appreciated, respected, and even more liberally patronised than with us. While in England there is no school but the 'Academy' open to the young student—in those days South Kensington did not exist, and our artists are not accustomed to grant young beginners admission to their studios at pleasure, as has long been the practice abroad—in France excellent schools abound, where, under the eye of a practised master, a young man can learn the rudiments of his art for about ten pounds a year, including all kinds of accessory instruction, models, &c.; while he can, out of doors, obtain all sorts of incentives to study for 'just nothing at all.'

The life of the young artist in France, we are told, is the 123 merriest, most slovenly existence possible. He comes to Paris with some forty pounds a year settled on him to keep him and pay all his expenses. He lives in a quarter where all his surroundings are of the same order—art and artists; from morning till night, he is in an atmosphere of painting; he arrives at his atelier very early, and often gains a good day's study before the doors of our Academy are unbolted. He labours, without a sense of drudgery, among a score of companions as merry and poor as himself.

It is certain that Thackeray had developed a talent for writing long before he had abandoned his intention of becoming a painter, and that he became a contributor to magazines at a time when there was at least no necessity for his earning a livelihood by his pen. It is probable, therefore, that it was his success in the literary art, rather than his failure, as has been assumed, in acquiring skill as a painter, which gradually drew him into that career of authorship, the pecuniary profits of which became afterwards more important to him. 124


'Elizabeth Brownrigge: a Tale,' 1832—'Comic Magazine,' 1832-4—'National Standard and Literary Representative,' 1833-4—'Flore et Zephyr, Ballet Mythologique,' 1836—On the Staff of 'Fraser's Magazine'—Early Connection with Maginn and his Colleagues—The Maclise Cartoon of the Fraserians—Thackeray's Noms de Plume—Charles Yellowplush as a Reviewer—Skelton and his 'Anatomy of Conduct'—Thackeray's Proposal to Dickens to illustrate his Novels—Gradual Growth of Thackeray's Notoriety—His genial Admiration for 'Boz'—Christmas Books and Dickens' 'Christmas Carol'—Return to Paris—Execution of Fieschi and Lacénaire—Daily Newspaper Venture—The 'Constitutional' and 'Public Ledger'—Thackeray as Paris Correspondent—Dying Speech of the 'Constitutional'—Thackeray's Marriage—Increased Application to Literature—The 'Shabby Genteel Story'—Thackeray's Article in the 'Westminster' on George Cruikshank—First Collected Writings—The 'Paris Sketch Book'—Dedication to M. Aretz—'Comic Tales and Sketches,' with Thackeray's original Illustrations—The 'Yellowplush Papers'—The 'Second Funeral of Napoleon,' with the 'Chronicle of the Drum'—'The History of Samuel Titmarsh and the great Hoggarty Diamond'—'Fitzboodle's Confessions'—'The Irish Sketch Book,' with the Author's Illustrations—'The Luck of Barry Lyndon'—Contributions to the 'Examiner'—Miscellanies—'Carmen Lilliense'—'Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo,' with the Author's Illustrations—Interest excited in Titmarsh—Foundation of 'Punch'—Thackeray's Contributions—His comic Designs—'The Fat Contributor'—'Jeames's Diary.'

Before proceeding to the well-known productions from the pen of our great novelist, which are familiar enough to all, it may interest the reader to glance at his juvenile efforts in literature and art. It will be found that we dwell more minutely upon the consideration of these early sketches than is absolutely warranted by their importance in comparison with his great works; but we are tempted to enlarge on the papers which illustrate the outset of the author's career, under the conviction that they are but little known to the majority of his admirers.

We have already noticed Thackeray's characteristic hand in the 125 pages of 'The Snob,' where his native skill in parody was first evidenced in print. We have incidentally cited the satirical force of his observant powers at the age of twenty and during his residence in Germany; though, it must be confessed, these early impressions may owe much of their strength to the training he had gone through during the interval between the time he actually spent in the scenes described, and the period at which the sketches were first given to the public.

From the date of its establishment the columns of 'Fraser' abound in sly satires directed against the school of fiction which then happened to find favour with the romance-reading public. Ainsworth and Bulwer had made daring experiments with new and startling materials for exciting the imagination of their believers; and the encouragement held out by the unequivocal success of the unwholesome order of novels was sufficient to excite the wrath of those writers and critics who strove to lead the popular taste back to healthier literature. Thackeray's keen appreciation of the genuine humour of Fielding, Scott, and similar authors, who founded the interest of their stories on such sounder principles as were dictated by intelligent study of human nature, and who mainly relied for their incidents on the probable occurrences, the actions and passions, of actual life, was sufficient to qualify him as a subtle opponent of the unnatural style; and he appears to have early enlisted his pen on the side of the Fraserians, who were, perhaps, the bitterest antagonists which the apostles of these unlikely anomalies were fated to encounter in the development of their novel theories.

In the August and September numbers of 'Fraser' for 1832 appeared the forerunner of those burlesque romances for which Thackeray's name became afterwards famous. The sketch was published when the budding satirist was little over twenty-one years of age; and the just and scarifying criticism which it contains is sufficiently remarkable in so youthful a writer. But there is the strongest internal evidence that the travestie of 'Elizabeth Brownrigge: a Tale,' proceeds from the author who afterwards narrated the 'Story of Catharine;' who interrupted the early chapters of 'Vanity Fair' to introduce certain felicitous parodies; and who, in the pages of 'Punch,' produced the irresistible series of 'Prize Novelists' which remain unsurpassed. 126

'Elizabeth Brownrigge' was dedicated to the author of 'Eugene Aram;' and its writer described himself as a young man who had for a length of time applied himself to literature, but had hitherto entirely failed to derive any emolument from his exertions. His tragedies, comedies, operas and farces, his novels, poems, and romances, had already accumulated into an alarming pile of unacceptable and unprofitable MSS. On examining the grounds of their refusal, he was surprised to find one identical phrase occurring in every letter rejecting his talented productions: the poems are all pronounced 'classical, pure in taste, and perfect in diction;' the novels are acknowledged to be 'just in character, interesting in plot, pathetic, unexceptionable in sentiment;' but unhappily they have all one glaring defect in common—they are 'not of a popular description.' Enlightened by the reflection that those who write to live must write to please, he determined to master the popular taste; the otherwise faultless papers were put by until fashions should change in the reading world; and his laundress was sent to the circulating library for the last most popular novel—the author, disappointed but not discouraged, being resolved to study its style and manner, investigate the principles on which it was written, to imbibe its spirit, and to compose his next new work as nearly as possible upon the same model. The popular novel brought was 'Eugene Aram.'

From its pages the hitherto unsuccessful writer caught a complete solution of the errors and defects of his former productions. From the frequent perusal of older works of imagination, he had learned the unfashionable practice of endeavouring so to weave the incidents of his stories as to interest his readers in favour of virtue and to increase their detestation of vice. By the study of 'Eugene Aram' he was taught to mix vice and virtue up together in such an inextricable confusion as to render it impossible that any preference should be given to either, or that one, indeed, should be at all distinguishable from the other.

'I am inclined,' continues the writer, in his dedication, 'to regard the author of "Eugene Aram" as an original discoverer in the world of literary enterprise, and to reverence him as the father of a new lusus naturæ school.' There is no other title by which his manner could be so aptly designated. Being in search of a tender-hearted, generous, sentimental, high-minded hero of romance, 127 he turned to the 'Newgate Calendar,' and looked for him in the list of men who have cut throats for money, among whom a person in possession of such qualities could never have been met with at all.

'In "Elizabeth Brownrigge" it will be the author's sole ambition to impart to his efforts some portion of the intense interest that distinguishes the works of Mr. Bulwer, and to acquire the fame which the skilful imitation of so great a master may hope to receive from the generosity of an enlightened and delighted public. In taking his subject from that walk of life to which "Eugene Aram" had directed his attention, many motives conspired to fix the writer's choice on the heroine of the ensuing tale: she is a classic personage—her name has been already "linked to immortal verse" by the muse of Canning. Besides, it is extraordinary that, as Mr. Bulwer had commenced a tragedy under the title of "Eugene Aram," the dedicator had already sketched a burletta with the title of "Elizabeth Brownrigge." In his dramatic piece he had indeed been guilty of an egregious and unpardonable error: he had attempted to excite the sympathies of his audience in favour of the murdered apprentices; but the study of Mr. Bulwer disabused him of so vulgar a prejudice, and, in the present version of her case, all the interest of the reader and all the pathetic powers of the author will be engaged on the side of the murderess. He has taken a few slight liberties with the story, but such alterations have the sanction of Bulwer's example and the recommendation of his authority. As he has omitted any mention of the wife of his Eugene, his imitator has not thought it necessary to recall the reader's attention to the husband and sixteen children of his Elizabeth. As the hero of "Eugene Aram" is endowed with more learning and virtue than he possessed, and is converted from the usher of a grammar school at Hayes into the solitary student of a lone and romantic tower in a distant county; the author of "Elizabeth" presumed to raise the situation of his heroine, and, instead of portraying her as the wife of a saddler in Fleur-de-lis Court, and midwife of the poor-house, he has represented her in his tale as a young gentlewoman of independent fortune, a paragon of beauty, a severe and learned moral philosopher, and the Lady Bountiful of the village of Islington.'

The first book opens with a sample of the MS. Burletta: the 128 contents of chapter i. are sufficiently descriptive of the spirit of the whole—Islington: the Red Cabbage (so called from a very imperfect representation of a red rose on its sign-board)—Specimen of Lusus NaturæPhilosophers of the PorchWho is she?

According to a richly worked out principle of opposites, this droll conception proceeds with incidents and even names taken directly from the 'Newgate Calendar,' but rivalling 'Eugene Aram' itself in magnificence of diction, absurdity of sentiment, and pomp of Greek quotation. The trial scene and Elizabeth's speech in her own defence abound in clever points—indeed, the humour of the whole composition is original and striking; although the later burlesques from presumably the same hand have made us familiar with similar features brought to maturity.

During the intervals of his residence in London—for Paris may be considered to have been almost his head-quarters at this period—Thackeray had made the acquaintance of most of the brilliant writers and rising artists of the day. It is certain that before he became popularly known as a contributor to 'Fraser,' where his papers contributed in no inconsiderable degree to the success of the magazine, he was concerned in more than one literary venture. Between 1832 and 1834 appeared a small miscellany, the 'Comic Magazine,' now tolerably obscure: in its duodecimo pages may be found the writings of several authors whose names have since become famous. It was profusely illustrated: the major part of the cuts, some of them of particular excellence, were by the hand of the gifted and unfortunate Seymour. It seems that Thackeray was to some extent interested in this publication, to which he probably supplied both drawings and verses; although, at this date, it is difficult to distinguish his individual contributions, especially as they happen to be less characteristic than the average of his works; the cuts, although full of fun, having suffered from the necessity of reducing the cost of engraving, as the expenses of the publication became onerous.

There existed in 1833 a critical journal, 'devoted to literature, science, music, theatricals, and the fine arts,' rejoicing in the slightly high-flown title of the 'National Standard:' it was one of the early enterprises in the way of cheap publication, and, in spite of its name, conscientiously aimed at supplying a want that has never yet been adequately filled up—namely, the circulation of 129 sterling independent criticism. We are not informed how Thackeray first became interested in this publication, but, from the hints thrown out in his later writings, it seems that he was induced to become, in some part, proprietor of the venture. In his sketch of 'Mr. Adolphus Simcoe,' who is introduced into the pages of 'Punch' (1842) as a typical ex-owner of a miscellany, the 'Lady's Lute,' which came to a disastrous end, we are informed that, presuming a person of literary tastes should, from some unfortunate combination of circumstances, conceive a passion to become the editor of a magazine, to assemble about him 'the great spirits of the age,' and to be able to communicate his own contributions direct to the public, a paper is sure to be for sale—'indeed, if a gentleman has a mind to part with his money, it is very hard if he cannot find some periodical with a broom at its mast-head.'

In the eighteenth number of the 'National Standard' (May 4) we recognise Thackeray's pencil in a very fair cut of Louis Philippe—quite in the style of his contributions to 'Punch' some ten years later. The likeness is undoubtedly good and characteristic. Le roi des Français is straddling in an undignified attitude—the fair lily of France is trodden under one of his clumsy feet; he wears an ill-fitting plain citizen suit; one hand is in his pocket, 'counting his money;' the other rests on his redoubtable umbrella, the favourite target of satirists.

In his beaver he sports the tricolor badge, 'like an overgrown pancake,' as the verses below declare. His face wears a truculent, soured, dissatisfied twist; 'no huzzas greet his coming,' we are informed.

'He stands in París as you see him before ye,

Little more than a snob. There's an end of the story.'

Number 19 of the journal opens with an address of decidedly Titmarshian turn, which tells the story of the new state of things pretty lucidly, and with a fine flush of spirits.

Under the heading of this 'National Standard' of ours there originally appeared the following: 'Edited by F. W. N. Bayley,[6] 130 Esq., the late Editor and Originator of "The National Omnibus," the first of the cheap Publications: assisted by the most eminent Literary Men of the Day.'

'Now we have changé tout cela: no, not exactly tout cela, for we still retain the assistance of a host of literary talent; but Frederick William Naylor Bayley has gone. We have got free of the Old Bailey and changed the governor. Let it not be imagined for a moment that we talk in the slightest disparagement of our predecessor in office; on the contrary, we shall always continue to think him a clever fellow, and wish him all kinds of success in the war he is carrying on against Baron Dimsdale. He apparently has exchanged the pen for the sword.

'Having the fear of the fate of Sir John Cam Hobhouse before our eyes, we give no pledges, expressed or understood, as to the career which it is our intention to run. We intend to be as free as the air. The world of books is all before us where to choose our course. Others boast that they are perfectly independent of all considerations extraneous to the sheet in which they write, but none we know of reduce that boast to practice: we therefore boast not at all. We promise nothing, and if our readers expect nothing more, they will assuredly not be disappointed.'

A remarkably well-executed portrait of Braham, the singer, appears in the number. The eminent vocalist's rotund figure is dressed in stage-nautical fashion, with a tremendously striped shirt, rolling collar, sailor's knot, no waistcoat, jacket and short trousers, hose, and pumps with buckles; his somewhat coarse Israelitish caput is hit off with truth and spirit; over his head is a glory formed of a jew's-harp encircled in bays; he is before a theatrical background. A dealer in old clo', of the singer's nationality, crowned with triple hats, and carrying the professional bag, is introduced beneath a feudal castle. Below the portrait is a sonorous parody of one of Wordsworth's sonnets, attributing to Braham the 'majesty and loveliness' by which he originally captivated the world and the ears 131 of Sovereign Anne, in whose benign reign, according to a footnote, this 'Lion of Judah' 'made his first appearance in England.' The jew's-harp, circled with blooming wreath, is seen of verdant bays; and thus are typified—

'The pleasant music and the baize of green,

Whence issues out at eve Braham with front serene!'

Certain picture criticisms in the same number bear evidence of the hand afterwards well known in the galleries of paintings.

'Fine Arts.Somerset House Exhibition.—(140) Portrait of His Majesty King William IV. in the uniform of the Grenadier Guards, by D. Wilkie. His Majesty stands in a dun fog, and wears a pair of dirty boots; his cocked-hat is in his hand, and his crown is in a corner. This large picture, in spite of the great name attached to it, seems to us a failure; Mr. Wilkie has not at all succeeded in the attempt to give an expression of intelligence to the physiognomy of our reverend sovereign.'

In the following week this verdict is modified; it is stated that the late critic has been dismissed as clearly incompetent for his office. The picture, it is acknowledged, is a good work, and it was utterly unreasonable to expect any painter could succeed in throwing an intelligent expression into the royal countenance.

The writer also extravagantly praises the portrait of an alderman, on the grounds that his address at Clapham, inscribed on a letter held in the hand of the picture, is 'painted as natural as though it had been written.'

To No. 20, Thackeray contributed a portrait of Baron Nathan Rothschild, in which the satirist does not flatter the 'pillar of change.' Some verses below the woodcut are not more complimentary to 'the first Baron Juif; by the grace of his pelf, not the King of the Jews, but the Jew of the Kings. The taste of Plutus is censured, in that he has selected as prime favourite 'a greasy-faced compound of donkey and pig.' After propitiating the great financier in this fashion, the satirist leaves his subject what he vainly wishes the Baron would leave him—'alone in his glory!'

In an appreciative review of Sarah Austin's translation of Falk's 'Characteristics of Goethe' the readers of the 'National Standard' are admitted to a glimpse of personal reminiscences: 132 'The fountain opposite Goethe's house is not particularly picturesque, and the people who frequent it are not remarkable for their beauty. But there are beauties disclosed to the poetic eye which the common observer will endeavour in vain to discover; and the philosopher can make sermons on running brooks, such as the fountain at Weimar, which, we confess, appeared to us a most ordinary waterspout.

'Appended to the work is a portrait of its hero, which, however, does not bear the slightest resemblance to him.'

In No. 21 occurs the first (and last) of our 'London Characters'—the sketch of an advertising medium of Chartism; a wretched, terror-stricken boardsman of the dispersed 'National Convention;' bearing the legends—'No Taxes,' 'Victory or Death,' and 'Britons, be firm!' but his placards interfere with his escape from the police by tripping up their bearer. It is worthy of note that this cut, with slight alterations, appeared later in the 'Comic Magazine' already mentioned.

In No. 22 Thackeray has produced a good croquis of Manager Bunn, who is displayed with his toupee and well-brushed, heavy-jowled mutton-cutlet whiskers, with a wig-bag seen over the shoulder of his court coat; an elaborately embroidered satin waistcoat; 'stuck to his side a shining sword;' 'all in his velvet breeches,' silk stockings and buckled shoes; just as, ten years later, the 'Punch' wags were wont to picture the 'poet Alfred.' Handsome tall candlesticks are held in either hand: these imposing dips are sparkling with the names of Schrœder and Malibran respectively:

'What gallant cavalier is seen

So dainty set before the queen,

Between a pair of candles?

Who looks as smiling and as bright,

As oily and as full of light,

As is the wax he handles.'

Another cut—the person of a corpulent but dejected Cupid, his fat feet resting on conventional clouds, while his chubby wrists and ankles are confined in heavy irons—forms the headpiece to some easy lines: a burlesque poem entitled 'Love in Fetters, a Tottenham Court Road Ditty,' showing how dangerous it is for a gentleman to fall in love with an 'Officer's Daughter,' an 'Ower 133 True Tale.' The narrator describes his passion for a fair Israelite, to whom he has sent a 'letter full of love;' and he is roused out of his slumbers by a mysterious stranger, who inquires if he is the writer. The gentleman in bed admits the fact; says the visitor, 'an answer's sent.' But alas! 'by a parchment slip he could discern that by him stood a bailiff stern, fair Rosamunda's sire!' and the romantic victim dolefully concludes:—

'I served the daughter with verse and wit,

And the father served me with a writ;

So here in iron bars I sit

In quod securely stowed,

Being captivated by a she,

Whose papa captivated me;

All at the back

Of the Tabernac

In Tottenham Court Road.'

Besides the cuts mentioned is a burlesque group of chorus-singers from 'Zauberflöte,' produced when Manager Bunn was lessee of both Covent Garden and Drury Lane Theatres.

Sir Peter Laurie is also favoured with a portrait, sketched from his appearance on the civic chair: spectacles, gold chain, and all complete, surrounded with a wreath of full-blown laurels. Some punning verses to 'Sir Peter' are inscribed with the likeness.

After this Thackeray seems to have gone back to Paris, from whence he writes, as 'Foreign Correspondent,' in June of the same year, sending a drawing of a brace of figures characteristic of the new and old régimes.

'The costume of Jeune France is as extraordinary as its literature. I have sent a specimen, which I discovered the other day in the Tuileries. It had just been reading the "Tribune," and was leaning poetically against a tree: it had on a red neckcloth and a black flowing mane; a stick or club, intended for ornament as well as use; and a pair of large though innocent spurs, which had never injured anything except the pantaloons of the individual who wore them. Near it was sitting an old gentleman, in knee-breeches and a cocked-hat, who is generally to be seen of a sunny day in the Tuileries, reading his Crébillon or his prayer-book: a 134 living illustration of times past—a strange contrast with times present!'

A week later arrives a review of the dramatic pieces then performing at the Paris Theatres, with a sketch of Ligier in the character of Richard in 'Les Enfants d'Édouard;' a wonderful stagey figure, not unlike some of the theatrical souvenirs in the early part of this volume. The sinister monarch wears the traditional ermine-bound cloak, with a fierce feather in his hat; he sports trunks (on the left knee is the order of the garter) and pointed shoes; his right hand grasps a dagger; his lank locks are turned over his ears, giving his face a sufficiently ruffianly character, which is intensified by a scowling eye, and a set mouth in Kean's best manner.

The young artist also paid a visit to some savages, the 'Charruas,' South American Indians, who were then lionising in Paris. The correspondent sends his readers a translation of an extravagant article of the flowery order, written by Jules Janin, under the inspiration of having been to see the noble aborigines, concerning whom the English journalist romantically adds, 'They play cards all day, laugh, eat raw beef, and drink all they can get.'

In the July following it was determined by the French ministry to throw a sop to popularity by crowning the column in the Place Vendôme with the new statue of Napoleon—the very figure which has since known such vicissitudes. Their Paris correspondent sent the 'National Standard' a sketch of the figure of the Emperor; and in the same number occurs a spirited article, describing the first interview of the statue with his gallant countrymen.

'The Little Corporal, in his habit of war, puts his bronze glass to his bronze eye, and after some usual preliminaries, proceeds to address la grande nation: "I thank you for having placed me in a situation so safe, so commanding, and so salubrious: from this elevation I can look on most parts of your city. I see the churches empty, the prisons crowded, the gambling-houses overflowing. Who, with such sights before him as these, gentlemen, and you, would not be proud of the name of Frenchmen?" (Great cheers.) "I apprehend that the fat man with the umbrella, whom I see walking in the gardens of the Tuileries, is the present proprietor. May I ask what he has done to deserve such a reward 135 from you? Does he found his claim on his own merits, or on those of his father?" (A tremendous row in the crowd; the police proceed to empoigner several hundred individuals.) "Go your ways" (said the statue, who was what is vulgarly called a dab at an impromptu), "go your ways, happy Frenchmen! You have fought, you have struggled, you have conquered: for whom? for the fat man with the umbrella!"' The Emperor, in continuation of his speech, observes: 'I perceive by your silence that his words carry conviction;' when he stops to make the discovery that there is not a single person left in the Place Vendôme, his entire audience having been carried off by the police.

Later on, the journal seems to languish; the portraits still occur at intervals. Mr. Crockford, of gaming reputation, was flattered with a cut of his effigy, just about the time a paper-raid was raised against the 'play-hells' in the sweeping columns of 'Fraser;' 'Crock' is complimented with some lines, 'more free than welcome,' alluding to 'his eye of a whiting, and mouth of a cod,' and referring to his old trade of fishmonger; the lines, which are signed L. E. U., add, 'he now sticks to poultry, to pigeons, and rooks.'

'Yet he still makes a cast, and not seldom a haul,

Still angles for flats, and still nets what he can,

And shows, every night, 'mid his shoal great and small,

The trick how a gudgeon is made of a man.'

It is presumable that the Paris correspondent did not abandon his paper; he sends more cuts, and foreign letters from all parts, full of the most interesting private intelligence; and notably one from 'Constantinople,' supplying an imaginative gossiping exposure of all the complicated intrigues discernible to those who may be behind the scenes at the Porte; and last, but by no means least, he sends them one of the capital stories which he afterwards reprinted, with fresh illustrations, in the 'Paris Sketch Book,'—even the 'Devil's Wager,' with a strikingly original sketch of Sir Rollo in his desperate travels to redeem his soul, borne through the clouds with, for greater security, the tail of Mercurius unpleasantly curled round the apoplectic throttle of his deceased highness the late Count of Chauchigny, &c. &c. The moral of this veracious 136 tale was promised 'in several successive numbers;' but the wonderful story and its excellent illustration, superior we fancy to those in the collected series, were ineffectual to establish the success of the 'National Standard,' on which they were partially thrown away.

A flourishing and facetious leader, in the thirty-sixth number, placed the circulation at the astonishing figures of 84,715; and particularly advertised that the price, in spite of the unprecedented arrangements that had been perfected for rendering their paper the leading feature of the age, would continue 'only twopence.' A few numbers later it was confessed that the journal would henceforth appear at threepence, as it was found impossible to successfully carry out all their great programme of improvements at a lesser price. Thackeray's contributions after this are either missing, or his spirits were possibly dashed by the pecuniary responsibilities of the undertaking. After a time the 'National Standard' was forced to haul down its colours: it lasted from January 5, 1833, to February 1, 1834, when it not improbably left a neat train of liabilities for at least one of its contributaries to discharge. It is certain that its failure entailed disagreeable consequences.

We all remember that Mr. Adolphus Simcoe's little fortune went down in the 'Lady's Lute,' while its versatile proprietor completed his misery in Her Majesty's Asylum of the Fleet.

Still fresher must it be in the minds of Thackeray's readers, that the narrator of 'Lovel the Widower,' in the character of Mr. Batchelor, relates how, having these same literary aspirations, and a certain command of ready money withal, he too was persuaded that to be part proprietor of a periodical was rather a fine thing. It may not be forgotten that in his first venture, coming to London, blushing with his college experiences, he had emulated the bargain of Moses Primrose, and the memorable gross of spectacles in shagreen cases. A college acquaintance, with a smooth tongue, and sleek, sanctified exterior, and a queer bill-discounter (no one indeed but our old friends, the Rev. C. Honeyman, M.A., and Mr. Sherrick, wine-merchant, &c., to whom we were early introduced in the 'Newcomes'), had somehow got hold of that neat literary paper the 'Museum,' of which eligible property this innocent gentleman became the purchaser. 137

The failure of the 'National Standard and Literary Representative' seems for a time to have damped Thackeray's enthusiasm so far as fresh adventures on his own account were concerned; but in the March of 1836 his first attempt at independent authorship appeared simultaneously in London and Paris.

'This publication,' it was observed in the 'North British Review,' shortly after the humourist's death, 'at the time when he still hoped to make his bread by art, is, like indeed everything he either said or did, perfectly characteristic;' and it has been so utterly forgotten that we are encouraged to describe the plates seriatim. We may add that it was published in Paris by Ritter and Goupil, and by Mitchell in London; though it is now so scarce that we were unsuccessful in tracing a copy in the Catalogue of the British Museum.

It is a small folio, in a tinted wrapper, and consists of nine subjects in all, which are printed on India paper. Like all Thackeray's satires, his fun is directed to a purpose; and by the very realism of his pencil he successfully turns to ridicule one of his pet aversions—the dancing man, so frequently assailed in his writings.

The series bears the title of 'Flore et Zephyr, Ballet Mythologique, par Théophile Wagstaff,' and is dedicated to Flora, who herself figures in place of her name upon the cover. In a rose-bedizened stage bower, where the foliage is evidently cut out by the stage-carpenter, stands the exquisite première danseuse, looking as ancient, self-satisfied, and repulsive as some of these heroines occasionally appear. She is all alone in the centre of the stage, but the old faded smirk and the eyelids modestly drooped express her consciousness that she is the object of attraction to a full house. Her fascinating smile is tempered with the air of bashful modesty, conveyed by crossing her bony and sinewy arms and large hands upon her lean chest; her throat is particularly camel-like, and the muscles are unmistakably prominent; her nose is long, and has a pendulous droop, which divides, by its shadow, her ample semicircular mouth, and gives an effect of sentimental absurdity; a blonde wreath of ample dimensions and indefinite design surrounds her raven locks; a few straggling hairs are in places plastered on her forehead in unpremeditated love-locks; her dress, of simple uncreased muslin, stands out like a white 138 tulip, and is carelessly girt by a wreath of flowers. Beneath the skirts appear her professional legs, arranged of course in an attitude perfectly at variance with nature or grace, the heels touching, and the long white feet pointing to precisely opposite poles of the compass. In maiden meditation, she is sighing for her Zephyr before some thousand eyes, the focus of all the double-barrelled lorgnettes in the theatre.

In the following plate, La Danse fait ses offrandes sur l'autel de l'Harmonie, the faithful Zephyr has come to rejoin his Flora; and the happy pair trip down the footlights, set smiles on their faces, with gracious gestures of salutation, to propitiate the unseen but perfectly understood 'house.' As to the Altar of Harmony, their backs are turned on the supposed object of their offerings—represented by a pile of musical instruments mounted on a pillar, and topped by a laurel-wreathed fiddle, the expression of which ('the face of a fiddle') wears a dreary resemblance to a dolefully-long human countenance. Zephyr is as remarkable as his fair companion: his face is, if possible, more faded, his smile more set and weary; you feel that his perpetual grin is the grimmest sight in the world, and that no effort of his livid face could express a natural smile. He too sports a huge pair of impossibly arched eyebrows, beneath which the heavy lids droop with a worn-out look which is certainly unaffected. His wig, you recognise, is no part of himself, although much of his expression is conferred by it: it is a tremendous erection, of obviously artificial construction, and sufficiently portentous to make its début alone. This gentleman's nose is large and pear-shaped; his mouth and lips large and coarse; and his Hebrew descent is sufficiently characterised. He is clad in a simple tunic; his naked arms are strongly developed and ugly; his legs are large, and the muscles stand out with the prominence observable in members of his profession: his shoulders, of course, are tipped with gauzy wings.

The third plate, Jeux innocens de Zéphyr et Flore, introduces us to the altar of Cupid—a sweet little deity in plaster, who is drawing his stringless bow, and aiming an imaginary arrow (the shaft is wanting) at the tripping and artless Flora, who, with outstretched hands, is guarding her tender bosom; meanwhile it is only pantomimically she is conscious of Cupid's aims; her eyes are riveted on the audience. Zephyr is ogling up behind the 139 altar, his frightful smile more set than ever, his wig more independent of himself, his graces more fantastic; he is advancing, with one foot pointed about a yard or so in advance of its fellow, anxious to bind the fair sharer in these simple diversions in a wreath of stage-flowers.

In the next plate Flora is deploring the absence of her Zephyr, who has left her an opportunity to execute a pas seul. We are presented with the back of the engaging coryphée: she is balanced on one foot; the left is raised at an angle of considerably over forty-five degrees—a touching and perfectly natural method of expressing her disconsolate situation.

In this drawing we are favoured with a view of the front of the 'house;' the faces of the men in the orchestra are treated expressively. One musician's eye is peculiarly roguish, while another performer is endeavouring to combine business with pleasure; to play his flageolet, follow his score, and yet not lose sight of the deploring one.

Zephyr's turn for individual display occurs in the next plate. Dans un pas seul il exprime son extrême désespoir; and accordingly, without in any degree altering the cast of the mask of a face he wears, he proceeds to express the intensity of his desolation, by convincing the audience of the strength and activity of his lower members, in a succession of horizontal bounds which give him the aspect of a flying man. In the corner of the picture a Cupid—a plump-faced little boy, decked out as Cupid—and his elder sister (the likeness between the pair is evidently intentional) are opening their eyes and mouths with stupid astonishment at Zephyr's grief-inspired agility.

Fresh actresses arrive on the scene.

Zephyr has struck a stage attitude expressing the unconsolable state of his affections; his legs crossed, and one arm resting on the now vacant pedestal. Triste et abattu, les séductions des Nymphes le tentent en vain. The ladies of the ballet flit vainly around him, his eyes are cast down; even the fascinations which are held out by a clumsy theatrical lyre, held in a melting pose by one fair creature reposing on one knee, are insufficient to tempt him to forget the charms of the absent.

Such fidelity can be only recompensed by the 'Reconciliation of Flora and Zephyr,' which is displayed in the succeeding plate. 140 The triumphant Zephyr, his smile, if possible, expressing less meaning than usual, is now kneeling; his arms are folded, and his head is supported at an angle by a rigid throat—for he has a weight to sustain. The faithful Flora has bounded into his arms; and, in the picture, the last triumphant tableau is before the audience. One foot of the danseuse lightly rests on Zephyr's outstretched thigh, the other is on a level with her shoulder; her arms are gracefully clasped around her companion, to preserve her balance, and her head and throat are also at a studied angle, for the sake of the equilibrium of the group. On this rapturous scene of fidelity rewarded with boundless happiness the curtain descends; but we have not seen the last of the performers.

In, presumably, the Green Room we witness 'The Retreat of Flora.' The fair creature, who is in every way decidedly French, is there with her mother and two admirers: Zephyr, of course, does not figure in this category. The two latter pictures of the series are in Thackeray's most forcible style; and indeed, for truth, expressiveness, and character, compare quite favourably with Hogarth's finer satires. One lover is a young dandy of the period: his intellectual capacities are conspicuously absent; it may be said he has neither forehead nor chin. He is sitting imbecilely astride his chair, vacantly leaning his elbows on the back, and gazing at nothing in particular; he is probably a trifle vexed at Flora's indifference, or is jealous of his elder rival. The smiles and leers of Flora's mamma are thrown away at present: the old lady is no less painted, and is possibly more artificially made up than her daughter; her eyebrows owe much to art, her cheeks are evidently high in colour, her faded smirks and glittering eyes are by no means inviting, and a band of velvet across her forehead suggests a suspicion of 'false fronts;' her bonnet is of the gaudiest, a very pinnacle of bows, ribands, and artificial flowers. This venerable creature is heavily cloaked, and carries a huge muff, having evidently walked to the theatre to rejoin her fair darling, who is standing on the hearth-rug, her toes still attitudinising; she is slightly wrapped in a shawl, ready for her fiacre. The gentleman on whom Flora is smiling, and evidently at something just a little wicked, is a big, burly, coarse, self-satisfied, elderly man, whose hands are in the pockets of his awkward straddling trousers: his face is a study of downright unflinching 141 grinning baseness; he is probably doing a good business on the Bourse, and his wife and family are no doubt at home in their beds.

The last plate, 'Les Délassements de Zéphyr,' is perhaps the most refreshing to contemplate; for in it we see labour rejoicing over those little comforts which are its reward. Poor old Zephyr, who is after all a very homely, estimable, and hard-worked personage, who probably gives lessons, drills the ballet all day, and capers without intermission till midnight all the year round, is resting his arm on the chimney-piece, whereon his attitude is still a set pose: the preposterous wig is in the hands of the perruquier, a nobly curled barber, who, as he brushes the monstrous toupée, is complacently admiring what he evidently considers a triumph of art. Zephyr, we can now realise, is of no particular age, or race; he retains his jaded old sprightliness as he favours his capacious nose with a copious pinch of snuff, supplied to that organ from the ball of his thumb, with much apparent gratification. The gentleman who is offering this hero the courtesy of his huge snuff-box is a jolly, jaunty-looking person enough, a compound of splendour and shabbiness; probably himself attached to one of the theatres as low comedian. His jowl beams with good temper, and is ensconced in a pair of huge gills and a voluminous neckcloth; his hat and waistcoat are showy of their kind; his greatcoat has evidently suffered by wear, though still an imposing and comfortable garment. The impression of his respectability becomes fainter below; his trousers and boots are evidently out of shape and unequivocally seedy, and his old umbrella is a study of itself. An innocent-faced chubby pot-boy, with a smile of recognition for the visitor, is holding, on a tray from the nearest tavern, a foaming pot of porter for Zephyr after his saltatory exertions, and a glass of brandy-and-water to revive his friend, who has come in from the cold.

These drawings, which are certainly equal to anything Thackeray has produced, have been drawn on stone by Edward Morton, son of 'Speed the Plough,' who has, if anything, contributed to their excellence: they are remarkably well-executed examples of lithography, and are delineated with that delicate strength, truth, and thoughtful effect for which the works of this able but little-known artist are always to be praised. Each plate bears the 142 monogram WT, which, with the M added, afterwards became tolerably familiar to the world.

It is worthy of remark that in this, as always, Thackeray ridicules the ugly and the absurd without departing from truth, or trenching on impropriety. The quality he praised highest in Cruikshank and Leech—that of never raising a blush or offending modesty—is perhaps most remarkable in himself, in treating a subject like Flora and Zephyr, where a young artist, and especially one whose training had been in Paris, might be tempted to imply a certain freedom of manners. 'The effect of looking over these juvenilia, these shafts from a mighty bow, is good, is moral; you are sorry for the hard-wrought slaves; perhaps a little contemptuous towards the idle people who go to see them.'

Thackeray had scarcely attained the age of three-and-twenty when the young literary art-student in Paris was recognised as an established contributor to 'Fraser,' worthy to take a permanent place among the brilliant staff which then rendered this periodical famous both in England and on the Continent. It was at that time under the editorship of the celebrated Maginn, one of the last of those compounds of genius and profound scholarship with reckless extravagance and loose morals, who once flourished under the encouragement of a tolerant public opinion. There can be no doubt that the editor and Greek scholar who is always in difficulties, who figures in several of his works, is a faithful picture of this remarkable man as he appeared to his young contributor. His friend, the late Mr. Hannay, says:—

'Certain it is that he lent—or in plainer English, gave—five hundred pounds to poor old Maginn when he was beaten in the battle of life, and like other beaten soldiers made a prisoner—in the Fleet. With the generation going out—that of Lamb and Coleridge—he had, we believe, no personal acquaintance. Sydney Smith he met at a later time; and he remembered with satisfaction that something which he wrote about Hood gave pleasure to that delicate humorist and poet in his last days.[7] Thackeray's earliest literary friends were certainly found among the 143 brilliant band of Fraserians, of whom Thomas Carlyle, always one of his most appreciative admirers, is probably the solitary survivor. From reminiscences of the wilder lights in the "Fraser" constellation were drawn the pictures of the queer fellows connected with literature in "Pendennis"—Captain Shandon, the ferocious Bludyer, stout old Tom Serjeant, and so forth. Magazines in those days were more brilliant than they are now, when they are haunted by the fear of shocking the Fogy element in their circulation; and the effect of their greater freedom is seen in the buoyant, riant, and unrestrained comedy of Thackeray's own earlier "Fraser" articles. "I suppose we all begin by being too savage," is the phrase of a letter he wrote in 1849; "I know one who did." He was alluding here to the "Yellowplush Papers" in particular, where living men were very freely handled. This old, wild satiric spirit it was which made him interrupt even the early chapters of "Vanity Fair," by introducing a parody which he could not resist of some contemporary novelist.'[8]

But we have a proof of the fact of how fully he was recognised by his brother Fraserians as one of themselves, in Maclise's picture of the contributors, prefixed to the number of 'Frasers Magazine' for January 1835—a picture which must have been drawn at some period in the previous year. This outline cartoon represents a banquet at the house of the publisher, Mr. Fraser, at which, on some of his brief visits to London, Thackeray had doubtless been present, for it is easy to trace in the juvenile features of the tall figure with the double eyeglass—Thackeray was throughout life somewhat near-sighted—a portrait of the future author of 'Vanity Fair.' Mr. Mahony, the well-known 'Father Prout' of the magazine, in his account of this picture, written in 1859, tells us that the banquet was no fiction. In the chair appears Dr. Maginn in the act of making a speech; and around him are a host of contributors, including Bryan Waller Procter (better known then as Barry Cornwall), Robert Southey, William Harrison Ainsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, James Hogg, John Galt, Fraser the publisher, having on his right, Crofton Croker, Lockhart, Theodore Hook, Sir David Brewster, Thomas Carlyle, Sir Egerton Brydges, Rev. G. R. Gleig, Mahony, Edward 144 Irving, and others, numbering twenty-seven in all—of whom, in 1859, eight only were living.

This celebrated cartoon of the Fraserians appears to place Thackeray's connection with the magazine before 1835; but we have not succeeded in tracing any contribution from his hand earlier than November 1837. Certainly, the afterwards well-used noms de plume of Michael Angelo Titmarsh, Fitzboodle, Charles Yellowplush, and Ikey Solomons, are wanting in the earlier volumes.

It is in the number for the month and year referred to that we first find him contributing a paper which is not reprinted in his 'Miscellanies,' and which is interesting as explaining the origin of that assumed character of a footman in which the author of the 'Yellowplush Papers' and 'Jeames's Diary' afterwards took delight. A little volume had been published in 1837, entitled, 'My Book; or, The Anatomy of Conduct, by John Henry Skelton.' The writer of this absurd book had been a woollendraper in the neighbourhood of Regent Street. He had become possessed of the fixed idea that he was destined to become the instructor of mankind in the true art of etiquette. He gave parties to the best company whom he could induce to eat his dinners and assemble 145 at his conversaziones, where his amiable delusion was the frequent subject of the jokes of his friends. Skelton, however, felt them little. He spent what fortune he had, and brought himself to a position in which his fashionable acquaintances no longer troubled him with their attentions; but he did not cease to be, in his own estimation, a model of deportment. He husbanded his small resources, limiting himself to a modest dinner daily at a coffee-house in the neighbourhood of his old home, where his perfectly fitting dress-coat—for in this article he was still enabled to shine—his brown wig and dyed whiskers, his ample white cravat of the style of the Prince Regent's days, and his well-polished boots, were long destined to raise the character of the house on which he bestowed his patronage. In the days of his prosperity Skelton was understood among his acquaintances to be engaged on a work which should hand down to posterity the true code of etiquette—that body of unwritten law which regulated the society of the time of his favourite monarch. In the enforced retirement of his less prosperous days, the ex-woollendraper's literary design had time to develop itself, and in the year 1837 'My Book; or, The Anatomy of Conduct, by John Henry Skelton,' was finally given to the world.

Inspector of Anatomy

It was this little volume which fell in the way of Thackeray, who undertook to review it for 'Fraser's Magazine.' In order to do full justice to the work, nothing seemed more proper than to present the reviewer in the assumed character of a fashionable footman. The review, therefore, took the form of a letter from Charles Yellowplush, Esq., containing 'Fashionable fax and polite Anny-goats,' dated from 'No. ——, Grosvenor Square (N.B.—Hairy Bell),' and addressed to Oliver Yorke, the well-known pseudonym of the editor of 'Fraser.' To this accident may be attributed those extraordinary efforts of cacography which had their germ in the Cambridge 'Snob,' but which attained their full development in the Miscellanies, the Ballads, the 'Jeames's Diary,' and other 146 short works, and also in some portions of the latest of the author's novels. The precepts and opinions of 'Skelton,' or 'Skeleton,' as the reviewer insisted on calling the author of the 'Anatomy,' were fully developed and illustrated by Mr. Yellowplush. The footman who reviewed the 'fashionable world' achieved a decided success. Charles Yellowplush was requested by the editor to extend his comments upon society and books, and in January 1838 the 'Yellowplush Papers' were commenced, with those vigorous though crude illustrations by the author, which appear at first to have been suggested by the light-spirited style of Maclise's portraits in the same magazine, a manner which afterwards became habitual to him.

The rejected one

It was in the year 1836 that Thackeray, according to an anecdote related by himself, offered Dickens to undertake the task of illustrating one of his works. The story was told by the former at an anniversary dinner of the Royal Academy a few years since, Dickens being present on the occasion. 'I can remember,' said Thackeray, 'when Dickens was a very young man, and had commenced delighting the world with some charming humorous works in covers, which were coloured light green, and came out once a month, that this young man wanted an artist to illustrate his writings; and I recollect walking up to his chambers in Furnival's Inn, with two or three drawings in my hand, which, strange to say, he did not find suitable. But for the unfortunate blight which came over my artistical existence, it would have been my pride and my pleasure to have endeavoured one day to find a place on these walls for one of my performances.' The work referred to was the 'Pickwick Papers,' which was commenced in April of that year, as the result of an agreement with Dickens and Mr. Seymour, the comic artist—the one to write, and the other to illustrate a book which should exhibit the adventures 147 of cockney sportsmen. As our readers know, the descriptive letterpress, by the author of the 'Sketches by Boz,' soon attracted the attention of the world; while the clever illustrations by Seymour, which had the merit of creating the well-known pictorial characteristics of Mr. Pickwick and his friends, became regarded only as illustrations of the new humorist's immortal work. Unhappily, only two or three monthly numbers had been completed, when Seymour destroyed himself in a fit of derangement. A new artist was wanted, and the result was the singular interview between the two men whose names, though representing schools of fiction so widely different, were destined to become constantly associated in the public mind. Dickens was then acquiring the vast popularity as a writer of fiction which never flagged from that time: the young artist had scarcely attempted literature, and had still before him many years of obscurity. The slow growth of his fame presents a curious contrast to the career of his fellow-novelist. Hard as Thackeray subsequently worked in contributing to 'Fraser,' in co-operating with others on daily newspapers, in writing for 'Cruikshank's Comic Almanack,' for the 'Times' and the 'Examiner,' for 'Punch,' and for the 'Westminster' and other Reviews, it could not be said that he was really known to the public till the publication of 'Vanity Fair,' when he had been an active literary man for at least ten years, and had attained the age of thirty-seven. The 'Yellowplush Papers' in 'Fraser' enjoyed a sort of popularity, and were at least widely quoted in the newspapers; but of their author few inquired. Neither did the two volumes of the 'Paris Sketch Book,' though presenting many good specimens of his peculiar humour, nor the account of the second funeral of Napoleon, nor even the 'Irish Sketch Book,' do much to make their writer known. It was his 'Vanity Fair' which, issued in shilling monthly parts, took the world of readers as it were by storm; and an appreciative article from the hand of a friend in the 'Edinburgh Review,' in 1848, for the first time helped to spread the tidings of a new master of fiction among us, destined to make a name second to none, in its own field.

Thackeray was in Paris in March 1836, at the time of the execution of Fieschi and Lacénaire, upon which subject he wrote some remarks in one of his anonymous papers which it is interesting to compare with the more advanced views in favour of the 148 abolition of the punishment of death, which are familiar to the readers of his subsequent article, 'On Going to see a Man Hanged.' He did not witness the execution either of Fieschi or Lacénaire, though he made unsuccessful attempts to be present at both events.

The day for Fieschi's death was purposely kept secret; and he was executed at a remote quarter of the town. But the scene on the morning when his execution did not take place was never forgotten by the young English artist.

It was carnival time, and the rumour had pretty generally been carried abroad that the culprit was to die on that day. A friend who accompanied Thackeray came many miles through the mud and dark, in order to be 'in at the death.' They set out before light, floundering through the muddy Champs Elysées, where were many others bent upon the same errand. They passed by the Concert of Musard, then held in the Rue St. Honoré; and round this, in the wet, a number of coaches were collected: the ball was just up; and a crowd of people, in hideous masquerade, drunk, tired, dirty, dressed in horrible old frippery and daubed with filthy rouge, were trooping out of the place; tipsy women and men, shrieking, jabbering, gesticulating, as Frenchmen will do; parties swaggering, staggering forwards, arm in arm, reeling to and fro across the street, and yelling songs in chorus. Hundreds of these were bound for the show, and the two friends thought themselves lucky in finding a vehicle to the execution place, at the Barrière d'Enfer. As they crossed the river, and entered the Rue d'Enfer, crowds of students, black workmen, and more drunken devils from carnival balls, were filling it; and on the grand place there were thousands of these assembled, looking out for Fieschi and his cortége. They waited, but no throat-cutting that morning; no august spectacle of satisfied justice; and the eager spectators were obliged to return, disappointed of the expected breakfast of blood.

Somewhat sanguinary


The other attempt was equally unfortunate. The same friend accompanied him, but they arrived too late on the ground to be present at the execution of Lacénaire and his co-mate in murder, Avril. But as they came to the spot (a gloomy round space, within the barrier—three roads led to it—and, outside, they saw the wine-shops and restaurateurs of the barrier looking gay and inviting), they only found, in the midst of it, a little pool of ice, just partially tinged with red. Two or three idle street boys were dancing and stamping about this pool; and when the Englishmen asked one of them whether the execution had taken place, he began dancing more madly than ever, and shrieked out with a loud fantastical theatrical voice, 'Venez tous, Messieurs et Dames; voyez ici le sang du monstre Lacénaire et de son compagnon le traître Avril;' and straightway all the other gamins screamed out the words in chorus, and took hands and danced round the little puddle.

Thackeray returned to London in March 1836, and resided for a few months in the house of his step-father, Major Henry Carmichael Smyth. The principal object of his return was to concert with the Major, who was a gentleman of some literary attainments, a project for starting a daily newspaper. The time was believed to be remarkably opportune for the new journal; the old oppressive newspaper stamp being about to be repealed, and a penny stamp, giving the privilege of a free transmission through the post, to be substituted. Their project was to form a small 150 joint-stock company, to be called the Metropolitan Newspaper Company, with a capital of 60,000l., in shares of 10l. each. The Major, as chief proprietor, became chairman of the new company; Laman Blanchard was appointed editor, Douglas Jerrold the dramatic critic, and Thackeray the Paris correspondent. An old and respectable, though decaying journal, entitled the 'Public Ledger,' was purchased by the company; and on September 15, the first day of the reduced stamp duty, the newspaper was started with the title of the 'Constitutional and Public Ledger.' The politics of the paper were ultra-liberal. Its programme was entire freedom of the press, extension of popular suffrage, vote by ballot, shortening of duration of parliaments, equality of civil rights and religious liberty. A number of the most eminent of the advanced party, including Mr. Grote, Sir William Molesworth, Mr. Joseph Hume, and Colonel Thompson, publicly advertised their intention to support the new journal, and to promote its circulation. Thackeray's Paris letters, signed 'T. T.,' commenced on September 24, and were continued at intervals until the spring of the following year. They present little worth notice. At that time the chatty correspondent who discourses upon all things save the subject of his letter was a thing unknown. Bare facts, such as the telegraph-wire now brings us, with here and there a soupçon of philosophical reflection, were the utmost that the readers of newspapers in those days demanded of the useful individual who kept watch in the capital of civilisation for events of interest. Generally, however, the letters are characterised by a strong distaste for the Government of July, and by an ardent liberalism which had but slightly cooled down when, at the Oxford election in 1857, he declared himself an uncompromising advocate of vote by ballot. Writing from Paris on October 8, he says: 'We are luckily too strong to dread much from open hostility, or to be bullied back into Toryism by our neighbours; but if Radicalism be a sin in their eyes, it exists, thank God! not merely across the Alps, but across the Channel.' The new journal, however, was far from prosperous. After enlarging its size and raising its price from fourpence-halfpenny to fivepence, it gradually declined in circulation. The last number appeared on July 1, 1837, bearing black borders for the death of the king. 'We can estimate, therefore,' says the dying speech of the 'Constitutional,' 'the feelings of the 151 gentleman who once walked at his own funeral,' and the editor, or perhaps his late Paris correspondent, adds: 'The adverse circumstances have been various. In the philosophy of ill-luck it may be laid down as a principle that every point of discouragement tends to one common centre of defeat. When the Fates do concur in one discomfiture their unanimity is wonderful. So has it happened in the case of the "Constitutional." In the first place, a delay of some months, consequent upon the postponement of the newspaper stamp reduction, operated on the minds of many who were originally parties to the enterprise; in the next, the majority of those who remained faithful were wholly inexperienced in the art and mystery of the practical working of an important daily journal; in the third, and consequent upon the other two, there was the want of those abundant means, and of that wise application of resources, without which no efficient organ of the interests of any class of men—to say nothing of the interests of that first and greatest class whose welfare has been our dearest aim and most constant object—can be successfully established. Then came further misgivings on the part of friends, and the delusive undertakings of friends in disguise.' The venture proved in every way a disastrous one. Although nominally supported by a joint-stock company, the burden of the undertaking really rested upon the original promoters, of whom Major Smyth was the principal, while his step-son, Thackeray, also lost nearly all that remained of his fortune.

It was shortly after the failure of the 'Constitutional' that Thackeray married in Paris a Miss Shaw, sister of the Captain Shaw, an Indian officer, who was one of the mourners at his funeral, an Irish lady of good family, who bore him two daughters, the elder of whom first gave, during her illustrious father's life-time, indications of inheriting his talents, in the remarkable story of 'Elizabeth,' written by her, and published in the 'Cornhill Magazine.' In 1837 he left Paris with his family, and resided for two years in Great Coram Street, London, when he began to devote himself seriously to literary labour, adding, we believe, occasional work as an illustrator. We are told that he contributed some papers to the 'Times' during the late Mr. Barnes's editorship—an article on 'Fielding' among them. He is believed to have been connected with two literary papers of his time—the 'Torch,' edited by Felix 152 Fax, Esq., and the 'Parthenon,' which must not be confounded with a literary journal with the same name recently existing. The 'Torch,' which was started on August 26, 1837, ran only for six months, and was immediately succeeded by the 'Parthenon,' which had a longer existence. In neither paper, however, is it possible to trace any sign of that shrewd criticism and that overflowing humour which distinguish the papers in 'Fraser.' For the latter publication he laboured assiduously, and it was at this time that the 'Yellowplush Papers' appeared, with occasional notices of the Exhibitions of Paintings in London. Among his writings of this period (1837-1840) we also find 'Stubbs's Calendar, or the Fatal Boots,' contributed to his friend Cruikshank's 'Comic Almanack' for 1839, and since included in the 'Miscellanies;' 'Catherine, by Ikey Solomons, jun.,' a long continuous story, founded on the crime of Catherine Hayes, the celebrated murderess of the last century, and intended to ridicule the novels of the school of Jack Sheppard, and illustrated with outline cartoons by the author; 'Cartouche' and 'Poinsonnet,' two stories, and 'Epistles to the Literati.' In 1839 he visited Paris again, at the request of the proprietor of 'Fraser,' in order to write an account of the French Exhibition of Paintings, which appeared in the December number.

On his return he devoted himself to writing the 'Shabby Genteel Story,' which was begun in 'Fraser' for June, and continued in the numbers for July, August, and October, when it stopped unfinished at the ninth chapter. The story of this strange failure is a mournful one. While busily engaged in working out this affecting story, a dark shadow descended upon his household, making all the associations of that time painful to him for ever. The terrible truth, long suspected, that the chosen partner of his good and evil fortunes could never participate in the success for which he had toiled, became confirmed. The mental disease which had attacked his wife rapidly developed itself, until the hopes which had sustained those to whom she was most dear were wholly extinguished. Thackeray was not one of those who love to parade their domestic sorrows before the world. No explanation of his omission to complete his story was given to his readers; but, years afterwards, in reprinting it in his 'Miscellanies,' he hinted at the circumstances which had paralyzed his hand, and 153 rendered him incapable of ever resuming the thread of his story, with a touching suggestiveness for those who knew the facts. The tale was interrupted, he said, 'at a sad period of the writer's own life.' When the republication of the 'Miscellanies' was announced, it was his intention to complete the little story—but the colours were long since dry, the artist's hand had changed. It 'was best,' he said, 'to leave the sketch as it was when first designed seventeen years ago. The memory of the past is renewed as he looks at it.'[9]

It was in 1840 that Thackeray contributed to the 'Westminster' a kindly and appreciative article upon the productions of his friend George Cruikshank, illustrated—an unusual thing for the great organ of the philosophers of the school of Bentham, J. Mill, and Sir W. Molesworth—with numerous specimens of the comic sketches of the subject of the paper. His defence of Cruikshank from the cavils of those who loved to dwell upon his defects as a draughtsman is full of sound criticism, and his claim for his friend as something far greater, a man endowed with that rarest of all faculties, the power to create, is inspired by a generous enthusiasm which lends a life and spirit to the paper not often found in a critical review. This long paper, signed with the Greek letter Theta, is little known, but Thackeray frequently referred to it as a labour in which he had felt a peculiar pleasure.

In the summer of 1840 Thackeray collected some of his original sketches inserted in 'Fraser' and other periodicals, English and foreign, and republished them under the title of the 'Paris Sketch Book.' This work is interesting as the first independent publication of the author, but of its contents few things are now remembered. The dedicatory letter prefixed, however, is peculiarly characteristic of the writer. It relates to a circumstance which had occurred to him some time previously in Paris. The old days when money was abundant, and loitering among the pictures of the Paris galleries could be indulged in without remorse, had gone. The res angusta domi with which genius has so often been disturbed in its day-dreams began to be familiar to him. The unfortunate failure of the 'Constitutional'—a loss which he, years afterwards, occasionally referred to as a foolish commercial speculation on which he had ventured in his youth—had absorbed the whole of his 154 patrimony. At such a time a temporary difficulty in meeting a creditor's demand was not uncommon. On one such occasion, a M. Aretz, a tailor in the Rue Richelieu, who had for some time supplied him with coats and trousers, presented him with a small account for those articles, and was met with a statement from his debtor that an immediate settlement of the bill would be extremely inconvenient to him. To Titmarsh's astonishment the reply of his creditor was, 'Mon Dieu, sir, let not that annoy you. If you want money, as a gentleman often does in a strange country, I have a thousand-franc note at my house which is quite at your service.' The generous offer was accepted. The coin which, in proof of the tailor's esteem for his customer, was advanced without any interest, was duly repaid together with the account; but the circumstance could not be forgotten. The person obliged felt how becoming it was to acknowledge and praise virtue, as he slily said, wherever he might find it, and to point it out for the admiration and example of his fellow-men. Accordingly, he determined to dedicate his first book to the generous tailor, giving at full length his name and address. In the dedicatory letter, he accordingly alludes to this anecdote, adding—

'History or experience, sir, makes us acquainted with so few actions that can be compared to yours; a kindness like yours, from a stranger and a tailor, seems to me so astonishing, that you must pardon me for thus making your virtue public, and acquainting the English nation with your merit and your name. Let me add, sir, that you live on the first floor; that your clothes and fit are excellent, and your charges moderate and just; and, as a humble tribute of my admiration, permit me to lay these volumes at your feet.

'Your obliged, faithful servant,
'M. A. Titmarsh.'

General Bonaparte

A second edition of the 'Paris Sketch Book' was announced by the publisher, Macrone—the same publisher who had a few years before given to the world the 'Sketches by Boz,' the first of Dickens' publications; but the second edition was probably only one of those conventional fictions with which the spirits of young authors are sustained. Though containing many flashes of the 155 Titmarsh humour, many eloquent passages, and much interesting reading of a light kind, the public took but a passing interest in it. Years after, in quoting its title, the author good-humouredly remarked, in a parenthesis, that some copies, he believed, might still be found unsold at the publisher's; but the book was forgotten and most of its contents were rejected by the writer when preparing his selected miscellanies for the press. A similar couple of volumes, published by Cunningham in 1841, under the title of 'Comic Tales and Sketches, edited and illustrated by Mr. Michael Angelo Titmarsh,' and an independent republication, also in two volumes, of the 'Yellowplush Papers,' from 'Fraser,' were somewhat more successful. The former contained 'Major Gahagan' and the 'Bedford-row Conspiracy,' reprinted from the 'New Monthly;' 'Stubbs's Calendar, or the Fatal Boots,' from Cruikshank's 156 'Comic Almanack;' some amusing criticisms on the 'Sea Captain,' and 'Lady Charlotte Bury's Diary,' and other papers from 'Fraser.' The illustrations to the volumes were tinted etchings of a somewhat more careful character than those unfinished artistic drolleries in which he generally indulged. A brace of portraits of Dr. Lardner and Bulwer may be reckoned in the great humourist's happiest caricature vein.

In December 1840 he again visited Paris, and remained there until the summer of the following year. He was in that city on the memorable occasion of the second funeral of Napoleon, or the ceremony of conveying the remains of that great warrior, of whom, as a child, he had obtained a living glimpse, to their last resting-place at the Hôtel des Invalides. An account of that ceremony, in the form of a letter to Miss Smith, was published by Macrone. It was a small square pamphlet, chiefly memorable now as containing at the end his remarkable poem of the 'Chronicle of the Drum.' About this time he advertised, as preparing for immediate publication, a book entitled 'Dinner Reminiscences, or the Young Gourmandiser's Guide at Paris, by Mr. M. A. Titmarsh.' It was to be issued by Hugh Cunningham, the publisher, of St. Martin's Place, Trafalgar Square, but we believe was never published.

It was in the September number of 'Fraser,' for 1841, that he commenced his story of the 'History of Samuel Titmarsh, and the Great Hoggarty Diamond,' which, though it failed to achieve an extraordinary popularity, first convinced that select few who judge for themselves in matters of literature and art, of the great power and promise of the unknown 'Titmarsh.' Carlyle, in his 'Life of John Sterling,' quotes the following remarkable passage from a letter of the latter to his mother, written at this period:—'I have seen no new books, but am reading your last. I got hold of the two first numbers of the "Hoggarty Diamond," and read them with extreme delight. What is there better in Fielding or Goldsmith? The man is a true genius, and with quiet and comfort might produce masterpieces that would last as long as any we have, and delight millions of unborn readers. There is more truth and nature in one of these papers than in all ——'s novels put together.' 'Thackeray (adds Carlyle), always a close friend of the Sterling House, will observe that this is dated 1841, not 1851, and will have his own reflections on the matter.' The 'Hoggarty Diamond' 157 was continued in the numbers for October and November, and completed in December 1841. In the number for June of the following year, 'Fitzboodle's Confessions' were commenced, and were continued at intervals down to the end of 1843. The 'Irish Sketch Book,' in two volumes, detailing an Irish tour, was also published in the latter year. The 'Sketch Book' did not at the time attract much attention. The 'Luck of Barry Lyndon,' by many considered the most original of his writings, was begun and finished at No. 88, St. James Street, previously known as the Conservative Club, where at this time he occupied chambers. The first part appeared in 'Fraser' for January 1844, and was continued regularly every month, till its completion in the December number. He was engaged a short time before this as assistant editor of the 'Examiner' newspaper, to which journal he contributed numerous articles; and among his papers in 'Fraser' and other magazines of the same period, we find, 'Memorials of Gourmandising;' 'Pictorial Rhapsodies on the Exhibitions of Paintings;' 'Bluebeard's Ghost;' a satirical article on Grant's 'Paris and the Parisians;' a 'Review of a Box of Novels' (already quoted from); 'Little Travels and Roadside Sketches' (chiefly in Belgium); 'The Partie Fine, by Lancelot Wagstaff'—a comic story, with a sequel entitled 'Arabella, or the Moral of the Partie Fine;' 'Carmen Lilliense;' 'Picture Gossip;' more comic sketches, with the titles of 'The Chest of Cigars, by Lancelot Wagstaff;' 'Bob Robinson's First Love;' and 'Barmecide Banquets,' and an admirable satirical review entitled 'A Gossip about Christmas Books.'

The 'Carmen Lilliense' will be well remembered by the readers of the 'Miscellanies,' published in 1857, in which it was included. Thackeray was in the north of France and in Belgium about the period when it is dated (2nd September, 1843); and the ballad describes a real accident which befell him, though doubtless somewhat heightened in effect. It tells how, leaving Paris with only twenty pounds in his pocket, for a trip in Belgium, he arrived at Antwerp, where, feeling for his purse, he found it had vanished with the entire amount of his little treasure. Some rascal on the road had picked his pocket, and nothing was left but to borrow ten guineas of a friend whom he met, and to write a note to England addressed to 'Grandmamma,' for whom we may probably read some other member of the Titmarsh family. The 158 ten guineas, however, were soon gone, and the sensitive Titmarsh found himself in a position of great delicacy. What was to be done? 'To stealing,' says the ballad, 'he could never come.' To pawn his watch he felt himself 'too genteel;' besides, he had left his watch at home, which at once put an end to any debates on this point. There was nothing to do but to wait for the remittance, and beguile the time with a poetical description of his woes. The guests around him ask for their bills. Titmarsh is in agonies. The landlord regards him as a 'Lord Anglais,' serves him with the best of meat and drink, and is proud of his patronage. A sense of being a kind of impostor weighs upon him. The landlord's eye became painful to look at. Opposite is a dismal building—the prison-house of Lille, where, by a summary process, familiar to 159 French law, foreigners who run in debt without the means of paying may be lodged. He is almost tempted to go into the old Flemish church and invoke the saints there after the fashion of the country. One of their pictures on the walls becomes, in his imagination, like the picture of 'Grandmamma,' with a smile upon its countenance. Delightful dream! and one of good omen. He returns to his hotel, and there to his relief finds the long-expected letter, in the well-known hand, addressed to 'Mr. M. A. Titmarsh, Lille.' He obtains the means of redeeming his credit, bids farewell to his host without any exposure, takes the diligence, and is restored to his home that evening. Such are the humorous exaggerations with which he depicts his temporary troubles at Lille, in the shape of a ballad, originally intended, we believe, for the amusement of his family, but finally inserted in 'Fraser.'

Memorials of gourmandising

It was in July 1844 that Thackeray started on a tour in the East—the result of a hasty invitation, and of a present of a free pass from a friend connected with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. His sudden departure, upon less than thirty-six hours' notice, is pleasantly detailed in the preface to his book, published at Christmas, 1845, with the title of 'Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo by way of Lisbon, Athens, Constantinople, and Jerusalem: performed in the steamers of the Peninsular and Oriental Company. By M. A. Titmarsh, author of the "Irish Sketch Book," &c.'

The book was illustrated with coloured drawings by the author, treating, in a not exaggerated vein of fun, the peculiarities of the daily life of the East. The little book was well received, and in the reviews of it there is evidence of the growing interest of the public in the writer. For the first time it presented him to his readers in his true name, for though the 'Titmarsh' fiction is preserved on the title-page, the prefatory matter is signed 'W. M. Thackeray.'

'"Who is Titmarsh?" says one of his critics at this time. Such is the ejaculatory formula in which public curiosity gives vent to its ignorant impatience of pseudonymous renown. "Who is Michael Angelo Titmarsh?" Such is the note of interrogation which has been heard at intervals these several seasons back, among groups of elderly loungers in that row of clubs, Pall Mall; from fairy lips, as the light wheels whirled along the row called 160 "Rotten;" and oft amid keen-eyed men in that grandfather of rows which the children of literature call Paternoster....

'This problem has been variously and conflictingly solved, as in the parallel case of the grim old stat nominis umbra. There is a hint in both instances of some mysterious connection with the remote regions of Bengal, and an erect old pigtail of the E.I.C.S. boasts in the "horizontal" jungle off Hanover Square, of having had the dubious advantage of his personal acquaintanceship in Upper India, where his I O U's were signed Major Goliah Gahagan; and several specimens of that documentary character, in good preservation, he offers at a low figure to amateurs.'

The Major

The foundation in 1841 of a weekly periodical, serving as a vehicle for the circulation of the lighter papers of humourists, had unquestionably an important influence in the development of his talents and fame. From an early date he was connected with 'Punch,' at first as the 'Fat Contributor,' and soon after as the author of 'Jeames's Diary' and the 'Snob Papers.' If satire could do aught to check the pride of the vulgar upstart, or shame social hypocrisy into truth and simplicity, these writings would accomplish the task. In fact, Thackeray's name was now becoming known, and people began to distinguish and enquire for his contributions; his illustrations in 'Punch' being as funny as his articles were. The series called 'Jeames's Diary' caused great amusement and no little flutter in high polite circles, for the deposition from the throne of railwaydom of the famous original of 'Jeames de la Pluche' had hardly then begun, though it was probably accelerated by the universal titters of recognition which welcomed the weekly accounts of the changing fortunes of 'Jeames.' 161


Increasing reputation—Later writings in 'Fraser'—'Mrs. Perkins's Ball,' with Thackeray's illustrations—Early Vicissitudes of 'Pencil Sketches of English Society'—Thackeray's connection with the Temple—Appearance of 'Vanity Fair' with the Author's original illustrations—Appreciative notice in the 'Edinburgh Review'—The impression produced—'Our Street,' with Titmarsh's Pencillings of some of its Inhabitants—The 'History of Pendennis,' illustrated by the Author—'Dr. Birch and his Young Friends,' with illustrations by M. A. Titmarsh—'Rebecca and Rowena'—The Dignity of Literature and the 'Examiner' and 'Morning Chronicle' newspapers—Sensitiveness to Hostile Criticism—The 'Kickleburys on the Rhine,' with illustrations by M. A. Titmarsh—Adverse bias of the 'Times' newspaper—Thackeray's reply—An 'Essay on Thunder and Small Beer.'

The great work, however, which was to stamp the name of Thackeray for ever in the minds of English readers was yet to come. Hitherto all his writings had been brief and desultory, but in contributing to magazines his style had gradually matured itself. That ease of expression, and that repose which seems so full of power, were never more exemplified than in some of his latest essays in 'Fraser,' before book writing had absorbed all his time. His articles on Sir E. B. Lytton's 'Memoir of Laman Blanchard,' his paper on 'Illustrated Children's Books,' his satirical proposal to Mons. Alexandre Dumas for a continuation of 'Ivanhoe,' all contributed to 'Fraser' in 1846, and his article—we believe the last which he wrote for that periodical—entitled 'A Grumble about Christmas Books,' published in January 1847, are equal to anything in his later works. The first-mentioned of these papers, indeed—the remonstrance with Laman Blanchard's biographer—is unsurpassed for the eloquence of its defence of the calling of men of letters, and for the tenderness and manly simplicity with which it touches on the history of the unfortunate subject of the memoir. 162

'Mrs. Perkins's Ball,' a Christmas book, was published in December 1846. But its author had long been preparing for a more serious undertaking. Some time before, he had sketched some chapters entitled 'Pencil Sketches of English Society,' which he had offered to Colburn for insertion in the 'New Monthly Magazine.' It formed a portion of a continuous story, of a length not yet determined, and was rejected by Colburn after consideration. The papers which Thackeray had previously contributed to the 'New Monthly' were chiefly slight comic stories—perhaps the least favourable specimens of his powers. They were, indeed, not superior to the common run of magazine papers, and were certainly not equal to his contributions to 'Fraser.' In fact, as a contributor to the 'New Monthly' he had achieved no remarkable success, and his papers appear to have been little in demand there. Whether the manuscript had been offered to 'Fraser'—the magazine in which 'Titmarsh' had secured popularity, and where he was certainly more at home—we cannot say. Happily, the author of 'Pencil Sketches of English Society,' though suspending his projected work, did not abandon it. He saw in its opening chapters—certainly not the best portions of the story when completed—the foundations of a work which was to secure him at last a fame among contemporary writers in his own proper name. The success of Dickens's shilling monthly parts suggested to him to make it the commencement of a substantive work of fiction, to be published month by month, with illustrations by the author. The work grew up by degrees, and finally took shape under the better title of 'Vanity Fair.' It was during this time, the latter part of 1846, that he removed to his house at No. 13 Young Street, Kensington, a favourite locality with him, in which house he resided for some years. He also at this time occupied chambers at No. 10 Crown-office Row, Temple, the comfortable retirement which, 'up four pair of stairs,' with its grand view, when the sun was shining, of the chimney-pots over the way, he has himself described. His friend Tom Taylor, the well-known dramatist and biographer, had chambers in the same house; and we believe, on the demolition of No. 10 Crown-office Row, wrote a poem, published in the pages of 'Punch,' in which, if we remember rightly, mention is made of the fact of Thackeray's having resided there. Thackeray 163 was called to the bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 1848, though he never practised, and probably never intended to do so. The Benchers, however, were not insensible to the addition to the numerous literary associations with their venerable and quiet retreat which they thus gained. After his death there was some proposition to bury him in the Temple, of which he was a member, amid (as Spenser says)—

Those bricky towers

The which on Thames' broad back do ride,

Where now the student lawyers have their bowers,

Where whilom wont the Templar Knights to bide,

Till they decayed through pride.

There Goldsmith is buried, and Thackeray's ashes would have been fitly laid near those of the author of the 'Vicar of Wakefield,' whose brilliant genius he so heartily eulogised, and whose many shortcomings he so tenderly touched upon, in the 'Lectures on the Humourists.' But, after consultation with his relations, it was deemed better that he should rest with his own family in Kensal Green. Pending this decision, the sanction of the Benchers to interment within the precincts of the Temple Church had been asked and cheerfully accorded; and when the Kensal Green Cemetery was finally decided upon, the Benchers were requested to permit the erection of a memorial slab in their church. Their reply to this was, that not only should they be honoured by such a memento, but that, if allowed, they would have it erected at their own cost.[10]

The Order of the Bath

The first monthly portion of 'Vanity Fair' was published on February 1, 1847, in the yellow wrapper which served to distinguish it from Charles Dickens's stories, and which afterwards became the standard colour for the covers of Thackeray's serial stories. The work was continued monthly, and finished with the number for July of the following year. Thackeray's friends, and all those who had watched his career with special interest, saw in it at once a work of greater promise than any that had 164 appeared since the dawn of his great contemporary's fame; but the critical journals received it somewhat coldly. There were indeed few tokens of its future success in the tone of its reception at this early period.

The British Army

It is generally acknowledged that to the thoughtful and appreciative article in the 'Edinburgh Review' of January 1848, which dealt with the first eleven numbers of the work only, is due the merit of authoritatively calling attention to the great power it displayed. The writer was evidently one who knew Thackeray well; for he gives a sketch of his life, and mentions having met him some years before, painting in the Louvre in Paris. 'In forming,' says this judicious critic, 'our general estimate of this writer, we wish to be understood as referring principally, if not exclusively, to "Vanity Fair" (a novel in monthly parts), which, though still unfinished, is immeasurably superior, in our opinion, to every other known production of his pen. The great charm of this work is its entire freedom from mannerism and affectation both in style and sentiment—confiding frankness with which the reader is addressed—the thoroughbred carelessness with which the author permits the thoughts and feelings suggested by the situations to flow in their natural channel, as if conscious that nothing mean or unworthy, nothing requiring to be shaded, gilded, or dressed up in company attire, could fall from him. In a word, the book is the work of a gentleman, which is one great merit, and not the work of a fine (or would-be fine) gentleman, which is another. Then, again, he never exhausts, elaborates, or insists too much upon anything; he drops his finest remarks and happiest illustrations as Buckingham dropped his pearls, and leaves them to be picked up and appreciated as chance may bring a discriminating observer to the spot. His effects are uniformly the effects of sound, wholesome, legitimate art; and we need hardly 165 add, that we are never harrowed up with physical horrors of the Eugène Sue school in his writings, or that there are no melodramatic villains to be found in them. One touch of nature makes the whole world kin, and here are touches of nature by the dozen. His pathos (though not so deep as Dickens's) is exquisite; the more so, perhaps, because he seems to struggle against it, and to be half ashamed of being caught in the melting mood; but the attempt to be caustic, satirical, ironical, or philosophical, on such occasions, is uniformly vain; and again and again have we found reason to admire how an originally fine and kind nature remains essentially free from worldliness, and, in the highest pride of intellect, pays homage to the heart.'

Sir Hector

It was at this time, his friend Hannay tells us, that he first had the pleasure of seeing him. '"Vanity Fair,"' he adds, 'was then unfinished, but its success was made; and he spoke frankly and genially of his work and his career. "Vanity Fair" always, we think, ranked in his own mind as best in story of his greater books; and he once pointed out to us the very house in Russell 166 Square where his imaginary Sedleys lived—a curious proof of the reality his creations had for his mind.' The same writer tells us that when he congratulated Thackeray, many years ago, on the touch in 'Vanity Fair' in which Becky admires her husband when he is giving Lord Steyne the chastisement which ruins her for life, the author answered with that fervour as well as heartiness of frankness which distinguished him: 'Well, when I wrote the sentence, I slapped my fist on the table, and said, "That is a touch of genius!"' 'Vanity Fair' soon rose rapidly in public favour, and a new work from the pen of its author was eagerly looked for.

Sensitive to a point

During the time of publication of 'Vanity Fair' he had found time to write and publish the little Christmas book entitled 'Our Street,' which appeared in December 1847, and reached a second edition soon after Christmas. 'Vanity Fair' was followed in 1849 by another long work of fiction, entitled the 'History of Pendennis; his Fortunes and Misfortunes, his Friends and his Greatest Enemy; with Illustrations by the Author;' which was completed in two volumes. In this year, too, he published 'Dr. Birch' and 'Rebecca and Rowena.' It was during the publication of 'Pendennis' that a criticism in the 'Morning Chronicle' and in the 'Examiner' newspapers drew from him a remarkable letter on the 'Dignity of Literature,' addressed to the editor of the former journal.

It was a peculiarity of Thackeray to feel annoyed at adverse criticism, and to show his annoyance in a way which more cautious 167 men generally abstain from. He did not conceal his feeling when an unjust attack was levelled at him in an influential journal. He was not one of those remonstrators who never see anything in the papers, but have their attention called to them by friends. If he had seen, he frankly avowed that he had seen the attack, and did not scruple to reply if he had an opportunity, and the influence of the journal or reviewer made it worth while. With the 'Times' he had had very early a bout of this kind. When the little account of the funeral of Napoleon in 1840 was published, the 'Times,' as he said, rated him, and talked in 'its own great roaring way about the flippancy and conceit of Titmarsh,' to which he had replied by a sharp paragraph or two. In 1850 a very elaborate attack in the chief journal roused his satirical humour more completely. The article which contained the offence was on the subject of his Christmas book, entitled the 'Kickleburys on the Rhine,' published in December 1850, upon which a criticism appeared in that journal, beginning with the following passage:—

A Rhinelander


'It has been customary, of late years, for the purveyors of amusing literature—the popular authors of the day—to put forth 168 certain opuscles, denominated "Christmas Books," with the ostensible intention of swelling the tide of exhilaration, or other expansive emotions, incident upon the exodus of the old and the inauguration of the new year. We have said that their ostensible intention was such, because there is another motive for these productions, locked up (as the popular author deems) in his own breast, but which betrays itself, in the quality of the work, as his principal incentive. Oh! that any muse should be set upon a high stool to cast up accounts and balance a ledger! Yet so it is; and the popular author finds it convenient to fill up the declared deficit and place himself in a position the more effectually to encounter those liabilities which sternly assert themselves contemporaneously and in contrast with the careless and free-handed tendencies of the season by the emission of Christmas books—a kind of literary assignats, representing to the emitter expunged debts, to the receiver an investment of enigmatical value. For the most part bearing the stamp of their origin in the vacuity of the writer's exchequer rather than in the fulness of his genius, they suggest by 169 their feeble flavour the rinsings of a void brain after the more important concoctions of the expired year. Indeed, we should as little think of taking these compositions as examples of the merits of their authors as we should think of measuring the valuable services of Mr. Walker the postman, or Mr. Bell the dust-collector, by the copy of verses they leave at our doors as a provocative of the expected annual gratuity—effusions with which they may fairly be classed for their intrinsic worth no less than their ultimate purport.'

Too much for his horse

Upon this, and upon some little peculiarities of style in the review, such as a passage in which the learned critic compared the author's satirical attempts to 'the sardonic divings after the pearl of truth whose lustre is eclipsed in the display of the diseased oyster,' Thackeray replied in the preface to a second edition of the little book, published a few days later, and entitled an 'Essay on Thunder and Small Beer.' The style of the 'Times' critique, which was generally attributed to Samuel Phillips, 170 afforded too tempting a subject for the satirical pen of the author of 'Vanity Fair,' to be passed over. The easy humour with which he exposes the pompous affectation of superiority in his critic, the tawdry sentences and droll logic of his censor, whom he likened not to the awful thunderer of Printing House Square, but to the thunderer's man, 'Jupiter Jeames, trying to dazzle and roar like his awful employer,' afforded the town, through the newspapers which copied the essay, an amount of amusement not often derived from an author's defence of himself from adverse criticism.

The essay was remembered long after, when work after work of the offending author was severely handled in the same paper; and the recollection of it gave a shadow of support to the theory by which some persons, on the occasion of Thackeray's death, endeavoured to explain the fact that the obituary notice in the 'Times,' and the account of his funeral, were more curt than those of any other journal; while the 'Times' alone, of all the daily papers, omitted to insert a leading article on the subject of the great loss which had been sustained by the world of letters. 171


Commencement of the Series of Early Essayists—Thackeray as a Lecturer—The 'English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century'—Charlotte Brontë at Thackeray's readings—The Lectures repeated in Edinburgh—An invitation to visit America—Transatlantic popularity—Special success attending the reception of the 'English Humourists' in the States—'Week-day Preachers'—Enthusiastic Farewell—Appleton's New York edition of Thackeray's works; the Author's introduction, and remarks on International Copyright—Thackeray's departure—Cordial impression bequeathed to America—The 'History of Henry Esmond, a story of Queen Anne's Reign'—The writers of the Augustan Era—The 'Newcomes'—An allusion to George Washington misunderstood—A second visit to America—Lectures on the 'Four Georges'—The series repeated at home—Scotch sympathy—Thackeray proposed as a candidate to represent Oxford in Parliament—His liberal views and impartiality.

In 1851 Thackeray appeared in an entirely new character, but one which subsequently proved so lucrative to him, that to this cause, even more than to the labours of his pen, must be attributed that easy fortune which he had accumulated before he died. In May he commenced the delivery of a series of lectures on the English Humourists. The subjects were—Swift, Congreve and Addison; Steele; Prior, Gay and Pope; Hogarth, Smollett and Fielding, and Sterne and Goldsmith. The lectures were delivered at Willis's Rooms. The price of admission was high, and the audience was numerous, and of the most select kind. It was not composed of that sort of people who crowd to pick up information in the shape of facts with which they have been previously unacquainted, but those who, knowing the eminence of the lecturer, wished to hear his opinion on a subject of national interest. One of the two great humourists of the present age was about to utter his sentiments on the humourists of the age now terminated, and the occasion was sufficient to create an interest 172 which not even the attractive power of the Great Exhibition, then open, could check. The newspapers complained slightly of the low key in which the lecturer spoke, from which cause many of his best points were sometimes lost to the more distant of his auditors. 'In other respects,' says a newspaper report, 'we cannot too highly praise the style of his delivery.' Abstaining from rant and gesticulation he relied for his effect on the matter which he uttered, and it was singular to see how the isolated pictures by a few magic touches descended into the hearts of his hearers. Among the most conspicuous of the literary ladies at this gathering was Miss Brontë, the authoress of 'Jane Eyre.' She had never before seen the author of 'Vanity Fair,' though she had dedicated the second edition of her own celebrated novel to him, with the assurance that she regarded him 'as the social regenerator of his day—as the very master of that working corps who would restore to rectitude the warped state of things.' Mrs. Gaskell tells us that, when the lecture was over, the lecturer descended from the platform, and making his way towards her, frankly asked her for her opinion. 'This,' adds Miss Brontë's biographer, 'she mentioned to me not many days afterwards, adding remarks almost identical with those which I subsequently read in "Villette," where a similar action on the part of M. Paul Emanuel is related.' The remarks of this singular woman upon Thackeray and his writings, and her accounts of her interviews with him, are curious, and will be found scattered through Mrs. Gaskell's popular biography. Readers of the 'Cornhill Magazine' will not have forgotten Thackeray's affectionate and discriminating sketch of her, which appeared some years later in that periodical.

The course was perfectly successful, and the Lectures, subsequently reprinted, rank among the most masterly of his writings. They were delivered again soon afterwards in some of the provincial cities, including Edinburgh. A droll anecdote was related at this period in the newspapers, in connection with one of these provincial appearances. Previously to delivering them in Scotland, the lecturer bethought himself of addressing them to the rising youth of our two great nurseries of the national mind; and it was necessary, before appearing at Oxford, to obtain the licence of the authorities—a very laudable arrangement, of course. The Duke of Wellington was the Chancellor, who, if applied to, would doubtless 173 have understood at once the man and his business. The Duke lived in the broad atmosphere of the every-day world, and a copy of 'Vanity Fair' was on a snug shelf at Walmer Castle. But his deputy at Oxford, on whom the modest applicant waited, knew less about such trifles as 'Vanity Fair' and 'Pendennis.' 'Pray what can I do to serve you, sir?' enquired the bland functionary. 'My name is Thackeray.' 'So I see by this card.' 'I seek permission to lecture within the precincts.' 'Ah! you are a lecturer; what subjects do you undertake—religious or political?' 'Neither; I am a literary man.' 'Have you written anything?' 'Yes; I am the author of "Vanity Fair."' 'I presume a dissenter—has that anything to do with John Bunyan's book?' 'Not exactly; I have also written "Pendennis."' 'Never heard of these works; but no doubt they are proper books.' 'I have also contributed to "Punch."' '"Punch!" I have heard of that; is it not a ribald publication?'

An invitation to deliver the lectures in America speedily followed. The public interest which heralded his coming in the United States was such as could hardly have been expected for a writer of fiction who had won his fame by so little appeal to the love of exciting scenes. His visit (as an American critic remarked at the time) at least demonstrated that if they were unwilling to pay English authors for their books, they were ready to reward them handsomely for the opportunity of seeing and hearing them.

At first the public feeling on the other side of the Atlantic had been very much divided as to his probable reception. 'He'll come and humbug us, eat our dinners, pocket our money, and go home and abuse us, like Dickens,' said Jonathan, chafing with the remembrance of that grand ball at the Park Theatre, and the Boz tableaux, and the universal speaking and dining, to which the author of 'Pickwick' was subject while he was their guest. 'Let him have his say,' said others, 'and we will have our look. We will pay a dollar to hear him, if we can see him at the same time; and as for the abuse, why it takes even more than two such cubs of the roaring British lion to frighten the American eagle. Let him come, and give him fair play.' He did come, and certainly had fair play; and as certainly there was no disappointment with his lectures. Those who knew his books found the author in the lecturer. Those who did not know the books, says one enthusiastic 174 critic, 'were charmed in the lecturer by what is charming in the author—the unaffected humanity, the tenderness, the sweetness, the genial play of fancy, and the sad touch of truth, with that glancing stroke of satire which, lightning-like, illumines while it withers.' He did not visit the West, nor Canada. He went home without seeing Niagara Falls. But wherever he did go, he found a generous social welcome, and a respectful and sympathetic hearing. He came to fulfil no mission; but it was felt that his visit had knit more closely the sympathy of the Americans with Englishmen. Heralded by various romantic memoirs, he smiled at them, stoutly asserted that he had been always able to command a good dinner, and to pay for it, nor did he seek to disguise that he hoped his American tour would help him to command and pay for more. He promised not to write a book about the Americans, and he kept his word.

An old English gentleman

His first lecture was delivered to a crowded audience: on November 19 he commenced his lectures before the Mercantile Library Association, in the spacious New York church belonging to the congregation presided over by the Rev. Dr. Chapin.

Another 'Spectator'

Before many days the publishers told the world that the subject of Thackeray's talk had given rise to a Swift and Congreve and Addison furore. The booksellers were driving a thrifty trade in forgotten volumes of 'Old English Essayists;' the 'Spectator' found its way again to the parlour tables; old Sir Roger de Coverley was waked up from his long sleep. 'Tristram 175 Shandy' even was almost forgiven his lewdness, and the Ass of Melun and Poor Le Fevre were studied wistfully, and placed on the library table between 'Gulliver' and the 'Rake's Progress.' Girls were working Maria's pet lamb upon their samplers, and hundreds of Lilliput literary ladies were twitching the mammoth Gulliver's whiskers.

The newspaper gossipers were no less busy in noting every personal characteristic of the author. One remarks: 'As for the man himself who has lectured us, he is a stout, healthful, broad-shouldered specimen of a man, with cropped greyish hair, and keenish grey eyes, peering very sharply through a pair of spectacles that have a very satiric focus. He seems to stand strongly on his own feet, as if he would not be easily blown about or upset, either by praise or pugilists; a man of good digestion, who takes the world easy, and scents all shams and humours (straightening them between his thumb and forefinger) as he would a pinch of snuff.' A London letter of the time says: 'The New York journalists preserve, on the whole, a delicate silence (very creditable to them) on the subject of Mr. Thackeray's nose; but they are eloquent about his legs; and when the last mail left a controversy was raging among them on this matter, one party maintaining that "he stands very firm on his legs," while the opposition asserted that his legs were decidedly "shaky."'

These, however, were light matters compared with the notices in other newspapers, which unscrupulously raked together, for the amusement of their readers, details which were mostly untrue, and where true, were of too private a character for public discussion. This led to a humorous remonstrance, forwarded by Thackeray to 'Fraser's Magazine,' where it appeared with the signature of 'John Small.' In this he gave a droll parody of his newspaper biographers' style, which caused some resentment on the part of the writers attacked. One Transatlantic defender of the New York press said that 'the two most personal accounts of Thackeray 176 published appeared in one of the Liverpool papers, and in the London "Spectator;"' adding, 'the London correspondents of some of the provincial papers spare nothing of fact or comment touching the private life of public characters. Nay, are there not journals expressly devoted to the contemporary biography of titled, wealthy, and consequential personages, which will tell you how, and in what company, they eat, drink, and travel; their itinerary from the country to London, and from the metropolis to the Continent; the probable marriages, alliances, &c.? No journal can be better acquainted with these conditions of English society than the classical and vivacious "Fraser." Why, then, does John Small address that London editor from New York, converting some paltry and innocent-enough penny-a-liner notice of the author of "Vanity Fair" into an enormous national sin and delinquency?' Among the lectures delivered at New York, before he quitted the gay circles of the 'Empire City' for Boston, was one in behalf of a charity; and the charity lecture was stated to be a mélange of all the others, closing very appropriately with an animated tribute to the various literary, social, and humane qualities of Charles Dickens. 'Papa,' he described his daughter as exclaiming, with childish candour; 'papa, I like Mr. Dickens's book much better than yours.'

The remonstrance of John Small in 'Fraser,' however, did not conclude without a warm acknowledgment of the general kindness he had received in America, thus feelingly expressed in his last lecture of the series, delivered on April 7. 'In England,' he said, 'it was my custom, after the delivery of these lectures, to point such a moral as seemed to befit the country I lived in, and to protest against an outcry which some brother authors of mine most imprudently and unjustly raise, when they say that our profession is neglected and its professors held in light esteem. Speaking in this country, I would say that such a complaint could not only not be advanced, but could not even be understood here, where your men of letters take their manly share in public life; whence Everett goes as minister to Washington, and Irving and Bancroft to represent the Republic in the old country. And if to English authors the English public is, as I believe, kind and just in the main, can any of us say, will any who visit your country not proudly and gratefully own, with what a cordial and generous 177 greeting you receive us? I look around on this great company. I think of my gallant young patrons of the Mercantile Library Association, as whose servant I appear before you, and of the kind hand stretched out to welcome me by men famous in letters, and honoured in our own country as in their own, and I thank you and them for a most kindly greeting and a most generous hospitality. At home and amongst his own people it scarce becomes an English writer to speak of himself; his public estimation must depend on his works; his private esteem on his character and his life. But here, among friends newly found, I ask leave to say that I am thankful; and I think with a grateful heart of those I leave behind me at home, who will be proud of the welcome you hold out to me, and will benefit, please God, when my days of work are over, by the kindness which you show to their father.'

A still more interesting paper was his Preface to Messrs. Appleton and Co.'s New York edition of his minor works. Readers will remember Thackeray's droll account, in one of his lectures, of his first interview with the agent of Appleton and Co., when holding on, sea-sick, to the bulwarks of the New York steam-vessel on his outward voyage. The preface referred to contains evidence that the appeal of the energetic representative of that well-known publishing house was not altogether fruitless. It is as follows:—

'On coming into this country I found that the projectors of this series of little books had preceded my arrival by publishing a number of early works, which have appeared under various pseudonyms during the last fifteen years. I was not the master to choose what stories of mine should appear or not; these miscellanies were all advertised, or in course of publication; nor have I had the good fortune to be able to draw a pen, or alter a blunder of author or printer, except in the case of the accompanying volumes which contain contributions to "Punch," whence I have been enabled to make something like a selection. In the "Letters of Mr. Brown," and the succeeding short essays and descriptive pieces, something graver and less burlesque was attempted than in other pieces which I here publish. My friend, the "Fat Contributor," accompanied Mr. Titmarsh in his "Journey from Cornhill to Cairo." The prize novels contain imitations of 178 the writings of some contemporaries who still live and flourish in the novelists' calling. I myself had scarcely entered on it when these burlesque tales were begun, and I stopped further parody from a sense that this merry task of making fun of the novelists should be left to younger hands than my own; and in a little book published some four years since, in England, by my friends Messrs. Hannay and Shirley Brooks, I saw a caricature of myself and writings to the full as ludicrous and faithful as the prize novels of Mr. Punch. Nor was there, had I desired it, any possibility of preventing the re-appearance of these performances. Other publishers, besides the Messrs. Appleton, were ready to bring my hidden works to the light. Very many of the other books printed I have not seen since their appearance twelve years ago, and it was with no small feelings of curiosity (remembering under what sad circumstances the tale had been left unfinished) that I bought the incomplete "Shabby Genteel Story," in a railway car, on my first journey from Boston hither, from a rosy-cheeked, little peripatetic book merchant, who called out "Thackeray's Works" in such a kind, gay voice, as gave me a feeling of friendship and welcome.

'There is an opportunity of being either satiric or sentimental. The careless papers written at an early period, and never seen since the printer's boy carried them away, are brought back and laid at the father's door; and he cannot, if he would, forget or disown his own children.

'Why were some of the little brats brought out of their obscurity? I own to a feeling of anything but pleasure in reviewing some of these misshapen juvenile creatures, which the publisher has disinterred and resuscitated. There are two performances especially (among the critical and biographical works of the erudite Mr. Yellowplush) which I am very sorry to see reproduced; and I ask pardon of the author of the "Caxtons" for a lampoon, which I know he himself has forgiven, and which I wish I could recall.

'I had never seen that eminent writer but once in public when this satire was penned, and wonder at the recklessness of the young man who could fancy such personality was harmless 179 jocularity, and never calculate that it might give pain. The best experiences of my life have been gained since that time of youth and gaiety, and careless laughter. I allude to them, perhaps, because I would not have any kind and friendly American reader judge of me by the wild performances of early years. Such a retrospect as the sight of these old acquaintances perforce occasioned cannot, if it would, be gay. The old scenes return, the remembrance of the bygone time, the chamber in which the stories were written, the faces that shone round the table.

'Some biographers in this country have been pleased to depict that homely apartment after a very strange and romantic fashion; and an author in the direst struggles of poverty, waited upon by a family domestic in "all the splendour of his menial decorations," has been circumstantially described to the reader's amusement as well as to the writer's own. I may be permitted to assure the former that the splendour and the want were alike fanciful, and that the meals were not only sufficient but honestly paid for.

'That extreme liberality with which American publishers have printed the works of English authors has had at least this beneficial result for us, that our names and writings are known by multitudes using our common mother tongue, who never had heard of us or our books but for the speculators who have sent them all over this continent.

'It is of course not unnatural for the English writer to hope that some day he may share a portion of the profits which his works bring at present to the persons who vend them in this country; and I am bound gratefully to say myself, that since my arrival here I have met with several publishing houses who are willing to acknowledge our little claim to participate in the advantages arising out of our books; and the present writer having long since ascertained that a portion of a loaf is more satisfactory than no bread at all, gratefully accepts and acknowledges several slices which the book-purveyors in this city have proffered to him of their own free-will.

'If we are not paid in full and in specie as yet, English writers surely ought to be thankful for the very great kindness and friendliness with which the American public receives them; and if in hope some day that measures may pass here to legalise our right to profit a little by the commodities which we invent and in which 180 we deal, I for one can cheerfully say that the good-will towards us from publishers and public is undoubted, and wait for still better times with perfect confidence and good-humour.

'If I have to complain of any special hardship, it is not that our favourite works are reproduced, and our children introduced to the American public—children whom we have educated with care, and in whom we take a little paternal pride—but that ancient magazines are ransacked, and shabby old articles dragged out, which we had gladly left in the wardrobes where they have lain hidden many years. There is no control, however, over a man's thoughts—once uttered and printed, back they may come upon us on any sudden day; and in this collection which Messrs. Appleton are publishing I find two or three such early productions of my own that I gladly would take back, but that they have long since gone out of the paternal guardianship.

'If not printed in this series, they would have appeared from other presses, having not the slightest need of the author's own imprimatur; and I cannot sufficiently condole with a literary gentleman of this city, who (in his voyages of professional adventure) came upon an early performance of mine, which shall be nameless, carried the news of the discovery to a publisher of books, and had actually done me the favour to sell my book to that liberal man; when, behold, Messrs. Appleton announced the book in the press, and my confrère had to refund the prize-money which had been paid to him. And if he is a little chagrined at finding other intrepid voyagers beforehand with him in taking possession of my island, and the American flag already floating there, he will understand the feelings of the harmless but kindly-treated aboriginal, who makes every sign of peace, who smokes the pipe of submission, and meekly acquiesces in his own annexation.

'It is said that those only who win should laugh: I think, in this case, my readers will not grudge the losing side its share of harmless good-humour. If I have contributed to theirs, or provided them with means of amusement, I am glad to think my books have found favour with the American public, as I am proud to own the great and cordial welcome with which they have received me.

'W. M. Thackeray.

'New York, December 1852.'


Such words could not fail to be gratifying to the American people, as an evidence of Thackeray's sense of the reception he had received; and in spite of a subsequent slight misunderstanding founded on a mistake and speedily cleared up, it may be said that no English writer of fiction was ever more popular in the United States.

A mere accident

The publication of the 'Adventures of Henry Esmond,' which appeared just as its author was starting for America in 1852, marked an important epoch in his career. It was a continuous story, and one worked out with closer attention to the thread of the narrative than he had hitherto produced—a fact due, no doubt, partly to its appearance in three volumes complete, instead of in detached monthly portions. But its most striking feature was its elaborate imitation of the style and even the manner of thought of the time of Queen Anne's reign, in which its scenes were laid. The preparation of his Lectures on the Humourists had no doubt suggested to him the idea of writing a story of this kind, as it afterwards suggested to him the design of writing a history of that period which he had long entertained, but in which he had, we believe, made no progress when he died. But his fondness for the Queen Anne writers was of older date. Affectionate allusions to Sir Richard Steele—like himself a Charterhouse boy—and to Addison, and Pope, and Swift, may be found in his earliest magazine articles. That the style with which the author of 'Vanity 182 Fair' and 'Pendennis' had so often delighted his readers was to some degree formed upon those models so little studied in his boyhood, cannot be doubted by anyone who is familiar with the literature of the 'Augustan age of English authorship.' The writers of that period were fond of French models, as the writers of Elizabeth's time looked to Italy for their literary inspiration; but there was no time when English prose was generally written with more purity and ease; for the translation of the Scriptures, which is generally referred to as an evidence of the perfection of our English speech in Elizabeth's time, owed its strength and simplicity chiefly to the rejection by the pious translators of the scholarly style most in vogue, in favour of the homely English then current among the people. If we except the pamphlet writers of earlier reigns, the Queen Anne writers were the first who systematically wrote for the people in plain Saxon English, not easy to imitate in these days. 'Esmond' was from the first most liked among literary men who can appreciate a style having no resemblance to the fashion of the day; but there was a vein of tenderness and true pathos in the story which, in spite of some objectionable features in the plot, and of a somewhat wearisome genealogical introduction, has by degrees gained for it a high rank among the author's works. 'Esmond' was followed by the 'Newcomes,' in 1855, a work which revealed a deeper pathos than any of his previous novels, and showed that the author could, when he pleased, give us pictures of moral beauty and exquisite tenderness. In this work he returned to the yellow numbers in the old monthly form.

An incident in connection with the publication of the 'Newcomes' 183 may here be mentioned. Thackeray's fondness for irony had frequently brought him into disgrace with people not so ready as himself in understanding that dangerous figure. A passage in one of his chapters of this story alluding to 'Mr. Washington,' in a parody of the style of the 'British Patriot' of the time of the War of Independence, was so far misunderstood in America that the fact was alluded to by the New York correspondent of the 'Times.' Upon which the author felt it worth his while to explain the real sense of the offending paragraph in a letter to that journal, and, in the concluding paragraph, he very explicitly sets forth his own sincere convictions in regard to the hero of American Independence, and his belief in the justice of the cause for which he conquered.[11]

An embarrassing situation


Another journey to the United States, equally successful, and equally profitable in a pecuniary sense, was the chief event in his life in 1856. The lectures delivered were those admirable anecdotal and reflective discourses on the 'Four Georges,' made familiar 184 to readers by their publication in the 'Cornhill Magazine,' and since then in a separate form. The subject was not favourable to the display of the author's more genial qualities. But where in English literature could we find anything more solemn and affecting than his picture of the old king, the third of that name? When 'all light, all reason, all sound of human voices, all the pleasures of this world of God were taken from him'—concluding with the affecting appeal to his American audience—'O brothers! speaking the same dear mother tongue—O comrades! enemies no more, let us take a mournful hand together as we stand by this royal corpse, and call a truce to battle! Low he lies to whom the proudest used to kneel once, and who was cast lower than the poorest—dead whom millions prayed for in vain. Hush, Strife and Quarrels, over the solemn grave! Sound, Trumpets, a mournful march. Fall, Dark Curtain, upon his pageant, his pride, his grief, his awful tragedy!'

These lectures were successfully repeated in England. Thackeray, indeed, was now recognised as one of the most attractive lecturers of the day. His presence, whether in lecturing on the 'Georges' for his own profit, or on 'Week-day Preachers,' or some other topic for the benefit of the families of deceased brother writers, such as he delivered to assist in raising monuments to the memories of Angus B. Reach and Douglas Jerrold, always attracted the most cultivated classes of the various cities in which he appeared; but an attempt to draw together a large audience of the less-educated classes by giving a course of lectures at the great Music Hall was less happy. In Edinburgh his reception was always in the highest degree successful. He was more extensively known and admired among the intellectual portion of the people of Scotland than any living writer, not excepting Thomas Carlyle. There was something in his peculiar genius that commended him to the Northern temperament. Thackeray delivered his essays on the 'Four Georges' in Scotland to larger and more intellectual audiences than have probably flocked to any other lecturer, and he, later on, lectured there for the benefit of Angus B. Reach's widow. Nearly all the men of Edinburgh, with any tincture of literature, had met him 185 personally, and a few knew him well. He was almost the only great author that the majority of the lovers of literature in it had seen and heard, and his form and figure and voice, with its tragic tones and pauses, well entitled him to take his place in any ideal rank of giants. He was much gratified (says James Hannay) by the success of the 'Four Georges' (a series which superseded an earlier scheme for as many discourses on 'Men of the World') in Scotland. 'I have had three per cent. of the whole population here,' he wrote from Edinburgh in November 1856. 'If I could but get three per cent. out of London!'

Most of Thackeray's readers will remember that in 1857 he was invited by some friends to offer himself as a candidate for the representation in Parliament of the city of Oxford.

Champions of order

A characteristic anecdote was told in the newspapers relating to the Oxford election by one who was staying with Thackeray at his hotel during his contest with Mr. Cardwell. Whilst looking out of window a crowd passed along the street, hooting and handling rather roughly some of his opponent's supporters. Thackeray started up in the greatest possible excitement, and, using some strong expletive, rushed down stairs, and notwithstanding the efforts of numerous old electioneerers to detain him, who happened to be of opinion that a trifling correction of the opposite party might be beneficial pour encourager les autres, he was not to be deterred, and was next seen towering above the crowd, dealing about him right and left in defence of the partisans of his antagonist and in defiance of his own friends. 186


Curious Authors from Thackeray's Library, indicating the Course of his Readings—Early Essayists illustrated with the Humourist's Pencillings—Bishop Earle's 'Microcosmography; a piece of the World Characterised,' 1628—An 'Essay in Defence of the Female Sex,' 1697—Thackeray's Interest in Works on the Spiritual World—'Flagellum Dæmonum, et Fustis Dæmonum. Auctore R. P. F. Hieronymo Mengo,' 1727—'La Magie et L'Astrologie,' par L. F. Alfred Maury—'Magic, Witchcraft, Animal Magnetism, Hypnotism, and Electro Biology,' by James Baird, 1852.


By JOHN EARLE, D.D., Bishop of Salisbury.

Preface to the Edition of 1732.

This little book had six editions between 1628 and 1633, without any author's name to recommend it. An eighth edition is spoken of in 1664. The present is reprinted from the edition of 1633, without altering anything but the plain errors of the press, and the old printing and spelling in some places.

The language is generally easy, and proves our English tongue not to be so very changeable as is commonly supposed. The change of fashions unavoidably casts a shade upon a few places, yet even those contain an exact picture of the age wherein they were written, as the rest does of mankind in general; for reflections founded upon nature will be just in the main, as long as men are men, though the particular instances of vice and folly may be diversified. Perhaps these valuable essays may be as acceptable to the public as they were at first; both for the entertainment of those who are already experienced in the ways of mankind, and for the information of others who would know the world the best way, that is—without trying it. 187

Advertisement to the Edition of 1786.

'This entertaining little book is become rather scarce, and is replete with so much good sense and genuine humour, which, though in part adapted to the times when it first appeared, seems on the whole by no means inapplicable to any era of mankind.'

Earle's 'Microcosmography' is undoubtedly a favourable example of the quaint epigrammatic wisdom of the early English writers, and few could question the appropriateness of the pencil which has lightly margined the settings of these terse and sterling essays, to the wisdom and humour of which the happiest productions of later essayists can but be appreciatively likened. Concerning the profoundly accomplished and eminently modest author, 'a most eloquent and powerful preacher, a man of great piety and devotion; and of a conversation so pleasant and delightful, so very innocent, and so very facetious, that no man's company was more desired and more loved; no man was more negligent in his dress, habit, and mien, no man more wary and cultivated in his behaviour and discourse; insomuch as he had the greater advantage when he was known, by promising so little before,' we may accept the testimony of Lord Clarendon's 'Account of his own Life.' The observations of the great Chancellor are supplemented by the character which honest Isaac Walton has sketched of this estimable prelate in his 'Life of Hooker.'

'... Dr. Earle, now Lord Bishop of Salisbury,[12] of whom I may justly say (and let it not offend him, because it is such a truth as ought not to be concealed from posterity, or those that now live and yet know him not) that since Mr. Hooker died, none have lived whom God hath blessed with more innocent wisdom, more sanctified learning, or a more pious, peaceable, primitive temper; so that this excellent person seems to be only like himself, and our venerable Richard Hooker.' 188

A Child

Is a man in a small letter, yet the best copy of Adam before he tasted of Eve or the apple; and he is happy whose small practice in the world can only write his character. He is nature's fresh picture newly drawn in oil, which time, and much handling, dims and defaces. His soul is yet a white paper unscribbled with observations of the world, wherewith at length it becomes a blurred notebook. He is purely happy because he knows no evil, nor hath made means by sin to be acquainted with misery. He arrives not at the mischief of being wise, nor endures evils to come by foreseeing them. He kisses and loves all, and, when the smart of the 189 rod is past, smiles on his beater. Nature, and his parents alike, dandle him, and 'tice him on with a bit of sugar to a draught of wormwood. He plays yet like a young 'prentice the first day, and is not come to his task of melancholy.

All the language he speaks yet is tears, and they serve him well enough to express his necessity. His hardest labour is his tongue, as if he were loth to use so deceitful an organ, and he is best company with it when he can but prattle. We laugh at his foolish sports, but his game is our earnest, and his drums, rattles, and hobby-horses, but the emblems and mocking of man's business. His father hath writ him as his own little story, wherein he reads those days of his life that he cannot remember, and sighs to see what innocence he hath outlived. The older he grows, he is a star lower from God; and, like his first father, much worse in his breeches. He is the Christian's example, and the old man's relapse; the one imitates his pureness, and the other falls into his simplicity. Could he put off his body with his little coat, he had got eternity without a burden, and exchanged but one heaven for another.

An Upstart Knight.

An upstart country knight is a holiday clown, and differs only in the stuff of his clothes, not the stuff of himself, for he bare the king's sword before he had arms to wield it; yet being once laid o'er the shoulder with a knighthood, he finds the herald his friend. His father was a man of good stock, though but a tanner or usurer; he purchased the land, and his son the title. He has doffed off the name of a country lout, but the look not so easy, and his face still bears a relish of churn milk. He is guarded with more gold lace than all the gentlemen of the country, yet his body makes his clothes still out of fashion. His housekeeping is seen much in the distinct families of dogs, and serving-men 190 attendant on their kennels, and the deepness of their throats is the depth of his discourse.

A justice of peace he is to domineer in his parish, and do his neighbour wrong with more right. He will be drunk with his hunters for company, and stain his gentility with drippings of ale. He is fearful of being sheriff of the shire by instinct, and dreads the assize week as much as the prisoner.

In sum, he's but a clod of his own earth, or his land is the dunghill, and he the cock that crows over it; and commonly his race is quickly run, and his children's children, though they 'scape hanging, return to the place from whence they came.

A Plain Country-Fellow.

A plain country-fellow is one that manures his ground well, but lets himself lie fallow and untilled. He has reason enough to do his business, and not enough to be idle and melancholy. He seems to have the punishment of Nebuchadnezzar, for his conversation is among beasts, and his talons none of the shortest, only he eats not grass because he loves not salads. His hand guides the plough, and the plough his thoughts, and his ditch and landmark is the very mound of his meditations. He expostulates with his oxen very understandingly, and speaks gee, and ree, better than English. His mind is not much distracted with objects, but if a good fat sow come in his way, he stands dumb and astonished, and though his haste be never so great, will fix 191 here half an hour's contemplation. His habitation is some poor thatched roof, distinguished from his barn by the loop-holes that let out smoke, which the rain had long since washed through, but for the double ceiling of bacon on the inside, which has hung there from his grandsire's time, and is yet to make rashers for posterity. His dinner is his other work, for he sweats at it as much as at his labour; he is a terrible fastener on a piece of beef, and you may hope to stave the guard off sooner. His religion is part of his copyhold, which he takes from his landlord, and refers it wholly to his discretion. Yet if he give him leave he is a good Christian to his power—that is, comes to church in his best clothes, and sits there with his neighbours, where he is capable only of two prayers, for rain, and fair weather. He apprehends God's blessings only in a good year, or a fat pasture, and never praises Him but on good ground. Sunday he esteems a day to make merry in, and thinks a bagpipe as essential to it as evening prayer, when he walks very solemnly after service with his hands coupled behind him, and censures the dancing of his parish. His compliment with his neighbour is a good thump on the back, and his salutation commonly some blunt curse. He thinks nothing to be vices, but pride and ill husbandry, from which he will gravely dissuade the youth, and has some thrifty hob-nail proverbs to clout his discourse. He is a niggard all the week, except only market days, when, if his corn sell well, he thinks he may be drunk with a good conscience. He is sensible of no calamity but the burning of a stack of corn, or the overflowing of a meadow, and thinks Noah's flood the greatest plague that ever was, not because it drowned the world, but spoiled the grass. For death he is never troubled, and if he get in but his harvest before, let it come when it will, he cares not.

A Pot Poet.

A pot poet is the dregs of wit, yet mingled with good drink may have some relish. His inspirations are more real than others, for they do but feign a god, but he has his by him. His verse runs like the tap, and his invention as the barrel ebbs and flows at the mercy of the spiggot. In thin drink he aspires not above a ballad, but a cup of sack inflames him, and sets his muse and nose a-fire 192 together. The press is his mint, and stamps him now and then a sixpence or two in reward of the baser coin, his pamphlet. His works would scarce sell for three halfpence, though they are given oft for three shillings, but for the pretty title that allures the country gentleman; for which the printer maintains him in ale for a fortnight. His verses are, like his clothes, miserable stolen scraps and patches, yet their pace is not altogether so hobbling as an almanac's. The death of a great man, or the burning of a house, furnish him with an argument, and the nine muses are out strait in mourning gowns, and Melpomene cries 'Fire! fire!' His other poems are but briefs in rhyme, and, like the poor Greek's collections, to redeem from captivity.

His frequentest works go out in single sheets, and are chanted from market to market to a vile tune and a viler throat; whilst the poor country wench melts like her butter to hear them. And these are the stories of some men of Tyburn, or of a strange monster broken loose; or sitting in a tap-room he writes sermons on judgments. He drops away at last, and his life, like a can too full, spills upon the bench. He leaves twenty shillings on the score, which his hostess loses.

A Bowl Alley.

A bowl alley is the place where there are three things thrown away besides bowls—to wit, time, money, and curses, and the last ten for one. The best sport in it is the gamesters, and he enjoys 193 it that looks on and bets not. It is the school of wrangling, and worse than the schools, for men will cavil here for a hair's breadth, and make a stir where a straw would end the controversy. No antic screws men's bodies into such strange flexures, and you would think them here senseless, to speak sense to their bowl, and put their trust in entreaties for a good cast. It is the best discovery of humours, especially in the losers, where you have fine variety of impatience, whilst some fret, some rail, some swear, and others more ridiculously comfort themselves with philosophy. To give you the moral of it, it is the emblem of the world, or the world's ambition; where most are short, or over, or wide, or wrong-biassed, and some few justle in to the mistress of fortune. And it is here as in the court, where the nearest are most spited, and all blows aimed at the toucher.

A Handsome Hostess.

A handsome hostess is the fairer commendation of an inn, above the fair sign, or fair lodgings. She is the loadstone that attracts men of iron, gallants and roarers, where they cleave sometimes long, and are not easily got off. Her lips are your welcome, and your entertainment her company, which is put into the reckoning too, and is the dearest parcel in it. No citizen's wife is demurer than she at the first greeting, nor draws in her mouth with a chaster simper; but you may be more familiar 194 without distaste, and she does not startle at a loose jest. She is the confusion of a pottle of sack more than would have been spent elsewhere, and her little jugs are accepted to have her kiss excuse them. She may be an honest woman, but is not believed so in her parish, and no man is a greater infidel in it than her husband.

A Poor Fiddler.

A poor fiddler is a man and a fiddle out of case, and he in worse case than his fiddle. One that rubs two sticks together (as the Indians strike fire), and rubs a poor living out of it; partly from this, and partly from your charity, which is more in the hearing than giving him, for he sells nothing dearer than to be gone. He is just so many strings above a beggar, though he have but two; and yet he begs too. Hunger is the greatest pain he takes, except a broken head sometimes. Otherwise his life is so many fits of mirth, and 'tis some mirth to see him. A good feast shall draw him five miles by the nose, and you shall track him again by the scent. His other pilgrimages are fairs and good houses, where his devotion is great to the Christmas; and no man loves good times better. He is in league with the tapsters for the worshipful of the inn, whom he torments next morning with his art, and has their names more perfect than their men. A new song is better to him than a new jacket, especially if it be lewd, which he calls merry; and hates naturally the puritan, as an enemy to this mirth. A country wedding and Whitsun-ale are the two main places he domineers in, where he goes for a musician, and overlooks the bagpipe. The rest of him is drunk, and in the stocks. 195

A Coward.

A coward is the man that is commonly most fierce against the coward, and labouring to take off this suspicion from himself; for the opinion of valour is a good protection to those that dare not use it. No man is valianter than he is in civil company, and where he thinks no danger may come of it, and is the readiest man to fall upon a drawer and those that must not strike again; wonderfully exceptious and choleric where he sees men are loth to give him occasion, and you cannot pacify him better than by quarrelling with him. The hotter you grow, the more temperate man is he; he protests he always honoured you, and the more you rail upon him, the more he honours you, and you threaten him at last into a very honest quiet man. The sight of a sword wounds him more sensibly than the stroke, for before that come, he is dead already. Every man is his master that dare beat him, and every man dares that knows him. And he who dare do this is the only man that can do much with him; for his friend he cares not, as a man that carries no such terror as his enemy, which for this cause only is more potent with him of the two; and men fall out with him on purpose to get courtesies from him, and be bribed again to a reconcilement. A man in whom no secret can be bound up, for the apprehension of each danger loosens him, and makes him betray both the room and it. He is a Christian merely for fear of hell fire; and if any religion could frighten him more, would be of that.





'A Ruffler goeth with a weapon to seek service, saying he hath been a servitor in the wars, and beggeth for relief. But his chiefest trade is to rob poor wayfaring men and market-women.

'An Upright Man is one that goeth with the truncheon of a staff. This man is of so much authority, that, meeting with any of his profession, he may call them to account, and command a share or "snap" unto himself of all that they have gained by their trade in one month.

'A Whipiake, or fresh-water mariner, is a person who travels with a counterfeit license in the dress of a sailor.

'An Abraham Man (hence to "Sham-Abraham") is he that walketh bare-armed and bare-legged, and feigneth himself mad, and carryeth a pack of wool, or a stick with a bauble on it, or such-like toy, and nameth himself "Poor Tom."' 197



As this book does not bear the reputation of being generally familiar, we give a slight sketch of its contents. The vitality of a work depends in so large a degree on the estimation which its subject happens to secure at the date of publication, that, as a rule, it may be held when a book is forgotten, or extinguished before its first spark of life has time to catch popular attention, the fault is its own, and, being buried, it is a charity to allow its last rest to remain undisturbed. We are inclined to believe, however, that this little treatise forms an exception. The 'Essay in Defence of the Female Sex' is written by a lady. The third edition, which now comes under our consideration as having formed one of the works in Thackeray's library (illustrated with original little sketches of the characters dealt with by their authors), was published in 1697, at the signs of the 'Black Boy' and the 'Peacock,' both in Fleet Street. The authoress disclaims any participation in a brace of verses which appear on its title:—

'Since each is fond of his own ugly face,

Why should you, when we hold it, break the glass?'

Prol. to 'Sir F. Flutter.'

The second couplet appears under an engraving of the 'Compleat Beau,' an elaborate creation adjusting his curls with a 198 simper, whilst a left-handed barber bestows a finishing puff from his powder-box:—

'This vain gay thing set up for man,

But see what fate attends him,

The powd'ring Barber first began,

The barber-Surgeon ends him!'

The paragraphs distinguished with little drawings, which we have extracted, may give an impression that the 'defence' consists of an attack on the male, rather than a vindication of the fair sex. The arguments of the gentle champion are, however, temperate and sensible, in parts; they are stated in a lively, quaint manner, and the general quality of the book may be considered superior to the average of its class and date. The preface, which discourses of vanity as the mainspring of our actions, deals with the characters it is designed to introduce in the work as with the mimic actors of a puppet-show; this coincidence with a similar assumption in the preface to the great novel of our century, from the pen of the gifted author who at one time possessed this little treatise, is worthy of a passing remark.


'Prefaces to most books are like prolocutors to puppet-shows; they come first to tell you what figures are to be presented, and what tricks they are to play. According, therefore, to ancient and laudable custom, I thought fit to let you know, by way of preface or advertisement (call it which you please), that here are many fine figures within to be seen, as well worth your curiosity as any in Smithfield at Bartholomew-tide. I will not deny, reader, but that you may have seen some of them there already; to those that have I have little more to say, than that if they have a mind to see them again in effigy, they may do it here. What is it you would 199 have? Here are St. Georges, Batemans, John Dories, Punchinelloes, and the "Creation of the World," or what's as good, &c. The bookseller, poor man, is desirous to please you at firsthand, and therefore has put a fine picture in the front to invite you in.'

Character of a Pedant.

(The Authoress alludes to scholars 'falling short' of certain qualifications. The expression is literally illustrated.)

'For scholars, though by their acquaintance with books, and conversing much with old authors, they may know perfectly the sense of the learned dead, and be perfect masters of the wisdom, be thoroughly informed of the state, and nicely skilled in the policies of ages long since past, yet by their retired and inactive life, their neglect of business, and constant conversation with antiquity, they are such strangers to, and so ignorant of, the domestic affairs and manners of their own country and times, that they appear like the ghosts of old Romans raised by magic. Talk to them of the Assyrian or Persian monarchies, the Grecian or Roman commonwealths, they answer like oracles; they are such finished statesmen, that we should scarce take them to have been less than confidants of Semiramis, tutors to Cyrus the Great, old cronies of Solon and Lycurgus, or privy councillors at least to the twelve Cæsars successively. But engage them in a discourse that concerns the present times, and their native country, and they hardly speak the language of it, and know so little of the affairs of it, that as much might reasonably be expected from an animated Egyptian mummy.

'They are much disturbed to see a fold or plait amiss in the picture of an old Roman gown, yet take no notice that their own are threadbare, out at the elbows, or ragged; or suffer more if Priscian's head be broken than if it were their own. They are excellent 200 guides, and can direct you to every alley and turning in old Rome, yet lose their way at home in their own parish. They are mighty admirers of the wit and eloquence of the ancients, and yet had they lived in the time of Cicero and Cæsar, would have treated them with as much supercilious pride and disrespect as they do now with reverence. They are great hunters of ancient manuscripts, and have in great veneration anything that has escaped the teeth of time and rats, and if age has obliterated the characters 'tis the more valuable for not being legible. But if by chance they can pick out one word, they rate it higher than the whole author in print, and would give more for one proverb of Solomon under his own hand, than for all his wisdom.'

Extracts from the Character of a Country Gentleman.

Contrasting the picture of a pedant with that of a country gentleman, the writer states these two characters are presented to show 'that men may, and do often, baffle and frustrate the effects of a liberal education as well by industry as negligence. For my part I think the learned and unlearned blockhead pretty equal, for 'tis all one to me, whether a man talk nonsense or unintelligible sense.'

After describing the relief experienced by the country squire on his release from the bondage of learning, the authoress continues her sketch:—

'Thus accomplished and finished for a gentleman, he enters the civil list, and holds the scales of Justice with as much blindness as she is said to do. From henceforward his worship becomes as 201 formidable to the ale-houses as he was before familiar; he sizes an ale-pot, and takes the dimensions of bread with great dexterity and sagacity. He is the terror of all the deer and poultry stealers in the neighbourhood, and is so implacable a persecutor of poachers that he keeps a register of all the guns and dogs in the hundred, and is the scare-beggar of the parish. Short pots, and unjustifiable dogs and nets, furnish him with sufficient matter of presentments to carry him once a quarter to the sessions, where he says little, eats and drinks much, and after dinner, hunts over the last chase, and so rides, worshipfully drunk, home again.'

Extracts from the Character of a Scowler.

'These are your men of nice honour, that love fighting for the sake of blows, and are never well but when they are wounded; they are severe interpreters of looks, are affronted at every face that don't please them, and like true cocks of the game, have a quarrel with all mankind at first sight. They are passionate admirers of scarred faces, and dote on a wooden leg. They receive a challenge like a "billet-doux," and a home-thrust as a favour. Their common adversary is the constable, and their usual lodging "the counter." Broken heads are a diversion, and an arm in a scarf is a high satisfaction. They are frugal in their expenses with the tailor, for they have their doublets pinked on their backs; but they are as good as an annuity to the surgeon, though they need him not to let them blood.'

Extracts from the Character of a Beau.

'A beau is one that has more learning in his heels than his head, which is better covered than filled. His tailor and his barber are his cabinet council, to whom he is more beholden for what he is than to his Maker. He is one that has travelled to see fashions, and brought over with him the newest cut suits and the prettiest 202 fancied ribands for sword-knots. He should be a philosopher, for he studies nothing but himself, yet every one knows him better that thinks him not worth knowing. His looks and gestures are his constant lesson, and his glass is the oracle that resolves all his mighty doubts and scruples. He examines and refreshes his complexion by it, and is more dejected at a pimple than if it were a cancer. When his eyes are set to a languishing air, his motions all prepared according to art, his wig and his coat abundantly powdered, his gloves essenced, and his handkerchief perfumed, and all the rest of his bravery adjusted rightly, the greatest part of the day, as well as the business of it at home, is over; 'tis time to launch, and down he comes, scented like a perfumer's shop, and looks like a vessel with all her rigging under sail without ballast.' ... 'He first visits the chocolate-house, where he admires himself in the glass, and starts a learned argument on the newest fashions. From hence he adjourns to the play-house, where he is to be met again in the side box, from whence he makes his court to all the ladies in general with his eyes, and is particular only with the orange wench. After a while he engages some neighbouring vizor, and altogether they run over all the boxes, take to pieces every face, examine every feature, pass their censure upon every one, and so on to their dress; but, in conclusion, sees nobody complete, but himself, in the whole house. After this he looks down with contempt upon the pit, and rallies all the slovenly fellows and awkward "beaux," as he calls them, of the other end of the town; is mightily offended at their ill-scented snuff, and, in spite of all his 203 "pulvilio" and essences, is overcome with the stink of their Cordovant gloves. To close all, Madam in the mask must give him an account of the scandal of the town, which she does in the history of abundance of intrigues, real or feigned, at all of which he laughs aloud and often, not to show his satisfaction, but his teeth. His next stage is Locket's, where his vanity, not his stomach, is to be gratified with something that is little and dear. Quails and ortolans are the meanest of his diet, and a spoonful of green peas at Christmas is worth more to him than the inheritance of the field where they grow in summer. His amours are all profound secrets, yet he makes a confidence of them to every man he meets with. Thus the show goes forward, until he is beaten for trespasses he was never guilty of, and shall be damned for sins he never committed. At last, with his credit as low as his fortune, he retires sullenly to his cloister, the King's Bench or the Fleet, and passes the rest of his days in privacy and contemplation. Here, if you please, we will give him one visit more, and see the last act of the farce; and you shall find him (whose sobriety was before a vice, as being only the pander to his other pleasures, and who feared a lighted pipe as much as if it had been a great gun levelled at him) with his nose flaming, and his breath stinking of spirits worse than a Dutch tarpaulin's, and smoking out of a short pipe, that for some months has been kept hot as constantly as a glass-house, and so I leave him to his meditation.'

Extracts from the Character of a 'Poetaster.'

After commencing his education in a shop or counting-house, the poetaster sets up as a manufacturer of verse.

'He talks much of Jack Dryden, and Will Wycherley, and the rest of that set, and protests he can't help having some respect for 204 them, because they have so much for him and his writings; otherwise he could prove them to be mere sots and blockheads that understand little of poetry in comparison with himself. He is the oracle of those who want wit, and the plague of those that have it, for he haunts their lodgings, and is more terrible to them than their duns. His pocket is an inexhaustible magazine of rhyme and nonsense, and his tongue, like a repeating clock with chimes, is ready upon every touch to sound them. Men avoid him for the same reason they avoid the pillory, the security of their ears, of which he is as merciless a prosecutor. He is the bane to society, a friend to the stationers, the plague of the press, and the ruin of his bookseller. He is more profitable to the grocers and tobacconists than the paper manufacturer; for his works, which talk so much of fire and flame, commonly expire in their shops in vapour and smoke.'

Extracts from the Character of a Virtuoso.

'The virtuoso is one who has sold his estate in land to purchase one in scallop, couch, and cockle shells, and has abandoned the society of men for that of insects, worms, grubs, lizards, tortoises, beetles, and moths. His study is like Noah's ark, the general rendezvous of all creatures in the universe, and the greatest part of his movables are the remainders of the deluge. His travels are not designed as visits to the inhabitants of any place, but to the pits, shores, and hills; and from whence he fetches not the treasure but the trumpery. He is ravished at finding an uncommon shell or an odd-shaped stone, and is desperately enamoured at first sight of an unusual marked butterfly, which he will hunt a whole day to be master of. He traffics to all places, and has his correspondents in every part of the world. He preserves carefully those creatures which other men industriously destroy, 205 and cultivates sedulously those plants which others root up as weeds. His cash consists much in old coins, and he thinks the face of Alexander on one of them worth more than all his conquests.'

Character of a City Militiaman.

After describing the contests in Flanders being re-fought by the newsmongers in the coffee-houses, the sketch proceeds:—

'Our greatest actions must be buffooned in show as well as talk. Shall Namur be taken and our heroes of the city not show their prowess upon so great an occasion? It must never be said that the coffee-houses dared more than Moorfields. No; for the honour of London, out comes the foreman of the shop, very formidable in buff and bandoleers, and away he marches, with feather in cap, to the general rendezvous in the Artillery Ground. There these terrible mimics of Mars are to spend their fury in noise and smoke upon a Namur erected for that purpose on a molehill, and by the help of guns and drums out-stink and out-rattle Smithfield in all its bravery, and would be too hard for the greatest man in all France, if they had him but amongst them. Yet this is but skirmishing, the hot service is in another place, when they engage the capons and quart pots; never was onset more vigorous, for they come to handy blows immediately, and now is the real cutting and slashing, and tilting without quarter: were the towns in Flanders all walled with beef, and the French as good meat as capons, and dressed the same way, the king need never beat his drums for soldiers; and all these gallant fellows would come in voluntarily, the meanest of which would be able to eat a marshal.'

These descriptions of character are concluded by contrasts drawn between the virtues and vices of the respective sexes, and the authoress remarks that if the masses are to be measured by the instances of either Tullia, Claudia, or Messalina, by Sardanapalus, Nero, or Caligula, the human race will certainly be found the vilest part of the creation. 206

The essayist records that she has gained one experience by her treatise:—

'I find when our hands are in 'tis as hard to stop them as our tongues, and as difficult not to write as not to talk too much. I have done wondering at those men that can write huge volumes upon slender subjects, and shall hereafter admire their judgment only who can confine their imaginations, and curb their wandering fancies.'



Among the books which formed part of Thackeray's library are one or two treating on the subject of the 'Black Arts.' The most curious and valuable example, H. Mengo's 'Flagellum Dæmonum,' appears to have been purchased in Paris; in addition to the book-stamp usually employed by the author of 'Vanity Fair,' there is an autograph, and the remark, 'a very rare and curious volume,' in his own hand-writing. As the work is seldom met with, we give the title-pages of the two volumes entire, for the benefit of those readers who may have a taste for 'Diablerie':—




Accessit postremo Pars Secunda, quæ Fustis Dæmonum inscribitur.


Auctore R. P. F. Hieronymo Mengo,
ANNO 1727.


The fly-leaf is illustrated with the following animated design in pencil, possibly drawn from a vivid recollection existing in the artist's mind of a similar subject, by the magic etching-needle of that fantastic creator of demons and imaginative devices, Jacques Callot; found in the 'Capricci,' dedicated to Lorenzo Medici.

We are unable, in the limits of the present volume, to offer more than a brief summary of the contents of this singular work. The first volume (309 pages) contains three indexes, a 'dedicatoria' to 'D.D. Lotharia a Metternich,' and a list of authors who have been consulted in the composition of the book.

We are inclined to believe that this list of authorities, on a subject which presents a large field for exploration, will be of value to 209 investigators, and not altogether without interest to the general reader. Their names are arranged alphabetically:—

Alexander Papa Sanctus. Alexander de Ales Doctor. Alphonsus Castrensis. Ambrosius Doctor S. Athanasius Doctor S. August. de Ancona. Bartholomæus Sybilla. Beda Venerabilis. Bernardus Abbas S. Bernardinus de Bustis. Boetius Severinus. Bonaventura Doctor S. Concilia diversa. Dionysius Cartusianus. Fulgentius Doctor S. Glossa ordinaria. Gregorius Papa Doctor Sanctus. Haymo Episcopus. Henricus Arphius. Hieronymus Doctor S. Hilarius Doctor S. Hugo de Sancto Victore. Joachim Abbas. Johannes Crysostomus S. Joannes Cassianus Abb. Joann. Damascenus S. Johannes Gerson Doctor. Joannes Scotus Doctor. Josephus de Bello Judaico. Isidorus Doctor S. Leo Papa Doctor S. Ludovicus Blosius. Magister Sententiarum. Magister Historiarum. Malleus Malesicarum. Michael Psellus. Nicolaus de Lira Doct. Paulus Ghirlandus. Petrus Galatinus. Richardus Mediavilla Doctor. Rupertus Abbas. Silvester Prierius. Thomas Aquinas Doctor Sanctus.

Forty-five pages are devoted to 'Doctrina pulcherrima in 210 malignos Spiritus.' One hundred and seventy-two pages are occupied with 'Exorcismus I. ad VII.' An 'Exorcismus' consists of various 'Oratio,' 'Adjuratio,' and 'Conjuratio;' the latter, in Exor. VI., graduating through the 'Conjuratio æris—terræ—aquæ—ignis—omnium elementalium—Inferni—&c.' Vol. I. concludes with 'Remedia Efficacissima in malignos spiritus,' and offers, besides Psalms proper for the purpose, regular physicians' prescriptions—drugs and their proportions—under the head of 'Medicina pro Maleficiatis.'

The artist's pencil has made a humorous marginal sketch in 'Exorcismus V.,' opposite this 'Conjuratio.' 'Conjuro te ✠ dæmon per illum, cujus Nativitatem Angelus Mariæ Virgini annunciavit, quique pro nobis peccatoribus descendit de cœlis, &c.'

The title-page of Vol. II. we also give in full:—




Auctore R. P. F. Hieronymo Mengo,

Opus sanè ad maximam Exorcistarum commoditatem nunc in
lucem editum.



Par L. F. Alfred Maury.

'La Magie et l'Astrologie dans l'Antiquité et au Moyen Age; ou, Étude sur les Superstitions Païennes qui se sont perpétuées jusqu'à nos jours.' This work, in two parts, by the author of 'Les Premiers Ages de la Nature' and 'Une Histoire des Religions,' gives evidence of wide-spread research. To the curious in 'dark' literature, A. Maury's compilation must form a vastly concise and interesting introduction to a subject which once absorbed a large proportion of the erudition and 'fond' wisdom of our ancestors. From its high seat amidst kings and profound sages, cabalistic art has, in this practical age, sunk so low that its exclusive privilege may be considered the delectation and delusion of the most forlorn ignorance.

It is, indeed, a source of congratulation that magic and astrology in our day rarely rise above the basement (for their modern patrons inhabit the kitchen), unless they are admitted in the palpable form of 'parlour necromancy,' degenerating into mere manual dexterity and common-place conjuring tricks.

A. Maury's work traces the progress of magic from its source among uncivilised nations, and in the earliest ages, through the history of the Chaldeans, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans. He exhibits the struggle of Christianity with magic, until the greater power overcame vain superstitions. He 212 then follows its evil track through the middle ages, and illustrates in the observances of astrology, an imitation of Pagan rites.

In the Second Part the author reviews the subject of superstitions attaching to dreams, and defines their employment as a means of divination, from the earliest records down to a recent period. He then describes the demoniac origin, once attributed to mental and nervous derangements, and elucidates the assistance contributed by the imagination to the deceptions of so-called magic. He concludes by considering the production of mental phenomena by the use of narcotics, the destruction of reason and of the intellectual faculties, and closes his summary by treating of hypnotism and somnambulism. 213

In the chapter describing the influence of magic on the teachings of the Neoplatonic school of philosophy, we find the arguments advanced in the paragraphs we extract, wittily and practically embodied in a little sketch of an antique divinity, introduced with modern attributes.

'... The new school of Plato imagined a complete hierarchy of demons, with which they combined a portion of the divinities of the ancient Greek religion, reconstructed in a newer and more philosophical spirit.

'In the doctrines expounded by the author of the "Mystères des Egyptiens," who had borrowed most of his ideas from the Egyptian theology, demons are represented as veritable divinities, who divide the government of the world with the deities.

'The inconsistent chronological confusion which prevailed at that period frequently offers similar contradictions; for the doctrines of antiquity, while taking their position in the new philosophy, had not been submitted to the modifications necessary to bring them into harmony with the later system.

'... The severity directed by Church and State against magicians and sorcerers was not solely inspired by the terrors of demons or a dread of witchcraft.

'... Although there existed in the rites of magic many foolish ceremonials that were harmless and inoffensive, the perpetuation of the observances of the ancient Polytheism were, however, employed as a veil, beneath which existed practices that were absolutely criminal, stamped with the most atrocious and sanguinary superstitions. The preparation of poisons played a considerable part in these observances, and witchcraft was not entirely confined to mere influences on the mind. Those who connected themselves with sorcery most frequently employed it with a view of gratifying either personal vengeance or culpable covetousness.'

In the chapter on 'Possession Démoniaque,' devoted to the demoniacal origin attributed to nervous and mental afflictions, we find a quaint pencil-heading which precedes the extracts we have made, to explain the matter it illustrates. 214

'... The ancients no more succeeded in mastering the natural character and physical origin of disease than they were able to recognise the constancy of the phenomena of the universe.

'All descriptions of sickness, especially epidemics and mental or nervous affections, were particularly reputed of supernatural agency; the first on account of their unexpected approaches, and their contagious and deadly effects; the second on the grounds of their mysterious origin, and the profound affections they bring either to the mind, the muscular system, or the sensations.

'When an epidemic broke out they immediately concluded that a divinity was abroad, sent forth to execute vengeance or to 215 inflict just corrections. They then employed their faculties in searching for a motive that might have provoked his anger, and they strove to appease his wrath by sacrifices; or they sought to avert the effects of evil by ceremonies, by purifications, and exorcisms.

'Their legends record that the deities of evil have been seen riding through the air, scattering death and desolation far and wide.

'... A passage in Minutius Felix (Octav. c. 29, which confirms Saint Cyprien ad Demetrian. p. 501, et Lactance, Inst. Div. Il. xv.; cf. Kopp, "Palæographia Critica," t. iii. p. 75) informs us that in order to constrain the demon to declare, through the mouth of the person supposed to be thus possessed, that he was driven out, recourse was had to blows, and to the employment of barbarous methods. This will at once explain the apparent successes of certain exorcists, and the ready compliance with which the devils responded to their conjurations. The signs by which the departure of the evil spirit were recognised were naturally very varied. Pious legends make 216 frequent mention of demons that have been expelled, and have been seen to proceed, with terrible cries, from the mouths of those so possessed.'

The two priestly figures, which are found at the commencement of this short résumé of Alfred Maury's work, might be readily assumed to embody the characteristics of magic and astrology. They are drawn on a fly-leaf in the original, and on the corresponding leaf at the end is pencilled the richly quaint conception, which appropriately concludes the summary of contents. 217


By James Braid. 1852.

Amicus Plato, amicus Socrates, sed magis amica Veritas.

Mr. Braid has selected a neat motto for his treatise, for the matter contained in it will hardly warrant the assumption of a more ambitious title.

Mr. Braid, of Burlington House, Manchester, a doctor by profession, is a believer in and exponent of hypnotism. A great portion of his little work reviews the criticisms on earlier editions, or deals with statements regarding Colquhoun's 'History of Magic.' Its author, while rejecting the doctrines known as animal mesmerism and magnetism, admits the effects they are declared to produce; but he refers such results to hypnotism—a state of induced sleep—into which a patient may be thrown by artificial contrivance.

It is possible that the contents of this book would not prove of much general interest excepting to amateurs of 'animal magnetism;' but we give one extract, which may prove of service to those who do not happen to be already informed of the theory it advances, which is one that every reader can practically test:— 218

'In my work on hypnotism,' observes Mr. Braid, 'published in 1843, I explained how "tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep," might be procured, in many instances, through a most simple device, by the patient himself. All that is required for this purpose is simply to place himself in a comfortable posture in bed, and then to close the eyelids, and turn up the eyeballs gently, as if looking at a distant object, such as an imaginary star, situated somewhat above and behind the forehead, giving the whole concentrated attention of the mind to the idea of maintaining a steady view of the star, and breathing softly, as if in profound attention, the mind at the same time yielding to the idea that sleep will ensue, and to the tendency to somnolence which will creep upon him whilst engaged in this act of fixed attention. Mr. Walker's method of "procuring sleep at will," by desiring the patient to maintain a fixed act of attention by imagining himself watching his breath issuing slowly from his nostrils, after having placed his body in a comfortable position in bed, which was first published by Dr. Binns, is essentially the same as my own method, &c.'

Professor Gregory, in his 'Letters to a Candid Inquirer,' after describing the induction of sleep effected by reading a class of books of a dry character, remarks: 'But let these persons (sufferers from a difficulty in getting off to sleep) try the experiment of placing a small bright object, seen by the reflection of a safe and distant light, in such a position that the eyes are strained a little upwards or backwards, and at such a distance as to give a tendency to squinting, and they will probably never again have recourse to the venerable authors above alluded to. Sir David Brewster, who, with more than youthful ardour, never fails to investigate any curious fact connected with the eye, has not only seen Mr. Braid operate, but has also himself often adopted this method of inducing sleep, and compares it to the feeling we have when, after severe and long-continued bodily exertion, we sit or 219 lie down and fall asleep, being overcome, in a most agreeable manner, by the solicitations of Morpheus, to which, at such times, we have a positive pleasure in yielding, however inappropriate the scene of our slumbers.'

Among the contents are numerous instances of magnetism, and anecdotes of experiments, which have been amusingly 'hit off' in little marginal sketches. One of the best of these is an illustration of the contagious dancing mania said to be excited by the bite of the tarantula spider—'against the effect of which neither youth nor age afforded any protection, so that old men of ninety threw away their crutches,' and the very sight of those so affected was equally potent. These sketches are, however, so small that we think it advisable to exclude them from our selection. The pantomimic mesmerism produced by the harlequin's 220 magic wand, and practically seconded by the sly slaps of the clown, are happily given on the fly-leaf of the treatise; and a vastly original and startling result of animal magnetism records on the last page the droller impressions of the artist-reader on the subject, through the medium of his pencil.

Carried away under the influence of spirits



Early Essayists whose Writings have furnished Thackeray with the Accessories of Portions of his Novels and Lectures—Works from the Novelist's Library, elucidating his Course of Reading for the Preparation of his 'Lectures'—'Henry Esmond,' 'The Virginians,' &c.—Characteristic Passages from the Lucubrations of the Essayists of the Augustan Era illustrated with original marginal Sketches, suggested by the Text, by Thackeray's Hand—The 'Tatler'—Its History and Influence—Reforms introduced by the purer Style of the Essayists—The Literature of Queen Anne's Reign—Thackeray's Love for the Writings of that Period—His Gift of reproducing their masterly and simple Style of Composition; their Irony, and playful Humour—Extracts from notable Essays; illustrated with original Pencillings from the Series of the 'Tatler,' 1709.

The commencement of the eighteenth century has been christened the Augustan Era of English literature, from the brilliant assembly of writers, pre-eminent for their wit, genius, and cultivation, who then enriched our literature with a perfectly original school of humour.

The essayists, to whose accomplished parts we are indebted for the 'Tatlers,' 'Spectators,' 'Guardians,' 'Humorists,' 'Worlds,' 'Connoisseurs,' 'Mirrors,' 'Adventurers,' 'Observers,' 'Loungers,' 'Lookers-on,' 'Ramblers,' and kindred papers, which picture the many-coloured scenes of our society and literature, have conferred a lasting benefit upon posterity by the sterling merit of their writings. It has been justly said that these essays, by their intrinsic worth, have outlived many revolutions of taste, and have attained unrivalled 222 popularity and classic fame, while multitudes of their contemporaries, successors, and imitators have perished with the accidents or caprices of fashion.

The general purpose of the essayists as laid down by Steele, who may be considered foremost among the originators of the familiar school of writing, 'was to expose the false arts of life, to pull off the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation, and to recommend a general simplicity in our dress, our discourse, and our behaviour.' Bickerstaff's lucubrations were directed to good-humoured exposures of those freaks and vagaries of life, 'too trivial for the chastisement of the law and too fantastical for the cognisance of the pulpit,' of those failings, according to Addison's summary of their purpose in the 'Spectator' (No. 34), thus harmonised by Pope:—

Safe from the bar, the pulpit, and the throne,

Yet touched and shamed by Ridicule alone.

The graceful philosophers, polished wits and playful satirists exerted their abilities to supply 'those temporary demands and casual exigencies, overlooked by graver writers and more bulky theorists,' to bring, in the language of Addison, 'philosophy out of closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and in coffee-houses.'

'The method of conveying cheap and easy knowledge began among us in the civil wars, when it was much the interest of either party to raise and fix the prejudices of the people.' It was in this spirit that the oft-mentioned Mercuries, 'Mercurius Aulicus,' 'Mercurius Rusticus,' and 'Mercurius Civicus' first appeared.

A hint of the original plan of the 'Tatler' may in some degree be traced to Defoe's 'Review; consisting of a Scandal Club, on Questions of Theology, Morals, Politics, Trade, Language, Poetry, &c.,' published about the year 1703.

'The "Tatler,"' writes Dr. Chalmers, 'like many other ancient superstructures, rose from small beginnings. It does not appear that the author (Steele) foresaw to what perfection this method of writing could be brought. By dividing each paper into compartments, he appears to have consulted the ease with which an author may say a little upon many subjects, who has neither leisure nor inclination to enter deeply on a single topic. This, however, did not proceed either from distrust in his abilities, or in 223 the favour of the public; for he at once addressed them with confidence and familiarity; but it is probable that he did not foresee to what perfection the continued practice of writing will frequently lead a man whose natural endowments are wit and eloquence, superadded to a knowledge of the world, and a habit of observation.'

The first number of the 'Tatler' bore the motto,

Quicquid agunt homines—

nostri est farrago libelli.—Juv. Sat. I. 85, 86.

Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream,

Our motley paper seizes for its theme.

The original sheet appeared on Tuesday, April 12, 1709,[13] and the days of its publication were fixed to be Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. 'In the selection of a name for the work, Steele affords an early instance of delicate raillery, by informing us that the name "Tatler" was invented in honour of the fair sex; and that in such a character he might indulge with impunity the desultory plan he first laid down, with a becoming imitation of the tattle and gossip of the day.' The first four numbers were given gratis, the price was then fixed at a penny, which was afterwards doubled.

Steele, whose humour was most happily adapted to his task, assumed as censor of manners the alias of Isaac Bickerstaff. 'Throughout the whole work,' writes Beattie, 'the conjuror, the politician, the man of humour, the critic; the seriousness of the moralist, and the mock dignity of the astrologer; the vivacities and infirmities peculiar to old age, are all so blended and contrasted in the censor of Great Britain as to form a character equally complex and natural, equally laughable and respectable,' and as the editor declares, in his proper person, 'the attacks upon prevailing and fashionable vices had been carried forward by Mr. Bickerstaff with a freedom of spirit that would have lost its attraction and efficacy, had it been pretended to by Mr. Steele.'

A scarce pamphlet, attributed to Gay, draws attention to the 224 high moral and philosophic purpose which was entertained originally. 'There was this difference between Steele and all the rest of the polite and gallant authors of the time: the latter endeavoured to please the age by falling in with them, and encouraging them in their fashionable vices and false notions of things. It would have been a jest some time since for a man to have asserted that anything witty could have been said in praise of a married state; or that devotion and virtue were any way necessary to the character of a fine gentleman. Bickerstaff ventured to tell the town that they were a parcel of fops, fools, and vain coquettes; but in such a manner as even pleased them, and made them more than half inclined to believe that he spoke truth.'

The humorists of the Augustan era were, as the world knows, peculiar objects of regard to the great writer of 'Roundabout Essays' in the age of Queen Victoria. Novels, lectures, and reviews alike prove the industry and affection with which Thackeray conducted his researches amidst the veins of singular richness and congenial material opened to him by the lives and writings of these famous essayists, in such profusion that selection became a point of real art.

It is not difficult to trace the results of Thackeray's reading among his favourite writers, or to watch its influence on his own compositions. Nor did his regard for these sources of inspiration pass the bounds of reasonable admiration; he argues convincingly of the authentic importance of his chosen authorities.

From his minute and intelligent studies of the works of these genial humorists Thackeray acquired a remarkable facility of thinking, spontaneously acknowledged by all his contemporaries, with the felicitous aptitude of the originals, and learned to express his conceptions in language simple, lucid, and sparkling as the outpourings from those pure fonts for which his eagerness may be said to have been unquenched to the end of his career.

That artist-like local colouring which gives such scholarly value to 'Henry Esmond,' to the 'Virginians,' to the 'Humorists of the Eighteenth Century,' and which was no less manifest in the work which engaged his thoughts when Death lightly touched the novelist's hand, furnishes the evidence of Thackeray's familiarity with, and command of, the quaintest, wittiest, wisest, and pleasantest writings in our language. 225

It will be felt by readers who realise Thackeray in his familiar association with the kindred early humorists, that the merry passages his pencil has italicised by droll marginal sketches are, with all their suggestive slightness, in no degree unworthy of the conceits to which they give a new interest; while in some cases, with playful whimsicality, they present a reading entirely novel. The fidelity of costume and appointments, even in this miniature state, confirms the diligence and thought with which the author of 'Henry Esmond' pursued every detail which illustrated his cherished period, and which might serve as a basis for its consistent reconstruction, to carry his reader far back up the stream of time.

The necessity of compressing within the limits of this volume our selections from the comparatively exhaustless field of the humorous essayists, necessarily renders the paragraphs elucidated by Thackeray's quaint etchings somewhat fragmentary and abrupt, while the miscellaneous nature of the topics thus indiscriminately touched on may be best set forth according to the advertisement with which Swift ushered in his memorable 'Number One':

'All accounts of gallantry, pleasure, and entertainment shall be under the article of White's Chocolate-house;[14] poetry, under that of Will's Coffee-house;[15] learning, under the title of Grecian;[16] foreign and domestic news, you will have from Saint James's Coffee-house; and what else I have to offer on any other subject shall be dated from my own apartment.[17]

'I once more desire my reader to consider, that as I cannot keep an ingenious man to go daily to Will's under twopence each day, merely for his charges; to White's, under sixpence; nor to the Grecian, without allowing him some plain Spanish, to be as able as others at the learned table; and that a good observer cannot speak with even Kidney (the waiter) at St. James's without clean linen; I say, these considerations will, I hope, make all persons willing to comply with my humble request (when my gratis stock is exhausted) of a penny apiece; especially 226 since they are sure of some proper amusement, and that it is impossible for me to want means to entertain them, having, besides the force of my own parts, the power of divination, and that I can, by casting a figure, tell you all that may happen before it comes to pass.'

No. 5. The 'Tatler.'April 21, 1709.

Who names that lost thing love without a tear,

Since so debauch'd by ill-bred customs here?

To an exact perfection they have brought

The action love, the passion is forgot.

'This was long ago a witty author's lamentation, but the evil still continues; and if a man of any delicacy were to attend the discourses of the young fellows of this age, he would believe there were none but the fallen to make the objects of passion. So true it is what the author of the above verses said, a little before his death, of the modern pretenders to gallantry: "They set up for wits in this age, by saying, when they are sober, what they of the last spoke only when they were drunk." But Cupid is not only blind at present, but dead drunk; and he has lost all his faculties; else how should Celia be so long a maid, with that agreeable behaviour? Corinna, with that sprightly wit? Serbia, with that heavenly voice? and Sacharissa, with all those excellences in one person, frequent the park, the play, and murder the poor Tits that drag her to public places, and not a man turn pale at her appearance? But such is the fallen state of love, that if it were not for honest Cynthio, who is true to the cause, we should hardly have a pattern left of the ancient worthies in that way; and indeed he has but very little encouragement to persevere. Though Cynthio has wit, good sense, fortune, and his very being depends upon her, the termagant for whom he sighs is in love with a fellow who stares in the glass all the time he is with her, and lets her plainly see she may possibly be his rival, but never his mistress. Yet Cynthio pleases himself with a vain imagination that, with the language of his eyes, now he has found out who she is, he shall conquer her, though her eyes are intent upon one who looks from her, which is ordinary with the sex.

'It is certainly a mistake in the ancients to draw the little gentleman 227 Love as a blind boy, for his real character is a little thief that squints; for ask Mrs. Meddle, who is a confidante or spy upon all the passions in town, and she will tell you that the whole is a game of cross purposes. The lover is generally pursuing one who is in pursuit of another, and running from one that desires to meet him. Nay, the nature of this passion is so justly represented in a squinting little thief (who is always in a double action), that do but observe Clarissa next time you see her, and you will find, when her eyes have made their soft tour round the company she makes no stay on him they say she is to marry, but rests two seconds of a minute on Wildair, who neither looks nor thinks on her or any woman else. However, Cynthio had a bow from her the other day, upon which he is very much come to himself; and I heard him send his man of an errand yesterday, without any manner of hesitation; a quarter of an hour after which he reckoned twenty, remembered he was to sup with a friend, and went exactly to his appointment. I sent to know how he did this morning, and I find he hath not forgotten that he spoke to me yesterday.'

No. 9. The 'Tatler.'April 30, 1709.

Pastorella, a lively young lady of eighteen, was under the charge of an aunt, who was anxious to keep her ward in safety, if possible, from herself and her admirers. 'At the same time the good lady knew, by long experience, that a gay inclination curbed too rashly would but run to the greater excesses; she therefore made use of an ingenious expedient to avoid the anguish of an admonition. You are to know, then, that Miss, with all her flirting and ogling, had also a strong curiosity in her, and was the greatest eaves-dropper breathing. Parisatis (for so her prudent aunt is called) observed this humour, and retires one day to her closet, into which she knew Pastorella would peep and listen to know how she was employed. It happened accordingly; and the young lady saw her good governante on her knees, and, after a mental behaviour, break into these words: "As for the dear 228 child committed to my care, let her sobriety of carriage and severity of behaviour be such as may make that noble lord, who is taken with her beauty, turn his designs to such as are honourable." Here Parisatis heard her niece nestle closer to the key-hole. She then goes on: "Make her the joyful mother of a numerous and wealthy offspring; and let her carriage be such as may make this noble youth expect the blessings of a happy marriage, from the singularity of her life, in this loose and censorious age." Miss, having heard enough, sneaks off for fear of discovery, and immediately at her glass, alters the setting of her head; then pulls up her tucker, and forms herself into the exact manner of Lindamira; in a word, becomes a sincere convert to everything that is commendable in a fine young lady; and two or three such matches as her aunt feigned in her devotions are at this day in her choice. This is the history and original cause of Pastorella's conversion from coquetry.

'I scarce remember a greater instance of forbearance in the usual peevish way with which the aged treat the young than this, except that of our famous Noy, whose good nature went so far as to make him put off his admonitions to his son even until after his death; and did not give him his thoughts of him until he came to read that memorable passage in his will: "All the rest of my estate," says he, "I leave to my son Edward, to be squandered as he shall think fit; I leave it him for that purpose, and hope no better from him." A generous disdain, and reflection how little he deserved from so excellent a father, reformed the young man, and made Edward, from an arrant rake, become a fine gentleman.'

No. 23. The 'Tatler.'June 2, 1709.

The 'Tatler' relates the instance of a lady who had governed one husband by falling into fits when he opposed her will. Death released this gentleman, and the lady consoled herself quickly with a very agreeable successor, whom she determined to manage by the same method. 'This man knew her little arts, and resolved to break through all tenderness, and be absolute master as soon as occasion offered. One day it happened that a discourse arose 229 about furniture; he was very glad of the occasion, and fell into an invective against china, protesting that he would never let five pounds more of his money be laid out that way as long as he breathed. She immediately fainted—he starts up, as amazed, and calls for help—the maids run up to the closet. He chafes her face, bends her forward, and beats the palms of her hands; her convulsions increase, and down she tumbles on the floor, where she lies quite dead, in spite of what the whole family, from the nursery to the kitchen, could do for her relief. The kind man doubles his care, helps the servants to throw water into her face by full quarts; and when the sinking part of the fit came again, "Well, my dear," says he, "I applaud your action; but none of your artifices; you are quite in other hands than those you passed these pretty passions upon. I must take leave of you until you are more sincere with me: farewell for ever." He was scarce at the stair-head when she followed, and thanked him for her cure, which was so absolute that she gave me this relation herself, to be communicated for the benefit of all the voluntary invalids of her sex.'

No. 24. The 'Tatler.'June 4, 1709.

The 'Tatler' is discoursing of 'pretty fellows,' and 'very pretty fellows,' and enlarging on the qualifications essential to fit them for the characters.

'Give me leave, then, to mention three, whom I do not doubt but we shall see make considerable figures; and these are such as for their Bacchanalian performances must be admitted into this order. They are three brothers, lately landed from Holland; as yet, indeed, they have not made their public entry, but lodge and 230 converse at Wapping. They have merited already, on the waterside, particular titles: the first is called Hogshead; the second, Culverin; and the third, Musquet. This fraternity is preparing for our end of the town, by their ability in the exercises of Bacchus, and measure their time and merit by liquid weight and power of drinking. Hogshead is a prettier fellow than Culverin, by two quarts; and Culverin than Musquet, by a full pint. It is to be feared Hogshead is so often too full, and Culverin overloaded, that Musquet will be the only lasting very pretty fellow of the three.'

No. 28. The 'Tatler.'June 14, 1709.

'To the "Tatler."—Sir,—I desire the favour of you to decide this question, whether calling a gentleman a smart fellow is an affront or not? A youth, entering a certain coffee-house, with his cane tied to his button, wearing red-heeled shoes, I thought of your description, and could not forbear telling a friend of mine next to me, "There enters a smart fellow." The gentleman hearing it, had immediately a mind to pick a quarrel with me, and desired satisfaction; at which I was more puzzled than at the other, remembering what mention your familiar makes of those that had lost their lives on such occasions. The thing is referred to your judgment; and I expect you to be my second, since you have been the cause of our quarrel.—I am, Sir, &c.'

'Now what possible insinuation can there be, that it is a cause 231 of quarrel for a man to say he allows a gentleman really to be what his tailor, his hosier, and his milliner have conspired to make him? I confess, if this person who appeals to me had said he was "not a smart fellow," there had been cause for resentment.'

No. 34. The 'Tatler.'June 28, 1709.

Mr. Bickerstaff has been working certain wonderful effects by prescribing his circumspection-water, which has cured Mrs. Spy of rolling her eyes about in public places. Lady Petulant had made use of it to cure her husband's jealousy, and Lady Gad has cured a whole neighbourhood of detraction.

'The fame of these things,' continues the Censor-General, 'added to my being an old fellow, makes me extremely acceptable to the fair sex. You would hardly believe me when I tell you there is not a man in town so much their delight as myself. They make no more of visiting me than going to Madam Depingle's; there were two of them, namely, Dainia and Clidamira (I assure you women of distinction), who came to see me this morning, in their way to prayers; and being in a very diverting humour (as innocence always makes people cheerful), they would needs have me, according to the distinction of pretty and very pretty fellows, inform them if I thought either of them had a title to the very pretty among those of their own sex; and if I did, which was the most deserving of the two?

'To put them to the trial, "Look ye," said I, "I must not rashly give my judgment in matters of this importance; pray let me see you dance; I play upon the kit." They immediately fell back to the lower end of the room (you may be sure they curtsied low enough to me), and began. Never were two in the world so equally matched, and both scholars to my namesake Isaac.[18] Never was man in so dangerous a condition as myself, when they began to expand their charms. "Oh! ladies, ladies," cried I; "not half that air; you will fire the house!" Both smiled, for, by-the-bye, there is no carrying a metaphor too far when a lady's charms are spoken of. Somebody, I think, has called a fine woman dancing 232 "a brandished torch of beauty." These rivals move with such an agreeable freedom that you would believe their gesture was the necessary effect of the music, and not the product of skill and practice. Now Clidamira came on with a crowd of graces, and demanded my judgment with so sweet an air—and she had no sooner carried it, but Dainia made her utterly forgot, by a gentle sinking and a rigadoon step. The contest held a full half hour; and, I protest, I saw no manner of difference in their perfections until they came up together and expected sentence. "Look ye, ladies," said I, "I see no difference in the least in your performances; but you, Clidamira, seem to be so well satisfied that I should determine for you, that I must give it to Dainia, who stands with so much diffidence and fear, after showing an equal merit to what she pretends to. Therefore, Clidamira, you are a pretty, but, Dainia, you are a very pretty lady; for," said I, "beauty loses its force if not accompanied with modesty. She that hath an humble opinion of herself, will have everybody's applause, because she does not expect it; while the vain creature loses approbation through too great a sense of deserving it."'


No. 36. The 'Tatler.'July 2, 1709.

The 'Tatler' inserts a letter on termagant wives and sporting tastes:—

'Epsom, June 28.

'It is now almost three weeks since what you writ about happened in this place. The quarrel between my friends did not run so high as I find your accounts have made it. You are to understand that the persons concerned in this scene were Lady Autumn and Lady Springly. Autumn is a person of good breeding, formality, and a singular way practised in the last age; and Lady Springly, a modern impertinent of our sex, who affects as improper a familiarity as the other does distance. These heroines have married two brothers, both knights. Springly is the spouse of the elder, who is a baronet, and Autumn, being a rich widow, has taken the younger, and her purse endowed him with an equal fortune, and knighthood of the same order. This jumble of titles, you need not doubt, has been an aching torment to Autumn, who took place of the other on no pretence but her carelessness and disregard of distinction. The secret occasion of envy broiled long in the breast of Autumn; but no opportunity of contention on that subject happening, kept all things quiet until the accident of which you demand an account.

'It was given out among all the gay people of this place, that on the ninth instant several damsels, swift of foot, were to run for a suit of head-cloaths at the Old Wells. Lady Autumn, on this occasion, invited Springly to go with her in her coach to see the race. When they came to the place, where the Governor of Epsom and all his court of citizens were assembled, as well as a crowd of people of all orders, a brisk young fellow addressed himself to the younger of the ladies, viz. Springly, and offers her his services to conduct her into the music-room. Springly accepts the compliment, and is led triumphantly through a bowing crowd, while Autumn is left among the rabble, and has much ado to get back into her coach; but she did it at last, and as it is usual to see, by the horses, my lady's present disposition, she orders John to whip furiously home to her husband; where, when she enters, down she sits, began to unpin her hood, and lament her foolish fond heart to marry into a family where she was so 234 little regarded. Lady Springly, an hour or two after, returns from the Wells, and finds the whole company together. Down she sat, and a profound silence ensued. You know a premeditated quarrel usually begins and works up with the words some people. The silence was broken by Lady Autumn, who began to say, "There are some people who fancy, that if some people"—Springly immediately takes her up, "There are some people who fancy, if other people"—Autumn repartees, "People may give themselves airs; but other people, perhaps, who make less ado, may be, perhaps, as agreeable as people who set themselves out more." All the other people at the table sat mute, while these two people, who were quarrelling, went on with the use of the word people, instancing the very accidents between them, as if they kept only in distant hints. Therefore, says Autumn, reddening, "There are some people will go abroad in other people's coaches, and leave those with whom they went to shift for themselves; and if, perhaps, those people have married the younger brother, yet, perhaps, he may be beholden to those people for what he is." Springly smartly answers, "People may bring so much ill humour into a family, as people may repent their receiving their money," and goes on—"Everybody is not considerable enough to give her uneasiness."

'Upon this Autumn comes up to her, and desired her to kiss her, and never to see her again; which her sister refusing, my lady gave her a box on the ear. Springly returns, "Ay, ay," said she, "I knew well enough you meant me by your some people;" and gives her another on the other side. To it they went, with most masculine fury; each husband ran in. The wives immediately fell upon their husbands, and tore periwigs and cravats. The company interposed; when (according to the slip-knot of matrimony, which makes them return to one another when anyone 235 puts in between) the ladies and their husbands fell upon all the rest of the company; and, having beat all their friends and relations out of the house, came to themselves time enough to know there was no bearing the jest of the place after these adventures, and therefore marched off the next day. It is said, the governor has sent several joints of mutton, and has proposed divers dishes, very exquisitely dressed, to bring them down again. From his address and knowledge in roast and boiled, all our hopes of the return of this good company depend.

'I am, dear Jenny,
'Your ready friend and servant,
'Martha Tatler.'

No. 37. The 'Tatler.'July 5, 1709.

The 'Tatler' is discoursing of country squires, with fox-hunting tastes, and how in their rough music of the field they outdo the best Italian singers for noise and volume. One of these worthies is described on a visit in genteel society in town. 'Mr. Bellfrey being at a visit where I was, viz. at his cousin's (Lady Dainty's), in Soho Square, was asked what entertainments they had in the country. Now, Bellfrey is very ignorant, and much a clown; but confident withal: in a word, he struck up a fox-chase; Lady Dainty's dog, Mr. Sippet, as she calls him, started, jumped out of his lady's lap, and fell a barking. Bellfrey went on, and called all the neighbouring parishes into the square. Never was woman in such confusion as that delicate lady; but there was no stopping her kinsman. A roomful of ladies fell into the most violent laughter; my lady looked as if she was shrieking; Mr. Sippet, in the middle of the room, breaking his heart with barking, but all of us unheard. As soon as Bellfrey became silent, up gets my lady, and takes him by the arm, to lead him off. Bellfrey was in his boots. As she was hurrying him away, his spurs take hold of her petticoat; his whip throws down a cabinet of china: he cries, "What! are your crocks rotten? are your petticoats ragged? A man cannot walk in your house for trincums."'


No. 38. The 'Tatler.'July 7, 1709.

The practice of duelling had been early discountenanced by the 'Tatler.' An altercation after a stock-broking transaction was settled in the fashion thus reported in its pages:—

'... However, having sold the bear, and words arising about the delivery, the most noble major, according to method, abused the other with the titles of rogue, villain, bear-skin man, and the like. Whereupon satisfaction was demanded and accepted, and forth they marched to a most spacious room in the sheriff's house, where, having due regard to what you have lately published, yet not willing to put up with affronts without satisfaction, they stripped and in decent manner fought full fairly with their wrathful hands. The combat lasted a quarter of an hour; in which time victory was often doubtful, until the major, finding his adversary obstinate, unwilling to give him further chastisement, with most shrill voice cried out, "I am satisfied! enough!" whereupon the combat ceased, and both were friends immediately.'

No. 41. The 'Tatler.'July 14, 1709.

A battle fought in the very streets of London by the Volunteers of 1709, from their head-quarters, the Artillery Ground, Moorgate, is thus described by one of the Grub Street auxiliaries:—

'Indeed, I am extremely concerned for the lieutenant-general, who by his overthrow and defeat is made a deplorable instance of the fortune of war, and the vicissitudes of human affairs. He, alas! has lost in Beech Lane and Chiswell Street all the glory he lately gained in and about Holborn and St. Giles's. The art of sub-dividing first and dividing afterwards is new and surprising; and according to this method the troops are disposed in King's Head Court and Red Lion Market, nor is the conduct of these leaders less conspicuous in the choice of the ground or field of battle. Happy was it that the greatest part of the achievements of this day was to be performed near Grub 237 Street, that there might not be wanting a sufficient number of faithful historians who, being eye-witnesses of these wonders, should impartially transmit them to posterity! but then it can never be enough regretted that we are left in the dark as to the name and title of that extraordinary hero who commanded the divisions in Paul's Alley; especially because those divisions are justly styled brave, and accordingly were to push the enemy along Bunhill Row, and thereby occasion a general battle. But Pallas appeared, in the form of a shower of rain, and prevented the slaughter and desolation which were threatened by these extraordinary preparations.'

No. 45. The 'Tatler.'July 23, 1709.

Mr. Bickerstaff, having paid a visit to Oxford, has spent the evening with some merry wits, and, after his custom, he relates the adventures of the evening to furnish a paper for the 'Tatler':—

'I am got hither safe, but never spent time with so little satisfaction as this evening; for, you must know, I was five hours with three merry and two honest fellows. The former sang catches and the latter even died with laughing at the noise they made. "Well," says Tom Bellfrey, "you scholars, Mr. Bickerstaff, are the worst company in the world." "Ay," says his opposite, "you are dull to-night; prythee, be merry." With that I huzzaed, and took a jump across the table, then came clever upon my legs, and fell a laughing. "Let Mr. Bickerstaff alone," says one of the honest fellows; "when he is in a good humour, he is as good company as any man in England." He had no sooner spoke, but I snatched his hat off his head, and clapped it upon my own, and burst out a laughing again; upon which we all fell a laughing for half an hour. One of the honest fellows got behind me in the interim and hit me a sound slap on the back; upon which he got the laugh out of my hands; and it was such a twang on my shoulders, that I confess he was much merrier than I. I was half angry, but resolved to keep up the good humour of the company; and after hallooing as 238 loud as I could possibly, I drank off a bumper of claret that made me stare again. "Nay," says one of the honest fellows, "Mr. Isaac is in the right; there is no conversation in this: what signifies jumping or hitting one another on the back? let us drink about." We did so from seven of the clock until eleven; and now I am come hither, and, after the manner of the wise Pythagoras, began to reflect upon the passages of the day. I remember nothing but that I am bruised to death; and as it is my way to write down all the good things I have heard in the last conversation, to furnish my paper, I can from this only tell you my sufferings and my bangs.'

No. 46. The 'Tatler.'July 26, 1709.

Aurengezebe, a modern Eastern potentate, is described as amusing his later years by playing the grand Turk to the Sultanas of Little Britain.

'There is,' proceeds the account, 'a street near Covent Garden known by the name of Drury, which, before the days of Christianity, was purchased by the Queen of Paphos, and is the only part of Great Britain where the tenure of vassalage is still in being.... This seraglio is disposed into convenient alleys and apartments, and every house, from the cellar to the garret, inhabited by nymphs of different orders.

'Here it is that, when Aurengezebe thinks fit to give loose to dalliance, the purveyors prepare the entertainment; and what makes it more august is, that every person concerned in the interlude has his set part, and the prince sends beforehand word what he designs to say, and directs also the very answer which shall be made to him.

'The entertainment is introduced by the matron of the temple; whereon an unhappy nymph, who is to be supposed just escaped from the hands of a ravisher, with her tresses dishevelled, runs into the room with a dagger in her hand, and falls before the emperor.

'"Pity, oh! pity, whoever thou art, an unhappy virgin, whom one of thy train has robbed of her innocence; her innocence, which was all her portion—or rather let me die like the memorable 239 Lucretia!" Upon which she stabs herself. The body is immediately examined, Lucretia recovers by a cup of right Nantz, and the matron, who is her next relation, stops all process at law.'

Similar extraordinary entertainments continue the evening, which concludes in a distribution of largesse by the fictitious sultan.

No. 47. The 'Tatler.'July 28, 1709.

The 'Tatler' describes an incident of Sir Taffety Trippet, a fortune-hunter, whose follies, according to Mr. Bickerstaff, are too gross to give diversion; and whose vanity is too stupid to let him be sensible that he is a public offence.

'It happened that, when he first set up for a fortune-hunter, he chose Tunbridge for the scene of action, where were at that time two sisters upon the same design. The knight believed, of course, the elder must be the better prize; and consequently makes all sail that way. People that want sense do always in an egregious manner want modesty, which made our hero triumph in making his amour as public as was possible. The adored lady was no less vain of his public addresses. An attorney with one cause is not half so restless as a woman with one lover. Wherever they met, they talked to each other aloud, chose each other partner at balls, saluted at the most conspicuous part of the service of the church, and practised, in honour of each other, all the remarkable particularities which are usual for persons who admire one another, and are contemptible to the rest of the world. These two lovers seemed as much made for each other as Adam and Eve, and all pronounced it a match of nature's own making; but the night before the nuptials, so universally approved, the younger sister, envious of the good fortune even of her sister, who had been present at most of the interviews, and had an equal taste for the charm of a fop, as there are a set of women made for that order of men; the younger, I say, unable to see so rich a prize 240 pass by her, discovered to Sir Taffety that a coquet air, much tongue, and three suits was all the portion of his mistress. His love vanished that moment; himself and equipage the next morning.'

No. 52. The 'Tatler.'Aug. 9, 1709.

'Delamira resigns her Fan.

'When the beauteous Delamira had published her intention of entering the bonds of matrimony, the matchless Virgulta, whose charms had made no satires, thus besought her to confide the secret of her triumphs:—

'"Delamira! you are now going into that state of life wherein the use of your charms is wholly to be applied to the pleasing only one man. That swimming air of your body, that jaunty bearing of your head over one shoulder, and that inexpressible beauty in your manner of playing your fan, must be lowered into a more confined behaviour, to show that you would rather shun than receive addresses for the future. Therefore, dear Delamira, give me those excellences you leave off, and acquaint me with your manner of charming; for I take the liberty of our friendship to say, that when I consider my own stature, motion, complexion, wit, or breeding, I cannot think myself any way your inferior; yet do I go through crowds without wounding a man, and all my acquaintance marry round me while I live a virgin masked, and I think unregarded."

'Delamira heard her with great attention, and, with that dexterity which is natural to her, told her that "all she had above the rest of her sex and contemporary beauties was wholly owing to a fan (that was left her by her mother, and had been long in the family), which whoever had in possession and used with skill, should command the hearts of all her beholders; and since," said she, smiling, "I have no more to do with extending my conquests or triumphs, I will make you a present of this inestimable rarity." Virgulta made her expressions of the highest gratitude for so uncommon a confidence in her, and desired she would "show her what was peculiar in the management of that utensil, which rendered it of such general force when 241 she was mistress of it." Delamira replied, "You see, madam, Cupid is the principal figure painted on it; and the skill in playing the fan is, in your several motions of it, to let him appear as little as possible; for honourable lovers fly all endeavours to ensnare them, and your Cupid must hide his bow and arrow, or he will never be sure of his game. You observe," continued she, "that in all public assemblies the sexes seem to separate themselves, and draw up to attack each other with eye-shot: that is the time when the fan, which is all the armour of a woman, is of most use in our defence; for our minds are construed by the waving of that little instrument, and our thoughts appear in composure or agitation according to the motion of it."'

No. 57. The 'Tatler.'Aug. 20, 1709.

The 'Tatler' transcribes from La Bruyère an extract, which he introduces as 'one of the most elegant pieces of raillery and satire.' La Bruyère describes the French as if speaking of a people not yet discovered, in the air and style of a traveller:—

'I have heard talk of a country where the old men are gallant, polite, and civil; the young men, on the contrary, stubborn, wild, without either manners or civility. Amongst these people, he is sober who is never drunk with anything but wine; the too frequent use of it having rendered it flat and insipid to them: they endeavour by brandy, or other strong liquors, to quicken their taste, already extinguished, and want nothing to complete their debauches but to drink aqua-fortis. The women of that country hasten the decay of their beauty by their artifices to preserve it; they paint their cheeks, eye-brows, and shoulders, which they lay open, together with their breasts, arms, and ears, as if they were afraid to hide those places which they think will please, and never think they show enough of them.

'The physiognomies of the people of that country are not at all neat, but confused and embarrassed with a bundle of strange hair, which they prefer before their natural; with this they weave something to cover their heads, which descends half way down their bodies, hides their features, and hinders you from knowing 242 men by their faces. This nation has, besides this, their god and their king.

'The grandees go every day, at a certain hour, to a temple they call a church: at the upper end of that temple there stands an altar consecrated to their god, where the priest celebrates some mysteries which they call holy, sacred, and tremendous. The great men make a vast circle at the foot of the altar, standing with their backs to the priests and the holy mysteries, and their faces erected towards their king, who is seen on his knees upon a throne, and to whom they seem to direct the desires of their hearts, and all their devotion. However, in this custom there is to be remarked a sort of subordination; for the people appear adoring their prince and their prince adoring God.'

No. 61. The 'Tatler.'Aug. 30, 1709.

Mr. Bickerstaff is musing on the degeneracy of the fair, and on the changes which beauty has undergone since his youth.

'We have,' he argues, 'no such thing as a standard for good breeding. I was the other day at my Lady Wealthy's, and asked one of her daughters how she did. She answered, "She never conversed with men." The same day I visited at my Lady Plantwell's, and asked her daughter the same question. She answers, "What is that to you, you old thief?" and gives me a slap on the shoulders....

'I will not answer for it, but it may be that I (like other old fellows) have a fondness for the fashions and manners which prevailed when I was young and in fashion myself. But certain it is that the taste of youth and beauty is very much lowered. The fine women they show me now-a-days are at best but pretty girls to me who have seen Sacharissa, when all the world repeated the poems she inspired; and Villaria (the Duchess of Cleveland), when a youthful king was her subject. The things you follow and make songs on now should be sent to knit, or sit down to bobbins or bone-lace: they are indeed neat, and so are 243 their sempstresses; they are pretty, and so are their handmaids. But that graceful motion, that awful mien, and that winning attraction, which grew upon them from the thoughts and conversations they met with in my time, are now no more seen. They tell me I am old: I am glad I am so, for I do not like your present young ladies.'

No. 64. The 'Tatler.'Sept. 6, 1709.

'"⁂ Lost, from the Cocoa-tree, in Pall Mall, two Irish dogs, belonging to the pack of London; one a tall white wolf dog; the other a black nimble greyhound, not very sound, and supposed to be gone to the Bath, by instinct, for cure. The man of the inn from whence they ran, being now there, is desired, if he meets either of them, to tie them up. Several others are lost about Tunbridge and Epsom, which, whoever will maintain, may keep."'

No. 67. The 'Tatler.'Sept. 13, 1709.

The 'Tatler' proposes to work upon the post, to establish a charitable society, from which there shall go every day circular letters to all parts, within the bills of mortality, to tell people of their faults in a friendly manner, whereby they may know what the world thinks of them. An example follows, which had been already sent, by way of experiment, without success:—

'"Madam,—Let me beg of you to take off the patches at the lower end of your left cheek, and I will allow two more under your left eye, which will contribute more to the symmetry of your face; except you would please to remove the two black atoms on your ladyship's chin, and wear one large patch instead of them. If so, you may properly enough retain the three patches above mentioned. I am, &c."

'This I thought had all the civility and reason in the world in it; but whether my letters are intercepted, or whatever it is, the lady patches as she used to do. 244 It is observed by all the charitable society, as an instruction in their epistles, that they tell people of nothing but what is in their power to mend. I shall give another instance of this way of writing: two sisters in Essex Street are eternally gaping out of the window, as if they knew not the value of time, or would call in companions. Upon which I writ the following line:—

'"Dear Creatures,—On the receipt of this, shut your casements."

'But I went by yesterday, and found them still at the window. What can a man do in this case, but go in and wrap himself up in his own integrity, with satisfaction only in this melancholy truth, that virtue is its own reward; and that if no one is the better for his admonitions, yet he is himself the more virtuous, in that he gave those advices?'

No. 79. The 'Tatler.'Oct. 11, 1709.

Mr. Bickerstaff's sister Jenny is going to be married. The 'Tatler' tells the following anecdote, as a warning 'to be above trifles:'—

'This, dear Jenny, is the reason that the quarrel between Sir Harry and his lady, which began about her squirrel, is irreconcilable. Sir Harry was reading a grave author; she runs into his study, and, in a playing humour, claps the squirrel upon the folio: he threw the animal, in a rage, on the floor; she snatches it up again, calls Sir Harry a sour pedant, without good nature or good manners. This cast him into such a rage, that he threw down the table before him, kicked the book round the room, then recollected himself: "Lord, madam," said he, "why did you run into such expressions? I was," said he, "in the highest delight with that author when you clapped your squirrel upon my book;" and smiling, added upon recollection, "I have a great respect for your favourite, and pray let us be all friends." My lady was so far from accepting this apology, that she immediately conceived a resolution to keep him under for ever, and, with 245 a serious air, replied, "There is no regard to be had to what a man says who can fall into so indecent a rage and an abject submission in the same moment, for which I absolutely despise you." Upon which she rushed out of the room. Sir Harry stayed some minutes behind, to think and command himself; after which he followed her into her bed-chamber, where she was prostrate upon the bed, tearing her hair, and naming twenty coxcombs who would have used her otherwise. This provoked him to so high a degree that he forbade nothing but beating her; and all the servants in the family were at their several stations listening, whilst the best man and woman, the best master and mistress, defamed each other in a way that is not to be repeated even at Billingsgate. You know this ended in an immediate separation: she longs to return home, but knows not how to do it; and he invites her home every day. Her husband requires no submission of her; but she thinks her very return will argue she is to blame, which she is resolved to be for ever, rather than acknowledge it.'


No. 86. The 'Tatler.'Oct. 27, 1709.

'When I came home last night, my servant delivered me the following letter:—

'"Sir,—I have orders from Sir Harry Quickset, of Staffordshire, Baronet, to acquaint you, that his honour, Sir Harry himself; Sir Giles Wheelbarrow, Knight; Thomas Rentfree, Esquire, justice of the quorum; Andrew Windmill, Esquire; and Mr. Nicolas Doubt, of the Inner Temple, Sir Harry's grandson, will wait upon you at the hour of nine to-morrow morning, being Tuesday, the twenty-fifth of October, upon business which Sir Harry will impart to you by word of mouth. I thought it proper to acquaint you beforehand, so many persons of quality came, that you might not be surprised therewith. Which concludes, though by many years' absence since I saw you at Stafford, unknown, Sir, your most humble servant,

'"John Thrifty."

'I received this note with less surprise than I believe Mr. Thrifty imagined; for I know the good company too well to feel any palpitations at their approach: but I was in very great concern how I could adjust the ceremonial, and demean myself to all these great men, who perhaps had not seen anything above themselves for these twenty years last past. I am sure that is the case of Sir Harry. Besides which, I was sensible that there was a great point in adjusting my behaviour to the simple squire, so as to give him satisfaction, and not disoblige the justice of the quorum.

'The hour of nine was come this morning, and I had no sooner set chairs, by the steward's letter, and fixed my tea-equipage, but I heard a knock at my door, which was opened, but no one entered; after which followed a long silence, which was at last broken by, "Sir, I beg your pardon; I think I know better:" and another voice, "Nay, good Sir Giles——" I looked out from my window, and saw the good company all with their hats off, and arms spread, offering the door to each other. After many offers, they entered with much solemnity, in the order Mr. Thrifty was so kind as to name them to me. But they had now got to my chamber-door, and I saw my old friend Sir Harry enter. I met him with all the respect due to so reverend a vegetable; for you are to know that is my sense of a person who remains idle in 247 the same place for half a century. I got him with great success into his chair by the fire, without throwing down any of my cups. The knight-bachelor told me, "he had a great respect for my whole family, and would, with my leave, place himself next to Sir Harry, at whose right hand he had sat at every quarter-sessions these thirty years, unless he was sick." The steward in the rear whispered the young templar, "That is true to my knowledge." I had the misfortune, as they stood cheek by jole, to desire the squire to sit down before the justice of the quorum, to the no small satisfaction of the former, and the resentment of the latter. But I saw my error too late, and got them as soon as I could into their seats. "Well," said I, "gentlemen, after I have told you how glad I am of this great honour, I am to desire you to drink a dish of tea." They answered one and all, "that they never drank tea of a morning." "Not drink tea of a morning?" said I, staring round me. Upon which the pert jackanapes, Nic Doubt, tipped me the wink, and put out his tongue at his grandfather. Here followed a profound silence, when the steward, in his boots and whip, proposed, "that we should adjourn to some public house, where everybody might call for what they pleased, and enter upon the business." We all stood up in an instant, and Sir Harry filed off from the left, very discreetly, countermarching behind the chairs towards the door. After him Sir Giles, in the same manner. The simple squire made a sudden start to follow; but the justice of the quorum whipped between upon the stand of the stairs. A maid, going up with coals, made us halt, and put us into such confusion that we stood all in a heap, without any visible possibility of recovering our order; for the young jackanapes seemed to make a jest of this matter, and had so contrived, by pressing in amongst us, under pretence of making way, that his grandfather was got into the middle, and he knew nobody was of quality to stir a step 248 until Sir Harry moved first. We were fixed in this perplexity for some time, until we heard a very loud noise in the street; and Sir Harry asking what it was, I, to make them move, said, "it was fire." Upon this all ran down as fast as they could, without order or ceremony, until we got into the street, where we drew up in very good order, and filed down Sheer Lane; the impertinent templar driving us before him as in a string, and pointing to his acquaintance who passed by. When we came to Dick's coffee-house we were at our old difficulty, and took up the street upon the same ceremony. We proceeded through the entry, and were so necessarily kept in order by the situation that we were now got into the coffee-house itself; where, as soon as we arrived, we repeated our civilities to each other: after which we marched up to the high table, which has an ascent to it inclosed in the middle of the room. The whole house was alarmed at this entry, made up of persons of so much state and rusticity. Sir Harry called for a mug of ale and "Dyer's Letter." The boy brought the ale in an instant, but said, "they did not take in the letter." "No!" says Sir Harry, "then take back your mug; we are like indeed to have good liquor at this house!" Here the templar tipped me a second wink, and, if I had not looked very grave upon him, I found he was disposed to be very familiar with me. In short, I observed, after a long pause, that the gentlemen did not care to enter upon business until after their morning draught, for which reason I called for a bottle of mum; and finding that had no effect upon them, I ordered a second, and a third; after which Sir Harry reached over to me, and told me in a low voice, "that place was too public for business; but he would call upon me again to-morrow morning at my own lodgings, and bring some more friends with him."'

No. 88. The 'Tatler.'Nov. 1, 1709.

The 'Tatler' has been much surprised by the manœuvres of a studious neighbour.

'From my own Apartment, October 31.

'I was this morning awakened by a sudden shake of the house; and as soon as I had got a little out of my consternation, I felt another, which was followed by two or three repetitions of the same convulsion. I got up as fast as possible, girt on my rapier, 249 and snatched up my hat, when my landlady came up to me, and told me, "that the gentlewoman of the next house begged me to step thither, for that a lodger that she had taken in was run mad; and she desired my advice." I went immediately. Our neighbour told us, "she had the day before let her second floor to a very genteel youngish man, who told her he kept extraordinary good hours, and was generally at home most part of the morning and evening at study; but that this morning he had for an hour together made this extravagant noise which we then heard." I went up stairs with my hand upon the hilt of my rapier, and approached this new lodger's door. I looked in at the key-hole, and there I saw a well-made man look with great attention on a book, and on a sudden jump into the air so high, that his head almost touched the ceiling. He came down safe on his right foot, and again flew up, alighting on his left; then looked again at his book, and, holding out his leg, put it into such a quivering motion, that I thought that he would have shaken it off. He used the left after the same manner, when on a sudden, to my great surprise, he stooped himself incredibly low, and turned gently on his toes. After this circular motion, he continued bent in that humble posture for some time looking on his book. After this, he recovered himself with a sudden spring, and flew round the room in all the violence and disorder imaginable, until he made a full pause for want of breath. In this interim my woman asked "what I thought?" I whispered "that I thought this learned person an enthusiast, who possibly had his education in the Peripatetic way, which was a sect of philosophers, who always studied when walking." Observing him much out of breath, I thought it the best time to master him if he were disordered, and knocked at his door. I was surprised to find him 250 open it, and say with great civility and good mien, "that he hoped he had not disturbed us." I believed him in a lucid interval, and desired "he would please to let me see his book." He did so, smiling. I could not make anything of it, and, therefore, asked "in what language it was writ?" He said, "it was one he studied with great application; but it was his profession to teach it, and could not communicate his knowledge without a consideration." I answered that I hoped he would hereafter keep his thoughts to himself, for his meditations this morning had cost me three coffee dishes and a clean pipe. He seemed concerned at that, and told me "he was a dancing master, and had been reading a dance or two before he went out, which had been written by one who taught at an academy in France." He observed me at a stand, and informed me, "that now articulate motions as well as sounds were expressed by proper characters; and that there is nothing so common as to communicate a dance by a letter." I besought him hereafter to meditate in a ground room, for that otherwise it would be impossible for an artist of any other kind to live near him, and that I was sure several of his thoughts this morning would have shaken my spectacles off my nose, had I been myself at study.'

No. 91. The 'Tatler.'Nov. 8, 1709.

One of the celebrated beauties of 1709 pays the 'Tatler' a friendly visit to obtain his counsel on the choice of her future husband, being perplexed between two suitors—between inclination on one hand and riches on the other.

'From my own Apartment, November 7.

'I was very much surprised this evening with a visit from one of the top Toasts of the town, who came privately in a chair, and bolted into my room, while I was reading a chapter of Agrippa upon the occult sciences; but, as she entered with all the air and bloom that nature ever bestowed on woman, I threw down the conjurer and met the charmer. I had no sooner placed her at my 251 right hand by the fire, but she opened to me the reason of her visit. "Mr. Bickerstaff," said the fine creature, "I have been your correspondent some time, though I never saw you before; I have writ by the name of Maria. You have told me you are too far gone in life to think of love. Therefore I am answered as to the passion I spoke of; and," continued she, smiling, "I will not stay until you grow young again, as you men never fail to do in your dotage; but am come to consult you as to disposing of myself to another. My person you see, my fortune is very considerable; but I am at present under much perplexity how to act in a great conjuncture. I have two lovers, Crassus and Lorio. Crassus is prodigiously rich, but has no one distinguishing quality. Lorio has travelled, is well bred, pleasant in discourse, discreet in his conduct, agreeable in his person; and with all this, he has a competency of fortune without superfluity. When I consider Lorio, my mind is filled with an idea of the great satisfactions of a pleasant conversation. When I think of Crassus, my equipage, numerous servants, gay liveries, and various dresses, are opposed to the charms of his rival. In a word, when I cast my eyes upon Lorio, I forget and despise fortune; when I behold Crassus, I think only of pleasing my vanity, and enjoying an uncontrolled expense in all the pleasures of life, except love."'

The 'Tatler' naturally advised the lady that the man of her affections, rather than the lover who could gratify her vanity with outward show, would afford her the truest happiness, and counselled her to keep her thoughts of happiness within the means of her fortune, and not to measure it by comparison with the mere riches of others.

No. 93. The 'Tatler.'Nov. 12, 1709.

The 'Tatler,' from his eagerness to promote social reforms, has succeeded in drawing upon himself numerous challenges from the individuals who have considered themselves aggrieved by his writings.

'From my own Apartment, November 11.

'I have several hints and advertisements from unknown hands, that some who are enemies to my labours design to demand the fashionable way of satisfaction for the disturbance my lucubrations 252 have given them. I confess that as things now stand I do not know how to deny such inviters, and am preparing myself accordingly. I have bought pumps, and foils, and am every morning practising in my chamber. My neighbour, the dancing-master, has demanded of me, "why I take this liberty since I will not allow it to him?" but I answered, "his was an act of indifferent nature, and mine of necessity." My late treatises against duels have so far disobliged the fraternity of the noble science of defence, that I can get none of them to show me so much as one pass. I am, therefore, obliged to learn by book, and have accordingly several volumes, wherein all the postures are exactly delineated. I must confess I am shy of letting people see me at this exercise, because of my flannel waistcoat, and my spectacles, which I am forced to fix on the better to observe the posture of the enemy.

'I have upon my chamber walls drawn at full length the figures of all sorts of men, from eight feet to three feet two inches. Within this height, I take it, that all the fighting men of Great Britain are comprehended. But as I push, I make allowance for my being of a lank and spare body, and have chalked out in every figure my own dimensions; for I scorn to rob any man of his life by taking advantage of his breadth; therefore, I press purely in a line down from his nose, and take no more of him to assault than he has of me; for, to speak impartially, if a lean fellow wounds a fat one in any part to the right or left, whether it be in carte or in tierce, beyond the dimensions of the said lean fellow's own breadth, I take it to be murder, and such a murder as is below a gentleman to commit. As I am spare, I am also very tall, and behave myself with relation to that advantage with the same punctilio, and I am ready to stoop or stand, according to the stature of my adversary. 253

'I must confess that I have had great success this morning, and have hit every figure round the room in a mortal part, without receiving the least hurt, except a little scratch by falling on my face, in pushing at one at the lower end of my chamber; but I recovered so quick, and jumped so nimbly on my guard, that, if he had been alive, he could not have hurt me. It is confessed I have written against duels with some warmth; but in all my discourses I have not ever said that I knew how a gentleman could avoid a duel if he were provoked to it; and since that custom is now become a law, I know nothing but the legislative power, with new animadversions upon it, can put us in a capacity of denying challenges, though we were afterwards hanged for it. But no more of this at present. As things stand, I shall put up with no more affronts; and I shall be so far from taking ill words that I will not take ill looks. I therefore warn all hot young fellows not to look hereafter more terrible than their neighbours; for if they stare at me with their hats cocked higher than other people, I will not bear it. Nay, I give warning to all people in general to look kindly at me; for I will bear no frowns, even from ladies; and if any woman pretends to look scornfully at me, I shall demand satisfaction of the next of kin of the masculine gender.'

No. 96. The 'Tatler.'Nov. 19, 1709.

The 'Tatler,' in despair of effecting his object by discouraging certain acts of foppery, endeavours to carry out his principle by an opposite course of treatment.

'From my own Apartment, November 18.

'When an engineer finds his guns have not had their intended effect, he changes his batteries. I am forced at present to take this method; and instead of continuing to write against the singularity some are guilty of in their habit and behaviour, I shall henceforth desire them to persevere in it; and not only so, but shall take it as a favour of all the coxcombs in the town, if they will set marks upon themselves, and by some particular in their dress show to what class they belong. It would be very obliging in all such persons, who feel in themselves that they are not of sound understanding, to give the world notice of it, and spare 254 mankind the pains of finding them out. A cane upon the fifth button shall from henceforth be the sign of a dapper; red-heeled shoes and a hat hung upon one side of the head shall signify a smart; a good periwig made into a twist, with a brisk cock, shall speak a mettled fellow; and an upper lip covered with snuff, a coffee-house statesman. But as it is required that all coxcombs hang out their signs, it is, on the other hand, expected that men of real merit should avoid anything particular in their dress, gait, or behaviour. For, as we old men delight in proverbs, I cannot forbear bringing out one on this occasion, that "good wine needs no bush."

'I must not leave this subject without reflecting on several persons I have lately met, who at a distance seem very terrible; but upon a stricter enquiry into their looks and features, appear as meek and harmless as any of my neighbours. These are country gentlemen, who of late years have taken up a humour of coming to town in red coats, whom an arch wag of my acquaintance used to describe very well by calling them "sheep in wolves' clothing." I have often wondered that honest gentlemen, who are good neighbours, and live quietly in their own possessions, should take it into their heads to frighten the town after this unreasonable manner. I shall think myself obliged, if they persist in so unnatural a dress, notwithstanding any posts they may have in the militia, to give away their red coats to any of the soldiery who shall think fit to strip them, provided the said soldiers can make it appear that they belong to a regiment where there is a deficiency in the clothing. About two days ago I was walking in the park, and accidentally met a rural esquire, clothed in all the types above mentioned, with a carriage 255 and behaviour made entirely out of his own head. He was of a bulk and stature larger than ordinary, had a red coat, flung open to show a gay calamancho waistcoat. His periwig fell in a very considerable bush upon each shoulder. His arms naturally swung at an unreasonable distance from his sides; which, with the advantage of a cane that he brandished in a great variety of irregular motions, made it unsafe for any one to walk within several yards of him. In this manner he took up the whole Mall, his spectators moving on each side of it, whilst he cocked up his hat, and marched directly for Westminster. I cannot tell who this gentleman is, but for my comfort may say, with the lover in Terence, who lost sight of a fine young lady, "Wherever thou art, thou canst not be long concealed."'

No. 103. The 'Tatler.'Dec. 6, 1709.

These toys will once to serious mischiefs fall,

When he is laughed at, when he's jeer'd by all.

Creech (ab Hor., Ars Poet. v. 452).

The 'Tatler,' pursuing his vocation as a censor of manners, is presumed to have established a court, before which all bearers of canes, snuff-boxes, perfumed handkerchiefs, perspective glasses, &c., are brought, that they may, upon showing proper cause, have licences granted for carrying the same; but upon conviction that these appendages of fashion are adopted merely out of frivolous show, the articles thus exposed are ordered to become forfeited.

'Having despatched this set of my petitioners, the bearers of canes, there came in a well-dressed man, with a glass tube in one hand, and his petition in the other. Upon his entering the room, he threw back the right side of his wig, put forward his left leg, and advancing the glass to his right eye, aimed it directly at me. In the meanwhile, to make my observations also, I put on my 256 spectacles; in which posture we surveyed each other for some time. Upon the removal of our glasses, I desired him to read his petition, which he did very promptly and easily; though at the same time it sets forth "that he could see nothing distinctly, and was within very few degrees of being utterly blind," concluding, with a prayer, "that he might be permitted to strengthen his sight by a glass." In answer to this, I told him "he might sometimes extend it to his own destruction. As you are now," said I, "you are out of the reach of beauty; the shafts of the finest eyes lose their force before they can come at you; you cannot distinguish a Toast from an orange-wench; you can see a whole circle of beauty without any interruption from an impertinent face to discompose you. In short, what are snares for others"—my petitioner would hear no more, but told me very seriously, "Mr. Bickerstaff, you quite mistake your man; it is the joy, the pleasure, the employment of my life to frequent public assemblies and gaze upon the fair." In a word, I found his use of a glass was occasioned by no other infirmity but his vanity, and was not so much designed to make him see as to make him be seen and distinguished by others. I therefore refused him a licence for a perspective, but allowed him a pair of spectacles, with full permission to use them in any public assembly as he should think fit. He was followed by so very few of this order of men, that I have reason to hope that this sort of cheat is almost at an end.

'Little follies in dress and behaviour lead to greater evils. The bearing to be laughed at for such singularity teaches us insensibly an impertinent fortitude, and enables us to bear public censure for things that most substantially deserve it. By this means they open a gate to folly, and often render a man so ridiculous as to discredit his virtues and capacities, and unqualify him from doing any good in the world. Besides, the giving in to uncommon habits of this nature, it is a want of that humble deference which is due to mankind, and, what is worst of all, the certain indication of some secret flaw in the mind of the person that commits them.

'When I was a young man, I remember a gentleman of great integrity and worth was very remarkable for wearing a broad belt and a hanger instead of a fashionable sword, though in other points a very well-bred man. I suspected him at first sight to 257 have something wrong in him, but was not able for a long time to discover any collateral proofs of it. I watched him narrowly for six-and-thirty years, when at last, to the surprise of everybody but myself, who had long expected to see the folly break out, he married his own cook-maid.'

No. 108. The 'Tatler.'Dec. 17, 1709.

Thus while the mute creation downward bend

Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend,

Man looks aloft, and with erected eyes

Beholds his own hereditary skies.—Dryden.

The 'Tatler,' for a little rational recreation, has visited the theatre, hoping to enlarge his ideas; but even in 1709 we find a passion for mere acrobatic exhibitions engaging and corrupting the popular taste.

'While I was in suspense, expecting every moment to see my old friend Mr. Betterton appear in all the majesty of distress, to my unspeakable amazement there came up a monster with a face between his feet, and as I was looking on he raised himself on one leg in such a perpendicular posture that the other grew in a direct line above his head. It afterwards twisted itself into the motions 258 and writhings of several different animals, and, after a great variety of shapes and transformations, went off the stage in the figure of a human creature. The admiration, the applause, the satisfaction of the audience, during this strange entertainment, is not to be expressed. I was very much out of countenance for my dear countrymen, and looked about with some apprehension, for fear any foreigner should be present. Is it possible, thought I, that human nature can rejoice in its disgrace, and take pleasure in seeing its own figure turned to ridicule and distorted into forms that raise horror and aversion!'

No. 109. The 'Tatler.'Dec. 20, 1709.

In this giddy, busy maze,

I lose the sunshine of my days.—Francis.

A fine lady has condescended to consult the 'Tatler' on a trifling matter; the solemnity of her state—an admirable picture of the equipage of a fine lady of that period—electrifies the philosopher and amazes his simple neighbours.

'Sheer Lane, December 19.

'There has not some years been such a tumult in our neighbourhood as this evening, about six. At the lower end of the lane, the word was given that there was a great funeral coming by. The next moment came forward, in a very hasty instead of a solemn manner, a long train of lights, when at last a footman, in very high youth and health, with all his force, ran through the whole art of beating the door of the house next to me, and ended his rattle with the true finishing rap. This did not only bring one to the door at which he knocked, but to that of everyone in the lane in an instant. Among the rest, my country-maid took the alarm, and immediately running to me, told me "there was a fine, fine lady, who had three men with burial torches making way before her, carried by two men upon poles, with looking-glasses each side of her, and one glass also before, she herself appearing 259 the prettiest that ever was." The girl was going on in her story, when the lady was come to my door in her chair, having mistaken the house. As soon as she entered I saw she was Mr. Isaac's scholar, by her speaking air, and the becoming stop she made when she began her apology. "You will be surprised, sir," said she, "that I take this liberty, who am utterly a stranger to you; besides that, it may be thought an indecorum that I visit a man." She made here a pretty hesitation, and held her fan to her face. Then, as if recovering her resolution, she proceeded, "But I think you have said, that men of your age are of no sex; therefore, I may be as free with you as with one of my own."'

The fine lady consults Mr. Bickerstaff on a trivial subject; she then describes to him the honour he should esteem her visit; the number of calls she is compelled to make, out of custom or ceremony, taking her miles round; several acquaintances on her visiting list having been punctually called on every week, and yet never seen for more than a year. Then follows an account of a visiting list for 1708:—

Mrs. Courtwood—Debtor. Per contra—Creditor.
To seventeen hundred and four visits received 1704 By eleven hundred and nine paid 1109
    Due to balance 595—1704


No. 111. The 'Tatler.'Dec. 24, 1709.

Oh! mortal man, thou that art born in sin!

The Bellman's Midnight Homily.

Mr. Bickerstaff is meditating on mental infirmities; after examining the faults of others, he is disposed to philosophise on his own bad propensities, and his cautiousness to keep them within reasonable subjection.

'I have somewhere either read or heard a very memorable sentence, "that a man would be a most insupportable monster, should he have the faults that are incident to his years, constitution, profession, family, religion, age, and country;" and yet every man is in danger of them all. For this reason, as I am an old man, I take particular care to avoid being covetous, and telling long stories. As I am choleric, I forbear not only swearing, but all interjections of fretting, as pugh! or pish! and the like. As I am a lay-man, I resolve not to conceive an aversion for a wise and good man, because his coat is of a different colour from mine. As I am descended of the ancient family of the Bickerstaffs, I never call a man of merit an upstart. As a Protestant, I do not suffer my zeal so far to transport me as to name the Pope and the Devil together. As I am fallen into this degenerate age, I guard myself particularly against the folly I have now been speaking of. As I am an Englishman, I am very cautious not to hate a stranger, or despise a poor palatine.'

No. 116. The 'Tatler.'Jan. 5, 1710.

The 'Tatler,' still maintaining his court for the examination of frivolities in costume, is engaged in giving judgment on female fashions. The hooped petticoat is the subject before his worshipful board. A fair offender has been captured, and stripped of 261 her encumbrances until she is reduced to dimensions which will allow her to enter the house; the petticoat is then hung up to the roof—its ample dimensions covering the entire court like a canopy. The late wearer had the sense to confess that she 'should be glad to see an example made of it, that she wore it for no other reason but that she had a mind to look as big and burly as other persons of her quality, and that she kept out of it as long as she could and until she began to appear little in the eyes of her acquaintance.' After hearing arguments concerning the encouragement the wearing of these monstrous appendages offered to the woollen manufacturers, to the rope and cord makers, and to the whalebone fisheries of Greenland, the 'Tatler' pronounced his decision that the expense thus entailed on fathers and husbands, and the prejudice to the ladies themselves, 'who could never expect to have any money in the pocket if they laid out so much on the petticoat,' together with the fact that since the introduction of these garments several persons of quality were in the habit of cutting up their cast gowns to strengthen their stiffening, instead of bestowing them as perquisites or in charity, determined him to seize the petticoat as a forfeiture, to be sent as a present to a widow gentlewoman, who had five daughters, to be made into petticoats for each, the remainder to be returned to be cut up into stomachers and caps, facings for waistcoat sleeves, and other garniture. He thus concludes: 'I consider woman as a beautiful, romantic animal, that may be adorned with furs and feathers, pearls and diamonds, ores and silks. The lynx shall cast its skin at her feet to make her a tippet; the peacock, parrot, and swan shall pay contributions to her muff; the sea shall be searched for shells, and the rocks for gems; and every part of nature furnish out its share towards the embellishment of a creature that is the most consummate work of it. All this I shall indulge them in; but as for the petticoat I have been speaking of I neither can nor will allow it.'


No. 145. The 'Tatler.'March 14, 1710.

Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos.—Virg. Ecl. III. 103.

Ah! what ill eyes bewitch my tender lambs?

'This paper was allotted for taking into consideration a late request of two indulgent parents, touching the care of a young daughter, whom they design to send to a boarding-school, or keep at home, according to my determination; but I am diverted from that subject by letters which I have received from several ladies, complaining of a certain sect of professed enemies to the repose of the fair sex, called oglers. These are, it seems, gentlemen who look with deep attention on one object at the playhouses, and are ever staring all round them in churches. It is urged by my correspondents, that they do all that is possible to keep their eyes off these ensnarers; but that, by what power they know not, both their diversions and devotions are interrupted by them in such a manner as that they cannot attend to either, without stealing looks at the persons whose eyes are fixed upon them. By this means, my petitioners say, they find themselves grow insensibly less offended, and in time enamoured of these their enemies. What is required of me on this occasion is, that as I love and study to preserve the better part of mankind, the females, I would give them some account of this dangerous way of assault; against which there is so little defence, that it lays ambush for the sight itself, and makes them seeingly, knowingly, willingly, and forcibly go on to their own captivity. The naturalists tell us that the rattlesnake will fix himself under a tree where he sees a squirrel playing; and when he has once got the exchange of a glance from the pretty wanton, will give it such a sudden stroke on its imagination, that though it may play from bough to bough, and strive to avert its eyes from it for some time, yet it comes nearer and nearer, by little intervals looking another way, until it drops into the jaws of the animal, which it knew gazed at it for no other 263 reason but to ruin it. I did not believe this piece of philosophy until the night when I made my observations of the play of eyes at the opera, where I then saw the same thing pass between an ogler and a coquette.'

No. 146. The 'Tatler.'March 16, 1710.

Intrust thy fortune to the Powers above;

Leave them to manage for thee, and to grant

What their unerring wisdom sees thee want:

In wisdom as in greatness they excel;

Ah! that we lov'd ourselves but half so well!

We, blindly by our headstrong passions led,

Are hot for action, and desire to wed;

Then wish for heirs, but to the gods alone

Our future offspring and our wives are known.

Juv. Sat., Dryden.

'As I was sitting after dinner in my elbow-chair, I took up Homer, and dipped into that famous speech of Achilles to Priam,[19] in which he tells him that Jupiter has by him two great vessels, the one filled with blessings, and the other with misfortunes; out of which he mingles a composition for every man that comes into the world. This passage so exceedingly pleased me, that, as I fell insensibly into my afternoon's slumber, it wrought my imagination into the following dream:— 264

'When Jupiter took into his hands the government of the world, the several parts of nature with the presiding deities did homage to him. One presented him with a mountain of winds, another with a magazine of hail, and a third with a pile of thunderbolts. The Stars offered up their influences; Ocean gave his trident, Earth her fruits, and the Sun his seasons.

'Among others the Destinies advanced with two great urns, one of which was fixed on the right hand of Jove's throne, and the other on the left. The first was filled with all the blessings, the second with all the calamities, of human life. Jupiter, in the beginning of his reign, poured forth plentifully from the right hand; but as mankind, degenerating, became unworthy of his blessings, he broached the other vessel, which filled the earth with pain and poverty, battles and distempers, jealousy and falsehood, intoxicating pleasures and untimely deaths. He finally, in despair at the depravity of human nature, resolved to recall his gifts and lay them in store until the world should be inhabited by a more deserving race.

'The three sisters of Destiny immediately repaired to the earth in search of the several blessings which had been scattered over it, but found great difficulties in their task. The first places they resorted to, as the most likely of success, were cities, palaces, and courts; but instead of meeting with what they looked for here, they found nothing but envy, repining, uneasiness, and the like bitter ingredients of the left-hand vessel; whereas, to their great surprise, they discovered content, cheerfulness, health, innocence, and other the most substantial blessings of life, in cottages, shades, and solitudes. In other places the blessings had been converted into calamities, and misfortunes had become real benefits, while in many cases the two had entered into alliance. In their perplexity the Destinies were compelled to throw all the blessings and calamities into one vessel, and leave them to Jupiter to use his own discretion in their future distribution.'

No. 148. The 'Tatler.'March 21, 1710.

They ransack ev'ry element for choice

Of ev'ry fish and fowl, at any price.

'I may, perhaps, be thought extravagant in my notion; but I confess I am apt to impute the dishonours that sometimes happen 265 in great families to the inflaming diet which is so much in fashion. For this reason we see the florid complexion, the strong limb, and the hale constitution are to be found among the meaner sort of people, or in the wild gentry who have been educated among the woods or mountains; whereas many great families are insensibly fallen off from the athletic constitution of their progenitors, and are dwindled away into a pale, sickly, spindle-legged generation of valetudinarians.

'I look upon a French ragoût to be as pernicious to the stomach as a glass of spirits; and when I see a young lady swallow all the instigations of high soups, seasoned sauces, and forced meats, I have wondered at the despair or tedious sighing of her lovers.

'The rules among these false delicates are, to be as contradictory as they can be to nature. They admit of nothing at their tables in its natural form, or without some disguise. They are to eat everything before it comes in season, and to leave it off as soon as it is good to be eaten.

'I remember I was last summer invited to a friend's house, who is a great admirer of the French cookery, and, as the phrase is, "eats well." At our sitting down, I found the table covered with a great variety of unknown dishes. I was mightily at a loss to learn what they were, and therefore did not know where to help myself. That which stood before me I took to be roasted porcupine—however, I did not care for asking questions—and have since been informed that it was only a larded turkey. I afterwards passed my eye over several hashes, which I do not know the 266 names of to this day; and, hearing that they were delicacies, did not think fit to meddle with them. Among other dainties, I saw something like a pheasant, and therefore desired to be helped to a wing of it; but to my great surprise, my friend told me it was a rabbit, which is a sort of meat I never cared for. Even the dessert was so pleasingly devised and ingeniously arranged that I cared not to displace it.

'As soon as this show was over, I took my leave, that I might finish my dinner at my own house; for as I in everything love what is simple and natural, so particularly my food. Two plain dishes, with two or three good-natured, cheerful, ingenuous friends, would make me more pleased and vain than all that pomp and luxury can bestow; for it is my maxim that "he keeps the greatest table who has the most valuable company at it."'

No. 155. The 'Tatler.'April 17, 1710.

When he had lost all business of his own,

He ran in quest of news through all the town.

'There lived some years since, within my neighbourhood, a very grave person, an upholsterer,[20] who seemed a man of more than ordinary application to business. He was a very early riser, and was often abroad two or three hours before any of his neighbours. He had a particular carefulness in the knitting of his brows, and a kind of impatience in all his motions, that plainly discovered he was always intent upon matters of importance. Upon my inquiry into his life and conversation, I found him to be the greatest newsmonger in our quarter; that he rose before day to read the "Postman;" and that he would take two or three turns to the other end of the town before his neighbours were up, to see if there were any Dutch mails come in. He had a wife and several children; but was much more inquisitive to know what passed in Poland than in his own family, and was in greater pain and anxiety of mind for King Augustus's welfare than that of his nearest relations. He looked extremely thin in a dearth of news, and never enjoyed himself in a westerly wind. This indefatigable 267 kind of life was the ruin of his shop; for, about the time that his favourite prince left the crown of Poland, he broke and disappeared.

'This man and his affairs had been long out of my mind, until about three days ago, as I was walking in St. James's Park, I heard somebody at a distance hemming after me; and who should it be but my old neighbour the upholsterer! I saw he was reduced to extreme poverty, by certain shabby superfluities in his dress; for notwithstanding that it was a very sultry day for the time of the year, he wore a loose great-coat and a muff, with a long campaign wig out of curl; to which he had added the ornament of a pair of black garters buckled under the knee. Upon his coming up to me, I was going to inquire into his present circumstances; but I was prevented by his asking me, with a whisper, "whether the last letters brought any accounts that one might rely upon from Bender." I told him, "None that I heard of;" and asked him "whether he had yet married his eldest daughter." He told me, "No; but pray," says he, "tell me sincerely, what are your thoughts of the King of Sweden?" For, though his wife and children were starving, I found his chief concern at present was for this great monarch. I told him "that I looked upon him as one of the first heroes of the age." "But pray," says he, "do you think there is any truth in the story of his wound?" And finding me surprised at the question, "Nay," says he, "I only propose it to you." I answered "that I thought there was no reason to doubt of it." "But why in the heel," says he, "more than in any other part of the body?" "Because," said I, "the bullet chanced to light there."

'We were now got to the upper end of the Mall, where were three or four very odd fellows sitting together upon the bench. 268 These I found were all of them politicians, who used to sun themselves in that place every day about dinner-time. Observing them to be curiosities in their kind, and my friend's acquaintance, I sat down among them.

'The chief politician of the bench was a great asserter of paradoxes. He told us, with a seeming concern, "that, by some news he had lately read from Muscovy, it appeared to him that there was a storm gathering in the Black Sea, which might in time do hurt to the naval forces of this nation." To this he added, "that, for his part, he could not wish to see the Turk driven out of Europe, which, he believed, could not but be prejudicial to our woollen manufacture."

'He backed his assertions with so many broken hints and such a show of depth and wisdom, that we gave ourselves up to his opinions. The discourse at length fell upon a point which seldom escapes a knot of true-born Englishmen; whether, in case of a religious war, the Protestants would not be too strong for the Papists. This we unanimously determined on the Protestant side.[21]

'When we had fully discussed this point, my friend the upholsterer began to exert himself upon the present negotiations of 269 peace; in which he deposed princes, settled the bounds of kingdoms, and balanced the power of Europe, with great justice and impartiality.

'I at length took my leave of the company, and was going away; but had not gone thirty yards before the upholsterer hemmed again after me. Upon his advancing towards me with a whisper, I expected to hear some secret piece of news, which he had not thought fit to communicate to the bench; but, instead of that, he desired me in my ear to lend him half-a-crown. In compassion to so needy a statesman, and to dissipate the confusion I found he was in, I told him, "if he pleased, I would give him five shillings, to receive five pounds of him when the great Turk was driven out of Constantinople;" which he very readily accepted, but not before he had laid down to me the impossibility of such an event as the affairs of Europe now stand.

'This paper I design for the peculiar benefit of those worthy citizens who live more in a coffee-house than in their shops, and whose thoughts are so taken up with foreign affairs that they forget their customers.'

No. 163. The 'Tatler.'April 25, 1710.

Suffenus has no more wit than a mere clown, when he attempts to write verses; and yet he is never happier than when he is scribbling; so much does he admire himself and his compositions. And, indeed, this is the foible of every one of us; for there is no man living who is not a Suffenus in one thing or other.—Catul. de Suffeno, XX. 14.

'I yesterday came hither about two hours before the company generally make their appearance, with a design to read over all the newspapers; but, upon my sitting down, I was accosted by Ned Softly, who saw me from a corner in the other end of the room, where I found he had been writing something. "Mr. Bickerstaff," says he, "I observe, by a late paper of yours, that you and I are just of a humour; for you must know, of all impertinences, there is nothing which I so much hate as news. I never read a gazette in my life; and never trouble my head about our armies, whether they win or lose, or in what part of the world they lie encamped." Without giving me time to reply, he drew a paper of verses out of his pocket, telling me "that he had something 270 that would entertain me more agreeably; and that he would desire my judgment upon every line, for that we had time enough before us until the company came in."

'Finding myself unavoidably engaged in such a conversation, I was resolved to turn my pain into a pleasure and to divert myself as well as I could with so very odd a fellow. "You must understand," says Ned, "that the sonnet I am going to read to you was written upon a lady, who showed me some verses of her own making, and is, perhaps, the best poet of our age. But you shall hear it."

'Upon which he began to read as follows:—

To Mira, on her incomparable Poems.


When dress'd in laurel wreaths you shine,

And tune your soft melodious notes,

You seem a sister of the Nine,

Or Phœbus' self in petticoats.


I fancy when your song you sing

(Your song you sing with so much art)

Your pen was pluck'd from Cupid's wing;

For, ah! it wounds me like a dart.

'"Why," says I, "this is a little nosegay of conceits, a very lump of salt. Every verse has something in it that piques; and then the dart in the last line is certainly as pretty a sting on the tail of an epigram, for so I think you critics call it, as ever entered into the thought of a poet." "Dear Mr. Bickerstaff," says he, shaking me by the hand, "everybody knows you to be a judge of 271 these things; and, to tell you truly, I read over Roscommon's 'Translation of Horace's Art of Poetry' three several times before I sat down to write the sonnet which I have shown you. But you shall hear it again, and pray observe every line of it; for not one of them shall pass without your approbation. My friend Dick Easy," continued he, "assured me he would rather have written that 'Ah!' than to have been the author of the 'Æneid.'

'"He indeed objected that I made Mira's pen like a quill in one of the lines and like a dart in the other." "But as to that—oh! as to that," says I, "it is but supposing Cupid to be like a porcupine, and his quills and darts will be the same thing." He was going to embrace me for the hint; but half-a-dozen critics coming into the room, whose faces he did not like, he conveyed the sonnet into his pocket, and whispered me in the ear, "he would show it me again as soon as his man had written it over fair."'

No. 178. The 'Tatler.'May 30, 1710.

'When we look into the delightful history of the most ingenious Don Quixote of La Mancha, and consider the exercises and manner of life of that renowned gentleman, we cannot but admire the exquisite genius and discerning spirit of Michael Cervantes; who has not only painted his adventurer with great mastery in the conspicuous parts of his story, which relate to love and honour, but also intimated in his ordinary life, in his economy and furniture, the infallible symptoms he gave of his growing phrenzy, before he declared himself a knight-errant. His hall was furnished with old lances, halberds, and morions; his food, lentiles; his dress, amorous. He slept moderately, rose early, and spent his time in hunting. When by watchfulness and exercise he was thus qualified for the hardships of his intended peregrinations, he had nothing more to do but to fall hard to study; and, before he should apply himself to the practical part, get into the methods of making love and war by reading books of knighthood. As for raising tender passions in him, Cervantes reports that he was wonderfully delighted with a smooth intricate sentence; and when they listened at his study-door, they could frequently hear him 272 read aloud, "The reason of the unreasonableness, which against my reason is wrought, doth so weaken my reason, as with all reason I do justly complain of your beauty." Again he would pause until he came to another charming sentence, and, with the most pleasing accent imaginable, be loud at a new paragraph: "The high heavens, which, with your divinity, do fortify you divinely with the stars, make you deserveress of the deserts that your greatness deserves." With these and other such passages, says my author, the poor gentleman grew distracted, and was breaking his brains day and night to understand and unravel their sense.

'What I am now warning the people of is, that the newspapers of this island are as pernicious to weak heads in England as ever books of chivalry to Spain; and therefore shall do all that in me lies, with the utmost care and vigilance imaginable, to prevent these growing evils.'

Mr. Bickerstaff goes on to describe the private Bedlam he has provided for such as are seized with these rabid political maladies.

No. 186. The 'Tatler.'June 17, 1710.

Virtue alone ennobles human kind,

And power should on her glorious footsteps wait.

'There is nothing more necessary to establish reputation than to suspend the enjoyment of it. He that cannot bear the sense of merit with silence, must of necessity destroy it; for fame being the general mistress of mankind, whoever gives it to himself insults all to whom he relates any circumstances to his own advantage. He is considered as an open ravisher of that beauty for whom all others pine in silence. But some minds are so incapable of any temperance in this particular, that on every second in their discourse you may observe an earnestness in their eyes which shows they wait for your approbation; and perhaps the next instant cast an eye in a glass to see how they like themselves.

'Walking the other day in a neighbouring inn of court, I saw a more happy and more graceful orator than I ever before had heard or read of. A youth of about nineteen years of age was in an Indian dressing-gown and laced cap, pleading a cause before a glass. The young fellow had a very good air, and seemed to 273 hold his brief in his hand rather to help his action, than that he wanted notes for his further information. When I first began to observe him, I feared he would soon be alarmed; but he was so zealous for his client, and so favourably received by the court, that he went on with great fluency to inform the bench that he humbly hoped they would not let the merit of the cause suffer by the youth and inexperience of the pleader; that in all things he submitted to their candour; and modestly desired they would not conclude but that strength of argument and force of reason may be consistent with grace of action and comeliness of person.

'To me (who see people every day in the midst of crowds, whomsoever they seem to address, talk only to themselves and of themselves) this orator was not so extravagant a man as perhaps another would have thought him; but I took part in his success, and was very glad to find he had in his favour judgment and costs, without any manner of opposition.'

No. 204. The 'Tatler.'July 29, 1710.

He with rapture hears

A title tingling in his tender ears.

Francis's Horace, Sat. V. 32.

'Were distinctions used according to the rules of reason and sense, those additions to men's names would be, as they were first intended, significant of their worth, and not their persons; so that in some cases it might be proper to say of a deceased ambassador, "The man is dead; but his excellency will never die." It is, methinks, very unjust to laugh at a Quaker, because he has taken up a resolution to treat you with a word the most expressive of complaisance that can be thought of, and with an air of good-nature and charity calls you Friend. I say, it is very unjust to 274 rally him for this term to a stranger, when you yourself, in all your phrases of distinction, confound phrases of honour into no use at all.

'Tom Courtly, who is the pink of courtesy, is an instance of how little moment an undistinguishing application of sounds of honour are to those who understand themselves. Tom never fails of paying his obeisance to every man he sees who has title or office to make him conspicuous; but his deference is wholly given to outward considerations. I, who know him, can tell him within half an acre how much land one man has more than another by Tom's bow to him. Title is all he knows of honour, and civility of friendship; for this reason, because he cares for no man living, he is religiously strict in performing, what he calls, his respects to you. To this end he is very learned in pedigree, and will abate something in the ceremony of his approaches to a man, if he is in any doubt about the bearing of his coat of arms. What is the most pleasant of all his character is, that he acts with a sort of integrity in these impertinences; and though he would not do any solid kindness, he is wonderfully just and careful not to wrong his quality. But as integrity is very scarce in the world, I cannot forbear having respect for the impertinent: it is some virtue to be bound by anything. Tom and I are upon very good terms, for the respect he has for the house of Bickerstaff. Though one cannot but laugh at his serious consideration of things so little essential, one must have a value even for a frivolous good conscience.'



Extracts of Characteristic Passages from the Works of 'The Humourists,' from Thackeray's Library, illustrated with Original Marginal Sketches by the Author's Hand—The Series of The 'Guardian,' 1713—Introduction—Steele's Programme—Authors who contributed to the 'Guardian'—Paragraphs and Pencillings.

Introduction to The 'Guardian.'

The seventh volume of the 'Spectator,' originally intended to be the last, was concluded Dec. 6, 1712, and the first paper of the 'Guardian' made its appearance March 12, 1713. This work had been actually projected by Steele before the conclusion of the 'Spectator.' In a letter to Pope, dated Nov. 12, 1712, he thus announces his intention: 'I desire you would let me know whether you are at leisure or not. I have a design which I shall open in a month or two hence, with the assistance of a few like yourself. If your thoughts are unengaged, I shall explain myself further.'

It appears that Steele undertook this work without any previous concert with his illustrious colleague, and that he pursued it for many weeks with vigour and assiduity, and with very little assistance from his friends or from the letter-box.

The views of our essayists in the choice of a name have been either to select one that did not pledge them to any particular plan, or one that expressed humility, or promised little, and might 276 afterwards excite an agreeable surprise by its unexpected fertility. Of the former class are the 'Spectator,' 'World,' 'Mirror;' of the latter class are the 'Tatler,' 'Rambler,' 'Idler,' 'Adventurer,' &c. The 'Connoisseur' is a name of some danger, because of great promise; and the 'Guardian' might perhaps have been liable to the same objection, if 'Nestor Ironside' had not tempered the austerity of the preceptor with the playfulness of the friend and companion, and partaken of the amusements of his pupils while he provided for their instruction. And with respect to his 'literary speculations, as well as his merriment and burlesque,' we may surely allow him some latitude, when we consider that the public at large were put under his guardianship, and that the demand for variety became consequently more extensive. The 'Guardian'—which was in effect a continuation of the 'Spectator' under another name—was published daily until Oct. 1, 1713, No. 175, when it was abruptly closed by Steele, in consequence of a quarrel between him and Tonson, the bookseller. Pope informs us that Steele stood engaged to his publisher in articles of penalty for all the 'Guardians;' and by desisting two days, and altering the title of the paper, was quit of the obligation. Steele started the 'Englishman,' which was printed for Buckley, with a view of carrying his politics into a new paper in which they might be in place. Steele behaved vindictively to Tonson, and ruthlessly destroyed the original publisher's legitimate rights of proprietorship in the joint enterprise by advertising the 'Englishman' as the sequel of the 'Guardian.'

In his first paper he likewise declared that he had 'for valuable considerations purchased the lion[22] (frequently alluded to in the papers), desk, pen, ink, and paper, and all other goods of Nestor Ironside, Esq., who had thought fit to write no more himself.'

Whatever stormy circumstances, declares Dr. Chalmers, attended the conclusion, it appears that Steele came prepared for the commencement of the 'Guardian,' with more industry and richer stores than usual. He wrote a great many papers in succession, with very little assistance from his contemporaries. Addison, 277 for what reason is not very obvious, unless he was then looking to higher employment, did not make his appearance until No. 67, nor, with one exception, did he again contribute until No. 97, when he proceeds without interruption for twenty-seven numbers, during which time Steele's affairs are said to have been embarrassed. Steele's share amounts to seventy-one papers, written in his happiest vein. Addison wrote fifty-one papers, and generally with his accustomed excellence; but it may perhaps be thought that there is a greater proportion of serious matter, and more frequent use made of the letter-box, than was usual with this author.

The contributors to the 'Guardian' were not numerous. The first for quality and value was the celebrated Bishop of Cloyne, Dr. George Berkeley, a man so uniformly amiable as to be ranked among the first of human beings; a writer sometimes so absurd that it has been doubted whether it was possible he could be serious in the principles he has laid down. His actions manifested the warmest zeal for the interests of Christianity, while some of his writings seemed intended to assist the cause of infidelity. The respect of those who knew Dr. Berkeley, and his own excellent character, have rescued his name from the imputations to which his writings may have given occasion; and to posterity he will be deservedly handed down as an able champion of religion, although infected with an incurable love of paradox, and somewhat tainted with the pride of philosophy, which his better sense could not restrain.

Dr. Berkeley's share in the 'Guardian' has been ascertained, partly on the authority of his son, who claimed Nos. 3, 27, 35, 39, 49, 55, 62, 70, 77, and 126, and partly on that of the annotators, who added to these Nos. 83, 88, and 89.

It is asserted, on unquestionable authority, that Dr. Berkeley had a guinea and a dinner with Steele for every paper he furnished. This is the only circumstance that has come to light respecting the payment received by the assistants in any of these works. In the 'Spectator' it is probable that Addison and Steele were joint sharers or proprietors. In the case of the 'Guardian,' as already noticed, there was a contract between Steele and Tonson, the nature of which has not been clearly explained.

Pope's share of the 'Guardian' can be traced with some degree 278 of certainty, and at least eight papers can be confidently assigned to his pen, which entitle him to the very highest praise as an essayist. These are Nos. 4, 11, 40, 61, 78, 91, 92, and 173.

No. 10. The 'Guardian.'March 23, 1713.

Venit ad me sæpe clamitans ——

Vestitu nimium indulges, nimium ineptus es,

Nimium ipse est durus præter æquumque et bonum.

Ter. Adelph.

'To the "Guardian."

'Oxford, 1712.

'Sir,—I foresee that you will have many correspondents in this place; but as I have often observed, with grief of heart, that scholars are wretchedly ignorant in the science I profess, I flatter myself that my letter will gain a place in your papers. I have made it my study, sir, in these seats of learning, to look into the nature of dress, and am what they call an academical beau. I have often lamented that I am obliged to wear a grave habit, since by that means I have not an opportunity to introduce fashions amongst our young gentlemen; and so am forced, contrary to my own inclinations, and the expectation of all who know me, to appear in print. I have indeed met with some success in the projects I have communicated to some sparks with whom I am intimate, and I cannot, without a secret triumph, confess that the sleeves turned up with green velvet, which now flourish throughout the university, sprung originally from my invention.

'As it is necessary to have the head clear, as well as the complexion, to be perfect in this part of learning, I rarely mingle with the men (for I abhor wine), but frequent the tea-tables of the ladies. I know every part of their dress, and can name all their things by their names. I am consulted about every ornament they buy; and, I speak it without vanity, have a very pretty fancy to knots and the like. Sometimes I take a needle and spot a piece of 279 muslin for pretty Patty Cross-stitch, who is my present favourite; which, she says, I do neatly enough; or read one of your papers and explain the motto, which they all like mightily. But then I am a sort of petty tyrant among them, for I own I have my humours. If anything be amiss, they are sure Mr. Sleek will find fault; if any hoity-toighty things make a fuss, they are sure to be taken to pieces the next visit. I am the dread of poor Celia, whose wrapping gown is not right India; and am avoided by Thalestris in her second-hand manteau, which several masters of arts think very fine, whereas I discovered with half an eye that it had been scoured.

'Though every man cannot fill his head with learning, it is in anyone's power to wear a pretty periwig; he who hath no knack at writing sonnets, may however have a soft hand; and he may arch his eye-brows, who hath not strength of genius for the mathematics.

'Simon Sleek.'

No. 22. The 'Guardian.'April 6, 1713.

My next desire is, void of care and strife,

To lead a soft, secure, inglorious life;

A country cottage near a crystal flood,

A winding valley, and a lofty wood.

'Pastoral poetry not only amuses the fancy most delightfully, but it is likewise more indebted to it than any other sort whatever. It transports us into a kind of fairy-land, where our ears are soothed with the melody of birds, bleating flocks and purling 280 streams; our eyes are enchanted with flowery meadows and springing greens; we are laid under cool shades, and entertained with all the sweets and freshness of nature. It is a dream, it is a vision, which may be real, and we believe that it is true.

'Another characteristic of a shepherd is simplicity of manners, or innocence. This is so obvious that it would be but repetition to insist long upon it. I shall only remind the reader, that as the pastoral life is supposed to be where nature is not much depraved, sincerity and truth will generally run through it. Some slight transgressions, for the sake of variety, may be admitted, which in effect will only serve to set off the simplicity of it in general. I cannot better illustrate this rule than by the following example of a swain who found his mistress asleep:—

Once Delia slept, on easy moss reclined,

Her lovely limbs half bare, and rude the wind;

I smooth'd her coats, and stole a silent kiss;

Condemn me, shepherds, if I did amiss.

'A third sign of a swain is, that something of religion, and even superstition, is part of his character. For we find that those who have lived easy lives in the country, and contemplate the works of nature, live in the greatest awe of their author; nor doth this humour prevail less now than of old. Our peasants as sincerely believe the tales of goblins and fairies as the heathens those of fawns, nymphs, and satyrs. Hence we find the works of Virgil and Theocritus sprinkled with left-handed ravens, blasted oaks, witchcrafts, evil eyes, and the like. And I observe with great pleasure, that our English author of the pastorals I have quoted hath practised this secret with admirable judgment.'

No. 29. The 'Guardian.'April 14, 1713.

Ride si sapis—Mart. Epig.

Laugh if you're wise.

'In order to look into any person's temper I generally make my first observation upon his laugh; whether he is easily moved, and what are the passages which throw him into that agreeable kind of convulsion. People are never so unguarded as when they are pleased; and laughter being a visible symptom of some inward satisfaction, it is then, if ever, we may believe the face. It 281 may be remarked in general under this head, that the laugh of men of wit is, for the most part, but a faint, constrained kind of half laugh, as such persons are never without some diffidence about them; but that of fools is the most honest, natural, open laugh in the world.

'As the playhouse affords us the most occasions of observing upon the behaviour of the face, it may be useful (for the direction of those who would be critics this way) to remark, that the virgin ladies usually dispose themselves in front of the boxes; the young married women compose the second row; while the rear is generally made up of mothers of long standing, undesigning maids, and contented widows. Whoever will cast his eye upon them under this view, during the representation of a play, will find me so far in the right that a double entendre strikes the first row into an affected gravity, or careless indolence; the second will venture at a smile; but the third take the conceit entirely, and express their mirth in a downright laugh.

'When I descend to particulars, I find the reserved prude will relapse into a smile at the extravagant freedoms of the coquette, the coquette in her turn laughs at the starchness and awkward affectation of the prude; the man of letters is tickled with the vanity and ignorance of the fop, and the fop confesses his ridicule at the unpoliteness of the pedant.

'I fancy we may range the several kinds of laughers under the following heads:—

The Dimplers, The Laughers,
The Smilers, The Grinners,
The Horse-laughers.

'The Dimple is practised to give a grace to the features, and is frequently made a bait to entangle a gazing lover. This was called by the ancients the Chian laugh.

'The Smile is for the most part confined to the fair sex, and their male retinue. It expresses our satisfaction in a silent sort of 282 approbation, doth not too much disorder the features, and is practised by lovers of the most delicate address. This tender motion of the physiognomy the ancients called the Ionic laugh.

'The Laugh among us is the common risus of the ancients.

'The Grin, by writers of antiquity, is called the Syncrusian, and was then, as it is at this time, made use of to display a beautiful set of teeth.

'The Horse-laugh, or the Sardonic, is made use of with great success in all kinds of disputation. The proficients in this kind, by a well-timed laugh, will baffle the most solid argument. This upon all occasions supplies the want of reason, is always received with great applause in coffee-house disputes; and that side the laugh joins with is generally observed to gain the better of his antagonist.

'The prude hath a wonderful esteem for the Chian laugh, or Dimple; she looks upon all the other kinds of laughter as excesses of levity, and is never seen upon the most extravagant jests to disorder her countenance with the ruffle of a smile. Her lips are composed with a primness peculiar to her character; all her modesty seems collected into her face, and she but very rarely takes the freedom to sink her cheek into a dimple.

'The coquette is a proficient in laughter, and can run through the whole exercise of the features. She subdues the formal lover with the dimple, accosts the fop with the smile, joins with the wit in the downright laugh; to vary the air of her countenance frequently rallies with the grin; and when she has ridiculed her lover quite out of his understanding, to complete his misfortune, strikes him dumb with the horse-laugh.'

No. 34. The 'Guardian.'April 20, 1713.

Mores multorum vidit.—Hor.

He many men and many manners saw.

'I happened to fall in with a circle of young ladies very lately, at their afternoon tea, when the conversation ran upon fine gentlemen. From the several characters that were given, and the exceptions that were made, as this or that gentleman happened to be named, I found that a lady is not difficult to be pleased, and 283 that the town swarms with fine gentlemen. A nimble pair of heels, a smooth complexion, a full-bottomed wig, a laced shirt, an embroidered suit, a pair of fringed gloves, a hat and feather, alike, one and all, ennoble a man, and raise him above the vulgar in female imagination.

'I could not forbear smiling at one of the prettiest and liveliest of this gay assembly, who excepted to the gentility of Sir William Hearty, because he wore a frieze coat, and breakfasted upon toast and ale. I pretended to admire the fineness of her taste, and to strike in with her in ridiculing those awkward healthy gentlemen who seek to make nourishment the chief end of eating. I gave her an account of an honest Yorkshire gentleman, who, when I was a traveller, used to invite his acquaintances at Paris to break their fast with him upon cold roast beef and mum. There was, I remember, a little French marquis, who was often pleased to rally him unmercifully upon beef and pudding, of which our countryman would despatch a pound or two with great alacrity, while his antagonist was picking at a mushroom or the haunch of a frog. I could perceive the lady was pleased with what I said, and we parted very good friends, by virtue of a maxim I always observe, never to contradict or reason with a sprightly female. I went home, however, full of a great many serious reflections upon what had passed; and though in complaisance I disguised my sentiments, to keep up the good humour of my fair companions, and to avoid being looked upon as a testy old fellow; yet, out of the good-will I bear the sex, and to prevent for the future their being imposed upon by counterfeits, I shall give them the distinguishing marks of a true fine gentleman.


'For the Benefit of my Female Readers.

'N.B.—The gilt chariot, the diamond ring, the gold snuff-box, and brocade sword-knot are no essential parts of a fine gentleman; but may be used by him, provided he casts his eye upon them but once a day.' 284

No. 44. The 'Guardian.'May 1, 1713.

This path conducts us to the Elysian fields.

'I have frequently observed in the walks belonging to all the inns of court, a set of old fellows who appear to be humourists, and wrapped up in themselves. I am very glad to observe that these sages of this peripatetic sect study tranquillity and indolence of body and mind in the neighbourhood of so much contention as is carried on among the students of Littleton. Now these, who are the jest of such as take themselves, and the world usually takes to be in prosperity, are the very persons whose happiness, were it understood, would be looked upon with burning envy.

'I fell into the discovery of them in the following manner: One day last summer, being particularly under the dominion of the spleen, I resolved to soothe my melancholy in the company of such, whose appearance promised a full return of any complaints I could possibly utter. Living near Gray's Inn walks, I went thither in search of the persons above described, and found some of them seated upon a bench, where, as Milton sings—

The unpierced shade imbrown'd their noontide bow'r.

'I squeezed in among them; and they did not only receive my moanings with singular humanity, but gave me all possible encouragement to enlarge them. If the blackness of my spleen raised an imaginary distemper of body, some one of them immediately sympathised with me. If I spake of any disappointment in my fortune, another of them would abate my sorrowing by recounting to me his own defeat upon the very same circumstances. If I touched upon overlooked merit, the whole assembly seemed to condole with me very feelingly upon that particular. In short, I could not make myself so calamitous in mind, body, or circumstances, 285 but some one of them was upon a level with me. When I had wound up my discourse, and was ripe for their intended raillery, at first they crowned my narration with several piteous sighs and groans; but after a short pause, and a signal given for the onset, they burst out into a most incomprehensible fit of laughter. You may be sure I was notably out of countenance, which gave occasion to a second explosion of the same mirth. What troubled me most was, that their figure, age, and short sword preserved them from any imputation of cowardice upon refusal of battle, and their number from insult. I had now no other way to be upon good terms with them, but desiring I might be admitted into this fraternity. This was at first vigorously opposed, it being objected to me that I affected too much the appearance of a happy man to be received into a society so proud of appearing the most afflicted. However, as I only seemed to be what they really were, I am admitted, by way of triumph, upon probation for a year; and if within that time it shall be possible for them to infuse any of their gaiety into me, I can, at Monmouth Street, upon mighty easy terms, purchase the robes necessary for my instalment into this order; and when they have made me as happy, shall be willing to appear as miserable, as any of this assembly.'

No. 60. The 'Guardian.'May 20, 1713.

Nihil legebat quod non excerperet.—Plin.

He picked something out of everything he read.

'There is nothing in which men deceive themselves more ridiculously than in point of reading, and which, as it is constantly practised under the notion of improvement, has less advantage.

'When I was sent to Oxford, my chiefest expense ran upon books, and my only expense upon numbers; so that you may be sure I had what they call a choice collection, sometimes buying by the pound, sometimes by the dozen, at others by the hundred. 286

'As I always held it necessary to read in public places, by way of ostentation, but could not possibly travel with a library in my pockets, I took the following method to gratify this errantry of mine. I contrived a little pocket-book, each leaf of which was a different author, so that my wandering was indulged and concealed within the same enclosure.

'This extravagant humour, which should seem to pronounce me irrecoverable, had the contrary effect; and my hand and eye being thus confined to a single book, in a little time reconciled me to the perusal of a single author. However, I chose such a one as had as little connection as possible, turning to the Proverbs of Solomon, where the best instructions are thrown together in the most beautiful range imaginable, and where I found all that variety which I had before sought in so many different authors, and which was so necessary to beguile my attention. By these proper degrees I have made so glorious a reformation in my studies that I can keep company with Tully in his most extended periods, and work through the continued narrations of the most prolix historian. I now read nothing without making exact collections, and shall shortly give the world an instance of this in the publication of the following discourses. The first is a learned controversy about the existence of griffins, in which I hope to convince the world that notwithstanding such a mixed creature has been allowed by Ælian, Solinus, Mela, and Herodotus, that they have been perfectly mistaken in the matter, and shall support myself by the authority of Albertus, Pliny, Aldrovandus, and Matthias Michovius; which two last have clearly argued that animal out of the creation.

'The second is a treatise of sternutation or sneezing, with the original custom of saluting or blessing upon that motion; as also with a problem from Aristotle, showing why sneezing from noon to night was innocent enough; from night to noon, extremely unfortunate.

'The third and most curious is my discourse upon the nature of the lake Asphaltites, or the lake of Sodom; being a very careful enquiry whether brickbats and iron will swim in that lake, and feathers sink, as Pliny and Mandevil have averred.

'The discussing these difficulties without perplexity or prejudice, the labour of collecting and collating matters of this 287 nature, will, I hope, in a great measure atone for the idle hours I have trifled away in matters of less importance.'

No. 77. The 'Guardian.'June 9, 1713.

Certum voto pete finem.—Hor. Ep.

To wishes fix an end.—Creech.

'The same weakness, or defect in the mind, from whence pedantry takes its rise, does likewise give birth to avarice. Words and money are both to be regarded as only marks of things; and as the knowledge of the one, so the possession of the other is of no use, unless directed to a farther end. A mutual commerce could not be carried on among men, if some common standard had not been agreed upon, to which the value of all the various productions of art and nature were reducible, and which might be of the same use in the conveyance of property as words are in that of ideas. Gold, by its beauty, scarceness, and durable nature, seems designed by Providence to a purpose so excellent and advantageous to mankind. Upon these considerations that metal came first into esteem. But such who cannot see beyond what is nearest in the pursuit, beholding mankind touched with an affection for gold, and being ignorant of the true reason that introduced this odd passion into human nature, imagine some intrinsic worth in the metal to be the cause of it. Hence the same men who, had they been turned towards learning, would 288 have employed themselves in laying up words in their memory, are by a different application employed to as much purpose in treasuring up gold in their coffers. They differ only in the object; the principle on which they act, and the inward frame of mind, is the same in the critic and the miser.'

No. 84. The 'Guardian.'June 17, 1713.

Non missura cutem nisi plena cruoris hirudo.—Hor.

Sticking like leeches, till they burst with blood.—Roscommon.

'To Nestor Ironside, Esq.

'Sir,—Presuming you may sometimes condescend to take cognisance of small enormities, I lay one here before you without farther apology.

'There is a silly habit among many of our minor orators, who display their eloquence in the several coffee-houses of this fair city, to the no small annoyance of considerable numbers of her Majesty's spruce and loving subjects, and that is, a humour they have got of twisting off your buttons. These ingenious gentlemen are not able to advance three words till they have got fast hold of one of your buttons; but as soon as they have procured such an excellent handle for discourse, they will indeed proceed with great elocution. I know not how well some may have escaped; but for my part, I have often met with them to my cost; having, I believe, within these three years last past, been argued out of several dozen; insomuch that I have for some time ordered my tailor to bring me home with every suit a dozen at least of spare ones, to supply the place of such as, from time to time, are detached as a help to discourse, by the vehement gentlemen before mentioned. In the coffee-houses here about the Temple, you may harangue even among our dabblers in politics for about two buttons a-day, and many times for less. I had yesterday the good fortune to receive very considerable additions to my knowledge in state affairs; and I find this morning that it has not stood me in above a button. Besides the gentlemen before mentioned, 289 there are others who are no less active in their harangues, but with gentle services rather than robberies. These, while they are improving your understanding, are at the same time setting off your person: they will new plait and adjust your neckcloth.

'I am of opinion that no orator or speaker in public or private has any right to meddle with anybody's clothes but his own. I indulge men in the liberty of playing with their own hats, fumbling in their own pockets, settling their own periwigs, tossing or twisting their heads, and all other gesticulations which may contribute to their elocution, but pronounce it an infringement of the English liberty, for a man to keep his neighbour's person in custody in order to force a hearing; and farther declare, that all assent given by an auditor under such constraint is of itself void and of no effect.'

No. 92. The 'Guardian.'June 26, 1713.

Homunculi quanti sunt, cum recognito!—Plautus.

Now I recollect, how considerable are these little men.

'The most eminent persons of our club are, a little poet, a little lover, a little politician, and a little hero.

'Tom Tiptoe, a dapper little fellow, is the most gallant lover of the age. He is particularly nice in his habiliments; and to the end justice may be done in that way, constantly employs the same artist who makes attire for the neighbouring princes, and ladies of quality. The vivacity of his temper inclines him sometimes to boast of the favours of the fair. He was the other night excusing his absence from the club on account of an assignation with a lady (and, as he had the vanity to tell us, a tall one too), but one of the company, who was his confidant, assured us she was a woman of humour, and consented she would permit him to kiss her, but only on the condition that his toe must be tied to hers.' 290

No. 100. The 'Guardian.'July 6, 1713.

If snowy-white your neck, you still should wear

That, and the shoulder of the left arm, bare;

Such sights ne'er fail to fire my am'rous heart,

And make me pant to kiss the naked part.—Congreve.

'There is a certain female ornament, by some called a tucker, and by others the neckpiece, being a slip of fine linen or muslin, that used to run in a small kind of ruffle round the uppermost verge of the women's stays, and by that means covered a great part of the shoulders and bosom. Having thus given a definition, or rather description, of the tucker, I must take notice, that our ladies have of late thrown aside this fig-leaf, and exposed in its primitive nakedness that gentle swelling of the breast which it was used to conceal.

'If we survey the pictures of our great-grandmothers in Queen Elizabeth's time, we see them clothed down to the very wrists, and up to the very chin. The hands and face were the only samples they gave of their beautiful persons. The following age of females made larger discoveries of their complexion. They first of all tucked up their garments to the elbow; and, notwithstanding the tenderness of the sex, were content, for the information of mankind, to expose their arms to the coldness of the air, and injuries of the weather. This artifice hath succeeded to their wishes, and betrayed many to their arms, who might have escaped them had they been still concealed.

'About the same time, the ladies considering that the neck was a very modest part in a human body, they freed it from those yokes, I mean those monstrous linen ruffs in which the simplicity of their grandmothers had enclosed it. In proportion as the age refined, the dress still sunk lower; so that when we now say a woman has a handsome neck, we reckon into it many of the adjacent parts. The disuse of the tucker has still enlarged it, insomuch that the neck of a fine woman at present takes in almost half the body.' 291

No. 114. The 'Guardian.'July 22, 1713.

Take the hives, and fall to work upon the honeycombs; the drones refuse, the bees accept the proposal.

'I think myself obliged to acquaint the public that the lion's head, of which I advertised them about a fortnight ago, is now erected at Button's coffee-house, in Russell Street, Covent Garden, where it opens its mouth at all hours for the reception of such intelligence as shall be thrown into it. It is reckoned an excellent piece of workmanship, and was designed by a great hand in imitation of the antique Egyptian lion, the face of it being compounded out of that of a lion and a wizard. The features are strong and well furrowed. The whiskers are admired by all that have seen them. It is planted on the western side of the coffee-house, holding its paws under the chin upon a box, which contains everything that he swallows. He is indeed a proper emblem of knowledge and action, being all head and paws.

'I need not acquaint my readers that my lion, like a moth or bookworm, feeds upon nothing but paper, and shall only beg of them to diet him with wholesome and substantial food. I must therefore desire that they will not gorge him either with nonsense or obscenity; and must likewise insist that his mouth must not be defiled with scandal, for I would not make use of him to revile the human species, and satirise those who are his betters. I shall not suffer him to worry any man's reputation; nor indeed fall on any person whatsoever, such only excepted as disgrace the name of this generous animal, and under the title of lions contrive the ruin of their fellow-subjects. Those who read the history of the Popes, observe that the Leos have been the best and the Innocents the worst of that species; and I hope I shall not be thought to derogate from my lion's character, by representing him as such a peaceable, good-natured, well-designing beast.' 292

No. 129. The 'Guardian.'Aug. 8, 1713.

And part with life, only to wound their foe.

'The "Guardian" prints the following genuine letters to enlighten readers on the cool and deliberate preparation men of honour have beforetime made for murdering one another under the convenient pretences of duelling:—

'"À Monsieur Sackville,—I that am in France hear how much you attribute to yourself in this time, that I have given the world leave to ring your praises.... If you call to memory, whereas I gave you my hand last, I told you I reserved the heart for a truer reconciliation. Be master of your own weapons and time; the place wheresoever I will wait on you. By doing this you shall shorten revenge, and clear the idle opinion the world hath of both our worths.

Ed. Bruce."

'"À Monsieur le Baron de Kinloss,—As it shall be always far from me to seek a quarrel, so will I always be ready to meet with any that desire to make trial of my valour by so fair a course as you require. A witness whereof yourself shall be, who within a month shall receive a strict account of time, place, and weapon, where you shall find me ready disposed to give you honourable satisfaction by him that shall conduct you thither. In the meantime be as secret of the appointment as it seems you are desirous of it.

Ed. Sackville."

'"Tergosa: August 10, 1613.

'"À Monsieur le Baron de Kinloss,—I am ready at Tergosa, a town in Zealand, to give you that satisfaction your sword can tender you, accompanied with a worthy gentleman for my second, in degree a knight; and for your coming I will not limit you a 293 peremptory day, but desire you to make a definite and speedy repair, for your own honour, and fear of prevention, until which time you shall find me there.

Ed. Sackville."

'"À Monsieur Sackville,—I have received your letter by your man, and acknowledge you have dealt nobly with me; and now I come with all possible haste to meet you.

Ed. Bruce."'

No. 140. The 'Guardian.'Aug. 21, 1713.

A sight might thaw old Priam's frozen age,

And warm e'en Nestor into amorous rage.

'To Pope Clement VIII. Nestor Ironside, Greeting.

'I have heard, with great satisfaction, that you have forbidden your priests to confess any woman who appears before them without a tucker; in which you please me well. I do agree with you that it is impossible for a good man to discharge his office as he ought, who gives an ear to those alluring penitents that discover their hearts and necks to him at the same time. I am labouring, as much as in me lies, to stir up the same spirit of modesty among the women of this island, and should be glad we might assist one another in so good a work. In order to it, I desire that you would send me over the length of a Roman lady's neck, as it stood before your late prohibition. We have some here who have necks of one, two, and three feet in length; some that have necks which reach down to their middles; and, indeed, some who may be said to be all neck, and no body. I hope at the same time you observe the stays of your female subjects, that you have also an eye to their petticoats, which rise in this island daily. When the petticoat reaches but to the knee, and the stays fall to the fifth rib (which I hear is to be the standard of each as it has been lately settled in a junto of the sex), I will take care to 294 send you one of either sort, which I advertise you of beforehand, that you may not compute the stature of our English women from the length of their garments. In the meantime, I have desired the master of a vessel, who tells me that he shall touch at Civita Vecchia, to present you with a certain female machine, which I believe will puzzle your infallibility to discover the use of it. Not to keep you in suspense, it is what we call, in this country, a hooped petticoat. I shall only beg of you to let me know whether you find any garment of this nature among all the relics of your female saints; and, in particular, whether it was ever worn by any of your twenty thousand virgin martyrs.

'Yours, usque ad aras,
'Nestor Ironside.'

No. 153. The 'Guardian.'Sept. 5, 1713.

A mighty pomp, tho' made of little things.—Dryden.

'If there be anything which makes human nature appear ridiculous to beings of superior faculties it must be pride. They know so well the vanity of those imaginary perfections that swell the heart of man, and of those little supernumerary advantages, whether of birth, fortune, or title, which one man enjoys above another, that it must certainly very much astonish, if it does not very much divert them, when they see a mortal puffed up, and valuing himself above his neighbours on any of these accounts, at the same time that he is obnoxious to all the common calamities of the species.

'To set this thought in its true light, we will fancy, if you please, that yonder molehill is inhabited by reasonable creatures, and that every pismire (his shape and way of life only excepted) is endowed with human passions. How should we smile to hear one give us an account of the pedigrees, distinctions, and titles that reign among them! Observe how the whole swarm divide and make way for the pismire that passes through them! You must understand he is an emmet of quality, and has better blood in his veins than any pismire in the molehill. Do not you see how sensible he is of it, how slow he marches forward, how the whole rabble of ants keep their distance? Here you may observe 295 one placed upon a little eminence, and looking down on a long row of labourers. He is the richest insect on this side the hillock; he has a walk of half a yard in length, and a quarter of an inch in breadth; he keeps a hundred menial servants, and has at least fifteen barleycorns in his granary. He is now chiding and beslaving the emmet that stands before him, and who, for all that we can discover, is as good an emmet as himself.

'But here comes an insect of figure! Do not you take notice of a little white straw that he carries in his mouth? That straw, you must understand, he would not part with for the longest track about the molehill; did you but know what he has undergone to purchase it. See how the ants of all qualities and conditions swarm about him. Should this straw drop out of his mouth, you would see all this numerous circle of attendants follow the next that took it up, and leave the discarded insect, or run over his back to come at his successor.'

No. 167. The 'Guardian.'Sept. 22, 1713.

Fata viam invenient.—Virg.

Fate the way will find.

The following story is translated from an Arabian manuscript:—

'"The name of Helim is still famous through all the Eastern parts of the world. He was the Governor of the Black Palace, a man of infinite wisdom, and chief of the physicians to Alnareschin, the great King of Persia.

'"Alnareschin was the most dreadful tyrant that ever reigned over that country. He was of a fearful, suspicious, and cruel nature, having put to death, upon slight surmises, five-and-thirty of his queens, and above twenty sons, whom he suspected of conspiring. 296 Being at length wearied with the exercise of so many cruelties, and fearing the whole race of Caliphs would be extinguished, he sent for Helim, the good physician, and confided his two remaining sons, Ibrahim and Abdallah, then mere infants, to his charge, requesting him to bring them up in virtuous retirement. Helim had an only child, a girl of noble soul, and a most beautiful person. Abdallah, whose mind was of a more tender turn than that of Ibrahim, grew by degrees so enamoured of her conversation that he did not think he lived unless in the company of his beloved Balsora.

'"The fame of her beauty was so great that it came to the ears of the king, who, pretending to visit the young princes, his sons, demanded of Helim the sight of his fair daughter. The king was so inflamed with her beauty and behaviour that he sent for Helim the next morning, and told him it was now his design to recompense him for all his faithful services, and that he intended to make his daughter Queen of Persia.

'"Helim, who remembered the fate of the former queens, and who was also acquainted with the secret love of Abdallah, contrived to administer a sleeping draught to his daughter, and announced to the king that the news of his intention had overcome her. The king ordered that as he had designed to wed Balsora, her body should be laid in the Black Palace among those of his deceased queens.

'"Abdallah soon fretted after his love, and Helim administered a similar potion to his ward, and he was laid in the same tomb. Helim, having charge of the Black Palace, awaited their revival, and then secretly supplied them with sustenance, and finally contrived, by dressing them as spirits, to convey them away from this sepulchre, and concealed them in a palace which had been bestowed on him by the king in reward for his recovering him from a dangerous illness.

'"About ten years after their abode in this place the old king died. The new king, Ibrahim, being one day out hunting, and separated from his company, found himself, almost fainting with heat and thirst, at the foot of Mount Khacan, and, ascending the hill, he arrived at Helim's house and requested refreshments. Helim was, very luckily, there at that time, and after having set before the king the choicest of wines and fruits, finding him 297 wonderfully pleased with so seasonable a treat, told him that the best part of his entertainment was to come; upon which he opened to him the whole history of what had passed. The king was at once astonished and transported at so strange a relation, and seeing his brother enter the room with Balsora in his hand, he leaped off from the sofa on which he sat, and cried out, ''Tis he! 'tis my Abdallah!' Having said this, he fell upon his neck and wept.

'"Ibrahim offered to divide his empire with his brother, but, finding the lovers preferred their retirement, he made them a present of all the open country as far as they could see from the top of Mount Khacan, which Abdallah continued to improve and 298 beautify until it became the most delicious spot of ground within the empire, and it is, therefore, called the garden of Persia.

'"Ibrahim, after a long and happy reign, died without children, and was succeeded by Abdallah, the son of Abdallah and Balsora. This was that King Abdallah who afterwards fixed the imperial residence upon Mount Khacan, which continues at this time to be the favourite palace of the Persian Empire."' 299


Characteristic passages from the Works of Humorous Writers of the 'Era of the Georges,' from Thackeray's Library, illustrated with original Marginal Sketches by the Author's hand—The 'Humourist,' 1724—Extracts and Pencillings.



London, 1724-5.

Of News-writers.[23]

Quo virtus tua te vocat, i pede fausto.—Hor. Ep. II. l. 2.

'As to the filling the paper with trifles and things of no significancy, the instances of it are obvious and numerous. The French king's losing a rotten tooth, and the surgeon's fee thereupon; a duke's taking physic, and a magistrate's swearing a small oath, and a poor thief's ravishing a knapsack, have all, in their turns, furnished out deep matter for wit and eloquence to these vigilant 300 writers, who hawk for adventures. A man of quality cannot steal out of town for a day or two, or return to it, without the attendance of a coach and six horses, and a news-writer, who makes the important secret the burden of his paper next day. I have observed, that if a man be but great or rich, the most wretched occasion entitles him to fill a long paragraph in print; the cutting of his corns for the purpose, or his playing at ombre, never fails to merit publication. Now, if my most diligent brother-writers, who are spies upon the actions and cabinets of the great, would go a little farther, and tell us when his grace or his lordship broke his custom by keeping his word, or said a witty thing, or did a generous one, we will freely own they tell us some news, and will thank them for our pleasure and our surprise.

'It is with concern, I see, that even the privacies of the poor ladies cannot escape the eyes of these public searchers. How many great ladies do they bring to bed every day of their lives! for poor madam no sooner begins to make faces, and utter the least groan, but instantly an author stands with his pen in his teeth, ready to hold her back, and to tell the town whether the baby is boy or girl, before the midwife has pulled off her spectacles, and described its nose.' 301

Of a Country Entertainment.

'I am led by the regard which I bear to the ladies and the Christmas holidays to divert my readers with the history of an entertainment, where I made one at the house of a country squire.

'When I went in I found the dining-room full of ladies, to whom I made a profound bow, and was repaid by a whole circle of curtsies. While I was meditating, with my eyes fixed upon the fire, what I had best say, I could hear one of them whisper to another, "I believe he thinks we smoke tobacco;" for, my reader must know, I had omitted the country fashion, and not kissed one of them.

'At dinner we had many excuses from the lady of the house for our indifferent fare, and she had as many declarations from us, her guests, that all was very good. And the squire gave us the history and extraction of every fowl that came to the table. He assured us that his poultry had neither kindred nor allies anywhere on this side of the Channel.

'As soon as we were risen from the table, our great parliament of females presently resolved themselves into committees of twos and threes all over the dining-room, and I perceived that every party was engaged in talking scandal.

'The ladies then went into one parlour to their tea, and we men into another to our bottle, over which I was entertained with many ingenious remarks on the price of barley, on dairies and the sheepfold. But as the most engaging conversation is, when too long, sometimes cloying, having smoked my pipe in due silence and attention, I took a trip to the ladies, who had sent to know whether I would drink some tea. When I made my entrance, 302 the topic they were on was religion, in their statements about which they were terribly divided, and debated with such agitation and fervour, that I grew in pain for the china cups.

'But they happily departed from this warm point, and unanimously fell backbiting their neighbours, which instantly qualified all their heat and heartily reconciled them to one another, insomuch that all the time the business of scandal was handling there was not one dissenting voice to be heard in the whole assembly.

'By this time the music was come, and happy was the woman that could first wipe her mouth and be soonest upon her legs. In the dance some moved very becomingly, but the majority made such a rattle on the boards as quite drowned the music. This made me call to mind your mettlesome horses, that dance on a pavement to the music of their own heels.

'We had among us the squire's eldest son, a batchelor and captain of the militia. This honest gentleman, believing, as one would imagine, that good humour and wit consisted in activity of body and thickness of bone, was resolved to be very witty, that is to say, very strong; he therefore not only threw down most of the women, and with abundance of wit hauled them round the room, but gave us several farther proofs of the sprightliness of his genius, by a great many leaps he made about a yard high, always remembering to fall on somebody's toes. This ingenious fancy was applauded by everyone, except the person who felt it, who never happened to have complaisance enough to fall in with the general laugh that was raised on that occasion. For my own part, who am an occasional conformist to common custom, I was ashamed 303 to be singular, so I even extended my mouth into a smile, and put my face into a laughing posture too. His mother, observing me to look pleased with her son's activity and gay deportment, told me in my ear, "he was never worse company than I saw him." To which I answered, "I vow, madam, I believe you."'

Of the Spleen.

'In constitutions where this humorous distemper prevails, it is surprising how trifling a matter will inflame it.

'I shall never forget an ingenious doctor of physick, who was so jealous of the honour of his whiskers, which he was pleased to christen "the emblems of his virility," that he resolutely made the sun shine through every unhappy cat that ill-fate threw in his way. He magnanimously professed that his spirit could not brook it, that any cat in Christendom, noble or ignoble, should rival the reputation of his upper lip. In every other respect our physician was a well-bred person, and, which is as wonderful, understood Latin. But we see the deepest learning is no charm against the spleen.'

Of Ghosts.

'All sorts of people, when they get together, will find something to talk of. News, politics, and stocks comprise the conversation of the busy and trading world. Rakes and men of pleasure fight duels with men they never spoke to, and betray women they never saw, and do twenty fine feats over their cups which they never do anywhere else. And children, servants, and old women, and others of the same size of understanding, please and terrify themselves and one another with spirits and goblins. In this case a ghost is no more than a help to discourse. 304

'A late very pious but very credulous bishop was relating a strange story of a demon, that haunted a girl in Lothbury, to a company of gentlemen in the City, when one of them told his lordship the following adventure:—

'"As I was one night reading in bed, as my custom is, and all my family were at rest, I heard a foot deliberately ascending the stairs, and as it came nearer I heard something breathe. While I was musing what it should be, three hollow knocks at my door made me ask who was there, and instantly the door blew open." "Ah! sir, and pray what did you see?" "My lord, I'll tell you. A tall thin figure stood before me, with withered hair, and an earthly aspect; he was covered with a long sooty garment, that descended to his ankles, and his waist was clasped close within a broad leathern girdle. In one hand he held a black staff taller than himself, and in the other a round body of pale light, which shone feebly every way." "That's remarkable! pray, sir, go on." "It beckoned to me, and I followed it down stairs, and there it pointed to the door, and then left me, and made a hideous noise in the street." "This is really odd and surprising; but, pray now, did it give you no notice what it might particularly seek or aim at?" "Yes, my lord, it was the watchman, who came to show me that my servants had left all my doors open."' 305

Of Keeping the Commandments.

'I have been humbly of opinion for many years that the keeping of the Ten Commandments was a matter not altogether unworthy of our consideration and practice; and though I am of the same sentiments still, yet I dare hardly publish them, knowing that if I am against the world, the world will be against me. I must not affront modern politeness and the common mode.

'Who would have the boldness to mention the first commandment to Matilda, when he has seen her curt'sying to herself in the glass, and kissing her lap-dog, and worshipping these two divine creatures from morning till night? Nor is Matilda without other deities; she has several sets of china, a diamond necklace, and a grey monkey; and, in spite of her parents and her reason, she is guilty of will-worship to Dick Noodle. But this last is no wonder at all, for Dick wears fine brocade waistcoats and the best Mechlin, and no man of the age picks his teeth with greater elegance.

'And would it not be equally bold and barbarous to enslave a beau or a bully with the tyranny of the third commandment? when it's well known that these worthy gentlemen and brothers in understanding and courage must either be dumb or damning themselves; and, therefore, to stop their swearing would be to stop their breath, and gag them to all eternity. Beau Wittol courts Arabella with great success, and it is not doubted he will carry her, though he was never heard to make any other speech or compliment to her than that of "Demme, madam!" after which he squeezes her hand, takes snuff, and grins in her face with wonderful wit and gaiety. Arabella smiles, and owns with her eyes her admiration of these accomplishments of a fine gentleman.' 306

Of Flattery.

'Flattery is the art of selling wind for a round sum of ready money. A sycophant blows up the mind of his unhappy patient into a tympany, and then, like other physicians, receives a fee for his poison. It is his business to instruct men to mistake themselves at a great expense; to shut their eyes, and then pay for being blind. Thus the end of excelling in any art or profession is to have that excellence known and admired.

'Sing-song Nero, an ancestor of Mr. Tom d'Urfey, would, probably, never have banished the sceptre and adopted the fiddle, but that he found it much easier for his talents to scrape than to govern. In this reign, he that had a musical ear, or could twist a catgut, was made a man; and the fiddlers ruled the Roman empire by the singular merit of condescending to be viler thrummers than the emperor himself. He who at that time could but wonder greatly, and gape artfully at his Majesty's royal skill in crowding, might be governor of a province, or Lord High Treasurer, or what else he pleased.

'This imperial piper used to go the circuit, and call the provinces together, to be refreshed with a tune upon the fiddle, and if they had the policy to smother a laugh, and raise an outrageous clap, their taxes were paid, and they had whatever they asked; and so miserably was this monarch and madman bewitched by himself and his sycophants with the character of a victorious fiddler, that when he was abandoned by God and man, and, as an enemy to mankind, sentenced to be whipped to death, he did not 307 grieve so much for the loss of his empire as the loss of his fiddle. When he had no mortal left to flatter him, he flattered himself, and his last words were, "Qualis Artifex pereo!—What a brave scraper is lost in me!" And then he buried a knife in his inside, and made his death the best action of his life!'

Of Retirement.

'To be absolute master of one's own time and actions is an instance of liberty which is not found but in solitude. A man that lives in a crowd is a slave, even though all that are about him fawn upon him and give him the upper-hand. They call him master, or lord, and treat him as such; but as they hinder him from doing what he otherwise would, the title and homage which they pay him is flattery and contradiction.[24]

'I ever loved retirement, and detested crowds; I would rather pass an afternoon amongst a herd of deer, than half an hour at a coronation; and sooner eat a piece of apple-pie in a cottage, than dine with a judge on the circuit. To lodge a night by myself in a cave would not grieve me so much as living half a day in a fair. It will look a little odd when I own that I have missed many a good sermon for no other reason but that many others were to 308 hear it as well as myself. I have neither disliked the man, nor his principles, nor his congregation, singly; but altogether I could not abide them.

'I am, therefore, exceedingly happy in the solitude which I am now enjoying. I frequently stand under a tree, and with great humanity pity one half of the world, and with equal contempt laugh at the other half. I shun the company of men, and seek that of oxen, and sheep, and deer, and bushes; and when I can hide myself for the moiety of a day from the sight of every creature but those that are dumb, I consider myself as monarch of all that I see or tread upon, and fancy that Nature smiles and the sun shines for my sake only.

'My eyes at those seasons are the seat of pleasure, and I do not interrupt their ranging by the impertinence of memory, or solicitude of any kind. I neither look a day forward nor a day backward, but voluptuously enjoy the present moment. My mind follows my senses, and refuses all images which these do not then present.'

Of Bubbles.

'The world has often been ruled by men who were themselves ruled by the worst qualities and most sordid views. The prince, says a great French politician, governs the people, and interest governs the prince.

'Hence it comes to pass, that few men care how they rise in the world, so they do but rise. They know that success expiates all rogueries, and never misses reverence; and that he who was called villain or murderer in the race, is often christened saint or hero at the goal.

'The present possession of money or power is always a ready patent for respect and submission. He that gets a hundred thousand pounds by a bubble—that is, by selling a bag of wind to his credulous countrymen—is a greater idol in every coffee-house in town than he who is worth but ninety thousand, though acquired by honest trading or ingenious arts, which profit mankind, and bring credit to his country; and thus every South Sea cub shall, by the sole merit of his million, vie for respect and followers with any lord in the land, though it should strangely happen, as it 309 sometimes does, that his lordship's virtues and parts ennoble his title and quality. It matters not whether your father was a tinker, and you, his worthy son, a broker or a sharper, provided you be but a South Sea man. If you are but that, the whole earth is your humble servant.

'At present, nothing farther is necessary towards getting an estate—that is, merit and respect—than a little money, much roguery, and many lies. With what indignation have I beheld a peer of the realm courting the good graces of a little haberdasher with great cash, and begging a few shares in a bubble which the honourable Goodman Bever had just then invented to cheat his fellow-citizens!

'But exalted boobies being below satire, I shall here only consider a little the mischiefs brought upon the public by the projects which bring them their wealth. It is melancholy to consider that power follows property, when we consider at the same time into what vile hands the property is fallen, and by what vile means, even by bubbles and direct cheating.

'Of our second-hand bubbles, I blame not one more than another; their name shows their nature. The "Great Bubble" of all set them an example, and began first. By it immense fortunes have been got to particular men, most of them obscure and unheard of; happy for their own characters, and for the nation's trade, if they had still remained so. I hope our all is not yet at the mercy of sharpers, ignorant, mercenary sharpers; but I should be glad to see it proved that it will not be so.'

Of Travels.

'As every man is in his own opinion fit to come abroad in print, so every occasion that can put him upon prating to mankind is sufficient to put his pen running, provided he himself can hold the principal character in his own book. 310

'Of all the several classes of scribblers, there is none more silly than your authors of Travels. There are several things common to all these travellers, and yet peculiar to every particular traveller. I have at this time in my hands a little manuscript, entitled "Travels from Exeter to London, with proper observations." By the sagacity shown in the remarks, I take the author to be some polite squire of Devon. In the following passages our traveller records his observations in the great metropolis:—

'"In this great city people are quite another thing than what they are out of it; insomuch, that he who will be very great with you in the country, will scarce pull off his hat to you in London. I once dined at Exeter with a couple of judges, and they talked to me there, and drank my health, and we were very familiar together. So when I saw them again passing through Westminster Hall, I was glad of it with all my heart, and ran to them with a broad smile, to ask them how they did, and to shake hands with them; but they looked at me so coldly and so proudly as you cannot imagine, and did not seem to know me, at which I was confounded, angry, and mad; but I kept my mind to myself.

'"At another time I was at the playhouse (which is a rare place for mirth, music, and dancing), and, being in the pit, saw in one of the boxes a member of Parliament of our county, with whom I have been as great as hand and glove; so being overjoyed to see him, I called to him aloud by his name, and asked him how he did; but instead of saluting me again, or making any manner of answer, he looked plaguy sour, and never opened his mouth, though when he is in the country he is as merry a grig as any in forty miles, and we have cracked many a bottle together."' 311

Of Education.

'People, put by their education into a narrow track of thinking, are as much afraid of getting out of it as children of quitting their leading-strings when first they learn to go. They are taught a raging fondness for a parcel of names that are never explained to them; and an implacable fierceness against another set of names that are never explained to them; so they jog on in the heavy steps of their forefathers, or in the wretched and narrow paths of poor-spirited and ignorant pedagogues. They believe they are certainly in the right, and therefore never take the pains to find out that they are certainly in the wrong.

'From this cause it comes to pass that many English gentlemen are as much afraid of reading some English books as were the poor blind Papists of reading books prohibited by their priests; which were, indeed, all books that had either religion or sense in them.

'How nicely are those men taught who are taught prejudice! A tincture of bigotry appears in all the actions of a bigot. He will neither, with his good liking, eat or drink, or sleep or travel with you, till he has received full conviction that you wash your hands and pare your nails just as he does.

'Here is a squire come down from London who is very rich, and has bought a world of land in our county of Wilts. The first thing he did when he came among us was to declare that he would have no dealings nor conversation with any Whig whatsoever; and, to make his word good, having bespoke several beds and other furniture to a considerable value of an upholsterer here, he returned the whole upon the poor man's hands because his wife had a brother who was a Presbyterian parson.

'But this worthy and ingenious squire was very well served by an officer of the army at a horse race here. They were drinking, among other company, the King's health, at the door of a public-house, on horseback; the officer, when it came to his turn, drank it to this Doughty Highflyer, who happened to be next to him, upon which he made some difficulty at pledging it, suggesting that public healths should not be proposed in mixed company. "You 312 would say," says the officer, "if you durst, that a High Churchman would not have his Majesty's health proposed to him at all." Upon this he swore he was a High Churchman, and was not ashamed of it. "So I guessed," said the officer, "by your disloyalty." "But, Sir," says the officer, "even disloyalty to your prince need not make you show your ill-breeding in company." The squire chafed most violently at this, and urged, as a proof of his good breeding, that he had been bred at Oxford. "So I guessed," says the officer, "by your ignorance." This nettled the squire to the height, and fired his little soul at the expense of the outer case, for he proceeded to give ill words, and to call ill names; but the officer quickly taught him, by the nose, to hold his tongue, and ask pardon. Thus it always fares with the High Church in fighting as it does in disputing: she is constantly beaten; and the courage and understanding of her passive sons tally with each other.'

Of Women.

'Some of my fair correspondents have lately reproached me with negligence and indifference to their sex; but if they could know how vain I am of so obliging a reprimand, they would be sensible, too, how little I deserved it. I am not so entirely a statue as to be insensible of the power of beauty, nor so absolutely a woman's creature as to be blind to their little weaknesses, their pretty follies and impertinences.

'It will be necessary to inform my readers that my landlady is an eminent milliner, and a considerable dealer in Flanders lace. She is one of those whom we call notable women; she has run through the rough and smooth of life, has a very good plain sense of things, and knows the world, as far as she is concerned in it, very well. I am very much entertained by her company; her discourse is sure to be seasoned with scandal, ancient and modern, which, though the morals and gravity of my character do not 313 allow me to join in, yet, such is the infirmity of human nature, I find it impossible to be heartily displeased with it as I ought.

'If I come in at a time when the shop, which is commodiously situated above stairs, is full of company, I usually place myself in an obscure corner of it, and observe what passes with secret satisfaction. 'Tis pleasant to hear my landlady, by the mere incessancy of tittle-tattle, persuade her pretty customers out of all the understanding that they brought along with them; and on the other side of the counter to see the little bosoms pant with irresolution, and swell at the view of trifles, which humour and custom have taught them to call necessary and convenient. Hard by perhaps stands a customer of inferior quality, a citizen's wife suppose her, who is reduced to the hard necessity of regulating her expenses by her husband's allowance, and is bursting with vexation to know herself stinted to lace of but fifty shillings a yard; whereas if she could rise to three pounds, she might be mistress of a very pretty head, and what she really thinks she need not be ashamed to be seen in. But for want of this all goes wrong; she hates her superiors, despises her husband, neglects her children, and is ashamed and weary of herself.

'This seems ridiculous to my men readers, and it certainly is so; but are our follies and extravagances more reasonable? Or, rather, are they not infinitely more dangerous and destructive? What violences do we not commit upon our consciences for the mere gratification of our avarice? How much of the real ease and happiness of life do we daily sacrifice to the vanity of ambition? Is it possible, then, since even the greatest men are but a bigger sort of children, to be seriously angry that women are no more? If in my old age I am struck with the harmony of a rattle, or long to get astride on a hobby-horse; if I love still to be caressed and flattered, and am delighted with good words and high titles, why should I be angry that my wife and daughters do not play the philosopher, and have not more wit than myself? 314

Of Masquerades.

'I must desire my reader, as he values his repose, not to let his thoughts run upon anything loose or frightful for two hours at least before he goes to bed. Titus Livius, the Roman historian, is my usual entertainment, when I don't find myself disposed for closer application. Happening to come home sooner than ordinary two nights ago, I took it up, and read the 8th and following chapters of his 39th book, where he gives us a large account of some nocturnal assemblies lately set up at Rome; I think he calls them Bacchanals, and describes the ceremonies, rites of initiation, and religious practices, together with their music, singing, shrieks, and howlings. The men were dressed like satyrs, and raved like persons distracted, with enthusiastic motions of the head and violent distortions of the body. The ladies ran with their hair about their ears and burning torches in their hands; some covered with the skins of panthers, others with those of tigers, all attended with drums and trumpets, while they themselves were the most noisy. "To this diversion," says the historian, "were added the pleasures of feasting and wine to draw the more in; and when wine, the night, and a mixed company of men and women, jumbled together, had extinguished all sense of shame, there were extravagances of all sorts committed; each having that pleasure ready prepared for him to which his nature was most inclined."

''Tis with design I have referred my reader to the very place, being resolved not to trouble him with any farther relation of these midnight revellings, for fear I should draw him into the same misfortune 315 I unluckily fell under myself. The very idea of it makes me tremble still, when I think of those monstrous habits, fantastical gestures, hideous faces, and confused noises I had in my sleep. Join to these the many assignations made for the next night, the signs given for the present execution of former agreements; and the various plots and contrivances I overheard, for parting man and wife, and ruining whole families at once. These frightful appearances put me into such uncommon agitations of body, and I looked so ghastly at my first waking, that a friend of mine, who came early in the morning to make me a visit, was struck with such a terror at the sight of me, that he made to the street door as fast he could, where he had only time to bid one of my servants run for a physician immediately, for he was sure I was going mad.'

Of Sedition.

'The multitude of papers is a complaint so common in the introduction of every new one, that it would be a shame to repeat it; for my own part, I am so far from repining at this evil, that I sincerely wish there were ten times the number. By this means one may hope to see the appetite for impertinence, defamation, and treason (so prevalent in the generality of readers) at last surfeit itself, and my honoured brethren the modern authors be obliged to employ themselves in some more honest manufacture than that of the Belles Lettres.

''Tis impossible for one who has the least knowledge and regard for his country's interest to look into a coffee-house without the greatest concern. Industry and application are the true and genuine honour of a trading city; where these are everywhere visible all is well. Whenever I see a false thirst for knowledge in my own countrymen, 316 I am sorry they ever learnt to read. I would not be thought an enemy to literature (being, indeed, a very learned person myself), but when I observe a worthy trader, without any natural malice of his own, sucking in the poison of popularity, and boiling with indignation against an administration which the pamphleteer informs him is very corrupt, I am grieved that ever Machiavel, Hobbes, Sidney, Filmer, and the more illustrious moderns, including myself, appeared in human nature.

'Idleness is the parent of innumerable vices, and detraction is generally the first, though not immediately the most mischievous, that is born of it. The mind of man is of such an ill make that it relishes defamation much better than applause; so every writer who makes his court to the multitude must sacrifice his superiors to his patrons.

'That there is a very great and indefeasible authority in the people, or Commons of Great Britain, everyone allows. Power is ever naturally and rightfully founded in those who have anything to risk; and this power delegated into the hands of Parliament, it there becomes legally absolute, and the people are, by their very constitution, obliged to a passive obedience.

'Nothing is better known than this, nothing on all sides more generally allowed, and one would imagine nothing could sooner silence the clamour of little statesmen and politicians; that jargon of public-spiritedness, which wastes so much of the time of the busy part of our countrymen. The misfortune is that though everyone 317 (who is not indeed crack-brained with the love of his country) will own that the populace, by having delegated the right of inspecting public affairs to others, have no authority to be troublesome about it themselves, yet everyone excepts himself from the multitude, and imagines that his own particular talent for public business ought to exempt him from so severe a restraint. Hence arises the great demand for newspapers and coffee. Happy is it for the nation and for the Government that the distemper and the medicine are found at the same place, and the blue-apron officer who presents you with a newspaper, to heat the brain and disturb the understanding, is ready the same moment to apply those composing specificks, a dish and a pipe. Otherwise, what revolutions and abdications might we not expect to see? I should not be surprised to hear that a general officer in the trained-bands had run stark staring mad out of a coffee-house at noon day, declared for a Free Parliament, and proclaimed my Lord Mayor King of England.'



Characteristic Passages from the Works of The 'Humourists,' from Thackeray's Library, illustrated by the Author's hand, with Marginal Sketches suggested by the Text—The 'World,' 1753—Introduction—Its Difference from the Earlier Essays—Distinguished Authors who contributed to the 'World'—Paragraphs and Pencillings.

The 'World'—writes Dr. Chalmers, in his historical and biographical preface to this series—differs from its predecessors in the general plan, although the ultimate tendency is similar. We have here no philosophy of morals, no indignant censure of the grosser vices, no critical disquisitions, and, in general, scarcely anything serious. Irony is the predominant feature. This caustic species of wit is employed in the 'World' to execute purposes which other methods had failed to accomplish.

The authors of these essays affected to consider the follies of their day as beneath their notice, and therefore tried what good might be done by turning them into ridicule, under the mask of defence or apology, and thus ingeniously demonstrated that every defence of what is in itself absurd and wrong, must either partake of the ridiculous, or be intolerable and repugnant to common sense and reason. With such intentions, notwithstanding their apparent good humour, they may, perhaps, in the apprehension of many readers, appear more severe censors of the foibles of the age than any who have gone before them.

The design, as professed in the first paper, was to ridicule, with novelty and good humour, the fashions, foibles, vices, and absurdities of that part of the human species which calls itself 'The World;' and this the principal writers were enabled to execute with facility, from the knowledge incidental to their rank 319 in life, the elevated sphere in which they moved, their intercourse with a part of society not easily accessible to authors in general, and the good sense which prevented them from being blinded by the glare or enslaved by the authority of fashion.

The 'World' was projected by Edward Moore[25] —in conjunction with Robert Dodsley, the eminent publisher of Johnson's 'Dictionary'—who fixed upon the name; and by defraying the expense, and rewarding Moore, became, and for many years continued to be, the sole proprietor of the work.

Edward Moore's abilities, his modest demeanour, inoffensive manners, and moral conduct, recommended him to the men of genius and learning of the age, and procured him the patronage of Lord Lyttleton, who engaged his friends to assist him in the way which a man not wholly dependent would certainly prefer. Dodsley, the publisher, stipulated to pay Moore three guineas for every paper of the 'World' which he should write, or which might be sent for publication and approved of. Lord Lyttleton, to render this bargain effectual, and an easy source of emolument to his protégé, solicited the assistance of such men as are not often found willing to contribute the labours of the pen, men of high rank in the state, and men of fame and fashion, who cheerfully undertook to supply the paper, while Moore reaped the emolument, and perhaps for a time enjoyed the reputation of the whole. But when it became known, as the information soon circulated in whispers, that such men as the Earls of Chesterfield, Bath, and Cork—that Horace Walpole, Richard Owen Cambridge, and Soame Jenyns—besides other persons of both distinction and parts—were leagued in a scheme of authorship to amuse the town, and that the 'World' was the bow of Ulysses, in which it was 'the fashion for men of rank and genius to try their strength,' we may easily suppose that it would excite the curiosity of the public in an uncommon degree.

The first paper was published January 24, 1753; it was consequently contemporary with the 'Adventurer,' which began November 7, 1752; but as the 'World' was published only once 320 a week, it outlived the 'Adventurer' nearly two years, during which time it ran its course also with the 'Connoisseur.' It was of the same size and type and at the same price with the 'Rambler' and 'Adventurer,' but the sale in numbers was superior to either. In No. 3, Lord Chesterfield states that the number sold weekly was two thousand, which number, he adds, 'exceeds the largest that was ever printed, even of the "Spectator."' In No. 49, he hints that 'not above three thousand were sold.' The sale was probably not regular, and would be greater on the days when rumour announced his lordship as the writer. The usual number printed was two thousand five hundred, as stated in a letter from Moore to Dr. Warton. Notwithstanding the able assistance of his right honourable friends, Moore wrote sixty-one of these papers, and part of another. He excelled principally in assuming the serious manner for the purposes of ridicule, or of raising idle curiosity; his irony is admirably concealed. However trite his subject, he enlivens it by original turns of thought.

In the last paper, the conclusion of the work is made to depend on a fictitious accident which is supposed to have happened to the author and occasioned his death. When the papers were collected in volumes, Moore superintended the publication, and actually died while this last paper was in the press: a circumstance somewhat singular, when we look at the contents of it, and which induces us to wish that death may be less frequently included among the topics of wit.

It has been the general opinion, for the honour of rank, that the papers written by men of that description in the 'World' are superior to those of Moore, or of his assistants of 'low degree.' It may be conceded that among the contributories the first place is due, in point of genius, taste, and elegance, to the pen of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield.

Lord Chesterfield's services to this paper were purely voluntary, but a circumstance occurred to his first communication which had nearly disinclined him to send a second. He sent his paper to the publisher without any notice of its authorship; it underwent a casual inspection, and, from its length, was at least delayed, if not positively rejected. Fortunately Lord Lyttleton saw it at Dodsley's, and knew the hand. Moore then hastened to publish the paper (No. 18), and thought proper to introduce it with an 321 apology for the delay, and a neat compliment to the wit and good sense of his correspondent.

Chesterfield continued his papers occasionally, and wrote in all twenty-three numbers, certainly equal, if not superior, in brilliancy of wit and novelty of thought, to the most popular productions of this kind.

A certain interest surrounds most of the authors who assisted in the 'World,' and many of the papers were written under circumstances which increase the attraction of their contents. We have not space to particularise special essays, or to enter upon the biographical details which properly belong to our subject; we must restrict further notice to a mere recapitulation of the contributors and their pieces. Richard Owen Cambridge, the author of the 'Scribleriad,' wrote in all twenty-one papers. Horace Walpole was the author of nine papers in the 'World,' all of which excel in keen satire, shrewd remark, easy and scholarly diction, and knowledge of mankind; indeed, for sprightly humour these papers probably excel all his other writings, and most of those of his contemporaries. For five papers we are indebted to Soame Jenyns, who held the office and rank of one of the Lords Commissioners of the Board of Trade and Plantations. James Tilson, Consul at Cadiz, furnished five papers of considerable merit and novelty. Five papers, chiefly of the more serious kind, were contributed by Edward Loveybond; the 'Tears of Old May-Day,' No. 82 of the 'World,' is esteemed one of his best poetic compositions.

W. Whitehead, the Poet Laureate, wrote three papers, Nos. 12, 19, and 58. Nos. 79, 156, 202 were written by Richard Berenger, Gentleman of the Horse to the King. Sir James Marriott, Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, and Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, wrote Nos. 117, 121, 199. The 'Adventures of the Pumpkin Family,' zealous to defend their honour, given in Nos. 47 and 63, were written by John, Earl of Cork and Orrery, the amiable nobleman who, as Johnson whimsically declared, 'was so generally civil, that nobody thanked him for it.' The Earl of Cork is also said to have contributed Nos. 161 and 185; he took a more active part in the 'Connoisseur.'

To his son, Mr. Hamilton Boyle, who afterwards succeeded 322 to the earl's title, the 'World' was indebted for Nos. 60 and 170, two papers drawn up with vivacity, humour, and elegance.

William Pulteney, Earl of Bath, to whom the second volume of the 'Guardian' was dedicated, contributed to the 'World,' in his seventy-first year, No. 7, a lively paper on horse-racing and the manners of Newmarket.

Three papers, Nos. 140, 147, and 204, specimens of easy and natural humour, came from the pen of Sir David Dalrymple, better known as Lord Hailes, one of the senators of the College of Justice in Scotland; in advanced life Lord Hailes contributed several papers remarkable for vivacity and point to the 'Mirror.' William Duncombe, a poetical and miscellaneous writer, was the author of the allegory in No. 84; his son, the Rev. John Duncombe, of Canterbury, was the author of No. 36. The latter gentleman appears in connection with the 'Connoisseur.' Nos. 38 and 74 were written by Mr. Parratt, the author of some poems in Dodsley's collection. Nos. 78 and 86 are from the pen of the Rev. Thomas Cole.

The remaining writers in the 'World' were single-paper men, but some of them of considerable distinction in other departments of literary and of public life.

No. 15 was written by the Rev. Francis Coventrye. No. 26 was the production of Dr. Thomas Warton, who was then contributing to the 'Adventurer.' In No. 32 criticism is treated with considerable humour as a species of disease by the publisher, Robert Dodsley, whose popularity extended to all ranks.

No. 37, like Lord Chesterfield's first contributions, was accorded the honour of an extra half-sheet, rather than that the excellences of the letter should be curtailed. It is not only the longest, but is considered one of the best papers in the collection. It was written by Sir Charles Hunbury Williams, for some time the English Minister at the Courts of Berlin and St. Petersburgh. A humorous letter on posts (No. 45) was from the pen of William Hayward Roberts, afterwards Provost of Eton College, Chaplain to the King, and Rector of Farnham Royal, Buckinghamshire. One of the best papers for delicate irony to be found in the entire series of humorous essayists, No. 83, on the 'Manufactory of Thunder and Lightning,' was written by Mr. William Whittaker, a serjeant-at-law and a Welsh judge. 323

Nos. 110 and 159 are attributed to John Gilbert Cooper, author of the 'Life of Socrates,' and 'Letters on Taste.' Thomas Mulso, a brother of Mrs. Chapone, is set down as the writer of No. 31. He published, in 1768, 'Calistus, or the Man of Fashion,' and 'Sophronius, or the Country Gentleman in Dialogues.' James Ridley, author of the 'Tales of the Genii' and of the 'Schemer,' contributed No. 155. Mr. Gataker, a surgeon of eminence, was the author of No. 184. Mr. Herring, rector of Great Mongeham, Kent, wrote No. 122, on the 'Distresses of a Physician without Patronage.' Mr. Moyle wrote No. 156, on 'False Honour,' and Mr. Burgess No. 198, an excellent paper on the 'Difficulty of Getting Rid of Oneself.' The 'Ode to Sculpture,' in No. 200, was written by James Scott, D.D. Forty-one papers were written by persons whose names were either unknown to the publisher, or who desired to remain anonymous.

The 'World' has been frequently reprinted, and will probably always remain a favourite, for its materials, although sustained by the most whimsical raillery, are not of a perishable kind. The manners of fashionable life are not so mutable in their principles as is commonly supposed, and those who practise them may at least boast that they have stronger stamina than to yield to the attacks of wit or morals.

No. 7. The 'World.'Feb. 15, 1753.

'Whoever is a frequenter of public assemblies, or joins in a party of cards in private families, will give evidence to the truth of this complaint.

'How common is it with some people, at the conclusion of every unsuccessful hand of cards, to burst forth into sallies of fretful complaints of their own amazing ill-fortune and the constant and invariable success of their antagonists! They have such excellent memories as to be able to recount every game they have lost for six months successively, and yet are so extremely forgetful at the same time as not to recollect a single game they have won. Or if you put them in mind of any extraordinary success that you have been witness to, they acknowledge it with reluctance, and assure you, upon their honours, that in a whole twelvemonth's play they never rose winners but that once. 324

'But if these growlers (a name which I shall always call men of this class by) would only content themselves with giving repeated histories of their ill-fortunes, without making invidious remarks on the success of others, the evil would not be so great.

'Indeed, I am apt to impute it to their fears, that they stop short of the grossest affronts; for I have seen in their faces such rancour and inveteracy, that nothing but a lively apprehension of consequences could have restrained their tongues.

'Happy would it be for the ladies if they had the consequences to apprehend; for, I am sorry to say it, I have met with female, I will not say growlers, the word is too harsh for them; let me call them fretters, who with the prettiest faces and the liveliest wit imaginable, have condescended to be the jest and the disturbance of the whole company.'

No. 18. The 'World.'May 3, 1753.

A worthy gentleman, who is suffering from the consequences of treating his wife and daughter to a visit to Paris, is describing, in a letter to Mr. FitzAdam, the follies into which the ladies of his party were betrayed 'in order to fit themselves out to appear, as the French say, honnêtement.'

'In about three days,' writes the victim of these vagaries of fashion, 'the several mechanics, who were charged with the care of disguising my wife and daughter, brought home their respective parts of the transformation. More than the whole morning was employed in this operation, for we did not sit down to dinner till near five o'clock. When my wife and daughter came at last into the eating-room, where I had waited for them at least two hours, I was so struck with their transformation that I could neither conceal nor express my astonishment. "Now, my dear," said my wife, "we can appear a little like Christians." "And strollers too," replied I; "for such have I seen at Southwark Fair. This cannot surely be serious!" "Very serious, depend upon it, my 325 dear," said my wife; "and pray, by the way, what may there be ridiculous in it?"

'Addressing myself to my wife and daughter, I told them I perceived that there was a painter now in Paris who coloured much higher than Rigault, though he did not paint near so like; for that I could hardly have guessed them to be the pictures of themselves. To this they both answered at once, that red was not paint; that no colour in the world was fard but white, of which they protested they had none.

'"But how do you like my pompon, papa?" continued my daughter; "is it not a charming one? I think it is prettier than mamma's." "It may be, child, for anything that I know; because I do not know what part of all this frippery thy pompon is." "It is this, papa," replied the girl, putting up her hand to her head, and showing me in the middle of her hair a complication of shreds and rags of velvets, feathers, and ribands, stuck with false stones of a thousand colours, and placed awry.

'"But what hast thou done to thy hair, child, and why is it blue? Is that painted, too, by the same eminent hand that coloured thy cheeks?" "Indeed, papa," answered the girl, "as I told you before, there is no painting in the case; but what gives my hair that bluish cast is the grey powder, which has always that effect on dark-coloured hair, and sets off the complexion wonderfully." "Grey powder, child!" said I, with some surprise; "grey hairs I knew were venerable; but till this moment I never knew they were genteel." "Extremely so, with some complexions," said my wife; "but it does not suit with mine, and I never use it." "You are much in the right, my dear," replied I, "not to play with edge-tools. Leave it to the girl." This, which perhaps was too hastily said, was not kindly taken; my wife was silent all dinner-time, and I vainly hoped ashamed. My daughter, intoxicated with her dress, kept up the conversation with herself, till the long-wished-for moment of the opera came, which separated us, and left me time to reflect upon the extravagances which I had 326 already seen, and upon the still greater which I had but too much reason to dread.'

No. 21. The 'World.'May 24, 1753.

I am not so partial to the ladies, particularly the unmarried ones, as to imagine them without fault; on the contrary, I am going to accuse them of a very great one, which, if not put a stop to before the warm weather comes in, no mortal can tell to what lengths it may be carried. You have already hinted at this fault in the sex, under the genteel appellation of moulting their dress. If necks, shoulders, &c., have begun to shed their covering in winter, what a general display of nature are we to expect this summer, when the excuse of heat may be alleged in favour of such a display! I called some time ago upon a friend of mine near St. James's, who, upon my asking where his sister was, told me, "At her toilette, undressing for the ridetto." That the expression may be intelligible to every one of your readers, I beg leave to inform them that it is the fashion for a lady to undress herself to go abroad, and to dress only when she stays at home and sees no company.

'It may be urged, perhaps, that the nakedness in fashion is intended only to be emblematical of the innocence of the present generation of young ladies; as we read of our first mother before the fall, that she was naked and not ashamed; but I cannot help thinking that her daughters of these times should convince us that they are entirely free from original sin, or else be ashamed of their nakedness. 327

'I would ask any pretty miss about town, if she ever went a second time to see the wax-work, or the lions, or even the dogs or the monkeys, with the same delight as at first? Certain it is that the finest show in the world excites but little curiosity in those who have seen it before. "That was a very fine picture," says my lord, "but I had seen it before." "'Twas a sweet song," says my lady, "but I had heard it before." "A very fine poem," says the critic, "but I had read it before." Let every lady, therefore, take care, that while she is displaying in public a bosom whiter than snow, the men do not look as if they were saying, "'Tis very pretty, but we have seen it before."'

No. 23. The 'World.'June 7, 1753.

'A recent visit to Bedlam revived an opinion I have often entertained, that the maddest people in the kingdom are not in but out of Bedlam. I have frequently compared in my own mind the actions of certain persons whom we daily meet with in the world with those of Bedlam, who, properly speaking, may be said to be out of it; and I know of no difference between them, than that the former are mad with their reason about them, and the latter so from the misfortune of having lost it. But what is extraordinary in this age, when, to its honour be it spoken, charity is become fashionable, these unhappy wretches are suffered to run loose about the town, raising riots in public assemblies, beating constables, breaking lamps, damning parsons, affronting modesty, disturbing families, and destroying their own fortunes and constitutions; and all this without any provision being made for them, or the least attempt being made to cure them of this madness in their blood.

'The miserable objects I am speaking of are divided into two classes: the Men of Spirit about town, and the Bucks. The Men of Spirit have some glimmerings of understanding, the Bucks none; the former are demoniacs, or people possessed; the latter are uniformly and incurably mad. For the reception and confinement of both these classes, I would humbly propose that two very spacious buildings should be erected, the one called the hospital for the Men of Spirit or demoniacs, and the other the hospital for the Bucks or incurables. 328

'That after such hospitals are built, proper officers appointed, and doctors, surgeons, apothecaries, and mad nurses provided, all young noblemen and others within the bills of mortality having common sense, who shall be found offending against the rules of decency, shall immediately be conducted to the hospital for demoniacs, there to be exorcised, physicked, and disciplined into a proper use of their senses; and that full liberty be granted to all persons whatsoever to visit, laugh at, and make sport of these demoniacs, without let or molestation from any of the keepers, according to the present custom of Bedlam. To the Buck hospital for incurables, I would have all such persons conveyed that are mad through folly, ignorance, or conceit; therefore to be shut up for life, not only to be prevented from doing mischief, but from exposing in their own persons the weaknesses and miseries of mankind. The incurables on no pretence whatsoever are to be visited or ridiculed; as it would be altogether as inhuman to insult the unhappy wretches who never were possessed of their senses, as to make a jest of those who have unfortunately lost them.'

No. 34. The 'World.'Aug. 23, 1753.

'I am well aware that there are certain of my readers who have no belief in WITCHES; but I am willing to hope they are only those who either have not read, or else have forgot, the proceedings against them published at large in the state trials. If there is any man alive who can deny his assent to the positive and circumstantial evidence given against them in these trials, I shall only say that I pity most sincerely the hardness of his heart.

'What is it but witchcraft that occasions that universal and uncontrollable rage for play, by which the nobleman, the man of fashion, the merchant and the tradesman, with their wives, sons, and daughters, are running headlong to ruin? What is it but 329 witchcraft that conjures up that spirit of pride and passion for expense by which all classes of men, from his grace at Westminster to the salesman at Wapping, are entailing beggary upon their old age, and bequeathing their children to poverty and to the parish? I shall conclude by signifying my intention, one day or other, of hiring a porter and sending him with a hammer and nails, and a large quantity of horse-shoes, to certain houses in the purlieus of St James's. I believe it may not be amiss (as a charm against play) if he had orders to fix a whole dozen of these horse-shoes at the door of White's.'

No. 37. The 'World.'Sept. 13, 1753.

On Toad-eating.

'To Mr. FitzAdam.

'Sir,—I am the widow of a merchant with whom I lived happily and in affluence for many years. We had no children, and when he died he left me all he had; but his affairs were so involved that the balance which I received, after having gone through much expense and trouble, was no more than one thousand pounds. This sum I placed in the hands of a friend of my husband's, who was reckoned a good man in the City, and who allowed me an interest of four per cent, for my capital; and with this forty pounds a year I retired and boarded in a village about a hundred miles from London.

'There was a lady, an old lady, of great fortune in that neighbourhood, who visited often at the house where I lodged; she pretended, after a short acquaintance, to take a great liking to me; she professed friendship for me, and at length persuaded me to come and live with her.

'One day, when her ladyship had treated me with uncommon kindness for my having taken her part in a dispute with one of her relations, I received a letter from London, to inform me that the person in whose hands I had placed my fortune, and who till that time had paid my interest money very exactly, was broke, and had left the kingdom.

'I handed the letter to her ladyship, who immediately read it over with more attention than emotion.

'Whenever Lady Mary spoke to me she had hitherto called 330 me Mrs. Truman; but the very next morning at breakfast she left out Mrs.; and upon no greater provocation than breaking a teacup, she made me thoroughly sensible of her superiority and my dependence. "Lord, Truman! you are so awkward; pray be more careful for the future, or we shall not live long together. Do you think I can afford to have my china broken at this rate, and maintain you into the bargain?"

'From this moment I was obliged to drop the name and character of friend, which I had hitherto maintained with a little dignity, and to take up with that which the French call complaisante, and the English humble companion. But it did not stop here; for in a week I was reduced to be as miserable a toad-eater as any in Great Britain, which in the strictest sense of the word is a servant; except that the toad-eater has the honour of dining with my lady, and the misfortune of receiving no wages.'

No. 46. The 'World.'Nov. 15, 1753.

'A correspondent who is piqued at not being recognised by the great people to whom he has been but recently presented, is very unreasonable, for he cannot but have observed at the playhouses and other public places, from the number of glasses used by people of fashion, that they are naturally short-sighted.

'It is from this visual defect that a great man is apt to mistake fortune for honour, a service of plate for a good name, and his neighbour's wife for his own.'

No. 47. The 'World.'Nov. 22, 1753.

'To Mr. FitzAdam.

'Sir,—Dim-sighted as I am, my spectacles have assisted me sufficiently to read your papers. As a recompense for the pleasure I have received from them, I send you a family anecdote, which 331 till now has never appeared in print. I am the grand-daughter of Sir Josiah Pumpkin, of Pumpkin Hall, in South Wales. I was educated at the hall-house of my own ancestors, under the care and tuition of my honoured grandfather. It was the constant custom of my grandfather, when he was tolerably free from the gout, to summon his three grand-daughters to his bedside, and amuse us with the most important transactions of his life. He told us he hoped we would have children, to whom some of his adventures might prove useful and instructive.

'Sir Josiah was scarce nineteen years old when he was introduced at the Court of Charles the Second, by his uncle Sir Simon Sparrowgrass, who was at that time Lancaster herald-at-arms, and in great favour at Whitehall.

'As soon as he had kissed the King's hand, he was presented to the Duke of York, and immediately afterwards to the ministers and the mistresses. His fortune, which was considerable, and his manners, which were elegant, made him so very acceptable in all companies, that he had the honour to be plunged at once into every polite party of wit, pleasure, and expense, that the courtiers could possibly display. He danced with the ladies, he drank with the gentlemen, he sang loyal catches, and broke bottles and glasses in every tavern throughout London. But still he was by no means a perfect fine gentleman. He had not fought a DUEL. He was so extremely unfortunate as never to have had even the happiness of a rencontre. The want of opportunity, not of courage, had occasioned this inglorious chasm in his character. He appeared, not only to the whole court, but even in his own eye, an unworthy and degenerate Pumpkin, till he had shown himself as expert in opening a vein with a sword as any surgeon in England could be with a lancet. Things remained in this unhappy situation till he was near two-and-twenty years of age.

'At length his better stars prevailed, and he received a most egregious affront from Mr. Cucumber, one of the gentlemen-ushers of the privy-chamber. Cucumber, who was in waiting at court, spit inadvertently into the chimney, and as he stood next to Sir Josiah Pumpkin, part of the spittle rested upon Sir Josiah's shoe. It was then that the true Pumpkin honour arose in blushes upon his cheeks. He turned upon his heel, went home immediately, and sent Mr. Cucumber a challenge. Captain Daisy, a friend to 332 each party, not only carried the challenge, but adjusted preliminaries. The heroes were to fight in Moorfields, and to bring fifteen seconds on a side. Punctuality is a strong instance of valour upon these occasions; the clock of St. Paul's struck seven just when the combatants were marking out their ground, and each of the two-and-thirty gentlemen was adjusting himself into a posture of defence against his adversary. It happened to be the hour for breakfast in the hospital of Bedlam. A small bell had rung to summon the Bedlamites into the great gallery. The keepers had already unlocked the cells, and were bringing forth their mad folks, when the porter of Bedlam, Owen Macduffy, standing at the iron gate, and beholding such a number of armed men in the fields, immediately roared out, "Fire, murder, swords, daggers, bloodshed!" Owen's voice was always remarkably loud, but his fears had rendered it still louder and more tremendous. His words struck a panic into the keepers; they lost all presence of mind, they forgot their prisoners, and hastened most precipitately down stairs to the scene of action. At the sight of the naked swords their fears increased, and at once they stood open-mouthed and motionless. Not so the lunatics; freedom to madmen and light to the blind are equally rapturous. Ralph Rogers, the tinker, began the alarm. His brains had been turned with joy at the Restoration, and the poor wretch imagined that this glorious set of combatants were Roundheads and Fanatics, and accordingly he cried out, "Liberty and property, my boys! Down with the Rump! Cromwell and Ireton are come from hell to destroy us. Come, my Cavalier lads, follow me, and let us knock out their brains." The Bedlamites immediately obeyed, and, with the tinker at their head, leaped over the balusters of the staircase, and ran wildly into the fields. In their way they picked up some staves 333 and cudgels, which the porters and the keepers had inadvertently left behind, and, rushing forward with amazing fury, they forced themselves outrageously into the midst of the combatants, and in one unlucky moment disturbed all the decency and order with which this most illustrious duel had begun.

'It seemed, according to my grandfather's observation, a very untoward fate that two-and-thirty gentlemen of courage, honour, fortune, and quality should meet together in hopes of killing each other with all that resolution and politeness which belonged to their stations, and should at once be routed, dispersed, and even wounded by a set of madmen, without sword, pistol, or any other more honourable weapon than a cudgel.

'The madmen were not only superior in strength, but numbers. Sir Josiah Pumpkin and Mr. Cucumber stood their ground as long as possible, and they both endeavoured to make the lunatics the sole object of their mutual revenge; but the two friends were soon overpowered, and, no person daring to come to their assistance, each of them made as proper a retreat as the place and circumstances would admit.

'Many other gentlemen were knocked down and trampled under foot. Some of them, whom my grandfather's generosity would never name, betook themselves to flight in a most inglorious 334 manner. An earl's son was spied clinging submissively round the feet of mad Pocklington, the tailor. A young baronet, although naturally intrepid, was obliged to conceal himself at the bottom of Pippin Kate's apple-stall. A Shropshire squire, of three thousand pounds a year, was discovered, chin deep and almost stifled, in Fleet Ditch. Even Captain Daisy himself was found in a milk-cellar, with visible marks of fear and consternation. Thus ended this inauspicious day. But the madmen continued their outrages many days after. It was near a week before they were all retaken and chained to their cells, and during that interval of liberty they committed many offensive pranks throughout the cities of London and Westminster.

'Such unforeseen disasters occasioned some prudent regulations in the laws of honour. It was enacted from that time that six combatants (three on a side) might be allowed and acknowledged to contain such a quantity of blood in their veins as should be sufficient to satisfy the highest affront that could be offered.'

No. 64. The 'World.'March 21, 1754.

One of Mr. FitzAdam's correspondents is describing a morning he spent in the library of Lord Finican, with which nobleman he was invited to breakfast:—

'I now fell to the books with a good appetite, intending to make a full meal; and while I was chewing upon a piece of Tully's philosophical writings, my lord came in upon me. His looks discovered great uneasiness, which I attributed to the effects of the last night's diversions; but good manners requiring me to prefer his lordship's conversation to my own amusement, I replaced his book, and by the sudden satisfaction in his countenance perceived that the cause of his perturbation was my holding open the book with a pinch of snuff in my fingers. He said he was glad to see me, for he should not have known else what to have done with himself. I returned the compliment by saying I 335 thought he could not want entertainment amidst so choice a collection of books. "Yes," replied he, "the collection is not without elegance; but I read men only now, for I finished my studies when I set out on my travels. You are not the first who has admired my library; and I am allowed to have as fine a taste in books as any man in England."

'Hereupon he showed me a "Pastor Fido," bound in green and decorated with myrtle-leaves. He then took down a volume of Tillotson, in a black binding, with the leaves as white as a law-book, and gilt on the back with little mitres and crosiers; and lastly, Cæsar's "Commentaries," clothed in red and gold, in imitation of the military uniform of English officers.'

The literary gentleman finally elicits that his lordship's books are simply selected for fashion and show, and that they are never read, Lord Finican having long given up the study of books, and merely collecting a library to establish the excellence of his taste.

No. 68. The 'World.'April 18, 1754.

Mr. FitzAdam prints a letter received from a widow, describing the real facts of the injuries by which her husband had lost his life in a duel:—

'Mr. Muzzy was very fat and extremely lethargic, and so stupidly heavy that he fell asleep even in musical assemblies, and snored in the playhouse, as loud, poor man! as he used to snore in bed. However, having received many taunts and reproaches, he resolved to challenge his own cousin-german, Brigadier Truncheon, of Soho Square. It seems the person challenged 336 fixed upon the place and weapons. Truncheon, a deep-sighted man, chose Primrose Hill for the field of battle, and swords for the weapons of defence. To avoid suspicion and to prevent a discovery, they were to walk together from Piccadilly, where we then lived, to the summit of Primrose Hill. Truncheon's scheme took effect. Mr. Muzzy was much fatigued and out of breath with the walk. However, he drew his sword; and, as he assured me himself, began to attack his cousin with valour. The brigadier went back; Mr. Muzzy pursued; but not having his adversary's alacrity, he stopped a little to take breath. He stopped, alas! too long: his lethargy came on with more than usual violence; he first dozed as he stood upon his legs, and then beginning to nod forward, dropped by degrees upon his face in a most profound sleep.

'Truncheon, base man! took this opportunity to wound my husband as he lay snoring on the ground; and he had the cunning to direct his stab in such a manner as to make it supposed that Mr. Muzzy had fled, and in his flight had received a wound in the most ignominious part of his body. You will ask what became of the seconds. They were both killed upon the spot; but being only two servants, the one a butler and the other a cook, they were buried the same night; and by the power of a little money, properly applied, no further inquiry was made about them.

'Mr. Muzzy, wounded as he was, might probably have slept upon that spot for many hours, had he not been awakened by the cruel bites of a mastiff. My poor husband was thoroughly awakened by the new hurt he had received; and indeed it was impossible to have slept while he was losing whole collops of the fattest and most pulpy part of his flesh: so that he was brought home to me much more wounded by the teeth of the mastiff than 337 by the sword of his cousin Truncheon.' The wound eventually mortified, Mr. Muzzy lost his life, and the writer became a widow.

No. 82. The 'World.'July 25, 1754.

'The Tears of Old May-day.

'Led by the jocund train of vernal hours,

And vernal airs, up rose the gentle May,

Blushing she rose and blushing rose the flowers

That spring spontaneous in her genial ray.

'Her locks with Heaven's ambrosial dews were bright,

And am'rous Zephyrs flutter'd on her breast;

With ev'ry shifting gleam of morning light

The colours shifted of her rainbow vest.

'Imperial ensigns graced her smiling form,

A golden key and golden wand she bore;

This charms to peace each sullen eastern storm,

And that unlocks the summer's copious store.

'Vain hope, no more in choral bands unite

Her virgin vot'ries, and at early dawn,

Sacred to May and Love's mysterious rite,

Brush the light dewdrops[26] from the spangled lawn.

'To her no more Augusta's[27] wealthy pride

Pours the full tribute of Potosi's mine;

Nor fresh-blown garlands village maids provide,

A purer off'ring at her rustic shrine.

'No more the May-pole's verdant height around,

To valour's games th' adventurous youth advance;

To merry bells and tabor's sprightlier sound

Wake the loud carol and the sportive dance.'

'I have hinted more than once that the present age (1754), notwithstanding the vices and follies with which it abounds, has the happiness of standing as high in my opinion as any age whatsoever. But it has always been the fashion to believe that from the beginning of the world to the present day men have been increasing in wickedness. 338

'I believe that all vices will be found to exist amongst us much in the same degree as heretofore, forms only changing.

'Our grandfathers used to get drunk with strong beer and port; we get drunk with claret and champagne. They would lie abominably to conceal their peccadilloes; we lie as abominably in boasting of ours. They stole slily in at the back-door of a bagnio; we march in boldly at the front-door, and immediately steal out slily at the back-door. Our mothers were prudes; their daughters coquettes. The first dressed like modest women, and perhaps were wantons; the last dress like women of pleasure, and perhaps are virtuous. Those treated without hanging out a sign; these hang out a sign without intending to treat. To be still more particular: the abuse of power, the views of patriots, the flattery of dependents, and the promises of great men are, I believe, pretty much the same now as in former ages. Vices that we have no relish for, we part with for those we like; giving up avarice for prodigality, hypocrisy for profligacy, and looseness for play.'

No. 86. The 'World.'Aug. 22, 1754.

A correspondent, after summing up the lessons he daily extracts from trees, flowers, insects, and the inmates of his garden, continues:—

'In short, there is such a close affinity between a proper cultivation of a flower-garden and a right discipline of the mind that it is almost impossible for any thoughtful 339 person, that has made any proficiency in the one, to avoid paying a due attention to the other. That industry and care which are so requisite to cleanse a garden from all sorts of weeds will naturally suggest to him how much more expedient it would be to exert the same diligence in eradicating all sorts of prejudices, follies, and vices from the mind, where they will be sure to prevail, without a great deal of care and correction, as common weeds in a neglected piece of ground.

'And as it requires more pains to extirpate some weeds than others, according as they are more firmly fixed, more numerous, or more naturalised to the soil; so those faults will be found to be most difficult to be suppressed which have been of the largest growth and taken the deepest root, which are more predominant in number and most congenial to the constitution.'

No. 92. The 'World.'Oct. 3, 1754.

Mr. FitzAdam, defining the characters of Siphons and Soakers, points to a theory that dropsy, of which so many of their order perish, is a manifest judgment upon them, the wine they so much loved being turned into water, and themselves drowned at last in the element they so much abhorred.

'A rational and sober man, invited by the wit and gaiety of good company, and hurried away by an uncommon flow of spirits, may happen to drink too much, and perhaps accidentally to get drunk; but then these sallies will be short and not frequent. Whereas the soaker is an utter stranger to wit and mirth, and no friend to either. His business is serious, and he applies himself seriously to it; he steadily pursues the numbing, stupefying, and petrifying, not the animating and exhilarating qualities of the wine. The more he drinks, the duller he grows; his politics become more obscure, and his narratives more tedious and less intelligible; till, at last maudlin, he employs what little articulation he has left in relating his doleful state to an insensible audience.

'I am well aware that the numerous society of siphons (as I 340 shall for the future typify the soakers, suction being equally the only business of both) will say, like Sir Tunbelly, "What would this fellow have us do?" To which I am at no loss for an answer: "Do anything else."'

No. 100. The 'World.'Nov. 28, 1754.

'I heard the other day with great pleasure from my friend, Mr. Dodsley, that Mr. Johnson's "English Dictionary," with a grammar and history of our language, will be published this winter, in two large volumes in folio.

'Many people have imagined that so extensive a work would have been best performed by a number of persons, who should have taken their several departments of examining, fitting, winnowing, purifying, and finally fixing our language by incorporating their respective funds into one joint stock.

'But, whether this opinion be true or false, I think the public in general, and the republic of letters in particular, are greatly obliged to Mr. Johnson for having undertaken and executed so great and desirable a work. Perfection is not to be expected from man; but if we are to judge by the various works of Mr. Johnson already published, we have good reason to believe that he will bring this as near to perfection as any one man could do. The plan of it, which we published some years ago, seems to me to be a proof of it. Nothing can be more rationally imagined or more accurately and elegantly expressed. I therefore recommend the previous perusal of it to all those who intend to buy the dictionary, and who, I suppose, are all those who can afford it.'

No. 103. The 'World.'Dec. 19, 1754.

Mr. FitzAdam relates an anecdote establishing the good breeding of highwaymen of the upper class:—

'An acquaintance of mine was robbed a few years ago, and 341 very near shot through the head by the going off of a pistol of the accomplished Mr. M'Lean, yet the whole affair was conducted with the greatest good breeding on both sides. The robber, who had only taken a purse this way because he had that morning been disappointed of marrying a great fortune, no sooner returned to his lodgings than he sent the gentleman two letters of excuses, which, with less wit than the epistles of Voltaire, had infinitely more natural and easy politeness in the turn of their expressions. In the postscript he appointed a meeting at Tyburn, at twelve at night, where the gentleman might purchase again any trifles he had lost; and my friend has been blamed for not accepting the rendezvous, as it seemed liable to be construed by ill-natured people into a doubt of the honour of a man who had given him all the satisfaction in his power for having unluckily been near shooting him through the head.'

No. 112. The 'World.'Feb. 20, 1755.

'My cobbler is also a politician. He reads the first newspapers he can get, desirous to be informed of the state of affairs in Europe, and of the street robberies of London. He has not, I presume, analysed the interests of the respective countries of Europe, nor deeply considered those of his own; still less is he systematically informed of the political duties of a citizen and subject. But his heart and his habits supply these defects. He glows with zeal for the honour and prosperity of old England; he will fight for it if there be an occasion, and drink to it perhaps a little too often and too much. However, is it not to be wished that there were in this country six millions of such honest and zealous, though uninformed, citizens?

'Our honest cobbler is thoroughly convinced, as his forefathers were for many centuries, that one Englishman can beat three Frenchmen; and in that persuasion he would by no means 342 decline the trial. Now, though in my own private opinion, deduced from physical principles, I am apt to believe that one Englishman could beat no more than two Frenchmen of equal size with himself, I should, however, be unwilling to undeceive him of that useful and sanguine error, which certainly made his countrymen triumph in the fields of Poictiers and Crecy.'

No. 122. The 'World.'May 1, 1755.

'As I was musing one morning, in a most disconsolate mood, with my leg in my landlady's lap, while she darned one of my stockings, it came into my head to collect from various books, together with my own experience and observations, plain and wholesome rules on the subject of diet, and then publish them in a neat pocket volume; for I was always well inclined to do good to the world, however ungratefully it used me. I doubt, Mr. FitzAdam, you will hardly forbear smiling to hear a man who was almost starved talk gravely of compiling observations on diet. The moment I finished my volume I ran to an eminent bookseller near the Mansion House; he was just set down to dinner.... As soon as the cloth was taken away I produced my manuscript, and the bookseller put on his spectacles; but to my no small mortification, after glancing an eye over the title-page, he looked steadfastly upon me for near a minute in a kind of amazement I could not account for, and then broke out in the following manner:—"My dear sir, you are come to the very worst place in the world for the sale of such a performance as this—to think of expecting the Court of Aldermen's permission to preach upon the subject of lean and fallow abstinence between the Royal Exchange and Temple Bar!"' 343

No. 130. The 'World.'June 26, 1755.

Extracts from a letter written by 'Priscilla Cross-stitch,' for herself and sisters, on the subject of the indelicacy of nankin breeches, as indulged in by Patrick, their footman:—

'We give him no livery, but allow him a handsome sum yearly for clothes; and, to say the truth, till within the last week he has dressed with great propriety and decency, when all at once, to our great confusion and distress, he has the assurance to appear at the sideboard in a pair of filthy nankin breeches, and those made to fit so extremely tight, that a less curious observer might have mistaken them for no breeches at all. The shame and confusion so visible in all our faces one would think would suggest to him the odiousness of his dress; but the fellow appears to have thrown off every appearance of decency, for at tea-table before company, as well as at meals, we are forced to endure him in this abominable nankin, our modesty conflicting with nature, to efface the idea it conveys.'

The ladies cannot well discharge a good servant for this indiscretion; their delicacy will not allow them to mention the dreadful word, nor venture on allusions to the objectionable part of the apparel; nor will they venture to entrust the task to their maids, as it might draw them into puzzling explanations. The publication of Priscilla's letter, with a warning to Patrick, and a general decree against suggestive drapery, declaring it a capital offence, is intended to relieve the ladies of their confusion.

No. 135. The 'World.'July 31, 1755.

'Hilarius is a downright country gentleman; a bon vivant; an indefatigable sportsman. He can drink his gallon at a sitting, and will tell you he was neither sick nor sorry in his life. Having 344 an estate of above five thousand a year, his strong beer, ale, and wine cellar are always well stored; to either of which, as also to his table, abounding in plenty of good victuals, ill-sorted and ill-dressed, every voter and fox-hunter claims a kind of right. He roars for the Church, which he never visits, and is eternally cracking his coarse jests and talking obscenity to the parsons, whom if he can make fuddled, and expose to contempt, it is the highest pleasure he can enjoy. As for his lay friends, nothing is more common with him than to set them and their servants dead drunk on their horses; and should any of them be found half smothered in a ditch the next morning, it affords him excellent diversion for a twelvemonth after. No one is readier to club a laugh with you, but he has no ear to the voice of distress or complaint. Thus Hilarius, on the false credit of generosity and good humour, swims triumphantly with the stream of applause without one single virtue in his composition.'

No. 142. The 'World.'Sept. 18, 1755.

Extract from the letter of a lady, a lover of peace and quietness, on the sufferings produced by her connection with people who are fond of noise. After describing the violence practised in her own home, the writer continues:—

'At last I was sent to board with a distant relation, who had been captain of a man-of-war, who had given up his commission and retired into the country. Unfortunately for poor me, the captain still retained a passion for firing a great gun, and had mounted, on a little fortification that was thrown up against the front of his house, eleven nine-pounders, which were constantly 345 discharged ten or a dozen times over on the arrival of visitors, and on all holidays and rejoicings. The noise of these cannon was more terrible to me than all the rest, and would have rendered my continuance there intolerable, if a young gentleman, a relation of the captain's, had not held me by the heart-strings, and softened by the most tender courtship in the world the horrors of these firings.'

The unfortunate lady's married life was doomed, however, to prove a union of noise and contention.

No. 150. The 'World.'Nov. 13, 1755.


'Among the ancient Romans the great offices of state were all elective, which obliged them to be very observant of the shape of the noses of those persons to whom they were to apply for votes. Horace tells us that a sharp nose was an indication of satirical wit and humour; for when speaking of his friend Virgil, though he says, "At est bonus, ut melior non alius quisquam," yet he allows he was no joker, and not a fit match at the sneer for those of his companions who had sharper noses than his own. They also looked upon the short noses, with a little inflection at the end tending upwards, as a mark of the owner's being addicted to jibing; for the same author, talking of Mæcenas, says that though he was born of an ancient family, yet was he not apt to turn persons of low birth into ridicule, which he expresses by saying that "he had not a turn-up nose." Martial, in one of his epigrams, calls this kind of nose the rhinocerotic nose, and says that everyone in his time affected this kind of snout, as an indication of his being master of the talent of humour.'

No. —. The 'World.'—1755.

'You may have frequently observed upon the face of that useful piece of machinery, a clock, the minute and hour hands, in their revolution through the twelve divisions of the day, to be not only shifting continually from one figure to another, but to stand at times in a quite opposite direction to their former bearings, and to each other. Now I conceive this to be pretty much the case with that complicated piece of mechanism, a modern female, or young woman of fashion: for as such I was accustomed to consider that part of the species as having no power to determine their own motions and appearances, but acted upon by the mode, and set to any point which the party who took the lead, or (to speak more properly) its regulator, pleased. But it has so happened in the circumrotation of modes and fashions, that the present set are not only moving on continually from one pretty fancy and conceit to another, but have departed quite aside from their former principles, dividing from each other in a circumstance wherein they were always accustomed to unite, and uniting where there was ever wont to be a distinction or difference.... The pride now is to get as far away as possible, not only from the vulgar, but from one another, and that, too, as well in the first principles of dress as in its subordinate decorations; so that its fluctuating humour is perpetually showing itself in some new and particular sort of cap, flounce, knot, or tippet; and every woman that you meet affects independency and to set up for herself.'

No. 153. The 'World.'Dec. 4, 1755.

The writer describes a country assembly, highly perfumed with 'the smell of the stable over which it was built, the savour of the neighbouring kitchen, the fumes of tallow candles, rum punch, and tobacco dispersed over the house, and the balsamic effluvia from 347 many sweet creatures who were dancing.' Everyone 'is pleased and desirous of pleasing,' with the exception of some fashionable young men blocking up the door—'whose faces I remember to have seen about town, who would neither dance, drink tea, play at cards, nor speak to anyone, except now and then in whispers to a young lady, who sat in silence at the upper end of the room, in a hat and négligée, with her back against the wall, her arms akimbo, her legs thrust out, a sneer on her lips, a scowl on her forehead, and an invincible assurance in her eyes. Their behaviour affronted most of the company, yet obtained the desired effect: for I overheard several of the country ladies say, "It was a pity they were so proud; for to be sure they were prodigious well-bred people, and had an immense deal of wit;" a mistake they could never have fallen into had these patterns of politeness condescended to have entered into any conversation.'

No. 163. The 'World.'Feb. 12, 1756.

'There was an ancient sect of philosophers, the disciples of Pythagoras, who held that the souls of men and all other animals existed in a state of perpetual transmigration, and that when by death they were dislodged from one corporeal habitation, they were immediately reinstated in another, happier or more miserable according to their behaviour in the former. This doctrine has always appeared to me to present a theory of retributory compensation which is very acceptable.

'Thus the tyrant, who by his power has oppressed his country in the situation of a prince, in that of a slave may be compelled to do it some service by his labour. The highwayman, who has stopped 348 and plundered travellers, may expiate and assist them in the shape of a post-horse; and mighty conquerors, who have laid waste the world by their swords, may be obliged, by a small alteration in sex and situation, to contribute to its re-peopling.

'For my own part, I verily believe this to be the case. I make no doubt but Louis XIV. is now chained to an oar in the galleys of France, and that Hernando Cortez is digging gold in the mines of Peru or Mexico; that Dick Turpin, the highwayman, is several times a day spurred backwards and forwards between London and Epping, and that Lord * * * * and Sir Harry * * * * are now roasting for a city feast. I question not but that Alexander the Great and Julius Cæsar have died many times in child-bed since their appearance in those illustrious and depopulating characters; that Charles XII. is at this instant a curate's wife in some remote village with a numerous and increasing family; and that Kouli-Khan is now whipped from parish to parish in the person of a big-bellied beggar-woman, with two children in her arms and three at her back.'

No. 164. The 'World.'Feb. 19, 1756.

'Mr. FitzAdam,—I am infested by a swarm of country cousins that are come up to town for the winter, as they call it—a whole family of them. They ferret me out from every place I go to, and it is impossible to stand the ridicule of being seen in their company.

'At their first coming to town I was, in a manner, obliged to gallant them to the play, where, having seated the mother with much ado, I offered my hand to the eldest of my five young cousins; but as she was not dexterous enough to manage a great hoop with one hand only, she refused my offer, and at the first step fell along. It was with great difficulty I got her up again; but imagine, sir, my situation. I sat like a mope all the night, not daring to look up for fear of catching the eyes of my acquaintance, who would have laughed me out of countenance. 349

'My friends see how I am mortified at all public places; and it is a standing jest with them, wherever they meet me, to put on the appearance of the profoundest respect, and to ask, "Pray, sir, how do your cousins do?" This leads me to propose something for the relief of all those whose country cousins, like mine, expect they should introduce them into the world; by which means we shall avoid appearing in a very ridiculous light. I would therefore set up a person who should be known by the name of Town Usher. His business should be to attend closely all young ladies who were never in town before, to teach them to walk into playhouses without falling over the benches, to show them the tombs and the lions, and the wax-work and the giant, and instruct them how to wonder and shut their mouths at the same time, for I really meet with so many gapers every day in the streets that I am continually yawning all the way I walk.'

No. 169. The 'World.'March 25, 1756.

'"Wanted a Curate at Beccles, in Suffolk. Inquire farther of Mr. Strut, Cambridge and Yarmouth carrier, who inns at the Crown, the end of Jesus Lane, Cambridge.

'"N.B.—To be spoken with from Friday noon to Saturday morning, nine o'clock."

'I have transcribed this from a newspaper, Mr. FitzAdam, verbatim et literatim, and must confess I look upon it as a curiosity. It would certainly be entertaining to hear the conversation between Mr. Strut, Cambridge and Yarmouth carrier, and the curate who offers himself. Doubtless Mr. Strut has his 350 orders to inquire into the young candidate's qualifications, and to make his report to the advertising rector before he agrees upon terms with him. But what principally deserves our observation is the propriety of referring us to a person who traffics constantly to that great mart of young divines, Cambridge, where the advertiser might expect numbers to flock to the person he employed. It is pleasant, too, to observe the "N.B." at the end of the advertisement; it carries with it an air of significance enough to intimidate a young divine who might possibly have been so bold as to have put himself on an equal footing with this negotiator, if he had not known that he was only to be spoken with at stated hours.'

No. 176. The 'World.'May 13, 1756.

'Going to visit an old friend at his country seat last week, I found him at backgammon with the vicar of the parish. My friend received me with the heartiest welcome, and introduced the doctor to my acquaintance. This gentleman, who seemed to be about fifty, and of a florid and healthy constitution, surveyed me 351 all over with great attention, and, after a slight nod of the head, sat himself down without opening his mouth. I was a little hurt at the supercilious behaviour of this divine, which my friend observing, told me very pleasantly that I was rather too old to be entitled to the doctor's complaisance, for he seldom bestowed it but upon the young and vigorous; "but," says he, "you will know him better soon, and may probably think it worth your while to book him in the 'World,' for you will find him altogether as odd a character as he is a worthy one." The doctor made no reply to this raillery, but continued some time with his eye fixed upon me, and at last shaking his head, and turning to my friend, asked if he would play out the other hit. My friend excused himself from engaging any more that evening, and ordered a bottle of wine, with pipes and tobacco, to be set on the table. The vicar filled his pipe, and drank very cordially to my friend, still eyeing me with a seeming dislike, and neither drinking my health nor speaking a single word to me. As I had long accustomed myself to drink nothing but water, I called for a bottle of it, and drank glass for glass with him; which upon the doctor's observing, he shook his head at my friend, and in a whisper, loud enough for me to hear, said, "Poor man! it is all over with him, I see." My friend smiled, and answered, in the same audible whisper, "No, no, doctor, Mr. FitzAdam intends to live as long as either of us." He then addressed himself to me on the occurrences of the town, and drew me into a very cheerful conversation, which lasted till I withdrew to rest; at which time the doctor rose from his chair, drank a bumper to my health, and, giving me a hearty shake by the hand, told me I was a very jolly old gentleman, and that he wished to be better acquainted with me during my stay in the country.'

No. 185. The 'World.'July 15, 1756.

'Mr. FitzAdam.

'Sir,—My case is a little singular, and therefore I hope you will let it appear in your paper. I should scarcely have attempted to make such a request, had I not very strictly looked over all the works of your predecessors, the "Tatlers," "Spectators," and 352 "Guardians," without a possibility of finding a parallel to my unhappy situation.

'I am not henpecked; I am not grimalkined; I have no Mrs. Freeman, with her Italian airs; but I have a wife more troublesome than all three by a certain ridiculous and unnecessary devotion that she pays to her father, amounting almost to idolatry. When I first married her, from that specious kind of weakness which meets with encouragement and applause only because it is called good-nature, I permitted her to do whatever she pleased; but when I thought it requisite to pull in the rein, I found that her having the bit in her teeth rendered the strength of my curb of no manner of use to me. Whenever I attempted to draw her in a little, she tossed up her head, snorted, pranced, and gave herself such airs, that unless I let her carry me where she pleased, my limbs if not my life were in danger.'

No. 191. The 'World.'Aug. 26, 1756.

'Ever since the tax upon dogs was first reported to be in agitation, I have been under the greatest alarm for the safety of the whole race.

'I thought it a little hard, indeed, that a man should be taxed for having one creature in his house in which he might confide; but when I heard that officers were to be appointed to knock out the brains of all these honest domestics who should presume to make their appearance in the streets without the passport of their master's name about their necks, I became seriously concerned for them. 353

'This enmity against dogs is pretended upon the apprehension of their going mad; but an easier remedy might be applied, by abolishing the custom (with many others equally ingenious) of stringing bottles and stones to their tails, by which means (and in this one particular I must give up my clients) the unfortunate sufferer becomes subject to the persecutions of his own species, too apt to join the run against a brother in distress.

'But great allowance should be made for an animal who, in an intimacy of nearly six thousand years with man, has learnt but one of his bad qualities.'

No. 192. The 'World.'Sept. 2, 1756.

'Mr. FitzAdam,—Walking up St. James's Street the other day, I was stopt by a very smart young female, who begged my pardon for her boldness, and, looking very innocently in my face, asked me if I did not know her. The manner of her accosting me and the extreme prettiness of her figure made me look at her with attention; and I soon recollected that she had been a servant-girl of my wife's, who had taken her from the country, and, after keeping her three years in her service, had dismissed her about two months ago. "What, Nanny," said I, "is it you? I never saw anybody so fine in all my life!" "Oh, sir!" says she, with the most innocent smile imaginable, bridling her head and curtsying down to the ground, "I have been led astray since I lived with my mistress." "Have you so, Mrs. Nanny?" said I; "and pray, child, who is it that has led you astray?" "Oh, 354 sir!" says she, "one of the worthiest gentlemen in the world; and he has bought me a new négligée for every day in the week."

'The girl pressed me to go and look at her lodgings, which she assured me were hard by in Bury Street, and as fine as a duchess's; but I declined her offer, knowing that any arguments of mine in favour of virtue and stuff gowns would avail but little against pleasure and silk négligées. I therefore contented myself with expressing my concern for the way of life she had entered into, and bade her farewell.

'Being a man inclined to speculate a little, as often as I think of the finery of this girl, and the reason alleged for it, I cannot help fancying, whenever I fall in company with a pretty woman, dressed out beyond her visible circumstances, patched, painted, and ornamented to the extent of the mode, that she is going to make me her best curtsy, and to tell me, "Oh, sir! I have been led astray since I kept good company."'

No. 202. The 'World.'Nov. 11, 1756.

'The trumpet sounds; to war the troops advance,

Adorn'd and trim, like females to the dance

Proud of the summons, to display his might,

The gay Lothario dresses for the fight;

Studious in all the splendour to appear,

Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!

His well-turn'd limbs the diff'rent garbs infold,

Form'd with nice art, and glitt'ring all with gold;

Across his breast the silken sash is tied,

Behind the shoulder-knot displays its pride;

Glitt'ring with lace, the hat adorns his head,

Grac'd and distinguish'd by the smart cockade:

Conspicuous badge! which only heroes wear,

Ensign of war and fav'rite of the fair.

The graceful queue his braided tresses binds,

And ev'ry hair in its just rank confines.

Each taper leg the snowy gaiters deck,

And the bright gorget dandles from his neck.

Dress'd cap-a-pie, all lovely to the sight,

Stands the gay warrior, and expects the fight.

Rages the war; fell slaughter stalks around,

And stretches thousands breathless on the ground.

Down sinks Lothario, sent by one dire blow,

A well-dress'd hero, to the shades below. 355

Thus the young victim, pamper'd and elate,

To some resplendent fane is led in state,

With garlands crown'd through shouting crowds proceeds,

And, dress'd in fatal pomp, magnificently bleeds.'

No. 209. The 'World.'Dec. 30, 1756.

'The Last of Mr. FitzAdam.

'Before these lines can reach the press, that truly great and amiable gentleman, Mr. FitzAdam, will, in all probability, be no more. An event so sudden and unexpected, and in which the public are so deeply interested, cannot fail to excite the curiosity of every reader. I shall, therefore, relate it in the most concise manner I am able.

'The reader may remember that in the first number of the "World," and in several succeeding papers, the good old gentleman flattered himself that the profits of his labours would some time or other enable him to make a genteel figure in the world, and seat himself at last in his one-horse chair. The death of Mrs. FitzAdam, which happened a few months since, as it relieved him from the great expense of housekeeping, made him in a hurry to set up his equipage; and as the sale of his paper was even beyond his expectations, I was one of the first of his friends that advised him to purchase it. The equipage was accordingly bespoke and sent home; and as he had all along promised that his first visit in it should be to me, I expected him last Tuesday at my country-house at Hoxton. The poor gentleman was punctual to his appointment; and it was with great delight that I saw him from my window driving up the road that leads to my house. Unfortunately for him, his eye caught mine; and hoping (as I suppose) to captivate me by his great skill in driving, he made two or three flourishes with his whip, which so frightened the horse that he ran furiously away with the carriage, dashed it against a post, and threw the driver from his seat with a violence hardly to be conceived. I screamed out to my maid, "Lord bless me!" says I, "Mr. FitzAdam is killed!" and away we ran to the spot where he lay. At first I imagined that his head was off, but upon drawing nearer I found it was his hat! He breathed, indeed, which gave me hopes that he was not quite dead; but for signs of life, he had positively none. 356

'In this condition, with the help of some neighbours, we brought him into the house, where a warm bed was quickly got ready for him; which, together with bleeding and other helps, brought him by degrees to life and reason. He looked round about him for some time, and at last, seeing and knowing me, inquired after his chaise. I told him it was safe, though a good deal damaged. "No matter, madam," he replied; "it has done my business; it has carried me a journey from this world to the next. I shall have no use for it again. The 'World' is now at an end! I thought it destined to last a longer period; but the decrees of fate are not to be resisted. It would have pleased me to have written the last paper myself, but that task, madam, must be yours; and, however painful it may be to your modesty, I conjure you to undertake it.... My epitaph, if the public might be so satisfied, I would have decent and concise. It would offend my modesty if, after the name of FitzAdam, more were to be added than these words:—

'"He was the deepest Philosopher,
The wittiest Writer,
The greatest Man
Of this Age or Nation



Characteristic Passages from the compositions of the 'Early Humourists,' from Thackeray's Library, illustrated by the Author's hand with original Marginal Sketches suggested by the Text—The 'Connoisseur,' 1754—Introduction—Review of Contributors—Paragraphs and Pencillings.

Preface to the 'Connoisseur.'

The 'Connoisseur' was undertaken by a brace of congenial wits, George Colman the elder, well known as a humourist and dramatic writer, and Bonnel Thornton, both of whom at the time they obliged the public with this publication were very young men, still pursuing their studies at Oxford University. They appear to have entered into a partnership, of which the following account is given in their last paper:—'We have not only joined in the work taken altogether,' says the writer of No. 140, 'but almost every single paper is the product of both; and, as we have laboured equally in erecting the fabric, we cannot pretend that any one particular part is the sole workmanship of either. A hint has perhaps been started by one of us, improved by the other, and still further heightened by a happy coalition of sentiment in both, as fire is struck out by a mutual collision of flint and steel. Sometimes, like Strada's lovers conversing with the sympathetic needles, we have written papers together at fifty miles' distance from each other. The first rough draft or loose minutes of an essay have often travelled in the stage-coach from town to country and from country to town; and we have frequently waited for the postman (whom we expected to bring us the precious remainder of a "Connoisseur") with the same anxiety we should wait for the half of a bank note, without which the other half would be of no value.' 358

Such, indeed, was the similarity of manner, that, after some years, the survivor, George Colman, was unable to distinguish his share from that of his colleague in the case of those papers which were written conjointly. Neither had an individuality of style by which conjecture might be assisted. The prose compositions of both were of the light and easy kind, sometimes with a dramatic turn, and sometimes with an air of parody or imitation; and their objects were generally the same, the existing follies and absurdities of the day, which they chastised with ironical severity.

George Colman, by whom it is probable the 'Connoisseur' was projected, was the son of Thomas Colman, British Resident at the Court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany at Pisa, by a sister of the Countess of Bath. He was born at Florence about the year 1733, and placed at a very early age at Westminster School, where his talents soon became conspicuous, and where he contracted an acquaintance with Lloyd, Churchill, Thornton, and others, who were afterwards the reigning wits of the day, but unfortunately only employed their genius on the perishable beings and events of the passing hour. Colman was elected to Christ's Church in 1751, and received the degree of M.A. in the month of March, 1758.

It was at that college he projected the 'Connoisseur,' which was printed at Oxford by Jackson, and sent to London for publication; it afforded the coadjutors a very desirable relaxation from their classical studies, to which, however, Colman was particularly attached, and which he continued to cultivate at a more advanced period of life, his last publication being a translation of Horace's 'Art of Poetry.'

Bonnel Thornton, the colleague of George Colman in many of his literary labours, was the son of an apothecary, and born in Maiden Lane, London, in the year 1724. After the usual course of education at Westminster School, he was elected to Christ's Church, Oxford, in 1743. The first publication in which he was concerned was the 'Student, or the Oxford Monthly Miscellany,' afterwards altered to the 'Student, or Oxford and Cambridge Monthly Miscellany.' This entertaining medley appeared in monthly numbers, printed at Oxford, for Newbery, in St. Paul's Churchyard. Smart was the principal conductor, but Thornton and other writers of both Universities occasionally assisted.

Our author, in 1752, began a periodical work, entitled 'Have 359 at ye All, or the Drury Lane Journal,' in opposition to Fielding's 'Covent Garden Journal.' It contains humorous remarks on reigning follies, but indulges somewhat too freely in personal ridicule.

Thornton took his degree of M.A. in April, 1750, and, as his father wished him to make physic his profession, he took the degree of Bachelor of that faculty, May 18, 1754; but his bent, like that of Colman, was not to the severer studies, and they about this time 'clubbed their wits' in the 'Connoisseur.'

According to their concluding motto:—

Sure in the self-same mould their minds were cast,

Twins in affection, judgment, humour, taste.

The last number facetiously alludes to the persons and pursuits of the joint projectors, by a sort of epigrammatic description of Mr. Town. 'It has often been remarked that the reader is very desirous of picking up some little particulars concerning the author of the book he is perusing. To gratify this passion, many literary anecdotes have been published, and an account of their life, character, and behaviour has been prefixed to the works of our most celebrated writers. Essayists are commonly expected to be their own biographers; and perhaps our readers may require some further intelligence concerning the authors of the "Connoisseur." But, as they have all along appeared as a sort of Sosias in literature, they cannot now describe themselves any otherwise than as one and the same person; and can only satisfy the curiosity of the public, by giving a short account of that respectable personage Mr. Town, considering him as of the plural, or rather, according to the Grecians, of the dual number.

'Mr. Town is a fair,[28] black, middle-sized, very short man. He wears his own hair, and a periwig. He is about thirty years of age, and not more than four-and-twenty. He is a student of the law, and a Bachelor of Physic. He was bred at the University of Oxford, where, having taken no less than three degrees, he looks down upon many learned professors as his inferiors; yet, having been there but little longer than to take the first degree of Bachelor of Arts, it has more than once happened that the Censor General of all England has been reprimanded by the Censor of his college 360 for neglecting to furnish the usual essay, or, in the collegiate phrase, the theme of the week.

'This joint description of ourselves will, we hope, satisfy the reader without any further information.... We have all the while gone on, as it were, hand in hand together; and while we are both employed in furnishing matter for the paper now before us, we cannot help smiling at our thus making our exit together, like the two kings of Brentford, smelling at one nosegay.'

Among the few occasional contributors who assisted the originators of the 'Connoisseur,' the foremost was the Earl of Cork, who has been noticed as a writer in the 'World.' His communications to the organ of Mr. Town were the greater part of Nos. 14 and 17, the letters signed 'Goliath English,' in No. 19, great part of Nos. 33 and 40, and the letters signed 'Reginald Fitzworm,' 'Michael Krawbridge,' 'Moses Orthodox,' and 'Thomas Vainall,' in Nos. 102, 107, 113, and 129. Duncombe says of this nobleman, that 'for humour, innocent humour, no one had a truer taste or better talent.' The authors, in their last paper, acknowledge the services of their elevated coadjutor in these words:—'Our earliest and most frequent correspondent distinguished his favours by the signature "G. K.," and we are sorry that he will not allow us to mention his name, since it would reflect as much credit on our work as we are sure will redound to it from his contributions.'

The Rev. John Duncombe, who has also been noticed as one of the writers in the 'World,' was a contributor to the 'Connoisseur.' The concluding paper already quoted observes in reference to the communications of this writer:—'The next in priority of time is a gentleman of Cambridge, who signed himself "A. B.," and we cannot but regret that he withdrew his assistance, after having obliged us with the best part of the letters in Nos. 46, 49, and 52, and of the essays in Nos. 62 and 64.'

Of the remaining essayists concerned in this work, William Cowper, the author of the 'Task,' is the only contributor whose name has been recovered, and his assistance certainly sheds an additional interest on the paper. In early life this gifted poet is said to have formed an acquaintance with Colman and his colleague; and to this circumstance we owe the few papers in the 'Connoisseur' which can be positively ascribed to his pen; No. 119, 'On Keeping a Secret;' No. 134, 'Letter 361 from Mr. Village on the State of Country Churches, their Clergy and Congregations;' and No. 138, 'On Conversation.' Other papers are inferentially attributed, on internal evidence, to the same author; No. 111, containing the character of the delicate 'Billy Suckling,' and No. 119 are set down to him by Colman and Thornton. Nos. 13, 23, 41, 76, 81, 105, and 139, although they cannot be claimed with any degree of certainty for his authorship, are presumably written by Mr. Village, the cousin of Mr. Town, whose name is attached to No. 134, which is Cowper's beyond question.

Robert Lloyd, a minor poet, whose misfortunes in life are in some degree referred to the temptations held out by his convivial literary associates, also contributed his lyric compositions to Mr. Town's paper. He was referred to, at the close of the 'Connoisseur,' as 'the friend, a member of Trinity College, Cambridge,' who wrote the song in No. 72, and the verses in Nos. 67, 90, 125, and 135, all of which pieces were afterwards reprinted with his other works in the second edition of Johnson's 'Poets.'

'There are still remaining,' concludes Mr. Town, in his final number, 'two correspondents, who must stand by themselves, as they wrote to us, not in an assumed character, but in propriâ personâ. The first is no less a personage than Orator Henley, who obliged us with that truly original letter printed in No. 37.[29] The other, who favoured us with a letter no less original, No. 70, we have reason to believe is a Methodist teacher, and a mechanic; but we do not know either his name or his trade.' 362

No. 7. The 'Connoisseur.'March 14, 1754.

I loath'd the dinner, while before my face

The clown still paw'd you with a rude embrace;

But when ye toy'd and kiss'd without controul,

I turned, and screen'd my eyes behind the bowl.

'To Mr. Town.

'Sir,—I shall make no apology for recommending to your notice, as Censor General, a fault that is too common among married people; I mean the absurd trick of fondling before company. Love is, indeed, a very rare ingredient in modern wedlock; nor can the parties entertain too much affection for each other; but an open display of it on all occasions renders them ridiculous.

'A few days ago I was introduced to a young couple who were but lately married, and are reckoned by all their acquaintance to be exceedingly happy in each other. I had scarce saluted the bride, when the husband caught her eagerly in his arms and almost devoured her with kisses. When we were seated, they took care to place themselves close to each other, and during our conversation he was constantly fiddling with her fingers, tapping her cheek, or playing with her hair. At dinner, they were mutually employed in pressing each other to taste of every dish, and the fond appellations of "My dear," "My love," &c., were continually bandied across the table. Soon after the cloth was removed, the lady made a motion to retire, but the husband prevented the compliments of the rest of the company by saying, "We should be unhappy without her." As the bottle went round, he joined her health to every toast, and could not help now and then rising from his chair to press her hand, and manifest the 363 warmth of his passion by the ardour of his caresses. This precious fooling, though it highly entertained them, gave me great disgust; therefore, as my company might very well be spared, I took my leave as soon as possible.'

No. 8. The 'Connoisseur.'March 21, 1754.

In outward show so splendid and so vain,

'Tis but a gilded block without a brain.

'I hope it will not be imputed to envy or malevolence that I here remark on the sign hung out before the productions of Mr. FitzAdam. When he gave his paper the title of the "World," I suppose he meant to intimate his design of describing that part of it who are known to account all other persons "Nobody," and are therefore emphatically called the "World." If this was to be pictured out in the head-piece, a lady at her toilette, a party at whist, or the jovial member of the Dilettanti tapping the world for champagne, had been the most natural and obvious hieroglyphics. But when we see the portrait of a philosopher poring on the globe, instead of observations on modern life, we might more naturally expect a system of geography, or an attempt towards a discovery of the longitude.

'Yet, in spite of all these disadvantages, the love of pleasure, and a few supernumerary guineas, draw the student from his literary employment, and entice him to this theatre of noise and hurry, this grand mart of luxury; where, as long as his purse can supply him, he may be as idle and debauched as he pleases. I could not help smiling at a dialogue between two of these gentlemen, which I overheard a few nights ago at the Bedford Coffee-house. "Ha! Jack," says one, accosting the other, "is it you? How long have you been in town?" "Two hours." "How long 364 do you stay?" "Ten guineas; if you'll come to Venable's after the play is over, you'll find Tom Latin, Bob Classic, and two or three more, who will be very glad to see you. What, you're in town upon the sober plan at your father's? But hark ye, Frank, if you'll call in, I'll tell your friend Harris to prepare for you. So your servant; for I'm going to meet the finest girl upon town in the green-boxes."'

No. 12. The 'Connoisseur.'April 18, 1754.

Nor shall the four-legg'd culprit 'scape the law,

But at the bar hold up the guilty paw.

The editor has been turning over that part of Lord Bolingbroke's works in which he argues that Moses made the animals accountable for their actions, and that they ought to be treated as moral agents.

'These reflections were continued afterwards in my sleep; when methought such proceedings were common in our courts of judicature. I imagined myself in a spacious hall like the Old Bailey, where they were preparing to try several animals, who had been guilty of offences against the laws of the land.

'The sessions soon opened, and the first prisoner that was brought to the bar was a hog, who was prosecuted at the suit of the Jews, on an indictment for burglary, in breaking into the synagogue. As it was apprehended that religion might be affected by this cause, and as the prosecution appeared to be malicious, the hog, though the fact was plainly proved against him, to the great joy of all true Christians, was allowed Benefit of Clergy.

'An indictment was next brought against a cat for killing a favourite canary-bird. This offender belonged to an old woman, who was believed by the neighbourhood to be a witch. The jury, therefore, were unanimous in their opinion that she was the devil in that shape, and brought her in guilty. Upon which the judge formally pronounced sentence upon her, and, I remember, concluded with these words:—"You must be carried to the place of execution, where you are to be hanged by the neck nine times, till you are dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead; and the fiddlers have mercy upon your fiddle-strings!" 365

'A parrot was next tried for scandalum magnatum. He was accused by the chief magistrate of the city and the whole court of aldermen for defaming them, as they passed along the street, on a public festival, by singing, "Room for cuckolds, here comes a great company; room for cuckolds, here comes my Lord Mayor." He had even the impudence to abuse the whole court, by calling the jury rogues and rascals; and frequently interrupted my lord judge in summing up the evidence, by crying out, "You dog!" The court, however, was pleased to show mercy to him upon the petition of his mistress, a strict Methodist; who gave bail for his good behaviour, and delivered him over to Mr. Whitefield, who undertook to make a thorough convert of him.'

No. 14. The 'Connoisseur.'May 2, 1754.

'To Mr. Town.

'Sir,—I received last week a dinner-card from a friend, with an intimation that I should meet some very agreeable ladies. At my arrival I found that the company consisted chiefly of females, who indeed did me the honour to rise, but quite disconcerted me in paying my respects by whispering to each other, and appearing to stifle a laugh. When I was seated, the ladies grouped themselves up in a corner, and entered on a private cabal, seemingly to discourse upon points of great secrecy and importance, but of equal merriment and diversion.

'It was a continued laugh and whisper from the beginning to the end of dinner. A whole sentence was scarce ever spoken aloud. Single words, indeed, now and then broke forth; such as "odious, horrible, detestable, shocking, humbug."

'This last new-coined expression, which is only to be found in the nonsensical vocabulary, sounds absurd and disagreeable whenever it is pronounced; but from the mouth of a lady it is "shocking, detestable, horrible, and odious."

'Thus the whole behaviour of these ladies is in direct contradiction to good manners. They laugh when they should cry, are loud when they should be silent, and are silent when their conversation 366 is desirable. If a man in a select company was thus to laugh or whisper me out of countenance, I should be apt to construe it as an affront, and demand an explanation. As to the ladies, I would desire them to reflect how much they would suffer if their own weapons were turned against them, and the gentlemen should attack them with the same arts of laughing and whispering. But, however free they may be from our resentment, they are still open to ill-natured suspicions. They do not consider what strange constructions may be put on these laughs and whispers. It were, indeed, of little consequence if we only imagined that they were taking the reputations of their acquaintance to pieces, or abusing the company around; but when they indulge themselves in this behaviour, some, perhaps, may be led to conclude that they are discoursing upon topics which they are ashamed to speak of in a less private manner.'

No. 19. The 'Connoisseur.'June 6, 1754.

Poscentes vario multum diversa palato.—Hor.


How ill our different tastes agree!

This will have beef, and that a fricassee!

'The taverns about the purlieus of Covent Garden are dedicated to Venus as well as Ceres and Liber; and you may frequently see the jolly messmates of both sexes go in and come out in couples, like the clean and unclean beasts in Noah's ark. These houses are equally indebted for their support to the cook and that worthy personage whom they have dignified with the title of procurer. These gentlemen contrive to play into each other's hands. The first, by his high soups and rich sauces, prepares the way for the occupation of the other; who, having reduced the patient by a proper exercise of his art, returns him back again to go through the same regimen as before. We may therefore suppose that the culinary arts are no less studied here than at White's or Pontac's. True geniuses in eating will continually strike out new improvements; but I dare say neither of the distinguished chiefs of these clubs ever made up a more extraordinary dish than I once remember at the "Castle." Some bloods being in company with a celebrated fille de joie, one of them pulled off her shoe, and in excess of gallantry filled it with champagne, and drank it off to her 367 health. In this delicious draught he was immediately pledged by the rest, and then, to carry the compliment still further, he ordered the shoe itself to be dressed and served up for supper. The cook set himself seriously to work upon it; he pulled the upper part (which was of damask) into fine shreds, and tossed it up in a ragout; minced the sole, cut the wooden heel into very thin slices, fried them in batter, and placed them round the dish for garnish. The company, you may be sure, testified their affection for the lady by eating very heartily of this exquisite impromptu; and as this transaction happened just after the French King had taken a cobbler's daughter for his mistress, Tom Pierce (who has the style as well as art of a French cook) in his bill politely called it, in honour of her name, De Soulier à la Murphy.

'Taverns, Mr. Town, seem contrived for promoting of luxury, while the humbler chop-houses are designed only to satisfy the ordinary cravings of nature. Yet at these you may meet with a variety of characters. At Dolly's and Horseman's you commonly see the hearty lovers of beef-steak and gill ale; and at Betty's, and the chop-houses about the Inns of Court, a pretty maid is as inviting as the provisions. In these common refectories you may always find the Jemmy attorney's clerk, the prim curate, the walking physician, the captain upon half-pay, the shabby valet de chambre upon board wages, and the foreign count or marquis in dishabille, who has refused to dine with a duke or an ambassador. At a little eating-house in a dark alley behind the 'Change, I once saw a grave citizen, worth a plum, order a twopenny mess of broth with a boiled chop in it; and when it was brought him, he scooped the crumb out of a halfpenny roll, and soaked it in the porridge for his present meal; then carefully placing the chop between the upper and under crust, he wrapt it up in a checked handkerchief, and carried it off for the morrow's repast.' 368

No. 30. The 'Connoisseur.'Aug. 22, 1754.

Thumps following thumps, and blows succeeding blows,

Swell the black eye and crush the bleeding nose;

Beneath the pond'rous fist the jaw-bone cracks,

And the cheeks ring with their redoubled thwacks.

'The amusement of boxing, I must confess, is more immediately calculated for the vulgar, who can have no relish for the more refined pleasures of whist and the hazard table. Men of fashion have found out a more genteel employment for their hands in shuffling a pack of cards and shaking the dice; and, indeed, it will appear, upon a strict review, that most of our fashionable diversions are nothing else but different branches of gaming. What lady would be able to boast a rout at her house consisting of three or four hundred persons, if they were not to be drawn together by the charms of playing a rubber? and the prohibition of our jubilee masquerades is hardly to be regretted, as they wanted the most essential part of their entertainments—the E. O. table. To this polite spirit of gaming, which has diffused itself through all the fashionable world, is owing the vast encouragement that is given to the turf; and horse races are esteemed only as they afford occasion for making a bet. The same spirit likewise draws the knowing ones together in a cockpit; and cocks are rescued from the dunghill, and armed with gaffles, to furnish a new species of gaming. For this reason, among others, I cannot but regret the loss of our elegant amusements in Oxford Road and Tottenham Court. A great part of the spectators used to be deeply interested in what was doing on the stage, and were as earnest to make an advantage of the issue of the battle as the champions themselves to draw the largest sum from the box. The amphitheatre was at once a school for boxing and gaming. Many thousands have depended upon a match; the odds have often risen at a black eye; a large bet has been occasioned by a "cross-buttock;" and while the house has resounded with the lusty bangs of the combatants, it has at the same time echoed with the cries of "Five to one! six to one! ten to one!"' 369

No. 34. The 'Connoisseur.'Sept. 19, 1754.

Reprehendere coner,

Quæ gravis Æsopus, quæ doctus Roscius egit.—Hor.


Whene'er he bellows, who but smiles at Quin,

And laughs when Garrick skips like harlequin?

'I have observed that the tragedians of the last age studied fine speaking, in consequence of which all their action consisted in little more than strutting with one leg before the other, and waving one or both arms in a continual see-saw. Our present actors have, perhaps, run into a contrary extreme; their gestures sometimes resemble those afflicted with St. Vitus's dance, their whole frame appears to be convulsed, and I have seen a player in the last act so miserably distressed that a deaf spectator would be apt to imagine he was complaining of the colic or the toothache. This has also given rise to that unnatural custom of throwing the body into various strange attitudes. There is not a passion necessary to be expressed but has produced dispositions of the limbs not to be found in any of the paintings or sculptures of the best masters. A graceful gesture and easy deportment is, indeed, worthy the care of every performer; but when I observe him writhing his body into more unnatural contortions than a tumbler at Sadler's Wells, I cannot help being disgusted to see him "imitate humanity so abominably." Our pantomime authors have already begun to reduce our comedies into grotesque scenes; and, if this taste for attitude should continue to be popular, I would recommend it to those ingenious gentlemen to adapt our best tragedians to the same use, and entertain us with the jealousy of Othello in dumb show or the tricks of Harlequin Hamlet. 370


Characteristic Passages from the Works of the 'Humourists,' from Thackeray's Library; illustrated by the Author's hand with Marginal Sketches suggested by the Text—The 'Rambler,' 1749-50—Introduction—Its Author, Dr. Johnson—Paragraphs and Pencillings.

Preface to the 'Rambler.'

When, says Dr. Chalmers, Dr. Johnson undertook to write this justly celebrated paper, he had many difficulties to encounter. If lamenting that, during the long period which had elapsed since the conclusion of the writings of Addison, vice and folly had begun to recover from depressing contempt, he wished again to rectify public taste and manners—to 'give confidence to virtue and ardour to truth'—he knew that the popularity of these writings had constituted them a precedent which his genius was incapable of following, and from which it would be dangerous to depart. In the character of an essayist he was, hitherto, unknown to the public. He had written nothing by which a favourable judgment could be formed of his success in a species of composition which seemed to require the ease, the vivacity, and humour of polished life; and he had probably often heard it repeated that Addison and his colleagues had anticipated all the subjects fit for popular essays; that he might, indeed, aim at varying or improving what had been said before, but could stand no chance of being esteemed an original writer, or of striking the imagination by new and unexpected reflections and incidents. He was likewise, perhaps, aware that he might be reckoned what he about this time calls himself—'a retired and uncourtly scholar,' unfit to 371 describe, because precluded from the observation of, refined society and manners.

But they who pride themselves on long and accurate knowledge of the world are not aware how little of that knowledge is necessary in order to expose vice or detect absurdity; nor can they believe that evidence far short of ocular demonstration is amply sufficient for the purposes of the wit and the novelist. Dr. Johnson appeared in the character of a moral teacher, with powers of mind beyond the common lot of man, and with a knowledge of the inmost recesses of the human heart such as never was displayed with more elegance or stronger conviction. Though in some respects a recluse, he had not been an inattentive observer of human life; and he was now of an age at which probably as much is known as can be known, and at which the full vigour of his faculties enabled him to divulge his experience and his observations with a certainty that they were neither immature nor fallacious. He had studied, and he had noted on the varieties of human character; and it is evident that the lesser improprieties of conduct and errors of domestic life had often been the subjects of his secret ridicule.

Previously to the commencement of the 'Rambler' he had drawn the outlines of many essays, of which specimens may be seen in the biographies of Sir John Hawkins and Boswell; and it is probable that the sentiments of all these papers had been long floating in his mind. With such preparation he began the 'Rambler,' without any communication with his friends or desire of assistance. Whether he proposed the scheme himself does not appear; but he was fortunate in forming an engagement with Mr. John Payne, a bookseller in Paternoster Row (and afterwards the chief accountant of the Bank of England), a man with whom he lived many years in habits of friendship, and who, on the present occasion, treated his author with liberality. He engaged to pay two guineas for each paper, or four guineas per week, which, at that time, must have been to Johnson a very considerable sum; and he admitted him to a share of the future profits of the work when it should be collected into volumes, which share Johnson afterwards sold. It has been observed that objections have been offered to the name 'Rambler.' Johnson's account to Sir Joshua Reynolds forms, probably, as good an excuse as so 372 trifling a circumstance demands. 'What must be done, sir, will be done. When I was to begin publishing that paper, I was at a loss how to name it. I sat down at night upon my bedside, and resolved that I would not go to sleep till I had fixed its title. The "Rambler" seemed the best that occurred, and I took it.' The Italians have literally translated this name 'Il Vagabondo.'

The first paper was published on Tuesday, March 20, 1749-50, and the work continued without the least interruption every Tuesday and Saturday until Saturday, March 14, 1752, on which day it closed. Each number was handsomely printed on a sheet and a half of fine paper, at the price of twopence, and with great typographical accuracy, not above a dozen errors occurring in the whole work—a circumstance the more remarkable, because the copy was written in haste, as the time urged, and sent to the press without being revised by the author. When we consider that, in the whole progress of the work, the sum of assistance he received scarcely amounted to five papers, we must wonder at the fertility of a mind engaged during the same period on that stupendous labour, the English Dictionary, and frequently distracted by disease and anguish. Other essayists have had the choice of their days, and their happy hours, for composition; but Johnson knew no remission, although he very probably would have been glad of it, and yet continued to write with unabated vigour, although even this disappointment might be supposed to have often rendered him uneasy; and his natural indolence—not the indolence of will, but of constitution—would, in other men, have palsied every effort. Towards the conclusion there is so little of that 'falling off' visible in some works of the same kind, that it might probably have been extended much further, had the encouragement of the public borne any proportion to its merits.

The assistance Johnson received was very trifling: Richardson, the novelist, wrote No. 97. The four letters in No. 10 were written by Miss Mulso, afterwards Mrs. Chapone, who also contributed the story of 'Fidelia' to the 'Adventurer,' a paper conducted by Doctors Hawkesworth, Johnson, Thornton, and Warton, which succeeded the 'Rambler.' No. 30 was written by Miss Catharine Talbot, and Nos. 44 and 100 were written by Mrs. Elizabeth Carter.

The 'Rambler' made its way very slowly into the world. All 373 scholars, all men of taste, saw its excellence at once, and crowded round the author to solicit his friendship and relieve his anxieties. It procured him a multitude of friends and admirers among men distinguished for rank as well as genius, and it constituted a perpetual apology for that rugged and uncourtly manner which sometimes rendered his conversation formidable, and, to those who looked from the book to the man, presented a contrast that would no doubt frequently excite amazement.

Still, it must be confessed, there were at first many prejudices against the 'Rambler' to be overcome. The style was new; it appeared harsh, involved, and perplexed; it required more than a transitory inspection to be understood; it did not suit those who run as they read, and who seldom return to a book if the hour it helped to dissipate can be passed away in more active pleasures. When reprinted in volumes, however, the sale gradually increased; it was recommended by the friends of religion and literature as a book by which a man might learn to think; and the author lived to see ten large editions printed in England, besides those which were clandestinely printed in other parts of the kingdom and in America. Since Johnson's death the number of editions has been multiplied.

Sir John Hawkins informs us that these essays hardly ever underwent a Revision before they were sent to the press, and adds: 'The original manuscripts of the "Rambler" have passed through my hands, and by the perusal of them I am warranted to say, as was said of Shakespeare by the players of that time, that he never blotted out a line, and I believe without the retort which Ben Jonson made to them: "Would he had blotted out a thousand!"'

However, Dr. Johnson's desire to carry his essays, which he regarded in some degree as his monument to posterity, as near perfection as his labours could achieve, induced him to devote such attention to the preparation of the 'Ramblers' for the collected series that the alterations in the second and third editions far exceed six thousand—a number which may perhaps justify the use of the expression 're-wrote,' although it must not be taken in its literal acceptation.

With respect to the plan of the 'Rambler,' Dr. Johnson may surely be said to have executed what he intended: he has successfully attempted the propagation of truth, and boldly maintained 374 the dignity of virtue. He has accumulated in this work a treasury of moral science which will not be soon exhausted. He has laboured to refine our language to grammatical purity, and to clear it from colloquial barbarisms, licentious idioms, and irregular combinations. Something he has certainly added to the elegance of its construction, and something to the harmony of its cadence.

Comparisons have been formed between the 'Rambler' and its predecessors, or rather between the genius of Johnson and Addison, but have generally ended in discovering a total want of resemblance. As they were both original writers, they must be tried, if tried at all, by laws applicable to their respective attributes. But neither had a predecessor. We find no humour like Addison's, no energy and dignity like Johnson's. They had nothing in common but moral excellence of character; they could not have exchanged styles for an hour. Yet there is one respect in which we must give Addison the preference—more general utility. His writings would have been understood at any period; Johnson's are more calculated for an improved and liberal education. In both, however, what was peculiar was natural. The earliest of Dr. Johnson's works confirm this; from the moment he could write at all he wrote in stately periods, and his conversation from first to last abounded in the peculiarities of his composition.

Addison principally excelled in the observation of manners, and in that exquisite ridicule he threw on the minute improprieties of life. Johnson, although not ignorant of life or manners, could not descend to familiarities with tuckers and commodes, with furs and hoop-petticoats. A scholarly professor and a writer from necessity, he loved to bring forward subjects so near and dear as the disappointments of authors—the dangers and miseries of literary eminence—anxieties of literature—contrariety of criticism—miseries of patronage—value of fame—causes of the contempt of the learned—prejudices and caprices of criticism—vanity of an author's expectations—meanness of dedications—necessity of literary courage, and all those other subjects which relate to authors and their connection with the public. Sometimes whole papers are devoted to what may be termed the personal concerns of men of literature, and incidental reflections are everywhere interspersed for the instruction or caution of the same class. 375

When he treats of common life and manners it has been observed he gives to the lowest of his correspondents the same style and lofty periods; and it may also be noticed that the ridicule he attempts is in some cases considerably heightened by the very want of accommodation of character. Yet it must be allowed that the levity and giddiness of coquettes and fine ladies are expressed with great difficulty in the Johnsonian language. It has been objected also that even the names of his ladies have very little of the air of either court or city, as Zosima, Properantia, &c. Every age seems to have its peculiar names of fiction. In the 'Spectators,' 'Tatlers,' &c., the Damons and Phillises, the Amintors and Claras, &c., were the representatives of every virtue and folly.

These were succeeded by the Philamonts, Tenderillas, Timoleons, Seomanthes, Pantheas, Adrastas, and Bellimantes, names to which Mrs. Heywood gave currency in her 'Female Spectator,' and from which at no great distance of time Dr. Johnson appears to have taken his Zephyrettas, Trypheruses, Nitellas, Misotheas, Vagarios, and Flirtillas.



VOL. I., 1750.

'To the "Rambler."

'Sir,—As you seem to have devoted your labours to virtue, I cannot forbear to inform you of one species of cruelty with which the life of a man of letters perhaps does not often make him acquainted, and which, as it seems to produce no other advantage to those that practise it than a short gratification of thoughtless 376 vanity, may become less common when it has been once exposed in its various forms, and in full magnitude.

'I am the daughter of a country gentleman, whose family is numerous, and whose state, not at first sufficient to supply us with affluence, has been lately so impaired by an unsuccessful lawsuit, that all the younger children are obliged to try such means as their education affords them for procuring the necessaries of life. Distress and curiosity concurred to bring me to London, where I was received by a relation with the coldness which misfortune generally finds. A week—a long week—I lived with my cousin before the most vigilant inquiry could procure us the least hopes of a place, in which time I was much better qualified to bear all the vexations of servitude. The first two days she was content to pity me, and only wished I had not been quite so well bred; but people must comply with their circumstances. This lenity, however, 377 was soon at an end, and for the remaining part of the week I heard every hour of the pride of the family, the obstinacy of my father, and of people better born than myself that were common servants.

'At last, on Saturday noon, she told me, with very visible satisfaction, that Mrs. Bombasine, the great silk-mercer's lady, wanted a maid, and a fine place it would be, for there would be nothing to do but to clean my mistress's room, get up her linen, dress the young ladies, wait at tea in the morning, taking care of a little miss just come from nurse, and then sit down to my needle. But madam was a woman of great spirit, and would not be contradicted, and therefore I should take care, for good places are not easily to be got.

'With these cautions I waited on Madame Bombasine, of whom the first sight gave me no ravishing ideas. She was two yards round the waist, her voice was at once loud and squeaking, and her face brought to my mind the picture of the full moon. "Are you the young woman," says she, "that are come to offer yourself? It is strange when people of substance want a servant how soon it is the town talk. But they know they shall have a bellyful that live with me. Not like people that live at the other end of the town, we dine at one o'clock. But I never take anybody without a character; what friends do you come of?" I then told her that my father was a gentleman, and that we had been unfortunate. "A great misfortune indeed to come to me and have three meals a day! So your father was a gentleman, and you are a gentlewoman, I suppose—such gentlewomen!" "Madam, I did not mean to claim any exemptions; I only answered your inquiry." "Such gentlewomen! people should set up their children to good trades, and keep them off the parish. Pray go to the other end of the town; there are gentlewomen, if they would pay their debts; I am sure we have lost enough by gentlewomen." Upon this her broad face grew broader with triumph, and I was afraid she would have taken me for the pleasure of continuing her 378 insult; but happily the next word was, "Pray, Mrs. Gentlewoman, troop downstairs." You may believe I obeyed her.

'After numerous misadventures of the same description, it was of no purpose that the refusal was declared by me never to be on my side; I was reasoning against interest and against stupidity; and therefore I comforted myself with the hope of succeeding better in my next attempt, and went to Mrs. Courtly, a very fine lady, who had routs at her house, and saw the best company in town.

'I had not waited two hours before I was called up, and found Mr. Courtly and his lady at piquet in the height of good humour. This I looked on as a favourable sign, and stood at the lower end of the room, in expectation of the common questions. At last Mr. Courtly called out, after a whisper, "Stand facing the light, that one may see you." I changed my place, and blushed. They frequently turned their eyes upon me, and seemed to discover many subjects of merriment, for at every look they whispered, and laughed with the most violent agitations of delight. At last Mr. Courtly cried out, "Is that colour your own, child?" "Yes," said the lady, "if she has not robbed the kitchen hearth." It was so happy a conceit that it renewed the storm of laughter, and they threw down their cards in hopes of better sport. The lady then called me to her, and began with affected gravity to inquire what I could do. "But first turn about, and let us see your fine shape; well, what are you fit for, Mrs. Mum? You would find your tongue, I suppose, in the kitchen." "No, no," says Mrs. Courtly, "the girl's a good girl yet, but I am afraid a brisk young fellow, with fine tags on his shoulder——" "Come, child, hold up your head; what? you have stole nothing." "Not yet," said the lady; "but she hopes to steal your heart quickly." Here was a laugh of happiness and triumph, prolonged by the confusion which I could no longer repress. At last the lady recollected herself: "Stole? no—but if I had her I should watch her; for that downcast eye——Why cannot you look people in the face?" "Steal!" says her husband, "she would steal nothing but, perhaps, a few ribbons before they were left off by my lady." 379 "Sir," answered I, "why should you, by supposing me a thief, insult one from whom you have received no injury?" "Insult!" says the lady; "are you come here to be a servant, you saucy baggage, and talk of insulting? What will this world come to if a gentleman may not jest with a servant? Well, such servants! pray be gone, and see when you will have the honour to be so insulted again. Servants insulted—a fine time! Insulted! Get downstairs, you slut, or the footman shall insult you."'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. I. No. 18.

'There is no observation more frequently made by such as employ themselves in surveying the conduct of mankind than that marriage, though the dictate of nature, and the institute of Providence, is yet very often the cause of misery, and that those who enter into that state can seldom forbear to express their repentance, and their envy of those whom either chance or caution hath withheld from it.

'One of the first of my acquaintances that resolved to quit the unsettled, thoughtless condition of a bachelor was Prudentius, a man of slow parts, but not without knowledge or judgment in things which he had leisure to consider gradually before he determined them. This grave considerer found by deep meditation that a man was no loser by marrying early, even though he contented himself with a less fortune, for, estimating the exact worth of annuities, he found that considering the constant diminution of the value of life, with the probable fall of the interest of money, it was not worse to have ten thousand pounds at the age of two-and-twenty years than a much larger fortune at thirty; for many opportunities, says he, occur of improving money which, if a man misses, he may not afterwards recover.

'Full of these reflections, he threw his eyes about him, not in search of beauty or elegance, dignity or understanding, but of a woman with ten thousand pounds. Such a woman, in a wealthy part of the kingdom, it was not difficult to find; and by artful management with her father—whose ambition was to make his daughter a gentlewoman—my friend got her, as he boasted to us 380 in confidence two days after his marriage, for a settlement of seventy-three pounds a year less than her fortune might have claimed, and less than himself would have given if the fools had been but wise enough to delay the bargain.

'Thus at once delighted with the superiority of his parts and the augmentation of his fortune, he carried Furia to his own house, in which he never afterwards enjoyed one hour of happiness. For Furia was a wretch of mean intellects, violent passions, a strong voice, and low education, without any sense of happiness but that which consisted in eating, and counting money. Furia was a scold. They agreed in the desire of wealth, but with this difference: that Prudentius was for growing rich by gain, Furia by parsimony. Prudentius would venture his money with chances very much in his favour; but Furia, very wisely observing that what they had was, while they had it, their own, thought all traffic too great a hazard, and was for putting it out at low interest upon good security. Prudentius ventured, however, to insure a ship at a very unreasonable price; but, happening to lose his money, was so tormented with the clamours of his wife that he never durst try a second experiment. He has now grovelled seven-and-forty years under Furia's direction, who never once mentioned him, since his bad luck, by any other name than that of the "usurer."'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol, I. No. 24.

Nemo in sese tentat descendere.—Persius.


None, none descends into himself.—Dryden.

'Among the precepts or aphorisms admitted by general consent and inculcated by repetition, there is none more famous, among the masters of ancient wisdom, than that compendious lesson, Γνωθι σεαυτονBe acquainted with thyself—ascribed by some to an oracle, and others to Chilo of Lacedæmon.

'We might have had more satisfaction concerning the original import of this celebrated sentence, if history had informed us whether it was uttered as a general instruction to mankind, or as a particular caution to some private inquirer; whether it was applied to some single occasion, or laid down as the universal rule of life. 381

'The great praise of Socrates is that he drew the wits of Greece, by his instruction and example, from the vain pursuit of natural philosophy to moral inquiries, and turned their thoughts from stars and tides, and matter and motion, upon the various modes of virtue and relations of life.

'The great fault of men of learning is still that they offend against this rule, and appear willing to study anything rather than themselves; for which reason they are often despised by those with whom they imagine themselves above comparison.

'Eupheues,[30] with great parts of extensive knowledge, has a clouded aspect and ungracious form, yet it has been his ambition, from his first entrance into life, to distinguish himself by particularities in his dress—to outvie beaus in embroidery, to import new trimming, and to be foremost in the fashion. Eupheues has turned on his exterior appearance that attention which would have always produced esteem had it been fixed upon his mind; and, though his virtues and abilities have preserved him from the contempt which he has so diligently solicited, he has at least raised one impediment to his reputation, since all can judge of his dress, but few of his understanding, and many who discern that he is a fop are unwilling to believe that he can be wise.

'There is one instance in which the ladies are particularly unwilling to observe the rule of Chilo. They are desirous to hide from themselves the advance of age, and endeavour too frequently to supply the sprightliness and bloom of youth by artificial beauty and forced vivacity.

'They hope to inflame the heart by glances which have lost their fire, or melt it by laughter which is no longer delicate; they play over airs which pleased at a time when they were expected only to please, and forget that airs in time ought to give place to virtues. They 382 continue to trifle, because they could once trifle agreeably, till those who shared their early pleasures are withdrawn to more serious engagements, and are scarcely awakened from their dream of perpetual youth by the scorn of those whom they endeavour to rival.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. I. No. 34.

Non sine vano

Aurarum et silvæ metu.—Hor.

Alarm'd with every rising gale,

In every wood, in every vale.—Elphinston.

The 'Rambler' inserts a letter describing how the end of those ladies whose chief ambition is to please is often missed by absurd and injudicious endeavours to obtain distinction, and who mistake cowardice for elegance, and imagine all delicacy consists in refusing to be pleased. A country gentleman relates the circumstances of his visit to Anthea, a heiress, whose birth and beauty render her a desirable match:—

'Dinner was now over, and the company proposed that we should pursue our original design of visiting the gardens. Anthea declared that she could not imagine what pleasure we expected from the sight of a few green trees and a little gravel, and two or three pits of clear water; that, for her part, she hated walking till the cool of the evening, and thought it very likely to rain, and again wished she had stayed at home. We then reconciled ourselves to our disappointment, and began to talk on common subjects, when Anthea told us since we came to see the gardens she would not hinder our satisfaction. We all rose, and walked through the enclosures for some time with no other trouble than the necessity of watching lest a frog should hop across the way, which, Anthea told us, would certainly kill her if she should happen to see him.

'Frogs, as it fell out, there were none; but when we were within a furlong of the gardens Anthea saw some sheep, and heard the wether clink his bell, which she was certain was not hung upon him for nothing, and therefore no assurances nor entreaties 383 should prevail upon her to go a step further: she was sorry to disappoint the company, but her life was dearer to her than ceremony.

'We came back to the inn, and Anthea now discovered that there was no time to be lost in returning, for the night would come upon us and a thousand misfortunes might happen in the dark. The horses were immediately harnessed, and Anthea, having wondered what could seduce her to stay so long, was eager to set out. But we had now a new scene of terror; every man we saw was a robber, and we were ordered sometimes to drive hard—lest a traveller, whom we saw behind, should overtake us—and sometimes to stop, lest we should come up to him who was passing before us. She alarmed many an honest man by begging him to spare her life as he passed by the coach, and drew me into fifteen quarrels with persons who increased her fright by kindly stopping to inquire whether they could assist us. At last we came home, and she told her company next day what a pleasant ride she had been taking.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. I. No. 37.

Piping on their reeds the shepherds go,

Nor fear an ambush, nor suspect a foe.—Pope.

Canto quæ solitus, si quando armenta vocabat,

Amphion Dircæus.—Virg.

Such strains I sing as once Amphion play'd,

When listening flocks the powerful call obey'd.—Elphinston.

'The satisfaction received from pastoral writing not only begins early, but lasts long; we do not, as we advance into the intellectual world, throw it away among other childish amusements and pastimes, but willingly return to it at any hour of indolence and relaxation. The images of true pastoral have always the power of 384 exciting delight, because the works of nature, from which they are drawn, have always the same order and beauty, and continue to force themselves upon our thoughts, being at once obvious to the most careless regard and more than adequate to the strongest reason and severest contemplation. Our inclination to stillness and tranquillity is seldom much lessened by long knowledge of the busy and tumultuous part of the world. In childhood we turn our thoughts to the country as to the origin of pleasure; we recur to it in old age as a part of rest, and, perhaps, with that secondary and adventitious gladness which every man feels on reviewing those places, or recollecting those occurrences, that contribute to his youthful enjoyments, and bring him back to the prime of life, when the world was gay with the bloom of novelty, when mirth wantoned at his side, and hope sparkled before him.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. I. No. 55.

Now near to death that comes but slow,

Now thou art stepping down below;

Sport not among the blooming maids,

But think on ghosts and empty shades:

What suits with Phœbe in her bloom,

Grey Chloris, will not thee become;

A bed is different from a tomb.—Creech.

Parthenia addresses a letter to the 'Rambler' on the subject of the troubles she suffers from the frivolous desire which her mother, a widow, has contracted to practise the follies of youth, the pursuit of which she finds fettered by the presence of Parthenia, whom she is inclined to regard not as her daughter, but as a rival dangerous to the admiration which the elder lady would confine to herself.

After a year of decent mourning had been devoted to deploring the loss of Parthenia's father—'All the officiousness of kindness and folly was busied to change the conduct of the widow. She was at one time alarmed with censure, and at another fired with praise. She was told of balls where others shone only because she was absent, of new comedies to which all the town was crowding, and of many ingenious ironies by which domestic diligence was made contemptible. 385

'It is difficult for virtue to stand alone against fear on one side and pleasure on the other, especially when no actual crime is proposed, and prudence itself can suggest many reasons for relaxation and indulgence. My mamma was at last persuaded to accompany Mrs. Giddy to a play. She was received with a boundless profusion of compliments, and attended home by a very fine gentleman. Next day she was, with less difficulty, prevailed on to play at Mrs. Gravely's, and came home gay and lively, for the distinctions that had been paid her awakened her vanity, and good luck had kept her principles of frugality from giving her disturbance. She now made her second entrance into the world, and her friends were sufficiently industrious to prevent any return to her former life; every morning brought messages of invitation, and every evening was passed in places of diversion, from which she for some time complained that she had rather be absent. In a short time she began to feel the happiness of acting without control, of being unaccountable for her hours, her expenses, and her company, and learned by degrees to drop an expression of contempt or pity at the mention of ladies whose husbands were suspected of restraining their pleasures or their play, and confessed that she loved to go and come as she pleased.

'My mamma now began to discover that it was impossible to educate children properly at home. Parents could not have them always in their sight; the society of servants was contagious; company produced boldness and spirit; emulation excited industry; and a large school was naturally the first step into the open world. A thousand other reasons she alleged, some of little force in themselves, but so well seconded by pleasure, vanity, and idleness, that they soon overcame all the remaining principles of kindness and piety, and both I and my brother were despatched to boarding-schools.

'When I came home again, after sundry vacations, and, with the usual childish alacrity, was running to my mother's embrace, she stopped me with exclamations at the suddenness and enormity of my 386 growth, having, she said, never seen anybody shoot up so much at my age.

'She was sure no other girls spread at that rate, and she hated to have children look like women before their time. I was disconcerted, and retired without hearing anything more than "Nay, if you are angry, Madam Steeple, you may walk off."

'She had yet the pleasure of dressing me like a child, and I know not when I should have been thought fit to change my habit, had I not been rescued by a maiden aunt of my father, who could not bear to see women in hanging-sleeves, and therefore presented me with brocade for a gown, for which I should have thought myself under great obligations, had she not accompanied her favour with some hints that my mamma might now consider her age, and give me her earrings, which she had shown long enough in public places.

'Thus I live in a state of continual persecution only because I was born ten years too soon, and cannot stop the course of nature or of time, but am unhappily a woman before my mother can willingly cease to be a girl. I believe you would contribute to the happiness of many families if by any arguments, or persuasions, you could make mothers ashamed of rivalling their children; if you could show them that though they may refuse to grow wise they must inevitably grow old, and that the proper solaces of age are not music and compliments, but wisdom and devotion; that those who are so unwilling to quit the world will soon be driven from it; and that it is, therefore, their interest to retire while there yet remain a few hours for nobler employments.—I am, &c.,


The 'Rambler.'—Vol. I. No. 56.

Valeat res ludicra, si me

Palma negata macrum, donata reducit opimum.—Hor.

Farewell the stage; for humbly I disclaim

Such fond pursuits of pleasure or of fame,

If I must sink in shame, or swell with pride,

As the gay psalm is granted or denied.—Francis.

'I am afraid that I may be taxed with insensibility by many of my correspondents, who believe their contributions neglected. And, indeed, when I sit before a pile of papers, of which each is 387 the production of laborious study, and the offspring of a fond parent, I, who know the passions of an author, cannot remember how long they have been in my boxes unregarded without imagining to myself the various changes of sorrow, impatience, and resentment which the writers must have felt in this tedious interval.

'These reflections are still more awakened when, upon perusal, I find some of them calling for a place in the next paper, a place which they have never yet obtained; others writing in a style of superiority and haughtiness as secure of deference and above fear of criticism; others humbly offering their weak assistance with softness and submission, which they believe impossible to be resisted; some introducing their compositions with a menace of the contempt he that refuses them will incur; others applying privately to the booksellers for their interest and solicitation; every one by different ways endeavouring to secure the bliss of publication. I cannot but consider myself placed in a very incommodious situation, where I am forced to repress confidence which it is pleasing to indulge, to repay civilities with appearances of neglect, and so frequently to offend those by whom I was never offended.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. I. No. 59.

Strangulat inclusus dolor, atque exæstuat intus,

Cogitur et vires multiplicare suas.—Ovid.

In vain by secrecy we would assuage

Our cares; conceal'd they gather tenfold rage.—Lewis.

'It is common to distinguish men by the names of animals which they are supposed to resemble. Thus a hero is frequently termed a lion, and a statesman a fox; an extortioner gains the appellation of vulture, and a fop the title of monkey. There is also among the various anomalies of character which a survey of the world exhibits, a species of beings in human form which may be properly marked out as the screech-owls of mankind. 388

'These screech-owls seem to be settled in an opinion that the great business of life is to complain, and that they were born for no other purpose than to disturb the happiness of others, to lessen the little comforts and shorten the short pleasures of our condition, by painful remembrances of the past, or melancholy prognostics of the future; their only care is to crush the rising hope, to damp the kindling transport, and alloy the golden hours of gaiety with the hateful dross of grief and suspicion.

'I have known Suspirius, the screech-owl, fifty-eight years and four months, and have never passed an hour with him in which he has not made some attack upon my quiet. When we were first acquainted, his great topic was the misery of youth without riches; and whenever we walked out together, he solaced me with a long enumeration of pleasures, which, as they were beyond the reach of my fortune, were without the verge of my desires, and which I should never have considered as the objects of a wish, had not his unreasonable representations placed them in my sight.

'Suspirius has, in his time, intercepted fifteen authors on their way to the stage; persuaded nine-and-thirty merchants to retire from a prosperous trade for fear of bankruptcy; broke off a hundred and thirty matches by prognostications of unhappiness; and enabled the small-pox to kill nineteen ladies by perpetual alarms of the loss of beauty.

'Whenever my evil star brings us together he never fails to represent to me the folly of my pursuits, and informs me we are much older than when we began our acquaintance; that the infirmities of decrepitude are coming fast upon me; that whatever I now get I shall enjoy but a little time; that fame is to a man tottering on the edge of the grave of very little importance; and that the time is at hand when I ought to look for no other pleasures than a good dinner and an easy chair.' 389

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. I. No. 61.

Falsus honor juvat, et mendax infamia terret,

Quem, nisi mendosum et mendacem?—Hor.

False praise can charm, unreal shame control

Whom but a vicious or a sickly soul?—Francis.

Ruricola, who dwells in the country, is writing upon the airs which those, whose pursuits take them to London, assume on their return to their more homely associates; and he relates in particular the pretensions of one Frolic, who has endowed himself with importance upon the mysterious and self-conferred reputation of knowing town.

'My curiosity,' declares Ruricola, 'has been most engaged by the recital of his own adventures and achievements. I have heard of the union of various characters in single persons, but never met with such a constellation of great qualities as this man's narrative affords. Whatever has distinguished the hero, whatever has elevated the wit, whatever has endeared the lover, are all concentrated in Mr. Frolic, whose life has, for seven years, been a regular interchange of intrigues, dangers, and waggeries, and who has distinguished himself in every character that can be feared, envied, or admired.

'I question whether all the officers in the royal navy can bring together, from all their journals, a collection of so many wonderful escapes as this man has known upon the Thames, on which he has been a thousand times on the point of perishing, sometimes by the terrors of foolish women in the same boat, sometimes by his own acknowledged imprudence in passing the river in the dark, 390 and sometimes by shooting the bridge, under which he has encountered mountainous waves and dreadful cataracts.

'Not less has been his temerity by land, nor fewer his hazards. He has reeled with giddiness on the top of the Monument; he has crossed the street amidst the rush of coaches; he has been surrounded by robbers without number; he has headed parties at the play-house; he has scaled the windows of every toast of whatever condition; he has been hunted for whole winters by his rivals; he has slept upon bulks; he has cut chairs; he has bilked coachmen; he has rescued his friends from bailiffs, and has knocked down the constable, has bullied the justice, and performed many other exploits that have filled the town with wonder and merriment.

'But yet greater is the fame of his understanding than his bravery, for he informs us that he is, in London, the established arbitrator on all points of honour, and the decisive judge of all performances of genius; that no musical performer is in reputation till the opinion of Frolic has ratified his pretensions; that the theatres suspend their sentence till he begins to clap or hiss, in which all are proud to concur; that no public entertainment has failed or succeeded but because he opposed or favoured it; that all controversies at the gaming-table are referred to his determination; that he adjusts the ceremonial at every assembly, and prescribes every fashion of pleasure or of dress.

'With every man whose name occurs in the papers of the day he is intimately acquainted, and there are very few points either on the state or army of which he has not more or less influenced the disposal, while he has been very frequently consulted both upon peace and war.'

Ruricola concludes by inquiring whether Mr. Frolic is really so well known in London as he pretends, or if he shall denounce him as an impostor. 391

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. II. No. 89.

Dulce est desipere in loco.

'There is nothing more fatal to a man whose business is to think than to have learned the art of regaling his mind with those airy gratifications. Other vices or follies are restrained by fear, reformed by admonition, or rejected by conviction, which the comparison of our conduct with that of others may in time produce. But this invisible riot of the mind, this secret prodigality of being, is secure from detection and fearless from reproach. The dreamer retires to his apartments, shuts out the cares and interruptions of mankind, and abandons himself to his own fancy; new worlds rise up before him, one image is followed by another, and a long succession of delights dances 392 around him. He is at last called back to life by nature or by custom, and enters peevish into society because he cannot model it to his own will. He returns from his idle excursions with the asperity, though not with the knowledge, of a student, and hastens again to the same felicity with the eagerness of a man bent upon the advancement of some favourite science. The infatuation strengthens by degrees, and, like the poison of opiates, weakens his powers without any external symptom of malignity.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. II. No. 100.

'It is hard upon poor creatures, be they ever so mean, to deny them those enjoyments and liberties which are equally open for all. Yet, if servants were taught to go to church on Sunday, spend some part of it in reading, or receiving instruction in a family way, and the rest in mere friendly conversation, the poor wretches would infallibly take it into their heads that they were obliged to be sober, modest, diligent, and faithful to their masters and mistresses.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. II. No. 114.

When man's life is in debate,

The judge can ne'er too long deliberate.—Dryden.

'The gibbet, indeed, certainly disables those who die upon it from infesting the community; but their death seems not to contribute more to the reformation of their associates than any other method of separation. A thief seldom passes much of his time in recollection or anticipation, but from robbery hastens to riot, and from riot to robbery; nor, when the grave closes upon his companion, has any other care than to find another.

'The frequency of capital punishments, therefore, rarely hinders the commission of a crime, but naturally and commonly prevents its detection, and is, if we proceed upon prudential principles, chiefly for that reason to be avoided. Whatever may be 393 urged by casuists or politicians, the greater part of mankind, as they can never think that to pick the pocket and to pierce the heart is equally criminal, will scarcely believe that two malefactors so different in guilt can be justly doomed to the same punishment; nor is the necessity of submitting the conscience to human laws so plainly evinced, so clearly stated, or so generally allowed, but that the pious, the tender, the just, will always scruple to concur with the community in an act which their private judgment cannot approve.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. II. No. 117.

'Tis sweet thy lab'ring steps to guide

To virtue's heights with wisdom well supplied,

From all the magazines of learning fortified

From thence to look below on human kind,

Bewilder'd in the maze of life, and blind.—Dryden.

'The conveniences described in these lines may perhaps all be found in a well-chosen garret; but surely they cannot be supposed sufficiently important to have operated invariably upon different climates, distant ages, and separate nations.

'Another cause of the gaiety and sprightliness of the dwellers in garrets is probably the increase of that vertiginous motion with which we are carried round by the diurnal revolution of the earth. The power of agitation upon the spirits is well known; every man has his heart lightened in a rapid vehicle, or on a galloping horse, and nothing is plainer than that he who towers to the fifth story is whirled through more space by every circumrotation than another that grovels upon the ground-floor.

'If you imagine that I ascribe to air and motion effects which they cannot produce, I desire you to consult your own memory, and consider whether you have never known a man acquire reputation 394 in his garret, which, when fortune or a patron had placed him upon the first floor, he was unable to maintain; and who never recovered his former vigour of understanding till he was restored to his original situation.

'That a garret will make every man a wit I am very far from supposing. I know there are some who would continue blockheads even on the summit of the Andes and on the peak of Teneriffe. But let not any man be considered as unimprovable till this potent remedy has been tried; for perhaps he was formed to be great only in a garret, as the joiner of Aretæus was rational in no other place but his own shop.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. II. No. 124.

To range in silence through each healthful wood,

And muse what's worthy of the wise and good.

'To those who leave the public places of resort in the full bloom of reputation, and withdraw from admiration, courtship, submission, and applause, a rural triumph can give nothing equivalent. The praise of ignorance and the subjection of weakness are little regarded by beauties who have been accustomed to more 395 important conquests and more valuable panegyrics. Nor, indeed, should the powers which have made havoc in the theatres or borne down rivalry in courts be degraded to a mean attack upon the untravelled heir, or ignoble contest with the ruddy milkmaid.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. III. No. 142.

'Squire Bluster is descended from an ancient family. The estate which his ancestors immemoriably possessed was much augmented by Captain Bluster, who served under Drake in the reign of Elizabeth; and the Blusters, who were before only petty gentlemen, have from that time frequently represented the shire in parliament, being chosen to present addresses and give laws at hunting-matches and races. They were eminently hospitable and popular till the father of this gentleman died of an election. His lady went to the grave soon after him, and left their heir, then only ten years old, to the care of his grandmother, who would not suffer him to be controlled, because she could not bear to hear him cry; and never sent him to school, because she was not able to live without his company. She taught him, however, very early to inspect the steward's accounts, to dog the butler from the cellar, and catch the servants at a junket; so that he was at the age of eighteen a complete master of all the lower arts of domestic policy, and had often on the road detected combinations between the coachman and the ostler.

'Money, in whatever hands, will confer power. Distress will fly to immediate refuge, without much consideration of remote consequences. Bluster had, therefore, on coming of age, a despotic authority in many families, whom he had assisted, on pressing occasions, with larger sums than they can easily repay. The only visits that he makes are to those houses of misfortune, where he enters with the insolence of absolute command, enjoys 396 the terrors of the family, exacts their obedience, riots at their charge, and in the height of his joys insults the father with menaces and the daughters with scurrilities.

'Such is the life of Squire Bluster; a man in whose power Fortune has liberally placed the means of happiness, but who has defeated all her gifts of their end by the depravity of his mind. He is wealthy without followers; he is magnificent without witnesses; he hath birth without alliance, and influence without dignity. His neighbours scorn him as a brute; his dependants dread him as an oppressor; and he has only the gloomy comfort of reflecting that if he is hated he is likewise feared.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. III. No. 153.

Turba Remi sequitur fortunam, ut semper, et odit



The fickle crowd with fortune comes and goes;

Wealth still finds followers, and misfortune foes.

The writer, who had been adopted by a rich nabob lately returned from the Indies, suddenly found himself deprived of the fortune which it was anticipated would have fallen to his share; his patron having died without making a will in his protégé's favour, and thus a fine estate had gone to another branch of the family.

'It was now my part,' writes the victim of this unexpected adversity, 'to consider how I should repair the disappointment. I could not but triumph in my long list of friends, which composed almost every name that power or knowledge entitled to eminence, and in the prospect of the innumerable roads to honour and preferment which I had laid open to myself by the wise use of temporary riches. I believed nothing necessary but that I should continue that acquaintance to which I had been so readily admitted, and which had hitherto been cultivated on both sides with equal ardour.

'Full of these expectations, I one morning ordered a chair, with an intention to make my usual circle of morning visits. Where I first stopped I saw two footmen lolling at the door, who told me, without any change of posture or collection of countenance, that their master was at home; and suffered me to open 397 the inner door without assistance. I found my friend standing, and as I was tattling with my former freedom was formally entreated to sit down, but did not stay to be favoured with any further condescensions.

'My next experiment was made at the levée of a statesman, who received me with an embrace of tenderness, that he might with more decency publish my change of fortune to the sycophants about. After he had enjoyed the triumph of condolence he turned to a wealthy stockjobber, and left me exposed to the scorn of those who had lately courted my notice and solicited my interest.

'I was then set down at the door of another, who upon my entrance advised me with great solemnity to think of some settled provision for life. I left him and hurried away to an old friend, who professed himself unsusceptible of any impressions from prosperity or misfortune, and begged that he might see me when he was more at leisure.

'Of sixty-seven doors at which I knocked in the first week after my appearance in a mourning dress I was denied admission at forty-six; was suffered at fourteen to wait in the outer room till business was despatched; at four was entertained with a few questions about the weather; at one heard the footman rated for bringing my name; and at two was informed, in the flow of casual conversation, how much a man of rank degrades himself by mean company.

'Such, Mr. Rambler, is the power of wealth, that it commands the ear of greatness and the eye of beauty; gives spirit to the dull and authority to the timorous, and leaves him from whom it departs without virtue and without understanding, the sport of caprice, the scoff of insolence, the slave of meanness, and the pupil of ignorance.' 398

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. III. No. 170.

Misella sends her history to the 'Rambler' as a caution to others who may chance to rely on the fidelity of distant relatives. Her father becoming burdened with a family larger than his means could decently provide for, a wealthy relative had offered to take the charge of one member, the writer, upon himself.

'Without knowing for what purpose I was called to my great cousin,' says the unhappy Misella, 'I endeavoured to recommend myself by my best courtesy, sang him my prettiest song, told the last story that I had read, and so much endeared myself by my innocence that he declared his resolution to adopt me, and to educate me with his own daughters.

'My parents felt the common struggle at the thought of parting, and some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon. They considered, not without that false estimation of the value of wealth which poverty long continued always produces, that I was raised to higher rank than they could give me, and to hopes of more ample fortune than they could bequeath. My mother sold some of her ornaments to dress me in such a manner as might secure me from contempt at my first arrival, and when she dismissed me pressed me to her bosom with an embrace which I still feel.

'My sister carried my finery, and seemed not much to regret our separation; my father conducted me to the stage-coach with a sort of cheerful tenderness; and in a very short time I was transported to splendid apartments and a luxurious table, and grew familiar to show, noise, and gaiety.

'In three years my mother died, having implored a blessing on her family with her last breath. 399

'I had little opportunity to indulge a sorrow which there was none to partake with me, and therefore soon ceased to reflect much upon my loss. My father turned all his care upon his other children, whom some fortunate adventures and unexpected legacies enabled him, when he died four years after my mother, to leave in a condition above their expectations.

'I should have shared the increase of his fortunes and had once a portion assigned me in his will, but my cousin assuring him that all care for me was needless, since he had resolved to place me happily in the world, directed him to divide my part amongst my sisters.

'Thus I was thrown upon dependence without resource. Being now at an age in which young women are initiated into company, I was no longer to be supported in my former character, but at considerable expense; so that partly lest appearance might draw too many compliments and assiduities I was insensibly degraded from my equality, and enjoyed few privileges above the head servant but that of receiving no wages.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. III. No. 181.

Neu fluitem dubiæ spe pendulus horæ.—Hor.

Nor let me float in fortune's power,

Dependent on the future hour.—Francis.

'Sir,—As I have passed much of life in disgust and suspense, and lost many opportunities of advantage by a passion which I have reason to believe prevalent in different degrees over a great part of mankind, I cannot but think myself well qualified to warn those who are yet uncaptivated of the dangers which they incur by placing themselves within its influence.

'In the course of even prosperity I was one day persuaded to buy a ticket in the lottery. At last the day came, my ticket appeared, and rewarded all my care and sagacity with a despicable prize of fifty pounds.

'My friends, who honestly rejoiced upon my success, were very coldly received; I hid myself a fortnight in the country that my chagrin might fume away without observation, and then, returning to my shop, began to listen after another lottery. 400

'With the news of a lottery I was soon gratified, and, having now found the vanity of conjecture and inefficacy of computation, I resolved to take the prize by violence, and therefore bought forty tickets, not omitting, however, to divide them between the even and the odd, that I might not miss the lucky class. Many conclusions did I form, and many experiments did I try, to determine from which of those tickets I might most reasonably expect riches. At last, being unable to satisfy myself by any modes of reasoning, I wrote the numbers upon dice, and allotted five hours every day to the amusement of throwing them in a garret; and examining the event by an exact register, found, on the evening before the lottery was drawn, that one of my numbers had turned up five times more than any of the rest in three hundred and thirty thousand throws.

'This experiment was fallacious; the first day presented the ticket a detestable blank. The rest came out with different fortune, and in conclusion I lost thirty pounds by this great adventure.

'The prize which had been suffered to slip from me filled me with anguish, and, knowing that complaint would only expose me to ridicule, I gave myself up silently to grief, and lost by degrees my appetite and my rest.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. III. No. 187.

Love alters not for us his hard decrees,

Not though beneath the Thracian clime we freeze,

Or the mild bliss of temperate skies forego,

And in mid-winter tread Sithonian snow:—

Love conquers all.—Dryden.

'Anningait and Ajut, a Greenland History.

'In one of the large caves to which the families of Greenland retire together to pass the cold months, and which may be termed their villages or cities, a youth and maid, who came from different 401 parts of the country, were so much distinguished for their beauty that they were called by the rest of the inhabitants Anningait and Ajut, from their supposed resemblance to their ancestors of the same names who had been transformed of old into the sun and moon.

'The elegance of Ajut's dress, and the judicious disposition of her ornaments of coral and shells, had such an effect upon Anningait that he could no longer be restrained from a declaration of his love. He, therefore, composed a poem in her praise, in which, among other heroic and tender sentiments, he protested that, "She was beautiful as the vernal willow, and fragrant as thyme upon the mountains; that her fingers were white as the teeth of the morse, and her smile grateful as the dissolution of the ice; that he would pursue her though she should pass the snows of the midland cliffs, or seek shelter in the caves of the eastern cannibals; that he would tear her from the embrace of the genius of the rocks, snatch her from the paws of Amaroc, and rescue her from the ravine of Hafgufa."

'This ode being universally applauded, it was expected that Ajut would soon yield to such fervour and accomplishments; but Ajut, with the natural haughtiness of beauty, expected all the forms of courtship; and before she would confess herself conquered the sun returned, the ice broke, and the season of labour called all to their employments.

'It happened that a tempest drove the fish to a distant part of the coast before Anningait had completed his store; he therefore entreated Ajut that she would at last grant him her hand and accompany him to that part of the country whither he was now summoned of necessity. Ajut thought him not yet entitled to such condescension, but proposed, as a trial of constancy, that he should return at the end of summer to the cavern where their acquaintance commenced, and there expect the reward of his assiduities. But Anningait tried to soften this resolution: he feelingly represented the uncertainty of existence and the dangers of the passage, and his loneliness when 402 distant from the object of his love. "Consider, Ajut," urged he, "a few summer days, a few winter nights, and the life of man is at an end. Night is the time of ease and festivity, of revels and gaiety; but what will be the flaming lamp, the delicious seal, or the soft oil without the smile of Ajut?"

'The eloquence of Anningait was vain; the maid continued inexorable, and they parted with ardent promises to meet again before the night of winter. Anningait, however discomposed by the dilatory coyness of Ajut, was resolved to omit no tokens of amorous respect, and therefore presented her at his departure with the skins of seven white fawns, of five swans, and eleven seals, with three marble lamps, ten vessels of seal-oil, and a large kettle of brass which he had purchased from a ship at the price of half a whale and two horns of sea-unicorns.

'Ajut was so much affected by the fondness of her lover, or so much overpowered by his munificence, that she followed him to the seaside; and, when she saw him enter the boat, wished aloud that he might return with plenty of skins and oil, that neither the mermaids might snatch him into the deeps, nor the spirits of the rocks confine him in their caverns.

'Parted from each other, the lovers devoted themselves to the remembrances of their affection; Anningait devoted himself to fishing and the chase with redoubled energy, that his stores for the future might exceed the expectations of his bride; and Ajut mourned the absence of her betrothed with ceaseless fidelity. She neglected the ornaments of her person, and, to avoid the solicitations of her lover's rivals, withdrew herself into complete seclusion. Thus passed the months of separation. At last Ajut saw the great boat in which Anningait departed stealing slow and heavy laden along the coast. She ran with all the impatience of affection to catch her lover in her arms, and relate her constancy and sufferings. When the company reached the land they informed her that Anningait, after the fishery was ended, being unable to support the slow passage of the vessel of carriage, had set out before them in his fishing-boat, and they expected at their arrival to have found him on shore.

'Ajut, distracted at this intelligence, was about to fly into the hills without knowing why, though she was now in the hands of her parents, who forced her back to her own hut and endeavoured 403 to comfort her; but when at last they retired to rest, Ajut went down to the beach, where, finding a fishing-boat, she entered it without hesitation, and, telling those who wondered at her rashness that she was going in search of Anningait, rowed away with great swiftness and was seen no more.

'The fate of these lovers gave occasion to various fictions and conjectures. Some are of opinion that they were changed into stars; others imagine that Anningait was seized in his passage by the genius of the rocks, and that Ajut was transformed into a mermaid, and still continues to seek her lover in the deserts of the sea. But the general persuasion is that they are both in that part of the land of souls where the sun never sets, where oil is always fresh, and provisions always warm. The virgins sometimes throw a thimble and a needle into the bay from which the hapless maid departed, and when a Greenlander would praise any couple for virtuous affection he declares that they love like Anningait and Ajut.'

The 'Rambler.'—Vol. III. No. 191.

Cereus in vitium flecti, monitoribus asper.—Hor.

The youth——

Yielding like wax, th' impressive folly bears;

Rough to reproof, and slow to future cares.—Francis.

'Dear Mr. Rambler,—I have been four days confined to my chamber by a cold, which has already kept me from three plays, nine sales, five shows, and six card-tables, and put me seventeen visits behind; and the doctor tells my mamma that, if I fret and 404 cry, it will settle in my head, and I shall not be fit to be seen these six weeks. But, dear Mr. Rambler, how can I help it? At this very time Melissa is dancing with the prettiest gentleman; she will breakfast with him to-morrow, and then run to two auctions, and hear compliments, and have presents; then she will be dressed and visit, and get a ticket to the play, then go to cards, and win, and come home with two flambeaus before her chair. Dear Mr. Rambler, who can bear it?

'I am at a loss to guess for what purpose they relate such tragic stories of the cruelty, perfidy, and artifices of men, who, if they ever were so malicious and destructive, have certainly now reformed their manners. I have not, since my entrance into the world, found one who does not profess himself devoted to my service, and ready to live or die as I shall command him. They are so far from intending to hurt me that their only contention is, who shall be allowed most closely to attend and most frequently to treat me; when different places of entertainment or schemes of pleasure are mentioned, I can see the eyes sparkle and the cheeks glow of him whose proposals obtain my approbation; he then leads me off in triumph, adores my condescension, and congratulates himself that he has lived to the hour of felicity. Are these, Mr. Rambler, creatures to be feared? and is it likely that any injury will be done me by those who can enjoy life only while I favour them with my presence?

'As little reason can I yet find to suspect them of stratagems and fraud. When I play at cards they never take advantage of any mistakes, nor exact from me a rigorous observation of the game. Even Mr. Shuffle, a grave gentleman, who has daughters older than myself, plays with me so negligently that I am sometimes inclined to believe he loses his money by design; and yet he is so fond of play that he says he will one day take me to his house in the country, that we may try by ourselves who can conquer. I have not yet promised him; but when the town grows a little empty I shall think upon it, for I want some trinkets, like Letitia's, to my watch. I do not doubt my luck, but I must study some means of amusing my relations.

'For all these distinctions I find myself indebted to that beauty which I was never suffered to hear praised, and of which, therefore, 405 I did not before know the full value. This concealment was certainly an intentional fraud, for my aunts have eyes like other people, and I am every day told that nothing but blindness can escape the influence of my charms. Their whole account of that world which they pretend to know so well has been only one fiction entangled with another; and though the modes of life oblige me to continue some appearances of respect, I cannot think that they who have been so clearly detected in ignorance or imposture have any right to the esteem, veneration, or obedience of,

'Sir, yours,


The 'Rambler.'—Vol. III. No. 199.

Obscure, unprized, and dark the magnet lies,

Nor lures the search of avaricious eyes,

Nor binds the neck, nor sparkles in the hair,

Nor dignifies the great, nor decks the fair.

But search the wonders of the dusky stone,

And own all glories of the mine outdone,

Each grace of form, each ornament of state,

That decks the fair or dignifies the great!

'To the "Rambler."

'Sir,—The curiosity of the present race of philosophers having been long exercised upon electricity has been lately transferred to magnetism; the qualities of the loadstone have been investigated, if not with much advantage, yet with great applause; and, as the highest praise of art is to imitate nature, I hope no man will think the makers of artificial magnets celebrated or reverenced above their deserts.

'I have for some time employed myself in the same practice, but with deeper knowledge and more extensive views. While my contemporaries were touching needles and raising weights, or busying themselves with inclination and variation, I have been examining those qualities of magnetism which may be applied to the accommodation and happiness of common life. I have left to inferior understandings the care of conducting the sailor through the hazards of the ocean, and reserved to myself the more difficult and illustrious province of preserving the connubial compact from violation, and setting mankind free for ever from the torments of fruitless vigilance and anxious suspicion. 407

'To defraud any man of his due praise is unworthy of a philosopher. I shall therefore openly confess that I owe the first hint of this inestimable secret to the Rabbi Abraham Ben Hannase, who, in his treatise of precious stones, has left this account of the magnet: "The calamita, or loadstone, that attracts iron, produces many bad fantasies in man. Women fly from this stone. If, therefore, any husband be disturbed with jealousy, and fear lest his wife converses with other men, let him lay this stone upon her while she is asleep. If she be pure she will, when she wakes, clasp her husband fondly in her arms; but if she be guilty she will fall out of bed, and run away."

'With these hopes I shall, in a short time, offer for sale magnets armed with a particular metallic composition, which concentrates their virtue and determines their agency.

'I shall sell them of different sizes, and various degrees of strength. I have some of a bulk proper to be hung at the bed's head, as scarecrows, and some so small that they may be easily concealed. Some I have ground into oval forms, to be hung at watches; and some, for the curious, I have set in wedding rings, that ladies may never want an attestation of their innocence. Some I can produce so sluggish and inert that they will not act before the third failure, and others so vigorous and animated that they exert their influence against unlawful wishes, if they have been willingly and deliberately indulged. As it is my practice honestly to tell my customers the properties of my magnets I can judge by the choice of the delicacy of their sentiments. Many have been contented to spare cost by purchasing only the lowest degree of efficacy, and all have started with terror from those which operate upon the thoughts. One young lady only fitted on a ring of the strongest energy, and declared that she scorned to separate her wishes from her acts, or allow herself to think what she was forbidden to practise.

'I am, &c., 'Hermeticus.'



Characteristic Passages from the Works of the 'Early Humourists,' from Thackeray's Library, illustrated by the Author's hand with original Marginal Sketches suggested by the Text—The 'Mirror,' Edinburgh, 1779-80—Introduction—The Society in which the 'Mirror' and 'Lounger' originated—Notice of Contributors—Paragraphs and Pencillings.

Preface to the 'Mirror.'

The circumstances which led to the publication of the 'Mirror,' by a certain society of friends in Edinburgh, are set forth in the concluding paper of that work, No. 110, which originally appeared May 27, 1780. The dying speech of the Scotch essayist forms a suitable introduction to the series.

Extremum concede laborem.—Virg. Ecl. x. 1.

'As, at the close of life, people confess the secrets and explain the mysteries of their conduct, endeavour to do justice to those with whom they have had dealings, and to die in peace with all the world; so in the concluding number of a periodical publication, it is usual to lay aside the assumed name, or fictitious character, to ascribe the different papers to their true authors, and to wind up the whole with a modest appeal to the candour or indulgence of the public.

'In the course of these papers the author has not often ventured to introduce himself, or to give an account of his own situation; in this, therefore, which is to be the last, he has not much to unravel on that score. From the narrowness of the place of its appearance, the 'Mirror' did not admit of much personification of its editor; the little disguise he has used has been rather to 409 conceal what he was than to give himself out for what he was not.

'The idea of publishing a periodical paper in Edinburgh took its rise in a company of gentlemen whom particular circumstances of connection brought frequently together. Their discourse often turned upon subjects of manners, of taste, and of literature. By one of these accidental resolutions, of which the origin cannot easily be traced, it was determined to put their thoughts into 410 writing, and to read them for the entertainment of each other. Their essays assumed the form, and soon after some one gave them the name, of a periodical publication; the writers of it were naturally associated, and their meetings increased the importance as well as the number of their productions. Cultivating letters in the midst of business, composition was to them an amusement only; that amusement was heightened by the audience which this society afforded; the idea of publication suggested itself as productive of still higher entertainment.

'It was not, however, without diffidence that such a resolution was taken. From that and several other circumstances it was thought proper to observe the strictest secrecy with regard to the authors; a purpose in which they have been so successful that, at this very moment, the very publisher of the work knows only one of their number, to whom the conduct of it was entrusted.'

The members of the society alluded to in the last number of the 'Mirror' afterwards carried on the 'Lounger.' They were Mr. R. Cullen, Mr. M'Leod Bannatyne, Mr. George Ogilvy, Mr. Alex. Abercromby, and Mr. W. Craig, advocates, the last two of whom were afterwards appointed Judges of the Court of Session in Scotland; Mr. George Home, one of the principal clerks of that court; and Mr. H. Mackenzie, of the Exchequer of Edinburgh.

Of these Mr. Ogilvy, though with abilities and genius abundantly capable of the task, never contributed to the 'Mirror,' and the society had to lament his death before the appearance of the 'Lounger.' None of its members, Mr. Mackenzie excepted, whose name is sufficiently known as an author, had ever before been concerned in any publication. To Mr. Mackenzie, therefore, was entrusted the conducting the work, and he alone had any communication with the editor, to whom the other members of the society were altogether unknown. Secrecy was an object of much importance to a work of this sort; and during the publication of both these performances it was singularly well attained.

Mr. Mackenzie's papers were the most numerous. He is stated to have been the author of Nos. 2, 5, 7, 11, 12, 14, 16 (the latter part of 17), 21, 23, 25, 30, 32, 34 (part of 35), 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 49, 53, 54 (part of 56), 61, 64, 72, 78, 80, 81, 84, the poem in 85 (part of 89), 91, 92, 93 (part of 96), 99, 100, 101 (parts of 102, 103), 105, 107, 108, 109, and 110. 411

The contributions of correspondents were of considerable assistance to the success of the 'Mirror.' Of these Lord Hailes was the most industrious; among other promoters we find the names of Mr. Richardson, Professor of Humanity at Glasgow; Mr. Fraser Tytler, Advocate and Professor of History in the University of Edinburgh; Mr. D. Hume, Professor of Scots Laws at Edinburgh, nephew of the celebrated David Hume; D. Beattie; Cosmo Gordon, Esq., one of the Barons of Exchequer in Scotland; Mr. W. Strahan, of London, the King's printer; Mr. Baron Gordon, &c.



A Periodical Paper Published at Edinburgh in the Years 1779 and 1780.

Veluti in speculo.

'No child ever heard from its nurse the story of "Jack the Giant Killer's Cap of Darkness" without envying the pleasures of invisibility.

'This power is, in some degree, possessed by the writer of an anonymous paper. He can at least exercise it for a purpose for which people would be most apt to use the privilege of being invisible: to wit, that of hearing what is said of himself.

'A few hours after the publication of my first number, I sallied forth, with all the advantages of invisibility, to hear an account of myself and my paper.

'A smart-looking young man, in green, said he was sure it would be very satirical; his companion, in scarlet, was equally certain that it would be very stupid. But with this last prediction I was not much offended, when I discovered that its author had not read the first number, but only inquired of Mr. Creech where it was published.

'A plump round figure, near the fire, who had just put on his spectacles to examine the paper, closed the debate by observing, with a grave aspect, that, as the author was anonymous, it was proper to be very cautious in talking of the performance. After glancing over the pages, he said he could have wished they had set apart a corner for intelligence from America; but, having taken off his spectacles, wiped, and put them into their case, he said, with a tone of discovery, he had found out the reason why there was nothing of that sort in the "Mirror"—it was in order to save the tax upon newspapers.' 413

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. I. No. 4.

Meliora pii docuere parentes.

The following is an extract from a letter, addressed by a parent to the editor, on the evil consequences of sending youths to Paris to finish their education:—

'When the day of their return came, my girl, who had been constantly on the look-out, ran to tell me she saw a postchaise driving to the gate. But, judge of my astonishment when I saw two pale, emaciated figures get out of the carriage, in their dress and looks resembling monkeys rather than human creatures. What was still worse, their manners were more displeasing than their appearance. When my daughter ran up, with tears of joy in her eyes, to embrace her brother, he held her from him, and burst into an immoderate fit of laughter at something in her dress that appeared to him ridiculous. He was joined in the laugh by his younger brother, who was pleased, however, to say that the girl was not ill-looking, and, when taught to put on her clothes, and to use a little rouge, would be tolerable.

'Mortified as I was at this impertinence, the partiality of a parent led me to impute it, in a great measure, to the levity of youth; and I still flattered myself that matters were not so bad as they appeared to be. In these hopes I sat down to dinner. But there the behaviour of the young gentlemen did not, by any means, tend to lessen my chagrin. There was nothing at table they could eat; they ran out in praise of French cookery, and seemed even to be adepts in the science; they knew the component ingredients of most fashionable ragoûts and fricandeaus, and were acquainted with the names and characters of the most celebrated practitioners of the art in Paris.

'In short, it was found these unfortunate youths had returned 414 ignorant of everything they ought to know, their minds corrupted, their bodies debilitated, and their vanity and conceit making them incapable of listening to reason or advice.'

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. I. No. 10.

Mr. Fleetwood, a man of excessive refinement and delicacy of taste, is described as paying visits to his friends in the country. But the pleasures which might possibly be derived from this exercise are marred by his false sensibility.

'Our next visit was to a gentleman of liberal education and elegant manners, who, in the earlier part of his life, had been much in the polite world. Here Mr. Fleetwood expected to find pleasure and enjoyment sufficient to atone for his two previous experiences which were far from agreeable; but here, too, he was disappointed.

'Mr. Selby, for that was our friend's name, had been several years married. His family increasing, he had retired to the country, and, renouncing the bustle of the world, had given himself up to domestic enjoyments; his time and attention were devoted chiefly to the care of his children. The pleasure which he himself felt in humouring all their little fancies made him forget how troublesome that indulgence might be to others.

'The first morning we were at his house, when Mr. Fleetwood came into the parlour to breakfast, all the places at table were occupied by the children; it was necessary that one of them should be displaced to make room for him; and, in the disturbance which this occasioned, a teacup was overturned, and scalded the finger of Mr. Selby's eldest daughter, a child about seven years old, whose whimpering and complaining attracted the whole attention during breakfast. That being over, the eldest boy came forward with a book in his hand, and Mr. Selby asked Mr. Fleetwood to hear him read his lesson. Mrs. Selby joined in the request, though both looked as if they were rather conferring a favour on their 415 guest. The eldest had no sooner finished, than the youngest boy presented himself; upon which his father observed that it would be doing injustice to Will not to hear him as well as his elder brother Jack, and in this way was my friend obliged to spend the morning in performing the office of a schoolmaster to the children in succession.

'Mr. Fleetwood liked a game at whist, and promised himself a party in the evening, free from interruption. Cards were accordingly proposed, but Mrs. Selby observed that her little daughter, who still complained of her scalded finger, needed amusement as much as any of the company. In place of cards, Miss Harriet insisted on the "game of the goose." Down to it we sat, and to a stranger it would have been not unamusing to see Mr. Fleetwood, with his sorrowful countenance, at the "royal and pleasant game of the goose," with a child of seven years old. It is unnecessary to dwell longer on particulars. During all the time we were at Mr. Selby's the delighted parents were indulging their fondness, while Mr. Fleetwood was repining and fretting in secret.'

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. I. No. 117.

Inanit veteres statuas Damasippus emendo.—Hor.

A wife is writing to the 'Mirror' upon a new affliction which has attacked her husband. He happened to receive a crooked shilling in exchange for some of his goods (the husband was a grocer), and a virtuoso informed him that it was a coin of Alexander III., of great rarity and value, whereupon the good man became seized with a passion for collecting curiosities.

'His taste,' says the wife's letter, 'ranges from heaven above to the earth beneath, and to the waters under the earth. Every production of nature or of art, remarkable either for beauty or deformity, but particularly if either scarce or old, is now the object of my husband's avidity. The profits of our business, once considerable, but now daily diminishing, are expended, not only on coins, but on shells, lumps of different coloured stones, dried butterflies, old pictures, ragged books, and worm-eaten parchments.

'Our house, which it was once my highest pleasure to keep in order, it would be now equally vain to attempt cleaning as the ark 416 of Noah. The children's bed is supplied by an Indian canoe; and the poor little creatures sleep three of them in a hammock, slung up to the roof between a stuffed crocodile and the skeleton of a calf with two heads. Even the commodities of our shop have been turned out to make room for trash and vermin. Kites, owls, and bats are perched upon the top of our shelves; and it was but yesterday that, putting my hand into a glass jar that used to contain pickles, I laid hold of a large tarantula in place of a mangoe.

'In the bitterness of my soul, Mr. Mirror, I have been often tempted to revenge myself on the objects of my husband's phrenzy, by burning, smashing, and destroying them without mercy; but, besides that such violent procedure might have effects too dreadful upon a brain which, I fear, is already much unsettled, I could not take such a course without being guilty of a fraud to our creditors, several of whom will, I believe, sooner or later, find it their only means of reimbursement to take back each man his own monsters.'

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. I. No. 25.

The 'Mirror' prints a letter upon the grievances felt by the families of men of small fortunes when associated with those enjoying great ones.

'You will remember, sir, my account of a visit which my daughters paid to a great lady in our neighbourhood, and of the effects which that visit had upon them. I was beginning to hope that time, and the sobriety of manners which home exhibited, would restore 417 them to their former situation, when, unfortunately, a circumstance happened still more fatal to me than their expedition to ——. This, sir, was the honour of a visit from the great lady in return.

'I was just returning from the superintendence of my ploughs, in a field I have lately enclosed, when I was met, on the green before my door, by a gentleman (for such I took him to be) mounted upon a very handsome gelding, who asked me, by the appellation of honest friend, if this was not Mr. Homespun's; and, in the same breath, whether the ladies were at home. I told him my name was Homespun, the house was mine, and my wife and daughters were, I believed, within. Upon this, the young man, pulling off his hat, and begging my pardon for calling me honest, said he was despatched by Lady ——, with her compliments, to Mrs. and Misses Homespun, and that, if convenient, she intended herself the honour of dining with them, on her return from B—— Park (the seat of another great and rich lady in our neighbourhood).

'I confess, Mr. Mirror, I was struck somewhat of a heap with the message; and it would not, in all probability, have received an immediate answer, had it not been overheard by my eldest daughter, who had come to the window on the appearance of a stranger.

'"Mr. Papillot," said she, immediately, "I rejoice to see you; 418 I hope your lady and all the family are well." "Very much at your service, ma'am," he replied, with a low bow; "my lady sent me before, with the offer of her best compliments, and that, if convenient"—and so forth, repeating his words to me. "She does us infinite honour," said my young madam; "let her ladyship know how happy her visit will make us; but, in the meantime, Mr. Papillot, give your horse to one of the servants, and come in and have a glass of something after your ride." "I am afraid," answered he (pulling out his right-hand watch, for, would you believe it, sir, the fellow had one in each fob), "I shall hardly have time to meet my lady at the place she appointed me." On a second invitation, however, he dismounted, and went into the house, leaving his horse to the care of the servants; but the servants, as my daughter very well knew, were all in the fields at work; so I, who have a liking for a good horse, and cannot bear to see him neglected, had the honour of putting Mr. Papillot's horse in the stable myself.'

The arrival of the distinguished party completely upset Mr. Homespun's establishment, turned the heads of his entire family, and annihilated the effect of all his good teachings.

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. I. No. 50.

'It was formerly one of those national boasts which are always allowable, and sometimes useful, that the ladies of Scotland possessed a purity of conduct and delicacy of manners beyond that of most other countries. Free from the bad effects of overgrown fortunes, and from the dissipated society of an overgrown capital, their beauty was natural and their minds were uncorrupted.

'Formerly a London journey was attended with some difficulty and danger, and posting thither was an achievement as masculine as a fox-chase. Now the goodness of the roads and the convenience of the vehicles render it a matter of only a few days' moderate exercise for a lady; Facilis descensus Averni; our wives and daughters are carried thither to see the world, and we are not to wonder if some of them bring back only that knowledge of it which the most ignorant can acquire and the most forgetful retain. That knowledge is communicated to a certain circle on their return; the imitation is as rapid as it is easy; they emulate the 419 English, who before have copied the French; the dress, the phrase, and the morale of Paris is transplanted first to London, and thence to Edinburgh; and even the sequestered regions of the country are sometimes visited in this northern progress of politeness.

'It will be said, perhaps, that there is often a levity of behaviour without any criminality of conduct; that the lady who talks always loud, and sometimes free, goes much abroad, or keeps a crowd of company at home, rattles in a public place with a circle of young fellows, or flirts in a corner with a single one, does all this without the smallest bad intention, merely as she puts on a cap and sticks it with feathers because she has seen it done by others whose rank and fashion entitle them to her imitation.'

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. II. No. 44.

Sit mihi fas audita loqui.

'Passing the Exchange a few days ago, I perceived a little before me a short, plump-looking man, seeming to set his watch by St. Giles's clock, which had just then struck two. On observing him more closely, I recognised Mr. Blubber, with whom I had been acquainted at the house of our mutual friend Mr. Bearskin.

'He recollected me, and, shaking me cordially by the hand, told me he was just returned safe from his journey to the Highlands, and had been regulating his watch by our town clock, as he found the sun did not go exactly in the 420 Highlands as it did in the Low country. He added, that if I would come and eat a Welsh rare-bit and drink a glass of punch with him and his family that evening, at their lodgings hard by, they would give me an account of their expedition.

'When I went to their lodgings in the evening, I could not help making one preliminary observation, that it was much too early in the season for visiting the country to advantage; but to this Mr. Blubber had a very satisfactory answer: they were resolved to complete their tour before the new tax upon post-horses should be put in execution.

'The first place they visited after they left Edinburgh was Carron, which Mr. Blubber seemed to prefer to any place he had seen; but the ladies did not appear to have relished it much. The mother said, "She was like to have fell into a fit at the noise of the great bellows." Miss Blubber agreed that it was monstrous frightful indeed. Miss Betsy had spoiled her petticoat in getting in, and said it was a nasty place, not fit for genteel people, in her opinion. Blubber put on his wisest face, and observed that women did not know the use of them things. There was much the same difference in their sentiments with regard to the Great Canal. Mr. Blubber took out a piece of paper, on which he had marked down the lockage duty received in a week there; he shook his head, however, and said he was sorry to find the shares below par.

'Taymouth seemed to strike the whole family. The number and beauty of the temples were taken particular notice of; nor was the trimness of the walks and hedges without commendation. Miss Betsy Blubber declared herself charmed with the shady walk by the side of the Tay, and remarked what an excellent fancy it was to shut out the view of the river, so that you might hear the stream without seeing it. Mr. Blubber, however, objected to the vicinity of the hills, and Mrs. Blubber to that of the lake, which she was sure must be extremely unwholesome.

'But, however various were the remarks of the family on the particulars of their journey in detail, I found they had perfectly settled their respective opinions of travelling in general. The ladies had formed their conclusion that it was monstrous pleasant, and the gentleman his that it was monstrous dear.' 421

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. II. No. 50.

A correspondent is addressing the 'Mirror' on the ill effects of listlessness, indolence, and an aversion to profitable exertion. The writer describes his visit to a barrister without practice, who, having been left a small competence, had relinquished his profession to engage in literary pursuits.

Mr. Mordant, the literary recluse, on his friend's arrival, was discovered cultivating his kitchen garden. The visitor is conducted through the grounds, which had been laid out in accordance with the owner's taste.

'Near a village, on our way homewards, we met a set of countrymen engaged at cricket, and soon after a marriage company dancing the bride's dance upon the green. My friend, with a degree of gaiety and alacrity which I had never before seen him display, not only engaged himself, but compelled me likewise to engage in the exercise of the one and the merriment of the other. In a field before his door an old horse, blind at one eye, came up to us at his call, and ate the remainder of the grains from his hand from which he had previously fed a flock of tame pigeons.

'Our conversation for that evening, relating chiefly to the situation of our common friends, memory of former scenes, and other subjects as friends naturally converse about after a long absence, afforded me little opportunity of gratifying my curiosity. Next morning I arose at my wonted early hour, and stepping into his study found it unoccupied. Upon examining a heap of books and papers that lay confusedly mingled on the table and the floor, I was surprised to find that by much the greater part of them, instead of metaphysics and morals (the branches connected with his scheme of writing), treated of Belles Lettres, or were calculated 422 merely for amusement. There was, besides, a journal of his occupations for several weeks, from which, as it affords a picture of his situation, I transcribe a part:—

'"Thursday, eleven at night.—Went to bed: ordered my servant to wake me at six, resolving to be busy all next day.

'"Friday morning.—Waked a quarter before six; fell asleep again, and did not wake till eight.

'"Till nine read the first act of Voltaire's 'Mahomet,' as it was too late to begin serious business.

'"Ten.—Having swallowed a short breakfast, went out for a moment in my slippers. The wind having left the east, am engaged by the beauty of the day to continue my walk. Find a situation by the river where the sound of my flute produced a very singular and beautiful echo—make a stanza and a half by way of an address to it—visit the shepherd lying ill of a low fever, find him somewhat better (mem.—to send him some wine)—meet the parson, and cannot avoid asking him to dinner—returning home find my reapers at work—superintend them in the absence of John, whom I send to inform the house of the parson's visit—read, in the meantime, part of Thomson's 'Seasons,' which I had with me—from one to six plagued with the parson's news and stories—take up 'Mahomet' to put me in good humour; finish it, the time allotted for serious study being elapsed—at eight, applied to for advice by a poor countryman, who had been oppressed; cannot say as to the law; give him some money—walk out at sunset to consider the causes of the pleasure arising from it—at nine, sup, and sit till eleven hearing my nephew read, and conversing with my mother, who was remarkably well and cheerful—go to bed.

'"Saturday. Some company arrived—to be filled up to-morrow"—(for 423 that and the two succeeding days there was no further entry in the journal).

'"Tuesday.—Waked at seven; but, the weather being rainy and threatening to confine me all day, lay till nine—ten, breakfasted and read the newspapers; very dull and drowsy—eleven, day clears up, and I resolve on a short ride to clear my head."

'A few days' residence with him showed me that his life was in reality, as is here represented, a medley of feeble exertions, indolent pleasures, secret benevolence, and broken resolutions. Nor did he pretend to conceal from me that his activity was not now so constant as it had been; but he insisted that he still could, when he thought proper, apply with his former vigour, and flattered himself that these frequent deviations from his plan of employment, which in reality were the fruit of indolence and weakness, arose from reason and conviction.

'"After all," said he to me one day, when I was endeavouring to undeceive him, "after all, granting what you allege, if I be happy, and really am so, what more could activity, fame, or preferment bestow upon me?"

'After a stay of some weeks I departed, convinced that his malady was past a cure, and lamenting that so much real excellence and ability should be thus in a great measure lost to the world, as well as to their possessor, by the attendance of a single fault.' 424

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. II. No. 56.

The following letter is from a dweller in the country, an ardent lover of retirement, who is enchanted with the simplicity of life and incident to be encountered in a pastoral retreat:—

'My dear Sir,—The moment I found myself disengaged from business, you know I left the smoke and din of your blessed city, and hurried away to pure skies and quiet at my cottage.

'You must have heard that our spring was singularly pleasant; but how pleasant it was you could not feel in your dusky atmosphere. My sister remarked that it had a faint resemblance to the spring of ——. Although I omit the year, you may believe that several seasons have passed away since that animating era recollected by my sister. "Alas! my friend," said I, "seasons return, but it is only to the young and the fortunate." A tear started in her eye, yet she smiled and resumed her tranquillity.

'We sauntered through the kitchen-garden, and admired the rapid progress of vegetation. "Everything is very forward," said my sister; "we must begin to bottle gooseberries to-morrow." "Very forward, indeed," answered I. "This reminds me of the young ladies whom I have seen lately—they seem forward enough, though a little out of season too." 425

'It was a poor witticism, but it lay in my way, and I took it up. Next morning the gardener came to our breakfasting-parlour. "Madam," said he, "all the gooseberries are gone." "Gone!" cried my sister; "and who could be so audacious? Brother, you are a justice of the peace; do make out a warrant directly to search for and apprehend. We have an agreeable neighbourhood, indeed! the insolence of the rabble of servants, of low-born, purse-proud folks, is not to be endured." "The gooseberries are not away," continued the gardener; "they are lying in heaps under the bushes; last night's frost, and a hail-shower this morning, have made the crop fail." "The crop fail!" exclaimed my sister; "and where am I to get gooseberries for bottling?" "Come, come, my dear," said I; "they tell me that in Virginia pork has a peculiar flavour from the peaches on which the hogs feed; you can let in the goslings to pick up the gooseberries, and I warrant you that this unlooked-for food will give them a relish far beyond that of any green geese of our neighbours at the castle." "Brother," replied she, "you are a philosopher." I quickly discovered that, while endeavouring to turn one misfortune into jest, I recalled another to her remembrance, for it seems that, by a series of domestic calamities, all her goslings had perished.

'A very promising family of turkey chicks has at length consoled her for the fate of the goslings, and on rummaging her store-room she finds that she has more bottled gooseberries left of last year than will suffice for the present occasions of our little family. 426

'That people of sense should allow themselves to be affected by the most trivial accident is ridiculous. There are, indeed, some things which, though hardly real evils, cannot fail to vex the wisest and discompose the equanimity of the most patient; for example, that fulsome court paid by the vulgar to rich upstarts, and the daily slights to which decayed nobility is exposed.'

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. II. No. 68.

'One morning during my late visit to Mr. Umphraville (the writer of the previous letter on life in the country), as that gentleman, his sister, and I were sitting at breakfast, my old friend John came in, and delivered a sealed card to his master. After putting on his spectacles, and reading it with attention, "Ay," said Umphraville, "this is one of your modern improvements. I remember the time when one neighbour could have gone to dine with another without any fuss or ceremony; but now, forsooth, you must announce your intention so many days before; and by-and-by I suppose the intercourse between two country gentlemen will be carried on with the same stiffness of ceremonial that prevails among your small German princes. Sister, you must prepare a feast on Thursday. Colonel Plum says he intends to have the honour of waiting on us." "Brother," replied Miss Umphraville, "you know we don't deal in giving feasts; but if Colonel Plum can dine on a plain dinner, without his foreign dishes and French sauces, I can prepare him a bit of good mutton, and a hearty welcome."

'On the day appointed, Colonel Plum arrived, and along with him the gay, the sprightly Sir Bobby Button, who had posted down to the country to enjoy two days' shooting at Colonel Plum's, where he arrived just as that gentleman was setting out for Mr. Umphraville's. Sir Bobby, always easy, and who, in every society, is the same, protested against the Colonel's putting off his visit, and declared he would be happy to attend him.

'Though I had but little knowledge of Sir Bobby, I was perfectly acquainted with his character; but to Umphraville he was altogether unknown, and I promised myself some amusement from the contrast of two persons so opposite in sentiments, in manners, and in opinions. 427

'When he was presented I observed Umphraville somewhat shocked with his dress and figure, in both of which, it must be confessed, he resembled a monkey of a larger size. Sir Bobby, however, did not allow him much time to contemplate his external appearance, for he immediately, without any preparation or apology, began to attack the old gentleman on the bad taste of his house, and of everything about it. "Why the devil," said he, "don't you enlarge your windows, and cut down those damned hedges and trees that spoil your lawn so miserably? If you would allow me, I would undertake, in a week's time, to give you a clever place." To this Umphraville made no answer; and indeed the baronet was so fond of hearing himself talk, and chattered away at such a rate, that he neither seemed to desire nor to expect an answer.

'On Miss Umphraville's coming in, he addressed himself to her, and, after displaying his dress, and explaining some particulars with regard to it, he began to entertain her with an account of the gallantries in which he had been engaged the preceding winter in London. He talked as if no woman could resist his persuasive address and elegant figure—as if London were one great seraglio, and he himself the mighty master of it.'

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. II. No. 74.

'Dreams depend in part on the state of the air; that which has power over the passions may reasonably be presumed to have power over the thoughts of men. Now, most people know by experience how effectual, in producing joy and hope, are pure skies and sunshine, and that a long continuance of dark weather brings on solicitude and melancholy. This is particularly the case with those persons whose nervous system has been weakened by a sedentary life and much thinking; and they, as I hinted formerly, are most subject to troublesome dreams. If the external air can affect the motions of so heavy a substance as mercury in the tube of a barometer, we need not wonder that it should affect those finer liquids that circulate through the human body. 428

'How often, too, do thoughts arise during the day which we cannot account for, as uncommon, perhaps, and incongruous, as those which compose our dreams! Once, after riding thirty miles in a very high wind, I remember to have passed a night of dreams that were beyond description terrible; insomuch that I at last found it expedient to keep myself awake, that I might no more be tormented with them. Had I been superstitious, I should have thought that some disaster was impending. But it occurred to me that the tempestuous weather I had encountered the preceding day might be the occasion of all these horrors; and I have since, in some medical author, met with a remark to justify the conjecture.'

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. III. No. 79.

Of Pastoral Poetry.

'It may be doubted whether the representation of sentiments belonging to the real inhabitants of the country, who are strangers to all refinement, or those entertained by a person of an elegant and cultivated mind, who from choice retires into the country with a view of enjoying those pleasures which it affords, is calculated to produce a more interesting picture. If the former is 429 recommended by its naïveté and simplicity, it may be expected that the latter should have the preference in point of beauty and variety.

'The enlargement of the field of pastoral poetry would surely be of advantage, considering how much the common topics of that species of writing are already exhausted. We are become weary of the ordinary sentiments of shepherds, which have been so often repeated, and which have usually nothing but the variety of expression to recommend them. The greater part of the productions which have appeared under the name of pastorals are, accordingly, so insipid as to have excited little attention; which is the more remarkable because the subjects which they treat of naturally interest the affections, and are easily painted in such delusive colours as tend to soothe the imagination by romantic dreams of happiness.' 430

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. III. No. 84.

'To dispute the right of fashion to enlarge, to vary, or to change the ideas, both of man and woman kind, were a want of good breeding, of which the author of a periodical publication, who throws himself, as it were, from day to day on the protection of the polite world, cannot be supposed capable.

'I pay, therefore, little regard to the observations of some antiquated correspondents who pretend to set up what they call the invariable notions of things against the opinions and practice of people of condition.

'I am afraid that Edinburgh (talking like a man who has travelled) is but a sort of mimic metropolis, and cannot fairly pretend to the same license of making a fool of itself as London or Paris. The circle, therefore, taking them en gros, of our fashionable people here, have seldom ventured on the same beautiful irregularity in dress, in behaviour, or in manners that is frequently practised by the leaders of ton in the capital of France or England.

'With individuals the same rule of subordination is to be observed, which, however, persons of extraordinary parts, of genius above their condition, are sometimes apt to overlook. I perceive, in the pit of the play-house, some young men who have got fuddled on punch, as noisy and as witty as the gentlemen in the boxes who have been drinking Burgundy; and others, who have come sober from the counter or writing-desk, give almost as little attention to the play as men of 3,000 l. a year. My old school acquaintance, Jack Wou'd-be, t'other morning had a neckcloth as dirty as a lord's, and picked his teeth after dinner, for a quarter of an hour, by the assistance of the little mirror in the lid of his tooth-pick case. I take the first opportunity of giving him a friendly hint, that this practice is elegant only in a man who has made the tour of Europe.' 431

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. III. No. 32.

An Essay upon Figure-Makers.

'There is a species of animal, several of whom must have fallen under the notice of everybody present, which it is difficult to class either among the witty or the foolish, the clever or the dull, the wise or the mad, who, of all others, have the greatest propensity to figure-making. Nature seems to have made them up in haste, and to have put the different ingredients, above referred to, into their composition at random. Here there is never wanting a junta of them of both sexes, who are liked or hated, admired or despised, who make people laugh, or set them asleep, according to the fashion of the time or the humour of the audience, but who have always the satisfaction of talking themselves, or of being talked of by others. With us, indeed, a very moderate degree of genius is sufficient for this purpose; in small societies folks are set agape by small circumstances. I have known a lady here contrive to make a figure for half the winter on the strength of a plume of feathers, or the trimming of a petticoat; and a gentleman make shift to be thought a fine fellow, only by outdoing everybody else in the thickness of his queue, or the height of his foretop.'

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. III. No. 98.

A student of 'good parts' has accepted, for one year, the post of resident tutor to a young gentleman with rich expectations. He writes to the 'Mirror,' describing the little progress he can make in the advancement of his pupil's education, owing to the frivolous interruptions which postpone serious application from day to day. Study has been already set aside, on various pretexts, for the first four days of the week. The close of his letter relates how he fared on the Friday and Saturday.

'"You must know," says Mrs. Flint, the gentleman's mamma, 432 at breakfast, "that I am assured that Jemmy is very like the Count de Provence, the King of France's own brother. Now Jemmy is sitting for his picture to Martin, and I thought it would be right to get the friseur, whom you saw last night [he has just arrived from Paris], to dress his hair like the Count de Provence, that Mr. Martin might make the resemblance more complete. Jemmy has been under his hands since seven o'clock. Oh, here he comes!" "Is it not charming?" exclaimed Miss Juliana. "I wish your future bride could see you," added the happy mother. My pupil, lost in the labyrinth of cross curls, seems to look about for himself. "What a powdered sheep's head have we got here?" cried Captain Winterbottom. We all went to Mr. Martin's to assist him in drawing Jemmy's picture. On our return, Mrs. Flint discovered that her son had got an inflammation in his right eye by looking steadfastly on the painter. She ordered a poultice 433 of bread and milk, and put him to bed; so there was no more talk of "Omnibus in terris" for that evening.

'My pupil came down to breakfast in a complete suit of black, with weepers, and a long mourning-cravat. The Count de Provence's curls were all demolished, and there remained not a vestige of powder on his hair. "Bless me!" cried I, "what is the matter?" "Oh, nothing," said Mrs. Flint; "a relation of mine is to be interred at twelve, and Jemmy has got a burial letter. We ought to acknowledge our friends on such melancholy occasions, I mean to send Jemmy with the coach-and-six; it will teach him how to behave himself in public places."

'At dinner my pupil expressed a vehement desire to go to the play. "There is to be 'Harlequin Highlander,' and the blowing up of the St. Domingo man-of-war," said he; "it will be vastly comical and curious." "Why, Jemmy," said Mrs. Flint, "since this is Saturday, I suppose your tutor will have no objection; but be sure to put on your great coat, and to take a chair in coming home." "I thought," said I, "that we might have made some progress at our books this evening." "Books on Saturday afternoon!" cried the whole company; "it was never heard of." I yielded to conviction; for, indeed, it would have been very unreasonable to have expected that he who had spent the whole week in idleness should begin to apply himself to his studies on the evening of Saturday.'

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. III. No. 105.

The editor is enlarging on certain vanities and fashionable absurdities which town people, when they rusticate for change of air, cannot forbear importing with them.

'In the first place, I would beg of those who migrate from the City not to carry too much of the town with them into the country. I will allow a lady to exhibit the newest-fashioned cut in her riding-habit, or to astonish a country congregation with the height of her head-dress; and a gentleman, in like manner, to sport, as they term it, a grotesque pattern of a waistcoat, or to set the children agape by the enormous size of his buckles. These are privileges to which gentlemen and ladies may be thought to have entitled themselves by the expense and trouble of a winter's residence 434 in the capital. But there is a provoking though a civil sort of consequence such people are apt to assume in conversation which, I think, goes beyond the just prerogative of township, and is, a very unfair encroachment on the natural rights of their friends and relations in the country. They should consider that though there are certain subjects of ton and fashion on which they may pronounce ex cathedrâ (if I may be allowed so pedantic a phrase) yet that, even in the country, the senses of hearing, seeing, tasting, and smelling may be enjoyed to a certain extent, and that a person may like or dislike a new song, a new lutestring, a French dish, or an Italian perfume, though such person has been unfortunate enough to pass last winter at a hundred miles' distance from the metropolis.'

The 'Mirror.'—Vol. III. No. 108.

The editor is recounting a deeply sentimental story, written with all seriousness, in a style sufficiently burlesque and laughable. It refers to the love of Sir Edward, an English gentleman, who, while travelling in Piedmont, had met with an accidental fall from his horse, and been carried to the residence of a small proprietor named Venoni, for whose daughter the baronet immediately conceived a tenderness, which was returned by the fair Louisa.

'The disclosure of Sir Edward's passion was interrupted by the untoward arrival of Louisa's parent, accompanied with one of their neighbours, a coarse, vulgar, ignorant man, whose possessions led her father to look upon him with favour. Venoni led his daughter aside, told her he had brought her future husband, and that he intended they should be married in a week at furthest.

'Next morning Louisa was indisposed, and kept her chamber. Sir Edward was now perfectly recovered. He was engaged to go out with Venoni; but before his departure he took up his violin, and touched a few plaintive notes on it. They were heard by Louisa. 435

'In the evening she wandered forth to indulge her sorrows alone. She had reached a sequestered spot, where some poplars formed a thicket, on the banks of a little stream that watered the valley. A nightingale was perched on one of them, and had already begun its accustomed song. Louisa sat down on a withered stump, leaning her cheek upon her hand. After a little while, the bird was scared from its perch, and flitted from the thicket. Louisa rose from the ground, and burst into tears. She turned—and beheld Sir Edward. His countenance had much of its former languor; and, when he took her hand, he cast on the earth a melancholy look, and seemed unable to speak his feelings.

'Louisa was at last overcome. Her face was first pale as death, then suddenly it was crossed with a crimson blush. "Oh, Sir Edward!" she said. "What—what would you have me do?" He eagerly seized her hand, and led her reluctant to the carriage. They entered it, and, driving off with furious speed, were soon out of sight of those hills which pastured the flocks of the forsaken Venoni.' 436


Thackeray as an Illustrator—The 'North British Review' on Thackeray—Illustrations to 'Men of Character'—The 'Whitey-brown Paper Magazine'—'Comic Tales,' illustrated by Thackeray—Allusions to Caricature Drawing found throughout his writings—Skits on Fashion—Titmarsh on 'Men and Clothes'—Bohemianism in youth—Hatred of conventionality—Sketches of Contemporary Habits and Manners—Imaginative Illustrations to Romances—Skill in Ludicrous Parody—Burlesque of the 'Official Handbook of Court and State.'

Although Thackeray must go down to posterity as an author, and, of necessity, in that character will hold his own as one of the very greatest of English writers, his earnest ambition sought occupation in the career of an artist, and, as must be familiar to our readers, the desire for this distinction retained its hold on his spirit through life.

As a humorous designer we must accord him a position of eminence, and the characteristic originality of his pencil certainly entitles Thackeray to an honourable place in the front rank of fanciful draughtsmen.

The illustrations which he supplied in profusion for the embellishment of his own writings have a certain happy harmony with the thread of the story, which probably no other hand could have contributed. In the field of design, especially of the grotesque order, his imagination was singularly fertile, and the little figures with which he loved to appositely point the texts of his week-day sermons and moralities strike forcibly by their ingenuity and by the aptness of their conception.


'He draws well,' insists the author of an unusually thoughtful and sound paper on Thackeray;[31] 'his mouths and noses, his feet, his children's heads, all his ugly and queer "mugs," are wonderful for expression and good drawing. With beauty of man or woman he is not so happy; but his fun is, we think, even more abounding and funnier in his cuts than in his words. He is, as far as we can recollect, the only great author who illustrated his own works. This gives a singular completeness to the result. When his pen has said its say, then comes his pencil and adds its own felicity.'

The article just referred to, which we cannot recommend too highly, is written in a spirit of such just excellence as could only have been arrived at after long personal acquaintance with Thackeray's higher qualities. The same number contains the facsimile of a remarkably clever and characteristic pen-and-ink drawing in the humourist's best style, which was originally sent to a friend in the North in place of a letter—a practice not unusual with him. One corner of the little picture contains a 'memorandum of account' to this effect:—

'To a new plum-coloured coat.

'Dr. Goldsmith (Mitre Court). To J. Filby, Dr.'

Oliver Goldsmith and Dr. Johnson are both passing the shop-front of the unfortunate tailor. The actors in this comedietta are so absorbed in their several occupations—the lexicographer in a book, Goldy in self-admiration—that they don't notice the tailor, who, too, is completely paralysed at the double spectacle of his coat and his debtor; his assistant is grinning with both his sides—the consequence of the passing of the customer and the discomfiture of his master, who looks somewhat of a 'grinder;' while a pair of arch-faced, merry little urchins are copying to the life the shuffle and swagger respectively of the two Doctors. We will let the paper speak for itself:—

'This drawing is a good specimen of his work; it tells its own story, as every drawing should. Here is the great lexicographer, with his ponderous shuffling tread, his thick lips, his head bent down, his book close to his purblind eyes, himself totus in illo, 438 reading, as he fed, greedily and fast. Beside him simpers the clumsy and inspired Oliver, in his new plum-coloured coat; his eyes bent down in an ecstasy of delight, for is he not far prouder of his visage—and such a visage!—and of his coat than of his artless genius? We all know about that coat, and how Mr. Filby never got paid for it. There he is behind his window, in sartorial posture; his uplifted goose arrested, his eye following wistfully, and not without a sense of glory and dread, that coat and man. His journeyman is grinning at him; he is paid weekly, and has no risk. And then what a genuine bit of Thackeray, the street-boy and his dear little admiring sister!—there they are stepping out in mimicry of the great two.'

The article from which this passage is quoted contains a letter, full of grave feeling and sensibility, which Thackeray wrote, in 1848, in acknowledging one of those spontaneous expressions of gratitude that are occasionally found to cheer an author on his way, and to awaken in his mind the encouraging sense of sympathy from unexpected quarters.

'There happened to be placed in the window of an Edinburgh jeweller a silver statuette of "Mr. Punch," with his dress en rigueur his comfortable and tidy paunch, with all its buttons; his hunch; his knee-breeches, with their ties; his compact little legs, one foot a little forward; and the intrepid and honest, kindly little fellow firmly set on his pins, with his customary look of up to and good for anything. In his hand was his weapon, a pen; his skull was an inkhorn, and his cap its lid. A passer-by—who had long been grateful to our author, as to a dear unknown and enriching friend, for his writings in "Fraser" and in "Punch," and had longed for some way of reaching him and telling him how his work was relished and valued—bethought himself of sending this inkstand to Mr. Thackeray. He went in, and asked its price. "Ten guineas, sir." He said to himself, "There are many who feel as I do; why shouldn't we send it up to him? I'll get eighty several half-crowns, and that will do it" (he had ascertained there would be discount for ready money). With the help of a friend, the half-crowns were soon forthcoming, and it is pleasant to remember that in the "octogint" are the names of Lord Jeffrey and Sir William Hamilton, who gave their half-crowns with the heartiest good-will. A short note was written, telling the story. The little 439 man in silver was duly packed and sent, with the following inscription round the base:—

D. D. D.'

How far Thackeray would have succeeded as an illustrator of other men's thoughts there is but little that has been published to prove. His separate cuts in 'Punch' are remarkably happy and droll, but they have none of those graver and more aspiring qualities which authors perhaps might have looked for in the sketches of a young gentleman who proposed seriously to draw pictures for their stories. It is conceded that for the embellishment of his own writings Thackeray's eye, hand, and pencil possessed every desirable qualification; and it is not improbable that the same facilities would have enabled him to offer to others, as his powers became matured, a share of the advantages which his ready wit brought to his own pictorial embellishments.

The few instances of his productions as an illustrator, pure and simple, are too early to come under fair criticism. Before he had acquired practice with his etching-needle, and certainly before he had found out his own particular style, he tried his hand at a set of copper plates, with the example of Seymour, it is believed, to guide his then imperfect knowledge of the art by means of which he desired to publish his designs.

The admirable series of 'Men of Character,' which Douglas Jerrold originally contributed as magazine papers, were collected in three volumes and published by Colburn in 1838. These volumes were illustrated with several plates, the humour of which is undeniable, although it may be thought that the subjects have suffered in execution. The name of the artist does not appear, but there is no doubt that Thackeray supplied these designs to adorn the book of his friend and fellow littérateur; the incidents selected are all sufficiently farcical for humorous delineation, and that they have certainly had at the hands of the draughtsman.

'The Practical Philosophy of Adam Buff' (the Man without a Shirt) is completely set out in the frontispiece, where, soused 440 with water, the moral professor is invited by a 'rough' to strip 'to his shirt' and show his skill with his fists. Buff's coat is buttoned to the chin, to conceal the absence of his linen, and with his huge shoulder of mutton hands he is striking the attitude of immovable moral dignity which won the heart of his patron. A likeness to this identical pugilistic coal-whipper will be found in one of Thackeray's wood-cuts to the 'Town and Gown Row' in 'Codlingsby' ('Punch's Prize Novelists'). The 'Fall of Pippins' represents that too susceptible youth on his knees before his lady mistress, whom he has awakened with a kiss. The indignation of the outraged fair, the abject terror and contrition of Pippins, the fury of the jealous husband, Sir Scipio Mannikin, who is breaking in upon the transgressor with uplifted cane, and the startled faces of the domestic chaplain and his followers, are all successfully indicated. From bad to worse, we next find 'Job Pippins—Murderer.' The unfortunate youth, labouring under a very unpleasant suspicion, has been dragged into still more objectionable company; he is nervously seated on the edge of a stool, in a hut tenanted by burglars and cut-purses. A young girl, the mistress of a highwayman, captain of the gang, has one of those pretty, innocent faces Thackeray always expressed so successfully.

'Jack Runnymede's Dream' is perhaps the most indicative of the artist's vein of grotesque humour. This champion of the 'rights of an Englishman' had a peculiar dream before commencing a suit at law. He fancied the Father of Evil met him by the wayside, performing like a shepherd on his pipe, and tendered him a 'little pup.' The Satanic person is set forth with great imaginative attractiveness, and the convolutions of his tail are very elaborate.

'John Applejohn's Humane Intentions' are displayed just at the very instant they were most liable to uncharitable misinterpretation, for he is caught, on his knees, with a bunch of keys, evidently in the act of lock-picking. 'Maximilian Tape before the Lords,' represents the little journeyman tailor just as he was captured by those promising slips of the aristocracy, Lord Slap, Tom Rumpus, young Plucky, and Rowdow; while one of the party is breaking a plate over his affrighted head that he may prove his trade by stitching it together again. 'Mr. Cramlington,' Applejohn's master, in his borrowed locks and whiskers, the son 441 of Tape's employer, a West End outfitter, who has got introduced to this fine, improving society, under the assumption of being a 'man of fashion,' is looking on the scene in ill-concealed dread of his own recognition and exposure.

In the 'Final Reward of John Applejohn,' that unfortunate but well meaning, simple youth, just captured from the front of a booth, and still in the dress of a statue, in which character he narrowly escaped demolition, is restored to the "girl of his heart."

'Barnaby Palms Feeling his Way' is shown, the epitome of artfulness, at the breakfast-table of his worthy uncle, where he is taking his last meal before setting out to seek his fortune in the world. The wily youth insisted on eating a stale egg, declaring he 'did not care for his eggs over-fresh,' in order to win the heart of his relative, before whom is displayed a well-filled money-bag—Barnaby's anticipated 'start in life.' It may be remembered that the uncle expressed his earnest conviction that a man 'who did not care for his eggs over-fresh' was sure to make his way by himself, and so sent Barnaby forth without the coveted money-bag.

'Cheek's Introduction to a New Subject' represents the prison-yard, where the dwarf artist and modeller, Mr. Pop, is maliciously enjoying the spectacle of his employer, Cheek, the waxwork showman, in a state of horror, with his hand locked in the fist of Kemp, the murderer, whose head they have come down to 'take off' after execution. 'The Ghost of Kemp' represents Aaron, the Jew fence, waking from his guilty slumbers to discover the murderer's head, which Pop has modelled and placed for security on the window-sill, where it is suddenly disclosed by the moonlight to the conscience-stricken and horrified 'receiver of stolen goods,' who had congratulated himself that the hangman's noose had effectually removed all evidence of his own guilt.

'Matthew Clear, the Man who Saw his Way,' is introduced in the fatal instance of 'not seeing his way' which proved his ruin; seated on a sofa with the artful adventuress whose fortune the long-headed Clear flattered himself he should secure by persuading her into a marriage. He is planted very comfortably on a little sofa, below the simpering portrait of his bride. Julia's arms are round the neck of the deluded Clear; on his knee is perched a great lubberly boy, a pledge of affection to which it appears the lady stands 'almost in the light of a mother.' Matthew, evidently 442 lost as to 'his way,' is successfully cajoled; and Mrs. Clear's parrot, which had been educated on board ship, is shrieking demoniacally, 'Hooked, by Jingo!'

The last plate illustrates the 'Introduction of Titus Trumps to Miss Wolfe.' The confiding hero of this story, whose belief in something 'turning up' favourable was ineradicable, is being confronted by the peppery Baronet, Sir Jeremy Sloth, with his daughter, the mature but impressionable Emily, when he has actually come to pay a visit to her maid, whose relatives keep a public-house with the sign of 'General Wolfe.'

These illustrations would probably have achieved more success had the artist confined himself to the bold outline manner of etching in which his better-known plates are executed, and in which he early exhibited a fair proficiency. His desire to conform to the fashion of the day (the 'Pickwick Papers' were publishing at the time) led him to attempt a style in which he had not enjoyed sufficient experience to qualify him to produce results which would compare favourably with the works of older hands.

Another jeu d'esprit from his pencil, commenced somewhat later, is considerably more in the unmistakeable Titmarshian vein; indeed, for the force and fun of its satire, it perhaps excels all that he ever did in the indulgence of his amazing talents for ludicrous personalities. We refer to the series of illustrations, or rather caricatures, suggested for the 'Whitey-brown Paper Magazine,' which was never issued. The rarity of these croquis, merely a few loose lithographed leaves, drawn by Thackeray himself, is so excessive that it is stated that the only original copy which has come under our notice cost the proprietor no less than forty guineas. The entire paper, which in its intention does not differ widely from certain of the 'Yellowplush Papers,' is directed to ridicule the consequence of Dr. Lardner, editor of the 'Cabinet Cyclopædia,' and his friend Sir Bulwer Lytton. It may be remembered that the 'Literary Chronicle,' under the influence of these gentlemen, was a pet aversion to its rival 'Fraser,' with Dr. Maginn and Titmarsh to the front. The caricatures commence with a 'Preface, Advertisement, or Introduction,' to which we must briefly refer in order to bring on the scene the young gentleman whose history is displayed in the caricatures, and who it was stated, lest persons should fancy the ridicule directed against any 443 of the writer's contemporaries, lived many thousands of years ago in the reign of Chrononhotonthologos, King of Brentford.

This gentleman's name was Dionysius Diddler, and the historian hastens to anticipate misconstruction by explaining that he was no relation of any other Dionysius, nor indeed a native of Brentford (though, it is confessed, Diddlers certainly abound in that place).

Dionysius, who was sixty years of age and wore a wig and false teeth, according to his biographer, came over as a young fellow from Patland, and, finding the people of Brentford more easily humbugged and more ignorant than any people on earth, settled himself there, in his trade, which was that of a philosopher; an excellent profession, by which Dionysius would have made a pretty penny, only he spent his money in trying to be a man of fashion, in buying clothes, and other genteel diversions.

In consequence of this extravagance, although his learning had made his name famous (every one has heard of his 'Essay on the Tea-Kettle,' his 'Remarks on Pumps,' and his celebrated 'Closet Cyclopædia'), poor Diddler found himself one day, after forty years of glory, turned out of his lodging, without a penny, without his wig—which, sad to say, he had pawned—without even his false teeth, which, seeing he had no use for them, he had pawned too.

The first sketch pictures Dionysius Diddler, young, innocent, and with a fine head of hair, on which he wears an old felt hat and band very much out of shape. He wears a clerical-cut buttoned-up vest; a bob-tail coat, very short in the waist and sleeves, and long in the sparrow-tails; his face (an admirable likeness of the Doctor is preserved throughout) is adorned with 'specs;' his 'brogues' are very short, and patched; his shoes are decidedly primitive; a 'shellalee' is playfully twirled in his right hand; under his left arm is his learned library, for he is a young student of Ballybunion University, which noble foundation is seen under the hedge shown in the veracious artist's background, and, we are sorry to think, the famous college looks very like a bog-hut with a hole in the roof to let the smoke through. In contrast to this bright image of his gallant youth is the picture of the Doctor, after forty years of fame, thrown on the world very lean and miserable; the crown of his famous old felt hat is flopping down behind, the 444 brim is very limp and ragged; his stock is buttoned close, as is what remains of his coat, for vest or linen he has none. Elbows are out, so are arm-pits; tails are mere fringe, trousers to match, and oh, such dreadful, shapeless, soleless old bluchers, and, we are afraid, no socks!

Poor old Diddler, with a paper bag on his head in place of his wig, with his face sunken in for the want of his teeth, with his old bludgeon in one hand, and the other exposing the ragged remains of a bottomless pocket, is looking wistfully out of his old barnacles, as he thinks of dear Ballybunion. 'I'm femous,' he is soliloquising, 'all the wurrrld over; but what's the use of riputetion? Look at me, with all me luggage at the end of me stick—all me money in me left-hand breeches pocket—and it's oh! but I'd give all me celibrity for a bowl of butthermilk and petaties.'

A happy thought strikes the Doctor in this strait. He goes off to see what his publisher will do for him; and the next view we have of poor Dionysius is more cheerful. He is in the shop of Mr. Shortman; 'an' sure an' ouns!' Diddler's face wears the most gratified smile possible to be produced without teeth. His roofless hat is on the floor; the state of the top makes it hold his 'shellalee' all the more conveniently. On the shelves, sure enough on the book-shelves, is the 'Closet Cyclopædia;' and leaning over the counter, on which he has just laid down three five-pound notes and three sovereigns for the delighted Dionysius to sweep up, is the eminent publisher, white neckcloth and all, in his habit as he lived; a capital caricature likeness of the head of the firm of Longman and Co.

Diddler rapidly turns his money to account in reinstating himself as an elegant member of society and art—the man of fashion the rogue longed to be. The first thing he does is to take his wig out of pawn. Here the artist has shown him in the Lombardian counting-house; and, while his 'relative' is examining certain securities (in the way of personal garments) upon which some of his clients in the private boxes desire advances, our fashionable Doctor takes the opportunity of readjusting before a looking-glass his head of hair, which has suffered somewhat by recent incarceration, his fingers being converted into curling-tongs to replace in some degree its pristine splendour.

'And now,' says he, 'I'll go, take a sthroll to the Wist Ind, and 445 call on me frind Sir Hinry Pelham.' It appears that the noble Baronet's West End residence is situated in a neighbourhood no less celebrated than 'famed Red Lion's fashionable Square.' We are offered a jaunty back view of the revived dandy Diddler, as with a swagger of considerable sprightliness, and a genteel comedy strut, he is endeavouring to carry off the impression of his ragged wardrobe, and make the holes in his elbows pass current as a light, airy fashion. The imposing wig is made the most of; one massive lock, like a whisk of tow, is elegantly brushed about four inches beyond one ear, while the famous limp white hat, with its black band, and the top flapping about like the lid of a milk-pail, is cocked over the other. Carriages in the distance, with footmen suspended in pairs to the splashboard behind, attest the highly respectable character of the vicinity.

Sir Hinry Pelham is fortunately at home, reposing in a sumptuous easy chair, and splendidly apparelled in a long black satin stock, a flowing dressing-gown with collars and cuffs of some gorgeous material, and pointed Turkish slippers. The Baronet's fashionable exterior is very characteristic; his hair is thrown back in a rich cataract, over the back of his stock, his full curled whiskers ambrosially droop below his chin, his brow is noble, his eyebrow arched, his eye is haughty, as is his fine-bridged and well-defined hook-nose. This tremendous lion is evidently just roused from a state of well-bred listlessness, and he is propped up on the elbows of his lounge, while he regards, with sleepy astonishment, a banknote which his friend is flourishing before him with an air.

Diddler has thrown his hat on the floor, thrust his stick through the opening in the top, and drawn up a chair upon which he is straddling his long body and little legs in a consequential and impressive attitude. 'Pelham, me boy,' says he, 'you have clothes, and I have cridit; here's a five-pound note, and rig me out in a new shoot.'

In the next plate, Pelham, solacing himself with a cigar, is modestly concealing his features in a magazine; while Diddler—having discarded his shocking old clothes, which, with his vagabond hat and stick, lie scattered about the Baronet's splendid apartments—is ensconsing himself in one of Pelham's fashionable 'shoots;' a large cheval-glass discreetly marks the operations of his toilet. 'Fait,' says Diddler, 'the what-d'ye-call-'ems fit me 446 like a glove.' Pelham is still engaged with his cigar and book in the following plate, but his aristocratic profile is again displayed. Diddler is standing in front of the cheval-glass contemplating with increased satisfaction his improved and respectable appearance; in fact, he is dressed in one of the Baronet's suits, the very height of the mode. His wig is now in curl, a few handsome locks are brushed over his forehead, a curl or two over his ears, and a row of curls over his stock behind. His spectacles, which he never abandons, beam with satisfaction, and his teeth are evidently replaced. He has a black satin stock very high in the neck, and falling into a creasy, shiny avalanche below; his coat has a broad collar, sleeves cut quite tight from the elbow, and snowy wristbands. With one hand he is affectedly adjusting his shirt-collar, while he admires the reflected effect of the other, displayed in an attitude with his thumb in the pocket of his spotless white vest; light trousers, literally fitting like a glove, as was then the fashion, setting tightly over a pair of narrow boots with extravagantly lengthened toes and high heels, which complete the costume of this elegant old dandy.

'And upon me honour and conshience,' says he, 'now I'm dthressed, but I look intirely ginteel.'

In the last cut which has reached us we see the exterior of Sir Hinry's noble mansion, in Red Lion Square. The dandy Doctor, dressed in Pelham's coat, hat, boots, and pantaloons, stock, and spurs, is mistaken for the Baronet himself by Hodge, his groom, who leads round Pelham's horse, and, holding the stirrup, respectfully invites Dionysius to mount; and Diddler is shown in the picture generously dropping a coin into the cap of the groom, who with his disengaged hand is scratching his shock-head with astonishment. His face is a study of comical surprise, his knees are shaking with fright; and as the Doctor rides away, like the dashing blade he evidently considers himself, fear seizes upon the soul of Hodge. Says he, 'That gemman cannot be my master, for, as he rode away, he gave me sixpence, and my dear master never gives me nothen.'

Another capital plate introducing Bulwer and Lardner appeared in the collection of 'Comic Tales,' already mentioned in this volume, and published by Cunningham (1841), for which the author draws a fresh series of illustrations. 447

The caricature in question accompanies Mr. Yellowplush's 'Ajew,' the opening of which is extremely droll and clever. The two 'eminent gents' have just got out of their fly and are making their entrance at the house of Sir John, who, as a Whig Baronet, receives 'littery pipple;' poor Yellowplush is holding the door for these 'fust of English writers,' and very much amazed he looks. Although the etching is small, the likenesses are carefully worked out; the figure of Bulwer in the 'Whitey-brown Papers' has all the characteristics, slightly heightened, already given, except that he wears a suit of evening dress—'a gilt velvet waistcoat,' with his wristbands turned over the cuffs of his coat, and very tight gloves. The little Doctor has thrust his arm under the wing of his friend, who struts very affectedly in his close-fitting clothes, to exhibit to advantage his small waist and falling shoulders. Lardner's wig is perhaps richer in curls, his spectacles more beaming, his simper more satisfied; he is adjusting the collar of his older-fashioned square-tailed coat over a striped silk vest, which wrinkles over his rounded paunch; his queer-shaped little legs are displayed in somewhat ill-fitting tights, strapped over silk stockings and pumps tied with ribands.

It may be remembered that the announcement of the arrival of these 'genlmn' created some confusion. The Doctor was indignant that any one should fail to recognise so famous a celebrity, when Mr. Yellowplush mildly asked for his name.

'Name!—a! now you thief o' the wurrrld,' says he, 'do you pretind not to know me? Say it's the Cabinet Cyclop——; no, I mane the Litherary Chran——; psha!—bluthanouns! say it's Docthor Dioclesian Larner——I think he'll know me now—ay, Nid?' But Nid had slipped out of the way, being a little nervous about the good-breeding of his friend, it is presumed.

The second footman passed up the name as 'Doctor Athansius Larnder! and by the time he got to the groom of the chambers, who made some pretensions to scholarship, the little man was announced as 'Doctor Ignatius Loyola!'

The other gentleman, when requested to give his name (it was at the time people were talking about the eminent novelist's chances of being made a baronet), said in 'a thick, gobbling kind of voice':



which rather dumfoundered Mr. Yellowplush. That accomplished writer evidently watched the two 'littery genlmn' with interest, as he records the gratifying fact that 'they behaved very well, and seemed to have good appytights.'

The little Irishman especially distinguished himself, eating, drinking, and talking enough for six; and, after the wine, described how he had lately been presented at court by his friend Mr. Bulwig, and how her gracious Majesty had desired him to tell her the bonâ fide sale of the 'Cabinet Cyclopædia,' and how he had assured her, on his honour, that it was under ten thousand.

The entire illustrations of these 'Comic Tales and Sketches' are engraved with great neatness and spirit; and, in spite of their small size, they are superior, in carefulness of execution and attention to detail, to most of Thackeray's etchings.

The figure of a jester forms the frontispiece. A placard, which nearly conceals his person, exhibits the portraits of the three celebrities who are concerned in the work. The genteel Mr. Fitzroy Yellowplush, in his footman's livery, with a gold-headed cane in his right hand, has hold of one arm of the more homely Michael Angelo Titmarsh, who is in his turn looking up to the ferocious and colossal Major Gahagan, with whose stride he is absurdly endeavouring to keep pace. The Major's is a truly terrific figure. The enormous plumes of his high Polish shako, with the skull and cross-bones in front, are waving in the breeze, as is his long hair, his pointed moustache, and his spreading beard. His manly chest is displayed in a tight-fitting cavalry jacket, his shapely limbs are encased in embroidered tights and heavily tasseled Hessians, a sabre as tall as Titmarsh reposes on his stalwart arm, and altogether he appears some nine feet high.

The trio, thus marching hand in hand together, are supposed to be on the very verge of immortality, which, in the sketch, uncommonly resembles a precipice.

The other illustrations of the two small volumes, all of which are printed in a warm sepia tint, consist of 'Mrs. Shum's Ejectment;' Mr. Deuceace paying for his Papa's Cigars;' 'Mr. Deuceace's disinterested Declaration;' 'Mr. Yellowplush displaying his Credentials' (his plush garments to wit); 'Major Gahagan, from the great portrait by Titmarsh, in the gallery of H.H. the Nawaub of Budge Budge;' 'The Major discovering the Infidelity of Mrs. 449 Chowder Loll' (where his tremendous figure is striding across the 'tattees,' through a window, into the very midst of the disconcerted family); 'The Major's Interview with a Celebrated Character' (no less a personage than the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, who is on tip-toe, dressed in the historical little cocked-hat and grey coat, trying to put his small figure more on a level with the overwhelming Gahagan: in the background an English general of the period, dressed in a crescent-shaped cocked-hat and plume, a tight long coat, with swallow-tails reaching to his heels, and white ducks split over the boots, with a telescope under his arm, is in conversation with one of the fierce-looking French Marshals); 'The Major in the Tent of Puttee Rouge' (a terrifying figure, disguised in black paint, affectionately hugging a whisky-jar of considerable dimensions).

The episode of the 'Professor' affords the artist a favourable subject, which he treats with full comic force—' Mr. Dando declares his Name and Quality.' It may be remembered that the oyster-eater has taken advantage of the absence of the proprietor to obtain an unlimited supply of his favourite bivalves at an oyster-room, where the mistress did not recognise her unprincipled customer, but was even so confiding as to send out for brandy-and-water in liberal proportion to the oysters consumed by this scourge of supper-rooms. The unfortunate proprietor has just returned in time to learn a description of the business which has been done in his absence; in some fear he is bringing in his bill, the while he is tying on his professional apron. Mr. Dando is seated majestically on the table, according to Thackeray's picture of the scene; swinging his legs about in a semi-intoxicated state, and picking his teeth, in an unconcerned and self-possessed manner, with an oyster-knife; a pile of shells, sufficient for many grottoes, are at his feet, while the horror-stricken servants are gathering other shells scattered around. The professor is supposed to have just met the reasonable demand for payment made by the deluded master of the establishment with a yell of tipsy laughter, and the announcement that his name is Dando, and that he never pays! Above his head may be read the comforting intelligence that a great reduction is made on taking a quantity, to which advantage Dando is very obviously entitled.

The last plate ('Bedford Row Conspiracy'), 'Mr. Perkins discovered 450 in the Zoological Gardens,' depicts Mr. John Perkins standing, with the fair Lucy Gorgon, on the parapet which surrounds the bearpit at the Zoological Gardens. The lady's hands are placed on the gentleman's shoulder, his arm is round her waist, she being somewhat timid, and he is encouraging her to jump down—into his fond arms. She obeys him, and jumps plump into the awful presence of her aunt and guardian, Lady Gorgon, who is at the head of a neat little train, consisting of three Miss Gorgons, Master Gorgon, a French governess, and a footman carrying a poodle, all of whom had listened for some minutes to the billings and cooings of this imprudent young pair.


Original Studies of Halberdiers of the Georgian Era


The last story reprinted in this series is 'The Fatal Boots,' which appears without any pictures, the artist and author modestly declaring that, as this edifying narrative originally appeared with George Cruikshank's illustrations (in the 'Comic Almanack' for 1839), he is not inclined to provoke comparisons between the works of that eminent designer and his own.

Allusions to caricature-drawing are frequent throughout Thackeray's works, and he delighted to bring the young art-amateur on his scenes.

With pencil as with pen, he had the power of carrying the mind back to the days of the early essayists, and his reconstructive skill is remarkable when he draws the picture of the times in which his rich fancy and his taste for antiquarian completeness found the most delightful materials.

We follow the artist's quaint vein of humour and realism from the little sketches of chivalry—the heroes of knight-errantry, 453 Crusaders, Saracens, and the more romantic personages—which amused him in his boyhood, to his spirited studies illustrative of the days when Dick Steele's 'Tatler' was beginning to be talked about as a paper which contained a very unusual amount of entertainment, from its whimsical combination of sterling wit and truth to nature. Thackeray was peculiarly at home in the times of Queen Anne. We find his pencil busy reproducing the figures of personages who moved in the world under the early Georges; and the reign of the third George was as intimately familiar to him, in all details of value, as if he had lived through 455 the triumphs, struggles, and disasters in which his own writings revive a stronger interest. We enjoy his researches through the great eras of England's history, when Washington led the revolted colonies to independence, when Pitt and Toryism waged war in the Senate with Fox and the friends of liberty, when the fever of Revolution arose in France, and threatened to infect our own land, and when the 'Corsican' was driven down to the death.

Waterloo had a strong claim on Thackeray's interest; he is partial to alluding to the critical point of our history, as all the reading world well knows.

It must be conceded that the chief incident of 'Vanity Fair' leads up to the great battle. References to the famous field occur in many portions of his gossip or travels, while figures are borrowed from this event to carry out the arguments of his novels and lesser essays under all sorts of circumstances.

Even in 'Philip,' which deals with a later period, we are carried back to that stirring epoch. For instance, there is that disreputable old Gann, the tipsy father of Mrs. Brandon, whose acquaintance we made originally in the 'Shabby Genteel Story.' It was always a matter of doubt how this worthy came by his rank of Captain, which was supposed to have had its rise somehow in connection 456 with the Spanish Legion; but, at all events, he had borne the distinction so long, that none of his friends dreamt of investigating the title.

The costume affected by 'bucks,' when Thackeray was a young man of fashion, comes down to us as preserved in his sketches as something very modish and singular, in which the taste and style seem nearly as quaint and distant as the knee breeches and square skirts of the last century.

'Titmarsh,' who had the courage to dedicate the 'Paris Sketch-Book' to a generous French tailor, was himself an authority on dress; and, although above all pretensions to 'faddery and foppery,' was accustomed to scrutinise closely not only men, but the habits they wore. 457

The reader may confirm what we have just said, if he will turn to the vigorous and whimsical articles on 'Men and Coats,' which Thackeray penned in his younger days.

There is a fine specimen of freedom and independence of convention in many of Thackeray's early writings, especially in those slashing, downright papers which Titmarsh contributed to the magazines, chiefly from the French capital, about the 'Paris Sketch-Book' period.

A Buck of the Old School


Heads of the People

In those days of Bohemian license there was a fine sterling ring about Thackeray's outspoken sentiments. In his manly freedom he cared little whether the slashing sentences gave offence or not.


Criticising the paintings in the Louvre in a paper on 'Men and Pictures,' we find the young art-student riding an audacious tournament against conventionalisms. He takes very candid exception to the practice of surrounding the heads of translated beings, and particularly angels, with an invariable halo of gold leaf. He happens to remember that stage tradition was always wont to dress 460 the gravedigger in 'Hamlet' in fifteen or sixteen waistcoats, all of which are consecutively removed; and he presumes this ancient usage is founded on some very early custom, real or supposititious, to depart from which would savour of profane innovation.

The Princess and the Frog

Another favourite bent of Thackeray's humour was the illustration of books of fiction. He confessed he longed to write a story-book in which generations upon generations of schoolboys should revel with delight, and which should be filled with the most wonderful and mirthful pictures. The illustrations on this and the preceding page may serve to show what he might have done had he not more especially devoted himself to literary work. 461

Heads of the People


Frontispiece to Murray's 'Official Handbook of Church and State'

The Legislature and Officers of the Houses of Parliament

The facile character of Thackeray's pencil was remarkable; the numerous sketches he left, and which in all probability, from the circumstances of their ownership, will never in our day gratify a public who would appreciate their publication, attest his versatile 463 industry. No subject came amiss to his hand; the most unsuggestive works were to him rich in opportunities for whimsical parody.

The House of Commons

Reduction of the National Debt.—Office, Old Jewry

The Commissioners were originally appointed under the Statute of 26 Geo. III. c. i. In that year a more active scheme was proposed for the diminution of the National Debt, by the appropriation of one million per annum to the Sinking Fund, and the moneys devoted to this end were vested in the Commissioners, and placed under their management.

General Board of Health, Parliament Street

Clerk of the Petty Bag. Petty Bag Office, Rolls Yard

Groom in Waiting.
The Lord Chamberlain's Department, Office, Stable Yard, St. James's Palace


No one can say the number of books, papers, scraps, &c., to which an intrinsic value has been contributed by the great humourist's penchant for exercising his graphic fancy.



Thackeray as a Traveller—Journey in Youth from India to England—Little Travels at Home—Sojourn in Germany—French Trips—Residence in Paris—Studies in Rome—Sketches and Scribblings in Guide-Books—Little Tours and Wayside Studies—Brussels—Ghent and the Béguines—Bruges—Croquis in Murray's 'Handbooks to the Continent'—Up the Rhine—'From Cornhill to Grand Cairo'—Journeys to America—Switzerland—'A Leaf out of a Sketch-Book'—The Grisons—Verona—'Roundabout Journeys'—Belgium and Holland.

Another aspect in which it is agreeable to contemplate Thackeray is that of a traveller, for in this character he must have gone over a considerable portion of the more interesting parts of the world. From India to England, in his seventh year, with that memorable call at St. Helena, where the youngster caught a fugitive glimpse of the great Napoleon in his solitary exile.

W. M. T. on his travels

Little journeyings about England between boyhood and youth, then a stolen visit to Paris, in a college vacation. Then the residence at Weimar and Eberfeld, with rovings about Germany. Then to Paris to see the world, to study men, manners, and pictures; half art-student, half pursuing the art of amusing oneself. Then a more serious application to the earlier stages of 466 that somewhat lengthy road which every aspirant must plod who would follow the artist's career.

Let us take up one of his travelling companions and pass a day with the easy-working, comfortably-provided, and satirically-observant young 'buck,' who found himself so pleasantly at home in Louis Philippe's slightly uncertain capital.

'Planta's Paris' is not the most familiar of travelling companions, its descriptions are not altogether modern, but the glimpse it affords us of the French capital is curious from the circumstance that it registers the swiftness of change in the Centre of Pleasure. It might be an amusing study to reproduce from its pages the attractions of Paris in 1827, the date of the fifteenth edition of this work; but the stout square little book possesses a stronger interest, as it had the advantage of belonging to Michael Angelo Titmarsh, and in his pocket it probably tumbled and tossed across the Channel.

At Weimar

It is rather difficult to connect Mr. Titmarsh with the stereotyped extracts of a guide-book, but the copy under consideration was fortunately selected as a repository for the occasional sketches suggested to the fancy of its proprietor.

In those 'flying stage' days travellers booked their passage, per coach, from the Spread Eagle, Piccadilly, to Paris. On this service the journey from Calais to Paris was performed by the 'Hirondelle' in thirty hours. It was in this manner Mr. Pogson accomplished his eventful first journey, in the society of the fascinating 'Baronne de Florval Delval,' as set forth in the pages of Mr. Titmarsh's 'Paris Sketch-Book.' Mr. Titmarsh has probably contributed the pencilling of the 'old régime' personage in the margin during the progress to the capital. Travelling caps of every order were assumed for comfort during the jolting on the road. 467

Mr. Titmarsh had become a partial resident in Paris. He might have been seen mastering the contents of the Louvre, the Beaux Arts, and the Luxembourg; occasionally mounting an easel and copying a picture.

Betweenwhiles he is, we may reasonably suppose, engaged on materials similar to his 'Paris Sketch-Book,' or transferring the thrilling thoughts of Béranger into verses which preserve the vitality of that mighty songster. Here the young author and his fanciful double evidently commenced their daily promenade—we may vainly sigh for the pleasure of forming one of such a desirable party—but in spirit, assisted by the sketches which mark his progress, it is just possible to follow the humourist. 'Planta's Paris' is produced from his pocket to receive rapid pencil jottings, slight but graphic, as the subjects present themselves.

First, the lolling ouvrier, common to Paris in all seasons and under every government, slow and shuffling, a lounger through successive régimes.

We recognise the reign of the 'Citizen King' in the person of one of his citizen soldiers, a worthy National Guard, hurrying from commercial allurements to practise the military duties of a patriot.

At another time Mr. Titmarsh may refresh his pictorial tastes by the inspection of M. Phillipon's latest onslaught on 'the poire.'

Here we confront M. Aubert's renowned collection of political cartoons in the Galerie Veron-Dodat, the head-quarters of that irrepressible army of caricaturists whose satiric shafts kept the stout Louis Philippe in a quiver of irritation, until he swept away the liberty of the press.

Before us stands a stern dissentient from any expression assailing 468 the inviolability of the absolute Sovereign who cleverly misnamed himself the 'King of the Barricades.'

A Citizen Soldier

The Army

Here is a sketchy reminiscence of the Jardin Bullier, over the water, close by the Barrière d'Enfer. We may imagine that this recollection has been revived by some flaring affiché posted on the walls regarding a 'long night' and the admission of 'fancy costumes' at that traditional retreat.

We next get a peep into a cabaret, while still in pursuit of the military train, and here the artist regales us 469 with a spirited realisation of 'Mars surrendering to Bacchus,' in a picture not unworthy of Hogarth. These gentlemen are content to espouse the side which offers the best chance of enjoyment—a phase not entirely extinct in the French army, and one that has been relied on in recent instances.

These last drawings are executed with a pen, and cleverly shaded in Indian ink.

Showers, sharp though short, are frequent enough in Paris. Mr. Titmarsh, in the shelter of a 'Passage'—possibly the 'Panoramas'—seizes 470 the opportunity of this enforced captivity to produce a flying sketch of the damp world out of doors.

Mr. Titmarsh has stepped for a moment into the shelter of a church, for we here find a life-like picture of a priest bearing the Elements.

The shower is over: the sun shines brighter than ever, and Mr. Titmarsh is tempted to trudge over to the Luxembourg. After a few practical criticisms on the paintings, he wanders into the quaint gardens surrounding this palace of art. His active pencil 471 finds immediate employment on an ever-recurring group, wherever bonnes abound there may the soldiers be found.

These little sketches are full of familiar life.


The barrière is passed, and Mr. Titmarsh takes a stroll in the environs. His pencil preserves for our amusement this record of his wanderings.

We may here allude to his kindly feeling for children, whose romps so often employed his pen. Further down the shady groves the coco seller finds a customer in a militaire, whose tastes are simple, or whose means do not compass a more ambitious beverage. 473

Before he dines, Mr. Titmarsh returns to his lodgings (possibly the very ones he occupied during the tragedy of Attwood's violent end, described in the 'Gambler's Death'), to 'wash-in' a few croquis in Indian ink; and there, we may assume, he traces on a loose scrap of paper the whimsical outline of 'An Eastern Traveller.'

An Eastern Traveller

Anon Mr. Titmarsh plunges deeper into the art career; his aspirations lead him to Rome; there, amidst galleries, artists, authors, models, canvases, and easels, he pursues his lively though somewhat desultory course. Who could be more at home in the head-quarters of the fine arts? who more popular than this kind-hearted, 474 keen-witted young satirist? a universal favourite, treasuring, perhaps unconsciously, every phase of the mixed life he met and led there. Again, as in Paris, a pure Bohemian through inclination, and yet fond of fine sights and society, with the entrée at his disposal to every circle, refined or vagabond, of the communism of a republic of art and letters.

A Neapolitan 'Snob'

Southern Italy


A Water-carrier

Southern Italy

A Wayside Player

Italian Sketches


And Thackeray was no less at home in Belgium than he was in Germany, in Paris, and in Rome.

Guide Indispensable du Voyageur en Belgique


A Family Jaunt

On a Rhine Steamer

Mât de Coca

Roadside Sketches

His books carry us where we will at pleasure. We can dot about quaint Flanders with O'Dowd, Dobbin, and the English 477 army, on that famous Waterloo campaign; we can elect as our travelling companion that eminent dandy, Arthur Pendennis, Esq. We can follow Clive Newcome and quiet J. J. to the 'Congress of Baden,' to Italy, and what not, or we can linger with 'Philip' in 478 Paris. We can follow Titmarsh through all sorts of delightful journeyings; we are assured that promising young genius was almost an institution in Paris. He has studied Belgium and sojourned in Holland; in 1843 he will allow us to trot over to Ireland in his company, for a pleasant little jaunt; in 1846 our 'Fat Contributor' will suffer us to make one in a pilgrimage from Cornhill to Cairo; in 1850 we may join the Kickleburys on the Rhine. As to Mr. Roundabout, we may go with him where we list—to America, if we would accept a few grateful souvenirs of the New World; to Scotland, where our author's popularity was, if possible, even stronger; to Switzerland, Italy, Germany, back to 479 Belgium and Holland, and through innumerable pleasant reminiscences of fair and quaint cities.

Little Travels

Would you visit the chief sight of Ghent, who could better act as your kindly guide, philosopher, and friend than Thackeray? for one of the most delightfully fresh and picturesque descriptions of the Béguine College or village at Ghent is due to the pen of Titmarsh. In following his sketches of this miniature city of nuns, which every worthy sightseer has visited in the early stage of his travels, the whole place is set out before one with charms 480 added, the old interest is renewed, and we are trotting around the quiet shady courts, or are again favoured with an interview by the superior in the 'show-parlour,' with its ledger for the names of all the Smiths in the universe, while around are displayed the treasures of the convent. It is not difficult to imagine Thackeray sitting down by the roadside, rapidly making the sketches which we give in this chapter.

In 1852 Thackeray paid his first visit to America. The generous reception accorded him throughout the States is sufficiently notorious. Mr. W. B. Reed, who enjoyed in Philadelphia the intimacy of the great novelist, has recorded how deeply sympathetic was the feeling of our transatlantic cousins for this sterling example of a thorough and honest English gentleman. 481 Among other tender remembrances of the kindly humourist, he writes, hinting with delicate reserve at 'domestic sorrows and anxieties too sacred to be paraded before the world':—

A Wayside Sketcher

A School Fight

'In our return journey to Philadelphia, Thackeray referred to a friend whose wife had been deranged for many years, hopelessly so; and never shall I forget the look, and manner, and voice with which he said to me, "It is an awful thing for her to continue so to live. It is an awful thing for her so to die. But has it never occurred to you, how awful a thing the recovery of lost reason must be without the consciousness of the lapse of time? She finds the lover of her youth a grey-haired old man, and her infants 483 young men and women. Is it not sad to think of this?" As he talked to me thus, I thought of those oft-quoted lines of tenderness—

Ah me! how quick the days are flitting;

I mind me of a time that's gone,

When here I'd sit, as now I'm sitting,

In this same place, but not alone.

A fair young form was nestled near me,

A dear, dear face looked fondly up,

And sweetly spoke and tried to cheer me—

There's no one now to share my cup!

'Thackeray left us (the Philadelphians) in the winter of 1853, and in the summer of the year was on the Continent with his daughters. In the last chapter of the "Newcomes," published in 1855, he says: "Two years ago, walking with my children in some pleasant fields near to Berne, in Switzerland, I strayed from them into a little wood; and, coming out of it, presently told them how the story had been revealed to me somehow, which, for three-and-twenty months, the reader has been pleased to follow." It was on this Swiss tour that he wrote me a kindly characteristic 484 letter. On the back of this note is a pen-and-ink caricature, of which he was not conscious when he began to write, as on turning his paper over he alludes to "the rubbishing picture which he didn't see." The sketch is very spirited, and is evidently the original of one of his illustrations to his grotesque fairy tale of the "Rose and the Ring," written (so he told a member of my family years afterwards) while he was watching and nursing his children, who were ill during this vacation ramble.'

The last journey chronicled by Thackeray was a merry little 'Roundabout' trip over the old Netherlands ground, in which he indulged, without preparation, when overworked and suffering from the anxieties of editing the 'Cornhill Magazine;' the journal is filled in with the zest of a stolen excursion, and the writer mentions 487 that no one knew where he had gone; that there was only one chance of a letter finding him to curtail the freedom he had snatched, and he goes to the post, and there, sure enough, is that summons back to the 'thorny cushion,' which abruptly cuts short the last recorded holiday jaunt of Thackeray's life. In this last little jaunt through Holland, the impressions of the author were as fresh and full of pleasant observation as in those wayside sketches noted years before.

A Centurion

Swiss Kine

On the Road

Dolce far niente

Unruly Travellers

Dutch Pictures

Off to Market

Dutch Pictures



Commencement of the 'Cornhill Magazine'—'Roundabout Papers'—'Lovel the Widower'—The 'Adventures of Philip on his Way through the World'—Lectures on the 'Four Georges'—Editorial Penalties—The 'Thorn in the Cushion'—Harass from disappointed Contributors—Vexatious Correspondents—Withdrawal from the arduous post of Editor—Building of Thackeray's House in Kensington Palace Gardens—Christmas 1863—Death of the great Novelist—The unfinished Work—Circumstances of the Author's last Illness—His death.

The great event of the last few years of Thackeray's life was the starting of the 'Cornhill Magazine,' the first number of which, with the date of January 1860, appeared shortly before Christmas in the previous year. The great success which Charles Dickens had met with in conducting his weekly periodical perhaps first suggested the project of this new monthly magazine, with Thackeray for editor. But few expected a design so bold and original as they found developed by the appearance of Number 1. The contents were by contributors of first-rate excellence; the 489 quantity of matter in each was equal to that given by the old-established magazines published at half-a-crown, while the price of the 'Cornhill,' as everyone knows, was only a shilling. The editor's ideas on the subject of the new periodical were explained by him some weeks before the commencement in a characteristic letter to his friend, G. H. Lewes, which was afterwards adopted as the vehicle of announcing the design to the public.

The first number contained the commencement of that series of 'Roundabout Papers' in which we get so many interesting glimpses of Thackeray's personal history and feelings, and also the opening chapters of his story of 'Lovel the Widower.' The latter was originally written in the form of a comedy, entitled 'the Wolf and the Lamb,' which was intended to be performed during the management of Wigan at the Olympic Theatre, but was finally declined by the latter. Thackeray, we believe, acquiesced in the unfavourable judgment of the practical manager upon the acting qualities of his comedy, and resolved to throw it into narrative form, in the story with which his readers are now familiar. This was not the first instance of his writing for the stage. If we are not mistaken, the libretto of John Barnett's popular opera of the 'Mountain Sylph,' produced nearly forty years since, was from his pen. In the 'Cornhill' also appeared his story of 'Philip on his Way through the World.' The scenes in this are said to have been founded in great part upon his own experiences; and there can be no doubt that the adventures of Philip Firmin represent, in many respects, those of the Charterhouse boy who afterwards became known to the world as the author of 'Vanity Fair.' But in all such matters it is to be remembered that the writer of fiction feels himself at liberty to deviate from the facts of his life in any way which he finds necessary for the development of his story. Certainly the odious stepfather of Philip must not be taken for Thackeray's portrait of his own stepfather, towards whom he always entertained feelings of respect and affection.

We may also remind our readers that the 'Lectures on the Four Georges' first appeared in print in the 'Cornhill.' The sales reached by the earlier numbers were enormous, and far beyond anything ever attained by a monthly magazine; even after the 490 usual subsidence which follows the flush of a great success, the circulation had, we believe, settled at a point far exceeding the most sanguine hopes of the projectors.

These fortunate results of the undertaking were, however, not without serious drawbacks. The editor soon discovered that his new position was in many respects an unenviable one. Friends and acquaintances, not to speak of constant readers and 'regular subscribers to your interesting magazine,' sent him bushels of manuscripts, amongst which it was rare indeed to find one that could be accepted. Sensitive poets and poetesses took umbrage at refusals, however kindly and delicately expressed. 'How can I go into society with comfort?' asked the editor of a friend at this time. 'I dined the other day at ——'s, and at the table were four gentlemen whose masterpieces of literary art I had been compelled to decline with thanks.' Not six months had elapsed before he began to complain of 'thorns' in the editorial cushion. One lady wrote to entreat that her article might be inserted, on the ground that she had known better days, and had a sick and widowed mother to maintain; others began with fine phrases about the merits and eminent genius of the person they were addressing. Some found fault with articles, and abused contributor and editor. An Irishman threatened proceedings for an implied libel in 'Lovel the Widower' upon ballet-dancers, whom he declared to be superior to the snarlings of dyspeptic libellers, or the spiteful attacks and brutum fulmen of ephemeral authors. This gentleman also informed the editor that theatrical managers were in the habit of speaking good English, possibly better than ephemeral authors.

It was chiefly owing to these causes that Thackeray finally determined to withdraw from the editorship of the magazine, though continuing to contribute to it and take an interest in its progress. In an amusing address to contributors and correspondents, dated March 18, 1862, he made known this determination; and in the same address he announced that, while the tale of 'Philip' had been passing through the press, he had been preparing another, on which he had worked at intervals for many years past, and which he hoped to introduce in the following year.

Falling foul of the Skirts

In a pecuniary sense the 'Cornhill Magazine' had undoubtedly proved a fortunate venture for its editor. It was during his editorship that he removed from his house, No. 36 Onslow Square, 491 in which he had resided for some years, to the more congenial neighbourhood of the Palace at Kensington, that 'Old Court Suburb' which Leigh Hunt has gossiped about so pleasantly. Thackeray took upon a long lease a somewhat dilapidated mansion, on the west side of Kensington Palace Gardens. His intention was to repair and improve it, but he finally resolved to pull it down and build another in its stead. The new house, a handsome, solid mansion of choice red brick with stone facings, was built from a design drawn by himself; and in this house he continued to reside till the time of his death. 'It was,' says Hannay, 'a dwelling worthy of one who really represented literature in the great world, and who, planting himself on his books, yet sustained the character of his profession with all the dignity of a gentleman. A friend who called on him there from Edinburgh, in the summer of 1862, knowing of old his love of the Venusian, playfully reminded him of what Horace says of those who, regardless of their sepulchre, employ themselves in building houses:


Immemor struis domos.


"Nay," said he, "I am memor sepulchri, for this house will always let for so many hundreds (mentioning the sum) a year."' We may add that Thackeray was always of opinion that, notwithstanding the somewhat costly proceeding of pulling down and re-erecting, he had achieved the rare result, for a private gentleman, of building for himself a house which, regarded as an investment of a portion of his fortune, left no cause for regret.

Our narrative draws to a close. The announcement of the death of Thackeray, coming so suddenly upon us in the very midst of our great Christian festival of 1863, caused a shock which will be long remembered. His hand had been missed in the last two numbers of the 'Cornhill Magazine,' but only because he had been engaged in laying the foundation of another of those continuous works of fiction which his readers so eagerly expected. In the then current number of the 'Cornhill Magazine' the customary orange-coloured fly-leaf had announced that 'a new serial story' by him would be commenced early in the new year; but the promise had scarcely gone abroad when we learnt that the hand which had penned its opening chapters, in the full prospect of a happy ending, could never again add line or word to that long range of writings which must always remain one of the best evidences of the strength and beauty of our English speech.

On the Tuesday preceding he had followed to the grave his relative, Lady Rodd, widow of Vice-Admiral Sir John Tremayne Rodd, K.C.B., who was the daughter of Major James Rennell, F.R.S., Surveyor-General of Bengal, by the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Thackeray, Head Master of Harrow School. Only the day before this, according to a newspaper account, he had been congratulating himself on having finished four numbers of a new novel; he had the manuscript in his pocket, and with a boyish frankness showed the last pages to a friend, asking him to read them and see what he could make of them. When he had completed four numbers more he said he would subject himself to the skill of a very clever surgeon, and be no more an invalid. Only two days before he had been seen at his club in high spirits; but with all his high spirits, he did not seem well; he complained of illness; but he was often ill, and he laughed off his present attack. He said that he was about to undergo some treatment which would work a perfect cure in his system, and so he made light of 493 his malady. He was suffering from two distinct complaints, one of which had now wrought his death. More than a dozen years before, while he was writing 'Pendennis,' the publication of that work was stopped by his serious illness. He was brought to death's door, and he was saved from death by Dr. Elliotson, to whom, in gratitude, he dedicated the novel when he lived to finish it. But ever since that ailment he had been subject every month or six weeks to attacks of sickness, attended with violent retching. He was congratulating himself, just before his death, on the failure of his old enemy to return, and then he checked himself, as if he ought not to be too sure of a release from his plague. On the morning of Wednesday, December 23, the complaint returned, and he was in great suffering all day. He was no, better in the evening, and his valet, Charles Sargent, left him at eleven o'clock on Wednesday night, Thackeray wishing him 'Good night' as he went out of the room. At nine o'clock on the following morning the valet, entering his master's chamber as usual, found him lying on his back quite still, with his arms spread over the coverlet; but he took no notice, as he was accustomed to see his master thus after one of his severe attacks. He brought some coffee and set it down beside the bed; and it was only when he returned after an interval, and found that the cup had not been tasted, that a sudden alarm seized him, and he discovered that his master was dead. About midnight Thackeray's mother, who slept overhead, had heard him get up and walk about the room; but she was not alarmed, as this was a habit of her son when unwell. It is supposed that he had, in fact, been seized at this time, and that the violence of the attack had brought on the effusion on the brain which, as the post-mortem examination showed, was the immediate cause of death. His medical attendants attributed his death to effusion on the brain, and added that he had a very large brain, weighing no less than 58½ oz.

Thus, in the full maturity of his powers, died William Makepeace Thackeray, one of the closest observers of human nature, the most kindly of English humourists; and his death has left a blank in our literature, which we, in the present generation at least, are offered no prospect of seeing filled up. To quote once more his friend Hannay's words: 'It is long since England has lost such a son; it will be long before she has such another 494 to lose. He was indeed emphatically English—English as distinct from Scotch, no less than English as distinct from Continental. The highest, purest English novelist since Fielding, he combined Addison's love of virtue, with Johnson's hatred of cant; Horace Walpole's lynx eye for the mean and ridiculous, with the gentleness and wide charity for mankind, as a whole, of Goldsmith. Non omnis mortuus est. He will be remembered in his succession with these men for ages to come, as long as the hymn of praise rises in the old Abbey of Westminster, and wherever the English tongue is native to men, from the banks of the Ganges to those of the Mississippi.'



[1] The most improbable part of this narrative, observes the historian, is, that Hannibal, in the very centre of the mountains, should have been able to obtain sufficiently large quantities of vinegar for the operations.

[2] The Right Hon. Hugh Elliot, brother to Lord Minto, at that date English Minister at Dresden; he was afterwards made Governor of Madras.

[3] Marcus Flaminius; or, Life of the Romans, 1795.

[4] A similar story has been told of Goldsmith, which, indeed, may have suggested the pill-box remedy in the instance in the text.

[5] Paris correspondent, Morning Post.

[6] Both the 'new and old Bayleys' are treated to a roasting in the Comic Magazine; and we get an earlier glimpse of these worthies, for whom the young writer evidently entertained but scanty respect, in Fraser for 1831, where, in the November number, Oliver Yorke is supposed to hold a levee, at which the prominent celebrities are presented to Regina's editor on various pretences—'Old Bayley, on being sent to France,' and 'Young Bayley, after Four Years in the West Indies,' on his arrival to present a copy of the 'Songs of Almack's.' This young gentleman came over to the 'London World' in a 'National Omnibus:' his appearance excited some curiosity.

[7] He had certainly seen Sydney Smith. A quaint half-caricature outline sketch of the latter was contributed by 'Titmarsh' to Fraser's Magazine, at an early period of his connection with that journal.

[8] Edinburgh Evening Courant, Jan. 5, 1864.

[9] Miscellanies, vol. iv. p. 324.

[10] Letter of Edmund Yates in the Belfast Whig.

[11] A somewhat similar circumstance happened during the delivery of the lectures in America, an allusion in which to 'Catherine Hayes' was warmly resented by the Irish newspapers, until the explanation arrived from Thackeray that the allusion was not to Catherine Hayes, the famous Irish singer, but to Catherine Hayes, the murderess of the last century.

[12] Dr. Earle was formerly Bishop of Worcester, from which see he was translated to that of Sarum in 1663; he died at Oxford in 1665.

[13] Wycherley, in a letter to Pope (May 17, 1709), writes, 'Hitherto your "Miscellanies" have safely run the gauntlet through all the coffee-houses, which are now entertained with a whimsical new newspaper called the "Tatler," which I suppose you have seen.'

[14] White's Chocolate-house was then lower down St. James's Street, and on the opposite side to its present site.

[15] Will's Coffee-house was on the north side of Russell Street, Covent Garden, now No. 23 Great Russell Street.

[16] The 'Grecian' was in Devereux Court, Strand.

[17] 'Shire Lane' was also the heading of numerous papers.

[18] Mr. Isaac, a famous dancing-master at that time, was a Frenchman and Roman Catholic.


Two urns by Jove's high throne have ever stood,

The source of evil one, and one of good;

From thence the cup of mortal man he fills,

Blessings to those, to those distributes ills;

To most he mingles both: the wretch decreed

To taste the bad, unmixed, is curst indeed;

Pursu'd by wrongs, by meagre famine driven,

He wanders, outcast both of earth and heaven.

Pope's Hom. Il. XIV. ver. 863.

[20] Arne, of Covent Garden; the father of Dr. Thomas Arne, the musician, composer, and dramatic writer, who died in 1778.

[21] One who sat on my right hand, and, as I found by his discourse, had been in the West Indies, assured us 'that it would be a very easy matter for the Protestants to beat the Pope at sea;' and added, 'that whenever such a war does break out, it must turn to the good of the Leeward Isles.' Upon this, one who, as I afterwards found, was the geographer of the company, told us for our comfort 'that there were vast tracts of lands about the pole, inhabited by neither Protestants nor Papists, and of greater extent than all the Roman Catholic dominions in Europe.'

[22] The gilt lion's-head letter-box, used in the publication of the 'Guardian,' and then placed in Button's coffee-house, was afterwards for many years at the Shakespeare tavern, in Covent Garden. The master of this tavern becoming insolvent, the lion's head was sold among his effects, Nov. 8, 1804, for £17 10s.

[23] I have ever had a great respect for the most ingenious as well as most populous society within the liberties, namely, the authors and carvers of news, generous men! who daily retail their histories and their parts by pennyworths, and lodge high, and study nightly for the instruction of such as have the Christian charity to lay out a few farthings for these their labours, which, like rain, descend from the clouds for the benefit of the lower world.

My fellow authors are all men of martial spirits, and have an ungovernable appetite for blood and mortality. As if they were the sextons of the camp, and their papers the charnel-houses, they toll thousands daily to their long home; a charitable office! but they are paid for it.

[24] Nothing is so valuable as Time; and he who comes undesired to help to pass it away, might with the same civility and good sense give you to understand that he is come, out of pure love to you, with a coach-and-six and all his family, to help you to pass away your estate. To have one's hours and recesses at the mercy of visitants and intruders is arrant thraldom; and though I am an author, I farther declare I would rather pay a mere trifler half-a-crown a time than be entertained with his visits and his compliments.

[25] Author of 'Fables for the Female Sex;' he probably approached the nearest of all Gay's imitators to the excellences of that poet. Moore also wrote successfully for the stage. He was the author of the comedies of the 'Foundling' and 'Gil Blas,' and of the famous tragedy of the 'Gamester.'

[26] Alluding to the country custom of gathering May-dew.

[27] The plate garlands of London.

[28] The characteristics printed in italics belong to George Colman.

[29] The orator's epistle is in reality couched in violent and opprobrious language; and No. 70 is equally abusive and uncomplimentary to Mr. Town. The communications of both of the reverend gentlemen pertain to the bellicose order, and threaten breaches of the peace.

[30] Dr. Johnson seems here to point his homily from the instance of his friend Goldsmith. This circumstance gives an individual interest to a slightly ponderous sketch.

[31] North British Review, vol. xl., Feb. 1864.