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is passed with all the solemnity of a juridi- his arm, invited him to sit down again, cal verdict. The process is completed by with a sinile and a flush of countenance some general observations on the subject which bespoke some actual pleasure; or under discussion, revealed, perhaps, for the pleasure about to offer itself. first time, by the unfortunate author him. " • Indeed,' answered the speaker who self, or aided by the ingenious practice of held the book, ' I think I cannot be mis. index hunting. This man, thus qualified, taken.'— Indeed,' retorted the other, is now the editor of a popular review, and laughing, but you are-is he not, Mr is the dread and scourge of those who forDuster ? merly held his talents in such utter con- “ Duster evidently wished to look more tempt, that they would have laughed in his confused than he did ; but the reference face, had he ventured an opinion upon any did not appear to interrupt the pamphletliterary subject in their presence. Upon reader, who seemed again struck by some my word, sir,' said Pen, - you surprise me. new beauty, which he pointed out to his I considered the art of criticism to have been companion ; so that Mr Duster's confusion one of the noblest. • And, like every was lost upon part of the company. Whething noble and excellent, subject, in duether it was with a view to clear himself proportion, to be travestied and rendered from the implied charge, or whether he ridiculous. I know this man well, sir. He had any other motive, the reader will herespeaks just what he has picked up in the after learn; but Mr Duster was the first last book, or last conversation he has been to break silence, after the delighted critic engaged in. You may know where he was had closed the book, with some very hearty yesterday by the flavour of his observations general commendations. to-day. His jokes, when he adventures Nay, nay, my dear sir,' applying upon one, are spoiled proverbs. And his himself to his accuser, with as confused an wit, when he attempts it
, is the mere art of air as he could call up, it is not fair, it covering what is threadbare with a woof of is not indeed, to charge any nonsensical his own manufacture, that betrays the botch.' publication, that attracts public attention A man of this sort surely, sir,' said Pen upon- My good friend,' observed the Owen, must be scouted from decent so- other, “ this is a publication any man in ciety.! So far from it, sir, he is courted, the country may be proud of.' My dear and dined, and lionized from house to house sir, you confuse me,' stammered Mr Dustamong the great, and little great.' 'Ama- er, labouring to give countenance to his zing ! exclaimed Pen, - that a man who words. • Is it really so ?' asked the crític, could not procure a dinner by his own wit, turning to his companion, in a whisper. should revel in luxury and fame, by de Positively,' affirmed the other. You crying the wit of others.' You are, by really are too bad,' said Mr Duster, rising your acknowledgment, sir,' replied Mr from his seat, and hurrying into the shop, Duster, " fresh on the town; and I have as if to make his escape : * you are not to no doubt, when you are better acquainted be trusted. I mean--good morning, gen. with what is going forward, your present tlemen. Good morning, sir,' turning toamazement will be attenuated by being wards Pen, who, struck by the novelty of spread over a larger surface, until at last the seene, arose also to take his departure." you will learn to be astonished at nothing We shall now exhibit the author of in this great world.'
Pen Owen on higher ground. In a * " At this moment two or three new word, let the reader be aware, that the comers approached the table, who all sa- hero, after being so fortunate as to luted Mr Duster as an old acquaintance. make the acquaintance of Mr ModeA gentleman of the party, taking up the IY, a publisher of the haut ton, is invipamphlet, already the object of so much ted to a regular London dinner, which discussion, asked one of his coinpanions if is followed by a regular London rout, he had read it. * Excellent,' answered he; and then imagine himself at Pen Owen's I could not leave it after I had read the first two or three pages. I hear it is '.'
elbow, in “Sir Bland Blinkingsoph's” * It might be his, indeed,
if we were to drawing-room. We need scarcely prejudge from the display of political know. mise for the edification even of the un. ledge and official information_' And its initiated, that all the characters are real, wit-the true genuine attic turn---here, and that Sparkle is Tom Sheridan, as give it me. I think this is one of the hap- surely as Modely is ** piest instances of the vis comica I ever met “ just as Tom had taken our hero's with,' reading aloud an extract from the arın, and was advancing into another room, work. Still,' said the third gentleman, Pen pointed towards an individual who who had not yet spoken, • I doubt the cor. was paying earnest attention to the con. rectness of your suspicions.'
versation of a dowager, and observed to “Pen began to anticipate a new battle his friend, that he had scarcely ever seen a of book-worms, and was rising from his countenance, expressive of so much good sent, when Mr Duster, gently touching sense, and, at the same time, so much ur. banity. “That,' said Sparkle, is the most sympathetic interest. He will look most popular man at this moment in Lon. condolence with a discarded minister, and don. What !-is it' • Oh dear, no smile congratulations towards his successo - very different character : the gentle- or: he will never blink an eye, through man is Sir Daisy Dumbell : nature has the most tedious tragedy or poem that ever given him, as you observe, a most prepos- was rehearsed to a suffering victim, or even sessing exterior, which he has employed to laugh but where the author expects it, in the best advantage, without ungratefully the most vivacious comedy. In short, he endeavouring to spoil it, by too much at- is the common friend of mankind; I might tention to the inside. He is a parvenn, say the common sewer, for he is the depowho has raised himself to rank and dis- sitory of all the grievances of all mankind, tinction, and is even reported to be in the who are sure of his sympathy, and certain new batch of peers.' You speak in enig- of never being thwarted in their resolutions mas,' said Pen ; is his genius so sur. and plans, upon which they consult him. passing, that it has forced its way without As he puts every man in good humour the toil of cultivation ?' 'No-he is no with himself, so he is esteemed in turn by genius, and has not even cultivated his every man, in the point of view most in dulness : he possessed, however, from the favour with his own notions. He is by cradle, an intuitive insight into the uni. turns, or rather altogether,--for there is no versal passion of mankind, and from being detraction on any part,—the most learned, the darling of the nursery, has become scientific,- handsome,— well-bred, -dis. the idol of the world.' " Has the universal cerning,-intelligent,-kind-hearted, -bepassion been decided upon, then ?' asked nevolent man in the world; by which, unPen, smiling. Not by philosophers, per- der each separate designation, he is conhaps,' returned Tom, but by a much sidered inferior only to his immediate pawiser class of persons—men of the world ; negyrist,—to whom his own modesty, after and they have ascertained that fattery, the example of the heroes of Greece, conin some shape or other, is the key to stantly assigns the first place.' every man's heart, from the peer to the “ Pen was very much amused with the peasant.'.' Then he is a sycophant, like account of this popular character; and ha. Pliant, with whom we dined to-day." "As ving contrived to overhear part of the conunlike as—the Doctor there and myself. versation, which was passing between the He has listened himself into the favour of dowager, and this gentleman, he found mankind and womankind.' 'Listened him, with an expression of countenance himself !” • Even so—he listens to the phi. which would have done honour to the philosopher and the pedant with an earnest. lanthropist, about to burst open the prisonness of attention, and with a countenance house of oppressed virtue, or suffering heof such intelligence, that at one and the roism, listening to a tale of “says he,' same moment he convinces them of his and says she,' and a long account of a own powers, and his admiration of their Marlbro' breed of puppy dogs, which he superiority: He never exceeds a well-in. rarely, but at well calculated intervals, introduced ejaculation of perfect assent, or a terrupted with • Admirably retorted !monosyllable, expressive of entire convic. Charmingly" until the old lady arriving tion. With the statesman, a shrug and a at a climax, was ready to kiss her auditor, nod are all that is required ; and I know for the look of inquiry, which seemed to an instance of one of our most popular express disappointment that there was no speakers, who, after an hour's audience more to be heard ! with this incomparable actor, declared he “ Pen was too much disgusted, even to was the best-informed man in the three repeat the laugh which Sparkle's mode of kingdoms,-although he literally had never illustrating the character had called forth. opened his lips between the first salutation They proceeded onwards, Tom speaking and certain cordial expressions on his de- and making some odd remark or observaparture. With the soldier he may do any tion to, or upon, every one they encounthing, for he listens with apparent delight tered.“ You know every body,' said Pen. to the history of a campaign he knows by Yes,' answered Sparkle, and every body heart ;-the anecdote-monger he can twist knows me--you understand,' continued he, round his finger, by an assenting laugh or with a sigh, which sigh was not lost upon groan at tales that he has told himself, or our hero, and added not a little to the inheard by anticipation from twenty other terest which liis new acquaintance had different sources ;—the lawyer he will at- awakened in him ; for he suspected, that, tend without a yawn, or even a vacancy of with all his vivacity, and all the admiracountenance, on the most dry and intricate tion which his ready wit attracted, he was cause ;-his hostess, through the whole not a happy man. Tom, however, gave gossip of the neighbourhood, with the gaze him no time to follow up the reflection : of new wonder, at each slip ;- the widow's • I may in return observe,' said he, that list of her grievances, with a scarcely sup- you seem to know nobody.' No,' anpressed tear,--and of a miss debutante, of swered Pen, · I'm a stranger in London ; her lovers and her conquests, with the and ever since I have been here, my object
has been rather to avoid than seek society.' each other in their desire to be introduced . That's a bad plan ; you can't read a bet- to Mr Pen Owen,---whilst a beautiful, bus ter book, than that which this great town slatternly girl, with a roll of paper in her opens to you.' Nor a more dangerous hand, declared she had been long most one, I suspect,' returned Pen. Nay, for earnestly waiting for an opportunity of the matter of that, you may read as you being personally known' to our hero. run; so that you may run—when you've “Before Lady Bab, to whom more deread too much.' • Is that so easy? I ference appeared to be paid,-—as Pen afmean to try, some fine day,' answered terwards understood, because her rooms Sparkle, half seriously, and half jocosely ; were larger, and her accommodations more shall I introduce you to some people—?' appropriate, than those of her rivals -
Not at present,' replied Pen, when turn- was quite shut out from the object of her ing his eyes towards an opening door, he immediate worship, she had slipped a card saw, to his great surprise, his friend Mode- into his hand --which, if he put a wrong ly. “Good heavens !' said he to his interpretation upon for a moment, did not companion, “if there isn't Modely tho book- the less shock and surprise him,-when seller.' To be sure-he's every where ; he really ascertained its purport. he is the Mæcenus of literature,-is he not “ When the ladies had satisfied their in his element ? By the bye he is talking anxious desire of sounding Mr Pen Owen, to Lady Bab Cento about you or me. they were succeeded by a crowd of gentleNo, I'm sure you are the subject. What! men, who, if they were more decorous in -have I detected an author in my Tyro!' obedience to certain laws, the breach of
“ Pen then, as usual, informed him of which are attended with some hazard, every thing that had passed between Mode- were certainly not less warm in their exly and himself, and was proceeding in pressions of regard, in acknowledging the his eulogium, when Sparkle interrupted honour conferred upon them— by being him. • You were observing, not five mi. made known to Mr Den Owen. nutes ago, that you had not an acquaint- " Three brilliant stars of British growth, ance in the room.' 'I spoke the simple four continental, and one Maltese cross, truth, with the exception of our host, and were of the number of his professing adModely, who has entered since.' And his mirers ; and Pen, unconscious of what he name is–Legion,' said Tom. "How?' felt, or what he ought to feel,—whether it "I will bet you the profits of your next was a sort of practical hoax, of which he poem.' “You had better bet what it may had read some account in the newspapers, be worth.' • You stole that, my friend ; -or that his confinement, by order of the but • Like the gipsies, have disfi- House, having got wind, had raised him gured it, to make it pass for my own,' into a seeming patriot, as in the instance of cried Pen, laughing. Stolen again—and Buckthorn, he could not divine. The idea from the same shop,' retorted Tom : . but of being selected as a poet,---or that genius, I am now ready to make a large bet, and real or usurped, was the order of the day, therefore, offer to stake, to the amount of among would-be critics and amateur dangyour next offering,—that, before ten mi lers on the muses, was too remote, and out nutes are passed, you will be acquainted of the range of his calculations, to be enwith half the room.'
tertained for a moment. He kept, there. “ Pen stared—and was in the act of de- fore, retiring, and bowing, and smiling, manding an explanation of his words, when receiving cards in all directions, and of all Modely, pushing his way towards our hero, dimensions, till he had fairly backed him and holding a hand of Lady Bab Cento, self to the chair into which Tom Sparkle bowed to him and expressed her Lady had thrown himself in a convulsion of ship's most anxious desire to become ac- laughter, he neither attempted, nor could quainted with Mr Pen Owen !'
have succeeded, in checking. " He was so astonished at the abrupt. “ Pen seized him by the arm, and enness of the introduction, that the laugh treated him to rise and afford him some inwhich had spread from Sparkle's eye, and sight into the scene which had been passjust reached his lips, was arrested, and fi. ing around him. nally checked by the flow of eloquent and *** For Heaven's sake, sir, tell me what refined panegyric, bestowed by Lady Bab I am to think of all this ? ---Stand off, genupon our hero. Before he could suffi. tlemen.---Mr Sparkle, is this intended as ciently collect himself to return a properly an insultor a farce__or is it • Hush, arranged acknowledgment for so unex. hush,' whispered Sparkle, "bow away your pected an honour, he was completely sepa. worshippers, and then sit down quietly, rated from his companion Sparkle, by the whilst I edify you with all necessary circumintervention of male and female intruders, stances connected with your apotheosis.' who approached him amid shrugs, and “ Pen, after some labour, and much dif. whispered intimations, evidently refer. ficulty, made good his retreat, having ah. ring to himself.
stained from fixing upon any individual to * Three antiquated dowagers succeeded answer for the impertinence, which he VOL. XI.
could not still avoid conceiving had been, genius, and the aspirings of genuine' wit, in some shape or other, intended against can no longer lie hid or be obscured...' him.
• Well,' observed Pen, rendered somewhat ** And now, my dear sir,' throwing him- calmer, and more reconciled to his new self in a state of exhaustion into the next honours, by the good-humoured arguments chair,for pity's sake let me know why I of Sparkle, • I must make the most of my am thus selected as an object of ridicule or fame, before my trash has stamped my de impertinence, and how I may set about merits ; but what am I to think of this same obtaining some satisfaction ?' 'Why, my Lady Bab Cento, who sat next me for two good Mr Owen, you have been crowned in hours to-day, at dinner, and never condethe Capitol !-the laurel wreath was woven scended to ascertain whether I were a blockby your panegyrist Modely, and has been head or a wit ? Your name wasn't up, placed on your head by her most blue ma- and that of your rival, who so engrossed her jesty Lady Bab Cento, the paragon of attention, was. He had written a copy of patronesses, the very pink of Della Crus- verses, which have been handed about for can critics. To be noticed by her ladyship this week past, in manuscript, but if she --to be of her select parties—to be in her had met even him yesterday, you might crain,-is to be seated in the saddle of Pe. have stood your ground against him.' . As gasus, and installed in the temple of fame. how ?' * As thus ; it was only just before Grub-Street, --no longer Grub-Street,-is her ladyship dressed for dinner, that Sir a well-furnished, well-appointed hotel, at William Troufler informed her that Lord the west end of the town, and no man who Ombre had said they were the lines of a can spell, and write lis name at the foot of man of genius.' And is Lord Ombre's a title-page, need now want a dinner or a judgment the great criterion of excellence?" patron. Wire-wove paper, and hot-pressed · For the last three weeks, indisputably.' sheets, like a forcing house, can make the You talk too oracularly for me,' smiled rankest weed blossom like an exotic, and Pen. I speak more truth than oracles what is wanting in vigour, is made up in usually do,' retorted Tom; • for nothing mawkish morality, or in unintelligible reigns in this good town beyond the limits mysticism. The trade, I assure you, is of a month. Publie opinion would stag. now carried on by well-bred gentlemen, nate, and stink in our very nostrils, if the and by all classes of most decent and well- changeful eddies of fashion did not agitate mannered personages, in clean linen and it at periodical intervals.? Am I to inpurple clothing, and if any one of them fer, then, that the rage for his lordship's fail as an author, he is sure of being enter. poetry will be as short-lived ?' demanded edas A CRITIC.
Not a few of our mo. Pen. · No, that may live some time dern writers have risen from a state of con- longer by a rapid supply of novelty, or the demnation to the elevated rank of literary more politic threat of smothering his inuse.' patrons. The race of needy bards is extinct, * Smothering! what can you mean?' . His and the scandal of neglected genius cannot lordship's occasional threat to favour the certainly be charged upon the present age. world with no more of his poetical rhapTo profess one's self an author is a pass. sodies.' • The morals of the world, at port to half the dinner-tables, and all the least, would not be injured, were he to conversazzionis in town ; to be a successful keep his word.' + 'Tis that perhaps which author, is to be a rich man; to be patron- induces him to break it from time to ized by Modely, is to secure a niche
among time,' retorted Tom ; for he professes to the worthies of Britain.' "The devil! has hold our goodly world in no great esteem, he made me his butt?' • Far from it, and its morality in less.' How revolting his opinion has given you fame before you to our best feelings !' exclaimed Pen : had earned it; yet he is seldom out in his this perversion of genius bestowed by man : I pin my faith upon him, in this in- Heaven - For that Heaven's sake,' in. stance at least." But is it to be endured, terrupted Sparkle,“ reserve your criticism that without seeking or professing—'•You for a fitter occasion ; at present it is rank should attain at once what others profess heresy; and if you are heard, which you and seek for !_faith, I see no great hard. appear resolved to be, you will assuredly ship in all this :---why, you seem to be as be banished from the circle, to which you much ashamed of the character of a poet, have just been raised by acclamation.' as if you had lived in the antiquated pe. But what,' continued Pen, in a more riod of the Drydens and Otways, et hoc subdued tone, what must be the consegenus omne !' The recollection of such quence of such a man holding the rank of names makes me blush at our degeneracy.' patron ?' He a patron! you mistake the * Nay, reserve your blushes for those who matter altogether. He couldn't eat without neglected such men, and rather hail the pe. a patron of his own.' 'A British peer riod when, if indiscriminating vanity, as. need a patron!' • Oh dear, no, only a suming the form of enthusiasm, in its pa- British poet. Letters, you know, acknow. 'tronage of literature and the arts, commit ledge no titles, they form a republic of many egregious blunders, and crown with their own--- And-like all republics, are false meed the abortions of mediocrity, true • Venal, you would say, and say
truly : and Modely's purse is dictator.' judgment, an answer must be returned, • Is he the patron of his lordship? The great resources on these occasions are most assuredly.'
found to be an oracular ambiguity on the “Pen looked astonished, but said nothing. part of the presiding divinity, or an opinion At length, Lady Bab Cento, in passing to which, with a little ingenuity, may be subher carriage, which had just been announced sequently twisted in any manner most in thunder, and re-echoed up the vaulted suitable to existing circumstances ; such as, staircase, repeated her hope of being ho. • I have merely looked it over-I hardly noured by Mr Pen Owen's attendance at know what to say there are certainly some her select parties; to which he bowed in good things ;' or, • I know something of silence, and again turning to his Asmodeus, the author, and it would not be fair to inobserved, that if what his friend had said fluence public opinion one way or another.' were true, this lady, with all her preten. Thus, by an admirable display of cautious sions, formed her judgment only at second criticism and polished candour, his lordship hand.
or her ladyship is enabled to take advantage “ “ There again, at your old Grub-Street of the first wind that blows, in order to sail notions. We have now everything at se- with the general current.' • And is Lady cond hand, except our clothes, and there Bab a woman of character ? • That is rilies the important change in the constitution ther a Gothic question; but I will tell you of society. Do you think, if this woman in confidence, she is a very phænix of judged for herself, she wouldn't have found chastity, and therefore consumes the chayou out at dinner?' 'I doubt whether she racter of every other woman in the flame would,' said Pen, laughing ; but I am of her own purity!' • I mean to ask, is such a novice, that I should hardly suppose she a moral woman?' “Why, “as to moa professed critic, and patron of letters, rality, brother Joseph," a woman who has would openly borrow the scales in which no feeling to gratify, but that of personal others had placed the weights.' “You vanity and ambition, to which she would haven't hit the figure ; justice was running sacrifice every tie in life, has little merit in in your head, whilst instinct would have preserving a decorum she has no temptabetter suggested the expedient.' "Instinct ! tion to infringe, and which it would be as how, pray ? • Do you remember ruinous to outrage. I never heard that she the proboscis of the gadfly dissected by the committed murder, or even petty larceny, microscopic skill of our friend Dr Micron- except on literary subjects; but I believe it ous ?' Pen laughed. “These arbiters of would be equally difficult to detect a single taste,' continued Sparkle, possess the same act of real charity or benevolence. She sort of organs; and, like the doctor's, their may write her own epitaph for me,' cried greatest ingenuity is displayed in keeping Pen, indignantly. She has done that al. them out of sight.' • I'm too dull to como ready; and if not framed, glazed, and hung prehend you,' sighed Pen. “And too blind over the parlour chimney, like that of to see Micronous's Tabanus without an in. Goody Primrose, it is at least fairly transtrument, but I am behind the scenes, and scribed upon smooth vellum paper, and dewill be your microscope. Drawers of wa- corated with stamp allegories of her im. ter and hewers of wood are, in spite of their plied virtues.' What ! an epitaph before ancient origin, still low-lived beings; but death!' • It is on her virtues,' returned there are fetchers and carriers of another Tom, laughing." description, who sleep on down and live on These two extracts must be quite the fat of the land. These are your male enough to satisfy any one who has any and female antennæ, or feelers, which are thoughts of seeing the book itself. We thrown out before our great devourers of authors, to pick up, and convey all the li- cannot answer quite so effectually the terary, political
, and private gossip, spread demand of those, who, when they reover the surface of the town. Why, sir, ceive this Number of Maga on the there's not a good thing uttered, or a faux Banks of Indus or Ganges, or Oxley, pas committed, between Westminster and wish to God (after coming thus far) Hyde-Park Corner, in the morning, that we had sent them the three volumes isn't carefully docketted, and laid by for of Pen Owen along with it. Indeed, use in the common-place books and escru- we cannot pretend to give them any toires of these literary cormorants by the thing more than a slight snatch of the evening. The opinions of A, B, and C, delight which, in its fulness, awaits upon a new play, a new poem, or a new. the perusers of these worshipful vopamphlet, are safely lodged in this choice lumes. But we can afford to extract repertory, before there is a chance of one of those learned arbiters of taste being com- shall take care to select one, which he
one more passage, and in doing so, we mitted by an unwary criticism. Sometimes, indeed, upon a sudden defect or stoppage that handles Pen Owen himself herein these sources, an unfortunate question after, will not grudge reading a second .may be unexpectedly started; and as prompt time--no, nor a tenth time; and which decision is the very quintessence of superior our readers, whether they are or are