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A seventh, “« The History of Philosophy, and the Philosophy of History,' form a proud era in the literary records of these times,” and so on, ad infinitum.
Then, too, as the bee extracts honey from the bitterest flowers, so the busy and adroit Fitzcribb, by a little maneuvring, could extract eulogy from the august and condemnatory papers of some “grand Napoleon of the realms” of criticism.
A leading review having said—“The author of this work (had he indeed fulfilled his pompous promises) must have been endowed with an universal genius, and have devoted to it the labours of a life.” The “had he indeed fulfilled,” &c., was omitted, and the censure, thus changed into praise, most valuable from such a source, paraded, with the talismanic name of the review it was quoted from, among the other eulogies. From other notices, even more severe, by quoting irony as praise, Fitzcribb contrived to cater fresh laurels for Grunter's overcharged brow.
Who can marvel that Grunter's head grew
dizzy ? that the earth seemed too mean for this heir of immortality ? For so strangely is the human mind constituted, that praise, whether deserved or not, and whether its source be pure or not, seldom fails to intoxicate the novice. Porter or sparkling hock, both have the same power on the Bacchanalian tyro.
Grunter knew that little of the work was his own; he knew that all these praises came from the hired pen of Fitzcribb, and yet he gloated over them. He was as proud as if the work had been all his, and as if the first sages in Europe had united to decree the laurel to him. Perhaps we should rather say, “as vain” than “as proud,” since pride arises from the inward consciousness of some. thing which, whether right or wrong, the mind glories in ; and vanity, poor counterfeit, springs not from what we feel we are, but from what we believe ourselves to appear to be, in the eyes of others.
The lady is vain of conquests made by the means of artificial charms. What if the blush, the golden tresses, the white teeth, and the form's roundness, are all bought, if they are believed real! The lady's vanity is gratified. The plagiarist is vain of the praise given to the borrowed passage. The fashionable is vain of the establishment, the show, the splendour, lent by the humble shopkeepers whom he despises, and can never hope to pay! the schoolboy of the holiday letter, composed and pencilled by the usher — the school-girl of the works half done by the teacher, and the drawings whose merits are all the master's; and so on through all classes-Grunter and his book over again.
The mighty master of the revel, Love,
HAYLEY's Triumphs of Temper.
The evening of Ellen's birthday came at last. Mr. Lindsay's splendid mansion was one blaze of light; the walls of all the principal rooms were hung with draperies of white and rose-coloured silk, fringed and looped up with silver. The floors, instead of being chalked in the ordinary manner, were elaborately ornamented with a newly-invented japanning of silver and gold, the delicate and fairy pattern of which it seemed almost a pity to tread upon. Beautiful statues, rare and lovely shrubs, and a quantity of flowers, lent a classic grace and a poetic charm to all the costly decorations of wealth.
Every thing was arranged with a magnificent elegance, and a tasteful freshness, very rare in modern entertainments. Brilliant and abundant light, (the great secret of the supe rior splendour of Parisian festivals,) lent an air of fairy-land to the scene. It was bright as noon-day, but not that searching, mocking light; it was the brightness of illusion, not of reality. A magnificent banquet was to be served at one o'clock; but, in the mean time, several refreshment-rooms, cool, shady, with seats for the weary, and where the Frost King and the Fire King seemed to have lent their chefs; (so admirably was everything iced that should have been iced, and so hot was every thing that was intended to be hot). How different to the cold tea, the melting jellies, and ices, which generally reward the patient