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against the wall. Pope was rather nice than voracious in his appetite : Johnson rather voracious than nice. The great lexicographer must have presented something of the appearance of a Boa Constrictor during his meals: regarding his plate with undivided attention, he ate hastily and greedily, till the perspiration would start from his forehead, and the veins across his temples would swell with the exertion. There are but few amongst our poets who have “praised the lean and sallow abstinence," and still fewer who have practised such precepts. Some compulsory instances must, indeed, be excepted, such as Chatterton and Otway, “ who oft with gods did diet;" but the ravenous appetite of the one, when invited by his pitying landlady to dinner, and the tragical death of the other, who is said to have been choaked by a pennyroll, swallowed in the extremity of his hunger, but too plainly prove that "Spare Fast" found in them but unwilling disciples.
I shall not enter into those more refined and intellectual amusements in which the studious indulge, but which are, in fact, rather their occupations than their amusements. Chess is a game of this kind, which may be called an amusement, but is, certainly, no relaxation ; and yet how gladly would I, sedentary as I am, exchange the sunniest walk on a fresh spring morning for a tough combat at that admirable game with an equal adversary.
J. W. T.
THE COURT OF ALDERMEN
Is that dace or perch?
Said Alderman Birch ;
Said Alderman Perring.
Said Alderman Wood;
Said Alderman Ansley.
Said Alderman Heygate. Give me some stew'd carp,
Said Alderman Thorp. The roe 's dry as pith,
Said Aldermen Smith. Don't cut so far down,
Said Alderman Brown; But nearer the fin,
Said Alderinan Glyn. I've finish'd, i'faith, man,
Said Alderman Waithman : And I too, i'fatkins,
Said Alderman Atkins.
They've crimp'd this cod drolly,
Said Alderman Scholey; 'Tis bruised at the ridges,
Said Alderman Brydges.
Said Alderman Magnay.
Said Alderman Ven.
Said Alderman Cox.
fur 'ris, Said Alderman Curtis. From air kept, and from sun,
Said Alderman Thompson ;
Said Alderman Shaw:
Said Alderman Hunter.
Said Alderman Flower;
Said Alderman Garret.
LETTER FROM A BASHFUL BACHELOR.
“ Therefore, let Benedict, like covered fire,
Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly;
Which is as bad as die with tickling." MR. EDITOR,—I fear that but few of your readers will remember the “Caralier seul” who once made your Magazine the medium of conveying his complaints and expostulations to the dancing world. I cannot say that my remonstrances produced any improvement in my fate : the gentlemen are still condemned to an occasional pas seul, and the only change in the rules of the quadrille is that which subjects the ladies, in their turn, to the same awful and conspicuous solitude. This has but extended the misery I wished to remove, without diminishing, in the slightest degree, my individual distress. The blushes of two or three timid girls (few London ball-rooms are graced by so many) afford me no consolation ; and till fashion has effected its usual changes, and sent this odious quadrille to mourn over departed greatness, in company with the ghosts of country-dances, hoops, pig-tails, and kaleidoscopes, I must be content to be classed amongst the lame, the idle, the disobliging, or the philosophical spectators, who are of no use at a ball, except to take up room and eat ice.
The subject upon which I now address you is of infinitely greater importance : yet here, alas! I expect not relief; sympathy is all I ask, sympathy from a few unfortunate beings, branded, like myself, with the ineffaceable stamp of bashfulness. Mr. Editor, bow am I ever to get married ?
Where shall I acquire the requisite portion of heroism and effrontery? A shy man married is to me a more stupendous, incomprehensible, unanswerable proof of the power of love, than any other which the history of the world can produce. Hercules with his distaff, Antony “teaching cowards to run,” Cimon's brightened intellect, Orlando's furies, are trifling exhibitions of Cupid's potency, compared with that which he must exercise ere a man of my unhappy constitution is bound in the fetters of Hymen. In the first place, how
I to ingratiate myself with any woman-1, who blush when I try to gaze, stammer when I wish to compliment, and whose timid gallantries generally terminate in depositing a cup of coffee in the lady's lap, treading on her delicate little foot, or carrying off with me two or three yards of flounce, when I hasten, with nervous precipitation, to execute some trifling command? Sighing is the only duty of an undeclared lover which I should be able to perform; but sighing needs the explanatory accompaniments of admiring glances and tender whispers, or it may be mistaken for the symptom of a guilty conscience, ora disordered stomach. Solitary, abstract, unappropriated sighing, is like a loveletter without a superscription, or a serenade performed in the middle of Russell-square-it tells no secret, it pleads no cause, and may be claimed by any one but the right person. Long acquaintance, however, might perhaps interest some kind heart in my favour: I take two years to ask a lady to drink wine, about four ere I presume to offer her my arm when walking out, and at the end of seven I might possibly be prepared to make a tender of a more serious nature, to pass that Rubicon which has terrified many a heart of bolder materials than mine. On
one point I have taken a decided resolution-I should convey my proposals by letter. Ill would it become me to attempt a personal declaration ; I should blush more than the sex who are privileged to blush as much as they can on these occasions, and should extinguish any glimmering partiality by appearing ridiculous. Ridicule is the most bitter enemy of love : they never meet without a death-blow being given to one of the parties. Blame a man's morals, principles, or temper, and woman loves on with amiable constancy ;-laugh at the shape of his nose, or his manner of making a bow, discover in him something to quiz, and strong indeed is the affection which does not speedily cool.
A brother of mine (shyness is a family distemper) lost a wife by venturing on the rash measure of a ricâ voce offer. He was walking up a fine mountain in Westmoreland with a lady whom he much admired, and whose manners had been far from discouraging. The evening was remarkably beautiful, the views were enchanting, outward circumstances gave a sudden impetus to his passion, an unnatural boldness came upon him, and he dashed into a declaration of love. But, alas! Loo soon the deceitful inspiration failed, his own nature resumed its ascendancy, he stammered forth his vows in broken and unintelligible murmurs, and, covered with confusion, was unobservant of his mountain-path, and fell down twice before he had completed his offer. At the first slip the lady blushed on, and maintained her gravity-my brother shook the dust from his clothes, and did not despair ;—the second time, his hat fell off, and was carried away by the wind, he was obliged to run in pursuit of it: the shrill notes of female laughter were borne after him on the breeze; they sounded in his ears the knell of all his tender hopes. Too truly he guessed his fate: on his return, breathless as he was, he attempted to renew the interesting subject; but the lady was no longer blushing or confused, a smile was yet lurking on ber" lips, and he was civilly rejected.
Let the offer, however, be made ; let that word be spoken to which the Chinese proverb may be applied with peculiar truth, "a word once let fall cannot be fetched back by a chariot and six horses ;" let it be favourably received, and flirtation changed into courtship, still the most fearful part of the affair is yet to come. If I might at once bear
bride away, take but one step from my proposals to my nuptials, all would be comparatively easy. During the wedding ceremony, observation is monopolized by the lady-her looks, her words, her dress, her flutterings, are watched by every eye ; and the bridegroom, without the appendages of white satin, a lace veil, tears, or a smelling bottle, has little to attract atteution, and if he does but speak the responses intelligibly, and put the ring on the proper finger, may slip through the most important act of his life with little notice or distinction. But there is an awful interval (which the lady loves to lengthen) between acceptance and matrimony; and the more I consider my own character and capabilities, the more convinced I feel that I could not possibly pass the ordeal of courtship with tolerable credit and respectability. Reflect on the labours, the assiduities, the paradings, the exhibitings of the noviciate which precedes our entrance into those gates, which bear not the
accommodating inscription, “si delectat maneas, si tædet abeas.'
I had begun to think rather seriously of marriage, but a few weeks passed in the same house with an engaged couple convinced me, that however delightful the temple of Hymen may be when you are fairly within it, its approaches are infinitely too difficult for'a bashful man. Surely when the Moravians teach their disciples to hold themselves in submissive readiness for those three perilous services, “ a journey, death, and matrimony," it is of the previous preparations for the latter that they more especially think.
An engaged lover is an object of general curiosity and observation ; let him creep through life ever so snugly at other times, during courtship he is watched, stared at, criticised, he becomes the hero of his own little world, the mark for “quips, and sentences, and paper bullets of the brain." Yet how easily and triumphantly do some men carry themselves through this period of notoriety and distinction. “Non equidem invideo, miror magis." I would, indeed, imitate the most approved examples to the extent of my power, and convince the lady of my affection, by every demonstration of love that could reasonably be expected of a shy man.
I would make no objection to whispering my admiration of every thing she said, or did, or wrote, or wore. I would listen patient and pleased, if she chose to murder some of Mozart's sweetest songs; I would gaze with approval on her drawings, though all her trees were like furze bushes, and all her castles tumbling down ; I would prefer yellow to blue, or Moore to Milton, at her bidding ; read a library of romances at her desire, and spend hours in writing out quadrilles, charades, or sonnets, to please her; I would pretend to be terrified if she complained of a headach, and propose to send for a physician if she coughed. The other duties of a lover I would gladly commute by extra-attentions as a husband. But, alas! no commutation, no compromise is admitted. If the bride herself be disposed to lenity, and inclined to be merciful in her exactions, these amiable weaknesses are checked by the railleries and reproaches of her young female friends, who always flock about a woman on the eve of marriage, and form themselves into a committee of observation on the lover, as if to watch that no courtship dues are left unpaid. If he be remiss, they reproach him for his negligence; if ardent and devoted, they rally him on the violence of his passion. I would rather be reprimanded by the Speaker of the House of Commons, than exposed to these girlish gibes and jests. I think I hear now those voluble tongues, that copious flow of ridicule, that easy pertness, those mingling peals of laughter, which have occasionally covered me with confusion. The broad stream of bantering has been too often poured over my shrinking head, by those careless, light-hearted creatures, who, unaware of the agony they inflict, unmindful of time, place, or circumstances, unobservant of character, exemplify the fable of the Boys and the Frogs, and half roast a bashful man to death by the fire of his own blushes.
One of the duties of a lover is that of staring : he ought several times a day to fix his eyes on his fair one's countenance, and look at her steadily for two or three minutes, or as much longer as he can bear it, concluding the ceremony by heaving a deep sighThe lady sits very patiently under the operation, knowing it to be an established part of orthodox-courtship, and the rest of the company wink, and smile, and seem much edified and pleased by the apparent abstraction of the gentleman. Now, Mr. Editor, I never since I was born looked
steadily at any one for more than half a quarter of a minute, and I should stare with the same confusion of face as if I were being stared at.
Another misery of courtship is the bustle that ensues when the lover enters the room which contains his mistress. Instead of allowing him quietly and gradually to creep towards her, there is always some officious matron, or smiling damsel (one of the committee of inspection), who endeavours to effect an immediate approximation. A general bustle commences; whispers and winks fly round the circle ; friends, informed of the necessity of the case, make excuses for moving ; strangers are deluded into warm corners, or hurried with affected anxiety from some dangerous draught of air ; every one seems of opinion that the most fatal consequences might ensue, should the betrothed parties be placed otherwise than in juxta-position. The gentleman is ushered into the enviable seat amidst a host of gazers and simperers; and some witty person is sure to utter in an audible whisper, “Well, now, Mr. — you are happy, I suppose.” Ye gods, no one would ever make such a speech to me under such circumstances ; no one would be tempted to mistake the expression of my countenance for happiness; all the demons of annoyance and confusion would dwell upon my crimson brow. Then, again, I should be paraded to balls and parties in the interesting character of bridegroom elect, and should be expected to act the part of turtle dove for the amusement of the company. I should be watched when I approached my intended, as if it were not unlikely that I might suddenly throw myself at her feet, as if I could not put on her shawl without vowing eternal attachment, or offer her refreshments without entreating her to name the happy day. I must parade up and down the room with her in close and earnest conversation, bend every three seconds to look into her eyes, throw a mysterious air into my whole demeanour, whisper my most trivial remarks, and look amorous from the topmost curl of my hair to my very shoe-tie. As it is said, that the character of a fine statue may be discovered by the most minute fragment, that the majesty of Juno resides in her great toe, and the grace of Venus sports on the tip of her ear; so it seems to be supposed that a lover is all over love, and that he cannot talk to his beloved on any subject without infusing into it an amorous spirit. Flames ought to breathe forth amidst a dissertation on the Congress at Verona ; Cupid should sit astride on the bonassus, or walk hand-in-hand with the mermaid in Chancery. It is surprising to me that lovers, like other common-place sights, do not sink into a comfortable insignificance, without being exposed to any observing eyes, except those of girls and boys under fifteen. But single persons continue to take the most careful observations of all such approaching conjunctions, anxious, I suppose, to provide themselves with authorities and precedents for their own future direction ; and even old married people are curious to see if the fashion has changed since their days of cooing and courting. In short, it would be as absurd in me to offer to dance a minute, sing a solo, or make a speech at a public dinner, as to expect to carry myself through the office of lover with propriety or success. My mistress would quarrel with me in a week. Yet could I but slip through the labours of courtship, in matrimony I should certainly find an ample reward for my previous