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DIALOGUE THE SEVENTH.
MISERIES OF SOCIAL LIFE.
Testy, Senior and Junior.–Sensitive.
Testy. ROBINSON CRUSOE, indeed! No, no,Timon or Diogenes, if you will—these are the
Recluses for me :—the privilege of storming and railing is all I have purchased by making my bow in drawing-rooms; and I won't part with it for a trifle.--I have got safe through it, though; and so, ladies and gentlemen, your humble servant !-to-morrow morning, I sell my house, and buy a hermitage.
Sen. Nay, my good friend, what have I done ?-Let our doors be still open to each
other, at least; if only for the satisfaction of groaning in concert over the evils of good company-in which I mean to include, not merely the voluntary outrages we have been incessantly suffering from our companions themselves, but likewise the thwarting accidents, the perverse perplexities, the unexpected contretems, with which Fortune herself, in pure malignity, delights to strew the carpet of social intercourse.--I will open with one from this last mentioned class of distractions ;-(producing his list) for,-excuse me, my friend—I cannot converse ;-" the genial current of my soul" is " frozen up”my animal spirits are poisoned at the fountain-and I am dead to every faculty, or desire, but those of pouring out the gathered gall that frets within me;
" the grief that does not speak, Whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break."
МАСв. Tes. Come, then-"give sorrow words.” This is your day, Sensitive :-1, who, you know, am almost all bone and body, as the jockies say, can have little to throw into the hoard of spiritual solicitudes. However, you may judge from the fury, in which you found
me just now, that I am not quite so raw as you may fancy, even in this branch of our business
“ Non obtusa adeo gestamus pectora.”
And as to your second division of companycomforts, of a more mechanical kind, I have revelled in them from morning till night-so much so, indeed, that, to tell you the truth, I have been little in a humour for the tranquil drudgery of noting them down in my tablets ; - I have funded a few loose agonies, however, of both sorts ;-and so as they are but a few, perhaps I might as well produce them at once; after which, I'll give you your head during the rest of our way.
Sen. Begin, Sir, by all means; and while I attend to you, I will endeavour to rouse my courage for the severer retrospect to which I am doomed ;-yet which, by one of those exquisite paradoxes in feeling, wherewith the texture of my fibres is so mystically intertissued
Tes. Whew-W-W!-upon my soul, you are a very fine sort of a—what must I call you?-gentleman angel, I believe-you put my poor stock of straight forward phraseology quite upon the stretch to reach after you ! and so now, if your Etheriality can condescend to take any interest in such earthly stuff as I have been able to rake together, I will go over a few of “ the ills that flesh is heir to,"—as I have lately found to my cost:
GROAN 1. (T.) In attempting to take up the poker very softly, (an invalid asleep in the room) throwing it violently down, sociably accompanied by the tongs and shovel in its fall.
2. (T.) Briskly stooping to pick up a lady's fan, at the same moment when two other gentlemen are doing the same, and so making a cannon with your
head against both of theirs and this without being the happy man after all.
3. (T.) On entering the room, to join an evening party composed of remarkably grave, strict, and precise persons, suddenly finding out that you are drunk, (though you thought you were, and fully intended to be, rigidly' sober;)—and what is worse still, that the company has shared with you in the discovery. 4. (T.) A perpetual blister ;---alias, a sociable nextdoor-neighbour, who has taken a violent affection for
you, in return for your no less violent antipathy to him.
Mrs Tes. To her, if you please :- I am sure
-I that odious Mrs M‘Call will fairly worry me out of my life, if she stays in our neighbourhood three months longer.
« Væ Miseræ nimium vicina!”
5. (T.) A fellow, who, after having obliquely applied to you for instruction upon any subject, keeps shewing a restless anxiety to seem already fully informed upon it; perpetually interrupting your answer with -“ Yes, Sir-Yes, yes, I know-true, I am perfectly aware of that—0, of course !-&c. &c. &c.”
6. (T.) Visiting a remarkable nice Lady, who lets you discover, by the ill-suppressed convulsion of her features and motions, that she considers your
shoes as not sufficiently wiped, (in your passage over at least twenty mats)—that you stand too near to a