ページの画像
PDF
ePub

TEMPER.

THERE is a sort of fitful gaiety very peculiar to the ill tempered. I have known the most sullen and morose women light up with bursts of brilliant vivacity, which to me, who was aware of the real state of the atmosphere, loaded as it was with thunder and storm, appeared very awful. It was like the precursive lightnings, which manifest to the eye the density and blackness of the coming desolation.

The secret, the charm, the spell, that “ makes to-morrow cheerful as to-day," is the even, springlike sunshine of the mind, which, though sometimes veiled by the vapour of a passing melancholy, is still seen, pure and bright, through the shadowy medium. This is worth all the explosions of hysterical gaiety in the world. Between the sadness of sensibility and the gloom of morosity, what a difference! But the worst of it is, that, in both instances, the morale goes for so little, and the physique for so much, that the drop or the drachm more or less, in the prescribed dose, makes the surly gay, and the gay sombre.

“ There are individuals,” says the unrivalled Madame de Staal (Mademoiselle de Launey,) “ whose good and bad humour are equally unbearable.” This was applied to her royal mistress and patroness, the Duchesse de Maine; but it is applicable to half the fine ladies and spoiled children of fashion and fortune, all the world over. There was nothing I dreaded half so much as getting into high favour with Lady when she got into high spirits. Her epilepsy of good humour was insupportable ; such tyranny of kindness, such vociferation of gaiety ! Running up the great stairs of one day, I came against a friend, who was going down. flying from, in such haste ?" he asked. “ From Lady

-'s good humour,” said I. He told my mot, and I lost my friend. How often does indiscretion pass for ingratitude! Yet the indiscreet are never ungrateful, for they are uncalculating; and ingratitude, coming from insen

66 What are you

sibility, cannot act upon impulse. Strong impulses come of strong feelings; and strong feelings are the source of all that is great and good, not, alas ! of all that is wise : and so end my infer

ences.

IGNORANCE.

PYTHAGORAS, we are told, invented the term philosopher, or 6 lover of wisdom,” because he could not conscientiously assume the appellation of “soph,” or wise man; and the greatest philosophers, and most knowing, have had the strongest conviction of the uncertainty of science: so that soph and sophism have become terms of contempt. Yet, how obstinate and stiff-necked is the bridling importance of genuine ignorance. How it looks conscious superiority over all! and gives out its oracular nonsense, and trite dogmas, as if they were the dicta of divine inspiration. “When I ope my lips, let no dog bark.”

“ The conceit of knowledge,” says Montaigne, “ is the plague of man.” What, then, is it of women ? A self-supposed infallible woman, with her organic feebleness backing her ignorance, is to be feared and shunned a thousand times more than the wit, and the blue-stocking. I tremble in her presence; and, making my best courtesy, get out of her way as fast as I can. Besides, such women have all (God bless the mark !) a natural antipathy to me; and, without vanity, I may say, " pour cause."

BEAUX OF OLD.

A fine man,

WHAT funny fellows the dandies of the beginning of the last century were ! then, was like Sir Harry Wildair—"the joy of the playhouse, the life of the park !” Think of one of the fine men of the present day being a joy any where, or the life of any place!

No gentleman, then, walked out (when he did walk, for we find even Squire Western going to visit in a chair,) without a footman after him. Dependence and ostentation are the characteristics of semi-civilization! They are also infallible proofs of mediocrity in individuals, in all times

and ages.

METHODISM AND MOLIERE.

“ It is good to be merry and wise." It is difficult to be wise and not to be merry. A few years back, when, in Dublin, it was a rage to be “ serious," some very foolish things took place, which, as they belong to the Cronique Scandaleuse, shall find no room here. It was then the fashion to give tea and tract-parties, to the exclusion of gay faces and pleasant conversation. I remember, on the same night Mrs. Fry preached at a party at Mrs. —'s in Merrion-square, La Porte read out a comedy of Moliere's at my soirée in Kildarestreet. We both gave “ Les Précieuses Ridicules,in our several ways; but my guests went away laughing, and hers yawning. L'un portant l'autre, mine had the best of it ; and Moliere versus Methodism, won the cause.

« 前へ次へ »