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and the bold assurance, the chuck- 'But you have actually given as ling confidence, the vainglorious much as a grain ?” self-satisfaction, and mock trium- “I believe I have.” phant delight of his questioner ! Now, would you give two, or Mark the practised leer, the Old- are there cases in which you would Bailey grin, with which he com- give three grains ? For instance, ments on something that science would you venture to administer still regards as uncertain or ob- three grains to one of the gentlescure, and hear him declare to the men of the jury ?” jury, that in the present state of “I opine not.” medical knowledge there is not a Might there not be a case in man in court might not be indicted which you would give his lordship for having handed the salt or the yonder as much as three grains ? mustard to his neighbour !
“I should say not; certainly Occasionally - very rarely, it not." must be owned the witness is, “ Would you give me three besides being a man of science, à grains ?” man of the world—one who joins to At this the doctor seemed slightthe requirements of the “ savant” all ly confused, and unwilling to rethe quick and ready-witted tact of ply, and the lawyer, accepting the society. I remember such a case. hesitation as confusion from being The barrister was no common man; puzzled, followed up his supposed he was highly and variously gifted; advantage by repeating his queshad a keen wit and a commanding tion. eloquence. It was his task, on the “I am doubtful on the point. occasion I refer to, to obtain from It is possible that I might," was the medical witness the admission the reply, after a long pause. that the substance to which the “Good heavens, sir! what do poisoning was attributed was one you mean? You have told us that freely used in practice, often pre- under no circumstances would you scribed by the best physicians, and administer as much as three grains occasionally in doses that verged to one of the gentlemen of the jury, on being excessive.
nor to his lordship on the bench, Now, Doctor A.," said he," you and yet you now avow that you have told us that strychnine is to are actually uncertain whether you be found in the Pharmacopoeia, would not give this dose to me? an admission that goes to show Explain this, sir, if you can.”. that the Faculty are not afraid, to “ The action of strychnine is but use the vulgar illustration, to play imperfectly known," said the docwith edge-tools. You have also tor, with great composure.
" It said that you have administered it would be a valuable contribution in your own practice. Will you be to medical science to determine it; kind enough to inform us in what and we have a maxim in chemistry doses ?”
that says, 'Fiat experimentum in “ The dose would be determined corpore vili.' That's my meaning." by the nature of the illness, the In this case it was not the lawyer object sought to be obtained, and who triumphed. the peculiar circumstances of the The most offensive of all, howindividual patient.”
ever, is the display of legal drollCome, come, doctor, I am not ery—the wit that sets the jury in a trying to poach on you for an un- roar, and shakes the gallery with fee'd
opinion. I want generalities. laughter. Excepting House of Would you give a grain of this me- Commons drollery, there is nothing dicine?
on earth so pitiably contemptible “I might. I would rather give as legal fun. In bad taste, too, it
“ an eighth, or a sixth, or a fourth of totally eclipses the “House," for a grain.”
the senator is usually satisfied with
a dreary bit of Joe Miller in some insulting cross-examination, to lead supposed “ apropos” to what he is to the conclusion that she was, at saying; while counsel is sure to one period at least, not totally cut his joke on something personal averse to the advances of her agto the witness—his dress, his ac
When rebuked by the cent, his whiskers, or his boots, court for his line of defence, counwell knowing the while that all sel flippantly replied, "My lord, I reply is denied to the man he must do my best for my client.” assails, and that in his coward What sort of professional training immunity he may pelt him in per- can it be that will make a gentlefect security
man descend to such a depth as And yet there is an offence worse this ! than this—the practice of abashing Of a truth, it requires all the a witness, especially a female wit- gifts and graces of these accomness, by something which, in shock- plished men to counterbalance such ing her delicacy, may seem to im- little blemishes ; nor am I quite pugn her truthfulness. A late and sure that in extending to any class flagrant instance of this occurred in the community the privilege of where a young lady, suffering under protection, while scattering insinuaa most ruffianly assault on a road- tions broadcast, and pushing insults side, was subjected by the prisoner's home, we may not be buying too counsel to the most shameless and dearly even our Admirable Crichton.
“THE CHEAP ARTICLE WARRANTED,” ETC.
When the history of our time this, that there is not, from one end shall be written, it would not be of Europe to the other, so unreal easy to find a more significant title a people as the English! I know to it than “ The Age of the Cheap with what an outcry of disbelief Article.” It is certainly the great this assertion will be met. I know characteristic of our day. Some- well how we regard the wretched thing that is to look like something foreigner, sneering at his frivolity, else, seem as good, last as long, and his capricious ways, his
poor, weak, only cost one-tenth of the price, is purposeless existence, and the rest the grand desideratum on every of it. I know all our national conhand; and consequently our news- tempt for the man of eau sucré and papers are filled and our walls dominoes, and I am not going to covered with advertisements of gainsay one word of it. I only renickel that looks like silver, “Glad- assert that for unreality, for a prestone that drinks like claret, tension to seem something that he cheap tea, cheap furniture, Syden- is not-for, in fact, an outrageous ham trousers, and the two-guinea affectation—John Bull has not his
portmanteau, which contains ev- equal in Europe. The reason is erything necessary to a gentleman's simple enough. Every man in full wardrobe for a three weeks' England knows and feels that his tour on the Continent."
acceptance in society depends on It seems at first strange that this the class in which he is supposed to intense rage for cheapness should move, and as class distinctions with be essentially English. You do, of us are meted out by money, it becourse, meet some of it in Paris, but hoves every one to appear better off in no other city of the Continent than he is. To do this requires no are the papers filled and the walls small share of skill or address, beplacarded with announcements of cause it has to be done in the midst this or that substitute for something of thousands all trying the same whose cost excludes it from com- game. To live in a fashionable
The reason, however, is quarter, or sufficiently near one to
steal the name of a neighbouring a chef in his kitchen, or dines at square, to indicate your where- a cheap chop-house abouts, is a first necessity. To live One of the greatest evils of all with a certain outward semblance of this unreality is, that no man is ever fortune is the second; to give din able to talk with any sense of secuners and entertainments comes next; rity on the most ordinary things to figure in subscription-lists, stand around him. He is, as it were, takforward in works of benevolence, all ing everything on trust, and on the follow. Now, as it is essential that recommendation of some one about you should do all these things on him. He dares not question the the scale of a man of ten times your capacity of the butler whom he got means, you only can accomplish the from “my lord” any more than he feat by employing substitutes; that can cavil at the bordeaux he got from is to say, all around and about you my lord's wine-merchant. Now all must be a mockery—your house a this might be borne if it only infour-storeyed delusion, your butler vaded the material circumstances of a ruined greengrocer, your bor- our lives ; but it has gone down far deaux a full-flavoured Chancellor deeper; it has penetrated to our of the Exchequer, and your clothes morals, and threatens seriously to the cheap product of the last Man- poison the very best elements of our chester discovery in devil's dust and national character. Not satisfied, it glue.
would seem, with sham silver, sham Will you tell me that the man damask, sham diamonds, and sham who lives in this charmed circle of lafitte, we are now coming to a everlasting lies, in a mock house pass, in which we shall probably be with a mock household, a mock content with sham honour in our dinner, and an enamelled wife with men, and sham virtue in our woa mock diamond necklace, can come out real and true? Will you ask Dumas-père ou fils, I forget which me to believe that he who breathes -explains by a little apologue the an atmosphere of falsehood all his meaning of the phrase demi-monde. days, can preserve throughout it his He says—“You find in a fruit-stall
_ own pure unsullied nature ? a basket of beautiful peaches whose
And now, what foreigner does price will be two francs each, and this ? In what city of continental close beside them another basket, Europe is there any quarter to in- to all semblance exactly alike, the habit which would be a brevet of same in colour and perfume and social distinction ? Is there any downy softness, for twenty-five one, no matter how great, who could cents; and, struck by this immense not live anywhere, no matter how disparity in cost, you ask the reahumble, who asks or cares to know The fruiterer at once calls the amount of any man's fortune, your attention to a minute, almost how he spends, or why he saves it ? imperceptible speck on the cheaper This frivolous foreigner, with his article, and this très petite tache it eau sucré and kid-glove tastes, may is which damages all the excellence, be all that you say of him; he may and reduces to a mere fraction follow no serious career, nor care for what seemed the equal of the best. any occupation beyond amusement; “Such,” says he,“is la femme demibut, take my word for it, he has monde.” Now, if some real or supfewer affectations, less of unreal posed attraction in this article find pretensions—is, in a word, far less favour with the foreigners, in Engof a snob—than John Bull, and all land the success will be entirely owbecause his social system makes no ing to its semblance to something demand upon him to seem ricber that costs more money, and the acthan he really is; nor is it any one's ceptance she will gain will be exactly business to inquire whether he keeps proportioned to the credit she will be
VOL. XCVI.-NO. DLXXXVII.
supposed to possess in some sphere Wakefield's time, — and what a more exalted than that she moves
poor pretender was the demi-monde in. Demi-monde will gain a footing of that day—what a half-fledged with us whenever it comes with starveling compared to the fullthe claim of rank or condition; and feathered bird of gorgeous plumage just as the bottle of corked cham- we now see it !—but in the Vicar's pagne is very fine drinking in the time the spurious article dazzled servants' hall, the damaged coun- the eyes of rustic admirers, and, tess will be warmly welcomed when except that old roué, Mr Burchell, she condescends to a society four who doubtless had bought his exgrades below what she was born to. perience pretty dearly, none dared
Middle-class folk have very often to question the intrinsic value of the impression that there is some- the production. thing fashionable in vice; and con- Demi-monde is accepted in Engsequently, when wickedness can be land, not from any resources it may had reasonable, as a cheap article, possess of agreeability, not from it is an enormous gain. Now, demi- its clever fac-simile of something monde, as to real “monde,” is as infinitely better than it, but simply the low-priced counterfeit to the because it is supposed to be fashtrue type. It is warranted to look ionable—just as Brown drinks dry so like that detection is next to champagne, making believe the impossible. It is declared to wear while that he likes it best. as long, and “families will find a Au fond the nation is not enagreat economyin using it generally.” moured of wickedness, and the
Society always gains somewhat English people never tried, as the in brilliancy, though it may have to French did, to put Virtue in the pay for it in character, by the ad- dock and arraign her by an indictmission of these fallen angels from ment. Their fault is, however, a a superior sphere. Take the case, poor and slavish adulation of whatfor instance, of a colonial corps, into ever is done by somebody higher which, for some misdeeds that de- and richer than themselves, and an mand oblivion, a man has dropped abortive struggle to imitate it at out of a crack regiment at home.
any sacrifice. He brings to the dreary mess-table, The Frenchman likes libertinthat tiresome dinner-party of ex- age, partly because of the licence hausted talkers, an entire new stock it gives him to be whatever his of pleasantry. All his stories are humour prompts him, and chiefly new; all the characters in them because he knows it to be wrong. are novel. His opinions, his judg- The Italian likes it because it conments, his slightest remarks, all duces to the indulgence of that smack of another world. He may indolence which finds even the -it is not impossible—shock these commonest observances of society out-of-the-world people by traits of a bore and an infliction. The Gera life that nobody led in their day. man likes it as a sort of spice He may hold cheaply maxims they thrown into the flat beer of his regarded as immaculate rules of daily existence—a something to guidance, and he may proclaim heighten flavour, and yet not inprinciples which they have hitherto validate the liquor. But John Bull regarded with aversion. Let him, has no sympathy with any of these however, only continue amongst tastes, and he would reject the them for a little while, and he will practice and repudiate the princiinsure a following. The mere fact ple to-morrow if he had not obof a certain social standing will se- served that they found favour with cure him disciples.
some distinguished individual who Exactly the same result occurs lived in Belgravia, and of whose rewhen demi - monde invades “the ceptions he read in the 'Morning Family.” Even in the Vicar of Post.'
We are, in fact, as_to morals, picture of conjugal life in these pretty much what the French were actions for separation unequalled as to religion in '95. Wraxall tells throughout the world for their us that once, when getting his hair dressed by a barber in Paris, he I will not say that they “ do chanced to inquire if the man were these things better in France," but a Catholic; on which he let fall his they do them more decently, more comb and scissors in horror, and, becomingly. The great difference stepping back, exclaimed" Mon- is perhaps this : infidelity with us sieur! I am a humble man, it is is a commercial transaction; fotrue, and a barber; but I'd beg reigners make seduction a branch you to understand that I have just of the fine arts. as little religion as any man in For my own part, I am always France."
afraid for the future of an indiviIf we wanted a proof that demi- dual who wants to have his vices monde is not congenial to our na- cheap ; I have the same foreboding
Ι tional tastes, we have it in our' for the destiny of a nation that divorce courts. No people of Eu- desires to be wicked at small cost. rope know so little how to con- There is some check to abandonciliate vice with decorum as the ment when its indulgence requires English. We understand none of a strong purse; there is none when those refinements by which wicked- it can be practised without trenchness is to be draped into something ing on fortune, or invading those gracefully mysterious and attrac- resources by which people exhibit tive. With our unromantic real- themselves to their neighbours as ism, we want to seem as vicious as decorous citizens, "thoroughly rewe are ; and hence we exhibit a spectable" !!
I will not say how many years free; and, if they pleased to come it is since I first saw Florence. Of in evening dress, were also eligicourse, I was only a boy, a mere ble to partake of the splendid supchild, at the time; but certainly per which followed the close of the there was not, throughout Europe, entertainment. At Lord Burghersh's a city to compare with it in social there was an amateur opera given excellence and enjoyment.
every week, admirably sustained, Though only a grand-ducal Court, the chief parts being filled by the many of the ministers accredited two Princes Poniatowsky, and the to it took rank as ambassadors. prima donna being the present Our own was Lord Burghersh, than Princess Poniatowsky. The chief whom none sustained the honour direction, it is needless to say, was of his country with more dignity, intrusted to the noble host, a muor dispensed the hospitalities of a sician of the highest attainments. high station with more elegance Besides these, Lord Mulgrave gave and urbanity. Many noble English his English theatricals, probably families were amongst the resi- never surpassed in the ability of dents; and Prince Demidoff—the those who figured in them, nor in Old Prince, as he was distinctively the subsequent distinction that called—kept almost open house at awaited them in life. Charles MaSan Donato, and maintained, be- thews, I believe, made his first apsides, an admirable corps of French pearance on these boards, and, if I actors, who gave, twice a-week, re- mistake not, once played in a piece presentations at his private theatre, where three of his fellow-actors to which, without invitation, all lived to be Secretaries of State in persons presented to the Prince were England.