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CHAPTER III.

ON CRITICISM.

-A did Garrick speak the soliloquy last night? O, against all rule, my lord, most ungrammatically ! betwixt the substantive and the adjective, which should agree together in number, case, and gender, he made a breach thus, -stopping as if the point wanted settling ;-and betwixt the nominative case, which your lordship knows should govern the verb, he suspended his voice in the epilogue a dozen times, three seconds, and three fifths by a stopwatch, my lord, each time.-Admirable grammarian !-But in suspending his voice—was the sense suspended likewise ? did no expression of attitude or countenance fill up the chasm?

- Was the eye silent ? Did you narrowly look ?-I look'd only at the stopwatch, my lord.-Excellent observer !

And what of this new book the whole world makes such a rout about ?-0! 'tis out of all plumb, my lord,- quite an irregular thing! not one of the angles at the four corners was a right angle.—I had my rule and compasses, &c., my lord, in my pocket.—Excellent critic!

- And for the epic poem your lordship bid me look at ; -upon taking the length, breadth, height, and depth of it, and trying them at home upon an exact scale of Bossu's'tis out, my lord, in every one of its dimensions.--Admirable connoisseur !

-And did you step in, to take a look at the grand picture in your way back ?—'Tis a melancholy daub! my lord, not one principle of the pyramid in any one group !-and what a price !—for there is nothing of the colouring of Titian—the expression of Rubens—the grace of Raphael —the purity of Dominichino—the corregiescity of Corregio

-the learning of Poussin—the air of Guido—the taste of the Caraccis—or the grand contour of Angelo.

Grant me patience, just Heaven !-Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world—though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst—the cant of criticism is the most tormenting!

I would go fifty miles on foot, to kiss the hand of that

man, whose generous heart will give up the reins of his imagination into his author's hands—be pleased he knows not why, and cares not wherefore.

STERNE.

CHAPTER IV.

ON NEGROES.

WHEN Tom, an' please your honour, got to the shop there was nobody in it but a poor negro girl, with a bunch of white feathers slightly tied to the end of a long cane, flapping away flies—not killing them.—'Tis a pretty picture! said my uncle Toby—she had suffered persecution, Trim, and had learnt mercy

-She was good, an' please your honour, from nature as well as from hardships ; and there are circumstances in the story of that poor friendless slut, that would melt a heart of stone, said Trim ; and some dismal winter's evening, when your honour is in the humour, they shall be told you with the rest of Tom's story, for it makes a part of it

Then do not forget, Trim, said my uncle Toby.

A negro has a soul, an' please your honour, said the corporal (doubtingly).

I am not much versed, corporal, quoth my uncle Toby, in things of that kind ; but I suppose, God would not leave him without one, any more than thee or me.

- It would be putting one sadly over the head of another, quoth the corporal.

It would so, said my uncle Toby. Why, then, an' please your honour, is a black wench to be used worse than a white one?

I can give no reason, said my uncle Toby

-Only, cried the corporal, shaking his head, because she has no one to stand up for her

'Tis that very thing, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby which recommends her to protection, and her brethren with her ;—'tis the fortune of war which has put the whip into our hands now-where it may be hereafter, Heaven knows !--but be it where it will, the brave, Trim, will not use it unkindly.

-God forbid, said the corporal.

Amen, responded my uncle Toby, laying his hand upon his heart.

STERNE.

CHAPTER V.

RIVERS AND SIR HARRY.

Sir Har. Colonel, your most obedient; I am come upon the old business ; for unless I am allowed to entertain hopes of Miss Rivers, I shall be the most miserable of all human beings.

Riv. Sir Harry, I have already told you by letter, and I now tell you personally, I cannot listen to your proposals.

Sir Har. No, Sir?

Riv. No, Sir; I have promised my daughter to Mr. Sidney ; do

you

know that, Sir? Sir. Har. I do, but what then? engagements of this kind, you know

Riv. So then, you do know I have promised her to Mr. Sidney ?

Sir Har. I do; but I also know, that matters are not finally settled between Mr. Sidney and you ; and I moreover know, that his fortune is by no means equal to mine, therefore

Riv. Sir Harry, let me ask you one question, before you make

your consequence. Sir Har. A thousand, if you please, Sir.

Riv. Why then, Sir, let me ask you, what you have ever observed in me or my conduct, that you desire me so familiarly to break my word ? I thought, Sir, you considered me as a man of honour.

Sir Har. And so I do, Sir, a man of the nicest honour.

Riv. And yet, Sir, you ask me to violate the sanctity of my word; and tell me directly that it is my interest to be a rascal

Sir Har. I really don't understand you, Colonel : I thought, when I was talking to you, I was talking to a man who knew the world; and as you have not yet signed:

Riv. Why, this is mending matters with a witness ; And so you think, because I am not legally bound, I am under no necessity of keeping my word! Sir Harry, laws were never made for men of honour: they want no bond but the rectitude of their own sentiments, and laws are of no use but to bind the villains of society.

Sir Har. Well! but my dear Colonel, if you have no regard for me, show some little regard for your daughter.

Riv. I show the greatest regard for my daughter by giving her to a man of honour: and I must not be insulted with any farther repetition of your proposals. Sir Har. Insult

you, Colonel ! Is the offer of my alliance an insult? Is my readiness to make what settlements you

think proper

Riv. Sir Harry, I should consider the offer of a kingdom an insult, if it was to be purchased by the violation of my word : Besides, though my daughter shall never go a beggar to the arms of her husband, I would rather see her happy than rich; and if she has enough to provide handsomely for a young family, and

something to spare for the exigencies of a worthy friend, I shall think her as affluent as if she was mistress of Mexico.

Sir Har. Well, Colonel, I have done : but I believe

Riv. Well, Sir Harry, and as our conference is done, we will, if you please, retire to the ladies : I shall be always glad of your acquaintance, though I cannot receive you as a son-in-law; for the union of interests I look upon as a union of dishonour; and consider a marriage for money, at best, but a legal prostitution.

FALSE DELICACY.

CHAPTER VI.

SIR JOHN MELVIL AND STERLING.

Sterl. What are your commands with me, Sir John ?

Sir John. After having carried the negotiation between our families to so great a length, after having assented so readily to all your proposals, as well as received so many instances of your cheerful compliance with the demands made on our part, I am extremely concerned, Mr. Sterling, to be the involuntary cause of any uneasiness.

Sterl. Uneasiness! what uneasiness? Where business is transacted as it ought to be, and the parties understand one another, there can be no uneasiness. You agree, on such and such conditions, to receive my daughter for a wife; on the same conditions I agree to receive you as a son-in-law : and as to all the rest, it follows of course, you know, as regularly as the payment of a bill after acceptance.

Sir John. Pardon me, Şir; more uneasiness has arisen than you are aware of. I am myself, at this instant, in a state of inexpressible embarrassment; Miss Sterling, I know, is extremely disconcerted too ; and unless you will oblige me with the assistance of your friendship, I foresee the speedy progress of discontent and animosity through the whole family

Sterl. What the deuce is all this ! I do not understand a single syllable.

Sir John. In one word then, it will be absolutely impossible for me to fulfil my engagements in regard to Miss Sterling.

Sterl. How, Sir John ? Do you mean to put an affront upon my family? What? refuse to

Sir John. Be assured, Sir, that I neither mean to affront nor forsake your family. My only fear is, that you should desert me : for the whole happiness of my life depends on my being connected with your family by the nearest and tenderest ties in the world.

Sterl. Why, did not you tell me, not a moment ago, it was absolutely impossible for you to marry my daughter?

Sir John. True: but you have another daughter, SirSterl. Well !

Sir John. Who has obtained the most absolute dominion over my heart. I have already declared my passion to her; nay, Miss Sterling herself is also apprised of it, and if you will but give a sanction to my present addresses, the uncommon merit of Miss Sterling will, no doubt, recommend her to a person of equal, if not superior rank to myself, and our families may still be allied by my union with Miss Fanny.

Sterl. Mighty fine, truly! Why, what the plague do you make of us, Sir John? Do you come to market for

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