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of England; the Works of Lady M. W. Montague, Pope, and Churchill; Middleton's Geography, the Gentleman's Magazine; Sir John Sinclair on Longevity; several plays with portraits in character; Account of Elizabeth Canning, Memoirs of George Ann Bellamy, Poetical Amusements at Bath-Easton, Blair's Works, Elegant Extracts; Junius as originally published; a few pamphlets' on the American War and Lord George Gordon, &c. and one on the French Revolution. In his sitting rooms are some engravings from Hogarth and Sir Joshua; an engraved portrait of the Marquis of Granby; ditto of M. le Comte de Grasse surrendering to Admiral Rodney; a humourous piece after Penny; and a portrait of himself, painted by Sir Joshua. His wife's portrait is in his chamber, looking upon his bed. She is a little girl, stepping forward with a smile and a pointed toe, as if going to dance. He lost her when she was sixty.
The Old Gentleman is an early riser, because he intends to live at least twenty years longer. He continues to take tea for breakfast, in spite of what is said against it's nervous effects; having been satisfied on that point some years ago by Dr. Johnson's criticism on Hanway, and a great liking for tea previously. His china cups and saucers have been broken since his wife's death, all but one, which is religiously kept for his use. He passes his morning in walking or riding, looking in at auctions, looking after his India bonds or some such money securities, furthering some subscription set on foot by his excellent friend Sir John, or cheapening a new old print for his portfolio. He also hears of the newspapers; not caring to see them till after dinner at; the coffee-house. He may also cheapen a fish or so; the fishmonger soliciting his doubting eye as he passes, with a profound bow of recognition. He eats a pear before dinner.
His dinner at the coffee-house is served up to him at the accustomed hour, in the old accustomed way, and by the accustomed waiter. If William did not bring it, the fish would be sure to be stale, and the flesh
He eats no tart; or if he ventures on a little, takes cheese with it. You might as soon attempt to persuade him out of his senses, as that cheese is not good for digestion. He takes port; and if he has drank more than usual, and in a more private place, may be induced by some respectful enquiries respecting the old style of music, to sing a song composed by Mr. Oswald or Mr. Lampe, such as
Chloe, by that borrowed kiss,
Come, gentle god of soft repose ; or his wife's favourite ballad, beginning
At Upton on the Hill
There lived a happy pair. Of course, no such sploit can take place in the coffee-room; but he will canvass the theory of that matter there with you, or discuss the weather, or the markets, or the theatres, or the merits of "
North” or “my lord Rockingham;" for he rarely says simply, lord; it is generally “my lord,” trippingly and genteelly off the tongue. If alone after dinner, his great delight is the newspaper; which he prepares to read by wiping his spectacles, carefully adjusting them on his eyes,
and drawing the candle close to him, so as to stand sideways betwixt his ocular aim and the small type. He then holds the paper at arms length, and dropping his eyelids half down and his mouth half open,
coga nizance of the day's information. If he leaves off, it is only when the door is opened by a new comer, or when he suspects somebody is overanxious to get the paper out of his hand. On these occasions, he gives an important hem! or so; and resumes.
In the evening, our Old Gentleman is fond of going to the theatre, or of having a game of cards. If he enjoys the latter at his own house or lodgings, he likes to play with some friends whom he has known for many years; but an elderly stranger may be introduced, if quiet and scientific; and the privilege is extended to younger men of letters; who, if ill players, are good losers. Not that he is a miser; but to win money at cards is like proving his victory by getting the baggage; and to win of a younger man is a substitute for his not being able to beat him at rackets. He breaks up early, whether at home or abroad.
At the theatre, he likes a front row in the pit. He comes early, if he can do so without getting into a squeeze, and sits patiently waiting for the drawing up of the curtain, with his hands placidly lying one over the other on the top of his stick. He generously admires sorne of the best performers, but thinks them far inferior to Garrick, Woodward, and Clive. During splendid scenes, he is anxious that the little boy should see.
He has been induced to look in at Vauxhall again, but likes it still less than he did years back, and cannot bear it in comparison with Ranelagh. He thinks every thing looks poor, flaring, and jaded. “Ah!” says he, with a sort of triumphant sigh, “Ranelagh was a noble place! Such taste, such elegance, such beauty! There was the Duchess of A., the finest woman in England, Sir; and Mrs. L. a mighty fine creature; and Lady Susan what's her name, that had that unfortunate affair with Sir Charles. Sir, they came swimming by you like the swans.
The Old Gentleman is very particular in having his slippers ready for him at the fire, when he comes home. He is also extremely choice in his snuff, and delights to get a fresh box-full in Tavistock-street, in his way to the theatre. His box is a curiosity from India. He calls favourite young ladies by their Christian names, however slightly acquainted with them; and has a privilege also of saluting all brides, mothers, and indeed every species of lady, on the least holiday occasion. If the husband for instance has met with a piece of luck, he instantly moves forward, and gravely kisses the wife on the cheek. The wife then says, “ My niece, Sir, from the country;" and he kisses the niece. The niece, seeing her cousin biting her lips at the joke, says, “ My cousin Harriet, Sir;” and he kisses the cousin. He never recollects such weather, except during the Great Frost, or when he rode down with Jack Skrimshire to Newmarket. He grows young again in his little grand children, especially the one which he thinks most like himself; which is the handsomest. Yet he likes best perhaps the one most resembling his wife; and will sit with him on his lap, holding his hand in silence, for a quarter of an hour together. He plays most tricks with the former, and makes him sneeze. He asks little boys in general who was the father of Zebedee's children. If his grandsons are at school, he often goes to see them; and makes them blush by telling the master or the upper-scholars, that they are fine boys, and of a precocious genius. He is much struck when an old ac, quaintance dies, but adds that he lived too fast; and that
poor a sad dog in his youth; "a very sad dog, Sir, mightily set upon a short life and a merry one.”
When he gets very old indeed, he will sit for whole evenings, and say little or nothing; but informs you, that there is Mrs. Jones (the housekeeper,)—“She'll talk. "
Our old book-friend the Dolphin used to be confounded with the porpus; but modern writers seem to concur in making a distinction between them.
We remember being much mortified at this separation; for having, in our childhood, been shewn something dimly rolling in the sea, while standing on the coast at twilight, and told with much whis. pering solemnity that it was a porpus, we had afterwards learnt to identify it with the Dolphin, and thought we had seen the romantic fish on whom Arion rode playing his harp.
The Dolphin and porpus however have so many characters in common, such as shape, motion, general colour, the absence of gills, &c. that from a passage in Sandys, who was a traveller as well as a poet, we have some hopes the distinction may turn out to be unfounded, or only a variety owing to climate.
“ The porpus,” he says, in his Commentary upon Ovid, (p. 64.). " is out of doubt our true Dolphin; wherein I am not only confirmed by the authoritie of Scaliger. For those that are called Dolphins by our East and West-Indian seamen (who likely give known names to things which they know not) are fishes whereof I have seen many, which glitter in the water with all varietie of admirable colours; and are hardly so bigge as our salmon-trouts; too little by farre to beare those burthens wherewith almost all ancient authors doe charge them; besides none of these were ever seene in the Mediterranean sea, the scene of those stories.” Now Falconer, it is true, in his Shipwreck, Canto 2, speaks of Dolphins in the Mediterranean sea, as beaming
refulgent rays;' and describes them, in particular, as shifting into a variety of most brilliant colours, when dying. But this may only prove, that Sandys was wrong in excluding the fish in question from the Mediterranean; and it is remarkable that Falconer, notwithstanding his own poetical tendencies, does not take occasion of the appearance of what he calls Dolphins, to make the least allusion to ancient stories, nor speaks of their tumbling, nor otherwise seems to have recognized in them his old poetical friends. The writers too, who distinguish the Dolphin from the porpus, make no mention of these brilliant colours; but describe both as pretty much alike in colour, which is of a dusky blue in the one, and of a dark blue or glossy black in the other. The word porpus means originally the same as Dolphin. It is a corruption of porcus piscis, or the hog-fish; so called from the curve of it's back, as it tumbles in and out of the water, for it is naturally straight. The root of the Greek word Delphin is the same as that of the word for a hog, Delphax. It is easy
to see how the Dolphin became such a favourite with antiquity. It was owing to his frequency in the Greek seas, the vivacity of his motions, his gregariousness, the presages which he brings respecting the weather, and the familiarity with which he approaches the shore. He was the fish friendly to man, as the horse was among beasts, and the swallow among birds; or as the dog and the redbreast are with us. One of the earliest and most beautiful fictions is a story told in Homer's Hymn to Bacchus of the transformation of a crew of pirates into Dolphins. It was a fine lesson of good treatment to strangers in those times, and perhaps written by the poet to serve travellers like himself, who had occasion to throw themselves on the generosity.of the masters of vessels. Bacchus is sitting with his black locks and white shoulders by the seashore, in appearance like a young mortal. Some pirates coming towards the shore, and seeing the splendour of the purple cloak that wraps him round, take him for a young prince, and agree to kidnap him. They do so, take him on board, and put him in chains. He extends his hands, and breaks the chains asunder like thread, but still remains quietly sitting. The piety of the helmsman is roused at this piece of supernatural strength, and calling the others aside, he earnestly exhorts them to let the stranger go. But the captain ridicules his fears; and they persist; when all of a sudden, a gush of wine comes pouring over the deck; the oars of the rowers are hampered with garlands; and a vine runs up the mast and throws out it's arms full of grapes over the top. The pirates turn pale, and cast their eyes upon the divine stranger, who now starts up, and glares at them from under the batches in the shape of a lion.
He then turns himself into a bear and other frightful figures, and ramping about the vessel, the pirates, all but the helmsman, jump overboard, and are changed as they leap into Dolphins. When the galley is cleared, the god resumes his own shape, and tells the pilot to be of good cheer, for he is Bacchus, the roaring god of wine; and that day shall be a happy one for him and his. The same story has been told, but in a much inferior taste, by Ovid. Nonnus, in his luxuriant poetical history of the god, (Dionysiaca, B. 45) describes the pirates as visited with the hallucination of mind, called a calenture, in which people at sea fancy that they are among meadows, and other rural scenery, and “ babble of green fields." There was a picture in mosaic, perhaps yet to be seen, in the church of St. Agnes at Rome, formerly a temple of Bacchus, in which the story of the transformation of the pirates was
presented. The more famous frieze upon the same subject on the
building at Athens, called the Lantern of Demosthenes, has been well known to our countrymen through the medium of Stuarı’s Antiquities of that city. Milton beautifully follows up Homer's story, by making Bacchus sail onward, “as the winds listed,” till he fell upon Circe's island, where, in the joviality of his triumph, he begot Comus, the god of delirious feasting.
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape,
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus named. The two Plinys have each a story of a Dolphin. The Elder says, upon the authority of three grave writers, Mecænas among them, that there was a boy, who by alluring a Dolphin with bread, at last became so intimate with him, that he would ride to school to and fro on his back from Baja to Puteoli
. The boy died, and the fish pining after him, died also, and was buried in the same tomb. The Younger Pliny gives an account of another at Hippo in Africa, where a boy venturing to swim farther out than his companions, was met by a Dolphin, who after playing about him a little, slipped under him, and taking him on his back, carried him out still farther, to the great terror of the young delphinestrian. Luckily however, he soon returned to shore, and landed his rider safely. The next day the shore was crowded with people, waiting to see if the Dolphin would appear again; and the boys went as usual into the water. The fish did reappear, and came among the younkers, who swam back as fast as they could. It then played all sorts of inviting gambols about the coast, till the people, ashamed of their timidity, gradually got nearer, and at length touched and stroaked it. The boy then, losing his fear like the rest, and vindicating his first privilege, swam by his side, and at length leaped upon his back, when the Dolphin carried him about as before, and landed him as safely. Unfortunately, the deputy-governor of the province took it into his head that the good. natured fish must be a god; and seizing his opportunity, when the creature had got upon shore, poured some precious ointment upon it. The ointment happened not to be to the Dolphin's taste; it absented itself för some days; and when it returned appeared sick and feeble. However, it recovered it's spirits; but the novelty by this time had drawn such a concourse of high visitors to the place, whom it was the little town's business to entertain gratis, that it is supposed the poor secretly killed, to save further expenses. Alexander the Great is said to have been so struck with the attachment evinced by a Dolphin to a youth, that he made the latter a priest of Neptune.
It is not easy to pronounce how much of truth there may be in stories