Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

a

the best, substantial, and intelligible. He is solid over his beef. His jeu d'esprit is a bottle of soda. 66 A little more of the sounds ? little stewed lobster ?"_"a leetle more lemon to the currie ?”.

some stuffing ?”“ more grouse ?"-" let me recommend this blanc-manger—this cream-pancakethis custard with your tart--these brandy-apricots-these olives a devil-hah! (smacking his lips) this is the old wine I told you of, sure enough:"--phrases of this kind, judiciously administered, shall outrival twice as many bon-mots. They shall produce a profound sensation,-an absolute severity of satisface tion. We have known a gentleman, remarkable for a certain festive taciturnity, sit at the head of his table; and by dint of these

commen, datory syllables, united to the reputation of knowing more than he said, make a wit feel doubtful of the merit of being facetious, and fearful how he lnterrupted so intense a conviviality.

And here, (before the rolls come up), we may notice a compromis' ing kind of it, which would see fair play between ideas and no ideas, and might be imitated to advantage by those who would willingly say something and yet nothiog. Polite Conversation, as detailed by Swift, has had its day; so that if the genteel have no new novel or scandal to discourse of, they will rather say nothing than not appear knowing or literary. The jokes about “ my Lord Mayor's fool," and “none the better for seeing you,” and “ Prythee, Tom, how is it you can't see the wood for trees, have been superseded by the Periodical Publica, tions. Now the wittock we speak of (to use a Scotch diminutive) iş akin to pyoping, inşsmuch as it plays upon words; so that at any rate some verbal knowledge is requisite for those who handle it; and herein the advantage proposed to the dining circles is evident. It is practised with great applause by a friend of ours, and may be called the Art of 'Translating a Language into Itself. Thus, to breaķ signifying also to fracture, and fast being, in one sense, the same as rapid, the wag in question calls Breakfasting, bracturing one's Rapid. Cold Mutton ho translates into Frigid Sheep Foreign Pickle is Peregrine Pickle. Some Bacon is a Piece of the Viscount St. Albans ; -or in removing bacon for some other dish, he recommends you to put it

Nigh where the goodly Verulam stood of yore. Greens are Verdants; and as Verd means Green, and Green means Inexperienced, and Ants has a sound like Aunts, he calls them, by a diffuser version, Inexperienced Sisters of one's Father. Pulling the Bell is Romping with the Beauty; and Bringing up the Urn, Educating the Şarcophagas. , There is eminent authority for this kind of translation into other languages;- as the Latin conversibn'attributed to Dr. Johnson of a Tea-chest into the second person singular of the verb Doceo, to teach; and "Hogarth's epistolary drawing, inviting a

n three Greek letters, to Eta Beta Pi. But our friend contrives to be learned, while adhering to his own language, and pours forth a profusion of synonimous trifling, which we, of all persons, shall certainly not quarrel with, seeing that he does it out of the des light of escaping from hiş studies, and feeling his kindred or 'hi; friends

1

man.

about him. We were much pleased the other day, for his sake, in hearing of an eminent living philosopher of our acquaintance, who in the midst of his white locks still retains his love of verbal joking, and delights to help his young companions to a jest as well as some soup. He lets, in particular, his political spleen take breath by it. One dish, which he is fondest of cutting up, he calls after such and such a states

He shakes his head at another, and says there is too much High Church in it. To your veal he recommends a squeeze of the Judge.

Au old schoolfellow of ours, with whom we used to breakfast in high glee and a study four feet square, possesses, almost beyond any man we ever met with, this talent of converting one idea into another, and being equally merry in his mirth and his gravity. We remember the irresistible effect, which his reception of a beating from the master used to have upon us all. His gesticulations of agony were so abrupt, varied, and extravagant, that the master and the boys used to be equally perplexed,—the latter how to keep themselves from laughing out loud, and the former whether to take it as something extremely wretched or contemptuous. Either expression was equally unusual in a school so well attempered as ours. He was found out at last, and compelled to take care of his jokes. His gravity, however, was under suspicion to the last. When the master was about to retire from his ofice, he received, for an exercise, a set of Latin verses from him, in which there was a pathetic adieu, apostrophizing him under the title of “Reverende Magister." The old gentleman, not much accustomed to the melting mood at any time, or to the dry one often, turned round to him with a face of ludicrous gratitude, and said "Thank'ye, P.”. lle used to perplex him also, as well as us all, by taking advantage of a permission we had of being facetious in verse-making, and giving up. the most extravagant versions of English nursery-songs, such as Jack and Gill, and When I was a bachelor. Like all young wits

ts who are scholars, he liked to give a ludicrous dignity to common-places by the gravity of a learned language. He kept his tea aud sugar memorandums in Latin ; used to call out for the boy who a door, vader the title of Janitor Aulæ ; and gave us a little pocket edition of Buchanan, which we have now by us, as a pledge and MONUMENT of his friendship,-- piguus et monumentum."

monumentum.” Ile said of a fellow-wag, who was accustomed to exaggerate,

66

When so and so relates a story, you must multiply by hundreds, divide by thousands, and make ala lowance in the quotient for oriental grandeur.' The same spirit accompanied him to college, where it is understood he might have got what classical honours be pleased, had not the gravity of his answers at examination been questionable. He then went into orders, and became remarkable for the dignity of his voice and manner in the pulpit, while he retained all the jocose part of his character among his friends.

What words” (literally) “have we not heard at the Mermaid ?"No man ever, got up a little festive meeting with a more orthodox

grace. If port was not liked by any one, he found a bottle of claret by his plate; and we shall always retain a grateful recollection of his olives. It is a fault sometimes found with wits, and justly, that their

o.kept

says P.

[ocr errors]

on

animals spirits carry them away from a proper attentiveness to others. This never was his case. He had a handsome faculty,

, not only of being pleasant himself, but of extracting all that could be got out of others. To strangers he would sometimes be more disconcerting, like Swift ; to whose face; by the way, he bore some resemblance, if the Dean's pietare is like in Sharpe's edition of the Spectator. He turned round once apon a man in Holborn, and asked him with an air of zealous appeal, whether he had ever injured his wife'and family; upon which the astonished passenger declaring he had not; " Then, Sir," said he, “ I will thank you, another time, not to tread my shoe down at heel." There was a huge fellow one' evening making a great noise in a coffeehouse, about a prize ox he had seep. 66 I have heard of the carcase,

The carcase;" cries the other, with a sort of triumph of kuowledge :- -- its alive, Sir; its alive, and live bodies are not called carcases."

."!!" Good," says the other, looking at him, “bat I presume they may deserve the Dame." He said this with so indifferent and yet so particular an air, that neither the man could be offended, nor the company refrain from laughing. At another time, being in the cider-collar in Maiden-lane, and one of our party having said something in Latin, without the least intention of being heard, a military gentleman, somewhat irritable with having more wine than wit, said out loud, that he did not conceive a public room a fit place to talk Latio in. We forget what our school-fellow said to this ; but the consequence of bis enlisting the company

our side with his jokes, that the captain proposed to give him his address. “Sir," says P. with great gravity, you need not trouble yourself with a specimen: I never had any doubt of your being a man of address."* "Sir," returned the captain more vefeniently, his voice a little titubating with wine" You will not--then-take my address ?“ Ob, excuse me, Sir," replied the other, “I do' take it infinitely ; and all the rest of us take it." By this time, the amusement of the audience had much increased. 66 Sir !? repeated the old ficer, half'rising from his seat, and tumbling a little towards him with pipe in hand and angry wonder in his eye, " I say, Sir,- do you mean to say, Siro--you know what I mean—I mean to say, Sir, I'll give you my address; that's what I mean." “ But, Sir," retorted our inflexible companion, " you must allow me to say that your liberality is really superfluous; since to confess the truth, I really don't at all approve of your address.”

. At this, the tottering man, (who you might see by his fáce was good humoured enough, and worth being parried in this vay by a gentleman) staggered up to his antagonist, and held ont his hand to him, déclaring he was one of the pleasantest fellows he ever met with in the whole course of his life, and nothing should induce him to quarrel with him.

We do not profess” any practical'science in meals. Those who do will despise us at once, when they hear that we prefer breakfast and tea to dinner, and that by breakfast we mean a very common one. But, we know what belongs to a meal. There was a 'lay-schoolfellow

who was always proposing to treat some of us at a tavern;

of ours,

this vagary., yu

though he never did. He contented himself with casting up what he called “the damages." He used to cry out on a sudden, “ It doesn't signify talking, but we will have that dinner I spoke of, this afternoon. Come now; I'm serious. Let us see: what will be the damages ?»? Ile would then take pen, ink, and paper, and fall to making out a grave list of fish, flesh, and tart; till the exceeding wish to realize it, almost made dupes of our cloistered imaginations for the seventh time.

The worst of it was, that he himself used to go home, and feast on whas he had been speaking of; while we were rung up in the hall, and dined like the monks of La Trappe. We shall reverse the spirit of

Our breakfast will be upon paper, but our readers shalt have more than we are in the habit of seeing on our table. Students are at once tempted to exceed, and obliged to be temperate. The exa haustion of their faculties excites them to indulge a morbid appetite; while the delicacy of stomach produced by that exhaustion, makes them cautious how they render it greater next time.

What shall we say then? For “ it does not signify talking.” We will have the breakfast he spoke of. And here it is ready laid. Imprimis, tea and coffee; secondly, dry toast; thirdly, butter; fourthly, eggs; fifthly, ham; sixthly, something potted ; serenthly, bread, salt, mustard, knives and forks, &c. One of the first things thut belong to ą breakfast is a good fire. There is a delightful mixture of the lively and the snug in coming down into one's breakfast-room of a cold morning, and seeing every thing prepared for us, a blazing grate, a clean table-cloth and tea-things, the newly-washed faces and combed heads of a set of good-humoured urchins, and the sole empty chair at its accustomed corner, ready for occupation. When we lived alone, we could not help reading at meals: and it is certainly a delicious thing to resume an entertaining book at a particularly interesting passage, with a hot cup of tea at one's elbow, and a piece of buttered toast in one's hand. The first look at the page, accompanied by a coexistent bite of the toast, comes under the head of intensities. But when in company, unless it is of a very private and pardoning description, it is of course not to be done, unless all read; and a general reading in company is a sort of understood talking. The most allowable perusal is that of a newspaper. It involves a common interest, and is in itself a very sufficing and matutine thing: Bat we have enlarged on the pleasure of a breakfast-paper elsewhere in an article entitled a Day by the Fire; which, by the way, will prevent us from indulging ourselves in other particulars appertaining to the present subject. We have it not by us, nor are we aware that we have mentioned what we are going to notice before: but we wish to observe, that ladies, always delightful, and not the least so in their undress, are apt to deprive themselves of some of their best morning beams by appearing with their hair in papers. We give notice, that essayists, and of course all people of taste, prefer a cap, if there must be any thing ; but hair, a million times over. To see grapes in paper-bags is bad enough ; but the rich locks of a lady in papers, the roots of the hair twisted up like a drummer's, and the forehead staring bald instead of being gracefully tendrilled and shadowed !-it is a capital of fence,-a defiance to the love and admiration of the other sex,-a provocative to a paper war: and we here accordingly declare the said war on paper, not having any ladies at hand to carry it at once into their head-quarters. We must allow at the same time, that they are very shy of being seen in this condition, knowing well enough, how much of their strength, like Sampson's, lies in that gifted ornament. We have known a wbole parlour of them fluttered off, like a dove-cote, at the sight of a friend coming up the garden.

Bot to return to our table. Ham is a good thing; but it is apt to fever our sedentary notions. We prefer cracking the round end of an egg with the back of a silver-spoon,-not a horn-spoon, which is flimsy and inefficient. A judicious jerk of the former upon a good, fair, domelike shell issuing out of the egg-cup, maketh à pretty result to the sensations. We cannot, in conscience, recommend hot buttered toast; but it is a pleasing guilt. The best adventure to which it can give rise, is when you have modestly taken one of the outside pieces, and find your gentility rewarded by carrying off the whole of the crumb-part of the inner-one, the crust of which has been detached. Chocolate has a nutty taste, but is heavy. Coffee is heating, but has a fine serious flavour in it, if well done. You seem to taste the colour of it. We used to prefer it at all times; but tea has become preferable to the meditative state of our digestion. How the Chinese came to invent it, as Sancho would say, we do not know; but it is the most ingenious, humane, and poetical of their discoveries. It is their epic poem.

[We are compelled abruptly to finish “ fracturing our rapid” for want of room.]

Printed and published by Joseph Applevard, No. 19, Catherine-street, Strand.

Price 20.--And sold also by A. GLIDDON, Importer of Snuffs, No.31, Tavistocke street, Covent-garden. Orders received at the above places, and by all Books sellers and Newsmer.

« ElőzőTovább »