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vens! the ill of the world is not repletion, it is emptiness; and all the other fat men are running about in their own pluffy and breathless manner, asking, What about malt? How is it as to chocolate? Are anchovies bad for me? Must I cut off my stilton? To these I say, Let me be your doctor. Retrench your all-absorbing selfinterest. Turn your thoughts from your duodenum to the famishing creatures who peer down through the railings of your areas at the blazing fire in your kitchen-grate. Give up this filthy selfishness that takes for its worship all that is least worthy in humanity. Walk, ride, bathe, swim, fast if you must, but take your thoughts off this detestable theme; and try to remember that the subject you want to popularise is in its details one of the coarsest that can be made matter of conversation.
To take the matter in its less serious light, how is society to be carried on if Bantingism is to prevail? Are we to weed our acquaintance of all the fat people, and never know any one above ten stone eight? or are we to divide our dinners into fat days and thin days, having all the grampuses one day, all the sword-fish on another? This latter measure will be forced upon us, for how otherwise shall we feed our Bantings? To invite them to an ordinary repast of fish, flesh, and fowl, would be as rank an awkwardness as to ask Cardinal Wiseman to a beef-steak on a Friday. You cannot, of course, place before your guest what he would deem little short of a poison; and how are you to eliminate all the carbon out of your sirloin, the ozone out of your vegetables, gelatinous matter out of your veal, and saccharine ingredients out of your pudding? If one couldn't afford to have Faraday in the kitchen, there will be no doing this. Analytical chemistry is not a very speedy performance, besides; and if this system be pursued, it will take at least two days to prepare a very humble meal; and a
party of twelve Bantings would take fully a week's hard work, both chemical and culinary. Now, judging from the man's book, I suspect that he and eleven more like him would be dear at the price.
From Falstaff downwards I have ever liked fat men; they are all to nothing the pleasantest fellows that walk the earth. They are genial by force of temperament; and there is neither ungenerous sarcasm in their drollery nor malice in their wit. They look, besides—and let me tell you it is no small thing— they look as if they enjoyed life; while "that lean and hungry Cassius" is a perpetual protest against pleasantry. His drolleries are all dyspeptic, and his very laugh is an estopper on fun. Why, in the name of all good-fellowship, diminish the number of these? Is the world too enjoyable ?—is society really so intensely amusing that it is necessary, even at the cost of our very flesh, to curb our wit and restrain our brilliancy? I have no complaint of this kind to make of the neighbourhood about me. I am free to say there is no plethora of agreeability that wants to be depleted. Mr Banting's experiences are possibly different; but if so, I'd rather he'd tell me where he lives than what he eats with whom he associates, and not what he avoids in diet.
The glorious exuberance of the fat man is not merely physical; it extends to the operations of his brain and the tricks of his fancy. It is out of his rich abundance that he gives you his drollery. Tell me an anecdote or a good mot, a racy reply or a witty rejoinder, and I'll stake my reputation or half-a-crown -whichever you think best ofon it, that I'll tell you whether it was a fat or a thin man was the author. There is a mental breadth in the fat man, a width in his toleration, a glorious sense of easy absorption about him, that make him infinitely more companionable than a thin man.
When a friend of mine-who
And so it is, the imperceptible waste of fat men is equal to a thin one; and once again I say, it is of these they would rob us. Why, they are the very marrow of humanity.
Possibly, however, I have been all this time unjust and unfair to Mr Banting, and what I deemed a personal narrative was only a parable. Has Mr B., while speaking of himself, been really describing the state of England? Is this plethora this over-abundance, this bursting prosperity, this unwieldy size, this unmanageable mass-the Nation? Are all his counsels addressed to a people who have given themselves up to repletion, and think of nothing but growing fatter? Is the carbon of which he warns us our coal-fields, whose exhaustion he forebodes? When he speaks of saccharine matter, is it a hit at Gladstone about sugar? In this prohibition of beer does he want a repeal of the malt-tax, like the virtuous old ladies who gave up sugar in their tea to put down the slave-trade?
Is the "going down-stairs backwards" an emblem of that painful step-by-step progression in which, while we go lower and lower, we have not even the small courage required to look at what we are coming to?
In the remark that our "size unfits us for places of amusement," and that we take up more space than our neighbours like to accord us, Mr Banting is only repeating what French newspapers are daily telling us.
Last of all, as to the "Turkish Bath," what he says is perfectly
true. We did try it (at Sebastopol), and it reduced us uncommonly; and though we have contrived to get up our flesh since, we are forced to own that we are not as strong as we used to be!
Now, I repeat this may be the true reading of the Banting epistle, and I am the more ready to believe it to be such that there are touches of true kindliness and honest philanthropy in the pamphlet, which would ill accord with a theme of mere selfishness.
I am a very poor exponent of symbolic influences; but it would give me sincere pleasure to go over Banting with Dr Cumming, whose aid in tracing the clues to the imagery would be invaluable. "Banting explained, with reference to the
GREAT CORPULENCE COMING,' would be a taking title, and I throw it out as hint to "the trade."
One word more. If there really be people with so much disposable time on their hands, and so much redundant fat on their ribs, as Mr Banting, and who eagerly desire to reduce, let me recommend to them a far simpler and easier process than the complicated chemistry of this gentleman's book. There is a little volume-I have it now before me -called 'A Summary Account of Prizes for Common Things,' offered and awarded by Miss B. Coutts at the Whitelands Training Institution. In this valuable treatise, which may be called 'The AntiBanting,' the problem is, not to subdue the increase of flesh, but how to subsist on the smallest modicum of food? how soup is to be made with the minimum of meat? how vitality can be maintained with the very least possible assistance from external aid?
Amongst the variety of receipts in this volume there is one we recommend to Banting. It is a soup composed of what the writer calls the cheapest part of a cow-the fore vein, which lies between the neck and the shoulder, and is of an irregular shape. "The soup made from this, with barley, carrots, and an onion,
is excellent." Now I say here you have no complications about osmazone or the phosphates; not a word is there of adipose matter, nitrogen, or that fell ingredient, sugar. Let the Bantings sit down to this every day at one o'clock as their principal meal, and I warrant them they'll be as slim in three months as the prize labourer who invented the compound. There is another receipt for a broth to be made of what the writer calls a sheep's pluck," and pluck is exactly the quality the eater of it would require. And there is also, at page 203, "a cheap and nourishing dish without meat," which it would be a downright pleasure to set before Banting every day for a month, and have his report on its nutritive qualities. Not to seem cruel, however, I should allow him "beef-stickingsi (see page 35) on Sundays.
Nor can I omit an invaluable suggestion at page 46, not alone admirable in its relation to diet, but with an ethical inference that deserves commemoration: “Whey, the liquid left after making cheese, is a nutritious drink for children. When in large quantities, it will materially assist in fattening-the Pigs!"
Now, as I have taken some pains to show where these culinary treasures are to be found, I trust Banting and his whole house will try them. As to the contributors to the volume itself, I observe that in most household expenditures there is a weekly penny dedicated to periodicals. Might I ask a preference, and humbly hint, in return for my own small services here exerted, that they would take in Corny O'Dowd, whose second volume will shortly appear in print?
I have had it on my heart for many a day to protest against a race of politicians who have much annoyed and not a little troubled me -a class of men, who in the very absence of all convictions, assume a sort of especial claim to fairness, and who would like to pass off their thorough cold-bloodedness for the true and proper temperature of the political body. I mean those Hybrid Conservatives who profess to believe in their own party, but always vote with Lord Palmerston men who would like to pass the morning in the Reform Club, and dine every day at the Carlton. A few years back they were three or four, now they are a distinct section. If England were not, par excellence, the land of "Sham," such a class would never have presumed to stand forward and declare their opinions. In a country so full of crotchets we are naturally tolerant of our neighbours' eccentricities; and if a man does not do actual mischief with his hobby, we are always disposed to let him ride on
as long as he likes; but if we find that the oddity we had endured, perhaps out of a compassionate leniency and kindliness towards an individual, is to become an endemic tendency through a neighbourhood, we naturally grow uneasy. We can endure one infatuated performer on the bassoon, but if the whole street or the crescent take to it, the affair is serious. This is exactly what has happened. A few very crafty men discovered some time ago that what between the growing indifference to "party" outside the House, and the few questions which separated the two sides within it, it might be possible, by the exercise of caution and adroitness, to give a certain support to each in turn, by which, without formally breaking with their friends, they might greatly conciliate their adversaries, and thus, while very materially serving their personal interests, acquire that grand character for fairness, by which, once attained, every platitude a man utters becomes wisdom, and
the dreariest trash he delivers to his constituents is listened to as the quintessence of good sense and honesty.
"I declare to you frankly”—Oh, how I dread that frankly!" I declare to you frankly, gentlemen, that my sentiments are still as they have ever been a steady resolve to maintain our time-honoured institutions, so as to hand down to our children unimpaired the glorious heritage we have received from our ancestors. Though no man will ever be more ready than myself to uphold, and if need be to defend, the great constitution of these realms in all the integrity of its strength, and all the equipoise of its power, yet I do think"-great emphasis on the do"that, balanced as parties now are, situated as England is with respect to foreign nations, charged as we are with the mighty responsibilities that attach to the rule of one-eighth of the inhabitants of the globe,-I say, gentlemen, I do think we cannot do better than follow the timehonoured statesman, who, though seated on an adverse bench, is the steadfast upholder and defender of the honour of England. I know Lord Palmerston, gentlemen-I know him well; and with whatever credit my character may lend me, I declare to you he is the steadfast and uncompromising upholder of," &c. &c. &c.
Now, I don't object to these extramural bleatings at all. There are very few airs on the political fiddle, and if we are fond of the music, we must put up with the "Da Capos." I only want that the tune should be performed by the right men. Let not Archbishop M'Hale hum, "Croppies lie down," and tell me it is a Canticle.
Vote with Lord Palmerston, and welcome; only don't acquire the right to do so by a juggle and trick: don't palm yourself off on a Conservative constituency as a man of their party, to desert that party when the day of trial has arrived; and, above all, do not build upon a
settled plan of personal advantage and advancement a character with the world for impartiality and scrupulous honour. These men desire to be Conservatives on a sort of limited liability. They remind me of the Irishman who presented himself before his priest to get married; but, instead of the five shillings, the appropriate fee, could only produce half-a-crown. After vainly employing all his eloquence to melt the priest's heart, he suddenly stopped short and said,"Well, see then, y'r rivirence, the divil a sixpence more I have, so marry me as far as that goes!" This is exactly the way they want to be Conservatives—“a cheap bargain and a road out of it," is the sum and substance of what they aim at. May I ask what sort of constituencies like to be thus represented? There is not one word of exaggeration in what I have said. I appeal to the speeches the newspapers have been so drearily crammed with for the last three months to corroborate
Now, Lord Palmerston is not a great artiste-but a réchauffe of him is too much for any human stomach, and yet they give us nothing else. Who is not sick of the praises we bestow on ourselves for not going to war-when war was the very last thing in our thoughts? Who is not weary of hearing how beautifully we kept out of the American conflict-the "fratricidal slaughter," as they call it? I wish any one would tell me which is Cain, and which Abel. I only know that their mother might be ashamed of them both.
Who, I beg to ask, is taughtwho is instructed whose knowledge is enlarged, by these frothy outpourings? They are very lamentable spectacles, these 'visits to our constituents." I trust fervently that the men who make these speeches approach the hu
miliation in a spirit of proper selfmortification. I ardently hope that they feel it to be a day of sackcloth and ashes; and indeed, if angels could be supposed to weep for members of Parliament, they might shed some tears for such misery.
Why, in this age of universal literature, has nobody thought of skeleton speeches for sucking politicians? The parsons have got skeleton sermons, wherein they supply the "padding" themselves, and the blandest disciple of highand-dryism, or the sternest denouncer of mundane enjoyments, can fit himself in a moment. I am told, too, that since Bishop Colenso's defection, discourses can be had in which Joshua is treated pretty much like the author of Junius,' so that, in reality, no shade or tint of opinion need have to look far for an exponent.
I wish some enterprising publisher would engage me in the task; and I bind myself to supply "the trade" on the most reasonable terms and the shortest notice.
Mr Moses fits his clients in Yorkshire or the Land's End by a few general measurements-the width of the shoulders, the girth at the waistband, the length from the hips, &c. Now I promise, on equally brief information, to send off by the night-mail a true-blue address, a Whig "apostasy," or a Radical 66 rouser," done in a true, finished, and workmanlike manner. I remember a friend of mine, to whom Nature had not been gracious in muscular development, having once to perform a part in a private play where tight-fitting pantaloons were essential. He addressed himself to one of the minor theatres for counsel, and the costumer, to whom his case was referred, immediately called out, "Ah, sir, I see it at once; you want Mr Matthews's legs. Fetch them down, James."
pair that support John Bright— I'm his man. "P.S.-Any gentleman taught 'Bernal Osborne' in two lessons. Persons whose education has been neglected made perfect 'Roebucks' in one. A line, addressed Cornelius O'Dowd, to the care of his Publisher, will be immediately attended to. None treated with except principals; the strictest secrecy observed." I promise you, constituencies will benefit by the change. As a respectable tradesman, who wants to extend his custom, I'll not sell them any castoff wares, nor vamp up any stale Joe Millers. Never a word shall they hear from me about that strange beast, the Civis Romanus, of which the Zoological Garden bas not even a specimen. I'll neither bully the French, nor flatter them. I only bargain for one plagiarism. If it be a Whig oration, I must wind up with a few words for "the glorious harvest." This, you will admit, is fair. The Whigs have ripened the wheat ever since the Reform Bill, and we ought to be grateful to them. Newspaper adulation, in a tone that must be ineffably offensive to the ears it was intended to charm, has invented the phrase the Queen's Weather." Let me suggest the propriety of exchanging the term "Harvest Moon" for the "Pam. Quarter;" so that, while we replenish our granaries, we should remember the Government.
The Conservatives have many faults-they have done much they ought not to have done, and omitted some things they ought to have done; but in nothing have they erred so egregiously as in tolerating within their ranks these men of rotten allegiance. Nor was it mere toleration, but they have actually gone out of the way to conciliate them. This attempt to widen the base of a party by greater liberality, as it is called, is often very fatal. You may beat your guinea too thin. Now, if any country gentleman And who, I ask, were these people wants the Palmerston legs, or, more for whom you made these sacrifices ambitious still, the Gladstone-or-not only of opinion, but of conshould he ambition the sturdier science? Was there one really able