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But what meats ?

"Him thought, he by the brook of Cherith stood,
And saw the ravens with their horny beaks
Food to Elijah bringing, even and morn;
Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they brought
He saw the prophet also how he fled
Into the desert, and how there he slept
Under a juniper; then how awaked
He found his supper on the coals prepared,
And by the angel was bid rise and eat,
And ate the second time after repose.
The strength whereof sufficed him forty days •
Sometimes, that with Elijah he partook,
Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse."

Nothing in Milton is finelier fancied than these temperata dreams of the divine hungerer. To which of these two vis. ionary.banquets, think you, would the introduction of what is called the grace have been most fitting and pertinent ?

Theoretically I am no enemy to graces ; but practically I own that (before meat especially) they seem to involve someching awkward and unseasonable. Our appetites, of one or another kind, are excellent spurs to our reason, which might otherwise but feebly set about the great ends of preserving and continuing the species. They are fit blessings to be contemplated at a distance with a becoming gratitude ; but the moment of appetite (the judicious reader will apprehend me) is, perhaps, the least fit season for that exercise. The Quakers, who go about their business, of every description, with more calmness than we, have more title to the use of these benedictory prefaces. I have always admired their silent grace, and the more because I have observed their applications to the meat and drink following to be less passionate and sensual than ours. They are neither gluttons nor winebibbers as a people. They eat, as a horse bolts his chopped hay, with indifference, calmness, and cleanly circumstances. They neither grease nor slop themselves. When I see a citizen in his bib and tucker, I cannot imagine it a surplice.

I am no Quaker at my food. I confess I am not indifferent to the kinds of it. Those unctuous morsels of deer's flesh were not made to be received with dispassionate services. I hate a man who swallows it, affecting not to know what he is eating. I suspect his taste in higher matters. I shrink instinctively from one who professes to like minced veal. There is a physiognomical character in the tastes for food. C- holds that a man cannot have a pure mind who refuses apple dumplings I am not certain but he is right. With the decay of my first innocence, I confess a less and less relish laily for those innocuous cates The whole vegetable tribe

have lost their gust with me. Only I stick to asparagus, which still seems to inspire gentle thoughts. I am impatient and querulous under culinary disappointments; as, to come home at the dinner hour, for instance, expecting some savoury mess, and to find one quite tasteless and sapidless. Butter ill melted—that commonest of kitchen failures-puts me beside my tenour. The author of the Rambler used to make inarticulate animal noises over a favourite food. Was this the music quite proper to be preceded by the grace ? or would the pious man have done better to postpone his devotions to a season when the blessing might be contemplated with less perturbation? I quarrel with no man's tastes, nor would set my thin face against those excellent things, in their way, jollity and feasting. But as these exercises, however laudable, have little in them of grace or gracefulness, a man should be sure, before he ventures so to grace them, that while he is pretending his devotions otherwhere, he is not secretly kissing his hand to some great fish-bis Dagon-with a special consecration of no ark but the fat tureen before him. Graces are the sweet preluding strains to the banquets of angels and children ; to the roots and severer repasts of the Chartreuse; to the slender, but not slenderly acknowledged, refection of the poor and humble man : but at the heaped-up boards of the pampered and the luxurious, they become of dissonant mood, less timid and tuned to the occasion, methinks, than the noise of those better befitting organs would be, which children hear tales of, at Hog's Norton. We sit too long at our meals, or are too curious in the study of them, or too disordered in our application to them, or engross too great a portion of those good things (which should be common) to our share, to be able with any grace to say grace.

To be thankful for what we grasp exceeding our proportion is to add hypocrisy to injustice. A lurking sense of this truth is what makes the performance of this duty so cold and spiritless a service at most tables. In houses where the grace is as indispensable as the napkin, who has not seen that neversettled question arise, as to who shall say it; while the good man of the house and the visiter clergyman, or some other guest be like of next authority from years or gravity, shall be bandying about the office between them as a matter of compliment, each of them not unwilling to shift the awkward burden of an equivocal duty from his own shoulders.

I once drank tea in company with two Methodist divines of different persuasions, whom it was my fortune to introduce to each other for the first time that evening. Before the first cup was handed round, one of these reverend gentlemen put

it to the other, with all due solemnity, whether he chose to suy anything. It seems it is the custom with some sectaries to put up a short prayer before this meal also. His reverend brother did not at first quite apprehend him; but upon an explanation, with little less importance he made answer, that it was not a custom known in his church: in which courteous evasion the other acquiescing for good manners' sake, or in compliance with a weak brother, the supplementary or tea grace was waived altogether. With what, spirit might not Lucian have painted two priests, of his religion, playing into each other's hands the compliment of performing or omitting & sacrifice—the hungry god meantime, doubtful of his incense, with expectant nostrils hovering over the two flamens, and (as between two stools) going away in the end without

his supper.

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A short form upon these occasions is felt to want reverence; a long one, I am afraid, cannot escape the charge of impertinence. I do not quite approve of the epigrammatic conciseness with which that equivocal wag, (but my pleasant schoolfellow,) C. V. L., when importuned for a grace, used to inquire, first slyly leering down the table, “ Is there no clergyman here?"-significantly adding, “thank G-d.” Nor do I think our old form at school quite pertinent, where we were used to preface our bald, bread and cheese

suppers

with preamble, connecting with that humble blessing a recognition of benefits the most awful and overwhelming to the imagination which religion has to offer. Non tunc illis erat locus. I remember we were put to it to reconcile the phrase “good creatures," upon which the blessing rested, with the fare set before us, wilfully understanding that expression in a low and animal sense-till some one recalled a legend, which told how in the golden days of Christ's, the young hospitallers were wont to have smoking joints of roast meat upon their nightly boards, till some pious benefactor, commiserating the decencies, rather than the palates, of the children, commuted our flesh for garments, and gave us--horresco referens-trousers instead of mutton.

10*

MY FIRST PLAY.

At the north end of Cross Court there yet stands a portas, of some architectural pretensions, though reduced to humble use-serving at present for an entrance to a printing office. This old doorway, if you are young, reader, you may not know was the identical pit entrance to Old Drury-Garrick's Drury-all of it that is feft.

I never pass

it without shaking some forty years from off my shoulders, recurring to the evening when I passed through it to see my first play. The afternoon had been wet, and the condition of our going (the elder folks and myself) was, that the rain should cease. With what a beating heart did I watch from the window the puddles, from the stillness of which I was taught to prognosticate the desired cessation ! I seem to remember the last spirt, and the glee with which I ran to announce it.

We went with orders, which my godfather F. had sent us. He kept the oil shop (now Davies') at the corner of Featherstone Building, in Holborn. F. was a tall grave person, lofty in speech, and had pretensions above his rank. He associ. ated in those days with John Palmer, the comedian, whose gait and bearing he seemed to copy; if John (which is quite as likely) did not rather borrow somewhat of his manner from my godfather. He was also known to, and visited by Sheridan. It was to his house in Holborn that young Brinsley brought his first wife on her elopement with him from a boarding school at Bath—the beautiful Maria Linley. My parents were present (over a quadrille table) when he arrived in the evening with his harmonious charge. From either of these connections, it may be inferred, that my godfather could command an order for the then Drury Lane Theatre at pleasure and, indeed, a pretty liberal issue of those cheap billets, in Brinsley's easy autograph, I have heard him say was the sole remuneration which he had received for many years' nightly illumination of the orchestra, and various avenues of that theatre—and he was content it should be so. The honour of Sheridan's familiarity-or supposed familiarity-was better to my godfather than money.

F. was the most gentlemanly of oilmen; grandiloquent yet courteous. His delivery of the commonest matters of fact was Ciceronian. He had two Latin words almost constantly in his mouth, (how odd sounds Latin from an oilman's lips :')

which my better knowledge since has enabled me to correct. In strict pronunciation, they should have been sounded vice versâ ; but in those young years they impressed me with more awe than they would now do, read aright from Seneca or Varro—in his own peculiar pronunciation, monosyllabically elaborated, or Anglicized, into something like verse verse. By an imposing manner, and the help of these distorted syllables he climbed (but that was little) to the highest parochial honours which St. Andrew's has to bestow.

He is dead-and thus much I thought due to his memory, both for my first orders, (little wondrous talismans !--slight keys, and insignificant to outward sight, but opening to me more than Arabian paradises !) and, moreover, that by his testamentary beneficence I came into possession of the only landed property which I could ever call my own-situate near the roadway village of pleasant Puckeridge, in Hertfordshire When I journeyed down to take possession, and planted foot on my own ground, the stately habits of the donor descended nipon me, and I strode (shall I confess the vanity ?) with larger paces over my allotment of three quarters of an acre, with its commodious mansion in the midst, with the feeling of an English freeholder, that all between sky and centre was my own. The estate has passed into more prudent hands, and nothing but an agrarian can restore it.

In those days were pit orders—beshrew the uncomfortable manager who abolished them!—with one of these we went. I remember the waiting at the door--not that which is leftbut between that and an inner door in shelter-oh, when shall I be such an expectant again with the cry of nonpareils, an indispensable playhouse accompaniment in those days. As near as I can recollect, the fashionable pronunciation of the theatrical fruiteresses then was, “ Chase some oranges, chase some numparels, chase a bill of the play ;"—chase pro choose. But when we got in, and I beheld the green curtain that veiled a heaven to my imagination, which was soon ts be disclosed—the breathless anticipations I endured! I had seen something like it in the plate prefixed to Troilus and Cressida, in Rowe's Shakspeare—the tent scene with Diomede--and a sight of that plate can always bring back in a measure the feeling of that evening. The boxes at that time full of well-dressed women of quality, projected over the pit and the pilasters reaching down were adorned with a glistering substance (I know not what) under glass, (as it seemed,) resembling-a homely fancy—but I judged it to be sugai candy-yet, to my raised imagination, divested of its homelier qualities, it appeared a glorified candy! The orchestra lights

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