Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

dications of vanity. I cannot say that it never causes his pride to swell, but it never breaks out. I am even fearful that it may swell and rankle to an alarming degree inwardly. For pride is near of kin to melancholy;---a hurtful obstruction from the ordinary outlets of vanity being shut. It is this stoppage which engenders proud humours. Therefore a tailor may be proud. I think he is never vain. The display of his gaudy patterns in that book of his which emulates the rainbow, never raises any inflations of that emotion in him, corresponding to what the wig-maker (for instance) evinces, when he expatiates on a curl or a bit of hair. He spreads them forth with a sullen incapacity for pleasure, a real or affected indifference to grandeur. Cloth of gold neither seems to elate, nor cloth of frize to depress him-according to the beautiful motto which formed the modest imprese of the shield worn by Charles Brandon at his marriage with the king's sister. Nay, I doubt whether he would discover any vain-glorious complacence in his colours, though "Iris" herself “dipt the woof."

In further corroboration of this argumentwho ever saw the wedding of a tailor announced in the newspapers, or the birth of his eldest son?

1

When was a tailor known to give a dance, or to be himself a good dancer, or to perform exquisitely on the tight rope, or to shine in any such light and airy pastimes? to sing, or play on the violin ?

Do they much care for public rejoicings, lightings up, ringing of bells, firing of cannons, &c.?

Valiant I know they can be ; but I appeal to those who were witnesses to the exploits of Eliot's famous troop, whether in their fiercest charges they betrayed any thing of that thoughtless oblivion of death with which a Frenchman jigs into battle, or whether they did not shew more of the melancholy valour of the Spaniard, upon whom they charged; that deliberate courage which contemplation and sedentary habits breathe ?

Are they often great newsmongers ? --I have known some few among them arrive at the dignity of speculative politicians; but that light and cheerful every-day interest in the affairs and goings-on of the world, which makes the barber*

* Having incidentally mentioned the barber, in a comparison of professional temperaments, I hope no other trade will take offence, or look upon it as an incivility done to them, if I say, that in courtesy, humanity, and,

such delightful company, I think is rarely observable in them.

This characteristic pensiveness in them being so notorious, I wonder none of those writers, who have expressly treated of melancholy, should have mentioned it. Burton, whose book is an excellent abstract of all the authors in that kind who preceded him, and who treats of every species of this malady, from the hypochondriacal or windy to the heroical or love melancholy, has strangely omitted it. Shakspeare himself has overlooked it. I have neither the scholar's melancholy (saith Jaques) which is emulation; nor the courtier's, which is proud ; nor

all the conversational and social graces which “ gladden life," I esteem no profession comparable to bis. Indeed so great is the good-will which I bear to this useful and agreeable body of men, that, residing in one of the Inns of Court (where the best specimens of them are to be found, except perhaps at the universities) there are seven of them to whom I am personally known, and who never pass me without the compliment of the hat on either side. My truly polite and urbane friend, Mr. A-m, of Flowerde-luce-court, in Fleet-street, will forgive my mention of him in particular. I can truly say, that I never spent a quarter of an hour under his hands without deriving some profit from the agreeable discussions, which are always going on there.

the soldier's, which is politick ; nor the lover's, which is all these :"-and then, when you might expect him to have brought in, nor the tailor's, which is so and so"-he comes to an end of his enumeration, and falls to a defining of his own melancholy

Milton likewise has omitted it, where he had so fair an opportunity of bringing it in, in his Penseroso.

* But the partial omissions of historians proving nothing against the existence of any well-attested fact, I shall proceed and endeavour to ascertain the causes why this pensive turn should be so predominant in people of this profession above all others.

And first, may it not be, that the custom of wearing apparel being derived to us from the fall, and one of the most mortifying products of that unhappy event, a certain seriousness (to say no more of it) may in the order of things have been intended to be impressed upon the minds of that race of men to whom in all ages the care of contriving the human apparel has been entrusted, -to keep up the memory of the first institution of clothes, and serve as a standing remonstrance against those vanities, which the

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

absurd conversion of a memorial of our shame into an ornament of our persons was destined to produce ? Correspondent in some sort to this, it may be remarked, that the tailor sitting over a cave or hollow place, in the cabbalistic language of his order, is said to have certain melancholy regions always open under his feet. But waving further enquiry into final causes, where the best of us can only wander in the dark, let us try to discover the efficient causes of this melancholy.

I think, then, that they may be reduced to two, omitting some subordinate ones, viz.

The sedentary habits of the tailor.

Something peculiar in his diet. First, his sedentary habits.-In Doctor Norris's famous narrative of the frenzy of Mr. John Dennis, the patient, being questioned as to the occasion of the swelling in his legs, replies that it

by criticism ;” to which the learned doctor seeming to demur, as to a distemper which he had never read of, Dennis (who appears not to have been mad upon all subjects) rejoins with some warmth, that it was no distemper, but a noble art! that he had sat fourteen hours a day at it: and that the other was a pretty doctor not

came

« НазадПродовжити »