Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

hangmen's families of two adjoining parishes But it is time to quit a subject which teems intermarried with each other, to keep the with disagreeable images breed entire. I wish something of the same Permit me to subscribe myself, Mr. Editor, kind were established in England.

Your unfortunate friend,

PENSILIS.

ON THE MELANCHOLY OF TAILORS.

“ Sedet, æternumque sedebit, Infelix Theseus."

VIRGIL That there is a professional melancholy, if Drink itself does not seem to elevate him, I may so express myself, incident to the or at least to call out of him any of the exoccupation of a tailor, is a fact which I think ternal indications of vanity. I cannot say very few will venture to dispute. I may that it never causes his pride to swell, but it safely appeal to my readers, whether they never breaks out. I am even fearful that it ever knew one of that faculty that was not may swell and rankle to an alarming degree of a temperament, to say the least, far re-inwardly. For pride is near of kin to memoved from mercurial or jovial.

lancholy !-a hurtful obstruction from the Observe the suspicious gravity of their ordinary outlets of vanity being shut. It is gait. The peacock is not more tender, from this stoppage which engenders proud a consciousness of his peculiar infirmity, humours. Therefore a tailor may be proud. than a gentleman of this profession is of I think he is never vain. The display of his being known by the same infallible testi- gaudy patterns, in that book of his which monies of his occupation. Walk, that I emulates the rainbow, never raises any may know thee.”

inflations of that emotion in him, corresDo you ever see him go whistling along ponding to what the wig-maker (for instance) the foot-path like a carman, or brush through evinces, when he expatiates on a curl or a bit a crowd like a baker, or go smiling to himself of hair. He spreads them forth with a sullen like a lover? Is he forward to thrust into incapacity for pleasure, a real or affected mobs, or to make one at the ballad-singer's indifference to grandeur. Cloth of gold audiences ? Does he not rather slink by neither seems to elate, nor cloth of frieze to assemblies and meetings of the people, as one depress him according to the beautiful that wisely declines popular observation ? motto which formed the modest imprese of

How extremely rare is a noisy tailor ! a the shield worn by Charles Brandon at his mirthful and obstreperous tailor!

marriage with the king's sister. Nay, I doubt " At my nativity," says Sir Thomas whether he would discover any vain-glorious Browne, “my ascendant was the earthly complacence in his colours, though "Iris" sign of Scorpius ; I was born in the planetary herself “dipt the woof.” hour of Saturn, and I think I have a piece In further corroboration of this argument of that leaden planet in me.” One would -who ever saw the wedding of a tailor anthink that he were anatomising a tailor ! nounced in the newspapers, or the birth of save that to the latter's occupation, methinks, his eldest son ? a woollen planet would seem more consonant, When was a tailor known to give a dance, and that he should be born when the sun or to be himself a good dancer, or to perform was in Aries.—He goes on : “I am no exquisitely on the tight-rope, or to shine in way facetious, nor disposed for the mirth any such light and airy pastimes ? to sing, and galliardise of company.” How true a or play on the violin ? type of the whole trade! Eminently eco- Do they much care for public rejoicings, nomical of his words, you shall seldom hear lightings up, ringing of bells, firing of cana jest come from one of them. He sometimes nons, &c. ? furnishes subject for a repartee, but rarely Valiant I know they can be ; but I appeal (I think) contributes one ore proprio. to those who were witnesses to the exploits

1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1

of Eliot's famous troop, whether in their well-attested fact, I shall proceed and endeafiercest charges they betrayed anything of vour to ascertain the causes why this pensive i that thoughtless oblivion of death with turn should be so predominant in people of which a Frenchman jigs into battle, or this profession above all others. whether they did not show more of the And first, may it not be, that the custom melancholy valour of the Spaniard, upon of wearing apparel being derived to us from whom they charged ; that deliberate courage the fall, and one of the most mortifying which contemplation and sedentary habits products of that unhappy event, a certain breathe ?

seriousness (to say no more of it) may in the Are they often great newsmongers ?-I order of things have been intended to be have known some few among them arrive impressed upon the minds of that race of at the dignity of speculative politicians ; but men to whom in all ages the care of conthat light and cheerful every-day interest in triving the human apparel has been enthe affairs and goings on of the world, which trusted, to keep up the memory of the first makes the barber * such delightful company, institution of clothes, and serve as a standing I think is rarely observable in them. remonstrance against those vanities which

This characteristic pensiveness in them the absurd conversion of a memorial of our being so notorious, I wonder none of those shame into an ornament of our persons was writers, who have expressly treated of me- destined to produce ? Correspondent in lancholy, should have mentioned it. Burton, some sort to this, it may be remarked, that whose book is an excellent abstract of all the the tailor sitting over a cave or hollow place, authors in that kind who preceded him, and in the caballistick language of his order is who treats of every species of this malady, said to have certain melancholy regions always from the hypochondriacal or windy to the open under his feet.-But waiving further heroical or love melancholy, has strangely inquiry into final causes, where the best of omitted it. Shakspeare himself has over- us can only wander in the dark, let us try to looked it. “I have neither the scholar's discover the efficient causes of this melanmelancholy (saith Jaques), which is emula- choly. tion ; nor the courtier's, which is proud ; nor I think, then, that they may be reduced the soldier's, which is politic ; nor the lover's, to two, omitting some subordinate ones, viz. which is all these :" and then, when you

The sedentary habits of the tailor.might expect him to have brought in,

Something peculiar in his diet. the tailor's, which is " so and so, he comes to an end of his enumeration, and falls to a First, his sedentary habits.-In Doctor defining of his own melancholy.

nor

Norris's famous narrative of the frenzy of Milton likewise has omitted it, where he Mr. John Dennis, the patient, being ques. had so fair an opportunity of bringing it in, tioned as to the occasion of the swelling in in his Penseroso.

his legs, replies that it came “by criticism ;" But the partial omissions of historians to which the learned doctor seeming to proving nothing against the existence of any demur, as to a distemper which he had never

read of, Dennis (who appears not to have i Having incidentally mentioned the barber in a com- been mad upon all subjects) rejoins, with parison of professional temperaments, I hope no other trade will take offence, or look upon it as an incivility some warmth, that it was no distemper, but ! done to them, if I say, that in courtesy, humanity, and a noble art; that he had sat fourteen hours all the conversational and social graces which “gladden a day at it; and that the other was a pretty life," I esteem no profession comparable to his. Indeed, so great is the goodwill which I bear to this useful and doctor not to know that there was a commuagreeable body of men, that, residing in one of the Inns nication between the brain and the legs ! of Court (where the best specimens of them are to be found, except perhaps at the universities), there are seven

When we consider that this sitting for of them to whom I am personally known, and who fourteen hours continuously, which the critic never pass me without the compliment of the hat on probably practised only while he was writing

--m, of Flower-de-luce-court, in Fleet-street, wili his “remarks,” is no more than what the forgive my mention of him in particular. I can truly tailor, in the ordinary pursuance of his art, say, that I never spent a quarter of an hour under his submits to daily (Sundays excepted) throughhands without deriving some profit from the agreeable discussions which are always going on there.

out the year, shall we wonder to find the

either side. A

brain affected, and in a manner overclouded, melancholy.” Amongst herbs to be eaten from that indissoluble sympathy between (he says) I find gourds, cucumbers, melons, the noble and less noble parts of the body disallowed ; but especially CABBAGE. It which Dennis hints at ? The unnatural and causeth troublesome dreams, and sends up painful manner of his sitting must also black vapours to the brain. Galen, Loc. greatly aggravate the evil, insomuch that I Affect. lib. iii. cap. 6, of all herbs condemns have sometimes ventured to liken tailors at CABBAGE. And Isaack, lib. ii. cap. 1, animo their boards to so many envious Junos, sitting gravitatem facit, it brings heaviness to the cross-legged to hinder the birth of their own soul.” I could not omit so flattering a testifelicity. The legs transversed thus X cross- mony from an author who, having no theory wise, or decussated, was among the ancients of his own to serve, has so unconsciously the posture of malediction. The Turks, who contributed to the confirmation of mine. It practise it at this day, are noted to be a is well known that this last-named vegetable melancholy people.

has, from the earliest periods which we can Secondly, his diet.—To which purpose I discover, constituted almost the sole food of find a most remarkable passage in Burton, this extraordinary race of people. in his chapter entitled “Bad diet a cause of

BURTON, Junior.

HOSPITA ON THE IMMODERATE INDULGENCE OF THE PLEASURES

OF THE PALATE.

[blocks in formation]

MR. REFLECTOR, -My husband and I are came in fasting ; but as that excuse could fond of company, and being in easy circum- not serve above once or twice at most, he stances, we are seldom without a party to has latterly dropped the mask altogether, dinner two or three days in a week. The and chosen to appear in his own proper utmost cordiality has hitherto prevailed at colours without reserve or apology. our meetings; but there is a young gentle You cannot imagine how unpleasant his man, a near relation of my husband's, that conduct has become. His way of staring at has lately come among us, whose preposterous the dishes as they are brought in, has absobehaviour bids fair, if not mely ecked, to lutely something immodest in it: it is like disturb our tranquillity. He is too great a the stare of an impudent man of fashion at favourite with my husband in other respects, a fine woman, when she first comes into a for me to remonstrate with him in any other room. I am positively in pain for the dishes, than this distant way. A letter printed in and cannot help thinking they have conyour publication may catch his eye ; for he sciousness, and will be put out of counteis a great reader, and makes a point of seeing nance, he treats them so like what they all the new things that come out. Indeed, are not. he is by no means deficient in understanding. Then again he makes no scruple of keeping My husband says that he has a good deal of a joint of meat on the table, after the cheese wit; but for my part I cannot say I am any and fruit are brought in, till he has what he judge of that, having seldom observed him calls done with it. Now how awkward this open his mouth except for purposes very looks, where there are ladies, you may judge, foreign to conversation. In short, Sir, this Mr. Reflector,-how it disturbs the order young gentleman's failing is, an immoderate and comfort of a meal. And yet I always indulgence of his palate. The first time he make a point of helping him first, contrary dined with us, he thought it necessary to to all good manners,— before any of my extenuate the length of time he kept the female friends are helped, - that he may dinner on the table, by declaring that he had avoid this very error. I wish he would eat taken a very long walk in the morning, and before he comes out.

What makes his proceedings more particu- more reconciled to it, in some measure, from ! larly offensive at our house is, that my my telling her that it was the custom of the husband, though out of cominon politeness world, — to which, however senseless, we he is obliged to set dishes of animal food must submit, so far as we could do it with before his visitors, yet himself and his whole innocence, not to give offence; and she has family, (myself included) feed entirely on shown so much strength of mind on other vegetables. We have a theory, that animal occasions, which I have no doubt is owing to food is neither wholesome nor natural to the calmness and serenity superinduced by man; and even vegetables we refuse to eat her diet, that I am in good hopes when the until they have undergone the operation of proper season for her début arrives, she may fire, in consideration of those numberless be brought to endure the sight of a roasted little living creatures which the glass helps chicken or a dish of sweet-breads for the us to detect in every fibre of the plant or first time without fainting. Such being the root before it be dressed. On the same nature of our little household, you may guess theory we boil our water, which is our only what inroads into the economy of it,-what drink, before we suffer it to come to table. revolutions and turnings of things upside Our children are perfect little Pythagoreans: down, the example of such a feeder as it would do you good to see them in their Mr. is calculated to produce. nursery, stuffing their dried fruits, figs, I wonder, at a time like the present, when raisins, and milk, which is the only approach the scarcity of every kind of food is so to animal food which is allowed. They have painfully acknowledged, that shame has no no notion how the substance of a creature effect upon him. Can he have read Mr. that ever had life can become food for an- Malthus's Thoughts on the Ratio of Food other creature. A beef-steak is an absurdity to Population ? Can he think it reasonable to them ; a mutton-chop, a solecism in that one man should consume the sustenance terms; a cutlet, a word absolutely without of many ? any meaning; a butcher is nonsense, except The young gentleman has an agreeable air so far as it is taken for a man who delights and person, such as are not unlikely to in blood, or a hero. In this happy state of recommend him on the score of matrimony, innocence we have kept their minds, not But his fortune is not over large ; and what allowing them to go into the kitchen, or to prudent young woman would think of emhear of any preparations for the dressing of barking hers with a man who would bring animal food, or even to know that such three or four mouths (or what is equivalent things are practised. But as a state of to them) into a family ? She might as ignorance is incompatible with a certain age, reasonably choose a widower in the same and as my eldest girl, who is ten years old circumstances, with three or four children. next Midsummer, must shortly be introduced I cannot think who he takes after. His into the world and sit at table with us, where father and mother, by all accounts, were she will see some things which will shock all very moderate eaters; only I have heard her received notions, I have been endeavour- that the latter swallowed her victuals very ing by little and little to break her mind, and fast, and the former had a tedious custom of prepare it for the disagreeable impressions sitting long at his meals. Perhaps he takes which must be forced upon it. The first hint after both. I gave her upon the subject, I could see her I wish you would turn this in your recoil from it with the same horror with thoughts, Mr. Reflector, and give us your which we listen to a tale of Anthro- ideas on the subject of excessive eating, and, pophagism ; but she has gradually grown particularly, of animal food. HOSPITA.

[blocks in formation]

MR. REFLECTOR,—I am going to lay before period when it was thought proper, on you a case of the most iniquitous persecution account of my advanced age, that I should that ever poor devil suffered.

mix with other boys more unreservedly than You must know, then, that I have been I had hitherto done. I was accordingly sent visited with a calamity ever since my birth. to boarding-school. How shall I mention it without offending Here the melancholy truth became too delicacy? Yet out it must. My sufferings, apparent to be disguised. The prying then, have all arisen from a most inordinate republic of which a great school consists appetite

soon found me out: there was no shifting Not for wealth, not for vast possessions, the blame any longer upon other people's then might I have hoped to find a cure in shoulders,—no good-natured maid to take some of those precepts of philosophers or upon herself the enormities of which I stood poets,—those verba et voces which Horace accused in the article of bread and butter, speaks of :

besides the crying sin of stolen ends of

puddings, and cold pies strangely missing. “ quibus hunc lenire dolorem Possis, et magnam morbi deponere partem; ”

The truth was but too manifest in my looks,

-in the evident signs of inanition which I not for glory, not for fame, not for applause, exhibited after the fullest meals, in spite of --for against this disease, too, he tells us the double allowance which my master was there are certain piacula, or, as Pope has privately instructed by my kind parents to chosen to render it,

give me. The sense of the ridiculous, which

is but too much alive in grown persons, is " rhymes, which fresh and fresh applied, Will cure the arrant'st puppy of his pride ; ”

tenfold more active and alert in boys. Once

detected, I was the constant butt of their nor yet for pleasure, properly so called : the arrows,—the mark against which every puny strict and virtuous lessons which I received leveller directed his little shaft of scorn. The in early life from the best of parents,-a very Graduses and Thesauruses were raked pious clergyman of the Church of England, for phrases to pelt me with by the tiny now no more,-I trust have rendered me pedants. Ventri natus—Ventri deditus,sufficiently secure on that side :

Vesana gula,— Escarum gurges,—Dapibus No, Sir, for none of these things; but an indulgens,—Non dans fræna gulæ,-Sectans appetite, in its coarsest and least metaphorical lautæ fercula mensæ, resounded wheresoever sense, –an appetite for food.

I passed. I led a weary life, suffering the The exorbitancies of my arrow-root and penalties of guilt for that which was no pappish days I cannot go back far enough to crime, but only following the blameless remember; only I have been told that my dictates of nature. The remembrance of mother's constitution not admitting of my those childish reproaches haunts me yet being nursed at home, the woman who had oftentimes in my dreams. My school-days the care of me for that purpose used to make come again, and the horror I used to feel, most extravagant demands for my pretended when, in some silent corner, retired from the excesses in that kind ; which my parents, notice of my unfeeling playfellows, I have rather than believe anything unpleasant of sat to mumble the solitary slice of gingerme, chose to impute to the known covetous-bread allotted me by the bounty of conness and mercenary disposition of that sort siderate friends, and have ached at heart of people. This blindness continued on their because I could not spare a portion of it, as part after I was sent for home, up to the I saw other boys do, to some favourite boy ;

« НазадПродовжити »