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it must be owned, his ordre is but a sorry one.
He is the prince of the ennuyés, and I must waste a few words upon
him. During the commencement of the year, he dragged on a listless existence, without any object to kindle him, having worn out the few faculties he had by over-indulgence.
If, indeed, you are not a denizen of St. James's Street, it is fit I should tell you something of the life of this illustrious person. He has been a gambler on turf and at hazard, till, by shaking the dice-box, he is considerably out at elbows. He has been in Parliament, but could neither speak himself, nor listen to others. He has belonged to all the clubs, in order to make sure of a diversity of company; but finding all his companions did the same, and he met with none but the same faces, that was a failure too.
He tried marriage, but thought his wife had too much vivacity (that is, spent too much money), while she thought him dull (that is, stingy); so they separated, she to Brussels, he to his beloved St. James's Street, where his face is to be seen in eternal same. ness, through the seven different windows of the seven different clubs of which he is a worthy member.
He has a fine house near the Land's End, washed by the sea; but, being at the land's end, it leads to no other place, and nobody will take the trouble of going so far, merely to be bored and come back again.
He, therefore, bestows himself at Christmas upon any body that will put up with him for the holidays, over which he generally spreads what is called a “wet blanket:” certainly little fire can burn where he has any connection. But he is now happy; for all his dinner-giving friends (the only friends he cares for) are come to town.
Yet he is a bad diner-out, for he is so blasé, that though he opens his mouth often enough, he never says a word. Yet he pretends to wit, and when he asked me what I was going away for, and I told him, to enjoy the fresh green of the country, he actually drawled out, that the only green he cared for was Green Street. So much for Medlicott.
I am not a little ridiculed, however, by others of a different calibre, who say I give myself airs, and set up for an original, because I presume to act for myself, and have the boldness to leave London when the best company is coming to it.
One reminds me of Will Honeycomb, in his banter of his dear Spec.:-“I suppose this will find thee picking a daisy, or smelling to a lock of hay.” On the other hand, Lord Blatterthwaite, who always speaks ex cathedrâ (that is, from an arm-chair at Boodle's); who never comes to town till the middle of May, nor leaves it till Parliament is up, though at the end of August; who, moreover, is a remarkable good husband, having ten children by my lady (whom, with my lady herself, he keeps in excellent order in the country), declares it is always a bad sign when a single man presumes to set himself up against Custom. To this I answer, with a complete man of the world: “Custom ! that result of the passions and prejudices of many, and the designs of a few! that ape of Reason, who usurps her seat, exercises her power, and is obeyed by mankind in her stead.” *
No; it is not Custom that will make me see the propriety of lingering in a place of which I am tired, even if it were not the end of May; so I am off tomorrow.
And whither ?
Why, to another of my worthies, my man of impulses, · my friend Brudenell, as different from
, Medlicott as a black-cock from a barn-door fowl. Often have I thought of taking his portrait, and as he will be the hero of this lucubration, here it is.
He was a man of no small fashion - known at court and ball, and not ill-pleased to be so; a senator, a party man, and a diner out, though of a very different grade from Medlicott. He is, moreover, a man of some literature, and has attempted a novel. But his chief pride was to be, or thought to be, well with the ladies, to whom, while he flattered them in his vers galants, for which he had great reputation, he gave serious lectures as to female conduct, as well as belles lettres, sometimes venturing upon suggestions even as to dress. From this he would fly off to moralise, and talk Cicero and Seneca with the men, and contributed many papers, both ethical and political, to the periodicals of the time. In the course of all this he met with some rebuffs, as well he might. For he was generally in extremes, as to his opinions, or expectations, so that, like Villiers,
“Every one with him was God or devil.”
Thus every new event, new beauty, or new work prompted new activity. Every prominent character, male or female; any great topic of inquiry, public or private; any prevailing toast, or prevailing taste, in love or literature, politics or scandal, moved him to enthusiasm, and ruled the passing hour. Of course his pursuits, and seemingly his principles of action, varied. At one time he was plunged chin-deep in party politics, till he met with a disappointment, which he aggravated into a breach of promise from the minister. But, though angry, his anger evaporated in a pamphlet tolerably written, and which had a run. This consoled him; and after this he self up, heart and soul, to a certain Lady Thomasina,
, for whose sake, he said, he undervalued all that ambition could give; and for this the lady, whom, with all his knowledge of the sex, he had not discovered to be an arrant coquette, jilted and laughed at him. No matter, his spirit was too buoyant to pine, and he revenged himself in the novel which I mentioned, and which also was much read. While in love with Lady Thomasina, he was all for town pleasures and refined society: rejected, he swore no fine lady was worth pursuing; nothing, indeed, but the simplicities of Nature; and, as there were no simplicities in London, he took lodgings in a farm-house close to Windsor Park. Here he resolved to moralise in seclusion; satirise the inanities and iniquities of the world; rail at high-born flirts and faithless ministers; and shoot “Folly as it flies," with Pope and Boileau, Juvenal and Johnson. For this purpose he sent down a great
package of books, and many quires of paper, followed himself, in a most indignant fit of virtue and philosophy.
For my part, as I knew the man, and knew he was neither Brutus nor Diogenes, but only a very honest agreeable fellow when tolerably well treated by the world, and, but for a lack of judgment and consistency, even of talents, I was curious to know the issue of his adventure (for such I judged it), and resolved, as it was a mere pleasant ride, to beat up his quarters unexpectedly. Yet, to tell the truth, though I had had a long and glowing letter from him, full of the charms of the country, and the beauty of the Great Park, I was not without misgivings as to the state in which I should find him, since I had observed that he never seemed fonder of society than when he most abused it. The result of my visit will form the subject of another dream.