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ON THE

MELANCHOLY OF TAILORS.

Sedet, æternumque sedebit,
Infelix Theseus.

VIRGIL.

That there is a professional melancholy, if I may so express myself, incident to the occupation of a tailor, is a fact which I think very few will venture to dispute. I may safely appeal to my readers, whether they ever knew one of that faculty that was not of a temperament, to say the least, far removed from mercurial or jovial.

Observe the suspicious gravity of their gait. The peacock is not more tender, from a consciousness of his peculiar infirmity, than a gentleman of this profession is of being known by the same infallible testimonies of his occupation. “ Walk, that I may know thee.”

Do you ever see him go whistling along the foot-path like a carman, or brush through a crowd like a baker, or go smiling to himself like a lover? Is he forward to thrust into mobs, or to make one at the ballad-singer's audiences ? Does he not rather slink by assemblies and meetings of the people, as one that wisely declines popular observation ?

How extremely rare is a noisy tailor! a mirthful and obstreperous tailor !

“At my nativity,” says Sir Thomas Browne, “ my ascendant was the earthly sign of Scorpius ; I was born in the planetary hour of Saturn, and I think I have a piece of that leaden planet in me.” One would think that he were anatomizing a tailor! save that to the latter's occupation, methinks, a woollen planet would seem more consonant, and that he should be born when the sun was in Aries.—He goes on. “I am no way facetious, nor disposed for the mirth and galliardize of company.” How true a type of the whole trade! Eminently economical of his words, you shall seldom hear a jest come from one of them. He sometimes furnishes subject for a repartee, but rarely (I think) contributes one ore proprio.

Drink itself does not seem to elevate him, or at least to call out of him any of the external indications 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 argument, who ever saw the wedding of a tailor announced in the newspapers, or the birth of his eldest son?

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.

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