Page images

side. At every bock, he shot out his neck and open mouth, as if he would hae swallow't the sun out o' the firmament. Lordsake, what a creighling the creature made, raxing and hadding its sides. Its man was obliged to grip it by the tail, for fear it would hae loupen out the ship in its desperation. But a' was nothing to Paris. Lordsake, but yon is a whirligigplace; a' the folk are daft, and they mak every body sae that gangs there. At our tabledot fifty-eight dined every day; twenty were Glasgow folk, a very extraordinar thing; we sang Great George is King, wi' hands cleekit after dinner. The French thought we were mad, but we were very civil to them, and after the King's health we drank auld Loui, and had Henry Quatre. But the cookery was damn'd badthey don't know how to cook yonder they have no gout-they boil the meat to tavers, and mak sauce o' the brue to other dishes-they have nothing savoury or solid-but for a' that they are desperate eaters-Lordsake what trash it is they eat; I have seen them sitting at their supper, with their yellow faces, like puddocks round a plate, crunching custocks.-There can be nae comfort in yon way o' living-They breakfast in public coffee-rooms, and spend a' the day as if they had nothing to do, and their nights in that hell-upon-yearth the Palace RoyalLordsake yon is an awfu' place! I was just terrified to gie a keek in-for a' that, I tried to see every thing-But if ye take away the palaces and other public buildings, there's naething to be seen in Paris-a filthy town-ye might crack a whip out o' ae window intil anither in the house fornent

But for a' that the French have some clever points of character-their silks are very extraordinar, and really very cheap-But I didna smuggle ony, because I had nae need.-But in their churches the villany of man was manifest; it wasna that ony body was there; the priests said their ridiculous paternosters in a manner to themselves; they had nae hearers, so the villany of man was clear in the sin of omission.-Heaven knows what will come o' them when they die-they ken nae thing o' the Lord, but a deal o' the deevil-and yet yon Peer la Shaize is a very beautiful place, adorned with flowers.-They have flowers in glass boxes on some head-stones for the

ghosts at night to look at-it's, however, a pretty sight to see them.-But there are many other places besides yon burying ground very comfortable in Paris.-The coffee-room o' aithers that I thought the most sae, was ane at the Luxemburgh-and the vin ordinair is excellent, only fifteen pence the bottle-pleasure's very cheap, for which cause so many of our countrymen go yonder.-They repute that more than fifty thousand English souls are at this time in Paris.-But I'm sure I wonder what they see at the French-a whir ligig set of deevils-nae stability in them-and Lordsake what a clatter the bodies hae-no end, nor method either, in their discourse and nothing cordial and sincere about them-their friendship's but lip-deep like their cookery, it has nae fusion in't-a'shew, Ye canna cut and come again on their kindness-but the bodies hae a ceivil way with them for a' that, and it's no possible to be angry at their parleyvoos. I staid three weeks amang them, and hae nae reason to complain-but it's just a miracle to see how the creatures can gab and eat, ye would think they hadna got a wholesome meal o' meat a' their days before, and that their tongues were just loosened by a thaw; their words come running out o' their mouths like a burn at beltane: they hae no end.-Unless ye can speak French, ye ken nae mair what they hae been saying when they are done, than when they began."

"But, Doctor," said we, "how did you find public opinion? What state are the Bonapartists in? Chop-fallen, no doubt."

"Confoundit moudiwarts !-They durst na shew their snouts where I was. Thumourts, that would sook the blood o' auld honest Loui's cocks and hens.-But a's loyalty yonder noo. The jacobin trade's clean up and dished. They're a' broken-gane to pigs and whistles-like the Whigs amang oursels."

"That may be the case at present, Doctor, but when the King dies

"The King dee! Yon's a hale and gausy carle-meat-like and claith-like

aiblins now and then fashed wi' a bit gimbletting o' the gout in his muckle-tae-but what o' that! I hae't whiles mysel, and ne'er a prin the war o't. Na, na!-there's nae dead-ill about Loui. Lord-sake, Kit, what gars you think that fat folk are mair

death-like than skinny deevils like yoursel. It may be in het summer weather, like the day, we're obliged to thole mair; but flesh is no an ill cleeding for the banes in winter. Dinna even ony o' your momento more's to the like oʻ Loui and me, Kit ;—as lang as we baith can eat and drink as we hae done, a snuff o' tobacco for death. Na, na! Depend upon't, Kit, Loui will wag his staff at the auld loon, and gar him chatter his hungry rat-trap teeth, without a morsel, for many a day to come yet. As for a squabash when he does kick; wha's to make it? Lord-sake, man, but ye hae got in the Blues, Kit, sin' I hae been awa'. Come, cheer up my lad-any game frae the Thane this time? Whan's the haunch expectit? No cossnent work, ye ken, for me-no supper no song, Kit-that's my way o't.-Deevil's in the man, would he no hae fat folk to live ?"

[blocks in formation]

eyes were pistols.

"Gruel and purge

is a' that yon gabby creatures ken o’ hospitality.”

This ingenious observation naturally led us to think of the state of science in France, a topic which the Edinburgh Review has lately handled with so much ability.

"Science!" exclaimed the Doctor. "Gin clokleddies and bumbees, wi' prins in their tails, be science, atweel there's an abundance o' that at the Garden of Plants ;-but the elephant yonder is really a prime beast, and has sie comical cunning een, I dinna wonder at philosophy making a pet o' the creature-just, Kit, as ye do o' me. But, two tailors,* as the French say,-bide till I get my Journal ready for the press-naething for the Magazine till then-so hae done wi' your pumping, and let's see what ye hae been doing in my absence-what sort o' deevilry hae ye got about the Coronation ?" In saying which words, the Doctor took up the fifty-fourth number, and we resumed the business on which we had been in conclave before his arrival.

* Our worthy friend's mode of pronouncing tout a' l'heure.


MR EDITOR, Ir is some months since Mr Barker promised me a fit butt for the exercise of my wit, in the second part of his Aristarchus Anti-Bloomfieldianus, and as yet I have not heard of it. Is he afraid?-Forbid it all ye gods who preside over lexicographers!

chinno to do? Alderman Wood is in Germany.-Sir Robert Wilson is quiet.

I hear of no new tragedies. So in this dearth of sportive matter, would it not be kind in him of Thes. to give us something? Does he suspect that, like his namesake Anubis-latrator Anubis-he is overmatched in fight, and will go forth but to be beaten?-Let him be comforted. Well does he know that

I entreat him to come forward. I have nothing now to laugh at. John Gilpin the second-Waithman the equestrian draper, with his horse performing the amazing, the soul-appalling feats of springing up the dire ascent of the causeway, and then with desperate valour plunging down again, supplied me for a day but that is past. His letter, in which, (not content with breaking the head of a soldier,) he utterly demolished the pate of our old friend Priscian, furnishedmirthful emotion for another;-that day also is swallowed in the stream of London, Sept. 3, 1821. time. What is a petulanti splene ca

"Victrix causa diis placuit, sed victa Ca-

and, at all events, by coming forward,
he will conduce to the great cause-
the promotion of laughter-and to the
worship of Momus, the most delight-
ful of all the deities.
I am, Sir,
Yours sincerely,




On the Personalities of the Whigs, and the Outcry against Maga.


BEFORE leaving England, I must have a few words with yourself. I do not understand why you submit thus tamely to the misrepresentations, not of foes, but of friends. That you should laugh at the outcry of those "poor, weak, and despised old" creatures the Whigs, and treat with contempt the savage whoop and howl of the Radicals, does not surprise me ; but that you endure so patiently "that dreadful pother" about personalities, with which some of "those who should be ours" so effectually back the enemy, is, I confess, beyond my comprehension. It is full time that you should let these pluckless Tories know the truth; and that what their feeble and deluded senses have been taught to consider as personalities, are nothing more than the unavoidable effect of ridicule, cleverly and justly applied.

I wish also to set you and these faint-hearted gentry right in other respects. Those who call themselves the Tories, have but little merit in that universal exposure of Whig pretensions and practices, which has executed justice so completely on the party. As to the discomfiture of their literary expectants, you have fought the battle, especially in Edinburgh, where the reviewers have been driven from the field, and the Review itself sent a-begging among the drivellers of Cockaigne. But, with regard to the party in general, the merit of their degradation, after their own bankruptcy of character, is greatly due to Cobbet and the Radicals. It was his rotten eggs, and their brick-bats, which reduced them to the shivering and shattered plight that has rendered them now almost objects of compassion,-if compassion, or indeed any sentiment of pity, could possibly be felt towards a fraternity which exulted at every occurrence of national distress, in our greatest peril, and triumphed at the miseries which they themselves so largely contributed to inflict on individuals. Still, however, though they have been hissed and hooted from common-halls and hustings,-though they have been pelted out of Palace-Yard, coughed

down in Parliament, cuffed and kicked, and sent yelping and yelling from every place of seditious exhortation,there are particular personages among them that verily have not yet received their reward. I allude to those who first set the example of personal attacks, and who now so bitterly weep and wail, and go about wringing their hands, at finding their own weapons turned with such energy against themselves. I allude particularly to the early writers in the Edinburgh Review, and to the correspondents of the Morning Chronicle.-Of course I do not mean to say, that Messrs Jeffrey and Perry are themselves dealers in detraction; but were I in your shoes, knowing what I know,-how these pretty behaved gentlemen turn aside their heads, and spread out their hands in horror and aversion at the very sight of the Magazine, I would "tickle their catastrophes,"I would lay any eight volumes of "the blue and yellow calamity" under contribution, and take any four or five files of the Chronicle for the last thirty years, and with page, and day and date, dare them to match from your pages the base and merciless ribaldry with which these virulent journals have assailed every political opponent who, either by office or title-page, could be pointed out as an object of derision.

But two blacks will never make a white," say your pluckless friends, those pouncet boxes of the Court, who affect such delicate feelings of honour,

[ocr errors]

such a skinless sensibility to every thing personal; "and, therefore, Mr North, we dislike the freedom you have taken with private characters. It is very wrong, and very coarse, we cannot approve of you in that respect." O dear!-who the devil cares whether such feeble and ineffectual fractions of intellect and spirit as they are, either approve or disapprove of your avenging career? Let them be thankful that they are allowed to follow in the wake of your course; and let them know, that merely on account of their moral insignificance, they are permitted so to do. It is necessary, and indeed unavoidable, that to all parties

there should be attached a multitude of silly creatures. The Whigs have many such, and the Radicals out-numher them a thousand fold; but neither the "Master Slenders" of the one, nor the "Bottoms" of the other, are in any degree so truly contemptible as a Tory of the Polonius kind, especially when he declaims about personalities. Why, the poor things themselves live by personalities,-there is not a neighbour's character or qualities unspared by their little malice. They cannot indeed sting like scorpions; but the fault is nature's that made them so harmless. They only defile what they can neither wound nor destroy. A 'l'ory of this class, is indeed a being infinitely contemptible, even as a man. He is, or rather it is generally, about the age of three-score, with an endeavour to be youthy and elegant, an endeavour which its lean shanks and faultering joints partly assist. It has the smallest possible ideas on every subject of public opinion.-It shuns the adversaries of its party, as if they were hydras and chimeras.-It becomes nervous and irritable at the slightest indication of opposition to its sentiments with regard to matters of taste. In all its habits it is petty and puerile. Like Justice Shallow, it boasts of the imbecile pranks and brawls of its youth, and the revellers it would set in the stocks, or those who grow riotous with ale, instead of champaign and claret. Is it, Christopher, by such beings as this that you submit to be lectured? Up with your crutch, and knock him down. The fact is, that such creatures belong to no party; they have happened to attach themselves to yours, because they thought it the genteelest; for they have no conception of what is great or honourable, but only of what is genteel. Perhaps, however, your silence with respect to them, proceeds from your contempt for their influence and understandings? Be it so,-but then declare the fact. Do not allow it to be any longer imagined, that you are disposed to abate one jot of your wonted antipathy to pretension and insolence, on account of the cry which the Whigs make against your retaliation for their personalities. Above all, do not allow those feeble and shaking headed Tories to believe that you value their good or ill opinion one stiver. What indeed is the worth of their opinion at any time, but more especially in your

case, when it is well known they are utterly ignorant of the true nature of the things at which they affect to be so disturbed? The nerveless creatures are afraid to look into your pages, which they strangely conceive spare neither the infirmities nor the appearance of age or sex, and of course what they say is as ridiculous as it is unfounded. Private personalities you have ever avoided; but to be accused of such paltry tattling, by those who practise nothing else, when you have so studiously confined yourself to public conduct and character, is perhaps one of the things to which, from the beginning, you considered yourself as necessarily exposed. But these poor souls are the deluded and unconscious tools of the Whigs, who know so well the effect of clamour and outcry; and who, from a sinister principle, never read any thing written against themselves, that they may be able, as it were, with a clear conscience, to declare with some shew of truth, but virtually in effect with falsehood, that the matter and manner of the attack is such, that it would be unworthy-honourable men-even to notice, far less to an swer it.

Let me, however, not be misunderstood. I do not advise you to imitate the Whigs in abusing the talents and characters of your political adversaries, and, after you have provoked their resentment, to supplicate and implore the by-standers to assist you in defending yourself. Nor would I at all recommend that you should drag into notoriety any of those poor genteel retainers of your own party, merely because they have been shocked at the fists and attitudes which you have sometimes shewn to the rabble rout of your promiscuous assailants,-I only wish that, in the first place, you would shew from the Whig writers, the sort of personalities in which they have themselves dealt for the last thirty years; and, in the second place, that you should contrast with their libellous and systematic misrepresentations, the temperance of the retribution you have administered.

I only wish you to compare the quiet progress of your own garden chair,the gentle turns that you take among your flowers, raising here the modest and drooping blossom, and pruning there, with a discreet and skilful hand, the overgrown briar, that chokes the growth of useful herbs, and, with its

rank and noisome luxuriance, cumbers and exhausts the ground. In a word, to compare the progress of "The Magazine" with "The Review," where, as in a rattling and raging chariot, the whole genius of the Whigs, like a manyheaded Hindoo idol, careered for a time so triumphantly. From afar the periodical coming forth of this literary Jauggernaut was hailed with amazement and worship. The infidel votaries of philosophy, and taste, and "science, falsely so called," rushed like fanatics, and sacrificed themselves beneath the wheels. But its oracles and its predictions, in every instance falsified, gradually begot suspicions of the pretensions of the priesthood, whose tricks and devices were discovered through the veil and vapour of the incense, which the shallow, the heartless, and the interested burned in adulation of the god. Ademand arose for the vouchers of their miraculous pretensions. It could not be answered. A clamorous multitude beset the temple. The servitors trembled and secretly betook themselves, one by one, to other avocations. The high-priest attempted more than once to fly the sanctuary, but the golden chain was as often strengthened to bind him faster than ever to the altar. At last the brazen doors were burst open, the profane vulgar rushed in, and beheld, with open-mouthed astonishment, that the divinity to which they had offered up the sacrifices of their understandings, and implored the acceptance of their hearts and heads, was in reality but a senseless image set up for sinister purposes, adorned and augmented for a political end, by many who were perfectly well aware of the mean and insignificant materials of which it had been constructed.

At the publication of the "Chaldee MS." the cunning spirit of the Whigs saw that perhaps, by a dextrous management of the affections and prejudices of the very class whom they had so reviled and insulted, the tables might be turned against you. They knew that among the friends of the Magazine were many highly respect abie characters, persons of great private worth, who possessed by their virtues an extensive influence in society, and who, without any literary predilections, and uninformed with respect to the free and sportive humour of the age, entertained that profound VOL. X.

and due veneration for the language and imagery of the Bible, which the friends of religion ever wish to cherish. The language and imagery of the "Chaldee MS." furnished the Whigs with an opportunity to irritate the pious feelings of this respectable class; and accordingly, while they were obliged to acknowledge the ability displayed in the article, they insinuated that it was conceived in a spirit of derogatory profaneness. This was mighty well on the part of those who had been for years sneering, not merely at the forms of devotional expression, but at religion itself. The bait, however, took; and immediately a number of those who would otherwise perhaps never have thought at all upon the subject, were seized with a pious horror, at the idea of the language of Scripture being perverted. This was not all;—in the "Chaldee MS." several descriptive touches of personal defects and infirmities had unfortunately been introduced. These were perhaps in some cases necessary, to make out characters which had no features or qualities by which they could be otherwise distinguished. The offence was harmless, and the jocular spirit in which the whole article was written, ought to have protected it from the charge of malice or ill nature. But the Whigs availed themselves of those few playful strictures on appearance, and still more vehemently than they could venture to do on the parody of Scripture language (for they were conscious of the liberties they had themselves taken with religion) and they declaimed against them, as examples of an unheard of licentiousness, just as if the world had never seen the Whig caricatures of the bodily peculiarities of some of the greatest men of the age. Thus, in two things of themselves really insignificant, the structure of the language in which the story of the "Chaldec MS." was told, and the incidental allusion to two or three personal peculiarities-a foundation was laid with one class of the friends of good order, to condemn the tendency of the whole Magazine, and with another, to blame the course it had chosen as ungentlemanly. But, now when the feelings thus fomented have subsided, it must be allowed that the "Chaldee MS." contains nothing to offend any principle, or excite any sentiment at variance with good-humoured hilarity and banter. This at the time the

2 E

« PreviousContinue »