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his strange fancies we find in the “ Chapter on Kings :"
“There are other monarchies in the inferior world beside that of the bees, though they have not been registered by naturalists nor studied by them. For example, the king of the fleas keeps his court at Tiberias, as Dr. Clark discovered to his cost, and as Mr. Cripps will testify for him.”
He proceeds to give humorous descriptions of the king of monkeys, bears, codfish, oysters, &c.
Again“Would not John Dory's name bave died with him, and so been long ago dead as a door-nail, if a grotesque like. ness for him had not been found in the fish, which being called after him, bas immortalized him and his ugliness? But if John Dory could have anticipated this sort of im. mortality when he saw his own face in the glass, he might very well have blushed to find it fame.'”
He is fond of introducing quaint old legends
“There are certain Rabbis who affirm that Eve was not taken out of Adam's side, but that Adam had originally been created with a tail, and that among the various experiments and improvements which were made in form and organization before he was finished, the tail was removed as an inconvenient appendage, and of the excrescence or superfluous part, which was then lopped off, the woman was formed."
While on this subject he says that Lady Jekyll once asked William Wiston “Why woman was formed out of man's rib rather than out of any other part of his body ?” Wiston scratched his head and replied, “Indeed, Madam, I do not know, unless it be that the rib is the most crooked part of the body.”
Southey gives a playbill of the Drolls of
Bartholomew Fair in the time of Queen Anne
“At Crawley's booth over against the Crown Tavern in Smithfield, during the time of the Bartholomew Fair, will be presented a little opera, called the Old Creation of the World, yet newly revived, with the addition of 'Noah's Flood.' Also several fountains playing water during the time of the play. The last scene does represent Noah and his family coming out of the Ark, with all the beasts two and two, and all the fowls of the air seen in a prospect sitting upon trees. Likewise over the Ark is seen the sun rising in a most glorious manner. Moreover, a multitude of angels will be seen in a double rank, which represents a double prospect, one for the sun, the other for a palace, where will be seen six angels ringing of bells. Likewise machines descend from above, double and treble, with Dives rising out of Hell, and Lazarus seen in Abraham's bosom; besides several figures, dancing jigs, sarabands, and country dances to the admiration of the spectators, with the merry conceits of Squire Punch and Sir John Spendall."
" So recently as the year 1816 the sacrifice of Isaac was represented on the stage at Paris. Samson was the subject of the ballet; the unshorn son of Manoah delighted the spectators by dancing a solo with the gates of Gaza on his back; Delilah clipt him during the intervals of a jig, and the Philistines surrounded and captured him in a countrydance.”
Sometimes Southey indulges his fancy on very trifling subjects as,
“The Doves, father as well as son, were blest with a hearty intellectual appetite, and a strong digestion, but the son had the more Catholic taste. He would have relished caviare, would have ventured on laver, undeterred by its appearance, and would have liked it. He would have eaten sausages for breakfast at Norwich, sally-luns at Bath, sweet butter in Cumberland, orange marmalade at Edinburgh, Findon baddocks at Aberdeen, and drunk punch with beefsteaks to oblige the French, if they insisted upon obliging him with a déjeuner à l'Anglaise.
“A good digestion turneth all to health.' “He would have eaten squab pie in Devonshire, and the pie which is squabber than squab in Cornwall; sheep's. head with the hair on in Scotland, and potatoes roasted on the hearth in Ireland, frogs with the French, pickledherrings with the Dutch, sour-krout with the Germans, maccaroni with the Italians, aniseed with the Spaniards, garlic with anybody, horse-flesh with the Tartars, assHesh with the Persians, dogs with the North-Western American Indians, curry with the Asiatic East Indians, bird's-nests with the Chinese, mutton roasted with honey with the Turks, pismire cakes on the Orinoco, and turtle and venison with the Lord Mayor, and the turtle and venison he would have preferred to all the other dishes, because his taste, though Catholic, was not undiscriminating.”.....
“At the time of which I am now speaking, Miss Trewbody was a maiden lady of forty-seven in the highest state of preservation. The whole business of her life had been to take care of a fine person, and in this she had succeeded admirably. Her library consisted of two books; •Nelson's Festivals and Fasts' was one, the other was the Queen's Cabinet Unlocked;' and there was not a cosmetic in the latter which she bad not faithfully prepared. Thus by means, as she believed, of distilled waters of various kinds, maydew and buttermilk, her skin retained its beautiful texture still and much of its smoothness, and she knew at times how to give it the appearance of that brilliancy which it had lost. But that was a profound secret. Miss Trewbody, remembering the example of Jezebel, always felt conscious that she had committed a sin when she took the rouge-box in her hand, and generally ejaculated in a low voice · The Lord forgive me! when she laid it down; but looking in the glass at the same time she indulged a bope that the nature of the temptation might be considered an excuse for the transgression. Her other great business was to observe with the utmost precision all the punctilios of her situation in life, and the time wbich was not devoted to one or other of these worthy occupations was employed in scolding her servants and tormenting her niece. This kept the lungs in vigorous health; nay it even seemed to supply the place of wholesome exercise, and to stimulate the system like a perpetual blister, with this peculiar ad. vantage, that instead of an inconvenience it was a pleasure to herself, and all the annoyance was to her dependents.
“ Miss Trewbody lies buried in the Cathedral at Salisbury, where a monument was erected to her memory, worthy of remembrance itself for its appropriate inscription and accompaniments. The epitaph recorded her as a woman eminently pious, virtuous and charitable, who lived universally respected, and died sincerely lamented by all who had the happiness of knowing her. This inscription was upon a marble shield supported by two
Cupids, who bent their heads over the edge with marble tears larger than gray peas, and something of the same colour, upon their cheeks. These were the only tears that her death occasioned, and the only Cupids with whom she had ever any concern.”
Southey introduces into this work a variety of extracts from rare and curious books-stories about Job beating his wife, about surgical experiments tried upon criminals, about women with horns, and a man who swallowed a poker, and “ looked melancholy afterwards.” Well might he suppose that people would think this farrago a composite production of many authors, and he says that if it were so he might have given it instead of the “Doctor” a name to correspond with its heterogeneous origin, such as- Isdis Roso Heta Harco Samro Grobe Thebo Heneco Thojamma &c., the words continuing gradually to increase in length till we come to
After reading such flights as the above, we are surprised to find him despising the jester's bauble
“Now then to the gentle reader. The reason why I do not wear cap and bells is this.
“There are male caps of five kinds, which are worn at present in this kingdoin, to wit, the military cap, the collegiate cap, and the night-cap. Observe, reader, I said kinds, that is to say in scientific language genera—for the species and varieties are numerous, especially in the former genus.
“I am not a soldier, and having long been weaned from Alma Mater, of course have left off my college cap. The gentlemen of the bunt would object to my going out with
bells on; it would be likely to frighten their horses; and were I to attempt it, it might involve me in unpleasant disputes. To my travelling cap the bells would be an inconvenient appendage; nor would they be a whit more comfortable upon my night cap. Besides, my wife might object to them. It follows that if I would wear a cap and bells, I must have a cap made on purpose. But this would be rendering myself singular; and of all things, a wise man will avoid ostentatious appearance of singularity. Now I am certainly not singular in playing the fool without one.”
There is much in the style of the “Doctor," which reminds us of Sterne. He was evidently a favourite author with Southey, who speaking of his Sermons says, “You often see him tottering on the verge of laughter, and ready to throw his periwig in the face of the audience.” Perhaps from him he acquired his love for tricks of form and typographical surprises. He introduces what he calls interchapters. “Leap chapters they cannot properly be called, and if we were to call them ‘Ha-has' as being chapters, which the reader may skip if he likes, the name would appear rather strange than significant.”
He sometimes introduces a chapter without any heading in the following way
“Sir," says the Compositor to the Corrector of the Press “ there is no heading for the copy for this chapter. What must I do?"
“Leave a space for it," the Corrector replies. “It is a strange sort of book, but I dare say the author has a reason for everything he says or does, and most likely you will find out his meaning as you set up."
Chapter lxxxviii begins—“ While I was writing that last chapter a flea appeared upon