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Those described by Gall are placed in edifices of a very different shape and construction. With a little variety of form, most of them are of an irregular oval oblong shape, of unequal height and breadth, but many of them exquisitely proportioned, and of beautiful elevations. Indeed, some of the finer specimens are so inimitably beautiful as to seem fitter for the abodes of immaterial spirits than of beings of an earthly form; and from this circumstance we find one of them denominated the palace of the soul" by a late great poet, who saw it to infinite disadvantage, after it was abandoned by its inhabitants as unfit for use.
When Gall began to visit these communities, with the view of ascertaining the number of their inhabitants, their occupations, and general economy, he was very often repulsed by a very grave, timid, croaking, dismal-looking fellow, and a smooth-faced, twinkling, sly person, who were urgent for his exclusion. The former sounded fear and alarm till the very walls shook; and the latter insisted that nobody should see their secret, and thus be enabled to lay plots against them. But as the one had shown himself a coward, even when no danger existed, and the other had often shown more duplicity than veracity, their objections were generally overruled, and Gall was admitted; and the only assistance he then required was to guard himself against being misled by the lies and mystery in which his disappointed enemy endeavoured to envelope every transaction. But in this also, thanks to a very upright and honest member living in another apartment, he completely succeeded.
Gall soon found, that in these, as in other well-regulated communities, each member was accommodated with a couple of apartments, one on each side of the building, and that, to prevent mistakes, each had his own number on both of his doors. Those, however, who reside in the central part have their apartments so close to each other that one large folding door served for both, and one number was all that was required. This idea of numbering the residence of the mem
LETTER TO THE EDITOR.
bers is convenient in more respects than one ; for, as the existence of these communities was first discovered in a foreign country, many of the members still retain the long and uncouth foreign-like names and titles which were at first attached to them; and hence, to avoid circumlocution, it often happens that the individual occupant is, spoken of numerically, instead of nominally, Thus, the dignified president of the Society is often styled simply No 10,--his residence being at No 10 in the building. Again, that grave, long-faced, apprehensive-looking person, Mons. de la Circonspection, is known to every one as No 12, and never takes this numerical designation at all amiss. This your readers will at once recognize to be the plan practised at inns. The unknown
. gentleman sleeps in bed-room No 9 for instance, and, on asking for his bill, he finds, “ No 9.-Dinner, 5s., Claret, 10s. 6d.," &c. &c., which he pays, and leaves the house as mysteriously as he entered it.
The most delightful thing observable in the domestic economy of these communities is the strict impartiality which regulates the distribution and furniture of the different apartments, the size, situation, and splendour of each being admirably proportioned to the wants of the occupant and to the extent and importance of the duties with which he is intrusted. Here, for instance, as in all well-regulated communities, those who have the charge of the household arrangements, and perform the coarser work, and attend to the eating and drinking departments, and take care of the children, are domiciled on the sunk floor or base of the building, while those who superintend the moral, religious, and intellectual welfare of the flock occupy the higher apartments in front and on the upper floors. A few, indeed, there are, whose office is almost a sinecure, but who, nevertheless, are useful enough in their own way, and whose constant watchfulness and occasional assistance are quite indispensable to the comfort and success of the establishment. These occupy the lower rooms in front, at Nos 20, 21, 22, 23, &c., where, it
must be admitted, they are somewhat nårrowly lodged ; but their accommodation being in other respects complete, and, in point of extent, proportioned both to their wants and to the nature of their services, they are as contented and happy as any of the others. Those, again, whose duties are of a higher order, and of greater importance to the happiness and guidance of the rest, are lodged in spacious and elegant apartments, and they also are satisfied with their condition. ... “But how," I think I hear you exclaim, “ inequality and union ! the thing is impossible !” No doubt it is; but there is no inequality here. Real equality consists in having immunities and privileges proportioned to our nature, and not in every one having the same. If, for instance, you were to install the little fellow who lives at No 21, and who, from his small dimensions, is picknamed Size, into the spacious halls of the grave and retiring big gentleman at No 12, what would become of him? He would absolutely be lost in one corner or other, and might die of hunger before he was discovered. As to what the solemn man would do in the little box of the little fellow, the question is useless. He could not get in! If, again, you were to make the proud and dignified sign or at No 10 evacuate his lofty and commanding station, and to pop himself into the quarters occupied by the sly fox-looking figure at No 9, what would follow ? It is clear he would go mad on finding himself obliged to lay'aside his stately and perpendicular attitude, to lie down horizontally, with his head sticking out to one side, and his feet to the other, like two long 24-pounders on the middle-deck of a man-of-war; and be watched, too, by his chicken-bearted friend in No 12, lying all the time above him like a nightmare on an alderman's breast at five o'clock in the morning, after a Lord Mayor's feast. And how would his sly friend like the exchange?. To find himself placed, as it were, like a monument on a hill-top, for everybody to gaze at; he, whose delight it is to peep unseen through holes and from behind screens. Assuredly he would not rejoice at the change.
But how, you will say, in this society of union and co-ope
ration, are not all the members of one mind and of one way of thinking ? Quite the reverse, Mr Editor; they are as different in their tastes and ways of thinking as any set of men can be. But then they are generally all of one mind as to one very important point; and this is the chain which links them together, and which old society ought instantly to adopt on a larger scale, viz. every one of them is satisfied that he is most effectually promoting his own interest and gratification, when he most zealously employs the particular talents and qualities which he possesses for the general be nefit, and, that none of them may have the pretence of forgetting for a moment the course which he ought to pursue, the whole community is generally placed under the direction of the Chief Justice, the High Priest, and the Grand Almoner, who live respectively at No 17, 14, and 18, and who are supported by the rest, on condition of acting as faithful and upright monitors, and attending to the impartial administration of the laws, to the interests of religion, to the wants of the poor, and to the recovery of the sick. Their injunctions are not indeed always fulfilled; but as their own practice strictly accords with their precepts, and they lead upright, useful, and honourable lives, they are much respected, and their approbation sought for even by the most turbulent members of the household. When the community is guided by them, it is observed to flourish, and to enjoy great internal peace and happiness ; but when, as sometimes happens, the suggestions of the men below are listened to in preference, and contrary to their advice, anarchy, turbulence, and discontent, are sure to follow. For example,
To repel aggression, and give a healthy principle of resistance to the community, and also, it must be admitted, from a lurking love of contention and fighting in the man' himself, the indweller at No 5 has been constituted a Soldier'; and, for equally good and obvious reasons, he of No 6 has been appointed Butcher, he of No 8 Banker, he of No 24 the Traveller, he of No 28 the Organist, and he of No 33 the Imitator, and so on; and each in his own vocation is an ex
ceedingly respectable and useful member of society. But when any one of them takes it into his head to set up for himself, and carry on his own trade in his own way, and for his own exclusive advantage, every thing goes to wreck and disorder. The Soldier, when abandoned by the prudent foresight of the wary gentleman at No 12, gets his brains knocked out, not in battle with the enemy, but in a senseless quarrel with his comrade, Grady O'Flanagan, about the question, whether. St Patrick was a native of Tipperary or Conamara. The Butcher, when deaf to the admonitions of the Chief Justice, gives way to his furious rage, commits murder, and gets him-, self hanged, to the great amoyance, and, in fact, to the total destruction of the whole community; for the people being carnivorous, cannot live without him. In like manner, when the Banker sets up for himself, and despises the admo-, nitions of the Chief Justice and High Priest, he uniformly. commits usury, and gets himself prosecuted under the statute of Queen Anne, which, you know, imposes forfeiture of the debt, and treble the amount of it in name of penalty; so that he becomes daily poorer the more he labours to become rich. The Traveller also, when left to himself, sees mountains where there are only seas, and forgets his business in thinking about friths and headlands which have no existence but in his own imagination, and thus loses his employment. The Time-keeper at 26 goes mad, and dances himself into convulsions; and the Organist, lost to all sense of propriety and of melody, alarms the community with discordant and uncouth sounds, which cease only when his instrument no longer answers to his call. The Imitator, forsaken by reason, enacts the part of Harlequin, and, in concert with the Wit at 32, makes a mock of every thing under the sun; till, by the chaotic din, the three great powers, roused to extremity, turn the one against the other, and by making the Butcher break the head of the Soldier, and the Soldier pummel the ribs of the Butcher, and by setting the Time-keeper to sub, due the Organist, and so on, the whole are again reduced to