Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

And now

a

most frightful bad language) into some pit where bers of them going about in the world. Jack came with his smart couteau de chasse and you have my word for it, and this little hint, it is whipped their brutal heads off. They would be quite curious what an interest society may be made going to devour maidens,

to have for you, by your determining to find out the “But ever when it seemed

ogres you meet there. Their need was at the sorest,

What does the man mean? says Mrs. Downright,,

to whom a joke is a very grave thing. I mean, A knight, in armor bright, Came riding through the forest."

madam, that in the company assembled in your gen.

teel drawing-room, who bow here and there, and And down, after a combat, would go the brutal per. smirk in white neck-cioths, you receive men who secutor, with a lance through his midriff. Yes, I eibow throu ;h life successfully enough, but who are say, this is very true and well. But you remember ogres in private; men wicked, false, rapacious, flat. that round the ogre's cave the ground was covered, tering; cruel hectors at home, smiling courtiers for hundreds and hundreds of yards, with the bones of , abroad; ca!:sing wives, children, servants, parents, to the victims whom he had lured into the castle. Many tremble before them, and smiling and bowing as they knights and maids came to him and perished under bid strangers welcome into their castles. I say, nis knife and eeth. Were dragons the same as there are men who have crunched the bones of vic. ogres? Monsters dwelling in caverns, whence they tim after victim; in whose closets lie skeletons rushed, attired in plate armor, wielding pikes and picked frightfully clean. When these ogres come torches, and de troying stray passengers who passed out into rhe world, you don't suppose they show by their lair? Monsters, brutes, rapacious tyrants, their knives, and their great teeth? A neat, sitaple ruftians, as they were, doubtless they ended by being white neck-clotn, a merry rather obsequious manner, overcome. But, before they were destroyed, they a cadaverous look, perhaps, now and ain, and a did a deal of mischief. The bones round their caves rather dreadıul grin; but I know ogres very considwere countless. They had sent many brave souls to erably respected: and when you hint to such and llades, before their own fled, howling out of their such a man, “My dear sir, Mr. Sharpus, whom you rascai carcasses, to the same place of gloom.

appear to like, is, I assure you, a most dreadiul canThere is no greater mistake than to suppose that nibal;” the gentleman cries, “Oh, psha, nonsense! fairies, champions, distressed damsels, and by conse- Dare say not so black as he is painted. Dare say quence ogres, have ceased to exist. It may not be not worse than his neighbors.” We condone everyogreable to them (pardon the horrible pleasantry, but thing in this country-private treason, falsehood, as I am writing in the solitude of my chanıber, I am Mattery, cruelty at home, roguery, and double deal. grinding my teeth-yelling, roaring, and cursing- ing. What! Do you mean to say in your acquaintbrandishing my scissors and paper-cutter, and, as it ance you don't know ogres guilty of countless crimes were, have become an ogre). I say there is no greater of fraud and force, and that knowing them you don't mistake than to suppose that ogres have ceased to shake hands with them; dine with them at your exist. We all know ogres. Their caverns are round table; and meet them at their own? Depend upon us, and about us. There are the castles of several it, in the time when there were real live ogres in real ogres within a mile of the spot where I write. I caverns or castles, gobbling up real knights and vir. think some of them suspect I am an ogre myself. I gins, when they went into the world—the neighbor am not; but I know they are. I visit them. I don't ing market-town, let us say, or earl's castle--though mean to say that they take a cold roast prince out of their nature and reputation were pretty well known, the cupboard, and have a cannibal teast before me. their notorious foibles were never alluded to. You But I see the bones lying bou the roads to their would say, “What, Blunderbore, my boy! How do nouses, and in the areas and gardens. Politeness, of you do? How well and fresh you look! What's the course, prevents me from making any remarks; but receipt you have for keeping so young and rosy?” I know them well enough. One of the ways to And your wife would softly ask after Mrs. Blunder. know 'em is to watch the scared looks of the ogres' bore and the dear children. Or would it be, “ My wives and children. They lead an awful life. They dear Humguflin! Try that pork. It is home-bred, are present at dreadful cruelties. In their excesses home-fed, and, I promise you, tender. Tell me if those ogres will stab about, and kill not only stran. you think it is as good as yours? John, a glass of gers who happen to call in and ask a night's lodging, Burgundy to Colonel Humguffin!” You don't supbut they will outrage, murder, and chop up their pose there would be any unpleasant allusions to disown kin. We all know ogres, I say, and have been disagreeable home-reports regarding Humgusin's in their dens often. It is not necessary that ogres manner of furnishing his larder? I say we all of us who ask you to dine should offer their guests the know ogres. We shake hands and dine with ogres. peculiar dish which they like. They cannot always And if inconvenient moralists i ll us we are cowaras get a Tom Thumb family. They eat mutton and for our pains, we turn round with a tu quoque, or say beef too; and I dare say even go out to tea, and that we don't meddle with other folk's affairs; that invite you to drink it. But I tell you there are num- people are much less black than they are painted, and

SO оп

to

the way

Woman.

What! Won't half the county go to Ogre. hain Castle? Won't some of the clergy say grace at dinner? Won't the mothers bring their daughters to dance with the young Rawheads? And if Lady Ogrehain happens to die—I won't say go of all flesh, that is too revolting-I say if Ogreham is a widower, do you aver, on your conscience and honor, that mothers will not be found to offer their young girls to supply the lamented lady's place? llow stale this misanthropy is! Something must have disagreed ith this cynic. Yes, my good

I dare say you would like to call another subject. Yes, my fine fellow; ogre at home, supple as a dancing master abroad, and shaking in thy pumps, 10) wearing a horrible grin of sham gayety to conceal thy terror, lest I should point thee out:tho's art prosperous and honored, art thou? I say thu last been a tyrant and a robber. Thou hast plundered the poor. Thou hast bullied the weak. Thou hast laid violent hands on the goods of the innocent and confiding. Thou hast made a prey of the meek and gentle who asked for thy proteciion.

Thou hast been hard to thy kinsfolk, and cruel to thy family: Go, monster! Ah, when shall little Jack come and drill daylight through thy wicked cannibal carcase? I see the ogre pass on, bowing right and left to the company; and he gives a dreadful sidelong glance of suspicion as he is talking to my lord bishop in the correr there.

Ogres in our days need not be giants at all. In former times, and in children's books, where it is necessary to paint your moral in such large letters that there can be no mistake about it, ogres are made with that enormous mouth and ratelier which you know of, and with which they can swallow down a baby, almost without using that great knife which they always carry. They are too cunning nowadays. They go about in society, slim, small, quietly dressed, and showing no especially great appetite. In my own young days there used to be play ogres — men who would devour a young feliow in one sitting, and leave him without a bit of flesh on his bones. They were quite gentlemanlike-looking people. They got the young fellow into their cave. Champagne, pate. de-foie.gras, and numberless good things, were handed about; and then, having eaten, the young man was devoured in his turn. I believe these card and dice ogres have died away almost entirely as the hasty-pudding giants whom Tom Thumb overcame. Now, there are ogres in city courts who lure you into their dens. About our Cornish mines I am told there are many most plausible ogres, who tempt you into their caverns and pick your bones there. In a certain newspaper there used to be lately a whole column of advertisements from ogres, who would put on the most plausible, nay, piteous appearance, in crder to inveigle their victims. You would read, "A tradesman, established for seventy years in the city, and known, and much respected by Messrs. N. M. Rothschild and Baring Brothers, has pressing

need for three pounds until next Saturday. He can give security for half a million, and forty thousand pounds will be given for the use of the loan," and so on; or, “An influential body of capitalists are about to establish a company, of which the business will be enormous and the profits proportionately prodig. ious. They will require A SECRETARY, of good address and appearance, at a salary of two thousand per annum. Ile need not be able to write, but ad. dress and manners are absolutely necessary. As a mark of confidence in the company, he will have to deposit,” etc.; or, “A young widow (of pleasing manners and appearance) who has a pressing necessity for four pounds ten for three weeks, offers her Erard's grand piano valued at three hundred guineas; a dia. mond cross of eight hundred pounds; and board and lodging in her elegant villa near Banbury Cross, with the best references and society, in return for the loan.” I suspect these people are ogres. There are ogres and ogres. Polyphemus was a great, tall, oneeyed, notorious ogre, fetching his victims out of a hole, and gobbling them one after another. There could be no mistake about him. But so were the Sirens ogres — pretty blue-eyed things, peeping at you coaxingly from out of the water, and singing their melodious wheedles. And the bones round their caves were more numerous than the ribs, skulls, and thigh-bones round the cavern of hulking Polypheme.

To the castle.gates of some of these monsters up rides the dapper champion of the pen; puffs boldly upon the horn which hangs by the chain; enters the hall resolutely, and challenges the big tyrant sulking within. We defy him to combat, the enormous roar ing ruffian! We give him a meeting on the green plain before his castle. Green? No wonder it should be green: It is manured with human bones. After a few graceful wheels and curvets we take our ground We stoop over our saddle. 'Tis but to kiss the locket of our lady-love's hair. And now the vizor is up: the lance is in rest (Gillott's iron is the point for me). A touch of the spur in the gallant sides of Pegasus. and we gallop at the great brute.

“Cut off his ugly head, Flibbertygibbet, my squire!” And who are these who pour out of the ca-tle? The imprisoned maidens, the maltreated widows, the poor old hoary grandfathers, who have been locked up in the dungeons these scores and scores of years, writhing under the tyranny of that rullian! Ah, ye knights of the pen! May honor be your shield, and truth tip your lances! Be gentle to all gentle people. Be modest to women. Be tender to children. And as for the Ogre Humbug, out sword, and have at him.

a

A PARABLE.

DR. H. MORE.

A certain hermit, not well sa‘isfied with the ad. ministration of this worll and its affairs, and the

divers occurrences of Divine Providence in relation no longer, but charged his companion with ingratito it, resolved to quit his cell and travel abroad to tude, theft, and murder; he enlarged on the heinous. view the course of things, and make what observa- ness of his crimes in the barbarous requitals he had tions he could, whereby to form a judgment of what made his benefactors, and concluded he was resolved disturbed him. He had not gone above half a day's to leave so vile and wicked a companion, return to journey before he was overtaken by a young stran- his cell, and confine himself there forever, rather ger, who came up to him, and joined company with than converse with mankind who committed such him, who soon insinuated himself into the hermits crimes without remorse of conscience. affections, that he thought himself happy in having But now behold as strange a sight of another kind! so soon met with so agreeable a companion. As The young man, smiling at the honest zeal of the her. their journey lay the same way, they agreed to eat mit, putting off his mortal disguise, appeared to him and lodge always at one house, wheresoever they in the form and lustre of an angel of God, telling came; they traveled some few days before the her. him he was sent to ease his mind of the perplexity mit took notice of anything that occurred worthy his and doubts he had so long labored under, as to the observation; but at length he could not but be con- Divine Providence.:-What you have seen, said he, cerned to see, that at a house where they were very seems astonishing and unaccountable; but, in reality, kindly and generously entertained, his fellow.traveler, nothing could be more just and equitable; which, for with whom in this time he had contracted an endear. want of your right understanding, has been so great ing friendship, at his departure stole a gold cup, and an offense to you. To prove this, know, that the took it away with him. The hermit was astonished first man from whom the cup was taken, had the that his friend, whom he thought a devout Christian, best compensation inade for his kindnesses, the cup should be guilty of theft and ingratitude, where he having occasioned great mischiess while he had it: had received such particular obligations; he was, he is, indeed, courteous and hospitable; but has one however, resolved to see what his behavior would be great failing, which tarnishes those good deeds, that at other places before he inquired into it. At night is, an inclination to drink more than becomes him; they came to a house of as ill accommodation as the and especially when this cup was brought out; there. other was good, and where the owner was a man of fore, the best office I could do was to remove this so morose and inhospitable a temper, that they were teinptation, that he might be brought to a better a long time denied admittance, and, when received, government of himself. When I had taken away were treated with the utmost surliness and brutality. this snare, I left it with the morose in hospitable man, Yet such was the different carriage of the young as a means of his destruction, that by it he might fall traveler to the morose hot, that in the morning he into intemperance, diseases, and even death itself; rewarded his inhumanity with his gold cup, which for there is an enchantment in this cup, that whoso. he left behind him in one of the windows The her- ever possesses it will be in danger of being bewitched mit was not less surprised at this sight than the by it. But perhaps you think nothing can be said former, and could not fathom the mystery of so un- for my strangling the little innocent babe in the equal a procedure; yet he still took no notice either cradle, and in a place where I had been so civiily enof one action or the other.

tertained. Know then, that this was done in great The next night they, by agreement, returned to the mercy to the parents, and no real hurt to the child house from whence the cup was taken. They were who is now in happiness in heaven. This gentleman treated as courteously as before, but the return for it and his wife had hitherto lived in great reputation for was more shocking and astonishing; for, at their their piety, justice, sobriety, and other Christian vir. leaving the place, the hermit saw his companion pri. tues; but, above all, their charity was eminent; vately strangle a little child as it lay in the cradle, divers of their sick and indigent neighbors owing the only child of the family, and in whom all the their subsistence, next under God, to their munifi. temporal happiness of both father and mother were cence; but since the birth of this child, their minds centered. Noi withstanding this last action, he pre- have degenerated into a love of this world; they vailed with himself to contain himself another day, were no longer charitable, but their whole thoughts and at night they came to a house of the best enter- have been employed how to enrich themselves and tainment they had met with yet, the master of it leave a great fortune to this infant and its posterity. doing everything, not only to accommodate them, Hence I took this momentary life from the body of but to divert them, and make their stay pleasant. In the child, that the souls of the parents might live the morning, as the way they were to go was intri- forever: and I appeal to you if this was not tl.com cate, he sent a faithful servant, for whom he had the greatest act of kindness and friendship to them.greatest esteem for his fidelity, to conduct them. There reinains one action more to defend, my de. Thus they traveled for a while, till, coming to a stroying the servant of a gentleman, who had used bridge which crossed a deep and rapid stream, the me so extraordinary civil, and who prosessed a great young traveler, on a sudden, laid violent hands on esteem for his fidelity ; but this was the most faiththe servant, and threw him over into the water and ful instance of gratitude I coulà show to one who drowned him Upon this the hermit could contain used me so kindly; for this servant was in fact a

a

rogue, and nul antered into a conspiracy to rob and kill his master – Now know, that Divine Providence is just, and the ways of God are not as your ways, nor his thoughts as your thoughts; for as the hea. vens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than your ways, and his thoughts than your thoughts.

At these words he vanished, laving the good man to meditate on what had passed, and the reasons given for it; who hereupon, transported with joy and amazement, lifted up his hands and eyes to heaven, and gave glory to God, who had delivered him from his anxiety about the ways of Divine Providence; satisfied as to the wisdom of God's dealinys, and those unseen reasons for them which surpiss all huinan conception, he returned with cheer. fulness to his cell, and spent the residue of his life in piety and peace.

below us,

AGREEABLE COMPANIONS AND

FLATTERERS.

RICHARD STEELE.

An old acquaintance who met me this morning seemed overjoyed to see me, and told me I looked as well as he had known me to these forty years; but, continued he, not quite the man you were when we visited together at Lady Brightly's. Oh! Isaac, those days are over. Do you think there are any such fine creatures now living as we then conversed with? He went on with a thousand incoherent cir. cumstances, which, in his imagination, must needs please me; but they had the quite contrary effect. The flattery with which he began, in telling me how weil I wore, was not disagreeable; but his indiscreet mention of a set of acquaintance we had outlived, recalled ten thousand things to my memory, which made me reflect upon my present condition with re. gret. Had he indeed been so kind as, after a long absence, to felicitate me upon an indolent and easy old age, and mentioned how much he and I had to thank for, who at our time of day could walk firmly, eat heartily, and converse cheerfully, he had kept up my pleasure in myself. But of all mankind, there are none so shocking as these injudicious civil people. They ordinarily begin upon something that they know must be a satisfaction; but then, for fear of the imputation of flattery, they follow it with the last thing in the world of which you would be reminded. It is this that perplexes civil persons. The reason that there is such a general outcry among us against flatterers, is, that there are so very few good ones. It is the nicest art in this life, and is a part of eloquence which does not want the preparation that is neces. sary to all other parts of it, that your audience should be your well-wishers; för praise from an enemy is the most pleasing of all commendations,

It is generally to be observed, that the person most agreeable to a man for a constancy, is he that has no

shining qualities, but is a certain degree above great imperfections, whom he can live with as his inferior, and who will either overlook or not observe his littie defects. Such an easy companion as this, either now and then throws out a little flattery, or lets a man silently flatter himself in his superiority to him. 11 you take notice, there is hardly a rich man in the world who has not such a led friend of small consid. eration, who is a darling for his insignificancy. It is a great ease to have one in our own shape a species

and who, without being listed in our ser. vice, is by nature of our retinue. These dependents are of excellent use on a rainy day, or when a man has not a mind to dress; or to exclude solitude, when one has neither a mind to that nor to company. There are of this good-natured order who are so kind to divide themselves, and do these good offices to many. Five or six of them visit a whole quarter of the town, and exclude the spleen, without fees, from the families they frequent. If they do not pre. scribe physic, they can be company when you take it. Very great benefactors to the rich, or those whom they call people at their ease, are your persons of no consequence. I have known some of them, by the help of a little cunning, make delicious flatterers. They know the course of the town, and the general characters of persons; by this means they will some. times tell the most agreeable falsehoods imaginable. They will acquaint you that such one of a quite contrary party said, that though you were engaged in different interests, yet he had the greatest respect for your good sense and address. When one of these has a little cunning, he passes his time in the utmost sat. isfaction to himself and his friends; for his position is never to report or speak a displeasing thing to his friend. As für letting him go on in an error, he knows advice against them is the office of persons of greater talents and less discretion.

The Latin word for a flatterer (assentator) implies no more than a person that barely consents; and indeed such a one, if a man were able to purchase or maintain him, cannot be bought too dear. Such a one never contradicts you, but gains upon you, not by a fulsome way of commending you in broad terms, but liking whatever you propose or utter; at the same time is ready to beg your pardon, and gain. say you if you chance to speak ill of yourself. An old lady is very seldom without such a companion as this, who can recite the names of all her lovers, and the matches refused by her in the days when she minded such vanities--as she is pleased to call them, though she so much approves the mention of them. It is to be noted, that a woman's flatterer is generally elder than herself, her years serving to recommend her patroness's age, and to add weight to her complaisance in all other particulars.

We gentlemen of small fortunes are extremely necessitous in this pariicular. I have indeed one who smokes with me often; but his parts are so low, that all the incense he does me is to fill his pipe with me,

а

[ocr errors]

m

and to be out at just as many whiffs as I take. This is all the praise or assent that he is capable of, yet .here are more hours when I would rather be in his company than that of the brightest man I know. It would be a hard matter to give an account of this inclination to be flattered; but if we go to the bottom of it, we shall find that the pleasure in it is something like that of receiving money which lay out. Every man thinks he has an estate of reputation, and is glad to see one that will bring any of it home to him; it is no matter how dirty a bag it is conveyed to him in, or by how clownish a messenger, so the money is good. All that we want to be pleased with flattery, is to believe that the man is sincere who gives it us. It is by this one accident that absurd creatures often outrun the most skillful in this art. Their want of ability is here an advantage, and their bluntness, as it is the seeming effect of sincerity, is the best cover to artifice.

It is, indeed, the greatest of injuries to flatter any but the unhappy, or such as are displeased with themselves for some infirmity. In this latter case we have a member of our club, that, when Sir Jeffrey falls asleep, wakens him with snoring. This makes Sir Jeffrey hold up for some moments the longer, to see there are men younger than himself among us, who are more lethargic than he is.

When flattery is practised upon any other con. sideration, it is the most abject thing in nature; nay, I cannot think of any character below the flatterer, except he that envies him. You meet with fellows prepared to be as mean as possible in their conde. 'scensions and expressions; but they want persons and talents to rise up to such a baseness. As a coxcomb is a fool of parts, so a flatterer is a knave of parts.

The best of this order that I know is one who disguises it under a spirit of contradiction or reproof. He told an arrant driveller the other day, that he did not care for being in company with him, because he heard learned his absent friends into ridicule. And upon Lady Autum's disputing with him about some. thing that happened at the Revolution, he replied with a very angry tone: “Pray, madam, give me leave to know more of a thing in which I was actually concerned, than you who were then in your nurse's arms."

After the king came the nobility; that is the men who had shown themselves better than other men, and those virtues were worked into their titles.

Thus there was the Duke of Lovingkindness; the Marquis of Sensibility; the Earl of Tenderheart; the Baron of Hospitality, and so forth. Touching, too, was the heraldry of As-you-like. The royal arms were, charity healing a bruised lamb, with the legend, Dieu et paix. And then for the coach panels of the aristocracy, I have stood by the hour, at holiday times, watching them; and tears have crept into my eyes, and my heart has suftened under their delicious influence. There were no lions, griffins, panthers, lynxes-no swords or daggers-no short verbal incitements to man.quelling. Oh, no! One nobleman would have for his bearings a large wheaten loaf, with the legend-Ask and have. Another would have a hand bearing a purse, with the questionWho lacks? Another would have a truckle-bed painted on his panels, with the words—Tv the tired and foot sore. Another would display some comely garment, with - Vew clothes for rags. O!! I could go through a thousand of such bearings, all with the prettiest quaintness showing the soft fleshly heart of the nobleman, and inviting, with all the brief sim. plicity of true tenderness, the hungry, the poor, the weary, and the sick, to come, feed, and be comforted. And these men were the nobility of As-you-like; nor was there even a dog to show his democratic teeth at them.

The church was held in deepest reverence. Happy was the man who, in his noon-day walk, should meet a bishop; for it was held by him as an omen of every manner of good fortune. This beautiful superstition arose, doubtless, from the love and veneration paid by the people to the ministers of religion, who from their tenderness, their piety, their affection towards their flocks, were looked upon as the very porters to heaven. The love of the people placed in the hands of their bishops heaps of money; but as quickly as it was heaped, it was scattered again by the ministers of the faith, who were thus perpetually preaching goodness and charity at the hearths of the poor, and the poor were every hour lifting up their hands and blessing them. It was not enough that the bisho, is were thus toilsome in their out-door work of good; but in the making of new laws and amending of old ones, they showed the sweetness, and, in the truest sense, the greatness of the human spirit. Duri:g my stay in As.you-like, what we should call the House of Lords, but what in that country was called the House of Virtues, debated on what some of their lordships deemed a very pretty case to go to war upon; and, sooth to say, for a time the House of Vir. tues seemed to forget the active benevolence that had heretofore been its moving principle. Where. upon the bishops one by one arose, and from their lips there flowed such heavenly music, in their eyes there sparkled such apostolic tears, that all ile members of the Ilouse of Virtues rose, and with one

LIFE IN AS-YOU-LIKE.

DOUGLAS JERKOLD. As-you-like is a monarchy; a limited monarchy. At the time I dwelt there, the crown was worn by King Abdomen, almost the greatest man that ever walked. His natural accomplishments were many, he was held to make a more melodious sneeze than any man in the universe. He invented buttons, the people of As-you-like before this time tving their clothes about them with strings. He also invented quart goblets. He was the son of King Stubborn, known as the King of the Shorr wools.

« ПредишнаНапред »