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look to your purse,– which to that gentle the phenomenon. It seems, these were his warmth expands her silken leaves, as naturally
tributaries; feeders of his exchequer ; gentleas the cloak of the traveller, for which sun and men, his good friends (as he was pleased to wind contended! He is the true Propontic express himself), to whom he had occasionally which never ebbeth! The sea which taketh been beholden for a loan. Their multitudes handsomely at each man's hand. In vain the did no way disconcert him. He rather took victim, whom he delighteth to honour, struggles a pride in numbering them; and, with Comus, with destiny; he is in the net. Lend therefore seemed pleased to be “stocked with so fair a cheerfully, O man ordained to lend—that thou herd.” lose not in the end, with thy worldly penny, With such sources, it was a wonder how he the reversion promised. Combine not prepos
contrived to keep his treasury always empty. terously in thine own person the penalties of He did it by force of an aphorism, which he Lazarus and of Dives !--but, when thou seest had often in his mouth, that “money kept the proper authority coming, meet it smilingly, longer than three days stinks.” So he made as it were half-way. Come, a handsome sacri- use of it while it was fresh. A good part he fice ! See how light he makes of it ! Strain not drank away (for he was an excellent toss-pot); courtesies with a noble enemy.
some he gave away, the rest he threw away, Reflections like the foregoing were forced literally tossing and hurling it violently from upon my mind by the death of my old friend, him—as boys do burrs, or as if it had been inRalph Bigod, Esq., who parted this life, on fectious-into ponds, or ditches, or deep holes, Wednesday evening ; dying, as he had lived, inscrutable cavities of the earth ;-or he would without much trouble. He boasted himself a bury it (where he would never seek it again) descendant from mighty ancestors of that by a river's side under some bank, which (he name, who, heretofore held ducal dignities in would facetiously observe) paid no interest this realm. In his actions and sentiments he but out away from him it must go peremptorily, belied not the stock to which he pretended. as Hagar's offspring into the wilderness, while Early in life he found himself invested with it was sweet. He never missed it. The streams ample revenues ; which, with that noble disin- were perennial which fed his fisc. When new terestedness which I have noticed as inherent supplies became necessary, the first person that in men of the great race, he took almost imme- had the felicity to fall in with him, friend or diate measures entirely to dissipate and bring stranger, was sure to contribute to the defito nothing: for there is something revolting ciency. For Bigod had an undeniable way with in the idea of a king holding a private purse ;
him. He had a cheerful, open exterior, a quick and the thoughts of Bigod were all regal. Thus jovial eye, a bald forehead, just touched with furnished by the very act of disfurnishment; grey (cana fides). He anticipated no excuse, getting rid of the cumbersome luggage of riches, and found none. And, waiving for a while my more apt (as one sings)
theory as to the great race, I would put it to the To slacken virtue, and abate her edge,
inost untheorising reader, who may at times Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise, have disposable coin in his pocket, whether it he set forth, like some Alexander, upon his is not more repugnant to the kindliness of his great enterprise,“ borrowing and to borrow !" nature to refuse such a one as I am describing,
In his periegesis, or triumphant progress than to say no to a poor petitionary rogue (your throughout this island, it has been calculated bastard borrower), who, by his mumping visthat he laid a tythe part of the inhabitants nomy, tells you, that he expects nothing better; under contribution. I reject this estimate as and, therefore whose preconceived notions and greatly exaggerated :—but having had the expectations you do in reality so much less honour of accompanying my friend divers shock in the refusal. times, in his perambulations about this vast When I think of this man; his fiery glow of city, I own I was greatly struck at first with heart; his swell of feeling ; how magnificent, the prodigious number of faces we met, who how ideal he was ; how great at the midnight claimed a sort of respectful acquaintance with hour ; and when I compare with him the com
He was one day so obliging as to explain panions with whom I have associated since, I grudge the saving of a few idle dacats, and sometimes, like the sea, sweeps away a treasure, think that I am fallen into the society of lenders, at another time, sea-like, he throws up as rich and little men.
an equivalent to match it. I have a small To one like Elia, whose treasures are rather under-collection of this nature (my friend's cased in leather covers than closed in iron gatherings in his various calls,) picked up, he coffers, there is a class of alienators more has forgotten at what odd places, and deposited formidable than that which I have touched upon; | with as little memory at mine. I take in these I mean your borrorders of books—those mutilators orphans, the twice-deserted. These proselytes of collections, spoilers of the symmetry of shelves, of the gate are welcome as the true Hebrews. and creators of odd volumes. There is Com- There they stand in conjunction ; natives, and berbatch, matchless in his depredations ! naturalized. The latter seem as little disposed
That foul gap in the bottom shelf facing to inquire out their true lineage as I am.you, like a great eye-tooth knocked out—(you I charge no warehouse-room for these deoare now with me in my little back study dands, nor shall ever put myself to the unin Bloomsbury, reader !)—with the huge gentlemanly trouble of advertising a sale of Switzer-like tomes on each side (like the Guild- them to pay expenses. hallgiants, in their reformed posture, guardant To lose a volume to C.carries some sense and of nothing) once held the tallest of my folios, meaning in it. You are sure that he will Opera Bonaventuræ, choice and massy divinity, make one hearty meal on your viands, if he to which its two supporters (school divinity can give no account of the platter after it. But also, but of a lesser calibre,-Bellarmine, and what moved thee, wayward, spiteful K., to be Holy Thomas), showed but as dwarfs,-itself so importunate to carry off with thee, in spite an Ascapart !--that Comberbatch abstracted of tears and adjurations to thee to forbear, the upon the faith of a theory he holds, which is Letters of that princely woman, the thrice more easy, I confess, for me to suffer by than noble Margaret Newcastle ?-knowing at the to refute, namely, that “the title to property time, and knowing that I knew also, thou most in a book (my Bonaventure, for instance), is in assuredly wouldst never turn over one leaf of exact ratio to the claimant's powers of under the illustrious folio :—what but the mere spirit standing and appreciating the same.” Should of contradiction, and childish love of getting he go on acting upon this theory, which of our the better of thy friend ?-Then, worst cut of shelves is safe?
all! to transport it with thee to the Gallican The slight vacuum in the left-hand case- landtwo shelves from the ceiling-scarcely distin- Unworthy land to harbour such a sweetness, guishable but by the quick eye of a loser—was A virtue in which all ennobling thoughts dwelt, whilom the commodious resting-place of Brown
Pure thoughts, kind thoughts, high thoughts, her sex's
wonder! on Urn Burial. C.will hardly allege that he knows more about that treatise than I do, who intro- -hadst thou not thy play-books, and books of duced it to him, and was indeed the first (of the jests and fancies, about thee, to keep thee merry, moderns) to discover its beauties—but so have even as thou keepest all companies with thy I known a foolish lover to praise his mistress quips and mirthful tales ? Child of the Greenin the presence of a rival more qualified to room, it was unkindly done of thee. Thy wife, carry her off than himself. Just below, Dods- too, that part-French, better-part Englishley's dramas want their fourth volume, where woman !—that she could fix upon no other Vittoria Corombona is ! The remainder nine are treatise to bear away, in kindly token of reas distasteful as Priam’s refuse sons, when the membering us, than the works of Fulke GreFates borrowed Hector. Here stood the Anatomy ville, Lord Brook-of which no Frenchman, of Melancholy, in sober state. There loitered nor woman of France, Italy, or England, was the Complete Angler ; quiet as in life, by some ever by nature constituted to comprehend a stream side. In yonder nook, John Buncle, a tittle !- Was there not Zimmerman on Solitude ? widower-volume, with “eyes closed,” mourns Reader, if haply thou art blessed with a his ravished mate.
moderate collection, be shy of showing it; or One justice I must do my friend, that if he | if thy heart overfloweth to lend them, lend thy books; but let it be to such a one as S. T. C. no very clerkly hand—legible in my Daniel ; -he will return them (generally anticipating in old Burton ; in Sir Thomas Browne; and the time appointed) with usury ; enriched with those abstruser cogitations of the Greville, annotations tripling their value. I have had now, alas ! wandering in Pagan lands.—I experience. Many are these precious MSS. of counsel thee, shut not thy heart, nor thy library, his—in matter oftentimes,and almost in quantity against S. T. C. not unfrequently, vying with the originals) in
NEW YEAR'S EVE.
Every man hath two birth-days : two days, I am naturally, beforehand, shy of novelties ; at least, in every year, which set him upon new books, new faces, new years,-from some revolving the lapse of time, as it affects his mental twist which makes it difficult in me to mortal duration. The one is that which in an face the prospective. I have almost ceased to especial manner he termeth his. In the gradual hope ; and am sanguine only in the prospects desuetude of old observances, this custom of of other (former) years. I plunge into foresolemnizing our proper birth-day hath nearly gone visions and conclusions. I encounter passed away, or is left to children, who reflect pell-mell with past disappointments. I am nothing at all about the matter, nor understand armour-proof against old discouragements. I anything in it beyond cake and orange. But forgive, or overcome in fancy, old adversaries. the birth of a New Year is of an interest too I play over again for love, as the gamesters wide to be pretermitted by king or cobbler. phrase it, games, for which I once paid so dear. No one ever regarded the first of January with I would scarce now have any of those untoward indifference. It is that from which all date accidents and events of my life reversed. I their time, and count upon what is left. It is would no more alter them than the incidents the nativity of our common Adam.
of some well-contrived novel. Methinks it is Of all sound of all bells—(bells, the music better that I should have pined away seven of nighest bordering upon heaven)-most solemn my goldenest years, when I was thrall to the fair and touching is the peal which rings out the hair, and fairer eyes, of Alice WOld Year. I never hear it without a gathering- | that so passionate a love-adventure should be up of my mind to a concentration of all the lost. It was better that our family should images that have been diffused over the past have missed that legacy, which old Dorrell twelvemonth ; all I have done or suffered, per- cheated us of, than that I should have at formed or neglected-in that regretted time. I this moment two thousand pounds in banco, begin to know its worth, as when a person dies. and be without the idea of that specious old It takes a personal colour; nor was it a poetical rogue. flight in a contemporary, when he exclaimed, In a degree beneath manhood, it is my inI saw the skirts of the departing Year.
firmity to look back upon those early days. It is no more than what in sober sadness Do I advance a paradox, when I say, that, every one of us seems to be conscious of, in skipping over the intervention of forty years, that awful leave-taking. I am sure I felt it, a man may have leave to love himself, without and all felt it with me, last night; though the imputation of self-love ? some of my companions affected rather to If I know aught of myself, no one whose manifest an exhilaration at the birth of the mind is introspective-and mine is painfully so coming year, than any very tender regrets for -can have a less respect for his present the decease of its predecessor. But I am none identity, than I have for the man Elia. I of those who
know him to be light, and vain, and humourWelcome the coming, speed the parting guest.
some; a notorious * * *
; addicted to ****
averse from counsel, neither taking it nor childhood alone, but the young man till thirty, offering it ;-** * besides ; a stammering buf- never feels practically that he is mortal. He foon; what you will ; lay it on, and spare not: knows it indeed, and, if need were, he could I subscribe to it all, and much more than thou preach a homily on the fragility of life ; but he canst be willing to lay at his door--but for brings it not home to himself, any more than the child Elia, that “other me,” there, in the in a hot June we can appropriate to our imaback-ground-I must take leave to cherish the gination the freezing days of December. But remembrance of that young master-with as now, shall I confess a truth ?-I feel these little reference, I protest, to this stupid change- audits but too powerfully. I begin to count ling of five-and-forty, as if it had been a child the probabilities of my duration, and to grudge of some other house, and not of my parents. at the expenditure of moments and shortest I can cry over its patient small-pox at five, and periods, like misers' farthings. In proportion rougher medicaments. I can lay its poor as the years both lessen and shorten, I set more fevered head upon the sick pillow at Christ's, count upon their periods, and would fain lay my and wake with itin surprise at the gentle posture ineffectual finger upon the spoke of the great of maternal tenderness hanging over it, that wheel. I am not content to pass away “like a unknown had watched its sleep. I know how weaver's shuttle.” Those metaphors solace me it shrank from any the least colour of falsehood. not, nor sweeten the unpalatable draught of God help thee, Elia, how art thou changed !- mortality. I care not to be carried with the Thou art sophisticated. I know how honest, tide, that smoothly bears human life to eternity; how courageous (for a weakling) it was—how and reluct at the inevitable course of destiny. religious, how imaginative, how hopeful ! From I am in love with this green earth; the face of what have I not fallen, if the child I remember town and country; the unspeakable rural soliwas indeed myself,—and not some dissembling tudes, and the sweet security of streets. I guardian, presenting a false identity, to give would set up my tabernacle here. I am content the rule to my unpractised steps, and regulate to stand still at the age to which I am arrived; the tone of my moral being !
I, and my friends: to be no younger, no richer, That I am fond of indulging, beyond a hope no handsomer. I do not want to be weaned of sympathy, in such retrospection, may be the by age; or drop, like mellow fruit, as they say, symptom of some sickly idiosyncrasy. Or is it into the grave.- Any alteration, on this earth owing to another cause: simply, that being of mine, in diet or in lodging, puzzles and diswithout wife or family, I have not learned to composes me. My household-gods plant a project myself enough out of myself; and terrible fixed foot, and are not rooted up having no offspring of my own to dally with, I without blood. They do not willingly seek turn back upon memory, and adopt my own Lavinian shores. A new state of being stagearly idea, as my heir and favourite? If these gers me. speculations seem fantastical to thee, reader Sun, and sky, and breeze, and solitary walks, -(a busy man, perchance), if I tread out of the and summer holidays, and the greenness of way of thy sympathy, and am singularly con- fields, and the delicious juices of meats and ceited only, I retire, impenetrable to ridicule, fishes, and society, and the cheerful glass, and under the phantom cloud of Elia.
candle-light, and fire-side conversations, and The elders, with whom I was brought up, innocent vanities, and jests, and irony itselfwere of a character not likely to let slip the do these things go out with life? sacred observance of any old institution ; and Can a ghost laugh, or shake his gaunt sides, the ringing out of the Old Year was kept by when you are pleasant with him ? them with circumstances of peculiar ceremony. And you, my midnight darlings, my Folios ! -In those days the sound of those midnight must I part with the intense delight of having chimes, though it seemed to raise hilarity in all you (huge armfuls) in my embraces? Must around me, never failed to bring a train of knowledge come to me, if it come at all, by pensive imagery into my fancy. Yet I then some awkward experiment of intuition, and no scarce conceived what it meant, or thought of longer by this familiar process of reading ? it as a reckoning that concerned me. Not Shall I enjoy friendships there, wanting the
smiling indications which point me to them be.” Not so shortly, friend, perhaps as thou here,-the recognisable face--the “sweet as- imaginest. In the mean time I am alive. I surance of a look”-?
move about. I am worth twenty of thee. In winter this intolerable disinclination to Know thy betters ! Thy New Years' days are dying—to give it its mildest name-does more past. I survive, a jolly candidate for 1821. especially haunt and beset me. In a genial | Another cup of wine—and while that turnAugust noon, beneath a sweltering sky, death coat bell, that just now mournfully chanted the is almost problematic. At those times do such obsequies of 1820 departed, with changed notes poor snakes as myself enjoy an immortality. lustily rings in a successor, let us attune to its Then we expand and burgeon. Then we are peal the song made on a like occasion, by as strong again, as valiant again, as wise again, hearty, cheerful Mr. Cotton. and a great deal taller. The blast that nips and shrinks me, puts me in thoughts of death. All things allied to the insubstantial, wait upon that master feeling ; cold, numbness, dreams,
THE NEW YEAR. perplexity ; moonlight itself, with its shadowy
HARK the cock crows, and yon bright star and spectral appearances,—that cold ghost of
Tells us the day himself 's not far ; the sun, or Phæbus' sickly sister, like that in
And see where, breaking from the night, nutritious one denounced in the Canticles :
He gilds the western hills with light. I am none of her minions—I hold with the
With him old Janus doth appear, Persian.
Peeping into the future year, Whatsoever thwarts, or puts me out of my
With such a look as seems to
The prospect is not good that way. way, brings death into my mind. All partial
Thus do we rise ill sights to see, evils, like humours, run into that capital
And 'gainst ourselves to prophesy ; plague-sore.--I have heard some profess an
When the prophetic fear of things indifference to life. Such hail the end of their
A more tormenting mischief brings, existence as a port of refuge ; and speak of the More full of soul-tormenting gall grave as of some soft arms, in which they may Than direst mischiefs can befall. slumber as on a pillow. Some have wooed
But stay! but stay! methinks my sight, death
Better inform'd by clearer light, -but out upon thee, I say, thou foul,
Discerns sereneness in that brow, ugly phantom! I detest, abhor, execrate, and
That all contracted seem'd but now. (with Friar John) give thee to six-score thou
His reversed face may show distaste, sand devils, as in no instance to be excused or And frown upon the ills are past; tolerated, but shunned as an universal viper; But that which this way looks is clear, to be branded, proscribed, and spoken evil of !
And smiles upon the New-born Year.
He looks too from a place so high, In no way can I be brought to digest thee,
The Year lies open to his eye; thou thin, melancholy Prioation, or more fright
And all the moments open are ful and confounding Positive'?
To the exact discoverer. Those antidotes, prescribed against the fear Yet more and more he smiles upon of thee, are altogether frigid and insulting, like The happy revolution. thyself. For what satisfaction hath a man,
Why should we then suspect or fear
The influences of a year, that he shall “ lie down with kings and empe
So smiles upon us the first morn, rors in death,” who in his life-time never
And speak us good so soon as born? greatly coveted the society of such bed-fellows?
Plague on't! the last was ill enough, -or, forsooth, that “ so shall the fairest face
This cannot but make better proof; appear ?”—why, to comfort me, must Alice Or, at the worst, as we brushed through W- -n be a goblin? More than all, I con- The last, why so we may this too;
And then the next in reason shou'd ceive disgust at those impertinent and misbe
Be superexcellently good : coming familiarities, inscribed upon your ordi
For the worst ills (we daily see) nary tombstones. Every dead man must take
Have no more perpetuity upon himself to be lecturing me with his odious Than the best fortunes that do fall; truism, that “Such as he now is I must shortly Which also bring us wherewithal