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yet acknowledged, but undoubtedly presides over it. You have always felt, together with the powerful tonic found the said Minister most ready imparted by the war, seem to have and anxious to make changes at the at length indisposed the people for base of his department to suit the those partial and spasmodic move- public wish, after the evil has been ments in which they were but tools discovered by those without; but and dupes. Never did there appear you have never known him suggest combined so much caution, so little improvements or changes prior to division, and so quiet a determina- the discovery. Your impression is, tion. They appear to have taken that things might have gone on intheir case into their own hands for definitely in their old course as far rational treatment; and this encou- as the Minister was concerned, alraging belief it is which leads us, in though his readiness and anxiety to all diffidence, to offer these comments do something to quell the public and suggestions.
dissatisfaction are quite captivating. Remorseless Routine of Fate! How We will take you, oh reader, into has it dealt with them who, in these our confidence touching this matter. latter days, have troubled the three The Minister is but too glad that kingdoms-who, during their periods your suspicion and your indignation of noisy notoriety, could command should be directed anywhither, save the shouts, direct the energies, and towards himself. He suggests or extract the money of their deluded detects your erring imputation of followers? Wilkes, Hunt, Cobbett, blame, and, far from endeavouring O'Connell, Cobden! What memory to lead you back, smoothes the way have the dead left behind them : in that you may err farther. A clear what estimation is the living held ? perception of the case in you would Of them it may with truth be said, be destruction to him. If you must that they did
have a victim, he will take care to
provide one--but is on no account “ Fret and strut their hour upon the stage, inclined to offer himself in that caAnd then were heard no more.”
pacity. You, nevertheless, if you are Their mad denunciations, their un- wise, will abandon the pursuit of blushing promises, their enormous small deer, whose destruction has misrepresentations, their subtile flat never profited you, and select a higher teries, their professed devotion to quarry—to wit, the principal himself; their compatriots—what remains of at least you will see that the head all? The dead sleep in 'unnoted is guiltless before you consent to graves ; the living has already out- transfer the blame lower down. We lived his popularity. In his Bezonian do not flatter ourself that these our arrogance he presumed to point his remarks are profound; but we bejeer at “the foremost man of all this lieve that they are unusual. Applied world;" now not a pot-boy heeds his to another subject they would be opinion. The mighty Duke is dead; commonplace; but, for some unbut he lives in the hearts and admira known reason, our Government offices tion of the world : his dog-faced re- have always been considered indeviler lives, but only for contempt and pendent of commonplace reasoning. mortification. To him the cloud of Concede to us, however, this much : oblivion is swifter than the shadow what you have taken the trouble to of death.
read, take the farther trouble to conSagacious reader, you have, like sider. With the utmost confidence ourself, been accustomed, when indirection or insufficiency has been we hope, the next time we meet, to observed in a branch of the Govern- see you fighting gallantly against ment, to see the blame sedulously strong and saucy criminals in high thrown on some subordinate members places, and no longer losing your of that branch, or on the mode of rest, wasting your energies, and altransacting its business. You have lowing yourself to be gulled, in the rarely or never known the disorder endeavour to lay a harmless bogle to be attributed to the Minister who like ROUTINE.
JOHN DECASTRO : A QUAINT RÉCHAUFFÉ.
THERE is a notion abroad, not al- for what with receiving and returntogether unfounded, that the world ing love-letters, carving her name will not willingly let a good book on walls, trees, and articles of furnidie. The world ought to know its ture; writing sonnets to her eyebrow, own interests too well for that, and, watching for her in shops and at far from willingly contributing to street-corners, meditating deeply on such a catastrophe, it frequently falls what she had said to us at our last into the opposite extreme of main- interview, and what we intended to taining the rickety offspring of weak say to her at the next one; quarrelor unsound brains in a kind of arti- ling from jealousy and making it up ficial life by dint of coddling and from love, and the like engrossing puffing. Nevertheless, it sometimes occupations-our leisure was so coinhappens that some rare spark of pletely monopolised that we remained genius, either from appearing at an utterly ignorant of all the most disunpropitious juncture, or from con- tinguished publications of the day. taining in itself some element hostile Our attachment coming suddenly to to existence, or from some other un- an unfortunate termination-viz., the toward cause, becomes extinct with marriage of her we loved with anout having ever attracted the regard other person-we resolved to seek even of the discriminating few, far consolation and oblivion in travel, less of that immense court of judica- and have left a record of our passion, ture known as the reading public; in the shape of the letters H. H. (the and in its untimely end some sense, lady's former initials) on the tocador wit, or pathos, some images which of the Alhambra, on a pillar of the might have occupied permanent temple at Belbek, on the Great Pyraniches in the language, or charac- mid, and on a large iceberg at the ters that might have become familiar mouth of Wellington Sound, where to our regard as personal friends, are they were mistaken by a Polar navilost to the world for ever.
gator for a memorial of Franklin's Nobody whose acquaintance with party. Returning quite cured, with us is not (unfortunately for them) of the intention of making up our leeconsiderable standing, would suspect · way in literature, the war broke out, that we had ever been a great read- and our next age shifted into the er. A more utterly illiterate per- soldier, “full of strange oaths, and son than we have been for several bearded like the pard ;” and through years past does not exist, the various the whole campaign we never looked causes of which have followed each at any works except those published other in such dire and unrelenting by Todtleben, which we perused dilisuccession as to assume the appear- gently every day through the medium ance of fatality. The first of these of a telescope. The result of this longcauses was an idea which occurred protracted abstinence from books is to us that we could write a book, an utter distaste for reading, and we and which we immediately acted on, have pretty nearly made up our producing a work, of the religious- mind never to peruse anything more, novel class, so full of passion and except our own articles in the Magapathos as to set all the impression- zine. Meantime we have, of course, able females in England weeping, fallen altogether behind the age. One of these niobes conceived such Schools of religion and philosophy an attachment to the author that have sprung up, been discussed, opshe opened a correspondence with posed, and supplanted, of the prin. us, and as she possessed consider- ciples of which we are unhappily able charms of person and mind, we ignorant; wonderful discoveries have returned her passion with all the been made, of which scarce the faintardour of our impetuous tempera- est echo has reached our ears; and ment. Hence arose obstacle the the greatest modern works of fiction second in the way of our reading; -Macaulay's History, Thackeray's
novels, and Dickens's later serials did not think Doctor Watt a worthy are as unknown to us as if they had noodle — and had Dickens's works been written in cuneiform characters been read to us in the cradle, we on the walls of a Babylonian temple. should, in our first articulate syllables, So that in the field of modern litera- have babbled the praises of Pickwick, ture, far from being a match for and expressed our utter disgust at people of our own class, we should Little Dorrit. Therefore we think be easily defeated by the least intelli- of our infantile decisions with no less gent of those operatives whose minds respect than a chancellor of the prehave been enriched by cheap litera sent day accords to the judgments of ture, and by the addresses of Lord Burleigh. But another reason we Carlisle, M. Kossuth, and other itine- have for believing that we are not rant lecturers.
blinded by early partiality is, that Though filled at present with this whenever we have quoted some fasingular aversion to all printed mat- vourite passage of Decastro to an ear ter, we cling with all the constancy of and mind capable of appreciating it, a first affection to those works which applause has seldom failed to follow. had the love of our youth—and what Not easily shall we forget that suma reader we were in our boyhood, mer morning, in another hemisphere, childhood—nay, in our very infancy! when, wandering through priineval There are some books the first per- woods with the chosen friend of our risal of which we can by no effort of youth, we for the first time spoke to memory recall—a perfect acquaint- him of the book we had long ago ance with them seems coeval with loved ; and, sitting beside him on one our birth. Between two and a half of the prostrate fathers of the forand three we remember meeting with est, while before us spread a painted a good many standard works for the carpet of lupins, trilia, and moccasin first time : we were at that time a flowers, and through the pines flitted profound critic, and we distinctly re- the yellow oriole, the scarlet tanager, member disliking, on artistic grounds, like a spark of fire, the blue-bird, and the catastrophe of the Yellow Dwart, the gorgeous woodpecker; while, too, and demurring to the plot of For the bells from a distant church rung tunatus ; while, on the other hand, in the ears of us two Sabbath-breakwe considered (as we do now) Hop-o'- ing heathens,-we summoned from my-Thumb, and Riquet with the l'uft, the past some of the scenes, charworks of the highest genius. But, as acters, and passages of the wellwe have said, there are some crea remembered chronicle. The pleasure tions which seem to us mixed up and sympathy he evinced formed with a still more remote epoch in another link in our friendship; freour literary life and opinions; we quently he recurred to the subject; can no more remember our first and when, years after, we met again knowledge of them than our first in England, he drew us, within the glance at our wet-nurse. Two will first five minutes of interview, to a we mention dearer than the rest, one bookcase, and pointed exultingly to (which every child has read) being a row of volumes, lettered on the the Arabian Nights; the other (which back, THE HISTORY OF JOHN DEvery few men, women, or children CASTRO. We learned afterwards that have read), the History of John the search of Japhet for his father, Decastro.
and of Cælebs for a wife, had been It will perhaps be said that the careless and desultory compared with deep undying regard we still enter the unresting eagerness with which tain for this latter work is owing he had sought these much desired to the immaturity of our judgment volumes. He had microscopically when we first took a liking to it, inspected libraries ; he had been reand that our persistence in admiring garded as insane by unsympathising it is the obstinacy of a weak mind bibliopolists; he had buried himself unable to free itself from first im- in museums, and had frequented pressions. To this we reply, first, bookstalls ; till at one of these latter that we were born a critic—there he had secured the prize. Since then was no period of our history when we he has frequently urged us most movingly "to say a good word third lustre, oltr.garent, just setting for Brother Bat” (John Decastro's out for London,asked us, like the brother), much as if the said Bat beneficent fairy of a tale, to name were a real person under a cloud, some wish, that he might have the and desirous of obtaining some small supreme satisfaction ol gratifying it. situation under Government; and “Bring us,” we said, “O mater Æneas, with this request-urged, too, by the the fourth volume of John Decastro," prickings of our conscience-we now which we uttered in a half-sarcastic somewhat tardily comply.
tone, as if we had been demeriding To begin at the beginning. Our the roc's egg of Aladdin, the lost. first acquaintance with the book was volumes of Pliny, or the end of ... episodical and fragmentary to an Macaulay's History. However, ... unusual extent, for we never remem- whether with or without the assisber it otherwise than in perfect tance of magical power, we know tatters. It had descended to us not, but the complete work was prothrough a line of seniors, all of them cured by this pearl of parents, and professors of apprehension, as Beatrice for the first time we traversed it would say-appreciators of humour from title-page to colophon. The and sense wherever met with—and title-page we transcribe, as being a who had so diligently perused the quaint index to the work The Hisvolumes, that backs, covers, and tory of Mr John Decastro and his stitches had long since given way, Brother Bat, commonly called Old and when we got hold of them, they Crab. In four volumes. The merry were in the mutilated condition of matter written by John Mathers; the the Elgin Marbles. Nevertheless, ex grave by a Solid Gentleman, Lonpede Herculem a giant was visible don : Printed for T. Egerton, Whitein the scraps. The huge torso of hall_1815. After which the reader Brother Bat, the grotesque linea- knows as much about the origin, ments of Old Comical, the magnifi- authorship, and history of the work cent proportions of Genevieve, all, as we do. though in ruins, told of power. But To the lover of art in literature the the annals were as fragmentary as plot of the book will appear partly trithe tale of Slawkenbergius-half the vial, partly preposterous. The merits first volume, three-fourths of the which we imagine we perceive, and third, and the whole of the fourth to which we mean to direct attention, were wanting. To supply this much- are the style - quaint, direct, and to-be-deplored hiatus, we ransacked thoroughly English; the humour, every corner of the house-cup- racy, genial, and Rabelaisian; and boards, garrets, closets, and lumber- the characters, grotesque, yet clear corners were explored ; and when we and individual, and conveying a vivid lit upon a page or so, our soul idea of reality through a wildly and burned within us, like Mr Knight's wilfully exaggerated medium, like when he finds a stray leaf of an the Wellington, Peel, and Brougham early copy of Hamlet, or an aged of Mr Punch. Possessing such miser's, on discovering a five-pound claims to attention as these, we have note between the long - neglected often wondered at the obscure desleaves of the family bible. Gradu- tiny of the book ; marvelling what ally, and with enormous research, offence against the gods had caused such as would have disinterred it to be consigned to oblivion ; till whole squadrons of winged bulls one day the reason was suddenly from the ruins of Nineveh — have revealed to us. The maiden of our deciphered all the arrowhead inscrip- love our own Musidora---was laughtions in Assyria-and have discovered ing, with the light musical laughter and put together the disjointed frag- that belongs to her, sweeter to our ments of the Erebus and Terror, we ear than the song of the wren, over completed three volumes of the his a volume she had lit on in the antory; but the fourth had vanished, tique library we both frequent. Thus without leaving a wrack behind. distracted, for a moment, from the Many years afterwards, at so late a grave pursuits that incessantly enperiod of our literary career as our gross us, we looked up, and, stealing
gently behind her to see what pleased of the Solid Gentleman about him to our beloved, we savc.it was Decastro. fall readily into the vein of Old Now, though our'uniform practice is Comical, might fancy the writer to share with Musidora whatever occasionally insane, and consider us, diverts us, thus quadrupling our the sponsor, as mad as our eccentric pleasure; yet somehow we had never godchild. introduced this book of our affections The first chapter begins thus : to her notice; and the same instinct“ How Mr Decastro had a great vhich we had then acted on, induced Fortune, but too little Money.” Now, us now, gently to draw the volume we gather from the preface that the si way. She looked up at us with design of the book is to reprimand
some wonder in those eyes, where the extravagance of the epoch in · still lingered the light of laughter, which it appeared—that is, forty years
till we whispered in her ear that ago; and it therefore very properly we would rather she read no more; opens with a picture of the reckless that perchance some wild witticism squandering of Mr and Mrs Decastro. or rough jest might pain her or bring But a blush to her cheek: and Musidora, ever docile, submitted without a sigh.
“ His brother Bartholomew, a man of But at the moment flashed across us
a sour turn, and upon that account the reason why all this fun and sense
called OLD CRAB, was one of another
kidney; he had a little fortune and too and humour have failed to secure po
much : so they did their best to keep up pularity. The author has some other that variety which makes this world so peculiarities, in common with Rabe
very pleasant. Now be it known, that lais, besides his humour, and the fas- Old Crab took his brother's rents and tidious, not to say squeamish, taste of paid his bills for him as far as money our times rejects all pleasantry in went, and no further, and that for a very which there is any tincture of impro- good reason. Brother John,' quoth priety. He was, we doubt not, some Old Crab one day to him, in a loud bold unconventional spirit, careless of voice, “thou'rt outrunning the constable.' forms, impatient of restraint--a plain
Outrunning the devil ! brother Bat,' blunt man, who spoke right on-in
quoth he. No,' quoth Old Crab, not different as to whose corns he trod
the devil, but the constable : to outrun
the devil will be no such easy matter : on; and therefore, though the moral
you will get his claws on your back one ity of the book is perfectly unim
day, if you have not a care : you and peachable, yet we doubt not the your gang have been kicking up a fine breadth of the humour has caused it dust here in London, this last year, with to be utterly ignored by the “damned your balls, cards, and fiddles, and the disinheriting countenance" of modern devil knows what-I can't pay your decorum. All we can do, then, for bills.' 'Can't pay my bills, brother our old friend, under these circum
Bat!' said Mr Decastro, with a great stances, is what a man would do if
stare. No,' quoth Old Crab, rising some virtuous sage and humourist,
upon his toes, as his manner was, as if who had known better days, but
he would fly at a man, 'I can't pay your
bills, I say ; art deaf, John !' Better whose not over clean linen now, in
be deaf than hear bad news,' quoth he. his misfortunes, glimmered through How stands the account, brother Bat ?' the looped and windowed raggedness Five thousand pounds upon the wrong of his raiment, were to claim admis- side, brother John' Upon which Mr sion to his drawing-room-to patch Decastro doubled his fist, gave a great him up, and, throwing a decent veil knock upon the table, and swore seven over his nakedness, to present him to great oaths that came out of his mouth the public. But we must remind the as if he had taken an emetic : we would reader of what we said of the wild set the oaths down if we were not afraid and wilful exaggeration of the paint
to raise the devil, and frighten the old
ladies. 'Don't you swear sometimes, ing. The writer always takes the
brother John ?' quoth Old Crab. "I never shortest way to be graphic, and, if
swore an oath in my life, brother Bat.' he finds that a stroke of caricature “No!' quoth Old Crab, 'what d'ye answers his purpose, he dashes it in call G-dd- my blood !' An unbroadly. But for this caution, some guarded expression,' quoth Mr Decasmatter-of-fact reader, with too much tro and fell to swearing again worse