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while a fourth, whenever I ventured to sing, observed that I was then in my proper element, as I was favouring them with a few staves. Nothing reconciled me to this spiteful persecution but the superior success with which I prosecuted my studies. Mortified vanity stimulated me to aspire to a higher rank of intellect, as some atonement for inferiority of station ; and my object was so far attained, that I was enabled to retaliate upon fashionable dunces the sneers and taunts which they levelled against city minxes and upstart vulgarians. Among my schoolfellows there were several who feared me, and many who refrained from open quizzing; but they all held themselves aloof from any intimacy, and I found the pride of surpassing some in their studies, and of inflicting pain upon the feel ings of others whenever my own were attacked, but a poor compensation for the unsociableness to which I was condemned by their open or suppressed contempt.
Even this miserable comfort was denied me when I left school and was taken home into Houndsditch, for my own acquirements only served to render more striking, and infinitely more galling, the wretched illiterateness of my parents. Conceive, my dear Mr. Editor, the horror of hearing my father, who had yielded to my mother's wishes, in the selection of à polite seminary for my studies, inquire whether I had larnt to darn stockings and make a pudding ! But even this Vandalism was less grating to my soul than the letter which my mother wrote a few days after my return, to the parent of one of my schoolfellows, inquiring the character of a cook, which she
thus commenced : “ Mrs. Hoggins presents her compliments to the Honourable Mrs. Hartopp, as I understand Betty Butter lived in your family as cook, Mrs. H- begs Mrs. H— will inform her whether she understands her business, and I hope Mrs. Hwill be particular in stating to Mrs. H-,” &c.—and thus she continued for a whole page, confounding first, second, and third persons, and bepuzzling Mrs. H—'s in a most astounding commutation of initials and individualities.-At my earnest solicitation this letter was condemned, and a second composed which started with this inauspicious exordium :-“Betty Butter, whom, according to her own account, lived two years with you as cook,”—and proceeded in a similar strain of verbs without nominatives, and relatives without antecedents. This also she consented to cancel, not without sundry peevish exclamations against the newfangled English and nonsensical pedantry taught at the schools now-a-days, none of which were heard of in her time, although the world went on quite as well then as it did now. Having tartly reprimanded me for my saucy offer of inditing a proper note, she took out a new crow-pen, reflected for some minutes upon the best method of arranging her ideas, and finally recommenced thus:-“Madam,-Understanding Betty Butter lived with you as cook, has induced me to write you these few lines,” &c.: and this horrific epistle, terminating as awfully as it began, was actually despatched ! O Sir! imagine the abomination to all my grammatical nerves and philological sympathies !
From such gothic society I found it absolutely ne
cessary to emancipate myself, and I have the pleasure to inform you, that after innumerable difficulties and delays, from the ignorance of some and the ridicule of others, I have succeeded in establishing a Blue-stocking Society in Houndsditch, which, if I am not much mistaken, will eventually rival the most celebrated literary associations that have been formed from the days of Pericles down to those of Lorenzo de' Medici and Dr. Johnson. Considering the soul to be of no sex, I have admitted males of undoubted genius into our club, and we can already boast of several names that only want the means and opportunity to become immortal. The hitherto Bootian realm of Houndsditch begins to be fertile in classical and Attic associations. The Sugar-baker's upon Tower Hill we have consecrated to Grecian reminiscences as the Acropolis, and the Smoking-room upon its roof is hallowed to our eyes as the Parthenon; the Tower is our Piræus, and the houses on each side of the Minories are the long walls; Aldgate Pump is the Grotto of Pan; Whitechapel Church is the Ceramicus; the East India Company's Warehouses in Leadenhall-street are the Temple of Theseus; the extremities of Fenchurch-street are the Propylæa; and the Synagogue in Duke's place the Odeum. Thus you see, Sir, we are upon classic ground in whatever direction we move; while, to complete the illusion, we have named the great kennel leading to Tower-hill the Ilyssus, and I am credibly assured it is quite as large as the original. Our Academus, a room which we have hired in Houndsditch, is planted with pots of geranium and myrtle, to imitate the celebrated garden
of the original; and one of our members, who is a stationer, having made us a present of a thick new commercial ledger, that odious endorsement has been expunged, and the word ALBUM substituted in large letters of gold. From this sacred volume, destined to preserve the contributions of our associates, I propose occasionally to select such articles as may stamp a value upon your Miscellany, and at the same time awaken the public to a due sense of the transcendant talents which have been coalesced, principally by the writer of this article, in the composition of the Houndsditch Literary Society.
Young as our establishment is, it is so opulent in articles, that the very fertility renders selection impossible, and I must, after all, open the volume at random, and trust to the Sortes Hounditchianæ. It expands at a sonnet by Mr. M'Quill, a lawyer's clerk, possessing, as you will observe, a perfect knowledge of Latin; and though the subject be not very dignified, it is redeemed, by his delicacy of handling and felicity of diction, from that common-place homeliness with which a less gifted bard would have been apt to invest it. He catches ideas from his subject by letting it go, and in a vein at once facetious and pathetic-but I will detain you no longer from his beautiful
Thou art descended from that sire who fell
Banks maintain'd it had a lobster's shell?
Here, Jemmy Jumps, thou mak'st no stay; so fly;
Shouldst thou re-bite-thy grandsire's ghost may rise, Peep through the blanket of the dark, and
Eternal, thou who skippest now so gaily;
For every year with thee is Leap-year.- Vale!
The next unfolding of our richly-stored repertory developes the most important communication we have hitherto received, being a serio-comic poem by Mr. Schweitzkoffer, (the son of the great sugar-baker who owns the Acropolis,) entitled “ The Apotheosis of Snip.” Its hero is a tailor, (there's an original idea !)—its unity is preserved by dividing it into nine cantos; the supernatural machinery is conducted by Atropos, who holds the fatal shears, and Vertumnus, the god of cabbage; and the victim of Michaelmasday, instead of the bird Minerva, is invoked to shed a quill from its pinion, and inspire the imagination of the poet. Mr. Schweitzkoffer appears to me destined to assume a rank superior to Rabelais, and at least equal to Butler ; but as I propose to make copious selections from his facetious epic, I leave your readers to decide what niche he ought to occupy in the Temple of Immortality. In the following description of morning in London, he appears to have Marmion in his eye; but without any servile imitation, he has contrived to unite an equally graphic fidelity of delinea