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ingly impart a share of the good things of this life which fall to their lot (few as mine are in this kind) to a friend. I protest I take as great an interest in my friend's pleasures, his relishes, and proper satisfactions, as in mine own. "Presents," I often say, "endear Absents." Hares, pheasants, partridges, snipes, barn-door chickens (those "tame villatic10 fowl"), capons, plovers, brawn,11 barrels of oysters, I dispense as freely as I receive them. 1 love to taste them, as it were, upon the tongue of my friend. But a stop must be put somewhere. One would not, like Lear, "give everything."1- I make my stand uponts pig. liethinks it is an ingratitude to the Giver of all good flavours, to extra-domiciliate, or send out of the house slightingly (under pretext of friendship, or I know not what), a blessing so particularly adapted, predestined, I may say, to my individual palate—it argues an insensibility.
I remember a touch of conscience in this kind at school. My good old aunt, who never parted from me at the end of a holiday without stuffing a sweet-meat, or some nice thing, into my pocket, had dismissed me one evening with a smoking plum-cake, fresh from the oven. In my way to school (it was over London Bridge) a gray-headed old beggar saluted me (I have no doubt at this time of day that he was a counterfeit). I had no pence to console him with, and in the vanity of self-denial, and the very coxcombry of charity, schoolboy-like, I made him a present of—the whole cake! I walked on a little, buoyed up, as one is on such occasions, with a sweet soothing of self-satisfaction; but In-fore I had got to the end of the bridge, my letter feelings returned, and I burst into tears, thinking how ungrateful I had been to my good aunt, to go and give her good gift away to a stranger that I had never seen before, and who might be a bad man for aught I knew; and then I thought of the pleasure my aunt would be taking in thinking that I—I myself and not another—would eat her nice cake— and what should I say to her the next time I saw her-— how naughty I was to part with her pretty present!— and the odour of that spicy cake came back upon my recollection, and the pleasure and the curiosity I had taken in seeing her make it, and her joy when she had sent it to the oven, and how disappointed she would feel that I had never had a bit of it in my mouth at last—and I blamed my impertinent spirit of alms-giving, and out-of-place hypoe
10 farm - yard (Milton: u pickled boar's flesh Stumtun AfjoniktCft, 12 KiiHj Lear, II. Iv. 25.1. lino lG0!i)' 13 linlf at
risy of goodness; and above all, I wished never to sec the face again of that insidious, good-fornothing, old gray impostor.
Our ancestors were nice1* in their method of sacrificing these tender victims. We read of pigs whipt to death with something of a shock, as we hear of any other obsolete custom. The age of discipline is gone by, or it would be curious to inquire (in a philosophical light merely) what effect this process might have towards intcnerating and dulcifying a substance, naturally so mild and dulcet as the flesh of young pigs. It looks like refining a violet. Yet we should be cautious, while we condemn the inhumanity, how we censure the wisdom of the practice. It might impart a gusto—
I remember an hypothesis, argued upon by the young students, when I was at St. Omer's,13 and maintained with much learning and pleasantry on both sides, '' Whether, supposing that the flavour of a pig who obtained his death by whipping (per flagellationem extremam) super added a pleasure upon the palate of a man more intense than any possible suffering we can conceive in the animal, is man justified in using that method of putting the animal to death?"
I forget the decision.
His sauce should be considered. Decidedly a few bread crumbs, done up with his liver and brains, and a dash of mild sage. But banish, dear Mrs. Cook, I beseech you, the whole onion tribe. Barbecue your whole hogs to your palate, steep them in shalots, stuff them out with plantations of the rank and guilty garlic; you cannot poison them, or make them stronger than they arc—but consider, he is a weakling—a flower.
From THE LAST ESSAYS OF ELIA
I have an almost feminine partiality for old china. When I go to see any great house, 1 inquire for the china-closet, and next for the picture-gallery. I cannot defend the order of preference, but by saying that we have all some taste or other, of too ancient a date to admit of our remembering distinctly that it was an acquired one. I can call to mind the first play, and the first exhibition, that I was taken to; but I am not conscious of a time when china jars and saucers were introduced into my imagination.
I had no repugnance then—why should T now have?—to those little, lawless, azure-tinctured
i"A Jesuit College il.nmb was never a student there i.
grotesques, that, uniler the notion of men anil women, float about, uncircumacribed by any clement, in that world before perspective—a china lea-cup.
I like to see my old friends—whom distance cannot diminish—figuring up in the air (so they appear to our optics), yet on terra firma still— for so we must in courtesy interpret that speck of deeper blue, which the decorous artiBt, to prevent absurdity, has made to spring up beneath their sandals.
I love the men with women's faces, and the women, if possible, with still more womanish expressions.
Here is a young and courtly Mandarin, handing tea to a lady from a salver—two miles off. Sec how distance seems to set off respect! And here the same lady, or another—for likeness is identity on tea-cups—is stepping into a little fairy boat, moored on the hither side of this calm garden river, with a dainty mincing foot, which in a right1 angle of incidence (as angles go in our world) must infallibly land her in the midst of a flowery mead—a furlong off on the other side of the same strange stream!
Farther on—if far or near can be predicated of their world—see horses, trees, pagodas, dancing the hays.s
Here—a cow and rabbit couchant and coextensive—so objects show, seen through the lucid atmosphere of fine Cathay.s
[ was pointing out to my cousin last evening, over our Hyson* (which we are old-fashioned enough to drink unmixed still of an afternoon), some of these speciona miracula* upon a set of extraordinary old blue china (a recent purchase) which we were now for the first time using; and could not help remarking, how favourable circumstances had been to us of late years, that we could afford to please the eye sometimes with trifles of this sort—when a passing sentiment seemed to overshade the brows of my companion. I am quick at detecting these summer clouds in Bridget.6
"I wish the good old times would come again," she said, "when we were not quite so rich. I do not mean that T want to be pour; but there was a middle state"—so she was pleased to ramble on—'' in which I am sure we were a great deal happier. A purchase is but a purchase, now that you have money enough and to spare. Formerly it used to be a triumph. When we coveted a cheap luxury (and 0! how much ado I had to get you to consent in
i properly calculated * green tea
L' An olrl English dance. r. radiant wonders
:'. Chinese Tarlarv (used « See introductory note loosely for 'China) on "Ella."
those times!) we were used to have a debate two or three days before, and to weigh the fur and against, and think what we might spare ii out of, and what saving we could hit upon, that should be an equivalent. A thing was worth buying then when we felt the money that we paid for it.
'' Do you remember the brown suit, which you made to hang upon you, till all your friends cried shame upon you, it grew so threadbare— and all because of that folio Beaumont and Fletcher* which you dragged home late at night from Barker's in Covent Garden ?• Do you remember how we eyed it for weeks before we could make up our minds to the purchase, anil had not come to a determination till it was near ten o'clock of the Saturday night, when you set off from Islington,* fearing you should be too late—and when the old bookseller with some grumbling opened his shop, and by the twinkling taper (for he was setting bedwards) lighted out the relic from his dusty treasures—and when you lugged it home, wishing it were twice as cumbersome—and when you presented it to me —and when we were exploring the perfectness of it (collating, you called it)—and while I was repairing some of the loose leaves with paste, which your impatience would not suffer to be left till day-break—was there no pleasure in being a poor man? or can those neat black clothes which you wear now, and are so careful to keep brushed, since we have become rich anil finical, give you half the honest vanity with which you flaunted it about in that overworn suit—your old eorbeau0—for four or five weeks longer than you should have done, to pacify your conscience for the mighty sum of fifteen— or sixteen shillings was it!—a great affair we thought it then—which you had lavished on the old folio. Now you can afford to buy any book that pleases you, but I do not see that you ever bring me home any nice old purchases now.
"When you came home with twenty apologies for laying out a less number of shillings upon that print after Lionardo,10 which we christened the 'Lady Blanche;' when you looked at the purchase, and thought of the money — and thought of the money, and looked again at the picture—was there no pleasure in being a i>oor manf Now, you have nothing to do but to walk into Colnaghi's, and buy a wilderness" of Lionardos. Yet do yout
r A square In the heart n black coat
of London, best 10 Leonardo da Vinci.
known for Its fruit the Italian painter.
and flower markets. u Merchant of Venice.
s In northern London. Ill, i. 128. • This particular volume, with notes In It by
Coleridge, is now In the British Museum.
"Then, do you remember our pleasant walks to Enfield, and Totter'g Bar, and Waltham,1when we had a holiday—holidays and all other fun are gone, now we are rich—and the little nandbasket in which I used to deposit our day's fare of savory, cold lamb and salad—and how you would pry about at noontide for some decent house, where we might go in, and produce our store—only paying for the ale that you must call for—and speculate upon the looks of the landlady, and whether she was likely to allow us a table-cloth—and wish for such another honest hostess, as Izaak Walton has described many a one on the pleasant banks of the Lea, when he went a-fishing—and sometimes they would prove obliging enough, and sometimes they would look grudgingly upon us—but we had cheerful looks still for one another, and would eat our plain food savorily, scarcely grudging Piscator13 his Trout Hall? Now, when we go out a day's pleasuring, which is seldom moreover, we ride part of the way—and go into a fine inn, and order the best of dinners, never debating the expense—which, after all, never lias half the relish of those chance country snaps, when we were at the mercy of uncertain usage, and a precarious welcome.
'' You are too proud to see a play anywhere now but in the pit. Do you remember where it was we used to sit, when we saw the Battle of Hexam and the Surrender of Calais,n and Bannister1"' and Mrs. Bland in the Children in the Wood10—when we squeezed out our shilling a-pieee to sit three or four times in a season in the one-shilling gallery—where you felt all the time that you ought not to have brought me— and more strongly I felt obligation to you for having brought <ne—and the pleasure was the better for a little shame—and when the curtain drew up, what eared we for our place in the house, or what mattered it where we were sitting, when our thoughts were with Rosalind in Arden, or with Viola at the court of Illyria?" You used to say, that the gallery was the best place of all for enjoying a play socially—that the relish of such exhibitions must be in proportion to the infrequency of going—that the company we met there, not being in general readers of plays, were obliged to attend the more, anil did attend, to what was going on, on the stage —because a word lost would have been a chasm, which it was impossible for them to fill up.
12 London suburbs. 15 John Bannister, a
13 See Walton's Tlie pupil of Oarrlck.
Complete Angler, p. 10 A comedy by Thomas 264. Morton.
14 Plays by fJporuc Col- 17 In An You Like It
man the younger. and Twelfth Might.
With such reflections we consoled our pride then —and I appeal to you, whether, as a woman, I met generally with less attention anil accommodation than 1 have done since in more expensive situations in the house? The getting in indeed, and the crowding up those inconvenient staircases, was bad enough,—but there was still a law of civility to women recognized to quite as great an extent as we ever found in the other passages—and how a little difficulty overcome heightened the snug seat, and the play, afterwards! Now we can only pay our money, ami walk in. You cannot see, you say, in the galleries now. I am sure we saw, and heard too, well enough then—but sight, and all, I think is gone with our poverty.
"There was pleasure in eating strawberries, before they became quite common—in the first dish of peas, while they were yet dear—to have them for a nice supper, a treat. What treat can we have now? If we were to treat ourselves now—that is, to have dainties a little above our means, it would be selfish and wicked. It is the very little more that we allow ourselves beyond what the actual poor can get at, that makes what I call a treat—when two people, living together as we have done, now and then indulge themselves in a cheap luxury which both like; while each apologizes, and is willing to take both halves of the blame to his single share, i see no harm in people making much of themselves, in that seuse of the word. It may give them a hint how to make much of others. But now—what I mean by the word—we never do make much of ourselves. None but the poor can do it. I do not mean the veriest poor of all, but persons as we were, just above poverty.
"I know what you were going to say, that it is mighty pleasant at tlie end of the year to make all meet—and much ado we used to have every Thirty-first Night of December to account for our exceediugs—many a long face did you make over your puzzled accounts, and in contriving to make it out how we had spent so much—or that we had not spent so much—or that it was impossible we should spend so much next year—and still we found our slender capital decreasing—but then, betwixt ways, and projects, and compromises of one sort or another, and talk of curtailing this charge, and doing without that for the future—and the hope that youth brings, and laughing spirits (in which you were never poor till now), we pocketed up our loss, and in conclusion, with 'lusty brimmers' (as you used to quote it out of hearty cheerful Mr. Cotton,^" as you called IS Charles Cotton: The Xeir Year.
him), we used to welcome in the 'coming guest.' Now we have no reckoning at all at the end of the old year—no flattering promises about the new year doing better for us.''
Bridget is so sparing of her speech on most occasions, that when she gets into a rhetorical vein, I am careful how I interrupt it. I could not help, however, smiling at the phantom of wealth which her dear imagination had conjured
up out of a clear income of poor hundred
pounds a year. "It is true we were happier when we were poorer, but we were also younger, my cousin. I am afraid we must put up with the excess, for if we were to shake the superflux into the sea, we should not much mend ourselves. That we had much to struggle with, as we grew up together, we have reason to be most thankful. It strengthened, and knit our compact closer. We could never have been what we have been to each other, if we had always had the sufficiency which you now complain of. The resisting power—those natural dilations of the youthful spirit, which circumstances cannot straiten—with us are long since passed away. Competence to age is supplementary youth; a sorry supplement indeed, but I fear the best that is to be had. We must ride, where we formerly walked; live better, and lie softer—and Bhall be wise to do so—than we had means to do in those good old days you speak of. Yet could those days return—could you anil I once more walk our thirty miles a-day—could Bannister and Mrs. Bland again be young, and you and I be young to see them—could the good old oneshilling gallery days return—they are dreams, my cousin, now—but could you and I at this moment, instead of this quiet argument, by our well-carpeted fireside, sitting on this luxurious sofa—be once more struggling up those inconvenient staircases, pushed about, and squeezed, and elbowed by the poorest rabble of poor gallery scramblers—could I once more hear those anxious shrieks of yours—and the delicious Thank- Cud, tee are safe, which always followed when the topmost stair, conquered, let in the first light of the whole cheerful theatre down beneath us—I know not the fathom line that ever touched a descent so deep as I would be willing to bury more wealth in than Croesus''■>
had, or the great Jew R 20 is supposed to
have, to purchase it.
"And now do just look at that merry little Chinese waiter holding an umbrella, big enough for a bed-tester.'-1 over the head of that pretty insipid half-Madona-ish chit of a lady in that very blue summer-house.''
in King nf r.vrtla. 21 bed canopy
WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR
From IMAGINARY CONVERSATIONS
Metellus. Well met, Caius Marius! My orders are to find instantly a centurion who shall mount the walls; one capable of observation, acute in remark, prompt, calm, active, intrepid. The Numantians are sacrificing to the gods in secrecy; they have sounded the horn once only, —and hoarsely and low and mournfully.
Marius. Was that ladder I see yonder among the caper-bushes and purple lilies, under where the fig-tree grows out of the rampart, left for met
Metellus. Even so, wert thou willing. Wouldst thou mount it J
Marius. Rejoicingly. If none are below or near, may I explore the state of things by entering the cityt
Metellus. Use thy discretion in that.
What seest thouf Wouldst thou leap downf Lift the ladder.
Marius. Are there spikes in it where it sticks in the turf f I should slip else.
Meldlus. How! bravest of our centurions, art even thou afraid t Seest thou any one by f
Marias. Ay; some hundreds close beneath me.
Metellus. Retire, then. Hasten back; I will protect thy descent.
Marius. May I speak, O Metellus, without an offence to discipline!
Marius. Listen! Dost thou not heart Metellus. Shame on thee! alight, alight! my shield shall cover thee.
Marius. There is a murmur like the hum of bees in the bean-field of Cereat^;1 for the sun is hot, and the ground is thirsty. When will it
1 The rustic home of Marius s childhood, near Arplnum.
• The siege and capture. In 132 B. C. of the Numantians, struggling with 8.000 mm against the whole power of Rome, was one of the stages In the disgraceful third Punic war. which was conducted by Sclplo Afrlcanus the Younger. Caius Ca-ollluB Metellus, the tribune, was a comparatively unimportant personage. Marius. the centurion, of obscure birth, rose later to be seven times consul. Plutarch tells us that Sciplo had marked the youth's good qualities, and when asked who should succeed himself In case of accident, had touched the shoulder of Marius. saying. "Perhaps this man:" which saving "raised the hopes of Marius like a divine oracle." On this slight historical foundation I.andor constructs his dramatic scene. The Numantians, In all probability, had no regular walls; and Applan says that some of them preferred surrender to death and were led In a Roman Triumph.
have drunk up for me the blood that has run, and is yet oozing on it, from those fresh bodies!
Metellus. How! We have not fought for many days; what bodies, then, are fresh ones?
Marius. Close beneath the wall arc those of infants and of girls; in the middle of the road are youths, emaciated; some either unwounded or wounded months ago; some on their spears, others on their swords: no few have received in mutual death the last interchange of friendship; their daggers unite them, hilt to hilt, bosom to bosom.
Metellus. Mark rather the living,—what are they about?
Marias. About the sacrifice, which portends them, I conjecture, but little good,—it burns sullenly and slowly. The victim will lie upon the pyre till morning, and still be unconsumed. unless they bring more fuel.
I will leap down and walk on cautiously, and return with tidings, if death should spare me.
Never was any race of mortals so unmilitary as these Numantians; no watch, no stations, no palisades across the streets.
Metellus. Did they want, then, all the wood for the altar?
Marius. It appears so—I will return anon.
Metellus. The gods speed thee, my brave, honest Marius!
Marius (relumed). The ladder should have been better spiked for that slippery ground. I am down again safe, however. Here a man may walk securely, and without picking his steps.
Metellus. Tell me, Caius, what thou sawest.
Marius. The streets of Numnntia.
Metellus. Doubtless; but what elaef
Marius. The temples and markets and places of exercise and fountains.
Metellus. Art thou crazed, centurion? what morel Speak plainly, at once, and briefly.
Marius. I beheld, then, nil Xumantia.
Metellus. Has terror maddened thee? hast thou descried nothing of the inhabitants but those carcasses under the ramparts?
Marius. Those, O Metellus, lie scattered, although not indeed far asunder. The greater part of the soldiers and citizens—of the fathers, husbands, widows, wives, espoused— were assembled together.
Metellus. About the altar?
Marias. Upon it.
Metellus. So busy and earnest in devotion! but how all upon it?
Marius. It blazed under them, and over them, and round about them.
Metellus. Immortal gods! Art thou sane,
Caius Marius? Thy \isuge is scorched: thy speech may wander after such an enterprise; thy shield burns my hand.
Marius. I thought it had cooled again. Why, truly, it seems hot: 1 now feel it.
Metellus. Wipe off those embers.
Marius. 'Twere better: there will be none opposite to shake them upon, for some time.
The funereal horn, that sounded with such feebleness, sounded not so from the faint heart of him who blew it. Him I saw; him only of the living. Should I say it? there was another: there was one child whom its parent could not kill, could not part from. She had hidden it in her robe, 1 suspect; and, when the fire had reached it, either it shrieked or she did. For suddenly a cry pierced through the crackling pinewood, and something of round in figure fell from brand to brand, until it reached the pavement, at the feet of him who had blown the horn. I rushed toward him, for I wanted to hear the whole story, and felt the pressure of time. Condemn not my weakness,
0 Ca-cilius! I wished an enemy to live an hour longer; for my orders were to explore and bring intelligence. When I gazed on him, in height almost gigantic, I wondered not that the blast of his trumpet was so weak: rather did
1 wonder that Famine, whose hand had indented every limb and feature, had left him any voice articulate. I rushed toward him, however, ere my eyes had measured either his form or strength. He held the child against me, and staggered under it.
"Behold," he exclaimed, "the glorious ornament of a Roman triumph!"
I stood horror-stricken; when suddenly drops, as of rain, pattered down from the pyre. 1 looked; and many were the precious stones, many were the amulets and rings and bracelets, and other barbaric ornaments, unknown to me in form or purpose, that tinkled on the hardened and black branches, from mothers and wives and betrothed maids; ami some, too, I can imagine, from robuster arms—things of joyanee. won in battle. The crowd of incumbent bodies was so dense and heavy, that neither the fire nor the smoke could penetrate upward from among them; and they sank, whole and at once, into the smouldering cavern eaten out below. Ho at whose neck hung the trumpet felt this, and started.
"There is yet room." he cried, "and there is strength enough yet, both in the element and in me."
He extended his withered arms, he thrust forward the gaunt links of his throat, and upon gnarled knees, that smote each other audibly,