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stand, plays that we did not like, and public diversions which we could not enjoy. Our house might have been termed the temple of uproar; card-tables were the shrines, and the votaries seemed agitated by the demons of envy, spite, rage, vexation, and despair. In a word, all was farce and form; all was a phantasma, and a hideous dream of incoherent absurdities.
These pleasures, like brandy to a dram-drinker, have lost their effect: we have waked from the intoxication to a due sense of our miserable condition; for the vigour both of mind and body is quite impaired. With respect to each other, we find ourselves in a state of mutual disgust; and all the enjoyments of life we either taste with indifference, or reject with loathing. For my own part, I am overwhelmed with what the French call Ennui ;—a distemper for which there is no name in the English language; () a distemper which may be understood from the following lines of the poet:
“Thee too, my Paridel ! (2) she mark'd thee there,
And heard thy everlasting yawn confess
It is not a common vacancy of thought, or an ordinary languor of the nerves, that I labour under, but a confirmed imbecility of mind, and a want of relish, attended with a thousand uneasinesses, which render life almost insupportable. I sleep without refreshment; I am fatigued
(1) [–“Ennui is a growth of English root,
The fact for words, and let the French translate
(2) [Dunciad b. iv. “The name is taken from Spenser, who gives it to a wandering courtly squire, that travelled about for the same reason for which many young squires are now fond of travelling, and especially to Paris.”—Pope.]
without labour. I am scarcely risen when I wish the day was done, and when night comes I long for morning. I eat without appetite, drink without exhilaration; exercise affords no spirits, conversation no amusement, reading no entertainment, and diversion no pleasure. It is not from affectation, but an acquired insensibility, that I see Falstaff without a smile, and the Orphan without emotion. I endeavour to kill the time by shifting continually the scene of dissipation; but I am close pursued by disgust: all is disappointment, insipid, nauseous, or shocking. My temper is grown so fretful and peevish, that I quarrel by turns with my servants and myself; even she that was once the delight of my eyes and the joy of my heart, is now become the subject of perpetual disquiet. I harbour wishes which I dare not approve; my heart palpitates with passions which I am ashamed to avow. I am tormented by a thousand petty grievances, which rise like angry pimples from the ebullitions of a soured disposition, and incidents that would move the mirth of other men, are to me productive of choler and anxiety. Two days ago I ordered my servants to horse whip a cobbler, who refused to leave off whistling in his stall as he sat at work, opposite to my chamber-window; and if I had then met with your maimed soldier, in all probability I should have chastised him for presuming to be more happy than his betters.
Gentlemen, if you have any recipe for the cure of my disorder, it will be charity to publish it for the benefit of many thousands that labour under the same malady which now afflicts your humble servant,
Pich Rom Achus.
The distemper of our correspondent is endemial among
the great, and may be termed a scurvy of the spirits. Exercise is as necessary to the mind as to the body, and mental exercise consists in study and reflection: this being long disused, the powers of reason lose their tone; and a relaxation of the nerves from idleness and surfeit, co-operating with this languor, the whole machine is, as it were, unstrung; all the faculties being thus untwisted and out of tune, the mind jars on every string, and nothing can be produced but discord and disquiet. If Pichromachus and his lady are really determined, if possible, to obtain a radical cure, and retrieve their good-humour, let them make over to the next heirs the great estates which devolved to them so unexpectedly, and return to the farm with the same necessities which their own industry had before so happily supplied. Should this be an effort of self-denial beyond the pitch of their resolution, we would advise them to renounce their fashionable connexions, and endeavour to contract friendships with a few rational creatures; to dismiss their superfluous servants, including the French cook, and every gaudy appurtenance of ostentation; to retire from London, and engage in the avocations of husbandry; to use the cold bath every morning, ride twenty miles every day before dinner, eat moderately of plain English food, go to bed by eleven, rise before eight, and fast one day in the week, until their appetites are perfectly restored.
ADVENTURES OF A STROLLING PLAYER.
I am fond of amusement in whatever company it is to be found; and wit, though dressed in rags, is ever pleasing to me. I went some days ago to take a walk in St. James's Park, about the hour in which company leave it to go to dinner. There were but few in the walks, and those who stayed seemed by their looks rather more willing to forget that they had an appetite than gain one. I sat down on one of the benches, at the other end of which was seated a man in very shabby clothes. We continued to groan, to hem, and to cough, as usual upon such occasions, and at last ventured upon conversation. “I beg pardon, sir,” cried I, “but I think I have seen you before; your face is familiar to me.” “Yes, sir,” replied he, “I have a good familiar face, as my friends tell me. I am as well known in every town in England as the dromedary or live crocodile. You must understand, sir, that I have been these sixteen years Merry Andrew to a puppet-show: last Bartholomew fair my master and I quarrelled, beat each other, and parted ; he to sell his puppets to the pincushion-makers in Rosemary-lane, and I to starve in St. James's Park.” “I am sorry, sir,” said I, “that a person of yourappearance should labour under any difficulties.” “O sir,” returned he, “my appearance is very much at your service; but though I cannot boast of eating much, yet there are few that are merrier: if I had twenty thousand a year I should be very merry ; and, thank the fates! though not worth a groat, I am very merry still. If I have threepence in my pocket, I never refuse to be my three halfpence; and if I have no money, I never scorn to be treated by any that are kind enough to pay my reckoning. What think you, of a steak and a tankard P You shall treat me now, and I will treat you again, when I find you in the Park in love with eating, and without money to pay for a dinner.” As I never refuse a small expense for the sake of a merry companion, we instantly adjourned to a neighbouring alehouse, and in a few moments had a frothing tankard, and a smoking steak spread on the table before us. It is impossible to express how much the sight of such good cheer improved my companion's vivacity. “I like this dinner, sir,” says he, “for three reasons; first, because I am naturally fond of beef; secondly, because I am hungry; and thirdly and lastly, because I get it for nothing: no meat eats so sweet as that for which we do not pay.” He therefore now fell-to, and his appetite seemed to correspond with his inclination. After dinner was over, he observed that the steak was tough; “and yet sir,” returns he, “bad as it was, it seemed a rump-steak to me. O, the delights of poverty and a good appetite We beggars are the very fondlings of nature; the rich she treats like an arrant step-mother; they are pleased with nothing; cut a steak from what part you will, and it is insupportably tough ; dress it up with pickles, and even pickles cannot procure them an appetite. But the whole creation is filled with good things for the beggar ; Calvert's butt out-tastes Champagne, and Sedgeley home-brewed excels Tokay. Joy, joy, my blood | though sur estates lie no where, we have fortunes wherever wë go.
If an inundation sweeps away half the grounds of Cornwall, *. to content; I have no lands there: if the stocks sink," ness; I am no Jew.” The fellow's wo y, joined to his poverty, I own raised my citrio now something of his life and circumstances, ando treated that he would indulge my desire. “That I will, sir,” said he, “and welcome : only let us drink to prevent our sleeping ; let us have another tankard while we are awake; let us have another tankard; for, ah, how charming a tankard looks when full ! “You must know then, that I am very well descended : my ancestors have made some noise in the world; for my mother cried oysters, and my father beat a drum : I am told we have even had some trumpeters in our family. Many
lat gives me no uneasi