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Report addressed to the government of which he is the head appropriately concludes with one. There is a certain English nobleman, the richest man in the kingdom, perhaps in the world, and after exhausting their intellects to prove that neither their fleet, their standing army, nor their volunteer forces, “nor even the three combined, can be relied on as suffi. cient in themselves for the security of the kingdom against foreign invasion,” the commissioners ask him what he thinks would be " the immediate effect upon the commercial and monetary affairs of this country that would follow the landing of an invading army?" Lord Overstone, who must have been excessively amused at the naïveté of this question, and of the series that follow it, tries to look grave, and returns the most profound answer, the sum and substance of which, to use our own expressive vernacular, is this: “Messieurs, vous serez joliment flambés!" Having elicited this opinion, the commissioners close their Report, and I address myself to lighter subjects.
Monumental Art in England-or, at all events, in London-may be looked upon as a failure. When driven to extremity to represent something excessivement beau, their men of taste erect-a lamp-post! A noble specimen of this kind of decoration, possessing the advantage of being neither Greek, Roman, Italian, nor Gothic, and therefore capable of shocking no prejudices—not even those of the lamplighter-appears in the space between the Athenæum and United Service Clubs, in Pall-mall. It is intended to raise, at the foot of Waterloo-place, a memorial to the Guards who fell in the Crimea, but for the last two years the Londoners have been gratified by the sight of the pedestal alone, with its surrounding scaffolding ornamented with “ Sydenham Trousers" and other advertisements of the tribe of Levi, and as a pendant to this work of art, in the space I have named, up goes a lamp-post. This lamp-post, which differs in no respect from any other lamp-post, bears upon its base the letters “ W. R.;" from which circumstance I infer that it was erected at the instigation of M. Williams, the member for Lambeth, whose orthographical tendencies have been flattered by the substitution of W. for V. --the initials signifying “Wictoria Regina.” I may, however, be wrong. Perhaps W. stands for “William,” meaning the late King, a shining light in himself, and worthily associated with a lamp-post. If this be so, though the compliment to the reigning sovereign is not remarkable, the erection of an old lamp-post instead of a new one speaks volumes for the economy of Lord Palmerston's government, and makes one still of opinion that M. Williams was consulted when this artistic monument was raised. But besides its fondness for lamp-posts, London is the paradise of squirts. In most continental cities there are fountains that play for purposes at once of embellishment and utility, and a year or two ago the artistic mind of England was stirred to imitate the continental cities, by a "movement"-everything here is so called-in favour of drinking-fountains. The consequence is, that the stranger in London is now squirted at from every corner.
I could establish my position by numerous examples, but I have not room to do so—therefore, in bidding adieu to this species of failure, I terminate my letter by an anecdote illustrative of a recent one of a different kind.
Though animated by the best intentions, the English do not always go the right way to work to accomplish the objects they have in view. An
instance of misdirected zeal occurred the other day at Brighton. There had been a terrific gale of wind, and a French vessel was driven on shore immediately opposite the York Hotel, in the very centre of the town. Happily all the crew were saved, except one, who fell over the side and was drowned. The storm was so violent, that his remains could not then be recovered, but on the following day, when the gale had abated, the body of a seaman was found on the beach, close to the spot where the vessel was wrecked. On stooping down, the fishermen who made the discovery perceived that le naufragé yet breathed, and with that humanity which so eminently distinguishes the inhabitants of Brighton, they immediately conveyed him to the nearest public-house. There they placed the body on the table of the parlour, or general drinking apartment, and not having the directions of the Humane Society for recovering the drowned at hand, administered copious draughts of brandy to the nearly unconscious sailor, who, by strong gulping, satisfied his benevolent assistants that he was still alive. For some hours these honest Brighton folks persisted in their assiduous attentions, a little surprised, it must be owned, at finding that the state of coma continued, but at length they desisted, allowing Nature to take its course : the body was left on the table, the room was closed for the night, and every one retired, with the pleasing consciousness in each man's bosom that he had done his duty towards his neighbour, though that neighbour was a Frenchman. On the following morning, at an early hour, the public-house was thronged by anxious inquirers. Had the
Frenchman recovered ? The landlord could not say—he was only just up-he would go and see. In a few moments he returned with a broad grin on his expansive countenance. “ Alive!” he said ; “I believe
Come and look at him.” The crowd rushed in. The shipwrecked mariner was seated on the table, seriously striving to maintain his balance. At the sight of so many people he made a supreme effort and steadied—or, in nautical language, righted-himself, and then with a forcible oath, expressed in excellent English, demanded a glass of grog. Surprised to hear their language so well
spoken by a foreigner, the first question of the good people of Brighton was, where had he learnt it? To this, after apostrophising his eyes and, in a general way, the various members of his body, the lately drowned man replied by asking, in his turn, what that was to them ?- with other expressions, which raised doubts in the minds of the listeners as to his presumed nationality. In a short time the truth came out. He to whom so much brandy had been given was no Frenchman, no shipwrecked mariner at all, but a jolly British tar, one Jack Horrocks, A.B., of her Majesty's ship Diądem, who had left Portsmouth two days before for a cruise along shore, took rather too much liquor aboard at Brighton, and, thus overcome, made the beach his bed. The attempt to recover a man from drunkenness by pouring gallons of brandy down his throat, has, at first sight, very much the air of a failure.
Je uis, mon cher Alfred,
COACHES AND COUSINSHIP;
THE GENERAL'S MATCH-MAKING.
TWO FELLOWS OF KING'S. “ WHERE the devil shall I go this Long ? Paris is too hot; the inside of
adorable Château des Fleurs would give one a lively idea of the feelings of eels in a frying-pan, and the vin ordinaire would be sourer than ever-a most unnecessary evil, as everybody knows. Rome's only fit to melt down puffy cardinals, as jocks set themselves before the kitchen fire preparatory to the Spring Meetings. America would be all very well, but the girls are so atrociously ugly and yellow. In Switzerland there's nothing fit to eat. Spain might be the ticket--the Andalusians are a good-looking lot, but they haven't a notion of beer. Scotland I daren't enter, because I know I should get married under their rascally laws. I'd go to the Bads, but the V.P.'s fillies say they mean to do 'em this summer, and I won't risk meeting them if I know it; the baits they set to catch the unsuspecting are quite frightful. Where the devil shall I go ?”
So spake Sydenham Morton, whilom Captain of Eton, now in due course Junior Fellow of King's, discussing ham-pie and audit, devils and coffee, while the June sun streamed through the large oriel windows, tinting up the Turf and Ballet pets on the walls with every whit -as tender a radiance as if they had been India paper proofs of Messieurs Bellew and Cadman.
“To the devil, if you only find your proper confrères,” said a man, coming in. Oak was never sported by Sydie, except when he was rattling certain little squares of ivory in boxes lined with green felt.
" Hallo, Keane, is that you ? Come in.”
The permission was needless, insomuch as Keane was already in and down in a rocking-chair-a man of eight or nine-and-thirty, with muscle that had made him Stroke of the Cambridge Eight in his time, and a head like the antique, that will one day be done in marble and stuck up with Milton and Macaulay in the University library.
"You incorrigible lazy young dog," began Keane, surveying Sydie and his sofa.“ One o'clock, and only just begun your breakfast! Why, I've walked over to Cherryhinton and given my lecture, and afterwards coached that terrible young owl Magnus for an hour, and read old. Rabelais to refresh myself since, not to mention coffee and a pipe.”
“I dare say, my dear Keane,” answered Sydie ; "but one shining light like you is enough for a college. Why the deuce should I exert myself ? I swore I hadn't four marks a year, and I've my fellowship for telling the furbelow. We all go in for the dolce here except you,
and you're such a patent machine for turning out Q.E.D.s by the dozen, that you can no more help working than the bedmaker can help taking my tea and saying the cat did it, and May she never be forgiven if she ever so much as looked at that there blessed lock.' I say, find a Q.E.D. for me, to the most vexatious problem, where I'm to go this Long?"
“Go a quiet reading tour; mark out a regular plan, and travel somewhere rugged and lonely, with not a crinoline, or a trout-stream, or a pack of hounds within a hundred miles; the middle of Stonehenge, par exemple, or with the lighthouse men out at the Smalls or Eddystone. You'd do wonders when you came back, Sydie. Shouldn't be surprised if you got into the Tripos,” said Keane, with a quizzical smile.
Sydie shook his head and puffed gravely at his pipe.
“ Thank you. Cramming's not my line. As for history, I don't see anything particularly interesting in the blackguardisms of men all dust and ashes and gelatine now ; if I were the Prince of Wales, I might think it my duty to inquire into the characters of my grandfathers; but not being that individual, I find the Derby list much more suited to my genius. As for the classics, they won't help me to ask for my dinner at Tortoni's, nor to ingratiate myself with the fleuristes at the guinguettes; and I prefer following Ovid's counsels, and enjoying the Falernian of life represented in these days by milk-punch, to plodding through the De Officiis. As for mathematics, it may be something very grand to draw triangles and circles till A meets B because C is as long as D; but I know, when I did the same operation in chalk when I was a small on the nursery floor, my nurse (who might have gone along with the barbarian who stuck Archimedes) called me an idle brat, just as you, Keane, misappreciating genius, term me a lazy dog-a lazy dog! I, who intend, if malice and envy don't shut me up altogether, to be one of the most brilliant of modern men, and take the shine out of Sheridan, Selwyn, Talleyrand, and all those muffs who set themselves up for wits. Lazy dog, indeed! But that's always the way talent is run down. Well, I say, about the Long? Where are you going, most grave and reverent seignior?”
“Where there are no impertinent boys, if there be such a paradise on earth,” rejoined Keane, lighting his pipe. “I go to my moor, of course, for the 12th, but until then † haven't made up my mind. I think I shall scamper over South America; I want freshening up, and I've a great fancy to see those buried cities, not to mention a chance of buffalo hunting.”
“ Travelling's such a bore,” interrupted Sydie, stretching himself out like an india-rubber tube. “ Talk of the cherub that's always sitting up aloft to watch over poor Jack (by the way, I hope it'll never get dizzy and tumble down; I should think it did when they were up in the Baltic, and that's why Jack's cut such a miserable figure lately), there are always ten thousand demons badgering the life of any luckless Æothen; there are the custom-house men, whose natural prey he becomes, and the hotelkeepers, who fasten on him to suck his life-blood, and there are the mosquitoes, and other things less minute but not less agonising; and there are guides and muleteers, and waiters and cicerones-oh, hang it! travelling's a dreadful bore, if it were only for the inevitable widow with
four daughters whom you've danced with once at a charity ball, who rushes up to you on the Boulevards or a Rhine steamer, and tacks herself on to you, and whom it's well for you if you can shake off when you scatter the dust of the city from the sole of
your foot.” “ You can't talk, can you, Sydie ?” observed Keane, quietly.
“ Yes; my frænum was happily cut when I was a baby. Fancy what a loss the world would have endured if it hadn't been!” said Sydie, lazily shutting his half-closed blue eyes. " I say, the governor has been bothering my life out to go down to St. Crucis; he's an old brick, you know, and has the primest dry in the kingdom. I wish you'd come, will you ? There's capital fishing and cricketing, and you'd keep me company. Do, Keane. You shall have the best mount in the kingdom, and the General will do you no end of good on Hippocrates’s rule-contrarieties cure contrarieties."
“I'll think about it,” answered Keane, getting out of his rockingchair, “but you know I prefer solitude generally; misanthropical, I admit, but decidedly lucky for me, as my companions through life will always be my inkstand, my terrier, and my paperasses. I have never wished for any other yet, and I hope I never shall. Are
you going to smoke and drink audit on that sofa all day, you confounded young Sybarite ?”
"No," answered Sydie, “ I'm going to take a turn at beer and Brown's for a change. Well, I shall take you
down with me on Tues. day, Keane, so that's settled.”
Keane laughed, and went across the quad to his own rooms to plunge into the intricacies of Fourrier and Laplace, or give the vigour of his brain to stuffing some young goose's empty head, or cramming some idle young dog with ballast enough to carry him through the shoals and quicksands of his Greats.
Gerald Keane was a mathematical Coach, and had taken high honours -a rare thing for a Kingsman to do, for are they not, by their own confession, the laziest disciples of the Dolce in the whole of Granta, invariably bumped and caught out, and from sheer idleness letting other men beat Lord's and shame the Oxford Eleven, and graduate with Double Firsts, while they lie perdus in the shades of Holy Henry ? Keane, however, was the one exception to the rule. He was dreadfully wild, as ladies say, for his first term or two, though equally eloquent at the Union ; then his family exulting in the accuracies of their prophecies regarding his worthlessness, and somebody else daring him to go in for honours, his pluck was put up, and he set himself to work to show them all what he could do if he chose. Once roused to put out his powers, he liked using them; the bother of the training over, it is no trouble to keep place as stroke-oar; and now men pointed him out in the Senate House, and at the Senior Fellows' table, and he bid fair to rank with the writer on Jasher and the author of the Inductive Sciences.
People called him very cold. It was popularly averred that he had no more feeling than Roubilliac's or Thorwaldsen's statues; but as he was a great favourite with the under-grads, and always good-natured to them, there were a few men who doubted the theory, though he never tried to refute or dispute it.
Of all the young fellows, the one Keane liked the best, and to whom he was kindest, was Sydenham Morton-Sydie to everybody in Granta,