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peradventure floated unthinkingly along the pleasant shores of the East river, finds himself all at once inveigled into that renowned Charybdis of this western world, which the Quakers and other wicked ones call Hurl Gate. Thus environed with difficulties on every side, if he shoots in one direction, the Boiling Pot yawns and bubbles before him ;if he essays to avoid that tremendous and unfathomable caldron, where it is believed Satan boils all the fish for his table, the Frying Pan, or the Gridiron, is ready to receive him—and if at last he extricates himself from these thronging perils, it is ộnly to be wrecked on the Hog's Back, or cast away on the barren isles of this inextricable strait.
In order to escape the opposite extremes of real vanity and affected modesty, it is usual for the periodical writer to describe himself as a sort of humourist, with enough of good sense and virtue to entitle him to the good opinion of his readers, and sufficient whim and eccentricity to give them a reasonable chance of making themselves merry with his oddities. If this character is well supported, he in a little time establishes 'a sort of easy, careless sociability, mixed with a feeling of goodfellowship, making altogether a pleasant intimacy, partaking of the reverence paid to the experience of an old friend, who, while he gives good advice, and flouts at vice and immorality, can laugh with the rest at the follies of mankind without illnature, and correct their little eccentricities without spoil
ing their innocent recreations, by splenetic reprehension. In this character he becomes an amusing and useful companion, and can sometimes school the grown-up children of this world, who would revolt with indignation from the precepts of a less indulgent monitor. Severe correction was not made for this world; and oppressive moral or religious despotism, will only suit an age of hypocrisy or ignorance.
It however happens, fortunately for us, that we are in a great measure relieved from the awkward necessity of introducing ourselves to the reader, in consequence of having already made our bow on a former occasion, which we are willing to hope has not escaped his recollection. It is now more than half a score of years since this happened, and when old friends meet again after a long absence, the first thing, after mutual greetings are over, is to inquire how each has done for this long while, and what has happened since they parted. This often leads to a melancholy catalogue of the ups and downs of life—of changes and vicissitudes that give a new aspect to our little world, and almost make us wish we had never returned, to witness the melancholy waste of time and circumstance. Many old friends will be gone hence—many young ones will be grown old-many a blooming cheek be pale—and many a generous heart be cooled in the chilling atmosphere of the world. Babes will have become mothers-children will have grown up to
be belles, and little else will remain of the circle we last parted with, but the remembrance of a pleasant, long-past dream. Everything will be changed, while we shall fancy ourselves still the same. But let us begin with letting our readers know what has happened since we parted.
Time, while it withers the bloom of beauty, and hardens the youthful heart, has passed imperceptibly over our happy association. Bachelors never grow old; at least they never think themselves so, and that is the same thing. We three still continue to sport in the flowery paths of single blessedness, and to enjoy the delights of unrestrained freedom in this unequalled town. We admire the pretty children of our friends without regret, and share in the enjoyments of their domestic fireside without envying their felicity. In short, I give the reader my word, that though I have looked into the glass every day for ten years past, I cannot perceive the least traces of increasing old age. Like the Archbishop of Granada in Gil Blas, I think myself as able to write homilies as ever I was in my best days; and if I exhibit in any respect the peculiar foibles of an old man, it is in finding myself still more than ever inclined to think better of the past, and worse of the present. Thanks to a life of temperance and tranquillity, I still remain a hale, hearty old bachelor; and my path grows smoother and smoother as I approach its termination. Time with me flies swifter than ever, as if
cheered with the prospect of his journey's end; and every year of my life grows shorter, like the degrees of longitude, as we approach the end of the world. The influence of the weather, however, still operates upon my temperament, and sunshine has become more essential than ever to my good-humour. Of the progress of my opinions, affections, and antipathies, the reader will chance to know enough, in the course of this work. I am somewhat graver than I was; but whether wiser or not, must be left to the judgment of the public, which will not, however, have the least influence upon my own.
Evergreen still continues the mirror of bachelors, and grows young every day. I am sorry to say, however, that he is beginning to lose his memory a little, and does not talk so much of old times. If he is asked about Kissing Bridge, he can hardly remember where it was; and to almost every inquiry respecting events or persons of thirty years back, answers that was before
time.” Fearful that his being continually before the town will make him rather too common, he now generally spends the summers out of the city, sometimes at the Hall, and at others visits some fashionable watering-place, on the score of what he calls his gout; which, between ourselves, is nothing but a rheumatism he caught by going to a ball of a cold night, two winters ago, in silk stockings and smallelothes, to shame the young gentlemen in wide-mouthed pantaloons.
In one of these excursions to Ballston, Anthony had like to have met with a serious accident. As he possesses an easy fortune, he is enabled to appear in the most fashionable style at these wateringplaces; and the summer before the last, his equipage caught the eye of one of those reasonable young belles, who are taught by their prudent mammas that a difference of age in a matrimonial connexion is of no consequence, provided the age and the money be on the man's side.
She accordingly made a dead set at Anthony, and so successfully blew the little spark of vanity that still lingered in the old fellow's heart, that it blazed forth in all the gallantries of the last century He played over all the pretty pleasantries of the old school; brought her every day a nosegay and a copy of verses; and finally was seduced into the enormous folly of dancing a cotillon which luckily did his business. It brought on a return of his rheumatism, that laid him up for a whole month, during which the season of drinking the waters and catching husbands expired: the lady went home without an explanation, and Anthony very wisely determined not to follow her. Finding this to be the case, the pretty belle recalled a young fellow that had long been engaged to her, but whom she had turned off, and who was wise enough, like Anthony, to resist the summons. She is now tolerably religious, and employs herself in giving away other people's money to the poor.