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Polite IN Vit ATION.
A convict who was executed at Leicester, and adopted the singular mode of travelling in a postchaise to the place of execution, was no less remarkable for his crimes, than a copious fund of low humour. He got the following notice put up in the most frequented houses in the town : “Wanted, an agreeable companion in a post-chaise, to go a journey of considerable length, and upon equal terms.'
Unquestionably the most sprightly of all inventions which we owe to the dulness of courts is that of the Fo jester or fool, than which nothing could nave been more expressly and admirably adapted to its end. If not witty himself, he was at least the cause of wit in others—the butt at which the shafts of their ridicule were shot, and through whom they sometimes launched them at their neighbours. The jokes might be poor, quibbling, bald, bad; but the contest was at all events mental ; not so sparkling, perhaps, as the fight between Congreve's intellectual gladiators, but still preferable to what it displaced, for a play upon words is more comical than a play upon the ribs; it is better to elicit bad puns from one another's sculls, than to be drinking wine out of them ; it is quite as facetious to smoke a quiz as a segar; a quibble in the head is as comical as a bump
upon it; and cutting jokes, however common-place, is assuredly as sprightly as cutting cards, and as humorous as cutting capers. Whoever first established these chartered merry-andrews, we ought to wear his name in our heart's core. Strange that these omniloquent professors of facetiae should have left so few names upon the rolls of fame. Brutus was only an amateur fool, who assumed the character for a political object. We should have known nothing of Yorick, the Danish king's jester, had not the gravedigger in Hamlet knocked him about the mazzard with a spade. Killigrew was a sort of court jester to Charles the Second ; but, not content with saying good things, he ventured upon publishing them; and as his pen was very inferior to his tongue, in which he afforded a contrast to Cowley, Sir John Denham took occasion to exclaim—
“Had Cowley ne'er spoke—Killig rewne'er writ—
Combined in one they'd made a matchless wit.” Considering how few offices and sinecures are abolished now-a-days, we cannot help regretting that this should have been selected for extinction, and we are tempted to inquire
AMUSEMENts—at ch Elt exh A. M. The first consideration on rising in the morning at a place of fashionable resort is, how shall the day be spent. The journey thither has been performed for relaxation; and the idea of reading, writing, or thinking within doors, is out of the question, or why have we left London The visitant, therefore, usually determines on a promenade, for the purpose of seeing and being seen. The springs are sadly deficient in the quantity of water; and by no means, in this respect, to be compared to the sweet, retired, and snug Leamington, where there is enough and to spare for bathers and drinkers at all seasons, however numerous they may become. The walks in the shade of the trees at Cheltenham are delightful. The constant residents at these watering-places are made up of a large proportion of card-playing old maids, retiring widows, half-pay officers with a small fortune, and hypochondriacs. These are to be found at all times and seasons, and afford an example how vapidly some of our fellow-mortals pass their hours. Small-talk, cards, compliments, remarks upon the weather, with a sprinkling of scandal that serves to keep the appetite alive for more, perform the same round incessantly, till life's “fitful fever,” is over, and one is at a loss to find any reasonable excuse for the purpose of such nnere ..". existence. There is no better sample of what may be called stagnant life, than this species of inhabitant of our spas and watering places exhibits. Existence seems in a state of negation—they look too vacant for any residence but the shores of Lethe–" thought would destroy their paradise"— they seem a forlorn corps, exiled from the mass of the people, high or low; a condemned regiment, kept apart from the army to live and die in inglorious obscurity. The other classes consist of sick visitants, whom the healthy seem inclined to expel from their rightful abodes; and the busy and active inhabitants, who draw the means of subsistence equally from all the other classes. It might naturally be supposed that towns which have grown up under the pretence of pleasure and relaxation, would abound with entertainments, cal
culated to relieve tedium and increase the charm of society. Such would actually be the case in any other country than this, where the reverse is really the fact. A starving theatrical company may (if a theatre exists in the place at all) be seen playing before empty boxes, or a few strangers, unknowing and unknown. A ball now and then, where exclusion and stiffness govern every thing, and pleasure is little more than a name, and a promenade on the same given spot, constitute all the amusements to be found in them. A relentless antisocial spirit rules every thing. All look at each other with suspicion. The aristocracy, real or feigned, legitimate or illegitimate, dread coming in contact with the tradesman; and the tradesman often labours to pass for one of the aristocracy, and he often labours so well that he can scarcely be distinguished, except by sometimes overacting his part. Coteries are formed, the members of which imagine themselves the most select and highbred circle in the realm. The horror of an amalgamation by some of the visitants, even in the streets, with those whom they pretend to despise, is only equalled by the patient's dread of water in hydrophobia. The pretty faces of the girls are taught by their Inammas to assume a look of unwonted scorn at the strangers whom mixed company may throw in their way. The silly pretensions of the vain are never so strongly marked as in a fashionable spa ; and all the brood of folly may be seen tinkling its showy bells and strutting in inflated inanity of mind in a manner very different from its appearance in the general run of our cities and towns. Indeed, the best entertainment for the idler is to watch their workings, from the brainless coachman-aping peer, to the soapmaker's lady of Wapping. ... Like fantoccini moving along in the same dance, full of self-pretension—ignorant, but fashionable—coarse in manners, but wealthy—how an using it is to contemplate such a scene: to view it with all “its gaily-gilded trim quick glancing to the sun,” and to read in it one of the bitterest lessons of reason's humiliation, of worthlessness of purpose, that the picture of man's life affords!
recho IN THE REIGN OF CHARLES trie FIRST.
Now Echo, on what's religion grounded? - Round-head.' Whose its professor most considerable? Rabble 1 How do these prove themselves to be the godly Oddly 4 Bnt they in life are known to be the holy. O lie / Who are these preachers, men or women-common Common | Come they from any universitie! - * Citie / Do they not learning from their doctrine sever ? - - Ever / Yet they pretend that they do edifie; f - to . What do you call it then, to fructify 3 Ays What church have they, and what pulpits Pitts 1 But now in chambers the conventicle; Tickle / The godly sisters shrewdly are belied. Bellied ' The godly number then will soon transcend. End / As for the temples they with zeal embrace them. Rase them.' What do they make of bishop's hierarchy ...trehie. * Are crosses, images, ornaments their scandall ! .1// .” Nor will they leave us many ceremonies. Monics / Must even religion down for satisfaction. Faction /
There was a friend of my own, if we may take his own word for it, a left-handed branch of the Plantagenets, but, when I first knew him, one of the dullest dogs in all Noodledum,_grave as a justice of peace, solemn as an undertaker, and as silent as a quaker deserted by the spirit. Though a high-church Tory, you might have taken the family fireside for a nonconformist conventicle, so simple and unadorned was the conversation: at present, every one of its members might be bound up “to face the title” of Colman's Broad Grins. For you are to know that it pleased heaven, and an eighty-horse powered steamengine, to make a man of a small cotton-spinner, residing in a neighbouring town. This honest tradesman, as he grew rich, grew ambitious. He built a handsome square mansion, which he (being of Cockney origin) christened “ The All,” and he turned an oak fence round six acres of meadow, which he dubbed “The Park.” He rode likewise in his coach and four, and, agreeably to the dictum of Mons. Cottu, got himself enlisted on the grand jury. Certain pe. cuniary obligations conferred by old Twist upon my friend Blackacre enforced an invitation of the former to the manor house, which has since grown, not without substantial reasons, into an intimacy; and though old Twist is himself as dull as a post, yet has he discovered to the Blackacres a mine of wit and fun, which in their whole previous lives they “ had never dreamed of in their philosophy.” “Twist's All" stands very high, and commands an extensive prospect; on the very first visit the Blackacres were called on to admire its city-ation ; and ever since it has been a standing joke in the family to make old Twist recur twenty times a-day to the cityation of his house, the cityation of public affairs, or the cityation of any thing else, that can press into the service the ill
fated but obsequious polysyllable. The eldest Mliss Twist has likewise an unfortunate predilection for the French word naïveté, though two hundred per annum spent during six years at a French boarding-school failed in purchasing its right pronunciation. Sometimes she admires navette in the abstract ; sometimes she praises her sisters for their great navieté ; but most frequently she gives herself credit for an extraordinary share of navitie;—so ingeniously does she
o wide of her mark . This little bit of slip-slop is the source of inextinguishable mirth to the Blackacres ; the girls take off “the Twists” in every possible mode of malaprop accentuation; and the father invariably brings up the rear with a customary doubt of the genuineness of the article; affirming that the lady is as cunning as a fox, and that her marietie is, in plain English, nothing more than mere knavery. In this manner has the spectacle of the inferiority of the Twists roused the Blackacres to a sense of their own wit and spirit. The lapsus lingwa of the manufacturers keep the tongues of the agriculturalists in in. cessant activity. The incongruities in their dress and furniture preserve their gentle-blooded neighbours in perpetual good-humour with themselves; and old Twist's mismanagement of his land, which he will farm himself at a loss of thirty per cent. has almost reconciled Blackacre to the idea that the ground is no longer his own,
sh ERIDAN's ANcestors.
Sheridan's father one day descanting on the pedigree of his family, was regretting that they were no longer styled O'Sheridan, as they had been formerly; “Indeed, father,” replied the late celebrated charac. ter, then a boy, “we have more right to the O than any one else—for we owe every body.”
BILLIA R Ds. A Scene from Nightmare Abbey. The Rev. Mr. Laryn.r approached the sofa, and proposed a game at billiards. The Hon. Mr. Listless-Billiards! really I should
be very happy; but in my present exhausted state, I fear the exertion would be too much for me. I do not know when I have been equal to such an effort. (He rang for his valet, Fatout entered.)—Fatout, when did I play at billiards last ! Fatout.—De fourteenth December, de last year, Monsieur.—(Fatout bowed and retired.) The Hon. Mr. Listless.--So it was seven months ago. You see Mr. Larynx, you see, sir. My nerves, Miss O'Carroll, my nerves are shattered. I have been advised to try Bath. Some of the faculty recommend Cheltenham. I think of trying both, as the seasons don't clash. The season you know Mr. Larynx—the season, Miss O Carroll—the season is every thing. Marionetta.-And health is something, n'est ce pas, Larynx The Rev. Mr. Laryniv.–Most assuredly Miss O'Carroll—for however reasoners may dispute about the summon bonum, none of them will deny that a very good dinner is a very good thing, and what is a good dinner without a good appetite and whence is a good appetite but from good health ! Now Cheltenham, Mr. Listless, is famous for good appetites. The Hon. Mr. Listless-The best piece of logic I ever heard. Mr. Larynx, the very best I assure you. I have thought very seriously and profoundly, I have thought of it—let me see—when did I think of it ! (he rang again, and Fatout re-appeared.) Fatout' when did I think of going to Cheltenham, and did not go 2 Fatout.—De Juillet twenty-one de last summer, Monsieur. (Fatout retired.) The Hon. Mr. List/ess.--So it was. An invaluable fellow that, Mr. Larynx—invaluable, Miss O'Carroll. Marionetta. --So I should judge, indeed. He seems to serve you as a walking memory, and to be a living chronicle not of your actions only, but of your thoughts. The Hon. Mr. J.istless.--An excellent definition of the fellow Aliss O'Carroll—excellent, upon my honout–Ha! has ha : Heigh ho! laughter is a pleasure, but the exertion of it is too much for me.
looks to be.”—“Madam, (answered Penn) there lies the difference between him and me.”
sIANZA's TO PUNCHINELLO.
Thou lignum-vitae Roscius, who
The upturn'd eyes I love to trace
I love those sounds to analyze,
Sometimes I note a hen-peck'd wight, Enjoying thy marital might, To him a beatific beau idéal; He counts each crack on Judy's pate, Then homeward creeps to cogitate The difference 'twixt dramatic wives and real. But, Punch, thou’rt ungallant and rude In plying thy persuasive wood; |. that thy cudgei's girth is good, Than that compassionate, thumb-thick. Establish'd wife-compelling stick, Made legal by the dictum of judge Buller. When the officious doctor hies To cure thy spouse, there's no surprise Thou shouldst receive him with nose-tweaking grappling Nor can we wonder that the mob Encores each crack upon his nob, When thou art feeing him with oaken sapling. As for our common enemy Old Nick, we all rejoice to see The coup de grace that silences his wrangle; Put, lo, Jack Ketch —ah, welladay ! Dramatic justice claims its prey, And thou in hempen handkerchief must dangle. Now helpless hang those arms which once Rattled such music on the sconce; Hush'd is that tongue which late out-jested Yorick; That hunch behind is shrugg’d no more, No longer heaves that paunch before, Which swagg'd with such a pleasantry plethoric. But Thespian deaths are transient woes, And still less durable are those Saifer'd by lignum-vitae malefactors; Thou wilt return, alert, alive, And long, oh long may'st thou survive, First of head-breaking and side-splitting actors :