Imatges de pàgina

in similar emergencies has done special service. I know a gentleman at the head of his profession, who, I verily believe, is mainly indebted to this portable succedaneum, for the character he enjoys of profundity and wisdom; and I have been so fortunate as to procure his receipt for this extemporaneous process of manufacturing solid sayings. It is as follows ; Having slowly drawn the golden repository from your waistcoat pocket, give it three distinct taps, and apply the contents to your nose with an artificial cough, consisting of one long pectoral ahoo! gently flap off the scattered particles from your frill with the knuckles of the right hand ; take out your handkerchief with a theatrical swing, and, having gradually foiled down the extremities till it has assumed the form of a silken ball, pass it athwart the cartilage of your nose, bending it first to the left, then to the right ; again flap your frill, return the handkerchief with the same formalities, and by the time you have heaved up another ahoo! you will have been able to compose a very solemn and sententious piece of pomposity. This I take to be a most admirable operation ; for your opponent's attention being occupied by the hocus pocus and mummery, he does not perceive the lapse of time by which you enable yourself to get up your impromptu. You stand, as it were, ten paces off, and deliberately take aim at your adversary with a pistol, while he has nothing but his natural weapons to trust to, and is of course liable to be disabled before he can close and strike a blow. People of any delicacy and cleanliness may consider the remedy worse than the disease, something like the receipt for overcoming the taste of onions by swal. lowing garlic ; but I am happy to inform them that the ultimate operation of cramming the nostrils is quite unnecessary. You may carry your point by merely making a demonstration ; and, indeed, most of our fashionable young gentlemen open a snuff-box

as they do a book, without ever suffering the contents of either to penetrate into their heads.

However, as it is impossible to hit upon any expedient that shall be universally acceptable, and as the evil is too great and distressing to wait the slow effect of our renewed intercourse with France, I have been induced to compose a Conversational Almanac, which will enable gentlemen to invent topics for sudden colloquy the whole year round. They who are in the habit of making impromptus, best know the great time they require, and will best be able to appreciate my labours. Before taking a walk, they will have nothing to do but look out for the month, and under that head they will find, ready cut and dried, all the most approved topics adapted to the season ; and thus furnished with ready made fertility, they may sally down Fleet street or Pall Mall, with their wits upon the half-cock, ready to fire at the first game they may happen to start. For the accommodation of those who may wish to be thought smart fellows, I have subjoined a few monthly jokes and puns, which, though bad enough in themselves, are sufficiently pointed for street impromptus, and may be occasionally launched with very satisfactory effect. That the dealers in small

talk may not be altogether unprovided, I shall - bably add a gossiping diary, by means of which

those who can only get out one day in the week may be appropriately loquacious, and not trudge along as they do at present, evidently at a loss how to dispose of their holiday hilarity, the expression of which has been hitherto immemorably confined to a whistle or a piece of practical mischief.

Before our insertion of the Conversational Almanac and Monthly Jokes, I think it right to initiate my readers into the most approved methods of husbanding their wit when they have got it, lest, by the unskilful management of the weapon I have prepared for them, they may wound themselves more




severely than their enemies, as the awkward handler of a flail generally begins by thrashing himself instead of the corn. To prevent this untoward occurrence, 1 have drawn up an introductory digest of rules, adapted both to pedestrians and the frequenters of regular parties, by a carful perusal of which, the reader may enjoy the happiness of being as much hated and feared as the most inveterate wag

upon record.

1. Feel your ground before you take a single step, and adapt yourself to your company. You may find yourself among a set of wretches who never read Joe Miller, and yet have comprehension enough to understand him. This is fine! Make the most of such a situation, for it is a happiness not often to recur. If any aspiring 'member venture to oppose yoù, crush him without mercy, If you

do not know what he is going to say, tell him you can help him out in that story, should he be at a loss; if you do, cut him short by snatching the sting of the tale from him, and turn it against himself. You will get the laugh, for the audience will be happy to reduce him nearer to their own level by measuring him with you.

2. Never mind what smart you occasion, provided you can say a smart thing. Your enemy you have a right to wound; and with whom can you take a liberty, if not with a friend ?

A pretty thing, truly, if a jest were to be stified because it might give pain! It would give much more to suppress it; and if others do not like the taste, how can they expect you to swallow it?

3. Latin bon-mots are safe if they are sure of the pronunciation, for they who understand them will laugh of course ; and they who do not, for fear of being thought ignorant. With women this rule will not apply; do not, therefore, in their society quote Horace, confess yourself a freemason, for they naturally hate and suspect whatever they are excluded from.

4. It is a very successful and laudable practice to poach upon Joe's premises, with some poor dog, who is fain at night to start the game which you have marked down in the morning. At the given signal let fly, and you are sure to kill the prey, and perhaps some of the company, with laughter. N. B. Be sure that your pointer is staunch , it would be a sad thing were he to run in upon the game himself, instead of backing.

5. When you launch a good thing which is only heard by the person next you,' wait patiently for a pause, and throw it in again in a louder key. Your neighbour, possibly, will not renew his laugh, but will excuse you, well knowing that you cannot afford to throw away a good thing.

6. If your party be stupid, and you want an excuse for getting away, give vent to some double entendres to distress the women. This will answer your purpose, for the men must be fools indeed if they do not kick you down stairs.

7. In the want of other subjects for your raillery, and sneers, personal defects offer a tempting source of pleasantry. When your wit has not a leg of its own to stand on, it may run sometimes upon your neighbour's wooden one. At least a dozen jokes may be endorsed upon a hump back; and you may make a famous handle of a long nose. however, while making free with another's nose, that he does not make free with yours.

8. If your party be equal to yourself in the knowledge of the books, or talent for extempore repartee, laugh immoderately at your own sayings, and pretend not to hear theirs. Study also to get next to what is called a good audience, or hearty laugher ; for laughter is catching, though wit is not.

9. If your companions be decidedly your superiors in both these requisites, have a bad head-ach, and be silent. You could not speak to advantage,

Take care,

and it is better to be pitied for having a pain in the head, than for having nothing in it.

10. Mimicry and buffoonery are good substitutes for wit. Thus you may make some use of a prosing old put, by listening to him with feigned attentio and at the same time thrusting your tongue into the opposite cheek. This will amuse the company, and cannot offend the old gentleman, for he will be wise enough to wish your tongue kept where it is.

11. Beware of quizzing your host too severely, or he will not ask you again. Be merry and wise. A laugh is a tempting thing, I own; so is turtle soup: Always remember that a good dinner is in itself a good thing, and the only one that will bear frequent repetition.

12. If you have once got a man down, belabour him without mercy. Remember the saying of the Welch boxer" Ah, Sir, if you knew the trouble I 'had in getting him down, you would not ask me to let him up again.”

13. Invariably preserve your best joke for the last, and when you have uttered it, follow the example now set you by taking your leave.


Tay bloom is soft, thine eye is bright,

And rose-buds are thy lips, my Fanny i
Thy glossy hair is rich with light,

Thy form unparagon'd by any :
But thine is not the brief array

Of charms which time is sure to borrow,
Which accident may blight to-day,

Or sickness undermine to-morrow,

No-thine is that immortal grace

Which ne'er shall pass from thy possession,
That moral beauty of the face

Which constitutes its sweet expression;
This shall preserve thee what thou art,

When age thy blooming tints has shaded,
For while thy looks reflect thy heart,

How can thy charms be ever faded:

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