« AnteriorContinua »
No sooner was the above printed and circulated, than assurances of support poured in from all quarters ; in a short time the list of Subscribers was respectably signed, and altogether the most sanguine expectations have been fulfilled. And now, kind readers, we shall henceforth throw aside the cold reserve and distant greeting of the third person, and assume at once, as well in the remainder of our present address as on all future occasions, the more dignified and yet familiar pronoun, which has been the prerogative of Kings and Editors from time immemorial. If, when our young hopes outstepped the puny strength of our mental energies, when overflowing spirits and puerile temerity had nearly overbalanced the natural modesty of our mind and the reflections of a cool hour—if then the lordly pedagogue might, with a fair portion of justice on his side, have opened the foodgates of quotation, and discharged upon our blushing frontispiece, the Horatian adage,
Parturiunt montes; nascetur ridiculus mus',
And a small mouse ridiculous arose ;' or as the celebrated author of the Rambler hath it in the garb of simple and classical prose— Parturient mountains have brought forth muscicular abortions; -we say, if in an hour of boyhood’s revelling we were exposed to such assault, and merited a wholesome castigation, now, we humbly think, the lash of satire will be inapplicable, and ridicule may spare her shafts. We advance to the duties that lie before us in full confidence, relying as much on the strength of our domestic troops steeled and marshalled for “the war of words,” as on the valuable co-operation of numerous veteran literati, whom we are proud to number amongst our allies. Nor are we insensible to the undisguised and gushing sympathies of many a heart, that in a silent and emphatic language of its own, bids our labours speed, teeming with kindly wishes and friendly aspirations for our success. To speak of enemies were premature:--and yet we would not shrink from the contemplation of human nature in its most forbidding aspect—we would not " lay the flattering unction to our soul,” that the world is purified to the entire exclusion of the baser metals, and we remain unsatisfied, that the melancholy proposition—Envy withers at another's joy'has ever been confuted. “Let none suppose, however, we are disturbed: the best of men have had their foes to meet and crosses to encounter; and he has yet to see the light of day, who shall succeed in alluring us from our self-complacency, or in betraying us from our extreme good-nature. Nay, in verity--we are
not altogether of such clay As rots into the souls of those whom we survey.' Dismissing, however, the distinction betwixt friends and enemies at all times an ungracious task, and particularly so under existing circimstances we beg to observe to the many-headed public, that we entertain a wish somewhat analogous to the famous one of a certain tyrant, who wished the necks of all mankind were conjoined, that he might satiate his blood-thirsty despotism at a blow: with a wish comprehensive as his though by no means allied to it in characterand as a proof of our consummate benignity, we do most solemnly aver, that if the sweet persons of our present and future readers could by any singular involution be embodied in one comely, discreet, and manageable corporation, we should clasp the substantial reality in our Editorial arms, and confer upon the strange lusus naturæ alias artis, a sincere and cordial embrace, not unworthy of Christopher North, Esquire, himself.
But, excellent friends and gentle patrons, it were ungenerous to trifle longer with your feelings, nor will we disguise from you, that we suspect what thoughts do now naturally occupy the uppermost place in your minds. No doubt, the question is continually presenting itself in ideal form and striving for utterance, if possibly it may be answered—Who are the Editors ?'-Now, since we neither wish to prolong your anxiety, nor mean to deny to curiosity its reasonable gratification, and since secrecy in matters of Editorship has been voted unfashionable, we shall straightway make you acquainted with the names, characteristics and respective duties of those who are at the head of affairs.
First, then, we would recommend to your regards our Preses, Speaker, or Chairman-Nathaniel Nestor, Ġent.-who has been raised to the aforesaid exalted and responsible station by the unanimous suffrages of his colleagues.
Many things concurred to plead for this gentleman, and secure his appointment to the chief place in the councils of the Border Magazine. Furnished by nature with a large measure of common sense a desideratum, by the by, in many a self-important and busy official of our day—and endowed with intellectual powers of no mean order, he traversed the curriculum of a University education with an ardour and success seldom paralleled. During that time, the whole of which was spent without any fixed profession in view, and solely from a love of li. terature and the sciences, besides performing the mere tasks imposed on the academical cives, he borrowed from his hours of rest and relax. ation, and made such progress in the paths of classical criticism and belles lettres, as to leave his compeers far behind. Forming one in a select circle of kindred spirits-youths who acted from the same motives, and owned the same enthusiasm-painful was the hour that call. ed him from his friends and ordered him to other climes and other company. The period of parting was deeply felt on both sides, but go he must; assurances of continued amity, promises of correspondence, and heartfelt benedictions were exchanged—then Nat. Nestor bade adieu to early objects of attachment and his native mountains. The sequel proved the event to be for good. From being pent up within a circumscribed space, and chained to an unvarying train of thought and feeling, whence prejudices were apt to spring, he was conducted to the broad amphitheatre of the world, and soon breathed more liberal sentiments. Men and things were substituted for books; and, therefore, instead of gaining his knowledge at second hand, and from often polluted channels, he drew it now from pure streams and from prime sources. Thus five years' travel taught him humanity. Subsequently, his intercourse with former associates whom, on his return, he found treading with firmer step the track of life which each had selected for himself, but never forgetful of by-gone days and
pursuits-has been uninterrupted. Half a century of winters, in conjunction with severe study, has had the effect of robbing him to a considerable extent of a glossy and luxuriant crop of hair, with which nature had furnished him, and of displaying a forehead indicative of intelligence, and strongly corroborative of the craniological theory. The demise of a relative placed an estate by no means contemptible at his disposal : happily for the present undertaking, the majestic Tweed flowed past the comfortable inheritance, and induced the new owner of the domain to keep Nestor House in his own hands as the chosen spot of his retreat. Business has frequently brought him to the “ Town and County by itself,” where in future he purposes to fix his winter quarters; and where also a quantum sufficit of his summers will be spent for the discharge of the duties on which he has entered. He
may be distinguished from the crowds that resort to the health-invigorating promenades—the Pier, the New Road, the Magdalen fields, and the Ramparts-by a broad-brimmed hat, black dress, large silver shoe-buckles, and a gold-headed cane.
He possesses; moreover, a serious and rather sombre countenance, a steady gait a'la militaire, and he is a bachelor. Thus partially described, he will be recognized without difficulty. His province is very extensive, inasmuch as his authority can allow or forbid the insertion of any article, even though contrary to the opinions of his co-operators. This, indeed, is not likely to happen frequently, since all of them are remarkable for a sound and discriminating judgment, and since the mind of the President himself is always open to coulviction.
The next personage, who takes his seat on the immediate right of the chairman, is Dr. Ploddem, a retired physician and an antiquary. His small piercing eyes and sharp nose, a solitary tuft at the top of his cranium, which serves as a set-off to a thinly-planted margin of capillary teguments, terminating at either temple, and especially a finger or two profusely adorned with specimens of the antique, abundantly bespeak the nature of his researches. At present, he is busied in collecting information of many ancient buildings, which once were the pride of Berwick, and of which not a vestige remains. His labours promise to be crowned with success, and will, ere long, be handed over to the printer.
The sober manners and grave visages of the Preses and the Doctor are strongly contrasted with the blazing and good-humoured countedance, and the boisterous deportment of Lieutenant Siroc-a personal representation of a hurricane. The Lieutenant has seen real service without a joke, but then, he indulges on occasions, too liberally, an art of which he is perfect master, and hence, in the embellishments of his tales, he is prone to violate the laws of probability. According to his own account, he has been nineteen times mortally wounded notwithstanding the satisfactory evidence to the contrary; and the adventures of Baron Munchausen are trifles compared with the wonders he himself has seen, and the deeds he has performed. Still he enjoys intervals of a calm and prosaic existence, and consequently though
Jittle of this great world can he speak,
he is tolerably well fitted for his office, to-wit, the superintendance of stories of sailors, soldiers, and smugglers,
Of moving accidents by food and field;
of antres vast, and deserts wild,
Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven.' Opposite the virtuoso, and operating as a light to relieve the shadow of the Doctor, shines not the least important personage amongst the dramatis persone_Master Matthew Courtly, or abbreviated, Beau Courtly. This model of a modern gentleman, and living advertisement of oils and perfumes, gentility and manners, fashion and rarieties-invariably subscribes himself Master in preference to Mr.which, he contends, is a common-place and tradesman-like cognomenand prides himself on the off-hand appellation of Beau bestowed by his familiars, which he reckons a merited eulogium on his taste, talents and accomplishments. He boasts a thorough knowledge of the poetic àrt, from the puff-impudent of blacking-manufacturers, up to the lofty epic and heroic line, and keeps constantly in view a rather high standard, by which he purposes to guide his decision on all rhythmical contributions transmitted to 46, High Street. To do the Beau justice, and to conciliate towards him the objects whom, above all else, he is anxious to please—the fair sex in general, we must not fail to notify, that, in the course of an hour, he can indite a dozen sonnets adapted to the numerous shades and shapes of ladies' eyebrows, and that his earnest expostulations and entreaties succeeded in gaining a place for a monthly register of births, marriages and deaths. His reading has been extensive—so much so, that he has the whole library of British Poets at command, and his tongue is eternally distilling some honied sweets gathered from the flower-gardens of the Muse.
The last member of the literary conclave obtains and deserves the most profound regard by reason of his amiable manners, gentle dis position and sterling excellence. Intended by his friends for the clerical profession, Mr. Placid completed, agreeably to their wishes, the course of study prescribed by the ecclesiastical courts of the Scottish Church. But further he did not venture, except so far as he attempted a solitary pulpit exhibition, which effectually deterred him from again appearing before a congregation. Extreme modesty and delicate health rendered the embarrassment of his debut in that capacity so exquisitely painful and distressing, that he could never muster courage or strength for a second experiment. Fortunately for him, he enjoys a competency of this world's goods through a private channel, a portion of which is dedicated to the cause of charity to an extent by no means commensurate with the benevolence of his heart. When he opens his mouth to deliver his sentiments, which are valuable in proportion to their rarity and appropriateness, every whisper is hushed, and not a syllable escapes the ear of his audience;
even the hardy and obstreperous veteran compresses his lips into the expression of a mute and respectful listener, and the toujours gai Courtly looks serious.
The aforesaid characters, having thus made their introductory bow by proxy, felicitate themselves on the prospect of a more intimate acquaintance with each other and with the public:
-We had nearly forgotten to record an essential prop of the concern, being neither better nor worse than James, otherwise Jemmy Dabble, who officiates in the combined and complicate ensemble of errand-boy, porter, et cætera, at a salary of Five Shillings per week, exclusive of worn-out garments, victuals to the content of a stomach which seems insatiable, and many additional perquisites. He will not permit us, depend on't, to neglect the insertion of his services along with those who feed him.
We question, if our readers will here rest satisfied, since a thousand particulars remain explanatory of the origin, rise, and probable consummation of the Magazine. We shall, therefore, without ceremony, introduce them to
THE EDITORIAL CLOSET.-No. I. SCENE.— The Library at Nestor House-A table covered with books and papers, at which the PRESIDENT, Dr. PLODDEM, LIEUTENANT SIROC, Beau COURTLY, and Mr. Placid are discovered sitting.“ Time-Night.
NESTOR. Well, gentlemen, are you fully resolved to venture on the publication of a monthly periodical in Berwick ?
MR. PLACID. On that point, I believe, we are all agreed. Several questions, however, suggest themselves, to which I solicit attention. What shali be the name of the Magazine ? Can we calculate on a sufficiency of interesting matter? Will the public support us ? And do we not ex. pose ourselves to the critical disposition of the adjoining city?
SIROC. Questions all very prudent I admit. As for the name, and the matter, and the public-I leave them to wiser heads; but as for the small craft which ye honour with the appellation of critics, why, blow me, I'll undertake to convert the divisible frame of the Beau there, into a few twenty-four pounders, and with a tolerable broadside, send the entire crews of 'em piping to Davy Jones' locker—blow me.
COURTLY. A pretty considerable piece of humour, I calculate-notwithstanding which my feelings will not allow me to accept the substantial part of the compliment. Nevertheless, what would the Lieutenant think, if his own fiery composition were reduced to the same destructive articles: they would indubitably succeed more effectually in warming the jackets of the enemy, partaking, as they did, of the qualities of the original gross lump, which is naturally and unalterably red hot.
Siroc. Why, thou land-lubber of an impolitic Admiral-pardon my warmth_would'st thou expend thy best and deadliest ammunition on a few canoes manned with half-starved and illiterate savages ?