Imatges de pàgina
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such is the pride of the human heart, that it cannot receive a favour without a feeling of humiliation, and it will almost unconsciously harbour a constant wish to lower the value of the gift by dimiuishing that of the donor. Ingratitude is an effort to recover our own esteem by getting rid of our esteem for a benefactor ; and when one self-love opposes our love of another, it soon vanquishes its adversary. We esteem benefactors as we do tooth drawers, who have cured us of one pain by inflicting another. For the rich I am laying down no rules; they may afford to lose their friends as well as monty, for they can command more of each ; we who stand under the frown of Plutus must be economists, of both, and it is for the benefit of such classes that I would have the whole brotherhood of mendicants, calling themselves borrowers, sentenced to the house of correction-not till they had paid their debts, for that would be equivalent to perpetual imprisonment, but until they had sincerely forgiven their old friends for lending them money, and placed themselves in a situation to acquire new ones by a promise never to borrow any more.

A fourth description of beggars, not less pestilent in their visitations, are the fellows who are constantly coming to beg that you will lend them a book, which they will faithfully return in eight or ten days, for which you may substitute years, and be no nearer to the recovery of your property. It is above that period since some of my friends have bessed the second volume of Tom Brown's Works, the first of Bayle's Dictionary, Phinehas Fletcher's Purple Island, and various others, whose absence creates many

hiatus valde deflcndus” in my bookshelves, which, like so many open mouths, cry aloud to heaven against the purloiners of odd volumes and the decimators of sets. Books are a sort of ferie naturæ to these poachers that have “nulla vestigia retrorsum ;” they pretend to have forgotten where

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they borrowed them, and then claim them as strays and waifs. You may know the number of a man's friends by the vacancies in his library; and if he be one of the best fellows in the world, his shelves will assuredly be empty. Possession is held to be nine points in law, but with friends of this class unlawful possession is the best claim of all titles; for print obliterates property, meum and teum cannot be bound up in calf or morocco, and honour and honesty cease to be obligatory in all matters of odd volumes. Beggars of this quality might with great propriety be sent to the counting houses of the different prisons and penitentiaries, where their literary abilities might be rendered available by em. ploying them as book-keepers, a business in which they have already exhibited so much proficiency. One day for every octavo, two for a quarto, and three for every folio, of which they could not give a satis-. factory account, would probably be deemed an adequate punishment.

The last species of mendicants whom I should recommend to the new Suppression Society, and whom, judging by my own experience, I should pronounce the most importunate and unreasonable of any, are the young and old ladies, from the boarding-school Miss to the Dowager Blue-stocking, who, in the present rage for albums and autographs, ferret out all unfortunate writers, from the Great Unknown, whom every body knows, down to the illustrious obscure whoid nobody knows, and beg them- just to write a few lines for insertion in their repository. If they will even throw out baits to induce so mere a minnow as myself to nibble at a line, what must they do for the Tritons and the Leviathans of literature! Friends, aunts, cousins, neighbours, all are put in requisition, and made successively bearers of the neat morocco-bound begging book. Surely, Mr. Higginbotham, you will not refuse me, when I know you granted the same favour to Miss Barnacles, Miss

Scroggs, Mrs. Scribbleton, and many others. Besides, it is so easy for you to compose a few stanzas! Gadzooks! these folk's seem to think one can write sense as fast as they talk nonsense—that poetry comes spontaneously to the mouth, as if we were born improvisatori, and could not help ourselves. I believe, however, that few will take the trouble to read that which has not occasioned some trouble to write ; and even if their supposition were true, we have the authority of Dr. Johnson for declaring that no one likes to give away that by which he lives : “ You, sir,” said he, turning to Thrale, “ would rather give away money than beer.”

And to come a begging of such impoverished wits as mine-Gorpo di Bacco! it is robbing the spittal-putting their hands in the poor box-taking that " which naught enricheth them, and makes me poor indeed”-doing their best to create a vacuum, which nature abhors : and as to assuming that compliance costs nothing, this is the worst mendicity of all, for it is even begging the question. No, I cannot recommend to the new society any extension of indulgence towards offenders of this class. The ladies, old and young, should be condumned to Bridewell, (not that I mean any play upon the word,) there to be dieted upon bread and water until they had completely filled one another's albums with poetry of their own composing ; after which process, I believe they might returned loose upon society without danger of their resuming the trade of begging. Other mendicant nuisances occur to me, for whose suppression the proposed institution would be held responsible ; but I have filled my limits for the present, and shall therefore leave them to form the subject of a future communication.

THE BOURSE AT PARIS.

ENGLAND AND FRANCE.-BUYING A BONNET.

Plant. Tut, tut, here is a mannerly forbearance;

The truth appears so naked on my side,

That any purblind eye may find it out,
Somer. And on my side it is so well appareli'd,

So clear, so shining, and so evident,
That it will glimmer through a blind man's eye.

Henry VI.

ENTERING lately the temporary enclosure that runs round the new Exchange at Paris, I stood before the noble front on which the words “ Tribunal de Commerce" have been inscribed, deeply penetrated with the simple, I had almost said sublime, grandeur of the building, musing on the past time, when the Parthenon was not less fresh and perfect, and throwing my thoughts forward into the future, when the majestic and stupendous temple before me (for such, indeed, it seems) should be ruinous and dilapidated as that which is now mouldering away upon the Athenian Acropolis, when a brownvisaged keen eyed Parisian, of that shabbyagenteel class which abounds in this capital, having a ragged hat, long surtout, and the ribbon of the Legion d'Honneur in his button-hole, walked up to me with an easy courtesy, took off his superannuated hat, presented his snuff box, and on the strength of this unceremonious introduction exclaimed—"Eh bien! Monsieur, vous conviendrez qu'il n'y a rein de si magnifique à Londres.” Now, as I saw that this unexpected acquaintance meant to compliment his own sagacity by his instant discovery that I was an Englishman, and his nationality by vaunting the superiority of his building, I retorted in the usual way; that is to say, by exhibiting the same feeling in myself which I condemned in him: so I replied, with something like a sneer—“O yes, it must be confessed that Paris has a fine Exchange and no irade : we have nothing* at London but the wealth and the commerce.” So far from being hurt at this division, my colloquist recieved it as a compliment, made me a smiling bow, and exclaimed complacently, “ Oui c'est ça !” and, as I really felt somewhat ashamed of my speech, I determined to listen to him patiently in the future remarks with which he threatened to favour me. " It is not altogether Corinthian, nor yet Ionic," continued he, looking up at the capitals of the pillars ; and then, with a conclusive nod of his head he pronounced—" in fact, it is in the very best French style.” This reminded me of the worthy friar who, being asked, after having vaunted the architecture of his monastery, in what order it was built, replied—“In the order of St. Dominic :" but I seemed to assent to the position of my. informant, who proceeded to declare that the ancient statuary and painting assembled in the Louvre in the time of the emperor was the finest collection that the world had ever witnessed, and did more honour than all his victories to the name of that (here he looked round, and observing that no one was near, concluded)

to the name of that truly great man.

“ And yet," I observed, “though you retained all these masterpieces of art for so many years, not the smallest traces of their influence are perceptible in the modern French school either of sculpture or painting.'

“That may very well be; for, though they were invaluable as specimens of what antiquity could do, you will certainly admit" (this is the invariable phrase of a Frenchman when he is making a monstrous assertion)" that we already possessed, among our own artists, modern works of an infinitely superior standard:” and then he twanged through his nose a long list of the illustrious obscure among his compatriots; recapitulated a catalogue of sprawling, theatrical, operatical figures, which, in

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VOL. II.

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