« FöregåendeFortsätt »
family, and Dick among the number, gathered to round bim. Mleave my second son, Andrew,' said the expiring miser, my whole estate, and desire him to be frugal.' Andrew, in a sorrowful tope, as is usual on these occasions, prayed Heaven to prolong his life and health, to enjoy it himself. «1 recommend Simon, my third son, to the care of his elder brother, and leave him beside four thousand pounds.' Ah ! father,' cried Simon, in great aftliction to be sure, may Heaven give you life and health to enjoy it yourself! At last, turning to poor Dick, As for you, you have always been a sad dog; you'll never come to good; you'll never be rich; I'll leave you a shilling to buy a halter.' • Ab! father,' cries Dick, without any emotion, * may Heaven give you life and health to enjoy it yourself! This was all the trouble the loss of for. tune gave this thoughtless, imprudent creature. However, the tenderness of an uncle recompensed the neglect of a father; and my friend is now not only excessively good-humoured, but competently rich.
Yes, let the world cry out at a bankrupt who appears at a ball, at an author who laughs at the public which pronounces him a dunce, at a general who smiles at the reproach of the vulgar, or the lady who keeps her good humour in spite of scan. dal: but such is the wisest behaviour that any of us can possibly assume. It is certainly a better way to oppose calamity by dissipation, than to take up the arms of reason or resolution to oppose it: by the first method, we forget our miseries; by the last, we only conceal them from others : by struggling with misfortunes, we are sure to receive some wounds in the conflict; but a sure method to come off victorious, is by running away.
DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS CLUBS.
I REMEMBER to have read in some philosopher
(I believe in Tom Brown's works), that, let a man's character, sentiments, or complexion, be what they will, he can find company in London to match them. If he be splenetic, he may every day meet companions on the seats in St. James's Park, with whose groans he may mix his own, and pathe. tically talk of the weather. If he be passionate, he may vent his rage among the old orators at Slaugh. ter's coffee-house, and damn the nation because it keeps him from starving. If he be phlegmatic, he may sit in silence at the Humdrum club in Ivy. lane; and, if actually mad, he may find very good company in Moorfields, either at Bedlam or the Foundry, ready to cultivate a nearer acquaintance.
But, although such as have a knowledge of the town, may easily class themselves with tempers con. genial to their own, a countryman who comes to live in London finds nothing more difficult. With regard to myself, none ever tried with more assiduity, or came off with such indifferent success. I spent a whole season in the search, during which time my name has been enrolled in societies, lodges, convocations, and meetings,without number. To some I was introduced by a friend, to others in. vited by an advertisement; to these I introduced myself, and to those I changed my name to gain admittance. In short, no coquette was ever more solicitous to match her ribbons to her complexion, than I to suit my club to my temper; for I was too obstinate to bring my temper to conform to it.
The first club I entered upon coming to town, was that of the Choice Spirits. The name was entirely suited to my taste; I was a lover of mirth.
good-humour, and even sometimes of fun, from my childhood.
As no other passport was requisite but the pay. ment of two shillings at the door, I introduced myself without farther ceremony to the members, who were already assembled, and had, for some time, begun upon business. The grand, with a mallet in his hand, presided at the head of the table. I could not avoid, upon my entrance, making use of all my skill in physiognomy, in order to discover that superiority of genius in men who had taken a title so superior to the rest of mankind. I expected to see the lines of every face marked with strong thinking; but, though I had some skill in this science, I could for my life discover nothing but a pert simper, fat, or profound stupidity.
My speculations were soon interrupted by the grand, who had knocked down Mr. Spriggins for a song. I was, upon this, whispered by one of the company who sat next me, that I should now see something touched off to a nicety, for Mr. Spriggins was going to give us Mad Tom in all its glory. Mr. Spriggins endeavoured to excuse himself; for, as he was to act a madman and a king, it was impossible to go through the part properly without a crown and chains. His excuses were over-ruled by a great majority, and with much vociferation. The president ordered up the jack-chain; and, instead of a crown, our performer covered his brows with an inverted jordan. After he had rattled his chain, and shook his head, to the great delight of the whole company, he began his song. As I have heard few young fellows offer to sing in company that did not expose themselves, it was no great disappointment to me to find Mr. Spriggins among the number; however, not to seem an odd fish, I rose from my seat in rapture, cried out,. Bravo! encore!' and slapped the table as loud as any of the rest.
The gentleman who sat next me seemed highly pleased with my taste, and the ardour of my appro. bation ; and whispering told me I had suffered an immense loss; for, had I come a few minutes sooner, I might have heard Gee-ho Dobbin sung in a tip-top manner, by the pimple.nosed spirit at the president's right elbow: but he was evaporated before I came.
As I was expressing my uneasiness at this disappointment, I found the attention of the company employed upon a fat figure, who, with a voice more rough than the Staffordshire giant's, was giving us the Softly sweet, in Lydian measure,' of Alexander's Feast. After a short pause of admiration, to this succeeded a Welch dialogue, with the hummours of Teague and Taffy : after that came on Old Jackson, with a story between every stanza: next was sung the Dust-Cart, and then Solomon's Song. The glass began now to circulate pretty freely; those who were silept when 3ober, would now be heard in their turn; every man had his song, and he saw no rea. son why he should not be heard as well as any of the rest : one begged to be heard while he gave Death and the Lady in high taste; another sung to a plate which he kept trundling on the edges ; nothing was now heard but singing; voice rose above voice, and the whole became one universal shout, when the landlord came to acquaint the company that the reckoning was drunk out. Rabelais calls the moments in which a reckoning is mentioned, the most melancholy of our lives : vever was so much noise so quickly quelled, as by this short but pathetic oration of our landlord. Drunk out!' was echoed in a tone of discontent round the table :
drunk out already! that was very odd! that so much punch could be drunk out already! impossi. ble!' The landlord, however, seeming resolved not to retreat from his first assurances, the company was dissolved, and a president chosen for the night ensuing.
A friend of mine, to whom I was complaining some time after of the entertainment I have been