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ram against a great vulgar white-painted clothes-chest, and
collect your senses and your limbs on the bear-skin in the lobby. You are a philosopher, I presume, so you enter your study—and a brown study it is, with a vengeance. But you are rather weak than wicked, so you have not ordered poor Grizzy to quit her chaff, and kindle your fire. She is snoring undisturbed below. Where is the tinder-box? You think you recollect the precise spot where you placed it at ten o'clock the night before, for being an early riser up, you are also an early lier down. You clap your blundering fist upon the inkstand, and you hear it spurting over all your beautiful and invaluable manuscripts—and perhaps over the title-page of some superb book of prints, which Mr. Blackwood, or Mr Miller, or Mr Constable has lent you to look at, and to return unscathed. The tinder-box is found, and the fire is kindled—that is to say, it deludes you faithless smile; and after puffing and blowing till the breath is nearly out of your body, you heave a pensive sigh for the bellows. You find them on a nail ; but the leather is burst, and the spout broken, and nothing is emitted but a short asthmatic pluff
, beneath which the last faint spark lingeringly expires—and like Moses when the candle went out, you find yourself once more in the dark. After an hour's execration, you have made good your point, and with hands all covered with tallow (for depend upon it, you have broken and smashed the candle, and had sore to do to prop it with
in a socket too full of ancient grease), sit down to peruse or to indite some immortal work-an oration of Cicero or Demosthenes, or an article for Ebony. Where are the snuffers ? upstairs in your bedroom. You snuff the long wick with your fingers, and a dreary streak of black immediately is drawn from top to bottom of the page of the beautiful Oxford edition of Cicero. You see the words, and stride along the cold dim room in the sulks. Your object has been to improve your mind-your moral and intellectual nature-and along with the rest, no doubt, your temper. You therefore bite your lip, and shake your foot, and knit your brows, and feel yourself to
be a most amiable, rational, and intelligent young gentleman. In the midst of these morning studies, from which the present and all future ages will derive so much benefit, the male and female servants begin to bestir themselves, and a vigorous knocking is heard in the kitchen of a poker brandished by a virago against the great, dull, keeping-coal in the grate. Doors begin to bang, and there is heard a clattering of pewter. Then comes the gritty sound of sand, as the stairs and lobby are getting made decent; and, not to be tedious, all the undefinable stir, bustle, uproar, and stramash of a general clearance. Your door is opened every half-minute, and formidable faces thrust in, half in curiosity, half in sheer impertinence, by valets, butlers, grooms, stable-boys, cooks, and scullions, each shutting the door with his or her own peculiar bang; while whisperings and titterings, and horse laughter, and loud guffaws, are testifying the opinion formed by these amiable domestics of the conformation of the upper story of the early riser. On rushing into the breakfast parlour, the but-end of a mop or broom is thrust into your mouth, as, heedless of mortal man, the mutched mawsey is what she calls dusting the room ; and stagger where you will, you come upon something surly; for a man who leaves his bed at six of a winter morning is justly reckoned a suspicious character, and thought to be no better than he should be. But, as Mr Hogg says, I will pursue the parallel no farther.
I have so dilated and descanted on the first head of my discourse, that I must be brief on the other two, namely, the connection between early rising and the various professions, and between the same judicious habit, and the peculiar character of individuals.
Reader, are you a Scotch advocate ? You say you are. Well, are you such a confounded ninny as to leave a good warm bed at four in the morning, to study a case on which you will make a much better speech if you never study it at all, and for which you have already received £2, 2s? Do you think Jeffrey hops out of bed at that hour ? No, no-catch him doing that. Unless, therefore, you have more than a fourth part of his business, (for, without knowing you, I predict that you have no more than a fourth part of his talents), lie in bed till half-past eight. If you are not in the Parliament House till ten, nobody will miss you. Reader, are you a
clergyman? A man who has only to preach an old sermon of his old father, need not, surely, feel himself called upon by the stern voice of duty to put on his small-clothes before eight in summer, and nine in winter. Reader, are you a halfpay officer? Then sleep till eleven; for well thumbed is your copy of the Army List, and you need not be always studying. Reader, are you an Editor ? Then doze till dinner; for the devils will be let loose upon thee in the evening, and thou must then correct all thy slips.
But I am getting stupid-somewhat sleepy; for, notwithstanding this philippic against early rising, I was up this morning before ten o'clock; so I must conclude. One argument in favour of early rising I must however notice. We are told that we ought to lie down with the sun, and rise with that luminary. Why, is it not an extremely hard case to be obliged to go to bed whenever the sun chooses to do so ? What have I to do with the sun—when he goes down, or when he rises up ? When the sun sets at a reasonable hour, as he does during a short period in the middle of summer, I have no objection to set likewise, soon after; and in like manner, when he takes a rational nap, as in the middle of winter, I don't care if now and then I rise along with him. But I will not admit the general principle ; we move in different spheres. But if the sun never fairly sets åt all for six months, which they say he does not very far north, are honest people on that account to sit
all that time for him ? That will never do. Finally, it is taken for granted by early risers, that early rising is a virtuous habit, and that they are all a most meritorious and prosperous set of people. I object to both clauses of the bill. None but a knave or an idiot I will not mince the matter-rises early, if he can help it. Early risers are generally milksop-spoonies, ninnies with broad unmeaning faces and grozet eyes, cheeks odiously ruddy, and with great calves to their legs. They slap you on the back, and blow their noses like a mail-coach horn. They seldom give dinners. “Sir, tea is ready.” “Shall we join the ladies ?” A rubber at whist, and by eleven o'clock the whole house is in a snore. Inquire into his motives for early rising, and it is perhaps to get an appetite for breakfast. Is the great healthy brute not satisfied with three penny rolls and a pound of ham to breakfast, but he must walk down to the Pier-head at Leith to increase his
voracity? Where is the virtue of gobbling up three turkey's eggs, and demolishing a quartern loaf, before his Majesty's lieges are awake? But I am now speaking of your red, rosy, greedy idiot. Mark next your pale, sallow early riser. He is your prudent, calculating, selfish money-scrivener. It is not for nothing he rises. It is shocking to think of the hypocrite saying his prayers so early in the morning, before those are awake whom he intends to cheat and swindle before he
goes to bed.
I hope that I have sufficiently exposed the folly or wickedness of early rising. Henceforth, then, let no knavish prig purse up his mouth and erect his head with a conscious air of superiority, when he meets an acquaintance who goes to bed and rises at a gentlemanly hour. If the hypocrite rose early in the morning, he is to be despised and hated. But people of sense and feeling are not in a hurry to leave their beds. They have something better to do.
I perceive that all the letters that appear in your Magazine are numbered as if they belonged to a series,—I., II., III., and so forth. If you choose, you may
number mine, Early Rising. No. I.” If I continue the series, my future communications shall all be written in bed in the forenoon, and will not fail of being excellent.
SERO SED Serio.
We have no idea what is thought of us in the fashionable world. Most probably we are looked on as a pretty considerable Quiz. Our external or personal appearance is, we cheerfully confess, somewhat odd, both face and figure. It is not easy for you
to pass us by on the streets without a stare at our singularity, or to help turning round, as soon as you think you are out of reach of our crutch, which, by the by, we sometimes use as a missile, and can throw almost as far as that celebrated Gymnast of the Six Foot Club can swing the thirteen pound sledge-hammer; while, with a placid smile of well-pleased surprise, you wonder if that can indeed be the veritable and venerable Christopher North.
Such is our natural and acquired modesty, that so far from being flattered by these proofs of public esteem and popular favour, they fret and annoy us more than we care to express. The truth is, we can seldom, on such occasions, help feeling as if there were a hole in our black silk stocking, the white peeping through like a patch of snow-a shoe minus a silverbuckle--a button off some part of our dress—the back part of our hat in front—the half-expanded white rosebud-tie of our neckcloth, of which we are alike proud and particular, dissolved into two long slips, which, more than anything else appertaining to a man's habiliments, give your person the impress of a weaver expert at the treddle and fly-shuttle-or, to us who keep a regular barber on the chin establishment, with a salary of £80, worst suspicion of all, and if verified to the