Page images
PDF
EPUB

ground of its impudent interference hocus-pocus has succeeded to a miracle. with the unrestricted use and integrity The whole island has been converted of Holy Writ. The Roman Catholics into one vast arena for jobbing in gave it a Jesuitical reception, as a school business. Every appointment thing to be used so far as taking the connected with the department, and money, and violated so far as regarded their name is Legion, is a subjectthe rules of united hocus-pocus laid matter of private canvassing, favouritdown, but have never, either by mani- ism, and adoption. In short, a job.festo of their bishops, or by their

Je suis jobber, accredited theological organs, recog- Tu es jobber, nised the principle or given a hearty Il est jobber, assent to its practical development. Nous sommes jobbers, The Arians and Socinians, who took Vous êtes jobbers, the money and conformed to the rules Tout le monde sont jobbers. of the Kildare Place Society, now take the money and conform to the This is the only result of the Narules of the National hocus pocus. tional hocus pocus—the multiplication It is not impossible that if the public of jobs, jobbers, hacks, sycophants, money was distributed by Turks, they and subordinates. Let our inestimawould do the government the favour ble government only drag on a prestill to accept the public money. Men carious existence for a few years who believe little, will ever find coun- longer, and happy man be his dole tenance and support from men who who can skim his pot without a governbelieve less.

ment mercenary eyeing him down the As far as the immediate interests of chimney! Whiggery are involved, the National

FASCICULUS THE SIXTH,

As bends the young sprig,
So the tree grows when big-
do you twig -

0.E.

I think-to resume my personal the 'quay wall, with a crab tied to a narrative, which, like a true patriot, I string, bobbing for eels, I imbibed a have postponed to the preceding short natural and instinctive abhorrence of dissertation concerning the origin and all sorts and sizes of book learning, abuses of National Education in Ire- which has continued to this very day. land, because it cost me nothing I mention this to propitiate critical I say, I think it was about the seventh readers, who may cavil at the looseyear of my age that my aunt was com- ness of my style, and want of rotunpelled, by a majority of the House of dity of my periods. I hope for their Commons, that is, of the lodgers in indulgent consideration, when I assure our house, to send me, very much them, upon my honour and conscience, against her will, to learn my alpha- that I never learned my English bet at Lady Harberton's school, in Grammar, that I am anuntaught Summer Hill. Lady Harberton was oyster-eater, and that my whole an excellent lady, and maintained literary career has been the pursuit of at her own costs and charges an ex. oysters under difficulties.- To school cellent school-her object was, to I went, however, with great reluceducate, not to convert. She knew tance, and had got as far, I think, as better than to try to cram her religion, round 0 in the Pictorial Spelling whatever it was, down other people's Book, when one unlucky day, comchildren's throats, and the consequence ing home from Lady Harberton's, I was, other people sent their children stumbled and fell, cutting my juvenile to Lady Harberton's school with much proboscis upon the pavement. My gratitude, and “no questions asked." aunt insisted that I had been whipped, What with blackguarding about the in spite of all my asseverations to the streets, as customary with young contrary, and straightway went off to gentlemen of my rank and station in the police magistrates to get a warDublin, and sitting all day long upon rant against Lady Harberton for “ murdering”. her darling sister's I did not care so materially about, son, a full cousin, thirty-three times but the loss of my little independence removed, of Sir Orson Snake, Baronet, was a thing not to be thought of,—50 of Corkscrew Lodge, head and chief sensibly does self-interest touch us at of the real, ould, ancient, good-for- the earliest age,—threepence a-week drinking-and-nothing-else Snakes of was a halfpenny a-day, for every Galway. The warrant being, of course, working-day. My aunt, to be sure, refused, my aunt declared she would was—my aunt, and that was all ; so, “ skiver the heart" of Lady Harber- with small deliberation, to the devil I ton, for allowing her darling boy to be pitched my aunt, her second-rate lodg6 thumped ;” whereupon she was ings in a third-rate street, her devovery properly bound over to keep the tion, her dirt, her insufferable pride, peace towards his Majesty's subjects, and the Snakes of Galway! and to her ladyship in particular, and I With tears in my eyes, I lamented was graciously permitted to return to my hard fate to my benefactor-tears, my primitive education of blackguard- which the good easy man attributed ing about the streets and bobbing for to the laudable emotion of a love of eels.

learning, acting upon an ingenuous At these pursuits I might have con- and sensitive mind,-never dreaming tinued long enough, had not a chari- that the probable loss of the six halftable neighbour of ours promised me pence per week had opened the founthreepence a week while I went regu- tains of mine eyes on this occasion. larly to the Model School of the Kil. Instead, however, of withdrawing dare Place Society. Here I actually his bounty, he advised me to try some learned to read, and to perform a series profitable line of life, towards which of eccentric evolutions with the tip of he munificently presented me with a my fore-finger, in a platter of sand, capital, in ready cash, of half-a-crown. which I was led to imagine nothing After some time spent in consideraless than signing my own name. I tion of the various avenues to fortune also came to understand that the world which might be opened by the magic had two halves, and four quarters, and of two and sixpence, I determined in indeed, to this very day, I cannot well favour of literature ;-I had thoughts imagine how the world could, by any of stay-tape, needles, pins, buttons, possibility, have more or less. and buckram; but all gave way to

All this, and very little more, I was my attachment to literature, not from bribed to attain by the stimulus of any love for letters, but because letters threepence per week ; for, although I were associated in my mind with the hated learning as a National school- celestial music of six weekly “browns" master hates the gospel, I had sense harmoniously chiming in the left-hand enough to know that threepence a pocket (for I am left-handed, like Colweek was an income not to be sneezed kitto) of my corduroy “smalls." Acat. Of course I kept the threepence cordingly I embraced literature, the a-week a profound secret from my aunt, trade of great men, and began profesbut that did not save me from the mis- sional life as a newsman. If f you have chievous exercise of the unhappy crea- never been in Dublin you are not proture's folly and absurdity. Some good- bably aware that the regular trade of natured friend had told her that pauper a news-vender is there unknown,children were received at the Kildare subscribers to the various newspapers Place Model School, and educated in are furnished with their copies direct the same classes as her sister's son, a from the newspaper office, while casual scion of the noble Snakes of Galway readers depend upon peripatetic newsMy aunt's blood was up in a twinkling. mongers who go about shouting the She wondered who had dared to in

names of newspapers at the top of their duce her sister's son to “ demean him. lungs, from one end of the city to the self in a school with ragamuffins," and other. These people are also accusinformed me that if I put my foot over tomed to lend the various papers to the threshold of a school where " beg- those who require them for a short gars' brats" were permitted to enter time, at the rate of one penny or twoI need never darken her door. There pence per paper, as may be agreed was nothing for it but to give up my on, and in this way make a profit of aunt, or give up the threepence a-week from twopence to eighteenpence per and the Model School. The latter diem. I was obliged to be up by peep of day to await the opening of the descriptions of the habitations of unnewspaper offices, for our hope of sale shaven highwaymen and juvenile pickdepended much on being early in the pockets, but I have lived in places of market; the morning coaches were next this kind myself, and never saw any to be attended to, and canvassed for thing describable, although I can enupurchasers ; then, if I had luck, I was merate_ very many things that are accustomed to indulge in a penny

not. The places were poor and not dog," a "crubeen," and a cropper, very clean, to be sure, but at ninewhich, it may be proper to apprise the pence a-week I saw no opportunity uninitiated, are terms translatable, re- of doing better. spectively, by-a penny roll, a boiled I hope I will not be construed into pig's trotter with the skin on, and a having any intention to disparage the glass of raw whisky. When sales Cockney school of prose by these were dull, I contented myself with observations. The Newgate Calenthe “ cropper" only, and thus you see dar, and the Lives of Eminent how it is that poverty and drunken- Housebreakers and Highwaymen, I ness come to be so constantly asso- take to be historical works of a very ciated.

high order, of an undoubted accuracy If I had the good fortune to take and research in matters of fact, breakfast, which always depended great probability and truth in the upon the humour of the passengers by deduction of inferences, manly vigour the early morning coaches it was now of sentiment, and elegant terseness nine o'clock, at which hour I was ex- of expression. Even as to minor li. pected to deliver the morning papers terary graces, I think it impossible with my respective customers-running for any refined and feeling mind to from house to house to receive and peruse the account of « Dorothy re-deliver my papers, standing a little Hastie” in the Newgate Calendar, while at the hall doors until the lazy who smoked three pipes of tobacservants tumbled up, in which interval, co, and imbibed two pots of half-andI improved my political information half, sitting up in her coffin, having by a cursory glance at the leading been an hour before turned off at Tyarticle, occupied me until dinner time, burn, without confessing that in pawhen a bowl of beef broth with cab- thetic passages, that spirit-stirring bage in it, and another “ dog," served work is no less great than in simple me for dinner, and then I was off like narrative and unexaggerated descripa shot to be first for the evening tion. papers. When these were issued, my But I am no less bound in candour rounds recommenced, broken in upon (sitting for a moment in the critical only by attendance on the exit of the chair) to confess, that when I see evening mails, and occasional abberra- murdering pedagogues, who taught tions into the punch-houses in search Hebrew and astronomy, and cut their of “a cropper;" until midnight, when neighbour's throats-hunted highwayI received my last Evening Post, or men, whose chief recommendation to Evening Mail

, as the case might be, the public seems to be their great from the hands of the sleepy footman capabilities for running away-sentior worn-out waiting-maid, and slunk mental house-breakers, talking platohome, very often wet through and nics, and keeping mistresses, degraded through with a long winter day rain, from their natural and legitimate imto balance my account on my ten mortality in the Newgate Calendar, fingers with the publishers of the and got up, for the trade, in all the Dublin newspapers, and strike a ba- trumpery namby-pambyism of fashionlance in my own favour, after a hard able novels, faded dialogue, stale day's work, of_fivepence halfpenny. jokes, and melo-dramatic tricks, bor

Í spare you a description of my rowed from the penny theatres and three-pair back in Golden Lane, inserted by way of plot, I am not a where I was accustomed to repose on little inclined to turn to the last few “ half a bed" (for a bed, read straw. pages of the last volume in the hope matrass with a counterpane flung over of finding the sentimental author and it), at ninepence sterling per week, his sentimental felon“ turned off" in because there was really nothing to eternal enjoyment of each other's very describe.

I have seen in print, to be delectable society. Of course, as I said sure, very picturesque and elaborate before, I would not by any means

orum,

be understood as putting the era of vals came round, my generous MeAddison, Swift, and Steele, Smollet, cænas gave me a dinner-not a dirty Richardson, or Goldsmith, in compe- plateful of trimmings and potato tition with the exalted Cockney lite- skins, as if I had been co-equal with rature of our day, which, together the pigs in a sty (the coin in which a with the Cockney school of architec- great many pious alms-givers lend to ture, inspires the awe-struck specta- the Lord), but the joint on which his tor, or reader, as the case may be, own good-hearted family had regaled with mingled sentiments of exalted themselves, brought to a little back reverence and rapture

parlour by one of his rosy-cheeked

daughters—may I never prosper in “ With my sentimentalibus pickpocket love if I have seen so fine a girl before

or since_with a black jack of sound And pathos and bathos delightful to see

beer, potatoes, and bread-as the begWith my stucco and paint, â-la-mode

garly Mounseers say, à discretion." Cockney-orum.

When I had tucked in a week's Sing hi-diddle, ho-diddle, pop diddle dee."

victuals, at the very least, the rosy

cheeked darling entered, bearing a I went on in the literary line of life full, hearty, honest tumbler of punch, for about three years and three quar- with her father's compliments, hoping ters with fluctuating success. In the I had made a good dinner; whereParliamentary season,

when trade was upon it was my custom to drink brisk, I eat always one, and occa- healths a piece to you, miss, to your sionally two meals a-day, and kept my good father and mother, and all betoes within their appropriate leathers. longing to them, prefaced with what About Christmas and in the long va- I observed the newspapers to call a cation, I assure you solemnly, I was “ neat and appropriate speech." obliged occasionally to take to ballad- To see what honours and dignities singing, to raise a penny. I daresay a man may arrive at in this free counyou think this cursed low — and I try! here you see me, the little newsagree with your worship—but business paper boy-now a big boy-recordwas slack, and times dull, and if it ing his various efforts in search of were not for the dreadful murders in bread in a production as widely difTipperary, which averaged in my time fused as civilisation itself—admitted about five per week, and went off brisk- to the participation of Maga, bound ly at a halfpenny a-piece, may I never up in the same reverend wrapper (let taste a drop of any thing stronger than me speak it exulting humbly), with my aunt's congo if I could have made the critic, the orator, philosopher, nathe two ends meet.

turalist, statesman, philanthropist, During all this period I made great POET– with, in two imperishable progress in the study of leading ar- words, CHRISTOPHER North himself! ticles and the whole mechanism of Let us have none of your Radical newspaper manufacture, which it will trash about aristocratic exclusionbe my duty to detail to you at more the fashionable world, it is true, is exlength in connexion with my distin- clusively aristocratic, and it oughtguished career as sub-editor, foreign three thorough-bred generations, at correspondent, and city intelligencer the least, are indispensable to the of the “ Fiare-up" Metropolitan Sun- constitution of a visitor at Almack's; day paper, of which more in its pro- and sooner than let “faggot peers' per place.

or mushroom baronets quiver a metaMy old patron, to whose munifi- tarsal bone within those crimson cords cence I was indebted for the half- that limit the gay confusion of the crown with which I established myself dance_strike me hideous—or, it is all as a " diffuser of useful knowledge;" the same—amputate my whiskers! continued to be very kind to me on Political, legal, magisterial honours all occasions, and indeed I must have employments, civil and militarygone for a soldier many times if he every man that can, even an oysterhad not now and then volunteered the eater, aye, or an oyster-seller, if he loan of a sixpence.

chooses to try, may win. Come on, On Christmas day, New-year's day, then, my generous rivals in the purEaster Sunday, and Whit Monday, suit of honourable fame—the contest as sure as those long-expected festi. is noble, and does equal honour to the vanquished and the victor. Forward, and are worse treated than hand-loom charge-pick up the pieces, and the weavers—perhaps it might be the Hodevil take the hindmost !

nourable Tom, the-devil, or Sir Booby You have been thinking, no doubt, Buckskin ? None of these! The recof Edmund Burke, who rescued, to tor of the parish, it may be, or the his eternal glory be it trumpeted, church-warden, or some kind gentleBarry from obscurity and Crabbe man of the press ? No, indeed, he was from famine-perhaps it is your good none of these-neither dispensary docfortune to be able to look back, in all tor, Honourable Tom, nor Sir Booby the luxury of complacent reflection, Buckskin, rector, church-warden, or upon the success of some friendless gentleman of the press, but simply and youth to whom you have been a friend only head billiard-maker in Cramp

-at any rate, you are ready to jump ton Court, with nine children and a out of your skin, with a natural and wife, on a salary of one guinea per laudable curiosity to become acquaint- week—and his name—his name, gentle ed with my Mæcenas, and to join reader, was not, as I stated, by miswith me in perpetuating his name. take, Mæcenas, but Rafferty!

Who could he be? Perhaps the dis- “ Blush, grandeur blush, ye peers withpensary doctor, a class of men who do

draw your blaze; more unostentatious good than bishops, Ye little nobs, hide your diminished rays.

REFLECTIONS ON PUNCII-MORALS AND MANNERS. The gravest man, if his gravity have been many a one present, who, arise not from villany, must yield up when the mirth was out of him, and illthe muscles of his face to the will of humour in him, would see, in the genmerry Punch. I have been amused eral applause, an excuse for beating for an hour with one of these street his wife. And if they are, thought I, exhibitions of vulgar humour. I brought up from boyhood to look upon watched his regular followers and the this brutality as a good joke, and all spectators. His regulars are boys, the abominable doings of the licentious and mostly those sent on errands, as rascal Punch as pardonable means is plain to observe, by the parcels of exhibiting his vulgar graces, what closely pressed, a matter of prepara- is to be expected of them when men? tory caution, under their arms, and a What vices are not covered, counnecessary precaution too, for, when tenanced, and engrafted into the hearts the full influence of the show is upon of the young, by this accustomed them, the hand would surely relax its levity! Punch is a scoundrel, a vilhold in wonder, and nothing would be lain, and can have no kinship to any safe. This body-guard of boys is of human society. There is not one every moment increased, from every of woman born to do his deeds, and neighbouring street and lane ; for, be humorous. If so, then it may

be like soldiers off duty, they have a great said, what harm can the example of alacrity and readiness to hear and the fictitious personage do? Much, obey the sound of punch's trumpet. because it may possibly bring, or help The spectators are men of all grades; to bring men into a condition to do his and of women, but few. And why is deeds, and not to laugh, like him. this? Do they think it best to set their Consider what he is—at best, an unfaces against the practices of Punch, feeling wretch; in his extremes, a thief or, have they an instinctive dislike of La murderer. And yet, whether it be this rehearsal of their domestic play? to the credit of a more virtuous neighI could not help thinking, as I walked bourhood, in which the exhibition may away when the show was over, that if take place, or to the proprietor of the I were a woman of the lower grade, show, may be doubtful, he is not alin which alone men are privileged to

ways represented in his worst colours. beat their wives, I would raise a fe- But, at best, he is bad enough. Now, male mob, and draw the merry ruf- the question arises, does he represent fian from the streets. There must the standard of our age's vulgar mo

« PreviousContinue »