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quiries of the olden time; and as a man's personal appearance is a sufficient guarantee that he is not confined to bed, no one dreams of waiting for an answer to such interesting interrogatories. Indeed, so great has been the velocity acquired by most of the every day movements of society, that vanity itself has not leisure pour s'écouter with the same prolix complacency as formerly. The gravest interests are despatched with a word or a nod. Propositions of love, slipped in between the stages of a quadrille, cannot be suffered to expand into a well-developed eloquence. In a country-house, perhaps, there may be “ a time for such a word;" persuasion may there be permitted to be talkative, and lovers may make a mutual way with each other, by patient listening to the endless outpourings of self-love, the more usual staple of modern flirtations. But if such things are so effected, by Jove, it must not be during the shooting-season! In the assemblies of London, and in the crush-room of the Opera, a passing glance must be made to convey a whole Iliad of intelligence, and to give as definite assurance of amiable intentions as heart can desire. We, therefore, particularly request our friends to exert every caution to prevent such comprehensive telegraphy from going astray, and to preserve themselves from the consequences of addressing such meaning looks to the wrong person. With a similar adroit simplicity of means, bargains of great moment are effected upon change; and bets to the most serious amount are made on the turf, while the horses are within three lengths of the winning-post.
With every means, however, and appliance to boot, there will still remain so large a sum of writing to be daily accomplished, as cannot but trench upon all the other employments of life, and make, as we have hinted, the most unexpected changes in the national character. If there is no better way of studying a science, than writing a book about it, a similar development of ideas on things in general,
must be expected from letter-writing in its proposed universality. From this we may collect that the necessity for a national system of education will be all but superseded. Men will teach themselves and their children to read and write, in compliance with a fashion that will soon be so general; and whoever will take the trouble to preserve his correspondence, and arrange it, will soon find himself in possession of a MS. encyclopædia, that will beat the printed ones in every particular. We ourselves know some polemical young ladies, who even in the present circumscribed circulation of ideas, have made a very pretty progress towards a corpus theologiæ in the shape of “letters to a friend ;" in which grace and predestination are handled in a familiar and easy style, and “the nothingness of good works" set forth with a lucidity that would not disgrace an ecumenical council. We are acquainted also with certain epistolary politicians, whose occasional letters throw invaluable light on the great questions of the day: and the very best history of England during the present century might be collected from the daily notes of some half-dozen political ladies of quality, addressed from their boudoirs to their partners in flirtation. From the passing of the new postage law, we look upon it that the Society for the diffusion of Useful Knowledge, will be functus officio; for men's bodies are not more rapidly propelled on the material railroads, than their
minds will be hurried along on the intellectual railroads of cheapened correspondence. Most particularly do we count upon the impulse which will be afforded to the givers of advice, a tribe upon whom the known ungraciousness of their task has never operated as a preventive check. By the development of this one agency, the most satisfactory improvements in public morals may reasonably be expected : at least, if people still persist in the indulgence of all sorts of follies and vices, it will not be for want of being “ told better” by friends and relations, at a penny a piece. But independently of that stimulus to virtue, surely the public preoccupation, with what at worst must be an innocent amusement, will hardly allow folks to commit as much sin between posthour and post-hour as they did when they had the whole twenty-four hours “to follow their own vagary, oh,” without let or molestation. The tinkling of the postman's bell will break many a vicious assignation, and will empty the gin-palaces more effectually than the bestarranged temperance societies. Instead of haunting playhouses and music-meetings, the common people will stay at home to spell out their correspondence; and many a buck and blood will be kept away from “the Finish," sitting up to overtake his arrears of epistolary obligation.
The great point though, connected with this subject, on which we have the saddest misgivings, is certainly a most material one that is, the due provision of the physical elements for all this letter-writing. Whence is the paper to come from, or the sealingwax, or the pens and the ink? No imaginable impregnation of plaster of Paris, will enable the makers to work up their rags into sufficient surfaces to meet the demand. No hundred-Perry power will fabricate steel pens to supply a moderatelypeopled parish. Birmingham itself, if it ever gives up rioting, and takes to trade again, will not yield the iron necessary for their fabrication; and the Thames itself, if sufficiently blackened by becoming the common sewer of a metropolis large as London threatens to be, will not yield ink enough to keep the pens going. Where, too, shall we find clerks to sort, where postmen to deliver the letters ? May not the craft of letter-writing increase so fast, as to reduce every man to the necessity of delivering his own letters? It is, indeed, fortunate for mankind that some physical bounds will be thus set to the letter-writing impulse. Otherwise there would be considerable risk of the means destroying the end, by a total overthrow of the reciprocity (as Mr. Pitt would have said) of the process. As it has happened in the present state of literature, that authors are more numerous than readers, so it may be with epistolary authorship; folks may be so busy in writing to their friends, that they may never find time to read their own letters.
But we think we hear our readers beginning to ask, n'est ce assez sermonné pour boyre? and to remind us that we have not ourselves commenced practising the laconism we foretel. The hint would certainly be justifiable; but what is to be done with so prolific a subject,a subject which one must make a long letter of, though in Plautus's sense of the words, we were hanged for so doing :
“ Neque quicquam melius est mihi
We have not half exhausted our budget, so many are the
ways in which cheap postage presents itself to the imagination. At one time, we began to fear that the dread of it would drive every Englishman to emigrate, and leave the postmaster-general “ at e'en on the bleak shore alone ;” but we perceive to our comfort, that other governments have caught the infection, and are meditating a similar reduction in their own establishments, which will set all right. Thus restored to our equanimity, we remember what Mr. Kelly used to tell us in his choicest recitative, that
" the worst of every evil is the fear." Trusting, therefore, that our readers will survive this new infliction, we shall terminate our paper in the best bear and fiddle style, though not with the usual threat of “the rest in our next ;" for as our friend Merlino Coccalio says,
« Si narretur tuttum nimis esset afannus.* Without another word, then, we conclude in a formula germane to the subject, by assuring our friends, that we remain their obedient and faithful servant to command.
CLOSE OF THE MONSOON-MADRAS.
BY MAJOR CALDER CAMPBELL.
The time of rains, the wild Monsoon is o'er,
Of some shark-mangled fisherman, and, more!
The shark now dead beside its prey. Ashore,
Of mowing monkeys scamper up yon rock;
And parrots bright, and minas dun now flock
The fan-leaved cocoa shows its ripening nuts,
Industrious matmen raise their summer-huts,
* Afannus, affanno-Anglice, "a dead bore."
THE CLAUSE IN THE WILL.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
RATTLIN THE REEFER," &c.
Not very many years ago there was a populous and traffic-trod street in the metropolis, leading from Piccadilly into Oxford-street. It was not a very fashionable, but a very busy one. It was called by a name ominous of its coming annihilation- it was swallowed up with many more, by the progress of improvements under the regency. Need I say it was Swallow-street?
It was just at the time when Bonaparte had ceased obliging the different powers of Europe to make prisoners of each other's subjects by being converted into a prisoner himself, when Mr. John Ward found that one of the earliest advantages that he should derive from participating in the blessings of the general peace, was the loss of the freshest and most important years of his life, that is to say, from fourteen till twenty; and that he had to begin to learn, de novo, how to provide for his future respectable subsistence. The intelligent reader need not, in these days of general knowledge, be informed, he is only reminded, that a midshipman's half-pay just amounts to three farthings a year, with the usual deductions and fees of office, which half pay is payable quarterly—that is to say, when he the midshipman can get it.
John Ward being one of this over-remunerated class-(what is Joseph Hume about that the evil still exists in all its magnitude?)-began, for the first time in his life, to cast up the few bills he ever paid, before he was satisfied with the “ tottle of the whole.” Just at this crisis, he had made a purchase, in a shop in this same Swallow-street, of sundry descriptions of linen, silk, and hose, necessary for a midshipman fattening upon the peace establishment.
Whilst he was making the most bungling of all awkward attempts to cheapen the various articles, he was struck by the appearance of the proprietor of the shop, who was the person with whom he was transacting this, to him, important affair. He was a tall man, of about thirty years of age, and comely withal, but of that sort of conventicle comeliness, from which you would seek relief by gazing at downright ugliness. His features were, though large, remarkably regular, and the shape of his countenance a lengthened oval. His hair was as black as any lady could have wished to fall over shoulders of the purest white, and coarse enough and strong enough to have satisfied any worker in horsehair. This jet-black hair was parted in a very amiable manner over his high forehead, and hung in Aaky lengths about the nape of his neck. The coat he wore was of some indescribably sad colour; and, though metal buttons were then generally worn, his were covered with cloth. He used the smallest apology possible for a white cravat, tied behind ; shirt-collar there was none.
With the exception of his linen he was dressed in one colour. Still, with all this severity of simplicity in his outward man, he had less the appearance of a sectarian preacher about him, than of one habituated to the counter.
His deportment was sedate; his motions slow but assured; his enunciation sonorous and deliberate ; in fact, it struck Ward at the time, that he was just such a man as one of those to whom Cromwell formerly addressed his admonition, “10 trust in the Lord, and keep their powder dry."
In the necessary colloquy that took place between John Ward and himself, John expected that he should hear either some texts misapplied from the Scriptures, or the cant of the meeting-house. On the contrary, his language was business-like, and, so far as John's pocket was concerned, decidedly to the point. He also smiled often, but not instantaneously, upon the impulse of the occasion, as other people smile, for his grin was lugged slowly and unwillingly into existence. You saw the preparation for it--it struggled against its master's bidding; and when it was at length fully exposed upon the rigid lips and unwilling muscles of the cheeks, it lingered there, and when it had served its purpose, was as unwilling to depart as it had been to appear it did not vanish, but slowly faded away; thus, it often happened, that whilst its owner was assuring John, with solemn voice, that he valued his sal. vation too much to cheat him, the Judas-smile sat mocking on his lips, giving every word he uttered the lie.
This person, whose name was Phineas Macfarlane, when he had failed to induce John Ward to make any more purchases, assuming a very abstracted air, and casting up his large lustreless black eyes to the ceiling, remained in apparent meditation, for at least three minutes. Perhaps he wished to induce his customer to think that he was absorbed in silent prayer—at least Ward thought so at the time. After this acting he passed his hand suddenly across his forehead, called up his unwilling smile, made a tradesman's bow, and made out and cast up Ward's little account, as he termed it, with a speed to him astonishing; and taking his address, in order to send home the parcel, he held out, very naturally, his hand for the money.
The singular demeanour and the pantomime of the man-mercer had completely thrown the midshipman off his guard, and the latter unconsciously omitted casting up the figures, but paid the money down, as if he had still been in the halcyon days of a bloody war, when prizemoney was in esse, and promotion in posse. He paid the money, but did not pocket the bill so readily as Phineas did the pay. On the contrary, as he deliberately walked forth from the counter, he perused the bill slowly, item by item, and having done this in a careful and melancholy manner, he fixed himself, unwittingly, on the threshold of the door to add up the whole.
He was not aware that he was closely watched; and he had just come to the conviction, either that Phineas Macfarlane was a rogue, or that he, John Ward, was still deficient in that rule of arithmetic called by little boys “compound addition," when the loud voice of the tradesman called out to him rather rudely, that by his standing on the step of his door he was preventing the ingress of several carriage-ladies. This, of course, made John look up and down Swallow-street, and as the only vehicle that he could discover was that of a costermonger, drawn by a respectable old donkey, he then looked at Mr. Phineas Macfarlane, and then at his bill—the forefinger of his right hand still upon the column on which his arithmetical knowledge, and Mr. Phineas Macfarlane's integrity were at issue.
“Will you have the goodness, sir, either to move in or move out?" said the man-mercer.
“In, by all means," said Ward, “it is you that are out. I'II trouble you for ten shillings, with which you have overcharged me.”
At this, the long oval face, and the sallow regular features of Phi