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Like Dickens, he has a reverence for Fortune makes you a present of a number of the family, for tender and simple senti- thousand pounds every year. The ineffablo
wisdom of our ancestors has placed you as a ments, calm and pure contentments, chief and hereditary legislator over me. Our such as are relished by the fireside be admirable Constitution (the pride of Britons and tween a child and a wife. When this envy of surrounding nations) obliges me to remisanthrope, so reflective and harsh, ceive you as my senator, superior
, and guardian.
Your eldest son, Fitz-Heehaw, is sure of a place lights upon a filial effusion or a mater in Parliament your younger sons, the De nal grief, he is wounded in a sensitive Brays, will kindly condescend to be post-cap place, and, like Dickens, he makes us tains and lieutenant-colonels, and to represent weep.*
us in foreign courts, or to take a good living
when it falls convenient. These prizes our aut We have enemies because we have mirable Constitution (the pride and envy of, friends, and aversions because we have etc.) pronounces to be your due ; without count preferences. If we prefer devoted of your dulness, your vices, your selfishness; kindliness and tender affections, we
of your entire incapacity and folly. Dull as you may
be (and we have as good a right to assume dislike arrogance and harshness; the that my lord is an ass, as the other proposition, cause of love is also the cause of hate ; that he is an enlightened patriot) ;-dull, I say, and sarcasm, like sympathy, is the as you may be, no one will accuse you of sucs criticism of a social form and a public different to the good luck which you possess,
monstrous folly, as to suppose that you are in. vice. This is why Thackeray's novels or have any inclination to part with it. Noare a war against aristocracy. Like and patriots as we are, under happier circumRousseau, he praised simple
and stances, Smith and 1, I have no doubt, were
we dukes ourselves, would stand by our order. affectionate manners; like Rousseau, “ We would submit good-naturedly to sit in a he hated the distinction of ranks.
high place. We would acquiesce in that admir He wrote a whole book on this, a sort able Constitution (pride and envy of, etc.) which of moral and half political pamphlet, mould not cavil particularly it that notion of
made us chiefs and the world our inferiors; we the Book of Snobs. The word does not hereditary superiority which brought so many exist in France, because they have not simple people cringing to our knees. May be the thing. The snob is a child of we would rally round the Corn-Laws; we would aristocratical societies; perched on his make a stand against the Reform Bill, we would
die rather than repeal the acts against Catholics step of the long ladder, he respects the and Dissenters; we would, by our noble system man on the step above him, and de- of class-legislation, bring Ireland to its present spises the man on the step below, with admirable condition.
“ But Smith and I are not Earls as yet. We out inquiring what they are worth, don't believe that it is for the interest of solely on account of their position; in Smith's army, that young De Bray should be a his innermost heart he finds it natural Colonel at five-and-twenty, of Smith's diplo to kiss the boots of the first, and to matic relations, that Lord Longears should go
ambassador to Constantinople, -of our politics, kick the second. Thackeray reckons that Longears should but his hereditary foot up at length the degrees of this habit. | into them. Fear his conclusion:
“ This booing and cringing Smith believes to
be the act of Snobs ; and he will do all in his “ I can bear it po longer---this diabolical in- might and main to be a Snob, and to submit to vention of gentility, which kills natural kindli- Snobs no longer. To Longears he says, ness and honest friendship. Proper pride, in-can't help seeing, Longears, that we are as good deed! Rank and precedence, forsooth! The
We can spell even better; we can table of ranks and degrees is a lie and should be think quite as rightly; we will not have you for fung into the fire. Organise rank and prece- our master, or black your
shoes any moie. dence ! that was well for the masters of ceremonies of former ages. Come forward, some Thackeray's opinion on politics only great marshal, and organise Equality in so- continues his remarks as a moralist. V ciety."
he hates aristocracy, it is less because Then he adds, with common sense, it oppresses man than because it cor. altogether English bitterness and
rupts him; in deforming social life, i: , familiarity :
deforms private life; in establishing “ If ever our cousins the Smigsmags asked injustice, it establishes vice; after hav. me to meet Lord Longears, I would like to take ing. made itself master of the governan opportunity after dinner, and say, in the most good-natured way in the world :-Sir, ment, it poisons the soul : and Thack.
eray finds its trace in the perversity and • See, for example, in the Great Hoggarty foolishness of all classes and all senti Diamond, the death of the little child. The
ments. Book of Snobs ends thus: “Fun is good, Truth is still better, and Love best of all,
• The Book of Snobs, last chaptor.
The king opens this list of vengeful | vances to the bec. a dagger in her portraits. It is George IV., “the first hand; her eyes are «ghted up with a gentleman in Europe.” This great smile so ghastly, that penpie quake as monarch, so justly regretted, could cut they look at her; Brava i brava ! old out a coat, drive a four-in-hand nearly as Steyne's strident voice was heard roar. well as the Brighton coachman, and ing over all the rest, “By - she'd do play the fiddle well. “In the vigor of it, too !”. We can hear that he has the youth and the prime force of his inven- true cor jugal feeling. His ccnve "sation tion, he invented Maraschino punch, a is remarkably frank. I can send shoe-buckle, and a Chinese pavilion, Briggs away,” Becky said." You owo the most hideous building in the her her wages, I suppose,” said..the world: "
peer.-"Worse than that, I have i uined “ Two boys had leave from their loyal mas
-“ Ruined her ? then why don't ters to go from Slaughter House School where you turn her out?”. they were educated, and to appear on Drury Lane stage, amongst a crowd which assembled
He is, moreover, an accomplished there to greet the king. THE KING?
There gentleman, of fascinating sweetness; he he was.
Beef-eaters were before the august treats his women like a pacha, and his box: the Marquis of Steyne (Lord of the Pow-words are like blows. Let us read der Closet) and other great officers of stato where behind the chair on which he sate, He again the domestic scene in which he sate-florid of face, portly of person, covered gives the order to invite Mrs. Crawley. with orders, and in a rich curling head of hair Lady Gaunt, his daughter-in-law, says -How we sang God save him! How the house that she will not be present at dinner, rocked and shouted with that magnificent music. How they cheered, and cried, and waved hand- and will go home. His lordship ankerchiefs. Ladies wept : mothers clasped their swered : children: some fainted with emotion. we saw him. Fate cannot deprive us of that will find the bailiffs at Bareacres very pleasant
“I wish you would, and stay there. You Others have seen Napoleon. Some few still exist who have beheld Frederick the Great, company, and I shall be freed from lending Doctor Johnson, Marie Antoinette, etc.- be it money to your relations,
and from your own our reasonable boast to our children, that damned tragedy airs. Who are you to give we saw, George the Good, the Magnificent, the orders here? You have no money:
got no brains. You were here to have chil.
dren, and you have not had any; Gaunt's Dear princel the virtues emanating tired of you; and George's wife is the only from his heroic throne spread through person in the family who doesn't wish you
Gaunt would marry again if you the hearts of all his courtiers. Who
You, forsooth, must give yourself ever presented a better example than airs of virtue. Pray, inadame, shall I tell the Marquis of Steyne? This lord, a
you some littlo anecdotes about my Lady king in his own house, tried to prove
Bareacres, your mamma ?" * that he was so. He forces his wife to The rest is in the same style. His sit at table beside women without any daughters-in-law, driven to despair, character, his mistresses. Like a true say they wish they were dead.
This prince he had for his special enemy his declaration rejoices him, and he coneldest son, presumptive heir to the cludes with these words: “This Tem. marquisate, whom he leaves to starve, ple of Virtue belongs to me. And if and compels to run into debt. He is I invite all Newgate or all Bedlam now making love to a charming person, here, by-, they shall be welcome.” Mrs. Rebecca Crawley, whom he loves The habit of despotism makes despots, for her hypocrisy, coolness, and un- and the best means of implanting des equalled, insensibility. The Marquis, pots in families, is to preserve nobles by dint of debasing and oppressing all in the State. who surround him, ends by hating and
Let us take rest in the contempla. despising men; he has no taste for tion of the country gentleman. The any thing but perfect rascalities, Re- innocence of the fields, hereditary re. becca touses him; one day even she spect, family traditions, the pursuit of transports him with enthusiasm. She agriculture, the exercise of local mag. plays Clytemnestra in a charade, and istracy, must have produced these up her husband Agamemnon; she ad right and sensible men, full of kindness
• Vanity Fair, ch. xlviii. This passage is and probity, protectors of their coun only found in the original octavo edition.-TR.
* Vanity Fair, ch. xlis.
ly, and servants of meir country. Sir farthing in his life,” growled Tiuker Pitt Crawley is a model; he has four “Never, and never will: it is against thousand a year and two parliamentary my principle.” He is impudent, brutal, boroughs. It is true that these are coarse, stingy, shrewd, extravagant; rotten boroughs, and that he sells the but is courted by ministers, is a highsecond for fifteen hundred a year. He sheriff, honored, powerful, he rolls in a is an excellent steward, and shears his gilded carriage, and is one of the pil. . farmers so close that he can only find lars of the State. bankrupt-tenants. A coach proprietor, These are the rich ; probably money a government contractor, a mine pro- has corrupted them. Let us look for prietor, he pays his subordinates so a poor aristocrat, free from tempta. bailly, and is só niggard in outlay, that tions; his lofty mind, left to itself, will bis mines are filled with water; and display all its native beauty.
Siz 23 for his coach-horses, every mail pro- Francis Clavering is in this case. He prietor in the kingdom knew that he has played, drunk, and supped until lost more horses than any man in the he has nothing more left. Transaccountry;" the Government flung his tions at the gambling table speedily contract of damaged beef upon his effected his ruin ; he had been forced nands. A popular man, he always pre- to sell out of his regiment; had shown fers the society of a horse-dealer to the the white feather, and after frequenting company of a gentleman. “ He was all the billiard-rooms in Europe, been fond of drink, of swearing, of joking with thrown into prison by his uncourteous the farmers' daughters; would creditors. To get out he married a cut his joke and drink his glass with a good-natured Indian widow, who out. tenant, and sell him up the next day; rages spelling, and whose money was or have his laugh with the poacher he left her by her father, a disreputable was transporting with equal good old lawyer and indigo-smuggler. Clav. humor.” He speaks with a country ering ruins her, goes on his knees to accent, has the mind of a lackey, the obtain gold and pardon, swears on the habits of a boor. At table, waited on Bible to contract no more debts, and by three men and a butler, on massive when he goes out runs straight to the silver, he inquires into the dishes, and money-lender. Of all the rascals that the beasts which have furnished them. novelists have ever exhibited, he is the “What ship was it, Horrocks, and basest. He has neither resolution nor when did you kill ?" “One of the common sense; he is simply a man in black-faced Scotch, Sir Pitt : we killed a state of dissolution. He swallows on Thursday: “ Who took any?" insults like water, weeps, begs pardon, “ Steel of Mudbury took the saddie and begins again. He debases himself, and two legs, Sir Pitt; but he says prostrates himself, and the next mo. the last was too young and confound- ment swears and storms, to fall back ed woolly, Sir Pítt.” “What became into the depths of the extremest cowardof the shoulders ?” The dialogue ice. He implores, threatens, and in goes on in the same tone ; after the the same quarter of an hour accepts Scotch mutton comes the Black Kent- the threatened man as his intimate ish pig: these animals might be Sir confidant and friend: Pitt's family, so much is he interested
“Now, ain't it hard that she won't trust me in them. As for his daughters, he lets with a single tea-spoon; ain't it ungentleniar them stray to the gardener's cottage, like, Altamont? You know my lady's of low where they pick up their education. is, it's most cruel of her not to show more con
birth--that is-I beg your perdon--hem, that As for his wife, he beats her from time fidence in me. And the very servants begin to :0 time. If he pays his people one laugh-the dam scoundrels! They don't farthing more than he owes them he answer my bell ; and-and my man was at: asks it back. “A farthing a day is and my velvet waistcoat on, I know it was
Vauxhall last night with one of my dress shirt seven shillings a year : seven shillings mine--the confounded impudent blackguard: a year is the interest of seven guineas. --and he went on dancing before my eyes, com Take care of your farthings, old Tinko found him! I'm sure he'll live to be hanged
he deserves to be hanged-all those internal er, and your guineas will come quite rascals of valets ! " ** nat'ral." "He never gave away a
• Pendennis, ch. by
His conversation is a compound of missions in the army, the isolation or oaths, whines, and ravings; he is not a classes, the outrages on nature and man, but the wreck of a man: there family invented by society and law. survive in him but the discordant re- Behind this philosophy is shown a sec mains of vile passions, like the frag- ond gallery of portraits as insulting as ments of a crushed snake, which, un- the first; for inequality, having cor able to bite, bruise themselves and rupted the great men whom it exalts, wriggle about in their slaver and mud corrupts the small men whom it de. The sight of a bank-note makes him grades; and the spectacle of envy oi launch blindly into a mass of entreaties baseness in the small, is as ugly as thal and lies. The future has disappeared of insolence or despotism in the great, for him, he sees but the present. He According to Thackeray, English so, will sign a bill for twenty pounds at ciety is a compound of flatteries and three months to get a sovereign. His intrigues, each striving to hoist himself degradation has become imbecility; up a step higher on the social ladder his eyes are shut; he does not see that and to push back those who are climb his protestations excite mistrust, that ing. To be received at court, to see his lies excite disgust, that by his very one's name in the papers amongst a baseness he loses the fruit of his base list of illustrious guests, to give a cup ness; so that when he comes in, a man of tea at home to some stupid and feels a violent inclination to take the bloated peer ; such is the supreme honorable baronet, the member of par- limit of human ambition and felicity. liament, the proud inhabitant of a For one master there are always a hun. historic house, by the neck, and pitch dred lackeys. Major Pendennis, a res him, like a basket of rubbish, from the olute man, cool and clever, has con top of the stairs to the bottom. tracted this leprosy. His happiness
We must stop. A volume would not to-day is to bow to a lord. He is only exhaust the list of perfections which at peace in a drawing-room, or in a Thackeray discovers in the English park of the aristocracy. He craves to aristocracy. The Marquis of Farintosh, be treated with that humiliating contwenty-fifth of his name, an illustrious descension wherewith the great overfool, healthy and full of self-conceit, whelm their inferiors. ře pockets whom all the women ogle and all the lack of attention with ease, and dines men how to; Lady Kew, an old woman graciously at a noble board, where he of the world, tyrannical and corrupted, is invited twice in three years to stop at enmity with her daughter, and a a gap. He leaves a man of genius or matchmaker; Sir Barnes Newcome,one a woman of wit, to converse with a of the most cowardly of men, the wick-titled fool or a tipsy lord. He prefers edest, the falsest, the best abused and being tolerated at a Marquis' to being beaten who has ever smiled in a draw- respected at a commoner's. Javing ing-room or spoken in Parliament. I exalted these fine dispositions into see only one estimable character, and principles, he inculcates them on his he is not in the front rank-Lord Kew, nephew, whom he loves, and to push who, after many follies and excesses, is him on in the world, offers him in martouched by his Puritan old mother and riage a basely acquired fortune and the repents. But these portraits are sweet daughter of a convict. Others glide compared to the dissertations; the through the proud drawing-rooms, noi commentator is still more bitter than with parasitic manners, but on account the artist ; he wounds more in speak of their splendid balance at the banking than in making his personages er's. Once upon a time in France. the speak. We must read his biting dia- nobles manured their estates with the tribes against marriages for the sake money of citizens ; now in England of money or rank, and against the thr: citizens ennoble their money by sacrifice of girls ; against the inequality marrying a lady of noble birth. For a of inheritance and the envy of young- hundred thousand pounds to the father, er sons; against the education of Pump, the merchant, marries Lady the nobles, and their traditionary in- Blanche Stiffneck, who, though mar. solence; against the purchase of com- ried, remains my Ladv. Naturally
young Pump is scorned by her, as a snubbed vanity, the meanness of the tradesman, and moreover, hated for attentions offered, the triumph of folly, having made her half a woman of the the scorn of talent, the consecrated people. He dare not see his own injustice, the heart rendered unnatural, friends in his own house, they are too the morals perverted. Before this vulgar for his wife. He dare not visit striking picture of truth and genius, we the friends of his wife; they are too need remember that this injurious ine: higa for him. He is his wife's butler, quality is the cause of a wholesoine the batt of his father-in-law, the serv- liberty, that social injustice produces ant of his son, and consoles himself by political welfare, that a class of heredi: thinking that his grandsons, when they tary nobles is a class of hereditary states become Lord Pump, will blush for him men, that in a century and a half Eng. and never mention his name. A land has had a hundred and fifty years third means of entering the aristocracy of good government, that in a century is to ruin oneself, and never see any and a half France has had a hundred
This ingenious method is em- and fifty years of bad government, that ployed by Mrs. Major Ponto in the all is compensated, and that it is possi
. country. She has an incomparable ble to pay dearly for capable leaders, governess for her daughters, who a consistent policy, free elections, and thinks that Dante is called Alighieri the control of the government by the because he was born at Algiers, but nation. We must also remember that who has educated two marchionesses this talent, founded on intense reflecand a countess.
tion, concentrated in moral prejudices,
could not but have transformed the “ Seme one wondered we were not enlivened by the appearance of some of the neighbours. picture of manners into a systematic -We can't in our position of life, we can't and combative satire, exasperate satire well as sociate with the attorney's family, as I into calculated and implacable animosleave you to suppose--and the Doctor-one ity, blacken human nature, and attack may ask one's medical man to one's table, certainly: but his family. The people in' that again and again with studied, redoubled large rid house just outside of the town. and natural hatred, the chief vice of his What! the château-calicot. That purse-proud country and of his time. ex-linen draper.-The parson-Ohi' he used to proach in a surplice. He is a Puseyite!
§ 2.—THE ARTIST. This sensible Ponto family yawns in solitude for six months, and the rest of
VIII. the year enjoys the gluttony of the country-squires whom they regale, and In literature as well as in politics, we the rebuffs of the great lords whom cannot have every thing. Talents, like they visit. The son, an officer of the happiness, do not always follow suit. nussars, requires to be kept in luxury Whatever constitution it selects, a peo so as to be on an equality with his no- ple is always half unhappy ; whatever ble comrades, and his tailor receives genius he has, a writer is always half above three hundred a year out of the impotent. We cannot preserve at once pine hundred which make up the whole more than a single attitude. To transfamily inconie. I should never end, form the novel is to deform it : he who, if I recounted all the villanies and like Thackeray, . gives to the novel Discries which Thackeray attributes to satire for its object, ceases to give it th: aristocratic spirit, the division of art for its rule, and the complete families, the pride of the ennobled sis. strength of the satirist is the weakness ter, the jealousy of the sister who has of the novelist. not been ennobled, the degradation of What is a novelist? In my opinion the characters trained up from school he is a psychologist, who naturally and to reverence the little lords, the abase involuntarily sets psychology at work ; ment of the daughters who strive to he is nothing else, nor more. He loves compass noble marriages, the rage of to picture feelings, to perceive their • The Book of Snobs, ch. viii.; Great City consequences ; and he indulges in this
connections, their precedents, their Snobs.
+ [bid. ch. xxvi ; On Some Country Snobs. pleasure. In his eyes they are forcen