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of pathos, that reveals to us how kind is the | dowed this young lady with almost every kind nature, how loving and simple the soul, from of perfection ; has given her a charming face, a which they spring.
perfect form, a pure heart, a fine perception and It is not cynicism, we believe, but a consti- wit, a pretty sense of humor, a laugh and a voice tutional proneness to a melancholy view of that are as sweet as music to hear, for innocence life, which gives that unpleasing color to and tenderness ring in every accent, and a grace many of Mr. Thackeray's books which most of movement which is a curiosity to watch, for in readers resent. He will not let his eye rest every attitude of motion or repose her form upon a fair face, without thinking of the ugly grace accompanies her. I have before said that skull beneath, and reminding himself and us
. I am an old fogy. On the day when I leave off “that beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes.” | admiring I hope I shall die. To see Erminia is In his heartiest mirth he seems to have in not to fall in love with her ; there are some view the headache, or the labors of to-mor- women too handsome, as it were, for that ; and I row. Because all humanity is frail, and all would as soon think of making myself miserable joys are fleeting, he will not hope the best of because I could not marry the moon, and make the one, nor permit us to taste heartily of the the silver-bowed Goddess Diana Mrs. Pacifico, as other, He insists on dashing his brightest I should think of having any personal aspirafuncies with needless shadows, and will not tions towards Miss Erminia. let us be comfortable, after he has done his Well, then, it happened the other day that best to make us so. There is a perversity in this almost peerless creature, on a visit to the this, which Mr. Thackeray, in justice to him country, met that great poet, Timotheus, whose self and kindness to his renders, should sub- habitation is not far from the country house of
Erminia's friend, and who, upon seeing the due. Let him not diminish his efforts to young lady, felt for her that admiration which make them honester, and simpler, and wiser ; every man of taste experiences upon beholding but let him feed them more with cheerful her, and which, if Mrs. 'Timotheus had not been images, and the contemplation of beauty an exceedingly sensible person, would have cause) without its flaws and worth without its draw- a great jealousy between her and the great bard backs. No writer of the day has the same her husband. But, charming and beautiful power of doing this, if he pleases. We could herself, Mrs. Timotheus can even pardon another cite many passages in proof of this, but can woman for being so ; nay, with perfect good it be doubted by any one who reads the fol- sense, though possibły with a litlle factitious lowing essay, from the series which appeared enthusiasm, she professes to share to its fullest in Punch some years ago, as from the pen of extent the admiration of the illustrious Timotheus Dr. Solomon Pacifico?
for the young beauty.
After having made himself well acquainted with Erminia's perfections, the famous votary of Apollo and leader of the tuneful choir did what
might be expected from such a poet under such Some time ago I had the fortune to witness at circumstances, and began to sing. This is the the house of Erminia's brother a rather pretty way in which Nature has provided that poets and affecting scene ; whereupon, as my custom should express their emotions. When they see a is, I would like to make a few moral remarks. beautiful creature they straightway fall to work I must premise that I knew Erminia's family with their ten syllables and eight syllables, with long before the young lady was born. Victorina duty rhyming to beauty, vernal to eternal, riddle her mother, Boa her aunt, Chinchilla her to fiddle, or what you please, and turn out to the grandmother — I have been intimate with every best of their ability, and with great pains and one of these ladies ; and at the table of Sabilla, neatness on their own part, a copy of verses in her married sister, with whom Erminia lives, praise of the adorable object. I myself may have a cover laid for me whenever I choose to have a doubt about the genuineness of the article ask for it.
produced, or of the passion which vents itself in Everybody who has once seen Erminia re- this way, for how can a man who has to assort members her. Fate is beneficent to the man carefully his tens and eights, to make his epibefore whose eyes at the parks, or churches, or thets neat and melodious, to hunt here and there theatres, or public or private assemblies, it throws for rhymes, and to bite the tip of his pen, or Erminia. To see her face is a personal kindness pace the gravel walk in front of his house for which one ought to thankful to Fortune ; searching for ideas — I doubt, I say, how a man who might have shown you Caprella, with her who must go through the above process before whiskers, or Felissa, with her savage eyes, in- turning out a decent set of verses, can be actustead of the calm and graceful, the tender and ated by such strong feelings as you and I, when, beautiful Erminia. When she comes into the in the days of our youth, with no particular room, it is like a beautiful air of Mozart break- preparation, but with our hearts full of manly ing upon you ; when she passes through a ball- ardor, and tender, respectful admiration, we room, everybody turns and asks who is that went to the Saccharissa for the time being, and princess, that fairy-lady? Even the women, poured out our souls at her feet. That sort of especially those who are most beautiful them- eloquence comes spontaneously; that poetry selves, admire her. By one of those kind freaks does n't require rhyme-jingling and metre-sortof favoritism which Nature takes, she has en-ling, but rolls out of you you don't know how, as
ON A GOOD-LOOKING YOUNG LADY.
much, perhaps, to your own surprise as to that less sensual than ours, is in that fact so consoling of the beloved object whom you address. In my to misshapen men, to ugly men, to little men, to time, I know whenever I began to make verses giants, to old men, to poor men, to men scarred about a woman, it was when my heart was no with the small-pox, or ever so ungainly or unlonger very violently smitten about her, and the fortunate that their ill-looks or mishaps don't verses were a sort of mental dram and artificial influence women regarding them, and that the stimulus with which a man worked himself up awkwardest fellow has a chance for a prize. to represent enthusiasm and perform passion. Whereas, when we, brutes that we are, enter a Well, well ; I see what you mean ; I am jealous room, we sidle up naturally towards the prettiest of him. Timotheus' verses were beautiful, that's woman ; it is the pretty face and figure which the fact-confound him !— and I wish I could attracts us ; it is not virtue, or merit, or mental write as well, or half as well, indeed, or do any- charms, be they ever so great. When one reads thing to give Erminia pleasure. Like an honest the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast, no one is mau and faithful servant, he went and made the at all surprised at Beauty's being mored by best thing he could, and laid this offering at Beast's gallantry, and devotion, and true-heartBeauty's feet. What can a gentleman do more? edness, and rewarding him with her own love at My dear Mrs. Pacifico here remarks that I never last. There was hardly any need to make him a made her a copy of verses. Of course not, my lovely young prince in a gold dress under his love. I am not a verse-making man, vor are horns and bearskin.
Beast as he was, you that sort of object — that sort of target, I Beast, loyal Beast, brave, affectionate, upright, may say at which, were I poet, I would choose generous, enduring Beast, she would have loved to discharge those winged shafts of Apollo. his ugly mug without any attraction at all. It
When Erminia got the verses and read them, is her nature to do so, God bless her. It was a she laid them down, and with one of the prettiest man made the story, one of those two-pennyand most affecting emotions which I ever saw in halfpenny men-milliner moralists, who think that my life, she began to cry a little. The verses of to have a handsome person and a title are the course were full of praises of her beauty. “They greatest gifts of fortune, and that a man is not all tell me that,” she said ; nobody cares for complete unless he is a lord and has glazed boots. anything but that,” cried the gentle and sensi- Or it may have been that the transformation tive creature, feeling within that she had a thou- alluded to did not actually take place, but was sand accomplishments, attractions, charms, which only spiritual, and in Beauty's mind, and that, her hundred thousand lovers would not see, seeing before her loyalty, bravery, truth, and whilst they were admiring her mere outward devotion, they became in her eyes lovely, and figure and head-piece.
that she hugged her Beast with a perfect contentI once heard of another lady, “de par le ment to the end. monde, as honest Des Bourdeilles says, who, When ugly Wilkes said that he was only a after looking at her plain face in the glass, quarter of an hour behind the handsomest man said, beautifully and pathetically, “I am sure I in England, meaning that the charms of his should have made a good wife to any man, if he conversation would make him in that time at a could but have got over my face !" and bewail- lady's side as agreeable and fascinating as a ing her maidenhood in this touching and artless beau, what a compliment he paid the whole sex ! manner, saying that she had a heart full of love, How true it is (not of course applicable to you, if anybody would accept it, full of faith and my dear reader and lucky dog, who possess devotion, could she but find some man on whom both wit and the most eminent personal attracto bestow it ; she but echoed the sentiment which tions, but of the world in general), we look for I have mentioned above, and which caused in beauty: women for love. the pride of her beauty the melancholy of the So, fair Erminia, dry your beautiful eyes and lonely and victorious beauty. “We are full of submit to your lot, and to that adulation which love and kindness, ye men !" each says ; “ of all men pay you ; in the midst of which court truth and purity. We don't care about your of yours the sovereign must perforce be lonely. good looks. Could we but find the right man, That solitude is a condition of your life, my dear the man who loved us for ourselves, we would young lady, which many would like to accept, endow him with all the treasures of our hearts, nor will your dominion last much longer than and devote our lives to make him happy. I my Lord Farncombe's, let us say, at the Manadmire and reverence Erminia's tears, and the sion house, whom time and the inevitable Nosimple, heart-stricken plaint of the other for-vember will depose. Another potentate will saken lady. She is Jephthah's daughter, con- ascend his throne ; the toast-master will prodemned by no fault of her own, but doomed by claim another name than his, and the cup will fate to disappear from among women. The be pledged to another health. As with Xerxes other is a queen in her splendor, to whom all the and all his courtiers and army at the end of a lords and princes bow down and pay worship. few years, as with the flowers of the field, as “Ah !" says she, “it is to the queen you are with Lord Farncombe, so with Erminia ; were I kneeling, all of you. I am a woman under this Timotheus of the tuneful quire, I might follow crown and this ermine.' I want to be loved, and out this simile betweenlord mayors and beauties, not to be worshipped ; and to be allowed to love and with smooth rhymes and quaint antitheses is given to everybody but me.”
make a verse offering to my fair young lady. How much finer a woman's nature is than a But, madame, your faithful Pacifico is not a man's (by an ordinance of nature for the pur- poet, only a proser ; and it is in truth, and not pose no doubt devised), how much purer and in numbers that he admires you.
Why should not Mr. Thackeray give us an- by. When he dies of apoplexy, the Times will other Erminia in his next novel, and confute have a quarter of a column about his services his detractors ? Addison never wrote any
and battles - four lines of print will be wanted thing finer in substance or in manner than to describe his titles and orders alone - and the this sketch. Indeed, a selection of Mr. Thack- carth will cover one of the wickedest and dullest eray's best essays would, in our opinion, old wretches that ever strutted over it. eclipse the united splendor of the whole British Essayists, both for absolute value in
If this book were read in every household, thought, and for purity and force of style, ish Peerage is studied, what a world of weari
especially in every household where the BritHad he never written anything of this kind but " The Book of Snobs," he would have ness and vexation of spirit, of hypocrisy and taken first honors. What a book is this, so
ineanness, of triviality and foolish extravateeming with humor, character, and wisdom ! gance, would be saved! We would prescribe How, like Jaques, does he “pierce through
it as a manual for the British youth of both the body of the country, city, court!". Not, ful thought, more considerations for practical
sexes; containing more suggestions for usebowever, like him " invectively," but with a genial raillery which soothes while it strikes. exercise, in reference to the common duties I'he kindly playfulness of Horace is his model. of life, than any lay volume we know. Nerer It is only in dealing with utter worthlessness, was satire more wholesomely applied, more as in his portrait of Lieutenant-General the genially administered. We have read it Honorable Sir George Granby Tufto, K.C.B., again and again with increasing admiration K.T.S., K.H., K.S. W., &c. &c., that he wields of the sagacity, the knowledge of the buman the merciless lash of Juvenal. How
heart, the humor, and the graphic brillianey
every word tells !
which it displays. Every page furnishes il
lustrations of some or all of these qualities. His manners are irreproachable generally; in Take as an example of its lighter merits this society he is a perfect gentleman, and a most exquisite sketch of suffering humanity at that thorough snob. A man can't help being a fool, most inane of all fashionable inanities be he ever so old ; and Sir George is a greater London conversazione : ass at sixty-eight than he was when he first entered the army at fifteen. He distinguished him Good Heavens ! what do people mean by going self everywhere ; his name is mentioned with there? What is done there, that everybody praise in a score of Gazettes ; he is the man, in throngs into those three little rooms ? Was the fact, whose padded breast, twinkling over with Black Hole considered to be an agreeable réunion, innumerable decorations, has already been in that Britons in the dog-days here seek to imitate troduced to the reader. It is difficult to say what it? After being rammed to a jelly in a doorvirtues this prosperous gentleman possesses : he way (where you feel your feet going through never read a book in his life ; and with his pur- Lady Barbara Macbeth's lace flounces, and get ple old gouty fingers still writes a schoolboy a look from that haggard and painted old harpy, hand. He has reached old age and gray hairs compared to which the gaze of Ugolino is quite without being the least venerable. He dresses cheerful) ; after withdrawing your elbow out of like an outrageously young man to the present poor gasping Bob Guttleton's white waistcoat, moment, and laces and pads his old carcass as if from which cushion it was impossible to remore he were still handsome George Tufto, of 1800. it, though you knew you were squeezing poor He is selfish, brutal, passionate, and a glutton. Bob into an apoplexy — you find yourself at last It is curious to mark him at table, and see him in the reception-room, and try to catch the eye hea ving in his waistband, his little bloodshot of Mrs. Botibol, the conversazione-giver. When eyes gloating over his meal. He swears consid- you catch her eye, you are expected to grin, and erably in his talk, and tells fifty garrison stories she smiles too, for the four-hundredth time that after dinner. On account of his rank and ser- night'; and, if she's very glad to see you, wagvices, people pay the bestarred and betitled old gles her little hand before her face as if to blok brute a sort of reverence ; and he looks down you a kiss, as the phrase is. upok you and me, and exhibits his contempt for Why the deuce should Mrs. Botibol blow me a us with a stupid and artless candor which is quite kiss? I would n't kiss her for the world. Why amusing to watch. Perhaps, had he been bred do I grin when I see her, as if I was delighted to another profession, he would not have been Am I? I don't care a straw for Mrs. Botibel. the disreputable old creature he now is. But I know what she thinks about me. I know what what other? He was fit for none ; too incor- she said about my last volume of poems (I had rigibly idle and dull for any trade but this, in it from a dear mutual friend). Why, I say in a which he has distinguished himself publicly as a word, are we going on ogling and telegraphing good and gallant officer, and privately, for riding each other in this insane way? Because we are races, drinking port, fighting duels, and seducing both performing the ceremonies demanded by the
He believes himself to be one of the Great Snob Society : whose dictates we all of us most honorable and deserving beings in this obey. world. About Waterloo-place, of afternoons, you Well; the recognition is over – my jaws hare may see him tottering in his varnished boots, and returned to their usual English expression of leering under the bonnets of the women who pass subdued agony and intense gloom, and the Boti
bol is grinning and kissing her fingers to some-roaring out their names ; poor Cacafogo is qunbody else, who is squeezing through the aperture vering a way in the music-room, under the imby which we have just entered. It is Lady Ann pression that he will be lance in the world by Clutterbuck, who has her Friday evenings, as singing inaudibly here. And what a blessing it Botibol (Botty we call her) has her Wednesdays. is to squeeze out of the door, and into the street, That is Miss Clementina Clutterbuck, the cada- where a half-hundred of carriages are in waitverous young woman in green, with florid auburn ing; and where the link-boy, with that unnehair, who has published her volume of poems cessary lanthorn of his, pounces upon all who (“The Death-Shriek ;'' “ Damien ;"! " The Fag- issue out, and will insist upon getting your ot of Joan of Arc ;” and “ Translations from noble honor's lordship’s cab. the German" - of course) — the conversazione And to think that there are people who, women salute each other, calling each other, after having been to Botibol on Wednesday, will “ My dear Lady Ann,” and “My dear good go to Clutterbuck on Friday ! Eliza,” and hating each other as women hate who give parties on Wednesdays and Fridays. What wonder Mr. Thackeray should be so With inexpressible pain, dear good Eliza sees often condemned, when the foibles and rices Ann go up and coax and wheedle Abou Gosh, which he paints are just those which, more or who has just arrived from Syria, and beg him to less, infect the whole body of society? Some patronize her Fridays.
All this while, amidst the crowd and the scuffle, way or other, he hits the weakness or sore and a perpetual buzz and chatter, and the flare point of us all. Nothing escapes his eye ; of the wax candles, and an intolerable smell of and with an instinct almost Shakspearian be musk — what the poor Snobs who write fashion- probes the secrets of a character at one able romances call the gleam of gems, the odor venture. Like all honest teachers, he ineritof perfumes, the blaze of countless lamps" – a ably inflicts pain; and hence the soreness of scrubby-looking, yellow-faced foreigner, with wounded vanity is often at the root of the cleaned gloves, is warbling inaudibly in a corner, unfavorable criticism of which he is the subto the accompaniment of another. “ The Great (ject. It requires both generosity and candor Cacafogo,” Mrs. Botibol whispers, as she passes to accept such severe lessons thankfully, and you hy – "A great creature, Thumpenstrumpff, to love the master who schools us with his is at the instrument - the Hetman Platoff's bitter, if salutary wisdom. But Mr. Thackepianist, you know.”
ray To hear this Cacafogo and Thumpenstrumpff, of public opinion; and he now stands better
has wisely trusted to the ultimate justice a hundred people are gathered together bevy of dowagers, stout or scrnggy ; a faint in it for never having stooped to flatter its sprinkling of misses ; six moody-looking lords, sions of his observant spirit for the sake of a
prejudices, nor modified the rigorous concluperfectly meek and solemn ; wonderful foreign counts, with bushy whiskers and yellow faces, speedier popularity. Despite the carping of and a great deal of dubious jewellery ; young critics, bis teaching has found its way to dandies with slim waists and open necks, and men's hearts and minds, and helped to make self-satisfied simpers, and flowers in their but-them more simple, more humble, more sintons ; the old, stiff, stout, bald-headed conver- cere, and altogether more genuine than they sazione-roués, whom you meet everywhere - would have been but for®“ Vanity Fair, who never miss a night of this delicious enjoy- " Pendennis,” and “ The Book of Snobs.” ment; the three last-caught lions of the season The strength of Mr. Thackeray's genius - Higgs, the traveller ; Biggs, the novelist ; seemed to lie so peculiarly in describing conand Toffey, who has come out so on the sugar temporary life and manners, that we looked question ; Captain Flash, who is invited on with some anxiety for the appearance of his account of his pretty wife, and Lord Ogleby, who goes wherever she goes — que sais-je ? Who
“ Esmond," which was to revive for us the are the owners of all those showy scarfs and period of Queen Anne. We did not expect white neckcloths ? — Ask little Tom Prig, who is in it any great improvement upon his former there in all his glory, knows everybody, has a works, in point of art, for we confess we story about every one ; and, as he trips home have never felt the deficiencies in this respect, to his lodgings, in Jermyn-street, with his which are commonly urged against them. Gibus-hat and his little glazed pumps, thinks he Minor incongruities and anachronisms are unis the fashionablest young fellow in town, questionably to be found ; but the characters and that he really has passed a night of exquisite are never inconsistent, and the events follow enjoyment.
in easy succession to a natural close. The You go up (with your usual easy elegance canvas is unusually crowded, still there is no of manner) and talk to Miss Smith in the confusion in the grouping, nor want of procorner.
“Oh, Mr. Snob ! I'm afraid you're sadly portion in the figures. As they are in subsatirical."
stance unlike the novels of any other writer, That's all she says. If you say it's fine so do they seem, in point of construction, to weather, she bursts out laughing ; or hint that he entirely in harmony with their purpose. it's very hot, she vows you are the drollest We therefore feared that in a novel removed wretch! Meanwhile Mrs. Botibol is simpering both in subject and in style from our own on fresh arrivals ; the individual at the door is times, we should miss something of the
living reality of Mr. Thackeray's former works, 1 license in matters of the kind. A still graver and of their delightful frankness of expression, transgression has been committed in his porwithout gaining anything more artistic in traiture of Marlborough, which is so masterly form. The result has, we think, confirmed as a piece of writing that its deviation from these fears.
historical truth is the more to be deprecated. “ Esmond” is admirable as a literary feat. When he has branded him for posterity in In point of style, it is equal to anything in words that imbed themselves in the memory, English literature ; and it will be read for it is idle to attempt to neutralize the impresthis quality when the interest of its story is sion by making Esmond admit that, but for disregarded. The imitation of the manner of certain personal slights from the hero of Blenthe writers of the period is as nearly as heim, he might have formed a very different possible perfect, except that while no less estimate of his character. This adınission is racy, the language is perhaps more grammat- a trait true to life, but it is one which is not ically correct. Never did any man write with allowable in a novelist where the reputation more ease under self-imposed fetters than Mr. of a historical personage is at stake. "History Thackeray has done ; but while we admire is full enough of perversions without our rohis skill, the question constantly recurs, why mancers being allowed to add to them. Such impose them upon himself at all?. He has defects as we have adverted to are probably not the power
who has? - of reviving the inseparable from any attempt to place a fictitone as well as the manner of the time ; and, tious character among historical incidents ;
but disguise his characters as he will, in wigs, if this be the case, it only proves that the atrufiles, hair-powder, and
cannot tempt should never be made. help feeling it is but a disguise, and that the These defects are the more to be regretted, forms of passion and of thought are essentially in a work distinguished by so much find modern the judgment those of the histo- thought and subtle delineation of character) rian, not the contemporary.
It has been alleged against it that Mr. ThackIt is, moreover, a great mistake for a novel- eray repeats himself — that “ Esmond” has ist to introduce into his story, as Mr. Thack- his prototype in Dobbin, Lord Castlewood in eray has done, personages of either literary or Rawdon Crawley, and Beatrix Castlewoud in political eminence, for he thereby needlessly Blanche Amory. We cannot think so. It is hampers his own imagination, and places his surely but a superficial eye which is unable to readers in an attitude of criticism unfavorable see how widely removed a little hypocritical, to the success of his story. Every educated affected coquette like Blanche Amory is from reader has formed, for example, certain ideas, the woman of high breeding and fiery impulse more or less vivid, according to the extent of " the weed of glorious feature” – who is his reading or the vigor of his imagination, of presented for our admiration and surprise in Marlborough, Swift, Bolingbroke, Addison, or Beatrix Castlewood. It were easy to point Steele; and what chance has the novelist out in detail the differences between the prvinof hitting in any one feature the ideal which inent characters in this and Mr. Thackeray's his reader has so worked out for himself? The other books, but such criticism is of little avail novelist cannot, moreover, keep within the to those who cannot perceive such differences limits of the biographer, but must heighten for themselves. The only feature which it or tone down features of character for the pur- owns in common with “Vanity Fair” is the poses of his story. This he cannot do with insane attachment of Esmond to Beatrix. out violating that rigorous truth which ought This pertinacity of devotion bears some analouniformly to be preserved wherever the char-gy to Dobbin's for Amelia. But there was acter or conduct of eminent men is concerned. nothing humiliating in Dobbin's love : in EsIt would be easy to convict Mr. Thackeray mond's there is much. He is content to go not only of serious offences against this whole- on besieging with his addresses a woman, some law, but also of anachronisms far more who not only rejects them, but has passed serious than any in his former works, and of from the hands of one accepted suitor to aninaccuracies in regard to well-known facts, other, till the whole blooin is worn off her which are fatal to the verisimilitude of the nature. It is taking our credulity too far to book as an autobiography. One of these latter ask us to reconcile this with the other characis so gross as to be altogether inexcusable - teristics of Esmond. We never lose our rethe betrothal of the Duke of Hamilton, just spect for Dobbin : Esmond has wearied it out before his duel with Lord Mohun, to Beatrix long before he shakes off his fetters, and weds Castlewood, whereas it is notorious that the the lady's mother, who has been wasting her Duchess of Hamilton was alive at the time. heart upon him for years. Lady Castlewood We can scarcely suppose Mr. Thackeray igno- is a portrait so exquisitely made out in all the rant of a circumstance which is elaborately re- details, so thoroughly loveable, and adorned corded in Swift's Journal, but in any case his by so many gracious characteristics, that we perversion of the facts transcends all lawful cannot but regret Mr. Thackeray should have