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the profits from some future doer of such matters, and saving their reputations from malignant libellers, or what is still worse, from injudicious friends.
In no period of recorded history was tangible immortality of all sorts more immediately profitable than at present, which is a wise and comfortable dispensation. As the tenure of this blessing grows shorter and more uncertain, it is but right and fitting that its immediate returns should be large and sure. It is on this principle that opera-singers, whose voices are so frail a commodity, are justly paid much higher than other artists whose faculties are more durable. It is, therefore, well imagined of the present generation, to throw into the scale of immortality the daily invitation to dine out in the best company, and on the best fare. Otway did not find his reputation as good as board-wages (as certain of the Dii Minores of the peerage do their titles); and if Dryden dined at a tavern with the wealthy wits of his time, he paid his shot like the rest; but nowadays, it is sufficient that you have produced a volume of pretty poems, to have your chimneypiece covered with dinner-cards; when you not only get an excellent feed and lots of liphonour, but the most piquantes paragraphs for your next book of tabletalk or of travels. A very small immortality may, in this department, be made to go a great way, if it can only manage to leave home. In voyaging on the continent, it is as available as a parish pass. Like all other sorts of equivocal fame, vires acquirit eundo. Letters of recommendation accumulate as a snowball: one illustrissimus gives them to get rid of a bore; another clarissimus in order to go snacks in the notoriety of the meteor; another eruditissimus for fear of being “put on his book ;” till at last, by dint of such epistolæ virorum obscurorum, he, who left his native land, at best, but a village immortal, returns an European celebrity, and may make his own terms with his bookseller.
Another immediate advantage derivable from immortality, though it last but for a single season, is the privilege it confers to be impertinent. We have heard of statesmen being made of squeezable materials, and there may be something in it, for aught we care to inquire ; but of this we are certain, that; Monseigneur the public is made of very kickable materials. It matters little, what offensive airs a real lion gives himself, or how ill he may behave; it's all taken in good part, or overlooked as an attribute of genius, an inevitable, and not unamusing eccentricity. A man who is lucky enough to become “celebrated, " though it be but for a lampoon, or a copy of vers de société (which is the lowest way of worming yourself into notice), is but a dupe, if he does not take advantage of the circumstance to browbeat, and to tread upon every body's tender corns; for it is precisely because true merit is so maidenly modest, that it is neglected by the world. should know so much of a man's worth, as the man himself? and if he sets himself up in the market at a low ticket, he has no right to complain that he is taken at his own valuation. Sume superbiam, no matter how quæsitam; and you will have ill luck, indeed, if you do not make good a part at least of your pretensions.
We need not formally set down as an advantage of immortality, the influence it holds over the fair sex. That sex will do every thing to obtain it for themselves; and it is therefore most just that they should go a great way to reward it in others. Juvenal was wrong in saying " ferrum est quod amant," it was not the steel of the gladiator, but his being a public character that made his charm. It is thus that the greatest rakes and coxcombs have always stood the best chance in foro Cupidinis. It is far less the rakishness, or the coxcombry that takes, than the distinction justly attached to those characteristics. It is astonishing what ugly little abortions succeed in carrying off great heiresses, when they have done something that has caught public attention, no matter what.
Horace, however, was not quite correct in speaking so absolutely of the digito monstrari, as the summum bonum of immortality. In time and place, indeed, it is all well enough ; but there are circumstances in which a respectable incognito would be purchased at any price, and, of all followers, a bailiff's follower is any thing but desirable. But without insisting on extreme cases, there are occasions when economy becomes necessary, and when it becomes convenient to perpetrate little shabbinesses undetected. This does not meet with a kind consideration from those thoughtless frequenters of our theatres, who inhumanly insist on dragging a successful play-writer upon the stage, and exhibiting his person to alli the world, to be recognised for the future, without mercy under every possible contingency.
There is, indeed, no such thing as an unmixed good on this side the grave, and immortality has more grievances and sets off, than the one we have mentioned. It is no joke to be a mark for all sorts of petitioners, a standing dish with the writers of begging-letters, the godfather of all new-born and virgin muses, the sworn appraiser of manuscripts and introducteur des ambassadeurs auprès to the principal publishers. It is no luxury to be called upon by great ladies to mend their verses, and to eke out their embryo productions with a chapter that is to “make the fortune of the book;" to be pestered with threatening letters from little ladies, calling on you to pay five pounds on pain of figuring in a lampoon, or a novel of character” of the least creditable description; or to receive daily introductions from persons you don't know, saddling you with fools of all diameters, who desire to boast that they are intimate with an immortal. A genuine immortal need to have a heart of stone, and a face of iron, to resist the demands of those only who have no claims on him; and to hold his time, 'purse, and person his own in safety, from the general attack. Then there are those infernal annuals! we don't mean the genuine annual, which pays its contributors—with them it is a matter of discretion: but there are some which make their attacks in forma pauperis, on authority of editorial rank, beauty, or interesting want of money, which are as much a stand-anddeliver business, as a transaction with Turpin or Jack Sheppard. It is, therefore, with a secret satisfaction we beheld this department of literature, slipping through the fingers of professional authors, and falling so exclusively to the share of the peerage. Every Lord John, and Lady Betty, that contributes his or her quota to the “ Book of Vanity,” “ The Book of Pretension," or the “Tom-fool's Annual,” we consider as the champions of oppressed celebrity, as derivative streams, carry. ing off this inundation of unreasonable requests into a less painful channel.
There is another incident of celebrity, which is still more serious, and it is this, that immortals are great favourites with all sorts and conditions of madmen. From a queen to an actress, there is no sort of publicity which is not liable to this annoyance, and if every day does not produce its Damiens, or its Hackmans, scarcely a week occurs, in which trouble and vexation do not flow from that source.
But the worst, and by far the most incessant evil with which immortality has to contend, is the album nuisance. An album-holder is an omnivorous animal, and there is no sort of celebrity that is not its prey. Lords, members, poets, playwrights, divines, judges, doctors, millionaires, actors, all's fish that comes to their net. The autograph of Dando would be an acceptable catch, and that of the last-executed murderer, a treasure beyond price. Then it is further required that the nonsense appended to the name should be your own; and if the party has any pretensions (and what album-holder has not) the nonsense must be eulogistical. They are all, moreover, as restless as they are absurd. No moment is sacred from their intrusion,
“ They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.” The printer's devil may wait for copy, the cabinet may be assembled, a daughter may be getting into the carriage to be married, or a wife being put into the hearse to be buried. The canonical hour may slip by, the undertaker be hurrying off to another customer, but stop you must to try “ charms" and « arms,” beauty” and “shoetie," " wit” and “ hit," “youth” and (un)“ truth,” or you are set down as a brute and a bore, and calumniated in every coterie in London. Oh! if these people would but demand money, or ask you to go bail for them, or to be their executor, or any other unreasonable request, large enough to be decently refused; but a poor copy of verses, nay a quotation, or even your simple signature (for it comes to that at last), you can't refuse;
you do not, steadily, firmly, brutally—what is to become of you? There is no nuisance in life like the album nuisance! A peck of March dust in a high easterly wind, the bursting of a steam-boiler at sea, or the stopping of your banker (if you happen to be overdrawn) is nothing to it. Who would not rather meet a mad dog, a train of carriages off the rail, or a drunken omnibus in a crowded street, than the modestest album-lady? They are fit subjects for a quarantine law, or an indictment at quarter-sessions.
These trifles, however, must be borne, if immortality is to be gained ; and those who don't like them had better retire into the shade. But all these notwithstanding, the proof of the pudding shows that popularity is popular, and immortality as we said from the beginning, worth having. " Aude aliquid," then “ brevibus Gyaris et carcere dignum." Make speeches at public dinners, turn private actor, break lamps and knockers, or preach fanatical sermons : wear a queer hat, dress like a tiger, set up a quack medicine, or go to sea in a yacht, and be sick for a month; do any thing absurd, extravagant, or wicked, that will make you a name; be any thing or every thing, be any body, no matter whom, provided you are not nobody, and then your fortune's made.
NIMROD IN FRANCE.*
One might almost imagine that gambling, in France, was one of her elements of education, for not a child of three years old is to be found in the country that has not made its essay, when trying its luck at a fite, for one sous-worth of gingerbread. The evil, however, has greatly diminished in what may be called the lower grade of life, within the space of the last five or six years, no public gambling for money being now allowed at the fites, ducasses, &c., and in the upper walks of society it is confined to the drawing-room, coming under the denomination of private play, perhaps the most dangerous of any. For the active and praiseworthy measures of the French government in suppressing the public gaming-houses in Paris, the cause was at once apparent. The chances in favour of the tables amounted to something very like robbery, producing effects of the most disastrous nature-suicide especially—to a large portion of the population of the capital, and to others who visited it for the sole purpose of play. Taken in any light, gaming is an offence of the most alarming nature, but amongst the lower orders of the community it tends, by necessary consequence, to promote idleness and theft, and all their usual consequences. That it is next thing to an act of madness in persons possessed of property to put it to such risk, with such fearful odds against them, as is the case at all public gaming-tables, is admirably illustrated by Tacitus, who expresses his surprise that any one should thus act, when sober. One would indeed imagine that the sudden ruin and desolation of many of our ancient and once opulent families—some members of whom have sacrificed every honourable principle upon the altar of this destructive demonwould have acted more powerfully than we find it has done, in cautioning our aristocracy against the suicidal act. And has it not been said that Tacitus might have been describing an English gentleman devoted to play in this severe rebuke ?—“Ea est in re prava perviccacia, ipsi fidem vocant."
That steps are at length being taken to put down the London hells the police reports inform us, and may I take such flattering unction to my soul as to believe that my labours on the subject, in a contemporary publication, two years back, may have done something towards the much wished-for destruction of the most barefaced system of robbery that was ever allowed to exist—in modern days, at least—and to which the doings of this nature in Paris might have been styled honourable, if not honest?
No character upon earth is more mischievous and detestable than the gamester by profession. We might as well expect honey from the scarabeus, as virtue and honour in his breast; and, like Satan, the proud destroyer of the repose of mortals, he would convert into a hell what before was a paradise. We may compare him with the leech, which, filled to repletion, rolls from his bloody repast to-day, but ready to take fresh hold on the morrow, and draw the last drop.
* Concluded from No. ccxxxi., page 372.
There is a good deal of roundabout as well as ostentatious ceremony in French marriages. In the first place, the names of the parties are stuck on the door of the town hall, for those who run to read, a fortnight previous to the approaching day, as well as the forthcoming event announced in the provincial newspaper. Then when the happy day arrives, instead of going at once to the “ hymeneal altar," as we almost profanely express ourselves, the bridal party are obliged to present themselves to the authorities at the Hotel de Ville, proceeding thence to their church. The procession generally consists in the middle rank of life at leastof from three to five hired carriages, the drivers of them having a bunch of ribbons tied at the end of the crop of their whips, and if the “happy pair" reside in a town, and are of the respectable order, large flags are hoisted over the door of the brides' house, as well as over several of those of her neighbours, and occasionally suspended by ropes across the street as well. A good supper, as well as dinner, generally closes the wedding-day. Then a curious distinction is observed amongst the lower orders. Should one of the party not belong to the same parish with the other, a firing of guns is kept up during the whole evening of the wedding-day, to the no small annoyance of the neighbours, or to those passing on horseback, or in a carriage with horses not accustomed to the report of firearms. Something like a jumble of the church bells occasionally takes place, but as to “a peal of bells,” I have yet to hear that in France. “ Those evening bells," with their beautiful melody, are only to be heard in one or two countries under the sun.
There is, in one respect, a striking difference between an English and a French wedding in the lower orders of society.
With us the parties endeavour to avoid the public gaze; and here they court it. They will be seen parading the streets and the adjoining public ways, not only on the wedding-day, but on the day following, which perhaps, in strict decency, might as well be avoided. Then again they have a curious custom of issuing forth circulars announcing their nuptials, one of which, having just received it, I shall here translate.
“ Monsieur Madame Ducastel, et Delvue, ont l'honneur de vous faire part du marriage de Monsieur Louis Ducastel, leur fils, Docteur en médecine, avec Mademoiselle Sophie Gonard.
“ Calais, 16 Janvier, 1840.”
I was for some time at a loss, having no knowledge of the young doctor or his bride, for the reason of this compliment being paid to me, but at length I recollected that I had purchased a carriage of a Monsieur Gonard, a coachmaker, who, I have since learnt, is father to the bride. There is much of kindly feeling in this trifling act, and much in character with the French people, who appear to me to abound in that primitive virtue.
The mention of marriages naturally leads me to the consequences of them-children, The French are very fond of, and very kind to, their own children, as also to those of others generally, which is to a great degree proved by the waggon-loads of bon-bons and toys that are sold annually in each department throughout the kingdom. Their