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A PEEP AT PARIS.*
PERSUADED that for eleven hours out of agent and counsel from one court into anothe twelve, better ways may be found of ther, and back again. I found him in the employing the present, than keening for afternoon in the hall of the Four Courts, the tomb-ward carried past, or hushoing in leaning breathless against the gas-woman,* a dream of anticipative paternity, the as yet and looking each successive minute to a unborn future, we are not (though consi- | different point of the compass, going circuit derably advanced in years) inclined to play in fact, in a fashion of his own, round that too frequently the part of laudutores tem- eidolon of ugliness. “Well, Mr. Branporis acti. And yet, after all, the present nagan,” said I, “you appear to be taking age is (entre nous, dear reader) such a pre- your ease ; I hope things are going on to cocious puppy, so full of its own exquisite your satisfaction”—“Taking my ease, sir; importance, so loud in its own praise, so you never made a greater mistake in your blind to its many faults of foolishness or life. It's fairly killed I am, this blessed fribble inanity, that it sometimes puts us a day, running all over the town, and here I little out of temper. When we note our was first better than an hour and a half young gentleman at the other end of the looking for Counsellor O'Flatteral, and social board, twisting his mustaches, or ca- when I found him—what d'ye think, sir ?ressing with a cautious nonchalance his the devil a taste of my brief he had read at overabundant tresses; when we hear his all—and worse than that, if he had, the small voice, in genteel, short-nipped treble, devil a use in it, for the cause won't come squeaking forth to some mere digestive lis- on till the day after to-morrow, the court is tener the tale of his own achievements, so busy. Well, after that, I went off across our patience gives way, and we cannot help the water in search of the agent, and back crying out," Son Tom, or nephew Dick, again to Dorset-street, and from that to whichever of you it is, that's keeping up James's-street, and from that back here, such a clatter, send round the wine, and don't where one of the old women told me he make a fool of yourself. Keep your small was just gone, in a covered car, with two talk for the drawing room, my lad, and don't other gentlemen, off to Kilmainham; so I poison the parlour with it. Let there be gave him up, as a bad bargain, and now I'm one room in the house, which neither the looking out again for the counsellor, and name nor the breath of cigars or civilisation resting myself
against this born beauty, with shall dare to pollute. I declare"->here the mould-four in her fist. Oh then, sir, Tom, who is a little afraid of me, with all it's an elegant stone, and a great pity to his impudence, spills the wine in his haste have it thrown away in this overgrown barn to obey-and Dick, the malicious ne'er-do- of a place. Pretty nonsense, indeed l as if
, l well, treads on my favourite spaniel's paw, an iron pillar wouldn't have done as well for so that the remainder of my objurgation is the gas to spout from. I wish the big wigs lost in the poor animal's howl of remon- would give it to me, I'd put it in one of my strance
fields at home, 'twould be such a beautiful Well, the boys are at length gone up stone for the cows to scratch themselves stairs; and as for Tim Brannagan, my wife's against. That's what nature intended it for, third cousin, who has come up from the and it's neither law nor equity to be keeping county Meath to look after a little law suit it here.—“'Twould be a proud day for of his, that he has been so soft or so stub. born as to get involved in--he's fast asleep. * It may be necessary to state for the informaPoor man! he's dead tired, tramping over tion of our country readers, and of posterity, that the city, keeping cantankerous witnesses, the noble hall of our Four Courts is, in the winter not in good humour, for that were impos- of what emblematical we are not prepared to say)
afternoons, lighted by an unsightly figure in stone sible, but in town, which is just at present with a flaring gas-pipe held high in its uplifted a matter of some importance; or hunting' hand.—ED.
* The Paris Sketch Book. By Mr. Titmarsh. London: Macrone, 1840.
you, Mr. Brannagan, that you carried such army, and as I have heard from him a thoua prize as that to the country. Why sand times, lost an arm in two different bat'twould be in all the papers :—Eloped Mr. tles, one in Spain, and the other in GermaTimothy Brannagan with the gas-woman of ny, and as he has one still remaining, I take the Four Courts.-What would Mrs. Bran- it, in accordance with the aforesaid rules, that nagan say to it?”.
“Oh then, it's small he must originally have had three arms. The reason she'd have, a little woman like her, remaining arm has only one finger, the rest to be jealous of such a giantess. And sure being stumps, and with this digital relic, he it's some recompense I'd be entitled to, is now, in my primest port, on my neatest taking such a trip to town, and learning mahogany, drawing a map of the proposed practical geography on the hard flags at my fortifications of Paris, while Capt. Dieaway, time of life, and me such a fat man. I (whom I need not introduce, for every body hadn't such a hunt since Mrs. Brannagan knows him,) being a doctrinaire and a great herself, and it's Kitty Molony she was then, admirer of Guizot, is watching jealously this
a little girl, and hid herself in the inchoate sketch of the artistic Count. The highest tree in the orchard, one day we were back of the captain's chair being turned to the all playing hide-and-seek. 'Twas a long table, his head is of necessity retroverted, to search we had after her, and frightened overlook the operations of his antagonist; enough she was too, for it was not so easy but this does not prevent his gulping hastito get down as to get up,-and the apple ly the remainder of his tumbler, (for though blossoms hid her so completely, she'd never a doctrinaire, he drinks punch,) preparatory have been found, only she cried out—and to a fierce attack on the ci-devant imperialit's I was glad enough to hear her sweet ist. voice, and when I got up into the tree, her I
Well! they're deep in foreign affairs, and cheek was like the apple blossoms them- the argument will be a very pretty quarrelas selves, a little paler than customary, but it stands, without my interference; and my not deadly white, for she'd a brave spirit for friend Brannagan's asleep, so what shall I a child, and a dawney little girl as she was do ?-why I'll even take a turn at foreign then. (I wish the reader could have seen affairs myself in my own fashion. So I'll my true-hearted cousin, while talking sen- pull the bell. Mike-tread softly, Mike, or timent thus, with his red face, and his port- you'll waken Mr. Brannagan—bring over ly form, his striped waistcoat and top boots) that small table that's in the corner, and se "Lord be praised ! but those were the light it by the fire, and bring me those two books times with us both ; no law suits then, nor in brown covers—the new ones, Mike hunting attornies from one end of this big that lie on the side board; hand me that inkcity to the other-No! I never was so stand--and stay, let me see, go to my study knocked up, not the day the Kerry cow, and get me a few sheets of paper,
and your uncle gave me, took a tour to the sea couple of quills. And take my snuff-box side, all for diversion, the creature !-having to your mistress, and tell her to fill it for a taste for the salt water, and that you me; the Count has spilt an ounce of my know, is a pretty step from my place, princeza* since dinner, taking it between but there's the counsellor”. -and stopping his one finger and the palm of his handshort in his harangue, Mr. Brannagan he ought to snuff with a quill like the Scotch. popped his handkerchief into his hat, clap- And, Mike, see that there's a fire lighted ped his hat on his head, and away with him in Mr. Brannagan's room, for it's a cold after his counsel. I did not see him again night, and he'll be going to bed early, I till dinner was half over, when he made his fancy-and bring the captain some hot waappearance, and now, oh! blessed fruit of ter, for what's in the jug is cold-and, Mike, toil!—he sleeps soundly, oblivious alike of take Dido down with you, and see if anycourts and causes, of Mrs. Brannagan, and thing ails her paw. Mr. Dick trod on it, the gas-woman.
and the poor thing has been licking it ever As for my two remaining guests, Count since--and now, Mike, snuff the candles, and Stiffinbisstock and Capt. Dieaway, they're shut the door after you. deep in a discourse on foreign affairs. But So now, dear reader, that we've got acI must introduce them to the reader. Count quainted, and you feel yourself at home, you Stiflinbisstock is half a Pole, half a French- are at liberty either to watch the progress man, and if the rules of arithmetic and his own veracity be both unimpeachable, he must
* If this word should occasion any perplexity, have been also originally a lusus nature. we refer the curious snuff-taker to Mr. Rosenthal, Certain it is, he was a colonel in Napoleon's of Nassau-street.
of the grand engagement between the Cap- praise it. For our own parts, being far from tain and the Count, or if it likes you better, rich, and moreover so unsophisticated as still to look over one of these volumes in brown, to cherish the old notion of buying books to while I examine the other.
read them, and not to yawn or fall asleep Returning then to the plural number, over them, or locate them as ornamental and to those little advantages which we icicles in that piece of petrified ostentation, sometimes take the liberty of hinting that ycleped a drawing room-we too often forget bye gone times had over the present, it may ourselves, and the age we live in, and thus be reckoned among them, that until the last have our hard-earned guineas filched from half-century, a fair probability always existed us irrevocably, before we recollect what we for the buyer of any book, not a novel, or a are about. Some too seducing piece of sermon, or a poem in ten-syllable verse, that neatness, in new type, on cream-coloured though perhaps not exactly worth the money paper, hot-pressed, with speckled lining, silpaid for it, it was yet good for something ; ken covering, and arabesqued in gold, is put that the writer was actually more or less in into our hands by the insinuating bookseller; earnest, or meant to be so, and therefore that, and bitter as our past experience has been, on careful search, some shadow of an idea our good nature, or our sanguine temperamight be found therein. For if it were not ment gets the better of our resolves ; we in some hope of that kind, what on earth did cannot for the life of us, be so hard hearted people in those times buy books for? The as to believe so fair a piece of handy work print was generally bad, the paper coarse, and altogether thoughtless or idealess -- and as for the boarding or binding, nothing could presto, we are bitten for the hundredth time, be plainer or uglier. The notion of making and before we have leisure to think of it, up for inward poverty by outward ornament, mulcted of our money, our patience, and our had as yet but faintly visited the bibliopolic time. brain. There was no gilding on the outside; After all, 'tis a pardonable infirmity, there were no pictures inside, or if any, such though would we could better afford it. We things as would now be deemed disgraceful had rather lose a little by the world's wickto a ballad or a two-penny tract. There edness, than by always bearing it in mind, was, unless the purchasers chose to dress keep our purse strings tight. 'Tis a mean their books so, little of a furniture air about tenure of existence, and beyond expression them; books bad not yet risen to be ranked a sad one, to live thus fenced from harm by with Brussels carpets, gilt mouldings, stuffed selfishness and fear; harbouring ever ruffian birds, alabaster ornaments, French mirrors, catchpoles and bailiffs in the fairest chambers and ormolu. What therefore could people of the soul; pillowing suspicion and hate have bought them for, unless to read them; where faith and hope might fitlier meet in unless with the hope of finding some plea- ministry, where love and meek-eyed pity sure in the perusal, or instruction, or both ? should never cease to dwell. If a book had not this merit, it was good for 'Tis pleasant also, when worldliness nothing but to be sold to the snuff-man : and distrust will come thronging back and sold it was accordingly, or tossed into a too soon to the misgiving heart, to lumber room.
keep them off for a time by the spell Nowadays—and here perhaps some may of some kindly experience. think that our times have the advantage truly welcome refreshment in the arid deafter all—if a book has nothing in it, 'lis sert of life, when finding unexpectedly yet fifty to one it will make a pretty piece flowers amid weeds, fruit upon thorns, corn of furniture ; it will lie so nicely on your instead of chaff, we rebuke the baser powers show table in your show sitting room ; or in us for their too officious forebodings. For when the waning seasons discard it thence, such an adventure we are always disposed 'twill look so well on cabinet or chiffonier, to be thankful, and as these volumes have, or bookcase, with a score of its unread con- in a slight degree, afforded us such a gratitemporaries. The rows of gilt lettering will fication, we feel bound, both by duty and gleam so richly, and give such a finish to by inclination, to share the pleasure with your apartment; and the stamped cloth, or our readers. imitation morocco, won't fade for a couple So long as books are manufactured to of
years, if you're careful to keep the sun order and for the market, it will be acknowout. Verily, for people who have money to ledged to be desirable that those concerned throw away, and who set no great value on in the fabrication should have some small their time, this upholsteric system may not portion of brains; brains implying here, not be a bad one ; but we'll leave it to them to merely that degree of self possession, which
keeps a man out of bedlam, or that amount to suttler and shoeblack, from the cabinet of cunning and mimicry, which in catering minister and the hierarch to the penny-afor the public taste seeks only to flatter its liner and the puff writer-they are, by fate, prevailing follies—but also some little or by the caprice of nature, the virtual rulers sprinkling of humour and originality, the of the world, or of their world; even of those honey of experience sweetening the other nations of the earth, who speak the Engwise insipid repast, or the smile of intelli-lish tongue, buy English books, or subscribe gent sympathy bidding us good cheer. Ma- to English newspapers. Strong is that host nafactured and machine-born though the in numbers, and not without its own entercommodity be, the energy of a directing will prising spirit and dogged tenacity of endushould be displayed in it; the aim of a per- rance; if it have not insight, it has instinct; vading idea uniting the whole map of task- if it cannot boast of much heroism, it at work; a few sparks of independent thought least has plenty of hunger to stimulate itimparting to it animation, distinctness, and as for its faults and follies, what wouldst sometimes perhaps even a remoter sem- thou require of it ? At such a time, in such blance of genuine life and power.
a country as England, powerful, yet denaBut, alas ! among the motley myriads, for tionalized, seemingly prosperous, yet disby myriads they may now be counted, who eased in every fibre ; in such a state of soto keep soul and body together, have ciety, so intensely, practical, so utterly enrolled themselves in the grand army of neglectful of the spiritual ; with such exBritish authors, or among the myriads more tremes of idleness and toil, of riches and who, prompted by vanity or ambition, have poverty, amid the universal worship of wealth joined as volunteers that doom-devoted host and the mechanism which generates it; with -bow few, comparatively speaking, have cant and affectation and conventionality ever had brains at all; and of those again every where paramount, the hypocrisies of how few, after half a dozen campaigns, have outward decency masking internal corrup
, any discernible remains of the little they tion; with such an apathy to the finer once possessed. Here again, as genuine influences of art and poetry, and so fearful truths never cease to be such, the old saying an ignorance of the spirit of true religion, of the statesman, “ Quam parva sapientia cause, at once, and key, and consequence of gubernatur mundus," assumes a new and all we have been lamenting—what else melancholy significance, for the children of could be expected than that literature should a later time. For faute de mieur, faute partake of such corruptions, and every day de pire, those motley thousands are, shew itself more and more mercenary and though the many know it not, though they degraded, forgetful alike of its duties and its scarcely dream of it themselves—they are, rights? Art thou unreasonable, O reader ? even though sodden, spirit-broken anoma- In this chill prosaic winter, which hath girt lies, and mercenary cowards, and sumphs, the earth about, wouldst thou have the flowand spoons, and sots, thou findest to thy ers of spring to greet thee, and autumn's dismay, so frequent among them—they are, fruit upon the boughs? Surely not. Such in their own blundering, plundering fashion, is not the course of the seasons. Raas bravoes, bandits, or bullies ; as mocking ther be thou thankful, that like the reinmisanthropists, or blethering philanthropists; deer thou canst, if thou'lt only scrape the as cobblers or calculators; as phthisical cyg- snow away, root up moss enough for thy nets of the bygone swans of song, amateurs, sustenance 'till for tbee or thy children's amiable, but awfully insipid; as oracular children a sunnier time arrive. parvenus, or querulous people of quality; as Not that we doubt for a moment that literary tadpoles of every degree, or full grown there are hundreds — many hundreds we toads and toadies, and overbearing deafening hope, aye, and even thousands—in that bull-frogs, dogmatists and doctrinaires — quill-driving host, animated by nobler influ
, (pardon us the alliterations, fastidious sir, ences, abounding still in energy and sincerfor we have really striven to avoid them, ity, and deficient only in that sagacity, that but in calling over a catalogue what can we insight and calm wisdom, which are hardly do ?) or, turning to the comelier among attainable at such a period. Few men bethem, as lordly lazy lumps of thew and si- take themselves to literature without somenew, stout and courageous enough, knew thing of a noble aim ; with the most selfish they only what to fight for, or whither to views of such aggrandizement, something lead the insubordinate scapegraces whom totally unselfish must necessarily combine 'tis their lot to captain-they are, in all itself. And if too many, beguiled by vanity, their infinite variety, from king and kaisar enter the arena only to exhibit their weak
ness ; orif thousands on thousands, endowed does, to stave off poverty, what of good will with real powers, but unable from poverty he would not. The tragedy of life has been or other untoward circumstance, to develope for both, alas ! a sorry farce—and who shall those powers, or find the fittest channels for decide between you? What if he had been their exercise, in any case so difficult a dis as thou hast, a green grocer, or a stockbroker, covery, and the severest test of genius and had a brass knocker to his hall door ? if thousands of such men sink into the lethar- Thou shopocratic sumph, he is, with all his gy of total inaction, or hire themselves as faults and short-comings, thy brother, thy listless labourers in a course of ungenial suffering brother, elder and worthier than toil, which gives them neither pleasure nor thou; more sinned against than sinning, self-respect; if thousands thus be ruined, and sinners though both of you be. perish as sots or slaves, or heart-broken im Of all the aforesaid perplexities, however, beciles, are they not the more to be pitied, the sad and undeniable result is, that a large or is there aught on earth so pitiable? Ah, proportion of the books published are, as good upper-class or middle-class reader, who near as may be, altogether idealess, and knowest not what starvation is, 'tis easy for therefore, in all worthier senses, utterly good thee to despise the literary hodman, and the for nothing. Books are announced, writmore that, from the whiteness of his skin, ten, printed, bound, puffed, and sold off with thou takest it that he must once have been a rapidity that is truly astonishing. Were a gentleman, though now he be ragged and their authors demigods, instead of demifools, a mechanic. Good gentleman, or gigman,* or demidevils, the inevitable consequence fat goose that thou art, this lean goose would be a proportionate flimsiness of tex. whom thou sneerest at, was once a gosling ture. Nor is all the blame to be laid upon
this gander (perhaps a swan soi-disant) them; the booksellers do more than half the was once, even as thou wert, a foolish cal- cookery, and the authors are in their hands low cackler, nestling beneath his mother's but as the unresisting paste, which with a wing. He wore slobbering bibs once, this dexterous application of their knuckles, poor hack of an author, even like thyself, they knead into the shape desired. Flimmost sapient gigman or gigwoman! He sier and more insipid are these commodities was once a father's pride, a mother's hope every day, and as more sterling goods grow and treasure. He who now writes, and lives, scarce or entirely disappear, the harder is it or starves by writing, had once to learn to avoid their successors, or keep them, in spelling; he blubbered in cold school rooms some strange disguise or other, from slipping over his unfinished task, or offered piteously into your hands. To meet then in one of his reluctant palm to the master's descend- these productions, as we have done in the ing cane. He too had innocent amusements volumes before us, with some tokens of better once ; he cheapened gingerbread and apples fare, and the promise of more hereafter, was so at street corners; he trundled hoops, or blew agreeable a surprise, that we deemed it sufsoap-bubbles (prismatic emblems of his fu- ficient occasion for the foregoing remarks; ture fate!) or played at marbles till his in which however, even while we blamed winnings wore holes in his pockets: for time, the prevalent abuses of book-making, we that untold treasure—that mercury of life, were compelled to temper the asperity of whose weight so tires men, that they cast it our censures with condolence and regret for from them, and only as the glittering frag- the sources of that abuse. ments hide themselves in the porous earth, Summing up, therefore, all that we have perceive the value of what they have lost- been saying, in the brief maxim :—that time was already a burthen to him. And so long as books shall be made, it is desiranow in meanness or in merit which of you ble that the makers thereof should have hath the advantage ? Thou by greasing the brains, and the more the better,—we beg wheels of the chariot, hast gained a safer and leave to introduce to our readers the “ Paris a sleekerlivelihood, while he, who too early, Sketch Book," a piece of regular bookand with light head, aspired to mount and making, and yet, by singular good fortune, guide the vehicle, hurled from that proud not without solid stuff in it-keen insight, eminence, is now a cripple and a pauper; or pithy remark, eloquent remonstrance, hu
mour of a sort, and other evidences of a * Can it be necessary to remind the reader of passable sanity, the definition of ‘respectable,' given at Thurtell's trial ? — “Q. What sort of person was Mr.
We cannot, however, allow the title be Weare? A. He was always a respectable person.
a judicious one; it promises too much. Q. What do you mean by respectable ? A. He
“ 'The Paris Sketch Book”-when a sankept a gig !"
guine purchaser or borrower reads those