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Consule Planco, that is to say in days when criticism too often meant savage hostility, and it was held but milksop censure that contented itself with showing that an author had written a bad book, or a politician had made a bad speech, and did not infer that this author or politician was a bad father, son, husband, friend, trustee, and Christian-in these days a certain journalist had the misfortune to write a paragraph which excited the wrath of a certain officer. I do not recollect whether the article was excusable or not. In our time such a thing would be unpardonable, because, as we all know, (and as they particularly know at Chelsea,) no officer ever makes a blunder of any kind. But it is just possible that the censor in question may have pointed out a real error on the part of the soldier. Be this as it may, the latter waxed furious, and proceeded to the office of the journal, with the view of refuting argument by whipcord. The writer, however, had received a hint that this logical process was to be performed at the expense of his personal comfort, and had provided for the reception of his enemy. The military gentleman strode into the office, demanded to see the Editor,
was instantly shown into the editorial room, and introduced to the occupant of the editorial chair. This locum tenens was a large and powerful man, with very short hair, and a countenance which had been recently described (in the "Morning Chronicle's" graphic account of a great prize-fight at Mouseley Hurst, in which he had been the victor) as evincing "bull-dog courage and adamantine endurance." The officer, a judge of physiognomy, and not altogether gratified with the specimen before him, said, in somewhat gentler tones than those he had employed downstairs, "I wished to see the the Editor of the paper." bull-dog and adamantine
The gentleman of the
"Oh, ah, yes; just
character heaved up his giant bulk, and advancing towards his visitor, mildly remarked, “I am the Heditor, sir, at your service." So. Well, I'll look in again. will do, another time," said the officer, retreating with some little expedition. "Wenhever you please, sir," replied the adamantine one, not to be outdone in politeness, "I'm halways ere," and the interview ended.
I think it is Perrault who talks of certain illustrations being "comparisons with a long tail." This one may be of the number; for though the esteemed proprietors of the Amusing Library have placed me in the editorial chair, in relation to the little book now in my reader's hand, I do not conceive that they require any defence, and the
book seems to me to be a very excellent little book. And so far from wishing to drive any body away, I would, on the contrary, invite as many persons as place the slightest value upon any recommendation of mine, to come and lend their best assistance towards the entire removal of the present Edition from King William Street. Our comparison, therefore, has a Perraultian tail, but it has, notwithstanding, some fitness for its purpose.
A critic of the day has well said that a collection of poetry must in some sort be a reflex of the mind of the Editor. The case of this volume is exceptional. Instead of reflecting a single mind, it resembles one of those pretty, many-faced little mirrors, which, as Trifles from Brighton or Remembrances from Margate, used to be exceeding popular among youth of seven years old, about—a good many-years ago, and which have happily given place to more intellectual toys, as models of the pliocene and pleistocene fossil mammals, and other engines of torment from the Gradgrind repertoire. This collection reflects the minds of a considerable number of suggestive and co-operative friends, who in all zeal and sincerity for the promotion of the object of the work, kindly furnished the titles (and in many cases copies) of such poetical compositions as they had liked in other days, or had learned to like in these, and nearly the only task which devolved upon the Editor was that of meeting the liberality of his assistants by ungracious,
but still eminently practical protests against the aggregation of more matter than would have sufficed for a work six times as large as the present volume. It will be seen, therefore, that he has not had much more to do with the compilation than the adamantine remplaçant of the offending journalist had to do with the newspaper in the
time of Plancus.
The object of the volume is to offer (chiefly, but by no means entirely, for the use of young persons) a selection of compositions, some of them poems, others merely versification, which should afford harmless and indeed salutary intellectual excitement, but with a tolerable complete subordination of the didactic element, usually much too rampant in collections of poetry to leave it as attractive as it ought to be found by the young. With this idea in mind, I fear that my assistants have sent me but few copies of the extremely meritorious pieces which they "committed to memory "—magisterial notion-and "recited," as penance for a schoolchild's crime, or purchase of a sponsor's half-guinea. I am afraid our little book is a good deal made up of verses they learned" without ever being told to " -of passages of works brought privately to school, read furtively in the dormitory, in a state of nightgown, or in secret nooks, on half-holidays, and never recited at all, but shouted out, acted, chanted, quoted, parodied, and affectionately maltreated in every way. A great deal of the poetry is assuredly