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and the practice may have ended too)-as private schoolboys used to grow tired of the pudding before their mutton at dinner.
And pray what is the moral of this apologue? The moral I take to be this : the appetite for novels extending to the end of the world ; far away in the frozen deep, the sailors reading them to one another during the endless night ;-far away under the Syrian stars, the solemn sheikhs and elders hearkening to the poet as he recites his tales ; far away in the Indian camps, where the soldiers listen to -'s tales, or —'s, after the hot day's march; far away in little Chur yonder, where the lazy boy pores over the fond volume, and drinks it in with all his eyes ;—the demand being what we know it is, the merchant must supply it, as he will supply saddles and pale ale for Bombay or Calcutta.
But as surely as the cadet drinks too much pale ale, it will disagree with him ; and so surely, dear youth, will too much novels cloy on thee. I wonder, do novel-writers themselves read many novels? If you go into Gunter's, you don't see those charming young ladies (to whom I present my most respectful compliments) eating tarts and ices, but at the proper even-tide they have good plain wholesome tea and bread-and-butter. Can anybody tell me does the author of the “ Tale of Two Cities” read novels? does the author of the “ Tower of London” devour romances ? does the dashing “Harry Lorrequer" delight in “ Plain or Ringlets” or “ Sponge's Sporting Tour?" Does the veteran, from whose flowing pen we had the books which delighted our young days, “ Darnley,” and “Richelieu,” and “Delorme,”
." * relish the works of Alexander the Great, and thrill over the “Three Musqueteers?” Does the accomplished author of the “ Caxtons” read the other tales in Blackwood ? (For example, that ghost-story printed last August, and which for my part, though I read it in the public reading-room at the “ Pavilion Hotel ” at Folkestone, I protest frightened me so that I scarce dared look over my shoulder.) Does “ Uncle Tom ” admire “ Adam Bede;" and does the author of the “Vicar of Wrexhill ” laugh over the “Warden” and the “The Three Clerks ?” Dear youth of ingenuous countenance and ingenuous pudor! I make no doubt that the eminent parties above named all partake of novels in moderation-eat jellies—but mainly nourish themselves upon wholesome roast and boiled.
Here, dear youth aforesaid ! our Cornhill Magazine owners strive to provide thee with facts as well as fiction ; and though
H: was By the way, what a strange fate is that which befell the veteran novelist! appointed her majesty's Consul-General in Venice, the only city in Europe where the tamous " Two Cavaliers" cannot by any possibility be seen riding together.
it does not become them to brag of their Ordinary, at least they invite thee to a table: where thou shalt sit in good company. That story of the “ Fox" * was written by one of the gallant seamen who sought for poor Franklin under the awful Arctic Night: that account of China † is told by the man of all the empire most likely to know of what he speaks : those pages regarding Volunteers # come from an honored hand that has borne the sword in a hundred famous fields, and pointed the British guns in the greatest siege in the world.
Shall we point out others ? We are fellow-travellers, and shall make acquaintance as the voyage proceeds. In the Atlantic steamers, on the first day out (and on high and holy days subsequently), the jellies set down on table are richly ornamented ; medioque in fonte leporum rise the American and British flags nobly emblazoned in tin. As the passengers remark this pleasing phenomenon, the Captain no doubt improves the occasion by expressing a bope, to his right and left, that the flag of Mr. Bull and his younger Brother may always float side by side in friendly emulation. Novels having been previously compared to jellies-here are two (one perhaps not entirely saccharine, and flavored with an amari aliquid very distastelul to some palates)—two novels § under two flags, the one that ancient ensign which has hung before the well-known booth of “Vanity Fair ;' the other that fresh and handsome standard which has lately been hoisted on “ Barchester Towers." Pray, sir, or madam, to which dish will you be helped ?
So have I seen my friends Captain Lang and Captain Comstock press their guests to partake of the fare on that memorab'e “ First day out,” when there is no man, I think, who sits down but asks a blessing on his voyage, and the good ship dips over the bar, and bounds away into the blue water.
ON TWO CHILDREN IN BLACK.
TAIGNE and “Howel's Letters
bedside books. If I wake at night, I have one or other of them to prattle me to sleep again. They talk about themselves for ever, and don't
“The Search for Sir Jolin Franklin. (From the Private Journal of an Officer of the . Fox.')"
† " The Chinese and the Outer Barbarians." By Sir John Bowring. "Our Volunteers." By Sir Jolu Burgoyne.
“Lovel the Widower and " Framley Parsonage."
weary me. I like to hear them tell their old stories over and over again. I read them in the dozy hours, and only half re. member them. I am informed that both of them tell coarse stories. I don't heed them. It was the custom of their time, as it is of Highlanders and Hottentots, to dispense with a part of dress which we all wear in cities. But people can't afford to be shocked either at Cape Town or at Inverness every time they meet an individual who wears his national airy raiment. I never knew the “ Arabian Nights" was an improper book until I happened once to read it in a “family edition.” Well, qui s'excuse. * * Who, pray, has accused me as yet? Here am I smothering dear good old Mrs. Grundy's objections, before she has opened her mouth. I love, I say, and scarce ever tire of hearing, the artless prattle of those two dear old friends, the Perigourdin gentleman and the priggish little Clerk of King Charles's Council. Their egotism in nowise disgusts me. I hope I shall always like to hear men, in reason, talk about themselves. What subject does a man know better? If I stamp on a friend's corn, his outcry is genuine-he confounds my clumsiness in the accents of truth. He is speaking about himself
, and expressing his motion of grief or pain in a manner perfectly authentic and veracious. I have a story of my own, of a wrong done to me by somebody, as far back as the year 1838: whenever I think of it, and have had a couple glasses of wine, I cannot help telling it. The toe is stamped upon : the pain is just as keen as ever : I cry out, and perhaps utter imprecatory language. I told the story only last Wednesday at dinner :
* Mr. Roundabout,” says a lady sitting by me, " how comes it that in your books there is a certain class (it may be of men, or it may be of women, but that is not the question in point)how comes it, dear sir, there is a certain class of persons whom you always attack in your writings, and savagely rush at, goad, poke, toss up in the air, kick, and trample on ?
I couldn't help myself. I knew I ought not to do it. I told her the whole story, between the entrées and the roast. The wound began to bleed again. The horrid pang was there, as keen and as fiesh as ever. If I live half as long as Tithonus, * that crack across my heart can never be cured. There are wrongs and griefs that can't be mended. It is all very well of you, my dear Mrs. G., to say that this spirit is unchristian, and that we ought to forgive and forget, and so forth. How can I forget at will? How forgive? I can forgive the occasional
• “Tithonus,” by Tennyson, had appeared in the preceding (the 2d) number of the Cornhill Magazine.
waiter who broke my beautiful old decanter at that
very dinner. I am not going to do him any injury. But all the powers on earth can't make that claret-jug whole.
So, you see, I told the lady the inevitable story. erotistical. I was selfish, no doubt; but I was natural, and "vas telling the truth. You say you are angry with a man for alking about himself. It is because you yourself are selfish, chat that other person's Self does not interest you. Be interested by other people and with their affairs. Let them prattle and talk to you, as I do my dear old egotists just mentioned. When you have had enough of them, and sudden hazes come over your eyes, lay down the volume ; pop out the candle, and dormcz bien. I should like to write a nightcap book—a book that you can muse over, that you can smile over, that you can yawn over-a book of which you can say, “Well, this man is so and so and so and so; but he has a friendly heart (although some wiseacres have painted him as black as Bogey), and you inay trust what he says." I should like to touch you sometimes with a reminiscence that shall waken your sympathy, and make you say, Io anchè have so thought, felt, smiled, suffered. Now, how is this to be done except by egotism? Linea recta brevissima. That right line “I” is the very shortest, simplest, straightforwardest means of communication between us, and stands for what it is worth and no more. Sometimes authors say, “ The present writer has often remarked ; or, “ The undersigned has observed ;” or “Mr. Roundabout presents his compliments to the gentle reader, and begs to state,” &c. : but “I” is better and straighter than all these grimaces of modesty : and although these are Roundabout Papers, and may wander who knows whither, I shall ask leave to maintain the upright and simple perpendicular, When this bundle of egotisins is bound up together, as they may be one day, if no accident prevents this tongue from wagging, or this ink from running, they will bore you very likely; so it would to read through " Howel's Letters” from beginning to end, or to eat up the whole of a ham : but a slice on occasion may have a relish: a dip into the volume at random and so on for a page or two: and now and then a smile ; and presently a gape ; and the book drops out of your hand ; and so, bon soir, and pleasant dreams to you. I have frequently seen men at clubs asleep over their humble servant's works, and am always pleased. Even at a lecture I don't mind, if they don't snore. Only the other day when my friend A. said “You've left off that Roundabout business, I see ; very glad you have,” I joined in the general roar