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· I had almost forgotten the Tavern. We for some time took C— for a lawyer, from a
fugacious of followers, of the arts by which he had left the City to lure the patients that he wanted after him to the West-End, of the ounce of tea that he purchased by stratagem as an unusual treat to his guest, and of the narrow winding staircase, from the height of which he contemplated in security the imaginary approach of duns. He was a large, plain, fairfaced Moravian preacher, turned physician. He was an honest man, but vain of he knew not what. He was once sitting where Sarratt was playing a game at chess without seeing the board; and after remaining for some time absorbed in silent wonder, he turned suddenly to me and said, “Do you know, Mr. H— that I think there is something I could do ?” “Well, what is that?" “ Why perhaps you would not guess, but I think I could dance, I'm sure I could; ay, I could dance like Vestris !"-Sarratt, who was a man of various accomplishments, (among others one of the Fancy,) afterwards bared his arm to convince us of his muscular strength, and Mrs. ~ going out of the room with another lady said, “ Do you know, Madam, the Doctor is a great jumper!" Moliere could not outdo this. Never shall I forget his pulling off his coat to eat beef-steaks on equal terms with Martin B . Life is short, but full of mirth and pastime, did we not so soon forget what we have laughed at, perhaps that we may not remember what we have cried at !
-Sarratt, the chess-player, was an extraordinary man. He had the same tenacious, epileptic faculty in other things that he had at chess, and could no more get any other ideas out of his mind than he could those of the figures on the board. He was a great reader, but had not the least taste. Indeed the violence of his memory tyrannised over and destroyed all power
certain arguteness of voice and slenderness of neck, and from his having a quibble and a laugh at himself always ready. “On inquiry, however, he was found to be a patent-medicine seller, and having leisure in his apprenticeship, and a forwardness of parts, he had taken to study Blackstone and the Statutes at Large, On appealing to M— for his opinion on this matter, he observed pithily, “I don't like so much law: the gentlemen here seem fond of law, but I have law enough at chambers.” One sees a great deal of the humours and tempers of men in a place of this sort, and may almost gather their opinions from their characters. There is E- , a fellow that is always in the wrong—who puts might for right on all occasions—a Tory in grain—who has no one idea but what has been instilled into him by custom and authority—an everlasting babbler on the stronger side of the question-querulous and dictatorial, and with a peevish whine in his
of selection. He could repeat Ossian by heart, without knowing the best passage from the worst; and did not perceive he was tiring you to death by giving an account of the breed, education, and manners of fighting-dogs for hours together. The sense of reality quite superseded the distinction between the pleasurable and the painful. He was altogether a mechanical philosopher.
voice like a beaten school-boy. He is a great advocate for the Bourbons, and for the National Debt. The former he affirms to be the choice of the French people, and the latter he insists is necessary to the salvation of these kingdoms. This last point a little inoffensive gentleman among us, of a saturnine aspect but simple conceptions, cannot comprehend. “I will tell you, Sir
Iwill make my proposition so clear that you will be convinced of the truth of my observation in a moment. Consider, Sir, the number of trades. that would be thrown out of employ, if it were done away with : what would become of the porcelain manufacture without it?”? Any stranger to overhear one of these debates would swear that the English as a nation are bad logicians. Mood and figure are unknown to them. They do not argue by the book. They arrive at conclusions through the force of prejudice, and on the principles of contradiction. Mr. E- having thus triumphed in argument, offers a flower to the notice of the company as a specimen of his flower-garden, a curious exotic, nothing like it to be found in this kingdom, talks of his carnations, of his countryhouse, and old English hospitality, but never invites any of his friends to come down and take their Sunday's dinner with him. He is
mean and ostentatious at the same time, insolent and servile, does not know whether to treat those he converses with as if they were his. porters or his customers: the prentice-boy is not yet wiped out of him, and his imagination still hovers between his mansion at , and the work-house. Opposed to him and to every one else, is K , a radical reformer and logician, who makes clear work of the taxes and national debt, reconstructs the Government from the first principles of things, shatters the Holy Alliance at a blow, grinds out the future prospects of society with a machine, and is setting out afresh with the commencement of the French Revolution five and twenty years ago, as if on an untried experiment. He minds nothing but the formal agreement of his premises and his conclusions, and does not stick at obstacles in the way nor consequences in the end. If there was but one side of a question, he would be always in the right. He casts up one column of the account to admiration, but totally forgets and rejects the other. His ideas lie like square pieces of wood in his brain, and may be said to be piled up on a stiff architectural principle, perpendicularly, and at right angles. There is no inflection, no modification, no graceful embellishment, no Corinthian capi
tals. I never heard him agree to two proposi. tions together, or to more than half a one at a time. His rigid love of truth bends to nothing but his habitual love of disputation. He puts one in mind of one of those long-headed politicians and frequenters of coffee-houses mentioned in Berkeley's Minute Philosopher, who would make nothing of such old-fashioned fellows as Plato and Aristotle. He has the new light strong upon him, and he knocks other people down with its solid beams. He denies that he has got certain views out of Cobbett, though he allows that there are excellent ideas occasionally to be met with in that writer. It is a pity that this enthusiastic and unqualified regard to truth should be accompanied with an equal exactness of expenditure and unrelenting eye to the main-chance. He brings a bunch of radishes with him for cheapness, and gives a band of musicians at the door a penny, observing that he likes their performance better than all the Opera-squalling. This brings the severity of his political principles into question, if not into contempt. He would abolish the National Debt from motives of personal economy, and objects to Mr. Canning's pension because it perhaps takes a farthing a year out of his own pocket. A great deal of radical reasoning has