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honourable thirst with modicums of cold water! O true virtue and courage ! O sight worthy of the Timoleons and Epaminondases ! We know not how long we remained in this error ; but the first time we recognised the white devil for what it was,the first time we saw through the crystal purity of its appearance,-was a great blow to us. We did not then know what the drinkers went through ; and this reminds us that we have omitted one great redemption of the hackney-coachman's character,-his being at the mercy of all sorts of chances and weathers. Other drivers have their settled hours and pay. He only is at the mercy of every call and every casualty; he only is dragged, without notice, like the damned in Milton, into the extremities of wet and cold, from his alehouse fire to the freezing rain ; he only must go anywhere, at what hour, and to whatever place you choose, his old rheumatic limbs shaking under his weight of rags, and the snow and sleet beating into his puckered face, through streets which the wind scours like a channel.
[Nore.— The hero of the Irish “pike" anecdote was Shelley. The real author of the unpublished poem from which a rather long quotation is made was Keats, who wrote it under the assumed name of Miss Lucy Vaughan Lloyd. It was published among the poet's “remains" by Mr Monckton Milnes (now Lord Houghton) in his “Life and Letters of Keats" (1848). The reader must needs have admired in this essay the beautiful passage about the worn-out old hackney-coach horse-one of the finest pieces of pathetic writing in the language.-E. O.]
OF THE SIGHT OF SHOPS.
HOUGH we are such lovers of the country, we can ad
mire London in some points of view; and among others,
for the entertainment to be derived from its shops. Their variety and brilliancy can hardly fail of attracting the most sluggish attention ; and besides reasons of this kind, we can never look at some of them without thinking of the gallant figure they make in the “Arabian Nights," with their bazaars and bezesteins; where the most beautiful of unknowns goes shopping in a veil, and the most graceful of drapers is taken blindfold to see her. He goes, too, smitten at heart to think of the danger of his head; and finds her seated among her slaves (exquisite themselves, only very inferior), upon which she encourages him to sit near her, and lutes are played ; upon which he sighs, and cannot help looking tenderly ; upon which she claps her hands, and a charming collation is brought in; upon which they eat, but not much. A dance ensues, and the ocular sympathy is growing tenderer, when an impossible old woman appears,
says that the Sultan is coming. Alas! how often have we been waked up, in the person of the young draper or jeweller, by that ancient objection ! How have we received the lady in her veil, through which we saw nothing but her dark eyes and rosy cheeks! How have we sat cross-legged on cushions, hearing or handling the lute, whose sounds faded away like our enamoured eyes! How often have we not lost our hearts
and left hands, like one of the Calenders? Or an eye, like another? Or a head; and resumed it at the end of the story? Or slept (no, not slept) in the Sultan's garden at Schiraz with the Fair Persian ?
But to return (as well as such enamoured persons can) to our shops. We prefer the country a million times over for walking in generally, especially if we have the friends in it that enjoy it as well ; but there are seasons when the very streets may vie with it. If you have been solitary, for instance, for a long time, it is pleasant to get among your fellow-creatures again, even to be jostled and elbowed. If you live in town, and the weather is showery, you may get out in the intervals of rain, and find a quickly-dried pavement and a set of brilliant shops very pleasant. Nay, we have known days, even in spring, when a street may out-do the finest aspects of the country ; but then it is only when the ladies are abroad, and there happens to be a run of agreeable faces that day. For whether it is fancy or not, or whether certain days do not rather bring out certain people, it is a common remark, that one morning you shall meet a succession of good looks, and another encounter none but the reverse. We do not merely speak of handsome faces; but of those which are charming, or otherwise, whatever be the cause. We suppose the money-takers are all abroad one day, and the heart-takers the other.
It is to be observed, that we are not speaking of utility in this article, except indeed of the great utility of agreeableness. A candid leather-cutter, therefore, will pardon us if we do not find anything very attractive in his premises. So will his friend the shoemaker, who is bound to like us rural pedestrians. A stationer too, on obvious accounts, will excuse us for thinking his concern a very dull and bald-headed business. We cannot bear the horribly neat monotony of his shelves, with their loads of virgin paper, their slates and slate-pencils that set one's teeth on edge, their pocket-books (with the exception of “The Literary Pocket-book”), and, above all, the detestable ruled account
books, which at once remind one of the necessity of writing, and of the impossibility of writing anything pleasant on such pages. The only agreeable thing in a stationer's shop, when it has it, is the ornamental work, the card-racks, hand-screens, &c., which remind us of the fair morning fingers that paste and gild such things, and surprise their aunts with presents of flowery boxes. But we grieve to add, that the prints which the stationers furnish for such elegancies are not in the very highest taste. They are apt to deviate too scrupulously from the originals. Their well-known heads become too anonymous. Their young ladies have casts in the eyes, a little too much on one side even for the side-long divinities of Mr Harlowe.
Stationer. [To himself.] I'll not sell this fellow's Indicator.
Indic. [Interrupting him). Oh no, not for a paltry profit, as you say ; but because you are a man of taste and impartiality. My observations apply generally to the stationers' shops ; but, of course, not to all.
All the Stationers. [Serverally.] 'Tis undoubtedly a clever thing ;-a very clever and impartial little publication. The profit upon it, as you say, is-not prodigious; but the price is humble. Besides, my wife likes it.
Indic. Does she indeed? Then you must allow me to say that I cannot help liking her. And this reminds me of a penitent observation I have to make; which is, that the letter-paper
op forms a very delightful subject of reflection ;—not the common letter-paper, you rogue ; but the love-letter,—the pretty little smooth delicate hot-pressed gilt-edged flower-bordered paper, the only fit ground-work for a crow-quill, fair fingers, and golden sand. I suspect, Mr Stationer, that your shop has as touching memories connected with it, after all, as any in London.
Stat. Why, I should think perhaps it had, sir. You 'll excuse, sir, that little haste of mine just now?
Indic. Oh, by all means; and you must excuse mine, for I
have many shops to call at. My compliments, if you please, to your wife. By the bye, you ought to know, if you happen not to know it already, that it was for such paper as that which I have been mentioning, that Rousseau describes himself as writing the two first books of his “Heloise,” in a state of unspeakable enjoyment. The paper was of the finest gilt ; the sand, to dry the ink, azure and silver ; and he had blue ribbon to stitch the sheets together ; “thinking," he says, “nothing too gallant, nothing too darlingly delicate, for the charming girls whom I was doating upon like another Pygmalion.”* This was in the little sylvan island of Montmorency, with nothing but silence about him, and the lady, who had given him his hermitage, sending him billets, and portraits, and flannel under-petticoats.
Stat. Flannel under-petticoats !
But there ! love-matters are again interfering with the shop. Adieu, Mr Stationer! We must now shock you, though still, we
*"Content d'avoir grossièrement esquissé mon plan, je revins aux situations de détail que j'avais tracées, et de l'arrangement que le jeur donnai résulterent les deux premieres parties de la Julie, que je fis et mis au net durant cet hiver avec un plaisir inexprimable, employant pour cela le plus beau papier doré, de la poudre d'azur et d'argent pour sécher l'écriture, de la nompareille bleue coudrer mes cahiers ; enfin ne trouvant rien d'assez galant, rien d'assez mignon, pour les charmantes filles dont je raffolais comme un autre Pigmalion."
† This sort of present touched our Genevese philosopher more than the Hermitage itself, or, indeed, according to his own account, more than anything which the lady in question ever sent him; and she had all a lover's tendency to give. “Un jour," says he, “qu'il gelait très-fort, en ouvrant un paquet qu'elle m'envoyait de plusieurs commissions dont elle s'était chargée, j'y trouvai un petit jupon de dessous de flanelle d'Angleterre, qu'elle me marquait avoir porté, et dont elle voulait que je fisse un gilet. Ce soin, plus qu'amical, me parut si tendre, comme si elle se fut dépouillée pour me vêtir, que dans mon émotion, je baisai vingt fois en pleurant le billet et jupon : Thérese me croyait devenu fou. Il est singulier que de toutes les marques d'amitié
que Madame D'-y m'a prodiguées, aucun ne m'a jamais touché comme celle-là, et que même depuis notre rupture, je n'y ai jamais repensé sans attendrissement. J'ai long-temps conservé son petit billet, et je l'aurais encore, s'il n'eût eu le sort de mes autres billets du même temps.” What should have hindered him, even according to his own story, from keeping both the billet and the lady's regards ! But his capricious temperament was always leading him to play the fool with those whom he had enchanted by being the genius.