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dinner, but he will take and give his part of the good things, join in the talk and laugh unaffectedly, nay, actually tumble over head and heels, perhaps, if he has a talent that way; not from a wish to show off his powers, but from a sheer goodhumor and desire to oblige. Whether as guest or as entertainer, your part and business in society is to make people as happy and as easy as you can; the master gives you his best wine and welcome - you give, in your turn, a smiling face, a disposition to be pleased and to please: and my good young friend who read this, don't doubt about yourself, or think about your precious person. When you have got on your best coat and waistcoat, and have your dandy shirt and tie arranged consider these as so many settled things, and go forward and through your business.
That is why people in what is called the great world are commonly better bred than persons less fortunate in their condition : not that they are better in reality, but from circumstances they are never uneasy about their position in the world : therefore they are more honest and simple: therefore they are better bred than Growler, who scowls at the great man a defiance and a determination that he will not be trampled upon : or poor Fawner, who goes quivering down on his knees, and licks my lord's shoes. But I think in our world — at least in my experience — there are even more Growlers than Fawners.
It will be seen by the above remark, that a desire to shine or to occupy a marked place in society does not constitute my idea of happiness, or become the character of a discreet Fogy. Time, which has dimmed the lustre of his waistcoats, allayed the violence of his feelings, and sobered down his head with gray, should give to the whole of his life a quiet neutral tinge; out of which calm and reposeful condition an honest old Fogy looks on the world, and the struggle there of women and men. I doubt whether this is not better than struggling yourself, for you preserve your interest and do not lose your temper. Succeeding? What is the great use of succeeding? Failing? Where is the great harm? It seems to you a matter of vast interest at one time of your life whether you shall be a lieutenant or a colonel — whether you shall or shall not be invited to the Duchess's party — whether you shall get the place you and a hundred other competitors are trying for – whether Miss will have you or not; what the deuce does it all matter a few years afterwards? Do you, Jones, mean to intimate a desire that History should occupy herself with your paltry personality? The Future does not care whether you were a captain or
a private soldier. You get a card to the Duchess's party : it is no more or less than a ball, or a breakfast, like other balls or breakfasts. You are half distracted because Miss won't have you and takes the other fellow, or you get her (as I did Mrs. Pacifico) and find that she is quite a different thing from what you expected. Psha! These things appear as nought - when Time passes — Time the consoler — Time the anodyne
- Time the gray calm satirist, whose sad smile seems to say, Look, 0 man, at the vanity of the objects you pursue, and of yourself who pursue them!
But on the one hand, if there is an alloy in all success, is there not a something wholesome in all disappointment? To endeavor to regard them both benevolently, is the task of a philosopher; and he who can do so is a very lucky Fogy.
CHILD'S PARTIES :
AND A REMONSTRANCE CONCERNING THEM.*
I. SIR, — As your publication finds its way to almost every drawing-room table in this metropolis, and is read by the young and old in every family, I beseech you to give admission to the remonstrance of an unhappy parent, and to endeavor to put a stop to a practice which appears to me to be increasing daily, and is likely to operate most injuriously upon the health, morals, and comfort of society in general.
The awful spread of Juvenile Parties, sir, is the fact to which I would draw your attention. There is no end to those entertainments, and if the custom_be not speedily checked, people will be obliged to fly from London at Christmas, and hide their children during the holidays. I gave mine warning in a speech at breakfast this day, and said with tears in my eyes that if the Juvenile Party system went on, I would take a house at Margate next winter, for that, by heavens! I could not bear another Juvenile Season in London.
If they would but transfer Innocents' Day to the summer holidays, and let the children have their pleasures in May or June, we might get on.
But now in this most ruthless and cut* Addressed to Mr. Punch.
throat season of sleet, thaw, frost, wind, snow, mud, and sore throats, it is quite a tempting of fate to be going much abroad ; and this is the time of all others that is selected for the amusement of our little darlings.
As the first step towards the remedying of the evil of which I complain, I am obliged to look Mr. Punch himself in his venerable beard, and say, “You sir, have, by your agents, caused not a little of the mischief. I desire that, during Christmas time at least, Mr. Leech should be abolished, or sent to take a holiday. Judging from his sketches, I should say that he must be endowed with a perfectly monstrous organ of philoprogenitiveness; he revels in the delineation of the dearest and most beautiful little boys and girls in turn-down collars and broad sashes, and produces in your Almanack a picture of a child's costume ball, in which he has made the little wretches in the dresses of every age, and looking so happy, beautiful, and charming, that I have carefully kept the picture from the sight of the women and children of my own household, and — I will not say burned it, for I had not the heart to do that — but locked it away privately, lest they should conspire to have a costume ball themselves, and little Polly should insist upon appearing in the dress of Anne Boleyne, or little Jacky upon turning out as an Ancient Briton.”
An odious, revolting and disagreeable practice, sir, I say, ought not to be described in a manner so atrociously pleasing. The real satirist has no right to lead the public astray about the Juvenile Fête nuisance, and to describe a child's ball as if it was a sort of Paradise, and the little imps engaged as happy and pretty as so many cherubs. They should be drawn, one and all, as hideous - disagreeable - distorted -- affected — jealous of each other — dancing awkwardly - with shoes too tight for them — over-eating themselves at supper — very unwell (and deservedly so) the next morning, with Mamma administering a mixture made after the Doctor's prescription, and which should be painted awfully black, in an immense large teacup, and (as might be shown by the horrible expression on the little patient's face) of the most disgusting flavor. Banish, I say, that Mr. Leech during Christmas time, at least; for, by a misplaced kindness and absurd fondness for children, he is likely to do them and their parents an incalculable quantity of harm.
As every man, sir, looks at the world out of his own eyes or spectacles, or in other words, speaks of it as he finds it himself, I will lay before you my own case, being perfectly sure
that many another parent will sympathize with me. My family, already inconveniently large, is yet constantly on the increase, and it is out of the question that Mrs. Spec * should go to parties, as that admirable woman has the best of occupations at home; where she is always nursing the baby. Hence it becomes the father's duty to accompany his children abroad, and to give them pleasure during the holidays.
Our own place of residence is in South Carolina Place, Clapham Road, North, in one of the most healthy of the suburbs of this great City. But our relatives and acquaintances are numeroas; and they are spread all over the town and its outskirts. Mrs. S. has sisters married, and dwelling respectively in Islington, Haverstock Hill, Bedford Place, Upper Baker Street, and Tyburn Gardens; besides the children's grandmother, Kensington Gravel Pits, whose parties we are all of course obliged to attend. A very great connection of ours, and nearly related to a B-r-n-t and M.P., lives not a hundred miles from B-lg-ve Square. I could enumerate a dozen more places where our kinsmen or intimate friends are - heads of families every one of them, with their quivers more or less full of little arrows.
What is the consequence? I herewith send it to you in the shape of these eighteen enclosed notes, written in various styles more or less correct and corrected, from Miss Fanny's, aged seven, who hopes in round band that her dear cousins will come and drink tea with her on New Year's Eve, her birthday, to that of the Governess of the B-r-n-t in question, who requests the pleasure of our company at a ball, a conjurer, and a Christmas Tree. Mrs. Spec, for the valid reason above stated, cannot frequent these meetings: I am the deplorable chaperon of the young people. I am called upon to conduct my family five miles to tea at six o'clock. No count is taken of our personal habits, hours of dinner, or intervals of rest. We are made the victims of an infantile conspiracy, nor will the lady of the house hear of any revolt or denial.
“* Why,” says she, with the spirit which becomes a woman and mother, you go to your man's parties eagerly enough: what an unnatural wretch you must be to grudge your children their pleasures !” She looks round, sweeps all six of them into her arms, whilst the baby on her lap begins to bawl, and you are assailed by seven pairs of imploring eyes, against which there is no appeal. You must go. If you are dying of lumbago, if you are engaged to the best of dinners, if you are * A name sometimes assumed by the writer in his contributions to Punch.
longing to stop at home and read Macaulay, you must give up
all and go.
And it is not to one party or two, but to almost all. You must go to the Gravel Pits, otherwise the grandmother will cut the children out of her will, and leave her property to her other grandchildren. If you refuse Islington, and accept Tyburn Gardens, you sneer at a poor relation, and acknowledge a rich one readily enough. If you decline Tyburn Gardens, you fling away the chances of the poor dear children in life, and the hopes of the cadetship for little Jacky. If you go to Hampstead, having declined Bedford Place, it is because you never refuse an invitation to Hampstead, where they make much of you, and Miss Maria is pretty, (as you think, though your wife doesn't,) and do not care for the Doctor in Bedford Place. And if you accept Bedford Place, you dare not refuse Upper Baker Street, because there is a coolness between the two families, and you must on no account seem to take part with one or the other.
In this way many a man besides myself, I dare say, finds himself miserably tied down and a helpless prisoner, like Gulliver in the hands of the Lilliputians. Let us just enumerate a few of the miseries of the pitiable parental slave.
In the first place, examine the question in a pecuniary point of view. The expenses of children's toilets at this present time are perfectly frightful.
My eldest boy, Gustavus, at home from Dr. Birch's Academy, Rodwell Regis, wears turquoise studs, fine linen shirts, white waistcoats, and shiny boots : and, when I proposed that he should go to a party in Berlin gloves, asked me if I wished that he should be mistaken for a footman? My second, Augustus, grumbles about getting his elder brother's clothes, nor could he be brought to accommodate himself to Gustavus's waistcoats at all, had not his mother coaxed him by the loan of her chain and watch, which latter the child broke after many desperate attempts to wind it up. As for the little fellow, Adolphus, his mother has him attired in a costume partly Scotch, partly Hungarian, mostly buttons, and with a Louis Quatorze hat and scarlet feather, and she curls this child's hair with her own blessed tongs every night.
I wish she would do as much for the girls, though: but no, Monsieur Floridor must do that: and accordingly every day this season, that abominable little Frenchman, who is, I have no doubt, a Red Republican, and smells of cigars and hair-oil, comes over, and, at a cost of eighteenpence par tête, figs out