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mouth half open, takes cognizance of the day's information. If he leaves off, it is only when the door is opened by a new comer, or when he suspects somebody is over-anxious to get the paper out of his hand. On these occasions, he gives an important “hem !” or so, and resumes.
In the evening, our Old Gentleman is fond of going to the theatre, or of having a game of cards. If he enjoys the latter at his own house or lodgings, he likes to play with some friends whom he has known for many years; but an elderly stranger may be introduced, if quiet and scientific, and the privilege is extended to younger men of letters, who, if ill players, are good losers. Not that he is a miser; but to win money at cards is like proving his victory by getting the baggage, and to win of a younger man is a substitute for his not being able to beat him at rackets. He breaks up early, whether at home or abroad.
At the theatre, he likes a front row in the pit. He comes early, if he can do so without getting into a squeeze, and sits patiently waiting for the drawing up of the curtain, with his hands placidly lying, one over the other, on the top of his stick. He generously admires some of the best performers, but thinks them far inferior to Garrick, Woodward, and Clive. During splendid scenes he is anxious that the little boy should see.
He has been induced to look in at Vauxhall again, but likes it still less than he did years back, and cannot bear it in comparison with Ranelagh. He thinks everything looks poor, flaring, and jaded. “Ah !” says he, with a sort of triumphant sigh,
Ranelagh was a noble place! Such taste, such elegance, such beauty! There was the Duchess of A., the finest woman in England, sir; and Mrs L., a mighty fine creature; and Lady Susan What's-her-name, that had that unfortunate affair with Sir Charles. Sir, they came swimming by you like the swans."
The Old Gentleman is very particular in having his slippers ready for him at the fire when he comes home. He is also extremely choice in his snuff, and delights to get a fresh boxful in Tavistock Street, on his way to the theatre. His box is a curiosity
from India. He calls favourite young ladies by their Christian names, however slightly acquainted with them, and has a privilege also of saluting all brides, mothers, and indeed every species of lady, on the least holiday occasion. If the husband, for instance, has met with a piece of luck, he instantly moves forward, and gravely kisses the wife on the cheek. The wife
“My niece, sir, from the country ;” and he kisses the niece. The niece, seeing her cousin biting her lips at the joke, says, “My cousin Harriet, sir ;” and he kisses the cousin. He never recollects such weather, except during the Great Frost, or when he rode down with Jack Skrimshire to Newmarket. He grows young again in his little grandchildren, especially the one which he thinks most like himself, which is the handsomest. Yet he likes best, perhaps, the one most resembling his wife, and will sit with him on his lap, holding his hand in silence, for a quarter of an hour together. He plays most tricks with the former, and makes him sneeze. He asks little boys in general who was the father of Zebedee's children. If his grandsons are at school, he often goes to see them, and makes them blush by telling the master or the upper scholars that they are fine boys, and of a precocious genius. He is much struck when an old acquaintance dies, but adds that he lived too fast, and that poor Bob was a sad dog in his youth-"a very sad dog, sir, mightily set upon a short life and a merry one.”
When he gets very old indeed, he will sit for whole evenings, and say little.or nothing; but informs you that there is Mrs Jones (the housekeeper)" She'll talk."
"HERE is not a more unthinking way of talking than
to say such and such pains and pleasures are only
imaginary, and therefore to be got rid of or undervalued accordingly. There is nothing imaginary, in the common acceptation of the word. The logic of Moses in the “Vicar of Wakefield” is good argument here :- Whatever is, is." Whatever touches us, whatever moves us, does touch and does move us. We recognise the reality of it, as we do that of a hand in the dark. We might as well say that a sight which makes us laugh, or a blow which brings tears into our eyes, is imaginary, as that anything else is imaginary which makes us laugh or weep. We can only judge of things by their effects. Our perception constantly deceives us, in things with which we suppose ourselves perfectly conversant; but our reception of their effect is a different matter. Whether we are materialists or immaterialists, whether things be about us or within us, whether we think the sun is a substance, or only the image of a divine thought, an idea, a thing imaginary, we are equally agreed as to the notion of its warmth. But, on the other hand, as this warmth is felt differently by different temperaments, so what we call imaginary things affect different minds. What we have to do is not to deny their effect, because we do not feel in the same proportion, or whether we even feel it at all ; but to see whether our neighbours may not be moved. If they are, there is, to all intents and purposes, a moving cause.
But we do not see it? No ;-neither, perhaps, do they. They only
feel it ; they are only sentient, -a word which implies the sight given to the imagination by the feelings. But what do you mean, we may ask in return, by seeing? Some rays of light come in contact with the eye; they bring a sensation to it; in a word, they touch it; and the impression left by this touch we call sight. How far does this differ in effect from the impression left by any other touch, however mysterious ? An ox knocked down by a butcher, and a man knocked down by a fit of the apoplexy, equally feel themselves compelled to drop. The tickling of a straw and of a comedy equally move the muscles about our mouth. The look of a beloved eye will so thrill the whole frame, that old philosophers have had recourse to a doctrine of beams and radiant particles flying from one sight to another. In fine, what is contact itself, and why does it affect us? There is no one cause more mysterious than another, if we look into it.
Nor does the question concern us like moral causes. We may be content to know the earth by its fruits ; but how to increase and improve them is a more attractive study If, instead of saying that the causes which moved in us this or that pain or pleasure were imaginary, people were to say that the causes themselves were removable, they would be nearer the truth. When a stone trips us up, we do not fall to disputing its existence; we put it out of the way. In like manner, when we suffer from what is called an imaginary pain, our business is not to canvass the reality of it. Whether there is any cause or not in that or any other perception, or whether everything consists not in what is called effect, it is sufficient for that the effect is real. Our sole business is to remove those second causes which always accompany the original idea. As in deliriums, for instance, it would be idle to go about persuading the patient that he did not behold the figures he says he does. He might reasonably ask us, if he could, how we know anything about the matter; or how we can be sure that, in the infinite wonders of the universe, certain realities may not become apparent to certain eyes, whether diseased or not. Our business would be to put him into that state of health, in which human beings are not
diverted from their offices and comforts by a liability to such imaginations. The best reply to his question would be, that such a morbidity is clearly no more a fit state for a human being than a disarranged or incomplete state of works is for a watch ; and that, seeing the general tendency of nature to this completeness or state of comfort, we naturally conclude that the imaginations in question, whether substantial or not, are at least not of the same lasting or prevailing description.
We do not profess metaphysics. We are indeed so little conversant with the masters of that profound art, that we are never sure whether we are using even its proper terms. All that we may know on the subject comes to us from some reflection and some experience; and this all may be so little as to make a metaphysician smile; which, if he be a true one, he will do goodnaturedly. The pretender will take occasion from our very confession to say that we know nothing. Our faculty, such as it is, is rather instinctive than reasoning ; rather physical than metaphysical; rather wise because it loves much, than because it knows much ; rather calculated by a certain retention of boyhood, and by its wanderings in the green places of thought, to light upon a piece of the old golden world, than to tire ourselves, and conclude it unattainable, by too wide and scientific a search. We pretend to see farther than none but the wordly and the malignant. And yet those who see farther may not all see so well. We do not blind our eyes with looking upon the sun in the heavens. We believe it to be there, but we find its light upon earth also ; and we would lead humanity, if we could, out of misery and coldness into the shine of it. Pain might still be there ; must be so, as long as we are mortal
“For oft we still must weep, since we are human :" but it should be pain for the sake of others, which is noble ; not unnecessary pain inflicted by or upon them, which it is absurd not to remove. The very pains of mankind struggle towards pleasures ; and such pains as are proper for them have this inevitable accompaniment of true humanity,--that they cannot but