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And the back-crossbar as strong as the foro,
First of November, 'Fifty-five !
The parson was
as working his Sunday's text,
End of the wonderful one-hoss-shay.
-I think there is one habit,—I said to our company a day or two afterwards--worse than that of punning. It is the gradual substitution of cant oi Aash terms for words which truly characterize their objects. I have known several very genteel idiots whose whole vocabulary had deliquesced into some aalf dozen expressions. All things fell into one of two great categories,-fast or slow. Man's chief enj was to be a brick. When the great calamities of life overtook their friends, these last were spoken of as being a good deal cut up. Nine-tenths of human existence were summed up in the single word, bore. These expressions come to be the algebraic symbols of minds which have grown too weak or indolent to. discriminate. They are the blank checks of intellectual bankruptcy ;-you may fill them up with what idea you like; it makes no difference, for there are no funds in the treasury upon which they are drawn. Colleges and good-for-nothing smokingclubs are the places where these conversational fungi spring up most luxuriantly. Don't think I undervalue the proper use and application of a cant word ur phrase. It adds piquancy to conversation, as a mushroom does to a sauce. But it is no better than a toadstool, odious to the sense and poisonous to the intellect, when it spawns itself all over the talk of men and youths capable of talking, as it sometimes does. As we hear flash phraseology, it is commonly the dish water from the washings of English dandy
ism, school-boy or full-grown, wrung out of a threevolume novel which had sopped it up, or decanted from the pictured urn of Mr. Verdant Green, and diluted to suit the provincial climate.
The young fellow called John spoke up sharply and said, it was “rum” to hear me "pitchin' into fellers” for “goin' it in the slang line,” when I used all the flash words myself just when I pleased.
I replied with my usual forbearance.-Cei. tainly, to give up the algebraic symbol, because a or b is often a cover for ideal nihičity, would be unwise. I have heard a child laboring to express a certain condition, involving a hitherto undescribed sensation. (as it supposed,) all of which could have been suffi. ciently explained by the participle-bored. I have seen a country-clergyman, with a one-story intellect and a one-horse vocabulary, who has consumed his valuable time (and mine) freely, in developing an opinion of a brother-minister's discourse which would have been abundantly characterized by a peachdown-lipped sophomore in the one word-slow. Let us discriminate, and be shy of absolute proscription. I am omniverbivorous by nature and training. Passing by such words as are poisonous, I can swallow most others, and chew such as I cannot swallow.
Dandies are not good for much, but they are good for something. They invent or keep in circulation those conversational blank checks or counters jnst
spoken of, which intellectual capitalists may some times find it worth their while to borrow of them. They are useful, tou, in keeping up the standard of dress, which, but for them, would deteriorate, and become, what some old fools would have it, a matter of convenience, and not of taste and art. Yes, I like dandies well enough,—on one condition.
What is that, Sir ?—said the divinity-student
- That they have pluck. I find that lies at the bottom of all true dandyism. A little boy dressed up very fine, who puts his finger in his mouth and takes to crying, if other boys make fun of him, looks very silly. But if he turns red in the face and knotty in the fists, and makes an example of the biggest of his assailants, throwing off his fine Leg. horn and his thickly-buttoned jacket, if necessary, to consummate the act of justice, his small toggery takes on the splendors of the crested helmet that frightened Astyanax. You remember that the Duke said his dandy officers were his best officers. The “ Sunday blood,” the super-superb sartorial equestrian of our annual Fast-day, is not imposing or dangerous. But such fellows as Brummel and D’Orsay and Byron are not to be snubbed quite so easily. Look out for “la main de fer sous le gant de velours,” (which I printed in English the other day without quotation-marks, thinking whether any scarabæus crilicus would add this to his globe and roll in glory witn it into the newspapers,-which he didn't do it, in the charming, pleonasm of the Lua don language, and therefore I claim the sole merit of exposing the same.). A good many powerful and dangerous people have had a decided dash of dandyism about them. There was Alcibiades, the “ curled son of Clinias,” an accomplished young man, but what would be called a “swell” in these days. There was Aristoteles, a very distinguished writer, of whom you have heard,-a philosopher, in short, whom it took centuries to learn, centuries to unlearn, and is now going to take a generation or more to learn over again. Regular dandy, he was.
So was Marcus Antonius; and though he lost his game, he played for big stakes, and it wasn't his dandyism that spoiled his chance. Petrarca was not to be despised as a scholar or a poet, but he was one of the same sort. So was Sir Humphrey Davy; su was Lord Palmerston, formerly, if I am not forgetful. Yes,-a dandy is good for something as such; and dandies such as I was just speaking of have rocked this planet like a cradle,-aye, and left it swinging to this day.—Still, if I were you, I wouldn't go to the tailor's, on the strength of these remarks, and run up a long bill which will render pockets a superfluity in your next suit. Elegans “nascitur, non fit.” A man is born a dandy, as he is born a poet. There are heads that can't wear hats; there are necks that can't fit cravats; there are jaws that can't fill out collars-Willis touched this last point