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Some few, indeed, of visual antipathies are definable. One person has an unconquerable aversion to any stranger he meets who walks with an open mouth and displays the gum over the upper teeth, like Belzoni’s mummy. Another dislikes the corkscrew twist of the mouth, especially when coupled with a leer of the eye. A third is horror-struck at an air of Jewishness, or an old clothesman-like expression, which seems to say, “let no such man be trusted," and still no feature of the face shall be ill-made. A fourth 'exclaims, “ Hic niger est at the sight of under-jawed people, especially when possessing hooked noses; and a fifth has a hatred to the pug-nose and high cheek-bones, prevalent in a sisterisland. But these are sensible and accountable antipathies.
Antipathies to animals are a numerous list: some accountable, as depending upon form, others profoundly mysterious in the why and wherefore. ` All ladies fall into hysterics at the approximation of a spider. Snakes are generally objects of fear, rather than antipathy, from the deadly power which some of the species possess ; but why a beautiful lizard, a sleek mouse, or a rat, should be objects of antipathy, it is difficult to conjecture ; elegant in form, and harmless, they might at least be looked upon with complacency.
The sight of a rat has been known to throw even the male sex into convulsions. Claude Prosper Juliot de Crebillon, a name conspicuous in the annals of French literature, was confined in the Bas. tille in pursuance of the caprices of one of the old Bourbon satraps, who often amused themselves by shutting up in dungeons the men of the age most conspicuous for talent and learning, if they chanced to disoblige a court prostitute, or ventured to promulgate unsavoury truths. One night Crebillon felt what he thought to be a cat reposing by his side in bed :-glad of such a companion in that maison de silence, where, to many a prisoner, “hope never came,” he stretched out his hand to caress it; but it ran away. The following day, when seated at his dinner, he saw, through the “darkness visible” of his cell, an animal squatted, vis à vis, on his table, and was soon able to perceive that it had a long slender tail, and was not a cat, which at first he had imagined it to be, but an enormous rat. He had an unconquerable antipathy to rats, and, springing from his seat, cried aloud with terror, and overturned his table: the noise brought in a turnkey, who found him pale, trembling, and nearly senseless, and it was a long time ere he recovered himself. This animal had been the companion of a preceding prisoner, who had tamed it; and so well did the horrible solitude of the Bastille operate in removing the antipathy of Crebillon to these creatures, that at length he became reconciled to its company, and even shared his provisions with it. The case of Crebillon may serve as a useful hint for effecting the cure of most other antipathies to animals.
The antipathy which is too frequently felt towards that part of the female sex, who have condemned themselves through life to the penance of perpetual virginity, has been overlooked. "Old Maid is a term of reproach in society; but it would be difficult to discover why it should be so. At the present period of overstocked population, fashionable political economists cannot but think them deserving the thanks of their country. Perhaps the scandalous use of the
organ of speech, common among some of the sisterhood, may have involved the whole in a sweeping censure, which many of its members no more deserve than the sage matron or the buxom widow. She who has seen the winters of half a century pass over her head, unprotected and uncherished by the other sex; who has been stretched on the pillow of sickness without a comforter, and has weathered the temptations of life with unimpeachable honour--the very breath of slander passing over her, and leaving her spotlesssuch an one may excite unasked pity, but cannot be deemed a fair object of antipathy. Yet, we fear, no vestal virgin, with her head encircled by the grey honours of age, though a priestess, would now live in single blessedness unscoffed at. It may be the case, perhaps, that we unconsciously feel an antipathy to a state of existence hors de la nature, and forget the common remark, that " there is no rule without an exception." Many among the roses that “wither on virgin thorns” may reflect with complacency on the past part of their lives, and congratulate themselves, that if they have lacked some of its pleasures, they have escaped a proportionate share of its miseries, and have got so far over the rugged journey of life with fewer overturnings and joltings than the generality of their sex, who have followed a different road.
Finally, much good may be afforded by a proper study of human antipathies. Anger may be quelled, latent virtues called forth, love excited, or fear overcome, by properly humouring them, and understanding how to employ them to the best advantage. In the science of government they may be made highly useful. No barometer will more correctly indicate a change of weather, than national antipathies will point out the proper course by which the powers at the state-helm may steer. In modern days a knowledge of them is worth all the theories of philosophers; and the simplicity of their indications will be clearly seen in the cloudiest atmosphere and during the most boisterous weather. Thus nations and individuals that can never subdue their antipathies, may still be justified in making the best possible use of them; no passion having been bestowed on humanity without a beneficial object. S. V.
MODERN COURTSHIP, OR THE LOVER'S LAMENTATION.
Written at the request of a Gentleman who had been rejected by a Lady on ac
count of his want of fortune.
And god of tender passion;
And buw'd to tyrant Fashion ?
That claim'd the minstrel's duty ?
The heart of modern beauty.
No more thy myrtle wreath of truth
But now, thy hoary suitors
A passport signed by Plutus.
And win, if none bid higher ;
And little heeds the buyer.
Thy taste is cloy'd with honey ;
Till Love is join'd with money. Then how can I, a lowly bard, Attempt to prove my fond regard,
Say, tyrani god, how show it? Thou scorn'st the gift of former
hours, The wreath of wild Parnassian flowers,
Twined by an humble poet. Come, fired with dreams of glittering pelf, I'll strive to qualify myself
• Wealth for thy smiles to barter, To Fortune's favour'd dome will steal, And lure the goddess from her wheel,
Led on by Bish and Carter! I will not boast of changeless truth, Nor plead the claims of blooming youth,
(Those once-allow'd essentials); No,-modern taste shall guide my Muse, Bank notes shall be my billets-doux,
And guineas my credentials !
Is but an empty vapour ;
Emblazou'd on his paper.
Shall crown a chase so mettled ;
When stamp'd, and seal'd, and settled? And should I still stern grief endure, With potent wealth I'll buy a cure,
Nor see much cause to doubt one; For if the foolish heart gives pain, Gold surely might a patent gain,
To learn to do without one!
On going a Journey.* Oxe of the pleasantest things in the world is going a journey; but I like to go by myself. I can enjoy society in a room ; but out of doors, nature is company enough for me. I am then never less alone than when alone.
“ The fields his study, nature was his book.” I cannot see the wit of walking and talking at the same time. When I am in the country, I wish to vegetate like the country. I am not for criticising hedge-rows and black cattle. I go out of town in order to forget the town and all that is in it. There are those who for this purpose go to watering-places, and carry the metropolis with them. I like more elbow-room, and fewer incumbrances. Í like solitude, when I give myself up to it, for the sake of solitude; nor do I ask for
"a friend in my retreat, Whom I may whisper solitude is sweet. The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases. We go a journey chiefly to be free of all impediments and of all inconveniences: to leave ourselves behind, much more to get rid of others. It is because I want a little breathing-space to muse on indifferent matters, where Contemplation
« May plume her feathers and let grow her wings,
Were all too ruffled, and sometimes impair'd," that I absent myself from the town for a while, without feeling at a loss the moment I am left by myself. Instead of a friend in a postchaise, or in a tilbury, to exchange good things with, and vary the same stale topics over again, for once. let me have a truce with impertinence. "Give me the clear blue sky over my head, and the green turf beneath my feet, a winding road before me, and a three hours' march to dinner and then to thinking! It is hard if I can. not start some game on these lone heaths. I laugh, I run, I leap, I sing for joy: From the point of yonder rolling cloud, I plunge into my past being, and revel there, as the sun-burnt Indian plunges headlong into the wave that wafts him to his native shore.' Then long-forgotten things, like "sunken wrack and sumless treasuries," burst upon my eager sight, and I begin to feel, think, and be myself again. Instead of an awkward silence, broken by attempts at wit or dull common-places, mine is that undisturbed silence of the heart which alone is perfect eloquence. No one likes puns, alliterations, antitheses, argument, and analysis better than I do; but I some times had rather be without them. “ Leave, oh leave me to my repose!” I have just now other business in hand, which would seem idle to you, but is with me “very stuff of the conscience.” Is not this wild rose sweet without a comment? Does not this daisy leap to my heart set in its coat of emerald? Yet if I were to explain to
These Essays are by the well-known author of “ Table-Talk," in 1 voł, sro published during the last year. VOL. III. No. 1.1822.
you the circumstance that has so endeared it to me, you would only smile. Had I not better then keep it to myself, and let it serve me to brood over, from here to yonder craggy point, and from thence onward to the far-distant horizon ? I should be but bad company all that way, and therefore prefer being alone. I have heard it said that you may, when the moody fit comes on, walk or ride on by yourself, and indulge your reveries. But this looks like a breach of manners, a neglect of others, and you are thinking all the time that you ought to rejoin your party: "Out upon such half-faced fellowship,” say I. I like to be either entirely to myself, or entirely at the disposal of others; to talk or be silent, to walk or sit still, to be sociable or solitary. I was pleased with an observation of Mr. Cobbett's, that he thought it a bad French custom to drink our wine with our meals, and that an Englishman ought to do only one thing at a time.” So I cannot talk and think, or indulge in melancholy musing and lively conversation by fits and starts. “Let me have a companion of my way,” says Sterne, “ were it but to remark how the shadows lengthen as the sun declines.” It is beautifully said: but in my opinion, this continual comparing of notes interferes with the involuntary impression of things upon the mind, and hurts the sentiment. If you only hint what you feel in a kind of dumb show, it is insipid: if you have to explain it, it is making a toil of a pleasure. You cannot read the book of nature, without being perpetually put to the trouble of translating it for the benefit of others. I am for the synthetical method on a journey, in preference to the analytical. I am content to lay in a stock of ideas then, and to examine and anatomize them afterwards. I want to see my vague notions float like the down of the thistle before the breeze, and not to have them entangled in the briars and thorns of controversy:
For once, I like to have it all my own way; and this is impossible unless you are alone, or in such company as I do not covet. I have no objection to argue a point with any one for twenty miles of measured road, but not for pleasure. If you remark the scent of a bean-field crossing the road, perhaps your fellow-traveller has no sense of smell. If you point to a distant object, perhaps he is shortsighted, and has to take out his glass to look at it. There is a feeling in the air, a tone in the colour of a cloud, which hits your fancy, but the effect of which you are unable to account for. There is then no sympathy, but an uneasy craving after it, and a dissatisfaction which pursues you on the way, and in the end probably produces ill humour. Now I never quarrel with myself, and take all my own conclusions for granted till I find it necessary to defend them against objections. It is not merely that you may not be of accord on the objects and circumstances that present themselves before you—these may recal a number of objects, and lead to associations too delicate and refined to be possibly communicated to others. Yet these I love to cherish, and sometimes still fondly clutch them, when I can escape from the throng to do so. To give way to our feelings before company, seems extravagance or affectation; and on the other hand, to have to unravel this mystery of our being at every turn, and to make others take an equal interest in it (otherwise the end is not answered), is a task to which few are competent. We must "give it an understanding, but no tongue."