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Norton pound oyster-shells; or else we call upon you, give Mr. If the mountain will not go to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain: or in other words, if Bulwer descend not to Barney, Barney must mount up to Bulwer. It is absurd, it is worse than absurd, to pretend that he who so thoroughly sympathises with his hero, as to embody him in his own thoughts and acts, his look, his dress, and his demeanour, that he, I say, who so penetrated with the impersonation of a part, finds the pen too weak, and the press too slow, to picture forth his vivid creations, should be less an object of praise, of honour, and distinction, than the indolent denizen of some drawing-room, who, in slippered ease, dictates his shadowy and imperfect conceptions—visions of what he never felt, dreamy representations of unreality.
Thus, there is poetry in Sancho Panza, Falstaff, Dugald Dalgetty, and a hundred other similar impersonations; and why not in Bernard Cavanagh? Look for a moment at the effects of your system. The Caraccis, we are told, spent their boyish years drawing rude figures with chalk on the doors and even the walls of the palaces of Rome: here the first germs of their early talent displayed themselves; and in those bold conceptions of youthful genius were seen the first dawnings of a power that gave glory to the age they lived in.
Had Sir Peter Laurie been their cotemporary, had been loose in those days, they would have been treated with a trip to the mill, and their taste for design cultivated by the low diet of a penitentiary. You know not what budding genius you have nipped with this abominable system: you think not of the early indications of mind and intellect you may be consigning to prison: or is it after all, that the matter-of-fact spirit of the age has sapped the very vital?
Let us leave then our friend the Pole to perform his penance; let us say adieu to Barney, who is at this moment occupying a suite of apartments in the Penitentiary, and let us turn to the reverse of the medal, I mean to those who would wile us away by false promises and flattering speeches to entertain such views of life as are not only impossible but inconsistent, thus rendering our path here devoid of interest and of pleasure, while compared with the extravagant creations of their own erring fancies.
Yes, princes may be trusted, but put not your faith in periodicals. Fly, we warn you, from Summers in Germany, Evenings in Brittany, Weeks on the Rhine; away with tours, guide-books, and all the John Murrayisms of travels. A plague upon Egypt! There is no faith—no principle in any of these men. I speak not of the softer sex, many of whose productions would seem to have but little sympathy with themselves; but once for all, I would ask you what reliance, what faith can you place in any of them?
Is it to the denizen of a coal mine you apply for information about the Nassau balloon? Do you refer a disputed point in dress to an Englishman, in climate to a Laplander, in politeness to a Frenchman, or in hospitality to a Belgian? How ridiculous would it appear if the surgeon-general were to open a pleading, or charge a jury in the Queen's Bench, while the solicitor-general was engaged in taking up the femoral artery!
What would you say if the Archbishop of Canterbury were to preside over the artillery-practice at Woolwich, while the Commander of the Forces delivered a charge to the clergy of the diocese? How would you look if Justice Pennefather were to speak at a repeal meeting, and Daniel O'Connell to conduct himself like a loyal and discreet citizen? Would you not at once say the whole world is in masquerade? And yet this it is which is exactly taking place before your eyes in the wide world of letters.
The illiterate and unreflecting man of underbred habits and degenerate tastes will write nothing but a philosophic novel; the denizen of the Fleet, or the Queen's Bench, publishes an ascent of Mont Blanc, with a glowing description of the delights of liberty; the nobleman writes slang; the starving author, with broken boots and patched continuations, will not indite a name undignified by a title; and after all this, will you venture to tell me that these men are not indictable by the statute for obtaining money under false pretences?
I have run myself out of breath; and now, if you will allow me a few moments, I will tell you what, perhaps, I ought to have done earlier in this article, namely, its object. It is a remarkable feature in the complex and difficult machinery of our society, that while crime and the law code keep steadily on the increase, moving in parallel lines one beside the other, certain prejudices, popular fallacies—-nuts, as we have called them at the head of this paper—should still disgrace our social system; and that, however justice maybe administered in our courts of law, in the private judicature of our own dwellings we observe an especial system of jurisprudence, marked by injustice and by wrong.
To endeavour to depict some instances of this, I have set about my present undertaking. To disabuse the public mind as to the error, that what is punishable in one can be praiseworthy in another; and what is excellent in the court can be execrable in the city. Such is my object, such my hope. Under this title I shall endeavour to touch upon the undue estimation in which we hold certain people and places—the unfair depreciation of certain sects and callings.
Arkins to Abd-el-Kader: my sympathy extends to all. I had nearly attained to man's estate before I understood the nature of a coroner. I remember, when a child, to have seen a coloured print from a well-known picture of the day, representing the night-mare. It was a horrible representation of a goblin shape of hideous aspect, that sat cowering upon the bosom of a sleeping figure, on whose white features a look of painful suffering was depicted, while the clenched hands and drawn-up feet seemed to struggle with convulsive agony.
Heaven knows how or when the thought occurred to me, but I clearly recollect my impression that this goblin was a coroner. Some confused notion about sitting on a corpse as one of his attributes had, doubtless, suggested the idea; and certainly nothing contributed to increase the horror of suicide in my eyes so much as the reflection, that the grim demon already mentioned had some function to discharge on the occasion. When, after the lapse of years, I heard that the eloquent and gifted member for Finsbury was a being of this order, although I knew by that time the injustice of my original prejudices, yet, I confess I could not look at him in the house, without a thought of my childish fancies, and an endeavour to trace in his comely features some faint resemblance to the figure of the night-mare.
This strange impression of my infancy recurred strongly to my mind a few days since, on reading a newspaper account of a sudden death. What was their surprise! I can perfectly understand the value of this practice in cases where either suspicion has attached, or where the circumstances of the decease, as to time and place, would indicate a violent death; but where a person, surrounded by his children, living in all the quiet enjoyment of an easy and undisturbed existence, drops off by some one of the ills that flesh is heir to, only a little more rapidly than his neighbour at next door, why this should be a case for a coroner and his gang, I cannot, for the life of me, conceive.
In the instance I allude to, the family offered the fullest information: they explained that the deceased had been liable for years to an infirmity likely to terminate in this way. The physician who attended him corroborated the statement; and, in fact, it was clear the case was one of those almost every-day occurrences where the thread of life is snapped, not unravelled. Thus, in the midst of the affliction and bereavement of a desolate family, the frightful detail of an inquest, with all its attendant train of harrowing and heart-rending inquiries, is carried on, simply because it is permissible by the law, and the coroner may enter where the king cannot.
We are taught in the litany to pray against sudden death; but up to this moment I never knew it was illegal. Dreadful afflictions as apoplexy and aneurism are, it remained for our present civilisation to make them punishable by a statute. The march of intellect, not satisfied with directing us in life, must go a step farther and teach us how to die. Newspapers will no longer inform us, in the habitual phrase, that Mr.
The affliction of his surviving relatives at this frightful act may be conceived, but cannot be described. His effects, according to the statute, have been confiscated to the crown, and a deodand of fifty shillings awarded on the apothecary who attended him. It is hoped, that the universal execration which attends cases of this nature may deter others from the same course; and, we confess, our observations are directed with a painful, but we trust, a powerful interest to certain elderly gentlemen in the neighbourhood of Islington.
Under these sad circumstances it behoves us to look a little about, and provide against such a contingency. It is then earnestly recommended to heads of families, that when registering the birth of a child, they should also include some probable or possible malady of which he may, could, would, should, or ought to die, in the course of time. This will show, by incontestable evidence, that the event was at least anticipated, and being done at the earliest period of life, no reproach can possibly lie for want of premeditation.
The register might run thus:—. It by no means follows, that he must wait for one or other of these maladies to carry him off. Not at all; he may range at will through the whole practice of physic, and adopt his choice. The registry only goes to show, that he does not mean to sneak out of the world in any under-bred way, nor bolt out of life with the abrupt precipitation of a Frenchman after a dinner party.
I have merely thrown out this hint here as a warning to my many friends, and shall now proceed to other and more pleasing topics. Among the many incongruities of that composite piece of architecture, called John Bull, there is nothing more striking than the contrast between his thorough nationality and his unbounded admiration for foreigners. Now, although we may not entirely sympathize with, we can understand and appreciate this feature of his character, and see how he gratifies his very pride itself, in the attentions and civilities he bestows upon strangers.
The feeling is intelligible too, because Frenchmen, Germans, and even Italians, notwithstanding the many points of disparity between us, have always certain qualities well worthy of respect, if not of imitation. France has a great literature, a name glorious in history, a people abounding in intelligence, skill, and invention; in fact, all the attributes that make up a great nation. Germany has many of these, and though she lack the brilliant fancy, the sparkling wit of her neighbour, has still a compensating fund in the rich resources of her judgment, and the profound depths of her scholarship.
Indeed, every continental country has its lesson for our benefit, and we would do well to cultivate the acquaintance of strangers, not only to disseminate more just views of ourselves and our institutions, but also for the adoption of such customs as seem worthy of imitation, and such habits as may suit our condition in life; while such is the case as regards those countries high in the scale of civilisation, we would, by no means, extend the rule to others less happily constituted, less benignly gifted.
The Carinthian boor with his garment of sheep-wool, or the Laplander with his snow shoes and his hood of deerskin, may be both very natural objects of curiosity, but by no means subjects of imitation. This point will doubtless be conceded at once; and now, will any one tell me for what cause, under what pretence, and with what pretext are we civil to the Yankees?
What then is, or what can be the cause? Of all the lions that caprice and the whimsical absurdity of a second-rate set in fashion ever courted and entertained, never had any one less pretensions to the civility he received than the author of 'Pencillings by the Way'—poor in thought, still poorer in expression, without a spark of wit, without a gleam of imagination—a fourth-rate looking man, and a fifth-rate talker, he continued to receive the homage we were wont to bestow upon a Scott, and even charily extended to a Dickens.
For many years past a number of persons have driven a thriving trade in a singular branch of commerce, no less than buying up cast court dresses and second-hand uniforms for exportation to the colonies. The negroes, it is said, are far prouder of figuring in the tattered and tarnished fragments of former greatness, than of wearing the less gaudy, but more useful garb, befitting their condition.
So it would seem our trans-Atlantic friends prefer importing through their agents, for that purpose, the abandoned finery of courtly gossip, to the more useful but less pretentious apparel, of commonplace information. Willis was invaluable for this purpose; he told his friends every thing that he heard, and he heard every thing that he could; and, like mercy, he enjoyed a duplicate of blessings—for while he was delighted in by his own countrymen, he was dined by ours. He scattered his autographs, as Feargus O'Connor did franks; he smiled; he ogled; he read his own poetry, and went the whole lion with all his might; and yet, in the midst of this, a rival starts up equally desirous of court secrets, and fifty times as enterprising in their search; he risks his liberty, perhaps his life, in the pursuit, and what is his reward?
I need only tell you his name, and you are answered—I mean the boy Jones; not under a bridge, but under a sofa; not in Almacks, obtaining it at second-hand, but in Buckingham Palace—into the very apartment of the Queen—the adventurous youth has dared to insinuate himself. No lady however sends her album to him for some memento of his genius. His temple is not defrauded of its curls to grace a locket or a medallion; and his reward, instead of a supper at Lady Blessington's, is a voyage to Swan River.
For my part, I prefer the boy Jones: I like his singleness of purpose: I admire his steady perseverance; still, however, he had the misfortune to be born in England—his father lived near Wapping, and he was ineligible for a lion: To what other reason than his English growth can be attributed the different treatment he has experienced at the hands of the world.
The similarity between the two characters is most striking. Willis had a craving appetite for court gossip, and the tittle-tattle of a palace: so had the boy Jones. Willis established himself as a listener in society: so did the boy Jones.
Willis obtruded himself into places, and among people where he had no possible pretension to be seen: so did the boy Jones. Willis wrote letters from under a bridge: the boy Jones eat mutton chops under a sofa. The pet profession of England is the bar, and I see many reasons why this should be the case. Our law of primogeniture necessitates the existence of certain provisions for younger children independently of the pittance bestowed on them by their families.
The army and the navy, the church and the bar, form then the only avenues to fortune for the highly born; and one or other of these four roads must be adopted by him who would carve out his own career. The barrister, for many reasons, is the favourite—at least among those who place reliance in their intellect. Its estimation is high. It is not incompatible but actually favourable to the pursuits of parliament.
Its rewards are manifold and great; and while there is a sufficiency of private ease and personal retirement in its practice, there is also enough of publicity for the most ambitiously-minded seeker of the world's applause and the world's admiration. Were we only to look back upon our history, we should find perhaps that the profession of the law would include almost two-thirds of our very greatest men.
Astute thinkers, deep politicians, eloquent debaters, profound scholars, men of wit, as well as men of wisdom, have abounded in its ranks, and there is every reason why it should be, as I have called it, the pet profession. Having conceded so much, may I now be permitted to take a nearer view of those men so highly distinguished: and for this purpose let me turn my reader's attention to the practice of a criminal trial.
The first duty of a good citizen, it will not be disputed, is, as far as in him lies, to promote obedience to the law, to repress crime, and bring outrage to punishment. No walk in life—no professional career—no uniform of scarlet or of black—no freemasonry of craft or calling can absolve him from this allegiance to his country.
Yet, what do we see? The wretch stained with crime—polluted with iniquity—for which, perhaps, the statute-book contains neither name nor indictment—whose trembling lips are eager to avow that guilt which, by confessing, he hopes may alleviate the penalty—this man, I say, is checked in his intentions—he is warned not, by any chance expression, to hazard a conviction of his crime, and told in the language of the law not to criminate himself.
But the matter stops not here—justice is an inveterate gambler—she is not satisfied when her antagonist throws his card upon the table confessing that he has not a trump nor a trick in his hand—no, like the most accomplished swindler of Baden or Boulogne, she assumes a smile of easy and courteous benignity, and says, pooh, pooh!
He takes the advice, and however faint-hearted before, he now assumes a look of stern courage, or dogged indifference, and resolves to play for the stake. He remembers, however, that he is no adept in the game, and he addresses himself in consequence to some astute and subtle gambler, to whom he commits his cards and his chances.
The trepidation or the indifference that he manifested before, now gradually gives way; and however hopeless he had deemed his case at first, he now begins to think that all is not lost. The very way his friend, the lawyer, shuffles and cuts the cards, imposes on his credulity and suggests a hope. He sees at once that he is a practised hand, and almost unconsciously he becomes deeply interested in the changes and vacillations of the game he believed could have presented but one aspect of fortune.
But the prisoner is not my object: I turn rather to the lawyer. Here then do we not see the accomplished gentleman—the finished scholar—the man of refinement and of learning, of character and station—standing forth the very embodiment of the individual in the dock? In fact, he employs all the stratagems of his calling, all the ingenuity of his mind, all the subtlety of his wit for the one end—that the man he believes in his own heart guilty, may, on the oaths of twelve honest men, be pronounced innocent.
From the opening of the trial to its close, this mental gladiator is an object of wonder and dread. Scarcely a quality of the human mind is not exhibited by him in the brilliant panorama of his intellect. At first, the patient perusal of a complex and wordy indictment occupies him exclusively: he then proceeds to cross-examine the witnesses—flattering this one—brow-beating that—suggesting—insinuating—amplifying, or retrenching, as the evidence would seem to favour or be adverse to his client.
He is alternately confident and doubtful, headlong and hesitating—now hurried away on the full tide of his eloquence he expatiates in beautiful generalities on the glorious institution of trial by jury, and apostrophizes justice; or now, with broken utterance and plaintive voice, he supplicates the jury to be patient, and be careful in the decision they may come to.
He implores them to remember that when they leave that court, and return to the happy comforts of their home, conscience will follow them, and the everlasting question crave for answer within them—were they sure of this man's guilt? He teaches them how fallacious are all human tests; he magnifies the slightest discrepancy of evidence into a broad and sweeping contradiction; and while, with a prophetic menace, he pictures forth the undying remorse that pursues him who sheds innocent blood, he dismisses them with an affecting picture of mental agony so great—of suffering so heartrending, that, as they retire to the jury-room, there is not a man of the twelve that has not more or less of a personal interest in the acquittal of the prisoner.
However bad, however depraved the human mind, it still leans to mercy: the power to dispose of another man's life is generally sufficient for the most malignant spirit in its thirst for vengeance. What then are the feelings of twelve calm, and perhaps, benevolent men at a moment like this? The last words of the advocate have thrown a new element into the whole case, for independent of their verdict upon the prisoner comes now the direct appeal to their own hearts.
How will they feel when they reflect on this hereafter? I do not wish to pursue this further. It is enough for my present purpose that, by the ingenuity of the lawyer, criminals have escaped, do escape, and are escaping, the just sentence on their crimes.
What then is the result? He cannot bear that the blood-stained fingers should grasp the hem of his garment, and he turns with a sense of shame from the expressions of a gratitude that criminate him in his own heart. However, this is but a passing sensation; he divests himself of his wig and gown, and overwhelmed with congratulations for his brilliant success, he springs into his carriage and goes home to dress for dinner—for on that day he is engaged to the Chancellor, the Bishop of London, or some other great and revered functionary—the guardian of the church, or the custodian of conscience.
Now, there is only one thing in all this I would wish to bring strikingly before the mind of my readers, and that is, that the lawyer, throughout the entire proceeding, was a free and a willing agent. There was neither legal nor moral compulsion to urge him on. No; it was no intrepid defence against the tyranny of a government or the usurpation of power—it was the assertion of no broad and immutable principle of truth or justice—it was simply a matter of legal acumen and persuasive eloquence, to the amount of fifty pounds sterling.
This being admitted, let me now proceed to consider another functionary, and observe how far the rule of right is consulted in the treatment he meets with—I mean the hangman. You start, good reader, and your gesture of impatience denotes the very proposition I would come to. I need scarcely remind you, that in our country this individual has a kind of prerogative of detestation. All other ranks and conditions of men may find a sympathy, or at least a pity, somewhere, but for him there is none.
No one is sufficiently debased to be his companion,—no one so low as to be his associate! Like a being of another sphere, he appears but at some frightful moments of life, and then only for a few seconds. For the rest he drags on existence unseen and unheard of, his very name a thing to tremble at. Yet this man, in the duties of his calling, has neither will nor choice.
The stern agent of the law, he has but one course to follow; his path, a narrow one, has no turning to the right or to the left, and, save that his ministry is more proximate, is less accessory to the death of the criminal than he who signs the warrant for execution. In fact, he but answers the responses of the law, and in the loud amen of his calling, he only consummates its recorded assertion.
How then can you reconcile yourself to the fact, that while you overwhelm the advocate who converts right into wrong and wrong into right, who shrouds the guilty man, and conceals the murderer, with honour, and praise, and rank, and riches, and who does this for a brief marked fifty pounds, yet have nothing but abhorrence and detestation for the impassive agent whose fee is but one.
One can help what he does—the other cannot. One is an amateur—the other practices in spite of himself. One employs every energy of his mind and every faculty of his intellect—the other only devotes the ingenuity of his fingers. One strains every nerve to let loose a criminal upon the world—the other but closes the grave over guilt and crime! The king's counsel is courted. His society sought for. He is held in high esteem, and while his present career is a brilliant one in the vista before him, his eyes are fixed upon the ermine.
Jack Ketch, on the other hand, is shunned. His companionship avoided, and the only futurity he can look to, is a life of ignominy, and after it an unknown grave. Other men's estimation increases as they distinguish themselves in life; each fresh display of their abilities, each new occasion for the exercise of their powers, is hailed with renewed favour and increasing flattery; not so he,—every time he appears on his peculiar stage, the disgust and detestation is but augmented,— vires acquirit eundo ,—his countenance, as it becomes known, is a signal for the yelling execrations of a mob, and the very dexterity with which he performs his functions, is made matter of loathing and horror.
Were his duties such as might be carried on in secret, he might do good by stealth and blush to find it fame; but no, his attributes demand the noon-day and the multitude—the tragedy he performs in, must be played before tens of thousands, by whom his every look is scowled at, his every gesture scrutinized. But to conclude,—this man is a necessity of our social system.
We want him—we require, him, and we can't do without him. Much of the machinery of a trial might be dispensed with or retrenched. His office, however, has nothing superfluous. He is part of the machinery of our civilisation, and on what principle do we hunt him down like a wild beast to his lair? Men of rank and title are daily to be found in association, and even intimacy with black legs and bruisers, grooms, jockeys, and swindlers; yet we never heard that even the Whigs paid any attention to a hangman, nor is his name to be found even in the list of a Radical viceroy's levee.
However, we do not despair. Many prejudices of this nature have already given way, and many absurd notions have been knocked on the head by a wag of great Daniel's tail. And if our friend of Newgate, who is certainly anti-union in his functions, will only cry out for Repeal, the justice that is entreated for all Ireland may include him in the general distribution of its favours. Poor Theodore Hook used to say, that marriage was like hanging, there being only the difference of an aspirate between halter and altar.
My dear reader, if it does not insult your understanding by the self-evidence of the query, will you allow me to ask you a question—which of the two is more culpable, the man who, finding himself in a path of dereliction, arrests himself in his downward career, and, by a wonderful effort of self-restraint, stops dead short, and will suffer no inducement, no seduction, to lead him one step further; or he, who, floating down the stream of his own vicious passions, takes the flood-tide of iniquity, and, indifferent to every consequence, deaf to all remonstrance, seeks but the indulgence of his own egotistical pleasure with a stern determination to pursue it to the last?
Of course you will say, that he who repents is better than he who persists; there is hope for the one, there is none for the other. Yet would you believe it, our common law asserts directly the reverse, pronouncing the culpability of the former as meriting heavy punishment, while the latter is not assailable even by implication. That I may make myself more clear, I shall give an instance of my meaning. Scarcely a week passes over without a trial for breach of promise of marriage.
Sometimes the gay Lothario, to use the phrase of the newspapers, is nineteen, sometimes ninety. In either case his conduct is a frightful tissue of perjured vows and base deception. His innumerable letters breathing all the tenderness of affectionate solicitude, intended but for the eyes of her he loves, are read in open court; attested copies are shown to the judge, or handed up to the jury-box.
The course of his true love is traced from the bubbling fountain of first acquaintance to the broad river of his passionate devotion. Its rapids and its whirlpools, its placid lakes, its frothy torrents, its windings and its turnings, its ebbs and flows, are discussed, detailed, and descanted on with all the hacknied precision of the craft, as though his heart was a bill of exchange, or the current of his affection a disputed mill-stream.
And what, after all, is this man's crime? If the soft solicitude of the tender passion, if its ennobling self-respect, if its purifying influence on the heart, be good for the man, how much more so is it for the woman. If he be taught to feel how the refined enjoyments of an attractive girl's mind are superior to the base and degenerate pursuits of every-day pleasure, how much more will she learn to prize and cultivate those gifts which form the charm of her nature, and breathe an incense of fascination around her steps.
Here is a compact where both parties benefit, but that they may do so to the fullest extent, it is necessary that no self-interest, no mean prospect of individual advantage, should interfere: all must be pure and confiding. He stops short—that is, he explains in one, perhaps in a series of letters, the reasons of his new course. He expects in return the admiration and esteem of her, for whose happiness he is legislating, as well as for his own; and oh, base ingratitude!
The gentlemen of the long robe—newspaper again—are in ecstasies. Like devils on the arrival of a new soul, they brighten up, rub their hands, and congratulate each other on a glorious case. The damages are laid at five thousand pounds; and, as the lady is pretty, and can be seen from the jury-box, being fathers themselves, they award every sixpence of the money.
I can picture to myself the feeling of the defendant at such a moment as this. As he stands alone in conscious honesty, ruminating on his fate—alone, I say, for, like Mahomet's coffin, he has no resting-place; laughed at by the men, sneered at by the women, mulcted of perhaps half his fortune, merely because for the last three years of his life he represented himself in every amiable and attractive trait that can grace and adorn human nature. Who would wonder, if, like the man in the farce, he would register a vow never to do a good-natured thing again as long as he lives; or what respect can he have for a government or a country, where the church tells him to love his neighbour, and the chief justice makes him pay five thousand for his obedience.
I now come to the other case, and I shall be very brief in my observations. I mean that of him, who equally fond of flirting as the former, has yet a lively fear of an action at law. Love-making with him is a necessity of his existence—he is an Irishman, perhaps, and it is as indispensable to his temperament as train-oil to a Russian.
He likes sporting, he likes billiards, he likes his club, and he likes the ladies; but he has just as much intention of turning a huntsman at the one, or a marker at the other, as he has of matrimony. He knows life is a chequered table, and that there could be no game if all the squares were of one colour. He alternates, therefore, between love and sporting, between cards and courtship, and as the pursuit is a pleasant one, he resolves never to give up.
He waxes old, therefore, with young habits, adapting his tastes to his time of life; he does not kneel so often at forty as he did at twenty, but he ogles the more, and is twice as good-tempered. Not perhaps as ready to fight for the lady, but ten times more disposed to flatter her. She may love him, or she may not; she may receive him as of old, or she may marry another.
What matters it to him? All his care is that he shouldn't change. All his anxiety is, to let the rupture, if there must be one, proceed from her side. He knows in his heart the penalty of breach of promise, but he also knows that the Chancellor can issue no injunction compelling a man to marry, and that in the courts of love the bills are payable at convenience. Here, then, are the two cases, which, in conformity with the world's opinion, I have dignified with every possible term of horror and reproach.
In the one, the measure of iniquity is but half filled; in the other, the cup is overflowing at the brim. For the lesser offence, the law awards damages and defamation: for the greater, society pronounces an eulogy upon the enduring fidelity of the man thus faithful to a first love. If a person about to buy a horse should, on trying him for an hour or two, discover that his temper did not suit him, or that his paces were not pleasant, and should in consequence restore him to the owner: and if another, on the same errand, should come day after day for weeks, or months, or even years, cantering him about over the pavement, and scouring over the whole country; his answer being, when asked if he intended to purchase, that he liked the horse exceedingly, but that he hadn't got a stable, or a saddle, or a curb-chain, or, in fact, some one or other of the little necessaries of horse gear; but that when he had, that was exactly the animal to suit him—he never was better carried in his life.
Which of these two, do you esteem the more honest and more honourable? When you make up your mind, please also to make the application. After all, why should one quarrel with them? If Englishmen have failed to exhibit in machinery that triumphant El Dorado called perpetual motion, in revenge for their failure, they resolved to exemplify it in themselves. Every body and every thing is on the move. A dwelling-house, like an umbrella, is only a thing used on an emergency; and the inhabitants of Great Britain pass their lives amid the smoke of steam-boats, or the din and thunder of the Grand-Junction.
The hackney coachman, with wearied horses, blown and broken-winded, dares not breathe his jaded beasts by a momentary pull-up, for the implacable policeman has his eye upon him, and he must simulate a trot, though his pace but resemble a stage procession, where the legs are lifted without progressing, and some fifty Roman soldiers, in Wellington boots, are seen vainly endeavouring to push forward.
The foot-passenger is no better off—tired perhaps with walking or attracted by the fascinations of a print-shop, he stops for an instant: alas, that luxury may cost him dear, and for the momentary pleasure he may yet have to perform a quick step on the mill. It is useless to explain that you have nowhere particular to go to, that you are an idler and a lounger.
The confession is a fatal one; and however respectable your appearance, the idea of shoplifting is at once associated with your pursuits. Into what inconsistencies do we fall while multiplying our laws, for while we insist upon progression, we announce a penalty for vagrancy.
Thank heaven, I have reached to man's estate—although with a heavy heart I acknowledge it is the only estate I have or ever shall attain to; for if I were a child I don't think I should close my eyes at night from the fear of one frightful and terrific image.
As it is, I am by no means over courageous, and it requires all the energy I can summon to combat my terrors. You ask me, in all likelihood, what this fearful thing can be? Is it the plague or the cholera? It is a palpable, sentient, existent thing—neither more nor less than the worshipful Sir Peter Laurie. Every newspaper you take up announces that Sir Peter, with a hearty contempt for the brevity of the fifty folio volumes that contain the laws of our land, in the plenitude of his power and the fulness of his imagination, keeps adding to the number; so that if length of years be only accorded to that amiable individual in proportion to his merits, we shall find at length that not only will every contingency of our lives be provided for by the legislature, but that some standard for personal appearance will also be adopted, to which we must conform as rigidly as to our oath of allegiance.
A few days ago a miserable creature, a tailor we believe, some decimal fraction of humanity, was brought up before Sir Peter on a trifling charge of some kind or other. I forget his offence, but whatever it was, the penalty annexed to it was but a fine of half-a-crown. The Rhadamanthus of the police-office, however, liked them not: whether it was that he wore a Brutus himself, or that his learned cranium had resisted all the efficacy of Macassar, I cannot say; but certain it is, that the tailor's ringlets gave him the greatest offence, and he apostrophised the wearer in the most solemn manner:.
The worst feature in your case is your ringlets. There is something so disgusting to me in the odious and abominable vice you have indulged in, that I feel myself warranted in applying to you the heaviest penalty of the law. The miserable man, we are told, fell upon his knees, confessed his delinquency, and, being shorn of his locks in the presence of a crowded court, his fine was remitted, and he was liberated.
Now, perhaps, you will suppose that all this is a mere matter of invention. On the faith of an honest man I assure you it is not. I have retrenched considerably the pathetic eloquence of the magistrate, and I have left altogether untouched the poor tailor's struggle between pride and poverty—whether, on the one hand, to suffer the loss of his half-crown, or, on the other, to submit to the desecration of his entire head.
We hear a great deal about a law for the rich, and another for the poor; and certainly in this case I am disposed to think the complaint might not seem without foundation. I half fear not. And yet, under what pretext does a magistrate address to one man, the insulting language he would not dare apply to another?
Or let us suppose the rule of justice to be inflexible, and look at the result. What havoc would Sir Peter make among the Guards? Happy King of Hanover, were you still amongst us, not even the Alliance would insure your mustachoes. As for Lord Ellenborough, it is now clear enough why he accepted the government of India, and made such haste to get out of the country.
It is but fair, you will allow, that the privileges of the bench should be equal. Well, for argument's sake, I will imagine that Sir Frederick Roe has not the same horror of long hair as his learned brother, but has the most unconquerable aversion to long noses. What are we to do here? Heaven help half our acquaintance if this should strike him! What is to be done with Lord Allen if he beat a watchman!
In what a position will he stand if he fracture a lamp? One's hair may be cut to even shaved clean off; but your nose. This is really a serious view of the subject; and it is a somewhat hard thing that the face you have shown to your acquaintances for years past, with pleasure to yourself and satisfaction to them, should be pronounced illegal, or curtailed in its proportions.
They have a practice in banks if a forged note be presented for payment, to mark it in a peculiar manner before restoring it to the owner. What a glorious thing it would be for this great country, if, having equalized throughout the kingdom the weights, the measures, the miles, and the currency, we should at length attain to an equalization in appearance.
Honour to you, Sir Peter, should this great improvement grow out of your innovation; and proud may the country well be, that acknowledges you among its lawgivers! Let men no longer indulge in that absurd fiction which represents justice as blind. On the contrary, with an eye like Canova's, and a glance quick, sharp, and penetrating as Flaxman's, she traces every lineament and every feature; and Landseer will confess himself vanquished by Laurie. What the devil is all this for, thought I.
He guessed at once what was passing in my mind, and, with a knowing touch of his elbow, whispered:—. This is precisely what the Whigs did in their surrender of power to the Tories. They, indeed, left them a precious legacy:—without an ally abroad, with discontent and starvation at home, distant and expensive wars, depressed trade, and bankrupt speculation, form some portion of the valuable heritage they bequeathed to their heirs in power.
The most sanguine saw matter of difficulty, and the greater number of men were tempted to despair at the prospects of the Conservative party; for, however happily all other questions may have terminated, they still see, in the corn-law, a point whose subtle difficulty would seem inaccessible to legislation. And why, after all, should not the collective wisdom of England be able to equal in ingenuity the conceptions of a farce-writer? Meanwhile, it is plain that political dissensions, and the rivalries of party, will prevent that mutual good understanding which might prove so beneficial to all.
Reconciliations are but flimsy things at best; and whether the attempt be made to conciliate two rival churches, two opposite factions, or two separate interests of any kind whatever, it is usually a failure. Taxation, like flogging in the army, never comes on the right part of the back. Sometimes too high, sometimes too low.
There is no knowing where to lay it on. Besides that, we have by this time got such a general raw all over us, there isn't a square inch of sound flesh that presents itself for a new infliction. Since the first French Revolution, the ingenuity of man has been tortured on the subject of finance; and had Dionysius lived in our days, instead of offering a bounty for the discovery of a new pleasure, he would have proposed a reward to the man who devised a new tax.
Yes, my fellow-countrymen, I have found a remedy to supply the deficient income of the nation, not only without imposing a new tax, or inflicting a new burden upon the suffering community, but also without injuring vested rights, or thwarting the activity of commercial enterprise.
I neither mulct cotton or corn; I meddle not with parson or publican, nor do I make any portion of the state, by its own privations, support the well-being of the rest. On the contrary, the only individual concerned in my plan, will not be alone benefited in a pecuniary point of view, but the best feelings of the heart will be cultivated and strengthened, and the love of home, so characteristically English, fostered in their bosoms.
I could almost grow eloquent upon the benefits of my discovery; but I fear, that were I to give way to this impulse, I should become so fascinated with myself, I could scarcely turn to the less seductive path of simple explanation. Therefore, ere it be too late, let me open my mind and unfold my system:.
Any one who ever heard of Sir Isaac Newton and his apple will acknowledge this, and something of the same kind led me to the very remarkable fact I am about to speak of. One of the Bonaparte family—as well as I remember, Jerome—was one night playing whist at the same table with Talleyrand, and having dropped a crown piece upon the floor, he interrupted the game, and deranged the whole party to search for his money.
Not a little provoked by a meanness which he saw excited the ridicule of many persons about, Talleyrand deliberately folded up a bank-note which lay before him, and, lighting it at the candle, begged, with much courtesy, that he might be permitted to assist in the search. This story, which is authentic, would seem an admirable parody on a portion of our criminal law.
A poor man robs the community, or some member of it for that comes to the same thing to the amount of one penny. He is arrested by a policeman, whose salary is perhaps half-a-crown a-day, and conveyed to a police-office, that cost at least five hundred pounds to build it.
Here are found three or four more officials; all salaried—all fed, and clothed by the State. In due course of time he is brought up before a magistrate, also well paid, by whom the affair is investigated, and by him he is afterwards transmitted to the sessions, where a new army of stipendiaries all await him. But his journey is not ended. Convicted of his offence, he is sentenced to seven years' transportation to one of the most remote quarters of the globe.
To convey him thither the government have provided a ship and a crew, a supercargo and a surgeon; and, to sum up in one word, before he has commenced the expiation of his crime, that penny has cost the country something about three hundred pounds.
Is not this, I ask you, very like Talleyrand and the Prince? Now, my plan is, and I prefer to develop it in a single word, instead of weakening its force by circumlocution. In lieu of letting a poor man be reduced to his theft of one penny—give him two pence.
He will be a gainer by double the amount—not to speak of the inappreciable value of his honesty—and you the richer by 71, pence, under your present system expended upon policemen, magistrates, judges, gaolers, turnkeys, and transports. Examine for a moment the benefits of this system.
Look at the incalculable advantages it presents—the enormous revenue, the pecuniary profit, and the patriotism, all preserved to the State, not to mention the additional pleasure of disseminating happiness while you transport men's hearts, not their bodies. Here is a plan based upon the soundest philanthropy, the most rigid economy, and the strictest common sense.
Instead of training up a race of men in some distant quarter of the globe, who may yet turn your bitterest enemies, you will preserve to the country so many true-born Britons, bound to you by a debt of gratitude. Upon what ground—on what pretext—can you oppose the system? In bed, he treated her as if they had not been introduced. They made up, but things were never the same again.
Silvana never came to terms with the fact that her romantic ideas were unrealistic, so without noticing it she gradually became permanently depressed—a condition that evinced itself in weariness. By the time Silvana managed to carry a baby to term, she had been married for four years and had been pregnant, sick or recovering from a miscarriage for almost all of that time.
The twelve evenings that followed the birth of their daughter were spent by Silvana alone so that she could rest, Arthur had said. On the thirteenth evening, Silvana realized that Arthur must be doing all those wonderful things to somebody else. His job at Nexus Mining International—the firm started by his great-grandfather—was an excuse for any absence. If Silvana telephoned him at his downtown office in Nexus Tower, then he was at the plant, or vice versa.
On his frequent trips to the Nexus offices in New York or Toronto, Arthur was absent all day, and in the evening he left orders at his hotel that he was not to be disturbed. He was never seen with another woman, and he and Silvana made regular public appearances, at which he insisted that Silvana be exquisitely dressed.
However, it was noticed that the couple rarely talked to each other when they were seated in the cream-and-crimson velvet Graham box at Heinz Hall, waiting to listen to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra or watch the Pittsburgh Ballet Company. By that time, Silvana found that she could no longer speak up for herself—the words would not come. She had been frightened of asking Arthur for the truth, but now she was frightened of being told it. She was terrified that one day Arthur would divorce her.
She would wake up in the dark with the words Then what? After all, passion never lasted longer than two years, did it? He simply disregarded his wife. Increasingly, Silvana felt insignificant and without hope. She trembled when spoken to, and to speak was a great effort. To outsiders she appeared vague, absentminded or aloof. She felt that real life was on the other side of a glass wall, but she could never decide whether she was looking into the aquarium, or looking out.
She confided her humiliation to no one, feeling that pity would render it intolerable. She clung to her baby, chubby Lorenza who blew bubbles and dribbled down fragile clothes that had been embroidered by Italian nuns.
Everyone at Nexus knew that Arthur had returned to his bachelor habits and was once again using his old apartment below the hotel penthouse that was permanently reserved for visiting Nexus VIPs. Anything, that is to say, except money. Arthur allowed Silvana no cash. Everything had to be charged. Not that Arthur was cheap. Schooled by his mother, Arthur had good taste in jewelry and loved to buy it, so Silvana had plenty of everything—emeralds, pearls, sapphires and diamonds not rubies, Arthur thought them vulgar.
However, Silvana never had any cash. Arthur knew that cash meant freedom. With even a little stash, flight would be possible. How could she leave him, with no self-confidence and no cash? Silvana felt ashamed of her powerless situation and dealt with her timidity and insecurity by withdrawing from the world.
She tried to become nothing, so that nothing could hurt her. Biologically, Silvana was alive, but emotionally she felt dead—she went through the motions of living like a languid sleepwalker, and at all times, behind her exquisite manners, she suppressed her rage toward her husband. Except on one occasion. One starlit night in the party went ashore at Cannes to dine at the Carlton and Arthur drank too much Laphroaig malt whiskey after dinner.
This is what I care about your money! In the stunned silence that followed, Silvana tore off her emerald bracelet and tossed it into the black, lapping waters. As the launch droned on slowly toward the yacht, Silvana licked her finger—she had put on weight and her rings were now tight—and yanked off her huge emerald engagement ring.
Silvana was the first to climb aboard their yacht. Heedless of her guests, she scrambled below to her stateroom, locked the door and with trembling fingers opened her safe. Because of her agitation, she had to dial the combination twice. Carefully she withdrew the green Moroccan-leather jewel box and hurried back up the companionway to the deck.
It now took two male guests to restrain Arthur. She held up a set of Edwardian diamond star brooches. Sleepy voices called from neighboring yachts, requesting silence in varying degrees of politeness, as Silvana, with surprising speed and relish, flung all her jewelry into the silver and black Mediterranean. Then she yawned, stretched and tripped off to her stateroom, feeling physically lighter and exultant—her humiliation had dissolved like sea-mist at sunrise. Inside her stateroom, Silvana hesitated, then double-locked the door.
Her ebullience drained away as she sat slumped on the end of the bed. For the first time, she seriously considered leaving her husband, but she realized that would also mean leaving her small daughter. Eventually, Silvana curled into an unhappy mound of crushed emerald satin and fell asleep, resigned to the continuation of her empty life. She had completely forgotten about the jewelry, now settling into the black silt of the harbor.
By four in the morning, Arthur had located two professional scuba divers. Abruptly sobered, he had first telephoned his broker in New York where it was still only 10 P. Before first light, a rope cordon was bobbing around the Graham yacht curious onlookers thought that someone must have drowned , and within two days every item of jewelry had been recovered. She had inherited from her grandmother a row of exquisite but discolored sixteenth-century pearls, and it was these she now fingered in the pale-gold autumn light that flooded the library.
As for Lorenza, she had never thought to wonder whether her mother was happy. Her mother was just … there. Lorenza skimmed the list. And I suppose that anyone can accidentally fall into a pool at a party. And in a white dress with nothing under it—as we had all noticed before she fell into the pool.
And how every man in sight rushed to help her out, poor thing. With good reason. Although Nexus was no longer entirely a family owned business, Arthur merited his place as its president, because he was as shrewd, tough and implacable as his ancestors. Arthur believed that the best form of defense was to be the first to kick the other guy where it hurt, and everybody of any importance in Pittsburgh knew this.
He was sixty-two years old, silver-haired and chunky, but still fighting fit as he walked into the library. He paused, beamed and held his arms wide to Lorenza. Not driving too fast, I hope. Taking good care of my girl, I hope. As she waved at the helicopter growing smaller and smaller, Silvana had worn her indulgent-mother smile, but she had felt left out of life, forgotten.
She still did. Who is this person in bed beside me? She touched his warm back for comfort. Of course. She was in her own bed, in her own house, and Duke was lying beside her. So why had she woken in a panic? She thought he looked like John Wayne in his prime, only not so tall and of course he carried a bit more weight.
Annie would be lost without her husband, because Duke looked after everything. In the photograph, next to Duke, grinned Fred, the eldest of their four sons; he never looked tidy in a suit, God bless him. Fred was a mathematician, doing graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania and still, thank heaven, living at home.
Annie dreaded the day when all her sons were gone from home and there would be nothing to do in her silent house except empty the ashtrays. Bill, the Romeo of the family, was still at college. Next to Bill was Dave, who, at nineteen, was the best-looking of the boys, although of course they were all attractive in their own ways.
Gazing at her sons, Annie thought that at least she had done something right. Four sons was exactly what Duke had wanted—in fact they often behaved like five brothers together. They were a football family, as the local glazier could testify. Dinner-table talk tended to center on what should have happened during the last game and what had better happen at the next one.
Before she dressed, she would fix hot dogs and hamburgers. At the thought of the party, panic set in again. But if she said nothing, then Duke would throw her one of his looks, and if, obediently, Annie jerked out a few words, then—in spite of Time magazine—people tended to look surprised by what she said. So the perspiration would start beneath her arms, her hairdo would sag and she would quickly disappear into the bathroom.
You grew up here! She could never stand, calm and gracious, at the entrance to her ballroom saying one charming and different sentence to two hundred people in turn, as Silvana could. Silvana made Annie feel dowdy and clumsy. She was always so elegant and remote, and her flower-filled house always looked as if she were expecting the House and Garden photographers any moment. Of course, Silvana had plenty of help—but then, so did Annie.
Sadly Annie wondered if the Labrador pup had found her needlepoint, because it had disappeared again. In turn, this reminded her that it was her responsibility to do the flowers this Sunday at St. Annie had once bought a selfhelp book called How to Make Time! Sometimes, after an evening of business entertaining, Duke would simply sigh, and they would drive back to Fox Chapel in silence. During the first few weeks she had regarded him with never-diminishing awe.
She saw him through his own eyes, and with the same self-importance. The warm mound next to Annie grunted in his sleep and turned over, causing the quilt to slip to the floor. She was so proud of him. If Duke were only ten years younger, he would be taking over from Arthur as president. There would be no question about it. The boys always kept well out of sight when their father was in one of his moods; they could spot the buildup and take cover, and they knew that he was always sorry afterward.
The entire family was aware that certain subjects, ranging from Commies to Gay Lib to bad school marks, were certain to cause a rage, and so Annie would try to watch for them in conversation and attempt to sidestep a whole stream of topics before they came up. If she failed to do so, she would placate her husband by agreeing with him. They always knew his mood as soon as he came in the house in the evening by the way he shut the front door—the degree of slam acted as a barometer.
There had been a bad time, a few years after they were married, when Duke had been passed over for promotion. Annie was also ashamed of it. In his sleep, Duke flung an arm up and again dislodged the quilt. Again Annie slid out of bed and replaced it, tucking it around his shoulders. Accidentally she backed into his bedside table and one of the silver picture frames fell on the rug. She picked it up and looked at the grinning redheaded skier in a pale blue suit, flicking through the slalom poles.
Harry became more of a problem, not less, as the years went by. As Annie tiptoed around to her side of the bed, she caught sight of herself in the full-length mirror. In the ghost light of dawn, in her crumpled white nightgown, she looked pleasantly pale, rather than colorless and skinny.
She told herself not to be so gutless. She was determined to try—just for one night—to look as stunning as Suzy. Suzy was so full of life, she had such impact and if her clothes were a little flamboyant at times, well, Suzy was always a knockout. She had been planning her appearance for weeks, and Suzy had been helping her. This evening, just for once, Annie was going to make Duke proud of her!
Patty slid out of bed, taking care not to wake her husband, Charley, who was vice president of the Legal Department and corporate counsel at Nexus. This was the only part of the day that belonged to Patty. She took her pulse, then started to warm up with slow stretches against the door for her hamstrings and calves, followed by toe rises on the doorstep. After that she did two splits on the lawn before setting off. As she rounded the first corner, she wondered whether Silvana got an official dress allowance from the company to cover all those Valentino numbers.
Patty quickened her stride. The first five minutes were usually the worst. After that she hit her rhythm and it got easier. She liked fartlek, running steadily but varying the pace—fast, slow, medium. Charley would have fourteen good years ahead of him before it was his turn to pick his own successor. Undoubtedly the Paui trip was going to be decisive, unless Arthur decided to bring in someone from outside.
Maybe she should reconsider her clothes for the convention next week, Patty thought. Maybe a little spending at this stage was really an investment. Because the next president would undoubtedly be decided on this trip. Arthur was playing his cards close to his chest, but his successor had to be one of the guys on the Paui trip.
The group was far smaller than usual this year. So that Arthur could make a final selection, that was why. Patty checked her watch. Time to slow down. Patty intended to make it clear that she was concerned about the company. Charley needed someone to talk to when he came home, someone who was rooting for him, who understood the stresses of his job but was also interested in the job itself, someone who would help him carry that huge responsibility but nevertheless keep it in perspective.
Because Charley must never forget that his first responsibility was toward their son. They shared that responsibility Doctor Beck had warned her never to call it guilt.
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|Letters from a nut ebook torrents||Which means elevenses sloe gin fizzesgun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede. You grew up here! This story, which is authentic, would seem an admirable parody on a portion of our criminal law. Away they go sight-seeking in clusters. But when the paranoid and secretive Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edwin Drinker Cope, he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice.|
|Letters from a nut ebook torrents||An unethical senator wants to bring down the Ryan presidency and is willing to lean on fabricated bot-planted stories to do it. I don't understand the fascination and reputation this book gets. She was terrified that one day Arthur would divorce her. I'm the best quarterback this school has ever had, and even though I'm a player not one of the girls on campus has ever tied me down. Blink Smart Security for Every Home.|
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Now, even though the show has ended, Jerry Seinfeld's distinct brand of humor can still be yours. Ted L. Nancy's first book, Letters from a Nut, with an introduction by Jerry Seinfeld, now has more than , copies in print. In More Letters From a Nut, master-prankster Nancy shares even more sidesplittingly funny letters he has written and the unbelievable true responses he has received.
Toggle navigation. Main More Letters from a Nut. More Letters from a Nut Ted L. ISBN Your tags:. Send to. The file will be sent to your email address. It may take up to minutes before you receive it. The file will be sent to your Kindle account. It may takes up to minutes before you received it. Please note : you need to verify every book you want to send to your Kindle. Seneca - Letters from a Stoic Penguin Classics.
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