« AnteriorContinuar »
the tortures of the damned, make one of shaving: it is a thing so unmanly (here I their greatest agonies consist in being sud- nestle closer)--so effeminate (here I redenly transported from heat to cold coil from an unlucky step into the colder from fire to ice. They are “haled” out part of the bed.)-No wonder that the of their "beds,” says Milton, by “harpy- Queen of France took part with the footed furies"-fellows who come to call rebels against the degenerate King, her them. On my first movement towards husband, who first affronted her smooth the anticipation of getting up, I find that visage with a face like her own. The such parts of the sheets and bolster, as Emperor Julian never showed the luxare exposed to the air of the room, are uriancy of his genius to better advantage stone-cold. On opening my eyes, the than in reviving the flowing beard. Look first thing that meets them is my own at Cardinal Bembo's picture—at Michael breath rolling forth, as if in the open air, Angelo'smat Titian's—at Shakespeare's like smoke out of a cottage chimney. -at Fletcher'smat Spenser's—at ChauThink of this symptom. Then I turn cer's
I could my eyes sideways and see the window all
great for every tick frozen over. Think of that. Then the of my watch. Look at the Turks, servant comes in. “It is very cold this a grave and otiose people. Think of morning, is it not?” “Very cold, Sir." | Haroun Al Raschid and Bed-ridden "Very cold indeed, isn't it?” “Very cold Hassan. Think of Wortley Montagu, indeed, Sir." "More than usually so, the worthy son of his mother, a man isn't it, even for this weather ?” (Here above the prejudice of his time. Look the servant's wit and good-nature are put at the Persian gentlemen, whom one is to a considerable test, and the inquirer ashamed of meeting about the suburbs, lies on thorns for the answer.) "Why, their dress and appearance are so much Sir... I think it is.' (Good finer than our own. Lastly, think of creature! There is not a better, or more the razor itself-how totally opposed to truth-telling servant going.) “I must every sensation of bed-how cold, how rise, however-get
warm edgy, how hard! how utterly different water." Here comes a fine interval be- from anything like the warm and circling tween the departure of the servant and amplitude, which the arrival of the hot water; during which, of course, it is of “no use" to get
Sweetly recommends itself
Unto our gentle senses. up. The hot water comes. "Is it quite hot?" "Yes, Sir.” "Perhaps too hot Add to this, benumbed fingers, which may for shaving: I must wait a little?" "No, help you to cut yourself, a quivering Sir; it will just do.” (There is an over- body, a frozen towel, and a ewer full nice propriety sometimes, an officious zeal of ice; and he that says there is nothing of virtue, a little troublesome.) “Oh, to oppose in all this, only shows, at any the shirt—you must air my clean shirt- rate, that he has no merit in opposing it. linen gets very damp this weather.” Thomson the poet, who exclaims in his "Yes, Sir." Here another delicious five
Seasons minutes. A knock at the door. “Oh, the shirt-very well. My stockings-I
Falsely luxurious! Will not man awake? think the stockings had better be aired, used to lie in bed till noon, because he too.” “Very well, Sir.” Here another said he had no motive in getting up. He interval. At length everything is ready, could imagine the good of rising; but except myself. I now, continues our in- then he could also imagine the good of cumbent (a happy word, by the bye, for lying still; and his exclamation, it must a country vicar)-I now cannot help be allowed, was made upon summerthinking a good deal—who can ?-upon time, not winter.
time, not winter. We must proportion the unnecessary and villainous custom of the argument to the individual character.
A money-getter may be drawn out of his order, unless he rises; and that you are bed by three and four pence; but this will sure he would do things twenty times not suffice for a student. A proud man worse, even than getting out of his warm may say, “What shall I think of myself, bed, to put them all into good humor and if I don't get up?" but the more humble a state of comfort. Then, after having one will be content to waive this prodigi- said this, throw in the comparatively inous notion of himself, out of respect to different matter, to him, about his health; his kindly bed. The mechanical man but tell him that it is no indifferent matshall get up without any ado at all; and ter to you; that the sight of his illness so shall the barometer. An ingenious makes more people suffer than one; but lier in bed will find hard matter of dis- that if, nevertheless, he really does feel so cussion even on the score of health and very sleepy and so very much refreshed longevity. He will ask us for our proofs by- Yet stay; hardly know and precedents of the ill effects of lying whether the frailty of a- Yes, yes; later in cold weather; and sophisticate say that, too, especially if you say it much on the advantages of an even tem- with sincerity; for if the weakness of perature of body; of the natural pro- human nature on the one hand and the pensity (pretty universal) to have one's vis inertial on the other, should lead way; and of the animals that roll them- him to take advantage of it once or selves up, and sleep all the winter. As twice, good-humor and sincerity form an to longevity, he will ask whether the irresistible junction at last; and are still longest life is of necessity the best; and better and warmer things than pillows whether Holborn is the handsomest street and blankets. in London.
Other little helps of appeal may be We only know of one confounding, thrown in, as occasion requires. You not to say confounded argument, fit to may tell a lover, for instance, that lying overturn the huge luxury, the “enormous in bed makes people corpulent; a father, bliss"-of the vice in question. Alier that you wish him to complete the fine in bed may be allowed to profess a dis- manly example he sets his children; a interested indifference for his health or lady, that she will injure her bloom or longevity; but while he is showing the her shape, which M. or W. admires so reasonableness of consulting his own or much; and a student or artist, that he is one person's comfort, he must admit the always so glad to have done a good day's proportionate claim of more than one; work, in his best manner. and the best way to deal with him is this, Reader. And pray, Mr. Indicator, especially for a lady; for we earnestly how do you behave yourself in this rerecommend the use of that sex on such spect? occasions, if not somewhat over-persua- Indic. Oh, Madam, perfectly, of sive; since extremes have an awkward course; like all advisers. knack of meeting. First then, admit all Reader. Nay, I allow that your the ingeniousness of what he says, telling mode of argument does not look quite so him that the bar has been deprived of an suspicious as the old way of sermonizing excellent lawyer. Then look at him in and severity, but I have my doubts, espethe most good-natured manner in the cially from that laugh of yours. If I world, with a mixture of assent and ap- should look in to-morrow morningpeal in your countenance, and tell him Indic. Ah, Madam, the look in of a that you are waiting breakfast for him; face like yours does anything with me. that you never like to breakfast without It shall fetch me up at nine, if you him; that you really want it, too; that please-six, i meant to say. the servants want theirs; that you shall not know how to get the house into 1“Force of inertia."
DREAM CHILDREN: A REVERIE
CHARLES LAMB Charles Lamb (1775-1834), one of the best loved of English essayists, has a delicate, subtle humor and a charmingly intimate style. Much of his work has a tender whimsicality, as in “Dream Children" (1822) or a kindly humor, as in “Poor Relations" (1823). Lamb's literary life was an escape from the difficulties of his everyday. He was devoted to the care of a sister who was periodically insane, and poverty made it necessary for him to serve an irksome clerkship in a London counting-house. Notwithstanding, Lamb's home became a rendezvous for the literary spirits of London and of England, for that matter. As an essayist he wrote under the pseudonym of Elia, and the famous essays with a few exceptions first appeared in the columns of The London Magazine during the short period between 1820 and 1825. A first series, which contained “Dream Children," was published in 1823 in a volume entitled Elia. “Poor Relations” was printed in a second collection, The Last Essays of Elia, published in 1833 only a year before Lamb's death.
CHILDREN love to listen to stories yet in some respects she might be said to about their elders, when they were be the mistress of it too) committed to children; to stretch their imagination to her by the owner, who preferred living the conception of a traditionary great- in a newer and more fashionable manuncle or grandame, whom they never sion which he had purchased somewhere saw. It was in this spirit that my little in the adjoining county; but still she ones crept about me the other evening lived in it in a manner as if it had been to hear about their great-grandmother her own, and kept up the dignity of the Field,' who lived in a great house in great house in a sort while she lived, Norfolk (a hundred times bigger than which afterwards came to decay, and was that in which they and papa lived) which nearly pulled down, and all its old ornahad been the scenes at least it was ments stripped and carried away to the generally believed in that part of the owner's other house, where they were set country of the tragic incidents which up, and looked as awkward as if some they had lately become familiar with
one were to carry away the old tombs from the ballad of the Children in the they had seen lately at the Abbey, and Wood. Certain it is that the whole story stick them up in Lady C.'s tawdry gilt of the children and their cruel uncle was drawing-room. Here John smiled, as to be seen fairly carved out in wood upon much as to say, “that would be foolish the chimney-piece of the great hall, the indeed.” And then I told how, when whole story down to the Robin Red- she came to die, her funeral was attended breasts, till a foolish rich person pulled by a concourse of all the poor, and some it down to set up a marble one of modern of the gentry, too, of the neighborhood invention in its stead, with no story upon for many miles round, to show their reit. Here Alice put out one of her dear spect for her memory, because she had mother's looks, too tender to be called been such a good and religious woman; upbraiding. Then I went on to say, so good indeed that she knew all the how religious and how good their great- Psaltery by heart, ay, and a great part grandmother Field was, how beloved and of the Testament besides. Here little respected by every body, though she was Alice spread her hands. Then I told not indeed the mistress of this great
what a tall, upright, graceful person house, but had only the charge of it (and their great-grandmother Field once was ;
and how in her youth she was esteemed This essay is largely autobiographical. the best dancer-here Alice's little right Mary Field, Lamb's grandmother, was for foot played an involuntary movement, fifty years housekeeper for the Plumer family in Hertfordshire, where Charles often spent
till upon my looking grave, it desisted his vacation.
the best dancer, I was saying, in the county, till a cruel disease, called a can- or in watching the dace that darted to cer, came, and bowed her down with and fro in the fish-pond, at the bottom of pain; but it could never bend her good the garden, with here and there a great spirits, or make them stoop, but they sulky pike hanging midway down the were still upright, because she was so water in silent state, as if it mocked at good and religious. Then I told how their impertinent friskings, I had more she was used to sleep by herself in a lone pleasure in these busy-idle diversions than chamber of the great lone house; and in all the sweet flavors of peaches, nectahow she believed that an apparition of rines, oranges, and such like common two infants was to be seen at midnight baits of children. Here John slily degliding up and down the great staircase posited back upon the plate a bunch of near where she slept, but she said “those grapes, which, not unobserved by Alice, innocents would do her no harm”; and he had meditated dividing with her, and how frightened I used to be, though both seemed willing to relinquish them in those days I had my maid to sleep for the present as irrelevant. Then in with me, because I was never half so somewhat a more heightened tone, I told good or religious as she and yet I never how, though their great-grandmother saw the infants. Here John expanded Field loved all her grand-children, yet in all his eyebrows and tried to look cou- an especial manner she might be said to rageous. Then I told how good she was love their uncle, John because to all her grand-children, having us to he was so handsome and spirited a youth, the great house in the holydays, where I and a king to the rest of us; and, instead in particular used to spend many hours of moping about in solitary corners, like by myself, in gazing upon the old busts some of us, he would mount the most of the Twelve Cæsars, that had been Em- mettlesome horse he could get, when but perors of Rome, till the old marble heads
an imp no bigger than themselves, and would seem to live again, or 1 to be make it carry him over half the county turned into marble with them; how I in a morning, and join the hunters when never could be tired with roaming there were any out—and yet he loved the about that huge mansion, with its vast old great house and gardens, too, but empty rooms, with their worn-out hang- had too much spirit to be always pent up ings, fluttering tapestry, and carved within their boundaries—and how their oaken panels, with the gilding almost uncle grew up to man's estate as brave as rubbed out sometimes in the spacious he was handsome, to the admiration of old-fashioned gardens, which I had al- everybody,
everybody, but of their great-grandmost to myself, unless when now and mother Field most especially; and how then a solitary gardening man would he used to carry me upon his back when cross me—and how the nectarines and I was a lame-footed boy—for he was a peaches hung upon the walls, without my good bit older than me-many a mile ever offering to pluck them, because they when I could not walk for pain ;-and were forbidden fruit, unless now and how in after life he became lame-footed, then—and because I had more pleasure too, and I did not always (I fear) make in strolling about among the old melan- allowances enough for him when he was choly-looking yew trees, or the firs, and impatient, and in pain, nor remember picking up the red berries, and the fir sufficiently how considerate he had been apples, which were good for nothing but to me when I was lame-footed; and how to look at-or in lying about upon the when he died, though he had not been fresh grass, with all the fine garden dead an hour, it seemed as if he had died smells around me or basking in the a great while ago, such a distance there crangery, till I could almost fancy myself ripening, too, along with the oranges
John Lamb, Charles's elder brother, who and the limes in that grateful warmth- had recently died.
is betwixt life and death; and how I bore denial meant in maidens—when sudhis death as I thought pretty well at first, denly, turning to Alice, the soul of the but afterward it haunted and haunted first Alice looked out at her eyes with me; and though I did not cry or take it such a reality of re-presentment, that I to heart as some do, and as I think he became in doubt which of them stood would have done if I had died, yet I there before me, or whose that bright hair missed him all day long, and knew not till was; and while I stood gazing, both the then how much I had loved him. I children gradually grew fainter to my missed his kindness, and I missed his view, receding, and still receding till crossness, and wished him to be alive nothing at last but two mournful features again, to be quarelling with him (for
in the uttermost distance, we quarrelled sometimes), rather than which, without speech, strangely imnot have him again, and was as uneasy pressed upon me the effects of speech; without him, as he their poor uncle must "We are not of Alice, nor of thee, nor have been when the doctor took off his are we children at all. The children of limb. Here the children fell a crying, Alice call Bartrum father. We are and asked if their little mourning which nothing; less than nothing, and dreams. they had on was not for uncle John, We are only what might have been, and and they looked up, and prayed me not to must wait upon the tedious shores of go on about their uncle, but to tell them Lethe millions of ages before we have some stories about their pretty dead existence, and a name”-and immedimother. Then I told how for seven ately awaking, I found myself quietly long years, in hope sometimes, sometimes seated in my bachelor armchair, where I in despair, yet persisting ever, I courted had fallen asleep, with the faithful the fair Alice W-n; and, as much Bridget* unchanged by my side-but as children could understand, I explained John L., (or James Elia) was gone for to them what coyness, and difficulty, and
Ann Simmons, with whom Lamb had fallen in love on his visits to Hertfordshire.
2 Charles's sister Mary.
A POOR Relation is the most irrele- a mote in your eye,-a triumph to your vant thing in nature,-a piece of imperti- enemy, an apology to your friends,—the nent correspondence,-an odious approxi- one thing not needful, the hail in harmation,-a haunting conscience,-a pre- vest, -the ounce of sour in a pound of posterous shadow, lengthening in the sweet. noontide of our prosperity,-an unwel- He is known by his knock. Your come remembrance,-a perpetually re- heart telleth you “That is Mr. -" A curring mortification,-a drain on your rap, between familiarity and respect; purse,-a more intolerable dun upon your that demands, and, at the same time, pride,-a drawback upon success,- seems to despair of, entertainment. He buke to your rising,-a stain in your entereth smiling and embarrassed. He blood,-a blot on your 'scutcheon,-a holdeth out his hand to you to shake, and rent in your garment,-a death's head at -draweth it back again. He casually your banquet, -Agathocles' pot,-a Mor- looketh in about dinner-time—when the decai in your gate,—a Lazarus at your table is full. He offereth to go away, door,-a lion in your path,-a frog in seeing you have company, but is induced your chamber,-a fly in your ointment, to stay. He filleth a chair, and your