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Puff. Yes, sir; I flatter myself I do as much business in that
way as any six of the fraternity in town. Very hard work all the summer,
Friend Dangle ! never worked harder ! Sneer. But I should think, Mr. Puff, that authors would in general be able to do this sort of work for themselves.
Puff. Why, yes, but in a clumsy way. Besides, we look on that as an encroachment, and so take the opposite side. I dare say, now, you conceive half the very civil paragraphs and advertisements you see to be written by the parties concerned, or their friends. No such thing. Nine out of ten, manufactured by me in the way of business.
Sneer. Indeed !
Puff. Even the auctioneers, now—the auctioneers, I say, though the rogues have lately got some credit for their language-not an article of the merit theirs ! Take them out of their stands, and they are as dull as catalogues. No, sir ;-'twas I first enriched their style-'twas I first taught them to crowd their advertisements with panegyrical superlatives, each epithet rising above the other, like the bidders in their own auction-rooms! From me they learned to inlay their phraseology with variegated chips of exotic metaphor. By me, too, their inventive faculties were called forth. Yes, sir, by me they were instructed to clothe ideal walls with gratuitous fruits-to insinuate obsequious rivulets into visionary grovesto teach courteous shrubs to nod their approbation of the grateful soil-or, on emergencies, to raise upstart oaks, where there never had been an acorn; to create a delightful vicinage, without the assistance of a neighbor; or fix the temple of Hygeia in the fens of Lincolnshire !
Dang. I am sure you have done them infinite service; for now, when a gentleman is ruined, he parts with his house with some credit.
Sneer. But pray, Mr. Puff, what first put you on exercising your talents in this way?
Puff. Egad, sir, sheer necessity—the proper parent of an art sọ nearly allied to invention. You must know, Mr. Sneer, that from the first time I tried my hand at an advertisement, my success was such, that, for some time after, I led a most extraordinary life indeed.
Sneer. How, pray?
Puff. Sir, I supported myself two years entirely by my misfortunes.
Sneer. By your misfortunes ?
Puff. Yes, sir, assisted by long sickness, and other ocdasional disorders; and a very comfortable living I had of it.
Sneer. From sickness and misfortunes !
Puff Hark ye! By advertisements, “ To the charitable and humane !” and “ To those whom Providence hath blessed with affluence !"
Sneer. Oh, I understand you.
Puff. And, in truth, I deserved what I got; for I suppose never man went through such a series of calamities in the same space of time. Sir, I was five times made a bankrupt, and reduced from a state of affluence, by a train of unavoidable misfortunes. Then, sir, though a very industrious tradesman,
I was twice burnt out, and lost my little all both times. I lived upon those fires a month. I soon after was confined by a most excruciating disorder, and lost the use of my limbs. That told very well; for I had the case strongly attested, and went about collecting the subscriptions myself.
Dang. Egad! I believe that was when you first called on
Puff. What! in November last? O no. I
when I called on you, a close prisoner in the Marshalsea, for a debt benevolently contracted to serve a friend. I was afterwards twice tapped for a dropsy, which declined into a very profitable consumption. I was then reduced to-O no—then I became a widow, with six helpless children, after having had eleven husbands, who all died, leaving me in depths of poverty.
Sneer. And you bore all with patience, I make no doubt.
Puff Why, yes. Well, sir, at last, what with bankruptcies, fires, gouts, dropsies, imprisonments, and other valuable calamities, having got together a pretty handsome sum, I determined to quit a business which had always gone rather against my
conscience, and in a more liberal way still to indulge my talents for fiction and embellishment, through my favorite channels of 'diurnal communication ;-and so, sir, you have my history.
Sneer. Most obligingly communicative, indeed; and your confession, if published, might certainly serve the cause of true charity, by rescuing the most useful channels of appeal to benevolence from the cant of imposition. But surely, Mr. Puff, there is no great mystery in your present profession?
Puff Mystery! Sir, I will take upon me to say the matter was never scientifically treated, nor reduced to rule before.
Sneer, Reduced to rule ?
Puff. Olud, sir! you are very ignorant, I am afraid. Yes, sir, puffing is of various sorts. The principal are: the puff direct--the puff preliminary-the puff collateral-the puff collusive-and the puff oblique, or puff by implication. These all assume, as circumstances require, the various forms of letter to the editor, occasional anecdote, impartial critique, observation from correspondent, or advertisement from the party.
Sneer. The puff direct I can conceive.
Puff yes, that's simple enough. For instance, a new comedy or farce is to be produced at one of the theatres. The author-suppose Mr. Smatter, or Mr. Dapper, or any particular friend of mine. Very well. The day before it is to be performed, I write an account of the manner in which it was received. I have the plot from the author, and only addCharacters strongly drawn-highly colored-hand of a master --fund of genuine humor-mine of invention-neat dialogueattic salt! Then, for the performance-Mr. Dodd was astonishingly great in the character of Sir Harry! That universal and judicious actor, Mr. Palmer, perhaps never appeared to more advantage than in the Colonel; but it is not in the
power of language to do justice to Mr. King! Indeed, he more than merited those repeated bursts of applause which he drew from a most brilliant and judicious audience! As to the scenerythe miraculous powers of Mr. De Loutherburgh's pencil are
universally acknowledged! In short, we are at a loss which to admire most-the unrivalled genius of the author, the great attention and liberality of the managers, the wonderful abilities of the painter, or the incredible exertions of all the performers !
Sneer. That's pretty well, indeed, sir.
you think there are any who are influenced by this?
Puff. O lud! yes, sir. The number of those who undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed.
Sneer. Well, sir, the puff preliminary?
PuffNow, sir, the puff collateral is much used as an appendage to advertisements, and may take the form of anecdote :-Yesterday, as the celebrated George Bon-Mot was sauntering down St. James' street, he met the lively Lady Mary Myrtle, coming out of the Park. “Why, Lady Mary, I'm surprised to meet you in a white jacket; for I expected never to have seen you but in a full-trimmed uniform and a light-horseman's cap!” “Indeed, George, where could you have learned that?" "Why," replied the wit, "I just saw a print of you in a new publication called the Camp Magazine; which, by-the-bye, is a very clever thing, and is sold at No. 3, on the right hand of the way, two doors from the printing office, the corner of Ivy lane, Paternoster row, price only one shilling !"
Sneer. Very ingenious indeed!
for it acts in the disguise of determined hostility. It is much used by bold booksellers and enterprising poets. An indignant correspondent observes, that the new poem called Beelzebub's Cotillon, or Proserpine's Fêté Champétre, is one of the most unjustifiable performances he ever read! The severity with which certain characters are handled is quite shocking! And as there are many descriptions in it too warmly colored for female delicacy, the shameful avidity with which this piece is bought by all people of fashion, is a reproach on the taste of the times, and a disgrace to the delicacy of the age !-Here, you see, the two strongest inducements are held forth: first, that nobody ought to read it; and, secondly, that everybody buys it; on the strength of which, the publisher boldly prints the tenth edition, before he had sold ten of the first.
Dang. Ha! ha! ha! Egad, I know it is so.
Puf. As to the puff oblique, or puff by implication, it is too various and extensive to be illustrated by an instance. It branches into so many varieties, that it is the last principal class of the art of puffing—an art which, I hope, you will now agree with me, is of the highest dignity.
THE PEEPING LADIES.
A VERY fat elderly lady
With tongue, nails, and fists,
They entered the lists,
The name of this elderly lady,
Was Jessy MACFARLANE,
That “wandering darling,"
They had both come to London a-shopping,
To mind their affairs,
Up three pair of stairs,
They liv'd there like folks of condition,