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his feet, the caduceus in one hand, and a roll of paper in the other. “My dear sir,” exclaimed I, “who are you?”—“Sir," rejoined the stranger, “I am Mercury.”
“Mercury!" I repeated in surprise; “where, then, are the crines flavos, et membra decora juventæ?? for, of course, my dear divinity, you understand the dead languages. Where is that youthful appearance and radiant beauty so celebrated in Virgil ?”—“I cannot compliment your politeness," said the god, “in reminding me of their loss; but, to speak the truth, the gods of Olympus are now getting—of a certain age! It is unreasonable to expect that I should be the same Mercury that I was nearly 2,000 years ago, and even then Virgil flattered like a portrait painter: in short, it is some centuries ago since I began to get very grey; and, as we must all yield to time, Venus herself is beginning to wear rouge.' -“My dear sir,” I exclaimed, “ I have been sadly remiss : pray take a chair, and explain why I am indebted to you
for the honour of your visit.” The god bowed, and after three prefatory hems, opened his mission. He informed me that he had brought the congratulations of the deceased subjects of the King of Clubs, and their entreaties to have a copy sent down to them. “ However,” continued the little god, “their wishes will be better explained by this printed paper, than by any eloquence of mine. You shall have it directly." He then entered into conversation, and made himself very agreeable, mixing up with the real object of his visit a good deal of entertaining scandal and useful information about Elysium. He informed me that there was a new subdivision in that territory, called the Scribentes
Campi, where every thing was poetical; where there were rivers that ran by, murmuring the most beautiful tunes, and that the most celebrated of them was practising the “ Huntsman's Chorus,” in Der Freischütz, with great assiduity : where the ditches were filled with ink, the trees flowered with paper, and the birds, as they flew past, dropped ready-made pens, equal to those usually sold at 12s. per hundred; that bad and tedious poets were doomed to have their own poetry, the inferiority of which they at last perceived, continually read out to them, without the power of going to sleep! that Pluto had had a long conversation with his headcarpenter, on the expediency of fitting up an abode exclusively for the poets of The Lake School.
After a long conversation, Mercury rose hastily, saying that he should be too late for the tide, which waited neither for gods nor mortals. At the same time he held out the following communication from the other world. In snatching eagerly at it, I awoke, and found myself sitting up in my bed, with the mysterious paper in my hand. I have placed the original in the hands of Mr. Ingalton, bookseller of Eton, for the inspection of the curious.
N. B.-Those who take the trouble to examine it, are particularly requested to take notice of the patent sulphureous smell, which precludes imitation or imposture. If any lady or gentleman should be disposed to ask how it was printed there, &c. I must refer them to that respectable Mandarin, with a name that nobody can speak, and nobody can spell—the editor of “ Napoleon in the other World,” who, as he preceded me in his work, has a right to precede me in his explanation. At the same time I must say, that these doubts would but ill repay my labours, as the ghastly and unnatural paleness of the ink rendered the deciphering of the manuscript a task of considerable difficulty. I should advise those who wish to see it at Mr. Ingalton's to be quick, as it is soon to be sent off to the British Museum.
«« "Ηκω, νεκρών κευθμώνα, και σκοτού πύλας
Inscription on the MS.
“ Courtenay. —'Well, gentlemen, I believe we are all assembled. Bless me, where is Wentworth ?'
Golightly.—'I am sorry to say Sir Francis is in quod. Old Pluto is a high Tory; and Wentworth amused himself with haranguing the mob upon the iniquity of absolute power, and the necessity of a radical reform. Pluto does not at all fancy this theoretical principle; this notion of a perfect equality : though I cannot but think that the kingdom of shades would have been the best place for putting such a theory into practice [Hear! from Mr. Sterling]. Old Pluto, therefore, sent Cerberus and Charon to take him up, two strong arguments in favour of non-resistance; and so thought Sir Francis, for he suffered himself to be led away very quietly : and now, gentlemen, since we are in no danger, suppose we pass round our visionary punch-bowl, with as much glee as we did its “beau ideal” in the little world of Eton.'
* See Etonian, No. I.
“ The Chairman then pulled a dirty newspaper out of his pocket, and proceeded. “As Mercury is rather a friend of mine, I sometimes employ him to procure for me the ghost of a defunct newspaper. Conceited puppy! he is always thinking of himself, and will never bring any one but the MORNING Herald. This paper seems to have had a long life, and to have been much addicted to the reprehensible practice of frequenting tap-rooms. Faugh! how it smells of tobacco !
“ Mr. O'Connor. Give it me, then. The savour of tobacco to a ghost, is as good as a cigar to flesh and blood.'
“ Courtenay.—No, never mind. As I was looking over the list of the new publications, being naturally anxious to discover what chance there was of the “ facilis descensus” for them, my eye was caught by an account of The Eton Miscellany, conducted by Bartholomew Bouverie [Loud Cheers]. I have entreated Mercury to put down our names as subscribers to Mr. Ingalton; but he says, it is not likely to visit Lethe for a long time. Still, could they not make us a present of one copy ? we should be thankful even for the loan of the first Number; though, even, if that be impossible, I should still rejoice at the commencement of The Eton Miscellany.' [Cheering.]
“ Mr. Golightly made a most eloquent speech, which the Secretary regrets his inability to do justice to. [Really the Secretary should have recollected this was something out of the common way!] He expressed his entire concurrence with the hon. Chairman, but begged to remind him, that lending a book to Lethe was like lending a Tory pamphlet to Sir F. Wentworth, or a glass of wine to Mr. O'Connor.
“ Mr. O'Connor observed, that if it at all resembled the latter, he should be very much pleased with it. [A laugh.]
“ Mr. Rowley inquired whether the new authors had the punch-bowl, and the beef-steaks, and Mr. Golightly's receipt for the liquor. He did not conceive there was any doubt that the dinners were much the best article in the Etonian ; as a dinner, even in print, was superior to every thing else, by recalling past delights, and being, as Lord Byron would say, ,
The morning star of Memory.' " Mr. Golightly begged leave to know how Rowley could ask so foolish a question ; as he well knew the punch-bowl was unreal and shadowy, and, as such, it had been brought down there.
“Mr. Rowley.-' Shadowy! a punch-bowl shadowy ! Do
you mean to insult me?' [Exit in a huff, running against Mr. Burton.]
“ Mr. Burton.— I have estimated, Mr. Chairman, the expenses of the new publication ; and
“ [Here a loud cry of Pluto 's coming !' completely