Page images

was the prime cost of that cravat you are wearing ? I am quite in love with it, it is real Gros de Naples silk." I immediately concluded my fair querist was a milliner.

My attention was next directed to the contemplative philosopher, who, after a strict examination of the stout gentleman's features, had actually pulled off his brown bob wig, begging him at the same time ten thousand pardons for his rudeness, but that the love of science and research must plead as his excuse; adding, as some compensation, that he had the organ of positiveness, or knocking down very strongly depicted by a tumulus or mound on the occipital superficies. The old fellow, good humouredly replied, that all the technical phrases; tumulus, occipital, &c., were perfect Hebrew to him, and that if he knocked any thing down, it was always with a hammer. The speaker then relapsed into his former taciturnity, excepting that when the coach was starting, after having changed horses, or any other stoppage, he invariably exclaimed, “going, gentlemen goinggone," at the same time suiting the action to the word, by knocking with his cane on the bottom of the vehicle; from which circumstance, and from his exclamations, I was induced to suppose he was an auctioneer.

The philosopher then addressed the young man who had just killed a fly, on the coach window, examining his head at the same time very attentively. “Young man, the Organ of Destructiveness, or Murder, is strongly marked on your pericranium, and the unjustifiable cruelty you have been guilty of, plainly proves the truth of my assertion.” The youth replied, in his defence, that the fly had merited its death, because it had turned out a roarer, owing to which circumstance it had lost a race with

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

another of its species, and my right-hand waistcoat pocket has lost a sovereign, which was wagered against one in the left-hand pocket. The philosopher replied, that the alleged reason, in his opinion, by no means justified the murder, and why the poor insect should suffer death for buzzing, which he supposed was the meaning of the word roarer; or why buzzing, which was the innate faculty of the whole species, should at all prevent speed, he could not understand. I had just determined in my own mind, that the philosopher was either Dr. Spurzheim in propriâ personâ, or else one of his disciples, and that the young man was a black-leg on his road to Ascot, when a person genteelly dressed entered the coach; he had scarcely taken his seat before he launched out into politics, saying he was intimate with a certain great man"; could not mention names; was personally acquainted with lord mand other ministers, and ended his harángué by asking my opinion concerning the new administration. I concluded he was a profound politician; but the next day, when I made an inquiry concerning him, I discovered he was a butler to a certain nobleman, and had only thought proper to ape his master's manners.

Perhaps, Mr. Bouverie, you will think these few observations worth inserting, as illustrative of the different characters of my fellow travellers ; the first description of persons, owing to their natural simplicity of manners and conversation, discover their real condition in life ; but the other by affecting to be what they are not, deceive, for the time, the superficial observer, but when they are detected, obtain a double portion of well-merited contempt. I am, Sir, &c.

1 T. G. K.

[ocr errors]


Mr. Bouverie; I am a young gentleman, but an old politician, and shall esteem it a particular favour if you will tell me whether there is any truth or not in the report, that a Debating Society has been established at Eton. As I was talking over affairs in general the other day with an old acquaintance of mine, having lighted on our old topic, politics, I happened to lament the very unconstitutional education which Englishmen receive at our public schools. As soon as any glimmerings of sense are perceived, the mind of the urchin is immediately crammed full of As in præsenti, Propria quæ maribus, and such like, in which the poor victim finds less sense, than his torturers do poetry-and that is saying a great deal! Now if, on the contrary, he were to be properly imbued with the blessings of the Constitution under which we live,[Here follows so much that is political, that we have been obliged to curtail our worthy correspondent's epistle, in the very part, perhaps, which he considers the most valuable). I concluded with declaring I did not believe six boys at Eton knew who was Prime Minister, and that there was not one who did not look forwards with more anxiety to the event of the next Derby, than to that of the Catholic Question. When I had concluded, a few gruff mutterings, and half-frowns from my friend, who, being the

wrong side of sixty, has a little touch of the “ Diable de Contradiction,” ushered in the following characteristic speech : “ They do, Sir!

You're quite out, Sir! The very chicks, just out of the shell, chirp


politics! More shame for 'em! When I was a boy, I
never minded any thing but my book, and I didn't mind
that much! Sir, I tell you its a speculative age this !
Why, Sir, here's a letter from my nephew, Matthew
Jenkins--fine boy, if he wasn't spoiled-just rising
thirteen-and, hark ye! what he talks about---Liberal
principles – progress of civilization - narrow-minded
bigotry and then here's the varlet's finale-' In short,
you'll excuse me, my dear Uncle, if I tell you, however well
you might have suited the world three hundred years ago,
you are positively quite out of place in the nineteenth
century.' An impudent vagabond! I used to take a
pleasure in having him to dine with me, and regularly
gave him a sovereign at dessert; but I'm afraid the scamp
would put arsenic in my plate now, just to rid the nine-
teenth century of a bigot, and would Aling my money in
my face, and say, he was above corruption !
- "An Eton Debating Society, too! Pugh! pugh! Keep
'em to book and birch, Sir, and leave their politics to take
care of themselves !" I was so much amused with my
old friend's account of the matter, that I determined to
give the heads of our conversation to the World under
the auspices of the Eton Miscellany.

I am, Mr. Bouverie,
your's, very dutifully,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



THE ETON PREMIER, &c. &c. Sir ;--Though I have never before had the honour of addressing you, I have no doubt I may so far presume on your good nature as to ask whether it is really fact, that a society now exists at, or in the vicinity of, Eton, for the purpose of encouraging the only thing that can render life valuable to a reasonable mind, I mean, of course, talking politics. I have, myself, the honour of belonging to at least one hundred clubs, unions, and societies, existing and flourishing throughout the united empire ; and should, although a nurseling of Merchant-tailors' myself, esteem it as the highest of honors, could I but be admitted as an honorary member of an association, meeting, perhaps, on the very spot which Chatham, Fox and Canning, have hallowed for ever by the emanations of their genius. When I consider, Mr. President-I beg pardon (the force of association is so strong, that

my oratorical propensity finds its way into my very letters) -I mean, when I consider, Mr. Bouverie, that I am writing at this moment from the round table of the Cockspur-street Union-than the members of which a more highly-gifted assemblage is hardly to be found, though candour obliges me to confess their cravats are nine times out of ten inferior in brilliancy to their eloquence, and their hands stand no comparison in point of purity with their prin. ciples! when I consider that I made my début in the well-known Constitutional Club at the Seven Dials, amidst, what I may well term, popular applause; that I have, since my noviciate, been successively elected to a seat in the Grimstead Convention, in the Ballynaclough Company, in the Thames and Medway Reform Meeting, in the Newcastle Luminary, in the John o'Groat's Political Beacon—but I had well nigh forgotten that I am not writing to make a parade of my old honours, but to request the addition of new. I will then only add that,

« PreviousContinue »