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been ordered home to be disbanded! I had given up all hope of effecting an exchange into a corps at home, which was impracticable without money; I was merely desirous of preserving my half pay; and the very contingency I aimed at occurred. Such was my ecstasy that I really snatched a kiss ; though Emma, my modest rogue, with her blushes like scarlet, kept me at a most respectful distance.
Thus I was sent to the right about, with four shillings a day to secure happiness, or rather to prevent starvation. What I could spare from keeping up the appearance of a gentleman was handed to my mother, who managed with a little to appear respectable; and thus time rolled on for a considerable period. Having my hours at my own disposal, with not a single chess-player in our neighbourhood, to occupy my moments, I conceived the idea of turning the observations I had made in India to advantage. My industry is great. I soon produced a large quantity of manuscript, and offered to publish it by subscription. That, however, is one of the worst plans an author can adopt, unless he have friends, warm, active, and influential; or unless there be somewhat in his history to stiSo very
mulate the ostentation of human nature. few honoured me with their names, or even condescended to answer my application, that I abandoned the scheme; remarking the coldness of men to all real acts of philanthropy, and receiving a lesson in the knowledge of mankind which I shall not soon forget. “Here,” said I to myself, “ are five hundred town and country 'squires and gentry, who rattle to plays and balls, figure at bible societies, throw away their money on cards, and purchase up any trash that may be recommended by an interested critic, and not twenty of them will give a few shillings to encourage friendless genius, struggling industry, and unfortunate talent.” You must not infer that I regard myself as entitled to the character I have here drawn; but I assume that these gentlemen, by liberality on this occasion to a very moderate extent, might have drawn forth genius and talent from obscurity.
I shall pause here to recommend two things strongly to your most serious consideration : first, never place your money in a private bank when you can get public security ; secondly, never expect much from the public, or from mankind, until you have first served them. Look at history: what does it teach and show? Warriors bleeding, statesmen suffering, authors pining, and poets starving: then read on a few pages, or ramble through Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's, and you will find the mouldering remains, the unconscious dust of these unfortunates honoured with monuments, one hundredth part of the expense of which would have rendered thein happy in life!
Finding that Ireland would not do, I imitated Paddy of Cork, who buttoned his coat behind, and turned my back on my country, while I looked upon
her sweet face more in sorrow than in anger. In short, I did what I recommend every author to do. I applied to a publisher in London. The noble-spirited booksellers of that metropolis are the great and true patrons of literature; and though they gain largely when a work is successful, surely they have a right to the high profits of adventurous speculation. I received a favourable answer; and I assure you I never experienced more pleasure than when I was enabled to make my poor Emma a handsome present from the fruit of my labour.
To the house with which I first published I shall
ever feel most grateful, as the medium by which I was brought forward; as also for their subsequent liberality, in meeting most generously certain arrangements with another house for my benefit. However, as you care little about this, I shall pass
Let it suffice to say, that, some time after, I was called upon most unexpectedly to go over on manuscript business.
Accordingly, after four years' residence in the country, where almost constant solitude had been my portion, I secured the box seat, and reached Dublin without any thing very remarkable. It was there I observed the spirit which retirement imparts to life. When I had been last in this fine city, and long accustomed to the great world, I viewed every thing without much curiosity ; but now I found great interest in all, from the force with which it struck me. This is the effect of strong contrast. As I lay awake next morning, amused with the hum of commencing bustle, the noise of carts, and people flocking to market, my heart was much affected by the mournful cries of the chimney-sweepers, as they performed their morning patrol in search of employment. The deep bass of the old sweeps, and the high piercing treble of the young ones, uttered as though they were under the affliction of cold and pain, brought to my mind most forcibly the picture of this unhappy class of men. 6 Good God!” thought I, “ surely machinery might be substituted for human labour in this case with more effect than in many others. Then should we not have the melancholy sight of squalid, naked wretches, crawling about in the dawning of December like devils, or inhabitants of the regions of soot. Who can look upon their ghastly features, their red eyes, and their supplicating gestures, and reflect on the tender ages at which they are devoted to this abominable trade, without feeling a pang of sorrow !"
The feeling, however, vanished from my mind as I turned down Dame-street, in the course of the day, and saw the stream of fashion and business flowing in all directions. There is a sharpness of feature imparted to the human countenance by constant excitement, which strikes any one from the country with great force: its full effect was felt by me, and I derived great amusement from gazing at the keen-eyed people of the city as they passed.