图书图片
PDF
ePub

ery to omit or alter about a hundred lines in different parts of this large volume, and to republish it under the name of “Gabriel.”—“ Mr. Robert Montgomery."

The Ponderous Work of Dr. Nares

THE work of Dr. Nares has filled us with astonishment similar to that which Captain Lemuel Gulliver felt when he first landed in Brobdingnag, and saw corn as high as the oaks in the New Forest, thimbles as large as buckets, and wrens of the bulk of turkeys. The whole book, and every component part of it, is on a gigantic scale. The title is as long as an ordinary preface, the prefatory matter would furnish out an ordinary book, and the book contains as much reading as an ordinary library. We cannot sum up the merits of the stupendous mass of paper which lies before us better than by saying that it consists of about two thousand closely printed quarto pages, that it occupies fifteen hundred inches cubic measure, and that it weighs sixty pounds avoirdupois. Such a book might before the deluge have been considered as light reading by Hilpa and Shatum. But unhappily the life of man is now threescore years and ten, and we cannot but think it somewhat unfair in Dr. Nares to demand from us so large a portion of so short an existence.

Compared with the labour of reading through these volumes, all other labour-the labour of thieves on the treadmill, of children in factories, of negroes in sugar plantations

-is an agreeable recreation. There was, it is said, a criminal in Italy, who was suffered to make his choice between Guicciardini and the galleys. He chose the history. But the war

of Pisa was too much for him. He changed his mind and I went to the oar. Guicciardini, though certainly not the most amusing of writers, is a Herodotus or a Froissart when compared with Dr. Nares.

It is not only in bulk, but in specific gravity also, that these memoirs exceed all other human compositions. On every subject which the professor discusses, he produces three times as many pages as another man; and one of his pages is as tedious as another man's three. His book is swelled to its vast dimensions by endless repetitions, by episodes which have nothing to do with the main action, by quotations from books which are in every circulating library, and by reflections which, when they happen to be just, are so obvious that they must necessarily occur to the mind of every reader. He employs more words in expounding and defending a truism than any other writer would employ in supporting a paradox. Of the rules of historical perspective he has not the faintest notion. There is neither foreground nor background in his delineation. Though a man of great industry and research, he is so utterly incompetent to arrange the materials which he has collected, that he might as well have left them in their original repositories.

-"Burleigh and his Times."

Samuel Lover

Buying a Present for the Priest

"I PROMISED my mother to bring a present to the priest from Dublin, and I could not make up my mind rightly what to get all the time I was there. I thought of a pair o' topboots; for, indeed, his riverence's is none of the best, and only you know them to be top-boots, you would not take them to be top-boots, bekase the bottoms has been put in so often that the tops is wore out intirely, and is no more like top-boots than my brogues. So I wint to a shop in Dublin, and picked out the purtiest pair o' top-boots I could seewhin I say purty, I don't mane a flourishin' taarin' pair, but sich as was fit for a priest, a respectable pair of boots-and with that I pulled out my good money to pay for thim, whin jist at that minit, remembering the thricks o' the town, I bethought o' myself, and, says I, 'I suppose these are the right thing?' says I to the man. 'You can thry them,' says he. 'How can I thry them?' says I. Pull them on you,' says he. "Throth, an' I'd be sorry,' says I, 'to take sich a liberty with them,' says I. 'Why, aren't you goin' to ware thim?' says he. 'Is it me?' says I. 'Me ware top-boots? Do you think it's taking lave of my sinsis I am?' says I. 'Then what do you want to buy them for?' says he. For his riverence, Father Kinshela,' says I. 'Are they the right sort for him?' 'How should I know?' says he. 'You're a purty bootmaker,' says I, 'not to know how to make a priest's boot!' 'How do I know his size?' says he. 'Oh, don't be comin' off that way,' says I. 'There's no sitch great differ betune priests and other min!'"

"I think you were very right there," said the pale traveller.

"To be sure," said Rory; "and it was only jist a come off for his own ignorance. 'Tell me his size,' says the fellow, ' and I'll fit him.' 'He's betune five and six feet,' says I. 'Most men are,' says he, laughin' at me. He was an impidint fellow. 'It's not the five, nor six, but his two feet I want to know the size of,' says he. So I persaived he was jeerin' me, and, says I, 'Why, then, you respectful vagabone o' the world, you Dublin jackeen! do you mane to insinivate that Father Kinshela ever wint bare-futted in his life, that I could know the size of his fut?' says I, and with that I threw the boots in his face. Take that,' says I, 'you dirty thief o' the world! You impidint vagabone o' the world! You ignorant citizen o' the world!' And with that I left the place."

“Well, sir, on laving the shop, as soon as I kem to myself afther the fellow's impidince, I begun to think what was the next best thing I could get for his riverence; and with that, while I was thinkin' about it, I seen a very respectable owld gintleman goin' by, with the most beautiful stick in his hand I ever set my eyes on, and a golden head to it that was worth its weight in gold; and it gev him such an iligant look altogether, that, says I to myself, 'It's the very thing for Father Kinshela, if I could get sitch another.'

"And so I wint lookin' about me every shop seen as I wint by, and at last, in a sthreet they call Dame Sthreetand, by the same token, I didn't know why they called it Dame Sthreet till I ax'd, and I was towld they called it Dame Sthreet bekase the ladies were so fond of walkin' there; and lovely craythurs they wor! And I can't b'lieve that the town is such an onwholesome place to live in, for

most o' the ladies I seen there had the most beautiful rosy cheeks I ever clapt my eyes upon—and the beautiful rowlin' eyes o' them! Well, it was in Dame Sthreet, as I was sayin', that I kem to a shop where there was a power o' sticks, and so I wint in and looked at thim, and a man in the place kem to me, and ax'd me if I wanted a cane. 'No,' says I, 'I don't want a cane; it's a stick I want,' says I. says he. 'No,' says I, 'it's a stick;' for have no cane, but to stick to the stick. says he. 'I don't want a nate one,' says I, 'but a responsible one,' says I. 'Faith!' says he, 'if an Irishman's stick was responsible, it would have a great dale to answer for.' And he laughed a power. I didn't know myself what he meant, but that's what he said."

'A cane, you mane, I was determined to Here's a nate one,'

"It was because you asked for a responsible stick," said the traveller.

"And why wouldn't I," said Rory, "when it was for his riverence I wanted it? Why wouldn't he have a nice-lookin', respectable, responsible stick?"

"Certainly," said the traveller.

"Well, I picked out one that looked to my likin'-a good substantial stick, with an ivory top to it-for I seen that the goold-headed ones was so dear I couldn't come up to them; and so says I, 'Give me howld o' that,' says I, and I tuk a grip with it. I never was so surprised in my life. I thought to get a good, brave handful of a solid stick, but, my dear, it was well it didn't fly out o' my hand a'most, it was so light. Phew!' says I, 'what sort of a stick is this?' 'I tell you it's not a stick, but a cane,' says he. "Faith! I b'lieve you,' says I. 'You see how good and light it is,' says he. Think o' that, sir! To call a stick good and light-as if there could be any good in life in a stick that wasn't heavy,

« 上一页继续 »