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instances of men dying for want; and there are a number of persons shut up in parish workhouses and debtors’ prisons ; but these are, in the first place, persons of no account, mere nobodies: and if nobody suffers nobody has a right to complain. Then as to prisoners and parish-paupers, we never saw such jollifications in our lives as within the walls of the King's Bench; while the paupers notoriously fare better than the independent labourers-to say nothing of the benefit of getting separated from their wives. Call you this poor?” But if they who have been tenderly and luxuriously brought up do not feel the ill effects of a reverse of fortune, those who have been used all their lives to distress must be even less objects of compassion: that, however, has nothing to do with our this day's business, and we shall pursue the matter no further. The fact is not the less valuable as explaining the careless indifference with which men run through their fortunes, and their constant antipathy to honest industry when they have done so. Why should men care for their property when they are independent of it ? or why should any person, in his senses, work for his bread when he can have it without working ? Here, then, we arrive at a new system of political economy, which relieves us at once of all the evils of commercial crises, agricultural distress, or unprovided labourers. We have nothing to do but to make each man's private bill a legal tender, enlarge the bankruptcy acts, and establish an insolvent court in every parish. You break to-day, and we, your creditors, keep never minding. To-morrow it will be our turn to stop payment, and the insolvent of yesterday will abide by the loss. Where all give mutual credit, the onus must be successively passed off from the shoulders of each individual, till it is lost in the crowd. Heartily, therefore, do we abjure a feeling we once embodied in an epigram :
“Of all the things on earth to which I bear most animosity,
There's nothing half so much I hate as impecuniosity.” That is an exploded error, and to be forsworn with popery and wooden shoes. Nobody is really poor but the man who is perpetually plodding to make money, and making himself miserable by hoarding it. So, hurrah for a paper-currency; make your half-crowns into silver-spoons ; keep your shillings to buy stamps; let “ the firstlings of your heart be the firstlings of your hand,” and draw for the amount at ninety-one days;
Hang sorrow, and cast away care,
THE SPINSTER'S NUMERATION TABLE.
There is scarcely an article of female gear which we do not find typified by numbers, for purposes of sale. Needles, shoes, ribbons, are threes, fives, sevens, or sixes, in the jargon of the counter; and Whitechapel fours bring instantly to the mind of the sempstress the little implements of industry with which she plies her trade.
With small leisure to indulge in diffuse amplification, we have long been compelled to shorten the labours of our brain, by classifying men and things in an artificial order of arrangements, till our study of human nature has become as methodical as botany or mineralogy. Women
for instance, are typified in our mind's eve by numerals. Fair fifteen brings instantly before our ideal contemplation the unformed long-armed girl, whose voice is so sweet, whose complexion so unsullied; iu doubt on what chair to seat herself, and touching every object near her, even the folds of her own dress, to disguise her shyness; just as ninety summons up the toothless, sputtering, weak-eyed, peevish fidgets, whose second childishness and mere oblivion are a burden to all the world.
It is from seventeen, however, that the numerals figuring the age of our spinster friends become emblematical of their persons and qualifications. We could make out a catalogue as circumstantial as one of George Robins's sale lists, were we not afraid of stirring up the wrath of the divinities numbered off. Suffice it to jot upon paper a few slight hints, from which every man may institute memoria technica of his own.
The spinster of 17. Vast notions of a love-match. Enthusiastic for Bayley's songs and pastoral poetry.
18. Complexion and spirits high. Addicted to archery, the “ Comic Annual,” and “Charming Woman.” Willing to accept every partner that offers in a ball-room, dance fourteen quadrilles in a night, and reject a proposal a day. Stanch to love in a cottage.
19. A trifle more refined in shape and taste. Love in a cottage renounced for love in a house in town.
20. Shyness gone, fastidiousness increased. An equipage indispensable.
21. Beginning to understand the meaning of the word younger brother. Anxious to postpone my sister's debut.
22. Softened in complexion, hardened in heart. Laces for a waist; and thinks it possible to marry for rank.
23. Fidgetty respecting Almack’s. A graceful glide substituted for the buoyant step of boisterous 18. Refuses a country squire, sighs for the drawing-room, and prattles about a diamond necklace.
24. The age of supreme loveliness and surpassing vanity ; beauty and elegance in full bloom.
25. Surprised at being still single, and beginning to count the conquests of the season. Figures in tableaux and charades,
26. Torments papa to pass the winter at Brighton, and give some dinner-parties. Rides showy horses in preference to her former airings with mamma.
27. Hair and shoulders growing rather thin. Ventures upon luncheon. Reads Mrs. Marcet, cultivates a flower-garden, and affects decided opinions.
28. Nose a little red before breakfast. Thinks it possible to marry a widower, and pass eight months of the year on his estate. Considers tableaux and charades silly things.
29. Hazards a second glass of wine at dinner, and takes an interest in the debates. Refuses to figure in a quadrille of beauty among the chits of the day. Brighton a frivolous gossiping place.
30. Thinks possible to pass ten months of the year in the country. Assumes a cap for morning visits, and reads tracts on the education of the poor.
31. Tries Leamington and a five-barred gate. Failure. Waist increased, smiles diminished by a speck upon a front tooth.
32. Serious. Quotes from Hannah More, and replaces the specked tooth with a Mallan. Thinks it possible to pass the year round in the country with a man one esteenis. Wonders how any body can care for diamonds.
33. Affects to patronize girls, and plays the chaperon. Presers men of a certain age. Reads Mrs. Somerville and frequents the Ventilator.
34. Flattered by the attentions of a boy of eighteen. “ Intellectual attainments defy all considerations of age. Accepts a stall at a fancy fair, and resumes pink ribbons.
35. A slight tint of rouge no harm by candlelight. Conversational, and a great acquisition in a country-house.
36. Calls herself nine-and-twenty, and would not be seen in a cap for the world. Takes to waltzing.
37. Keeps down the drawing-room blinds, and has the chariot new lined with yellow. Resumes the cotillon. Scraggy, fretful, and desperate.
38. Makes parties to Beulah Spa, and flirts by moonlight. Left in the lurch by an ensign of the guards.
39. Spends the season with a cousin in Yorkshire, where second-rate London graces prove a bad substitute for the bloom of youth.
40. Begins to busy herself about other people's affairs. Quotes the matrimonial squabbles of her married friends. Nose decidedly red ; lips decidedly blue.
41. Thanks her stars that she is single. Threadpapers and housewife ordered to lie on the table, and a tabby cat under it.
42. Indignant when told how well she wears. Attends church twice of a Sunday.
43. Takes a constitutional walk before breakfast, and antibilious pills before dinner.
44. Tries Harrogate for the erysipelas; and indulges in a snooze in her own room after dinner.
45. Goes to service on Wednesdays and Fridays, or daily, if in a cathedral town. Takes salvolatile in her tea.
46. Swears eternal friendship to a spinster friend, and keeps a cage of cavary birds. Reads the “ Eclectic Review."
47. Gives weekly tea-parties, and cultivates the saintly affection of Dr. Humgoose.
48. Weeps cataracts at the discourses of dear Dr. Humgoose, and snoozes openly after an early dinner.
49. Gratified to be told how well she wears. Makes her will. Leaves all to her beloved Arabella, except an annuity to the cat and canarybirds.
50 Startled by a proposal from dear Dr. Humgoose. Consults Arabella, and determines to remain single.
51. Alters her will on learning that her beloved Arabella has become Mrs. Humgoose.
52. Survives the cats and canaries, and takes a companion.
53. Triumphs at hearing how the Humgooses are cheated by their servants, and sets the companion to watch the giddy thing who lodges next door.
54. Settles at Bath. Escapes the blue devils by becoming a blue.
55. Assumes brevet rank. Becomes an esprit fort, and is thenceforward classed in our minds with beings of an epicene gender.
WHANGHO: A TALE OF CHINA.
In the reign of Ven-tee, the mighty emperor of China, at the mention of whose name all the inhabitants of the earth do intensely tremble, lived Whangho, the son of Poki. He was a mandarin of the seventeenth class, and had been promoted to the honour of the striped button, as a special mark of distinction, and a reward for the singular sagacity he displayed in pointing out a method of removing an occasion of public disquiet.
Whangho resided in the island of Tchee-ho, situated in the midst of the great river Yang-tse-kiang, and he enjoyed the supreme felicity of purveying frogs for the emperor's table, which frogs were of a large and peculiar kind, and existed in abundance among the reeds for which the islands of this river are celebrated.
Now Whangho was passing rich in the enjoyment of the luxuries of life, his palace consisted of three apartments, the walls were of mud, interlaced with reeds, and of food he had a superfluity, for he was allowed for his table, as a perquisite of his office, such of the frogs as died of themselves; and rumour said that death inevitably overtook the finest and fattest of the speckled race; but this was possibly mere calumny, for what says Kong-foo-tchee--" Though thy tail sweep the ground, yet shall it not escape the tongue of scandal.” Once a week the mandarin indulged in the enjoyment of bears’-paws, to which, in the great feasts of the new-year and of lanterns, were added the fins of sharks and birds' nests from Cambodia.
We have seen that Whangho was wealthy, but, alas ! he was not happy! Three circumstances disturbed the tranquillity of his life: the feet of his wife measured seven inches in length; the rats increased in such numbers that his depopulated reservoirs scarcely furnished the allotted number of frogs for the daily supply of the emperor's table, due regard being had to the previous and recognised claim of the mandarin to his own share of the long-toed natant race; and thirdly, on three successive days had a beauteous tadpole, whose eyes of gold and black dazzled strangely the optics of the astonished Whangho, lifted its head out the water, and thus addressed him-“He who would find the liquor of immortality must seek it in the island of Tchee-lang!”—and as it sculled away left in the water a ripple that assumed alternately the shape of a tcha, a blue button, and a peacock’s feather.
This threefold tribulation very much disturbed the equanimity of our worthy mandarin, and caused a sad alteration in the disposition of his time ; for whereas, he had in conformity with the custom of his ancestors, devoted twelve hours of his day and night to sleep, and twelve to profound contemplation—the former were reduced to eight, and the latter increased to sixteen, to the injury of his repose, and the scandal of his household.
In this quandary he resolved upon consulting his wife, who, if she had a long foot, had a still longer head, and had often helped him with her advice in cases of difficulty. It would be well if barbarian eyes would follow his example in this respect, if indeed they are sufficiently civilised to possess wives, although the renowned sage, Lao-tse seems to infer, in some of his writings, that knowledge, which emanates from the centre of the world, and thence progresses over the whole face of the earth, even as the circles which proceed from a stone cast into the water extend until the undulations lave the remotest shore of the river, has already given to the barbarous nations some obscure notion of the difference of the sexes, and even that they already begin to appreciate small feet !-a prodigious march of intellect, when we consider that the fashion has existed in the celestial empire only fifteen thousand years !
To his wife's apartment Whangho accordingly proceeded, and having performed forty-two genuflexions on passing the effigy of his father, and received thirty-nine sound blows of a bamboo from the hand of his mother, daily administered for the last thirty years--the punishment for having forgotten to bow to the empty chair of his father-he passed into his wife's presence; to her he unfolded two of the causes of his grief, wisely considering that he could obtain no consolation, on the score of the large feet, from her who was the innocent wearer of the odious appendage.
He arrived opportunely at the termination of the four hours which his wife devoted to smoking the fragrant weed—the last sigh which concluded his story, and the last puff from her mouth, having mingled together in the air, she thus addressed him
“ Discreet Whangho! shadow of the mighty emperor, before whose glances the stars veil their ineffectual light, and at whose nod the tide ceases to flow; knowest thou not that the master of thy thoughts has joined himself to the sect of Tao-tcse, that he diligently seeks the liquor of immortality, and that a knowledge of its secret spring has been hidden from his researches ? Pursue the bidding of the frog-elect, and secure the prize which shall elevate thee to the highest diguities, for if thy fortunate plan for the right correction of infanticide has already procured thee the striped button, what honours shall not await thee if thou shouldst be the happy instrument of conveying to the emperor that immortality which he too much honours by a desire to enjoy !”
Whangho was well pleased with the advice of his wife, for besides that he wanted not ambition, he knew that in the island of Tchee-lang lived a maiden whose slipper measured less by an inch than any other in the whole province of Hou-Quang; he secretly resolved to procure her for his wife, reflecting, that if he failed to reconcile his first wife to the measure, he could divorce her, the mourning for his father having luckily terminated previous to his marriage.
The early dawn of the next day saw the boat of the mandarin gallantly impelled by four rowers, whose hearts were gladdened and arms invigorated by the unwonted good cheer provided for them by the liberal Whangho.
Our mandarin arrived in due time at the island of Tchee-lang, and paid a formal visit to the governor, who, in consideration of the impatience of his superior of the striped button, he himself having attained but to the decoration of the rice-ear, reduced the duration of the solemnities to eighteen hours, such being the shortest time possible in accordance with the regulations of the Lipoo; these ceremonies over, Whangho communicates his business to the governor, and solicits an interview with his fair daughter Shan-yin, determined to avail himself