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But oh! what a charming article there was in a Washington paper next day about the impertinence of criticism and offensive tone of arrogance which Englishmen adopted towards men and works of genius in America! “Who was this man, who” &c. &c. ? The Washington writer was angry because I would not accept this American claret as the finest port-wine in the world. Ah me! It is about blood and not wine that the quarrel now is, and who shall foretell its end ?
How much claret that would be port if it could is handed about in every society! In the House of Commons what smallbeer orators try to pass for strong? Stay: have I a spite against any one? It is a fact that the wife of the Member for Bungay has left off asking me and Mrs. Roundabout to her evening-parties. Now is the time to have a slap at him. I will say that he was always overrated, and that now he is lamentably falling off even from what he has been. I will back the Member for Stoke Poges against him; and show that the dashing young Member for Islington is a far sounder man than either. Have I any little literary animosities? Of course not. Men of letters never have. Otherwise, how I could serve out a competitor here, make a face over his works, and show that this would-be port is very meagre ordinaire indeed ! Nonsense, man! Why so squeamish? Do they spare you! Now you have the whip in your hand, won't you lay on? You used to be a pretty whip enough as a young man, and liked it too. Is there no enemy who would be the better for a little thonging ? No. I have militated in former times, not without glory; but I grow peaceable as I grow old. And if I have a literary enemy, why, he will probably write a book ere long, and then it will be his turn, and my favorite review will be down upon him.
My brethren, these sermons are professedly short; for I have that opinion of my dear congregation, which leads me to think that were I to preach at great length they would yawn, stamp, make noises, and perhaps go straightway out of church ; and yet with this text I protest I could go on for hours. What multitudes of men, what multitudes of women, my dears, pass off their ordinaire for port, their small beer for strong! In literature, in politics, in the army, the navy, the church, at the bar, in the world, what an immense quantity of cheap liquor is made to do service for better sorts ! Ask Serjeant Roland his opinion of Oliver Q.C. " Ordinaire, my good fellow, ordinaire, with a port-wine label !” Ask Oliver his opinion of Roland. " Never was a man so overrated by the world and by himself.”
Ask Tweedledumski his opinion of Tweedledeestein's performance. “ A quack, my tear sir! an ignoramus, I geef you my vort? He gombose an opera! He is not fit to make dance a bear !” Ask Paddington and Buckminster, those two “ swells ” of fashion, what they think of each other? They are notorious ordinaire. You and I remember when they passed for very small wine, and now how high and mighty they have becon What do you say to Tomkins's sermons ? Ordinaire, trying to go down as orthodox port, and very meagre ordinaire too! To Hopkins's historical works? — to Pumkins's poetry? Ordinaire, ordinaire again — thin, feeble, overrated ; and so down the whole list. And when we have done discussing our men friends, have we not all the women? Do these not advance absurd pretensions? Do these never give themselves airs? With feeble brains, don't they often set up to be esprits forts ? Don't they pretend to be women of fashion, and cut their betters? Don't they try and pass off their ordinary-looking girls as beauties of the first order? Every man in his circle knows women who give themselves airs, and to whom we can apply the port-wine simile.
Come, my friends. Here is enough of ordinaire and port for to-day. My bottle has run out. Will anybody have any more? Let us go up stairs, and get a cup of tea from the ladies.
I DARE say the reader has remarked that the upright and independent vowel, which stands in the vowel-list between E and 0, has formed the subject of the main part of these essays. How does that vowel feel this morning? – fresh, good-humored, and lively? The Roundabout lines, which fall from this pen, are correspondingly brisk and cheerful. Has anything, on the contrary, disagreed with the vowel ? Has its rest been disturbed, or was yesterday's dinner too good, or yesterday's wine not good enough? Under such circumstances, a darkling, misanthropic tinge, no doubt, is cast upon the paper. The jokes, if attempted, are elaborate and dreary. The bitter temper breaks out. That sneering manner is adopted, which you know, and which exhibits itself so especially when the writer is speaking about women. A moody carelessness comes over him. He
sees no good in anybody or thing : and treats gentlemen, ladies, history, and things in general, with a like gloomy flippancy. Agreed. When the vowel in question is in that mood, if you like airy gayety and tender gushing benevolence - if you want to be satisfied with yourself and the rest of your fellow-beings; I recommend you, my dear creature, to go to some other shop in Cornhill, or turn to some other article. There are moods in the mind of the vowel of which we are speaking, when it is illconditioned and captions. Who always keeps good health, and good humor? Do not philosophers grumble? Are not sages sometimes out of temper? and do not angel-women go off in tantrums? To-day my mood is dark. I scowl as I dip my pen in the inkstand.
Here is the day come round — for everything here is done with the utmost regularity :- intellectual labor, sixteen hours ; meals, thirty-two minutes; exercise, a hundred and forty-eight minutes ; conversation with the family, chiefly literary, and about the housekeeping, one hour and four minutes ; sleep, three hours and fifteen minutes (at the end of the month, when the Magazine is complete, I own I take eight minutes more); and the rest for the toilette and the world. Well, I say, the Roundabout Paper Day being come, and the subject long since settled in my mind, an excellent subject - a most telling, lively, and popular subject - I go to breakfast determined to finish that meal in 9 minutes, as usual, and then retire to my desk and work, when oh, provoking! — here in the paper is the very subject treated, on which I was going to write! Yesterday another paper which I saw treated it — and of course, as I need not tell you, spoiled it. Last Saturday, another paper had an article on the subject; perhaps you may guess what it
- but I won't tell you. Only this is true, my favorite subject, which was about to make the best paper we have had for a long time: my bird, my game that I was going to shoot and serve up with such a delicate sauce, has been found by other sportsmen ; and pop, pop, pop, a half-dozen of guns have banged at it, mangled it, and brought it down.
And can't you take some other text?” say you. All this is mighty well. But if you have set your heart on a certain dish for dinner, be it cold boiled veal, or what you will, and they bring you turtle and venison, don't you feel disappointed? During your walk you have been making up your mind that that cold meat, with moderation and a pickle, will be a very sufficient dinner : you have accustomed your thoughts to it; and here, in place of it, is a turkey, surrounded by coarse sausages,
or a reeking pigeon-pie or a fulsome roast-pig. I have known many a good and kind man made furiously angry by such a contretemps. I have known him lose his temper, call his wife and servants names, and a whole household made miserable. If, then, as is notoriously the case, it is too dangerous to balk a man about his dinner, how much more about his article? I came to my meal with an ogre-like appetite and gusto. Fee, faw, fum! Wife, where is that tender little Princekin? Have you trussed him, and did you stuff him nicely, and have you taken care to baste him and do him, not too brown, as I told you? Quick! I am hungry! I begin to whet my knife, to roll my eyes about, and roar and clap my huge chest like a gorilla ; and then my poor Ogrina has to tell me that the little princes have all run away, whilst she was in the kitchen, making the paste to bake them in! I pause in the description. I won't condescend to report the bad language, which you know must ensue, when an ogre, whose mind is ill regulated, and whose habits of self-indulgence are notorious, finds himself disappointed of his greedy hopes. What treatment of his wife, what abuse and brutal behavior to his children, who, though ogrillons, are children! My dears, you may fancy, and need not ask my delicate pen to describe, the language and behavior of a vulgar, coarse, greedy, large man with an immense mouth and teeth, which are too frequently employed in the gobbling and crunching of raw man's meat.
And in this circuitous way you see I have reached my present subject, which is, Ogres. You fancy they are dead or only fictitious characters — mythical representatives of strength, cruelty, stupidity, and lust for blood ? Though they had sevenleagued boots, you remember all sorts of little whipping-snapping Tom Thumbs used to elude and outrun them. They were so stupid that they gave into the most shallow ambuscades and artifices : witness that well-known ogre, who, because Jack cut open the hasty-pudding, instantly ripped open his own stupid waistcoat and interior. They were cruel, brutal, disgusting, with their sharpened teeth, immense knives, and roaring voices ! but they always ended by being overcome by little Tom Thumbkins, or some other smart little champion.
Yes; they were conquered in the end there is no doubt. They plunged headlong (and uttering the most frightful bad language) into some pit where Jack came with his smart couteau de chasse and whipped their brutal heads off. They would be going to devour maidens,
“But ever when it seemed
Their need was at the sorest,
Came riding through the forest.”
And down, after a combat, would go the brutal persecutor, with a lance through his midriff. Yes, I say, this is very true and well. But you remember that round the ogre's cave the ground was covered, for hundreds and hundreds of yards, with the bones of the victims whom he had lured into the castle. Many knights and maids came to him and perished under his knife and teeth. Were dragons the same as ogres? monsters dwelling in caverns, whence they rushed, attired in plate armor, wielding pikes and torches, and destroying stray passengers who passed by their lair? Monsters, brutes, rapacious tyrants, rullians, as they were, doubtless they ended by being overcome. But, before they were destroyed, they did a deal of mischief. The bones round their caves were countless. They had sent many brave souls to Hades, before their own fled, howling out of their rascal carcasses, to the same place of gloom.
There is no greater mistake than to suppose that fairies, champions, distressed damsels, and by consequence ogres, have ceased to exist. It may not be ogreable to them (pardon the horrible pleasantry, but as I am writing in the solitude of my chamber, I am grinding my teeth — yelling, roaring, and cursing – brandishing my scissors and paper-cutter, and as it were, have become an ogre). I say there is no greater mistake than to suppose that ogres
have ceased to exist. We all know ogres. Their caverns are round us, and about us. There are the castles of several ogres within a mile of the spot where I write. I think some of them suspect I am an ogre myself. I am not: but I know they are.
I visit them. I don't mean to say that they take a cold roast prince out of the cupboard, and have a cannibal feast before me. But I see the bones lying about the roads to their houses, and in the areas and gardens. Politeness, of course, prevents me from making any remarks; but I know them well enough. One of the ways to know 'em is to watch the scared looks of the ogres' wives and children. They lead an awful life. They are present at dreadful cruelties. In their excesses those ogres will stab about, and kill not only strangers who happen to call in and ask a night's lodging, but they will outrage, murder, and chop up their own kin. We all know ogres, I say, and have been in their dens often. It is not necessary that ogres who ask you to dine should offer their guests the peculiar dish which they like. They cannot always