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observant man. There is a bustling Dowager wheedling and manæuvring to get proper partners for her girls ; there is a pretty girl enjoying herself with all her heart, and in all the pride of her beauty, than which I know no more charming object; there is poor Miss Meggot, lonely up against the wall, whom nobody asks to dance, and with whom it is your bounden duty to waltz. There is always something to see or do, when you are there; and to evening-parties, I say, you must go.
Perhaps I speak with the ease of an old fellow who is out of the business, and beholds you from afar off. My dear boy, they don't want us at evening-parties. A stout, bald-headed man dancing, is a melancholy object to himself in the lookingglass opposite, and there are duties and pleasures of all ages. Once, heaven help us, and only once, upon my honor, and I say so as a gentleman, some boys seized upon me and carried me to the Casino, where, forthwith, they found acquaintances and partners, and went whirling away in the double-timed waltz (it is an abominable dance to me - I am an old fogy) along with hundreds more. I caught sight of a face in the crowd the most blank, melancholy, and dreary old visage it was — my own face in the glass - there was no use in my being there. Canities adest morosa no, not morosa but, in fine, I had no business in the place, and so came away.
I saw enough of that Casino, however, to show to me that
but my paper is full, and on the subject of women I have more things to say, which might fill many hundred more pages.
SOME MORE WORDS ABOUT THE LADIES.
SUFFER me to continue, my dear Bob, our remarks about women, and their influence over you young fellows an influence so vast, for good or for evil.
I have, as you pretty well know, an immense sum of money in the Three per Cents, the possession of which does not, I think, decrease your respect for my character, and of which, at my demise, you will possibly have your share. But if I ever hear of you as a Casino haunter, as a frequenter of Races and Greenwich Fairs, and such amusements, in questionable company, I give you my honor you shall benefit by no legacy of mine, and I will divide the portion that was, and is, I hope, to be yours, amongst your sisters.
Think, sir, of what they are, and of your mother at home, spotless and pious, loving and pure, and shape your own course so as to be worthy of them. Would you do anything to give them pain? Would you say anything that should bring a blush to their fair cheeks, or shock their gentle natures ? At the Royal Academy Exhibition last year, when that great stupid, dandified donkey, Captain Grigg, in company with the other vulgar oaf, Mr. Gowker, ventured to stare, in rather an insolent manner, at your pretty little sister Fanny, who had come blushing from Miss Pinkerton's Academy, I saw how your honest face flushed up with indignation, as you caught a sight of the hideous grins and ogʻles of those two ruffians in varnished boots; and your eyes flashed out at them glances of defiance and warning so savage and terrible, that the discomfited wretches turned wisely upon their heels, and did not care to face such a resolute young champion as Bob Brown. What is it that makes all your blood tingle, and fills all your heart with a vague and fierce desire to thrash somebody, when the idea of the possibility of an insult to that fair creature enters your mind? You can't bear to think that injury should be done to a being so sacred, so innocent, and so defenceless. You would do battle with a Goliath in her cause. Your sword would leap from its scabbard (that is, if you gentlemen from Pump Court wore swords and scabbards at the present period of time,) to avenge or defend her.
Respect all beauty, all innocence, my dear Bob; defend all defencelessness in your sister, as in the sisters of other men. We have all heard the story of the Gentleman of the last century, who, when a crowd of young bucks and bloods in the Crush-room of the Opera were laughing and elbowing an old lady there - an old lady, lonely, ugly, and unprotected - went up to her respectfully and offered her his arm, took her down to his own carriage which was in waiting, and walked home himself in the rain, and twenty years afterwards had ten thousand a year left him hy this very old lady, as a reward for that one act of politeness. We have all heard that story ; nor do I think it is probable that you will have ten thousand a year left to you for being polite to a woman: but I say, be polite, at any rate. Be respectful to every woman. A manly and generous heart can be no otherwise ; as a man would be gentle with a child, or take off his hat in a church. I would have you apply this principle universally towards
- from the finest lady of your acquaintance down to the laundress who sets your Chambers in order. It may safely be
but not you.
asserted that the persons who joke with servants or barmaids at lodgings are not men of a high intellectual or moral capacity. To chuck a still-room maid under the chin, or to send off Molly the cook grinning, are not, to say the least of them, dignified acts in any gentleman. The butcher-boy who brings the legof-mutton to Molly, may converse with her over the area-railings; or the youthful grocer may exchange a few jocular remarks with Betty at the door as he hands in to her the tea and sugar ;
We must live according to our degree. I hint this to you, sir, by the way, and because the other night, as I was standing on the drawing-room landing-place, taking leave of our friends Mr. and Mrs. Fairfax, after a very agreeable dinner, I heard a giggling in the hall, where you were putting on your coat, and where that uncommonly good-looking parlormaid was opening the door. And here, whilst on this subject, and whilst Mrs. Betty is helping you on with your coat, I would say, respecting your commerce with friends' servants and your own, be thankful to them, and they will be grateful to you in return, depend upon it. Let the young fellow who lives in lodgings respect the poor little maid who does the wondrous work of the house, and not send her on too many errands, or ply his bell needlessly: if you visit any of your comrades in such circumstances, be you, too, respectful and kind in your tone to the poor little Abigail. If you frequent houses, as I hope you will, where are many good fellows and amiable ladies who cannot afford to have their doors opened or their tables attended by men, pray be particularly courteous (though by no means so marked in your attentions as on the occasion of the dinner at Mr. Fairfax's to which I have just alluded) to the women-servants. Thank them when they serve you.
Give them a half-crown now and then - nay, as often as your means will permit. Those small gratuities make but a small sum in your year's expenses, and it may be said that the practice of giving them never impoverished a man yet: and, on the other hand, they give a deal of innocent happiness to a very worthy, active, kind set of folks.
But let us hasten from the hall-door to the drawing-room, where Fortune has cast your lot in life: I want to explain to you why I am so anxious that you should devote yourself to that amiable lady who sits in it. Sir, I do not mean to tell you that there are no women in the world vulgar and ill-humored, rancorous and narrow-minded, mean schemers, son-in-law hunters, slaves of fashion, hypocrites; but I do respect, admire, and almost worship good women ; and I think there is a very fair number of such to be found in this world, and I have no doubt, in every educated Englishman's circle of society, whether he finds that circle in palaces in Belgravia and May Fair, in snug little suburban villas, in ancient comfortable old Bloomsbury, or in back parlors behind the shop. It has been my fortune to meet with excellent English ladies in every one of these places wives graceful and affectionate, matrons tender and good, daughters happy and pure-minded, and I urge the society of such on you, because I defy you to think evil in their company. Walk into the drawing-room of Lady Z., that great lady : look at her charming face, and hear her voice. You know that she can't but be good, with such a face and such a voice. She is one of those fortunate beings on whom it has pleased heaven to bestow all sorts of its most precious gifts and richest worldly favors. With what grace she receives you ; with what a frank kindness and natural sweetness and dignity ! Her looks, her motions, her words, her thoughts, all seem to be beautiful and harmonious quite. See her with her children, what woman can be more simple and loving? After you have talked to her for a while, you very likely find that she is ten times as well read as you are: she has a hundred accomplishments which she is not in the least anxious to show off, and makes no more account of them than of her diamonds, or of the splendor round about her - to all of which she is born, and has a happy, admirable claim of nature and possession — admirable and happy for her and for us too; for is it not a happiness for us to admire her? Does anybody grudge her excellence to that paragon? Sir, we may be thankful to be admitted to contemplate such consummate goodness and beauty : and as in looking at a fine landscape or a fine work of art, every generous heart must be delighted and improved, and ought to feel grateful afterwards, so one may feel charmed and thankful for having the opportunity of knowing an almost perfect woman. Madam, if the gout and the custom of the world permitted, I would kneel down and kiss the hem of your ladyship’s robe. To see your gracious face is a comfort — to see you walk to your carriage is a holiday. Drive her faithfully, O thou silver-wigged coachman! drive to all sorts of splendors and honors and royal festivals. And for us, let us be glad that we should have the privilege to admire her.
Now, transport yourself in spirit, my good Bob, into another drawing-room. There sits an old lady of more than fourscore years, serene and kind, and as beautiful in her age now as in her youth, when History toasted her. What has she not seen,
and what is she not ready to tell ? All the fame and wit, all the rank and beauty, of more than half a century, have passed through those rooms where you have the honor of making your best bow. She is as simple now as if she had never had any flattery to dazzle her : she is never tired of being pleased and being kind. Can that have been anything but a good life which, after more than eighty years of it are spent, is so calm? Could she look to the end of it so cheerfully, if its long course had not been pure? Respect her, I say, for being so happy, now that she is old. We do not know what goodness and charity, what affections, what trials, may have gone to make that charming sweetness of temper, and complete that perfect manner. But if we do not admire and reverence such an old age as that, and get good from contemplating it, what are we to respect and admire ?
Or shall we walk through the shop (while N. is recommending a tall copy to an amateur, or folding up a twopennyworth of letter-paper, and bowing to a poor customer in a jacket and apron with just as much respectful gravity as he would show while waiting upon a Duke,) and see Mrs. N. playing with the child in the back parlor until N. shall come in to tea? They drink tea at five o'clock; and are actually as well bred as those gentlefolks who dine three hours later. Or will you please to step into Mrs. J.'s lodgings, who is waiting, and at work, until her husband comes home from Chambers ? She blushes and puts the work away on hearing the knock, but when she sees who the visitor is, she takes it with a smile from behind the sofa cushion, and behold, it is one of J.'s waistcoats, on which she is sewing buttons. She might have been a Countess blazing in diamonds, had Fate so willed it, and the higher her station the more she would have adorned it. But she looks as charming while plying her needle as the great lady in the palace whose equal she is, — in beauty, in goodness, in high-bred grace and simplicity : at least, I can't fancy her better, or any Peeress being more than her peer.
And it is with this sort of people, my dear Bob, that I recommend you to consort, if you can be so lucky as to meet with their society nor do I think you are very likely to find many such at the Casino; or in the dancing-booths of Greenwich Fair on this present Easter Monday.