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of near a century's growth. The hilarity, the wit, the mirth of each succeeding generation, are the seeds of its conservation. I shall conclude my rapid, but I trust authentic, sketch of it, with an aspiration not unbecoming the piety of one of its children.-ESTO PERPETUA !
LITERARY AND BLUE-STOCKING
If there be any pleasure in contrast, my reader shall now enjoy it. In transition from the ancient, genial fraternity, whose memoirs I have just attempted to transcribe, and in which the genuine Club-spirit has resided, like an imprisoned essence, for the best part of a century, I shall proceed to give some account of a soi-disant Literary Club, which, perhaps, may answer equally well as a description of many other assemblies of the same class. Of all solemn bores, these learned Clubs are the most oppressive : they have little or no admixture of the natural and characteristic humours of man: the mind never sits there in its dishabille, but struts and marches in full-dressed coxcombry. So much talking, and so little said! Every one failing, because every one is attempting; in a word, so little of the Club-feeling, which demands the postponement of our petty self-loves to the general gratification, and strikes only in unison with the feelings and sentiments of all !
Literary Societies, therefore, had long sickened me, and I had resolved to keep clear of them for the residue of my natural life. But see the inanity of human vows! I was strongly urged not long ago by a friend, whom I highly value, to dine with him at a certain Club, consisting only of literary men, each of whom had written volumes, and had been registered high in the tablets of fame, and he promised me an intellectual treat of the highest order. Though long habits of thinking had made me diffident of such dainties, in a weak moment I consented, and accompanied him, that very day, to the ThatchedHouse in St. James's Street.
Gladly would I have retracted, for it shortly afterwards recurred to me, that my own dinner, on that day, was a select miscellany, precisely corresponding to my most cherished likings. In her amiable reminiscence of all that ministers to my comforts, my better half, having noted on my lips sundry approving ejaculations at one or two dishes, dressed in superior taste, at some tables where we had lately dined, had enlarged her neat and frugal repast, by an innocent plagiary from what she had observed me to admire. Besides, I could always, in my own house, rely on finding a snug bottle of pleasing Port, a tranquillizing refuge from a moderate dinner, but a most exquisite consummation to a good one.
It was that very wine which used to inspire my friend, Jack Taylor, with the same invariable bad pun, Inveni portum, as he put out his hand to the decanter.
As for the sensual part of the literary banquet, I had some sinister forebodings of its turning out a woeful contrast to the nicely elaborated delicacies, and the honest Port, that awaited me at home. Nor was I
Willis did not think it became him to furnish a very good dinner to gentlemen, whose wonted diet is with the Gods. It seemed to consist of memorandums of several by-gone entertainments, warmed up again, and retaining the semblance of what they once were, though their flavour and quality had walked
quietly off in the process. As for the wine, he gave us the inferior quality which, I am told, he keeps expressly for such parties, and which those who frequent his house, have christened “ the Philosopher's Port.” It had, to say. the truth, a strong dash of philosophy or something else in it.
And who can blame him for not dispensing his best wines to palates too unpractised to give them “homage due ?” Then it was, that my little domestic preparations, and my own bottle of quiet Port, from which I had been so wanton a recreant, rushed upbraidingly on my recollection! But stop till the cloth is removed. Then for the corruscation and play of intellect; the electric flash of wit; the condensed sententious wisdom; those gentle and fertilizing distillations, that fall from the lips of highly-gifted men, when they pause from their severer studies in pleasing converse with congenial spirits. Nothing of this. The master-minds of the age talked, debated, and prosed; but not a word was uttered that was worth remembering. It might be a feast of reason, but it was fit only for a Barme