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kindred feelings, which solace the little for the overthrow of the great, and the unsuccessful aspirant is heard no more. He may talk, for the rest of his parliamentary existence, good sense in the committee-rooms, set the country gentleman right, and be of much quiet utility. But he has failed as a debater; he has lost the race with all the odds in his favour : the swift-footed Salius outstripped by the beardless Euryalus-Menander conquered by Philemon, with whom, an hour or two before, he would have scorned a competition.
I have lived long enough to witness many similar exemplifications of the fallacy of our estimates. In truth, the House of Commons is a test too severe for the sensitiveness of real genius. It is exposing the gilded gondola, whose oars, dashing upon the unruffled canal to the melody of voices, and the music of instruments, carried her exultingly along—it is exposing her to the rude and shifting gales of the Adriatic. I have, in imagination, followed the unsuccessful man of talent to his troubled couch, his month's preparation of graceful eloquence, worse than lost, and all his aspirings perhaps quenched for ever ; and I have thought of cities laid waste, and overthrown; and of Servius Sulpicius's letter to Cicero, detailing his melancholy, but beautiful reflections on the ruins of Megara and Corinth, and other places, swallowed up
in that grave
of empires, where there is no more knowledge, and no more devices.
Richard Sharpe was, I think, in acuteness and penetration, confessedly the first of the King of Clubs. He indulged but rarely in pleasantry ; but when any thing of the kind escaped him, it was sure to tell. It delighted us all by its unexpectedness. I remember one evening, when we were talking about Tweddel,* then a student in the Temple, who had distinguished himself over every competitor at Cambridge, had carried off every prize, and was the senior wrangler,
* He travelled into Greece, to explore the antiquities of that interesting country, and died at Athens-Athenis suis-as was inscribed upon his tomb. He was buried in the Temple of Theseus. His “ Prolusiones,” a youthful work, was afterwards published, with a biographica} notice, by his brother.
and medalist of his year.
Tweddel was not a little intoxicated with his university triumphs. Some one happened to remark, that his head was quite turned by his academic honours, and that, in the circles of the metropolis, he was wont to assume an air, and tone of superiority, which did not rightfully belong, and was by no means cordially conceded, to him. · Poor fellow!' exclaimed Sharpe," he will soon find that his Cambridge medals will not pass as current coin in London.”
I cannot call to my recollection every name that stood upon our list. The Club still exists, and boasts amongst its members, Lord Holland, Lord Lansdowne, and several men of rank and talent. But, at the period to which I refer, the most frequent attendants, besides Sharpe, Bobus Smith, and Mackintosh, were Scarlett (the present Attorney-General), Sam Rogers, the Pleasures of Memory Rogers, honest John Allen, brother of the bluest of blues, (Lady Mackintosh) M. Dumont, a French emigrant of distinction, the friend and correspondent of the Abbé de Lisle, author of Les Jardins, whose verses he was some
what apt to recite, with most interminable perseverance, in spite of yawns, and other symptoms of dislike, which his own politeness (for he was a highly-bred man) forbade him to interpret into the absence of it in others.
In this respect, however, he was outdone by Wishart, who was nothing but quotation, and whose prosing, when he did converse, was like the torpedo's touch to all pleasing and lively converse; and by Charles Butler, who, having seen, in the course of a lengthened life, a vast variety of character, had treasured up a considerable assortment of reminiscences, which, when once set a-going, came out like a torrent upon you. It was a sort of shower-bath, that inundated you the moment you pulled the string.
These were all men of extensive reading, and some of profound erudition. Yet, as a Club, it was somewhat too literary; and the conversation was such, as to exclude the topics, out of which the thin and many-coloured tissue of light and flowing talk is spun in more micellaneous societies; it gave the professed talkers too much opportunity of wasting the hours of easy and elegant recreation in verbal disputes, and metaphysical refinements; a long and tedious citation from books, which they had committed to memory in the morning, for the colloquy of the evening. How we (that is the younger and more social members) used to bite our lips in pure vexation, and, staring in each others faces,
“ Sit in sad civility and hear.”
We felt it as an abominable shame, that the short season we could spare from the still-recurring round of our morning labours, should entail on us this voluntary taxation of our jaded faculties, after they had run their stage, and required to be unharnessed, or, if called out, to be exercised merely in the short and easy excursions of the table.
But our circle was often enlarged by visitors, and their attendance was so frequent, that some of them might be considered as actual members. They sometimes brought us accessions of lively and various constitution, and it was a dull evening without them. Lord Erskine, then Mr.