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nessed loquacity that equalled it. Jedediah Buxton, who reckoned all the lines spoken by Garrick in Hamlet, then divided them into words, and then again into syllables and letters, would have given up Jack in despair. As to the French philosopher, who held that our existence is shortened by every word we articulate-had that theory been a sound one, Jack would never have arrived at manhood. A stage in which I was travelling took him up at his country residence, and it was beyond measure diverting to see the unavailing efforts of the other passengers to get in a word; and the coachman told me, that, upon one occasion, when Jack was the only inside passenger, he happened to open the door, and found him talking at his accustomed rate. But all this is no derogation from his numerous good qualities; nor does a sounder understanding exist. Could you but get at the deliberate suffrage of that understanding, through the mazy surplusage of his words, it would not mislead you in any matter, however it might concern your weal or your woe. Nor in that stream of talk was there ever mingled one drop of malignity, nor of unkind censure upon the erring or unhappy. He would as soon adulterate his glass of port wine with water, as dash that honest, though incessant prattle, with one malevolent or ungenerous remark.
Do you like song, pure, simple song, as it wells forth from its English fountain, unmixed with foreign and fantastic refinements? William Linley will charm you at the Beef-Steaks.* He
* The following elegant sonnet was addressed to Linley, by one, who described as a poet what he felt as
It was written on hearing him sing one of Purcell's anthems.
TO WILLIAM LINLEY, ESQ. While my young cheek retains its healthful hues,
And I have many friends who hold me dear,
Linley! methinks, I would not often hear
For which my miserable brethren weep!
But should uncomforted misfortunes steep
With no beloved face at my bed-side,
Methinks, such strains, breathed by my angel-guide, Would make me pass the cup of anguish by,
Mix with the blest, nor know that I had died !
despises (perhaps too much) the modern Italian school; he is indignantly impatient of the frivolous English compositions of the present day.
the light airs, and re-collected terms Of these most brisk and giddy-paced times.”
A melody of Arne's, or of Jackson's of Exeter, or a simple air of his father's, he executes to admiration; and, amidst all the revolutions and vicissitudes of the art, he has been found faithful to the characteristic chastity of the style of singing peculiar to the Linley family. I had never the good fortune to hear his sister, Mrs. Sheridan; but I can form some judgment of the effect of her voice and manner upon the heart (and music is but a silly thing when it does not reach the heart) by its effect upon an old and enthusiastic votary of music, who assured me, that when he heard her many years ago sing the divine air, " I know that my Redeemer liveth,” he was ready to exclaim in the rapturous language of Isaac Walton upon the nightingale,—“Lord, Lord, what music hast thou not reserved for thy saints in heaven, when thou hast indulged such sounds to bad men on earth!”
Nature, it is true, has denied to our brother Linley what is called a fine voice; and what little organ she allowed him, perhaps, is not much the better for port wine and late nights. Still, however, you will forget his deficiencies of power, in the spirit and taste of his manner. I know of no greater treat than one of his little ballads, when he is in the humour to sing it, for he is not over-compliant in this respect; and, like the musician in Horace, is too apt to practise the " nunquam rogatus."
But it is in the bundle of habits and peculiarities that constitute Will Linley, and distinguish him from his species, or rather make him a species by himself, that any thing like an exact portraiture of him is to be traced; and to these, no description can do justice. Our Club abounds with characters, but they have all some affinity with the ordinary race of mankind. Will is à character much more emphatically; for nothing that savours of this nether world can be said to belong to him. Yet his oddities, that would so
deform and disfigure any other being, as to drive him from the pale of social life, sit with so exact a consentaneousness upon himself, that they make him one of the pleasantest and most interesting persons in it; but if, by any training or discipline, you could divest him of them, he would become instantly of all bipeds, the most vapid, and unmeaning.
He entered the world with a large ready-made assortment of prejudices; and he has retained them all to the present hour. His notions are a part of his family, and he clings to them with the warmth of an habitual and long-indulged affection. Some of them are grotesque and absurd in the highest degree; they are, for that reason, the dearer to him. Thus he has grown old, not from experience, but years; for with regard to experience in the forms, the usages, the habitudes of life, 'could he survive the lapse of a century, he would still retain the simplicity of youth. As for the process, by which he arrived at his opinions, that is not very apparent. There, however, they are fixed and rivetted in his brain, and no ratiocination can reach-no refutation