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however shabbily got over, is really full of many anxieties, misgivings, mortifications, meapnesses, and deplorable embarrassments of every description. I may attempt (this essay is not a fanciful speculation) to enlarge upon a few of them.
" It is hard to go without one's dinner through sheer distress, but harder still to go without one's breakfast. Upon the strength of that first and aboriginal meal, one may muster courage to face the difficulties before one, and to dare the worst: but to be roused out of one's warm bed, and perhaps a profound oblivion of care, with golden dreams, (for poyerty does not prevent golden dreams,) and told there is nothing for breakfast, is cold comfort, for which one's half-strung nerves are not prepared, and throws a damp upon the prospects of the day. It is a bad beginning. A man without a breakfast is a poor creature, unfit to go in search of one, to meet the frown of the world, or to borrow a shilling of a friend. He may beg at the corner of a street-nothing is too mean for the tone of his feelings-robbing on the highway is out of the question, as requiring too much courage, and some opinion of a man's self. It is, indeed, as old Fuller, or some worthy of that age, expresses it, thé heaviest stone which melancholy can throw at a man,' to learn, the first thing after he rises in the morning, or even to be dunned with it in bed, that there is no loaf, tea, or butter in the house, and that the baker, the grocer, and butterman have refused to give any farther credit. This is taking one sadly at a disadvantage. It is striking at one's spirit and resolution in their very source, the stomach-it is attacking one on the side of hunger and mortification at once; it is casting one into the very mire of humility and Slough of Despond. The worst is, to know what face to put upon the matter, what excuse to make to the servants, what answer to send to the tradespeople; whether to laugh it off
, or be grave, or angry, or indifferent; in short, to know how to parry off an evil which you cannot help. What a luxury, what a God’s-send in such a dilemma, to find a half-crown which had slipped through a hole in the lining of your waistcoat, a crumpled bank note in your breeches pocket, or a guinea clinking in the bottom of your trunk, which had been thoughtlessly left there out of a former heap! Vain hope! Unfounded illusion ! The experienced in such matters know better, and laugh in their sleeves at so improbable a suggestion. Not a corner, not a cranny, not a pocket, not a drawer has been left unrummaged, or has not been subjected over and over again to more than the strictness of a custom-house scrutiny. Not the slightest rustle of a piece of bank paper, not the gentlest pressure of a piece of hard metal, but would have given notice of its hiding-place with electrical rapidity, long before, in such circumstances. All the variety of pecuniary resources, which form a legal tender in the current coin of the realm, are assuredly drained, exhausted to the last farthing before this time. But is there nothing in the house that one can turn to account? Is there not an old family-watch, or piece of plate, or a ring, or some worthless trinket that one could part with? nothing belonging to one's self or a friend, that one could raise the wind upon, till something better turns up ? 'At this moment an old-clothes man passes, and his deep, harsh tones sound like a premeditated insult on one's disiress, and banish the thought of applying for his assistance, as one's eye glances furtively at an old hat or a great coat, hung up behind a closet door. Humiliating contemplations! Miserable uncertainty! One hesitates, and the opportunity is gone by; for without one's breakfast, one has not the resolution to do any thing !"
“The going without a dinner is another of the miseries of wanting
money, though one can bear up against this calamity better than the former, which really blights the tender blossom and promise of the day. With one good meal, one may hold a parley with hunger and moralize upon temperance. One bas time to turn one's self and look about one-to screw one's courage to the sticking place,' to graduate the scale of disappointment, and stave off appetite till supper time. You gain time, and time in this weather-cock world is every thing. You may dine at two, or at six, or seven-as most convenient. You may in the mean while receive an invitation to dinner, or some one (not knowing how you are circumstanced) may send you a present of a haunch of venison or a brace of pheasants from the country, or a distant relation may die and leave you a legacy, or a patron may call and overwhelm you with his smiles and bounty,
"As kind as kings upon their coronation day;' or there is no saying what may happen. One may wait for dinnerbreakfast admits of no delay, of no interval interposed between that and our first waking thoughts. Besides, there are shifts and devices, shabby and mortifying enough, but still available in case of need. How many expedients are there in this great city, time out of mind and times without number, resorted to by the dilapidated and thrifty speculator, to get through this grand difficulty without utter failure ! 'One may dive into a cellar, and dine on boiled beef and carrots for temperance, with the knives and forks chained to the table, and jostled by greasy elbows that seem to make such a precaution not unnecessary (hunger is proof against indignity !)-or one may contrive to part with a superfluous article of wearing apparel, and carry home a mutton chop and cook it in a garret; or one may drop in at a friend's at the dinner hour, and be asked to stay. or not; or one may walk out and take a turn in the Park, about the time, and return home to tea, so as at least to avoid the sting of the evil-the appearance of not having dined. You then have the laugh on your side, having deceived the gossips, and can submit to the want of a sumptuous repast without murmuring, having saved your pride, and made a virtue of necessity. I say all this may be done by a man without a family (for what business has a man without money with one ?)—See English Malthus and Scotish Macculloch—and it is only my intention here to bring forward such instances of the want of money as are tolerable both in theory and practice. I once lived on coffee (as an experiment) for a fortnight together, while I was finishing the copy of a half-length portrait of a Manchester manufacturer, who died worth a plum. I rather slurred over the coat, which was a reddish brown, 'of formal cut,' to receive my five guineas, with which I went to market myself, and dined on sausages and mashed potatoes, and while they were getting ready, and I could hear them hissing in the pan, read á volume of 'Gil Blas,' containing the account of the fair Aurora. This was in the days of my youth. Gentle reader, do not smile! Neither Monsieur de Very, nor Louis XVIII. over an oyster-paté, nor Apicius himself, ever understood the meaning of the word luxury better than I did at that moment !"
“ There is a set of poor devils who live upon a printed prospectus of a work that never will be written, for which they solicit your name and half a crown. Decayed actresses take an annual benefit at one of the theatres; there are patriots who live upon periodical subscriptions, and critics who go about the country lecturing on poetry. I confess I envy none of these; but there are persons who, provided they can live, care not how they live—who are fond of display, even when it implies
exposure; who court notoriety under every shape, and embrace the public with demonstrations of wanionness. There are genteel beggars, who send up a well-penned epistle requesting the loan of a shilling. Your snug bachelors and retired old maids pretend they can distinguish the knock of one of these at their door. I scarce know which I dislike the most-the patronage that affects to bring premature genius into notice, or that extends its piecemeal formal charity towards it in its decline. Í bate your literary funds and funds for decayed artists—they are corporations for the encouragement of meanness, pretence, and insolence. Of all people, I cannot tell how it is, but the players appear to me the best able to do without money. They are a privileged class. If not exempt from the common calls of necessity and business, they are enabled by their so potent art, to soar above ihem. As they make imaginary ills their own, real ones become imaginary, sit light upon them, and are thrown off with comparatively little trouble. Their life is theatricalits various accidents are the shifting scenes of a play-rags and finery, tears and laughter, a mock dinner or a real one, a crown of jewels or of straw, are to them nearly the same. I am sorry I cannot carry on this reasoning to actors who are past their prime. The gilding of their profession is then worn off, and shows the false metal beneath; vanity and hope (the props of their existence) have had their day; their former gaiety and carelessness serve as a foil to their present discouragement; and want and infirmities press upon them at once.
(We know what we are,' as Ophelia says, 'but we know not what we shall be. A workhouse seems the last resort of poverty and distress—a parish pauper is another name for all that is mean and to be deprecated in human exist
But that name is but an abstraction, an average term-'within that lowest deep, a lower deep may open to receive us. I heard not long ago of a poor man who had been for many years a respectable tradesman in London, and who was compelled to take shelter in one of those receptacles of age and wretchedness, and who said he could be contented with it—he had his regular meals, a nook in the chimney, and a coat to his back-but he was forced to lie three in a bed, and one of the three was out of his mind and crazy, and his great delight was, when the others fell asleep, to tweak their noses and flourish his night-cap over their heads, so that they were obliged to lie awake and hold him down between them. One should be quite mad to bear this. To what a point of insignificance may not human life dwindle! To what fine, agonizing threads will it not cling! Yet this man had been a lover in his youth, in an humble way, and still begins his letters to an old maid, (his former flame,) who sometimes comforts him by listening to his complaints, and treating him to a dish of weak tea, MY DEAR Miss NANCY !
“Another of the greatest miseries of a want of money, is the tap of a dun at your door, or the previous silence when you expect it—the uneasy sense of shame at the approach of your tormentor; the wish to meet, and yet to shun the encounter; the disposition to bully, yet the fear of irritating; the real and the sham excuses; the submission to impertinence; the assurances of a speedy supply; the disingenuousness you practise on him and on yourself; the degradation in the eyes of others and your own. Oh! it is wretched to have to confront a just and oft-repeated demand, and to be without the means to satisfy it; to deceive the confidence that has been placed in you; to forfeit your credit; to be placed at the power of another, to be indebted to his lenity; to stand convicted of having played the knave or the fool; and to have no way left to escape contempt but by incurring pity. The suddenly VOL. XX.--NO. 40.
meeting a creditor on turning the corner of a street, whom you have been trying to avoid for months, and had persuaded you were several hundred miles off, discomposes the features and shatters the nerves for some time. It is also a serious annoyance to be unable to repay a loan to a friend who is in want of it-nor is it very pleasant to be so hard run as to be induced to request a repayment. It is difficult to decide the preference between debts of honour and legal demands; both are bad enough, and almost a fair excuse for driving any one into the hands of moneylenders-to whom an application, if successful, is accompanied with a sense of being in the vulture's gripe-a reflection akin to that of those who formerly sold themselves to the devil-or, if unsuccessful, is rendered doubly galling by the smooth, civil leer of cool contempt with which you are dismissed, as if they had escaped from your clutchesnot you from theirs. If any thing can be added to the mortification and distress arising from straitened circumstances, it is when vanity comes in to barb the dart of poverty–when you have a picture on which you bad calculated, rejected from an exhibition, or a manuscript returned on your hands, or a tragedy damned, at the very instant when your cash and credit are at the lowest ebb. This forlorn and helpless feeling has reached its acme in the prison scene in Hogarth's 'Rake's Progress, where his unfortunate hero has just dropped the manager's letter from his hands, with the laconic answer written in it:-'Your play has been read, and won't do. To feel poverty is bad; but to feel it with the additional sense of our incapacity to shake it off, and that we have not merit enough to retrieve our circumstances-and, instead of being held up to admiration, are exposed to persecution and insult—is the last stage of human infirmity: We have heard it remarked, that the most pathetic story in the world is that of Smollett's fine gentleman and lady in jail, who have been roughly handled by the mob for some paltry attempt at raising the wind, and she exclaims, in extenuation of the pitiful figure he cuts,
Ah! he was a fine fellow once !"" Hazlitt's many writings we cannot even enumerate. His criticisms upon the character of Shakspeare's plays, and upon the literature of the age of Elizabeth, are probably the best known in this country. His favourite work, to which he devoted years of labour, was the Life of Napoleon, a man whom he most enthusiastically admired. He used to say, when recurring to the days of his youth, “give me back one single evening at Boxhilí, after a stroll in the deep-empurpled woods, before Bonaparte was yet beaten, with wine of attic taste,' when wit, beauty, friendship, presided at the board.” His “Life” is in four volumes. The last two are particularly well written, and the book should be better known here than it is. The comparatively little reputation of this work poorly repaid the labour that was bestowed upon it by its author. Very great praise is awarded to this production by Mr. Sergeant Talfourd in his sketch of Hazlitt's intellectual character, prefixed to the Essays. He must have been no ordinary man, who could draw from two such persons as Talfourd and Bulwer the enthusiastic encomiums which they have accorded to him. Indeed, the critical faculty seems to have been possessed in an eminent degree by
Hazlitt; and this is no small praise, for it conduces to make its possessor apt for the study and appreciation of every department of intellect. To "The Thoughts on his Genius," by the author of Eugene Aram, we would direct the attention of our readers; and will conclude with the following beautiful extract from the close of Bulwer's notice:
“When Hazlitt died he left no successor; others may equal him, but none resemble. And I confess that few deaths of the great writers of my time ever affected me more painfully than his: for most of those who, with no inferior genius, have gone before him, it may be said that in their lives they tasted the sweets of their immortality-ihey had their consolations of glory; and if fame can atone for the shattered nerve, the jaded spirit, the wearied heart of those who scorn delight and love laborious days,'— verily, they had their reward. But Hazlitt went down to dust without having won the crown for which he had so bravely struggled; the shouts of applauding thousands echoed not to the sick man's bed; his reputation, great amongst limited circles, was still questionable to the world. He who had done so much for the propagation of thought-for the establishment of new sectaries and new schools-from whose wealth so many had filled their coffers, – left no stir on the surface from which he sank to the abyss :-he who had vindicated so nobly the fame of others-what critic to whom the herd would listen had vindicated his? Men with meagre talents and little souls could command the ear of thousands, but to the wisdom of the teacher it was deafened. Vague and unexamined prejudices, aided only by some trivial faults, or some haughty mannerism of his own, had steeled the public, who eagerly received the doctrines filched from him second hand, to the wisdom and eloquence of the originator. A great man sinking amidst the twilight of his own renown, after a brilliant and unclouded race, if a solemn, is an inspiring and elating spectacle. But nature has no sight more sad and cheerless than the sun of a genius which the clouds have so long and drearily overcast that there are few to mourn and miss the luminary when it sinks from the horizon."
ART. II. — “My Prisons." Memoirs of Silvio Pellico of Saluzzo;
and Additions, &c., with a Biographical Notice of Pellico. By PIERO MARONCELLI, of Forli. 2 vols. Translated from the Italian. Cambridge : 1836.
The original work of Pellico—the whole of which is comprised in the first volume of the two now before us—was translated three years since, by Mr. Thomas Roscoe, and given to the British public with the title of “My Imprisonments."
The translator unhappily thought fit to prefix a disquisition of his own, upon the wrongs sustained by Italy, in which he, most inappropriately, revived the unwelcome subject of Lord Nelson's execution of Carraccioli; and indulged himself in a