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mented; as want of influence is sometimes a greater. But, for the sake of fair-play among mankind, every advantage must have its drawback; and it is a drawback in the power to confer benefits, that it cannot always be sure of the motives of those who do it honor. If a day is to be set apart for such manifestations of good-will, the birthday would seem better for them than New-Year's Day. The compliment would be more particular and personal ; others might not know of it, and so would not grudge it; and real affections would thus be indulged, not mere ceremonies.
We own that we think there is something in that distinction. Yet our sprightly-blooded neighbors would no doubt have replies to all these arguments; and, for our part, we are for cutting the knot of the difficulty thus : Make us all rich enough, and then we could indulge ourselves both with New-Year's Day and the birthday, both on the general occasions and the particular one. For, to say the truth, we people who are not rich, and who, therefore, have nothing perhaps worth withholding, are long in coming to understand how it is that rich people can resist these anniversary opportunities of putting delight into the eyes of their friends and dependants, and distributing their toys and utilities on all sides of them. Presents (properly so called) are great ties to gratitude, and therefore great increasers of power and influence, especially if they are of such a kind as to be constantly before the eye, thus producing an everlasting association of pleasant ideas with the giver.* They tell the receiver that he is worth something in the giver's eyes, and thus the worth of the giver becomes twenty-fold. Nor do we say this sneeringly, or in disparagement of the self-love which must of necessity be, more or less, mixed up with every one's nature; for the most disinterested love would have nothing to act upon without it; and the most generous people in the world, such as most consult the pleasure of others before their own, must lose their very identity and personal consciousness before they can lose a strong desire to be pleased. and statues which had given us a hundred thoughts. Since the days when we first saw them, we have seen numbers like them, and many of more valuable materials; for though good of their kind, and of old standing, they are but common plaster. But the thoughts and the recollections belonged to no others; and it appeared sacrilege to see them in that state.
* Presents endear absents. - CHARLES LAMB.
Oh! but rich people, it will be said, are not always so rich as they are supposed to be ; and even when they are, they find plenty of calls upon their riches, without going out of their way to encourage them. They have establishments to keep up, heaps of servants, &c., their wives and families are expensive, and then they are cheated beyond measure.
Making allowances for all this, and granting in some instances that wealth itself be poor, considering the demands upon it, nevertheless for the most part real wealth must be real wealth ; that is to say, must have a great deal more than enough. You do not find that a rich man (unless he is a miser) hesitates to make a great many presents to himself, — books, jewels, horses, clothes, furniture, wines, or whatever the thing may be that he most cares for; and he must cease to do this (we mean of course in its superfluity) before he talks of his inability to make presents to others.
SALE OF THE LATE MR. WEST'S PICTURES.
T is a villanous thing to those who have known
a man for years, and been intimate with the quiet inside of his house, privileged from intrusion, to see a sale of his goods going on
upon the premises. It is often not to be helped, and what he himself wishes and enjoins; but still it is a villanous necessity, - a hard cut to some of one's oldest and tenderest recollections. There is a sale of this kind now going on in the house we spoke of last week.* We spoke of it then under an impulse not easy to be restrained, and not difficult to be allowed us; and we speak of it now under another. We were returning the day before yesterday from a house, where we had been entertained with lively accounts of foreign countries, and the present features of the time, when we saw the door in Newman Street standing wide open, and disclosing to every passenger a part of the gallery at the end of the hall.
All our boyhood came over us, with the recollection of those who had accompanied us into that house. We hesitated whether we should go in, and see an auction taking place of the old quiet and abstraction ; but we do not easily suffer an unpleasant and vulgar association to overcome a greater one ; and, besides, how could we pass? Having passed the threshold, without the ceremony of the smiling old porter, we found a worthy person sitting at the door of the gallery, who, on hearing our name, seemed to have
* In an article entitled “ A Nearer View of Some of the Shops,” in “ The Indicator.” — Ed.
And each peculiar power foregoes his wonted seat.” Into the parlor, which opens out of the hall and into the garden, we did not look. We scarcely know why; but we did not. In that parlor we used to hear of our maternal ancestors, stout yet kind-hearted Englishmen, who set up their tents with Penn in the wilderness. And there we learned to unite the love of freedom with that of the graces of life ; for our host, though born a Quaker, and appointed a royal painter, and not so warm in his feelings as those about him, had all the natural amenity belonging to those graces, and never truly lost sight of that love of freedom. There we grew up acquainted with the divine humanities of Raphael. There we remember a large colored print of the old lion-hunt of Rubens, in which the boldness of the action and the glow of the coloring overcome the horror of the stuggle. And there, long before we knew any thing of Ariosto, we were as familiar as young playmates with the beautiful Angelica and Medoro, who helped to fill our life with love.
May a blessing be upon that house, and upon all who know how to value the genius of it !