« PreviousContinue »
We never failed to attend the sessions at Northampton, and we never could find out how we had missed this remarkable dog case."
AN argument arose, in which my father observed how many of the most eminent men of the world had been diminutive in person, and after naming several among the ancients, he added, “Why, look there, at Jeffrey; and there is my little friend who has not body enough to cover his mind decently with; his intellect is improperly exposed."
WHEN I took my Yorkshire servants into Somersetshire, I found that they thought making a drink out of apples was a tempting of Providence, who had intended barley to be the only natural material of intoxication.
A NEW ZEALAND ATTORNEY.
THERE is a New Zealand attorney arrived in London, with 6s. 8d. tattooed all over his face.
HAVE you heard of Niebuhr's discoveries? All Roman history reversed; Tarquin turning out an excellent family man, and Lucretia a very doubtful character, whom Lady would not have visited.
How bored children are with the wisdom of Telemachus! they can't think why Calypso is so fond of him.
YES, he has spent all his life in letting down empty buckets into empty wells; and he is frittering away his age in trying to draw them up again.
Ar a large dinner party the death of Mr. Dugald Stewart was announced. The news was received with so much levity by a lady of rank, who sat by Sydney Smith, that he turned round and said, “Madam, when we are told of the death of so great a man as Mr. Dugald Stewart, it is usual, in civilized society, to look grave for at least the space of five seconds."
BEAUTY OF THE STYLE OF THE BIBLE.
"WHAT is so beautiful as the style of the Bible? what poetry in its language and ideas!" and taking it down from the bookcase behind him, he read, with his beautiful voice, and in his most impressive manner, several of his favourite passages; among others I remember—“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of an old man ;" and part of that most beautiful of Psalms, the 139th: "O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compassest my path and Whither my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.. shall I go from thy spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me; yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to thee" putting the Bible again on the shelf.
NEVER neglect your fireplaces; I have paid great attention to mine, and could burn you all out in a moment. Much of the cheerfulness of life depends upon it. Who could be miserable with that fire? What makes a fire so pleasant is, I think, that it is a live thing in a dead room.
NEVER give way to melancholy; resist it steadily, for the habit will encroach. I once gave a lady two-and twenty receipts against
melancholy: one was a bright fire; another, to remember all the pleasant things said to and of her; another, to keep a box of sugarplums on the chimney-piece, and a kettle simmering on the hob.
KEEP as much as possible on the grand and common road of life; patent educations or habits seldom succeed. Depend upon it, men set more value on the cultivated minds than on the accomplishments of women, which they are rarely able to appreciate. It is a common error, but it is an error, that literature unfits women for the every-day business of life. It is not so with men; you see those of the most cultivated minds constantly devoting their time and attention to the most homely objects. Literature gives women a real and proper weight in society, but then they must use it with discretion; if the stocking is blue, the petticoat must be long, as my friend Jeffrey says; the want of this has furnished food for ridicule in all ages.
DRESS AND BEAUTY.
NEVER teach false morality. How exquisitely absurd to tell girls that beauty is of no value, dress of no use! Beauty is of value her whole prospects and happiness in life may often depend upon a new gown or a becoming bonnet, and if she has five grains of common sense she will find this out. The great thing is to teach her their just value, and that there must be something better under the bonnet than a pretty face for real happiness. But never sacrifice truth.
SOME one, speaking of the utility of a measure, and quoting -'s opinion: " Yes, he is of the Utilitarian school. That man is so hard might drive a broad-wheeled wagon over him, and it would produce no impression; if you were to bore holes in him gimlet, I am convinced saw-dust would come out of him. That school treat mankind as if they were mere machines; the feelings or affections never enter into their calculations. If everything is to be sacrificed to utility, why do you bury your grand
mother at all? why don't you cut her into small pieces at once, and make portable soup of her?”
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
YES, it requires a long apprenticeship to speak well in the House of Commons. It is the most formidable ordeal in the world. Few men have succeeded who entered it late in life; Jeffrey is perhaps the best exception. Bobus used to say that there was more sense and good taste in the whole House, than in any one individual of which it was composed.
TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER.
WE are told, "Let not the sun go down on your wrath." This, of course, is best; but, as it generally does, I would add, Never act or write till it has done so. This rule has saved me from many an act of folly. It is wonderful what a different view we take of the same event four-and-twenty hours after it has happened.
LIGHT AND SHADE.
I LIKE pictures, without knowing anything about them; at I hate coxcombry in the fine arts, as well as in anything else. I got into dreadful disgrace with Sir George Beaumont once, who, standing before a picture at Bowood, exclaimed, turning to me, “immense breadth of light and shade!" I innocently said, "Yes; about an inch and a half." He gave me a look that ought to have killed
A ONE-BOOK MAN.
YES, it was a mistake to write any more.
He was a one-book
Some men have only one book in them; others, a library. * Smith furnished his house once with a set of daubs, and invented names of great masters for them:-" a beautiful landscape by Nicholas de Falda, a pupil of Valdeggio, the only painting by that eminent artist." He consulted two Royal Academicians as to his purchases, and when he had set them considering what opportunities were likely to occur, added, by way of afterthought; "Oh, I ought to have told you that my outside price for a picture is thirty-five shillings."
IN composing, as a general rule, run your pen through every other word you have written; you have no idea what vigour it. will give your style.
THE most promising sign in a boy is, I should say, mathematics.
FACTS AND FIGURES.
Он, don't tell me of facts-I never believe facts: you know Canning said nothing was so fallacious as facts, except figures.
ON meeting a young lady who had just entered the garden, and shaking hands with her: 'I must,' he said, 'give you a lesson in shaking hands, I see. There is nothing more characteristic than shakes of the hand. I have classified them. Lister, when he was here, illustrated some of them. Ask Mrs. Sydney to show you his sketches of them when you go in. There is the high official-the body erect, and a rapid, short shake, near the chin. There is the mortmain -the flat hand introduced into your palm, and hardly conscious of its contiguity. The digital — one finger held out, much used by the high clergy. There is the shakus rusticus, where your hand is seized in an iron grasp, betokening rude health, warm heart, and distance from the Metropolis; but producing a strong sense of relief on your part when you find your hand released and your fingers unbroken. The next to this is the retentive shake- one which, beginning with vigour, pauses as it were to take breath, but without relinquishing its prey, and before you are aware begins again, till you feel anxious as to the result, and have no shake left in you. There are other varieties, but this is enough for one lesson.
A JOKE IN THE COUNTRY.
A JOKE goes a great way in the country. I have known one last pretty well for seven years. I remember making a joke after