Infomotions, Inc.The Fitz-Boodle Papers / Thackeray, William Makepeace, 1811-1863

Author: Thackeray, William Makepeace, 1811-1863
Title: The Fitz-Boodle Papers
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): boodle; kalbsbraten; ottilia; fitz; dorothea
Contributor(s): Braybrooke, Richard Griffin, Baron, 1783-1853 [Editor]
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 33,214 words (really short) Grade range: 11-13 (high school) Readability score: 55 (average)
Identifier: etext2823
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Project Gutenberg's The Fitz-Boodle Papers, by William Makepeace Thackeray

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Title: The Fitz-Boodle Papers

Author: William Makepeace Thackeray

Release Date: May 27, 2006 [EBook #2823]

Language: English

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Produced by Donald Lainson


By William Makepeace Thackeray








First Profession

Second Profession




OMNIUM CLUB, May 20, 1842.

DEAR SIR,--I have always been considered the third-best whist-player in
Europe, and (though never betting more than five pounds) have for many
years past added considerably to my yearly income by my skill in the
game, until the commencement of the present season, when a French
gentleman, Monsieur Lalouette, was admitted to the club where I usually
play. His skill and reputation were so great, that no men of the club
were inclined to play against us two of a side; and the consequence has
been, that we have been in a manner pitted against one another. By a
strange turn of luck (for I cannot admit the idea of his superiority),
Fortune, since the Frenchman's arrival, has been almost constantly
against me, and I have lost two-and-thirty nights in the course of a
couple of score of nights' play.

     * The "Fitz-Boodle Papers" first appeared in Fraser's
     Magazine for the year 1842.

Everybody knows that I am a poor man; and so much has Lalouette's luck
drained my finances, that only last week I was obliged to give him that
famous gray cob on which you have seen me riding in the Park (I can't
afford a thoroughbred, and hate a cocktail),--I was, I say, forced to
give him up my cob in exchange for four ponies which I owed him. Thus,
as I never walk, being a heavy man whom nobody cares to mount, my time
hangs heavily on my hands; and, as I hate home, or that apology for
it--a bachelor's lodgings--and as I have nothing earthly to do now until
I can afford to purchase another horse, I spend my time in sauntering
from one club to another, passing many rather listless hours in them
before the men come in.

You will say, Why not take to backgammon, or ecarte, or amuse yourself
with a book? Sir (putting out of the question the fact that I do not
play upon credit), I make a point never to play before candles are
lighted; and as for books, I must candidly confess to you I am not a
reading man.

'Twas but the other day that some one recommended me to your Magazine
after dinner, saying it contained an exceedingly witty article upon--I
forget what. I give you my honor, sir, that I took up the work at six,
meaning to amuse myself till seven, when Lord Trumpington's dinner was
to come off, and egad! in two minutes I fell asleep, and never woke till
midnight. Nobody ever thought of looking for me in the library, where
nobody ever goes; and so ravenously hungry was I, that I was obliged to
walk off to Crockford's for supper.

What is it that makes you literary persons so stupid? I have met various
individuals in society who I was told were writers of books, and that
sort of thing, and expecting rather to be amused by their conversation,
have invariably found them dull to a degree, and as for information,
without a particle of it. Sir, I actually asked one of these fellows,
"What was the nick to seven?" and he stared in my face and said he
didn't know. He was hugely over-dressed in satin, rings, chains and
so forth; and at the beginning of dinner was disposed to be rather
talkative and pert; but my little sally silenced HIM, I promise you,
and got up a good laugh at his expense too. "Leave George alone,"
said little Lord Cinqbars, "I warrant he'll be a match for any of
you literary fellows." Cinqbars is no great wiseacre; but, indeed, it
requires no great wiseacre to know THAT.

What is the simple deduction to be drawn from this truth? Why,
this--that a man to be amusing and well-informed, has no need of
books at all, and had much better go to the world and to men for his
knowledge. There was Ulysses, now, the Greek fellow engaged in the
Trojan war, as I dare say you know; well, he was the cleverest man
possible, and how? From having seen men and cities, their manners noted
and their realms surveyed, to be sure. So have I. I have been in every
capital, and can order a dinner in every language in Europe.

My notion, then, is this. I have a great deal of spare time on my hands,
and as I am told you pay a handsome sum to persons writing for you, I
will furnish you occasionally with some of my views upon men and things;
occasional histories of my acquaintance, which I think may amuse you;
personal narratives of my own; essays, and what not. I am told that I do
not spell correctly. This of course I don't know; but you will remember
that Richelieu and Marlborough could not spell, and egad! I am an honest
man, and desire to be no better than they. I know that it is the matter,
and not the manner, which is of importance. Have the goodness, then, to
let one of your understrappers correct the spelling and the grammar
of my papers; and you can give him a few shillings in my name for his

Begging you to accept the assurance of my high consideration, I am, sir,

Your obedient servant,


P.S.--By the way, I have said in my letter that I found ALL literary
persons vulgar and dull. Permit me to contradict this with regard to
yourself. I met you once at Blackwall, I think it was, and really did
not remark anything offensive in your accent or appearance.

Before commencing the series of moral disquisitions, &c. which I intend,
the reader may as well know who I am, and what my past course of life
has been. To say that I am a Fitz-Boodle is to say at once that I am a
gentleman. Our family has held the estate of Boodle ever since the
reign of Henry II.; and it is out of no ill will to my elder brother,
or unnatural desire for his death, but only because the estate is a
very good one, that I wish heartily it was mine: I would say as much of
Chatsworth or Eaton Hall.

I am not, in the first place, what is called a ladies' man, having
contracted an irrepressible habit of smoking after dinner, which has
obliged me to give up a great deal of the dear creatures' society; nor
can I go much to country-houses for the same reason. Say what they will,
ladies do not like you to smoke in their bedrooms: their silly little
noses scent out the odor upon the chintz, weeks after you have left
them. Sir John has been caught coming to bed particularly merry and
redolent of cigar-smoke; young George, from Eton, was absolutely found
in the little green-house puffing an Havana; and when discovered they
both lay the blame upon Fitz-Boodle. "It was Mr. Fitz-Boodle, mamma,"
says George, "who offered me the cigar, and I did not like to refuse
him." "That rascal Fitz seduced us, my dear," says Sir John, "and kept
us laughing until past midnight." Her ladyship instantly sets me down as
a person to be avoided. "George," whispers she to her boy, "promise me
on your honor, when you go to town, not to know that man." And when she
enters the breakfast-room for prayers, the first greeting is a peculiar
expression of countenance, and inhaling of breath, by which my lady
indicates the presence of some exceedingly disagreeable odor in the
room. She makes you the faintest of curtsies, and regards you, if not
with a "flashing eye," as in the novels, at least with a "distended
nostril." During the whole of the service, her heart is filled with the
blackest gall towards you; and she is thinking about the best means of
getting you out of the house.

What is this smoking that it should be considered a crime? I believe in
my heart that women are jealous of it, as of a rival. They speak of it
as of some secret, awful vice that seizes upon a man, and makes him a
pariah from genteel society. I would lay a guinea that many a lady who
has just been kind enough to rend the above lines lays down the book,
after this confession of mine that I am a smoker, and says, "Oh, the
vulgar wretch!" and passes on to something else.

The fact is, that the cigar IS a rival to the ladies, and their
conqueror too. In the chief pipe-smoking nations they are kept in
subjection. While the chief, Little White Belt, smokes, the women are
silent in his wigwam; while Mahomet Ben Jawbrahim causes volumes of
odorous incense of Latakia to play round his beard, the women of the
harem do not disturb his meditations, but only add to the delight of
them by tinkling on a dulcimer and dancing before him. When Professor
Strumpff of Gottingen takes down No. 13 from the wall, with a picture
of Beatrice Cenci upon it, and which holds a pound of canaster, the Frau
Professorin knows that for two hours Hermann is engaged, and takes up
her stockings and knits in quiet. The constitution of French society
has been quite changed within the last twelve years: an ancient and
respectable dynasty has been overthrown; an aristocracy which Napoleon
could never master has disappeared: and from what cause? I do not
hesitate to say,--FROM THE HABIT OF SMOKING. Ask any man whether, five
years before the revolution of July, if you wanted a cigar at Paris,
they did not bring you a roll of tobacco with a straw in it! Now, the
whole city smokes; society is changed; and be sure of this, ladies,
a similar combat is going on in this country at present between
cigar-smoking and you. Do you suppose you will conquer? Look over the
wide world, and see that your adversary has overcome it. Germany has
been puffing for threescore years; France smokes to a man. Do you think
you can keep the enemy out of England? Psha! look at his progress. Ask
the clubhouses, Have they smoking-rooms or not? Are they not obliged to
yield to the general want of the age, in spite of the resistance of the
old women on the committees? I, for my part, do not despair to see a
bishop lolling out of the "Athenaeum" with a cheroot in his mouth, or,
at any rate, a pipe stuck in his shovel-hat.

But as in all great causes and in promulgating new and illustrious
theories, their first propounders and exponents are generally the
victims of their enthusiasm, of course the first preachers of smoking
have been martyrs, too; and George Fitz-Boodle is one. The first gas-man
was ruined; the inventor of steam-engine printing became a pauper. I
began to smoke in days when the task was one of some danger, and paid
the penalty of my crime. I was flogged most fiercely for my first cigar;
for, being asked to dine one Sunday evening with a half-pay colonel of
dragoons (the gallant, simple, humorous Shortcut--heaven bless him!--I
have had many a guinea from him who had so few), he insisted upon my
smoking in his room at the "Salopian," and the consequence was, that I
became so violently ill as to be reported intoxicated upon my return
to Slaughter-House School, where I was a boarder, and I was whipped the
next morning for my peccadillo. At Christ Church, one of our tutors was
the celebrated lamented Otto Rose, who would have been a bishop under
the present Government, had not an immoderate indulgence in water-gruel
cut short his elegant and useful career. He was a good man, a pretty
scholar and poet (the episode upon the discovery of eau-de-Cologne,
in his prize-poem on "The Rhine," was considered a masterpiece of art,
though I am not much of a judge myself upon such matters), and he was as
remarkable for his fondness for a tuft as for his nervous antipathy to
tobacco. As ill-luck would have it, my rooms (in Tom Quad) were exactly
under his; and I was grown by this time to be a confirmed smoker. I was
a baronet's son (we are of James the First's creation), and I do believe
our tutor could have pardoned any crime in the world but this. He had
seen me in a tandem, and at that moment was seized with a violent fit
of sneezing--(sternutatory paroxysm he called it)--at the conclusion of
which I was a mile down the Woodstock Road. He had seen me in pink, as
we used to call it, swaggering in the open sunshine across a grass-plat
in the court; but spied out opportunely a servitor, one Todhunter by
name, who was going to morning chapel with his shoestring untied,
and forthwith sprung towards that unfortunate person, to set him an
imposition. Everything, in fact, but tobacco he could forgive. Why
did cursed fortune bring him into the rooms over mine? The odor of the
cigars made his gentle spirit quite furious; and one luckless morning,
when I was standing before my "oak," and chanced to puff a great bouffee
of Varinas into his face, he forgot his respect for my family altogether
(I was the second son, and my brother a sickly creature THEN,--he is now
sixteen stone in weight, and has a half-score of children); gave me a
severe lecture, to which I replied rather hotly, as was my wont. And
then came demand for an apology; refusal on my part; appeal to the dean;
convocation; and rustication of George Savage Fitz-Boodle.

My father had taken a second wife (of the noble house of Flintskinner),
and Lady Fitz-Boodle detested smoking, as a woman of her high principles
should. She had an entire mastery over the worthy old gentleman, and
thought I was a sort of demon of wickedness. The old man went to his
grave with some similar notion,--heaven help him! and left me but
the wretched twelve thousand pounds secured to me on my poor mother's

In the army, my luck was much the same. I joined the --th Lancers,
Lieut.-Col. Lord Martingale, in the year 1817. I only did duty with the
regiment for three months. We were quartered at Cork, where I found the
Irish doodheen and tobacco the pleasantest smoking possible; and was
found by his lordship, one day upon stable duty, smoking the shortest,
dearest little dumpy clay-pipe in the world.

"Cornet Fitz-Boodle," said my lord in a towering passion, "from what
blackguard did you get that pipe?"

I omit the oaths which garnished invariably his lordship's conversation.

"I got it, my lord," said I, "from one Terence Mullins, a jingle-driver,
with a packet of his peculiar tobacco. You sometimes smoke Turkish, I
believe; do try this. Isn't it good?" And in the simplest way in the
world I puffed a volume into his face. "I see you like it," said I, so
coolly, that the men--and I do believe the horses--burst out laughing.

He started back--choking almost, and recovered himself only to vent such
a storm of oaths and curses that I was compelled to request Capt.
Rawdon (the captain on duty) to take note of his lordship's words; and
unluckily could not help adding a question which settled my business.
"You were good enough," I said, "to ask me, my lord, from what
blackguard I got my pipe; might I ask from what blackguard you learned
your language?"

This was quite enough. Had I said, "from what GENTLEMAN did your
lordship learn your language?" the point would have been quite as good,
and my Lord Martingale would have suffered in my place: as it was, I
was so strongly recommended to sell out by his Royal Highness the
Commander-in-Chief, that, being of a good-natured disposition, never
knowing how to refuse a friend, I at once threw up my hopes of military
distinction and retired into civil life.

My lord was kind enough to meet me afterwards in a field in the Glanmire
Road, where he put a ball into my leg. This I returned to him some years
later with about twenty-three others--black ones--when he came to be
balloted for at a club of which I have the honor to be a member.

Thus by the indulgence of a simple and harmless propensity,--of a
propensity which can inflict an injury upon no person or thing except
the coat and the person of him who indulges in it,--of a custom honored
and observed in almost all the nations of the world,--of a custom which,
far from leading a man into any wickedness or dissipation to which
youth is subject, on the contrary, begets only benevolent silence, and
thoughtful good-humored observation--I found at the age of twenty all
my prospects in life destroyed. I cared not for woman in those days:
the calm smoker has a sweet companion in his pipe. I did not drink
immoderately of wine; for though a friend to trifling potations, to
excessively strong drinks tobacco is abhorrent. I never thought of
gambling, for the lover of the pipe has no need of such excitement; but
I was considered a monster of dissipation in my family, and bade fair to
come to ruin.

"Look at George," my mother-in-law said to the genteel and correct young
Flintskinners. "He entered the world with every prospect in life, and
see in what an abyss of degradation his fatal habits have plunged him!
At school he was flogged and disgraced, he was disgraced and rusticated
at the university, he was disgraced and expelled from the army! He
might have had the living of Boodle" (her ladyship gave it to one of
her nephews), "but he would not take his degree; his papa would have
purchased him a troop--nay, a lieutenant-colonelcy some day, but for his
fatal excesses. And now as long as my dear husband will listen to the
voice of a wife who adores him--never, never shall he spend a shilling
upon so worthless a young man. He has a small income from his mother
(I cannot but think that the first Lady Fitz-Boodle was a weak and
misguided person); let him live upon his mean pittance as he can, and I
heartily pray we may not hear of him in gaol!"

My brother, after he came to the estate, married the ninth daughter
of our neighbor, Sir John Spreadeagle; and Boodle Hall has seen a new
little Fitz-Boodle with every succeeding spring. The dowager retired to
Scotland with a large jointure and a wondrous heap of savings. Lady Fitz
is a good creature, but she thinks me something diabolical, trembles
when she sees me, and gathers all her children about her, rushes into
the nursery whenever I pay that little seminary a visit, and actually
slapped poor little Frank's ears one day when I was teaching him to ride
upon the back of a Newfoundland dog.

"George," said my brother to me the last time I paid him a visit at the
old hall, "don't be angry, my dear fellow, but Maria is in a--hum--in
a delicate situation, expecting her--hum"--(the eleventh)--"and do
you know you frighten her? It was but yesterday you met her in the
rookery--you were smoking that enormous German pipe--and when she came
in she had an hysterical seizure, and Drench says that in her situation
it's dangerous. And I say, George, if you go to town you'll find a
couple of hundred at your banker's." And with this the poor fellow shook
me by the hand, and called for a fresh bottle of claret.

Afterwards he told me, with many hesitations, that my room at Boodle
Hall had been made into a second nursery. I see my sister-in-law in
London twice or thrice in the season, and the little people, who have
almost forgotten to call me uncle George.

It's hard, too, for I am a lonely man after all, and my heart yearns to
them. The other day I smuggled a couple of them into my chambers, and
had a little feast of cream and strawberries to welcome them. But it had
like to have cost the nursery-maid (a Swiss girl that Fitz-Boodle hired
somewhere in his travels) her place. My step-mamma, who happened to be
in town, came flying down in her chariot, pounced upon the poor thing
and the children in the midst of the entertainment; and when I asked
her, with rather a bad grace to be sure, to take a chair and a share of
the feast--"Mr. Fitz-Boodle," said she, "I am not accustomed to sit
down in a place that smells of tobacco like an ale-house--an ale-house
inhabited by a SERPENT, sir! A SERPENT!--do you understand me?--who
carries his poison into his brother's own house, and purshues his
eenfamous designs before his brother's own children. Put on Miss Maria's
bonnet this instant. Mamsell, ontondy-voo? Metty le bonny a mamsell. And
I shall take care, Mamsell, that you return to Switzerland to-morrow.
I've no doubt you are a relation of Courvoisier--oui! oui! courvoisier,
vous comprenny--and you shall certainly be sent back to your friends."

With this speech, and with the children and their maid sobbing before
her, my lady retired; but for once my sister-in-law was on my side, not
liking the meddlement of the elder lady.

I know, then, that from indulging in that simple habit of smoking, I
have gained among the ladies a dreadful reputation. I see that they look
coolly upon me, and darkly at their husbands when they arrive at home in
my company. Men, I observe, in consequence, ask me to dine much oftener
at the club, or the "Star and Garter" at Richmond, or at "Lovegrove's,"
than in their own houses; and with this sort of arrangement I am fain to
acquiesce; for, as I said before, I am of an easy temper, and can at any
rate take my cigar-case out after dinner at Blackwall, when my lady or
the duchess is not by. I know, of course, the best MEN in town; and
as for ladies' society, not having it (for I will have none of your
pseudo-ladies, such as sometimes honor bachelors' parties,--actresses,
couturieres, opera-dancers, and so forth)--as for ladies' society, I
say, I cry pish! 'tis not worth the trouble of the complimenting, and
the bother of pumps and black silk stockings.

Let any man remember what ladies' society was when he had an opportunity
of seeing them among themselves, as What-d'ye-call'im does in the
Thesmophoria--(I beg pardon, I was on the verge of a classical allusion,
which I abominate)--I mean at that period of his life when the intellect
is pretty acute, though the body is small--namely, when a young
gentleman is about eleven years of age, dining at his father's
table during the holidays, and is requested by his papa to quit the
dinner-table when the ladies retire from it.

Corbleu! I recollect their whole talk as well as if it had been
whispered but yesterday; and can see, after a long dinner, the yellow
summer sun throwing long shadows over the lawn before the dining-room
windows, and my poor mother and her company of ladies sailing away to
the music-room in old Boodle Hall. The Countess Dawdley was the great
lady in our county, a portly lady who used to love crimson satin in
those days, and birds-of-paradise. She was flaxen-haired, and the Regent
once said she resembled one of King Charles's beauties.

When Sir John Todcaster used to begin his famous story of the exciseman
(I shall not tell it here, for very good reasons), my poor mother
used to turn to Lady Dawdley, and give that mystic signal at which all
females rise from their chairs. Tufthunt, the curate, would spring
from his seat, and be sure to be the first to open the door for the
retreating ladies; and my brother Tom and I, though remaining stoutly in
our places, were speedily ejected from them by the governor's invariable
remark, "Tom and George, if you have had QUITE enough of wine, you had
better go and join your mamma." Yonder she marches, heaven bless her!
through the old oak hall (how long the shadows of the antlers are on the
wainscot, and the armor of Rollo Fitz-Boodle looks in the sunset as if
it were emblazoned with rubies)--yonder she marches, stately and tall,
in her invariable pearl-colored tabbinet, followed by Lady Dawdley,
blazing like a flamingo; next comes Lady Emily Tufthunt (she was Lady
Emily Flintskinner), who will not for all the world take precedence of
rich, vulgar, kind, good-humored Mrs. COLONEL Grogwater, as she would be
called, with a yellow little husband from Madras, who first taught me
to drink sangaree. He was a new arrival in our county, but paid nobly to
the hounds, and occupied hospitably a house which was always famous
for its hospitality--Sievely Hall (poor Bob Cullender ran through seven
thousand a year before he was thirty years old). Once when I was a
lad, Colonel Grogwater gave me two gold mohurs out of his desk for
whist-markers, and I'm sorry to say I ran up from Eton and sold them
both for seventy-three shillings at a shop in Cornhill. But to return
to the ladies, who are all this while kept waiting in the hall, and to
their usual conversation after dinner.

Can any man forget how miserably flat it was? Five matrons sit on sofas,
and talk in a subdued voice:--First Lady (mysteriously).--"My dear Lady
Dawdley, do tell me about poor Susan Tuckett."

Second Lady.--"All three children are perfectly well, and I assure you
as fine babies as I ever saw in my life. I made her give them Daffy's
Elixir the first day; and it was the greatest mercy that I had some of
Frederick's baby-clothes by me; for you know I had provided Susan with
sets for one only, and really--"

Third Lady.--"Of course one couldn't; and for my part I think your
ladyship is a great deal too kind to these people. A little gardener's
boy dressed in Lord Dawdley's frocks indeed! I recollect that one at his
christening had the sweetest lace in the world!"

Fourth Lady.--"What do you think of this, ma'am--Lady Emily, I mean? I
have just had it from Howell and James:--guipure, they call it. Isn't
it an odd name for lace! And they charge me, upon my conscience, four
guineas a yard!"

Third Lady.--"My mother, when she came to Flintskinner, had lace upon
her robe that cost sixty guineas a yard, ma'am! 'Twas sent from Malines
direct by our relation, the Count d'Araignay."

Fourth Lady (aside).--"I thought she would not let the evening pass
without talking of her Malines lace and her Count d'Araignay. Odious
people! they don't spare their backs, but they pinch their--"

Here Tom upsets a coffee-cup over his white jean trousers, and another
young gentleman bursts into a laugh, saying, "By Jove, that's a good

"George, my dear," says mamma, "had not you and your young friend better
go into the garden? But mind, no fruit, or Dr. Glauber must be called in
again immediately!" And we all go, and in ten minutes I and my brother
are fighting in the stables.

If, instead of listening to the matrons and their discourse, we had
taken the opportunity of attending to the conversation of the Misses, we
should have heard matter not a whit more interesting.

First Miss.--"They were all three in blue crape; you never saw anything
so odious. And I know for a certainty that they wore those dresses at
Muddlebury, at the archery-ball, and I dare say they had them in town."

Second Miss.--"Don't you think Jemima decidedly crooked? And those
fair complexions, they freckle so, that really Miss Blanche ought to be
called Miss Brown."

Third Miss.--"He, he, he!"

Fourth Miss.--"Don't you think Blanche is a pretty name?"

First Miss.--"La! do you think so, dear? Why, it's my second name!"

Second Miss.--"Then I'm sure Captain Travers thinks it a BEAUTIFUL

Third Miss.--"He, he, he!"

Fourth Miss.--"What was he telling you at dinner that seemed to interest
you so?"

First Miss.--"O law, nothing!--that is, yes! Charles--that is,--Captain
Travers, is a sweet poet, and was reciting to me some lines that he had
composed upon a faded violet:--

          "'The odor from the flower is gone,
          That like thy--,

like thy something, I forget what it was; but his lines are sweet, and
so original too! I wish that horrid Sir John Todcaster had not begun his
story of the exciseman, for Lady Fitz-Boodle always quits the table when
he begins."

Third Miss.--"Do you like those tufts that gentlemen wear sometimes on
their chins?"

Second Miss.--"Nonsense, Mary!"

Third Miss.--"Well, I only asked, Jane. Frank thinks, you know, that
he shall very soon have one, and puts bear's-grease on his chin every

Second Miss.--"Mary, nonsense!"

Third Miss.--"Well, only ask him. You know he came to our dressing-room
last night and took the pomatum away; and he says that when boys go to
Oxford they always--"

First Miss.--"O heavens! have you heard the news about the Lancers?
Charles--that is, Captain Travers, told it me!"

Second Miss.--"Law! they won't go away before the ball, I hope!"

First Miss.--"No, but on the 15th they are to shave their moustaches! He
says that Lord Tufto is in a perfect fury about it!"

Second Miss.--"And poor George Beardmore, too!" &c.

Here Tom upsets the coffee over his trousers, and the conversations end.
I can recollect a dozen such, and ask any man of sense whether such talk
amuses him?

Try again to speak to a young lady while you are dancing--what we call
in this country--a quadrille. What nonsense do you invariably give and
receive in return! No, I am a woman-scorner, and don't care to own it. I
hate young ladies! Have I not been in love with several, and has any one
of them ever treated me decently? I hate married women! Do they not hate
me? and, simply because I smoke, try to draw their husbands away from
my society? I hate dowagers! Have I not cause? Does not every dowager in
London point to George Fitz-Boodle as to a dissolute wretch whom young
and old should avoid?

And yet do not imagine that I have not loved. I have, and madly, many,
many times! I am but eight-and-thirty,* not past the age of passion, and
may very likely end by running off with an heiress--or a cook-maid
(for who knows what strange freaks Love may choose to play in his own
particular person? and I hold a man to be a mean creature who calculates
about checking any such sacred impulse as lawful love)--I say, though
despising the sex in general for their conduct to me, I know of
particular persons belonging to it who are worthy of all respect and
esteem, and as such I beg leave to point out the particular young lady
who is perusing these lines. Do not, dear madam, then imagine that if
I knew you I should be disposed to sneer at you. Ah, no! Fitz-Boodle's
bosom has tenderer sentiments than from his way of life you would fancy,
and stern by rule is only too soft by practice. Shall I whisper to you
the story of one or two of my attachments? All terminating fatally
(not in death, but in disappointment, which, as it occurred, I used
to imagine a thousand times more bitter than death, but from which one
recovers somehow more readily than from the other-named complaint)--all,
I say, terminating wretchedly to myself, as if some fatality pursued my
desire to become a domestic character.

     * He is five-and-forty, if he is a day old.--O. Y.

My first love--no, let us pass THAT over. Sweet one! thy name shall
profane no hireling page. Sweet, sweet memory! Ah, ladies, those
delicate hearts of yours have, too, felt the throb. And between the
last 'ob' in the word throb and the words now written, I have passed a
delicious period of perhaps an hour, perhaps a minute, I know not how
long, thinking of that holy first love and of her who inspired it. How
clearly every single incident of the passion is remembered by me!
and yet 'twas long, long since. I was but a child then--a child at
school--and, if the truth must be told, L--ra R-ggl-s (I would not write
her whole name to be made one of the Marquess of Hertford's executors)
was a woman full thirteen years older than myself; at the period of
which I write she must have been at least five-and-twenty. She and her
mother used to sell tarts, hard-bake, lollipops, and other such simple
comestibles, on Wednesdays and Saturdays (half-holidays), at a private
school where I received the first rudiments of a classical education.
I used to go and sit before her tray for hours, but I do not think the
poor girl ever supposed any motive led me so constantly to her little
stall beyond a vulgar longing for her tarts and her ginger-beer. Yes,
even at that early period my actions were misrepresented, and the
fatality which has oppressed my whole life began to show itself,--the
purest passion was misinterpreted by her and my school-fellows, and
they thought I was actuated by simple gluttony. They nicknamed me

Well, be it so. Laugh at early passion ye who will; a highborn boy madly
in love with a lowly ginger-beer girl! She married afterwards, took the
name of Latter, and now keeps with her old husband a turnpike, through
which I often ride; but I can recollect her bright and rosy of a sunny
summer afternoon, her red cheeks shaded by a battered straw bonnet, her
tarts and ginger-beer upon a neat white cloth before her, mending blue
worsted stockings until the young gentlemen should interrupt her by
coming to buy.

Many persons will call this description low; I do not envy them their
gentility, and have always observed through life (as, to be sure, every
other GENTLEMAN has observed as well as myself) that it is your parvenu
who stickles most for what he calls the genteel, and has the most
squeamish abhorrence for what is frank and natural. Let us pass at once,
however, as all the world must be pleased, to a recital of an affair
which occurred in the very best circles of society, as they are called,
viz, my next unfortunate attachment.

It did not occur for several years after that simple and platonic
passion just described: for though they may talk of youth as the season
of romance, it has always appeared to me that there are no beings in
the world so entirely unromantic and selfish as certain young English
gentlemen from the age of fifteen to twenty. The oldest Lovelace about
town is scarcely more hard-hearted and scornful than they; they ape all
sorts of selfishness and rouerie: they aim at excelling at cricket, at
billiards, at rowing, and drinking, and set more store by a red coat
and a neat pair of top-boots than by any other glory. A young fellow
staggers into college chapel of a morning, and communicates to all his
friends that he was "so CUT last night," with the greatest possible
pride. He makes a joke of having sisters and a kind mother at home who
loves him; and if he speaks of his father, it is with a knowing sneer to
say that he has a tailor's and a horse-dealer's bill that will surprise
"the old governor." He would be ashamed of being in love. I, in common
with my kind, had these affectations, and my perpetual custom of smoking
added not a little to my reputation as an accomplished roue. What came
of this custom in the army and at college, the reader has already heard.
Alas! in life it went no better with me, and many pretty chances I had
went off in that accursed smoke.

After quitting the army in the abrupt manner stated, I passed some
short time at home, and was tolerated by my mother-in-law, because I
had formed an attachment to a young lady of good connections and with a
considerable fortune, which was really very nearly becoming mine. Mary
M'Alister was the only daughter of Colonel M'Alister, late of the Blues,
and Lady Susan his wife. Her ladyship was no more; and, indeed, of no
family compared to ours (which has refused a peerage any time these two
hundred years); but being an earl's daughter and a Scotchwoman, Lady
Emily Fitz-Boodle did not fail to consider her highly. Lady Susan was
daughter of the late Admiral Earl of Marlingspike and Baron Plumduff.
The Colonel, Miss M'Alister's father, had a good estate, of which his
daughter was the heiress, and as I fished her out of the water upon
a pleasure-party, and swam with her to shore, we became naturally
intimate, and Colonel M'Alister forgot, on account of the service
rendered to him, the dreadful reputation for profligacy which I enjoyed
in the county.

Well, to cut a long story short, which is told here merely for the
moral at the end of it, I should have been Fitz-Boodle M'Alister at this
minute most probably, and master of four thousand a year, but for
the fatal cigar-box. I bear Mary no malice in saying that she was a
high-spirited little girl, loving, before all things, her own way; nay,
perhaps I do not, from long habit and indulgence in tobacco-smoking,
appreciate the delicacy of female organizations, which were oftentimes
most painfully affected by it. She was a keen-sighted little person,
and soon found that the world had belied poor George Fitz-Boodle; who,
instead of being the cunning monster people supposed him to be, was a
simple, reckless, good-humored, honest fellow, marvellously addicted to
smoking, idleness, and telling the truth. She called me Orson, and I
was happy enough on the 14th February, in the year 18-- (it's of no
consequence), to send her such a pretty little copy of verses about
Orson and Valentine, in which the rude habits of the savage man were
shown to be overcome by the polished graces of his kind and brilliant
conqueror, that she was fairly overcome, and said to me, "George
Fitz-Boodle, if you give up smoking for a year, I will marry you."

I swore I would, of course, and went home and flung four pounds of
Hudson's cigars, two meerschaum pipes that had cost me ten guineas
at the establishment of Mr. Gattie at Oxford, a tobacco-bag that Lady
Fitz-Boodle had given me BEFORE her marriage with my father (it was the
only present that I ever had from her or any member of the Flintskinner
family), and some choice packets of Varinas and Syrian, into the lake
in Boodle Park. The weapon amongst them all which I most regretted
was--will it be believed?--the little black doodheen which had been the
cause of the quarrel between Lord Martingale and me. However, it went
along with the others. I would not allow my groom to have so much as a
cigar, lest I should be tempted hereafter; and the consequence was that
a few days after many fat carps and tenches in the lake (I must confess
'twas no bigger than a pond) nibbled at the tobacco, and came floating
on their backs on the top of the water quite intoxicated. My conversion
made some noise in the county, being emphasized as it were by this fact
of the fish. I can't tell you with what pangs I kept my resolution; but
keep it I did for some time.

With so much beauty and wealth, Mary M'Alister had of course many
suitors, and among them was the young Lord Dawdley, whose mamma has
previously been described in her gown of red satin. As I used to thrash
Dawdley at school, I thrashed him in after-life in love; he put up with
his disappointment pretty well, and came after a while and shook hands
with me, telling me of the bets that there were in the county, where the
whole story was known, for and against me. For the fact is, as I must
own, that Mary M'Alister, the queerest, frankest of women, made no
secret of the agreement, or the cause of it.

"I did not care a penny for Orson," she said, "but he would go on
writing me such dear pretty verses that at last I couldn't help saying
yes. But if he breaks his promise to me, I declare, upon my honor, I'll
break mine, and nobody's heart will be broken either."

This was the perfect fact, as I must confess, and I declare that it was
only because she amused me and delighted me, and provoked me, and made
me laugh very much, and because, no doubt, she was very rich, that I had
any attachment for her.

"For heaven's sake, George," my father said to me, as I quitted home to
follow my beloved to London, "remember that you are a younger brother
and have a lovely girl and four thousand a year within a year's reach of
you. Smoke as much as you like, my boy, after marriage," added the old
gentleman, knowingly (as if HE, honest soul, after his second marriage,
dared drink an extra pint of wine without my lady's permission!) "but
eschew the tobacco-shops till then."

I went to London resolving to act upon the paternal advice, and oh! how
I longed for the day when I should be married, vowing in my secret soul
that I would light a cigar as I walked out of St. George's, Hanover

Well, I came to London, and so carefully avoided smoking that I would
not even go into Hudson's shop to pay his bill, and as smoking was not
the fashion then among young men as (thank heaven!) it is now, I had
not many temptations from my friends' examples in my clubs or elsewhere;
only little Dawdley began to smoke, as if to spite me. He had never done
so before, but confessed--the rascal!--that he enjoyed a cigar now,
if it were but to mortify me. But I took to other and more dangerous
excitements, and upon the nights when not in attendance upon Mary
M'Alister, might be found in very dangerous proximity to a polished
mahogany table, round which claret-bottles circulated a great deal
too often, or worse still, to a table covered with green cloth and
ornamented with a couple of wax-candles and a couple of packs of cards,
and four gentlemen playing the enticing game of whist. Likewise, I
came to carry a snuff-box, and to consume in secret huge quantities of

For ladies' society I was even then disinclined, hating and despising
small-talk, and dancing, and hot routs, and vulgar scrambles for
suppers. I never could understand the pleasure of acting the part of
lackey to a dowager, and standing behind her chair, or bustling through
the crowd for her carriage. I always found an opera too long by
two acts, and have repeatedly fallen asleep in the presence of Mary
M'Alister herself, sitting at the back of the box shaded by the huge
beret of her old aunt, Lady Betty Plumduff; and many a time has Dawdley,
with Miss M'Alister on his arm, wakened me up at the close of the
entertainment in time to offer my hand to Lady Betty, and lead the
ladies to their carriage. If I attended her occasionally to any ball
or party of pleasure, I went, it must be confessed, with clumsy,
ill-disguised ill-humor. Good heavens! have I often and often thought in
the midst of a song, or the very thick of a ball-room, can people prefer
this to a book and a sofa, and a dear, dear cigar-box, from thy stores,
O charming Mariana Woodville! Deprived of my favorite plant, I grew sick
in mind and body, moody, sarcastic, and discontented.

Such a state of things could not long continue, nor could Miss M'Alister
continue to have much attachment for such a sullen, ill-conditioned
creature as I then was. She used to make me wild with her wit and her
sarcasm, nor have I ever possessed the readiness to parry or reply
to those fine points of woman's wit, and she treated me the more
mercilessly as she saw that I could not resist her.

Well, the polite reader must remember a great fete that was given at
B---- House, some years back, in honor of his Highness the Hereditary
Prince of Kalbsbraten-Pumpernickel, who was then in London on a visit to
his illustrious relatives. It was a fancy ball, and the poems of Scott
being at that time all the fashion, Mary was to appear in the character
of the "Lady of the Lake," old M'Alister making a very tall and
severe-looking harper; Dawdley, a most insignificant Fitzjames; and your
humble servant a stalwart manly Roderick Dhu. We were to meet at B----
House at twelve o'clock, and as I had no fancy to drive through the town
in my cab dressed in a kilt and philibeg, I agreed to take a seat in
Dawdley's carriage, and to dress at his house in May Fair. At eleven
I left a very pleasant bachelors' party, growling to quit them and the
honest, jovial claret-bottle, in order to scrape and cut capers like a
harlequin from the theatre. When I arrived at Dawdley's, I mounted to a
dressing-room, and began to array myself in my cursed costume.

The art of costuming was by no means so well understood in those days
as it has been since, and mine was out of all correctness. I was made
to sport an enormous plume of black ostrich-feathers, such as never was
worn by any Highland chief, and had a huge tiger-skin sporran to dangle
like an apron before innumerable yards of plaid petticoat. The tartan
cloak was outrageously hot and voluminous; it was the dog-days, and
all these things I was condemned to wear in the midst of a crowd of a
thousand people!

Dawdley sent up word, as I was dressing, that his dress had not arrived,
and he took my cab and drove off in a rage to his tailor.

There was no hurry, I thought, to make a fool of myself; so having put
on a pair of plaid trews, and very neat pumps with shoe-buckles, my
courage failed me as to the rest of the dress, and taking down one of
his dressing-gowns, I went down stairs to the study, to wait until he
should arrive.

The windows of the pretty room were open, and a snug sofa, with
innumerable cushions, drawn towards one of them. A great tranquil moon
was staring into the chamber, in which stood, amidst books and all
sorts of bachelor's lumber, a silver tray with a couple of tall Venice
glasses, and a bottle of Maraschino bound with straw. I can see now the
twinkle of the liquor in the moonshine, as I poured it into the glass;
and I swallowed two or three little cups of it, for my spirits were
downcast. Close to the tray of Maraschino stood--must I say it?--a box,
a mere box of cedar, bound rudely together with pink paper, branded with
the name of "Hudson" on the side, and bearing on the cover the arms of
Spain. I thought I would just take up the box and look in it.

Ah heaven! there they were--a hundred and fifty of them, in calm,
comfortable rows: lovingly side by side they lay, with the great moon
shining down upon them--thin at the tip, full in the waist,
elegantly round and full, a little spot here and there shining upon
them--beauty-spots upon the cheek of Sylvia. The house was quite quiet.
Dawdley always smoked in his room--I had not smoked for four months and
eleven days.


When Lord Dawdley came into the study, he did not make any remarks; and
oh, how easy my heart felt! He was dressed in his green and boots, after
Westall's picture, correctly.

"It's time to be off, George," said he; "they told me you were dressed
long ago. Come up, my man, and get ready."

I rushed up into the dressing-room, and madly dashed my head and arms
into a pool of eau-de-Cologne. I drank, I believe, a tumberful of it. I
called for my clothes, and, strange to say, they were gone. My servant
brought them, however, saying that he had put them away--making some
stupid excuse. I put them on, not heeding them much, for I was half
tipsy with the excitement of the ci-- of the smo-- of what had taken
place in Dawdley's study, and with the Maraschino and the eau-de-Cologue
I had drunk.

"What a fine odor of lavender-water!" said Dawdley, as we rode in the

I put my head out of the window and shrieked out a laugh; but made no
other reply.

"What's the joke, George?" said Dawdley. "Did I say anything witty?"

"No," cried I, yelling still more wildly; "nothing more witty than

"Don't be severe, George," said he, with a mortified air; and we drove
on to B---- House.


There must have been something strange and wild in my appearance, and
those awful black plumes, as I passed through the crowd; for I observed
people looking and making a strange nasal noise (it is called sniffing,
and I have no other more delicate term for it), and making way as
I pushed on. But I moved forward very fiercely, for the wine, the
Maraschino, the eau-de-Cologne, and the--the excitement had rendered me
almost wild; and at length I arrived at the place where my lovely Lady
of the Lake and her Harper stood. How beautiful she looked,--all eyes
were upon her as she stood blushing. When she saw me, however; her
countenance assumed an appearance of alarm. "Good heavens, George!" she
said, stretching her hand to me, "what makes you look so wild and pale?"
I advanced, and was going to take her hand, when she dropped it with a

"Ah--ah--ah!" she said. "Mr. Fitz-Boodle, you've been smoking!"

There was an immense laugh from four hundred people round about us, and
the scoundrelly Dawdley joined in the yell. I rushed furiously out,
and, as I passed, hurtled over the fat Hereditary Prince of

"Es riecht hier ungeheuer stark von Tabak!" I heard his Highness say, as
I madly flung myself through the aides-de-camp.

The next day Mary M'Alister, in a note full of the most odious good
sense and sarcasm, reminded me of our agreement; said that she was quite
convinced that we were not by any means fitted for one another, and
begged me to consider myself henceforth quite free. The little wretch
had the impertinence to send me a dozen boxes of cigars, which, she
said, would console me for my lost love; as she was perfectly certain
that I was not mercenary, and that I loved tobacco better than any woman
in the world.

I believe she was right, though I have never to this day been able to
pardon the scoundrelly stratagem by which Dawdley robbed me of a wife
and won one himself. As I was lying on his sofa, looking at the moon and
lost in a thousand happy contemplations, Lord Dawdley, returning
from the tailor's, saw me smoking at my leisure. On entering his
dressing-room, a horrible treacherous thought struck him. "I must not
betray my friend," said he; "but in love all is fair, and he shall
betray himself." There were my tartans, my cursed feathers, my
tiger-skin sporran, upon the sofa.

He called up my groom; he made the rascal put on all my clothes, and,
giving him a guinea and four cigars, bade him lock himself into the
little pantry and smoke them WITHOUT TAKING THE CLOTHES OFF. John did
so, and was very ill in consequence, and so when I came to B---- House,
my clothes were redolent of tobacco, and I lost lovely Mary M'Alister.

I am godfather to one of Lady Dawdley's boys, and hers is the only house
where I am allowed to smoke unmolested; but I have never been able to
admire Dawdley, a sly, sournois, spiritless, lily-livered fellow, that
took his name off all his clubs the year he married.


Beyond sparring and cricket, I do not recollect I learned anything
useful at Slaughter-House School, where I was educated (according to an
old family tradition, which sends particular generations of gentlemen to
particular schools in the kingdom; and such is the force of habit, that
though I hate the place, I shall send my own son thither too, should
I marry any day). I say I learned little that was useful at Slaughter
House, and nothing that was ornamental. I would as soon have thought
of learning to dance as of learning to climb chimneys. Up to the age of
seventeen, as I have shown, I had a great contempt for the female race,
and when age brought with it warmer and juster sentiments, where was
I?--I could no more dance nor prattle to a young girl than a young bear
could. I have seen the ugliest little low-bred wretches carrying off
young and lovely creatures, twirling with them in waltzes, whispering
between their glossy curls in quadrilles, simpering with perfect
equanimity, and cutting pas in that abominable "cavalier seul," until my
soul grew sick with fury. In a word, I determined to learn to dance.

But such things are hard to be acquired late in life, when the bones and
the habits of a man are formed. Look at a man in a hunting-field who has
not been taught to ride as a boy. All the pluck and courage in the world
will not make the man of him that I am, or as any man who has had the
advantages of early education in the field.

In the same way with dancing. Though I went to work with immense energy,
both in Brewer Street, Golden Square (with an advertising fellow), and
afterwards with old Coulon at Paris, I never was able to be EASY in
dancing; and though little Coulon instructed me in a smile, it was a
cursed forced one, that looked like the grin of a person in extreme
agony. I once caught sight of it in a glass, and have hardly ever smiled

Most young men about London have gone through that strange secret ordeal
of the dancing-school. I am given to understand that young snobs from
attorneys' offices, banks, shops, and the like, make not the least
mystery of their proceedings in the saltatory line, but trip gayly, with
pumps in hand, to some dancing-place about Soho, waltz and quadrille it
with Miss Greengrocer or Miss Butcher, and fancy they have had rather
a pleasant evening. There is one house in Dover Street, where, behind
a dirty curtain, such figures may be seen hopping every night, to a
perpetual fiddling; and I have stood sometimes wondering in the street,
with about six blackguard boys wondering too, at the strange contortions
of the figures jumping up and down to the mysterious squeaking of the
kit. Have they no shame ces gens? are such degrading initiations to be
held in public? No, the snob may, but the man of refined mind never can
submit to show himself in public laboring at the apprenticeship of this
most absurd art. It is owing, perhaps, to this modesty, and the fact
that I had no sisters at home, that I have never thoroughly been able to
dance; for though I always arrive at the end of a quadrille (and
thank heaven for it too!) and though, I believe, I make no mistake in
particular, yet I solemnly confess I have never been able thoroughly
to comprehend the mysteries of it, or what I have been about from the
beginning to the end of the dance. I always look at the lady opposite,
and do as she does: if SHE did not know how to dance, par hasard, it
would be all up. But if they can't do anything else, women can dance:
let us give them that praise at least.

In London, then, for a considerable time, I used to get up at eight
o'clock in the morning, and pass an hour alone with Mr. Wilkinson, of
the Theatres Royal, in Golden Square;--an hour alone. It was "one, two,
three; one, two, three--now jump--right foot more out, Mr. Smith; and if
you COULD try and look a little more cheerful; your partner, sir, would
like you hall the better." Wilkinson called me Smith, for the fact is,
I did not tell him my real name, nor (thank heaven!) does he know it to
this day.

I never breathed a word of my doings to any soul among my friends; once
a pack of them met me in the strange neighborhood, when, I am ashamed to
say, I muttered something about a "little French milliner," and walked
off, looking as knowing as I could.

In Paris, two Cambridge-men and myself, who happened to be staying at
a boarding-house together, agreed to go to Coulon, a little creature of
four feet high with a pigtail. His room was hung round with glasses. He
made us take off our coats, and dance each before a mirror. Once he was
standing before us playing on his kit the sight of the little master
and the pupil was so supremely ridiculous, that I burst into a yell of
laughter, which so offended the old man that he walked away abruptly,
and begged me not to repeat my visits. Nor did I. I was just getting
into waltzing then, but determined to drop waltzing, and content myself
with quadrilling for the rest of my days.

This was all very well in France and England; but in Germany what was
I to do? What did Hercules do when Omphale captivated him? What did
Rinaldo do when Armida fixed upon him her twinkling eyes? Nay, to cut
all historical instances short, by going at once to the earliest, what
did Adam do when Eve tempted him? He yielded and became her slave; and
so I do heartily trust every honest man will yield until the end of the
world--he has no heart who will not. When I was in Germany, I say, I
began to learn to WALTZ. The reader from this will no doubt expect
that some new love-adventures befell me--nor will his gentle heart be
disappointed. Two deep and tremendous incidents occurred which shall be
notified on the present occasion.

The reader, perhaps, remembers the brief appearance of his Highness the
Duke of Kalbsbraten-Pumpernickel at B---- House, in the first part of
my Memoirs, at that unlucky period of my life when the Duke was led
to remark the odor about my clothes, which lost me the hand of Mary
M'Alister. I somehow found myself in his Highness's territories, of
which anybody may read a description in the Almanach de Gotha. His
Highness's father, as is well known, married Emilia Kunegunda Thomasina
Charleria Emanuela Louisa Georgina, Princess of Saxe-Pumpernickel, and a
cousin of his Highness the Duke. Thus the two principalities were united
under one happy sovereign in the person of Philibert Sigismund Emanuel
Maria, the reigning Duke, who has received from his country (on
account of the celebrated pump which he erected in the marketplace
of Kalbsbraten) the well-merited appellation of the Magnificent. The
allegory which the statues round about the pump represent, is of a very
mysterious and complicated sort. Minerva is observed leading up Ceres to
a river-god, who has his arms round the neck of Pomona; while Mars (in
a full-bottomed wig) is driven away by Peace, under whose mantle two
lovely children, representing the Duke's two provinces, repose. The
celebrated Speck is, as need scarcely be said, the author of this
piece; and of other magnificent edifices in the Residenz, such as the
guard-room, the skittle-hall Grossherzoglich Kalbsbratenpumpernickelisch
Schkittelspielsaal, &c., and the superb sentry-boxes before the
Grand-Ducal Palace. He is Knight Grand Cross of the Ancient Kartoffel
Order, as, indeed, is almost every one else in his Highness's dominions.

The town of Kalbsbraten contains a population of two thousand
inhabitants, and a palace which would accommodate about six times
that number. The principality sends three and a half men to the
German Confederation, who are commanded by a General (Excellency), two
Major-Generals, and sixty-four officers of lower grades; all noble, all
knights of the Order, and almost all chamberlains to his Highness the
Grand Duke. An excellent band of eighty performers is the admiration of
the surrounding country, and leads the Grand-Ducal troops to battle in
time of war. Only three of the contingent of soldiers returned from the
Battle of Waterloo, where they won much honor; the remainder was cut to
pieces on that glorious day.

There is a chamber of representatives (which, however, nothing can
induce to sit), home and foreign ministers, residents from neighboring
courts, law presidents, town councils, &c., all the adjuncts of a big
or little government. The court has its chamberlains and marshals, the
Grand Duchess her noble ladies in waiting, and blushing maids of honor.
Thou wert one, Dorothea! Dost remember the poor young Englander? We
parted in anger; but I think--I think thou hast not forgotten him.

The way in which I have Dorothea von Speck present to my mind is this:
not as I first saw her in the garden--for her hair was in bandeaux
then, and a large Leghorn hat with a deep ribbon covered half her fair
face,--not in a morning-dress, which, by the way, was none of the newest
nor the best made--but as I saw her afterwards at a ball at the pleasant
splendid little court, where she moved the most beautiful of the
beauties of Kalbsbraten. The grand saloon of the palace is lighted--the
Grand Duke and his officers, the Duchess and her ladies, have passed
through. I, in my uniform, of the --th, and a number of young
fellows (who are evidently admiring my legs and envying my distingue
appearance), are waiting round the entrance-door, where a huge Heyduke
is standing, and announcing the titles of the guests as they arrive.

the little Inspector comes in. His lady is on his arm huge, in towering
plumes, and her favorite costume of light blue. Fair women always dress
in light blue or light green; and Frau von Speck is very fair and stout.

But who comes behind her? Lieber Himmel! It is Dorothea! Did earth,
among all the flowers which have sprung from its bosom, produce ever one
more beautiful? She was none of your heavenly beauties, I tell you. She
had nothing ethereal about her. No, sir; she was of the earth earthy,
and must have weighed ten stone four or five, if she weighed an ounce.
She had none of your Chinese feet, nor waspy, unhealthy waists, which
those may admire who will. No: Dora's foot was a good stout one; you
could see her ankle (if her robe was short enough) without the aid of
a microscope; and that envious little, sour, skinny Amalia von
Mangelwurzel used to hold up her four fingers and say (the two girls
were most intimate friends of course), "Dear Dorothea's vaist is so much
dicker as dis." And so I have no doubt it was.

But what then? Goethe sings in one of his divine epigrams:--

"Epicures vaunting their taste, entitle me vulgar and savage, Give them
their Brussels-sprouts, but I am contented with cabbage."

I hate your little women--that is, when I am in love with a tall one;
and who would not have loved Dorothea?

Fancy her, then, if you please, about five feet four inches high--fancy
her in the family color of light blue, a little scarf covering the most
brilliant shoulders in the world; and a pair of gloves clinging close
round an arm that may, perhaps, be somewhat too large now, but that
Juno might have envied then. After the fashion of young ladies on the
continent, she wears no jewels or gimcracks: her only ornament is a
wreath of vine-leaves in her hair, with little clusters of artificial
grapes. Down on her shoulders falls the brown hair, in rich liberal
clusters; all that health, and good-humor, and beauty can do for her
face, kind nature has done for hers. Her eyes are frank, sparkling, and
kind. As for her cheeks, what paint-box or dictionary contains pigments
or words to describe their red? They say she opens her mouth and smiles
always to show the dimples in her cheeks. Psha! she smiles because she
is happy, and kind, and good-humored, and not because her teeth are
little pearls.

All the young fellows crowd up to ask her to dance, and, taking from her
waist a little mother-of-pearl remembrancer, she notes them down. Old
Schnabel for the polonaise; Klingenspohr, first waltz; Haarbart, second
waltz; Count Hornpieper (the Danish envoy), third; and so on. I have
said why I could not ask her to waltz, and I turned away with a pang,
and played ecarte with Colonel Trumpenpack all night.

In thus introducing this lovely creature in her ball-costume, I have
been somewhat premature, and had best go back to the beginning of the
history of my acquaintance with her.

Dorothea, then, was the daughter of the celebrated Speck before
mentioned. It is one of the oldest names in Germany, where her father's
and mother's houses, those of Speck and Eyer, are loved wherever they
are known. Unlike his warlike progenitor, Lorenzo von Speck, Dorothea's
father, had early shown himself a passionate admirer of art; had
quitted home to study architecture in Italy, and had become celebrated
throughout Europe, and been appointed Oberhofarchitect and Kunst- und
Bau-inspektor of the united principalities. They are but four miles
wide, and his genius has consequently but little room to play. What art
can do, however, he does. The palace is frequently whitewashed under
his eyes; the theatre painted occasionally; the noble public buildings
erected, of which I have already made mention.

I had come to Kalbsbraten, scarce knowing whither I went; and having, in
about ten minutes, seen the curiosities of the place (I did not care
to see the King's palace, for chairs and tables have no great charm for
me), I had ordered horses, and wanted to get on I cared not whither,
when Fate threw Dorothea in my way. I was yawning back to the hotel
through the palace-garden, a valet-de-place at my side, when I saw a
young lady seated under a tree reading a novel, her mamma on the same
bench (a fat woman in light blue) knitting a stocking, and two officers,
choked in their stays, with various orders on their spinach-colored
coats, standing by in first attitudes: the one was caressing the
fat-lady-in-blue's little dog; the other was twirling his own moustache,
which was already as nearly as possible curled into his own eye.

I don't know how it is, but I hate to see men evidently intimate with
nice-looking women, and on good terms with themselves. There's something
annoying in their cursed complacency--their evident sunshiny happiness.
I've no woman to make sunshine for ME; and yet my heart tells me that
not one, but several such suns, would do good to my system.

"Who are those pert-looking officers," says I, peevishly, to the guide,
"who are talking to those vulgar-looking women?"

"The big one, with the epaulets, is Major von Schnabel; the little one,
with the pale face, is Stiefel von Klingenspohr."

"And the big blue woman?"

"The Grand-Ducal Pumpernickelian-court-architectress and
Upper-Palace-and-building-inspectress Von Speck, born V. Eyer," replied
the guide. "Your well-born honor has seen the pump in the market-place;
that is the work of the great Von Speck."

"And yonder young person?"

"Mr. Court-architect's daughter; the Fraulein Dorothea."


Dorothea looked up from her novel here, and turned her face towards
the stranger who was passing, and then blushing turned it down again.
Schnabel looked at me with a scowl, Klingenspohr with a simper, the dog
with a yelp, the fat lady in blue just gave one glance, and seemed, I
thought, rather well pleased. "Silence, Lischen!" said she to the dog.
"Go on, darling Dorothea," she added, to her daughter, who continued her

Her voice was a little tremulous, but very low and rich. For some reason
or other, on getting back to the inn, I countermanded the horses, and
said I would stay for the night.

I not only stayed that night, but many, many afterwards; and as for the
manner in which I became acquainted with the Speck family, why it was
a good joke against me at the time, and I did not like then to have
it known; but now it may as well come out at once. Speck, as everybody
knows, lives in the market-place, opposite his grand work of art, the
town pump, or fountain. I bought a large sheet of paper, and having a
knack at drawing, sat down, with the greatest gravity, before the pump,
and sketched it for several hours. I knew it would bring out old Speck
to see. At first he contented himself by flattening his nose against the
window-glasses of his study, and looking what the Englander was about.
Then he put on his gray cap with the huge green shade, and sauntered
to the door: then he walked round me, and formed one of a band of
street-idlers who were looking on: then at last he could restrain
himself no more, but, pulling off his cap, with a low bow, began to
discourse upon arts, and architecture in particular.

"It is curious," says he, "that you have taken the same view of which a
print has been engraved."

"That IS extraordinary," says I (though it wasn't, for I had traced my
drawing at a window off the very print in question). I added that I was,
like all the world, immensely struck with the beauty of the edifice;
heard of it at Rome, where it was considered to be superior to any of
the celebrated fountains of that capital of the fine arts; finally,
that unless perhaps the celebrated fountain of Aldgate in London
might compare with it, Kalbsbraten building, EXCEPT in that case, was

This speech I addressed in French, of which the worthy Hofarchitect
understood somewhat, and continuing to reply in German, our conversation
grew pretty close. It is singular that I can talk to a man and pay him
compliments with the utmost gravity, whereas, to a woman, I at once lose
all self-possession, and have never said a pretty thing in my life.

My operations on old Speck were so conducted, that in a quarter of an
hour I had elicited from him an invitation to go over the town with
him, and see its architectural beauties. So we walked through the huge
half-furnished chambers of the palace, we panted up the copper pinnacle
of the church-tower, we went to see the Museum and Gymnasium, and coming
back into the market-place again, what could the Hofarchitect do but
offer me a glass of wine and a seat in his house? He introduced me
to his Gattinn, his Leocadia (the fat woman in blue), "as a young
world-observer, and worthy art-friend, a young scion of British Adel,
who had come to refresh himself at the Urquellen of his race, and see
his brethren of the great family of Hermann."

I saw instantly that the old fellow was of a romantic turn, from this
rodomontade to his lady; nor was she a whit less so; nor was Dorothea
less sentimental than her mamma. She knew everything regarding the
literature of Albion, as she was pleased to call it; and asked me news
of all the famous writers there. I told her that Miss Edgeworth was one
of the loveliest young beauties at our court; I described to her Lady
Morgan, herself as beautiful as the wild Irish girl she drew; I promised
to give her a signature of Mrs. Hemans (which I wrote for her that very
evening); and described a fox-hunt, at which I had seen Thomas Moore
and Samuel Rogers, Esquires; and a boxing-match, in which the athletic
author of "Pelham" was pitched against the hardy mountain bard,
Wordsworth. You see my education was not neglected, for though I have
never read the works of the above-named ladies and gentlemen, yet I knew
their names well enough.

Time passed away. I, perhaps, was never so brilliant in conversation as
when excited by the Asmanshauser and the brilliant eyes of Dorothea that
day. She and her parents had dined at their usual heathen hour; but I
was, I don't care to own it, so smitten, that for the first time in my
life I did not even miss the meal, and talked on until six o'clock, when
tea was served. Madame Speck said they always drank it; and so placing
a teaspoonful of bohea in a cauldron of water, she placidly handed out
this decoction, which we took with cakes and tartines. I leave you to
imagine how disgusted Klingenspohr and Schnabel looked when they stepped
in as usual that evening to make their party of whist with the Speck
family! Down they were obliged to sit; and the lovely Dorothea, for that
night, declined to play altogether, and--sat on the sofa by me.

What we talked about, who shall tell? I would not, for my part, break
the secret of one of those delicious conversations, of which I and every
man in his time have held so many. You begin, very probably, about the
weather--'tis a common subject, but what sentiments the genius of Love
can fling into it! I have often, for my part, said to the girl of my
heart for the time being, "It's a fine day," or "It's a rainy morning!"
in a way that has brought tears to her eyes. Something beats in your
heart, and twangle! a corresponding string thrills and echoes in
hers. You offer her anything--her knitting-needles, a slice of
bread-and-butter--what causes the grateful blush with which she accepts
the one or the other? Why, she sees your heart handed over to her upon
the needles, and the bread-and-butter is to her a sandwich with love
inside it. If you say to your grandmother, "Ma'am, it's a fine day,"
or what not, she would find in the words no other meaning than their
outward and visible one; but say so to the girl you love, and she
understands a thousand mystic meanings in them. Thus, in a word, though
Dorothea and I did not, probably, on the first night of our meeting,
talk of anything more than the weather, or trumps, or some subjects
which to such listeners as Schnabel and Klingenspohr and others might
appear quite ordinary, yet to US they had a different signification, of
which Love alone held the key.

Without further ado then, after the occurrences of that evening, I
determined on staying at Kalbsbraten, and presenting my card the next
day to the Hof-Marshal, requesting to have the honor of being presented
to his Highness the Prince, at one of whose court-balls my Dorothea
appeared as I have described her.

It was summer when I first arrived at Kalbsbraten. The little court was
removed to Siegmundslust, his Highness's country-seat: no balls were
taking place, and, in consequence, I held my own with Dorothea pretty
well. I treated her admirer, Lieutenant Klingenspohr, with perfect
scorn, had a manifest advantage over Major Schnabel, and used somehow
to meet the fair one every day, walking in company with her mamma in
the palace garden, or sitting under the acacias, with Belotte in her
mother's lap, and the favorite romance beside her. Dear, dear Dorothea!
what a number of novels she must have read in her time! She confesses to
me that she had been in love with Uncas, with Saint Preux, with Ivanhoe,
and with hosts of German heroes of romance; and when I asked her if
she, whose heart was so tender towards imaginary youths, had never had
a preference for any one of her living adorers, she only looked, and
blushed, and sighed, and said nothing.

You see I had got on as well as man could do, until the confounded court
season and the balls began, and then--why, then came my usual luck.

Waltzing is a part of a German girl's life. With the best will in the
world--which, I doubt not, she entertains for me, for I never put the
matter of marriage directly to her--Dorothea could not go to balls and
not waltz. It was madness to me to see her whirling round the room
with officers, attaches, prim little chamberlains with gold keys and
embroidered coats, her hair floating in the wind, her hand reposing upon
the abominable little dancer's epaulet, her good-humored face lighted up
with still greater satisfaction. I saw that I must learn to waltz too,
and took my measures accordingly.

The leader of the ballet at the Kalbsbraten theatre in my time was
Springbock, from Vienna. He had been a regular zephyr once, 'twas said,
in his younger days; and though he is now fifteen stone weight, I can,
helas! recommend him conscientiously as a master; and I determined to
take some lessons from him in the art which I had neglected so foolishly
in early life.

It may be said, without vanity, that I was an apt pupil, and in the
course of half a dozen lessons I had arrived at very considerable
agility in the waltzing line, and could twirl round the room with him
at such a pace as made the old gentleman pant again, and hardly left him
breath enough to puff out a compliment to his pupil. I may say, that in
a single week I became an expert waltzer; but as I wished, when I came
out publicly in that character, to be quite sure of myself, and as I had
hitherto practised not with a lady, but with a very fat old man, it was
agreed that he should bring a lady of his acquaintance to perfect me,
and accordingly, at my eighth lesson, Madame Springbock herself came to
the dancing-room, and the old zephyr performed on the violin.

If any man ventures the least sneer with regard to this lady, or dares
to insinuate anything disrespectful to her or myself, I say at once that
he is an impudent calumniator. Madame Springbock is old enough to be my
grandmother, and as ugly a woman as I ever saw; but, though old, she was
passionnee pour la danse, and not having (on account, doubtless, of her
age and unprepossessing appearance) many opportunities of indulging in
her favorite pastime, made up for lost time by immense activity
whenever she could get a partner. In vain, at the end of the hour, would
Springbock exclaim, "Amalia, my soul's blessing, the time is up!" "Play
on, dear Alphonso!" would the old lady exclaim, whisking me round: and
though I had not the least pleasure in such a homely partner, yet for
the sake of perfecting myself I waltzed and waltzed with her, until we
were both half dead with fatigue.

At the end of three weeks I could waltz as well as any man in Germany.

At the end of four weeks there was a grand ball at court in honor of H.
H. the Prince of Dummerland and his Princess, and THEN I determined
I would come out in public. I dressed myself with unusual care and
splendor. My hair was curled and my moustache dyed to a nicety; and
of the four hundred gentlemen present, if the girls of Kalbsbraten DID
select one who wore an English hussar uniform, why should I disguise the
fact? In spite of my silence, the news had somehow got abroad, as news
will in such small towns,--Herr von Fitz-Boodle was coming out in a
waltz that evening. His Highness the Duke even made an allusion to the
circumstance. When on this eventful night, I went, as usual, and made
him my bow in the presentation, "Vous, monsieur," said he--"vous qui
etes si jeune, devez aimer la danse." I blushed as red as my trousers,
and bowing, went away.

I stepped up to Dorothea. Heavens! how beautiful she looked! and how
archly she smiled as, with a thumping heart, I asked her hand for a
WALTZ! She took out her little mother-of-pearl dancing-book, she wrote
down my name with her pencil: we were engaged for the fourth waltz, and
till then I left her to other partners.

Who says that his first waltz is not a nervous moment? I vow I was
more excited than by any duel I ever fought. I would not dance any
contre-danse or galop. I repeatedly went to the buffet and got glasses
of punch (dear simple Germany! 'tis with rum-punch and egg-flip thy
children strengthen themselves for the dance!) I went into the ball-room
and looked--the couples bounded before me, the music clashed and rung
in my ears--all was fiery, feverish, indistinct. The gleaming white
columns, the polished oaken floors in which the innumerable tapers were
reflected--all together swam before my eyes, and I was in a pitch of
madness almost when the fourth waltz at length came. "WILL YOU DANCE
WITH YOUR SWORD ON?" said the sweetest voice in the world. I blushed,
and stammered, and trembled, as I laid down that weapon and my cap, and
hark! the music began!

Oh, how my hand trembled as I placed it round the waist of Dorothea!
With my left hand I took her right--did she squeeze it? I think she
did--to this day I think she did. Away we went! we tripped over the
polished oak floor like two young fairies. "Courage, monsieur," said
she, with her sweet smile. Then it was "Tres bien, monsieur." Then I
heard the voices humming and buzzing about. "Il danse bien, l'Anglais."
"Ma foi, oui," says another. On we went, twirling and twisting, and
turning and whirling; couple after couple dropped panting off. Little
Klingenspohr himself was obliged to give in. All eyes were upon us--we
were going round ALONE. Dorothea was almost exhausted, when

* * * * *

I have been sitting for two hours since I marked the asterisks,
thinking--thinking. I have committed crimes in my life--who hasn't? But
talk of remorse, what remorse is there like THAT which rushes up in a
flood to my brain sometimes when I am alone, and causes me to blush when
I'm a-bed in the dark?

I fell, sir, on that infernal slippery floor. Down we came like shot; we
rolled over and over in the midst of the ballroom, the music going
ten miles an hour, 800 pairs of eyes fixed upon us, a cursed shriek of
laughter bursting out from all sides. Heavens! how clear I heard it, as
we went on rolling and rolling! "My child! my Dorothea!" shrieked out
Madame Speck, rushing forward, and as soon as she had breath to do
so, Dorothea of course screamed too; then she fainted, then she was
disentangled from out my spurs, and borne off by a bevy of tittering
women. "Clumsy brute!" said Madame Speck, turning her fat back upon me.
I remained upon my seant, wild, ghastly, looking about. It was all up
with me--I knew it was. I wished I could have died there, and I wish so

Klingenspohr married her, that is the long and short; but before that
event I placed a sabre-cut across the young scoundrel's nose, which
destroyed HIS beauty for ever.

O Dorothea! you can't forgive me--you oughtn't to forgive me; but I love
you madly still.

My next flame was Ottilia: but let us keep her for another number; my
feelings overpower me at present.




Travelling some little time back in a wild part of Connemara, where
I had been for fishing and seal-shooting, I had the good luck to get
admission to the chateau of a hospitable Irish gentleman, and to procure
some news of my once dear Ottilia.

Yes, of no other than Ottilia v. Schlippenschlopp, the Muse of
Kalbsbraten-Pumpernickel, the friendly little town far away in
Sachsenland,--where old Speck built the town pump, where Klingenspohr
was slashed across the nose,--where Dorothea rolled over and over in
that horrible waltz with Fitz-Boo--Psha!--away with the recollection;
but wasn't it strange to get news of Ottilia in the wildest corner of
Ireland, where I never should have thought to hear her gentle name?
Walking on that very Urrisbeg Mountain under whose shadow I heard
Ottilia's name, Mackay, the learned author of the "Flora Patlandica,"
discovered the Mediterranean heath,--such a flower as I have often
plucked on the sides of Vesuvius, and as Proserpine, no doubt, amused
herself in gathering as she strayed in the fields of Enna. Here it
is--the self-same flower, peering out at the Atlantic from Roundstone
Bay; here, too, in this wild lonely place, nestles the fragrant memory
of my Ottilia!

In a word, after a day on Ballylynch Lake (where, with a brown fly and
a single hair, I killed fourteen salmon, the smallest twenty-nine pounds
weight, the largest somewhere about five stone ten), my young friend
Blake Bodkin Lynch Browne (a fine lad who has made his continental tour)
and I adjourned, after dinner, to the young gentleman's private room,
for the purpose of smoking a certain cigar; which is never more pleasant
than after a hard day's sport, or a day spent in-doors, or after a good
dinner, or a bad one, or at night when you are tired, or in the morning
when you are fresh, or of a cold winter's day, or of a scorching
summer's afternoon, or at any other moment you choose to fix upon.

What should I see in Blake's room but a rack of pipes, such as are to
be found in almost all the bachelors' rooms in Germany, and amongst them
was a porcelain pipe-head bearing the image of the Kalbsbraten pump!
There it was: the old spout, the old familiar allegory of Mars, Bacchus,
Apollo virorum, and the rest, that I had so often looked at from
Hofarchitect Speck's window, as I sat there, by the side of Dorothea.
The old gentleman had given me one of these very pipes; for he had
hundreds of them painted, wherewith he used to gratify almost every
stranger who came into his native town.

Any old place with which I have once been familiar (as, perhaps, I have
before stated in these "Confessions"--but never mind that) is in some
sort dear to me: and were I Lord Shootingcastle or Colonel Popland,
I think after a residence of six months there I should love the Fleet
Prison. As I saw the old familiar pipe, I took it down, and crammed it
with Cavendish tobacco, and lay down on a sofa, and puffed away for an
hour wellnigh, thinking of old, old times.

"You're very entertaining to-night, Fitz," says young Blake, who had
made several tumblers of punch for me, which I had gulped down without
saying a word. "Don't ye think ye'd be more easy in bed than snorting
and sighing there on my sofa, and groaning fit to make me go hang

"I am thinking, Blake," says I, "about Pumpernickel, where old Speck
gave you this pipe."

"'Deed he did," replies the young man; "and did ye know the old Bar'n?"

"I did," said I. "My friend, I have been by the banks of the Bendemeer.
Tell me, are the nightingales still singing there, and do the roses
still bloom?"

"The HWHAT?" cries Blake. "What the divvle, Fitz, are you growling
about? Bendemeer Lake's in Westmoreland, as I preshume; and as for roses
and nightingales, I give ye my word it's Greek ye're talking to me." And
Greek it very possibly was, for my young friend, though as good across
country as any man in his county, has not the fine feeling and tender
perception of beauty which may be found elsewhere, dear madam.

"Tell me about Speck, Blake, and Kalbsbraten, and Dorothea, and
Klingenspohr her husband."

"He with the cut across the nose, is it?" cries Blake. "I know him well,
and his old wife."

"His old what, sir!" cries Fitz-Boodle, jumping up from his seat.
"Klingenspohr's wife old!--is he married again?--Is Dorothea, then,

"Dead!--no more dead than you are, only I take her to be
five-and-thirty. And when a woman has had nine children, you know,
she looks none the younger; and I can tell ye that when she trod on my
corruns at a ball at the Grand Juke's, I felt something heavier than a
feather on my foot."

"Madame de Klingenspohr, then," replied I, hesitating somewhat, "has
grown rather--rather st-st-out?" I could hardly get out the OUT, and
trembled I don't know why as I asked the question.

"Stout, begad!--she weighs fourteen stone, saddle and bridle. That's
right, down goes my pipe; flop! crash falls the tumbler into the fender!
Break away, my boy, and remember, whoever breaks a glass here pays a

The fact was, that the announcement of Dorothea's changed condition
caused no small disturbance within me, and I expressed it in the abrupt
manner mentioned by young Blake.

Roused thus from my reverie, I questioned the young fellow about his
residence at Kalbsbraten, which has been always since the war a favorite
place for our young gentry, and heard with some satisfaction that
Potzdorff was married to the Behrenstein, Haabart had left the dragoons,
the Crown Prince had broken with the ---- but mum! of what interest are
all these details to the reader, who has never been at friendly little

Presently Lynch reaches me down one of the three books that formed his
library (the "Racing Calendar" and a book of fishing-flies making up
the remainder of the set). "And there's my album," says he. "You'll
find plenty of hands in it that you'll recognize, as you are an old
Pumpernickelaner." And so I did, in truth: it was a little book after
the fashion of German albums, in which good simple little ledger every
friend or acquaintance of the owner inscribes a poem or stanza from some
favorite poet or philosopher with the transcriber's own name, as thus:--

"To the true house-friend, and beloved Irelandish youth.

"'Sera nunquam est ad bonos mores via.'

"WACKERBART, Professor at the Grand-Ducal Kalbsbraten-Pumpernickelisch

Another writes,--

"'Wander on roses and forget me not.'



with a flourish, and the picture mayhap of a rose. Let the reader
imagine some hundreds of these interesting inscriptions, and he will
have an idea of the book.

Turning over the leaves I came presently on DOROTHEA'S hand. There
it was, the little neat, pretty handwriting, the dear old up-and-down
strokes that I had not looked at for many a long year,--the
Mediterranean heath, which grew on the sunniest banks of Fitz-Boodle's
existence, and here found, dear, dear little sprig! in rude Galwagian

"Look at the other side of the page," says Lynch, rather sarcastically
(for I don't care to confess that I kissed the name of "Dorothea v.
Klingenspohr, born v. Speck" written under an extremely feeble passage
of verse). "Look at the other side of the paper!"

I did, and what do you think I saw?

I saw the writing of five of the little Klingenspohrs, who have all
sprung up since my time.


"Ha! ha! haw!" screamed the impertinent young Irishman, and the story
was all over Connemara and Joyce's Country in a day after.



Some kind critic who peruses these writings will, doubtless, have the
goodness to point out that the simile of the Mediterranean heath is
applied to two personages in this chapter--to Ottilia and Dorothea, and
say, Psha! the fellow is but a poor unimaginative creature not to be
able to find a simile apiece at least for the girls; how much better
would WE have done the business!

Well, it is a very pretty simile. The girls were rivals, were beautiful,
I loved them both,--which should have the sprig of heath? Mr. Cruikshank
(who has taken to serious painting) is getting ready for the exhibition
a fine piece, representing Fitz-Boodle on the Urrisbeg Mountain, county
Galway, Ireland, with a sprig of heath in his hand, hesitating, like
Paris, on which of the beauties he should bestow it. In the background
is a certain animal between two bundles of hay; but that I take to
represent the critic, puzzled to which of my young beauties to assign
the choice.

If Dorothea had been as rich as Miss Coutts, and had come to me the next
day after the accident at the ball and said, "George, will you marry
me?" it must not be supposed I would have done any such thing. THAT
dream had vanished for ever: rage and pride took the place of love; and
the only chance I had of recovering from my dreadful discomfiture was
by bearing it bravely, and trying, if possible, to awaken a little
compassion in my favor. I limped home (arranging my scheme with great
presence of mind, as I actually sat spinning there on the ground)--I
limped home, sent for Pflastersticken, the court-surgeon, and addressed
him to the following effect: "Pflastersticken," says I, "there has been
an accident at court of which you will hear. You will send in leeches,
pills, and the deuce knows what, and you will say that I have dislocated
my leg: for some days you will state that I am in considerable danger.
You are a good fellow and a man of courage I know, for which very reason
you can appreciate those qualities in another; so mind, if you breathe a
word of my secret, either you or I must lose a life."

Away went the surgeon, and the next day all Kalbsbraten knew that I was
on the point of death: I had been delirious all night, had had eighty
leeches, besides I don't know how much medicine; but the Kalbsbrateners
knew to a scruple. Whenever anybody was ill, this little kind society
knew what medicines were prescribed. Everybody in the town knew what
everybody had for dinner. If Madame Rumpel had her satin dyed ever so
quietly, the whole society was on the qui vive; if Countess Pultuski
sent to Berlin for a new set of teeth, not a person in Kalbsbraten but
what was ready to compliment her as she put them on; if Potzdorff paid
his tailor's bill, or Muffinstein bought a piece of black wax for his
moustaches, it was the talk of the little city. And so, of course, was
my accident. In their sorrow for my misfortune, Dorothea's was quite
forgotten, and those eighty leeches saved me. I became interesting; I
had cards left at my door; and I kept my room for a fortnight, during
which time I read every one of M. Kotzebue's plays.

At the end of that period I was convalescent, though still a little
lame. I called at old Speck's house and apologized for my clumsiness,
with the most admirable coolness; I appeared at court, and stated calmly
that I did not intend to dance any more; and when Klingenspohr grinned,
I told that young gentleman such a piece of my mind as led to his
wearing a large sticking-plaster patch on his nose: which was split as
neatly down the middle as you would split an orange at dessert. In a
word what man could do to repair my defeat, I did.

There is but one thing now of which I am ashamed--of those killing
epigrams which I wrote (mon Dieu! must I own it?--but even the fury of
my anger proves the extent of my love!) against the Speck family.
They were handed about in confidence at court, and made a frightful

                   "IS IT POSSIBLE?"

          "There happened at Schloss P-mp-rn-ckel,
           A strange mishap our sides to tickle,
             And set the people in a roar;--
           A strange caprice of Fortune fickle:
           I never thought at Pumpernickel
             To see a SPECK UPON THE FLOOR!"


          "'Come to the dance,' the Briton said,
           And forward D-r-th-a led,
             Fair, fresh, and three-and-twenty!
           Ah, girls; beware of Britons red!
           What wonder that it TURNED HER HEAD?
             SAT VERBUM SAPIENTI."


          "'The lovely Miss S.
           Will surely say "yes,"
           You've only to ask and try;'
           'That subject we'll quit;'
           Says Georgy the wit,

This last epigram especially was voted so killing that it flew
like wildfire; and I know for a fact that our Charge-d'Affaires at
Kalbsbraten sent a courier express with it to the Foreign Office in
England, whence, through our amiable Foreign Secretary, Lord P-lm-rston,
it made its way into every fashionable circle: nay, I have reason to
believe caused a smile on the cheek of R-y-lty itself. Now that Time has
taken away the sting of these epigrams, there can be no harm in giving
them; and 'twas well enough then to endeavor to hide under the lash of
wit the bitter pangs of humiliation: but my heart bleeds now to think
that I should have ever brought a tear on the gentle cheek of Dorothea.

Not content with this--with humiliating her by satire, and with wounding
her accepted lover across the nose--I determined to carry my revenge
still farther, and to fall in love with somebody else. This person was
Ottilia v. Schlippenschlopp.

Otho Sigismund Freyherr von Schlippenschlopp, Knight Grand Cross of
the Ducal Order of the Two-Necked Swan of Pumpernickel, of the
Porc-et-Siflet of Kalbsbraten, Commander of the George and Blue-Boar of
Dummerland, Excellency, and High Chancellor of the United Duchies, lived
in the second floor of a house in the Schwapsgasse; where, with his
private income and his revenues as Chancellor, amounting together to
some 300L. per annum, he maintained such a state as very few other
officers of the Grand-Ducal Crown could exhibit. The Baron is married to
Marie Antoinette, a Countess of the house of Kartoffelstadt, branches
of which have taken root all over Germany. He has no sons, and but one
daughter, the Fraulein OTTILIA.

The Chancellor is a worthy old gentleman, too fat and wheezy to preside
at the Privy Council, fond of his pipe, his ease, and his rubber. His
lady is a very tall and pale Roman-nosed Countess, who looks as gentle
as Mrs. Robert Roy, where, in the novel, she is for putting Baillie
Nicol Jarvie into the lake, and who keeps the honest Chancellor in the
greatest order. The Fraulein Ottilia had not arrived at Kalbsbraten when
the little affair between me and Dorothea was going on; or rather had
only just come in for the conclusion of it, being presented for the
first time that year at the ball where I--where I met with my accident.

At the time when the Countess was young, it was not the fashion in her
country to educate the young ladies so highly as since they have been
educated; and provided they could waltz, sew, and make puddings, they
were thought to be decently bred; being seldom called upon for algebra
or Sanscrit in the discharge of the honest duties of their lives. But
Fraulein Ottilia was of the modern school in this respect, and came back
from the pension at Strasburg speaking all the languages, dabbling in
all the sciences: an historian, a poet,--a blue of the ultramarinest
sort, in a word. What a difference there was, for instance, between
poor, simple Dorothea's love of novel reading and the profound
encyclopaedic learning of Ottilia!

Before the latter arrived from Strasburg (where she had been under the
care of her aunt the canoness, Countess Ottilia of Kartoffeldstadt, to
whom I here beg to offer my humblest respects), Dorothea had passed for
a bel esprit in the little court circle, and her little simple stock
of accomplishments had amused us all very well. She used to sing "Herz,
mein Herz" and "T'en souviens-tu," in a decent manner (ONCE, before
heaven, I thought her singing better than Grisi's), and then she had a
little album in which she drew flowers, and used to embroider slippers
wonderfully, and was very merry at a game of loto or forfeits, and had
a hundred small agremens de societe! which rendered her an acceptable
member of it.

But when Ottilia arrived, poor Dolly's reputation was crushed in a
month. The former wrote poems both in French and German; she painted
landscapes and portraits in real oil; and she twanged off a rattling
piece of Listz or Kalkbrenner in such a brilliant way, that Dora
scarcely dared to touch the instrument after her, or ventured, after
Ottilia had trilled and gurgled through "Una voce," or "Di piacer"
(Rossini was in fashion then), to lift up her little modest pipe in a
ballad. What was the use of the poor thing going to sit in the park,
where so many of the young officers used ever to gather round her? Whir!
Ottilia went by galloping on a chestnut mare with a groom after her, and
presently all the young fellows who could buy or hire horseflesh were
prancing in her train.

When they met, Ottilia would bounce towards her soul's darling, and
put her hands round her waist, and call her by a thousand affectionate
names, and then talk of her as only ladies or authors can talk of one
another. How tenderly she would hint at Dora's little imperfections of
education!--how cleverly she would insinuate that the poor girl had no
wit! and, thank God, no more she had. The fact is, that do what I will I
see I'm in love with her still, and would be if she had fifty children;
but my passion blinded me THEN, and every arrow that fiery Ottilia
discharged I marked with savage joy. Dolly, thank heaven, didn't mind
the wit much; she was too simple for that. But still the recurrence of
it would leave in her heart a vague, indefinite feeling of pain, and
somehow she began to understand that her empire was passing away,
and that her dear friend hated her like poison; and so she married
Klingenspohr. I have written myself almost into a reconciliation with
the silly fellow; for the truth is, he has been a good, honest husband
to her, and she has children, and makes puddings, and is happy.

Ottilia was pale and delicate. She wore her glistening black hair in
bands, and dressed in vapory white muslin. She sang her own words to
her harp, and they commonly insinuated that she was alone in the
world,--that she suffered some inexpressible and mysterious heart-pangs,
the lot of all finer geniuses,--that though she lived and moved in the
world she was not of it, that she was of a consumptive tendency and
might look for a premature interment. She even had fixed on the spot
where she should lie: the violets grew there, she said, the river went
moaning by; the gray willow whispered sadly over her head, and her heart
pined to be at rest. "Mother," she would say, turning to her parent,
"promise me--promise me to lay me in that spot when the parting hour has
come!" At which Madame de Schlippenschlopp would shriek, and grasp her
in her arms; and at which, I confess, I would myself blubber like a
child. She had six darling friends at school, and every courier from
Kalbsbraten carried off whole reams of her letter-paper.

In Kalbsbraten, as in every other German town, there are a vast number
of literary characters, of whom our young friend quickly became the
chief. They set up a literary journal, which appeared once a week, upon
light-blue or primrose paper, and which, in compliment to the lovely
Ottilia's maternal name, was called the Kartoffelnkranz. Here are a
couple of her ballads extracted from the Kranz, and by far the most
cheerful specimen of her style. For in her songs she never would
willingly let off the heroines without a suicide or a consumption.
She never would hear of such a thing as a happy marriage, and had an
appetite for grief quite amazing in so young a person. As for her dying
and desiring to be buried under the willow-tree, of which the first
ballad is the subject, though I believed the story then, I have at
present some doubts about it. For, since the publication of my Memoirs,
I have been thrown much into the society of literary persons (who admire
my style hugely), and egad! though some of them are dismal enough in
their works, I find them in their persons the least sentimental class
that ever a gentleman fell in with.


     "Know ye the willow-tree
       Whose gray leaves quiver,
     Whispering gloomily
       To yon pale river?
     Lady, at even-tide
       Wander not near it,
     They say its branches hide
       A sad, lost spirit!

     "Once to the willow-tree
       A maid came fearful,
     Pale seemed her cheek to be,
       Her blue eye tearful;
     Soon as she saw the tree,
       Her step moved fleeter,
     No one was there--ah me!
       No one to meet her!

     "Quick beat her heart to hear
       The far bell's chime
     Toll from the chapel-tower
       The trysting time:
     But the red sun went down
       In golden flame,
     And though she looked round,
       Yet no one came!

     "Presently came the night,
       Sadly to greet her,--
     Moon in her silver light,
       Stars in their glitter.
     Then sank the moon away
       Under the billow,
     Still wept the maid alone--
       There by the willow!

     "Through the long darkness,
       By the stream rolling,
     Hour after hour went on
       Tolling and tolling.
     Long was the darkness,
       Lonely and stilly;
     Shrill came the night-wind,
       Piercing and chilly.

     "Shrill blew the morning breeze,
       Biting and cold,
     Bleak peers the gray dawn
       Over the wold.
     Bleak over moor and stream
       Looks the grey dawn,
     Gray, with dishevelled hair,
     Still stands the willow there--


     "Domine, Domine!
       Sing we a litany,--
      Sing for poor maiden-hearts broken and
       Domine, Domine!
     Sing we a litany,
       Wail we and weep we a wild Miserere!"

One of the chief beauties of this ballad (for the translation of which I
received some well-merited compliments) is the delicate way in which the
suicide of the poor young woman under the willow-tree is hinted at; for
that she threw herself into the water and became one among the lilies
of the stream, is as clear as a pikestaff. Her suicide is committed some
time in the darkness, when the slow hours move on tolling and tolling,
and is hinted at darkly as befits the time and the deed.

But that unromantic brute, Van Cutsem, the Dutch Charge-d'Affaires, sent
to the Kartoffelnkranz of the week after a conclusion of the ballad,
which shows what a poor creature he must be. His pretext for writing it
was, he said, because he could not bear such melancholy endings to poems
and young women, and therefore he submitted the following lines:--


     "Long by the willow-trees
       Vainly they sought her,
     Wild rang the mother's screams
       O'er the gray water:
     'Where is my lovely one?
       Where is my daughter?


     "'Rouse thee, sir constable--
       Rouse thee and look;
     Fisherman, bring your net,
       Boatman your hook.
     Beat in the lily-beds,
       Dive in the brook!'


     "Vainly the constable
       Shouted and called her;
     Vainly the fisherman
       Beat the green alder;
     Vainly he flung the net,
       Never it hauled her!


     "Mother beside the fire
       Sat, her nightcap in;
     Father, in easy chair,
       Gloomily napping;
     When at the window-sill
       Came a light tapping!


     "And a pale countenance
       Looked through the casement.
     Loud beat the mother's heart,
       Sick with amazement,
     And at the vision which
       Came to surprise her,
     Shrieked in an agony--
       'Lor! it's Elizar!'


     "Yes, 'twas Elizabeth--
       Yes, 'twas their girl;
     Pale was her cheek, and her
       Hair out of curl.
     'Mother!' the loving one,
       Blushing, exclaimed,
     'Let not your innocent
       Lizzy be blamed.


     "'Yesterday, going to aunt
       Jones's to tea,
     Mother, dear mother, I
     And as the night was cold,
       And the way steep,
     Mrs. Jones kept me to
       Breakfast and sleep.'


     "Whether her Pa and Ma
       Fully believed her,
     That we shall never know,
       Stern they received her;
     And for the work of that
       Cruel, though short, night,
     Sent her to bed without
       Tea for a fortnight.



     "Hey diddle diddlety,
       Cat and the Fiddlety,
     Maidens of England take caution by she!
       Let love and suicide
       Never tempt you aside,
     And always remember to take the door-key!"

Some people laughed at this parody, and even preferred it to the
original; but for myself I have no patience with the individual who
can turn the finest sentiments of our nature into ridicule, and make
everything sacred a subject of scorn. The next ballad is less gloomy
than that of the willow-tree, and in it the lovely writer expresses her
longing for what has charmed us all, and, as it were, squeezes the whole
spirit of the fairy tale into a few stanzas:--


     "Beside the old hall-fire--upon my nurse's knee,
     Of happy fairy days--what tales were told to me!
     I thought the world was once--all peopled with princesses,
     And my heart would beat to hear--their loves and their distresses;
     And many a quiet night,--in slumber sweet and deep,
     The pretty fairy people--would visit me in sleep.

     "I saw them in my dreams--come flying east and west,
     With wondrous fairy gifts--the new-born babe they bless'd;
     One has brought a jewel--and one a crown of gold,
     And one has brought a curse--but she is wrinkled and old.
     The gentle queen turns pale--to hear those words of sin,
     But the king he only laughs--and bids the dance begin.

     "The babe has grown to be--the fairest of the land
     And rides the forest green--a hawk upon her hand.
     An ambling palfrey white--a golden robe and crown;
     I've seen her in my dreams--riding up and down;
     And heard the ogre laugh--as she fell into his snare,
     At the little tender creature--who wept and tore her hair!

     "But ever when it seemed--her need was at the sorest
     A prince in shining mail--comes prancing through the forest.
     A waving ostrich-plume--a buckler burnished bright;
     I've seen him in my dreams--good sooth! a gallant knight.
     His lips are coral red--beneath a dark moustache;
     See how he waves his hand--and how his blue eyes flash!

     "'Come forth, thou Paynim knight!'--he shouts in accents clear.
     The giant and the maid--both tremble his voice to hear.
     Saint Mary guard him well!--he draws his falchion keen,
     The giant and the knight--are fighting on the green.
     I see them in my dreams--his blade gives stroke on stroke,
     The giant pants and reels--and tumbles like an oak!

     "With what a blushing grace--he falls upon his knee
     And takes the lady's hand--and whispers, 'You are free!'
     Ah! happy childish tales--of knight and faerie!
     I waken from my dreams--but there's ne'er a knight for me;
     I waken from my dreams--and wish that I could be
     A child by the old hall-fire--upon my nurse's knee."

Indeed, Ottilia looked like a fairy herself: pale, small, slim, and
airy. You could not see her face, as it were, for her eyes, which were
so wild, and so tender, and shone so that they would have dazzled an
eagle, much more a poor goose of a Fitz-Boodle. In the theatre, when she
sat on the opposite side of the house, those big eyes used to pursue me
as I sat pretending to listen to the "Zauberflote," or to "Don Carlos,"
or "Egmont," and at the tender passages, especially, they would have
such a winning, weeping, imploring look with them as flesh and blood
could not bear.

Shall I tell how I became a poet for the dear girl's sake? 'Tis surely
unnecessary after the reader has perused the above versions of her
poems. Shall I tell what wild follies I committed in prose as well as
in verse? how I used to watch under her window of icy evenings, and with
chilblainy fingers sing serenades to her on the guitar? Shall I tell
how, in a sledging-party, I had the happiness to drive her, and of
the delightful privilege which is, on these occasions, accorded to the

Any reader who has spent a winter in Germany perhaps knows it. A large
party of a score or more of sledges is formed. Away they go to some
pleasure-house that has been previously fixed upon, where a ball and
collation are prepared, and where each man, as his partner descends, has
the delicious privilege of saluting her. O heavens and earth! I may grow
to be a thousand years old, but I can never forget the rapture of that

"The keen air has given me an appetite," said the dear angel, as we
entered the supper-room; and to say the truth, fairy as she was, she
made a remarkably good meal--consuming a couple of basins of white
soup, several kinds of German sausages, some Westphalia ham, some white
puddings, an anchovy-salad made with cornichons and onions, sweets
innumerable, and a considerable quantity of old Steinwein and rum-punch
afterwards. Then she got up and danced as brisk as a fairy; in which
operation I of course did not follow her, but had the honor, at the
close of the evening's amusement, once more to have her by my side in
the sledge, as we swept in the moonlight over the snow.

Kalbsbraten is a very hospitable place as far as tea-parties are
concerned, but I never was in one where dinners were so scarce. At the
palace they occurred twice or thrice in a month; but on these occasions
spinsters were not invited, and I seldom had the opportunity of seeing
my Ottilia except at evening-parties.

Nor are these, if the truth must be told, very much to my taste. Dancing
I have forsworn, whist is too severe a study for me, and I do not like
to play ecarte with old ladies, who are sure to cheat you in the course
of an evening's play.

But to have an occasional glance at Ottilia was enough; and many and
many a napoleon did I lose to her mamma, Madame de Schlippenschlopp, for
the blest privilege of looking at her daughter. Many is the tea-party
I went to, shivering into cold clothes after dinner (which is my
abomination) in order to have one little look at the lady of my soul.

At these parties there were generally refreshments of a nature more
substantial than mere tea punch, both milk and rum, hot wine, consomme,
and a peculiar and exceedingly disagreeable sandwich made of a mixture
of cold white puddings and garlic, of which I have forgotten the name,
and always detested the savor.

Gradually a conviction came upon me that Ottilia ATE A GREAT DEAL.

I do not dislike to see a woman eat comfortably. I even think that an
agreeable woman ought to be friande, and should love certain little
dishes and knick-knacks. I know that though at dinner they commonly take
nothing, they have had roast-mutton with the children at two, and laugh
at their pretensions to starvation.

No! a woman who eats a grain of rice, like Amina in the "Arabian
Nights," is absurd and unnatural; but there is a modus in rebus: there
is no reason why she should be a ghoul, a monster, an ogress, a horrid

It was, then, with a rage amounting almost to agony, that I found
Ottilia ate too much at every meal. She was always eating, and always
eating too much. If I went there in the morning, there was the horrid
familiar odor of those oniony sandwiches; if in the afternoon, dinner
had been just removed, and I was choked by reeking reminiscences of
roast-meat. Tea we have spoken of. She gobbled up more cakes than any
six people present; then came the supper and the sandwiches again, and
the egg-flip and the horrible rum-punch.

She was as thin as ever--paler if possible than ever:--but, by heavens!

Mon Dieu! how I used to watch and watch it! Some days it was purple,
some days had more of the vermilion--I could take an affidavit that
after a heavy night's supper it was more swollen, more red than before.

I recollect one night when we were playing a round game (I had been
looking at her nose very eagerly and sadly for some time), she of
herself brought up the conversation about eating, and confessed that she
had five meals a day.

"THAT ACCOUNTS FOR IT!" says I, flinging down the cards, and springing
up and rushing like a madman out of the room. I rushed away into the
night, and wrestled with my passion. "What! Marry," said I, "a woman who
eats meat twenty-one times in a week, besides breakfast and tea? Marry a
sarcophagus, a cannibal, a butcher's shop?--Away!" I strove and strove.
I drank, I groaned, I wrestled and fought with my love--but it overcame
me: one look of those eyes brought me to her feet again. I yielded
myself up like a slave; I fawned and whined for her; I thought her nose
was not so VERY red.

Things came to this pitch that I sounded his Highness's Minister to know
whether he would give me service in the Duchy; I thought of purchasing
an estate there. I was given to understand that I should get a
chamberlain's key and some post of honor did I choose to remain, and
I even wrote home to my brother Tom in England, hinting a change in my

At this juncture the town of Hamburg sent his Highness the Grand Duke
(apropos of a commercial union which was pending between the two States)
a singular present: no less than a certain number of barrels of oysters,
which are considered extreme luxuries in Germany, especially in the
inland parts of the country, where they are almost unknown.

In honor of the oysters and the new commercial treaty (which arrived
in fourgons despatched for the purpose), his Highness announced a grand
supper and ball, and invited all the quality of all the principalities
round about. It was a splendid affair: the grand saloon brilliant with
hundreds of uniforms and brilliant toilettes--not the least beautiful
among them, I need not say, was Ottilia.

At midnight the supper-rooms were thrown open and we formed into little
parties of six, each having a table, nobly served with plate, a lackey
in attendance, and a gratifying ice-pail or two of champagne to egayer
the supper. It was no small cost to serve five hundred people on silver,
and the repast was certainly a princely and magnificent one.

I had, of course, arranged with Mademoiselle de Schlippenschlopp.
Captains Frumpel and Fridelberger of the Duke's Guard, Mesdames de
Butterbrod and Bopp, formed our little party.

The first course, of course, consisted of THE OYSTERS. Ottilia's eyes
gleamed with double brilliancy as the lackey opened them. There were
nine apiece for us--how well I recollect the number!

I never was much of an oyster-eater, nor can I relish them in
naturalibus as some do, but require a quantity of sauces, lemons,
cayenne peppers, bread and butter, and so forth, to render them

By the time I had made my preparations, Ottilia, the Captains, and the
two ladies, had wellnigh finished theirs. Indeed Ottilia had gobbled up
all hers, and there were only my nine in the dish.

I took one--IT WAS BAD. The scent of it was enough,--they were all bad.
Ottilia had eaten nine bad oysters.

I put down the horrid shell. Her eyes glistened more and more; she could
not take them off the tray.

"Dear Herr George," she said, "WILL YOU GIVE ME YOUR OYSTERS?"


She had them all down--before--I could say--Jack--Robinson!

I left Kalbsbraten that night, and have never been there since.




The fair and honest proposition in which I offered to communicate
privately with parents and guardians, relative to two new and lucrative
professions which I had discovered, has, I find from the publisher,
elicited not one single inquiry from those personages, who I can't but
think are very little careful of their children's welfare to allow
such a chance to be thrown away. It is not for myself I speak, as my
conscience proudly tells me; for though I actually gave up Ascot in
order to be in the way should any father of a family be inclined to
treat with me regarding my discoveries, yet I am grieved, not on my own
account, but on theirs, and for the wretched penny-wise policy that has
held them back.

That they must feel an interest in my announcement is unquestionable.
Look at the way in which the public prints of all parties have noticed
my appearance in the character of a literary man! Putting aside my
personal narrative, look at the offer I made to the nation,--a choice
of no less than two new professions! Suppose I had invented as many new
kinds of butcher's meat; does any one pretend that the world, tired as
it is of the perpetual recurrence of beef, mutton, veal, cold beef, cold
veal, cold mutton, hashed ditto, would not have jumped eagerly at the
delightful intelligence that their old, stale, stupid meals were about
to be varied at last?

Of course people would have come forward. I should have had deputations
from Mr. Gibletts and the fashionable butchers of this world; petitions
would have poured in from Whitechapel salesmen; the speculators panting
to know the discovery; the cautious with stock in hand eager to bribe me
to silence and prevent the certain depreciation of the goods which
they already possessed. I should have dealt with them, not greedily or
rapaciously, but on honest principles of fair barter. "Gentlemen," I
should have said, or rather, "Gents"--which affectionate diminutive
is, I am given to understand, at present much in use among commercial
persons--"Gents, my researches, my genius, or my good fortune, have
brought me to the valuable discovery about which you are come to treat.
Will you purchase it outright, or will you give the discoverer an honest
share of the profits resulting from your speculation? My position in the
world puts ME out of the power of executing the vast plan I have formed,
but 'twill be a certain fortune to him who engages in it; and why should
not I, too, participate in that fortune?"

Such would have been my manner of dealing with the world, too, with
regard to my discovery of the new professions. Does not the world want
new professions? Are there not thousands of well-educated men panting,
struggling, pushing, starving, in the old ones? Grim tenants of
chambers looking out for attorneys who never come?--wretched physicians
practising the stale joke of being called out of church until people no
longer think fit even to laugh or to pity? Are there not hoary-headed
midshipmen, antique ensigns growing mouldy upon fifty years' half-pay?
Nay, are there not men who would pay anything to be employed rather
than remain idle? But such is the glut of professionals, the horrible
cut-throat competition among them, that there is no chance for one in a
thousand, be he ever so willing, or brave, or clever: in the great ocean
of life he makes a few strokes, and puffs, and sputters, and sinks, and
the innumerable waves overwhelm him and he is heard of no more.

Walking to my banker's t'other day--and I pledge my sacred honor this
story is true--I met a young fellow whom I had known attache to an
embassy abroad, a young man of tolerable parts, unwearied patience, with
some fortune too, and, moreover, allied to a noble Whig family, whose
interest had procured him his appointment to the legation at Krahwinkel,
where I knew him. He remained for ten years a diplomatic character;
he was the working-man of the legation; he sent over the most diffuse
translations of the German papers for the use of the Foreign Secretary;
he signed passports with most astonishing ardor; he exiled himself
for ten long years in a wretched German town, dancing attendance at
court-balls and paying no end of money for uniforms. And what for? At
the end of the ten years--during which period of labor he never received
a single shilling from the Government which employed him (rascally
spendthrift of a Government, va!),--he was offered the paid attacheship
to the court of H. M. the King of the Mosquito Islands, and refused that
appointment a week before the Whig Ministry retired. Then he knew that
there was no further chance for him, and incontinently quitted the
diplomatic service for ever, and I have no doubt will sell his uniform
a bargain. The Government had HIM a bargain certainly; nor is he by any
means the first person who has been sold at that price.

Well, my worthy friend met me in the street and informed me of these
facts with a smiling countenance,--which I thought a masterpiece of
diplomacy. Fortune had been belaboring and kicking him for ten whole
years, and here he was grinning in my face: could Monsieur de Talleyrand
have acted better? "I have given up diplomacy," said Protocol, quite
simply and good-humoredly, "for between you and me, my good fellow, it's
a very slow profession; sure, perhaps, but slow. But though I gained
no actual pecuniary remuneration in the service, I have learned all
the languages in Europe, which will be invaluable to me in my new
profession--the mercantile one--in which directly I looked out for a
post I found one."

"What! and a good pay?" said I.

"Why, no; that's absurd, you know. No young men, strangers to business,
are paid much to speak of. Besides, I don't look to a paltry clerk's
pay. Some day, when thoroughly acquainted with the business (I shall
learn it in about seven years), I shall go into a good house with my
capital and become junior partner."

"And meanwhile?"

"Meanwhile I conduct the foreign correspondence of the eminent house of
Jam, Ram, and Johnson; and very heavy it is, I can tell you. From nine
till six every day, except foreign post days, and then from nine till
eleven. Dirty dark court to sit in; snobs to talk to,--great change, as
you may fancy."

"And you do all this for nothing?"

"I do it to learn the business." And so saying Protocol gave me a
knowing nod and went his way.

Good heavens! I thought, and is this a true story? Are there hundreds
of young men in a similar situation at the present day, giving away the
best years of their youth for the sake of a mere windy hope of something
in old age, and dying before they come to the goal? In seven years he
hopes to have a business, and then to have the pleasure of risking his
money? He will be admitted into some great house as a particular favor,
and three months after the house will fail. Has it not happened to a
thousand of our acquaintance? I thought I would run after him and tell
him about the new professions that I have invented.

"Oh! ay! those you wrote about in Fraser's Magazine. Egad! George,
Necessity makes strange fellows of us all. Who would ever have thought
of you SPELLING, much more writing?"

"Never mind that. Will you, if I tell you of a new profession that, with
a little cleverness and instruction from me, you may bring to a most
successful end--will you, I say, make me a fair return?"

"My dear creature," replied young Protocol, "what nonsense you talk!
I saw that very humbug in the Magazine. You say you have made a great
discovery--very good; you puff your discovery--very right; you ask money
for it--nothing can be more reasonable; and then you say that you intend
to make your discovery public in the next number of the Magazine. Do you
think I will be such a fool as to give you money for a thing which I can
have next month for nothing? Good-by, George my boy; the NEXT discovery
you make I'll tell you how to get a better price for it." And with this
the fellow walked off, looking supremely knowing and clever.

This tale of the person I have called Protocol is not told without a
purpose, you may be sure. In the first place, it shows what are the
reasons that nobody has made application to me concerning the new
professions, namely, because I have passed my word to make them known
in this Magazine, which persons may have for the purchasing, stealing,
borrowing, or hiring, and, therefore, they will never think of applying
personally to me. And, secondly, his story proves also my assertion,
viz, that all professions are most cruelly crowded at present, and that
men will make the most absurd outlay and sacrifices for the smallest
chance of success at some future period. Well, then, I will be a
benefactor to my race, if I cannot be to one single member of it, whom
I love better than most men. What I have discovered I will make known;
there shall be no shilly-shallying work here, no circumlocution, no
bottle-conjuring business. But oh! I wish for all our sakes that I had
had an opportunity to impart the secret to one or two persons only; for,
after all, but one or two can live in the manner I would suggest. And
when the discovery is made known, I am sure ten thousand will try. The
rascals! I can see their brass-plates gleaming over scores of doors.
Competition will ruin my professions, as it has all others.

It must be premised that the two professions are intended for gentlemen,
and gentlemen only--men of birth and education. No others could support
the parts which they will be called upon to play.

And, likewise, it must be honestly confessed that these professions
have, to a certain degree, been exercised before. Do not cry out at this
and say it is no discovery! I say it IS a discovery. It is a discovery
if I show you--a gentleman--a profession which you may exercise without
derogation, or loss of standing, with certain profit, nay, possibly with
honor, and of which, until the reading of this present page, you never
thought but as of a calling beneath your rank and quite below your
reach. Sir, I do not mean to say that I create a profession. I cannot
create gold; but if, when discovered, I find the means of putting it in
your pocket, do I or do I not deserve credit?

I see you sneer contemptuously when I mention to you the word
AUCTIONEER. "Is this all," you say, "that this fellow brags and
prates about? An auctioneer forsooth! he might as well have 'invented'

No such thing. A little boy of seven, be he ever so low of birth, can do
this as well as you. Do you suppose that little stolen Master
Montague made a better sweeper than the lowest-bred chummy that yearly
commemorates his release? No, sir. And he might have been ever so much
a genius or gentleman, and not have been able to make his trade

But all such trades as can be rendered decent the aristocracy has
adopted one by one. At first they followed the profession of arms,
flouting all others as unworthy, and thinking it ungentlemanlike to
know how to read or write. They did not go into the church in very early
days, till the money to be got from the church was strong enough to
tempt them. It is but of later years that they have condescended to
go to the bar, and since the same time only that we see some of them
following trades. I know an English lord's son, who is, or was, a
wine-merchant (he may have been a bankrupt for what I know). As for
bankers, several partners in banking-houses have four balls to their
coronets, and I have no doubt that another sort of banking, viz, that
practised by gentlemen who lend small sums of money upon deposited
securities, will be one day followed by the noble order, so that they
may have four balls on their coronets and carriages, and three in front
of their shops.

Yes, the nobles come peoplewards as the people, on the other hand, rise
and mingle with the nobles. With the plebs, of course, Fitz-Boodle, in
whose veins flows the blood of a thousand kings, can have nothing to do;
but, watching the progress of the world, 'tis impossible to deny that
the good old days of our race are passed away. We want money still as
much as ever we did; but we cannot go down from our castles with horse
and sword and waylay fat merchants--no, no, confounded new policemen
and the assize-courts prevent that. Younger brothers cannot be pages
to noble houses, as of old they were, serving gentle dames without
disgrace, handing my lord's rose-water to wash, or holding his stirrup
as he mounted for the chase. A page, forsooth! A pretty figure would
George Fitz-Boodle or any other man of fashion cut, in a jacket covered
with sugar-loafed buttons, and handing in penny-post notes on a silver
tray. The plebs have robbed us of THAT trade among others: nor, I
confess, do I much grudge them their trouvaille. Neither can we collect
together a few scores of free lances, like honest Hugh Calverly in the
Black Prince's time, or brave Harry Butler of Wallenstein's dragoons,
and serve this or that prince, Peter the Cruel or Henry of Trastamare,
Gustavus or the Emperor, at our leisure; or, in default of service,
fight and rob on our own gallant account, as the good gentlemen of old
did. Alas! no. In South America or Texas, perhaps, a man might have a
chance that way; but in the ancient world no man can fight except in the
king's service (and a mighty bad service that is too), and the lowest
European sovereign, were it Baldomero Espartero himself, would think
nothing of seizing the best-born condottiere that ever drew sword, and
shooting him down like the vulgarest deserter.

What, then, is to be done? We must discover fresh fields of
enterprise--of peaceable and commercial enterprise in a peaceful and
commercial age. I say, then, that the auctioneer's pulpit has never yet
been ascended by a scion of the aristocracy, and am prepared to prove
that they might scale it, and do so with dignity and profit.

For the auctioneer's pulpit is just the peculiar place where a man of
social refinement, of elegant wit, of polite perceptions, can bring
his wit, his eloquence, his taste, and his experience of life, most
delightfully into play. It is not like the bar, where the better and
higher qualities of a man of fashion find no room for exercise. In
defending John Jorrocks in an action of trespass, for cutting down a
stick in Sam Snooks's field, what powers of mind do you require?--powers
of mind, that is, which Mr. Serjeant Snorter, a butcher's son with a
great loud voice, a sizar at Cambridge, a wrangler, and so forth,
does not possess as well as yourself? Snorter has never been in decent
society in his life. He thinks the bar-mess the most fashionable
assemblage in Europe, and the jokes of "grand day" the ne plus ultra of
wit. Snorter lives near Russell Square, eats beef and Yorkshire-pudding,
is a judge of port-wine, is in all social respects your inferior.
Well, it is ten to one but in the case of Snooks v. Jorrocks, before
mentioned, he will be a better advocate than you; he knows the law of
the case entirely, and better probably than you. He can speak long,
loud, to the point, grammatically--more grammatically than you, no
doubt, will condescend to do. In the case of Snooks v. Jorrocks he is
all that can be desired. And so about dry disputes, respecting real
property, he knows the law; and, beyond this, has no more need to be
a gentleman than my body-servant has--who, by the way, from constant
intercourse with the best society, IS almost a gentleman. But this is
apart from the question.

Now, in the matter of auctioneering, this, I apprehend, is not the case,
and I assert that a high-bred gentleman, with good powers of mind and
speech, must, in such a profession, make a fortune. I do not mean in all
auctioneering matters. I do not mean that such a person should be called
upon to sell the good-will of a public-house, or discourse about the
value of the beer-barrels, or bars with pewter fittings, or the beauty
of a trade doing a stroke of so many hogsheads a week. I do not ask a
gentleman to go down and sell pigs, ploughs, and cart-horses, at Stoke
Pogis; or to enlarge at the Auction-Rooms, Wapping, upon the beauty of
the "Lively Sally" schooner. These articles of commerce or use can be
better appreciated by persons in a different rank of life to his.

But there are a thousand cases in which a gentleman only can do justice
to the sale of objects which the necessity or convenience of the genteel
world may require to change hands. All articles properly called of taste
should be put under his charge. Pictures,--he is a travelled man, has
seen and judged the best galleries of Europe, and can speak of them as
a common person cannot. For, mark you, you must have the confidence
of your society, you must be able to be familiar with them, to plant a
happy mot in a graceful manner, to appeal to my lord or the duchess in
such a modest, easy, pleasant way as that her grace should not be hurt
by your allusion to her--nay, amused (like the rest of the company) by
the manner in which it was done.

What is more disgusting than the familiarity of a snob? What more
loathsome than the swaggering quackery of some present holders of the
hammer? There was a late sale, for instance, which made some noise in
the world (I mean the late Lord Gimcrack's, at Dilberry Hill). Ah! what
an opportunity was lost there! I declare solemnly that I believe, but
for the absurd quackery and braggadocio of the advertisements, much
more money would have been bid; people were kept away by the vulgar
trumpeting of the auctioneer, and could not help thinking the things
were worthless that were so outrageously lauded.

They say that sort of Bartholomew-fair advocacy (in which people
are invited to an entertainment by the medium of a hoarse yelling
beef-eater, twenty-four drums, and a jack-pudding turning head over
heels) is absolutely necessary to excite the public attention. What an
error! I say that the refined individual so accosted is more likely to
close his ears, and, shuddering, run away from the booth. Poor Horace
Waddlepoodle! to think that thy gentle accumulation of bricabrac should
have passed away in such a manner! by means of a man who brings down
a butterfly with a blunderbuss, and talks of a pin's head through a
speaking-trumpet! Why, the auctioneer's very voice was enough to crack
the Sevres porcelain and blow the lace into annihilation. Let it be
remembered that I speak of the gentleman in his public character merely,
meaning to insinuate nothing more than I would by stating that Lord
Brougham speaks with a northern accent, or that the voice of Mr. Shell
is sometimes unpleasantly shrill.

Now the character I have formed to myself of a great auctioneer is this.
I fancy him a man of first-rate and irreproachable birth and fashion. I
fancy his person so agreeable that it must be a pleasure for ladies to
behold and tailors to dress it. As a private man he must move in the
very best society, which will flock round his pulpit when he mounts
it in his public calling. It will be a privilege for vulgar people to
attend the hall where he lectures; and they will consider it an honor to
be allowed to pay their money for articles the value of which is stamped
by his high recommendation. Nor can such a person be a mere fribble; nor
can any loose hanger-on of fashion imagine he may assume the character.
The gentleman auctioneer must be an artist above all, adoring his
profession; and adoring it, what must he not know? He must have a good
knowledge of the history and language of all nations; not the knowledge
of the mere critical scholar, but of the lively and elegant man of
the world. He will not commit the gross blunders of pronunciation that
untravelled Englishmen perpetrate; he will not degrade his subject by
coarse eulogy or sicken his audience with vulgar banter. He will know
where to apply praise and wit properly; he will have the tact only
acquired in good society, and know where a joke is in place, and how far
a compliment may go. He will not outrageously and indiscriminately laud
all objects committed to his charge, for he knows the value of praise;
that diamonds, could we have them by the bushel, would be used as coals;
that above all, he has a character of sincerity to support; that he
is not merely the advocate of the person who employs him, but that the
public is his client too, who honors him and confides in him. Ask him
to sell a copy of Raffaelle for an original; a trumpery modern Brussels
counterfeit for real old Mechlin; some common French forged crockery for
the old delightful, delicate, Dresden china; and he will quit you with
scorn, or order his servant to show you the door of his study.

Study, by the way,--no, "study" is a vulgar word; every word is vulgar
which a man uses to give the world an exaggerated notion of himself or
his condition. When the wretched bagman, brought up to give evidence
before Judge Coltman, was asked what his trade was, and replied that "he
represented the house of Dobson and Hobson," he showed himself to be
a vulgar, mean-souled wretch, and was most properly reprimanded by his
lordship. To be a bagman is to be humble, but not of necessity vulgar.
Pomposity is vulgar, to ape a higher rank than your own is vulgar, for
an ensign of militia to call himself captain is vulgar, or for a bagman
to style himself the "representative" of Dobson and Hobson. The honest
auctioneer, then, will not call his room his study; but his "private
room," or his office, or whatever may be the phrase commonly used among

He will not for the same reason call himself (as once in a momentary
feeling of pride and enthusiasm for the profession I thought he
should)--he will not call himself an "advocate," but an auctioneer.
There is no need to attempt to awe people by big titles: let each man
bear his own name without shame. And a very gentlemanlike and agreeable,
though exceptional position (for it is clear that there cannot be more
than two of the class,) may the auctioneer occupy.

He must not sacrifice his honesty, then, either for his own sake or his
clients', in any way, nor tell fibs about himself or them. He is by no
means called upon to draw the long bow in their behalf; all that his
office obliges him to do--and let us hope his disposition will lead him
to do it also--is to take a favorable, kindly, philanthropic view of the
world; to say what can fairly be said by a good-natured and ingenious
man in praise of any article for which he is desirous to awaken public
sympathy. And how readily and pleasantly may this be done! I will take
upon myself, for instance, to write an eulogium upon So-and-So's last
novel, which shall be every word of it true; and which work, though
to some discontented spirits it might appear dull, may be shown to be
really amusing and instructive,--nay, IS amusing and instructive,--to
those who have the art of discovering where those precious qualities

An auctioneer should have the organ of truth large; of imagination and
comparison, considerable; of wit, great; of benevolence, excessively

And how happy might such a man be, and cause others to be! He should go
through the world laughing, merry, observant, kind-hearted. He should
love everything in the world, because his profession regards everything.
With books of lighter literature (for I do not recommend the genteel
auctioneer to meddle with heavy antiquarian and philological works) he
should be elegantly conversant, being able to give a neat history of
the author, a pretty sparkling kind criticism of the work, and an
appropriate eulogium upon the binding, which would make those people
read who never read before; or buy, at least, which is his first
consideration. Of pictures we have already spoken. Of china, of jewelry,
of gold-headed canes, valuable arms, picturesque antiquities, with what
eloquent entrainement might he not speak! He feels every one of these
things in his heart. He has all the tastes of the fashionable world. Dr.
Meyrick cannot be more enthusiastic about an old suit of armor than
he; Sir Harris Nicolas not more eloquent regarding the gallant times in
which it was worn, and the brave histories connected with it. He takes
up a pearl necklace with as much delight as any beauty who was sighing
to wear it round her own snowy throat, and hugs a china monster with
as much joy as the oldest duchess could do. Nor must he affect these
things; he must feel them. He is a glass in which all the tastes of
fashion are reflected. He must be every one of the characters to whom
he addresses himself--a genteel Goethe or Shakspeare, a fashionable

How can a man be all this and not be a gentleman; and not have had an
education in the midst of the best company--an insight into the most
delicate feelings, and wants, and usages? The pulpit oratory of such a
man would be invaluable; people would flock to listen to him from
far and near. He might out of a single teacup cause streams of
world-philosophy to flow, which would be drunk in by grateful thousands;
and draw out of an old pincushion points of wit, morals, and experience,
that would make a nation wise.

Look round, examine THE ANNALS OF AUCTIONS, as Mr. Robins remarks,
and (with every respect for him and his brethren) say, is there in the
profession SUCH A MAN? Do we want such a man? Is such a man likely or
not likely to make an immense fortune? Can we get such a man except out
of the very best society, and among the most favored there?

Everybody answers "No!" I knew you would answer no. And now, gentlemen
who have laughed at my pretension to discover a profession, say, have
I not? I have laid my finger upon the spot where the social deficit
exists. I have shown that we labor under a want; and when the world
wants, do we not know that a man will step forth to fill the vacant
space that Fate has left for him? Pass we now to the--


This profession, too, is a great, lofty and exceptional one, and
discovered by me considering these things, and deeply musing upon the
necessities of society. Nor let honorable gentlemen imagine that I am
enabled to offer them in this profession, more than any other, a promise
of what is called future glory, deathless fame, and so forth. All that
I say is, that I can put young men in the way of making a comfortable
livelihood, and leaving behind them, not a name, but what is better, a
decent maintenance to their children. Fitz-Boodle is as good a name as
any in England. General Fitz-Boodle, who, in Marlborough's time, and
in conjunction with the famous Van Slaap, beat the French in the
famous action of Vischzouchee, near Mardyk, in Holland, on the 14th of
February, 1709, is promised an immortality upon his tomb in Westminster
Abbey; but he died of apoplexy, deucedly in debt, two years afterwards:
and what after that is the use of a name?

No, no; the age of chivalry is past. Take the twenty-four first men who
come into the club, and ask who they are, and how they made their money?
There's Woolsey-Sackville: his father was Lord Chancellor, and sat
on the woolsack, whence he took his title; his grandfather dealt in
coal-sacks, and not in woolsacks,--small coal-sacks, dribbling out
little supplies of black diamonds to the poor. Yonder comes Frank
Leveson, in a huge broad-brimmed hat, his shirt-cuffs turned up to his
elbows. Leveson is as gentlemanly a fellow as the world contains, and if
he has a fault, is perhaps too finikin. Well, you fancy him related to
the Sutherland family: nor, indeed, does honest Frank deny it; but entre
nous, my good sir, his father was an attorney, and his grandfather
a bailiff in Chancery Lane, bearing a name still older than that of
Leveson, namely, Levy. So it is that this confounded equality grows and
grows, and has laid the good old nobility by the heels. Look at that
venerable Sir Charles Kitely, of Kitely Park: he is interested about the
Ashantees, and is just come from Exeter Hall. Kitely discounted bills
in the City in the year 1787, and gained his baronetcy by a loan to the
French princes. All these points of history are perfectly well known;
and do you fancy the world cares? Psha! Profession is no disgrace to
a man: be what you like, provided you succeed. If Mr. Fauntleroy could
come to life with a million of money, you and I would dine with him: you
know we would; for why should we be better than our neighbors?

Put, then, out of your head the idea that this or that profession is
unworthy of you: take any that may bring you profit, and thank him that
puts you in the way of being rich.

The profession I would urge (upon a person duly qualified to undertake
it) has, I confess, at the first glance, something ridiculous about
it; and will not appear to young ladies so romantic as the calling of a
gallant soldier, blazing with glory, gold lace, and vermilion coats;
or a dear delightful clergyman, with a sweet blue eye, and a
pocket-handkerchief scented charmingly with lavender-water. The
profession I allude to WILL, I own, be to young women disagreeable, to
sober men trivial, to great stupid moralists unworthy.

But mark my words for it, that in the religious world (I have once or
twice, by mistake no doubt, had the honor of dining in "serious" houses,
and can vouch for the fact that the dinners there are of excellent
quality)--in the serious world, in the great mercantile world, among the
legal community (notorious feeders), in every house in town (except some
half-dozen which can afford to do without such aid), the man I propose
might speedily render himself indispensable.

Does the reader now begin to take? Have I hinted enough for him that
he may see with eagle glance the immense beauty of the profession I am
about to unfold to him? We have all seen Gunter and Chevet; Fregoso, on
the Puerta del Sol (a relation of the ex-Minister Calomarde), is a good
purveyor enough for the benighted olla-eaters of Madrid; nor have I any
fault to find with Guimard, a Frenchman, who has lately set up in the
Toledo, at Naples, where he furnishes people with decent food. It has
given me pleasure, too, in walking about London--in the Strand,
in Oxford Street, and elsewhere, to see fournisseurs and
comestible-merchants newly set up. Messrs. Morel have excellent articles
in their warehouses; Fortnum and Mason are known to most of my readers.

But what is not known, what is wanted, what is languished for in England
is a DINNER-MASTER,--a gentleman who is not a provider of meat or wine,
like the parties before named, who can have no earthly interest in
the price of truffled turkeys or dry champagne beyond that legitimate
interest which he may feel for his client, and which leads him to see
that the latter is not cheated by his tradesmen. For the dinner-giver is
almost naturally an ignorant man. How in mercy's name can Mr. Serjeant
Snorter, who is all day at Westminster, or in chambers, know possibly
the mysteries, the delicacy, of dinner-giving? How can Alderman Pogson
know anything beyond the fact that venison is good with currant jelly,
and that he likes lots of green fat with his turtle? Snorter knows
law, Pogson is acquainted with the state of the tallow-market; but what
should he know of eating, like you and me, who have given up our time
to it? (I say ME only familiarly, for I have only reached so far in
the science as to know that I know nothing.) But men there are, gifted
individuals, who have spent years of deep thought--not merely
intervals of labor, but hours of study every day--over the gormandizing
science,--who, like alchemists, have let their fortunes go, guinea by
guinea, into the all-devouring pot,--who, ruined as they sometimes are,
never get a guinea by chance but they will have a plate of pease in May
with it, or a little feast of ortolans, or a piece of Glo'ster salmon,
or one more flask from their favorite claret-bin.

It is not the ruined gastronomist that I would advise a person to select
as his TABLE-MASTER; for the opportunities of peculation would be too
great in a position of such confidence--such complete abandonment of
one man to another. A ruined man would be making bargains with the
tradesmen. They would offer to cash bills for him, or send him opportune
presents of wine, which he could convert into money, or bribe him in one
way or another. Let this be done, and the profession of table-master is
ruined. Snorter and Pogson may almost as well order their own dinners,
as be at the mercy of a "gastronomic agent" whose faith is not beyond
all question.

A vulgar mind, in reply to these remarks regarding the gastronomic
ignorance of Snorter and Pogson, might say, "True, these gentlemen know
nothing of household economy, being occupied with other more important
business elsewhere. But what are their wives about? Lady Pogson in
Harley Street has nothing earthly to do but to mind her poodle, and her
mantua-maker's and housekeeper's bills. Mrs. Snorter in Belford Place,
when she has taken her drive in the Park with the young ladies, may
surely have time to attend to her husband's guests and preside over
the preparations of his kitchen, as she does worthily at his hospitable
mahogany." To this I answer, that a man who expects a woman to
understand the philosophy of dinner-giving, shows the strongest evidence
of a low mind. He is unjust towards that lovely and delicate creature,
woman, to suppose that she heartily understands and cares for what she
eats and drinks. No: taken as a rule, women have no real appetites.
They are children in the gormandizing way; loving sugar, sops, tarts,
trifles, apricot-creams, and such gewgaws. They would take a sip of
Malmsey, and would drink currant-wine just as happily, if that accursed
liquor were presented to them by the butler. Did you ever know a
woman who could lay her fair hand upon her gentle heart and say on her
conscience that she preferred dry sillery to sparkling champagne? Such
a phenomenon does not exist. They are not made for eating and drinking;
or, if they make a pretence to it, become downright odious. Nor can
they, I am sure, witness the preparations of a really great repast
without a certain jealousy. They grudge spending money (ask guards,
coachmen, inn-waiters, whether this be not the case). They will give
their all, heaven bless them to serve a son, a grandson, or a
dear relative, but they have not the heart to pay for small things
magnificently. They are jealous of good dinners, and no wonder. I have
shown in a former discourse how they are jealous of smoking, and other
personal enjoyments of the male. I say, then, that Lady Pogson or Mrs.
Snorter can never conduct their husbands' table properly. Fancy either
of them consenting to allow a calf to be stewed down into gravy for one
dish, or a dozen hares to be sacrificed to a single puree of game, or
the best Madeira to be used for a sauce, or half a dozen of champagne to
boil a ham in. They will be for bringing a bottle of Marsala in place of
the old particular, or for having the ham cooked in water. But of
these matters--of kitchen philosophy--I have no practical or theoretic
knowledge; and must beg pardon if, only understanding the goodness of a
dish when cooked, I may have unconsciously made some blunder regarding
the preparation.

Let it, then, be set down as an axiom, without further trouble of
demonstration, that a woman is a bad dinner-caterer; either too great
and simple for it, or too mean--I don't know which it is; and gentlemen,
according as they admire or contemn the sex, may settle that matter
their own way. In brief, the mental constitution of lovely woman is such
that she cannot give a great dinner. It must be done by a man. It can't
be done by an ordinary man, because he does not understand it. Vain
fool! and he sends off to the pastry-cook in Great Russell Street or
Baker Street, he lays on a couple of extra waiters (green-grocers in the
neighborhood), he makes a great pother with his butler in the cellar,
and fancies he has done the business.

Bon Dieu! Who has not been at those dinners?--those monstrous
exhibitions of the pastry-cook's art? Who does not know those made
dishes with the universal sauce to each: fricandeaux, sweet-breads, damp
dumpy cutlets, &c., seasoned with the compound of grease, onions, bad
port-wine, cayenne pepper, curry-powder (Warren's blacking, for what
I know, but the taste is always the same)--there they lie in the old
corner dishes, the poor wiry Moselle and sparkling Burgundy in the
ice-coolers, and the old story of white and brown soup, turbot, little
smelts, boiled turkey, saddle-of-mutton, and so forth? "Try a little of
that fricandeau," says Mrs. Snorter, with a kind smile. "You'll find
it, I think, very nice." Be sure it has come in a green tray from Great
Russell Street. "Mr. Fitz-Boodle, you have been in Germany," cries
Snorter, knowingly; "taste the hock, and tell me what you think of

How should he know better, poor benighted creature; or she, dear
good soul that she is? If they would have a leg-of-mutton and
an apple-pudding, and a glass of sherry and port (or simple
brandy-and-water called by its own name) after dinner, all would be very
well; but they must shine, they must dine as their neighbors. There
is no difference in the style of dinners in London; people with five
hundred a year treat you exactly as those of five thousand. They WILL
have their Moselle or hock, their fatal side-dishes brought in the green
trays from the pastry-cook's.

Well, there is no harm done; not as regards the dinner-givers at least,
though the dinner-eaters may have to suffer somewhat; it only shows
that the former are hospitably inclined, and wish to do the very best in
their power,--good honest fellows! If they do wrong, how can they help
it? they know no better.

And now, is it not as clear as the sun at noonday, that A WANT exists
in London for a superintendent of the table--a gastronomic agent--a
dinner-master, as I have called him before? A man of such a profession
would be a metropolitan benefit; hundreds of thousands of people of the
respectable sort, people in white waistcoats, would thank him daily.
Calculate how many dinners are given in the City of London, and
calculate the numbers of benedictions that "the Agency" might win.

And as no doubt the observant man of the world has remarked that the
freeborn Englishman of the respectable class is, of all others, the most
slavish and truckling to a lord; that there is no fly-blown peer but he
is pleased to have him at his table, proud beyond measure to call him
by his surname (without the lordly prefix); and that those lords whom he
does not know, he yet (the freeborn Englishman) takes care to have their
pedigrees and ages by heart from his world-bible, the "Peerage:" as
this is an indisputable fact, and as it is in this particular class of
Britons that our agent must look to find clients, I need not say it is
necessary that the agent should be as high-born as possible, and that he
should be able to tack, if possible, an honorable or some other handle
to his respectable name. He must have it on his professional card--


               Apician Chambers, Pall Mall.



         Amphitryonic Council Office, Swallow Street.

or, in some such neat way, Gothic letters on a large handsome
crockeryware card, with possibly a gilt coat-of-arms and supporters, or
the blood-red hand of baronetcy duly displayed. Depend on it plenty of
guineas will fall in it, and that Gobbleton's supporters will support
him comfortably enough.

For this profession is not like that of the auctioneer, which I take to
be a far more noble one, because more varied and more truthful; but in
the Agency case, a little humbug at least is necessary. A man cannot be
a successful agent by the mere force of his simple merit or genius in
eating and drinking. He must of necessity impose upon the vulgar to a
certain degree. He must be of that rank which will lead them naturally
to respect him, otherwise they might be led to jeer at his profession;
but let a noble exercise it, and bless your soul, all the "Court Guide"
is dumb!

He will then give out in a manly and somewhat pompous address what has
before been mentioned, namely, that he has seen the fatal way in which
the hospitality of England has been perverted hitherto, accapare'd by
a few cooks with green trays. (He must use a good deal of French in his
language, for that is considered very gentlemanlike by vulgar people.)
He will take a set of chambers in Canton Gardens, which will be richly
though severely furnished, and the door of which will be opened by
a French valet (he MUST be a Frenchman, remember), who will say, on
letting Mr. Snorter or Sir Benjamin Pogson in, that "MILOR is at
home." Pogson will then be shown into a library furnished with massive
bookcases, containing all the works on cookery and wines (the titles
of them) in all the known languages in the world. Any books, of course,
will do, as you will have them handsomely bound, and keep them under
plate-glass. On a side-table will be little sample-bottles of wine, a
few truffles on a white porcelain saucer, a prodigious strawberry or
two, perhaps, at the time when such fruit costs much money. On the
library will be busts marked Ude, Careme, Bechamel, in marble (never
mind what heads, of course); and, perhaps, on the clock should be a
figure of the Prince of Conde's cook killing himself because the fish
had not arrived in time: there may be a wreath of immortelles on the
figure to give it a more decidedly Frenchified air. The walls will be of
a dark rich paper, hung round with neat gilt frames, containing plans
of menus of various great dinners, those of Cambaceres, Napoleon,
Louis XIV., Louis XVIII., Heliogabalus if you like, each signed by the
respective cook.

After the stranger has looked about him at these things, which he does
not understand in the least, especially the truffles, which look like
dirty potatoes, you will make your appearance, dressed in a dark dress,
with one handsome enormous gold chain, and one large diamond ring; a
gold snuff-box, of course, which you will thrust into the visitor's paw
before saying a word. You will be yourself a portly grave man, with
your hair a little bald and gray. In fact, in this, as in all other
professions, you had best try to look as like Canning as you can.

When Pogson has done sneezing with the snuff, you will say to him,
"Take a fauteuil. I have the honor of addressing Sir Benjamin Pogson, I
believe?" And then you will explain to him your system.

This, of course, must vary with every person you address. But let us
lay down a few of the heads of a plan which may be useful, or may
be modified infinitely, or may be cast aside altogether, just as
circumstances dictate. After all I am not going to turn gastronomic
agent, and speak only for the benefit perhaps of the very person who is
reading this:--


"The Gastronomic Agent having traversed Europe, and dined with the best
society of the world, has been led naturally, as a patriot, to turn
his thoughts homeward, and cannot but deplore the lamentable ignorance
regarding gastronomy displayed in a country for which Nature has done
almost everything.

"But it is ever singularly thus. Inherent ignorance belongs to man; and
The Agent, in his Continental travels, has always remarked, that the
countries most fertile in themselves were invariably worse tilled than
those more barren. The Italians and the Spaniards leave their fields to
Nature, as we leave our vegetables, fish, and meat. And, heavens! what
richness do we fling away, what dormant qualities in our dishes do
we disregard,--what glorious gastronomic crops (if the Agent may
be permitted the expression)--what glorious gastronomic crops do we
sacrifice, allowing our goodly meats and fishes to lie fallow! 'Chance,'
it is said by an ingenious historian, who, having been long a secretary
in the East India House, must certainly have had access to the best
information upon Eastern matters--'Chance,' it is said by Mr.
Charles Lamb, 'which burnt down a Chinaman's house, with a litter of
sucking-pigs that were unable to escape from the interior, discovered to
the world the excellence of roast-pig.' Gunpowder, we know, was invented
by a similar fortuity." [The reader will observe that my style in the
supposed character of a Gastronomic Agent is purposely pompous and
loud.] "So, 'tis said, was printing,--so glass.--We should have drunk
our wine poisoned with the villanous odor of the borachio, had not
some Eastern merchants, lighting their fires in the Desert, marked the
strange composition which now glitters on our sideboards, and holds the
costly produce of our vines.

"We have spoken of the natural riches of a country. Let the reader think
but for one moment of the gastronomic wealth of our country of England,
and he will be lost in thankful amazement as he watches the astonishing
riches poured out upon us from Nature's bounteous cornucopia! Look at
our fisheries!--the trout and salmon tossing in our brawling streams;
the white and full-breasted turbot struggling in the mariner's net; the
purple lobster lured by hopes of greed into his basket-prison, which
he quits only for the red ordeal of the pot. Look at whitebait, great
heavens!--look at whitebait, and a thousand frisking, glittering,
silvery things besides, which the nymphs of our native streams bear
kindly to the deities of our kitchens--our kitchens such as they are.

"And though it may be said that other countries produce the
freckle-backed salmon and the dark broad-shouldered turbot; though trout
frequent many a stream besides those of England, and lobsters sprawl
on other sands than ours; yet, let it be remembered, that our native
country possesses these altogether, while other lands only know them
separately; that, above all, whitebait is peculiarly our country's--our
city's own! Blessings and eternal praises be on it, and, of course, on
brown bread and butter! And the Briton should further remember, with
honest pride and thankfulness, the situation of his capital, of London:
the lordly turtle floats from the sea into the stream, and from the
stream to the city; the rapid fleets of all the world se donnent
rendezvous in the docks of our silvery Thames; the produce of our coasts
and provincial cities, east and west, is borne to us on the swift lines
of lightning railroads. In a word--and no man but one who, like The
Agent, has travelled Europe over, can appreciate the gift--there is no
city on earth's surface so well supplied with fish as London!

"With respect to our meats, all praise is supererogatory. Ask the
wretched hunter of chevreuil, the poor devourer of rehbraten, what they
think of the noble English haunch, that, after bounding in the Park of
Knole or Windsor, exposes its magnificent flank upon some broad silver
platter at our tables? It is enough to say of foreign venison, that THEY
ARE OBLIGED TO LARD IT. Away! ours is the palm of roast; whether of the
crisp mutton that crops the thymy herbage of our downs, or the noble ox
who revels on lush Althorpian oil-cakes. What game is like to ours? Mans
excels us in poultry, 'tis true; but 'tis only in merry England that the
partridge has a flavor, that the turkey can almost se passer de truffes,
that the jolly juicy goose can be eaten as he deserves.

"Our vegetables, moreover, surpass all comment; Art (by the means of
glass) has wrung fruit out of the bosom of Nature, such as she grants to
no other clime. And if we have no vineyards on our hills, we have gold
to purchase their best produce. Nature, and enterprise that masters
Nature, have done everything for our land.

"But, with all these prodigious riches in our power, is it not painful
to reflect how absurdly we employ them? Can we say that we are in the
habit of dining well? Alas, no! and The Agent, roaming o'er foreign
lands, and seeing how, with small means and great ingenuity and
perseverance, great ends were effected, comes back sadly to his own
country, whose wealth he sees absurdly wasted, whose energies are
misdirected, and whose vast capabilities are allowed to lie idle. . . ."
[Here should follow what I have only hinted at previously, a vivid and
terrible picture of the degradation of our table.] ". . . Oh, for a
master spirit, to give an impetus to the land, to see its great power
directed in the right way, and its wealth not squandered or hidden, but
nobly put out to interest and spent!

"The Agent dares not hope to win that proud station--to be the destroyer
of a barbarous system wallowing in abusive prodigality--to become a
dietetic reformer--the Luther of the table.

"But convinced of the wrongs which exist, he will do his humble endeavor
to set them right, and to those who know that they are ignorant (and
this is a vast step to knowledge) he offers his counsels, his active
co-operation, his frank and kindly sympathy. The Agent's qualifications
are these:-- '1. He is of one of the best families in England; and has
in himself, or through his ancestors, been accustomed to good living
for centuries. In the reign of Henry V., his maternal
great-great-grandfather, Roger de Gobylton' [the name may be varied, of
course, or the king's reign, or the dish invented], 'was the first
who discovered the method of roasting a peacock whole, with his
tail-feathers displayed; and the dish was served to the two kings at
Rouen. Sir Walter Cramley, in Elizabeth's reign, produced before
her Majesty, when at Killingworth Castle, mackerel with the famous

"2. He has, through life, devoted himself to no other study than that of
the table: and has visited to that end the courts of all the monarchs of
Europe: taking the receipts of the cooks, with whom he lives on terms of
intimate friendship, often at enormous expense to himself.

"3. He has the same acquaintance with all the vintages of the Continent;
having passed the autumn of 1811 (the comet year) on the great Weinberg
of Johannisberg; being employed similarly at Bordeaux, in 1834; at
Oporto, in 1820; and at Xeres de la Frontera, with his excellent
friends, Duff, Gordon and Co., the year after. He travelled to India and
back in company with fourteen pipes of Madeira (on board of the Samuel
Snob' East Indiaman, Captain Scuttler), and spent the vintage season in
the island, with unlimited powers of observation granted to him by the
great houses there.

"4. He has attended Mr. Groves of Charing Cross, and Mr. Giblett of
Bond Street, in a course of purchases of fish and meat; and is able at
a glance to recognize the age of mutton, the primeness of beef, the
firmness and freshness of fish of all kinds.

"5. He has visited the parks, the grouse-manors, and the principal
gardens of England, in a similar professional point of view."

The Agent then, through his subordinates, engages to provide gentlemen
who are about to give dinner-parties--"1. With cooks to dress the
dinners; a list of which gentlemen he has by him, and will recommend
none who are not worthy of the strictest confidence.

"2. With a menu for the table, according to the price which the
Amphitryon chooses to incur.

"3. He will, through correspondence, with the various fournisseurs of
the metropolis, provide them with viands, fruit, wine, &c., sending to
Paris, if need be, where he has a regular correspondence with Messrs.

"4. He has a list of dexterous table-waiters (all answering to the name
of John for fear of mistakes, the butler's name to be settled according
to pleasure), and would strongly recommend that the servants of the
house should be locked in the back-kitchen or servants' hall during the
time the dinner takes place.

"5. He will receive and examine all the accounts of the
fournisseurs,--of course pledging his honor as a gentleman not to
receive one shilling of paltry gratification from the tradesmen he
employs, but to see that the bills are more moderate, and their goods of
better quality, than they would provide to any person of less experience
than himself.

"6. His fee for superintending a dinner will be five guineas: and The
Agent entreats his clients to trust ENTIRELY to him and his subordinates
for the arrangement of the repast,--NOT TO THINK of inserting dishes
of their own invention, or producing wine from their own cellars, as
he engages to have it brought in the best order, and fit for immediate
drinking. Should the Amphitryon, however, desire some particular dish
or wine, he must consult The Agent in the first case by writing, in the
second, by sending a sample to The Agent's chambers. For it is manifest
that the whole complexion of a dinner may be altered by the insertion
of a single dish; and, therefore, parties will do well to mention their
wishes on the first interview with The Agent. He cannot be called upon
to recompose his bill of fare, except at great risk to the ensemble of
the dinner and enormous inconvenience to himself.

"7. The Agent will be at home for consultation from ten o'clock until
two, earlier if gentlemen who are engaged at early hours in the City
desire to have an interview: and be it remembered, that a PERSONAL
INTERVIEW is always the best: for it is greatly necessary to know not
only the number but the character of the guests whom the Amphitryon
proposes to entertain,--whether they are fond of any particular wine or
dish, what is their state of health, rank, style, profession, &c.

"8. At two o'clock, he will commence his rounds; for as the metropolis is
wide, it is clear that he must be early in the field in some districts.
From 2 to 3 he will be in Russell Square and the neighborhood; 3 to 3
3/4, Harley Street, Portland Place, Cavendish Square, and the environs;
3 3/4 to 4 1/4, Portman Square, Gloucester Place, Baker Street, &c.;
4 1/4 to 5, the new district about Hyde Park Terrace; 5 to 5 3/4, St.
John's Wood and the Regent's Park. He will be in Grosvenor Square by 6,
and in Belgrave Square, Pimlico, and its vicinity, by 7. Parties there
are requested not to dine until 8 o'clock; and The Agent, once for all,
peremptorily announces that he will NOT go to the palace, where it is
utterly impossible to serve a good dinner."


"Every Monday evening during the season the Gastronomic Agent proposes
to give a series of trial-dinners, to which the principal gormands of
the metropolis, and a few of The Agent's most respectable clients, will
be invited. Covers will be laid for TEN at nine o'clock precisely. And
as The Agent does not propose to exact a single shilling of profit from
their bills, and as his recommendation will be of infinite value to
them, the tradesmen he employs will furnish the weekly dinner gratis.
Cooks will attend (who have acknowledged characters) upon the same
terms. To save trouble, a book will be kept where butchers, poulterers,
fishmongers, &c. may inscribe their names in order, taking it by turns
to supply the trial-table. Wine-merchants will naturally compete every
week promiscuously, sending what they consider their best samples, and
leaving with the hall-porter tickets of the prices. Confectionery to
be done out of the house. Fruiterers, market-men, as butchers and
poulterers. The Agent's maitre-d'hotel will give a receipt to each
individual for the articles he produces; and let all remember that The
Agent is a VERY KEEN JUDGE, and woe betide those who serve him or his
clients ill!


"CARLTON GARDENS, June 10, 1842."

Here I have sketched out the heads of such an address as I conceive a
gastronomic agent might put forth; and appeal pretty confidently to the
British public regarding its merits and my own discovery. If this be not
a profession--a new one--a feasible one--a lucrative one,--I don't
know what is. Say that a man attends but fifteen dinners daily, that
is seventy-five guineas, or five hundred and fifty pounds weekly, or
fourteen thousand three hundred pounds for a season of six months: and
how many of our younger sons have such a capital even? Let, then, some
unemployed gentleman with the requisite qualifications come forward. It
will not be necessary that he should have done all that is stated in the
prospectus; but, at any rate, let him SAY he has: there can't be much
harm in an innocent fib of that sort; for the gastronomic agent must be
a sort of dinner-pope, whose opinions cannot be supposed to err.

And as he really will be an excellent judge of eating and drinking, and
will bring his whole mind to bear upon the question, and will speedily
acquire an experience which no person out of the profession can possibly
have; and as, moreover, he will be an honorable man, not practising upon
his client in any way, or demanding sixpence beyond his just fee, the
world will gain vastly by the coming forward of such a person,--gain in
good dinners, and absolutely save money: for what is five guineas for a
dinner of sixteen? The sum may be gaspille by a cook-wench, or by one of
those abominable before-named pastry-cooks with their green trays.

If any man take up the business, he will invite me, of course, to the
Monday dinners. Or does ingratitude go so far as that a man should
forget the author of his good fortune? I believe it does. Turn we away
from the sickening theme!

And now, having concluded my professions, how shall I express my
obligations to the discriminating press of this country for the
unanimous applause which hailed my first appearance? It is the more
wonderful, as I pledge my sacred word, I never wrote a document before
much longer than a laundress's bill, or the acceptance of an invitation
to dinner. But enough of this egotism: thanks for praise conferred sound
like vanity; gratitude is hard to speak of, and at present it swells the
full heart of


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William Makepeace Thackeray


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