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made; though, even to this day, so much influence survives, from the original aristocratic principle upon which public carriages were constructed, that, on the mailcoaches there still prevails the most scandalous inattention to the comfort, and even to the security, of the outside passengers; a slippery glazed roof frequently makes the sitting a matter of effort and anxiety, whilst the little iron side-rail of four inches in height serves no one purpose but that of bruising the thigh. Concurrently with these reforms in the system of personal cleanliness, others were silently making way through all departments of the household economy. Dust, from the reign of George II., became scarcer; gradually it came to bear an antiquarian value basins and vases de nuit lost their grim appearance, and looked as clean as in gentlemen's houses. And at length the whole system was so thoroughly ventilated and purified, that all good inns, nay, generally speaking, even second-rate inns, at this day, reflect the best features, as to cleanliness and neatness, of well-managed private establishments.
THE reader who may have accompanied me in these wandering memorials of my one life and casual experiences, will be aware that I have brought them forward with little regard to their exact order of succession. In reference to that particular object which governed me in bringing them forward at all—an object which I shall, perhaps, explain pointedly in my closing paper-it was of very little importance to consult the chronologies of the case, except in so far as sometimes it may have happened that the precise dates of a transaction were of some negative value towards its verification. Consequently, I have wandered backwards and forwards, obeying any momentary impulse, as accident or sometimes even as purely verbal suggestions might arise to guide me. But, in many cases, this neglect of chronological order is not merely permitted-it is in fact to some degree inevitable; for there are cases which, as a whole, connect themselves with my own life, at so many different eras, that, upon
*'Negative! - why negative value?' I hear some young readers exclaim. As it is always of importance to cultivate accuracy of thinking, and as I never wish to use words (wrong or right otherwise) without a distinct meaning, I reply that the chronology has a negative value in this sense being false, it would have upset the story - although, being true, it did not establish that story.
any chronological principle of position, it would have been difficult to assign them a proper place — backwards or forwards they must have leaped, in whatever place they had been introduced; and in their entire compass, from first to last, never could have been represented as properly belonging to any one present time, whensoever that had been selected. In reality, as a man must be aware beforehand, that, amongst the incidents of any life connected with each other by no logical connection, there can be no logical transitions from one to the other, so also, upon examining any particular life, one of those admirable lives, for instance, by Dr. Johnson, he will find that, in fact, the mere incidents are not connected, nor could be, any more than the items in an auctioneer's catalogue. How, then, is it that any seeming connection is effected? How is it, at the least, that they read with a sense of unbroken continuous fluency? Simply thus - and here lies the main secret of good biography: a moral is drawn, a philosophic inference, from some particular incident; this inference, for the very reason that it is philosophic, will be large and general; it may therefore be so framed as to include, by anticipation, some kindred thought, that will apply as an introducing moral to the succeeding incident; or it may be itself so large and comprehensive an idea, so ambidexter in its sense, as to bear a Janus-like application, one aspect pointing backwards to No. 1, one forwards to No. 2. Thus, to take a coarse, obvious illustration: a story, we will suppose, is told of riotous profusion; and next-without any imaginable natural connection or sequence, so that, left to themselves, they would read like parts of a technical advertisement — there comes a story of some private brawl in a tavern, ending in murder. But these detached notices are fused into unity, by a philosophic regret that the subject of memoir
should have been led into aspirations after a kind of society which had tempted him equally (looking backwards to No. 1) into disproportionate expenses, and (looking forward to No. 2) amongst pretensions in point of rank, issuing naturally into insults unendurable by a generous nature. Such a remark, interposed between the two incidents, Nos. 1 and 2, connects them - brings them into relation to a common principle, and makes into parts of one whole, incidents that would else have been utterly disjointed. And thus it is, by the setting, and not by the jewels set, that the whole course of a life is woven into one texture.* In fact, the connections of a life, when they are not of the vulgar order—in this year he did thus, in the next year he did thus — must resolve themselves into intellectual abstractions — into those meditative reflections upon the whirling motions of life which rise from them like a perpetual spray or atmosphere, such as is thrown off from a cataract, and which invests all surrounding objects. Thus, and it is noticeable, the reflections which arise may be made, and in the hands of a great poet like Shakspeare, are made, to anticipate and mould the course of what is to follow. The reflections, or reflex thoughts, pure reverberations, as it were, of what has passed, are so treated as to become anticipations and pregnant sources of what is to follow. They seem to be mere passive results or products from the narration;
* There is an essay by Mr. Coleridge, in his revised edition of 'The Friend,' which contains elements of a deep philosophy, and which he himself (I believe) regarded as the profoundest effort of thought he had published to the world, illustrating principles pretty similar to those, but with a reference not to the art of biography so much (not at all, perhaps) as to the art of narration; and most admirably it is illustrated, in particular from the narration of Hamlet to Horatio, with respect to his sea adventures with Rosincrantz and Guildenstern. I speak from a recollection of nineteen years.
but, properly managed, they assume the very opposite relation, and predetermine the course of that narration. Now, if chronology is thus incapable of furnishing that principle of connection amongst the facts of a life, which, on some principle or other, must be had, in order to give any unity to its parts, and to take away the distraction of a mere catalogue; if, at any rate, something more than chronology must be resorted to, then it follows that chronology may be safely neglected in general; and, à fortiori, may be neglected with respect to those cases which, belonging to every place alike, therefore belong, according to the proverb, to no place at all, or, (reversing this proverb,) belonging to no place by preferable right, do, in fact, belong to every place.
The incidents I am now going to relate come under this rule; for they form part of a story which fell in with my own life at many different points. It is a story taken from the life of my own brother- and I dwell on it with the more willingness, because it furnishes an indirect lesson upon a great principle of social life, now and for many years back sub judice, and struggling for its just supremacy the principle that all corporal punishments whatsoever, and upon whomsoever inflicted, are hateful, and an indignity to our common nature - enshrined in the person of the sufferer. I will not here add one word upon the general thesis, but go on to the facts of this case, which, if all its incidents could be now recovered, was perhaps as romantic as any that ever has been told. But its moral interest depends upon this that, simply out of one brutal chastisement, arose naturally the entire series of events which so very nearly made shipwreck of all hope for one individual, and did in fact poison the tranquillity of a whole family for seven years. My next brother, younger by about four years than myself, was a