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aspects; as insulating a blooming young woman amidst the choir of her coevals, and surrounding her with solitude amidst a vast crowd of the young, the brave, the beautiful, and the accomplished.
Meantime, as respected my own humble pretensions, I had reason to be grateful: every kindness and attention were shown to me. My invitation I was sensible that I owed entirely to my noble friend. But, having been invited, I felt assured from what passed, that it was meant and provided that I should not, by any possibility, be suffered to think myself overlooked. Lord W. and I communicated our thoughts occasionally by means of a language, which we, in those days, found useful enough at times, and called by the name of Ziph. The language and the name were both derived from Winchester. Dr. Mapleton, a physician in Bath, who had attended me in concert with Mr. Grant, during the illness of my nondescript malady of the head, happened to have had three sons at Winchester; and his reason for removing them is worth mentioning, as it illustrates the well-known system of fagging. One or more of them showed to the quick, medical eye of Dr. M. symptoms of declining health; and, upon cross-questioning, he found that, being (as juniors) fags (such is the technical appellation) to appointed seniors, they were under the necessity of going out nightly into the town for the purpose of executing commissions; but this was not easy, as all the regular outlets were closed at eight or nine o'clock. In such a dilemma, any route, that was merely practicable, at whatever risk, must be traversed by the loyal fag and it so happened that none of any kind remained open or accessible, except one; and this one communication happened to have escaped suspicion, simply because it lay through a succession of temples sacred to the goddess Cloacina. That of itself was not
so extraordinary a fact: the wonder lay in the number seventeen. Such were the actual amount of sacred edifices, which, through all their mephitic morasses, these miserable vassals had to thread all but every night of the week. Dr. M. when he made this discovery, ceased to wonder at the medical symptoms; and as faggery was an abuse too venerable and sacred to be touched by profane hands, he lodged no idle complaints, but simply removed his sons to a school where the Serbonian bogs of the subterraneous goddess might not intersect the nocturnal line of march so very often. One day, when the worthy Doctor was attempting to amuse me with this anecdote, and asking me whether I thought Hannibal would have attempted his march over the Little St. Bernard, supposing that he and the elephant which he rode had been summoned to explore a route lying through seventeen similar nuisances
he went on to mention the one sole accomplishment which his sons had imported from Winchester. This was the Ziph language, communicated at Winchester to any aspirant for a fixed fee of one-half guinea, but which the Doctor then communicated to me, as I now to the reader― gratis. I might perhaps have passed it over without notice, had I not since then ascertained that it is undoubtedly a bequest of elder times. Two centuries at least it must have existed: perhaps it may be coeval with the Pyramids. For in the famous Essay on a Philosophical Character, (I forget whether that is the exact title,) a large folio written by the ingenious Dr. Wilkins, Bishop of Chester, and published early in the reign of Charles II.,
* This Dr. Wilkins was related by marriage to Cromwell, and is better known to the world perhaps by his Essay on the possibility of a passage, [or, as the famous author of the Pursuits of Literature said, by way of an Episcopal metaphor, the possibility of a translation,] to the
a folio which I in youthful days not only read but studied, this language is recorded and accurately described amongst many other modes of cryptical communication, oral and visual, spoken, written, or symbolic. And, as the bishop (writing before 1665) does not speak of it as at all a recent invention, it may probably at that time have been regarded as an antique device, for conducting a conversation in secrecy amongst by-standers; and this advantage it has, that it is applicable to all languages alike, nor can it possibly be penetrated by one not initiated in the mystery. The secret is this, repeat the vowel or diphthong of every syllable, prefixing to the vowel so repeated the letter G. Thus, for example: Shall we go away in an hour? Three hours we have already staid. This in Ziph becomes: Shagall wege gogo agawagay igin agan hougour? Threegee hougours wege hagave agalreageadygy stagaid. It must not be supposed that Ziph proceeds slowly. A very little practice gives the greatest fluency; so that even now, though certainly I cannot have practised it for thirty years, my power of speaking the Ziph remains unimpaired. I forget whether, in the Bishop of Chester's account of this cryptical language, the consonant intercalated be G or not. Evidently any consonant will answer the purpose. F or L would be softer.
In this learned tongue, it was that my friend and I communicated our feelings; and having staid nearly four hours, a time quite sufficient to express a proper sense of the honor, we departed; and, on emerging into the open high road, we threw up our hats and huzzaed, meaning no sort of disrespect, but from uncontrollable pleasure in recovered liberty.
For a few minutes at this or at another of her Majesty's fêtes, and twice on other occasions, before we finally quitted Eton, I again saw the King; and always with
renewed interest. He was kind to everybody — condescending and affable in a degree which I am bound to remember with personal gratitude: and one thing I had heard of him, which even then, and much more as I became capable of deeper reflection, won my respect. I have always reverenced a man of whom it could be truly said, that he had once, and once only, been desperately in love; in love, that is to say, in a terrific excess, so as to dally, under suitable circumstances, with the thoughts of cutting his own throat, or even (as the case might be) the throat of her whom he loved above all this world. It will be understood that I am not justifying such enormities; but it is evident that people in general feel pretty much as I do, from the extreme sympathy with which the public always pursue the fate of any criminal who has committed a murder of this class, even though tainted (as generally it is) with jealousy, which, in itself, is an ignoble passion.*
Great passions, passions moving in a great orbit, and transcending little regards, are always arguments of some latent nobility. There are, indeed, but few men and few women capable of great passions, or (properly speaking) of passions at all. Hartley, in his mechanism of the human mind, propagates the sensations by means of vibrations, and by miniature vibrations, which, in a Roman form for such miniatures, he terms vibratiuncles. Now of
* Accordingly, Mr. Coleridge has contended, and I think with truth, that the passion of Othello is not jealousy. So much I know by report, as the result of a lecture which he read at the Royal Institution. His arguments I did not hear. To me it is evident, that Othello's state of feeling was not that of a degrading, suspicious rivalship; but the state of perfect misery, arising out of this dilemma, the most affecting, perhaps, to contemplate, of any which can exist, viz., the dire necessity of loving without limit one whom the heart pronounces to be unworthy and irretrievably sunk.
men and women generally, parodying that terminology, we ought to say-not that they are governed by passions, or are at all capable of passions, but of passiuncles. And thence it is that few men go, or can go, beyond a little love-liking, as it is called; and hence also, that, in a world where so little conformity takes place between the ideal speculations of men and the gross realities of life, where marriages are governed in so vast a proportion by convenience, prudence, self-interest, anything, in short, rather than deep sympathy between the parties, we yet hear of so few tragic catastrophes on that account. The King, however, was certainly among the number of those who are susceptible of a deep passion, if everything be true that I have heard. All the world has heard that he was passionately devoted to the beautiful sister of the then Duke of Richmond. That was before his marriage: and I believe it is certain, that he not only wished, but sincerely meditated to have married her. So much is matter of notoriety. But other circumstances of the case have been sometimes reported, which imply great distraction of mind, and a truly profound possession of his heart by that early passion which, in a prince whose feelings are liable so much to the dispersing and dissipating power of endless interruption from new objects and fresh claims on the attention, coupled also with the fact that he never, but in this one case, professed anything amounting to extravagant or frantic attachment, do seem to argue that the King was truly and passionately in love with Lady Sarah Lenox. He had a demon upon him, and, by some accounts, was under a real possession. If so, what a lively expression of the mixed condition of human fortunes, and not less of another truth equally affecting, viz., the dread conflicts with the will the mighty agitations which silently and in darkness are convulsing many a heart, where, to the