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from infancy for retirement, and they can have no wish that the custom should be changed, which keeps them apart from the society of men who are not very nearly related to them. Female society is unlimited, and that they enjoy without restraint.
"A lady, whose friendship I have enjoyed from my first arrival in India, heard me very often speak of the different places I had visited, and she fancied her happiness very much depended on seeing a river and a bridge. I undertook to gain permission from her husband and father that the treat might be permitted; they, however, did not approve of the lady being gratified, and I was vexed to be obliged to convey the disappointment to my friend. She very mildly answered me, 'I was much to blame to request what I knew was improper for me to be indulged in; I hope my husband and family will not be displeased with me for my childish wish: pray make them understand how much I repent of my folly. I shall be ashamed to speak on the subject when we meet.'
"I was anxious to find out the origin of secluding females in the Mussulmaun societies of Hindoostaun, as I could find no example in the Mosaic law, which appears to have been the pattern Mahumud followed generally in domestic habits. I am told by the best possible authority, that the first step towards the seclusion of females occurred in the life of Mahumud, by whose command the face and figure of women were veiled on their going from home, in consequence of some departure from strict propriety in one of his wives (Ayashur, the daughter of Omir); she is represented to have been a very beautiful woman, and was travelling with Mahumud on a journey in Arabia.
"The beautiful Ayashur, on her camel, was separated from the party; she arrived at the serai (inn, or halting-place) several hours after they had encamped, and declared that her delay was occasioned by the loss of a silver bangle from her ancle, which after some trouble she had discovered, and which she produced in a bruised state in testimony of her assertion. Mahumud was displeased, and her father enraged beyond measure at his daughter's exposing herself to the censure of the public, by allowing anything to detach her from the party. Mahumud assuaged Omir's anger by a command then first issued, "That all females, belonging to the faithful, should be compelled to wear a close veil over their face and figure whenever they went abroad.'
"In Arabia and Persia the females are allowed to walk or ride
out with a sort of hooded cloak, which falls over the face, and has two eye-holes for the purpose of seeing their way. They are to be met with in the streets of those countries without a suspicion of impropriety when thus habited.
"The habit of strict seclusion, however, originated in Hindoostaun with Tamerlane the conqueror of India.
"When Tamerlane with his powerful army entered India, he issued a proclamation to all his followers to the following purport, As they were now in the land of idolatry, and amongst a strange people, the females of their families should be strictly concealed from the view of strangers;' and Tamerlane himself invented the several covered conveyances which are to the present period of the Mussulmaun history in use, suited to each grade of female rank in society. And the better to secure them from all possibility of contamination by their new neighbours, he commanded that they should be confined to their own apartments and behind the purdah, disallowing any intercourse with males of their own persuasion even, who were not related by the nearest ties, and making it a crime in any female who should willingly suffer her person to be seen by men of the prescribed limits of consanguinity."
ANECDOTE OF THE ELDER SHERIDAN.
Ar a trial in the Court of Exchequer in that city (Dublin), of a cause wherein Mr. Sheridan had a friend principally concerned, Mr. Sheridan's evidence was of the utmost consequence to his friend. He accordingly appeared in court. The leading counsel for his friend most ably supported his cause, and, to corroborate his arguments the more forcibly, he frequently urged the evidence of so very respectable a gentleman as Mr. Sheridan, who came there to support his client's cause. There was not a single doubt entertained in the whole court of the integrity of Mr. Sheridan ;even from the chief baron to the attorney's clerk, all were convinced he was not prejudiced dishonourably in behalf of his friend. But the barrister who was employed upon the other side, laying hold of his learned brother's repeatedly terming Mr. Sheridan a gentleman, commenced his harangue with one of those illiberal, oecause general reflections, which his learning, and in every other
respect gentlemanly manners, should have taught him to avoid, and more particularly so pointedly to apply to Mr. Sheridan. "My lord," said he, "I am afraid we shall be shortly at a loss to know who to distinguish by the respectable appellation of gentleman. Why, gentleman, instead of being reputed honourable among us, will be meant by those who choose to reproach and insult us but as a cant phrase, to procure to us the scorn of the vulgar, to bring us real gentlemen to a level with the lawless mob. My learned brother calls a stage-player, an actor in tragedies and comedies, a gentleman! Tell it not in Gath, let it not be heard in the streets of Ascalon, that a common player should, in a high court of justice, be termed a gentleman! I have heard, indeed, of gentlemen soldiers, gentlemen sailors, and of gentlemen tailors! but I must confess I never before now heard of, or saw, a gentleman player!"
On this occasion Mr. Sheridan never acted a part better in his life; for, as Lord Mansfield observed to Mr. Macklin, when he had prudently compromised matters with some gentleman who had injured him highly, "that he never saw him so much in character before," or words to that effect,-so Sheridan repressed his indignation, and instantaneously turned to the calumniator of his profession, with a placid smile on his countenance, and his hand laid gracefully on his bosom, "I hope, sir, you see one now." This was accompanied with a very low bow.
The learned gentleman, on hearing the general plaudit given to the discreet Sheridan, shrunk abashed, and sat down upon the seat which he had that day disgraced by an insult on the feelings of a man, justly esteemed as accomplished a gentleman as Ireland, the land of gentlemen, could boast.-Memoirs of Lee Lewis.
Ir is a great pity that the shuffler will shuffle-that he will not pay what he owes; for he is a very pleasant and agreeable sort of person to converse with. He has a smiling, laughing, chatty way with him that is very taking. Beware of him, though; he is a cunning shaver for all this, and will give you a world of trouble before you have done with him. Many a weary, many a nopeless, fruitless call will you have to make on him before you get your money out of him. Indeed, so perfectly hopeless do these calls in time become, that you make them at last rather as a matter of course, or from habit, than from any idea of receiving payment of your account; this being a thing so utterly unlikely, that you cannot, even in imagination, conceive it. You cannot for a moment-however active, however creative your fancy may befigure to yourself your shuffler handing you over the money he owes you; you cannot, for the life of you, give anything like form or substance to such an unnatural, extravagant idea.
It may seem somewhat strange that the shuffler should be so long borne with as he is by those whom he plays in this way, as an angler does a trout; but this is accounted for by the circumstance that the shuffler is known, or believed, to be a man of substance at bottom; and it is, in fact, because he can pay, that nobody will compel him to do. If he could not, they would have him in jail in a week. This being one of the world's general rules, to harass to the death the man who can not pay, and to treat with every lenity and indulgence the man who can, but won't.
The shuffler, then, has always some mysterious, indefinable sort of funds somewhere. Nobody can say precisely what these funds are, or where they are; but there is a general though vague notion in the trading community that he has means; and it is this belief that procures him credit in the first place, and saves him from persecution in the second. It is this, too, that enables him to go shuffling on until he has "shuffled off this mortal coil;" when, and not till when, his shuffling ends.
We have already hinted that the shuffler is a sly-boots, a cunning shaver; he is, as witness the winning smile and affable manner with which he quits you when you come to dun him-a smile and manner which (and well does he know it) at once disarms you of
all that makes a dun formidable. Without being aware of it yourself, he softens you down with his smirking affability until you become as plastic as wax, and then he tells you some capital little stories, or some amusing little anecdotes. In these he excels; his selection is choice, and he tells them in an exceedingly pleasant and agreeable way. In truth, this knack of relating little stories is one of the main stays of his system, and is one to which he always has recourse when in the presence of the enemy-that is, a craver. In such case, he gives story after story, anecdote after anecdote, in rapid continuity. In this there is a purpose-a deep purpose; it is to prevent you broaching the one great and important subjectyour demand. You can't get near it-not within fifty miles of it, although it is one which, of course, you called for the express purpose of discussing; for this, however, he takes care you shall have neither time nor opportunity.
If the shuffler can only get you to laugh, or to join him in a little conversation, or even to take an interest in what he is telling you, he considers himself safe for the time-and so he is; for you cannot press very hard, or say anything very harsh to a man to whom you have just been listening with pleasure, or with whom you have just been in friendly and familiar conversation. You will, doubtless, in the long-run, force the object of your call on his notice, but your urgency is by this time reduced to mere inanity. Your demand, in place of being the bold and peremptory thing you at first intended, and which it certainly would have been, had you been allowed to come thump out with it at first, degenerates into a feeble, civil, half-muttered allusion to a certain "small account-hem." A request so gently made the shuffler has little difficulty in parrying. He turns it aside with a humorous remark on the scarcity of cash; and you finally walk off, without having got an inch beyond the point at which you have been sticking for the last twelve months.
You have not been long gone, however, before you get excessively angry with yourself, for having been so easily done over by the shuffler. You remember that this is at least the hundred and fiftieth time that he has so cozened you; and looking fierce as you think of it, you clutch your umbrella-if you happen to be carrying one at the moment-by the middle, with a determined grasp; or if it be a stick, you strike it emphatically on the flag-stones, and swear that you will not be trifled with in this way again—that you will no longer submit to take smirks and smiles for good hard cash.
Need we say that this bold resolution is not worth the price of this Journal? for on the very next occasion on which you call on the shuffler, the same scene precisely is acted over again;-the shuffler smirks and smiles as before, and, as before, you walk off without having obtained a glimpse of his coin.
The shuffler always receives you with a gracious smile and an excessive affability; and so far as this goes, he is, as already hinted, a most pleasant person to meet with. But he will, after all, much rather avoid than encounter you; he will get out of your way, if he can by any means accomplish it; for this is a much simpler process than cajoling, which is always less or more troublesome. If, then, he only has timeous notice of your approach, and his premises present such facilities, he will plunge down a stair, or he will dart up one; or he will glide into a dark recess, or pop into an unoccupied room; or even, if no better shift offer itself, he will ensconce himself behind some bulky commodity, and be thus, probably, within a yard of where you are standing, while his little ragged errand-boy is answering, according to instraction, your inquiry for him with a “Just gone out, sir.”
It is a curious enough sight to catch the shuffler, as may sometimes be done, in the act of retreating into his hiding-place to avoid
you. He is in a tremendous hurry, as may readily be believed; for he is acting under the powerful stimulus of an enemy at his heels, and is therefore extremely alert in all his movements. You can, in fact, rarely get sight of more than the skirts of his coat, just as they are disappearing.
If the shuffler cannot avoid you, why then he makes the best of a bad business, and greets you with his wonted smiling affability; exhibiting nothing in his manner that could lead you for a moment to believe that he would have got out of your way if he could: on the contrary, he receives you as if there were no other man on earth whom he could be happier to see. The shuffler is thus, of necessity, a hypocrite. He is, it must be confessed, a low, mean hypocrite. Of his meanness and hypocrisy we had lately, in the case of an individual of the species, a very remarkable example.
We were standing one night in the shop of this gentleman, who is a bookseller, and who, we may as well add, is one of the most inveterate and expert shufflers we know, when two genteel-looking, but very poorly dressed girls entered. It was a cold and wet night, and the poor young women, having no umbrella or other protection, were drenched with rain; a circumstance which had the effect of giving to their thin and shabby apparel a still more shabby and wretched appearance.
The shop of our shuffler, which was a very handsome one, was blazing with light, and much did the poor girls seem to suffer from the painful consciousness that this light but served to render their miserable plight the more conspicuous-that it brought into but too distinct view their decayed and shapeless bonnets, their worn-out shoes, faded frocks, and scrimp and colourless shawls.
All this they felt, and it appeared to have sunk their hearts within them-to have left them scarcely strength enough to go through with the business they had come upon.
On their entrance, our shuffler eyed them for a moment, enquiringly, then running up to them with extended hands, and a winning smile on his countenance
"Bless me, my dears!" he exclaimed-" how do you do?" taking a hand of each; " and how is your father?"
The elder of the girls glanced at us, raised a handkerchief to her eyes, and in a voice choking with emotion, said"He's dead, sir. He died last night."
"Dead! dear me!" exclaimed our friend, with a countenance expressive more of amazement than sympathy, although he evidently intended that the latter should predominate. "Dead!" he exclaimed.
"Yes, sir," replied the poor girl; then added something, but in a tone so low that we did not hear it. We heard, however, the reply, which was audible and prompt enough.
Certainly, ma'am, certainly," said our shuffler; and he flew behind his counter, pulled out a drawer with hurried alacrity, glanced into it, looked at the sisters with an air of grievous disappointment, and exclaimed
"Most unlucky! not a single sheet! But I'll send round to the warehouse to see if there be any there."
Having said this, he went up to his clerk, or book-keeper, who was at the moment engaged in the back part of the shop, and whispered something in his ear. The lad put on his hat, ran out of the shop, and returning in a few seconds, said, addressing his employer, "There's not a sheet in the warehouse, sir."
"Dear me, how unfortunate!" exclaimed the latter, with a distressed countenance. Then turning to the girls
"My dears," he said, "I am sorry, extremely sorry, to find that I have not a single sheet of the description of paper you want."
THE LONDON SATURDAY JOURNAL.
The eldest girl muttered a soft word or two in reply, blushed, to the amount of twenty pounds. The credit of the Judge was of curtsied, and wished him good night.
Our shuffler escorted the sisters to the door with great tender ness of manner, and bowed and sympathised them out.
On hav. ing done so, he came up to us, rubbing his hands, with something like an air of glee, and said,
These two poor girls are the daughters of a very old friend of mine, who has long been in very distressed circumstances. He died, it appears, last night, and they wanted some funeral letter-paper, of which, most Really, I haven't unluckily, I happen just now to be quite out. been so sorry for anything for a long time."
Distressing case-most distressing case.
Now, knowing our man, we suspected there was some manoeuvering in all this-something wrong; and we were not mistaken. We subsequently ascertained-it does not matter how, but we did ascertain it-that our shuffler had the description of paper wanted by the poor girls, the daughters of his "very old friend." Ay, ream upon ream of it, and that, too, in the very next drawer to that which he pulled out with such ready alacrity, knowing it to be empty!
But can the reader guess what it was he whispered to his clerk? We will tell him, and he may rely on its truth. Ile whispered to him to make a show of going to the warehouse for the paper, and on his return to say there was none !
Yet this man calls himself a respectable man, and he is so esteemed by the world. We exhibit him as a specimen of the shuffler.
THE YANKEE PASS.
COLONEL HEINRICH STARING was one of those German settlers in the Mohawk valley who played a conspicuous part in the border conflicts of the American Revolution. Like many of the leaders in those eventful times, he was wholly uneducated, and owed his elevation to the decision of his character and the soundSo highly were his natural talents ness of his common-sense. appreciated, that at the conclusion of the war he was appointed the first judge in the Court of Common Pleas for Herkimer county; one of those happy districts where no lawyer had hitherto penetrated to perplex the course of justice with technicalities, and where the court decided upon the plain principles of common-sense, and their own views of right and wrong, without much regard to artifi
Many amusing anecdotes are related of Judge Staring. Among others, Mr. Stone, in the appendix to his valuable work "The Life of Brant," to which we have before had occasion to allude, tells the following ludicrous story :—
"While in the commission of the peace, the judge was oldfashioned enough to think that the laws ought not to remain a dead letter upon the Statute-book; and being a good Christian, he was zealous in preventing a violation of the Sabbath. It happened that of a Sunday morning the judge saw a man, in the garb of a traveller, wending his way from the direction of the Genesee counThe wayfarer was indeed try towards the land of steady habits.' a member of the universal Yankee nation, and one of the shrewdest of his caste, as will be seen in the sequel. The judge promptly called him to an account for breaking the Sabbath, and summarily The Yankee imposed the penalty of the law-seventy-five cents. pleaded the urgency of his business, and suggested that, as he had paid the penalty, he had an unquestionable right to travel during the remainder of the day. The magistrate saw nothing unreasonable in the request, and assented to the compromise. Jonathan then suggested, that, to avoid any farther difficulty in the premises, the judge ought to supply him with a receipt for the money and a passport as the consideration. This request likewise appeared to be no more than reasonable, and was granted by the worthy magistrate, who, not being able to write himself, requested the stranger to prepare the document for his signature, by the honest sign of the X. Nothing loath, Jonathan took the pen in hand, and might have written a veritable pass perhaps, had it not been for the sudUnder this influence, he den influence of an invisible agency. wrote an order upon Messrs. James and Archibald Kane, the principal frontier merchants at Conajoharie, for goods and money
the best, and the draft was honoured at sight. Some months af terward the Judge took his wheat to the Messrs. Kanes for sale, as usual, when, to his surprise, a claim was preferred to the aforesaid amount of twenty pounds. The Judge protested that he owed them not, having paid every dollar at their last annual settlement. The merchants persisted, and as evidence that could not be gain. sayed, produced, the order. The moment the eyes of the Judge This rested upon the document, his countenance fell, as he exclaimed, 'Dunder and blixum, itsh be dat blaguey Yankee pass.' anecdote is believed to be true."
ATTENTION to the cleansing of the teeth cannot be inculcated in the young at too early an age. The neglect of brushing and washing the teeth is invariably attended with both disease and decay, which by timely and daily ablutions might have been avoided salubrious habit should lose not an instant in availing themselves altogether. Those who have grown up in the omission of this of a practice so essential to general health and cleanliness.
The extremes of heat and cold are injurious to the teeth-therefore, the water with which the teeth are cleansed should be what both night and morning; the brush should be neither extremely is termed lukewarm. They should be well but gently brushed, hard nor extremely soft, but should possess a medium quality. Should the gums bleed slightly during the operation, it will produce a salutary effect. The most effectual, and indeed the only, means of keeping the teeth and gums in a firm and healthy state, is by using the brush daily.
Those who possess good teeth should be careful to preserve them. When they are in good order, and free from tartar, the use of a soft brush once a day, with a little simple dentifrice occasionally, will be quite sufficient to keep them so; and with this the owner should rest satisfied. With respect to tooth-powder, which has afforded to quackery and imposture a spacious field for their operations, whereon the credulity of mankind has enabled them for years to reap a golden harvest, it is obvious to all who give themselves the trouble to think, that the simpler the ingredients of none better or more wholesome, either for cleansing the teeth of its composition the more beneficial it is likely to prove. I know or strengthening the gums, than cuttle-fish, prepared chalk, and orris-root, commingled together in equal quantities, which any one himself. Hunter. may procure separately from any respectable chymist, and mix
HINTS TO DANCERS.
WE go to a ball. Mercy upon us! is this what you call dancgate-post, stands up in the middle of the room, and gapes, and ing. A man of thirty years of age, and with legs as thick as a fumbles with his gloves, looking all the time as if he were burying his grandmother. At a given signal, the unwieldy animal puts shoulders, and, without moving a muscle of his face, kicks out his himself into motion; he throws out his arms, crouches up his legs, to the manifest risk of the bystanders, and goes back to his Is this dancing? Shades of the filial and paternal Vestris! can place puffing and blowing like an otter, after a half-hour's burst. inert conformation, which sets the blood glowing with a warm and this be a specimen of the art which gives elasticity to the most genial flow, and makes beauty float before our ravished senses, stealing our admiration by the gracefulness of each new motion, till at last our soul thrills to each warning movement, and dissolve into ecstacy and love? Maiden, with the roses lying among the twinings of thy long red hair! think not that the art of dancing consists merely in activity and strength. Thy limbs, which are none of the weakest, were not intended to be rivals with a pavior's his labours were to be lifted three feet higher than thy natural hammer: the artificer, who trimmed thy locks, had no idea that beseech thee, and consider that thine ankle, though strong and height from the ground; spare thyself such dreadful exertion, we thick as St. George's pillars, may still be broken or sprained with such saltations.-Blackwood's Magazine.
HYMN TO THE FLOWERS.
DAY-STARS! that ope your eyes, with man, to twinkle
Ye matin worshippers! who bending lowly Before the uprisen sun, God's lidless eye, Throw from your chalices a sweet and holy Incense on high.
Ye bright mosaics! that with storied beauty The floor of Nature's temple tesselate, What numerous emblems of instructive duty Your forms create !
'Neath cloistered boughs, each floral bell that swingeth,
Not to the domes, where crumbling arch and column
To that cathedral, boundless as our wonder,
There as in solitude and shade I wander
Through the green aisles, or stretch'd upon the sod, Awed by the silence, reverently ponder
The ways of God.
Your voiceless lips, O flowers! are living preachers-
Floral apostles! that in dewy splendour
"Weep without love, and blush without a crime," Oh! may I deeply learn, and ne'er surrender Your love sublime!
"Thou wert not, Solomon! in all thy glory, Arrayed," the lilies cry, "in robes like ours; How vain your grandeur! ah, how transitory Are human flowers!".
In the sweet-scented pictures, heavenly Artist!
Not useless are ye, flowers! though made for pleasure: Blooming o'er field and wave, by day and night, From every source your sanction bids me treasure Harmless delight.
Ephemeral sages! what instructions hoary
For such a world of thought could furnish scope? Each fading calyx a memento mori,
Yet fount of hope!
Posthumous glories! angel-like collection! Upraised from-seed or bulb, interred in earth, To me ye are a type of resurrection
And second birth.
Were I, oh God! in churchless lands remaining, Far from all voice of teachers and divines, My soul would find in flowers of thy ordaining Priests, sermons,shrines!
TO OUR CORRESPONDENTS AND READERS.
We have now tried the experiment of the "LETTER-BOX" for five months, and we fear that, on the whole, it has been a failure. Good, unquestionably, has resulted from it: we have been brought into communication with many readers whose expressed attachment to the Journal has proved encouraging; it has put us in the way of receiving valuable hints and advice; and it has elicited information. Still, the generality of the communications received are not of the character which we contemplated, and we do not know how far the majority of our readers are satisfied with the "Letter-Box."
We are now approaching the conclusion of another half-yearly volume of the "LONDON SATURDAY JOURNAL;" and as we are preparing for the new volume, and intend to introduce some modifications of our plan, which we trust will be found to be improvements calculated not only to secure our present readers, but considerably to extend their number, we wish to make something like a canvass before we decide upon continuing or shutting the "Letter-Box." Will, therefore, our readers-all of them, if it be possible to interest all of them in the matter-take the trouble to write to us, giving us their opinions on the subject? We shall be very much obliged, indeed, by their compliance with our request, as we have an object in view which we consider important, both to us and to them.
In order to enable our readers to give us their opinions on this matter fairly, let us take up a few out of a batch of the communications now before us, and state the wishes of the writers; and then put it to them whether it is worth their while and ours to continue the "Letter-Box." Like an obsequious manager reverentially listening to the wishes of his "patrons," we "knock heads," and "bow a hundred times: " if the "Letter-Box" is acceptable to the majority of our readers, we will remain their "obedient humble servant," and do what we can to please them.
First, here comes one correspondent-a very worthy, decent fellow, we should say, judging by the tone of his note-who asks if we think it would be of any service to him to learn Hebrew ? Why, my good sir, how should we know? Are you not a better judge of your own capacity, situation in life, &c., &c., than we can possibly be? At the back of this correspondent come three others, two wishing information about the expenses, &c., of a university education; and one wishing to know how he may get admission into one of the dissenting academies for the education of young men who seek the ministry as a profession. Now, if it would interest the majority of our readers to have these questions answered, we would willingly endeavour to do so; they are more interesting than many we have answered; but the point we now aim at is-are questions of such a character as these of sufficient interest to the bulk of our readers as to induce us to keep the "Letter-Box " open for them?
Next, here is "A Subscriber from the commencement," who wishes to know the surname of Prince Albert; a London "Caledonian," who is very unhappy about an advertisement which he lately saw in the Scotsman respecting a "Bludgeon and Bucket Club," and who is jealous of the peaceable reputation of his countrymen; a friend who takes us to task about an advertisement in one of our monthly parts; another young friend who wants the etymology of “philosopher" and "philosophy;" another who, in reply to "Humanitas," in No. 71, gives us information about a cripple who is enabled to move about by the aid of an ingenious machine, but who sends us no information as to its construction; and others asking matters wholly personal to themselves, which we would prefer to answer privately, instead of inserting the answers in the Journal. We might go on with our specimens ; but there is no necessity, as what we have given will explain our meaning.
We would be very ungrateful if we were to characterise all our communications as of the nature described; but the majority of them are becoming so, and we must repeat our opinion, that the "Letter-Box " has proved, on the whole, a failure.
LONDON SATURDAY JOURNAL
PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM SMITH, 113, FLEET STREET.
THE PUBLIC-SPIRITED MAN.
Ir is not easy to define this gentleman with perfect precisionwe mean with reference to the particular line of conduct which procures him the flattering distinction pointed at in the title of our paper. Generally, however, a public-spirited man is one who neglects his own affairs to attend to those of the community; who does not care a farthing how his own particular business goes, provided he can only keep that of the public in proper order. To accomplish this desirable object, he runs about from morning to night, going through an immense amount of labour and fatigue. The public-spirited man, in short, is one who is seized with a fancy for looking after the public interests, and who, without being asked, devotes himself, soul and body, to the management of its affairs. As a reward for all this trouble and zeal in its behalf, the public, well pleased to have found somebody to take the burden of looking after its affairs from its shoulders, calls him a publicspirited man. When he works on a great scale, and his labours are principally in the political line, it calls him a patriot: but with this species of the genus we do not intend to meddle on the present occasion.
It is said that what is everybody's business is nobody's; and this may be true where there is no public-spirited man-but where there is, it is his. He appropriates the neglected common of the public weal, and is made extremely welcome to do so; for nobody else will be at the trouble of looking after it. Here, with his coat off and his neck bare, he toils throughout the livelong day, encouraged by the applauding smiles of those for whose benefit he is labouring, and that too without fee or reward; and who, the while, stand around him with folded arms, looking complacently on the dreadful drudgery the poor simpleton is undergoing for their sakes, and hugging themselves in the comfortable idea that they are getting their work done for nothing.
The advantage to a community of having a public-spirited man, or fag (as he may be called), is very great. As he takes all the drudgery of the common interest on his own shoulders, it allows of every man looking after his own affairs, without troubling himself about those of the public. Kept perfectly easy by, and relying on, the vigilance of their public-spirited man, every one remains comfortably behind his own counter, turning the penny for his own particular benefit.
In the country, the character of a public-spirited man is pretty easily earned. Patching up an old bridge with a few stones or two, or three pieces of timber, or mending a bit of old road, will secure it. But it is a different sort of thing in a town. There, the labours of the public-spirited man are tremendous; the field of operations being infinitely more various, and, if not taken in a strictly literal sense, more extensive. There are, in short, a thousand things expected of the public-spirited man of the town, of which his rural brother knows nothing.
The former has the common good of a dense and varied community to superintend and protect, throughout all its endless details and ramifications. He has the streets and common sewers to keep clean, the gas-lights to look after, the supply of water to
attend to, markets to regulate, soup-kitchens to establish in times of scarcity, police and fiscal regulations to look after, iniquitous local taxes to abolish; old, unjust, or absurd local laws and customs to abrogate or amend; improvements to suggest and to see executed, with a thousand other things of equal importance and interest.
One would think that the public-spirited man might find all this rather oppressive and irksome, seeing that he gets nothing for it, and that his own particular business is the while, in all probability, going rapidly astern; but such is far from being the case. Having a soul above all selfish consideration, he delights in it. It is his element, and he is never so happy as when over head and ears in the business of the community, no matter of what nature. All is alike to him; but the more complicated and unintelligible, the better.
We would not wantonly depreciate the character of the publicspirited man; but we cannot help thinking that this public spirit of his as often arises from a restless nature as from any sincere regard for the common weal; that it is, in short, but another development of that perversity of disposition which induces a man to take an interest in all matters excepting his own.
The public-spirited man would, it is very probable, like much to interfere in the affairs of his neighbours: but not being permitted to do this, he dabbles in those of the community. However, be this as it may, the public-spirited man, notwithstanding his popularity, by no means lies on a bed of roses. Very far from it; for although most of those things which he has a principal hand in bringing about are satisfactory to the community in general, yet there is hardly one of them that does not offend, or probably injure, the interests of somebody or other. He cannot please every one; and the consequence is, that he has always a host of enemies, who take every opportunity of worrying and abusing him. It might be imagined that the public-that is, the majority who approve of his doings-would support him against his foes; but they much prefer leaving him to fight his own battles.
The character of a public-spirited man being voluntarily assumed, and its duties gratuitously discharged, he generally has, at the outset of his career, the privilege of picking and choosing the objects on which to exercise his public spirit; and while this state of matters continues, it is all very well with the public-spirited But mark the end of it; and mark it, too, all ye who feel within ye the stirrings of ambition to shine as public-spirited men. The community, seeing how able and willing he is to labour in its behalf, gets gradually into a habit of expecting him to do everything. Besides the duties already enumerated-namely, looking after the common sewers and gas-lights, &c. &c.-it expects him to remove all nuisances, and generally to remedy all local grievances, of whatever kind they may be. It expects, nay calls on him, to head all sorts of deputations on all sorts of subjects; to take the lead in all sorts of public movements for all sorts of purposes; and though last, not least, expects him to head all sorts of subscription-lists for all sorts of public objects, and thus contrives to mulet him handsomely, besides getting his labour for nothing; for, as he is at the top of the list, he cannot but come down with
Bradbury and Evans, Printers, Whitefriars.