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Tailpiece—Rejoicings upon the New Year's Coming of Age 172 Headpiece- The Wedding
173 • The cold reasonings of a father'.
176 • No Miss Emily to fill it for him' Tailpiece—The Wedding
182 Headpiece—The Child Angel
183 Headpiece-Old China
187 Lighted out the relic from his dusty treasures
190 • Poor gallery scramblers'
195 Headpiece-Confessions of a Drunkard
196 “A morning pipe'
203 Tailpiece-Confessions of a Drunkard
208 A modest inoffensive deportment does not necessarily
imply valour' • The first to be tickled with it'
213 "She would put up with the calls of the most impertinent visitor'
216 • Your tall disputants have always the advantage' · Prithee, friend, is that thy own hare, or a wig'. • He takes an interest in the dressing of it'
231 • It has learned to go to market'.
235 "Superfluous establishment of six boys'
241 A book . ... in sultry arbours' "A serious fortune to a man's friends'.
BY A FRIEND OF THE LATE ELIA
HIS poor gentleman, who for some months past
had been in a declining way, hath at length paid his final tribute to nature. To say truth, it is time he were gone. The humour of the thing, if there ever was much in it, was pretty well exhausted ; and a two years' and a half existence has been a tolerable duration for a phantom.
I am now at liberty to confess, that much which I have heard objected to my late friend's writings was well-founded. Crude they are, I grant you—a sort of unlicked, incondite things - villainously pranked in an affected
array of antique modes and phrases. They had not been his, if they had been other than such ; and better it is, that a writer should be natural in a self-pleasing quaintness, than to affect a naturalness (so called) that should be strange to him, Egotistical they have been pronounced by some who did not know, that what he tells us, as of himself, was often true only (historically) of another ; as in a former Essay (to save many instances) —where under the first person (his favourite figure) he shadows forth the forlorn estate of a country-boy placed at a London school, far from his friends and connections -in direct opposition to his own early history.
If it be egotism to imply and twine with his own identity the griefs and affections of another — making himself many, or reducing many unto himself_then is the skilful
novelist, who all along brings in his hero or heroine,
therefore, been accused of that narrowness. And how shall the intenser dramatist escape being faulty, who, doubtless, under cover of passion uttered by another, oftentimes gives blameless vent to his most inward feelings, and expresses his own story modestly.
My late friend was in many respects a singular character. Those who did not like him, hated him; and some, who once liked him, afterwards became his bitterest haters. The truth is, he gave himself too little concern what he uttered, and in whose presence. He observed neither time nor place, and would e'en out with what came uppermost.
With the severe religionist he would
pass for a free-thinker; while the other faction set him down for a bigot, or persuaded themselves that he belied his sentiments. Few understood him ; and I am not certain that at all times he quite understood himself. He too much affected that dangerous figure-irony. He sowed doubtful speeches, and reaped plain, unequivocal hatred.--He would interrupt the gravest discussion with some light jest ; and yet, perhaps, not quite irrelevant in ears that could understand it. Your long and much talkers hated him. The informal habit of his mind, joined to an inveterate impediment of speech, forbade him to be an orator; and he seemed determined that no one else should play that part when he was present. He was petit and ordinary in his person and appearance. I have seen him sometimes in what is called good company, but where he has been a stranger, sit silent, and be suspected for an odd fellow; till some unlucky occasion provoking it, he would stutter out some senseless pun (not altogether senseless perhaps, if rightly taken), which has stamped his character for the evening. It was hit or miss with him ; but
nine times out of ten, he contrived by this device to send away a whole company of his enemies. His conceptions rose kindlier than his utterance, and his happiest impromptus had the appearance of effort. He has been accused of trying to be witty, when in truth he was but struggling to give his poor thoughts articulation. He chose his companions for some individuality of character which they manifested.--Hence, not many persons of science, and few professed literati, were of his councils. They were, for the most part, persons of an uncertain fortune ; and, as to such people commonly nothing is more obnoxious than a gentleman of settled (though moderate) income, be passed with most of them for a
To my knowledge this was a mistake. His intimados, to confess a truth, were in the world's eye a ragged regiment. He found them floating on the surface of society; and the colour, or something else in the weed pleased him. The burrs stuck to him but they were good and loving burrs for all that. He never greatly cared for the society of what are called good people. If any of these were scandalised (and offences were sure to arise), he could not help it. When he has been remonstrated with for not making more concessions to the feelings of good people, he would retort by asking, what one point did these goud people ever concede to him? He was temperate in his meals and diversions, but always kept a little on this side of abstemiousness. Only in the use of the Indian weed he might be thought a little excessive. He took it, he would say, as a solvent of speech.
Marry-as the friendly vapour ascended, how his prattle would curl up sometimes with it! the ligaments which tongue-tied him, were loosened, and the stammerer proceeded a statist!
I do not know whether I ought to bemoan or rejoice