Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

kind friends and patrons that TemPLE BAR is getting on very well indeed, and that we have every reason to be satisfied with our success. The old structure from which our name is taken is, indeed, menaced with demolition at no distant date. When that new palace of justice comes to be erected between Carey Street and St. Clement's, it will be vain, perhaps, to hope for the continuance of Temple Bar. It will go the way of Ludgate and Holbein's Gate, of London Wall and Old London Bridge. The barber will have to find another sanctuary for easy-shaving, and the banker's books a new storehouse. But the name will remain in the memory of the old days. A model of the Bar in Brown Windsor soap already graces a perfumer's window in the Strand; and we see no reason why we should not endeavour to raise an enduring monument to the Bar on mauve-coloured paper.

With respect to the contents of the Magazine, the verdict of the majority of my readers has—“errors excepted,” as the bills of cost say, given me no cause to despond. Of course we mean to do better than we have yet done ;-is not a photograph better than a daguerreotype ? is not a pocket-siphonia better than a macintosh ? is not a Colt's revolver better than a horse-pistol? and an Enfield rifle better than a Minié ?of course we mean improvement, progress, and so forth ; but when the public has already cried “Well done” to our earlier efforts, some little degree of sanguine hope may be indulged in that future opinions may be even yet more favourable.

GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA.

Upton Court, Bucks,

July 1861.

CONTENTS.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

XIV.

XV.

XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.

XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.

XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.
XXIX.

XXX.
XXXI.
XXXII.

XXXIII.

From Generation to Generation

Haunted Life, A.

Holy Mr. Herbert

62

69

74

204
214
219
380
385
387
391
393
396
398
401
520
522
527
533
537
539
543

101

413

475

.

TEMPLE BAR.

APRIL 1861.

The Seven Sons of Mammon.

A STORY.

BY GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA.

CHAPTER X.

AY EXCEEDINGLY VULGAR PERSON.

WHAT

THAT is a gentleman ? Who is a gentleman? I pause for a reply.

Of course there will be at once as many score thousand answers, indignant, sarcastic, explanatory, and argumentative, to my queries as there are readers to this story. But I must repeat them nevertheless. “What is a gentleman ? and who, if you please, has a right to be considered one?” Maginn once, discussing the vexed question, quoted an Irish authority, who laid it down that for duelling purposes any one might be considered a gentleman who wore a clean shirt once a week. The present generation is more fastidious, and would not be satisfied with such a standard of gentility. The Byronic idea of a gentleman we are all familiar with: small hands and feet, a high forehead (warranted alabaster), curly hair, and a fine taste for hock and soda-water in the morning; but when we find a being so endowed squabbling with his wife, recommending Mr. Grimaldi the clown to take soy with his apple-tart, and composing a scurril poem under the inspiration of diluted gin and not hock, one begins to doubt somewhat of the correctness of the Byronic theory. It is plain, I am afraid, that manners have little to do with making a gentlemanin the world's sense of the term. The Plantagenets ate their meals with their fingers, slept on straw, and did not use pocket-handkerchiefs; and Charlemagne, not being able to write, was compelled to dip the forefinger of his glove in ink and smear it over the parchment, when it was necessary that the imperial sign-manual should be affixed to an edict.

VOL. II.

B

to say

Imagine “ Carolus Magnus X his mark”! The best-bred men of modern times have often been of the most plebeian extraction. The French Duke de Noailles-Noailles confessed that the dancing-master Vestris, if his demeanour was to be taken as a criterion, was the most polished gentleman he ever saw; whereas, per contra, read what St. Simon has

of the bearish and brutish manners of the great Dukes and Peers of his time. Brummell, the pattern of English patricians, was the son of a petty lodging-house keeper, and the grandson of a menial servant;—if he ever had a grandfather at all. Again, as to appearance. Take down your Lavater's Physiognomy, and, placing your hand over the names appended to the portraits, just strive by guess-work to determine who are the nobly-descended and who the base-born in that long panorama of faces. Long odds may be laid that when you come to remove your hand, you will discover that this eagle-nosed, lofty-browed worthy, who by his countenance should be of the bluest blood of Castile, is the son of a cobbler, and that this bull-necked, snub-nosed, thick-lipped, clod-hopping-looking fellow is a grandee of a hundred quarterings, or a prince of an imperial house. Now, do

you

think I am about to launch into some hotly democratic invective against the folly and fallacy of claims of long descent; that I am about to quote the “grand old gardener and his wife;" or ask, with Wat Tyler's crew, who was a gentleman when the gardener delved and his wife span; or chuckle over the ambassadorpoet's proposed epitaph:

"Ladies and gentles, by your leave,

Here lies the body of Matthew Prior;
The son of Adam and of Eve:

Can Bourbon or Nassau go higher ?" No: I have not any wish to attempt sarcasm either one way or the othereither about “tenth transmitters of foolish faces,” or poor varlets whose blood “has crept through scoundrels ever since the Flood.” Blood, quotha! If I am pricked, will not my veins yield the life current; and if I choose to wear blue spectacles, may I not declare it to be the real tapthe genuine sangre azul? Blood, forsooth! What are your two-pennyhalfpenny Howards and Percys to my ancestry,—to yours, my descendant of five hundred cattle-lifters,—to yours, Fitz Bogie designed of Macgrillicuddy; to yours, M. de Sidonia, who carry three trumpets proper in memory of your ancestor who helped to blow the walls of Jericho down? and what are all our boastings of ancient descent compared with those of the Chuggs of Suffolk, who have held the plough and cracked the clods for twice five hundred years. Let us all be proud of our progenitors, and think ourselves each and severally the very finest gentlemen that ever stepped ; and when a rude person says, “Sir, you are no gentleman,” let us answer him, “Sir, you are no judge.”

And yet: Who is a gentleman? What is a gentleman ? The question is as far from solution as ever. I don't know, for one; but if, as we are generally compelled to do, the general verdict of the world is to

« ForrigeFortsæt »