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new streets already erected, they boast of their numerous club houses as their greatest ornaments! Hence it is, that what is called " a marrying man" is become quite a rarity in society. Men of the gown and sword, retired nabobs from the Indies, wealthy young merchants, et id genus omne, now forsooth must all belong to clubs, in which they have the comforts of home without the expense, and every thing they can desire in the very best style. The ladies should be informed of this violation of their rights. If they do not exert themselves in time, the town, aye and the country too, will soon be inundated with real old bachelors, and what is still more to be deplored, old maids. In principiis obsta, we should have said, when the improvements at Charing Cross were commenced. We fear the evil has acquired too much strength to be put down, unless the ladies form an association for the purpose.
If they want matter to stir up their bile, they will find abundance of it in the work before us. For though the author evidently only assumes the character of an old bachelor, yet he often expresses sentiments which no doubt are resounded nightly in the said clubs. Let our fair readers hear with patience, if they can, the following tirade, not only against the progress of their own sex in refinement, but against the advance of all civilization whatsoever :
You can't get a good morning's exercise by being jumbled over the pre-adamite pavements, but must glide smoothly along over the flat surface of Macadam's roads. Roads in London! vile innovation! I say they are an abominable preventive of cockney digestion! There are, nowa-days, no good wholesome dinners at four or five o'clock! but a hot luncheon at three, and a dinner at nine! the name of old English suppers is forgotten now! You can't go, either, to see a play: nobody goes to the theatres, but in a child's party; unless it be the tradesfolk of the metropolis, and a few newspaper critics; and now and then, perhaps, an old barrister, to save himself from dying of ennui. You're obliged to go and get hustled in the pit of the opera-house at nine o'clock or past, cheek by jowl with some muddy-complexioned, garlic-eating Italians, wedged in be tween these and half a dozen French cyprians! If you discern any acquaintances in the boxes, you're obliged to travel up, God knows how many pair of steps, before you can reach them. Well, if you walk down to the House of Commons, it is only now and then that you hear any harangues worth speaking of; you don't see any worthy successors (except perhaps one or two men) of Pitt, Fox, Burke, or Sheridan; you don't hear those lofty, those warm, those eloquent bursts, that once used to electrify you; no, no, those days of oratory, of political warfare, and political equibs, are gone by now. No Warren Hastings's impeachments now; no government jobs now; no Junius's Letters. There was no union with Ireland then; no mushroom peers; no mushroom Irish baronetcies, made almost for the asking, or for the consideration of a shilling. And now for the women! Why don't they powder their hair now-a-days? they have lost the art of tugging it back from the forehead, and forward from the back of the head, into a huge preposterous pinnacle, like a cassowary's
crest, or the top-knot of a cockatoo. As for the gentlemen, where are their precious pigtails? Shame! shame! they are all cut off! cut off! cut off! Who wears them now but myself, and one or two other respectable-looking old persons like me?
'What has become of the plain, thick, yellow dishes of delf, from which we used at one time to dine? Gone! gone! A man's attention is called from the food before him, to gaze upon the green-and-gold, or blue-andwhite service upon which it is placed; to abandon the contents of his plate, in order to discuss the beauties of the Wedgwood ware, or Flight and Barr's china, in which they are placed. There are no quietly-burning, oil-fed lamps in the streets, but flaring, flashing, gas-lights, to dazzle one, enough to occasion blindness or distraction, and almost to roast the meat in the butchers' shops.
As for the innovations in the country, they are no less numerous than those in town. There used, once upon a time, to be stage-coach_robberies; but now there are no adventures of this sort in Featherbed-lane, or elsewhere. Formerly, in my younger days, there were scarcely any stationers' or booksellers' shops in many country towns; you couldn't buy a child's story-book if you would give your ears to do so, but must wait, if you wanted to make a Christmas present, until the next fair, on which occasion hawkers would come round with small, brown-looking, coarsepaper pamphlets, decorated with wood-cuts of Whittington and Hicko'thrift, at the price of a penny a copy, and threepence for a very superior one, as they called it; but now they demand of you, for a nursery-volume, eighteen-pence! its size being that of a great post octavo, filled with daubs, called coloured engravings.
The farmers' daughters used to be dressed in a plain, pretty, neat fashion, looking so simple and so modest, that it was a pleasure to see them; whereas, now, they go flaunting in a profusion of ribands and lace to church, to disregard the service, to state, and be stared at. Their mothers thought little of going to market on a pillion, behind Jack the ploughboy, on the broken-winded mare, whose wheezing and grunting (varied by the squeak, perhaps, of a concomitant suckling for the market) was the only concert the good women knew: but now Jack the ploughboy must not approach even to tie their shoe-strings; their ears are now regaled with their daughters Jenny's and Polly's jingling on some second-hand, or twentysecond-hand piano-forte, picked up at an auction.
'Young ladies brought up in the country used to pique themselves upon making a syllabub, or even a pudding; but now, they can do nothing, except pretend to squall airs that have long since been out of date in the metropolis. The joviality of the old country squire is now obsolete; there are no squire Westerns now-a-days, no wine-drinking and swearing; the days of drunkenness after dinner, and " damn ye" at every other word, are forgotten.'-pp. 18–22.
What then, are the days of the pillion to be restored? Are Miss Jenny and Miss Polly not to be taught music? Are the drinking parties to be renewed, and the key of the dining-room door to be lodged in the host's pocket, until he and all his guests are laid under the table? Again, on the subject of marriage, what is the doctrine of this old bachelor, or rather of the author, in his name?
The solitude to which I was in a great measure condemned at present, as well as the want of occupation, induced me to think of matrimony. To support a wife on what income I had was impossible; but should the lady contribute a tolerable addition to it, on her part, the measure was not to be despaired of. In fact, I began seriously to entertain thoughts of taking on myself the respectable, social, and dignified title of husband.
How amiably to be sure, I talk! I ought to say, that I was foolish enough to think of putting my neck under the matrimonial yoke, of wedding myself to a long amount of domestic annoyances, to brats and nursemaids, for life; to a multitude of tradesmen of all descriptions, and apothecaries, till my dying day; with the prospect of having to bring up, perhaps, three or four wayward, disobedient urchins of boys, to be as miserable as myself, and as many daughters, to be a burden on my hands, more and more heavy every succeeding year, as the chance of their being disposed of in marriage became less.
Why do not people think a little, before they enter on so hazardous a step? To what anxieties do they link themselves! What responsibility do they take upon them! What a long waste of care do they plunge intoI fancied some one interrupted me just then, and asked, if the companionship of an attached, sincere, and loving friend; if the tenderness and anxiety of one constant heart, when there is none other in the world that has sympathies for us; if the fidelity of one, who would undergo all difficulties, and encounter all dangers to serve us; whose soul is one with ours; whose wishes exist but to agree with our own; whose countenance derives delight as ours is animated; whose tears fall with ours; whose smile glows as our own is awakened; whose bosom is the depository of our woes; whose voice breathes our consolation; whose kindness is ever ready, with its gentle admonition, to warn us from the dangerous impulses of impatience, anger, or disappointed pride; who makes up to us by her blandishments, what the envious niggardly world denies to our merits; who praises us when none else will; who comforts us when all beside mock at us; who soothes us, when all reject us; who raises us up, when man tramples on us.
I say, I fancied somebody asked me, that if all this support, consolation, and friendship is to be found in the person of a wife, how can the writer of this book, or any one of sense or feeling, dare to cast a slur upon the name of matrimony?
'Aye, but the Mentor who favoured me with his interruption, drew the picture of a loving and faithful wife, of an excellent, sensible, and feeling woman. Does he forget the thousand, thousand instances of frivolity, indifference, coldness, ingratitude, disaffection, infidelity, which are every day forced upon our notice, to be in vain lamented.'?-pp. 211—214.
We should have already informed our readers of the plan of this work, if it had any. It is filled up with a rambling series of chapters, some of which detail the old bachelor's journey into the country, attended by his housekeeper, Mrs. Busby, on a visit to a fellow member of his club. Others are given up to all sorts of complaints and rhapsodies, in the manner of that very amusing book, called "The Miseries of Human Life.' If only half the torments enumerated in his Confessions' had happened to this
hero, he must have been the most unfortunate knight of his order with which the world has ever been burdened.
We shall, however, give one or two further extracts from the volume, which, if they had belonged to the "Life of an Old Bachelor, written by a Friend," would be consistent enough. They describe the habits of such a person with sufficient truth; the only improbability or unfitness about them is, that they are supposed to come from the mouth of the man of wretchedness himself.
To be no longer young was with me to be old. By the time I had arrived at the age of thirty, I felt myself no longer able to caper in ball-rooms, and practise gallantry, as I had hitherto done. An evening party was possessed of few charms for me: to converse in a corner, with a batch of prosy persons, on a few common-place subjects, was now comparatively all that it was allowable for me to do. This compulsory monotony and inaction rendered me miserable. There was not a young man or woman whom I saw; not a youthful pleasure that I contemplated, that did not make me regard myself as already old.
I had no notion of allowing any such thing as a "middle age:" I hated the sound of it. It imported to my ears, that a man was harnessed to all the most pressing fatigues and occupations of life, without the power of mingling in any of its more captivating enjoyments, or indulging in its most interesting and exhilarating recreations. I figured him to myself, as a sentinel, who is bound to march gravely up and down in the face of society, while all the rest of the world are either making a free use of their limbs, which is the case in youth, or reposing and indulging in such whims as pleased them, which is allowable to age.
The middle-aged man alone is restricted from doing either the one or the other; he alone is a stranger to liberty; alone perpetually galled with restraint, labour, and denial; while all is active enjoyment or relaxation around him.
The moment, therefore, that I was obliged to forfeit my claim to the exercise of youthful energies, I plunged into the opposite extreme of the indolence of age. One characteristic of age I felt was every day more and more strongly creeping on me; that is, that the passions were becoming completely weakened within me, and the affections blunted.
'If there had been no other reason for the neglect of matrimony, this alone would have been sufficient. It was a step which it was impossible for me ever to have taken, unless the warmth and desire of love had mainly actuated me; so that all thoughts of marriage were decidedly abandoned at this period for ever.
I know that there are many men of thirty, who go on from that time to the age of forty or fifty, indulging in gallantry and merriment, with the same show of appetite and ardour that they evinced at twenty or five-andtwenty. But this playing a part" disgusted me; the affectation of putting on youth, when it no longer existed, was to me odious. The effort under which these men must necessarily be labouring, in their attempts to be gay and frolicsome, was contemptible in my ideas. No; I never could consent to deceive myself by "shamming young " in this sort of way.
So behold the commencement of my "Old Bacherlorship" at the age of thirty.
'From that date I commenced all those habits which characterise old single fellows like myself; and I now look back on my début in Old Bacherlorship with surprise, at the readiness with which I adopted all the oddities, whimsicalities, prejudice, and dissociality with which this condition is generally attended.
I have now doubled that age, together with the addition of nearly eight years; in the course of which period I have become (I should hope), totally unlike any other sublunary being; always excepting those old "fogrums," whose situation is similar to my own.'-pp. 284-287.
The daily habits of our old bachelor's' life are described in still more glaring colours of exaggeration. The mere circumstance of the 'sardonic grin,' mentioned at the close of the following passage, would of itself betray the fictitious character of the work. In other respects the picture is amusing.
At about twelve o'clock my housekeeper enters my bedroom, and opens the shutters: the light startles me; I demand what the hour is, although I know it well enough, inasmuch as I put the same question, and receive the same answer, every succeeding morning from one year's end to another.
After another drowsy interrogatory, respecting the weather, I tell her to bring breakfast. Behold me sitting up in bed, in a chequered jacket of chintz, with a black velvet cap decorated with a tassel; a somewhat brown bit of flannel round my throat, to prevent my catching cold; my back supported by cushions taken from the couch, and pillows, indiscriminately.
A tray with the breakfast things is brought, and placed on my lap, the breakfast consists of chocolate or coffee, in a small brown Wedgewood-ware pot, a few sippets of toast, and, in the season, a plate of strawberries in addition. There is also tea, in case I should prefer it, in a little round chased silver pot, which is a favourite with me, and an endless cause of upbraiding to my housekeeper, should the least scratch or speck be discernible on its surface.
Over this repast I generally dawdle for above an hour and a quarter; faddling with the butter, or doubting whether I shall demolish my toast by sopping it or by eating it with butter. Sometimes, in a fit of nervousness, I shoot out a leg or an arm, and upset the whole apparatus. This mishap causes me to throw myself on my back, after pulling the bell violently for my maid, cursing my existence, and venting my rage in oaths and lamentations on my own infirmity and the necessity of breakfasting.
By the time the disorder is remedied, and the breakfast re-established on my lap, my rage cools! and if by good luck I am not attacked by any more nervous twitches or plunging, I get through this second edition of breakfast without much discomfort, except it be occasioned by peevishness at the toast being too brown or too flabby, or the chocolate smoked, or the coffee a little too thick, the butter not quite fresh, the salt a little damp, or some such other laudable cause of objection.
'After many efforts, much yawning and stretching, much shuddering, if the weather is at all cold, I crawl out at that side of my bed which is nearest the fire-place; my course is directed to a huge arm chair, with a high back, which stands close by the fender.
Here I sit in my bed-gown and slippers, frequently for two or three