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provincial town, who contrive to laugh out an evening by conversation, consisting partly of what has been heard at the last visitation dinner; the immediately preceding quarter-sessions of the county; and the anecdotes picked up by the worthy washer of bottles in his matutine visits to the ladies of sir George Tattle, and Mr. William Whisper, and partly of observations drawn from their various readings, which will sometimes admit of a play upon words, a sly allusion, or a quaint conceit. Then advance in review the academicians of our universities, whose laughter is excited by old college stories of disastrous and rueful worthies, who have been reprimanded and imposed for absence from chapel, for neglecting to wear a band, for omitting to cap a superior in gradation, or for seducing the chastity of some tender-hearted semptress, and at times an awkward detailing of some of Joe Miller's jests, which are passed off as original bon mots of the relator. I hardly know in what class to place the noisy and obstreperous mirth of the soldier; the insipid and insignificant simper of the beau;
the affected twist of the fine lady's mouth; or the placid and indifferent movement of the courtier's risible muscles. But far above all these do the risible faculties of the enlarged and cultivated intellect rise; as the observation extends, the judgment matures, and the genius unfolds, does the youth become acquainted with, and delights in, the inimitable humour of Falstaff, to whose charms I never knew but one man, that had any pretensions to mind, insensible, and he was a dry, parchment-poring, quill-driving attorney to the chaste and delicate simplicity of Addison; the elegant and attic wit of Gibbon; the keen and sarcastic irony of Swift; the banter and ridicule of Rabelais; and the irresistible and overbearing readiness and repartee of Johnson, his mind is open; by them is his intellect rendered more acute, more lively, more flashing, more brilliant, more resplendent. As our student advancés, he becomes more conversant with, and takes pleasure in, the gentlemanly pleasantry of Horace, and the nice, the piercing, the dexterously concealed, the penetrating passes of Lucian's brightly-tem
pered and highly-polished weapon. These inexhaustible sources of pure, and exquisite, and unalloyed, and soul-elevating bliss, are open only to the scholars and sages of the human race, who are confined to no profession, to no body, to no sect, to no kingdom; but are the same over the whole globe; men possessing a reach of mind, a grasp of intellect, a scope of comprehension, a vigour of thought, an ardent imagination, a lively fancy, and a feeling heart. Such is he whose faculties have been chastened, and illuminated, and invigorated by a liberal and properly conducted education, whether born in Great Britain, the nurse of arms, of arts, and of knowledge; or whether he first drew breath in Gallia, the mistress of gaiety, of acuteness, and of dexterity; or whether he was cradled on the rocks and mountains of Switzerland, the rough, the rugged, the undisguised defender and protector of freedom and of independence; or whether swathed under the softer sky and kinder climate of the Italian plains, the restorer and the protectress of literature and the fine arts, when the Gothic gloom began to disperse, and
the Vandalic darkness to disappear before. the radiance and the splendour of the sun of knowledge; or whether he first saw the light in the dominions of Spain, the abode of honour, of pride, of valour, of bigotry, and of the inquisition. Whatever be his calling, he is still the same, a scholar and a gentleman; whether pursuing knowledge for her own sake, in the retreats of solitude, amid the groves of academies, or in the porticoes of the Lyceum; whether enrolled in the list of those who swell the pomp and pageantry of a court; or ranged under the crimson banners of military parade; or trained to the holy functions of a minister of the blessed religion of Jesus; or bred up among the brawls and unceasing confusion of the judges, and sergeants, and counsel, and jury, and plaintiff, and defendant; or nurtured in the study of that science the aim of which is to relieve the bodily distresses of our fellowcreatures; or reared amidst the din of trade; or upraised amidst the bartering of commerce. Such, and such only, are capable of attaining to the highest, the most perfect, the most extatic enjoyment and exercitation
of the risible faculties.
Now that this se
cond essay on laughter is finished, I am not inclined to disallow the validity of my first assertion, "that a want of risibility is a mark of a weak and uncultivated intellect, or a bad and a vitiated heart, or both."
THE impressions made on my mind at our
first interview with this school-master will
not easily be effaced. He was tall, very robust, of an aspect stern, cruel, and stupid; in front very much resembling a bull. He received us with a mixture of insolent and dictatorial importance, blended with a few, very awkward, attempts at civility; he sat with his back nearly half averted from my father, and, during the discourse, which he almost wholly monopolized, continually slapped his hand on that part of his black-leathern small clothes which concealed the major portion