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some idle flirtations I remember to have heard talked of; but that was all. He saw he had somehow hurt me, and asked my pardon with that round, unconscious face of his; and looked so tristful and contrite for his no-offence, that I was ashamed for the man's penitence. Yet I protest it was but a scratch. It was the least little hornet of a horn that could be framed. “Shame on the man,” I secretly exclaimed, “who could thrust so much as the value of a hair into a brow so unsuspecting and inoffensive! What, then, must they have to answer for, who plant great, monstrous, timber-like, projecting antlers upon the heads of those whom they call their friends, when a puncture of this atomical tenuity made my eyes to water at this rate! All the pincers at Surgeons' Hall cannot pull out for Placid that little hair.”
I was curious to know what became of these frontal excrescences when the husbands died; and my guide informed me that the chemists in their country made a considerable profit by them, extracting from them certain subtile essences : and then I remembered that nothing was so efficacious in my own, for restoring swooning matrons, and wives troubled with the vapours, as a strong sniff or two at the composition appropriately called hartshorn,--far beyond sal volatile.
Then also I began to understand why a man, who is the jest of the company, is said to be the butt, -as much as to say, such a one butteth with the horn.
I inquired if by no operation these wens were ever extracted; and was told that there was indeed an order of dentists, whom they call canonists in their language, who undertook to restore the forehead to its pristine smoothness; but that ordina
rily it was not done without much cost and trouble; and, when they succeeded in plucking out the offending part, it left a painful void, which could not be filled up; and that many patients who had submitted to the excision were eager to marry again, to supply with a good second antler the baldness and deformed gap left by the extraction of the former, as men losing their natural hair substitute for it a less becoming periwig.
Some horns I observed beautifully taper, smooth, and (as it were) flowering. These I understand were the portions brought by handsome women to their spouses; and I pitied the rough, homely, unsightly deformities on the brows of others, who had been deceived by plain and ordinary partners. Yet the latter I observed to be by far the most common; the solution of which I leave to the natural philosopher.
One tribe of married men I particularly admired at, who, instead of horns, wore ingrafted on their forehead a sort of horn-book. “This,” quoth my guide, “is the greatest mystery in our country, and well worth an explanation. You must know that all infidelity is not of the senses. We have as well intellectual as material wittols. These, whom you see decorated with the order of the book, are triflers, who encourage about their wives' presence the society of your men of genius (their good friends, as they call them), - literary disputants, who ten to one out-talk the poor husband, and commit upon the understanding of the woman a violence and estrangement in the end, little less painful than the coarser sort of alienation. Whip me these knaves-[my conductor here expressed himself with a becoming warmth),—whip me them, I say, who, with no excuse from the passions, in
cold blood seduce the minds, rather than the persons, of their friends' wives; who, for the tickling pleasure of hearing themselves prate, dehonestate the intellects of married women, dishonouring the husband in what should be his most sensible part. If I must be — [here he used a plain word] let it be by some honest sinner like myself, and not by one of these gad-fies, these debauchers of the understanding, these flattery-buzzers.” He was going on in this manner, and I was getting insensibly pleased with my friend's manner (I had been a little shy of him at first), when the dream suddenly left me, vanishing, as Virgil speaks, through the gate of Horn.
FarmHE GOOD CLERK.-He writeth a
fair and swift hand, and is competently
versed in the four first rules of arithb o metic, in the Rule of Three (which is sometimes called the Golden Rule), and in Practice. We mention these things that we may leave no room for cavillers to say that anything essential hath been omitted in our definition; else, to speak the truth, these are but ordinary accomplishments, and such as every understrapper at a desk is commonly furnished with. The character we treat of soareth higher.
He is clean and neat in his person, not from a vain-glorious desire of setting himself forth to advantage in the eyes of the other sex, with which vanity too many of our young sparks now-a-days are infected; but to do credit, as we say, to the office. For this reason, he evermore taketh care that his desk or his books receive no soil; the which things he is commonly as solicitous to have fair and unblemished, as the owner of a fine horse is to have him appear in good keep.
He riseth early in the morning; not because early rising conduceth to health (though he doth not altogether despise that consideration), but chiefly to the intent that he may be first at the desk. There is his post,—there he delighteth to be, unless when his meals or necessity calleth him away; which time he alway esteemeth as lost, and maketh as short as possible.
He is temperate in eating and drinking, that he may preserve a clear head and steady hand for his master's service. He is also partly induced to this observation of the rules of temperance by his respect for religion and the laws of his country; which things, it may once for all be noted, do add special assistances to his actions, but do not and cannot furnish the main spring or motive thereto. His first ambition, as appeareth all along, is to be a good clerk; his next, a good Christian, a good patriot, &c.
Correspondent to this, he keepeth himself honest, not for fear of the laws, but because he hath observed how unseemly an article it maketh in the day-book or ledger when a sum is set down lost or missing; it being his pride to make these books to agree and to tally, the one side with the other, with a sort of architectural symmetry and correspondence.
He marrieth, or marrieth not, as best suiteth with his employer's views. Some merchants do the rather desire to have married men in their counting-houses, because they think the married state a pledge for their servants' integrity, and an incitement to them to be industrious; and it was an observation of a late Lord Mayor of London, that the sons of clerks do generally prove clerks themselves, and that merchants encouraging per