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when that heat was over, would sit down, and cry faster than the children he had abused ; and, after the fit, he would go down into the shop again, and be as humble, courteous, and as calm, as any man whatever ; so absolute a government of his passions had he in the shop, and so little out of it: in the shop a soulless animal that would resent nothing; and in the family, a madman : in the shop, meek like a lamb; but in the family, outrageous, like a Lybian lion. The sum of the matter is, it is necessary for a tradesman to subject himself, by all the ways possible, to his business; his customers are to be his idols : so far as he may worship idols by allowance, he is to bow down to them, and worship them; at least, he is not in any way to displease them, or show any disgust or distaste, whatsoever they may say or do. The bottom of all is, that he is intending to get money by them; and it is not for him that gets money to offer the least inconvenience to them by whom he gets it : he is to consider, that, as Solomon says, “ the borrower is servant to the lender ;” so the seller is servant to the buyer. What he says on the head of “Pleasures and Recreations” is not less amusing: “The tradesman's pleasure should be in his business; his companions should be his books (he means his ledger, wastebook, &c.); and, if he has a family, he makes his excursions upstairs, and no further. None of my . cautions aim at restraining a tradesman from diverting himself, as we call it, with his fireside, or keeping company with his wife and children.” Liberal allowance! nay, almost licentious and cri. minal indulgence! But it is time to dismiss this Philosopher of Meanness. More of this stuff would illiberalize the pages of the “Reflector.” Was the man in earnest, when he could bring such powers
of description, and all the charms of natural eloquence, in commendation of the meanest, vilest, wretchedest degradations of the human character ? or did he not rather laugh in his sleeve at the doctrines which he inculcated; and, retorting upon the grave citizens of London their own arts, palm upon them a sample of disguised satire under the name of wholesome instruction ?
o your account of Sir Jeffery Dunstan, 12 X in columns 829-30 (where, by an unfor
tunate erratum, the effigies of two Sir AS Jefferys appear, when the uppermost figure is clearly meant for Sir Harry Dimsdale), you may add that the writer of this has frequently met him in his latter days, about 1790 or 1791, returning in an evening after his long day's itineracy, to his domicile,-a wretched shed in the most beggarly purlieu of Bethnal Green, a little on this side the Mile-end Turnpike. The lower figure in that leaf most correctly describes his then appearance, except that no graphic art can convey an idea of the general squalor of it, and of his bag (his constant concomitant) in particular. Whether it contained “old wigs” at that time, I know not ; but it seemed a fitter repository for bones snatched out of kennels than for any part of a gentleman's dress, even at secondhand.
The ex-member for Garrat was a melancholy instance of a great man whose popularity is worn out. He still carried his sack; but it seemed a part of his identity rather than an implement of his profession ; a badge of past grandeur : could
anything have divested him of that, he would have shown a “poor forked animal” indeed. My life upon it, it contained no curls at the time I speak of. The most decayed and spiritless remnants of what was once a peruke would have scorned the filthy case; would absolutely have “burst its cerements.” No: it was empty, or brought home bones, or a few cinders, possibly. A strong odour of burnt bones, I remember, blended with the scent of horse-flesh seething into dog's meat, and, only relieved a little by the breathings of a few brickkilns, made up the atmosphere of the delicate suburban spot which this great man had chosen for the last scene of his earthly vanities. The cry of “old wigs” had ceased with the possession of any such fripperies : his sack might have contained not unaptly a little mould to scatter upon that grave to which he was now advancing ; but it told of vacancy and desolation. His quips were silent too, and his brain was empty as his sack: he slank along, and seemed to decline popular observation. If a few boys followed him, it seemed rather from habit than any expectation of fun.
Alas ! how changed from him,
Gallant and gay on Garrat's hustings proud ! But it is thus that the world rewards its favourites in decay. What faults he had, I know not. I have heard something of a peccadillo or so. But some little deviation from the precise line of rectitude might have been winked at in so tortuous and stigmatic a frame. Poor Sir Jeffery! it were well if some M.P.s in earnest have passed their parliamentary existence with no more offences against integrity than could be laid to thy charge! A fair dismissal was thy due, not so unkind a degradation ; some little snug retreat, with a bit of green before thine eyes, and not a burial alive in the fetid beggaries of Bethnal. Thou wouldst have ended thy days in a manner more appropriate to thy pristine dignity, installed in munificent mockery (as in mock honours you had lived),-a poor knight of Windsor!
Every distinct place of public speaking demands an oratory peculiar to itself. The forensic fails within the walls of St. Stephen. Sir Jeffery was a living instance of this; for, in the flower of his popularity, an attempt was made to bring him out upon the stage (at which of the winter theatres I forget, but I well remember the anecdote) in the part of Doctor Last.' The announcement drew a crowded house ; but, notwithstanding infinite tutoring, -by Foote or Garrick, I forget which,when the curtain drew up, the heart of Sir Jeffery failed, and he faltered on, and made nothing of his part, till the hisses of the house at last, in very kindness, dismissed him from the boards. Great as his parliamentary eloquence had shown itself, brilliantly as his off-hand sallies had sparkled on a hustings, they here totally failed him. Perhaps he had an aversion to borrowed wit, and, like my Lord Foppington, disdained to entertain himself (or others) with the forced products of another man's brain. Your man of quality is more diverted with the natural sprouts of his own.
1 It was at the Haymarket Theatre.