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race, who combine the intelligence of the Ancient, without his eccentricities, and the tact and industry of the Modern, divested of his defective education. The former, by long breathing the classic atmosphere of antiquity, had become a walking cbronicle of the times of the Ptolemies and the Caesars. Holding daily communion, through their works, with the bards, historians, and philosophers of the earlier ages, his mind became deeply imbued with their excellencies; and his principal enjoyment was in feasting on the rich intellectual repast before him. Of the passing scene around him, with its ephemeral excitements, he took little cognizance. From the seventh heaven of thought, the paradise of mind, with its eternal sunshine, its rivers of perennial freshness and crystal purity, its bowers redolent of perfume, and its winged array of celestial inhabitants, glowing with seraphic beauty, how could he voluntarily descend to the dull earth, with its corroding cares, its wasting anxieties, and heartless frivolities?
In the wisdom of the worldling, the lynx-eyed shrewdness which, with truo alchymic power, transmutes the frailties and ambition, the credulity and avarice, of mankind into gold, the Modern Book-Auctioneer stands immeasurably in advance of his prototype. The wit of the Ancient, although frequently keen, polished, and refined, was caviare to the multitude ; while that of the Modern, being highly spiced with local allusions, and appealing to the coarser tastes of the majority of his auditors, possesses in his opinion the superior merit of availability: The Ancient Book-Auctioneer embodied the very romance of the craft, the poetry of the rostrum. He might have been aptly termed Ancient Literature, bound in rough sheep, its cover worn and much soiled by long contact with the world, but within, sparkling with the gems of intellect, and rich in the treasures of soul and feeling. To the mass, the vast multitude whom our giant city pours forth through her hundred avenues, he was a walking enigma. Destitute of wealth and the world's dignities; self-expatriated from all the channels to power, and pursuing a vocation barely sufficient to support existence; he yet moved among the crowd with lofty port, and stately tread; rather curling his lip in scorn at the grovelling nature of their pursuits, than envying them the glare of which they were the concomitants. To the Modern, gold is the supreme idol, the one day-god, before whom all other lights 'pale their ineffectual fires. The Ancient despised it in all its forms, modifications, and representatives. He indeed admitted the expediency of securing a sufficient modicum to sustain the corporeal functions, but deprecated the necessity as entirely artificial, and capable of being superseded by a well-regulated organization of the social system.
The mirth of the Ancient never degenerated into boisterous merriment. Deeming Rapture the twin-sister of Melancholy, the paradise of his imagination was peopled with spirits of light, whose bliss was tempered with a captivating sadness. One striking peculiarity in the mind of the Ancient, was his devotion to the fame and genius of Milton, which nearly approached to idolatry. You might revile all the saints in the calendar, and meet only his calm rebuke ; but doubt the infallability of the Bard of Paradise, and the vials of his wrath were in a moment poured out. His sensitiveness on that subject was
exhibited on one occasion, by his suddenly ejecting a crowded audience from his sales-room, because an unlucky wight had the temerity, to bid sis-pence for a tattered copy of Paradise Lost. 'Six pence!" shouted the Ancient, in tones of thunder: Six-PENCE!—for the legacy of the sublime MILTON! Boy, instantly extinguish the lights ! No premises in my possession shall shelter an audience who can stand tamely by and permit such literary sacrilege!' Remonstrance was in vain; and the benighted crowd were instantly dispersed.
His adıniration of ihe character of THOMAS JEFFERSON, although of a more subdued cast, was nevertheless sufficientiy enthusiastic. Among the misceilaneous articles exhibited in his catalogue, were a few engraved portraits of the Virginia statesman; and the knight of the hammer heralded them in his most imposing manner : · How much, gentle-men, for the counterfeit presentment of JEFFERSON ? Gentle-men, how much? I trust I need say nothing in honor of this eminent patriot and pbilosopher. Gentle-mer, how much?
• I'll give eight-pence!' vociferated an urchin, of some four feet high. Elevating the engraving to the extent of his arm, the Ancient threw himself in a tragic attitude, and thus apostrophized the portrait : • Oh, JEFFERSON! sage of Monticello ! where are thy votaries now
Ć EIGHT-PENCE for the noble features of the great Apostle of Democracy! Venality, thou canst go ns farther !"
This solemn appeal to the democratic sympathies of the audience, was not without its effect; and the transferred lineaments of the great man were struck off at a pricc more befitting the reputation of the original.
For the authors whose works graced his catalogue, the Modern Book-Auctioneer entertains a pleasant regard. Unlike the devotional esteem of the Ancient, his attachment partakes of the familiarity of a boon companion, whom one taps on the shoulder, in the plenitude of intimacy. Thus Shakspeare he facetiously terms Deer-stealing Will;' Sheridan is honored with the appellation of Roystering Sherry;' Doctor Johnson figures in his vocabulary as Sam. Johnson, while Goldsmith is our dear friend Goldy.' True, our hero of the rostrum is at times somewhat puzzled between the works of the great moralist, and those of his lively namesake, Ben Jouson ; but he overcomes the difficulty, by declaring the title-page a misprint, and asserting that the book should contain a page of errata at the conclusion, embracing ihe idea, for 'Ben,' in the title page, read 'Sam.?
Bulwer, WasiNGTON Irving, and others of our most popular modern authors, have esta3lished a lasting claim on his affections, by the golden harvest which he has reaped from the sale of their works, while the unsuccessful writers of past and present ages float downward to oblivion, unblest by his attentions. Although the Modern lacks profundity, be excels in versatility. Like St. Paul, he is emphatically “ail things to all men. If the biddings are spirited, he will laugh with the merry, sentimentalize with the pensive, chatter with the garrulonis, be
grave with the devotional, and facetions with the witty. Like a skiltul general, he has enlisted a formidable array of quotations from popular authors, which he presses into the service on all available occasions.
Those from Byron are reserved for romantic young gentlemen with open collars; stage-struck heroes, with eyes in a fine frenzy rolling,' are captured by the thrilling measures of the Bard of Avon ; Cowper is his standard author for gentlemen in black ; Moore does the needful for love-cracked youths, in tights; and fledgling orators and embryo statesman grow enthusiastic amid the flashing scintillations from the minds of Clay, Calhoun, and Webster. True, the texts are at times most ludicrously in juxtaposition with the comments; and living and dead author's not unfrequently are called on to father sentiments which they were entirely innocent of propagating. But to the sneers of the savan, and the laugh of the scholar, the Modern is happily indifferent. Elevated on his throne, he wields the sceptre with amazing effect, and dispenses the honors of the craft as if born to its digrities. Discarding enthusiasm as unworthy a skilful and clear-headed man of business, he reserves his faculties for the exigencies of his vocation. The fabled Argus had not so many eyes as he, when his interests are in question. The slightest movement of any individual in his auditory, indicating a preference for a particular volume, never escapes him.
• John, take down thai volume of Cowper for the gentleman in black. You lazy rugue, you should be more attentive! I see, Sir, that you are a judge of serious poetry. Your mind, like that of Cowper, is formed to
'Wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius and to mend the heart.' But surely I waste time in reciting the sentiments of the immortal bard to you.'
• Here goes, gentlemen, a copy of Ovid's Art of Love.' Isaac, a copy for the handsome young gentleman in blue. He's taken many a lesson in the art, or I'm no judge, as the chief justice said, when the woman was brought before him to testify, dressed in men's clothes : •Mister,' says the Judge, 'what's your name?'
I'm a woman,' says she. If you are,' says he, then I'm no judge. The ladies, Sir, are insensible, or you can beat Ovid, and give him two.'
You two boys, get off that bench! You're a pair of spectacles, no doubt, and I think I can see through you ; but it aint every one whose eyes you 'll suit. Come, gentlemen, 'fire up, fire up!' as the steam-boat engineer says. We've every thing here that 'll suit you, from a German flute to a penny whistle. So, gentlemen, “stand up to the rack, fodder or no fudder,' as John Randolph used to say, when a political hack was made to run for office in a district where he stood no chance of election.
* Alexander, a Shakspeare for the gentleman in buskins. Do n't you see the gentleman is born to cut a figure on the stage, if he 'll consent to try his hand? My dear Sir, I 'm in for a box at your benefit. Take my word, you 'll make a hit:
"There is a tide in the affairs of men,
*Faint heart never won fair lady,' as deer-stealing Will says.' At the close of the sale, the Modern facetiously notified all those
as had n't paid their passage, to come to the capting's office and settle.' This created a vast sensation among the out-at-elbows part of his auditory, who testified their delight by sundry uproarious ejaculations.
The Ancient was the embodied genius of the last century; a faithful index of its placid and serene enjoyments, whose home was at intervals in the regions of the imaginative and the transcendental, but which, in all its speculations, kept a steady eye on the polar star of content, and the beacon of happiness. The Modern breathes another atmosphere. Training his imagination in a severe school of mental discipline, his mind glances with inconceivable velocity along a horizon studded with a galaxy of golden schemes, each more brilliant than its predecessor; and the energies of his soul are taxed in discriminating between the steady light of the Attainable, and the flickering glare of the Impossible. In thus unravelling the threads which compose the web-work of his destiny, the tact, perseverance, and ingenuity of the Modern rarely fail to achieve success. His is indeed the spirit of an age whose triumphs are emblazoned on machines which travel at the rate of thirty miles an hour, and whose aspirations for the future are identified with the subjection of lightning to the purposes of man, wherein double the speed can be attained by magnetic influence, at a tithe of its present cost. Speak to him of the delights appertaining to the word comfort, and you are met with the stare of incredulity, or the glance of suspicion. His first impression is that you are a fool; his second that you may be a knave. Indeed, to him the dream of Arcadia, the distorted visions of a lunatic, and the anticipation of happiness in quiet retreats, removed from the bustle of active life, are equally absurd.
The only similarity in the character of the Ancient and the Modern, is to be found in their individuality. Both repudiated the system of well-meaning reformers, which contemplates casting mankind in a uniform mould; marshalling them into platoons, battalions, regiments, and brigades; a system founded by an ancient reformer, named Procrustes, but which our modern philosophers appropriate to themselves. But with the theory, the similarity between the sentiments of the Ancient and Modern Book-Auctioneer vanishes. The Ancient wrapped himself in the mantle of his own bright fancies, and shrank from promiscuous intercourse with his species. The Modern, like a practiced gladiator, dashes gallantly into the thickest of the melée, enlists under no commander, but carves his path to preferment through the serried ranks of hostile interests, and holds himself ready to tilt with any adversary whose equipments are sufficiently valuable to reward the prowess of the victor. The world of the one is amid the din and hurry of our modern Babel; that of the other extends far into the regions of the ideal. In dreams, in 'watches of the night,' the soul of the Ancient burst the barriers of its earthly prison-house, and roamed abroad with the master spirits of antiquity. It was then that the poets, historians, sages, and philosophers, whose dust-covered works graced the shelves of his sanctum, became his companions; the sharers of his joys and the partakers of his sorrows. In imagination he fought with Cæsar his battles o'er again ; dwelt with Socrates on the delights of philosophy; jested with Anacreon
on his devotion to the purple cup and ruby lip; mused with Plato on the immortality of the soul, and with Milton soared upward to those celestial regions, whose glories he has so thrillingly portrayed. Although no pagan, yet his daily invocations were offered in lip-service to the deities of the heathen mythology. • Per Hercle !' was his favorite abjuration, and his enemies were consigned without compunction to the lowest ‘Hades.' On 'Jove' he was wont to call at any extraordinary instance of human turpitude, while in his facetious moments, Bacchus and Venus were his favorite deities.
Blessings on the Ancient Book-Auctioneer! His soul ever bounded to the most holy impulses ! Like a star from the sky, his bright spirit passed from among us; but the influence of a nature from whose pure fountains gushed a flood of tender emotions, and untold charities and kindly sympathies, will remain, like the perfume of flowers when their leaves are withered, a sweet-smelling savor in the memory of those who appreciated his worth !