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THE TIN TRUMPET.
A. B. C.-It seems, at first sight, very singular that a blind child should be taught to read; but observe what the common process is with every child : a child sees certain marks upon a plain piece of paper, which he is taught to call A, B, C; but if you were to raise certain marks in relief upon pasteboard, as you may of course do, and teach a blind child to call these marks which he felt A, B, C, a blind child would as easily learn his alphabet by his fingers as another would do by his eyes, and might go on feeling through Homer or Virgil as we do by persevering in looking at the book. Just in the same manner, says Sydney Smith, I should not be surprised if the alphabet could be taught by a series of well-contrived flavors; and we may even live to see the day when men may be taught to smell out their learning, and when a fine scenting day shall be (which it certainly is not at present) considered as a day peculiarly favorable to study.
A.B.C.DARIAN-seems to have been an ancient term for pedagogue. Wood, in his Athena Oxoniensis, speaking of Thomas Farnabie, says—“When he landed in Cornwall, his distresses made him stoop so low, as to be an A.b.c.darian, and several were taught their hornbooks by him.” By assuming his title, its wearer certainly proves himself to be a man of letters; but my friend T. H. suggests, that the schoolmaster who wishes to establish his aptitude for his office, instead of taking the three first, had better designate himself by the two last letters of the alphabet.
ABLUTION—a duty somewhat too strictly inculcated in the Mahometan ritual, and sometimes too laxly observed in Christian practice. As a man may have a dirty body, and an undefiled mind, so may he have clean hands in a literal, and not in a metaphorical sense. All washes and cosmetics without, he may yet labor under a moral hydrophobia within. Pleasant to see an im-puritan of this stamp holding his nose, lest the wind should come between an honest scavenger and his gentility, while his own character stinks in the public nostrils. Oh, if the money and the pains that we bestow upon perfumes and adornments for the body, were applied to the purification and embellishment of the mind! Oh, if we were as careful to polish our manner as our teeth, to make our temper as sweet as our breath, to cut off our peccadilloes as to pare our nails, to be as upright in character as in person, to save our souls as to shave our chins, what an immaculate race should we become! Exteriorly, we are not a filthy people. We throw so much dirt at our neighbours, that we have none left for ourselves. We are only unclean in our hearts and lives. As occasional squalor is the worst evil of poverty and labor, so should constant cleanliness be the greatest luxury of wealth and ease; yet even our aristocracy are not altogether without reproach in this respect. It is well known that the celebrated Lord Nelson had not washed his hands for the last eight years of his life. Alas! upon what trifles may our reputation for cleanliness depend! Even a foreign accent may ruiu us. In a trial, where a German and his wife were giving evidence, the former was asked by the counsel, “How old aro you?”—“I am dirty.”—“And what is your wife ? ”—“Mine wife is dirty-two.”—“Then, Sir, you are a very nasty couple, and I wish to have nothing further to say to either of you."
ABRIDGMENT—anything contracted into a small compass; such, for instance, as the abridgment of the statutes in twenty volumes, folio. To make a good abridgment, requires as much time and talent as to write an original work; a fact of which the reader will find abundant proof as he proceeds! When Queen Anne told Dr. South that his sermon had only one fault—that of being too short,—he replied, that he should have made it shorter if he had had more time. How comes it that no enterprising bookseller has ever thought of publishing “an Abridgment of the Lives of the Fathers ? " I know not whether the religious public would give it encouragement, but I am confident, that in England, the land of primogeniture and entailed estates, there is not an heir in the three kingdoms who would not exert himself to insure its success.
ABSCESS—a morbid tumor, frequently growing above the shoulders, and swelling to a considerable size, when it comes to a head, with nothing in it. It is not always a natural disease, for nature abhors a vacuum; yet fools, fops, and fanatics are very subject to it, and it sometimes attacks old women of both sexes. “I wish to consult you upon a little project I have formed,” said a noodle to his friend. “I have an idea in my head—” “ Have you?” interposed the friend, with a look of great surprise; “then you shall have my opinion at once: keep it there!-it may be some time before you get another."
ABSOLUTE GOVERNMENT—There is a simplicity and unity in, despotism, which is not without its advantages, if every despot were to be a Titus or a Vespasian—to unite great talents with a clement and benevolent heart. But the chances against such a fortunate conjunction are almost incalculable; and even where it occurs, its effects may be suddenly defeated, and the best sovereign be converted into the worst by an attack of gout, or a fit of indigestion. Besides, there are few who think of unrestrained power, without being intoxicated, or, perhaps, maddened. Nero, before he succeeded to the crown, was remarkable for his moderation and humanity. So true is that ditum of Tacitus, that the throne of a despot is generally ascended by a wild beast. Free institutions are the best,
indeed the only security, both for the governed and the governor; for there is no remedy against a tyrant but assassination, of which ultima ratio populi, even our own times have furnished instances at St. Petersburg and Constantinople. Few modern despots can calculate on being so fortunate as the Turk Mustapha, who having rebelled against his brother, was taken prisoner, and ordered for execution on the following morning The Sultan, however, being suddenly seized with the cholic, accompanied, perhaps, with some fraternal, as well as internal qualms, ordered the decapitation to be deferred for two days, during which he died, and his imprisoned brother quietly succeeded to the throne. "O happy Mustapha!” exclaimed the Sultaness, “ you were born to be lucky, for you have not only derived life from your mother's stomach, but from your brother's!”
ABSURDITY—anything advanced by our opponents contrary to our own practice, or above our comprehension,-and, therefore, a term very liberally used, because it is implied in exact proportion to our own ignorance. Nothing to which we are so quick-sighted in another, so blind in ourselves, not only individually, but nationally. " Comment !” exclaims the French sailor in Josephus Molitor, when he saw Ironmonger Lane written on the corner of a street in London, which he read “ Irons manger l'ane.”—“ Comment! Es ce qu'on mange des anes dans ce pays ci? Mais, quelle absurdité!” How many of us, in travelling, exhibit our own, in imputing an imaginary absurdity to others! “How ridiculous !” exclaims the travelled servant in one of Dr. Moore's novels, “to dress the French regiments of the line in blue,--a colour which, as all the world knows, is only proper for Oxford Blues and the Artillery.” Some of our highest classes are unconscious imitators of the knight of the shoulder-knot.
Of the Reductio ad absurdum, a very useful weapon of logic in arguing with ultras of any class, I know not a happier illustration than the Duke of Buckingham's reply to Dryden's famous line
“My wound is great, because it is so small.”
ACCENT—is to the voice what money is to the purse. There are individuals who through an incorrect ear are unable even to modulate their voices correctly, and who thus produce the most ludicrous effects without knowing it themselves. Such was the clergyman who read from the pulpit: “Saddle me, the ass ; and they saddled him.” Rebuking one for swearing, this clergyman said, “Do you not know the commandments: “Swear not at all?” “I do not swear at all," was the reply ; “but only at those who annoy me.”
ABUSE-intemperate, excites our sympathies, not for the abuser, but the abusee, a fact which some of our virulent critics and political writers are very apt to forget. Like other poisons, when administered in too strong a dose, it is thrown off by the intended victim, and often relieves, where it was meant to destroy. If the wielder of the weapon be such an unskilful sportsman as to overcharge his piece, he must not be surprised if it explode, and wound no one but himself. Dirt wantonly cast, only acts like fuller's earth, defiling for the moment, but purifying in the end ; so that those who are the most bespattered, come out the most immaculate. Pleasant was the wellknown revenge of the vilipended author, who having in vain endeavored to propitiate his critic by returning eulogy for abuse, sent him at last the following epigram :-
“ With industry I spread your praise,
With equal you my censure blaze;
ACCOMPLISHMENTS-In women all that can be supplied by the dancing-master, music-master, mantua-maker and milliner. In men, tying a cravat, talking nonsense, playing at billiards, dressing like a real, and driving like an amateur coachman. The latter is an excusable ambition, even in our - modern gentlemen, for it shows that they know themselves, and have found a more proper place, and more congenial elevation than the Senate. Some there are, who, deeming dissolute manners an accomplishment, endeavor to show by their profli