Page images
PDF
EPUB

drink. Whether you go forth on foot or on horseback, or in a coach drawn by four galloping horses, is all one; she is always at your skirts, and the memory of her, which, like an indigestible dish of bad eels, is even more troublesome to the stomach than it was noisome to the palate, following you whithersoever you may go, to the

Corso, to the"

But we are afraid to shock "ears polite" with the further details of the worthy monk, who discoursed as if he had a full connaissance de cause, and a mulier rixosa of his own.

Yet, in addressing ignorant and uncivilised audiences, the very coarseness of these preachers stood them in good stead, where a refined and classical style of oratory would have been unintelligible and utterly thrown away. There have been several remarkable instances of this in the city of Naples. On many occasions when the Lazzaroni existed in all their might of number, after the voice of the law, and the threats of the government force had been vainly applied to check their turbulence, the famous Padre Eocco, by getting on a wooden bench in the market-place, and thundering at them in their own coarse but expressive dialect, never failed in reducing them to order.

LX. THE PREACHER OP CLIMAXES.

The late Rev. Robert Hall was remarkably happy and apt at hitting off in conversation, by a few bold strokes dashed occasionally with sarcasm, the peculiarities of his acquaintance, whether they happened to lie in their style, their manners, or their character. We have not seen the following instance in print. It was told us by the gentleman to whom it was addressed. When talking of

the Rev. of , one of the most popular

preachers of the day among the Dissenters, in whose sermons there is a striking contrast between the plainness with which they begin, and the flights of metaphor in which they end, our friend asked Mr. Hall how he liked this style of eloquence? He replied "Not at all, sir; not at all. Why, sir, every sentence is a climax, every paragraph is a climax, every head is a climax, and the whole sermon is a climax. And then, at the end of every head and division of his sermon he shouts out, though scarcely audible at first, in a shrill voice that makes one's ears tingle, some text of Scripture in the shape of an exclamation. Why, sir, he puts me in mind of a little sweep boy, running up a succession of parallel chimneys, and at the top of each crying—sweep! sweep!"

LXI. HERALDIC ANOMALIES.

A Curious gossipping book, a very father of table-talk, was published under this name some twelve years ago. The object of the author partly appears to be to rectify the anomalies which titles ill understood or badly defined often create in society. Thus he would have knights treated with greater reverence, the precedence of doctors more exactly settled, and bishops' wives distinguished by

the title of ladies; and he tells a story of a Lady B ,

an apothecary's wife, who, not malignantly, but erroneously, wrote her name in a library subscription-book at a watering-place, thus, Lady Mary B. In vain did the company hunt for her name in their pocket peerages; nay, the master of the ceremonies himself could not tell whether the new-comer was to take place as a marchioness, a countess, or a viscountess; (for as a Lady Mary such might have been her rank,) but before the ball night he fortunately discovered that she was in truth only an apothecary's Lady, brand new from the apotheca, or shop; her husband having been knighted for carrying up a corporation address. Among heraldic inconsistencies may be numbered, the raising judges to the rank of knighthood, though, as judges, they already take place of baronets. Among country people, physicians are uniformly stripped of their title of Doctor, and reduced (or elevated) to the rank of Mister; but the author has omitted to observe that the rustics do this with the intention of raising, not degrading the un-doctored; for the Scotch Universities and the vulgar together, have so lowered the title of Doctor, the former by bestowing it on all that asked, and the latter by giving it to all the venders of medicine, that to want it was considered by the commonalty themselves as a sort of dignity. In Staffordshire a physician is called a doctor-advice.

The work, however, is by no means confined to settling questions of precedence and dignity; for its 800 pages are amply stocked with anecdotes and oddities of all sorts, taken from innumerable books, and brought in on any or no pretence. Let us again subject this olio of information and amusement to the authorial alembic.

Titles of Judges.—Our English judges are lords upon the bench, but in Scotland the lords of session are not only called so in their judicial capacity, but are allowed to add a title of their own, generally taken from their countryseats or paternal property. Thus, Mr. Burnet became Lord Monboddo; Mr. Home, Lord Kames ; and Professor Tytler was identical with Lord Woodhouselee.

Significant names and titles.—It often happens that names and titles cannot be pleasantly translated. Frederic Redbeard would sound ill in English ; but Frederic Barbarossa, which is nothing more, appears sufficiently grand. Boileau, in his ninth reflection on Longinus, shows that what would be quite low in French, was often the very reverse in Greek ; thus, Gardeur des Porceaux, or, Gardeur des Boeufs, would be quite horrible in French, while nothing can be more elegant in Greek than <ru/3<ur»7c and (iovKoXoc from the latter word is derived the title of Virgil's Pastorals—the Bucolics.

Some of the Turkish titles look strange when reduced to European letters, as topjdy-bashy, commander of artillery; counbarhdjy-bashy, bombardier; and a referendary (pe<t>cpevSapio( in modern Greek) is called talkhyssdjy. The following German word is a match, however, for anything Oriental; especially, as the author chooses to write it, with the omission of the usual hyphens between its component parts:

Die Reichs-generalfeldmarschalllieutenantstelle. i. e. the post of Lieutenant-Field-Marshal-General of the Empire.

The ancients were usually desirous of giving their children lucky names (bona nomina, fausta nomina), such as Victor, Faustus, Felix, Probus, Eutyches, Eunice, Agathias: while, on the other hand, Plautus thought it quite enough to damn a man, that he bore the name of Lyco; and Livy calls Atrius Umber, "abominandi ominis nomen,"—a name of terrible portent. Every one recollects how Trismegistus—the finest of all possible names—was frittered away into Tristram—one of the meanest of all possible names—by the negligence of Susannah, Mr. Shandy's messenger.

Persons above titles.—Bayle got into a scrape with Christina, Queen of Sweden, for having called her simply Christina, without any adjunct, in his periodical work, the "Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres." But Bayle replied, that when a name had been rendered so illustrious, it was higher than any title; that it was not customary to say King Francis I, or the Emperor Charles V, but simply Francis I, and Charles V: and though the ordinals are here used, yet the name alone in many cases would be more dignified; as we should say, Alexander was the pupil of Aristotle, without expressly calling him King of Macedon: that Constantine, Theodosius, and Justinian were instances to the same effect, as well as the father of the Queen herself, whom, since his heroic exploits in the field, it had been usual to call simply Gustavus Adolphus. Her Majesty was abundantly satisfied with the explanation, and thus modestly replied to him by her secretary: "Sa Majesty ne trouve pas que ce soit manquer au respect qu'on lui doit, que de ne l'appeller simplement que du nom de Christine; elle a rendu en effet ce nom si illustre qu'il n'a plus besoin d'aucune autre distinction; et tous les titres les plus nobles, et les plus augustes, dont on pourroit l'accompagner, ne sauroient rien ajouter a l'eclat qu'il s'est deja acquis dans le monde."

« PreviousContinue »