Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

6 articles on this Page



TOWN TALK. BY OUR SPECIAL C03&&ESP0NDENT. Ow rtukn mH urwlerstomd that we do not hold ottrseives rtrpm- rible for W fbie Correspondent's opinions. T- CHARLES LAMB, in one of his inimitable essays, divides men into two classes: those who borrow, and those who lend, and he assigns a decided superiority to the former. He invests them with a kind of royalty. They lay all men under tribute, they make a decree like Caesar that the whole world should be taxed, while they are humble enough to perform the invidious duties of the publican. The delightful essayist dwells upon their jaunty carriage, their rosy appearance, the lightness of their step, their more than royal appearance of freedom from care, their princely way of speaking money. To refuse them anything they may ask of you is a thing not to be thought of the tone of careless contempt in which they speak of the trifle they require, the absolute right which they evidently believe themselves to possess to whatever may happen to be in the pockets of other people, forbid so absurd an idea. Besides, ther I really is no time for reflection, the crown or hr-t- sovereign is extracted as quickly asatooth by a.Lrst- rate dentist; it is done by the single twil of a masterly hand. It is only, How are you my dear fellow" (here there is a patro-nisi-5 squeeze of your fingers)? "Have you a -rown about you? Ah, thank you! Good by." And away goes our friend to collect h1 income some- where else. This is one of Ways living on what Thackeray calls "Nothing a year," of which not a few in Londordva^ themselves. This is the dull season for sue2 gentlemen. They have I at present to content,,hem selves with such com- paratively humble Vrds as your correspondent. In Fleet-street, tlY other evening, one of them asked me for a wlf-crown. Presently I saw him driving in a inn>som cab I walked home that evening myg1^ and, unless tired, should have thought i4 sheer extravagance to take a cab. I have en done in this way about half-a- dozen times in as many days. A half- crown or any amount that one can afford, for chat matter, is never thrown away if given t, those who need it; but it is only little short of a crime to encourage men who make it their trade to levy this kind of black mail- men who are moral ruins, their tower of self-respect prostrate, and their whole building hastening to inevitable decay. I HAVE given you a glimpse at these gentlemen very much because there is really very little town talk at present. Jones, who used to be a cyclopeodia of news, is studying "Murray's Guide." Brown is deep in a work by an experienced tourist, in which it is shown how you may starve yourself and go up and down the Rhine for £ 5. Robinson similarly employed. Excursion trips here and there, Mr. Cook, eligible watering-places where good shooting may be had, are the only subjects much discussed now-by the few who are here to discuss them. At Button's—where lawyers and literary men do congregate—there are still the pale young sylphs in waiting, but the shrewd, wrinkled faces, the high foreheads, the bald and semi-bald heads, the eye-glasses and the whiskers, the Q.C.'s, the magazine writers, the students of the Temple and Lincoln's-inn, are nowhere to be seen. For myself, I feel" as melancholy as a lodge in a warren." I feel baked. I am sick of this huge brick-kiln of a London, and the moment this letter is finished I shall wipe my pen and pack up. and be off for three days at least. But where ? That is a question I have not time to settle at present. WHEN a lover of fish cannot get whitebait he" has to relapse on the less delioate eel or whiting. The quidnuncs, in default of more enticing mattersf are discussing in a languid manner—quite in keeping with the thermometer—the Fenians. Some persons affect to think there is little or no Fenianism in Ireland; but of its wide-spread existence amongst the lower class of young men in that country there cannot be much doubt. Fenianism is a very small mountain, which can only bring forth a very small mouse, which may successfully hide itself from Sir Robert Peel's cats under a good-sized cabbage-head or an umbrageous potato-stalk. Regarded* from the point of view it would wish to be—namely, as for- midable to England-anything more absurd, more outrageously ridiculous, it would be impossible to conceive. Just think of the intelligence of young fools, who imagine that people will leave America, break up all their ties, and come over to liberate Ireland from the most powerful nation in the world-to which three-fourths <C).f the Irisk people are loyal! Let us hope that IFenianismis one of the last feeble outbursts of a spirit -which has been, since this country has treated Ireland with an enlightened policy, the greatest impediment to its progress. Some make the mis- take of supposing that the Roman Catholic clergy encourage Fenianism. The,truth is that the great mass of the priesthood are against it. Since the French revolution, the Irish priesthood have never as a body fostered rebellion. The way their brethren in France were treated taught them a lesson they have never forgotten. in '48 the attempts at rebellion would not have been such a miserable collapse but for the priests. They are, indeed, partially responsible for Fenianism. They have in their schools encouraged a mistaken, nationality, a half-smothered hostility to England, which could not but result in Fenianism or some- thing like it. Atpresent, the priests and the Fenians are at daggers-drawn. Many will not give absolution to Fenians. When last in Ireland, I. attended a meeting in which the names of Arch- bishop Cullen and some other bishops were hissed at, because they were opposed to the movement. They don't like the fruit. Why then not cut down the tree? They have raised a spirit which it will require all their power to lay. Nor will that spirit have been raised in vain should it teach them to sow in the minds of the rising generation seeds that will grow up in loyalty and in content, in a pride anything but slavish in the union of the two countries, and in a noble ambi- tien to contribute to, and share, their mutual glory TRJ shooting of Sergeant Sherlock by Foy has "ivn new life to those questions-which arose out of the murder of Major De Vere. A large number persons seem to think that the soldiers are trCited too severely. They even say that the dis- cipline is too rigid. If they are treated ",th tyranny they have no remedy. I even ieard some utter the rather dangerous and wholly superficial remark, that such crimes did food, and that only for them there would be yJthing but the most frightful oppression in the-,mY- They failed to see that danger so u-certain would never make a man watch his eve Y word and every act, They were advised by humorous.friend of mine to write to Earl De oXrey, and propose that every ten or five years a1- unpopular officer should be shot by way of M counterbalance to the tendency there is v over-great severity. By this way, he Lqaii they would obtain all the advantages of TDich they spoke, and with as small a saeri-Ice of officers as possible, besides taking awal temptation from the soldiers to be- come mu-erers. Others say that it is ridiculous to ba poking for causes and casting about for -= reme(les for these things; that you will always hav in the army, as in other places, wild nature's; ajj, as a natural consequence, such catastrophes, .hich, if they prove anything, prove the necessity of severe discipline. Others again say, Why, in times of peace, serve out powder and ball ? failing to see that anything like distrust or fear would be highly inexpedient. The advocates of strict dis- cipline would leave the punishment of such men as Foy in the hands of the military authorities. But it is replied, that under the gravest charge that can be brought against a man, a soldier would then be without the privilege of being tried by his peers; and it is just possible that the military and civil tribunals might ultimately come to have different standards of punishment for the same great crime. The most intelligent persons with whom I have spoken seem to think that, without making any very sweeping changes, a system less severe might be tried. The experiment, they say, could do no harm; and it might result in the conviction that an army would lose nothing in discipline or effi- ciency by being allowed a little more liberty, and being treated with a little more consideration. I HAD some conversation this morning with an acquaintance of Louis Jordan and his reputed wife Angelina. I learned that he was a little rat-eyed man, that he was rather severe on Angelina, that they lived well, that Angelina was either brought up or resided a long time in France, and that she was anything but happy with Monsieur Louis. The reader is aware that I speak of the swindler, who, after representing himself as an agent, took in so many innocent foreigners from St. Peters- burg to Lis bon. PEOPLE are laughing at the way the Germans I have been done in the affair of Schleswig Holstein. But when they forget Prof. Max Muller and the Germans, they express themselves rather indig- nantly at the hypocrisy and treachery of both Austria and Prussia; These nations have acted like two scheming attorneys who should fight out a case for a plaintiff, and, having been successful, pocket everything for costs. Why does not Punch give us a cartoon of Austria and Prussia eating the oyster, and Germany, surrounded by metaphysical treatises, meekly receiving the shells from her generous friends ? Z.