Comic Annual 1834

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But a bold pheasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroyed can never be supplied.



BILL BLOSSOM was a nice young man,
    And drove the Bury coach;
But bad companions were his bane,
    And egg'd him on to poach.

They taught him how to net the birds,
    And how to noose the hare;
And with a wiry terrier,
    He often set a snare.

Each "shiny night" the moon was bright,
    To park, preserve, and wood
He went, and kept the game alive,
    By killing all he could.

Land-owners, who had rabbits, swore
    That he had this demerit—
Give him an inch of warren, he
    Would take a yard of ferret.

At partridges he was not nice;
    And many, large and small,
Without Hall's powder, without lead,
    Were sent to Leaden-Hall.

He did not fear to take a deer
    From forest, park, or lawn;
And without courting lord or duke,
    Used frequently to fawn.

Folks who had hares discovered snares—
    His course they could not stop:
No barber he, and yet he made
    Their hares a perfect crop.

To pheasant he was such a foe,
    He tried the keepers' nerves;
They swore he never seem'd to have
    Jam satis of preserves.

The Shooter went to beat; and found
    No sporting worth a pin,
Unless he tried the covers made
    Of silver, plate, or tin.

In Kent the game was little worth,
    In Surrey not a button;
The Speaker said he often tried
    The Manors about Sutton.

No county from his tricks was safe;
    In each he tried his lucks,
And when the keepers were in Beds,
    He often was at Bucks.

And when he went to Bucks, alas!
    They always came to Herts;
And even Oxon used to wish
    That he had his deserts.

But going to his usual Hants,
    Old Cheshire laid his plots:
He got entrapp'd by legal Berks,
    And lost his life in Notts.





Read! it's very easy to say read.—THE BURGOMASTER.
I have trusted to a reed.—O

    "HOY!—Cotch!—Co-ach!—Coachy!—Coachee!—hullo!—hulloo!—woh!—wo-hoay?—wough-ho-aeiouy!"—for the last cry was a waterman's, and went all through the vowels.

    The Portsmouth Rocket pulled up, and a middle-aged, domestic-looking woman, just handsome enough for a plain cook at an ordinary, was deposited on the dickey; two trunks, three bandboxes, a bundle, and a hand-basket, were stowed in the hind boot.  "This is where I'm to go to," she said to the guard, putting into his hand a slip of paper.  The guard took the paper, looked hard at it, right side upwards, then upside down, and then he looked at the back; he in the meantime seemed to examine the consistency of the fabric between his finger and thumb; he approached it to his nose as if to smell out its meaning ; I even thought that he was going to try the sense of it by tasting, when, by a sudden jerk, he gave the label with its direction to the winds, and snatching up his key-bugle began to play "O where, and O where," with all his breath.

    I defy the metaphysicians to explain by what vehicle I travelled to the conclusion that the guard could not read; but I felt as morally sure of it as if I had examined him in his a—b—ab.  It was a prejudice not very liberal; but yet it clung to me, and fancy persisted in sticking a dunce's cap on his head.  Shakspeare says that "he who runs may read," and I had seen him run a good shilling's worth after an umbrella that dropped from the coach; it was a presumptuous opinion therefore to form, but I formed it notwithstanding—that be was a perfect stranger to all those booking-offices where the clerks are schoolmasters. Morally speaking, I had no earthly right to clap an ideal Saracen's Head on his shoulders; but, for the life of me, I could not persuade myself that he had more to do with literature than the Blue Boar.

    Women are naturally communicative: after a little while the female in the dickey brought up, as a military man would say, her reserve, and entered into recitative with the guard during the pauses of the key-bugle.  She informed him in the course of conversation, or rather dickey gossip, that she was an invaluable servant, and, as such, had been bequeathed by a deceased master to the care of one of his relatives at Putney, to exert her vigilance as a housekeeper, and to overlook every thing for fifty pounds a year.  "Such places," she remarked, "is not to be found every day in the year."

    The last sentence was prophetic!

    "If it's Putney," said the guard, "it's the very place we're going through.  Hold hard, Tom, the young woman wants to get down."  Tom immediately pulled up; the young woman did get down, and her two trunks, three bandboxes, her bundle, and her hand-basket were ranged round her.  "I've had a very pleasant ride," she said, giving the fare with a smirk and a curtsey to the coachman, "and am very much obliged,"—dropping a second curtsey to the guard,—"for other civilities.  The boxes and things is quite correct, and won't give further trouble, Mr. Guard, except to be as good as pint out the house I'm going to."  The guard thus appealed to, for a moment stood all aghast; but at last his wits came to his aid, and he gave the following lesson in geography.

    "You're all right—ourn a'n't a short stage, and can't go round setting people down at their own doors; but you're safe enough at Putney—don't be alarmed, my dear—you can't go out of it.  It's all Putney, from the bridge we've just come over, to that windmill you almost can't see t'other side of the common."

    "But, Mr. Guard, I've never been in Putney before, and it seems a scrambling sort of a place.  If the coach can't go round with me to the house, can't you stretch a pint and set me down in sight of it?

    "It's impossible—that's the sum total; this coach is timed to a minute, and can't do more for outsides if they was all Kings of England."

    "I see how it is," said the female, bridling up, while the coachman, out of patience, prepared to do quite the reverse; "some people are very civil, while some people are setting beside 'em, in dickies; but give me the paper again, and I'll find my own ways."

    "It's chucked away," said the guard, as the coach got into motion; "but just ask the first man you meet—any body will tell you."

    "But I don't know who or where to ask for," screamed the lost woman after the flying Rocket; "I can't read; but it was all down in the paper as is chucked away."

    A loud flourish of the bugle to the tune of "My Lodging is on the Cold Ground" was the only reply; and as long as the road remained straight, I could see "the Bewildered Maid" standing in the midst of her baggage, as forlorn as Eve, when, according to Milton,

"The world was all before her, whereto choose
 Her place—"




"We thought she never would ride it out, and expected her every moment to go to pieces."


    "THERE you go, you villain—that's the way to run over people!  There's a little boy in the road—you'd better run over him, for you won't call out to him, no, not you, for a brute as you are!  You think poor people an't common Christians,—you grind the faces of the poor, you do.  Ay, cut away, do—you'll be Wilful Murdered by the Crowner some day!  I'll keep up with you and tell the gentlemen on the top!  Women wasn't created for you to gallop over like dirt, and scrunch their bones into compound fractions.  Don't get into his coach, ma'am! he's no respect for the sects—he'll lay you up in the hospital for months and months, he will, the inhumane hardhearted varmin!"

    The speaker, a little active old woman, had run parallel with the coach some fifty yards, when it stopped to take up a lady, who was as prompt as ladies generally are, in giving dinner instructions to the cook, and setting domestic lessons to the housemaid, besides having to pack a parcel, to hunt for her clogs, to exchange the cook's umbrella for her own, and to kiss all her seven children.  Mat, thus reduced to a door-mat, was unable to escape the volley which the Virago still poured in upon him; but he kept a most imperturbable face and silence till he was fairly seated again on the box.

    "There gentlemen," said he, pointing at the assailant with his whip; "that's what I call gratitude.  Look at her figure now, and look at what it was six months ago.  She never had a waist till I run over her."

    "I hope, friend, thee art not very apt to make these experiments on the human figure," said an elderly quaker on the roof.  "Not by no means," answered Mat; "I have done very little in the accidental line—nothing worth mentioning.  All the years I've been on the road, I've never come to a kill on the spot; them sort o'things belongs to Burrowes, as drives over one with the Friend in Need, and he's got quite a name for it.  He's called 'Fatal Jack.'  To be sure, now I think of it, I was the innocent cause of death to one person, and she was rather out of the common."  "You fractured her limbs, p'r'aps?" inquired one of the outsides.  "No such thing," said Mat, "there was nothing fractious in the case; as to running over her limbs, it was the impossible thing with a woman born without legs and arms."  "You must allude to Miss Biffin," said the outsider—"the Norfolk phenomenon."

    "Begging your pardon," said Mat, "it was before the Phenomenon was started.  It was one of the regular old long-bodied double coaches, and I drove it myself.  Very uneasy they were; for springs at that time hadn't much spring in 'em; and nobody on earth had thought of Macadaming Piccadilly.  You could always tell whether you were on the stones, or off, and no mistake.  I was a full hour behind time—for coaches in them days wasn't called by such names as Chronometers and Regulators, and good reason why.  So I'd been plying a full hour after time, without a soul inside, except a barrel of natives for a customer down the road: at last, a hackney-coach pulls up, and Jarvey and the waterman lifts Miss Biffin into my drag.  Well, off I sets with a light load enough, and to fetch up time astonished my team into a bit of a gallop—and it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to keep one's seat on the box, the coach jumped so over the stones.  Well, away I goes, springing my rattle till I come to the gate at Hyde Park Corner, where one of my insides was waiting for me—and not very sorry to pull up, for the breath was almost shook out of my bellows.  Well, I opens the door, and what do I see lying together at the bottom of the coach, but Miss Biffin bruised unsensible, and the head out of the barrel of oysters!"

    "I do hope, friend," said the elderly Quaker, "'that thou didst replace them on their seats."

    "To be sure I did," answered Mat, "I'd the oysters took it quietly enough, without opening their mouths; but it didn't go quite so smooth with Miss B.  She talked of an action for damages, and consulted counsel; but, Lard bless you, when it came to taking steps agin us, she hadn't a leg to stand upon!"



This here, your honour, upon wheels, is the true genuine real
Nelson's Car.


"THE Nelson," I repeated to myself, as I read that illustrious name on the dickey of the vehicle—"the Nelson."  My fancy instantly converted the coach into a first-rate, the leaders and wheelers into sea-horses, the driver into Neptunus, brandishing a trident, and the guard into a Triton blowing his wreathed shell.  There was room for one on the box, so I climbed up, and took my seat beside the coachman.  "Now, clap on all sail," said I, audibly, "I am proud to be one of the crew of the great Nelson, the hero of Aboukir."

    "Begging your pardon, Sir," said the coachman, "the Hero an't a booker at Mrs. Nelson's: it goes from some other yard."  Gracious powers! what a tumble down stairs for an idea!  As for mine, it pitched on its head, as stunned and stupefied as if it had rolled down the whole flight at the Monument, "I have made a Bull, indeed," I exclaimed, as the noted inn at Aldgate occurred to my memory; "but we are the slaves of association," I continued, addressing the coachman, "and the name of Nelson identified itself with the Union Jack."

    "I really can't say," replied the coachman, very civilly, "whether the name of Mrs. Nelson is down to the Slave Associations or not: but as for Jack, if you mean Jack Bunce, he's been off the Union these six months.  Too fond of the Bar, Sir," (here he tipped me the most significant of winks) "to keep his seat on the Bench."

    "I alluded, my good fellow, to Nelson, the wonder of the maritime world—the dauntless leader when yard was opposed to yard, and seas teemed with blood."

    "We're all right—as right as a trivet,'' said the coachman, after a pause of perplexity; "I thought our notions were getting rather wide apart, and that one of us wanted putting straight; but I see what you mean, and quite go along with your opinion, step for step.  To be sure, Mrs. Nelson has done the world and all for coaching; and the Wonder is the crack of all the drags in London, and so is the Dauntless, let yard turn out agin yard, as you say, any day you like.  And as for leaders, and teams full of blood, there's as pretty a sprinkling of blood in the tits I'm now tooling of—"

    "The vehicles of the proprietress, and the appearance of the animals, with their corresponding caparisons," said I, "have often gratified my visual organs and elicited my mental plaudits."

    "That's exactly what I says," replied the coachman, very briskly, "there's no humbug nor no nonsense about Mrs. Nelson.  You never see her a-standing a-foaming and fretting in front o' the Bank, with a regular mob round her, and looking as if she'd bolt with the Quicksilver.  And you never see her painted all over her body, wherever there's room for 'em, with Saracen Heads and Blue Boars, and Brown Bears, from her roller bolts to her dickey and hind boot.  She's plain and neat, and nothin else—and is fondest of having her body of a claret colour, pick'd out with white, and won't suffer the Bull no where, except on the backgammon-board."

    I know not how much further the whimsical description might have gone, if a strapping, capless, curly-headed lass, running with all her might and main, had not addressed a screaming retainer to the coachman.  With some difficulty he pulled up, for he had been tacitly giving me a proof that the craft of his Nelson was a first-rate, with regard to its rate of travelling.

    "If you please, Mr. Stevens," said the panting damsel, holding up something towards the box—"if you please, Mr. Stevens, mother's gone to Lonnon—in the light cart—and will you be so kind as to give her—her linchpin."

    Mr. Stevens took the article with a smile, and I fancied with a sly squeeze of the hand that delivered it.

    "If such a go had been any one's but your mother's, Fanny," he slyly remarked, "I should have said it was somebody in love."  The Dispatch was too strictly timed to allow of further parley; the horses broke, or were rather broken, into a gallop, in pursuit of the mother of Fanny, the Flower of Waltham; and the pin secretly acting as a spur, we did the next five miles in something like twenty minutes.

    In spite, however, of this unusual speed, we never overtook Mrs. Merryweather and her cart till we arrived at the Basing-House, where we found her chirping over a cup of ale; as safe and sound as if linchpins had never been invented; in fact, she made as light of the article, when it was handed to her, as if it had been only a pin out of her gown!

"Well, I must say one thing for Mrs. Nelson," said our coachman, as he resumed his seat on the box, "and that's this.  There's no pinning at the Bull.  She sets her face against every thing but the patent boxes.  She may come to a runaway with a bolter—or drop the ribbons—or make a mistake in clearing a gate, by being a little lushy—but you'll never see Mrs. Nelson laying flat on her side in the middle of the road, with her insides gone to smash, and her outsides well distributed, because she's been let go out of the yard without one of her pins."





To Waterloo, with sad ado,
    And many a sigh and groan,
Amongst the dead, came Patty Head,
    To look for Peter Stone.

"O prithee tell, good sentinel,
    If I shall find him here?
I'm come to weep upon his corse,
    My Ninety-Second dear!

"Into our town a serjeant came,
    With ribands all so fine,
A-flaunting in his cap—alas!
    His bow enlisted mine!

"They taught him how to turn his toes,
    And stand as stiff as starch;
I thought that it was love and May,
    But it was love and March!

"A sorry March indeed to leave
    The friends he might have kep',—
No March of Intellect it was,
    But quite a foolish step.

"O prithee tell, good sentinel,
    If hereabout he lies?
I want a corpse with reddish hair,
    And very sweet blue eyes."

Her sorrow on the sentinel
    Appear'd to deeply strike:—
"Walk in," he said, "among the dead,
    And pick out which you like."

And soon she picked out Peter Stone,
    Half turned into a corse;
A cannon was his bolster, and
    His mattrass was a horse.

"O Peter Stone, O Peter Stone,
    Lord here has been a skrimmage!
What have they done to your poor breast
    That used to hold my image?"

"O Patty Head, O Patty Head,
    You're come to my last kissing;
Before I'm set in the Gazette
    As wounded, dead, and missing!

"Alas! a splinter of a shell
    Right in my stomach sticks;
French mortars don't agree so well
    With stomachs as French bricks.

"This very night a merry dance
    At Brussels was to be;—
Instead of opening a ball,
    A ball has open'd me.

"Its billet every bullet has,
    And well it does fulfil it;—
I wish mine hadn't come so straight,
    But been a 'crooked billet.'

"And then there came a cuirassier
    And cut me on the chest;—
He had no pity in his heart,
    For he had steel'd his breast.

"Next thing a lancer, with his lance,
    Began to thrust away;
I call'd for quarter, but, alas!
    It was not Quarter-day.

"He ran his spear right through my arm,
    Just here above the joint;—
O Patty dear, it was no joke,
    Although it had a point.

"With loss of blood I fainted off,
    As dead as women do—
But soon by charging over me,
    The Coldstream brought me to.

"With kicks and cuts, and balls and blows,
    I throb and ache all over;
I'm quite convinc'd the field of Mars
    Is not a field of clover!

"O why did I a soldier turn
    For any royal Guelph?
I might have been a Butcher, and
    In business for myself!

"O why did I the bounty take
    (And here he gasp'd for breath)
My shillingsworth of 'list is nail'd
    Upon the door of death!

"Without a coffin I shall lie
    And sleep my sleep eternal:
Not ev'n a shell—my only chance
    Of being made a Kernel!

"O Patty dear, our wedding bells
    Will never ring at Chester!
Here I must lie in Honour's bed,
    That isn't worth a tester!

"Farewell, my regimental mates,
    With whom I used to dress!
My corps is changed, and I am now
    In quite another mess.

"Farewell, my Patty dear,
    I have No dying consolations,
Except, when I am dead, you'll go
    And see th' Illuminations."




There, in a lonely room, from bailiffs snug,
The Muse found Scroggins stretched beneath a rug.



POETRY and poverty begin with the same letter, and, in more respects than one, are "as like each other as two P's."—Nine tailors are the making of a man, but not so the nine Muses.  Their votaries are notoriously only water-drinkers, eating mutton cold, and dwelling in attics.  Look at the miserable lives and deaths recorded of the poets.  "Butler," says Mr. D'Israeli, "lived in a cellar, and Goldsmith in a Deserted Village.  Savage ran wild,—Chatterton was carried on St. Augustine's Back like a young gypsey; and his half-starved Rowley always said heigho, when he heard of gammon and spinach.  Gray's days were ode-ious, and Gay's gaiety was fabulous.  Falconer was shipwrecked.  Homer was a blind beggar, and Pope raised a subscription for him, and went snacks.  Crabbe found himself in the poor-house, Spenser couldn't afford a great coat, and Milton was led up and down by his daughters, to save the expense of a dog."

   It seems all but impossible to be a poet, in easy circumstances.  Pope has shown how verses are written by Ladies of Quality—and what execrable rhymes Sir Richard Blackmore composed in his chariot.  In a hay-cart he might have sung like a Burns.

    As the editors of magazines and annuals (save one) well know, the truly poetical contributions which can be inserted, are not those which come post free, in rose-coloured tinted paper, scented with musk, and sealed with fancy wax.  The real article arrives by post, unpaid, sealed with rosin, or possibly with a dab of pitch or cobbler's wax, bearing the impression of a halfpenny, or more frequently of a button,—the paper is dingy, and scant—the hand-writing has evidently come to the author by nature—there are trips in the spelling, and Priscian is a little scratch'd or so—but a rill of the true Castalian runs through the whole composition, though its fountain-head was a broken tea cup, instead of a silver standish.  A few years ago I used to be favoured with numerous poems for insertion, which bore the signature of Fitz-Norman; the crest on the seal had probably descended from the Conquest, and the packets were invariably delivered by a Patagonian footman in green and gold.  The author was evidently rich, and the verses were as palpably poor; they were declined, with the usual answer to correspondents who do not answer, and the communications ceased—as I thought for ever, but I was deceived; a few days back one of the dirtiest and raggedest of street urchins delivered a soiled whity brown packet, closed with a wafer, which bore the impress of a thimble.  The paper had more the odour of tobacco than of rose leaves, and the writing appeared to have been perpetrated with a skewer dipped in coffee-grounds; but the old signature of Fitz-Norman had the honour to be my "very humble servant" at the foot of the letter.  It was too certain that he had fallen from affluence to indigence, but the adversity which had wrought such a change upon the writing implements had, as usual, improved his poetry.  The neat crowquill never traced on the superfine Bath paper any thing so unaffected as the following:






ALAS! of all the noxious things
    That wait upon the poor,
Most cruel is that Felon-Fear,
    That haunts the "Debtor's Door!"

Saint Sepulchre's begins to toll,
    The Sheriffs seek the cell:
So I expect their officers,
    And tremble at the bell!

I look for beer, and yet I quake
    With fright at every tap;
And dread a double-knock, for oh
    I've not a single rap!




OH, blessed ease! no more of heaven I ask:
    The overseer is gone—that vandal elf—
    And hemp, unpick'd, may go and hang itself;
While I, untask'd, except with Cowper's Task,
In blessèd literary leisure bask,
    And lose the workhouse, saving in the works
    Of Goldsmiths, Johnsons, Sheridans, and Burkes;
Eat prose and drink of the Castalian flask;
The themes of Locke, the anecdotes of Spence,
    The humorous of Gay, the Grave of Blair—
Unlearned toil, unletter'd labours hence!
    But, hark!   I hear the master on the stair—
And Thomson's Castle, that of Indolence,
    Must be to me a castle in the air.



"A change came o'er the spirit of my dream."—BYRON.

METHOUGHT—for Fancy is the strangest gadder
    When sleep all homely mundane ties hath riven—
Methought that I ascended Jacob's ladder,
    With heartfelt hope of getting up to Heaven:
    Some bell, I knew notwhence, was sounding seven
When I set foot upon that long one-pair;
    And still I climbed when it had chimed eleven,
Nor yet of landing-place became aware;
Step after step in endless flight seem'd there;
    But on, with steadfast hope, I struggled still,
To gain that blessèd haven from all care,
    Where tears are wiped, and hearts forget their ill,
When, lo!   I wakened on a sadder stair—
    Tramp—tramp—tramp—tramp—upon the Brixton



"Aurum pot-a-bile:"—Gold biles the pot.—FREE TRANSLATION.


FAREWELL then, my golden repeater,
    We're come to my Uncle's old shop;
And hunger won't be a dumb-waiter,
    The Cerberus growls for a sop!

To quit thee, my comrade diurnal,
    My feelings will certainly scotch;
But oh! there's a riot internal,
    And Famine calls out for the Watch!

Oh! hunger's a terrible trial,
    I really must have a relief,—
So here goes the plate of your dial
    To fetch me some Williams's beef!

As famish'd as any lost seaman,
    I've fasted for many a dawn,
And now must play chess with the Demon,
    And give it a check with a pawn.

I've fasted, since dining at Buncle's,
    Two days with true Perceval zeal—
And now must make up, at my Uncle's,
    By getting a duplicate meal.

No Peachum it is, or young Lockit,
    That rifles my fob with a snatch;
Alas! I must pick my own pocket,
    And make gravy-soup of my watch!

So long I have wander'd a starver,
    I'm getting as keen as a hawk;
Time's long hand must take up a carver,
    His short hand lay hold of a fork.

Right heavy and sad the event is,
    But oh! it is Poverty's crime;
I've been such a Brownrigg's Apprentice,
    I thus must be "out of my Time."

Alas! when in Brook Street the Upper
    In comfort I lived between walls,
I've gone to a dance for my supper—
    But now I must go to Three Balls!

Folks talk about dressing for dinner,
    But I have for dinner undrest;
Since Christmas, as I am a sinner,
    I've eaten a suit of my best.

I haven't a rag or a mummock
    To fetch me a chop or a steak;
I wish that the coats of my stomach
    Were such as my Uncle would take!

When dishes were ready with garnish
    My watch used to warn with a chime—
But now my repeater must furnish
    The dinner in lieu of the time!

My craving will take no denials,
    I can't fob it off, if you stay,
So go,—and the old Seven Dials
    Must tell me the time of the day.

Your chimes I shall never more hear 'em,
    To part is a Tic Douloureux!
But Tempus has his edax rerum,
    And I have my Feeding-Time too!

Farewell then, my golden repeater,
    We're come to my Uncle's old shop—
And Hunger won't be a dumb-waiter,
    The Cerberus growls for a sop!




"None despise puns but those who cannot make them."—SWIFT.

    As I am but an occasional reader in the temporary indulgence of intellectual relaxation, I have but recently become cognizant of the metropolitan publication of Mr. Murray's Mr. Croker's Mr. Boswell's Dr. Johnson: a circumstance the more to be deprecated, for if I had been simultaneously aware of that amalgamation of miscellaneous memoranda, I could have contributed a personal quota of characteristic colloquial anecdotes to the biographical reminiscences of the multitudinous lexicographer, which, although founded on the basis of indubitable veracity, have never transpired among the multifarious effusions of that stupendous complication of mechanical ingenuity, which, according to the technicalities in usage in our modern nomenclature, has obtained the universal cognomen of the press.  Expediency imperiously dictates that the nominal identity of the hereditary kinsman, from whom I derive my authoritative responsibility, shall be inviolably and umbrageously obscured; but in future variorum editions his voluntary addenda to the already inestimable concatenation of circumstantial particularisation might typographically be discriminated from the literary accumulations of the indefatigable Boswell and the vivacious Piozzi, by the significant classification of Boz, Poz, and Coz.

    In posthumously eliciting and philosophically elucidating the phenomena of defunct luminaries, whether in reference to corporeal, physiognomical, or metaphysical attributes, justice demands the strictest scrupulosity, in order that the heterogeneous may not preponderate over the homogeneous in the critical analysis.  Metaphorically speaking, I am rationally convinced that the operative point I am about to develope will remove a pertinacious film from the eye of the biographer of the memorable Dr. Johnson; and especially with reference to that reiterated verbal aphorism so preposterously ascribed to his conversational inculcation, namely, that "he who would make a pun would pick a pocket;" however irrelevant such a doctrinarian maxim to the irrefrangible fact, that in that colossal monument of etymological erudition erected by the stupendous Doctor himself (of course implying his inestimable Dictionary), the paramount gist, scope, and tendency of his laborious researches was obviously to give as many meanings as possible to one word.  In order, however, to place hypothesis on the immutable foundation of fact, I will, with your periodical permission, adduce a few Johnsonian repartees from my cousin's anecdotical memorabilia, which will perspicuously evolve the synthetical conclusion, that the inimitable author of Rasselas did not dogmatically predicate such an aggravated degree of moral turpitude in the perpetration of a double entendre.

    Apologistically requesting indulgence for the epistolary laxity of an unpremeditated effusion,
                                             I remain, Sir,
                                                     Your very humble obedient servant,
                                                                            SEPTIMUS REARDON.
1, 1833.

    "Do you really believe, Dr. Johnson," said a Lichfield lady, "in the dead walking after death?"—"Madam," said Johnson, "I have no doubt on the subject; I have heard the Dead March in Saul."  "You really believe then, Doctor, in ghosts?"  "Madam," said Johnson, "I think appearances are in their favour."

    The Doctor was notoriously very superstitious.  The same lady once asked him—"if he ever felt any presentiment at a winding sheet in the candle?"—"Madam," said Johnson, "if a mould candle it doubtless indicates death, and that somebody will go out like a snuff; but whether at Hampton Wick or in Greece must depend upon the graves."

    Dr. Johnson was not comfortable in the Hebrides.  "Pray, Doctor, how did you sleep?" inquired a benevolent Scotch hostess, who was so extremely hospitable that some hundreds always occupied the same bed.—"Madam," said Johnson, "I had not a wink the whole night long; sleep seemed to flee from my eyelids, and to bug from all the rest of my body."

    The Doctor and Boswell once lost themselves in the Isle of Muck, and the latter said they must "spier their way at the first body they met."  "Sir," said Dr. Johnson, "you're a scoundrel: you may spear anybody you like, but I am not going to 'run a-Muck and tilt at all I meet."'

    "What do you think of whisky, Dr. Johnson?" hiccuped Boswell after emptying a sixth tumbler of toddy.  "Sir," said the Doctor, "it penetrates my very soul like 'the small-still voice of conscience,' and doubtless the worm of the still is 'the worm that never dies."'  Boswell afterwards inquired the Doctor's opinion on illicit distillation, and how the great moralist would act in an affray between the Smugglers and the Excise.  "If I went by the letter of the Law I should assist the Customs, but according to the spirit I should stand by the Contrabands."

    The Doctor was always very satirical on the want of timber in the North.  "Sir," he said to the young Laird of Icombally, who was going to join his regiment, "may Providence preserve you in battle, and especially your nether limbs.  You may grow a walking-stick here, but you must import a wooden leg."  At Dunsinane the old prejudice broke out.  "Sir," said he to Boswell, "Macbeth was an idiot; he ought to have known that every wood in Scotland might be carried in a man's hand.  The Scotch, Sir, are like the frogs in the fable: if they had a Log they would make a King of it."

    Boswell one day expatiated at some length on the moral and religious character of his countrymen, and remarked triumphantly that there was a Cathedral at Kirkwall, and the remains of a Bishop's Palace.  "Sir," said Johnson, it must have been the poorest of Sees: take your Rum and Egg and Mull altogether, and they won't provide for a Bishop."

    East India company is the worst of all company.  A Lady fresh from Calcutta once endeavoured to curry Johnson's favour by talking of nothing but howdahs, doolies, and bungalows, till the Doctor took, as usual, to tiffin.  "Madam," said he, in a tone that would have scared a tiger out of a jungle, "India's very well for a rubber or for a bandana, or for a cake of ink; but what with its Bhurtpore, Pahlumpore, Barrackpore, Hyderapore, Singapore, and Nagpore, its Hyderabad, Astrabad, Bundlebad, Sindbad, and Guzzaratbadbad, it's a poor and bad country altogether."

    Master M., after plaguing Miss Seward and Dr Darwin, and a large tea party at Lichfield, said to his mother that he would be good if she would give him an apple.  "My dear child," said the parent, feeling herself in the presence of a great moralist, "you ought not to be good on any consideration of gain, for 'virtue is its own reward.'  You ought to be good disinterestedly and without thinking what you are to get for it."  "Madam," said Dr. Johnson, "you are a fool; would you have the boy good for nothing?"

    The same lady once consulted the Doctor on the degree of turpitude to be attached to her son's robbing an orchard.  "Madam," said Johnson, "it all depends upon the weight of the boy.  I remember my schoolfellow Davy Garrick, who was always a little fellow, robbing a dozen of orchards with impunity, but the very first time I climbed up an apple tree, for I was always a heavy boy, the bough broke with me, and it was called a judgment.  I suppose that's why Justice is represented with a pair of scales."

    Caleb Whitefoord, the famous punster, once, inquired seriously of Dr. Johnson, whether he really considered that a man ought to be transported, like Barrington, the pickpocket, for being guilty of a double meaning?  "Sir," said Johnson, "if a man means well, the more he means the better."


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