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his journal. His, for he has one that he calls his own“My paper”—but, in truth, he likes every one of them ; and although they all tell him, if a landowner, that he is sure to die a beggar; and if a fundholder, that he is going direct to the dogs ; and if neither, that every soul in the country is on his road to the union workhouse :-he eats, drinks, and is merry, just as though he had never learned to read at all. Now this is really reading to some purpose!
over its whims and wonders with as hearty a sense of their reality, as if he were boxed up, nailed, and corded, a mere bale or packing-case of humanity, in Cheapside. He is a lazy lover of books, it is true; but it is not the laziness of Gray's sofa, and the solitary new novel : no! he cultivates the flowers of literature among the flowers while they last; he makes his garden his summer library, and his library his winter garden ; and in both conditions doubles his entertainment by dividing it: for both reader and listener laugh twice as loud and twice as long, simply by laughing together, and crying continually, “What fun it is—an't it?"
The Reader a little further advanced in life is apt to be less selfish in his reading than heretofore ; he thinks one book big enough for two persons, and a story all the better for being shared with a pleasant companion. Accordingly, when he gets a capital new novel from the next circulating library, he likes to get somebody to read it to him ; but better still, having his lungs yet left to him, and being not at all scant of breath, nor averse to hearing the sound of his own cheerful voice, he liketh well to read it aloud to a good-humoured companion, gifted with the peculiar faculty of listening without going to sleep.
He has a little house with a little garden, it may be five miles from St. Paul's, or a hundred; but there he is, with his "good lady," as he calls her, quite shut in amidst a rustic paradise away from the world, and yet laughing
But a little further on we encounter a Reader of a less rapturous turn of mind. She is one of those Readers to whom a book's a book, and that 's all. You will find her sitting on the terrace at somebody's house in the country, or on Richmond Hill, or in St. James's Park (when she is in town), and seldom is she to be caught without her book in her hand, just half-open, and ready to be looked into. She is hardly to be called a Reader—a dipper would be the more correct appellation. When she has been all through it, her lap-dog knows exactly as much as she knows.
She will sit in the park, watch the ducks, and then read six lines ; then look up at a lady's shawl, and read a little bit more ; then turn her eyes towards the ducks again, and then down upon the page, and anon at another lady's shawl, and also at a lady's bonnet; then read a dozen words more, and admire a dear little child and bonnet the second ; then adjust her own ribbons, talk to her dog confidentially, and drop her eyes again upon the bookand so on eternally! No matter what the story is, all tales are the same to this good even-minded creature, and she treats them all alike! Nothing makes her weep, nothing makes her laugh-yet she has a book under her eyes perpetually! Her equanimity finds a resource in it—besides, she is vain of her reputation for much reading. She says to all her friends" You must excuse my bringing my book with me, for you know I'm a great reader !". And she actually thinks she is ! Nice old lady!
leading journals on the ministerial and opposition sides, and to run over as many of the advertisements as he can. He has barely time to remark to the neighbour who drops in as he goes out, that things seem to be in a bad way, and likely to be worse,-for back he must be. But in the evening he can spare a couple of hours to his favourite little parlour behind the bar, where he can at leisure digest the more briefly-detailed news of the evening paper, and discuss it afterwards over a glass of grog-hot, with a thin slice of lemon.
But alas ! even when he finds, which is not every morning and evening, the very best of news, there is one never-failing drawback to his comfort. No gentleman is allowed to detain the paper more than ten minutes after it is bespoke, and some gentleman is sure to bespeak it the instant he has taken it into his hand. What makes the mortification bitterer is, that although he invariably, with a nice conscience, surrenders the required journal within the time, the party claiming it always takes it with a look that says—"You've kept it half an hour !"
Here is a Reader quite as frequently met with—the well-known, veritable, ubiquitous reader of the journals ! the quiet, comfortable jog-trot tradesman, who save and except his ledger and bible—not always the same thing, let wicked satirists say what they will !) never sees a book at all, but constantly reads the papers, and the papers only! You will find him at stated hours (he having always just that minute stepped out of his shop) at the Queen's Arms, or the Lord Wellington, or the Nelson's Head, where he remains just so long as it may take him to skim the two
We ascend now to the silent study, and encounter the venerable professor, who has spent some three-score years
and ten poring over figures which lay bare essential secrets relative to the average duration of life, to the evolutions of heavenly bodies, or to the payment of the national debt in cash ready money. Reading with him has become such a habit, that he can do nothing else. His life is described by Hamlet, “Words, words, words,"-yet words he never had with any one, so quiet has been his career. He hath drawn everything into his head, and nothing was ever drawn out of it. His head has bowed so long over the table, that it seems to be of the same substance. The book, and the table, and himself are as one ; and so well he knows what is before and about him, that he could almost see to read in the dark. He goes on quite as regularly from section to section, and turns over the leaves as mechanically, when he is asleep as awake; and should his
cap catch fire at his lamp as he dozes, it would never set his brain in a flame. Happy peruser! quiescent, comfortable old reader! May thy mental spectacles hold on to the last, thy finis be gradual, and a good book still pillow thy head, when, in the fulness of time, thou passest from sheets--into boards !
“A good book," saith Milton," is the precious lifeblood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life." Therefore is a good book likely to grow old. But this, the last of our set of Readers, cares not so much for the goodness as for the age. He is essentially the lover of old books—a reader, truly, but
sometimes only the reader of title-pages and notes—the investigator of dates and publisher's names. Yet, verily, is he entitled to take rank above others, for he is a Purchaser ! In this title, to sum up, lies the best and greatest virtue of the Reader. The noblest and worthiest compliment that the lover of literature can possibly pay to an author is—to buy his book ! Reader - we have written !
SONNET: ON BEHOLDING AN INFANT PLUCK A ROSE.
Sweet child! whose retrospective gentleness
Floats dimly back where laughing May arose,
'Tis thine, indeed, to beautify our woes,
Alas! thy starry zest he only spies,
Who, softly soaring where the Fond One flies,
Oh! mantle not thy morning. Many a day
The Monitor shall wake, and thou wilt say-