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And over their tea, and muffins, and crumpets,
Through some such Diabolical Trumpets!
The following curious passage is quoted for the benefit of such Readers as are afflicted, like Dame Spearing, with Deafness, and one of its concomitants, a singing or ringing in the head. The extract is taken from “Quid Pro Quo; or, A Theory of Compensations. By P. S.” (perhaps Peter Shard), folio edition.
“Soe tenderly kind and gratious is Nature, our Mother, that She seldom or never puts upon us any Grievaunce without making Us some Amends, which, if not a full and perfect Equivalent, is yet a great Solace or Salve to the Sore. As is notably displaid in the Case of such of our Fellow Creatures as undergoe the Loss of Heering, and are thereby deprived of the Comfort and Entertainment of Natural Sounds. In lew whereof the Deaf Man, as testified by mine own Experience, is regaled with an inward Musick that is not vouchsafed unto a Person who hath the compleet Usage of his Ears. For note, that the selfsame Condition of Boddy which is most apt to bring on a Surdity,—namely, a general Relaxing of the delicate and subtile Fibres of the Human Nerves, and mainly such as be. long and propinque to the Auricular Organ, this very Unbracing which silences the Tympanum, or drum, is the most instrumental Cause in producing a Consort in the Head. And, in particular, that affection which the Physitians have called Tinnitus, by reason of its Resemblance to a Ring of Bells. The Absence of which, as a National Musick, would be a sore Loss and Discomfort to any Native of the Low Countryes, where the Steeples and Church-Towers with their Carillons maintain an allmost endlesse Tingle; seeing that before one quarterly Chime of the Cloke hath well ended, another must by Time’s Command strike
up its Tune. On which Account, together with its manye waterish Swamps and Marshes, the Land of Flandres is said by the Wits to be Ringing Wet. Such campanulary Noises would alsoe be heavily mist and lamented by the Inhabitants of that Ringing Island described in Rabelais his Works, as a Place constantly filled with a Corybantick Jingle Jangle of great, middlesized, and little Bells : wherewith the People seem to be as much charmed as a Swarm of Bees with the Clanking of brazen Kettles and Pans. And which Ringing Island cannot of a surety be Barbadoes, as certain Authors have supposed, but rather our own tintinnabulary Island of Brittain, where formerly a Saxon could not soe much as quench a Fire or a Candle but to the tune of a Bell. And even to this day, next to the Mother Tongue, the one mostly used is in a Mouth of Mettal, and withal so loosely hung, that it must needs wag at all Times and on all Topicks. For your English Man is a mighty Ringer, and be. sides furnishing Bells to a Bellfry, doth hang them at the Head of his Horse, and at the Neck of his Sheep-on the Cap of his Fool, and on the Heels of his Hawk. And truly I have known more than one amongst my Country Men, who would undertake more Travel, and Cost besides, to hear a Peal of Grandsires, than they would bestow to look upon a Generation of Grandchild.
But alack! all these Bells with the huge Muscovite, and Great Tom of Lincoln to boot, be but as Dumb Bells to the Deaf Man: wherefore, as I said, Nature kindly steps in with a Compensation, to wit a Tinnitus, and converts his own Head into a Bellfry, whence he hath Peals enow, and what is more without having to pay the Ringers."
BOZ IN AMERICA.
SINCE the voyages of Columbus in search of the New World, and of Raleigh in quest of El Dorado, no visit to America has excited so much interest and conjecture as that of the author of “ Oliver Twist." The enterprise was understood to be a sort of Literary Expedition, for profit as well as pleasure: and many and strange were the speculations of the reading public as to the nature and value of the treasures which would be brought home by Dickens on his return. Some persons expected a philosophical comparison of Washington's Republic with that of Plato; others anticipated a Report on the Banking System and Com. mercial Statistics of the United States; and some few, perhaps, looked for a Pamphlet on International Copyright. The general notion, however, was that the Transatlantic acquisitions of Boz would transpire in the shape of a Tale of American Life and Manners—and moreover that it would appear by monthly instal. ments in green covers, and illustrated by some artist with the name of Phiz, or Whiz, or Quiz.
indeed was this impression, that certain blue-stockinged prophetesses even predicted a new Avatar of the celebrated Mr. Pickwick in slippers and loose trousers, a nankeen jacket, and a straw-hat, as large as an umbrella.
Sam Weller was to re-appear as his help, instead of a footman, still full of droll sayings, but in a slang more akin to that of his namesake, the Clock-maker: while Weller, senior, was to revive on the box of a Boston long stage,-only calling himself Jonathan, instead of Tony, and spelling it with a G. A Virginian widow Bardell was a matter of course and some visionaries even foresaw a
slave-owning Mr. Snodgrass, a coon hunting Mr. Winkle, a wideawake Joe, and a forest-clearing Bob Sawyer. *
The fallacy of these guesses and calculations was first proved by the announcement of “ American Notes for General Circulation,” a title that at once dissipated every dream of a Clockcase, or a Club, and cut off all chance of a tale. Encouraged by the technical terms which seemingly had some reference to their own speculations, the money-mongers still held on faintly by their former opinions :—but the Romanticists were in despair, and reluctantly abandoned all hopes of a Pennsylvanian Nicholas Nickleby affectionately darning his mother—a new Yorkshire Mr. Squeers flogging creation-a black Smike--a brown Kate, and a Bostonian Newman Noggs, alternately swallowing a cocktail and a cobbler.t
Still there remained enough in the announcement of American Notes, by C. Dickens, to strop the public curiosity to a keen edge. Numerous had been the writers on the land of the stars and stripes—a host of travelled ladies and gentlemen, liberals and illiberals, utilitarians and inutilitarians-human bowls of every bias had trundled over the United States without hitting, or in the opinion of the natives, even coming near the jack. The Royalist, missing the accustomed honors of Kings and Queens, saw nothing but a republican pack of knaves; the High Church. man, finding no established church, declared that there was no religion—the aristocrat swore that all was low and vulgar, because there were no servants in drab turned up with blue, or in green turned down with crimson—the radical was shocked by the caucus, the enthralment of public opinion, and the timidity of the preachers--the metaphysical philosopher was disgusted with the preponderance of the real over the ideal—the adventurer took fright at Lynch law, and the saintly abolitionist saw nothing but black angels and white devils. An impartial account of America and the Americans was still to seek, and accordingly the reading public on both sides of the Atlantic looked forward with anxiety
* With the wishes of these admirers of Boz we can in some degree sympathize: for what could be a greater treat in the reading way than the perplexities of a squatting Mr. Pickwick, or a settling Mrs. Nickleby ?
† Not a horse and shoe-maker, but two sorts of American drink
and eagerness for the opinions of a writer who had proved by a series of wholesome fictions that his heart was in the right place, that his head was not in the wrong one, and that his hand was a good hand at description. One thing at least was certain, that nothing would be set down in malice; for, compared with modern authors in general, Boz is remarkably free from sectarian or antisocial prejudices, and as to politics he seems to have taken the long pledge against party spirit. And doubtless one of the causes of his vast popularity has been the social and genial tone of his works,-showing that he feels and acts on the true principle of the “homo sum
-a sum too generally worked as one in long Division instead of Addition.
In the mean time the book, after long budding in advertise. ment, has burst into a full leaf, and however disconcerting to those persons who had looked for something quite different, will bring no disappointment to such as can be luxuriously content with good sense, good feeling, good fun, and good writing. In the very first half-dozen of pages the reader will find an example of that cheerful practical philosophy which makes the best of the worst—that happy healthy spirit which, instead of morbidly resenting the deception of a too flattering artist, who had litho. graphed the ship's accommodations, joined with him in converting a floating cup-board into a state-room, and a cabin “like a hearse with windows in it,” into a handsome saloon. But we must skip the voyage, though pleasantly and graphically described, and at once land Boz in Boston, where, suffering from that true ground swell which annoys the newly landed, he goes rolling along the pitching passages of the Tremont hotel “with an involuntary imitation of the gait of Mr. T. P. Cooke in a new nautical melodrama.”
Now, Boston is the modern Athens of America. Its inhabitants, many of them educated in the neighboring university of Cambridge, are decidedly of a literary turn, and of course were not indifferent to the arrival of so distinguished an author in their city. Modesty, however, prevents him from recording in print the popular effervescence-the only fact which transpires is, that the first day being Sunday he was offered pews and sittings in churches and chapels, “enough for a score or two of