Farther down we meet with this: “The Journalists are now the true Kings and Clergy: henceforth Historians, unless they are fools, must write not of Bourbon Dynasties, and Tudors and Hapsburgs; but of Stamped Broad-sheet Dynasties, and quite new successive Names, according as this or the other Able Editor, or Combination of Able Editors, gains the world’s ear. Of the British Newspaper Press, perhaps the most important of all, and wonderful enough in its secret constitution and procedure, a valuable descriptive History already exists, in that language, under the title of Satan’s Invisible World Displayed; which, however, by search in all the Weissnichtwo Libraries, I have not yet succeeded in procuring (vermochte night aufzutreiben).”
Thus does the good Homer not only nod, but snore. Thus does Teufelsdrockh, wandering in regions where he had little business, confound the old authentic Presbyterian Witchfinder with a new, spurious, imaginary Historian of the Brittische Journalistik; and so stumble on perhaps the most egregious blunder in Modern Literature!
Happier is our Professor, and more purely scientific and historic, when he reaches the Middle Ages in Europe, and down to the end of the Seventeenth Century; the true era of extravagance in Costume. It is here that the Antiquary and Student of Modes comes upon his richest harvest. Fantastic garbs, beggaring all fancy of a Teniers or a Callot, succeed each other, like monster devouring monster in a Dream. The whole too in brief authentic strokes, and touched not seldom with that breath of genius which makes even old raiment live. Indeed, so learned, precise, graphical, and every way interesting have we found these Chapters, that it may be thrown out as a pertinent question for parties concerned, Whether or not a good English Translation thereof might henceforth be profitably incorporated with Mr. Merrick’s valuable Work On Ancient Armor? Take, by way of example, the following sketch; as authority for which Paulinus’s Zeitkurzende Lust (ii. 678) is, with seeming confidence, referred to: