No! as I said at the end of the last chapter but one, before I was led away by the circumstances of that time to give the world the benefit of my magnetic reminiscences—valeat quantum!—I was not yet bitten, despite Colley Grattan’s urgings, with any temptation to attempt fiction, and “passion, me boy!” But I am surprised on turning over my old diaries to find how much I was writing, and planning to write, in those days, and not less surprised at the amount of running about which I accomplished.
My life in those years of the thirties must have been a very busy one. I find myself writing and sending off a surprising number of “articles” on all sorts of subjects—reviews, sketches of travel, biographical notices, fragments from the byeways of history, and the like, to all kinds of periodical publications, many of them long since dead and forgotten. That the world should have forgotten all these articles “goes without saying.” But what is not perhaps so common an incident in the career of a penman is, that I had in the majority of cases utterly forgotten them, and all about them, until they were recalled to mind by turning the yellow pages of my treasured but almost equally forgotten journals! I beg to observe, also, that all this pen-work was not only printed, but paid for. My motives were of a decidedly mercenary description. “Hic scribit fama ductus, at ille fame.” I belonged emphatically to the latter category, and little indeed of my multifarious productions ever found its final resting place in the waste-paper basket. They were rejected often, but re-despatched a second and a third time, if necessary, to some other “organ,” and eventually swallowed by some editor or other.
I am surprised, too, at the amount of locomotion which I contrived to combine with all this scribbling. I must have gone about, I think, like a tax-gatherer, with an inkstand slung to my button-hole! And in truth I was industrious; for I find myself in full swing of some journey, arriving at my inn tired at night, and finishing and sending off some article before I went to my bed. But it must have been only by means of the joint supplies contributed by all my editors that I could have found the means of paying all the stage-coaches, diligences, and steamboats which I find the record of my continually employing. “Navibus atque Quadrigis petimus bene vivere!” And I succeeded by their means in living, if not well, at least very pleasantly.
For I was born a rambler.