“Thus the rich vessel moves in trim
Like some fair virgin on her bridal day:
Thus like a swan, she cleaves the watery plain,
The pride and wonder of the AEgean main.
“The natives, while the ship departs
Ashore, with admiration gazing stand;
Majestically slow before the breeze,
In silent pomp, she marches on the seas.”
Much to the satisfaction of Captain Drawlock, the chronometers and the ladies were safe on board, and the Bombay Castle proceeded to the Downs, where she was joined by the purser, charged with despatches of the august directors. Once upon a time a director was a very great man, and the India board a very great board. There must have been a very great many plums in the pudding, for in this world people do not take trouble for nothing; and until latter years, how eagerly, how perseveringly was this situation applied for—what supplicating advertisements—what fawning and wheedling promises of attention to the interests of the proprietors—“your voices, good people!” But now nobody is so particularly anxious to be a director, because another board “bigger than he” has played the kittiwake, and forced it to disgorge for the consumption of its superior,—I mean the Board of Control: the reader has probably heard of it; the board which, not content with the European residents in India being deprived of their proudest birthright, “the liberty of the press,” would even prevent them from having justice awarded to them, by directing two tame elephants (thereby implying two —— ——) to be placed on each side of a wild one (thereby implying an honest and conscientious man). Notwithstanding all which, for the present, the tongue, the ears, and the eyes are permitted to be made discreet use of, although I believe that the new charter is to have a clause introduced to the contrary.
The prevalent disease of the time we live in is ophthalmia of intellect, affecting the higher classes. Monarchs, stone-blind, have tumbled headlong from their thrones, and princes have been conducted by their subjects out of their principalities. The aristocracy are purblind, and cannot distinctly decipher the “signs of the times.” The hierarchy cannot discover why people would have religion at a reduced price: in fact, they are all blind, and will not perceive that an enormous mass, in the shape of public opinion, hangs over their heads and threatens to annihilate them. Forgetting that kings, and princes, and lords, spiritual or temporal, have all been raised to their various degrees of exaltation by public opinion alone, they talk of legitimacy, of vested rights, and Deuteronomy.—Well, if there is to be a general tumble, thank God, I can’t fall far!