the wise contentment
Th’ anthologist doth find!”
—but he has provided it with notes—and capital notes they are—with a magnificent Table of Contents, an Index of Authors, an Index of First Lines, an Index of Dogs Mentioned by Name in the Poems, and an Index of the Species of Dogs Mentioned. So that, even if he miss transportation to an equal sky, the dog has better treatment on earth than most authors. And Mr. Nutt and the Messrs. Constable have done their best; and everyone knows how good is that best. And the wonder is, as Dr. Johnson remarked (concerning a dog, by the way), not that the thing is done so well, but that it should be done at all.
OF SEASONABLE NUMBERS:
A Baconian Essay
Dec. 26, 1891.
That was a Wittie Invective made by Montaigny upon the Antipodean, Who said they must be Thieves that pulled on their breeches when Honest Folk were scarce abed. So is it Obnoxious to them that purvey Christmas Numbers, Annuals, and the like, that they commonly write under Sirius his star as it were Capricornus, feigning to Scate and Carol and blow warm upon their Fingers, while yet they might be culling of Strawberries. And all to this end, that Editors may take the cake. I know One, the Father of a long Family, that will sit a whole June night without queeching in a Vessell of Refrigerated Water till he be Ingaged with hard Ice, that the Publick may be docked no pennyweight of the Sentiments incident to the Nativity. For we be like Grapes, and goe to Press in August. But methinks these rigours do postulate a Robur Corporis more than ordinary (whereas ’tis but one in ten if a Novelist overtop in Physique); and besides will often fail of the effect. As I myself have asked—the Pseudonym being but gauze—
“O! Who can
hold a fire in his hand
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?”
Yet sometimes, because some things are in kind very Casuall, which if they escape prove Excellent (as the man who by Inadvertence inherited the throne of the Grand Turk with all appertayning) so that the kind is inferiour, being subject to Perill, but that which is Excellent being proved superiour, as the Blossom of March and the Blossom of May, whereof the French verse goeth:—
“Bourgeon de Mars,
enfant de Paris;
Si un eschape, il en vaut dix.”
—so, as I was saying (till the Mischief infected my Protasis), albeit the gross of writings will moulder between St. John’s feast and St. Stephen’s, yet, if one survive, ’tis odds he will prove Money in your Pocket. Therefore I counsel that you preoccupate and tie him, by Easter at the latest, to Forty thousand words, naming a Figure in excess: for Operation shrinketh all things, as was observed by Galenus, who said to