“Populus me sibilat. At mihi plaudo.”
Whereas I rather praise the dictum of that other writer, who said, “In this house I had sooner be turned over on the Drawing-room Table than roll under that in the Dining-room,” meaning to reflect on the wine, but the Hostess took it for a compliment.
But to speak of the Letter Press. For the Sea you will use Clark Russell; for the East, Rudyard Kipling; for Blood, Haggard; for neat pastorall Subjects, Thomas Hardy, so he be within Bounds. I mislike his “Noble Dames.” Barrie has a prettier witt; but Besant will keep in all weathers, and serve as right Pemmican. As for conundrums and poetry, they are but Toys: I have seen as good in crackers; which we pull, not as meaning to read or guess, but read and guess to cover the Shame of our Employment. Yet for Conundrums, if you hold the Answers till your next issue they Raise the Wind among Fools.
He that hath Wife and Children hath given Hostages to Little Folks: he will hardly redeem but by sacrifice of a Christmas Tree. The learned Poggius, that had twelve Sons and Daughters, used to note ruefully that he might never escape but by purchase of a dozen Annuals, citing this to prove how greatly Tastes will diverge among the Extreamely Young, even though they come of the same geniture. So will Printed Matter multiply faster than our Parents. Yet ’tis discutable that this phrensy of Annuals groweth staler by Recurrence. As that Helvetian lamented, whose Cuckoo-clock failed of a ready Purchaser, and he had to live with it. “What Again?” said he, and “Surely Spring is not come yet, dash it?” Also I cannot stomach that our Authors portend a Severity of Weather unseasonable in these Muggy Latitudes. I will eat my Hat if for these twenty Christmasses I have made six Slides worthy the Mention. Yet I know an Author that had his Hero and Heroine consent together very prettily; but ’twas in a Thaw, and the Editor being stout, the match was broken off unblessedly, till a Pact was made that it should indeed be a Thaw, but sufficient only to let the Heroine drop through the Ice and be Rescewed.
Without Ghosts, we twiddle thumbs....