The Book of Snobs
William Makepeace Thackeray
Part 4 out of 4
bonnets, and two fly-blown prints of fashion in the
window), yet what was the emotion produced by my arrival,
compared to that which the little street thrilled, when
at five minutes past five the floss-wigged coachman, the
yellow hammer-cloth and flunkeys, the black horses and
blazing silver harness of Mr. Goldmore whirled down the
It is a very little street, of very little houses, most
of them with very large brass plates like Miss
Squilsby's. Coal-merchants, architects and surveyors,
two surgeons, a solicitor, a dancing-master, and of
course several house-agents, occupy the houses--little
two-storeyed edifices with little stucco porticoes.
Goldmore's carriage overtopped the roofs almost; the
first floors might shake hands with Croesus as he lolled
inside; all the windows of those first floors thronged
with children and women in a twinkling. There was Mrs.
Hammerly in curl-papers; Mrs. Saxby with her front awry;
Mr. Wriggles peering through the gauze curtains, holding
the while his hot glass of rum-and-water--in fine, a
tremendous commotion in Bittlestone Street, as the
Goldmore carriage drove up to Mr. Raymond Gray's door.
'How kind it is of him to come with BOTH the footmen!'
says little Mrs. Gray, peeping at the vehicle too. The
huge domestic, descending from his perch, gave a rap at
the door which almost drove in the building. All the
heads were out; the sun was shining; the very organ-boy
paused; the footman, the coach, and Goldmore's red face
and white waistcoat were blazing in splendour. The
herculean plushed one went back to open the carriage-
Raymond Gray opened his--in his shirt-sleeves. He ran up
to the carriage. 'Come in, Goldmore,' says he; 'just in
time, my boy. Open the door, What-d'ye-call'um, and let
your master out,'--and What-d'ye-call'um obeyed
mechanically, with a face of wonder and horror, only to
be equalled by the look of stupefied astonishment which
ornamented the purple countenance of his master.
'Wawt taim will you please have the CAGE, sir?' says
What-d'ye-call'um, in that peculiar, unspellable,
inimitable, flunkefied pronunciation which forms one of
the chief charms of existence.
Best have it to the theatre at night,' Gray exclaims; 'it
is but a step from here to the Wells, and we can walk
there. I've got tickets for all. Be at Sadler's Wells
'Yes, at eleven,' exclaims Goldmore, perturbedly, and
walks with a flurried step into the house, as if he were
going to execution (as indeed he was, with that wicked
Gray as a Jack Ketch over him). The carriage drove away,
followed by numberless eyes from doorsteps and balconies;
its appearance is still a wonder in Bittlestone Street.
'Go in there, and amuse yourself with Snob,' says Gray,
opening the little drawing-room door. 'I'll call out as
soon as the chops are ready. Fanny's below, seeing to
'Gracious mercy!' says Goldmore to me, quite
confidentially, 'how could he ask us? I really had no
idea of this--this utter destitution.'
'Dinner, dinner!' roars out Gray, from the diningroom,
whence issued a great smoking and frying; and entering
that apartment we find Mrs. Gray ready to receive us, and
looking perfectly like a Princess who, by some accident,
had a bowl of potatoes in her hand, which vegetables she
placed on the table. Her husband 'was meanwhile cooking
mutton-chops on a gridiron over the fire.
Fanny has made the roly-poly pudding,' says he; the chops
are my part. Here's a fine one; try this, Goldmore.'
And he popped a fizzing cutlet on that gentleman's plate.
What words, what notes of exclamation can describe the
The tablecloth was a very old one, darned in a score
places. There was mustard in a teacup, a silver fork for
Goldmore--all ours were iron.
"I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth,' says
Gray, gravely. 'That fork is the only one we have.
Fanny has it generally.'
'Raymond!'- cries Mrs. Gray, with an imploring face.
'She was used to better things, you know: and I hope one
day to get her a dinner-service. I'm told the electro-
plate is uncommonly good. Where the deuce IS that boy
with the beer? And now,' said he, springing up, 'I'll be
a gentleman.' And so he put on his coat, and sat down
quite gravely, with four fresh mutton-chops which he had
by this time broiled.
'We don t have meat every day, Mr. Goldmore,' he
continued, 'and it's a treat to me to get a dinner like
this. You little know, you gentlemen of England, who
live at home at ease, what hardships briefless barristers
'Gracious mercy!' says Mr. Goldmore.
'Where's the half-and-half? Fanny, go over to the 'Keys'
and get the beer. Here's sixpence.' And what was our
astonishment when Fanny got up as if to go!
'Gracious mercy! let ME,' cries Goldmore.
'Not for worlds, my dear sir. She's used to it. They
wouldn't serve you as well as they serve her. Leave her
alone. Law bless you!' Raymond said, with astounding
composure. And Mrs. Gray left the room, and actually
came back with a tray on which there was a pewter flagon
of beer. Little Polly (to whom, at her christening, I
had the honour of presenting a silver mug EX OFFICIO)
followed with a couple of tobacco-pipes, and the queerest
roguish look in her round little chubby face.
'Did you speak to Tapling about the gin, Fanny, my dear?'
Gray asked, after bidding Polly put the pipes on the
chimney-piece, which that little person had some
difficulty in reaching. 'The last was turpentine, and
even your brewing didn't make good punch of it.'
'You would hardly suspect, Goldmore, that my wife, a
Harley Baker, would ever make gin-punch? I think my
mother-in-law would commit suicide if she saw her.'
'Don't be always laughing at mamma, Raymond,' says Mrs.
'Well, well, she wouldn't die, and I DON'T wish she
would. And you don't make gin-punch, and you don't like
it either and--Goldmore do you drink your beer out of the
glass, or out of the pewter?'
'Gracious mercy!' ejaculates Croesus once more, as little
Polly, taking the pot with both her little bunches of
hands, offers it, smiling, to that astonished Director.
And so, in a word, the dinner commenced, and was
presently ended in a similar fashion. Gray pursued his
unfortunate guest with the most queer and outrageous
description of his struggles, misery, and poverty. He
described how he cleaned the knives when they were first
married; and how he used to drag the children in a little
cart; how his wife could toss pancakes; and what parts of
his dress she made. He told Tibbits, his clerk (who was
in fact the functionary who had brought the beer from the
public-house, which Mrs. Fanny had fetched from the
neighbouring apartment)--to fetch 'the bottle of port-
wine,' when the dinner was over; and told Goldmore as
wonderful a history about the way in which that bottle of
wine had come into his hands as any of his former stories
had been. When the repast was all over, and it was near
time to move to the play, and Mrs. Gray had retired, and
we were sitting ruminating rather silently over the last
glasses of the port, Gray suddenly breaks the silence by
slapping Goldmore on the shoulder, and saying, 'Now,
Goldmore, tell me something.'
'What?' asks Croesus.
'Haven't you had a good dinner?'
Goldmore started, as if a sudden truth had just dawned
upon him. He HAD had a good dinner; and didn't know it
until then. The three mutton-chops consumed by him were
best of the mutton kind; the potatoes were perfect of
their order; as for the rolypoly, it was too good. The
porter was frothy and cool, and the port-wine was worthy
of the gills of a bishop. I speak with ulterior views;
for there is more in Gray's cellar.
'Well,' says Goldmore, after a pause, during which he
took time to consider the momentous question Gray put to
him--' 'Pon my word--now you say so--I--I have--I really
have had a monsous good dinnah-- monsous good, upon my
ward! Here's your health, Gray my boy, and your amiable
lady; and when Mrs. Goldmore comes back, I hope we shall
see you more in Portland Place.' And with this the time
came for the play, and we went to see Mr. Phelps at
Sadler's Wells. The best of this story (for the truth of
every word of which I pledge my honour) is, that after
this banquet, which Goldmore enjoyed so, the honest
fellow felt a prodigious compassion and regard for the
starving and miserable giver of the feast, and determined
to help him in his profession. And being a Director of
the newly-established Antibilious Life Assurance Company,
he has had Gray appointed Standing Counsel, with a pretty
annual fee; and only yesterday, in an appeal from Bombay
(Buckmuckjee Bobbachee v. Ramchowder-Bahawder) in the
Privy Council, Lord Brougham complimented Mr. Gray, who
was in the case, on his curious and exact knowledge of
the Sanscrit language.
Whether he knows Sanscrit or not, I can't say; but
Goldmore got him the business; and so I cannot help
having a lurking regard for that pompous old Bigwig.
SNOBS AND MARRIAGE
'We Bachelors in Clubs are very much obliged to you,"
says my old school and college companion, Essex Temple,
'for the opinion which you hold of us. You call us
selfish, purple-faced, bloated, and other pretty names.
You state, in the simplest possible terms, that we shall
go to the deuce. You bid us rot in loneliness, and deny
us all claims to honesty, conduct, decent Christian life.
Who are you, Mr. Snob, to judge us. Who are you, with
your infernal benevolent smirk and grin, that laugh at
all our generation?
'I will tell you my case,' says Essex Temple; 'mine and
my sister Polly's, and you may make what you like of it;
and sneer at old maids, and bully old bachelors, if you
'I will whisper to you confidentially that my sister was
engaged to Serjeant Shirker--a fellow whose talents one
cannot deny, and be hanged to them, but whomwhom I have
always known to be mean, selfish, and a prig. However,
women don't see these faults in the men whom Love throws
in their way. Shirker, who has about as much warmth as
an eel, made up to Polly years and years ago, and was no
bad match for a briefless barrister, as he was then.
Have you ever read Lord Eldon's Life? Do you remember
how the sordid old Snob narrates his going out to
purchase twopence-worth of sprats, which he and Mrs.
Scott fried between them? And how he parades his
humility, and exhibits his miserable poverty--he who, at
that time, must have been making a thousand pounds a
year? Well, Shirker was just as proud of his prudence--
just as thankful for his own meanness, and of course
would not marry without a competency. Who so honourable?
Polly waited, and waited faintly, from year to year. HE
wasn't sick at heart; HIS passion never disturbed his six
hours' sleep, or kept his ambition out of mind. He would
rather have hugged an attorney any day than have kissed
Polly, though she was one of the prettiest creatures in
the world; and while she was pining alone upstairs,
reading over the stock of half-a-dozen frigid letters
that the confounded prig had condescended to write to
her, HE, be sure, was never busy with anything but his
briefs in chambers--always frigid, rigid, self-satisfied,
and at his duty. The marriage trailed on year after
year, while Mr. Serjeant Shirker grew to be the famous
lawyer he is.
'Meanwhile, my younger brother, Pump Temple, who was in
the 120th Hussars, and had the same little patrimony
which fell to the lot of myself and Polly, must fall in
love with our cousin, Fanny Figtree, and marry her out of
hand. You should have seen the wedding! Six bridesmaids
in pink, to hold the fan, bouquet, gloves, scent-bottle,
and pocket-handkerchief of the bride; basketfuls of white
favours in the vestry, to be pinned on to the footmen and
horses; a genteel congregation of curious acquaintance in
the pews, a shabby one of poor on the steps; all the
carriages of all our acquaintance, whom Aunt Figtree had
levied for the occasion; and of course four horses for
Mr. Pump's bridal vehicle.
'Then comes the breakfast, or DEJEUNER, if you please,
with a brass band in the street, and policemen to keep
order. The happy bridegroom spends about a year's income
in dresses for the bridesmaids and pretty presents; and
the bride must have a TROUSSEAU of laces, satins, jewel-
boxes and tomfoolery, to make her fit to be a
lieutenant's wife. There was no hesitation about Pump.
He flung about his money as if it had been dross; and
Mrs. P. Temple, on the horse Tom Tiddler, which her
husband gave her, was the most dashing of military women
at Brighton or Dublin.
How old Mrs. Figtree used to bore me and Polly with
stories of Pump's grandeur and the noble company he kept!
Polly lives with the Figtrees, as I am not rich enough to
keep a home for her.
'Pump and I have always been rather distant. Not having
the slightest notions about horseflesh, he has a natural
contempt for me; and in our mother's lifetime, when the
good old lady was always paying his debts and petting
him, I'm not sure there was not a little jealousy. It
used to be Polly that kept the peace between us.
'She went to Dublin to visit Pump, and brought back grand
accounts of his doings--gayest man about town--Aide-de-
Camp to the Lord-Lieutenant--Fanny admired everywhere--
Her Excellency godmother to the second boy: the eldest
with a string of aristocratic Christian-names that made
the grandmother wild with delight. Presently Fanny and
Pump obligingly came to London, where the third was born.
'Polly was godmother to this, and who so loving as she
and Pump now? "Oh, Essex," says she to me, "he is so
good, so generous, so fond of his family; so
handsome; who can help loving him, and pardoning his
little errors?" One day, while Mrs. Pump was yet in the
upper regions, and Doctor Fingerfee's brougham
at her door every day, having business at Guildhall, whom
should I meet in Cheapside but Pump and Polly? The poor
girl looked more happy and rosy
than I have seen her these twelve years. Pump, on the
contrary, was rather blushing and embarrassed.
'I couldn't be mistaken in her face and its look of
mischief and triumph. She had been committing some act
of sacrifice. I went to the family stockbroker. She had
sold out two thousand pounds that morning and given them
to Pump. Quarrelling was useless--Pump had the money; he
was off to Dublin by the time I reached his mother's, and
Polly radiant still. He was going to make his fortune;
he was going to embark the money in the Bog of Allen--I
don't know what. The fact is, he was going to pay his
losses upon the last Manchester steeple-chase, and I
leave you to imagine how much principal or interest poor
Polly ever saw back again.
'It was more than half her fortune, and he has had
another thousand since from her. Then came efforts to
stave off ruin and prevent exposure; struggles on all our
parts, and sacrifices, that' (here Mr. Essex Temple began
to hesitate)--'that needn't be talked of; but they are of
no more use than such sacrifices ever are. Pump and his
wife are abroad--I don't like to ask where; Polly has the
three children, and Mr. Serjeant Shirker has formally
written to break off an engagement, on the conclusion of
which Miss Temple must herself have speculated, when she
alienated the greater part of her fortune.
'And here's your famous theory of poor marriages!' Essex
Temple cries, concluding the above history. 'How do you
know that I don't want to marry myself? How do you dare
sneer at my poor sister? What are we but martyrs of the
reckless marriage system which Mr. Snob, forsooth,
chooses to advocate?' And he thought he had the better
of the argument, which, strange to say, is not my
But for the infernal Snob-worship, might not every one of
these people be happy? If poor Polly's happiness lay in
linking her tender arms round such a heartless prig as
the sneak who has deceived her, she might have been happy
now--as happy as Raymond Raymond in the ballad, with the
stone statue by his side. She is wretched because Mr.
Serjeant Shirker worships money and ambition, and is a
Snob and a coward.
If the unfortunate Pump Temple and his giddy hussy of a
wife have ruined themselves, and dragged down others into
their calamity, it is because they loved rank, and
horses, and plate, and carriages, and COURT GUIDES, and
millinery, and would sacrifice all to attain those
And who misguides them? If the world were more simple,
would not those foolish people follow the fashion? Does
not the world love COURT GUIDES, and millinery, and
plate, and carriages? Mercy on us! Read the fashionable
intelligence; read the COURT CIRCULAR; read the genteel
novels; survey mankind, from Pimlico to Red Lion Square,
and see how the Poor Snob is aping the Rich Snob; how the
Mean Snob is grovelling at the feet of the Proud Snob;
and the Great Snob is lording it over his humble brother.
Does the idea of equality ever enter Dives' head? Will
it ever? Will the Duchess of Fitzbattleaxe (I like a
good name) ever believe that Lady Croesus, her next-door
neighbour in Belgrave Square, is as good a lady as her
Grace? Will Lady Croesus ever leave off pining the
Duchess's parties, and cease patronizing Mrs. Broadcloth
whose husband has not got his Baronetcy yet? Will Mrs.
Broadcloth ever heartily shake hands with Mrs. Seedy, and
give up those odious calculations about poor dear Mrs.
Seedy's income? Will Mrs. Seedy who is starving in her
great house, go and live comfortably in a little one, or
in lodgings? Will her landlady, Miss Letsam, ever stop
wondering at the familiarity of tradespeople, or rebuking
the insolence of Suky, the maid, who wears flowers under
her bonnet like a lady?
But why hope, why wish for such times? Do I wish all
Snobs to perish? Do I wish these Snob papers to
determine? Suicidal fool, art not thou, too, a Snob and
As I wish to be particularly agreeable to the ladies (to
whom I make my most humble obeisance), we will now, if
you please, commence maligning a class of Snobs against
whom, I believe, most female minds are embittered--I mean
Club Snobs. I have very seldom heard even the most
gentle and placable woman speak without a little feeling
of bitterness against those social institutions, those
palaces swaggering in St. James's, which are open to the
men; while the ladies have but their dingy three-windowed
brick boxes in Belgravia or in Paddingtonia, or in the
region between the road of Edgware and that of Gray's
In my grandfather's time it used to be Freemasonry that
roused their anger. It was my grand-aunt (whose portrait
we still have in the family) who got into the clock-case
at the Royal Rosicrucian Lodge at Bungay, Suffolk, to spy
the proceedings of the Society, of which her husband was
a member, and being frightened by the sudden whirring and
striking eleven of the clock (just as the Deputy-Grand-
Master was bringing in the mystic gridiron for the
reception of a neophyte), rushed out into the midst of
the lodge assembled; and was elected, by a desperate
unanimity, Deputy-Grand-Mistress for life. Though that
admirable and courageous female never subsequently
breathed a word with regard to the secrets of the
initiation, yet she inspired all our family with such a
terror regarding the mysteries of Jachin and Boaz, that
none of our family have ever since joined the Society, or
worn the dreadful Masonic insignia.
It is known that Orpheus was torn to pieces by some
justly indignant Thracian ladies for belonging to an
Harmonic Lodge. 'Let him go back to Eurydice,' they
said, 'whom he is pretending to regret so.' But the
history is given in Dr. Lempriere's elegant dictionary in
a manner much more forcible than any
this feeble pen can attempt. At once, then, and without
verbiage, let us take up this subject-matter of Clubs.
Clubs ought not, in my mind, to be permitted to
bachelors. If my friend of the Cuttykilts had not our
club, the 'Union Jack,' to go to (I belong to the 'U.J.
and nine other similar institutions), who knows but he
never would be a bachelor at this present moment?
Instead of being made comfortable, and cockered up with
every luxury, as they are at Clubs, bachelors ought to be
rendered profoundly miserable, in my opinion. Every
encouragement should be given to the rendering their
spare time disagreeable. There can be no more odious
object, according to my sentiments, than young Smith in
the pride of health, commanding his dinner of three
courses; than middle-aged Jones wallowing (as I may say)
in an easy padded arm-chair, over the delicious novel or
brilliant magazine; or than old Brown, that selfish old
reprobate for whom mere literature has no charms,
stretched on the best sofa, sitting on the second edition
of THE TIMES, having the MORNING CHRONICLE between his
knees, the HERALD pushed in between his coat and
waistcoat, the STANDARD under his arm, the GLOBE under
the other pinion, and the DAILY NEWS in perusal. 'I'll
trouble you for PUNCH, Mr. Wiggins' says the
unconscionable old gormandiser, interrupting our friend,
who is laughing over the periodical in question.
This kind of selfishness ought not to be. No, no. Young
Smith, instead of his dinner and his wine, ought to be,
where?--at the festive tea-table, to be sure, by the side
of Miss Higgs, sipping the bohea, or tasting the harmless
muffin; while old Mrs. Higgs looks on, pleased at their
innocent dalliance, and my friend Miss Wirt, the
governess, is performing Thalberg's last sonata in treble
X., totally unheeded, at the piano.
Where should the middle-aged Jones be? At his time of
life, he ought to be the father of a family. At such an
hour--say, at nine o'clock at night--the nursery-bell
should have just rung the children to bed. He and Mrs.
J. ought to be, by rights, seated on each side of the
fire by the dining-room table, a bottle of port-wine
between them, not so full as it was an hour since. Mrs.
J. has had two glasses; Mrs. Grumble (Jones's mother-in-
law) has had three; Jones himself has finished the rest,
and dozes comfortably until bed-time.
And Brown, that old newspaper-devouring miscreant, what
right has HE at a club at a decent hour of night? He
ought to be playing his rubber with Miss MacWhirter, his
wife, and the family apothecary. His candle ought to be
brought to him at ten o'clock, and he should retire to
rest just as the young people were thinking of a dance.
How much finer, simpler, nobler are the several
employments I have sketched out for these gentlemen than
their present nightly orgies at the horrid Club.
And, ladies, think of men who do not merely frequent the
dining-room and library, but who use other apartments of
those horrible dens which it is my purpose to batter
down; think of Cannon, the wretch, with his coat off, at
his age and size, clattering the balls over the billiard-
table all night, and making bets with that odious Captain
Spot!--think of Pam in a dark room with Bob Trumper, Jack
Deuceace, and Charley Vole, playing, the poor dear
misguided wretch, guinea points and five pounds on the
rubber!--above all, think--oh, think of that den of
abomination, which, I am told, has been established in
SOME clubs, called THE SMOKING-ROOM,--think of the
debauchees who congregate there, the quantities of
reeking whisky-punch or more dangerous sherry-cobbler
which they consume;--think of them coming home at cock-
crow and letting themselves into the quiet house with the
Chubb key;-- think of them, the hypocrites, taking off
their insidious boots before they slink upstairs, the
children sleeping overhead, the wife of their bosom alone
with the waning rushlight in the two-pair front--that
chamber so soon to be rendered hateful by the smell of
their stale cigars: I am not an advocate of violence; I
am not, by nature, of an incendiary turn of mind: but if,
my dear ladies, you are for assassinating Mr. Chubb and
burning down Club-houses in St. James's, there is ONE
Snob at who will not think the worse of you.
The only men who, as I opine, ought to be allowed the use
of Clubs, are married men without a profession. The
continual presence of these in a house cannot be
thought, even by the most loving of wives, desirable.
Say the girls are beginning to practise their music,
which in an honourable English family, ought to occupy
every young gentlewoman three hours; it would be rather
hard to call upon poor papa to sit in the drawing-room
all that time, and listen to the interminable discords
and shrieks which are elicited from the miserable piano
during the above necessary operation. A man with a good
ear, especially, would go mad, if compelled daily to
submit to this horror.
Or suppose you have a fancy to go to the milliner's, or
to Howell and James's, it is manifest, my dear Madam,
that your husband is much better at the Club during these
operations than by your side in the carriage, or perched
in wonder upon one of the stools at Shawl and Gimcrack's,
whilst young counter-dandies are displaying their wares.
This sort of husbands should be sent out after breakfast,
and if not Members of Parliament, or Directors of a
Railroad, or an Insurance Company, should be put into
their clubs, and told to remain there until dinner-time.
No sight is more agreeable to my truly regulated mind
than to see the noble characters so worthily employed.
Whenever I pass by St. James's Street, having the
privilege, like the rest of the world, of looking in at
the windows of 'Blight's,' or 'Foodle's,' or 'Snook's,'
or the great bay at the 'Contemplative Club,' I behold
with respectful appreciation the figures within--the
honest rosy old fogies, the mouldy old dandies, the
waist-belts and glossy wigs and tight cravats of those
most vacuous and respectable men. Such men are best
there during the day-time surely. When you part with
them, dear ladies, think of the rapture consequent on
their return. You have transacted your household
affairs; you have made your purchases; you have paid your
visits; you have aired your poodle in the Park; your
French maid has completed the toilette which renders you
so ravishingly beautiful by candlelight, and you are fit
to make home pleasant to him who has been absent all day.
Such men surely ought to have their Clubs, and we will
not class them among Club Snobs therefore:--on whom let
us reserve our attack for the next chapter.
Such a Sensation has been created in the Clubs by the
appearance of the last paper on Club Snobs, as can't but
be complimentary to me who am one of their number.
I belong to many Clubs. The 'Union Jack,' the 'Sash and
Marlin-spike'--Military Clubs. 'The True Blue,' the 'No
Surrender,' the 'Blue and Buff,' the 'Guy Fawkes,' and
the 'Cato Street'--Political Clubs. 'The Brummel' and
the 'Regent'--Dandy Clubs. The 'Acropolis,' the
'Palladium,' the 'Areopagus,' the 'Pnyx' the
'Pentelicus,' the 'Ilissus' and the 'Poluphloisboio
Thalasses'--Literary Clubs. I never could make out how
the latter set of Clubs got their names; I don't know
Greek for one, and I wonder how many other members of
those institutions do?
Ever since the Club Snobs have been announced, I observe
a sensation created on my entrance into any one of these
places. Members get up and hustle together; they nod,
they scowl, as they glance towards the present Snob.
'Infernal impudent jackanapes! If he shows me up,' says
Colonel Bludyer, 'I'll break every bone in his skin.' 'I
told you what would come of admitting literary men into
the Club,' says Ranville Ranville to his colleague,
Spooney, of the Tape and Sealing-Wax Office. 'These
people are very well in their proper places, and as a
public man, I make a point of shaking hands with them,
and that sort of thing; but to have one's privacy
obtruded upon by such people is really too much. Come
along, Spooney,' and the pair of prigs retire
As I came into the coffee-room at the 'No Surrender,' old
Jawkins was holding out to a knot of men, who were
yawning, as usual. There he stood, waving the STANDARD,
and swaggering before the fire. 'What,' says he, 'did I
tell Peel last year? If you touch the Corn Laws, you
touch the Sugar Question; if you touch the Sugar, you
touch the Tea. I am no monopolist. I am a liberal man,
but I cannot forget that I stand on the brink of a
precipice; and if were to have Free Trade, give me
reciprocity. And what was Sir Robert Peel's answer to
me? "Mr. Jawkins," he said ---'
Here Jawkins's eye suddenly turning on your humble
servant, he stopped his sentence, with a guilty look--
his stale old stupid sentence, which every one of us at
the Club has heard over and over again.
Jawkins is a most pertinacious Club Snob. Every day he
is at that fireplace, holding that STANDARD, of which he
reads up the leading-article, and pours it out ORE
ROTUNDO, with the most astonishing composure, in the face
of his neighbour, who has just read every word of it in
the paper. Jawkins has money, as you may see by the tie
of his neckcloth. He passes the morning swaggering about
the City, in bankers' and brokers parlours, and says :--
'I spoke with Peel yesterday, and his intentions are so
and so. Graham and I were talking over the matter, and I
pledge you my word of honour, his opinion coincides with
mine; and that What-d'ye-call-um is the only measure
Government will venture on trying.' By evening-paper
time he is at the Club: 'I can tell you the opinion of
the City, my lord,' says he, 'and the way in which Jones
Loyd looks at it is briefly this: Rothschilds told me so
themselves. In Mark Lane, people's minds are QUITE made
up.' He is considered rather a well-informed man.
He lives in Belgravia, of course; in a drab-coloured
genteel house, and has everything about him that is
properly grave, dismal, and comfortable. His dinners are
in the MORNING HERALD, among the parties for the week;
and his wife and daughters make a very handsome
appearance at the Drawing-Room, once a year, when he
comes down to the Club in his Deputy-Lieutenant's
He is fond of beginning a speech to you by saying, 'When
I was in the House, I &c.'--in fact he sat for
Skittlebury for three weeks in the first Reformed
Parliament, and was unseated for bribery; since which he
has three times unsuccessfully contested that honourable
Another sort of Political Snob I have seen at most Clubs
and that is the man who does not care so much for home
politics, but is great upon foreign affairs. I think
this sort of man is scarcely found anywhere BUT in Clubs.
It is for him the papers provide their foreign articles,
at the expense of some ten thousand a-year each. He is
the man who is really seriously uncomfortable about the
designs of Russia, and the atrocious treachery of Louis
Philippe. He it is who expects a French fleet in the
Thames, and has a constant eye upon the American
President, every word of whose speech (goodness help
him!) he reads. He knows the names of the contending
leaders in Portugal, and what they are fighting about:
and it is he who says that Lord Aberdeen ought to be
impeached, and Lord Palmerston hanged, or VICE VERSA.
Lord Palmerston's being sold to Russia, the exact number
of roubles paid, by what house in the City, is a
favourite theme with this kind of Snob. I once overheard
him--it was Captain Spitfire, R.N., (who had been refused
a ship by the Whigs, by the way)--indulging in the
following conversation with Mr. Minns after dinner.
Why wasn't the Princess Scragamoffsky at Lady
Palmerston's party, Minns? Because SHE CAN'T SHOW-- why
can't she show? Shall I tell you, Minns, why she can't
show? The Princess Scragainoffsky's back is flayed
alive, Minns--I tell you it's raw, sir! On Tuesday last,
at twelve o'clock, three drummers of the Preobajinski
Regiment arrived at Ashburnham House, and at half-past
twelve, in the yellow drawing-room at the Russian
Embassy, before the ambassadress and four ladies'-maids,
the Greek Papa, and the Secretary of Embassy, Madame de
Scragamoffsky received thirteen dozen. She was knouted,
sir, knouted in the midst of England--in Berkeley Square,
for having said that the Grand Duchess Olga's hair was
red. And now, sir, will you tell me Lord Palmerston
ought to continue Minister?'
Minns: 'Good Ged!'
Minns follows Spitfire about, and thinks him the greatest
and wisest of human beings.
Why does not some great author write 'The Mysteries of
the Club-houses; or St. James's Street unveiled?' It
would be a fine subject for an imaginative writer. We
must all, as boys, remember when we went to the fair, and
had spent all our money--the sort of awe and anxiety with
which we loitered round the outside of the show,
speculating upon the nature of the entertainment going on
Man is a Drama--of Wonder and Passion, and Mystery and
Meanness, and Beauty and Truthfulness, and Etcetera.
Each Bosom is a Booth in Vanity Fair. But let us stop
this capital style, I should die if I kept it up for a
column (a pretty thing a column all capitals would be, by
the way). In a Club, though there mayn't be a soul of
your acquaintance in the room, you have always the chance
of watching strangers, and speculating on what is going
on within those tents and curtains of their souls, their
coats and waistcoats. This is a never-failing sport.
Indeed I am told there are some Clubs in the town where
nobody ever speaks to anybody. They sit in the coffee-
room, quite silent, and watching each other.
Yet how little you can tell from a man's outward
demeanour! There's a man at our Club--large, heavy,
middle-aged--gorgeously dressed--rather bald--with
lacquered boots--and a boa when he goes out; quiet in
demeanour, always ordering and consuming a RECHERCHE
little dinner: whom I have mistaken for Sir John
Pocklington any time these five years, and respected as a
man with five hundred pounds PER DIEM; and I find he is
but a clerk in an office in the City, with not two
hundred pounds income, and his name is Jubber. Sir John
Pocklington was, on the contrary, the dirty little snuffy
man who cried out so about the bad quality of the beer,
and grumbled at being overcharged three-halfpence for a
herring, seated at the next table to Jubber on the day
when some one pointed the Baronet out to me.
Take a different sort of mystery. I see, for instance,
old Fawney stealing round the rooms of the Club, with
glassy, meaningless eyes, and an endless greasy simper--
he fawns on everybody he meets, and shakes hands with
you, and blesses you, and betrays the most tender and
astonishing interest in your welfare. You know him to be
a quack and a rogue, and he knows you know it. But he
wriggles on his way, and leaves a track of slimy flattery
after him wherever he goes. Who can penetrate that man's
mystery? What earthly good can he get from you or me?
You don't know what is working under that leering
tranquil mask. You have only the dim instinctive
repulsion that warns you, you are in the presence of a
knave--beyond which fact all Fawney's soul is a secret to
I think I like to speculate on the young men best. Their
play is opener. You know the cards in their hand, as it
were. Take, for example, Messrs. Spavin and Cockspur.
A specimen or two of the above sort of young fellows may
be found, I believe, at most Clubs. They know nobody.
They bring a fine smell of cigars into the room with
them, and they growl together, in a corner, about
sporting matters. They recollect the history of that
short period in which they have been ornaments of the
world by the names of winning horses. As political men
talk about 'the Reform year,' 'the year the Whigs went
out,' and so forth, these young sporting bucks speak of
TARNATION'S year, or OPODELDOC'S year, or the year when
CATAWAMPUS ran second for the Chester Cup. They play at
billiards in the morning, they absorb pale ale for
breakfast, and 'top up' with glasses of strong waters.
They read BELL'S LIFE (and a very pleasant paper too,
with a great deal of erudition in the answers to
correspondents). They go down to Tattersall's, and
swagger in the Park, with their hands plunged in the
pockets of their paletots.
What strikes me especially in the outward demeanour of
sporting youth is their amazing gravity, their
conciseness of speech, and careworn and moody air. In
the smoking-room at the 'Regent,' when Joe Millerson will
be setting the whole room in a roar with laughter, you
hear young Messrs. Spavin and Cockspur grumbling
together in a corner. 'I'll take your five-and-twenty to
one about Brother to Bluenose,' whispers Spavin. 'Can't
do it at the price,' Cockspur says, wagging his head
ominously. The betting-book is always present in the
minds of those unfortunate youngsters. I think I hate
that work even more than the 'Peerage.' There is some
good in the latter--though, generally speaking, a vain
record: though De Mogyns is not descended from the giant
Hogyn Mogyn; though half the other genealogies are
equally false and foolish; yet the mottoes are good
reading--some of them; and the book itself a sort of
gold-laced and livened lackey to History, and in so far
serviceable. But what good ever came out of, or went
into, a betting-book? If I could be Caliph Omar for a
week, I would pitch every one of those despicable
manuscripts into the flames; from my Lord's, who is 'in'
with Jack Snaffle's stable, and is over-reaching worse-
informed rogues and swindling greenhorns, down to Sam's,
the butcher-boy's, who books eighteenpenny odds in the
tap-room, and 'stands to win five-and-twenty bob.'
In a turf transaction, either Spavin or Cockspur would
try to get the better of his father, and, to gain a point
in the odds, victimise his best friends. One day we
shall hear of one or other levanting; an event at which,
not being sporting men, we shall not break our hearts.
See--Mr. Spavin is settling his toilette previous to
departure; giving a curl in the glass to his side-wisps
of hair. Look at him! It is only at the hulks, or among
turf-men, that you ever see a face so mean, so knowing,
and so gloomy.
A much more humane being among the youthful Clubbists is
the Lady-killing Snob. I saw Wiggle just now in the
dressing-room, talking to Waggle, his inseparable.
WAGGLE.-- 'Pon my honour, Wiggle, she did.'
WIGGLE.-- 'Well, Waggle, as you say--I own I think she
DID look at me rather kindly. We'll see to-night at the
And having arrayed their little persons, these two
harmless young bucks go upstairs to dinner.
Both sorts of young men, mentioned in my last under the
flippant names of Wiggle and Waggle, may be found in
tolerable plenty, I think, in Clubs. Wiggle and Waggle
are both idle. They come of the middle classes. One of
them very likely makes believe to be a barrister, and the
other has smart apartments about Piccadilly. They are a
sort of second-chop dandies; they cannot imitate that
superb listlessness of demeanour, and that admirable
vacuous folly which distinguish the noble and high-born
chiefs of the race; but they lead lives almost as bad
(were it but for the example), and are personally quite
as useless. I am not going to arm a thunderbolt, and
launch it at the beads of these little Pall Mall
butterflies. They don't commit much public harm, or
private extravagance. They don't spend a thousand pounds
for diamond earrings for an Opera-dancer, as Lord Tarquin
neither of them ever set up a public-house or broke the
bank of a gambling-club, like the young Earl of
Martingale. They have good points, kind feelings, and
deal honourably in money-transactions--only in their
characters of men of second-rate pleasure about town,
they and their like are so utterly mean, self-contented,
and absurd, that they must not be omitted in a work
treating on Snobs.
Wiggle has been abroad, where he gives you to understand
that his success among the German countesses and Italian
princesses, whom he met at the TABLES-D'HOTE, was
perfectly terrific. His rooms are hung round with
pictures of actresses and ballet-dancers. He passes his
mornings in a fine dressing-gown, burning pastilles, and
reading 'Don Juan' and French novels (by the way, the
life of the author of 'Don Juan,' as described by
himself, was the model of the life of a Snob). He has
twopenny-halfpenny French prints of women with
languishing eyes, dressed in dominoes,--guitars,
gondolas, and so forth,--and tells you stories about
'It's a bad print,' says he, 'I know, but I've a reason
for liking it. It reminds me of somebody--somebody I
knew in other climes. You have heard of the Principessa
di Monte Pulciano? I met her at Rimini. Dear, dear
Francesca! That fair-haired, bright-eyed thing in the
Bird of Paradise and the Turkish Simar with the love-bird
on her finger, I'm sure must have been taken from--from
somebody perhaps whom you don't know --but she's known at
Munich, Waggle my boy,-- everybody knows the Countess
Ottilia de Eulenschreckenstein. Gad, sir, what a
beautiful creature she was when I danced with her on the
birthday of Prince Attila of Bavaria, in '44. Prince
Carloman was our vis-a-vis, and Prince Pepin danced the
same CONTREDANSE. She had a Polyanthus in her bouquet.
Waggle, I HAVE IT NOW.' His countenance assumes an
agonized and mysterious expression, and he buries his
head in the sofa cushions, as if plunging into a
whirlpool of passionate recollections.
Last year he made a considerable sensation by having on
his table a morocco miniature-case locked by a gold key,
which he always wore round his neck, and on which was
stamped a serpent--emblem of eternity--with the letter M
in the circle. Sometimes he laid this upon his little
morocco writing-table, as if it were on an altar--
generally he had flowers upon it; in the middle of a
conversation he would start up and kiss it. He would
call out from his bed-room to his valet, 'Hicks, bring me
'I don't know who it is,' Waggle would say. 'Who DOES
know that fellow's intrigues! Desborough Wiggle, sir, is
the slave of passion. I suppose you have heard the story
of the Italian princess locked up in the Convent of Saint
Barbara, at Rimini? He hasn't told you? Then I'm not at
liberty to speak. Or the countess, about whom he nearly
had the duel with Prince Witikind of Bavaria? Perhaps
you haven't even heard about that beautiful girl at
Pentonville, daughter of a most respectable Dissenting
clergyman. She broke her heart when she found he was
engaged (to a most lovely creature of high family, who
afterwards proved false to him), and she's now in
Waggle's belief in his friend amounts to frantic
adoration. 'What a genius he is, if he would but apply
himself!' he whispers to me. 'He could be anything, sir,
but for his passions. His poems are the most beautiful
things you ever saw. He's written a continuation of "Don
Juan," from his own adventures. Did you ever read his
lines to Mary? They're superior to Byron, sir--superior
I was glad to hear this from so accomplished a critic as
Waggle; for the fact is, I had composed the verses myself
for honest Wiggle one day, whom I found at his chambers
plunged in thought over a very dirty old-fashioned album,
in which he had not as yet written a single word.
'I can't,' says he. 'Sometimes I can write whole cantos,
and to-day not a line. Oh, Snob! such an opportunity!
Such a divine creature! She's asked me to write verses
for her album, and I can't.'
'Is she rich?' said I. 'I thought you would never marry
any but an heiress.'
'Oh, Snob! she's the most accomplished, highly-connected
creature!--and I can't get out a line.'
'How will you have it?' says I. 'Hot, with sugar?'
'Don't, don't! You trample on the most sacred feelings,
Snob. I want something wild and tender,--like Byron. I
want to tell her that amongst the festive balls, and that
sort of thing, you know--I only think about her, you
know--that I scorn the world, and am weary of it, you
know, and--something about a gazelle, and a bulbul, you
'And a yataghan to finish off with,' the present writer
observed, and we began:--
'I seem, in the midst of the crowd,
The lightest of all;
My laughter rings cheery and loud,
In banquet and ball.
My lip hath its smiles and its sneers,
For all men to see;
But my soul, and my truth, and my tears,
Are for thee, are for thee!'
'Do you call THAT neat, Wiggle?' says I. 'I declare it
almost makes me cry myself.'
'Now suppose,' says Wiggle, 'we say that all the world is
at my feet--make her jealous, you know, and that sort of
thing--and that--that I'm going to TRAVEL, you know?
That perhaps may work upon her feelings.'
So WE (as this wretched prig said) began again:--
'Around me they flatter and fawn--
The young and the old,
The fairest are ready to pawn
Their hearts for my gold.
They sue me--I laugh as I spurn
The slaves at my knee,
But in faith and in fondness I turn
Unto thee, unto thee!'
'Now for the travelling, Wiggle my boy!' And I began, in
a voice choked with emotion--
'Away! for my heart knows no rest
Since you taught it to feel;
The secret must die in my breast
I burn to reveal;
The passion I may not. . .'
'I say, Snob!' Wiggle here interrupted the excited bard
(just as I was about to break out into four lines so
pathetic that they would drive you into hysterics). 'I
say--ahem--couldn't you say that I was--a--military man,
and that there was some danger of my life?'
'You a military man?--danger of your life? What the
deuce do you mean?'
'Why,' said Wiggle, blushing a great deal, 'I told her I
was going out--on--the--Ecuador--expedition.'
'You abominable young impostor,' I exclaimed. 'Finish
the poem for yourself!' And so he did, and entirely out
of all metre, and bragged about the work at the Club as
his own performance.
Poor Waggle fully believed in his friend's genius, until
one day last week he came with a grin on his countenance
to the Club, and said, 'Oh, Snob, I've made SUCH a
discovery! Going down to the skating to-day, whom should
I see but Wiggle walking with that splendid woman--that
lady of illustrious family and immense fortune, Mary, you
know, whom he wrote the beautiful verses about. She's
five-and-forty. She's red hair. She's a nose like a
pump-handle. Her father made his fortune by keeping a
ham-and-beef shop, and Wiggle's going to marry her next
'So much the better, Waggle, my young friend,' I
exclaimed. 'Better for the sake of womankind that this
dangerous dog should leave off lady-killing--this Blue-
Beard give up practice. Or, better rather for his own
sake. For as there is not a word of truth in any of
those prodigious love-stories which you used to swallow,
nobody has been hurt except Wiggle himself, whose
affections will now centre in the ham-and-beef shop.
There ARE people, Mr. Waggle, who do these things in
earnest, and hold a good rank in the world too. But
these are not subjects for ridicule, and though certainly
Snobs, are scoundrels likewise. Their cases go up to a
Bacchus is the divinity to whom Waggle devotes his
especial worship. 'Give me wine, my boy,' says he to his
friend Wiggle, who is prating about lovely woman; and
holds up his glass full of the rosy fluid, and winks at
it portentously, and sips it, and smacks his lips after
it, and meditates on it, as if he were the greatest of
I have remarked this excessive wine-amateurship
especially in youth. Snoblings from college, Fledglings
from the army, Goslings from the public schools, who
ornament our Clubs, are frequently to be heard in great
force upon wine questions. 'This bottle's corked,' says
Snobling; and Mr. Sly, the butler, taking it away,
returns presently with the same wine in another jug,
which the young amateur pronounces excellent. 'Hang
champagne!' says Fledgling, 'it's only fit for gals and
children. Give me pale sherry at dinner, and my twenty-
three claret afterwards.' 'What's port now?' says
Gosling; 'disgusting thick sweet stuff--where's the old
dry wine one USED to get?' Until the last twelvemonth,
Fledgling drank small-beer at Doctor Swishtail's; and
Gosling used to get his dry old port at a gin-shop in
Westminster--till he quitted that seminary, in 1844.
Anybody who has looked at the caricatures of thirty years
ago, must remember how frequently bottle-noses, pimpled
faces, and other Bardolphian features are introduced by
the designer. They are much more rare now (in nature,
and in pictures, therefore,) than in those good old
times; but there are still to be found amongst the youth
of our Clubs lads who glory in drinking-bouts, and whose
faces, quite sickly and yellow, for the most part are
decorated with those marks which Rowland's Kalydor is
said to efface. 'I was SO cut last night--old boy!'
Hopkins says to Tomkins (with amiable confidence). 'I
tell you what we did. We breakfasted with Jack Herring
at twelve, and kept up with brandy and soda-water and
weeds till four; then we toddled into the Park for an
hour; then we dined and drank mulled port till half-
price; then we looked in for an hour at the Haymarket;
then we came back to the Club, and had grills and whisky
punch till all was blue--Hullo, waiter! Get me a glass
of cherry-brandy.' Club waiters, the civilest, the
kindest, the patientest of men, die under the infliction
of these cruel young topers. But if the reader wishes to
see a perfect picture on the stage of this class of young
fellows, I would recommend him to witness the ingenious
comedy of LONDON ASSURANCE--the amiable heroes of which
are represented, not only as drunkards and five-o'clock-
in-the-morning men, but as showing a hundred other
delightful traits of swindling, lying, and general
debauchery, quite edifying to witness.
How different is the conduct of these outrageous youths
to the decent behaviour of my friend, Mr. Papworthy; who
says to Poppins, the butler at the Club:--
PAPWORTHY.--'Poppins, I'm thinking of dining early; is
there any cold game in the house?'
POPPINS.--'There's a game pie, sir; there's cold grouse,
sir; there's cold pheasant, sir; there's cold peacock,
sir; cold swan, sir; cold ostrich, sir,' &c. &c. (as the
case may be).
PAPWORTHY.--'Hem! What's your best claret now, Poppins?-
-in pints, I mean.'
POPPINS.--'There's Cooper and Magnum's Lafitte, sir:
there's Lath and Sawdust's St. Julien, sir; Bung's
Leoville is considered remarkably fine; and I think you'd
like Jugger's Chateau-Margaux.'
PAPWORTHY.--'Hum!--hah!--well--give me a crust of bread
and a glass of beer. I'll only LUNCH, Poppins.
Captain Shindy is another sort of Club bore. He has been
known to throw all the Club in an uproar about the
quality of his mutton-chop.
'Look at it, sir! Is it cooked, sir? Smell it, sir! Is
it meat fit for a gentleman?' he roars out to the
steward, who stands trembling before him, and who in vain
tells him that the Bishop of Bullocksmithy has just had
three from the same loin. All the waiters in the Club
are huddled round the captain's mutton-chop. He roars
out the most horrible curses at John for not bringing the
pickles; he utters the most dreadful oaths because Thomas
has not arrived with the Harvey Sauce; Peter comes
tumbling with the water-jug over Jeames, who is bringing
'the glittering canisters with bread.' Whenever Shindy
enters the room (such is the force of character), every
table is deserted, every gentleman must dine as he best
may, and all those big footmen are in terror.
He makes his account of it. He scolds, and is better
waited upon in consequence. At the Club he has ten
servants scudding about to do his bidding.
Poor Mrs. Shindy and the children are, meanwhile, in
dingy lodgings somewhere, waited upon by a charity-girl
Every well-bred English female will sympathize with the
subject of the harrowing tale, the history of Sackville
Maine, I am now about to recount. The pleasures of Clubs
have been spoken of: let us now glance for a moment at
the dangers of those institutions, and for this purpose I
must introduce you to my young acquaintance, Sackville
It was at a ball at the house of my respected friend,
Mrs. Perkins, that I was introduced to this gentleman and
his charming lady. Seeing a young creature before me in
a white dress, with white satin shoes; with a pink
ribbon, about a yard in breadth, flaming out as she
twirled in a polka in the arms of Monsieur de Springbock,
the German diplomatist; with a green wreath on her head,
and the blackest hair this individual set eyes on--
seeing, I say, before me a charming
young woman whisking beautifully in a beautiful dance,
and presenting, as she wound and wound round the room,
now a full face, then a three-quarter face, then a
profile--a face, in fine, which in every way you saw it,
looked pretty, and rosy, and happy, I felt (as I trust) a
not unbecoming curiosity regarding the owner of this
pleasant countenance, and asked Wagley (who was standing
by, in conversation with an acquaintance) who was the
lady in question?
'Which?' says Wagley.
'That one with the coal-black eyes,' I replied.
'Hush!' says he; and the gentleman with whom he was
talking moved off, with rather a discomfited air.
When he was gone Wagley burst out laughing. 'COAL-BLACK
eyes!' said he; 'you've just hit it. That's Mrs.
Sackville Maine, and that was her husband who just went
away. He's a coal-merchant, Snob my boy, and I have no
doubt Mr. Perkins's Wallsends are supplied from his
wharf. He is in a flaming furnace when he hears coals
mentioned. He and his wife and his mother are very proud
of Mrs. Sackville's family; she was a Miss Chuff,
daughter of Captain Chuff, R.N. That is the widow; that
stout woman in crimson tabinet, battling about the odd
trick with old Mr. Dumps, at the card-table.'
And so, in fact, it was. Sackville Maine (whose name is
a hundred times more elegant, surely, than that of Chuff)
was blest with a pretty wife, and a genteel mother-in-
law, both of whom some people may envy him.
Soon after his marriage the old lady was good enough to
come and pay him a visit--just for a fortnight--at his
pretty little cottage, Kennington Oval; and, such is her
affection for the place, has never quitted it these four
years. She has also brought her son, Nelson Collingwood
Chuff, to live with her; but he is not so much at home as
his mamma, going as a day-boy to Merchant Taylors'
School, where he is getting a sound classical education.
If these beings, so closely allied to his wife, and so
justly dear to her, may be considered as drawbacks to
Maine's happiness, what man is there that has not some
things in life to complain of? And when I first knew Mr.
Maine, no man seemed more comfortable than he. His
cottage was a picture of elegance and comfort; his table
and cellar were excellently and neatly supplied. There
was every enjoyment, but no ostentation. The omnibus
took him to business of a morning; the boat brought him
back to the happiest of homes, where he would while away
the long evenings by reading out the fashionable novels
to the ladies as they worked; or accompany his wife on
the flute (which he played elegantly); or in any one of
the hundred pleasing and innocent amusements of the
domestic circle. Mrs. Chuff covered the drawing-rooms
with prodigious tapestries, the work of her hands. Mrs.
Sackville had a particular genius for making covers of
tape or network for these tapestried cushions. She could
make home-made wines. She could make preserves and
pickles. She had an album, into which, during the time
of his courtship, Sackville Maine bad written choice
scraps of Byron's and Moore's poetry, analogous to his
own situation, and in a fine mercantile hand. She had a
large manuscript receipt-book--every quality, in a word,
which indicated a virtuous and well-bred English female
'And as for Nelson Collingwood,' Sackville would say,
laughing, 'we couldn't do without him in the house. If
he didn't spoil the tapestry we should be 'over-cushioned
in a few months; and whom could we get but him to drink
Laura's home-made wine?' The truth is, the gents who
came from the City to dine at the 'Oval' could not be
induced to drink it--in which fastidiousness, I myself,
when I grew to be intimate with the family, confess that
'And yet, sir, that green ginger has been drunk by some
of England's proudest heroes,' Mrs. Chuff would exclaim.
'Admiral Lord Exmouth tasted and praised it, sir, on
board Captain Chuff's ship, the "Nebuchadnezzar," 74, at
Algiers; and he had three dozen with turn in the
"Pitchfork" frigate, a part of which was served
out to the men before he went into his immortal action
with the "Furibonde," Captain Choufleur, in the Gulf of
All this, though the old dowager told us the story every
day when the wine was produced, never served to get rid
of any quantity of it--and the green ginger, though it
had fired British tars for combat and victory, was not to
the taste of us peaceful and degenerate gents of modern
I see Sackville now, as on the occasion when, presented
by Wagley, I paid my first visit to him. It was in July-
-a Sunday afternoon--Sackville Maine was coming from
church, with his wife on one arm, and his mother-ill-law
(in red tabinet, as usual,) on the other. A half-grown,
or hobbadehoyish footman, so to speak, walked after them,
carrying their shining golden prayer-books--the ladies
had splendid parasols with tags and fringes. Mrs.
Chuff's great gold watch, fastened to her stomach,
gleamed there like a ball of fire. Nelson Collingwood
was in the distance, shying stones at an old horse on
Kennington Common. 'Twas on that verdant spot we met--
nor can I ever forget the majestic courtesy of Mrs.
Chuff, as she remembered having had the pleasure of
seeing me at Mrs. Perkins's--nor the glance of scorn
which she threw at an unfortunate gentleman who was
preaching an exceedingly desultory discourse to a
sceptical audience of omnibus-cads and nurse-maids, on a
tub, as we passed by. 'I cannot help it, sir,' says she;
'I am the widow of an officer of Britain's Navy: I was
taught to honour my Church and my King: and I cannot bear
a Radical or a Dissenter.'
With these fine principles I found Sackville Maine
impressed. 'Wagley,' said he, to my introducer, 'if no
better engagement, why shouldn't self and friend dine at
the "Oval?" Mr. Snob, sir, the mutton's coming off the
spit at this very minute. Laura and Mrs. Chuff' (he said
LAURAR and Mrs. Chuff; but I hate people who make remarks
on these peculiarities of pronunciation,) 'will be most
happy to see you; and I can promise you a hearty welcome,
and as good a glass of port-wine as any in England.'
'This is better than dining at the "Sarcophagus,"' thinks
I to myself, at which Club Wagley and I had intended to
take our meal; and so we accepted the kindly invitation,
whence arose afterwards a considerable intimacy.
Everything about this family and house was so good-
natured, comfortable, and well-conditioned, that a cynic
would have ceased to growl there. Mrs. Laura was all
graciousness and smiles, and looked to as great advantage
in her pretty morning-gown as in her dress-robe at Mrs.
Perkins's. Mrs. Chuff fired off her stories about the
'Nebuchadnezzar,' 74, the action between the 'Pitchfork'
and the 'Furibonde'--the heroic resistance of Captain
Choufleur, and the quantity of snuff he took, &c. &c.;
which, as they were heard for the first time, were
pleasanter than I have subsequently found them.
Sackville Maine was the best of hosts. He agreed in
everything everybody said, altering his opinions without
the slightest reservation upon the slightest possible
contradiction. He was not one of those beings who would
emulate a Schonbein or Friar Bacon, or act the part of an
incendiary towards the Thames, his neighbour--but a good,
kind, simple, honest, easy fellow--in love with his wife-
-well disposed to all the world--content with himself,
content even with his mother-in-law. Nelson Collingwood,
I remember, in the course of the evening, when whisky-
and-water was for some reason produced, grew a little
tipsy. This did not in the least move Sackville's
equanimity. 'Take him upstairs, Joseph,' said he to the
hobbadehoy, 'and--Joseph--don't tell his mamma.'
What could make a man so happily disposed, unhappy? What
could cause discomfort, bickering, and estrangement in a
family so friendly and united? Ladies, it was not my
fault--it was Mrs. Chuff's doing--but the rest of the
tale you shall have on a future day.
The misfortune which befell the simple and good-natured
young Sackville, arose entirely from that abominable
'Sarcophagus Club;' and that he ever entered it was
partly the fault of the present writer.
For seeing Mrs. Chuff, his mother-in-law, had a taste for
the genteel--(indeed, her talk was all about Lord
Collingwood, Lord Gambier, Sir Jahaleel Brenton, and the
Gosport and Plymouth balls)--Wagley and I, according to
our wont, trumped her conversation, and talked about
Lords, Dukes, Marquises, and Baronets, as if those
dignitaries were our familiar friends.
'Lord Sextonbury,' says I, 'seems to have recovered her
ladyship's death. He and the Duke were very jolly over
their wine at the "Sarcophagus" last night; weren't they,
'Good fellow, the Duke,' Wagley replied. 'Pray, ma'am'
(to Mrs. Chuff), 'you who know the world and etiquette,
will you tell me what a man ought to do in my case? Last
June, his Grace, his son Lord Castlerampant, Tom Smith,
and myself were dining at the Club, when I offered the
odds against DADDYLONGLEGS for the Derby--forty to one,
in sovereigns only. His Grace took the bet, and of
course I won. He has never paid me. Now, can I ask such a
great man for a sovereign?--One more lump of sugar, if
you please, my dear madam.'
It was lucky Wagley gave her this opportunity to elude
the question, for it prostrated the whole worthy family
among whom we were. They telegraphed each other with
wondering eyes. Mrs. Chuff's stories about the naval
nobility grew quite faint and kind little Mrs. Sackville
became uneasy, and went upstairs to look at the children-
-not at that young monster, Nelson Collingwood, who was
sleeping off the whisky-and-water--but at a couple of
little ones who had made their appearance at dessert, and
of whom she and Sackville were the happy parents.
The end of this and subsequent meetings with Mr. Maine
was, that we proposed and got him elected as a member of
the 'Sarcophagus Club.'
It was not done without a deal of opposition--the secret
having been whispered that the candidate was a coal-
merchant. You may be sure some of the proud people and
most of the parvenus of the Club were ready to blackball
him. We combated this opposition sucessfully, however.
We pointed out to the parvenus that the Lambtons and the
Stuarts sold coals: we mollified the proud by accounts of
his good birth, good nature, and good behaviour; and
Wagley went about on the day of election, describing with
great eloquence, the action between the 'Pitchfork' and
the 'Furibonde,' and the valour of Captain Maine, our
friend's father. There was a slight mistake in the
narrative; but we carried our man, with only a trifling
sprinkling of black beans in the boxes: Byles's, of
course, who blackballs everybody: and Bung's, who looks
down upon a coal-merchant, having himself lately retired
from the wine-trade.
Some fortnight afterwards I saw Sackville Maine under the
He was showing the Club to his family. He had 'brought
them thither in the light-blue fly, waiting at the Club
door; with Mrs. Chuff's hobbadehoy footboy on the box, by
the side of the flyman, in a sham livery. Nelson
Collingwood; pretty Mrs. Sackville; Mrs. Captain Chuff
(Mrs. Commodore Chuff we call her), were all there; the
latter, of course, in the vermilion tabinet, which,
splendid as it is, is nothing in comparison to the
splendour of the 'Sarcophagus.' The delighted Sackville
Maine was pointing out the beauties of the place to them.
It seemed as beautiful as Paradise to that little party.
The 'Sarcophagus' displays every known variety of
architecture and decoration. The great library is
Elizabethan; the small library is pointed Gothic; the
dining-room is severe Doric; the strangers' room has an
Egyptian look; the drawing-rooms are Louis Quatorze (so
called because the hideous ornanents displayed were used
in the time of Louis Quinze); the CORTILE, or hall, is
Morisco-Italian. It is all over marble, maplewood,
looking-glasses, arabesques, ormolu, and scagliola.
Scrolls, ciphers, dragons, Cupids, polyanthuses, and
other flowers writhe up the walls in every kind of
cornucopiosity. Fancy every gentleman in Jullien's band
playing with all his might, and each performing a
different tune; the ornaments at our Club, the
'Sarcophagus,' so bewilder and affect me. Dazzled with
emotions which I cannot describe, and which she dared not
reveal, Mrs. Chuff, followed by her children and son-in-
law, walked wondering amonst these blundering splendours.
In the great library (225 feet long by 150) the only man
Mrs. Chuff saw, was Tiggs. He was lying on a crimson-
velvet sofa, reading a French novel of Paul de Kock. It
was a very little book. He is a very little man. In
that enormous hall he looked like a mere speck. As the
ladies passed breathless and trembling in the vastness of
the magnificent solitude, he threw a knowing, killing
glance at the fair strangers, as much as to say, 'Ain't I
a fine fellow?' They thought so, I am sure.
'WHO IS THAT?,' hisses out Mrs. Chuff, when we were about
fifty yards off him at the other end of the room.
'Tiggs!' says I, in a similar whisper.
'Pretty comfortable this, isn't it, my dear?' says Maine
in a free-and-easy way to Mrs. Sackville; all the
magazines, you see--writing materials--new works--choice
library, containing every work of importance--what have
we here?--"Dugdale's Monasticon,' a most valuable and, I
believe, entertaining book.'
And proposing to take down one of the books for Mrs.
Maine's inspection, he selected Volume VII., to which he
was attracted by the singular fact that a brass door-
handle grew out of the back. Instead of pulling out a
book, however, he pulled open a cupboard, only inhabited
by a lazy housemaid's broom and duster, at which he
looked exceedingly discomfited ; while Nelson
Collingwood, losing all respect, burst into a roar of
'That's the rummest book I ever saw,' says Nelson. 'I
wish we'd no others at Merchant Taylors'.'
'Hush, Nelson!' cries Mrs. Chuff, and we went into the
other magnificent apartments.
How they did admire the drawing-room hangings, (pink and
silver brocade, most excellent wear for London,) and
calculated the price per yard; and revelled on the
luxurious sofas; and gazed on the immeasurable looking-
'Pretty well to shave by, eh?' says Maine to his mother-
in-law. (He was getting more abominably conceited every
minute.) 'Get away, Sackville,' says she, quite
delighted, and threw a glance over her shoulder, and
spread out the wings of the red tabinet, and took a good
look at herself; so did Mrs. Sackville--just one, and I
thought the glass reflected a very smiling, pretty
But what's a woman at a looking-glass? Bless the little
dears, it's their place. They fly to it naturally. It
pleases them, and they adorn it. What I like to see, and
watch with increasing joy and adoration, is the Club MEN
at the great looking-glasses. Old Gills pushing up his
collars and grinning at his own mottled face. Hulker
looking solemnly at his great person, and tightening his
coat to give himself a waist. Fred Minchin simpering by
as he is going out to dine, and casting upon the
reflection of his white neckcloth a pleased moony smile.
What a deal of vanity that Club mirror has reflected, to
Well, the ladies went through the whole establishment
with perfect pleasure. They beheld the coffee-rooms, and
the little tables laid for dinner, and the gentlemen who
were taking their lunch, and old Jawkins thundering away
as usual; they saw the reading-rooms, and the rush for
the evening papers; they saw the kitchens--those wonders
of art--where the CHEF was presiding over twenty pretty
kitchen-maids, and ten thousand shining saucepans: and
they got into the light-blue fly perfectly bewildered
Sackville did not enter it, though little Laura took the
back seat on purpose, and left him the front place
alongside of Mrs. Chuff's red tabinet.
'We have your favourite dinner,' says she, in a timid
voice; 'won't you come, Sackville?'
'I shall take a chop here to-day, my dear,' Sackville
replied. 'Home, James.' And he went up the steps of the
'Sarcophagus,' and the pretty face looked very sad out of
the carriage, as the blue fly drove away.
Why--Why did I and Wagley ever do so cruel an action as
to introduce young Sackville Maine into that odious
'Sarcophagus'? Let our imprudence and his example be a
warning to other gents; let his fate and that of his poor
wife be remembered by every British female. The
consequences of his entering the Club were as follows:--
One of the first vices the unhappy wretch acquired in
this abode of frivolity was that of SMOKING. Some of the
dandies of the Club, such as the Marquis of Macabaw, Lord
Doodeen, and fellows of that high order, are in the habit
of indulging in this propensity upstairs in the billiard-
rooms of the 'Sarcophagus'-- and, partly to make their
acquaintance, partly from a natural aptitude for crime,
Sackville Maine followed them, and became an adept in the
odious custom. Where it is introduced into a family I
need not say how sad the consequences are, both to the
furniture and the morals. Sackville smoked in his
dining-room at home, and caused an agony to his wife and
mother-in-law which I do not venture to describe.
He then became a professed BILLIARD-PLAYER, wasting hours
upon hours at that amusement; betting freely, playing
tolerably, losing awfully to Captain Spot and Col.
Cannon. He played matches of a hundred games with these
gentlemen, and would not only continue until four or five
o'clock in the morning at this work, but would be found
at the Club of a forenoon, indulging himself to the
detriment of his business, the ruin of his health, and
the neglect of his wife.
>From billiards to whist is but a step--and when a man
gets to whist and five pounds on a rubber, my opinion is,
that it is all up with him. How was the coal business to
go on, and the connection of the firm to be kept up, and
the senior partner always at the card-table?
Consorting now with genteel persons and Pall Mall bucks,
Sackville became ashamed of his snug little residence in
Kennington Oval, and transported his family to Pimlico,
where, though Mrs. Chuff, his mother-in-law, was at first
happy, as the quarter was elegant and near her Sovereign,
poor little Laura and the children found a woful
difference. Where were her friends who came in with
their work of a morning?--At Kennington and in the
vicinity of Clapham. 'Where were her children's little
playmates?--On Kennington Common. The great thundering
carriages that roared up and down the drab-coloured
streets of the new quarter, contained no friends for the
sociable little Laura. The children that paced the
squares, attended by a BONNE or a prim governess, were
not like those happy ones that flew kites, or played hop-
scotch, on the well-beloved old Common. And ah! what a
difference at Church too!--between St. Benedict's of
Pimlico, with open seats, service in sing-song--tapers --
albs--surplices--garlands and processions, and the honest
old ways of Kennington! The footmen, too, attending St.
Benedict's were so splendid and enormous, that James,
Mrs. Chuff's boy, trembled amongst them, and said he
would give warning rather than carry the books to that
church any more.
The furnishing of the house was not done without expense.
And, ye gods! what a difference there was between
Sackville's dreary French banquets in Pimlico, and the
jolly dinners at the Oval! No more legs-of-mutton, no
more of 'the best port-wine in England;' but ENTREES on
plate, and dismal twopenny champagne, and waiters in
gloves, and the Club bucks for company--among whom Mrs.
Chuff was uneasy and Mrs. Sackville quite silent.
Not that he dined at home often. The wretch had become a
perfect epicure, and dined commonly at the Club with the
gormandising clique there; with old Doctor Maw, Colonel
Cramley (who is as lean as a greyhound and has jaws like
a jack), and the rest of them. Here you might see the
wretch tippling Sillery champagne and gorging himself
with French viands; and I often looked with sorrow from
my table, (on which cold meat, the Club small-beer, and a
half-pint of Marsala form the modest banquet,) and sighed
to think it was my work.
And there were other beings present to my repentant
thoughts. Where's his wife, thought I? Where's poor,
good, kind little Laura? At this very moment--it's about
the nursery bed-time, and while yonder good-for-nothing
is swilling his wine--the little ones are at Laura's
knees lisping their prayers: and she is teaching them to
say--'Pray God bless Papa.'
When she has put them to bed, her day's occupation is
gone; and she is utterly lonely all night, and sad, and
waiting for him.
Oh, for shame! Oh, for shame! Go home, thou idle
How Sackville lost his health : how he lost his business;
how he got into scrapes; how he got into debt; how he
became a railroad director; how the Pimlico house was
shut up; how he went to Boulogne,--all this I could tell,
only I am too much ashamed of my part of the transaction.
They returned to England, because, to the surprise of
everybody, Mrs. Chuff came down with a great sum of money
(which nobody knew she had saved), and paid his
liabilities. He is in England; but at Kennington. His
name is taken off the books of the 'Sarcophagus' long
ago. When we meet, he crosses over to the other side of
the street; I don't call, as I should be sorry to see a
look of reproach or sadness in Laura's sweet face.
Not, however, all evil, as I am proud to think, has been
the influence of the Snob of England upon Clubs in
general:--Captain Shindy is afraid to bully the waiters
any more, and eats his mutton-chop without moving
Acheron. Gobemouche does not take more than two papers
at a time for his private reading. Tiggs does not ring
the bell and cause the library-waiter to walk about a
quarter of a mile in order to give him Vol. II., which
lies on the next table. Growler has ceased to walk from
table to table in the coffee-room, and inspect what
people are having for dinner. Trotty Veck takes his own
umbrella from the hall--the cotton one; and Sydney
Scraper's paletot lined with silk has been brought back
by Jobbins, who entirely mistook it for his own. Wiggle
has discontinued telling stories about the ladies he has
killed. Snooks does not any more think it gentlemanlike
to blackball attorneys. Snuffler no longer publicly
spreads out his great red cotton pocket-handkerchief
before the fire, for the admiration of two hundred
gentlemen; and if one Club Snob has been brought back to
the paths of rectitude, and if one poor John has been
spared a journey or a scolding--say, friends and brethren
if these sketches of Club Snobs have been in vain?
CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS ON SNOBS
How it is that we have come to No. 45 of this present
series of papers, my dear friends and brother Snobs, I
hardly know--but for a whole mortal year have we been
together, prattling, and abusing the human race; and were
we to live for a hundred years more, I believe there is
plenty of subject for conversation in the enormous theme
The national mind is awakened to the subject. Letters
pour in every day, conveying marks of sympathy; directing
the attention of the Snob of England to races of Snobs
yet undescribed. 'Where are your Theatrical Snobs; your
Commercial Snobs; your Medical and Chirurgical Snobs;
your Official Snobs; your Legal Snobs; your Artistical
Snobs; your Musical Snobs; your Sporting Snobs?' write my
esteemed correspondents. 'Surely you are not going to
miss the Cambridge Chancellor election, and omit showing
up your Don Snobs, who are coming, cap in hand, to a
young Prince of six-and-twenty, and to implore him to be
the chief of their renowned University?' writes a friend
who seals with the signet of the Cam and Isis Club.
'Pray, pray,' cries another, 'now the Operas are opening,
give us a lecture about Omnibus Snobs.' Indeed, I should
like to write a chapter about the Snobbish Dons very
much, and another about the Snobbish Dandies. Of my dear
Theatrical Snobs I think with a pang; and I can hardly
break away from some Snobbish artists, with whom I have
long, long intended to have a palaver.
But what's the use of delaying? When these were done
there would be fresh Snobs to pourtray. The labour is
endless. No single man could complete it. Here are but
fifty-two bricks--and a pyramid to build. It is best to
stop. As Jones always quits the room as soon as he has
said his good thing,--as Cincinnatus and General
Washington both retired into private life in the height
of their popularity,--as Prince Albert, when he laid the
first stone of the Exchange, left the bricklayers to
complete that edifice and went home to his royal dinner,-
-as the poet Bunn comes forward at the end of the season,
and with feelings too tumultuous to describe, blesses his
KYIND friends over the footlights: so, friends, in the
flush of conquest and the splendour of victory, amid the
shouts and the plaudits of a people--triumphant yet
modest--the Snob of England bids ye farewell.
But only for a season. Not for ever. No, no. There is
one celebrated author whom I admire very much--who has
been taking leave of the public any time these ten years
in his prefaces, and always comes back again when
everybody is glad to see him. How can he have the heart
to be saying good-bye so often? I believe that Bunn is
affected when he blesses the people. Parting is always
painful. Even the familiar bore is dear to you. I
should be sorry to shake hands even with Jawkins for the
last time. I think a well-constituted convict, on coming
home from transportation, ought to be rather sad when he
takes leave of Van Diemen's Land. When the curtain goes
down on the last night of a pantomime, poor old clown
must be very dismal, depend on it. Ha! with what joy he
rushes forward on the evening of the 26th of December
next, and says--'How are you?--Here we are!' But I am
growing too sentimental:--to return to the theme.
THE NATIONAL MIND IS AWAKENED TO THE SUBJECT OF SNOBS.
The word Snob has taken a place in our honest English
vocabulary. We can't define it, perhaps. We can't say
what it is, any more than we can define wit, or humour,
or humbug; but we KNOW what it is. Some weeks since,
happening to have the felicity to sit next to a young
lady at a hospitable table, where poor old Jawkins was
holding forth in a very absurd pompous manner, I wrote
upon the spotless damask 'S--B,' and called my
neighbour's attention to the little remark.
That young lady smiled. She knew it at once. Her mind
straightway filled up the two letters concealed by
apostrophic reserve, and I read in her assenting eyes
that she knew Jawkins was a Snob. You seldom get them to
make use of the word as yet, it is true; but it is
inconceivable how pretty an expression their little
smiling mouths assume when they speak it out. If any
young lady doubts, just let her go up to her own room,
look at herself steadily in the glass, and say 'Snob.'
If she tries this simple experiment, my life for it, she
will smile, and own that the word becomes her mouth
amazingly. A pretty little round word, all composed of
soft letters, with a hiss at the beginning, just to make
it piquant, as it were.
Jawkins, meanwhile, went on blundering, and bragging and
boring, quite unconsciously. And so he will, no doubt,
go on roaring and braying, to the end of time or at least
so long as people will hear him. You cannot alter the
nature of men and Snobs by any force of satire; as, by
laying ever so many stripes on a donkey's back, you can't
turn him into a zebra.
But we can warn the neighbourhood that the person whom
they and Jawkins admire is an impostor. We apply the
Snob test to him, and try whether he is conceited and a
quack, whether pompous and lacking humility--whether
uncharitable and proud of his narrow soul? How does he
treat a great man--how regard a small one? How does he
comport himself in the presence of His Grace the Duke;
and how in that of Smith the tradesman?
And it seems to me that all English society is cursed by
this mammoniacal superstition; and that we are sneaking
and bowing and cringing on the one hand, or bullying and
scorning on the other, from the lowest to the highest.
My wife speaks with great circumspection--'proper pride,'
she calls it--to our neighbour the tradesman's lady: and
she, I mean Mrs. Snob,--Eliza--would give one of her eyes
to go to Court, as her cousin, the Captain's wife, did.
She, again, is a good soul, but it costs her agonies to
be obliged to confess that we live in Upper Thompson
Street, Somers Town. And though I believe in her heart
Mrs. Whiskerington is fonder of us than of her cousins,
the Smigsmags, you should hear how she goes on prattling
about Lady Smigsmag,--and 'I said to Sir John, my dear
John;' and about the Smigsmags' house and parties in Hyde
Lady Smigsmag, when she meets Eliza,--who is a sort of a
kind of a species of a connection of the family, pokes
out one finger, which my wife is at liberty to embrace in
the most cordial manner she can devise. But oh, you
should see her ladyship's behaviour on her first-chop
dinner-party days, when Lord and Lady Longears come!
I can bear it no longer--this diabolical invention of
gentility which kills natural kindliness and honest
friendship. Proper pride, indeed! Rank and precedence,
forsooth! The table of ranks and degrees is a lie, and
should be flung into the fire. Organize rank and
precedence! that was well for the masters of ceremonies
of former ages. Come forward, some great marshal, and
organize Equality in society, and your rod shall swallow
up all the juggling old court goldsticks. If this is not
gospel-truth--if the world does not tend to this--if
hereditary-great-man worship is not a humbug and an
idolatry--let us have the Stuarts back again, and crop
the Free Press's ears in the pillory.
If ever our cousins, the Smigsmags, asked me to meet Lord
Longears, I would like to take an opportunity after
dinner and say, in the most good-natured way in the
world:--Sir, Fortune makes you a present of a number of
thousand pounds every year. The ineffable wisdom of our
ancestors has placed you as a chief and hereditary
legislator over me. Our admirable Constitution (the
pride of Britons and envy of surrounding nations) obliges
me to receive you as my senator, superior, and guardian.
Your eldest son, Fitz-Heehaw, is sure of a place in
Parliament; your younger sons, the De Brays, will kindly
condescend to be post-captains and lieutenants-colonels,
and to represent us in foreign courts or to take a good
living when it falls convenient. These prizes our
admirable Constitution (the pride and envy of, &c.)
pronounces to be your due: without count of your dulness,
your vices, your selfishness; or your entire incapacity
and folly. Dull as you may be (and we have as good a
right to assume that my lord is an ass, as the other
proposition, that he is an enlightened patriot);--dull, I
say, as you may be, no one will accuse you of such
monstrous folly, as to suppose that you are indifferent
to the good luck which you possess, or have any
inclination to part with it. No--and patriots as we are,
under happier circumstances, Smith and I, I have no
doubt, were we dukes ourselves, would stand by our order.
We would submit good-naturedly to sit in a high place.
We would acquiesce in that admirable Constitution (pride
and envy of, &c.) which made us chiefs and the world our
inferiors; we would not cavil particularly at that notion
of hereditary superiority which brought many simple
people cringing to our knees. May be we would rally
round the Corn-Laws; we would make a stand against the
Reform Bill; we would die rather than repeal the Acts
against Catholics and Dissenters; we would, by our noble
system of class-legislation, bring Ireland to its present
But Smith and I are not Earls as yet. 'We don't believe
that it is for the interest of Smith's army that De Bray
should be a Colonel at five-and-twenty, of Smith's
diplomatic relations that Lord Longears should go
Ambassador to Constantinople,--of our politics, that
Longears should put his hereditary foot into them.
This bowing and cringing Smith believes to be the act of
Snobs; and he will do all in his might and main to be a
Snob and to submit to Snobs no longer. To Longears he
says, 'We can't help seeing, Longears, that we are as
good as you. We can spell even better; can think quite
as rightly; we will not have you for our master, or black
your shoes any more. Your footmen do it, but they are
paid; and the fellow who comes to get a list of the
company when you give a banquet or a dancing breakfast at
Longueoreille House, gets money from the newspapers for
performing that service. But for us, thank you for
nothing, Longears my boy, and we don't wish to pay you
any more than we owe. We will take off our hats to
Wellington because he is Wellington; but to you--who are
I am sick of COURT CIRCULARS. I loathe HAUT-TON
intelligence. I believe such words as Fashionable,
Exclusive, Aristocratic, and the like, to be wicked,
unchristian epithets, that ought to be banished from
honest vocabularies. A Court system that sends men of
genius to the second table, I hold to be a Snobbish
system. A society that sets up to be polite, and ignores
Arts and Letters, I hold to be a Snobbish society. You,
who despise your neighbour, are a Snob; you, who forget
your own friends, meanly to follow after those of a
higher degree, are a Snob; you, who are ashamed of your
poverty, and blush for your calling, are a Snob; as are
you who boast of your pedigree, or are proud of your
To laugh at such is MR. PUNCH'S business. May he laugh
honestly, hit no foul blow, and tell the truth when at
his very broadest grin--never forgetting that if Fun is
good, Truth is still better, and Love best of all.
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