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with trepidation. The traveller smiles. They all move their legs, but know nothing of it; till the market-woman exclaims, “Deary me ! Well—lord, only think . A hat is it, Sir? Why I do believe, but I’m sure I never thought o' such a thing more than the child unborn,-that it must be a hat then which I took for a pan I’ve been a buying ; and so I’ve had my warm foot in it, Lord help us, ever since five o’clock this blessed morning !” It is but fair to add, that we happen to have an educated antipathy to the hat. At our school no hats were worn, and the cap is too small to be a substitute. Its only use is to astonish the old ladies in the street, who wonder how so small a thing can be kept on ; and to this end, we used to rub it into the back or side of the head, where it hung like a worsted wonder. It is after the fashion of Catharine's cap in the play: it seems as if Moulded on a porringer; Why, 'tis a cockle, or a walnut-shell, A kilack, a toy, a trick, a baby's cap; A custard coffin, a bauble.
But we may not add
Ill befall us, if we ever dislike anything about thee, old nurse of our childhood How independent of the weather used we to feel in our old friar's dress, – our thick shoes, yellow worsted stockings, and coarse long coat or gown 1 Our cap was oftener in our hand than on our head, let the weather be what it would. We felt a pride as well as pleasure, when every body else was hurrying through the streets, in receiving the full summer showers with uncovered poll, sleeking our glad hair like the feathers of a bird. It must be said for hats in general, that they are a very ancient part of dress, perhaps the most ancient; for a negro, who has nothing else upon him, sometimes finds it necessary to guard off the sun with a hat of leaves or straw. The Chinese, who carry their records farther back than any other people, are a hatted race, both narrow-brimmed and broad. We are apt to think of the Greeks as a bare-headed people; and they liked to be so ; but they had hats for journeying in, such as may be seen on the statues of Mercury, who was the god of travellers. They were large and flapped, and were sometimes fastened round under the chin like a lady's bonnet. The Eastern nations generally wore turbans, and do still, with the exception of the Persians, who have exchanged them for large conical caps of felt. The Romans copied the Greeks in their dress, as in everything else; but the poorer orders wore a cap like their boasted Phrygian ancestors, resembling the one which the reader may see about the streets upon the bust of Canova's Paris. The others would put their
robes about their heads upon occasion, after the fashion of the hoods of the middle ages, and of the cloth head-dresses which we see in the portraits of Dante and Petrarch. Of a similar mode are the draperies on the heads of our old Plantagenet kings and of Chaucer. The velvet cap which succeeded, appears to have come from Italy, as seen in the portraits of Raphael and Titian ; and it would probably have continued till the French times of Charles the Second, for our ancestors up to that period were great admirers of Italy, had not Philip the Second of Spain come over to marry our Queen Mary. The extreme heats of Spain had forced the natives upon taking to that ingenious compound of the hat and umbrella, still known by the name of the Spanish hat. We know not whether Philip himself wore it. His father, Charles the Fifth, who was at the top of the world, is represented as delighting in a little humble-looking cap. But we conceive it was either from Philip, or some gentleman in his train, that the hat and feather succeeded among us to the cap and jewels of Henry the Eighth. The ascendancy of Spain in those times carried it into other parts of Europe. The French, not requiring so much shade from the sun, and always playing with and altering their dress, as a child does his toy, first covered the brim with feathers, then gave them a pinch in front; then came pinches up at the side ; and at last appeared the fierce and triple-daring cocked hat. This disappeared in our childhood, or only survived among the military, the old, and the reverend, who could not willingly part with their habitual dignity. An old beau or so would also retain it, in memory of its victories when young. We remember its going away from the heads of the foot-guards. The heavy dragoons retained it till lately. It is now almost sunk into the mock-heroic, and confined, as we before observed, to beadles and coachmen, &c. The modern clerical beaver, agreeably to the deliberation with which our establishments depart from all custom, is a cocked hat with the front flap let down, and only a slight pinch remaining behind. This is worn also by the judges, the lawyers being of clerical extraction. Still however the true cocked-hat lingers here and there with a solitary old gentleman ; and wherever it appears in such company, begets a certain retrospective reverence. There was a something in its connexion with the highbred drawing-room times of the seventeenth century; in the gallant though quaint ardour of its look; and in its being lifted up in salutations with that deliberate loftiness, the arm arching up in front and the hand slowly raising it by the front angle with finger and thumb, that could not easily die. We remember, when our steward at school, remarkable for his inflexible air of precision and dignity, left off his cocked-hat for a round one ; there was, undoubtedly, though we dared only half confess it to our minds, a sort of diminished majesty about him. His infinite self-possession began to look remotely finite. His Crown Imperial was a little blighted. It was like divesting a column of its capital. But the native stateliness was there, informing the new hat. He
Had not yet lost All his original beaver; nor appeared Less than arch-steward ruined, and the excess Of glory obscured.
The late Emperor Paul had conceived such a sense of the dignity of the cocked hat, aggravated by its having been deposed by the round one of the French republicans, that he ordered all persons in his dominions never to dare be seen in public with round hats, upon pain of being knouted and sent to Siberia.
Hats being the easiest part of the European dress to be taken off, are doffed among us out of reverence. The Orientals, on the same account, put off their slippers instead of turbans, which is the reason why the Jews still keep their heads covered during worship. The Spanish grandees have the privilege of wearing their hats in the royal presence, probably in commemoration of the free spirit in which the Cortes used to crown the sovereign; telling him (we suppose in their corporate capacity) that they were better men than he, but chose him of their own free will for their master. The grandees only claim to be as good men, unless their families are older. There is a wellknown story of a picture, in which the Virgin Mary is represented with a label coming out of her mouth, saying to a Spanish gentleman who has politely taken off his hat, “Cousin, be covered.” But the most interesting anecdote connected with a hat belongs to the family of the De Courcys, Lord Kinsale. One of their ancestors, at an old period of our history, having overthrown a huge and insolent champion, who had challenged the whole court, was desired by the king to ask him some favour. He requested that his descendants should have the privilege of keeping their heads covered in the royal presence, and they do so to this day. The new lord, we believe, always comes to court on purpose to vindicate his right. We have heard, that on the last occasion, probably after a long interval, some of the courtiers thought it might as well have been dispensed with ; which was
XXIX. —SEAMEN ON SHORE.
THE sole business of a seaman on shore, who has to go to sea again, is to take as much pleasure as he can. The moment he sets his foot on dry ground, he turns his back on all salt beef and other salt-water restrictions. His long absence, and the impossibility of getting land pleasures at sea, put him upon a sort of desperate appetite. He lands, like a conqueror taking possession. He has been debarred so long, that he is resolved to have that matter out with the inhabitants. They must render an account to him of their treasures, their women, their victualling-stores, their entertain ments, their everything ; and in return he will behave like a gentleman, and scatter his gold.
His first sensation on landing, is the strange firmness of the earth, which he goes treading in a sort of heavy light way, half waggoner and half dancing-master, his shoulders rolling, and his feet touching and going; the same way, in short, in which he keeps himself prepared for all the chances of the vessel, when on deck. There is always this appearance of lightness of foot and heavy strength of upper works, in a sailor. And he feels it himself. Ile lets his jacket fly open, and his shoulders slouch, and his hair grow long, to be gathered into a heavy pigtail; but when full dressed, he prides himself on a certain gentility of toe, on a white stocking and a natty shoe, issuing lightly out of the flowing blue trowser. His arms are neutral, hanging and swinging in a curve aloof; his hands half open, as if they had just been handling ropes, and had no object in life but to handle them again. He is proud of appearing in a new hat and slops, with a Belcher handkerchief flowing loosely round his neck, and the corner of another out of his pocket. Thus equipped, with pinchbeck buckles in his shoes(which he bought for gold), he puts some tobacco in his mouth, not as if he were going to use it directly, but as if he stuffed it in a pouch on one side, as a pelican does fish, to employ it hereafter; and so, with Bet Monson at his side, and perhaps a cane or whanghee twisted under his other arm, sallies forth to take possession of all Lubberland. He buys everything that he comes athwart—nuts,gingerbread, apples,shoe-strings, beer, brandy, gin, buckles, knives, a watch (two, if he has money enough), gowns and handkerchiefs for Betand his mother and sisters, dozens of “Superfine Best Men's Cotton Stockings,” dozens of “Superfine Best Women's Cotton Ditto,” best good Check for Shirts (though he has too much already), infinite needles and thread (to sew his trowsers with some day), a footman's laced hat, Bear's Grease, to make his hair grow (by way of joke), several sticks, all sorts of Jew articles, a flute (which he can't play, and never intends), a leg of mutton, which he carries somewhere to roast, and for a piece of which the landlord of the Ship makes him pay twice what he gave for the whole; in short, all that money can be spent upon, which is everything but medicine gratis, and this he would insist on paying for. He would buy all the painted parrots on an Italian's head, on purpose to break them, rather than not spend his money. He has fiddles and a dance at the Ship, with oceans of flip and grog; and gives the blind fiddler tobacco for sweetmeats, and half-a-crown for treading on his toe. He asks the landlady, with a sigh, after her daughter Nanse, who first fired his heart with her silk stockings; and finding that she is married and in trouble, leaves five crowns for her, which the old lady appropriates as part payment for a shilling in advance. He goes to the Port playhouse with Bet Monson, and a great red handkerchief full of apples, gingerbread nuts, and fresh beef; calls out for the fiddlers and Rule Britannia; pelts Tom Sikes in the pit; and compares Othello to the black ship's cook in his white nightcap. When he comes to London, he and some messmates take a hackney-coach, full of Bet Monsons and tobacco-pipes, and go through the streets smoking and lolling out of window. He has ever been cautious of venturing on horseback, and among his other sights in foreign parts, relates with unfeigned astonishment how he has seen the Turks ride: “Only,” says he, guarding against the hearer's incredulity, “they have saddle-boxes to hold 'em in, fore and aft, and shovels like for stirrups.” He will tell you how the Chinese drink, and the Negurs dance, and the monkeys pelt you with cocoanuts; and how King Domy would have built him a mud hut and made him a peer of the realm, if he would have stopped with him, and taught him to make trowsers. IIe has a sister at a “School for Young Ladies,” who blushes with a mixture of pleasure and shame at his appearance; and whose confusion he completes by slipping fourpence into her hand, and saying out loud that he has “no more copper” about him. His mother and elder sisters at home doat on all he says and does; telling him however, that he is a great sea fellow, and was always wild ever since he was a hop-o'-mythumb, no higher than the window locker. He tells his mother that she would be a duchess in Paranaboo ; at which the good old portly dame laughs and looks proud. When his sisters complain of his romping, he says that they are only sorry it is not the baker. He frightens them with a mask made after the New Zealand fashion, and is forgiven for his learning. Their mantel-piece is filled by him with shells and shark's teeth; and when he goes to sea again, there is no end of tears, and “God bless you's 1” and home-made gingerbread. His Officer on shore does much of all this, only, generally speaking, in a higher taste.
The moment he lands, he buys quantities of jewellery and other valuables, for all the females of his acquaintance; and is taken in for every article. He sends in a cart-load of fresh meat to the ship, though he is going to town next day; and calling in at a chandler's for some candles, is persuaded to buy a dozen of green wax, with which he lights up the ship at evening; regretting that the fine moonlight hinders the effect of the colour. A man, with a bundle beneath his arm, accosts him in an under-tone; and, with a look in which respect for his knowledge is mixed with an avowed zeal for his own interest, asks if his Honour will just step under the gangway here, and inspect some real India shawls. The gallant Lieutenant says to himself, “This fellow knows what's what, by his face;” and so he proves it, by being taken in on the spot. When he brings the shawls home, he says to his sister with an air of triumph, “There, Poll, there's something for you; only cost me twelve, and is worth twenty if it’s worth a dollar.” She turns pale —“Twenty what, my dear George Why, you haven't given twelve dollars for it, I hope 1" “Not I, by the Lord.”— “That's lucky; because you see, my dear, George, that all together is not worth more than fourteen or fifteen shillings" “Fourteen or fifteen what Why its real India, en't it Why the fellow told me so; or I'm sure I’d as soon"—(here he tries to hide his blushes with a bluster)—I’d as soon have given him twelve douses on the chaps as twelve guineas.”— “Twelve guineas 1” exclaims the sister; and then drawling forth, “Why — my — dear – George,” is proceeding to show him what the articles would have cost at Condell's, when he interrupts her by requesting her to go and choose for herself a tea-table service. He then makes his escape to some messmates at a coffeehouse, and drowns his recollection of the shawls in the best wine, and a discussion on the comparative merits of the English and West-Indian beauties and tables. At the theatre afterwards, where he has never been before, he takes a lady at the back of one of the boxes for a woman of quality; and when, after returning his long respectful gaze with a smile, she turns aside and puts her handkerchief to her mouth, he thinks it is in derision, till his friend undeceives him. He is introduced to the lady; and ever afterwards, at first sight of a woman of quality (without any disparagement either to those charming personages), expects her to give him a smile. He thinks the other ladies much better creatures than they are taken for; and for their parts, they tell him, that if all men were like himself, they would trust the sex again :—which, for aught we know, is the truth. He has, indeed, what he thinks a very liberal opinion of ladies in general; judging them all, in a manner, with the eye of a seaman's experience. Yet he will believe nevertheless in
the “true-love” of any given damsel whom he seeks in the way of marriage, let him roam as much, or remain as long at a distance, as he may. It is not that he wants feeling ; but that he has read of it, time out of mind, in songs; and he looks upon constancy as a sort of exploit, answering to those which he performs at sea. He is nice in his watches and linen. He makes you presents of cornelians,
antique seals, cocoa-nuts set in silver, and other
valuables. When he shakes hands with you, it is like being caught in a windlass. He would not swagger about the streets in his uniform, for the world. He is generally modest in company, though liable to be irritated by what he thinks ungentlemanly behaviour. He is also liable to be rendered irritable by sickness ; partly because he has been used to command others, and to be served with all possible deference and alacrity; and partly, because the idea of suffering pain, without any honour or profit to get by it, is unprofessional, and he is not accustomed to it. He treats talents unlike his own with great respect. He often perceives his own so little felt, that it teaches him this feeling for that of others. Besides, he admires the quantity of information which people can get, without travelling like himself; especially when he sees how interesting his own becomes, to them as well as to everybody else. When he tells a story, particularly if full of wonders, he takes care to maintain his character for truth and simplicity, by qualifying it with all possible reservations, concessions, and anticipations of objection ; such as, “in case, at such times as, so to speak, as it were, at least, at any rate.” He seldom uses sea-terms but when jocosely provoked by something contrary to his habits of life; as for instance, if he is always meeting you on horseback, he asks if you never mean to walk the deck again; or if he finds you studying day after day, he says you are always overhauling your log-book. He makes more new acquaintances, and forgets his old ones less, than any other man in the busy world ; for he is so compelled to make his home everywhere, remembers his native one as such a place of enjoyment, has all his friendly recollections so fixed upon his mind at sea, and has so much to tell and to hear when he returns, that change and separation lose with him the most heartless part of their nature. He also sees such a variety of customs and manners, that he becomes charitable in his opinions altogether; and charity, while it diffuses the affections, cannot let the old ones go. Half the secret of human intercourse is to make allowance for each other. When the Officer is superannuated or retires, he becomes, if intelligent and inquiring, one of the most agreeable old men in the world, equally welcome to the silent for his cardplaying, and to the conversational for his recollections. He is fond of astronomy and
books of voyages, and is immortal with all who know him for having been round the world, or seen the transit of Venus, or had one of his fingers carried off by a New Zealand hatchet, or a present of feathers from an Otaheitan beauty. If not elevated by his acquirements above some of his humbler tastes, he delights in a corner-cupboard holding his cocoa-nuts and punch-bowl ; has his summer-house castellated and planted with wooden cannon ; and sets up the figure of his old ship, the Britannia or the Lovely Nancy, for a statue in the garden ; where it stares eternally with red cheeks and round black eyes, as if in astonishment at its situation.
Chaucer, who wrote his Canterbury Tales about four hundred and thirty years ago, has among his other characters in that work a Ship MAN, who is exactly of the same cast as the modern sailor, — the same robustness, courage, and rough-drawn virtue, doing its duty, without being very nice in helping itself to its recreations. There is the very dirk, the complexion, the jollity, the experience, and the bad horsemanship. The plain unaffected ending of the description has the air of a sailor's own speech ; while the line about the beard is exceedingly picturesque, poetical, and comprehensive. In copying it out, we shall merely alter the old spelling, where the words are still modern.
A shipman was there, wonned far by west; For aught I wot, he was of Dartemouth. He rode opon a rouncie, as he couth *, All in a gown of falding to the knee. A dagger hanging by a lace had he, About his neck, under his arm adown : The hot summer had made his hew all brown: And certainly he was a good felaw. Full many a draught of wine he hadde draw From Bourdeaux ward, while that the chapman slep. Of nice conscience took he no keep. If that he fought and had the higher hand, By water he sent 'em home to every land. But of his craft, to reckon well his tides, His streamés and his strandês him besides, His harborough, his moon, and his lode manage, There was not such from Hull unto Carthage. Hardy he was, and wise, I undertake; With many a tempest had his beard been shake. He knew well all the havens, as they were, From Gothland to the Cape de Finisterre, And every creek in Briton and in Spain. His barge yeleped was the Magdelain.
When about to tell his Tale, he tells his fellowtravellers that he shall clink them so merry a bell, That it shall waken all this company: But it shall not be of philosophy,
Nor of physick, nor of terms quaint of law; There is but little Latin in my maw.
The story he tells is a well-known one in the Italian novels, of a monk who made love to a merchant's wife, and borrowed a hundred francs of the husband to give her. She accordingly admits his addresses during the absence of her good man on a journey. When the latter returns, he applies to the cunning monk for repayment, and is referred to the lady; who thus finds her mercenary behaviour outwitted.
* He rode upon a hack-horse, as well as he could.
XXX. —ON THE REALITIES OF IMAGINATION."
THERE is not a more unthinking way of talking, than to say such and such pains and pleasures are only imaginary, and therefore to be got rid of or undervalued accordingly. There is nothing imaginary, in the common acceptation of the word. The logic of Moses in the Vicar of Wakefield is good argument here:—“Whatever is, is.” Whatever touches us, whatever moves us, does touch and does move us. We recognise the reality of it, as we do that of a hand in the dark. We might as well say that a sight which makes us laugh,
or a blow which brings tears into our eyes, is
imaginary, as that anything else is imaginary which makes us laugh or weep. We can only judge of things by their effects. Our perception constantly deceives us, in things with which we suppose ourselves perfectly conversant; but our reception of their effect is a different matter. Whether we are materialists or immaterialists, whether things be about us or within us, whether we think the sun is a substance, or only the image of a divine thought, an idea, a thing imaginary, we are equally agreed as to the notion of its warmth. But on the other hand, as this warmth is felt differently by different temperaments, so what we call imaginary things affect different minds. What we have to do is not to deny their effect, because we do not feel in the same proportion, or whether we even feel it at all ; but to see whether our neighbours may not be moved. If they are, there is, to all intents and purposes, a moving cause. But we do not see it ! No ; —neither perhaps do they. They only feel it; they are only sentient, a word which implies the sight given to the imagination by the feelings. But what do you mean, we may ask in return, by seeing? Some rays of light come in contact with the eye ; they bring a sensation to it; in a word, they touch it; and the impression left by this touch we call sight. How far does this differ in effect from the impression left by any other touch, however mysterious ! An ox knocked down by a butcher, and a man knocked down by a fit of apoplexy, equally feel themselves compelled to drop. The tickling of a straw and of a comedy, equally move the muscles about the mouth. The look of a beloved eye will so thrill the frame, that old philosophers have had recourse to a doctrine of beams and radiant particles flying from one sight to another. In fine, what
is contact itself, and why does it affect us There is no one cause more mysterious than another, if we look into it. Nor does the question concern us like moral causes. We may be content to know the earth by its fruits; but how to increase and improve them is a more attractive study. If instead of saying that the causes which moved in us this or that pain or pleasure were imaginary, people were to say that the causes themselves were removeable, they would be nearer the truth. When a stone trips us up, we do not fall to disputing its existence: we put it out of the way. In like manner, when we suffer from what is called an imaginary pain, our business is not to canvass the reality of it. Whether there is any cause or not in that or any other perception, or whether everything consist not in what is called effect, it is sufficient for us that the effect is real. Our sole business is to remove those second causes, which always accompany the original idea. As in deliriums, for instance, it would be idle to go about persuading the patient that he did not behold the figures he says he does. He might reasonably ask us, if he could, how we know anything about the matter; or how we can be sure, that in the infinite wonders of the universe, certain realities may not become apparent to certain eyes, whether diseased or not. Our business would be to put him into that state of health, in which human beings are not diverted from their offices and comforts by a liability to such imaginations. The best reply to his question would be, that such a morbidity is clearly no more a fit state for a human being, than a disarranged or incomplete state of works is for a watch; and that seeing the general tendency of nature to this completeness or state of comfort, we naturally conclude, that the imaginations in question, whether substantial or not, are at least not of the same lasting or prevailing description. We do not profess metaphysics. We are indeed so little conversant with the masters of that art, that we are never sure whether we are using even its proper terms. All that we may know on the subject comes to us from some reflection and some experience; and this all may be so little as to make a metaphysician smile ; which, if he be a true one, he will do good-naturedly. The pretender will take occasion, from our very confession, to say that we know nothing. Our faculty, such as it is, is rather instinctive than reasoning ; rather physical than metaphysical; rather sentient because it loves much, than because it knows much ; rather calculated by a certain retention of boyhood, and by its wanderings in the green places of thought, to light upon a piece of the old golden world, than to tire ourselves, and conclude it unattainable, by too wide and scientific a search. We pretend to see farther than none but the worldly and the malignant.