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also keep persons to take care of these animals, those persons become objects of consideration also : but, as in duty and inclination bound, let us begin with the gentleman, leaving, as they do in hospitals, the less influential patients to wait to be operated upon — as a friend of mine used to say, “ they will keep." He was a surgeon, and a very skilful one, an excellent fellow, and moreover a true lover of fox-hunting; but the consequence of the latter propensity was, that he was at times, when wanted in his business, what he was always when going across country-very difficult to catch. I do not mean that he neglected his patients : his heart lay in too good a place for that; but he sometimes, as he called it, “ bottled them," if hounds came within his reach, that is, such patients as he used to say “would keep.” Now I trust the gentlemen-jocks will keep — the gentleman's gentlemen shall keep, “ by GM," as Sterne would say: so we will bottle them up for a time, though they may become a little corked by our so.doing.
In comparing any two or more objects, I conceive the first thing to be done is to define precisely what constitutes each in its separate and relative position; and then I conclude, though I never learned systematically either writing or arithmetic in my life, that by a little addition, subtraction, and division we shall come at the dividend of each.
To this end let us first consider what is a gentleman ? Many may say that every one knows what, or rather who is and who is not a gentleman. I fancy I do; but I am quite prepared to expect that many who may read my ideas on the subject will say I do not. Probably they may be right; but as my fancying I do know what constitutes a gentleman is very
" TIS BUT OPINION AFTER ALL.”
far from proof of the fact, so their opinion to the contrary is no certain demonstration that I do not. If gentlemen coincide in this opinion, I bow with submission to their decree, for they are competent judges of each other.
To expect or hope for the concurrence of all classes in venturing an opinion on any subject would be the height of arrogance and folly: the very old fable of the old man, his son, and the ass, teaches us thus much; the old Latin saying, “ frustra laboret qui omnibus tentat placere,” corroborates it; and daily experience stamps the seal of conviction on our minds of its truth. If, however, every one suffered this to deter him from giving an opinion or promulgating his ideas on any point, the effect would be that no new light would be thrown on any subject. It is discussion that brings forth truth ; and he who modestly puts forth his opinions, and subjects them to the criticism of those better informed, I cannot but hope really benefits society. I say I hope, because such are the feelings under which I venture my imperfect impressions. I cannot hold any man merely stating his ideas, or the impression made on his mind by any circumstance, to be guilty of an act of the smallest presumption, unless he does so in such a manner as to lead to the supposition that he considers his opinions incontrovertible, or that he wishes or expects those opinions to be the fiat by which others are to form theirs. Of this charge I not only hope, but confidently trust I stand acquitted in the minds of my readers. I feel at least I am innocent of such intention.
I have to crave pardon of my readers for the egotism I have been guilty of; but I felt it necessary in enter
“WHEN DOCTORS DIFFER,'' ETC. ETC.
ing on a subject the most difficult to handle to one who never wishes to offend. If I should therefore say anything, that, taken “ad hominem," may hurt the pride of any one, let me entreat him to attribute it to impressions made on my mind by the given opinions and sentiments of my progenitors, that have “grown with my growth, and strengthened with my strength:” if those sentiments are wrong, my teachers were more in fault than I.
If we were to ask fifty men in fifty different grades of society, and different occupations in life, each to give his definition of what constitutes the gentleman, it would be found that very few, if any of them would coincide in their ideas. Fifty men of the same class would perhaps very nearly agree on this point; but unless they were of the same class, they assuredly would not. Therefore the utmost any one can hope who ventures on so ticklish a task is, that his opinions may meet corresponding ones among those in a similar standing in society to himself, be that standing what it may.
When Mr. Hercules set himself about cleansing certain Augean stables (not kept quite as stables are now-a-days.), it will be allowed he undertook a toughish job; but as he was a toughish sort of gentleman, it only required time on his part to ensure its completion; and having completed it, he was certain of commendation for his pains: not so the poor wight who attempts describing the gentleman: he is sure of the labour; also sure of the reprehension of some one; but as for the commendation, he is fortunate if he gets it from any one. I do wish Master Hercules had undertaken this job — many may say they wish so too, and may also think I should have been better employed shovelling away while he wrote; but as he did not, I suppose I must attempt it.
AN UNRAISINABLE PUDDING.
It is not easy to define anything definitely ; some may think it is; and by way of a sample of talent I will ask them to define a plum pudding: they may say they could do it merely by the six following words, " a pudding with plums in it.” This certainly is a plum-pudding; but suppose I choose to make one with only one plum in it, this would also be a plum-pudding: if so, what becomes of their definition ? They may say there never was one made with only one plum in it: granted; but that is no reason there never may; and, in fact, let them try a school-pudding; they will find that by way of a great treat they may get something very like it, and in these hard times, but for Sir Robert Peel's tariff, they would probably, ere this, have been treated with the identical thing itself.
The mentioning a plum-pudding and a gentleman in the same sheet may appear somewhat incongruous I admit; but the incongruity is not altogether so great as may be at first imagined, as the latter very often partakes of the former in one way, and I must confess sometimes in another. In the first case, he is a pudding-eating gentleman; in the other, a puddingheaded gentleman: but they bear a closer affinity than this, inasmuch as it requires many good and expensive ingredients to make either a perfect plumpudding or a perfect gentleman. Certes to make the .school-pudding, the ingredients are not usually great in number or particularly choice in quality. Though no pupil of Ude or Kitchener, I will venture to give a receipt for a school-pudding: in fact, I could make one. I will afterwards try my hand at a gentleman. In this I may probably fail; but if this dish was produced by some one else, I think I could form some faint idea of the style of man employed in its concoc426 GRACE (VIZ. GREASE) BEFORE MEAT. tion. But for the benefit of all or any of those intending to set up a school, I will give the promised receipt for the pudding (the old stagers know it well enough:)—flour (not of the best quality) in proportion to the number of boys or young ladies (for the latter the quality somewhat less bad, but not much); water à discretion (of anybody); fruit à discretion of the mistress (who is always in this most discreet); suet or any unctuous matter (the produce of last week's cooking) to help down the delicious composition; to be, in formâ medici, “ taken” before the meat — Mem. as a choker to save the latter). What a blessing of Providence the same hand does not make the leg of mutton! All that can be done here is to get it tough enough; but young teeth are tough as well as the mutton, and mutton can only be got tough to a certain degree, otherwise the young gentlemen and ladies would all come home feather weight “in spite of their teeth.” On whatever subject I venture to write, I always do so from practical experience, the only excuse I can make for writing at all; so I do in this matter, having paid close upon a hundred a-year for such indulgence in two different schools; in return for which I shall probably pay my respects, but not in the SPORTING MAGAZINE, to those finger-posts to juvenile minds yclept preceptors and preceptresses — Messieurs, Mesdames, et Mademoiselles, au revoir.
Let us now see what ingredients we want to make a gentleman. If we ascertain that, we may possibly do a something to alleviate those heart-burnings so often felt on the occasion of races to be ridden by gentlemen, and those by gentlemen-jocks — for I really consider the qualification or disqualification of a man to ride where gentlemen only are intended to