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have no one faculty in nature but the faculty of boring the very soul out of your body.”
Seeing me take a book from amongst several which lay on the table, he continued : “Aye; there's Mr. Dick again! I send him to get books to amuse me, and that's what he brings. Pretty lively reading for a sick man, eh? Nice things to keep up one's drooping spirits? There's ‘ Reflections on Death, Dodd's 'Prison Thoughts,' the ‘Deathbed Companion,'' Hell: a Vision.' I must have a fine natural constitution to live through all this !”
I took my leave of the invalid, and, at the street-door, met Dr. Druggem, his physician, and his surgeon, Sir Slashley Cutmore, who were about to visit him. I mentioned that I had just left their patient, suffer: ing under considerable irritation, caused by the unwelcome interference of Doleful; and ventured to express an opinion that a hint ought to be given to the latter, of the desirableness of diminishing both the length and the frequency of his visits to the Captain.
“Hint, Sir?” said Druggem; "a hint won't do. Slight aperients will have no effect in this case: I am for administering a powerful cathartic :--this Mr. Doleful must be carried off at once-forbid the house, Sir.”
"I am quite of Dr. Druggem's opinion,” said Sir Slashley; "the Captain must instantly submit to the operation; he must consent to the immediate amputation of that Mr. Doleful, or I'll not answer for his life a week.”
The next day Mr. Doleful favoured me with a visit.
“I call,” said he, “to lament with you the unhappy state of our poor dear friend,' ” and he burst into a tear.
Now, as I knew that the state of“ our poor dear friend” was no worse then than the day before, I interrupted his pathetics, by telling him that I was not in a lamenting mood; and, rather unceremoniously, added that it was the opinion of his medical advisers, that the state of
our poor dear friend” might be considerably improved if he, Mr. Doleful, would be less frequent in his visits, and if, when he did call upon our poor
dear friend,” he would assume a livelier countenance. “ Well!-Bless my soul! this is unexpected--very unexpected. 1-! Me! The son of his friend-his best friend! Why--though I say it, had it not been for my poor departed father-[And here he burst into another tear-] I say, had it not been for my poor father, the Captain might, at this moment, have been Well; no matter-but Me!-how very odd! I, who sacrifice myself for the poor dear sufferer! with him, morning, noon, and night, though it afflicts me to see him---as he must perceive : he must observe how I grieve at his sufferings-he must notice how much I feel for him. Why, dear me! What interest can I have in devoting myself to him? Thank Heaven I AM NOT A LEGACY-HUNTER."
This voluntary and uncalled-for abnegation of a dirty motive, placed Mr. Doleful before me in a new light. Till that moment the suspicion of his being incited by any prospect of gain to bore “our pour dear friend to death, had never entered my mind.
Captain Chronic lived on for a twelvemonth, during the whole of which, excepting the very last week, Dick Doleful, spite of remonstrance and entreaty, continued to inflict upon him his three visits per diem. A week before his death, the Captain, who till then had occupied a
sofa, took to his bed; and feeling his case to be hopeless, and conscious that he had not many days to live, he desired that his only two relations, a nephew and a niece, might be sent for, and that they alone should attend him to the last. Dick, greatly to his astonishment, thus excluded from the bed-chamber, still continued his daily three visits to the drawing-room. Upon the last of these occasions, so vehemently did he insist upon seeing his “poor dear friend,” that, without asking the Captain's permission, he was allowed to enter his bed-room. The opening of the door awoke the Captain from a gentle slumber into which he had just before fallen. Perceiving Dick, he uttered a faint groan. Dick approached the bed-side, as usual on tip-toe; as usual he softly pressed the tip of the Captain's fore-finger; squeezed out the usual tribute of one tear; and with the usual undertaker look, and in the usual dismal tone, he said, “Well, how d’ye do now, Captain ?” The Captain faintly articulated, “Dick, Dick, you've done it at last!” fell back upon his pillow, and expired!
At about ten o'clock on the same morning, Dick Doleful, looking very like an undertaker's mute, called upon me. He was dressed in black and had a deep crape round his hat. “ The dear departed !” was all he uttered.
“Is it all over with the poor Captain, Mr. Doleful ?”
“He's gone! Thank heaven I was with the dear departed at his last moments. If ever there was an angel upon earth -! so good, so kind, so honourable, so everything a man ought to be. Thank heaven I did my duty towards the dear departed. This loss will be the death of me. I haven't the heart to say more to you; besides, the will of the dear departed will be opened at twelve, and it is proper that some disinterested friend should be present at the reading. Good morning. Oh! the dear departed! But he's gone where he will get his deserts."
At about two o'clock Mr. Doleful was again announced. I observed that his hat was dismantled of the ensign of mourning, which it had so ostentatiously exhibited but a few hours before. He took a seat, remained silent for several minutes, and then burst into a flood of real, legitimate tears.
“Be composed, my dear Sir,” said I; “ recollect your grief is unavailing; it will not recal to life the dear departed.”
The departed be d-d!” exclaimed he, starting in a rage from his chair. “Thank heaven I am not a legacy-hunter, nevertheless I did expect You know what I did for the old scoundrel, you know what time I sacrificed to him, you know how I have watched the hour and minute for giving the old rascal his filthy physic, and yet —! I repeat it, I am not a legacy-hunter; but I put it to you, Sir, as a man of sense, as a man of the world, as a man of honour, hadn't I a right to expect, a perfect right to expect What should you have thought, Sir? I merely ask how much should you have thought ?”
“ Why, perhaps, a thousand pounds.”
“Of course—to be sure—I am anything but an interested man; and had he left me that, I should have been satisfied.”
“How much, then, has he left you ?”
“Why, even that would have served as a token of his gratitude; it isn't as money I should have valued it: or had he left me fifty pounds
for mourning, why even that --- or five pounds for a ring, even that would have been better than But, Sir, you won't believe it ; you can't believe it: the old villain is gone out of the world without leaving me a farthing! But I am not disappointed, for I always knew the man.
So selfish, so unkind, so hard-hearted, so ungrateful, so dishonourable, so wicked an old scoundrel —! If ever there was a devil incarnate, take my word for it he was one. But he's gone where he will get his deserts," And, so saying, Exit Dick Doleful.
It is but justice to the memory of the Captain to state, that in the body of his will there had stood a clause to this effect: “ To Richard Doleful, Esq., in testimony of my grateful remembrance of the services rendered me by his late father, I bequeath One Thousand Pounds.” By a codicil of later date, this bequest was reduced to five hundred; by a third, to eight hundred; and so on, by others, till it was reduced tonothing. Thus had poor Dick Doleful bored his friend out of his life, and himself out of a legacy.
CHESS. Some pique themselves on discernment of character by physiognomy, some look to configuration of brain, while others augur from hand-writing; this species of divination, however, being mainly monopolized by the feminine gender. As to ourselves, we hold to chess playing. We calculate upon prognosticating more of character, intellect, and predominating passions by playing with a man at chess, than by all the instructions of Lavater, Spurzheim, and Deville, put together. It is the "speaking grammar" of the human heart. It approaches nearest to wliat a fanciful man is said to have once desired, that men's hearts were cased in glass, so that each might peer into the innermost recesses of his neighbour's soul. It is an illustration of the celebrated Novum Organum; you deduce causes from their effects after the manner of the Baconian philosophy, and a knowledge of those causes is a knowledge of the man; and whereas success in generalization depends on the accuracy of individual experiments, so a correct knowledge of individual character is essential to true knowledge of the world.
This new system of notation is to the moral world what the discovery of fluxions, in their facilitation of calculation, was to the mathematical. From the incalculable advantages derivable from chess as a test of character, we may not unreasonably surmise that a certain proficiency in this science will form, ere long, an indispensable qualification for all ambassadors to foreign courts, law officers, post-masters and police superintendents ; while we confidently anticipate the happiest results from the application of the same test in naval and military promotions. Domestic life might at the same time participate in the general benefits. Preliminary matrimonial calculations or courtships might on this plan be conducted, if not with greater satisfaction, at least with more certainty of a desirable finale, and many a lieart might flutter on unbroken.
For the present we attempt only a general outline, reserving our more elaborate treatise for a neat little pocket 12mo,-having been prevented accepting an offer made us to concentrate our remarks in a review of Mr. Lewis's two last admirable octavos in the Quarterly, by the annexation
to the offer of a condition our indomitable spirit (unlike some others, we opine) utterly abhors, that of intersprinkling our literary and philosophical lucubrations with political allusions. Respondeat superior.
Attend then to the following rules :
In sitting down to play, take notice how far your adversary troubles himself about arranging the board and men, or whether he obtrudes all the preliminary settlement upon yourself. If the latter, and if he makes you set a good part of his own men for him, you may be sure he reckons himself something too good for you, and stands high in his own esteem. At Cambridge we called such a man bumptious. It attends him in all his actions through life.—“ L'âme n'a pas de secret que la conduite ne rérèle L'amour propre est le plus grand de tous les flatteurs."
Some players move very quick, not only at the commencement of the gaine, but all through it. They sometimes make good moves, but always many blunders. The most critical situations alike with the easiest command only a momentary regard and pass half-examined. Such men are clever, and get on in the world by pure luck-rash in enterprise, uncertain in execution. Avoid much dealing with them. Of high mettle, impatient of control, and reckless of consequences, they will bring you into trouble. The quickest player we ever met with was a Spanish refugee. All Spaniards play quick. Their national character is impetuosity.“ Aussitôt dit, aussitôt fait.”
If an adversary, to whom you know yourself to be greatly superior, refuses to take odds in playing with you, and yet does not scruple to be perpetually taking back moves when he leaves a piece "en prise,” set him down for a good-for-nothing, shulling fellow. He has a mean heart. He will retail wise men's sayings as his own: he will be a downright plagiarist, cut a dash on borrowed finances, or exemplify what is termed the shabby genteel. Have no concern with him. L'orgueil ne veut pas devoir, et l'amour propre ne veut pas payer. Rochefoucault.
A chess-player always opening his game when he has the attack, on the queen's side, may be generaliy set down as a stupid fellow, of paucity of ideas, and small inventive resources,-a bad companion,-his temperament nervous, and political creed conservative. Many old bachelors adopt this opening, but by no means exclusively. Il n'a pas inventé la poudre.-Old proverb.
If your antagonist on being checkmated, or receiving unawares any decisive blow, takes the liberty of giving the chess-table a somerset, and inflicts a general dispersion on the men ; discuss not with such a man politics, religion, or ihe fair sex, lest you die by the hand of a duellist. Genus irritabile.
An artful chess-player, ever and anon tempting you by exposure of pieces to gain his end, perpetually endeavouring to blockade your pieces, and aiming at double checks and checks by discovery, will not be unmindful of the stratagems of chess in the game of life. Bon avocat, mauvais voisin.
If your adversary plays well, in the attack, the king's gambit ; is nothing disconcerted' though skilfully opposed; deep in his plans, decisive in execution, and keeping you from first to last in unbroken turmoil by the dexterity of his manoeuvres, he will usually make his way in the world, or he will be a rich man without a shilling in his pocket. · He will be a good military tactician and an acute advocate, He will expose fallacies, detect hypocrisy and fraud, and make himself master of any subject he applies himself to investigate. He will sift deeply and ponder with patience. He might form an ingenious. mechanic, and succeed in scientific inventions.
An indecisive character may be detected in a few moves. Indecision anıl caution must not be confounded: the latter is essential to a fine chess-player as to success in all the undertakings in life, and is an act of the judgment;—the former is an evidence of deficiency in the reasoning powers, and adverse to their free exercise. It arises from want of concentration of our ideas; from a weakness, (or if we may apply to intellectual the same term as to physical faculties,) from a relaxed condition of the mental energies. To have any dealings with such men, especially to co-operate with them, is a positive nuisance; and to place our interests in their hands, may be emphatically called, placing them at their disposal! Deliberat Roma, perit Saguntum.
Those players who are exceedingly fidgetty and fretful under defeat, though often tolerable players, are invariably impatient of contradiction, and positive on all subjects on which they conceive themselves well informed. This class will usually be found amongst elderly persons; and they will sometimes sooner refuse to encounter a youthful antagonist whose superiority they have experienced, than subject themselves to the annoyance of yielding to the greater merits of one they are conscious of surpassing in general acquirements. Such men lie sleepless all night after a beating, and rise feverish with a head-ache.
A good player husbands well all his resources, never gives up an advantage he can possibly maintain, or thinks the smallest advantage too mean an acquisition. Such men die rich. A player careless in his good fortune, and prodigal of his advantages, will experience reverses in his passage through life, and complain of the decrees of Providence. No chess-player who attempts to succeed through unfair means, or by snappish play, can be a man of integrity. An honourable-minded man will rather lose a trifling advantage than leave an impression on his antagonist that he has been deficient in courtesy and liberality. The object in playing at chess is to win the game, but the end only satisfies the means under the ordinary honourable limitations. He who would violate this generallyreceived rule,-founded on the best feelings of virtue and justice, will sell not his birthright only, but his conscience for a mess of pottage: if a monarch, he will rule by torture and terror and venality; if a subject, he will compromise his principles with a bribe, hesitate at nothing in securing a favourite object, and set consistency and moral honesty at defiance. Such a character must Mrs. Trollope's reviewer in the Quarterly have been, who could hymn the praises of a book in which every principle of decency, morality, and religion is thrown to the winds, to get a fling at republican institutions; and we cannot but suspect the communication must have emanated from that gentleman by whom the appearance of our review, before alluded to, was interdicted, unless we illustrated the evils of power being lodged in the middle classes, by an exemplification of the weakness of pawns sustained by the superior combatants. Let the reader mark well the foregoing illustrations, and, adding to them the results of his own experience, we shall leave him in possession of a chess-table answering some of the most valuable purposes of Fortunatus's wishing-cap.“ Has vaticinationes eventus comprobavit.”