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The substantial tradesman is wheeled down to his snug Box; which has nothing rural about it except the ivy that over runs the front, and is placed as near to the road side as possible, where the pleasure of seeing carriages pass under his window, amply compensates for his being almost smothered with dust. The few smart prentices, who are able to sit an horse, may be seen spurring their broken-winded hacks up the hills; and the good-natured husband, together with his mate, is dragged along the road to the envy and admiration of the foot passenger, who (to compleat the Sunday picture) trudges patiently with a child in one arm, while his beloved doxy leans on the other, and waddles at his side sweltering beneath the unusal weight of an hoop-petticoat.
It is not to be supposed, that the country has in itself any peculiar attractive charms to those, who think themselves out of the world, if they are not within the sound of Bow Bell. To most of our cockneys it serves only as an excuse for eating and drinking : and they get out of town, merely because they have nothing to do at home. A brickkiln smells as sweet to them as a farm-yard; they would pass by a barn or an hay-stack without notice; but they rejoice at the sight of every hedge ale-house, that promises good home-brew'd. As the rest of a cit's life is regular and uniform, his Sundy diversions have as little variety; and if he was to take a journal of them, we might suppose that it would run much in the following manner.
Sunday....Overslept myself....Did not rise 'till nine ....Was a full hour in pulling on my new double channeli'd pumps....Could get no breakfast, my wife being busy in dressing herself for church.
At ten.... Family at church....Self walked to Mother Red-Cap's....smoked half a pipe, and drank a pint of the Alderman's. N. B. The beer not so good as at the Adam and Eve at Pancrass.
Dined at one....Pudding not boiled enough, suet musty....Wife was to drive me in an one-horse chair to see Mother Well's at Enfield-Wash, but it looked likely to rain....Took a nap and posted seven pages from my day-book, 'till five. Mem. Colonel Promise has lost his election, and is turned out of his place. ....To arrest him to-morrow.
At six....Mrs. Deputy to drink tea with my wife.... I hate their slip slops....Called on my neighbour the Common-Council-Man, and took a walk with him to
From seven to eight....Smoked a pipe at the Castle, eat an heart cake, and drank two pints of cyder. N. B. To drink cyder often, because neighbour tells me it is good for the stone and gravel.
At nine....Got to town again, very much fatigued with the journey....Pulled off my claret-coloured coat, and blue sattin waistcoat....Went to club, smoked three pipes, came home at twelve, and slept very soundly, 'till the prentice called me to go and take out a writ against Colonel Promise.
As to persons of quality, like Lady Loverule in the farce, they cannot see why one day should be more holy than another; therefore Sunday wears the same face with them, as the rest of the week. Accordingly, for some part of this summer, Ranelagh was opened on Sunday evenings; and I cannot help wondering, that the custom did not continue. It must have been very convenient to pass away the time there, till the hour of meeting at the card-table; and it was certainly more decent to fix assignations there than at church.
Going to church may, indeed, be reckoned among our Sunday amusements, as it is made a mere matter of diversion among many well-meaning people, who are induced to appear in a place of worship from the same motives, that they frequent other public places. To some it answers all the purposes of a
rout or assembly,....to see and to be seen by their acquaintance; and from their bow, nods, curt'sies, and loud conversations, one might conclude, that they imagined themselves in a drawing-room. To others it affords the cheap opportunity of shewing their taste for dress. Not a few, I believe, are drawn together in our cathedrals and larger churches by the influence of the music rather than the prayers; and are kept awake by a jig from the organ-loft, though they are lulled to sleep by the harangue from the pulpit. A well disposed Christian will go a mile from his own house to the Temple-Church, not because a Sherlock is to preach, but to hear a Solo from Stanley.
But though going to church may be deemed a kind of amusement, yet upon modern principles it appears such a very odd one, that I am at a loss to account for the reasons, which induced our ancestors to give into that method of passing their Sunday. At least it is so wholly incompatible with the polite system of life, that a person of fashion (as affairs are now managed) finds it absolutely impossible to comply with this practice. Then again, the service always begins at such unfashionable hours, that in the morning a man must huddle on his cloaths, like a boy to run to school, and in an afternoon must inevitably go with out his dinner. In order to remove all these objections, and that some Ritual may be established in this kingdom, agreeable to our inclinations, and consistent with our practice, the following scheme has been lately sent me, in order to submit it to the serious consideration of the public.
Imprimis....It is humbly proposed, that Christianity be entirely abolished by Act of Parliament, and that no other religion be imposed on us in its stead; but as the age grows daily more and more enlightened, we may at last be quite delivered from the influence of superstition and bigotry.
Secondly....That in order to prevent our ever relapsing into pious errors, and that the common people may not lose their holiday, every Sunday be set apart to commemorate our victory over all religion; that the churches be turned into free-thinking meetinghouses, and discourses read in them to confute the doctrine of a future state, the immortality of the soul, and other absurd notions, which some people now regard as objects of belief.
Thirdly....That a ritual be compiled exactly opposite to our present liturgy; and that, instead of reading portions of scripture, the first and second lessons shall consist of a section of the Posthumous Works of Lord Bolingbroke, or of a few pages from the writings of Spinoza, Chubb, Maundeville, Hobbs, Collins, Tindal, &c. from which writers the preachers shall also take their text.
Fourthly....That the usual feasts, viz. Christmas Day, Easter Sunday, Trinity Sunday, &c. be still preserved; but that on those days discourses be delivered suitable to the occasion, containing a refutation of the Nativity, the Resurrection, the Trinity, &c.
Fifthly....That instead of the vile melody of a clerk bawling out two staves of Sternhold and Hopkins, or a cathedral choir singing anthems from the psalter, some of the most fashionable cantatas, opera airs, songs, or catches, be performed by the best voices for the entertainment of the company.
Lastly.... That the whole service be conducted with such taste and elegance, as may render these freethinking meeting-houses as agreeable as the theatres; and that they may be even more judiciously calculated for the propagation of atheism and infidelity, than the Robin Hood Society, or the Oratory in Clare Market.
No. XXVII. THURSDAY, AUGUST 1.
IT is a heavy tax upon authors, that they should always be expected to write sense. Some few, indeed, who are rich in sentiment, pay this tax very cheerfully; but the generality endeavour one way or another to elude it. For this purpose some have moulded their pieces into the form of wings, axes, eggs, and altars; while others have laced down the side of a copy of verses with the letters of their mistresses name, and called it an acrostic: not to mention the curious inventions of rebusses and anagrams. For the same reasons, the modern song-writers for our public gardens, who are our principal love-poets at present, entertain us with sonnets and madrigals in Crambo. Authors, who promise wit, pay us off with puns and quibbles; and with our writers of comedy, long swords, short-jerkins, and tables with carpets over them, pass for incident and humour.
But no artifice of this sort has been so often and so successfully practised, as the immoderate use of uncouth terms and expressions. Words that mean nothing, provided they sound big, and fill the ear, are the best succedaneum for sense. Nothing so effectually answers Mr. Bayes's endeavour to elevate and surprise; and the reader, though he sees nothing but straws float on the surface, candidly supposes that there are pearls and diamonds at the bottom. Several dull authors, by availing themselves of this secret, have passed for very deep writers; and arrant nonsense has as often laid snugly beneath hard words, as a shallow pate beneath the solemn appearance of a full bottomed periwig.