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Douglas Jerrold in “Punch's Letters to his Son ?” or, to stretch the illustration, in “Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures?" And finally, in a certain famous volume, containing certain mysterious “ Letters and Speeches” of a once great Lord Protector of England, are we not with much greater frequency reminded of the style and presence of Mr. Thomas Carlyle than of Oliver Cromwell ?
So, beneath a very flimsy disguise, worn as carelessly as an oriental lady will wear her yaknack when a Frank is passing by, I have put my own words and thoughts into the mouth of Lady Chesterfield.
The little doctrines she inculcates are mine: of course I except her peevish accesses of cynicism, her little outbursts of old-world Toryism. As to the rest, I have endeavoured to make her plead the cause, uphold the rights, denounce the wrongs, the cruelties, the hypocrisies, and the lies, considerations of which, whether I have been engaged in matters of fact or matters of fiction, have occupied my pen since I first took it up to be a working literary man thirteen years ago.
If I live, as by Heaven's mercy I shall, till 1880, I hope to be able to turn to some dusty files in the British Museum, and find that in 1847, although in language cruder, although in turn of thought rash and superficial, I yet upheld the sunny theories concerning right and wrong which I hold now, and which I hope to hold twenty years hence.
Vitæ summa brevis, spem nos vetat inchoare longam. That I know; but I Hope, nevertheless,
GEO. AUG. SALA.
LONDON, May, 1860.
LADY CHESTERFIELD'S LETTERS
TO HER DAUGHTER.
LETTER THE FIRST.
MAINLY CONCERNING THE PERSONS A YOUNG LADY
OUGHT TO KNOW.
Pumpuell-le-Springs. I am in receipt, my dear Louisa, of your affectionate but unsatisfactory letter, dated the 28th ultimo. Your sentiments, my dear girl, are excellent, but your caligraphy is defective; your style leaves many things to be desired, and your orthography is imperfect. The assumption of the motto “ Che sarà sarà” on your seal is not justifiable. It does not mean anything beyond the inculcation of a fallacious fatalism. Moreover, it is the device of the ducal family of Bedford ; and while I question the right of any advertising stationer to retail it to you, cut on glass, for the sum of sixpence, I am not at all certain whether the employment of such a motto does not constitute a use of armorial bearings, and so lay you open to a quarterly visit from the tax-collector. I remember, when you were quite a little girl, that it was so ruled in one of the courts of justice, and that a thistle on a seal with the motto Dinna
forget” was held to be heraldry, and amenable to duty. Nor can I abstain from pointing out to you that the habit of crossing and recrossing your letter-paper is both inconsiderate and unladylike. It displays either parsimony and “paper-sparing Popeishness,” or it insults the weak eyesight of an aged correspondent. I would not have you tack your epistles down the back with thread, and number the pages till the whole assumes the guise of a small octavo pamphlet ; but I would have you remember that paper is very cheap, and that the art of deciphering a modern lady's manuscript is not quite so easy as the Royal Game of Goose. Our grandmothers, to judge from their music-copies and recipes, wrote in a bold, fat little hand, and with a broad-nibbed pen. Violet note-paper and Mordan's gold pens enable the young ladies of the present day to skim over their letters in devious mazes of slim lines that always remind me of the gyrations of an accomplished daddy-long-legs. In my time we used to dot our “i's” and cross our “t's :" those minor items of punctilio seem rejected, now, as quite superfluous.
As regards spelling, I am content, since my Lord Malmesbury's letter—(your papa knew him, my dear)—to look upon that branch of education as purely mechanical, and subject to the caprices of taste; but I must protest, in the word “friend,” against the precedence of the “e” over the “i.” It is not possible, Louisa, to have a "freind,” or to entertain feelings of "freindship" for any one. eye, in innate delicacy, revolts at the misplaced vowel. You would be ashamed to write that you “luv” me, or to subscribe yourself my affectionate “ dorter ; ” yet the solecism into which you and hundreds of other supposititiously welleducated young ladies fall is quite as glaring, and quite as offensive. Concerning your punctuation, I am disposed to be tolerant. It is not so much wanting in accuracy as in