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immediately recollec it-but, can it be true, do you think, that he ever was so muckle as twa hundred year auld? I can scarcely credit it. I ken an auld woman in Ettrick wha's a hundred and fifty by the parish register; but at that time o' life fifty years makes a great difference, and the period of Parr's age maun be apocryphal.
Tickler. There has been another Parr, James, since Charles the Second's time-the Man with the Wig.
Shepherd. Pity me! my memory's no what it ance was— the Doctor o' Deveenity Parr, wi' the frock and frizzle, that eat so many muirfowl in our Tent?1 I thocht him geyan stupid; but he took a likin to me, which was sae far in his favour, and therefore I howp he's weel, and no dead yet? North. The Doctor is dead, James.
Shepherd. Weel, then, you can bring him forward noo as ane of the great English scholars, to shame a' the Scotch anes at Embro', St Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen. Do ye recollec my shooting his wig for a ptarmigan?
North. I shall never forget it, James, nor any other incident in the excursion.
Shepherd. That's mair than I'll answer for. I howp there's mony an incident in the "Excursion" that I hae forgotten, for I cannot say that I recollec ony incident at all in the haill poem, but the Pedlar refusing to tak a tumbler o' gin and water with the Solitary. That did mak a deep impression on my memory, for I thocht it a most rude and heartless thing to decline drinking with a gentleman in his ain house; but I hope it was not true, and that the whole is a malignant invention of Mr Wordsworth.
North. James, you are a satirical dog-a wolf in sheep's clothing. But to return to old Parr;-just as you do, my dear Shepherd, I have a kindness for all that ever set foot within our Tent-even Tims.2
Tickler. Come, North, no nonsense. You can never name Tims and Parr in the same sentence.
Shepherd. And what for no? I recollec perfectly weel thinkin Dr Parr the maist learned o' the twa, mair especially in Greek and Latin; but Tims appeared to me in the licht o' a man o' greater natural abeelities. It was wi' the greatest diffeeculty that I got the Priest to comprehend the tithe o' what I said, whereas the Pawnbroker was a bit clever aneuch 1 See Blackwood's Magazine for Aug. 1819. 2 See ante, p. 32, note 2.
ape o' a body, and after hearin me crack twa-three times, although I shallna ventur to say that he guessed my meanin, yet you would hae been surprised to hear how he got haud o' the words, and the verra sound of my idiomatic accent—so that had
steekit your een, you micht hae thocht, when the cretur was speakin, that he was Jamie Hogg; but, to be sure, on opening them again, you would hae gotten an unco fricht to see that it wasna me but only Tims, afore he took up his French title of Wictoire. And I'm tell't that he can do the same thing, within the short length of his tether, wi' the bit pen o' him, in regaird to ither folks' printed style, and has putten forth some byuckies that, a' things considered, are not by any means so very muckle amiss.
North. Have you seen Parr's Aphorisms, Tickler ?
Tickler. Parr's Aphorisms, North ? No—I have not seen Parr's Aphorisms, North : nor have you—nor will you, nor L, nor any other mortal man, ever see Parr's Aphorisms, North ; for this simple reason, that Parr was no more able to utter an aphorism, North, than an old tom-cat to coin a gold guinea, Mr North.
Shepherd. Is an aphorism onything at a' like an apopthegem? Tickler. As two peas.
Shepherd. Then I agree with you, Mr Tickler, that Dr Parr never conçaved-never was delivered of—and never brought up an aphorism in his born days; and that the productions bearing it's name will be found to hae nane o' it's nature; for the seeds o' an aphorism-at least if it be, Mr North, as Mr Tickler manteens, sib' to an apopthegem-never were in him; and he was by nature incapacitated frae bringing forth onything mair valuable than an ipse dixit, or a dogma.
Tickler. The Aphorisms of Parr! Next we shall have Pastorals by Day and Martin, and Epithalamia by Jack Ketch. The author of the Pursuits of Literature never said a truer thing than when he called Parr the Birmingham Doctor-not an imitator, observe, but a mere counterfeit; having the same relation to the true thing, Samuel Johnson, whom he aped, as the thunder of Drury Lane, which no doubt sounds magnificently to the ears of Colburn's theatrical critics in the pit
, to that of Jove in the heavens, νεφεληγερέτα Ζευς, with which he awes the hearts of nations.
North. As an original thinker, I own he was Nemonobody; but as a scholar
Tickler. Hum-hummior-hummissimus,-he was a mere Parolles in a Pedagogue's wig. His preface to Bellendenus, as all the world knows, was never looked into but for its oddities; first, that it talked about Fox, and Burke, and Lord North, in Latin—when others talked of them in English ; secondly, that this Latin, as he called it, was a monster of deformity, being in fact a cento made up from every Roman on God's earth, beginning with Fabius Pictor, and the “Stercus Ennii,” down to the “ rank Africanisms” (to use Milton's phrase) of Arnobius. An English History could not be more extravagant, composed out of the hoary archaisms of Robert of Glocester, compounded with the "three-piled" Gibbonisms of Sharon Turner. “He had been at a great feast of languages, and had stolen the scraps."
North. I cannot help admiring his Spital sermon, as
Tickler. Beyond all comparison the most empty bladderdash that ever attempted to soar without gas into the ethereal regions.
North. His Dissertation on the word Sublime at the end of Dugald Stewart's Philosophical Essays?
Tickler. Ay, a sublime treatise on Mud, with some superior remarks on the preposition Sub. The whole amount from a world of pother, parade, and pseudo-learning, is, that Sublime means, not that which is under the mud, but that which is above it; sub coming not from 'no but from inep. Small structure as all this would have been, had it stood on a true foundation, Professor Dunbar has, I perceive, in an able paper in the last Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, smashed it with an iron hand, and the paltry pile has disappeared.
Shepherd. I would like, Mr Tickler-if it were not usin ower much liberty—to ask leave to ring the bell for some toasted cheese? It's a gude while now sin' dinner, and I'm getting roun' again into hunger.
Tickler. Surely, James, surely-you shall have a ton of toasted cheese.
North. My friend Paris, a clever and charming fellow, has lately published a work on Diet,' in which I am equally
1 A Treatise on Diet and Regimen. By JOHN AYRTON PARIS, M.D. London. i Kibbock-cheese made of skimmed milk.
SHEPHERD ON PARIS.
surprised and sorry to see laid down the most pernicious and penurious principles. Few fellows play a better knife and fork than Paris; yet, in theory, he supports the starvation system, which, in practice, he does from the very bottom of his stomach condemn.
Shepherd. O, man, there's something very auld-wifish-like in publishing a book to tell folk how to devour their vittles. There's nae mystery in that matter-hunger and thirst are simple straughtforward instincts, no likely to be muckle improved by artificial erudition; and I'll bet you a cheese to a kibbock' (by the by, what for is't no coming ben, the bit Welch rabbit) that your frien's wark on diet will hae nae perceptible influence on the character o' the Table during our age.
Tickler. The Son of Priam talks away like a Trojan, as he is, about the dangerous tendency of indulgence in a multiplicity of dishes.
Shepherd. He's richt there. Nae healthy man has ony use for mair than half-a-dizzen dishes at dinner,—soup, fish, flesh, fowl, tairts, and cheese, is aneuch for ony reasonable
Tickler. Hush, Heliogobalus — and hear Paris. stomach being distended with soup, the digestion of which, from the very nature of the operations which are necessary for its completion, would in itself be a sufficient labour for that organ, is next tempted with fish, rendered indigestible from its sauces ;
then with flesh and fowl; the vegetable world, as an intelligent reviewer has observed, is ransacked from the Cryptogamia upwards.”
North. What a precious ninny the said intelligent reviewer!
Tickler. And to this miscellaneous aggregate are added the pernicious pasticcios of the pastry-cook, and the complex combinations of the confectioner. All these evils, and many more, have those who move in the ordinary society of the present day to contend with."
Shepherd. Hech, sirs !-Hech, sirs !-Ha-ha-ha! Forgie me for bursting out a-lauchin at a clever man, and a frien' o' yours, gentlemen; but, oh dear me, my sides, heard ye e'er the like o' that last sentence! It would be a grand warld, sirs, if man had nae mair evils to contend against than soups, and fish, and flesh, and fowl. As to the whole vegetable
2 Ben-to the inner chamber. In a Scottish cottage the outer room is called But, and the inner Ben.
warld, frae Cryptogamia upwards, I shall say naething anent that clause in our calamities, never having been at Cryptogamia, which, for anything I ken to the contrary, may be the neist kintra to Mesopotamia; neither shall I venture to contradic the Doctor about the pastigeos—unless, indeed, he mean pigeon-pies, in which case I gie him the lee direct in the maist unequivocal and categorical manner, they being the maist hailsome o' a' bird-pies whatsomever, whether common doecots or cushats-only you maunna eat them ower often, for
Tickler. But the Doctor continues : “ Nine persons in ten eat as much soup and fish as would amply suffice for a meal.”
Shepherd. A leel a lee l-amply suffice for a meal!
Tickler. “A new stimulus appears in the form of stewed beef, côtelettes à la suprême; then comes a Bayonne or Westphalia ham, or a pickled tongue, or some analogous salted, but proportionably indigestible dish, and each of these enough for a single meal."
Shepherd. He forgets, he forgets, the Doctor forgets, Mr Paris, M.D. forgets that each man in the company cannot for his own individual share eat up the whole of the same individual dish. Each man only takes a platefu', or twa at the maist, o' each othae dishes; for whaever heard o' being helped three times to ilka dish on the board? Nae man would hae the face to ask it; and if he did, the prayer o' his petition would not be granted.
Tickler. “But this is not all; game follows; and to this again succeed the sweets, and a quantity of cheese.”
Shepherd. Quite right—quite right. 0, Mr Tickler, what an effect, after sic à dinner, would Dr Paris produce on a guest by an emetic!
Tickler. “ The whole is crowned with a variety of flatulent fruits and indigestible nick-nacks, included under the name of dessert, in which we must not forget to notice a mountain of sponge-cake.”
Shepherd. And then what a cracking o' nitts, till a pyramid of shells rises up before each member of the club. But there I agree
with the Doctor. Tickler. “ Thus then it is, that the stomach is made to receive, not one full meal, but a succession of meals, rapidly following each other, and vying in their miscellaneous and pernicions nature with the ingredients of Macbeth's cauldron."