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do their fine clothes-he values it so highly that he has not the heart to use it, or show it in his conduct. His reason lies in the wardrobe of his brain till it becomes moth-eaten; or if he exert it at all, it is that it may commit a moral suicide and try to get rid of itself. Never so happy as when he can escape from this blessing, he dozes away as much of it as he can in sleep; or blows out his highly-vaunted brains every evening with a bottle of port wine; or tells you, with a paviour's sigh, that the happiest man is the laughing lunatic, who finds his straw-crown and joint-stool throne a most delightful exchange for all the vanity and vexation of irrational reason. Now, if a man could but leave off at his neck-make his shoulders the ultima Thule of his figure-convert himself into a pollard, all this would be accomplished at once. He would not belong to either the family of the Longheads or the Wrongheads; he would be neither headstrong nor headlong; he could not be over head and ears in debt or in love; head-ach, and face-ach, and toothach, and ear-ach, would be to him as gorgons, and griffins, and harpies-imaginary horrors: opthalmick medicines he needs not; he neither runs his head into danger nor against a wall, and whether corn be high or low-rents paid or unpaid-the five per cents. reduced to four, or the three per cents. to nothing, hẹ cares not, for there is no earthly matter about which he can trouble his head. A chartered libertine, he laughs (in his sleeve) at kings and parliaments; the wandering Jew, St. Leon, or Melmoth, were not more impassive; guillotines and new drops have for him
no more terrors than has a thumbscrew for a sprat, or tight boots for an oyster; Jack Ketch and the Headman are no more formidable to him than are the Centaurs and Amazons to us." Let the gall'd jade wince, his withers are unwrung." The happy headless rogue pays neither powder nor capitation tax. The London Tavern and the Crown and Anchor are his patrimonial kitchens, wherein he alone may reckon without his host. All ordinaries are at his mercy; he may gorge with his friends until the revel rout be dispersed by the watchmen. "The sloe-juice and ratsbane, and such kind of stuff," be it ever so villainous, can never get up into his brain; and as to the reckoning in all these cases, it is so much a-head-and what is that to him?
It may be thought that I have said enough upon this no-head, but I cannot refrain from adding, that a man thus happily truncated would possess immense advantages over his companions, should the guardians of the night break in upon his symposia as I have imagined; for he could not be tweaked by the nose, nor thrust out head and shoulders; although he might tumble down stairs without any risk of breaking his neck or fracturing his skull. During life he might play as many pranks as Yorick the king's jester, and after death no Hamlet could exclaim over his remains
"Why, will he suffer this knave to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery ?”
Plato's Atlantis, and Sir Thomas More's Utopia, and Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, would all be realised
in the felicitous life of such a being as I have suggested. But methinks I hear my fair readers exclaim, What happiness is there without love, and where would such an animal find a mistress? Do we not already hear husbands often complaining that their wives have no heads, and vice versâ? Besides, might he not seek the original "good woman," of whom a decapital likeness is suspended as a public-house sign at Shoreditch, and another at Walworth, neither of which did I ever pass in my suburban rambles without many marital yearnings, and longings, and aspira tions? These were the only beatific visions that ever identified the conception of the novelists and dramatists-Love at first Sight. That stump of a neck is irresistible. In the event of a marriage thus constituted, some difficulty might occur as to the responses, but it could be obviated by signs, as in the unions of our deaf and dumb; not by a nod or shake of the head indeed, but by some equally intelligible indication; and methinks I could rival Catullus himself in composing an epithalamium for such a nuptial pair, for I might safely predicate that they would never lay their heads together to hatch mischief, nor run them against one another in anger, nor lose their time in kissing, nor fall together by the ears. No fear of Bluebeards in this happy state, which, if it could be universally accomplished, would at once restore to us the Saturnia regna-the golden age-the millennium.
Envious, and timid, and jealous people, are perpetually on the watch to oppose every improvement as revolutionary innovation; and by some such I ex
pect to be told that my project is jacobinical, as tending to make the profane vulgar independent of those legitimate correctives-the axe and the halter; but I cannot see the matter in this light. John Bull, we are sometimes told, is like a restive horse-give him his head and he runs to the devil; but, by my proposition, the common people will never be able to make head at all, whatever be their provocations; so that I really consider myself entitled to the great prize from the members of the Holy Alliance. Other cavillers may urge that it would be injurious to the progress of knowledge and the cultivation of literature, as if the brains could not exist any where but in the head! Buffon, no ignoramus in such matters, was decidedly of opinion that the stomach was the seat of thought. Persius dubs it a Master of Arts,
Ingenique largitor venter."
Ventriloquism is yet in its infancy, but who should limit its eloquence were it cultivated from necessity? So satisfied are we of the reflecting disposition of this portion of our economy, that we call a cow, or other beast with two stomachs, a ruminating animal, par excellence. Why might not our clergy, instead of dividing their discourses into heads-Cerberean, Polypean, and Hydraform, which always afflict me with a cephalalgy-spin the thread of their sermons, like the spider's, from the stomach instead of the head, and apportion them under the titles of the peristaltic motion, the epigastre, the hypochondre, and the colon
names as sonorous and classical as those of the Muses, with which Herodotus has baptised his respective chapters? Even constituted as we now are, with head-quarters already provided for the brains, will any one deny that an Opera-dancer's are in his heels, or that Shakspeare had not a similar conviction, when he makes one of his characters exclaim,
"Hence will I drag thee headlong, by the heels,
Does he not, moreover, distinctly mark the seat of pride and aspiring talent, when he says of Wolsey,
"He was a man
Of an unbounded stomach-ever ranking
But I have said enough. If the reader be satisfied that I am suggesting a prodigious improvement, I have carried my point: if he be not, I deny that he has a rational head, and thus establish my argument. Here are the two horns of a dilemma, which, if he will continue to wear his super-humeral callosity in spite of my admonitions, may supply it a fitting decoration; and so having conducted him to the same predicament as Falstaff in Windsor Forest, I leave him to moonlight and the fairies.