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Anecdotes and Witty Sayings.
When young, Sheridan was generally accounted handsome; but in later years his eyes were the only testimonials of beauty that remained to him. It was, indeed, in the upper part of his face that the spirit of the man chiefly reigned, the dominion of the world and the senses being rather strongly marked out in the lower. In his person he was about the middle size, and his general make was robust and well proportioned. It is remarkable that his arms, though of powerful strength, were thin, and appeared by no means muscular. His hands were small and delicate; and the following couplet, written on a cast from one of them, very livelily enumerates both its physical and moral qualities :
Good at a Fight, but better at a Play,
In the debate, 30th May, 1799, about putting down Sunday newspapers, Sheridan, amongst other things, in answer to Lord Belgrave, observed that “in the law, as it at present exists, there was an exception in favor of sel! -ing mackerel on the Lord's day; but would the noble lord recollect that people might think stale news as bad as stale mackerel ?”
The Westminster Review gives the highest and most deserved praise to Sheridan for his meritorious exertions in favor of the liberty of the press on this occasion, and although all notice of them is oniitted by Mr. Moore, it is justly remarked by the reviewer that no event in Sheridan's life does him greater honor.
During the year 1806, Sheridan, having been told that his enemies took pleasure in speaking ill of him, on account of his favoring an obnoxious tax which his party were about to force through the House—“Well, let them,” said Sherry; "it is but fair that they should have some pleasure for their money.”
“The two Sheridans," says Kelly, “were supping with me one night after the opera, at a period when Tom expected to get into Parliament
“I think, father,” said he "that many men, who are called great patriots in the House of Commons, are great humbugs. For my own part, if I get into Parliament, I will pledge myself to no party, but write upon my forehead in legible characters, ‘To be let.'”
“And under that, Tom," said his father, “write, ‘Unfurnished.'”
Tom took the joke, but was even with him on another occasion.