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THE SQUIRE WISHES TO PLAY A CAPITAL PART IN “HE WOULD BE A SOLDIER ;” BUT IS REFUSED BY THE
THEATRICAL MANAGERS.-HE DISPLAYS HIS TASTE · AND JUDGMENT IN BUILDING UP AND PULLING
DOWN, AND RECEIVES A CHALLENGE FROM THE ; KNIGHT OF THE SILVER MOUNTAINS.
As we could not well break the thread of these important and quickly succeeding events, we must now go back a little to take a view of the Squire's conduct during the time of these accumulated disasters and losses.. .
. After he had been refused the military command which he solicited, he appeared to fall back into his former lethargy, from which he rouzed only by fits and starts, to commit new excesses. The most expensive, although the most useless, alterations were ordered to be made in Snarldown-House. A state bed-room was fitted up with new furniture, and, amongst the rest, a most superb state-bed, in which he and
Mrs. Fitzwaddle might sail to the land of delight like two amorous whales, through an ocean of feathers. More extravagant alterations and additions were also made at the Pagoda, to which he seemed almost to have exiled himself, as the inhabitants of the town, in return for the vast sums of money which he caused to be spent in it by attracting visitants, worshipped him like a little god before his face, and, as is ever the case with such people, ridiculed his vanity and folly behind his back. ..
We would not have the reader entertain an idea that we are favourers of the levelling system, and take a pleasure in vilifying rank. Far from it! We are too well aware of its necessity and benefit to society, and are foes only to those who degrade it. It gives us pain to see rank debased by vices, which are the very reverse of those virtues for which alone distinction ought to be conferred. The source of honour is like the sun, which, shining on a healthy spot of land, gives birth to nutritious vegetables; but darting its generative rays equally on swamps, fens, and marshes, creates baneful and noxious weeds. It is, therefore, the duty of a skilful satirist, as well
as of a good agriculturist, to encourage the former, and grub up the latter. It is folly to imagine that rank alone confers dignity: the higher the rank, the lower is the possessor sunk by vices. We can have no idea of the dignity of human nature, but by comparing ourselves with other parts of God's creation, particularly the brute, who possess our locomotive powers, our appetites, and an instinct which prompts them to gratify their appetites. But this instinct goes no further, and, therefore, falls infinitely short of what is termed reason in man, which teaches him to look beyond the present, and to consult somewhat beyond self-gratification. The only distinction, then, between man and brute, seems to be that of reason; and where reason is wanting, and he acts only from self-gratification, he has no more than instinct, and can rank no higher than a brute.
To proceed :-Among other alterations and additions made to the Pagoda, (shameful to relate!) above 200,000 livres were sunk in building a palace, or, to speak more correctly, a mausoleum for horses! The whole roof was a glass dome, which would attract the rays of the Sun
like a green-house, so that it was evident that, after all the enormous expenditure, a hor e could not survive such a hot-bath *. One of his very constant attendants, we will not go so far as to say companions, was one Ropesend, formerly à constable, or thief-catcher, from whom he had stooped to borrow money at several times; and, as his love for horse-racing had reviverl, another of the ministers, or tools of his pleasure, was one Mr. Rakehellish, who had run through a vast property with as much speed as his running horses could run away with, and, as a last resource, had purchased a commission under the Squire, to keep him from a jail, beggary, and contempt.
It was no wonder that the Squire relapsed into these excesses; if he could ever have been said to have abandoned them for a moment. His disgust with his former turf.companions was the effect of pride,—but not pride of the right
* Great part of the glass was demolished, some time ago, during the night-an act of revenge, it was supposed, of some of the unpaid and enraged tradesmen.
kind!—that kind which would have prevented a 'Squire from associating with Newmarket black-legs.' He himself was fully aware of the impropriety of such a connection, by establishing a kind of go-between, or manager of his racing concerns; but even this precaution could rot ward off some disgraceful consequences. A famous horse belonging to the 'Squire ran against three others, on one day, and was beaten; but, on the very next day, the same horse beat the very same competitors! As it happened that the 'Squire did not back his horse the first day, and won about 400 guineas on it on the second, the losers taxed his jockey with riding foul. The manager rode up to the Squire, after the second race, and gave him joy, but added, that he would have given 100 guineas that his horse had lost. Although this bespoke his tenderness of the Squire's character, yet he was never honoured with a single word from him afterwards. The jockey was obliged, by the Squire, to clear up the affair to a sporting Committee, which he did to the satisfaction of some, and dissatisfaction of others; but there certainly appeared very little reason to suspect the