Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

and the affection with which he warned every mother, that she would never forgive herself if her infant should perish without a necklace. I cannot but remark to the celebrated author, who gave, in his notifications of the camel and dromedary, so many specimens of the genuine sublime, that there is now arrived another subject yet more worthy of his pen—A famous Mohawk Indian warrior, who took Dieskaw, the French general, prisoner, dressed in the same manner with the native Indians when they go to war, with his face and body painted, with his scalping knife, tom-axe, and all other implements of war! A sight worthy the curiosity of every true Briton This is a very powerful description: but a critic of great refinement would say that it conveys rather horror than terror. An Indian, dressed as he goes to war, may bring company together; but if he carries the scalping knife and tom-axe, there are many true Britons that will never be persuaded to see him but through a grate. It has been remarked by the severer judges, that the salutary sorrow of tragic scenes is too soon effaced by the merriment of the epilogue: the same inconvenience arises from the improper disposition of advertisements. The noblest objects may be so associated as to be made ridiculous. The camel and dromedary themselves might have lost much of their dignity between the true flower of mustard and the original Daffy's Elixir; and I could not but feel some indignation when I found this illustrious Indian warrior immediately succeeded by a fresh parcel of Dublin butter. The trade of advertising is now so near to perfection, that it is not easy to propose any improvement. But as every art ought to be exercised in due subordination to the public good, I cannot but propose it as a moral question to these masters of the public ear, Whether they do not sometimes play too wantonly with our passions? as when the registrar of lottery tickets invites us to his shop by an account of the prizes which he sold last year; and whether the advertising controversists do not indulge

asperity of language without any adequate provocation? as in the dispute about strops for razors, now happily subsided, and in the altercation which at present subsists concerning Eau de Luce. In an advertisement it is allowed to every man to speak well of himself, but I know not why he should assume the privilege of censuring his neighbour. He may proclaim his own virtue or skill, but ought not to exclude others from the same pretensions. Every man that advertises his own excellence should write with some consciousness of a character which dares to call the attention of the public. He should remember that his name is to stand in the same paper with those of the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Germany, and endeavour to make himself worthy of such association. Some regard is likewise to be paid to posterity. There are men of diligence and curiosity who treasure up the papers of the day merely because others neglect them, and in time they will be scarce. When these collections shall be read in another century, how will numberless contradictions be reconciled; and how shall fame be possibly distributed among the tailors and bodice-makers of the present age?” Judging by the advertisements which continued, the worthy advertisers of 1759 had a very poor opinion of men yet to come, and might have asked, had they thought of it, with the Irish member, “What's posterity ever done for us?”—a query which would have puzzled even Dr Johnson.

The short-sleeved dresses of 1760 must have called for all kinds of apparatus for whitening and beautifying the arms, and among many a kindred and attractive advertisement of the time we take the following from the Chronicle of April 19–21 :

Gloves for Ladies. THE true prepared French Chicken and Dog-skin Gloves, for clearing and whitening the hands and arms, perfumed and plain. As some ladies have had but small confidence in these Gloves, till they have been prevailed upon to wear one Glove for eight or ten Nights, when they have evidently seen to their agreeable satisfaction that hand and arm brought to such a superior degree of whiteness over the other, as though they did not belong to the same Person. The above Gloves are prepared and sold only by Warren & Co., Perfumers, at the Golden Fleece, in Marybone Street, Golden Square, at 5s. a pair, who import, make and sell, all sorts of perfumery Goods, in the utmost persection. The Violet-Cream Pomatum, and celebrated quintessence of Lavender, by no other person. & Ladies sending their servants are humbly desired to send a Glove of the size. M. B.-Just landed, a fine parcel of the famous India Pearl. *...* The Queen's Royal Marble, at 20s., and Chinese Imperial Wash ball, at 5s., that are so well known to the Nobility, &c. Ladies' Masks and Tippets.

All this effort at decoration and beautifying is very wrong, but we are stopped in our desire to “improve the occasion” by the recollection that no age has been more deep in the mysteries of cosmetic, enamel, pearl powder, and paint than our own, in which quacks abound, and old ladies have been known to submit themselves to the operation of being made beautiful, not for all time, but for ever. A little further on, in the Evening Post, we come upon an ambitious author who has attempted to regenerate the drama, and who advertises his work. Shakespeare seems always to have been considered capable of improvement by somebody, but as the mania for touching the immortal bard up, and making him respectable and fit for the understandings of small tradesmen, still goes on, and fortunes are made at it, we will give the following without comment, lest some original author of the present day might think we were obliquely alluding to him :—

In the press and shortly will be published The Students, a Comedy, altered from Shakespeare's Love's Labour Lost, and adapted to the stage, with an original Prologue and Epilogue. Printed for Thomas Hope, opposite the north gate of the Royal Exchange, Threadneedle St.

Deserters are plentiful about this period, our soldiers,

however brave they may have been when put to it, having an evident objection to the pomp and circumstance of war. That was, perhaps, because their share of the latter was unduly large as compared with their participation in the former. The following is from Zloyd's Evening Post of April 26–28, and is a fair specimen of the remainder:—

Peserted

FROM the 16th Regiment of Dragoons, Captain Walmesly's troop, WILLIAM BEVEN,

Aged 16 years, about five feet five inches high, stoops a good deal as he walks, and but very indifferently made ; absented himself from his Quarters last Saturday night, the 17th instant; he says he was born in the parish of the Hays, in the County of Brecknockshire, and by trade a labourer; he went away with a light horse man's cap, a coarse red frock faced with black, a striped flannel waistcoat, and a pair of leather breeches.

Whoever apprehends and secures the above Deserter, so as he may be committed to any of His Majesty's gaols, shall, by applying to George Ross, Esq., Agent to the regiment, in Conduit Street, London, receive twenty Shillings, over and above the reward given by Act of Parliament.

Those who are in the habit of expressing themselves as to the decadence of the British soldier, and of the British human being generally, will do well to ponder over this advertisement, and judge from it the difference between the defenders of hearths and homes of then and now. Yet, with all his want of size and possession of awkwardness, this same youth, who would not nowadays be admitted into the worst regiment of militia fallbacks in existence, is deemed worthy of an extra reward. So much for “our army” in the middle of the eighteenth century.

[ocr errors]

THE EDUCATION COMPEAE 7"E.D.

O far, as has been shown, advertisements have had to struggle against foreign war, internecine disorder, the poverty of the State, and many other drawbacks; but by the commencement of the seventh decade of the eighteenth century, these difficulties have all in turn been surmounted, and the most modern means of obtaining publicity, despite prejudice, and, still worse, taxation, is fixed firmly in the land, and doing much towards the management of its affairs. The country is at peace with the world, so far as Europe is concerned ; and even the Canadian campaign is as good as over. Clive has made himself felt and the name of England feared throughout the length and breadth of India, and merchants are beginning to reap the advantages of conquest. George III. has ascended the throne, has been married and crowned, and looks forward to a long and prosperous reign. In fact, everything seems bright and smiling, for never, through many a long year, was the country so free from troubles and anxieties, or with so little to direct her attention from those two great essentials to English existence—profit and pleasure. And so, as marked in the preceding chapter, advertisements of all kinds progressed as the century became older; and when the ordinary style failed, dodges of all kinds were adopted to give a factitious importance to announcements, no matter whether of quacks, of publishers, or of the infinite variety of other trades and professions which just now began to be bitten by the fast-growing

« AnteriorContinuar »