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sculpture; have passed years in the study of the ancient and modern schools, and understand some little about the matter on which they were to decide. Here however the case was different. The committee were profoundly incompetent to their task; but then they were ladies of fashion; a term of such extensive import, that it embraces the whole circle of sciences within its comprehensive circumference.
On their first sitting, a statue of Minerva was proposed. A vast female majority however voted against her.
Some shrewdly observed, that the Goddess of Wisdom was out of her element in London. Others remarked, that she was proverbially out of their line, and that they should derive no satisfaction from an exhibition of their own ser. The idea was accordingly abandoned, and after some further suggestions, Mr. Westmacott was desired to complete the original design. The expence was next calculated, and one thrifty member of the committee, laudably anxious to have the most for her money, requested that Sir William Curtis (if there was sufficient brass to furnish him) should be taken as a model. But this also was rejected, on the plea that the ladies would be accused of treason to the state, were they to ensnare the baronet from his invaluable public duties.
The apparel of Achilles now became a matter of serious discussion. Breeches were unanimously scouted, for, argued the committee, the Cossack trowsers of a fashionable statue will soon become antiquated, whereas a fig leaf is a species of scriptural evergreen. A wig was the next consideration, , and Dr. Parr was applied to for the loan of his best Sabbath bob. He accordingly wrote them a very polite reply, (which to their infinite edification was indited in the Greek character,) in which he observed that as Homer makes no mention of Achilles' wig, it is fair to presume that he wore none. For further particulars he referred them to Scholia in Homerum, vols. 1 and 2, to Ricardi Payne Knight Prolegomena ; and a MS of his own, in which he confidently asserted that wigs, knee-breeches, and top-boots were unknown at the siege of Troy. The letter concluded with a parallel between sandals and shoe-strings; one of which he derived from the other, a fact, he observed, that went a great way to prove the primæval sympathies of nations. Such a weight of learning completely subdued the committee, who, to prevent further discussion and at the same time to please all their countrywomen, ordered Achilles to be erected in a state of picturesque nudity.
Mr. Westmacott was now set seriously to work,
and I waxed vigorous apace.
Each revolving moon added some new beauty to my form so that I soon became a favourite with the ladies. In due time my lineaments elicited all their present majesty, and but one finishing touch was requisite. I shall not easily forget the transports of my
Prometheus as this last stroke was completed. It was on a calm summer morning; the sun shone brightly on my features, and I seemed to live in the splendor of his beams. Not a grace, not a charm was wanting; the hand of genius had passed over me, and I rose in beauty from its creative touch, as Venus from the spray of ocean. The artist beheld me with enthusiasm, and his heart beat with exultation, while he stood beside his elaborate immortality. And well indeed might he exult, for through countless ages I am doomed to survive, like a rock upon the sea of time. When London is whelmed in ruin, when the high grass waves in the palaces of its nobles, I shall still exist, the beacon that attracts attention to the past. Flushed with England's greatness, I shall reflect back her glory amid the dimness of remote ages, as the western cloud lends to twilight the lustre of departed day.
I was by this time completely finished; and after a temporary delay occasioned by the difficulty
of carriage, was installed in my present abode where instead of admiration, I excite but censure. It is of this envious irritation, my dear Sir, continued Achilles, that I now complain. The men, learned or unlearned, view me with the jaundiced eye of prejudice, for my strong athletic limbs
an overt reproach on their effeminacy. Though I have so much brass in my face, I can assure you that I frequently blush through the bronze, from a sense of their paltry animadversions. They find that I am an object of general female admiration, and their own self-love is mortified. It was therefore with the view of publishing my grievances, that I have ventured to address you with such prolixity. State my case to the British nation, and add for the especial comfort of their morals, that when the present generation has evaporated, its descendants shall bring their wives and their young daughters to behold me, that they may early imbibe principles of chastity, modesty, and decorum from the naked warrior, who was the delight and the envy of their ancestors.
The statue ceased, and his solemn voice seemed vibrating on my ear, like a peal of expiring thunder. With awe I turned towards him, but instead of an impassioned historian, beheld the cold moon shining down upon an inanimate countenance.
The talisman that had charmed me was broken, the music that had breathed of the past was hushed, and reason again resumed her unclouded sway. The moon was yet high in heaven, as I rose from the spot where I had been seated. The noble mansions that skirt the Park were yet silvered with her beams, and the lamps on the gates of Piccadilly seemed to sink into dimness before her. All was stillness around me, save when the deep-toned abbey clock, or the harsh voice of the patrole, announced the waning of the night. By the time that I had reached my lodgings, a startling summons awaited me. The printer was inexorable in his epistolary demands for copy, and I resolved that as my communication with Achilles had produced so soporific a tendency, I would witness its effect, in the pages of the Inn-keeper's Album.