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There are two distinguishing features in the mental physiognomy of MARTIN STERLING: -- a religious and political firmness of principle. Awakened to a due sense of the importance of the passage,"Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth ;" and disgusted with the thoughtlessness and levity with which every thing connected with religion was treated among a certain set of his schoolfellows, he was often caught in his study examining that old-fashioned book, which has been long exploded by the new school of philosophy, as utterly unworthy the attention of men of wit and genius—the Bible. Not that I would for a moment insinuate that the slightest tinge of scepticism, as to the truth of revealed doctrines, had infected the young élèves of Eton, many of whom are hereafter destined to mount the pulpit : but the assent given was too frequently a cold one, in which no interest was shown; a matter of course; an old deed, to which, for decency's sake, they felt themselves obliged to put their signatures, at the recommendation of parents, or from the force of general example; the validity of which they never, indeed, dreamt of questioning, though they did not once reflect that they were bound to fulfil its provisions, any further than preserving an appearance of decorum in attending Church-service. All other duties they imagined might be safely deferred to a more convenient season, when the amusements and gaieties of youth had lost their flavour. In addition to the offence which Martin gave by the bent which his closet studies had taken, his conduct at chapel was observed to be at variance with the usual nonchalance and listlessness of his neighbours. Instead of arranging matters for the next game at cricket or football, or composing a copy of verses, for which he could not find leisure at a more proper time, he was silly enough to be following the Chaplain in the lessons of the day, and has been even overheard to whisper an Amen" at the conclusion of a prayer. This behaviour stamped him with the appellation of " Methodist;" and an everlasting fire of small shot, witticisms, sneers, and mockery was kept up against the saint, by those whose resentment he provoked by his stern home-driven philippics against swearing, drunkenness, and the like. By no means of irritable temper, preserved his equanimity admirably, and his patience under in
sults never failed him. His conduct indeed subjected him to ridicule; but Martin was one on whom the opinion of the multitude weighed but as dust in the balance, in his discernment between right and wrong; nay, it generally took a contrary effect. Having paid great attention to ecclesiastical writings, he is become a stout polemic in divinity, and as high a churchman as ever took the Bampton Lectures for the standard of faith ; a work, by the by, which an elder brother at Oxford is commissioned to procure for him regularly on the first day of publication. The superiority of his abilities is incontestable. To a thoughtful and unprejudiced mind, his clear reasoning, and the acute remarks which he makes on the last sermon he has heard in chapel, are a source of pleasing instruction; the analysis which a retentive memory enables him to give of the subject embraced by the preacher is true and correct; and the manner in which he embodies in theme the beautiful language and clear argument of the much-esteenied author of “ Records of the Creation," has gained him great applause. But I have alluded to his political principles. These, if we may believe his adversaries, are bigotted to the extreme. In fact, he professes himself a Tory; or, more properly speaking, a Ministerialist ; for the old distinction between Whig and Tory, according to Madame de Stael's definition, " that the former approve of monarchy and love liberty-the latter approve of liberty but love monarchy," is grown obsolete. The two parties, which at present divide the State, may be classed under the two heads of those who systematically support, and those who as systematically oppose, the measures of the existing administration. As the head of the Eton True Blues, Martin is often opposed in fierce debates and furious bickerings with Sir Frank Wentworth, and the epithets of Toad-eater and Demagogue are often exchanged between them. The one accuses his opponent of supporting the doctrines of the infallibility of Ministers, and the divine right of Kings; and the other retorts, by ridiculing the sovereignty of the mob, and stigmatizing the Utopian theories of Universal Representation.
But, gentle Readers, I flatter myself you are all expecting with impatience a sketch of the worthy Chairman himself.
Like a literary gourmand I have reserved his character for a bon-bouche, but cannot sufficiently lament my inability to do it justice. The difficulty of the undertaking consists in distinguishing the different shades, which are so confused and blended together, that a sort of indefinable mystery is thrown over the tout-ensemble ; and it would be presumption, and (what has more weight) bad policy for me to withdraw the veil, which forbids the gaze of the profane and uninitiated. There is something which attracts our respect and attention in whatever is without the pale of our comprehension. Where would have been the reverence which the Heathen paid to . the oracles, had he been acquainted with the detail of the natural or artificial causes from whence they proceeded? Yet far be it from any one to conclude from what I have said, that in this case familiarity would breed contempt: I confidently refer you to that surest of all tests, Time. “From his works thou shalt know him :" and Time is the crucible which will show whether they contain most dross or pure gold. I will, however, venture on a few outlines :
PEREGRINE COURTENAY has long been considered a fuctotum in Etonian literature;-a centre of gravity, which attracts to itself every boy, who is in any way distinguished for talent or merit; -a solar orb, around which they all revolve, and which (although they cannot be said to borrow their heat and light from it) serves as a consolidating head of the system, and gives the powers of each separate member of it that efficacy and direction which they would otherwise want. Possessed of sound good sense, rather than of brilliance of genius, he is better known for his general acquirements and universal information, than for extraordinary progress in any one individual branch of knowledge: and hence we may account for the influence which he possesses over, and the respect which he receives from, his brother students. He investigates questions of moral and natural philosophy with Allen, and very often solves them by the clear-sightedness of a good understanding, to the astonishment of his companion, whose brain has become muddled over them. With Montgomery he hunts for beauties, and enquires into the principles of poetry; and it is whispered that it is not merely for purposes of theory. With Frederick he bandies witticisms, and coins satirical critiques upon the foibles and follies of our
miniature world; and he moreover acts as umpire in the po. litical disputes between Frank and Martin Sterling. The admirable coolness and impartiality with which he composes the feuds of these adverse leaders, while he points out to them the difference between despotism and a constitutional monarchy, the freedom and licentiousness of the press, conciliates for him the esteem of both parties. Being now one of the senior members of the Sixth Form, the intercourse which he is enabled to keep up with both the Universities in his correspondence with old acquaintances, who have preceded him in the road of life, has greatly extended his means of information; and with the world at large his thirst after knowledge has opened to him many sources of intelligence. If any new work is about to make its appearance, Peregrine has heard of it, and is in a fever of expectation: if it has appeared, Peregrine has read it, and his summing up of the merits and demerits of the composition generally influences the public verdict at Eton. Has any publication come forth anonymously? who so likely to have received accounts of the latest surmises which are current in the blue stocking circles on the subject of the author, as Peregrine? In addition to these traits of character, he has something of the virtuoso about him, at least if we may judge from the proofs of that pursuit which are so abundantly scattered over his
Here a plaster cast of the Venus di Medicis or the Apollo Belvidere, there imitations of Derbyshire spar, which have been effected by chemical process, as also various specimens of mineralogy. Around you are excellent prints, in neat frames, of the favourite works of the best artists; and as often as you will step into his room, Courtenay will entertain you
you with a dissertation on “ Raphael, Corregio, and stuff," and ask no price for his trouble, except a patient hearing
These are the leading members, the literary phænomena of our excellent institution. We have besides sundry minor luminaries, of whom I will take at present a brief notice, leaving them to develope their characters more fully by the part they will take in our proceedings.
ALEXANDER M‘Farlane is a Scotchman, possessed of all the characteristics of his countrymen. His habits, his man
ners, his prejudices, are all strictly national. His temper is by nature hasty, a defect which is not a little heightened by his deep sense of honour, and his overbearing pride of ancestry. He is possessed of considerable information on various topics; and as he is particularly deep read in the legends and superstitions of the Highlands, will occasionally indulge the reader with a narrative of the feud between the Macgregor and the M'Cullummore, or a dissertation on the Brownie of Glenmore, or the Fahm of Glen-Avin.*
PATRICK O'Connor is the representative of the Irish part of our little community. His insurmountable good humour, and the utter unconsciousness which he evinces to the frequent sarcasms levelled at him by his brother members, render him a most agreeable addition to our party : but as his reading has not been very extensive, nor his pen much exercised, he will be of little use to our readers,-unless he may chance to strike out a new Bull, which we understand is much wanted for the next edition of Joe Miller.
ROBERT MUSGRAVE, if our characters had been arranged according to the amusement which each is likely to afford to our readers, would certainly have stood at the head of the list.
Our young sportsmen will be glad to learn, that, although we present ourselves to their notice as a literury association, we have, in Robert Musgrave, a knowing one," whom we can safely recommend to their notice as a model, and an oracle in all those matters for which they were formerly accustomed to refer to the “ Sporting Magazine.” His most remarkable peculiarity is his proficiency in the slang of the coach-box, as he seldom favours us with a speech which is not plentifully seasoned with what he himself terms “ vehicular metaphors.” The whole scope and tenor of his ideas may
be collected from the humorous tone of indignant disappointment with which he commenced his first letter to Sir Robert, after his arrival at Eton :- " Dam'me Fatherwhy, they don't allow top-boots!"
John Burton is the only son of a substantial inhabitant of Ludgate-hill, in whose steps he treads with great assiduity.
*“ Fahm is a little ugly monster, who frequents the summits of the mountains around Glen-Avin, and no other place in this world that I know of."--Notes to Hogg's “ Queen's Wake,”