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Come ancient maiden ladies whose funds the stocks distressing are,
Your consols can bring consolation yet to you ;
To ease you of all trouble as your dividends fall due.
And better with your jointures large than in your virgin snow;
To meet the brisk demand of your needs, and weeds, and woe.
With gold to cover your defects, you've but to pick and choose :
To fancy for deformity we fortune would refuse.
Female or male, who have money in your purse ;
Dolts, fools, and idiots-for better ? no ! for worse !!!
NAPOLEON'S MIDNIGHT REVIEW.
“At midnight hour is heard."
Nocte super media mæstus sonus æthera complet,
G. W. S.
THE DIAMOND COMPANY.
BY RICHARD JOHNS.
STEAM is a right pleasant invention, as applied to locomotion by water. In a steam-boat man is enabled to indulge his gregarious habits in a much more diversified society than he could possibly find by staying at home, or even visiting his neighbours. He moves at the rate of ten miles an hour ; the comforts of a hotel are spread around him, and, while in a coffee-room the charm of woman's smile is denied him, in a steam-boat the ladies are seldom to be found in the mysterious boudoir allotted to their use. “ The angels of life" move along the saloon, mingle with the herd of men, whom they by a natural consequence humanize and harmonize ; yes, they even eat eggs and ham, and drink tea and coffee before our eyes, giving grace to the unromantic realities of existence. I of course refer to smooth water steaming in these general remarks on the enjoyments of a steamer. Why should I conceal the fact ? My observations have especial reference to the “Gravesend Diamond Company.” I spurn the supposition that my holding a few shares in that most respectable and excellent speculation induces me to make particular mention of " our boats.” For the express accommodation of the public, we have been warring against the adverse “ Stars” for many a long month ; but we have never condescended to puff ourselves into notoriety.
In the early part of last September, I determined on taking a trip to Gravesend for the benefit of my health, a relaxation which cannot be sufficiently recommended to the inhabitants of our too denselypeopled metropolis ; I speak from experience, not from interested motives. On a peculiarly fine morning I drove down to London Bridge in a cab, and at eleven o'clock found myself snugly seated in a corner of the Diamond Saloon. There are certain classes of people you may generally calculate on meeting in a Gravesend steam-boat. Gamblers of the Stock Exchange, speculators in the lively stock of Smithfield ; stern bluff farmers, who look as if the corn-market had gone much against their grain ; hop-growers, whose hearts, hands, and conversation are deep in their pockets. Then there are masters of merchant-vessels, following th`ir Mary Annes, Lady Floras, and Julias, who have the day before dropped down the river. Start not, ye uninitiated in the name of shipping! I mean not desperat? fair ones, who have taken “ the tide at the flood” that leads to destruction, but good ships of the like names taking the tide to Gravesend, together with craft of more extraordinary cognomens for such a trip ; a Windsor Castle, a London, a Liverpool, or a Severn, all “ cleared” of the Custom House, outward bound, ready for sailing. Their captains, with here and there some female passenger under their protection, are proceeding to take charge, and then, hey! for a prosperous voyage. You may generally know the master of a mer. chant-vessel by the make of his coat and hat, which tells the fashion of by-gone seasons, such shore-going toggery being little in requi. sition with men who, like hippopotami, are never on shore for a “ long spell.” But to continue my notice of voyagers by " our steam
ers" would require a volume. Merchants and lawyers, whose families are crescented or terraced at Gravesend; officers of the army and navy, quartered, paying off, or fitting out at Chatham ; ladies who have been to London shopping, or who are going to make their first appearance for the season at the “Metropolitan Suburban Watering-place;" children and nursery-maids, holiday clerks and shop-boys, together with a few flaunting damsels and flashy gentlemen, speculators in wandering hearts and stray trinkets; the latter of these gentry in the meditation, rather than the commission of mischief. Such is the heterogeneous assemblage in “ our boats." “ Move her easy-stop her—a turn astern-go on.” The Diamond, that
gem of the river, had got into the centre of the stream, and we were fairly on our passage to Gravesend. I am an elderly gentle. man, and have arrived at that period of life when a good night's rest is not to be found in every night-cap: and I thus may be occasionally caught napping after dinner, and in warm weather, even of a morning. Now, the day in question was “excessive hot”—“purdi. gious warm "_" wery hoppressive:” I use the phraseology of my steaming companions, for such were the sounds which fell on my tympanum, one expression of a “ summer feeling” succeeding another, till I dropped into a forty-wink slumber. I seldom take more by day. light. No sooner have I mingle) the reality of the scene around me with the memories of twenty things jostling each other, till they lose their individuality in an obscurity which, fading as a vapour, discloses that shadowy stage of the mental retina where dreams seem about to be enacted, than I gradually return to consciousness. But though I am again perfectly awake, the perfect, if not beautitul repose of countenance, as Mr. Blackmien, who occasionally cuts portraits on board the Diamond, is kind enough to denominate it, often deceives those around me into a belief that the “old gentleman in the blue goggles” is still asleep. The reader may be about to exclaim, “ A truce with your sleepy symptoms," for Mr. Gardner the hypnologist alone could enter fully into the philosophy of the matter. But we will not pursue this digression ; it will be shortly apparent how necessary it was that my habit of napping should be made clear to the meanest comprehensions.
"A charming day, and no mi-saprehension can be entertained on the subject, my dear Miss Julia Maria.” I looked through my spectacles, those blue-glazed windows of the mind, and beholding in the speaker and his fair companion evident indications of an interesting conversation, must it be confessed, I pretended to slumber. The gentleman who had challenged my attention was an elaborately dressed young man in a coatee of indefinite colour, cut after that undecided fashion which, in sporting phrase, might be likened to a cross-breed between a quaker coat and a hunting frock. He luxuriated in a waistcoat, brilliant as if woven from the peacock's tail to deck a Jew jeweller on his wedding morn : his trousers were of spotless white, in happy contrast to the jetty polish of his patent leather boots, in which he stood five feet eight inches, to borrow a favourite expression of his own, “slim and genteel—quite a man for the ladies." Let the reader imagine a red face, caverned with a large mouth, decidedly full of white teeth, simpering over an emerald green stock, the decending drapery of which was fastened by a diamond broach under the charge of three little gold pins, and as
many little gold chains.
Now, let us take care that a gorgeous watch-chain is sufficiently conspicuous, as it festoons from pocket to pocket of the peacock waistcoat aforesaid, and we have dressed our gentlemen to the life. Omitting only in our portrait those charms at. tempting which imagination and description would alike fail ; for what fancy could paint, what pen could adequately describe the “Hy. perian curls,” redolent of perfume, and dark as the ebon beetle's wing, a wondrous triumph of “ Tyrean” powers, that decked his lofty temples. His eyes were killing-dye was in his air.
Miss Julia Maria Aldgate felt the influence of those locks, the speaking eloquence of those eyes which sought her own, now rest. ing on the green parasol her little gloved hand was wantonly tormenting by threatening to break its bones. This act of petty tyranny concluded, she looked at her little foot, and then she ventured to return her admirer's gaze, acknowledging the self-evident fact that it was “a very charming day.” But Julia blushed as she said it, for to her the dullest day was charming when Mr. Amyere Cumming happened to be her fellow-voyager.
Such was the exquisite's name ; and often had I remarked him, “the observed of all observers," on board our boats. He had a season ticket, and was a constant passenger. Often, too, I had remarked his attention to the object of his present addresses, who was a very pretty girl, with a very pretty fortune, and a very pretty notion of her pa's wealth, her ma's gentility, and her own merits. The residence of her sire was in the city ; the sphere of her maternal parents' elegance was just then Gravesend ; and Miss Julia Maria's merits were, like attendant graces, keeping court around that7 interesting young lady on board the “ Diamond.” Under her mamma's protection she was returning from her “pa’s” house in Throgmorton street to the enjoyment of brackish, if not sea breezes, the congenial society of pleasure seeking souls, together with the chaste of Tully—not he of the ancient wise, but of the modern bazaar. Mrs. Aldgate was attentively reading “the new Thames guide from Richmond to the Nore," leaving her daughter in free possession of her admirer's attentions ; civilities, in that prudent mother's opinion, not to be despised.
If report spoke truth, and the gallant object of the on dit, who ought to have been best informed on the subject, did not contradict it, the scion of a noble house was sojourning at Gravesend incogo nito. Who could this sprig of quality possibly be but Mr. Amyere Cumming ?
“Oh! Miss Julia Maria," continued that interesting mystery, lisping in the accents of love his opinion of the atmosphere,
“ how very hot it is ; nothing but your charming conversation could keep me from going up-stairs' under the hawning. Let me beg you to try a promenade."
“ I should be sorry to prevent you going, sir,” answered the fair Julia, “ but the deck is sadly crowded, and Ma can't bear me to be in promiscuous society."
Oh, does your mother know you're out on the water ?" elegantly drawled Mr. Amyere Cumming, the latter part of this extraordinary question coming to the relief of what had a strong resemblance to a phrase belonging more to town than ton.
“ I know I'm on the water," said Miss Aldgate, looking with
surprise at the smiling gentleman, and then glancing at her respected parent, who was apparently deeply engaged with her book.
« Don't you see, ma ?-haven't you been speaking to her ?”
“ True, very true,” replied Mr. Cumming ; " I'm such a habsent man. Excuse me. You, who are perfection itself, and no misconception in the matter, will make allowance."
The fair Julia assured Mr. Cumming that she considered absence of mind very interesting; and Mr. Cumming, with a great deal of since. rity, owned that absence of mind was one of his little peculiarities ; but, then, no one could have a fairer excuse ; and Miss Aldgate blushed as if she understood him; and nothing could be more agreeable than the young people were to each other.
The interesting stranger, when making incidental mention of noble friends, never failed in giving their full titles; and those who were honoured with his notice, though not with a niche in the peerage or baronetage, were all heiresses, rich widows, or gentlemen with five thousand a year. Mr. Cumming's acquaintance as a young man about town was, he said, chiefly among young men like himself; and he seemed to have lived on social terms with the elite of our fashionable rouès. He particularly dwelt on their tastes gastronomic, and much "to the edification of the gentle Julia, all his intimates appeared to delight in " ham, chicken, champaigne, and arrack punch. Then Mr. Cumming knew all the public singers, and half the actors ; while not a place of amusement in London but he frequented; giving the preference, “of course," as he with much dignity remarked, to “ Almacks', and Vauxhall.” Amid this pleasing small-talk there ran a vein of such peculiar phraseology, accompanied by so much grace of action in passing his fingers through his hair, smoothing his chin, and playing with his watch-chain, that Miss Julia's heart, I doubt not, panted with a desire of conquest, for she looked as if her whole soul were in arms as she listened to the distingue individual before her.
" I suppose you live quite in the West End, sir ? somewhere near the Green Park, or the Regent's Park ?"
Ere this question was answered, and Mr. Cumming seemed too busily engaged in regarding the fair querist to hurry himself, I observed Mrs. Aldgate's attention distracted from her book by the evident interest she felt in the colloquy.
“Do you see anything green in my eye?" suddenly remarked Mr. Cumming."
“Oh! la! what do you mean?” responded Miss Julia ; "you are so funny !"
“Don't you live in the West End, then ?" asked Mrs. Aldgate, who now joined in the conversation."
“Yes, ma'am ; always, except when I'm at a little snug retirement on the Lambeth side, or at a watering-place,-Gravesend, Margate, Ramsgate, Brighton, and such like. I was saying it was a fine day, ma'am. Might Miss Julia take a walk on the deck ?”
"You ’re very polite, sir," replied Mrs. Aldgate ; " and I will go with her."
“What are you at-tempting ?” exclaimed the “very polite” gentleman, as the young lady, in her hurry to accompany him, en. tangled her shawl in most mysterious folds. Gallantly he extricated her from this embarrassment, and offering an arm to the mamma, they