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a purchasable commodity. Not merely the necessaries of life—these of course we always expect to pay for,—but even the commonest civilities and attention are rarely now to be had without a fee. Who invented this social impost of fees? We are quite sure that it would have been more than his place was worth for any Chancellor of the Exchequer to have ventured on this system of vexatious direct taxation. The nation would have resented the innovation as a flagrant outrage,—would have denounced it as highly immoral to be required to pay people for doing their duty, or feeing them for the performance of the common courtesies and decencies of life. Whoever invented this practice is guilty of sapping the moral foundations of society and breaking the most natural bonds of the common social intercourse. What, in the name of all that's sacred, is to become of us if the great Christian duty of mutual service inspired by mutual love is to give place to this abominable mercenary habit of doing everything for pecuniary consideration ? But what's the use of preaching, society will have its own way in the matter, and there's no help for it. People who are flush of money, or who like to be taken for gentlemen, or to be thought liberal, what do they care about the morals and manners of the age? Their love of extra attention, and being made comfortable, and nourishing their personal vanity, or some other feeling of an intensely selfish nature, will be sure to operate in support of the fee system, and, therefore, unless we are prepared for a good deal of neglect, and a good many annoyances, we must submit to the social usage, and lay it down as one of the most necessary obligations of social existence to put money in our purse.
Our own judgment and respect for the social morals most decidedly condemn this growing evil, but what are we to do? We have tried to be virtuous on several occasions, and have experienced quite a martyrdom, doing no one a bit of moral service, and doing ourself a great deal of personal discomfort. We have given up our resistance as a hopeless, thankless warfare. Fees are a recognized social institutionand we submit to it like the rest of the respectable world. We fee all the servants, when we
put up for a week with a friend, from the butler down to the boots. Railway porters, box-keepers, pew-openers—all the tribe who have a vested interest in fees we fee remorselessly,--so there's a clean breast of it. Our conscience has got hardened to it, and as for our temper, though we must candidly confess that was often tried quite as much as our conscience, we have drilled that into the most comfortable condition of philosophical complacency. We have made up our minds, if the serving world will put up its civilities at a certain price, that we will pay
for them at the current value; and if it spoils their humanity we let it work its human mischief, as a proper social penalty for a social delinquency. There are so many fee-consuming, mendicant wretches who block
the way of our progress, that we are thankful we can humour them, if only to push through and turn our backs on them. We pay them their degrading tax, and put them down in our estimation among the most despicable and debased of all publicans and sinners. Such being the state of things, we have no help for it, but just to do as the
world does, and take care to put money
in our purse.
Half-a-century's acquaintance with men and things has wonderfully strengthened our opinion of the paramount importance of money. Next to the moralities, money is the very best freight for a comfortable voyage through life.
Even the moralities are the better for the companionship of money. Young inexperienced folk in the early flutter of the tender emotions often affect a most sublime contempt of money. Poor dear innocents, how soon are they undeceived !
With love in their heart, and love on their lip,
Prepared for the moon they call honey :
For people who carry no money. That sneer of contempt, Mr. Sourkrout, has a strong expression of bitter scorn, and we give you credit for much virtuous feeling, but then you know
you are a poor half-starved curate pretty well broken by this time to the
goading harness of a common hack, and somewhat overdosed with the doctrine that hardships are the natural inheritance of all pious people. Money and the devil go together in your creed. You are not a man of the world, Mr. Sourkrout, but a preacher of the vinegar virtues, a spiritual distiller of tartaric-acid, a shining light, we were going to say, we ought rather to say a lowering cloud over the good people of the gloomy school. Your notion of religious ministration is to act the wet blanket on the natural joyousness and love of reasonable comforts, and innocent lightheartedness of general society. Your sneers are very disagreeable, but they shall not spoil our panegyric of money. Money is a very useful article, and, like all useful articles, we know that it may be abused. Beef and mutton are useful articles, so are Guinness's stout and Barclay and Perkins's porter, but they may be abused by gluttony and drunkenness. The corruption of the best things is the worst of all corruptions,—that we know very well ; but we see no reason for indulging in diatribes against the best things because they may be