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the necessary duties of the table. If left to
the natural impulses of my character, I should
do all in my power to make the most of my
position; to render myself agreeable by a
thousand well-calculated, well-timed, attentions;
a thousand delicate, thoughtful, and
sympathising inquiries. But even here, in
the sacred precincts of my own family circle,
the man behind my chair steps in; robs me
with his hireling legerdemain of my long-
sought opportunity of assisting my helpless
kindred, and freezes the fountain-spring of
my over-gushing affection.

I may be seated next to one of the most
influential members of the government. I
may be fully aware of the benefit that would
arise to that government, and to my beloved
country, by my great, though long-hidden
administrative talent; but, while the accursed
shadow is thrown across my plate,
from behind my chair, my tongue cleaves to
the roof of my mouth. I lose the power of
speech. The goblet of overflowing patronage
bubbles up to my lips; but, like the wretched
Tantalus, I cannot drink.

Why should the conventional requirements
of misguided splendour inflict these gilded
incubi upon us; who make more unendurable
the dull talk, and who stimulate the natural
indigestion of the dinner-table? Is it not
enough that every distinguished dining-room
is filled with goggle-eyed family portraits, who
glare upon every morsel of food which the
unhappy visitor conveys to his lips? Is it not
enough that debateable works of art
supposed to be by some of the oldest of the old
mastersare hung up full in the faces of the
masticating victims, to excite the critical
faculties, and to keep the judgment in an
unwholesome state of ferment, at a time when
the mental organisation should be at rest, and
the attention devoted solely to what are
miscalled, but which might really be made, the
pleasures of the table? Is it not enough that
all these disturbing pictorial influences should
be crowded upon the walls of luxury, making
them more unendurable than the bare black
stone barriers of a county jail; but that,
behind every man's chair, should be stationed
a conversation monitor in silk stockingsa
braided embodiment of accusing conscience
a sleek, oily, well-fed, easy-minded, fat-
accumulating, non-tax-paying witness; who, for
some mysterious reason, receives a yearly
stipend, and a yearly board, in return for
taking up a position where the whole
panorama of life passes gently before him;
where he can listen to wisdom out of the
mouths of rakes and worldlings; and where
he can gather the rich results of hard-bought
experience, gained by those who have boldly
leaped into the ring and fought the battle of
life, while he is always a calm and undisturbed
spectator of the contest? If it be absolutely
necessary for the proper distribution of the
feast that some attendance should be given to
the assembled guests, let as much as possible
of this service be provided for by mechanical
arrangements. Dumb waiters they all are;
but the genius who should invent an automaton
footman, would deserve the honours of
the Bath.

THE HERO OF A HUNDRED PLAYS.

THE tragedy we are about to represent in
little, is the work of a Chinese Shakespeare;
being one of the Hundred Plays of Yuin. Its
name may stand on the bill as HÁN KOONG
TSEW; or, Autumn in the Palace of Hán.
Autumn is the word always used to express
sorrow or misfortune. Yuen, the hero of a
hundred plays, came to the throne about forty-
two years B.C.

The chief characters in the tragedy are:
Yuen, Emperor of China, of the dynasty of
Hán; Maou-eu-show, his minister; Han-chan-
yu, the Tartar Khan; and Chaou-keun, the
heroine. There appear also the President of
the imperial council, a Tartar Envoy, and
officers in waiting. The scene varies
between the Tartar camp on the northern
frontier of China, and the Imperial palace of
Hán.

The first act opens in the Tartar encampment.
The Khan thus soliloquises:

Wildly, wildly in its fury,
Blows the bleak autumnal gale,
'Gainst our woollen tents hard beating,
Bending low the rushes frail;
And the moon, the queen of midnight,
Shining on the rude-built huts,
Hears all night the pipe lamenting,
Listens to its mournful notes.
All these countless hosts are warriors,
Powerful with the bended bow;
Me, they honour as their leader:
Where I bid, they proudly go.

The Khan then states that he is Han-chan-yu,
and narrates some of the most notable deeds
of his ancestors, the distinguished friends of
the family of Hán, the old inhabitants of
the sandy waste, the sole rulers of the
northern region:

I command a hundred thousand warriors. The wild
chase is our trade; battle and conquest are our chief
occupation. We have moved to the south, and claimed
alliance with the imperial race; for it has ever been
the custom with our houses to seek such unions.
Yesterday I despatched an envoy, with tributary
presents, to demand a princess in alliance; but I don't
know whether the emperor will ratify the engagement
with the customary oaths.

The scene then changes to the Chinese
Emperor's palace. The chief minister of the
brother of the moon, the stock villain of the
tragedy, unfolds his plans and views in a
soliloquy:

If a man would get on in the world, let him have
the heart of a kite: let him have the talons of an
eagle. Let him deceive all his superiors, and oppress
all who are beneath him. Let him enlist profligacy
and avarice, insinuation and flattery on his side; and,
if he uses these well, he will find them invaluable

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