Chapter 41

Decease of the Review - Homer himself - Bread and cheese - Finger and thumb - Impossible to find - Something grand - Universal mixture - Some other publisher.

TIME passed away, and with it the Review, which, contrary to the publisher’s expectation, did not prove a successful speculation. About four months after the period of its birth it expired, as all Reviews must for which there is no demand. Authors had ceased to send their publications to it, and, consequently, to purchase it; for I have already hinted that it was almost entirely supported by authors of a particular class, who expected to see their publications foredoomed to immortality in its pages. The behaviour of these authors towards this unfortunate publication I can attribute to no other cause than to a report which was industriously circulated, namely, that the Review was low, and that to be reviewed in it was an infallible sign that one was a low person, who could be reviewed nowhere else. So authors took fright; and no wonder, for it will never do for an author to be considered low. Homer himself has never yet entirely recovered from the injury he received by Lord Chesterfield’s remark that the speeches of his heroes were frequently exceedingly low.

So the Review ceased, and the reviewing corps no longer existed as such; they forthwith returned to their proper avocations - the editor to compose tunes on his piano, and to the task of disposing of the remaining copies of his Quintilian - the inferior members to working for the publisher, being to a man dependants of his; one, to composing fairy tales; another, to collecting miracles of Popish saints; and a third, Newgate lives and trials. Owing to the bad success of the Review, the publisher became more furious than ever. My money was growing short, and I one day asked him to pay me for my labours in the deceased publication.

‘Sir,’ said the publisher, ‘what do you want the money for?’

‘Merely to live on,’ I replied; ‘it is very difficult to live in this town without money.’

‘How much money did you bring with you to town?’ demanded the publisher.

‘Some twenty or thirty pounds,’ I replied.

‘And you have spent it already?’

‘No,’ said I, ‘not entirely; but it is fast disappearing.’

‘Sir,’ said the publisher, ‘I believe you to be extravagant; yes, sir, extravagant!’

‘On what grounds do you suppose me to be so?’

‘Sir,’ said the publisher, ‘you eat meat.’

‘Yes,’ said I, ‘I eat meat sometimes; what should I eat?’

‘Bread, sir,’ said the publisher; ‘bread and cheese.’

‘So I do, sir, when I am disposed to indulge; but I cannot often afford it - it is very expensive to dine on bread and cheese, especially when one is fond of cheese, as I am. My last bread and cheese dinner cost me fourteenpence. There is drink, sir; with bread and cheese one must drink porter, sir.’

‘Then, sir, eat bread - bread alone. As good men as yourself have eaten bread alone; they have been glad to get it, sir. If with bread and cheese you must drink porter, sir, with bread alone you can, perhaps, drink water, sir.’

However, I got paid at last for my writings in the Review, not, it is true, in the current coin of the realm, but in certain bills; there were two of them, one payable at twelve, and the other at eighteen months after date. It was a long time before I could turn these bills to any account; at last I found a person who, at

  By PanEris using Melati.

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