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as we have only one room that we can inhabit at present, and we have not yet dined with him. I sometimes like him very much, and sometimes I think him so given up, body and soul, to the world, and such a worshipper of My Lords and My Ladies, that I think it a great waste of any of my spare kind feelings to bestow them upon him. Love without a coronet over it goes for nothing in his eyes. However, he amuses me, and I had rather be on kind terms with him than not. Bab [Lady Donegal] is more his than I am: she sees him with kinder eyes, and shuts them oftener to his failings.' (Vol. viii. p. 140.)
Rogers was unceasingly at war with the late Lady D. One day at dinner she called across the table: Now, Mr. Rogers, 'I am sure you are talking about me' (not attacking, as the current version runs). Lady D.,' was the retort, 'I pass my life
in defending you.'
Although fashion is tolerably discriminating upon the whole, and commonly exacts an entrance-fee in sterling or current coin of some sort (either merit or celebrity) from all who are not born and bred within her hallowed precincts, still individuals may now and then be seen there whose position is as puzzling as that of Pope's fly in amber:
'The thing we know is neither rich nor rare,
For this anomalous species, Rogers professed the most unmitigated contempt; and their usual resource, industrious flattery, was worse than wasted on him. One evening when, leaning on the arm of a friend, he was about to walk home from an evening party, a pretentious gentleman of this description made a desperate attempt to fasten on them, and prefaced the meditated intrusion by saying that he never liked walking alone. I should have thought, sir,' said Rogers, that no one was so well satis'fied with your company as yourself.'
If he had done no more than check pushing presumption, or expose fawning insignificance, his habitual severity of comment would have caused no reflection on his memory; but it became so formidable at one time, that his guests might be seen manoeuvring which should leave the room last, so as not to undergo the apprehended ordeal; and it was said of him with more wit than truth, that he made his way in the world, as Hannibal made his across the Alps with vinegar. His adoption of a practice which ran counter to all his avowed theories has been accounted for by the weakness of his voice, which, it was argued, induced him to compel attention by bitterness,-like the backbiters described by Lord Brougham, who, devoid of force to wield the sword, 'snatch the dagger, and steep it in venom to make it fester in
the scratch.' This solution is unjust to Rogers, who was not driven to procure listeners by such means. It, moreover, exaggerates a failing which was common to the wits of his earlier days, both in France and England. Three-fourths of the good things attributed to Voltaire, Beaumarchais, Chesterfield, Selwyn, Sheridan, Walpole, Wilkes, and their contemporaries, would have found appropriate place in the School for Scandal;' and before condemning Rogers on the evidence of those to whom the black side of his character was most frequently presented, we must hear those whose attention was constantly attracted to the white side. One female reminiscent, nurtured and domesticated with genius from her childhood, writes thus:
'I knew the kind old man for five-and-twenty years. I say kind advisedly, because no one did so many kind things to those who, being unable to dig, to beg are ashamed. The sharp sayings were remembered and repeated because they were so clever. There are many as bitter, no one so clever. He was essentially a gentleman, by education, by association-his manners were perfect. when breakfasting with him, upon taking our seats he called my daughter to his side, thus obliging a young man to leave his place; feeling that this was not courteous, he said, "I ask you to move "because I love your parents so dearly that I feel as if you were my "son."
'He not only gave freely and generously, but looked out for occasions of being kind. My father once saw him, and he asked after a mutual acquaintance- "How is K- -?" The reply was—
"As well as a man with nine children and a small income can be;" the next day Mr. Rogers sent him fifty pounds. A friend once asked him to assist a young man at college; he gave immediately twenty pounds, and after leaving the house returned to say, "There is more money to be had from the same place, if wanted!" observe how much all that appears from time to time tells to his credit in the various Memoirs, &c. You find him always a peacemaker, always giving wise counsel, generous and kind.' (Private MS.)
We ought to
The author of The Winter's Walk,' after alluding to the keen point of many a famed reply,' proceeds:
'But by a holier light thy angel reads
The unseen records of more gentle deeds,—
And by that light's soft radiance I review
Not to me only; but in bitterest hours
To one whom Heaven endowed with varied powers.
By sorrow weakened, by disease unnerved,
Whose gentle clasp so late was linked in mine.'
Few readers can require to be reminded of the closing scenes in the Life of Sheridan,' when Rogers advanced 1507. (not the first of the same amount, says the biographer) to procure the expiring orator the poor privilege of dying undisturbed.
'Oh, it sickens the heart to see bosoms so hollow,
The relics of him who died friendless and lorn.
Of one whom they shunned in his sickness and sorrow,
Whose pall shall be held up by nobles to-morrow.'
But it cheers the heart to see one neither great nor highborn stepping forward to prevent that last blanket from being seized; and, in the train of all this phalanx of Dukes, Mar'quisses, Earls, Viscounts, Barons, Honourables, Right Honour'ables, Princes of the Blood, and First Officers of the State, it 'was not a little interesting to see walking humbly, side by side, 'the only two men who had not waited for the call of vanity to 'display itself,- Dr. Bain and Mr. Rogers.'
When some one complained in Thomas Campbell's hearing, that Rogers said spiteful things: Borrow five hundred pounds of him,' was the comment, and he will never say one word against you until you want to repay him.' He told a lady (the reminiscent before quoted) that Campbell borrowed 5007., upon the plea that if he had that sum, it would do him a good service. Three weeks afterwards he brought back the money, saying that he found it would not be prudent to risk it. At 'this time,' added Rogers, I knew that he was every day pressed 'for small sums.'
Here is an exemplarily kind action followed up by unexceptionably kind words. We could fill pages with other wellauthenticated instances of his considerate generosity. They have come to light gradually; and it is a remarkable fact
* Moore's Life of Sheridan.'
+ This is the loan mentioned in Moore's 'Memoirs,' vol. vii.
that, whilst he was annually giving away large sums, his name figured little in subscription lists. He may have been acting all along rather from calculation than from impulsiveness, from head not heart. He may have been following Paley's counsel, who recommends us to cultivate our better feelings by almsgiving if only with a view to our own self-complacency. Or he may have been simply more fortunate in his experimental benevolence than the nobleman who, on being advised to try doing a little good by way of a new pleasure, replied that he had tried it already and found no pleasure in it. To what does this analysis of motive à la Rochefoucauld amount after all? Surely, to seek and find happiness in doing good, is to be good. Admitting that the mere voluptuary, and the general benefactor, have each the same end, self, still the difference in the means employed will constitute a sufficiently wide and marked distinction between the two. When we have calmly computed how much good might be done daily, how much happiness diffused, without the sacrifice of a wish or caprice, without the interruption of a habit, by thousands of the richer classes who never turn aside to aid the needy or elevate the lowly, — when we have done this, we shall then be in a fitting frame of mind for estimating the superiority of a man who had arrived at just conclusions regarding the real uses of superfluous wealth, and acted on them.
Sir,' said Adams, my definition of charity is, a generous 'disposition to relieve the distressed.' There is something
in that definition,' answered Mr. Peter Pounce, which I like 'well enough; it is, as you say, a disposition, and does not so 'much consist in the act as in the disposition to do it.' There are plenty of Peter Pounces in our society. What we want are the Allworthys, or the worldly philosophers, on whose tombstones may be read without provoking a smile of irony: What I spent, I had; what I gave, I have; what I saved, I lost.' We commend this epitaph to the attention of the millionnaire who has been accused of wishing to invest the accumulations of more than half a century in one big bank-note and carry it out of the world with him. When (see Table Talk,' p. 51.) Lord Erskine heard that somebody had died worth 200,000l., he observed, 'Well, that's a very pretty sum to begin the next world with.' Rogers had reserved for the next world just one-eighth of that sum, exclusive of the contents of his house,-not enough, had his income from the Bank failed, to enable him to enjoy the comforts which age, infirmity, and confirmed habits had made necessary to him in this.
The robbery which took place a few years ago, seemed likely
at first to expose him to a trial which he had never had to encounter. It served, on the contrary, to show the generous confidence and attachment of his friends. So soon as the news of the robbery got abroad, one nobleman placed 10,000Z., a second 30,000l., and a third (a merchant prince) 100,000l. at his disposal. He bore this robbery, which might have led to very serious consequences, with great equanimity, and said it had done him. good, by the chastening effect of adversity, and by bringing out the good qualities of his friends. It was after repeating Pope's line,
'Bare the mean heart that beats beneath a star,'
that he one day mentioned, by way of qualification, the munificence and promptitude with which noble as well as simple had hurried to aid and sympathise with him.
The best accessible specimens of his epistolary style will be found in the eighth volume of Moore's Memoirs,' edited by Lord John Russell, who says that Rogers himself selected those of his letters which were to be published. They are evidently written with the scrupulous care which marks everything he undertook; and we will answer for it that his love-letters, should they ever come to light, will bear internal evidence of having been composed on a diametrically opposite principle to that recommended by Rousseau, who says that the writer should begin without knowing what he is going to say and end without knowing what he has said. Three or four of Rogers's letters relate to Columbus.' He writes to consult Moore as to which of sundry very ordinary verses is the best, telling him, on one occasion, that half of a particular line has received the sanction of Sharp and Mackintosh, and anxiously requiring to be informed if he agreed with them. Never, probably, since the Roman Senate was summoned to consult about the boiling of a turbot, was the importance of the subject more ludicrously contrasted with the solemnity of the reference.
One of the most pleasing of these compositions is that (p. 95.) in which he gives an account of the family of a brother who had retired from the Bank with an ample fortune, and was really living the life of rural enjoyment which the poet affected to think the acme of felicity. In another (p. 79.) he avows a confirmed dislike to letter-writing. The notes which he wrote in the common commerce of the world are models of conciseness and calligraphy. If ever handwriting corresponded with and betrayed character, it was his;-neat, clear, and yet not devoid of elegance. Will you breakfast with me to-morrow? S. R.,'