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moon, the pre-Adamite dynasties, the Mosaic
theory of creation, the digamma, and the
perpetual motion, to their betters; and can
find sufficient food for philosophy in the odds
and ends, the sweeping of the house of life
who can read homilies in bricks and mortar,
sermons in stones, the story of a life, its
hopes and fears, its joys and woes, in the
timbers of a dilapidated pigstye, in the
desolation of a choked-up fountain, or the ruins
of a springless pump!

We change our dresses, our servants, our
friends and foeshow can our houses expect
to be exempt from the mutabilities of life?
We tire of the old friend, and incline to the
new; the old baby is deposed in favour of
the new baby; the fat, turnip silver-watch
our father gave us, gives place to a gold
Genevawe change, and swop, and barter,
and give up, and take back, and long for, and
get tired of, all and everything in lifewhy
not of houses too? So the Supplement of the
Times can always offer Houses to Let; and
we are continually running mad to let or
hire them, as vice versâ, six months hence,
perhaps, we shall be as maniacally eager to
hire or to let.

Subdivision, classification, and elaboration,
are certainly distinguishing characteristics of
the present era of civilisation. The house-
agents of the Daily Courant now, of the
Public Ledger, or the Evening Intelligencer,
would have been coupled with the announcement
pur et simple, that in such and such a
street, or part of the court, there was a
House to Let. They might, perhaps, have
added, at the most, that it was over-against
the Bear Garden, or that it formerly
belonged to a tradesman possessing an
infallible cure for the scurvy, and who "made
the very best purl that ever was brewed;"
but there they would stop. Catch us doing
anything of the sort in these enlightened
days. Where our benighted grandfathers
had boys' and girls' schools, we have
seminaries, academies, lyceums, and colleges, for
young ladies. Where they had sales "by inch
of candle," we have Mr. George Robins. A
spade isn't a spade in 1852, but something
else; and with our house agents, a house is
not only a house, but a great many things

A House to Let may be a mansion, a
noble mansion, a family mansion, a residence,
a desirable residence, a genteel residence, a
family residence, a bachelor's residence, a
distinguished residence, an elegant house, a
substantial house, a detached house, a desirable
villa, a semi-detached villa, a villa standing in
its own grounds, an Italian villa, a villa-residence,
a small villa, a compact detached
cottage, a cottage ornée, and so on, almost ad
infinitum. Rarely do the advertisements bear
reference only to a house, a villa, or a cottage:
we must call the spade something in addition
to its simply agrarian title.

Now, are all these infinitesimal subdivisions
of Houses to Let merely intended as ingenious
devices to charm the house-hirer by variety, in
the manner of Mr. Nicoll, with regard to his
overcoats, and Messrs. Swan and Edgar with
reference to ladies' cloaks and shawls; or do
there really exist subtle distinctions, minute,
yet decidedly perceptible, between every
differently named house? Can it be that
the desirable residence has points calculated
to satisfy desire in a different degree to the
elegant predilections to be gratified by the
elegant residence? Can it be that a residence,
after all, is n't a house, nor a house a residence?
It may be so. People, in the innocence
of their hearts, and unaccustomed to letting
or hiring houses, may imagine that there
can be no very material difference between
a villa, a genteel villa, and a compact villa;
but in the mind of the astute house-agent, and
equally intelligent house-hirer, differences,
varieties of size, aspect, and convenience,
immediately suggest themselves, and to their
experienced eyes there are as many points of
distinction between the genteel and the compact,
the desirable and the distinguished, as to the
visual organs of those learned in horses between
a cob and a hack, a racer and a screw; or to the
initiated in dog-lore, between a greyhound
and a setter.

I do not pretend to any peculiarly nice
perception as to things in general. I cannot
tell to this day a hawk from a falcon (between
the former bird and a handsaw I might be able
to guess). It was a long time before I could
distinguish between a leveret and a rabbit,
or tell very high venison from decomposed
shoulder of mutton; and I will not be certain,
even now, if I could tell, from the odour (being
blindfolded), which was pitch and which tar.
So, the immense variety of Houses to Let has
always been to me a mystery, the subtle
distinctions in their nomenclature sources of
perplexed speculation. There may be those
who are more learned than I amthose who,
with similar acuteness as the gentlemen
mentioned in Hudibras, who had been beaten till
they could tell to a splinter of what wood the
cudgel was composed, and kicked till they
knew if the shoe were "calfskin or neat's
leather"—can mark the strong connections,
the nice dependencies, the gradations just of
houses, mansions, villas, and residences, and
with their "pervading souls look through"
the wondrous variety of Houses to Let.

I can only theorise. I have studied the
Times attentively, and gazed wearily at the
elongated crimson baize-covered panels in
the house-agents' windows, on which, written
on slips of foolscap, the announcements of
Houses to Let are secured with parti-
coloured wafers. Goodness knows how far
from the actual mark I may be; but you
shall hear what my ideas are on this very open
House question.

First, of the Mansion. What manner of
house would you imagine that to be? I take
it to be situate at Kew, possibly at Chiswick,