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and promotion came. He led a bear, and made
him dance to the genteelest of tunes, and the
authors go on to say, he became tutor to his
squire's son, and conducted him to
Edinburgh. A very unlikely thing, I should say,
to have occurred in reality; for Mr. Beech
could have sent to Oxford or Cambridge, and
could have had a tutor for his son who would
have licked the plates and laughed at his
patron's jokes, instead of pouring back bright
wit of his own, and who would have listened
to his stories, and united the offices of toady
and instructor in a strictly ecclesiastical
manner. But we pass this over as an oversight.
The imaginary creation, SYDNEY SMITH, is
thirty-one years of age. His fame is instantly
secured. He is the centre of a large circle of
the rising talent of the time. He projects
the Edinburgh Review. He casts a new glory
on the whole Whig party; arms it with new
weapons, and places it on higher ground. The
hereditary castle doors begin to turn on
their hinges as the moment of his admission
to the domestic hearth draws nigh. The
doors are thrown open; marquis and earl
and baron receive him with outstretched
arms, and mouths distended from ear to
ear. They almost discover the treasure of
wisdom hidden under all that prodigality of
fun. He makes their homes delightful to them
they can scarcely tell why. Their
stiffnesses get thawed out of them by that
perpetual sunshine of heart and brain. They
feel, somehow, as if they were men, and not
mere images of departed grandeur. They
almost think they could descend to the arena,
and have a manly struggle, for the love of
the people and the enjoyment of power.
Wherever meanness and darkness lurked,
there was this tremendous curate with his
Ithuriel spear. Wherever there was an
argument too heavy for the feeble hand of a
superannuated duke, he set feathers to it,
and fined it down, and gave it a throw
into the enemy's camp, which transfixed
dozens at a time, as Munchausen transfixed
the ducks upon his ramrod. All this was
acknowledged by these rich and right
honourable men; cradled statesmen and pap
boated leaders of the nation. And what did
they in substantial acknowledgment? He
must be a myth? Does it enter into the
imagination of the dullest of men that, in
actual life, these dreamy pieces of state
would have left such a man altogether
unprovided for, out of their private patronage,
and would have rewarded him, after much
entreaty, with a government living without
a house in the wilds of Yorkshire, with the
descriptive name of Foston-le-Clay?  Le-Clay,
indeed! Not very good French, but very
expressive English.

The fancied Sydney still goes on. He
establishes himself in the Yorkshire
wilderness. He builds a house, the ugliest
and most comfortable in England, at a
great expense out of his private pocket; and
sets such an example of a cheerful performance
of duty and universal good-will, that we
forget his wit, and his literature, and his
learning, and see only the generous man, the
useful minister, the noble soul. This lasted
year upon year. And year upon year Whig
preferments must have been falling vacant.
But Whigs have sycophants, and cousins, and
nieces' husbands; and Sydney is supposed
still to be left in Foston-le-Clay. It must
be a satire, this biographya bitter satire.
And the Tories are scarcely less satirised in it
than these grateful precious Whigs. What!
If this were not a merely fanciful picture,
do you think no Tory minister, no Tory
magnate, would have said, "Well, here
is a man who, if he had gone to the bar,
would have forced his way into the Lords; if
he had taken to literature as a profession,
would have exterminated Rabelais, and Swift,
and SterneIs he to spend his life at Foston-
le-Clay? Where, in Heaven's name, is
Foston-le-Clay?" And somebody would
have brought him a map, and if he had
been secretary for the home department, he
would have been able to see it was in
Yorkshire; and he would have said, "Let us
show we can appreciate genius, and mirth,
and goodness: let him have the best living
in our giftand we will make him a dean."
"A dean, my lord?" replies the confidential
private secretary; a nephew, who was plucked
at college, and afterwards ran away with
another gentleman's wife; "you can't mean
that! The man is a notorious wit." "Ah, I
didn't think of that. What would the bishops
say if I promoted a wit? But hang it, let
him have a living of a thousand a-year. Your
governorship, Charlie, is six."

The determined carrying-out of this satire
is a great failure in the work called The Life
of the Reverend Sydney Smith (otherwise
most tenderly and charmingly written by
his daughter); and when the next edition
comes out, I hope a new series of adventures
will be introduced, for it must be sickening
to any of the younger clergy who have aspirations
for the kind and true, and who consider
an occasional laugh no sin against any of the
commandments, to perceive what their
fortune is likely to be. They will look for
comfort into the realities of life, and subside
from Christianity and Sidneyism into selfishness
and success.

There is a glimpse allowed, to be sure, of
recognition at the end. After giving a good
exchange to Combe Florey, the Whigs are
supposed to follow the example of a noble
Torya nobler than the one I have just
imaginedand to make him a canon of St.
Paul's. So says this veracious chronicle.
But he is old; he has seen all his juniors
promoted over his head. He has two dozen
superiors in his profession, who look down
from the awful plateau, or flat elevation,
upon which their merits (and other considerations)
have placed them, at the man who