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THE extraordinary being, conjured up in the
minds of most foreigners under the generic
term Englishman, seems to be something more
uncommon than the veracious Gulliver ever
encountered, and more heterogeneous than
John Bulwer in his Artificiall Changeling
pourtrayed. As a Spanish olla podrida and
a Devonshire squab-pie are said to be made
up of all the contradictory edibles that can
be conceivably assembled in one dish; so is
the hash, cooked up by the French or
German novelist and dramatist to represent
a true born Briton, an incarnation of every
unlikely extravagance it is possible to assemble
in one character.

The true expression of what is popularly
believed of us abroad is not to be found so
distinctly set forth in novels, as in plays.
The novelist is restricted in a measure within
the not narrow bounds of probability; but
the dramatist may first revel at will in the
rankest breadths of impossible absurdity; and
then the actor may intensify the enormity
by dress, gait, and unmeasured foolery. The
amount of instruction on the manners, habits,
feelings, modes of expression, gesture, dress,
and general demeanour of his compatriots
which an Englishman may glean in some of
the foreign Theatres, when an Englishman is
being represented on the stage, is perfectly
astounding. We have in this way become
acquainted with English characteristics of which
the most comically inclined maniac could never
dream after the most dyspeptic of suppers.

It is not long since the mirror held up to
Nature––that is, English nature reflected by
the French––revealed to us, at the Ambigû
Comique and at the Théâtre des Variétés, in
Paris, "that of ourselves which yet we knew
not of "––dreamt not of. One gentleman who
supported not only the character of a Prefect,
but an enormous cocked-hat, assured us that
when we were at home, we groaned under the
tyranny of a feudal government, which ground
us to the dust; that our Commonality was
overridden and harrowed by tax-exacting
aristocrats; that they died of starvation in heaps;
that if they dared to call their souls their own,
the latter were summarily released from their
bodies by a perambulating police disguised as
members of the Royal Humane Society. In
another scene the same public instructor told
us, that all Englishmen (of course including
the starved Commonality) possess enormous
wealth, which they usually employ in the
purchase of "Le titre de Lord;"––an unnecessary
outlay, as every person not a trades-
man receives the title as a matter of course.
Yet this avails them little, as the different
orders of our nobility hold no communication
with persons of higher or lower rank; our
national pride preventing the one, and the
best of all reasons––"because they can't––"
the other. Our patricians ride abroad
followed by armed retainers; nor is any vulgar
person allowed to come between the wind
and their nobility: the streets being
expressly cleared for them by constables. When
at home, however, seated in a golden chair in
company with the Spleen, the "jeune Miss,"
his wife, and a "boulle-dog," a native of our
kingdom passes his time chiefly in drinking
tea with lemon in it, and saying, "Hoh!––
Hah!––Yeeas!––Gottam!––and ver gut!"

Our ladies are a little too much given
to fighting, and a little too lightly won. We
sell our wives. This is a very common
mercantile transaction indeed. A "pen" of no
mean dimensions is appropriated in Smithfield
for the interesting periodical auction.
Our Queen makes away with many millions a
year, and cuts off the heads of any persons to
whom she may take a dislike, or hangs them,
without the intervention of judge, jury, or
any other functionary than the executioner,
who––another Tristan the Hermit––is a
regular member of the Royal Household.
We are, however, for the most part, a harmless
and ridiculous race, affording excellent
sport to innkeepers and adventurers. We
eat prodigiously. Indeed so great is our love
for good cheer, that we name our children
after our favourite dishes. If a person in
good society is not called Sir Rosbif, he will
probably answer to the name of Lord Bifstek
––in honor of the two great national dishes,
which we have spelt in that manner from
time immemorial.

In a pretty piece at the Gymnase in Paris,
where the Prime Minister of England
unfortunately ruined himself by speculating in
Railway shares, a thorough-going English
servant appeared under that thorough-going

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