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peaceably endeavoured to calm the dispute
with a truism, and trusted that every one
would at least admit that black and white in
combination made grey, my ever-compliant
friend would pat him on the shoulder
approvingly, all the while he was talking, would
declare that C.'s conclusion was, after all, the
common sense of the question, and would set
A. and B. furiously disputing which of them
he agreed or disagreed with now, and whether
on the great Black, White, and Grey question,
Colonel Hopkirk could really be said to
have any opinion at all.

How could the Great Glib hold forth in
the company of such a man as this? Let us
suppose that delightful talker, and a few of
his admirers (including, of course, the writer
of his biography), and Colonel Hopkirk to be
all seated at the same table; and let us say
that one of the admirers is anxious to get
the mellifluous Glib to discourse on capital
punishment, for the benefit of the company.
The admirer begins, of course, on the
approved method of stating the objections to
capital punishment, and starts the subject in
this manner.

"I was dining out, the other day, Mr. Glib,
where capital punishment turned up as a
topic of conversation——"

"Ah!" says Colonel Hopkirk, "a dreadful
necessityyes, yes, yes; I seea dreadful
necessityEh?"

"And the arguments for its abolition,"
continues the admirer, without noticing the
interruption," were really handled with great
dexterity, by one of the gentlemen present,
who started, of course, with the assertion
that it is unlawful, under any circumstances,
to take away life——"

"Ha! unlawfuljust so," cries the colonel.
"Very true. Yes, yesunlawfulto be sure
so it isunlawful, as you say."

"Unlawful, sir!" begins the Great Glib,
severely. "Have I lived to this time of day,
to hear that it is unlawful to protect the
lives of the community, by the only certain
means——"

"No, noO dear me, no!" says the
precipitately-compliant colonel, with the most
unblushing readiness. "Protect their lives, of
courseas you say, protect their lives by the
only certain meansyes, yes, I quite agree
with you."

"Allow me, colonel," says another admirer,
anxious to assist in starting the great talker,
"allow me to remind our friend, before he
takes this question in hand, that it is an
argument of the abolitionists that perpetual
imprisonment would answer the purpose of
protecting——"

The colonel is so delighted with this last
argument that he bounds on his chair, and
rubs his hands in triumph. "My dear sir!"
he cries, before the last speaker can say
another word, "you have hit ityou have
indeed! Perpetual imprisonmentthat's the
thingah, yes, yes, yes, to be sureperpetual
imprisonmentthe very thing, my dear sir
the very thing!"

"Excuse me," says a third admirer, "but
I think Mr. Glib was about to speak. You
were saying, sir——?"

"The whole question of capital punishment,"
begins the delightful talker, leaning
back luxuriously in his chair, "lies in a
nutshell." ("Very true," from the colonel.) "I
murder one of yousay Hopkirk here."
("Ha! ha! ha!" loudly, from the colonel,
who thinks himself bound to laugh at a joke
when he is only wanted to listen to an
illustration.) "I murder Hopkirk. What is
the first object of all the rest of you, who
represent the community at large?" ("To
get you hanged," from the colonel. "Ah,
yes, to be sure! to get you hanged. Quite
right! quite right!") "Is it to make me a
reformed character, to teach me a trade, to
wash my blood-stains off me delicately, and
set me up again in society, looking as clean
as the best of you? No!" ("No!" from
the compliant colonel.) "Your object is
clearly to prevent me from murdering any
more of you. And how are you to do that
most completely and certainly? By
perpetual imprisonment?" ("Ah! I thought
we should all agree about it at last," cries
the colonel, cheerfully. "Yes, yesnothing
else for it but perpetual imprisonment, as
you say.") "By perpetual imprisonment?
But men have broken out of prisons." ("So
they have," from the colonel.) "Men have
killed their gaolers; and there you have the
commission of that very second murder that
you wanted to prevent." ("Quite right,"
from the former quarter. "A second murder
dreadful! dreadful!") "Imprisonment is
not your certain protective remedy, then,
evidently. What is?"

"Hanging!" cries the colonel, with another
bound in his chair, and a voice that can no
longer be talked down. "Hanging, to be
sure! I quite agree with you. Just what I
said from the first. You have hit it, my dear
sir. Hanging, as you sayhanging, by all
manner of means!"

Has anybody ever met Colonel Hopkirk in
society? And does anybody think that the
Great Glib could possibly have held forth in
the company of that persistently-compliant
gentleman, as he is alleged, by his admiring
biographer, to have held forth in the peculiar
society of his own time? The thing is clearly
impossible. Let us leave Glib, congratulating
him on having died when the Hopkirks
of these latter days were as yet hardly
weaned; let us leave him, and ascertain how
some other great talker might have got on in
the society of some other modern obstructor
of the flow of eloquent conversation.

I have just been reading the Life, Letters,
Labours, Opinions, and Table-Talk of the
matchless Mr. Oily; editedas to the Life,
by his mother-in-law; as to the Letters, by
his grand-daughter's husband; and as to the

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