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Manners & Cvftoms of Ye Englyfhe Drawn From Ye Qvick

Library of Alexandria
YE CONTRIBUTOR HYS PREFACE Suppose the great-grandfather of anybody could step down from his picture-frame and stalk abroad, his descendant would be eager to hear his opinion of the world we live in. Most of us would like to know what the men of the Past would say of the Present. If some old philosopher, for instance Socrates, exchanging robes for modern clothes, lest he should be followed by the boys and taken up by the police, could revisit this earth, walk our streets, see our sights, behold the scenes of our political and social life, and, contemplating this bustling age through the medium of his own quiet mind, set down his observations respecting us and our usages, he would write a work, no doubt, very interesting to her Majesty’s subjects. It would answer the purpose of a skilful literary enchanter to unsphere the spirit of Plato, or that of Pythagoras, Aristotle, or any other distinguished sage of antiquity, and send it out on its rambles with a commission to take, and report, its views of things in general. But such necromancy would have tasked even the Warlock of the North, would puzzle the wizard of any point of the compass, and, it is probable, could be cleverly achieved by no adept inferior to the ingenious Mr. Shakspeare. However, there flourished in a somewhat later day a philosopher, for such he was after his fashion, a virtuoso, antiquary, and F.R.S., whose ghost an inconsiderable person may perhaps attempt to raise without being accused of pretending to be too much of a conjuror. He appears to have been a Peripatetic, at least until he could keep a coach, but on the subjects of dress, dining, and some others, his opinions favour strongly of Epicurism. A little more than a hundred and eighty years ago he employed his leisure in going about everywhere, peeping into everything, seeing all that he could, and chronicling his experiences daily. In his Diary, which happily has come down to our times, the historical facts are highly valuable, the comments mostly sensible, the style is very odd, and the autobiography extremely ludicrous. I have adventured reverently to evoke this worshipful gentleman, that, resuming his old vocation as a journalist, he might comment on the Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe, in the name of Mr. Pips. I hope his shadow, if not his spirit, may be recognised in the following pages. PERCIVAL LEIGH