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months; and, although it was perfectly new
there too, nobody minded it. This coat so
intolerable to Britain, was nothing more nor
less than the loose wide-sleeved mantle,
easy to put on, easy to put off, and crushing
nothing beneath it, which everybody now

During hundreds of years, it was the
custom in England to wear beards. It became,
in course of time, one of our Insularities to
shave close. Whereas, in almost all the other
countries of Europe, more or less of moustache
and beard was habitually worn, it came to be
established in this speck of an island, as an
Insularity from which there was no appeal, that
an Englishman, whether he liked it or not, must
hew, hack, and rasp his chin and upper lip daily.
The inconvenience of this infallible test of
British respectability was so widely felt, that
fortunes were made by razors, razor-strops,
hones, pastes, shaving-soaps, emollients for the
soothing of the tortured skin, all sorts of
contrivances to lessen the misery of the shaving
process and diminish the amount of time it
occupied. This particular Insularity even
went some miles further on the broad highway
of Nonsense than other Insularities;
for it not only tabooed unshorn civilians, but
claimed for one particular and very limited
military class the sole right to dispense with
razors as to their upper lips. We ventured
to suggest in this journal that the prohibition
was ridiculous, and to show some reasons
why it was ridiculous. The Insularity having
no sense in it, has since been losing ground
every day.

One of our most remarkable Insularities is
a tendency to be firmly persuaded that what
is not English is not natural. In the Fine
Arts department of the French Exhibition,
recently closed, we repeatedly heard, even
from the more educated and reflective of our
countrymen, that certain pictures which
appeared to possess great meritof which not
the lowest item was, that they possessed the
merit of a vigorous and bold Ideawere all
very well, but were "theatrical." Conceiving
the difference between a dramatic picture
and a theatrical picture, to be, that in the
former case a story is strikingly told, without
apparent consciousness of a spectator, and
that in the latter case the groups are
obtrusively conscious of a spectator, and are
obviously dressed up, and doing (or not doing)
certain things with an eye to the spectator,
and not for the sake of the story; we sought
in vain for this defect. Taking further pains
then, to find out what was meant by the
term theatrical, we found that the actions
and gestures of the figures were not English.
That is to say,—the figures expressing
themselves in the vivacious manner natural in a
greater or less degree to the whole great
continent of Europe, were overcharged and out
of the truth, because they did not express
themselves in the manner of our little Island
which is so very exceptional, that it always
places an Englishman at a disadvantage, out
of his own country, until his fine sterling
qualities shine through his external formality
and constraint. Surely nothing can be
more unreasonable, say, than that we should
require a Frenchman of the days of
Robespierre, to be taken out of his jail to the guillotine
with the calmness of Clapham or the
respectability of Richmond Hill, after a trial
at the Central Criminal Court in eighteen
hundred and fifty-six. And yet this exactly
illustrates the requirement of the particular
Insularity under consideration.

When shall we get rid of the Insularity of
being afraid to make the most of small
resources, and the best of scanty means of
enjoyment? In Paris (as in innumerable
other places and countries) a man who has
six square feet of yard, or six square feet of
housetop, adorns it in his own poor way, and
sits there in the fine weather because he likes
to do it, because he chooses to do it, because
he has got nothing better of his own, and has
never been laughed out of the enjoyment of
what he has got. Equally, he will sit at his
door, or in his balcony, or out on the pavement,
because it is cheerful and pleasant and
he likes to see the life of the city. For
the last seventy years his family have not
been tormenting their lives with continual
enquiries and speculations whether other
families, above and below, to the right and to
the left, over the way and round the corner,
would consider these recreations genteel, or
would do the like, or would not do the like.
That abominable old Tyrant, Madame Grundy,
has never been of his acquaintance. The
result is, that, with a very small income and in
a very dear city, he has more innocent
pleasure than fifty Englishmen of the same
condition; and is distinctly, in spite of our
persuasion to the contrary (another Insularity!)
a more domestic man than the Englishman,
in regard of his simple pleasures being, to a
much greater extent, divided with his wife
and children. It is a natural consequence of
their being easy and cheap, and profoundly
independent of Madame Grundy.

But, this Insularity rests, not to the credit
of England, on a more palpable foundation
than perhaps any other. The old school of
Tory writers did so pertinaciously labor to
cover all easily available recreations and
cheap reliefs from the monotony of common
life, with ridicule and contempt, that great
numbers of the English people got scared
into being dull, and are only now beginning
to recover their courage. The object of these
writers, when they had any object beyond an
insolent disparagement of the life-blood of
the nation, was to jeer the weaker members
of the middle class into making themselves a
poor fringe on the skirts of the class above
them, instead of occupying their own honest,
honorable, independent place. Unfortunately
they succeeded only too well, and to this
grievous source may be traced many of our