From that nut, Ephraim Hardcastle of Walnuts and Wine
It is yet a maxim with some remnants of the old school of curmudgeon ledger-men, that to buy a picture is to “hang your money on the wall.” The same narrow notions applied to books — “What, lock your money up in calfskins!”
Editorial note: 1820: Calfskin. 2013: my iPad. I wonder what Mr. Hardcastle would say about that?
The stock of literature, with those who accumulated stock, besides the Holy Bible, usually consisted of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, the same lively writer’s Holy War, Fox’s Book of Martyrs, the Old Whole Duty of Man, a mutilated Baker’s Chronicle, some odd volumes of Jacob Tonson’s duodecimo Spectator, and Herman Moll’s Geography, commonly with torn maps, the Tale of a Tub, Milton’s Paradise Lost (never read), Culpepper’s Herbal, or Every Man his own Physician (the good lady’s book, under lock and key), the Complete Letter Writer, belonging to Miss, with Robinson Crusoe, Robin Hood’s Garland, and the Seven Champions of Christendom, the property of Jem and Jack.
Yes, gentle reader, reading has made a wonderful revolution in manners: every pretty miss can name the stars; and Newton, Descartes, and Tycho Brahe, are known to have been neither Egyptian, Roman, nor Greek; and the boys and girls may account for an eclipse, without being checked by papa with, “Such things are presumptuous, child.” In short, your magazinists and reviewists, your essayists and journalists, have brought your book-makers into vogue, until, such are the fruits of this scribbling era, “we philosophers, poets, and wits,” as a learned friend of mine has said, “no longer make a stir as heretofore in a party, like unto a stone, that, thrown into quiet water, maketh a disturbed circle from bank to bank:”—-no, “we make our entrance and our exit much like other harmless folks:” and this! in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and twenty! —” So runs the world away.”
All-righty! Reading is GOOD for you. Even if it does mean pretty girls can name the stars.
He says that almost like it’s a bad thing. Or so ironically cute. Look at the pretty girl, naming the stars like she’s not going to be popping ’em out like kittens pretty soon.
I have my curmudgeonly moments, and this is one of them.
Watch this Segue
I feel it’s only appropriate to follow that with this, taken from the front matter of an 1825 book on boxing, since, it turns out The Next Historical requires that I know something about Regency era boxing:
THE KNIGHT, THE DAEMON, AND THE ROBBER CHIEF.
A Romance. Price 6s.
THE ACTOR’S BUDGET.
In Two elegant Volumes, 12mo. Price 12s. Boards
By W. OXBERRY,
Of the Drury-Lane Company of Comedians.
In a few Days will be Published.
THE EVE OF SAN MARCO.
A Romance. In Three Volumes, Price 18s. Boards.
THE SPRITE AND THE LADY; OR, REMEMBER TWELVE!!
In Four Volumes, Price 1L. 1s. Boards.
By W. G. Thomas, Esq.
And so, we see that Romance is cheap. Alas, THE KNIGHT, THE DAEMON, AND THE ROBBER CHIEF, while listed in several Circulating Library catalogs, does not seem to be in Google Books. I found The Actor’s Budget. My God. That’s all I’ll say. The Eve of San Marco isn’t in Google books and neither is The Sprite and the Lady and the 12 whatever’s we ought not to forget. It’s MUCH more expensive that the daemon book. Interesting that it doesn’t say it’s in boards. Wonder why not? It’s their LEAD title!