Evening Amusements

S. S. R., P.
1830 The National Magazine  
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more » ... ntent at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. EVENING AMUSEMENTS. Mr. President-" An evening party is (I apprehend,) an assembly of the cheerful of both sexes, met together for the purpose of amusing and being amused;" (I am greatly addicted to leading off with a definition,) and consequently each human particle of the enviable crowd must return home delighted that he has been well entertained, and satisfied that he contributed his due proportion towards the aggregate pleasure of the ball-room. This doubtless is ever the case with' 199,999 of those choice spirits, who are surrounded by the cordon sanitaire of the circular road, and deluged with invitations; but the individual who completes the number of our citizens, as per census, is unhappily an exception to this general rule of reciprocal felicity, since he can hardly recollect experiencing any addition to the sum of happiness with which he entered a soiree, and which is in it always sure to be selfishly bhoarded. This may appear inexcusable when we consider the free trade in amusements that is at present encouraged, and the varied forms that the Proteus of pleasure assumes to win his votaries; so that he who is but the owner of hands that can hold a card, legs to quadrille it, or a tongue to make the amiable withal, need only cast his stock of capabilities into the common fund, to be enabled and entitled to receive thereout an ample dividend of gratification: but alas I gravity (call it not stupidity,) and diffidence, are sad obstacles to playing with success, dancing with spirit, or chattering with freedom; and they are obstacles that I have had to contend with, in all their plenitude of evil influence. More than once have I sat down heroically to a card-table, determined to lose with invincible good humour, and to rise, when not worth a doit, with a frame of mind as placid as that of the angelically tempered being, commonly called the winner; but a continued run of bad fortune and bad play, has always proved too strong for my resolution, and often for my partner's politeness ; and I so'on discovered that I was set down as an ill-tempered blunderer, to whom it was vexatious to be opposed, and with whom it was ruinous to be united. I therefore prudently cut the cards altogether, and walked over to the dancers, resolving by a vigorous concentration of ideas on the various figureS, to go through them as safely as the martyrs of old trod the mazes of red hot plough-shares. This appeared feasible enough while the first set remained in motion, (for I always prudently occupied the crow benches to show my independence,)but no sooner did it come to my turn to enter on my probationary course of skips and gyrations, than my unlucky gravity was sure to create as much confusion as that with which Sir Isaac Newton has threatened the dance of planets, and draw madly from their proper spheres numbers of fair shooting stars, into most admired disorder. My blunders, though apparently witnessed with a goodhumonred laugh, occasioned, I could perceive, much internal bitterness of spirit; and made me look on the unskilful legs that discomposed so many others, with as much shame and sorrow thatthey were mine,as I had once experienced in avowing the proprietorship of two terriers that had been committing sad havoc on exotics in a green-house. I now felt, that as far as amusements were concerned, my arms and legs were virtually amputated; and the trunk that remained not being so lithe, nor under such adroit management as that of the elephant, I was compelled to renounce all hopes of becoming an actor in the business of pleasure, and
doi:10.2307/30057769 fatcat:g5yso67j65atzk6q5kq7i3y2mu