Page images

to lend two to each orator, could not hear a word of what was said. Sometimes, indeed, it seemed as if the speakers actually outnumbered the hearers. The Babelish character of the eloquence was such, that hardly any of the speakers themselves heard what they were saying. The evil, consequently, soon cured itself; and eventually, from having twelve or fourteen orators all at once endeavouring to engage the attention of the remaining Cogers, there were scarcely any speaking at all.

Here let us state a fact which is highly in praise of the Cogers. We have always observed that, however little respect they may show to one another, they invariably evince the most profound deference for "My Grand,"—the title bestowed on the gentleman who has the honour of presiding in the Hall. Even on the memorable occasion to which reference has been made, when, from the anxiety of all to speak, there seemed to be a general determination that none should be heard; even on that occasion,

the moment “My Grand” opened his mouth, there was a profound and universal silence in the Hall. He made some pointed observations on the conduct of Lord John Russell,—which observations were loudly cheered.

These were divided into three speeches.

The first was delivered standing, and was as long as the remaining two; both of which were uttered while he retained his sitting posture in the chair. It should also be stated that, while delivering himself of the two short orations, “ My Grand” kept the pipe in his mouth, and continued, by some means or other, which are probably unknown to anybody but himself, to speak and smoke at the same time; and this part of his duty he performed as well as if the capability of doing it had been one of the ordinations of nature,-which everybody knows is not the fact. It was impossible to help admiring the regularity with which the president of the Cogers took advantage of the necessary pause in his oration, while the Hall was resounding with the plaudits with which his eloquence was greeted, to emit the inconveniently large collections of smoke which had “taken place” in his mouth. It was as gratifying to us to witness the “smoke which 80 gracefully curled ” above “My Grand's " head, in these pauses in his orations, as the cheers of the Cogers must have been to him. It is pleasant to hear him speak; but half the pleasure of hearing him would be lost, if his audience did not, at the same time, see him. He never comes to what he conceives a point, without accompanying the last word with a smile. He is one of the most pleasant chairmen that ever presided over the proceedings of any body of one's "fellow-subjects." He is full of good temper, and furnishes an impressive illustration in his own conduct of the rule he lays down for the guidance of others-namely, to

one of his own favourite phrases, of “ bearing and forbearing." Shakspeare says of Falstaff, or of some other of his characters, that he was not only witty himself, but the cause of


wit in others. “My Grand" speaks repeatedly himself, and is the cause of oratory in his brother Cogers. When he is anxious for a discussion on any given point, he has only to commence it himself, or (as he calls it) give "a toast,” to insure a regular succession of speakers. There can be no question that, but for him, there would not be half the oratory in Cogers' Hall which is heard in that interesting locality. The occupation of the members, were he unhappily absent, would chiefly consist in masticating Welsh rabbits, and swilling Boniface's bottled stout; which last article the Cogers, to à man, declared to be unrivalled. Those who were present on the occasion, will remember that on one evening in November, 1838, seeing an unwonted dulness in the Hall, and a manifest indisposition in the countenances of the Cogers to play the Demosthenes of the evening, “My Grand

My Grand " started to his legs, and, after a few introductory observations, proposed, as the subject of discussion, “The

Reform of the Reform Bill." The announce

ment was received with thunders of applause: its effect, indeed, was electrical. Cogers started up to speak in such rapid succession, that

you would have thought at one time they would “stretch to the crack of doom.” Did we say succession? That is not the proper word. They started up in half-dozens, and a most interesting and animated discussion ensued. There is one indication which “My Grand” always gives of his intention to speak, about half-aminute before he begins, which is, putting his pipe in the centre of his mouth, and then causing it to project in a straight line. Most people prefer putting their pipes in one side of their mouth, and then placing them in a slanting position. So does “My Grand” in ordinary circumstances; but let those who are curious in such matters only observe the motions of “My Grand” for one evening, and see whether he does not, before making a speech-no matter how often he may

« PreviousContinue »