This article has been transcribed from a copy of the Cardiff Times in the online collection of scanned Welsh newspapers 1804-1919 in the National Library of Wales, with grateful recognition of the free access accorded to all readers. Paragraph breaks have been introduced for easier reading.
We see Samuel returning to his earlier self: an amiably self-conscious narrator, somewhat of rogue, perpetually hard up and in debt and on the look-out for a chance to sponge or cheat on a very small scale. His other persona, correct, even a trifle priggish and given to lecturing, is forgotten. In contrast to this 'superior' stance, our old Samuel is levelled with the mass of imperfect humankind, and is no better than most of those he rubs shoulders with – the 'man in the street', or 'the average, sensual man', [l’homme moyen sensual] as he was called in French. The exclamation be chesm, or 'by me eyes', was made current in the popular genre of eastern tales. —— David Skilton
After the New Year junkettings comes reflection.
MEAN it this time, I do indeed — I'll turn over a new leaf in a lot of things. I wish to goodness I could turn over a new leaf in my solitary account book – and forget all about the past ones. I, myself, would willingly forget all about them, but other people won't let me; some people have such bothersome inconvenient memories. They remember that one's grandfather was hanged, or that one's mother formerly worked at a mill, or that one's aunt ran away with a soldier, or that one owes them money – or something or another disagreeable. Perhaps I am a little bit late this year in forming good resolutions. I usually make them about the 3rd of the month just before I have got used to writing down the correct date so far as the year is concerned – just as the bills begin to come in.
Talking of bills, I always know when a splenetic tradesman is bilious and bad as a consequence of his festive (ugh!!!) season orgies. He goes down to his business on the 2nd of January, after an 'all-night sitting' at a party. He feel[s] like a piece of chewed string, limp, 'boiled-owlish,' nasty – and then he vents his wretched spleen by writing out applications for money 'outstanding' (horrid item of commercial jargon), and politely intimating that this is the third 'application.' Application, indeed, as though the word were a liniment to be rubbed in night and morning. Or he gets more spiteful still as he finds that his hand as be writes is getting more and more 'dithery' and that his clerk is palpably aware of the fact that in his (the tradesman's) grasp the leaves of the ledger fairly rattle, and he then goes and scrawls intimations to the effect that he shall be 'reluctantly compelled to place the matter' (it doesn't matter what matter) in the hands of his [']legal adviser'. Perhaps he says 'legal adviser' and not 'solicitor' on account of his being in the habit of consulting an accountant who does a bit of law business on the sly. I can fancy the tradesman doing all this, and yet do I not envy him the aspect of his ledger very often, for there are a good many people on the 'up sticks and off' stakes nowadays — people whose whereabout is described in the Post Office records as 'gone: no address.'
I’ll never to round with the collecting bag and a shaking hand again –awful; to drop the bag.
But I was saying that I am a bit late in forming all my good resolutions this year. The reason of that is I have prolonged the New Year festivities rather further into the year than usual. Never mind, there's lots of time for a start yet. Let's see – I have emphatically come to the conclusion that I smoke too much, and I am equally determined that I will not smoke in future – that is, I should say, smoke cigars of my own. I am quite willing to smoke other people's, if only to oblige. I shouldn't like to carry a good resolution too far, you know (drat it, I had forgotten entirely that his Editorship sometimes offers me a very good cigar indeed!). and be downright rude. Regarding drinking, all good resolutions are wholly unnecessary with me. I never drink more than is good for me — I can't, somehow. I have often heard men register the resolution that they wouldn't drink at all, and that, of course, 'not because they had been drinking too much, but because, just to please their wives, you know' (or any other reason you like—the more frivolous the better), 'they thought they would give total abstinence a trial.' I am winking, my gentle reader — as the divine poet Milton remarked when he pocketed the wrong change. I have certainly determined that I will economise during this year of grace. Yes, I will pay nobody that does not force me — and I'll stick, like the engaging and pleasing devil-fish, to all I can get 'hook on.' I'll live according to my means; yes my means – of getting credit. I'll never spend a shilling where ninepence would do – indeed, I'll never spend anything at all when I can get anyone to treat me. That is true economy. I, unfortunately perhaps, was not born with that proud and haughty order of disposition which will not allow its possessor to receive favours, and, as I do not care to thwart what is evidently an ordinance of nature, I'll take all I can on the cheap and praise the prophet; be chesm,[i] on my head be it, an I do not. I will study the great and universal science of 'Copology,' or getting as much as you can for as little as other people will take. Riches are a great and glorious thing; they enable one to become a Justice of the Peace and to send other folks to gaol without the option of a fine. I should like to have presented to me the freedom of this city – I would make free, you stake your stockings.
A resolution never to fork out for 'sundries' unless I’m compelled.
I have certainly resolved that I will never under any circumstances stand as a candidate for the School Board even if I am asked – which I don't think is likely to be the case. I didn't want, you see, to be bullied by a chairman, or to be charged, on the other hand, with an abnormal love of game pie. Then again, I shall certainly not indulge in late hours — except, perhaps, in a morning. And then again, I shan't reel off copy by the yard instead of taking pains with it – I sometimes take a good deal of 'pains' with it nowadays, with being in too great a hurry. Then I'm resolved never to miss my meals — especially when anyone else pays for them. It is a silly thing to miss one's dinner – when one is invited out. I shan't, on consideration, turn vegetarian. I tried a vegetarian dinner once. It cost 8d. only – eight common 'd.'[0.333 pounds sterling] I thought how economical I was. But I was so ravenous half an hour afterwards that I had to go out and spend a whole shilling in the succulent steak of commerce. Besides, there is, paradoxical though it may seem, something so frightfully animal about vegetarianism — it is so suggestive of mysterious creatures which live on the roots and herbs of the fields. One resolution I shall stick to – I shall always have a loyal regard for the readers of the Cardiff Times and South Wales Weekly News.
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Last modified 22 March 2022