Cornhill Magazine,  1 (1860), 631–40.

Roundabout Papers.—No. III. On Ribbons

[William M Thackeray]


Regular Feature, Editorial, Essay, Drollery

Relevant illustrations:

wdct. [1]


Patronage, Status, Engineers, Chemistry, Medical Practitioners, Zoological Gardens, Navigation, Steamships, Expertise, Heroism

    In showing the absurdity of trying to reward all forms of ingenuity with national honours, lists deserving recipients such as a 'great historian' and a 'great engineer', but then comments, 'A chemist puts in his claim for having invented a new colour; an apothecary for a new pill; the cook for a new sauce; the tailor for a new cut of trousers. We have brought the star of Minerva down from the breast to the pantaloons. Stars and garters! can we go any further [...] ?' (634). After bemoaning the ostentation of ornamental honours, remarks, 'Have you seen the new magnificent Pavo Spicifer at the Zoological Gardens, and do you grudge him his jewelled coronet and the azure splendour of his waistcoat?' (635). Insists that it is the skill and heroism of merchant seamen which truly deserve national recognition, and recounts how on a recent trip to America on a ship of 'the noble Cunard Company', the 'officers who sailed her knew her place within a minute or two, and guided us with a wonderful providence safe on our way' (636). At sea, moreover, there 'occur almost daily instances and occasions for the display of science, skill, bravery, fortitude in trying circumstances, resources in danger' (640).


Thackeray 1863

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