15 JULY 1837, Page 13


THE circumstance of WILLIAM the Fourth being buried on a Saturday, furnished an opportunity to some penny-a-liner to re- produce a bit of newspaper gossip in the shape of a " curious co- incidence," that has, we dare say, been served up on the death of each one of the GEORGES since purveying " news" for the daily journals at a penny a line became a " profession." The simple fact (we only assume it to be one) of the six Sovereigns preceding WILLIAM the Fourth having died on a Saturday, contained in about one line of our space, is thus expanded in the Times, of all papers- " Several sovereigns of England seem to have died [how delicate the seem !) or have been buried on a Saturday. On reference, it is found that 'William the Third died on a Saturday ; Queen Anne died on a Saturday; George the First departed this life on a Saturday ; George the Second closed his eyes in death on a Saturday ; George the Third died on a Saturday afternoon; and George the Fourth drew his last breath on Saturday the 20th June 18:10. The Duke of York was buried on a Saturday ; and our late Sovereign, William the Fourth, cf blessed memory, was buried at Windsor last Saturday, the 8th of the present month."

This is a promising specimen of the art of penny-a-lining ; which consists in conveying the smallest amount of information in the greatest possible quantity of words. But it is evidently the work of a tyro; for what practised craftsman would, after killing the two first GEORGES periphrastically, allow GEORGE the Third to die in plain terms? The repetition of the common term Saturday in every instance, too, shows a great want of invention : he might as well have reiterated the word " died." How much more imposing the royal obituary would read in this shape— It is a singular coincidence, and worthy of remark, that several Sovereigns of England have died on a Saturday. This has been the am.: with the six Royal predecessors of our lute most gracious Sow - reign, William the Fourth, of blessed memory. King William the Third died on a Saturday ; Queen Anne terminated her earthly care( on the last day of the week ; George the First departed this life on the day observed by the Jews as their Sabbath ; George the Second closed his eyes in death on the day preceding the Christian Sabbath ; George the Third exchanged his terrestrial crown for a celestial dia- dem on the afternoon of the seventh day of the week ; and George the Fourth also drew his last breath at the termination of the hebdomadal period.

By simply carrying out the principles of penny-a-line composi- tion, see what variety of expression and amplitude of phrase are attained. This may serve our readers as a key to the beauties of the public journals, and be a useful hint to the purveyors of para- graphs in perfecting their style. If JEREMY BENTHAM thought it not beneath him to suggest an improvement of the child's bat- tledore, surely the Spectator may condescend to aid the bubble- blowers of the press in expanding their smooth rounded periods.