21 AUGUST 1841, Page 15


WAITER," said BRUMMELL, when a well-meaning gentleman, on his joining a party, offered to resign his chair to him, " Waiter, Five me a cool chair." This was not pure gratuitous impertinence if the weather was warm. In days like some we have had this week, nothing cool is superfluous : even a cool thought is valuable. The train of ideas suggested by a fishing-tackle shop is eminently refreshing ; and the bills announcing the annual races in the Ser- pentine, under the auspices of the National Swimming Society, impart a coolness to the feverish imagination that is beyond all price. One of these bills met our eye a few days ago near the west end of Piccadilly ; and the thoughts it suggested kept us comfortable all along Piccadilly and the Strand, though the sun was beating on us in its mid-day force. First we thought of Lord BYRON swimming across the Hellespont. Then our fancy strayed to BEN- JAMIN FRANKLIN. "I taught Wygate," says the philosopher in his Memoirs, "and a friend of his to swim, at twice going into the river ; and they soon became good swimmers. They introduced me to some gentlemen from the country, who went by water to see the College and Don Saltero's curiosities. In our return, at the re- quest of the company, whose curiosity Wygate had excited, I stripped and leaped into the river, and swam from near Chelsea to Blackfriars; performing in the way many feats of activity, both upon and under the water, that surprised and pleased those to whom they were novelties. I had from a child been delighted with this exercise, had studied and practised Thevenot's motions and positions, and added some of my own ; aiming at the graceful and easy as well as the useful. All these I took this occasion of exhi- biting to the company, and was much flattered by their admira- tion." It is comical enough to think of the philosophic statesman, of whom it has been said, " eripuit ccelo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis," tumbling in the Thames like a porpoise that has been taught to dance. Nay, he was within an ace of remaining in this country and setting up as a teacher of swimming. Sir WILLIAM WYNDHAM sent for him a few days after this adventure, to propose that he should teach his sons to swim. "From this incident I thought it likely, that if I were to remain in England and open a swimming-school, I might get a good deal of money ; and it struck me so strongly, that had the overture been made me sooner, I should not so soon have returned to America." How far might not the course of affairs have been changed, had FRANKLIN, instead of returning to his native land, there to be trained in various depart- ments of public service for one of the most influential founders of the young republic, remained here to become in natatory what the illustrious DOMINIC ANGELO TREMAMONM was in equestrian gym- nastics! From the poet and the philosopher the mind turns to the gentle Musidora embowered in sylvan shades. To return to the bill which led us to this reverie. It is orna- mented with a long row of brawny figures stooping to the plunge- s right delicate vista! We are given to understand from the letter- press that they are starting for the sweepstakes : and it would be nowise prejudicial to the appearance of that interesting class were our sweeps to start pretty frequently for such stakes. The list of Directors of these modern Olympic games embraces a fair mixture of statesmen, Whig, Tory, and Radical—DENIsoN, bus, and LEADER stand there in loving conjunction. The " plunge " was to be taken, on the days of competition in the Serpentine, at six o'clock a. m. : perhaps, if debates wax warm in the new Parlia- ment, the Swimming Directors may persuade their hot colleagues to try the cooling effect of a morning plunge.