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be placed, was imperatively required in its execution; and, in lack of a better man, Colin selected his old employer, Mr. Peter Veriquear.
On arriving at his domicile, our hero found that Peter was from home, having taken advantage of a fine day to convey his small family in the cradle-coach to a favourite suburban retreat, for the enjoyment of tea and toping, not far from the tower at Canonbury.
In this, and similar places about the environs of the metropolis, it is that on fine warm summer afternoons, especially on Sundays, the shop-tired and counter-sunk inhabitants of the respectable working classes assemble, ostensibly for the purpose of imbibing what by courtesy is dignified with the title of fresh air', though with equally as settled an intention of mixing the said fresh air with bottled stout, three X ales, and a pipe or two of bird's-eye.
As our hero entered the tea-gardens in question, he passed be. neath a low and long colonnade, the top of which was formed by the projection of the second story of the building. Several miniature conveyances for the small aristocracy of the baby generation stood about, and amongst them that identical one on which Colin had himself once exercised his abilities.
To the left lay a lawn, on which some score or two of youngsters were disporting themselves in the twilight, while the “parents and guardians ” of these small gentry were lolling in certain arbours, made waterproof with pitch, which bounded the sides of the green.
In one of these Colin found the individual of whom he was in search. Having communicated to Peter some general idea that his assistance was required in a very important enterprise,
“ True,” replied Veriquear, “it may be of great consequence to you ; but that, you know, is no business of mine."
« But you will be well rewarded afterwards," replied Colin.
“Oh, in that case, it begins to look more like my own affair than I thought. Good pay makes a thing a man's business directly."
And hereupon the matter was discussed in a manner which proved that, upon sufficient reason, Peter could take as much interest in other people's business as ever he had taken in his own.
While Colin sat in discourse with his old employer, his attention had several times been attracted by a voice in the next arbour, but which now elevated itself to a distinctly audible pitch.
“Upon my word, those little dears are delightful to look on! The satisfaction of having children to bring up-ay, dear !—the delight, Mr. Palethorpe, of doing exactly as one likes with them, — leading them as it were by the nose, symbolically speaking, -washing their little backs every morning, and feeding them all day like a nest of sparrows — oh! the delight of it must be - I hardiy know what to call it — but something which, in an unmarried state, the imagination can scarcely soar up to. And then their tiny voices - ill-tempered people may call it squealing if they please—but to a father, I should think, it must be welcome night and day. It is astonishing how happy some people might be, if they did but take something of a determination at some time or other of their lives to adopt some course with respect to somebody or other, which might—what shall I say? – I mean, which might lead to something decisive.”
“Sartinly, meesis,” replied the individual thus addressed, “I don't dispoot all that; only, when a man has a good appetite his
self, and can eat most of what's put before him, it seems natteral enough that his children would go and do the same, and that would take a little more mainteaning than some of us can exactly afford. I
to our own old age.”
“I don't mean that !” exclaimed the lady ; “ you don't understand me. I can only say it for myself, that it would be no trouble to me, not a bit of it, to sink the whole of myself in the endeavour to raise a prodigy of children, that should prove a complete honour to any farm-yard in the riding. The pretty dears! how I should spoil them! Ugh! I could squeeze their little hearts to pieces, I could!”
This rhapsody left Colin no longer in the dark. Mr. Palethorpe was again in London, accompanied by the loving and amiable Miss Sowersoft.
A capital idea at this moment struck our hero. Mr. Peter Veriquear was already acquainted with the story of Palethorpe's previous visit to town, and had applauded Colin for the part he had taken in punishing that poor booby as he deserved. He therefore only required to be informed that Palethorpe and his mistress were in the next box, in order, as Colin hoped, to be induced to join him in a lark upon the worthy couple. His proposition was this,—that Peter should walk into their arbour, sit down next to Miss Sowersoft, call for drink, as though he had just arrived, and then proceed, according to the best of his ability, in making love to that lady, no less to her own eventual disappointment, than to the annoyance of the redoubtable Samuel. Veriquear laughed at the notion, but objected that to make love to a lady could not possibly be any business of his.
.“ Besides,” he added, “ what will ”Mrs. Veriquear say if she should happen to catch me, for I expect her up to tea very soon; and if she should come before the joke is completed, I am afraid she would turn it into a regular Whitechapel tragedy."
“Oh, never heed that !” replied Colin. « I'll be bound to see you safe. Go directly, and do it before the chance be lost. Here, waiter !” and he whispered to him to carry a bottle of stout into the next box for his friend.
In a few minutes Veriquear was sitting beside Miss Sowersoft, while Colin peeped through a nick in the boards, and observed all that passed.
“A fine evening, ma’am,” said Peter.
“Yees, it's pleasant,” added Sammy, who remembered his former exploits, and began to fear a thief ; at the same time that he thought it most advisable to speak civilly.
“Admirable places these," continued Peter, “ for the enjoyment of the working-people, who are confined in shops from week's end to week's end.”
“ They are, indeed,” said Miss Sowersoft. “ I should think so," added Palethorpe.
« And, really," continued the lady, “ I had not the most remote conception that such places existed.”
“Then you are strangers here, ma'am ?” asked Peter.
“Quite so, sir !” answered the lady. “We have only been up a few days."
“I arn’t a stranger, though,” protested Palethorpe ; “I've bin
afore, and know what's what as well as most folks. He'd be a sharper chap than somebody that I see to drop on us."
Miss Sowersoft here gave Sammy a nudge, and squeezed her mouth into a severe expression of reprehension. In the mean time Peter looked very graciously at the lady, who seemed by no means displeased with his attentions, and continued a conversation, in which he prognosticated how many sights she would see in London, and how much she would be delighted before her return: concluding with an obscure hint that it would give him much pleasure to point out the objects best worthy attention. Miss Sowersoft smirked benignantly, and glanced at Palethorpe with an expression which seemed to say that “somebody might now see that everybody did not think so little of somebody else, as some people were apt to imagine." While Palethorpe himself grew paler, and began to think that his “meesis " was going to be taken, without farther ceremony, altogether out of his hands.
Encouraged by his success, Peter so far increased his attentions as fairly to arouse the jealousy of Mr. Palethorpe, who resented the insult by declaring that as that lady was keeping company with himself, nobody else should speak to her so long as he was by, or else his name was not Palethorpe. To which valiant speech Miss Sowersoft herself replied by informing Sammy that he was one of those people who seemed as if they could neither make up their own minds to come to a centrical and decisive point themselves, nor endure to see anybody else do the same. A sentiment which Mr. Veriquear rendered still more illustrative by declaring that the gentleman was like one of those ill-tempered curs that turn up their own noses at a bone, but snarl at every other dog that attempts to touch it.
Finding even his own “meesis” against him, Sammy's mettle began to rise, and he demanded to know whether Mr. Veriquear meant to call him a cur? To which Veriquear replied, that he would look still more like one if he went upon all-fours. Hereupon Mr. Palethorpe challenged his antagonist to a boxing-match upon the green, swearing that he would lick him as clean as ever any man was licked in this world. Peter ridiculed this threat, and begged the gentleman who made it to recollect that he was not now in Yorkshire; inforining him still further that if he did not take particular care, he would lay himself under the unpleasant neces. sity of making another appearance at the police-office, as he had done upon a former occasion. Sammy turned pale; while Miss Maria seemed astounded, as she demanded in a shrill and faint, but earnest voice, “whether he (Mr. Veriquear) knew Mr. Palethorpe and his calamity."
“ Everybody in London knows him," replied Veriquear; “and I assure you, ma'am, that it is no credit to a respectable female to be seen with a man who has rendered himself so notorious."
Afraid that she had committed herself in the eyes of the metropolis, Miss Sowersoft looked upon the unlucky Samuel with momentary horror, and at the same time unconsciously clung for support to the strange hand of that poor man's supposed rival. At this interesting part of the scene, Mrs. Veriquear, (directed by Master William, whom she had picked up on the lawn,) bounced into the box.
Colin, whose business it was to have prevented this surprise, had been so engaged in spying through a hole, which he had made by pushing a knot out of one of the boards, that the appearance of Mrs. Veriquear confounded him, especially when he beheld that lady, who instantly detected her husband's situation, dart like a fury at Miss Sowersoft, and pomniel away with her fists as might some belated baker, who has the largest amount of dough to knead up within the least possible length of time. Sammy and Veriquear were instantly in arms — the latter endeavouring to restrain his wife, the former, with a chivalrous feeling peculiar to himself, striking her upon the face ; while Master William, seeing the danger of his parents, struck up a solo in the highest possible key.
No sooner did Colin perceive the conduct of Sammy than he forsook his situation at the peep-hole, and hurrying into the field, laid his old foe flat with a well-directed blow. The latter looked up from his inglorious situation; and if ever man felt convinced that he was haunted by an evil genius, Mr. Palethorpe felt so on this occasion, and that his evil genius was Colin Clink.
A regular mêlée now ensued, during which Mrs. Veriquear's cap was sent into the air, like a balloon. The back of the arbour was driven out, and Mr. Veriquear, locked in the arms of Miss Sowersoft, fell through the opening into that beautiful piece of water which has its local habitation opposite the west side of Canonbury Tower.
The sudden appearance of several policemen put an end to the sport. Colin and Sammy were seized, and attempted to be hurried off; but as neither had any particular reasons for desiring a situation in the watch-house, they contrived so far to accommodate matters as to be allowed to go each his separate way.
Our hero's first step was to see to the safety of his friend. He and Miss Sowersoft had already been fished out by the spectators. The latter-named of the two was conveyed into the tavern, and put to bed, while the former was induced, at the representation of Colin, to walk rapidly home with the enraged Mrs. Veriquear on his arm, our hero himself undertaking charge of the young Veriquears, and drawing them in the basket-coach behind.
Peter Veriquear naturally enough employed the whole time occupied in their journey by explaining the adventure ; a statement which Colin so far corrobated, as to leave Mrs. Veriquear convinced of her husband's innocence.
As to the appearance of the worthy couple in town within so short a time of Mr. Palethorpe's former expedition, it is to be accounted for upon the same principle as are many other matters of equal importance: that is, according to a certain principle of curiosity, which is supposed to exist pretty largely in every human breast, but especially in the bosoms of the fair.
During the first day or two after her discovery of Sammy's frail nature, she betook herself, as far as the duties of the farm would allow, to the solitude of her own bed-chamber; where, in all probability, she wept regretfully over the depravity of human nature. For some weeks Mr. Palethorpe lived as though he lived not. To her, at least, he was dead: she saw him not, heard him not, knew him not. When he spoke his voice passed her by like the wind: when he whistled she heeded it no more than the whistling of a keyhole. VOL. VIII.
Meantime Samuel ate and drank unheeded, and with a degree of violence which seemed to say that by these means he meditated a novel species of suicide. If so, however, the thing failed in its effect. So far from entering at death's door, he seemed every day to get farther off. While Miss Maria pined, he grew fatter, redder, and more robustious. The contrast, at length, became unendurable: and from mere spite she at last began to speak to him again.
From a sulky exchange of words, this happy pair at length proceeded to a certain reluctant but animated discourse, in which explanation, reproaches, and deprecation, were abundantly resorted to. She accused; he apologized and regretted, and at length, she forgave, and Mr. Palethorpe had the satisfaction of finding himself restored to favour, and his mistress's arms.
I have said that Miss Sowersoft's curiosity was extreme. When Sammy detailed to her all the wonders of his expedition, her propensity could not be restrained. She, too, must see London. Accordingly, the tour was agreed upon, and hence their appearance at the time and place in question.
Returning to our hero, it may now be stated that before Mr. Clink took his departure from Mr. Veriquear's, a plan was arranged between himself and Peter for carrying his important design into immediate execution.
A DIALOGUE BETWEEN TWO CHINA JARS.
BY HAL WILLIS.
These are mere family jars, madam,
The Blue Stocking.
A. A STRANGE family this we have got into. And what a change! —from a sober clergyman's study to the drawing-room of a fashionable fool. · B. And yet is it what we must have anticipated. Have I not heard the Reverend Mr. Q_ say a thousand times, “We are but things of clay, and so are doomed to continual vicissitudes ? "
A. True. But really I felt rather alarmed when that auctioneer talked so vehemently of “ knocking us down,"—for the pastor so often cautioned his children from doing so, — and so repeatedly declared we should be utterly destroyed, that I really trembled for our fate.
B. I assure you my equanimity was not disturbed in the least; for this is the second sale we have gone through uninjured.
A. The second sale?
A. The auctioneer appeared to have a very great opinion of his eloquence.
B. And yet I heard our present master whisper to his friend, “ This fellow's encomiums on these jars is mere jar-gon, and his delivery as discordant as the jarring elements. Look at him-his eyes a-gog-his mouth 's a-jar!”