ePub 版

visit our place All eyes are upon me; must go-Between ourselves, his museum not worth seeing, and that's the reason why I Can't stay to dance in such a mess, though I know my dear friend Hoppy has set his heart upon little Jack Hobbleday's dancing- -No, no, I'm any thing but a humbug; and if there's any thing else whatever I can do for you except Rummins and Jubb- -Good by, my dear fellowAwful accident! a thousand pities! the best fit I ever had in all my life!"

Symptoms of dissatisfaction again. Two o'clock has struck, and the signal for the commencement of dancing (" the firing of a real cannon") not yet made. Calls for the Master of the Ceremonies, and a repetition of the customary cries of "Shausé! Shausé!" For the honour of the M. C., I am bound to declare my opinion that the blame for the delay ought not to have been attributed to him. For the last four or five minutes he had been sedulously poking at the touch-hole of the piece, with a lighted candle fastened to the end of a very long pole-a precaution which, as he made no pretensions to considerable skill in the science of gunnery, he had prudently adopted in order to keep himself, as far as possible, out of the dangers necessarily attending such an undertaking. But the gun would not go off: it was evident (to use a theatrical phrase) there was a hitch in the scenery. "Had he put any gunpowder into the cannon?" inquired one. "Plenty," was his reply. "Which had he put in first-the powder or the wadding?" asked another. After a moment's reflection Mr. Hoppy declared that " he was pretty clear, nay, he was positively certain, he had put the powder in first." Perhaps he might have omitted the trifling ceremony of priming? "No: he always made it a rule to prime the gun before he fired it." Then, in that case, the company could come to but one conclusion: the devil was in the gun. But the unlucky gentleman who is generally held answerable for the ill consequences of our own blunders, or negligences, or offences, could establish his innocence, in the present instance, by proving an alibi. Upon a careful inspection, the true cause of the disobedient conduct of the obstinate six-pounder appeared to be, that some dull perpetrator of practical jokes had abstracted the priming, and, in place of it, filled the touch-hole with wet tea-leaves! Hereupon hisses, groans, and, from four or five persons (sounds most fearful to the ears of an M. C.!) calls of "Return the money!" These latter declared that, never having witnessed the ceremony of letting off a gun, they had come upon that inducement only-reminding me of a certain intelligent person who made Paris his residence during an entire summer, for no other purpose than to eat melons and see balloons let off. Mr. Hoppy mounted a bench, and entreated the indulgence of his "honourable, noble and illustrious patrons." He assured them that in the whole course of the many years he had "belonged to the Property," such an accident had never before occurred, and that he would raise heaven and earth to prevent a similar accident occurring again: that there was nothing he would not willingly do or suffer-no sacrifice he would, for a moment, hesitate to make to satisfy the wishes of such an assembly as the one he had the honourable gratification of addressing. But (he continued,) as to returning the money, he most humbly requested permission to take the liberty of assuring them, in the most respectful manner, that that was a moral impossibility, and altogether inconsistent with the long-established usages of "the Property." Besides, he hoped he might be allowed to

remind his munificent patrons that they had already enjoyed the breakfast which he had had the satisfaction of providing for them; as also to hint to two or three of those kind friends who had condescended to honour "the Property" with their presence, and who were the most clamourous in demanding the return of their money-that they had come in with orders!The reasonableness of this address, seconded by its master-of-the-ceremony-like politeness and elegance, lulled the rising storm; and the preparations for dancing proceeded.

In a place like Little-Pedlington, and at such an entertainment as a public breakfast given by the Master of the Ceremonies in Yawkins's skittle-ground, it may not unreasonably be supposed that "noble and illustrious visiters from London" who attend it, are tenacious concerning the etiquette of precedency. And although in the confusion of a rush of upwards of forty persons, each struggling to secure the most advantageous place for listening to the ravishing performance of the Del Squeaki; or even in the scarcely more regular arrangement of the breakfast-table, at which each naturally takes possession of any seat nearest to the cold ham or the hot rolls, which may chance to be vacant, the observance of such ceremony is not insisted upon: it is, nevertheless, important, if not absolutely indispensable, to the existence of polite society that, when persons are brought together for the dance, the laws of precedency should be rigidly adhered to.

It appears that hitherto the place of honour had been unhesitatingly conceded to Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs Hobbs (Scorewell's" family with the fly," it may be remembered), except, indeed, when Sir Swaggerton Shuffle condescended to honour the garden with his presence. Upon such occasions Sir Swaggerton, although he did not dance, would just occupy the enviable place for a minute or so-" Just to prove his right to it," as he said—and then retire. A knight; wealthy; lately returned from the government of Fort Popan'gobang (somewhere in the East Indies); and a descendant, withal, of the great Drawcansir, as may be inferred from the motto he had adopted as an appendage to his arms— "And all this I can do because I dare:" before his pretensions even those of the Hobbs Hobbses quailed.

[Mem. At Mr. Hoppy's recommendation will dine to-morrow at Mrs. Stintum's boarding-house, where Sir S. S. is living, and (in Hoppy's own words)" is to be seen in all his glory."]

Upon the present occasion the Master of the Ceremonies was sorely perplexed by the several, and contending, claims of distinguished persons who had this day honoured him with their company for the first time; these being people of no less importance than Mr. St. Knitall and his lady, and Mr. and Mrs. Fitzbobbin. The knight not making his appearance, Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs Hobbs were proceeding to their usual station, when Mr. and Mrs. Fitzbobbin rushed past them and took possession of it.

"Come out o' that," said Mr. Hobbs Hobbs : " them 'ere is our places."

"We shan't," fiercely replied Mr. Fitzbobbin; at the same time pulling on a white kid glove in a way that clearly showed he was not the man to be put down: "we shan't: we paid our money as well as you, so the places is as much our'n as your'n."

"If some folks don't know how to behave themselves when they get

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

-Hagyd adi booyons zao hud zicht tegi gortugg metalat end biom into genteel company, perhaps there's other, folks, as 'll teach 'em," said MH. II.




smos bad odesburorit bud ofz do out to ow' of Ju I wish you may get it," coolly observed the other, who did not appear to be in the least intimidated by the implied threat










My dear Mr. Hobbs Hobbs," said Mrs. H. H., " don't bemean yourself by getting into a contortion with such folks, Leave the Master of the Ceremonies to settle the pint. 1. You may see as how they have never been at Little-Pedlington afore. Margate by the steamer. Ha ha ha!" momomor) sit de miel od zd ng taland sad q bus The altercation had proceeded thus far when, fortunately, the Master of the Ceremonies arrived to interpose his authority. This he exercised with so much judgment, and with decision so tempered by suavity, that though he could, not exactly please, both parties, even the dissatisfied (acquiesced, in his decree. He awarded the contested place to the Hobbs ...Hobbses upon two grounds: first, by right, of long-maintained poseession, and next, and chiefly, for that they travelled in their own onehorse fly, which the other party did not. As Mrs. Fitzbobbin receded, she said with a sneer," Of course, my dear Fitz, we must give up to carriage company! But sitch carriage company! One-horse-fly! Ha ha! ha! Carriage company! All round my hat."




"Ha! ha! ha! That's a teazer, I think," said Mr. F. with an approving chuckle at his lady's wit:" and what 'll you bet we can't buy em out and outfly and all 2 Ha ha! ha!? 11/ ,1






"I shouldn't wonder," quietly observed Mr. Hobbs Hobbs, and scarcely deigning a look at his adversary. Then turning to his lady he - said in an affected whisper, yet so loud as that every one should hear him; "When we relate this 'ere scene to our friend Lord Squandermere, I think he won't laugh a bit." (!!!), ** 3-, During these disputes, Mr. Twistwireville and Mr. De Stewpan (the latter being the gentleman mentioned by mine host of the Green Dragon as remarkably particular about his wine") were standing arm in arm, picking their teeth, and looking on with a sort of negligé air. Occasionally they indulged in a titter, smiled, turned up their noses, and whispered each other by all which it was clear they would impress you with a notion how exceedingly amusing were the disputes of such people to men of their quality." L




11 O


But here a new difficulty arose, and one, apparently, less easy of settlement than the former. Mrs. St. Knitall, though she willingly conceded the right of the first place to the party with the imposing duplication of names and the friends of a Lord, moreover; yet thought she had quite as good a right to the second as Mrs. Fitzbobbin for who I was Mrs. Fitzbobbin she should like to know?


At f

The point for the M. C. now to decide was, whether or not a Fitz had a right to take precedence of a St. A question turning upon so nice a point might have puzzled a wiser head than even Mr. Hoppy's; so Mr. Hoppy did not hesitate to confess himself puzzled exceedingly. He suggested that, setting aside that distinction, the party whose name ...appeared first in his subscription-book should have precedence. To this Mr. St. Knitall objected; knowing, probably, that his did not. Hereupon high words occurred between Mr. St. K. and Mr. Fitz B. This altercation was not carried on in the playful and neatly-sarcastic style which had distinguished the previous one: here was no small-sword Dec.-VOL. XLV. NO. CLXXX.

2 K


Residence in Little-Pedlington.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ا - اور




Extracts from a Journal kept at Little-Pedlington.


fence, but the bludgeon in this case the gentlemen had recourse to language which-in short, they regularly O'Connellized each other.

Cards were hastily (and as the event proved) exchanged; and fatal might have been the consequences, had not the M.C. adroitly seized them both in their transit. He suggested that the gentlemen should permit him to throw both cards up into the air; and that whichever first fell to the ground should determine the disputed point in favour of its owner. This was agreed to; when, lo! it appeared that "Thomas Knitall, Hosier, Leadenhall-street," was the victor in the contest for precedence with "Samuel Bobbin, Haberdasher, Tottenham-CourtRoad."

Upon this discovery the Hobbs Hobbses withdrew; declining to dance" in sitch company," as Mr. H. H. expressed it.

"I say, De Stewpan," said Twistwireville, with a titter, "here's a precious expozee! Porsitively ridiclus !"

"Emezingly ridiclus," replied his companion-he the " remarkably particular about his wine."

"Well," exclaimed the late Mr. Fitz Bobbin, who had prudently concealed his knowledge of the parties for so long as he had his own trifling disguise to maintain, but who now was resolved not to fall alone: "Well, at any rate we are as good as Mr. Twistwire, the birdcage-maker of Holborn, or Dick Stewpan, a cook at the Lunnun Tavern, let out on an 'oliday for a week in the dull season."

At this moment a groom in livery rushed in, crying to the doorkeeper, " I am not going to stay: I only want to speak a word to Mr. Hobbs."

"Mr. Hobbs," said he, addressing the family-with-the-fly gentleman, "your holiday's cut short: my Lord has sent me to order you up to town immediately: Mounseer is taken suddenly ill, and my Lord has nobody that he can fancy to tie a shoe-string for him." And away went the groom whistling Handel's " Every Valet shall be exalted."

"Oh!" thought I.

The sky had been lowering for some time, and presently a heavy shower came down which abruptly terminated the morning's amusements-an interruption not disagreeable, perhaps, to certain of the company.

Being engaged for this evening at Mr. Rummins's, returned home to an early dinner-wondering by the way whether pretensions upon a similar scale, or a smaller, or a greater, though upon no better a foundation, are ever asserted in other places besides Little-Pedlington.


(To be continued.)


"The thing that is impossible can't be,
And never-never comes to pass."

THIS passage is often quoted, like many others, more for its point than for its truth. I think it is going too far, and taking too much for granted to say, that the thing that is impossible can't be. Indeed I know but of one impossibility in the whole compass of nature, and that is, that it is impossible to say what is impossible. Let any one who is thirty, or forty, or fifty years old, or thereabouts, look back upon bygone days, and he will soon find his notion of impossibilities mightily rectified. He will presently abate the confidence with which he pronounces things to be impossible. When the country-boy said, that if he were a king he would eat fat bacon and swing upon a gate all day long, he thought that it was impossible to find any greater enjoyment in life: experience and time would convince him of the inaccuracy of his notions, and the shallow foundation of his theory of human blessedness. In few matters is the doctrine of impossibilities set in a more interesting light than in matters of love. No set of people have surmounted so many impossibilities as lovers have. They have shown, over and over again, that the thing that is impossible can be, and very, very often comes to pass. "Oh, mother, dear mother," says Julie Maria Fitzhigginbotham, bursting into a flood of tears, and throwing herself into her mother's arms, "It is impossible, it is impossible, I can never cease to love my ever-adorable Reginald Clutterbuck!" After the same manner, the said Reginald Clutterbuck clenches his fist and bruises his forehead, lamenting the hard lot which separates him from the object of his idolatry, and he tells his inexorable papa, with quite as much diguity and pathos as the other tells her equally inexorable mamma, that it is absolutely impossible for him to live without his love. For three weeks he never walks over Westminster Bridge without looking through the balustrades and envying the fishes, notwithstanding the gas and the common sewers; and there is constantly running in his head that beautiful song, the burden of which is

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, never!"

I forget the rest of the words, if there be any more, but the above are the most important and comprehensive; for in process of time it is found out that the thing that is impossible can be, and Julie Maria Fitzhigginbotham finds that Mr. Smith is a most excellent husband, and Reginald Clutterbuck begins to think that Miss Thompson will make a most admirable wife. There, gentle reader, there is, in the above few lines, a novel for you, or a romance, it only wants filling up with silver forks, bad French, and a few extracts from a cookery-book: the only fault of the story is, that it wants novelty, and is not sufficiently romantic; though I must say that an author must be a very poor hand at his business who cannot write a novel without novelty, or compose a romance from incidents not romantic.

I like impossibilities, they are excessively amusing, for they generally

« 上一頁繼續 »