Imatges de pàgina

thought, and the principles of English grammar ought undoubtedly to be instilled into the young mind : acting, no doubt, under this impresa sion, he paid to me an attention as undeviating as that which I longed to bestow upon my other neighbour: between love and Lindley Murray, I was sadly perplexed. Major Crust acted as Vice, and, opposite to me, sat Mr. Snibs, his waistcoat buttoned, as of old, on the venti. lating principle; his feet, as usual, released from the enthralment of shoes. Tom had seated himself beside his respected quondam tutor.

The dinner was sufficiently good to keep all parties in excellent humour during its continuance ;-I had expected and discovered the state of Mr. Snibs's feet, so had Tom Briton. Made acquainted by signs, with his intention, I assisted secretly in the mischievous task of removing the unlucky shoes, far, far from their place of rest ;— Tom Briton fished one towards himself, then, dropping his napkin, on the pretence of picking it up, took the shoe into his hand and inserted it carefully into the pocket of Major Crust; by a device something similar, I made myself master of the remaining straggler, and deposited it, with equal success, under the capacious wing of Doctor Lindley Murray Stickler.

Dinner over, Steinberg and his wife retired with Ann Atherley; when Mr. Snibs, desiring to rise politely, discovered that his shoes were absent from duty. I could see that he was stroking the carpet very carefully backwards and forwards in the confident expectation of finding them; of course he was unsuccessful;—his perturbation increased, his feet wandered about, rapidly and restlessly ; in his search, he kicked every one of his neighbours, some of whom, fancying that a roving dog was concealed under the table, looked in vain for the offending animal.

“ Tis very warm,” observed old Atherley to Mr. Snibs, seeing how red he looked.

“ Yes, yes," replied the unfortunate man;" I can't find it !" “I thought you did find it warm, by your appearance."

“Warm !" cried Major Crust, “ you don't call this warm! Why, the last summer I spent abroad, the sun was so intensely hot, that its rays hissed as they fell into the water; and, if a stream of sunlight should have fallen by accident into my glass after dinner, the wine boiled and bubbled over immediately. I remember a friend of mine, whose wine was caught in that manner just as he raised the glass to his lips. He had never met with the phenomenon before, and looked, of course, uncommonly frightened. Says I- "

“My good sir," interrupted Dr. Lindley Murray Stickler, " says I,' will never do ! you cannot prove it grammar! The very first of Murray's Syntax rules is decidedly opposed to any theory which favours its use; 'a verb,' sir, agrees with its nominative case in really, Mr. Atherley, there is something wrong under the table."

Dr. Stickler, delighted at having caught the major tripping, had extended his legs in a self-satisfied manner, even until they came within the reach of Mr. Snibs,-the shoes were immediately discovered; the countenance formerly so disconsolate, brightened, and Mr. Snibs, having nipped one shoe tightly between his feet, proceeded to pull it towards him : with such strength and dexterity waa this operation performed, that Dr. Lindley Murray Stickler, who did not sit very firmly, was half dragged off his chair.

Disappointed in his hopes, half put to shame by the fear of detection, Mr. Snibs looked very unhappy. The confusion consequent on Dr. Stickler's exclamation having passed away without consequences of particular evil to the shoeless man, the young author, who had long been engaged in the vain endeavour, succeeded in turning the conversation towards himself.

“Sir," said old Atherley, “ your last poem, “The Cloister's Echo,' will no doubt be popular, but I think your echo rather too marvellous. I cannot recollect the lines,-perhaps you will quote the opening."

With the greatest pleasure," replied the delighted author, and putting himself into a rhetorical attitude, he proceeded to spout with great energy:“ Sadly, slowly, I stalked through the dead cloister's gloom,

In dismal tones I communed with the tomb; I called upon the dusty dead, in words of fearful sense, But watchful Echo heard my voice, and answered still, 'Go hence!' In vain “ Enough, sir !" cried Major Crust; “ but without speaking of the dusty dead,' what on earth do you mean by a dead cloister!'”.

“A cloister that contains dead people, to be sure !” replied the offended poet.

“ Sir," cried Dr. Stickler, “ the genius of the English language and grammar allows of no such license; this transposition

"Indeed,” interrupted the youth, “you are totally mistaken ; to adopt a humble comparison—what, may I ask, is a gooseberry pie, unless it be a pie that contains gooseberries? so, then-is not a cloister that contains dead people, a dead cloister ?"

There was no logician at table, and the argument was unanswerable.

“ But," urged one of the company, “ you fall into the common error with regard to Echo—who, having been called a nymph, is considered pretty, and forced to do duty everywhere. Echo of song poetry is something like the wise Bird of Ages, that answers every question, a talkative air,- perhaps the spirit of a woman's tongue that converses incessantly,—the nature and laws of echo are forgotten

You are coming to philosophy," said the author; “there, then, I leave you; for poetry and philosophy are hostile elements."

“I deny the fact,” cried the other; “ poetry itself is but the sublimest form in which philosophy enters the human mind,—the poet is essentially a philosopher.”

“ No, sir," replied the youth, “sentiment is all men require of a poel

“ If by sentiment you mean sickly senselessness, I grant you, it is all that we generally obtain. Your song poets still follow a bright but bad example."

“I maintain, sir," contested the affronted poet, “that in embodying the form of Echo,-in making a woman of her, as has been done


from the earliest times, the power of loquacity was implied; I main

“Whose shoe is this?" shouted Major Crust, drawing from his pocket, with angry looks, a part of the lost property of my respected usher.

Major Crust looked very fierce; Mr. Snibs faintly remembered having read in a newspaper of a man being killed in a duel with a major,-he trembled and remained silent.

" Whose shoe is this?" roared the major once more; “ some one has insulted me by -- ; whose shoe is this?"

No one answered.

“ Then I shall throw it away!” and Major Crust, walking deliberately to the window, projected it into the Thames.

Mr. Snibs groaned in spirit.

“On my life!” cried Dr. Stickler, “ here's the fellow to it!-I found it along with my pocket handkerchief; it has made my pocket in a terrible mess !"

“Let the pair soak together," cried Major Crust, preparing to throw away the other shoe.

"O no! no!" groaned Snibs.
« What have you to say against it, sir?"
“It-it-it's mine!”

“Yours, you impertinent wretch! what business has your shoe in my pocket ?" demanded the major, fiercely.

“Or in mine?” chimed the doctor.

“I couldn't help it!—I don't know how they came there: I had them on before dinner, and now- ".

Yes, now-one of them is in the Thames. Sir, they could not leave your feet of their own accord !"

Old Atherley, who had been laughing heartily, now interfered to restore peace; Mr. Snibs was provided with a slipper, as a temporary substitute for the lost shoe, and the major and doctor, getting into a dispute hetween themselves on a point of grammar, left at peace the unfortunate advocate of pedal ventilation.

Meanwhile, the wine passing round, noise increased; each man began to talk on his own account, and amid the general confusion, I slipped away to seek change and refreshment, (perhaps also, Ann Atherley,) in the garden.

The garden was large, and the walks well wooded, overhung with trees, stirred by a cool breeze,-most welcome, after the stifling heat and stunning riot of the scene I had left. At length, as I roamed, I discovered Ann Atherley, walking with a gentlemen of handsome exterior, in familiar conversation. I felt jealous, but when they approached nearer, jealousy gave way to astonishment and joy; another moment, and I held in a warm grasp the hand of my old schoolfellow,-Eustace Weston.

(To be continued.)


THE CAB DRIVE R. A sketch OF CHARACTER, BY PETER MINIMUS, ESQ." “Though naturally pensive, yet I am fond of gay company, and take every opportunity of thus dismissing the mind from duty. From this motive, I am often found in the centre of a crowd ; and wherever pleasure is to be sold, am always a purchaser. In those places, without being remarked by any, I join in whatever goes forward, work my passions into a similitude of frivolous earnestness, shout as they shout, condemn as they happen to disapprove. A mind thus sunk for a while below its natural standard, is qualified for stronger flights, as those first retire wbo would spring forward with greater vigour."-GOLDSMITA. It was my custom, occasionally, upon evenings when I did not feel “;' the vein" for remaining at home, or for reading, to drop into a kind of coffee-house and tavern, near Drury Lane Theatre, for the purpose of having a chat with the landlord, an intelligent good-natured man, and also to see and hear the various characters of the world who usually resort to such places. I would seat myself in a little box behind the bar, where I could have a good view of all that was going on without, while at the same time I would be protected from observation by the green stuff curtain which surrounded my hiding place. The landlord would now and then drop in for a moment, after having served a customer, and point out to me some celebrated or notorious town character, who had just made his or her appearance; on some nights there would be a conglomeration of the human species, from noble blood down to the lowest of mobility,—from the rich and prosperous down to the very refuse of misery and poverty; a wretched being might be seen with a pale, starved, sickly countenance, staring with protruding and glazed eye upon the gold which had just issued from the pocket of a young spendthrift to pay for some extravagant indulgence,-he would take up his change and secure it in his purse, or, perhaps, a kind of vanity would induce him to give it all, or the greater part of it, to some of the wretched but pampered females around him, but he would appear quite unconscious of the devouring look of famine which had been upon him ; a few pence out of the heap he was then squandering, -how happy it would have made that miserable man for at least one night.

Amongst the numerous and chequered mass I had seen in this place, I frequently observed a cab-driver, who appeared to be known to almost every one who entered. I had taken notice of him on different occasions ; indeed, his lively manner, droll sayings, and peculiar dash of wit, would fix a stranger's attention upon him at once; he appeared to be familiar with all around; the lord, the commoner, the prize-fighter, the member of that respectable fraternity" the swell mob,” the blackleg, the town female, the beggar, all appeared to be intimately acquainted, and on terms of familiarity, with Black Ned, the cab-driver. He was about five feet nine inches in height, a muscular looking frame, a very dark swarthy face, rather heavy brows, piercing black eyes, and a large mouth; he was called Black Ned from the colour of his face, which appeared still darker than it really was by

the contrast of a white neckcloth which he invariably wore; his dress, altogether, was somewhat neater than that of the generality of cabmen; in fact, I have been informed by the landlord, that Black Ned himself, as well as his cab and horse, were considered as deserving the title of a “spicy turn out." Having been pointed out to me as a character, and very amusing fellow, and recommended as well worthy of an evening's entertainment, I took an opportunity of introducing myself to Mr. Ned, by asking him what he would be pleased to take; he was not the least offended at my familiarity, and settled without hesitation (indeed, as if he had anticipated my invitation,) on partaking of " siz pen'orth of cold without ;" which, for the edification of some of my readers, I must explain, means cold brandy and water without sugar, to the amount of sixpence. I invited Ned to step round to my little box, and enjoy himself with a pipe along with the beverage: he seemed to like my attention, and seated himself before me, where he was soon busily occupied in preparing some tobacco, and putting it into a long new pipe, which the landlord had just handed to him. After some preliminary observations, I asked him how long he had been following the profession of a cab driver? taking a whiff from the pipe, he replied that he had been rattling over the pavement of the village (London) for the space of twenty years.

"You have met, no doubt, with some odd scenes in the course of your wanderings,” said I, with the intention, of what is termed drawing him out."

" You may say that, sir,” said he, “and some odd fellows too. I should say, sir, that, looking on my cab as a hindividual cab, and on myself as a hindividual man, we have met more strange adventures and the like, than any other hindividuals a goin." Ned here took a whiff and puffed the smoke in a thin stream from his mouth, then taking up the pint of ale, drank to me, and returned the pipe slowly to his mouth again.

" From what I have seen and heard,” said I, “ you appear to be pretty well known to the town world.'

" Why, as to that, I think I can boast of rather an extensive acquaintance in that ere way; a great many knows me; but, as many as knows me, I knows a great many as doesn't know me, and I sees them, when they don't think nobody is looking at them." Ned here winked at me, as much as to say, “I could tell secrets if I wished :" he continued, “ you have'nt been more than a year in London, sir?”

“ About that time,” said I, “but how happened you to guess so well ?"

"Bless you, sir, I was the first cab as you employed on your arrival in town; you remembers a coming out of the Haymarket Theatre about this month last year, when that ere chap of the swell mob extracated your gold snuff-box from your pocket.”

"Yes," said 1, " he was taken by a policeman, but refused to walk in his custody. I took a cab for the fellow."

"My cab," said Ned, with a significant shake of his head, and another curling stream of smoke from his mouth : “I never forgets a fare," continued he; “ I recollects yours as if that time was only yesterday; I have seen you in here a few times, but I saw as how you N. S.- VOL. VI.

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