Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

supplied fire to a dozen sonnets; but they engage three lines only of a passport's attention. Where would you find the passport that would dilate on his handsome figure, or tell of the kind, and wild, and merry qualities that prompted each graceful gesture ?

But enough.-“While a thing is being talked about it may be done," say the wiseacres; and, on this principle, I find that Tom Briton has already been described. In the meantime, then, for myself,-modesty, alas ! forbids me the delicate task of providing a catalogue of my own charms, -and so, dear reader,-excuse the familiarity, but familiar I hope we are destined to be,-and so, unless some smitten lady artist should publish me in full or fancy dress, sitting before a red curtain upon a green easy chair,-it is left for thee only to imagine me, even that which is most agreeable to thyself.

Ye maidens, picture me in some lover's form! and matrons, as some dear friend of youth,—so I be but embodied in pleasing, comely shape, full well shall I be contented.

Now speed we onward with our history.

By the time I reached Tom Briton's lodgings, I had found time to reflect on the nature of the engagement I had made, and a serious question arose in my mind as to its honesty. Communicating this

to Tom

“Be at ease,” said he ; “our intention is not a disreputable trade; but a little mirth,-and, whatever you may think of the farce I have prepared, trust me, the moral at the conclusion shall be strong enough to answer every cavil.”

“And how long do you intend to prosecute the joke ?

“Until there arise out of it matter for fresh amusement—and that can scarcely fail. But come, I will show you the preparations.”

In a small room, the shutters of which were closed, stood one highbacked arm chair, metamorphosed into a throne, before a table. The walls were hung with black drapery, the room lighted by a concealed lamp in a red shade that cast a mysterious light around; the table was covered with a long black cloth, upon which lay skulls, as matters of course, and manuscripts in hieroglyphics,-Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Chaldee, or short-hand, no matter which, so long as they be generally (perhaps also particularly) unintelligible.

* This is the receiving room," said Tom; then, throwing open a door, he disclosed another room, gaily furnished, communicating also with the passage without. “ This,” said he, “is the waiting room, to be brilliantly lighted at night, that the contrast on coming from one to the other may be terrific and imposing.”

“Imposing indeed !” said I; Tom, the whole affair savours too much of imposture."

“Be silent, Fitzroy,” said my friend, “ or wait until you understand the matter, before you express an opinion. Enter into my views for this night only, and when our work is done, if you still disapprove of it, why then you'll not be Fitzroy Pike—but a senseless savage. Look here, I've provided a dress for you to act in."

"But it won't fit."

“ Fit! why 'tis not intended that it should : it must hang loose in graceful folds.-Try it on.”

[graphic]

So saying, he enveloped me in a black garment that bore a striking analogy to the pinafore of some giant child.

And here,” added he, displaying a long bundle of white hair, « here is your wig !".

“ The hair is unnaturally long, considering its whiteness.”

A sign of vast age," exclaimed Tom, " since it must have occupied several centuries, at least, for such a fine crop to be matured.”

" But my young face - '
“ Will be painted,” added Tom.
“And where is your livery ?"

“My liveries are two," replied he. “See this.” He displayed an old print gown, a dirty cap, and straw bonnet. “ Thus clothed, when the visiters come to-night, at ten o'clock, I join them, pass for a gossip, and discover what each comes for; then I slip away, put over my human body this disguise,"—it was Satanic,-"and play my second part in the comedy, telling you all that I have discovered."

“ If I should be recognized —"

“ On that score, also,” said Tom, “ be at ease :-to disguise your voice, hold a few stones in your mouth ;—there is no harm in following Demosthenes ;-and, to convince you that the deception is complete, Bob Pike, Esq. shall be our first patient; and a wise father he will indeed be if he know his own child."

“ A good idea,” said I, “ if we could but carry it out.” “ We will. Where shall we find him ?-I'll persuade him at once." " What time is it?” or Three o'clock."

“O then, without doubt, we shall find him in Regent Street, where he always walks of an afternoon to study manners and mankind. Bythe-bye, Tom, what's the matter with your hair ?"

“ Ah !" said Tom, “ I dare say it looks odd. I've been advertising." is Advertising !" “ Yes ; advertising our levee for to-night.”

“ And, in the name of wonder, what effect can that have upon hair!”

Why, you must know, cheap advertising I perform thus :- In the morning I sally out, with a small-tooth comb in my waistcoat pocket, and go to the nearest and most popular barber to get my hair curled. To him I artfully deliver the substance of my advertisement; he rejoices to circulate it. Leaving this place, I pull out my comb, destroy the curls, and, at a convenient distance, repeat the process : so, dividing the town into districts, I complete my circuit, and puff what I will throughout London at the expense of advertising in a single journal. These media, in the prosecution of my sport, I have employed so frequently, that there is not now a hairdresser in the metropolis who does not hail with peculiar rapture my entrance into his shop, as the conveyer of mysterious or curious information. But, allons !—to seek your father in Regent Street.” Hurrying on, we soon arrived at our destination.

Regent Street is verily a curious place--a gay, lazily busy, languidly bustling scene : thither, from the peer to the pot-boy, repair all the idlers in London. Here, on the foot-path, we see a tall, overgrown,

red-faced animal, of youthful appearance, clad in a rusty green coat, his faded first-tail;-on his arm hangs a girl, with a simple face, and gaudy gown of some antediluvian pattern. These are species of the race of country cousins, whose first care on “ coming up to town” is to stare themselves satisfied in Regent Street ;-and, staring, on they go, -Dow running against one of these bedizened beings who condescends to pay heavily that she may enjoy the distinction of being a peripatetic show-bust to some Anglo-French milliner of warm imagination, -now tumbling over a draper's “ assistant," who, with white neckcloth and frizzled hair, and pen behind his ear, had rushed from his shop-door to gaze on the retreating form of some aristocratic beauty, with whom he but lately enjoyed the delights of professional conversation, and whom, regarding with the eye of an amateur, he pronounces to be a “ splendid creature!” Here is a hairy-faced fop, in “fashionable" second-hand garments, who struts, cane in hand, and cherished but weather-beaten four-and-nine-penny on his well-oiled head; and as, by peculiar corrugation of muscle, his eye-glass seems glued before his glassy eye, whose fire was long since « raked” out, he regards, with great self-satisfaction, the ladies he may chance to meet. Here,-a truce to observation,-here is Bob Pike himself !-his hands in his pockets, leaning against a pillar in the colonnade.

“ Bob! my dear fellow, how are you?

“Aw! mawstaw Bwitown! haw aw yaw ?-Fitzroy, my son, haw aw yaw?"

Tom laughed and looked at me.
“ Fitzroy,” said he,“ does your father speak Portuguese?
“ Naw," said my father, “ I dawn't knaw powdered-geese.”
“ What language is it, father?" inquired İ.
Ho tone,replied Bob Pike, Esq.
“ Some mistake," said Tom.

“I ovaw-ward Lawd Lispel jawst naw--and he tawked saw ;-I thawt 'twas mawnars, and I cawpied it."

“Peculiarities of individuals form a rule of copy to no man of sense," replied Tom, dogmatically.

“Then 'taint krek !" cried my father delighted; “I'm glad of thatfor its turrurrburl krakjaw.-Look !-quick !-look at the carridge ! that belongs to Sir Timothy Smith, -I know it by the arm-or-heel bare-'uns ;-and there isn't a carridge in London as I doesn't know,'cept one-and,-as true as Bob,—there she goes! I must foller her--"

“ But, father, we have something important

“I'll find her out!” cried my father, and raced after the carriage of unknown ownership.

Soon, however, he returned, disappointed and out of breath; we heard his woes to an end, then planted a battery and gained our point. I satisfied his fatherly solicitude concerning my professional advancement in partnership with Mr. Briton, whose generosity in taking me, my father could not enough thank; and so we parted-till evening.

Let us hasten on towards the awful and important crisis that now impends.

Ten o'clock had arrived, and all was ready. I, in my robes and hair, with a face painted exquisitely majestic, and stones in my mouth, sat on the throne ; before me a huge closed volume rested upon the table. Tom Briton, having performed the first part of his duty, and announced all to be in proper train, had assumed his diabolical garments, and was concealed behind my broad-backed chair, busily and characteristically engaged in the task of fumigating the room with brimstone. “For," said he, “ the smell of brimstone will pass with many for a diploma of supernatural power; and let the incredulous but see my head-your fame is then established."

Everything, then, being ready, I rang a hand-bell that was upon the table, and my father entered, made a Regent Street bow, looked confused, and was silent. I opened the huge book, rolled the stones in my mouth and proceeded to write, speaking aloud meanwhile :

First patient, Bob Pike, Esq.,"my father looked astonished,--“married,"-he smiled,-“ formerly kept a potato warehouse in Rotherhithe,”-pulled up his shirt collar, arranged his curls and looked scornful," now a private gentleman and esquire,”-here he relaxed, “ resident at Camberwell, No. 6, China Vase Parade, Montpelier Avenue;" at this extent of domestic knowledge my father was electrified ;—“green door, brass knocker, and an only son,"-he was galvanized ;—“ Bob Pike, Esq., I know wherefore thou art here, but 'tis well thou thyself shouldst speak,--say on, therefore !"

My father wiped his lips, hemmed thrice, raised bis left arm and commenced :

“ Larned—no, knowing-sir,-doctor,--I co-co-comes,—I'm flustrated,-I can't make a spitch,-the short and the long o' wot I comed for is, this here. My wife's two sisters is two old tabbies : wen my sun Fitzroy was born,-Fitzroy, sir, wot's in the emetical poorfashion,—these disintegreeable vulgar critters wanted to crissen him outlandidge names of all sorts, and that wouldn't do, you know, at no price; and we had a rumpus about a dog, and the upshot is as we haven't spoken not never since. Now, for myself, I hates the critters, they is so werry wulgar,but for my famerly and for their money, why, you see, it's as well to be friends, and so if so be as you could give me some fizzic as could effec that 'ere objeck, why

At this point my father was interrupted, the door flew open and in rushed three ladies, -Mrs. Jones, my grandmother, pushed forward by Tabitha and Dorothea, my mother's incensed relatives. They had lately arrived to “consult the doctor” on business of their own, and had most unfortunately amused themselves (as my father spoke rather energetically, and they knew his voice,) with listening at the door, until rage was at its height, and they burst upon him :

“ Vulgar and disagreeable, are we?” shrieked Dorothea.
“ Two old tabbies, are we?" cried Tabitha.
“ You wants our money, do you ?" sung both in chorus.
“ Won't you get it?" cried Dorothy.

" You scoundrel, you varmint, you inhuman, wicked, bloodthirsty bru-u-u-te !” bawled Tabitha.

“ You pickling tub!" piped Dorothy. The beauty of the last-mentioned allusion is certainly hidden, but ladies incensed are not nice in the choice of terms, and a pickling tub is no light thing to throw at the head of a victim.

“Ugh! ugh!” cried Tabitha, making spiteful grimaces, quite close to my unfortunate father's nose.

Tom Briton, meanwhile, vexed at the untoward circumstance, forgot his disguise and rose behind my chair. My aunts were too busy to see him; but their deaf and bewildered mother, looking in amazement now at one party, now at the other, caught sight of the fearful apparition and shrieked aloud. I saw she would faiut, and hastened to assist her, but my long robe caught in the chair; and Tom Briton, prompted by the same impulse, in his haste overturned the brimstone he had been using into the concealed fire, and, as a cloud of sulphury vapour, ascending, filled the room, rushed forward, in devil's character, and caught my falling grandam in his arms.

(To be continued.)

ADAM'S THANKSGIVING.

BY THE HON. D. G. OSBORNE.
Father! Thy world was fair and bright;

Glad were its birds, and sweet its flowers,
And beautiful Thy sun of light

Which shone o'er Eden's groves and bowers.
Creation's boundless store of bliss

Thy loving hand for me prepared ;
Yet craved I something more than this,-

My lot, though happy, was unshared.
When on each morn and eve I knelt

To thank Thy love for what was given,
E'en 'midst my prayers my spirit felt

A longing as it rose to Heaven:
Father! I thought one boon from Thee-

One precious boon-was still denied me :
I thought how sweet that prayer would be,

If there were one to kneel beside me!
Angels of Light, from yon blest skies,

Beings who hover near Thy throne,
Gazed on me with their radiant eyes,

And smiled; but yet I felt alone :-
Too pure their holy natures seemed ;

They owned a too celestial ray;--
Not such the mate of whom I dreamed

I pined for one of kindred clay.
And I have found that mate at last,

To fill my bosom's vacant place :
Another's lot with mine is cast-

I see another of my race.
Oh Father! every charm doth wear,

In this Thy Eden's lovely sphere,
A glow more bright, a hue more fair,

Since she, the God-bestowed, is here.
N. S.-VOL. VI.

« AnteriorContinua »