Imatges de pàgina

R33см ed. 4





“It is the admirer of himself and not the admirer of virtue that thinks himself superior to others."


46 Poor Martha Snell, her's gone away;
Her would if her could, but her couldn't stay ;
Her'd two sore legs and a baddish cough,

But her legs it was as carried her off !'
That's mine. Have you got anything to-day, Alice ?"

“Nothing," says our lovely sister, lifting her head from “ Paley's Evidences,” “but Nell has.

Bring it out then !" says Jack, rapping the table smartly with his ruler.

Happy Jack! who is deterred from amusing himself by no such considerations concerning Scripture exercises and the like as lie heavy upon the rest of us; he is home for the holidays, and as his soul is supposed to be well weeded and watered by his pastors and masters while he is away, it is left in peace while he is at home. “It is a little vulgar," I admit, looking round,“ but then you know, you

all like vulgar jokes. Not that this is a joke,far from it, it is a veritable, properly authenticated family-_

“Business is business,” says Jack, interrupting ; "give us the epitaph first, and your remarks after."

"Here lies the body of Betsy Binn,

Who was so very pure within,
She bust this outer shell of sin,
And hatched herself a cherubim ;"

“There ! burst, not bust," says Jack, reprovingly; " don't expose your ignorance, Nell."

"It is not," I say, stoutly; "burst is quite a leisurely way of doing things. Bust gives you the idea of cracking all over like a chrysalis and flying straight up through the air, as Betsy did.”

“I don't think it's as good as Thomas Woodhen,” says Alice, gravely. “His widow showed so much sense in adapting herself to circumstances.”

" Or that other one,” says Milly, looking up

"Poor Martha Kitchen! her days were spent,

She kicked up her heels and away she went.'”

“I like the baby's best," says Jack ; " that one on an infant three months old, you know

Since I am so quickly done for

wonder what I was begun for ??

“Nurse told me of one yesterday,” says Milly, resting her elbows on a Pinnock, “that she saw with her very own eyes

Here lies the unworthy son of a worthy father.'

The stone was erected by the father.”

“ That is nasty," says Alice ; " the others only show extraordinary levity. I wonder what the people were like who made them Shaky as to their grammar," says Jack, “and sadly in want of a dictionary !

up ?"

“Would you like a grammatical one," I ask, "and a properly spelt one? I don't say it's a particularly good one."

“Good heavens !" says Jack, leaning forward. “Nell is,-yesno-yes, she is positively blushing !" “I am not !" I say, looking at them all steadily.

No one ever accused me of such a thing before !"

"Then, to what," asks Alice, laughing, “may we ascribe this sudden access of colour? Heat, modesty, shame, or pride at having made a rhyme ? for I do believe you have."

“ Heat !" I say, shortly.; "how we shall broil in church !":

“Now then,” says Jack, “we must not permit the first literary effort of the family to die for want of air, let's have it.”

“It is not much of it," I say, apologetically," but our riddles and epitaphs were running so low that I thought it was high time some new ones were invented, and anything is better than nothing, you know! Here it is

Here lies the body of

Helen Adair,
Cruelly slain in the Flower of Lier

Youth and Beauty, by

Amberley's Nags.

Amberley's Nags were the only horses visible at

her funeral, for she died a Pauper.'”

“Ha! ha! ha!" goes Jack. " Youth and beauty,' first-rate that.”

“And Amberley does nag at Nell shamefully," says Alice.

And you all say," I put in, standing up for my bantling, "that my extravagant tastes will bring me to want some day, do you not ? Only I don't see how I can eyer be very lavish on nothing."


6 Has

“ The governor tells us every day that we shall come to the--union,” says Milly. "I wonder if it is very bad ?”

“They separate the sexes," I say, looking fondly at Jack, who is whistling away at a pencil in utter ignorance of my affectionate glance, “and I should never like that.

What's the matter with Amberley ?” he asks, looking up. she got spasms ?"

“Bilious," I say, nodding. “She calls it sick headache, but I know better. She won't be able to get up till to-morrow, therefore can't harass our already too highly cultivated brains with Paley and Pinnock. I wonder why Sunday is called a day of rest? It is not to us.

"I wish the holidays would come,” says Milly, sighing. "Why should we have them in July instead of June? It can't make any difference."

“Amberley is not going away for her holidays,” says Alice ; "her brother, who is sixty, has got the measles. Did I tell you about her boots yesterday?"

“No; what was it ?”

“You know we walked into Silverbridge? Well, she went into Summers's to buy a pair of boots, and she managed to squeeze her feet into a pair much too small for her, then said to the old man, who was standing by with his mouth screwed up on one side, 'I think these will do, though they may hurt me a little at first.' 'Lor, miss,' said old Summers, that don't siggerfy, that ain't of no account, but I knows they'll bust!

"And after that delicate warning did she take them ?” asks Jack.

“She did !"

"Let us hope then," says Milly, " that she will not wear them in one of our breathless scampers behind the governor, or she will come back without them !"

« AnteriorContinua »