The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Sketches of Seymour (Illustrated),
Complete, by Robert Seymour

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Title: The Sketches of Seymour (Illustrated), Complete

Author: Robert Seymour

Release Date: October 29, 2006 [EBook #5650]
Last Updated: February 28, 2018

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by David Widger


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“Sketches by Seymour” was published in various versions about 1836. The copy used for this PG edition has no date and was published by Thomas Fry, London. Some of the 90 plates note only Seymour's name, many are inscribed “Engravings by H. Wallis from sketches by Seymour.” The printed book appears to be a compilation of five smaller volumes. From the confused chapter titles the reader may well suspect the printer mixed up the order of the chapters. The complete book in this digital edition is split into five smaller volumes—the individual volumes are of more manageable size than the 7mb complete version.

The importance of this collection is in the engravings. The text is often mundane, is full of conundrums and puns popular in the early 1800's—and is mercifully short. No author is given credit for the text though the section titled, “The Autobiography of Andrew Mullins” may give us at least his pen-name.




SCENE I. Sleeping Fisherman.

SCENE II. A lark—early in the morning.

SCENE III. The rapid march of Intellect!

SCENE IV. Sally, I told my missus vot you said.

SCENE V. How does it fit behind?

SCENE VI. Catching-a cold.

SCENE VII. This is vot you calls rowing, is it?

SCENE VIII.    In for it, or Trying the middle.


CHAP. I. The Invitation, Outfit, and the sallying forth

CHAP. II. The Death of a little Pig

CHAP. III. The Sportsmen trespass on an Enclosure

CHAP. IV. Shooting a Bird, and putting Shot into a Calf!

CHAP. V. A Publican taking Orders.

CHAP. VI. The Reckoning.

CHAP. VII.    A sudden Explosion


SCENE IX. Shoot away, Bill! never mind the old woman

SCENE X. I begin to think I may as well go back.

SCENE XI. Mother says fishes comes from hard roes

SCENE XII. Ambition.

SCENE XIII. Better luck next time.

SCENE XIV. Don't you be saucy, Boys.

SCENE XV. Vy, Sarah, you're drunk!

SCENE XVI. Lawk a'-mercy! I'm going wrong!

SCENE XVII. I'm dem'd if I can ever hit 'em.

SCENE XVIII. Have you read the leader in this paper

SCENE XIX. An Epistle from Samuel Softly, Esq.

SCENE XX. The Courtship of Mr. Wiggins.

SCENE XXI. The Courtship of Mr. Wiggins.(Continued)

SCENE XXII. The Itinerant Musician.

SCENE XXIII.    The Confessions of a Sportsman.









PLATE VIII.   [SCENE IX.(b)] Well, Bill, d'ye get any bites?








PLATE XV. Now, Jem, let's shew these gals how we can row








PLATE XXIII. [HAMMERING] Beside a meandering stream






PLATE XXIX. [SCENE X.(b)] This is a werry lonely spot, Sir






CHAP. II. Let the neighbors smell ve has something

CHAP. III. I wou'dn't like to shoot her exactly

CHAP. IV. A Situation.

CHAP. V. The Stalking Horse.

CHAP. VI. A Commission.

CHAP. VII. The Cricket Match

CHAP. VIII. The Hunter.

CHAP. IX. A Row to Blackwall.

CHAP. X. The Pic-Nic.

CHAP. XI. The Journey Home.

CHAP. XII. Monsieur Dubois.

CHAP. XIII. My Talent Called into Active Service.

CHAP. XIV. A Dilemma.

CHAP. XV. An Old Acquaintance.

CHAP. XVI. The Loss of a Friend.

CHAP. XVII. Promotion.

  A RIGMAROLE. PART I. "De omnibus rebus."

PART II. "Acti labores Sunt jucundi"

PART III. "Oderunt hilarem tristes."

  INTERCEPTED LETTER PLATE I. Dye think ve shall be in time for the hunt?

PLATE II. Vat a rum chap to go over the 'edge that vay!



“Walked twenty miles over night: up before peep o' day again got a capital place; fell fast asleep; tide rose up to my knees; my hat was changed, my pockets picked, and a fish ran away with my hook; dreamt of being on a Polar expedition and having my toes frozen.”

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O! IZAAK WALTON!—Izaak Walton!—you have truly got me into a precious line, and I certainly deserve the rod for having, like a gudgeon, so greedily devoured the delusive bait, which you, so temptingly, threw out to catch the eye of my piscatorial inclination! I have read of right angles and obtuse angles, and, verily, begin to believe that there are also right anglers and obtuse anglers—and that I am really one of the latter class. But never more will I plant myself, like a weeping willow, upon the sedgy bank of stream or river. No!—on no account will I draw upon these banks again, with the melancholy prospect of no effects! The most 'capital place' will never tempt me to 'fish' again!

My best hat is gone: not the 'way of all beavers'—into the water—but to cover the cranium of the owner of this wretched 'tile;' and in vain shall I seek it; for 'this' and 'that' are now certainly as far as the 'poles' asunder.

My pockets, too, are picked! Yes—some clever 'artist' has drawn me while asleep!

My boots are filled with water, and my soles and heels are anything but lively or delighted. Never more will I impale ye, Gentles! on the word of a gentleman!—Henceforth, O! Hooks! I will be as dead to your attractions as if I were 'off the hooks!' and, in opposition to the maxim of Solomon, I will 'spare the rod.'

Instead of a basket of fish, lo! here's a pretty kettle of fish for the entertainment of my expectant friends—and sha'n't I be baited? as the hook said to the anger: and won't the club get up a Ballad on the occasion, and I, who have caught nothing, shall probably be made the subject of a 'catch!'

Slush! slush!—Squash! squash!

O! for a clean pair of stockings!—But, alack, what a tantalizing situation I am in!—There are osiers enough in the vicinity, but no hose to be had for love or money!


A lark—early in the morning.

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Two youths—and two guns appeared at early dawn in the suburbs. The youths were loaded with shooting paraphernalia and provisions, and their guns with the best Dartford gunpowder—they were also well primed for sport—and as polished as their gunbarrels, and both could boast a good 'stock' of impudence.

“Surely I heard the notes of a bird,” cried one, looking up and down the street; “there it is again, by jingo!”

“It's a lark, I declare,” asserted his brother sportsman.

“Lark or canary, it will be a lark if we can bring it down,” replied his companion.

“Yonder it is, in that ere cage agin the wall.”

“What a shame!” exclaimed the philanthropic youth,—“to imprison a warbler of the woodlands in a cage, is the very height of cruelty—liberty is the birthright of every Briton, and British bird! I would rather be shot than be confined all my life in such a narrow prison. What a mockery too is that piece of green turf, no bigger than a slop-basin. How it must aggravate the feelings of one accustomed to range the meadows.”

“Miserable! I was once in a cage myself,” said his chum.

“And what did they take you for?”

“Take me for?—for a 'lark.'”

“Pretty Dickey!”

“Yes, I assure you, it was all 'dickey' with me.”

“And did you sing?”

“Didn't I? yes, i' faith I sang pretty small the next morning when they fined me, and let me out. An idea strikes me Suppose you climb up that post, and let out this poor bird, ey?”


“And as you let him off, I'll let off my gun, and we'll see whether I can't 'bang' him in the race.”

No sooner said than done: the post was quickly climbed—the door of the cage was thrown open, and the poor bird in an attempt at 'death or liberty,' met with the former.

Bang went the piece, and as soon as the curling smoke was dissipated, they sought for their prize, but in vain; the piece was discharged so close to the lark, that it was blown to atoms, and the feathers strewed the pavement.

“Bolt!” cried the freedom-giving youth, “or we shall have to pay for the lark.”

“Very likely,” replied the other, who had just picked up a few feathers, and a portion of the dissipated 'lark,'—“for look, if here ain't the—bill, never trust me.”


“You shall have the paper directly, Sir, but really the debates are so very interesting.”

“Oh! pray don't hurry, Sir, it's only the scientific notices I care about.”

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WHAT a thrill of pleasure pervades the philanthropic breast on beholding the rapid march of Intellect! The lamp-lighter, but an insignificant 'link' in the vast chain of society, has now a chance of shining at the Mechanics', and may probably be the means of illuminating a whole parish.

Literature has become the favourite pursuit of all classes, and the postman is probably the only man who leaves letters for the vulgar pursuit of lucre! Even the vanity of servant-maids has undergone a change—they now study 'Cocker' and neglect their 'figures.'

But the dustman may be said, 'par excellence,' to bear—the bell!

In the retired nook of an obscure coffee-shop may frequently be observed a pair of these interesting individuals sipping their mocha, newspaper in hand, as fixed upon a column—as the statue of Napoleon in the Place Vendome, and watching the progress of the parliamentary bills, with as much interest as the farmer does the crows in his corn-field!

They talk of 'Peel,' and 'Hume,' and 'Stanley,' and bandy about their names as familiarly as if they were their particular acquaintances.

“What a dust the Irish Member kicked up in the House last night,” remarks one.

“His speech was a heap o' rubbish,” replied the other.

“And I've no doubt was all contracted for! For my part I was once a Reformer—but Rads and Whigs is so low, that I've turned Conservative.”

“And so am I, for my Sal says as how it's so genteel!”

“Them other chaps after all on'y wants to throw dust in our eyes! But it's no go, they're no better than a parcel o' thimble riggers just making the pea come under what thimble they like,—and it's 'there it is,' and 'there it ain't,'—just as they please—making black white, and white black, just as suits 'em—but the liberty of the press—”

“What's the liberty of the press?”

“Why calling people what thinks different from 'em all sorts o' names—arn't that a liberty?”

“Ay, to be sure!—but it's time to cut—so down with the dust—and let's bolt!”


“Oh! Sally, I told my missus vot you said your missus said about her.”—

“Oh! and so did I, Betty; I told my missus vot you said yourn said of her, and ve had sich a row!”

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SALLY. OH! Betty, ve had sich a row!—there vas never nothink like it;— I'm quite a martyr. To missus's pranks; for, 'twixt you and me, she's a bit of a tartar. I told her vord for vord everythink as you said, And I thought the poor voman vould ha' gone clean out of her head!

BETTY. Talk o' your missus! she's nothink to mine,—I on'y hope they von't meet, Or I'm conwinced they vill go to pulling of caps in the street: Sich kicking and skrieking there vas, as you never seed, And she vos so historical, it made my wery heart bleed.

SALLY. Dear me! vell, its partic'lar strange people gives themselves sich airs, And troubles themselves so much 'bout other people's affairs; For my part, I can't guess, if I died this werry minute, Vot's the use o' this fuss—I can't see no reason in it.

BETTY. Missus says as how she's too orrystocratic to mind wulgar people's tattle, And looks upon some people as little better nor cattle.

SALLY. And my missus says no vonder, as yourn can sport sich a dress, For ven some people's husbands is vite-vashed, their purses ain't less; This I will say, thof she puts herself in wiolent rages, She's not at all stingy in respect of her sarvant's wages.

BETTY. Ah! you've got the luck of it—for my missus is as mean as she's proud; On'y eight pound a-year, and no tea and sugar allowed. And then there's seven children to do for—two is down with the measles, And t'others, poor things! is half starved, and as thin as weazles; And then missus sells all the kitchen stuff!—(you don't know my trials!) And takes all the money I get at the rag-shop for the vials!

SALLY. Vell! I could'nt stand that!—If I was you, I'd soon give her warning.

BETTY. She's saved me the trouble, by giving me notice this morning. But—hush! I hear master bawling out for his shaving water— Jist tell your missus from me, mine's everythink as she thought her!


“How does it fit behind? O! beautful; I've done wonders—we'll never trouble the tailors again, I promise them.”

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IT is the proud boast of some men that they have 'got a wrinkle.' How elated then ought this individual to be who has got so many! and yet, judging from the fretful expression of his physiognomy, one would suppose that he is by no means in 'fit' of good humour.

His industrious rib, however, appears quite delighted with her handiwork, and in no humour to find the least fault with the loose habits of her husband. He certainly looks angry, as a man naturally will when his 'collar' is up.

She, on the other hand, preserves her equanimity in spite of his unexpected frowns, knowing from experience that those who sow do not always reap; and she has reason to be gratified, for every beholder will agree in her firm opinion, that even that inimitable ninth of ninths—Stulz, never made such a coat!

In point of economy, we must allow some objections may be made to the extravagant waist, while the cuffs she has bestowed on him may probably be a fair return (with interest) of buffets formerly received.

The tail (in two parts) is really as amusing as any 'tale' that ever emanated from a female hand. There is a moral melancholy about it that is inexpressibly interesting, like two lovers intended for each other, and that some untoward circumstance has separated; they are 'parted,' and yet are still 'attached,' and it is evident that one seems 'too long' for the other.

The 'goose' generally finishes the labours of the tailor. Now, some carping critics may be wicked enough to insinuate that this garb too was finished by a goose! The worst fate I can wish to such malignant scoffers is a complete dressing from this worthy dame; and if she does not make the wisest of them look ridiculous, then, and not till then, will I abjure my faith in her art of cutting!

And proud ought that man to be of such a wife; for never was mortal 'suited' so before!


“Catching—a cold.”

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WHAT a type of true philosophy and courage is this Waltonian!

Cool and unmoved he receives the sharp blows of the blustering wind—as if he were playing dummy to an experienced pugilist.

Although he would undoubtedly prefer the blast with the chill off, he is so warm an enthusiast, in the pursuit of his sport, that he looks with contempt upon the rude and vulgar sport of the elements. He really angles for love—and love alone—and limbs and body are literally transformed to a series of angles!

Bent and sharp as his own hook, he watches his smooth float in the rough, but finds, alas! that it dances to no tune.

Time and bait are both lost in the vain attempt: patiently he rebaits, until he finds the rebait brings his box of gentles to a discount; and then, in no gentle humour, with a baitless hook, and abated ardor, he winds up his line and his day's amusement(?)—and departs, with the determination of trying fortune (who has tried him) on some, future and more propitious day. Probably, on the next occasion, he may be gratified with the sight of, at least, one gudgeon, should the surface of the river prove glassy smooth and mirror-like. (We are sure his self-love will not be offended at the reflection!) and even now he may, with truth, aver, that although he caught nothing, he, at least, took the best perch in the undulating stream!


“Help! help! Oh! you murderous little villin? this is vot you calls rowing, is it?—but if ever I gets safe on land again, I'll make you repent it, you rascal. I'll row you—that I will.”

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“MISTER Vaterman, vot's your fare for taking me across?”

“Across, young 'ooman? vy, you looks so good-tempered, I'll pull you over for sixpence?”

“Are them seats clean?”

“O! ker-vite:—I've just swabb'd 'em down.”

“And werry comfortable that'll be! vy, it'll vet my best silk?”

“Vatered silks is all the go. Vel! vell! if you don't like; it, there's my jacket. There, sit down a-top of it, and let me put my arm round you.”


“The arm of my jacket I mean; there's no harm in that, you know.”

“Is it quite safe? How the wind blows!”

“Lord! how timorsome you be! vy, the vind never did nothin' else since I know'd it.”

“O! O! how it tumbles! dearee me!”

“Sit still! for ve are just now in the current, and if so be you go over here, it'll play old gooseberry with you, I tell you.”

“Is it werry deep?”

“Deep as a lawyer.”

“O! I really feel all over”—

“And, by Gog, you'll be all over presently—don't lay your hand on my scull!”

“You villin, I never so much as touched your scull. You put me up.”

“I must put you down. I tell you what it is, young 'ooman, if you vant to go on, you must sit still; if you keep moving, you'll stay where you are—that's all! There, by Gosh! we're in for it.” At this point of the interesting dialogue, the young 'ooman gave a sudden lurch to larboard, and turned the boat completely over. The boatman, blowing like a porpoise, soon strode across the upturned bark, and turning round, beheld the drenched “fare” clinging to the stern.

“O! you partic'lar fool!” exclaimed the waterman. “Ay, hold on a-stern, and the devil take the hindmost, say I!”


In for it, or Trying the middle.

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                            A little fat man
                      With rod, basket, and can,
                         And tackle complete,
                            Selected a seat
                On the branch of a wide-spreading tree,
                That stretch'd over a branch of the Lea:
                         There he silently sat,
            Watching his float—like a tortoise-shell cat,
                       That hath scented a mouse,
              In the nook of a room in a plentiful house.
                               But alack!
                   He hadn't sat long—when a crack
                              At his back
                     Made him turn round and pale—
                      And catch hold of his tail!
                         But oh! 'twas in vain
                        That he tried to regain
                  The trunk of the treacherous tree;
                                 So he
                       With a shake of his head
                          Despairingly said—
                          “In for it,—ecod!”
                         And away went his rod,
                       And his best beaver hat,
                           Untiling his roof!
                       But he cared not for that,
              For it happened to be a superb water proof,
                        Which not being himself,
                             The poor elf!
                         Felt a world of alarm
                               As the arm
                 Most gracefully bow'd to the stream,
                   As if a respect it would show it,
                         Tho' so much below it!
                  No presence of mind he dissembled,
                But as the branch shook so he trembled,
                  And the case was no longer a riddle
                                Or joke;
                   For the branch snapp'd and broke;
                               And altho'
                     The angler cried “Its no go!”
                  He was presently—'trying the middle.'



“Arena virumque cano.”


The Invitation—the Outfit—and the sallying forth.

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(Tower Street, 31st August, 18__)

My dear Chum,

Dobbs has give me a whole holiday, and it's my intention to take the field to-morrow—and if so be you can come over your governor, and cut the apron and sleeves for a day—why

“Together we will range the fields;”

and if we don't have some prime sport, my name's not Dick, that's all.

I've bought powder and shot, and my cousin which is Shopman to my Uncle at the corner, have lent me a couple of guns that has been 'popp'd.' Don't mind the expense, for I've shot enough for both. Let me know by Jim if you can cut your stick as early as nine, as I mean to have a lift by the Highgate what starts from the Bank.

Mind, I won't take no refusal—so pitch it strong to the old 'un, and carry your resolution nem. con.

And believe me to be, your old Crony,


P. S. The guns hasn't got them thingummy 'caps,' but that's no matter, for cousin says them cocks won't always fight: while them as he has lent is reg'lar good—and never misses fire nor fires amiss.

In reply to this elegant epistle, Mr. Richard Grubb was favoured with a line from Mr. Augustus Spriggs, expressive of his unbounded delight in having prevailed upon his governor to 'let him out;' and concluding with a promise of meeting the coach at Moorgate.

At the appointed hour, Mr. Richard Grubb, 'armed at all points,' mounted the stage—his hat cocked knowingly over his right eye—his gun half-cocked and slung over his shoulder, and a real penny Cuba in his mouth.

“A fine mornin' for sport,” remarked Mr. Richard Grubb to his fellow-passenger, a stout gentleman between fifty and sixty years of age, with a choleric physiognomy and a fierce-looking pigtail.

“I dessay—”

“Do you hang out at Highgate?” continued the sportsman.

“Hang out?”

“Ay, are you a hinhabitant?”

“To be sure I am.”

“Is there any birds thereabouts?”

“Plenty o' geese,” sharply replied the old gentleman.

“Ha! ha! werry good!—but I means game;—partridges and them sort o' birds.”

“I never see any except what I've brought down.”

“I on'y vish I may bring down all I see, that's all,” chuckled the joyous Mr. Grubb.

“What's the matter?”

“I don't at all like that 'ere gun.”

“Lor! bless you, how timorsome you are, 'tain't loaded.”

“Loaded or not loaded, it's werry unpleasant to ride with that gun o' yours looking into one's ear so.”

“Vell, don't be afeard, I'll twist it over t'other shoulder,—there! but a gun ain't a coach, you know, vich goes off whether it's loaded or not. Hollo! Spriggs! here you are, my boy, lord! how you are figg'd out—didn't know you—jump up!”

“Vere's my instrument o' destruction?” enquired the lively Augustus, when he had succeeded in mounting to his seat.

“Stow'd him in the boot!”

The coachman mounted and drove off; the sportsmen chatting and laughing as they passed through 'merry Islington.'

“Von't ve keep the game alive!” exclaimed Spriggs, slapping his friend upon the back.

“I dessay you will,” remarked the caustic old boy with the pigtail; “for it's little you'll kill, young gentlemen, and that's my belief!”

“On'y let's put 'em up, and see if we don't knock 'em down, as cleverly as Mister Robins does his lots,” replied Spriggs, laughing at his own wit.

Arrived at Highgate, the old gentleman, with a step-fatherly anxiety, bade them take care of the 'spring-guns' in their perambulations.

“Thankee, old boy,” said Spriggs, “but we ain't so green as not to know that spring guns, like spring radishes, go off long afore Autumn, you know!”


The Death of a little Pig, which proves a great Bore!

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“Now let's load and prime—and make ready,” said Mr. Richard, when they had entered an extensive meadow, “and—I say—vot are you about? Don't put the shot in afore the powder, you gaby!”

Having charged, they shouldered their pieces and waded through the tall grass.

“O! crikey!—there's a heap o' birds,” exclaimed Spriggs, looking up at a flight of alarmed sparrows. “Shall I bring 'em down?”

“I vish you could! I'd have a shot at 'em,” replied Mr. Grubb, “but they're too high for us, as the alderman said ven they brought him a couple o' partridges vot had been kept overlong!”

“My eye! if there ain't a summat a moving in that 'ere grass yonder—cock your eye!” “Cock your gun—and be quiet,” said Mr. Grubb. The anxiety of the two sportsmen was immense. “It's an hare—depend on't—stoop down—pint your gun,—and when I say fire—fire! there it is—fire!”

Bang! bang! went the two guns, and a piercing squeak followed the report.

“Ve've tickled him,” exclaimed Spriggs, as they ran to pick up the spoil.

“Ve've pickled him, rayther,” cried Grubbs, “for by gosh it's a piggy!”

“Hallo! you chaps, vot are you arter?” inquired a man, popping his head over the intervening hedge. “Vy, I'm blessed if you ain't shot von o' Stubbs's pigs.” And leaping the hedge he took the 'pork' in his arms, while the sportsmen who had used their arms so destructively now took to their legs for security. But ignorance of the locality led them into the midst of a village, and the stentorian shouts of the pig-bearer soon bringing a multitude at their heels, Mr. Richard Grubb was arrested in his flight. Seized fast by the collar, in the grasp of the butcher and constable of the place, all escape was vain. Spriggs kept a respectful distance.

“Now my fine fellow,” cried he, brandishing his staff, “you 'ither pays for that 'ere pig, or ve'll fix you in the cage.”

Now the said cage not being a bird-cage, Mr. Richard Grubb could see no prospect of sport in it, and therefore fearfully demanded the price of the sucking innocent, declaring his readiness to 'shell out.'

Mr. Stubbs, the owner, stepped forward, and valued it at eighteen shillings.

“Vot! eighteen shillings for that 'ere little pig!” exclaimed the astounded sportsman. “Vy I could buy it in town for seven any day.”

But Mr. Stubbs was obdurate, and declared that he would not 'bate a farden,' and seeing no remedy, Mr. Richard Grubb was compelled to 'melt a sovereign,' complaining loudly of the difference between country-fed and town pork!

Shouldering his gun, he joined his companion in arms, amid the jibes and jeers of the grinning rustics.

“Vell, I'm blowed if that ain't a cooler!” said he.

“Never mind, ve've made a hit at any rate,” said the consoling Spriggs, “and ve've tried our metal.”

“Yes, it's tried my metal preciously—changed a suv'rin to two bob! by jingo!”

“Let's turn Jews,” said Spriggs, “and make a vow never to touch pork again!”

“Vot's the use o' that?”

“Vy, we shall save our bacon in future, to be sure,” replied Spriggs, laughing, and Grubb joining in his merriment, they began to look about them, not for fresh pork, but for fresh game.

“No more shooting in the grass, mind!” said Grubb, “or ve shall have the blades upon us agin for another grunter p'r'aps. Our next haim must be at birds on the ving! No more forking out. Shooting a pig ain't no lark—that's poz!”


The Sportsmen trespass on an Enclosure—Grubb gets on a paling and runs a risk of being impaled.

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“Twig them trees?”—said Grubb.

“Prime!” exclaimed Spriggs, “and vith their leaves ve'll have an hunt there.—Don't you hear the birds a crying 'sveet,' 'sveet?' Thof all birds belong to the Temperance Society by natur', everybody knows as they're partic'larly fond of a little s'rub!”

“Think ve could leap the ditch?” said Mr. Richard, regarding with a longing look the tall trees and the thick underwood.

“Lauk! I'll over it in a jiffy,” replied the elastic Mr. Spriggs there ain't no obelisk a sportsman can't overcome”—and no sooner had he uttered these encouraging words, than he made a spring, and came 'close-legged' upon the opposite bank; unfortunately, however, he lost his balance, and fell plump upon a huge stinging nettle, which would have been a treat to any donkey in the kingdom!

“Oh!—cuss the thing!” shrieked Mr. Spriggs, losing his equanimity with his equilibrium.

“Don't be in a passion, Spriggs,” said Grubb, laughing.

“Me in a passion?—I'm not in a passion—I'm on'y—on'y—nettled!” replied he, recovering his legs and his good humour. Mr. Grubb, taking warning by his friend's slip, cautiously looked out for a narrower part of the ditch, and executed the saltatory transit with all the agility of a poodle.

They soon penetrated the thicket, and a bird hopped so near them, that they could not avoid hitting it.—Grubb fired, and Sprigg's gun echoed the report.

“Ve've done him!” cried Spriggs.

“Ve!—me, if you please.”

“Vell—no matter,” replied his chum, “you shot a bird, and I shot too!—Vot's that?—my heye, I hear a voice a hollering like winkin; bolt!”

Away scampered Spriggs, and off ran Grubb, never stopping till he reached a high paling, which, hastily climbing, he found himself literally upon tenter-hooks.

“There's a man a coming, old fellow,” said an urchin, grinning.

“A man coming! vich vay? do tell me vich vay?” supplicated the sportsman. The little rogue, however, only stuck his thumb against his snub nose—winked, and ran off.

But Mr. Grubb was not long held in suspense; a volley of inelegant phrases saluted his ears, while the thong of a hunting-whip twisted playfully about his leg. Finding the play unequal, he wisely gave up the game—by dropping his bird on one side, and himself on the other; at the same time reluctantly leaving a portion of his nether garment behind him.

“Here you are!” cried his affectionate friend,—picking him up—“ain't you cotch'd it finely?”

“Ain't I, that's all?” said the almost breathless Mr. Grubb, “I'm almost dead.”

“Dead!—nonsense—to be sure, you may say as how you're off the hooks! and precious glad you ought to be.”

“Gracious me! Spriggs, don't joke; it might ha' bin werry serious,” said Mr. Grubb, with a most melancholy shake of the head:—“Do let's get out o' this wile place.”

“Vy, vat the dickins!” exclaimed Spriggs, “you ain't sewed up yet, are you?”

“No,” replied Grubb, forcing a smile in spite of himself, “I vish I vos, Spriggs; for I 've got a terrible rent here!” delicately indicating the position of the fracture.

And hereupon the two friends resolving to make no further attempt at bush-ranging, made as precipitate a retreat as the tangled nature of the preserve permitted.


Shooting a Bird, and putting Shot into a Calf!

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“ON'Y think ven ve thought o' getting into a preserve—that ve got into a pickle,” said Sprigg, still chuckling over their last adventure.

“Hush!” cried Grubb, laying his hand upon his arm—“see that bird hopping there?”

“Ve'll soon make him hop the twig, and no mistake,” remarked Spriggs.

“There he goes into the 'edge to get his dinner, I s'pose.”

“Looking for a 'edge-stake, I dare say,” said the facetious Spriggs.

“Now for it!” cried Grubb! “pitch into him!” and drawing his trigger he accidentally knocked off the bird, while Spriggs discharged the contents of his gun through the hedge.

“Hit summat at last!” exclaimed the delighted Grubb, scampering towards the thorny barrier, and clambering up, he peeped into an adjoining garden.

“Will you have the goodness to hand me that little bird I've just shot off your 'edge,” said he to a gardener, who was leaning on his spade and holding his right leg in his hand.

“You fool,” cried the horticulturist, “you've done a precious job— You've shot me right in the leg—O dear! O dear! how it pains!”

“I'm werry sorry—take the bird for your pains,” replied Grubb, and apprehending another pig in a poke, he bobbed down and retreated as fast as his legs could carry him.

“Vot's frightened you?” demanded Spriggs, trotting off beside his chum, “You ain't done nothing, have you?”

“On'y shot a man, that's all.”

“The devil!”

“It's true—and there'll be the devil to pay if ve're cotched, I can tell you—'Vy the gardener vill swear as it's a reg'lar plant!—and there von't be no damages at all, if so be he says he can't do no work, and is obleeged to keep his bed—so mizzle!” With the imaginary noises of a hot pursuit at their heels, they leaped hedge, ditch, and style without daring to cast a look behind them—and it was not until they had put two good miles of cultivated land between them and the spot of their unfortunate exploit that they ventured to wheel about and breathe again.

“Vell, if this 'ere ain't a rum go!”—said Spriggs—“in four shots—ve've killed a pig—knocked the life out o' one dicky-bird—and put a whole charge into a calf. Vy, if ve go on at this rate we shall certainly be taken up and get a setting down in the twinkling of a bed-post!”

“See if I haim at any think agin but vot's sitting on a rail or a post”—said Mr. Richard—“or s'pose Spriggs you goes on von side of an 'edge and me on t'other—and ve'll get the game between us—and then—”

“Thankye for me, Dick,” interrupted Spriggs, “but that'll be a sort o' cross-fire that I sha'n't relish no how.—Vy it'll be just for all the world like fighting a jewel—on'y ve shall exchange shots—p'r'aps vithout any manner o' satisfaction to 'ither on' us. No—no—let's shoot beside von another—for if ve're beside ourselves ve may commit suicide.”

“My vig!” cries Mr. Grubb, “there's a covey on 'em.”



“Charge 'em, my lad.”

“Stop! fust charge our pieces.”

Having performed this preliminary act, the sportsmen crouched in a dry ditch and crawled stealthily along in order to approach the tempting covey as near as possible.

Up flew the birds, and with trembling hands they simultaneously touched the triggers.

“Ve've nicked some on 'em.”

“Dead as nits,” said Spriggs.

“Don't be in an hurry now,” said the cautious Mr. Grubb, “ve don't know for certain yet, vot ve hav'n't hit.”

“It can't be nothin' but a balloon then,” replied Spriggs, “for ve on'y fired in the hair I'll take my 'davy.”

Turning to the right and the left and observing nothing, they boldly advanced in order to appropriate the spoil.

“Here's feathers at any rate,” said Spriggs, “ve've blown him to shivers, by jingo!”

“And here's a bird! hooray!” cried the delighted Grubb—“and look'ee, here's another—two whole 'uns—and all them remnants going for nothing as the linen-drapers has it!”

“Vot are they, Dick?” inquired Spriggs, whose ornithological knowledge was limited to domestic poultry; “sich voppers ain't robins or sparrers, I take it.”

“Vy!” said the dubious Mr. Richard-resting on his gun and throwing one leg negligently over the other—“I do think they're plovers, or larks, or summat of that kind.”

“Vot's in a name; the thing ve call a duck by any other name vould heat as vell!” declaimed Spriggs, parodying the immortal Shakspeare.

“Talking o' heating, Spriggs—I'm rayther peckish—my stomick's bin a-crying cupboard for a hour past.—Let's look hout for a hinn!”


An extraordinary Occurrence—a Publican taking Orders.

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TYING the legs of the birds together with a piece of string, Spriggs proudly carried them along, dangling at his fingers' ends.

After tramping for a long mile, the friends at length discovered, what they termed, an house of “hentertainment.”

Entering a parlour, with a clean, sanded floor, (prettily herring-boned, as the housemaids technically phrase it,) furnished with red curtains, half a dozen beech chairs, three cast-iron spittoons, and a beer-bleached mahogany table,—Spriggs tugged at the bell. The host, with a rotund, smiling face, his nose, like Bardolph's, blazing with fiery meteors, and a short, white apron, concealing his unmentionables, quickly answered the tintinabulary summons.

“Landlord,” said Spriggs, who had seated himself in a chair, while Mr. Richard was adjusting his starched collar at the window;—“Landlord! ve should like to have this 'ere game dressed.”

The Landlord eyed the 'game' through his spectacles, and smiled.

“Roasted, or biled, Sir?” demanded he.

“Biled?—no:—roasted, to be sure!” replied Spriggs, amazed at his pretended obtuseness: “and, I say, landlord, you can let us have plenty o' nice wedgetables.”

“Greens?” said the host;—but whether alluding to the verdant character of his guests, or merely making a polite inquiry as to the article they desired, it was impossible, from his tone and manner, to divine.

“Greens!” echoed Spriggs, indignantly; “no:—peas and 'taters.”

“Directly, Sir,” replied the landlord; and taking charge of the two leetle birds, he departed, to prepare them for the table.

“Vot a rum cove that 'ere is,” said Grubb.

“Double stout, eh?” said Spriggs, and then they both fell to a-laughing; “and certain it is, that, although the artist has only given us a draught of the landlord, he was a subject sufficient for a butt!

“Vell! I must, say,” said Grubb, stretching his weary legs under the mahogany, “I never did spend sich a pleasant day afore—never!”

“Nor I,” chimed in Spriggs, “and many a day ven I'm a chopping up the 'lump' shall I think on it. It's ralely bin a hout and houter! Lauk! how Suke vill open her heyes, to be sure, ven I inform her how ve've bin out with two real guns, and kill'd our own dinner. I'm bless'd if she'll swallow it!”

“I must say ve have seen a little life,” said Grubb.

“And death too,” added Spriggs. “Vitness the pig!”

“Now don't!” remonstrated Grubb, who was rather sore upon this part of the morning's adventures.

“And the gardener,”—persisted Spriggs.

“Hush for goodness sake!” said Mr. Richard, very seriously, “for if that 'ere affair gets vind, ve shall be blown, and—”

—In came the dinner. The display was admirable and very abundant, and the keen air, added to the unusual exercise of the morning, had given the young gentlemen a most voracious appetite.

The birds were particularly sweet, but afforded little more than a mouthful to each.

The 'wedgetables,' however, with a due proportion of fine old Cheshire, and bread at discretion, filled up the gaps. It was only marvellous where two such slender striplings could find room to stow away such an alarming quantity.

How calm and pleasant was the 'dozy feel' that followed upon mastication, as they opened their chests (and, if there ever was a necessity for such an action, it was upon this occasion,) and lolling back in their chairs, sipped the 'genuine malt and hops,' and picked their teeth!

The talkative Spriggs became taciturn. His gallantry, however, did prompt him, upon the production of a 'fresh pot,' to say,

“Vell, Grubbs, my boy, here's the gals!”

“The gals!” languidly echoed Mr. Richard, tossing off his tumbler, with a most appropriate smack.


The Reckoning.

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“PULL the bell, Spriggs,” said Mr. Richard, “and let's have the bill.”

Mr. Augustus Spriggs obeyed, and the landlord appeared.

“Vot's to pay?”

“Send you the bill directly, gentlemen,” replied the landlord, bowing, and trundling out of the room.

The cook presently entered, and laying the bill at Mr. Grubb's elbow, took off the remnants of the 'game,' and left the sportsmen to discuss the little account.

“My eye! if this ain't a rum un!” exclaimed Grubb, casting his dilating oculars over the slip.

“Vy, vot's the damage?” enquired Spriggs.

“Ten and fourpence.”

“Ten and fourpence!—never!” cried his incredulous companion. “Vot a himposition.”

“Vell!” said Mr. Grubb, with a bitter emphasis, “if this is finding our own wittles, we'll dine at the hor'nary next time”—

“Let's have a squint at it,” said Mr. Spriggs, reaching across the table; but all his squinting made the bill no less, and he laid it down with a sigh. “It is coming it rayther strong, to be sure,” continued he; “but I dare say it's all our happearance has as done it. He takes us for people o' consequence, and”—

“Vot consequence is that to us?” said Grubbs, doggedly.

“Vell, never mind, Dick, it's on'y vonce a-year, as the grotto-boys says—”

“It need'nt to be; or I'll be shot if he mightn't vistle for the brads. Howsomever, there's a hole in another suv'rin.”

“Ve shall get through it the sooner,” replied the consoling Spriggs. “I see, Grubb, there aint a bit of the Frenchman about you”—

“Vy, pray?”

“Cos, you know, they're fond o' changing their suv'rins, and—you aint!”

The pleasant humour of Spriggs soon infected Grubb, and he resolved to be jolly, and keep up the fun, in spite of the exorbitant charge for the vegetable addenda to their supply of game.

“Come, don't look at the bill no more,” advised Spriggs, “but treat it as old Villiams does his servants ven they displeases him.”

“How's that?”

“Vy, discharge it, to be sure,” replied he.

This sage advice being promptly followed, the sportsmen, shouldering their guns, departed in quest of amusement. They had not, however, proceeded far on their way, before a heavy shower compelled them to take shelter under a hedge.

“Werry pleasant!” remarked Spriggs.

“Keep your powder dry,” said Grubb.

“Leave me alone,” replied Spriggs; “and I think as we'd better pop our guns under our coat-tails too, for these ere cocks aint vater-cocks, you know! Vell, I never seed sich a rain. I'm bless'd if it vont drive all the dickey-birds to their nestes.”

“I vish I'd brought a numberella,” said Grubbs.

“Lank! vot a pretty fellow you are for a sportsman!” said Spriggs, “it don't damp my hardour in the least. All veathers comes alike to me, as the butcher said ven he vos a slaughtering the sheep!”

Mr. Richard Grubb, here joined in the laugh of his good-humoured friend, whose unwearied tongue kept him in spirits—rather mixed indeed than neat—for the rain now poured down in a perfect torrent.

“I say, Dick,” said Spriggs, “vy are ve two like razors?”

“Cos ve're good-tempered?”

“Werry good; but that aint it exactly—cos ve're two bright blades, vot has got a beautiful edge!”

“A hexcellent conundrum,” exclaimed Grubb. “Vere do you get 'em?'

“All made out of my own head,—as the boy said ven be showed the wooden top-spoon to his father!”


A sudden Explosion—a hit by one of the Sportsmen, which the other takes amiss.

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A blustering wind arose, and like a burly coachman on mounting his box, took up the rain!

The two crouching friends taking advantage of the cessation in the storm, prepared to start. But in straightening the acute angles of their legs and arms, Mr. Sprigg's piece, by some entanglement in his protecting garb, went off, and the barrel striking Mr. Grubb upon the os nasi, stretched him bawling on the humid turf.

“O! Lord! I'm shot.”

“O! my heye!” exclaimed the trembling Spriggs.

“O! my nose!” roared Grubb.

“Here's a go!”

“It's no go!—I'm a dead man!” blubbered Mr. Richard. Mr. Augustus Spriggs now raised his chum upon his legs, and was certainly rather alarmed at the sanguinary effusion.

“Vere's your hankercher?—here!—take mine,—that's it—there!—let's look at it.”

“Can you see it?” said Grubb, mournfully twisting about his face most ludicrously, and trying at the same time to level his optics towards the damaged gnomon.


“I can't feel it,” said Grubb; “it's numbed like dead.”

“My gun vent off quite by haccident, and if your nose is spoilt, can't you have a vax von?—Come, it ain't so bad!”

“A vax von, indeed!—who vouldn't rather have his own nose than all the vax vons in the vorld?” replied poor Richard. “I shall never be able to show my face.”

“Vy not?—your face ain't touched, it's on'y your nose!”

“See, if I come out agin in an hurry,” continued the wounded sportsman. “I've paid precious dear for a day's fun. The birds vill die a nat'ral death for me, I can tell you.”

“It vos a terrible blow—certainly,” said Spriggs; “but these things vill happen in the best riggle'ated families!”

“How can that be? there's no piece, in no quiet and respectable families as I ever seed!”

And with this very paradoxical dictum, Mr. Grubb trudged on, leading himself by the nose; Spriggs exerting all his eloquence to make him think lightly of what Grubb considered such a heavy affliction; for after all, although he had received a terrible contusion, there were no bones broken: of which Spriggs assured his friend and himself with a great deal of feeling!

Luckily the shades of evening concealed them from the too scrutinizing observation of the passengers they encountered on their return, for such accidents generally excite more ridicule than commiseration.

Spriggs having volunteered his services, saw Grubb safe home to his door in Tower Street, and placing the two guns in his hands, bade him a cordial farewell, promising to call and see after his nose on the morrow.

The following parody of a customary paragraph in the papers will be considered, we think, a most fitting conclusion to their day's sport.

“In consequence of a letter addressed to Mr. Augustus Spriggs, by Mr. Richard Grubb, the parties met early yesterday morning, but after firing several shots, we are sorry to state that they parted without coming to any satisfactory conclusion.”

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“Shoot away, Bill! never mind the old woman—she can't get over the wall to us.”

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One day two urchins got
A pistol, powder, horn, and shot,
And proudly forth they went
On sport intent.
"Oh, Tom! if we should shoot a hare,”
Cried one,
The elder son,
"How father, sure, would stare!”
"Look there! what's that?”
"Why, as I live, a cat,”
Cried Bill, “'tis mother Tibbs' tabby;
Oh! what a lark
She loves it like a babby!
And ain't a cat's eye, Tom, as good a mark
As any bull's eyes?”
And straight “Puss! puss!” he cries,
When, lo! as Puss approaches,
They hear a squall,
And see a head and fist above the wall.
'Tis tabby's mistress
Who in great distress
Loads both the urchins with her loud reproaches,
"You little villains! will ye shoot my cat?
Here, Tink! Tink! Tink!
O! lor' a' mercy! I shall surely sink,
Tink! Tink!”
Tink hears her voice—and hearing that,
Trots nearer with a pit-a-pat!
"Now, Bill, present and fire,
There's a bold 'un,
And send the tabby to the old 'un.”
Bang! went the pistol, and in the mire
Rolled Tink without a mew—
Flop! fell his mistress in a stew!
While Bill and Tom both fled,
Leaving the accomplish'd Tink quite finish'd,
For Bill had actually diminish'd
The feline favorite by a head!
Leaving his undone mistress to bewail,
In deepest woe,
And to her gossips to relate
Her tabby's fate.
This was her only consolation—for altho'
She could not tell the head—she could the tail!



“I begin to think I may as well go back.”

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MY vig! vat a pelter this is—
Enough all my hardour to tame;
In veather like this there's no sport,
It's too much in earnest for game!

A ladle, I might as well be,
Chain'd fast to a hold parish pump,
For, by goles! it comes tumbling down,
Like vinking,—and all of a lump.

The birds to their nestes is gone,
I can't see no woodcock, nor snipe;
My dog he looks dogged and dull,
My leggins is flabby as tripe!

The moors is all slipp'ry slush,
I'm up to the neck in the mire;
I don't see no chance of a shot,
And I long-how I long for a fire!

For my clothes is all soak'd, and they stick
As close as a bailiff to me
Oh! I wish I was out o' this here,
And at home with my mother at tea!

This is the fust, as I've got
Permission from uncle to shoot;
He hadn't no peace till he give
This piece, and the powder to boot!

And vat's it all come to at last?—
There isn't no chance of a hit,
I feel the rain's all down my back,
In my mouth though I hav'n't a bit!

O! it's werry wezaatious indeed!
For I shan't have another day soon;
But I'm blow'd, if I don't have a pop—
My eye! I've shot Dash! vot a spoon!

O! here's a partic'lar mess,
Vot vill mother say to me now?
For he vas her lap-dog and pet,
Oh! I've slaughtered her darling bow-wow!


“Mother says fishes comes from hard roes, so I chuck'd in the roe of a red-herring last week, but I doesn't catch any fish yet.”

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How beautiful is the simplicity of unsophisticated youth! Behold with what patience this innocent awaits a bite, trusting with perfect faith in the truth of his affectionate mother's ichthyological knowledge. Wishing to behold a live fish dangling at the end of his line, he has, with admirable foresight, drawn up the bucket, that in the ascent the finny prey may not kick it! It must be a hard roe indeed, that is not softened by his attentions; but, alas! he is doomed never to draw up a vulgar herring, or a well-bred fish!

Folks who are a little deeper read than the boy—(or the herring!)—may smile at his fruitless attempt, but how many are there that act through life upon the same principle, casting their lines and fishing for—compliments, who never obtain even a nibble—for why? their attempts at applause, like his red-herring, are smoked. He does not know that herrings are salt-water fish—and, in fact, that the well-water is not the roes—water!

But after all, is not such ignorance bliss?—for he enjoys the anticipated pleasure; and if anticipation be really greater than reality—what an interminable length will that pleasure be to him! Ever and anon he draws up his line, like a militia captain for a review;—puts fresh bait on the crooked pin, and lets it slowly down, and peeps in, wondering what the fish can be at!—and is quite as much in the dark as his float. But he may at last, perhaps, discover that he is not so deep as a well—and wisely resolve to let well—alone; two points which may probably be of infinite importance to him through life, and enable him to turn the laugh against those who now mock his ignorance and simplicity.



“He was ambitious, and I slew him.”

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WHAT carried Captain Ross to the North Pole? “A ship to be sure!” exclaims some matter-of-fact gentleman. Reader! It was AMBITION!

What made barber Ross survey the poll, make wigs, and puff away even when powder was exploded? What caused him to seek the applause of the 'nobs' among the cockneys, and struggle to obtain the paradoxical triplicate dictum that he was a werry first-rate cutter!' What made him a practical Tory? (for he boasts of turning out the best wigs in the country!)

What induces men to turn theatrical managers when a beggarly account of empty boxes nightly proves the Drama is at a discount—all benefits visionary, and the price of admission is regarded as a tax, and the performers as ex-actors!—when they get scarcely enough to pay for lights, and yet burn their fingers?—AMBITION!

The candidate for the county cringes, and flatters the greasy unwashed ten-pounders, in order to get at the head of the poll—so likewise the bumpkin (in imitation of his superior) rubs his hand in the dirt to enable him to cling fast, and reach the top of the soap'd poll, whereon the tempting prize is displayed. And, what prompts them both to the contest?—AMBITION!

What is the 'primum mobile,' of the adventurous Aeronaut, Mr. Green, one of the most rising men of the day, who aspires even unto the very clouds, and in his elevation looks upon all men of woman born as far beneath him?—AMBITION!

What prompts the soldier who spends half-a-crown out of sixpence a-day to thrust his head into the cannon's mouth, to convince the world that he is desirous of obtaining a good report and that he is fearless of the charge?—AMBITION!

What makes the beardless school-boy leap ditches and over posts at the risk of his neck, and boast that he'll do another's dags'—or the sporting man turn good horses into filthy dog's meat, in riding so many miles in so many minutes?—AMBITION!

What magic influence operates upon the senses of the barrister (a scholar and a gentleman) to exert his winning eloquence and ingenuity in the cause of a client, who, in his conscience, he knows to be both morally and legally unworthy of the luminous defence put forth to prove the trembling culprit more sinned against than sinning?—AMBITION!

What urges the vulgar costermonger to bestride his long-ear'd Arabian, and belabor his panting sides with merciless stick and iron-shod heels to impel him to the goal in the mimic race—or the sleek and polish'd courtier to lick the dust of his superiors' feet to obtain a paltry riband or a star?—AMBITION!


Better luck next time.

The lamentation of Joe Grishin.

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“O! Molly! Molly! ven I popp'd my chops through the arey railings, and seed you smile, I thought you vos mine for ever! I wentur'd all for you—all—. It war'n't no great stake p'r'aps, but it was a tender vun! I offer'd you a heart verbally, and you said 'No!' I writ this ere wollentine, and you returns it vith a big 'No!'

“O! Molly your 'No's,' is more piercinger and crueller than your heyes. Me! to be used so:—Me! as refused the vidder at the Coal Shed! (to be sure she wore a vig and I didn't vant a bald rib!) Me!—but it's o' no use talking; von may as vell make love to a lamp-post, and expect to feed von's flame vith lights! But adoo to life; this 'ere rope, fix'd round the 'best end o' the neck' will soon scrap me, and ven I'm as dead as mutton, p'r'aps you may be werry sorry.

“It'll be too late then, Molly, ven you've led me to the halter, to vish as you'd married me.”

After this bitter burst of wounded feeling, and, urged by the rejection of his addresses, the love-lorn Butcher mounted a joint-stool, and stepping on a fence, twisted the awful rope round the branch of a tree, and then, coiling it about his neck, determined that this day should be a killing day; vainly supposing, in the disordered state of his mind, that the flinty-hearted Molly would probably esteem her 'dear' (like venison) the better for being hung! Mystically muttering 'adoo!' three times, in the most pathetic tone, he swung off and in an instant came to his latter end—for the rope snapp'd in twain, and he found himself seated on the turf below, when he vainly imagined he was preparing himself for being placed below the turf!

“Nothin' but disappointments in this world;” exclaimed he, really feeling hurt by the unexpected fall, for he had grazed his calves in the meadow, and was wofully vexed at finding himself a lover 'turned off' and yet 'unhung.'

Cast down and melancholy, he retraced his steps, and seizing a cleaver (dreadful weapon!) vented his suicidal humour in chopping, with malignant fury, at his own block!


Don't you be saucy, Boys

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“WHAT are you grinning at, boys?” angrily demanded an old gentleman seated beside a meandering stream, of two schoolboys, who were watching him from behind a high paling at his rear.—“Don't you know a little makes fools laugh.”

“Yes, sir! that's quite true, for we were laughing at what you've caught!”

“Umph! I tell you what, my lads, if I knew your master, I'd pull you up, and have you well dressed.”

“Tell that to the fishes,” replied the elder, “when you do get a bite!”

“You saucy jackanapes! how dare you speak to me in this manner?”

“Pray, sir, are you lord of the manor? I'm sure you spoke to us first,” said the younger.

“More than that,” continued his companion. “We are above speaking to you, for you are beneath us!”

The old gentleman, rather nettled at the glibness of the lads, stuck a hook vengefully into an inoffensive worm, and threw his line.

The boys still retained their post, and after many whispered remarks and tittering, the younger thrust his handkerchief into his mouth to smother a burst of irrepressible laughter, while the other, assuming a modest and penitent air, said:

“I beg your pardon, sir.”

“What?” demanded the old gentleman sharply.

“Hope you are not offended, sir?”

“Get along with you,” replied the unfortunate angler, irritated at his want of success.

“I can tell you something, sir,” continued the lad;—“there's no fish to be had where you are. I know the river well. Father's very fond o' fish; he always brings home plenty. If you like, sir, I can show you the place.”

Here his companion rolled upon the grass and kicked, perfectly convulsed with laughter, luckily hidden from the view of the now mollified old gentleman.

“Indeed!” cried the angler: “is it far from this?”

“Not a quarter of a mile,” replied the boy.

“That is nothing. I've walked eighteen this morning,” said the old gentleman, packing up his apparatus. “I'll go with you directly, and thank you too, for I'm a perfect stranger in these parts.”

When he had joined them, the laughing fits of the younger had subsided, although he chose to fall in the rear. “Now, to shew you how much more profitable it is to respect than to mock at your superiors in years, there's a (let me see)—there's a halfpenny for you to purchase cakes.”

“Thank ye, sir,” said he, and turning to his companion with a wink: “Here Bill, run to Cummins' and buy a ha'p'orth of eights—we'll make the most of it—and I'll come to you as soon as I've shown the gentleman the fish.”

“Show me the place, and I'll find the fish,” said the anticipating angler.

On they trudged.

“Must we go through the town?” asked his companion, as he marched with his long rod in one hand and his can in the other.

“Yes, sir, it ain't far;” and he walked on at a quicker pace, while all the crowd of rustics gazed at t e extraordinary appearance of the armed Waltonian, for it happened to be market-day. After parading him in this fashion nearly through the town, he presently twitched him by his coat-sleeve.

“Look there, sir!” cried he, pointing to a well-stocked fishmonger's.

“Beautiful!—what a quantity!” exclaimed the venerable piscator.

“I thought you'd like it, sir—that's the place for fish, sir,—good morning.”

“Eh! what—you young dog?”

“That's where father gets all his, I assure you, sir,—good morning,” said the youth, and making a mock reverence, bounded off as fast as his legs could carry him.


“Vy, Sarah, you're drunk! I am quite ashamed o' you.”

“Vell, vots the odds as long as you're happy!”

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JACK was an itinerant vender of greens, and his spouse was a peripatetic distributor of the finny tribe, (sprats, herrings or mackerel, according to the season,) and both picked up a tolerable livelihood by their respective callings.

Like the lettuces he sold, Jack had a good heart, and his attention was first attracted to the subsequent object of his election by the wit of a passing boy, who asked the damsel how she sold her carrots? Jack's eyes were in an instant turned towards one whom he considered a competitor in the trade—when he beheld the physiognomy of his Sarah beaming with smiles beneath an abundant crop of sunny hair!

“You are a beauty and no mistake,” exclaimed the green grocer in admiration.

“Flummery!” replied the damsel—the deep blush of modesty mantling her cheeks. Jack rested his basket on a post beside her stall, and drank deep draughts of love, while Sarah's delicate fingers were skilfully employed in undressing a pound of wriggling eels for a customer.

“Them's rig'lar voppers!” remarked Jack.

“Three to a pound,” answered Sarah, and so they slipped naturally into discourse upon trade, its prospects and profits, and gradually a hint of partnership was thrown out.

Sarah laughed at his insinuating address, and displayed a set of teeth that rivalled crimped skate in their whiteness—a month afterwards they became man and wife. For some years they toiled on together—he, like a caterpillar, getting a living out of cabbages, and she, like an undertaker, out of departed soles! Latterly, however, Jack discovered that his spouse was rather addicted to 'summut short,' in fact, that she drank like a fish, although the beverage she affected was a leetle stronger than water. Their profit (unlike Mahomet) permitted them the same baneful indulgence—and kept them both in spirits!

Their trade, however, fell off for they were often unable to carry their baskets.

The last time we beheld them, Sarah was sitting in the cooling current of a gutter, with her heels upon the curb (alas! how much did she need a curb!) while Jack, having disposed of his basket, had obtained a post in a public situation, was holding forth on the impropriety of her conduct.

“How can you let yourself down so?” said he,—“You're drunk—drunk, Sarah, drunk!”

“On'y a little elevated, Jack.”

“Elevated!—floor'd you mean.”

“Vell; vot's the odds as long as you're happy?”

Jack finding all remonstrance was vain, brought himself up, and reeling forward, went as straight home—as he could, leaving his spouse (like many a deserted wife) soaking her clay, because he refused to support her!


“Lawk a'-mercy! I'm going wrong! and got to walk all that way back again.”

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A PEDESTRIAN may get robbed of his money on the highway, but a cross-road frequently robs him of time and patience; for when haply he considers himself at his journey's end, an impertinent finger-post, offering him the tardy and unpleasant information that he has wandered from his track, makes him turn about and wheel about, like Jim Crow, in anything but a pleasant humor.

It were well if every wayfarer were like the sailor, who when offered a quid from the 'bacoo box of a smoker, said, 'I never chews the short-cut!' and in the same spirit, we strongly advise him, before he takes the short-cut to think of the returns!

Should the weather prove rainy, the hungry traveller may certainly get a wet on the road, although he starves before he reaches the wished-for inn.

As there is likewise no more chance of meeting a good tempered guide on a cross-road, than of finding eggs and bacon, in an edible state, at least on a common—and as he can no more pull in the summer-rains than he can the reins of a runaway stallion; the result is, the inexperienced youth ludicrously represents so many pounds of 'dripping,' and although he may be thirsty, he will have no cause to complain that he is—dry! The best mode for an honest man to go round the country, is to take a straight-forward course, especially when the surcharged clouds do rule the horizon with sloping lines of rain! Besides, it is by no means a pleasant thing for a man with a scanty wardrobe, to find his clothes running away at a most unpleasant rate, while he can scarcely drag one clay-encumbered leg after the other.

It is a difficult trial, too, of a man's philosophy, after trudging over a long field, to be encountered by the mockery of a 'ha! ha!'—fence! He utters a few bitter expletives, perhaps, but nought avails his railing against such a fence as that!

The shower which makes all nature smile, only causes him to laugh—on the wrong side of his mouth, for he regards it as a temperance man does a regular soaker!

Reader! never attempt a bye-way on a wet day, with a stick and bundle at your back—(if you have a waterproof trunk, you may indeed weather it)—but go a-head on the turnpike road—the way of all mails—leaving long and short commons to the goose and donkey—and the probability is, that you may not only I make a sign before you die, but get a feed—and a shelter.


“I'm dem'd if I can ever hit 'em.”

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IT is a most extraordinary thing, 'pon my veracity: I go out as regularly as the year, and yet I never bring down an individual bird.

I have one of the best Mantons going with such a bore! and then I use the best shot—but not being the best shot in the world myself—I suppose is the identical reason why I never hit any thing. I think it must arise from a natural defect in my sight; for when I suppose a covey as near—as my miser of an uncle—they are probably as distant—as my ninety-ninth cousin!

Such a rum go!—the other day I had a troop of fellows at my heels, laughing like mad; and what do you think?—when I doffed my shooting jacket, I found some wag had stuck the top of a printed placard on my back, with the horrid words, “A young Gentleman missing!”

It was only last week, a whole flight of sparrows rose at my very feet—I fired—bang!—no go!—but I heard a squall; and elevating my glass, lo! I beheld a cottage within a few yards of my muzzle—the vulgar peasant took the trouble to leap his fence, and inform me I had broken his windows—of course I was compelled to pay him for his panes.

To be sure he did rather indicate a disposition to take away my gun—which I certainly should never have relinquished without a struggle—and so I forked out the dibs, in order to keep the piece! I'm quite positive, however, that the vagabond over-charged me, and I kicked, as was quite natural, you know, under such circumstances!

I really have an imperfect notion of disposing of my shooting-tackle—but I'm such an unfortunate devil, that I really believe when I post 'em up for sale—my gun will not go off!—dem me!


“Have you read the leader in this paper, Mr. Brisket?”

“No! I never touch a newspaper; they are all so werry wenal, and Ovoid of sentiment!”

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O! here's a harticle agin the fools,
Vich our poor British Nation so misrules:
And don't they show 'em up with all their tricks—
By gosh! I think they'd better cut their sticks;
They never can surwive such cuts as these is!

It's werry well; but me it never pleases;
I never reads the news, and sees no merit
In anythink as breathes a party sperrit.

Ain't you a hinglishman? and yet not feel
A hint'rest, Brisket, in the common-weal?

The common-weal be—anything for me,—
There ain't no sentiment as I can see
In all the stuff these sons of—Britain prate—
They talk too much and do too little for the state.

O! Brisket, I'm afeard as you're a 'Rad?'

No, honour bright! for sin' I was a lad
I've stuck thro' thick and thin to Peel, or
Vellinton—for Tories is genteeler;
But I'm no politician. No! I read
These 'Tales of Love' vich tells of hearts as bleed,
And moonlight meetins in the field and grove,
And cross-grain'd pa's and wictims of true love;
Wirgins in white a-leaping out o' winders—
Vot some old codger cotches, and so hinders—
From j'ining her true-love to tie the knot,
Who broken-hearted dies upon the spot!

That's werry fine!—but give me politics—
There's summat stirring even in the tricks
Of them vot's in to keep the t'others out,—
How I Should like to hear the fellers spout!
For some on 'em have sich a lot o' cheek,
If they war'n't stopp'd they'd go it for a week.

But they're so wulgar, Bob, and call sich names
As quite the tag-rag of St. Giles' shames
The press too is so wenal, that they think
All party herrors for the sake o' chink.

But ain't there no false lovers in them tales,
Vot hover wirgin hinnocence perwails?

Vy, yes, but in the end the right one's married,
And after much to do the point is carried
So give me love sincere and tender,
And all the rest's not worth a bender.


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Such a misfortin' has you never heard on as come upon your friend. I'll jist give you a breef houtline of the circumstantials as near as my flurry vill let me. T'other mornin' I vips up my gun for to go a-shootin', and packin' up my hammunition, and some sanwidges, I bids adoo to this wile smoky town, vith the intention of gettin' a little hair. Vell! on I goes a-visshin' and thinkin' on nothin', and happy as the bumblebees as vos a-numming around me. Vell! a'ter an hour or more's valking, not an house nor a brick vos wisible.

Natur', in all her werdur', vos smilin' like a fat babby in its maternal harms! But, as somebody has it—

“Man never ain't, but al'ays to be bless'd,”

and I'm bless'd if that ain't true too, as you shall see presently. Vell! I pops at von bird and then at another; but vether the poor creturs vos unaccustom'd to guns, and so vos frighten'd, I don't know, but somehow I couldn't hit 'em no-how.

Vell! and so I vos jist a-chargin' agin ven a great he-fellow, in a ruff coat and partic'lar large viskers, accostes me (ciwilly I must say, but rayther familler)—

“Birds shy?” says he.

“Werry;—ain't hit nothin',” says I.

“I'll tell you vot it is, young gentleman,” says he, “it's the unevenness o' the ground!”

“D've think so?” says I.

“Sure on it,” says he; “I'm a hold sojer! Know this 'ere place, and have picked up many a good dinner in it. Look at them fe'l'fares yonder,” says he, “on'y let me have a slap at 'em for you, and see if I don't finish some on 'em in the twinkling of a pig's visper.”

In course I felt obleeged by sich a hoffer, and hands him the gun. Vell! I vos a-follerin' him quite pleased, ven he visks round, and puttin' the muzzle o' the hinstrument fist agin my vescoat, says he, “Now you've lent us your gun, you may as vell lend us your votch. I can't shoot any think for you till I sees vot's o'clock!”

Here vas a go!—but I see vot vas a clock in a hinstant—and no mistake. So I cotch'd hold on the two butiful chased seals and tugs it out.

“That's the time o' day!” says he, a-cockin' his hugly heye at the dial; “and now,” says he, “as you seems frightened at the gun, I shall jist put it out o' harm's way.”

And with that he chucks it splash, into a duck-pond, and hoff marches my hold sojer in a jiffy! I vos putrified! and fell to a-blubberin' like a hinfant.

O! Dick, vot's to be done?

You know I ham, at any rate,

Yours truly,



The Courtship of Mr. Wiggins.

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AMONG the very few fashionable foibles to which Mr. Wiggins was addicted, was the smoking of cigars. Attracted by the appearance of a small box marked 'Marylands—one penny each,' very much resembling lettuce-leaves with the yellow jaundice, he walked into the chandler's shop where they were displayed.

“Let us look at them cigars,” said he, and then, for the first time, glancing at the smart, good-looking mistress of the emporium, he added, “if you please, ma'am—”

“Certain'y, sir.”

A pretty little fist that, howsomever! thought Wiggins, as she placed the box before him.

“Vill you have a light?”

“Thank'ye, ma'am,” said he, ramming the cigar into his mouth, as if he really intended to bolt it.

She twisted a slip of waste, and lighting it, presented it to her admiring customer, for it was evident, from the rapt manner in which he scanned her, that he was deeply smitten by her personal appearance.

She colored, coughed delicately, as the smoke tickled the tonsils of her throat, and looked full at the youth. Such a look! as Wiggins asserted. “I'm afeared as the smoke is disagreeable,” said he.

“Oh! dear no, not at all, I assure you; I likes it of all things. I can't abide a pipe no-how, but I've quite a prevalence (predilection?) for siggers.” So Wiggins puffed and chatted away; and at last, delighted with the sprightly conversation of the lady, seated himself on the small-beer barrel, and so far forgot his economy in the fascination of his entertainer, that he purchased a second. At this favourable juncture, Mrs. Warner, (for she was a widow acknowledging five-and-twenty) ordered the grinning shop-boy, who was chopping the 'lump,' to take home them 'ere dips to a customer who lived at some distance. Wiggins, not aware of the 'ruse,' felt pleased with the absence of one who was certainly 'de trop' in the engrossing 'tete-a-tete.' We will pass over this preliminary conversation; for a whole week the same scene was renewed, and at last Mrs. Warner and Mr. Wiggins used to shake hands at parting.

“Do you hever go out?” said Wiggns.

“Sildom-werry sildom,” replied the widow.

“Vos you never at the Vite Cundic, or the hEagle, or any of them places on a Sunday?”

“How can I go,” replied the widow, sighing, “vithout a purtector?”

Hereupon the enamoured Wiggins said, “How happy he should be,” etc., and the widow said, “She was sure for her part,” etc. and so the affair was settled. On the following Sunday the gallant Mr. Wiggins figged out, in his best, escorted the delighted and delightful Mrs. Warner to that place of fashionable resort, the White Conduit, and did the thing so handsomely, that the lady was quite charmed. Seated in one of the snug arbors of that suburban establishment, she poured out the hot tea, and the swain the most burning vows of attachment. “Mr. Viggins, do you take sugar?” demanded the fair widow. “Yes, my haingel,” answered he, emphatically. “I loves all wot's sweet,” and then he gave her such a tender squeeze! “Done—do—you naughty man!” cried she, tapping him on the knuckles with the plated sugar-tongs, and then cast down her eyes with such a roguish modesty, that he repeated the operation for the sake of that ravishing expression. Pointing his knife at a pat of butter, he poetically exclaimed, “My heart is jist like that—and you have made a himpression on it as time will never put out!” “I did'nt think as you were quite so soft neither,” said the widow. “I ham,” replied the suitor—“and there,” continued he, cutting a hot roll, and introducing the pat, “I melts as easily afore the glance of your beautiful heyes!” Resolved to carry on the campaign with spirit, he called for two glasses of brandy and water, stiff, and three cigars! And now, becoming sentimental and communicative, he declared, with his hand upon his heart, that “hif there vos a single thing in life as would make him completely happy, it vos a vife!”


The Courtship of Mr. Wiggins.

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Mr. Wiggins was so intoxicated with love, brandy-and-water and cigars, that he scarcely knew how he reached home. He only remembered that he was very dizzy, and that his charming widow—his guide and friend—had remonstrated with him upon the elevation of his style, and the irregularity of his progression.

With his head in his hand, and a strong “dish of tea” without milk, before him, he was composing himself for business the following morning, when an unexpected visitor was announced.

“Please, sir, there's Mrs. Warner's 's boy as wants to speak vith you,” said his landlady.

“Show him up,” languidly replied our lover, throwing his aching head from his right to his left hand.

“Vell, Jim, vot's the matter!” demanded he—“How's your missus?”

“She ain't no missus o' mine no longer,” replied Jim.


“I tell you vot it is, sir, she promised to give me a shillin'-aweek an' my feed; an' she ain't done vun thing nor t' other; for I'm bless'd if I ain't starved, and ain't seen the color of her money sin' I bin there. Father's goin' to summon her.”

“It's some mistake, sure?”

“It's no mistake tho',” persisted Jim, “an' I can tell you she ain't got a farden to bless herself vith!—an' she's over head-and-ears in debt too, I can tell you; an' she pays nobody—puttin' 'em all off, vith promises to pay wen she's married.”

“My heye!” exclaimed the excited Wiggins, thrown all a-back by this very agreeable intention upon his funds.

“More nor that, sir,” continued the revengeful Jim, “I know she thinks as she's hooked a preshus flat, an' means to marry you outright jist for vot she can get. An' von't she scatter the dibs?—that's all; she's the extravagantest 'ooman as hever I came anigh to.”

“But, (dear me! ) she has a good stock—?”

“Dummies, sir, all dummies.”


“Yes, sir; the sugars on the shelves is all dummies—wooden 'uns, done up in paper! The herrin' tub is on'y got a few at top—the rest's all shavins an' waste.—There's plenty o' salt to be sure—but the werry soap-box is all made up.”

“And so's my mind!” emphatically exclaimed the deluded Wiggins, slapping the breakfast-table with his clenched fist.

“Jim—Jim—you're a honest lad, and there's half-a-crown for you—

“Thank'ye for me, sir,” said the errand-boy, grinning with delight—” “and—and you'll cut the missus, Sir!”

“For ever!—”

“Hooray! I said as how I'd have my rewenge!” cried the lad, and pulling the front of his straight hair, as an apology for a bow, he retreated from the room.

“What an escape!” soliloquized Wiggins—“Should n't I ha' bin properly hampered? that's all. No more insinniwating widows for me!—”

And so ended the Courtship of Mr. Wiggins.


The Itinerant Musician.

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A WANDERING son of Apollo, with a shocking bad hat, encircled by a melancholy piece of rusty crape, and arrayed in garments that had once shone with renovated splendour in that mart of second-hand habiliments 'ycleped Monmouth-street, was affrighting the echoes of a fashionable street by blowing upon an old clarionet, and doing the 'Follow, hark!' of Weber the most palpable injustice.

The red hand of the greasy cook tapped at the kitchen-window below, and she scolded inaudibly—but he still continued to amuse—himself, as regardless of the cook's scolding as of the area-railing against which he leaned, tuning his discordant lay.

His strain indeed appeared endless, and he still persevered in torturing the ambient air with, apparently, as little prospect of blowing himself out as an asthmatic man would possibly have of extinguishing a smoky link with a wheeze—or a hungry cadger without a penny!

The master of the mansion was suffering under a touch of the gout, accompanied by a gnawing tooth-ache!—The horrid noise without made his trembling nerves jangle like the loose strings of an untuned guitar.

A furious tug at the bell brought down the silken rope and brought up an orbicular footman.


“Yes, sir.”

“D—— that, etc.! and send him to, etc.!”

“Yes, sir.”

And away glided the liveried rotundity.—

Appearing at the street-door, the musician took his instrument from his lips, and, approaching the steps, touched his sorry beaver with the side of his left hand.

“There's three-pence for you,” said the menial, “and master wishes you'd move on.”

“Threepence, indeed!” mumbled the man. “I never moves on under sixpence: d'ye think I doesn't know the walley o' peace and quietness?”

“Fellow!” cried the irate footman, with a pompous air—“Master desires as you'll go on.”

“Werry well”—replied the other, touching his hat, while the domestic waddled back, and closed the door, pluming himself upon having settled the musician; but he had no sooner vanished, than the strain was taken up again more uproariously than ever.

Out he rushed again in a twinkling—

“Fellow! I say—man! vot do you mean?”

“Vy, now didn't you tell me to go on?”

“I mean't go off.”

“Then vy don't you speak plain hinglish,” said the clarionist; “but, I say, lug out t'other browns, or I shall say vot the flute said ven his master said as how he'd play a tune on him.”

“Vot vos that?”

“Vy, he'd be blow'd if he would!”

“You're a owdacious fellow.”

“Tip!” was the laconic answer, accompanied by an expressive twiddling of the fingers.

“Vell, there then,” answered the footman, reluctantly giving him the price of his silence.

“Thank'ye,” said the musician, “and in time to come, old fellow, never do nothin' by halves—'cept it's a calve's head!”


Oh! lor, here's a norrid thing.'

The Confessions of a Sportsman.

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“VELL, for three year, as sure as the Septembers comes, I takes the field, but somehow or another I never takes nothin' else! My gun's a good 'un and no mistake!—Percussions and the best Dartford, and all that too. My haim ain't amiss neither; so there's a fault somewhere, that's certain. The first time as I hentered on the inwigorating and manly sport, I valks my werry legs off, and sees nothin' but crows and that 'ere sort o' small game.

“I vos so aggrawated, that at last I lets fly at 'em in werry spite, jist as they vos a sendin' of their bills into an orse for a dinner.

“Bang! goes the piece;—caw! caw! goes the birds; and I dessay I did for some on 'em, but I don't know, for somehow I vos in sich a preshus hurry to bag my game, that I jumps clean over vun bank, and by goles! plump into a ditch on t'other side, up to my werry neck!

“The mud stuck to me like vax; and findin' it all over vith me, and no chance o' breaking a cover o' this sort, I dawdled about 'till dusk, and vos werry glad to crawl home and jump into bed. I vos so 'put out' that I stayed at home the rest o' that season.

“The second year come, and my hardor vos agin inflamed. 'Cotch me a-shootin' at crows,' says I.—Vell, avay I goes a-vhistling to myself, ven presently I see a solentary bird on the wing; 'a pariwidge, by jingo!' says I—I cocks—presents, and hits it! Hooray! down it tumbles, and afore I could load and prime agin, a whole lot o' 'em comes out from among the trees. 'Here's luck' says I; and jist shouldered my piece, ven I gets sich a vop behind as sent me at full length.

“'Vot's that for?' says I.

“'Vot are you a shootin' at my pigeons for?' says a great hulking, farmering-looking fellow.

“A hexplanation follered; and in course I paid the damage, vich stood me a matter of a suv'rin, for he said he'd take his davy as how it vos a waluable tumbler!—I never sees a 'go' o' rum and vater but vot I thinks on it. This vos a sickener.

“The third year I vos hout agin as fresh as a daisy, ven I made a haim at a sparrer, or a lark, or summit o' that kind—hit it, in course, and vos on the p'int o' going for'ard, ven lo! on turning my wision atop o' the bank afore me, I seed a norrid thing!—a serpent, or a rattle-snake, or somethink a-curling itself up and a hissing like fun!

“I trembled like a haspen-leaf, and-didn't I bolt as fast as my werry legs would carry me, that's all?

“Since that time I may say, with the chap in the stage-play, that my parent has kept myself, his only son, at home, for I see no sport in sich rigs, and perfer a little peace at home to the best gun in the field!”—

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On a grassy bank, beside a meandering stream, sat two gentlemen averaging forty years of age. The day was sultry, and, weary of casting their lines without effect, they had stuck their rods in the bank, and sought, in a well-filled basket of provisions and copious libations of bottled porter, to dissipate their disappointment.

“Ain't this jolly? and don't you like a day's fishing, Sam?”

“O! werry much, werry much,” emphatically replied his friend, taking his pipe from his mouth.

“Ah! but some people don't know how to go a-fishinq, Sam; they are such fools.”

“That's a werry good remark o' your'n,” observed Sam; “I daresay as how hangling is werry delightful vhen the fishes vill bite; but vhen they von't, vhy they von't, and vot's the use o' complaining. Hangling is just like writing: for instance—you begins vith, 'I sends you this 'ere line hoping,' and they don't nibble; vell! that's just the same as not hanswering; and, as I takes it, there the correspondence ends!”

“Exactly; I'm quite o' your opinion,” replied his companion, tossing off a bumper of Barclay's best; “I say, Sammy, we mustn't empty t'other bottle tho'.”

“Vhy not?”

“Cos, do you see, I'm just thinking ve shall vant a little porter to carry us home: for, by Jingo! I don't think as how either of us can toddle—that is respectably!”

“Nonsense! I'd hundertake to walk as straight as a harrow; on'y, I must confess, I should like to have a snooze a'ter my pipe; I'm used to it, d'ye see, and look for it as nat'rally as a babby does.”

“Vell, but take t'other glass for a nightcap; for you know, Sammy, if you sleep vithout, you may catch cold: and, vhatever you do, don't snore, or you'll frighten the fish.”

“Naughty fish!” replied Sammy, “they know they're naughty too, or else they voud'nt be so afear'd o' the rod!—here's your health;” and he tossed off the proffered bumper.

“Excuse me a-rising to return thanks,” replied his friend, grasping Sammy's hand, and looking at him with that fixed and glassy gaze which indicates the happy state of inebriety, termed maudlin; “I know you're a sincere friend, and there ain't nobody as I value more: man and boy have I knowed you; you're unchanged! you're the same!! there ain't no difference!!! and I hope you may live many years to go a-fishing, and I may live to see it, Sammy. Yes, old boy, this here's one of them days that won't be forgotten: it's engraved on my memory deep as the words on a tombstone, 'Here he lies! Here he lies!'” he repeated with a hiccup, and rolled at full length across his dear friend.

Sammy, nearly as much overcome as his friend, lifted up his head, and sticking his hat upon it, knocked it over his eyes, and left him to repose; and, placing his own back against an accommodating tree, he dropped his pipe, and then followed the example of his companion.

After a few hours deep slumber, they awoke. The sun had gone down, and evening had already drawn her star-bespangled mantle over the scene of their festive sport.

Arousing themselves, they sought for their rods, and the remnants of their provisions, but they were all gone.

“My hey! Sammy, if somebody bas'nt taken advantage of us. My watch too has gone, I declare.”

“And so's mine!” exclaimed Sammy, feeling his empty fob. “Vell, if this ain't a go, never trust me.”

“I tell you vot it is, Sammy; some clever hartist or another has seen us sleeping, like the babes in the wood, and has drawn us at full length!”


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What a mysterious being is the bill-sticker! How seldom does he make himself visible to the eyes of the people. Nay, I verily believe there are thousands in this great metropolis that never saw a specimen. We see the effect, but think not of the cause.

He must work at his vocation either at night or at early dawn, before the world is stirring.

That he is an industrious being, and sticks to business, there cannot be the shadow of a doubt, for every dead-wall is made lively by his operations, and every hoard a fund of information—in such type, too, that he who runs may read. What an indefatigable observer he must be; for there is scarcely a brick or board in city or suburb, however newly erected, in highway or byeway, but is speedily adorned by his handiwork—aye, and frequently too in defiance of the threatening—“BILL-STICKERS, BEWARE!”—staring him in the face. Like nature, he appears to abhor a vacuum. When we behold the gigantic size of some of the modern arches, we are almost led to suppose that the bill-sticker carries about his placards in a four-wheeled waggon, and that his paste-pot is a huge cauldron! How he contrives to paste and stick such an enormous sheet so neatly against the rugged side of a house, is really astonishing. Whether three or four stories high, the same precision is remarkable. We cannot but wonder at the dexterity of his practised hand: The union is as perfect as if Dan Hymen, the saffron-robed Joiner, had personally superintended the performance.

The wind is perhaps the only real enemy he has to fear. How his heart and his flimsy paper must flutter in the unruly gusts of a March wind! We only imagine him pasting up a “Sale of Horses,” in a retired nook, and seeing his bill carried away on an eddy!

We once had the good fortune to witness a gusty freak of this kind. The bill-sticker had affixed a bill upon the hooks of his stick, displaying in prominent large characters—“SALE BY AUCTION—Mr. GEO. ROBINS—Capital Investment,”—and so forth, when a sudden whirlwind took the bill off the hooks, before it was stuck, and fairly enveloped the countenance of a dandy gentleman who happened at the moment to be turning the corner.

Such a “Capital Investment” was certainly ludicrous in the extreme.

The poor bill-sticker was rather alarmed, for he had never stuck a bill before on any front that was occupied.

He peeled the gentleman as quickly as possible, and stammered out an apology. The sufferer, however, swore he would prefer a bill against him at the ensuing sessions. Whether his threat was carried into execution, or he was satisfied with the damages already received, we know not.


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There is a certain period of life beyond which the plastic mind of man becomes incapable of acquiring any new impressions. He merely elaborates and displays the stores he has garnered up in his youth. There are indeed some rare exceptions to the rule; but few, very few, can learn a language after the age of forty. 'Tis true that Cowper did not commence the composition of his delightful poems till he had attained that age; but then it must be remembered that he had previously passed a life of study and preparation, and that he merely gave the honey to the world which he had hived in his youth, bringing to the task a mind polished and matured by judgment and experience. But, generally speaking, we rather expect reason than rhyme from an elderly gentleman; and when the reverse is the case, the pursuit fits them as ridiculously as would a humming-top or a hoop. Yet there are many who, having passed a life in the sole occupation of making money—the most unpoetical of all avocations—that in their retirement entertain themselves with such fantastic pranks and antics, as only serve to amuse the lookers-on. A retired tradesman, it is true, may chase ennui and the 'taedium vitae,' by digging and planting in his kitchen-garden, or try his hand at rearing tulips and hyacinths; but if he vainly attempt any other art, or dabble in light literature or heavy philosophy, he is lost. Old Foozle was one of those who, having accumulated wealth, retire with their housekeepers to spend the remnant of their days in some suburban retreat, the monotony of whose life is varied by monthly trips to town to bring tea and grocery, or purchase some infallible remedy for their own gout, or their housekeeper's rheumatism. Unfortunately for his peace, Old Foozle accidentally dipped into a tattered tome of “Walton's Complete Angler;” and the vivid description of piscatorial pleasures therein set forth so won upon his mind, that he forthwith resolved to taste them. In vain were the remonstrances of his nurse, friend, and factotum. The experiment must be tried. Having more money than wit to spare, he presently supplied himself with reels and rods and tackle, landing-nets and gentle-boxes, and all the other necessary paraphernalia of the art.

Donning his best wig and spectacles, he sallied forth, defended from the weather by a short Spencer buttoned round his loins, and a pair of double-soled shoes and short gaiters. So eager was he to commence, that he no sooner espied a piece of water, than, with trembling hands, he put his rod together, and displayed his nets, laying his basket, gaping for the finny prey, on the margin of the placid waters. With eager gaze he watched his newly-varnished and many-coloured float, expecting every-moment to behold it sink, the inviting bait being prepared 'secundum artem.' He had certainly time for reflection, for his float had been cast at least an hour, and still remained stationary; from which he wisely augured that he was most certainly neither fishing in a running stream nor in troubled waters.

Presently a ragged urchin came sauntering along, and very leisurely seated himself upon a bank near the devoted angler. Curiosity is natural to youth, thought Foozle—how I shall make the lad wonder when I pull out a wriggling fish!

But still another weary hour passed, and the old gentleman's arms and loins began to ache from the novel and constrained posture in which he stood. He grew nervous and uneasy at the want of sport; and thinking that perhaps the little fellow was acquainted with the locality, he turned towards him, saying, in the blandest but still most indifferent tone he could assume, lest he should compromise his dignity by exposing his ignorance—

“I say, Jack, are there any fish in this pond?”

“There may be, sir,” replied the boy, pulling his ragged forelock most deferentially, for Old Foozle had an awful churchwarden-like appearance; “there may be, but I should think they were weary small, 'cause there vos no vater in this here pond afore that there rain yesterday.”

The sallow cheeks of the old angler were tinged with a ruddy glow, called up by the consciousness of his ridiculous position. Taking a penny from his pocket, he bade the boy go buy some cakes: and no sooner had he gallopped off, than the disappointed Waltonian hastily packed up his tackle, and turned his steps homeward; and this was the first and last essay of Old Foozle.


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A club, under the imposing style of the “Crack-Shots,” met every Wednesday evening, during the season, at a house of public entertainment in the salubrious suburbs of London, known by the classical sign of the “Magpye and Stump.” Besides a trim garden and a small close-shaven grass-plat in the rear (where elderly gentlemen found a cure for 'taedium vitae' and the rheumatism in a social game of bowls), there was a meadow of about five or six acres, wherein a target was erected for the especial benefit of the members of this celebrated club; we say celebrated, because, of all clubs that ever made a noise in the world, this bore away the palm-according to the reports in the neighbourhood. Emulation naturally caused excitement, and the extraordinary deeds they performed under its influence we should never have credited, had we not received the veracious testimony of—the members themselves.

After the trials of skill, they generally spent the evenings together.

Jack Saggers was the hero of the party; or perhaps he might be more appropriately termed the “great gun,” and was invariably voted to the chair. He made speeches, which went off admirably; and he perpetrated puns which, like his Joe Manton, never missed fire, being unanimously voted admirable hits by the joyous assembly.

Their pleasures and their conversation might truly be said to be of a piece.

“Gentlemen”—said Jack, one evening rising upon his legs—“Do me the favour to charge. Are you all primed and loaded? I am about to propose the health of a gentleman, who is not only an honour to society at large, but to the 'Crack-Shots' in particular. Gentlemen, the mere mention of the name of Brother Sniggs—(hear! hear!)—I know will call forth a volley!—(Hear! hear!) Gentlemen, I give you the health of Brother Sniggs! make ready, present and fire!”

Up went the glasses, and down went the liquor in a trice, followed by three times three, Jack Saggers giving the time, and acting as “fugle-man.”

Sniggs, nervously fingering his tumbler of “half and half,” as if he wanted the spirit to begin, hemmed audibly, and “Having three times shook his head
To stir his wit, thus he said,”

“Gentlemen, I don't know how it is, but somehows the more a man has to say, the more he can't! I feel, for all the world, like a gun rammed tight and loaded to the muzzle, but without flint or priming——”

“Prime!” exclaimed Jack Saggers; and there was a general titter, and then he continued; “as we cannot let you off Sniggs, you most go on, you know.”

“Gentlemen,” resumed Sniggs, “I feel indeed so overloaded by the honors you have conferred on me, that I cannot find words to express my gratitude. I can only thank you, and express my sincere wish that your shots may always tell.”

And he sat down amidst unbounded applause. “By no means a-miss!” cried Jack Saggers.

“A joke of mine, when I knocked down a bird the other morning,” said Sniggs: “you must know I was out early, and had just brought down my bird, when leaping into the adjoining field to pick it up, a bird-catcher, who had spread his nets on the dewy grass, walked right up to me.”

“I've a visper for you, Sir,” says he, as cool as a cucumber; “I don't vish to be imperlite, but next time you shoots a bird vot I've brought to my call, I'll shoot you into a clay-pit, that's all!”

“And pray what did you say, Sniggs?” asked Jack Saggers.

“Say?—nothing! but I looked unutterable things, and—shouldering my piece—walked off!”


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“Sniggs's rencontre with the bird-catcher reminds me of Tom Swivel's meeting with the Doctor,” observed Smart.

“Make a report,” cried Jack Saggers.

“Well, you must know, that I had lent him my piece for a day's shooting; and just as he was sauntering along by a dead wall near Hampstead, looking both ways at once for a quarry (for he has a particular squint), a stout gentleman in respectable black, and topped by a shovel-hat, happened to be coming in the opposite direction. With an expression of terror, the old gentleman drew himself up against the unyielding bricks, and authoritatively extending his walking-stick, addressed our sportsman in an angry tone, saying: 'How dare you carry a loaded gun pointed at people's viscera, you booby?' Now Tom is a booby, and no mistake, and so dropping his under jaw and staring at the reverend, he answered: 'I don't know vot you mean by a wiserar. I never shot a wiserar!'”

“Devilish good!” exclaimed Saggers; and, as a matter of course, everybody laughed.

Passing about the bottle, the club now became hilarious and noisy; when the hammer of the president rapped them to order, and knocked down Sniggs for a song, who, after humming over the tune to himself, struck up the following:
When the snow's on the ground and the trees are all bare,
And rivers and gutters are turned into ice,
The sportsman goes forth to shoot rabbit or hare,
And gives them a taste of his skill in a trice.
Bang! bang! goes his Joe,
And the bird's fall like snow,
And he bags all he kills in a trice.

Bang! bang! goes his Joe,
And the bird's fall like snow,
And he bags all he kills in a trice.

If he puts up a partridge or pheasant or duck,
He marks him, and wings him, and brings him to earth;
He let's nothing fly—but his piece—and good luck
His bag fills with game and his bosom with mirth.

Bang! bang! goes his Joe,
And the bird's fall like snow,
And good sport fills his bosom with mirth.

Bang! bang! et. etc.

When at night he unbends and encounters his pals,
How delighted he boasts of the sport he has had;
While a kind of round game's on the board, and gals
Are toasted in bumpers by every lad.
And Jack, Jim, and Joe
Give the maid chaste as snow
That is true as a shot to her lad!

And Jack, Jim and Joe
Give the maid chaste as snow
That is true as a shot to her lad!

The customary applause having followed this vocal attempt of Sniggs, he was asked for a toast or a sentiment.

“Here's—'May the charitable man never know the want of—'shot.'” said Sniggs.

“Excellent!” exclaimed Saggers, approvingly; “By Jupiter Tonans, Sniggs, you're a true son of—a gun!”


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“Sich a lark!” said Bill Sorrel, breaking abruptly in upon the noisy chorus, miscalled a general conversation; “sich a lark!”

“Where?” demanded Saggers.

“You've jist hit it,” replied Sorrel, “for it vere worry near 'Vare vhere it happened. I'd gone hout hearly, you know, and had jist cotched sight of a bird a-vistling on a twig, and puttered the vords, 'I'll spile your singin', my tight 'un,' and levelled of my gun, ven a helderly gentleman, on t'other side of the bank vich vos atween me and the bird, pops up his powdered noddle in a jiffy, and goggling at me vith all his eyes, bawls pout in a tantivy of a fright, 'You need'nt be afear'd, sir,' says I, 'I aint a-haiming at you,' and vith that I pulls my trigger-bang! Vell, I lost my dicky! and ven I looks for the old 'un, by Jingo! I'd lost him too. So I mounts the bank vere he sot, but he vas'nt there; so I looks about, and hobserves a dry ditch at the foot, and cocking my eye along it, vhy, I'm blessed, if I did'nt see the old fellow a-scampering along as fast as his legs could carry him. Did'nt I laugh, ready to split—that's all!”

“I tell you what, Sorrel,” said the president, with mock gravity, “I consider the whole affair, however ridiculous, most immoral and reprehensible. What, shall a crack-shot make a target of an elder? Never! Let us seek more appropriate butts for our barrels! You may perhaps look upon the whole as a piece of pleasantry but let me tell you that you ran a narrow chance of being indicted for a breach of the peace! And remember, that even shooting a deer may not prove so dear a shot as bringing down an old buck!”

This humorous reproof was applauded by a “bravo!” from the whole club.

Sorrel sang—small, and Sniggs sang another sporting ditty.

“Our next meeting,” resumed Saggers, “is on Thursday next when the pigeon-match takes place for a silver-cup—the 'Crack Shots' against the 'Oriental Club.' I think we shall give them I taste of our quality,' although we do not intend that they shall lick us. The silver-cup is their own proposal. The contest being a pigeon-match, I humbly proposed, as an amendment, that the prize should be a tumbler—which I lost by a minority of three. In returning thanks, I took occasion to allude to their rejection of my proposition, and ironically thanked them for having cut my tumbler.”

“Werry good!” shouted Sorrel.

“Admirable!” exclaimed Sniggs; and, rising with due solemnity, he proposed the health of the “worthy president,” prefacing his speech with the modest avowal of his inability to do what he still persisted in doing and did.

“Brother Shots!” said Saggers, after the usual honours had been duly performed, “I am so unaccustomed to speaking (a laugh), that I rise with a feeling of timidity to thank you for the distinguished honour you have conferred on me. Praise, like wine, elevates a man, but it likewise thickens and obstructs his speech; therefore, without attempting any rhetorical flourish, I will simply say, I sincerely thank you all for the very handsome manner in which you have responded to the friendly wishes of Brother Sniggs; and, now as the hour of midnight is at hand, I bid you farewell. It is indeed difficult to part from such good company; but, although it is morally impossible there ever can be a division among such cordial friends, both drunk and sober may at least separate—in spirits,—and I trust we shall all meet again in health—Farewell!”


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Old Doctor Spraggs! famed Doctor Spraggs!
Was both well fee'd and fed,
And, tho' no soldier, Doctor Spraggs
Had for his country-bled.

His patients living far and wide
He was compell'd to buy
A horse; and found no trouble, for
He'd got one in his eye!

He was a tall and bony steed
And warranted to trot,
And so he bought the trotter, and
Of course four trotters got.

Quoth he: “In sunshine quick he bounds
"Across the verdant plain,
"And, e'en when showers fall, he proves
"He—doesn't mind the rain!”

But, oh! one morn, when Doctor Spraggs
Was trotting on his way,
A field of sportsmen came in view,
And made his courser neigh.

"Nay! you may neigh,” quoth Doctor Spraggs,
"But run not, I declare
"I did not come to chase the fox,
"I came to take the—air!

But all in vain he tugg'd the rein,
The steed would not be stay'd;
The “Doctor's stuff” was shaken, and
A tune the vials play'd.

For in his pockets he had stow'd
Some physic for the sick;
Anon, “crack” went the bottles all,
And forma a “mixture” quick.

His hat and wig flew off, but still
The reins he hugg'd and haul'd;
And, tho' no cry the huntsmen heard,
They saw the Doctor—bald!

They loudly laugh'd and cheer'd him on,
While Spraggs, quite out of breath,
Still gallopp'd on against his will,
And came in at the death.

To see the Doctor riding thus
To sportsmen was a treat,
And loudly they applauded him—
(Tho' mounted) on his feat!

Ye Doctors bold, of this proud land
Of liberty and—fogs,
No hunters ride, or you will go
Like poor Spraggs—to the dogs!


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“Well, Bill, d'ye get any bites over there?” “No, but I'm afeard I shall, soon have one.”

Two youths, by favour of their sponsors, bearing the aristocratic names of William and Joseph, started early one morning duly equipped, on piscatorial sport intent. They trudged gaily forward towards a neighbouring river, looking right and left, and around them, as sharp as two crows that have scented afar off the carcase of a defunct nag.

At length they arrived at a lofty wall, on the wrong side of which, musically meandered the stream they sought. After a deliberate consultation, the valiant William resolved to scale the impediment, and cast the line. Joseph prudently remained on the other side ready to catch the fish—his companion should throw to him! Presently an exclamation of “Oh! my!” attracted his attention.

“Have you got a bite?” eagerly demanded Joe.

“No! by gosh! but I think I shall soon!” cried Bill. Hereupon the expectant Joseph mounted, and seating himself upon the wall, beheld to his horror, Master Bill keeping a fierce bull-dog at bay with the butt end of his fishing-rod.

“Go it, Bill!” exclaimed Joe, “pitch into him and scramble up.”

The dog ran at him.—Joe in his agitation fell from his position, while Bill threw his rod at the beast, made a desperate leap, and clutched the top of the wall with his hands.

“Egad! I've lost my seat,” cried Joe, rolling upon the grass.

“And so have I!” roared Bill, scrambling in affright over the wall.

And true it was, that he who had not got a bite before, had got a bite—behind!

Bill anathematised the dog, but the ludicrous bereavement he had sustained made him laugh, in spite of his teeth!

Joe joined in his merriment.

“What a burning shame it is?” said he; “truly there ought to be breaches ready made in these walls, Bill, that one might escape, if not repair these damages.”

“No matter,” replied Bill, shaking his head, “I know the owner—he's a Member of Parliament. Stop till the next election, that's all.”

“Why, what has that to do with it?” demanded Joe.

“Do with it,” said Bill emphatically, “why, I'll canvass for the opposite party, to be sure.”

“And what then?”

“Then I shall have the pleasure of serving him as his dog has served me. Yes! Joe, the M. P. will lose his seat to a dead certainty!”


“Another pigeon! egad, I'm in luck's way this morning.”

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Round and red, through the morning fog
The sun's bright face
Shone, like some jolly toping dog
Of Bacchus' race.

When Jenkins, with his gun and cur
On sport intent,
Through fields, and meadows, many fur—
—longs gaily went.

He popp'd at birds both great and small,
But nothing hit;
Or if he hit, they wouldn't fall—
No, not a bit!

"It's wery strange, I do declare;
I never see!
I go at sky-larks in the hair
Or on a tree.”

"It's all the same, they fly away
Has I let fly—
The birds is frightened, I dare say,
And vill not die.”

"Vhy, here's a go! I hav'nt ramm'd
In any shot;
The birds must think I only shamm'd,
And none have got.”

"I'll undeceive 'em quickly now,
I bet a crown;
And whether fieldfare, tit, or crow,
Vill bring 'em down.”

And as he spake a pigeon flew
Across his way—
Bang went his piece—and Jenkins slew
The flutt'ring prey.

He bagg'd his game, and onward went,
When to his view
Another rose, by fortune sent
To make up two.

He fired, and beheld it fall
With inward glee,
And for a minute 'neath a wall
Stood gazing he.

When from behind, fierce, heavy blows
Fell on his hat,
And knock'd his beaver o'er his nose,
And laid him flat.

"What for,” cried Jenkins, “am I mill'd,
Sir, like this ere?”
"You villain, you, why you have kill'd
My pouter rare.”

The sturdy knave who struck him down
With frown replied:—
"For which I'll make you pay a crown
Nor be denied.”

Poor Jenkins saw it was in vain
To bandy words;
So paid the cash and vow'd, again
He'd not shoot birds—

At least of that same feather, lest
For Pouter shot
Some Dragon fierce should him molest—
And fled the spot.


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A merry holiday party, forming a tolerable boat-load, and well provided with baskets of provisions, were rowing along the beautiful and picturesque banks that fringe the river's side near Twickenham, eagerly looking out for a spot where they might enjoy their “pic-nic” to perfection.

“O! uncle, there's a romantic glade;—do let us land there!” exclaimed a beautiful girl of eighteen summers, to a respectable old gentleman in a broad brimmed beaver and spectacles.

“Just the thing, I declare,” replied he—“the very spot—pull away, my lads—but dear me” continued he, as they neared the intended landing-place, “What have we here? What says the board?”


Oh! oh! very well; then we'll only land here, and dine a little further on.”

“What a repulsive board”—cried the young lady—“I declare now I'm quite vex'd”—

“Never mind, Julia, we won't be bored by any board”—said the jocose old gentleman.

“I'm sure, uncle”—said one of the youths—“we don't require any board, for we provide ourselves.”

“You're quite right, Master Dickey,” said his uncle; “for we only came out for a lark, you know, and no lark requires more than a little turf for its entertainment; pull close to the bank, and let us land.”

“Oh! but suppose,” said the timid Julia, “the surly owner should pounce upon us, just as we are taking our wine?”

“Why then, my love,” replied he, “we have only to abandon our wine, and, like sober members of the Temperance Society—take water.”

Pulling the wherry close along side the grassy bank, and fastening it carefully to the stump of an old tree, the whole party landed.

“How soft and beautiful is the green-sward here,” said the romantic Julia, indenting the yielding grass with her kid-covered tiny feet; “Does not a gentleman of the name of Nimrod sing the pleasure of the Turf?” said Emma: “I wonder if he ever felt it as we do?”

“Certainly not,” replied Master Dickey, winking at his uncle; “for the blades of the Turf he describes, are neither so fresh nor so green as these; and the 'stakes' he mentions are rather different from those contained in our pigeon-pie.”

“But I doubt, Dickey,” said his uncle, “if his pen ever described a better race than the present company. The Jenkins's, let me tell you, come of a good stock, and sport some of the best blood in the country.”

“Beautiful branches of a noble tree,” exclaimed Master Dicky, “but, uncle, a hard row has made me rather peckish; let us spread the provender. I think there's an honest hand of pork yonder that is right worthy of a friendly grasp;—only see if, by a single touch of that magical hand, I'm not speedily transformed into a boat.”

“What sort of a boat?” cried Julia. “A cutter, to be sure,” replied Master Dicky, and laughing he ran off with his male companions to bring the provisions ashore.

Meanwhile the uncle and his niece selected a level spot beneath the umbrageous trees, and prepared for the unpacking of the edibles.


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Notwithstanding the proverbial variety of the climate, there is no nation under the sun so fond of Pic-Nic parties as the English; and yet how seldom are their pleasant dreams of rural repasts in the open air fated to be realized!

However snugly they may pack the materials for the feast, the pack generally gets shuffled in the carriage, and consequently their promised pleasure proves anything but “without mixture without measure.”

The jam-tarts are brought to light, and are found to have got a little jam too much. The bottles are cracked before their time, and the liberal supplies of pale sherry and old port are turned into a—little current.

They turn out their jar of ghirkins, and find them mixed, and all their store in a sad pickle.

The leg of mutton is the only thing that has stood in the general melee.

The plates are all dished, and the dishes only fit for a lunatic asylum, being all literally cracked.

Even the knives and forks are found to ride rusty on the occasion. The bread is become sop; and they have not even the satisfaction of getting salt to their porridge, for that is dissolved into briny tears.

Like the provisions, they find themselves uncomfortably hamper'd; for they generally chuse such a very retired spot, that there is nothing to be had for love or money in the neighbourhood, for all the shops are as distant as—ninety-ninth cousins!

However delightful the scenery may be, it is counterbalanced by the prospect of starvation.

Although on the borders of a stream abounding in fish, they have neither hook nor line; and even the young gentlemen who sing fail in a catch for want of the necessary bait. Their spirits are naturally damped by their disappointment, and their holiday garments by a summer shower; and though the ducks of the gentlemen take the water as favourably as possible, every white muslin presently assumes the appearance of a drab, and, becoming a little limp and dirty, looks as miserable as a lame beggar!

In fine, it is only a donkey or a goose that can reasonably expect to obtain a comfortable feed in a field. It may be very poetical to talk of “Nature's table-cloth of emerald verdure;” but depend on it, a damask one, spread over that full-grown vegetable—a mahogany table—is far preferable.


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GILES was the eldest son and heir of Jeremiah Styles—a cultivator of the soil—who, losing his first wife, took unto himself, at the mature age of fifty, a second, called by the neighbours, by reason of the narrowness of her economy, and the slenderness of her body, Jeremiah's Spare-rib.

Giles was a “'cute” lad, and his appetite soon became, under his step-mother's management, as sharp as his wit; and although he continually complained of getting nothing but fat, when pork chanced to form a portion of her dietary, it was evident to all his acquaintance that he really got lean! His legs, indeed, became so slight, that many of his jocose companions amused themselves with striking at them with straws as he passed through the farmyard of a morning.

“Whoy, Giles!” remarked one of them, “thee calves ha' gone to grass, lad.”

“Thee may say that, Jeames,” replied Giles; “or d'ye see they did'nt find I green enough.”

“I do think now, Giles,” said James, “that Mother Styles do feed thee on nothing, and keeps her cat on the leavings.”

“Noa, she don't,” said Giles, “for we boath do get what we can catch, and nothing more. Whoy, now, what do you think, Jeames; last Saturday, if the old 'ooman did'nt sarve me out a dish o' biled horse-beans—”

“Horse-beans?” cried James; “lack-a-daisy me, and what did you do?”

“Whoy, just what a horse would ha' done, to be sure—”

“Eat 'em?”

“Noa—I kicked, and said 'Nay,' and so the old 'ooman put herself into a woundy passion wi' I. 'Not make a dinner of horsebeans, you dainty dog,' says she; 'I wish you may never have a worse.'—'Noa, mother,' says I, 'I hope I never shall.' And she did put herself into such a tantrum, to be sure—so I bolted; whereby, d'ye see, I saved my bacon, and the old 'ooman her beans. But it won't do. Jeames, I've a notion I shall go a recruit, and them I'm thinking I shall get into a reg'lar mess, and get shut of a reg'lar row.”

“Dang it, it's too bad!” said the sympathising James; “and when do thee go?”

“Next March, to be sure,” replied Giles, with a spirit which was natural to him—indeed, as to any artificial spirit, it was really foreign to his lips.

“But thee are such a scare-crow, Giles,” said James; “thee are thin as a weasel.”

“My drumsticks,” answered he, smiling, “may recommend me to the band—mayhap—for I do think they'll beat anything.”

“I don't like sogering neither,” said James, thoughtfully. “Suppose the French make a hole in thee with a bagnet—”

“Whoy, then, I shall be 'sewed up,' thee know.”

“That's mighty foine,” replied James, shaking his head; “but I'd rather not, thank'ye.”

“Oh! Jeames, a mother-in-law's a greater bore than a bagnet, depend on't; and it's my mind, it's better to die in a trench than afore an empty trencher—I'll list.”

And with this unalterable determination, the half-starved, though still merry Giles, quitted his companion; and the following month, in pursuance of the resolve he had made, he enlisted in his Majesty's service. Fortunately for the youth, he received more billets than bullets, and consequently grew out of knowledge, although he obtained a world of information in his travels; and, at the expiration of the war, returned to his native village covered with laurels, and in the Joyment of the half-pay of a corporal, to which rank he had been promoted in consequence of his meritorious conduct in the Peninsula. His father was still living, but his step-nother was lying quietly in the church-yard.

“I hope, father,” said the affectionate Giles, “that thee saw her buried in a deep grave, and laid a stone a-top of her?”

“I did, my son.”

“Then I am happy,” replied Giles.

Inside Papers.jpg (187K)


“He sat, like patience on a monument, smiling at grief.”

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WATTY WILLIAMS was a studious youth, with a long nose and a short pair of trowsers; his delight was in the green fields, for he was one of those philosophers who can find sermons in stones, and good in everything. One day, while wandering in a meadow, lost in the perusal of Zimmerman on Solitude, he was suddenly aroused from his reverie by a loud “Moo!” and, turning about, he descried, to his dismay, a curly-fronted bull making towards him.

Now, Watt., was so good-humoured a fellow, that he could laugh at an Irish bull, and withal, so staunch a Protestant, that a papal bull only excited a feeling of pity and contempt; but a bull of the breed which was careering towards him in such lively bounds, alarmed him beyond all bounds; and he forthwith scampered over the meadow from the pugnaceous animal with the most agile precipitation imaginable; for he was not one of those stout-hearted heroes who could take the bull by the horns—especially as the animal appeared inclined to contest the meadow with him; and though so fond of beef (as he naturally was), he declined a round upon the present occasion.

Seeing no prospect of escape by leaping stile or hedge, he hopped the green turf like an encaged lark, and happily reached a pollard in the midst of the meadow.

Climbing up with the agility of a squirrel, he seated himself on the knobby summit of the stunted willow.

Still retaining his Zimmerman and his senses, he looked down and beheld the corniferous quadruped gamboling playfully round his singular asylum.

“Very pleasant!” exclaimed he; “I suppose, old fellow you want to have a game at toss!—if so, try it on with your equals, for you must see, if you have any gumption, that Watty Williams is above you. Aye, you may roar!—but if I sit here till Aurora appears in the east, you won't catch me winking. What a pity it is you cannot reflect as well as ruminate; you would spare yourself a great deal of trouble, and me a little fright and inconvenience.”

The animal disdainfully tossed his head, and ran at the tree—and

“Away flew the light bark!”

in splinters, but the trunk remained unmoved.

“Shoo! shoo!” cried Watty, contemptuously; but he found that shoo'ing horns was useless; the beast still butted furiously against the harmless pollard.

“Hallo!” cried he to a dirty boy peeping at a distance—“Hallo!” but the lad only looked round, and vanished in an instant.

“The little fool's alarmed, I do believe!” said he; “He's only a cow-boy, I dare say!” And with this sapient, but unsatisfactory conclusion, he opened his book, and read aloud, to keep up his courage.

The bull hearing his voice, looked up with a most melancholy leer, the corners of his mouth drawn down with an expression of pathetic gravity.

Luckily for Watty, the little boy had given information of his dilemma, and the farmer to whom the bull belonged came with some of his men, and rescued him from his perilous situation.

“The gentleman will stand something to drink, I hope?” said one of the men.

“Certainly” said Watty.

“That's no more than right,” said the farmer, “for, according to the New Police Act, we could fine you.”

“What for?”

“Why, we could all swear that when we found you, you were so elevated you could not walk!”

Hereupon his deliverers set up a hearty laugh.

Watty gave them half-a-crown; saying, with mock gravity—

“I was on a tree, and you took me off—that was kind! I was in a fright, and you laughed at me; that was uncharitable. Farewell!”


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LOUNGING in Hyde Park with the facetious B____, all on a summer's day, just at that period when it was the fashion to rail against the beautiful statue, erected by the ladies of England, in honour of the Great Captain—

“The hero of a hundred fights,”—

“How proudly must he look from the windows of Apsley House,” said I, “upon this tribute to his military achievements.”

“No doubt,” replied B____;” and with all that enthusiasm with which one man of mettle ever regards another! At the same time, how lightly must he hold the estimation of the gallant sons of Britain, when he reflects that he has been compelled to guard his laurelled brow from the random bullets of a democratic mob, by shot-proof blinds to his noble mansion: this was:

'The unkindest cut of all,'

after all his hair-breadth 'scapes, by flood and field, in the service. of his country, to be compelled to fortify his castle against domestic foes.”

“A mere passing cloud, that can leave no lasting impression on his great mind,” said I; “while this statue will for ever remain, a memorial of his great deeds; and yet the complaint is general that the statue is indelicate—as if, forsooth, this was the first statue exhibited in 'puris naturalibus' in England. I really regard it as the senseless cavilling of envious minds.”

“True,” said B____, laughing; “there is a great deal of railing about the figure, but we can all see through it!” at the same time thrusting his walking-stick through the iron-fence that surrounds the pedestal. As for delicacy, it is a word that is used so indiscriminately, and has so many significations, according to the mode, that few people rightly understand its true meaning. We say, for instance, a delicate child; and pork-butchers recommend a delicate pig! Delicacy and indelicacy depend on the mind of the recipient, and is not so much in the object as the observer, rely on't. Some men have a natural aptitude in discovering the indelicate, both in words and figures they appear, in a manner, to seek for it. I assure you that. I (you may laugh if you will) have often been put to the blush by the repetition of some harmless phrase, dropped innocently from my lips, and warped by one of these 'delicate' gentlemen to a meaning the very reverse of what I intended to convey. Like men with green spectacles, they look upon every object through an artificial medium, and give it a colour that has no existence in itself!

It was only last week, I was loitering about this very spot, when I observed, among the crowd of gazers, a dustman dressed in his best, and his plump doxy, extravagantly bedizened in her holiday clothes, hanging on his arm.

As they turned away, the lady elevated the hem of her rather short garments a shade too high (as the delicate dustman imagined) above her ancle. He turned towards her, and, in an audible whisper, said, 'Delicacy, my love—'delicacy!'—'Lawks, Fred!' replied the damsel, with a loud guffaw,'—'it's not fashionable!—besides, vot's the good o' having a fine leg, if one must'nt show it?'

So much for opinions on delicacy!


“Now, Jem, let's shew these gals how we can row.”

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THE tide is agin us, I know,
But pull away, Jem, like a trump;
Vot's that? O! my vig, it's a barge—
Oh! criky! but that vos a bump!

How lucky 'twas full o' round coals,
Or ve might ha' capsized her—perhaps!
See, the bargemen are grinning, by goles!
I never seed sich wulgar chaps.

Come, pull away, Jem, like a man,
A vherry's a coming along
Vith a couple o' gals all agog—
So let us be first in the throng.

Now put your scull rig'ler in,
Don't go for to make any crabs;
But feather your oar, like a nob,
And show 'em ve're nothink but dabs!

The vaterman's leering at us,
And the gals is a giggling so—
They take us for green'uns, but ve
Vill soon show 'em how ve can row.

Alas! for poor Bobby's “show off”—
He slipp'd in a trice from his seat—
While his beaver fell into the stream,
And the gals laugh'd aloud at his feat.

For his boots were alone to be seen,
As he sprawled like a crab on its back;
While the waterman cried—“Ho! my lads!
I think you'd best try t'other tack!”

Says Bobby—“You fool, it's your fault;
Look—my best Sunday castor is vet:
Pull ashore, then, as fast as you can.
I can't row no more—I'm upset.

"I think that my napper is broke,
Abumpin' agin this wile boat;
You may laugh—but I think it's no joke:
And I shan't soon agin be afloat.

"I'll never take you out agin—
I've had quite enough in this bout!”
Cried Jem—“Don't be angry vith me;
Sit still, and I'll soon—PUT YOU OUT!”


“Steward, bring me a glass of brandy as quick as you can.”

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SINCE the invention of steam, thousands have been tempted to inhale the saline salubrity of the sea, that would never have been induced to try, and be tried, by the experiment of a trip. Like hams for the market, every body is now regularly salted and smoked. The process, too, is so cheap! The accommodations are so elegant, and the sailors so smart! None of the rolling roughness of quid-chewing Jack-tars. Jack-tars! pshaw! they are regular smoke jacks on board a steamer! The Steward (“waiter” by half the cockneys called) is so ready and obliging; and then the provisions is excellent. Who would not take a trip to Margate? There's only one thing that rather adulterates the felicity—a drop of gall in the cup of mead!—and that is the horrid sea-sickness! learnedly called nostalgia; but call it by any name you please, like a stray dog, it is pretty sure to come.

The cold perspiration—the internal commotion—the brain's giddiness—the utter prostration of strength—the Oh! I never shall forget the death-like feel!—Fat men rolling on the deck, like fresh caught porpoises; little children floundering about; and white muslins and parasols vanishing below! The smoking-hot dinner sends up its fumes, and makes the sick more sick. Soda-water corks are popping and flying about in every direction, like a miniature battery pointed against the assaults of the horrid enemy!

“Steward!” faintly cries a fat bilious man, “bring me a glass of brandy as quick as you can.”

But alas! he who can thus readily summon spirits from the vasty deep, has no power over the rolling sea, or its reaches!

“O! my poor pa!” exclaims the interesting Wilhelmina; and is so overcome, that she, sweet sympathizer! is soon below pa in the ladies' cabin. In fact, the greater part of the pleasure-seekers are taken—at full length.

Even young ladies from boarding-school, who are thinking of husbands, declare loudly against maritime delight! while all the single young men appear double.

The pier at last appears—and the cargo of drooping souls hail it with delight, and with as grateful a reverence as if they were received by the greatest peer of the realm!

They hurry from the boat as if 'twere Charon's, and they were about stepping into the fields of Elysium!

A change comes o'er the spirit of their dream—their nerves are braced; and so soon are mortal troubles obliterated from the mind, that in a few days they are ready again to tempt the terrors of sea-sickness in a voyage homewards—notwithstanding many of them, in their extremity, had vowed that they never would return by water, if they outlived the present infliction; considering, naturally enough, that it was “all up” with them!


“Loud roared the dreadful thunder.”—Bay of Biscay.

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THE good ship Firefly tossed and tumbled on the mountainous waves of the stormy sea, like a cork in a gutter; and when she could not stem the waves, politically tried a little tergiversation, and went stern foremost! The boatswain piped all hands, and poor Peter Simple piped his eye; for the cry of the whole crew was, that they were all going to Davy Jones's locker. The waves struck her so repeatedly, that at last she appeared as ungovernable as a scold in a rage; and as she found she could not, by any means, strike the storm in the wind, and so silence it, she gave vent to her fury by striking upon a rock!

It was a hard alternative truly; but what could she do? The long boat was soon alongside, and was not long before it was filled with tars and salt-water. Alas! she was speedily swamped, and the crew were compelled to swim for their lives. Peter, however, could not swim, but the sea gave him a lift in his dilemma, and washed him clean ashore, where he lay for some time like a veritable lump of salt-Peter! When the storm had abated he came to himself, and of course found himself in no agreeable company!

Sticking his cocked-hat on his head, and grasping his dirk in his hand, he tottered to a rock, when, seating himself, he philosophically rocked to and fro. “Oh! vy vos I a midshipman,” cried he, “to be wrecked on this desolate island? I vish I vos at home at Bloomsbury! Oh! that I had but to turn and embrace my kind, good, benevolent, and much respected grandmother.” As he uttered this pathetic plaint, he heard a chatter—of which, at first considering that it proceeded from his own teeth, he took no notice—but the sounds being repeated, he turned his head, and beheld a huge baboon with a dog-face and flowing hair, grinning with admiration at his cocked hat.

One look was sufficient! he leaped from his seat, and rushed wildly forward, threading a wood in his way, and turning in and out—in and out—with the sharpness and facility of a needle in the heel of a worsted stocking—he never stayed his flight, 'till he fell plump into the centre of a group of Indians, who received him with a yell!—loud enough to split the drums of a whole drawing-room full of ears polite.

He would have fallen headlong with fear and exhaustion upon the turf, had not a gentle female caught the slender youth in her arms, and embraced him with all the energetic affection of a boa-constrictor.

Peter trembled like a little inoffensive mouse in the claws of a tabby!

At the same time one of the Indians stepped forward, brandishing his scalping knife.

He was the very prototype of an animated bronze Hercules; and, seizing the poor middy's lank locks, with a peculiar twist, in his iron grasp— Peter fainted!


“O! what a lost mutton am I!”—Inkle and Yarico.

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MOST luckily for poor Peter was it, that he fell into the hands, or rather the arms, of the Indian maid; for she not only preserved his crop, but his life. When he recovered from his swoon, he found himself seated beside his preserver, who, with one arm round his waist, was holding a cocoa-nut, filled with a refreshing beverage, to his parched and pallid lips. A large fire blazed in the middle of the wide space occupied by the Indians, and he beheld the well-known coats and jackets of the brave crew of the Firefly scattered on the greensward.

His heart palpitated-he thought at first that the villainous Indians had stripped them, and left them to wander in a state of nature through the tangled and briery woods. He was, however, soon—too soon—convinced that the savages had dressed them! Yes, that merry crew—who had so often roasted him—had been roasted by the Indians!

From this awful fate the lovely Ootanga had preserved him. She had suddenly conceived a violent affection for the young white-face; and, after a long harangue to the chief, her father, his consent was obtained, and the nuptials were celebrated.

“I smell a rat,” said Peter—“I'm booked; but better booked than cooked, at any rate;” and forthwith returned thanks to the company for the honour they had conferred upon him, in the fashion of an after-dinner speech, accompanied with as much pantomime as he could manage.

A dance and a feast followed, of which Peter partook; but whether rabbit, squirrel, or monkey, formed the basis of his wedding-supper, he was not naturalist enough to determine.

Ootanga's affection, however, was sufficient to make amends for anything; she was, in truth, a most killing beauty, for she brought him tigers slain by her own hands, and made a couch for him of the skins.

She caught rattlesnakes for him, and spitch-cooked them for his breakfast. In fact, there was nothing she left undone to convince him of her unbounded love.

Peter's heart, however, was untouched by all this show of tenderness; for the fact is, he had already given his heart to a white-face in his own country.

The only consolation he had in his forlorn situation was to talk of her continually; and, as Ootanga understood not a syllable of what he uttered, she naturally applied all his tender effusions to herself, and laughed and grinned, and showed her white teeth, as if she would devour her little husband.

Seated on a tiger skin, with his lawful spouse beside him, arrayed in shells, bows, feathers, and all the adornments of a savage bride, he still sighed for home, and plaintively exclaimed:—

“Here I am, married to the only daughter of the great chief, who would have roasted me with the rest of our crew, had I not given a joyful consent. Oh! I wonder if I ever shall get home, and be married to Miss Wiggins!!!”

The lovely wide-mouthed Ootanga patted him fondly on the chin, and dreamed in her ignorance that he was paying her a compliment in his native language.



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IT may be accepted as an indubitable truth, that when the tenderest epithets are bandied between a married couple, that the domestic affairs do not go particularly straight.

Dobbs and his rib were perhaps the most divided pair that ever were yoked by Hymen. D. was a good-humored fellow, a jovial blade, full of high spirits—while his wife was one of the most cross-grained and cantankerous bodies that ever man was blessed with—and yet, to hear the sweet diminutives which they both employed in their dialogues, the world would have concluded that they were upon the best terms conceivable.

“My love,” quoth Mrs. D., “I really now should like to take a boat and row down the river as far as Battersea; the weather is so very fine, and you know, my dear love, how fond I am of the water.”

D. could have added (and indeed it was upon the very tip of his tongue)—“mixed with spirits”—but he wisely restrained the impertinent allusion.

“Well, my duck,” said he, “you have only to name the day, you know, I am always ready to please,”—and then, as was his habit, concluded his gracious speech by singing— “'Tis woman vot seduces all mankind—
Their mother's teach them the wheedling art.”

“Hold your nonsense, do,” replied Mrs. D____, scarcely able to restrain her snappish humour, but, fearful of losing the jaunt, politically added, “Suppose, love, we go to-day—no time like the present, dear.”

“Thine am I—thine am I,” sang the indulgent husband.

And Mrs. D____ hereupon ordered the boy to carry down to the stairs a cargo of brandy, porter, and sandwiches, for the intended voyage, and taking her dear love in the humour, presently appeared duly decked out for the trip.

Two watermen and a wherry were soon obtained, and Dobbs, lighting his cigar, alternately smoked and sang, while his duck employed herself most agreeably upon the sandwiches.

The day was bright and sunny, and exceedingly hot; and they had scarcely rowed as far as the Red-House, when Mrs. D____became rather misty, from the imbibation of the copious draughts she had swallowed to quench her thirst.

A lighter being a-head, the boatmen turned round, while Dobbs, casting up his eyes to the blue heavens, was singing, in the hilarity of his heart, “Hearts as warm as those above, lie under the waters cold,” when the boat heeled, and his duck, who unfortunately could not swim, slipped gently over the gunwhale, and, unnoticed, sank to rise no more.

“Ah!” said Dobbs, when, some months afterwards, he was speaking of the sad bereavement, “She was a wife! I shall never get such another, and, what's more, I would not if I could.”


Odd20_Strawberries.jpg (79K)

Among all the extraordinary and fantastic dishes compounded for the palate of Heliogabalus, the Prince of Epicures, that delicious admixture of the animal and the vegetable—Strawberries and Cream—is never mentioned in the pages of the veracious chronicler of his gastronomic feats!

Yes! 'tis a lamentable truth, this smooth, oleaginous, and delicately odorous employment for the silver spoon, was unknown. Should the knowledge of his loss reach him in the fields of Elysium, will not his steps be incontinently turned towards the borders of the Styx—his plaintive voice hail the grim ferryman, while in his most persuasive tones he cries—

“Row me back—row me back,”

that he may enjoy, for a brief space, this untasted pleasure? Ye gods! in our mind's eye we behold the heartless and unfeeling Charon refuse his earnest prayer, and see his languid spirit—diluted by disappointment to insipidity—wandering over the enamelled meads, as flat and shallow as an overflow in the dank fens of Lincoln.

His imagination gloats upon the fragrant invention, and he gulps at the cheating shadow until Elysium becomes a perfect Hades to his tortured spirit.

Mellow, rich, and toothsome compound! Toothsome did we say? Nay, even those who have lost their 'molares, incisores,' canine teeth, 'dentes sapientiae,' and all can masticate and inwardly digest thee!

Racy and recherche relish!

Thou art—
As delicate as first love—
As white and red as a maiden's cheek—
As palateable as well-timed flattery—
As light and filling as the gas of a balloon—
As smooth as a courtier—
As odorous as the flowers of Jasmin—
As soft as flos silk—
As encouraging, without being so illusory, as Hope—
As tempting as green herbage to lean kine—
—————— a Chancery suit to the Bill of a cormorant-lawyer—
—————— a pump to a thirsty paviour—
—————— a sun-flower to a bee—
—————— a ripe melon to a fruit-knife—
—————— a rose to a nightingale—or
—————— a pot of treacle to a blue-bottle—
As beautiful to the eye as a page of virgin-vellum richly illuminated
As satisfactory as a fat legacy!

Talk of nectar! if Jupiter should really wish to give a bonne-bouche to Juno, Leda, or Venus, or any one of his thousand and one flames, let him skim the milky-way—transform the instrumental part of the music of the spheres into 'hautboys,' and compound the only dish worth the roseate lips of the gentle dames 'in nubibus,' and depend on it, the cups of Ganymede and Hebe will be rejected for a bowl of—Strawberries and Cream.



“It's werry hot, but werry pleasant.”

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SAYS Mrs. Sibson to her spouse
"The days is hot and fair;
I think 'twould do the children good
To get a little hair!

"For ve've been moping here at home
And nothin' seen o' life;
Vhile neighbor Jones he takes his jaunts
O' Sundays vith his vife!”

"Vell! vell! my dear,” quoth Mr. S____
"Let's hear vot you purpose;
I'm al'ays ready to comply,
As you, my love, vell knows.

"I'll make no bones about the cost;
You knows I never stick
About a trifle to amuse,
So, dearest Pol, be quick.”

"Vhy, this is it:—I think ve might
To Hornsey have a day;
Maria, Peg, and Sal, and Bet
Ve'd pack into a 'chay.'

"Our Jim and Harry both could valk,
(God bless their little feet!)
The babby in my arms I'd take—
I'm sure 'twould be a treat;”

Quoth he: “I am unanimous!”
And so the day was fix'd;
And forth they started in good trim,
Tho' not with toil umnix'd.

Across his shoulders Sibson bore
A basket with the “grub,”
And to the “chay” perform'd the “horse,”
Lest Mrs. S____ should snub.

Apollo smiled!—that is, the sun
Blazed in a cloudless sky,
And Sibson soon was in a “broil”
By dragging of his “fry.”

Says S____, “My love, I'm dry as dust!”
When she replied, quite gay,
"Then, drink; for see I've bottled up
My spirits for the day.”

And from the basket drew a flask,
And eke a footless glass;
He quaff'd the drink, and cried, “Now, dear,
I'm strong as ____” let that pass!

At last they reach'd the destined spot
And prop and babes unpacked;
They ran about, and stuff'd, and cramm'd,
And really nothing lack'd.

And Sibson, as he “blew a cloud,”
Declared, “It vos a day!”
And vow'd that he would come again—
Then call'd for “Vot's to pay?”



“Vot a soaking ve shall get.”

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ACROSS the fields they homeward trudged, when, lo! a heavy rain
Came pouring from the sky;
Poor Sibson haul'd, the children squall'd; alas! it was too plain
They would not reach home dry.

With clay-clogg'd wheels, and muddy heels, and Jim upon his back,
He grumbled on his way;
"Vell, blow my vig! this is a rig!” cried Sibson, “Vell! alack!
I shan't forget this day!

"My shoes is sop, my head's a mop; I'm vet as any think;
Oh! shan't ve cotch a cold!”
"Your tongue is glib enough!” his rib exclaim'd, and made him shrink,
—For she was such a scold—

And in her eye he could descry a spark that well he knew
Into a flame would rise;
So he was dumb, silent and glum, as the small “chay” he drew,
And ventured no replies.

Slip, slop, and slush! past hedge and bush, the dripping mortals go
(Tho' 'twas “no go” S____ thought);
"If this 'ere's fun, vy I for vuu,” cried he, with face of woe,
"Von't soon again be caught.

"Vet to the skin, thro' thick and thin, to trapes ain't to my mind;
So the next holiday
I vill not roam, but stick at home, for there at least I'll find
The means to soak my clay.

"Tis quite a fag, this 'chay' to drag—the babbies too is cross,
And Mrs. S____ is riled.
'Tis quite a bore; the task is more—more fitt'rer for an horse;
And vith the heat I'm briled!

"No, jaunts adoo! I'll none o' you!”—and soon they reach'd their home,
Wet through and discontent—
"Sure sich a day, I needs must say,” exclaim'd his loving spouse,
"Afore I never spent!”


“Beside a meandering stream
There sat an old gentleman fat;
On the top of his head was his wig,
On the top of his wig was his hat.”

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I ONCE followed a venerable gentleman along the banks of a mill-stream, armed at all points with piscatorial paraphernalia, looking out for some appropriate spot, with all the coolness of a Spanish inquisitor, displaying his various instruments of refined torture. He at last perched himself near the troubled waters, close to the huge revolving wheel, and threw in his float, which danced upon the mimic waves, and bobbed up and down, as if preparing for a reel. Patiently he sat; as motionless and unfeeling as a block. I placed myself under cover of an adjoining hedge, and watched him for the space of half an hour; but he pulled up nothing but his baited hook;—what his bait was, I know not; but I suppose, from the vicinity, he was fishing for a “miller's thumb.” Presently, two mealy-mouthed men, from the mill, made their appearance, cautiously creeping behind him.

I drew myself up in the shadow of the luxuriant quickset to observe their notions.

A paling in the rear offered the rogues an effectual concealment in case the angler should turn.

Close to his seat ran some wood-work, upon which they quietly drew the broad tails of his coat, and driving in a couple of tenpenny nails, left the unconscious old gentleman a perfect fixture; to be taken at a valuation, I suppose, part of his personal property being already “brought to the hammer!” the clattering clamour of the wheel precluding him from hearing the careful, but no less effectual taps. I certainly enjoyed the trick, and longed to see the ridiculous issue; but he was so intent upon his sport—so fixed that he did not discover the nature of his real attachment while I remained.

Doubtless if he were of a quick and sudden temperament, a snatch of his humour rent his broad cloth, and he returned home with a woful tail, and slept not—for his nap was irreparably destroyed!

I hate all twaddle; but when I see an old fool, with rod and line,

“Sitting like patience on a monument,”

and selling the remnant of his life below cost price in the pursuit of angling,—that “art of ingeniously tormenting,”—a feeling,

“More in sorrow than in anger,”

is excited at his profitless inhumanity.

Vainly do all the disciples of honest Izaak Walton discourse, in eulogistic strains, of the pleasure of the sport. I can imagine neither pleasure nor sport derivable from the infliction of pain upon the meanest thing endowed with life.

This may be deemed Brahminical, but I doubt that man's humanity who can indulge in the cruel recreation and murder while he smiles.

“What, heretical sentiments,” exclaims some brother of the angle, (now I am an angle, but no angler.) “This fellow hath never trudged at early dawn along the verdant banks of the 'sedgy lea,' and drunk in the dewy freshness of the morning air. His lines have never fallen in pleasant places. He has never performed a pilgrimage to Waltham Cross. He is, in truth, one of those vulgar minds who take more delight in the simple than the—gentle!—and every line of his deserves a rod!”


“Sweet is the breath of morn when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds.”—-MILTON.

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“WELL, this is a morning!” emphatically exclaimed a stripling, with a mouth and eyes formed by Nature of that peculiar width and power of distension, so admirably calculated for the expression of stupid wonder or surprise; while his companion, elevating his nasal organ and projecting his chin, sniffed the fresh morning breeze, as they trudged through the dewy meadows, and declared that it was exactly for all the world similar-like to reading Thomson's Seasons! In which apt and appropriate simile the other concurred.

“Tom's a good fellow to lend us his gun,” continued he—“I only hope it ain't given to tricking, that's all. I say, Sugarlips, keep your powder dry.”

“Leave me alone for that,” replied Sugarlips; “I know a thing or two, although this is the first time that ever I have been out. What a scuffling the birds do make”—added he, peeping into the cage which they had, as a precautionary measure, stocked with sparrows, in order that they might not be disappointed in their sport—“How they long to be on the wing!”

“I'll wing 'em, presently!” cried his comrade, with a vaunting air— “and look if here ain't the very identical spot for a display of my skill. Pick out one of the best and biggest, and tie up a-top of yonder stile, and you shall soon have a specimen of my execution.” Sugarlips quickly did his bidding.

“Now—come forward and stand back! What do ye think o' that, ey?” said the sportsman—levelling his gun, throwing back his head, closing his sinister ocular, and stretching out his legs after the manner of the Colossus of Rhodes—“Don't you admire my style?”

“Excellent!” said Sugarlips—“But I think I could hit it.”


“Why, the stile to be sure.”

“Keep quiet, can't you—Now for it—” and, trembling with eagerness, his hand pulled the trigger, but no report followed. “The deuce is in the gun,” cried he, lowering it, and examining the lock; “What can ail it?”

“Why, I'll be shot if that ain't prime,” exclaimed Sugarlips, laughing outright.

“What do you mean?”

“I've only forgot the priming—that's all.”

“There's a pretty fellow, you are, for a sportsman.”

“Well, it's no matter as it happens; for, though 'Time and tide wait for no man,' a sparrow tied must, you know. There! that will do.”

“Sure you put the shot in now?”

“If you put the shot into Dicky as surely, he'll never peck groundsel again, depend on it.”

Again the “murderous tube” was levelled; Sugarlips backed against an adjoining wall, with a nervous adhesiveness that evidently proved him less fearful of a little mortar than a great gun!

“That's right; out of the way, Sugarlips; I am sure I shall hit him this time.” And no sooner had he uttered this self-congratulatory assurance (alas! not life-assurance!) than a report (most injurious to the innocent cock-sparrow) was heard in the neighbourhood!

“Murder!—mur-der!” roared a stentorian voice, which made the criniferous coverings of their craniums stand on end

“Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.”

In an instant the sportsman let fall his gun, and Sugarlips ran affrighted towards the stile. He found it really “vox et preterea nihil;” for a few feathers of the bird alone were visible: he had been blown to nothing; and, peeping cautiously round the angle of the wall, he beheld a portly gentleman in black running along with the unwieldy gait of a chased elephant.

“Old Flank'em, of the Finishing Academy, by jingo!” exclaimed Sugarlips. “It's a mercy we didn't finish him! Why, he must actually have been on the point of turning the corner. I think we had better be off; for, if the old dominie catches us, he will certainly liberate our sparrows, and—put us in the cage!”

But, where's the spoil?”

“Spoil, indeed!” cried Sugarlips; “you've spoiled him nicely. I've an idea, Tom, you were too near, as the spendthrift nephew said of his miserly uncle. If you can't get an aim at a greater distance, you'd never get a name as a long shot—that's my mind.”


Odd25_Precept.jpg (82K)

Uncle Samson was a six-bottle man. His capacity was certainly great, whatever might be said of his intellect; for I have seen him rise without the least appearance of elevation, after having swallowed the customary half dozen. He laughed to scorn all modern potations of wishy-washy French and Rhine wines—deeming them unfit for the palate of a true-born Englishman. Port, Sherry, and Madeira were his only tipple—the rest, he would assert, were only fit for finger-glasses!

—He was of a bulky figure, indeed a perfect Magnum among men, with a very apoplectic brevity of neck, and a logwood complexion,—and though a staunch Church-of-England-man, he might have been mistaken, from his predilection for the Port, to be a true Mussulman. To hear him discourse upon the age of his wines—the 'pinhole,' the 'crust,' the 'bees'-wing,' etc., was perfectly edifying—and every man who could not imbibe the prescribed quantum, became his butt. To temperance and tea-total societies he attributed the rapid growth of radicalism and dissent.

“Water,” he would say, with a sort of hydrophobic shudder, “is only a fit beverage for asses!”—“To say a man could drink like a fish, was once the greatest encomium that a bon-vivant could bestow upon a brother Bacchanalian—but, alas! in this matter-of-fact and degenerate age, men do so literally—washing their gills with unadulterated water!—Dropsy and water on the chest must be the infallible result! If such an order of things continue, all the puppies in the kingdom, who would perhaps have become jolly dogs in their time, will be drowned! Yes, they'll inevitably founder, like a water-logged vessel, in sight of port. These water-drinkers will not have a long reign. They would feign persuade us that 'Truth lies at the bottom of a well,'—lies, indeed! I tell you Horace knew better, and that his assertion of 'There is truth in wine,' was founded on experience—his draughts had no water-mark in 'em, depend on it.”

He was a great buyer of choice “Pieces,” and his cellar contained one of the best stocks in the kingdom, both in the wood and bottle. Poor Uncle!—he has now been some years “in the wood” himself, and snugly stowed in the family vault!

Having been attacked with a severe cold, he was compelled to call in the Doctor, who sent him a sudorific in three Lilliputian bottles; but although he received the advice of his medical friend, he followed Shakspeare's,

“Throw physic to the dogs,”

and prescribed for himself a bowl of wine-whey as a febrifuge. His housekeeper remonstrated, but he would have his 'whey,' and he died! leaving a handsome fortune, and two good-looking nephews to follow him to the grave.

Myself and Cousin (the two nephews aforesaid) were vast favourites with the old gentleman, and strenuously did he endeavour to initiate us in the art of drinking, recounting the feats of his youth, and his drinking-bouts with my father, adding, with a smile, “But you'll never be a par with, your Uncle, Ned, till you can carry the six bottles under your waistcoat.”

My head was certainly stronger than my Cousin's; he went as far as the third bottle—the next drop was on the floor! Now I did once manage the fourth bottle—but then—I must confess I was obliged to give it up!

“Young men,” would my Uncle say, “should practice 'sans intermission,' until they can drink four bottles without being flustered, then they will be sober people; for it won't be easy to make them tipsy—a drunken man I abominate!”


“You see I make no splash!”

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THERE are some individuals so inflated with self-sufficiency, and entertain such an overweaning opinion of their skill in all matters, that they must needs have a finger in every pie.

Perhaps a finer specimen than old V____, of this genius of egotistic, meddling mortals, never existed. He was a man well-to-do in the world, and possessed not only a large fortune, but a large family.

He had an idea that no man was better qualified to bring up his children in the way they should go; and eternally plagued the obsequious tutors of his sons with his novel mode of instilling the rudiments of the Latin tongue, although he knew not a word of the language; and the obedient mistresses of his daughters with his short road to attaining a perfection in playing the piano-forte, without knowing a note of the gamut: but what could they say; why, nothing more or less than they were 'astonished;' which was vague enough to be as true as it was flattering.

And then he was so universally clever, that he even interfered in the culinary department of his household, instructing the red-elbowed, greasy, grinning Cook, in the sublime art of drawing, stuffing, and roasting a goose, for which she certainly did not fail to roast the goose (her master) when she escaped to the regions below.

Even his medical attendant was compelled to acknowledge the efficacy of his domestic prescriptions of water-gruel and honey in catarrhs, and roasted onions in ear-aches, and sundry other simple appliances; and, in fine, found himself, on most occasions, rather a 'consulting surgeon,' than an apothecary, for he was compelled to yield to the man who had studied Buchan's and Graham's Domestic Medicine. And the only consolation he derived from his yielding affability, were the long bills occasioned by the mistakes of this domestic quack, who was continually running into errors, which required all his skill to repair. Nay, his wife's mantua-maker did not escape his tormenting and impertinent advice; for he pretended to a profound knowledge in all the modes, from the time of Elizabeth to Victoria, and deemed his judgment in frills, flounces, and corsages, as undeniable and infallible.

Of course the sempstress flattered his taste; for his wife, poor soul! she soon had tact enough to discover, had no voice in the business.

His eldest son, George, had a notion that he could angle. Old V____ immediately read himself up in Walton, and soon convinced—himself, that he was perfect in that line, and quite capable of teaching the whole art and mystery.

“See, George,” said he, when they had arrived at a convenient spot for their first attempt, “this is the way to handle your tackle; drop it gently into the water,—so!” and, twirling the line aloft, he hooked the branches of an overhanging tree!—sagaciously adding, “You see I make no splash! and hold your rod in this manner!”

George was too much afraid of his imperious father, to point out his error, and old V____ consequently stood in the broiling sun for a full quarter of an hour, before he discovered that he had caught a birch instead of a perch!


Odd27_Musical.jpg (61K)

Matter-of-fact people read the story of Orpheus, and imagine that his “charming rocks” and “soothing savage beasts,” is a mere fabulous invention. No such thing: it is undoubtedly founded on fact. Nay, we could quote a thousand modern instances of the power of music quite as astonishing.

One most true and extraordinary occurrence will suffice to establish the truth of our proposition beyond a doubt. Molly Scraggs was a cook in a first-rate family, in the most aristocratic quarter of the metropolis.

The master and mistress were abroad, and Molly had nothing to do but to indulge her thoughts; and, buried as she was in the pleasant gloom and quiet of an underground kitchen, nothing could possibly be more favourable to their developement. She was moreover exceedingly plump, tender, and sentimental, and had had a lover, who had proved false to his vows.

In this eligible situation and temper for receiving soft impressions, she sat negligently rocking herself in her chair, and polishing the lid of a copper saucepan! when the sweet, mellifluous strains of an itinerant band struck gently upon the drum of her ear. “Wapping Old Stairs” was distinctly recognized, and she mentally repeated the words so applicable to her bereaved situation.

“Your Molly has never proved false she declares,” 'till the tears literally gushed from her “blue, blue orbs,” and trickled down her plump and ruddy cheeks; but scarcely had she plunged into the very depths of the pathos induced by the moving air, which threatened to throw her into a gentle swoon, or kicking hysterics, when her spirit was aroused by the sudden change of the melancholy ditty, to the rampant and lively tune, with the popular burden of, “Turn about and wheel about, and jump Jim Crow!”

This certainly excited her feelings; but, strange to say, it made her leap from her chair, exasperated, as it were, by the sudden revulsion, and rush into the area.

“Don't, for goodness sake, play that horrid 'chune,'” said Molly, emphatically addressing the minstrels.

The 'fiddle' immediately put his instrument under his arm, and, touching the brim of his napless hat, scraped a sort of bow, and smilingly asked the cook to name any other tune she preferred.

“Play us,” said she, “'Oh! no, we never mention her,' or summat o' that sort; I hate jigs and dances mortally.”

“Yes, marm,” replied the 'fiddle,' obsequiously; and, whispering the 'harp' and 'bass,' they played the air to her heart's content.

In fact, if one might guess by the agility with which she ran into the kitchen, she was quite melted; and, returning with the remnants of a gooseberry pie and the best part of a shoulder of mutton, she handed them to the musicians.

“Thanky'e, marm, I'm sure,” said the 'bass,' sticking his teeth into the pie-crust.

“The mutton 's rayther fat, but it 's sweet, at any rate!”

“Yes, marm,” said the 'fiddle;' “it's too fat for your stomach, I'm sure, marm;” and consigned it to his green-baize fiddle-case.

“Now,” said Molly,—“play us, 'Drink to me only,' and I'll draw you a mug o' table-ale.”

“You're vastly kind,” said the 'fiddle;' “it's a pleasure to play anythink for you, marm, you've sich taste;” and then turning to his comrades, he added, with a smile—“By goles! if she ain't the woppingest cretur as ever I set eyes on—”

The tune required was played, and the promised ale discussed. The 'bass,' with a feeling of gratitude, voted that they should give a parting air unsolicited.

“Vot shall it be?” demanded the 'harp.'

“Vy, considering of her size,” replied the 'fiddle,' “I thinks as nothink couldn't be more appropriate than:

'Farewell to the mountain !'”

and, striking up, they played the proposed song, marching on well pleased with the unexpected appreciation of their musical talent by the kind, and munificent Molly Scraggs!


Odd28_Eating_House.jpg (78K)

FROM twelve o'clock until four, the eating houses of the City are crammed with hungry clerks.

Bills of fare have not yet been introduced,—the more's the pity; but, in lieu thereof, you are no sooner seated in one of the snug inviting little settles, with a table laid for four or six, spread with a snowy cloth, still bearing the fresh quadrangular marks impressed by the mangle, and rather damp, than the dapper, ubiquitous waiter, napkin in hand, stands before you, and rapidly runs over a detailed account of the tempting viands all smoking hot, and ready to be served up.

“Beef, boiled and roast; veal and ham; line of pork, roast; leg boiled, with pease pudding; cutlets, chops and steaks, greens, taters, and pease,” etc. etc.

Some are fastidious, and hesitate; the waiter, whose eyes are 'all about him,' leaves you to meditate and decide, while he hastens to inform a new arrival, and mechanically repeats his catalogue of dainties; and, bawling out at the top of his voice, “One roast beaf and one taters,” you echo his words, and he straightway reports your wishes in the same voice and manner to the invisible purveyors below, and ten to one but you get a piece of boiled fat to eke out your roast meat.

In some houses, new and stale bread, at discretion, are provided; and many a stripling, lean and hungry as a greyhound, with a large appetite and a small purse, calls for a small plate, without vegetables, and fills up the craving crannies with an immoderate proportion of the staff of life, while the reckoning simply stands, “one small plate 6d., one bread 1d., one waiter 1d.;” and at this economical price satisfies the demands of his young appetite.

But still, cheap as this appears, he pays it the aggregate, for there are frequently 500 or 600 diners daily at these Establishments; and the waiter, who generally purchases his place, and provides glass, cloths, etc. not only makes a 'good thing of it,' but frequently accumulates sufficient to set up on his own account, in which case, he is almost sure of being followed by the regular customers.

For he is universally so obliging, and possesses such a memory, and an aptness in discovering the various tastes of his visitors, that he seldom fails in making most of the every-day feeders his fast friends.

“Tom, bring me a small plate of boiled beef and potatoes,” cries one of his regulars. Placing his hand upon the table-cloth; and knocking off the crumbs with his napkin, he bends to the gentleman, and in a small. confidential voice informs him,

“The beef won't do for you, Sir,—it's too low, it's bin in cut a hour. Fine ribs o' lamb, jist up.”

“That will do, Tom,” says the gratified customer.

“Grass or spinach, Sir? fine 'grass,'—first this season.”

“Bring it, and quick, Tom,” replies the gentleman, pleased with the assiduous care he takes in not permitting him to have an indifferent cut of a half cold joint.

The most extraordinary part of the business is, the ready manner in which he 'casts up' all you have eaten, takes the reckoning, and then is off again in a twinkling.

A stranger, and one unaccustomed to feed in public, is recognised in a moment by his uneasy movements. He generally slinks into the nearest vacant seat, and is evidently taken aback by the apparently abrupt and rapid annunciation of the voluble and active waiter, and, in the hurry and confusion, very frequently decides upon the dish least pleasant to his palate.

A respectable gentleman of the old school, of a mild and reverend appearance, and a lean and hungry figure, once dropped into a settle where we were discussing a rump steak and a shallot, tender as an infant, and fragrant as a flower garden! Tom pounced upon him in a moment, and uttered the mystic roll. The worthy senior was evidently confused and startled, but necessity so far overcame his diffidence that he softly said,

“A small portion of veal and ham, well done.”

Tom, whirled round, continuing the application of his eternal napkin to a tumbler which he was polishing, bawled out in a stentorian voice,

“Plate o' weal, an' dam well done!”

We shall never sponge from the slate of our memory the utter astonishment expressed in the bland countenance of the startled old gentleman at this peculiar echo of his wishes.


“This is a werry lonely spot, Sir; I wonder you ar'n't afeard of being robbed.”

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JOB Timmins was a tailor bold,
And well he knew his trade,
And though he was no fighting man
Had often dress'd a blade!

Quoth he, one day—“I have not had
A holiday for years,
So I'm resolv'd to go and fish,
And cut for once the shears.”

So donning quick his Sunday's suit,
He took both rod and line,
And bait for fish—and prog for one,
And eke a flask of wine.

For he was one who loved to live,
And said—“Where'er I roam
I like to feed—and though abroad,
To make myself at home.”

Beneath a shady grove of trees
He sat him down to fish,
And having got a cover, he
Long'd much to get a dish.

He cast his line, and watch'd his float,
Slow gliding down the tide;
He saw it sink! he drew it up,
And lo! a fish he spied.

He took the struggling gudgeon off,
And cried—“I likes his looks,
I wish he'd live—but fishes die
Soon as they're—off the hooks!”

At last a dozen more he drew—
(Fine-drawing 'twas to him!)
But day past by—and twilight came,
All objects soon grew dim.

"One more!” he cried, “and then I'll pack,
And homeward trot to sup,”—
But as he spoke, he heard a tread,
Which caused him to look up.

Poor Timmins trembled as he gazed
Upon the stranger's face;
For cut purse! robber! all too plain,
His eye could therein trace.

"Them's werry handsome boots o' yourn,”
The ruffian smiling cried,
"Jist draw your trotters out—my pal—
And we'll swop tiles, besides.”

"That coat too, is a pretty fit—
Don't tremble so—for I
Von't rob you of a single fish,
I've other fish to fry.”

Poor Timmins was obliged to yield
Hat, coat, and boots—in short
He was completely stripp'd—and paid
Most dearly for his “sport.”

And as he homeward went, he sigh'd—
"Farewell to stream and brook;
O! yes, they'll catch me there again
A fishing—with a hook!”


Odd29_Gone.jpg (77K)

ALONG the banks, at early dawn,
Trudged Nobbs and Nobbs's son,
With rod and line, resolved that day
Great fishes should be won.

At last they came unto a bridge,
Cried Nobbs, “Oh! this is fine!”
And feeling sure 'twould answer well,
He dropp'd the stream a line.

"We cannot find a fitter place,
If twenty miles we march;
Its very look has fix'd my choice,
So knowing and—so arch!”

He baited and he cast his line,
When soon, to his delight,
He saw his float bob up and down,
And lo! he had a bite!

"A gudgeon, Tom, I think it is!”
Cried Nobbs, “Here, take the prize;
It weighs a pound—in its own scales,
I'm quite sure by its size.”

He cast again his baited hook,
And drew another up!
And cried, “We are in luck to-day,
How glorious we shall sup!”

All in the basket Tommy stow'd
The piscatory spoil;
Says Nobbs, “We've netted two at least,
Albeit we've no toil.”

Amazed at his own luck, he threw
The tempting bait again,
And presently a nibble had—
A bite! he pull'd amain!

His rod beneath the fish's weight
Now bent just like a bow,
"What's this?” cried Nobbs; his son replied,
"A salmon, 'tis, I know.”

And sure enough a monstrous perch,
Of six or seven pounds,
He from the water drew, whose bulk
Both dad and son confounds.

"O! Gemini!” he said, when he
"O! Pisces!” should have cried;
And tremblingly the wriggling fish
Haul'd to the bridge's side.

When, lo! just as he stretched his hand
To grasp the perch's fin,
The slender line was snapp'd in twain,
The perch went tumbling in!

“Gone! gone! by gosh!” scream'd Nobbs, while Tom
Too eager forward bent,
And, with a kick, their basket quick
Into the river sent.


Odd30_Joker_1.jpg (91K)

Those wags who are so fond of playing off their jokes upon others, require great skill and foresight to prevent the laugh being turned against themselves.

Jim Smith was an inveterate joker, and his jokes were, for the most part, of the practical kind. He had a valuable tortoiseshell cat, whose beauty was not only the theme of praise with all the old maids in the neighbourhood, but her charms attracted the notice of numerous feline gentlemen dwelling in the vicinity, who were, nocturnally, wont to pay their devoirs by that species of serenades, known under the cacophonous name of caterwauling.

One very ugly Tom, (who, it was whispered abroad, was a great-grandfather, and scandalously notorious for gallantries unbecoming a cat of his age) was particularly obnoxious to our hero; and, in an unlucky moment, he resolved to 'pickle him,' as he facetiously termed it. Now his process of pickling consisted in mixing a portion of prussic acid in milk. Taking the precaution to call in his own pet and favorite, he placed the potion in the accustomed path of her long-whiskered suitor. Tom finding the coast clear slipped his furry body over the wall, and dropped gently as a lady's glove into the garden, and slily smelling the flower-borders, as if he were merely amusing himself in the elegant study of botany, stealthily approached the house, and uttering a low plaintive 'miau,' to attract the attention of his dear Minx, patiently awaited the appearance of his true-love.

Minx heard the voice she loved so well, and hurried to meet her ancient beau. A slight noise, however, alarmed his timidity, and he scaled the wall in a twinkling.

Presently the screams of the maid assured him that 'something had taken place;' and when he heard the words, “Oh! the cat! the cat!” he felt quite certain that the potion had taken effect. He walked deliberately down stairs, and behold! there lay Miss Minx, his own favorite, struggling in the agonies of death, on the parlor rug. The fact is, he had shut the doors, but forgotten that the window was open, and the consequence was, the loss of poor Minx, who had drunk deep of the malignant poison designed for her gallant.

This was only one of a thousand tricks that had miscarried.

Having one day ascertained that his acquaintance, Tom Wilkins, was gone out 'a-shooting,' he determined to way-lay him on his return.

It was a beautiful moonlight night in the latter end of October. Disguising himself in a demoniac mask, a pair of huge wings, and a forked tail, he seated himself on a stile in the sportsman's path.

Anon he espied the weary and unconscious Tom approaching, lost in the profundity of thought, and though not in love, ruminating on every miss he had made in that day's bootless trudge.

He almost, touched the stile before his affrighted gaze encountered this 'goblin damned.'

His short crop bristled up, assuming the stiffness of a penetrating hair brush.

For an instant his whole frame appeared petrified, and the tide and current of his life frozen up in thick-ribbed ice.

Jim Smith, meanwhile, holding out a white packet at arm's length, exclaimed in a sepulchral tone,

“D'ye want a pound of magic shot?”


Odd31_Joker_2.jpg (80K)

AWFULLY ponderous as the words struck upon the tightened drum of Tom's auriculars, they still tended to arouse his fainting spirit.

“Mer-mer-mercy on us!” ejaculated he, and shrank back a pace or two, still keeping his dilating optics fixed upon the horrible spectre.

“D'ye want a pound of magic shot?” repeated Jim Smith.

“Mur-mur-der!” screamed Tom; and, mechanically raising his gun for action of some kind appeared absolutely necessary to keep life within him, he aimed at the Tempter, trembling in every joint.

Jim, who had as usual never calculated upon such a turning of the tables, threw off his head—his assumed one, of course, and, leaping from the stile, cried aloud—

“Oh! Tom, don't shoot—don't shoot!—it's only me—Jim Smith!”

Down dropped the gun from the sportsman's grasp.

“Oh! you fool! you—you—considerable fool!” cried he, supporting himself on a neighbouring hawthorn, which very kindly and considerately lent him an arm on the occasion. “It's a great mercy—a very great mercy, Jim—as we wasn't both killed!—another minute, only another minute, and—but it won't bear thinking on.”

“Forgive me, Tom,” said the penitent joker; “I never was so near a corpse afore. If I didn't think the shots were clean through me, and that's flat.”

“Sich jokes,” said Tom, “is onpardonable, and you must be mad.”

“I confess I'm out of my head, Tom,” said Jim, who was dangling the huge mask in his hand, and fast recovering from the effects of his fright. “Depend on it, I won't put myself in such a perdicament again, Tom. No, no—no more playing the devil; for, egad! you had liked to have played the devil with me.”

“A joke's a joke,” sagely remarked Tom, picking up his hat and fowling piece.

“True!” replied Smith; “but, I think, after all, I had the greatest cause for being in a fright. You had the best chance, at any rate; for I could not have harmed you, whereas you might have made a riddle of me.”

“Stay, there!” answered Tom; “I can tell you, you had as little cause for fear as I had, you come to that; for the truth is, the deuce a bit of powder or shot either was there in the piece!”

“You don't say so!” said Jim, evidently disappointed and chop-fallen at this discovery of his groundless fears. “Well, I only wish I'd known it, that's all!”—then, cogitating inwardly for a minute, he continued—“but, I say, Tom, you won't mention this little fright of yours?”

“No; but I'll mention the great fright—of Jim Smith—rely upon it,” said Tom, firmly; and he kept his word so faithfully, that the next day the whole story was circulated, with many ingenious additions, to the great annoyance of the practical joker.


“Here we go up—up—up;
And here we go down—down—down.”

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“VARIETY,” as Cowper says, “is the very spice of life”—and certainly, at Margate, there is enough, in all conscience, to delight the most fastidious of pleasure-hunters.

There sailors ply for passengers for a trip in their pleasure boats, setting forth all the tempting delights of a fine breeze—and woe-betide the unfortunate cockney who gets in the clutches of a pair of plyers of this sort, for he becomes as fixed as if he were actually in a vice, frequently making a virtue of necessity, and stepping on board, when he had much better stroll on land.

Away he goes, on the wings of the wind, like—a gull! Should he be a knave, it may probably be of infinite service to society, for he is likely ever afterwards to forswear craft of any kind!

Donkies too abound, as they do in most watering placesand, oh! what a many asses have we seen mounted, trotting along the beach and cliffs!

The insinuating address of the boatmen is, however, irresistible; and if they cannot induce you to make a sail to catch the wind, they will set forth, in all the glowing colors of a dying dolphin, the pleasurable sport of catching fish!

They tell you of a gentleman, who, “the other day, pulled up, in a single hour, I don't know how many fish, weighing I don't know how much.” And thus baited, some unwise gentleman unfortunately nibbles, and he is caught. A bargain is struck, 'the boat is on the shore,' the lines and hooks are displayed, and the victim steps in, scarcely conscious of what he is about, but full well knowing that he is going to sea!

They put out to sea, and casting their baited hooks, the experienced fisherman soon pulls up a fine lively whiting.

“Ecod!” exclaims the cockney, with dilated optics, “this is fine—why that 'ere fish is worth a matter of a shilling in London—Do tell me how you cotched him.”

“With a hook!” replied the boatman.

“To be sure you did—but why did'nt he bite mine?”

“'Cause he came t'other side, I s'pose.”

“Vell, let me try that side then,” cries the tyro, and carefully changes his position.—“Dear me, this here boat o'yourn wobbles about rayther, mister.”

“Nothing, sir, at all; it's only the motion of the water.”

“I don't like it, tho'; I can tell you, it makes me feel all over somehow.”

“It will go off, sir, in time; there's another,” and he pulls in another wriggling fish, and casts him at the bottom of the boat. “Well, that's plaguey tiresome, any how—two! and I've cotched nothin' yet—how do you do it?”

“Just so—throw in your hook, and bide a bit—and you'll be sure, sir, to feel when there's any thing on your hook; don't you feel any thing yet?”

“Why, yes, I feels werry unwell!” cries the landsman; and, bringing up his hook and bait, requests the good-natured boatman to pull for shore, 'like vinkin,'—which request; the obliging fellow immediately complies with, having agreeably fished at the expense of his fare; and, landing his whitings and the flat, laughs in his sleeve at the qualms of his customer.

But there is always an abundant crop of such fools as he, who pretend to dabble in a science, in utter ignorance of the elements; while, like Jason of old, the wily boatman finds a sheep with a golden fleece,— although his brains are always too much on the alert to be what is technically termed—wool-gathering. Some people are desirous of seeing every thing; and many landsmen have yet to learn, that they may see a deal, without being a-board!

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CHAPTER I.—Introductory.

“Let the neighbors smell ve has something respectable for once.”

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THERE is certainly no style of writing requiring so much modest assurance as autobiography; a position which, I am confident, neither Lord Cherbury, nor Vidocq, or any other mortal blessed with an equal developement of the organ of self-esteem, can or could deny.

HOME, (“sweet home,”)—in his Douglas—gives, perhaps, one of the most concise and concentrated specimens extant, of this species of composition. With what an imposing air does his youthful hero blow his own trumpet in those well-known lines, commencing,

“My name is Norval.”

Although a mere cock-boat in comparison with these first-rates, I think I may safely follow in their wake. Should the critics, however, condescend to carp at me for likening myself to a cock-boat, I have no objection, if by a twist of their ingenuity, they can prove me to be a little funny!

Economy was one of the most prominent characteristics of the family from which I sprang. Now, some authors would weary their indulgent readers with a flatulent chapter upon the moral beauty of this virtue; but as my first wish is to win favor by my candor, I must honestly confess, that necessity was the parent of this lean attenuated offspring!—For, alas!

My 'angel mother,' (as Anna Maria phrases it,) was a woman of ten thousand, for she dwelt in one of the most populous districts of London! My sire, was of the most noble order of St. Crispin; and though he had many faults, was continually mending—being the most eminent cobbler in the neighbourhood.

Even in the outset of their connubial partnership, they started under the most favorable auspices—for, whereas other couples marry for love or money, they got married for 'nothing' taking advantage of the annual gratuitous splicings performed at Shoreditch Church on one sunshiny Easter Monday.

In less than three years my amiable mother presented her lord and master with as many interesting pledges of their affection—I was the cobbler's last—and

'Though last, not least, in their dear love.'

CHAPTER II.—Our Lodging.

OUR precarious means were too small to permit us to rent a house, we therefore rented one large room, which served us for—

“Parlor and kitchen and all!”

in the uppermost story of a house, containing about a dozen families.

This 'airy' apartment was situated in a narrow alley of great thoroughfare, in the heart of the great metropolis.

The lower part of this domicile was occupied by one James, who did 'porter's work,' while his wife superintended the trade of a miscellaneous store, called a green-grocer's; although the stock comprised, besides a respectable skew of cabbages, carrots, lettuces, and other things in season, a barrel of small beer, a side of bacon, a few red herrings, a black looking can of 'new milk,' and those less perishable articles, Warren's blacking, and Flanders' bricks; while the window was graced with a few samples of common confectionary, celebrated under the sweet names of lollypops, Buonaparte's ribs, and bulls'-eyes.

In one pane, by permission, was placed the sign board of my honored parent, informing the reading public, that

'Repairs were neatly executed!'

In my mind's eye how distinctly do I behold that humble shop in all the greenness and beauty of its Saturday morning's display.

Nor can I ever forget the kind dumpy motherly Mrs. James, who so often patted my curly head, and presented me with a welcome slice of bread and butter and a drink of milk, invariably repeating in her homely phrase, “a child and a chicken is al'ays a pickin'”—and declaring her belief, that the 'brat' got scarcely enough to “keep life and soul together”—the real truth of which my craving stomach inwardly testified.

Talk of the charities of the wealthy, they are as 'airy nothings' in the scale, compared with the unostentatious sympathy of the poor! The former only give a portion of their excess, while the latter willingly divide their humble crust with a fellow sufferer.

The agreeable routine of breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper, was unknown in our frugal establishment; if we obtained one good meal a day, under any name, we were truly thankful.

To give some idea of our straitened circumstances, I must relate one solitary instance of display on the maternal side. It was on a Saturday night, the air and our appetites were equally keen, when my sire, having unexpectedly touched a small sum, brought home a couple of pound of real Epping. A scream of delight welcomed the savory morsel.

A fire was kindled, and the meat was presently hissing in the borrowed frying-pan of our landlady.

I was already in bed, when the unusual sound and savor awoke me. I rolled out in a twinkling, and squatting on the floor, watched the culinary operations with greedy eyes.

“Tom,” said my mother, addressing her spouse, “set open the door and vinder, and let the neighbors smell ve has something respectable for once.”

CHAPTER. III.—On Temperance.

“I wou'dn't like to shoot her exactly; but I've a blessed mind to turn her out!”

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ARMED with the authority and example of loyalty, for even that renowned monarch—Old King Cole—was diurnally want to call for

“His pipe and his glass”

and induced by the poetical strains of many a bard, from the classic Anacreon to those of more modern times, who have celebrated the virtue of

“Wine, mighty wine!”

it is not to be marvelled at, that men's minds have fallen victims to the fascinations of the juice of the purple grape, or yielded to the alluring temptations of the 'evil spirit.'

It is a lamentable truth, that notwithstanding the laudable and wholesome exertions and admonitions of the Temperance and Tee-total Societies, that the people of the United Kingdom are grievously addicted to an excessive imbibation of spirituous liquors, cordials, and compounds.

Although six-bottle men are now regarded as monstrosities, and drinking parties are nearly exploded, tippling and dram-drinking among the lower orders are perhaps more indulged in than ever.

The gilded and gorgeous temples—devoted to the worship of the reeling-goddess GENEVA—blaze forth in every quarter of the vast metropolis.

Is it matter of wonder, then, that while men of superior intellect and education are still weak enough to seek excitement in vinous potations, that the vulgar, poor, and destitute, should endeavour to drown their sorrows by swallowing the liquid fires displayed under various names, by the wily priests of Silenus!

That such a deduction is illogical we are well aware, but great examples are plausible excuses to little minds.

Both my parents were naturally inclined to sobriety; but, unfortunately, and as it too frequently happens, in low and crowded neighbourhoods, drunkenness is as contagious as the small-pox, or any other destructive malady.

Now, it chanced that in the first-floor of the house in which we dwelt, there also resided one Stubbs and his wife. They had neither chick nor child. Stubbs was a tailor by trade, and being a first-rate workman, earned weekly a considerable sum; but, like too many of his fraternity, he was seldom sober from Saturday night until Wednesday morning. His loving spouse 'rowed in the same boat'—and the 'little green-bottle' was dispatched several times during the days of their Saturnalia, to be replenished at the never-failing fountain of the 'Shepherd and Flock.'

Unhappily, in one of her maudlin fits, Mrs. Stubbs took a particular fancy to my mother; and one day, in the absence of the 'ninth,' beckoned my unsuspecting parent into her sittingroom,—and after gratuitously imparting to her the hum-drum history of her domestic squabbles, invited her to take a 'drop o' summat'—to keep up her I sperrits.'

Alas! this was the first step—and she went on, and on, and on, until that which at first she loathed became no longer disagreeable, and by degrees grew into a craving that was irresistible;—and, at last, she regularly hob-and-nobb'd' with the disconsolate rib of Stubbs, and shared alike in all her troubles and her liquor.

Fain would I draw a veil over this frailty of my unfortunate parent; but, being conscious that veracity is the very soul and essence of history, I feel myself imperatively called upon neither to disguise nor to cancel the truth.

My father remonstrated in vain-the passion had already taken too deep a hold; and one day he was suddenly summoned from his work with the startling information, that 'Mother Mullins'—(so the kind neighbour phrased it) was sitting on the step of a public house, in the suburbs, completely 'tosticated.'

He rushed out, and found the tale too true. A bricklayer in the neighbourhood proposed the loan of his barrow, for the poor senseless creature could not walk a step. Placing her in the one-wheel-carriage, he made the best of his way home, amid the jeers of the multitude. Moorfields was then only partially covered with houses; and as he passed a deep hollow, on the side of which was placed a notice, intimating that


his eyes caught the words, and in the bitterness of his heart he exclaimed—

“I wou'dn't like to shoot her exactly; but I've a blessed mind to turn her out!”

CHAPTER IV.—A Situation.

“I say, Jim, what birds are we most like now?” “Why swallows, to be sure,”

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IN the vicinity of our alley were numerous horse-rides, and my chief delight was being entrusted with a horse, and galloping up and down the straw-littered avenue.—I was about twelve years of age, and what was termed a sharp lad, and I soon became a great favourite with the ostlers, who admired the aptness with which I acquired the language of the stables.

There were many stock-brokers who put up at the ride; among others was Mr. Timmis—familiarly called long Jim Timmis. He was a bold, dashing, good-humoured, vulgar man, who was quite at home with the ostlers, generally conversing with them in their favourite lingo.

I had frequent opportunities of shewing him civilities, handing him his whip, and holding his stirrup, etc.

One day he came to the ride in a most amiable and condescending humour, and for the first time deigned to address me—“Whose kid are you?” demanded he.

“Father's, sir,” I replied.

“Do you know your father, then?”

“Yes, sir.”

“A wise child this;” and he winked at the ostler, who, of course, laughed incontinently.

“I want a-lad,” continued he; “what do you say—would you like to serve me?”

“If I could get any thing by it.”

“D-me, if that a'int blunt.”

“Yes, sir; that's what I mean.”

“Mean! mean what?”

“If I could get any blunt, sir.”

Hereupon he laughed outright, at what he considered my readiness, although I merely used the cant term for “money,” to which I was most accustomed, from my education among the schoolmasters of the ride.

“Here, take my card,” said he; “and tell the old codger, your father, to bring you to my office to-morrow morning, at eleven.”

“Well, blow me,” exclaimed my friend the ostler, “if your fortin' arn't made; I shall see you a tip-top sawyer—may I never touch another tanner! Vy, I remembers Jim Timmis hisself vos nothin but a grubby boy—Mother Timmis the washer-woman's son, here in what-d've-call-'em-court—ven he vent to old Jarvis fust. He's a prime feller tho', and no mistake—and thof he's no gentleman born, he pays like one, and vot's the difference?”

The next morning, punctual to the hour, I waited at his office, which was in a large building adjoining the Stock Exchange, as full as a dove-cot, with gentlemen of the same feather.

“O!” said he, eyeing my parent, “and you're this chap's father, are you? What are you?”

“A boot and shoe-maker, sir; and my Andrew is an honest lad.”

“For the matter o' that, there's little he can prig here;” replied my elegant and intended master. “But his tongs—eh—old fellow—can't you rig him out a little?”

My father pleaded poverty; and at last he bargained to advance a guinea, and deduct it out of my weekly-wages of two and sixpence, and no board. My father was glad to make any terms, and the affair was consequently soon arranged. I was quickly fitted out, and the next morning attended his orders.

I had, however, little else to do than wait in his office, and run to the Stock Exchange, to summon him when a customer dropped in. I had much leisure, which I trust was not wholly thrown away, for I practised writing on the back of the stock-receipts, of which a quantity hung up in the office, and read all the books I could lay my hands on; although, I must confess, the chief portion of my knowledge of the world has been derived from observation.

“The proper study of mankind is man.”

Although quick in temper, and rude in speech and manners, Timmis was kind; and, if he had a failing, it was the ambition of being a patron; and he was certainly not one of those who do a good deed, and

“Blush to find it fame.”

He not only employed my father to make his boots, but recommended him to all his friends as a “good-fit,” and procured the old man some excellent customers. Among his acquaintance, for he had few friends, was Tom Wallis, a fat, facetious man, about forty, with whom he was always lunching and cracking his jokes. One day, when the stocks were “shut” and business was slack, they started together on a sporting excursion towards the romantic region of Hornsey-wood, on which occasion I had the honour of carrying a well-filled basket of provisions, and the inward satisfaction of making a good dinner from the remnants.

They killed nothing but time, yet they were exceedingly merry, especially during the discussion of the provisions. Their laughter, indeed, was enough to scare all the birds in the neighbourhood.

“Jim, if you wanted to correct those sheep yonder,” said Tom, “what sort of tool would you use?”

“An ewe-twig, of course,” replied my master.

“No; that's devilish good,” said Wallis; “but you ain't hit it yet.”

“For a crown you don't do a better?”


“Well, what is it?”

“Why, a Ram-rod to be sure—as we're sportsmen.”

My master agreed that it was more appropriate, and the good-natured Tom Wallis flung the crown he had won to me.

“Here's another,” continued he, as Mr. Timmis was just raising a bottle of pale sherry to his lips—“I say, Jim, what birds are we most like now?”

“Why swallows, to be sure,” quickly replied my patron; who was really, on most occasions, a match for his croney in the sublime art of punning, and making conundrums, a favourite pastime with the wits of the Stock Exchange.

CHAPTER V.—The Stalking Horse.

“Retributive Justice”

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ON the same landing where Timmis (as he termed it) 'held out,' were five or six closets nick-named offices, and three other boys. One was the nephew of the before-mentioned Wallis, and a very imp of mischief; another, only a boy, with nothing remarkable but his stupidity; while the fourth was a scrubby, stunted, fellow, about sixteen or seventeen years of age, with a long pale face, deeply pitted with the small-pox, and an irregular crop of light hair, most unscientifically cut into tufts.

He, by reason of his seniority and his gravity, soon became the oracle of the party. We usually found him seated on the stairs of the first floor, lost in the perusal of some ragged book of the marvellous school—scraps of which he used to read aloud to us, with more unction than propriety, indulging rather too much in the note of admiration style; for which he soon obtained the name of Old Emphatic!—But I must confess we did obtain a great deal of information from his select reading, and were tolerably good listeners too, notwithstanding his peculiar delivery, for somehow he appeared to have a permanent cold in his head, which sometimes threw a tone of irresistible ridicule into his most pathetic bits.

He bore the scriptural name of Matthew and was, as he informed us, a 'horphan'—adding, with a particular pathos, 'without father or mother!' His melancholy was, I think, rather attributable to bile than destitution, which he superinduced by feeding almost entirely on 'second-hand pastry,' purchased from the little Jew-boys, who hawk about their 'tempting' trash in the vicinity of the Bank.

Matthew, like other youths of a poetical temperament, from Petrarch down to Lord Byron, had a 'passion.'

I accidentally discovered the object of his platonic flame in the person of the little grubby-girl—the servant of the house-keeper—for, as the proverb truly says,

“Love and a cough cannot be hid.”

The tender passion first evinced itself in his delicate attentions;—nor was the quick-eyed maid slow to discover her conquest. Her penetration, however, was greater than her sympathy. With a tact that would not have disgraced a politician—in a better cause, she adroitly turned the swelling current of his love to her own purposes.

As the onward flowing stream is made to turn the wheel, while the miller sings at the window, so did she avail herself of his strength to do her work, while she gaily hummed a time, and sadly 'hummed' poor Matthew.

There being nearly thirty offices in the building, there were of course in winter as many fires, and as many coal-scuttles required. When the eyes of the devoted Matthew gazed on the object of his heart's desire toiling up the well-stair, he felt he knew not what; and, with a heart palpitating with the apprehension that his proffered service might be rejected (poor deluded mortal!), he begged he might assist her. With a glance that he thought sufficient to ignite the insensible carbon, she accepted his offer. Happy Matthew!—he grasped the handles her warm red-hands had touched!—Cold-blooded, unimaginative beings may deride his enthusiasm; but after all, the sentiment he experienced was similar to, and quite as pure, as that of Tom Jones, when he fondled Sophia Western's little muff.

But, alas!—

“The course of true love never did run smooth.”

Two months after this event, 'his Mary' married the baker's man!—

* * * * * * * * * *

Wallis's nephew had several times invited me to pay him a visit at his uncle's house, at Crouchend; and so once, during the absence of that gentleman who was ruralizing at Tonbridge, I trudged down to his villa.

Nothing would suit Master John, but that he must 'have out' his uncle's gun; and we certainly shot at, and frightened, many sparrows.

He was just pointing at a fresh quarry, when the loud crow of a cock arrested his arm.

“That's Doddington's game 'un, I know,” said Master John. “What d'ye think—if he did'nt 'pitch into' our 'dunghill' the other day, and laid him dead at a blow. I owe him one!—Come along.” I followed in his footsteps, and soon beheld Chanticleer crowing with all the ostentation of a victor at the hens he had so ruthlessly widowed. A clothes-horse, with a ragged blanket, screened us from his view; and Master'John, putting the muzzle of his gun through a hole in this novel ambuscade, discharged its contents point blank into the proclaimer of the morn—and laid him low.

I trembled; for I felt that we had committed a 'foul murder.' Master Johnny, however, derided my fears—called it retributive justice—and ignominiously consigned the remains of a game-cock to a dunghill!

The affair appeared so like a cowardly assassination, in which I was (though unwillingly—) 'particeps criminis'—that I walked away without partaking of the gooseberry-pie, which he had provided for our supper.

CHAPTER VI.—A Commission.

“Och! thin, Paddy, what's the bothuration; if you carry me, don't I carry the whiskey, sure, and that's fair and aqual!”

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I was early at my post on the following morning, being particularly anxious to meet with Mr. Wallis's scapegrace nephew, and ascertain whether anybody had found the dead body of the game-cock, and whether an inquest had been held; for I knew enough of the world to draw my own conclusions as to the result. He, although the principal, being a relative, would get off with a lecture, while I should probably be kicked out of my place.

In a fever of expectation, I hung over the banisters of the geometrical staircase, watching for his arrival.

While I was thus occupied, my nerves “screwed up,”—almost to cracking, Mr. Wallis's office-door was thrown open, and I beheld that very gentleman's round, pleasant physiognomy, embrowned by his travels, staring me full in the face. I really lost my equilibrium at the apparition.

“Oh!—it's you, is it,” cried he. “Where's my rascal?”

“He's not come yet, sir,” I replied.

“That fellow's never at hand when I want him—I'll cashier him by ___.” He slammed to his own door, and—opened it again immediately.

“Timmis come?” demanded he.

“No, sir; I don't think he'll be here for an hour.”

“True—I'm early in the field; but what brings you here so soon?—some mischief, I suppose.”

“I'm always early, sir, for I live hard by.”

“Ha!—well—I wish—.”

“Can I do anything for you, sir?” I enquired.

“Why, that's a good thought,” said he, and his countenance assumed its usually bland expression. “Let me see—I want to send my carpet-bag, and a message, to my housekeeper.”

“I can do it, sir, and be back again in no time,” cried I, elated at having an opportunity of obliging the man whom I had really some cause to fear, in the critical situation in which his nephew's thoughtlessness had placed me.

In my eagerness, however, and notwithstanding the political acuteness of my manoeuvre, I got myself into an awful dilemma. Having received the bag, and his message, I walked off, but had scarcely descended a dozen stairs when he recalled me.

“Where the devil are you going?” cried he.

“To your house, sir,” I innocently replied.

“What, do you know it, then?” demanded he in surprise.

Here was a position. It was a miracle that I did not roll over the carpet-bag and break my neck, in the confusion of ideas engendered by this simple query.

I could not lie, and evasion was not my forte. A man or boy in the wrong can never express himself with propriety; an opinion in which Quinctilian also appears to coincide, when he asserts—

“Orator perfectus nisi vir bonus esse non potest.”

I therefore summoned up sufficient breath and courage to answer him in the affirmative.

“And when, pray, were you there?” said he.

“Yesterday, sir, your nephew asked me to come and see him.”

“The impudent little blackguard?” cried he.

“I hope you ain't angry, sir?”

“Angry with you?—no, my lad; you're an active little chap, and I wish that imp of mine would take a pattern by you. Trot along, and mind you have 'a lift' both ways.”

Off I went, as light as a balloon when the ropes are cut.

I executed my commission with dispatch, and completely won the favour of Mr. Wallis, by returning the money which he had given me for coach-hire.

“How's this?—you didn't tramp, did you?” said he.

“No, sir, I rode both ways,” I replied; “but I knew the coachmen, and they gave me a cast for nothing.”

“Umph!—well, that's quite proper—quite proper,” said he, considering a moment. “Honesty's the best policy.”

“Father always told me so, sir.”

“Your father's right;—there's half-a-crown for you.”

I was delighted—

“Quantum cedat virtutibus aurum;”

and I felt the truth of this line of Dr. Johnson's, although I was then ignorant of it. I met his nephew on the landing, but my fears had vanished. We talked, however, of the departed bird, and he wished me, in the event of discovery, to declare that I had loaded and carried the gun, and that he would bear the rest of the blame.

This, however, strongly reminded me of the two Irish smugglers:—one had a wooden leg, and carried the cask; while his comrade, who had the use of both his pins, bore him upon his shoulders, and, complaining of the weight, the other replied:—“Och! thin, Paddy, what's the bothuration; if you carry me, don't I carry the whiskey, sure, and that's fair and aqual!” and I at once declined any such Hibernian partnership in the affair, quite resolved that he should bear the whole onus upon his own shoulders.

CHAPTER, VII.—The Cricket Match

“Out! so don't fatigue yourself, I beg, sir.”

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I soon discovered that my conduct had been reported in the most favourable colours to Mr. Timmis, and the consequence was that he began to take more notice of me.

“Andrew, what sort of a fist can you write?” demanded he. I shewed him some caligraphic specimens.

“D___ me, if your y's and your g's hav'nt tails like skippingropes. We must have a little topping and tailing here, and I think you'll do. Here, make out this account, and enter it in the book.”

He left me to do his bidding; and when he returned from the Stock-Exchange, inspected the performance, which I had executed with perspiring ardour.

I watched his countenance. “That'll do—you're a brick! I'll make a man of you—d___ me.”

From this day forward I had the honour of keeping his books, and making out the accounts. I was already a person of importance, and certainly some steps above the boys on the landing.

I did not, however, obtain any advance in my weekly wages; but on “good-days” got a douceur, varying from half a crown to half a sovereign! and looked upon myself as a made man. Most of the receipts went to my father; whatever he returned to me I spent at a neighbouring book-stall, and in the course of twelve months I possessed a library of most amusing and instructive literature,—Heaven knows! of a most miscellaneous character, for I had no one to guide me in the selection.

Among Mr. Timmis's numerous clients, was one Mr. Cornelius Crobble, a man of most extraordinary dimensions; he was also a “chum” of, and frequently made one of a party with, his friend Mr. Wallis, and other croneys, to white-bait dinners at Blackwall, and other intellectual banquets. In fact, he seldom made his appearance at the office, but the visit ended in an engagement to dine at some “crack-house” or other. The cost of the “feed,” as Mr. Timmis termed it, was generally decided by a toss of “best two and three;” and somehow it invariably happened that Mr. Crobble lost; but he was so good-humoured, that really it was a pleasure, as Mr. Wallis said, to “grub” at his expense.

They nick-named him Maximo Rotundo—and he well deserved the title.

“Where's Timmis?” said he, one day after he had taken a seat, and puffed and blowed for the space of five minutes—“Cuss them stairs; they'll be the death o' me.”

I ran to summon my master.

“How are you, old fellow?” demanded Mr. Timmis; “tip us your fin.”

“Queer!” replied Mr. Crobble,—tapping his breast gently with his fat fist, and puffing out his cheeks—to indicate that his lungs were disordered.

“What, bellows to mend?” cried my accomplished patron—“D___ me, never say die!”

“Just come from Doctor Sprawles: says I must take exercise; no malt liquor—nothing at breakfast—no lunch—no supper.”

“Why, you'll be a skeleton—a transfer from the consolidated to the reduced in no time,” exclaimed Mr. Timmis; and his friend joined in the laugh.

“I was a-thinking, Timmis—don't you belong to a cricketclub?”

“To be sure.”

—“Of joining you.”

“That's the ticket,” cried Timmis—“consider yourself elected; I can carry any thing there. I'm quite the cock of the walk, and no mistake. Next Thursday's a field-day—I'll introduce you. Lord! you'll soon be right as a trivet.”

Mr Wallis was summoned, and the affair was soon arranged; and I had the gratification of being present at Mr. Crobble's inauguration.

It was a broiling day, and there was a full field; but he conducted himself manfully, notwithstanding the jokes of the club. He batted exceedingly well, “considering,” as Mr. Wallis remarked; but as for the “runs,” he was completely at fault.

He only attempted it once; but before he had advanced a yard or two, the ball was caught; and the agile player, striking the wicket with ease, exclaimed, amid the laughter of the spectators—“Out! so don't fatigue yourself, I beg, sir.”

And so the match was concluded, amid cheers and shouting, in which the rotund, good-natured novice joined most heartily.


“Hunting may be sport, says I, but I'm blest if its pleasure.”

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Two days after the cricket-match, Mr. Crobble paid a visit to my master.

“Well, old fellow, d___ me me, if you ain't a trump—how's your wind?”—kindly enquired Mr. Timmis.

“Vastly better, thank'ye; how's Wallis and the other fellows?—prime sport that cricketing.”

“Yes; but, I say, you'll never have 'a run' of luck, if you stick to the wicket so.”

“True; but I made a hit or two, you must allow,” replied Mr. Crobble; “though I'm afraid I'm a sorry member.”

“A member, indeed!—no, no; you're the body, and we're the—members,” replied Mr. Timmis, laughing; “but, halloo! what's that patch on your forehead—bin a fighting?”

“No; but I've been a hunting,” said Mr. Crobble, “and this here's the fruits—You know my gray?”

“The nag you swopp'd the bay roadster for with Tom Brown?”

“Him,” answered Crobble. “Well, I took him to Hertfordshire Wednesday last—”

“He took you, you mean.”

“Well, what's the odds?”

“The odds, why, in your favour, to be sure, as I dare say the horse can witness.”

“Well, howsomever, there was a good field—and off we went. The level country was all prime; but he took a hedge, and nearly julked all the life out o' me. I lost my stirrup, and should have lost my seat, had'nt I clutched his mane—”

“And kept your seat by main force?”

“Very good.”

“Well, away we went, like Johnny Gilpin. Hunting may be sport, says I, but I'm blest if its pleasure. This infernal horse was always fond of shying, and now he's going to shy me off; and, ecod! no sooner said than done. Over his head I go, like a rocket.”

“Like a foot-ball, you mean,” interrupted Mr. Timmis.

“And, as luck would have it, tumbles into a ditch, plump with my head agin the bank.”

“By jingo! such a 'run' upon the bank was enough to break it,” cried my master, whose propensity to crack a joke overcame all feeling of sympathy for his friend.

“It broke my head though; and warn't I in a precious mess—that's all—up to my neck, and no mistake—and black as a chimney-sweep—such mud!”

“And only think of a man of your property investing his substance in mud! That is a good 'un!—Andrew,” said he, “tell Wally to come here.” I summoned his crony, and sat myself down to the books, to enjoy the sportive sallies of the two friends, who roasted the 'fat buck,' their loving companion, most unmercifully.

“You sly old badger,” cried Wallis, “why, you must have picked out the ditch.”

“No, but they picked out me, and a precious figure I cut—I can tell you—I was dripping from top to toe.”

“Very like dripping, indeed!” exclaimed Mr. Timmis, eyeing his fat friend, and bursting into an immoderate fit of laughter. The meeting ended, as usual, with a bet for a dinner at the “Plough” for themselves and their friends, which Mr. Crobble lost—as usual.

CHAPTER IX.—A Row to Blackwall.

'To be sold, warranted sound, a gray-mare, very fast, and carries a lady; likewise a bay-cob, quiet to ride or drive, and has carried a lady.'

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STEAM-BOATS did not run to Greenwich and Blackwall at this period; and those who resorted to the white-bait establishments at those places, either availed themselves of a coach or a boat. Being now transformed, by a little personal merit, and a great favour, from a full-grown errand-boy to a small clerk, Mr. Timmis, at the suggestion of my good friend Mr. Wallis, offered me, as a treat, a row in the boat they had engaged for the occasion; which, as a matter of course, I did not refuse: making myself as spruce as my limited wardrobe would permit, I trotted at their heels to the foot of London-bridge, the point of embarkation.

The party, including the boatman, consisted of eight souls; the tide was in our favour, and away we went, as merry a company as ever floated on the bosom of Father Thames. Mr. Crobble was the chief mark for all their sallies, and indeed he really appeared, from his size, to have been intended by Nature for a “butt,” as Mr. Wallis wickedly remarked.

“You told, me, Crobble, of your hunting exploit in Hertfordshire,” said Mr. Wallis; “I'll tell you something as bangs that hollow; I'm sure I thought I should have split with laughter when I heard of it. You know the old frump, my Aunt Betty, Timmis?”

“To be sure—she with the ten thousand in the threes,” replied Mr. Timmis; “a worthy creature; and I'm sure you admire her principal.”

“Don't I,” cried Wallis; and he winked significantly at his friend.

“Well, what d'ye think; she, and Miss Scragg, her toady, were in the country t'other day, and must needs amuse themselves in an airing upon a couple of prads.

“Well; they were cantering along—doing the handsome—and had just come to the border of a pond, when a donkey pops his innocent nose over a fence in their rear, and began to heehaw' in a most melodious strain. The nags pricked up their ears in a twinkling, and made no more ado but bolted. Poor aunty tugged! but all in vain; her bay-cob ran into the water; and she lost both her presence of mind and her seat, and plumped swash into the pond—her riding habit spreading out into a beautiful circle—while she lay squalling and bawling out in the centre, like a little piece of beef in the middle of a large batter-pudding! Miss Scragg, meanwhile, stuck to her graymare, and went bumping along to the admiration of all beholders, and was soon out of sight: luckily a joskin, who witnessed my dear aunt's immersion, ran to her assistance, and, with the help of his pitch-fork, safely landed her; for unfortunately the pond was not above three or four feet deep! and so she missed the chance of being an angel!”

“And you the transfer of her threes!—what a pity!” said the sympathizing Mr. Timmis.

“When I heard of the accident, of course, as in duty bound, I wrote an anxious letter of affectionate enquiry and condolence. At the same period, seeing an advertisement in the Times—'To be sold, warranted sound, a gray-mare, very fast, and carries a lady; likewise a bay-cob, quiet to ride or drive, and has carried a lady'—I was so tickled with the co-incidence, that I cut it out, and sent it to her in an envelope.”

“Prime! by Jove!”—shouted Mr. Crobble—“But, I say, Wallis—you should have sent her a 'duck' too, as a symbolical memorial of her accident!”

CHAPTER X.—The Pic-Nic.

—-had just spread out their prog on a clean table-cloth, when they were alarmed by the approach of a cow.

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“PEOPLE should never undertake to do a thing they don't perfectly understand,” remarked Mr. Crobble, “they're sure to make fools o' themselves in the end. There's Tom Davis, (you know Tom Davis?) he's always putting his notions into people's heads, and turning the laugh against 'em. If there's a ditch in the way, he's sure to dare some of his companions to leap it, before he overs it himself; if he finds it safe, away he springs like a greyhound.”

“Exactly him, I know him,” replied Mr. Timmis; “that's what he calls learning to shave upon other people's chins!”

“Excellent!” exclaimed Mr. Wallis.

“He's a very devil,” continued Mr. Crobble; “always proposing some fun or other: Pic-nics are his delight; but he always leaves others to bring the grub, and brings nothing but himself. I hate Pic-nics, squatting in the grass don't suit me at all; when once down, I find it no easy matter to get up again, I can tell you.”

Hereupon there was a general laugh.

“Talking of Pic-nics,” said Mr. Timmis, “reminds me of one that was held the other day in a meadow, on the banks of the Lea. The party, consisting of ladies only, and a little boy, had just spread out their prog on a clean table-cloth, when they were alarmed by the approach of a cow. They were presently on their pins, (cow'd, of course,) and sheered off to a respectful distance, while the cow walked leisurely over the table-cloth, smelling the materials of the feast, and popp'd her cloven foot plump into a currant and raspberry pie! and they had a precious deal of trouble to draw her off; for, as Tom Davis said, there were some veal-patties there, which were, no doubt, made out of one of her calves; and in her maternal solicitude, she completely demolished the plates and dishes, leaving the affrighted party nothing more than the broken victuals.”

“What a lark!” exclaimed Mr. Crobble; “I would have given a guinea to have witnessed the fun. That cow was a trojan!”

“A star in the milky way,” cried Mr. Wallis.

We now approached the 'Plough;' and Mr. Crobble having 'satisfied' the boatman, Mr. Wallis gave me half-a-crown, and bade me make the best of my way home. I pocketed the money, and resolved to 'go on the highway,' and trudge on foot.

“Andrew,” said my worthy patron, “now don't go and make a beast of yourself, but walk straight home.”

“Andrew,” said Mr. Wallis, imitating his friend's tone of admonition; “if any body asks you to treat 'em, bolt; if any body offers to treat you, retreat!”

“Andrew,” said Mr. Crobble, who was determined to put in his oar, and row in the same boat as his friends; “Andrew,”—“Yes, Sir;” and I touched my hat with due respect, while his two friends bent forward to catch his words. “Andrew,” repeated he, for the third time, “avoid evil communication, and get thee gone from Blackwall, as fast as your legs can carry you—for, there's villainous bad company just landed here—wicked enough to spoil even the immaculate Mr. Cornelius Crobble!”

CHAPTER XI.—The Journey Home.

“Starboard, Tom, starboard!”—“Aye, aye-starboard it is!”

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I FOUND myself quite in a strange land upon parting with my master and his friends. It was war-time, and the place was literally swarming with jack-tars.

Taking to the road, for the footway was quite crowded, I soon reached Poplar. Here a large mob impeded my progress. They appeared all moved with extraordinary merriment. I soon distinguished the objects of their mirth. Two sailors, mounted back to back on a cart-horse, were steering for Blackwall. A large horse-cloth served them as a substitute for a saddle, and the merry fellow behind held the reins; he was smoking a short pipe, while his mate was making an observation with his spy-glass.

“Starboard, Tom, starboard!” cried the one in front.

“Aye, aye-starboard it is!” replied his companion, tugging at the rein.

“Holloo, messmate! where are you bound?” bawled a sailor in the crowd.

“To the port o' Blackwall,” replied the steersman. “But we're going quite in the wind's eye, and I'm afeared we shan't make it to-night.”

“A queer craft.”

“Werry,” replied Tom. “Don't answer the helm at all.”

“Any grog on board?” demanded the sailor.

“Not enough to wet the boatswain's whistle; for, da'e see, mate, there's no room for stowage.”

“Shiver my timbers!—no grog!” exclaimed the other; “why—you'll founder. If you don't splice the main-brace, you'll not make a knot an hour. Heave to—and let's drink success to the voyage.”

“With all my heart, mate, for I'm precious krank with tacking. Larboard, Tom—larboard.”

“Aye, aye—larboard it is.”

“Now, run her right into that 'ere spirit-shop to leeward, and let's have a bowl.”

Tom tugged away, and soon “brought up” at the door of a wine-vaults.

“Let go the anchor,” exclaimed his messmate—“that's it—coil up.”

“Here, mate—here's a picter of his royal majesty”—giving the sailor alongside a new guinea—“and now tell the steward to mix us a jorum as stiff as a nor'wester, and, let's all drink the King's health—God bless him.”

“Hooray!” shouted the delighted mob.

Their quondam friend soon did his bidding, bringing out a huge china-bowl filled with grog, which was handed round to every soul within reach, and presently dispatched;—two others followed, before they “weighed anchor and proceeded on their voyage,” cheered by the ragged multitude, among whom they lavishly scattered their change; and a most riotous and ridiculous scramble it produced.

I was much pleased with the novelty of the scene, and escaped from the crowd as quickly as I conveniently could, for I was rather apprehensive of an attempt upon my pockets.

What strange beings are these sailors! They have no care for the morrow, but spend lavishly the hard-earned wages of their adventurous life. To one like myself, who early knew the value of money, this thoughtless extravagance certainly appeared unaccountable, and nearly allied to madness; but, when I reflected that they are sometimes imprisoned in a ship for years, without touching land, and frequently in peril of losing their lives—that they have scarcely time to scatter their wages and prize-money in the short intervals which chance offers them of mixing with their fellow-men, my wonder changed to pity.

“A man in a ship,” says Dr. Johnson, “is worse than a man in a jail; for the latter has more room, better food, and commonly better company, and is in safety.”

CHAPTER XII.—Monsieur Dubois.

“I sha'nt fight with fistesses, it's wulgar!—but if he's a mind to anything like a gemman, here's my card!”

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THE love-lorn Matthew had departed, no doubt unable to bear the sight of that staircase whose boards no longer resounded with the slip-slap of the slippers of that hypocritical beauty, “his Mary.” With him, the romance of the landing-place, and the squad, had evaporated; and I had no sympathies, no pursuits, in common with the remaining “boys”—my newly-acquired post, too, nearly occupied the whole of my time, while my desire of study increased with the acquisition of books, in which all my pocket-money was expended.

One day, my good friend, Mr. Wallis, entered the office, followed by a short, sharp-visaged man, with a sallow complexion; he was dressed in a shabby frock, buttoned up to the throat—a rusty black silk neckerchief supplying the place of shirt and collar.

He stood just within the threshold of the door, holding his napless hat in his hand.

“Well, Wally, my buck,” cried my master, extending his hand.

Mr. Wallis advanced close to his elbow, and spoke in a whisper; but I observed, by the direction of his eyes, that the subject of his communication was the stranger.

“Ha!” said Mr. Timmis, “it's all very well, Walley—but I hate all forriners;—why don't he go back to Frogland, and not come here, palming himself upon us. It's no go—not a scuddick. They're all a parcel o' humbugs—and no mistake!”

As he uttered this gracious opinion sufficiently loud to strike upon the tympanum of the poor fellow at the door, I could perceive his dark eyes glisten, and the blood tinge his woe-begone cheeks; his lips trembled with emotion: there was an evident struggle between offended gentility, and urgent necessity.

Pride, however, gained the mastery; and advancing the right foot, he raised his hat, and with peculiar grace bowing to the two friends—“Pardon, Monsieur Vallis,” said he, in tremulous accents, “I am 'de trop;' permit, me to visdraw”—and instantly left the office.

Mr. Timmis, startled by his sudden exit, looked at Mr. Wallis for an explanation.

“By ___!” exclaimed Mr. Wallis seriously—“you've hurt that poor fellow's feelings. I would sooner have given a guinea than he should have heard you. Dubois is a gentleman; and altho' he's completely 'stumped,' and has'nt a place to put his head in, he's tenacious of that respect which is due to every man, whether he happens to be at a premium, or a discount.”

“Go it!” cried Mr. Timmis, colouring deeply at this merited reproof—“If this ain't a reg'lar sermon! I didn't mean to hurt his feelings, d___ me; I'm a reg'lar John Bull, and he should know better than to be popped at my bluntness. D___ me, I wouldn't hurt a worm—you know I wouldn't, Wallis.”

There was a tone of contrition in this rambling apology that satisfied Mr. Wallis of its truth; and he immediately entered into an explanation on the Frenchman's situation. He had known him, he said, for several years as a tutor in the family of one of his clients, by whom he was much respected: a heavy loss had compelled them suddenly to reduce their establishment; Dubois had entreated to remain with his pupil—refused to receive any salary—and had even served his old patron in the capacity of a menial, adhering to him in all his misfortunes, and only parted with him, reluctantly, at the door of the debtor's prison!

“Did he do that?” said my master; and I saw his eyes moisten at the relation. “A French mounseer do that! Game—d___ me!”—and lifting the lid of his desk, he drew out a five pound note! “Here, Wallis, tip him this flimsey! Tell him—you know what to say—I'm no speechifier—but you know what I mean.” I almost jumped up and hugged my master, I was so excited.

The next day Monsieur Dubois again made his appearance; and Mr. Wallis had the pleasure of beholding Mr. Timmis and his gallic friend on the best terms imaginable.

As for me, I had good cause to rejoice; for it was agreed that I should take lessons in the “foreign lingo,” by way of giving him “a lift,” as Mr. Timmis expressed it. I remember him with feelings of gratitude; for I owe much more than the knowledge of the language to his kindness and instruction.

As for Mr. Timmis, he could never sufficiently appreciate his worth, although he uniformly treated him with kindness.

“Talk of refinement,” said he, one day, when discussing Dubois' merits with Mr. Wallis; “I saw a bit to-day as bangs everything. A cadger sweeping a crossing fell out with a dustman. Wasn't there some spicy jaw betwixt 'em. Well, nothing would suit, but the dustman must have a go, and pitch into the cadger.

“D___ me, what does the cove do, but he outs with a bit of dirty pasteboard, and he says, says he, “I sha'nt fight with fistesses, it's wulgar!—but if he's a mind to anything like a gemman, here's my card!” Wasn't there a roar! I lugg'd out a bob, and flung it at the vagabond for his wit.”

CHAPTER XIII.—My Talent Called into Active Service.

“Ar'n't you glad you ain't a black-a-moor?”

“I should think so,” replied his sooty brother, “they're sich ugly warmints.”

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HAVING to deliver a letter, containing an account and a stock receipt, to one of Mr. Timmis's clients, residing at the west end of the town; in crossing through one of the fashionable squares, I observed a flat-faced negro servant in livery, standing at the door of one of the houses.

Two chimney sweepers who happened to be passing, showed their white teeth in a contemptuous grin at the African.

“Bob,” I overheard one remark, “ar'n't you glad you ain't a black-a-moor?”

“I should think so,” replied his sooty brother, “they're sich ugly warmints. Master's daughter, wots come from boarding school! says the sight of 'ems' enough to frighten one into conwulsions!”

Alas! for the prejudice of the world! How much this ignorant remark reminded me of my patron's unfounded hatred of all “forriners.” It was precisely the same sentiment, differently expressed, that actuated the thoughts and opinions of both.

I must, however, do Mr. Timmis the justice to say, that he made ample amends to Monsieur Dubois for the affront he had so thoughtlessly put upon the worthy Frenchman; and did all in his power to obtain him pupils.

The consequent change in his dress and manner, his amiable conduct, and gentlemanly deportment, at last completely won upon the esteem of the boisterous broker, who swore, (for that was generally his elegant manner of expressing his sincerity) that Dubois was a 'downright good'un;' and were it not for his foreign accent, he should have taken him for an Englishman born—really believing, that there was no virtue in the world but of English growth.

I had now been above twelve-months in his office, and although I had received but a moderate compensation for my services, yet the vast improvement I had made (thanks to the instruction of Monsieur Dubois,) was more valuable than gold. My father also, though but scantily furnished with book-knowledge, had, nevertheless, the good sense to appreciate and encourage my progress; he was well aware, from observation, that 'knowledge is power,' and would frequently quote the old saw, “When house, and land, and money's spent;
Then larning is most excellent”—

and spared all the money he could scrape together to purchase books for me.

One day Mr. Crobble came into the office with an open letter in his hand. “Here,”—cried he, “I've received a remittance at last from that, German fellow—two good bills on the first house in the city—but I can't make top nor tail of his rigmarole. Do you know any chap among your acquaintance who can read German?”

“Not I,” replied Mr. Timmis.

“Will you allow me, Mr. Crobble?” said I, stepping forward. “This letter is written in French, not German, Sir,” I observed.

“What's the difference to me, Master Andrew; it might as well be in wild Irish, for the matter o' that.”

“Andrew can read the lingo,” said my master.

“The devil he can!” exclaimed Mr. Crobble; “I dare say I shall be able to make it out,” said I; “and if not, Monsieur Dubois will be here; to-morrow morning, and you can have it by twelve o'clock, sir.”

“Ain't that the ticket?” exclaimed Mr. Timmis, delighted at the surprise of his friend; “you don't know how vastly clever we are, old fellow.”

Mr. Crobble, much gratified at this information, placed the letter in my hands; and, leaving me to take a lunch at Garraway's with Mr. Timmis, I eagerly sat about my task—and luckily it was not only plainly written, but the subject-matter by no means difficult, being rather complimentary than technical. By the time they returned, I had not only translated, but made a fair copy of it, in my best hand.

“Come, that is clever,” said Mr. Crobble; “let me see, now, what shall I give you?”

“Nothing, Sir,” I promptly replied; “I am Mr. Timmis's clerk—and all that I know I owe to his kindness.”

I saw, with pleasure, that this compliment was not lost upon my master.

Mr. Crobble was really a gentleman in feeling, and therefore did not persist in offering me any remuneration; but as he left the office, he said, “I thank you, Mr. Andrew—I shall not forget your services;” and departed evidently much pleased with my performance.


“EE cawnt gow back, 'cause they locks the gates,”

“Well, can we go forward, then?”—“Noa, ee cawnt, 'cause the roads are under water;”

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“EE cawnt gow back, 'cause they locks the gates,” said a bumpkin on the road-side to a Cockney-party in a one-horse chaise.

“Well, can we go forward, then?” demanded the anxious and wearied traveller.

“Noa, ee cawnt, 'cause the roads are under water;” replied the joskin, with a grin.

This was certainly a situation more ridiculous than interesting; and I smiled when I heard the story told, little suspecting that Fortune would one day throw me into a similar dilemina—so blindly do we mortals hug ourselves in the supposed security of our tact and foresight.

“How d'ye do, Mr. Andrew,” said Mr. Crobble, when he had seated himself, and sufficiently inflated his lungs, after the fatiguing operation of mounting the stairs.

“Where's Timmis?—tell him I want a word with him.”

I quickly summoned my patron, and followed him into the office.

“Well, old puff and blow!” exclaimed Mr. Timmis, with his usual familiarity.

“What's in the wind? Want to sell out? The fives are fallen three per cent. since Friday. All the 'Change is as busy as the devil in a high wind.”

“No—no more dabbling, Timmis,” replied Mr. Crobble; “I lost a cool hundred last account; I want a word in private with you”—and he glanced towards me; upon which I seized my hat, and took up my position at my old post on the landing. How were my feelings altered since I first loitered there, listening to the marvels of poor Matthew!

I was lost in a pleasant reverie, when the sharp voice of Mr. Timmis recalled me.

“Andrew,” said he, “my friend Crobble wants a clerk, and has cast his eye upon you. What do you say?”

I scarcely knew what to say. On one side stood my master, to whom I really owed so much—on the other his friend, who offered me a promotion, which I felt, on many accounts, was most attractive. “I should have no objection,” I replied, “but great pleasure in serving Mr. Crobble, sir—but—I have received so many favours from you, that I'm afraid I might seem ungrateful.”

The good-natured Mr. Wallis happily stepped in at this moment to my relief.

“Nonsense,” replied Mr. Timmis; “the stock is delivered to the highest bidder; here Crobble backs eighteen shillings a week against my half-a-crown-take him.”

I still felt some hesitation, although it was evident, from his expression, that Mr. Timmis valued the servant much less than the servant valued the master.

“Only look here, Wally,” cried he; “here stands Andrew, like an ass between two bundles of hay.”

“Rather like a bundle of hay between two asses, I think,” replied Mr. Wallis; and good-naturedly tapping me on the shoulder, he continued—“accept Mr. Crobble's offer, Master Andrew: you're much too good for Timmis—he can soon get a grubby half-crown boy—but you may wait a long time for such an eligible offer.”

“Eighteen shillings a week,” said Mr. Crobble; who, I must confess, without any particular stretch of self-esteem, appeared anxious to engage me—, “but I shall want security.”

That word “security” fell like an avalanche on my mounting spirit, and cast me headlong down the imaginary ascent my busy thoughts had climbed to!

“Five hundred pounds,” continued Mr. Crobble; “d'ye think—have you any friends?”

“None, sir; my father is a poor man, and quite unable.” I could scarcely speak—like the driver of the one-horse chaise, I could neither advance nor recede.

“The father,” said Mr. Timmis, “is only a poor shoe-maker—a good fellow tho'—an excellent fit!”

“You mean to say,” cried Mr. Wallis, “it were bootless to seek security of the shoe-maker.”

A laugh ensued; and, notwithstanding my agitated feelings, I could not forbear being tickled by Mr. Wallis's humour, and joining in the merriment.

This sally gave a most favourable turn to the discussion. “Come,” said Mr. Wallis, “I'll stand two hundred and fifty—and you, Timmis, must go the other.”

“No; d___ me, he may bolt with the cash-box, and let me in, perhaps,” exclaimed Mr. Timmis. I burst into tears; I felt, that from my long and faithful services, I deserved a better opinion—although I had no right to expect so great a favour.

Rude as he was, he felt some compunction at having wounded my feelings; and swore a round oath that he was only joking, and I was a fool. “Did I think, for a moment, that Wally should get the start of him; no—I was an honest chap, and he'd put his fist to double the amount to serve me;” and then bade me “sit to the books,” and make all square before I cut my stick: and thus happily concluded this most momentous change in my circumstances.

CHAPTER XV.—An Old Acquaintance.

“Only three holidays left, and still this plaguey glass says 'very wet;'—I can't bear it—I can't—and I won't.”

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How impatiently did I count the minutes 'till the office was closed, for I longed to communicate the glad tidings of my good fortune to my worthy father. The old man wept with joy at the prospect, and assisted me in rearing those beautiful fabrics termed castles in the air.

His own trade, by the recommendation of the rough, ill-mannered, but good-natured Mr. Timmis, had wonderfully increased; and, by making some temporary sacrifices, he was enabled to give me an appearance more suitable to the new position in which I was so unexpectedly placed. In a narrow alley, on the south side of the Royal Exchange, on the ground-floor, I found the counting-house of Mr. Crobble. Under his directions, I quickly made myself master of the details of the business. Alas! it was but the slender fragment of a once flourishing mercantile house, of which time had gradually lopped off the correspondents, whilst his own inertness had not supplied the deficiency by a new connexion; for his father had left him such an ample fortune, that he was almost careless of the pursuit, although he could not make up his mind, as he said, to abandon the “old shop,” where his present independence had been accumulated. I consequently found plenty of leisure, uninterrupted by the continual hurry and bustle of a broker's office, to pursue my favourite studies, and went on, not only to the entire satisfaction of Mr. Crobble, but to my own, and really began to find myself a man of some importance.

In the course of business, I one day fell in with an old acquaintance.

“A parcel for Cornelius Crobble, Esq.,” said a little porter, of that peculiar stamp which is seen hanging about coach-offices—“Two and-sixpence.”

I looked at the direction, and drew out the “petty cash” to defray the demand; when, then, first looking at the man, I thought I recognised his features.

“What!” cried I, “Isn't your name—”

“Matthew,” answered he quickly.

“Matthew!—why, don't you know me?”

“No, sir,” replied he, staring vacantly at me.

“Indeed!—Have I so outgrown all knowledge? Don't you recollect Andrew Mullins?”

“Good heavins!” exclaimed he, with his well-remembered nasal twang; “are you—”


“Well, I declare now you've growed into a gentleman. I should'nt—I really should'nt—” He did not say what he really “should not”—but extended his hand.—“Hope you ain't too proud to shake hands with an old friend?”

I shook him heartily by the hand, and made some enquiries touching his history.

Poor Matthew seated himself with all the ease imaginable, and laid his knot beside him, and began, after the manner of his favourite heroes, to “unbosom himself.”

“You've a father,” said he; “but I'm a horphan, without father nor mother—a houtcast!”—and he sunk his head upon his bosom; and I observed that his scrubby crop was already becoming thin and bald.

“Since I left the place in the 'lane,' I've bin a-going—down—down”—and he nearly touched the floor with his hand. “That gal, Mary, was the ruin of me—I shall never forget her.—My hopes is sunk, like the sun in the ocean, never to rise agin!” I was rather amused by this romantic, though incorrect, figure; but I let him proceed: “I've got several places, but lost 'em all. I think there's a spell upon me; and who can struggle against his fate?”

I tried to console him, and found, upon a further confession, that he had flown to spirits “now and then,” to blunt the sharp tooth of mental misery.

Here, then, was the chief cause of his want of success, which he blindly attributed to fate—the common failing of all weak minds. For my part, notwithstanding the imperial authority of the great Napoleon himself, I have no faith in Fate, believing that the effect, whether good or bad, may invariably be traced to some cause in the conduct of the individual, as certainly as the loss of a man, in a game of draughts, is the consequence of a “wrong move” by the player!—And poor Matthew's accusation of Fate put me in mind of the school-boy, who, during a wet vacation, rushed vindictively at the barometer, and struck it in the face, exclaiming—“Only three holidays left, and still this plaguey glass says 'very wet;'—I can't bear it—I can't—and I won't.”

I did all in my power to comfort the little porter, exhorting him to diligence and sobriety.

“You were always a kind friend,” said he, pathetically; “and perhaps—perhaps you will give me something to drink your health, for old-acquaintance sake.” This unexpected turn compelled me to laughter. I gave him sixpence.

Alas! Matthew, I found, was but a piece of coarse gingerbread, tricked out with the Dutch metal of false sentiment.

CHAPTER XVI.—The Loss of a Friend.

“I say, ma'am, do you happen to have the hair of 'All round my hat I vears a green villow?'”

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I WAS startled by the batho-romantic sentiment of Matthew, somewhat in the same manner as the young lady at the bookseller's, when she was accosted by a musical dustman, with—“I say, ma'am, do you happen to have the hair of 'All round my hat I vears a green villow?'”

But, however ridiculous they may appear, such incongruous characters are by no means caricatures—nay, are “as plentiful as blackberries,” especially in the lower grades of society.

I was indulging in a reverie of this sort, when Monsieur Dubois, my kind and gentlemanly tutor, abruptly entered the office. I felt proud in having obtained his friendship—for he was to me a mine of wealth, and appeared master of every subject upon which my curiosity prompted me to inquire, whilst the worthy Frenchman was so flattered by my sincere respect, that he took a delight in imparting his knowledge to so willing and diligent a scholar.

Mr. Crobble had promised that I should continue my studies, being much pleased with the proof I had been fortunate enough to give him of my progress, generously offering to defray the charges of tuition; and I found in my new place, even more time than when in the employ of Mr. Timmis: for, indeed, half-a-clerk would have been sufficient to have conducted the whole business.

I was no less surprised at the unusual abruptness of approach, than at the extraordinary excitement apparent in the manner of Monsieur Dubois; for he always boasted of his coolness and philosophy under all circumstances.

“Peace, peace!—'mon cher ami'—peace is proclaim”—cried he, raising his hat and his eyes to the dingy ceiling of our office—“Grace a Dieu!—le tyran Napoleon—le charlatan est renverse de son piedestal—oui, mon eleve—I vill see, again once more my dear France!”

He grasped my hand in his ecstasy, and tears filled his eyes to overflowing. I had heard rumours of the restoration of the Bourbons, but I had not anticipated the loss of my inestimable tutor.

I was almost ashamed of my selfishness; but vanquished my feelings so far as to congratulate him on his prospects, with as much cordiality and appearance of truth as I could assume.

“I trust, however,” said I, “that restored to your country, and your friends, you will find that happiness you so much deserve. Go where you will, you will be followed by the regrets of your English friends.”

“Ah! les Anglais!—'combien'—how motch 'reconnaissance?'” said he, “I vill have for them! I sall them forget nevare!”

Mr. Crobble interrupted our colloquy. “All right t'other side the channel, Mounseer,” cried be, elated; “we've licked Boney: he's done up; stocks are up; and Timmis, (your old master, Andrew) is as busy as a bee—only he's making money instead of honey!”

He shook hands with Monsieur Dubois; and congratulated him upon the restoration of Louis the Eighteenth.

I mentioned to him Monsieur Dubois' intention of proceeding immediately to France. “He's right,” cried he; “let every man stick to his King and his country; and I say”—he suddenly checked himself, and beckoning me aside, continued in an under tone—“Andrew, you understand this Mounseer better than I do; he appears a good fellow in the main: if he should want a lift, to fit him out for the voyage, or any thing of that sort, tell him Corny Crobble will lend him a hand, for old acquaintance sake; I shan't stick at a matter of forty or fifty pound—you understand—put it to him, as a matter of business; for that'll suit his proud stomach best, perhaps”—then, turning to Monsieur, he said, “Excuse whispering before company, Mounseer Dubois. Good morning.”

“Bon jour, Monsieur,” replied Dubois, making my obese governor one of his most graceful bows.

I was highly gratified at being selected as the medium of this generous offer; which Monsieur Dubois received without hesitation, as one who intended to repay it; but, at the same time, with the most grateful acknowledgments of Mr. Crobble's considerate kindness.

CHAPTER XVII.—Promotion.

“I, think there must be something wrong about your rowing,”

“My rowing!” cried I; “nonsense!—it's because you don't steer right.

Mullins17.jpg (78K)

“I REMEMBER, when I was a young man, I once took a fancy to rowing,” said Mr. Crobble one day to me. “I wasn't then quite so round as I am at present. Cousin Tom and I hired a wherry, but somehow we found we didn't make much way. Tom was steering, and I took the sculls, sitting my back to him like a gaby!”

“'I, think there must be something wrong about your rowing,' said Tom.

“'My rowing!' cried I; 'nonsense!—it's because you don't steer right.' Well, at last a waterman came alongside, and grinning (the fellow couldn't help it) good-naturedly, pointed out the cause of our dilemma; at which we both laughed heartily. Ever since that time I've been of opinion, that unless people, 'who row in the same boat,' understand each other, they'll never get along—”

I smiled at this lengthy prologue, not conceiving to what it could possibly lead.

“Now, Mr. Andrew,” resumed he, “I mean to be very industrious, and devote a whole day to giving you an insight into the business; after which I expect you'll pull away, while I only steer, which will suit me to a T—, you understand.”

“Exactly, sir,” I replied; and, in consequence, he really set about the task; and I soon acquired sufficient knowledge in the business, as not only to row in the same boat with him, but, what was still more agreeable to my patron's indolence, to manage the “craft” without his assistance.

Six months after the departure of Monsieur Dubois, he sent a remittance, with interest on the amount, advanced by Mr. Crobble, with a long epistle to me, stating, that he had entered into partnership with his elder brother, and commenced the business of a banker, under the firm of “Dubois Freres,” at the same time informing me that they were already doing a large stroke of business, and wanted an agent in London, requesting me to inform him if it would be agreeable to Mr. Crobble for them to draw upon his respectable house.

I saw at once the advantages of this correspondence, and so warmly solicited Mr. Crobble to accede, that he at last consented, provided I undertook the whole management of the affair.

The English were now daily flocking to Paris, and the money required for their lavish expenditure in the gay capital of France compelled their application to the bankers.

Messrs. Dubois Freres had their share of this lucrative business, and, as their agents in London, we necessarily became participators in their large transactions.

In three months these operations had increased so enormously, and the profits were so considerable, that Mr. Crobble not only advanced my salary, but consented to engage the assistance of two junior clerks. I was now a man of some consideration. I was the senior clerk of the establishment, although the youngest of the three.

In two years I found myself at the head of six clerks, and had as much business as I could possibly manage.

My star was in the ascendant. I had not only more money than I required for my expenses, but was enabled to maintain my poor old father, who daily became more and more infirm.

I rented a small cottage at the rural village of Hackney, but my labour occupied me early and late, and it was only on a Sunday I could really enjoy my home.

Three years after quitting the office of Mr. Timmis, I had the inexpressible pleasure of employing him to purchase stock for his errand boy! I was proud as a king.

“I said that boy would turn out well,” said the good-natured Mr. Wallis; “he always had a good principle.”

“And now bids fair,” said Mr. Timmis, “to have both principal and interest.”

Mr. Crobble having lately had a large property left him in Hertfordshire, rarely came to the office above once a-quarter, to settle accounts.

“A good dividend—a very good dividend!” said he, upon receipt of the last quarter's profits. “But, Mr. Mullins, I cannot forget that this business is your child.”

“And I'm happy to say a thriving one,” I replied.

“Are you satisfied—perfectly satisfied?” demanded he.

“Beyond my wishes, sir.”

“I am not,” said he shortly.

“No, sir?” exclaimed I, with surprise.

“No, Sir!” repeated he. “Those who sow should reap. I've no children—I'm an idle fellow—a drone, sir—and won't consent to consume all the honey. Don't speak, sir—read that!” and he pulled a parchment from his pocket.

It was a deed of partnership between Cornelius Crobble, of Lodge, Hertfordshire, Esquire, and the poor cobbler's son,



“De omnibus rebus.”

Rigmarole1.jpg (70K)

THE evening is calm—the sun has just sunk below the tiles of the house, which serenely bounds the view from the quiet attic where I wield the anserine plume for the delectation of the pensive public—all nature, etc.—the sky is deep blue, tinged with mellowest red, like a learned lady delicately rouged, and ready for a literary soiree—the sweet-voiced pot-boy has commenced his rounds with “early beer,” and with leathern lungs, and a sovereign contempt for the enactments of the new police-act—greasy varlets proclaim to the hungry neighbourhood—“Baked sheeps' heads, hot!”—O! savoury morsel!—May no legislative measure ever silence this peripatetic purveyor to the poor! or prevent his calling—may the tag-rag and bob-tail never reject a sheep's head!

“I never sees a sheep's head, but I thinks on you,” said Mrs. Spriggins, whose physiognomy was as yellow and as wrinkled as a duck's foot. Spriggins whipped his horse, for they were driving in a one-horse chaise, with two boys, and an infant in arms—Spriggins whipped his horse spitefully, for Mrs. S.'s sarcasm inspired him with a splenetic feeling; and as he durst not chastise her, the animal received the benefit of her impetus. Spriggins was a fool by nature, and selfish by disposition. Mrs. S. was a shrivelled shrew, with a “bit o' money;”—that was the bait at which he, like a hungry gudgeon, had seized, and he was hooked! The “spousals” had astonished the vulgar—the little nightingale of Twickenham would have only smiled; for has he not sweetly sung—

“There swims no goose so grey, but soon or late
She finds some honest gander for her mate;”

and her union was a verification of this flowing couplet.

At different times, what different meanings the self-same words obtain. According to the reading of the new poor-law guardians, “Union,” as far as regards man and wife, is explained “Separation;” or, like a ship when in distress, the “Union” is reversed! In respect of his union, Spriggins would have most relished the reading of the former! But there are paradoxes—a species of verbal puzzle—which, in the course of this ride, our amiable family of the Spriggins's experienced to their great discomfort.

Drawing up a turnpike-gate, Mrs. S. handed a ticket to the white-aproned official of the trust.

“You should have gone home the way you came out—that ticket won't do here,” said the man; “so out with your coppers—three-pence.”

“I don't think I've got any half-pence!” said Mr. S., fumbling in his pennyless pocket.

“Well, then, I must give you change.”

“But I'm afraid I hav'nt got any silver,” replied Mr. S., with a long face.—“I say, mister, cou'dn't you trust me?—I'd be wery sure to bring it to you.”

But the man only winked, and, significantly pointing the thumb of his left hand over his sinister shoulder, backed the horse.

“Vell, I'm blessed,” exclaimed Mr. S.—and so he was—with a scolding wife and a squalling infant; “and they calls this here a trust, the fools! and there ain't no trust at all!”

And the poor animal got another vindictive cut. Oh! Mr. Martin!—thou friend of quadrupeds!—would that thou had'st been there. “It's all my eye and Betty Martin!” muttered Mr. S., as he wheeled about the jaded beast he drove, and retraced the road.


“Acti labores sunt jucundi”

Rigmarole2.jpg (85K)

THE horse is really a noble animal—I hate all rail-roads, for putting his nose out of joint—puffing, blowing, smoking, jotting—always going in a straight line: if this mania should continue, we shall soon have the whole island ruled over like a copy-book—nothing but straight lines—and sloping lines through every county in the kingdom!

Give me the green lanes and hills, when I'm inclined to diverge; and the smooth turnpike roads, when disposed to “go a-head.”—“I can't bear a horse,” cries Numps: now this feeling is not at all reciprocal, for every horse can bear a man. “I'm off to the Isle of Wight,” says Numps: “Then you're going to Ryde at last,” quoth I, “notwithstanding your hostility to horse-flesh.” “Wrong!” replies he, “I'm going to Cowes.” “Then you're merely a mills-and-water traveller, Numps!” The ninny! he does not know the delight of a canter in the green fields—except, indeed, the said canter be of the genus-homo, and a field preacher!

My friend Rory's the boy for a horse; he and his bit o' blood are notorious at all the meetings. In fact I never saw him out of the saddle: he is a perfect living specimen of the fabled Centaur—full of anecdotes of fox-chases, and steeple-chases; he amuses me exceedingly. I last encountered him in a green lane near Hornsey, mounted on a roadster—his “bit o' blood” had been sent forward, and he was leisurely making his way to the appointed spot.

“I was in Buckinghamshire last week,” said he; “a fine turn out—such a field! I got an infernal topper tho'—smashed my best tile; tell you how it was. There was a high paling—put Spitfire to it, and she took it in fine style; but, as luck would have it, the gnarled arm of an old tree came whop against my head, and bonneted me completely! Thought I was brained—but we did it cleverly however—although, if ever I made a leap in the dark, that was one. I was at fault for a minute—but Spitfire was all alive, and had it all her own way: with some difficulty I got my nob out of the beaver-trap, and was in at the death!”

I laughed heartily at his awkward dilemma, and wishing him plenty of sport, we parted.

Poor Rory! he has suffered many a blow and many a fall in his time; but he is still indefatigable in the pursuit of his favourite pastime—so true is it—that

“The pleasure we delight in physic's pain;”

his days pass lightly, and all his years are leap years!

He has lately inherited a considerable property, accumulated by a miserly uncle, and has most appropriately purchased an estate in one of the Ridings of Yorkshire!

With all his love for field-sports, however, he is no better “the better,” says he, “is often the worse; and I've no notion of losing my acres in gambling; besides, my chief aim being to be considered a good horseman, I should be a consummate fool, if, by my own folly, I lost my seat!”


“Oderunt hilarem tristes.”

Rigmarole3.jpg (87K)

THE sad only hate a joke. Now, my friend Rory is in no sense a sad fellow, and he loves a joke exceedingly. His anecdotes of the turf are all racy; nor do those of the field less deserve the meed of praise! Lord F____ was a dandy sportsman, and the butt of the regulars. He was described by Rory as a “walkingstick”—slender, but very “knobby”—with a pair of mustaches and an eye-glass. Having lost the scent, he rode one day slick into a gardener's ground, when his prad rammed his hind-legs into a brace of hand-glasses, and his fore-legs into a tulip-bed. The horticulturist and the haughty aristocrat—how different were their feelings—the cucumber coolness of the 'nil admirari' of the one was ludicrously contrasted with the indignation of the astonished cultivator of the soil. “Have you seen the hounds this way?” demanded Lord F____, deliberately viewing him through his glass.

“Hounds!” bitterly repeated the gardener, clenching his fist. “Dogs, I mean,” continued Lord F____; “you know what a pack of hounds are—don't you?”

“I know what a puppy is,” retorted the man; “and if so be you don't budge, I'll spile your sport. But, first and foremost, you must lug out for the damage you have done—you're a trespasser.”

“I'm a sportsman, fellow—what d'ye mean?”

“Then sport the blunt,” replied the gardener; and, closing his gates, took Lord F____ prisoner: nor did he set him free till he had reimbursed him for the mischief he had done.

This was just; and however illegal were the means, I applauded them for the end.

Our friend B___d, that incorrigible punster, said, “that his horse had put his foot in—and he had paid his footing,”

B___d, by the bye, is a nonpareil; whether horses, guns, or dogs, he is always “at home:” and even in yachting, (as he truly boasts) he is never “at sea.” Riding with him one day in an omnibus, I praised the convenience of the vehicle; “An excellent vehicle,” said he, “for punning;”—which he presently proved, for a dowager having flopped into one of the seats, declared that she “never rid vithout fear in any of them omnibus things.”

“What is she talking about?” said I.

“De omnibus rebus,” replied he,—“truly she talks like the first lady of the land; but, as far as I can see, she possesses neither the carriage nor the manners!”

“Can you read the motto on the Conductor's button?” I demanded. “No;” he replied, “but I think nothing would be more appropriate to his calling than the monkish phrase—'pro omnibus curo!'”

At this juncture a jolt, followed by a crash, announced that we had lost a wheel. The Dowager shrieked. “We shall all be killed,” cried she; “On'y to think of meeting vun's death in a common omnibus!”

“Mors communis omnibus!” whispered B___d, and——

I had written thus far, when spit—spit—splutter—plop!—my end of candle slipped into the blacking bottle in which it was “sustained,” and I was left to admire—the stars of night, and to observe that “Charles's wain was over the chimney;” so I threw down my pen—and, as the house was a-bed—and I am naturally of a “retiring” disposition, I sought my pallet—dreaming of literary fame!—although, in the matter of what might be in store for me, I was completely in the dark!


Intercepted_Letter1.jpg (61K)


my dear sam

i've rote this ere for to let you no i'm in jolly good health and harty as a brick—and hope my tulip as your as vell——read this to sal who can't do the same herself seeing as her edication aintt bin in that line——give her my love and tell her to take care o' the kids.——i've got a silk vipe for sal, tell her; and suffing for 'em all, for i've made a xlent spec o' the woy'ge and bagg'd some tin too i can tell you; and vont ve have a blow out ven i cums amung you——napps——that's the ass——is particklar vell and as dun his dooty like a riq'lar flint——

i rode too races ar' needn't say as i vun em for napps is a houtanhouter an no mistake!

lork! didn't i make the natifs stare! and a gintlum as vos by, vanted to oan 'im an oferd any blunt for im but walker! says i there aint sick a ass as this 'ere hanimal in the hole country——besides he's like as vun o' me oan famly, for i've brot im up in a manner from the time he vos a babby!——he's up to a move or too and knows my voice jist for all the world like a Chrissen.

Red-nose Bill vot had a nook 'em down here brings this and he'll tell you all about the noose——i shall foller in about, a veek or so——tell sal to keep up her sperrits and not to lush vith Bet——i dont like that ere ooman at all——a idle wagabone as is going to the Union like vinkin——i'm no temperens cove meself as you nose, sam, but enufs enuf and as good as a feast.

The gintry as taken hervite a likin to Napps and me——they looks upon im as hervite a projidy——for he's licked all the donkies as run agin im——the vimmen too——(you no my insinnivating vay, sam,) and nobody nose better than me how to git the right sow by the ear——no sooner do i see 'em a comin vith their kids, than i slips of and doffs my tile, an i says, says i——do let the yung jentlum have a cast——and then the little in coorse begins a plegyin the old 'uns, and——so the jobs done!

——vot's to pay, my good man? says she

——oh——nothink, marm, says i, as modest as a turnip new-peeld——napps is a rig'lar racer——i dont let im hout but i'm so fond o' children!

——this here Yummeree doos the bisnis prime, for the vimmen comes over the jentlum and a pus is made up for anuther race——and in coorse i pockits the Bibs——cos vy?——napps is nothink but a good 'un.

'tother day hearin as there vos an hunt in the naborwood:——napps, says i-a——speakin to my ass——napps ve'll jist go and look at 'em——

——vell ve hadnt got no more nor a mile wen i comes slap alongside of a starch-up chap upatop of raythur a good lookin' oss.——but my i! vornt there bellows to mend; and he made no more vay nor a duck in a gutter.——i says, sir, says i, dye think ve shall be in time for the hunt? but he never turns is hed but sets bolt uprite as stiff as pitch——jist for all the world as if his mother had vashed im in starch.

——i twigs his lean in a jiffy——so i says says i “oh-you needn't be so shy i rides my own hannimal,”——

——vich i takes it vos more nor he co'd say, for his vas nothin more nor a borrod'un and if i dont mistake he vos a vitechapler——i think ive seed im a sarvin out svipes and blue ruin at the gin-spinners corner o' summerset street or petticut lane——dunno witch.

——sam, i hates pride so i cuts his cumpny——i says says i——napps it dont fit you aint a nunter you're o'ny a racer and that chaps afeard his prad vill be spiled a keeping conapny with a ass——leastways i'm o' the same opinyon in that respec consarning meself and——so i shall mizzle.

——a true gintlum as is a gintlum, sam is as difrent to these here stuck-up fellers az a sovrin is to a coronashun copper vot's on'y gilt.

vell lie turns hof over the left and vips up his animal tryin to get up a trot——bobbin up and down in his sturrups and bumpin hisself to make a show——all flummery!——he takes the middel o' the field to hisself, and i cox my i for a houtlet and spi's a gait——that's the ticket! says i; so liting the 'bacca and blowin a cloud I trots along, and had jist cum to the gait ven turnin' round to look for the gin-spinner, blow me! sam, if i didn't see the cove again heels over head over an edge——like a tumler at bartlmy fare;——vile his preshus hannimal vas a takin it cooly in the meddo!

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“vat a rum chap”—says i, a larfin reddy to bust——“vat a rum chap to go over the 'edge that vay! ven here's a riglar gait to ride through!”

——and so, i druv on, but somehow, sam, i coudn't help a thinkin' as praps the waggerbun lead broke his nek——stif as it vas! and so i said to napps——“napps,”——says i——“lets go and look arter the warmint for charity's-sake”

——napps vots as good-natur'd a ass as his master, didn't make no obstacle and so ve vent—-

——my i!——sam, i'd a stood a Kervorten and three outs ad you a bin there!——there vas my jentlum up to his nek in a duckpond——lookin' as miserribble as a stray o' mutton in a batter puddin'

“halp! halp!” says he, a spittin' the green veeds out of his mouth——“halp me, faller, and i'll stand a bob” or summat to that efeck.

——but i couldn't hold out my fin to him for larfin——and napps begun a brayin at sich a rate——vich struck me as if he vas a larfin too, and made me larf wusser than ever——

——vell, at last, i contrivis to lug him out, and a preshus figger he cut to be sure——he had kervite a new sute o' black mud, vich didn't smell particlar sveet i can tell you.

——“ain't hurt yoursef?” says i, “have you?”

——“no”——says he——“but i'm dem wet and utterably spiled”——or vords like that for he chewd'em so fine i couldn't rightly hit 'em.

——ater i'd scraped him a little desent, and he'd tip'd a hog——vich vas rayther hansum——i ax'd him vere he'd left his tile?

“tile?”——says he——a yogglin his i's and openin' his jaws like a dyin' oyster “yes your castor”——says i, “your beaver your hat.”

“Oh!”——says he, p'inting dismal to the pond——“gone to the devil d___ me!”——so vith that he takes out a red and yuller vipe, and ties it about his hed, lookin' for all the vorld like a apple-ooman.

——as he had come down hansum i in coorse ofer'd to ketch his prad vich va'n't much difficulty——and up he jumps and lepped with a squosh into the saddle——and rid of vithout as much as sayin' by your leave good luck to you or anythink else——

—-vell, this here vos the end and upshot o' that day's fun for I vos too late for the start by ten minnits——i saw 'em goin' it at a distance so i takes a sight!——but i had too much valley for napes to put im to it so as to get up vith 'em——or he might a done it praps!—-

——i've lived like a fightin cock and am as fatt as butter——but the race is goin' to begin in a hour and i must go and ketch napps who's a grazin on the commun and looks oncommun vell——so no more at present from,

Yours, my prime 'un,

dick stammer.

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