« ElőzőTovább »
for the return of his father, when your son, touching certain impressions that gentleman at last made his appear- detained in my speech of yesterday, ance, looking somewhat discomfited on the subject of Tapps's elevation to by the defeat of his candidate. the bellmanship of this highly civilized
• Ha!” said the tender-hearted and indiginious community, I beg to Robert, “ I knew how it would be! demand on what grounds you impliI see by your face Hicks has won." cate the sensibility of my remarks, and
“ By no means, Robert, he has repudiate, with disgust and obduracy, been defeated; but remember, Robert, the language and contorted epitaphs the word, ha, is a very ungentlemany which you charge me with having em. word—very ungentlemany indeed. I ployed. Sir, in the sacred discharge never say ha !"
of a duty, I scorn the most venerable “ What! Tapps made bellman? asseverations, and cast to the idolatrous Never heard of such a thing ; but no winds
consideration but the high wonder, old Simpk’s'n has it all his and paramount necessity of holding own way. We must all yield, I s'pose, equal the balance between justice and and be called whatever names he likes iniquity! Yes, this through life has to call us."
been my maximum ; and this course I “ Calling'names is very ungentle- mean to pursue, undeteriorated from many;
I never call names. Who the right path by all the eccentricities calls any body names ?"
of decorum, and all the sinuosities of “ Why, old Simpk's'n to be sure. acumen. With this explanation, which He laid 'em on pretty thick. I've I hope will be deemed satisfactory, I heard all about it, though I wasn't remain, Sir, your humble servant, there."
« J. SIMPKINSON." • Do you allude to any thing he • said to-day?"
No. 3. “ To be sure I do ; and
66 Mr Padden again sends compli
every day, I s'pose. When one has such a tidy pliments to Mr Simpkinson, and wishes little stock o' nicknames, I s'pose he
a direct answer. Did you, sir, mean don't grudge 'em to his friends." to call me a parabola, &c. ? So no
• Do you mean to say Mr Simp- more at present, but remains". kinson was so ungentlemany, so very
No. 4. ungentlemany, as to insinuate any
« Sir, I stand on my right as a personal allusion to me?" « Don't I! Who do you
I throw myself before public man. think he
the tribunal of my country, and assert meant by all that rigmarole about the privilege of a speaker, on a great parabolas, and hallucinations, and public occasion, to say what he chooses, tiger's eyes? Your eyes, you know, without being called upon for his father, are nothing to boast of ; but, if meaning. Sir, oratory would be at an I were in your shoes, I would let end, if its best prerogative were tramnobody talk of tiger's eyes-be hanged pled under foot. To no one will I be if I would !” And with this magna- answerable but to my own conscience; nimous declaration, Mr Robert swung that minotaur,whose voice I ever obey; out of the room. And now, oh reader!
and therefore, sir, in this concatena. begins the correspondence.
tion of affairs, and refusing this alle No. 1.
gorical mode of questioning, I decline “ Mr Padden sends compliments to telling whether I meant to designate Mr Simpkinson-would feel obliged you as a parabola or not. With these by explanation of following passage sentiments, I inscribe myself your in Mr S.'s speech of yesterday, viz., humble servant, J. SIMPKINSON. • Cringe to prevaricated allucination,
No. 5. and bend at shrine of deaf logisticated
“ Sir,--I must say your conduct is parabola, and yield submission to an
anatomatized hyperbole.' Also, farther very ungentlemany-very ungentle
many indeed : and I must decline the on, what was Mr S.'s intention in al. lusion to tiger's eyes ? An early Friday. Also, your son Plantagenet
honour of your society at dinner on
. answer will be an obligation.
need not renew his correspondence “ High St., Wednesday, 12th.”
with my daughter, especially as he No. 2.
has frequently neglected to pay the « SIR,In allusion to the document post. So no more, but remains your forwarded to me by the hand of Bob, humble servant, J, PADDEN."
Friday came – no dinner-party. father has forced the match, they say, Saturday came_no letter from young but I daresay Tadgy was glad enough. Plantagenet: Bob looking pleased as He'll leave the grocery business in Punch, Mary drooping and distressed; London, and settle down in Chadthe two old men fidgety, and London, field: I say, rare fun, won't it be, for in the bleared eyes of the young lover, him and Dr Darrell to live, perhaps, a desolate wilderness : and all owing next door to each other? The two to Tapps's election to the bellmanship. deceivers." What great events from trivial causes Mary deigned no reply, and our spring!
friend, the Yahoo, seemed meditating It was two months after these melan.
some other agreeable subject of concholy events that is to say, when Au- versation. Suddenly he burst out, as gust had first furtively begun to dip his he perceived certain figures advancing brush into the pallet of November, down the walk. and had already tinged the leaves of the “ Crikey ! here's a lark! Blowed elm walk of Buzzleton with the faint- if old Simpk's'n himself and Sukey est possible tinge of yellow on the ain't coming down the long walk twentieth day of August, 1837, a young and, by Jingo!" he added in a still lady was taking a disconsolate walk louder voice, “ there comes Tadgy by the side of our beautiful river- himself, creeping after 'em as if his pretty foot, plump figure, gentle eyes, nose were bleeding." -by George! It could be nobody Before the elegant youth had found else but Mary Padden! And Mary time for more exclamations, a hand Padden it was. Not far from her, was laid on his shoulderbut sulkily stalking along on the outer “Go home, Robert," said his father, row of trees, was the illustrious Bob. for it was the old gentleman who ad. It is no wonder, therefore, that Mary dressed him; “ don't speak so loud on · looked disconsolate. The Yahoo, as the public walk-I fear your impeif fur the convenience of any of the tuous courage will lead you to do passers-by, who were not entirely something ungentlemany, if I am indeaf, took care, by retaining his dis- sulted by those people. Mary, take tant position, to force the conversation my arm, look away, and pass on as if into a very audible pitch-a conversa. you never saw them." tion, by-the-by, in which he bore the In the mean time a conversation of principal part, Mary's portion of it much the same kind, though contained being extremely monosyllabic. in rather finer language, took place
Why, Mary you are certainly the between the orator and his son, Planunluckiest gal I ever saw. Tadgy is tagenet. But when the parties actually a deuce sight worse than Dr Darrell. came near, though each father kept He's to be married, they say, next tight hold of his offspring's arm, and week.”
carried his own head prodigiously A start; and, if the brute had seen elevated, it was impossible for either it, a flush of crimson, succeeded by a of the young people to look as they deadly paleness, showed that the arrow had been directed, and their eyes
for had struck; but she said nothing. a moment, but only for a moment,
- You don't seem to hear what I met. A moment is a century on some said, Mary. I was telling you that occasions. That single glance showed Tadgy"
that, however Capulet and Montagu “ I heard you, Robert ; don't talk might storm, Romeo was still Romeo, so loud ; every body will hear you." and Juliet Juliet. Tadgy's blue coat
“Well, every body has heard it al. looked rather large for him, whether ready, I s'pose. Sukey las ordered it had been originally manufactured such lots of dresses-five-and-twenty with an eye to the possibility of his bandboxes, with a bonnet, they say, getting more expanded, or that grief in each of them, from Madame La and sorrow had worn him away ;Plume, the French milliner at Chad- and his fine jolly countenance seemed field. Five-and-twenty bonnets!-think in the anxious eyes of Mary to wear a of that, Mary”
far more unhealthy hue than formerly. Mary did not think at all on the But, however these matters might be, subject, but, summoning up a little she felt satisfied that Sukey had no courage, enquired who Sukey was. place in Tadgy's thoughts, and was
Sukey Stubbs, to be sure, his own even rejoiced at the looseness of the cousin. You know yery well. It is coat, and paleness of the cheek.
With no outward recognition--with “ Robert,” he said, “by all that's heads stuck high in the air, and backs good and kind, do me just a little unbent as Maypoles, the fathers strut- favour. Tell Mary I shall be here ted on the parties pursued their to-night at nine o'clock. She can respective wayê, the meeting had taken easily come this way home from her place, and each progenitor felt mighti- aunt Margaret's where she can go to ly elated that his quarrel had been tea. Do, be a good-hearted fellow, taken up by their own flesh and blood, and tell her.
I have much to say, without giving themselves a moment's and daren't stop a moment.' time to reflect that two young people “ Wont I?" said the good-natured were, perhaps, sacrificing the happi- Robert; but, on looking round, his ness of their lifetime, because two old suppliant had hurried off and rejoined blockheads chose to play the fool.
• Wont 1?-my fine As the distance grew gradually be- Tadgy? ---That I will --why, Tadgy tween the parties, Mr Simpkinson has it all so pat, nothing can be so relaxed his hold of Tadgy's arm ; and convenient. Wont I have some fun that gentleman, finding himself at out of all this ? Let me see how I liberty, slunk cautiously behind. He can manage." And leaving the Yahoo suddenly bolted over the little walk in the midst of his, no doubt, benevo. to the water-side where he had seen the lent meditations I close this chapYahoo, who had been watching all these
ter. operations from one of the benches.
Aunt Margaret's tea-table had never to the mutual relief of the aunt and appeared so tiresome in the eyes of niece. Mary Padden. The old lady's anec- “ Wrap yourself well up, Mary," dotes seemed to have grown more pre- he said, "the night is very cold and ternaturally long than usual; the time dark. Here, take old auntie's bonnet between the cups more prolonged, and and pelisse ; what a fool you are to the dial hand of the chimney-piece come out with a bare head, and no clock absolutely paralysed. Not that cloak." Mary was dying of actual impatience “ You are very kind, Robert," anto meet my good friend Plantagenet: swered the sister, astonished no less I will venture to say she would have than pleased at the affectionate solicisurvived her disappointment if the tude of her brother. 6 I shall not meeting had been put off till that day forget how good you have been.” month ; but she felt in the uncomfort- “ I daresay you won't"-muttered able state we may suppose some the youth-" Nor Tadgy either, if I criminal to be in, when he is anxious mistake not; but come along, stuff for the time of his uncertainty to be your little feet into Aunt Margaret's
But, in addition to this, she pattens, for it has rained very lately, could not help having a vague suspicion take my arm; forward, march!" that all was not right with her new In the mean time a solitary figure found confidant the Yahoo; for that was pacing impatiently up and down individual had not been quite able to the middle walk. As the hour of ninc conceal the existence of something or approached, he seemed more and more other more than he had told her. He impatient; the walk, partly from the had also promised to call for her, cloudiness of the evening, and partly and conduct her through the elm from the umbrageousness of the foliwalk ; and amid Mary's
wonderings age, was nearly dark, and in vain he and speculations, and in her present strained his eyes in the direction oj state of uncertainty, it is not very Aunt Margaret's, to catch a glimpse surprising that Aunt Margaret thought of any one approaching. He stoot her a very disagreeable visiter, and still, and listened ; at last he though even had some slight idea of alter- he heard a distant sound of footsteps ing her will. At the appointed time, and hastily retreated to the littı. however, the Yahoo appeared, and beach, surrounded with bushes, an after a few delicate insinuations against facing the river.
66 What a goo old maids, (for the edification of Aunt fellow," he muttered half aloud, “ tha Margaret,) marched off his sister, horrid Yahoo has turned. It was a
good in him to recommend me dress- “ and you, you old debauchee,” he ing in my father's clothes, gaiters, continued, turning his look on the shoes, and all, besides his broad hat peculiar hat and long-backed coat of and spectacles. Even if Mary is een his antagonist, Mr Simpkinson--"I'll with a man, people can't say any work you both for this. I'll expose thing when they think it is my them both, if Margaret had ten times father; and, besides, it is impossible five thousand pounds. Malicious for him to hear of my having met wretch! thrashing indeed! most unwith her, as I defy any one to swear gentlemany language! very." to my identity in these clothes."
The old gentleman, however, “ Here we are," said Bob at this managed to restrain his wrath within moment, “never mind the bonnet, peaceable bounds, and strained every 'tis Mary, I assure you. I will go nerve to catch some more of the conand keep guard, but don't be long.' versation. But it appears to have
Mr Bob then walked directly to- sunk into quieter channels, and glided wards the biggest tree in our parish, at its own sweet will from the past to which is called the Pilgrim's Elm, the future, and, indeed, through all the and is not above fifty yards south of tenses of the verb amare. the resting-place of the lovers. Hid- “ Come, now, I must go," said den from observation, even if it had Mary, " 'tis getting late.' been daylight, behind its gigantic “ Not yet, my dear girl, we may trunk stood no other than Mr Padden not meet again for a long time;" and himself.
while Mary rose to go, and Tadgy • You see if all I say aint true, argued to detain her, I will not unfather," said the son ; you go and dertake to swear, that the broad hat watch them-such billing and cooing of the gentleman did not lift up the never was---disgraceful! phaugh!" front of the straw bonnet in a very
The old gentleman said nothing, peculiar fashion. but stole quietly to the south end of “ Kissed her, by all that's beastly !" the little clump of bushes, from which ejaculated Mr Padden, as he hurried he could catch dim glimpses of human round the clump to confront them as figures, and hear indistinct murmurs they emerged into the middle walkof human voices. The conversation “ If he isn't a parabola, and an allubetween the lovers, as indeed I believe cination too, or something worse, if is fitting on such occasions, was car. any thing can be worse, I'm no gen. ried on in a tone which would scarcely tleman, that's all." have reached an ear placed nearer to As he rushed to the north end of them than that of Mr Padden. A the bushes, he came suddenly on the very short time sufficed to explain to object of his search, but Mary had each other their sorrow at the dis. disappeared. Mr Simpkinson had his agreement of their fathers; and, as I mouth apparently so filled with big do not pretend to paint Mary as alto. words, that they tumbled and jostled gether perfect, I will not deny that over each other in their effort to she made enquiries about Sukey escape. Stubbs, though she felt convinced, • Sir," he began,“ in all my expewithout Plantagenet’s assertions, that rience of the subtleties of privy conthere was no real ground for the re- spiracy and rebellion, this is the grand port. When Tadgy had told her that climacteric and apex. Here have I such an idea had never entered into been listening to the plans of your any body's head, and was a vile crea- daughter, who is deluding my tion of Master Bob's malice, Mary son. could not refrain from raising her “ My daughter!" broke in Mr Padvoice a little, while she said,
your son, sir! · My sister you “ My brother is certainly the most mean, and yourself-most ungentlespiteful and malicious wretch in all many behaviour! Haven't I seen you the world !"
with my own eyes, salute that foolish “ A good thrashing would do him old woman, for the sake of her five no harm,” was the rejoinder of Plan- thousand pounds in the four per cents tagenet, in the same tone.
---haven't I heard you say that a “ You old abominable flirt !” thrashing, sir-a thrashing would do thought Mr Padden, before whose me good ; your conduct is ungentle. eyes floated indistinctly the cloak and many, sir- very ụngentlemany inbonnet of his sister, Aunt Margaret ; deed !"
" What do you mean, sir, you hy- the parties implicated, and after the percritical paradigma? hasn't your own lapse of a few minutes, all had obeyed son, Robert, told me the whole plot; his summons, with the exception of that you told your daughter to dis- the Yahoo. Mr Plantagenet, on partguise herself like her aunt, to have the ing from Mary, had returned to the opportunity of meeting John Planta- walk, and, having nothing better to do, genet Simpkinson, my son ? Haven't had carried into execution his long I seen their meeting? I pause for a cherished resolution of thrashing that reply !"
unfortunate victim to his heart's con. “ This won't do with me, Mr Simp. tent; an operation for which it is kinson, nor with any gentleman. highly probable he could not have had There is no mistaking your hat and a better opportunity if he had waited coat-nor poor sister Margaret's cloak a century; for our whole civic force and bonnet; and, as her nearest relation, was occupied guarding the prisoners I shall see that she is not trided with at the mayor's, and the night was dark, -good-night, sir.”
and the walk deserted. “ By no means, sir," exclaimed the It may be observed, as an illustraorator, " this is a point involving gi. tion of the certainty of retribution even gantic considerations of preponder- in this world, that when the party ance and importance. Your danghter assembled at the mayor's discovered has inveigled my son to this candle- the cause of Mr Bob's absence; the stine meeting, and you now cast the justice of the treatment he had expeiniquity upon me. You shall account rienced, struck every one as so exemfor this before we part."
plary, that, in fact, it acted as a bond A low whistle at this instant hin- of union between the Montagus and dered the two chief inhabitants of Capulets, and rose in the eyes of the Buzzleton from giving each other a indignant Mr Simpkinson to the digbloody nose ; for no sooner was the nity of a providential dispensation. whistle heard than the fons et origo All things were easily explained—the mali, the identical Mr Tapps, the bell. orator went even so far as to withdraw man, assisted by his former rival, Mr the expressions parabola and halluci. Hicks, who, by way of a compensation, nation, and Mr Padden professed himhad been made supernumerary consta- self perfectly satisfied with so gentleble, rushed forward on the belligerents, many a proceeding. and arrested them, informing them, at That night there was a jolly supper the same time, that his worship the at Mr Simpkinson's house-a supper, mayor had received information from I am bound to observe, where the Mr Robert Padden of their intention jokes that took place about the misto fight a duel.
takes caused by that eloquent indiviHere was confusion worse confound- dual's coat and hat, and Aunt Mared !-Our two dignitaries to be marched garet's cloak and bonnet, bade fair to in charge of the authorities to his wor- produce a realization of a close conship's house, and thence, after exami- nexion between those useful articles nation, to be either bound over to keep of apparel. Mr Padden looked a little the peace, or consigned to the cage! alarmed; but the fit passed off, Mr Mutual danger smoothed the way in a Simpkinson is still one great man and great measure to a mutual accommo- unmarried. The Yahoo has been a dation, and when at last our magnates settler in Australia for a year; and the appeared in the mayor's parlour, they christening of John Plantagenet Simp. seemed to have almost renewed their kinson, junior, took place about six ancient friendship. The eloquence of months since. Our friend Tadgy has Mr Simpkinson had seldom shone so retired from London, and, with his much as in his explanation to the wife, resides alternately with the two mayor of all the circumstances of the sires. He is church warden, and holds case; but that official being perhaps two or three offices besides ; for now not so deeply read in Cicero as was that the two families are united, they becoming for so high an officer, pro- make one parish in a regular pocket fessed himself totally at a loss to com- borough. No other interest can resist prehend one syllable of the whole them, so that one of the morals to be transaction. Under these circumstan- derived from this story is, that divices, he judged it best to send for all sion is weakness, and union strength.