« ElőzőTovább »
family is courted by the surrounding families (especially by those who have marriageable daughters). From these gentlemen I have received familiar calls, and the most pressing invitations, and though I wished to accept their offered friendship, I have repeatedly excused myself under the pretence of not being quite settled; for the truth is, that when I have rode or walked, with full intention to return their several visits, my heart has failed me as I approached their gates, and I have frequently returned homewards, resolving to try again to-morrow.
However, I at length determined to conquer my timidity, and three days ago accepted of an invitation to dine with one, whose open easy manner left me no room to doubt a cordial welcome. Sir Thomas Friendly, who lives about two miles distant, is a baronet, with about two thousand pounds a year estate, joining to that I purchased; he has two sons, and five daughters, all grown up, and living with their mother and a maiden sister of Sir Thomas's, at Friendly Hall, dependant on their father. Conscious of my unpolished gait, I have for some time past taken private lessons of a professor, who teaches “grown gentlemen to dance;” and though I at first found wonderous difficulty in the art he taught, my knowledge of the mathematics was of prodigious use, in teaching me the equilibrium of my body, and the due adjustment of the centre of gravity to the five positions. Having now acquired the art of walking without tottering, and learned to make a bow, I boldly ventured to obey the baronet's invitation to a family dinner, not doubting but my new acquirements would enable me to see the ladies with tolerable intrepidity: but, alas! how vain are all the hopes of theory when unsupported by habitual practice. As I approached the house, a dinner bell alarmed my fears, Test I had spoiled the dinner by want of punctuality; impressed with this idea, I blushed the deepest crimson, as my name was repeatedly announced by the several livery servants, why ushered me into the library, hardly knowing what or whom I saw. At my first entrance, I summoned all my fortitude, and made my new-learned bow to Lady Friendly, but unfortunately in bringing back my left foot to the third position, I trod upon the gonty
toe of poor Sir Thomas, who had followed close at my heels, to be the nomenclator of the family. The confusion this occasioned in me, is hardly to be conceived, since none but bashful men can judge of my distress, and of that description the number, I believe, is very small. The baronet's politeness by degrees dissipated my concern, and I was astonished to see how far good breeding could enable him to suppress his feelings, and to appear with perfect ease, after so painful an accident.
The cheerfulness of her ladyship, and the familiar chat of the young ladies, insensibly led me to throw off my reserve and sheepishness, till at length I ventured to join in conversation, and even to start fresh subjects. The library being richly furnished with books in elegant bindings, 1 conceived Šir Thomas to be a man of literature, and ventured to give my opinion concerning the several editions of the Greek classics, in which the baronet's opinion exactly coincided with my own. To this subject I was led, by observing an edition of Xenophon in sixteen volumes, which (as I had never before heard of such a thing) greatly excited my curiosity, and I rose up to see what it could be. Sir Thomas saw what I was about, and (as I supposed) willing to save me trouble, rosé to take down the book, which made me more eager to prevent him, and bastily laying my hand on the first volume, I pulled it forcibly; but, lo! iustead of books, a board, which by leather and gilding had been made to look like sixteen volumes, came tumbling down, and unluckily pitched upon a Wedgewood inkstand on the table under it. In vain did Sir Thomas assure me there was no harm; I saw the ink streaming from an inlaid table on the Turkey carpet, and scarce knowing what I did, attempted to stop its progress with my cambrie handkerchief. In the height of this confusion, we were informed that dinner was served up, and I with joy perceived that the bell, which at first had so alarmed my fears, was only the half-hour dinnre bell.
In walking through the hall and suite of apartments, to the dining-room, I had time to collect my scattered senses, and was desired to take my seat between Lady Friendly and her eldest daughter at the table. Since the fall of the wooden Xenophon, my facc had been
continually burning like a firebrand, and I was just bevinning to recover myself, and to feel comfortably cool, when an unlooked-for accident rekindled all my heat and blushes. Having set my plate of soup too near the edge of the table, in bowing to Miss Dinah, who politely complimented the pattern of my waistcoat, I tumbled the whole scalding contents into my lap.-In spite of an immediate supply of napkins, to wipe the surface of my clothes, my black silk breeches were not stout enough to save me from the painful effects of this sudden fomentation, and for some minutes my legs and thighs seemed stewing in a boiling cauldron; but recollecting how Sir Thomas had disguised his torture, when I trod upon his toe, I firmly bore my pain in silence, and sat with my lower extremities parboiled. amidst the stifled giggling of the ladies and the servants.
I will not relate the several blunders which I made during the first course, or the distress occasioned by my being desired to carve a fowl, or help to various dishes that stood near me, spilling a sauce-boat, and knocking down a salt-seller; rather let me hasten to the second course, “where fresh disasters overwhelmed me quite.”
I had a piece of rich sweet pudding on my fork, when Miss Louisa Friendly begged to trouble me for a pigeon, that stood near me; in my haste, scarce knowing what I did, I whipped the pudding into my mouth, hot as a burning coal; it was impossible to conceal my agony, my eyes were starting from their sockets. At last, in spite of shame and resolution, I was obliged to drop the cause of torment on my plate. Sir Thomas and the ladies all compassionated my misfortune, and each advised a different application; one recommended oil, another water, but all agreed that wine was best for drawing out the fire; and a glass of sherry was brought me from the sideboard, which I snatched up with eagerness : but, oh! how shall I tell the sequel ? whether the butler' by accident mistook, or purposely designed to drive me mad, he gave me the strongest brandy, with which I filled my mouth already flead and blistered. Totally unused to every kind of ardent spirits, with my tongue, throat, and palate, as raw as beef, what could I do? I could not swallow, and clapping my hands upon my mouth, 'the cursed liquor squirted through my nose and fingers like a fountain, over all the dishes; and I was crushed by bursts of laughter from all quarters. In vaiu did Sir Thomas reprimand the servants, and Lady Friendly chide her daughters; for the measure of my shame and their diversion was not yet complete. To relieve me from the intolerable state of perspiration which this accident had caused, without considering what I did, I wiped my face with that ill-fated handkerchief which was still wet from the consequences of the fall of Xenophon, and covered my features with streaks of ink in every direction. The baronet himself could not support the shock, but joined his lady in the general laugh; while I sprung from the table in despair, rushed out of the house, and ran home in an agony of confusion and disgrace, which the most poignant sense of guilt could not have excited.
Thus, without having deviated from the path of moral rectitude, I am suffering torments like a “ gobJin damned.” The lower half of me has been almost boiled, my tongue and mouth grilled, and I bear the mark of Cain on my forehead: yet these are but triAing considerations to the everlasting shame which I must feel, whenever this adventure sball be mentioned; perhaps by your assistance, when my neighbours know how much I feel on the occasion, they will spare a bashful man ; and (as I am just informed my poultice is ready) I trust you will excuse the haste in which I subscribe myself," Yours, &c. MONGRELL MORELL.
ANECDOTE AND WIT.
No. 10.-CARDINAL ANGELOTTO, THIS man, notorious for the weakness of his intellect, and the meanness of his disposition, was very fond of detracting from the merit of others. One day, when Pope Eugenio IV. was at Florence, a lad of ten years old was ivtroduced to his holiness in the presence of the cardinal. The youth addressed the pope in a
speech, which, for gravity and wisdom, much exceeded bis years. “It is common," observed Angelotto, when the rest of the audience praised the oration, “ for young persons, endowed with premature talents, to fall into an early decay of parts.”. “ Then, my lord cardinal,” replied the youth," you must have had very extraordinary talents when you were young."
ALGERIN E SAGACITY. MAHOMED EFFENDI, Dey of Algiers, about the middle of the last century, was reckoned the most able, and likewise the most equitable of those princes who
eve, for many years, governed the Algerines. His promotion to sovereign power was involuntary; for be, no doubt, dreaded the fate of his predecessors, of whom no less than twenty-three perished by violent deaths. He was compelled, nevertheless, by the janissaries, to accept of a dignity, which, notwithstanding his justice and sagacity, proved as fatal to himself as to former princes ; for he also, a short time after his advanceinent, fell by assassination. The following instance of his justice, in which, however, his procedure was somewhat summary, was also, and certainly with as much reason, accounted an instance of his sagacity:-Slaves among the Algerines are permitted, either by shopkeeping or otherwise, and on paying their master a certain sum, to earn a little money for themselves. This they may employ, and very frequently do employ, in purchasing their freedom. A slave, named Almoullah, kept an oil-shop, and found his gains increase so very fast, that he soon accumulated seventy sequins, amounting to about thirty pounds sterling. Other fifty sequins would have procured him his freedom. Fearing, however, that, as he was reckoned wealthy, he might be robbed, and have no redress, he gave his money in trust to a Moor, who lived in his neighbourhood, and in whose friendship, as well as integrity, he had the utmost copfidence.His profits soon afterwards became so considerable, that he found himself in possession of the fifty sequins be so earnestly wished for. He thus anticipated, with secret rapture, his delivery from bondage, and return to his native land.