[blocks in formation]


(SAMUEL WARREN, D. C. L., 1807-77; b. Racre Denbighshire, Scotland, son of Samuel, LL.D., studied medicine at Edinburgh, taking the prize on comparative jurisprudence. In 1828 he began the study of law at the Inner Temple, London; practiced as special pleader, 1831–37 ; in the latter years was called to the bar. He contributed to Bluckwood's Magazine, 1830–31 “Passages from the Diary of a late Physician" afterwards translated into the French. He was conservative in politics, a strong supporter of Lord Derby, and published “Ten Thousand a Year” in Blackwood's, 1839. He was chosen M. P. for Leeds, of which city he was likewise Recorder. From his “Ten Thousand a Year” we select the following ludicrous incident.]

Titmouse, for the remainder of the day, felt, as may be imagined but little at his ease; for—to say nothing of his insuperable repugnance to the discharge of any of his former duties; his uneasiness under the oppressive civilities of Mr. Tagrag, and the evident disgust towards him entertained by his companions—many most important considerations arising out of recent and coming events, were momentarily forcing themselves upon his attention. The first of these was his hair, for Heaven seemed to have suddenly given him the long-coveted means of changing its detested hue; and the next was—an eyeglass, without which he had long felt his appearance and appointments to be painfully incomplete. Early in the afternoon, therefore, on the readily admitted plea of important business, he obtained the permission of the obsequious o; to de

art for the day, and instantly directed É. steps, to the well-known shop of a fashionable perfumer and peruquier, in Bond street—well-known to those at least who were in the habit of glancing at the enticing advertisements in the newspapers. Having watched through the window till the coast was clear (for he felt a natural delicacy in asking for a hair dye before people who could in an instant perceive his urgent occasion for it,) he entered the shop, where a well-dressed gentleman was sitting behind the counter, reading. He was handsome and his elaborately curled hair was of a heavenly black (so at least Titmouse considered it) that was worth a thousand of printed advertisements of the celebrated fluid which formed the chief commodity there vended.

Titmouse, with a little hesitation, asked this gentleman what was the price of their article “for turning light hair black,” and was answered, “only seven and sixpence for the smaller-sized bottle.” One was in a twinkling placed upon the counter, where it lay like a miniature mummy swathed, as it were, in manifold advertisements. “You’ll find the fullest directions within, and testimonials from the highest nobility to the wonderful efficacy of the ‘CYANOCHAITAN-THROPOPOION.’” I “Sure it will do, sir!” inquired Titmouse anxiously. “Is my hair dark enough to your taste, sir?” said the gentleman, with a calm and bland manner, “because I owe it entirely to this invaluable specific. “Do you, indeed, sir!” inquired Titmouse: adding with a sigh, “but between ourselves, look at mine!” and lifting his hat for a moment, he exhibited a great crop of bushy carrotty hair. “Whew 1 rather ugly that, sir!” exclaimed the gentleman, looking very serious. “What a curse it is to be born with such a hair: isn't it?” “I should think so, sir,” answered Titmouse mournfully: , “and do you really think, sir, that this, what's-its-name turned yours of that beautiful black?” “Think? 'Pon my honor, sir, certain; no mistake, I assure you! I was fretting myself into my grave about the color of my hair! Why, sir, there was a nobleman here (I don't like to mention names), the other day, with a head that seemed as if it had been dipped into water, and then powdered with ". dust; but I assure you, the Cyanochaitanthropopoion was too much for it; it turned black in a very short time. You should have seen his lordship's ecstacy”—the speaker saw that Titmouse would swallow anything; so he went on with a confidential air—“and in a month's time he had married a beautiful woman, whom he had loved from a child, but who would never marry a man with such a head of hair.”

1 This fearful-looking word, I wish to inform my lady readers, is a monstrous amalgamation of three or four Greek words—denoting a fluid “that can render the human hair black." Whenever a barber or perfumer determines on trying to puff off some villainous imposition of this sort, strange to say, he goes to some starving scholar and gives him half-a-crown to coin a word like the above, that shall be equally unintelligible and unpronounceable, and therefore attractive and popular.

“How long does it take to do all this, sir?” interrupted Titmouse eagerly, with a beating heart. “Sometimes two, sometimes three days. In four days' time I'll answer for it, your most intimate friend would not know you. My wife did not know me for a long while, and wouldn't let me salute her— ha, ha!” Here another customer entered; and Titmouse, laying down the five-pound note he had squeezed out of Tagrag, put the wonder-working phial into his pocket, and, on receiving his change, departed, bursting with eagerness to try the effects of Cyanochaitanthropopoion. Within half an hour's time he might have been seen driving a hard barin with a pawnbroker for a massiveooking eye-glass, which, as it hung suspended in the window, he had for months cast a longing eye upon: and he eventually purchased it (his eye-sight, I need hardly say, was perfect) for only fifteen shillings. After taking a hearty dinner in a little dusky eating house, in Rupert Street, frequented by fashionable-looking foreigners, with splendid heads of curling hair and mustachios, he hastened home. Having lit his candle, and locked his door, with tremulous fingers, he opened the papers enveloping the little phial; and glancing over their contents, got so inflamed with the numberless instances of its efficacy, detailed in brief and glowing terms—the “Duke of L, the Countess of , the Earl of, &c., &c., &c., &c. —the lovely Miss—, the celebrated Sir Little Bull's-eye (who was so gratified that he allowed his name to be used)– all of whom, from having hair of the reddest possible description were now possessed of ebon hued locks”—that the cork was soon extracted from the bottle. Having turned up his coat-cuffs, he commenced the application of the Cyanochaitanthropopoion, rubbing into his hair, eyebrows, and whiskers, with all the energy he was capable of, for upwards of half an hour. Then he read over every syllable on the papers in which the phial had been wrapped; and about eleven o'clock, having given sundry curious glances at the glass, got into bed full of exciting hopes and delightful anxieties concerning the success of the great experiment he was trying. He could not sleep for several hours. He dreamed a rapturous dream : that he bowed to a gentleman with coal

black hair, whom he fancied he had seen before, and suddenly discovered that he was only looking at himself in a glass This woke him. Up he jumped, and in a trice was standing before his little glass. Horrid he almost dropped down dead! his hair was perfectly green—there could be no mistake about it. He stood staring in the glass in speechless horror, his eyes and mouth distended to the utmost, for several minutes. Then he threw himself on the bed, and felt fainting. Up he j. jumped again, rubbed his hair desperately and wildly about—again looking into the glass; there it was, rougher than before; but eyebrows, whiskers and head, all were, if anything, of a more vivid and brilliant green. joi. Caine over him. What had all his trouble been to this? and what was to become of him? He got into bed again, and burst into a erspiration. Two or three times he got in and out of bed to look at himself again —on each occasion deriving only more terrible confirmation than before of the disaster that had befallen him. After lying still for some minutes he got out of bed, and kneeling down, tried to pray; but it was in vain—and he rose' hit choked. It was plain he must have his head shaved, and wear a wig–that was making an old man of him at once. Getting more and more disturbed in his mind, he dressed himself, half determined on starting off to Bond Street, and breaking every pane of glass in the shop window of the cruel impostor who had sold him the liquid that had so frightfully disfigured him. As he stood thus irresolute, he heard the step of Mrs. Squallop apo: his door, and recollected that

e had ordered her to bring up his teakettle about that time. Having no time to take his clothes off, he thought the best thing he could do would be to pop into bed again, draw his nightcap down to his ears and eyebrows, pretend to be asleep, and, turning his back towards the door, have a chance of escaping the observation of his landlady. No sooner thought of than done. Into bed he jumped, and drew the clothes over him—not aware, however, that in his hurry he had left his legs, with boots and trousers on, exposed to view—an unusual spectacle to his landlady, who had, in fact, scarcely ever known him in bed at so late an hour before. He lay as a still as mouse. Mrs. Squallop, after glancing at his legs, happened to direct her eyes towards the window, beheld a small phial, only half of whose dark contents were remaining—of course it was Poison. In a sudden fright she dropped the kettle, plucked the clothes off the trembling Titmouse, and cried out —“Oh, Mr. Titmouse ! Mr. Titmouse ! What have you been—” “Well, ma'm, what the devil do you mean? How dare you ” commenced Titmouse, suddenly sitting up, and looking furiously at Mrs. Squallop. A pretty figure he was. He had all his day clothes on; a white cotton nightcap was drawn down to his very eyes, like a man going to be hanged; his face was very pale, an his whiskers were of a bright green color. “Lord-a-mighty!'” exclaimed Mrs. Squallop, faintly, the moment this strange apparition presented itself; and, sinking on the chair, she pointed with a dismayed air to the ominous-looking object standing on the window shelf. Titmouse from that supposed she had found it all out. “Well—isn't it a shame, Mrs. Squallop?” said he getting off the bed, and plucking off his nightcap, exhibited the full extent of his misfortune. What d'ye think of that?” he exclaimed, staring wildly at her. Mrs. Squallop gave a faint shriek, turned her head aside, and motioned him away. o shall go mad—I shall—” “Oh, dear! oh, dear!” groaned Mrs. Squallop, evidently expecting him to leap upon her. Presently, however, she a little recovered her presence of mind, and Titmouse, stuttering with fury, explained to her what had taken place. As he went on, Mrs. Squallop became less and less able to contain herself, and at length burst into a fit of convulsive laughter, and

sat holding her hands to her fat shaking sides, as if she would have tumbled off her chair. Titmouse was almost on the

point of striking her At length, however, the fit went off; and, wiping her eyes, she expressed the greatest commiseration for him, and proposed to go down and fetch up some soft soap, and flannel, and try what “a good hearty wash would do.” Scarce sooner said than done—but, alas, in vain Scrub, scrub—lather, lather, did they both ; but the instant the soapsuds were washed off, there was the head as green as ever. “What am I to do, Mrs. Squallop’”

oaned Titmouse, having taking another ook at himself in the glass. “Why, really, I'd off to a police office, and have 'em all taken up, if as how I was you.” “No-see if I don't take that bottle, and make the fellow that sold it to me swallow what's left, and I'll smash in his shop front besides.” “Oh, you won't—you mustn't—not on no account. Stop at home a bit, and be quiet, it may go off with all this washing, in the course of the day. Soft soap is an uncommon strong thing for getting colors out—but—a—a—excuse me, Mr. Titmouse—why wasn't you satisfied with the hair God o ad given you? D'ye think he don't know a deal better than #. what was best for you? I'm blest if don't think this a judgment on you.” “What's the use of your standing preaching to me in this way, Mrs. Squallop 7 Ain't I half mad without it? . Judgment or no judgment, where's the harm of m wanting black hair any more than o: trousers? That ain’t your own hair, Mrs. Squallop; you're as gray as a badger underneath; I’ve often remarked it.” “I’ll tell you what, Mr. Himperance,” furiously exclaimed Mrs. Squallop, “you 're a liar! And you deserve what you've got. It is a judgment, and I hope it will stick by you. So take that for your sauce, you vulgar fellow. Get rid of your green air if you can' It's only carrot tops instead of carrot roots, and some like one, some the other. Ha, ha, ha!” “I’ll tell you what, Mrs. Squa—” he commenced; but she had gone, havin slammed-to the door behind her with al her force; and Titmouse was left alone in a half frantic state, in which he continued for nearly two hours. Once again he read over the atrocious puffs which had overnight inflated him to such a degree, and he now saw that they were all lies. This is a sample of them: “This divine fluid (as it was enthusiastically styled to the inventor by the lovel Duchess of Doodle) possesses the inestimable and astonishing quality of changing hair, of whatever color, to a dazzling jet black, at the same time imparting to it a rich glossy appearance, which wonderfully contributes to the imposing tout ensemble presented by those who use it. That well-known ornament of the circle of fashion, the young and lovely Mrs. Fitzfrippery, owned to the proprietor that to this surprising fluid it was that she was indebted for those unrivalled raven ringlets, which attracted the eyes of envying and admiring crowds,” and so forth. A little further on : “This exquisite effect is not in all cases produced instantaneously; much will of course depend (as the celebrated M. Dupuytren, of the Hotel Dieu, of Paris, informed the inventor), on the physical idiosyncracy of the party using it, with reference to the constituent particles of the colouring matter, constituting the fluid in the capillary vessels. Often a single application suffices to change the most hopeless-looking head of red hair to as deep a black; but, not unfrequently, the hair passes through intermediate shades and tints; all, however ultimately settling into a deep and permanent black.” This passage not a little revived the drooping spirits of Titmouse. Accidentally, however, an asterisk at the last word in the above sentence directed his eye to a note at the bottom of the page, printed in such minute type as baffled any but the strongest sight and most determined eye to read, and which said note was the following: “Though cases do, undoubtedly, occasionally occur, in which the native inherent indestructible qualities of the hair defy all attempts at change or even modification, and resist even this potent remedy: of which, however, in all his experience” (the specific had been invented for about six months) “the inventor has known but very few instances.” But to this exceedingly select class of unfortunate incurables, poor Titmouse entertained a dismal suspicion that he belonged. “Look, sir! look! Only look here what your stuff has done to my hair!” said Titmouse, on presenting himself soon after to the gentleman who had sold him the infernal liquid; and, taking off his hat, exposed the green hair. The gentleman, however, did not appear at all surprised or discomposed. “Ah, yes! I see, I see. You're in the intermediate stage. It differs in different people.” “Differs, sir! I'm going mad! I look like a green monkey.” “In me, the color was strong yellow. But have you read the descriptions that are given in the wrapper?”

“I should think so. Much good they

do me. Sir, you're a humbug—an impostor. I am a sight to be seen for the rest of my lifel ok at me, sir. Eye

brows, whiskers, and all.” “Rather a singular appearance just at resent, I must own,” said the gentleman, his face turning suddenly red all over, with the violent effort he was making to prevent an explosion of laughter. He soon, however, recovered himself, and added coolly, “if you'll only persevere.” “Persevere!” interrupted Titmouse, violently clapping his hat on his head; “I’ll teach you to persevere in taking in the public. I’ll have a warrant out against you.” “Oh, my dear sir, I’m accustomed to all this l’” “The-devil—you—are l’” gasped Titmouse quite aghast. “Oh, often—often, while the liquid is erforming the first stage of the change; {. in a day or two afterwards, the parties generally comeback smiling into my shop with heads as black as crows.” “No! But really do they, sir?” interrupted Titmouse, drawing a long breath. “Hundreds, I may say thousands, my dear sir! And one lady gave me a picture of herself, in her black hair, to make up for her abuse of me when it was in a puce color.” “But do you recollect any one's hair turning green, and then getting black?” inquired Titmouse, with trembling anxiety. *Recollect any Fifty at least. For instance, there was Lord Albert Addlehead;—but why should I name names? I know hundreds! But everything is honor and confidential here !” “And did Lord What's-his-name's hair #. green, and then black? and was it at rst as light as mine?” “His hair was redder, and in consequence it became greener, and is now blacker than ever yours will be.” “Well, if I and my landlady have this morning used an ounce, we've used a quarter of a pound of soft soap in—” “Soft soap —soft soap l. That explains all.” He forgot how well it had been already explained by him. “By heavens sir! soft soap ! You may have ruined your hair forever !” Titmouse opened is eyes and mouth with a start of terror, it not occurring to him that the intoler

« ElőzőTovább »