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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, lest I had spoiled the dinner by want of punctuality; impressed with the idea, I blushed the deepest crimson, as my name was repeatedly announced by the several livery servants, who ushered me into the library, hardly knowing what or whom I saw. At
first entrance I summoned all my fortitude, and made my new-learned bow to Lady Friendly; but, unfortunately, in bringing my left foot to the third position, I trod upon the gouty toe of poor Sir Thomas, who had followed close to my heels, to be the nomenclator of the family. The confusion this occasioned in ne 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 support 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, and observing an edition of Xenophon in sisteen volumes, which (as I had never before heard of it) greatly excited my curiosity, I rose up to examine what it could be : Sir Thomas saw what I was about, and (as I supposed) willing to save me the trouble, rose to take down the book, which made me more eager to prevent him; and, hastily laying my hand on the first volume, I pulled it forcibly : but lo; instead 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 cambric 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 dinner-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 betwixt Lady Friendly and her eldest daughter at the table. Since the fall of the wooden Xenophon, my face had been continually burning like a fire-brand; and I was just beginning 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 off 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 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 sauceboat, and knocking down a saltcellar ; 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, scarcely 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 the best for drawing out fire; and a glass of sherry was ordered from the side-board, 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 flayed and blistered. Totally unused to ardent spirit, 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 every quarter. In vain 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 the Xenophon, and covered all my features with streaks of ink in every direction. The baronet himself could not support this 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 only have excited.
“I SAY, Mister Guard, have you a gemman for Lunnun ith' coach ?” “How should I know,” said the guard. “Well,” said he, “ I am ganging about four miles whoam, and I'll gang inside, if you please, and then I can find him out mysen.” On being admitted into the coach, he addressed himself to the gentleman opposite, and said : “ Pray, sir, arn't you for Lunnun?” “Yes,” said the gentleman. “ Pray, sir, arn't you summut at singing
“What makes you ask?” said the gentleman. “I hope no defence," said he, "only sir, you mun know I'm building a mill, and in about three weeks I wants to have a sort of a house-warming,
line ? "
and, as we are very musical in our parts — I plays on the fiddle at church mysen,
my brother plays on a great long thing like a horse's leg painted, we a bit of a brass crook stuck ith' end, and puffs away like a pig in a fit; and as we have a vast of music meet
our parts, I should like to open my mill with a rory tory, and I wanted you to come and sing at it.
He then related a family anecdote : - “You mun know, sir, that my feyther died all on a sudden, like, and never give any body notice he wur going to die, but he left his family in complete profusion ; and when I found he wur dead, as I wur the eldest son, I thought I'd a right to all the money. I told t neighbors so, but they said, that though I wur the eldest son, I had no right to all the brass; but I said I wur not only the eldest, but I wur the handsomest into the bargain, for you never seed five such ugly, carrotyheaded creatures among any litter of pigs, as my five brothers and sisters. So when I found they wanted to diddle me out of my intarnal estate, I determined to take the law on the top of the regicides.” And you applied to Counsel, no doubt,” said the gentleman. “Na, I didn't,” said he, “ for I don't know him, but I went to one Lawyer Lattitat, and paid him six and eight-pence, all in good ha-pennies, and he wrote me down my destructions." The gentleman read his destructions, as he called them, which were as follows:— “You must go to the Temple, apply to a civilian, and tell him that your father has died intestate, or without a will, that he has left five children, all infantine, besides yourself; and that you wish to know if you cannot be his executor.” “Well, what did you do ?” said the gentleman. “Why, sir, I went to the Temple, and I knocked at the door, and the gentleman cum'd out himsen, and I said : pray, sir, arn’t you a silly villain ? and he ax'd me if I cum'd to insult him; and I said, why, yes, I partly cum'd a purpose : I cum'd to insult you to know what I am to do, for my feythur died detested and agen his will, and left five young infidels besides mysen, and I'm cum'd to know if I can't be his executioner.”
THE DIFFICULTY OF PLEASING.
A COUNTRY fellow and his son, they tell
As they were jogging on, a rural class
Th' old fellow minded nothing that they said,
The boy was mounted, and they had not got
Down came the son, on hearing this account, And begg'd and pray'd, and made his father mount : 'Till a third party, on a farther stretch, “ See ! see!” exclaim'd, “ that old hard-hearted wretch!