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object that presented itself to the eyes of the lovers, was an enormous placard on a man's back, containing, in letters at least three inches long, the words "Tapps for Bellman ;" and in smaller letters, "come to the poll on Tuesday the eleventh." I do not know whether any thrill of sympathe. tic horror rushed through the hearts of Mary and her admirer on seeing those appalling words; but it is highly probable, if they had foreseen all the misfortunes that those large red letters gave rise to, they would have wished that the father of Mr Tapps the candidate had died in his infancy, or that Tapps himself had been run over by the Manchester and Liverpool train. I have no reason to suppose, however, that any of those aspirations with regard to Mr Tapps or his father were uttered by either of our friends; so I will not detain the reader any longer, but inform him that, with a heavy heart, a large trunk, and two carpetbags, Plantagenet Simpkinson took his departure from Buzzleton on the following day, and in due course of time arrived at his destination in the city. And there, for a short space, I leave him to his invoices and bills of lading-his three-legged stool, and his letter once a-week to the truehearted Mary Padden.
I don't believe that there ever was a man who was a great orator, or a great poet, or a great any thing, (except perhaps a great ass,) without knowing it. There never was such a thing as a mute inglorious Milton, a dumb Demosthenes, or a blind Thomson of Duddingstone. It is therefore not to be supposed that Mr Simpkinson, senior, was ignorant of his own powers; so far from it, indeed, that I have even heard it hinted, that, if it were possible, he overrated them; but this, even if it were true, is a very venial fault, for it is surely much better to be a little anxious to discover and dwell upon modest merits, wherever they are found, whether in one's self or in others, than to deny or undervalue them. There were few things in which Mr Simpkinson found himself deficient ;-history, theology, architecture, sporting, politics, business, or accomplishments, were equally at his finger-ends; but his forte, as I have already hinted in my attempt to explain the reason of his calling his son Plantagenet instead of Stubbs, was
NO. CCLXXXVII, VOL, XLVI.
decidedly oratory. He was oratorical at breakfast, at dinner, in the newsroom, in buying a pound of snuff, in ordering a pair of trowsers. In fact, he was altogether an orator; and you could no more have stood five minutes under an archway with him than with Edmund Burke, without discovering that he was an extraordinary man. Mr Simpkinson was of no profession : it was hinted he was sleeping partner in the Chadfield clothmills, and also that he had a share in Stubbs's brewery; but whether he had entered into any of those speculations or not, does not materially concern any body but himself. Mr Padden also lived, as the phrase has it, on his means-a plain man, without much affectation, except an affectation of knowing whether any thing was "gentlemany” or not, -a sort of provincial Chesterfield, who forgave any thing, however wrongmurder itself, I verily believe-provided it were done in a gentlemanly manner. His origin, like that of the Guelph family, was unknown. He maintained a strict silence, as indeed you find is done by all the real aristocracy, on the subject of his ancient descent, and even on the inferior point of the achievements of his former days; but people in our town suspected, from an almost superhuman knowledge he displayed about ribbons and sarsenets, that he must have come from Coventry. This suspicion had been hinted to him by one or two of his acquaintance; but he showed so much touchiness and irritability on the subject, that few people would have ventured to renew the insinuation. This, I grant, is a very meagre account of our two chief inhabitants; but I hope any deficiency in exactness or resemblance will be supplied in the next edition of Lord Brougham's sketches of distinguished characters in the reigns of the two last Georges. Therein also, let it be permitted me to hope, that Tapps will not be forgotten.
On the eventful Tuesday the eleventh, the whole town rushed distractedly to the town-hall: Tapps on the one side of the chair, Hicks the rival candidate on the other; the mayor between the two, looking as like as he could to Hercules between vice and virtue; the expectant faces of the assemblage-for it was rumoured that Mr Simpkinson would speak-these, with the inferior accessories of clerks
at the table, and the widow of the deceased Bellman in the foreground, bearing the badge of her late husband's office, during this momentous interregnum formed a subject which I feel surprised has not yet been seized upon by Hayter or Wilkie. A bustle is heard in the middle of the hall-an arm bearing aloft a best white beaver, waves impatiently forward to the chair-a way is made, and Mr Padden mounts the steps, and turns towards the audience as if in act to speak. He speaks, he swells, he waves his hand, he thumps the table. Oh heavens! oh earth! oh sea! he concludes a powerful harangue by proposing Hicks! What! Padden propose Hicks-when he knew-when all Buzzleton-when all England knew, that Simpkinson supported Tapps! Astonishment kept the whole assembly silent for a space, which was only interrupted by the short proud cough with which the orator cleared his throat. His throat was at last cleared; he stood forward a little, and, beginning in a low tone of voice, he worked himself into a paroxysm of eloquence; then sinking his tone again, went through the whole compass of his wonderful voice, fleeching, praying, roaring, bullying, scolding, stamping, and thumping, sometimes the little table, sometimes one hand against the other, till it was impossible not to believe that he was Demosthenes, and was speaking Greek. I have every reason to believe, that what he did say was, in fact, as good
every bit as that illustrious language to the greater part of his auditory. "When I reflect," he said, "on the momentaneous interests for which we are here dissembled, I feel that in this question is evolved, not the mere office of bellman, high and honourable as that office is, but the glory, the might, the power and independence of the rate-payers of Buzzleton. What! are we to cringe to a divaricated hallucination? Are we to bend ourselves at the shrine of a dephlogis ticated parabola, and yield intense submission to the dictates of an ana thematized hyperbole? Perish the thought! Tapps, and no other-no Hicks-creeping through existence under the adumbrated essence of metaphorical seclusion!-no Hicks-bearing aloft in one hand the embodied ingenuity of detruncated velocity; and, in the other, the faded majesty of meretricious susceptibility no Hicks, with the tiger eyes of humanity breathing forth the condensed malig nity of atrocious horror!-Tapps! Tapps only, shall be bellman of this town!"-(great cheers.)
But it is impossible to report the speech as it deserves, and, therefore, as I recollect reading in some book of criticism, that the great art of elevating one's hero, consists not in mere description, but in representing the effects produced by him upon others, I shall proceed to the next morning, namely Wednesday the 12th, when the following correspondence took place.
But here, before entering on this very disagreeable portion of my task, I cannot forbear venting a few sighs over the uncertainty of friendship. A chain that it has taken years to rivet, may be puffed in fifty pieces by a few syllables ;—in that respect resembling the knot which jugglers tie upon a handkerchief, apparently strong enough to hang the most determined and fattest of suicides, but which, by being simply blown upon, untwines itself in an instant, and leaves not a vestige of its ever having been tied. Oh juggler's knot! oh friendship! (not to continue the interjections, and say) oh love! you ought all three to be ashamed of yourselves, and not be blown aside by a few puffs of wind,
whether those puffs are mere inarticulate blowings, such as those with which, in my impatient youth, I used to cool my pudding, or form themselves into words and syllable men's names. Who could have thought that a friendship of twenty years could have been dissolved by such a very inconsiderable event as the election of John Tapps to the bellmanship of Buzzleton? Yet, so it was; and the volcano that smouldered in the bosom of Mr Padden was blown up to explosive heat, and astounded our peaceable town with a prodigious eruption, in the manner I now proceed to relate.
On the evening of Tuesday, our amiable friend Bob waited impatiently
for the return of his father, when that gentleman at last made his appearance, looking somewhat discomfited by the defeat of his candidate.
"Ha!" said the tender-hearted Robert, "I knew how it would be! I see by your face Hicks has won." "By no means, Robert, he has been defeated; but remember, Robert, the word, ha, is a very ungentlemany word-very ungentlemany indeed. I never say ha!"
"What! Tapps made bellman? Never heard of such a thing; but no wonder, old Simpk's'n has it all his own way. We must all yield, I s'pose, and be called whatever names he likes to call us."
"Calling names is very ungentlemany; I never call names. calls any body names ?"
Why, old Simpk's'n to be sure. He laid 'em on pretty thick. I've heard all about it, though I wasn't there."
"Do you allude to any thing he said to-day ?"
"To be sure I do; and every day, I s'pose. When one has such a tidy little stock o' nicknames, I s'pose he don't grudge 'em to his friends."
"Do you mean to say Mr Simpkinson was so ungentlemany, so very ungentlemany, as to insinuate any personal allusion to me ?"
"Don't I! Who do you think he meant by all that rigmarole about parabolas, and hallucinations, and tiger's eyes? Your eyes, you know, father, are nothing to boast of; but, if I were in your shoes, I would let nobody talk of tiger's eyes-be hanged if I would!" And with this magnanimous declaration, Mr Robert swung out of the room. And now, oh reader! begins the correspondence.
"Mr Padden sends compliments to Mr Simpkinson-would feel obliged by explanation of following passage in Mr S.'s speech of yesterday, viz., Cringe to prevaricated allucination, and bend at shrine of deaf logisticated parabola, and yield submission to an anatomatized hyperbole.' Also, farther on, what was Mr S.'s intention in allusion to tiger's eyes? An early answer will be an obligation. "High St., Wednesday, 12th." No. 2.
"SIR, In allusion to the document forwarded to me by the hand of Bob,
your son, touching certain impressions detained in my speech of yesterday, on the subject of Tapps's elevation to the bellmanship of this highly civilized and indiginious community, I beg to demand on what grounds you implicate the sensibility of my remarks, and repudiate, with disgust and obduracy, the language and contorted epitaphs which you charge me with having employed. Sir, in the sacred discharge of a duty, I scorn the most venerable asseverations, and cast to the idolatrous winds every consideration but the high and paramount necessity of holding equal the balance between justice and iniquity! Yes, this through life has been my maximum; and this course I mean to pursue, undeteriorated from the right path by all the eccentricities of decorum, and all the sinuosities of acumen. With this explanation, which I hope will be deemed satisfactory, I remain, Sir, your humble servant, " J. SIMPKINSON."
"Mr Padden again sends complipliments to Mr Simpkinson, and wishes a direct answer. Did you, sir, mean to call me a parabola, &c.? So no more at present, but remains"
"SIR,-I stand on my right as a public man. I throw myself before the tribunal of my country, and assert the privilege of a speaker, on a great public occasion, to say what he chooses, without being called upon for his meaning. Sir, oratory would be at an end, if its best prerogative were trampled under foot. To no one will I be answerable but to my own conscience; that minotaur, whose voice I ever obey; and therefore, sir, in this concatenation of affairs, and refusing this allegorical mode of questioning, I decline telling whether I meant to designate you as a parabola or not. With these sentiments, I inscribe myself your J. SIMPKINSON.' humble servant,
No. 5. “SIR,—I must say your conduct is very ungentlemany-very ungentlemany indeed: and I must decline the honour of your society at dinner on Friday. Also, your son Plantagenet need not renew his correspondence with my daughter, especially as he has frequently neglected to pay the So no more, but remains your post. J. PADDEN." humble servant,
Friday came-no dinner-party. Saturday came-no letter from young Plantagenet: Bob looking pleased as Punch, Mary drooping and distressed; the two old men fidgety, and London, in the bleared eyes of the young lover, a desolate wilderness and all owing to Tapps's election to the bellmanship. What great events from trivial causes spring!
It was two months after these melancholy events that is to say, when August had first furtively begun to dip his brush into the pallet of November, and had already tinged the leaves of the elm walk of Buzzleton with the faintest possible tinge of yellow-on the twentieth day of August, 1837, a young lady was taking a disconsolate walk by the side of our beautiful riverpretty foot, plump figure, gentle eyes, -by George! It could be nobody else but Mary Padden! And Mary Padden it was. Not far from her, but sulkily stalking along on the outer row of trees, was the illustrious Bob. It is no wonder, therefore, that Mary looked disconsolate. The Yahoo, as if for the convenience of any of the passers-by, who were not entirely deaf, took care, by retaining his distant position, to force the conversation into a very audible pitch-a conversation, by-the-by, in which he bore the principal part, Mary's portion of it being extremely monosyllabic.
Why, Mary you are certainly the unluckiest gal I ever saw. Tadgy is a deuce sight worse than Dr Darrell. He's to be married, they say, next week."
A start; and, if the brute had seen it, a flush of crimson, succeeded by a deadly paleness, showed that the arrow had struck; but she said nothing.
"You don't seem to hear what I said, Mary. I was telling you that Tadgy"
"I heard you, Robert; don't talk so loud; every body will hear you." "Well, every body has heard it already, I s'pose. Sukey has ordered such lots of dresses-five-and-twenty bandboxes, with a bonnet, they say, in each of them, from Madame La Plume, the French milliner at Chadfield. Five-and-twenty bonnets!-think of that, Mary"
Mary did not think at all on the subject, but, summoning up a little courage, enquired who Sukey was.
Sukey Stubbs, to be sure, his own
You know very well. It is
father has forced the match, they say, but I daresay Tadgy was glad enough. He'll leave the grocery business in London, and settle down in Chadfield: I say, rare fun, won't it be, for him and Dr Darrell to live, perhaps, next door to each other? The two deceivers."
Mary deigned no reply, and our friend, the Yahoo, seemed meditating some other agreeable subject of conversation. Suddenly he burst out, as he perceived certain figures advancing down the walk.
"Crikey! here's a lark! Blowed if old Simpk's'n himself and Sukey ain't coming down the long walkand, by Jingo!" he added in a still louder voice," there comes Tadgy himself, creeping after 'em as if his nose were bleeding."
Before the elegant youth had found time for more exclamations, a hand was laid on his shoulder
"Go home, Robert," said his father, for it was the old gentleman who addressed him; "don't speak so loud on. the public walk-I fear your impetuous courage will lead you to do something ungentlemany, if I am insulted by those people. Mary, take my arm, look away, and pass on as if you never saw them."
In the mean time a conversation of much the same kind, though contained in rather finer language, took place between the orator and his son, Plantagenet. But when the parties actually came near, though each father kept tight hold of his offspring's arm, and carried his own head prodigiously elevated, it was impossible for either of the young people to look as they had been directed, and their eyes for a moment, but only for a moment, met. A moment is a century on some occasions. That single glance showed that, however Capulet and Montagu might storm, Romeo was still Romeo, and Juliet Juliet. Tadgy's blue coat looked rather large for him, whether it had been originally manufactured with an eye to the possibility of his getting more expanded, or that grief and sorrow had worn him away;and his fine jolly countenance seemed in the anxious eyes of Mary to wear a far more unhealthy hue than formerly. But, however these matters might be, she felt satisfied that Sukey had no place in Tadgy's thoughts, and was even rejoiced at the looseness of the coat, and paleness of the cheek.
With no outward recognition-with heads stuck high in the air, and backs unbent as Maypoles, the fathers strutted on the parties pursued their respective ways, the meeting had taken place, and each progenitor felt mightily elated that his quarrel had been taken up by their own flesh and blood, without giving themselves a moment's time to reflect that two young people were, perhaps, sacrificing the happiness of their lifetime, because two old blockheads chose to play the fool.
As the distance grew gradually between the parties, Mr Simpkinson relaxed his hold of Tadgy's arm; and that gentleman, finding himself at liberty, slunk cautiously behind. He suddenly bolted over the little walk to the water-side where he had seen the Yahoo, who had been watching all these operations from one of the benches.
"Robert," he said, "by all that's good and kind, do me just a little favour. Tell Mary I shall be here to-night at nine o'clock. She can easily come this way home from her aunt Margaret's where she can go to tea. Do, be a good-hearted fellow, and tell her. I have much to say,
and daren't stop a moment.' "Wont I?" said the good-natured Robert; but, on looking round, his suppliant had hurried off and rejoined the party.
"Wont I?-my fine Tadgy?-That I will-why, Tadgy has it all so pat, nothing can be so convenient. Wont I have some fun out of all this? Let me see how I can manage." And leaving the Yahoo in the midst of his, no doubt, benevolent meditations I close this chap
Aunt Margaret's tea-table had never appeared so tiresome in the eyes of Mary Padden. The old lady's anecdotes seemed to have grown more preternaturally long than usual; the time between the cups more prolonged, and the dial hand of the chimney-piece clock absolutely paralysed. Not that Mary was dying of actual impatience to meet my good friend Plantagenet: I will venture to say she would have survived her disappointment if the meeting had been put off till that day month; but she felt in the uncomfortable state we may suppose some criminal to be in, when he is anxious for the time of his uncertainty to be over. But, in addition to this, she could not help having a vague suspicion that all was not right with her new found confidant the Yahoo; for that individual had not been quite able to conceal the existence of something or other more than he had told her. He had also promised to call for her, and conduct her through the elm walk; and amid Mary's wonderings and speculations, and in her present state of uncertainty, it is not very surprising that Aunt Margaret thought her a very disagreeable visiter, and even had some slight idea of altering her will. At the appointed time, however, the Yahoo appeared, and after a few delicate insinuations against old maids, (for the edification of Aunt Margaret,) marched off his sister,
to the mutual relief of the aunt and niece.
"Wrap yourself well up, Mary," he said, "the night is very cold and dark. Here, take old auntie's bonnet and pelisse; what a fool you are to come out with a bare head, and no cloak."
"You are very kind, Robert," answered the sister, astonished no less than pleased at the affectionate solicitude of her brother. "I shall not forget how good you have been."
"I daresay you won't"-muttered the youth" Nor Tadgy either, if I mistake not; but come along, stuff your little feet into Aunt Margaret's pattens, for it has rained very lately, take my arm; forward, march!"
In the mean time a solitary figure was pacing impatiently up and down the middle walk. As the hour of nine approached, he seemed more and more impatient; the walk, partly from the cloudiness of the evening, and partly from the umbrageousness of the foliage, was nearly dark, and in vain he strained his eyes in the direction o Aunt Margaret's, to catch a glimps of any one approaching. He stoo still, and listened; at last he though he heard a distant sound of footsteps and hastily retreated to the littl beach, surrounded with bushes, an facing the river. "What a goo fellow," he muttered half aloud, "tha horrid Yahoo has turned. It was s