Imágenes de página

“Oh!” said Mr Pecksniff, “here is the young man. He will take the card. With my compliments, if you please, young man. My dears, we are interrupting the studies. Let us go.”

Then he said to Miss Pinch-with more condescension and kindness than ever, for it was desirable the footman should expressly understand that they were not friends of hers, but patrons :

“Good morning. Good-bye. God bless you! You may depend upon my continued protection of your brother Thomas. Keep your mind quite at ease, Miss Pinch !”

“ Thank you,” said Tom's sister, heartily : “ a thousand times."

“Not at all,” he retorted, patting her gently on the head. Don't mention it. You will make me angry if you do. My sweet child”—to the pupil, “ farewell! My dears, are you ready ?”

They were not quite ready yet, for they were still caressing the pupil. But they tore themselves away at length ; and sweeping past Miss Pinch with each a haughty inclination of the head and a curtsey strangled in its birth, flounced into the passage.

The young man had rather a long job in showing them out ;' for Mr Pecksniff's delight in the tastefulness of the house was such that he could not help often stopping (particularly when they were near the parlour door, and giving it expression, in a loud voice and very learned terms. Indeed, he delivered, between the study and the hall, a familiar exposition of the whole science of architecture” as applied to dwelling-houses, and was yet in the freshness of his eloquence when they reached the garden.

“If you look," said Mr Pecksniff, backing from the steps,y with his head on one side and his eyes half shut that he might the better take in the proportions of the exterior : “If you look, my dears, at the cornice which supports the roof, and observe the airiness of its construction, especially where it sweeps the southern angle of the building, you will feel with me-- How do you do, sir ? I hope you 're well !”

.1 The young man had rather a long job in showing them out, Ce ne fut pas pour le jeune homme une petite affaire que de les reconduire.—2 A familiar exposition of the whole science of architecture, Un petit cours d'architecture.-3 Backing from the steps, Après avoir descendu les marches et en allant à reculons.

[ocr errors]

Interrupting himself with these words, he very politely bowed to a middle-aged gentleman' at an upper window, to whom he spoke, not because the gentleman could hear him (for he certainly could not), but as an appropriate accompaniment to his salutation.

“ I have no doubt, my dears,” said Mr Pecksniff, feigning to point out other beauties with his hand,“ that that is the proprietor. I should be glad to know him. It might lead to something. Is he looking this way, Charity ?” “ He is opening the window, pa !”

Ha, ha !” cried Mr Pecksniff softly. “All right! He has found I'm professional. He heard me inside just now, I have no doubt. Don't look. With regard to the fluted pillars2 in the portico, my dears ”“Hallo!” cried the gentleman.

Sir, your servant !” said Mr Pecksniff, taking off his hat. “I am proud to make your acquaintance.”

“Come off the grass, will you !” roared the gentleman.

“I beg your pardon, sir," said Mr Pecksniff, doubtful of his having heard aright. "Did you ?" —

“Come off the grass ! ” repeated the gentleman warmly.

“We are unwilling to intrude, sir,” Mr Pecksniff smilingly began.

“But you are intruding,”3 returned the other, “ unwarrantably intruding-trespassing. 4 You see a gravel walk, don't you? What do you think it's meant for ? Open the gate there! Show that party out !” With that he clapped down the window again, and disappeared.


1 A middle-aged gentleman, Un monsieur d'un certain âge. --2 With regard to the fluted pillars, Quant aux colonnes cannelées. _3 But you are intruding, Mais si, vous êtes importuns. _4 Trespassing, Vous ne devriez pas être ici.-_5 Show that party out, Mettez-moi ce monde-là dehors.


Enter Sir Lucius and Acres with pistols. Acres. By my valour, then, Sir Lucius, forty yards is a good distance.

Sir L. It is for muskets or small field-pieces ;l upon my conscience, Mr Acres, you must leave these things to me. Stay, now -I'll show you. (Measures paces along the stage.)

There, now, that is a very pretty distance ; a pretty gentleman's distance.

Acres. Well, we might as well fight in a sentry-box ! I tell you, Sir Lucius, the farther he is off, the cooler I shall take my aim.

Sir L. 'Faith, then, I suppose, you would aim at him best of all if he was out of sight?

Acres. No, Sir Lucius ; but I should think forty, or eight-andthirty yards

Sir L. Pho! pho! nonsense !2 three or four feet between the mouths of your pistols is as good as a mile.

Acres. No! by my valour, there is no merit in killing him so near!

Do, my dear Sir Lucius, let me bring him down at a long shot : a long shot, Sir Lucius, if you love me.

Sir L. Well ; the gentleman's friend and I must settle that. But tell me now, Mr Acres, in case of an accident, is there any little will or commission I could execute for you?

Acres. I am much obliged to you, Sir Lucius ; but I don't understand.

Sir L. Why, you may think there's no being shot at without a little risk ; and, if an unlucky bullet 3 should carry a quietus with it, I say it will be no time then to be bothering you about your family matters.

Acres. A quietus !
Sir L. For instance, now, if that should be the

case, would

you choose to be pickled 4 and sent home, or would it be the same to

· Field-pieces, Des pièces de campagne.—2 Pho! pho! nonsense! Bah! bah! 3 An unlucky bullet, Une malencontreuse balle.--4 Pickled, Embaumé.

you to lie here in the Abbey ? I'm told there's very snug lying in the Abbey.

Acres. Pickled ! snug lying in the Abbey ! don't talk so !

Sir L. I suppose, Mr Acres, you were never engaged in an affair of this kind before ?

Acres. No, Sir Lucius ; never before.

Sir L. Ah ! that's a pity ; there's nothing like being used to a thing. Pray, now, how would you receive the gentleman's shot ?1

Acres. I've practised that ; there, Sir Lucius. (Puts himself into an attitude.) A side front, eh? I'll make myself small enough ; I'll stand edgeways.2

Sir L. Now, you're quite out ;3 for if you stand so, when I take my aim—(Levelling at him.)

Acres. Are you sure, Sir Lucius, it is not cocked ?
Sir L. Never fear.

Acres. But-but-you don't know ; it may go off of its own head.

Sir L. Poh! be easy. Well, now, if I hit you in the body, my bullet has a double chance ; for if it misses a vital part on your right side, 'twill be very hard if it don't succeed on the left.

Acres. A vital part !

Sir L. But there ; fix yourself so. (Placing him.) Let him see the broadside of your full front—there. Now a ball or two may pass clean your body, and never do you any harm at all.

Acres. Clean through me! a ball or two clean through me!

Sir L. Ay, may they ;4 and it is much the genteelest attitude into the bargain.

Acres. Lookye, Sir Lucius, I'd just as lieve be shot in an awkward posture as a genteel one; so, by my valour! I will stand edgeways.

Sir L. (Iooking at his watch.) Sure, they don't mean to disappoint us ; ha ! no, 'faith! I think I see them coming.

Acres. Eh ? what ! coming ?

1 Receive the gentleman's shot ? Recevoir le feu de votre adversaire ?_2 I'll stand edgeways, Je me présenterai de côté.–3 Now, you 're quite out, Eh bien, vous n'y êtes pas du tout.—4 Ay, may they, Eh, mais, sans doute. -5 Lookye, Tenez.

Sir L. Ay, who are those yonder, getting over the stile ?

Acres. There are two of them, indeed! Well, let them come ; hey, Sir Lucius ! we-we-we-we-won't run.

Sir L. Run!
Acres. No; I say we won't run, by my valour!
Sir L. What is the matter with you ?1

Acres. Nothing, nothing, my dear friend ; my dear Sir Lucius ; but I-I-I-don't feel quite so bold somehow as I did.

Sir L. Oh, fie ! consider your honour.

Acres. Ay, true ; my honour ; do, Sir Lucius, edge in a word or two, every now and then, about my honour.

Sir L. Well, here they're coming. (Looking.)

Acres. Sir Lucius, If I wasn't with you, I should almost think I was afraid. If my valour should leave me? Valour will come

and go.

Sir L. Then pray keep it fast while you have it.




What a dignity it gives an old lady, that balance at the banker's !? How tenderly we look at her faults, if she is a relative, (and may every reader have a score of such ;) what a kind, good-natured old creature we find her! How the junior partner of Hobbs and Dobbs leads her, smiling, to the carriage with the lozenge upon it, and the fat wheezy coachman! How, when she comes to pay us a visit, we generally find an opportunity to let our friends know her station in the world. We say, (and with perfect truth,) I wish I had Miss MacWhirter's signature to a cheque for five thousand pounds. She wouldn't miss it, says your wife. She is my aunt, say you, in an easy, careless way, when your friend asks if Miss MacWhirter is any relative ? Your wife is perpetually sending her little testimonies of affection ; your little girls work endless

1 See § 55, 26. _2 Balance at the banker's, Un compte ouvert chez son banquier. 3 She wouldn't miss it, Elle ne s'en apercevrait guère.

« AnteriorContinuar »