Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

“ 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 ;1 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, 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 courg d'architecture.—3 Backing from the steps. Après avoir descendu les marches et en allant à reculons.

as a child, and our ship touched an island on the way, where my black servant took me a long walk over rocks and hills, until we reached a garden where we saw a man walking. “ That is he," said the black man,“ that is Bonaparte ; he eats three sheep every day, and all the little children he can lay hands on !”

THACKERAY.

DIRECT COMMISSIONS, November 1868. DURING the wars of Napoleon in Spain, a regiment of the guard of Jerome, ex-King of Westphalia, arrived under the walls of the monastery of Figeiras. The General sent a message to the Prior to demand refreshment for his officers and men. About an hour afterwards a plentiful dinner was served ; but the General, knowing by experience how necessary it was for the French to be on their guard when eating and drinking with Spaniards, invited the Prior and two of the monks to dine with him. The invitation was accepted in such a manner as to lull every suspicion ; the monks sat down to table with their guests, who, after the repast, thanked them heartily for their hospitality; upon which the Prior rose and said :—“Gentlemen, if you have any worldly affairs to settle, there is no time to lose ; this is the last meat you and I shall take on earth : in an hour we shall know the secrets of the world to come.

The Prior and his two monks had put a deadly poison into the wine, and in less than an hour every man, hosts and guests, had ceased to live.

WATTS.

ROYAL MILITARY ACADEMY, WOOLWICH, June 1858. No man knew better than Napoleon how to win the affections and excite the gratitude of his soldiers ; and it was to his wonderful powers in this respect, almost as much as to his political and military capacity, that his long-continued success was owing. To increase this effect, and add to the naturally retentive powers of his memory in this respect, he inquired privately from the

SCENE FROM THE “RIVALS.”

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 ;' 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.

THERE are in every country morose beings, who are always prognosticating ruin. There was one of this stamp at Philadelphia. He was a man of fortune, declined in years, had an air of wisdom, and a great manner of speaking. His name was Samuel Mickle. I knew him not, but he stopped one day at my door, and asked me if I was the young man who had lately opened a new printing house ? Upon my answering in the affirmative, he said that he was very sorry for me, as it was an expensive undertaking, and the money that had been laid out upon it would be lost ; Philadelphia being a place falling into decay, its inhabitants having all, or nearly all of them, been obliged to call together their creditors ; that he knew, from undoubted fact, the circumstances which might lead us to suppose the contrary, such as new buildings and the advanced price of rent, to be deceitful appearances, which in reality contributed to hasten the general ruin ; and he gave me so long a detail of misfortunes actually existing, or which were soon to take place, that he left me almost in a state of despair. Had I known this man before I entered into trade, I should doubtless never have ventured. He continued, however, to live in this place of decay, and to declaim in the same style, refusing for many years to buy a house, because all was going to wreck ; and in the end I had the satisfaction to see him pay five times as much for one as it would have cost him had he purchased it when he first began his lamentations.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

At this time, when you are cut off from a little society, and made a citizen of the world at large, you should bend your talents, not to serve a party or a few, but all mankind. Your genius should mount above that mist in which its participation and neighbourhood with earth long involved it ; to shine abroad, and to heaven, ought to be the business and the glory of your present situation. Remember it at such a time that the greatest lights of antiquity dazzled and blazed the most, in their retreat, in their exile, or in their death. But why do I talk of dazzling or blazing? 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–1–1–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.

SHERIDAN.

1751-1816.

THE SPELL OF WEALTH. 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,3 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

I 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 »