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Mr Williams. A great deal ; that's the very point of contention.
Com. Doubtless ; but you must come to it, if you can, as soon as possible.
Mr W. I will. Well, as I was saying—where did I leave offOh ! when I was fuddled
Com. I hope you have left off that habit now, my good man. Mr W. Upon my say-so, I have—trust me ; but, as I was saying, to make a long story short, in course of time I left my master in the Temple, set up for myself, and did a great stroke of business.2 Ay, I could tell you such a list of customers ! There was
Com. Never mind ;3 we don't want your list ; go, on.
Mr W. Well, then, at last I set up at Boswell Court, Queen Square. Oh ! what alterations I have seen in that square, surely, in my time! I remember when I used to go to shave old Lord
Com. There, there! Come to the end of your story. Mr W. Well, I will. Where was I ?-Oh ! in Boswell Court. Com. (aside.) I wish you were there now. Mr W. Well, then, you must know, when Lord Mansfield (God rest his soul !) died, his wig-the very, very wig I madegot back to my old master's shop ; and he kept it as a pattern for other judges' wigs ; and at last my master died himself—ay, it's what we must all come to.
Com. Go on! go on, man ! and come to the end of your story.
Mr W. I will, I will! Well, where was I ?-Oh ! in my poor master's shop. Well, so when he died, my mistress gave mefor she knew, poor soul ! how I loved it—this identical wig; and I carried it home with as much delight as if it had been one of my children. Ah! poor little things ! they are all gone before me.
Com. Come, if you don't cut this matter short, I must, and send you after.
1 Set up for myself, Je me suis établi.—2 And did a great stroke of business, Je fis beaucoup d'affaires. -3 Never mind, N'importe.
Mr W. Dear me! You put me out. Well, as I was saying, I kept this here wig as the apple of my eye; when, as ill luck would have it, that ere Mr Laurence came to my shop, and often asked me to lend it to him to act in a play. I think he called it “Shycock,” or “Shylock,” for he said he was to play the judge. I long refused ; but he over-persuaded me, and, on an unlucky day, I let him have it, and have never (weeping and wiping his little eyes with his white apron) seen it since.
Com. And so you have summoned him for the price of the wig?
Mr W. You have just hit the nail on the head.2
Mr L. (with great pomposity.) Why, sir,3 I have a great deal to say.
Com. Well, then, sir, I desire you will say as little as you can, for there are a great many persons waiting here, whose time is very precious.
Mr L. Not more precious than mine, I presume, sir. I submit that this case is to recover possession of the wig ; and, this admitted, sir, I have humbly to contend that the plaintiff 4 must be nonsuited, for, sir, you will not find one word concerning a wig in this declaration. The plaintiff must not
Com. Sir, I desire you will confine yourself to this case.
Mr L. He is not a woman, sir. He is a man, sir ; and a great man, sir; and a man, sir
Com. Do you mean Mr Chitty ?
Mr L. I mean the gentleman you call Chitty, and most erroneously so call him ; for you ought to know that the ch in Italian sounds like an English k; and Mr Kitty, by lineal descent, is an Italian. It is a vulgar error to spell his name with a y final, it ought to be i, and then it would properly sound Kittei.
1 As ill luck would have it, comme le malheur l'a voulu.—2 You have just hit the nail on the head, Vous avez mis le doigt dessus (a French saying corresponding to the above English one.)—3 Why, sir, Mais, Monsieur.–4 The plaintiff, Le de mandeur.
Com. I should rather take Mr Chitty's authority for this than yours.
Mr L. (with anger.) Sir, do you contradict me?
Com. Sir, I will bring this case to a short issue. Did you borrow this man's wig?
Mr L. I did.
Mr L. I did, in performing the part of the Judge in Shakespeare's inimitable play of the Merchant of Venice. While too intent on the pleadings of Portia, the candle caught the curls, and I with difficulty escaped having my eyes burned out.
Com. Well, then, sir, I have only to tell you, you are responsible for the property thus intrusted to your care ; and, without further comment, I order and adjudge that you pay to the plaintiff the sum of 395. 113d., which is the sum he is prepared to swear it is worth.
Mr W. Swear! to be sure. No money can compensate me for its loss.
A long dispute followed as to the value of the wig, when Mr Williams ultimately agreed to take 20s. and costs; and the parties were dismissed, mutually grumbling at each other.
S. SMITH. 1769–1845.
ROBERT AND FRANK. “ COME,” said Robert to Frank, “there is Trusty lying beside the fire asleep ; let us go and waken him, and he will play with us.”
* See § 28, 6.
“Oh yes, do let us,” said Frank. So they both ran together towards the hearth to awake the dog. There was a basin of milk upon the hearth, and the little boys did not see it. As they were both playing with the dog, they kicked it with their feet, and threw it down ; the basin broke, and all the milk ran out; and when the little boys saw what they had done, they were very sorry and frightened. Robert spoke first. “Sol we shall have no milk for supper to-night,” said he and sighed. “No milk for supper! Why not?” said Frank; “is there no milk in the house ?” “ Yes ;2 but we shall have none of it ; for do not you remember last Monday, when we threw down the milk, mother said we were very careless, and that the next time we did so3 we should have no milk for supper ?” “Well, then,” said Frank, “ we must do without it, that's all; we will take more care another time ; come, let's run and tell mother. You know she bids us always tell her directly when we break anything.” “I will come just now,” said Robert; “don't be in such a hurry,4 Frank-can't you stay a minute ?” So Frank stayed ; and then he said, “ Come now, Robert.” But Robert answered, “Stay a little longer, for I dare not go yet. I am afraid.”
I advise you never to be afraid to tell the truth ; never say “Stay a minute,” and “Stay a little longer ;” but run directly, and tell what you have done wrong. The longer you stay, the more afraid you will grow ; till at last, perhaps, you will not dare to tell the truth at all. Hear what happened to Robert. The longer he stayed, the more unwilling he was5 to go to tell his mother that he had thrown the milk down ; and at last Frank went without him in search of his mother.
Whilst Frank was gone, Robert was left in the room by himself ; 6 and all the while he was alone, he was thinking of some excuses to make to his mother. He said to himself, “ If Frank and I both were to say that we did not throw down the basin, she would believe us, and we should have milk for supper. I am
1 So, Eh bien.-2 Yes, Si. 3 The next time we did so, La première fois que cela nous arriverait.—4 Don't be in such a hurry, Ne te dépêche pas tant. _5 The more unwilling he was, Moins il voulut.—6 See $ 55, 1.–7 See § 32, 2.
very sorry Frank would go to tell her about it.” Just as he said this to himself, he heard his mother coming down stairs. “Oh ho!” said he to himself, “ and so Frank has not met her, and cannot have told her; so I may say what I please.” Then this cowardly boy determined to tell his mother a lie.
She came into the room; but when she saw the broken basin and the milk spilled, she stopped short, and cried, “Dear, dear, what a piece of work’ is here !—who did this, Robert ?” “I don't know, mother,” said Robert in a very low voice. “You don't know, Robert ? Tell me the truth-I shall not be angry with you. I would rather have you break all the basins I have than to tell one lie. I ask you, Robert, did you break the basin?” “ No, mother, I did not,” said Robert, and he coloured as red 4 as fire. “Then where's Frank? Did he do it?” “No, mother, he did not,” said Robert; for he was in hopes that when Frank came in he should persuade him to say that he did not do it. “How do you know,” said his mother, “that Frank did not do it?” “Because - because—because, mother," said Robert, hesitating as liars do for an excuse, “ because I was in the room all the time, and I did not see him do it.” “ Then how was the basin thrown down? If you have been in the room all the time, you can tell.” Then Robert, going on from one lie to another, answered, “ I suppose the dog must have done it.” “Did you see him do it?” said his mother. “Yes," said this wicked boy. “ Trusty, Trusty,” said his mother, turning round: “Fie! fie! Trusty; get me a switch out of the garden, Robert; Trusty must be beat for this.” Robert ran for the switch, and in the garden he met his brother; he stopped him, and told him in a great hurry all that he had said to his mother, and begged of him not to tell the truth, but to say the same that he had done. “No, I will not tell a lie," said Frank. “What! and is Trusty to be beat? He did not throw down the milk, and he shan't be beat for it. Let me go to my mother.” They both ran towards the house. Robert got first home, and he locked the house door, that Frank might not come in. He gave
? See § 3. --? Piece of work, Chef-d'oeuvre. ---3 See $ 29, 11.-4 He coloured as red, Il devint aussi rouge.