The Sketches of Seymour (Illustrated), Part 2.
Produced by David Widger
SKETCHES BY SEYMOUR
"Shoot away, Bill! never mind the old woman--she can't get over the wall
One day two urchins got
A pistol, powder, horn, and shot,
And proudly forth they went
On sport intent.
"Oh, Tom! if we should shoot a hare,"
The elder son,
"How father, sure, would stare!"
Look there! what's that?"
"Why, as I live, a cat,"
Cried Bill, "'tis mother Tibbs' tabby;
Oh! what a lark
She loves it like a babby!
And ain't a cat's eye, Tom, as good a mark
As any bull's eyes?"
And straight "Puss! puss!" he cries,
When, lo! as Puss approaches,
They hear a squall,
And see a head and fist above the wall.
'Tis tabby's mistress
Who in great distress
Loads both the urchins with her loud reproaches,
"You little villains! will ye shoot my cat?
Here, Tink! Tink! Tink!
O! lor' a' mercy! I shall surely sink,
Tink hears her voice--and hearing that,
Trots nearer with a pit-a-pat!
"Now, Bill, present and fire,
There's a bold 'un,
And send the tabby to the old 'un."
Bang! went the pistol, and in the mire
Rolled Tink without a mew--
Flop! fell his mistress in a stew!
While Bill and Tom both fled,
Leaving the accomplish'd Tink quite finish'd,
For Bill had actually diminish'd
The feline favorite by a head!
Leaving his undone mistress to bewail,
In deepest woe,
And to her gossips to relate
Her tabby's fate.
This was her only consolation--for altho'
She could not tell the head--she could the tail!
SEPTEMBER 1ST,--AN ONLY OPPORTUNITY.
"I begin to think I may as well go back."
MY vig! vat a pelter this is--
Enough all my hardour to tame;
In veather like this there's no sport,
It's too much in earnest for game!
A ladle, I might as well be,
Chain'd fast to a hold parish pump,
For, by goles! it comes tumbling down,
Like vinking,--and all of a lump.
The birds to their nestes is gone,
I can't see no woodcock, nor snipe;
My dog he looks dogged and dull,
My leggins is flabby as tripe!
The moors is all slipp'ry slush,
I'm up to the neck in the mire;
I don't see no chance of a shot,
And I long-how I long for a fire!
For my clothes is all soak'd, and they stick
As close as a bailiff to me
Oh! I wish I was out o' this here,
And at home with my mother at tea!
This is the fust, as I've got
Permission from uncle to shoot;
He hadn't no peace till he give
This piece, and the powder to boot!
And vat's it all come to at last?--
There isn't no chance of a hit,
I feel the rain's all down my back,
In my mouth though I hav'n't a bit!
O! it's werry wezaatious indeed!
For I shan't have another day soon;
But I'm blow'd, if I don't have a pop--
My eye! I've shot Dash! vot a spoon!
O! here's a partic'lar mess,
Vot vill mother say to me now?
For he vas her lap-dog and pet,
Oh! I've slaughtered her darling bow-wow!
"Mother says fishes comes from hard roes, so I chuck'd in the roe of a
red-herring last week, but I doesn't catch any fish yet."
How beautiful is the simplicity of unsophisticated youth! Behold with
what patience this innocent awaits a bite, trusting with perfect faith in
the truth of his affectionate mother's ichthyological knowledge. Wishing
to behold a live fish dangling at the end of his line, he has, with
admirable foresight, drawn up the bucket, that in the ascent the finny
prey may not kick it! It must be a hard roe indeed, that is not softened
by his attentions; but, alas! he is doomed never to draw up a vulgar
herring, or a well-bred fish!
Folks who are a little deeper read than the boy--(or the herring!)--may
smile at his fruitless attempt, but how many are there that act through
life upon the same principle, casting their lines and fishing
for--compliments, who never obtain even a nibble--for why? their attempts
at applause, like his red-herring, are smoked. He does not know that
herrings are salt-water fish--and, in fact, that the well-water is not
But after all, is not such ignorance bliss?--for he enjoys the
anticipated pleasure; and if anticipation be really greater than reality
--what an interminable length will that pleasure be to him! Ever and
anon he draws up his line, like a militia captain for a review;--puts
fresh bait on the crooked pin, and lets it slowly down, and peeps in,
wondering what the fish can be at!--and is quite as much in the dark as
his float. But he may at last, perhaps, discover that he is not so deep
as a well--and wisely resolve to let well--alone; two points which may
probably be of infinite importance to him through life, and enable him to
turn the laugh against those who now mock his ignorance and simplicity.
"He was ambitious, and I slew him."
What carried Captain Ross to the North Pole? "A ship to be sure!"
exclaims some matter-of-fact gentleman. Reader! It was AMBITION!
What made barber Ross survey the poll, make wigs, and puff away even when
powder was exploded? What caused him to seek the applause of the 'nobs'
among the cockneys, and struggle to obtain the paradoxical triplicate
dictum that he was a werry first-rate cutter!' What made him a practical
Tory? (for he boasts of turning out the best wigs in the country!)
What induces men to turn theatrical managers when a beggarly account of
empty boxes nightly proves the Drama is at a discount--all benefits
visionary, and the price of admission is regarded as a tax, and the
performers as ex-actors?----when they get scarcely enough to pay for
lights, and yet burn their fingers?--AMBITION
The candidate for the county cringes, and flatters the greasy unwashed
ten-pounders, in order to get at the head of the poll--so likewise the
bumpkin (in imitation of his superior) rubs his hand in the dirt to
enable him to cling fast, and reach the top of the soap'd poll, whereon
the tempting prize is displayed. And, what prompts them both to the
What is the 'primum mobile,' of the adventurous Aeronaut, Mr. Green, one
of the most rising men of the day, who aspires even unto the very clouds,
and in his elevation looks upon all men of woman born as far beneath
What prompts the soldier who spends half-a-crown out of sixpence a-day to
thrust his head into the cannon's mouth, to convince the world that he is
desirous of obtaining a good report and that he is fearless of the
What makes the beardless school-boy leap ditches and over posts at the
risk of his neck, and boast that he'll do another's dags'--or the
sporting man turn good horses into filthy dog's meat, in riding so many
miles in so many minutes?--AMBITION!
What magic influence operates upon the senses of the barrister (a scholar
and a gentleman) to exert his winning eloquence and ingenuity in the
cause of a client, who, in his conscience, he knows to be both morally
and legally unworthy of the luminous defence put forth to prove the
trembling culprit more sinned against than sinning?--AMBITION!
What urges the vulgar costermonger to bestride his long-ear'd Arabian,
and belabor his panting sides with merciless stick and iron-shod heels to
impel him to the goal in the mimic race--or the sleek and polish'd
courtier to lick the dust of his superiors' feet to obtain a paltry
riband or a star?--AMBITION!
Better luck next time.
The lamentation of Joe Grishin.
"O! Molly! Molly! ven I popp'd my chops through the arey railings, and
seed you smile, I thought you vos mine for ever! I wentur'd all for you
--all--. It war'n't no great stake p'r'aps, but it was a tender vun! I
offer'd you a heart verbally, and you said 'No!' I writ this ere
wollentine, and you returns it vith a big 'No!'
"O! Molly your 'No's,' is more piercinger and crueller than your heyes.
Me! to be used so:--Me! as refused the vidder at the Coal Shed! (to be
sure she wore a vig and I didn't vant a bald rib!) Me!--but it's o' no
use talking; von may as vell make love to a lamp-post, and expect to feed
von's flame vith lights! But adoo to life; this 'ere rope, fix'd round
the 'best end o' the neck' will soon scrap me, and ven I'm as dead as
mutton, p'r'aps you may be werry sorry.
"It'll be too late then, Molly, ven you've led me to the halter, to vish
as you'd married me."
After this bitter burst of wounded feeling, and, urged by the rejection
of his addresses, the love-lorn Butcher mounted a joint-stool, and
stepping on a fence, twisted the awful rope round the branch of a tree,
and then, coiling it about his neck, determined that this day should be a
killing day; vainly supposing, in the disordered state of his mind, that
the flinty-hearted Molly would probably esteem her 'dear' (like venison)
the better for being hung! Mystically muttering 'adoo!' three times, in
the most pathetic tone, he swung off and in an instant came to his latter
end--for the rope snapp'd in twain, and he found himself seated on the
turf below, when he vainly imagined he was preparing himself for being
placed below the turf!
"Nothin' but disappointments in this world;" exclaimed he, really feeling
hurt by the unexpected fall, for he had grazed his calves in the meadow,
and was wofully vexed at finding himself a lover 'turned off' and yet
Cast down and melancholy, he retraced his steps, and seizing a cleaver
(dreadful weapon!) vented his suicidal humour in chopping, with malignant
fury, at his own block!
Don't you be saucy, Boys
"What are you grinning at, boys?" angrily demanded an old gentleman
seated beside a meandering stream, of two schoolboys, who were watching
him from behind a high paling at his rear.--"Don't you know a little
makes fools laugh."
"Yes, sir! that's quite true, for we were laughing at what you've
"Umph! I tell you what, my lads, if I knew your master, I'd pull you up,
and have you well dressed."
"Tell that to the fishes," replied the elder, "when you do get a bite!"
"You saucy jackanapes! how dare you speak to me in this manner?"
"Pray, sir, are you lord of the manor? I'm sure you spoke to us first,"
said the younger.
"More than that," continued his companion. "We are above speaking to
you, for you are beneath us!"
The old gentleman, rather nettled at the glibness of the lads, stuck a
hook vengefully into an inoffensive worm, and threw his line.
The boys still retained their post, and after many whispered remarks and
tittering, the younger thrust his handkerchief into his mouth to smother
a burst of irrepressible laughter, while the other, assuming a modest and
penitent air, said:
"I beg your pardon, sir."
"What?" demanded the old gentleman sharply.
"Hope you are not offended, sir?"
"Get along with you," replied the unfortunate angler, irritated at his
want of success.
"I can tell you something, sir," continued the lad;--"there's no fish to
be had where you are. I know the river well. Father's very fond o'
fish; he always brings home plenty. If you like, sir, I can show you the
Here his companion rolled upon the grass and kicked, perfectly convulsed
with laughter, luckily hidden from the view of the now mollified old
"Indeed!" cried the angler: "is it far from this?"
"Not a quarter of a mile," replied the boy.
"That is nothing. I've walked eighteen this morning," said the old
gentleman, packing up his apparatus. "I'll go with you directly, and
thank you too, for I'm a perfect stranger in these parts."
When he had joined them, the laughing fits of the younger had subsided,
although he chose to fall in the rear. "Now, to shew you how much more
profitable it is to respect than to mock at your superiors in years,
there's a (let me see)--there's a halfpenny for you to purchase cakes."
"Thank ye, sir," said he, and turning to his companion with a wink: "Here
Bill, run to Cummins' and buy a ha'p'orth of eights--we'll make the most
of it--and I'll come to you as soon as I've shown the gentleman the
"Show me the place, and I'll find the fish," said the anticipating
On they trudged.
"Must we go through the town?" asked his companion, as he marched with
his long rod in one hand and his can in the other.
"Yes, sir, it ain't far;" and he walked on at a quicker pace, while all
the crowd of rustics gazed at t e extraordinary appearance of the armed
Waltonian, for it happened to be market-day. After parading him in this
fashion nearly through the town, he presently twitched him by his
"Look there, sir!" cried he, pointing to a well-stocked fishmonger's.
"Beautiful!--what a quantity!" exclaimed the venerable piscator.
"I thought you'd like it, sir--that's the place for fish, sir,--good
"Eh! what--you young dog?"
"That's where father gets all his, I assure you, sir,--good morning,"
said the youth, and making a mock reverence, bounded off as fast as his
legs could carry him.
"Vy, Sarah, you're drunk! I am quite ashamed o' you."
"Vell, vots the odds as long as you're happy!"
Jack was an itinerant vender of greens, and his spouse was a peripatetic
distributor of the finny tribe, (sprats, herrings or mackerel, according
to the season,) and both picked up a tolerable livelihood by their
Like the lettuces he sold, Jack had a good heart, and his attention was
first attracted to the subsequent object of his election by the wit of a
passing boy, who asked the damsel how she sold her carrots? Jack's eyes
were in an instant turned towards one whom he considered a competitor in
the trade--when he beheld the physiognomy of his Sarah beaming with
smiles beneath an abundant crop of sunny hair!
"You are a beauty and no mistake," exclaimed the green grocer in
"Flummery!" replied the damsel--the deep blush of modesty mantling her
cheeks. Jack rested his basket on a post beside her stall, and drank
deep draughts of love, while Sarah's delicate fingers were skilfully
employed in undressing a pound of wriggling eels for a customer.
"Them's rig'lar voppers!" remarked Jack.
"Three to a pound," answered Sarah, and so they slipped naturally into
discourse upon trade, its prospects and profits, and gradually a hint of
partnership was thrown out.
Sarah laughed at his insinuating address, and displayed a set of teeth
that rivalled crimped skate in their whiteness--a month afterwards they
became man and wife. For some years they toiled on together--he, like a
caterpillar, getting a living out of cabbages, and she, like an
undertaker, out of departed soles! Latterly, however, Jack discovered
that his spouse was rather addicted to 'summut short,' in fact, that she
drank like a fish, although the beverage she affected was a leetle
stronger than water. Their profit (unlike Mahomet) permitted them the
same baneful indulgence--and kept them both in spirits!
Their trade, however, fell off for they were often unable to carry their
The last time we beheld them, Sarah was sitting in the cooling current of
a gutter, with her heels upon the curb (alas! how much did she need a
curb!) while Jack, having disposed of his basket, had obtained a post in
a public situation, was holding forth on the impropriety of her conduct.
"How can you let yourself down so?" said he,--"You're drunk--drunk,
"On'y a little elevated, Jack."
"Elevated!--floor'd you mean."
"Vell; vot's the odds as long as you're happy?"
Jack finding all remonstrance was vain, brought himself up, and reeling
forward, went as straight home--as he could, leaving his spouse (like
many a deserted wife) soaking her clay, because he refused to support
"Lawk a'-mercy! I'm going wrong! and got to walk all that way back
A pedestrian may get robbed of his money on the highway, but a cross-road
frequently robs him of time and patience; for when haply he considers
himself at his journey's end, an impertinent finger-post, offering him
the tardy and unpleasant information that he has wandered from his track,
makes him turn about and wheel about, like Jim Crow, in anything but a
It were well if every wayfarer were like the sailor, who when offered a
quid from the 'bacoo box of a smoker, said, 'I never chews the
short-cut!' and in the same spirit, we strongly advise him, before he
takes the short-cut to think of the returns!
Should the weather prove rainy, the hungry traveller may certainly get a
wet on the road, although he starves before he reaches the wished-for
As there is likewise no more chance of meeting a good tempered guide on a
cross-road, than of finding eggs and bacon, in an edible state, at least
on a common--and as he can no more pull in the summer-rains than he can
the reins of a runaway stallion; the result is, the inexperienced youth
ludicrously represents so many pounds of 'dripping,' and although he may
be thirsty, he will have no cause to complain that he is--dry! The best
mode for an honest man to go round the country, is to take a
straight-forward course, especially when the surcharged clouds do rule
the horizon with sloping lines of rain! Besides, it is by no means a
pleasant thing for a man with a scanty wardrobe, to find his clothes
running away at a most unpleasant rate, while he can scarcely drag one
clay-encumbered leg after the other.
It is a difficult trial, too, of a man's philosophy, after trudging over
a long field, to be encountered by the mockery of a 'ha! ha!'--fence! He
utters a few bitter expletives, perhaps, but nought avails his railing
against such a fence as that!
The shower which makes all nature smile, only causes him to laugh--on the
wrong side of his mouth, for he regards it as a temperance man does a
Reader! never attempt a bye-way on a wet day, with a stick and bundle at
your back--(if you have a waterproof trunk, you may indeed weather
it)--but go a-head on the turnpike road--the way of all mails--leaving
long and short commons to the goose and donkey--and the probability is,
that you may not only I make a sign before you die, but get a feed--and a
"I'm dem'd if I can ever hit 'em."
It is a most extraordinary thing, 'pon my veracity: I go out as regularly
as the year, and yet I never bring down an individual bird.
I have one of the best Mantons going with such a bore! and then I use the
best shot--but not being the best shot in the world myself--I suppose is
the identical reason why I never hit any thing. I think it must arise
from a natural defect in my sight; for when I suppose a covey as near--as
my miser of an uncle--they are probably as distant--as my ninety-ninth
Such a rum go!--the other day I had a troop of fellows at my heels,
laughing like mad; and what do you think?--when I doffed my shooting
jacket, I found some wag had stuck the top of a printed placard on my
back, with the horrid words, "A young Gentleman missing!"
It was only last week, a whole flight of sparrows rose at my very feet--I
fired--bang!--no go!--but I heard a squall; and elevating my glass, lo! I
beheld a cottage within a few yards of my muzzle--the vulgar peasant took
the trouble to leap his fence, and inform me I had broken his windows--of
course I was compelled to pay him for his panes.
To be sure he did rather indicate a disposition to take away my
gun--which I certainly should never have relinquished without a
struggle--and so I forked out the dibs, in order to keep the piece! I'm
quite positive, however, that the vagabond over-charged me, and I kicked,
as was quite natural, you know, under such circumstances!
I really have an imperfect notion of disposing of my shooting-tackle--but
I'm such an unfortunate devil, that I really believe when I post 'em up
for sale--my gun will not go off!--dem me!
"Have you read the leader in this paper, Mr. Brisket?"
"No! I never touch a newspaper; they are all so werry wenal, and Ovoid of
O! here's a harticle agin the fools,
Vich our poor British Nation so misrules:
And don't they show 'em up with all their tricks--
By gosh! I think they'd better cut their sticks;
They never can surwive such cuts as these is!
It's werry well; but me it never pleases;
I never reads the news, and sees no merit
In anythink as breathes a party sperrit.
Ain't you a hinglishman? and yet not feel
A hint'rest, Brisket, in the common-weal?
The common-weal be--anything for me,--
There ain't no sentiment as I can see
In all the stuff these sons of--Britain prate--
They talk too much and do too little for the state.
O! Brisket, I'm afeard as you're a 'Rad?'
No, honour bright! for sin' I was a lad
I've stuck thro' thick and thin to Peel, or
Vellinton--for Tories is genteeler;
But I'm no politician. No! I read
These 'Tales of Love' vich tells of hearts as bleed,
And moonlight meetins in the field and grove,
And cross-grain'd pa's and wictims of true love;
Wirgins in white a-leaping out o' winders--
Vot some old codger cotches, and so hinders--
From j'ining her true-love to tie the knot,
Who broken-hearted dies upon the spot!
That's werry fine!--but give me politics--
There's summat stirring even in the tricks
Of them vot's in to keep the t'others out,--
How I Should like to hear the fellers spout!
For some on 'em have sich a lot o' cheek,
If they war'n't stopp'd they'd go it for a week.
But they're so wulgar, Bob, and call sich names
As quite the tag-rag of St. Giles' shames
The press too is so wenal, that they think
All party herrors for the sake o' chink.
But ain't there no false lovers in them tales,
Vot hover wirgin hinnocence perwails?
Vy, yes, but in the end the right one's married,
And after much to do the point is carried
So give me love sincere and tender,
And all the rest's not worth a bender.
SAMUEL SOFTLY, ESQ. TO HIS FRIEND, RICHARD GUBBINS, ESQ. OF TOOLEY
Such a misfortin' has you never heard on as come upon your friend. I'll
jist give you a breef houtline of the circumstantials as near as my
flurry vill let me. T'other mornin' I vips up my gun for to go
a-shootin', and packin' up my hammunition, and some sanwidges, I bids
adoo to this wile smoky town, vith the intention of gettin' a little
hair. Vell! on I goes a-visshin' and thinkin' on nothin', and happy as
the bumblebees as vos a-numming around me. Vell! a'ter an hour or more's
valking, not an house nor a brick vos wisible.
Natur', in all her werdur', vos smilin' like a fat babby in its maternal
harms! But, as somebody has it--
"Man never ain't, but al'ays to be bless'd,"
and I'm bless'd if that ain't true too, as you shall see presently. Vell!
I pops at von bird and then at another; but vether the poor creturs vos
unaccustom'd to guns, and so vos frighten'd, I don't know, but somehow I
couldn't hit 'em no-how.
Vell! and so I vos jist a-chargin' agin ven a great he-fellow, in a ruff
coat and partic'lar large viskers, accostes me (ciwilly I must say, but
"Birds shy?" says he.
"Werry;--ain't hit nothin'," says I.
"I'll tell you vot it is, young gentleman," says he, "it's the unevenness
o' the ground!"
"D've think so?" says I.
"Sure on it," says he; "I'm a hold sojer! Know this 'ere place, and have
picked up many a good dinner in it. Look at them fe'l'fares yonder,"
says he, "on'y let me have a slap at 'em for you, and see if I don't
finish some on 'em in the twinkling of a pig's visper."
In course I felt obleeged by sich a hoffer, and hands him the gun. Vell!
I vos a-follerin' him quite pleased, ven he visks round, and puttin' the
muzzle o' the hinstrument fist agin my vescoat, says he, "Now you've lent
us your gun, you may as vell lend us your votch. I can't shoot any think
for you till I sees vot's o'clock!"
Here vas a go!--but I see vot vas a clock in a hinstant--and no mistake.
So I cotch'd hold on the two butiful chased seals and tugs it out.
"That's the time o' day!" says he, a-cockin' his hugly heye at the dial;
"and now," says he, "as you seems frightened at the gun, I shall jist put
it out o' harm's way."
And with that he chucks it splash, into a duck-pond, and hoff marches my
hold sojer in a jiffy! I vos putrified! and fell to a-blubberin' like a
O! Dick, vot's to be done?
You know I ham, at any rate,
The Courtship of Mr. Wiggins.
Among the very few fashionable foibles to which Mr. Wiggins was addicted,
was the smoking of cigars. Attracted by the appearance of a small box
marked 'Marylands--one penny each,' very much resembling lettuce-leaves
with the yellow jaundice, he walked into the chandler's shop where they
"Let us look at them cigars," said he, and then, for the first time,
glancing at the smart, good-looking mistress of the emporium, he added,
"if you please, ma'am--"
A pretty little fist that, howsomever! thought Wiggins, as she placed the
box before him.
"Vill you have a light?"
"Thank'ye, ma'am," said he, ramming the cigar into his mouth, as if he
really intended to bolt it.
She twisted a slip of waste, and lighting it, presented it to her
admiring customer, for it was evident, from the rapt manner in which he
scanned her, that he was deeply smitten by her personal appearance.
She colored, coughed delicately, as the smoke tickled the tonsils of her
throat, and looked full at the youth. Such a look! as Wiggins asserted.
"I'm afeared as the smoke is disagreeable," said he.
"Oh! dear no, not at all, I assure you; I likes it of all things. I can't
abide a pipe no-how, but I've quite a prevalence (predilection?) for
siggers." So Wiggins puffed and chatted away; and at last, delighted
with the sprightly conversation of the lady, seated himself on the
small-beer barrel, and so far forgot his economy in the fascination of
his entertainer, that he purchased a second. At this favourable
juncture, Mrs. Warner, (for she was a widow acknowledging
five-and-twenty) ordered the grinning shop-boy, who was chopping the
'lump,' to take home them 'ere dips to a customer who lived at some
distance. Wiggins, not aware of the 'ruse,' felt pleased with the
absence of one who was certainly 'de trop' in the engrossing
'tete-a-tete.' We will pass over this preliminary conversation; for a
whole week the same scene was renewed, and at last Mrs. Warner and Mr.
Wiggins used to shake hands at parting.
"Do you hever go out?" said Wiggns.
"Sildom-werry sildom," replied the widow.
"Vos you never at the Vite Cundic, or the hEagle, or any of them places
on a Sunday?"
"How can I go," replied the widow, sighing, "vithout a purtector?"
Hereupon the enamoured Wiggins said, "How happy he should be," etc., and
the widow said, "She was sure for her part," etc. and so the affair was
settled. On the following Sunday the gallant Mr. Wiggins figged out, in
his best, escorted the delighted and delightful Mrs. Warner to that place
of fashionable resort, the White Conduit, and did the thing so
handsomely, that the lady was quite charmed. Seated in one of the snug
arbors of that suburban establishment, she poured out the hot tea, and
the swain the most burning vows of attachment. "Mr. Viggins, do you take
sugar?" demanded the fair widow. "Yes, my haingel," answered he,
emphatically. "I loves all wot's sweet," and then he gave her such a
tender squeeze! "Done--do--you naughty man!" cried she, tapping him on
the knuckles with the plated sugar-tongs, and then cast down her eyes
with such a roguish modesty, that he repeated the operation for the sake
of that ravishing expression. Pointing his knife at a pat of butter, he
poetically exclaimed, "My heart is jist like that--and you have made a
himpression on it as time will never put out!" "I did'nt think as you
were quite so soft neither," said the widow. "I ham," replied the
suitor--"and there," continued he, cutting a hot roll, and introducing
the pat, "I melts as easily afore the glance of your beautiful heyes!"
Resolved to carry on the campaign with spirit, he called for two glasses
of brandy and water, stiff, and three cigars! And now, becoming
sentimental and communicative, he declared, with his hand upon his heart,
that "hif there vos a single thing in life as would make him completely
happy, it vos a vife!"
The Courtship of Mr. Wiggins.
Mr. Wiggins was so intoxicated with love, brandy-and-water and cigars,
that he scarcely knew how he reached home. He only remembered that he
was very dizzy, and that his charming widow--his guide and friend--had
remonstrated with him upon the elevation of his style, and the
irregularity of his progression.
With his head in his hand, and a strong "dish of tea" without milk,
before him, he was composing himself for business the following morning,
when an unexpected visitor was announced.
"Please, sir, there's Mrs. Warner's 's boy as wants to speak vith you,"
said his landlady.
"Show him up," languidly replied our lover, throwing his aching head from
his right to his left hand.
"Vell, Jim, vot's the matter!" demanded he--"How's your missus?"
"She ain't no missus o' mine no longer," replied Jim.
"I tell you vot it is, sir, she promised to give me a shillin'-aweek an'
my feed; an' she ain't done vun thing nor t' other; for I'm bless'd if I
ain't starved, and ain't seen the color of her money sin' I bin there.
Father's goin' to summon her."
"It's some mistake, sure?"
"It's no mistake tho'," persisted Jim, "an' I can tell you she ain't got
a farden to bless herself vith!--an' she's over head-and-ears in debt
too, I can tell you; an' she pays nobody--puttin' 'em all off, vith
promises to pay wen she's married."
"My heye!" exclaimed the excited Wiggins, thrown all a-back by this very
agreeable intention upon his funds.
"More nor that, sir," continued the revengeful Jim, "I know she thinks as
she's hooked a preshus flat, an' means to marry you outright jist for vot
she can get. An' von't she scatter the dibs?--that's all; she's the
extravagantest 'ooman as hever I came anigh to."
"But, (dear me! ) she has a good stock--?"
"Dummies, sir, all dummies."
"Yes, sir; the sugars on the shelves is all dummies--wooden 'uns, done up
in paper! The herrin' tub is on'y got a few at top--the rest's all
shavins an' waste.--There's plenty o' salt to be sure--but the werry
soap-box is all made up."
"And so's my mind!" emphatically exclaimed the deluded Wiggins, slapping
the breakfast-table with his clenched fist.
"Jim--Jim--you're a honest lad, and there's half-a-crown for you--"
"Thank'ye for me, sir," said the errand-boy, grinning with delight--"
and--and you'll cut the missus, Sir!"
"Hooray! I said as how I'd have my rewenge!" cried the lad, and pulling
the front of his straight hair, as an apology for a bow, he retreated
from the room.
"What an escape!" soliloquized Wiggins-- "Should n't I ha' bin properly
hampered? that's all. No more insinniwating widows for me!--"
And so ended the Courtship of Mr. Wiggins.
The Itinerant Musician.
A wandering son of Apollo, with a shocking bad hat, encircled by a
melancholy piece of rusty crape, and arrayed in garments that had once
shone with renovated splendour in that mart of second-hand habiliments
'ycleped Monmouth-street, was affrighting the echoes of a fashionable
street by blowing upon an old clarionet, and doing the 'Follow, hark!' of
Weber the most palpable injustice.
The red hand of the greasy cook tapped at the kitchen-window below, and
she scolded inaudibly--but he still continued to amuse--himself, as
regardless of the cook's scolding as of the area-railing against which he
leaned, tuning his discordant lay.
His strain indeed appeared endless, and he still persevered in torturing
the ambient air with, apparently, as little prospect of blowing himself
out as an asthmatic man would possibly have of extinguishing a smoky link
with a wheeze--or a hungry cadger without a penny!
The master of the mansion was suffering under a touch of the gout,
accompanied by a gnawing tooth-ache!--The horrid noise without made his
trembling nerves jangle like the loose strings of an untuned guitar.
A furious tug at the bell brought down the silken rope and brought up an
"D--- that, etc.! and send him to, etc.!"
And away glided the liveried rotundity.--
Appearing at the street-door, the musician took his instrument from his
lips, and, approaching the steps, touched his sorry beaver with the side
of his left hand.
"There's three-pence for you," said the menial, "and master wishes you'd
"Threepence, indeed!" mumbled the man. "I never moves on under sixpence:
d'ye think I doesn't know the walley o' peace and quietness?"
"Fellow!" cried the irate footman, with a pompous air--"Master desires as
you'll go on."
"Werry well"--replied the other, touching his hat, while the domestic
waddled back, and closed the door, pluming himself upon having settled
the musician; but he had no sooner vanished, than the strain was taken up
again more uproariously than ever.
Out he rushed again in a twinkling--
"Fellow! I say--man! vot do you mean?"
"Vy, now didn't you tell me to go on?"
"I mean't go off."
"Then vy don't you speak plain hinglish," said the clarionist; "but, I
say, lug out t'other browns, or I shall say vot the flute said ven his
master said as how he'd play a tune on him."
"Vot vos that?"
"Vy, he'd be blow'd if he would!"
"You're a owdacious fellow."
"Tip!" was the laconic answer, accompanied by an expressive twiddling of
"Vell, there then," answered the footman, reluctantly giving him the
price of his silence.
"Thank'ye," said the musician, "and in time to come, old fellow, never do
nothin' by halves--'cept it's a calve's head!"
Oh! lor, here's a norrid thing.'
The Confessions of a Sportsman.
"Vell, for three year, as sure as the Septembers comes, I takes the
field, but somehow or another I never takes nothin' else! My gun's a
good 'un and no mistake!--Percussions and the best Dartford, and all that
too. My haim ain't amiss neither; so there's a fault somewhere, that's
certain. The first time as I hentered on the inwigorating and manly
sport, I valks my werry legs off, and sees nothin' but crows and that
'ere sort o' small game.
"I vos so aggrawated, that at last I lets fly at 'em in werry spite, jist
as they vos a sendin' of their bills into an orse for a dinner.
"Bang! goes the piece;--caw! caw! goes the birds; and I dessay I did for
some on 'em, but I don't know, for somehow I vos in sich a preshus hurry
to bag my game, that I jumps clean over vun bank, and by goles! plump
into a ditch on t'other side, up to my werry neck!
"The mud stuck to me like vax; and findin' it all over vith me, and no
chance o' breaking a cover o' this sort, I dawdled about 'till dusk, and
vos werry glad to crawl home and jump into bed. I vos so 'put out' that
I stayed at home the rest o' that season.
"The second year come, and my hardor vos agin inflamed. 'Cotch me
a-shootin' at crows,' says I.--Vell, avay I goes a-vhistling to myself,
ven presently I see a solentary bird on the wing; 'a pariwidge, by
jingo!' says I--I cocks--presents, and hits it! Hooray! down it tumbles,
and afore I could load and prime agin, a whole lot o' 'em comes out from
among the trees. 'Here's luck' says I; and jist shouldered my piece, ven
I gets sich a vop behind as sent me at full length.
"'Vot's that for?' says I.
"'Vot are you a shootin' at my pigeons for?' says a great hulking,
"A hexplanation follered; and in course I paid the damage, vich stood me
a matter of a suv'rin, for he said he'd take his davy as how it vos a
waluable tumbler!--I never sees a 'go' o' rum and vater but vot I thinks
on it. This vos a sickener.
"The third year I vos hout agin as fresh as a daisy, ven I made a haim at
a sparrer, or a lark, or summit o' that kind--hit it, in course, and vos
on the p'int o' going for'ard, ven lo! on turning my wision atop o' the
bank afore me, I seed a norrid thing!--a serpent, or a rattle-snake, or
somethink a-curling itself up and a hissing like fun!
"I trembled like a haspen-leaf, and-didn't I bolt as fast as my werry
legs would carry me, that's all?
"Since that time I may say, with the chap in the stage-play, that my
parent has kept myself, his only son, at home, for I see no sport in sich
rigs, and perfer a little peace at home to the best gun in the field!"--
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