« AnteriorContinuar »
tyrus came in, and having embraced Clinia, were informed of the posture of our affairs. “ A most excellent opportunity,” said Satyrus, “ offers itself for the recovery of your unhappy fortunes. An Ephesian woman is deeply in love with you, beautiful as a goddess, young and rich—her name Melite. Her husband lately perished by shipwreck, and at your feet as her second lord, she would willingly lay herself, and all her possessions.” “ You say right, Satyrus," replied Clinia,“ what need is there of delay, when beauty, wealth, and love offer themselves to you? Come, Clitophon, do not any longer deliberate.-Yield to Satyrus's advice, and submit yourself to the will of heaven.” “Do with me as you please,” I exclaimed, “ only this I must insist upon—that you proceed no farther in this business till we come to Ephesus, for here I cannot look on any one with the eyes of love, where I lost Leucippe.
As soon as Satyrus heard this he ran out to communicate what had passed, to Melite ; and, returning almost immediately, said, that when she heard it she fainted for joy-and when she recovered requested me to come to her to supper, to begin our marriage ceremony. Directly, without further hesitation, I went to her house.
(To be resumed.)
The following whimsical characters have been taken from a very
amusing work, entitled “ The Itinerant."]
A short time before the season closed, a gentleman requested to see me at the Cheshire Cheese ; I lost not a moment to obey the summons, and was entering the room, when the landlady told me, he was at that moment engaged with his washer-woman; and the door being a-jar, I found they were literally disputing about the merits of washing a shirt. “I can't wash it, sir," said the woman, “ 'twill fall to pieces.” “ Od rabbit it !” replied the other, “ then hang it against the wall, and throw a bucket of water at it;
but don't abuse it, for it is an only child, and dry it as fast as you can, that I may get into better habits. It's an hour's good exercise every morning to find my way into it: I must have a chart drawn, that I may know how to steer; for when I think I am sailing through the neck, I find myself foundering in the arm-pits, or ramming my head into elbowlane.” At the conclusion of this speech, I rushed into the room, took the poor fellow in my arms, threw the shirt in the fire, and turned the washer-woman out of doors.
Feeling choked his utterance-" Od rabbit it !!" was all he could articulate. I stood gazing with astonislıment and pity; clothed in the same habit he wore nine months ago, but grown ragged and shabby by constant use ; his once fat and rosy gills, now bore the semblance of penury; even his laughter-loving eye had lost its lustre, it was sunk and hollow; yet still his heart was whole, and still he laughed at sorrow. After mentally making these observations, “ Tony,” exclaimed I, “ is that you ?"
" A piece of me; I'm in famous trim for the starved apothecary, " for all the world, like a forked radish,” “ misery brings a man acquainted with strange bed-fellows,” but more of this anon.”
“ My good friend, what has brought you here? I am heartily glad to see you, but 'tis with sorrow I observe you hang out signals of distress.”
“ And you, Mr. Romney, like a brave English sailor, heave to-take me on board and place me on the doctor's list-being weak from hard work, and short commons, he orders the grog to be thrown in immediately-so Od rabbit it! ring the bell, and I'll tell you all, how, and about it.”
After some refreshment, his eyes recovered their lustre, his pipe was filled, and between each puff, he spoke as follows.
“It is about nine months since you left me in London, and well remembered, thank you for the note you sent me; the five pounds stood me in good stead; God bless you for it. Well, I was comfortable enough, all things considered, and held the book, whilst 'prentice boys made fools of themselves at Dibble Davies's slaughter-house ; till the cash came in so slowly, that Dibble hopp'd the twig, and left me to shift as well as I could. Now, your ņote stood my friend; for three weeks I took my drops, and smoked a social pipe at Spencer's, caring as usual, little about the morrow. One evening, when I had been very successful in some of my best stories, a little gentleman who sat in the corner, and had laughed till his sides ached, insisted upon treating me with a bottle of wine, which, rather than give offence, I suffered him to do. After a glass or two, I found he was manager of a small company at Barnet, and though he had never heard of my fame as an actor, which is rather odd, he took it into his head, that I must be a very excellent comedian, from my conversation and appearance, and offered me an engagement. I snapped immediately, struck the nail on the head, whilst it was hot, and agreed to play at Barnet six nights on profitsOd rabbit it. how I hate the word; if you will believe me, the profits were all losses ; and after exerting my talents before a set of stupid dolts, who did not know good acting when they saw it, I found myself reduced to half a crown; so that rather than go back to town, and stand the roast at Spencer's, I engaged to give them another lift at the next town, in hopes of better luck. But here, the manager (who ought to have known better, from the sample he had had, of my acting,) gave me inferior parts; instead of Richard, I saw my name down for the Lord Mayor. Thus neglected, I thought it best to decamp; but not before I had given them the bag in style, and serve them right too, for they often gave me the goose. Another unfortunate son of Thespis, who, like myself, meant to leave a bad business, without knowing where to get a better, hit upon the following scheme. We had a set of hand-bills printed, informing “ the nobility, gentry, and public at large, that Signior Grimalkini was just arrived with a most astonishing cat, the wonder of the world ; that this amazing animal was capable of articulating several words, in many languages, and could absolutely hold a conversation in English. Likewise the Signior's own imitations, which would embrace many well known characters of the present day, and finally, that he would take himself off, to the great surprise of all present." Od rabbit it! Mr. Romney, John Bull is always to be had ; I intend to revive the bottle conjuror next time I am put to my shifts. We took a large room, which was presently filled, I received the money, whilst the Signior prepared the cat and himself for their public entré. At length, he went forward with his green bag, which being opened, the cat naturally enough ran away, which the Signior as naturally accounted for, by attributing it to fright. However, to give the quadruped time to recover herself, he would begin with his imitations; and first, he would have the honour of taking himself off. • Ladies and gentlemen,' said he, by the compression of the larinx'—-here he was conveniently seized with a fit of coughing, and requesting their patience, whilst he retired for a glass of water, joined me, and making the best of our way out of town, we left the audience to amuse one another, and the reflecting part of the inhabitants to laugh at their credulity.”
" Why, Tony, that was letting the cat out of the bag to some purpose, but what said your conscience ? had you no qualms ??
“ I cannot say I felt quite comfortable, but since the world will, why let it be deceived. The greatest geniusses in the profession have before now been put to their shifts; I remember when John Kemble was at Tewksbury, his land. lady was very importunate for several weeks lodging in arrears; vain was her application, John had no money, and was at his wits end. At length he hit upon a grand manduvre. In the apartment beneath, for John was in the attic, a gentleman lodged, whose state of health was so precarious, that the greatest care, attention, and quiet were necessary. John knowing this, purchased two tops, and with much expertness whipped them about the room, as if his very existence depended upon their constant motion. The landlady in vain represented the state of her sick lodger; John · had a complaint in his chest, and his physician prescribed that mode of exercise, as the only cure. And so it proved, for the woman forgave the arrears, provided he would leave her house, and thus John whipped himself out of his lodging."
Tony, in his eagerness for story telling, forgot his situation, and the misery he had experienced, but as he imitated the whipping of the top, I perceived his elbow through his coat—" Why, bless me, Tony, are you without a shirt ?"
“ To be sure, did not you burn it ?”
I instantly wrote for a couple, and insisted on his putting one on. “What! before I have finished my story? no! not for a laundry full of shirts. Where did I leave off? oh! at John Kemble whipping himself out of his lodging. Well, by giving them the bag, we put a few pounds in our pockets, and set off full speed to a town about twenty miles distant, where a small company occupied a barn under the management of a Mrs. A- , a lady, whose infirm state of health rendered a course of cordial medicine necessary, and she found great relief from the drops. Here we took up our rest in a public house, and having confided our wardrobe, contained in two handkerchiefs, to the landlady's care, retired to the chimney corner to enjoy the comforts of a pipe. Though the room was nearly full, being strangers, they gave place to us, and I was witness to one of the most instructive conversations that the united genius of man ever formed. Politics were the subject, and the mayor of the body corporate principal spokesman. With all that attention and awe which power begets on weak minds, his open mouthed hearers swallowed his worship’s nonsense with the greatest avidity, although his harangue was often interrupted with, “ Mr. Mayor, your good health.” “ Thank you, Mr. Recorder.” “ Mr. Sheriff, my service to you.” “ Thank you, Mr. Alderman.” So that I found we were in the very bosom of the body corporate; and these simpletons were so elated with the pride of office, and so puffed up with their silly titles, that it was thought an insult to greet them by their patrimonial appellation. Nay, this absurdity was carried so far, that the whip beggar and street cleaner dignified each other with the title of “ Mr. Beadle and Mr. Scavenger.”
As we joined them, the mayor was on the point of reading some glorious news from the seat of war; on the strength of which they were charged brim full of liquor and loyalty. After abusing the Americans, by the name of Yankee Doodles, for daring to rebel against her mother's country, he gave a loud hem! and began—"We hear from America, that his Majesty's forces have obtained a complete victory by a coup de main, and this news will be authenticated by the general in propria persona, who, it is said, is leaving the army, supposed to have taken umbrage.” At the end of this sentence, he dashed his pipe upon the ground, took off his hat, and, as if all the blood in his body had taken possession of his face, roared out,“ Shout, gentlemen, shout