Page images
PDF
EPUB

To clear such rubbish from the earth,
Though real genius, mental worth,

And science do attend you, -
You might as well the sty refine,
Or cast your pearls before the swine;

They'd only turn and rend you.

MONSIEUR TONSON.-ANON.

THERE liv'd as fame reports, in days of yore,
At least some fifty years ago, or more,

A pleasant wight in town, yelep'd Tom King,
A fellow that was clever at a joke,
Expert in all the arts to tease and smoke,

In short, for strokes of humor, quite the thing.

To many a jovial club, this King was known,
With whom his active wit unrivall'd shone-

Choice spirit, grave free-mason, buck, and blood, Would crowd, his stories and bon mots to hear, And none a disappointment e'er could fear,

His humor flow'd in such a copious flood.

To him a frolic was a high delight-
A frolic he would hunt for day and night,

Careless how prudence on the sport might frown.
If e'er a pleasant mischief sprang to view,
At once o'er hedge and ditch away he flew,

Nor left the game till he had run it down.

One night, our hero, rambling with a friend,
Near fam'd St. Giles's chanc'd his course to bend,

Just by that spot, the Seven Dials hight;
'T was silence all around, and clear the coast,
The watch, as usual, dozing on his post,

And scarce a lamp display'd a twinkling light.

Around this place, there liv'd the num’rous clans
Of honest, plodding, foreign artizans,

Known at that time by name of refugees-
The rod of persecution, from their home,
Compellid the inoffensive race to roam,

And here they lighted like a swarm of bees.

Well! our two friends were saunt'ring through the street,
In hopes some food for humor soon to meet,

When, in a window near, a light they view;
And, though a dim and melancholy ray,
It seem'd the prologue to some merry play,

So tow'rds the gloomy dome our hero drew.

Strait at the door he gave a thund'ring knock, (The time we may suppose near two o'clock)

“I'll ask," says King, “ if Thompson lodges here"Thompson !" cries t'other, “who the deuce is he ?" “I know not," King replies,“ but want to see

What kind of animal will now appear.”

After some time a little Frenchman came,
One hand display'd a rushlight's trembling flame,

The other held a thing they call culotte ;
An old strip'd woollen nightcap grac'd his head,
A tatter'd waistcoat o'er one shoulder spread,

Scarce half awake, he heav'd a yawning note.

Though thus untimely rous'd, he courteous smild,
And soon address'd our wag in accents mild,

Bending his head politely to his knee-
“ Pray, sare, vat vant you, dat you come so late;
I beg your pardon, sare, to make you vait;

Pray tell me, sare, vat your commands vid me ?

" Sir," reply'd King, “ I merely thought to know, As by your house I chanc'd to-night to go

But, really, I disturb'd your sleep I fearI say, I thought, that you perhaps could tell, Among the folks who in this street may dwell,

If there's a Mr. Thompson lodges here ?"

The shiv'ring Frenchman, tho' not pleas'd to find
The business of this unimportant kind,

Too simple to suspect 'twas meant in jeer, Shrugg'd out a sigh that thus his rest should break, Then, with unalter'd courtesy, he spake

“No, sare, no Monsieur Tonson lodges here." Our wag begg'd pardon, and toward home he sped, While the poor Frenchman crawl'd again to bed;

But King, resolv'd not thus to drop the jest, So the next night, with more of whim than grace, Again he made a visit to the place,

To break once more the poor old Frenchman's rest.

He knock'd--but waited longer than before ;
No footstep seem'd approaching to the door,

Our Frenchman lay in such a sleep profound;
King, with the knocker, thunder'd then again,
Firm on his post determin’d to remain ;

And oft indeed he made the door resound.

The wag

At last King hears him o'er the passage creep,
Wondering what fiend again disturb'd his sleep;

salutes him with a civil leer; Thus drawling out, to heighten the surprise, (While the poor Frenchman rubb'd his heavy eyes)

" Is there-a Mr. Thompson-lodges here?” The Frenchman falter'd, with a kind of fright"Vy, sare, I'm sure I told you, sare, last night,

(And here he labor'd with a sigh sincere) No Monsieur Tonson in de varld I know, No Monsieur Tonson here—I told you so;

Indeed, sare, dare no Monsieur Tonson here!"

Some more excuses tender'd, off King goes,
And the old Frenchman sought once more repose.

The rogue next night pursu'd his old career'Twas long indeed before the man came nigh, And then he utter'd, in a piteous cry,

“ Saré, ’pon my soul, no Monsieur Tonson here !" Our sportive wight his usual visit paid, And the next night came forth a prattling maid :

Whose tongue indeed than any jack went fasterAnxious she strove his errand to enquire, He said “ 'tis vain her pretty tongue to tire,

He should not stir till he had seen her master."

The damsel then began, in doleful state,
The Frenchman's broken slumbers to relate,

And begg'd he'd call at proper time of day-
King told her she must fetch her master down,
A chaise was ready, he was leaving town,

But first had much of deep concern to say.

Thus urg'd, she went the snoring man to call,
And long indeed was she oblig'd to bawl,

E’re she could rouse the torpid lump of clay-
At last ne wakes-he rises—and he swears,
But scarcely had he totter'd down the stairs,

When King attacks him in his usual way. The Frenchman now perceiv'd 'twas all in vain To this tormenter mildly to complain,

And strait in rage began his crest to rearSare, vat the mischief make you treat me so ? Sare, I inform you, sare, three nights ago,

Did I not say no Monsieur Tonson here ?" True as the night, King went, and heard a strife Between the harass'd Frenchman and his wife,

Which should descend to chase the fiend away ; At length to join their forces they agree,

And strait impetuously they turn the key,

Prepar’d with mutual fury for the fray.
Our hero, with the firmness of a rock,
Collected to receive the mighty shock,

Utt'ring the old enquiry, calmly stood-
The name of Thompson ra the st so high,
He deem'd it then the safest plan to fly,

With,“ Well, I'll call when you 're in gentler mood.”
In short, our hero, with the same intent,
Full many a night to plague the Frenchman went-

So fond of mischief was the wicked wit;
They threw out water—for the watch they call,
But King expecting, still escapes from all-

Monsieur at last was forc'd his house to quit.
It happen'd that our wag, about this time,
On some fair prospect sought the Eastern clime,

Six ling’ring years were there his tedious lot;
At length, content, amid his rip’ning store,
He treads again on Britain's happy shore,

And his long absence is at once forgot.
To London, with impatient hope, he flies,
And the same night, as former freaks arise,

He fain must stroll, the well known haunt to trace; "Ah, here's the scene of frequent mirth," he said, "My poor old Frenchman, I suppose, is dead

Egad, I'll knock, and see who holds his place." With rapid strokes he makes the mansion roar, And while he eager eyes the op'ning door,

Lo! who obeys the knocker's rattling peal ? Why e'en our little Frenchman, strange to say ! He took his old abode that very day

Capricious turn of sportive fortune's wheel! Without one thought of the relentless foe, Who, fiend-like, haunted him so long ago,

« PreviousContinue »