« PreviousContinue »
least trouble in the world, she replied, on the contrary a pleasure.
We were then shown into the next room, where the fire was now blazing up. but Mr. Slick protested he could not proceed without the little boy, and lingered behind to ascertain his age, and concluded by asking the child if he had any aunts that looked like mamma.
As the door closed, Mr. Slick said, it's a pity she don't go well in gear. The difficulty with those critters is to git them to start, arter that there is no trouble with them if you don't check 'em too short. If you do they'll stop again, run back and kick like mad, and then Old Nick bimself wouldn't start 'em. Pugwash, I guess, don't understand the nature of the eritter ; she'll never go kind in harness for him. When 1 see a child, said the Clockmaker, I always feel safe with these riomen folk, for I have always found that the road to a woman's heart lies through her child.
CANUTE AND THE OCEAN.-WOLCOTT.
CANUTE was by his nobles taught, to fancy
He had the pow'r, old Ocean to control;
Poor soul !
“Go back, ye waves, ye blust’ring rogues ! (quoth he) Touch not your lord aud master, Sea !
For, by my pow'r almighty, if you do ;'' Then staring vengeance,--out be held a stick, Vowing to drive old Ocean to old Nick,
Should he ev'n wet the latchet of his shoe.
The Sea retir'd: the monarch fierce rush'd
DIFFICULTIES OF A BASHFUL MAN.-ANON.
Sir Thomas FRIENDLY, who lives about two miles distant, is a Baronet, with an estate joining to that I purchased. He has two sons and five daughters, all grown up, and living, with their mother and a maiden sister of Sir Thomas', at Friendly Hall. Conscious of my unpolished gait, I have, for some time past, taken private lessons of a professor, who teaches
grown gentlemen to dance;" and though I at first found wondrous difficulty in the art he taught, my knowledge of the Mathematics was of prodigious use in teaching me the equilibrium of my body and the due adjustment of the centre of gravity to the five positions. Having acquired the art of walking without tottering, and learned to make bow, I boldly ventured to obey the Baronet's invitation to a family dinner, not doubting but my new acquirements would enable me to see the ladies with tolerable intrepidity ; but, alas ! how vain are all the hopes of theory, when unsupported by habitual practice.
As I approached the house, a dinner bell alarmed my fears, lest I had spoiled the dinner by want of punctuality. Impressed with this idea, I blushed the deepest crimson, as my name was repeatedly announced by the several livery servants, who ushered me into the library, hardly knowing what or whom I saw. At my first entrance, I summoned all my fortitude, and made my new-learned bow to Lady Friendly; but, unfortunately, in bringing back my left foot to the third position, I trod upon the gouty toe of poor Sir Thomas, who had followed close at my heels, to be the nomenclator of the family. The confusion this occasioned in me is hardly to be conceived, since none but bashful men can judge of my distress. The Baronet's politeness, by degrees, dissipated my concern ; and I was astonished to see how far good breeding could enable him to suppress his feelings, and to appear with perfect ease after so painful an accident.
The cheerfulness of her ladyship, and the familiar chat of the young ladies, insensibly led me to throw off my reserve and sheepishness, till, at length, I ventured to join the conver. sation, and even to start fresh subjects. The library being richly furnished with books in elegant bindings, I conceived Sir Thomas to be a man of literature, and ventured to give my opinion concerning the several editions of the Greek classics; in which the Baronet's opinion exactly coincided with my own.
To this subject I was led by observing an edition of Xeno- . phon in sixteen volumes, which (as I had never before heard of such a thing) greatly excited my curiosity, and I rose up to examine what it could be. Sir Thomas saw what I was about, and as I supposed, willing to save me trouble, rose to take down the book, which made me more eager to prevent him, and, hastily laying my hand on the first volume, I pulled it forcibly; but lo! instead of books, a board, which by leather and gilding, had been made to look like sixteen volumes, came tumbling down, and unluckily pitched upon a Wedgewood inkstand on the table under it. In vain did Sir Thomas assure me there was no harm; I saw the ink streaming from an inlaid table on the Turkey carpet, and, scarce knowing what I did, attempted to stop its progress with my cambric handkerchief. In the height of this confusion, we were informed that dinner was served up; and I with joy perceived that the bell, which had at first so alarmed my fears, was only the halfhour dinner bell.
In walking through the hall, and suite of apartments to the dinning room, I had time to collect my scattered senses, and was desired to take my seat betwixt Lady Friendly and her eldest daughter at the table. Since the fall of the wooden Xenophon my face had been continually burning, like a firebrand; and I was just beginning to recover myself, and to feel comfortably cool, when an unlooked-for accident re-kindled all my heat and blushes. Having set my plate of soup too near the edge of the table, in bowing to Miss Dinah, who politely complimented the pattern of my waistcoat, I tumbled the whole scalding contents into my lap. In spite of an immediate supply of napkins to wipe the surface of my clothes,
my black silk dress was not stout enough to save me from the painful effects of this sudden fomentation; and for some minutes I seemed to be in a boiling cauldron ; but recollecting how Sir Thomas had disguised his torture when I trod upon his toe, I firmly bore my pain in silence, amidst the stifled gig. gling of the ladies and the servants.
I will not relate the several blunders which I made during the first course, or the distress occasioned by my being desired to carve a fowl, or help to various dishes that stood near me ; spilling a sauce boat, and knocking down a salt-cellar: rather let me hasten to the second course, where fresh disasters overwhelmed me quite.
I had a piece of rich sweet pudding on my fork, when Miss Louisa Friendly begged to trouble me for a pigeon that stood near me. In my haste, scarce knowing what I did, I whipped the pudding into my mouth, hot as a burning coal. It was impossible to conceal my agony; my eyes were starting from their sockets. At last, in spite of shame and resolution, I was obliged to drop the cause of torment on my plate. Sir Thomas and the ladies all compassionated my misfortune, and each advised a different application. One recommended oil, another water; but all agreed that wine was the best for drawing out the fire; and a fine glass of sherry was brought me from the sideboard, which I snatched up with eagerness: but, oh ! how shall I tell the sequel ?
Whether the butler by accident mistook, or purposely designed to drive me mad, he gave me strongest brandy, with which I filled my mouth, already flayed and blistered. Totally unused to every kind of ardent spirits, with my tongue, throat, and palate as raw as beef, what could I do? I could not swallow; and, clapping my hands upon my mouth, the liquor squirted through my fingers like a fountain, over all the dishes; and I was crushed by bursts of laughter from all quarters. In vain did Sir Thomas reprimand the servants, and Lady Friendly chide her daughters; for the measure of my shame and their diversion was not yet complete.
To relieve me from the intolerable state of perspiration which this accident had caused, without considering what I did, I wiped my face with that ill-fated handkerchief, which was still wet from the consequences of the fall of Xenophon, and covered all my features with streaks of ink in every direction. The Baronet himself could not support the shock, but joined his lady in the general laugh; while I sprung from the table in despair, rushed out of the house, and ran home in an agony of confusion and disgrace, which the most poig. nant sense of guilt could not have excited.
Young men !
That when you have been comfortably feeding,
The curs, without one atom of court breeding,
you teach good manners by a kick ;
Now, tell me honestly,--pray, don't you find
That you experienc'd in the curs,
Causing your anger and demurs ? As, for example, when your mistress, Fame, Wishing to celebrate a worthy name,