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Eger. But how, sir, could my drinking contribute to assist you in your squabble ?
Sir P. Yas, sir, it would ha'e contributed; it might have prevented the squabble. Eger. How so,
sir ? Sir P. Why, sir, my lord is proud of ye for a son-in-law, and of your
little French songs, your stories, and your bon mots, when in the humor; and gin ye had but staid, and been a leetle jolly, and drank half a score bumpers wi' him, till he got a little tipsy, I am sure, when we had him i' that tipsy mood, we might ha'e settled the point amongst ourselves before the lawyers came. But noow, sir, I dinna ken what will be the consequence.
Eger. But when a man is intoxicated, would that have been a seasonable time to settle business, sir?
Sir P. The most seasonable, sir, the most seasonable; for, sir, when my lord is in his cups, his suspeecion and his judgment are baith asleep, and his heart is aw jollity, fun, and gude fellowship. You may then mould his consent to anything; and can there be a happier moment than that for a bargin, or to settle a dispute wi’ a friend? What is it you shrug your shoulders at, sir?
Eger. At my own ignorance, sir; for I understand neither the philosophy nor the morality of your doctrine.
Sir P. I ken ye do not, sir; and, what is warse, ye never wull understand it, as ye proceed. In yane word, Charles, I ha'e often tauld ye, and noow again I tell ye yance for aw,
that every man should be a man o' the warld, and should understand the doctrine of pleeabeelity; for, sir, the manoeuvres of pleeabeelity are as necessary to rise in the warld, as wrangling and logical subtlety are to rise at the bar. Why, ye see, sir, I ha’e acquired a noble fortune, a princely fortune; and hoow do think I ha'e raised it ?
Eger. Doubtless, sir, by your abilities.
Sir P. Dootless, sir, ye are a blockhead. Nae, sir, I'll tell ye hoow I raised it, sir; I raised it by boowing—by boowing, sir. I naver in my life could stond straight i' th’ presence of
a great mon, but always boowed, and boowed, and boowed, as it were by instinct.
Eger. How do you mean by instinct, sir ?
Sir P. Hoow do I mean by instinct ? Why, sir, by-by--by instinct of interest, sir, whach is the universal instinct of mankind, sir. It is wonderful to think what a cordial, wbat an amicable, nay, what an infallible influence, boowing has upon the pride and vanity of human nature. Charles, answer me sincerely, ha'e ye a mind till be convinced of the force of my doctrine, by example and demonstration ?
Eger. Certainly, sir.
Sir P. Then, sir, as the greatest favor I can confer upon ye, I wull give ye a short sketch of the stages of my boowing, as an excitement and a landmark for ye till boow by, and as an infallible nostrum for a mon o'the warld till thrive i’ the warld.
Eger. Sir, I shall be proud to profit by your experience.
Sir P. Vary weel. (They both sit down.) And noow, sir, ye must recall till your thoughts, that your grandfather was a mon whose penurious income of half-pay was the sum total of his fortune; and, sir, aw my proveesion fra him was a modicum of Latin, an expartness of areethmetic, and a short system of warldly counsel; the chief ingredients of which were, a persevering industry, a reegid economy, a smooth tongue, a pliabeelety of temper, and a constant attention till make every mon weel pleased wi' himself.
Eger. Very prudent advice, sir.
Sir P. Therefore, sir, I lay it before ye. Now, sir, wi' these materials, I set oot, a rough, raw-boned stripling, fra the north, till try my fortune wi' them here i’ the south; and my first step intill the warld was a beggarly clerkship in Sawney Gordon's counting-house, here i’ the city of London, whach, you 'll say, afforded but a barren sort of a prospect.
Eger. It was not a very fertile one, indeed, sir.
Well, sir, seeing mysel' in this unprofitable situation, I reflected deeply, I cast aboot my thoughts, and concluded that a matrimonial adventure, prudently conducted, would be the readiest gait I could gang
for the bettering of my condeetion, and accordingly set aboot it. Noow, sir, in this pursuit, beauty-beauty-ah! beauty often struck mine eyne, and played aboot my heart, and fluttered, and beet, and knocked, and knocked, but the deil an entrance I ever let it get; for I observed that beauty is generally a proud, vain, saucy, expensive sort of a commodity.
Eger. Very justly observed, sir.
Sir P. And therefore, sir, I left it to prodigals and coxcombs, that could afford till pay for it, and in its stead, sir,mark-I luocked oot for an ancient, weel-jointured, superannuated dowager; a consumptive, toothless, phthisicky, wealthy widow; or a shreeveled, cadaverous, neglacted piece of deformity, i' th’ shape of an ezard, or an empers-and; or, in short, anything, anything that had the siller, the siller; for that was the north star of my affection. Do ye take me, sir ? Was nae that right?
Eger. O doubtless, doubtless, sir.
Sir P. Noow, sir, where do you think I gaed to luock for this woman wi' th’siller ? Nae till court—nae till play-houses or assemblies. Ha, sir ! I gaed till the kirk—till the morning and evening service of churches and chapels of ease; and there, at last, sir, I fell upon an old, rich, sour, slighted, antiquated maiden, that luocked_ha! ha! ha! she luocked just like a skeleton in a surgeon's glass-case! Noow, sir, this meeserable object was angry wi' hersel', and aw the warld; had nae comfort but in a supernatural, enthusiastic deleerium; ha! ha! ha! sir, she was mad—mad as a bedlamite !
Eger. Not improbable, sir; there are numbers of poor creatures in the same enthusiastic condition.
Sir P. Oh! numbers, numbers. Now, sir, this poor, cracked, crazy creature used to sing, and sigh, and groan,
and wail, and gnash her teeth constantly, morning and evening, at the tabernacle. And as soon as I found she had the siller, aha! gude traith, I plumped me doon upo' my knees close by her, cheek-by-jole, and sung, and sighed, and groaned as vehemently as she could do for the life of her; ay, and turned up the whites of my eyne, till the strings almost cracked again.
I watched her attentively; handed her till her chair; waited on her hame; got most releegiously intimate wi' her in a week; married her in a fortnight; buried her in a month; touched the siller; and wi' a deep suit of mourning, a sorrowful veesage, and a joyful heart, I began the warld again ;-and this, sir, was the first effectual boow I ever made till the vanity of human nature. Noow, sir, do ye understand this doctrine ?
Eger. Perfectly well, sir.
Sir P. My next boow, sir, was till your ain mither, whom I ran away wi' fra the boarding-school, by the interest of whose family I got a gude smart place i' th' treasury; and, sir, my vary next step was intill parliament, the whach I entered wi’ as ardent and as determined an ambeetion as ever ageetated the heart o' Cæsar himsel. Sir, I boowed, and watched, and attended, and dangled upo' the then great mon, till I got intill the vary bowels of his confidence—hah! got my snack of the clothing, the foraging, the contracts, the lottery tickets, and aw the poleetical bonuses; till at length, sir, I became a much wealthier mon than one half of the golden calves I had been so long a-boowing to. (He rises ; Egerton rises too.) And was nae that boowing to some purpose, sir, ha ?
Eger. It was indeed, sir.
Sir P. But are ye convinced of the gude effects and of the uteelity of boowing?
Eger. Thoroughly, sir, thoroughly.
Sir P. Sir, it is infallible. But, Charles, ah! while I was thus boowing and raising this princely fortune, ah! I met many heart sores and disappointments, fra the want of leeterature, ailoquence, and other popular abeelities. Sir, gin I could but ha’e spoken i' th’ house, I should ha'e done the deed in half the time; but the instant I opened my mouth there, they aw fell a-laughing at me,-aw which defeeciencies, sir, I determined, at any expense, till have supplied by the polished education of a son, who, I hoped, would yane day raise the house of Macsycophant till the highest pinnacle of ministeerial ambeetion. This, sir, is my plan; I ha'e done my part of it; Nature has done her’s. Ye are ailoquant, ye are popular; aw
parties like ye; and noow, sir, it only remains for ye to be directed-completion follows.
Eger. Your liberality, sir, in my education, and the judicious choice you made of an instructor for me, are obligations I ever shall remember with the deepest filial gratitude; for from that good man I have learned, what not even parental power can ever induce me to abandon-namely, under no circumstances whatever, to do what is base in order to secure a personal advantage.
THE FAKENHAM GHOST.-BLOOMFIELD,
The lawns were dry in Euston Park ;
(Here truth inspires my tale) The lonely foot-path still and dark,
Led over hill and dale.
Benighted was an ancient dame,
And fearful haste she made
And hail its willow shade.
The dappled herd of grazing deer
That sought the shades by day;
And gave the stranger way.
Darker it grew; and darker fears
Came o'er her troubled mind;
Come patting close behind.
She turn'd; it stopt !nought could she see
Upon the gloomy plain,
She heard the same again.