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Between them there stood,
Made of nothing but wood,
In the yard, on the stairs,
And returning from pray’rs,
In the wall was a hole very cunning,
And on tip-toe would creep,
At her neighbor to peep, —
One day, when a storm was a-brewing,
Each thought the rough day
Would pass smoothly away,
Their eyes glar'd with sudden ferocity,
At the same moment, each
Made the very same speech, Upbraiding such mean curiosity.
“Now, madam, you're caught past denying": What could the mean creature be spying ?
I went but to see
then look'd at me, For I thought you were given to prying."
Macfarlane exceeded in clamor;
So-not caring a fig,
For cap, bonnet, or wig--
Though the tongue of Macfarlane was longest,
With hard words and hard blows,
Ugly names, bloody nose,
The magistrate, fam'd for good breeding,
Then mildly propos’d,
That the hole should be clos'd,
Stopp'd it up with a cork,
But, behold! with a fork
CALLING UP A TRAVELLER.-J. POOLE.
I returned to Reeve's Hotel, College Green, where I was lodging.
The individual who, at this time, so ably filled the important office of “ Boots," at the hotel was a character. Be it remembered that, in his youth, he had been discharged from his place for omitting to call a gentleman who was to go by one of the morning coaches, and who, in consequence of such neglect, missed his journey. This misfortune made a lasting impression on the intelligent mind of Mr. Boots.
Boots," said I, in a mournful tone, “ you call me at four o'clock.”
“ Do 'ee want to get up, zur ?" inquired he, with a broad Somersetshire twang.
“ Want it, indeed ! no; but I must.” “Well, zur, I'll carl'ee; if you be as sure to get up as I be
to carl’ee, you'll not knoa what two minutes arter vore means in your bed. Sure as ever clock strikes, I'll have 'ee out, danged if I doant! Good night, zur:”—and exit Boots.
“And now I'll pack my portmanteau.”
It was a bitter cold night, and my bed-room fire had gone out. Except the rush candle, in a pierced tin box, I had nothing to cheer the gloom of a very large apartment, the walls of which (now dotted all over by the melancholy rays of the rushlight, as they struggled through the holes of the box) wore a dark brown wainscot—but one solitary wax taper. There lay coats, trowsers, linen, books, papers, dressing materials, in dire confusion, about the room. In despair, I sat me down at the foot the bed, and contemplated the chaos around me. My energies were paralyzed by the scene. Had it been to gain a kingdom, I could not have thrown a glove into the portmanteau; so resolving to defer the packing till to-morrow, I got into bed.
My slumbers were fitful-disturbed. Horrible dreams, assailed me.
Series of watches each pointing to the hour of Four, passed slowly before me—then, time-pieces-dials of a larger size—and, at last, enormous steeple-clocks, all pointing to FOUR, FOUR, FOUR
“A change came o'er the spirit of my dream,”
and endless processions of watchmen moved along, each mournfully dinning in my ears, " Past four o'clock." At length I was attacked by the nightmare. Methought I was an hourglass-old Father Time bestrode me—he pressed upon me with unendurable weight_fearfully and threateningly did he wave his scythe above my head—he grinned at me-struck me three blows, audible blows, with the handle of his scythe, on my breast-stooped his huge head, and shrieked in my ear
“ Vore o'clock, zur ; I zay it be vore o'clock."
"Beggin' your pardon, but it woan't do zur.
'Ee must get up-past vore, zur.”
And here he thundered away at the door; nor did he cease knocking till I was fairly up, and had shown myself to him in order to satisfy him of the fact.
" That'll do, zur; 'ee toald I to carl 'ee, and I ha’ carl 'ee properly."
I lit my taper at the rushlight. On opening the window shutter, I was regaled with the sight of a fog, a parallel to which London itself, on one of its most perfect November days, could scarcely have produced. A dirty, drizzling rain was falling. My heart sank within me. It was now twenty minutes past four. I was master of no more than forty disposable minutes, and, in that brief space, what had I to do. The duties of the toilet were indispensable—the portmanteau must be packed-and, run as fast as I might, I could not get to the coach-office in less than ten minutes. Hot water was a luxury not to be procured at that villainous hour, not a human being in the house (nor, do I firmly believe in the universe entire) had risen-my unfortunate self, and my companion in wretchedness, poor Boots, excepted. The water in the jug was frozen ; but, by dint of hammering upon it with the handle of the poker, I succeeded in enticing out about as much as would have filled a tea-cup. Two towels which had been left wet in the room, were standing on a chair, bolt upright, as stiff as the poker itself, which you might about as easily have bent. The tooth-brushes were riveted to the glass in which I had left them, and of which (in my haste to disengage them from their strong hold) they carried away a fragment;
soap was cemented to the dish, my shaving brush was a mass of ice.
In short, more appalling Discomfort had never appeared on earth. I approached the looking-glass. Even had all the materials for the operation been tolerably thawed, it was impossible to use a razor by such a light.
“ Who's there ??
“Now, if 'ee please, zur; no time to lose; only twenty-vive minutes of vive."
I lost my self-possession-I have often wondered that morning did not unsettle my mind.
There was no time for the performance of anything like comfortable toilet. I resolved therefore to defer it altogeth till the coach should stop to breakfast.
“ I'll pack my pi manteau ; that must be done.” In went whatever happe to come first to hand. In my haste, I had thrust in, ap my own things, one of my host's frozen towels. Every must come out again.
6 Who's there ?"
Everything was now gathered together--the portmanteau would not lock. No matter, it must be content to travel to town in a dishabille of straps. Where were my boots? In my hurry, I had packed away both pair. It was impossible to travel to London, on such a day, in slippers. Again was everything to be done.
“Now, zur, coach be going."
The most unpleasant part of the ceremony of hanging (scarcely excepting the closing act) must be the hourly notice given to the culprit of the exact length of time he has to live. Could any circumstance have added much to the miseries of my situation, most assuredly it would have been those unfeeling reminders.
“I'm coming," again replied I, with a groan. “I have only to pull on my
66 Please zur-"
“Bless 'ee! noa zur; not as Jem Robbins do , be vive miles off by now.”
“ You are certain of that?" “I warrant 'ee, zur.”