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my life I do--you've been ill used-very! But, I say, how do you mean to live? You'll forgive my liberty.
Bra. I have youth, health, strength, energy-the world before, and heaven above me !
Spr. Generalities, my dear sir--pleasing generalities. But people don't live by generalities—must stoop to details. See a good dinner all very clear at a glance—that's a generality; but can't fill your stomach except you fix on your dish and take a mouthful at a time—that's a detail, eh? Where will you begin? what's your first dish?
Bra. I have not yet given this a thought.
Spr. (Aside.) Hem !-I suspected as much.-Professions now are genteel--very; but don't begin to pay till about fiveand-forty. It's a long fast from your age till then. Trade wants capital-or credit—afraid you have not got either.
Bra. But I have my education-my talents—my pen.
Spr. (Shaking his head.) Pen! Pen! Could get you writing perhaps in our office--seven shillings a-week, and find everything yourself, except your stool. Ah! I was afraid you would not like that.
Bra. I meant no slavish pen that plies for hire, but that which makes immortal-literature.
Spr. Easy writing—very hard publishing though. The booksellers won't, and you can't. Might write, perhaps, for the magazines and annuals, gratis, if the Duke of This, and Lady Agnes That, and the Honorable Mr. Tother, left you any room : and if you kept it up well for a dozen years or so, you might begin to get known, and perhaps a bookseller would publish for you, then, and share the profits-when you could find them.
Bra. But I have learning, and can communicate the knowledge I have acquired—a tutorSpr. Better be a footman. He has companions, the tutor
The kitchen is too low for him, and the drawingroom too high : and so he flits about by himself in the dusk, like a bat, because he is neither exactly a bird nor a beast.
Bra. Your arguments are sufficiently discouraging; yet I
have such a fund of liope and energy within, that, let me but remove this weight of calumny that presses on my name, and all the rest seems light and easy.
Spr. Hem! but that's difficult, sir, very; particularly if the papers have got it. Could not undertake to get it contradicted, except as an advertisement--special paragraph-cost a good deal, and nobody believe it, then. You see a bit of scandal is public property, interests everybody. The contradiction is private property, interests nobody but the one person, and spoils a good story besides. Nothing exciting in a .contradiction--could not undertake it without-I say, you won't think me impertinent, but have you got any--(Slapping his breeches pocket)---any of the ready?
Bra Some ten or twelve pounds.
Spr. (Aside.) Ten or twelve pounds !-Quite a little fortune! My dear sir, my dear Mr. Brandon, this requires every attention. When Mr. Oddington heard the report
Bra. Mr. Oddington! How! Would you tell me it has reached there?
Spr. Bless your heart, the very first place it went to ! That's what I say, you see; the first report is always interesting.–A deputation of Mr. Hardman's servants waited on Mr. Oddington's household—
Bra. This is beyond endurance! I'll fly there this instant.
Spr. (Shakes his head.) No go! Did not I mention it? The doors are ordered to be shut against you.
Bra. Condemned without a hearing! I'll
Spr. Now stop, now stop! you're so impetuous. I had a thought—but you make me quite nervous.
Bra. What is it?
Spr. There you go—no patience--you're putting it all out of my head—(Aside.) Ten or twelve pounds! What a comfortable little sum !
Bra. But your thought?
Spr. Bless me, how it's escaping me! Very odd; but when I want to think, I'll tell you what, I'm always obliged to do
Bra. This is torture !
Spr. First I dine. I never can think, do you know, before dinner. By-the-bye, have you dined yet? That's a capital house at the corner !
Bra. (Impatiently.) Psha! I shall go mad!
Spr. No, don't! because, when you know what Miss Mortimer said
Bra. Miss Mortimer! has she too heard of this villainous invention ?
Spr. Did not I tell you? Bless my heart, there's my throat again ! The most extraordinary complaint in my throat, when I talk much! I can't speak another word till I've swallowed an oyster, and you have not dined, you say ?
Bra. You shall eat, drink, and swill-only tell me what Miss Mortimer
Spr. Upon my life, it's too bad; I would not, on any account, let you pay, only it is not a credit house ; and changing my trousers, I have left my purse at home.
Bra. I will pay anything--give anything! Put me out of
Spr. It's really extraordinary—hem !-hem !-all here ! (Putting his hand to his throat.) All round !-It's only just at the corner.
Bra. Tell me, but in one word
Spr. I can't-upon my life, I can't speak a word—my throat is getting in such a state—I can't utter a single syllable, till I've-There, you see that's the house-I'll introduce you.
(Going. Bra. But, Miss MortimerSpr. The doctors say it's the uvula. Bra. Hang your uvula !
Spr. Oysters, I think, you said, for a whet to begin with ?
(E.cit. Bra. (Following.) Scoundrel !-tell me what Elinor what Miss Mortimer
(Rushes after him.
A DUCK, who had got such a habit of stuffing,
One day, after eating a plentiful dinner,
In a hole of the dunghill was Dr. Drake's shop,
So taking a handful of comical things,
“ Dear sir," said the duck, with a delicate quack,
“I feel so distended with wind, and opprest,
* Give me leave," said the doctor, with medical look, As her flabby cold paw in his fingers he took ;
“By the feel of your pulse—your complaint, Ive been thinking, Is caused by your habits of eating and drinking."
“O no, sir, believe me," the lady replied,
“I've only been roking a bit in the gutter,
The doctor was just to his business proceeding,
Her remains were interred in a neighboring swamp,
BEHIND AND BEFORE.--AUTHOR OF 'PEN AND INK SKETCHES.
BEFORE and behind—before and behind !
That are pregnant with joy or sorrow :
Instruction and warning borrow.