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THE ASTOUNDING ADVENTURE

OF

WHEELER J. CALAMITY.

Related By Himself.

I Cannot say how it came to pass but I found myself at the bottom of the pond!

I should tell you, first of all, that I am head clerk to a serious mercantile firm; and that my abode, when I am at home, is at Clapham. I am a man of a grave and thoughtful turn of mind, and I spend my leisure in reflecting on the awful ways and disreputable goings on of lost sheep in general. I am a valued member of a strict dissenting congregation; and if there is one feature of my existence upon which I pride myself more than another, it is en my method of keeping Sunday. Yes, Sunday at Calamity Lodge may fairly be taken to be, in the matter of solemnity, the perfection of melancholy propriety. I regard it as a species of Prize Sunday, and as such I hold it up to as many of my friends as will come and look at it. They regard it as the goal to which their Sunday-keeping endeavours should unanimously tend. With the exception of my servants, there is not one soul in Calamity Lodge who was ever known to be guilty of doing anything useful on the seventh day.

It is, perhaps, unnecessary for me to add that I have never read a play, or entered a playhouse in the course of my virtuous life. Nevertheless, I have printed and published many vigorous and soul-harrowing denunciations of these works and tabernacles of the Evil One; and I have shown, beyond dispute, that they sow the seed of every vice that can degrade humanity. The play-houses are, I am told, not all closed, but then I have not yet finished the series of pamphlets I am directing against them.

To return to the opening paragraph of this paper. I cannot say how it came to pass that I found myself at the bottom of the pond, but there I was. It was on Christmas Day, and I had been spending the evening with a fallen Brother who, as I had previously learnt, was not at peace with all men. In point of fact, he was not at peace with me, for an Enemy had put it into his head that I had misappropriated some chapel funds. It was a charge which I could best meet with a dignified silence; but as ho had expressed his intention of bringing it before the flock, I could not consistently with my conscientious scruples allow him to remain one single hour in so evil a frame of mind, if it lay in my power to prevent it. So I repaired to his abode, and as I could hit upon no other way of bringing him to a sense of his wickedness, I wrote him a cheque for a large amount—the very t mount, as it happened, of the money which he had charged me with mis appropriating.

Upon this we shook hands, and he drank my health. It was, I well remember, in choice old port. To prove myself at perfect charity with him, I drank his health, and we bcth shed tears. Then I drank the health of his help-mate, who is buxom and fair to look upon. Then that of his twain daughters, who are of a pleasing countenance. Then (for at Christmas time I con make no distinction of class), of his various servants. Lastly, my fallen Brother proposed a toast which, with ill-timed humour, he described as Our Noble Selves. I objected, at first, to this, as savouring of unchristian vanity, but I suffered myself to be over-ruled, and I then joined the family m a song of jubilee that, if I recollect aright, expressed rejoicing and pious satisfaction at our being all "here again"—at our passing yet another Christmas together. Then I bade them farewell, and proceeded ti i my home.

As I have no recollection of anything that occurred between my leaving his home and my finding myself at the bottom of a pond on Clapham

Common, I conclude that I was even at that time under the influence of the extraordinary spell which led me into the adventures I am about to relate. I have a distinct recollection of feeling myself suddenly immersed in icy water, and of finding myself in the act of sinking into unfathomable depths. Eventually, I found myself at the bottom of the pond, which to my utter amazement appeared to be it large chamber gorgeously furnished as a bed-room, with a resplendent, but tawdry couch on which I was lying, when I fully recovered my senses.

Everything around me was cheaply gaudy. The couch groaned and cracked under me as I turned round to examine the apartment. The hangings of the room were of crimson calico, bespattered with gilt lions. The bed-curtains were of the coarsest muslin, and the flooring was of dirty deal, badly laid, and full of closed trap-doors of a peculiar mechanical description. An attendant, who was attired in a grotesquely fantastic garb, heard me cough, and finishing an eccentric dance which he was practising before a looking-glass, turned to see what I wanted.

"Pray, am I dead, or is this some mistake?" asked I, in blank astonishment.

He replied in a jaunty tone,

"No, you're not dead yet, though you arc a-tcake '."

He emphasised the words I have printed in italics, in such a manner as to convoy to me the impression that they had some double meaning. But I have no notion what it was. I am afraid that I began to lose my temper, for I inquired indignantly,

"What in the world is tho meaning of all this tom-foolery T

"Hush!" said he, below his breath. "Pray tako care. Fortunately, nobody heard you but myself, or you would have been severely punished. Don't you know that there is no rhyme to tom-foolery in the singular 1"

"In the singular f" said I, completely puzzled.

"Yes," whispered he. "You can use it in the plural if you like, for 'tomfooleries' is an allowable rhyme to 'Tooleries,' where the Emperor Of The French resides in Paris, you know."

"I haven't the remotest notion what in the world"

"Hush—pray, hush," whispered my attendant. "That line's a great deal too long. You'll get yourself into serious troublo if you don't take care. Pray, oh pray, remember the metre!"

"What! Measure out by yards all I repeat?" asked I, in astonishment.

"No, not exactly yards— it's done by feet," replied he, triumphantly, aloud. Then he added under his breath, " There, that's much better—we are getting on nicely."

"Pray, will you kindly tell me where Iran?" asked I, in despair.

"A very good decasyllabic line," remarked my attendant in a patronizing whisper. Then, aloud:

"Last night to Regions of Burlesque you cam!"

111 * com t'—what's that !" " said 1.

"Hush," whispered he. "'You cam,' for 1 you came.' It's for the rhyme."

"But I see no necessity for rhyme."

"You'll learn t' e reason of it all in time. Our code of regulations isn't long—I'll tell you all about them in a song."

And after premiaiii); in a whisper that he would adapt the song he was about to sing to the air of a profane ballad, known to him and his friends as " The Sugar Shop," he began to howl forth the following unmeaning words:—

"If you intend to stay with us, before you've been a day with us
You'll learn the proper way with us, of saying what you say with us;

Each speech should have a pun in it, at very lowest one in it,
And if you can't bring none in it, you'd better cut away!

"Rule, rule of where you've been intending to,

Fool, fool, learning please begin; You'll, you'll learn to be alluding to,

Tho neighbourhood of Chancery-lane as * skid-a-ma-Lincoln's Inn'!"

"But skid-a-ma-Lincoln's Inn appears to be unmeaning nonsense. What in the world has Lincoln's Inn to do with it P" asked I.

"Hush," whispered he : "You're all wrong again, you can't scan that line. Say, 'But why allude to Lincoln's Inn, pray tell ?' and I'll answer you."

"But why allude to Lincoln's Inn—pray tell?" said I, in obedience to his instructions.

"Because it fits into the line so well," ho answered, triumphantly; and then he proceeded to the second verse, which appeared to me to be even more idiotic than the first.

"And when of punning speech, you know, the end you nearly reach, you know,

Experience will teach, you know, a comic song to screech, you know; And laughter to enhance, you know, each song should have a dance, you know,

(A needful circumstarnce, you know), a dozen minutes long!
"Rule, rule, enjoyment not diminishing,

Fool, fool, booby, booby, boob—
You'll, you'll learn, each ballad finishing,

With a flip up in the skid-a-ma-link, and a flip intho juben-jube!"

And here he proceeded to dance about in such a dreadfully wild and reckless manner, that I really feared that he would end by dislocating all his limbs at once.

"How dare you call me 'fool and booby boob'?" I asked, with not unnatural irritation.

"Because I find no other rhyme to 'jute,' —with the exception of' pneumatic tube,'—which couldn't easily be introduced,—and so I hope my rudeness stands excused."

He proceeded then to tell me, in preposterous rhymes, that if an inhabitant of the Region of Burlesque ventured to speak aloud in prose he was liable to be beheaded on the spot, and that to finish a comic song otherwise than with a comic dance, was penal servitude for life. It was in vain that I represented to him that I could not extemporize songs of any description—that the only tunc I knew was the National Anthem—that I had never attempted to rhyme a couple of words in my life, and that as for a pun, I had as great a horror of it as of the theatre itself. He could offer me no consolation in my difficulty, nor could he hold out any hope of pardon if I offended by publicly speaking in prose.

He advised me to begin to study the art of rhyming with facility, and he placed a volume in my hands containing all the known rhymes, possible and impossible, in the English language. He recommended me to study them for a couple of hours, and he promised at the expiration of that period, to introduce me to the Kino Of Burlesque and his court.

As soon as my attendant (whose name was Billibolliboski NincomPoop), had left me, I set to work on the volume he had given me. In it I found an alphabetical list of words that rhymed with each other after the fashion of a Walker's Rhyming Dictionary, only much more complete, and an appendix containing a list of twenty-seven thousand three hundred and ninety-two puns, all more or less (generally less) original. Tho scores of seven hundred and thirty-two (or thirty-five, I forget which), comic and sentimental songs, concluded the volume. I worked at it for the two hours with no result worth mentioning, and I hailed the appearance of my attendant as a convict under sentence of death hails the appearance of the sheriffs who are to lead him to execution.

Billibolliboski Ningompoop arrayed me in a garment of a fantastic description, and then led me through tho streets of a largo town to tho King's palace. I was much struck with the appearance and demeanour of such of the inhabitants as I happened to see on my way. They were all dressed in costumes as astounding as the one I wore myself, and they had, for the most part, astonishing heads of hair. The young men were especially remarkable, for they had lovely complexions, beautiful eyes, a quantity of back hair, usually with the tortoiseshall comb stuck into it, and extraordinary figures for boys. Their legs were remarkable fine, and they appeared particularly proud of them, for they lost no opportunity of exhibiting them, by twirling quickly round, and so disarranging the loose drapery of their tunics. Whenever one of those young men met a gentleman or lady, I noticed that after a short conversation, full of bad jokes (at which neither of them laughed), they began to dance in a wild and altogether irrelevant manner. And, indeed, I found that they frequently danced in this way when they were quite alone, and at almost every corner was to be found a young man or young woman finishing a soliloquy by dancing in the peculiarly reckless manner I have described. Tho young women wore dreadfully short dresses, and if it had not been that I felt curious to learn the habits and manners of so extraordinary a people, I should certainly not have thought of looking at them.

Perhaps themoststartlingfeaturcs of this astonishingcountry were to be found in the celestial phenomena which met my gazo whenever I looked upwards. Instead of the beautiful blue vault of heaven to which I have ever been accustomed, I found that the sky descended in short strips about six feet apart to the very roofs of the houses. Between these strips I could catch occasional glimpses of rough men dressed much in the garb of ordinary British carpenters. They appeared to be engaged in pulling tackle and in turning windlasses, though with what object I never could make out. Tho stars, too, were not scattered over the heavens as are the stars that we see in England, but they appeared to grow in long rows between the strips of sky to which I have alluded, and parallel to them.

At length my companion and I reached the King's palace. It was as

gaudy and in as execrable taste as the apartment in which I found myself when I first arrived. Everything looked cheap, tawdry and ricketty, and the very throne on which the monarch sat was made of rough deal coarsely gilt on the front portion of it alone.

As we entered we found the king surrounded by his court, who were singing what appeared to be the local National Anthem, to the air of an old Scotch song, called, if I remember aright, "The Laird of Bonnie Cockdee." It ran, I think, as follows :—

Oh, the lords of creation of every degree
Consider our monarch as great as can be,
Whoever they are, they acknowledge you see,
That never there was such a monarch as he.
Wherever you go you will hear it allowed,
That great as he is he is not at all proud,
But he'll take from his subjects of humblest degree,
Sure never there was such a monarch as he!

Upon which the king replied,

"My Lords and Gentlemen,—I'm greatly flattered by the neat verses you've soglibly pattered. By "neat" I don't mean strong, but bond fid*, I call them neat because they re pretty tidy."

The king then caught sight of me, and in bad doggrel, wanted to know where I came from, and all about me. Billibolliboski threw me into a state of fearful confusion by whispering that it was expected of me that I should immediately extemporize a complimentary song. There was no time for reflection, so I extemporized the following clever parody on the popular British anthem before alluded to. I have italicised the portions which I altered from tho original:—

God save our gracious King,
Long live our gracious Kim/,

God save the King.
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,

God save the King.

I was pained to find that this really neat parody met with little or no approbation from the court. I thought it rather good for a first attempt. 1 he king, however, received me graciously, and immediately appointed me his Leading Loko Median. I haven't, to this day, the faintest notion what the title implied.

The Monarch had a beautiful daughter, the Princess Pretty Pickleyickleysing, to whom he was good enough to introduce me. As I had left my excellent though elderly wife at Clapham, I considered her as good as dead, so I felt no scruple in devoting myself to this lovely girl. I was prompted to this rather by a desire to convert her to my own doctrines, and to add her to the faithful flock of which I was an honoured though humble member, than by any notion of mere worldly love. But alas for her, she was betrothed to a young Prince—Prince Poppetskin, who appeared to monopolize her society.

The Princess was very rude tome indeed, and as for Princepopfetskin, his behaviour was outrageous. He was perfectly well aware of the difficulty I had in speaking in rhyme, and he delighted to address me in a single line ending with a word to which it was almost impossible to find a rhyme, such as " month," "silver," " orange," " writing-desk," "bismuth," and so on. Tho Princess followed his lead, so that I had the greatest difficulty in keeping up a coherent conversation with her. After I had interchanged a word or two with either of them, they would begin to sing a comio duct, in which I was forced to take my part. As I have no idea of singing, and never knew on air throughout, it will be easy to see that my position in this awful Court was anything but desirable. I soon exhausted the British National Anthem, and all the parodies that could be made on it. At first I relied solely upon it, and introduced it whenever I had a chance, but eventually I became such a nuisance, that as Boon as I began it, everybody left the room.

I had only one pun, and that I also introduced whenever a pun became necessary. It was a very neat one, and was founded on the curious similarity in sound between "merry twinkle" and "Periwinkle," but I found no little difficulty in inventing an excuse for its introduction whenever I made a remark. It necessitated going a long way round, and saying a great deal more than I wanted to say, which involved me in another difficulty—that of finding a dozen rhymes instead of only two. Now the only rhymes I could think of were, the following: management and banishment, cockles and noddles, twelfth and self, London and hunting, Grammarian and Mary Anne; so anything like intelligent conversation was altogether out of the question.

This state of things lasted for twelve months. I am not going to give an account of all the difficulties I encountered in the course of that period: I reserve that for a large work which I propose to publish, and which will give a detailed account of all my sufferings during my sojourn in the Region of Burlesque. Eventually I was sentenced to death, because I could not find a trisyllabic rhyme to Postlethwaite,—that at least was the ostensible reason, though I incline to the belief, that I had by that timo made myself such an intolerable nuisance with my National Anthem, my five brace o rhymes, and my only pun, that my speedy death was unanimously desired. I was neatly decapitated on the day twelve-month after my arrival, and immediately on my decapitation I found myself somehow transported to a cell of the Wandsworth Police-court. From this humiliating durance I was liberated by a benevolent magistrate, and, after depositing five shillings with his worship for the good of Her Majesty the Queen, I reached my home, to (I hope) the great joy of my wife and all my children. Here is their good health and all their families, and may they live long and prosper!

W. SGHWENCK GlLBBRT.

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SAID Mr. Pkaggles, tho prompter, putting his hood into the manager's sanctum, "Sir! Please, sir!" "Well, PraoQLES,"enquirod tho managor solemnly,"what is it?"

"It's the ladies and gentlemen, sir, which is anxious to know when tho treasury is agoing to open, sir."

"Bear them," said the manager, wi th sudden irritation, "to the lowest

dun . No!

Tell them I am engaged with a gentleman on business of the greatest importance."

The prompter withdrow— promptly. Tho manager was left alone. Yes, alone! The gentleman with whom ho was

transacting important business was—not to define too nicely—a fiction. The manager was alone—alone with his difficulty. And it was a difficulty :—a difficulty that would have taxed the financial abilities of a Gladstone. For to quote the remarkable words of Mrs. Brown—" Samson was a strong man and Solomon wiso one, but they could neither of them pay two pounds when they had only thirty shillings to do it with." And this was Saturday, and tho ladies and gentlemen connected with the Royal Asterisk Theatre were waiting for the treasury to pay their salaries, and the treasury was empty—cleaned out to itB last sixpence.

Now Mr. Choopy, the manager, on whose privacy we have so unceremoniously intruded was not a Samson. He had never been the The Strong Man of a booth, though he had in youth, and the character of Mr. Merriman, invited tho rustic public to " Walk up! walk up!" and see the huge Anaconda of the Indian Ocean, and the Platypus Savages from Central Africa, who had only one foot, but thai was as big as an ordinary umbrella, and was used by them " as such.

Nor was Mr. Choopy altogether a Solomon. So it is no great wonder that he was puzzlod. Ho was at his wit*' end—and that was some distance, for he was a long-headed fellow, if not tho entire Solomon. But he couldn't contrive to pay tho salaries of a ^hole company with nothing at all. He had once contrived to satisfy their claims with half-a-sovereign, and that was ingenious you' 11 admit, but now he hadn't a tenth part of that sum even.

I will tell you briefly how he contrived to pay his whole company with half-a-sovereign. Ho summoned them singly into his sanctum. The first who arrived was Mountvillyar (real name Maggett), the tragedian. Mountvillyar was the most magnificent and dressy man in the company, he had a glossy black wig and a real crimson velvet waistcoat, not to mention a diamond ring which he never parted with—not even under the pressure of the most straitened circumstances, because it being paste ho could realise nothing on it.

"My dear M.," said Choopy, " I cannot conceal from myself that your genius is wasted —and I have made arrangements with one of tho leading dramatists of the day to write a tragedy, in which you will have an opportunity, and that is all you need, to take the metropolis by storm."

Mountvillyar blushed crimson as his waistcoat with joy.

"By tho way, M., my boy," continued Choopy, "things have been deuced bad, and I shan't be able to pay you till to-night. I supposo you don't mind F And, in the meantime, in case you should require any small chango—why here's half-a-Bov.

Mountvillyar accepted the instalment gladly.

"You'll not mention the tragedy, M., my boy," said Choopy. ** Don't talk about it in the theatro—it might make 'em jealous, you know. But a man of your histrionic talent must havo an opening, and you shall, my boy, you shall! By tho way," he added, seeing Mountvillyar making towards the door, "I may as well pay you the whole lot at once— save confusion, you know. Let's have that half-sov. back!"

And with that ho took it out of the tragedian's unresisting hand, and politely hustled him out of the room.

Blibber, the low comedian, was tho next, and with him Choopy enacted the same scene —substituting in his case a screaming farce for the tragedy. Then came Swingle, the walking gentleman, and with him, too, the same little game was played with equal success, and so on with the whole company, until there were but two left.

Jack Blipfli and Tom Rudgway had yet to bo satisfied. They were very humble members of the company, indeed, and the only bait Choopy could have thrown to their vanity would have been to have promised to bring out a drama in which the whole dialogue

consisted of such sentences as "My lord, your carriage waits." "Dinner is served in the banquet-hall." "Did my lady call?" "My lord, a messenger without bids me deliver this into your hands." However Choopy attempted in some sort of way to cajole Jack Bliffle and obtain the half-sovereign back; for that half-sovereign was intended, after having done its duty at the treasury, to provide the managerial repast. Jack Blipflb, however, was a man who, having once closed on a half-sovereign, or even a smaller coin, was not to be easily prevailed on to give it up. Choopy expostulated—protested—swore. In vain! And in the midst of the altercation Rudoway entered and preferred his demand for salary.

What could Choopy do? He put a bold face on the matter—vowed he had paid away all his ready cash, and that the last half-sovereign was in Jack's possession. Then he appealed to Jack on Rudoway's behalf—reminded him that Rudgway had a wife and family, and so prevailod on Jack (who was a kind-hearted fellow) that ho promised to Bhare with Tom.

And so it was that Choopy paid off his wholo company with half-a-sovereign.

How Jack and Tom retired to divido the spoil: how it was agreed that they should adjourn to a tavern and havo a drop of something in order to get change; how they disagreed as to who should pay for the liquor; how they finally arranged to toss up, with a view to deciding who should Btand treat; and how the half-Bovereign, having been tost up, fell on tho pavement, gave a jump and then a roll, and dropt down the grating of an uninhabited house, leaving Tom and Jack to gaze after it despairingly, there is no necessity here to relate at length.

We will return to Choopy, whom wo left in his sanctum alone with his difficulty.

As his eye wandered moodily from the floor to tho ceiling, from the ceiling to the table, it suddenly rested on an open letter. At once Choopy's face began to brighten. lie took the note up, read it carefully, and then laid it down by his side.

"Pkaggles," said Choopy, with a loud and confident voice " ask the ladies and gentlemen to step this way!"

Before they do so we will glance over Choopy's Bhoulder at the note. It is an invitation to dinner, and it is signed "Yours, B. Jacom."

Mr. Benjamin Jacom was a man familiar to haunters of the coulisses. He had a low forehead, an aquiline nose, dark hair and eyes, and a double chin. He also had dirty hands, plenty of rings to bo thereby shown to advantage, and a velvet vest, over which meandered a massive gold chain, which was a sort of mental Hampton Court Maze—for it came out at his waistband and from the armholes of his waistcoat, from between its buttons, and from his throat. You were in an endless bewilderment as to where it began and where it ended, and how many miles it traversed between those two points. Mr. Jacom spelt his name J. a. c. o. M— but from some peculiar formation of his nasal organs, highly BUggestive of chronic influenza, ho called himself Jacob, a fact, which combined with tho circumstance that he lent money at heavy interest, led people to suppose that he belonged to a race which Mr. Disraeli describes as Caucasian.

Mr. Jacom was well known at the theatre and the opera. He was reported to have lent fabulous sums to half the managers in London. Whether ho ever could, would, or did get paid is a matter of doubt, but ho was nevertheless a very wealthy man. It must therefore bo conjectured that he made up for the deficit in this direction by making in his dealings |-with ordinary mortals, who were not managers, a large profit on Old Masters, wines, and very choice cigars. Whether he did this or not is uncertain, but it was clear that he entered into theatrical speculations from a sheer love of the drama— and by love of the drama I mean a right of admission behind the scenes, and the pleasure of giving handsome dinners on Saturday afternoons to a select circle of theatrical managers.

It was an invitation to dinner in Mr. Jacom's handwriting that lay on the table when the ladies and gentlemen of the Royal Asterisk Theatre came in a body to the treasury to demand their salaries. I am bound to add that from their demeanour it was pretty evident they did not expect to get their money, but wero determined "not to stand this kind of thing any longer."

"My dears," said Choopy, " I'm sorry to say I'm deuced hnrd-up, and can't pay you your salaries this afternoon."

At this there were very marked signs of disapprobation and discontent.

"But this ovening I shall be in tho receipt of a largo sum of money."

At this there was a derisive laugh, and audible confessions of want of faith.

"I shall be in receipt of a large—a very large sum of money from a gentleman with whom I believe you ore all acquainted—from Mr. Jacom."

The disbelief was not entirely banished, but the expressions of dissatisfaction were not so marked as before. Still the meeting showed no signs of breaking up;—something more was needed, and so Choopy played his great card.

"You don't believo mo P Very well! I tell you, Mr. J Acom has taken a very great interest in this theatre. He has been so struck by the admirable and even way in which pieces are plavcd here, that ho intends to give it his material support and countenance. "Why, look here! here's a proof of it— he's invited you to dinner, my dear boys f

That settled it. The delicate compliment to their acting mollified the discontents; and when Choopy held out the letter, and Mountvillyar, glancing at it, declared it all correct, peace was restored, and tho delighted actors hastened off to mako their toilets for the coming banquet. This was not a labour of long duration. With the majority, it meant a buttoning up of their coats to the throat. Mountvillyar, with his crimson vest, was so nobly attired that he had nothing left to desire, save that his hat had been good enough to take in to dinner with him in order to conceal an obtrusive chef cTeeuvre, in the way of fine-drawing, across the right kneo of his pantaloons.

When all were arrayed the party set out towards Hampstead, where Mr. J Acom's villa was situated. They didn't ride for two reasons—first of all the walk would give them an appetite; and, secondly, they hadn't got the money to pay their fare by cab or even by 'bus. Very daintily among the puddles and ovor the crossings they picked their way, Mountvillyar, of the crimson vest, nobly leading the van. Choopy having had to mako a call on his way, had started before them.

When they arrived at the villa they knocked timidly, and the door was opened by a gorgeous footman, who, not without an air of mingled surprise and disdain, handed them over to two other functionaries, who ushered them into the drawing-room. Therein were assembled some half-dozen managers, including Choopy, and a large sprinkling of aquiline noses male and female; the owners of tho noses resplendent with jewelry, tho ladies especially, of whose fingers between the knuckles and the not overnice nails, nothing could be discerned for the glittering rings, that must have made it quite impossible for them to crook a single joint.

When the little group entered tho drawing-room there was consternation on both sides. The occupants of the room were apparently startled at tho arrival of a shabby body of evidently hungry strangers, and the intruders were so appalled at the gorgeous folks before them, that they shrank behind Mountvillyar, whoso crimson velvet vest was the only thing about them that could at all claim equality with the splendid ones.

Upon Mountvillyar therefore, he being thrust foremost, descended Mr. J Acom, and inquired who and what they were. The tragedian explained that they came—that is to say, they were asked to come—with Mr. Choopy.

"Here, I say, CnoOPY," said Jacom, "what's all this? What the deuce is it all about?"

"About?" said Choopy, coming up with a surprised air, "about? why didn't you ask them to dinner along with me?"

"Nothing of tho sort, Mr. Choopy, nothing of the sort."

"Well! there's your own letter," said the manager, producing the document. "Read it—read it, sir!"

"My dear Choopy," said Mr. Jacom, rending from the letter, in a distinct, at least for Aim distinct voice—" My dear Choopy,—Will you give me the pleasure of your company at dinner on Saturday. Yours, B. Jacom."

"That's it," said Choopy'. "Didn't I say so P

"Say what?"

"Why, 'the pleasure of your company'—this," added Choopy, indicating with a wave of his hand the cowering Thespians—" this, sir, is My Company!"

Tom Hood.

THE PATRIOT JESTER.

AN ArOLOGUE.

{From Hcinrich Heine.)

ft N tho Tyrol, foes around him, sleep a stranger to his eyes,

H Courtiers fled tho deuce knows whither, Charles Tub Fifth forsaken

y Rid of all the tribe of fawners, all the parasitic crew, [lies.

- Charles has leisure for reflection, which, at least, is something new. Musing sadly, on a sudden, lo! ho sees within the door, Muffled in a cloak, a figure ho has seen, he thinks, before. Yes, 'tis Conrad Von Der Rosen. "Friend and Fool, what brings thee Dost thou come to jest of wisdom, and to counsel with a jeer?" I here? "Nunky! I, thy faithful jester, come with heart, and bead, and hand, Thee to aid, dear German People; thee to succour, Fatherland! I was yours in time of laughter: merry were we then, indeed! I am yours in time of mourning: I am yours in time of need! O, my Fatherland! my Kaiser! If I cannot set theo free, I can comfort thee, and serve thee, and be firm and true to thee. Though thou liest low in bondage, thou shalt presently prevail. Courage, then, my rightful Kaiser! Sovran Fatherland, all hail! Look! Beneath my cloak I bring thee crown and sceptre; dost thou hear? Fling aside thy dismal doubtings; put away thy weary fear. Rise, and be thyself, my Kaiser! Thy deliverance is at hand; 0, beloved German People! O, my German Fatherland! Bared my breast is in thv service; I will do what I have spoke; I will give for thee, my Kaiser, my last blood, and my last joke. Thou, my true lord, art the owner of the land by right divine: Thou, the People! Where is any claim legitimate as thine? Lo, a new time is beginning, and the night is passed away, And the sky glows bright and ruddy with the dawning of the day." "Conrad Von Der Rosen! Sadly, 0, my Fool, thou dost mistake, And the voice of drear delusion 'twas in thee, O, Conrad, spake. For a headsman's gleaming axe thou takest for the morning sun; And the red of dawn is only blood with smears of blood begun." "No, my Kaiser! 'Tis the sun, though ho is rising in the West. Years six thousand had the Orient, and I think a change were best." "Conrad! from thy faded cockscomb—from that Btrangc red cap of thine, See—the bells have disappeared that used to jingle and to shine.' "Thy distress, my Kaiser, mado me shake my head so oft and long, That the bells all dropped away: but nothing with the cap is wrong." "Listen! Conrad Von Der Rosen; What's that cracking noise outside f" "Hush, my Kaiser! 'Tis the axo and crow, by sturdy workmen plied. Soon thou shalt be free, my Kaiser; free to bo as Kaisers are— K ind, and violent, and gracious; proud, too, as the morning star. Thou shalt rule, and show thy nature with all princely gifts endued; Thou shalt be all grace and radiance, wisdom and ingratitude." "Am I, then, once more a Kaiser? Have I freedom hence to go? Ah, vain thought! I had forgotten—'tis tho Fool that tells mo so!" "Sigh not, Master; this foul prison air hath made thy spirits weak; Thou wilt smile and frown in season, and tho fate of nations speak." "Conrad Von Der Rosen, tell me what thou'lt do when I am free." "On my cap new bells to fasten will be work enough for me." "What'reward wilt thou, my Conrad, ask then at thy Prince's hands?" "Neither wealth nor station, Master, neither dignity nor lands. Not for titles, high and knightly, Wit his gay allegiance sells. Only, when the crown sits lightly, don't forget the cap and bells."

Godfrey Turner.

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