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despair of agreeing upon anything, when some one rapped at the oak. It was a peculiar knock; no one of our crowd' ever had sufficient energy to rap
“Who's that ?" said Topboots, the proprietor of the room, in a low whisper.
“ I don't know-let him in,” replied Whitehat.
“ Not a bit of it - know his knock, and it aint like that,” said he, as the sharp, quick rap was heard again.
“Come in,” shouted Topboots, and added, “ sold, by George !" as a boy walked in and handed out a paper. But it wasn't a bill, after all; it was a letter, and with a feeling of relief he threw himself back on the bed to recover from his unwonted exertion, and examine it at his leisure.
“ D-n it, it's not mine now—it's yours, Le Turc," and he tossed over the letter to me. It was postmarked - and the superscription seemed to have been written by one who was in the same circumstances as most stage-drivers say they are when a passenger wants them to stop while he gets out and picks fruit or flowers on the roadside, i. e. “in a h-1 of a hurry.”
Now I am decidedly too fond of enjoying the otium cum cigare to write my own correspondence, as most newspaper editors do, and my list of correspondents, in consequence of my own irregularity, had reduced itself almost to zero, there being but one left, and he a verdant kinsman of mine, who loves to talk to his comrades at school about his cousin the Yalensian, and who occasionally writes me a very deferential letter, post-paid, so the wonder was, who could this come from. A thought struck me! With many pious wishes for the health of a rich old bachelor uncle of mine, who lives up near L-, I turned over the letter and looked at the seal again ; but no! it wasn't black ! Stop though, let me look at the direction! No lawyer ever wrote that. It hasn't even got a Mr. to the name, and they treat clients in prospective with the greatest respect. I shook my head and lay back to dream of something else than legacies. There was a long pause, during which the wrinkles that thought makes slipped across brows to which they had long been strangers. At last Topboots suggested that it never occurred to him before, but he reckoned that, after all, the easiest way to find out the author of the epistle, would be to break the seal and read it. As were the companions of Columbus when the great navigator solved his problem by striking the egg on the table, so were Whitehat and I struck dumb with astonishment at our own obtuseness. In a pet at the dissipating of my golden dream alluded to above, I had thrown the letter back to Topboots, who now seized it, and acting as corresponding secretary, pro tem., opened and commenced reading it. The rest of us heard now and then a word-as, “ great fishing-capital sport--lots of pretty girls-bring clean shirtslandlord's got a splendid daughter-come up-introduce,” &c. &c. “Yours, Frank Forrester, Jr.” Few and short were the words we heard, but they were the ones to raise ideas despite the state of the weather. We got the diamonds and cared not for the setting. The
three spoke simultaneously. “Those pickerel,” said one. “ Capital sport,” murmured another. Pretty girls,” added a third, with eyes sparkling at the thought. “ But how came Frank to strike such a vein in selecting summer quarters ?"
“ That's one of the doubtful points we don't propose to go into,” said Whitehat, "but what's that he says about clean shirts in connection with pretty girls ?"
“ Hang the shirts, and girls too,” said Topboots : "I move we go into a committee of the whole on excuses, for I suppose it's unanimously resolved to go up to L-to-morrow.”
“S— will let me off, for he knows my standing is always inversely as the mercury in the thermometer," said Whitehat. “Well, let us go up solus cum solo and try our luck, Le Turc ?”
Agreed ; I'll go first, and we'll all meet here after tea." At about seven P. M. we were again assembled, and on comparing notes found that all was right. An establishment was ordered to be at the door betimes next morning, and at an early hour the Trio retired to their virtuous couches.
“ Ho, there! Charley ! Charley !" I sang out, about 5. A. M. Whitehat turned over, muttered something about landlord's daughter-sharp teeth-wired lines, and went off to sleep in a fast trot.
“ But I say, Charley!"
“I don't know. What do you wake a man up this time o' night, for ?"
“ The carriage has come and we must be off.” Whitehat sprang out of bed, and together we pulled Topboots out. Little time was spent at the toilette, and in a few moments the three were bowling up street at an easy rate, consoling each other as well as might be for the loss of the luxury of a morning nap.
Reader, did you ever ride forty miles over a hilly road in a narrow buggy with a double load? No, say you? Well, give us your hand : I congratulate you. But did you ever stop at a crowded hotel of a hot summer's night, and after a thorough search succeed in finding one bed that had but four in it, in which you commenced the second layer ? Ah, well, you're the man that can appreciate that ride. We called at all the hotels, of course, to use a pet phrase of Topboots, who, by the by, on coming out of one met with a slight accident. Strange as it may seem, the ground flew up and struck him in the head! I never till then fully appreciated the truth and beauty of the expression in “ Festus"
“ To raise the devil were an easy task
Festus, p. 227. We had resolved to take turns at handling the ribbons, and the last twelve miles fell by lot to Whitehat, who by this time was rather “ tired.” Nevertheless, as the poet says,
“We let him do the driving,
Though the danger wasn't small,
Of the dangerous canawl.” But, alas, for the vanity of human expectations! In front of the hotel, where we designed stopping, were two posts, but Whitehat, conscious of the fact that he was in a condition to see double, and yet desirous of conveying a different impression to the minds of the crowd, which, attracted by our brilliant execution of that gem from the Greek Anthology entitled “ Jim crack corn,” now thronged the piazza of " mine inn," reasoned thus: “I see two posts, but enough of that old Monongahela must have evaporated,' on such a ride as this, to render it more than probable that I see double, and the true state of the case is, that there is but one post.” Acting on this conclusion, derived, we cannot deny, from premises which would seem to justify it, Charley drove as near the one post as he could, without touching it, and came with a crash against the other, for he was not so musical as he himself supposed, and there actually were two posts. He got a few left-handed blessings for his awkwardness, and the carriage was sent to be repaired, while we strolled into the hotel to find Frank Forrester. We were unsuccessful in our search, he having gone out fishing ; so, by way of passing away time, we went out to see the village. had not proceeded far, before Whitehat commenced inaking love to the prettiest girl in the place, a la Hudibras. Somewhat alarmed, she ran home, and quoted from Fletcher's “Custom of the Country,” the passage relating to cannibal epicureanism.* Now, in ordinary circumstances, we are as valiant as Falstaff, on Gadshill, but on this occasion, our courage did little more than equal honest Jack's at Shrewsbury; so when she ran we ran too, and bolted into the house of refuge. When there, it occurred to one of the Trio, who, by the by, is an amateur in prison discipline, and a great admirer of the lamented Mrs. Fry, that the cells were rather larger than necessity demanded ; and, with a view of suggesting this to the County Commissioner, he called to his comrades to enter one with him, and take its dimensions. Like Cassim, in the Arabian tale, we found no difficulty in getting in the cavern, but "sesame” was a word that couldn't begin to start the bars when we wished to return. The truth was, our recherché appearance and distingué bearing called such a crowd round to see us, that some of the chief men, fearing lest we might be incommoded by the rush, had, sua sponte, acted as a committee of arrangements, and closed the door to keep the canaille off. But we are not ambitious ; and inasmuch as we were traveling in a quiet way, we thought the best way to preserve our incognito would be to resent the attempt to shower such
* A stronger case than this will be found recorded in the “New Englander," for July, p. 443, 1. 3. It is of one who not only uttered sentiments which never occurred to him before, but uttered them in a foreign language! The cases are similar in this, that the anomaly is to be ascribed to mental injury in each.
honors on our heads. First, though with tones more blandly insinuating than those by which Orpheus beguiled Cerberus, when he sought to rescue Eurydice from a similar scrape, we bade them let us go. But they only answered,
“ Na, na, na,
Ye mauna luik sae at me." Well satisfied by this, that though Orpheus could move bull-dogs, we could not, we reasoned with them on law, justice, and a judgment to come, and they, like Felix of old, trembled, and bade us go our way for this time. We sprang out and attacked them, but, as they were at least ten to our one, the result can be easily conjectured. Like “ Bo. zarris, with the chosen band,”
“We fought like brave men, long and well,
But couldn't come it, after all.” Reader, did you ever, when excused from recitations and prayers on account of “indisposition,” take it into your head to attend a concert, and, on opening the door, see six feet from you your division Tutor! If you did, you can form some conception of the alacrity with which we left that building ; not that we would have you think we were scared at all, but we had, as did you in your case, business the other way, and went into that business somewhat as a boy gets in love, i. e., head over heels. Once out, two of us went over to the hotel to order dinner with friend B-d-n, who had been crossed in love, and was now rusticating in consequence; the third stayed to exchange compliments with the County Commissioner, after doing which he was honored with an introduction to Mr. H., the soi disant “ lawyer” of the village, and received from him an invitation to walk over to his office. This turned out to be one of those establishments where they make “ men's and women's conscia recti," or, to use the generic term, " officina sutoris." A moment's conversation convinced him that the fellow was entirely too small a man to be a lawyer, and the result proved he was right, Mr. H. being a tailor, of which species it takes nine to make one man, the world over. He left soon, having first sug. gested to Mr. H. that he had better wear his degree of LL. D. plastered on his forehead, else no one would mistake him for a limb of the law, unless, perchance, pasting a calf-skin there might be thought too much like heaping Ossa on Pelion, gilding refined gold, painting the lily, or throwing a perfume on the violet. The degree of A. s. s., which he had doubtless received from the University at large, the world, he might safely keep in its tin box, for that he deserved that would be evident to any one who should converse with him for an instant.
Our dinner over, and Frank, with one or two others, having returned from their fishing excursion, we sent out for B-n, an old College friend, long since graduated, of whom we might say, with Shakspeare's Rosaline,
" A merrier man, Within the limits of becoming mirth, I never spent an hour's talk withal.”
Together we spent a merry evening, but how, it boots us not to tell, for so we should have to divide our story into parts, in the manner of the old Poets, treating of the morning as " Fytte (fight) the First," and the evening “ Fytte the Second.” Suffice it to say, that at an early hour we put Topboots to bed, and Whitehat and I soon followed, leaving the light burning. In the course of the night the “confined air” becoming oppressive, we concluded to open the window, and in doing so awoke Topboots, who started up, exclaiming, “There, Jack, I put that light out carefully before I got in bed, and you've opened the window and blown it in again. Do put it out." Oh, the light must burn on account of your corn.
The Doctor ordered it, and your toe will be worse if you don't go to sleep.”
Will it? Then I'll go ;” and ere many minutes more we had all yielded to Death's twin brother.
Of our landlord I can say little. His reasoning powers are such as to impress me with the idea, that he is a lineal descendant of that man who would fain have reasoned his Jehu-like nephew into the belief that a horsechestnut is a chestnut horse. He was well enough in his way, though, and understood his business, that is, taking in strangers, to perfection. But his daughter, the fair “ Corny !” For her sake we are tempted to forgive the joke the father tried to put on us. Shy as the wild gazelle, and with an equally “airy step and glorious eye,” she caught my fancy at first, and I should have added another to the long list of victims of Cupid's drafts at sight, were it not that, like George I V. of happy memory, I am gifted with “ a heart like a seive,
-Where such tender affection
And the finer it is the more sure to slip through.” The lassie had lovers enough, though, and were we not limited to a certain space, we should like to give “pen and ink sketches" of one or two of them. I shall not soon forget the evening I spent with her, nor the kindness of him to whom I was indebted for the introduction, and if ever I have the pleasure of playing another rubber with her, I will promise not to gammon her again ; that is, not to mistake her pretty fingers for the dice, and talk love instead of going on with the game.
A Sunday in the country, and more especially in the village of L-, is pregnant with pleasure to one who is fond of quiet humor, and who has an eye for the ludicrous. At the people themselves, even were they inanimate, as at the curiosities in Tom Riley's Chinese Museum, one could never tire of looking, and then in their customs, manners, and every motion, even, there is a naiveté which renders them absolutely irresistible. Ten o'clock found us in the church, and gravely disposed as we were we could not but indulge in one of Leatherstocking's inward chuckles. The pulpit was placed between the two doors at which the audience entered, and from that the floor gradually rose,