Page images



one like him.' "Why, can't I have him?' says the gente Impossible !" says Coper. Why impossible ?' says the gent. Because he's Mrs. Coper's hoss, and money wouldn't buy him of her. He's perfect, and she knows it.' "Well,' says the gent, getting his steam up, I don't mind price! What's money to peace of mind ?? says Coper. If I was to sell that hoss, my Missus would worry my life out.' Well, sir,

the more Coper made a difficulty of selling the hoss, the more the gent wanted to buy, till, at last, Coper took him to a coach-hoss, as tho' to be private, and said to him, in a whisper, 'Well, I tell you what I'll do; I'll take ninety pounds for him. Praps he's not worth that to everybody; but I think he is to you,

who wants a perfect thing, and ready made for you.' (You're very kind,' said the gent, and I'll give you a check at once.' But mind,' says Coper, you must fetch him away at night; for if my Missus saw him going out of the yard, I do believe she'd pull a life-guardsman off him. How I shall pacify her, I don't know! Ninety pounds! Why, ninety pounds wont pay me for the rows, leave alone the hoss!

“The gent quite thought Coper was repenting of the bargain, and so walked away to the little countin' house, and drew a check for the money. When he was gone, I bust out a laughin', because I know'd Mrs. Coper was as mild as a bran-mash, and 'ud never a' dared to blow up her husband.

But Coper wouldn't have it—he looked as solemn as truth. Well, sir, the hoss was fetched away that night."

“ But why at night, Davis ?"

“ Because they shouldn't see his good qualities all at once, I suppose, sir; for he'd got the Devonshire coat of arms on his off knee.”

“ Devonshire coat of arms ?"

“ Yes, sir. You see, Devonshire's a very hilly country, and most of the hosses down there has broken knees; so they calls a speck the Devonshire coat of arms. Well, sir, as Mr. Coper's pet shied at everything and nothing, and bolted when he warn't a-shieing, the gent came back in about a week to Coper.

Mr. Coper,' says he, I can't get on with that hoss at all,

[ocr errors]


Perhaps I don't know how to manage him. He goes on so odd, that I'm afraid to ride him ; so I thought, as he was such a favorite with Mrs. Coper, you shall have him back again.'

“ Not if you'd give me ninety pounds to do it, says Coper, looking as tho' he was a going to bite the gent.

Why not?' says the gent. "I wouldn't go through what I have gone through,' says Coper, hitting the stable door with his fist enough to split it, not for twice the money. Mrs. Coper never left off rowing for two days and nights; and how I should a' stopped her, I don't know, if luck hadn't stood my friend. But I happened to meet with a hoss, the very moral of the one you've got, only perhaps just a leetle better; and Mrs. C. took to him wonderful. I wouldn't disturb our domestic harmony by having that hoss of yourn back again, not for half the Bank of England.' Now, the gent was a wery tender-hearted man, and believed all that Coper told him, and kept the hoss. But what he did with him, I can't think; for he was the wiciousest screw as ever put his nose in a manger.”

[blocks in formation]

Sir Christopher. And so, friend Blackletter, you are just come from college.

Quiz. Yes, sir.

Sir Ch. Ah, Mr. Blackletter, I once loved the name of a college, until my son proved so worthless.

Quiz. In the name of all the literati, what do you mean? You fond of books, and not bless your stars in giving you such a son !

Sir Ch. Ah, sir, he was once a youth of promise.—But do you know him?

Quiz. What! Frederick Classic ?-Ay, that I do--Heaven be praised !

Sir Ch. I tell you, Mr. Blackletter, he is wonderfully changed.

Quiz. And a lucky change for him. What! I suppose he was once a wild


fellow? Sir Ch. No, sir, you don't understand me, or I don't you. I tell you, he neglects his studies, and is foolishly in love; for which I shall certainly cut him off with a shilling.

Quiz. You surprise me, sir. I must beg leave to undeceive you—you are either out of your senses, or some wicked enemy of his has, undoubtedly, done him this injury. Why, sir, he is in love, I grant you, but it is only with his book. He hardly allows himself time to eat; and as for sleep, he scarcely takes two hours in the twenty-four. This is a thumper; for the dog has not looked into a book these six months, to my certain knowledge. (Aside.)

Sir Ch. I have received a letter from farmer Downright this very day, who tells me he has received a letter from him, containing proposals for his daughter.

Quiz. This is very strange. I left him at college, as close to his books as—oh, oh–I believe I can solve this mystery, and much to your satisfaction. Sir Ch. I should be very happy indeed if you

could. Quiz. Oh, as plain as that two and three are five. 'Tis thus : An envious fellow, a rival of your son's—a fellow who has not as much sense in his whole corporation, as your son has in his little finger—yes, I heard this very fellow ordering a messenger to farmer Downright with a letter; and this is, no doubt, the very one. Why, sir, your son will certainly surpass the Admirable Crichton. Sir Isaac Newton will be a perfect automaton, compared with him; and the sages of antiquity, if resuscitated, would hang their heads in despair.

Sir Ch. Is it possible that my son is now at college, making these great improvements ?

Quiz. Ay, that he is, sir.

Sir Ch. (Rubbing his hands.) Oh, the dear fellow! the dear fellow !

Quiz. Sir, you may turn to any part of Homer, and repeat one line-he will take it up, and, by dint of memory, continue repeating to the end of the book.

Sir Ch. Well, well, well! I find I was doing him great injustice. However, I'll make him ample amends. Oh, the dear fellow ! the dear fellow ! the dear fellow !-(with great joy)—he will be immortalized; and so shall I; for if I had not cherished the boy's genius in embryo, he would never have soared above mediocrity.

Quiz. True, sir.

Sir Ch. I cannot but think what superlative pleasure I shall have, when my son has got his education. No other man's in England shall be comparative with it—of that I am positive. Why, sir, the moderns are such dull, plodding, senseless barbarians, that a man of learning is as hard to be found as the unicorn.

Quiz. 'Tis much to be regretted, sir; but such is the lamentable fact.

Sir Ch. Even the shepherds, in days of yore, spoke their mother tongue in Latin; and now, hic, hæc, hoc, is as little understood as the language of the moon.

Qriz. Your son, sir, will be a phenomenon, depend upon it.

Sir Ch. So much the better, so much the better. I expected soon to have been in the vocative; for, you know, you found me in the accusative case, and that's very near it-ha! ha! ha!

Quiz. You have reason to be merry, sir, I promise you.

Sir Ch. I have, indeed. Well, I shall leave off interjections, and promote an amicable conjunction with the dear fellow. Oh! we shall never think of addressing each other in plain English–no, no, we will converse in the pure classical language of the ancients. You remember the Eclogues of Virgil, Mr. Blackletter?

Quiz. Oh, yes, sir, perfectly; have 'em at my finger ends. Not a bit of a one did I ever hear of in my life. (Aside.)

Sir Ch. How sweetly the first of them begins !

Quiz. Very sweetly, indeed, sir. (Aside. Bless me! I wish he would change the subject.

Sir Ch. Tytere tu patulæ recubans ;" faith, 'tis more musical than fifty hand-organs.

Quiz. (Aside.) I had rather hear a Jews-harp.

Sir Ch. Talking of music, though-the Greek is the language for that.

Quiz. Truly is it.

Sir Ch. Even the conjugations of the verbs far excel the finest sonata of Pleyel or Handel. For instance, “ tupto, tupso, tetupha.Can anything be more musical?

Quiz. Nothing. “Stoop low, stoop so, stoop too far.”

Sir Ch. Ha! ha! ha! “Stoop too far!” That's a good one.

Quiz. (Aside.) Faith, I have stooped too far. All's over now, by Jupiter !

Sir Ch. Ha! ha! ha! a plaguy good pun, Mr. Blackletter.

Quiz. Tolerable. (Aside.) I am well out of that scrape, however. Sir Ch. Pray, sir, which of the classics is


favorite? Quiz. Why, sir, Mr. Frederick Classic, I think-he is so great a scholar. Sir Ch. Po! po! you don't understand me. I mean,

which of the Latin classics do you admire most?

Quiz. Hang it! what shall I say now? (Aside.) The Latin classics ? Oh, really, sir, I admire them all so much, it is difficult to say.

Sir Ch. Virgil is my favorite. How very expressive is his description of the unconquerable passion of Queen Dido, where he says, Hæret lateri lethalis arundo !Is not that very expressive ?

Quiz. Very expressive, indeed, sir. (Aside.) I wish we were forty miles asunder. I shall never be able to hold out much longer, at this rate.

Sir Ch. And Ovid is not without his charms.
Quiz. He is not, indeed, sir.
Sir Ch. And what a dear, enchanting fellow Horace is!
Quiz. Wonderfully so!
Sir Ch. Pray, what do you think of Xenophon!

« PreviousContinue »