Abbildungen der Seite

always ailing—can't get gout to show itself— gentlemanly disease the gout—gout and short sight are not destined for the vulgar—once saw a hackney-coachman with spectacles—wrote a

paper upon it in a first-rate periodical you

begin, Sir."

"I move my king's pawn," said Cuthbert: "it saves trouble to take the usual course."

"Exactly so, Sir," said Sniggs: "that's what Major Frowsty says—an excellent patient of mine, who has a sort of hydrophobia—"

"Indeed—ah," said Cuthbert —"mad.—I'll push him on, another square."

"No," said Sniggs; "not mad: you don't see my fun. Hydrophobia—does not like bathing. I order a bath,—he says it is cold;—order it hot, —says he don't like it;—can't get him to wash; —nothing so good, Sir;—excellent gentleman the Major;—did you know him abroad?"

"No," said Cuthbert; "just move that knight for me, while I blow my nose. Where has he been?"

"Somewhere in your district," said Sniggs: "at Tunis, I think."

"I never was at Tunis," said Cuthbert.

"I think, between you and me, Sir," said Sniggs, "it would have been as well if he had never been there: he won't take medicine, do all I can; and if I say he is really ill, he talks about a physician. I believe, between you and me, Sir, that he ran away with the daughter of a Bey, or something of that sort, and nearly had his head cut off. But that's nothing to the affair of the Hackingtons, who live at the white house at the end of the lane—la bless you !—their second daughter,—of course this is entre nous,— is over head and ears in love with the ostler at the Cock and Bottle. Your move, Sir. And the way I found that out was, that Mrs. Widdles, at the corner—the library—told me that Jim Walker, the ostler in question, had been into her shop to buy a sheet of paper to write home to his mother, and got her to do the letter, in which the whole facts were stated. I have just sent Miss Hackington a pill and a draught; but as the poet says, I cannot

"Minister to a mind diseased."

So I made them quite innocent, dry bread and a little honey rolled up in the palm of my hand —eh,—eh, Sir ?—Of course this goes no farther. Check to your king."

"I like to hear the news," said Cuthbert, "although I don't know the people."

"Lord bless you, Sir," said Sniggs, "I never let out these sort of things, except to you. Now of course I know all about Lieut. Merman's tendre for Miss Fanny; but, then, as I say, that is totally a different story; here we are— titled—a family of consequence and respectability; mute as a mackerel,—not a syllable passes my lips. Delightful family the Wells's, Sir;— so clever Mr. Wells,—what a preacher !—makes me weep like a watering-pot when he gives us a charity sermon, although I always get myself called out to a patient before the collection, to save stumpy;—don't you think he is a powerful man, Sir?"

"Your queen is in check," said Cuthbert.

"A thousand pardons," said Sniggs. "What's your notion as to tithes, Sir ?—quite legal, constitutional, and all that; but don't you think,— just before I take the queen out of check,—don't you think something might be done in regard to that question? The law by which tithe is secured to the clergy, Sir, is just as good and as valid as that by which the first duke in the land holds his estates—eh, don't you see, Sir? But I think still something might be done to get rid, you see, Sir, of the objectionable part of the question. That's what I say to Mr. Wells. Mrs. Wells, I believe, is not so great a friend of mine; never goes beyond powders. Rheubarb, and magnesia, or jalap and cream-o'-tartar, are the extremes, and those only for the housemaids. Still I have a high regard for them all. I think the tithe system operates unequally, Sir. I take your rook;—you didn't see thai, Sir. All clergymen are not alike. I recollect reading, Sir, that Dr. Prideaux,— I don't know if you know much of him,—said that some men enter upon their cures with as little knowledge of divinity as the meanest of their congregation—eh!—heard the story of human felicity,—something inside of a pig,— forgive me,—but it is an apt illustration of the stupidity of a congregation."

"Very stupid," said Cuthbert; "do me the favour to push my rook over to the side of your queen; there, where it is guarded by that pawn. Yes, I think you are quite right."

"And then, as 1 say, Sir," continued Sniggs, "the spirit—the public spirit of Mrs. Wells— that fancy ball and bazaar for the charity-schools —what a sight—dear young creatures exposing themselves in every way at the stalls, and selling things for fifteen shillings which they bought for five—passing them off, of course, for their own. Why now there's that Mrs. Fletcher,—I declare that woman ought no more to have gone out Tuesday week—Oh! Sir, such a state she is in —such a complication of disorders—of course this is entre nous—what I call death in the pot— never mind—people must die when their time comes. I have put her through a regular course of steel—done all I could. Don't you recollect, Sir, the story of the sick man at the watering

« ZurückWeiter »