« ZurückWeiter »
CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF CHAMBERS'S INFORMATION FOR
TIIL PEOPLE,' CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.
No. 209. New SERIES.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 1, 1848.
PRICE 1 d.
well without any such idle lumber. The only sensible THE POETRY OF LIFE.
purpose of life, is to make your fortune as honestly as AMONGST all the riddles which pliilosophers have de- you can, and then enjoy it. Make yourself independent lighted in propounding for their mutual mystification, of everybody. No frisking about at other people's experhaps few have been put forth with an air of deeper pense. And what signifies the nonsense and whimsiprofundity than the simple, yet home-coming question-calities of a poor, squeamish, uncomfortable being, not What is life? Well, we need hardly be surprised; for worth as much as would pay for his own coffin? Who (to follow in the same enticing path) there certainly is really cares for such a man? Nobody. There are no one question to which so many inconsistent, yet plenty of them. Good sort of men enough in their genuine answers have been, and will be returned. The way: no doubt mean very well ; fancy they have some philosophers may claim to themselves the merit of destiny to accomplish, and all that sort of thing. But propounding the query; but the whole congregated what does it all come to? Why, you might see them voice of humanity would be insufficient to fill up the die off by scores, like flies in frosty weather. And who reply. Of all the myriad inhabitants who now tread ever troubles himself about any one of them ? Nobody the surface of this chequered planet, of all the beings –nobody. Unless, indeed, he happens to have tickled who throng the immeasurable universe, each is prac- the fancy of your gossipping readers; and then, likely tically working out his own especial answer to this enough, when he is dead, they'll give a grand dinner in searching question. Generation after generation will honour of his starvation, and say all manner of fine be called into being, each adding its portion to the things about him, and wish they had got him amongst mighty chorus, each presenting some new phasis in them, so that he might “die over again," I suppose. the infinite portraiture of life. But what then ? Be- What man of any sense would squander away his life cause the stream is exhaustless, shall we refuse to drink? in such miserable folly ? am a man of some experi. Because the field of vision is interminable, shall we ence; and, take my word for it, there is nothing like an therefore refuse to look around us? Let us rather independency, and nothing like working hard for it. climb to the mountain's top, and gaze with chastened There ought to have been a notice stuck up in the reverence and uplifted hearts into the far-extending world long before this time—" No admittance except view. Let not our souls rest from their striving, till on business.” It would have saved a deal of misery. we have at least solved the riddle of our own humble Talk about the object of life! If you want a pattern destiny, till we have patiently discerned the bearings that will wear well, and not wash out, stick to addition of our own narrow path in the vast labyrinth of exist- and multiplication : no idle frippery, no sentimental
drivelling.' What, then, is life? 'A gilded toy,' lightly exclaims Still, what is life? oh man of sage experiences! Is one ; 'a feather borne upon the passing breeze, a bubble but to live life's proud prerogative? Is, then, its only ficating on the stream, sporting and sparkling brightest good, defence from evil? Has it no reality save toil?-in the gayest sunshine! This is life; this the golden no recompense, but that same dreary independence? Is measure of all our hopes; this the sum of mortal joy! its whole amount to dig a sullen grave, deeper-deeper Merrily the sand runs through, even to the last bright - deeper, even while strength shall last, and then lie grain; and then- Well, as ye will! Look for care, ye down in cold security? Has life no deeper spring than who like it best : trouble may always be had for seeking; this ?—no wider scope ?-no loftier purpose ? and that without stint, without even an envious grudge. ‘Loftier? Ay, as the eagle's proudest flight is loftier To live, is but to enjoy life: let each, then, follow his than the paltry burrowing of a dormouse !' responds an own heart's bent. Live, and let live, while ye may ; eager, fretful voice. •Fortune is well, and toil must be the world is wide, and time too short to waste on idle endured; but for what? For their own sweet sake ? No: fears!' Alas, poor butterfly! heedlessly thou sportest nor for a barren independence! That we are born into in the glittering sunshine. But is it well with thee, a world of strife and toil, is true; but let us at least that all thy joy, thy very life, should come and go at strive like men, conscious of the lofty prizes that await the bidding of an accident? Think yet again, thou our grasp. Who that had a soul nobler than the grub giddy trifler. Art thou, then, the merest sport of cir- upon which he treads, could tamely creep through life cumstance-a helpless atom in a' heedless whirl, the without a prouder thought than stirs within the preready football in a game of chances ? Is it all reckless-cincts of an ant-hill? For what do we live as men, if ness and hazard? Has thy life no deeper meaning than this be all our lot? Why not mere ants? Why not the rattling of thy dice-box? *If so,' impatiently eja- our dull concerns directed by the same unerring inculates yon careworn despiser of others' follies, the stinct? Because those same concerns can yield a richer sooner he is safely laid in his last long box the better and a nobler harvest for those who have the strength for himself and others. The world could manage very to use the sickle. The soul must be arbiter of its own
free lot—the forecast and fulfilment of its chosen pur- of human life? Simply this :-to bring our own shortposes. And for what was man thus gifted with a con- sighted, scattered, and isolated wills into harmony and sciousness of thought, a power of self-inspection, a conjunction, and thus into voluntary dependence upon capability of controlling even his own strong passions, the one Immutable, All-perfect Will. Not vaunting and bending all to the accomplishment of one life ourselves in, or looking wistfully to, our own vain absorbing object? Why was man, thus highly gifted, strength ; but trustfully yielding our entire selfhood to placed to struggle and to sympathise with his fellow- the guidance of truth and justice, and thus becoming man? Was it that he should dedicate his undying the voluntary and conscious channels of an all-perfect, energies to the merest insect task of procuring a brief universal Love-happy, and dispensing happiness, while and petty subsistence? Was it for this, oh beneficent heaven and earth endure! Surely this is a purpose not Giver of life and power! was it for this thou gavest all-unworthy of the Wisdom that could frame the illimitman dominion over all thy creatures ? Nay, rather, he able and wondrous universe! And should we murmur if who thus circumscribes his own life, basely renounces a parent's love should seek to purify, instead of pamperhis noblest inheritance; and another shall lead him, ing, our stubborn wills ? Could not the Power that so and rule over him. What can distinguish man most clothes the field, and guides the instincts of the brute nobly from his fellows ? What, save the greater power creation, have as easily insured our earthly happiness, if of influencing all for good ? To attain this power, to that were all? Oh man, turn not thus heedless from exert this God-like influence, is the truest and proudest thy loftiest yearnings ! This wide and visible universe, object of human lise. This alone can shed a lustre with its bitter trials and its fleeting joys, is but the over life's brief struggle, and cast an undying radiance seminary of immortal souls !' throughout succeeding generations. If you seek an Reader, dost thou still ask-What is life? We reply, object worth the living for, let it be to make the world with deepest reverence-Essentially, it is the only Ab
solute Existence: the spring of all activity: the inmost • Even so, brave sir !' adds a fourth in chilling reality of all substance. Its high and hallowed name is accents; • fondly anticipating a lively and indefatigable Love-eternal, all-inspiring, all-encircling Love. This appreciation of all that you haven't done, as the most material, steadfast, and imperishable creation, with its touching acknowledgment of your wondrous merits. countless activities and forms of use, so perfectly and What is life? sayest thou. The caterer of death : a inextricably apportioned to our sensuous powers, and so cold and withering mockery: a goodly-seeming tree, wondrously ministering to our highest wants, is but whose sweetest fruit is gilded rottenness. Joy to thy the outmost vesture of Omnipotence—the ultimate, yet proud aspirings, thy yearning sympathies, thy lofty ceaseless and infinitely-certain emanation of Him who purposes, thy bold and generous trust in human grati- alone is essential Life, essential Substance. All this tude! Fond dreamer! a cold and bitter morning is at seeming solidity, impenetrability, and absolute extenhand: happy for thee if death relieve thy folly from its sion, is but the fixed and necessary relation which exhideous awakening. Dream on until thine eyes are ternal objects bear to our sensuous perceptions: the opened to the stark reality; and then-nay, shrink not true certainty of nature, and of nature's laws, arises from thy hard-earned portion-look to receive wretched- from the whole created universe, with its innumerable ness for thy pride, coldness for thy sympathy, misre- inhabitants, being momentarily dependent for existence presentation for thy noblest purposes, and a freezing upon the one eternal Source of all truth, order, and permixture for thine expected gratitude, turning all into fection. Even man, with all his high capacities, is no an iceberg. Oh, 'tis a brave world to try the toughness self-dependent atom in the circle of existence. He may of a heart! Your veriest earthworm is life's true phi- indeed thus isolate the whole aim and conscious effort losopher : he looks for nothing, and he finds all he of his being; but even then, he is no self-sustaining, inseeks.'
dependent unit; he does but abuse the power for good • Peace, troubling spirit !' exclaims a deep, stern in which he is beneficently and momentarily upheld. voice, in tones of miogled sorrow and reproof; ‘nor Our life is essentially a continued choosing of good or with thy bitter sarcasms thus belie thy Maker's won- evil. We may either look to our own wishes as our drous plan. Despite thy mockery, man has indeed a highest rule of right and wrong, and to their gratificanoble purpose to achieve; and high or low, or rich or tion as the ruling motive of our voluntary efforts; or poor, may equally attain it. Nor is man's destiny a we may look to infinite and eternal Truth for guidance, poisoned drop, a foul anomaly in God's fair universe. and to the good of all as the single, earnest aim of our But what is man? Bethink thee well. Why should existence. In either case, our own misery or happiness he thus have dominion over all, and become the chosen is simply the necessary consequence of our choice, not delegate of Omnipotence? The answer should afford a the motive deliberately chosen. In the one case, we clue to the mystery of his being. He is an image of the strive to appropriate the enjoyments of others to ourSelf-Existent. He only of earth's inhabitants, by a selves, and instead of succeeding, lose even our own in conscious and voluntary effort, can mould and fashion the struggle; in the other case, we strive to impart our his own life's character; he only can look into his own delight to others, and having done so, find our own mind, and deliberately hoose whether he will highest happiness in theirs. This is the essential difindulge his natural and hereditary inclinations, or ference between selfishness and disinterested Christian whether he will struggle to conform his whole future love; and notwithstanding all the sophistry that has life to some standard of excellence which his intellect been uttered on the subject, they are, and ever must be, recognises and approves; he only can say to the entice- as a rule of life, altogether distinct and opposite. To ments and promptings of his own dark passions, " How walk worthily our appointed course on earth, we must can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” | continually strive to live a life of usefulness, from a He only can momentarily determine, and thus seemingly principle of duty, and of good-will to all; and it is only create, his own life's destiny. He only can subdue in proportion as we do so, that we can dispose our and govern his own little world within ; and it is only hearts to receive those higher and purer influences then that he can worthily influence the larger world which an infinite Love and Goodness is ever yearning without. Such is the tenure by which alone man to impart. What, then, is the truest poetry of life? stands at the head of God's creation; and such is the It is that which awakens in our conscious souls the inalienable birthright, the essential characteristic, of deepest, the fullest response; it is the chosen purpose every human being: and thus is man an image of his for which we fain would live. The means by which it Maker. The Omnipotent Creator is alone the I AM- may be realised are infinitely various, according to the the Self-Existent: the dependent creature is the I will nature and extent of our several capacities. And yet be—the self-determining. What, then, is it that we one God created all, and one unspeakable purpose may be, if we will? What is that which no power can breathes through all His works: the highest poetry determine for us? In short, what is the great business | must draw our hearts to Him.
BY LEITCH RITCHIE.
We promised, on a former occasion,* to attempt a with unspeakably dirty hands, her cap always awry, further development of this high theme: if we have now and the mark of an intensely sooty finger never absent succeeded even in indicating its momentous interest, from her good-looking face, drawn either across the our promise is redeemed.
cheek, or along the side of the nose, or above the eyebrow. If slovenly, however, she was not idle, but the
very reverse. She was always scrubbing something or JEMI MA'S SUPP E R.
other morning, noon, and night; and although it must be owned she dirtied more than she cleaned, still Mrs
Plumley, following in her trail, cleaned after her, so that I HAVE often wondered what would become of us if it all was right in the end. Among Jemima's recomwere not for the misfortunes of our neighbours. If mendations was a very remarkable memory, which there were no poor, which of us would be rich? If received everything whatever that was offered it, but there were no sick, what would the doctors do ? If almost the next moment let all out again ; its meshes there were no sinners, how would the clergymen get being as wide as those of an act of parliament, through their living? Would it not seem that the aim of phi- which a coach-and-six may be driven. She was not lanthropy is to ameliorate the condition of some at the unconscious of this peculiarity; but it only gave rise to expense of others; to pull down at the same time that a sort of pride of genius, since she felt herself capable it exalts; and so to bring society to one level, one gauge, of supplying the deficiencies of nature. This she did and one rate of progress?
(having never been taught the common alphabetical But I must not suffer the subject to run away with signs) by inventing an artificial memory, in which me; my business at present being with only one kind sundry kitchen matters were invested, by a special of misfortune-that which determines people to let lodg- arrangement, with an occult meaning only known to ings. Board and lodging, be it observed, is in quite herself. It is true Mrs Plumley, whose genius lay in another category. Its motives are highly philanthro- the methodical, made a point of sweeping away every pical--a love of the human kind, a hankering after the trace of such memoranda as soon as she set eyes on presence of our species; and the individual so haunted them; but that, as Jemima said, was missus's fault, not advertises his benevolent infirmity in the newspapers, hers. And so, with cleaning and dirtying, remembering and offers board and lodging ‘for the sake of society' and forgetting, scolding and recrimination, the day had Furnished apartments, on the other hand, are compul- its sufficient occupation; and each night, as she sank sory. By some train of circumstances which it is im- into her welcome bed, drew its black sponge across the possible to explain, people acquire a superabundance of page, and blotted out its characters for ever. rooms, and find themselves in a complete fix. They The era of silence, it may be observed, was always advertise the emergency, put up a bill in their windows, one of great awe to Jemima. She moved about the and signify that having a larger house than they house as if in muffled slippers ; looked mysteriously at require, they will most willingly let furnished apart. her master and mistress; and answered in a whisper ments.
when spoken to, though more frequently merely vodMr and Mrs Plumley had been in this predicament ding her head with solemn significance, instead of sayfor more than twenty years. They were every now and ing · Iss, mum.' After receiving warning, she devoted then making public the fact, that they had a larger every spare minute she could appropriate to arranging house than they required; every now and then filling her things—that is to say, taking them out of her box, it to the roof with lodgers; and every now and then and leaving them here and there on chairs and stools; seeing it grow emptier and emptier, till at length it but never having time to go after a new place, when the contained only themselves two and the maid-of-all. tide of lodgers began to flow again, she always received work. But in all this they were by no means the sport a re-engagement; and after a touching scene with her of fortune; for accidents happen so uniformly in the mistress, restored her things to her box with much sobworld of London, that the revenue derived from this bing and blubbering, and began her service anew. traffic in rooms was as regular, taking one year with One day when Mrs Plumley was sitting alone in her another, as an annuity. Still the business was far from desolate drawing-room, wondering what ever it could being destitute of excitement. On the contrary, its be that prevented lodgers from coming, a smart rap was hopes and fears, disappointments and gratulations, heard at the street door; and as Jemima rushed to came as regularly as the circumstances that gave rise answer it, with a bath-brick in one hand and a caseto them.
knife in the other, she could not help, in the fulness of While the house was full, no mere mundane couple her heart, screaming up the stair (though then under could live more happily together than Mr and Mrs warning), 'It's a lodger, mum!' Plumley. Mr Plumley was a good-tempered, easy- • Show him up!' replied Mrs Plumley nervously ; and going man so long as things went well with him; and presently there walked into the room an indubitable at such times he would occasionally take his wife to the lodger, who took the second floor in less than five boxes of Sadler's Wells, or the pit at the Adelphi, and minutes. He was a stout, middle-aged man-a man of not unfrequently bring home something nice in his perfect respectability, as any one might see at a glance; pocket for supper. But when the apartments began to short-sighted, as respectable persons almost always are ; thin, and Mr Plumley found himself rising gradually, quite competent to pay his way, and intimately converby the efflux of lodgers, from the kitchen to the draw. sant with the fact himself. He said his name was Mr ing-room, a change as gradual took place in his manner. Magnus Smith, and gave an undeniable reference in the His eyes grew sterner and sterner as he looked at his immediate neighbourhood; on which Mrs Plumley wife; and hers, in conscious innocence, returned the smilingly observed, 'It was of no consequence, as she gaze with scorn and defiance. But Mr Plumley, though happened to know a gentleman when she saw him.' conscious that Mrs Plumley was somehow or other in Mr Magnus Smith desired to come in that same eveofault, was too dignified for vituperation; and she, on her ing, which was the reason why his wife, in order to part, was far too much of a lady to intrude her discourse save time, was at the moment looking at the lodgings upon anybody. The state of their feelings therefore next door. Mrs Plumley was quite agreeable, and rather was betrayed, not in words, but the want of them. A thought that his good lady would be under little tempdreadful silence brooded over the house; and as the last tation at No. 14, though, for her part, she had no aclodger departed, Jemima, the maid-of-all-work, who quaintance with the persons whatever, not even knowwas by this time suspected of being at the bottom of it, ing their names, although they had lived side by side constantly received warning.
for twenty years and more. Jemima was a fat, slovenly-looking young woman, As Mr Magnus Smith passed through the narrow
hall on his way out, he told Jemima that they should * See ' Poetry in all Things,' No. 118.
want something for supper.
Let it be a lobster,' said he; 'I hear them bawling bare of cornice, and scraggy about the chimney, it was about: a small lobster, mind-and cheap of course.' nothing less than genteel. The furniture, nevertheless,
Oh yes, sir; small and cheap,' replied Jemima, trea- was scanty; for people have not the more furniture suring the description.
that they have a larger house than they require. The * And we shall want some bread and butter-only a chairs, made of imitation rosewood, and cane-bottomed, little butter, for Mrs Magnus Smith is particular in the hollowed to one another' across the wide channels bearticle, and will see about it in the morning herself. tween; the square mahogany table in the middle of Do you mind?'
the floor was small, even with the addition of two Oh yes, sir.'
narrow wings kept expanded by brackets; and the * And- let me see-a pint of beer; that's all, I think carpet, though at its utmost tension, did not approach - yes, that's all.'
the wall by a chair's breadth, and left the apertures ‘Oh yes, sir!'
of the windows altogether uncovered. The works of When he was gone, Jemima went to and fro about her art on the mantelpiece were two small lions in white business, getting the supper by heart, till she should have china, and a small church in the middle, of the same time to make a memorandum of it; and no sooner had material. Above the church there hung in a black the door shut, then it was stealthily opened again by frame an almanac of the year 1827; and on the other Mrs Plumley, already in her bonnet and shawl, who, walls were disposed Androcles and the Lion, and an having watched the lodger out of sight, hurried after original drawing representing two ships sailing before the reference.
the wind to opposite points of the compass - a disPresently Mr Plumley came in, and after casting a play of seamanship which would have delighted Allan severe look upon Jemima, who was viewed in the light Cunningham, whose celebrated outward-bound vessel, of a culprit, walked solemnly up the stair, and seated enjoying “a wet sheet and a flowing sea,' and 'a wind himself in the desert drawing-room. He scorned to ask that follows fast,' contrives somehow, notwithstanding, for Mrs Plumley, although he could not but think that to leave • Old England on the lee.' the silence of the house was still more awful than usual. When Mr and Mrs Thompson arrived, the former inIn a little while, however, his meditations were dis- quired if he could see the gentleman;' and on being turbed by a smart rap at the street-door; and on the told that he was already in the room, he strode at once principle that it never rains but it pours, a second up the stairs; but Mrs T. lingered behind to say a lodger made his appearance. This was a middle-aged word to Jemima. gentleman, like the other, apparently a most respect- * You have remembered supper, have you?' able man- although the dusk being now a little ad- 'Oh yes, mum; I have an excellent memory, if vanced, Mr Pluniley could not see him very well—who missus will only leave it alone.' had come up with his wife by the rail, whose name was • You have a nice quiet place here, haven't you?' Mr Thompson, and who wanted to enter that evening. * Oh yes, mum, uncommon quiet—desperate quiet; This gentleman likewise preferred the second floor, you will not hear a word a-piece from the three of us in which Mr Plumley very innocently let to him.
a week.' When Mr Thompson was going out, he told Jemima • Dear me, how odd! But she is a (whispering)--a that they should want something to eat before going to comfortable person-one that one might put up withbed.
eh? What's your name?' 'Oh yes, sir,' said Jemima, conning her lesson—'a Jemima. Oh yes, mum. She is very comfortable, lobster'.
if she would only keep her hands off things that's of • Well, that is a good thought-let it be a lobster. A consequence. But that lobster !-you don't know the small one will do.'
trouble I had about it; and as for the pint-pot, my * And cheap of course,' added Jemima.
back was no sooner turned than-whisk -off it went • Of course : you are a sensible girl: and we shall behind the door like a shot!' want a little bread and butter.'
• That is awful!' said Mrs Thompson in dismay. • Oh yes, sir; a little butter will do, I know, for the What ever are we to do?' good lady is particular in the article, and will see after Oh yes, mum — pattens — coals — lobsters — bathit herself in the morning.'
brick-loaves-carrots—butter-nothing in this world • Upon my word, you are a sharp, thoughtful crea- stands her!—not that she isn't comfortable enough, if ture ; and I say, my dear, you will not forget a pint of she would only let other people's things alone.' Mrs beer. That's all.'' Mr Plumley dogged him out, to Thompson ascended the stairs with nervous trepidasee after the reference; and Jemima, elated with the tion; and hearing voices in the sitting-room, went into unaccustomed praise she had received, ran down to the bedroom to make herself fit to be seen, and to the kitchen to make her memoranda. This she accom-collect her thoughts. plished by placing one of her pattens on a plate on the Her husband, on going into the room, took it for dresser to represent the lobster, and fixing the other granted that the stout middle-aged gentleman he saw upright against the wall for the pint-pot; a bit of bath- busying himself about the furniture was the same he brick and a slice of carrot serving for the loaf and the had half seen in the dusk, and he bowed sociably to his print of butter. As a new thought struck her, she landlord. selected the tiniest lump from a handful of small coal, • This,' said he, “I presume to be your good lady. and placed it on the patten in the plate, to denote the How do you do, ma'am? I hope you are pretty well?' moderate size of the lobster; and then, after indulging and Mr and Mrs Magnus Smith returned his politeness in an admiring glance at the supper, though territied at with interest, thinking that he was a very comfortable the loss of time, she threw away the rest of the small person indeed for a landlord. coal, and flinging herself madly upon the loaf, set to • These are nice apartments of yours,' said Mr Magnus work to cut bread and butter for her master and Smith, “and in nice order ; but this bell rope I shall get mistress's tea.
up to-morrow morning-at my own expense, sir.' When Mr and Mrs Magnus Smith came that evening • Oh, you are very good, sir.' at the hour agreed upon, they were for some time en- • Don't mention it. I am in the habit of doing things gaged in a critical inspection of their new abode ; and liberal. I think, my dear, we have nothing more to upon the whole they were well satisfied with their bar- say?' gain. Their sitting-room, it is true, was finished, so far Nothing at all. It is getting late, and I am tired as the builder and house-carpenter's work went, like a and sleepy. But don't stand, sir; never mind me;' and bedroom; for these gentlemen magnanimously disregard she sat down loungingly at the side of the table. Mr the customs of the London majority, and determine Thompson thought this was uncommonly cool, and that the second floor shall consist of bedrooms to the wished the good people would not bother him on the end of time. But although a little low in the roof, first night of his new lodgings. He did sit down, now
erer, at the bottom of the table; and Mr Magnus Smith, looked the landlady to the life. Mr Magnus Smith after staring at him for a moment, sat down at the top. found a difficulty in identifying her with the individual An uncomfortable silence prevailed for a minute or two; from whom he had taken the lodgings; but he rebut as the man would not go, Mr Magnus Smith at marked internally that dress made a great change upon length felt constrained to say something in the way of some people, and was even a little daunted by the stiffconversation.
ness with which she sat down opposite his wife, and “May I beg, sir,' said he, 'to ask what is your opinion the look of desperate resolution with which she regarded as to what we may expect from these new people this that lady. session?' The question was fortunate; for Mr Thomp- I hope, mem,' said Mrs Magnus Smith, with rising son felt that if he was strong on any subject in this colour- I hope you find yourself comfortable ? Pray world, it was on politics.
make yourself quite at home-oh, pray do!' 'Sir,' said he, my opinions on such points are not • I always do, mem,' replied Mrs Thompson, esperashly formed ; that is all I venture to say in their | cially in my own house! I am in the habit of paying favour. I do not tell you that they are worth having, my rent, whatever other people may do-- although I but merely that they are well considered; and it is make no allusions; and when individuals pay their therefore with some confidence I reply that, in my rent, they have a right to consider themselves at humble judgment, the question you have mooted is home.' involved in doubt-in doubt, sir- the expression I * Rent, mem! do you talk to me of rent the first advisedly use, is doubt.'
moment I have ever seen your face? Do you question That is just what I have said all along; and as for my honesty ?' Lord John'
*Oh no!' said Mrs Thompson, with a scornful laugh, Sir!' interrupted Mr Thompson, laying his hand I do not question it at all. But perhaps you would upon the table firmly — Lord John I will trust to a like a little lobster?—or some bread and butter?-or certain point, but no farther. I will not trust him more you may have a fancy to taste the pint-pot behind the than is reasonable, not a jot—I tell him that to his face. door? Some people are partial to bath-bricks, carrots, Lord John, it is true, is prime minister, and the humble and small coal! But I make no allusions- oh no!' individual who has now the honour of addressing this Mrs Magnus Smith grew pale with rage at these injucompany is—no matter; but there are some men who rious hints; but being a lady of breeding, she repressed are Englishmen as well as other men—who have hearts the words that rose to her lips, and snatching up the in their bosoms—who have brains in their heads—who penny loaf, severed it in two, and spreading one half have blood in their veins—who have money in their with half the pat of butter, ate it at Mrs Thompson : purses—and all which I beg leave to notify respectfully who, on the instant, imitated the manæuvre with the to Lord John with the most supreme indifference as to other half of the loaf and the remainder of the butter. how he takes it!'
The two gentlemen, excited by this outbreak of their "Sir, you are a brick!' cried Mr Magnus Smith sud- wives, felt their bristles rise, and glared fiercely at each denly, as Mr Thompson threw himself back in his other. Their position, in fact, was extremely unpleachair. “I am not in the habit of flattery, and have sant. Here were four adults desperately determined no occasion to flatter any man, lord or no lord, seeing upon supper, and now with nothing before them to that I pay my way; but what I say is this, and I say wreak their appetite upon but a finger-length of lobster. it without disguise, that an individual entertaining such The question of right, however, was still more instant. noble sentiments is emphatically a brick! Drink, and it was surely a new reading of the law of landlord and pass the pot !'
tenant to suppose that a man—and not only a man, but Now it should have been mentioned that Jemima's a man and his wife-were privileged to intrude upon sopper was upon the table, and among the other good their lodger's privacy the very first moment of his things, a pewter pint-pot; and Mr Thompson having arrival, and to drink his beer, eat up his bread and ascertained, though with some difficulty, that the latter butter, and keep him out of his bed for ever. contained about as much beer as usually falls to the • Sir,' said Mr Magnus Smith, rising indignantly, lot of a lodger's measure, put it straightway to his there must be an end of this! Since politeness and head. As he drank, however, the pride of oratory wore forbearance are thrown away upon you, I beg to wish off; he could not help thinking it a most remarkable you a particularly good-night!' thing that he should have been invited in this cavalier • Good-night, then,' replied Mr Thompson, rising likemanner to drink his own liquor; and he gazed sharply, wise; "good-night, with all my heart and soul; it suspiciously, penetratingly at his vis-à-vis over the pint- what I have been wishing this half hour!' pot, and even after he had set it down. Mr Magnus The two ladies rose, and curtseyed scornfully; and Smith thought his landlord was a man of genius, and then all four stood still. that this was the look of it. Nevertheless he began to Mr Magnus Smith waved his hand with dignity, as feel a good deal chafed at the pertinacity of the visit ; if dismissing the company; but Mr Thompson, with and it was with strong disgust he saw that Mr Thomp- less refinement, instead of taking the hint, pointed to son had left little more than dregs in the pint-pot. the door, as if he had said, 'Get out!' The two gentle
The rest of the supper, besides the lobster, consisted men then suddenly and simultaneously advanced a step of a penny loaf, so small and shrunken, that it looked nearer to each other, and their wives ranged themselves as if it had been made on purpose for lodgers, and a pat each on the side of her husband. of butter about the size and thickness of a half-crown, “Sir,' said Mr Magnus Smith, “if I was not in my handsomely ornamented in bas-relief. But the lobster own premises, I would put you out at that door!' was the great feature of Jemima's spread. It might * And if I was not in mine, retorted Mr Thompson, have been called the General Tom Thumb of lobsters, 'I would throw you out at that window!' were it not for its extreme emaciation. The shell was the • You insolent, ungrateful individual! What! throw very smallest shell a lobster ever carried with it out of me out of the window, after drinking my beer to the the sea ; yet it was far too wide for the thin wiry meat dregs, and seeing your wife devour my bread and seen through the fractures. The attention of all the butter!' three had been strongly drawn by the affair of the • Your beer !-your bread and butter! They were my beer to the other furvishings of the table, when in the own, and you know it, you intolerable sponge'Inidst of their contemplation, they found the supper And both gentlemen ran to the bell to summon eviparty increased by the appearance of a fourth guest. dence of the fact, and drew down upon their heads the This was Mrs Thompson, who had probably been listen- whole machinery. In an instant Jemima was in the ing to the conversation, and who now entered in a room, as if called up by enchantinent. She had a boot negligent evening costume; and saluting Mr and Mrs drawn upon one hand, and in the other a blacking Magnus Smith in a half-careless half-haughty manner, I brush, a considerable part of the contents of which she