Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

"TIPPING THE COLD SHOULDER."

Many years ago, when the wealthy Mrs. Coutts visited Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford, it so happened that there were already in the house several ladies, Scotch and English, of high birth and rank, who felt by no means disposed to assist their host and hostess in making Mrs. Coutts's visit agreeable to her. On the first day of her stay, Sir Walter Scott, during dinner, did everything in his power to counteract this influence of the evil eye, and something to overawe it; but the spirit of mischief had been fairly stirred, and it was easy to see that Mrs. Coutts followed these noble dames to the drawingroom in by no means that complacent mood which was customarily sustained, doubtless, by every blandishment of obsequious flattery in this mistress of millions. He cut the gen tlemen's sederunt short, and soon after joining the ladies, managed to withdraw the youngest, and gayest, and cleverest, who waa also the highest in rank (a lovely Marchioness), into his armorial-hall adjoining. He said to her, " I want to speak a word with yon about Mrs. Coutts. We have known each other a good while, and I know you won't take anything I can say in ill part. It is, I hear, not uncommon among the flue ladies in London to be very well pleased to accept invitations, and even sometimes to hunt after them, to Mrs. Coutts's grand balls and fetes, and then, if they meet her in any private circle, to practise on her the delicate nwznantvre called tipping the cold slwulder. This you agree with me is shabby; but it is nothing new either to you or to me, that fine people will do shabbinesses for which beggars might blush, if they once stoop so low as to poke for tickets. I am sure you would not for the world do such a thing; but you must permit me to take the great liberty of saying, that I think the style you have all received my guest, Mrs. Coutts, in, this evening, is, to a certain extent, a sin of the same order. You were all told, a couple of days ago, that I had accepted her visit, and that she would arrive to-day to stay three nights. Now, if any of you had not been disposed to be of my party at the same time with her, there was plenty of time for you to have gone away before she came; and as none of you moved, and it was impossible to fancy that any of you would remain out of mere cariosity, 1 thought I had a perfect right to calculate on your having made up your minds to help me out with her." The beautiful Peeress answered, "I thank you, Sir Walter; you have done me the great honour to speak as if I had been your daughter, and depend upon it you shall be obeyed with heart and good-will." One by one, the other exclusives were seen engaged in a little tete-a-tete with her Ladyship. Sir Walter was soon satisfied that things had beon put into a right train; the Marehioness was requested to sing a particular song, because he thought it would please Mrs. Coutts. "Nothing could gratify her

more than to please Mrs. Coutts." Mrs. Coutts's brow smoothed, and in the course of half an hour she was as happy and easy as ever she was in her life, rattling away at comic anecdotes of her early theatrical years, and joining in the chorus of Sir Adam's "Laird of Cockpen." She stayed out her three days—saw, accompanied by all the circle, Melrose, Dryburgh, and Yarrow— and left Abbotsford delighted with her host and, to all appearance, with his other guests

THE WIFE'S CHANCE.

Late one night, that most miserable of all human beings, a drunken husband, after spending his whole time at his club, set out for home. "Well," said ho to himself, "if I find my wife up, I'll scold her: what business has she to sit up, wasting fire and light, eh? And if I lind her in bed, I'll scold her: what right has she to go to bed before I get home?"

FELicrrocs Looks.

Foremost among the pleasures of the table are what an elegant novelist has termed "those felicitous moods in which our animal spirits search, and carry up, as it were, to the surface, our intellectual gifts and acquisitions." Of such moods the late Sir Thomas Lawrence took peculiar advantage; for it is said that he frequently invited his sitters (for their-portraits) to partake of the hospitalities of his table, and took the most favourable opportunity of "stealing" from them thai* "good looks," traits which he felicitously transferred to the canvass.

THUBI.OW AND PITT.

About the year 1790, when the Lord Chancellor Thurlow was supposed to be on no very friendly terms with the Minister (Mr. Pitt), a friend asked the latter how Thurlow drew with them? "I don't know," said the Premier, "how he draws, but he has not refused his oats yet."

A POSEE.

At Plymouth there is, or was, a small green opposite the Government House, over which no one was permitted to pass. Not a creature was allowed to approach, save the General's cow; and the sentries had particular orders to turn away any one who ventured to cross the forbidden turf. One day old Lady D , having called at the General's, in order to make a short cut, bent her steps across the lawn, when she was arrested by the sentry calling out, and desiring her to return, and go the other road. She remonstrated; the man said he could not disobey his orders, which were to prevent any one crossing that piece of ground. "But,"

said Lady L> , with a stately air, "do yon

know who I am?" "I don't know who you be, ma"am," replied the immovable sentry, "but I knows who you b'aint—you b'aint the General's cow." So Lady D—— wisely gave up the argument, and went the other way.

A DULL MAN.

Lord Byron knew a dull man who lived on i bon mot of Moore's for a week; and his Lordship once offered a wager of a considerable sum that the reciter was guiltless of understanding its point; but he could get no one to accept the bet.

IGNORANCE BLISS.

*Captain Alexander notes, from the Hill Damaras (in South Africa), "I could make nothing out to show they had any, the most imperfect religious impressions. * Who made the sun?' I asked them. 'We don't know: we are a stupid people—we don't know anything: only let us get plenty to eat—that is all we care for,' was the common answer the Captain got from this benighted people.

SMOKING.

Joshua Silvester questions whether the devil has done more harm, in later ages, by means of fire and smoke, through the invention of guns or of tobacco-pipes; and he conjectures that Satan introduced the fashion as a preparatory course of smoking for those who are to be matriculated in his own college:—

"As roguing gipsies tan their little elves, To make them tann'd and ugly like themselves."

When the practice of smoking was first introduced into England, it was said children "began to play with broken pipes, instead of corals, to make way for their teeth."

ADVANTAGES OF EARLY TRAINING.

The following dialogue is reported to have passed at the Queen's County Assizes, between a medical witness and a barrister:— Mr. Hayes (the barrister): If a person lying on wet straw were deprived of all the comforts or necessaries of life, would it not hasten death? —Dr. Edge: That would greatly depend on whether he had been accustomed to them.—Mr. Hayes: Do you mean to tell us that if a person lived in a horsepond, it would not be injurious to him? —Dr. Edge: I think not, if he had lived for sixty or seventy years in it.

PRACTICAL DEFINITION.

The Jesuit, Manuel de Vergara, used to relate that, when he was a little boy, he tsked a Dominican friar what was the mean*ng of the seventh commandment, for he said *le could not tell what committing adultery was. The friar, not knowing how to answer, cast a perplexed look around the room, and, thinking he had found a safe reply, pointed to a kettle on the lire, and said the commandment meant that he must never put his hand into the pot when it was boiling. The very next day a loud scream alarmed the "amily; and, behold, there was little Manuel running about the room, holding up his scalded finger, and exclaiming, "Oh, dear! oh, dear! I've committed adultery! I've committed adultery 1 I've committed adultery I"

Massillon's F Eeacuing. Louis XIV. said one day to Massillon, after hearing him preach at Versailles: "Father, I have heard many great orators in this chapel; I have been highly pleased with them; but for you, whenever 1 hear you, I go away displeased with myself, for I see more of my own character." This has been considered the finest encomium ever bestowed upon a preacher.

MATHEWS MISGUIDED.

During an Irish debate, Mathews was a constant attendant at the House of Commons. He took his station under the gallery, by permission of the Speaker. These debates being frequently carried on to a late hour, his friend, Mr. Parratt, of Millbank, gave him a bed at his house. One night, on his way to Millbank, having got halt-way home, he was, from fatigue, arising from his lameness, compelled to rest against a post. It is pretty well known that Mathews had many antipathies, such as one year hating mutton and eating nothing but beef, and the next disliking beef and eating nothing but mutton. Amongst other things, he had a great dislike to the jingling of keys, or the rattling of money in another person's pocket.- On the present occ'asion he had partially recovered himself, and was hesitating whether it were better to proceed, or to return, that is, to return to the coach-stand in Palace-yard, or go to Mr. Parratt's, when he heard a sounu like the rattling of keys close to him, and turning round to see whence it came, he beheld a tall man, with a great coat reaching down to his heels, who civilly inquired if he was ill, and whether he could afford bim any assistance. Mathews told him where he was going, and that he was lame; the stranger offered him his arm, which he accepted. They had not proceeded many yards when the same jingling noise again arrested his attention, which his new friend perceiving, advised a slower pace; this being adopted, the unwelcome sound ceased, and they got on remarkably well, till they arrived at the Horseferry-road. The moment they came in sight of the Thames, up went his conductor's arms suddenly and violently, and the keys again rattled f they were then immediately under an immense gas-lamp of a gin-palace, and Mathews looked down to see where the noise came from: his new friend's coat having flown open, he saw—oh! horror!—appendages to his legs that clearly proved he had just broken ont of prison. Expecting he should be murdered, and that the raising of bis hand was a signal for assistance, spite of his lameness, Mathews took to his heels, and ran every step of the way till he reached his friend's door, never venturing to look back, until the use he had made of his friend's knocker had not only roused the inmates, but half the neighbourhood; then looking towards the water, he saw his fettered acquaintance limp into a boat and row off with all possible celerity.

A WARM WISH.

A celebrated senator once said, "he hoped to -ee the day when the Negroes in the West Indies would peaceably eajoy their own firesides." Talk of a people enjoying their firesides in a climate where, in January, the mercury stands at 92 deg. in the shade 1 There is fever in the very thought.

PARSIMONY OF NOLLEKENS.

Nollekens, the sculptor, was a paragon of parsimony. In his own house candles were never lighted at the commencement of the evening; and whenever he and his wife heard a knock at the door, they would wait until they heard a second rap, before they lit the candles, lest the first should have been "a runaway," and their candles wasted. Nollekens's biographer was assured that a pair of moulds, by being nursed, and put out when company went away, once lasted a whole year! By his wife begging a clove, or a bit of cinnamon, "to take some unpleasant taste out of her mouth," and such mean shifts, the parsimonious pair contrived to keep their spice-box constantly replenished.

Nollekens was a Roman Catholic. Being visited, one rainy morning, by his confessor, he invited the holy father to stay till the weather cleared up. The wet, however, continued till dinner was ready, and Nollekens felt obliged to ask the priest to partake of a bird, one of the last of a present from the Duke of Newcastle. Down they sat; the reverend man helped his host to a wing, and then carved for himself, assuring Nollekens that he never indulged in much food, though he soon picked the rest of the bones. "I have no puddings," said Nollekens; "but will you have a glass of wine ? —oh! you've got some ale." However, a bottle of wine was brought in; and, on the remove, Nollekens, after taking a glass, as usual, went to sleep. The priest, after enjoying himself, was desired by Nollekens, after removing the handkerchief from his head, to take another glass. "Thank you, sare, I have a finish de bottel." "The devil you have!" muttered Nollekens. "Now, sare," continued his reverence, "as de rain be over, I will take my leaf." "Well, do so," said Nollekens; who was determined not only to let him go without his coffee, but gave strict orders to the tervant not to let the old fellow in again. "Why, do you know," continued he, "that he ate up all that large bird; for he only gave me one wing; and he swallowed all the ale; and out of a whole bottle of wine, I had only one glass."

One day a poor old artist was asked by Nollekens, what made him look so dull? "I am low-spirited," he replied. "Then go to the pump, and take a drink of water," was the advice in return; and, in justification of this strange advice, Nollekens asserted, that, when he was low-spirited, the pump always brought him to.

RESURRECTIONIST BROIL.

Lord Norbury's puns were innumerable One of the best was as follows:—When the subject of removing Paine's bones to England was in agitation, and he was asked foi his opinion, he said that they would be very good to make a broil! [What might one say of Napoleon's?]

PARLIAMENTARY REPRIMAND.

In the reign of George II., one Crowle, a counsel of some eminence, made some observation before an election committee, which was considered to reflect on the House itself. The House accordingly summoned him to their bar, and he was forced to receive a reprimand from the Speaker, on his knees. As he rose from the ground, with the utmost nonchalance, he took out his handkerchief, and, wiping hia knees, coolly observed," that it was the dirtiest house he had ever been in in his life."

INGRATITUDE.

When Duchesnois, the celebrated French actress, died, a person met an old man who was one of her most intimate friends. He was pale, confused, awe-stricken. Every one was trying to console him, but in vain. "Her loss," he exclaimed, "does not affect me so much as her horrible ingratitude. Would you believe it? she died without leaving me anything in her will—I, who have dined with her, at her own house, three times a week for ildrty years!"

THE RULING PASSION.

A Mr. , a Mastery in Chancery, was on

his death-bed—a very wealthy man. Some occasion of great urgency occurred, in which it was necessary to make an affidavit, and the attorney, missing one or two ether masters whom he inquired after, ventured to ask if Mr. would be able to recave the deposition. The proposal seemed to give him momentary strength; his clerk was sent for, and the oath taken in due form. The master was lifted up in his bed, and with difficulty subscribed the paper; as he sank down again, he made a signal to his clerk— "Wallace." "Sir?" "Your ear—lower— lower. Have you got the half-crown?" He was dead before morning.

PATRIARCHAL CHAMBERMAID.

Died, at Elgin, in 1838, Mrs. Batchen, agCi. 107 years. This long-liver dwelt in Elgin from her infancy. She was, in the year of the Rebellion, 1745, servant to Lady Arradowal, who, at that time, resided in the house formerly belonging to the Earls of Sunderland, and lately called Batchen's Hall, a portion of which remains. Prince Charles Stuart, on his way to Culloden, slept in this house, and Mrs. Batchen helped to make hia bed. She used to relate that her mistress, Lady Arradowal, a stanch Jacobite, laid aside the sheets in which the Prince had lain, aud gave strict orders that when she died they might be used as her shroud.

WILKES UPON JOHNSON.

In his English Grammar, prefixed to his Dictionary, Johnson had written—"He seldom, perhaps never, begins any but the first syllable." Wilkes published some remarks upon this dictum, commencing: "The author of this observation must be a man of quick appre -Aension, and of a most comprehensive genius."

GOOD ADVICE.

A law student once called upon Lord Mansfield with a letter of introduction; and, after some inquiries, the veteran Judge asked him if he were perfect in "Coke upon Lyttelton." He replied that he was not altogether perfect, but intended reading it over again for the third time. "Take a little rest, sir, take a little rest," said his Lordship; "it is my advice that you should now take a turn with ' Enfield's Speaker.'"

ECCLESIASTICAL CORRECTION.

Foote sent a copy of his farce of "The Minor" to the Archbishop of Canterbury, requesting that if his Grace should see anything objectionable in it, he would strike it out or correct it. The Archbishop returned it untouched; observing to a confidential friend, that he was sure the wit had only laid a trap for him, and that if he had put his pen to the manuscript, by way of correction or objection, Foote would have had the assurance to have advertised the play as "corrected and prepared for the press by his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury." Yet the Archbishop certainly tried to hinder "The Minor" being played at Drury-Lane; upon which Foote threatened to take out a licence to preach Tam. Cant- against Tom. Cant.

A READY ANSWER.

Mr. K., a missionary among a tribe of aorthern Indians, was wont to set some limple refreshment—fruit and cider—before his converts, when they came from a distance -o see him. An old man, who had no prelensions to be a Christian, desired much to be admitted to the refreshments, and proposed to some of his converted friends to accompany them on their next visit to the missionary. They told him he must be a Christian first "What was that?" He must know all about the Bible. When the time came, he declared himself prepared, and undertook the journey with them. When arrived, he seated himself opposite the missionary, wrapped in his blanket, and looking exceedingly serious. In answer to an inquiry from the missionary, he rolled up his eyes, and solemnly uttered the following words, with a pause between each—

"Adam—Eve—Cain—Noah—Jeremiah— Beelzebub—Solomon"

"What do you mean?" asked the missionary.

"Solomon—Beelzebub—Noah"

"Stop, stop. What do you mean?"

"I mean—cider."

C^ebar"s Good Rrehding.

The courtesy and obliging disposition of Julius Casar (by whom we are termed barbari) were notorious, and illustrated in anecdotes which survived for generations in Rome. Dining on one occasion at a table where the servants had inadvertently, for salad-oil, furnished coarse lamp-oil, Caesar would not allow the rest of the company to point out the mistake to their host, for fear of shocking him too much by exposing the mistake.

A Rroil.

Lord Hertford, Mr. Croker, and Mr. James Smith were at an exhibition, inspecting a picture of a husband carving a boiled leg of mutton. The orifice displayed the meat red and raw, and the husband was looking at his wife with a countenance of anger and disappointment. "That fellow is a fool," observed Lord Hertford, "he does not see what an excellent broil he may have."

THE SAILOR AND THE ACTRESS.

"When I was a poor girl," said the Duchess of St. Albans, "working very hard for my thirty shillings a week, I went down to Liverpool during the holidays, where I was always kindly received. I was to perform in a new piece, something like those pretty little affecting dramas they get up now at our minor theatres; and in my character I represented a poor, friendless orphan girl, reduced to the most wretched poverty. A heartless tradesman prosecutes the sad heroine for a heavy debt, and insists on putting her in prison unless some one will be bail for her. The girl repliee,' Then I have no hope, I have not a friend in the world.' 'What? will no one be bail for you, to save you from prison?' asks the stern creditor. 'I have told you I have not a friend on earth,' was my reply. But just as I was uttering the words, I saw a sailor in the upper gallery springing over the railing, letting himself down fromonetiertoanother,until he bounded clear over the orchestra and footlights, and placed himself beside me in a moment. 'Yes, you shall have one friend at least, my poor young woman,' said he, with the greatest expression in his honest, sunburnt countenance; 'I will go bail for you to any amount. And as for you (turning to the frightened actor), if you don't bear a hand, and shift your moorings, you lubber, it will be worse for you when I come athwart your bows.' Every creature in the house rose; the uproar was perfectly indescribable; peals of laughter, screams of terror, cheers from his tawny messmates in the gallery, preparatory scrapings of violins from the orchestra: and amidst the universal din there stood the unconscious cause of it, sheltering me, 'the poor, distressed young woman,' and breathing defiance and destruction against my mimic persecutor. He was only persuaded to relinquish his care of me by the manager pretending to arrive and rescue me, with a profusion of theatrical bank-notes."

DOT HUMOUR.

An Irish post-boy having driven a gentleman a long stage during torrents of rain, the gentleman civilly said to him, " Paddy, are yon not very wet?" "Arrah! I don't care about being very wet, but, plase your honour, I'm very dry."

ODD HUMOUR.

When Lord Holland was on his death-bed, his friend George Selwyn called to inquire how his Lordship was, and left his card. This was taken to Lord Holland, who said: "If Mr. Selwyn calls again, show him into my room. If I ana alive, I shall be glad to see him; if I am dead, I am sure that he will be delighted to see me."

A SETTLER.

A farmer, by chance acompanion in a coach with Charles Lamh, kept boring him to death with questions in the jargon of agriculturists about crops. At length he put a poser—" And pray, sir, how are turnips t'year?" "Why that, sir (stammered out Lamb), will depend upon the boiled legs of mutton."

THE WRONG DAY.

Ozias Linley, Sheridan's brother-in-law, one day received a note to dine with the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth. Careless into what hole or corner he threw his invitations, he soon lost sight of the card, and forgot it altogether. A year revolved, when, on wiping the dnst from some papers he had stuck in the chimney-glass, the Bishop's invitation for a certain day in the month (.he did not think of the year for an instant) stared him full in the face; and taking it for granted that it was a recent one, he dressed himself on the appointed day, and proceeded to the palace. But his diocesan was not in London, a circumstance of which, though a matter of some notoriety to the clergy of the diocese, he was quite unconscious, and he returned home dinnerless.

GIN PUNCH AT THE GARRICK.

One hot afternoon in July, Theodore Hook strolled into the Garrick Club-house in that equivocal state of thirstiness which it requires something more than common to quench. On describing the sensation, he was recommended to make a trial of gin punch, and a jug was compounded immediately, under the personal inspection of Mr. Stephen Price, the American manager. A second followed—a third, with the accompaniment of some chops—a fourth, a fifth, a sixth—at the expiration of which Mr. Hook went away to keep a dinner engagement at Lord Canterbury's. He usually ate little; and on this occasion he ate less, when Mr. Horace Twiss inquired, in a fitting tone of anxiety, if he was not ill. "Not exactly," was the reply; "but my stomach won't bear trifling with, and I was tempted to take a biscuit with a glass of sherry about three."

A "DOUBLE TIMES."

A huge, double-sheeted copy of the Times newspaper was put into the hands of a member of the Union Club by one of the waiters. "Oh, what a bore all this is," said the member, surveying the gigantic journal. "Ah," answered another member, who overheard him," it is all very well for you who are occupied all day with business, and come here to read for your diversion, to call this double paper a bore; but what a blessing it is to a man living in the country—it is equal to a days fisking."

CURRAN'S GRATITUDE.

"Allow me, gentlemen," said Curran one evening to a large party, " to give you a sentiment When a boy, I was one morning playing at marbles in the vilage of Ballalley, with a light heart and lighter pocket. The gibe and the jest went gladly round, when suddenly among us appeared a stranger of a remarkable and very cheerful aspect: his intrusion was not the least restraint upon our merry little assemblage. He was a benevolent creature, and the days of infancy (after all, the happiest we shall ever see) perhaps rose upon his memory. Heaven bless him! I see his fine form at the distance of half a century just as he stood before me in the little Ball-alley, in the day of my childhood. His name was Boyse; he was the rector of Newmarket. To me he took a particular fancy. I was winning, and full of waggery, thinking everything that was eccentric, and by no means a miser of my eccentricities; every one was welcome to a share of them, and I had plenty to spare after having freighted the company. Some sweetmeats easily bribed me home with him. I learned from Boyse my alphabet, and my grammar, and the rudiments of the classics. He taught me all he could, and then he sent me to a school at Middleton. In short, he made me a man. I recollect it was about thirty-five years afterwards, when I had risen to some eminence at the bar, and when I had a seat in Parliament, on my return one day from the court, I found an old gentleman seated alone in my drawingroom, his feet familiarly placed on each aide of the Italian marble chimney-piece, and his whole air bespeaking the consciousness of one quite at home. He turned round—it was my friend of Ball-alley. I rushed instinctively into his arms, and burst into tears. Words cannot describe the scene which followed. 'You are right, sir, you are right; the chimneypiece is yours—the pictures are yours—the house is yours. You gave me all I have —my friend—my benefactor!' He dined with me; and in the evening I caught the tear glistening in his fine blue eye, when he saw poor little Jack, the creature of his bounty, rising in the House of Commons to reply to a right honourable. Poor Boyse! he is now gone; and no suitor had a longer deposit of practical benevolence in the Court above. This is his wine—let us drink to his memory'"

« ZurückWeiter »