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in marking the mistress than her apartment, we were introduced to her drawing-room. Our conductress taking the lead, and having opened the door with a speedy boldness, she looked round on us with an Amazonian glance, signifying, "if my parlor has not “ delighted, my superior drawing-room must!" We were not permitted to take precedence in our remarks; and the following uninterrupted flowing observations dropped “ like manna” from her lips : “ This is “our drawing-room, gentlemen, where we assemble for dinner and " other meals. It is a spacious room, very warm in winter, with a “ pleasant view from the window; wainscoats papered, sideboards for “ convenience, a handsome bookcase, and with the unusual advantage “ of a piano for those who are musical - some of our gentlemen play: “ I am sure you would find every attention paid; we keep a good table, “ and are visited by Captain N., Leiutenant C., and the Reverend Mr. “ Thoughtful. The curtains, you perceive, are of fine morocco, a man
servant cleans the shoes, the street is excellently situated, the house “ is always in regular discipline- I have no doubt you will find every “thing satisfactory!" Well! this was a tolerable lengthy strain without receiving one reply. By this time, we entered through folding doors to examine the bed-chambers, where the chairs were the best part of the furniture! “ You would find this an airy room to “ sleep in, the bed is made from the best feathers ”_defend us! she was about to recommence, when, fortunately, I averted her purpose.
Pray, Mrs. Larkhall, have you any family?" Her countenance brightened at the question, she looked smilingly, as the bard of Avon says, and replied with a prefacing nod, “O yes, sir, I have three “ daughters, all grown up (this emphatically), besides some little ones; “ we all meet together.' A fortuitous glance at the door, presented me with a sight of one of her sylphs, who, it appears, marched languidly and interestingly into the room, just as her mother mentioned her jewels-for, no doubt, she was another Cornelia. This same damsel was garbed very fashionably in black, of a symmetrical figure, and repeated her visits to the drawing-room once or twice. The mother, no doubt, had her aim, and Dapper and I were really cruel enough to guess it: most likely the reader will do the same,
therefore, we will not relate the result of our guess.
“ What may be your terms, Mrs. Larkhall ?” " Why, sir, as I always make a point (we have since heard of this lady's points, “ some of them very far from 'good' ones) of mentioning the lowest “ at once—250 guineas a year for both.”
“ Hem! hem! hem! very “ well, we will either call or write when we have determined. Good “day, Mrs. Larkhall.” Her jaw fell doubtfully, and we descended the stairs, and soon were over a bridge
" and far away.” We recoHected, as we were hastening to make our enquiries at an academy, that our supposed laundress' mansion was very near; so from a laudable feeling of curiosity, more than any expectation of settling, we “just popped in.” Our suspicions were soon realized. Mrs. Susannah Starch (for this was the name on the door-plate)
appeared the fat and jolly wearer of fifty years. Her erisped curls were compactly arranged on her forehead, and vied, in formality, the shapely cap that surmounted them. Her enormous grossness gave all the dignity to her person that flesh can impart. Her hands were of a vulgar mould, but unspotted as her finest muslin. She was, indeed, (taking her apron into consideration) what is called, in the language of common sense, “a very respectable looking body." She was routing some breechless urchins from the
when we entered, evidently desirous of “making an impression." As before, a parlor was our first conventicle: a dismal square kind of furnished den, with a grate without fire, fronted with curling shavings; a round table turned up in a corner, and a small recess where the “ Family “ Bible," and the “ Whole Duty of Man," were wedged immoveably neat among a few other books. I felt so chilled at all I saw since my entrance, that I wished to bave made some apology, and saved the laundress her tongue, but it was too late! “ We be in a bit of a “muckle, sirs, to day, what don't hap very often, I assure ye. I be " a widowed woman, and, since my good man's death, I've had lodgers--" here was a pause, and then “ poor
dear man!" Naturally imagining she alluded to her husband, I asked what occupation he followed. " Okkepation! Lord love ye! he was a gentleman, a “ born gentleman, but some how or other, poor thing! he came to be “ mainly reduced. Poor gentleman, what a fine reader! he'd come “ down and make'en so agreeble of a night, that he would, and read “ so genteely while I aimed his shirt on my lap, poor dear! he had the
room above, and never left it till he died." The reader will be thinking in what way this speech concerned our lodging? Perhaps it was that crafty and circuitous method which many adopt to recommend their lodgings, who hope the praise of the past will ensure the value of the future. I shall not stop to describe the apartments destined for her lodgers; the bed-rooms were scarcely large enough for a seaman's hammock.
An academy! what odd associations arise at the sound of that word! A long, bony, ferret-eyed pedant, dressed in black, precise and petulantly inquisitive. A plain prison-looking house, with a lofty iron gate and a gravelled front yard; a captious mistress, with a pug nose and scrutinous eye; scraped, cut, and blotted desks, ushers, birches, canes, and dog-leafed books, with the dinning school bell-all these, en masse, danced about in my brain as we approached the academy. I was aware that I was not ** going to school;" still, old thoughts and remembrances are not easily to be disregarded. Though rather a vieux garcon, now when in the presence of my quondam pedagogue, I am thinking of eternal “ Pater Æneas," " in
nova fert,” and “ omne quod exit in um." We were followed up the school-yard by plenty of young eyes' gazes, and did not regret when we were seated in a drawing-room, somewhat fashionably furnished, by the aid of globes, books, maps, aud writing wonders, embalmed in gilt frames. The master soon appeared, actually with
a cane in his hand, school for the morning just having concluded. Powdered hair, spectacles, a pen lolling on his ear, a trim white neckcloth, and a black suit, gave a neat consequence to this master of the rod. He strutted up to us, with one hand in his breeches' pocket, and with that movement of the person observed when one is travelling through the tangling stools, desks, and boxes in a school-room.
“ I fear we have taken you away from your important duties, Mr. * Mae Snapper." “ Don't mention it, sir ; I beg you won't ; beg you " won't mention it.” “We have called in answer to your letter respect"ing our advertisement for · Board and Lodging.
“Oh! oh!-yes, yes, yes; very good, sir; very good, sir. Why, let me bless me, what
bubbub those boys are making below; why, let me see, the terms " would not be more than 1601. a year for both, provided you have no “ objection to two beds it one room!!--Your meals would be like my "own, and Mrs. Mac Snapper is a very domesticated lady; would see to “ all your wants. One thing I must premişe —my doors are closed by “ ten every night, except on peculiar occasions.” “What may be “the number of your pupils, Mr. Mac?"--Mr. Snapper. “ I beg your
pardon! only sixty, sir; a very important change, but the “ rising generation, you know, sir,--the rising generation, sir." “ You are right, sir ; we will either write or call
when we determine." With tbis convenient and universal excuse for saying “ I decline," we parted to meet no more.
Reader, have you ever moralized ? If not, this moment shelter your cranium in a hat, and take a street ramble, glancing attentively as you pass at the multitudinous phizzes you meet-every one will have its moral. For instance, if you perceive a man with canine features, and a selfish tacitness of expression, put him down as an unworthy scoundrel, and moralize on cupidity and its miseries. If you see an eye replete with tears, hanging reluctantly on the eyelids, as snowflakes on a drooping leaf--or a face with every feature knotting into grim grimace-or a peevish body just risen from a sprawl on the pavement, draw this moral reflection from their several visages; that sorrows are certain, though accidental, and though your blood is now warmed with joy, and your heart beats lightly as a sunbeam on the slumbering wave, you may be partly or entirely murdered before you get home—your eye be whipped out by some coachman's mastigoferous skill, or you may be deposited under a wheel, or jammed into nothingness by a tumbling mansion. Once more, if you meet a gay hoary fellow, with a worm-eaten face and languid dreaminess of aspeet; or an old back of fashion, wrinkled to her eyes, and painted like a sign-board, you cannot choose but to moralize here, and silently quote Solomon, « There is a time for all things,"--and rotting joys are more intolerable than the sternest pangs of undeserved woe. Now don't imagine this is another start from the subject : I moralized in this way, as I strutted, somewhat tired, to the next applicant to our advertisement, and the approaching issue
will prove what I have remarked above, that “ sorrows are ac“ cidental.”
“ Shew them up, Anne!--shew them up, Anne ! and see that they wipe their shoes; d'ye hear, you stupid creature ?" cried a querulous voice, as we stood waiting at the end of a dark passage. “ Shew them up, Anne! wipe their shoes, &c.” I muttered to myself, as I climbed the stairs, for it was impossible to walk lollingly up them; they were almost as much on the acclivity, as the sides of the Chimboracco mountain, or (I hate exaggerations) as the ladders which hang from the entrances to hay-lofts. The staircase was such as becomes old maids, long, narrow, and gloomy. There was too a freezing preciseness, with much meanness, in her little pinched drawing-room. Every object appeared glued to its place, excepting four cats, seated on the backs of chairs in different parts of the room, and exchanging amatory ogles. The fire-screens appeared like naughty children put in the corner; a work-box that was never opened, stood on the table, and china tea cups of the ancient style were reposing on the mantle-piece. You might have imagined from the neatness of the room, that no human being, except the owner, disturbed the sanctified regularity of her chamber. The chairs were solemn as statues, and I verily believe, there was not a crumb on the carpet, or a speck on the window, to attract the attention of a fly--but flies, I am aware, were out of fashion then, so their absence alone did not bode a famine. And where is the old maid during this time? ---Why! she was spooning some mixture in a golden-hued saucepan, and just finished a stir when we appeared. I know not if there be a curse connected with the skins of old maids, nor am I quite certain that they deserve one; but there is a fretfulness in the hues of their countenance, a dark distempered expression of mingled feelings about it, when they are verging to two-score and ten, that cannot be mistaken. I wish Government would lay a tax on old maids, instead of windows and hair-powder!
“My dear beauty!--pray be seated, sir. You sweet beauty !-“ will you approach the fire, gentlemen ?” Beauty! where was the beauty? Dapper and myself were very far from being Apollos, and there was not a glimpse of beauty in herself. What could she mean? Why, she was soothing a capricious, groaning, half tail-less poodle, that was fretting himself on the carpet before her, and indulging meagrims o'er a saucer of milk! I took my chair, looked frowningly at “ Beauty!” then at the mistress, and listened to the following overture, while the speaker presided over the dog-caudle: “I presume, you are the gentlemen whose advertisement I an“ swered ?”—Two full-neck bends from both of us satisfied her, and she continued :-“ Being single, and residing in a house somewhat “ too capacious for my occupation, I should have no objection to permit “ two reputable gentlemen to domesticate in my parlor; a sopha-bed “ could be managed in the sitting one, and the other would be left “ to your mutual selection. Being of a quiet disposition myself, I
“ should expect that the lodgers would be peaceable and order," “ As lịlive, here's an enormous toad !" screamed Dapper, while something rattled like an empty box against the opposite wall. The old maid turned awful;--it was the partner* of her bed, her beloved tortoise, that frightened Dapper had kicked unwittingly from his feet! The hot spoon fell from her hand; the poodle yelled; the lady, in her baste to turn round, fell over a chair; and all the cats frisked up their tales, and scamped round the room like wild horses! Such a scene admitted of no delay. I snatched my hat; hawled Dapper after me; cleared the stairs with a few muscular leaps; and speedily unburdened myself of a long-restrained laugh at the other side of the street door!
We had now given five personal answers, and were unsuccessful in either. What a bore it is to be lodging-hunting! There's the trouble of getting new ones, and quitting old ones ; most of all, the trouble of packing, cleansing, and securing all one's “ goods and chattels," which become, as it were, partial to their accustomed situations, and seem loath to be fixed in new ones. The reader will perceive from this, that I was annoyed with my labors, and half wished I had not disagreed with Mrs. Ramsbottom. Our last call was on a diseased bachelor. We found him pillowed in an armed chair, with flanneled legs, swelling on a stool. He was all over gout, round as a pumpkin, and evidently labored dreadfully under phlegmatic uneasiness. “ Poor “ sufferer!" thought I, “ thou hast been busy at the bottle, and “ many a luscious sip of wine has juiced those lips, now parched “ with the fever of malady!” What a contrast was this room to the one we had just left! Here were strewed all the messes which distinguish the chambers of invalids. It was a bed-room without a bed. Medicinal slops and drafts, pill-boxes and mortars, and dismissed bandages, were scattered round us. A nurse, almost as bronzed in face as the table she attempted to clear, whimpered an excuse for the “ state the room was in," and then quietly arranged her body in a retired seat.
“ How d’ye do, gentlemen ?” was the good-tempered salutation from the bachelor. “Don't frown at me for being the victim of this “ cursed gout-O Lord! nurse, rub down this leg, and pour out “ some stuff from yonder vial-bope you never have the gout, “ gentlemen ? 'tis a horrible victimizing complaint." “ Terribly so,
Pray what are the rooms and conveniences we could have “ here as boarders and lodgers? We call in reply to your letter “ received yesterday.” “ Rooms! oh! oh! I beg pardon. Why, " let me see.
Nurse could make your breakfasts and tea; and as “ for dinner, you young sprigs, with lightsome limbs and hearts, can “ easily attend to this, I'll warrant me. There's an attic and a parlor; “ the furniture, to be sure, is not over handsome; but Molly could
To some this may appear an improbability; but the fact has been proved by the writer, beyond the admission of a doubt !