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Heavens ! how capacious is their size! The tailor, indeed, seems to have repented of his extravagance, by puckering up a part of them. But what means that broad strap under the foot? Is it to prevent their slipping off over your head? or are you possessed of the prospective policy of Sam Scribble, who suffered at the Old Bailey for signing a wrong name on a banker's cheque; and who artfully passed two leather thongs under his feet, that he might, by annexing them to a hook, and the hook to the hangman's noose, enable himself to vibrate his half-hour without strangulation. Upon this count I defy you to plead a set-off.” “My reverend uncle," answered the pertinacious nephew: " far be it from me to tax you with laxity either of principles or pantaloons. But I hope you will permit me again to call your recollection to the portrait painted by Hoppner. You are there exhibited in"_" Not loose trowsers, I'll be sworn. -"No, uncle, not loose trowsers, but tight leather breeches. No sooner had Mrs. Thislewood told her story about your coat than Captain Paterson matched it with another, about your leather breeches." 6 Indeed!" cried Mr. Robertson, drawing himself up, and looking out for Platt's ferry-boat, “and, pray, what might the nautical gentleman say ?” " Why, he said, uncle, that he once called upon you, when you were trying on a new pair of doeskins. The maker of them stood by to comfort and assist you. You were suspended, he said, in mid air like Mahomet's coffin : when you had, by dint of struggling and kicking, got tolerably well into them, the operator drew from his pocket two iron hooks, to button them at the knees. He also told Mrs. Thislewood that you stood the agonizing process with the patience of a primitive martyr, until the third button of the right knee burst its cerements, and went off like the cork of a ginger-beer bottle.” “Well, sir, and pray what happened then?” “Why, then, uncle, he says, that you said something very like 'Oh, damn it! After which, Captain Paterson added that he does not know what happened, as he turned very sick, and left the room : and so was prevented from beholding the conclusion of the operation."
Mr. Robert Robertson, in deep displeasure, now summoned all his syllogistic powers. He was upon the eve of flatly denying the truth of the captain's assertion; of proving that folly and foppery were weeds of modern growth; that his uncle never had occasion to lecture him upon his extravagance or coxcombry, thirty years ago; and, finally, that propriety of exterior and soundness of intellect had quitted this country on or about the commencement of the French Revolution. Unfortunately, however, this chain of demonstrations was sundered, never to re-unite. Platt hove in sight; uncle and nephew entered the boat; and the presence of two market-gardeners and a footman in livery prevented Mr. Robert Robertson from establishing the superiority of the human race-thirty years ago !
POISON FOR THE RATS.
SHAKSPEARE, Richard III.
And for the Temple bound, Middle or Inner,
Folks learn the law, by-eating many a dinner.
Too quick of temper, or too thick in head,
Seductive in Dutch foil and gingerbread.
By masticating mutton, very clever,
And troubled Coke's and Blackstone's pages-never.
Drank his champaign,-at no expense would stop ;
And at the cook's shop ate his mutton-chop.
That's, when his notes were no more-common places,
He drove his tilbury to Epsom Races.
A plain beef-steak, a chicken, and some claret ;
His purse was low, and, d-nit, he must share it."
When Rabelais' quart d'heure brought in the bill,
And though 'twas long, Pat's face was longer still.
For he had chosen a prime” caravansary,
In short-the bill was like a bill in Chancery.
" So much potatoes, and so much for butter,”
Began, in under-tone, of rats to mutter.
To save the landlord's meat and cheese from plunder,
- Is there no remedy to keep rats under ?"
“ To clear your house of them, without much pain,
And, faith and troth, they'll not come here again."
THE MONIED MAN : AN OUTLINE.
Old Jacob Stock !—The chimes of the 'Change were not more punctual in proclaiming the progress of time, than in marking the regularity of his visits to the good old Lady in Threadneedle-street, and her opposite neighbour in Bartholomew-lane. His devotion to them was exemplary. In vain the wind and the rain, the hail or the sleet, battled against his rugged front. Nor the slippery ice, nor the thick-falling snow, nor the whole artillery of elementary warfare, could check the plodding perseverance of the man of the world, or tempt him to lose the chance which the morning, how unpropitious soever it seemed in its external aspect, might yield him of profiting by the turn of a fraction,
He was a stout-built, round-shouldered, squab-looking man, of a bearish aspect. His features were hard, and his heart was harder. You could read the interest-table in the wrinkles on his brow, trace the rise and fall of stocks by the look of his countenance; while avarice, selfishness, and money-getting, glared from his grey, glassy eye. Nature had poured no balm into his breast, nor was his “ earthy mould” ever susceptible of pity. A single look of his would daunt the most importunate petitioner that ever attempted to extract hard coin by the soft rhetoric of a heart-moving tale. The wife of one whom he had known in better days pleaded before him for her sick husband and famishing infants. Jacob, on occasions like these, was a man of few words. He was as chary of them as of his money, and he let her come to the end of her tale without interruption. She paused for a reply; but he gave none. " Indeed, he is very ill, Sir."
- Can't help it."We are very distressed.”—“Can't help it.”“Our poor children, too-"-Can't help that neither.” The petitioner's eye looked a mournful reproach, which would have interpreted itself to any other heart but his, “ Indeed, you can ;” but she was silent. Jacob felt more awkwardly than he had ever done in his life. His hand involuntarily scrambled about his breeches' pocket. There was something like the weakness of human nature stirring within him. Some coin had unconsciously worked its way into his hand—his fingers insensibly closed; but the effort to draw them forth, and the impossibility of effecting it without unclosing them, roused the dormant selfishness of his nature, and restored his self-possession. - He has been very extravagant.”_56 Ah! Sir, he has been unfortunate, not extravagant." _ Unfortunate ? Ah! it's the same thing. Little odds, I fancy. For my part, I wonder how folks can be unfortunate. I was never unfortunate. Nobody need be unfortunate, if they look after the main chance.* I always looked after the main chance."_" He has had a large family to maintain.”—66 Ah! married .foolishly; no offence to you, ma'am. But when poor folks marry poor folks, what are they to look for, you know ? Besides, he was so foolishly fond of assisting others. If a friend was sick, or in gaol, out came his purse, and then his creditors might go whistle. Now, if he had married a woman with money, you know, why then.....” the supplicant turned pale, and would have fainted. Jacob was alarmed; not that he sympathized, but a woman's fainting was a scene he had not been used to; besides, there was an awkwardness about it. So he desperately extracted a crowo-piece from the depth profound, and thrust it bastily into her hand. The action recalled her wandering senses. She blushed: 'twas the honest blush of pride at the meanness of the gift. She curtsied ; staggered towards the door; opened it; closed it; raised her hand to her forehead, and burst into tears.
*" The grave Sir Gilbert holds it for a rule,
That every man in want is knave or fool."
No man had a more thorough conviction of the omnipotence of wealth. - Every man has his price," was his favourite axiom, as well as Sir Robert Walpole's; and, while he looked upon high mental talents with that half-felt, half-féigned contempt, arising from conscious inferiority, he gloried in boasting, or fancying, that money could purchase them, and that he had that money. He certainly had never read Horace; but he was quite of his opinion,
“ Scilicet uxorem cum dote, fidemque et amicos,
Et genus et formam, regina pecunia donat.”'
Wit, genius, beauty, friendship-every thing." The necessities of genius bad frequently become subservient to his purpose, when he had occasion to develope his speculative plans in language somewhat more readable than his own uncouth 'Change Alley jargon. 'Twas a glorious triumph to him to induce unfavourable comparisons between the possessor of brains and the possessor of wealth. * You see, now, I can employ you, and you are glad to be employed; whereas you couldn't buy and sell me in that way. So what's the use of genius, and learning, and literature, and all that rubbish, when it's to be had for any body's penny? Why need my son (if I ever have one) bore his brains with Latin and Greek, and grammar and stuff? seeing he can buy the use on't when he wants it, the same as I am buying you, and all for a mere song, as a body may say. 'Twas a fine thing to teach us at school, that learning was better than house or land; but I fancy I know which is best now: I've a notion that I do. I guess learning would do me little good without the needful. A pocketfull of gold is better than a head-full of brains ; except, mayhap, the brains that put a man in the way of getting on in the world.”
Jacob was a bachelor. Sixty summers had passed over his head without imparting a ray of warmth to his heart; without exciting one tender feeling for the sex, deprived of whose cheering presence, the paradise of the world were a wilderness of weeds. Gallantry formed no part of his composition. He regarded the civility of every pretty woman as a covert attack upon his purse, and an attempt to entrap him in the toils of matrimony. “ He was resolved, he said, not to be cajoled out of his liberty, by soft tongues and pretty faces: women loved the money, if they didn't care a fig for the man. Besides, it was a bad world ; and be wouldn't be the means of bringing more miserables into it.” But if he cared little for the society of females, he was selfish enough to know, that he could not enjoy the comforts of life without their assistance; so he selected a coarse buxom spinster, to superintend his economical establishment, uniting all the domestic offices in her own individual person. There was no danger that her beauty would tempt him to break bis vow of celibacy. He chose her philosophically, as an antidote to desire; like the anchorite who placed before him death's head; as a memento mori, to guard him from the seductions of concupiscence. She bore no unapt resemblance to those squab figures of Chinese manufacture, that used to deck the mantel-shelves of our grandfathers; short, fat, wide-mouthed, and blowsy. She looked like a dwarf apple-tree, stunted in its altitude; or as if she had been confined in a low-roofed cage ; and nature, prevented by the roof from shooting higher, had vented itself in circumference. With such a companion, Jacob thought he was not likely to be led into temptation; so on he went, plodding, as heretofore ; neither looking to his right hand nor to his left; carefully picking his way, without being allured by the gay flowers that sprang up in his path ; having no eyes for the beauties of nature, or the splendour of heaven; no ears for the melody of sweet sounds; no relish for the creations of intellect. Beauty, wit, and genius poured forth their treasures in vain ; and the painter's skill, the poet's fancy-all that imagination had conceived, or art accomplished appealed to a being, sheathed in the impenetrable mail of worldly wisdom;
sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing." Deep thinkers are said to be deep drinkers. I think not. But, be this as it may, it is very certain, that there are no better gastronomists than those who never think at all; and the digestive powers seem, in most instances, in exact proportion to the deficiency of intellect. Jacob Stock was an illustration of all this. Money-getting was the one idea that absorbed his whole soul; there was no place in it for any other feeling ; and beyond that, his predilections and sensations were purely animal. No man was better constituted by physical capacity for great feats at city-dinners.—Mountains of flesh and fowl, formidable arrays of turtle and venison, vanished before his demolishing prowess ; and on Lord Mayor's day, he revelled in an epicurean paradise. He soiled more clean plates than an alderman, and was looked up to, in point of individual achievement, as the very father of civic feasting ; the gown and chain men scarcely excepted. But, proficient as Jacob was on all public occasions of mastication, he was rarely tempted to witness similar exploits at his own table. There were one or two occasions, indeed, which he signalized in this way; such as his election to the common council, and once when he had driven an excellent bargain in tallow. But these were mere solitary instances, and nowise affecting the general cautiousness of his character, which was very tender of involving the responsibility of his own purse, in acts of good fellowship or generosity.
Jacob, though a shrewd man, and abundantly stocked with worldly wisdom, had one weak point. He was egregiously fond of flattery. I ask the observant reader,-him, I mean, who finds food for speculation in the fantastic variety of the human character, and gathers something for his stock of knowledge from each individual he encounters in his path,-I ask if it ever struck him, as a prominent peculiarity, that those who affect it the least are the most susceptible of this insinuating quality, and that your thorough-bred men of the world, who are so sensibly impressed with the importance of wealth, as to expect for it universal homage, are, in this respect, among the weakest ? Jacob, with his rough exterior, seemed to set flattery at defiance. You would as soon think of soothing an untamed bear with the melody of a lute;