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But,” added he, with his usual fondness for Horace, “ I never was one of those
Quos curriculo pulverem Olympicum collegisse juvat.'* I am content, nay, seem to have bargained, to leave this to your more active spirits, provided you leave me in my turn
Stratus nunc ad aquæ lene caput sacræ.'"* “ I perceive,” said I, “your taste for Horace has not left you, and he will, no doubt, make part of our readings together. I suppose you have matured the plan for our studies, which you said it would be such a pleasure to you instantly to arrange.”
He smiled again at his own procrastination, but, like most procrastinators, had a reason for it.
Why, I did think of it,” said he, “ and fell asleep with meditating upon it yesterday after dinner ; but who can arrange a plan of study at an hotel in a tumultuous town? so I thought I would defer it till we got down here, where, too, I might have the benefit of your assistance.”
“ You are sure,” said I, “you thought of all this ?”
“ Quite sure,” replied he ; but all further discussion was put an end to. by Mr. John's advancing on the walk, to announce that dinner was on the table, and to ask what wine he should put out.
*“ Whom it delights
In clouds th’ Olympic dust to roll.”- Francis' Horace. †“At some soft flowing fountain's head,
Or in the shade his limbs are spread.”—Id.
“ I think we will have the old hockheim," answered Sir Simeon.
“ I think not,” said Mr. John; “you know it always gripes you."
“ Well, but Mr. De Clifford might like it,” observed his master, arguing the matter.
“ It's very expensive,” replied John ; " and I thought the gentleman was your intimate friend. I think port might do."
Confound your impudence,” retorted his master, now roused to real anger, and looking very red. “ You abuse my indulgence, sirrah! and I will certainly do what I have often said-dismiss you my service."
“I don't think you will,” muttered John, sotto voce, and as if to himself, but so as to be heard.
“ There it is,” observed my friend, cooling, as John got out of sight; “ the rascal believes, what I am afraid is true, that I cannot do without him, and takes liberties upon it."
“ And Mrs. Mary,” said I, rather perhaps too significantly, for I perceived he did not like it, and I was sorry to think it might spoil the digestion of a good dinner, one of the great helps to which, as is held by all dietetic doctors, is good humour.
When we entered the dining-room we found the aforesaid Mrs. Mary, who had arrayed herself in a silk gown, standing at the head of the table, with a carving-knife and fork in her hands, and preparing to do the office it indicated for her master. This, I saw, annoyed him, for he actually frowned at her, as he said,
“ Not now, Mrs. Quickly; you see I have company, and I suppose we can carve for ourselves without troubling you."
“ You never do so, by yourself,” replied the lady, “ and I thought you would want me; but do as you please - I see I am not wished for.”
And she flounced out of the room in something very like a passion.
For my part, I did not know what to think of these exhibitions, and feared downright rebellion in the two real managers of the house, for it was plain the master did not manage it himself; so, to conciliate peace, I begged that he would make no alteration in his usual table habits on my account. “ If Mrs. Mary has been accustomed,” said I, “to
" “ O! dear, no !” he replied, pretty briskly (though I could see Mr. John turn his head to the side-board to conceal a laugh), “ I would never permit such a thing as a regular custom; only as Mary is an excellent carver, and I own I like to have things done for me, besides being a very bad carver myself, she sometimes, when quite alone -"
« Sits down with you, I suppose,” interrupted I, observing that there was actually a third plate laid at the table ; " and I beg to say I shall be distressed
“ You are quite wrong," interrupted he in his turn, as if piqued, and mustering a tone of courage; “she is my servant, but not my companion, though certainly
often of great use to a man who is an invalid, lives so much alone, and
What he was going to add, I was prevented from knowing, by a violent fit of sneezing which seized Mr. John at the sideboard, unfortunately, so like a laugh, that his master was annoyed at it; the prudent domestic, however, diverted it by saying,
“ Indeed, Sir Simeon, you and the gentleman had better eat your dinners ; the eggs be already cold, and you may tell him all about Mary afterwards.”
I thought this motion so proper, that I seconded it, and Sir Simeon shewing no disposition to keep up the subject, we began to attack the dinner in good earnest. The eggs were soon dispatched, as well as a cold shoulder of lamb, which Mrs. Mary had intended for her private eating, and the hock proving excellent, we did not refrain, on account of the expense which had occasioned John's regrets, from doing it ample justice.
After this was dispatched, Sir Simeon proposed coffee, “which Mary,” said he, “makes admirably, and generally pours it out herself, let who will be here ; so, as she is seemingly proud of it, I like to indulge her. I hope you have no objection.”
Whether I had or not would have signified little, for therustling of her silk gown announced that Mrs. Mary was at the door, and she entered, coffee in hand, observing, rather briskly, that we ought to drink it directly, or it would get cold, and that nothing was so bad as cold coffee. She set us, indeed, an example
of her sincerity in what she preached, by taking a cup herself, for there were three on the board.
Seeing my friend again a little embarrassed, I did not seem to remark this, but began to treat Mrs. Mary as one of the company, to which she plainly seemed to think herself entitled; and as I saw Sir Simeon was puzzled how to behave upon it, I directed some civilities to her, which had so good an effect, that when she rose to leave us she said she was glad that Sir Simeon (for she did not call him master) had brought down so agreeable a gentleman with him as a companion, “which I always told him," added she, “ was all he wanted."
I now began to see plainly that my friend, with all his mental acquirements, was in a state of absolute pupilage to both his servants; a degradation of which it was doubtful whether he was even ashamed, but which, at all events, it was evident he could not break through; and I own I was much struck to think of such vicissitudes in the history of human nature. Here was a man of birth, fortune, and education, and a mind by no means incapable of enjoying them, reduced to absolutely worse than a cypher, from the sheer indulgence of constitutional indolence.
This phenomenon, for such it seemed, though it only broke upon me by degrees in the course of the evening, was demonstrated the next day, in still greater clearness, when Sir Simeon very candidly lamented his case to me, and put it to my friendship to extricate him from what he called this domestic