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half-sovereign was intended, after having done its duty at the treasury, to provide the managerial repast. Jack Bliffle, however, was a man who, having once closed on a half-sovereign, or even a smaller coin, was not to be easily prevailed on to give it up. Choopy expostulated protested-swore. In vain! And in the midst of the altercation Rudgway entered and preferred his demand for salary.

What could Choopy do? He put a bold face on the matter-vowed he had paid away all his ready cash, and that the last half-sovereign was in Jack's possession. Then he appealed to Jack on Rudgway's behalf—reminded him that Rudgway had a wife and family, and so prevailed on Jack (who was a kindhearted fellow) that he promised to share with Tom.

And so it was that Choopy paid off his whole company with half-a-sovereign.

How Jack and Tom retired to divide the spoil; how it was agreed that they should adjourn to a tavern and have a drop of something in order to get change; how they disagreed as to who should pay for the liquor; how they finally arranged to toss up, with a view to. deciding who should stand treat ; and how the halfsovereign, having been tost up, fell on the pavement, gave a jump, and then a roll, and dropt down the grating of an uninhabited house, leaving Tom and Jack to gaze after it despairingly, there is no necessity here to relate at length.

We will return to Choopy, whom we left in his sanctum alone with his difficulty.

As his eye wandered moodily from the floor to the ceiling, from the ceiling to the table, it suddenly rested on an open letter. At once Choopy's face began to brighten. He took the note up, read it carefully, and then laid it down by his side.

“Praggles,” said Choopy, with a loud and confident voice, “ask the ladies and gentlemen to step this


Before they do so we will glance over Choopy's shoulder at the note. It is an invitation to dinner, and it is signed, “Yours, B. JACOM."

Mr. Benjamin Jacom was a man familiar to haunters of the coulisses. He had a low forehead, an aquiline nose, dark hair and eyes, and a double chin. He also had dirty hands, plenty of rings to be thereby shown to advantage, and a velvet vest, over which meandered a massive gold chain, which was a sort of metal Hampton Court Maze-for it came out at his waistband and from the armholes of his waistcoat, from between its buttons, and from his throat. You were in an endless bewilderment as to where it began and where it ended, and how many miles it traversed between those two points. Mr. Jacom spelt his name J. a. C. 0. m—but from some peculiar formation of his nasal organs, highly suggestive of chronic influenza, he called himself Jacob, a fact, which combined with the circumstance that he lent money at heavy interest, led people to suppose that he belonged to a race which Mr. Disraeli describes as Caucasian.

Mr. Jacom was well known at the theatre and the opera. He was reported to have lent fabulous sums to half the managers in London. Whether he ever could, would, or did get paid is a matter of doubt, but he was nevertheless a very wealthy man. It must therefore be conjectured that he made up for the deficit in this direction by making in his dealings with ordinary mortals, who were not managers, a large profit on Old Masters, wines, and very choice cigars. Whether he did this or not is uncertain, but it was clear that he entered into theatrical speculations from a sheer love of the drama—and by love of the drama I mean a right of admission behind the scenes, and the pleasure of giving handsome dinners on Saturday afternoons to a select circle of theatrical managers and star-actors.

It was an invitation to dinner in Mr. Jacom's hand. writing that lay on the table when the ladies and gentlemen of the Royal Asterisk Theatre came in a body to the treasury to demand their salaries. I am bound to add that from their demeanour it was pretty evident they did not expect to get their money, but were determined “not to stand this kind of thing any longer."

"My dears," said Choopy, “I'm sorry to say I'm deuced hard-up, and can't pay you your salaries this afternoon."

At this there were very marked signs of disapprobation and discontent.

“But this evening I shall be in the receipt of a large sum of money."

At this there was a derisive laugh, and audible confessions of want of faith.

“I shall be in receipt of a large--a very large sum of money from a gentleman with whom I believe you are all acquainted-from Mr. Jacom.”

The disbelief was not entirely banished, but the expressions of dissatisfaction were not so marked as before. Still the meeting showed no signs of breaking up ;-something more was needed, and so Choopy played his great card.

• You don't believe me? Very well! I tell you, Mr. Jacom has taken a very great interest in this theatre. He has been so struck by the admirable and even way in which pieces are played here, that he intends to give it his material support and countenance. Why, look here! here's a proof of it--he's invited you to dinner, my dear boys!"

That settled it. The delicate compliment to their acting mollified the discontents; and when Choopy held out the letter, and Mountvillyar, glancing at it, declared it all correct, peace was restored, and the delighted actors hastened off to make their toilets for the coming banquet. This was not a labour of long duration. With the majority, it meant a buttoning up of their coats to the throat. Mountvillyar, with his crimson vest, was so nobly attired that he had nothing left to desire, save that his hat had been good enough to take in to dinner with him, in order to conceal an

ubtrusive chef d'ouvre, in the way of fine-drawing, across the right knee of his pantaloons.

When all were arrayed the party set out towards Hampstead, where Mr. Jacom's villa was situated. They didn't ride for two reasons—first of all the walk would give them an appetite; and secondly, they hadn't got the money to pay their fare by cab or even by 'bus. Very daintily among the puddles and over the crossings they picked their way, Mountvillyar, of the crimson vest, nobly leading the van. Choopy having had to make a call on his way, had started before them.

When they arrived at the villa they knocked timidly, and the door was opened by a gorgeous footman, who, not without an air of mingled surprise and disdain, handed them over to two other functionaries, who ushered them into the drawing-room. Therein were assembled some half-dozen managers, including Choopy, and a large sprinkling of aquiline noses male and female; the owners of the noses resplendent with jewellery, the ladies especially, of whose fingers between the knuckles and the not over-nice nails, nothing could be discerned for the glittering rings, that must have made it quite impossible for them to crook a single joint.

When the little group entered the drawing-room there was consternation on both sides. The occupants of the room were apparently startled at the arrival of a shabby body of evidently hungry strangers, and the intruders were so appalled at the gorgeous folks before them, that they shrank behind Mountvillyar, whose crimson velvet vest was the only thing about them that could at all claim equality with the splendid ones.

Upon Mountvillyar therefore, he being thrust foremost, descended Mr. Jacom, and inquired who and what they were. The tragedian explained that they

—that is to say, they were asked to come with Mr. Choopy

“Here, I say, Choopy,” said Jacom, “what's all this? What the deuce is it all about ?".



“ About ?" said Choopy, coming up with a surprised air, “about? why, didn't you ask them to dinner along with me?

“Nothing of the sort, Mr. Choopy, nothing of the sort."

66 Well! there's your own letter,” said the manager, producing the document. “Read it-read it, sir !"

· My dear Choopy,” said Mr. Jacom, reading from the letter, in a distinct, at least for him distinct voice“My dear Choopy,-Will you give me the pleasure of your company at dinner on Saturday. Yours, B. Jacom."

“ That's it,” said Choopy. “Didn't I say so ?” “ Say what ?"

“Why, the pleasure of your company'—this," added Choopy, indicating with a wave of his hand the cowering Thespians—this, sir, is my COMPANY!"




(From "Fun.")
The first English monarch called Peter,

Was one whom the people revered.
No king e'er in temper was sweeter-
No king e'er in toilet was neater;
In fact, a superior creetur

Was Peter the First as I've heared.

The king had a champion doughty,

Sir Cockiwax Rooster by name.
(In his portraits he's stumpy and stouty,
His vizor too makes him seem snouty,
While his knee-pieces make him seem gouty-

But he was a hero of fame.)

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