« ПредишнаНапред »
And, till this play was acted, all conceal it
WHAT YOU PLEASE, OR THE DANGERS OF
DISCRETION. If the incidents of a story be in themselves good, we incline to think that the shorter the preface and the fewer garnishings the better; so we shall, without farther ado, narrate how a very worthy, but, as it will afterwards appear, rather simple tradesman of the Modern Athens, lately found though
mammamanan " Who can tell
How hard it is" to-recover debts that are of long standing.
Mr. Bee-in-Bonnet, as we shall call him, from a certain confusion in his ideas and movements, the rapidity of which somewhat surpasses their precision, came last week, no farther gone, to Glasgow, in the capacity of Bag, or rather Box-man—a “ Commercial Traveller” forhimself. Having performed the routine of making his presence visible among his customers, and unpacking his medley of samples, he bethought him of certain excerpta from that dismal and tear-bedewed portion of his ledger, assigned to the registration of “bad debts.” Bad as many of his were, however, he was not inclined, when he began their perusal, to say, in the words of Dante,
“ All hope abandon ye who enter here; " but being, as the sequel will show, of a confiding disposition, he rather clung to the belief that some of these were not absolutely to be despaired of.
Among them was one, which, after some sage cogitations with himself upon “ the law's delay," he resolved to put into the hands of one of its ministers—in other words, a “ writer,”—to whom he hied; and, hesitating his instructtions, confided his claim for prosecution. It so happened, that this limb of legality was (as right many of them are, God wot,) a wicked wag, and one who knew the man he had to deal with. He undertook to investigate the matter, and found, after some preliminary steps had been taken, as not unfrequently occurs, though not always so candidly confessed—that nothing could be recovered. This alarming information he communicated to his client, whose consequent dolour was certainly not diminished upon being farther told, that the expenses incurred in arriving at this cheering intelligence, amounted to one pound fifteen shillings.
After standing aghast for a moment, however, the lawyer relieved him by an assurance that in this case he would act upon the principle of “no cure, no pay," and since nothing had been recovered, nothing should be charged. Unlooked-for happiness, poets tell us, is always most intense, and philosophers say, is also most outrageous in its display; and our story proves that both are for once correct. “ Ch-charge nothing, Mr. — ! Oh, m-maun, ye-ye’re a—a wonderfu' writer. Gudesake, maun, but I'm abliged to you.— Will ye tak' a beef-steak wi' me the-day ?” exclaimed and inquired the delighted tradesman, all in a breath, though it was a broken one.
The invitation did not require to be repeated.
Behold the lawyer and the client, then, snugly seated in a small parlour in the Ram's Horn Coffee House, at halfpast four, discussing the merits of a delicious steak, and a pot of London porter. The cloth and their appetites being at length removed, it was next considered what should be drunk. The giver of the treat ruminated for a moment whether whisky toddy, which is strong, or rum punch, which is weak, would be the cheapest beverage, and on reflecting that if the strength of the latter is but as one to three of the former, the consumption usually is in an inverse ratio; "and then,” said he to himself, “ there are the lemons to boot.” But “ his bosom's lord sat far too lightly on its throne,” to permit him to go niggardly to work; so, however his wishes inclined towards the Glenlivit, he was resolved, if his guest preferred the punch, to let him have it; and with an air, on his part, of the most perfect indifference as to preference for either : aught else he never dreamed of. But here the chronicler must regret, that at this juncture the usual prudence and foresight of his hero utterly forsook him; and dire were, as usual in such cases, the results. “ What'll ye drink, Mr. - 2-what'll ye drink? Just order in ony thing you like !” exclaimed he, with an air that could not have dishonoured Sir William Curtis, as the waiter stood on the threshold for his orders. “ Champaigne," was the first word, and delivered too in a quiet sustained tone, that truly had no joking in its sound, which met his startled sense of hearing, and struck him dumb, as he saw the significant glance that accompanied it, and in two seconds of time had “the ocular proof” upon the table how well the waiter had understood its meaning. It was even so; the privilege ostentatiously given had been unhesitatingly used: the champaigne was mounting in his glass—it had descended from his companion's, and he had now nought to do but drink it-save the paying. It takes shorter time to discuss a bottle of that noble liquor than to decide a case in chancery; and so, before our hero well knew where he sat-for all he knew of this wine was, that it must be drunk quickly-he found a smaller glass, and a different coloured liquid before him.-It was Claret.
He was just about to get into a passion, when his guest toasted “ Success to early rising,” a theme upon which he never tires, and, besides, he thought that its present mention gave promise of a speedy termination of the affair. He swallowed the claret, as he inwardly resolved on gulping the joke, and the generous liquors soon made him forget his sorrows, and the coming bill. Time glided away as imperceptibly as, when people are happy, it has a sad trick of doing; and he was only roused from his Lethean draughts by the presence of a third party, in the person of a crony of the lawyer's, hailed as passing the window, and now seated at the board. This was too much--folly itself could scarcely tolerate it-and our cautious tradesman began to hint, and even broadly to insinuate, that the sederunt had now been sufficiently prolonged. The remark was true, and exceedingly well. timed; but it was met by another, that the company might as well drink what was ordered, as leave it to the waiter. This touched a responsive string. Our hero sat still, and not until he heard it gravely proposed by his friend to wind up the evening's strain, by returning to the key-note-in other words, by ordering in another bottle of champaignedid he move. Then, indeed, he started to his feet, and gave voice to the remonstrance long lurking in his bosom, but he was “ too far on” to articulate words very distinctly—and the bottle was unwired, and the bill was brought in. It is needless to describe what all must now be able to figure to themselves
-our hero's looks, when paying two pounds five shillings and sixpence, as a sort of acknowledgment for being saved the payment of one pound fifteen.
THE HERON CORRESPONDENCE. No. II.
* * * I was as much astonished as yourself to see my “ Lost leaf” in the first Number of “ The Ant.” It was a wicked trick to print it, and “ with all its imperfections on its head,” even to the vernacular Scotticisms, which, however dear and doric in a confidential letter, are rather too openly rebellious against Lindley Murray's laws for printing. I am merciful and forgiving, however, and have promised to let Mr. Carll be the medium of transmitting all that does not relate to private affairs in future. This and my subscription, however, is all his pretty little work will get from me, smart as it is; for, Lord! you would not have me cut myself into such small slices as its limits admit of ? No, no! Although, by the bye, crumbs are often as well-flavoured as larger lumps.
Miss Foote's friends were in high dudgeon at the honest expression of my sentiments, and half the young fellows have been threatening the duello on her behalf, on purpose to show their chivalrous devotion towards the spotless part of the other sex too! These are too shrewd I think, Tom, to relish very highly this dubious compliment. However, after ceremony bad held out till the eleventh hour, curiosity got the better of it, and Miss F. had a bumper benetit, with at least the average of female beauty and fashion Glasgow usually turns out to the Theatre. I went myself. She played Beatrice, and certainly is an improving performer, although a fast fading, yet still lovely woman. If vivacity had been all that Shakespeare required from the heroine of “ Much Ado," she would have pleased the most critical, but her sparkling was like that of gooseberry wine, and wanted all the mellow richness and body Shakespeare has given, and Mrs. Davison was wont to show, in that delightful vixen. Miss Foote sang and danced till it was even wearisome; and after I had been satiated, I left the house. I am assured that in the Highland Reel she delighted the galleries, dressed in a kilt and hose-a gratuitous liberality which the part certainly does not requirebut this I cannot believe. Let me be just, however, in the handsomest manner she volunteered to perform on the following night in a charity play, which Seymour had generously and unasked proferred to the Fund for the Relief of the Unemployed. A grand concert is projected for the same purpose. Let the Directors bring Caradori, or Ronzi de Begnis, or, better, Pasta, and it will do good to more than the poor weavers. Charity covereth many sins, but not those against harmony.
- Rayner I have seen in Covent Garden, but shall certainly go to see him here. He is the tragedian as well as comedian of rustic and unlettered life, and, like Emery, many of his performances give as powerful moral lessons to the crowd as even Hogarth's pictures. It is highly praiseworthy in