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of a man prepared to discuss a grave thing. “Buttons, he repeated. Then clearing his throat he began, “ In the course of your long and I hope, well spent life, has it never come with thunderbolt conviction on you that all washerwomen, clear-starchers, getters up of fine linen, or under whatever name Eve's daughters—for as Eve brought upon us the stern necessity of a sbirt, it is but just that her girls should wash it under whatever name they cleanse and beautify flax and cotton, that they are all under some compact, implied or solemnly entered upon amongst themselves and their non-washing, non-starching, non-getting up sisterhood, that by means subtle and more mortally certain, they shall worry, coax, and drive all bachelors and widowers soever into the pound of irredeemable wedlock ? Has this tremendous truth, sir, never struck you ?

“How -by what means ?' we asked.

“Simply by buttons.' answered the hermit, bringing down his clenched fist upon the table,

We knew it—we looked incredulous.

". See here, sir,' said the Hermit, leaning still farther across the table, ‘I will take a man, who on his outstart in life, set his hat a-cock at matrimony-a man who defies Hymen and all his wicked wiles. Nevertheless, sir, the man must have a shirt, the man must have a washerwoman, Think you that that shirt returning from the tub, never wants one, two-three buttons ? Always, sir, always. Sir, though I am now an anchorite I have lived in your bustling world, and seen-ay, quite as much as anyone of its manifold wickedness. Well, the man-the buttonless man -at first calmily remonstrates with his laundress. He pathetically wrings his wrists at her, and shows his condition. The woman turns upon him her wainscot face and promises amendment. The thing shall never happen again. Think you the next shirt has its just and lawful number of buttons ? Devil a bit !!

In “The Bright Poker,” he seems to pay a compliment under a guise of sareasm :

“And here my dear child, let me advise you to avoid by all means what is called a clean wife. You will be made to endure the extreme of misery under the base, the inviduous pretext of being rendered comfortable. Your house will be an ark tossed by continual floods. You will never know what it is to properly accommodate your shoulders to a shirt, so brief will be its visit to your back ere it again go to the washtub. And then for spiders, fleas, and other household insects, sent especially into our homesteads to awaken the enquiring spirit of man, to at once humble his individual pride by the contemplation of their sagacity, and to elevate him by the frequent evidence of the marvels of animal life-all these calls upon our bigher faculties will be wanting, and lacking them your immortal part will be dizzied, stunned by the monotony of the scrubbing-brush, and poisoned past the remedy of perfume by yellow soap. Your wife and children, too, will have their faces continually shining like the holiday saucers on the mantel-piece. Now consider the conceit, the worse than arrogance of this, the studied callous forgetfulness of the beginning of man. Did he not spring from the earth ?from clay-dirt-mould-mud-garden soil, or composi. tion of some sort, for theological geology (you must look in the dictionary for these words) has not precisely defined what; and is it not the basest impudence of pride to seek to wash and scrub and rub away the original spot? Is he not the most natural man who in vulgar meaning is the dirtiest? Depend upon it, there is a fine natural religiou in dirt; and yet we see men and women strive to appear as if they were compounded of the roses and lilies in Paradise instead of the fine rich loam, that feeds their roots. Be assured of it, there is great piety in what the ignorant foolishly call filth. Take some of the Saints for an example-off with their coats, and away with their hair shirts; and even then, my son, so intently have they considered and been influenced by the lowly origin of man, that with the most curious eye, and most delicate finger, you shall not be able to tell where either saint or dirt begins or ends”

In a “Man made of Money,” we have something original—a dialogue between two Aleas, as they stand on the brow of Mr. Jericho

“My son,' says the elder, 'true it is, man feeds for us. Man is the labouring chemist for the fleas; for them he turns the richest meats and spiciest drinks to flea wine. Nevertheless, and I say it with much pain, man is not what he was. He adulterates our tipple most wickedly.'

“ I felt it with the last lodgers,' says the younger flea. • They drank vile spirits, their blood was turpentine with, I fear, a dash of vitriol. How they lived at all, I know not. I always had the headache in the morning. Here however,' and the juvenile looked steadfastly down upon the plain of flesh, the wide champaign beneath him here we have promise of better fare.''

But Douglas Jerrold's best humour is usually

Tke Genteel Pigeons.

213

rather in the narrative and general issue than in any sudden hits or surprises. His “Sketches of The English ” are humorous and admirably drawn, but it would be difficult to produce a single striking passage out of them. One of the most amusing stories in his collection of “ Cakes and Ale” is called « The Genteel Pigeons."-A newly married couple return home before the end of the honeymoon, but wish to keep their arrival secret. George Tomata, a connection of the family, but unknown to Pigeon, calls at the house, and is denied admittance by the servant, but Pigeon, happening to come down asks if he has any message of importance to transact

“Not in the least, no—not at all,' answered Tomata leisurely ascending the stairs, and with Mr Pigeon entering the drawing-room, 'So, the Pigeons are not at home yet

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“Mr. and Mrs. Pigeon the day of their marriage,' answered Pigeon softly, 'went to Brighton.' .

“Ha! well, that's not three weeks yet. Of course, Sir, you are intimate with Mr. Pigeon ?

“I have the pleasure, sir," said Samuel.

6. You lodge here, no doubt? Excuse me, although I have not with you the pleasure and doubtless it is a very great one-of knowing Pigeon, still I am very intimate with his little wife.'

"Indeed, Sir. I never heard her name

I dare say not, Sir; I dare say not. Ob very intimate; we wore petticoats together. Baby companions, sir -baby companions-used to bite the same pear.'

“• Really sir,'—and Pigeon shifted in his seat—'I was not aware of so early and delicate a connection between yourself and Mrs. Pigeon.

We were to have been married, yes, I may say, the wedding-ring was over the first joint of her finger.'

“And pray, sir,' asked Pigeon, with a face of crimson,

'pray, sir, what accident may have drawn the ring off again ?

"You see, sir,' said George Tomata, arranging his hair by an opposite mirror,' my prospects lay in India-in India, sir. Now Lotty

Who, sir ? exclaimed Pigeon, wrathfully.

"• Charlotte,' answered Tomata. “I used to call her Lotty, and she-he! he !-she used to call me. Love-apple.' You may judge how far we were both gone. For when a woman begins to play tricks with a man's name you may be sure she begins to look upon it as her future property.'

6. You are always right, sir, no doubt, observed Pigeon, .but you were about to state the particular hindrance to your marriage with '-

"To be sure, Lotty-as I was going to observe, was a nice little sugar-plum, a very nice little sugar-plum-as you will doubtless allow.'

“It was with much difficulty that Pigeon possessed himself of sufficient coolness to admit the familiar truth of the simile; he however admitted the wife of his bosom to be a nice little sugar-plum.

" Very nice indeed, but I saw it-I felt convinced of it, and the truth went like twenty daggers to my soul-but I discovered

“Good heavens,' exclaimed Pigeon, discovered what p'

" That her complexion,' replied Tomata, 'beautiful as it was would not stand Trincomalee.'

. And was that your sole objection to the match ? inquired Pigeon solemnly.

“I give you my honour as a gentleman that I had no other motive for breaking off the marriage. Sir, I should have despised myself, if I had; for, as I observed, we were both gone-very far gone indeed.'

“No doubt, sir,' answered Pigeon, burning to avow himself. But as a friend of Mr. Pigeon, allow me to assure you that the lady was not found too far gone to admit of a perfect recovery.'

“I'm glad of it; hope it is so. By the way what sort of a fellow is Pigeon ? Had I been in London-I only came up yesterday-I should have looked into the match before it took place. Lotty could expect no less uf me. What kind of an animal is this Pigeon ?

“.Kind of an animal, sir ? stammered Pigeon. Why, sir, he-w'

-6. Ha! that will do,' said the abrupt Tomata, 'as you're his friend I'll not press you on that point. Poor Lottysacrificed I see !'

The Genteel Pigeons.

215

After more amusing dialogue he throws his card on the table and says he shall call, adding,

“If Pigeon makes my Lotty a good husband, I'll take him by the band ; if, however, I find him no gentlemanfind that he shall use the girl of my heart with barshness, or even with the least unkindness

“Well, sir!'--Pigeon thrusting his hands into his pockets swaggered to Tomata-—'what will you do then,

sir p

" Then, sir. I shall again think the happiness of the lady placed in my hands and thrash bim-thrasb him

severely.'"

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