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and death, croaking out dismal tidings, and hovering over corpses. She seemed only happy when surrounded by wretchedness, and her undertaker-like mind appeared to live upon death. When she could not treat herself with a dissolution, she would look about her for a broken leg, a bankruptcy, a family where there was a dishonoured daughter, a runaway Bon, or any calamity she could by good fortune dis
“O my dear friend," she exclaimed to Mrs. Pitman, a short time before her death, “I am so delighted to see you, (here a groan)-you know my regard for you, (another groan)-seeing your bedroom shutters closed, I took it for granted it was all over with you, so I came in just to close your eyes and lay out your body. Delighted to find you alive, (groan the third) - let us be of good cheer, perhaps. you may yet linger out a week longer, though it would be a great release if it would please God to take you. (Groan the fourth.)-And yet I fear you are sadly prepared for the next world. (Groan the fifth and longest.)-You know my regard for you. The Lord be good unto us! Hark! is that the death-watch ? I certainly heard a ticking."
This consolatory personage was all alive the moment she heard of Mrs. Pitman's death, which occurred shortly after; and she was obviously in her proper element, when superintending the closing of window-shutters, and all the minute arrangements usually adopted upon such mournful occasions. At her own particular request, she was indulged with the privilege of sitting up with the body the first
night, and would not even resign her station on the second day, which was the time appointed for the reading of the will. Frank Millington had been sent for express to attend this melancholy ceremony. Mr. Swipes and Mr. Currie were of course present in deep mourning, with visages to match, and each with a white pocket-handkerchief to hide the tears which he feared he would be unable to shed. Mr. Drawl, the attorney, held the portentous document in his hand, bristling with seals; and two or three friends were requested to attend as witnesses. The slow and precise man of law, who shared none of his auditors' impatience, was five minutes in picking the locks of the seals, as many more in arranging his spectacles, and, having deliberately blown his nose, through which he always talked, (as if to clear the way,) he at length began his lecture. As the will, at the old lady's particular request, had been made as short and simple as posble, he had succeeded in squeezing it into six large skins of parchment, which we shall take the liberty of crushing into as many lines. After a few unimportant legacies to servants and others, it stated that the whole residue of her property, personal and real, consisting of
[here a formidable schedule of houses, farms, messuages, tenements, buildings, appurtenances, stocks, bonds, monies, and possessions, occupying twenty minutes in the recital,]---was bequeathed to her dear cousins, Samuel Swipes of the Pond-street Brewery, and Christopher Currie of the Market-place, Saddler.
Here Mr. Draw] laid down his parchment, drew
breath, blew his nose, and began to wipe his spectacles, in which space of time Mr. Swipes was delivered of a palpable and incontestable snivel, in the getting up whereof he was mainly assisted by a previous cold; and endeavouring to enact a sob, which however sounded more like gargling his throat, he ejaculated—“ Generous creature ! worthy woman! kind soul !”
Mr. Currie, who thought it safer to be silently overcome by his feelings, buried his face in his handkerchief, whence he finally emerged with indisputably red and watery eyes, though it was upon record, that he had been noticed that morning grubbing about the onion-bed in his own garden, and had been seen to stoop down and pick something up. They were both with an ill-concealed triumph beginning to express to Frank their regret that he had not been named, and to inform him that they could dispense with his farther attendance, when Mr. Drawl, with his calm nasal twang, cried out—“Pray, gentlemen, keep your seats I have not quite done yet,”—and, resuming the parchment and his posture, thus proceeded—“Let me see-where was I ?-Ay, Samuel Swipes of Pondstreet Brewery, and Christopher Currie of the Marketplace, Saddler, "-—and then raising his voice, to adapt it to the large German text words that came next, he sang out_“IN TRUST for the sole and exclusive use and benefit of my dear nephew Frank Millington, when he shall have attained the age of twenty-five years, by which time I hope he will have so far reformed his evil habits, as that he may be safely
intrusted with the large fortune which I hereby bequeath to him.”
“ What's all this?” exclaimed Mr. Swipes“ you don't mean that we're humbugged ?-In trust ? how does that appear ? - where is it?"-Mr. Drawl depositing his spectacles, looking up at the ceiling, and' scratching the underneath part of his chin, pointed to the two fatal words, which towered conspicuously above the multitude of their companions, and the brewer's nether jaw gradually fell down till it crumpled and crushed the frill of his shirt. Mr. Currie, with a pale face and goggle-eyes, stood staring at his co-trustee, not exactly understanding what it all meant, though he saw by his countenance that there was some sudden extinction of their hopes. As the will was dated several years back, Frank only wanted three weeks of the stipulated period of possession, and as he hastily revolved in his mind all the annoyances he had occasioned his aunt, and the kind generosity with which she had treated him, his eyes remained fixed upon the carpet, and the tears fell fast upon the backs of his crossed hands.
MISS HEBE HOGGINS'S ACCOUNT OF A LITERARY
SOCIETY IN HOUNDSDITCH.
Sır, -You will please to consider the red ink in which the commencement of this letter is indited, as emblematic of my blushes when I make the confession that my father is a cooper in Houndsditch ; not that there is any thing degrading in the profession, for we have poets who have started into celebrity from the inferior stations of cowherds, ploughmen, and shoemakers - but, alas ! my poor father is not likely to achieve greatness, still less to have it thrust upon him, for he understands nothing whatever but his business. Determined that his own defect of education should not be entailed upon his daughter, he sent me to a genteel boarding school at Kensington, where my associates, in the petulancy of youthful pride, présently assailed me with every species of ridicule on account of my parent's vulgar occupation. One christened him Diogenes, and with an air of mock-gravity inquired after his tub; another told me I resembled him, inasmuch as I carried a hogshead upon my shoulders, (which was a gross libel upon my physiognomy); a third, quoting Addison, exclaimed,
Why does he load with darts