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hit,” said I. The doctor laughed, and with the sentimental dram. What suggested that Clara should make a col- you call making it soft may be maklection of magical passages from our ing it weak-may be forcing out from modern novelists, and insert them it in tears what it ought to spend in into his sermons, for he believed a action. Let us keep up the true battery of half - a - dozen of them wholesome vigour of the heart and would knock a ten-pound note out understanding. Sir Walter Scott was of a flint-stone. “But will they the true man for that work. There dovetail ?” replied Clara. “ If you is bone and sinew in his human creajoin them, my darling, they will,” tures, and pretty handsome filesh and quoth he.
"I give you warning,” blood too. "I don't like your too much she replied, "that, in the household anatomising of human character, and phrase, they will be the plums in the stripping it bare, as some of our talepudding-and if they be picked out, tellers do, to the lower ribs; for that as you may be sure they will pick is not nature which is but its possible them out, don't you think the suet detail. Nature beautifully covers will be the less palatable ? and, to be every anatomy. Let the novelist be serious now, surely the novelists of the historian, but the pleasant histoour day are doing some good. They rian, of mankind as they are. What are working a field which you di- mankind should be, is out of the vines perhaps can't work I suppose world of their art; because out of, so you can't, for I see you don't-and far as it is above, unassisted nature. therefore it is well that they should ; No, my dear Clara, the divine must and yet it is not clear to me that you not be the novelist, nor advertise might not illustrate doctrines by a new nostrums to cure the heart. He little narrative, now and then-and so must apply the old medicinal virtues excite more real love, more tender- intrusted to his keeping, and direct ness and charity, and move, if you to the One Physician." Our evening please, through fears, but through was passed in discourse of this kind, better, less selfish feelings, first. I interchanging playfulness and sewould not say it of you, good doctor, riousness, and both doing their office; but I have both read and heard ser- and I did not that night enter mons, the tendency of which was un- upon the consultation I intended. bounded selfishness. It has been well The following day, at our breaksaid that large classes of religionists fast-table, I told my story, — my have religion enough to make them proposed visit to Meanwell, and its hate, and not to make them love. object. The doctor was much tickled Now, my favourite writers do aid with the idea of my becoming a memyou, and work upon the human heart, ber of the Peace Society, and declared and soften it, and make it ashamed my mission, in his opinion, would be of its selfishness. They humanise, very like theirs, and do a world of sow the seeds of gentleness, which mischief, quoted the “malé-sarta amimay peradventure come up in even citia," and wondered at my yielding unpromising soils; but there is in to my friend Meanwell's amiable nonthis wide world many a soil fit for the sense. He loved a paradox now and seed, which only waits the sowing. then, especially when he could hit by I wish they would more conspicuously it what he termed the conceit of make Christian principles the motives amiability; and so, at the instant, he of action ; but I will not deny that volubly broke forth on the benefits of they are making some preparation for quarrelling. He thought society could their reception." "I do not know," scarcely be kept whole, sweet, and said the doctor; “I doubt if such in- pleasant without it. “ Without positermeddling would not be dangerous. tive quarrel,” said he, "there must I fear fiction on that ground, and be hypocrisy. The very word society some religious novels (for the attempt meant a collection of agreements, a has been made) I look upon as warn- separation from disagreements. To ings not to trespass on that ground; be continually rubbing against those nor am I quite sure of that tampering whom you dislike, and who dislike with the human heart, by sending it you, is to live under the veriest tyto bed every night half intoxicated ranny of false philanthropy. O the
“happy family' system, where each even friendly terms. Then, said I, one longs to fly at his neighbour, and, you must have a great number of very not daring to follow his instincts, disagreeable acquaintances !” The sulks in sleepy sadness! The natu- doctor would have gone on in this ral belligerents are better apart; don't strain at great length, as was his try to mix oil and vinegar.” “ Or- wont, nor would his loving spouse thodoxy and heterodoxy,” said I have interrupted him on any account, " then, in your professional view, for she greatly enjoyed these refreshmost go to the Union Register Office ing, revivifying splenetics ; but the if they would be wedded ; you will not thread that he was drawing out of his join their hands.” “No, indeed,” he temporary philosophy was suddenly replied ; " and if I did, who in the snapt by a new arrival. Who should world could join their hearts ? Now, this be but his clever son Alfred, who I will tell you what an old college had just taken his degree of B.A. friend of mine did, and I often thought at Oxford, and returned home, and how wise he was. He was the most brought his friend Ralph Rhymer with peace-loving man I ever knew; he him. was one literally, as he protested, to In the evening my subject was rei love peace and ensue it.' He came newed, and the question discussed, into the unexpected inheritance of a how we should proceed to insure sucsmall estate, with a comfortable house cess? How occupy the thoughts of upon it, in Devonshire.
He quitted all to prevent any possible reference college to take possession, but before to disputes, and to give them no time doing so made inquiry into the cha to be visibly offensive with each other? racters of his neighbours that were to Alfred asked if the old gentleman had be. He learnt that there was one a billiard-table in the house? domineering, disagreeable gentleman, billiard-table!” replied his mother;“I who bullied the farmers, and made believe he has ; but by all means get bimself important in the parish. In the key of the billiard-room, or cover his way to his property he spent a day the table with funereal black. Don't or two with me, and said, as I was you know the atrabilious Major Grimparting with him, that he had made up law and his frightened little wife behis mind to take the very first oppor- long to some sect who call themselves tunity of quarrelling with that man ; • Professors of Piety.' The major in fact, so to quarrel, as to cut him would, at the sight, first groan, and most decidedly; then, you know,' then mount a chair and denounce venhe added, 'we shall have no inter geance on all game-players." “ Then course, and I shall live comfortably. ofcourse," said Alfred's Oxonian friend, The alternative presents such a series “ cards won't do." “ Cards, indeed ! of petty disputes, affronts, and hypo- you know whose play things they are crisies, as would make my country thought to be ; and as to the knave of life not endurable.' Well, he did it, Spades, he is—they look upon his preand so did it as to give his would sence as awful. The yellow on his coat have been antagonistic acquaintance is in their eyes veritable brimstone." the opinion that he was a most fero. “Well, then,” said I, “what of tablecious man, with whom it was best not turning ?—that must keep them either to meddle. They lived peaceably, quiet, or twirling about in wonderment because they were not on speaking all the evening?" "Worse and worse," terms. He was in reality as wise as said Mrs Allright; “that is forbidden he was amiable. My good friend, us under the ban of the Church.” “Of don't go; if you do, the best you can the Church!" vociferated the doctorhope to achieve is, to make your poor
6 the Church-I wish the Church simple friend happily deluded, and all would turn the tables on the crazy the others ten times worse enemies ones who talk and publish suchi nonthan they were before. A neighbour sense. The silly fellows believe of mine was boasting the other day the table's legs are spirits, and charithat he had lived much in the world, tably ask them which of their neighand was thankful that he had never bours, lately deceased, are undergoing known a man with whom he would eternal punishments ? I do wish the not be willing to be on speaking, and fools were suppressed. I verily believe
they would be disappointed, if the you have only to interpose him, and spirits in the legs told them any good he will grin the offender out of his or news of those inquired after."
Oh her senses. “Go on, go on, my dear the inconsistency of the foolish ones! Clara, show your talents for portraitThey are rampant against the idols painting; (then turning to me), of the East and the West as " wood " won't you have a rare collection ? and stone,” and yet believe that a Now, Clara, fill the stage; let us have drunken carpenter can make a god, all the dramatis persona.' • To enact or something like one in knowledge. myfarce of Conciliation,”said I.“Well,
“Well," said I, “ who come next then," continued Mrs Allright, “ we of this awkward squad of reconcil. have but one or two more. There will ables or irreconcilables ?” “Why," be the still good-looking, rather boldreplied Mrs Allright, “ you will have faced cousin, who married the man the widow, a withered, wizened, sim- who never goes out;-they say, by the pering creature, whose body has been by, he is a sensible man and a shrewd daily shrinking these twenty years, as lawyer. Over - wifed, perhaps, he if frightened from the shadow of a doesn't like being trotted out before slender mind, of which it could discern company. Mrs Bramble will be sure nor shape nor colour. She never had to come alone. You will see her an opinion in her life, but has lived enter the room with semi-bounce ; upon inanities made up of patches of she will give the door a push if it other people's opinions ; for she is a isn't wide open. As soon as seated, great questioner. From sheer insig- she will stare with her extraordinary nificance, she rather embroils the dif- eyes, round as bullets, and as preferences of the general cousinship. pared for doing damage; and as they For as none think her important circumnavigate the company, upon enough for caution, she picks up de- discovery, she will mete out with pracfamatory scraps of conversation, and, tised nicety and variety her superciwithout the least intention of doing lious recognitions. She is really a kindharm, lets them escape very malapro- hearted woman, but has a positive pos. She has a great booby son about genius for mischief-she cannot resist nineteen, who unites his father's un its instincts, and her other natural gainly bulk with the mother's small- gifts favour it. I shouldn't call her ness; so that he is a contrast of con proud-no, hers is not pride, but a tradictory parts in his misshapen per kind of indignant conceit, defiant, and son—a great goose, and has some very self-intruding. She will go a great how contracted a distorted, ludicrous way to do a kindness, but ten to one liveliness. He never meets you with she will pack up a little insult with it. How-do-ye-do, but there must be a Her tact for mischief always sets her pun attached to it; and he looks as if upon putting leading questions, which, he would thrust his rat eyes into your though very impertinent, and pnt with face with it." “ He seems to bave a
a peculiar andacity, are hard to swerve collection of these puns (and where from without attracting a worse obor how he gets even them is a servation as to a shying horse. They puzzle), stowed away in his joulter are like sharpshooters in a wood-take jaws, which he instantly shoots out aim, and hit unawares. She lives upon you,” added the doctor, “as upon excitement; she inhales it, and I have seen a baboon do, pelting exbales it; her voice is toned by it, the company with his cheek-pre- if the high pitch be a tone. She plays served quids, after he had learnt the off her argumentative from the falsetto tobacco accomplishment.” “What hollow whisper to the high-wind of mother," continued the doctor's wife, the organ sesquialtero : she is most “is not fond of her son ? The poor imaginative in her quarrels, and has woman will tell you twenty times always one or two great epics of the in a week, that she has had seven, kind on hand, which she builds up but that this is the only one that very ingeniously with plot and councame to perfection. She will be sure ter-plot; and if any of her acquaintto bring this goose of a son-and he ance cannot be brought into the prinmay do you service ; for if you find cipal piece, she will contrive to emany one touching dangerous ground, broil them in episodes ; and when she
has brought all within the magic circle daughter of a lieutenant, who died of uncomfortableness, she will sit the when she was quite young. She beonly happy one, like Madame Tussaud longs to the contemned class of Old in the middle of her chamber of hor- Maids, a class I love and respect gerors, glorying in the completeness of nerally, and in which I have known her work. With her, mischief is a some of the best creatures in the world. business, a profession, never lackingShe will be a great acquisition ; I materials, for she can make anything, know she will be there, for she intiout of nothing. Perfect mistress of all mated to me that some such scheme the elements of discord, she will gather was on foot. You could not have a them everywhere, and throw them better ally. She will keep her cousin into her cauldron of confusion, stir Bramble in order, if any one can; for them well, and pertinaciously offer that lady has a little fear of her plain the broth to all bystanders -- and truth-speaking ways, as I will show those who won't taste it have a chance you. I was one in a party in the of being bespattered with it. Now, spring of last year, where Mrs Bramyou will easily believe that she has ble and Sophy were present. The had more than a little to do with these cousins had not often met before. Mrs family entanglements, and see that Bramble was in one of her fine airsyour great difficulty will be to manage comparing other people's ways with her. Your next chance will be in her own, and swaggering a little bepaying her decided and deferential fore the old maid, and taking great attention, use as much flattery as your importance to herself as a wife and conscience will allow, and engage her a mother;' all which was quite lost in some pretended plot, which, if you upon Sophy Single. But genius was are not scrupulous, you must manu paramount, and the nettle of mischief facture out of nothing but your own must be offered to the touch : to wits, and persuade her that circumspec- effect which, she adroitly turned the tion, caution, and her silence, above talk upon attachments, courtships, all things, are necessary to bring it to a fortunate and unfortunate, till she successful end." “ Capital, my dear came to offers of marriage ; and, lookClara. You must positively write a ing hard at Sophy, said, she never new play with an old title, . Plot and knew a woman, unless she was unno Plot.'" " Or a new, “Not so bad commonly ugly, or uncommonly disas we seem,'” replied the wife, “and agreeable, who had not had offers of make one Doctor Allright the princi- marriage. Good-natured Sophy saw pal character. There is now but one the mortification intended for her, but more,” she continued, addressing me: only in a ridiculous light. She then " I always like to end with the best, took it up, looking very pleasantly Sophy Single, a great favourite here— full in her cousin Bramble's face. 'I And wherever she is known,” cried know, cousin, very well what
you the doctor. “ She is always agree mean; but, in point of fact, you are able, ready to give and receive plea- decidedly wrong: for example, alsure; sensible-very; ever ready, with though I am plain enough, and may a good-natured sharpness, to defend be commonly ugly, I am not so uncomherself, other people, or opinions, and monly—and if disagreeable now and has an easy way of turning off a sub- then, never uncommonly disagreeable; ject, and avoiding offence. She won't and yet I declare as a truth, I never let any one quarrel with anybody if had an offer in my life;' and here, she can help it. She appears ever after a momentary pause, she changed just what she is, and loves truth above her voice into the pitiable slow patheall things. She is rather straitened tic, that not a word should be lost, in circumstances, and, they say, has and added, “Besides, now think, my declined receiving any addition to her judicious coz, how it may all be for income from her nearest relative, the best ; for how do I know but that Meanwell; but I am sure she doesn't I might have followed the many evil scruple to make demands upon his examples of wives, and sworn to purse for other people, for she is un "love, cherish, and obey," and, far from tiring in doing kindnesses, but always doing any one of them, have not even with judgment. She is the only made my husband my companion ?
And how shocking to have heard all as to let the legitimate farce dwindle about “the meek and quiet spirit," and down to putting dressed-up twohow we should all behave ourselves, legged riddles, and to have these "even as Sarah obeyed Abraham," and inane innocencies banish the good then, after all, not to have a notion wholesome real stage-play. No, no! of meekness or obedience.' Then, let the legitimate player strut his with a changed tone of marked gaiety, hour, and get his pay and live.” The turning to us who had gathered near Oxonian friend begged to say that he her, she said, “But if my cousin thought Dr Allright had made a very Bramble is writing any pretty little good suggestion unawares. He had novel, and wishes to establish a called acting charades“ dressed-up maxim or a theory against fact, she two-legged riddles ;” now he thought is heartily welcome to my name as that real riddles would be the very example, and to fasten any fiction thing. “ Not bad, » muttered the upon it that will best suit her pur- doctor. “ Capital idea," said Alfred pose. It was quite beautiful to see Allright, “ and Rhymer is the very the pleasant way in which she caused man to make them.” Mrs Allright the subject to glide away, and another smiled at the suggestion, thought to succeed it, leaving no room for awhile, and decided in favour of ridoffence to be taken. Mrs Bramble dles. 6. There must be a moderator," will be quieter if placed near Sophy; said I;" he must allow no one to speak so you look to that. And now you above a minute. That all may be know your company. How will you set a-thinking, nothing can be better. contrive amusements to please all, or Meanwell shall offer prizes. He has at least to keep all safe within your closets full of plate which he never magic circle-Reconciliation ?" uses or sees—a few cups, tea-pots,
" Amusements! Let them amuse and coffee-pots will be no loss to him themselves according to their instincts, - yes, he will be glad to get rid of like the 'Happy Family' let loose to them; they who find out the greater do their pleasure. At any rate, they number shall have tirst choice, and so will amuse the company," said the on. It will be a kind of lottery, in doctor, “or treat them as children, as which wits will stand for money ; they are, and put 'em to play · Blind every one will have an object. Silver mau's buff,' or · Hunt the slipper,' or at and china, and some little jewellery, guessing, or ' I love my love with an may be the lottery capital, and it is A,' and go through the alphabet, or hard if we cannot contrive that every cross questions and crooked answers, one may have something. True, most or"_" Hold, hold !” said the wife, in the end will be disappointed; but no
you make me laugh at the ridicu- matter, the meeting will then be over, lousness of your jesting suggestions and our friend Meanwell at least Consider what your cross questions pleased. Sophy, we know well, though and crooked answers would lead to the blanks fall to her, and let us chariwhere clever Mrs Bramble would have tably hope one or two more, will be the making or putting them together. in good humour. It is fixed Ralph And your · love my love with an A or Rhymer shall draw up a prospectus, to B, and so on,'—there would be the be read at the opening; and let us be stupid frightened major's wife, dread- a committee of riddlers, and let us fully at a loss; and Mrs. B. would be see what we can do—we have no sure to suggest, in a loud whisper- bad time before us, if we are industake now the letter M—I love my trious.” love with an M because he is mine; I Rbymer assented—and we separhate him because he is morose; I took ated, each one to spin the brain-threads him to the sign of the Mumps, and of his wits into a to-be-admired pertreated him to miseries.' Now, dear plexity and complexity, leaving one doctor, do be serious ; think of some- master-thread to be the sure guide thing practicable—what say you to through all the labyrinths of ingenious acting charades ?" " The stupidest thought. of things," replied the doctor; “I The next morning the Oxonian apnever could abide them. Don't let us peared with his Exordium, which was encourage such mockery of the stage, read in conclave immediately after