Page images
PDF
EPUB

peeps into

by hawking them about at a penny each. The Lounger scans every pretty face, every pretty ancle, he meets ; stops at every print-shop, even if it is constructed in an umbrella ; and

every crowd. He has no employment but that of killing time, and is not deficient in knowledge, albeit 't is more varied than profound, for he has acquired some information from the stall of every wonder-hawker-some fact from the "external-paper-hanging stations” of the "Great Metropolis," which, though but little regarded at the present moment, Mr. Grant will doubtless one day present some "Rambling Recollections” of to the British Public.

The Loiterer must not be confounded with the Lounger, for he is a different species of the same genus, invariably on the look-out for a friend, having always unfortunately left his purse at home. His salutation begins with "Delighted to meet you, my dear fellow, lend me a sovereign-demn'd awkward—come out without any tin.” His last words are, “Well, good bye, I 'm going! I'm going!” which, unless you open your purse-strings, he repeats

feel inclined to turn auctioneer and knock him down. The man who considers the future, looks upward; he who reflects on the past, looks down. He that looks before him is occupied with the present; he who gazes carelessly

until you

[ocr errors]
[graphic][ocr errors]

from right to left, thinks of nothing ; but it is more than probable that he who frequently looks behind him fears his creditors.

The Proud Man walks with head erect, body stiff as buckram, and half-closed, winking eyes, as though he was above noticing those he meets. The opinion he entertains of himself is easily guessed by the self-satisfaction with which he ensconces his thumb in the arm-hole of his waistcoat, extending his digits in the directions of the cardinal points.

The Simpleton walks fast, and swings his arms to and fro like pendulums. His hat is placed back

upon his head, that all the world may see the small os frontis that holds his little brains. His eyes carry a vacant stare, and his widely-opened mouth presents an inexhaustible stock of “ broad grins.”

He who has an appointment with his lady-love, walks very fast (as he should do), and does not slacken his pace to peep under a single bonnet. Upon his return, however, he reviews them all in succession, and with a scrutiny that would do honour to an inspector-general.

The man who lounges about alone and talks aloud of himself to himself, is, in his own mind, perfectly satisfied with himself.

The well-bred man who indulges in a cigar as companion of his promenade, removes the dusky Yarico to a respectful distance when he passes closely by a lady, but the vulgar man invariably puffs his smoke into her face. When the former is in her company, he asks if the Havannah be offensive to her, or casts it at once aside ; but the latter presumes she stand fire."

The man who quietly wends his way, reflects, meditates, or calculates. He who is absorbed by a speculative project, walks quickly; and he whose imagination is enthusiastic of success in trade or love (they so often go together), runs, rather than walks.

The man who trots mincingly along, with his countenance inclined forward, twinkling his eyes and jogging his shoulders, is generally a babbler, captious and boastful.

can

[graphic]

The studiously-dressed man, who smooths his beaver with his palms and dusts his boots with his bandanna, is punctilious in most things to a trifle.

He who wears a profusion of gold chains, arranged in every possible festoon, who displays his brooches, rings, and gewgaws, is a sharper, a quack dentist, a sheriff's-officer, a jew discounter, a self-constituted count, or else a man who has suddenly acquired a fortune, and wishes all the world to perceive it and his want of taste at the same time.

A STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION.

HE elasticity of the human mind is extraordi-
nary. Where does that faculty reside ?

In
what part of the wonderful mechanism of the

body? In the brain ? No; for many men have lost a portion of that substance, and still retained the reasoning power undiminished. Some men are said to possess none at all ; and in worldly affairs these hollow-headed mortals are usually the most fortunate. It is our decided opinion that it pervades the whole frame, developing itself more prominently in those parts which are exercised the most frequently.

The wine-drinker has it in his palate; the gourmand in his stomach; the dancing-master in his toes ; the musician in his ear; the artist in his eyes and fingers ; the pugilist in his knuckles; the pickpocket in his palms; the indolent man of thought, who thinks away his time in inaction, in his head; and lastly, the maccaronis, the exquisites, the dandies, et hoc genus omne, have their minds in their externals—united and yet separated, like a fashionable couple moving in the same circle, but, in reality, living apart in the same house.

In the name of India-rubber! if the mind be really so widely diffused and generally useful, why may not the body occasionally exhibit the elastic proportions of the mind ?

Macintosh has worked wonders with his India-rubber. The Society of Friends particularly recommend the wear of his waterproof garments to all the members ; for in many of them the spirit has been latterly very much diluted, and a wet Quaker is a sore disgrace to the Society.

Wonderful are the properties of India-rubber, and innumerable are its uses. We have air-proof beds, and air-proof cushions for our chairs; is it not probable that we may soon have bomb-proof bastions, the emblems of passive resistance ?

Thus musing on the elasticity of mind and body, on India-rubber and intellect, we felt a gradually growing inclination to sleep-and slept;—and lo! like the renowned Giles Scroggins, we dreamed a dream !

We thought we were suddenly summoned from our couch—and yet, with all the ridiculous confusion and mystification of dreams, we were dressed—and rushing from our chamber, we found ourself on a spacious landing, adorned on either side with figures holding sinumbra lamps, marble columns and looking-glasses ; everything, in fact, around and about, was in the purest style of classic elegance, but not at all similar to the severe attic style of the apartments we tenanted : at the same time we felt no vulgar surprise or admiration at what we beheld; on the contrary, we inwardly experienced a sort of consciousness of the propriety and fitness of things, and the equality of the man to the place. All these feelings passed like a summer breeze over the ruffled bosom of a duck-pond. In an instant we approached a spacious marble staircase, and began descending with the heedless velocity of a cataract, dashing from stair to stair ; when, strange to relate, just as we were within twenty steps of the hall, we slipped, our right arm got entangled in the balustrades, and we fell

To our

[merged small][ocr errors]

an

headlong on to the tesselated pavement below. surprise we bounded up, unbroken wind and limb, as fresh as another Antæus from his mother earth. Our right hand and wrist were still twisted in the balustrade above, while our arm was stretched to an immeasurable length; we gave a mighty tug at our imprisoned limb-it gave way—and snap! contracting with rapidity and force, our clenched fist came in contact with our head and knocked us down!

Unbruised, we again arose, and then it was the thought occurred to us—nay, the conviction—that we were India-rubber Man! This conviction was followed by transports inconceivable!

We knew at once, by a sort of intuition, that the manager of one of the Royal Theatres had waited upon us to solicit our splendid talents for his boards! The man was polite and respectful, and we were in high spirits; we acceded at once to his proposals, and our salary was enormous (according to our dreamy calculations), two-pencehalfpenny per week, and one pot of half-and-half per night, besides a clear benefit after the season had closed !

Heigh! presto! we were on the stage; the dark green curtain was withdrawn, and the clamorous cry for Indiarubber was immense. We leaped forward, turned half a dozen somersets, and came cleverly on our toes within an inch of the foot-lights.

The men in the red smalls and green coats brought on a couple of chairs, when we immediately stripped to our shirt, and putting on a night cap, laid our neck on the back of one chair and our legs on another, balanced a book on our

throwing our heels in the air, place our elbows on the pages and our head on our palms.

The next position we assumed was sitting on the neck of a quart bottle ; intended specially for a sitting to the artist, who entered with his portefeuille under his arm to solicit our patronage

for a portrait. During the progress of the sketch, the artist fumbled for his India-rubber, when we promptly lent him our toe! A footboy next presented himself and a note of invitation to a wedding : throwing ourself upon our left hand, and our legs perpendicularly in the air, we received the sweet-scented missive with our right.

The next turn we took was to throw ourself upon our elbows and erect our legs, to exemplify the last kick, as an appro

Has

nose, a candlestick on our chest, and fixing the snuffers and extinguisher upon our legs, informed the house that that was the ordinary way in which we read ourself to sleep.

The expressions of applause from an enlightened audience were immense.

priate position to receive an invitation to the funeral of a miserly uncle, who had been labouring as a cobbler during

his lifetime-a sort of humble curer of solesand towards whose “old shoes" we had long cast a wistful look, and he had at length made his will, as he waxed towards his end, breathed his last, and left us his all!

We next seized a skippingrope, and a leading journal,

and read it as young ladies do a fashionable novel, -skipping over the pages ; a process which the dear creatures call skimming the cream : a pretty fiction, truly, the majority of these productions being mere milk and water !

With the agility of an ape, we next mounted the perch of a cockatoo. The applause was deafering, and the audience appeared as much gratified as if we had appeared before them like Don Juan, a-top of a dolphin, instead of a perch. A tall pole, or mát de Cocagne, being

erected, we greased our own poll,
and mounted, and, standing on
the summit, with our heels in
the air, we ordered dinner at
so much per head, when a table
with wine and fruit was hoisted
in a groove, and we commenced
dining, to the infinite delight of
the gods. The manager, how-
ever, had provided most vil-
lanous wine, and it was actually

the reverse of a good entertainment—the vinous potation turned our stomach, and of course our feet resumed their natural position, and the bottle and glasses were all cut.

We concluded our positions -or impositions-by stripping, and going through the ceremony of dressing for the theatre — poised all the while upon our caput, in which

position one of the Galleryans hit us upon the os nasi with a

golden pippin, which, bounding from our elastic nostrils, hit

Nosey,' the leader, in the right eye, which caused a sudden stoppage in his playing. The manager

rushed on, and called angrily upon an officer to take the cowardly assailant into custody.

We, feeling no injury, and wishing to curry favour with a discerning public, rushed (like a cat) to the lights, and magna

nimously exclaimed “Naked and defenceless we were attacked, but we have re-dressed ourself and are satisfied ; and morally certain are we, that the gentleman who propelled that individual pippin at our inverted sconce, merely intended it as a compliment; that, like himself, we had made a 'hit,' and we therefore receive it as the fruit of our exertions, and, as unbought praise, dear as the apple of our eye;"-and, dropping our hands on our toes, made a bow; and giving the manager the approved customary pantomimic kick which sent him off precipitately at O.P., we turned a wheel and went off amid the shouts and plaudits of the whole house. Such a thundering confusion of applause, mixed with calls for “India-rubber," was never heard within the walls; it was truly an India-rubber bawl !

The manager was delighted, and presented us with our two-pence-halfpenny in a cotton velvet purse: in ecstasy we counted out the earnings; but as it touched our itching palm the coppers felt like ice, and thrilling through our vitals we awoke, and discovered that our right paw had slipped into a mug of cold toast and water, which we incontinently and convulsively capsized and smashed. Our landlady scolded, nor would the sorrowful mug we presented her on the occasion pacify or compensate her.

She gave us notice to quit, and in despair (tenanting a back room-rent in arrear) we rushed to a neighbouring hostelry (the Blue Last), and imbibed three-pennyworths of rum and water until we were wound up; when, reeling homewards, we mistook a gutter for a press bedstead, and were kindly conveyed on a stretcher to the station, where we are now-lying!

[graphic]
[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »