Page images
PDF
EPUB

said Mr. Butler. “I have met with twenty people who could talk Zeno, but here is a man who continually acts him. You should have seen the moral majesty with which he received the blow of the drayman. A common man would have stript and fought.”

Especially of his size,” observed Mrs. Black, upon whom the full figure of Adam had had its weight.

" And then to be soaked through his shirt, and think of it no more than if he had been sprinkled with lavender !"

“ He must have excellent health--yes, he must be very strong," said Mrs. Black.

. And when bitten by a filthy beast of a dog" — continued Mr. Butler

“ I have given it away,” interrupted Mrs. Black.

“ To think of it no more than the prick of a pin. Nineteen men out of twenty would have gone mad with the mere apprehension of madness. Mr. Buff finished his two bottles with the equanimity of a saint.”

" And then his politeness," urged Mrs. Black. “ To refuse to show his wound out of respect to

my feelings !”

“ There never was such magnanimity,” said Mr. Butler.

" Or such sentiment,” added Mrs. Black.

“ Well then, Betsy, do you not think Mr. Buff of all men the very man to direct and ennoble the disposition of my nephew? Do you not think him the very man for your son ?”

Mrs. Black had a still higher opinion of Adam Buff; she thought him the very man for herself; and it was only three months after the introduction of Buff into the house as philosophic tutor of the little boy, that he became the lawful guide and instructor of his pupil's mother. About a fortnight after the ceremony, Mr. Butler died quite unexpectedly.

(Does not the fate of Adam Buff prove that he who is loved by fortune may take no care for a shirt?)

We regret to add, that the conduct of the prosperous Adam tended to strengthen what we believe to be the fallacy of ill-nature; namely, that men often flourish from the very want of those merits, for which they are accidentally rewarded.

Adam Buff had not been married six weeks, ere he had been held to bail for beating, with very little provocation, two watchmen and a coalheaver. He had discharged the favourite servant of his wife, for having accidentally sprinkled him with about a spoonful of clean water;—and had ordered the Persian cat to be drowned, for that in pure playfulness, it had struck its talons through his silk

stocking, immediately stript from the leg for the eye of the family doctor. And then what a life did he lead the laundress !_“I have washed for many, many particular people,” said the poor woman with tears in her

eyes, “ but never-never in all my life did I meet with a gentleman so particular in his shirts as Mr. Buff!"

32

JOB PIPPINS:

THE MAN WHO “ COULDN'T HELP IT."

CHAPTER I.

Put away temptation from the heart, eyes, ears, and fingers of Job Pippins, and behold in him a model of self-government. Born an Esquimaux, we can answer for him, he had never yearned for grape-juice—blind, carnal beauty had never betrayed him-deaf, he had given no ear to bland seductions-rich as a nabob, we are convinced he had never wished to pick a pocket. Superficial thinkers may call this negative goodness. Very well. Will they, at the same time, tell us how much character in this world of contradiction is made up of mere negatives? Consult those everlasting lights, the daily and weekly newspapers. Are not certain bipeds therein immortalized for not going upon all fours ? Timbrels sounded before

decent ladies and gentlemen, for that they are neither ogresses nor ogres? A duke runs into a farm-house from a pelting shower; warming his toes at the hearth, he-yes—he “ talks familiarly” with his rural host! At this the historian flourishes his pen in a convulsion of delight. Was ever such condescension-such startling affability? Of course, it was expected that the distinguished visitor would command the baby at the breast to be carefully washed, and straightway served up to him in cutlets! A gentleman "behaves himself as such," and therefore let us sing to him a carol of thanksgiving: And shall gentlemen only have their negatives gilt with refined gold? Shall the great family of Pippins have no leaf to cover their nakedness ? Shall there be no voice to plead for—to extenuate

to

Here, Jenny, take away this foul black ink, vile compound of gall and acid, and bring us a honeycomb. And, Jenny, dear, relieve us of this last small handiwork of old Mulciber that he who wrought mail for Achilles should now nib pens for stock-brokers !) and give us a feather, dropt from the wing of your pet ring-dove. So; we are in a charitable mood; our heart opens-our sympathies begin to flow. We will indite the apologetic history of Job Pippins. Yes; it shall be to us a labour of love to turn ebony into ivory.

« PreviousContinue »