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The King's health 1 being called for after this, a notable dispute arose between the Twelfth of August (a zealous old Whig gentlewoman), and the Twenty Third of April (a new-fangled lady of the Tory stamp), as to which of them should have the honour to propose it. August grew hot upon the matter, affirming time out of mind the prescriptive right to have lain with her, till her rival had basely supplanted her ; whom she represented as little better than a kept mistress, who went about in fine clothes, while she (the legitimate BIRTHDAY) had scarcely a rag, &c.
April Fool, being made mediator, confirmed the right in the strongest form of words to the appellant, but decided for peace sake that the exercise of it should remain with the present possessor. At the same time, he slily rounded the first lady in the ear, that an action might lie against the Crown for bi-geny.
It beginning to grow a little duskish, Candlemas lustily bawled out for lights, which was opposed by all the Days, who protested against burning daylight. Then fair water was handed round in silver ewers, and the same lady was observed to take an unusual time in Washing herself.
May Day, with that sweetness which is peculiar to her, in a neat speech proposing the health of the founder, crowned her goblet (and by her example the rest of the company) with garlands. This being done, the lordly New Year from the upper end of the table, in a cordial but somewhat lofty tone, returned thanks. He felt proud on an occasion of meeting so many of his worthy father's late tenants, promised to improve their farms, and at the same time to abate (if any thing was found unreasonable) in their rents. At the mention of this, the four Quarter Days in.
1 The late King.
ech pro and by This be the tab
to be the online was
voluntarily looked at each other, and smiled; April Fool whistled to an old tune of “ New Brooms ; ” and a surly old rebel at the further end of the table (who was discovered to be no other than the Fifth of November), muttered out, distinctly enough to be heard by the whole company, words to this effect, that, “when the old one is gone, he is a fool that looks for a better.” Which rudeness of his, the guests resenting, unanimously voted his expulsion ; and the male-content was thrust out neck and heels into the cellar, as the properest place for such a boutefeu and firebrand as he had shown himself to be.
Order being restored — the young lord (who, to say truth, had been a little ruffled, and put beside his oratory) in as few, and yet as obliging words as possible, assured them of entire welcome; and, with a graceful turn, singling out poor Twenty Ninth of February, that had sate all this while mumchance at the side-board, begged to couple his health with that of the good company before him—which he drank accordingly; observing, that he had not seen his honest face any time these four years—with a number of endearing expressions besides. At the same time, removing the solitary Day from the forlorn seat which had been assigned him, he stationed him at his own board, somewhere between the Greek Calends and Latter Lammas.
Ash Wednesday, being now called upon for a song, with his eyes fast stuck in his head, and as well as the Canary he had swallowed would give him leave, struck up a Carol, which Christmas Day had taught him for the nonce; and was followed by the latter, who gave “ Miserere ” in fine style, hitting off the mumping notes and lengthened drawl of Old Mortification with infinite humour. April Fool swore they had exchanged conditions : but Good Friday was observed to look extremely
“ Misereren ened drawl owore they !
grave; and Sunday held her fan before her face, that she might not be seen to smile.
Shrove-tide, Lord Mayor's Day, and April Fool next joined in a glee—
Which is the properest day to drink ? in which all the Days chiming in, made a merry burden.
They next fell to quibbles and conundrums. The question being proposed, who had the greatest number of followers—the Quarter Days said, there could be no question as to that; for they had all the creditors in the world dogging their heels. But April Fool gave it in favour of the Forty Days before Easter ; because the debtors in all cases outnumbered the creditors, and they kept lent all the year.
All this while, Valentine's Day kept courting pretty May, who sate next him, slipping amorous billets-doux under the table, till the Dog Days (who are naturally of a warm constitution) began to be jealous, and to bark and rage exceedingly. April Fool, who likes a bit of sport above measure, and had some pretensions to the lady besides, as being but a cousin once removed,
- clapped and halloo'd them on; and as fast as their indignation cooled, those mad wags, the Ember Days, were at it with their bellows, to blow it into a flame; and all was in a ferment: till old Madam Septuagesima (who boasts herself the Mother of the Days) wisely diverted the conversation with a tedious tale of the loves which she could reckon when she was young; and of one Master Rogation Day in particular, who was for ever putting the question to her ; but she kept him at a distance, as the chronicle would tell—by which I apprehend she meant the Almanack. Then she rambled on to the Days tlaat were gone, the good old
Days, and so to the Days before the Flood—which plainly showed her old head to be little better than crazed and doited.
Day being ended, the Days called for their cloaks and great coats, and took their leaves. Lord Mayor's Day went off in a Mist, as usual ; Shortest Day in a deep black Fog, that wrapt the little gentleman all round like a hedge-hog. Two Vigils—so watchmen are called in heaven—saw Christmas Day safe homethey had been used to the business before. Another Vigil—a stout, sturdy patrole, called the Eve of St Christopher—seeing Ash Wednesday in a condition little better than he should be—e'en whipt him over his shoulders, pick-a-back fashion, and Old Mortification went floating home singing
On the bat’s back do I Ay, and a number of old snatches besides, between drunk and sober, but very few Aves or Penitentiaries (you may believe me) were among them. Longest Day set off westward in beautiful crimson and gold—the rest, some in one fashion, some in another ; but Valentine and pretty May took their departure together in one of the prettiest silvery twilights a Lover's Day could wish to set in.
DO not know when I have been better pleased than
at being invited last week to be present at the
wedding of a friend's daughter. I like to make one at these ceremonies, which to us old people give back our youth in a manner, and restore our gayest season, in the remembrance of our own success, or the regrets, scarcely less tender, of our own youthful disappointments, in this point of a settlement. On these occasions I am sure to be in good-humour for a week or two after, and enjoy a reflected honey-moon. Being without a family, I am flattered with these temporary adoptions into a friend's family ; I feel a sort of cousinhood, or uncleship, for the season ; I am inducted into degrees of affinity ; and, in the participated socialities of the little community, I lay down for a brief while my solitary bachelorship. I carry this humour so far, that I take it unkindly to be left out, even when a funeral is going on in the house of a dear friend. But to my subject.
The union itself had been long settled, but its celebration had been hitherto deferred, to an almost unreasonable