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Fortune delighted to play upon me. Stay,' continued I, 'go, you and John, and offer your assistance.'
The prospect of having endangered the property of my neighbour embittered all my pleasure, and as soon as possible I dismissed my young friends to their respective homes.
I learned too soon the truth of my suspicion-the balloon had ac
tually fallen among the haystacks of a neighbour, and that neighbour was no other than the father of the young gentleman from boarding. school, whose wishes it had been my earnest endeavour to gratify. The very next morning I received a lawyer's letter, containing notice of action for damage, &c. Considering my kind intentions, I certainly could not help thinking that this was rather a sharp proceeding. I expected, as a matter of justice, to make all reasonable restitution for the damage, and would willingly have paid for my whistle;' but such a show of battle on the part of my neighbour precluded all personal arbitration of our difference, and I was compelled, much against my inclination, to find another legal rogue' to fight his.
The cost was consequently considerable, and I had to disburse at least double the amount of the loss sustained by the father, and all arising out of a kindly feeling to entertain the son. But it was my unfortunate destiny that prevailed. I dare say, if I had only attempted to fly a kite, it would have 'pitched,'and broken the glass of some adjoining pinery!
I became 'savage,' and for a whole week never attempted to do a kindness to a living soul. Nor did this feeling arise in any degree from the loss of the money, but from the unkindly conduct of, and the wilful and ungenerous misapprehension of my intentions by, my harsh and unfriendly neighbour.
A gentlemanly man, about five-and-forty years of age, who had amassed a considerable fortune in mercantile pursuits, purchased a handsome house in the parish, and brought home with him a young wife, about eighteen years of age (the portionless daughter of one of his tradesmen) to share the pleasure of his retirement. Three weeks of what Byron jocosely terms the treacle-moon' had scarcely waxed and waned, when his bride thought fit to elope with an ensign in a marching regiment. I heartily sympathized with the unfortunate man, and resolved to seek his acquaintance, and do everything in my power to console him.
I took an early opportunity of inviting him to a dinner-party, which he accepted, and hearing that he was fond of music, determined to give him a treat. Jackson and Brown (the only men who have remained attached to me through good and ill report, giving the lie direct to the worldly maxim, lend your money, lose your friends,' for I have had the pleasure of offering both pecuniary assistance to a considerable amount,) obligingly gave up a previous engagement to assist me.
'And what music have you provided ?' said Brown. 'An excellent military band,' replied I.
Jackson and Brown both broke forth in an immoderate fit of laughter.
My dear fellow,' said Jackson, kindly, excuse our merriment but— but, 'pon my soul, 'tis too bad!' And another tormenting fit of cachinnation convulsed them both.
'What is the matter?' demanded I rather nettled.
'Matter!' repeated Jackson, why the very appearance of anything military, I think, will be sufficient to draw your guest from the house. Do you forget the ensign and
'My dear friend!' exclaimed I, 'you have timely rescued me from making an egregious fool of myself. I see it all.'
Did you ever hear those Russian fellows,' continued he; 'the famous horn-band?'
'Nor I,' said Brown, and I should like exceedingly.'
'And so should I,' said Jackson, 'for the thing is quite novel and recherché.'
Of course I placed myself entirely in the hands of my affectionate friends, and gave them a carte blanche respecting the engagement, &c.
It was a fine evening, and the band were brought in coaches, and arranged on the lawn, which was entered from the front window of the dining-room. The dinner passed off exceedingly well, the wine flowed, and the conversation became lively and interesting. My new guest called upon Jackson for a toast. My friend filled a bumper, and rose upon his legs.
'I give' said he.
At this juncture the band struck up.
'The horns!' interrupted Brown, jumping up from the table.
I thought I observed a glow of surprise and pleasure irradiate the countenance of my guest. I immediately threw open the windows, and displayed the whole band playing one of their national airs.
Have they music-books?' said my guest, apparently lost in admira
'Yes; or perhaps they may be more properly termed horn-books,' said I, pointing my bon-mot with a knowing look, and a thrust in the ribs of my guest, for I must confess I was very much elated by the pleasantness of the party. What was my surprise to see him grow deadly pale.
'I hope I did not hurt you?' said I anxiously.
'No-oh, no!' replied he, gravely.
'Take a glass of claret, or perhaps you will prefer a horn of cold ale ?'
said I. Jackson, ring for the tankard and horns.'
'I have had too much already,' said the old man, sharply looking at me and my two chums with an expression which might be caused by pain, but certainly looked very like anger and defiance; and when the footman
appeared, he ordered his carriage; nor could I prevail upon him to remain a minute longer. What strange and unaccountable dispositions there are in this world. I puzzled my brain in vain to discover what could possibly have given him offence.
Adjoining my garden were the premises of a gentleman, who was apparently a man of substance, for not only he, but all the members of his numerous family appeared abroad well, and even luxuriantly dressed. He was of a florid complexion, and had dark curly hair. I thought at first that he was proud, but he had not resided a month in the place when I heard the praises of the charitable Mr. Lewis,' sang by all the poor in the place. În defiance of the Mendicity Society he relieved every beggar at his gate. This might have proceeded from ostentation; but the error of this conclusion was satisfactorily solved, at least in my mind, by an observation I subsequently made. One day I watched him walking on his lawn, the mown grass of which was turned to hay, when suddenly a whole troop of his children, from six to fourteen, rushed laughing from the shrubbery, and, surrounding their father, began pelting and tossing it over him.
Joining in the sport, he was soon smothered in the hay, and pretending to fall, he rolled about, now discovering a leg, and then throwing up his head, to the delight of the children; at last he seized one of the group, and then they all fell upon him, and there they lay tumbling and laughing together. I am very fond of children, and envied him the pleasure of the romp; and this single trait in his character was sufficient to stamp him in my estimation as of an amiable and loving disposition. I was recalled from my reverie by the entrance of John.
'If you please, sir,' said he, playing with the handle of the door, 'the little pigs is all ready, and the housekeeper wishes to know what you intend to do with 'em?'
'How many are there?'
'Six on 'em, sir; and beautiful little creturs they are too, sir ; as white as milk.'
'Select the finest among them,' said, and bring it here immediately.'
The infant porker was forthwith produced; and, being cradled in a basket, I tacked on one of my cards, addressing it to Lewis, Esq. with Mr. Septimus Jeff's comps,' and sent it round to my sportive neighbour, while the fervour of my admiration was still warm. A present is the best thing in the world to conduce to a friendly relation between parties; nor does the magic consist so much in the value as in the spirit in which it is proffered. The bump of self-esteem was enlarged considerably upon the review of my tact and promptitude, and I awaited the result with an almost childish impatience.
Returning from a ride in the evening, I was followed into the parlour by the housekeeper, bearing a parcel.
'What have you there, Mrs. Dobson?' I demanded.
'A present, sir, I think,' replied she, depositing it upon the table.
I looked at it. One look was sufficient. I beheld my own card, with all but the unfortunate name struck through with a pen. Piggy was actually returned! I stamped, and I believe might have let slip an oath, for Mrs. Dobson actually screamed.
I could not rest till I had discovered the cause of this unpropitious 'return.' Reader, pity me! I learned too soon, or rather too late, that my respectable neighbours were of the Jewish persuasion. My friendly advances were consequently construed into a premeditated insult!
MARINE MEMORANDA.-No. II.
BY A SUBMARINE.
H.M.S. Howe, Spithead, November 16th, 1840.-The leak is stopped; the cause of it was a very trifle. Small, in comparison to our big ship, as is the bullet-hole that will let out the life of a man, was the bolthole that let in the water. Days have passed waiting for a fair wind, until our patience and our money are both exhausted: some have even made away with their credit. The bumboat-woman' attending the ship has brought forward a serions complaint against the drummer of the marines, a rising warrior of three feet six, that he owes her fourteen shillings. I have inquired into the young gentleman's liabilities; his af fairs are not complicated, the whole amount being for bread and butter !
Putting back to port is always attended with one striking effect, which might teach us a useful lesson. Who of those voyagers on an unknown sea to that bourn whence no traveller returns, were he permitted once more to put back to the port of life, but would busily repair the errors of omission and commission which must stand against him in the records of the most forewarned departure. Thus did I moralize one morning, after despatching some dozen letters, all of which it seemed to me, ought to have been written before our 'false start' from Spithead. Business neglected, friends slighted, many of the courtesies of life offended, had, like ghosts of the injured, arisen to upbraid me; but these angry spirits were appeased-that half quire of Bath hath laid them all in a sea of ink. There is another advantage attendant on a put back to port, which if not equally productive of good with the foregoing, by reason that it is susceptible of abuse, nevertheless has its convenience. Scarcely is a ship a day at sea before we remember that many of the necessaries of a voyage have been forgotten; now all these can be procured. The abuse of the advantage is in the indulgence of imaginary wants, and the superfluities with which we incontinently encumber ourselves. This reminds me that an oilcloth has been purchased for the cockpit of H.M.S. Howe, at a cost of nearly forty pounds. There was one Admiral Benbow, who might have been surprised at the idea of such an article of luxury; but times are changed, and really our purchase will more than repay us in the saving of clothes, to say nothing of lungs. The delicately marbled squares may look out of place in the dingy region they are to floor; but the dust of dry sand and holy stones' will vex us no more. The following invitation headed the bill of costs :
'Come pay your subscriptions, ye good cockpit denizens,
'Shall we never have a fair wind?' has been the daily, I may almost say hourly, exclamation of some eleven hundred impatients on board the Howe, gazing at the shores they must not visit, for to leave the ship is forbidden. Alas! even harder lines are to be found in the