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So, unless you're a dunce,
You'll see clearly at once,
When you come to consider the facts of the case, he,
Of course, never gave her his Vade in pace ;
And the consequence was, when the last mortal throe
Released her pale Ghost from these regions of woe,
The little old Woman had nowhere to go!
For what could she do?
She very well knew If she went to the gates I have mentioned to you, Without Basil's, or some other passport to show, The Cheque-takers never would let her go through; While, as to the other place, e'en had she tried it, And really had wished it as much as she shied it, (For no one who knows what it is can abide it,) Had she knocked at the portal with ne'er so much din, Though she'd died in what folks at Rome call · Mortal sin,' Yet Old Nick, for the life of him, daren't take her inAs she'd not been turned formally out of the pale, So much the bare name of the Pope made him quail In the times that I speak of, his courage would fail Of Rome's vassals the lowest and worst to assail, Or e'en touch with so much as the end of his tail ;
Though, now he's grown older,
They say he's much bolder, And his Holiness not only gets the cold shoulder,' But Nick rumps him completely, and don't seem to care a Dump—that's the word –for his triple tiara.
Well-what shall she do I
What's the course to pursue ?· Try St. Peter ?-the step is a bold one to take ; For the Saint is, there can't be a doubt,“ wide awake;"
But then there's a quaint
Old Proverb says “ Faint
Heart ne'er won fair Lady,” then how win a saint ;-
I've a great mind to try
One can but apply ;
If things come to the worst why he can but deny-
's rather high
To be sure—but, now I That cumbersome carcass of clay have laid by, I am just in the “order” which some folks-though why I am sure I can't tell you-would call “ Apple-pie.”
Then“ never say die !"
It won't do to be shy,
So I'll tuck up my shroud, and-here goes for a fly ! -
-So said and so done—she was off like a shot,
And kept on the whole way at a pretty smart trot.
When she drew so near
That St. Peter could see her,
The Saint in a moment began to look queer,
And scarce would allow her to make her case clear,
Ere he pursed up his mouth 'twixt a sneer and a jeer,
With It's all very well,- but you do not lodge here !--
Then, calling her everything but “My dear !"
He applied his great toe with some force au derrière,
And dismissed her at once with a flea in her ear.
It's a doubt which is most
To be pitied—one doom'd to fry, broil, boil, and roast, -
Or one banded about thus from pillar to post, -
To be all abroad'—to be stump'd'-not to know where
To go-so disgraced
As not to be placed,'
Or, as Crocky would say to Jem Bland, to be No-where.'-
However that be,
The affaire was finie,
And the poor wretch rejected by all, as you see !
Mr. Oliver Goldsmith observes
not the Jew-
That the Hare whom the hounds and the huntsmen pursue,'
Having no other sort of asylum in view,
Returns back again to the place whence she flew,
A fact which experience has proved to be true.-
Mr. Gray - in opinion with whom Johnson clashes,-
Declares that our 'wonted fires live in our ashes.'*
These motives combined, perhaps, brought back the hag,
The first to her mansion, the last to her bag,
When only conceive her dismay and surprise,
As a Ghost how she open'd her cold stony eyes,
When there,-on the spot where she'd hid her supplies,'-
In an underground cellar of very small size,
Working hard with a spade,
All at once she survey'd
That confounded old bandy-legged 'Tailor by trade.'
Fancy the tone
Of the half moan, half groan,
Which burst from the breast of the Ghost of the crone !
As she stood there,-a figure 'twixt moonshine and stone,-
Only fancy the glare in her eyeballs that shone !
Although, as Macbeth says, they'd no speculation,'
While she utter'd that word,
Which American Bird,
Or John Fenimore Cooper, would render · Tarnation !!
" E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires ! --GRAY. • A position at which Experience revolts, Credu lity hesitates, and even Fancy stares !'-JOHNSON,
At the noise which she made
Down went the spade ! And up jump'd the bandy-leggd • Tailor by trade, (Who had shrewdly conjectured, from something that fell, her Deposit was somewhere conceal'd in the cellar ;)
Turning round at & sound
So extremely profound,
The moment her shadowy form met his view
He gave vent to a sort of a lengthen'd' B0-0—ho-o!'-
With a countenance Keeley alone could put on,
Made one grasshopper spring to the door-and was gone
Erupit ! Erasit !
As at Rome they would phrase it-
His flight was so swift, the eye scarcely could trace it,
Though elderly, bandy-legg'd, meagre, and sickly,
I doubt if the Ghost could have vanish'd more quickly ;-
He reach'd his own shop, and then fell into fits,
And it's said never rightly recover'd his wits,
While the chuckling old Hag takes his place, and there sits !
I'll venture to say,
She'd sat there to this day,
Brooding over what Cobbett calls vile yellow clay,'
Like a Vulture, or other obscene bird of prey,
O'er the nest-full of eggs she has managed to lay,
If, as legends relate, and I think we may trust 'em, her
Stars had not brought her another guess customer-
'Twas Basil himself !
Come to look for her pelf ;
But not, like the Tailor, to dig, delve, and grovel,
And grub in the cellar with pickaxe and shovel
Full well he knew
Such tools would not do,-
Far other the weapons he brought into play,
Viz. a Wax-taper hallow'd on Candlemas-day,'
To light to her ducats,
Holy Water, two buckets, (Made with salt-half a peck to four gallons—which brews a Strong triple X strike, -see Jacobus de Chusa.)
With these, too, he took
His bell and his bookNot a nerve ever trembled,-his hand never shook As he boldly marched up where she sat in her nook, Glow'ring round with that wild indescribable look, Which some may have read of, perchance, in Nell Cooke," All, in 'Martha the Gipsy' by Theodore Hook. And now, for the reason I gave you before, Of what pass'd then and there I can tell you no more, As no Tailor was near with his ear at the door ;
* See Miscellany, January, 1841.
But I've always been told,
With respect to the gold,
For which she her jewel eternal had sold,
That the old Harridan,
Who, no doubt, knew her man,
Made some compromise-hit upon some sort of plan,
By which Friar and Ghost were both equally pinn'd-
Heaven only knows how the ' Agreement' got wind ;-
But its purport was this,
That the things done amiss
By the Hag should not hinder her ultimate bliss;
The cash from this time is The Church's
impounded for good pious uses-Father B. shall dispose of it just as he chooses,
And act as trustee
In the meantime, that She,
The said Ghostess, or Ghost, as the matter may be, -
From “impediment," "hindrance," and "let” shall be free,
To sleep in her grave, or to wander, as he,
The said Friar, with said Ghost may hereafter agree.-
Of the said cash, or “cole,"
Shall be spent for the good of said Old Woman's soul !
* It is farther agreed-while said cash is so spending,
Said Ghost shall be fully absolved from attending,
And shall quiet remain
In the grave, her domain,
To have, and enjoy, and uphold, and maintain,
Without molestation, or trouble, or pain,
Hindrance, let, or impediment, (over again)
Nick, or from any one else of his train,
Whether Pow'r,-Domination,-or Princedom-or Throne, *
Or by what name soever the same may be known,
Howsoe'er called by Poets, or styled by Divines,-
Himself,-his executors, heirs, and assigns.
*Provided that, nevertheless, notwithstanding
All herein contained,-if whoever's a hand in
Dispensing said cash, or said “cole,” shall dare venture
To misapply money, note, bill, or debenture,
To uses not named in this present Indenture,
Then that such sum or sums shall revert, and come home again
Back to said Ghost, who thenceforward shall roam again,
Until such time or times as the said Ghost produces
Some good man and true, who no longer refuses
To put sum or sums aforesaid to said uses;
Which duly performed, the said Ghost shall have rest,
The full term of her natural death, of the best,
* Thrones! Dominations ! Princedoms! Virtues! Powers !
In consideration of this, her bequest,
In manner and form aforesaid, as exprest :
In witness wherof, we, the parties aforesaid,
Hereunto set our hands and our seals—and no more said,
Being all that these presents intend to express,
Sign'd, sealed, and deliver'd this 20th of May,
Anno Domini blank, (though I've mentioned the day,)
OLD WOMAN (late) CLOTHED IN GREY.'
Basil now, I am told,
Walking off with the gold,
Went and straight got the document duly enroll'd,
And left the testatrix to mildew and mould
In her sepulchre, cosey, cool, -not to say cold.
But somehow-though how I can hardly divine, -
A runlet of fine
Rich Malvoisie wine
Found its way to the Convent that night before nine,
With custards, and 'flawns,' and a fayre florentine,'
Peach, apricot, nectarine, melon, and pine ;
And some half a score nuns of the rule Bridgetine,
Abbess and all, were invited to dine
At a very late hour, that is after compline.
Father Hilary's rubies began soon to shine
With fresh lustre, as though newly dug from the mine ;
Through all the next year,
Indeed, 't would appear
That the Convent was much better off as to cheer.
Even Basil himself, as I very much fear,
No longer addicted himself to small beer;
His complexion grew clear,
While in front and in rear
He enlarged so, his shape seem'd approaching a sphere.
No wonder at all, then, one cold winter's night,
That a servant girl going down stairs with a light
To the cellar we've spoken of, saw with affright
An Old Woman, astride on a barrel, invite
Her to take, in a manner extremely polite,
With her left hand, a bag she had got in her right;
For tradition asserts that the Old Woman's purse
Had come back to her scarcely one penny the worse !
The girl, as they say,
Ran screaming away,
Quite scared by the Old Woman clothed in grey ;
But there came down a Knight at no distant a day,
Sprightly and gay
As the bird on the spray, One Sir Rufus Mountfardington, Lord of Foot's-cray, Whose estate, not unlike those of most of our Swell beaux, Was what's, by a metaphor, term'd out at elbows;'