Page images

At the noise which she made
Down went the spade !—

And up jump'd the bandy-legg'd Tailor by trade,'
(Who had shrewdly conjectured, from something that fell, her
Deposit was somewhere conceal'd in the cellar ;)
Turning round at a sound

So extremely profound,

The moment her shadowy form met his view

He gave vent to a sort of a lengthen'd' Bo-o-ho-o l'—
With a countenance Keeley alone could put on,
Made one grasshopper spring to the door-and was gone
Erupit! Evasit!

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 book

Not 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.-
Moreover-The whole

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)
From Old 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,
Whereas-nowithstanding-and nevertheless.-
Sign'd, sealed, and deliver'd this 20th of May,
Anno Domini blank, (though I've mentioned the day,)



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, 'twould 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 ;'

And the fact was, said Knight was now merely delay'd
From crossing the water to join the Crusade
For converting the Pagans with bill, bow, and blade,
By the want of a little pecuniary aid

To buy arms and horses, the tools of his trade,
And enable his troop to appear on parade;
The unquiet Shade

Thought Sir Rufus, 'tis said,

Just the man for her money,-she readily paid
For the articles named, and with pleasure convey'd
To his hands every farthing she ever had made;
But alas! I'm afraid

Most unwisely she laid

Out her cash-the beaux yeux of a Saracen maid
(Truth compels me to say a most pestilent jade)
Converted the gallant converter--betray'd
Him to do everything which a Knight could degrade,
E'en to worship Mahound!-she required-he obey'd-
The consequence was, all the money was wasted
On Infidel pleasures he should not have tasted;
So that, after a very short respite, the Hag
Was seen down in her cellar again with her bag.

Don't fancy, dear Reader, I mean to go on
Seriatim through so many ages by-gone,
And to bore you with names
Of the Squires and the Dames

Who have managed at times to get hold of the sack,
But spent the cash so that it always came back;
The list is too long

To be giv'n in my song,

There are reasons beside would perhaps make it wrong;
I shall merely observe, in those orthodox days,
When Mary set Smithfield all o'er in a blaze,

And show'd herself very se

-vere against heresy,

While many a wretch scorned to flinch, or to scream, as he
Burnt for denying the Papal supremacy,

Bishop Bonner the bag got,
And all thought the hag got

Releas'd, as he spent all in fuel and faggot.

But somehow-though how

I can't tell you, I vow—

I suppose by mismanagement-ere the next reign
The Spectre had got all her money again.

The last time, I'm told,

That the Old Woman's gold

Was obtain'd, as before, for the asking,-'twas had
By a Mr. O'Something from Ballinafad;

And the whole of it, so 'tis reported, was sent
To John Wright's, in account for the Catholic Rent,
And so, like a great deal more money--' it went!'

So 'tis said at Maynooth,
But I can't think it's truth;

Though I know it was boldly asserted last season,
Still I can not believe it; and that for this reason,
It's certain the cash has got back to its owner!
Now no part of the Rent to do so e'er was known, or
In any shape ever come home to the donor.

GENTLE READER !-you must know the proverb, I think—
To a blind horse a Nod is as good as a Wink!'
Which some learned chap,
In a square College cap,

Perhaps, would translate by the words Verbum Sap.!
Now should it so chance

[ocr errors]

That you're going to France

In the course of this Spring-we're already in May-
Do pull up, and stay,
If but for a day,

At Dover, through which you must pass on your way,
At the York,-or the Ship,-where, as all people say,
You'll get good wine yourself, and your horses good hay,
Perhaps, my good friend, you may find it will pay,
And you cannot lose much by so short a delay.

First DINE!-you can do
That on joint or ragoût-

Then say to the waiter, I'm just passing through,
Pray, where can I find out the old Maison Dieu?"
He'll show you the street-(the French call it a Rue,
But you won't have to give here a petit ecu).

Well,-when you've got there, never mind how you're taunted,
Ask boldly, Pray, which is the house that is haunted?'
-I'd tell you myself, but I can't recollect

The proprietor's name; but he's one of that sect Who call themselves' Friends,' and whom others call 'Quakers,'You'll be sure to find out if you ask at the baker's,-——

Then go down with a light

To the cellar at night,

And as soon as you see her don't be in a fright,

But ask the old Hag

At once, for the bag!


you find that she's shy, or your senses would dazzle,


Say, Ma'am, I insist in the name of St. Basil!'

If she gives it you, seize

It, and do as you please

But there is not a person I've ask'd but agrees,

You should spend-part at least--for the Old Woman's ease.
For the rest-if it must go back some day-why, let it!
Meanwhile, if you're poor, and in love, or in debt, it
May do you some good, and-



« PreviousContinue »