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She therefore made a dead set at him at once, and called into action all her artillery, with the view of attacking his susceptible heart. She established in his presence one perpetual smile-which was indeed a very sweet one of the sort-sighed occasionally with very great effect, and glanced at him with constancy, and corresponding bashfulness, and frequently while playing removed the wrong peg, at the same time protesting that she actually didn't know what she was about-she didn't actually.
At the commencement of these affectionate proceedings the venerable gentleman rallied her gaily, and whenever he did so she felt herself bound to become so confused that she couldn't play at all, she couldn't count, she couldn't help pegging backwards, and the consequence was that she couldn't win a game; but, albeit these little manœuvres were for some time regarded by the experienced eye of her venerable partner with suspicion, her emotion was so deep, and so strong, and so strikingly developed, that while he still entertained the belief that as a general thing love was a gross imposition, he eventually could not but feel that in the gentle Joanna he had discovered the exception that established the rule. He was sure that she loved him-fondly, passionately loved him; she couldn't help showing it! In his view a man must be blind who couldn't see it; the thing was so palpable; nothing could be clearer; and to be be loved at his age, and that, too, by a finely-built, cherry-cheeked, nicely-behaved, comfortable-looking creature nearly thirty years younger than himself, was an idea which flattered the venerable gentleman; he felt it very deeply and thought of it constantly; and as he experienced a variety of sweet feelings which were altogether new to him, he resolved to be, if possible, more killing than ever, as the first grand preliminary to his seeing precisely what could be done. He accordingly became more refined in his language, and dressed with more care, and displayed more agility; and not only related the feats he had performed, but dwelt upon those which he was able with ease to perform then; in short, having the most tender aspirations by which a lover could be prompted, he felt that his success as a lover was essential to the maintenance of his reputation as a man; although he knew that when two devoted persons try to win each other's hearts, they seldom, indeed, try in vain. He became much more constant in his visits, and was delighted when Bob was absent, which frequently happened, as he went with his master down to the House, and occasionally waited there for hours.
On one of these occasions, when the lovers had been playing at their favourite game for some time without the slightest interruption, the venerable gentleman, conscious of the high estimation in which wealth is held by ladies in general, and how greatly it assists the imagination in all matters of love, embraced a fine opportunity, which the fact of his having won ninepence afforded, for making the following remarkable observation:
'Wot a hexcellent thing lots o' money is, ain't it.'
Joanna blushed deeply, and felt extremely tremulous; but, conceiving it to be her duty to say something, she faintly replied,
Why, it certingly is an excessively excellent thing; but happiness for me, Mr. Joseph, before all the money. Happiness isn't to be bought, for there's no shop in life where it's sold.'
That's hall werry reg'lar,' rejoined the venerable gentleman. 'You're quite correctly right in that air; still money's a hout and
hout thing! on'y go for to look at the adwantages on it!-on'y see 'ow hindependent they are, them as does persess lots; vile them as don't, is in a wuss state of slavery than the black popplation there out by the North Pole. They're never theirselves them as ain't got no money. They can't hold their heads up: it's clean against natur'. Jist pint out to me a hindiwidual a-vendin' his vay along the streets, on'y jist let me look at him full in the face, and if don't tell you vether he's got any money or not, I'll be bound to be blessed; cos he as hasn't, allus looks werry petickler down his nose; vile he as has, takes jist about as much notice of that horgan as if he hadn't got one. He can't look right straight at yer, him wot's got all his pockets empty; he can't ketch yer hearty and vorm by the hand; he can't speak like a hinnercent man: his woice shivers and shakes jist for all the vorld as if it vos ashamed of itself; and he mumbles, and trembles, and wobbles, vile the corners of his mouth drops right away down in the rottenest manner alive; verehas, the man vich has got plenty in his pocket can look at yer fierce. He can take yer hand with henergy, and speak up as if he owed yer nothink, and vornt a bit afeared on yer, vich makes great hodds! Ven I meets a friend, now, vich ain't got no money, I don't like to see him.-I can't say I do,-not a bit acos I'm spungy or anythink o' that; but I'd rayther not see him. I some'ow or nother don't like it. I pities him; and, as pity wounds the feelings, it ain't consequentially pleasant. If a friend in them there circumstantials ses to me, "Have yer got sich a thing as a couple o'shillin's," it cuts me to the quick; not acos I at all objects to lend it, nor cos I don't hand him over double wot he arsts for, and never expects to vitness agin the colour of the money, but it's cos it hurts my sentiments to see him, and wounds me to think wot his feelings must be. That's the p'int, you know!-that's vere he feels it!'
'Exactly,' returned Joanna: 'you're excessively correct; but that warn't by no manner of means what I meant. I didn't by any means mean to mean that money was no object, or that it wasn't an excessive advantage: no, if I thought that, I should not have put by for a rainy day, as I have done. I shouldn't have thought of having such an amount as I have in the saving's bank at the present period of time. All I meant was, that money wasn't all; that money alone couldn't purchase happiness, and therefore that happiness was to be preferred.'
And in the long run I agrees vith yer. 'Appiness, in course, his the thing--the great thing: ve can't git through the vorld at all comfortable vithout it; but though it is to be found in hevery spere of society, from Vestmister to Vopping, vere can it be found without money? I don't mean to say that they're unseperateable, that is to say, that verever there's money there must be 'appiness consequentially also; but I do mean to say, that verever there's 'appiness there there must likevise be money. There can't be no 'appiness vithout it. It stands to reason; it ain't nat'ral! Look at them vich is in debt:' 'ow can they be 'appy? I'll defy 'em to do it! It's out of natur' for 'em to be 'appy, from the highest spere down to the werry lowest,-from him vich owes his banker arf a million, to him as owes his chandleyshop-keeper arf-a-crown. It's onpossible! Look at me on'y jist for instance. I've got seven houses vich brings me in fifty pound a-ear, all let to respectable tenants, substantial men of family vich never shoots the moon, and the writings is at home. Wery well. Now
vot, s'pose I should be throwed out o' place,-vot should I care, vith them to fall back upon? Nothink. But s'pose I hadn't them, and then vos to be throwed out vithout the prospect of gettin' an. other, vere abouts vood be the price of my 'appiness then? Voodn't it be out of all character for me to be 'appy? In course: vere poverty is, there 'appiness can't be. They never agree together; they're hallvays a-fightin', and poverty's safe to be wictorious.'
'I admire your mode of argument,' observed Joanna, gently; 'it's excessively intellectual and correct; but have you never, in the course of your extensive experience, found those that are poor as happy as those that are rich ?
Vy,' replied the venerable gentleman, knitting his brows thoughtfully, that is a p'int vich requires to be explained. You see, the poor is sometimes richer than the rich; and, on the tother side o' the pictur', the rich is sometimes poorer than the poor. I don't call him poor, however poor he may be, vich has got enough to keep him respectable in his spere; nor I don't call him rich, however rich he may be, vich hasn't got enough to keep him respectable in hisn. A rich man may be werry rich, and a poor man may be werry poor, and between them a werry great distinction may be drawed; but the poor man, vich has but twelve shillin's a veek, and vith that can supply all his vonts, is richer than him with ten thousand a-ear hif vith that he's onable to make both ends meet. That's the p'int! So, you see, don't call the poor reg'lar poor vich has enough to make 'em comfor'ble and tidy in their vay; but ven a poor man is poor, vy he's werry poor indeed, cos he can't get no wittles; and, as 'appiness von't stay vere there's no wittles, the whole p'int dissolves jist to this, that the rich rich is 'appier than the poor rich, mind yer,-and the rich poor is 'appier than the werry poor poor, vich ain't got no wittles to
'I understand you perfectly,' said Joanna; 'it's excessively clear and precisely what I meant. I meant I'd rather be in a poor sphere of life, with sufficient to make me excessively happy, than in a high sphere, rolling in riches, without having happiness with it.'
'That's all reg'lar !' exclaimed the venerable gentleman: 've're a-balancin' the werry same pole! 'Appiness, in course, is the uniwersal thing, and consequentially ve're hallways a-yarnin' arter that vich ve think vill percure it, and vich is nayther more nor less than money; for, although vot you say is werry true, that there's no shop in natur' vere 'appiness, like any other harticle, is ticketed and sold, there is thousands of shops vere it is, in a hindirect manner, to be bought; as, for hinstance, if I was werry ungry, and unger vos the on'y sore place I had about me, a crust of bread and cheese and a pint of arf-and-arf vood make me 'appy; but, if I hadn't got no money to buy that bread and cheese and arf-and-arf, I should be werry onappy indeed. So, you see, it hall depends upon vether you can git vot yer vont if yer can, in course yer 'appy: if yer can't, in course you ain't. For hinstance, now I vont a vife. If I could git one-a reg'lar good un-I should then be all right; but as I can't, 'ow can I be 'appy?'
Joanna blushed deeply as she observed, with a most expressive smile, 'Now, Mr. Joseph, you are joking.'
'Not a bit,' rejoined the venerable gentleman; 'no, upon my
'Did you ever try?'
'Vy, I can't sconscientiously say I ever did.'
'Then how can you know? You cannot know until you try.' 'But I'm gettin' rayther a hold feller now, yer know, inclinin', as the poet says, "into the wale of ears;" so that nobody 'll 'ave me.' 'Nobody would have you!' echoed Joanna, with an expression of playful incredulity.
Vell, who vood now? That's the p'int at hissue. Vood you?' The ardent and affectionate heart of Joanna now violently throbbed; but, as she felt it to be her duty to blush and remain silent, she made no reply.
'Vell, p'raps,' continued the venerable gentleman, as Joanna glanced most expressively at him,- p'raps I put the p'int rayther too close, as your werry perliteness vont let you say no.'
Oh! it isn't for that,' observed Joanna, very tremulously. 'Vell, then, I'll tell you vot I'll do vith you. Come, now, I'll bet you a pair of gloves that you can't sconscientiously, mind yer, say yes.'
What a funny man you are!' said Joanna.
It vood, I know, be a robbery. I know I shood vin.'
'Do you think so?'
Safe! Come. I'll make it two to one,-there, and put the money down they shall be arf-crowners, double-stitched Frenchmen. Vill you take these ere hodds?'
'You'd lose,' said Joanna, with archness, you'd be certain to lose.'
'I don't think it, nor von't till I have lost. Now, then, vill you bet?'
Why really!—Mr. Joseph !-I never knew!—it's such a very droll way of doing business!
'Vot's the hodds, so that business is done?'
But indeed-depend upon it-you'd lose.'
Werry well. If I do, I shall have to stand the Frenchmen, that's all. Come, put the money down,- -or I'll trust yer. Now, then,' continued the venerable gentleman, kneeling upon the footstool beside her, and placing his ear quite close to her lips, come, visper, and then nayther the kittles nor the sarcepans vont ear. Now mark! Vood you 'ave me?'
The venerable gentleman patiently paused some considerable time for a reply; but at length Joanna did sigh and say 'Now-really!' 'Only visper the word!'
Upon my conscience I feel so flustrated; indeed so excessively confused, that I cannot for the life of me.' Vood you
'Oh, but you must! Come-now then-vonce more.
With a faltering voice, and a fluttering heart, the gentle creature, in a tone which scarcely violated silence, said—'Yes.'
'You vood!' exclaimed the venerable gentleman,- sconscien tiously!'
He drew back a trifle; and, having gazed in a state of rapture at her lustrous eyes for a moment, threw his arm round her beautiful swan-like neck and clandestinely kissed her.
'Nay, you wicked man,' said the blushing Joanna, that's excessively naughty.'
'Vell, give it me back! If you don't like to 'ave it, return it to the lips from vence it came.'
'No, that I am sure I'll not do.'
Oh, nonsense!' cried the venerable gentleman, throwing his arm again round her elegant neck, 'I must test your sincerity!"
Don't, Mr. Joseph: you'll rumple my collar: indeed, Mr. Joseph, indeed, indeed you will!'
Joanna struggled very correctly; but the venerable gentleman's ardour increased; and, just as he had succeeded in drawing her sweet lips to his, Bob, who had entered the kitchen during the struggle unperceived, crid' Hem!'
Had there been a trap-door beneath the gentle Joana, through which she could at once have disappeared, her disappearance would certainly have been instantaneous, she felt at the moment so dreadfully alarmed; but as there happened to be no such a piece of theatrical machinery near her, she summoned all her courage, and turning promptly to Bob, said, 'Isn't it too bad, Robert? Here, just because I happen to have won five shillings of Mr. Joseph, he vows he'll have a kiss, which is very unfair, Robert, isn't it now?'
Bob looked at her fiercely, and said in answer to this strong appeal, 'It ain't nothing to me.' He also looked fiercely at his venerable friend, and added, 'I'm a-intruding.'
These indeed were very cutting observations, and they had a very powerful effect. The lovers wished he had been at that moment drinking with Pharaoh and all his host; but as they gave no expres. sion to that wish, he gloomily seated himself near the fire, and looked into it with a most ferocious aspect.
As the venerable gentleman could not of course feel exactly com. fortable then, he soon prepared to depart: he took Bob's passive hand, and having bade him good night, Joanna saw him to the door, where he kissed her again, and, singularly enough, she returned it then without any struggling at all
The Petition; its progress and result.
STANLEY had been nearly a fortnight in the House without having on any occasion risen to speak. During that time he had heard many excellent speeches, and many more which, although delivered in an execrable style, read and told well in the papers. His ambition had therefore been constantly strengthened, and as most men, who feel that they possess the power to shine in the particular circle in which they move, are desirous of cultivating those accomplishments, whatever they may be, by which applause is obtained in that circle, it is not singular that he, possessing the necessary confidence, panted to distinguish himself in that centre from which celebrity radiates throughout the world.
Having studied one important subject deeply, and made himself conversant with all its ramifications, he went down to the House on the fourteenth day of his being a member, with the view of startling the nerves of all parties by the development of what he had in him. Previously, however, to the commencement of the debate in which he intended to take a conspicuous part, an honourable member on the opposite side presented a petition against his return!