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Comical, as what remains to be said of wards to keep the flies off his forehead, him will show."
Master,' quoth Old Comical, with his
pipe stuck in his face,'here am I.' Old We have no intention of following Comical smoked a long-tailed pipe in through its mazes the thread of the
summer; forasmuch as the vapour, comstory, which, besides being in itself ing through a long vein, came cooler
into his mouth, but the aforesaid Old not particularly interesting, and lat- Comical smoked a short pipe in winter terly altogether extravagant, pro- to keep his nose warm, which hung over ceeds in such an odd desultory the bowl thereof with a purple chilblain fashion, halting for a few chapters, at the end of it, for the frost snapt at then leaping forward with an im- Old Comical in winter time as if it would mense bound, then back again with bite his nose off: "Master,' quoth Old a great jerk into a former generation, Comical, ‘here am 1.'. John,' quoth and pursuing altogether such a zig- Old Crab, “I am called into Northampzag, devious, erratic course, that one
tonshire to make my aunt Biddy's will, might as well try to give a resumé for she hath taken into her head she of the plot of Tristram Shandy.
If may die, it appearing by the Register, two people wanted to read the book here, that lies on the table, that she is at the same time, one of them might, orders for what I would have done in
ninety years of age: this paper contains without losing anything, begin with the farm, and this purse money to pay the second volume, and read alter the men for three weeks; bid the carter nately backwards and forwards give Old Crop a good feed of corn, I a method which, as already stated, shall set out for Northamptonshire towe were ourself forced to pursue. morrow morning ; take these three serIt is the quaint sense, the quaint mons to Dr. Rosy bottom, and tell him humour, and the quaint characters, to serve my church three Sundays. A that give the book its value; and word with you, John: if you cannot as we hope the reader has by this sing psalms without making such faces, time a great regard for Old Crab, you shall sing no more; you have set with his surly good nature-his rude the people a-laughing these two last massive integrity_his rough man
Sundays: if you cannot sing psalms ners and his fine heart—his good about in such a manner, you shall not
without screwing your confounded jaws principles and his bad language-we sing at all, but sit still in your desk will now extract a scene in which and let others sing--twisting your chaps his visit to his Aunt Biddy (a highly about as if you did it on purpose to diverting old person) forms a toler- disturb the congregation.'. 'Look you, ably complete episode, though it has master,' quoth oid Comical, 'I sing very little to do with the story. with my quid in my mouth, and that
is the cause thereof; the tobacco lies "How busy Old Crab was at this quiet enough in plain singing, but when time! for what with setting his brother. I come to a shake the quid dances in-law Lord Budemere's house in order, about like a devil.' Old Crab said and darning his estates, and making his that he was not at all pleased with aunt Biddy's last will and testament, Old Comical's behaviour at church, he scarce knew on what hand to turn and if he would not behave better in him.
it, he could order the church-wardens “Old Comical was smoking his pipe to put him out of it, and disgrace him over his toast and ale and nutmeg in in the presence of the congregation; the porch at the farm. 'John l' quoth subjoining, that if he found no better Old Crab, come for orders:' forasmuch return for the clerkship which he had as it may be remembered that Old given him than turning the psalms into Comical was Old Crab's bailiff and clerk ridicule, and setting folks a-laughing in of the parish, and said Amen to all Old church, Old Comical should be turned Crab said in church o' Sundays- "John!' out of that too as well as the church, quoth Old Crab, "come for orders.' and another take his office. Whereupon Old Comical made his ap- “Now it came to pass that the next pearance in Old Crab's little parlour morning at four o'clock old Crab with his brown jug in one hand-what! mounted Old Crop at the upping stock leave such precious liquor all alone in at the house door; whereupon he smote the porch-with his brown jug in one the old mare with his oaken towel, and hand, and his pipe in one corner of off trotted Old Crop with Old Crab and his mouth, and his wig turned bush for his saddle-bags.
“Now, upon the arrival of Old Crop upon all fours again. I got disinheritand Old Crab at Skeleton House, for ed, and kicked out of the kingdom, that was the name of his aunt Biddy’s for giving that very advice, which, if palace, he found the old lady's carriage taken, had saved my sister's fortune; at the door, and her already dressed in that, and all the money the frugal old her best tackle to go to a ball. Now lord left, is spent: but come to the will at the time the clock struck ten, and -it has been high time any day these the cock had been upon the perch last forty years.' Accidents may hapan hour: 'Aunt Biddy,' quoth old pen, nephey,' quoth she, 'accidents may Crab, after the usual cereinonies of happen to the youngest of us all.' salutation, 'I am come to make your 'Accidents may happen!' thundered will;' and cast thereupon his eye over Old Crab; "ay, you may die in a balla gay knot of artificial flowers stuck room, and be fiddled into eternity: with an air into the old lady's cap. the devil take these colt's teeth, how * Hæ, hæ, nephey,' quoth the frisky old they stick in your mouth, old woman! lass with a smile, it will be time What d'ye nean to do with your enough for that to-morrow, I am going money? "tis time you thought about it to a dance in the neighbourhood:' when, while the spark of lite sticks in your old giving her people orders to take care of tinder, a serious thought can come Old Crab and Old Crop, the old lady into such a bedlam.! Come, come, old stept into her carriage with a little more Crab,' quoth aunt Biddy, 'will you never alacrity than her aged limbs could well leave pif spitting brimstone and sulafford, that complained in half-a-dozen phur? Will you never leave off galloud cracks that they were in no such lopin., dancing, rigging and romping skipping humour. Did Crab sucked up amongst the boys and girls ? answer we his cheeks at the gay old lady, who scut- that, old female. What money have you tled into her coach too quickly to leave in your banker's hands ? Not a groat,' him any time for a reply. The next said aunt Biddy: 'Not a groat !' quoth morning at breakfast, Aunt Biddy,' Old Crab'; 'why, how the plague can you quoth Old Crab, 'd'ye mean to dance contrive to spend three thousand pounds into your grave with a tabor and pipe? a-yeari answer me that, ye old romp.' In the devil's name, d’ye know how I never was a miser, nephey,' quoth old you are?' 'Past fifteen, nephey,' the old lady; but you know, who quoth the merry old virgin with a manage all my money matters, madcap smile. «Past titleen!' quoth Old Crab; as I am, that I never once outran the * d’ye know how many tifteens, there are constable: and, truly, what is money in ninety?' 'I love the age of fifteen so good for? how can we put a penny well,' quoth she, “that I don't care how to a better use than to call one's often it comes over.' You have got it friends about one's house, and make in your head, it seems' quoth Old Trab, them all happy, hæ, nephey But if that it is time to make your will; now, one is merry and wise, hæ, nephey look ye, madam, if you can get the Bat? You are merry enough,' quoti fiddles out of your brains I have a world Old Crab, if you were but as wise, and of work on my hands, and could be glad old enough too to be more of the one to come to the business;' upon which and less of the other, to my thinking.' he went on to tell her that he had a Why, look you, nephey, the more great deal to do for her nephew Lord merry the more wise, that's my motto, Budemere, who was running post haste though it mayn't be so much to your to the devil
. "His lordship should have liking.-1 give a ball to-morrow, and tocome there long ago,' quoth she, "for night I am going to a masquerade, so everybody said that he took the nearest if you please we will come to a parish way: whenever he gets there, however, business as soon as we have done breakhe will be sure to meet with a warın fast. I may die, hiæ, nephey Bat? I reception, for he and the devil are oid may die; the youngest of us all may die, friends; hand and glove, nephey But, nephey But, hæ, hæ, hæ, nephey Bat!' on the best of terms. You have an- Whereupon the old luss clapt her hand other lame dog to help over a stile, gaily on Old Crab's shoulder, aud sang then, it seems, nephey Bat; but John the following staves : is upon good ground again, you tell “Yes, but this is the most con
[We omit the old lady's song as founded business of the two by much,' peculiar.] quoth Old Crab; 'I have just written • What d’ye think of that? hah, hah, to the blockhead, and told him that I nepbey Bat l' A merry old cat!' must put hin on spare diet these ten quoth Old Crab. • Merry! ay, neyears, before I can get this lame dog phey,' quoth aunt Biddy, 'I danced four dances last night, fell in love, and found a packet of letters and their andreamed that I was kissing my part- swers, among John's papers, when I ner. Die! why you don't think I mean settled his matters, that told me everyto die because I sent for you to make thing; in the next I have to add that I my will, Old Crab! I'm not dead will have none of your money, madam; yet
, nephey Bat-I am not dead yet.? what I have done I have done, but I "I will tell you a piece of my mind,' will have none of your money: John quoth Old Crab; "the sooner you are lets me have my farm cheap, and I dead, the better for the reputation of have improved my church : I have ages past; you may be taken for a sam- enough, and will take none of your ple of what women were formerly, and money, not I.' Highty, tighty,' quoth bring more disgrace upon our great- the old lady, 'none of my money, grandmothers than their share comes quoth-a : why, you don't know what is to, galloping about at this time o' day good, nephey-you don't know what is to balls, routs, and masquerades ; I good; not take any of my money! O' wonder what the plague ails you, for my conscience 'tis the first time a bag my part, or what the devil is come to of gold ever went a-begging ! For the a parcel of old bones! Come, send the shame of the world and the speech of crockery away if a will is to be made. the people! what will folks say if I leave Upon which the old ladv rang her bell, my money to another after all
have and having cleared the breakfast table, done for me? Who will tell my story the butler put an inkstand under Old for me after my bones are dry, when Crab's nose, who, dipping his pen therein, some fleering coxcomb shall lift his foot and taking a sheet of paper, said, “Now, upon my tombstone and say, here lies aunt, what is your will, what d'ye mean an old toad under a slab that deserved to do with your money?" "Why,' said to be buried under a dog-kennel-how she, "folks are apt to part with their she used her nephey Bat after all he had money when they can keep it no longer: done for her, a man that would ride five John, you tell me, is upon good ground, hundred miles on end upon a full gallop and like to keep so—and a man worth to come and cut her corns for her! an old threeandtwenty thousand pounds a year harridan to cut such a man off with a has enough and to spare for himself and shilling! My Lady Wixwax and I had a his children; there is my nephew Lams- world of talk upon this matter the other broke too is rolling in money; and as evening over a dish of gunpowder-tea, but for my lord, he would spend Mexico in I believe neither of us heard one word of one day and Peru in another, and not what the other said for four hours, for know where to find money to buy a
we both talked together the whole time; supper before he went to bed; besides, seeing how matters were like to go, wé these good folks never come near me, agreed, at last, to take it by turns to never make any inquiries after me hold one another's tongues in the sugarno more than if I had a ton of marble nippers ; gracious heaven! how Lady upon my bones—not they; I know as Wixwax did run on after the ninth dish little of them and care as little; they all of gunpowder! I paid her off, though, live at a vast distance from me,certainly, when it was my turn to nip, though her but a kind letter now and then would tongue quivered all the while between comfort my old soul; you have always my fingers as if I had got hold of the been a kind and dutiful nephey, taken tail of a snake !
Never trust me, care of my money, done all my business nephey Bat, if I think there is a woman for me, all my little matters, saved me
beneath the silent sun that can talk so all expense and all trouble, and more- long, so lively, and so loud as the old over put three hundred pounds a year to Countess of Wixwax. We came both my income by your skill and knowledge of us at last upon one thing dab, phim in the money markets-you, therefore, I that you was the man for my money; make my heir, who ought to have all and if you will not take it, or take it. that John enjoys at this moment, if my into your own family, I shall not go out brother had not listened, like a hot-head- of the world with a quiet soul.' • What ed fool, to Lord Budemere, who, to tell have I done to deserve your money,' you a secret, was the sole cause of your quoth Old Crab,' what the plague have being turned out of your estates: I tell I done to deserve your money i I'll have you this that you may take no trouble none of your money.' My name,' quoth in that man's matters, who has been the the old virgin,' will offend above ground greatest enemy that you ever had to after my body is turned into snuff and your back. «In the first place, aunt,' my coffin into a snuff-box; I cannot quoth Old Crab, 'I have to say that abide ingratitude, nephey Bat: what this thing is no secret to me, for I did I know about worldly matters ! I VOL. LXXXI.
should have been robbed and ruined will not say.' 'But,' interrupted Fredbut for your services--they ought and erick, 'what father ever had so fine an shall be rewarded.'”
opportunity to show what he could do Old Crab, however, positively re
for a son in distress? your name, after fuses to take any of Aunt Biddy's such an act, will be deathless in the money; and at his instance, she university! I have paid pretty dearly leaves it to his brother John's young
for my immortality,'quoth Mr. Deeastro. est son, the eldest being already pro- This promising young gentleman's vided for. The boys, Frederick and stay at the university is suddenly Acerbus, thus introduced, are de- terminated by an exploit more than scribed at full in the next chapter usually imprudent-he fires a pistol as students at Oxford. The former, at his brother, who receives the balls, a horrible scamp from boyhood, bes not in his breast, but in a folio comes a most atrocious criminal when Plato, which Acerbus has just time he grows up, and consorts with other to interpose as a shield. Frederick, miscreants as bad as himself, of which however, fancying he has killed there are plenty in the book; many his brother, flies the country, after noblemen and gentlemen, near con- a series of adventures worthy of a nections of the Decastro family, being ticket-of-leave man. Still there is no in the habit of committing capital love in the story, for which the chrocrimes. Acerbus, on the contrary, nicler apologises, stating that the becomes an ornament to the univer- young ladies and gentlemen whose sity, and his habits are so studious wooings and distresses are shortly to that he is henceforward generally lend sunshine and cloud to the page, known as the philosopher." Fred- are not yet grown up. Meanwhile erick's excesses having brought him we have the following account of Mr. to death's door, his father comes down and Mrs. Grove, neighbours of the out of the north, to fetch him at all Decastros, who live at Hindermark. hazards out of the university.
“Mr. Grove was a very old friend and "But his removal was attended with schoolfellow of Mr. Decastro, a very certain difficulties, which threw the old quiet man, and very rarely spoke one gentleman into some perplexities; for- loud word-his manner was to carry his asmuch as a set of honest worthy men, nose up to a man's ear, and deliver all who lived in the habits of trade with ihe he had to say into it in a whisper. Mr. University, opposed the litter in a close Grove had a wife—where on earth could body, and made it known to Mr. De- he have picked her up? -Mr. Grove had castro, with considerable clamour, how a wife who seldom spoke at all, but unwilling they were to part with their made use of signs as far as signs would old acquaintance; and so attached were go, like one born dumb: when she they to the poor young gentleman in wanted wine, or gin, rum, brandy, or the litter, that Mr. Decastro could by queen's water, she would point at the no means clear the road of them until bottle; when she wanted tea she would such time as he had distributed drafts point at the canister; and when she on his banker to the amount of seven would send for the gentlemen into the hundred pounds.
drawing-room after dinner, she would “Half a year elapsed before Mr. De erect a finger at the butler. One day castro got his son Frederick on his legs when her maid offended her, the woman again ; the vigour of whose constitution dashed out of the room in a moment, carried the point at last against both for she said that her mistress put on a medicine and disease. His father now terrible frown and pointed at the poker. took the advantage of the return of These two good folks coming together, health to read him a lecture in moral somehow or other, like flint and steel, philosophy. Frederick heard the peal struck out a pretty spark, and called his with patience till his father wrung him name George, a very excellent young upon his debts: “Why, sir,' interrupted man, and being an only child, he had he, 'would you have me sneak about like to have got killed with kindnessthe university as if my father was a rat- more of him by-and-by. Mr. Grove's catcher; or consult his honour and credit estates lay near Mr. Decastro's tine old in it, and live like a gentleman ? How castle, and he lived at a place called far my credit was consulted,' quoth Mr. Hindermark, a noble place, well known Decastro, 'in an arrest in one of the to all in the north of England who are inost public streets in the university, I not ignorant of it: Dr. Grove was glad at heart to find his old friend and to tell us the good news of my old schoolfellow Decastro was come to live friend John's coming to live at Oaken near him, and he cut three capers the Grove— Why the plague can't ye first time he heard of it: and Mr. De- speak out,' thundered Old Crab: “there's castro was glad at heart to find that he always such a whizzing and whispering and his old friend and schoolfellow, amongst ye, as if ye had got something Grove, were such near neighbours, and in your heads that ye were ashamed of; he cut three more capers when he heard speak out!' 'Mr. Bartholomew,' said of it, which made six capers all together. Mr. Grove,' we shall be exceedingly glad Mr. Grove had a fortune of twenty thou- to see you to dine with us upon this good sand pounds a-year, which some give as news to-day; there was not any mischief one reason why he was not a poor man, done by your brother John when he was and it may be a good one, whatever a boy for ten years together but I had private doubts some may entertain of a hand in it, Mr. Bartholomew; not an the matter, for some old cunning stagers old woman turned at night with her have held forth that they are not always lanthorn bottom upwards to the stars the richest men, who have got the most but I laid hold of one leg, and John, money: Mr. Grove, however, was very my good friend John, laid hold on the frugal, and never paid away a shilling other; no duck knocked on the head without looking at it on both sides : but but John and I each threw a stone at he kept a good house, and called his the same time; no dog canistered but friends about him, like a noble gentle- I held his tail while John, my friend man, both in town and country, notwith- John, tied on the canister : ah, good Mr. standing; but he hated noise, and if a Bartholomew, you must dine with us servant spoke a loud word he would upon this good news to-day, yes,indeed ring his bell and ask what was the mat- upon which Mrs. Grove pointed to a ter; when he and his wife came to a chair, which was as good as to beg Old quarrel it was always carried on o' both Crab to sit down. 'I shall be starved to sides by signs and motions, which grew death before your dinner is ready,' quoth at times so vehement in every part of Old Crab : 'what time d'ye dine, Master their bodies that was movable that Grove?' Mrs. Grove held up three finthey seemed to a looker-on like two gers, which was as good as to say they people in strong convulsions: by the dined that day at three o'clock. - Weli, time all was over they had usually per- well,' quoth Old Crab, I am going spired so much that they were fain to round to some of John's tenants; we call for a change of linen: but of this have some old leases falling in this thus far. Old Crab was the first man Michaelmas, we must try to give them to bring Mr. Grove the news that his a hoist, ha, Mr. Grove, you understand brother was coming to live in the old 'me, the scoundrels have got as fat as castle: Mr. Bartholomew,' quoth Mr. hogs upon these old rents:—I'll call and Grove, running his long nobe into Old eat a bit of victuals with ye when I come Crab'swig, 'Mr. Bartholomew,it gives me back ;-and, d'ye hear? bid your butler great joy to hear of this matter,' where put some toast and nutmeg into a tankard upon Mr. Grove cut his three capers as of that strong beer I drank of tother aforesaid. Master Grove,' quoth Old morning. I should like a hair of the old Crab, 'what the devil ails ye?' My joy dog, Master Grove.' And Old Crab was has exhilarated me a little, Mr. Bartho- as good as his word, for punctually at lomew,' whispered Mr. Grove: ‘my joy three o'clock, ay, while Mr. Grove's has exhilarated me a little, that is all, turret-clock was a-striking, the old crop pulling his long nose on one side with mare trotted up to the house with oia his right hand to get nearer to Old Crab upon her back and a foal running by Crab's ear. Now it came to pass that Mr. her side, and stood very quiet at the gate Grove had his nose in his hand when while she got rid of Old Crab on one side Mrs. Grove came into the room-yes, and gave her foal suck on the other: Mr. Grove had his nose in his hand "Take care of the mare and colt,' quoth when Mrs. Grove came into the room, Old Crab to the groom, who came run for it stood forth like a long pole of ning in his scarlet and gold jacket, take flesh to the length of six inches straight care of the mare and colt, you gold-laced out of the middle of his face: Sugar of rascal, or I'll embroider your back with my life,' quoth Mr. Grove to his spouse, my cudgel, and give the tailor a new walking up to his wife with his nose in pattern for the next livery.' We have his hand, and blowing the hairs off her no time to break out sideways and tell ear for the better conveniency of whis- long stories, but Old Crab had picked up pering, 'sugar of my life,' said he, 'Mr. the groom that ran for his mare, naked Bartholomew Decastro, here, comes as he lay upon a dunghill, in London,