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His second interrupted him by reminding a man of mettle, therefore have mercy upon him of the folly of exposing his terrors to me, and prove that you are as generous as his adversary now they were upon the brave. We never had no valour in our ground, and that every attempt at an ac- family-never. I didn't come of a fighting commodation had failed. But Mr. Tomkins' stock. What would you have? My grandalarm was paramount over every other father was but a poor man, who carried a feeling, and he roared to the extreme pitch knot on his shoulder for thirty-five years, of his voice
but he was as honest a porter as ever plied “ Mr. Clifford—Sir-I ax your pardon, at Temple Alley. My father was brought on my knees I ax your pardon. I daren't up in a charity-school, and has had dunce' stand to be fired at, indeed I daren't : let pinned to his back many a time and oft, us be friends: for mercy's sake, forgive me.” though he managed to leave me half a plum
Clifford pretended not to hear him; the at his death. I am the first of the Tompoor agitated distiller rushed forward, and, kinses that was ever breeched in superfine dropping down on his knees before him, Saxony, or that was ever booby enough to besought him to spare his life for the sake send a challenge after the fashion of gentleof his poor wife and four helpless babes.
and if I'm spared now, I'll take good Sir," said Clifford, in a peremptory care it shall be the last. I'm a coward, tone, you demanded satisfaction, and you there's no doubt of that, and 'tisn't worth shall have it. I sought not this meeting ; spending powder and ball upon a coward. indeed I had no desire to meet a man of I can't help my nature, Mr. Clifford, for your resolution in such a deadly encounter; what's bred in the bone will never come but
you have cast an imputation upon my out of the flesh,' as my grandam used to say courage by calling me to the field, and 1 when she chided me, with a grandmother's come here to prove to you that your call love, for being more stupid than my brother has not been made in vain. I am about to Thomas. That was a kind creature, that make you that reparation for your injured grandmother of mine, but how would she honour which you have demanded at my be scared if she could see me now!” hands. This matter has now proceeded too Clifford took his position, and the halffar to admit of any temporising. You must distracted Mr. Joseph Tomkins was placed instantly prepare to change shots with me.” or rather dragged in front of him within
“I can't prepare. I haven't the courage. about four paces of his pistol, already I don't want no reparation. I have no elevated to the level of the distiller's brains. doubt of Mrs. Joseph's virtue and of your After standing a moment, his knees tremintegrity. I will never complain of my in- bling under him, like the surface of an agijured honour, indeed I will not. If I tated custard, he suddenly burst from the should be killed, for I hear you're a dead hands of his friends, and hurried across the hand at a pistol, where will my honour be field, like a windmill upon rollers. He then ? A fig for such a counterfeit token was however soon overtaken panting and
’tis nothing better than a Brumajem “larding the lean earth,” and brought back ha’penny. I don't want to have nothing to to his position. He was so terrified as to be do with honour. I'm better fitted to handle scarcely conscious of his situation. He a stave than a pistol, for when I served as closed his eyes and snorted like a whale constable I received a vote of thanks from upon a shallow; still none of those votaries the parish for keeping the peace.
You're of fun by whom he was accompanied upon gentleman, Mr. Clifford, and I am satisfied.” this jocose occasion entertained towards him
“But I am not, Sir; you have called one jot of sympathy. hough with counmy courage into question, and I am deter- tenances as lowering as a November dawn, mined to prove to you that you have not their hearts were laughing under their to deal with such a rascal as you have pre- waistcoats at the probable issue of the droll sumed to take me for. Take your ground, adventure in which they had become such Sir, and do not oblige me to think you the willing agents. coward I should be unwilling to call you.” The unhappy rectifier, at once of alcohol
I know I'm a coward, Mr. Clifford, I and of his wife's honour, stood utterly unknow I'm a coward,” cried the terrified conscious of the joke under which he was man, still upon his knees; “but I didn't at that very moment suffering the tortures make myself, and am not therefore answer- of purgatory. His flesh danced upon his able for my infirmities. I know I am not bones as if it had been seared with a heated
gridiron, and the blood galloped through he lay on the sward in a gentle deliquium, his veins at the rate of two leaps in a second. Vernon, who had attended Clifford in the It would have moved a stone to see the dis- character of second, blackened the spot with tress of the half distracted husband, who a small piece of moistened charcoal, reasonwould have willingly left his wife's reputa- ably conceiving that the fat champion of tion for ever to take care of itself, if he the still would, upon recovering from his could but get out of his present dilemma panic, imagine himself fairly shot through without the chance of death by powder the head. and ball.
The wits of Mr. Tomkins, such as they Everything being now ready, a pistol were, soon returned ; and he lay upon the was put into the hand of the terrified chal- ground bellowing and groaning in a state of lenger, who stood before the challengee in doubtful unconsciousness, declaring that he speechless terror. The moment he grasped was killed, and supplicating heaven for the weapon of death, which was cocked, mercy upon
soul. with a convulsive twitch of the finger he A large shutter was now procured, and pulled the unresisting trigger, and dis- six sturdy labourers were engaged, at halfcharged the contents against the head of a-crown a head, to bear this prostrate “tun his second, who, finding his whiskers singed, of man,” with scarcely “half a kilderkin and a clean shirt marred, staggered back of wit,” to the farm-house. A little pig's and quitted his hold; but as the pistol had blood, which had been previously secured in only been charged with powder, no other a phial, was dropped upon his forehead and damage was done than that of singing his applied to the tips of his fingers, so that clothes and the hair that adorned his cheeks when he put his hand to his temples, he and upper lip, the latter of which being was confirmed in the belief that a ball had curled and well pomatumed, narrowly passed through them, so soon as he perescaped a general conflagration. The gen- ceived the incarnadine hue with which he tleman, however, adroitly covered the im- fancied they were dyed. perilled mustachios with his broad palm, As the fallen champion lay on the shutter and thus saved from certain demolition he continued his cries, and occasionally those capillary ornaments. Meanwhile lurched so suddenly, that his six bearers, Mr. Tomkins took no notice of the disaster, who with difficulty staggered under their being too much absorbed in his own fears colossal burthen, could scarcely prevent him to notice external objects. He stood rigid from falling off, and thus risking the fracas a statue, with his eyes closed, his pistol ture of his bones and the bursting of his arm extended, and his lips compressed, huge body. By constantly rubbing his waiting to hear the dreadful sound that was, face, he had so besmeared it with blood and in all human probability, to be the signal perspiration, that by the time his bearers for his exit from this world, in which he reached the farm, he looked positively had been so comfortable, to one in which it ghastly. They at length got him into the was doubtful whether he should be equally house, and tilted him from the shutter upon happy, for the thought of death brought a large bed, the sacking of which immediwith it recollections which he would have ately gave way beneath so unusual a weight been very reluctant to communicate to of human flesh, and he sank through the the officers of excise, when he found that opening, with his legs sticking in the air, he was likely to live for another term of between which his head would most ceryears.
tainly have been thrust, but for that bulky In the mean time the discharged pistol portion of his outward man buttoned up in was reloaded without ball, and placed again his waistcoat. in the challenger's hand, which was raised A mattress was now spread upon the floor; by his second towards the breast of the upon this the unwieldy Mr. Tomkins challengee, who, advancing sufficiently near was stretched, still groaning and uttering to be sure of making his hit, at the word piteous exclamations, yet in a manner sợ “ Fire," discharged his pistol. Down utterly incoherent that Vernon began to be dropped the man of grains like a slaughtered seriously alarmed for the issue, until assu ed ox, with his mouth open to the utmost ex- by one of the party present, who was a meditremity of his jaws, his eyes staring, and cal man, there was no danger; very justly his wits altogether gone. The dough pellet observing, that cowards are never frightened had struck him in the forehead, and whilst to death.
This is no doubt philosophically true, to put his soft head in the way of a hard for cowards are so much in the habit of bullet. As, however, he had jeoparded his being alarmed, that they do not feel the scanty stock of brains for her sake, she same sudden and severe shock with which prudently shut herself up in her bed-room, alarm is invariably accompanied to a really so that no one could perceive how she was brave spirit. A brave man when frightened affected by Mr. Joseph's pitiable condition. (a matter of no common occurrence) can In the privacy of her chamber, she could only be so by something under which the be just as sorrowful as suited her temper, sternest courage must quail. On the con- and this was far more mirthful than mourntrary, a coward quails at the bare appre- ful. She had a much stronger tendency to hension of danger; he is, therefore, too smiles than to tears, the former of which much accustomed to be frightened to die in she practised upon all occasions where the consequence of it. Cowardice escapes in- opportunity of being observed was afforded : jury from terror, because terror is congenial holding it an uncontrovertible axiom of to it when courage might become its victim, woman's philosophy, that tears mar the because the power of terror is greater in beauty which smiles cannot fail to adorn, proportion as the experience of it has been In truth, she at the present moment regretless.
ted more the now unavoidable termination Mr. Tomkins being now in a state of of her intimacy with Clifford, than the passive helplessness, was dosed with a few probably fatal result, as she was led to ima glasses of his own gin, or rather of gin that gine, of his encounter with her unfortunate had been his own. Notwithstanding that husband, for she was fully impressed with his
poor stupid head was filled with images the idea that the latter was mortally of worms, skulls, and cross-bones, the mo- wounded. She committed Mr, Tomkins ment the bottle was placed to his mouth, very contentedly to the care of Vernon, with a sort of mechanical eagerness he im- Clifford, and the doctor, the latter a family bibed the spirit in copious mouthfuls, quite apothecary, who sold his physic as the belying the maxim that doctors never take distiller did his gin, by measure, and their own physic, for it will be remembered many a gallon had he crammed down the that gin is a panacea among the vulgar; and throats of the family who had committed this inspiration of his own manufacture their bodies to his keeping, or I should say speedily produced the effect of a composing better, to his physicking. draught, sending the slaughtered man, for The poor terrified husband slept for about so he fancied himself, asleep, and thus eight hours without once opening his eyes. stilling his bellowing, though it set him When brought from the field of strife, & snoring with a vehemence scarcely less shell had been ordered from a neighbouring deafening. The perspiration rolled from undertaker, a visiting acquaintance of the him in streams, bis wig escaped from his Tomkinses, in which Mr. Joseph was put, slippery forehead, and he looked for all the after having been regularly shrouded, and world like a dying Polyphemus with his placed before a large pier glass in the draw
ing-room. The only light in the apartment The snoring distiller was now taken home was that which was permitted to enter in his own carriage, which had been sent through a round hole in the shutter, and for for this purpose. Vernon and Clifford fell immediately upon the mirror. The were permitted to remain with the wounded instant the unwieldy sleeper awoke, he man, to watch by him during the night, as started from the shell, and beholding the they were extremely anxious to see how reflection of his squalid countenance, and the farce would end.
the round black spot upon his temples, Mrs. Tomkins had been informed in the he uttered a frightful yell, falling at the mean while that her husband had received same moment with a terrific crash
the a probably fatal wound in a duel, fought in floor, and overturning the shell, a table, and vindication of his own honour and her repu- six chairs. For some moments he did not tation. At this unexpected but by no means utter a word. At length he muttered, in a unv elcome information, she evinced far tone distinctly audible more surprise than concern; for she had “ Right through the head—the coffin and not given her poor dear man, as she fami- the shroud—there can be no doubt-plump liarly termed him, credit for spirit enough through my temples—my skull drilled like
an empty puncheon — clean through my seeing a basin of water near him, he plunged brain. What a body mine for the worms his hand into it, and mechanically raising it so full of healthy life! to be put under the to his forehead, removed the black spot of earth like a bag of fermented jelly, which charcoal. When he discovered that there the cook has discarded from her kitchen, was really no hole in his skull, of which a as no longer fit to be mingled with her more minute examination in the glass soon kitchen-stuff.”
convinced him, he shouted at the full pitch He paused, groaned, and, withdrawing of his voice—“ I am not dead !” and his eyes from the mirror, fixed them upon springing upon his feet, deliberately washed the lower extremity of the shroud, which his face, divested his body of the shroud, was not succinct, but covered him to the and, seating himself in a chair, cried exultvery toes. He recommenced his melancholy ingly—“Thank God! I am a man again!” soliloquy.
The whole truth suddenly flashed upon “ I am no more of this world, surely!- his mind, and he perceived that he had I cannot be alive-a man with a bullet been made the subject of a practical joke. through his sconce, cannot be alive;- Vernon and Clifford, now thinking that it's quite impossible. And is this death? the jest had been carried sufficiently far, Is this to be among the angels? I am all advanced and congratulated Mr. Tomkins alone, like a slug in an empty flower-pot! upon his fortunate escape. He looked I seem to feel—and yet how should I ?-a very sheepish, from a consciousness of the man with half-an-ounce of lead in his want of spirit he had manifested in his late brains couldn't feel—I don't feel—it's all encounter with Clifford. The two friends fancy."
offered him their congratulations with a He at this moment knocked his nose mock gravity, which added extremely to against the edge of the shell, which made it his mortification. But when the whole contract like a squeezed worm, or a pocket truth reached the ears of Mrs. Tomkins, telescope.
she flew into a violent rage, knocked her “ And yet I do feel—my nose tingles as fair fists against the bed-posts, cracked a it was wont when Mrs. Joseph used to pitcher with the rapid momentum by which tweak it in the vehemence of her indigna- she jerked her foot out of its ordinary line tion. There is life then in death, or I'm of progression, and tore an India muslin no dead man. I know not what to think; dressing-gown, by hitching it in the fracby dad, I don't. Am I dead, or am I not ? tured handle. She railed against poor Tomthat is the question,' as the man said in the kins, to whom she applied all the vituperaplay. I should not have a shroud on, and tive epithets in her vocabulary, land for be coffined, if I were alive. I am certainly many weeks after twitted him with the dead-but how little fit to die ! Had I lived adventure at Chalk Farm. longer, I should have loved spirits less. Oh Clifford did not repeat his visits to the it was too soon to call me from my comforts mercurial spouse of the wealthy distiller; --a cruel call for me, as well as for poor and she, therefore, shortly directed the Mrs. Joseph and the dear babbies. I shall focus of her attractions towards a more never more behold her - never more see humble suitor. A few months after the them—the chubby little dears! I shall duel, it became the general gossip of the never more visit the still— I'm still enough neighbourhood, that Mrs. Tomkins had now! What a blockhead to fight! My absconded with a young tallow-chandler; name only will be remembered! This will and that Mr. Tomkins had consequently be stuck over the shops of those who retail got rid of a great plague : he was therefore my rectified whiskey, when I shall be a sort vastly indebted to the man of wax (for all of Lord Mayor's feast for worms !" his candles were not tallow) for the abduc
He carefully felt about his person, to tion, with her own free will and consent, ascertain if the worms had yet begun their of the compliant Mrs. Joseph Tomkins. banquet. He then sat up, and wept; but
CONVERSATIONS IN PURGATORY.
BY SIR EGERTON BRYDGES.
CONVERSATION VI. Lord Surry, William Lord Pembroke, Colonel Richard Lovelace, Lord Middlesex, and
Surry. Welcome among us, my noble model of Marino; but you cannot accuse descendant, Lord Carlisle : you have lin- me of it, if you look to my song addressed gered long on earth.
to Althea. Carlisle. I found it wearisome and pain- Pembroke. We passed our days in an ful at last.
amorous gallantry; and my love-poems, as Súrry. Yours were days of peace and well as Lovelace's, will, I hope, be found to luxury ;—mine of trouble, peril, and blood- have some passion. shed !
Middlesex. An hundred years afterwards Carlisle. But yours were days of chivalry I had also the credit of writing elegant and glory; mine of revolutions and mob- love-songs. government.
Surry. Your sword, Colonel Lovelace, Surry. It was not chivalrous to die by was ready in the cause of loyalty, as well as the
axe, on false accusations, at the com- your pen in the cause of the ladies. mand of a jealous tyrant.
Lovelace. It was a cause in which I sufCarlisle. Danger sweetens the hours of fered forfeiture, and the dreadful poverty security: we had better pass our lives in of which I died. vigorous contrasts.
Pembroke. A sudden and easy death reSurry. Did you find ease, rank, and leased me, after a life of pleasure, before wealth insipid ?
these dreadful troubles came to the unCarlisle. Yes! Ennui consumed half my sheathing of the sword. days.
Middlesex. Mine was a gay life in calmer Surry. You was respected for your genius times, but not a happy one. as well as being one of the old nobility. Surry. There is no pleasure but in an
Carlisle. Mine were not days in which energetic discharge of our duty. There is either of these considerations gained much no joy in effeminate ease. All the faculties regard.
must not only be kept alive, but rendered Surry. I am aware that these late times acute and strong by constant and persewere mortifying to rank; but were they tovering exercise. The senses become dull literary genius?
by indulgence in prolonged rest. By lisCarlisle. The question is, what is literary tening with intensity to the elements, we genius? When I was old, the English shall understand their language. For the public judged differently of it than in my winds, and the seas, and the thunders, youth. Literature latterly partook of the speak to us; and the voices of aërial spirits revolutionary character of the age.
travel upon the breeze. The short time I Surry. To speak frankly, they thought passed on earth, I endeavoured to polish my you a little too finical.
mind, as well as to strengthen my hand and Lovelace. Yes; you had not enough of my heart. I imported from Italy the passion or simplicity. You brought with sweetness of some of its lyrical compositions, you too much of the artifices of the great and endeavoured to impart some elegance schools. You was of the ornate or florid to our ruder poetry. style.
Middlesex. We all know how much just Carlisle
. I know not, Colonel Lovelace, and generous admiration is due to you, and that authors of your date are entitled to how delightfully you have illustrated the make this criticism.
heroic and accomplished name of HOWARD. Lovelace. I allow that many of my co- Surry. How heartily I may return the temporaries followed the quaint and false compliment! Who greater than SACKVILLE