صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

“ Yes, mon colonel, I discharge him, because he cast affront upon me, insupportable to an artist of sentiment.”

“ Artist !” mentally ejaculated the colonel.

“Mon colonel, de marqui had de mauvais goût one day, when he had large partie to dine, to put salt into his soup, before all his compagnie.”

“ Indeed,” said Arden ; " and, may I ask, is that considered a crime, sir, in your code ?”

“I don't know cod,” said the man. “Morue ?- dat is salt enough without.”

“I don't mean that, sir,” said the colonel : “I ask, is it a crime for a gentleman to put salt into his soup ?

“Not a crime, mon colonel," said Rissolle, “but it would be de ruin of me, as cook, should it be known to de world : so I told his lordship I must leave him ; that de butler had said dat he saw his lordship put de salt into de soup, which was to proclaim to de universe dat I did not know de propre quantité of salt required to season my soup.'

“ And you left his lordship for that?inquired the astonished country gentleman.

“ Oui, sir. His lordship gave me excellent character; I go afterward to live wid my Lord Trefoil, very good, respectable man, my lord, of good family, and very honest man, I believe; but de king, one day, made him bis gouverneur in Ireland, and I found I could not live in dat devil Dublin."

u No?

“No, mon colonel : it is fine city,” said Rissolle, – “good place, - but dere is no Italian Opera."

“ How shocking!” said Arden. “And you left his Excellency on that account ?” “Oui, mon colonel.”

Why, his Excellency managed to live there without an Italian Opera," said Arden.

“Yes, mon colonel, c'est vrai; but I presume he did not know dere was none when he took de place. I have de character from my lord, to state why I leave him.”

Saying which, he produced a written character from Lord Trefoil, who, being a joker as well as a minister, had actually stated the fact related by the unconscious turnspit as the reason for their separation.

“And pray, sir,” said the colonel, “what wages do you expect?”

66

“Wages ! Je n'entend pas, mon colonel,” answered Rissolle. “Do you mean de stipend, — de salarie ?”

“As you please,” said Arden.

“My Lord Trefoil,” said Rissolle, “give to me seven hundred pound a year, my wine, and horse and tilbury, with small tigre for him.”

“Small what, sir?” exclaimed the astonished colonel. “Tigre,” said Rissolle; "little man-boy, to hold de horse.”

“Ah!” said Arden, “ seven hundred pounds a year, and a tiger!”

“Exclusive of de pâtisserie, mon colonel. I never touch dat département; but I have de honor to recommend Jenkin, my sister's husband, for de pâtisserie, at five hundred pound and his wine. Oh, Jenkin is dog ship at dat, mon colonel.”

“Oh! exclusive of pastry,” said the colonel, emphatically. “Oui, mon colonel,” said Rissolle.

“ Which is to be contrived for five hundred pounds per annum additional. Why, sir, the rector of my parish, a clergyman and a gentleman, with an amiable wife and seven children, has but half the sum to live upon.”

"Dat is hard," said Rissolle, shrugging up his shoulders.

“Hard ?- it is hard, sir,” said Arden; "and yet you will hear the men who pay their cooks seven hundred a year for dressing dinners get up in their places in Parliament, declaim against the exorbitant wealth of the Church of England, and tell the people that our clergy are overpaid.”

“Poor clergie! Mon colonel,” said the man, “I pity your clergie; but den you don't remember de science and experience dat it require to make an omelette soufflée."

“The devil take your omelette, sir!” said Arden. “Do you mean seriously and gravely to ask me seven hundred pounds a year for your services ?

“Oui, vraiment, mon colonel," said Rissolle, at the same moment gracefully taking snuff from a superb gold box.

“Why, then, d-n it, sir, I can't stand this any longer,” cried the irritated novice in the fashionable world. hundred pounds! Make it guineas, sir, and I'll be your cook for the rest of my life.”

The noise of this annunciation, the sudden leap taken by Monsieur Rissolle, to avoid something more serious than words, which he anticipated from the irate colonel, brought Wilson into the room, who, equally terrified with his Gallic

« Seven

friend at the symptoms of violent anger which his master's countenance displayed, stood wondering at the animation of the scene; when Arden, whose rage at the nonchalance of Rissolle at first impeded his speech, uttered, with an emphasis not to be misunderstood :

“Good-morning, sir. Seven hundred -"

What the rest of this address might have been it is impossible to say, for before it was concluded Rissolle had left the apartment, and Wilson closed the door.

THE MARCH OF INTELLECT.

(A Prophetic View of Socialism, from “ John Bull.") It happened on the 31st of March, 1926, that the then Duke and Duchess of Bedford were sitting in their good but old house, No. 17 Liberality Place (the corner of Riego Street), near to where old Hammersmith stood before the great improvements; and although it was past two o'clock, the breakfast equipage still remained upon the table.

It may be necessary to state that the illustrious family in question, having embraced the Roman Catholic faith (which at that period was the established religion of the country), had been allowed to retain their titles and honorable distinctions; although Woburn Abbey had been long before restored to the Church, and was, at the time of which we treat, occupied by a worshipful community of holy friars. The duke's family estates in Old London had been, of course, divided by the Equitable Convention amongst the numerous persons whose distressed situation gave them the strongest claims, and his Grace and his family had been for a long time receiving the compensation annuity allotted to his ancestors.

“Where is Lady Elizabeth ?” said his Grace to the duchess. “She is making the beds, duke," replied her Grace. “What, again to-day?” said his Grace.

“ Where are Stubbs, Hogsflesh, and Figgins, the females whom, were it not contrary to law, I should call the housemaids ?”

“They are gone,” said her Grace, “on a sketching tour with the manciple, Mr. Nicholson, and his nephew.”

“Why are not these things removed ?” said his Grace, eyeing the breakfast-table, upon which (the piece of furniture being of oak, without covering) stood a huge jar of honey, several saucers of beet-root, a large pot of half-cold decoction of sassafrage, and an urn full of bean-juice; the use of cotton, sugar, tea, and coffee having been utterly abolished by law in the year 1888.

“I have rung several times,” said the duchess, “and sent Lady Maria upstairs into the assistants' drawing-room to get some of them to remove the things; but they have kept her, I believe, to sing to them — I know they are very fond of hearing her, and often do so.

His Grace, whose appetite seemed renewed by the sight of the still lingering viands which graced the board, seemed determined to make the best of a bad bargain, and sat down to commence an attack upon some potted seal and pickled fish from Baffin's Bay and Behring's Straits, which some of their friends who had gone over there to pass the summer (as was the fashion of those times) in the East India steamships (which always touched there) had given them; and having consumed a pretty fair portion of the remnants, his favorite daughter, Lady Maria, made her appearance.

“Well, Maria," said his Grace, where have you been all this time?"

“Mr. Curry,” said her Ladyship, “the young person who is good enough to look after our horses, had a dispute with the lady who assists Mr. Biggs in dressing the dinner for us, whether it was necessary at chess to say check to the queen when the queen was in danger, or not. I was unable to decide the question, and I assure you I got so terribly laughed at that I ran away as fast as I could.”

“ Was Duggins in the assistants' drawing-room, my love?” said the duke.

“No," said Lady Maria.

“I wanted him to take a message for me," said his Grace, in a sort of demi-soliloquy.

“I'm sure he cannot go, then,” said Lady Maria, “because I know he is gone to the House of Parliament" (there was but one at that time); “for he told the other gentleman who cleans the plate that he could not be back to attend at dinner, however consonant with his wishes, because he had promised to wait for the division."

“Ah,” sighed the duke, “this comes of his having been elected for Westininster.”

At this moment Lord William Cobbett Russell made his appearance, extremely hot and evidently tired, having under his arm a largish parcel.

“What have you there, Willy?” said her Grace.

“My new breeches,” said his lordship. “I have called upon the worthy citizen who made them, over and over again, and never could get them, for of course I could not expect him to send them, and he is always either at the academy or the gymnasium; however, to-day I caught him just as he was in a hot debate with a gentleman who was cleaning his windows, as to whether the solidity of a prism is equal to the product of its base by its altitude. I confess I was pleased to catch him at home; but unluckily the question was referred to me, and not comprehending it I was deucedly glad to get off, which I did as fast as I could, both parties calling after me, 'There is a lord for you - look at my lord!' and hooting me in a manner which, however constitutional, I cannot help thinking deucedly disagreeable."

At this moment (what in former times was called) a footman, named Dowbiggin, made his appearance, who entered the room, as the duke hoped, to remove the breakfast things, but it was in fact to ask Lady Maria to sketch in a tree in a landscape which he was in the course of painting.

“Dowbiggin," said his Grace in despair, “I wish you would take away these breakfast things."

“Indeed!” said Dowbiggin, looking at he duke with the most ineffable contempt -"you do!- that's capital - what right have you to ask me to do any such thing?"

“Why, Mr. Dowbiggin," said the duchess, who was a bit of a tartar in her way, “his Grace pays you, and feeds you, and clothes you, to

“Well, duchess,” said Dowbiggin, “and what then? Let his Grace show me his superiority. I am ready to do anything for him: but please to recollect I asked him yesterday, when I did remove the coffee, to tell me what the Altaic chain is called, when, after having united all the rivers which supply the Jenisei, it stretches as far as the Baikal lake – and what did he answer? He made a French pun, and said, "Je ne sais pas, Dobiggin.' Now, if it can be shown by any statute that I, who am perfectly competent to answer any question I propose, am first to be put off with a quibble by way of reply; and secondly, to be required to work for a man who does not know as much as I do myself, merely because he is a duke, why, I'll do it: but if not, I will resist in a constitutional manner such illiberal oppression and such ridiculous control, even though I

« السابقةمتابعة »