Imagens das páginas

tell me why ?” “ It would be of no use to you, Mr. Nettle," replied the judge; " it's much too large for the pony.A loud laugh followed this cut; Jacob joined in it, but was obliged to content himself with his own saddle, and the loss of his fee.

I must not omit one very amusing story, which, however, to be properly appreciated, the reader should have heard him tell, for his imitation of the parties connected with it was excellent; I will give as nearly as possible the words in which he told it, but for his manner and the character of the persons spoken of, I must trust to the reader's imagination or knowledge of the parties.

I dined in company with Jacob at the house of a friend; after dinner, and when the bottle had passed pretty freely,—"Come, Jacob,” said the host, “ give us the story of the Ten Pound Bill."

" What's that?" says Jacob, raising his ear-trumpet, which he always carried about him. “The Ten Pound Bill !” bawled the host into the

aperture; “Oh, ay, ha, ha, ha!” roars Jacob, “0, I forget it.”

No, no, no,” calls out every one at the table at once ; come, Jacob, out with it—the Ten Pound Bill.” “Well, well,” says Jacob, with a shake of the head, “ here it goes:"

JACOB NETTLE'S STORY OF THE TEN POUND BILL." Showing that it is not so easy to get Money for a good Bill as some People

may suppose. You must know that in the days of Curran, O'G- -y, B-e, and such like stars of the day, there was a very jolly set of us at the Irish bar (Jacob always included himself amongst the stars,) and seldom a day passed without a dinner from some one of the party to the rest of us ; -of course, I had my own turn now and then : it was there we would have the fun, the genuine wit, and the hearty laugh over the jolly bottle. Some of us had not over and above much to spare in the money way, but whenever we could get hold of the guinea with the brief, we should set off to the market for the leg of mutton and turnips, or the piece of beef, or anything in the homely way. Well, one morning, a rap comes to my door ;---thinks I to myself, this is a brief—but who should walk in but my friend Billy Daly's servant. “What's the matter, Tom ?” said I ;“ is your master ill ?” “ No, plase yer honour,” says Tom ;“ but he has a few friends to dine with him today, and, by the same token, I think yer honour is one of them.” "Indeed, I am,” said I; “and I hope he is not going to put us off.” "O not at all, yer honour; but, somehow or other, he's run rather short of money, and he sent me down to know if you could lend him the loan of a five pound note until his next brief.“ That's a bad case, Tom,” said I," for I have not got a farthing of ready money in the house.' “O may be, yer honour had better try, and you'll get it ready enough,says Tom, doubting in some degree my veracity, and trying to coaz me into the loan. “The only thing I have in the world, Tom," said I, after a pause,“ is a bit of paper.

“By dad, sir, if it's bank paper it's just the thing," interrupts Tom.

“It is not,” said I,“ but it is as safe as the Bank,-a bit of paper in

X, S.--VOL. VI.

the shape of a Ten Pound Bill;-but that will not do. I think, Tom, you had better go to some one else at once, and let us make sure of the dinner.” “By dad, then, yer honour, I don't know who the dI'd go to but yourself; but, if I might make bould to spake, may be yer honour would have no trouble in getting money from some of your friends in the courts for the ten pound bill; sure I can follow your honour down there, and you can try, for the master will be disappointed entirely, if I go back without the money.” “Well, Tom,” says I, “ we must see what can be done; I am going now to court, and if I don't get the money it will not be for want of asking;" the fact is, I would have done anything for my friend, Billy Daly.

Well, away I went to court, with my friend Tom after me, and the first person I happened to light on was my friend B. He was just going into the Exchequer, where he now sits on the bench. “B--11," said I, “ I want to speak to you." " What is it?" says he ; "can I do anything for you?-command me.” “Nothing particular,” said I, “only a small ten pound bill I have here, that I want to get cash for; it is not so much for myself, as to lend our friend, Billy Daly, five pounds. Here is his servant,” said I, turning to Tom, who was close at my heels with a suit of livery that must have been made in the reign of Queen Dick ;-in fact, his very appearance was enough to frighten any one from lending money to the master. “ You see, my dear B-11,” said I," here he is waiting to take the money home; some of us dine at the house to-day, and if I cannot get the money, we will come off rather short.B-ll threw an eye at the servant, and then laying his hand upon my shoulder, “By all that's sacred,” said he," Jacob, I have fifty pounds to pay for a bill to-morrow, fifty pence of which I never got value for ; but, my dear Jacob, there is your friend B-me going across the hall—you can be at no loss-he will be sure to give you the money, and not even think of the discount.” “Well, thank you, B--11,” said I, “I will try Be." He was Attorney-General at the time, so I went up to him. “Mr. AttorneyGeneral,” said I, “ I want a word in private with you.” “What is the matter, my dear Nettle," said he; “is it anything important? if 80, you had better defer it until to-morrow, for I'am on in a Chancery case, and have not a moment to spare.” “Why," said I, “it is not very important, but at the same time it is rather pressing, and I will not keep you a moment—a small ten pound bill,” said I; “if you could give me cash for it, it would add to the many"-" Jacob,” said Be, interrupting me, “not another word; if I was to live to the age of Methusalem, I never would get rid of my embarrassments; I have not a shilling that I can call my own, nor do I think I ever will. Go, you will have no difficulty in getting the bill done; there is your friend J—-Ge, the recorder ; his pocket is always full.”

Well, away I went, with the livery lad still at my heels, after G- e. “ Mr. G -e,” said I, “a word, if you please." “Certainly, Jacob, what is it?" “A good ten pound bill,” said I, “ with only a few days to run; I want to lend five pounds to a friend whose servant is here (and I again pointed to Tom); if you could give me the needful for it I would thank you." “ Jacob," said he, “I would give it with the greatest pleasure in the world ; but I will tell you a secret : there are very few know really how I am circumstanced.” What can this be ? thinks I, for I knew him to be as rich as any lod Jew. “Whisper," continued he, putting his mouth close to my ear;

you needn't tell any one, but it is a fact that I have fourteen children to provide for ; they extract from me every shilling I can make, -50 excuse me, Nettle, I cannot do the bill; but any one will give you the cash ;-see, there is McNly going into the Rolls-run after hins; I have something in the Exchequer-adieu!” Well, off we set to McNly, who was limping along in the usual way, for of course you are aware that he had a long and a short leg, or a short and a long one, whichever you like. Talking of his lameness, Jack M—ly had a limp, exactly like that of Mc N-ly, and he went up to Curran one day in the hall of the Four Courts, Mr. Curran," said he, “have you seen McNly going this way?" Curran answered immediately, referring to the limp, “Why, Jack, I never saw him going any other way."-But to return to the subject-I went up to Mc N-ly with my escort;" “ Friend Mc N-ly,” said I, "can you spare me a moment?--I have something to say to you.” (Mc N-ly, you know, had a very drawling loud manner of speaking.) “Eh,” said he, “what in the name of wonder do you want? sure you know I would do any thing in the world for you-speak out—cone to the point at once." Well, I thought I was all right at last, and I looked round to Tom, who appeared to be of the same opinion, for he was scratching his head, and had a regular Tim Bobbin grin upon him." Why, Mc N-ly,” said I, “ if you can do me a small ten pound bill, you will confer a great favour upon me; I want to lend five pounds to this poor fellow's master, with whom I think you dine to-day.”—“Eh-to be sure I do ;-—but what the devil have you been about? Why didn't you come to me sooner ?-Damnation, I have just lent £200 to Smyth, and have not another rap of ready money at present; I would lend you the money with all my heart, if I had it. If you had been with me five minutes ago, you would have been all right; but this moment I could not discount a treasury order for sixpence, due in half an hour ;-at the same time don't think I am poor, for by the powers I have debentures that sun or moon never saw.” (Mc N- -Iy always wished to be thought very rich.) “But see," continued he," there run-there is the man who will give you the money, or ten times as much if you want it-your friend Curran ;--cut after him.”

“Well, Tom,” said 'I, turning to the lad in the rear, whose smile had given way to an unusual length of visage,—"come along; all hope is not gone yet.” Away we went to Curran. “My dear Curran," said I, “ a word with you.' A thousand words, Jacob; but if one will suffice, say but the word, and you shall have whatever it demands, if in my power to grant it.” “I have a ten pound bill here,” said I; “I would be glad if you could melt it for me. “ A ten pound bill!" echoed Curran, drawing himself up, and stroking his chin, "a ten pound bill ! let me see the bill !" continued he, taking from his waistcoat pocket his spectacles, and shaking them open against his left hand i whilst I was extracting the unfortunate bill from my pocket, I took the opportunity of repeating what I had so often said before namely, that it was not so much for myself I wanted the money as to oblige my friend Billy Daly; concluding by calling to notice the dismal looking messenger in the rear, at whom Curran gave a penetrating look, and then uttered a kind of a hem, followed by a very audible smack of the lips. “Let me see the bill," said he again, slowly, as if only to fill up the pause which had taken place, for the bill had got amongst some papers in my pocket, and it was some time before I placed it in his hands. He took it by one corner, tapped the opposite end with his spectacles in order to open it at full length; then raising the glasses to his eyes, he gave another hem and a smack of the lips, followed by a glance over the top of the paper—first at myself, and then at my friend Tom, who stood there, the very picture of hope and fear. “My dear Jacob,” said Curran, at last,“ this bill, I have not the smallest doubt upon my mind, will be paid upon the very day it becomes due, and by my calculation and according to Cocker, it has precisely ten days to run. I perceive, also, that it has been drawn upon the tenth day of the month ;-and, let me see, it is payable at number ten, Molesworth Street. Now, my dear Jacob, that is a very remarkable coincidence, that the bill should be for ten pounds—that it should have exactly ten days to run—be drawn upon the tenth day of the month, and be made payable at ten, Molesworth Street.” “It is odd,” said I, laughing; "it never had struck me before.” “However," continued Curran, " that does not alter my opinion, that the bill will be taken up on the very day it becomes due." At this expression of satisfaction on the part of Curran, my hopes began to rise, and I heard a kind of chuckle proceeding from my friend Tom, who looked on the matter as settled. But, my dear Jacob,” continued Curran, in a calm serious tone,“ it is a billand let me tell you a story concerning myself and a bill." Tom drew closer to my heels, and cocked

“Some years ago," continued Curran, “a friend of mine-I will not mention his name—asked me as a favour, to put my name across a bill, which process is termed accepting the bill. He said it was to afford him a temporary accommodation, and assured me that he would have the means of taking it up when it became due. I did what he required without hesitation-full of confidence-never for a moment suspecting the consequences. Well, sir, I went on circuit a short time after; I set off on the coach-inside or outside-I am not sure which ; but no matter. I was in a state of happy unconsciousness respecting the bill. I arrived at Cork. I was sitting quietly one morning in the coffee room of the hotel at my breakfast, when to my inconceivable horror-a fellow walked in, tapped me upon the shoulder, and begged politely to inform me that this same bill, upon which I had put my name some months previously, had been in the commercial sense of the word, protested. My dear Jacob, no sooner had I been in possession of this astounding intelligence than I protested before Heaven, that, directly or indirectly, I never would have anything to do with a bill again. My dear Jacob,” continued he, warming as he went on, "I feel for this poor messenger of woe !” here he looked at Tom, who held down his head and scratched it violently; "I am aware of the sad tale he will have to carry to his master, should you fail in your attempt to procure the paltry value of this paltry piece of paper; believe me, when I hear

his ears.

of such cases, my head falls upon my shoulder, and my heart sinks in within me; but Jacob, believe me, I would suffer anything rather than it should ever be said again, that I had anything—even in the most remote degree-to do with a bill ;-good b'ye, my dear Jacob.”

Saying this, Curran thrust the bill into my hand, which he shook, and then walked quickly away. Here was the finishing stroke. I could not help laughing to myself at Curran's manner while telling the story. Some time after he told me, while he laughed heartily, that it was purely the invention of the moment, but that he had the greatest horror of bills. Tom stood gazing upon the pavement of the hall, working away at his head with unremitting exertion. “Well, Tom," said I, “ you see it is not such an easy matter as you supposed, to get cash even for a good ten pound bill.” “Be dad, then, that's true, yer honour; money doesn't appear to be as plenty as blackberries when they're in season; howsomedeaver, I'll tell the master that yer

honour did everything in yer power; and if we can't get what we want, we must only do without it.” Saying this, he was moving away. “Hold, Tom,” said I, “ take the bill to your master; he may be able to get a loan on it that will suffice for the day; but tell him from me, and you know, Tom, I speak from experience, to try any place for the money, but in the hall of the Dublin Four Courts.” Well, to end my story, it is but right to state, that Billy Daly managed somehow or other to get the cash; and, sure enough, at dinner the same evening, we had a good laugh about the same ten pound bill.

During the recital of this story you may be sure that there was plenty of laughter, both from the appearance of the narrator, as well as from his true, but droll, imitations of the persons to whom he made his unsuccessful applications.

Jacob's poor pension obliged him to live upon a very economical scale at home; this fact, however, he always endeavoured to hide as much as possible, and would make us believe that he had a good bottle of wine whenever we would be pleased to call on him. He invited me to visit him, I took him at his word; an Irish friend, Dick Smyth, and myself, popped in unexpectedly upon him, and certainly we had a hearty laugh at his being caught

“ Deprendi miserum est.” Poor Jacob happened upon this day to be put to his shifts, not having any invitation out; being very deaf, he had not heard our rap at the hall door, nor was he aware of our approach until we had knocked loudly at the door of his little bed-room,” which served him for parlour, kitchen, and all.”. We entered. Just before opening the door, we heard a sudden shuffling and a confused noise, occasioned by the fall of some of the fire-irons and other things, as if Jacob had been surprised, and had suddenly started from some occupation which he would bave wished to conceal; upon entering the room, our olfactory nerves were saluted with a most savoury smell of fried meat: Jacob was habited in a very worn-out dressing-gown patched with different coloured stuffs, and had on his slippers ; it was nearly four o'clock, but he seldom stirred out, unless when invited to the board of a friend: he saluted us in a confused manner, excusing himself to us about his

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