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“You see what you're doing, young rascal! Will nothing but my positive degradation satisfy your blackguard propensities ? To expose me first to that ruffian's laughter--then set the dog at your father-and now cause the mob to hoot him! Come out, sir, or I'll be the death of you!” and, in proof of sincerity, he shook the whip wrath. fully at the child.
The hecdless populace having chosen to side against “the old ’un,” yelled when they observed his threatening action, and their remarks (such as could be heard) being forcibly expressive of indigna. tion, Mr. Jackman was soon glad to avail himself of the Scot's repeated invitation.
Weeks, months, passed on, and the outraged dignity of the father would not listen to a thought of reconciliation. “That boy had proved himself a blackguard! He would renounce him for ever.” Mr. Alexander was becoming loud in his remarks on the evils of bear. ing malice, when Mrs. Jackman presented her husband with another hope. Masculine dignity is incompatible with these occasions; the father struggled hard to maintain it; till, one day, dining off an ugly bone of mutton and clammy potatoes, in the back drawing-room, he feit suddenly overwhelmed by a rush of softness, and, hastening to the second Noor, communicated his intention of having Frederick home and sending him to school.
At the appointed time his uncle took the boy home, and both were shown
up stairs into the mother's bedroom, who was beginning to “sit up a little every day.” There things had evidently been prepared for a scene. Mr. "Jackman, effectively serene, was attitudiniz ng in an arm-chair. The occasion, indeed, called for his grandest powers of speech.
After having been caressed by mamma, and remarked on by Mrs. Dobson, the monthly nurse, Frederick was placed upon a high stool which had been put purposely for him, directly fronting his papa.
It was time to begin. Mrs. Jackman, who had experience in her husband's humours, looked the picture of patience, trying to go to sleep; while Mrs. Dobson, feeling that something was going to take place in which her importance was no consideration, became obstreperously attentive to the wants and wishes of the little stranger.
Just as Mr. Jackman had wiped his face and blown his nose, and was sighing deeply while pocketing his handkerchief with an exuberance of action, the footman brought the hackney-coach to the door which was to take his young master to school. The man had been told a coach would be wanted, and had mistaken the intimation for an immediate order. The blunder lost him his situation. He left the family that day month.
Thus Mr. Jackman's ideas were likely to be nipt in the bud, un. less he could muster sufficiert magnanimity to pay the coachman for resting the miserable horses at his door. This, however, he could not casily bring himself to do; if he had an aversion, it was to part with money, the full value for which he had not received :—but, on the other hand, was the wisdom he had concocted to be stified at the
very moment of its birth? was the pathos he himself almost wept to think of, not, after all, to astonish the monthly nurse ? Mr. Jackman pulled out his watch, and placed it in such a position that the index exactly fronted him. He would sacrifice one half hour; and with desperate generosity, the fervour of which made
him grasp hard the elbow of his chair, and emphatically thrust his face close to that of his son, he thus began :
“ Frederick, my dear child !"
The dear child was stupidly watching the gambols of a blue bottle buzzing against the window.
* Frederick, my dear child," began Mr. Jackman, solemnly pathetic: "you do not know what it is to be a father.”
“ Arn't in natur' he should yet; but give the little rogue time and he'll learn as well as the best of you, I warrant me,” loudly interrupted Mrs. Dobson, who was jolting her interesting charge upon her knees.
Silence, if you please, madam !” cried Mr. Jackman, turning his back upon the speaker, that he might the more effectually stare at her over his shoulder. Then, having bustled himself once more into composure, he again commenced.
" My dear child! Frederick! To feel like a father is a very serious consideration."
“ There, do you hear that, you little beauty's beauty ?" shouted the nurse, at the same time indulging in one of those sonorous smacks of the lips, which are peculiar to ladies of her scdate employment.
" Itis not three minutes ago," fired Mr. Jackman, rising and stand. ing angrily before Mrs. Dobson," by any watch in the kingdom-I repeat, that three minutes have not elapsed since, in the politest way imaginable, I troubled myself to tell you to hold your tongue. Now, I command silence !”
“ Mr. Jackman,” replied the monthly nurse, looking at the gentle. man from under her brow, and speaking in a suppressed voice. “ I'm sure there's plenty of room in the house without your coming here to make a disturbance just when my poor dear lady ought to want to get to sleep.”
“Do you know, Mrs. Dobson, who you are ?—I'll tell you ma'am, that I'll do as I like in my own house ;" and to give effect to this determination, Mr. Jackman slightly raised his voice, which Mrs. Dobson no sooner heard than she gave loose to her loudest powers, actually bawl. ing,
“Shame on 'e! shame on 'e! ugh!" here she indulged in a sound, between a scream and a grunt, of so emphatic a nature, that the deliv• ery fairly shook her ponderous frame. “Shame on 'e ! You must have a bad heart to make a noise like this when you knows my lady didn't scarce touch a mouthful o' dinner. Hoh! now mind my words; I won't take none o' the consequences, come what may of it. If the dear soul dies—you may laugh, Mr. Jackman, but it's no laughing matter to a woman o' my years. Thank heaven, my character's es. tablished. Oh! when the doctor said, only this very morning, quiet and good nursing was everything to us now—when you might have had the whole house to yourself! I never was interfered with by no gentleman ’afore. I've attended rich and poor-ah! though I say it, the best of people. Lady Emily Smithson will speak to my character any day ; I was with her last June : we 'nad nothing of this sort there ; and if you'd known to behave like a
A very natural consequence here interrupted this discursive har angue ; Mrs. Jackson, overpowered by the noise and confusion, had fainted.
All crowded to the bedside ; and her husband, who was really hurt at the result of the disturbance to which he had been a party, bore
Mrs. Dobson's glances and remarks with repentant humility, while the nurse, no ways moved by his sorrowful looks, made him hurry up and down stairs for sundry trifling articles; nor was it till he became incapable of further exertion, that she thought " the poor, dear, sweet sufferer might do now ;" then, treading with such extreme caution as fully impressed the necessity of preserving silence, she advanced to where the gentleman stood panting ; and assuming an air of parental forgiveness, laid her hand udon his shoulder.
“Now, as I'm a Christian woman,” said Mrs. Dobson, in a voice barely audible : " let us hope, for the love of heaven, my dear Mr. Jackman, you will another time"
But he who delighted in lecturing, had an abhorrence of being lec. tured; and as any further dispute with Mrs. Dobson was out of the question in that apartment, he cast his eyes round the room, and per: ceiving that Mr. Alexander had taken the boy down stairs, and that the half hour he had so gloriously devoted to other purposes, had expired, he hastily said,
· My dear Mrs. Dobson-there-say no more about it. not a father!"
The woman stared, and was about to reply, when Jackman darted out of the room, crying that “ the coach was waiting, and he must see the child off.”
As he descended the stairs, he thus soliloquised :
“ Was ever parent so afflicted with a child? He will thrive under no treatment: I allowed him to come down after dinner-gave him fruit, wine, and all he could ask for-then he destroyed my property. I tried severity, he set the dog at me-made me the butt of that Irish beast, and caused me to be hooted at by a mob. Now when, with my heart overflowing, I endeavour to awaken him to something like a sense of respectability, there's his poor mother fainting—the whole house is disturbed-me with a dreadful head-ache, owing to that old woman's infernal clatter, and he himself the only person who has not been • put out' by his dreadful low predilections. The child is evidently unfit for genteel society; I don't know what can be done with him. It's madness attempting to instruct him : so he must go to school—the Good-for-nothing !"
And blessed with a handsome face,
'Twas done with a wonderful grace;
Mid the foremost his name was reckoned:
Because he had not my Second.
When he ventured to draw n-ar;
If he gazed on their daughters dear;
And cried as his fate he cursed, "If my Second I had, I might e'en be my Whole,
But I never should be my First."
P. O. P.