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" I beg your pardon,” was“ the incorrigible's” reply. “A bad husband does.”
We come now to consider Honesty.
I do not think that honesty will be learned by studying the practices of horse dealers-still less from those of gentlemen dealing in horses. Sometimes, however, theformer gentry are inadvertently honest. For instance, a horse-dealer once told his son to get up and ride a new nag a short distance—he did so, and showed him off to admiration, -perfect in every pace, and a “raal good un," as he observed, patting him on the neck with an air of supreme satisfaction as he pulled up: “ There now-you've been and done it,” quoth the elder to his young hopeful, as“ the customer quitted the yard ;-" there's a ten-pun-note clean out o' my pocket—he went like a brick"—“ Lord a mercy!” quoth the other—" you don't mean as you bought him ?”—“ Yes I do though.” “Well then, all I can say is, as it sarved you right for not tellin' me whether I was ridin' to buy or sell !”
Honesty does not ape superior rank to that in which its lot has been cast ; nor does it keep a horse cheaply, by walking with a whip. High-heeled boots and a strut, write, to my mind's eye, in capital letters—CHAMBERS IN THE Artic.-ENQUIRE AT THE Tailor's.
Honesty in money matters is a rare commodity—it mostly resembling Sambo's argification with Pompey :
“ Come Samby-pay me, you nig-you owe me two dollar dis month, an I jis see you get five from Massa."
“ Sorry to tell you Pomp-but I stop payment for de benefit ob de cobbimunity.” What de devil you mean- -you
rascal.” " Don't be a passion nig!-we'll argify, and explainify dis ting, I owes you two dollar-true-well, i bab five dollar-true-well, 'spose I pays you—I owes Tom three dollar. I owes Billy dollar an' quarter -I owes Jim four dollar, an' I promise to lend Aunt Molly sombting. Now, 'spose I go pay you and Tom–I drain dry-nothing 'tall left for Billy and 'turrers---and ole cobbimunity bust suffer. So, I keep 'em all for de good ob all !"
Some honest people make fine distinctions, like fat Sammy Swartwont, who ran away with the dollars from the New York Custom-house, on which occasion the following distich appeared :
“ Oh Sam! oh Sam ! you've done amiss,
You well deserve bard fate."
I've only done the State !"
week in prison,
en amateur." N. B. The place next the wall is said to be the easiest on the wheel—but for the truth of this I cannot vouch from personal experience.
Trutu, if it exist in old saws, is a liar, since it lies at the bottom of a well. I do not think that truth will be learned fiom the practices of the lorse dealing folks, any more than honesty--in fact, I have one striking testimony to the contrary. · I am sorry to hear that you have lost your son,” said a friend of mine one day to one of these fraternity, whose eldest born was recently deceased. Ah, yes, sir," was the reply, with a sigh,—" it was indeed a sad thing." Teplied the sympatliser, "and you must feel his loss deeply.”—Indeed I do, sir,” was the rejoinder. “ He was a world to me- -I never can replace him,-he was so sweet a liur !"
To say that a man lies like Truth, is to pay him a bad compliment, since Truth cannot lie. It may not be generally known, but it is no less a fact, that Beattie's famous “Essay on Truth," was fostered, published, and propagated by means of a falsehood. The doctor being unable to find a purchasing publisher, and yet unwilling to run any risk himself, a party of his friends subscribed the fifty guineas which he demanded for the work, and sent them to him as coming from an eminent publisher, to whom he thereupon committed his manuscript. Truth never owed an obligation to a more practical lie.
Some people romance more from habit, than from any direct disregard to Truth. I could mention two or three names of characters well-known, at least by reputation, to the reader, who have told mere inventions over and over again, until, from constant repetition, they have themselves believed them, and premised the hacknied narrative, with“ now this is really a fact !"
I do not think that any one will learn Truth by listening to the returns of killed and wounded (of the latter more particularly) brought bone by the lovers of the rod or trigger, especially if they bave done their wonders all alone. When two or more go in a party, I always look upon it as an understood thing that all should bounce, and none peach. It is told of a gentleman on circuit, that when in narrating to the witty Lord Norbury, bis achievements in the sporting world, he mentioned among other little matters, that he had once shot thirty-four hares before breakfast; the facetious judge exclaimed,“ Thirty-four hares! Zounds, sir ! you must have been shooting at a wiy.” The dangers of the chase are subject to the same species of figurative ornament.
In some few cases, where people are unguarded in keeping the lie, the whole lie, and nothing but the lie in the ascendant: Truth will pop up when least expected, and so upset the whole business. Of this nature was the speech of the militia captain, who at the annual dinner, being called on for a toast, gave “ The Militia ! the noble safeguards of our native land !—May they never want,”—and here he stuck fast. “ May they never want"-quoth he again, and there he stuck again, hemming and hawing-coughing and spluttering-and looking round very imploringly for somebody to save him from choking with the unutterable thought. At length a wag close by, whispered in bis ear, “And never be wanted ;” and glad to be at last relieved, though certainly not heeding how, the victim cleared liis throat again, as if he really had got hold of the right word, and roared out" The militia ! the noble safeguards of our native land! May they never want! and never be wanted !"
Truth sometimes sinks the “ immense” into the "small"- in a way which is a warning to story tellers, and proves that from the sublime to the ridiculous, is indeed but a step. In the commercial room of an Inn in the West of England, I was once in company with a party of men, who were enliveuing a dreary wet night with many tales of the marvellous, and whetting their appetites for wine and walnuts, with some undeniable “ bouncers.” One had just finished a pathetic and heart rending narrative of a shipwreck, in which the hero, after being jumbled. to jelly on jagged rocks, lived for a whole year upon sea weed in a desolate island, and was finally taken off by some ship, which found him suffering under an acute attack of gout, induced by his good living. When the narrator had finished his tale, a lean and melancholy member of the company said —" Ah, sir, I can sympathise truly with that unhappy man, for I myself have suffered all the hardships of that truly horrible fate."
“ The wind was fair, and the weather of the most beautiful,” he began—“ when I embarked at Liverpool for the purpose of coming by water to London. The conveyance, you will say, was strangely chosen, but I had my reasons for a selection which circumstances, rather than my free will, torced upon me. The wind and weather then, as I have said, were favourable, and all the smiles of heaven seemed Javished on our bark. Alas! security too fleeting, and too frail!within six hours after we had left our port, a dark and dismal night closed in upon a bright and balmy day; whilst fitful gusts of wind foretold the rising storm. Our Captain, an experienced navigator, took every precaution. He made the cargo all secure-set extra watch upon the vessel, and himself stood near the helm, at which his stoutest and most trusty man was placed. At last it came. The clouds poured out their floods on our devoted heads; the wind blew fearfully—a frightful hurricane; whilst our sole gleam was the continual lightning flash which blazed around us only to deepen the returning darkness. For many hours this went on, when suddenly a loud cry from the watch forward arrested our attention, and in another moment a thun. dering crash resounding through the vessel assured us of the fact that some terrible collision had taken place. All hands were upou
deck in a moment. She is sinking fast,' was the cry on every side, and in this awful crisis, when the dread struggle between life or death hung on the balance of a breath, I took my desperate resolution;" — He paused.- We all hung on his words in an agony of
suspense. He looked quietly round, and then resumed
“I gave but one look upwards—breathed but one sigh for my poor wife and child, and then gathering my cloak closely around me took up my hat, and stepped ashore !"
• What do you mean ?”
“ What do I mean? why that was I travelling in one of Pickford's boats on the canal !"
We all at once felt ourselves groping in the lowest depths of bathos,
Patience may be easily learned, although few seem disposed to avail themselves of this advantage. To hear a man talking learnedly of the shape of the fox-bound, who never saw anything above the grade of a pug-dog, is a five test of patience, if you do not contradict him. Riding a hot-tempered horse by the cover-side, on a drizzly day, is also a good school, especially if the day prove blank. To fix your affections on a particular favourite in a race, and to see him come in last, is another good lesson. Playing at whist with a partner who trumps your best diamond is a pleasant test. But the best of all is to sit in a punt about half a quarter of a mile above Richmond Bridge, or a hundred yards below Teddington-Locks, and bob for whales, or whatever other“ vermin of the deep," grow there. Every patiencemonger adjures Job; but Job surely never was an unsuccessful fisher.
Patience is a favourite theory, though far from a general practice with elderly gentlemen who have the gout; - of young gentlemen whose marriages,when fixed, you propose to procrastinate ;-or of middle-aged gentlemen afflicted with “ the blues.” For the benefit of those who may not happen to be acquainted with the latter test I here give nigger Pete Gumboo's version of it. “ Holloo, Pete! Boy, -wy zoo looking so sad ?"
Wy child, cos I feels all over baddified, l’se got what white folks calls De Bloos."
" De what zoo call 'em, Pete ?"
“ Ah, now-200 corner dis child, Pete; zoo's a-head of dis child dis time--explanify dis ting."
Why, Jemmy, you most know noting. Wull you see, wen yoo has de bloos, yoo look at all futurity as if it wur a blank in a lotteryebery ting haben't got no numbers on ’em. Wen yoo get up in a mornin' yoo feel all ober bad, and wen yoo go to bed o' night yoo feel all ober
Yoo tink dat yoo body is all made ob ice-cream, 'xcept yoo hart, and dat's a big lump o' lead in um middle. All sorts o'tings is
hubbery bubbery 'bout yoo ears, and boddering ob yoo inside. An' dat's what I got, and dat's what is de Bloos. How yoo like hab 'em, Jemmy ?"
“ Tank zoo, Pete—dis child don't want for none, if dem's de sort."
Patience works wonders in some cases,'and in such it is particularly pleasing to behold. A gentleman being asked whether he was seriously injured when a steam boat boiler exploded almost under his nose, is said to have replied, that he was “ So used to being blown up by his wife, that mere steam had no effect on him !"
Many more instances of the fine influence of Patience are waiting to be called as witnesses if necessary, but this part of our case having already taken up much valuable time and space, I will conclude it with one unerring means of LEARNING PATIENCE, should my foregoing prescriptions fail – viz. Get made the heir expectant to a healthy man with a large fortune. If this don't teach you Patience nothing will.
Good MANNERS now alone remain, and of these I can only generally say that as customs vary in different counties, good manners may be learned by attention to the wishes, and above all, to the prejudices of those around you. “When you go to Turkey,” saith the old sage, “ do as the Turkeys do”—and “ when you are in Rome, be a 'Rum un.'”
I have said that customs vary. Some Spanish customs would not please every body. An Irish gentleman travelling through Spain, went into a barber's shop to be shaved. The tonsor with great obsequiousness placed a chair for the foreign Don, and having seated him thereon, commenced active operations by spitting on the soap and rubbing it over his customer's face. Thunder an' 'ounds,” cried the Hibernian, “is that you way you shave a gentleman ?” “ Certainly, Senhor, that is the way we shave a gentleman." “ Then how the deuce do you shave a poor man?” “Oh, senhor, we spit on his face, and rub the soap over that," was the polite reply of the Spaniard.
David Crockett, a sportsman whose name is well known to all the world, was more celebrated for his blunt honesty than for his good manners. Whilst in Congress he contracted a sincere dislike for a Mr. W-- who was in no wise a model of manly beauty, and moreover wore a monstrous pair of green goggles. Once visiting an exhibition of animals at Washington, Crockett observed of an enormous baboon, that “ he would be as like W- as two peas, if he only wore goggles.”
Turning round he saw Mr. W—- standing by his side, and in order to retrieve his slip he continued
“Oh! is that you, W--? Well, 1 s'pose I owe an apology somewhere, but upon my soul I don't know whether I ought to make it to you or the monkey."