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fifty, and seem much older. At that time of life they should give their skates to their boys.
My dear Editor, you are forgetting the articles. The devil will be here for copy
MR AMBROSE (entering.)
No, Ambrose. But here,-take that poetry, and tell the cook to singe yon. The turkey, you know. Let us have supper precisely at twelve.
MR AMBROSE (receiving the poetry from Tickler.). Might I be allowed, gentlemen, to preserve a few fragments ? English gentlemen are always speaking of the Magazine; and there are two very genteel gentlemen indeed, and excellent customers of mine, Mr Hogg,
,--one of them from Newcastle, and the other all the way from Leeds,-one in the soft, and the other in the hard line,—who would esteem a fragment of manuscript from the Balaam-box an inestimable treasure.
Certainly, Ambrose, certainly. Keep that little whitey-brown article ; but mind now you give all the rest to the kyuck.
MR AMBROSE (inspecting it.) O yes, the whitey-brown article will do admirably. You think so, do you, Ambrose ? What is it about? Pray, read it up.
MR AMBROSE (recites.)
My doleful song must flow,
It is a song of woe!
the monthly pen
With a fa, la, la, &c.
From month to month 'tis still his doom
To drag the hopeless chain,
He shares the curse of Cain ;
With a fa, la, la, &c.
The devil comes at break of day,
The hapless wretch to dun,
His work is not begun !
With a fa, la, la, &c.
But Christopher is not the man
His failings to excuse,
And spur his jaded muse ;
With a fa, la, la, &c.
But ah! when Here he blithely sits,
How altered is his lot!
His cares are all forgot ;
He sings his song, his bumper fills,
With a fa, la, la, &c.
Dog on it, if I don't believe you are the author of the Whitey-brown yourself, Mr Ambrose.
No, Mr Editor. I could not take that liberty. In Mr North’s time, I did indeed occasionally contribute an article. The foreign gentleman is ringing his bell; and, as he is very low-spirited since the death of Alexander, I must attend him. Pardon me, gentlemen, whisky or Hollands ?
Baith. What's the name of the Russian gentleman ?
I believe, sir, it is Nebuchadnezzar.
Ay, ay, that is a Russian name; for they are descended, I hear, from the Babylonians. (Exit Mr AMBROSE.)—Mr Tickler, here's a most capital article, entitled “ Birds.” I ken his pen the instant I see the scart o't. Naebody can touch aff these light, airy, buoyant, heartsome articles like him. Then there's
aye sic a fine dash o' nature in them—sic nice touches o' descriptionand, every now and then, a bit curious and peculiar word—just ae word and nae mair, that lets you into the spirit of the whole design, and makes you love both the writer and the written.-Square down the edges with the paper-folder, and label it “ Leading Article.”
I wish he was here.
He's better where he is for he's a triflin'creatur when he gets a bit drink; and then the tongue o' him never lies.-Birds,-Birds !- I see he treats only o singing birds ;-he maun gie us afterhend, Birds o' Prey. That's a grand subject for him.—Save us! what he would mak o' the King o' the Vultures! Of course he would breed him on Imaus. His flight is far, and he fears not famine. He has a hideous head of his own,-fiendlike eyes,—nostrils that woo the murky air,-and beak fit to dig into brain and heart. Don't forget Prometheus and his liver. Then dream of being sick in a desert-place, and of seeing the Vulture-King alight within ten yards of you-folding up his wings very composedly—and then coming with his horrid bald scalp close to your ear, and beginning to pick rather gently at your face, as if afraid to find you alive. You groan,--and he hobbles away, with an angry shriek, to watch you die. You see him whetting his beak upon a stone, and gaping wide with hun. ger and thirst. Horror pierces both your eye-lashes before the bird begius to scoop ; and you have already all the talons of both his iron feet in your throat. Your heart's-blood freezes; but notwithstanding that, by and by he will suck it up; and after he has gorged himself till he cannot fly, falls asleep after dinner, a prodigious flock of inferior fierce fowl come flying from every part of heaven, and gobble up the fragments.
My certes, Mr Tickler, here's a copy of verses that Ambrose has dropped, that are quite pat to the subject. Hearken-here's the way John Kemble used to read. Stop-I'll stand up, and use his action too, and mak my face as like his as I can contrive. There's a difference o' features—but very muckle o' the same expression.
O to be free, like the eagle of heaven,
That soars over valley and mountain all day,
No arrow can fly
No net of the fowler her wings can ensnare ;
The merle and thrush
May live in the bush,
That starts when the twilight has gilded the morn;
Then forward he bounds,
While horses and hounds
The goats and the sheep
Their pasture may keep,
That wave their green tops while the breezes blow high,
The shrubs and the flowers,
In gardens and bowers,
But the oaks ever stand,
As the pride of our land,
And swift as the stag, when at morning awoke,
And we'll quaff wine and ale
From goblet and pail,
And, like merry, merry men,
We'll fill up again ;
I used sometimes to think that North gave us too little poetry in the Magazine. I hope you will improve that department, notwithstanding your order of incremation. People like poetry in periodicals, even although they abuse it. Here's a little attempt of my own, Mr Editor—if I thought it could pass muster.
Up with it. But don't, like Wordsworth, “murmur near the living brooks a music sweeter than their own." That is to say, no mouthing and singing, like a methodist minister. The Lake-poetry may require it,-for it is a' sound, and nae sense : but yours is just tee reverse oʻ that–Spout away, Southside.
You know Campbell's fine song of the Exile of Erin ?--I had it in my mind perhaps, during composition.
TUNE-Erin Go Bragh.
An ill-fated victim of handcuffs and chains,
Where the house-breaker thrives, and the pickpocket reigns ;
Ile sang bold defiance to hard-hearted law!
Oh! hard is my fate, said the much-injur'd felon,
How I envy the life of the gay Kangaroo !
I envy those haunts where no blood-hounds pursue !
And sing bold defiance to hard-hearted law !
How often I dream of thy alleys and lanes !
A morning of toil, or of fetters and chains !
Sang fearless defiance to hard-hearted law !
Minions of Bow-Street, you doubtless could tell !
Thurtell and Probert, I hear your death-knell !
In being the victims of hard-hearted law !
Yet even in my grief, I would still give a trifle,
Could I only obtain but a glass of The Blue,
Brethren in England, I'd drink it to you !
The song of defiance to hard-hearted law !
I have heard waur things than that ; it's very amusing,-nay, it's eapital,and its turn may come roun in the Magazine in a year or twa.
Allow me to express my gratitude. Have you seen, Mr Editor, Chambers's Traditions of Edinburgh ? a most amusing series of numbers, full of the best kind of antiquarianism. It has had a great sale, and it well deserves it. Chambers is a modest and ingenious man.
That he is; I hae kent him for many years. But is it not all about auld houses ?
Not at all. There is much droll information about life and manners, and characters now gone by to return no more. I understand that Sir Walter Scott and Charles Sharpe have both communicated anecdotes of the olden time, and that would stamp value upon a book of far inferior excellence. May I review it for an early number?
Ou ay. But what noise is that? Do you hear ony noise in the lobby, . Mr Tickler? Dot, Dot, Dot! Dinna you hear't? It's awfu'! This way. 0 Lord ! it's Mr North, it's Mr North, and I am a dead man. I am gaun to be detecked in personating the Yeditor. I'll be hanged for forgery. Wae's me-Wae's me! Could I get into that press? or into ane o' the garde-duvins o' the side-board ? Or maun I loup at ance ower the window, and be dash’d to a thousand pieces ? VOL. XIX.
Compose yourself, James, compose yourself. But what bam is this
have been playing off upon me? I thought North had resigned, and that you were, bona fide, editor ? And I too! Am not I your Sub? What is this, Mount Benger ?
A sudden thocht strikes me. I'll put on the wig, and be the offisher frae the Castle. Paint my ee-brees wi' burned cork-fast, man, fast, the gouty auld deevil's at the door.
That will do. On with your cloak. It may be said of you, as of the Pal. mer in Marmion,
Ah! me, the mother that you bare,
She had not known her child.
NORTH. My Tickler! Beg pardon, sir, a stranger.
Allow me to introduce to you Major Moggridge, of the Prince's Own.
How do you do, Major-I am happy to see you. I have the honour of ranking some of my best friends among the military-and who has not heard of the character of your regiment?
THE MAJOR (very short-sighted.) Na-how do you do, Mr North ?' 'Pon honour, fresh as a two-year old. Is it, indeed, the redoubtable Kit that I see before me? You must become a member of the United Service Club. We can't do without you. You served, I think, in the American war. Did
you know Fayette or Washington, or Lee or Arnold ? What sort of a looking fellow was Washington ?
Why, Major-Washington was much such a good-looking fellow as yourself -making allowance for difference in dress---for he was a plain man in his apparel. But he had the same heroic expression of countenance—the same commanding eye and bold broad forehead.
He didna mak as muckle use, surely, o' the Scottish deealec as me?
What is the meaning of this ? I have heard that voice before—where am I? Excuse me, sir, but-but-why, Tickler, has Hogg a cousin, or a nephew, or a son in the Hussars ? Major Moggridge, you have a strong resemblance to one of our most celebrated men, the Ettrick Shepherd-Are you in any way connected with the Hoggs ?
SHEPHERD (throwing off his disguise.) O ye Gawpus! Ye great Gawpus ! It's me, man-it's mé! tuts, man-dinna lose your temper-dinna you think I would mak a capital playactor?
Why, James, men at my time of life are averse to such waggeries.
Averse to waggeries! You averse to waggeries ? Then let us a' begin say. ing our prayers, for the end o' the world is at hand. Now, that's just the way baith wi' you and Mr Tickler. As lang as you get a' your ain way, and think you þae the laugh against the Shepherd, a's richt-and you keckle, and you craw, and you fling the straw frae ahint the heels o' you, just like game-cocks when about to gie battle. Vow, but you're crouse: but sae sune as I turn the tables on you, gegg you, as they would say in Glasgow-turn you into twa asses-and make you wonder if your lugs are touching the ceiling--but immediately you begin whimpering about your age and infirmitiesimmediately you baith draw up your mouths as if you had been eatin' sourocks-let down