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I say the may thus call it, but I will not, for Frank was my friend, my "fidus Achates" in all frolics, a very Pythias to Damon in the hour of trouble. He was a fellow of brilliant talents, but possessing withal an inherent love of mischief, which even the miseries of a six months' residence with a country parson had proved wholly inadequate to subdue. He would transfer a sign from a cutler's shop to the watch-house, so that the next morning the passers-by would be
'BLADES PUT IN HERE,'
in staring letters, immediately over the entrance to that very respectable receptacle of human frailty. He would walk by the side of a Tutor to morning prayers, gravely discoursing on Greek verb roots, idioms or dialects, and at the same time would gracefully insinuate his hand into the learned gentleman's pocket, abstract therefrom his handkerchief, wrap in it one or two doughnuts, a child's doll, or lady's tournure, (they used smaller ones in those days than they do now,) and then carefully replace the handkerchief and contents. In performing this last eccentricity of genius, the poor fellow got caught once, and received an intimation from the faculty that his health was evidently failing, and that, inasmuch as a change of air seemed almost indispensable in his case, that honorable body had reluctantly given their consent to his withdrawing into the country for awhile, where he could enjoy greater freedom from study and supervision, than, consistently with their rules, they could permit while he remained in the College. Those who have lived far away from their home, strangers in a strange land, and have chanced to be the recipients of unlooked-for acts of kindness, can conceive what were Frank's feelings on this occasion: I cannot describe them. But his gratitude was not merely momentary, for he ever after kept in his room a large picture-frame, labeled "A Faculty Meeting," and containing, behind the glass, a fine collection of-old suspenders.
Now Frank was a kind-hearted fellow, and did not, as the reader will perhaps shrewdly suspect, meddle with the watchman's box because he enjoyed the poor Charley's confusion when taunted with his negligence of duty in suffering such wantonness to be carried on under his very nose, but because he loved to see the satisfaction which the good citizens took in the joke, as expressed by their hearty cachinations. (Be it remembered, they were going to their business, after a night's rest and a good breakfast, and not returning from it, after a day of toil and care.) Nor did he put the aforesaid trimmings in the Tutor's handkerchief because he enjoyed the mortification and blushes which ensued when that gentleman, all unconscious of the trick, in accordance with his wonted custom on taking his seat in the recitation-room, drew from his pocket the capacious bandanna, and giving it the wonted flourish preparatory to applying it to his nasal protuberance, rolled out, to his own utter dismay, the treasures thus carefully enclosed. Oh, no! Frank would not for the world have hurt the feelings of a mosquetoe even, unless the bird assailed him first. He did
it from pure philanthropy! He loved to see those around him happy! Frank was perfectly delighted, not at the Tutor's consternation, but at the smile which lighted up three tiers of human countenances, and which was heightened into a general roar, as little Mc, gliding from his seat, gathered up the unlucky articles from the floor, held them up to full view, and, as though he would restore them to the original possessor, but taking good care to keep them just out of his reach, remarked, with the demurest countenance in the world, "You've dropped something, sir."
I said Frank was kind; he was also generous, even to a fault; so that, though rich, and having an indulgent guardian, his purse rarely incommoded him by its weight, for he had many friends,' and many, too, who sought his charity, and never sought in vain. Nor yet was he one of those who do their fellow-creatures a kindness and then rob the act of half its merit by proclaiming it to the world. Nay, I have even known him to suffer serious inconvenience rather than let a thing be known which must have won for him the tribute of universal respect. An instance of this. The morning after Christmas, in 18—, Frank came into the recitation room rather late, after the whole class had assembled and the recitation begun. His eyes were bloodshot, his face pale, and his whole appearance that of a man who had slept very little, if any, for the twenty-four hours next preceding. Tutor then filled the chair'-a man whose attainments, in one respect, fully equaled Dr. Porson's, or Dr. Johnson's, viz. personal uncouthness and lack of courtesy. In accordance with a then existing rule of the institution in such cases made and provided, before taking his seat Frank stepped up to the Tutor's chair, and asked to be excused from reciting.
"No, sir!" was 's reply. "You were drunk last night, wa'nt
"I was not, sir," said Frank.
"You were! I saw you myself, with a basket of bottles, and I know those bottles contained wine. Now take your seat, and consider yourself as having received a warning for being drunk and then denying it."
Frank's face was pale before, but now it was livid, and his lips quivered with rage at the insult. Recovering himself, he cast on the officer a single glance of withering contempt, and then passed to his seat. The Tutor brought upon himself very general scorn and dislike for his roughness, while Frank acquired as general respect for his forbearance, and this would have been a thousand fold increased, had the real state of the case been known. The affair passed off and was forgotten, but some three or four months after, business carried me to a little hovel in the outskirts of the city, inhabited by a poor, but really deserving woman, with a family of young children. In the course of conversation she stated that her husband died on the last Christmas night and left her pennyless, but that, by hard work, together with the assistance she occasionally received from "Mr. Carson," she had got along through the winter very comfortably. On hearing the name of
"Carson," I inquired rather more particularly, and found this was my friend Frank, and that so far from being drunk, as the Tutor asserted, Frank, having accidentally discovered the condition of this family, had carried wine and other little articles to the sick man, and resisting the temptation to spend a merry night with a select party of his gay friends, had watched with the poor fellow, smoothing his path down the dark valley, by assuring him that he would see his family did not want for bread. The reader, knowing this, will not wonder that, as I said at first, nothing would induce me to ridicule my friend Frank; not even seeing him play the principal part in such a scene as that I am now about to relate—a scene called to mind by that "Put me out" of the newspaper paragraph.
I must premise by saying that Frank was somewhat superstitious, and when he got into such a fit, to drive off spirits that came unsummoned from the vasty deep, he would summon spirits from A's little refectory, the "breathing-hole" to that place, as the very worthy Prof. S. used to call it. In this, proving himself a practitioner of the Homœopathic school, so far as prescribing "like to cure like" was concerned, but not exactly regulating his prescriptions according to their received authorities in regard to the quantum sufficit of the doses; or, to speak less technically and more to the point, he used to hang care and drive off the blues by drinking brandy. One summer evening, for lack of something else to do, he had strolled into a Miller meeting, and found the good people in a great state of excitement, consequent on a revelation just made to Brother Somebody, and which he, the aforesaid Brother, had very disinterestedly imparted to the congregation, to the effect that the world was to be burned up forthwith, if not sooner. There was more than the ordinary quantity of groans and lamentations, in a word, more of the practical spirit of fanaticism, diffused in the room, than the not over-sceptical mind of Frank could resist; and before he came out he was at least half convinced that "that great day," when "the world's to be a burning, a burning," was fully come. On his way home he stepped into the Major's and ordered a couple of bottles of his best Otard and a bunch of cigars to be sent up forthwith. Arrived there, he threw off his coat, donned his smokingcap, drew the cork from the first bottle and poured out a glass, (Frank was an amateur, and took his brandy "raw,") lit a Principe, settled himself in his easy-chair, stretched his well-shaped leg on the table, opened a volume of that entertaining narrative, "Jacob Faithful, by Captain Marryatt, Royal Navy," and began to read. By the time he had finished that interesting chapter which records, in glowing terms, the death of Jacob's worthy parent by spontaneous combustion, the brandy had begun to mount into his head and disturb the equilibrium of his brain. So, casting the book aside, he gave vent to his buoyancy of spirit by singing and dancing, and at last, seizing a huge French horn which graced the pannel over the fire-place, he blew a blast that made the old brick walls shake. Now it so happened that, in the room below, Seymour, Gaultier, and two or three others, were seated round a table, quietly discussing a turkey which had unaccountably disap
peared from the flock of a worthy farmer in the vicinity a day or two before, and had as unaccountably found its way to a roasting-oven near by, from whence it was transferred to Seymour's room, where it was now fast "passing away." Hearing the strange noises, we rushed up to ascertain the cause. We 'bolted in,' and, horresco referens, found Frank, as he expressed it, "not drunk, but shlightly shlewed." But though pretty "tired," Frank's customary ease and politeness did not desert him.
"Ha! Take seats, gentlemen. Jack, a cigar? Gaultier, there's brandy. Help yourselves, gentlemen. You'll find glasses, together with lemons, sugar, nutmeg, &c., if you use such trash, in that bookcase there. The lower row of books is false; touch the knob at the side and they'll fly out, and you'll find the stuff.”
The toddies were made and drank, the cigars resumed, and an hour or two whiled away very pleasantly. At length, Frank, who by this time was decidedly drunk, took it into his head that the cigars would be considerably improved by being scented. So selecting one from the bunch, he soaked it a few moments in a jar of cologne from the toilette table; then, carefully perforating the end with a knife, he put it in his mouth and applied to the other end a lighted taper. The alcohol instantly ignited and the whole cigar was on fire, burning with a deep BLUE FLAME, the very same kind that was emitted from the body of Jacob Faithful's venerable parent!! Frank opened his mouth to scream, and the cigar dropped out, so the mischief was ended at once. Not so thought he, though, for the rising flame had singed his nose, so the pain was there still, and he was too drunk to know the fire was out. "Oh! put me out! Do put me out! My God, I'm a spontaneous combustion! I know I am. Oh, fellows, please put me out." Gaultier, to humor him, dashed a pitcher of cold water in his face, the shock of which for an instant alleviated, or rather distracted his attention from, the pain, but it soon returned and he again roared, "No, it aint outthere it is again-oh! I can't burn up yet! He lied, the world's not coming to an end! Gaultier! Jack! My God! Help! Oh do put me out!" After pouring all the water in the pitchers and bowl on him, we were about to use 't'other vessel,' when he finally concluded that the fire was out for the present: but he "be d--d if it wasn't a clear case of spontaneous combustion. The flame was blue!" He "saw it and 'twas just like Mrs. Faithful's." Further, it would surely break out again, and then, Oh, my God; then I shall burn up! Oh d-e-a-r!"
In order to quiet him, we had to send for his factotum or scout, an old black fellow, a runaway slave, whose whole heart he had won by various little acts of kindness, and whom he employed in all sorts of service. "Doctor" soon came for orders, and Frank, now partially sobered by fright, but not yet recovered from fright so as to have his senses, commenced-" Doc, go get a big tub of water." The tub was soon brought. "Now, Doc, put me to bed, and mind, Doc, you watch me all night, and if I get on fire roll me right in the tub." "Yes, massa, but gor-a-mighty, massa Frank, what you gwine to get on fire for ?" "Never you mind, Doc, but just do as I tell you." Frank was
put to bed, and muttering "mind you roll me right in, Doc," soon fell into a restless and uneasy sleep, and we left.
The next morning I met Doctor, and asked him if Frank "got on fire." "No, massa Jack, but he talk in um sleep and wake up and holler put um out!' Never saw massa Frank so bad before," said Doc, with a knowing shake of the head,
Frank "stood the champagne" a few nights after, and laughed with us at the recapitulation of his trouble."
NEW YORK CITY.
SHREDS AND PATCHES.
VACATION over, and how has it fared with thee, my dear fellow? Hast thou passed it right pleasantly? Hast thou returned to beatify thy paternal mansion with thy delectable presence, and give gladness to the hearts of doting mothers and fond sisters? Hast thou astonished them with thy growth and improvement, since last thou hadst met them? Hast thou displayed thy prodigious acquirements, by long quotations from Herodotus and Horace, Cicero and Livy, whereat thy good old maiden aunt was hugely amazed, and did raise her hands in exceeding great wonderment, while she exclaimed, "La! me"? Or hast thou endured a course of lectures for some bad habit thou hast contracted, during thy sojourn beneath these classic shades? There is one who has.
But I have not done with queries yet. Have the hours slipped lightly and merrily by? Have fair fingers dallied with thy locks, and hath a gentle voice, more pleasant and enchanting than music's spell, breathed its melting tones upon thy ear? Hast thou sat in some sweet embowered spot, amidst the melody of gushing fountains and the singing of birds, while the soft breeze
"Came over gardens,
And the flowers that kissed it were betrayed,"
with one bright being by thy side, whose image for the whole term previous had hovered over thee in thy dreams by day and thy visions by night, and poured into her willing ear thy oft-told tale of-you know what? A friend of mine says he has.
Or hast thou day by day yawned wearily toward the dingy windows, as the rain came pattering thick and fast against them, and watched the drops chasing each other adown the smooth panes, till thine eyes felt like two big drops just ready to start from thy head and run down in the same fashion? Hast thou sat in thy dim and darksome room, with legions of most woe-begone and melancholy "blue devils" wheeling slowly about you? Don't tell me, good reader, that this isn't the way the creatures move. Though they generally dance about, and cut up all sorts of antics, there is sometimes weather bad enough to make even "blue devils" as dull and moping as the poor wight on whom they