Page images

4. 'Twas but a moment — o'er the Rose

A veil of moss the Angel throws;
And, robed in nature's simplest weed,
Could there a flower that Rose exceed ?


Sir Robert. I tell you what, Humphrey Dobbins, there is not one syllable of sense in all you have been saying; but I suppose you will maintain that there is, though?

Dobbins. Yes:

Sir Rob. Yes! Is that the way you talk to me? What-is


name? Dob. Robert Bramble.

Sir Rob. Robert Bramble ? Robert ? Nothing else but Robert ? Am I not a baronet. Sir Robert Bramble, of Blackberry Hall, in the county of Kent ? It is time you should know it, for you have been my clumsy, two-fisted valet these thirty years. Can you deny that?

Dob. Umph!

Sir Rob. Ümph! What do you mean by“ umph!” Open your mouth, and make your voice walk out of it. Why do you not answer my question ?

Dob. Because if I contradict you, I shall tell a lie; and whenever I agree with you, you are sure to fall out.

Sir Rob. Humphrey Dobbins, I have been so long endeavoring to beat a few brains into your pate, that all the hair has tumbled off it before I have carried my point. Dob. Well, if a* servant has grown bald in his


master's employment, it looks as if there was hon esty on one side, at least, however little might be the regard for it on the other.

Sir Rob. Why, to be sure, old Humphrey, you are honest. But to come to the point. I tell you

I do not like

your flat contradiction. Dob. Yes, you do.

Sir Rob. I tell you I don't. I love to hear men's arguments. I hate their flummery. Dob. What do you call flummery?

Sir Rob. Flattery, you blockhead! - a dish too often served up by paltry poor men to paltry rich


Dob. I never served it up to you.

Sir Rob. No; you give me a dish of a different description.

Dob. Umph! What is it?

Sir Rob. What is it? Why, something worse than sour krout, you old crab. Dob. O yes

very true. I have held you a pretty considerable stout tug at argument, for many a year.

Sir Rob. And yet I could never teach you a syllogism. Now, mind; when a poor man assents to what a rich man says, I suspect he means to flatter him. Now, I am rich, and hate flattery ; therefore, when a poor man subscribes to my opinion, I hate him.

Dob. That is wrong.

Sir Rob. Very well — it is denied. Now, then, prove it.

Dob. Put the case thus, then : I am a poor man

Sir Rob. Not so ! - don't tell me you are a poor man. No lying, you scoundrel — you are not poor. You know you never shall want, while I have a shilling

Dob. Bless you! But, hear me. Now, then, ] am a poor

I must be a poor man now, or ] never shall get on.

Sir Rob. Well, get on - be a poor man!

Dob. I am a poor man, and I argue with you, and I convince you that you are wrong; then you call yourself a blockhead, and I assent to it-I agree with you — and am fully of your opinion. Now, that is no flattery.

Sir Rob. Why, no - to be sure ; but when a man is of the same opinion with me, he puts an end to the argument, and that puts an end to the conversation; so I hate him for that. But where is my nephew Frederic?

Dob. Been out these two hours.

Sir Rob. An undutiful young prodigal! only arrived last night from Russia ; and, though I told him to stay at home till I rose, he is scampering over the fields like a Tartar.

Dob. He is a fine young lad.

Sir Rob. He has a touch of our family. Don't you think he is a little like me, Humphrey ?

Dob. Bless you, not a bit; you are as ugly an old man as ever I clapped my eyes on.

Sir Rob. Now, that is impudent! But there is no flattery in it; and it keeps up the independence of argument. His father, my brother Job, is of a tame spirit. Humphrey, you remember my brother Job?

Dob. Yes; you drove him to Russia five and twenty years ago.

Sir Rob. I drove him!

Dob. Yes, you did ; you would never let him be at peace.

Sir Rob. At peace! Zounds! I never could excite him by contradictions, or disturb him in the way of argument, let me say what I would.

Dob. He had the merit to be calm.

Sir Rob. So has a duck pond. He was a bit of still life; a chip; a tame rabbit boiled to rags, without sauce or salt. He received men's arguments

with his mouth open - good or bad, he swallowed them all, without any reserve. We could not disigree, and so we parted.

Dob. And the poor, meek gentleman went to Russia for a quiet life.

Sir Rob. A quiet life! Why, he went into trade soon as he got there, and finally he went to speculating in furs, flax, pot ashes, tallow, linen, and leather. And what is the consequence?' Thirteen months ago he broke; and now, this madcap, Frederic, is sent over to me for protection. Poor Job! now he is in distress I must not neglect his son.

Dob. Here comes Frederic.

Fred. Ah! my dear uncle, good morning. I have been coursing it all over your park.

Sir Rob. And what business had you to do so ? :I told you to stay in doors till I got up.

Fred. So you did; but really I forgot it. 0, my dear uncle, you don't know the effect of a fine spring morning upon a young fellow just arrived from the cold, northern regions of Russia. The day looked bright — the trees budding - birds singing

the park was gay; so I took a hop, skip, and a jump out of your old balcony, and made your deer fly before me like the wind, all over the park; but this did not disturb you, while you were snoring in bed, uncle.

Sir Rob. Ah! so the effect of a fine spring morning upon a young Russian, is to make him jump out of a balcony and worry my deer?

Fred. I confess it had that influence upon me.

Sir Rob. You had better be influenced by a rich old uncle, if you set any value upon a good legacy.

Fred. Í hatë legacies.

Sir Rob. Sir, that is very singular. They are pretty solid tokens of kindness, at least.

Fred. Very melancholy tokens, uncle. They are the posthumous despatches Affection sends to Grat

itude, to inform us we have lost a friend. But ] will own, my spirits ran away with me this morning. I will obey you better in future, for they tell me you are a very good, kind old gentleman.

Sir Rob. Now, who had the familiar impudence to tell you that!

Fred. Old rusty there.
Sir Rob. Why, Humphrey, you didn't?
Dob. Yes, but I did, though.

Fred. Yes, he did; and, on that score, 1 shall be anxious to show you obedience; for it is as meritorious to attempt sharing in a good man's heart, as it is paltry to have designs upon a rich man's money. A noble nature aims its attentions full breast high, uncle; a mean mind levels its assiduities at the pocket.

Sir Rob. Jump out of every window I have in the house! Hunt my deer into high fevers, my fine fellow! Ay, this is spunk and plain speaking. Give me the man, who is always plumping his dissent to my doctrine smack in my teeth.

Fred. I disagree with you there, uncle.

Dob. So do I. But come, come, let us go to the business of the morning.

Sir Rob. Don't talk to me about the business of the morning. Don't you see we are engaged in discussion ? I hate the business of the morning! - Dob. No, you don't. Sir Rob. And why not? Dob. Because it is charity. Sir Rob. Well, we must not neglect such busi

See if there is any distress in the parish. Read your memorandum, Humphrey.

Dob. The first thing in the list this morning is, Jonathan Higgins is put into prison by old Gripe, the Jew.

Sir Rob. Why it was but last week he recovered two cottages by law, worth sixty pounds.


« PreviousContinue »