Page images

think very favourably as to the result of the undertaking. He had no doubt but a dividend of twenty per cent. would be paidpromptly paid, and perhaps for a series of years; but unlike people who are content with taking a cursory glance at things, without penetrating to sequels and results, Peter Bubbs, as we have seen, asked, "How will it end?

At the usual time, Peter went home to his dinner. He entered the house with sad misgivings. He was sure that there would be a renewal of the scene that had occurred at breakfast. He was, however, agreeably surprised to find Mrs. Bubbs in one of the pleasantest humours imaginable. Her face indeed was irradiated with smiles. There was a cause for this, and it was not long before Peter was made cognizant of it. As we have already intimated to the reader, Mrs. Bubbs was an ambitious woman. She was desirous that her family should “cut a figure” in the place, no doubt partly with the view of mortifying the Swabbs's, against whom she harboured the utmost animosity. Something had occurred in the absence of her husband, that occasioned this change in her temper, and she now proceeded to relate it to him.

“What do you think, my dear?” said Mrs. Bubbs.

“I think the sooner we have dinner the better,” replied Peter, “for I'm very hungry.”

“ Pshaw ! you are always thinking of eating."
“What would you have one think about?”
“Who do you think has been here this morning ?
Perhaps the tax-gatherer,” mildly suggested Bubbs.

Really, Mr. Bubbs, you would try the patience of a saint."
“ How should I know who's been here ?"
“ Well, then, my dear, Mr. Grubbins."
“ What did he want?"
“ Ab! what think you, now?'
“I have no idea, Mrs. Bubbs, and that's the truth."

“Well, if I must tell you, he wants you to take the chair at a public meeting. Think how it will sound in the papers !—A mieeting of the

was held in the towu-hall on Wednesday evening, on which occasion Peter Bubbs, Esq. took the chair.”

“It won't do, Mrs. Bubbs; I decline the honour.''

“Why won't it do? Can there be any possible harm in taking the chair on such an occasion ? Would it not gratify your fellow townsmen ? would it not gratify the feelings of your family?"

“Dare say it would, ma'am, but how will it end?" “How should it end, but well?" “ You don't see far enough, Mrs. Bubbs; you don't see far enough, ma'am. I'll tell you how it would end, if I were agreeing to take the chair. I should get mixed up with their politics, get fairly imbued with their feelings, and perhaps become one of their leaders. Instead of managing my own business, and my own domestic affairs, I should have an extraordinary hankering after the legislation of this country ; and I've known so many people who have almost talked themselves to death about the mismanagement of government, who have at the same time mismanaged their own private affairs, that I think the less I have to do with it the better."

“I will not dictate to you, Mr. Bubbs. You shall have your own way, as you generally have.

“Then if I am to have my own way, I propose that we have dinner immediately.”

A few months after the occurrences just related, Peter Bubbs was seated alone in the little parlour of the “King's Head,” the principal hotel in the place. He was smoking his pipe, and glancing his eye over the columns of a sporting paper. Peter took considerable interest in all our national sports, especially horse-racing. He was, however, no gambler. He never staked a farthing upon any contest in his life, upon principle. As Mr. Bubbs was thus engaged, the door opened, and a burly, heavy-headed-looking man entered the room. He wore a kind of shooting-coat, decorated with brass buttons surmounted with foxes' heads. He wore immense, black, bushy whiskers, and his face was flabby and red.

“How are ye, Bubbs ?” said the stout man, seating himself close by Peter.

“Can't complain,” was the reply.

“I've something to tell you, Bubbs,” said the 'stout man, significantly.

“Good news, I hope,” said Peter.

"It's profitable news," said the stout man ; "and if you set about it properly, you may put fifty-aye, a hundred-pounds into your pocket by it.”

“Well, what is it, Juggins ?

“Firefly wont run for the Derby, between ourselves, mind. I have the information from good authority. You can get any odds against Jumper. You understand, don't you ?” “Not exactly

Why, take all the odds you can get against Jumper: he's a safe card."

You know, Juggins, I never bet," said Peter.

“No more don't I,” said the stout man: “but when you are safe, where's the harm ? You may as well put fifty pounds in your pocket as not.”

[ocr errors]






“Yes,” said Peter; “but how will it end?”

"Now hang it, Bubbs! don't always din those words in one's ears."

“I've no doubt fifty pounds may be won upon this race," added Peter; “but we should be out o' pocket in the long run. We'd be so elevated with our success, that we should bet again and again, and get on from little to more, till in time we should think nothing of staking bundreds upon a single race.

“ It's all nonsense. If you don't like to try your luck, I will ;” and so saying, the stout man rose from his seat and walked out of the room, slamming the door after him.

* Six years have elapsed, and many changes have taken place in the little town of which Mr. Peter Bubbs is as humble and unassuming a denizen as ever. Changes have taken place in his own circumstances, for he is now a retired tradesman, living upon the independency which his industry and indefatigable exertions have enabled him to accumulate. The other changes will be best explained by a conversation between Mr. Bubbs and his wife, which took place in their little parlour one evening “Well

, who could have thought it?" began Mrs. Bubbs. "I always thought they were so rich."

“I told you such extravagance could not be kept up."

“Poor Mrs. Swabbs! I really pity her. What is the amount of their debts?"

“ £20,000,” said Peter.

“Monstrous ! How can they have got through it all? They had nothing to do with the Joint Stock Brewery that failed a few months ago ?

“Nothing, my dear.”

“What a disappointment it will be to Mr. Juggins. He married one of the daughters. He stands more in need of assistance from his wife's friends than ever.”

“What a pity," said Peter, “he won so much money upon the Derby, six years ago. That was the business that ruined him. It quite unsettled him; and he has never been happy since,

; unless he was making wagers, or talking about horse-racing."

“Well, my dear," said Mrs. Bubbs, “I believe your plan is best, after all.” • What plan ?”

Why, that of never undertaking any thing till you have asked yourself, How WILL IT END?"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



Oh! doth it not soothe the worn mind to depart
From traffic's rude clamour, from Mammon's vast mart,

pass from the city, its tumult and din,
And linger this spot of soft quiet within ?
The spirit grows weary and sad, to abide
In the stirring excitement of life's rapid tide,
And feels those enjoyments the purest and best,
Connected with scenes of retirement and rest.

Yes, here to our view are the dwellings displayed,
Provided by kindly and liberal aid,
The troubles to lighten, the cares to assuage,
That cast a dim gloom o'er the season of age;
Their inmates, removed from the world's busy strife,
Here, pass in calm leisure the evening of life;
And feel, that as hope's early vision declines,
The hope of the future more cloudlessly shines.

And here dwells the pastor, whose wisdom imparts
The gospel of truth and of grace to their hearts;
A privilege holy and precious is theirs,
Possessing his counsels, his presence, his prayers;
He leads them that knowledge of God to attain,
To which man's highest knowledge is worthless and vain,
And wins them to dwell on a kingdom above,
With the fervour of faith, and the kindness of love.

Long, long, in this region of tranquil repose,
May the pastor partake of the peace he bestows;
May the God whom he serves be his refuge and stay,
And keep every danger and snare from his way;
Or if trouble and sorrow his portion must be,
(Alas! from life's trials how few can be free?)
May the cloud soon disperse, may the shadow soon cease,
And his heart, like his home, be the dwelling of peace !




A bridal feast ; the_hall brilliantly illuminated. Pharaoh, Menes,

Nitocris, Jannes, Jambres. A great number of nobles, priests, and magicians.

Pharaoh.-In this bright season of festivity
We banish care. To night be given to pleasure !
Great happiness and Egypt's glory flow
From this glad union! Fill to the brim your goblets
With wine of Helbon. Drain them to the health
Of the fair bride. Long may she fill the throne
Of Egypt, and produce a numerous line
Of Egypt's sovereigns.-Menes, why so sad?
Such dulness befits not a youthful bridegroom.
Strike harp and timbrel ! Give us merry music!

Chephren (apart).—This is more like a funeral than a wedding.

Sethos.-And Pharaoh's looks are forced. Only Jannes
Preserves his wonted countenance. His hard
And wooden features keep their stiff expression,
Like the carved sphinxes before Pharaoh's throne.

Continued from p. 226, vol. lii.

« PreviousContinue »