[MAGA. August 1829.]

At the foot of the long range of the Mendip hills, standeth a village, which, for obvious reasons, we shall conceal the precise locality of, by bestowing thereon the appellation of Stockwell. It lieth in a nook, or indentation, of the mountain; and its population may be said, in more than one sense of the word, to be extremely dense, being confined within narrow limits by rocky and sterile ground, and a brawling stream, which ever and anon assumes the aspect of an impetuous river, and then dwindles away into a plaything for the little boys to hop over. The principal trade of the Stockwellites is in coals, which certain of the industrious operative natives sedulously employ themselves in extracting from our mother earth, while others are engaged in conveying the “black diamonds” to various adjacent towns, in carts of sundry shapes and dimensions. The horses engaged in this traffic are of the Rosinante species, and, too often, literally raw-boned; insomuch, that it is sometimes a grievous sight to see them tugging, and a woful thing to hear their masters swearing, when mounting a steep ascent with one of the aforesaid loads.

Wherever a civilised people dwell, there must be trade; and, consequently, Stockwell hath its various artisans, who ply, each in his vocation, to supply the wants of others; and, moreover, it hath its inn, or public house, a place of no small importance, having for its sign a swinging creaking board, whereon is emblazoned the effigy of a roaring, red, and rampant Lion. High towering above the said Lion, are the branches of a solitary elm, the foot of which is encircled by a seat, especially convenient for those guests whose taste it is to “blow a cloud” in the open air; and it is of two individuals, who were much given thereon to enjoy their “otium cum dignitate,” that we are about to speak.

George Syms had long enjoyed a monopoly in the shoemaking and cobbling line (though latterly two oppositionists had started against him), and Peter Brown was a man well to do in the world, being “the man wot” shod the raw-boned horses before mentioned, “him and his father, and grandfather,” as the parish-clerk said, “for time immemorial.” These two worthies were regaling themselves, as was their wonted custom, each with his pint, upon a small table, which was placed, for their accommodation, before the said bench. It was a fine evening in the last autumn; and we could say a great deal about the beautiful tints which the beams of the setting sun shed upon the hills’ side, and undulating distant outline, and how the clouds appeared of a fiery red, and, anon, of a pale yellow, had we leisure for description; but neither George Syms nor Peter Brown heeded these matters, and our present business is with them.

They had discussed all the village news—the last half of the last pipe had been puffed in silence, and they were reduced to the dilemma wherein many a brace of intimate friends have found themselves—they had nothing to talk about. Each had observed three times that it was very hot, and each had responded three times—“Yes, it is.” They were at a perfect stand-still—they shook out the ashes from their pipes, and yawned simultaneously. They felt that indulgence, however grateful, is apt to cloy, even under the elm-tree, and the red rampant lion. But, as Doctor Watts says,

“Satan finds some mischief still,
For idle hands to do,”

and they agreed to have “another pint,” which Sally, who was ever ready at their bidding, brought forthwith, and then they endeavoured to rally; but the effort was vain—the thread of conversation was broken, and they could not connect it, and so they sipped and yawned, till Peter Brown observed, “It is getting dark.”—“Ay,” replied George Syms.

At this moment an elderly stranger, of a shabby-genteel appearance, approached the Lion, and inquired the road to an adjoining village. “You are late, sir,” said George Syms.—“Yes,” replied the stranger, “I am;” and he threw himself on the bench, and took off his hat, and wiped his forehead, and observed, that it was very sultry, and he was quite tired.—“This is a good house,” said Peter Brown; “and if you are not obliged to go on, I wouldn’t if I were you.”—“It makes little difference to me,” replied the stranger; “and so, as I find myself in good company, here goes!” and he began to call about him, notwithstanding his shabby appearance, with the air of one who has money in his pocket to pay his way.—“Three make good company,” observed Peter Brown.—“Ay, ay,” said the stranger. “Holla there! bring me another pint! This walk has made me confoundedly thirsty. You may as well make it a pot—and be quick!”

Messrs Brown and Syms were greatly pleased with this additional guest at their symposium; and the trio sat and talked of the wind, and the weather, and the roads, and the coal trade, and drank and smoked to their hearts’ content, till again time began to hang heavy, and then the stranger asked the two friends, if ever they played at teetotum.—“Play at what?” asked Peter Brown.—“Play at what?” inquired George Syms.—“At tee-to-tum,” replied the stranger, gravely taking a pair of spectacles from one pocket of his waistcoat, and the machine in question from the other. “It is an excellent game, I assure you. Rare sport, my masters!” and he forthwith began to spin his teetotum upon the table, to the no small diversion of George Syms and Peter Brown, who opined that the potent ale of the ramping Red Lion had done its office. “Only see how the little fellow runs about!” cried the stranger, in apparent ecstasy. “Holla, there! Bring a lantern! There he goes, round and round—and now he’s asleep—and now he begins to reel—wiggle waggle—down he tumbles! What colour, for a shilling?”—“I don’t understand the game,” said Peter Brown.—“Nor I, neither,” quoth George Syms; “but it seems easy enough to learn.”—“Oh, ho!” said the stranger; “you think so, do you? But, let me tell you, that there’s a great deal more in it than you imagine. There he is, you see, with as many sides as a modern politician, and as many colours as an Algerine. Come, let us have a game! This is the way!” and he again set the teetotum in motion, and capered about in exceeding glee.—“He, he, he!” uttered George Syms; and “Ha, ha, ha!” exclaimed Peter Brown; and, being wonderfully tickled with the oddity of the thing, they were easily persuaded by the stranger just to take a game together for five minutes, while he stood by as umpire, with a stop-watch in his hand.

Nothing can be much easier than spinning a teetotum, yet our two Stockwellites could scarcely manage the thing for laughing; but the stranger stood by, with spectacles on nose, looking alternately at his watch and the table, with as much serious interest as though he had been witnessing, and was bound to furnish, a report of a prize-fight, or a debate in the House of Commons.

When precisely five minutes had elapsed, although it was Peter Brown’s spin, and the teetotum was yet going its rounds, and George Syms had called out yellow, the old gentleman demurely took it from the table and put it in his pocket; and then, returning his watch to his fob, walked away into the Red Lion, without saying so much as good-night. The two friends looked at each other in surprise, and then indulged in a very loud and hearty fit of laughter; and then paid their reckoning, and went away, exceedingly merry, which they would not have been, had they understood properly what they had been doing.

In the meanwhile the stranger had entered the house, and began to be “very funny” with Mrs Philpot, the landlady of the Red Lion, and Sally, the purveyor of beer to the guests thereof; and he found it not very difficult to persuade them likewise to take a game at teetotum for five minutes, which he terminated in the same unceremonious way as that under the tree, and then desired to be shown the room wherein he was to sleep. Mrs Philpot immediately, contrary to her usual custom, jumped up with great alacrity, lighted a candle, and conducted her guest to his apartment; while Sally, contrary to her usual custom, reclined herself in her mistress’s great arm-chair, yawned three or four times, and then exclaimed, “Heigho! it’s getting very late! I wish my husband would come home!”

Now, although we have a very mean opinion of those who cannot keep a secret of importance, we are not fond of useless mysteries, and therefore think proper to tell the reader that the teetotum in question had the peculiar property of causing those who played therewith to lose all remembrance of their former character, and to adopt that of their antagonists in the game. During the process of spinning, the personal identity of the two players was completely changed. Now, on the evening of this memorable day, Jacob Philpot, the landlord of the rampant Red Lion, had spent a few convivial hours with mine host of the Blue Boar, a house on the road-side, about two miles from Stockwell; and the two publicans had discussed the ale, grog, and tobacco in the manner customary with Britons, whose insignia are roaring rampant red lions, green dragons, blue boars, &c. Therefore, when Jacob came home, he began to call about him, with the air of one who purposeth that his arrival shall be no secret; and very agreeably surprised was he when Mrs Philpot ran out from the house, and assisted him to dismount, for Jacob was somewhat rotund; and yet more did he marvel when, instead of haranguing him in a loud voice (as she had whilom done on similar occasions, greatly to his discomfiture), she good-humouredly said that she would lead his nag to the stable, and then go and call Philip the ostler. “Humph!” said the host of the Lion, leaning with his back against the door-post, “after a calm comes a storm. She’ll make up for this presently, I’ll warrant.” But Mrs Philpot put up the horse, and called Philip, and then returned in peace and quietness, and attempted to pass into the house, without uttering a word to her lord and master.

“What’s the matter with you, my dear?” asked Jacob Philpot; “a’n’t you well?”—“Yes, sir,” replied Mrs Philpot, “very well, I thank you. But pray take away your leg, and let me go into the house.”—“But didn’t you think I was very late?” asked Jacob.—“Oh! I don’t know,” replied Mrs Philpot; “when gentlemen get together, they don’t think how time goes.” Poor Jacob was quite delighted, and, as it was dusk, and by no means, as he conceived, a scandalous proceeding, he forthwith put one arm round Mrs Philpot’s neck, and stole a kiss, whereat she said, “Oh dear me! how could you think of doing such a thing?” and immediately squeezed herself past him, and ran into the house, where Sally sat, in the arm-chair before mentioned, with a handkerchief over her head, pretending to be asleep.

“Come, my dear,” said Jacob to his wife, “I’m glad to see you in such good-humour. You shall make me a glass of rum and water, and take some of it yourself.”—“I must go into the back kitchen for some water, then,” replied his wife, and away she ran, and Jacob followed her, marvelling still more at her unusual alacrity. “My dear,” quoth he, “I am sorry to give you so much trouble,” and again he put his arm round her neck. “La, sir!” she cried, “if you don’t let me go, I’ll call out, I declare.”—“He, he—ha, ha!” said Jacob; “call out! that’s a good one, however! a man’s wife calling out because her husband’s a-going to kiss her!”—“What do you mean?” asked Mrs Philpot; “I’m sure it’s a shame to use a poor girl so!”—“A poor girl!” exclaimed the landlord, “ahem! was once, mayhap.”—“I don’t value your insinivations that,” said Mrs Philpot, snapping her fingers; “I wonder what you take me for!”—“So ho!” thought her spouse, “she’s come to herself now; I thought it was all a sham; but I’ll coax her a bit;” so he fell in with her apparent whim, and called her a good girl; but still she resisted his advances, and asked him what he took her for. “Take you for!” cried Jacob, “why, for my own dear Sally to be sure, so don’t make any more fuss.”—“I have a great mind to run out of the house,” said she, “and never enter it any more.”

This threat gave no sort of alarm to Jacob, but it somewhat tickled his fancy, and he indulged himself in a very hearty laugh, at the end of which he good-humouredly told her to go to bed, and he would follow her presently, as soon as he had looked after his horse, and pulled off his boots. This proposition was no sooner made, than the good man’s ears were suddenly grasped from behind, and his head was shaken and twisted about, as though it had been the purpose of the assailant to wrench it from his shoulders. Mrs Philpot instantly made her escape from the kitchen, leaving her spouse in the hands of the enraged Sally, who, under the influence of the teetotum delusion, was firmly persuaded that she was justly inflicting wholesome discipline upon her husband, whom she had, as she conceived, caught in the act of making love to the maid. Sally was active and strong, and Jacob Philpot was, as before hinted, somewhat obese, and, withal, not in excellent “wind;” consequently it was some time ere he could disengage himself; and then he stood panting and blowing, and utterly lost in astonishment, while Sally saluted him with divers appellations, which it would not be seemly here to set down.

When Jacob did find his tongue, however, he answered her much in the same style; and added, that he had a great mind to lay a stick about her back. “What! strike a woman! Eh—would you, you coward?” and immediately she darted forward, and, as she termed it, put her mark upon him with her nails, whereby his rubicund countenance was greatly disfigured, and his patience entirely exhausted: but Sally was too nimble, and made her escape up-stairs. So the landlord of the Red Lion, having got rid of the two mad or drunken women, very philosophically resolved to sit down for half an hour by himself, to think over the business, while he took his “night-cap.” He had scarcely brewed the ingredients, when he was roused by a rap at the window; and, in answer to his inquiry of “who’s there?” he recognised the voice of his neighbour, George Syms, and, of course, immediately admitted him; for George was a good customer, and, consequently, welcome at all hours. “My good friend,” said Syms, “I daresay you are surprised to see me here at this time of night; but I can’t get into my own house. My wife is drunk, I believe.”—“And so is mine,” quoth the landlord; “so, sit you down and make yourself comfortable. Hang me if I think I’ll go to bed to-night!” “No more will I,” said Syms; “I’ve got a job to do early in the morning, and then I shall be ready for it.” So the two friends sat down, and had scarcely begun to enjoy themselves, when another rap was heard at the window, and mine host recognised the voice of Peter Brown, who came with the same complaint against his wife, and was easily persuaded to join the party, each declaring that the women must have contrived to meet, during their absence from home, and all get fuddled together. Matters went on pleasantly enough for some time, while they continued to rail against the women; but, when that subject was exhausted, George Syms, the shoemaker, began to talk about shoeing horses; and Peter Brown, the blacksmith, averred that he could make a pair of jockey boots with any man for fifty miles round. The host of the rampant Red Lion considered these things at first as a sort of joke, which he had no doubt, from such good customers, was exceedingly good, though he could not exactly comprehend it; but when Peter Brown answered to the name of George Syms, and George Syms responded to that of Peter Brown, he was somewhat more bewildered, and could not help thinking that his guests had drunk quite enough. He, however, satisfied himself with the reflection that that was no business of his, and that “a man must live by his trade.” With the exception of these apparent occasional cross purposes, conversation went on as well as could be expected under existing circumstances; and the three unfortunate husbands sat and talked, and drank, and smoked, till tired nature cried, “Hold, enough!”

In the meanwhile, Mrs George Syms, who had been much scandalised at the appearance of Peter Brown beneath her bedroom window, whereinto he vehemently solicited admittance, altogether in the most public and unblushing manner; she, poor soul! lay for an hour much disturbed in her mind, and pondering on the extreme impropriety of Mr Brown’s conduct, and its probable consequences. She then began to wonder where her own goodman could be staying so late; and after much tossing and tumbling to and fro, being withal a woman of a warm imagination, she discerned in her mind’s eye divers scenes which might probably be then acting, and in which George Syms appeared to be taking a part that did not at all meet her approbation. Accordingly she arose, and throwing her garments about her with a degree of elegant negligence for which the ladies of Stockwell have long been celebrated, she incontinently went to the house of Peter Brown, at whose bedroom window she perceived a head. With the intuitive knowledge of costume possessed by ladies in general, she instantly, through the murky night, discovered that the cap on the said head was of the female gender; and therefore boldly went up thereunto and said, “Mrs Brown, have you seen anything of my husband?”—“What!” exclaimed Mrs Brown, “haven’t you seen him? Well, I’d have you see after him pretty quickly, for he was here, just where you stand now, more than two hours ago, talking all manner of nonsense to me, and calling me his dear Betsy, so that I was quite ashamed of him! But, howsomever, you needn’t be uneasy about me, for you know I wouldn’t do anything improper on no account. But have you seen anything of my Peter?”—“I believe I have,” replied Mrs Syms, and immediately related the scandalous conduct of the smith beneath her window; and then the two ladies agreed to sally forth in search of their two “worthless, good-for-nothing, drunken husbands.”

Now it is a custom with those who get their living by carrying coal, when they are about to convey it to any considerable distance, to commence their journey at such an hour as to reach the first turnpike a little after midnight, that they may be enabled to go out and return home within the twenty-four hours, and thus save the expense of the toll, which they would otherwise have to pay twice. This is the secret of those apparently lazy fellows whom the Bath ladies and dandies sometimes view with horror and surprise, sleeping in the day-time, in, on, or under carts, benches, or waggons. It hath been our lot, when in the city of waters, to hear certain of these theoretical “political economists” remark somewhat harshly on this mode of taking a siesta. We should recommend them henceforth to attend to the advice of Peter Pindar, and—

“Mind what they read in godly books,
And not take people by their looks;”

for they would not be pleased to be judged in that manner themselves; and the poor fellows in question have generally been travelling all night, not in a mail-coach, but walking over rough roads, and assisting their weary and overworked cavalry up and down a succession of steep hills.

In consequence of this practice, the two forsaken matrons encountered Moses Brown, a first cousin of Peter’s, who had just despatched his waggoner on a commercial enterprise of the description just alluded to. Moses had heard voices as he passed the Lion; and being somewhat of a curious turn, had discovered, partly by listening, and partly by the aid of certain cracks, holes, and ill-fitting joints in the shutters, who the gentlemen were whose goodwill and pleasure it was “to vex the dull ear of night” with their untimely mirth. Moses, moreover, was a meek man, and professed to be extremely sorry for the two good women who had two such roaring, rattling blades for their husbands: for, by this time, the bacchanalians, having exhausted their conversational powers, had commenced a series of songs. So, under his guidance, the ladies reconnoitred the drunken trio through the cracks, holes, and ill-fitting joints aforesaid.

Poor George Syms was by this time regularly “done up,” and dozing in his chair; but Peter Brown, the smith, was still in his glory, and singing in no small voice a certain song, which was by no means fitting to be chanted in the ear of his spouse. As for Jacob Philpot, the landlord, he sat erect in his chair with the dogged resolution of a man who feels that he is at his post, and is determined to be “no starter.” At this moment Sally made her appearance in the room, in the same sort of dishabille as that worn by the ladies at the window, and commenced a very unceremonious harangue to George Syms and Peter Brown, telling them that they ought to be ashamed of themselves not to have been at home hours ago; “as for this fellow,” said she, giving poor Philpot a tremendous box on the ear, “I’ll make him remember it, I’ll warrant.” Jacob hereupon arose in great wrath; but ere he could ascertain precisely the exact centre of gravity, Sally settled his position by another cuff, which made his eyes twinkle, and sent him reeling back into his seat. Seeing these things, the ladies without began, as fox-hunters say, to “give tongue,” and vociferously demanded admittance; whereupon Mrs Philpot put her head out from a window above, and told them that she would be down and let them in in a minute, and that it was a great pity gentlemen should ever get too much beer: and then she popped in her head, and in less than the stipulated time, ran down stairs and opened the street door; and so the wives were admitted to their delinquent husbands; but meek Moses Brown went his way, having a wife at home, and having no desire to abide the storm which he saw was coming.

Peter Brown was, as we said before, in high feather; and therefore, when he saw Mrs Syms, whom he (acting under the teetotum delusion) mistook for the wife of his own particular bosom, he gaily accosted her, “Ah, old girl!—Is it you? What! you’ve come to your senses, eh? slept it off, I suppose. Well, well; never mind! Forgive and forget, I say. I never saw you so before, I will say that for you, however. So give us a buss, old girl! and let us go home;” and without ceremony he began to suit the action to the word, whereupon the real Mrs Brown flew to Mrs Syms’ assistance, and by hanging round Peter’s neck, enabled her friend to escape. Mrs Syms, immediately she was released, began to shake up her drowsy George, who, immediately he opened his eyes, scarcely knowing where he was, marvelled much to find himself thus handled by, as he supposed, his neighbour’s wife; but with the maudlin cunning of a drunken man, he thought it was an excellent joke, and therefore threw his arms round her, and began to hug her with a wondrous and unusual degree of fondness, whereby the poor woman was much affected, and called him her dear George, and said she knew it was not his fault, but “all along of that brute,” pointing to Peter Brown, that he had drunk himself into such a state. “Come along, my dear,” she concluded, “let us go and leave him—I don’t care if I never see him any more.”

The exasperation of Peter Brown, at seeing and hearing, as he imagined, his own wife act and speak in this shameful manner before his face, may be “more easily imagined than described;” but his genuine wife, who belonged, as he conceived, to the drunken man, hung so close about his neck that he found it impossible to escape. George Syms, however, was utterly unable to rise, and sat, with an idiot-like simper upon his face, as if giving himself up to a pleasing delusion, while his wife was patting, and coaxing, and wheedling him in every way, to induce him to get upon his legs and try to go home. At length, as he vacantly stared about, he caught a glimpse of Mrs Brown, whom, to save repetition, we may as well call his teetotum wife, hanging about his neighbour’s neck. This sight effectually roused him, and before Mrs Syms was aware of his intention, he started up and ran furiously at Peter Brown, who received him much in the manner that might be expected, with a salutation in “the bread-basket,” which sent him reeling on the floor. As a matter of course, Mrs Syms took the part of her fallen husband, and put her mark upon Mr Peter Brown; and, as a matter of course, Mrs Peter Brown took the part of her spouse, and commenced an attack on Mrs Syms.

In the meanwhile Sally had not been idle. After chastening Jacob Philpot to her heart’s content, she, with the assistance of Mrs Philpot and Philip the hostler, who was much astonished to hear her “order the mistress about,” conveyed him up-stairs, where he was deposited, as he was, upon a spare bed, to “take his chance,” as she said, “and sleep off his drunken fit.” Sally then returned to the scene of strife, and desired the “company” to go about their business, for she should not allow anything more to be “called for” that night. Having said this with an air of authority, she left the room; and though Mrs Syms and Mrs Brown were greatly surprised thereat, they said nothing, inasmuch as they were somewhat ashamed of their own appearance, and had matters of more importance than Sally’s eccentricity to think of, as Mrs Syms had been cruelly wounded in her new shawl, which she had imprudently thrown over her shoulders; and the left side of the lace on Mrs Brown’s cap had been torn away in the recent conflict. Mrs Philpot, enacting her part as the teetotum Sally of the night, besought the ladies to go home, and leave the gentlemen to sleep where they were—i.e. upon the floor—till the morning: for Peter Brown, notwithstanding the noise he had made, was as incapable of standing as the quieter George Syms. So the women dragged them into separate corners of the room, placed pillows under their heads, and threw a blanket over each, and then left them to repose. The two disconsolate wives each forthwith departed to her own lonely pillow, leaving Mrs Philpot particularly puzzled at the deference with which they had treated her, by calling her “Madam,” as if she was mistress of the house.

Leaving them all to their slumbers, we must now say a word or two about the teetotum, the properties of which were to change people’s characters, spinning the mind of one man or woman into the body of another. The duration of the delusion, caused by this droll game of the old gentleman’s, depended upon the length of time spent in the diversion; and five minutes was the specific period for causing it to last till the next sunrise or sunset after the change had been effected. Therefore, when the morning came, Mrs Philpot and Sally, and Peter Brown and George Syms, all came to their senses. The two latter went quietly home, with aching heads and very confused recollections of the preceding evening; and shortly after their departure Mrs Philpot awoke in great astonishment at finding herself in the garret; and Sally was equally surprised, and much alarmed, at finding herself in her mistress’s room, from which she hastened in quick time, leaving all things in due order.

The elderly stranger made his appearance soon after, and appeared to have brushed up his shabby-genteel clothes, for he really looked much more respectable than on the preceding evening. He ordered his breakfast, and sat down thereto very quietly, and asked for the newspaper, and pulled out his spectacles, and began to con the politics of the day much at his ease, no one having the least suspicion that he and his teetotum had been the cause of all the uproar at the Red Lion. In due time the landlord made his appearance, with sundry marks of violence upon his jolly countenance, and, after due obeisance made to his respectable-looking guest, took the liberty of telling his spouse that he should insist upon her sending Sally away, for that he had never been so mauled since he was born; but Mrs Philpot told him that he ought to be ashamed of himself, and she was very glad the girl had spirit enough to protect herself, and that she wouldn’t part with her on any account. She then referred to what had passed in the back kitchen, taking to herself the credit of having inflicted that punishment which had been administered by the hands of Sally.

Jacob Philpot was now more than ever convinced that his wife had been paying her respects to a huge stone bottle of rum which stood in the closet; and he “made bold” to tell her his thoughts, whereat Mrs Philpot thought fit to put herself into a tremendous passion, although she could not help fearing that, perhaps, she might have taken a drop too much of something, for she was unable, in any other manner, to account for having slept in the garret.

The elderly stranger now took upon himself to recommend mutual forgiveness, and stated that it was really quite pardonable for any one to take a little too much of such very excellent ale as that at the Red Lion. “For my own part,” said he, “I don’t know whether I didn’t get a trifle beyond the mark myself last night. But I hope, madam, I did not annoy you.”

“Oh dear, no, not at all, sir,” replied Mrs Philpot, whose good-humour was restored at this compliment paid to the good cheer of the Lion; “you were exceedingly pleasant, I assure you—just enough to make you funny: we had a hearty laugh about the teetotum, you know.”—“Ah!” said the stranger, “I guess how it was then. I always introduce the teetotum when I want to be merry.”

Jacob Philpot expressed a wish to understand the game, and after spinning it two or three times, proposed to take his chance, for five minutes, with the stranger; but the latter, laughing heartily, would by no means agree with the proposition, and declared that it would be downright cheating, as he was an overmatch for any beginner. “However,” he continued, “as soon as any of your neighbours come in, I’ll put you in the way of it, and we’ll have some of your ale now, just to pass the time. It will do neither of us any harm after last night’s affair, and I want to have some talk with you about the coal trade.”

They accordingly sat down together, and the stranger displayed considerable knowledge in the science of mining; and Jacob was so much delighted with his companion, that an hour or two slipped away, as he said, “in no time;” and then there was heard the sound of a horse’s feet at the door, and a somewhat authoritative hillo!

“It is our parson,” said Jacob, starting up, and he ran to the door to inquire what might be his reverence’s pleasure. “Good morning,” said the Reverend Mr Stanhope. “I’m going over to dine with our club at the Old Boar, and I want you just to cast your eye on those fellows in my home close; you can see them out of your parlour window.”—“Yes, to be sure, sir,” replied Jacob.—“Hem!” quoth Mr Stanhope, “have you anybody indoors?”—“Yes, sir, we have,” replied Jacob, “a strange gentleman, who seems to know a pretty deal about mining and them sort of things. I think he’s some great person in disguise; he seems regularly edicated—up to everything,” “Eh, ah! a great person in disguise!” exclaimed Mr Stanhope. “I’ll just step in a minute. It seems as if there was a shower coming over, and I’m in no hurry, and it is not worth while to get wet through for the sake of a few minutes.” So he alighted from his horse, soliloquising to himself, “Perhaps the Lord Chancellor! Who knows? However, I shall take care to show my principles;” and straightway he went into the house, and was most respectfully saluted by the elderly stranger; and they entered into a conversation upon the standing English topics of weather, wind, crops, and the coal trade; and Mr Stanhope contrived to introduce therein sundry unkind things against the Pope and all his followers; and avowed himself a stanch “church-and-king” man, and spake enthusiastically of our “glorious constitution,” and lauded divers individuals then in power, but more particularly those who studied the true interests of the Church, by seeking out and preferring men of merit and talent to fill vacant benefices. The stranger thereat smiled significantly, as though he could, if he felt disposed, say something to the purpose; and Mr Stanhope felt more inclined than ever to think the landlord might have conjectured very near the truth, and, consequently, redoubled his efforts to make the agreeable, professing his regret at being obliged to dine out that day, &c. The stranger politely thanked him for his consideration, and stated that he was never at a loss for employment, and that he was then rambling, for a few days, to relax his mind from the fatigues of an overwhelming mass of important business, to which his duty compelled him to attend early and late. “Perhaps,” he continued, “you will smile when I tell you that I am now engaged in a series of experiments relative to the power of the centrifugal force, and its capacity of overcoming various degrees of friction.” (Here he produced the teetotum.) “You perceive the different surfaces of the under edge of this little thing. The outside, you see, is all of ivory, but indented in various ways; and yet I have not been able to decide whether the roughest or smoothest more frequently arrest its motions. The colours, of course, are merely indications. Here is my register,” and he produced a book, wherein divers abstruse mathematical calculations were apparent. “I always prefer other people to spin it, as then I obtain a variety of impelling power. Perhaps you will do me the favour just to twirl it round a few times alternately with the landlord? Two make a fairer experiment than one. Just for five minutes. I’ll not trouble you a moment longer, I promise you.”—“Hem!” thought Mr Stanhope.

“Learned men, now and then,
Have very strange vagaries!”

However, he commenced spinning the teetotum, turn and turn with Jacob Philpot, who was highly delighted both with the drollery of the thing, and the honour of playing with the parson of the parish, and laughed most immoderately, while the stranger stood by, looking at his stop-watch as demurely as on the preceding evening, until the five minutes had expired; and then, in the middle of the Rev. Mr Stanhope’s spin, he took up the little toy and put it into his pocket.

Jacob Philpot immediately arose, and shook the stranger warmly by the hand, and told him that he should be happy to see him whenever he came that way again; and then nodding to Mr Stanhope and the landlady, went out at the front door, mounted the horse that stood there, and rode away. “Where’s the fellow going?” cried Mrs Philpot; “Hillo! Jacob, I say!”—“Well, mother,” said the Reverend Mr Stanhope, “what’s the matter now?” but Mrs Philpot had reached the front of the house, and continued to shout “Hillo! hillo, come back, I tell you!”—“That woman is always doing some strange thing or other,” observed Mr Stanhope to the stranger. “What on earth can possess her to go calling after the parson in that manner?”—“I declare he’s rode off with Squire Jones’s horse,” cried Mrs Philpot, re-entering the house. “To be sure he has,” said Mr Stanhope; “he borrowed it on purpose to go to the Old Boar.”—“Did he?” exclaimed the landlady; “and without telling me a word about it! But I’ll Old Boar him, I promise you!”—“Don’t make such a fool of yourself, mother,” said the parson; “it can’t signify twopence to you where he goes.”—“Can’t it?” rejoined Mrs Philpot. “I’ll tell you what, your worship——”—“Don’t worship me, woman,” exclaimed the teetotum landlord parson; “worship! what nonsense now! Why, you’ve been taking your drops again this morning, I think. Worship, indeed! To be sure, I did once, like a fool, promise to worship you; but if my time was to come over again, I know what——But, never mind now—don’t you see it’s twelve o’clock? Come, quick, let us have what there is to eat, and then we’ll have a comfortable pipe under the tree. What say you, sir?”—“With all my heart,” replied the elderly stranger. Mrs Philpot could make nothing of the parson’s speech about worshipping her; but the order for something to eat was very distinct; and though she felt much surprised thereat, as well as at the proposed smoking under the tree, she, nevertheless, was much gratified that so unusual an order should be given on that particular day, as she had a somewhat better dinner than usual, namely, a leg of mutton upon the spit. Therefore she bustled about with exceeding goodwill, and Sally spread a clean cloth upon the table in the little parlour for the parson and the strange old gentleman; and when the mutton was placed upon the table, the latter hoped they should have the pleasure of Mrs Philpot’s company; but she looked somewhat doubtfully till the parson said, “Come, come, mother, don’t make a bother about it; sit down, can’t you, when the gentleman bids you.” Therefore she smoothed her apron and made one at the dinner-table, and conducted herself with so much precision that the teetotum parson looked upon her with considerable surprise, while she regarded him with no less, inasmuch as he talked in a very unclerical manner; and, among other strange things, swore that his wife was as “drunk as blazes” the night before, and winked at her, and behaved altogether in a style very unbecoming a minister in his own parish.

At one o’clock there was a great sensation caused in the village of Stockwell, by the appearance of their reverend pastor and the elderly stranger, sitting on the bench which went round the tree, which stood before the sign of the roaring rampant Red Lion, each with a long pipe in his mouth, blowing clouds, which would not have disgraced the most inveterate smoker of the “black diamond” fraternity, and ever and anon moistening their clay with “heavy wet,” from tankards placed upon a small table, which Mrs Philpot had provided for their accommodation. The little boys and girls first approached within a respectful distance, and then ran away giggling to tell their companions; and they told their mothers, who came and peeped likewise; and many were diverted, and many were scandalised at the sight: yet the parson seemed to care for none of these things, but cracked his joke, and sipped his ale, and smoked his pipe, with as much easy nonchalance as if he had been in his own arm-chair at the rectory. Yet it must be confessed that now and then there was a sort of equivocal remark made by him, as though he had some faint recollection of his former profession, although he evinced not the smallest sense of shame at the change which had been wrought in him. Indeed this trifling imperfection in the change of identity appears to have attended such transformations in general, and might have arisen from the individual bodies retaining their own clothes (for the mere fashion of dress hath a great influence on some minds), or, perhaps, because a profession or trade, with the habits thereof, cannot be entirely shaken off, nor a new one perfectly learned, by spinning a teetotum for five minutes. The time had now arrived when George Syms, the shoemaker, and Peter Brown, the blacksmith, were accustomed to take their “pint and pipe after dinner,” and greatly were they surprised to see their places so occupied; and not a little was their astonishment increased, when the parson lifted up his voice, and ordered Sally to bring out a couple of chairs, and then shook them both warmly by the hand, and welcomed them by the affectionate appellation of “My hearties!” He then winked, and in an under-tone began to sing—

“Though I’m tied to a crusty old woman,
Much given to scolding and jealousy,
I know that the case is too common,
And so I will ogle each girl I see.
Tol de rol, lol, &c.

“Come, my lads!” he resumed, “sit you down, and clap half a yard of clay into your mouths.” The two worthy artisans looked at each other significantly, or rather insignificantly, for they knew not what to think, and did as they were bid. “Come, why don’t you talk?” said the teetotum parson landlord, after a short silence. “You’re as dull as a couple of tom-cats with their ears cut off—talk, man, talk—there’s no doing nothing without talking.” This last part of his speech seemed more particularly addressed to Peter Brown, who, albeit a man of a sound head, and well skilled in such matters as appertained unto iron and the coal trade, had not been much in the habit of mixing with the clergy: therefore he felt, for a moment, as he said, “non-plushed;” but fortunately he recollected the Catholic question, about which most people were then talking, and which everybody professed to understand. Therefore, he forthwith introduced the subject; and being well aware of the parson’s bias, and having, moreover, been told that he had written a pamphlet; therefore (though, to do Peter Brown justice, he was not accustomed to read such publications) he scrupled not to give his opinion very freely, and concluded by taking up his pint and drinking a very unchristianlike malediction against the Pope. George Syms followed on the same side, and concluded in the same manner, adding thereunto, “Your good healths, gemmen.”—“What a pack of nonsense!” exclaimed the parson. “I should like to know what harm the Pope can do us! I tell you what, my lads, it’s all my eye and Betty Martin. Live and let live, I say. So long as I can get a good living, I don’t care the toss of a halfpenny who’s uppermost. For my part, I’d as soon live at the sign of the Mitre as the Lion, or mount the cardinal’s hat for that matter, if I thought I could get anything by it. Look at home, say I. The Pope’s an old woman, and so are they that are afraid of him.” The elderly stranger here seemed highly delighted, and cried “Bravo!” and clapped the speaker on the back, and said, “That’s your sort! Go it, my hearty!” But Peter Brown, who was one of the sturdy English old-fashioned school, and did not approve of hot and cold being blown out of the same mouth, took the liberty of telling the parson, in a very unceremonious way, that he seemed to have changed his opinions very suddenly. “Not I,” said the other; “I was always of the same way of thinking.”—“Then words have no meaning,” observed George Syms, angrily, “for I heard you myself. You talked as loud about the wickedness of ’mancipation as ever I heard a man in my life, no longer ago than last Sunday.”—“Then I must have been drunk—that’s all I can say about the business,” replied the other, coolly; and he began to fill his pipe with the utmost nonchalance, as though it was a matter of course. Such apparently scandalous conduct was, however, too much for the unsophisticated George Syms and Peter Brown, who simultaneously threw down their reckoning, and, much to their credit, left the turncoat reprobate parson to the company of the elderly gentleman.

If we were to relate half the whimsical consequences of the teetotum tricks of this strange personage, we might fill volumes; but as it is not our intention to allow the detail to swell even into one, we must hastily sketch the proceedings of poor Jacob Philpot after he left the Red Lion to dine with sundry of the gentry and clergy at the Old Boar, in his new capacity of an ecclesiastic, in the outward form of a somewhat negligently-dressed landlord. He was accosted on the road by divers of his coal-carrying neighbours with a degree of familiarity which was exceedingly mortifying to his feelings. One told him to be home in time to take part of a gallon of ale that he had won of neighbour Smith; a second reminded him that to-morrow was club-night at the Nag’s Head; and a third asked him where he had stolen his horse. At length he arrived, much out of humour, at the Old Boar, an inn of a very different description from the Red Lion, being a posting-house of no inconsiderable magnitude, wherein that day was to be holden the symposium of certain grandees of the adjacent country, as before hinted.

The landlord, who happened to be standing at the door, was somewhat surprised at the formal manner with which Jacob Philpot greeted him and gave his horse into the charge of the hostler; but as he knew him only by sight, and had many things to attend to, he went his way without making any remark, and thus, unwittingly, increased the irritation of Jacob’s new teetotum sensitive feelings. “Are any of the gentlemen come yet?” asked Jacob, haughtily, of one of the waiters. “What gentlemen?” quoth the waiter. “Any of them,” said Jacob—“Mr Wiggins, Doctor White, or Captain Pole?” At this moment a carriage drove up to the door, and the bells all began ringing, and the waiters ran to see who had arrived, and Jacob Philpot was left unheeded. “This is very strange conduct!” observed he; “I never met with such incivility in my life! One would think I was a dog!” Scarcely had this soliloquy terminated, when a lady, who had alighted from the carriage (leaving the gentleman who came with her to give some orders about the luggage), entered the inn, and was greatly surprised to find her delicate hand seized by the horny grasp of the landlord of the Red Lion, who addressed her as “Dear Mrs Wilkins,” and vowed he was quite delighted at the unexpected pleasure of seeing her, and hoped the worthy rector was well, and all the dear little darlings. Mrs Wilkins disengaged her hand as quickly as possible, and made her escape into a room, the door of which was held open for her admittance by the waiter; and then the worthy rector made his appearance, followed by one of the “little darlings,” whom Jacob Philpot, in the joy of his heart at finding himself once more among friends, snatched up in his arms, and thereby produced a bellowing which instantly brought the alarmed mother from her retreat. “What is that frightful man doing with the child?” she cried, and Jacob, who could scarcely believe his ears, was immediately deprived of his burden, while his particular friend, the worthy rector, looked upon him with a cold and vacant stare, and then retired into his room with his wife and the little darling, and Jacob was once more left to his own cogitations. “I see it!” he exclaimed, after a short pause, “I see it! This is the reward of rectitude of principle! This is the reward of undeviating and inflexible firmness of purpose! He has read my unanswerable pamphlet! I always thought there was a laxity of principle about him!” So Jacob forthwith walked into the open air to cool himself, and strolled round the garden of the inn, and meditated upon divers important subjects; and thus he passed his time till the hour of dinner, though he could not but keep occasionally wondering that some of his friends did not come down to meet him, since they must have seen him walking in the garden. His patience, however, was at length exhausted, and his appetite was exceedingly clamorous, partly, perhaps, because his outward man had been used to dine at the plebeian hour of noon, while his inward man made a point of never taking anything more than a biscuit and a glass of wine between breakfast and five o’clock; and even that little modicum had been omitted on this fatal day, in consequence of the incivility of the people of the inn. “The dinner hour was five precisely,” said he, looking at his watch, “and now it is half-past—but I’ll wait a little longer. It’s a bad plan to hurry them. It puts the cook out of humour, and then all goes wrong.” Therefore he waited a little longer; that is to say, till the calls of absolute hunger became quite ungovernable, and then he went into the house, where the odour of delicate viands was quite provoking; so he followed the guidance of his nose and arrived in the large dining-room, where he found, to his great surprise and mortification, that the company were assembled, and the work of destruction had been going on for some time, as the second course had just been placed on the table. Jacob felt that the neglect with which he had been treated was “enough to make a parson swear;” and perhaps he would have sworn, but that he had no time to spare; and therefore, as all the seats at the upper end of the table were engaged, he deposited himself on a vacant chair about the centre, between two gentlemen with whom he had no acquaintance, and, spreading his napkin in his lap, demanded of a waiter what fish had gone out. The man replied only by a stare and a smile—a line of conduct which was by no means surprising, seeing that the most stylish part of Philpot’s dress was, without dispute, the napkin aforesaid. For the rest, it was unlike the garb of the strange gentleman, inasmuch as that, though possibly entitled to the epithet shabby, it could not be termed genteel. “What’s the fellow gaping at?” cried Jacob, in an angry voice; “go and tell your master that I want to speak to him directly. I don’t understand such treatment. Tell him to come immediately! Do you hear?”

The loud tone in which this was spoken aroused the attention of the company; and most of them cast a look of inquiry, first at the speaker and then round the table, as if to discern by whom the strange gentleman in the scarlet-and-yellow plush waistcoat and the dirty shirt might be patronised; but there were others who recognised the landlord of the Red Lion at Stockwell. The whole, however, were somewhat startled when he addressed them as follows:—“Really, gentlemen, I must say that a joke may be carried too far; and if it was not for my cloth” (here he handled the napkin), “I declare I don’t know how I might act. I have been walking in the garden for these two hours, and you must have seen me. And now you stare at me as if you didn’t know me! Really, gentlemen, it is too bad! I love a joke as well as any man, and can take one too; but, as I said before, a joke may be carried too far.”—“I think so too,” said the landlord of the Old Boar, tapping him on the shoulder; “so come along, and don’t make a fool of yourself here.”—“Fellow!” cried Jacob, rising in great wrath, “go your ways! Be off, I tell you! Mr Chairman, we have known each other now for a good many years, and you must be convinced that I can take a joke as well as any man; but human nature can endure this no longer. Mr Wiggins! Captain Pole! my good friend Doctor White! I appeal to you!” Here the gentlemen named looked especially astounded. “What! can it be possible that you have all agreed to cut me! Oh, no! I will not believe that political differences of opinion can run quite so high. Come—let us have no more of this nonsense!”—“No, no, we’ve had quite enough of it,” said the landlord of the Old Boar, pulling the chair from beneath the last speaker, who was consequently obliged again to be upon his legs, while there came, from various parts of the table, cries of “Chair! chair! Turn him out!”—“Man!” roared the teetotum parsonified landlord of the Red Lion, to the landlord of the Old Boar—“Man! you shall repent of this! If it wasn’t for my cloth, I’d soon——.”—“Come, give me the cloth!” said the other, snatching away the napkin, which Jacob had buttoned in his waistcoat, and thereby causing that garment to fly open and expose more of dirty linen and skin than is usually sported at a dinner-party. Poor Philpot’s rage had now reached its acme, and he again appealed to the chairman by name. “Colonel Martin!” said he, “can you sit by and see me used thus? I am sure you will not pretend that you don’t know me!”—“Not I,” replied the chairman; “I know you well enough, and a confounded impudent fellow you are. I’ll tell you what, my lad, next time you apply for a licence, you shall hear of this.” The landlord of the Old Boar was withal a kind-hearted man; and as he well knew that the loss of its licence would be ruin to the rampant Red Lion and all concerned therewith, he was determined that poor Philpot should be saved from destruction in spite of his teeth; therefore, without further ceremony, he, being a muscular man, laid violent hands upon the said Jacob, and, with the assistance of his waiters, conveyed him out of the room, in despite of much struggling, and sundry interjections concerning his “cloth.” When they had deposited him safely in an arm-chair in “the bar,” the landlady, who had frequently seen him before in his proper character—that of a civil man—who “knew his place” in society, very kindly offered him a cup of tea; and the landlord asked how he could think of making such a fool of himself; and the waiter, whom he had accosted on first entering the house, vouched for his not having had anything to eat or drink; whereupon they spoke of the remains of a turbot which had just come down-stairs, and a haunch of venison that was to follow. It is a sad thing to have a mind and body that are no match for each other. Jacob’s outward man would have been highly gratified at the exhibition of these things, but the spirit of the parson was too mighty within, and spurned every offer, and the body was compelled to obey. So the horse that was borrowed of the squire was ordered out, and Jacob Philpot mounted and rode on his way in excessive irritation, growling vehemently at the insult and indignity which had been committed against the “cloth” in general, and his own person in particular.

“The sun sunk beneath the horizon,” as novelists say, when Jacob Philpot entered the village of Stockwell, and, as if waking from a dream, he suddenly started, and was much surprised to find himself on horseback; for the last thing that he recollected was going up-stairs at his own house, and composing himself for a nap, that he might be ready to join neighbour Scroggins and Dick Smith, when they came in the evening to drink the gallon of ale lost by the latter. “And, my eyes!” said he, “if I haven’t got the squire’s horse that the parson borrowed this morning. Well—it’s very odd! however, the ride has done me a deal of good, for I feel as if I hadn’t had anything all day, and yet I did pretty well too at the leg of mutton at dinner.” Mrs Philpot received her lord and nominal master in no very gracious mood, and said she should like to know where he had been riding. “That’s more than I can tell you,” replied Jacob; “however, I know I’m as hungry as a greyhound, though I never made a better dinner in my life.”—“More shame for you,” said Mrs Philpot; “I wish the Old Boar was a thousand miles off.”—“What’s the woman talking about?” quoth Jacob. “Eh! what! at it again, I suppose,” and he pointed to the closet containing the rum bottle. “Hush!” cried Mrs Philpot, “here’s the parson coming down-stairs!”—“The parson!” exclaimed Jacob; “what’s he been doing up-stairs, I should like to know?”—“He has been to take a nap on mistress’s bed,” said Sally. “The dickens he has! This is a pretty story,” quoth Jacob. “How could I help it?” asked Mrs Philpot; “you should stay at home and look after your own business, and not go ramshackling about the country. You shan’t hear the last of the Old Boar just yet, I promise you.” To avoid the threatened storm, and satisfy the calls of hunger, Jacob made off to the larder, and commenced an attack upon the leg of mutton.

At this moment the Reverend Mr Stanhope opened the little door at the foot of the stairs. On waking, and finding himself upon a bed, he had concluded that he must have fainted in consequence of the agitation of mind produced by the gross insults which he had suffered, or perhaps from the effects of hunger. Great, therefore, was his surprise to find himself at the Red Lion in his own parish; and the first questions he asked of Mrs Philpot were how and when he had been brought there. “La, sir!” said the landlady, “you went up-stairs of your own accord, after you were tired of smoking under the tree.”—“Smoking under the tree, woman!” exclaimed Mr Stanhope; “what are you talking about? Do you recollect whom you are speaking to?” “Ay, marry, do I,” replied the sensitive Mrs Philpot; “and you told Sally to call you when Scroggins and Smith came for their gallon of ale, as you meant to join the party.”

The Reverend Mr Stanhope straightway took up his hat, put it upon his head, and stalked with indignant dignity out of the house, opining that the poor woman was in her cups; and meditated, as he walked home, on the extraordinary affairs of the day. But his troubles were not yet ended, for the report of his public jollification had reached his own household; and John, his trusty man-servant, had been despatched to the Red Lion, and had ascertained that his master was really gone to bed in a state very unfit for a clergyman to be seen in. Some remarkably goodnatured friends had been to condole with Mrs Stanhope upon the extraordinary proceedings of her goodman, and to say how much they were shocked, and what a pity it was, and wondering what the bishop would think of it, and divers other equally amiable and consolatory reflections and notes of admiration. Now Mrs Stanhope, though she had much of the “milk of human kindness” in her composition, had withal a sufficient portion of “tartaric acid” mingled therewith. Therefore, when her beer-drinking husband made his appearance, he found her in a state of effervescence. “Mary,” said he, “I am extremely fatigued. I have been exposed to-day to a series of insults, such as I could not have imagined it possible for any one to offer me.”—“Nor anybody else,” replied Mrs Stanhope; “but you are rightly served, and I am glad of it. Who could have supposed that you, the minister of a parish!—Faugh! how filthily you smell of tobacco! I vow I cannot endure to be in the room with you!” and she arose and left the divine to himself, in exceeding great perplexity. However, being a man who loved to do all things in order, he remembered that he had not dined, so he rang the bell and gave the needful instructions, thinking it best to satisfy nature first, and then endeavour to ascertain the cause of his beloved Mary’s acidity. His appetite was gone, but that he attributed to having fasted too long, a practice very unusual with him; however, he picked a bit here and there, and then indulged himself with a bottle of his oldest port, which he had about half consumed, and somewhat recovered his spirits, ere his dear Mary made her reappearance, and told him that she was perfectly astonished at his conduct. And well might she say so, for now, the wine, which he had been drinking with unusual rapidity, thinking, good easy man, that he had taken nothing all day, began to have a very visible effect upon a body already saturated with strong ale. He declared that he cared not a fig for the good opinion of any gentleman in the county, that he would always act and speak according to his principles, and filled a bumper to the health of the Lord Chancellor, and drank sundry more exceedingly loyal toasts, and told his astonished spouse, that he should not be surprised if he was very soon to be made a Dean or a Bishop; and as for the people at the Old Boar, he saw through their conduct—it was all envy, which doth “merit as its shade pursue.” The good lady justly deemed it folly to waste her oratory upon a man in such a state, and reserved her powers for the next morning; and Mr Stanhope reeled to bed that night in a condition which, to do him justice, he had never before exhibited under his own roof.

The next morning, Mrs Stanhope and her daughter Sophy, a promising young lady about ten years old, of the hoyden class, were at breakfast, when the elderly stranger called at the rectory, and expressed great concern on being told that Mr S. was somewhat indisposed, and had not yet made his appearance. He said that his business was of very little importance, and merely concerned some geological inquiries which he was prosecuting in the vicinity; but Mrs Stanhope, who had the names of all the ologies by heart, and loved occasionally to talk thereof, persuaded him to wait a short time, little dreaming of the consequence; for the wily old gentleman began to romp with Miss Sophy, and, after a while, produced his teetotum, and, in short, so contrived it, that the mother and daughter played together therewith for five minutes. He then politely took his leave, promising to call again; and Mrs Stanhope bobbed him a curtsy, and Sophia assured him that Mr S. would be extremely happy to afford him every assistance in his scientific researches. When the worthy divine at length made his appearance in the breakfast parlour, strangely puzzled as to the extreme feverishness and languor which oppressed him, he found Sophy sitting gravely in an arm-chair, reading a treatise on craniology. It was a pleasant thing for him to see her read anything, but he could not help expressing his surprise by observing, “I should think that book a little above your comprehension, my dear.”—“Indeed! sir,” was the reply; and the little girl laid down the volume, and sat erect in her chair, and thus continued: “I should think, Mr Nicodemus Stanhope, that after the specimen of good sense and propriety of conduct, which you were pleased to exhibit yesterday, it scarcely becomes you to pretend to estimate the comprehension of others.” “My dear,” said the astonished divine, “this is very strange language! You forget whom you are speaking to!”—“Not at all,” replied the child. “I know my place, if you don’t know yours, and am determined to speak my mind.” If anything could add to the Reverend Mr Nicodemus Stanhope’s surprise, it was the sound of his wife’s voice in the garden, calling to his man John to stand out of the way, or she should run over him. Poor John, who was tying up some of her favourite flowers, got out of her way accordingly in quick time, and the next moment his mistress rushed by, trundling a hoop, hallooing and laughing, and highly enjoying his apparent dismay. Throughout that day, it may be imagined that the reverend gentleman’s philosophy was sorely tried; but we are compelled, by want of room, to leave the particulars of his botheration to the reader’s imagination.

We are sorry to say that these were not the only metamorphoses which the mischievous old gentleman wrought in the village of Stockwell. There was a game of teetotum played between a sergeant of dragoons, who had retired upon his well-earned pension, and a baker, who happened likewise to be the renter of a small patch of land adjoining the village. The veteran, with that indistinctness of character before mentioned, shouldered the peel, and took it to the field, and used it for loading and spreading manure, so that it was never afterwards fit for any but dirty work. Then, just to show that he was not afraid of anybody, he cut a gap in the hedge of a small field of wheat which had just been reaped, and was standing in sheaves, and thereby gave admittance to a neighbouring bull, who amused himself greatly by tossing the said sheaves; but more particularly those which were set apart as tithes, against which he appeared to have a particular spite, throwing them high into the air, and then bellowing and treading them under foot. But—we must come to a close. Suffice it to say, that the village of Stockwell was long in a state of confusion in consequence of these games; for the mischief which was done during the period of delusion, ended not, like the delusion itself, with the rising or setting of the sun.

Having now related as many particulars of these strange occurrences as our limits will permit, we have merely to state the effect which they produced upon ourselves. Whenever we have since beheld servants aping the conduct of their masters or mistresses, tradesmen wasting their time and money at taverns, clergymen forgetful of the dignity and sacred character of their profession, publicans imagining themselves fit for preachers, children calling their parents to account for their conduct, matrons acting the hoyden, and other incongruities—whenever we witness these and the like occurrences, we conclude that the actors therein have been playing a game with the Old Gentleman’s Teetotum.