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night air taking effect on his prominents, he was fain to remember that he still formed part and parcel of the known world; but he had derived such gratification from his ride, that his first impulse was to get off his ass, throw himself down on his knees, and offer up a prayer of thanks to the Prophet. Having thus solaced his exuberant spirit, he got on assback again, but, wonder of wonders ! the beast would not stir. No, let him try what he would, patting, thumping, it was all to no purpose; the brute was steeled alike to coaxing and beating. He remembered the well-known strophe which the popular North Land poet addressed to his own donkey, deprecating in soul-stirring language the employment of rigorous measures in the event of his meeting with a stubborn animal, nobly insisting on “persuasion better than force;” and Babali repeated the original words in melodious strain to Mustapha's ass, but it was not to be charmed. Evidently Mustapha had not cultivated in the animal a taste either for poetry or music. Morning dawned, and found Babali a victim still to his companion's stubborn disposition. He had given up the struggle in despair, and sat down; but now he resolved to try again. Standing before the brute, he was endeavouring, with outstretched arm, to pull him along by the bridle. With fore feet stoutly planted, the brute stood firm as a rock, not to be moved. Babali rampant. Ass reposant.
A loud laugh at his back caused Babali to start and turn his head : there, at his elbow, stood his old acquaintance the pacha, as before on assback, whilst at his side walked his aga.
“Holy Prophet! what ails his faithful servant ?” he asked.
“ Highness," answered Babali, “'tis Mustapha's ass has brought me here : the stubborn brute since noon of night has stood, and nought that I can do will move him."
The pacha chuckled. The aga stooped, and rubbed his hands between his knees.
“ Aga," said the pacha.
The aga made no reply, but from the spacious pocket of his pantaloon drew forth the required bundle, and presented it to the pacha, who got off his ass, and commanded the aga to take his place. Then bidding Babali stand on one side and keep his eyes open, he tied one end of a piece of string round the bundle of thistles, and the other end he fastened to his bamboo. Then getting astride the stubborn donkey's back, he rested the cane on its head, with the thistles dangling about an inch from its nose. No sooner did the beast feel the propinquity of the thistles, than it stretched out its neck, and bit at them; but with his cane, which he managed like a rudder, he first allowed them to bump up against its nose, and then thrust them out of its reach. Tantalised, teased, the ass, losing all patience, set off at a tremendous gallop in pursuit of provender which it was not destined to reach. Evidently the pacha's neck was in danger, so his faithful aga clapped heels to his ass, and both master and man had soon disappeared.
“Verily, verily,” said Babali, as despondingly he bent his steps homewards, “are our wishes ever realised, or, being realised, are we ever satisfied ?"
EXTRACTS FROM THE COMMONPLACE-BOOK OF A
LATELY DECEASED AUTHOR.
DISTRUST A FOOL'S PRAISES. THOMAS DE YRIARTE, an old Spanish fabulist, describes a bear as pleased when his dancing was approved of by the ape, but relinquishing the exercise when the pig applauded, and concludes by drawing this moral :
Si el sabio, no aprueba malo,
Si el necio aplaude, peor.
But worse if lauded by a fool. I never hear one fool praise another without thinking that the very bray of the ass is sweetest music to his kinsmen; and their conversation over their thistles doubtless turns upon its tone and richness.
ANTIPATHIES. There are some persons so hateful to me, that I should turn away though I met them arm-in-arm with a seraph in the shining streets of heaven.
GOUT. It is not every vice that has its badge as gluttony has in the flanneled limb, but this deadly sin ruddle-marks his followers like a butcher does his sheep. I never see a gouty foot limp up the pulpit stairs, but I expect anon to hear a thundering denunciation of epicurism. No wonder the Rev. denounces the sins of the flesh with such an even flow of pious Billingsgate, for every one talks on the subject with which he is most conversant.
ASPIRATION. “ Aim high, my boy," my father used to say; “ if you miss the sun you may hit the eagle. Better paint a bad cartoon than a good miniature. It is something to be even stupid on a large scale.”
FAME. The other day as I was rambling, after breakfast, through a leafy lane in Kent, I met three children seeking the haunt of an echo. How like man seeking fame! Fame! 'Tis but a footprint in the dew after all.
OUR POETS. Shelley's heart leaps up into music like a fountain in one perpetual jet of liquid silver, ascending noiselessly, fading away in melody. Byron's poetry is fierce and fitful as a cataract. Wordsworth is like a mountain rivulet. Southey flows on calm and equable as a river. Shakspeare alone is the great weltering flood of brightness, crimson in perpetual sunset. Men copy St. Peter's, but they never reproduce the Pyramids. No one imitates Shakspeare. Nov.-VOL. XCIX. NO. cccxcy.
How differently men handle controversial matters. There's Johnson, with his two-handed sword, striking with the edge, while he pierces with the point, and stuns you with the hilt, hitting right and left with antithesis, and wielding the ponderous weapon as easily as you could a fail. Then there's Burke, with his glittering rapier, all rhetorical rule and polish according to school-passado, montanto, staccato-one, two, three, the third in your bosom. Then comes Macaulay, who runs in under your guard, and stabs you to the heart with the heavy dagger of a short epigrammatic sentence; Jeffery, who first kills then scalps; and Carlyle, who advances armed with an antique stone axe, with which he mashes his foes as you would drugs in a pestle and mortar.
HABIT. 'Tis only great minds who retain the freshness of perpetual boyhood. Wordsworth kept it eminently, but in him it occasionally sinks into second childhood. Habit deadens the intensest feelings. Hear a child's thoughts on the sea or the sky, and he'll talk better poetry than Tennyson. If an angel was caught in a man-trap to-morrow, and exhibited in London, he wouldn't draw a house in six months. Men flock to see a comet, but they never look up at the stars. Tell them there is a way to pluck those fires from heaven to light their factory, and they listen; but there they blaze, burning on, supplying their own gas, and needing no lighting, and who cares? I have often gone up the Strand, with my back to the west, about sunset, and seen every face that met me crimsoned as with the glare of a great conflagration, but no one looked up. There will be many men go to heaven without ever having known anything either of love or the pleasures of nature. When we get accustomed to heaven, we shall begin to criticise the very songs of the angels, and call that too sharp, and this a quarter of a note too flat. If dragons ever became numerous again, in a month they would be harnessed to the higglers' carts.
A TEST OF AFFECTION. Was there ever yet a son who looked for five minutes at his dead father without thinking of the still sealed will?
MEDIOCRITY. Mediocrity is, after all, the best thing in life. The tasteless commonplaces are the standards—bread and water, and good, dull, steady people. I'd as soon lodge over a powder-magazine as live with a genius. There's M- , whose poems are like sparkling champagne at the first reading, and like a second day's claret at the next. "I'd rather drink water than nectar for a continuance. Leaves are neither crimson nor gold colour, but plain sober green.
This was the state of affairs at the time when the ladies were introduced to the reader. 'On that day, Captain Howard called to speak on the subject to the major, who, having been previously prepared for the visit by his wife, and being himself not averse to the connexion, immediately gave his consent. Charles neither saw nor suspected that his happiness was resting on a frail foundation ; he never dreamt of falsehood or deceit; and when, a day or two after, in a long and, to him, most interesting conversation with his betrothed, he spoke of the years he had spent at school, of Mrs. Selby, and dear little Nelly, and related the cruel accident which had deprived the poor child of sight, health, and beauty-when Fanny heard him, with every appearance of deep feeling and interest, and when she breathed gently a wish that he would go to England, and see what could be done to repair the injury, how could he do other than ask her to go with him? How could he feel otherwise than that the pleasure would be doubled, trebled, to him if shared with so gentle a partner, so sympathising a companion ? Fanny seemed, at first, startled at the idea of so short a preparation, but she nevertheless led him on so artfully, that at length the request was earnestly, passionately pressed ; and then, with every appearance of maidenly modesty, it was granted ; and she had promised to marry him, and, if he could get leave of absence of which there was little doubt-to go with him to England in less than a month.
By Fanny's wish, the engagement was kept as private as possible, and all went smoothly on to the appointed day, the time passing away in an almost uninterrupted succession of scenes of pleasure and gaiety. On the very evening before the day fixed for the wedding, there was to be a grand ball at the Government House, to which the sisters and Captain Howard were invited. Charles was most unwilling to go at such a time; but it was voted that the invitation could not be refused, and so they prepared to set out. Fanny was dressed betimes, and, while waiting for the carriage which was to convey her to the scene of pleasure, she stood contemplating, with infinite satisfaction, the image reflected in the mirror before her; and indeed she might well feel satisfied with the result of the labours of herself and her maid.
“Miss Crewe,” she thought, “ may be there, loaded with diamonds, but I do not think that, even with them, she can look like this."
At this moment, Louisa entered the room, and as she stood by her sister's side, the expression of her countenance, as seen in the glass, caused Fanny to turn around with surprise, and to exclaim:
“Why, Louisa, what is the matter? You look as if you had seen a ghost !”
“I feel as if I had,” replied Louisa. “Look here! This has just been brought to me by mistake, instead of to you."
And she gave Fanny an unsealed note written in pencil ; it merely bore the words
"They tell me, dearest Fanny, you are going to a ball. Spare me only ten minutes before you set out. —Yours,
As Fanny's eyes fell on the words her face and neck flushed, for an instant, to a crimson hue, which again faded rapidly away to a deadly paleness.
“ This is most unfortunate,” she said ; “where is he?" “ As he asked to see you alone he has been shown into the breakfast
6s So far well. And where is Howard ?” “ Captain Howard has not yet arrived."
“Go, Louisa, into the drawing-room," said her sister, after a moment's thought, and when Howard comes amuse him there until I join you. I will go to Robert."
“You go!" exclaimed Louisa. “What will you say to him? How can you see him?"
“ Leave that to me,” replied Fanny, steadily enough; “I will go, or there may be mischief.”
As she entered the room Robert Sinclair flew to meet her.
“ Fanny! dearest Fanny!” he cried; “my own beloved, my promised bride! I am come sooner than you expected—say I am not unwelcome.”
“Unwelcome!-10,” said Fanny ; “but why did you not write to say your plans were altered? This sudden arrival has surprised me greatly." And she trembled as she spoke.
“ I wished to see you, Fanny: I had much to tell you, and preferred saying it to writing it. But must you go to this ball to-night ?”
“I must indeed,” she said; “my sisters would be very angry if I refused; they are ready to go. You must come to-morrow, and then I can hear all you have to tell.”
“ Well,” replied her lover, “I suppose I must submit. I regret the delay; but I should wish, when I speak to you, to have a little time to ourselves. But how very beautiful you are looking, my own Fanny! I trust the rumour
“ When did you arrive ?” asked Fanny, abruptly.
“I have landed only a few hours, and already I have heard that the world of Calcutta has been busy, as the world is everywhere on those matters, in cutting out a match for you, dear Fanny. I could afford to smile at the report ; but tell me, love, that there is no foundation for it."
“No, Robert,” she said, “none whatever. But you must go now; come again to-morrow. We shall be later than usual ; for we shall be up late to-night. Good night."
“Good night, my dearest !” said the lover; and drawing her gently towards him, he pressed the lip of her whom he looked upon as soon to be his bride.
Fanny Somerville was that night the undisputed belle of the ballroom, though she made less display than ordinary, and though, notwithstanding her efforts to repress it, there was evidently a restless uneasiness in her manner; but the flush on her cheek, and the daz