Imágenes de páginas


“Oh, Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure had'st thou !"

Mr. Quick (“Little Quick”) had also a “treasure," namely, “one fair daughter, the which he loved passing well,too well! It followed, then, that she was in infancy so humoured, petted, and

spoiled,” that in comparison with her wild and whimsical desires the famed requisition of the “ top tile off the chimney” was a moderate and justifiable demand.

One day, a friend “ dropping in” upon Mr. and Mrs. Quick at their dinner-hour, found these fond parents and their “ treasure” already seated at table, although the dishes were yet covered. The hospitable couple insisted on their friend's participation of their homely meal ; and he, in compliance with their wish, took the fourth side of the board, immediately opposite to the young mistress of the house (then about six years of age), who, by right of custom and her own sovereign will, chose, day by day, whatever position caprice, or local speculations, connected with certain edibles, pointed out to be most desirable ; and there the high chair of the little despot was ordered to be placed. On the present occasion, having forestalled her dinner by eating a lump of cake, which had palled her appetite, and rendered the present meal an unwelcome superfluity, the little dear was seated next to her doting father, as a mere looker on.

The main dish upon the table, when uncovered, excited the curiosity of Miss Quick, who either had not seen che joint before, or had forgotten the name of it, which she now eagerly demanded ; and upon being told that it was a saddle of mutton, she stood up, and promptly announced her intention to ride upon it forthwith. To this preposterous recreation the parents were fain to entreat the little imp's forbearance. In vain ; for she declared saddles were made to ride upon, and to ride she was resolved. After much ado, her patient father and mother luckily suggested that the obvious heat of the seat she aspired to, and the inconvenience likely to arise from such exercise would distress her, and moreover spoil her new frock, the difficulty seemed surmounted, and the child desisted from further importunity; but immediately after, perceiving the dish almost overflowing with the juice of the mutton, she cried out, “Oh, let me put my foot in the gravy ! I will put my feet in the gravy !" The father, albeit not unused to such eccentric fancies, was a little startled at his sweet pet's novel desire, and exclaimed in a tone of assumed wonder and of deprecation, “ My precious love! what a preposterous thing you propose ! it's quite out of the question. Now be a dear, good child, and let me help Mr. first !"

to some mutton." Oh !" reiterated the little treasure, “I will put my feet in the gravy

In vain the devoted parents argued, threatened, and coaxed; in vain promised that the next day, when they were without a visitor, she should do whatever she pleased ; all, all in vain ! for, upon a more determined opposition, the sweet little angel yelled out her wishes in such a piercing key, that her mother, a very mild-mannered person, addressed her husband, “My dear Mr. Quick, I'm afraid we shall have no peace until we allow the dear child to do as she likes."

Well, but my love,” urged Mr. Quick, in reply, a little ashamed of their mutual weakness before their guest, “ what will Mr.

say to such a proceeding? It is really so improper.” Mr. willing to see to what extreme, parental folly could go, withheld both his opinion and permission, preferring a state of neutrality; and Mr. Quick, finding the little tyrant's determination warmer every minute, and the mutton cooler, proposed a compromise, namely, that the little darling should have another dish brought in, and placed in a corner of the room with some of the gravy in it, and then paddle about whilst themselves and friend were at dinner, and return to table when the fruit came in. No; the

treasure,” at the very top of her voice, once more declared that she would have the dish, and nothing but the dish before her; and, further, that she would not abate one drop of the gravy. At this perplexing juncture, Quick turned towards his friend, in apology for the scene before him, assuring him at the same time, that “it was of no use to thwart the dear child, who would have her way.” Then calling for another dish, the poor father placed the shivering saddle upon it, and lifting that from the table containing the gravy, carried it to a remote corner of the room, where he was followed by the little duck ;" who, after a persuading kiss from the goose her father, consented to have her shoes removed, and to remain splashing about until the dessert appeared upon the table. When the little nuisance graciously allowed her foot-bath to be taken away, she re-ascended her high chair, and there further shewed how hateful lovely infancy may become from improper indulgence, by pushing about and knocking down whatever was offered that she did not approve. Screaming forth her preference, she at length declared in favour of a large pear, the largest in the dish, upon which she had placed her affections. Mrs. Quick, unwilling to incur by fresh denial another contest with her powerful superior, with prompt kindness smilingly placed the coveted pear upon her daughter's plate; when, to the alarm of the beholders, the little fury threw it back upon her mother with all the ferocity of a full-grown termagant, exclaiming, as she did so,

Why did you give it to me? I wanted to snatch it!”

Mr. Quick himself related this story to me,

at the same time congratulating himself that his child had grown into a sensible rational woman, notwithstanding her parents' early endeavours to make her a fool.

[ocr errors]


“One gives another a cup of poison, but at the same time tells him it is a cordial, and so he drinks it off and dies.”-South.

MR. CHARLES HOLLAND was always a very anxious actor, and when very young, and before he had gained the least confidence in himself upon the stage, he happened to be performing at Liverpool, during a time when John Kemble was engaged there as a star. Mr. Holland having, on one of the nights of the great man's appearance, to perform Horatio, in Hamlet, with him, felt more than usually nervous and fearful, indeed, he was, beyond description, trenulous and agitated. He, however, got on pretty well through the earlier and least important scenes of the part, but during the latter portion of the play the young actor felt his fears renewed, and his tongue clove to the roof of his mouth with thirst, arising from the feverish anxiety not to commit himself in his last and more responsible scenes with Hamlet. A short time, therefore, before his last scene in the fourth act came on, taking a hint from the redoubtable Macheath, he

« AnteriorContinuar »