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A COMMUNICATION WHICH THREW ALL OVERTON
INTO A BUSTLE. THE THAUMATROPE. THE AMUSEMENT WHICH ITS EXHIBITION AFFORDED. MRS. SEYMOUR IMPROVES ITS CONSTRUCTION, AND RENDERS IT LITTLE LESS THAN AN INSTRUMENT OF MAGIC.
It had been previously determined that the happy pair should visit London, on their return from Yorkshire to Overton, and spend a few days at Holding's Hotel, in order that they might execute the various commissions with which their worthy uncle had charged them. Three weeks having elapsed since the marriage, the major had become impatient to hear of their arrival in Dover Street, when information was received that a waggon laden with stores had
just reached Osterley Park. The next post brought a letter from Harry Beacham, in which he enumerated the purchases he had made in London, and informed his uncle that he intended to bring his bride to the Park on that day week, and he calculated upon reaching Overton by four o'clock. He begged the major to present Mr. Seymour with a little box, which he would receive from the hands of the carrier: it contained, he said, a very amusing and philosophical toy *, which had lately made its appearance in the scientific circles of London, and knowing how much his friend at the lodge prized such inventions, for the instruction of his children, he had forwarded it without delay.
“ So then,” exclaimed the major, “ a week only remains for the completion of all my preparations for the fête; let the information be immediately communicated to the workmen at the Park; let the vicar also be instantly apprised of this communication; the notable hostess of
* We have since learned that Mr. Beacham obtained this toy at Mr. William Phillips's, George Yard, Lombard Street, the publisher. We mention this circumstance to guard the reader against those inferior imitations which are vended in the shops of London.
the village inn must likewise be warned to prepare for the merry-making, and to furnish the necessary accommodations for those numerous visitors which the approaching fête will bring to Overton. The tenants of my estate must also be instructed to make arrangements for receiving the bride in a style suitable to the joy of the occasion.” These, and sundry other directions, did the worthy major issue forth, on the receipt of the above-mentioned letter.
Such was the position of affairs which marks the commencement of the third volume of our history. Tom had arrived from school; and Mr. Seymour was frequently engaged in pursuing those philosophical instructions, which we have described in the preceding volumes. The new toy had been received from the major; but no sooner did Mrs. Seymour see it than she begged it might not be exhibited until she should have effected an improvement in its construction, of which she at once perceived it to be capable. This improvement had, in the course of a couple of days, been very successfully completed, and we shall, therefore, now relate the nature of the toy, and the amusing conversation which accompanied its introduction.
The vicar had been closeted with the major for several hours, for the purpose of consulting the Chronicles of Holinshed and Froissart, touching certain points of ceremonial on which they had been at issue; and especially that which distinguished the public entrance of Queen Isabella into the good city of Paris, on which occasion there was a pageant, representing the siege of Troy. On quitting the library, they were met by Mr. and Mrs. Seymour, the former of whom expressed a wish that they should proceed to the drawing-room, in order to see the new toy which Mr. Beacham had sent them; and which, he said, unless he were greatly mistaken, would afford as much amusement to the elder as to the
younger bers of the party, though he thought it probable that the vicar might regard it as a more hostile instrument than even that of the wooden horse, which filled unhappy Troy with an armed enemy.
“ It is a small machine,” continued Mr. Seymour, 66 which is calculated to deluge us with puns."
“ With puns!” exclaimed the horrified vicar, who no sooner heard this declaration, than, like