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will invariably find this knocker on the doors of cold and formal people, who always ask you why you don't come, and never say do.
" Everybody knows the brass knocker is common to suburban villas and extensive boarding-schools; and, having noticed this genus, we have recapitulated all the most prominent and strongly-defined species.
“Some phrenologists affirm, that the agitation of a man's brain by different passions produces corresponding developments in the form of his skull. Do not let us be understood as pushing our theory to the length of asserting that any alteration in a man's disposition would produce a visible effect on the feature of his knocker. Our position merely is, that, in such a case, the magnetism which must exist between a man and his knocker would induce the man to remove, and seek some knocker more congenial to his altered feelings. If you ever find a man changing his habitation without any reasonable pretext, depend upon it, that, although he may not be aware of the fact himself, it is because he and his knocker are at variance.
“ Entertaining these feelings on the subject of knockers, it will be readily imagined with what consternation we viewed the entire removal of the knocker from the door of the next house to the one we lived in some time ago, and the substitution of a bell. This was a calamity we had never anticipated. The bare idea of anybody being able to exist without a knocker appeared so wild
and visionary, that it had never for one instant entered our imagination.
“ We sauntered moodily from the spot, and bent our steps towards Eaton Square, then just building. What was our astonishment and indignation to find that bells were fast becoming the rule, and knockers the exception! Our theory trembled beneath the shock. We hastened home; and fancying we foresaw, in the swift progress of events, its entire abolition, resolved from that day forward to vent our speculations on our nextdoor neighbors in person. The house adjoining ours on the left hand was uninhabited, and we had, therefore, plenty of leisure to observe our next-door neighbors on the other side.
“ The house without the knocker was in the occupation of a city clerk; and there was a neatly-written bill in the parlor window, intimating that lodgings for a single gentleman were to be let within.
“ It was a neat, dull little house, on the shady side of the way, with new, narrow floor-cloth in the passage, and new narrow stair-carpets up to the first floor. The paper was new, and the paint was new, and the furniture was new; and all three — paper, paint, and furniture – bespoke the limited means of the tenant.
There was a little red-and-black carpet in the drawing-room, with a border of flooring all the way round; a few stained chairs, and a Pembroke table. A pink shell was displayed on each of the little sideboards; which, with the
addition of a tea-tray and caddy, a few more shells on the mantle-piece, and three peacock's feathers tastefully arranged above them, completed the decorative furniture of the apartment.
“ This was the room destined for the reception of the single gentleman during the day; and a little back room on the same floor was assigned as his sleeping apartment by night.
“ The bill had not been long in the window, when a stout, good-humored-looking gentleman, of about five and thirty, appeared as a candidate for the tenancy. Terms were soon arranged, for the bill was taken down immediately after his first visit: in a day or two, the single gentleman came in, and shortly afterwards his real character came out.
“ First of all, he displayed a most extraordinary partiality for sitting up till three or four o'clock in the morning, drinking whiskey and water, and smoking cigars ; then he invited friends home, who used to come at ten o'clock, and begin to get happy about the small hours, when they evinced their perfect contentment by singing songs with half a dozen verses of two lines each, and a chorus of ten, which chorus used to be shouted forth by the whole strength of the company, in the * most enthusiastic and vociferous manner, to the great annoyance of the neighbors, and the special discomfort of another single gentleman overhead.
“Now, this was bad enough, occurring as it did three
times a week on the average. But this was not all ; when the company did go away, instead of walking quietly down the street, as anybody else's company would have done, they amused themselves by making alarming and frightful noises, and counterfeiting the shrieks of females in distress. And, one night, a red-faced gentleman in a white hat knocked in a most urgent manner at the door of the powdered-headed old gentleman at No. 3; and when the powdered-headed old gentleman, who thought one of his married daughters must have been taken ill prematurely, had groped down stairs, and, after a great deal of unbolting and key-turning, opened the street-door, the red-faced man in the white hat said he hoped he'd excuse his giving him so much trouble, but he'd feel obliged if he'd favor him with a glass of cold spring water, and the loan of a shilling for a cab to take him home: on which the old gentleman slammed the door, and went up stairs, and threw the contents of his water-jug out of the window, — very straight, only it went over the wrong man, and the whole street was involved in confusion.
“ A joke's a joke; and even practical jests are very capital in their way, if you can only get the other party to see the fun of them : but the population of our street were so dull of apprehension as to be quite lost to the drollery of this proceeding; and the consequence was, that our next-door neighbor was obliged to tell the single gentleman, that, unless he gave up entertaining
his friends at home, he really must be compelled to part with him. The single gentleman received the remonstrance with great good-humor, and promised, from that time forward, to spend his evenings at a coffee-house, a determination which afforded general and unmixed satisfaction.
" The next night passed off very well; everybody was delighted with the change: but, on the next, the noises were renewed with greater spirit than ever. The single gentleman's friends, being unable to see him in his own house every alternate night, had come to the determination of seeing him home every night; and what with the discordant greeting of the friends at parting, and the noise created by the single gentleman in his passage up stairs, and his subsequent struggles to get his boots off, the evil was not to be borne. So our nextdoor neighbor gave the single gentleman, who was a very good lodger in other respects, notice to quit; and the single gentleman went away, and entertained his friends in other lodgings.
“ The next applicant for the vacant first floor was of a very different character from the troublesome single gentleman who had just quitted it. He was a tall, thin young gentleman, with a profusion of brown hair, reddish whiskers, and very slightly developed mustachios. He wore a braided surtout, with frogs behind, light gray trousers, and wash-leather gloves, and had altogether rather a military appearance.
So unlike the