It is not always convenient to pay sums at midsummer, which we had been in the habit of paying at Christmas; if, however, a single applicant was refused, a new rumour of inability was started and hunted through the town before night. People walked by our house, looking up wistfully at the windows; others peeped down the area, to see what we had for dinner. One gentleman went to our butcher, to inquire how much we owed him; and one lady narrowly escaped a legal action, because when she saw a few pipkins lying on the counter of a crockery-ware man, directed to me, she incautiously said, in the hearing of one of my servants, “Are you paid for your pipkins?—ah, it’s well if you ever get your money!”
Christmas came at last; bills were paid, and my husband did not owe a shilling in Pumpington Wells. Like the old ladies in the besieged city, the gossips looked at us, wondering when the havoc would begin.
Ho who mounts the ladder of life, treading step by step upon the identical footings marked out, may live in a provincial town. When we want to drink spa waters, or vary the scene, we now visit watering-places; but rather than force me to live at one again, “stick me up,” as Andrew Fairservice says, in Rob Roy, “as a regimental target for ball-practice.” We have long ceased to live in Pumpington.
Fleeting are the tints of the rainbow—perishable the leaf of the rose—variable the love of woman—uncertain the sunbeam of April; but naught on earth can be fleeting; so perishable, so variable, or so uncertain, as the popularity of a provincial reputation.
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JACK JONES, THE RECRUIT.—A HINT FROM OVID.
Jack Jones was a toper: they say
that some how
He’d a foot always ready to kick up a row;
And, when half-seas over, a quarrel he pick’d,
To keep up the row he had previously kick’d.
He spent all, then borrow’d at twenty
His mistress fought shy when his money was spent,
So he went for a soldier; he could not do less,
And scorn’d his fair Fanny for hugging brown Bess.
“Halt—Wheel into line!”
and “Attention—Eyes right!”
Put Bacchus, and Venus, and Momus to flight
But who can depict half the sorrows he felt
When he dyed his mustachios and pipe-clay’d his belt?
When Sergeant Rattan, at Aurora’s
Awaken’d his tyros by bawling—“Two deep!”
Jack Jones would retort, with a half-suppress’d sigh,
“Ay! too deep by half for such ninnies as I.”
delightful the bushes to beat
With a gun in my hand and a dog at my feet,
But the game at the Horse-Guards is different, good lack!
Tis a gun in my hand and a cat at my back.”