The further marks of identity consist in a ring very variously chased, and the infallible insignia of a tuning-fork: without this no professional singer does or can exist. The thing has been tried, and found a failure. Its uses are remarkable and various: like the “death’s-head and cross-bones” of the pirates, or the wand, globe, and beard of the conjuror, it is their sure and unvarying sign. We have in our mind’s eye one of the species even now—we see him coquetting with the fork, compressing it with gentle fondness, and then (that all senses may be called into requisition) resting it against his eye-tooth to catch the proper tone. Should this be the prelude to his own professional performance, we see it returned, with a look of profound wisdom, to the right-hand depository of the nondescript and imaginary velvet double-breaster—we follow his eyes, till, with peculiar fascination, they fix upon the far-off cornice of the most distant corner of the smoke-embued apartment—we perceive the extension of the dexter hand employed in innocent dalliance with the well-sucked peel of a quarter of an orange, whilst the left is employed with the links of what would be a watch-guard, if the professional singer had a watch. We hear the three distinct hems—oblivion for a moment seizes us—the glasses jingle—two auctioneers’ hammers astonish the mahogany—several dirty hands are brought in violent and noisy contact—we are near a friend of the vocalist—our glass of gin-and-water (literally warm without) empties itself over our lower extremities, instigated thereto by the gymnastic performances of the said zealous friend—and with an exclamation that, were Mawworn present, would cost us a shilling, we find the professional singer has concluded, and is half stooping to the applause, and half lifting his diligently-stirred grog, gulping down the “creature comfort” with infinite satisfaction.
* * * * *
—There goes the hammer again! (Rubins has a sinecure compared to that fat man). “A glee, gents!—a glee!”—Ah! there they are—three coats—three collars—Heaven knows how many buttons!—three bald heads, three stout stomachs, three mouths, stuffed with three tuning-forks, nodding and conferring with a degree of mystery worthy of three Guy Faux.”—What is the subject?
“Hail smi_lig_ born.”