Our parishioners have very little idea of the Cider-cellars and Coal-hole, both of which places they take in their literal sense. I think that, with Jack’s assistance, we can establish something of the kind at the Swan, which is the principal inn. Should it not succeed, I shall turn my attention to getting up a literary and scientific institution, and give a lecture. I have not yet settled on what subject, but Jack votes for Astronomy, for two reasons: firstly, because the room is dark nearly all the time; and secondly, because you can smug in some pots of half-and-half behind the transparent orrery. He says the dissolving views in London put him up to the value of a dark exhibition. We also think we can manage a concert, which will he sure of a good attendance if we say it is for some parish charity. Jack has volunteered a solo on the cornet-a-piston: he has never tried the instrument, but he says he is sure he can play it, as it looks remarkably easy hanging up in the windows of the music-shops. He thinks one might drill the children and get up the Macbeth music.
It is turning very cold to-night, and I think will turn to a frost. Jack has thrown some water on the pavement before my door; and should it freeze, I have given strict orders to my old housekeeper not to strew any ashes, or sand, or sawdust, or any similar rubbish about. People’s bones are very brittle in frosty weather, and this may bring a job. I hope it will.
If, in your London rambles, as you seem to be everywhere at once, you pitch upon Manhug, Rapp, or Jones, give my love to them, and tell them to keep their powder dry, and not to think of practising in the country, which is after all a species of social suicide. And with the best compliments of the season to yourself, and “through the medium of the columns of your valuable journal” to your readers, believe me to remain,
My dear old bean,
Yours very considerably,
* * * * *
THE SECRET SORROW.
Oh! let me from the festive board
To thee, my mother, flee;
And be my secret sorrow shared
By thee—by only thee!
In vain they spread the glitt’ring
The rich repast, in vain;
Let others seek enjoyment there,
To me ’tis only pain.
There was a word of kind advice—
A whisper, soft and low;
But oh! that one resistless smile!
Alas! why was it so?
No blame, no blame, my mother dear,
Do I impute to you.
But since I ate that currant tart
I don’t know what to do!
* * * * *
MR. AUGUSTUS SWIVEL, (Professor of the Drum and Mouth-organ, and Stage-Manager to PUNCH’S Theatre,)