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but a woman's fainting was a scene he had not been used to; besides, there was an awkwardness about it. So he desperately extracted a crown-piece from the depth profound, and thrust it hastily into her hand. The action recalled her wandering senses. She blushed : 'twas the honest blush of pride at the meanness of the gift. She curtsied ; staggered towards the door; opened it'; closed it; raised her hand to her forehead, and burst into tears.
No man had a more thorough conviction of the omnipotence of wealth. “Every man has his price,” was his favourite axiom, as well as Sir Robert Walpole's; and, while he looked upon high mental talents with that half-felt, half-feigned contempt, arising from conscious inferiority, he gloried in boasting, or fancying, that money could purchase them, and that he had that money. He certainly had never read Horace; but he was quite of his opinion,
“ Scilicet uxorem cum dote, fidemque et amicos,
Et genus et formam, regina pecunia donat.”
Wit, genius, beauty, friendship-every thing." The necessities of genius had frequently become subservient to bis purpose, when he had occasion to develope his speculative plans in language somewhat more readable than his own uncouth 'Change Alley jargon. 'Twas a glorious triumph to him to induce unfavourable comparisons between the possessor of brains and the possessor of wealth. “ You see, now, I can employ you, and you are glad to be employed ; whereas you couldn't buy and sell me in that way. So what's the use of genius, and learning, and literature, and all that rubbish, when it's to be had for any body's penny? Why need my son (if I ever have one) bore his brains with Latin and Greek, and grammar and stuff? seeing he can buy the use on't when he wants it, the same as I am buying you, and all for a mere song, as a body may say. 'Twas a fine thing to teach us at school, that learning was better than house or land ; but I fancy I know which is best now: I've a notion that I do. I guess learning would do me little good without the needful. A pocketfull of gold is better than a head-full of brains ; except, mayhap, the brains that put a man in the way of getting on in the world.”
Jacob was a bachelor. Sixty summers had passed over his head without imparting a ray of warmth to his heart; without exciting one tender feeling for the sex, deprived of whose cheering presence, the paradise of the world were a wilderness of weeds. Gallantry forined no part of his composition. He regarded the civility of every pretty woman as a covert attack upon his purse, and an attempt to entrap him in the toils of matrimony. “He was resolved, he said, not to be cajoled out of his liberty, by soft tongues and pretty faces : women loved the money, if they didn't care a fig for the man. Besides, it was a bad world; and he wouldn't be the means of bringing more: miserables into it.” But if he cared little for the society of femalesi, he was selfish enough to know, that he could not enjoy the comforits of life without their assistance; so he selected a coarse buxom spin: iter, to superintend his economical establishment, uniting all the domestic offices in her own individual person. There was no danger that her beauty would tempt him to break his vow of celibacy. He chose her philosophically, as an antidote to desire; like the anchorite who placed before him death's head, as a memento mori, to guard him from the seductions of concupiscence. She bore no unapt resemblance to those squab figures of Chinese manufacture, that used to deck the mantle-shelves of our grandfathers; short, fat, wide-mouthed, and blowsy. She looked like a dwarf apple-tree, stunted in its altitude; or as if she had been confined in a low-roofed cage; and nature, prevented by the roof from shooting higher, had vented itself in circumference. With such a companion, Jacob thought he was not likely to be led into temptation; so on he went, plodding, as heretofore ; neither looking to his right hand nor to his left; carefully picking his way, without being allured by the gay flowers that sprang up in his path; having no eyes for the beauties of nature, or the splendour of heaven; no ears for the melody of sweet sounds; no relish for the creations of intellect. Beauty, wit, and genius poured forth their treasures in vain ; and the painter's skill, the poet's fancy-all that imagination had conceived, or art accomplishedappealed to a being, sheathed in the impenetrable mail of worldly wisdom;
sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing." Deep thinkers are said to be deep drinkers. I think not. But, be this as it may, it is very certain, that there are no better gastronomists than those who never think at all; and the digestive powers seem, in most instances, in exact proportion to the deficiency of intellect. Jacob Stock was an illustration of all this. Money-getting was the one idea that absorbed his whole soul; there was no place in it for any other feeling ; 'and beyond that, his predilections and sensations were purely animal.
No man was better constituted by physical capacity for great feats at city-dinners.—Mountains of flesh and fowl, formidable arrays of turtle and venison, vanished before his demolishing prowess ; and on Lord Mayor's day, he revelled in an epicurean paradise. He soiled more clean plates than an alderman, and was looked up to, in point of individual achievement, as the very father of civic feasting; the gown and chain men scarcely excepted. But, proficient as Jacob was on all public occasions of mastication, he was rarely tempted to witness similar exploits at his own table. There were one or two occasions, indeed, which he signalized in this way; such as his election to the common council, and once when he had driven an excellent bargain in tallow. But these were mere solitary instances, and nowise affecting the general cautiousness of his character, which was very tender of involving the responsibility of his own purse, in acts of good fellowship or generosity.
Jacob, though a shrewd man, and abundantly stocked with worldly wiselom, had one weak point. He was egregiously fond of flattery. I ask the observant reader,-him, I mean, who finds food for speculation in the fantastic variety of the human character, and gathers something for his stock of knowledge from each individual he encounters in his path, I ask if it ever struck him, as a prominent peculiarity, that those who affect it the least are the most susceptible of this insinuating quality, and that your thorough-bred men of the world, who are so sensibly impressed with the importance of wealth, as to expect for it universal homage, are, in this respect, among the weakest ? Jacob, with his rough exterior, seemed to set flattery at defiance. You would as soon think of soothing an untamed bear with the melody of a lute;
yet his weakness in this point formed, in fact, the groundwork of an event, the most important in his whole existence. His comfortable, accommodating housekeeper, who seemed, good easy soul! the quintessence of meekness and submission, had in her composition some lurking seeds of ambition; and sundry circumstances combined to rouse them into expansion. She knew her patron was rich ; and she knew he had no notion of sharing his wealth. She had witnessed the discomfiture of ladies, richer than herself in adventitious advantages, superior in external accomplishments, and armed with all the arts of her sex. She had even seen beauty and wealth, united in the same person, disarmed of their potency, and unable to pass the impenetrable barrier of worldly interest and self-love that circumvallated his heart. What chance of success, then, could there be for her, deficient as she was in personal attractions, and destitute of the magnetism of gold?
Where we suspect not, we are apt to forego our usual caution. A man would hide his watch-chain and seals, if he mingled with a promiscuous mob, or thought of encountering a thief; but he would hardly think of using this precaution in the private circle of a well-dressed company. Jacob, who was proof against the attacks of ladies abroad, laid aside his reserve and his suspicion when at home; he felt there was no need of them; and all this the shrewd spinster was aware of. She had studied his peculiarities, and knew where he was vulnerable. She began by covertly applauding his prudence; insinuated hints of the agreeableness of his person, habits, and disposition: first with the deference of an inferior; and then, as she saw the bait took, with something more like the independent opinion of an equal. She gained ground wonderfully, because he never suspected the motive. In the very triumph of her career, he fell ill. She nursed him assiduously; and was detected two or three times, when he drew back the curtains, sitting by his bedside, wiping her eyes with the corner of her apron. These, with a few of the arts that female ingenuity so well understands, made rapid advances in Jacob's heart. He recovered ; and he saw joy for that recovery beaming in the eyes of the only being who had ever (as he thought) regarded him disinterestedly. This could not be the mere attachment of a domestic; it was love. Jacob, with all his hostility against the sex, was not proof against the gratifying feeling of being beloved for one's self alone. Besides, “she had never told her love;" she never hinted it; but seemed to carry the oppressive secret at her heart. A chef-d'æuvre on her part crowned the jest. She gave him notice of her intention to quit his service. A relation, she said, had offered her an asylum, in a retired village. She grieved to leave the best-kindest-of masters (here she sobbed); but her health was drooping, and she wished to try the effect of country air. This step shewed Jacob the exact state of his heart. He felt that he could not live without the society of a being, who, from the force of habit, or some cause or other, had become necessary to his happiness. "He ponder'd on't," and was resolute. He “shrunk back upon himself, and startled" at the novelty of his own thoughts. He detected his heart in the indulgen » of a feeling it had been the business of his life to suppress; and all the selfishness of bis nature was roused to action. But its opposition was momentary. Her prudence, good-temper, economy, and undoubted
attachment stood forth in formidable array, and bid fair to outweigh all prudential considerations.
“The tempter saw her time ;-the work she plied." In the midst of these pro and con deliberations, she contrived to throw in his way, as if by chance, a journal of petty sums she had saved him at sundry times, which she had honestly accounted for; and another paper, of even more importance, in the eyes of Jacob, than the saving of money,—her will, in which she had left the residue of her scanty earnings to "the best of masters.” This was the ultima manus. He succumbed to Dan Cupid; and in the short period of a few months, the fat housekeeper became the lawful spouse of one of the richest men in the city of London.
In a brief space, Jacob discovered that he had been cajoled out of his liberty. He stormed and raved, and fumed and fretted accordingly, with the restlessness of a panther shut up in a cage; but in vain. The knot that bound him was tied too fast to be loosened by the tooth of a disappointed old man. He sunk into the feeble inertness that usually succeeds to unbounded rage. He was compelled to view, with forbearing patience, the ravages of an extravagant woman on a fortune which had hitherto known no diminution; and forced to smile acquiescence, though he secretly writhed in agony. To have encountered a disappointment in temper, disposition, affection; to have found her love, indifference; her suavity, deceit: all this he could have borne: he could have endured having been tricked out of his heart;—but to superadd to these, the waste of his darling treasure, the one absorbing good, in which he had bound up his whole soul,—this was, indeed, a burthen too grievous to be borne. He fretted; he was sick at heart. When asked how he did, he shook his head, and looked grave. His iron countenance assumed a cadaverous aspect, and his sullen eyes, sunk in their sockets, gave indications of incipient atrophy. To his other afflictions was now added a phantasy that haunted him hourly. He thought he should die for want. So strong a hold had this megrim on his imagination, that it allowed him no repose ; and, in twelve months after the fatal vow that had destroyed his peace, he was borne to the family-vault of the Stocks, leaving behind him half a million sterling, at the disposal of his domestic tyrant.
And as the heat had made them very
Dry and dusty in the throttles,
Then to the kitchen,
With sausages embellish’d, which in
Together with a nice cold brisket,
Half a pig's head.
Custards and jellies,
To their insatiable bellies;
Enough to satisfy their maws,
The bottles stood no inoment still ;
Callid for the bill. 'Twas brought, when one of them who eyed And added
the items, cried, “ Extremely moderate indeed! I'll make a point to recommend This inn to every travelling friend;
And you, Sam, shall be doubly feed.” This said, a weighty purse he drew,
When his companion interposed, “Nay, Harry, that will never do,
Pray let your purse again be closed,
any such insulting offer;
Indignant at the very proffer ;
My worthy fellows,” cried the third,
At your expense?—'tis childish quite;
I claim this payment as my rightHere-how much is the
Sam?" To this most rational proposal
The others gave such fierce negation, One might have fancied they were foes all,
So hot became the altercation,