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his brain; only one chapter of his work was printed; he had almost decided on changing his original plan, and making it a quarto!!! A quarto carries such weight with it. The readers and purchasers would not be so numerous perhaps, but certainly more select ; and the price would ensure it a good reception from the "aristocracy of wealth.” Grunter's “ History of Philosophy, and Philosophy of History” printed in large gold letters—not merely on the back, but on the sides of the work !-it would be striking—nay, sublime ! And then, again, he had resolved to dedicate it to the Queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Lord High Chancellor of England. A neatly-turned and appropriate inscription was floating through his brain—what rewards might he not expect! He already saw himself at the queen’s most select parties - already he fancied himself invited to the archbishop's palace — already, from his woolsack, the lord chancellor smiled on the woolgatherer.
It was in an ecstatic state of self-compla
cency that Mr. Grunter arrived at Fitzcribb's lodgings. The street-door was ajar, for a slipshod maid-of-all-work, with a dirty apron, a bold but handsome face, and bright red ribbons in her cap, was flirting at once with a policeman and a milkman.
“Is Mr. Fitzcribb at home, young woman?" asked Grunter.
"May be he is may be he aint,” said the girl, angry at being addressed as a young woman only, and at being interrupted in her double flirtation. However, she piqued her. self on her wit, to shew which, before her two admirers, she contrived to spill a little milk, from a jug she held in her hand, on Grunter's showy leg and bright pump.
“ Take care,” said Grunter — "you are very awkward."
“Okord!—I likes that! If you wants to find okordness, don't come to number nine, but just call at number one - you'll find okordness enough there."
The girl laughed at her own wit, and the polieeman and the milkman laughed to hear Sally give it to gentry! The author of the History of Philosophy, and the Philosophy of History was, alas ! no philosopher ; he could not hear to be laughed at even by Sally, the policeman, and the milkman.
“ You are a very saucy young woman," said Grunter, angrily, “and you should learn to mend your manners.”
“Well, I'm sure you can't teach me, so you han't no right to talk.”
“ Will you just tell me if Mr. Fitzcribb is at home ?"
“ As I said afore—may be he is, may be he aint. He's the second floor - he's got a gal of his own, such as she is, and I haven't nothing to do with 'em. You can go up and see if he's in; and if you don't find him in, why, may be you'll find him out.”
Sally and her two beaux loudly laughed at this brilliant retort. Grunter scowled on the pert Sally, and went up the dark and narrow stairs. Arrived at the landing of the second floor, he knocked. “Come in,” cried two or three voices, which, on his doing so, uttered
two or three shrieks. Grunter, obtuse and nearsighted, at first did not perceive the disturbance and annoyance he caused. Full of nothing but his own affairs, he saw at first nothing but him he came to seek-Fitzcribb! He did not perceive that Fitzcribb, who made a laudable effort to receive him politely, reddened with anger and shame at an intrusion which could not have been more untimely.
Not only was he very unwelcome himself, but his knock had been mistaken for that of a far more important person—the washerwoman, with the clean shirt and waistcoat, that Fitzcribb was to wear at the opera. At the moment of Grunter's intrusion, Fitzcribb was seated opposite to him, engaged in almost as many occupations as the renowned Welch parson of yore. He was writing a leading article for a daily paper, correcting the proofs of a young lady's novel, and touching up Grunter's manuscript. All this literary work had to be done before he went out, so that, while the ink dried on one paper, he turned to another. He was hearing his eldest son
Milton, who was destined also to tread the thorny path of literature, construe, between whiles, an ode of Horace. He had on his lap, supported fondly by his left arm, Benoni, his darling invalid boy, who would not be still in any other place. He was occasionally sipping strong green tea, to clear his intellect for all he had to do, and now and then calling for some slices of bread and butter, cut for him by Sappho, his second daughter.
All this while he was indulging in the luxury of a foot-bath; and Mrs. Fitzcribb, having heroically put his hair in papillotes,“ made of a manuscript poem of her own,” was pinching them with the large fire-tongs; but, as the words, still legible on the curl-papers, led back her mind through the maze of verse, of which they formed part, she occasionally singed one curl, pinched another too tight, or touched the irritable head of Fitzcribb with the hot tongs.
Fitzcribb would then writhe, groan, or utter a sort of shriek, which seldom failed to recall the poetical hairdresser, from “Chindara's warbling fount,” to the second-floor of Great Quebec