Imágenes de páginas

morning! O, yes,


the Reverend Mr. Phillips such a drubbing, that even I myself was surprised at it.”

Did his Reverence take no notice of it then?

Not a word, faith! By G-d! he great a coward as I was myself! But, let me tell you, Sir, the affair was no less heroic on my part; for I thought him as brave as a lion, and I dare say my words made him think the same

I assure you, Sir, it requires no small degree of pluck—when you have not the law at your back-to beard a stout bully-looking fellow to his very teeth ; when, perhaps, the next morning he may send a bullet through your brains.”

of me.


An Irish gentleman speaking one day to Mr. Tooke on the propensity of many of his own countrymen, and all Scotchmen, to use the word will instead of shall, and vice-versa, inquired of him what rule ought to be followed to avoid falling into this kind of blunder ?

It is merely a matter of taste," answered the grammarian; but, if you wish to make yourself understood by an Englishman, the best rule you can adopt, that I know of, is, when you find yourself inclined to use the word will, say shall ; and when shall comes to the tip of your tongue, stop it, and say will."

“ But that is a rule of contrary,” observed the gentleman. I wish you would be so good as to give me a reason; for, as I am apt to make this sort of mistake, I should be glad to have something impressed on my mind which would be a kind of beacon to prevent me from committing myself.”

Shall is a verb, and may be Englished by must. Take care then of the idea, and look at the power

of the nominative. “ Will is also a verb,--and is, simply, to will or desire.

But there may be actions that are indifferent either to compulsion or desire. These are simple futures, and might be expressed by may, or may happen. We want a word for this simple future, and are compelled, in lieu of a better, to make use of SHALL and will; which, of themselves, have a fixed meaning, and are neither of them applicable to a simple future. In this case, either is naturally as good as the other. The Scotch, and many of the Irish, have taken one side: the English the other.

Both are equally correct in fact; or rather equally wrong: but both Scotch and Irishmen must write English ; and here the difficulty lies.

“ The Germans have a third verb for a simple future, viz. :-WERDEN, to become :-as Ich WERDE,

am to become.

This is partially English, and accounts for the use of our word WERE, which has puzzled the grammarians in phrases such as · Were I to do this' It were wise to do so,' &c.

Would and should are governed by, and fetter the rules for, SHALL and will."

Sir Francis Burdett one evening was speaking most affectionately of his grandfather; and, among other agreeable recollections of the days of his boyhood, he stated that his progenitor had been also in the habit of playing a game at whist every night : “ and it is curious," he added, “ that one night, just as he had said . Clubs were trumps !' and won the game, he fell back in his chair and expired !”

Curran, who had not yet said a good thing, instantly observed, “ Baronet, you surely have made a mistake: he must have said Spades were trumps ;' and pointed significantly towards the ground, as if in the act of digging.


John PHILPOT CURRAN was, on one occasion, the subject of conversation at Brookes's, when several amusing anecdotes were related of his wit, eloquence, and ingenuity; a few of which are as follow :

Mrs. Lefanu, sister to Mr. Sheridan, was very fond of dramatic entertainments; and at one time had a very neat private theatre fitted up at her own house. The play of Douglas being cast, the hostess herself, who was a remarkably fat woman, chose to enact the part of Lady Randolph ; and hand-bills were accordingly distributed among the amateurs and their friends, announcing the performance.—On the morning of the day on which the entertainment was to take place, a gentleman met Mr. Curran, who had just returned from a

« AnteriorContinuar »