Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

These passengers, by reason of their clinging to a mast,
Upon a desert island were eventually cast.
They hunted for their meals, as Alexander Selkirk used,
But they couldn't chat together—they had not been

introduced.
For Peter Gray, and Somers too, though certainly in trade,
Were properly particular about the friends they made;
And somehow thus they settled it, without a word of

mouth, That Gray should take the northern half, while Somers

took the south. On Peter's portion oysters grew-a delicacy rare, But oysters were a delicacy Peter couldn't bear. On Somers' side was turtle, on the shingle lying thick, Which Somers couldn't eat, because it always made him sick. Gray gnashed his teeth with envy as he saw a mighty

store Of turtle unmolested on his fellow-creature's shore. The oysters at his feet aside impatiently he shoved, For turtle and his mother were the only things he loved. And Somers sighed in sorrow as he settled in the south, For the thought of Peter's oysters brought the water to

bis mouth. He longed to lay him down upon the shelly bed, and stuff: He had often eaten oysters, but had never had enough. How they wished an introduction to each other they had

had When on board the Ballyshannon! And it drove them

nearly mad To think how very friendly with each other they might get, If it wasn't for the arbitrary rule of etiquette! One day, when out a-hunting for the mus ridiculus, Gray overheard his fellow-man soliloquizing thus: “I wonder how the playmates of my youth are getting on, M'Connell, S. B. Walters, Paddy Byles and Robinson ?

[ocr errors]

These simple words made Peter as delighted as could be, Old chummies, at the Charterhouse were Robinson and hel He walked straight up to Somers, then he turned ex

tremely red, Hesitated, hummed and hawed a bit, then cleared his

throat, and said: “I beg you pardon—pray forgive me if I seem too bold, But you have breathed a name I knew familiarly of old. You spoke aloud of Robinson-I bappened to be by. You know him ?” “ Yes, extremely well.”

so do I.”

“ Allow me,

It was enough: they felt they could more pleasantly get on,
For (ab, the magic of the fact!) they each knew Robinson.
And Mr. Somers' turtle was at Peter's service quite,
And Mr. Somers punished Peter's oyster-beds all night.
They soon became like brothers from community of

wrongs: They wrote each other little odes and sang each other

songs ; They told each other anecdotes disparaging their wives; On several occasions, too, they saved each other's lives. They felt quite melancholy when they parted for the night, And got up in the morning soon as ever it was light; Each other's pleasant company they reckoned so upon, And all because it happened that they both knew

Robinson ! They lived for many years on that inhospitable shore, And day by day they learned to love each other more

and more. At last, to their astonishment, on getting up one day, They saw a frigate anchored in the offing of the bay. To Peter an idea occurred, “Suppose we cross the main ? So good an opportunity may not be found again.” And Somers thought a minute, then ejaculated “Done! I wonder how my business in the City's getting on?”

“But stay,” said Mr. Peter, “when in England, as you

know, I earned a living tasting teas for Baker, Croop and Co., I may be superseded—my employers think me dead!” “ Then come with me,” said Somers, “and taste indigo

instead.” But all their plans were scattered in a moment when they

found The vessel was a convict-ship from Portland outward

bound; When a boat came off to fetch them, though they felt it

very kind,

To go on board they firmly but respectfully declined.
As both the happy settlers roared with laughter at the joke,
They recognised a gentlemanly fellow pulling stroke;
'Twas Robinson—a convict, in an unbecoming frock!
Condemned to seven years for misappropriating stock !
They laughed no more, for Somers thought he had been

rather rash
In knowing one whose friend had misappropriated cash;
And Peter thought a foolish tack he must have gone upon
In making the acquaintance of a friend of Robinson.
At first they didn't quarrel very openly I've heard;
They nodded when they met, and now and then

exchanged a word ; The word grew rare, and rarer still the nodding of the

head, And when they meet each other now, they cut each

other dead. To allocate the island they agreed by word of mouth, Aud Peter takes the north again, and Somers takes the

south; And Peter has the oysters, which he hates, in layers thick, And Somers has the turtle—turtle always makes him sick.

From “ The Bab Ballads,” by kind permission of the Author.

POOR RICHARD'S SAYINGS.

WITH ANNOTATIONS BY LORD DUNDREARY.A FELLAH once told me that another fellah wote a book before he was born—I mean before the first fellah was born (of course the fellah who wote it must have been born, else how could he have written it?)—that is, a long time ago—to pwove that a whole lot of pwoverbs and things that fellahs are in the habit of quoting were all nonsense.

I should vewy much like to get that book. I—I think if I could get it at one of those spherical_no-globular —no, that's not the word—circle-circular-yes, that's it -circulating libwawies (I knew it was something that went round)—I think if I could just borrow that book from a circulating libwawy-Id-yes, upon my word now-I'd twy and wead it. A doothed good sort of book that, I'm sure. I-I always did hate pwoverbs. In the first place, they—they're so bowwibly confusing-I–I always mix 'em up together-somehow, when I twy to weckomember them. And besides, if evewy fellah was to wegulate his life by a lot of pwoverbs, what, what a beathly sort of uncomfortable life he would lead !

I remoleckt-I mean remember—when I was quite a little fellah—in pinafores—and liked wasbewwy jam, and —and a lot of howwid things for tea—there was a sort of collection of illustwated pwoverbs hanging up in our nursery at home. They belonged to our old nurseSarah–I think-and she had them fwamed and glazed. “Poor-Richard's," I think she called 'em—and she used to say-poor dear—that if evewy fellah attended to evewything Poor Richard wote, that he'd get vewy wich, and l-live aud die-bappy ever after. However—it-it's vewy clear to me that-he couldn't have attended to them-himself, else how did the fellah come to be called Poor Richard ? I–I hate a fellah that pweaches what he doesn't pwactise. Of courth, if what he said was twue, and he'd stuck to it-he-he'd have been called Rich Richard-Stop a minute-how's that? Rich Richard? Why that would have been too rich. Pwaps that's the reason he pweferred being Poor. How vewy wich!

But, as I was saying, these picture pwoverbs were all hung up in our nursery, and a more uncomfortable set of makthims—you never wead. For instance, there was

Early to bed and early to rise

Makes a fellah healthy, and wealthy, and wise.I don't b'lieve a word of that, I'll tell you why. To begin with “ healthy." When Sam and I were children we were all packed off to bed about eight or nine o'clock

- just when a fellah ought to be dining—and had to get up at six or seven-quite the middle of the night, you know—and pway did that keep us healthy ? On the contwawy, we were always getting meathles, or whoopingcough, or vaccinathion, or some howwid complaint or other. As for mental impwovement, it's not the slightest use in that way, for I twied it at Oxford. When all the men of my time were sitting up weading for modewations, with wet towels round their heads, and dwinking gween tea-1-I went to bed—I did-and what was the consequence? I don't mind telling you now—but I–I was plucked.

And then about “ wealthy.Look at my bwother Sam. He used to be out shooting vewy early—I'm sure when he was home and

you

know he's not over flush just now. That weminds me-he-he borrowed a couple of ponies of me just before he left England—and stwange to sayhe's forgotten all about it since. But I never could make Sam out. He's such a-a doothid inconthequential fellah -Sam is.

Then there was another of “Poor Richard’s” pwoverbs (confound him !)

Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou wilt sell thy necessaries."

“Buy what thou hast no need of.” Th-that's a vewy nice sort of mowwal makthimthat is. Why, th-that's precisely what I do do. I'm always buying something or other that I don't want.

But I think Poor

« AnteriorContinuar »