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After we've insured for so many years ! But how, I should like to know, are people to insure who make ducks and drakes of their five pounds ?
I did think we might go to Margate this summer. There's poor Caroline, I'm sure she wants the sea. But no, dear creature, she must stop at home; she'll go into a consumption, there's no doubt of that; yes, sweet little angel. I've made up my mind to lose her now. The child might have been saved; but people can't save their children and throw away five pounds, too.
I wonder where little Cherub is ? While you were lending that five pounds the dog ran out of the shop. You know I never let it go into the street, for fear it should be bit by some mad dog and come home and bite the children. It wouldn't at all astonish me if the animal was to come back with the hydrophobia and give it to all the family. However, what's your family to you, so you can play the liberal creature with five pounds ?
Do you hear that shutter, how it's banging to and fro? Yes, I know what it wants as well as you ; it wants a new fastening. I was going to send for the blacksmith to-day. But now it's out of the question ; now it must bang of nights, since you have thrown away five pounds. Well, things have come to a pretty pass !
This is the first night I ever made my supper of roast beef without pickles. But who is to afford pickles when folks are always lending five pounds ?
Do you hear the mice running about the room? I hear them. If they were only to drag you out of bed, it would be no matter. Set a trap for 'em? But how are people to afford the cheese when every day they lose five pounds ?
Hark! I'm sure there's a noise downstairs. It wouldn't surprise me if there were thieves in the house. Well, it may be the cat; but thieves are pretty sure to come some night. There's a wretched fastening to the back door; but these are not times to afford bolts and bars, when fools won't take care of their five pounds.
Mary Anne ought to have gone to the dentist's to-morrow. She wants three teeth pulled out. Now it can't be done. Three teeth that quite disfigure the child's mouth. But there they must stop, and spoil the sweetest face that was ever made. Otherwise she'd had been the wife for a lord. Now, when she grows up, who'll have her? Nobody. We shall
die, and leave her alone and unprotected in the world. But what do you care for that? Nothing, so you can squandei away five pounds.
And now, Mr. Caudle, see what a misery you've brought on your wretched family! I can't have a satin gown girl's can't have new bonnets — the water-rate must stand over — Jack must get his death through a broken windowour fire insurance can't be paid, so we shall all be victims to the devouring element - we can't go to Margate, and Caroline will go to an early grave the dog will come home and bite us all mad that shutter will go banging forever — the mice never let us have a wink of sleep the thieves be always breaking in the house — and our dear Mary Anne be forever left an unprotected maid - and all, all, Mr. Caudle, because you will go on lending five pounds!
LOVE IN A BALLOON.
SOME time ago I was staying with Sir George Flasher, with a great number of people there -all kinds of amusements going on. Driving, riding, fishing, shooting, everything, in fact. Sir George's daughter, Fanny, was often my companion in these expeditions, and I was considerably struck with her, for she was a girl to whom the epithet "stunning," applies better than any other that I am acquainted with. She could ride like Nimrod, she could drive like Jehu, she could row like Charon, she could dance like Terpsichore, she could row like Diana, she walked like Juno, and she looked like Venus. I've even seen her smoke.
Oh, she was a stunner ! you should have heard that girl whistle, and laugh — you should have heard her laugh. She was truly a delightful companion. We rode together, drove together, fished together, walked together, danced together and sang together; I called her Fanny, and she called me Tom. All this could have but one termination, you know. I fell in love with her and determined to take the first opportunity of proposing. So one day when we were out together, fishing on the lake, I went down on my knees amongst the gudgeons, seized her hand, pressed it to my waistcoat, and in burning accents entreated her to become my wife. ,
“Don't be a fool,” she said. “ Now drop it, do, and put me a fresh worm on.
“Oh, Fanny!” I exclaimed ; “Don't talk about worms when marriage is in question. Only say —"
“I tell you what it is, now,” she replied, angrily, “ if you don't drop it I'll pitch you out of the boat.
Gentlemen, I did not drop it, and I give you my word of honor, with a sudden shove she sent me flying into the water; then seizing the sculls, with a stroke or two she put several
yards between us, and burst into a fit of laughter that fori tunately prevented her from going any further. I swam up
and climbed into the boat. “ Jenkins," said I to myself, “revenge ! revenge !” I disguised my feelings. I laughed, - hideous mockery of mirth — I laughed, pulled to the bank, went to the house and changed my clothes. When I appeared at the dinner-table, I perceived that every one had been informed of my ducking. Universal laughter greeted
During dinner Fanny repeatedly whispered to her ' neighbor and glanced at me. Smothered laughter invariably followed. “ Jenkins !” said I, “revenge ! nity soon offered. There was to be a balloon ascent from the lawn, and Fanny had tormented her father into letting her ascend with the aeronaut. I instantly took my plans; bribed the aeronaut to plead illness at the moment when the machine should have risen ; learned from him the manage
l ment of the balloon, though I understood that pretty well before, and calmly awaited the result. The day came. The weather was fine. The balloon was inflated. Fanny was in the car.
Everything was ready, when the aeronaut suddenly fainted. He was carried into the house, and Sir George accompanied him. Fanny was in despair.
“Am I to lose my air expedition ? ” she exclaimed, looking over the side of the car; some one understands the management of this thing, surely. Nobody? Tom!" she called out to me, "you understand it, don't
“Perfectly," I answered.
“Come along, then," she cried; “be quick, before papa comes back.”
The company in general endeavored to dissuade her from her project, but of course in vain. After a decent show of hesitation, I climbed into the car. The balloon was cast off, and rapidly sailed heavenward. There was scarcely a breath
of wind, and we rose almost straight up. We rose above the house, and she laughed and said, “How jolly!'
We were higher than the highest trees, and she smiled, and said it was very kind of me to come with her.
We were so high that the people below looked mere specks, and she hoped that I thoroughly understood the management of the balloon. Now was my time.
“I understand the going up part," I answered; "to come down is not so easy, " and I whistled.
“What do you mean?" she cried.
Why, when you want to go up faster you throw some sand overboard,” I replied, suiting the action to the word.
“Don't be foolish, Tom," she said, trying to appear quite calm and indifferent, but trembling uncommonly.
“ Foolish ?” I said; oh, dear, no, but whether I go along the ground or up in the air I like to go the pace, and so do you, Fanny, I know. Go it, you cripples !" and over went another sand-bag.
•Why, you're mad, surely,” she whispered in utter terror, and tried to reach the bags, but I kept her back.
“Only with love, my dear," I answered, smiling pleas
“ antly; "only with love for you. Oh, Fanny, I adore you! say you will be my wife.”
“I gave you an answer the other day,” she replied, which I should think you would have remembered," she added, laughing a little, notwithstanding her terror.
“I remember it perfectly,” I answered, “but I intend to have a different reply to that. You see those five sand-bags. I shall ask you five times to become my wife. Every time you refuse I shall throw over a sand-bag ; so, lady fair, as the cabman would say, reconsider your decision and consent to become Mrs. Jenkins."
“I won't,” she said, “I never will; and let me tell you that you are acting in a very ungentlemanly way to press me thus.
“ You acted in a very ladylike way the other day, did you not,” I rejoined, “ when you knocked me out of the boat ? She laughed again, for she was a plucky girl, and no mistakea very plucky girl. “However,” I went on, “It's no good arguing about it - will you promise to give me your hand?”
“ Never !” she answered ; “I'll go to Ursa Major first, though I've got a big enough bear here, in all conscience. Stay! you'd prefer Aquarius, wouldn't you?”
She looked so pretty that I was almost inclined to let her off (I was only trying to frighten her, of course - I knew how high we could go safely, well enough, and how valuable the life of Jenkins was to his country), but resolution is one of the strong points of my character, and when I've begun a thing I like to carry it through ; so I threw over another sandbag, and whistled the Dead March in Saul.
Come, Mr. Jenkins,” she said, suddenly, “come, Tom, let us descend now, and I'll promise to say nothing whatever about all this."
I continued the execution of the Dead March.
“But if you do not begin the descent at once, I'll tell papa the moment I set foot on the ground.”
I laughed, seized another bag, and looking steadily at her said: “Will you promise to give me your hand ?”
“I've answered you already," was the reply.
Over went the sand, and the solemn notes of the Dead March resounded through the car.
“I thought you were a gentleman,” said Fanny, rising up in a terrible rage from the bottom of the car, where she had been sitting, and looked perfectly beautiful in her wrath. “ I thought you were a gentleman, but I find I was mistaken. Why, a chimney-sweeper would not treat a lady in such a way. Do
you know that you are risking your own life as well as mine by your madness ?”
I explained that I adored her so much that to die in her company would be perfect bliss, so that I begged she would not consider my feelings at all. She dashed her beautiful hair from her face, and standing perfectly erect, looking like the Goddess of Anger or Boadicea if you can imagine that personage in a balloon
she said, “I command you to begin the descent this instant!"
The Dead March, whistled in a manner essentially gay and lively, was the only response. After a few minutes' silence. I took up another bag, and said :
“We are getting rather high ; if you do not decide soon we shall have Mercury coming to tell us that we are trespassing - will you promise to give me your hand ?"
She sat in sulky silence in the bottom of the car. I threw over the sand. Then she tried another plan. Throwing herself upon her knees, and bursting into tears, she said:
"Oh, forgive me for what I did the other day. It was