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would a fine gentleman appear if obliged to knock but once at the door of a fashionable lady to whose party he had been invited, while at the same moment a number of his everyday friends, passing by, might observe the circumstance ! I cannot conceive of a more distressing occur
The moment he entered the room the eyes of the whole company would be turned on him; he would believe himself disgraced for ever, he would feel himself annihilated, for all his imaginary consequence, without which an Englishman feels himself to be nothing, would have forsaken him.
You may imagine it a very easy matter to pass from the simple rap of the servant to that of the nobleman; but let me inform you these little monosyllables stand in the place of Alpine mountains, which neither vinegar nor valour can pass. Hercules and Theseus, those vagabond but respectable bullies, who govern by personal strength instead of a standing army, would have hesitated an enterprise against these raps. They have, by prescription, risen nearly to the dignity of Common Law, of which strangers as well as natives are bound to take notice. I was lately placed in a pleasant position through ignorance of this. Soon after my arrival I received an invitation to dine with a gentleman, and in my economical way, with the greatest simplicity, I gave one reasonable rap; after a considerable time a servant opened the door and asked me what I wanted! I told him Mr.
He replied “His master has company, but will see if he can be spoken with.” In the meantime I was left in the entry. Presently Mr. came, who, a little mortified, began to reprove the servant; but it appeared in the sequel he was perfectly right, for on telling Mr. “I knocked but once," he burst into a laugh, and said he would explain that at dinner.
Should an honest fellow, ignorant of the consequences of these raps, come to London in search of a place, and unfortunately knock at a gentleman's door, after the manner
of noblemen, it might prejudice him as much as a prayerbook once prejudiced a certain person in Connecticut. The anecdote is this :
A young adventurer, educated Church-of-England-wise, on going forth to seek his fortune, very naturally put his prayer-book in his pocket. Wandering within the precincts of Connecticut, he offered his service to a farmer, who, after asking him a thousand questions (a New England custom), gave him employment; but in the evening, the unlucky prayer-book being discovered, he fairly turned the poor wight out of doors to get a lodging where he could.
You know the Connecticut Blue Laws made it death for a priest, meaning a clergyman of the Church of England, to be found within that State. Thank heaven, those days are past. “God, liberty, and toleration," whether a man prefers a prayer-book to the missal, or the Koran to a prayer-book, or a single rap at a door to the noise of a dozen.
Adieu. N.B.—You must keep this letter a profound secret, as we have certain gentlemen on our side of the Atlantic who would, in imitation of the noblemen here, disturb their neighbours.
girl. She was the victim of a very singular catastrophe a night or two since, in consequence of which she has acquired a prejudice against the house of Adeler. We were troubled with dampness in our cellar, and in order to remove the difficulty we got a couple of men to come and dig the earth out to the depth of twelve or fifteen inches, and fill it in with a cement and mortar floor. The material was, of course, very soft, and the workmen laid boards upon the surface, so that access to the furnace and the coal-bin was possible. That night, just after retiring, we heard a woman screaming for help; but after listening at the open window, we concluded that Cooley and his wife were engaged in an altercation, and so we paid no more attention to the noise. Half-an-hour afterwards there was a violent ring at the front door bell, and upon going to the window again I found Pitman standing upon the door step below. When I spoke to him he said
“Max,"—the judge is inclined sometimes, especially during periods of excitement, to be unnecessarily familiar,“there's somethin' wrong
cellar. There's a woman down there screechin' and carryin' on like mad. Sounds 's if somebody's a-murderin' her.”
I dressed and descended ; and securing the assistance of Pitman, so that I would be better prepared in the event of burglars being discovered, I lighted a lamp and we went into the cellar.
There we found the maid-servant standing by the refrigerator, knee-deep in the cement, and supporting herself with the handle of a broom, which was also halfsubmerged. In several places about her were air-holes marking the spot where the milk-jug, the cold veal, the Lima beans, and the silver-plated butter-dish had gone down. We procured some additional boards, and while Pitman seized the sufferer by one arm I grasped the other. It was for some time doubtful if she would come to the surface without the use of more violent means, and I confess that I was half inclined to regard with satisfaction the prospect that we would have to blast her loose with gunpowder. After a desperate struggle, during which the girl declared that she would be torn in pieces, Pitman and I succeeded in getting her safely out, and she went upstairs with half a barrel of cement on each leg, declaring that she would leave the house in the morning.
The cold veal is in there yet. Centuries hence some antiquarian will perhaps grub about the spot whereon my cottage once stood, and will blow that cold veal out in a petrified condition, and then present it to a museum as the fossil remains of some unknown animal. Perhaps, too, he will excavate the milk-jug and the butter-dish, and go about lecturing upon them as utensils employed in bygone ages by a race of savages called “The Adelers.” I should like to be alive at the time to hear that lecture. And I cannot avoid the thought that if our servant had been completely buried in the cement, and thus carefully preserved until the coming of that antiquarian, the lecture would be more interesting, and the girl more useful than she is now. A fossilised domestic servant of the present era would probably astonish the people of the twenty-eighth century.
Chas. H. Clark (“ Max Adeler”).
MRS. PARTINGTON IN COURT.
“I TOOK my knitting-work and went up into the gallery,”
said Mrs. Partington, the day after visiting one of the city courts ; “I went up into the gallery, and, after I had adjusted my specs, I looked down into the room, but I couldn't see any courting going on. An old gentleman seemed to be asking a good many impertinent questions, just like some old folks, and people were sitting around making minuets of the conversation. I don't see how they made out what was said, for they all told different stories. How much easier it would be to get along if they were all made to tell the same story! What a sight of trouble it would save the lawyers! The case, as they call it, was given to the jury, but I couldn't see it, and a gentleman with a long pole was made to swear that he'd keep an eye