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first slip of the tongue, as the footman, having unbarred the barricade, stood with the door three-parts closed in his hand, in a way that as good as said, "the ports are closed for the night."
Some servants have an uncouth, suspicious sort of way of opening, or rather of not opening, a door, just as if they expected a caller would try and force himself in, notwithstanding the ill-delivered "not at home." They as good as say they are telling a lie, which is quite superfluous, seeing that most callers know when they are.
"Is Mr. Dooey in ?" asked Charles, as the footman peered at him through the narrow aperture.
"He's at supper, sir,” replied the man in an under-tone that as good as said, "you'll not come in if you're wise."
"Well but I—I—I want to see him very par-ti-cularly,” replied Charles in a tone the very reverse of what he said "do you think you could manage-that's to say-would it be-poss-poss-possible to see him to-night?"
"I don't know, sir, I'm sure, sir; I'll try what I can do, sir,” replied the servant, looking very disconcerted, and adding, "perhaps, sir, you'd have the kindness, sir, to give me your card, sir," not wishing to run the risk of the blowing-up that would most likely follow the open proclamation of Charles's name.
Charles fumbled in his pocket, almost hoping he might not have his card-case. Fate ordained otherwise; and having scattered them all in the passage, in the agitation of selecting one, he at length presented the footman with what he wanted.
"Step in here, sir; please, sir," said the footman, ushering him into the dining-room, on whose uncleared table stood the remains of dessert. Leaving him a cauliflower-headed servants' mould, with sundry small coals sticking about it (acquired by thrusting it into the kitchen grate for a light) in a large-bottomed block-tin candlestick, the footman proceeded on his errand.
While all this was going on below, great excitement prevailed among the ladies above as to who could possibly be coming at that time, above all, on a Saturday night. Mrs. Dooey was the calmest, thinking none of the "free list" would be so rash as intrude themselves, and that in all probability it was some of Mr. Dooey's London friends dropping in to give him an agreeable surprise. The young ladies seemed to think differently, and the mantling colour and sparkling eye denoted interest, if not apprehension.
Their curiosity was tantalised by the servant pacing solemnly up to Mr. Dooey and presenting him with the card with the simple observation that the gentleman was waiting below.
"Waiting below!" repeated Dooey, in a tone of incredible astonishment, holding the card to his nose, determined that nobody should see it but himself.
Mrs. Dooey looked at Maria, and Maria looked at Amelia, and they all looked at papa. Dooey thrust the card into his black satin waistcoat pocket, and resumed his picking of a lobster claw. A dead silence ensued, relieved only by the noise of his masticators. The servant having delivered himself of his charge without getting his "head in his hand," as the saying is, tripped down stairs much more gaily than he mounted them.
"Master's compliments, sir, and he will be down directly, sir," said the gentlemanly "John" to our friend in the parlour, who was most heartily wishing himself well out of it. John's addition to the message operated beneficially, and somewhat soothed Charles's ruffled nerves; so potent are trifles under trying circumstances.
At the end of some seven or eight minutes, which appeared like an hour, the flop, flop, flop of a pair of slippered feet was heard on the staircase, and presently the pantoufled papa-in-law having made the descent, stood before Charles in the parlour, looking like any thing but a gentleman who had been sending his "compliments." They eyed each other in the dim light of the "mutton fat" much as a couple of strange cats regard each other when brought in unexpected collision. To emblazon Charles's chagrin, the footman quickly followed with a pair of bougies.
"Well, sir," grunted Dooey, as the footman shut them up on taking his departure, "well, sir," repeated he, fixing his little pig eyes upon Charles, "what's your pleasure ?"
"Goo-goo-goo-good morning-that's to say, goo-goo-good evening, sir," he at last stammered out; "I was not here on ple-le-le -sure at all, that's to say, I've taken the li—i—i—i-berty of ca-ca -calling on business."
"Sit down," said Mr. Dooey, motioning him to a chair, just as though he were going to have a deal for some hops.
Charles sat himself down on the corner of a cane-bottomed chair, and began brushing his hat with his sleeve instead of broaching his subject. "Well, sir," said Mr. Dooey, in any thing but an encouraging tone, which caused our hero to start and place his hat under the chair." Well, sir," repeated he, "what may be your pleasure with me ?"
"I ca-ca-called, sir, that's to say, I ca-ca-came, sir, to ask, that's to say, to inquire-I mean I ven-ven-ventured on rather a de-dede-licate subject-I-I-feel-that's to say I—I—I am much at-atatached to Miss Do-Do-Dooey, and I wished to-to-to-say, I should be much obliged if you wo-oo-would be so good as to give us-that's to say, if you wo-oo-would tell me wha-a-t you are wor-r-th and wha-a-at you would de-de-do for us."
"I'll tell you what, young man," replied Dooey, looking as if he would eat him, "I'll do for you if you don't take care.”
"In-in-deed!" exclaimed Charles, adding, "perhaps, then, I'd better be go-go-going."
"You had," replied the indignant Mr. Dooey, ringing the bell for the servant, who was listening at the door. Having slipped along the passage and put on his shoes he speedily returned and showed Charles out, as he felt assured, for the last last time.
The young ladies thought it prudent to retire before the old gentleman returned up stairs, the name of the visitor having been obtained from the footman, and little doubt existing in their minds as to the nature of his errand. What can a young man want with a papa but to make a proposition?
"Drat him," said Mrs. Dooey, looking the picture of mischief, "but if he's com❜d on any such fool's errand after what I said to him but I'll finish him off-I'll make him remember."
"Oh, he's a silly, obstinate boy," observed Moley, determined to renounce him, and prevent her sister thinking of him if possible.
"That he is, Maria," rejoined Mrs. Dooey, "I was always sure your good sense would show him to you in that light."
"He's very young, observed Amelia.
"Old enough to know better," snapped Mrs. Dooey, "but here comes your papa," and away scuttled the young ladies. Up stumped the old gentleman.
"And what d'ye think that-(puff, wheeze)—audacious boy has had the-(puff, wheeze)-imperance to say to-(puff, wheeze)-me," exclaimed Dooey, flop, flop, flopping into the room.
"Nay, I can't guess, I'm sure," replied Mrs. Dooey, adding,"the imperance of the youths of the present day passes all kalkilation."
"Why, d-n him," roared Dooey, "he wants to-(puff, wheeze) know what I'm worth!"
"Know what you're worth!" screamed Mrs. Dooey; adding, "I hope you kicked him out."
"I sent him away with a-(puff, wheeze)-flea in his ear, you may -(puff, wheeze)-depend on't," replied her spouse, throwing himself, exhausted, on the sofa.
"Sarve him right," replied she, going for the spirit-stand.
THE HABITUE'S NOTE-BOOK.
BY CHARLES HERVEY, ESQ.
A little Prefatory Gossip--Recent Theatrical Marriages, Mademoiselle MariaThe Montansier Actresses in London—“Tragaldabas:" Frédéric LemaîtreBanquistes; Pierson and his Dog-Prospects of the Opera-"Le Morne au Diable;" Mademoiselle Lobry-Mademoiselle Ariel-" Le Chandelier;" Alfred de Musset-The Two Bouffés.
POOR note-book! It is but seldom now a days that thy virgin pages are invaded by the hieroglyphics of pen or pencil. Thou art become almost as useless to thy owner as a blank in a Derby sweep or a complimentary admission to the Opera on a Jenny Lind night! The hereditary grand falconer himself (officially, not individually be it spoken), is scarcely a more unnecessary appendage to royalty than thou art to a theatrical habitué, the taking of a note or of a heron being in these topsy-turvy and unchivalrous days an equally uncommon and equally unaccountable event. And yet, as l'Abbé Galant says, Cà ne peut pas durer comme cà!
Nor has it. Ten days have elapsed since I penned the foregoing lines, and those ten days have worked wonders. Then the busiest Paul Pry might have pursued his dramatic researches even into the heart of the most inaccessible coulisses, without gleaning from thence one bit of news,
good, bad, or indifferent-now, the ice is broken, scandal's tongue rattles faster than ever, and Thalia and Melpomene, like two still yawning dormice, waken up from their long lethargy to
Fresh fields (battle-fields ?) and pieces new.
No notes did I say? why here are dozens, scores, hundreds, thousands, millions, plenty as blackberries in September, and all crying, “Come, take me! come, take me !" no notes indeed!
And among them a marriage; nay, two marriages. Rien que cà! M. Lafont, of the Variétés, to Mademoiselle Pauline Leroux, ex-danseuse of the Opera, and M. d'Henneville, formerly attached to the Menus Plaisirs, to that black-eyed sorceress, that most arch and eloquent of mimes, Mademoiselle Maria. Both, if report speaks true, are old attachments, and therefore better calculated to stand the wear and tear of matrimony. Ainsi soit-il!
But, report further adds-and this time the tidings fall less sweetly on our ear-that one necessary consequence of Mademoiselle Maria's marriage is to be her speedy retirement from the stage. If this be indeed the case, if we are really soon to lose the cleverest pantomimic artiste, the most intelligent and intelligible Fenella that the Opera has possessed for many a long day-if Mademoiselle Maria can say, and without a sigh,
Celui que j'aime aujourd'hui me l'impose,
Sa volonté doit être mon désir,
Ce sacrifice est pour moi douce chose,
Car son bonheur vaut mieux que mon plaisir !
Why, then-we have only to wish M. and Madame d'Henneville, in the words of Gil Blas's archbishop, "toutes sortes de prospérités !"
Wo Alles liebt, kann Karl allein nicht hassen!
People may talk as they will about the effect of revolutions, and endeavour to prove that since February last "Paris is no longer Paris," I maintain that they are wrong-unquestionably, undeniably wrong. Politically speaking, the city may have been and has been shaken to its foundation; half its inhabitants are ruined or on the point of being so, trade is at a stand still, and money introuvable. All this I allow, but there are peculiar and distinctive features in the French metropolis which neither revolutions nor any other commotion, civil or uncivil, can affect. As long as one stone stands on another, Paris will still be the city par excellence of pleasure and enjoyment, the head-quarters of all that can embellish or add a charm to life. Its boulevards will be, as long as a vestige of them remains, the gayest and most delightful promenade in the world; its works of art, although unpatronised and unbought, will, nevertheless, still bear away the palm for good taste and ingenuity; its fetes, its cafes, its petits soupers-whether under a republican or monarchical form of government-will ever possess, as they ever have possessed, that irresistible attraction which tempts the sober Englishman across the Channel, aye, even though he may have in addition to clamber over a barricade in order to get to them. Happen what may, Frenchwomen will always be the liveliest, most piquantes, and most gentilles
creatures in the universe; and, what is more, Englishmen will always think them so, whatever they may say.
And yet, it must be owned that recent events do not quite bear me out in this assertion. How comes it that, during the late visit to London of the Montansier (or Palais Royal) troupe, while Messrs. Ravel, Grassot, and Co., were nightly gathering laurels enough to cover a jack-in-the-green with, their fair companions were received from first to last with the most utter, the most stoical indifference! A friend of mine, a great frequenter of the coulisses, assures me that he more than once saw ces belles délaissées sitting, like so many Ariadnes, with no earthly being to speak to except old Cloup, the régisseur.
What in the name of gallantry has become of those gay and privileged loungers, who used formerly to vanish from the stalls on each successive fall of the curtain, and disappear through that dear little mysterious narrow door which the uninitiated regard as the gate of Paradise? Are Mesdemoiselles Brassine, Juliette, and Aline Duval so very Medusa-like that they are reduced to set their caps (and very becoming caps they are, Mademoiselle Juliette's especially) in vain? or can some timid dissecting etymologist have been startled at the first syllable of Mademoiselle Brassine's name, or at any fancied and pocket-threatening affinity between Aline and Claud Duval? Allons donc !
Joking apart, the neglected syrens consider their pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James's a voyage manqué; not that I (notez-le bien) should have said a syllable about the matter, if somebody else had not done so before me in the Siècle; that somebody being, if I mistake not, neither gras nor sot. Nor was their return home more propitious; I have it from an eye-witness of the arrival of the last detachment at Boulogne, that they disembarked, to quote the graphic but slightly familiar language of my informant, "in woful plight, particularly little Scriwa
C'est égal, I persist, notwithstanding, in my belief that Englishmen, taken en masse, are not so ungallant as they appear to be, and I think I could find more than one fair exotic who would willingly say as much. But hush-all this is, and must be entre nous. Tell it not, reader, I beseech you, in Belgravia! whisper it not, an ye love me, in Brompton ! An exceedingly coarse and rhapsodical production, called "Tragaldabas," has been for some time disgracing the boards of the Porte St. Martin. Its author, M. Auguste Vacquerie, formerly one of the leading feuilletonistes of the defunct journal l'Epoque, and then, as now, an enthusiastic worshipper of Victor Hugo and his école romantique, has sufficient talent to render the more utterly inexcusable such an exhibition of bad taste and inconvenance as he has recently sanctioned with his name. Were the censure still in existence, " Tragaldabas" would assuredly never have been licensed without considerable abridgment; and even now the nightly protests of the respectable portion of the audience ought long ago to have caused it to be withdrawn. Written with an apparent view of turning into ridicule the école classique, it abounds in the most trivial allusions, as offensive to good taste as they are to common sense; its wit is buffoonery, and its humour positive indecency. Jules Janin, Rolle, and indeed every critic qui se respecte, have agreed in stigmatising "Tragaldabas" as a disgrace to its author