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OUT of the tavern I've just stepped to-night:
Moon, 't is a very queer figure you cut;
Then the street-lamps, what a scandalous sight!
All is confusion : — now, is n't it odd?
Sure it were rash with this crew to remain, -
XVIII. — THE RAZOR-SELLER.
A FELLOW, in a market-town, most musical, cried "Razors!" up and down, and offered twelve for eighteen-pence; which cer tainly seemed wondrous cheap, and, for the money, quite a heap, as every man should buy — with cash and sense.
A country bumpkin the great offer heard: poor Hodge, who suffered by a thick, black beard, that seemed a shoe-brush stuck beneath his nose. With cheerfulness the eighteen-pence he paid, and proudly to himself, in whispers, said, "This rascal stole the razors, I suppose! No matter if the fellow be a knave, provided that the razors shave! It sartinly will be a monstrous prize." So, home the clown with his good fortune went, smiling-in heart and soul content - and quickly soaped himself to ears and
Being well lathered from a dish or tub, Hodge now began with grinning pain to grub, just like a hedger cutting furze. 'Twas a vile razor- then the rest he tried. All were impostors. "Ah!" Hodge sighed, "I wish my eighteen-pence were in my purse!"
In vain to chase his beard, and bring the graces, he cut, and dug, and winced, and stamped, and swore; brought blood, and danced, gaped, grinned, and made wry faces, and tried each razor's body o'er and o'er! His muzzle, formed of opposition
stuff, erect and wiry, would not lose its ruff; so kept it — laughing at the steel and suds. Hodge, in a passion, stretched his angry jaws, vowing the direst vengeance, with clinched claws, on the vile cheat that sold the goods. Razors! a vile confounded dog! Not fit to scrape a hog!"
Hodge sought the fellow-found him, and began-"Perhaps, Master Razor-rogue, to you 't is fun, that people flay themselves out of their lives. You rascal! for an hour have I been grubbing, giving my scoundrel whiskers here a scrubbing, with razors just like oyster-knives. Sirrah! I tell you, you're a knave, to cry up razors that can't shave."
Friend," quoth the razor-merchant, "I'm no knave. As for the razors you have bought, upon my word, I never thought that they would shave.' Not think they'd shave!" cried Hodge, with wondering eyes, and voice not much unlike an Indian yell. "What were they made for, then, you dog?" he cries. "Made!" quoth the fellow, with a smile, to sell!"
XIX. THE DIRECTING POST.
In winter, once, an honest traveling wight
It out and after much of poring, fumbling,
This y'ant the road." "Why, zounds, the guide-post showed 'To Derby, five,' and pointed down this road!"
ADDRESS TO AN EGYPTIAN MUMMY.
Ay, hang it, that may be, for you maun know,
XX. ADDRESS TO AN EGYPTIAN MUMMY.
AND thou hast walked about (how strange a story!)
Speak! for thou long enough hast acted dummy;
Thou hast a tongue,
come, let us hear its tune;
Thou 'rt standing on thy legs, above ground, Mummy!
Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures,
But with thy bones, and flesh, and limbs, and features.
Tell us, for doubtless thou canst recollect,
To whom should we assign the Sphinx's fame? Was Cheops or Ce-phre'nes architect
Of either pyramid that bears his name? Is Pompey's Pillar really a misnomer?
Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer?
Perhaps thou wert a mason, and forbidden
By oath to tell the mysteries of thy trade; Then say what secret melody was hidden
In Memnon's statue, which at sunrise played? Perhaps thou wert a priest, and hast been dealing In human blood, and horrors past revealing.
Perchance that very hand, now pinioned flat,
Has hob-a-nobbed with Pharaoh, glass to glass;
Or dropped a halfpenny in Homer's hat,
Or doffed thine own to let Queen Dido pass, Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great temple's dedication.
The ch in this word has the sound of k,
I need not ask thee if that hand, when armed,
Long after thy primeval race was run.
Thou couldst develop, if that withered tongue
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen, How the world looked when it was fresh and young, And the great deluge still had left it
Or was it then so old that history's pages
Still silent, incommunicative elf!
Art sworn to secrecy? then keep thy vows; But prythee tell us something of thyself,
Reveal the secrets of thy prison-house!
Since in the world of spirits thou hast slumbered,
What thou hast seen, what strange adventures numbered.
Since first thy form was in this box extended,
We have, above-ground, seen some strange mutations; The Roman empire has begun and ended,
New worlds have risen we have lost old nationsAnd countless kings have into dust been humbled, While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.
Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,
When the great Persian conqueror, Camby'ses,
And shook the pyramids with fear and wonder,
If the tomb's secrets may not be confessed,
A heart has throbbed beneath that leathern breast,
Statue of flesh Immortal of the dead!
Imperishable type of evanescence!
Posthumous man, who quitt'st thy narrow bed,
THE DOCTOR AND HIS APPRENTICE.
Thou wilt hear nothing till the judgment morning,
When the great trump shall thrill thee with its warning!
If its undying guest be lost for ever?
XXI. THE DOCTOR AND HIS APPRENTICE.
A PUPIL of the Esculapian school, ambitious to get on a little faster in physic, asked (if not against the rule) that he might pay a visit with his master to his next patient. The master gave consent, so off they went; and now, before the day had fled, behold them at a sick man's bed.
The master-doctor solemnly perused the patient's face, and o'er his symptoms mused; looked wise, said nothing an unerring way, when people nothing have to say; - then felt his pulse and smelt his cane—and paused, and blinked, and smelt again, and went through all the customary motions, maneuvers that for Death's platoon are meant; a kind of a "Make ready and present," before the fell discharge of pills and potions.
At length the patient's wife he thus addressed: "Madam, your husband's danger's great, and (what will never his complaint abate) the man's been eating oysters, I perceive." "Dear! you 're a witch, I verily believe!" madam replied, and to the truth confessed.
Skill so prodigious Bobby, too, admired, and home returning of the sage inquired how these same oysters came into his head. "Psha! my dear Bob, the thing was plain; sure that can ne'er distress thy brain; I saw the shells lie underneath the bed."
So, wise by such a lesson grown, next day Bob ventured forth alone, and to the self-same sufferer paid his court. But soon, with haste and wonder out of breath, returned the stripling minister of death, and to his master made this dread report: "Why, sir, we ne'er can keep that patient under! Zounds! such a maw I never came across! The fellow must be dying, and no wonder, for hang me if he has n't eat a horse!"
"A horse!" the elder man of physic cried, as if he meant his pupil to deride. "How came so wild a notion in your head?" "How! think not in my duty I was idle; like you, I took a peep beneath the bed, and there I saw a saddle and a bridle!"