Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

10 articles on this Page




A WARNING AGAINST DISSIMULATION. It is a man's duty not only to recommend any course of conduct which, in his own experience, has led to a happy result, but also to warn people against any other which may have led him into trouble or distress. A very solemn lesson of warning may be learned from a narrative of my experience, the other day, with a kitten I got from Mrs. Wype. Perhaps you don't know Mrs. Wype. She was once a housekeeper of ours, but left us at the instigation of Mr. Wype, a greengrocer in Leith, who wanted some one to share his sorrows and help him to take charge of his shop. In less than a year after Mr. Wype died, and left Mrs. Wype with a few groceries in the shop and a little heir- presumptive in the back parlour. About a fortnight ago Mrs. Wype's grey cat presented the estimable lady with four kittens. As fate would have it, I called with a small order the very week after; and Mrs. Wype, beckoning me mysteriously into the back-parlour, ex- hibited the four kittens, all in a row, on the table. Now I have a strong inborn antipathy to all animals of the cat kind but to please Mrs. Wype I drew as near the table as I thought safe, and assumed an ex- pression of lively interest. Well, Mrs. Wype," I said, when I thought I had looked at them long enough, I have seen a great variety of kittens in my time, but I must say that I have seen very few equal to these. There's a sort of comeliness about them, you under- stand." It would have been well for me had I stopped there, but my evil genius urged me further; I pointed to the smallest kitten (a shapeless abomination that lay sprawling on the table) and assured Mrs. Wype that I could trace in its features a striking resemblance to those of the parent cat. "Dear me!" said Mrs. Wype, half-closing one eye, and drawing back her head a little, to take in the full expression, so there is; I never noticed that before." She was greatly delighted at this discovery, and in the exuberance of her joy said I should have that one in a ?resent. This was more than I had calculated upon. shuddered involuntarily, and assured Mrs. Wype that I could not think of depriving her of it. She said, I wasn't to mention that. In desperation I referred to the maternal feelings of the cat; I even adduced an instance from Buffon of a cat which, being deprived of its kitten, had pined for a day or two and then died in a state of unspeakable woe. It was in vain. Hoot, sir," said Mrs, Wype, I never think o't; I wis ginna droon three o' them." I wished from the bottom of my heart that she had drov. led the whole of them before my arrival; but as it was I had to give in, and. after vaiuly starting some objections as to the difficulty of conveyance, was persuaded to let her slip the kitten into the pocket of my Highland cloak.—mentally resolving at the same time to fling it dow.,i the first area I passed on the way home. By the time I reached the corner of the street my nervousness at the idea "of having anything feline so close to my legs had so increased that, although a nasty soft drizzle was coming down, I could not keep my cloak on longer. So I took it off and slung it over my arm, and held it as far from me as I could without attracting observation. And yet almost every person I met would look curiously at it, and from it to me in a most aggravating manner, till I felt persuaded that the abominable beast had got its head out of the pocket. Once, too, as I was looking nervously in ad- vance, I felt a cold perspiration breaking suddenly out upon me as I caught sight of a figure coming down the street, which I was sure was Miss a young lady of my acquaintance. Just then the omnibus overtook me on its way to Edinburgh. Ha! here was an opportunity of getting home more rapidly and with much less annoyance. The kitten I could easily drown in a handbasin when I reached home. I waved my hand to the conductor, and presently found myself inside. The omnibus seemed pretty full already- quite full enough, as a stout gentleman who sat next the door took the opportunity of intimating by a very significant cough. But as I observed my old friend Mrs. Lumsy beckoning to me from the further end, I pressed forward and secured a seat between her and a young woman-a nurse apparently-with a child in her arm. So soon as I was seated I threw my cloak across my knees with as much nonchalance as I could possibly assume, and began talking to Mrs. Lumsy. Mrs. Lumsy is a fine old lady; she's rather stout to be what you would call handsome,-measures, in fact, rather above four feet six round the waist, according to a rough calculation made by Mr. Lumsy shortly before his death. But she has a heart to match, so it comes to the same thing. Well, Mrs. Lumsy and I began, of course, to talk about the weather, which naturally led to the intimation of a cold caught by the youngest Lumsy, which, just as naturally, led to a review of the life and times of the late Mr. Lumsy, in the very middle of which the omnibus stopped. It had no sooner stopped than a nervous little man with a very red face jumped on the step behind, -and looking in, cried "plenty of room," which was a monstrous lie, because the vehicle was full to the door. The stout gentleman next the door cast a savage glance at the little man, and then turned round to us with a look of appeal as to whether this were not too much of a good thing. Eliciting no response, he set himself immoveably in his seat, with his knees in a position which would offer, to any incomer, the greatest possible obstruction. By this time the door had opened, and a boy, for whose edification the little man's remarks had been intended, leapt in with great agility and pushed past the stout gentleman's legs without any ceremony. He leaps like a—a young panther," said the little man, somewhat at a loss for a simile, and was pushing in after him with a hat-box in one hand and an umbrella in the other, when the conductor seized the hat-box and said he would pass it to the top. Against this the little man stoutly protested, but was finally induced to yield. "But, mark me," he said, with strong emphasis, "it will fall. I know it will fall. But you are responsible, remember." The hat-box was passed up; the little man planted himself with his face to the door, with the view of instituting a sharp look- out lest the hat-box should fall off unobserved. The panther crushed himself in between me and the nurse, the cad shut the door, and off we went with a lurch. Till now the kitten had lain as quiet as a mouse, but, whenever the lurch came, it began to my unspeakable horror, to mew most piteously. "What's that?" said Mrs. Lumsy, looking round with a startled air. "It sounds like a cat, ma'am," said the nurse. "A cat!" repeated Mrs. Lumsy, hastily gathering in her dress, "they surely wouldn't allow a cat into an omnibus ?" A lank-faced man with one eye, who.sat directly op- posite, expressed his conviction that it had been the baby, whereupon the nurse tossed her head indignantly, t ,,nan y, but said nothing. I invoked a silent blessing on the man with the eye, and endeavoured to gain ground for his opinion by shaking my head playfully at the child. The matter was still pending, when a dark object dropped down past the window, instantaneouslyfollowed by a cry from the little man, Hey! hallo! my hat-box! confound it! I knew it would fall. Hey there All this time the little man was struggling violently to extricate his umbrella from amongst the legs of the passengers, which he had no sooner done than he brought it down on the conductor's hat with a force that might have driven that functionary's head into his chest. Thus apprised of what was wrong, the con- ductor jumped off, recovered the hat-box, and handed it in. The excitement attending this incident completely diverted attention from our end of the omnibus, and as we rolled lazily along my apprehensions gradually sub- sided. I had even begun to amuse myself by watching the manseuvres of the panther, (who was smuggling toffy balls into his mouth with his pocket-handkerchief, and then pretending that he had only been blowing his nose,) when the omnibus stopped again. The stout gentleman now waxed wrath, and began to mutter some incoherent threats about the" proprietors" and the law;" the man with the eye said this would not do; and Mrs. Lumsy, who was crushed into a corner, began to gasp. Still, no new comer appeared, nor was the conductor to be seen; and presently we began to see the foot passengers on both sides of the road looking towards the omnibus as if something had gone wrong. So the door was speedily opened, and several of us got out to see what it was. It turned out that one of the horses had come to the conclusion, ap- parently, that it had done enough for the day, and evinced a disposition to lie down in the middle of the road but after the driver had lashed it well, and the conductor had gone round and administered a few kicks, the animal seemed to be recalled to a sense of its duty and was ready for another start. Whereupon we a" went round and scrambled in again. Now, my cloak I had left upon my seat to indicate that it was mine. But the little man with the hat-box being in before me, and having formed very imperfect notions of the dis- tinction between mmtn et tuum, deliberately took my place. No sooner had he sat down than a shrill "M-e-a-oo" from beneath him made him spring to to his feet again with an agility which would have re- flected credit on the panther. By Jove!" I cried, snatching up my cloak and punching the cushion below with my knuckles. There must be a cat about here." The panther suggested that it might be in the straw, and crept down to search amongst the people's feet, whereat a young lady opposite seemed shocked," and Mrs. Lumsy grew pale and asked to be let out. So I cleared the way for Mrs. Lumsy and handed her out; and, thrusting threepence into the conductor's hand, hastily effected my escape, firmly resolving in my own mind that should I live to the age of Methuselah I would never dissimulate again. And the kitten (which I had not the heart to drown) will long serve, I dare- say, to remind me of my resolution.


Ilfoallwras Jhttelligenu.

.wtmwji—ilium"" n mm, AMERICAN…