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cucumber curve;—his face in dancing shone like a kettle; and provided you kept to windward of him in summer, I do not know a sweeter youth in all Hayti than Tucky Squash. When he laughed, there appeared from ear to ear a chevaux-de-frize of teeth, that rivalled the-shark's in whiteness; he could whistle like a north-wester; play on a three-stringed fiddle like Apollo; and, as to dancing, no Long Island negro could shuffle you “ double trouble,” or “hoe corn and dig potatoes," more scientifically: in short, he was a second Lothario.' And the dusky nymphs, of Hayti, one and all, declared him a perpetual Adonis. Tucky walked about, whistling to himself, without regarding any body; and his nonchalance was irresistible.”
I found Will had got neck and heels into one of his traveller's stories; and there is no knowing how far he would have run his parallel between Billy Dimple and Tucky Squash, had not the music struck up from an adjoining apartment, and summoned the company to the dance. The sound seemed to have an inspiring effect on honest Will, and he procured the hand of an old acquaintance for a country dance. It happened to be the fashionable one of " The devil among the Tailors,” which is so vociferously demanded at every ball and assembly: and many a torn gown, and many an unfortunate toe, did rue the dancing of that night; for Will thundered down the dance like a coach and six, sometimes right and sometimes wrong; now running over half a score of little Frenchmen, and now making sad inroads into ladies cobweb muslins and spangled tails. As every part of Will's body partook of the exertion, he shook from his capacious head such volumes of powder, that like pious Æneas on the first interview with Queen Dido, he might be said to have been enveloped in a cloud. Nor was Will's partner an insignificant figure in the scene; she was a young lady of most voluminous proportions, that quivered at every skip; and being braced up in the fashionable style with
whale-bone, stay-tape and buckram, looked like an apple pudding tied in the middle; or, taking her flaming dress into consideration, like a bed and bolsters rolled up in a suit of red curtains. The dance finished. I would gladly have taken Will off, but no;—he was now in one of his happy moods, and there was no doing any thing with him. He insisted on my introducing him to Miss Sparkle, a young lady unrivalled for playful wit and innocent vivacity, and who, like a brilliant, adds lustre to the front of fashion. I accordingly presented him to her, and began a conversation, in which, I thought, he might take a share; but no such thing. Will took his stand before her, straddling like a colossus, with his hands in his pockets, and an air of the most profound attention; nor did he pretend to open his lips for some time, until, upon some lively sally of hers, he electrified the whole company with a most intolerable burst of laughier. What was to be done with such an incorrigible fellow-To add to my distress, the first word he spoke was to tell Miss Sparkle that something she said reminded him of a circumstance that happened to him in China;—and at it he went, in the true traveller style,-described the Chinese mode of eating rice with chop-sticks;-entered into a long eulogium on the succulent qualities of boiled birds' nests; and I made my escape at the very moment when he was on the point of squatting down on the floor, to show how the little Chinese Joshes sit cross-legged.
In no instance have I seen this grasping after style more whimsically exhibited than in the family of my old acquaintance Timothy Giblet. I recollect old Giblet when I was a boy, and he was the most surly curmudgeon I ever knew. He was a perfect scare
crow to the small-fry of the day, and inherited the hatred of all these unlucky little shavers; for never could we assemble about his door of an evening to play, and make a little hubbub, but out he sallied from his nest like a spider, flourished his formidable horse-whip, and dispersed the whole crew in the twinkling of a lamp. I perfectly remember a bill he sent into my father for a pane of sound glass I had accidentally broken, which came well nigh getting me a flogging; and I remember as perfectly, that the next night I revenged myself by breaking half-adozen. Giblet was as arrant a grub-worm as ever crawled; and the only rules of right and wrong he cared a button for, were the rules of multiplication and addition; which he practised much more successfully than he did any of the rules of religion or morality. He used to declare they were the true golden rules; and he took special care to put Cocker's arithmetic in the hands of his children, before they had read ten pages in the bible or the prayer book.
The practice of these favourite maxims was at length crowned with the harvest of success; and after a life of incessant self-denial, and starvation, and after enduring all the pounds, shillings and pence miseries of a miser, he had the satisfaction of seeing himself worth a plum, and of dying just as he had determined to enjoy the remainder of his days in contemplating his great wealth and accumulating mortgages.
His children inherited his money; but they buried the disposition, and every other memorial of their father in his grave. Fired with a noble thirst for style, they instantly emerged from the retired lane in which themselves and their accomplishments had hitherto been buried; and they blazed, and they whizzed, and they cracked about town, like a nest of squibs and devils in a fire-work. I can liken their sudden eclut to nothing but that of the locust, which is hatched in the dust, where it increases and swells up to maturity, and after feeling for a moment the vivifying rays of the sun, bursts forth a mighty insect, and flutters and rattles, and buzzes from every tree. The little warblers, who have long cheered the woodlands with their dulcet notes, are stunned by the discordant racket of these upstart intruders, and contemplate, in contemptuous silence, their tinsel and their noise.
Having once started, the Giblets were determined that nothing should stop them in their career, until they had run their full course and arrived at the very tip-top of style. Every tailor, every shoemaker, every coachmaker, every milliner, every mantuamaker, every paper-hanger, every piano-teacher, and every dancing-master in the city, were enlisted in their service; and the willing wights most courteously answered their call, and fell to work to build up the fame of the Giblets, as they had done that of many an aspiring family before them. In a little time the young ladies could dance the waltz, thunder Lodoiska, murder French, kill time, and commit violence on the face of nature in a landscape in watercolours, equal to the best lady in the land, and the young gentlemen were seen lounging at corners of the streets, and driving tandem; heard talking loudly at the theatre, and laughing in church, with as much ease and grace, and modesty, as if they had been gentlemen all the days of their lives.
And the Giblets arrayed themselves in scarlet, and in fine linen, and seated themselves in high places; but nobody noticed them, except to honour them with a little contempt. The Giblets made a prodigious splash in their own opinion; but nobody extolled them except the tailors, and the milliners, who had been employed in manufacturing their paraphernalia. The Giblets thereupon being, like Caleb Quotem, determined to have is a place at the review," fell to work more fiercely than ever; they gave dinners, and they gave balls; they hired cooks; they hired confectioners; and they would have kept a newspaper in pay, had they not been all bought up at that time for the election. They invited the dan
cing men, and the dancing women, and the gormandizers, and the epicures of the city, to come and make merry at their expense; and the dancing men, and the dancing women, and the epicures, and the gormandizers, did come; and they did make merry at their expense; and they eat, and they drank, and they capered, and they danced, and they—laughed at their entertainers.
Then commenced the hurry and the bustle, and the mighty nothingness of fashionable life;-such rattling in coaches! such flaunting in the streets! such slamming of box-doors at the theatre! such a tempest of bustle and unmeaning noise wherever they appeared! The Giblets were seen here and there and every where;—they visited every body they knew, and every body they did not know; and there was no getting along for the Giblets. Their plan at length succeeded. By dint of dinners, of feeding and frolicking the town, the Giblet family worked themselves into notice, and enjoyed the ineffable pleasure of being for ever pestered by visiters, who cared nothing about them; of being squeezed, and smothered, and par-boiled at nightly balls, and evening tea-parties; they were allowed the privilege of forgetting the very few old friends they once possessed;—they turned their noses up in the wind at every thing that was not genteel; and their superb manners and sublime affectation at length left it no longer a matter of doubt that the Giblets were perfectly in the style.
In my mind there's no position more positive and unexceptionable than that most Frenchmen, dead or alive, are born dancers. I came pounce upon this discovery at the assembly, and I immediately noted it down in my register of indisputable facts the