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ed with snow, still, like them, we feel the genial warmth of spring and summer playing upon our bosoms."
THE FAMILY OF THE LAMBS.
The family of the Lambs bad long been among the most thriving and popular in the nighbourhood: the Miss Lambs were the belles of Little Britain, and every body was pleased when Old Lamb had made money enough to shut up shop, and put his name on a brass plate on his door. In an evil hour, however, one of the Miss Lambs had the honour of being a lady in attendance on the Lady Mayoress, at her grand annual ball, on which occasion she wore three towering ostrich feathers on her head. The family never got over it; they were immediately smitten with a passion for high life; set up a one horse carriage, put a bit of gold lace round the errand boy's hat, and have been the talk and detestation of the whole neighbourhood ever since.' They could no longer be induced to play at Pope-Joan or blind-man's-buff; they could endure no dances but quadrilles, which no body had ever heard of in Little Britain; and they took to reading novels, talking bad French, and playing upon the piano. Their brother too, who had been articled to an attorney, set up for a dandy and a critic, characters hitherto unknown in these parts, and he confounded the worthy folks exceedingly by talking about Kean, the Opera and the Edinbro' Review.
What was still worse, the Lambs gave a grand ball, to which they neglected to invite any of their old neighbours; but they had a great deal of genteel company from Theobald's Road, Red-lion Square, and other parts towards the west. There were several beaux of the brother's acquaintance from Gray's Inn Lane and Hatton Garden? and not less than three Alderman's ladies with their daughters. This was not to be forgotten or forgiven. All Little Britain was in an uproar with the smacking of whips, the lashing of miserable horses, and
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the rattling and jingling of hackney coaches. The gossips of the neighbourhood might be seen popping their night caps out at every window, watching the crazy vehicles rumble by; and there was a knot of virulent old crones, that kept a look-out from a house just opposite the retired butcher's, and scanned and criticised every one that knocked at the door.
This dance 'was a cause of almost open war, and the whole neighbourhood declared they would have nothing more to say to the Lambs. It is true that Mrs. Lamb, when she had no engagements with her quality acquaintance, would give little hum-drum 'tea juuketings to some of her old cronies, “ quite,” as she would say, 'friendly way:" and it is equally'true'that'her invitations were always accepted, in spite of all previous vows to the contrary. Nay, the good ladies would sit and be delighted with the music of the Miss Lambs, who would condescend to strum an Irish melody for them on the piano; and they would listen with wonderful interest to Mrs. Lamb's anecdotes of Alderman Plunket's family of Port-soken-ward, and the Miss Timberlakes, the rich heiresses of Crutched-Friars; but then they relieved their consciences and 'averted the reproach of their confederates, by canvassing at the next gossiping convocation ev"ery thing that had passed, and pulling the Lambs and their rout all to pieces.
The only one of the family that could not be made fashionable was the retired butcher himself. Honest Lamb, in spite of the meekness of his name, was a rough hearty old fellow, with the voice of a lion, a head of black hair like a shoe-brush, and a broad face mottled like his own beef.
It was 'in vain that the daughters always spoke of him as "the old gentleman,” addressed him as “papa," in tónes of infinite softness, and endeavoured to coax him into a dressing gown and slippers, and other gentlemanly habits. Do what they might, there was no keeping down the butcher. His sturdy nature would break through all their glossings. He had a hearty vul. gar good-humour that was irrepressible. His very jokes made his sensitive daughters shudder; and he persisted
in wearing his blue coiton coat of a morning, dining at two o'clock, and having a “bit of sausage with his tea."
He was doomed, however, to share the unpopularity of his family. He found his old comrades gradually growing cold and civil to him; no longer laughing at his jokes; and now and then throwing out a fling at “some people," and a hint about " quality binding.' Tbis both nettled and perplexed the honest butcher; and his wife and daughters, with the consummate policy of the shrewder sex, taking advantage of the circumstance, at length prevailed upon him to give up his afternoon's pipe and tankard at Wagstaff's; to sit after dinner by himself and take his pint of port-a liquor he detested-and to nod in his chair in solitary and dismal gentility.
The Miss Lambs might now be seen flaunting along the streets in French bonnets, with'unknown beaux; and talking and laughing so loud that it distressed the nervés of every good lady within hearing. They even went so far as to attempt patronage, and actually induced a French dancing master to set up in the neighbourhood; but the worthy folks of Little Britain took fire it, and did so persecute the poor Gaul, that he was fain'to pack up fid
dle and dancing pumps, and decamp with such precipitàtion, that he absolutely forgot to pay for his lodgings.
'I had Aattered myself, at first, with the idea that all this fiery indignation on the part of the community, was merely the overflowing of their zeal for good old English manners, and their horror of innovation; and I applauded the silent contempt they were so vociferous in expressing, for upstart pride, French fashions, and the Miss Lambs. But I grieve to say that I soon perceived the infection had taken hold; and that my neighbours, after condemning, were beginning to follow their example. I overheard my landlady importuning her husband to let their daughters have one quarter at French and music, and that they might take a few lessons in quadrille. I even saw, in the course of a few Sundays, 'no less than five French bonnets, precisely like those of the Miss "Lambs, parading about Little Britain.
AFTER the dinner table was removed, the hall was given up to the younger members of the family, who, prompted to all kind of noisy mirth by the Oxonian and Master Simon, made its old walls ring with their mer
ment, as they played at romping games. I delight in witnessing the gambols of children, and particularly at this happy holiday season, and could not help stealing out of the drawing room on hearing one of their peals of laughter. I found them at the game of blindman's. buff. Master Simon who was the leader of their revels, and seemed on all occasions to fulfil the office of that ancient potentate, the Lord of Misrule, was blinded in the midst of the hall. The little beings were as busy about him as the muck fairies about Falstaff; pinching him, plucking at the skirts of his coat, and tickling him with straws. One fine blue-eyed girl of about thirteen, with her flaxen hair all in beautiful confusion, her frolic face in a glow, her frock half torn off her shoulders, a complete picture of a romp, was the chief tormentor; and from the slyness with which Master Simon avoided the smaller game, and hemmed this wild little nymph in corners, and obliged her to jump shrieking over chairs, I suspected the rogue of being not a whit more blinded than was convenient.
On parting with the old angler I enquired after his place of abode, and happening to be in the neighbourhood of the village a few evenings afterwards, I had the curiosity to seek him out. I found him living in a small cottage, containing only one room, but a perfect curiosity in its method and arrangement. It was on the skirts of the village, on a green bank, a little back from the road,
with a small garden in front, stocked with kitchen herbs, and adorned with a few flowers. The whole front of the cottage was
with a honeysuckle. On the top was a ship for a weathercock.
The interior was fitted up in a truly nautical style, his ideas of comfort and convenience having been acquired on the birth-deck of a man-of-war. A hammock was slung from the ceiling, which, in the day-time, was lashed up so as to take but little room. From the centre of the chamber hung a model of a ship of his own workmanship." Two or three chairs, a table, and a large sea chest, formed the principal moveables. About the wall were stuck up naval ballads, such as Admiral Hosier's Ghost, All in the Downs, and Tom Bowling, intermingled with pictures of sea fights, among which the battle of Camperdown beld a distinguished place. The mantle-piece was decorated with sea-shells; over which hang a quadrant, flanked by two wond-cuts of most bitter looking naval commanders. His implements for angling were carefully disposed on nails and hooks about the room. On a shelf was arranged his library, containing a work on angling, much worn; a bible covered with canvass ; an odd volume or two of voyages; a nautical almanack; and a book of songs.
His family consisted of a large black cat with one eye, and a parrot which he had caught and tamed, and educated himself, in the course of one of his voyages; and which uttered a variety of sea phrases with the hoarse brattling tone of a veteran boatswain. The establishment reminded me of that of the renowned Robinson Crusoe; it was kept in neat order, every thing being “ stowed away" with the regularity of a ship of war; and he informed me that he “scowred the deck every morning, and swept it between meals.'
I found him seated on a bench before the door, smoking his pipe in the soft evening sunshine. His cat was purring soberly on the threshold, and his parrot describing some strange evolutions in an iron ring that swung in the centre of his cage. He had been angling all day, and gave me a history of his sport with as much minute