« PreviousContinue »
following a psalm he was apt to issue notes upon the wrong firm ; for while the clerk was chaunting Sternhold and Hopkins, Billy was sadly addicted to singing Tate and Brady. The nickname of Tittup the Civilian was bestowed upon him by Captain Clavering, whose regiment was then quartered at Richmond. “Pray, Captain," inquired old Mrs. Simms-(who had never forgotten the opposite behaviour of the two boys, when she carried home the trap-ball
in a sheet of giltedged paper).-" why do you call Mr. William Tittup, Tittup the Civilian ?".-“ Not from any allusion to Doctors' Commons, Madam," answered the Captain: “I can venture to prophesy that the young gentleman will never go there for a wife of his own, or be carried there for making free with any other man's.” Mrs. Simms was silenced, if not satisfied.
Years drawled on in this unprofitable kind of handywork, during which the Civilian seldom extended his visits beyond the Row. He once, indeed, made an attempt to ascertain the flavour of the Souchong in Maid-of-Honour Row, on Richmond-green : but the wind, as he crossed the bridge homeward, gave him a swelled face, and his mamma again drew in her tape tether, so as to confine her young donkey to his previous pasture. A retired Blackwell-hall factor can never stand the country long : Old Tittup had not amused himself many years in gazing at Mr. Cambridge's tall trees in front of his mansion, before he sickened and died: his widow was too dutiful to continue his relict long; and Tittup the Civilian, the lease being expired, quitted the vicinage of the tall trees aforesaid, to enter “the forest of chimneys” in the great Mètropolis. On looking into his pecuniary affairs, he found that his property did not quite ascend to four hundred pounds per annum. “Something must be done,” sighed he to himself. The god Apollo, when similarly circumstanced, according to O'Hara, exclaimed, “A lucky thought-turn shepherd !” So ejaculated Tittup; that is to say, he resolved to be a swain-an adorer of the ladies. “I'll make my fortune by marriage," said the young man as he posted forth from his new lodgings in Bury-street, St. James's, to order a new suit of clothes. His ci-devant bustling attention was straitway converted into an air of romantic tenderness when he addressed a woman, especially if he believed her to have any dealings in Threadneedle-street: he cast lavender-water upon his cambric handkerchief, and he took to singing, “When you tell me your heart is another's :" occasionally, too, he howled forth his sufferings through the aperture of a German-flute. Yet still, somehow, it did not do. With all his attentions, the women endured rather than admired him : he made fifteen offers of marriage which were rejected in favour of fifteen other men, who paid the sex no attention at all. How was this to be accounted for? His cousin Tom Austin let him one day into the secret. .6 William," said the latter during a friendly tête-à-tête, “I see what your plan is : take my word for it, it will never answer, "My plan, cousin Thomas ?"_"Come, come, you want to marry a woman of fortune : you have not a single requisite for that object.”—“ You flatter.”—" By no means : you are all wrong, and I'll tell you why:"_“I am all attention."--"Why, in the first place, I would advise you totally to discard your present manners, and trust to nature for a new set. You are very well if you would but leave yourself alone. When there is nobody but myself and my mother present, I have known you to be natural and rather agreeable; but no sooner does any other woman make her appearance, than you are all in a screw: every limb is disjointed : you lisp and you smile; and you put on such a look of wonder about nothing at all, that you really worry every body to death.”—“Have you done ?”_" Almost, but not quite. Last Monday se'nnight, at The Grange, you were at your old tricks, never leaving the women a moment to themselves. After breakfast, Jack Talbot, Smithers, Jellicoe, and myself, took ourselves to our own several pursuits. One went to look after his gun, another adjourned to the library, and so forth : but what did you do?”_"I really don't recollect.”—“No! why, then, I'll refresh your memory. There sat you from ten o'clock to four in the breakfast-room, with your two hands stuck up, like a double culprit at the Old Bailey; and your thumbs starting off at right angles, helping Nancy Meadows to wind silk upon a card. What was the consequence? You sat down to dinner at six, without a fresh idea in your head—with body and mind equally unrefreshed by exercise. The great secret of attracting women, William, or of attracting any body, is to shew that you can do without them. Doctor Baillie's dictum for the welfare of the stomach is, Leave off dinner with an appetite. Never lean upon the world. Take my word for it, if you do, the world will jump aside and you will get a tumble. We had a trick at Eton"_" Ay, you had a great many sad tricks at Eton! Thank Heaven, I was brought up at home !"_“We had a trick at Eton, I tell you, which will exemplify what I am saying. A fellow would lay his hand flat upon the desk, palm downward, and then say to another fellow, “Now, dig your knuckles into the back of my hand as hard as you can, you cannot hurt ine.' Well, the other fellow would do so : upon which the first fellow, after crying, 'Lean harder, harder!' would suddenly draw away his hand, and bounce would come the knuckles of the second fellow upon the hard desk. That, William, is precisely your predicament."
This advice was received as advice usually is. The Civilian, nothing daunted, sallied forth on the following day" to sow his dinner-seed, as he humorously (for the ninety-ninth time) called leaving his cards at the doors of his acquaintances. This seed is, for the most part, cast upon rock. Tittup upon these occasions is the source of frequent discord between husbands and wives. Not upon the score of jealousy: quite the reverse. “My dear," will the wife say in getting up a dinnerparty, “we really must ask Mr. Tittup. We have had him to tea and turn-out till I am really ashamed !”—“Oh the devil, no!" is upon these occasions the pretty uniform answer of the husband. The result is, that our Civilian handles as many tea-spoons, and as few knives and forks, as any private gentleman within the bills of mortality. A few years ago an incident occurred at the Opera-house which had nearly proved fatal to him. Captain Clavering saw him in the pit, bowing and smirking and grinning to all the ladies whom he knew, in utter contempt of the majestic Grassini, and determined to play him a trick. The celebrated Mrs. Sebright was, at the conclusion of the entertainment, walking off alone to her carriage; whereupon Clavering, in the lobby, muttered as though to himself, while meaning to be overheard by Tittup, “ Bless me! if there is not Lady Larkin unattended!” The train instantly took fire: Tittup tripped forward upon his toe, protruded his hand, and exclaimed, “Will your ladyship give me leave ?" The courtesan smiled and assented; and Tittup led off his prize through the lobby, holding the lady's hand at arm's length as if he were dancing a minuet, and bowing and smiling to all the correct females around with whom he had the slightest acquaintance. The fatal fact did not long escape undiscovered: he handed his prize into a glass.coach at the corner of Pall-Mall, in which three of the co-sisterhood had been previously deposited. “What the devil made you so late?" vociferated the three damsels : and Tittup, wild with horror, rushed back to the lobby to explain the mistake. The attempt only added fuel to the flame. “ Was it not enough, Sir," said old Mrs. Vicars, "to escort such a creature in public; but must you at the very moment be inflicting your nods and winks upon us women of character ?" Tittup took to his bed in a high fever.
Tittup's present lioness is Mrs. Lum of Berwick-street, who gives readings. He overtook that lady walking a few days ago in Oxfordstreet, and, with his usual fidgety perseverance, fastened himself upon her. He of course feels it a part of gallantry to be nearest the kennel. I shall never forget his start of horror, and his look round, when he discovered that, having crossed over the way, he had actually allowed Mrs. Lum to walk twenty-three paces on the outside of the pavement. I really thought he had trodden upon a rattlesnake. Mrs. Lum's readings are irresistibly attractive. You enter and behold that lady seated at a small mahogany table, with two-wax lights, a tumbler of spring-water, one big book, and three little ones. Her last entertainment of this sort occurred last Thursday. Lord Robert Ranter and Sir Hans Dabs Oliphant were there : so was the Civilian. “ There's one thing here I don't quite approve of,” said Lord Robert to the Baronet. “ The sofas are continuous all round the room-nothing to lean against in case one should be overtaken.” She read the story of Le Fevre; the Quarrel of Brutus and Cassius ; Sir Bertrand, a fragment; and Theodosius and Constantia, unfortunately no fragment. The company were then cheered up with a little lemonade ; and Mrs. Lum, feeling rather fatigued, beckoned to Tittup to go on with the entertainment. The Civilian, nothing loth, walked on tiptoe across the carpet for fear of awakening Lord Robert and Sir Hans Dabs, who by this time were mutually propped, back to back, like two cherubs crowned with a cenotaph, and were already as fast as two churches. The portion of literature which devolved upon Tittup was Crabbe's Borough, letter the third. With a bow and a smile, and a perfumed pocket handkerchief, he pursued his task till he came to the following passage :
Ye lilies male, think, as your tea you sip,
Nature's soft substitutes you there might save
From crime the tyrant, and from wrong the slave. Lady Lum looked hard at Mrs. Vicars, and Miss Templeton touched the elbow of Mrs. Sharp; but the Civilian read on in placid unconsciousness.
It is thus that Tittup the Civilian has walked, smirking, cringing, and tea-drinking, through two-thirds of the probable extent of his exist
He is now rapidly thinning off; insomuch, that the calf of his leg is hardly bigger than that of a tom-tit. Still the labourer is worthy of his hire : and if some woman with a fortune of 75001., or at least 50001., does not soon walk with him into the Temple of Hymen, I must repeat my opening asseveration–Tittup the Civilian is an ill.. used man.
Should he die in his vocation, let a subscription forthwith issue for a statue to be erected to his memory in the centre of Cadogan-place, the chief scene of his Bohea beverages. Certain it is, that, in his calling, he has been to the full as industrious as Lord Erskine or Mr. Charles Grant.
POETICAL SCENES.-NO, 1.
[Scene.—The Study of Michael Angelo at Rome.]
Michael ANGLLO AND PUPILS.
Do thus, and thou wilt need no marble fame.
Ah! tis bad. These colours sleep
upon thy figures : touch them thus.
There,-it is done. What think'st thou ?
Oh! 'tis brave, 'Tis brave. Thy eagle is the king of eagles,
As thou art king of painters.
Fame is a bounteous tree :
Which wilt thou have ? 2d Pup.
Art so greedy?
Wilt thou be the dog
Bring me that head of Faunus, Giacomo :
Ha! this is right. 3d Pup.
'Tis like a Titan, Michael. None but thyself can master these great shapes. Mich. Ha, ha!—There, give it me, good Giacomo.
Why, how thou fix'st thine eye upon its eye :
Wouldst thou wage battle with it, Giacomo?
Surely: but take heed :
Mark! do not thou miss that turn.
Raff Mich. Raff: Mich. Raff:
Thy pupil. Come I in good time?
(Shews the picture.)
Ay, Raffaelle; and so gazed
A brave god.