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Untitled

INTRODUCTION.

but that the pair of readers had planted themselves upon

me to enjoy a concerted jest at my expense, except that it

would have been an offensive liberty of the first magnitude.

However, I resolved to turn the tables, and, as they had

given me some annoyance, I determined to retaliate. I was

meditating on the means, when, after an important hem,

with a tone peculiarly solemn, the Grave Maurice brought

forward an objection, to which he gave all the weight he

could by the specific gravity of his countenance.

ft It is an ungrateful office," he said, " but as the repre-

sentative of a class distinguished as the decidedly serious,

I am called upon to notice with reprehension the great

freedoms you take with a body of men, who might be

called in justice, as they are in derision, the Saints. It has

the censure of the whole office

devils."

yes, sir, down to the very

The ludicrous association conveyed by the last part of

the sentence made me join in an involuntary chorus with

the Jovial ; but my constitutional antipathy to cant and

canters soon roused my spleen, and left no more hilarity in

my laugh than in a "

hyaena's. If you mean the picture

of Brother

"

Pius," said I, it is but a rough sketch, a mere

outline, to the finished coloured portrait I mean some day

to draw of a hypocritical, canting, trading, time-serving

knave, one who makes his Ledger his Bible, and the

latter his Waste-book ; a lying, cogging Mawworm, that

will commit strictly pious frauds, and cheat to a decidedly

serious amount. I know the breed well ; they are vile

birds of prey, not mounting upwards like the sweet lark to

carol at heaven's gate, but that they may make a stoop the

better upon earth and its carrion."

The dismal one turned up his eyes till I saw nothing

but the whites an action which produced a fresh burst

of merriment from his opposite neighbour, but it was a

sound of which I began to get weary, and I resolved if

possible to rid myself of my guests. I drew myself up

stiffly before I spoke.

" After all, gentlemen, is there not something in this of

the Souter out of Selkirk, or the cobbler beyond his last ?

To my humble apprehension your province is to correct the

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