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$74 TYLNEY HALL.

of a silly fish making itself up to take a minnow. Ponder

intensely as he liked, with such a face he could only appear

to be going to sleep with his eyes open. To those

who are not familiar with the workings of our admirable

constitution, it may seem strange that justice should be

provided with such a doltish auxiliary, forgetting that,

from the days of mythology, she has been notorious for

playing at blindman's buff, at which game, with a fillet

before her eyes, she must take the first she can lay her

hands on, from a Chief Justice downwards. Thus the sapient

Peter Goff had been thrown in her way when she

was groping about in the dark for a constable, an injudicious

mode of selection, by the way, almost equal to pricking

for sheriffs with the eyes wide open. At last the cogitator's

mind produced its fruit ; but like most of his thoughts it

resembled a Michaelmas peach, which takes a weary time

in ripening, and is worthless after all.

" Well, I can do as much as most men, but I can't go

over a bridge if there isn't none."

After such a specimen of his conclusions it will sound

behind the

preposterous, but it is true, that this straggler

march of intellect was in his own conceit a grenadier strid-

ing at its head ; but there are no bounds to human vanity,

it is one of those features which it is impossible to carica-

ture. Many a man, as well as maiden, mistakes his forte,

and strums upon it with as much self-complacency as an

acknowledged proficient. The favourite theme of Goff's

sonatas was his own astuteness, or, as he termed it, 'cute-

ness, in token whereof many a nod of his chuckle-head,

many a wink of his dull eye, and many an application of

his fore-finger to the side of his insignificant nose, hinted

at superior shrewdness, whilst his common-place remarks

were enforced by an emphatic thump of his club stick upon

the ground. This assumption made him particularly jealous

of any attempt to bestow information upon him,

which was always met by one of his oracular signs of intelligence.

He affected a foreknowledge of every thing, and

as a natural consequence knew little or nothing ; so that as

was sarcastically

said of him, in reference to his pursuits,

" he could hunt a criminal at sight like a turnspit, or pick

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