Untitled

booksnow2.scholarsportal.info

Untitled

14 TYLNEY HALL.

of " The Rabbits." The considerate Mrs. Hanway, with

the overflowing carefulness which belonged to her character,

had tied a muffler of leather over the knocker of a door

which professionally stood ever open ; and Pots, under the

same direction, had scattered two trusses of straw over a

road where wheels were almost as great a rarity as they are

now-a-days in state lotteries. The Dutch clock in the

tap-room no longer struck the hour, and the parlour bell

rang only with the benumbed sound of a wine-glass when

it is filled with liquid. The sign which had been so given

to JEolian discord was taken down, and Jonas himself, at

the desire of his spouse, had discarded his iron-shod high-

lows, and minced awkwardly about in a pair of list slippers.

As for Mrs. Hanway herself, she was quite in her

element, invested with all the importance and mystery of

an attendant on a sick chamber. Her face wore an unusual

expression of grave anxiety, varied, however, occasionally,

by a slight crumpling up of her features, which died away

again with the flavour of the various medicines, which she

amused herself by sipping and tasting, preparatory to in-

flicting them on her patient. Strange to say, the tenderest

of nurses seem to derive some peculiar gratification from

the administration of physic. With wonderful gusto they

shake up the nauseous sediment full before the eyes of the

loathing expectant. With a very unnecessary noise and

splash they pour the gurgling abomination, close under the

olfactories, into the wine-glass or tea-cup, as if jalap, like

porter, would be more acceptable with a fine head, and

then gaze on the writhing features and rising gorge with

a complacency perfectly unaccountable, except on that

principle of Lucretius, that it is pleasant to stand by and

look on an infliction which does not reach ourselves.

Mrs. Hanway, at the expense of her invalid, had

revelled for some time in this nursing propensity, till

human patience, revolting at last, refused peremptorily

to honour her draughts ; and in consequence she was

compelled to find vent for her ruling passion amongst

knockers, bells, and thick shoes, as already described.

Above all, she watched for a noise as vigilantly as a cat for

a mouse, and whenever the most insignificant sound dared

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines