There were also an elderly lady from the back-parlour, and one more young lady, who, next to the collector, perhaps was the great lion of the party, being the daughter of a theatrical fireman, who 'went on' in the pantomime, and had the greatest turn for the stage that was ever known, being able to sing and recite in a manner that brought the tears into Mrs Kenwigs's eyes.
'I forgot the collector,' said Kenwigs; 'oh no, that would never do.'
Mrs Kenwigs's relation is a public man, and that he knows, George, and that he can bear; but putting Mrs Kenwigs out of the question (if I COULD put Mrs Kenwigs out of the question on such an occasion as this), I have the honour to be connected with the collector by marriage; and I cannot allow these remarks in my--' Mr Kenwigs was going to say 'house,' but he rounded the sentence with 'apartments'.
At the conclusion of these observations, which drew forth evidences of acute feeling from Mrs Kenwigs, and had the intended effect of impressing the company with a deep sense of the collector's dignity, a ring was heard at the bell.
Had it been otherwise -- had an active politician been put into this influential post, to assume the easy task of making head against a Whig Collector, whose infirmities withheld him from the personal administration of his office -- hardly a man of the old corps would have drawn the breath of official life within a month after the exterminating angel had come up the Custom-House steps.
He might truly be termed a legitimate son of the revenue system, dyed in the wool, or rather born in the purple; since his sire, a Revolutionary colonel, and formerly collector of the port, had created an office for him, and appointed him to fill it, at a period of the early ages which few living men can now remember.
It is that of the Collector, our gallant old General, who, after his brilliant military service, subsequently to which he had ruled over a wild Western territory, had come hither, twenty years before, to spend the decline of his varied and honourable life.The brave soldier had already numbered, nearly or quite, his three-score years and ten, and was pursuing the remainder of his earthly march, burdened with infirmities which even the martial music of his own spirit-stirring recollections could do little towards lightening.
Joseph, followed grinning, in the Collector's rear, and bearing two handsome nosegays of flowers, which the monster had actually had the gallantry to purchase in Covent Garden Market that morning--they were not as big as the haystacks which ladies carry about with them now-a-days, in cones of filigree paper; but the young women were delighted with the gift, as Joseph presented one to each, with an exceedingly solemn bow.
"What a beautiful, BYOO-OOTIFUL song that was you sang last night, dear Miss Sharp," said the Collector. "It made me cry almost; 'pon my honour it did."
Thus, after an eclipse of many centuries, Babrias shines out as the earliest, and most reliable collector
of veritable Aesopian Fables.
A similar superstition was once prevalent, as I have heard, in ancient Greece and Rome; not applying, however (as in India), to a diamond devoted to the service of a god, but to a semi-transparent stone of the inferior order of gems, supposed to be affected by the lunar influences--the moon, in this latter case also, giving the name by which the stone is still known to collectors
in our own time.
The first day, the blood liquefies in forty-seven minutes--the church is crammed, then, and time must be allowed the collectors
to get around: after that it liquefies a little quicker and a little quicker, every day, as the houses grow smaller, till on the eighth day, with only a few dozens present to see the miracle, it liquefies in four minutes.