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and foaming at the mouth; " you will see nothing, absolutely nothing, although I have pointed it out to you in as vivid a manner as I can—at least I have tried to do so; but I know I can't-I can't succeed—we women are but weak in words, we have not got that gift," and Mrs. Pultuney swallowed down a sob in a very audible manner.
Now if Mrs. Pultuney, by " that gift," alluded to the donation which in vulgar parlance is denominated “the gift of the gab," it is a question whether Mr. Pultuney, in common with other philosophers, did not secretly encourage a different opi. nion from that expressed by his self-negative wife; but be that as it may, the only remark that he uttered, was this, “ But I rather think, my dear, that you have been misinformed."
“Misinformed !” sobbed the lady; "am I misinformed that tigers, and elephants, and jackals, and snakes abound in India like hens and chickens. Are they not called Bengal tigers, those ravenous animals—those—those—" and the tender-hearted lady, entirely overcome at last by the extreme intensity of her feelings, sunk back in her chair and buried her face in French cambric.
But Mr. Pultuney, whose parental emotions were not of quite so overwhelming a nature, was little moved by the picture of eastern terrors thus vividly presented to his view; indeed the only visible sign of feeling he betrayed on the occasion, was a faint smile in which conjugal tenderness struggled
with a sense of the ridiculous; for much as the system is to be reprehended by all true moralists, it is obvious that husbands are but men after all, and cannot help laughing at their wives, when their wives think fit to be ridiculous, out of an amiable desire, no doubt, to promote the amusement of their consorts. Not that Mr. Pultuney disregarded the maternal anxieties of his affectionate partner, for he held them indeed in the highest respect. Not that he was of an unfeeling nature or apt to indulge his humorous propensities to any reprehensible excess, for on the contrary he was disposed to be grave, and had the kindest heart in the world; not that Master Peregrine Pultuney was an object of indifference to his father, for on the contrary, his father took every opportunity of "spoiling ” Master Peregrine Pultuney; but that human endurance, as some grave philosopher has observed, like all other human things, has its limits, and this it was that called up the smile upon Mr. Pultuney's benevolent face, a smile which, like Sohn Gilpin's horse,
Whose trot became a gallop soon
did not betake itself away, till it had terminated in something approaching to what philologists have designated a laugh—a laugh audible and protracted.
Throwing himself back in his chair, stretching out his legs, and smiting his thigh sonorously with
the palm of his hand, Mr. Pultuney then exclaimed, as well as he was able, “God bless my soul, what are you thinking of, my dear?”
" I was thinking of poor Peregrine," sobbed Mrs. Pultuney, hysterically. “ I was thinking of our poor boy; but you men have no hearts—no more than a stone;" and Mrs. Pultuney, to give visible proof that she had no petrefactions in that quarter, began to shed a monsoon of tears.
It was at this particular crisis that the tenderness of Mr. Pultuney's nature began to exhibit itself in favourable colours. The tears and lamentations of his amiable wife, were more than enough to check every feeling of mirth that might have had place in his bosom; and the bent of his humours taking a sudden turn, he found himself disposed to transfer his laughing from one to the other side of his mouth.” In plain terms he was taken aback, filled chock-full of compunction at once, and wondrously inclined to sing a palinode. It is astonishing what force of argument there is in a shower of conjugal tears. Bluebeard, Henry the Eighth, and the uxorious gentleman, to whose love of novelty we are indebted for the “ Arabian Nights' Entertainments,” are the only individuals whom we can at present recall, as being able to bear up against them.
“But, my dear," began Mr. Pultuney, in his very kindest voice of all, at the same time rising from his seat and taking Mrs. Pultuney's right hand
into his; “ but my dear, don't distress yourself, indeed there is no occasion. I did not mean to say any thing unkind. I would not give you pain for the world;" and with a few other touching assertions of this kind, Mr. Pultuney “ soothed the raven down of darkness till it smiled."
I mean by this that Mrs. Pultuney smiled. Her husband, whenever she was a little ruffled, took occasion to season his blandishments with a few complimentary assertions, which were the source of considerable gratification to the personal vanity of Mrs. Pultuney. Upon the present occasion, she happened to drop her handkerchief in the neighbourhood of the patent leather slipper and the purple emperor on the Saxony cloth; Mr. Pul. tuney bent down to raise it, and whether it were that he was at that moment particularly struck by the fact, or whether he was acting on a foregone determination, we are at this moment incompetent to state, but as he delivered the handkerchief to Mrs. Pultuney, he remarked, with an affectionate expression of countenance, “ What pretty feet you have got, my dear;" and it is a remarkable fact that both ladies and gentlemen, however full their assurance may be of their personal attractions in any respect, derive the keenest sensation of pleasure from an announcement of this flattering nature, which, however much it may partake of what schoolboys are in the habit of calling “ stale news,” is sure to
be welcome from any quarter, and never chargeable with the fault of redundancy.
The handkerchief was restored, the feet were complimented, the tears were wiped away and the lady smiled. “ Kiss me, my dear,” said the gentleman, and the interesting ceremony was accordingly performed.
“ I can assure you, my love,” said Mr. Pultuney, when that gentleman had resumed his seat, “ that India is not nearly so bad a place as your imagination has painted it.”
" At all events it is bad enough,” returned Mrs. Pultuney, delivering herself of a truism it is utterly impossible to confute, for it would be difficult to find any degree of badness which may not be called “ bad enough.”
“ There are many worse places,” said Mr. Pultuney.
“ I should doubt it,” returned his wife. “One has but to read the books to tell what sort of a place it is. Why what was that horrible story about the massacre at Vellore? Thousands of Christian souls all murdered in cold blood-only think, Mr. Pultuney."
“ My dear," replied Mr. Pultuney, in-a-youshan't-cry-this-time sort of voice, “ I have thought of these things and a great many more. There have been massacres in all parts of the world; the massacre of the Huguenots has deterred no one from visiting Paris ; the fires in Smithfield have