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pains to help him to the nice bits of every thing within her reach.
When dinner was over, Mr Blubber mentioned his design of making a tour through the Highlands, to visit Stirling, Taymouth, and Dunkeld; and applying to our landlord for some description of these places, was by him referred to Mr Umphraville and me. Mr Umphraville was not in a communicative mood; so I was obliged to assure Mr Blubber, who talked with much uncertainty and apprehension of these matters, that he would find beds and bed-clothes, meat for himself, and corn for his horses, at the several places above-mentioned; that he had no dangerous seas to cross in getting at them; and that there were no highway. men upon the road.
After this there was a considerable interval of silence, and we were in danger of getting once more upon Mr Edward's fine waistcoat, when Mr Bearskin, in
forming the company that his cousin was a great lover of music, called on his daughter, Mis Polly, for a song, with which, after some of the usual apologies, she complied; and, in compliment to Mr Umphraville's taste, who she was sure must like Italian music, she sung, or rather squalled, a song of Sacchini's, in which there was scarce one bar in tune from beginning to end. Miss Blubber said, in her usual phraseology, that it was a monstrous sweet air. Her brother swore it was divinely sung. Umphraville gulped down a falsehood with a very bad grace, and said, Miss would be a good singer with a little more practice. A compliment which was not more distant from truth on one side, than from Miss's expectations on the other, and I could plainly perceive, did not set him forward in the favour of the family.
My father is a judge of singing too,” said Mr Edward Blubber; “ what is
opinion of the song, Sir?”_" My opinion is,” said he, “ that your Italianos always set me asleep; English ears should have English songs, I think.” Then, suppose one of the ladies should give us an English song,” said I.
<< 'Tis a good motion,” said Mr Bearskin, “ I second it; Miss Betsy Blubber sings an excellent English song. Miss Betsy denied stoutly that she ever sung at all, but evidence being produced against her, she, at last, said, she would try if she could make out “ The Maid's Choice.” “Ay, ay, Betsy,” said her father, “ a very good song; I have heard it before.
“ If I could but find, I care not for fortune-Umh!-a man to my mind.”
Miss Betsy began the song accordingly, and, to make up for her want of voice, accompanied it with a great deal of action. Either from the accident of his being placed opposite to her, or from a sly application to his state as an old bachelor, she chose to personify the maid's choice in the figure of Umplıraville, and pointed the description of the song particularly at him. Umphraville, with all his dignity, his abilities, and his knowledge, felt himself uneasy and ridiculous under the silly allusion of a ballad; he blushed, attempted to laugh, blushed again, and still looked with that awkward importance which only the more attracted the ridicule of the fools around him. Not long after the ladies retired; and no persuasion of his cousin could induce him to stay the evening, or even to enter the drawing-room where they were assembled at tea.
“ Thank Heaven !" said Umphraville, when the door was shut, and we had got fairly into the street. “ Amen!" I replied, smiling, “ for our good dinner and excellent wine !” “How the devil, Charles," said he, “ do you contrive to bear all this nonsense with the composure you do?”
Why, I have often told you, my friend, that our earth is not a planet fitted up only for the reception of wise men--Your Blubbers and Bearskins are necessary parts of the system ; they deserve the enjoyments they are capable of feeling; and I am not sure if he who suffers from his own superiority does not deserve his sufferings.”