whereby a tremendous scramble was occasioned, and the professor was overthrown in all the glory of his greediness, and extricated with much difficulty from beneath fifty superincumbent bodies. He was borne out senseless. But probably he was used to it, for he returned in a few minutes as wise as ever!

Nine o'clock, and no Pivot! At half-past ten the lights all burned blue, and everybody said the court mechanician was certainly coming now, to deliver his much-advertised speech. But no: there was no Pivot ! What did he mean by keeping them all waiting in this infamous manner ? The Marquis of Tipsycake again commenced punning. The head professor retired to the end of the great hall ,vacating his chair entirely. The Lillyhood of Lookinglass Vale smiled mellifluously upon the marquis. She had often done so before, not omitting an occasional deep sigh, (in a long parenthesis,) as she caught the glance of his lovely eyes. But it would not do: he still continued his rascally single life.

Eleven o'clock, and no Pivot ! · What is to be thought of this most abominable behaviour?' exclaimed a thousand voices. What is to be done ?' exclaimed a hundred and fifty voices.. • Let us go,' muttered twenty voices. And out of the three hundred and sixty-five thousand men and women then and there assembled, two dwarfs actually did go. They said Mr. Pivot and his speech might just be d

A sudden wind now wafted through the great hall; low, steady, awful, and prelusive ; real to the imagination; to the senses, apocryphal. Excitement and apprehension prevented their feeling how deuced cold it was; it felt like nothing particular, but promised everything uncommon.

The bell of the great cathedral of Puppetdom now tolled twelve, in a style truly ponderous. Well might the whole assembly cry out fearfully at each successive boom. Oh, Mr. Pirot ! --great Mr. Pivot -wonderful mechanician, do not get us into a scrape!' As the last blow ceased humming, a rich ideal strain of music swept down in full quire from the darkly vast and lofty arch of the hall, and Mr. Pivot entered in his snuff-coloured coat.

Grave was the face of Pivot at all times. It was now graver than any puppet had ever seen it before. His cheek-bones looked higher than usual, his forehead more pale, his lips more rigid, and his eyes more unintelligible. An exceedingly ugly man was Mr. Pivot always accounted; his face was a map of thought. In his right hand he held a triangle, and he was followed by a whimpering page, carrying an enormous ladle-shaped, long-handled pendulum. It seemed long enough to swing and dip into next year.

• To swing and dip into futurity !' said Mr. Pivot, taking up the combined imaginations of all present. And with these words


he walked into the centre of the hall, and stood immovable amidst a world of silence.

*I am about to be delivered,' said Pivot, after a pause evincing a firmly-governed emotion, of a speech on the laws of clockwork; or, an oratorical monologue on the right method of oiling and working the subtlest machinery.

A loud spasmodic sneeze from Lord Snakeskin, the premier of Puppetdom, and a suppressed groan from his haunchship the Baron Von Punchmypaunch, and the head professor S. Beane, of Snapdragon Glen, as though they had each received a thump in the bread-basket, was all that interrupted a long interval of tremulous silence and anxiety. The serious mechanist thus commenced :

A dial was the ancient indicator and measurer of the course of time, here among us things, as the beneficent sun, who patronized the imitation, is the dial of the vast scheme above us. Dial. ling is the science of marking and counting hours by the shadow of a stile or gnomon; and the photo-sciatherica was in common use among the Greeks.

A dial is a great elementary simplicity, giving the true solar time; it never goes wrong like a clock.

· The Greeks! the Greeks! why always quote the Greeks? They are as the children of yesterday to my mind; but we must accommodate ourselves a little to custom, when we make a speech in public. In the year of Rome 460, appeared the first dial-an affair of last night; but we must be temperate in our language. Some say dials were invented by Thales; Pliny says it was Anaximenes; others give the merit to the Chaldæan Berosus. They know very little about the matter ; I beg pardon for saying so. What though the Hebrew Ahaz, according to the ancient poem, had a hand in a dial some years before Rome was born; 'tis but as the day before yesterday. Mark me, ladies and gentlemen, I distinctly affirm that I did not invent them. Their antiquity, give me leave to say, is beyond designation to the present assembly. But the first really scientific work on the subject is by Clavius,-understand him who can: Ozanam and Wolfius are much easier, as the head professor of Snapdragon Glen very well knows, though at this moment he is dipping his beak into a pewter pot at the further end of the hall.'

* Mr. Pivot,' articulated the voice of the head professor, from the further end corner of the hall: 'I was not dipping into the subject according to your inference; but merely to analyze the component parts of that extraordinary malt-hoppo, foamo-fermentaceous panacea of drought, discovered by the Magus Von Meux and Co.'

Sir,' said Pivot courteously, ' enable me at a future time to beg your pardon. We will not discuss the works of Von Meux at present. With permission, I will continue



Ages are the legal offspring of the maternal Sum, 'called addition, as employed in collecting the evidence of seconds, minutes, hours, days, &c. Let us be concise, and speak of hours. Hours were measured in the early periods of the world by drops of water, doing duty in funny-shaped vessels of glass, termed clepsydre. They were found-all in due course; nothing great can be done in a hurry—to be imperfect, by reason of the sympathy of water with weather; so that in the dog-days whole nations were snapped off, according to the announcement of the clepsydre, with too short an allowance of time, owing to a stealthy evaporation. Then came the science of counting by sand, which was placed, strange to say, in modern fashionable stay-and-corsetshaped vessels, (bulgeous above and below, with a mere pipe in the middle for the vital connexions and locomotions of time,) and termed clepsammia. Thus through the slow generations of immortal nature do our minds discover, fill, digest, understand, fructify, invent, and communicate; the heart, however, has continued pretty much the same ab initio.'

The Marquis of Tipsycake could hold out no longer. After that excellent sentiment, cried he,' suppose we have a little music? Mr. Pivot, would you oblige us with a tune upon the triangle?'

* Sir,' said Pivot calmly, 'your request is quite out of order: The triangle hath but one note. However, I will do my best to accord with your symphonious desire, which seems to be set in K flat.' And drawing a key from the wide pocket of his snuffcoloured coat, Mr. Pivot began to beat upon the outside of the triangle.

Immediately, a dreadful discord rushed in abrupt staggering masses of sound from the centre of the lofty arch of the hall, and rumbled about in all directions, while the pavement, with its assembled throng, heaved and lurched like the deck of a ship in a storm. The Marquis of Tipsycake was discovered spinning upon his head with his clothes whisking about, and the red sugar-plums kept pouring in torrents from his pockets, so that one vast crowd of company was separated from the other, as though placed in an Israelitish position, with reference to the host of Pharaoh. Oh, heavens ! how the head professor, S. Beane, eyed the sugar-plums!

Mr. Pivot ceased. The discord above ceased also, and merged into a grand and solemn strain, that wheeled in stately harmony across the lofty vault, and died away in Alpine quires and spiritual reverberations from distant realms of air.

The Marquis of Tipsycake was found standing again upon his legs, neither more nor less a fool than he was before. Mr. Pivot returned the key to his coat pocket, and calmly thus resumed :-

• Learned men, knowing but little of the matter, have written voluminously on the science of clocks, or horologriaphy. The great Bagwig declares clocks to have been first invented by a celebrated ecclesiastic of Verona, who wore an almond shell set upright upon his sconce, and carried a large nutting-hook. The erudite virtuoso, Archpigtail, ascribes their origin to Boethius, for which treatise he received a challenge from Professor Duckgun, who insisted that Galileo was the man. Archpigtail was shot, of course; but they were both wrong. They would have been much nearer the mark-understand me, I do not directly affirm that I invented them—had they given the merit of the invention to Archimedes, who was a near relation of mine, and as excellent a wheel-and-pin, line-and-weight gentleman, as ever made a motion in the lower house. Who shall gainsay the antiquity of water-clocks? who trace them down accurately, through all the gradations of metals, movements, capacities, and shapes, even to the wooden Dutch and the pasteboard French? I pause for a reply. Where is the head professor of the Glen? Is he still poring over the works of Von Meux, and swallowing all he finds? Such is his thirst for knowledge!-no matter. In Faderland, I have the pleasure to inform you, clocks were first brought into general and high-finished utility, or critical accuracy of expression. Taking this fact as our datum, we might easily trace the matter back into the oriental nations, with whom we claim a nearer relationship than is at all supposed, or can be inferred, merely from the undoubted resemblance of the German language with the ancient Persic.* And yet Pancirollus says, that clocks are a mere modern invention! I wish to triangle, that Pancirollus would mind what he says! Is it because a gentleman named Trochilick, a wheelwright, invented sundry varieties, that we are to consider the original and the primitive as of modern discovery? Perish the thought! But enough, my worthy puppets, of these learned opinions and disquisitions; for know me thus far at least, that I draw my knowledge from much deeper sources; from founts that have their origin in elemental essence; from mines that run reining through moral nature's profound invisibilities; from principles as old as Chaos, but clear as the starry quire that looked down upon the sublime shadows of its pregnant disorder.' '

Mr. Pivot here made a long pause, to give the company time or digestion. Who is this Pivot ?' asked the ambassadors from foreign courts. A very extraordinary sort of man is Mr. Pivot,' murmured a great many voices. Count Riddlecap Ratafie opened his snuff-box. He closed it, after a while, without extracting a single pinch, exclaiming, "What manner of Pivot is this?' The head professor, S. Beane, had by this time procured a telescope, which he alternately applied to his eye, and his left ear; so scientific was his disposition, and so anxious was he at all times to understand men of genius rightly. Our Pivot thus proceeded, commencing with a deep sigh:

* Vide Lipsii Epist. ad Belgas.

"When man arrives at the age of thirty years, he begins to talk to himself. He delivers a very serious course of lectures to his own soul when he is alone. He says in a melancholy and impressive tone, addressing himself by name, “Who are you?” This is difficult to answer in any satisfactory manner. What are you?" No feasible reply occurs. He then tries the equivocal interrogative, “ Are you not a serious nocdle?" At this a voice within leaps up as from a conjuror's box, with “ That you are ; and I'll prove it!” That will do, that wiil do, Mr. Essence; I am quite convinced about my pomatum. What am I with my five senses? I am nothing less than a hoax-podge!

In this fashion, is a man liable to talk to himself after he is turned thirty; so that if a greater fool than himself should chance to overhear him, the corporal would fancy himself a general, and declare the captain to be mad. But even thus, a man may soliloquizes as he advances upon his meridian, whether he be walking in a neat garden, in a wild forest, or sitting by the fire. He is apt to parley in the same style, at various hours of the night when in bed, and he often inflicts a bodily penance by kicking off the clothes, followed by hurling his night-cap; that hang-dog insignia of the chord of the sharp seventh ; right across the room, and looking fixedly up at the ceiling in a very peculiar manner, The fact is, he is not satisfied with himself at all; nor entirely so with his dear friends : he is not quite contented (perhaps this is only reasonable) with his condition ; he hates his acquaintance as so many duns, and he despises the world for a vicious scoundrel and an ignoramus!

Several voices were now heard to whisper · Here's a pretty speech for a court mechanician?' But Mr. Pivot continued; his abstraction deepening till he seemed to realize the solitary monologue he was describing.

* Pleasant it is in the single life of man, to sit and doze by the winter's fire after dinner, as the shades of night advance. But gradually the somnolency becometh a magnetic form of animal being, and he dealeth with the future as surely as with the past. Sometimes he is startled by portentous sounds, and deeply impressed by wondrous insignia. It reminds him in a very touching manner of “ Cunningham's Dissertation on the Seals and Trumpets of the Apocalypse.” Sometimes he rolls on in redundant joyousness, amidst all manner of ideal possessions; and suddenly, perhaps, he is arrested by the dire sense of the practical.* He gradually comes to a conviction of his earthly condition, and all the past trials of his humanity. He beholds the ketile on the hob, and listens to the low guttural murmurs of its exhausted circulation. He apostrophizes the fire-irons, the fender; but chiefly certain faces in the fire. His peroration is

* Vide Beaumanoir and Thaumassier, on the Assizes of Jerusalem, from a MS. by Le Comte de Japhe et d'Ascálon, Bibliothèque Vaticane.

« VorigeDoorgaan »