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THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 143, 24 August 1880
THE CHIMNEY CORNER.
THE DISRUPTION: A TALE OF TRYING TIMES. CHAPTER Xl— continued. “What for, then, did Dr. Crimp mak’ sic a fair story to wheedle you owre to his ain side ? ” “ Because, if I understood him aright, he wants deserters from the Church of Scotland for the purpose of weakening her. The ruin of Presbyterianism is what he aims at; and, for that end, he may be willing as far as his power goes, to advance renegades to places that cannot be obtained by men better deserving of advancement. But I must say that I am greatly surprised and disappointed to hear you speak of attempting the clerical profession and avowing such low motives. Have you begun to lose taste for veterinary surgery before you have properly entered on th estudy ? ” “No just exackly. , I have taste enough for’t yet. There’s naething in the shape o’ wark I like better than horse-bluiding or horse-drenching; bu I think whiles I might do better—that is, if I happen to have proper talons. I daresay Jean Broun thinks and maybe sae do ye, that I’m fit for naething but some coorse job like horse-doctor-ing. But I have rather a different notion mysel’, and mair than half inclined to shoot at a heigh mark just to let folk see what, I can do.”
“It is very good to be ambitious, Robin; but a man who estimates his own capabilities at a high rate, is in danger of being mistaken.”
“ I canna weel be mista’en if there be ony truth in what I hear folk say about a big head being a sign o’ sense. My head is just desperate for size. Ye’ll acknowledge yoursel’, Mr. Jimes, that I ha’e the better o’ ye there. When .1 gang to buy a' hat, I get na’e pick and wale o’ shapes like ither folk. I have just to tak’ the biggest I can get, and be thankfu’ if it happen to be big eneuch.” “Yes; but according to phrenology there is as much in the shape as in the size of heads.”
“ Nae doot, nae doot But, for onything I ken, the shape o’ ray head may be just as far beyont common as the size o’t. I’m sure eneuch it’s no just a turnip.” “ I think, Robin, you had better get it examined by some phrenologist,” said Mr. Duncanson, smiling at the demonstration which his simple friend was giving, that his self-esteem was excessive, whatever his other endowments might be. Robin made no reply, but secretly resolved to adopt the suggestion, for it jumped exactly with his own inclination. He accordingly took an early opportunity of paying a visit privately to a celebrated female phrenologist, who made a profession of giving analytical delineations of character, and was generally admitted to be pretty correct in her observations. When Robin called at her lodgings, he was shown into a handsomely furnished apartment, where, for some time, he had no company but that of a few poets, philosophers, and criminals, in stucco. At length the scientific lady entered, accompanied by a young man who acted as a secretary. Curtseying to her visitor, and waiting for a moment to give him an opportunity of stating his business—of which, however, he did not avail himself—she said—“l suppose, sir, you wish to have a chart of your phrenological developments. “ I’m no very shure, mistress, what ye mean by that; but if it is anything about the charter, I may tell ye just at ance that I’m no Chartist ava. I have brought a gude lump o’ a head here to see if ye can tell me what’s in’t; sae, if ye please, just say awa’.” The lady advanced pretty near Robin, and taking a close survey of his appearance, said—“ You are of rather a sanguine or sanguine fibrous temperament, I see; ” then turning to her amanuensis, she directed him to put down sanguine 5, fibraus 4. “ I ken,” said Robin “ I ha’e a temper o’ my ain, but I dinna see hoo I can ha’e nine o’ them—five o’ ain kind and six o’ anither.” “You mistake me, sir,” said the phrenologist. “it is temperament, not temper, that I spoke of.” “Weel, I’ll be hanged if I can understand the difference.”
“ Your reflecting organs are less fully developed than those of the knowing and observing faculties.” “ Organs ! I ne’er was sae hypon driac as to think I had on y thing like an organ in my head.” “ What is meant by an organ in phrenology, is not a musical instruriient of that name, but distinct portions of the brain.
“ Ou, I see; maybe what ye might ca’ whussles, rather than organs.” “You are remarkably full in the basilar region.” “ The ashiler region ?—that should shufely be something gude. I ken that what is ca’d ashiler wark in build-ing-is just the verra best. Rubble wark is what they use for gavles, back wa’s, and back jambs in the best o’ houses, and naething but the front is ashiler.” “You don’t seem to comprehend what is meant by the basilar region.” “ What is the meanin’ o’t then ? ” “It signifies the lower portion of the brain, and the seat of the animal propensities. “ The animal propensities ! ye dinna mean to say that there’s ony animals in my head ? ” “ Not that, buf animal propensities ; feelings which animals posssess as well as men.” “Ou aye, I see ye noo. Weel, I dare say ye’re right, for,- I ken I ha’e a gude deal o’ the cuddy in me, when I am straikit against the hair; and my mother used to say I had mair than eneuch o’ the sookin’ turkey in me, forbye. But what do ye roak’ oot o’ them ? ” “Why, sir, I should say that you will be very ardent in your attachment to the fair sex, for you have amativeness large.” “ Ye’re aff your eggs there, mistress; for except Jean Broun (I mean a lass ye ken naething aboot), I wadna gi’e a smoke o’ tobacco for a’ the women betwix this and Jerusalem.” “The organ is large, however, Thomas, you may put down seventeen.”
“Div ye mean to tell me to my face that I rin after seventeen o’ them ? ” “ No, no. It is the relative size of the organ that the number denotes.” “Weel, that’s just Greek and Latin to me. But ca’ awa.” “ Next you have philoprogenitiveness very large.” “ And what’s that ? ” “ The love of children.” “Noo that maun be nonsense, for I ne’er had ony weans o’ my ain, so it’s unpossible to ken whether I wad like them or no; and as for ither folk’s weans, I canna bide the sicht o’ them.” “ Your concentrativeness and adhesiveness are small. Thomas put them down at sixteen.” “ Saxteen ! that’s a gude pickle I think. But I reckon there’s no muckle difference aboot them. At least for my part I dinna see what’s the use o’ sae mony odds and ends aboot a body’s head. But what’s next ? ” “ Destructiveness. This is above the average size.” “ Weel, what mak’ ye oot o’ that ” “ A strong feeling of resentment, and a disposition to crush opposition. Even something of cruelty will arise from this, unless it be checked by great benevolence.” “ Pegs I ha’e plenty o’ that; but as for cruelty, it ne’er was laid to my charge, except when I was maybe a thocht owre keen to get tryin’ my hand at bluidin’ horses, stickin’ swelled kye, or killin’ swine. But what mair ? ” “Your very large destructiveness, with rather a small development of love of life, might make you apt in a desponding moment to commit suicide.”
“Me ! I wadna commit suicide on a doug. Na, na, mistress, ye’re clean wrang there. But what bit are ye at noo?”
“ Combativeness. Very large. You may say 18, Thomas.” “ Aye what is combativeness for ? ” “It inspires courage, and is the quality that makes men capable of fighting.” “Weel, I was thinkin’sae. But I jalouse* gude fechtin’ depends mair on big nerves and braid shouthers than on ony thing aboot the head. To be sure, if a body was a tup it would be different. Tups have desperate power in the head. Ane Dr. Snapperdudgeon, I ken, could gi’e his affidavy to that.” “ Dr. Snapperdudgeon ! There’s a gentleman of that name to call here about this time to get his developments examined. You may perhaps see him before you go away.” “To ca’ here ! No, mistress, I ha’e nae time to wait ony, langer. Ye needna mind aboot the rest o’ my head, for I reckon the sack is like the sample in phrenology as weel as in meal dealing ; and I’ve heard aboot as muckle as I can carry awa' at ance. Just say then, what I’m in your dett, and I’ll be steppin’ “ One shilling is the charge.” “ Ay, the full charge lor spacin’ a’ the head. But ye ken ye’ve hardly been abune the lugs wi’ me and ye maun just charge accordingly. There’s a sixpence in the mean time, and when I come back to get you to examine the rest o’ my head, anither sixpence will clear scores betwix us. But mind, for ony sake say naething to Dr. Snapperdudgeon aboot me or the tup at Whinnyside.” CHAPTER XII. The laird o* Cockpen he’s proud and he’s great, His mind is ta’en up wi* th* affairs o* the State, SCOTT. None of Mr. Duncanson’s efforts to obtain pupils or a private tutorship succeeded. He was hard run for the means of living, and again and again was obliged to resort to the old bookdealers to raise small sums of money by the sale of books he could ill afford to part with. He perused the advertising columns of the newspapers with avidity, in the hope of meeting with some announcement which might hold out to him the prospect of employment; but for a long period nothing of the kind appeared. When at length he did observe one which seemed to promise something suitable for him, and applied for the situation, he received no answer, so that he was reduced almost to the brink of despair. He, however, still continued to watch the advertisements and one morning, shortly after the events narrated in the last chapter, he observed the following in an Edinburgh newspaper:—
“Wanted, by a person engaged in some important literary undertakings, a well-educa-ted and steady young man to assist in arranging, copying, and correcting manuscripts. A liberal salary will be allowed. Applications may be addressed to X. B. V., at the office of this paper. ”
Mr. Duncanson applied^promptly for the situation, though without much hope of success. Great, therefore, was his surprise and joy when he received a note from the advertiser, requesting a personal interview with him within a few hours of the date of his note. X. B. V. gave as his real name and address, Horace Wykin Bacon, residing at No. xo Crescent. The student waited on him to a minute at the time appointed. He found Mr. Bacon to be a man a little past middle life, perfectly genteel in manners, but eccentric and slovenly in appearance. The house he lived m was spacious and richly furnished, but in sad confusion, and positively dirty. Everything bespoke the place as Bachelor’s Hall. The walls were smoked, the windows dim, the curtains, pictures, and every article of furniture coated deep with dust. Mr. Bacon himself, though it was late in the afternoon, apparently had neither shaved nor washed, and was still arrayed in morning gown and slippers. He received Mr. Duncanson in his library, and was very particular in inquiring into his history, examining his testimonials, and testing his qualifications. He did everything in a hurry, spoke with immense volubility, and scarcely ever waited for an answer to his questions. He understood everything at once, and anticipated every reply. Regarding his own affairs and projects he was exceedingly communicative, for this simple reason, they were of surpassing importance. “ The fact is, Mr. Duncanson,” he said, “ it is not every young man who will fit my purpose. He must have mind, great mind, sir; for the work I need assistance in is not of a mechanical or routine nature. But I think you will fit me. Ido indeed. I have had a host of applicants—ninnies, most of them ; poor ninnies. Good scholars, too, * Imagine
among them, to be sure—very. But then I need more than scholarship. You understand? More, a very great deal, than mere scholarship. Not genius, neither. No, not precisely genius. 1 flatter myself I have enough of that in my own person. But talent, sir, bright talent, high character, and a painstaking disposition—these are the things I require in a confidential secretary. Now, sir, pray just observe. The studies I am engaged in are multifarious —all of great consequence, too —several wonderful discoveries on the anvil, and a literary work, which, I believe, will make some noise in,the world. But the fact is I need not speak of one work, for the ideas I have floating in my mind, and partly already committed to paper, would fill many a volume, and I’m determined they shan’t be lost. You understand me ? Yes ; well. Here now is a specimen.” Saying this, Mr. Bacon produced a bundle of closely written papers, neither stitched, bound, folded, nor of uniform size. , After, much rummaging among them he found page No. r, and commenced to read from it a tissue of incoherent crudities rambling from one subject to another with perplexing looseness and want of drift. These papers, Mr. Bacon said, \Vere ;to form part of a great work which ■' he intended to bring out for the purpose of exposing the errors entertained by people in general regarding the origin of great discoveries, the authorship ot great works, and the achievement of great deeds. (To be continued—commenced on July 56. )
THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 143, 24 August 1880
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