Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and numbered with Indian ink, after the manner of the diagram upon his advertisement. Upon a small table lay many little books with yellow covers, several of the placards, pen and ink, a pair of iron callipers with brass knobs, and six dollars in silver. Having explained the object of my visit, and increased the pile of silver by six half-dollars from my pocket-whereat he smiled, and I observed he wore false teeth—(scientific men always do; they love to encourage art) the Professor placed me in a chair, and rapidly manipulating my head, after the manner of a sham pooh (I am not certain as to the orthography of this expression), said that my temperament was "lymphatic, nervous, bilious." I remarked that “I thought myself dyspeptic,” but he made no reply. Then seizing on the callipers, he embraced with them my head in various places, and made notes upon a small card that lay near him on the table. He then stated that my hair was getting very thin on the top," placed in my hand one of the yellow-covered books, which I found to be an almanac containing anecdotes about the virtues of Dodge's Hair Invigorator, and recommending it to my perusal, he remarked that he was agent for the sale of this wonderful fluid, and urged me to purchase a bottle-price two dollars. Stating my willingness to do so, the Professor produced it from a hair trunk that stood in a corner of the room, which he stated, by the way, was originally an ordinary pine box, on which the hair had grown since “ the Invigorator” had been placed in it-(a singular fact) and recommended me to be cautious in wearing gloves while rubbing it upon my head, as unhappy accidents had occurred—the hair growing freely from the ends of the fingers, if used with the bare hand. He then seated himself at the table, and rapidly filling up what appeared to me a blank certificate, he soon handed over the following singular document.

“PHRENOLOGICAL CHART OF THE HEAD OF M. JOHN PHENIX, by FLATBROKE B. DODGE, Professor of Phrenology, and inventor and proprietor of Dodge's celebrated Hair Invigorator, Stimulator of the Conscience, and Arouser of the Mental Faculties :

Temperament,-Lymphathic, Nervous, Bilious.
Size of Head, 11.

Imitation, 11.
Amativeness, 111.

Self-Esteem, 1.
Caution, 3.

Benevolence, 12.
Combativeness, 27.

Mirth, 1.
Credulity, 1.

Language, 12
Causality, 12.

Firmness, 2.
Conscientiousness, 12. Veneration, 12.
Destructiveness, 9. Philoprogenitiveness, 0.
Hope, 10."

Having gazed on this for a few moments in mute astonishment-during which the Professor took a glass of brandy and water, and, afterwards a mouthful of tobacco

It turned to him and requested an explanation.

" Why,” said he, “it's very simple; the number 12 is the maximum, 1 the minimum; for instance, you are as benevolent as a man can be therefore I mark you, Benevolence, 12. You have little or no self-esteem-hence I place you, Selfesteem, ž. You've scarcely any credulity——don't you see?"

I did see! This was my discovery. I saw at a flash how the English language was susceptible of improvement, and, fired with the glorious idea, I rushed from the room and the house, heedless of the Pofessor's request that I would buy more of his Invigorator; heedless of his alarmed cry that I would pay for the bottle I'd got; heedless that I tripped on the last step of the Gyascutus House, and smashed there the precious fluid (the step has now a growth of four inches of hair on it, and the people use it as a door-mat); I rushed home, and never grew calm till with pen, ink and paper before me, I commenced the development of my system.

This system-shall I say this great system-is exceedingly simple, and easily explained in a few words. In the first place, " figures won't lie." Let us then represent by the number 100, the maximum, the ne plus ultra of every human quality-grace, beauty, courage, strength, wisdom, learningevery thing. Let perfection, I say, be represented by 100, and an absolute minimum of all qualities by the number 1. Then by applying the numbers between, to the adjectives used in conversation, we shall be able to arrive at a very close approximation to the idea we wish to convey; in other words, we shall be enabled to speak the truth. Glorious, soulinspiring idea! For instance, the most ordinary question asked of you is, “ How do you do ?” To this, instead of replying, “Pretty well,” “Very well,” “Quite well,” or the like absurdities--after running through your mind that perfection of health is 100, no health at all, 1-you say, with a graceful bow, " Thank you, I'm 52 to day ;” or, feeling poorlý,"I'm 13, I'm obliged to you," or "I'm 68,” or “ 75," or “ 877," as the case may be! Do you see how very close in this way you may approximate to the truth; and how clearly

your questioner will understand what he so anxiously wishes to arrive at your exact state of health ?

Let this system be adopted into our elements of grammar, our conversation, our literature, and we become at once an exact, precise, mathematical, truth-telling people. It will apply to every thing but politics; there, truth being of no account, the system is useless. But in literature, how admirable! Take an example:

As a 19 young and 76 beautiful lady was 52 gaily tripping down the sidewalk of our 84 frequented street, she accidently come in contact-100 (this shows that she came in close contact) with a 73 fat, but 87 good-humored looking gentleman, who was 93 (i. e. intently) gazing into the window of a toy-shop. Gracefully 56 extricating herself, she received the excuses of the 96 embarrassed Falstaff with a 68 bland smile, and continued on her way. But hardly—7—had she reached the corner of the block, ere she was overtaken by a 24 young man, 32 poorly dressed, but of an 85 expression of countenance; 91 hastily touching her 54 beautifully rounded arm, he said, to her 67 surprise

“Madam, at the window of the toy-shop yonder, you dropped this bracelet, which I had the 71 good fortune to observe, and now have the 94 happiness to hand to you." Of course the expression “94 happiness" is merely the young man's polite hyperbole.)

Blushing with 76 modesty, the lovely (76, as before, of course), lady took the bracelet-which was a 24 magnificent diamond clasp—(24 magnificent, playfully sarcastic; it was

[ocr errors]

probably not one of Tucker's) from the young man's hand, and 84 hesitatingly drew from her beautifully 38 embroidered reticule a 67 port-monnaie. The young man noticed the action, and 73 proudly drawing back, added

“Do not thank me; the pleasure of gazing for an instant at those 100 eyes (perhaps too exaggerated a compliment), has already more than compensated me for any trouble that I might have had.”

She thanked him, however, and with a 67 deep blush and a 48 pensive air, turned from him, and pursued with a 33 slow step her promenade.

Of course you see that this is but the commencement of a pretty little tale, which I might throw off, if I had a mind to, showing in two volumes, or forty-eight chapters of thrilling interest, how the young man sought the girl's acquaintance, how the interest first excited, deepened into love, how they suffered much from the opposition of parents (her parents of course), and how, after much trouble, annoyance, and many perilous adventures, they were finally marriedtheir happiness, of course, being represented by 100. But I trust that I have said enough to recommend my system to the good and truthful of the literary world; and besides, just at present I have something of more immediate importance to attend to.

You would hardly believe it, but that everlasting (100) scamp of a Professor has brought a suit against me for stealing a bottle of his disgusting Invigorator; and as the suit comes off before a Justice of the Peace, whose only principle

« AnteriorContinuar »