Page:What will he do with it.djvu/170

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not such as to excite their envy, nor your opinions such as to offend their prejudices.

MR. HARTOPP.—"You take an interest, you say, in literary institutes, and have studied the subject?"

THE COMEDIAN.—"Of late, those institutes have occupied my thoughts as representing the readiest means of collecting liberal ideas into a profitable focus."

MR. HARTOPP.—"Certainly it is a great thing to bring classes together in friendly union."

THE COMEDIAN.—"For laudable objects."

MR. HARTOPP.—"To cultivate their understandings."

THE COMEDIAN.—"To warm their hearts."

MR. HARTOPP.—"To give them useful knowledge."

THE COMEDIAN.—"And pleasurable sensations."

MR. HARTOPP.—"In a word, to instruct them."

THE COMEDIAN.—"And to amuse."

"Eh!" said the Mayor,—"amuse!"

Now, every one about the person of this amiable man was on the constant guard to save him from the injurious effects of his own benevolence; and accordingly his foreman, hearing that he was closeted with a stranger, took alarm, and entered on pretence of asking instructions about an order for hides, in reality, to glower upon the intruder, and keep his master's hands out of imprudent pockets.

Mr. Hartopp, who, though not brilliant, did not want for sense, and was a keener observer than was generally supposed, divined the kindly intentions of his assistant. "A gentleman interested in the Gatesboro' Athenaeum. My foreman, sir,—Mr. Williams, the treasurer of our institute. Take a chair, Williams."

"You said to amuse, Mr. Chapman, but—"

"You did not find Professor Long on conchology amusing."

"Why," said the Mayor, smiling blandly, "I myself am not a man of science, and therefore his lecture, though profound, was a little dry to me."

"Must it not have been still more dry to your workmen, Mr. Mayor?"

"They did not attend," said Williams. "Up-hill task we have to secure the Gatesboro' mechanics, when anything really solid is to be addressed to their understandings."

"Poor things, they are so tired at night," said the Mayor, compassionately; "but they wish to improve themselves, and they take books from the library."

"Novels," quoth the stern Williams: "it will be long before they take out that valuable 'History of Limpets."