Page:What will he do with it.djvu/192

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thought you were a philanthropical humourist, who might have crotchets, as many benevolent men, with time on their hands and money in their pockets, are apt to form. But when it came to the begging hat (I ask your pardon; don't let me offend you), when it came to the begging hat, I recognized the man who wants philanthropy from others, and whose crotchets are to be regarded in a professional point of view. Sir, I have come here alone, because I alone perhaps see the case as it really is. Will you confide in me? you may do it safely. To be plain, who and what are you?"

THE COMEDIAN (evasively).—"What do you take me for, Mr. Mayor? What can I be other than an itinerant showman, who has had resort to a harmless stratagem in order to obtain an audience, and create a surprise that might cover the naked audacity of the 'begging hat'!"

MR. HARTOPP (gravely).—"When a man of your ability and education is reduced to such stratagems, he must have committed some great faults. Pray Heaven it be no worse than faults!"

THE COMEDIAN (bitterly).—"That is always the way with the prosperous. Is a man unfortunate? They say, 'Why don't he help himself?' Does he try to help himself? They say, 'With so much ability, why does not he help himself better?' Ability and education! Snares and springes, Mr. Mayor! Ability and education! the two worst mantraps that a poor fellow can put his foot into! Aha! Did not you say if you had set up to be clever, you would not be where you now are:' A wise saying; I admire you for it. Well, well, I and my dog have amused your townsfolk; they have amply repaid us. We are public servants; according as we act in public—hiss us or applaud. Are we to submit to an inquisition into our private character? Are you to ask how many mutton bones has that dog stolen? how many cats has he worried? or how many shirts has the showman in his wallet? how many debts has he left behind him? what is his rent-roll on earth, and his account with Heaven? Go and put those questions to ministers, philosophers, generals, poets. When they have acknowledged your right to put them, come to me and the other dog."

MR. HARTOPP (rising and drawing on his gloves).—"I beg your pardon! I have done, sir. And yet I conceived an interest in you. It is because I have no talents myself that I admire those who have. I felt a mournful anxiety, too, for your poor little girl,—so young, so engaging. And is it necessary that you should