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was this; the first performance of Timour
the Tartar having taken place under the distinguished patronage of J. Stotman, Esquire,
the well-known Uncle Jack of our domestic
history, in fact, the presenter of my children
to the theatrical property in questionthe
first performance, I say, having taken place
under such patronage on New Year's Eve,
and the stage being established on the parlour
table, there resulted a slop upon a very handsome
table-cover, which my son, the manager,
in the enthusiasm of the moment, endeavoured
to wipe up with the sleeve of his best
jacket. Mrs. Gettleton perceived it to be
the real oil and had difficulty in retaining
her composure. Every one else was,
however, satisfied, when Mr. Egbert came forward
and apologised for the mishap, accounting
for it by the fact that the whole theatre had
inadvertently been joggled.

Then I have another child, Matilda, seventeen
years old, who is mysteriously gifted.
Something has been given to her which she
carries, either up her sleeve or in some fold
of her frock, I suspect over her epigastrium,
and I know that she got it from Frank Holly,
with whom she thinks herself in love, but
who is old enough, silly child, to be her father.
He will be twenty-three next May,
and she is scarcely out of her pinafores.

Redmond, my eldest boy, aged twenty, is
studying medicine in Paris, and as he has
not come home for the holidays, Uncle Jack,
who knows how the mounseers feed, has sent
him a sirloin of beef and two plum puddings
in a hamper. I had a notion that the parcel
might require a passport; Uncle Jack says
not. Redmond is upstairs on a fifth floor,
and I don't know what sort of a cook he has
to look to for his dinner. I expect to hear
that the whole sirloin was fricasseed and garnished
with the pudding.

I, for my share of gifts, have had turkeys
and things; but, of all presents, the most
puzzling was the one sent me by a fine old
farmer in the country, my mother's father,
who has often heard us rejoice, when visiting
him, at our escape from the London milk,
and who forwarded to me suddenly, and as a
surprise, his favourite milch cow. It arrived
at my door, nineteen, Bunkiter Street, Marylebone,
on Christmas Monday, in the evening,
when there was a party at our house; my
wife had her best things on, and I was in the
middle of a rubber. Suddenly, John, the
page, steals up to Mrs. Gettleton with
"Please, ma'am, here's a cow come. A note
came with it." The old gentleman was very
kind, and would be mortally grieved if we
refused it; but just think of the worry in the
midst of a party close by Oxford Street, of
having to think where to put a cow. It
wasn't safe for it to go down steps into the
back kitchen; we couldn't stand it in the
hall, because there were the gentlemen's coats,
and the ladies would have to go by with
their cloaks on and their handkerchiefs over
their heads, and they might be afraid that
she would toss them. I can't tell how we
managed; but we did manage. I wasn't
cowed out of my wits, and so I found out a
solution of the difficulty.

Now I must have said enough of my own
gifts and those of my family. We are not
more gifted than our neighbours, I dare
say, and I don't mean to brag; but I do say,
what a fine thing Christmas tide and New
Year tide is: they are indeed the tides in our
affairs which, taken at the flood, lead on to
fortune. If Christmas tide would only overflow
and cover the whole year, we should all
get on swimmingly. Why doesn't it? It is
so pleasant for us all to feel that we are
feeding upon one anotherjolly Christmas
cannibalsJones eating Smith's flesh, Smith
eating Jones's fowl, and Jones and Smith
both eating Brown's fish.

You may call me sordid, but I take pleasure
and put faith in these material attentions.
I know my wife's father by his cow.
Privately, I may confess cow-keeping in
Bunkiter Street to be no welcome addition
to my cares, but how well do I ascertain the
length of my father-in-law's heart-strings,
and understand that they reach fully to me,
when an animal that is notoriously bound to
them is found at my home door! I say to
myself, Bragsby's favourite would not have
come so far if Bragsby did not love us as he
does.

Smithson praised me neatly, and expressed
the warmest affection and respect for me in
proposing my health over Johnson's supper-
table on the third of January last. Robertson
didn't so much as cheer when they gave
me the honours; he was talking to Miss
Priggs. What of that? Who sent me the
fat turkey that was chosen for our Christmas
bird? Robertson did. Who is my friend,
then? Robertson. This test is very fallible,
I grant, but deeds are not so fallible as
words, and cæteris paribusI know that is a
clinching phrase to usecæteris paribus, I
say, I like to receive gifts.

Having proposed the sentiment, May we
all get and give with equal pleasure, and
do both abundantly, gentlemen and ladies,
Iahif you please, with musical cheers.
Hem. This is the time to be harmonious if
ever.

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