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THEODORE EDWARD HOOK.
Hook, THEODORE EDWARD, an English wit and novelist; born in London, September 22, 1788; died there, August 24, 1841. He was educated at Harrow. In 1805 he produced a comic opera, “ The Soldier's Return." “Catch Him Who Can," a musical farce, (1806) followed. For ten years he gave himself to the pleasures of London life, and was the wonder of the town. In 1812 the Prince Regent appointed him Accountant-General and Treasurer of the Colony of Mauritius. In 1820 he issued the first number of the Tory paper, “The John Bull,” which attained a wide circulation. Between 1824 and 1841 he published thirty-eight volumes, edited 6. The John Bull” weekly, and for some years “ The New Monthly Magazine.” He died worn out with dissipation. Among his farces, melodramas, and comedies are "The Invisible Girl" (1806); “ Trial by Jury” and “Darkness Visible" (1811); “Exchange no Robbery” and “ Tentamen” (1820). Some of his publications are:
"Sayings and Doings," three series (1824-28); “Maxwell,” regarded as his best novel (1830); "The Parson's Daughter” (1833); “Gilbert Gurney” (1835); "Jack Brag” (1837); “Gurney Married” (1839); “Cousin Geoffrey, the Old Bachelor" (1840);"Father and Sons" (1841).
IMPROMPTU SONG ON PRICE THE MANAGER. COME, fill your glasses up, while I sing a song of prices, And show mens market value at the date of last advices; For since 't is pretty clear, you know, that ev'ry man has his price, 'T is well to make inquiries before the terms are riz, Price.
Some shabby rogues there are, that are knocked down at a low price,
You want to know what Learning's worth you ask me what is
Wit's price? I answer, “ Push the claret here, whatever may be its price ! ” The shortest actors now contrive to get a rather long price, And singers, too, although sometimes they're hardly worth a song,
Price; With fiddlers, dancers, fresh from France, well liking a John Bull
price, Though some, when they get nothing, may be said to fetch their
full price. Where'er you sell, whate'er you sell, when selling seek a higher
price; But times are changed, I need not say, when you become the buyer,
Price; For then this truth should in your mind be uppermost and clear,
Price, There are some things and persons that at nothing would be dear,
Don't buy a politician, don't have him at a loan, Price;
price; Nor doctors, who, if fashionable, always fetch an even price; And clear of these, the “de'il himsell ” shall never fetch a Stephen
Your sneaking, sour, insidious knaves - I hope you won't find
many, Price, Your Cantwells on the stage of life, don't buy 'em in at any price ; Go, sell your brains, if brains you have, and sell 'em at a fair price ; But give your hearts away, my boys don't sell them at whate'er
price. And be men's prices what they may, I now shall just make bold,
Price, To sing it in your presence,—there is nothing like the Old Price; As each man has his own, since the days of Madam Eve, Price, Why, we have ours — and here he is! – Your health, my jolly
GETTING READY FOR COMPANY.
(From "Maxwell.") In a family like Mr. Palmer's the non-arrival of the “ company” would have been a severe disappointment. Mrs. Overall was known to be a lady of fortune, used to everything “nice and comfortable ;” she kept her own carriage, her men-servants, and all that; and therefore they must be very particular, and have everything uncommonly nice for her, and so Mr. Palmer the night before had a white basin of hot water up into the parlor to bleach almonds, with which to stick a “tipsy cake," after the fashion of a hedgehog, and Mrs. Palmer sent to the pastry cook's for some raspberry jam, to make creams in little jelly-glasses, looking like inverted extinguishers; and spent half the morning in whipping up froth with a cane-whisk to put on their tops like shining lather. And Miss Palmer cut bits of paper and curled them with the scissors to put round the “wax ends” in the glass lustres on the chimney-piece: and the threecornered lamp in the drawing-room was taken out of its brown holland bag, and the maid set to clean it on a pair of rickety steps; and the cases were taken off the bell-pulls, and the picture-frames were dusted, and the covers taken off the cardtables, all in honor of the approaching fête.
Then came the agonies of the father, mother, and daughter, just about five o'clock of the day itself; when the drawing-room chimney smoked, and apprehensions assailed them lest the fish should be overdone; the horrors excited by a noise in the kitchen as if the cod's head and shoulders had tumbled into the sand on the floor; that cod's head and shoulders which Mr. Palmer had himself gone to the fishmonger's to buy, and in determining the excellence of which had poked his fingers into fifty cods, and forty turbots, to ascertain which was firmest, freshest, and best; and then the tremor caused by the stoppages of different hackney-coaches in the neighborhood - not to speak of the smell of roasted mutton which pervaded the whole house, intermingled with an occasional whiff of celery, attributable to the assiduous care of Mrs. Palmer, who always mixed the salad herself, and smelt of it all the rest of the day; the disagreeable discovery just made that the lamps on the staircase would not burn; the slight inebriation of the cook bringing into full play a latent animosity toward the housemaid, founded on jealousy, and soothed by the mediation of the neighboring green-grocer, hired for five shillings to wait at table on the great occasion.
Just as the Major and Mrs. Overall actually drove up, the said attendant green-grocer, the male Pomona of the neighborhood, had just stepped out to the public-house to fetch “the porter,” The door was of course opened by the housemaid.
The afternoon being windy, the tallow candle which she held was instantaneously blown out; at the same instant the backkitchen door was blown to with a tremendous noise, occasioning, by the concussion, the fall of a pile of plates put on the dresser ready to be carried up into the parlor, and the overthrow of a modicum of oysters in a blue basin, which were subsequently, but with difficulty, gathered up individually from the floor by the hands of the cook, and converted in due season into sauce, for the before-mentioned cod's head and shoulders.
At this momentous crisis, the green-grocer (acting waiter) returned with two pots of Meux and Co.'s Entire, upon the tops of which stood heads not a little resembling the whipped stuff upon the raspberry creams - open goes the door again, puff goes the wind, and off go the “heads” of the porter-pots into the faces of the refined Major Overall and his adorable bride, who was disrobing at the foot of the stairs.
The Major, who was a man of the world, and had seen society in all its grades, bore the pelting of this pitiless storm with magnanimity and without surprise; but Jane, whose sphere of motion had been somewhat more limited, and who had encountered very little variety either of scenery or action, beyond the every-day routine of a quiet country house, enlivened periodically by a six weeks' trip to London, was somewhat astounded at the noise and confusion, the banging of doors, the clattering of crockery, and the confusion of tongues, which the untimely arrival of the company and the porter at the same time had occasioned. Nor was the confusion less confounded by the thundering double-knock of Mr. Olinthus Crackenthorpe, of Holborn Court, Gray's Inn, who followed the beer (which, as Shakespeare has it, “ was at the door ") as gravely and methodically as an undertaker.
Up the precipitous and narrow staircase were the Major and Mrs. Overall ushered, she having been divested of her shawl and boa by the housemaid, who threw her “ things” into a dark hole yclept the back-parlor, where boots and umbrellas, a washingstand, the canvas bag of the drawing-room lamp, the table covers and “master's" great-coats, were all huddled in one grand miscellany. Just as the little procession was on the point of climbing, Hollingsworth, the waiter, coming in, feeling the absolute necessity of announcing all the company himself, sets down the porter-pots upon the mats in the passage, nearly pushes down the housemaid, who was about to usurp his place, and who in her anxiety to please Mr. Crackenthorpe (who was what she called a “nice gentleman "), abandons her position at the staircase, and flies to the door for the purpose of admitting him. In her zeal and activity to achieve this feat, she unfortunately upsets one of the porter-pots and inundates the little passage, miscalled the hall, with a sweeping flood of the afore-mentioned mixture of Messrs. Meux and Co.
Miss Engelhart of Bernard Street, Russell Square, who had been invited to meet the smart folks, because she was a smart person herself, arrived shortly after ; indeed, so rapid did she, like Rugby, follow Mr. Crackenthorpe's heels, that he had but just time to deposit his great-coat and goloshes (in which he had walked from chambers) in the black hole where everything was thrust, before the lovely Charlotte made her appearance. Here, then, at length, was the snug little party assembled, and dinner was forthwith ordered.
HIRING A COOK.
In the morning the old gentleman received the visits of sundry tradesmen, to whom he had given orders for different articles of dress; and Wilson, who was fully installed in his high office, presented for his approbation Monsieur Rissolle, “ without exception the best cook in the United Kingdom."
The particular profession of this person, the colonel, who understood very little French, was for some time puzzled to find out; he heard a vocabulary of dishes enumerated with grace and fluency, he saw a remarkably gentlemanly-looking man, his welltied neckcloth, his well-trimmed whiskers, his white kid gloves, his glossy hat, his massive chain encircling his neck, and protecting a repeating Breguet, all pronouncing the man of ton; and when he came really to comprehend that the sweet-scented, ringfingered gentleman before him was willing to dress a dinner on trial, for the purpose of displaying his skill, he was thunderstruck.
“Do I mistake?” said the colonel : “ I really beg pardon, it is fifty-eight years since I learned French, - am I speaking to a” (and he hardly dared to pronounce the word) – “cook?"
“Oui, monsieur,” said M. Rissolle; “I believe I have de first reputation in de profession ; I live four years wiz de Marqui de Chester, and je me flatte dat, if I had not turn him off last months, I should have superintend his cuisine at dis moment."
“Oh, you have discharged the marquis, sir?" said the colonel,