Professor Anderson Dining With A Lord

I called at the town of Brechin, where I engaged the Farmer's Hall, for the purpose of giving ray entertainment. When here, I took up my quarters at he well-known Swati Inn, which was then kept by Mr. M'Bean, a bit of a wag, and quite a character in his way. After the first night's performance I was honoured by a message from Brechin Castle, to the effect that Lord Panmure desired an interview with me. previous to my giving a private exhibition before a company then staying with his lordship at the Castle. I had often heard of Lords, Dukes, and'Earls, and had even seen Kings and Queens in the Theatre, but the idea of coming in contact with the genuine article in the way of business had never once crossed my fancy. Burn's description of his feelings 011 being invited to dine with Lord Daer conveys something of what were mine 011 that occasion. It was—

•'A ne'er-to-be-forgotten day ; Sae far I sprauchled up the brae,

I dinner'd wi' a lord." But, as old M'Bean remarked, there was 110 help for it, so I mustered a sufficient stock of courage, and went down to the Castle, where, on telling my errand, I was at once ushered into the presence of Lord Panmure, whom I ound to be just an ordinary mortal like myself—for

' The flent a oride, nae pride had he, Nor sauce nor state, that I could see.

Mair than an honest ploughman." His lordship received me most graciously, told me that he was that night to have a large party, and desired to know if it would suit my convenience to give my sleight-of-hand exhibition before them. I managed, in reply, to stammer out, " Y-e-s, my lord," when he remarked that 1 had better make my preparations immediately, and showed me into the library, which he said he would reserve for my use. Having bowed my acknowledgments, I was making my way into the hall, when I encountered Lady Panmure, to whom his lordship called as I was passing along—"Lady Panmure, tell the conjurer to come and take dinner with us to-day " ; upon which her ladyship, in the most courteous manner, intimated to me his lordship's wish. I thanked her ladyship, and made my way out of the great house in the best manner I could, and hurt ied back to the Swan in a state of fear and anxiety, such as I had never previously experienced. M'Bean, the landlord, observing my agitation, and being anxious to ascertain my reception at the Castle, eagerly inquired what had taken place, when I informed him that his lordship had summoned me to give my entertainment that night to a large party, and, what was worse, I had been invited in the afternoon to dine there, and never having seen a real living lord, much less dined with one, I was quite at a loss what to do or how to conduct myself. " Hoot, man," said M'Bean, "there's nothing sae easy, you maun just keep your e'e on ilka body, and dee as ye see ilk other folks deeing, and if there are fifty dishes on the table ye maun taste of them all, and see that ye leave nothing on your plate." He further instructed me that " if my lord or my lady should ask you to tak' a glass o' wine wi' them, be sure to say, 'Weel, my lord, y'er guid health' ; and if there should be a heap o' leddiesin the drawin'-room, and ye see yin waitin' without a gentleman, ye mauna tak' haud o' her arm, but iust march on before her into the dinin' room, for fear her guid man maybe angry wi'you ; for," he added, 'these great folk, ye ken, are awfu' jealous o' their better halves." With these, and a few such hints and advices anxiously administered by my friend M'Bean, whose true character at that time I was in ignorance of, I set about preparing my apparatus for the evening. I got the whole completed in a short time, and returned to dress for dinner. Having completed my toilet, I made my appearance before M'Bean, who again rehearsed his code of instructions, at he close of which he suddenly exclaimed, with an air of astonishment—"Preserve us, man, ye'er no gaun in that coat ? "—(I had 011 a plain dress coat)—' That's not a coat tae gang to a lord's table in." I said, " Is it not the fashion?" " Fashion ! " exclaimed M'Bean, " wha ever heard o' a body gaun to a lord's table in a dress coat ? Ye maun get a frock coat to be in the fashion." I informed M'Beati that, unfortunately, I had not such a thing about me. " Never mind," said he, " I'll lend ye aiu." I thanked him kindly for the offer, and he immediately sent up stairs for his Sunday frock coat, which was a very excellent black one. I may inform the reader that M'Bean was rather a corpulent, stalwart person, and I was not then full grown and rather lanky. However, I made a fair exchange, and donned his frock coat, observing that I thought it rather large forme, but he declared with great seriousness that it fitted like a glove. Being fully accoutred to his satisfaction, off I started for the Castle, where I arrived half an hour before dinner. I once more took a look at my apparatus, to see that all was right, and was then shown into a room where there was a large party in waiting. As I entered, all eyes were directed against me, as if I had been the lion of the evening, and I took a seat in a corner of the room to avoid observation. Upon looking round the room I was somewhat surprised to find that every gentleman present wore that kind of coat my friend had advised me to put off, and that I alone had on a large frock coat. I consoled myself with the reflection, however, that M'Bean, in his anxiety for my welfare, had committed some mistake. By and by, after we had waited a short time, several of the gentlemen approached me, and having introduced themselves, said, " Well, Sir, I suppose you intend to astonish us to-night?" to which I answered, " Yes, I will if I can." At last a servant announced that dinner was on the table, when the whole party stood up and proceeded to the dining-room. I, of course, remained until towards the last, when I and a lady alone were in the room. Faithful to M'Beaji's advice, I did not offer her my arm, and we stood looking at each other for a few seconds. At last the lady said " Mr. Anderson, I'll take your arm," which she did in a moment and led me to dinner. I do not know when I felt or looked so sheepish. No sooner had I got to the table than I seated myself down on a chair, and ill order to keep pace with M'Beau's views of the customs of the great, I left my partner to do the same. At first I trembled lest I should commit some gross mistake at dinner, but after the two first courses I made myself quite at home, and most religiously followed the advice of my friend the innkeeper, as to leaving nothing on my plate, until I found that M'Beau's coat was not too large for me. Most assuredly I astonished them. There was not a person at the table with so good an appetite. While dinner was going on, my Lord Panmure said, " Mr. Anderson, I will take a glass of wine with you," to which I promptly replied, " Well, your very good health, my lord." The whole party looked at me, and then smiled at each other. They evidently soon discovered that it was my first appearance at the table of a lord, and no doubt thought I was fair game for their waggery. They all drank wine with me, and still following the directions of M'Bean, I drank "good health " to everyone round, until I began to feel the effects of the generous licjuor in my head. Dinner ended, the ladies rose to retire, when, not forgetting M'Beau's good counsel, I got up and went along with them, admidst a burst of laughter, which I was then somewhat at a loss to understand. Lady Panmure and her female friends proceeded to the drawing-room, and observing me rather at a loss how to act, her ladyship, doubtless with the view of keeping up the joke, beckoned me to go along with them,—a signal which I promptly obeyed. Here I seated myself down, but on looking round felt a good deal surprised that the other gentlemen did not follow my example. Being a little elevated with the wine, I asked Lady Panmure for an explanation, when she observed that there was nothing wrong, and that she hoped I would make myself quite at home. The request was made in such a courteous and familiar tone of address that I found 110 difficulty in obeying her. Here, surrounded by a bevy of beauties, I was induced to give Lady Panmure an acconnt of my birth, parentage, and education, in the midst of which a messenger from Lord Panmure announced that Mr. Anderson was requested to prepare for his entertainment. On this I went to the library, put my necromantic apparatus in order, and in a few minutes afterwards had the honour of appearing before Lord Panmure and his party, whom I was fortunate enough to surprise and delight by a few of my magical experiments. All expressed themselves pleased and astonished, and at the end of my entertainment I was invited to supper. In the interval, Lord Paiunure's steward, who was in attendance at table, and seeing me young and inexperienced, very kindly took me aside, and having ascertained that I had been following the burlesque directions of M'Bean, gave me a few hints, by which I was enabled to cut a more creditable figure at the supper table. I took my leave of the Castle that evening much better pleased with myself than I was at the beginning, and still more so when next morning I received from his lordship an envelope containing a ten-pound bank note (the first which I had ever seen), and a letter, of which the followiug is a copy

Brechin Castle, 12th March, 1831.

Sir,—Your performance last night at Brechin Castle much delighted myself and party. You far excel any other necromancer that I ever saw either at home or abroad,—I am, Sir, yours&c., PANMURE.

" Don't you consider it a dangerous feat?" I queried, as I wondered to myself what kind of a soldier he would make.

" Well, I must admit I do," said he. "You see, the shot descends in an exact line until within a few inches pounds, all is the same to M. Cinquevalli. In front of the footlights he seems to operate in opposition to the laws of gravity. '' All is skittles in the air with him,'' as Mrs. Brown would likely remark. He tosses them aloft, as he confessed he was wont to do with his mother's cooking eggs, in the initial stage of his training. The eggs sometimes broke. Well ! that is not surprising. The wonder to me is that the cannon ball, which crashes through a deal table in front of the audience, does not break something else, when he throws it up some twenty feet or more in the air, and arrests its fall—oh, so easy !—-011 the nape of his neck, and sends it rolling up and down his arms, shoulders, and back, as though the missile were really endowed with life, and enjoying a romp with him.

He will take a cigar and holder, throw them up at different angles, and catch them in his mouth. Two more cigars ancl holders are placed, one 011 his chin and the other on his forehead : keeping them both balanced, he will take the cigar out of the first holder and place it on top of the cigar on his forehead, throw them off with a


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