One night, when we had played the last company out, which was a shy company, through its raining Heavens hard, I was takin a pipe in the one pair back along with the young man with the toes, which I had taken on for a month (though he never drawed--except on paper), and I heard a kickin at the street door. "Halloa!" I says to the young man, "what's up!" He rubs his eyebrows with his toes, and he says, "I can't imagine, Mr. Magsman"--which he never could imagine nothin, and was monotonous company.
The noise not leavin off, I laid down my pipe, and I took up a candle, and I went down and opened the door. I looked out into the street; but nothin could I see, and nothin was I aware of, until I turned round quick, because some creetur run between my legs into the passage. There was Mr. Chops!
"Magsman," he says, "take me, on the old terms, and you've got me; if it's done, say done!"
I was all of a maze, but I said, "Done, sir."
"Done to your done, and double done!" says he. "Have you got a bit of supper in the house?"
Bearin in mind them sparklin warieties of foreign drains as we'd guzzled away at in Pall Mall, I was ashamed to offer him cold sassages and gin-and-water; but he took 'em both and took 'em free; havin a chair for his table, and sittin down at it on a stool, like hold times. I, all of a maze all the while.
It was arter he had made a clean sweep of the sassages (beef, and to the best of my calculations two pound and a quarter), that the wisdom as was in that little man began to come out of him like prespiration.
"Magsman," he says, "look upon me! You see afore you, One as has both gone into Society and come out."
"O! You ARE out of it, Mr. Chops? How did you get out, sir?"
"SOLD OUT!" says he. You never saw the like of the wisdom as his Ed expressed, when he made use of them two words.
"My friend Magsman, I'll impart to you a discovery I've made. It's wallable; it's cost twelve thousand five hundred pound; it may do you good in life--The secret of this matter is, that it ain't so much that a person goes into Society, as that Society goes into a person."
Not exactly keepin up with his meanin, I shook my head, put on a deep look, and said, "You're right there, Mr. Chops."
"Magsman," he says, twitchin me by the leg, "Society has gone into me, to the tune of every penny of my property."
I felt that I went pale, and though nat'rally a bold speaker, I couldn't hardly say, "Where's Normandy?"
"Bolted. With the plate," said Mr. Chops.
"And t'other one?" meaning him as formerly wore the bishop's mitre.
"Bolted. With the jewels," said Mr. Chops.
I sat down and looked at him, and he stood up and looked at me.
"Magsman," he says, and he seemed to myself to get wiser as he got hoarser; "Society, taken in the lump, is all dwarfs. At the court of St. James's, they was all a doing my old business--all a goin three times round the Cairawan, in the hold court-suits and properties. Elsewheres, they was most of 'em ringin their little bells out of make-believes. Everywheres, the sarser was a goin round. Magsman, the sarser is the uniwersal Institution!"
I perceived, you understand, that he was soured by his misfortunes, and I felt for Mr. Chops.
"As to Fat Ladies," he says, giving his head a tremendious one agin the wall, "there's lots of THEM in Society, and worse than the original. HERS was a outrage upon Taste--simply a outrage upon Taste--awakenin contempt--carryin its own punishment in the form of a Indian." Here he giv himself another tremendious one. "But THEIRS, Magsman, THEIRS is mercenary outrages. Lay in Cashmeer shawls, buy bracelets, strew 'em and a lot of 'andsome fans and things about your rooms, let it be known that you give away like water to all as come to admire, and the Fat Ladies that don't exhibit for so much down upon the drum, will come from all the pints of the compass to flock about you, whatever you are. They'll drill holes in your 'art, Magsman, like a Cullender. And when you've no more left to give, they'll laugh at you to your face, and leave you to have your bones picked dry by Wulturs, like the dead Wild Ass of the Prairies that you deserve to be!" Here he giv himself the most tremendious one of all, and dropped.