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city; he hadn't a particle of pride or conceit about him. Mrs. Peter Bubbs, on the other hand, had more dignified sentiments, a disposition of a more aspiring character. She liked to make a stir in the world, to draw attention, to live in a style at once fashionable and commanding. Show, splendour, eclat, were what she delighted in. Bubbs was more moderate, he delighted in living within his income, and infinitely preferred a long, unostentatious, and humble career, to a splendid and imposing one of short duration. Bubbs, we think, was right.
Peter Bubbs occupied as neat a little house in a country town, as you could possibly wish to see. There was no finery, no display about it; it was, like Peter himself, remarkably unassuming. There was a little garden in front, inclosed with an iron-paling; there was a little yard behind, inclosed by a brickwall; there was a little brass-plate upon the door with BUBBS, engraved upon it in good, strong, bold-looking letters; and there was, in a word, everything within and without, capable of rendering such a modest and unambitious creature as Peter Bubbs, completely happy. And he was happy, save on especial occasions, when he got into angry altercation with Mrs. Bubbs, with regard to their style of living, and so forth.
When we said that Mr. Peter Bubbs had neither pride nor conceit about him, and that he was neither ambitious nor aspiring, we have not mentioned half of his good qualities. Peter kept a shop; he was a tobacconist, and every morning at eight o'clock, he was at his post. He was an indefatigable little man, and stuck close to his business, being always in the way himself, except during the dinner and tea hour, and never leaving at night till he saw the gas put out and everything
Bubbs hated to be in debt, and had a great antipathy to running accounts. He was in the habit of humourously observing, that there was no knowing where or when a running account would stop, and he consequently always liked to put an end to its career by a well-timed check.
Mr. and Mrs. Bubbs were seated at breakfast one morning, when the following conversation ensued :
“Peter,” began Mrs Bubbs.
“Yes, my dear,” said Peter, swallowing a large piece of roll, so that he might not be compelled to speak with his mouth full.
“ Have you heard, my love,” continued Mrs. Bubbs, “about the grand party the Swabbs's are going to give ?"
“Never, my dear, this is the first word I've heard about it."
Peter Bubbs applied himself with great earnestness to the mastication of his food, and the drinking of his coffee, being excecdingly anxious to get down to the shop, for he foresaw
from Mrs. Bubbs's manner of commencing the conversation upon this particular topic, that a little hurricane was in reserve for him.
“Its very odd, Mr. Bubbs, that you should never have heard anything about it.”
“Not at all, my dear, not at all,” said Peter.
“You know, Mrs. Bubbs, I never trouble my, head about the Swabbs's."
“Do you trouble your head about anything—about your wife and family, or any thing that concerns their happiness? These proud, conceited Swabbs's can give parties, dress themselves up in the first fashion-dash about in phætons-send their daughters to boarding schools, whilst we never think of holding up our heads and being like other people.”
“Very true," said Peter, "very true; I am perfectly aware that the Swabbs's are at this moment living at the rate of about two hundred a-year above their income, but, my dear, how will it end?"
“How will it end?” reiterated Mrs. Bubbs, almost choking with passion. “That's the only thing, sir, you have to say, in excuse for your meanness, and want of spirit.”
“I don't think I could say anything more to the purpose,” observed Peter.
“ I'll tell you what it is, Mr. Bubbs,” said the lady.
Mr. Bubbs would not, however, remain to hear what it was, for, jumping up from his chair, without having quite finished his breakfast, he seized hold of his hat, recklessly knocked it over his eyes, and rushed out of the house.
When Peter Bubbs arrived at the shop, two gentlemen were there, waiting for him.
“Mr. Bubbs, I believe?” said one of the gentlemen, stepping forward.
Yes, sir, Bubbs, and at your service,” said Peter. “My name," observed the gentleman, “is Ferrit. This is my friend, Mr. Pudger."
Peter Bubbs acknowledged the introduction by a polite bow.
“We have made free to call upon you, Mr. Bubbs," said Ferrit, "about a Joint Stock Brewery, that we mean to establish in this place. There is an excellent opening for such concern, and with a few respectable and able men like yourself, for a proprietary, there is no doubt but it would be eminently successful.”
“It appears to me,” said Pudger, " that there has long been a great want of such a company in this town.”
Well, gentlemen,” replied Peter, " although I have been a
The Tara elevating his hat; “I beg SEN 30."
The Puager. 32. pool morning," said Peter, glad
ESDE 28 that," added he, to himself.
* GDE reason for Peter declining to have :S:ock Brewery. In the first place, he :: Joint Stock Companies in general, and
uth contemplated one in particular. In . Pre had some knowledge of the parties who
17, and that knowledge had not caused him to
think very favourably as to the result of the undertaking. He had no doubt but a dividend of twenty per cent. would be paidpromptly paid, and perhaps for a series of years; but unlike people who are content with taking a cursory glance at things, without penetrating to sequels and results, Peter Bubbs, as we have seen, asked, "How will it end?”
At the usual time, Peter went home to his dinner. tered the house with sad misgivings. He was sure that there would be a renewal of the scene that had occurred at breakfast. He was, however, agreeably surprised to find Mrs. Bubbs in one of the pleasantest humours imaginable. Her face indeed was irradiated with smiles. There was a cause for this, and it was not long before Peter was made cognizant of it. As we have already intimated to the reader, Mrs. Bubbs was an ambitious woman. She was desirous that her family should “cut a figure" in the place, no doubt partly with the view of mortifying the Swabbs's, against whom she harboured the utmost animosity. Something had occurred in the absence of her husband, that occasioned this change in her temper, and she now proceeded to relate it to him.
“What do you think, my dear?” said Mrs. Bubbs.
“I think the sooner we have dinner the better,” replied Peter, " for I'm very hungry.”
“ Pshaw! you are always thinking of eating."
Really, Mr. Bubbs, you would try the patience of a saint." “ How should I know who's been here ?" “Well, then, my dear, Mr. Grubbins.” “What did he want?" “ Ab! what think you, now?” “I have no idea, Mrs. Bubbs, and that's the truth."
“Well, if I must tell you, he wants you to take the chair at a public meeting. Think how it will sound in the papers !-A meeting of the
was held in the towu-hall on Wednesday evening, on which occasion Peter Bubbs, Esq. took the chair.”
“It won't do, Mrs. Bubbs; I decline the honour."
“Why won't it do? Cau there be any possible harm in tiking the chair on such an occasion ? Would it not gratify your fellow townsmen? would it not gratify the feelings of your family?"
“Dare say it would, ma'am, but how will it end?” “ How should it end, but well?” “You don't see far enough, Mrs. Bubbs; you don't see far resident of the town, for the last thirty years, I must candidly confess, that such a company has not appeared to me so absolutely necessary.”
“I am surprised, Mr. Bubbs, that you should take such a view of the matter," said Ferrit.
“You perfectly astonish me,” observed Pudger.
“For my part, I am neither surprised nor astonished,” mildly replied Peter.
“I will, however, more fully explain to you our scheme," said Ferrit. “In the first place, we propose that the capital shall be £20,000, in 2,000 shares of £10 each. We propose further to pay a dividend to the shareholders, of twenty per cent., and so soon as the company is formed, to make a call of two pounds a share, which will then put us in possession of funds to proceed immediately.” Peter Bubbs stared incredulously at Ferrit, as he developed
“What do you think of it now, Mr. Bubbs ?” inquired Pudger.
“I am afraid, gentlemen,” said Peter, “I must decline having anything to do with the undertaking."
“Mr. Bubbs,” exclaimed Ferrit, “ will you miss such an excellent chance of investing your spare capital ? do you doubt we shall be able to pay the dividend we have mentioned ?”
“Not at all, gentlemen;" said Peter, “ I've no doubt you will pay twenty, perhaps thirty or forty per cent. But how-how will it end?
“Why, sir," said Ferrit," it will not end at all. It will go on prosperously, and be a splendid source of income to its proprietors."
Peter Bubbs shook his head.
" Are we to understand that you decline putting your name down as a shareholder ?" inquired Pudger.
“Precisely so," replied Bubbs.
“Then, Mr. Bubbs,” said Ferrit, elevating his hat; “I beg to wish you a very good morning, sir." “ Farewell
, Mr. Bubbs,” said Pudger. “Good morning, gentlemen, good morning,” said Peter, glad to get rid of them.
“Not quite so easily done as that,” added he, to himself.
There was more than one reason for Peter declining to have any concern in this Joint Stock Brewery. In the first place, he had a great dislike to all Joint Stock Companies in general, and an especial aversion to this contemplated one in particular. In the second place, Peter had some knowledge of the parties who were projecting it, and that knowledge had not caused him to