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Crotchet Castle

17.
The Invitation
A cup of wine, that's brisk and fine,
And drink unto the lemon mine.
Master Silence.
This veridicous history began in May, and the occurrences already narrated have
carried it on to the middle of autumn. Stepping over the interval to Christmas, we
find ourselves in our first locality, among the chalk hills of the Thames; and we
discover our old friend, Mr. Crotchet, in the act of accepting an invitation, for
himself, and any friends who might be with him, to pass their Christmas Day at
Chainmail Hall, after the fashion of the twelfth century. Mr. Crochet had
assembled about him, for his own Christmas festivities, nearly the same party
which was introduced to the reader in the spring. Three of that party were
wanting. Dr. Morbific, by inoculating himself once too often with non-contagious
matter, had explained himself out of the world. Mr. Henbane had also departed,
on the wings of an infallible antidote. Mr. Eavesdrop, having printed in a
magazine some of the after-dinner conversations of the castle, had had sentence
of exclusion passed upon him, on the motion of the Reverend Doctor Folliott, as
a flagitious violator of the confidences of private life.
Miss Crotchet had become Lady Bossnowl, but Lady Clarinda had not yet
changed her name to Crotchet. She had, on one pretence and another,
procrastinated the happy event, and the gentleman had not been very pressing;
she had, however, accompanied her brother and sister-in-law, to pass Christmas
at Crotchet Castle. With these, Mr. Mac Quedy, Mr. Philpot, Mr. Trillo, Mr.
Skionar, Mr. Toogood, and Mr. Firedamp were sitting at breakfast, when the
Reverend Doctor Folliott entered and took his seat at the table.
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. Well, Mr. Mac Quedy, it is now some weeks since we have
met: how goes on the march of mind?
MR. MAC QUEDY. Nay, sir; I think you may see that with your own eyes.
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. Sir, I have seen it, much to my discomfiture. It has
marched into my rickyard, and set my stacks on fire, with chemical materials,
most scientifically compounded. It has marched up to the door of my vicarage, a
hundred and fifty strong; ordered me to surrender half my tithes; consumed all
the provisions I had provided for my audit feast, and drunk up my old October. It
has marched in through my back-parlour shutters, and out again with my silver
spoons, in the dead of the night. The policeman who has been down to examine
says my house has been broken open on the most scientific principles. All this
comes of education.
MR. MAC QUEDY. I rather think it comes of poverty.
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. No, sir. Robbery, perhaps, comes of poverty, but scientific
principles of robbery come of education. I suppose the learned friend has written
a sixpenny treatise on mechanics, and the rascals who robbed me have been
reading it.
MR. CROTCHET. Your house would have been very safe, Doctor, if they had
had no better science than the learned friend's to work with.
 
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