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Not At Home
by [?]

JONAS BEBEE has one merit, if he possesses no other, and that is, the merit of being able to make himself completely at home with all his friends, male or female, high or low, rich or poor, under any and all circumstances. His good opinion of himself leaves no room for his imagination to conceive the idea, that possibly there may be, in his character, certain peculiarities not agreeable to all. It never occurs to him, that he may chance to make a mal apropos visit, nor that the prolongation of a call may be a serious annoyance; for he is so entirely satisfied with himself that he is sure every one else must feel his presence as a kind of sunshine.

Of course, such being the character of Mr. Jonas Bebee, it may readily be inferred that he is very likely to commit an occasional mistake, and blunder, though unconsciously, into the commission of acts most terribly annoying to others. His evening calls upon ladies generally produce a marked effect upon those specially selected for the favor. The character of the effect will appear in the following little scene, which we briefly sketch–

“Gentleman in the parlor,” says a servant coming into a room where two or three young ladies sit sewing or reading.

“Who is he?” is the natural inquiry.

“Mr. Bebee.”


“Say we are not at home, Kitty.”

“No–no, Kitty, you mustn’t say that,” interposes one. “Tell him the ladies will be down in a little while.”

Kitty accordingly retires.

“I’m not going down,” says one, more self willed and independent than the rest.

You’ve as much right to be annoyed with him as we have,” is replied to this.

“I don’t care.”

“I wish he’d stay away from here. Nobody wants him.”

“He’s after you, Aggy.”

“After me!” replied Agnes. “Goodness knows I don’t want him. I hate the very sight of him!”

“It’s no use fretting ourselves over the annoyance, we’ve got to endure it,” says one of the young ladies. “So, come, let’s put on the best face possible.”

“You can go, Cara, if you choose, but I’m in no hurry; nor will he be in any haste to go. Say to him that I’ll be along in the course of half an hour.”

“No, you must all make your own apologies.”

In the meantime Mr. Bebee patiently awaits the arrival of the ladies, who make their appearance, one after the other, some time during the next half hour. He compliments them, asks them to sing and play, and leads the conversation until towards eleven o’clock, when he retires in the best possible humor with himself and the interesting young ladies favored with his presence. He has not even a distant suspicion of the real truth, that his visit was considered an almost unendurable infliction.

Mr. Bebee’s morning calls are often more unwelcome. He walks in, as a matter of course, takes his seat in the parlor, and sends up his name by the servant. If told that the lady is not at home, a suspicion that it may not be so does not cross his mind; for he cannot imagine it possible that any one would make such an excuse in order to avoid seeing him. Should the lady not be willing to utter an untruth, nor feel independent enough to send word that she is engaged, an hour’s waste of time, at least, must be her penalty; for Mr. Bebee’s morning calls are never of shorter duration. He knows, as well as any one, that visits of politeness should be brief; but he is on such familiar terms with all his friends, that he can waive all ceremony–and he generally does so, making himself “at home,” as he says, wherever he goes.

One day Mr. Jonas Bebee recollected that he had not called upon a certain Mrs. Fairview, for some weeks; and as the lady was, like most of his acquaintances, a particular friend, he felt that he was neglecting her. So he started forth to make her a call.