The Major in All 'Attention'
Phiz (Hablot K. Browne)
Illustration for Charles Lever's Barrington (Chapter 43, p. 352)
Again, Phiz can't resist a pun, for a one might expect a military man to be "at attention," but in the case of the busybody M'Cormick "all attention" is more pertinent. While Stapylton now attempts to win the hand of the "ready-witted" Polly Dill, beyond the fence in the Barringtons' garden M'Cormick overhears the conversation, in which the young woman whimsically names the old major himself as Stapylton's "fortunate rival" (35) for her affections. Undeterred by Stapylton's threats, Polly self-confidently re-enters the house. The infuriated schemer, learning of M'Cormick's having overheard this gross "insult," swears that,but for M'Cormick's rheumatism, he would throw him into the river.