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Full text of "The old English gentleman : or, The fields and the woods"

^L I B R_ARY 

OF THE 
UNIVERSITY 
Of ILLI NOIS 

623 
M624o& 

V.I 



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THE 



OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN, 

OR, 

THE FIELDS AND THE WOODS. 

BY 

JOHN MILLS, ESQ. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. I. 



LONDON : 
HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER, 

GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 

1841. 



LONDON ! 

V. SHOBERL, JUN., 51, RUPERT STREET, HAYMAKKET, 

PRINTER TO H. R. H. PRINCE ALBERT. 



M 6 24*4 



TO HIS GRACE 

THE DUKE OF BEAUEOKT. 



My Lord Duke, 

Your Grace's kind acceptance of the 
dedication of this work confers a lasting ob- 
ligation on its writer. 

The liberal patronage which your Grace has 
ever afforded to those British Field Sports to 
which so large a portion of these volumes is 
devoted, must prove to the world that it is not 
as mere sports you regard them. Your Grace 
doubtless feels that when the high aristocracy 
of England cease to look upon these main 
attractions of a Country Life as something 



IV DEDICATION. 

more than idle amusements, England will no 
longer be that land of the brave and free 
which her Agricultural supremacy has been 
chiefly instrumental in rendering her. 

That your Grace may long enjoy that health 
and happiness to which the Sports of the 
Field so largely contribute, is the earnest 
wish of 

Your Grace's 

Obliged and Obedient Servant, 
John Mills. 

Brandeston Hall, 

September, 1841. 



PREFACE. 



The writer of the following pages would be 
acting unfairly, no less to his readers than to 
himself, if he were to neglect saying a few 
words, as to his design and object in writing 
them. Though very far from being indifferent 
to the criticism which may await this first 
production of his almost untried pen, and still 
farther from hoping to escape those just cen- 
sures to which his want of practice may have 
rendered him liable, he would fain avoid the 
charge of having failed to accomplish what he 
has, in fact, not attempted. In writing these 
Scenes of " the Fields and the "Woods," his 
object has been, not to construct an elaborate 
plot, and make it subservient to the formal de- 
velopment of a series of characters ; not, in a 



VI PREFACE. 

word, to write a mere Fiction ; but only so to 
throw together and arrange some of the most 
attractive scenes of Country Life in England, 
and especially those connected with Field 
Sports, as to strengthen and disseminate that 
love for them which amounts to a passion in 
his own breast, and which, when it ceases to 
warm those of his fellow-countrymen, will 
take from them one of the proudest and hap- 
piest features of their character. There is 
nothing in continental life that may for a 
moment compare, either in solid worth, or 
in social and political value, with the * Old 
English Gentleman " of the past and (the 
writer of these pages must venture to insist) 
the present times of rural life in England : 
for there cannot be a greater mistake than to 
suppose that the class is extinct, or that it is 
even greatly reduced or deteriorated. It is 
not a few railroads or steam-boats, more or 
less, that can blot out that inherent feature in 
our national character, which has ever distin- 
guished us favourably from the rest of the 



PREFACE. Vll 

civilized world. Next to the love of country, 
the love of the country is that passion, or sym- 
pathy, or tendency — call it what we will — 
which leads to the highest and purest results, 
and the absence or abrogation of which opens 
a way to the lowest and the basest : and in 
no country does this love prevail to any thing 
like the extent and degree that it does in Eng- 
land; nor did it ever prevail there in more 
strength and purity than in our own day. 

It is partly to give vent to the overflowings 
of this feeling in himself, partly to communis 
cate it to others, that the writer of these 
pages has endeavoured to depict the scenes 
amid which alone it can be born; though 
happily it may be cherished and kept intact, 
even in the most artificial scenes of the most 
high-viced city. 

On the other hand, as it is chiefly for the 
meridian of the latter that he has written, 
the author of " The Old English Gentleman " 
has thought proper to adopt that form, and 
adapt himself to that taste, which seem to offer 



Till PREFACE. 

him the best chance of being extensively read : 
for an unread book — even a good one — is as 
valueless as an unfulfilled good intention. 

But though he has endeavoured to bind 
his desultory Scenes together by a thread 
of narrative which will give to them a con- 
tinuous and consecutive interest, no one can 
set less value than he himself does on the ma- 
terials of which that thread is composed, or 
the skill with which it is spun. In a word, 
if the reader be but satisfied with his scenes 
of " The Fields and the Woods," and his por- 
trait — drawn from the life, and con amove — of 
"The Old English Gentleman," with whose 
habitat they so essentially connect themselves, 
he cares but little what may be thought or said 
of his skill as a writer ; if it be but admitted 
that he has some claim to the character of a 
Sportsman, let who will dispute his preten- 
sions as a Novelist. 



THE 

OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER I. 
THE OLD WHIPPER-IN. 

" He was a shrewd philosopher, 
And had read every text and gloss over ; 
Whatever sceptic could inquire for, 
For every why he had a wherefore : 
He could reduce all things to acts, 
And knew their nature by abstracts." 

Hudibras. 

It was a cold, comfortless night in Decem- 
ber. The wind swept over the heath, whist- 
ling through the woods in sudden gusts, ac- 
companied by sleet and rain, as Tom Bolton, 
the old whipper-in, sat in his " snuggery," as 
he called his cottage, before a log fire, bla- 
zing cheerfully upon the hearth. The rain 

VOL. I. B 



2 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

battered against the windows with a chilling 
sound, and the old man continued to heap 
fresh wood upon the fire, until the little room 
was warmed and illuminated to his heart's 
content. " There, that's as it should be," ex- 
claimed he, stretching out his legs, and filling 
the bowl of a short pipe. 

Tom Bolton's hair was thin, and the many 
winters that had passed since he was a " fea- 
ther weight" had frosted the few remaining 
locks. Threescore and seven years numbered 
his age ; but the health of youth glowed in 
his rubicund visage, and strength was still in 
his sinewy and well-moulded limbs. Time 
had not frozen his blood, or weakened his 
voice, if it had thinned his hair. Still to him 
the dashing leap and high-mettled horse were 
the same objects of fearless attraction and 
delight ; still his voice rung merrily through 
copse and cover, as he cheered his darling 
pack ; and, for many miles round Woodland 
Hall, Squire Scourfield's old whipper-in was 
frequently the subject of the fox-hunters' toast, 
and even of the ladies' admiration. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 3 

The old man puffed cloud after cloud, watch- 
ing with upturned face each succeeding vo- 
lume of smoke as it rolled along the ceiling. 
Occasionally, he glanced at a capacious china 
bowl, in which was a fawn-handled silver 
ladle. It was empty ; but near it was placed 
some lemons and a knife, and upon a half-con- 
sumed log hissed a small kettle of boiling 
water. An old clock, that had been tick- 
tacking for half a century and upwards, in 
a corner of the room, struck nine ; and 
after the carved representative of a bird had 
" cuckoo'd" for a minute before the dial, 
Tom rose from his easy position, and, pulling 
away a chequered curtain before the window, 
peered through the wet-streaked panes. The 
night was dark and gloomy; the water 
streamed from the roof and pattered on the 
ground ; the rain beat against the glass ; and, 
excepting an occasional whine of discontent 
from an old hound chained in the yard, no- 
thing else could be heard. 

" Where can Will be ? I don't hear him 
coming," said the old man, returning ro his 

B 2 



4 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

chair. " Courting, as usual," continued he, 
knocking the ashes from his pipe, and exhibit- 
ing signs of increasing impatience. 

In a few minutes, footsteps quickly ap- 
proaching attracted his attention. The hound 
barked loudly, when a voice hallooed, " Down, 
Eangler, down, I say !" which instantly si- 
lenced him. 

" Here he comes," said the old man with a 
smile, which was immediately changed into 
an awkward frown. The latch of the door flew 
up, and into the room bounced a young man, 
dripping with wet from head to foot. He ap- 
peared about twenty-eight years of age, and 
was very athletic ; his features were so si- 
milar to those of the old man that no one 
could doubt the relationship existing between 
them. 

" Well, governor," said he, shaking the 
water from his hat, and throwing off a great 
coat from his broad shoulders, " here I am, 
you see." 

" And you might have been here before, 
I think," replied his father, " and not come 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 5 

tailing in this fashion. Always be a leader, 
Will, not a tail-hound." 

" So I am, dad ; thanks to your whip," 
rejoined Will, seizing the lemons and cutting 
them in halves. " Ask Fanny whether she 
doesn't think me the first fellow in the county," 
added he, with a comical look at his father, 
and stopping in the act of paring a lemon. 

" William Bolton, my son," said the old 
man gravely, " women are women. Fanny 
Chatterton 's a woman. Many a man's been 
hung through a woman. I need say no more 
upon the subject. Mix the liquor." 

Will laughed heartily at this speech, and 
resumed his employment. In a short time the 
mingled ingredients steamed fragrantly from 
the bowl, and, as Will stirred them about, his 
father's olfactory nerves seemed excited. 

" That smells prime," said he, regarding the 
prepared beverage admiringly. 

" You're like Chanter, governor," replied 
Will. 

" What, upon the right scent, eh ?" added 
the old man. 

After a few " fancy stirs" by Will, as the 



6 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

old man called them, he filled an old-fashioned 
horn, mounted with silver, and handed it to 
his father. 

" There, governor, taste that," said he. 

The old man took the proffered flagon, and, 
after surveying its contents, said, " Here's the 
squire's health — God bless him !" 

"Amen," rejoined Will, draining one of 
like appearance and dimensions. 

After the toast, Will dragged a chair op- 
posite to his father, and, settling himself in 
as pleasant an attitude as possible, said, 

" I hope I shall give satisfaction in my new 
calling, governor." 

" Of course you will, if you follow my di- 
rections," replied the old man, taking his pipe 
slowly from his lips, and placing it on the 
table. By this movement Will saw that he 
was about to receive a lecture. 

" As whip under me," continued his father, 
" all that you did was a copy of the original ; 
there was no doubt or fear of doing wrong, 
because you only, as I may say, echoed what 
you knew to be right. I ain't a proud man, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 7 

my son ; but I may as well say, for it's God's 
truth, that 'tis as unnatural for me to be out 
concerning all about hounds, as 'tis for you not 
to wink your left eye at every pretty girl you 
meet." 

" Ha, ha, ha !" roared Will. 

" William Bolton, my son," continued the 
old man, " I'm sorry to make the comparison ;" 
here he gravely shook his head ; " but I can't 
get up a better — a more true one never was. 
Fill up the horns." 

The last part of this sentence was replied 
to by Will's filling the respective horns. His 
father said upon taking his, " Follow my ad- 
vice, and you'll be as good a huntsman as — " 

"My father's a whipper-in," chimed in 
Will. 

" Precisely so, my son, and no flattery 
neither," said the old man, with a self-satisfied 
shake of the head. " A huntsman's situation," 
continued he, " is a very important one ; and 
now poor Striver can ride no more — poor 
fellow ! I'm afraid he drank gin and bitters 
before breakfast in his youth — you're to fill 



8 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

up bis place. Kow, I don't mean to say that 
Striver couldn't hunt a pack in his younger 
days, as they should be hunted ; but not since 
you've been second whip — oh, no ! he shirked 
his leaps, and quailed to mount a young un ; 
his voice was more like an ill-tempered old 
woman's than a huntsman's ; his hearing was 
amiss, and altogether be wasn't the figure for 
my ideas. So you mustn't follow his ways of 
doing the business. Indeed, I don't think the 
squire would stand it long with you, because 
it was only in consideration of long service 
that he put up with old St river's bungling." 

" I've heard him grumble at it, a good deal 
o'times," added Will. 

" Ay, and you may rest assured that no 
muffing work would be looked over in any 
young man," replied his father. " But I 
don't expect any from you, my son. No, 
you'll not disgrace your bringing up, I know." 

Will's forehead and cheeks became flushed 
at this eulogium. 

" Now Striver's pensioned off upon the pro- 
perty, to snare fitchews and weazles for amuse- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 9 

ment, you've the first place in the squire's 
establishment. To-morrow," said the old man 
in an important voice, " you take possession 
of the kennel. Think of the position for a 
moment. A young man on the sunny side of 
thirty, huntsman to Squire Scourfield's pack 
of crack hounds ! Why, it's a better place 
than the Lord Chancellor's, "Will ; at any rate, 
a better one for you. Now, mark my words — 
it's the last time that I shall give ye my 
opinion as to your duties, because, as you 
enter upon them to-morrow, it wouldn't sound 
musical for the whipper-in to be instructing 
the huntsman in his work. It wouldn't be 
regular. Fill up your horn. Now listen. 
Activity—" 

"What hound was that, father?" asked 
Will, with a suppressed laugh. 

" Out with your nonsense," said the old 
man, pettishly ; " activity is the first indis- 
pensable for the huntsman to a pack of fox- 
hounds. Before he goes into the kennel, he 
should determine, according to his judgment, 
the number to be drafted for the country that 

B5 



10 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

he is going to hunt, which will vary according 
to its description. Never be in a hurry, Will, 
at drafting; it's no easy matter to draft 
hounds properly. — Then, at the meet, be to 
your exact time, if possible ; but never before 
your time. In most other things, you had 
better be a little before than after ; but never 
at the meet ; it's against all rule. — As you go 
into cover, be silent, and, while your hounds 
are drawing, place the gentlemen so that the 
fox can't go off unseen. Some huntsmen don't 
like to ask a gentleman to stand sentinel ; but 
it's a necessary part of fox-hunting. — When 
you're coming out of cover, then give it them, 
Will. Make the hills ring with your hearty 
voice ; let every hound hear the ' hark, for'ard,' 
so that it will make his heart leap with joy : 
not in that tone as if a rabbit had made a 
break of it instead of a fox. — At all times, 
keep your hounds for'ard ; they will tire on a 
cold scent. When they are stopped by sheep, 
or any thing else, help them, for very often 
they'll hunt the old scent back again, if they 
can hunt no other. When they're at fault, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 11 

don't be in a hurry to make your cast. Let 
them have time to hit off the scent themselves ; 
but, if they can't do it, make your cast wide 
and for'ard, and be sure that it's a perfect one 
before you try another. — When you are run- 
ning a fox, the scent bad, and the fox a long 
way before, without having been pressed, if he 
should be making for strong earths that are 
open, or for large covers full of game, take off 
the hounds at the first fault they come to ; the 
fox will go many miles to your one, and, in all 
probability, will run you out of all scent. — 
Where the vermin are plenty, you must be 
careful not to run the heel ; for hounds can 
run, sometimes, the wrong way of the scent 
better than they can the right, where one is 
up the wind, and t'other down. Lift your tail- 
hounds, and get 'em to the rest ; but be cautious 
that you don't lift any for'ard before the others ; 
it's dangerous, and very clumsy work. — 
But the most difficult of all that you've got 
to do is to learn the difference between one 
scent and another, and to know with cer- 
tainty that of your hunted fox. This requires 



12 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

a nous, and a judgment above the heads of 
most men. Few can comprehend the art, 
and it's one that can be learned only with 
practice ; but you'll hit it off, Will, by and 
by, I know." 

" Hope I shall, governor," said Will ; " but 
you must be getting dry with your long 
stretch ; come, wet your whistle." 

" Stop a minute ; I've nearly done, and 
then I'll top up with a glass," replied the old 
man. " When you're at fault, and the hounds 
can't make it out of themselves, let your first 
cast be quick ; the scent is then good, and 
they're not likely to go over it. As the scent 
gets worse, let the cast be slower and more 
cautiously made, and when the hounds are 
picking along a cold scent, don't cast them at 
all. There are other rules to think of besides 
these ; but what I've told you are the general 
ones, which, I hope, you'll follow as closely 
as your hounds will a fox, when they've the 
chance." 

"Certainly, governor; and I'm much obliged 
to you for them," said Will. " Not a man 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 13 

living knows more about the bow-wows than 
you." 

The old man smiled at the compliment, and 
said, " It's a bitter cold night ; 'faith I think 
it a fair excuse for a little more warm com- 
fort. Come, spice up some ale, and clap it on 
the fire, Will." 

With ready hand, Will obeyed the order, 
by filling the bright kettle with " the blood 
of Sir John Barleycorn," and adding to it nut- 
meg, cloves, sugar, and a crust of brown bread. 
The concomitants soon hissed and steamed 
fragrantly upon the bright embers, which 
caused a second edition of twitching from the 
old man's organ of smell. 

" What, again !" exclaimed Will, " why 
you're as game as old Merry man was." 

" Ay, he was a tearer," said the old man 
with enthusiasm. 

" An out-an'-outer," continued Will. 

" I shan't put my eyes upon his like, that's 
my belief, without I see his spirit again," re- 
joined the old man seriously. 

" His what !" exclaimed Will, stopping with 



14 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

surprise, in the act of pouring the prepared 
beverage into a flagon. 

" His spirit, I say," replied his father. 
" But, go on, my boy, that stuff smells un- 
common nice." 

In accordance with his wish, the savoury 
mixture was conveyed to the palate of the old 
man, and, after being pronounced "excellent," 
he took his tobacco-box from a capacious 
pocket in his scarlet coat, which he always 
wore, and commenced filling his pipe a second 
time. 

" Instead of smoking, governor, I wish 
you'd say what you meant by seeing Merry- 
man's spirit again," said "Will. " One would 
suppose that you had seen it already." 

" So I have, my boy," replied his father. 

" Have you, though!" exclaimed Will, a dis- 
believer in ghosts, hobgoblins, and all sorts of 
immaterial things, through which " the moon 
shines unchecked." 

" The fact is, my son," slowly said the old 
man, with a contemplative look at the white- 
washed ceiling, and a smack of his lips, which 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 15 

is often a demonstration of self-importance, 
" I've my own particular notions as to spirits, 
and such like. Why shouldn't there be ghosts 
of dead monkeys, as well as dead mortals, I 
should like to know ! A man isn't a more 
wonderful beast than a monkey, and both are 
damned rascals generally, to say the best of 
them. Some people, particularly parsons, pre- 
tend to say that when a monkey ' turns his toes 
up to the roots of the daisies,' there's an end 
of him. Stuff o' nonsense ! There's no end 
to any thing. The old bricks and mortar are 
worked fresh into other buildings, after this 
fashion : monkeys become Christians, being 
next to human nature, and Christians, as tops 
of the tree, again become hay-seed, or cab- 
bage-plants — that is to say, their shells, or 
outsides so alter — their spirits may be dis- 
posed of differently ; but I think they accom- 
pany the carcase, or vegetable, as the case 
may be." 

" Why, governor, you're not a Christian," 
said Will. 

" The Archbishop of York couldn't prove 



16 THE OLD ENGLISH- GENTLEMAN. 

that he was a better," rejoined the old man. 
" Deal as you would be dealt by, is' my reli- 
gion. Isn't that Christian ?" 

" Yes ; but that isn't enough to make a man 
a thorough-bred 'un," replied Will. 

" Quite enough, my son, William Bolton, 
quite enough ; for, if we act towards others 
as we wish them to act towards us, there'll be 
no screw loose, no wrong meant, you may de- 
pend; and that's all that can be expected 
from the best of Christians." 

" But this has nothing to do with the sub- 
ject we started with," said Will. 

" Not altogether, and yet it has something," 
replied his father. " You see, I believe every 
thing living has a spirit ; I think it very pro- 
bable that even a turnip has a soul ; at any 
rate, I know that a dog has, for I saw old 
Merryman's on the night of his death." 

"Tell me all about it," rejoined Will, his 
curiosity "excited ; "I never heard a full ac- 
count of that day's work which killed the old 
hound. It was a splitter, warn't it ?" 

" Do you want to hear the beginning of it ?" 
inquired the old man. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 17 

" Yes, and the end of it, too," replied Will. 

" Put some more wood on the fire, and close 
the shutters first ; the cold increases with the 
night," said Tom, drawing his chair closer to 
the fire. 

When Will had obeyed the order, he placed 
himself in a snug corner opposite to his father, 
who, with a preliminary clearing of his voice, 
thus commenced : — 

" It will be six years ago the ninth of next 
February, that we threw off at the Lynallet 
cover. The day was cloudy, and the ground 
covered with dew. The squire and all the 
gentlemen o' the hunt were out. I and Striver 
had drafted all the best hounds from the ken- 
nel ; for, you see, I was forced to do a great 
deal of his work for the last ten years. Not 
one was lame, young, or riotous. We drew 
up the wind towards a stopped earth, very 
quietly for a minute or two, when Merryman 
gave such a long bell-like note, that told sly 
Eeynard was afoot. ' Hark to Merryman/ 
hollowed I. ' Tally ho, tally ho,' shouted 
some one immediately afterwards. 'Yoiks 



18 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

for'ard, for'ard,' hollowed the squire, and out 
burst every hound close to his brush ; not 
one tailed. There was no occasion to bawl 
' hold hard.' No one thinks of starting before 
the squire, and he's too good a sportsman to 
tear away before the proper time. But, when 
he gives the ' harkaway,' and any one hesi- 
tates to ride, or take a leap before him, the 
way in which he asks ' what he's waiting for,' 
is a caution not to show him so much respect 
for the future. He can't abide humbug in 
any shape. 

"In a handful of seconds on went as strong 
a fox as ever rattled across a country ; as fine 
a pack o' hounds as could be unkennelled in 
England ; as fine a true-hearted gentleman as 
ever owned a pack ; and two score and six of 
well-mounted straight riders as ever crossed 
saddles ; not to say any thing of old Striver, 
and — ." 

" My governor, the whipper-in," chimed in 
Will. 

** Just so, my boy ; but don't interrupt me. 
For a quarter of an hour we ran in view over 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 19 

a heath, as level as a bowling-green. The 
pace was so great, and no raspers to clear, 
that it was more like a race than a hunt. At 
the other side of the heath was a deep slope, 
at the bottom of which was a thick growth of 
furze. Down the fox dipped among the 
prickles ; but the hounds were so hot upon 
him, that they took him through in full cry, 
without a check. On the side he came out 
was a steep hill, which he climbed at his best 
speed ; but they gained upon him so at this 
work, that he was obliged to turn his sharp 
nose again to the slope. Now he managed to 
make a greater distance between the hounds 
and himself, by running in a slanting direc- 
tion towards the bottom of the hill. When 
he got there, he struck along the valley with 
his brush straight out, and, before the dogs 
reached the end of the slope, he was lost 
to view by this cunning run of his. For about 
twenty minutes we rattled on without any 
check, and the scent breast-high. Every 
hound was in full cry, making the hills ring 
again with his hearty tune. The ground was 



20 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

rather heavy ; but no strong leaping fatigued 
our nags. Hoggerel Woods were now in 
sight, to which the varmint was making, and 
where there was some earths ; but the stop- 
pers had been the night before to close them 
up, so there was no danger of losing him, or 
our having any great trouble of getting him 
out of these thick covers. 

"I and Striver, poor fellow! — I'm sure 
he took gin an' bitters before breakfast in his 
younger days — I and Striver were riding neck- 
an'-neck, when the first stiff un was before our 
horses' heads. It was a rail, a deep water- 
course, and another rail on the opposite side — 
a regular fly of twenty feet. Striver and I 
exchanged looks as we neared it. I believe, 
and often have told him so, that he never 
would have switched that rasper if I'd not 
been at his side : — as it was, he went at it very 
nervously. Neither of the horses swerved a 
hair's breadth as they took their spring at it ; 
but, the ground being much lower on the 
other side, both of them staggered upon their 
legs as they cleared the splitting leap. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 21 

" The hounds dived into the cover about a 
hundred yards before we reached the edge of 
it, and, all the earths being stopped, they ran 
him clean through it, just as they did with the 
other one. Before we reached the end of the 
wood all were out ; and again the sneaking 
rascal was in view, doing his best to get away. 
"We gave him a good ' tally ho,' and he seemed 
to take the cheer like a hero, for he lifted his 
brush a little, as much as to say ' catch me 
who can.' We now were going over a grass 
country at a killing pace. Mile after mile we 
scoured, sometimes losing sight of the fox; 
but for the most part running him in view — so 
close did the hounds press him. 

" As near as I can guess, we crossed six- 
teen miles nearly in a straight line from Ly- 
nallet to Gosford Brook, without a breathing 
moment. Here we had a couple of minutes, 
from the crafty varmint having dipped himself 
in the water ; but, having made a wide cast, 
the hounds soon hit off the scent, and on we 
went again at the same rate. Still there was 
a good field up, although many had been 



22 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

floored at the leap Striver and I took, and 
those had been thrown out as well as off, being 
unable, from the speed we went, to make up 
the lost distance. 

" The hounds now began to tail. I did all 
that was in my power to get them on, but it 
was no use ; the poor fellows wanted as much 
as I did to go ahead ; but the pace and dis- 
tance had taken their strength away — on they 
could not go. 

" 'Never mind them, Tom,' said the squire, 
galloping past me ; ' they must be left, and 
found afterwards. ' 

" I was on that tip-top mare, the Maid-o'- 
the-Mill ; and, leaving the hounds to drop off, 
as they did, one by one, at almost every stride, 
I took every thing as God sent it, with but 
five couple now running before us. After 
going over a heavy woodland country for thirty 
minutes with these, I turned my eyes round 
to see the state of the field. The squire, of 
course, held his place ; but there were but six 
besides him in sight. We now mounted 
Beach Tree Hill, and were swinging up it like 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 23 

coursing greyhounds, when I heard the view- 
hollow from the other side. As I dipped over 
the top, there I saw a farmer hallooing the 
fox, tearing along at the bottom as strong as 
ever. We kept him in view for three miles 
across Eington park, but did not gain a yard 
upon him. A new six feet fence was being 
made round the park, and part of it was up 
at the end he was steering for. I thought 
that he'd double when he came to it ; but 
there was no turn in him. He charged it 
fresh as a three year old, and made for a 
straight course to Chalk-pit Eock. The dogs 
went at it pretty much together ; four jumped 
against the fence about half way up, and fell 
powerless to the ground. Three reached the 
top, scrambled upon it for a second or two, 
and over they came backwards to join the 
others, without breath or strength. Merry- 
man, Hopeful, and Straggler flew across, but 
were tie only three out of the whole pack 
able tc continue the chase. 

" St river was a short distance before me, 
and, to my great surprise, I saw him prepare 



24 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

to have a go at the rasper. His horse was 
much too tired, and so was he, for such a leap ; 
but I will say there was no flinching in either 
of them. ' Over,' cried Striver, dashing his 
persuaders into his horse's flanks, and throw- 
ing out his whip-hand as they rose at it. By 
St. Crispin, I never saw such a fall in my 
whole life. The horse struck the edge of the 
fence with his fore-legs, just below his knees, 
and over they pitched on the opposite side, 
head foremost. I pulled up, and expected 
to see a few broken bones ; but there was 
Striver, wiping the perspiration from his fore- 
head as if nothing had happened, standing by 
the side of his fallen horse. 

" ' Are you hurt ?" said I. 

" ' No,' replied he, ' not much ; but the 
horse is done up. I can't go any farther.' 

" ' What's the matter ?' asked the squire, 
arriving at the spot. 

" ' Striver's horse and all the hounds but 
three are tired out,' replied I. 

" ' Then follow on, Tom. I'll not k,ve the 
leash whipped off,' said the squire. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 25 

" I turned the mare's head to where the 
fence ended, and, cutting across at her best 
speed, I was again close to the crack three, 
having the hunt all to ourselves ; not one 
rider being now up, except myself. For 
nearly an hour longer we kept the pace still 
the same ; but now I began to feel the mare 
stagger and reel under me, and I was certain 
that another mile would be all that she could 
do. I had not seen the fox since he jumped 
the park fence till now, when I saw him go 
into a thick osier bed, by the side of a stream, 
a quarter of a mile before the hounds. Merry- 
man pressed before Hopeful and Straggler 
into the osiers. Before I arrived there, the 
fox was through, with the old leader not fifty 
yards behind him ; but neither of the other 
two were in sight. 

" At every stretch the mare took now, I 
expected that she would fall from weakness. 
The spur was not answered, and, certain that 
she couldn't last five minutes longer upon her 
legs, I pulled up and dismounted. Upon 
going into the middle of the bed, I found 

vol. i. c 



26 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

both the hounds lying the ground, with their 
tongues stretched out, and their eyes ready to 
start from their sockets. As I led the mare, 
and made the dogs crawl after me towards a 
cottage in sight, I could still hear the cry of 
old Merryman, which became fainter and 
fainter, until I lost it altogether in the dis- 
tance. 

" After attending to the poor, worn-out, 
and punished animals, I procured a convey- 
ance on wheels, and a lame pony, to take me 
to the nearest post-town, where I got a chaise 
and pair of fast tits to help me on the road 
home. Knowing our master would be very 
wishful to know what became of us, I was 
determined to get home that night, and go 
the next morning for the horse and hounds. 
I had to travel thirty-seven miles from the 
cottage to the hall, and it was very late in 
the evening before I reached home. Upon 
sending in word to the squire that I had re- 
turned, I was summoned into the dining- 
room, where I found him, as usual, comfort 
ably stretched in his old, easy chair, smoking 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 27 

a cigar, and listening to Miss Kate's sing- 
ing. 

" ' Well, Tom, did you kill ?' inquired 
the squire, as soon as he saw me. 

" I then told him all that had happened. 
He was very much pleased with old Merry- 
man's continuing the hunt ; and, after hearing 
what I had to say, he told me all the hounds 
were picked up on the road home but a brace, 
and ordered me to start early in the morning, 
with some help, to get these and the others. 
" * Do you think the old hound would run 
much farther ?' said he. 

" 'Both the fox and hound were very strong, 
sir, when I left them,' replied I. 

11 ' The noble old fellow ! Get to rest as 
soon as you can, and start by daybreak for 
him, with the dog-cart,' said the squire. 

" It was a clear, bright night when I turned 
into the bed which you now occupy over the 
kennel. Nothing could be heard but the 
deep breathing of the tired-out hounds, that 
were crouched in sleep, and the bubbling of 
the stream through the airing yard. How- 

c 2 



28 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

ever, I soon became unconscious of these 
sounds, and fell as fast asleep as a dormouse 
in December. 

" I was dreaming of 

Merryman, spurs, and leather-breeches, 
Fences and falls, jumps, rails, and ditches, 

when I awoke with every dog howling at his 
utmost stretch. I jumped up, blessing the 
cause of the noisy brutes' row, and was soon 
among them, whip in hand ; but there was no 
quarrel or fight, and I could see nothing amiss. 
All were huddled together like a flock of 
frightened sheep, and they kept crying just as 
if the cord was being put upon 'em. To tell 
the truth, I felt somewhat queer at this, 
and my voice didn't seem so firm as usual, 
when I hollowed out for them to be quiet. 
In a short time I managed to get peace, and 
then I tried to find out the reason of all this 
rumpus. I looked here and there to no pur- 
pose, and began to think that a hound had 
broke out in his dream, which set the others 
on ; when, turning to the airing-ground, I 
saw, as plain as I now see you, old Merryman 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 29 

standing in the pale light of the moon, with 
his hushy tail fanning to and fro, and his 
sleek ears thrown back upon his neck, as was 
his custom when pleased. Not thinking of 
the impossibility of his return, I called the 
old fellow to me, delighted and surprised at 
seeing him ; but there he remained, waving 
his tail and looking at me. I walked two or 
three steps towards him, when he glided away 
into the mist, gradually fading from my sight, 
till he disappeared altogether, just as the first 
light of morning broke. 

" If not frightened at this sight, I felt very 
uncomfortable, to say the least of it, and I 
returned to my room to. dress and prepare for 
my journey with a heavy heart. As soon as 
the apparition, or whatever it was, left, the 
dogs recovered from their fright, and began 
stretching their legs as usual about the yard. 
With a pair of our best horses, I started in 
the dog-cart to search for the old leader, and 
the other two hounds. After inquiring along 
the road, I found the brace at a farm-house, 
about eighteen miles from home, foot-sore and 



30 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

famished. I boxed them up in the cart, and 
proceeded, with fresh horses, to the cottage 
where I had left the mare and the other brace 
of hounds. I put Jack Tiggle, that I had 
taken with me, upon the mare, directing him 
to walk her gently home, and went on to in- 
quire for Merry man. 

" After much inquiry, a man ploughing told 
me that he saw a hound in full cry cross the 
road about where I was, on his way from his 
work the night before. This was the first piece 
of intelligence I had received concerning the 
old hound. As I proceeded, and was turning 
down a lane in the direction that he took, ac- 
cording to the ploughman's statement, I saw 
a shepherd unfolding his flock. I inquired of 
him if he had heard or seen the hound. 

"'Yes,' replied he, 'just inside of that 
brushwood I saw a dead hound and fox this 
morning at sunrise, lying close to each other ; 
and there I left them.' 

" I jumped from the cart, and ran as fast 
as I could to the spot. Six feet in the thicket 
laid poor old Merryman and the fox, dead and 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 31 

stiff. Both had run their lives out at the 
same time. The gay old hound's teeth had 
not touched the fox ; he had not been mouthed, 
but died, as the hound did, with the race alone. 

" A white frost had crisped the skins of the 
two matchless fellows, and the rays of the 
morning sun glittered upon their frozen coats 
as I looked at them with a quivering lip and 
tearful eyes. For six years he had been the 
favourite. I was with him the first time that 
he sung his song at a cub, and from that mo- 
ment when his cry rung he never was at fault. 
Poor old fellow ! There he was, stretched 
upon the ground, dead ; never could his note 
again make our hearts leap, as it used when 
he gave his signal for Reynard to unkennel." 

A pause ensued for some minutes after the 
whipper-in had concluded the account of old 
Merryman's last hunt. At length Will said : 

" There's nothing to be sorry for in a hound 
like him ending his days in the way he did." 

" No, my boy, no. I agree with you in 
that," replied his father. 

It was past twelve, and the old man was 



S 2 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

beginning to show signs of somnolency, when 
the hint was taken by Will, who rose from 
his position before the fire and lighted his 
stable lamp. After peeping into the ale jug, 
which, to his surprise, had been emptied at 
intervals by his father, he buttoned up his 
warm coat, and, shaking the old man's hand, 
he wished him a " good night," and took his 
leave. 

The door had but just been closed when he 
returned, and, with a look of assumed seri- 
ousness, said : — 

" What do you say, father, as to the ghost 
of Merryman that appeared to you ?" 

" What do I say !" repeated the old man. 
" Why, that it was his spirit come to warn 
me of his death, to be sure." 

" Did you never see it again ?" inquired his 
son. 

" Never, my boy, never," was the reply. 

"What do you think became of it?" said 
Will. 

"Why, as to that, I can't say exactly. 
But I shouldn't wonder, when I reflect," said 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 33 

the old man, pressing a finger upon his brow, 
" that the spirit of old Merryman may be in 
his son, the puppy Trimbush." 



C5 



34. THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE SQUIRE AND HIS FAMILY. 

" My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind, 
So flew'd, so sanded ; and their heads are hung 
With ears that sweep away the morning dew ; 
Crook-knee'd, and dew-lapp'd, like Thessalian bulls ; 
Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells, 
Each under each. A cry more tuneable 
Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn." 

Shakespeare. 

Scourfield Hall never looked more beau- 
tiful than at sunrise on the fourteenth of Fe- 
bruary, in the year of our Lord 18 — . The 
grey mist rose slowly from the green turf, 
and hung upon the river in dense folds, as if 
reluctant to part with its more genial element. 
The old dark Elizabethan building was just 
tinged with the faint streaks of the rising sun, 
and the ivy-clad porch sparkled in the light, 
as the dew- wet leaves were shaken in the pas- 
sing breeze. The rooks wheeled from the 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 35 

lofty elms which shaded the building, and 
" cawed " their matin orisons with praise- 
worthy observance. A robin perched upon a 
blackthorn warbled his wild strain; and a 
woodpigeon, roused by the sound from his 
sluggish repose in a cedar-tree, as old as the 
hills in the distance, whir-r-d from his chosen 
roost, and sped to his morning meal. A large 
Newfoundland dog walked leisurely from the 
entrance, as a maid servant swung open the 
massive iron-studded hall-door, and, stretching 
his shaggy limbs upon the lawn, trotted lei- 
surely off, to flirt with a lady pointer through 
the rails of her kennel. 

The Manor House, as the hall was more 
generally called, was built in the year 1580, 
by Sir John Scourfield, who was knighted by 
the virgin queen, for what service to the crown 
history doth not record. But two auburn 
ringlets, quartered in the armorial bearings of 
the family, gave rise to some county scandal, 
of the worthy knight having fabricated a 
cunning wig for his royal mistress in her fading 
days, which deceived the Earl of Leicester so 



36 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

completely, that he begged two ringlets from 
it for a locket. This so gratified her gracious 
majesty, that she dubbed her barber with the 
honour of knighthood, and granted him the 
privilege of wearing two ringlets rampant 
upon his shield." 

From generation to generation, the Manor 
House and splendid estate had passed in a di- 
rect line to the heir, without quibble or dis- 
pute. No mortgage existed to render the 
possession of the broad lands but a nominal 
enjoyment of them ; no fine old oaks came 
crashing to the ground to pay " debts of ho- 
nour," but stood, as they had done for centu- 
ries, towering to the clouds, and stretching 
forth their time-mossed limbs over the earth 
that nurtured them, like grateful children 
protecting their mother. 

The building stood upon elevated ground, 
which, gradually sloping, terminated at the 
edge of a narrow but rapid stream, about 
three hundred yards from the hall. A thick 
grove upon the opposite side formed a capa- 
cious rookery, where those cunning ornitho- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 37 

logical priests reared their progenies undis- 
turbed by powder or bow. Two hundred acres 
of even turf, dotted with trees of varied foliage, 
comprised the surrounding park, in which a 
few aged horses and colts were luxuriating. 
Upon its borders a dense cover stood, full of 
thick underbrush. This was the pet one of 
surly John Bumstead, the gamekeeper, and 
was held more sacred in his estimation than 
the village church. 

The old house, without being magnificent 
from ornamental architecture, was remarkable 
for its venerable and solid appearance. Of 
the Gothic order, its thick walls were braced 
with huge beams, and its two wings were 
flanked with turrets. In the centre of the 
building was a large stone porch, over which 
the arms were rudely carved. A massive 
oak door, studded with iron nails, swung at 
the end of it, which led to the entrance hall. 
This was so capacious, that the squire used to 
say he had once, in his young wild days, driven 
his tandem in, and turned it round without 
touching the walls. 



38 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

It was about six o'clock, when a window 
was thrown open, and a head emerged. A 
smile spread gradually over the features as the 
pleasant scene was regarded, and a voice ex- 
claimed, as two hands were brought suddenly 
together with a loud crack : — 

" Here's a delicious St. Valentine's morn- 
ing !" 

" The squire's up, by Jennies !" said a large 
fat red-faced boy, immediately under the win- 
dow, stopping in the act of digging up a flower- 
root. 

" Jack Tiggle,' what are you doing there ? 
At some mischief, I'm sure," said the voice 
from the window. 

"If you please, sir, I — I — I ain't, sir," 
replied Jack somewhat confused. 

"You young stoat ! stop where you are," 
was the reply. 

But the order was unheeded. Away ran 
the boy as fast as he could go, when the head 
was withdrawn. 

In a few moments the squire issued from the 
porch, with a long-thonged whip in his hand. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 39 

When he perceived the fugitive flying through 
the shrubbery, he smacked the whip loudly, 
and with a good-tempered laugh said, " That 
boy's always at some mischief or other." 

The squire's costume was one that may 
still occasionally be seen worn by " fine old 
English gentlemen," — who, in their way, 
are great exquisites. His hat, or his 
" thatch," as he was wont to call it, was 
rather low in the crown, with a brim of ex- 
tensive dimensions. A few yards of snow- 
white cambric were curled round his neck 
with scrupulous care. His long waisted coat, 
with its broad skirt and bright gilt buttons, 
had as much care bestowed upon its " cut" as 
any one of Beau Brummel's. A light buff 
waistcoat, rounded at the hips, descended far 
upon a pair, of spotless buckskin anti-con- 
tinuations, and a pair of highly-polished top- 
boots completed the attire. 

The white hair, which peeped in relief under 
the broadbrim, indicated that the squire might 
have seen the summers and winters of more 
than half a century ; but his dark blue, clear 



40 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

eyes, even white teeth, and unwrinkled coun* 
tenance, occasioned an observer to question 
the accuracy of time's index. 

A tall, muscular man, having the appear- 
ance of prodigious strength, was crossing the 
park at some distance off, followed by a 
couple of terriers. He was hailed by the 
squire, who beckoned him to approach. 

" "Where are you going, Peter ?" said the 
squire. 

" To look at Striver's traps, sir," replied 
Peter, touching his hat respectfully. 

" Why, that's Jack's work," rejoined his 
master. 

" I know that, sir — it's his work," added 
Peter, with a self-injured look ; " but when, 
I should like to know, was he diskivered at 
work ! Facts is stubborn things ! and as sure 
as my name is Peter Bumstead, that boy'll 
be—" 

The report of a gun cut short the sentence. 

The terriers pricked their ears at the sound, 
and stood with their master looking in the 
direction whence it came. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 41 

" Where did that come from ?" asked the 
squire. 

" It's all right, I think, sir, but we'll go 
and see," replied Peter, striding off with his 
dogs. 

With hands crossed behind his back, the 
squire walked slowly towards his extensive 
stables, placed in a large courtyard nearly a 
quarter of a mile from the house. As he was 
proceeding, the clatter of a horse's hoofs at- 
tracted his attention. A boy, mounted on a 
small, rough, Shetland pony, came galloping 
towards him. A leathern bag was slung across 
his shoulders, which he took off and delivered 
to the squire. 

" It's almost full this morning, sir," said 
the boy with a knowing grin, " and I've got 
a heap for the servant gals besides." 

The squire opened the letter-bag, and, as 
he saw its contents, exclaimed, 

" How the young rogues will enjoy this ! 
Five for Kate, and three for Agnes." 

As he was shuffling the letters together, a 
maid-servant came tripping towards him. A 



42 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

little cap was stuck upon one side of her 
head, the ribands, of course, left untied to 
stream in the wind. 

" My young mistress wishes to know, sir," 
said she, dropping a courtesy, and waiting for 
a little breath, " if there's any letters for her 
or Miss Agnes." 

"Take them along, Mary, take them along," 
replied the squire, giving her the parcel. 

Off ran Mary with the welcome epistles, 
breathing of " loves and doves." She bounded 
up the winding stone staircase, three steps at 
a jump, and bounced unceremoniously into 
Miss Kate Scourfield's dressing-room. 

Before a large cheval glass stood her young 
mistress, arranging the luxuriant ringlets 
which swept in careless order over her ivory 
shoulders. The squire's only child, the heiress 
of Scourfield Hall, was a beauty of no com- 
mon description. Her high and expanded 
forehead denoted the lofty thoughts reigning 
there ; while the finely-pencilled brow, look- 
ing like the faint touch of a limner's brush, 
showed the quality of her birth. Her dark, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 43 

hazel eyes were so shrouded with long, silken 
lashes, that, unless sparkling with laughter or 
flashing with excitement, they appeared half 
closed and sleepy. Her figure was tall, and 
although scarcely seventeen (oh ! that blessed 
age of girlish womanhood !) her form was round 
and full. Every action appeared so unstudied 
and yet so elegant, that Nature must have 
given her the priceless charm, " grace at her 
heart." 

" Here they are, miss," said Mary, offering 
the letters. 

" Let me see if Wilmot has been — yes, 
here it is. Call Agnes, Mary," said Kate, 
tearing open the letter. 

In less than a minute she was joined by 
her cousin Agnes, an orphan of the squire's 
only brother, who, after expending his patri- 
mony, died abroad. He left two children to 
the care of the squire, one of whom, being a 
high-spirited, thoughtless boy, went to India 
in the king's service, much against the wish 
of his uncle ; while the other, under the fos- 
tering protection of the squire, who loved her 



44 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

as his own, grew up the very image of her 
cousin Agnes, as we have just described 
her. 

" Look here, Agnes," said Kate, laughing 
merrily, " here are three for you, and five for 
me. Wilmott has sent me one, and I think 
Titley has sent you the whole three, for they 
seem to be all in the same hand-writing." 

" The absurdity ! I begin to hate the stu- 
pid namby pamby," replied Agnes, tossing 
the opened letters from her. 

" Now, don't be so dreadfully severe upon 
poor Titley," rejoined Kate. " He really 
would faint and require your fan, if he heard 
you talk thus." 

" I'd fan him with a horsewhip with plea- 
sure," said her cousin. " But have you had 
something wry sweet from Mr. Ashley, or 
Wilmott, as you familiarly call him when 
absent." 

" Oh ! the essence of honied words. Lis- 
ten," replied Kate, preparing to read the 
contents of a billet-doux. 

" Come away, come away, you young gos- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 45 

sips there," hallooed a voice from under the 
window of the apartment. " I want my 
breakfast. Kate — Agnes — come, I say." 

Mary threw open the casement, and out 
popped the heads of the two young ladies. 
Upon the lawn stood the squire, caressing the 
Newfoundland dog. 

" We're coming, dear father," said Kate. 

" How are you this morning, uncle dear ?" 
inquired Agnes. 

" Quite well, my love, quite well. But 
come and make the tea. We throw off at 
ten, and it's past eight now," replied the 
squire. 

Without stopping to peruse the letter, 
the young ladies completed their respective 
toilettes, and hastened to the breakfast par- 
lour. This room was the only one in the 
house that the squire had decorated in his own 
style. Cross-bows, fowling-pieces, fishing- 
rods, whips, and nets, were suspended upon 
pegs in motley groups round the apartment. 
Portraits of favourite horses and dogs were 
crowded upon the walls. Foxes' heads, 



46 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

mounted as silver goblets, and a few racing 
cups, won by some successful horse, were 
placed upon a sideboard. Altogether, it was 
a complete sportsman's repository. 

The squire was carving a huge sirloin of 
beef, by the side of which stood a foaming 
jug of ale, as the girls entered. He was 
clasped round the neck by both at the same 
time, and submitted to a process of long and 
vigorous salutation, with much apparent satis- 
faction. 

"Ye young lags," exclaimed the squire, 
" what were those letters about, eh ?" 

The two girls laughed, but returned no 
answer. 

" I know," continued the squire ; " some of 
Ashley's and his ladylike friends' nonsense. 
They'll be here directly." 

" Would you like to hear some of the non- 
sense, father ? or can you place sufficient con- 
fidence in my proverbial discretion ?" said 
Kate, archly. 

" Don't bother me with the stuff," replied 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 47 

her father. "I wonder that a fellow like 
Wilmott should deal in such trifles : a fine 
chap like him. As to Mr. Titley — that 
young milliner — " 

The further progress of the squire's speech 
was stopped short by Agnes jumping up and 
placing her hand over his lips. 

" Not another word, if you please, uncle," 
said she. " I am Mr. Titley's champion." 

"I am de-loight-ed to hear such a honey- 
dew declaration," said the object of the re- 
mark, Powis Titley, suddenly appearing close 
to her elbow. 

" Bless me ! Mr. Titley, how you fright- 
ened me !" exclaimed Agnes, reddening with 
vexation at his untoward presence. 

" Why, how the deuce did you come with- 
out our hearing you ?" said the squire. 

"My dear Mr. Scourfield, my legs per- 
formed the agreeable office from the entrance ; 
my horse from Wilmott's house. But the 
truth is, you were all so mirthful," continued 
Titley, " that the noise of my boots, which are 
particularly thin, was not observed. I thank 



48 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Heaven and my boot-maker that this was the 
case, as I was thus enabled to hear — " 

"A young lady make a Tom Noddy of 
herself," interrupted the squire, looking at 
Agnes as if anticipating a retort practical. 
But she kept her eyes bent upon the floor, 
and seemed, by the slightly-contracted brow 
and quickly beating foot, to be somewhat 
irritated. 

" Now, don't Tom Noddyize your niece, 
my dear sir, for being so decidedly candid, 
and excessively agreeable," replied Titley, 
with a smirk of satisfaction. 

This speech, spoken in a drawling, con- 
ceited tone, occasioned an ill-suppressed laugh 
from Kate, who, seeing that her cousin was 
angry at Titley's hearing her playful remark, 
endeavoured to conceal the delight generally 
experienced at his expence. But Agnes 
heard the slight expression from her cousin's 
lips, and, raising her eyes from the ground, 
and meeting those of Kate's, sparkling with 
glee, the two girls simultaneously broke into 
a laugh, which disconcerted Titley's self-ap- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 49 

proved manner. He seemed to entertain a 
fear that he was subjected to that awful or- 
deal for a man's vanity, being laughed at, and 
winced at the mirth as it continued to increase 
for some seconds. 

At length silence was restored, and the 
squire said, " Where's Ashley ?" 

" He's at the door examining a horse 
brought for your approval, I believe," replied 
Titley. 

" Oh ! that horse has come, has he ? Well, 
I'll go and see him now, for we've not too 
much time to lose," said the squire, glancing 
at an old-fashioned time-piece over the fire- 
place. 

" Will you give your opinion, Titley ?" 
added he. 

" No, I thank you. My opinion about a 
horse is dubious in value. I'll stay where I 
am until you are ready," replied Titley. 

The squire proceeded to the porch, where 
a fine-looking horse stood, held by one of those 
slang-tongued eccentric-dressing bipeds, who 
are known as "dealers," The animal was being 

VOL. I. D 



50 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

carefully examined by the squire's intimate 
friend and chief companion, Wilmott Ashley, 
whose estate joined the Scourfield property. 

Wilmott was a great favourite with the 
squire, who regarded him with an affection 
approaching to that a father entertains to- 
wards a son. With a generous, frank, and 
high-minded disposition, he possessed a tall, 
elegant, and athletic frame, just moulded into 
the strength of manhood. His features were 
beautifully chiselled, perhaps too much so for 
a man ; but their expression was at once so 
dignified and so benevolent, that the delicacy 
of them was not observed while looking on the 
clear blue flashing eye, and the proud, but 
smiling lip. Long, thick, chestnut curls hung 
negligently over a lofty forehead, and alto- 
gether the most careless observer of manly 
beauty could not but admire the appearance 
of Wilmott Ashley. 

" Well, my boy ! what do you think of 
him?" said the squire to Wilmott, as he 
dropped a fore-foot after inspecting it. 

" What does he think of him ?" repeated 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 51 

the horse-dealer, a small, long-waisted, bandy- 
legged individual, dressed in a cutaway green 
coat, corduroy knees, and antiquated top-boots, 
with broad pieces of white tape passed across 
his knees, to keep them in place. "What 
does he think of him, Squire Scourfield ! why 
what every gen'lm'n must think that knows 
any thing about a 'oss. There ain't his match, 
.his equal, or his sooperior," said he, with the 
prevailing modesty of his craft. 

" What can he do ?" said Wilmott, after 
exchanging salutations with the squire, and 
whispering to him that the horse promised 
well. 

" Do /" repeated the dealer, with emphasis, 
and putting his turned-up hat on one side, 
" why, to be short and sweet, gen'l'men, he 
can do this — he can walk a little, trot a 
few, and, as ior jumping — d — n my eyes — " 

" Have you any objection to my riding him 
to-day ?" said Wilmott. 

" None, whatsomdever, sir. He's as sound 
as a roach, fine as a lark, and dewoid of flaw 
or blemish. A regular pip of the right fruit," 

D 2 



LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 



52 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

replied the horse-dealer, giving the object of 
his admiration a loud smack upon the neck. 

" Take him to the stables, then, and have 
him saddled," said the squire, " for here come 
the hounds, I see." 

The horse was led away by his owner, and 
the squire told Wilrnott to go into the break- 
fast-room, where he would find the girls and 
his friend, while he went to change his blue 
for the scarlet coat. 

Under four large oaks growing close toge- 
ther in the centre of the park, the appointed 
place for " the meet," were several mounted 
horsemen in the gay dress of the chase. Others 
were walking their horses leisurely towards 
the spot from various directions. A few horses 
were being led by servants, and some peasants 
were hurrying thither with their best haste. 

In a few minutes, the hounds, led by Wil- 
liam, and followed by his father, passed close 
to the window of the breakfast-parlour. In 
an instant the sash was thrown up, and Wil- 
liam, and the young ladies' especial favourite, 
his father, doffed their caps respectfully, as 
their young mistresses made their appearance. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 53 

"How beautiful your hounds look, Mr. 
Bolton," said Kate to the old whipper-in, 
knowing the most ready way to please him. 

" Thank ye kindly, miss," replied Tom, 
" they're all in tidy condition." 

" What is the name of the leader, now ?" 
asked Agnes. 

A glow spread over Tom's features, as if his 
heart was shining through them. He tightened 
his curb-rein, drew his heels towards his horse's 
flanks, and performed a very showy curvet, as 
he bawled, " Trimbush ! I say, Trimbush !" 

A large hound came bounding along from 
the pack, which continued to proceed with 
the huntsman, and leaped to the pummel of 
the saddle. His ears were long and pendu- 
lous, his chest deep, back broad, neck thin, his 
shoulders well thrown back, and a long bushy 
tail he carried like a soldier's plume. His 
colour was snowy white, patched with black 
in different parts of his body. 

" This is him, ma'am ; the youngest but a 
leash in the whole of 'em," said Tom, pul- 
ling one of the hound's long ears affectionately 



54 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

as he rested his round feet upon his doe-skins. 
" He's a son of poor old Merryman," con- 
tinued he, " and so much like the father in 
all respects, that I've no doubt in my own mind 
but — " 

Mr. Bolton smiled, lugged the favourite's 
ear rather too violently, which caused him to 
squeal, and hesitated to conclude the sentence. 

" But, what ?" asked Kate. 

" You'd only laugh at me, ladies ; so I'd 
rather not," replied Tom, touching the peak 
of his velvet cap, bending slightly forward in 
his stirrups, and cantering off with Trimbush. 

" I wonder what he meant !" said Kate. 

" Oh ! one of his queer notions, I suppose," 
replied Wilmott. " He's a strange old fellow, 
but one of the best in the world." 

" Do you join the hunt to-day ?" inquired 
Agnes of Titley, who was caught in the act 
of examining his teeth in a pocket looking- 
glass. 

Mr. Titley blushed, and stammered : — 

" For the first time in my life I'm going to 
be a proselyte to the fair goddess Diana. That 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 55 

is, I am about to see what is termed by Wil- 
mott the throw off; but I've no idea of leap- 
ing. Oh ! dear no ! The thing appears dan- 
gerous." 

" Then you have no intention of following," 
said Agnes. 

" None in the least, I assure you. With 
your permission I shall return, and try a duet 
with you," replied he. 

" As you please," rejoined Agnes. 

" Now, then," said the squire, entering the 
room, booted, spurred, capped, and bound in 
a scarlet coat, which, from its purple skirts, 
appeared to have seen some active service — 
" All's ready. Come, Wilmott, Titley, let 's 
be off." 

The gentlemen mounted their ardent horses, 
and proceeded towards the gathered crowd 
under the oak-trees in the park. 



56 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE FOX CHASE. 

" Such a noise arose 

As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest, 

As loud, and to as many tunes." 

Powis Titley had been a schoolfellow of 
Wilmott Ashley at Eton. From boyhood a 
friendship had commenced, which lasted with 
unabated firmness to the period of his intro- 
duction to my readers. Although affected, 
and possessing a decided appearance of effemi- 
nacy, Titley had indubitable courage, a sen- 
sitive nature, and an excellent disposition. 
His assumed manner often occasioned Ashley 
to lecture him upon the absurdity of it ; but, 
finding no improvement, he quitted the task 
of admonishing, and overlooked his foibles in 
the knowledge of his sterling merits. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 57 

After keeping their terms together at Ox- 
ford, Wilmott, who had been left an orphan 
from infancy, took possession of his paternal 
property, Woodland Eookery, a substantial, 
square building, with five hundred acres of 
land, joining the squire's estate. Titley, after 
purchasing a commission in the army, and 
being put upon half-pay, went a tour upon 
the continent, and returned, by the urgent 
solicitation of his friend, to join him " at the 
old house at home." He had been three 
weeks only at Woodland Eookery, when he 
was persuaded by Wilmott to abandon his 
usual morning diversion of striking a guitar, 
to mount his elegant, slight-limbed galloway, 
and join the Scourfield hunt ; but by special 
agreement only to see the " throw off;" not 
to follow the noisy pack. 

With the squire, Titley was any thing but 
a favourite. He was regarded by him merely 
in the light of a contemptible creature, un- 
worthy of the form he bore, and a disgrace to 
his sex, from his apparent want of all manly 
energy. It was a constant subject of wonder 

d5 



58 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

with the squire, how his paragon of a friend, 
Ashley, could be on terms of intimacy with 
" such a Miss Nancy," as he was wont to call 
Titley. 

But with the ladies, Titley held a more 
favoured position. He could sing a beautiful 
song, relate amusing anecdotes, write gallant 
verses, draw tolerably well; and his good 
humour displayed upon all occasions, even 
when the joke was against him, made him a 
desirable companion for them. With Agnes, 
he was imperceptibly approaching to an espe- 
cial favourite, and it was with pleasure she 
listened to "Wilmott's frequently reiterated 
statement that " Titley was as noble a fellow 
as ever lived, as in time they would discover." 
This, however, had little weight with the 
squire. 

" Hark in, hark in," shouted "William, as 
the hounds arrived at a promising, thick-set 
cover, at the bottom of a slope, on the verge 
of the park. 

" Dear me !" exclaimed Titley, " what very 
hensum enimels, to be sure !" 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 59 

" Now then, sir, foxes have listeners, re- 
collect," said the old whipper-in in a repro- 
ving voice. 

" Have they really !" said Titley. " I had 
no idea of that fact in natural history ; but 
still—" 

" I wish you would be still, sir," replied 
Tom, angrily. " How the devil can a war- 
mint break, with your clapper going like a 
sheep's tinckler !" 

Mr. Bolton was regarded with a look of 
profound astonishment, through the raised 
eyeglass suspended round the neck of Powis 
Titley. The gaze commenced at Tom's bright 
spurs, and was gradually lifted to the tops of 
his boots ; then to his doe-skin inexpressibles ; 
slowly proceeding, it reached the skirts of 
his coat, then to a silver button, upon which 
a fox's head, brush, and pads, were mounted. 
One by one was examined minutely, until a 
gold pin, in the shape of a stag at bay, was 
visible in the neatly-tied, snowy neckerchief. 
Up the look was carried until it reached the 
centre of the peak of the black velvet cap 



60 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

which shaded the brows of Tom Bolton ; when 
Powis Titley mentally inquired, " What did I 
accomplish to excite this horrid Goth ?" 

The query was scarcely concluded, when a 
full, deep tone rang through the wood. 

" Hark to Trimbush, hark to Trimbush !" 
shouted Tom. " Yoik's to him. Musical, 
Benedict, Claronet." 

In an instant the cries of the other hounds 
joined the leader's, making wood, hill, and 
dale, ring again with their hearty chorus. 

The riders had now to tighten the reins 
upon their excited horses. High into the 
air some bounded with delight ; others ca- 
pered, kicked, pawed the earth, champed their 
bits, and neighed with anxiety for the start. 
A few experienced old hunters, among which 
was the squire's, stood motionless with pricked 
ears, as if carved from granite. 

The horse that Wilmott was on reared so 
perpendicularly upon his haunches at the first 
cry, that he almost fell backwards with his 
rider. Deep into his flanks the rowels were 
sent, and a heavily-loaded whip came with 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 61 

such correcting force between his sleek, quill- 
tipped ears, that no secondary symptoms of 
revolt were exhibited. 

" I really think I should have been off if 
placed in so uncomfortable a posture," said 
Titley, arriving in a short canter to the side 
of his friend. 

Ashley smiled, and observed, " Well, and 
what if you had ?" 

" One would have looked so very awk- 
ward, you know, spreading upon the ground, 
all legs and wings," replied Titley. " By the 
bye, what am I to do should I perceive this 
fox, Wilmott ?" inquired he. 

" Hush ! don't speak so loud ; you'll have 
old Bolton at your heels. Say not a word — 
I'll tell you all about that to-morrow," replied 
Wilmott, moving his horse gently away. 

But Titley was determined not to remain 
without the information he required. Seeing 
the squire a few yards off, behind the trunk 
of a large elm, he approached him, and asked, 
in a suppressed tone, " How he should recog- 
nize the enimel, and what he should do in 
case he saw him run away ?" 



62 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Never seen, a fox, eh ?" said the squire. 

" A stuffed one in a glass-case only," re- 
plied Title y ; " and I was given to understand 
that the specimen was imperfect, from the 
circumstance of a mouse having nibbled part 
of its tail off." 

" Humph !" grumbled the squire. " Well, 
by his brush you'll know him." 

" Brush !" repeated Titley, " pray, my dear 
squire, what is a brush ?" 

" What you call a tail, long and bushy, 
and not unlike your well-trimmed whiskers in 
colour," replied the squire. 

" Indeed ! " rejoined Titley, musingly. 
" What shall I say or do if I see him ?" in- 
quired he. 

" If in cover, not a word — remain quiet. If 
running away, as you term it, halloo, ' Tally- 
ho !' as loud as you can," replied the squire, 
leaving Titley to ponder upon his instructions. 

Every hound now pressed hard to sly rey- 
nard, who evinced much reluctance to have 
a run. He dodged his relentless pursuers 
here and there, until it was certain that he 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 63 

must either break away or be chopped — 
killed upon his own hearth, without a struggle 
for his life. At length the earnest wishes of 
the surrounding sportsmen were gratified, al- 
though the sounds occasioned some astonish- 
ment. 

" Tilly-hoo ! tilly-hoo ! Tilly-ho-oo-oo !" 
came in a clear, thin voice, from some novice, 
with the view holloa. 

" For'ard ! for'ard !" shouted William, as 
he swept towards the spot from whence the 
welcome sounds proceeded, with a few of the 
crack-hounds. 

" Hark for'ard ! hark for'ard !" hallooed 
Tom. " For'ard, Trimbush ! for'ard !" said 
he to his favourite, who shewed extraordinary 
symptoms of disobeying the order. 

When the old whipper-in arrived at the 
place where the halloo came from, he was 
surprised at seeing Titley, with his glass to 
his eye, chanting Tilly-hoo ! in a most per- 
severing style. An assertion that " A post 
sometimes points out the right road," escaped 
the lips of Tom Bolton, as he perceived the 
source of intelligence. 



64 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" He'll go for Blackwood," said one. 

" Ten to one, he goes for Eington pits," 
shouted another. 

" The wind's wrong," replied a third. " He's 
for Wordsley covers." 

" Now for a rattling burst, and no checks," 
said Wilmott, flushed with excitement. 

" Put him to it, my boy," said the squire, 
arranging himself comfortably in the saddle 
for the start. 

The willing hounds galloped to and fro, 
snuffing the ground with distended nostrils ; 
but no joyful cry escaped them. William 
stood in his stirrups, and, stooping forward, 
cap in hand, cheered the astonished hounds 
to pick up the scent. 

" Trimbush ! Trimbush !" said Tom, in a 
reproachful tone. The hound stood still 
from his task, and, looking at the old whipper- 
in with ears thrown back, wagged his bushy 
tail. 

" No fox has been here, I'll swear," ejacu- 
lated Tom. 

" I beg you will not impeach my veracity," 
said Titley. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 65 

" Ugh !" replied Tom, signifying his con- 
tempt. 

" Where did he break from ?" inquired 
Ashley. 

" From under that fir-tree, opposite to you, 
the creature jumped out," replied Titley. 

" Point out the exact spot," said the squire. 

" Why, bless my destiny ! there the thing 
is now !" replied Titley. 

"Where? where? where ?" everybody cried. 

"There," replied he, pointing to the top- 
most branch of a lofty elm close at hand. 

The bewildered sportsmen looked in the 
direction. With his bushy tail curled over 
his back sat a squirrel, peering at the scene 
below with evident satisfaction that he was 
above all danger. 

" There it is," said Titley ; " I knew him 
by his tail." 

Roars of laughter pealed from the majority 
at this discovery. Wilmott could scarcely 
keep himself in the saddle, and was literally 
convulsed with mirth at his friend, who soon 
found that he had made the woful blunder 



66 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

of taking a squirrel for a fox. The squire 
looked at Titley with inexpressible contempt. 
His eyes appeared ready to start from their 
sockets. His lips were separated, and his 
visage, always tolerably flushed, was a bright 
scarlet from inward laughter. 

But there were a few who considered the 
mistake any thing but a subject for mirth. 
Among the leading male contents was the old 
whipper-in. He gazed with lowering brow, 
which continued to blacken, first at the squir- 
rel, then at Titley. From his features, which 
bore an expression of superlative coolness, the 
angry look again rested upon the squirrel. 
For a few seconds Tom Bolton thus continued 
his minute examination : at length he ex- 
claimed, " May I be d — d ! (God forgive me !) 
if there's a fool in this world to match you /" 

" Duck him in a horse-pond," was an audi- 
ble suggestion from his son. 

" I wonder how his mamma came to trust 
him out alone," grinned a round, fat-faced 
yeoman mounted upon a sorrel. 

" Send for his nurse," said an enraged indi- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 67 

vidual, spurring his own horse, in the heat of 
his imagination, fancying that he was en- 
joying a few kicks at poor Titley. 

" Lay on a poodle, and run him to a lady's 
lap," was another suggestion. 

"With the utmost pleasure," replied Titley. 
" There's not a place in the wide world that 
I would sooner fly to. But, gentlemen — " 

u No, no, no ; we won't hear ye !" inter- 
rupted somebody, which, as a matter of course, 
occasioned the opposition cry of " Hear him ! 
hear him !" 

" No, no, no." 

" Yes, yes, yes ; hear him, hear him ! Off, 
off — hear him ! 

"No! order!" 

The squire beckoned at last for silence. In 
a short time the shouts ceased, the uproar- 
ious peals of laughter were hushed, and,, as 
the reporters say of " the house," order was 
restored. 

After two or three ineffectual efforts to 
speak, the squire said, "Now, Titley, what 
have you to say ?" 



68 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Titley extracted from his pocket a white 
cambric handkerchief, and, after wiping his 
lips, thus commenced. 

" Gentlemen, I candidly admit having caused 
much confusion, by mistaking that little eni- 
mel perched up there for a fox — but — " 

Another edition of laughter interrupted 
further progress for some minutes. 

" Go on, Titley," said Wilmott. 

" Before apologising for the effects of the 
error, which lam most ready to do," continued 
he, "I will state how I was led into it. Being 
ignorant — " 

" As a jackass," chimed in Tom. 

" Being unfortunately ignorant," repeated 
Titley, without noticing the flattering addi- 
tion, " of the appearance of a fox, I inquired 
how he was to be identified. I was informed, 
by his long, bushy tail." 

" As if a fox had a tail !" observed the old 
whipper-in, with a sneer of the most profound 
indignation. 

" By that observation, I suppose, the eni- 
mel does not possess a tail. Obviously, then, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 69 

I am not in fault. I inquired of Squire 
Scourfield, and he said — " 

" What did I say ?" asked the squire, 
quickly. 

" My dear sir, you must admit having re- 
plied that I should know him by his brush, 
which, upon further inquiry, appeared synony- 
mous with tail." 

" Puppies and monkeys have tails," sug- 
gested Mr. Bolton, as a personal reference. 

" I'm aware of that fact," replied Titley ; 
" and I now learn that it is an error in sporting 
phraseology to apply the word ' tail' to a fox. 
But, gentlemen, when I tell you that the 
squire's information described the fox's tail, 
or, more properly speaking, his brush, as being- 
long and bushy, and resembling my whiskers in 
colour — I say, gentlemen, I am certain you 
will be ready to admit, upon reference to the 
little enimel's bushy tail, that the error arose 
simply from the unfortunate resemblance exist- 
ing in colour between the pigmy creature's ter- 
minus, which, by the way, is a truly prominent 
feature, and the whiskers which I have the 
pleasure of submitting to your inspection." 



70 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Bravo ! hear, hear," were now very ge- 
neral cries. 

" For the unintentional wrong committed, 
I beg to offer you my regret : at the same time, 
I must entreat you to bear in mind the whole 
of the circumstances connected with the af- 
fair ; and, in the full assurance that my case 
rests in the hands of liberal-minded, intelli- 
gent, free-born Britons, I anticipate that lenity 
which is ever tempered with their decisions — 
* mercy, seasoned with justice.' " 

Vociferous hurrahs followed Titley's sue 
cessful oration. Some declared that " he 
could speak better than the parson," and all 
forgave him the direful offence ; even the old 
whipper-in bore no shade of animosity ; " for," 
as he truly observed, " the best of us are 
liable to err. Many a rascal has passed for 
an honest man. Why shouldn't a squirrel 
be taken for a fox !" 

During the whole of this brief scene, of 
which the astonished hounds could evidently 
make neither head nor tail, William Bolton 
remained a quiet but somewhat uneasy spec- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 71 

tat or. At length, when the confusion sub- 
sided, he cried, " Try back, Trimbush ! try 
back, Commodore, Chastity, Wanton !" and 
away went the hounds to hit off the scent 
again, if sly reynard had not taken advantage 
of the incident to escape from his pursuers by 
one of his numerous stratagems. 

In less than a minute, a hearty cry pealed 
through the thick cover again. 

" Hark to Eeveller!" shouted the huntsman. 
" Hark to Eeveller ! for'ard ! for'ard !" 

" Tally-ho ! tally-ho ! tally-ho !" rung from 
the lips of the old whipper-in, as he espied 
the fox break away from a corner of the cover ; 
and every hound answered the halloo by 
bursting from the wood. The old whipper-in 
lifted his cap from his head, and, squaring his 
bridle arm, made the view halloo heard by 
many a distant ear. 

" Hold hard ! Let them get at it," said 
the squire to the eager sportsmen. 

Again the ardent horses fretted, pulled, and 
seemed ready to jump from their glossy skins. 
In a few moments the squire gave his usual 
signal. " Harkaway ! harkaway !" cried he. 



72 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

The reins were slackened, the riders bent 
forward in their saddles, and away went the 
merry crowd : one for life, the many for sport. 

" Be quiet," observed Titley to his gal- 
loway, as it capered and tried to follow. 
" Be quiet, I repeat." 

But the party addressed appeared in no 
mood to obey the mandate. 

" Good heavens ! I shall be off to a moral 
certainty," said Mr. Powis Titley, as his horse 
continued to caper, kick, and pull, but with in- 
creased vigour, " I certainly shall. How 
excessively disagreeable !" 

The lively little horse had caught some of 
the enthusiasm of the sport. He bent his 
arched neck to his chest, as the reins were 
pulled to restrain his impetuous desire to join 
in the fun, and the white foam flew from his 
champed bit, as, bending his haunches, he 
reared high into the air. Titley clutched the 
pummel with one hand, the mane with the other ; 
and the delighted animal, finding himself free 
from the cramping rein, flew with the speed 
of light after the gallant pack. Without a 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 73 

hat, which rolled in an opposite direction, and 
his long hair streaming in the wind, the hap- 
less exquisite commenced his unwilling race. 

On went the galloway, and made, in a direct 
line, towards a stone wall of at least six feet 
in height. 

" Good heavens !" mentally exclaimed Titley, 
as he viewed the impediment, " good heavens ! 
he surely doesn't mean to leap !" 

With outstretched neck and pricked ears, 
the pony neared the wall. Within a few 
yards of the important spot, the despairing 
Titley closed his eyes : the next minute he 
found himself under water ! 

When the horse was close to the wall, he 
judiciously altered his mind with regard to 
the intended jump, and, bringing himself in a 
moment upon his hocks, Titley was sent clear 
over his head and the wall, into a duck-pond 
on the opposite side, 

" Quack, quack, quack," screamed the af- 
frighted poultry, hurrying to shore. 

The water bubbled, foamed, and hissed, as 
Titley rose to the surface. 

vol I. E 



74 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" How prodigiously disagreeable !" gurgled 
from his lips, as he scrambled from the pool 
and safely landed, excepting only the damage 
done to his temporary appearance. Dripping 
from head to foot, with black mud spread 
over his features, and kneaded into his profuse 
ringlets, he looked piteously for an explan- 
ation of the cause of his predicament. In 
the perspective he caught a glimpse of a few 
scarlet coats, and a horse without an occu- 
pant of the saddle, 

" Ah ! I perfectly comprehend it," said he. 
" No one saw me ; that's very agreeable." 

In a few moments more not a horseman 
was in sight ; not a sound to be heard ; all 
had gone far away ; and, with the comfortable 
consolation that no one had witnessed the 
ludicrous mishap, Mr. Powis Titley turned 
upon his heel, and wended his dripping way 
towards Woodland Bookery, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 75 



CHAPTEK IV. 

THE VILLAGE LAWYER, 

Honesty's a fool, 
And loses that it works for. 

One of the most desirable residences, if not 
the best, in every village, is invariably in the 
possession of the doctor or the attorney. Such 
was the case in the village of Estead, conti- 
guous to Scourfield Hall, 

Lounging in an easy chair sat Francis Fid* 
dylee, gentleman, an attorney in the courts of 
common law, and a solicitor in the high court 
of chancery. A piece of red tape was in the 
act of being twisted round his fingers for want 
of more profitable employment, and a deep 
shade of vexation clouded his low, contracted 
brow, 

No one, with the least spark of generosity 

E2 



76 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

in his composition, can point the finger of 
scorn to a man's origin. However humble it 
may be, a man's birth, per se, cannot degrade 
him, for he possesses no influence over it ; and 
that which is beyond our controul we should 
not be held accountable for. In stating, there- 
fore, that Francis Fiddylee's father was master 
of the county workhouse, and that the at- 
torney drew his first breath under the inhos- 
pitable roof aforesaid, it is alleged merely as 
a simple fact, not as a reproach. 

Ambition to exalt his son to the legal title 
of a " gentleman " led Mr. Fiddylee, senior, 
to article his offspring to a neighbouring law- 
yer. After sitting upon a very high, hard 
stool the major part of five years, Fiddylee 
junior was duly admitted to the right of issuing 
writs, penning threatening letters, making 
heavy bills of costs, pocketing fees, and all 
other agreeable offices pertaining to the pro- 
fession of attorney-at-law. 

Soon after this flattering position was at- 
tained, Francis Fiddylee was left fatherless. 
With the proceeds of the personal estate, two 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 77 

hundred and fifty pounds, the fledged attorney 
quitted the paternal roof, and cogitated deeply 
where he should squat — as an American would 
say. Various towns and villages were gravely 
thought of, till at length the quiet, pretty 
village of Estead was decided upon as the 
theatre of his " deeds." 

A year had rolled away since the attorney 
arrived, hut clients came " few and far be- 
tween." Five leases, two letters, and one 
action, were all that had occupied him. The 
latter was brought by himself for trespass 
caused by a diminutive pig squeezing under 
his garden gate, and rooting up three straw- 
berry plants. Being plaintiff and attorney in 
the suit, although the damages amounted but 
to one shilling, yet, with the costs, it proved 
a profitable speculation. 

A large table covered with black leather 
stood in the apartment, upon the door of 
which was painted in white letters, " Office," 
and a thick brief, endorsed " Fiddylee v. 
Jones," with an inkstand, two pens, and four 
dummies — or, in more comprehensive language, 



78 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

draft declarations of imaginary actions, which 
may frequently be seen upon the desks of 
practitioners in want of practice — adorned its 
surface. 

" Ah !" exclaimed the attorney, rising from 
his easy posture, and throwing the piece of 
tape violently upon the table, " ah ! a tres- 
pass now and then would make a fellow com- 
fortable." 

He seized the weighty brief, and, regarding 
it with a complacent look, said, " I wonder 
whether it would have been possible to have 
added a few more folios ! " Turning over its 
full pages, he added, " Not another, I believe." 

Then a smile of self-approbation spread it- 
self over his thin, weazel-looking face, his 
small eyes twinkled with delight, and a sort 
of chuckling laugh rattled in his throat. 

At this moment loud, heavy footsteps, 
stumping along the passage leading to the 
office, attracted the attorney's attention, and 
a shadow of hope that a client had arrived 
gleamed in Piddylee's features, as a broad fist 
thumped against the door. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 79 

" Come in," shouted the attorney. 

" Sartinly, sir," replied Jack Tiggle, throw- 
ing open the door, and bouncing unceremoni- 
ously into the room. " There's a reader from 
the squire — although it's Miss Kate's writing, 
I see," he observed, looking at the address of 
a note which he held in his hand ; " and you 
are to send back word by me," said he, offer- 
ing the epistle to Mr. Fiddylee. 

" An invitation to dinner," said the at- 
torney, perusing the note. " Sit down, boy, 
and I'll write a reply." 

" No you won't, sir ; or, if you do, I shan't 
take it," replied Jack. 

Mr. Fiddylee stared. 

11 As Peter Bumpstead says," continued 
Jack, " facts is stubborn things. Orders is 
orders. I ivas told to bring word ; but I 
wasn't told to bring a note." 

It being very immaterial to the attorney in 
what way his answer was conveyed, so long 
as it was perfectly understood that he ac- 
cepted the invitation, he rejoined, " Well, 
then, make my best compliments to the squire, 



80 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

and say I shall have much pleasure in dining 
with him to-day." 

" And no whopper about that," observed 
Jack, with a sly wink. 

Mr. Fiddylee tried to look dignified, but 
it was quite lost upon Jack, who, with a care- 
less gait, strolled to the door, and, fumbling 
the latch, surveyed the walls of the office. 
Three dingy volumes, and a large map of the 
county, were the only ornaments upon them. 
A piece of cold-looking oilcloth, worn only 
near the chair where Mr. Fiddylee sat, 
scantily covered the floor. Half a dozen 
formal chairs and the table completed the 
furniture in the spiritless, chilling room. 

" Law's a bad trade, ain't it, sir ? " asked 
Jack, as he slowly opened the door. 

Mr. Fiddylee " did not think it his busi- 
ness to inquire." 

" I've heard it is," continued Jack, un- 
mindful of the remark. " When people go to 
law," continued he, " they go up pumpkin, 
and come down squash" 

With this sage observation Jack Tiggle 
left the office, and slammed the door. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 81 

The attorney placed his hands in his pockets, 
and, gingling a small quantity of silver toge- 
ther, seemed to enjoy Jack's assertion, as to a 
suitor's unenviable condition in the matter of 
"pumpkin" and "squash." He was indul- 
ging in a delicious reverie upon this subject, 
slightly mingled with a palatable gratification 
at the squire's expense in the perspective, 
when again his ear caught the sound of ap- 
proaching footsteps along the passage. With- 
out the ceremony of knocking, the door swung 
open upon its hinges, and in walked a tall 
stout man, having the appearance of a farmer. 
His legs were cased in leather buckskins, and 
a pair of hob-nailed boots adorned his feet, 
which latter were of such weighty materials, 
that Mr. Fiddylee, as the individual approached 
him with two or three awkward bows, invo- 
luntarily drew back under his chair a foot 
which nourished a tender corn. 

" I'm come, zur," said he, smoothing down 
a quantity of red hair over his forehead, "for 
a little measure of lar." 

" Sit down, my dear sir," said the attorney, 
offering a chair. 

E 5 



82 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Thank'e, zur, I wull," replied he, occu- 
pying a seat. 

' ' What is the nature of your business?" 
inquired the lawyer. 

"Why, zur, I'm a freeholder of a small 
farm about tu mile from hence. It jines 
Squire Scourfield's property. Well ! it's agin 
my consent to have any hunters come across 
it, because why ! they break down the fences, 
and play Belzebub. So when the hounds come 
across, it's the squire's orders for no one to 
foller 'em, but to go a little to the right, or to 
the left. This has been abided by 'till yes- 
terday mornin', when a gen'l'm'n staying at 
young Squire Ashley's came smashing over the 
farm just like a Bedlamite. Not caring a fig 
for my new wall, he rode at it, when the horse, 
poor creetur ! knowing better, stopped on the 
right side ; but over flew the rider into my 
duck- pond, all among my ducks, geese, and 
goslins." 

'.' Shameful outrage!" observed the attorney. 
" ISTow, zur, I wants to know whether that's 
agin the lar ?" said the farmer. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 83 

" Against the law," repeated the attorney, 
stretching out his legs, and smacking his lips ; 
" I think you said against the law." 

" That's what I said, zur," replied the 
farmer. 

" A more decided trespass, a more conclu- 
sive case for legal redress, a more unequivocal 
outrage, a more successful attempt to wound 
a man's tender feelings, I never heard of. 
There's no precedent of the kind on record. 
We'll teach him to incommode geese and gos- 
lins," said the attorney, bringing his hand 
furiously upon the table. 

" Beggin' yer pardon, zur, that's the very 
thing I want to larn him not to do," replied 
the farmer. 

" Yes, yes," rejoined Mr. Fiddylee, " you 
misunderstood me. What's your name ?" 

" Humphrey Larkins, zur," rejoined the 
farmer. 

"And the name of the trespasser?" said 
the attorney. 

11 I've brought him on paper, zur," replied 
his client, handing him a scrap on which 
" Poois Teetlye " was scrawled. 



84 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

"Larkins against Teetlye," said the at- 
torney, as he wrote them down. " The case 
shall meet with that particular and personal 
attention from me, sir, which its importance 
fully entitles it to." 

" Thank'e, zur," replied the farmer, rising 
to leave. 

" I shall require another consultation to- 
morrow," said the attorney; "please to call 
here at ten." 

" Sartinly, zur," rejoined the client, leaving 
the office with the lightness of a full-grown 
elephant. 

Mr. Fiddylee was happiness personified. 
His hopes were realized; his ardent wishes 
were fulfilled. 

" Ye gods and goddesses !" exclaimed the 
attorney, " a few of these trespasses will 
render a fellow very comfortable." 

This windfall, or horsefall, of fate, was a 
little too much for Mr. Fiddylee's nerves. 
The slice of good luck was more than he could 
swallow with becoming coolness of manner. 
He paced up and down the room with hur- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 85 

ried step, and one of the formal-looking chairs 
being in his way, he gave it an extravagant 
kick, which cracked its back, as it fell against 
the table. Seizing a large ledger which con- 
tained very few items, and drawing it from 
the interior of his desk, tears glistened unshed, 
but swimming in his eyes, as he wrote in one 
of its voluminous pages, " Larkins, v. Teetlye. 
Very long consultation with pit., instructions 

to sue, &c, &c, <fcc 13s. 4d." 

" If things go on in this way," soliloquized 
the lawyer, " I'll start a clerk — a regular 
engrosser, at ten and sixpence a week. None 
o* your two-an'-sixpenny-cheap-an'-dirty for 
me /" said Mr. Eiddylee, with a glow of pride 
mantling upon his features. 



86 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTEE V. 

THE DINNER AT THE SQUIRE'S. 

The bell at Scourfield had just rung twice, 
signifying that the dinner was upon the table, 
as the drawing-room was thrown open, and 
Mr. Fiddylee announced. 

" Come, Fiddylee," said the squire, ad- 
vancing, and shaking his guest cordially by 
the hand, " I'm glad you're come. Just in 
time." 

Fiddylee expressed himself equally pleased 
with this circumstance. After exchanging 
salutations with the two young ladies, Ashley, 
Mr. Joseph Smit, the curate, and being in- 
troduced to Powis Titley, who formed the 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 87 

company, the attorney brought up the rear 
with the squire as they entered the lofty 
dining-hall. 

A massive silver lamp of antique workman- 
ship, suspended over the dinner-table, threw 
a cheerful light around. A log fire blazed 
upon the hearth, shedding warm rays upon 
the polished oak furniture. Dark crimson 
curtains hung in heavy festoons over the win- 
dows, concealing all but the lower panes of 
one which opened upon the lawn. Bucklers, 
shields, and bows, matchlocks, halberts, and 
other antique instruments, fixed upon the 
walls, shone in the blaze of light cast upon 
them. 

" Comfortable enough, comfortable enough," 
said the squire, after grace from the curate. 
" Now, gentlemen, continued he, " recollect, 
every man for himself, is the motto. Kate, 
my love, Wilmott has crossed thirty miles of 
stiff country to-day." 

" So he has been telling me," replied Kate. 

" What I mean, my dear, is, that a piece of 
venison would be more acceptable to him 



88 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

than a long description of your racing with 
the greyhounds." 

The repast had now fairly commenced. 
" Agnes," said the squire, " Titley wishes to 
take wine with you." 

Fiddylee could not be mistaken. Teetlye 
and Titley were, doubtlessly, synonymous. 
The first time that he heard the name pro- 
nounced he thought and wished he might be 
mistaken. But now he was almost certain 
that the defendant in the suit — his only suit — 
sat opposite to him in blissful ignorance, sip- 
ping champagne. Professional duty quickly 
dissipated the regret which for a moment 
stirred in his breast, and instinctively his fin- 
gers wandered to his waistcoat-pockets, feel- 
ing for a copy of the writ. So natural, so in- 
nate was the propensity to serve copies of 
writs, with the attorney, that if his ready di- 
gits had discovered the slip of authoritative 
paper, there can be no doubt that Powis 
Titley would have been favoured with it at 
the moment he was assisting himself to boiled 
chicken and mushroom sauce. 

" This wine comprises the refreshing influ- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 89 

ence of a zephyr with the delicious gratifica- 
tion to the olfactory nerves of otto de rose," 
observed Titley, sipping a glass of bright 
Moselle. 

" Eather more inviting than Larkins's pond 
water, eh ?" said the squire. 

" True, true, most true," replied Titley, a 
twang of the flavour of mud still haunting his 
palate. 

Of course this confirmed the attorney's sus- 
picion. With a very polite bow he " re- 
quested the honour of taking wine with Mr. 
Powis Titley," who replied, " With superla- 
tive deloight." 

A zest was given to the sparkling wine by 
drinking it with Titley. The lawyer's eyes 
twinkled with secret mirth, and he could 
scarcely keep his thin lips compressed as the 
obeisance was exchanged. There was some- 
thing novel and exciting in taking a friendly 
glass with a man he was about plunging into 
a vexatious and expensive lawsuit. There 
was a singularity in the position which pleased 
Fiddylee. 



90 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

In due time the hospitable board was cleared 
of its substantial dishes, to give room for 
magnums of rosy, time-ripened port, jugs of 
mellow claret, and old-fashioned Madeira, 
brighter than crystal. 

After the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, 
proposed by the squire daily after dinner, 
whether guests were at his table or otherwise, 
the curate, a pale-faced, bashful young man, 
dressed in black, with a white neckerchief 
on, which concealed not quite half of his long, 
thin neck, rose with a few hems and h-huns, 
and said, " With the squire's consent he would, 
in their presence, do that which was generally 
performed in their absence, propose the health 
and happiness of the ladies." 

" Bravo, Smit, my friend !" exclaimed the 
squire. 

" With my heart of hearts," said Titley, 
filling his glass. 

" And with the honours," added Wilmott. 

" Certainly," chimed in the attorney, who 
began to see two bottles where one remained. 

" Now, Kate or Agnes — which is it to 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 91 

be ?" asked the squire, after the curate's toast 
had been drunk with the proper degree of 
enthusiasm. 

The two merry girls laughed, and were 
urging each other to the task of returning 
thanks, when Wilmott rose from his chair to 
perform the duty for them. 

" No, no, no," said the squire, laughing ; 
" you're a polite fellow, Wilmott, but I must 
have a speech from one of the girls. I don't 
care which it is. They're both alike, bless 
'em ! " 

64 We bow to the chair," said Agnes, grace- 
fully bending to her uncle ; then, imitating a 
pompous orator, she stood erect, accompanied 
by her cousin. 

" Accustomed as we are to private speak- 
ing," she commenced, which caused a burst of 
applause. 

" Order, order ! " cried the squire, looking 
with pride at his niece, who repeated, in a 
slow, firm voice — 

" Accustomed as we are to private speak- 
ing, and however well we may be entitled to 



92 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

the claim of proficiency in this particular 
branch of eloquence, yet, in the ears and the 
eyes of a distinguished assembly like the pre- 
sent, it must not be expected that our naturally 
retiring natures should display equally bril- 
liant oratorical capacities with our more prac- 
tised competitors." 

The squire and his guests again interrupted 
the speaker with their loud approbation. 
Agnes cast her eyes upon the table, and, by 
continued bows, testified her thanks for the 
applause. She was raising them again, spark- 
ling with glee, to resume her speech, when, 
through the partly-concealed window, the 
features of a man, pressed against the glass, 
riveted her attention. 

" Go on, my little Cicero," said the squire, 
encouragingly. 

Without knowing why, Agnes could not 
withdraw her gaze from the window. 

" Can't — sum up — without reference — to 
the notes," said the attorney, in a broken 
thick voice. Eiddylee was not used to wine. 

Stedfastly Agnes regarded the eyes bent 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 93 

upon her. There was something in the look 
so anxious and expressive, that a presenti- 
ment of evil flashed through her frame like 
an electric shock. She saw a finger pressed 
upon the lips as a sign for silence, and a hand 
waved an adieu two or three times before the 
glass, when the features vanished. 

Agnes was so disturbed at this sight that 
she could not utter another word. Her bosom 
palpitated, and her heart beat so, that its 
unusual knocking might be distinctly heard. 
She pressed her hands across her forehead, and 
murmured that she was unwell, just as her 
cousin perceived the nervous agitation she was 
enduring. 

Springing to her side, Kate encircled her 
waist, and, clasping a hand, supported her 
out of the dining-hall, into the adjoining 
drawing-room. No one saw the cause of 
this unexpected scene, and all were quite 
amazed at the result. The squire was silent 
with wonder, until Wilmott suggested that it 
must be from sudden indisposition. 

" Yes, yes," replied the squire, " it must 



94 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

be from that. And yet it looked very like 
fear. But, bless me ! whoever saw either of 
them afraid, I should like to know !" 

" I'm certain that your niece, my dear sir, 
possesses infinitely more desirable nerves than 
myself," said Titley, in a faint voice, 

" An honest confession, which tells in your 
favour," replied the squire, " A man who 
says he is not plus with courage, is the last 
to run away in a fight." 

" You really flatter me," rejoined Titley. 

"Come, gentlemen," said the squire, "pass 
the bottles. We'll have a bumper at parting, 
and then we'll have some music from the 
young ladies, if Agnes has recovered." 

This proposition was acceded to by all as- 
sembled, excepting only Fiddylee, who, over- 
come with his deep libations, lolled in his 
chair, producing any thing but melodious 
sounds, 

" Come, Fiddylee," said the squire, " wake 
up, and fill your glass." 

But the attorney heeded not the order. 
Wrapped in the lulling arms of Morpheus, he 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 95 

was lost to the charms of the jolly god he had 
been paying strict devotion to. 

" Rouse him, Wilmott," said the squire. 

"Stay," added Titley, "permit me— I'll 
show you what a famous shot I am." 

Taking a fine large orange pip between the 
end of his thumb and the middle finger, he 
shot it swiftly, with a nice aim, against the 
end of the attorney's nasal organ. 

Fiddylee jumped from his recumbent posi- 
tion, and, opening his eyes as wide as they 
would permit, had the satisfaction^ of seeing 
the company much amused with the cause of 
his abrupt waking. The attorney, while he 
rubbed the offended member soothingly, re- 
quested to be informed the name and occu- 
pation of the party committing the assault. 

This appeal, delivered in a slow thick tone, 
with a pompous manner, added to the fun. 
The lawyer repeated his desire, 

" It was I who had the pleasure of shooting 
the peep," replied Titley. 

« Oh ! ah ! You, eh ! Glad of it," re- 
joined Fiddylee. " Assault, vi et armis. Very 
q^ood, sir, very good !" 



96 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Vi et peepis would be more perfect," said 
Titley. 

" It's indictable," continued the attorney. 
"Or I can sue for damages. I have my choice, 
action, or indictment." 

" Pray adopt that which will suit your 
taste," said Titley. 

The squire, thinking that Fiddylee was 
somewhat offended at the practical joke, said : 

" No talk about damages in Scourfield 
Hall, my friend," said the squire. " It was 
but a joke, and only done to rouse you. We 
must have no dissension among us." 

"Yes, we must," rejoined the attorney, 
trying to look as if he had delivered a pro- 
found reply — " as a matter of business, we 
must." 

The squire roared with laughter at this 
sentiment, and told Titley to apologize for 
the assault, and offer his hand to the wounded 
lawyer. 

" No !" exclaimed the attorney, " no com- 
promise, till just before the trial. When all 
costs are created, then's the time for compro- 
mise." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 97 

Many arguments were used to prevail upon 
the lawyer to accept Titley's proffered hand 
of amity, but without success. After more 
laughing, Fiddylee, who 'began to exhibit 
symptoms of cross intoxication, was permitted 
to depart ; and, as he wended his way down 
the broad gravel drive towards his office in 
the village, he discovered several double stars, 
and remarked that there were at least two 
moons shedding their pale light upon field and 
flower. 



vol. I 



98 THE OLD ENGI ISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE MYSTERY. 



" Mine honour keeps the weather of my fate : 
Life every man holds dear ; but the dear man 
Holds honour far more precious-dear than life." 



It was the beginning of autumn. The sun 
had sunk in his purple-clouded glory, and the 
last golden rays were fading from the win- 
dows of the grey-mossed church, peeping from 
a clustering grove of trees, as Agnes hastened 
alone from the hall towards the humble edi- 
fice. She was muffled in a coarse woollen 
shawl ; and wearing a close cottage bonnet, 
no one could recognise her, except by catching 
a glimpse of her features. At every third or 
fourth step she turned round with an anxious 
gaze ; then, as if satisfied that no one saw 
her, again she hurried forward. In one hand 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN- 99 

she carried a letter, and a small purse filled 
with gold ; while the other wiped away the 
tears that were coursing down her cheeks, 
only to make room for others succeeding. 

A sob of anguish escaped her quivering lips 
as she lifted the latch of the gate leading into 
the churchyard, and, leaning against a tomb- 
stone, the stifled grief was given vent to in a 
flood of tears. In a short time she became 
composed ; the remaining traces of her sorrow 
being only in her inflamed eyes, and an occa- 
sional sob, which, despite of her exertions to 
suppress it, burst from her heaving bosom. 

" Poor fellow !" she exclaimed, " he must 
not see me thus. It would add to his afflic- 
tion." 

Advancing towards the church-door, she 
sat upon a circular bench under the dark 
branches of a yew-tree which shaded the en- 
trance. The shadows of evening were closing 
over the landscape, and the cawing rooks 
wheeled in lofty flight round the nest-covered 
limbs of the ancient trees. The ringdove 
with rapid wing hastened to the interior of 

F 2 



100 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

the grove, and the bat whirled its strange 
form round and round the church, rejoicing in 
the approaching reign of darkness. A night- 
ingale commenced singing at intervals her 
melancholy strain, and a glowworm's lamp 
flickered faintly upon the moss-bank. An old 
white owl peered from a hollow in the yew- 
tree, and, stretching forth his long wings, stole 
silently from his lurking place : when clear of 
the tree, he gave a long loud screech, which 
broke frightfully the stillness of the place, and 
made Agnes start with fear. Perceiving the 
cause, as the nocturnal disturber slowly flew 
within a few feet of the ground, she smiled, 
and resumed her seat. 

" Did the old croaker frighten you, Agnes ?" 
said a voice close to her. 

" Oh ! Charles ! dear Charles !" exclaimed 
Agnes, springing from the bench, and rushing 
into the arms of a tall slender young man, 
who pressed her affectionately to his breast. 

" How glad, how delighted I am that you 
are here," she said, kissing him. " I began 
to think that you would not come." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 101 

" I am now at least a quarter of an hour 
before .the appointed time," replied he, leading 
her to the bench, and taking a seat by her 
side. 

The person who said this appeared from his 
youthful figure to be about twenty-three years 
of age ; but his face was stamped with lines 
which gave him an older look. The ravages 
of care, disease, or dissipation, were palpably 
carved in his bloodless features ; but, from a 
full, bloated expression in the eyes, the latter 
seemed the most probable cause. He was ad- 
mirably proportioned, and his face must have 
been once very handsome. His eyes were 
black and large, and his lips had that haughty 
curl which invariably evinces the high and 
daring spirit. Long dark hair hung about his 
neck, and a short moustache crisped itself 
upon his upper lip. In his manner there was 
sorrow and recklessness blended together, 
which puzzled the observer to decide whether 
he was a victim to mental distress, or the 
empty shell of some heartless libertine. His 
dress consisted of a travelling costume. His 



102 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

throat was bound in the folds of a thick neck- 
erchief, a large military cloak hung upon his 
shoulders, and a light foraging^ cap was upon 
his head as far as it could be pulled. 

" By this letter," said Agnes, " I find that 
you are going to leave England." 

"Yes; for our mutual happiness it is the 
best step I can take," was the reply. 

" Indeed, indeed it is not," rejoined Agnes, 
energetically, "if you would but consent — " 

" Never," interrupted her companion, " I 
never will, and, therefore, 'tis useless to urge 
me." 

" But I am so certain he would believe your 
statement," rejoined Agnes. 

" Believe it !" said he, as if weighing the 
sentence, " no — kind-hearted, as he is, he 
not believe me." 

" I assure you he would, dear Charles," re- 
plied Agnes, pressing his hand. 

" And, if he did, it would not alter my po- 
sition," said he. " Until I can prove my in- 
nocence of the foul charge — until the disgrace 
which is attached to me is blotted out by the 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 103 

sunbeams of truth — I will not meet him ; nor 
shall my present situation be made known to 
him, at least with my consent. And, if you 
betray me, — " 

" Nay," interrupted Agnes, ."do not 
threaten. You know I would — I must keep 
a promise so sacredly couched." 

" Forgive me, dearest," he replied, placing 
his arm round her waist, and pressing her to 
his side. " But do not again ask me this. I 
must refuse ; and it pains me to deny you any 
thing." 

Here there was a pause of a few moments, 
which was broken by Agnes saying in a se- 
rious voice : — 

" If you refuse me what I am about to re- 
quest, Charles, it will break my heart." 

" Then it is granted before being asked," 
replied he, playfully. 

" Thank Heaven!" exclaimed Agnes, clasp- 
ing her hands together. " I thank Heaven for 
it ! It is that you do not leave England." 

A frown knit the brows of her companion. 

"This letter," continued Agnes, showing 



104 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

the one she held in her hand, " caused me to 
shed more tears than all the trials and troubles 
I have had besides. It was truly distressing 
to hear of your unmerited sufferings ; but then 
there were the pleasures of meeting, the know- 
ledge that I could be of service to you, and 
the hope that you would be induced to ac- 
quaint him with your unhappy circumstances 
ere we met again. This letter, however, dis- 
pelled every gleam of comfort, and, as I came 
here, fearing that it would be our last stolen 
interview, I thought, dear Charles, that I 
should have died with grief." 

This was said with much earnestness of 
manner, and a smile gleamed in the features 
of her companion as he saw the sincerity of 
this heart-felt declaration. 

" But now," continued Agnes, " you have 
promised me not to leave England, and I am 
happy again. Here's your month's income," 
she said, laughing, " and be sure that you 
economise it." 

Her companion took the proffered well- 
filled little purse, and was returning his thanks, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 105 

when his ear caught the rattle of wheels 
quickly descending a steep hill close by. 

" Hark ! " said he ; " that's the mail. I 
must be in London to-night. God bless you, 
dearest ! Adieu !" 

Agnes clung to his embrace, and, with 
many warm kisses, bade him a reluctant fare- 
well. 

" I will write to you the day and hour for 
our next meeting," said he, untwining her 
arms from his neck. 

" Within a month at the very furthest," 
said Agnes, holding up her finger in an ex- 
pressive attitude. 

" It shall be so," was the answer as he left ; 
and, hurrying across the green mounds, bound 
with the bramble, and whitened with the 
daisy, under which the young, the old, the 
grave, the gay, slept alike the long sleep, he 
was quickly out of sight. 

Agnes watched with strained eyes until the 
last glimpse of his form was concealed from 
her view ; then, turning round, she began to 
retrace her steps towards the hall. The moon, 

P5 



106 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

which had been concealed by heavy clouds, 
suddenly broke through the dark curtain, and 
sent her pale rays to brighten the dull earth. 
Hill and dale, tree, field, and flower, were 
illuminated with her joyful beams. The fall- 
ing dew sparkled upon the fading foliage — 
the tears of Nature for her withering charms. 
The heavy beetle hummed his wings in the 
soft light, and the bloated toad croaked his 
satisfaction in the long grass. 

One of these unsightly animals was crawl- 
ing across the path Agnes was taking, which 
caused her to stop suddenly, when the long 
shadow of a man was reflected upon it. She 
started at this, more from fear of being seen 
than of discovering any one. The leaves of 
a laurel-bush rustled close to her, and the 
boughs of the shrubbery, along which she 
was passing, cracked and snapped as some 
one ran quickly through them. With a fer- 
vent mental wish that she had not been seen, 
Agnes tripped along the path, and, bounding 
across the lawn, she entered the hall by the 
servants' door at the back of the house, and 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 107 

hurried to her dressing-room. She was ar- 
ranging her dishevelled hair, before descending 
to the drawing-room, when the door of her 
apartment opened, and in walked Kate. 

" Why, Agnes ! " exclaimed she, clasping 
her cousin's hand, as it was raised to catch 
some straying locks, " where have you been?" 

" A little romantic stroll by moonlight, " 
replied Agnes, with an awkward attempt to 
appear careless. 

" Why didn't you invite me to accompany 
you ?" asked her cousin. 

" I imagined you were more agreeably en- 
gaged with Wilmott," replied Agnes. 

" His friend, Mr. Titley, came soon after 
we missed you," said Kate, " and then off 
started Wilmott, who has just returned." 

" Indeed !" exclaimed Agnes, abruptly, as 
the thought flashed in her brain that he might 
possibly have seen the meeting in the church- 
yard. 

u Yes, indeed" repeated Kate, imitating 
her cousin's manner. " So let me ring the 
bell for Fanny to assist you in dressing, and 



108 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

to bring candles, for this uncertain light of 
the fickle moon is any thing but suited for 
the toilet." 

" No, I thank you," rejoined Agnes, not 
being desirous of her swollen eyes being in- 
spected by a stronger light, u my dressing 
will be finished in one minute. Who are in 
the drawing-room?" 

" I left Mr. Smit and my father playing 
chess, Mr. Titley looking at your album, and 
Wilmott entered as I left to seek you for 
the twentieth time this evening," replied her 
cousin. 

" I regret giving you so much trouble, 
dear," said Agnes. " I hope that uncle was 
not alarmed at my absence." 

" Not in the least. He laughed at Mr. 
Titley, and said it was done to punish him for 
paying some silly compliments to you this 
morning," replied Kate. 

" And what did he say?" inquired Agnes. 

" He replied that * the bare i-de-ah shook 
his nerves, as the rude breeze shakes the Mo- 
lian harp,' " said Kate, laughing. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 109 

" His affectation is intolerable," rejoined 
Agnes. 

" And yet methinks, sweet cousin, that you 
begin to consider him not so very intole- 
rable," added Kate, with an archness of look 
and voice. 

" That may be your opinion," said Agnes. 

" I'm no conjuror if it be not your's too," 
replied her cousin. " Come — confess that I 
am right." 

" I will say this, and only this — I believe 
Powis Titley to be a perfect gentleman in 
feeling and education — in thought, word, and 
action; and were it not for the silly affec- 
tation which obscures many of his excellent 
qualities, few, very few, men would shine more 
in society, or be better examples for others to 
follow," said Agnes. 

"An approach to a confession," said her 
cousin. " Your opinion coincides precisely 
with Wilmott's." 

" Then, as a matter of course with your's," 
added Agnes, smiling. 

Kate blushed, and tried to evade a reply 



110 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

by offering to twine a rose in her cousin's 
ringlets. But Agnes determined to continue 
the subject, and said, 

" Wow, Kate, say honestly whether this is 
not so." 

" You know, Agnes, that I love Wil- 
mott— " 

" With as fond a little heart as ever 
throbbed," interrupted Agnes. " And he is 
worthy of it." 

" But perhaps I've no right to do so," said 
Kate, in a low, trembling voice. 

" Has he not told you of his affection f" 

" Never." 

" Not by his looks ! not by his attention ! 
In every way, save by word, he has declared 
his passion," said Agnes. 

Kate kissed her cousin affectionately, and 
they proceeded together to the drawing-room. 

" Hilloa ! " exclaimed the squire, as the 
girls entered, " here's the young runaway. 
Come here, Agnes ; kiss your uncle, and tell 
him where you've been." 

" Having a walk," replied Agnes, saluting 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. Ill 

the squire, and glancing at Wilmott, who 
stood with his back towards her talking to 
Kate, but looking at her with a scrutinizing 
gaze in a large mirror which stood before 
him. Their eyes met. She was certain he 
had been a witness of the meeting. 

" A walk, eh !" said the squire, looking at 
the chessboard, then at his opponent, the cu- 
rate, and at last moving a knight, " a walk, 
eh ! who was with you ?" 

Agnes looked at Wilmott, who still kept 
his gaze bent steadily upon her. She felt 
as if she should choke. At length she 
said, with flushed cheek and brow, " I was 
alone." 

" Check," said the curate, moving a bishop. 

" Hem ! ugh, ugh !" exclaimed the squire, 
taking the king out of the difficulty. " Alone, 
eh !" continued he. " Why, this is the fifth 
or sixth solitary walk you've had, Agnes, 
within these three months. I shall begin to 
think you're in love." 

" My dear sir," said Titley, closing an 
album he was admiring, " people do not walk 



112 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

alone when their hearts have been touched 
with Cupid's darts." 

" You're in the right," added Wilmott, 
looking seriously at Agnes, and walking up 
and down the long apartment with Kate at 
his side. 

" Is he, indeed," said the squire, regard- 
ing the couple with a peculiar expressive 
look. " What, they run in pairs, do they ?" 

Titley saw the squire's innuendo, and with 
a " He, he, he !" pronounced it "a little too 
had." 

" Checkmate," said the curate, rubbing his 
hands with pleasure, and moving a rook, which 
ended the game. 

" Winged by the parson," replied the 
squire, pushing the chessboard from him. 
" A good struggle for it, too." 

" Pretty good this time," said the curate, 
who invariably wished the squire to believe 
that he could beat him easily. And, when- 
ever the squire gained the victory, it was his 
constant assertion that " he could have won 
the game over and over again, but he wished 
to prolong it." 






THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 1 13 

This the squire used to bear with great 
good-humour. It was about the only weak 
point he could discover in his friend's exem- 
plary character. Living in a retired cottage 
within half a mile of the church, he spent his 
days in visiting the poor and sick, administer- 
ing to their wants as far as his scanty means 
would permit, and, if beyond his own slender 
resources, appealing to the wealthy squire, 
who never was appealed to in vain. Proud 
to a fault, it was with difficulty the squire 
prevailed upon him to come often to the hall ; 
but at last his scruples were vanquished, and 
now it was his habit to " drop in of an even- 
ing," as he daily described his arrival. 

With high and low the curate was an ob- 
ject of unvarying admiration. The rich loved 
him for his unpretending, refined, and gen- 
tlemanly bearing; the poor blessed him for 
his kindness of heart and benevolent actions 
towards them. The flaxen-haired, ruddy- 
cheeked children ran to him, when they saw 
his tall thin figure approaching, and each was 
anxious to catch his approving eye, as the 



114 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

lock of hair was pulled upon the forehead, or 
the little curtsey bobbed to the ground. The 
old matron, who sat rocking in the sun, knit- 
ting her winter hose, would shield her bleared 
eyes with her thin, bony hand, and hobble 
upon her trembling limbs to welcome his 
coming, as " the good man" unlatched her 
garden gate. The sturdy peasant, returning 
from his work, raised his straw hat, and 
stopped his merry whistle, to pay respect to 
the minister as he passed. Wherever he 
went, a blessing echoed to his footsteps, and 
it was often asked, but never decided, which 
of the two was the greater favourite in the 
parish of Estead — the rich squire, who owned 
the greater portion of it, or the poor curate, 
who had but eighty pounds a year. 

" Eing the bell, Wilmott," said the squire; 
" we must see Peter about to-morrow's sport." 

An old grey-headed servant answered the 
summons, and was told to send in the game- 
keeper. 

In a few minutes Peter Bumstead made 
his appearance. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 115 

" Well, Peter," said the squire, " are all 
things prepared for our first crack at the phea- 
sants to-morrow ?" 

" Yes, they be, sir," replied Peter, diving 
his hands into his capacious shooting-jacket 
pockets, stretching out one buskined leg, and 
looking like a man who had " done his duty." 

" Spaniels in trim ? beaters got ?" 

" All in topping order, sir," replied Peter. 

" We shall not commence till after break- 
fast," said the squire. 

" Very good, sir." 

" We take cocks and hens alike to-morrow, 
recollect, Peter. So none of your ' war' 
hen ! if you please," said the squire. 

" Very — " Peter could not say " good " to 
this ; so he stopped short. 

" And let Striver spring all the traps early, 
so that none of the dogs may be lamed. Do 
you see that he does it, for he is very old and 
rickety." 

" Facts is stubborn things, sir. Striver's 
cooked almost to tinder," observed Peter, in 
a tone of compassion. 



116 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" We must take care of him," replied the 
squire ; " he's been a good servant." 

" True, sir, true," added the keeper; and, 
finding his master silent after this, he inquired 
if there were any further orders. 

" No, Peter, that's all I had to say," re- 
plied his master. 

" Very good, sir," rejoined Peter, bowing 
with as much natural politeness as he pos- 
sessed, and leaving the room. 

" Now, Kate, give us a song," said the 
squire. " We shall retire early to night, to 
get our nerves steady." 

" What shall I sing?" asked Kate. 

" Any thing you please, my love," replied 
her father. 

Sitting to the piano, she ran her fingers 
quickly over the keys, and, letting the swel- 
ling sounds soften to an accompaniment just 
audible, she sung in a mellow, beautiful voice, 
the following words. 

" When the green leaves of life are all withered and gone, 
And the sunshine of youth is no longer with thee; 

When the blossoms of hope are all blighted or flown, 
And nothing is left thee of gladness to be ; 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 117 

Think, lady, think of your joys and your fears, 
But forget in the past all your sighs and your tears. 

In the days that are gone, though we cannot forget 
The hopes that were blighted, the joys that are fled ; 

And the places deserted by those that we met, 

Tell of sorrows that last, and of friends that are dead ; 

Think, lady, think of your joys and your fears, 

And forget, if you can, all your sighs and your tears. 

When the past you recal, oh ! let the brief hours 
Alone be remembered that pleasure beguiles ; 

Dwell on the thoughts that were cull'd from the flowers, 
Nurtured by bliss, and cherished with smiles. 

Think, lady, think of your joys and your fears ; 

But forget in the past all your sighs and your tears." 

" Beautifully sung," said the curate, offer- 
ing his hand politely to Kate, and leading her 
from the instrument. 

"Yes, parson, I think that'll do," added 
the squire, looking at his child with pride 
and pleasure. As he continued to gaze on 
her, a tear rose in his eyes, and would have 
fallen, had he not brushed it hastily away. 
Its spring was the memory of one bright and 
beautiful as the being before him, but who 
now lay slumbering in the earth, a bleached 
skeleton ; yet still beloved by him as when 
she stood, warm with life and health, plight- 
ing her heart to his, a willing, blushing bride. 



118 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE BATTUE. 

" See how the morning opes her golden gates, 
And takes her farewell of the glorious sun ! 
How well resembles it the prime of youth, 
Trimm'd like a younker prancing to his love !" 

It was a clear October morning as the 
squire, Wilmott, and his friend Titley, took 
their way towards an extensive cover, on the 
verge of the Scourfield estate. Peter fol- 
lowed in their wake, with Jack Tiggle lead- 
ing, or rather pulling back, two brace of spa- 
niels, coupled and leashed ; while six round- 
faced bumpkins, with long ash-sticks in their 
hands, brought up the rear. The game- 
keeper carried the squire's double-barrel, and 
admired the polished piece with the same 
feelings that an artist would the choice pro- 
duction of a Claude or a Rembrandt. He 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 119 

clicked the locks, and the clear springs sounded 
to him like the tone of a sweet melody. 

" Ah !" exclaimed Peter, with a sigh of 
admiration, " you're a clipper." 

" You handle a gun better than you sit a 
horse, Titley," said the squire. 

" Ton my honour, I'm much indebted for 
the compliment," replied Titley, who shoul- 
dered his gun in sportsmanlike style. 

" Have you had much practice ?" asked the 
squire. 

" I may say that I have," he replied. 

" Oh, oh ! you have, eh ?" said the squire. 

" Yes ; in town I pass three hours of my 
morning constantly in the shooting-gallery," 
added Titley. 

The squire looked at Wilmott, who smiled 
and said, " He's a capital shot with a pistol. 
I saw him split four bullets on the edge of a 
knife, out of six, at twelve paces." 

" At the trap fortune generally favours me," 
continued Titley. " I killed twenty pigeons 
in succession at twenty-five yards, the day 
previous to my arrival here." 



120 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Come, come, then we shall see some of 
the long tails topple to earth to-day," said 
the squire, in whose favour Titley continued 
to rise, from the morning he " tilly-hooed" a 
squirrel. 

They now arrived at the wood, when the 
squire directed his friends to choose their 
places as they thought the most desirable. 

" I'll go up the centre for my chance," said 
Wilmott. 

" And I'll take the top, with your appro- 
bation," said Titley to the squire. 

" Certainly. You shall have one corner, 
and I'll have the other. But, mark what I 
say," said the squire ; " it's rather narrow 
where we shall stand, so that we must be 
close together; but never mind me. Take 
them right and left, over my head, any way 
that you've the chance. I shall get more than 
I want, for most will break from the end." 

Each had taken his position. Peter heard 
the word " ready !" from his master, and to 
his signal the spaniels were slipped, the beaters 
leaped into the underbrush, with Jack Tiggle 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 121 

as leader, and Peter was left alone to " mark" 
and conduct the approaching slaughter, with 
the judgment of an experienced general. 

In a few moments after the disturbers had 
effected an entrance, the dogs " gave tongue," 
and made the air ring again with their noisy 
cries. The hoys hallooed, and thrashed the 
bushes with their poles. Now a frightened 
rabbit, with pricked ears, ran to the edge of 
the wood, pursued by a yelping spaniel ; then, 
seeing a more-to-be-feared biped than qua- 
druped, nimbly skipped in again. 

" Mark ! mar-r-rk !" shouted Peter, as his 
quick ear caught the flap of a pheasant's 
wing. 

Bang went Wilmott's gun, as he caught a 
glimpse of the rainbow-plumaged bird, top- 
ping some nut-wood. The leaves fell in thick 
showers to the ground ; but on went the bird 
unharmed. Again he saw him between the 
forked branch of an elm. The hills echoed 
his second charge ; but still with outstretched 
neck the gay fellow pursued his course. High 
over the trees he mounted in a direct line to 

VOL. I. G 



122 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

where Titley was standing. Just as he was 
towering over the skirts of the cover, Titley 
raised his gun, covered, pulled, and down 
plumped the victim at his feet, fluttering in 
the convulsions of death. 

" A wipe for Wilmott," said the squire. 
But the words were scarcely out of his mouth 
when a wood-pigeon whistled past with the 
fleetness of an arrow. 

" Down he comes," continued the squire, 
admiringly, as Titley struck the bird with his 
second barrel. 

" Mark !" bawled Peter. 

" Look out," whispered the squire. 

" I'm not ready," said Titley, loading his 
gun. 

The squire turned up a cuff of his shooting- 
jacket, and, stretching out his arms in prepa- 
ration for something extra, pulled the triggers 
right and left at a brace of hens sailing towards 
him. Crash they fell into the centre of a 
hawthorn bush. A groan was audible from 
the gamekeeper, as he saw the brace fall. 

" Poor Peter !" said the squire. " He 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 123 

would as soon see a child shot as a hen phea- 
sant." 

" Cock to you, Mr. Wilmott," bawled the 
keeper. 

The warning was scarcely given, when a 
woodcock dropped before Wilmott's gun. 

" He seldom misses," observed the squire, 
" when he get's a clear shot." 

Titley had just capped his nipples, when a 
rabbit popped out of the wood, with the speed 
of light, and as quickly ran in again. As it 
turned, he snapped one barrel at the fugitive, 
but missed. The scut was scarcely visible 
when the squire levelled and pulled. 

" A waste of powder, I imagine," said 
Titley. 

" Not quite," replied the squire, kneeling 
upon the edge of the bank, and creeping al- 
most the length of his body into the cover. 
In a short time he backed out, pulling the 
rabbit, riddled through the head. 

" A shot in the dark, 'pon my honour," 
said Titley. 

" Light enough for me," replied the squire. 

G 2 



124 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Another rabbit leaped from the wood, pur- 
sued by a yelping spaniel. Away they ran. 
Titley aimed, but recovered his gun, fearing 
to injure the dog. 

" I won't touch a hair," said the squire, as 
he snapped at the nimble rabbit. High it 
jumped, rolling over and over, as the fatal 
charge was driven into its head. 

Every now and then Wilmott's gun clanged 
through the wood, and the game, being driven 
to the corner where the squire and Titley 
were standing, now rose momentarily. Boar 
after roar succeeded each other, as the birds, 
hares, and rabbits tumbled over. But few 
effected an escape, as they fled in the hope 
of reaching a spot of greater safety. The 
game lay scattering around, sufficient to fill a 
sack, rather than a bag, when Peter jumped 
through some thick boughs, and said to the 
squire, 

M All out, sir." 

" Very well, Peter," replied the squire. 
" Now, Wilmott, where are you ?" 

" Here I am," said Wilmott, crashing 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 125 

through a prickly hedge, and leaping close to 
the squire, with glowing cheeks. 

" What have you done, my boy ?" 

" Bagged four brace of long-tails, leash of 
hares, one cock, and three couple of rabbits," 
replied Wilmott. 

" How many did you frighten ?" asked the 
squire, 

" One hen pheasant, only," replied Wilmott. 

" Beg your pardon, sir ; Mr. Titley shot 
that bird, and it was a cock, thank God ! " 
observed Peter, with evident satisfaction at 
the sex of the victim. 

" You don't like to see the hens fall," said 
the squire. 

" Facts is stubborn things, sir. It gives 
me the willy- wabbles to see a hen pheasant 
bagged," replied the keeper. 

" The what ?" asked the squire. 

" The willy- wabbles," repeated the keeper, 
placing his brawny hand tenderly upon his 
abdominal regions. 

" Where next ?" said the squire. 

" The Ketling copse, sir," replied Peter. 



126 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

"Did any go there from this cover ?" asked 
Wilmott. 

" One or two that got the chance," replied 
Peter, significantly. 

The panting dogs and perspiring beaters 
threw themselves down upon the greensward, 
as they effected an egress from the entangling 
boughs. The eyes of the spaniels evinced the 
eagerness with which they had followed their 
amusement, of driving the game. The furze 
and thorns had lacerated their lids so that 
they could scarcely see. The keeper called 
them to a little stream close by, and washed 
their sores with as much caution as a mother 
would use to her children. 

After a few minutes' rest, and the game 
being gathered together at the foot of a shady 
walnut-tree, the party slowly proceeded to- 
wards Ketling copse. As they were going 
over a stubble-field, the squire gave Peter his 
gun to carry, who, being somewhat warm, 
placed his hat upon the muzzle, and carried it 
over his shoulder. Jack Tiggle, who watched 
this manoeuvre, never allowing an opportunity 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 127 

to pass for playing Peter a trick, sidled up to 
him, and began admiring the outward charms 
of the piece. 

" low, that's what I call ansum," said Jack, 
pointing to a dog engraved upon the guard. 

" Do you ! " growled Peter, who enter- 
tained a mortal antipathy to Jack. 

" Yes, I do, Mr. Bumstead," replied he, 
knowing that Peter disliked being addressed 
by his surname. 

" Then you can keep your liking to your- 
self. I don't want to hear boys jabber," re- 
joined the keeper, aware of Jack's objection 
to be called a boy, and doing so by way of 
retaliation. 

" Indeed, Mr. Bumstead," retorted Jack. 
" Did you ever hear what the young dickey 
said to his father ? " 

" JSTo," replied Peter ; " and I don't want." 

" Oh ! but you'd better," continued Jack. 
" It's never too late to larn, and mend our 
roads, as the parson says. A young dickey, 
in the full kick of youth, mistook some sweet- 
briar for a thistle ; because, I suppose, both 



128 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

pricked his gums. His father, not liking to 
see his son mistaken upon any score, gravely 
shook his head, whisked his tail, and said to 
him, ' Don't go for to make a ninnyammer 
of yourself.' Says the young dickey, in reply, 
just as friendly as I might do to you, ' It's 
much better to be a young donkey, than an 
old jackass.' " 

The keeper's face darkened at the conclu- 
sion of Jack's homily, and he was cogitating 
how he should pay him off for the affront, 
when the gun which he carried exploded, and 
nearly leaped from his grasp. All turned 
round suddenly, and each looked at the other 
for an explanation of the unexpected circum- 
stance. The dogs ran off, sniffing the ground, 
expecting to find a victim, and rushed to a 
spot where something fell. It was Peter's 
hat, with the crown blown out. 

"Why, how did that happen?" asked the 
squire 

Peter looked at the lock, then at Jack 
Tiggle's laughing face, and then at his crown - 
less hat in the distance. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 129 

Jack tried to look serious ; but the keeper's 
melancholy visage, in beholding his dilapi- 
dated hat, was more than he could bear with 
seriousness. His red cheeks swelled with 
smothered laughter, and at last a " Haw, haw, 
haw !" burst from them, which led to the dis- 
covery of the delinquent. 

" It was that Jack," said the squire. " He 
pulled the trigger, you may be sure." 

" Facts is stubborn things. He did, sir, 
by all that's damnable!" replied Peter, be- 
tween his teeth, while indescribable passion 
was depicted in his features. He clenched 
his huge fist, and breathed annihilation to 
Jack Tiggle, all his relations, and every body 
of the name. 

Jack took the wise precaution of keeping 
at a very respectful distance from the enraged 
Peter. When his passive admission of the 
imputed offence was gained, the squire, with 
the rest, joined in the hearty laugh. Peal 
after peal came from the delighted spectators, 
and a regular halt took place to indulge in 
the fun. 

G5 



130 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Cachinnation is very infectious. As Peter 
lifted the remnants of the hat from the ground, 
and placed it, as well as it would go, upon his 
head, the sternness of his features gave way. 
For a few moments he kept his lips pressed 
together, twitching with the inclination to 
join in the laugh ; but at length, as tumul- 
tuous a peal burst from them as from any of 
the others. 

"I'll pay you off," said he, shaking his 
fist at Jack, " or my name's not. ..." 

" Bumstead," interrupted Jack, and then 
continued his laugh. 

" Very good," rejoined Peter, " very good. 
That adds to the hat account." 

" I'll have no more tricks, or nonsense of 
any kind, to-day," said the squire. " You 
must forgive Jack, Peter. I'll get you a new 
hat." 

" Very good, sir," replied the keeper, satis- 
fied with the result. 

" But, if I have any more of your coltish 
behaviour," continued the squire to Jack, 
" I'll horsewhip you. low, mind, what I say." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 131 

Jack touched his hat, and fell in the rear 
with the boys and the dogs. He was quite 
aware that the squire would keep his word, 
and therefore resolved to be quiet. 

The party moved on towards Ketling copse. 
The conversation with the boys was carried 
on in whispers, and Jack edified his compa- 
nions with telling them how he managed the 
trick. 

" That boy is the most mischievous in the 
whole county," said the squire. 

" He decidedly possesses something of the 
monkey in his composition," observed Titley. 

" But you encourage him in his tricks," 
said Wilmott to the squire. 

" I know I do," replied the squire. " It 
may be foolish, and I believe it is ; but they 
amuse me so that I can't help laughing at 
them." 

They now arrived at the Ketling copse. A 
clear, w T ide, and deep stream ran swiftly over 
a bed of light gravel on one side of it, which 
held many a spotted trout. The squire peeped 
into the water, so that his shadow was not 



132 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

reflected upon it, and beckoned Titley to ap- 
proach. Close to a lump of sedges, an ash- 
coloured, yellow-flanked trout lay, fanning 
his tail to and fro. 

There's a beauty," said the squire, pointing 
to the fish. " Six pounds, if he's an ounce." 

" Oh ! for a hook, and an olive-bodied — yes, 
an olive-bodied fly would take him," said 
Wilmott, looking at the sky. 

" Do you think so, my boy ! Well, he's 
safe from a trial of your skill to day. Come, 
take your stations," said the squire. 

Each chose his post, and the dogs and 
beaters resumed their occupation. Scarcely 
were they in the copse, when the whi-r-r of a 
covey of partridges startled a boy who was 
close to them, so that he turned white with 
fear, and began climbing a tree. 

" Mark, mar-r-k, mark !" shouted Peter. 

Six barrels, right and left, clanged through 
the copse, and three brace of the scared birds 
fell to the earth. 

" That's not done every day," said the 
squire. " Each man his own birds in three 
double shots." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 133 

All were retrieved and brought to the feet 
of the keeper by the obedient spaniels. The 
respective guns were soon re-charged, and 
again the dogs were ordered to "hold up." 
A fine, large hare cantered leisurely from the 
cover for a few yards, and then away she 
rattled at her best speed. Titley levelled, 
pulled, and broke a leg. 

" Ah !" exclaimed the squire, " you should 
shoot forward at a hare," at the same time 
covering the lamed fugitive, and laying her 
without a struggle upon her back. 

" That's the way to pink a sarah," added he, 
taking the gun from his shoulder. 

Peter's warning was now repeatedly given. 
Pheasants rose and towered above the trees, 
but to make their fall the greater. Down 
they came before the unerring aim of the 
sportsmen, none escaping, except those rising 
when the guns were discharged, or out of 
distance. 

About three hundred yards from where the 
squire was, stood a boy, with a donkey car- 
rying a hamper. 



1 84 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Kate has sent our luncheon, I see," said 
the squire. " We'll leave off for an hour. 
Come, Wilmott, and all you boys." 

Peter called in the dogs, and the boys left 
off beating the bushes. 

" Take your basket under that tree," said 
the squire to the boy as he approached — 
pointing to a wide-spreading elm which grew 
out of a steep, sloping, moss bank. " Peter, 
spread out the eatables for us," continued 
the squire, comfortably seating himself upon 
the bank, and being joined by Wilmott and 
Titley. 

" Certainly, sir," replied Peter, diving his 
hands into the capacious basket, and pro- 
ceeding to extract its contents. 

The young bumpkins sprawled themselves 
upon the turf, within a few yards of the 
preparing banquet ; and as the cold fowls, 
tongues, pigeon-pies, and other dainties made 
their appearance, winking, smacking of lips, 
and other telegraphic signals w T ere exchanged 
between them. 

" Give those young rascals the ham, Peter," 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 135 

said the squire, " that steak-pie, and the stone 
jug of ale." 

The order was obeyed, and but few seconds 
intervened ere each mouth was fully occu- 
pied. 

" Uncork the bottle of milk-punch," said 
the squire. 

Hebe could not have drawn a cork from a 
bottle of nectar with greater alacrity than 
Peter Bumstead did from that containing the 
milk-punch. 

" I give you the trigger, gentlemen," said 
the squire, after the glasses were filled. 

" The trigger, boys," repeated Jack, empty- 
ing a horn of nut-brown ale. 

The keeper and Jack looked at each other. 
Peter slowly raised his hand over his left 
shoulder, and with his thumb gave a very pe- 
culiar sign, as if to warn him of the danger 
he incurred in mentioning " the trigger." 
Jack placed his fore-finger on one side of his 
nose, conveying a vulgar but comprehensive 
meaning, that he was fully sensible of his 
situation. 



133 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

The dogs had partaken of their share of the 
feast, and all had refreshed themselves to 
their heart's content, when the squire pro- 
posed to renew the sport. 

" The Home wood, now, sir," said Peter 
closing his pocket-knife, and rising from the 
turf. 

" Shan't we beat this copse again ? " asked 
the squire. 

" They're about all out, sir," replied the 
keeper; " and it's getting rather late to hang- 
about for a few." 

" As you please, Peter," rejoined his mas- 
ter; and the party now proceeded to the 
Home wood, where the amusement was re- 
commenced. 

The sun reflected long shadows upon the 
earth, as the last barrel flashed in the cover. 
It was Wilmott's shot ; and, as a pheasant's 
long neck fell backwards between his wings, 
and he bounded dead upon the ground, the 
squire said, 

" Now, then, for home. It's getting late ; 
and the girls will be waiting dinner for us." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 137 

" What is the bag f" asked Wilmott. 

" Forty-five brace of pheasants, nine of 
hares, one cock, seven couple of rabbits, and 
three brace of partridges, if I count right," 
replied Peter. 



138 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

A CURE FOR COURTING. 

" Love is a smoke rais'd with the fume of sighs ; 
Being purg'd, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes; 
Being vex'd, a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears : 
What is it else? a madness most discreet, 
A choking gall, and a preserving sweet." 

The old whipper-in had just risen from a 
refreshing night's rest, after a splendid day's 
run, and was making his toilet, with his usual 
care, before a small looking-glass suspended 
close to the open window of his dormitory, 
when a yellow leaf was blown from a neigh- 
boarino- tree against his face. As it fell to 
the floor, Tom gravely shook his head, which 
action disarranged the exact squareness of 
the snowy cravat he was tying, and exclaimed, 

" Ah ! that's the sermon for me. A leaf 
from Nature's book. This," continued he, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 139 

picking it up, " appeals to a man's feelings. 
It tells him what he was, and what he must 
come to. Not that I agree with our curate, 
who said, last Sunday, ' all flesh was grass.' 
I don't believe that. I've no doubt some of 
it's formed from other vegetables. Why 
shouldn't it? However that maybe," soli- 
loquised Mr. Bolton, " doesn't such a thing, 
ah ! even as this old withered leaf, go to prove 
my notion's right ?" 

At this query, a long pause ensued ; and 
the speaker, not getting a reply, from a most 
natural cause, there being no one within hear- 
ing to give one, he satisfactorily answered it 
himself ; as most persons do who reply to their 
own questions. 

" Certainly it does, as thus," said Tom, 
stretching out the digits of his left hand, and, 
with the fore-finger of his right, proceeding 
to prove his theory with the highest degree 
of certainty. " This is the world," added he, 
pointing to his little finger. " Very good ! 
Astronomers, geographers, or philosophers — 
which I don't know, and it doesn't signify — 



140 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

have said that it's so many miles round, and 
no more ; that it never was, and never will 
be. These gentlemen," continued Mr. Bolton, 
pressing the end of his next finger, " have 
never been contradicted ; and no one but a 
fool would do it. low, as my old school- 
master used to say, ' If you add, and don't 
subtract, what's the consequence?' at the 
same time taking an apple from one boy 
and giving it to another. Said he, ' the an- 
swer's obvious. Where there was one, there's 
none, and where there are two, there was but 
one.' Now, what I am coming at, is this," 
pinching the top of the adjoining finger ; " if the 
bulk of the world, or the earth, as I should call 
it. increases, so must its circumference. But 
its circumference doesn't, according to all 
accounts, and, therefore, its weight cannot. 
That's logic, and no mistake. Well, now 
comes the nut," squeezing the last finger very 
hard, " The carcases of men, women, chil- 
dren, horses, dogs, butterflies, insects of all 
sorts, grass, cabbages, leaves, every thing that 
lived, lives, or will live, has been, is, or shall 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 141 

be added to the earth, must become part and 
parcel of the dust itself. For thousands of 
years this has been the rule, and may be for 
thousands of years to come. The consequence 
is," appealing to the thumb in remainder, 
" millions and myriads of millions of tons have 
been given to the earth, by bodies resigning 
their respective ghosts, both animal and ve- 
getable, without making any difference in the 
measurement, and, therefore, without adding 
to the weight. The certainty, therefore, must 
be, that to the addition there's a corresponding 
subtraction, which keeps the affair balanced, 
and all in sailing trim. Then comes the 
question," observed Tom, with a Catonic so- 
lemnity, " how is this managed ? This is a 
puzzler. But it appears to me, as active mat- 
ter becomes passive, in due course of time, 
after being properly seasoned, passive matter 
becomes active. In no other way can it be 
accounted for. These are the only means to 
get rid of the difficulty. As to spirits, I 
don't like to disbelieve the parson, but my 
idea is, that the unoccupied are used for the 



142 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

new productions as they come forth, whether 

animal or vegetable. Here's this leaf " 

What Mr. Bolton was about to disclose 
concerning the leaf will never be known, for 
his soliloquy was interrupted and cut short 
by seeing the outline of two figures under a 
tree in the park. One was that of a man, 
and the other a female. If Tom's eyes did not 
deceive him, the man's arm was placed round 
the woman's waist. And, also, if his eyes, 
which he now strained to their full capacities, 
did not commit a gross fraud, the man was 
no other than his son William, and the wo- 
man, Miss Kate's maid, Fanny Chatterton. 

Tom shut his eyes, and opened them again, 
to make sure he was labouring under no de- 
lusion. No ; it was a reality. There stood 
his son William, at five o'clock in the morn- 
ing, with his arm round Fanny's waist ! 
" The very time he should be with the 

hounds ; he's after a but I won't be un- 

genteel," said Mr. Bolton, bringing his sen- 
tence to a sudden close, and leaning in his 
shirt sleeves out of the window, to take a 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 143 

better survey of the " young rioters," as he 
called them. 

Eound the whipper-in's bed-room window 
crept the tendrils of a broad-leaved ivy plant, 
in which numbers of sparrows sought shelter. 
As Mr. Bolton's rubicund features emerged, 
many of the frightened birds fluttered from 
their hiding-places, and flew to the stack- 
yard, or to the stubble-field, before the pre- 
scribed time for committing trespass upon the 
farmer. 

"Ah!" exclaimed Tom, taking from a 
hook an old hunting-horn, " I'll disturb ano- 
ther species of bird directly." 

Drawing an extra quantity of breath, he 
placed the horn to his lips, and blew such a 
" wind " upon it, that, for length and loud- 
ness, never was heard, before or since, within 
the precincts of Scourfield Hall. 

" There's a rattler for ye," gasped Tom, 
ending his salute for want of more breath, 
and looking, with watery eyes, for the effect 
produced. 

William and Fanny turned precipitately 



144 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

towards the spot from whence the unwelcome 
sounds came, and there discovered Mr. Bolton 
in the act of blowing at them with all his phy- 
sical powers. 

" Puff away, you old grampus," said Wil- 
liam ; at which Fanny laughed. Then William, 
pleased at making her laugh, joined in it. 
And when the blast ceased, Mr. Bolton had 
the satisfaction of seeing the two he wished 
to astonish and produce a very serious impres- 
sion upon, laughing at him in return. 

" I won't stand this promiscuous courtin' 
any longer," said Tom, retiring from the win- 
dow, somewhat angry at the scene he had be- 
held, and at the failure of his attempt. " I'll 
cure him," continued he. " William shall be 
married. I'll speak to the squire about it 
this very morning." 

As William and Fanny took their way from 
Mr. Bolton's cottage again to the Hall, Wil- 
liam pressed her hand, which hung over his 
arm, and said, " Shall I name it to master 
first, or to the governor ? " 

"Well," replied Fanny, blushing, and turn- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 145 

ing her face a little on one side towards the 
ground, " I'm sure one can hardly say ; but, 
perhaps — perhaps, no preference should be 
shown." 

" One or the other must be asked first, you 
know," rejoined William. 

" I was thinking it might be managed so 
as not to do so," replied Fanny. 

" How ?" asked he. 

"They're both queer on their privileges 
sometimes," said Fanny ; " and I was fearing, 
if Mr. Tom was asked first, the squire might 
be huffed at being second ; and, if master was 
asked first, Mr. Tom, as your father in the 
business, might be nettled. So what I pro- 
pose is, for you to mention it to the squire 
at the same time I do to Mr. Bolton ; then 
neither can complain," 

"Well packed — well packed!" said Wil- 
liam. " You're the girl to manage an escape 
from a pound. After breakfast I'll attack 
the squire, while he's reading the paper, and 
you must make play at the governor's affec- 
tions." 

VOL. I. H 



146 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" And I'll take care he has a very good 
breakfast this morning," added Fanny, laugh- 
ing ; " for people are much better tempered 
when they've enjoyed a pleasant meal." 

"That's right, Fanny, my love," replied 
he, giving her a kiss. " Now, then, good 
bye for the present. There goes the old 
Whip, I see," said William, pointing to his 
father stretching across the dewy grass ; 
" and I must be in the kennel before him, to 
avoid a sermon upon activity." 

The squire had just finished breakfast, and 
had settled himself comfortably in a large 
easy chair, to peruse his favourite paper, 
when the door of the room received three 
gentle taps from some one without. 

" Come in," said the squire. 

" Servant, sir," said a well-known voice; 
and as the squire peeped over the edge of the 
paper, and saw his old favourite, Tom Bol- 
ton, standing before him, he returned the 
salute. 

" Good morning, Tom — good morning. 
Take a chair. Well ! what have you to say ?" 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 147 

"Thank'e, sir; a little matter or two," 
replied Tom, occupying a seat. 

" All right in the kennel?" asked the squire. 

" In dovetail trim/' replied Tom. 

" Go on, then," said his master, " and let 
me hear what you have to communicate." 

"I'm come," said Tom, with a preliminary 
cough, " about a little touch of morality." 

" About what ?" asked the squire, dropping 
the newspaper in surprise. 

" About a little touch of morality, sir," 
repeated Tom, in a slow, serious voice. 

The squire nodded. 

" A father's a father," continued Mr. 
Bolton, " and he can't run in view of his son 
upon a wrong trail without trying to whip him 
off, and come to a check." 

" Good," said the squire. 

" My son William, sir," resumed Tom, " as 
you know, is a fine young fellow, and a better 
huntsman never hallooed to a hound. But 
we all have our weak points ; and I'm sorry 
to say a woman's his. Yes, sir, he courts 
'em all round promiscuously." 

h 2 



148 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" You should have said women, then," said 
the squire. 

" Unfortunately I should, sir," added Tom, 
mournfully ; and he was about to continue, 
when the squire had again to say, " Come 
in," to a second knock at the parlour door. 

" You remember the old adage, Tom," said 
the squire, as William entered, and seemed 
rather astonished at his father's presence. 

" Speak of the fiend, and his horns appear," 
replied Mr. Bolton, looking hard at his son's 
red features. 

" We were speaking of you, William," 
observed the squire. 

" Were you, sir," said William, scraping 
a bow. 

" Your father has not said to me what he 
came for, and, perhaps, doesn't wish to do so 
in your presence," rejoined the squire. 

" Oh ! very well, sir," said William, turn- 
ing, and about to leave. 

" Stop, stop," said Tom. " The squire 
will hear you first." 

This manoeuvre was not lost upon his son, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 149 

who remarked, with a smile, to his master, — 

" The governor's running sly, sir. He 
wants to hear my say without me learning 
his. However, it's no secret business I've 
come about ; so, with your consent, sir, I'll 
name it." 

" Do, William. Go on," said the squire, 
listening attentively. 

The young huntsman polished a button 
upon his waistcoat ; made the hat in his hand 
rough, and then rubbed it smooth ; brushed 
the hair off his forehead; and, at length, 
summoned courage to begin. 

" Here goes," said he ; " one fly and the 
rasper's cleared. What I want, sir, is your 
approval, and the governor's, to my getting 
braced to Fanny, the lady's-maid." 

" What ! married !" exclaimed the squire. 

" The very business I came about," said 
Mr. Bolton, slapping his doeskins with sur- 
prise and pleasure. 

" Buckled to, as a match pair, is our wish, 
sir," replied William, to his master. 

" I've always objected to my huntsman 



150 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

being married," said the squire. " Striver, I 
recollect, about five-and-twenty years ago, 
wanted to marry the dairymaid ; but I told 
him if he did, he must leave my service." 

William looked unhappy at this piece of 
intelligence, and his father appeared very 
uneasy in his chair. 

" A wife cools a man's courage," continued 
the squire ; " and a huntsman cannot have too 
much, so that it doesn't bear the shape of 
recklessness." 

" Bless your soul, sir !" exclaimed Tom, 
with a knowing shake of the head ; " a wife'll 
never take it out of him. With a mongrel- 
bred muff it might be otherwise. But, lor' 
bless us ! my grandfather was first whip to 
the duke of Beaufort's pack — my father was 
huntsman to the old squire for fifteen years, 
you know, sir. My mother was the only 
child to Tom Moody, the most celebrated 
whip as ever lived, not to say any thing of 
myself being in your service, thank God, for 
five-an'-twenty years, whipper-in to as crack 
set o' hounds as ever were unkennelled." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 151 

" You might have been huntsman, if you 
liked," said the squire. 

" Through your goodness, sir, I might, long- 
ago," rejoined Tom, touching his favourite 
grey lock upon his brow. " But I wished old 
Striver to keep his situation as long as he 
could. I didn't like to take his place when 
I was younger ; and now my son Will fits it 
well, why, I never shall be any thing else 
but the old whipper-in." 

" Ay, and he's of more importance than 
the huntsman," said the squire. 

" A true sportsman always says so, sir," 
added Tom ; " but half the world don't think 
so — a parcel of know-no things. However, 
referring to our start, you may depend, from 
such a breed as Will comes of, no wife on 
earth can spoil him. Striver was from a 
different nest ; his father was a weaver, and 
his mother a straw-bonnet maker." 

" Then you think William will ride up to 
the dogs as well married as single," said the 
squire. 

" Certainly I do, sir," replied Tom. " From 



152 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

such a litter as he comes, nothing '11 hurt 
him, not even old age. We all die green as 
cabbages," observed the old whipper-in, with 
a look of pride at the reminiscence of his 
ancestral dignity, and the hue of his family's 
complexion at their decease. 

The squire enjoyed Tom's advocating his 
son's cause, and, after a little consideration, 
he said, — 

" Well, I suppose I must give my consent ; 
but remember, William, no flinching. My 
hounds have always been hunted properly 
since you took the place, and I will have 
them continued to be," said the squire, 
firmly. 

" They shall, you may depend, sir," replied 
William, scarcely believing his senses. There 
was his father, arguing for his marriage, who 
had constantly been opposed to his having 
even a little conversation with a female. 

" I return ye my and Fanny's thanks, sir, 
and you, father, for your kindness," said Wil- 
liam ; " and I'll endeavour to do my duty, so 
as to please both." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 153 

" He's a good boy, sir," observed Tom ; 
" and marrying '11 keep him quiet," added he, 
with a wink at his master. 

"Give me your hand, William," said the 
squire. "There," shaking the hand of his 
servant warmly ; " conduct yourself well to 
your wife, ride up to the dogs as usual, let all 
things be with you as they have been, in 
praiseworthy order, and you'll never hear a 
complaint from me." 

"And if we've no more promiscuous courtin' 
— no more winking, billing, and cooing," said 
Tom, "you'll not have a complaint from me. 
Promiscuous courtin' is immoral," added Tom, 
oracularly ; and the phrase afterwards became 
a county proverb. 

" Has this been mentioned to my daughter ?" 
asked the squire. 

" By this time it has, I dare say," replied 
"William. " Fanny and I agreed to ask you, 
sir, and father first. I was to come here, 
while she went to the governor; but, as he 
was not to be found, she went to Miss Kate's 
room, to mention the thing to her." 

H 5 



154 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" That's quite correct," rejoined the squire. 
" When is the wedding to take place ?" 

" We arranged, if all went smooth, in about 
a month," replied the huntsman. 

" The wedding frolic's to be left to me, re- 
collect," said his master. " I'll have it after 
my own fashion." 

William thanked the squire, with gratitude 
glowing in his features. 

" Now, Tom, what have you to say about 
your son?" asked the squire of Mr. Bolton, 
who looked as if the whole of the world's 
happiness was concentrated in himself. 

" Simply this, sir, that there's no occasion 
for my saying any thing," replied Tom. " The 
very springe I wanted to set for him, with 
your assistance, he's caught in already; so 
there's an end of my poaching." 

The huntsman and his father quitted the 
presence of their master, much delighted with 
the result of the audience. Tom took the 
arm of his son, and proceeded with him to the 
servants' hall, where Fanny stood, with the 
corner of her neat black silk apron applied to 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 155 

her eyes, surrounded by her fellow servants. 
As soon as they entered, all looked anxiously 
for the intelligence known to be in their pos- 
session, as Fanny had informed them, col- 
lectively and respectively, of what was tran- 
spiring in the squire's room. 

" Daughter-in-law that is to be," said Mr. 
Bolton, going to Fanny, and, giving her a kiss, 
which sounded like the crack of a whip, he 
announced to her, and to the assembly, the 
success of the enterprize. 

" God bless you, Fanny !" exclaimed half 
a dozen voices, accompanied with kisses from 
the female domestics, and hearty shakes of 
the hand from the equally enthusiastic male 
servants. 

Fanny and the huntsman returned their 
warm thanks for the universal congratulations 
bestowed, and Mr. Bolton regarded the scene 
with a patronizing air, saying, it wasn't the 
first time a Bolton had to undergo a similar 
process in that very hall ; thirty years ago, 
he went through a like course of training; and 
if Will was in as good condition thirty years 



156 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

hence, as he had the satisfaction of being in 
then, why, in that case, Will would have good 
cause to be content with his grooming and 
feeding. 

" Ah ! Mr. Bolton," said the butler, who 
shook from his head to his heels, and whose 
white, chalky face was adorned with a short, 
thick, scarlet nose, " you're a wonderful' hale 
man." 

" Port wine, strong ale, brandy, and no 
exercise, ain't scored in my limbs and cheeks, 
are they, Bob ?" observed Tom to the butler, 
in a not-to-be-mistaken tone. 

" JSTo, indeed," replied Bob, taking the 
hint. 

" My old woman," rejoined Tom, dropping 
his voice to a melancholy note, and shaking 
his head, to add to the effect, "whose toes 
are now turned to the roots of the butter- 
cups, never had to sermonize me upon hard 
drinking. Not but what I liked my glass, 
and do like it ; but," lowering his speech to 
a whisper, and winking his left eye, " glasses 
all day long, Bob — soaking the inside pas- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 157 

senger, as if it was only a spunge, Bob — 
drowning the whistle, not wetting it, Bob — 
making a regular filtering stone o' yourself, 
Bob, is the way to turn yourself into clay 
afore your time." 

This warning was not without a transient 
effect upon the butler, who resolved within 
himself to be less devoted to the rosy God ; 
but, ere many minutes elapsed, a dryness in 
the throat caused him to find himself in the 
vicinity of the beer-barrel. 

" Miss Kate told me," said Fanny to her 
husband elect, " that we were to go to her 
and Miss Agnes in the drawing-room, after 
you had seen the squire." 

" Then go forthwith," said Tom, marshal- 
ling them out of the hall. " To keep young 
ladies in suspense is rude," added he; "not 
to say what it is with regard -to old ones." 

After William and his father had left the 
squire, he again settled himself to peruse the 
contents of his newspaper. But fate decreed 
that he should not enlighten himself with its 
lucid intelligence on this particular morning. 



158 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

No sooner had the huntsman and the " old 
Whip " been dismissed, than Wilmott and 
Titley entered, unannounced. 

" Well, my boys, what's on the wing now?" 
said the squire, as soon as he saw them. 

" Titley's obliged to leave us," replied Wil- 
mott. 

" What !" exclaimed the squire, with as 
much surprise as when William made known 
his request. 

" Yes," added Titley, " I'm compelled to 
leave your delightful society this morning, my 
dear sir." 

" And wherefore ? " asked the squire. 
" We're just in the sweets of the season." 

" And I was just beginning to appreciate 
those sweets," said Titley. " But my lawyer 
in London has written to me to say that I 
must immediately see him, as the case of 
Larkins is progressing, and a consultation is 
necessary." 

" Then it's that infernal Fiddylee's doing, 
is it?" said the squire, in a furious pas- 
sion. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 159 

" He, decidedly, is the indirect cause," re- 
joined Titley. 

" It might have been settled long since, if 
it had not been for him," said Wilmott. 

" Settled !" exclaimed the squire, swinging 
the arm-chair into the middle of the room 
with rage, " settled ! It would not have been 
commenced, except for his rascally interfe- 
rence. Was there ever such a preposterous 
charge of trespass !" 

" It certainly was a most unwilling trespass 
on my part," observed Titley. 

This recovered some of the squire's good 
humour, and he inquired when Titley proposed 
to start. 

" By the mail, this evening," replied he. 

" But you'll return in a day or two," re- 
joined the squire. 

" He has promised me to come back the 
moment he can," said Wilmott. 

" We shall defer dragging for the otter 
Peter speaks of, until you form one of the 
party," observed the squire. 

" You're very obliging," said Titley. " I 



160 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

shall return to my quarters speedily, I assure 
you." 

"If I come across that Fiddylee's path 
within a month, I'll give him cause for an 
action," said the squire, lifting his foot, as if 
in the performance of an imaginary kick. 

" Where are the ladies, squire ?" inquired 
Wilmott. 

" In the drawing-room, I suppose," replied 
the squire. 

" I'll attend them there," said Titley ; 
" and bid them a temporary adieu." 

" But you'll dine with us to-day," said the 
squire. 

" We dine tete-a-t&te at the Eookery to- 
day," replied Wilmott. 

" Oh ! very well, my boys. Little secrets, 
and so on, eh ? Go and find the girls, then," 
said the squire, " and come to me again be- 
fore you leave ; I've something to say that'll 
astonish ye." 

" What is it about ?" asked Wilmott. 

" Old Tom's son is going to be married." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. l6l 

" William married !" exclaimed Wilmott, 
in surprise. 

" Ay," replied the squire, waving his hand 
for them to depart. " But come to me again, 
and I'll tell ye all about it." 



162 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTEK IX. 

A MYSTERY, AND A DECLARATION. 

" The silence often of pure innocence 
Persuades, when speaking fails." 

Wilmott had witnessed the mysterious 
meeting in the churchyard between Agnes and 
the stranger. Strolling accidentally through 
the shrubberies, to enjoy one of those cigar- 
born reveries to which he was addicted, he 
saw Agnes at the moment she was clasped in 
the embrace of the stranger, and recognized 
her by the exclamation she made upon seeing 
him. Doubting, however, the possibility of 
what he had witnessed, he screened himself 
in a laurel-bush close to the hedge of the 
path leading from the church to the hall, 
in order to learn, by a closer inspection, 
whether his conjecture was correct or not. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 163 

As she passed, the moon's light fell upon her 
features, and, stopping just opposite to where 
Wilmott stood, he became but too certain 
that he was right in his surmise. 

Confused and agitated at what he had seen, 
some time elapsed ere Wilmott could suffi- 
ciently recover his composure to re-enter the 
house. How to act he did not know. To 
acquaint the squire with what he had seen 
might occasion a shock to his kind happy old 
friend, that time could never efface. To men 
tion it to Kate would, perhaps, discover that 
she was privy to this clandestine meeting. At 
this thought he shuddered. And yet how 
could it be otherwise with two females who 
seemed to have but one mind, and one heart ? 
It appeared certain that Kate must be cogni- 
zant of it. 

Who could the stranger be? pondered 
Wilmott, as he proceeded to rejoin the party. 
Agnes had, evidently, been favourable to the 
addresses of his friend Titley for many weeks. 
Was he, then, merely the blind to dupe her 
uncle the better? It was an inexplicable 



164 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

riddle. Should he inform Titley of what had 
taken place ? 

Such were the thoughts and mental queries 
which occupied Wilmott's confused brain, 
when Agnes and her cousin entered the room. 
The long absence of Kate, after he knew that 
Agnes had returned, strengthened his fears of 
her being aware of the disgraceful interview, 
for disgraceful he was convinced it must be, 
from the manner in which it took place, and 
from its being kept from the squire's know- 
ledge. 

Wilmott had no capacity for concealing his 
thoughts or his feelings, and, when his look 
met that of Agnes, each knew the other was 
aware of what had transpired. He, therefore, 
formed the sudden resolution of seeking an 
early opportunity to inform her of his know- 
ledge of the meeting, and, as the friend of her 
uncle, to ask for an explanation of it, previous 
to mentioning it to him, or to any one else. 

It was on the morning after Titley's depar- 
ture for London, that Wilmott walked to the 
Hall later than usual, in order to escape a 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 165 

morning's rabbit-shooting with the squire. He 
saw Kate in the park, accompanied by her 
brace of favourite greyhounds, which were 
racing to and fro upon the bank of the river ; 
and, avoiding her for the first time in his life 
intentionally, he entered the Hall with the 
hope of finding Agnes alone. Nor was he 
disappointed. 

Agnes was seated at a writing-desk in the 
drawing-room, with a pen between two of her 
fingers, while the remainder of her fair hand 
was pressed upon her brow. She appeared in 
the deepest contemplation. Her luxuriant 
curls were thrown back from her forehead, 
and her flushed features bore an expression of 
great anxiety. She held a letter in one hand, 
which rested upon the desk, and with knitted 
brow she was gazing at it with a look of 
mingled sorrow and of anger. On Wilmott's 
entering she raised her eyes, and started at 
seeing him. One of her lips was pressed be- 
tween her teeth so strenuously that the blood 
started when she separated them to return the 
customary greeting. 



166 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Pray pardon this intrusion," said Wilmott, 
coldly ; " but I have sought this interview to 
solicit an explanation of a scene that I was 
accidentally a witness to four evenings since." 

" An explanation, Mr. Ashley!" exclaimed 
Agnes, haughtily. 

" Yes," replied Wilmott, quickly, " an ex- 
planation, or I shall feel myself bound, without 
farther delay, to relate to your uncle, and my 
esteemed friend, precisely what I saw. But 
God forbid that I should have to do so with- 
out being able to administer the antidote with 
the poison ! And to seek that antidote I am 
now here." 

" Do you then really suppose, Mr. Ashley, 
that any conduct of mine could demand your 
interference, or require palliation ?" asked 
Agnes, her eyes flashing, and her lips quiver- 
ing with excitement. 

" This is not a moment for me to return an 
answer to that question," replied Wilmott. 
" I came not to offend you, but to say that 
I witnessed your meeting with a stranger in 
the churchyard, and to make known to you 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 167 

my intention of informing your uncle of it. 
As there may be, and as I fervently hope 
there are, circumstances to account for, or at 
least to excuse, this apparent unkindness to 
one who never deserved any from a single 
creature living, and to explain the seeming 
imprudence of the transaction, I fervently 
hope you will not refuse to explain those cir- 
cumstances." 

While Wilmott was speaking, the anger of 
Agnes passed away. The fire sparkling in 
her hazel eyes a few seconds before was suc- 
ceeded by large tears, which for a moment 
hung as they rose upon the silken fringe, and 
then stole silently down her cheeks, as if the 
floodgates of her heart were opened. She 
bent an imploring look upon Wilmott, and, 
catching his hand in hers, said with a heaving 
breast and choked voice — 

" Pray do not let me suffer in your esti- 
mation. Indeed I do not deserve to lose your 
good opinion." 

Words may be withstood, even when they 
come to us in the silvery tone of a woman's 



168 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

voice; though it is very hard to resist the plead- 
ing of a pair of lovely lips ; but when to these 
are added the silent eloquence of tears, he must 
be more or less than man who can refuse to 
be propitiated. When Wilmott saw the in- 
tense suffering the poor girl was enduring, all 
his resolution evaporated. As the relative 
and companion of Kate, his affection for her 
was second only to that he entertained for her 
cousin. In personal attractions she was quite 
equal to Kate. Indeed, so great a resemblance 
existed between the two cousins that no one 
could admire one without being charmed with 
the other. In purity of thought and conduct 
too, Wilmott, up to the night of the church- 
yard meeting, believed Agnes as immaculate 
as mortal could be. Nothing could have 
made him credit the possibility of her being 
otherwise, except the indubitable evidence of 
his eyes. When, however, he perceived the 
extreme mental agony that Agnes was suf- 
fering, his anger became almost forgotten in 
the sorrow which he felt for her. 

" In the name of Heaven, Agnes, let me 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 169 

know the worst," lie said, supporting her to a 
sofa, and taking a seat by her side. " In any 
case, you may rely upon my friendship." 

Agnes tried to thank him, but the words 
died upon her lips. 

" Is Kate aware of this ?" inquired Wil- 
mott. 

" She is not," replied Agnes. 

" I thank Heaven for it !" exclaimed he, 
passionately ; "I was afraid that she too — " 

" Stop, Mr. Ashley," interrupted Agnes, 
her features again lit with excitement; " make 
no observation that you would blush to re- 
member. You have said I might rely upon 
your friendship. I have need of it, and w T ill 
accept the generous offer with gratitude ; but 
do not express any opinion — if possible, do 
not form any — -concerning my conduct, until 
you are acquainted with the circumstances out 
of which it has arisen." 

Wilmott signified his assent, and Agnes, 
somewhat reassured, proceeded more calmly. 

" I must, however, try the strength of your 
friendship, and learn if the thread of it be of 

VOL. i. i 



170 HE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

the silken or the spider's film. Now listen," 
resumed she, after a momentary pause. " How- 
ever strange it may appear, however culpable 
I may seem in your eyes, I must entreat of 
you not to whisper a word of what you saw 
to my uncle or to any one. At the same time, 
you must believe me free from all blame, even 
without learning the explanation which, if per- 
mitted, I could give you." 

" Will you not tell me who the stranger 
is?" asked Wilmott, astonished at this in- 
creased mystery. 

" I cannot," replied Agnes. 

" Was that the first meeting?" 

" It was not." 

" Shall you meet him again ?" 

" I shall," replied Agnes. 

" In what relation do you stand to the 
person you met ?" asked Wilmott. 

" I must not say," was the reply. 

" Then, with your request for secrecy it is 
impossible for me to comply," rejoined he. 

" Oh ! do not say so," exclaimed Agnes, 
beseechingly. " I will tell you all, the instant 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 171 

T can do so without danger to others. Now, 
it is impossible. If you inform my uncle, I 
will say no more to him than I have said to 
you, whatever the consequences may be." 

Wilmott was so puzzled at this declaration, 
and at the whole conduct of Agnes, that he 
did not know what course to pursue. For 
some strong reason or other, she was evidently 
resolved to keep up the mystery in which the 
transaction was enveloped. Even Kate had 
not been confided in, and therefore Wilmott 
could not doubt that she would refuse even a 
command from her uncle to disclose the secret. 
To apprise him of the interview would of 
course produce a firm and serious demand for 
an explanation, which would apparently be 
as firmly denied ; and this issue must involve 
a clashing discord, that had never before hap- 
pened in the old manor-house. And yet it 
appeared to be Wilmott's duty to make the 
squire acquainted with what he knew. "Wil- 
mott's brain reeled with conflicting thoughts. 
He was in a chaos of difficulties. 

After Agnes had expressed her resolution 

I 2 



172 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

of concealment, a long silence ensued. She 
was too affected to speak further, yet the 
expression of her face plainly revealed the 
anguish of her heart. Solicitude and care 
were stamped on her hitherto laughing, happy 
features. Sorrow clouded the once sunny 
brow, and dimmed the lustre of her eyes. 
Wilmott saw these evidences of grief, and 
there was something about them which spake 
so plainly of purity and innocence, that the 
eloquent appeal was not to be resisted. Agnes 
looked oppressed, but free from wrong. The 
pride of her conscious heart flashed in her 
eyes, as she met unmoved the steady gaze 
which Wilmott bent upon her. That one 
look told the tale to which her tongue could 
not give words ; and Wilmott was convinced 
that she was guiltless of any fault, but was 
undergoing some painful ordeal, from which 
she would ultimately emerge with unblemished 
rectitude. 

" I scarcely know why," said he, " but I 
feel certain that you are free from all impu- 
tation of blame. Still the affair is so incom- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 173 

prehensible, that if your uncle were informed 
of it, without an explanation, I am convinced 
that great unhappiness would ensue." 

" Which is my reason for wishing him not 
to know any thing about it," replied Agnes, 
" for I most certainly could not at this time 
explain it." 

" Will you tell me why ?" said Wilmott. 

" Yes," replied Agnes; " a sacred pro- 
mise — an oath — prevents my confessing a 
word to any one." 

" How long will this continue so ?" in- 
quired Wilmott. 

"Not longer than a month, I hope," said 
Agnes. 

" Then for that time I am silent," rejoined 
he. 

" Thank you, thank you," exclaimed Ag- 
nes, eagerly. 

" Heaven knows whether I am acting cor- 
rectly or not," said he ; " but I do it for the 
best." 

" There is no cause for your apprehension," 
rejoined Agnes. " All will be well now that 



174 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

you have promised to be silent for the time I 
require." 

" Heaven grant it may !" said Wilmott. 

" At the end of the month," added Agnes 
— " probably before — I will communicate to 
you a satisfactory explanation of my con- 
duct." 

" And your uncle," added Wilmott. 

" That must depend upon another's con- 
sent," replied Agnes. 

" Say no more," rejoined he. " Each word 
puzzles and distresses me. For a month from 
this day I will believe you free from wrong ; 
at the end of that time I must hope to know 
it." 

" You shall," said Agnes. 

" Till then, let us not recur to the subject," 
rejoined Wilmott, preparing to depart. 

Agnes was now greatly relieved from her 
anxious apprehension : a cloud seemed to have 
passed from her features ; and, although the 
rays of mental sunshine which displaced it 
were faint, yet they sparkled into smiles. 

Wilmott had said " Adieu until the even- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 1 75 

ing," and was leaving the room, when Kate 
entered, her superb greyhounds bounding 
and skipping before her. In her hand she 
held a large ball, which the petted animals 
were endeavouring to snatch from their mis- 
tress. 

" Be quiet, rebels," she said, breathless, 
and her cheeks flushed with the exertion she 
had been using. " I thought you were shoot- 
ing with my father," she observed, addres- 
sing Wilmott. 

" I was too late this morning," replied he. 
" Titley sent me a letter, which required a 
reply, and I remained at home to write one." 

Wilmott noticed that Agnes hurried the 
contents of her writing-desk into a drawer, 
upon the entrance of her cousin, and locked 
it. 

" How is Mr. Powis Titley ? But I sup- 
pose that question has been asked already," 
said Kate, archly. 

Agnes blushed, and turned her head away. 

" I think not," replied Wilmott. " But 
he's quite well." 



176 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Not inquired after ere this !" exclaimed 
Kate, affecting great astonishment. " Mar- 
vellous lapse of memory ! When does he 
return ?" 

" The latter end of next week," replied 
Wilmott. 

" My father has determined to pass a 
month in London this winter," said Kate. 
" As soon as the frost commences, we shall 
leave for the delightful whirl of four weeks' 
existence in darling London. How I love 
the noise and racket ! And yet," continued 
she, patting the head of one of the dogs, which 
crouched at her feet, " it pleases me far more 
to return, for a game of romps with Mercury 
here." 

Wilmott smiled at the enthusiastic girl, 
and inquired if her morning's walk was con- 
cluded. 

" Not yet," replied Kate. " I intend 
having a quiet ramble without these boisterous 
companions, and so returned to leave thern 
at home." 

" May I join you ?" said Wilmott. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 177 

" Certainly," was the reply. " Will you 
accompany us, Agnes ?" continued Kate. 

" Not this morning," replied her cousin. 
" My time is fully occupied." 

" Then come, Mr. Ashley ; we'll commence 
our walk," said Kate. 

Agnes watched her cousin and Wilmott 
from the window, and saw him, when some 
distance from the hall, offer his arm to Kate, 
and apparently address her with unusual in- 
terest. Her head was slightly hent towards 
the ground, and turned aside as they pro- 
ceeded. 

When Kate returned, her features wore a 
flush which had never before glowed on them 
so brightly. Agnes heard her light step as it 
trod upon the stones in the porch, and scarcely 
heard it before she found herself clasped round 
the necK by her cousin, who was bathed in 
tears. 

Need we tell our fair readers what had 
passed during the walk of Agnes and Wil- 
mott Ashley ? 



15 



178 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE TRAPPER AND HIS DOG. 

" We will, fair queen, up to the mountain's top, 
And mark the musical confusion 
Of hounds and echo in conjunction." 

" Here's seals in plenty," said a grey- 
headed, feeble man, stooping over some otter 
tracks in the mud. It was Striver, the ci- 
devant huntsman, now the old trapper, to 
the squire. " And here's the remains of 
last night's supper, I suppose," continued he, 
turning over the fragments of three fine, 
spotted trout upon the bank. " These 
vermin are fresh water lawyers," ejaculated 
Striver, picking a tail up ; " what they can't 
devour they spoil. Now, if master don't 
drag this morning, I shall take the busi- 
ness into my own hands, by setting a trap to- 
night." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 179 

Striver bore a very different appearance from 
that when he cheered the hounds, mounted 
on a high-mettled horse, and equipped in the 
scarlet livery. Instead of the black velvet 
cap, he wore one composed of the skin of a 
tortoise-shell mouser, whose taste urged her 
to attempt the capture of something more 
noble than the vermin tribe, and which ended 
in her own capture between two rows of cold 
iron teeth. From his shoulders, where the 
attractive pink used to be, a brown, loose 
smock-frock hung to his heels. Coarse cordu- 
roy knee-breeches, high leather leggings, and 
thick, iron-tipped boots, completed his cos- 
tume. In one hand he held an instrument he 
designated " a spud," to assist him in setting 
his traps. In the other he grasped three 
warm skins, just flayed from a leash of poach- 
ing tabbies. A short-cropped, bob-tailed, 
wiry-terrier, sat upon his haunches, within 
a few feet of his master, watching with 
great interest his every movement. When his 
owner looked at the marks in the mud, the 
terrier put his head knowingly on one side, 



1 80 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

and also examined the seals stamped by the 
ball-footed otter. If the trapper moved a 
foot in advance, he too did the same ; if one 
was retraced, he also retreated. Whatever 
movement his master made, the dog replied by 
a corresponding movement. 

" A pretty cribber of trout, ain't he, But- 
ton ?" said Striver to his dog. 

Button rose from his squatting posture, 
doubtlessly from gratification at the com- 
pliment of being addressed in such good 
English, and replied, by wagging the short 
remains of his tail ; which reply, being in- 
terpreted, signified that the otter was a pretty 
cribber of trout. A hearty, concluding shake 
implied the emphasis. 

Taking all the abandoned parts of the fish 
he could find with him, Striver walked lei- 
surely away. The terrier ran close to his 
heels in a short trot, and both took a direct 
road, from the bank of the river towards the 
Hall, which was just visible in the perspective. 
But, before the trapper and his companion had 
proceeded many yards, a large, round, silver 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 181 

watch was extracted from a fob of the size 
of a coachman's pocket, and the course of 
time gleaned from its white-faced dial. 

" It's twenty minutes to five, Button," said 
Striver. 

Button pricked his pointed ears, inclined 
his head sideways, and looked as if he ques- 
tioned the accuracy of the report. " No, it 
ain't," continued his master, inspecting more 
closely the specimen of a primitive watch- 
maker's handicraft ; " it's twenty minutes 
past five, Button. My eyes grows worser 
an' worser every day." 

Button put his ears back and gave a slight 
whimper, probably meaning to say, " I know 
that as well as you." 

" The squire's a flower that don't open afore 
six," added Striver ; " so we'll finish the traps 
before we go up to the house." 

Button acquiescingly wagged what was left 
of his tail, and followed his master, who turned 
in an opposite direction from the hall. Their 
way was on the verge of the river towards a 
dark wood, looming through the gray mist in 



1S2 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

the distance. A long row of willows grew upon 
the bank, and drooped their branches gracefully 
into the babbling stream. Patches of green 
sedges reared themselves from the clear water, 
and waived their flags as it gurgled past. Here 
and there, a splash and a few floating bubbles 
showed the " whereabout " of one of the 
finny tribe. 

Striver, as he walked slowly along, leaning 
upon his " spud," peered occasionally into the 
river to look for a fish. At last he saw a 
large pike just beneath the surface. The de- 
spoiler was motionless, as if taking a nap after 
his depredations of the night. 

" Ah !" exclaimed the trapper ; " we'll set 
a night-line for you, my fine fellow — won't 
we, Button ?" 

But Button did not attend to the proposal ; 
a very rare exception to his established rule. 
All his senses were occupied at the moment 
with the appearance of a water-rat gliding 
among some rushes. Splash ! he leaped into 
the stream, making it hiss and sparkle in the 
tints of the new-born day, like an endless 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 183 

succession of fairy lights. The trapper was 
startled with the sudden jump of his dog 
Button ; but soon discovered the object of it. 

" Nip him, Button," shouted he, as the 
eager terrier scrambled among the rushes, 
puffing and blowing. " Bring him here, good 
dog," he added, pleased with the sport, and 
longing for Button to achieve a victory. 

Now the enemy's sharp nose appeared at 
the edge of the secreting patch. A snuffle, 
as if the water was making unpleasant ingress 
to Button's nostrils, and a plunge forwards, 
drove the rat into the open space. Then 
came the struggle with the swimmers. The 
fugitive strained all his powers to gain the 
next bed of thick grown flags, but Button 
neared him too fast. A few more strokes, and 
he must be taken. 

" Nip him, Button, nip him ! good dog ! 
Bring him here !" were the different cheerings 
of old Striver, as he witnessed the praise- 
worthy exertions of his favourite. Button's 
whiskered jaws were expanded to snatch his 
prey, when — ! the precarious tenure of ca- 
nine as well as human hope! — the rat dived. 



184 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Choke his dipping!" exclaimed Striver, 
passionately. 

Button was in a passion too, and he no more 
cared to conceal it than his master. He turned 
round and round, making wide eddies in the 
current, snapped his teeth, and gnashed them 
with rage, but exhibited no symptoms of 
giving up the pursuit. Making for the shore, 
he leaped upon the bank, and shook the water 
from his saturated coat. Then, sitting upon 
the edge, with glistening eye and watchful ear 
he waited quietly but impatiently for the rat's 
breathing moment. 

Nearly a minute elapsed, and Striver was 
on the point of breaking the silence of the 
scene, when up came the exhausted rat for 
air. Button bounded, with the spring of an 
antelope, close to where the rat rose, and 
again he was compelled to dive. But it was 
for a moment only. Again he was on the 
surface, struggling for very life. On paddled 
the two ; but at each stroke Button made the 
distance fearfully short between him and his 
victim. A few seconds more — a snap — a 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 185 

squeak — and Button landed the mutilated 
body of the rat at the feet of his highly-grati- 
fied master. 

" You're a wonder, Button," said Striver, 
stroking his dog's neck. " If there was a house 
of parliament where members was dogs, you'd 
be the speaker, in my opinion," continued he, 
giving him at the same time an encouraging- 
smack on the head, which prostrated Button 
on the sod. Button knew what this meant, 
and rose from the ground prouder than ever, 
elevating his want of tail to the highest pos- 
sible degree, and tracking his master's foot- 
steps with an air of more conceit than a newly- 
fledged exquisite displays in his first lounge 
up Regent Street, or a young equestrian, when 
first he displays his horsemanship in the pre- 
sence of his lady-love. 

When Striver entered the wood, he com- 
menced a strict examination of the various 
traps within his exclusive jurisdiction. Some 
had polecats, others grasped weasels ; a few 
had not been touched, but none were baitless, 
and yet without victims. When he was quite 



186 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

satisfied of these results, he said, " Ah ! it 
takes us to snig vermin, Button. Not a trap 
sprung, or ever is hardly without effects." 

Button's silence gave assent to the propo- 
sition. 

All things being as could be wished, the 
trapper now prepared to return. As he was 
leaving the wood, he caught a glimpse of a 
man sitting under a tree, and so placed as if 
wishing to conceal himself. Button spied him 
out at the same moment, and by a loud bark 
testified that he was a stranger. Firmly 
clutching his "spud," Striver approached him, 
to discover who possessed the temerity of 
trespassing in this sanctum sanctorum. 

When the stranger saw the trapper ap- 
proach, he left the shade of the tree, and 
came towards him. He had the appearance 
of a gentleman, and bore in his hand no in- 
strument of destruction, but a brown silk 
umbrella. 

" Come to heel, Button," said Striver, as 
Button evinced a disposition to interfere with 
the legs of the stranger. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 187 

With a low angry growl, and a bristled 
back, the mandate was obeyed. 

" No one's allowed here, sir," said Striver, 
addressing the gentleman, and civilly touching 
his cap. 

" Am I committing any injury ?" inquired 
the stranger. 

" You're committing a trespass, sir, and 
you may have disturbed the game," replied 
Striver, who deemed such an offence an aggra- 
vated species of sacrilege. 

" Are you Mr. Scourfield's gamekeeper?" 
inquired the gentleman. 

" I'm the squire's trapper now," said Stri- 
ver. " I was his huntsman for many a long 
year. But old age, sir, crippled, spavined, 
and turned me out to grass at last." 

" Can you take this note for me to the 
Hall ?" asked the stranger, offering one, with 
half-a-crown. 

" Certainly I can, sir. I'm now going 
there," replied Striver, taking the letter and 
the money. " I can't read writing, and never 
could ; but I can read a large printed bible 



188 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Parson Smit gave me," continued he. " Who 
am I to give it to ?" 

" Miss Agnes Scourfield, if you can. If 
not, to her servant, who will convey it to her 
mistress," was the reply. 

" Am I to say who it came from?" inquired 
Striver, his curiosity a little excited. 

" The note will express that, thank you," 
rejoined the stranger, nodding a farewell, and 
leaving the trapper and Button to their re- 
spective meditations. 

The former turned over the letter a great 
many times, and the latter watched alternately 
the departing legs of the stranger, and the un- 
accustomed movements of his master. 

" Well, you're a pleasant speaking gentle- 
man," observed Striver. " But I never seed 
ye afore in these parts. I wonder who ye 
are ! However, that's no business of our's — 
is it, Button ?" 

The reply of Button, which took the form 
of a half-suppressed growl, evidently indicated 
dissent. 

"Ah! I know you don't relish folks coming 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 189 

here. But an umbrella, Button, ain't used to 
gaff salmon," sagely remarked the trapper. 
" 'No, no, no ; he warn't a poacher." 

When the stranger was no longer in view, 
Button regained his placidity of temper. 

" We'll go, by an' by, to the Black Horse, 
and see if he's staying there," said Striver, 
" just to satisfy ourselves. But it's time to 
see the squire, so come along, Button." 

The squire was met by Striver as he had 
just commenced his customary walk before 
breakfast, accompanied by the large New- 
foundland dog, which kept close to his side, 
with his broad nose placed in one of his mas- 
ter's hands. 

" Any thing new ?" asked the squire. 

11 I'm sorry to say it's an old game I'm 
about telling you of, sir," replied the trapper, 
producing the trout tails. " There won't be 
a fish in the river worth a broil in another 
three days," added he, " if the otter ain't 
dragged for at once." 

" We'll not postpone it another day," re- 
plied the squire. " I wanted Mr. Titley to 



190 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

return first, to see the fun. But my trout 
mustn't suffer in this way. We'll try it this 
morning." 

" We're sure to find him," rejoined Striven 

" Your terrier '11 make one of the pack," 
said the squire, snapping his fingers for But- 
ton to approach. 

" What, Button make one, sir ! He's as 
good as a dozen any day," replied the trapper, 
giving his favourite a kick of admiration. 

" Go to the Rookery," continued the squire, 
" and tell Mr. Ashley we must try for the 
otter this morning. You must make up the 
best pack you can. Bolton will assist you." 

" There'll be Button," said Striver, " Mr. 
Ashley's leash of otter hounds, your couple, 
Tom's old harrier, and Peter's three terriers." 

" A capital team," rejoined his master. 
" Be here with them at nine o'clock." 

Striver gave the usual touch of the cap, 
proceeded to the Hall, and, after delivering 
the note to Fanny to give to Miss Agnes, as 
directed, he wended his way to Woodland 
Eookery. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 191 



CHAPTER XL 



THE OTTER HUNT. 



Never did I hear 



Such gallant chiding ; for, besides the groves, 
The skies, the fountains, every region near 
Seem'd all one mutual cry — I never heard 
So musical a discord, such sweet thunder." 

A few minutes before the appointed hour, 
were gathered before the porch the exact num- 
ber of dogs mentioned by the trapper. Tom 
Bolton, William, Striver, Peter Bumstead, 
and Jack Tiggle, were sitting on the stone 
seat inside, waiting for the order to march to 
the scene of action. 

" You'll hunt the pack to-day, Striver," 
said Tom. " It'll raise your spirits." 

" I was thinking, if there's no objection — " 

" Objection — bah ! " interrupted Tom. 
" Who is to object?" 

" I'll try to put 'em right, then," said 
Striver, pleased at the idea of again control- 
ling the harmonious pack, even for a day. 



192 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

The red-nosed butler came at this moment, 
and summoned Striver to the presence of his 
master. 

" Poor old fellow !" said Mr. Bolton, when 
the trapper was gone ; " he's as pleased as a 
child with a new toy. Look there, Will," 
continued he, pointing to the dogs ; " there's 
a queer mixture for a huntsman to feel proud 
in opening a cheer to ! Ha, ha, ha ! Poor 
Striver ! I'm sure he drank gin an' bitters be- 
fore breakfast in his foalish days." 

" Good morning, Tom," said Wilmott, 
making his appearance suddenly. " I haven't 
kept you all waiting, I hope." 

" No, sir, no," replied the whipper-in. 
" And, if you had, our horses wouldn't have 
been impatient at this meet," said he, pro- 
ducing a long, thick stick. 

All being ready, the party proceeded to- 
wards the river. Striver led the way, with a 
loftier gait than had been assumed by him for 
some time. In his hand he carried an old 
whip, which had been used when a full, loud 
tally-ho could burst from his lips, and make 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 193 

bill and valley ring again. Instead of the 
catskin cap, an antiquated velvet one was 
donned for the occasion. A faded and pur- 
ple stained scarlet coat was mounted in the 
place of the smock-frock, and a pair of maho- 
gany-coloured top-boots were pulled up, and 
strapped to his buckskin breeches ; but his 
legs had so shrunk since the boots were made 
for them, that they shook and rattled in their 
cases like a couple of flutes. The hounds and 
terriers followed Striver, Button acting as 
leader, with his stump of a tail erect, and 
perfectly stiff with conceit. 

Mr. Bolton, who did not condescend to 
make any alteration in his attire for the un- 
dignified sport, as he thought it, of killing an 
otter, followed with his stick, and, by force 
of habit, acted as whipper-in. Occasionally, 
a thwack from the stick on the back of a re- 
bellious terrier caused a howl, at which Mr. 
Bolton would turn round, and, winking his 
eye at his son, say — " There's music for a 
fox." 

The squire, Wilmott, the gamekeeper, who 
vol. i. K 



194 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

was very surly, and Jack Tiggle, brought up 
the rear. 

In this order they reached the bank, and 
Striver, with his rusty cap raised, cheered the 
pack to commence operations. He tried to 
render the halloo deep and loud, but the at- 
tempt was a failure. Like the tinkling from 
a cracked sheep's bell, the sound was any 
thing but either harmonious or inspiring. 

" What a fine old nurse he'd make !" whis- 
pered Tom, to his son. 

" Let him have his own way," said William. 
"Where are the seals you spoke of?" 
asked the squire. 

" A little lower down, sir," replied Striver. 

" Are they fresh ?" inquired Wilmott. 

" Last night's treading," replied the trapper. 

" Then we shall hit him off to a certainty," 

added Tom. " Try on, Capable," said he, to 

one of the squire's hounds — a broad-headed, 

sandy-backed dog, of the hardy southern 

breed. 

Capable lifted his rough tail, and, gallop- 
ing along the edge of the stream, began the 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 195 

business of the day. Button, however, was 
very jealous of Capable's proceedings, and, 
wherever he went, in anticipation of his drop- 
ping upon the right scent, pertinaciously 
stuck his nose in the exact spot where the 
old otter hound did. 

Half the party walked on one side of the 
river, and the other on the opposite side. 
Peter requested Jack to take the other side, 
but Jack persisted in keeping close to the 
keeper, for the purpose of enjoying his surli- 
ness, and playing him any trick that opportu- 
nity might suggest. 

" Button sticks to Capable — Jack sticks to 
Bumstead," replied he, to the gamekeeper's 
desire. 

The pack began to discover traces of the 
poaching stream-attorney, and were shaking 
their tails with delight, as their sensitive 
nostrils inhaled the first slight evidence of his 
neighbourhood, when a plunge from under an 
old tree, floating partly in the water, and 
moored to the bank by its thick roots, caused 
a full note from Capable. In a moment he 

k 2 



196 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

was answered by Button, who squeaked a 
joyful response, and leaped into the river with 
the hound. 

" Hark to Capable !" screamed Striver. 

" Hark to Button !" shouted Tom, roaring 
with laughter, as he saw the trapper trying 
to lay on the pack in fox-hunting style. 

Within a few yards of Capable's jaws, an 
otter of the largest size showed himself for an 
instant, and then darted under water. low, 
all was noise and excitement. The hounds 
and terriers gave tongue, and jumped simul- 
taneously into the stream, swimming, dashing 
through the sedges, and sending the water 
into a white foam far and wide. 

The squire ran forwards with the nimble- 
ness of a boy, to watch for the rising of the 
spirited otter, which required no terrier to 
draw him for the run. 'At the first summons 
he burst from his tenement, under the roots 
of the tree, seeming to scorn the game of hide 
and seek. 

In a few moments his long whiskers were 
visible from among some duck-weed, and his 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 197 

head turned watchfully towards his pursuers. 
Wilmott saw him first, and dashed into the 
water, up to his chin, after the vermin, to 
prevent his getting breath. 

" That's right, my boy," said the squire, 
admiring the spirit of Wilmott. " Keep him 
short of wind, and he must run." 

Here and there the dogs went, full of 
ardour, puffing, sneezing, and crying with 
pleasure. The stream, that was as clear as 
crystal, became clouded with the stirring up 
struggles of the quadrupeds and bipeds, who 
invaded the domains of its natural inhabitants. 
Striver appeared to lose the stiffness of his 
joints, and, careless of the chances of rheuma- 
tism, and the damage to his boots, waded in 
the water, to cheer on the hounds. Mr. 
Bolton, however, chose to be with the squire, 
an exception to the general rule, and re- 
mained upon the shore, using his voice and 
his stick. 

" Why don't you jump in, Tom ?" inquired 
the squire. 

" You see, sir, I must remain out to whip 
in," replied he. 



198 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

The squire shook his head, and laughing, 
rejoined, " You're a sly fox, Tom." 

Again the otter showed himself. The 
keeper was standing up to his knees in the 
river at the time he saw the object of pursuit 
on the surface. Forgetful of the depth, he 
threw himself towards the otter, and instantly- 
sunk in a deep hole. Not a vestige was to 
be seen of Peter for a few moments, except 
some large air-bubbles which rose to burst 
upon the top. At last up he came, scram- 
bling and throwing his arms about like a 
windmill in convulsions. 

" Oh, oh, oh !" gasped Peter, spluttering 
the muddy water from his mouth. 

" Catch this," hallooed Jack, holding to- 
wards Peter a long pole which he carried. 

The keeper seized the pole, and was being 
towed safely to land, ere the accident was 
generally known. 

" Pull, Mr. Bumstead !" shouted Jack ; " I 
can hold." 

Peter gave an extra lug at this order, 
anxious to regain his footing, when Jack 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 199 

purposely pushed the stick towards the float- 
ing gamekeeper, and, letting it go, backwards 
went poor Peter again under water. His hat 
skipped about on the dancing wave, and the 
bubbles floated once more ; but nothing was 
to be seen of Peter Bumstead himself. Just 
at this moment, exactly where he had sunk, 
the hounds plunged in quest of the otter ; and 
as, like buoyant cork, up came Peter to the 
surface, he was instantly seized in a nameless, 
but honourable part of his corpus, by Capable. 

" Oh ! Lord !" exclaimed Peter, as the 
hound's upper and lower teeth met. 

" He takes him for an otter,'' shouted 
Jack. 

All roared with laughter, except Peter, 
who roared with pain, at this new feature in 
the otter-hunt. 

When something like order was restored, 
and Mr. Bolton had almost concluded his 
laugh, he extended the assistance of his stick 
to Peter, and dragged him up the bank. 

" You're not hurt, Peter, I hope," said the 
squire. 



200 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

The keeper, with a very rueful countenance, 
and rubbing his terminus tenderly, replied, 
" That he believed the injury wasn't serious''' 

"JSTo," said the squire — " the reverse, I 
should think, by the laughter it has caused." 

Striver paid no attention to the dip of the 
keeper ; but was most indignant at Capable's 
error. Giving the hound two or three severe 
cuts with his whip, he called out, — 

""Warn Bumstead! warn Bumstead, Ca- 
pable!" 

" There he goes !" cried Jack, as the otter 
climbed up the bank, fifty yards distant. 

"Come away! come away!" shouted 
Striver, emerging from the river. 

Every dog obeyed the order, and off they 
started, running the otter in view along the 
edge of the stream. With his taper tail 
slightly turned upwards, and his long body 
almost touching the ground, the otter rattled 
away at an astonishing rate. The hounds, 
followed by the yelping terriers, pressed him 
along in full cry for little more than a mile, 
when he again darted into the water. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 201 

Notwithstanding the pace, Wilmott, Wil- 
liam, and Jack, were well up. Tom came 
next ; Peter, puffing, followed him ; and the 
squire ran a good sixth. Striver was dis- 
tanced; and some few minutes elapsed ere 
he came up, to resume the duties of hunts- 
man. 

" Now, then," said the squire, " press him, 
press him !" 

Some jumped in above where the otter 
did, others below, and all watched for his 
re-appearance. Up he came between his ene- 
mies, and was nearly seized by the indefati- 
gable Button. Down he darted again, and 
the undaunted Button followed him in the 
dive. 

"There's an out-an-outer !" exclaimed his 
master, proud beyond description at the bold 
deed of his favourite. 

In an instant the otter rose again, and, 
mounting the bank, took the land once more. 
Button was close to his quarters as the otter 
emerged from the river, and led the pack by 
many yards before all had made good their 

K 5 



202 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

exit. Straight away from the stream, across 
a long grass field, the otter went at a merry 
pace, followed close by all the dogs, while the 
sportsmen put their best legs foremost, to ren- 
der the rear as short as possible between them 
and the hounds. 

" He's making for the mill-pond," said 
Tom to the squire, running about neck and 
neck. 

" If he gets there, we shall lose him among 
the strong holes," replied the squire, in want 
of breath, and holding his hat in his hand, 
while his white hair streamed backwards in 
the wind. 

In full chorus the hounds swept on ; and, 
as they dipped over the brow of a hill, Tom 
exclaimed, " He'll never reach the mill." 

The otter was now w T ithin a hundred yards 
of a wide, deep pond, on the side of which 
stood the ruins of an old watermill. The 
click-clack of the wheel had been stilled for 
half a century, and scarcely a board of the 
building but was cracked, blistered, and co- 
vered with grey moss. It had been in the 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 203 

fostering care of the court of chancery so long 
that all claimants to the property were dead, 
and even their names were forgotten. 

The fugitive was almost preparing for his 
dip, when Button's sharp teeth snapped at his 
quarters, but missed them. Another spring, 
and he seized the otter across his loins, as he 
was on the extreme edge of the bank, and 
both tumbled over into the water. In an 
instant the otter's teeth were fixed in his ene- 
my's cheek, and thus both remained for nearly 
a minute under water. Button's gripe, how- 
ever, was the severest, and proved the death 
one to the otter. 

When Wilmott, who was first, arrived, the 
gallant little dog had just risen with his vic- 
tim, and the hounds immediately assisted him 
by adding their teeth to the grasp. 

After all had come up, except Striver, a 
considerable time elapsed before the hunts- 
man, pro tern., made his appearance. When 
he did so, he saw a fine dog-otter dead upon the 
bank, and Button, much exhausted, stretched 
out by his side. 



204 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Who notched him first, do ye know ?" 
inquired he, with the perspiration running 
down his face. 

" Your dog Button," replied Wilmott. 

Striver looked at Button ; his eyes sparkled 
with pride and pleasure ; his lips wore a sunny 
smile; and, as his tongue could not express 
his inward satisfaction, he silently took But- 
ton in his arms, dripping as he was, and 
pressed him rapturously to his bosom. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 205 



CHAPTER XII. 



THE NIGHT BRAWL. 



" Sorrow breaks seasons, and reposing hours ; 
Makes the night morning, and the noon-tide night." 

" Past three o'clock !" bawled one of those 
(so called) guardians of the night, known 
among the Tom and Jerry school of the day 
as " a Charley," poking his night-capped head 
out of the watchbox in Leicester Square. 
" Past three o'clock !" he repeated, and was 
settling himself for another snooze, when two 
Cythereans of the pave* accosted him. 

" You old croaker," said one. " It isn't 
past three." 

" It's just struck two," added the other,, 
concluding the sentence with a wish, which, 
if it had been allowed to take effect, must 
have been very detrimental to the eyes of the 
party addressed. 



206 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Come, young women," retorted he, " if 
you don't want shopping, you'll go home." 

" Home ! ha, ha, ha ! " screamed one. 
" Home, Bet ! ha, ha, ha !" and the hollow, 
heartless laugh pealed from her lips in a tone 
such as might be anticipated from the marble 
lips of a statue. 

" The gin-shop ain't open yet, so we can't 
get in, sir," said the other, with assumed po- 
liteness. 

"If it was, he'd be there," rejoined the 
first speaker. 

" And spunging upon a pal," added her 
companion. 

" Yes, he's a fancy man," said the other. 

" No more chaff," growled the watchman, 
taking his rattle in one hand, and his staff in 
the other, " or you'll find yourselves in limbo." 

" And described to the beak, in the morn- 
ing, as unfortunate females," was the rejoinder. 

" A pretty way to insult us ladies," added 
the other, tossiug her head with pretended 
dignity, and walking away with her associate 
in vice and misery. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 207 

The wretched wanderer of the night, whose 
only "home" is the noisome stew, reeking with 
the foul breath of infamy ; whose emaciated, 
squalid, and care-worn features are bedaubed 
with the mockery of health ; whose diseased 
and attenuated frame is decked in the gaudy 
rags of by-gone pleasure ; whose heart is 
sapped, whose memory is blighted, and whose 
breast is hopeless — none regard her with com- 
passion — most with profound loathing and 
contempt. Few think of the hidden rock 
on which the fair vessel struck. The effect 
is seen and condemned, but the fatal cause 
escapes mole-eyed censure. Who thinks upon 
the probable treachery, falsehood, and villany 
that have been exerted to corrupt the unbe- 
friended, weak, and too-confiding woman ? 
"Who inquires if the depravity, which glares 
in every expression, was drawn in with the 
first breath of life, and the blood tainted in 
the veins by the authoress of her being ? Not 
one among the million that spurn the poor 
outcast, and, by adding to her misery, think 
to increase the moral observance on which they 



203 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

plume themselves. The creature of unhappy 
destiny — she who drew her first nourishment 
from the bosom of crime and ignorance — whose 
first lisp of infancy was the instructed curse — 
is thought of only as a wretch fitted for the 
cell and the felon's brand. The victim to 
fraud and perjury, whose every comfort, every 
joy, every hope, is shattered and annihilated 
— whose once tender heart is made callous by 
sorrow — is remembered only to be despised. 
Meek-eyed Mercy seldom sits in judgment 
on either. 

Up a narrow court, leading out of the 
square towards the Haymarket, loud voices of 
men were heard, as if in violent contention. 
"Watch!" was repeatedly called, when rattles 
from various quarters were sprung. A few wo- 
men, and three or four houseless boys, followed 
by some watchmen, muffled up in great-coats, 
hurried to the scene of quarrel. 

At the door of a house stood a man, with- 
out his hat, kicking it with all his force. The 
first-floor room was well lit, and, from the 
noise which proceeded from it, a great many 
persons were evidently congregated there. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 209 

" Oh ! it 's a gambling shindy," said a girl, 
as if it was no unusual circumstance. 

" Now, what 's the matter ? " inquired a 
watchman. 

" Look here," replied the man, pointing to 
his left cheek, which exhibited a frightful 
gash, and a contusion over his eye, which had 
nearly closed it, " I 've been ill-used and 
robbed." 

Three watchmen had assembled, and, after 
holding a consultation, one said, " You must 
come away now, and get a warrant in the 
morning." 

" "Warrant ! — I '11 have my money," shouted 
the excited man, repeating his assault at the 
door. 

A scuffle inside, and a violent struggle, were 
now audible. 

" Keep the door," hallooed some one. 

"Murder! murder!" was now cried, and 
something fell heavily in the passage. 

The watchmen flew to the door, and, by 
pushing and kicking it with their utmost force 
for a few moments, open it flew upon its 



210 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

hinges, and out rushed Powis Titley, followed 
by a man, who attempted to seize him as he 
leaped down the steps of the entrance, but 
was prevented by the clutch of a watchman. 

"Here's a dem'd exhibition!" exclaimed 
he, standing in the middle of the street, ex- 
amining his soiled and tattered garments. 

" Have you got the money ? " asked the 
man, eagerly, whose face was lacerated. 

"Here's the bank," replied Titley, pro- 
ducing a long cash-box, with pieces of bright 
wire crossed at the top, admitting a view of 
some notes and gold ; " help yourself to the 
five hundred, and then return the box with the 
balance, and let 's be off," rejoined Titley. 

" It 's a robbery," screamed the man, strug- 
gling to get away from the united grasp of the 
watchmen. 

" Be quiet. You know it ain't nothing of 
the kind," said one of the watchmen. 

"You'll get yourselves into trouble here," 
said another, who had him fast round the waist. 
" See how you've mauled 'em." 

" I don't care," bawled the prisoner, mad 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 211 

with passion. " He's smashed us up. Let 
me get at him." 

" Hush, Isaac !" said a herculean-made man, 
coming out of the passage, armed with a short 
poker bent in the middle. " It 's no use. 
Bring him in," continued he, beckoning to the 
watchmen, and holding a sovereign in his fin- 
gers as a present for the service. 

The men conducted their prisoner into the 
house, who became instantly quiet, and the 
door was being closed, when Titley ran up 
the steps, and presented the cash-box to 
the man who had given the directions. The 
fellow snatched it from Titley's hand, and, 
muttering an oath, slammed the door in his 
face. 

" No matter!" exclaimed Titley, flourishing 
his crushed and battered hat. " Victory ! 
victory ! Although it has been purchased," 
continued he, separating the skirts of his coat, 
which were split up to the collar, " like many 
others won by British valour, at a great ex- 
pence of blood and uniform." 

"I am much injured," said his compa- 



212 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

nion, staggering to a lamp-post, and leaning 
against it. 

" Good God ! what a wound !" exclaimed 
Titley, for the first time perceiving the cut 
and bruise his companion had received. 

" A brute struck me with a poker when I 
was upon the ground," replied he, in a faint 
voice. 

" We must get a surgeon immediately," 
rejoined Titley. " Lean on me." 

The two, as they slowly proceeded towards 
a red and yellow lamp, the usual sign of a 
vendor of drugs and blisters, exhibited proofs 
of severe treatment. Without a hat, the front 
of his shirt torn out, a sleeve of his coat rent 
from the cuff to the shoulder, bruised, gashed, 
and his hair clotted with blood, hobbled Tit- 
ley's companion. His dress equally disor- 
dered, and his nose bleeding profusely, walked 
Titley, stanching the crimson stream with a 
cambric handkerchief, and holding his friend 
up, who must have fallen from weakness, had 
it not been for the support. 

"A dem'd exhibition we make," observed 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 213 

Titley, pulling the handle of a bell, which a 
brass plate announced as being one exclusively 
devoted to night service. " No more Free- 
mason dinners for me. It was the dinner that 
did the damage, not the wine," added he, 
drawing his hands over his inflamed eyes, and 
giving the bell another pull. " What with the 
grand master's health, the senior warden's, 
the junior warden's, the visiters, and the devil 
knows who besides, a fellow gets intoxicated 
merely with getting up and down — particu- 
larly," said he, with emphasis, and giving the 
bell another jerk, which made it tinkle 
shrilly through the house — " particularly 
after eating pickled cabbage." 

" Who's there ?" asked a voice, as a window 
was thrown up. 

Titley looked up, and saw a white night-cap 
in the shape of a sugar-loaf, with a small por- 
tion of a human countenance underneath, 
which had the appearance of a chin. 

" Two successful combatants, who have 
been demnebly licked," replied Titley. 

" Any accident ?" said the voice. 



214 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Simply a fellow's cheek carved in halves," 
replied Titley, sitting his fainting companion 
on the step of the door. 

" I'll be down in a moment," was the re- 
joinder. 

" How are you now ?" inquired Titley of 
his friend. But he only shook his head and 
rested it in one of his hands. His lips were 
colourless, and his pale cheeks showed that he 
was suffering greatly. 

In a short time, bolts, bars, and chains rat- 
tled, and, after considerable pulling at the 
door, which obstinately stuck as long as pos- 
sible, as if indisposed to be disturbed at so 
unseasonable an hour, a little man in a flannel 
dressing-gown, and wearing a pair of large 
silver spectacles, made his appearance. 

" Come in, gentlemen, come in," said he, 
bowing and scraping, and rubbing his hands 
with glee. 

Seeing that Titley staggered under the 
weight of his wounded companion, whom he 
lifted from the ground, the surgeon hurried 
out to assist ; but, the gown being much too 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 215 

long for him, he tripped at almost every step, 
and with his officiousness nearly capsized all 
the party before they got into the surgery. 

" Dear me, dear me, dear me !" quickly ex- 
claimed the surgeon, upon seeing the wound, 
and the state of his patient. 

The fluttering pulse was felt, and lotions, 
lint, ointments, and bandages, were applied 
by the diminutive doctor, who flew about, and 
dived among the jars, bottles, and gallipots, 
with the industry and alacrity of a bee among 
flowers. Presently he added, with a look of 
infinite self-importance, and at the same time 
compounding some medicament : — 

" A surgeon, sir — that is to say, in the pure 
and professional sense of the phrase — a surgeon 
is an ornament to society. I do not allude to 
the well-formed limbs that may be discerned 
through his black silk stockings," (added he, 
glancing complacently at his own nether ex- 
tremities) " nor am I hinting at the classical 
character of his costume. I speak metaphori- 
cally. A surgeon, sir, is a gem cut by the 
hand of social refinement, polished by the 



216 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

practised fingers of Art, and sparkling in the 
diadem of civilized life." 

At the end of this piece of ill-timed ora- 
tory, the disciple of Esculapius looked over 
his spectacles at Titley, to see what effect had 
been produced. Titley did not seem to observe 
what had been said, and gave no reply, but 
commenced an inspection of a large w T hite jar 
containing leeches. 

" Pray, sir, how was this serious wound 
inflicted ?" inquired the surgeon. 

" With a poker, in a fight," replied he. 

" Poker ! fight ! bless me !" exclaimed the 
surgeon, elevating his eyebrows. " Drink 
this, sir," continued he, offering a mixture. 

In a quarter of an hour the operation was 
announced as concluded. 

" Shall I have the pleasure of attending 
you again ?" asked the surgeon, pocketing a 
fee. 

" Yes," replied the patient, " come to — ." 

" Allow me the pleasure of booking your 
address," interrupted the surgeon, taking from 
a shelf a large thick ledger. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 217 

" Henry Ranger, Tavistock Hotel, Covent 
Garden," said the patient, as the doctor en 
tered the name and place of abode in the book. 

" You live there, do you ?" said Titley. 

" Yes, I've done so for some time," replied 
his companion. 

" I'll get a coach, and accompany you," 
rejoined Titley. 

In a few minutes a coach was procured, 
and away it rumbled towards Covent Garden, 
with Titley and his friend, who was much 
better after the surgeon's treatment. 

" I never was in a gaming-house before," 
said Titley. 

" Would to Heaven I could say so !" replied 
his companion, who will be now known as 
Ranger. 

" Do you often visit one ?" inquired Titley. 

" Very often," replied Ranger. 

" It was fortunate that I was passing at 
the time, or you might have been murdered. 
A fellow tried to strangle me, just as the 
watchman broke open the door," observed 
Titley. 

VOL. I. L 



218 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" The devils !" exclaimed Banger, bitterly. 
" I had always lost before, and, for the first 
time winning, they wished to cheat me." 

" I saw that, the moment I entered, from 
the manner of the wretches," rejoined Titley. 
" They all looked abashed, and shuffled away 
one by one." 

" I should not have got a sixpence, if it 
hadn't been for your assistance," said Eanger. 
" The money's as much yours as mine." 

"Nonsense," replied Titley; " it's yours 
by right. I'm glad to have assisted in getting 
it for you." 

" How did you manage to seize the bank ?" 
asked Eanger. 

" I snatched it from the hand of somebody 
who lifted it from the table," replied Titley. 

"And how did you get in?" inquired 
Ranger. 

" The street-door was ajar when I heard 
the cries of help," replied Titley. " And, 
upon gaining the first room at the top of the 
staircase, I saw two men forcing you out of 
it, one holding and the other beating you with 
his clenched fist." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 219 

" You learned the cause of the row from 
me, I suppose," observed Ranger. 

" Yes ; you hallooed out that they had 
cheated you of five hundred pounds," said 
Titley ; " and I soon discovered this to be the 
case." 

" What did you, then ?" inquired Ranger. 

" I tried to obtain silence ; but, failing in 
this, I took your side, and, as I knocked one 
fellow down, I saw you pitched out of the 
house, and found myself alone in my glory. 
Then came kicks and cuffs as thick as hail- 
stones ; but, as a man passed me with the 
cash-box, I seized it from him, and jumped 
down the stairs into the passage, where I was 
caught by the tail of my coat. Then came a 
desperate struggle. A brute twisted his fin- 
gers in my cravat, and, kneeling upon my 
breast, would have strangled me, but for the 
timely assistance of the watchmen." 

" How can I express my obligations to 
you ?" said Ranger, as Titley concluded his 
description of the fray. 

" My dear fellow, you are under greater 

L 2 



220 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

obligations to the dinner I had been to," re- 
plied Titley ; " for I really believe that I 
should not have ventured the cracking of my 
head but for the chivalrous ideas that the 
champagne had put into it." 

They now arrived at the hotel, where Tit- 
ley and a yawning waiter having assisted 
Ranger to his room, he expressed his grate- 
ful thanks for the kindness he had received 
from the hands of a stranger. 

" We need not remain strangers," said 
Titley. " There is something about you that 
I like, and, as soon as I return from the 
country, I will call upon you to renew our 
acquaintance." 

" Pray do," replied Ranger. " But when 
do you leave London ?" 

" This morning, at eight o'clock, for Leices- 
tershire," rejoined Titley. 

" For Leicestershire !" exclaimed Ranger. 

" For Woodland Rookery, Leicestershire," 
added Titley. 

" Why, that is close to Scourfield Hall," 
said Ranger, in a tone of surprise. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 221 

" Quite close," replied Titley. 

" And do you know — " Eanger checked 
himself, and said, " I forget the name." 

" Scourfield. Oh, yes ! I know the fine 
old squire very well," rejoined Titley, not ob- 
serving the confusion which took possession of 
Eanger. 

" How very strange !" said he, as if speak- 
ing to himself. 

" Strange ! not at all, my dear fellow ! 
My friend Ashley, who is about to become a 
son-in-law of the squire's, according to a let- 
ter I received from him yesterday, lives at 
Woodland Eookery, which joins the Scour- 
field estate," said Titley. " But you appear 
to know the locality." 

" I know something of it," replied Eanger, 
as if evading a direct answer. 

" Well, by the time I change these rags 
for my travelling costume," said Titley, " and 
get some coffee, it will be nearly eight. So 
adieu ! may your features regain their attrac- 
tions by the time I meet you again." 

" When will that be ?" inquired Eanger. 



222 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Within a fortnight," replied Titley. 

" Leave me your card," said Ranger. 

" There it is," said Titley, flinging one from 
his case upon the table. " Powis Titley, 
always at your service, except in such matters 
as this morning's business." 

The two exchanged a cordial shake of the 
hand, and Titley left to prepare for his jour 
n ey to Woodland Rookery. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 223 



CHAPTEE XIII. 

A LAWYER HUNT. 

" Marriage is a matter of more worth 
Than to be dealt in by attorneyship." 

" And so you actually risked being killed 
or maimed for some miserable vagabond of a 
gamester," said Wilmott to Titley, as they 
sat in the dining-room at Woodland Eookery, 
before a crackling wood fire. Each was loll- 
ing in the idlest imaginable posture in a deep 
easy chair, inhaling the sweet fume of Ha- 
vann ah's broad leaf, and a table covered with 
glasses and decanters stood very conveniently 
between them. 

" The truth is," replied Titley, " I never 
should have ventured into the den, but for the 
dinner." 

" Who invited you ?" asked Wilmott. 



224 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Lacey Snuds, a city banker, I believe/' 
rejoined Titley. " I got acquainted with him 
in Paris some years ago, and a very good sort 
of fellow he was. Happening to meet him 
in Bond Street the day after my arrival in 
London, he insisted upon my dining with him 
at a Freemasons' spread, where I left him 
slumbering under the table." 

" And you afterwards, under the influence 
of wine " 

" Pardon me," interrupted Titley. " I as- 
sure you it was simply the pickled cabbage, 
and getting up and down so frequently, that 
disarranged my system." 

Wilmott smiled, and said, " Like the squire 
who was sprung at an election dinner ; he 
always declared it was a sour apple that af- 
fected him, not the wine he drank." 

" Whatever was the cause," rejoined Tit- 
ley, "I am glad that I rendered the poor 
devil assistance." 

" If he had been any thing but a gambler, 
so should I," added Wilmott ; " but, being 
one, I think he was unworthy of it." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 225 

" But he is a deuced gentlemanly-looking 
fellow," replied Titley. 

" A great many look better than they are," 
said Wilmott. 

" There's something very superior and in- 
teresting about him," replied Titley, " al- 
though rather rakish." 

" Well, well," said Wilmott, " fill your 
glass, and let's drink the health of the ladies 
of Scourfield Hall." 

After the toast was drunk, Titley inquired 
when his friend's union was to take place. 

" The squire wishes it to be postponed for 
a year," replied Wilmott. " He don't like 
Kate's being married before she's twenty." 

" And the squire's opposition meets with a 
counter and more successful one," observed 
Titley. 

" Not at all," said Wilmott ; " we were 
thinking of getting up a round-robin, but 
abandoned the scheme after deliberation, and 
determined to wait, with all the patience we 
can summons, for the allotted period." 

" Exemplary creatures ! " said Titley. 

L 5 



226 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" But listen, my dear Ashley, to what I re- 
solved upon to-day. Agnes — isn't she a 
Naiad ? — has passively admitted to me that 
in her lively imagination I am a promising 
miniature for a husband. To-morrow, Wil- 
mott, I pop !" 

Wilmott turned hastily round in his chair, 
and, throwing the remains of his cigar into 
the fire with an air of vexation, observed, as 
if thinking aloud — 

" I anticipated this." 

" Did you !" said Titley. " Then you're 
not surprised." 

" Not in the least," rejoined Wilmott. 
" And ." 

" And what ?" inquired Titley, as his friend 
hesitated to finish the sentence. 

Wilmott knew not what to say or do. To 
let Titley pursue the course he had chosen 
seemed like the certainty of securing him a 
refusal under the circumstances ; and on the 
other hand to prevent him, required an expla 
nation that could not be given. Even should 
Agnes accept the offer, it appeared no more 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 227 

than right that Titley should know the mys- 
tery of her conduct, or, indeed, before he 
made it. So thought Wilmott; but, not 
wishing to take any hasty step, he determined 
to reflect ere he acted. 

" I need not express how much I hope for 
the happiness of the affair to all parties con- 
cerned," continued Wilmott, moodily. 

" Thank you, "Wilmott," said Titley ; " I 
knew you'd say so, although you stick in the 
middle, as I did in Larkins' duck-pond." 

" By the way," said Wilmott, wishing to 
avoid the present subject, " I forgot to in- 
quire about the action. When is it to be 
tried ?" 

" My attorney says, after something they 
call a term, next November," replied Titley, 
" and they lay the damages at five thousand 
pounds." 

" For getting a spill into a muddy pool," 
said Wilmott, laughing; " but, of course, 
you'll have to pay nothing." 

" Why, that's not quite so certain," said 
Titley. " My parchment friend hopes that he 



228 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

shall gain the cause ; but he is not sure of it, 
by any means." 

" Will it be tried while we are in London ?" 
inquired Wilmott. 

" No," replied Titley ; " but you and the 
squire will be witnesses for me when it is." 

" That's capital!" said Wilmott; " to see 
the squire in the witness-box will be a treat." 

" Mr. Bolton and his son, the huntsman, 
will also be examined," added Titley. 

"Famous ! famous !" exclaimed Wilmott ; 
" to have old Tom in the court, perched up to 
be badgered by the lawyers, will beat fox- 
hunting hollow." 

" Yes, but, if I have to pay five thousand 
for the sport, it will be expensive fun," re- 
plied Titley. 

" There's no chance of it," said Wilmott, 
who was not experienced in the glorious un- 
certainty of the law. A loud knock inter- 
rupted the further discussion of the suit. 

" It's the squire's, for a hundred," said 
Wilmott, rising. 

" You're right, my boy," replied the squire, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 229 

throwing open the parlour-door, and over- 
hearing the observation ; " here I am, wrapped 
up like an Egyptian mummy ; but it was all 
those girls' doing," continued he, throwing oft' 
a great coat, and a shawl that was twisted 
round his neck. " Well, Titley, my lad, how are 
you ?" said the squire, seizing him by the 
hand, and giving him an unusually severe 
shake. 

" Quite well, my dear sir," shrieked Titley, 
rather than saying it. His face was screwed 
up, and he looked very much as if he was en- 
during a process from those obsolete instru- 
ments of torture the thumbikins. 

" What news from London?" asked the 
squire. 

" He carries slight marks of his intelligence 
about the lips," replied Wilmott. 

u What, swollen and cut !" exclaimed the 
squire. " Bless me ! a fall, or a fight ?" 

" A little skirmish," said Titley. 

" Let me hear all about it," added the 
squire, seating himself between them. 

Titley then recounted his adventure in 



230 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

detail ; not, however, making it appear that he 
had acted so gallant a part in the affair as he 
really had. The squire gave a nod of appro- 
bation to Wilmott at the conclusion, and said, 

" I wish the fray had a better cause ; but, 
as it was Titley, give me your hand." 

The request was about being complied with, 
when Titley remembered the squeeze he had 
just recovered from, and replied — 

" My dear sir, let it be an imaginary shake 
this time. My fingers really tingle now." 

This amused the squire greatly, who, laugh- 
ing, rejoined — 

" We'll have those calico hands hardened 
before the season's out." 

" What kind of a night is it ?" asked Wil- 
mott. 

" Eather cold," replied the squire ; " but 
I don't think frosty. The moon is very bright ; 
still, I am in hopes that Jack Nipfingers is not 
going to spoil the fishing and hunting yet." 

" When he does, we shall give the rods and 
nags a rest," said Wilmott. 

" And the girls a treat in London," added 
the squire. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 251 

" Which I expect will be just about the 
time Titley's action will be tried," rejoined 
Wilmott, " although he says not." 

" Ah!" exclaimed the squire, " let me hear 
about that rascally lawsuit." 

Titley explained that it was moved into the 
King's Bench, and would, as he understood, 
be tried late in the year ; that five thousand 
pounds was claimed as compensation for the 
trespass; but that his lawyer hoped to gain 
the cause, or, at least, to cut down the amount 
to a nominal sum. 

" That polecat, Fiddylee, I saw to-day," 
said the squire ; " the weazle couldn't look 
me in the face, but shuffled past me in the 
village, as if he expected a strong hint of my 
esteem, in the shape of a good kick. I should 
have given him one, but he would have made 
money by it." 

" I understand from Tom that he frightened 
the cur almost into fits a few days since," 
said Wilmott. 

" I'm delighted," exclaimed Titley ; " how 
was that manoeuvred ?" 



232 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" He'll either kill that vermin, or drive 
him from his earth, to a certainty, before he 
gives him up," said the squire, exultingly. 

" Old Tom was exercising some puppies a 
few evenings since," said Wilmott, " and, as 
he described it, dropped upon the attorney 
taking his refresher, as he calls his evening 
walk. Tom got quite close to him without 
being observed ; the young hounds running 
close to his heels. When he was within a 
few feet of his victim, he gave a tremendous 
blast upon his horn, which set the dogs into a 
sudden cry. Bound jumped the lawyer, and, 
seeing the old whipper-in, who he knew had 
the same regard for him that the devil has for 
holy water, he became evidently alarmed. 

" ' Good e-e-e-vening, Mr. Thomas Bolton,' 
stammered Fiddylee. 

" ' Don't gammon me,' replied Tom, with a 
sneer. • A pretty poodle you are to go 
yapping at the tails o' the hounds,' continued 
he, ' to find out scent for trespass. I heard 
of you.' 

" This was a speculation on Tom's part. He 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 233 

thought it very probable that the lawyer 
tried to get other suits brought, but had no 
proof of the attempt. This, however, was, no 
doubt, the case, for the attorney turned very 
white, and gave no reply. 

" ' Dine with the squire to-day,' continued 
Tom — ' take the law of his friend to-morrow 
— hunt the hounds' track for more bagging 
the next day — and then say to his whipper- 
in, ' Good e-e-e-vening, Mr. Thomas Bolton.' 
A pretty poodle you are to shave, and I'm a 
d — d good mind to perform the job.' 

"Tom, like new beer, works himself up. The 
lawyer twittered and shook at the threat, 
which was delivered in a stern voice, and with 
a threatening aspect. He looked at the 
hounds, then at Tom's angry face, and, like a 
bird unwilling to fly, but which, self-preserva- 
tion dictating the measure, spreads its wings, 
bends to soar, and then hesitates to raise its 
pinions — so appeared Fiddylee for a second 
or two ; when fear overcame his scruples, and 
lent to his heels the speed of light. Off 
started the frightened attorney, with the 



23 i THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

desperation of a dog with a kettle tied to his 
tail, and away went Tom in full chase, halloo- 
ing, blowing his horn, and making the puppies 
keep in full cry. 

" ' Yoiks, for'ard !' hallooed Tom. 

" * Help, help !' bellowed the lawyer. 

"< Tally-ho! tally-ho! tally-ho!' cried Tom, 
following him up closely. 

" Two or three dozen urchins were playing 
cricket on the green in the village as Fid- 
dylee took across it, making a direct course 
to his cottage. The young rogues, always 
ripe for any mischief, soon discovered the 
fun, and, making the most uproarious noise, 
joined in the hunt. "With his hat pressed 
over his eyes to keep it on, and the tail 
of his coat straight out from the speed at 
which he was going, Fiddylee scampered 
away. 

" < Halloo ! boys, halloo !' said Tom. 

" Then such a shout came from the young 
crew, that it sounded to the attorney's 
ears like the exulting shriek of the scalping 
savage. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 235 

" ' Hark for'ard ! hark for'ard !' hallooed 
Tom. 

" ' Save me ! save me V screamed the 
lawyer. 

" Such an unusual disturbance brought all 
the cottagers to their doors, who looked with 
wondering eyes at the proceeding. At length 
one exclaimed, — 

" ' Why, zooks ! if there bean't Muster Bol- 
ton a sarvin out the lawyer.' 

" This explained the mystery. From mouth 
to mouth the intelligence was carried ; and 
amid shouts, roars of laughter, and hooting, 
the attorney, who hasn't a friend among 
them, reached his house without bruise or 
blemish. He threw the door back upon his 
enemies, and having locked it, no doubt con- 
gratulated himself upon the escape, and began 
to devise means for reparation. 

" Tom blew a loud mort at the end of the 
garden, and having given full rein to his peal 
of laughter, joined in three hearty cheers with 
the boys. And so ended the old whipper-in's 
run with the lawyer." 



236 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

The squire could scarcely control himself 
while Wilmott narrated the particulars of 
Tom's lawyer-hunt, as; he called it. At the 
conclusion he was almost convulsed with mirth, 
and Titley for once forgot the vulgarity of a 
loud laugh, and made the walls echo with a 
broad " Ha, ha, ha !" 

" I don't care," said he, " about the action 
after this." 

" But the best part of the affair," added 
the squire, " is, that Tom was taken before 
my friend Werty, the magistrate, this morn- 
ing, by the rascal Fiddylee, and accused of 
an assault. Werty said there had been none 
committed, and dismissed the complaint, by 
observing to Fiddylee, that, if he came there 
again with any such frivolous pretexts, he'd 
commit him for contempt of court. I hear 
that the lawyer's face measured a yard as he 
slunk away." 

" I'm delighted beyond measure," said 
Titley. " What a piece of unexpected, sweet 
revenge !" 

" What shall we do to-morrow ?" inquired 
Wilmott. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 237 

" I came on purpose to tell ye," replied 
the squire. " Now, listen, my dear boys, to 
a bit of news that'll make your hearts leap — 
at least, it will yours, Wilmott. A fine buck 
has escaped from Crabtree Park, and is now 
in my nutwood covert. I've overcome Tom's 
objections to lay the hounds on a different 
scent to a fox ; but great difficulty I had with 
the obstinate old fellow, and to-morrow we'll 
make the antlered monarch show us his best 
pace.'' 

"Bravo!" exclaimed Wilmott; "it will 
not hurt your hounds a bit." 

" Nothing can hurt them," replied the 
squire. 

" I shall see you turn out," observed Titley ; 
" but, hang me, if I ride this time." 

" Nonsense," said the squire ; " we must all 
have a beginning. I'll mount you on a steady 
horse, that shall carry you with as much 
care as your old nurse used." 

Titley shook his head. 

"Try him," added Wilmott; "I know 
you'll manage admirably." 



238 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" I've no hunting costume," said Titley. 

" You shall have a coat of mine," replied 
Wilmott. 

" And a pair of breeches from me," added 
the squire. 

" With a pair of capital top-boots I can 
furnish, there you are complete," said Wil- 
mott. 

" Then I will venture," replied Titley. 

" Well said !" rejoined the squire. " Here's 
success to your first hunt, my fine fellow," 
added he, taking a bumper of port. 

" What time do we meet ?" asked Wilmott. 

" Breakfast with me at eight," replied the 
squire. " We shall throw off at ten. And 
now, good night. Pray for no frost, or a very 
little of it," 

" Stop and take supper," said Wilmott. 

" Not to-night, my boy," replied the squire, 
putting on his great-coat, " the girls expect 
me home." 

" We shall be at the Hall by eight, you 
may be sure," said Wilmott. 

" By the way, let us accompany the 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 239 

squire," observed Titley ; " it's a beautiful 
night." 

" Ay, do," replied the squire. " But it's 
later than I thought it was. I fear the girls 
have retired to rest, or will be before we ar- 
rive." 

" No matter," said Wilmott, " we'll walk 
with you." 

" If they have gone to bed," observed 
Titley, taking a guitar from a side table, "I'll 
sing them a serenade." 

" Do ; it will please the young things," 
replied the squire, " and let them know 
you're back again." 

It was a clear night ; some light, fleecy 
clouds skimmed along the firmament, only 
occasionally veiling the brightness of the 
moonbeams. A sharp breeze whistled through 
the trees, and made the dry leaves rustle 
autumn's funeral dirge. The grass crisped 
under the tread ; and as the squire and his 
companions walked briskly towards the Hall, 
the former remarked that "it would be a 
sharp night." 



240 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" There'll be no remains of frost an hour 
after sunrise," said Wilmott. 

" I hope not," rejoined the squire. 

As they approached the house, lights were 
visible in the east wing, and forms could be 
seen passing to and fro. 

" The girls are in their rooms, I see," said 
the squire. 

" Then we shall not have the felicity of 
seeing them to-night," observed Titley. 

" ~No ; but you must give them that sere- 
nade," added the squire. 

When they arrived at the porch, the squire 
wished his friends to enter, and take a cup of 
mulled wine with him. 

" No ; we'll return to supper," said 
Wilmott. " I know you wish to get to 
bed." 

" I must be fresh for to-morrow," replied 
the squire ; " but a parting glass will take 
little time." 

This however was declined ; and, after 
shaking hands, and bidding " good night" 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 241 

with his customary benediction, " God bless 
you !" the squire parted with his companions. 
Taking a position under the casement of 
Agnes' dormitory, Titley, after a prepara- 
tory clearing of his voice, sung, in a fine, mel- 
low tone, the following words : — 

" Wake, lady, wake from thy dream, 

'Tis the hour for love and for thee ; 
The soft breeze is sighing his tale to the stream ; 

Then open thine eyes, love, and listen to me : 

O wake, lady, wake ! 

" Now the fairy queen's singing, rocked in a flower, 
Spangled with dewdrops, and lit by the moon, — 

Of the spring-time of joy that awakes at this hour, 
For lovers who watch the pale night flowers' bloom : 

So wake, lady, wake ! 

" Though many bright things are now gone to their rest, 

As the butterfly, bird, and the bee ; 
Though hushed is the lark in his emerald nest, 

And the sunbeam has sunk in the sea : 

Still wake, lady, wake ! 

" Come, deep in the dell let us wander, and pull 
A posy of blossoms that shun the gay light , 

There a tale I will tell, if of rapture too full, 

Thy blush will be veil'd by the shadows of night': 

Then wake, lady, wake !" 

At the conclusion of this serenade, the 

VOL. I. M 



242 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

window above Titley's head was gently opened 
a few inches ; a smothered laugh was heard ; 
and immediately afterwards a bouquet of 
autumnal flowers fell close to his feet. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 243 



CHAPTEE XIV. 

A STAG-HUNT WITH FOX-HOUNDS. 

" Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them, 
And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth." 

" Don't draft Fugleman, Will," said the 
old whipper-in to his son, as he stood in the 
kennel, engaged in the important duty of 
drafting the hounds for the stag-hunt. 

" He wouldn't feel his lameness five minutes 
after he was out, governor," replied the hunts- 
man. 

" No matter whether he would or would 
not," rejoined Mr. Bolton ; " it's against all 
order for a huntsman to take a foot-sore hound 
from the kennel. It's as unreasonable as 
poor old Striver's idea of Button's going to 
heaven." 

M 2 



244 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" What's that?" inquired William. " Rhap- 
sody, Marmion, Attica !" continued he, cal- 
ling the choicest hounds from the pack. 

" He thinks," replied Tom, " his dog 
Button '11 go to heaven if he finds a birth 
there ; giving as a reason that it wouldn't 
be heaven without him — ha, ha, ha ! There's 
an old figure for ye." 

The kennel was erected in a valley of the 
park, about half a mile from the mansion. 
In the front was a large reservoir of water, 
which supplied the fountains and pipes in the 
various yards within. A large grass yard, con- 
taining about two acres, in which were a quan- 
tity of broad-leaved chestnut-trees, formed 
the airing-ground, and, for picturesque ap- 
pearance and internal arrangements, the 
squire's kennel was not excelled in England. 

Mr. Bolton's residence was a small cottage, 
just in view of this object, which concentrated 
nearly all his thoughts and hopes. He used 
to live in the rooms his son occupied; but, 
when Will became huntsman in place of Stri- 
ver, Tom would not allow the old man to be 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 245 

turned out of his apartments over the kennel, 
but gave up his own, and moved to the pretty 
thatched cottage, covered with ivy, honey- 
suckle, and woodbine, in which he now lived. 

At one end of the airing-ground stood a pile 
of new bricks, and some scaffolding-poles were 
thrown in a heap. Tom's eyes suddenly fell 
upon these. 

" Hilloa ! " exclaimed he. " What are 
those put there for ? " 

" I don't know," replied his son ; " they 
are there by the squire's orders." 

" Humph ! then I know," said Mr. Bolton. 

" He's not going to enlarge, is he ?" asked 
Will. 

" William Bolton, my son," replied his fa- 
ther, seriously, " the bricks you see there are 
to build your snuggery." 

" No ! " exclaimed Will. 

" Yes," added his father, " or my name 's 
not Bolton." 

" Master hasn't said a word about it," said 
Will. 

" And won't," replied his father. " I made 



246 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

bold to mention to him, a few days since, that 
I was puzzled where you were to live when 
Fanny became Mrs. Bolton/' 

" And what did he say ?" asked Will. 

" He replied, with a good-humoured look," 
said his father, " I needn't puzzle my brains 
about that, for it warn't my business." 

" Then your opinion 's right," rejoined 
William. 

" Eight ! When was it wrong, I should 
wish to know ? " inquired Mr. Bolton, in that 
peculiar voice which people use when they 
expect no answer to a query. 

The young huntsman continued to pick out 
the oldest and strongest hounds, until he had 
selected a sufficient number, according to his 
judgment, for the day's sport. The favourite 
Trimbush stood chafing his long, sleek ears 
against the spotless tops of the old whipper- 
in's boots, and, without his name being called, 
accompanied him out of the yard with the 
chosen dogs. Two horses were being held by 
Jack Tiggle outside of the kennel-gate, and 
they no sooner saw the hounds than, pricking 
their ears, they gave a loud, cheerful neigh. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 247 

" Ah ! Stuinptimber, my noble one," said 
Mr. Bolton, to one of the fine animals, a 
dappled grey, "you're more sensible than many 
a Christian. I shouldn't be surprised if you 
wasn't once a university professor, or an arch- 
bishop." 

At the end of this address, Tom threw him- 
self into the saddle, and followed the pack 
and his son, who had mounted the other horse. 

" Mr. Bolton," said Jack, running by the 
side of the horse, " do you think the squire 
would let me ride the pony to-day ? " 

" You don't want to join the hunt, Jack ?" 
replied Tom. 

"Yes, sir, I do," pleaded Jack, with the 
politeness of a courtier in search of place. 

" What new-fangled prank have ye been at 
lately ? " asked Tom. 

" None since ducking of Bumstead," replied 
Jack. 

" That was good, that was," said Mr. Bol- 
ton, seeing, in his mind's eye, Peter snapped 
hold of by Capable. 

" Well, Jack," continued he, " there's many 



248 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

a knawin', unruly whelp turns out a fine hound ; 
let's hope this will be your case. I'll ask the 
squire to let you ride the pony ; but if you 
come any of your pranks with me, or don't 
behave just as I tell you, recollect what you'll 
get." 

At the conclusion of the warning, Jack's 
ears were saluted with a loud crack from Mr. 
Bolton's thong. 

" I'll mind all you say, sir," said Jack, who 
had more respect for Tom's orders than for 
those of anybody else, knowing the way in 
which he enforced them. 

" I forgot," remarked Mr. Bolton ; " we 
shan't go near the Hall, so I can't ask the 
squire, Jack. However, go and saddle the 
pony — I'll bear the blame." 

Off ran Jack, with the fleetness of a fawn, 
to mount the pony, and to be at the meet in 
time. 

The day was heavy. A blue haze hung 
upon the earth ; the hedges and trees drooped 
with the thick moisture loading their branches ; 
and here and there a patch of whitened grass 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 249 

showed that a frost had been nipping the flow- 
ers, and crisping the pool. Thick spider-webs 
were suspended from bough to bough, and the 
filmy barriers, stretched across the lanes, made 
the rustic twitch his nose as it snapped the 
clinging thread. Scarcely a breath of wind 
fanned the saturated leaves, and, as they 
whirled to the ground, tinted with decay, they 
clung to the spot where they fell. 

" The scent '11 be bad to-day," observed 
Tom, picking a piece of web from the peak of 
his velvet cap ; "I never knew it to be good 
when these weavers had been at work." 

They took their course down a narrow lane, 
and, turning round a sharp corner, leading on 
to a heath covered with furze, came in view 
of the Hall, about a mile distant. Tom shaded 
his eyes with his broad hand, and looked to- 
wards the manor-house with a lengthened 
gaze. Three mounted horsemen, in scarlet/' 
stood by the side of a little pony-phaeton at 
the entrance. 

" There's the squire," said Tom—" Mr. Wil- 
mott — a better rider never heeled a spur — 

M 5 



250 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

and Mr. Titley — poor Mr. Titley ! he'll ne- 
ver make a Nimrod ; but, after all, he's not 
so much of a Miss Nancy as we took him for 
at first. No, no, no ! — he can wipe a bird 
down uncommon well, Peter says. I wonder 
what those ponies are there for?" soliloquised 
Mr. Bolton. " Bless my heart alive ! " ex- 
claimed he, " if there ain't the young ladies 
a-coming. Well ! this is a bit o' sunshine. 
They mean to see the burst. Will, turn your 
head, and see who're going to be among us." 

" I see," said the huntsman. 

" Let 'em have your sweetest voice, Will," 
replied Mr. Bolton, pleased beyond descrip- 
tion at the ladies' coming. " Why, there's a 
fe-male in the rumble ; who can that be, 
Will?" 

" I know," replied his son. 

Mr. Bolton looked for a few moments at 
the little carriage bowling along the park to- 
wards them, when he called out, 

" You sly dog ! it's Fanny Chatterton — 
Mrs. Bolton that's to be. I know her by the 
ribands trailing behind." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 251 

" Eight, governor, right," said Will. 

" And you knew of the arrangement, I 
suppose," observed his father. 

" I certainly did," replied the huntsman. 

" Precocious deception !" exclaimed Mr. 
Bolton, at which his son laughed heartily. 

From various quarters sportsmen were col- 
lecting near the gate of a farmyard. Some 
were cantering their hacks briskly up to the 
spot where the clothed and hooded hunters 
stood waiting for them. Others walked their 
horses gently along, having no change for the 
sport. A few dashed up in tandems and 
buggies, booked for the ready-saddled horse, 
while scores of pedestrians hastened along to 
join in the amusement. 

" Good mornin', gentlemen, good mommy 
said Mr. Bolton, as he was saluted by the as- 
sembled group upon his arrival at the gate. 

" Warn horse, Cheerly," continued he, 
giving a hound a taste of the whip. 

" It '11 be a great meet," said the huntsman. 
" It soon got abroad that we were going to 
draw for the stag to-day." 



252 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Ay, Will," replied Tom, " every body's 
more sweet upon this excursion than I am. 
Men, horses, and hounds should be kept at 
their nateral work. Horses were made to 
carry and pull, men to ride and drive, and 
hounds to be kept to the scent they're first 
blooded at. Not one o' these ever opened at 
a buck, and never ought, as I told the squire. 
However, as they are to do it, grumbling's 
no use. But as to taking him with this nor'- 
east wind, the ground spread with fresh fallen 
leaves, frost just breaking up, and the dogs 
rubbing their backs in that style, it's out of 
all reason." 

" We shan't be a long way off him, go- 
vernor," said the huntsman. 

" We must stick close at the beginning 
then, and have no checks," rejoined Tom. 

The squire now arrived, accompanied by 
Wilmott and Titley. The former was mounted 
on a superb roan, and Wilmott upon a fiery 
chestnut, which no sooner saw the hounds than 
he gave a bound in the air like an antelope, and 
capered with delight, knowing as well as his 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 253 

rider the enjoyment that awaited him. Titley 
rode a steady-looking bay mare, which, after 
surveying the pack, expressed her inward satis- 
faction by whisking a very short tail. The 
three were equipped in scarlet, and, notwith- 
standing the borrowed plumes, Titley looked 
remarkably well. 

Every hat was lifted when the squire came 
up, who acknowledged the salutations with 
his habitual courtesy. 

" We change the game for once, gentlemen," 
said he. " I don't know how the hounds will 
manage a buck, but we'll try them." 

" Has the stag been seen lately ?" inquired 
Wilmott. 

" He was in my wheat stubble last night, 
sir," replied a farmer. 

" By the side of the nutwood cover?" asked 
Tom. 

" Yes, Mr. Bolton," replied the man. 

" All ready, William," said the squire. 
" Go and place the ladies, Tom," continued 
he, " so that they'll see as much of us as pos- 
sible." 



254 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

The old whipper-in cantered off to execute 
the mission, and the hounds were led forward 
by William towards an extensive covert, full 
of tall and thick nut-trees. The squire and 
his friends followed at a short distance ; then 
came between sixty and seventy well-mounted 
sportsmen, in pink and green, and, bringing 
up the rear, was a crowd of yeomen and pea- 
sants, full of excitement at the anticipated 
diversion. 

Just as the order was given by the huntsman 
for the eager pack to rush into the wood, Jack 
Tiggle came galloping up upon a rough, black 
Shetland pony. The squire rode to meet him, 
twisting the thong of his whip double, as if he 
was preparing to inflict a chastisement. Jack 
pulled up short, and, pushing up his shoulders 
to resist the lash, said, 

" Stop a moment, sir. I'm all right this 
time. Mr. Bolton gave me leave." 

" Yes, I did, sir," said Tom, luckily ar- 
riving at this moment. " He asked me — " 

" Oh ! never mind," interrupted the squire. 
" If he had your permission, that's sufficient. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 255 

Now then, Tom, get this fellow out as soon 
as possible." 

" Over !" cried Tom, as he slapped Stump- 
timber at a high hawthorn hedge, and crashed 
through the boughs into the covert. 

" A dashing old fellow that is," said the 
squire, admiringly. 

" There's not his equal," observed Wilmott, 
holding his impetuous horse back with all his 
strength. 

" I certainly should have been off in making 
that attempt," said Titley; "but this horse 
seems exceedingly docile." 

" She'll not throw you, poor old Bess ! 
She's as kind and good-tempered as a horse 
can be," observed the squire. 

" Do you think I may venture a leap?" in- 
quired Titley. 

" To be sure you may," replied the squire; 
" she'll creep over with you, rather than give 
ye a fall." 

" All her enthusiasm vanished long since," 
said Wilmott. 

" But she pricks up her auriculars, I see," 
added Titley, " as if she enjoyed the thing." 



256 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Where are the girls ? " inquired the 
squire. 

" Tom placed the carriage on the hill at 
the end of the wood," replied Wilmott. 

" Then the stag will break from there," re- 
joined the squire. " Titley, get there as fast 
as you can." 

Titley kissed his hand to the squire, and 
cantered away to the spot referred to. 

" I'll take my chance here," said Wilmott. 

" It matters not where you are with that 
horse. A capital purchase he was," replied 
the squire. 

No one spoke for the next few minutes. 
The anxious horses stood with glaring eye- 
balls, and strained ears ; their hot blood rose 
in their veins, and swelled them like the fibres 
upon a vine leaf; their nostrils were distended 
with excitement, and an occasional pawing of 
the ground showed the impatience with which 
they waited for the glorious signal to race 
with the wind, and top the fences like the 
pinioned birds. 

The hounds had been in the covert some 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 257 

time, yet nothing was heard, save the rustling 
of the thickets as they swept through them, 
and the cracking of the boughs as the hunts- 
man and the old whipper-in rode through the 
wood. 

" I hope the stag will come out here," said 
Kate, " although I wish he may escape." 

"I join with you in the wish," replied 
Agnes, " but I quite long to see him." 

" How handsome Mr. Ashley looks, miss," 
said Fanny, who sat in the seat behind her 
young mistress, " decked in ribands rare !" 

" And I dare say, Fanny," replied Kate, 
" that in your opinion somebody else's ap- 
pearance falls little short of Mr. Ashley's 
winning graces." 

Fanny's pretty face had the hue of the 
peach blossom as she rejoined, 

" It isn't for me, miss, to compare a gen- 
tleman with Will ; but I do think the scarlet 
coats become both of them very much." 

Titley now came cantering up to their car- 
riage, and, checking his ambling horse, said 
to Kate, 



258 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Really, Miss Scourfield, you're worthy 
to drive the chariot of the sun." 

" I hope that I shall not imitate the 
hero in his celebrated attempt," replied 
Kate. 

" If I thought you would," rejoined Agnes, 
" the dignity should be enjoyed alone." 

" Listen !" exclaimed Kate, quickly. 

A deep-toned note echoed through the 
wood. 

" They've found him," said Titley, raising 
his eyeglass, and tightening his rein with a 
slight demonstration of nervousness. 

" Hush !" said Agnes. " My uncle will 
be so annoyed if we speak a word now." 

" Hark to Trimbush !" hallooed a well- 
known voice. It was the old whipper-in 
cheering his favourite's leading note. 

" Hark for'ard ! hark for'ard ! hark to 
Trimbush !" responded the huntsman in his 
musical voice. 

The cry was taken up by the other hounds, 
who flew to the signal given by Trimbush. 
As each hound took up the exhilarating tune, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 259 

William hallooed his name, to cheer and urge 
the gallant fellows. 

" Hark to Easselas ! hark to Valentine ! 
Red Eose, Dorimont, Eeveller I" shouted the 
huntsman, making the wood ring with the 
halloo. 

Now the fiery steeds let loose their im- 
patience ; they reared upon their haunches 
and pawed the air, as the curbing rein was 
pulled upon their jaws. Flakes of white 
froth flew from their champed bits, and their 
flashing eyes seemed ready to start from their 
sockets. More than one rider felt the saddle 
an uncertain seat, long before the " Chevy - 
ho !" was given. 

Scarcely had all the pack joined in the 
music of the chase, when, within fifty yards 
of the pony carriage, out sprung the noble 
antlered monarch of the forest. From the 
middle of a thicket, at one bound, he leaped 
thirty feet into the field. With head erect, 
and outstretched limbs, he stood for an instant, 
deciding the course he would take to evade 
his pursuers. He turned his head towards 



260 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

the covert, and then, sniffing the wind, he 
seemed resolved. As the noisy hounds ap- 
proached him, he started at a trot for a short 
distance, and, when the leading dogs made 
their appearance upon the edge of the wood, 
away he went to outstrip the wind. 

" Hold hard, gentlemen," bawled the 
squire ; " give time — let them get at it." 

A few fretful seconds — then, " Chevy-ho ! 
hark for'ard !" and on swept horses, men, and 
hounds. Fields and gardens, walls, brooks, 
hedges, ditches, and gates, were rushed 
through, topped, and jumped. 

" Oh ! how beautiful they look ! " ex- 
claimed Kate. 

" Look at William and Mr. Ashley, miss," 
said Fanny, clasping her hands with fear. 

A fence of little more than six feet in height 
was before their horses' heads. Straight as 
winged arrows they flew at the leap, and 
cleared the rasper without touching a shoe. 

" Thank Heaven they're over safely !" ejacu- 
lated Agnes. " But see ! uncle is going to 
jump it. How foolish to run such a risk !" 



TIIE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 261 

The squire, however, did not appear to 
think so. Without a swerve, the roan neared 
the barrier. When within a few feet of it he 
stretched out his neck, and, as the squire 
threw out his whip-hand, and called, " Over !" 
the spirited animal rose at the leap, and 
bounded across it with the ease of thought. 

All the other sportsmen, however, avoided 
the fence. Eight and left they flew ; but 
none followed the squire, until it came to the 
old whipper-in's turn. With a few tail- 
hounds, he galloped past the pony carriage, 
and lifted his cap to the ladies as they 
familiarly saluted him. A smile was on the 
old fellow's features at seeing the crowd 
rushing, helter skelter, to balk the fence. 
Stumptimber's ideas of jumping coincided 
precisely with his rider's — to take every thing 
it pleased God to send. The horse approached 
without the shadow of a flinch. Tom turned 
his head for a moment to look at the ladies, 
and saw them standing in the carriage to have 
a better view of him. A ray of pride sparkled 
in his eyes, as he encouraged Stumptimber to 



262 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

do his best. Both quitted the earth, were 
poised in the air for a brief moment, and, 
dipping over the fence, reached the ground 
uninjured. 

The stag soon got a considerable distance 
before his pursuers. Up a steep turf hill he 
rattled at a tremendous speed, and, diving 
into a valley from the top, became lost to 
view. The hounds streaked after him, making 
the welkin answer their piercing cry, and in 
a few seconds the pursuing and pursued be- 
came lost to the sight of the ladies in the 
carriage. 

" I sincerely trust no accident will happen," 
said Kate. 

" I fear none," replied Agnes. " But see, 
Mr. Titley has not followed." 

Close to the fence stood Titley in his stir- 
rups, craning on the opposite side, and shaking 
his head. 

" No," said he, " I can't jump it. I'm sure 
a fall would be the result. My sorrow for 
your disappointment, Bess, as you are vulgarly 
called, is great. I see your evident chagrin ; 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 263 

but my neck is precious, so we'll return to the 
ladies." 

The ponies were turned towards Scourfield 
Hall ; and, after being well quizzed for not 
proceeding in the hunt, Titley rode by the side 
of the carriage, and escorted the ladies home. 

Hill and dale were scoured by the fugitive 
and his relentless enemies. Mile after mile 
were galloped over, rasping leaps, and impe- 
diments of all kinds, brushed across without 
an instant's hesitation. The peasant stopped 
his plough to gaze at the noble race, and 
scarcely had time to grin his approbation, 
when all had left him far away. The rustic 
schoolboy, forgetting the chiding look of his 
spectacled master, and the smarting of the 
birch-rod he was certain to endure, rushed 
from his form to look at the hunt, and the 
natural red of his cheeks became deeper as 
his strained throat hailed the hounds. Tot- 
tering dames hobbled to their cottage doors, 
and, raising their withered hands to shade 
their dull eyes, smiled at the exciting scene, 
and said, they remembered the squire's father's 



264 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

hunting days, forty year' ago an' more — God 
bless 'em both ! Chubby infants in their mo- 
thers' arms kicked and struggled at the noise, 
and, when all had passed, turned with won- 
dering looks to their nurses. 

Mean time, the chase went on. An hour 
had elapsed since the stag broke; and, not- 
withstanding all his energies to get away, the 
hounds had not come to a single check. Not 
a third of the sportsmen who started were 
now up with fchem, and those that were be- 
gan to exhibit strong symptoms of distress. 
Streams of perspiration trickled from the 
glossy coats of the panting horses, and, as 
they cleared the leaps, they staggered on 
reaching the ground. 

" We press him more stiffly than you 
thought we should, governor," said William, 
riding by the side of his father. 

" We do, Will," replied Tom ; " but the 
first check we come to, he's gone." 

" I think not," rejoined the huntsman. 
" He's not far from us." 

" Farther than you think, my son," said 
Tom. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 265 

" We shall see," added William. 

The field became thinner at every quarter 
of a mile. One by one pulled up, till at 
length but just the flower was left. The 
squire, Wilmott, and half a dozen more, were 
all that held their places — besides, of course, 
the huntsman and the old whipper-in. 

A wide river was now in sight, to which 
the hounds made a direct course. When 
they arrived on its brink, their cry was stilled. 
Some galloped up and down, others sprung 
into the stream, and swam to the opposite 
shore, and all tried to regain the track they 
had lost. 

"Will, do your utmost," said Tom. 

The scent not being good, Will gave his 
hounds time to hit off by themselves, accord- 
ing to his father's rules, but they could not 
manage it. 

" Now, William, make a wide cast," said 
the squire, wiping his forehead, and throwing 
the reins upon the roan's neck. 

Cast after cast was made, but all to no 

VOL. I. N 



266 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

purpose. The huntsman cheered the pack to 
renew their efforts ; but all was in vain. 

" I said so at the beginning," remarked 
Tom. 

" What did you say ?" asked the squire. 

" That the first check would throw us out, 
sir," replied Mr. Bolton. 

" Do you think it useless to try longer ? " 
said his master. 

" I know it is, sir," replied Tom. 

" Then bring them away," rejoined the 
squire. "We've had a good run, and I'm 
satisfied." 

The wearied horses and hounds retraced 
their steps slowly homewards, and the breath- 
less stag regained the woods, to revel in the 
joy of freedom. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 26? 



CHAPTER XV. 

A CANTER. — POPPING THE QUESTION. 

" O no ! the apprehension of the good 
Gives but the greater feeling to the worse : — 
Fell sorrow's tooth doth never rankle more 
Than when it bites, but lanceth not the sore." 

With throbbing temples, Agnes rose from 
her bed, and, throwing open the window of 
her room, permitted the sharp morning breeze 
to fan her pale and anxious features. After 
being somewhat refreshed, she went to a small 
escritoire, and took from it a letter. The 
contents of the epistle were read three or four 
times, but each perusal seemed to add to, 
rather than diminish, her evident sorrow. 

"Money is the constant theme," she said. 
" All that he appears to think of is money. 
For months past, he has received every shilling 

n 2 



268 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN 

I have had ; only last week I sent him a con- 
siderable sum ; and now he writes for more. 
I much fear that his course of life is truly 
objectionable ; and, if so, how much perhaps 
I am to be blamed ! But what can I do ? 
Why does he not come as usual to see me ? 
He says that he is ill, and cannot leave his 
room. Then why require so much money ? 
In three days more I shall have to confide 
the secret to Wilmott. I have written to 
him to say so, and all the reply is, * Bind 
him, by his sacred honour, to keep the affair 
unrevealed until you give the explanation.' 
Hitherto, I have done all that he has wished 
and directed. This desire I will comply with 
readily, for I then shall have some one who 
will assist me in advising him to the proper 
course, and I shall also become disabused in 
Wilmott's estimation. I will answer this 
letter," continued Agnes, " by beseeching 
him to meet me next Thursday evening, 
when I shall have informed Wilmott of all 
that has occurred." 

A letter was accordingly written, folded, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 269 

and placed in the writing-desk, when Kate 
entered her cousin's room partly dressed. Her 
elegant form was loosely covered in her dress- 
ing robe, and the loosened hair hung down her 
shoulders, and crept round her alabaster neck, 
in luxuriant curls. The bloom of health glowed 
in her cheeks, and the sunny sparkles from a 
youthful and happy heart shone in her laugh- 
ing eyes. Her voice had the joyous tone 
which told that sorrow was a stranger to her 
breast ; and, as she placed her arms round the 
waist of her cousin, and kissed her, she looked 
like Consolation embracing Grief. 

" What makes you so pale of late, Agnes ?" 
she inquired ; " I'm sure you are unwell." 

" No, indeed, Kate, I'm quite well," replied 
Agnes. 

" Then something has made you anxious. 
Pray tell me what it is. I have no secret 
from you," rejoined Kate, in an imploring 
manner. 

" My dear cousin," said Agnes, assuming a 
playful manner, " your fertile imagination is 
more than usually productive. "What hid- 



270 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

den sources of care do you suppose I can 
have?" 

"If you have none," replied Kate, "why 
not look as you used to do — laugh as you 
used to do ? Why not sing, dance, and be 
the merry girl you once were ? I shall get 
dull from sympathy if you do not." 

" I do not know that I am altered," re- 
joined Agnes. 

" Others have noticed it as well as myself," 
said Kate. " My father remarked to Wilmott, 
last night, that you were low-spirited, and he 
could not imagine the cause." 

" And what did Wilmott say ? " inquired 
Agnes. 

" That he perceived a slight depression of 
spirits," replied Kate ; " and my father re- 
joined that it might be caused from our not 
hearing of Charles for so long." 

The crimson blood rushed to Agnes' fore- 
head, and spread itself over her neck, even to 
her shoulders, when her cousin made this reply. 
Kate, however, was bending over Agnes, rest- 
ing her head against her cousin's, and she did 
not discover this token of inward disturbance. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 271 

Neither spoke for a few seconds. Agnes 
broke the pause by saying — 

" My brother has given me some uneasiness 
of late ; but I thought no one discovered it." 

" Why did not you tell me ? " said Kate, 
reproachfully. " I have been compelled to 
draw this from you." 

" How could I wish you to participate in, 
perchance, my groundless fears ? " replied 
Agnes. 

" Oh, Agnes ! I could almost be angry with 
you," rejoined Kate ; " but now that I know 
the reason of this pale face, my care shall be 
to restore to it the rose that should never have 
left it." 

Agnes kissed her cousin affectionately. 

" You may be sure we shall soon hear from 
Charles," continued Kate. " Although it is 
nearly a year since we had a letter, I am not 
surprised. Numbers of accidents happen to 
delay correspondence between here and In- 
dia. He may be equally disappointed at not 
receiving letters from us." 

Agnes made no observation upon the con- 



272 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

elusion of her cousin's address, but turned her 
head aside to conceal her features. 

" I am desirous," said Kate, smiling, " that 
you should wear all your blooming looks of 
beauty this morning. Remember who are 
coming after breakfast to ride with us to the 
ruins." 

" Will uncle accompany us ? " inquired 
Agnes. 

" I believe not," replied Kate ; " he has to 
attend the quarter sessions to-day." 

And both went to prepare themselves for 
the ride. 

The squire had just started in state to the 
sessions, to sit in judgment upon poachers and 
other evil-doers, when Wilmott and Titley 
arrived on horseback at the Hall. The old- 
fashioned chariot and fat horses, whose backs 
were as broad as a couple of decent-sized sofas, 
were stopped, and the squire's head and shoul- 
ders were thrust out to hail his friends. 

" I say, you fellows," hallooed he, " take 
care of the girls." 

Titley and Wilmott cantered towards him, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 273 

and the former said, upon coming up to the 
door of the carriage — 

" We'll take particular charge of the ladies, 
my dear sir. But how fortunate we may deem 
ourselves in being free from your society this 
morning." 

" Why so ? " asked the squire. 

"Just look, Wilmott, at the special ar- 
rangement of the neckerchief!" replied Titley; 
" we should be extinguished — eclipsed in the 
presence of such a tie !" 

" How long did it take to accomplish it ? " 
asked Wilmott. 

" Out with ye," exclaimed the squire, " you 
set of cackling geese. Go on, Stubbins," said 
he, to the apoplectic-looking coachman. 

After jerking the reins, kicking the foot- 
board, and administering a cut on each side 
of the fat horses' ribs from a thick lash, Stub- 
bins effected a slow movement. 

The carriage was used very seldom, perhaps 
not more than a dozen times in a year ; and 
the horses being required to exert themselves 
so unfrequently, appeared to have come to the 

n5 



274 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

pleasant conclusion, that standing still was 
their peculiar duty. 

" Let's get up a sweepstakes," saidWilmott ; 
" a snail, your carriage, and an antiquated tor- 
toise, would be a fair field, across country, for 
three miles." 

" Go on, Stubbins," ordered the squire, sup- 
pressing a laugh, and pointing to the broad 
shoulders of the coachman. 

The purple face of Stubbins became many 
shades darker as he growled forth an angry 
" Get along wi' ye," and cracked at the well- 
lined carcases of the lazy animals. Nothing 
made Stubbins so indignant as an allusion to 
the speed of his horses. Like many lecturing 
wives, who never permit an opportunity to 
pass for impressing upon the minds of their 
husbands the active and passive errors of their 
faulty lives, yet will not tamely submit to 
others assuming the corrective office, Stubbins 
complained of and to his horses in good round 
terms, and applied the whip vigorously ; but 
anybody else doing so, was apt to divert the 
upbraiding upon his own head. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 275 

The horses whisked their long tails, and, at 
length, got into a shamble. 

" Good bye," said the squire. "We dine 
together, recollect." 

Away rumbled the carriage out of the 
lodge-gate, which was held open by Jack 
Tiggle. With a grave face Jack took off his 
hat to his master, and immediately afterwards 
whirled a rotten pear at Stubbins. About 
the centre of his back the juicy missile took 
effect, grievously staining the light blue 
coat. 

" Oh !" exclaimed Stubbins, drawing in his 
breath, " won't you get it for that — yes, if it 
takes me a month to catch ye." 

Jack telegraphed a reply to this threat 
by extending his fingers in a direct line to- 
wards the coachman, pressing up his nose 
with his thumb. 

Wilmott and Titley watched the departure 
of the squire, and laughed heartily at the 
trick Jack played the indignant Stubbins. 
When they were dismounting at the porch, 
Kate and Agnes made their appearance, 



276 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

equipped alike for the ride, and their palfreys 
were led to the door. 

So much did the cousins resemble each 
other in their riding-dresses, that at a short 
distance it was difficult to distinguish one 
from the other. 

" Two flowers on one stem," said Titley, 
shaking hands with both. 

" Two peas on one fork," added Wilmott, 
ridiculing his friend. 

Then a ringing laugh came from Kate's 
pouting coral lips, which was echoed by her 
cousin's. 

" low, then, to horse," said Kate, advanc- 
ing to her jet black and slight limbed steed, 
who arched his neck with pride, and pranced 
with pleasure as he recognised his indulgent 
mistress. 

" Ah, my pet," said she, " what, you wish 
for the gallop, do you ! " 

" Let me assist you to mount," said 
Wilmott. 

" No, I thank you," replied Kate. " You 
will see I require no assistance." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 277 

Taking the rein in one hand, and resting 
it on the pummel, and pressing the other 
on the saddle, with one light spring she 
bounded into the seat. 

"I am not so agile," said Agnes, " and 
will avail myself of your help, Mr. Titley." 

Titley readily offered his hand for the 
small foot to be placed in it, and carefully 
raised Agnes to the saddle. 

When all were mounted and ready for the 
start, Kate took from the paoket in her 
saddle a silver whistle, and putting it to her 
lips, blew a long, shrill summons. Scarcely 
was it concluded, when her brace of favourite 
greyhounds raced over the lawn towards 
them, and leaped to the horse's head with 
delight ; her horse pulling and fretting upon 
his rein, as if anxious for the signal to 
proceed. 

" See how the dear creatures wish for the 
run," said Kate ; "let us ride fast there, it is 
but little more than two miles, and then we'll 
rest among the ruins." 

" Agreed," replied Agnes. " Go first, we 
will follow you." 



278 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

The greyhounds pricked their ears and 
stood a few yards ahead, watching for the 
notice to start. 

" Away," said Kate ; her horse bounded 
forwards as the rein was loosened, and off 
went the party at a merry pace across the 
park. 

" Let us beat them," said Wilmott, riding 
by the side of Kate. 

" On then," replied Kate ; and her willing 
horse doubled his speed as he received the 
order. 

Titley and Agnes were soon left far be- 
hind ; and the cheerful laugh which was borne 
backwards upon the breeze from the exulting 
leaders, and the heavy beating of the horses' 
feet upon the greensward, was all that could 
be heard of them. 

" How particularly rapid," remarked Tit- 
ley, a little in want of breath. 

"We must not be in the rear so far as 
this," said Agnes, applying a switch to her 
horse's shoulders. 

Crossing a road at the end of the park, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 279 

they came on to the heath, over which they 
had had many a gallop, and often had watched 
the hounds scouring among the furze for the 
hiding fox. 

" This was the pace when we followed the 
stag yesterday," remarked Wilmott. 

" I love it," said Kate, enthusiastically. 

" Stop !" exclaimed Wilmott, " we are 
making for a wide ditch, and must turn to 
the left." 

" Oh, it isn't very wide," replied Kate. 
" We can leap it." 

Not a hundred yards further, and the ditch 
spoken of by Wilmott was in sight. It was 
an old water-course. The sides had crumbled 
in various places, rendering it a leap of con- 
siderable importance here and there. Just 
before Kate's horse was one of the widest 
parts ; but, without turning aside a hair's 
width intentionally, she prepared to take the 
leap. Drawing the rein between her taper 
fingers, she put her horse's head straight, 
and, poising her light whip, bent to the 
spring, and gracefully accomplished the jump. 



280 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Wilmott accompanied her, and when both 
were over, they slackened their speed to 
watch the attempt of their companions. 

Agnes approached the ditch rather in ad- 
vance of Titley, and flew over it with the 
same degree of skill as her fair consin had 
shown. Her cavalier, however, exhibited a 
want of resolution. He pulled hard upon 
his horse, as if wishing to stop him; then, 
twisting him first to the right and then to 
the left, seemed inclined for the narrowest 
possible spot to make the trial. Whether he 
succeeded in a matter unrecorded ; but, long 
before the horse arrived on the other side of 
the ditch, Titley was turned head over heels 
in the air, and safely landed upon the flat of 
his back. 

Titley rose from the ground, and, after 
staggering a few steps with the sensation of 
the earth's performing an accelerated rotatory 
movement, he perceived the ladies and his 
friend Wilmott in a roar of laughter. 

" Pray forgive me, Mr. Titley," said Agnes, 
with large tears from excessive mirth swim- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 281 

ming in her eyes, " but really 1 cannot re- 
frain." 

" Don't apologize," replied Titley, with a 
blanched face from the tumble ; "the posi- 
tion was irresistibly ridiculous," continued he, 
joining in the fun with perfect good humour. 

" I hope you're not hurt," at length said 
Kate. 

" Not in the least," replied Titley. 

" Here's your horse, my dear fellow," said 
Wilmott, who had succeeded in catching the 
runaway. 

It was some minutes ere the long and loud 
laugh ceased, and, before its conclusion, the 
ruins were in sight at the bottom of a glen. 

" There's the old abbey," said Kate ; "we 
will dismount, and rest ourselves." 

The remains of the religious house were in 
ruinous decay. The vaulted cloister, sup- 
ported by rows of moss-grown, ivy-clad pil- 
lars, formed a refuge for the raven and the 
bat. The mouldings of the once lofty arches, 
the pilasters, the marigold window of elegant 
fretwork, the stone tracery, were strewed 



282 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

upon the earth in heaps. Parts hung in huge 
clefts, warning the stranger from an approach 
to the tottering wall. Fragments of carved 
stone were partly imbedded in the ground, 
and long, thin grass waved its blades from 
patches of grey moss clinging to them. A 
niche, once tenanted by some saintly statue, 
in part of an arch which might have formed 
the entrance of the chapel, was filled with tall 
nettles, and the rank weeds choking up each 
crevice, looked like worms fattening upon cor- 
ruption. 

Wilmott and Kate seated themselves upon 
a prostrate pillar, holding the reins of their 
heated horses while they cropped the short 
herbage for amusement; and Titley with 
Agnes strolled round the ruins, leading their 
horses. When they were some distance from 
their companions, one of Kate's hounds came 
tearing up .to Agnes. She stooped to caress 
the noble dog, and, while her arm was round 
the fawning creature's neck, a few soft words 
were breathed into her ears by Powis Titley, 
which sent the bright blood rushing to her 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 283 

cheeks. Upon the ground her eyes drooped, 
and the veiling lashes seemed to meet as they 
hung over the downcast orbs. No word 
escaped her lips ; but, when she lifted her eyes, 
and they met the anxious gaze of Powis Tit- 
ley, a light darted from them which told him, 
in the silent language of the heart, a secret 
which the tongue denied. 



284 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

CHRISTMAS-EVE. — THE WEDDING PRESENTS. 

" I will despair, and be at enmity 
With cozening hope : he is a flatterer." 

It was Christmas eve. A gigantic misel- 
toe was suspended in the servants' hall, and 
the walls were decorated with green holly 
covered with its bright berries. Every room in 
the old manor-house betokened that the an- 
cient custom of keeping the holiday in all its 
grandeur was strictly observed in Scourfield 
Hall. Each old portrait had a piece of ever- 
green stuck in the ring which had kept it in 
a changeless position for centuries. Not a 
casement but had a bit of winter plant placed 
in a convenient crevice. The larder was full 
of dainty haunches of the well-fed buck, broad- 
breasted turkeys, capons, barons of beef, and 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 285 

other tempting preparations for the morrow's 
feast. The red-nosed butler hobbled from 
butt to butt, and with his mallet broached the 
October ale. The cook, surrounded by will- 
ing helpmates, sat before a blazing fire, and 
plucked the feathers from heaps of game and 
poultry. Loud was the laugh and merry was 
the jest as the hours passed. All faces under 
the squire's roof save one bore smiles that 
evening, and that one was Agnes. Alone she 
remained in her room, pale and dejected. 
Momentarily, the sounds of mirth swelled 
through the house ; but she seemed to hear 
them not. A sealed letter was upon a desk 
before her, upon which she bent her gaze. 

" Within a week," she said, " I shall see 

him, thank Heaven ! and then, perhaps 

But no ; I'll hope no more. Months have 
gone without any change. I have hoped until 
I am hopeless." 

A gentle knock at the door interrupted her 
soliloquy. Permission being given, Wilmott 
entered. 

" Excuse me," he said ; " I thought you 



286 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

were here, and have come to entreat you to 
join your uncle. He is quite unhappy at 
your altered looks and manner of late." 

" I wish he had not observed them," re- 
plied Agnes. 

" It would be impossible for him not to see 
the depression of spirits under which you are 
suffering," rejoined Wilmott. 

" I have tried to seem free from anxiety ; 
but you know how much I must feel," she 
said, pressing her fingers upon her throbbing 
temples. 

" Still," added Wilmott, " we have no 
cause to fear. If he should be the — " 

" Nay, nay," interrupted Agnes ; "I can- 
not, will not believe it." 

" Then cast off this gloom," replied he. 
" If you think him free from guilt, as I do, 
then let us hope for the proof of his inno- 
cence." 

" Between hope and fear," rejoined Agnes, 
" I am so confused that I know not what to 
think. The large sums of money he is conti- 
nually requiring " 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 287 

" Proves only that he is extravagant," said 
Wilmott. 

" But it makes me fear he is dissipated," 
added Agnes. 

" That will soon be discovered, and, if 
practicable, be remedied," said Wilmott. 

" I have written this letter to him," said 
Agnes, taking it from the desk, " informing 
him that we shall be in London on Monday- 
next, and that you will call upon him the fol- 
lowing morning." 

" That is well," replied he. " JSTow regain 
your smiles, and come to the squire. I left 
him examining Kate upon the cause of your 
gloom." 

" And what did poor Kate reply ? " in- 
quired Agnes. 

" I heard her say she was as ignorant of it 
as he was," replied Wilmott. 

" You must get his consent to my telling 
her," said Agnes, " if nothing more." 

" Fear nothing," replied he, " but leave 
the arrangement in my hands." 

" And do you hope to be able to persuade 
him ?" asked Agnes, with warmth. 



288 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Most decidedly," replied Wilmott. 

" Then I will anticipate a consummation 
of my wishes," said Agnes, rising from her 
chair, and pressing his hand. " Go to my 
uncle," continued she ; " I will join you in a 
few moments." 

The squire had just risen from the chess- 
tahle, and was rubbing his hands with glee, 
having beaten his constant opponent, Ema- 
nuel Smit, as Agnes entered the apartment. 

" Come here, Agnes, " said her uncle ; 
" see, the bishop has checkmated the parson ; 
ha, ha, ha ! Capital, capital !" 

The clergyman looked at the board with 
wondering eyes. He reflected upon the past 
" moves," and at length said, " Yes, squire, 
it was the bishop, without doubt." 

" An unkind cut, sir," observed Titley. 

" Famous, famous ! " hallooed the squire. 

" It 's just nine o'clock, Agnes, " said 
Kate. " Shall we present the wedding 
dress ?" 

" Yes," replied her cousin; " I told Fanny 
to come in at nine with William." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 289 

" That was right," said the squire ; " I 
shall give them my presents to-night.'* 

" You have not told us what they are," 
said Kate. 

" You will see, my love, in a few moments," 
replied her father. " It was a good plan of 
mine, parson," continued the squire, " to have 
them married to-morrow ; it will add to our 
Christmas revel." 

The clergyman agreed with the squire upon 
his policy, and the bell was rung to summon 
the bride and bridegroom elect. 

After some shuffling of feet at the outside 
of the door it was thrown open, and in came 
Fanny, leaning on the huntsman's arm, fol- 
lowed by Mr. Bolton. The latter personage 
looked more than usually important. With 
an air of consequence he walked behind the 
young couple, and acted as master of the 
ceremony. 

After sundry bows and curtseys had been 
exchanged, Mr. Bolton " opened " by begging 
to be excused for coming uninvited, but, 
"knowing the nature of the business, and 

VOL. I. O 



290 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

having a finger in the pie, he couldn't help 
putting his foot in it." 

The squire gravely replied, " he was at 
perfect liberty to put his foot in it," which 
reply was very satisfactory to Mr. Bolton. 

" To-morrow being your wedding day, 
William," said the squire, " I sent for you 
and Fanny to settle a few little matters as 
preliminaries." 

" Preliminary's a fine name for a hound," 
thought Mr. Bolton. 

" The cottage," continued the squire, " that 
I have just finished, is for you." 

Fanny bobbed her best curtsey, William 
scraped a low bow, and Mr. Bolton looked 
from the corner of his eyes as if the arrange- 
ment was no secret to him. 

"" The furniture I give to you, Fanny," 
said the squire, stepping forward, and taking 
her kindly by the hand. " May you live long 
to polish it, and have plenty of occupation for 
the rocking-chair !" 

This sally of the squire's occasioned much 
blushing from the ladies, and loud laughter 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 291 

from the gentlemen. Mr. Bolton " topped " 
the speech by adding his conviction as to "the 
coming off of the event." 

Some large paper parcels were upon the 
table, which the squire and his friend, the 
parson, proceeded to open. From one an ele- 
gantly chased silver hunting-horn, attached to 
a weighty chain of the same material, was pro- 
duced. From another a whip, beautifully or- 
namented, and a pair of spurs. A third con- 
tained a suit of hunting livery. " These are 
for you, William," said the squire. " I thought 
they might please you and Fanny, for I know 
she is very fond of the pink." 

William thanked his kind master, and at 
the conclusion of his brief acknowledgment 
found his hand clasped in that of the squire's. 

" From Mr. Titley and myself," said Wil- 
mott, "I beg you to accept this;" at the 
same time presenting a black velvet hunting- 
cap well lined with glittering gold. 

" Gentlemen, you are too kind to us," stam- 
mered William. 

Mr. Bolton drew his fingers across his eyes 

o 2 



292 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

pathetically, and then extracted that which 
had once been a black morocco pocket-wallet, 
of capacious size, from his coat-pocket. Years 
of constant friction had worn away its ex- 
ternal beauties, but had materially added to 
its internal charms. A thick roll of notes 
was pulled from its secret depths, and, with 
a generous glow of pride sparkling in his eyes, 
Mr. Bolton handed the money to Fanny, say- 
ing, his old woman was banker, and, from the 
way she managed the exchequer, he thought 
women were the best fund-holders. 

6 'There's two hundred and fifty pounds, as 
Will's fortune," said he, " which is sufficient 
for a pretty start; and, when I am run to 
earth, there will be twice as much more." 

Fanny found herself seized hold of imme- 
diately after this address, and her face tingled 
for some minutes from sundry rough and very 
ardent kisses. 

Kate and Agnes then presented their bridal 
gifts, consisting of a pretty wedding dress, 
bonnet, and etceteras, to Fanny, while Wil- 
liam received a plain, but valuable watch and 
seals. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 293 

" That's over," said the squire. " Now 
for some mulled wine, to drink a merry 
Christmas, and then to bed, for to-morrow we 
must be fresh and gay as larks." 

" Stop one moment," said the clergyman ; 
" I've not added my mite." 

Two volumes, neatly bound, were taken in 
the curate's thin, white fingers, and, as he 
gave one to each, a breathless silence ensued. 
His lips moved, but no sound escaped them. 
Short was the blessing ; but, if ever a whis- 
pered prayer was wafted to Heaven, that one 
was heard there. 



END OF VOL. I. 



LONDON : 

F. SHOBERL, JUN., 51, RUPERT STREET, HAYMARKET, 

PRINTER TO H. R. H. PRINCE ALBERT. 






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