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OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN,
THE FIELDS AND THE WOODS.
JOHN MILLS, ESQ.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER,
GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
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
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
Obliged and Obedient Servant,
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
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
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
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
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.
OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
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."
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
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-
" 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
" Well, governor," said he, shaking the
water from his hat, and throwing off a great
coat from his broad shoulders, " here I am,
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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.
"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
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
"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
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
" 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-
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
" 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
" 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
" Why, governor, you're not a Christian,"
" 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
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
"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
** 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-
" 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-
" ' 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-
28 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
ever, I soon became unconscious of these
sounds, and fell as fast asleep as a dormouse
" 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
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
" Never, my boy, never," was the reply.
"What do you think became of it?" said
"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."
34. THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
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."
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-
" 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-
" 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
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
" To look at Striver's traps, sir," replied
Peter, touching his hat respectfully.
" Why, that's Jack's work," rejoined his
" 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
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
" It's all right, I think, sir, but we'll go
and see," replied Peter, striding off with his
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
" Here they are, miss," said Mary, offering
" 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
" 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
" 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
" We're coming, dear father," said Kate.
" How are you this morning, uncle dear ?"
" 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
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-
"Ye young lags," exclaimed the squire,
" what were those letters about, eh ?"
The two girls laughed, but returned no
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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-
" Will you give your opinion, Titley ?"
" 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
" 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,"
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 ?"
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-
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-
" Then you have no intention of following,"
" 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
The gentlemen mounted their ardent horses,
and proceeded towards the gathered crowd
under the oak-trees in the park.
56 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
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
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
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
" 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-
" Have they really !" said Titley. " I had
no idea of that fact in natural history ; but
" 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,
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-
" 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-
" 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
" 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,"
" 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
" No fox has been here, I'll swear," ejacu-
" I beg you will not impeach my veracity,"
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 65
" Ugh !" replied Tom, signifying his con-
" Where did he break from ?" inquired
" 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 !
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
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
" 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,
" 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-
" 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
" 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
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
No one, with the least spark of generosity
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
" 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-
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.
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
'.' 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
" 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
" Yes, yes," rejoined Mr. Fiddylee, " you
misunderstood me. What's your name ?"
" Humphrey Larkins, zur," rejoined the
"And the name of the trespasser?" said
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
" 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
Mr. Fiddylee was happiness personified.
His hopes were realized; his ardent wishes
" 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.
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
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
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
" 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 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
" 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
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-
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
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
" 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
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
" 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-
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,
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
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
" 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
" 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
The squire roared with laughter at this
sentiment, and told Titley to apologize for
the assault, and offer his hand to the wounded
" No !" exclaimed the attorney, " no com-
promise, till just before the trial. When all
costs are created, then's the time for compro-
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
98 THE OLD ENGI ISH GENTLEMAN.
" 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-
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
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
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
" 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
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
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-
" 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-
" 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,
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
" 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-
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" And yet methinks, sweet cousin, that you
begin to consider him not so very intole-
rable," added Kate, with an archness of look
" 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
" 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
" 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
" You know, Agnes, that I love Wil-
" 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"
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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-
In a few minutes Peter Bumstead made
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
" 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
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.
" 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
" 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,"
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
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
" 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
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
" Mark !" bawled Peter.
" Look out," whispered the squire.
" I'm not ready," said Titley, loading his
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-
" Cock to you, Mr. Wilmott," bawled the
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
" 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,"
" Light enough for me," replied the squire.
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
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,"
" How many did you frighten ?" asked the
" 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
" 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
" Where next ?" said the squire.
" The Ketling copse, sir," replied Peter.
126 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
"Did any go there from this cover ?" asked
" One or two that got the chance," replied
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
" 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
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
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
"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
" 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
" 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
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
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
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
" 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
" 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-
" Uncork the bottle of milk-punch," said
Hebe could not have drawn a cork from a
bottle of nectar with greater alacrity than
Peter Bumstead did from that containing the
" 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
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
" Shan't we beat this copse again ? " asked
" 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-
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
" 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,"
138 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
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
" 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
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
"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
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-
" 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
" 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-
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
" 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."
148 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
" You should have said women, then," said
" 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
" We were speaking of you, William,"
observed the squire.
" Were you, sir," said William, scraping
" 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
" Do, William. Go on," said the squire,
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
" 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
" 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,
" 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."
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
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
" 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
" 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
" 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-
" What !" exclaimed the squire, with as
much surprise as when William made known
" Yes," added Titley, " I'm compelled to
leave your delightful society this morning, my
" 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
" Then it's that infernal Fiddylee's doing,
is it?" said the squire, in a furious pas-
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 159
" He, decidedly, is the indirect cause," re-
" 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
" 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
"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
" In the drawing-room, I suppose," replied
" I'll attend them there," said Titley ;
" and bid them a temporary adieu."
" But you'll dine with us to-day," said the
" 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
" What is it about ?" asked Wilmott.
" Old Tom's son is going to be married."
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. l6l
" William married !" exclaimed Wilmott,
" 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.
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-
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
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
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
" 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
" 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-
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
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-
" 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-
" 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
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
" 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
" 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-
"Not longer than a month, I hope," said
" Then for that time I am silent," rejoined
" Thank you, thank you," exclaimed Ag-
" Heaven knows whether I am acting cor-
rectly or not," said he ; " but I do it for the
" 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
" 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-
" 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
" 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-
" 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-
" 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
" 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
" The latter end of next week," replied
" 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
Wilmott smiled at the enthusiastic girl,
and inquired if her morning's walk was con-
" Not yet," replied Kate. " I intend
having a quiet ramble without these boisterous
companions, and so returned to leave thern
" 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-
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
Need we tell our fair readers what had
passed during the walk of Agnes and Wil-
mott Ashley ?
178 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
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-
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
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
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,
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
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-
" 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-
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
" 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
" Am I committing any injury ?" inquired
" 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
" 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-
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
"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-
" 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
" 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
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 191
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
" 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
The squire, Wilmott, the gamekeeper, who
vol. i. K
194 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
was very surly, and Jack Tiggle, brought up
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
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
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
196 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
was answered by Button, who squeaked a
joyful response, and leaped into the river with
" 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
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
" Why don't you jump in, Tom ?" inquired
" 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
" Pull, Mr. Bumstead !" shouted Jack ; " I
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
All roared with laughter, except Peter,
who roared with pain, at this new feature in
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
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-
" 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-
" 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
"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
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
" 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
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
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
" 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
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-
"If it was, he'd be there," rejoined the
" And spunging upon a pal," added her
" 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
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
" 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
Three watchmen had assembled, and, after
holding a consultation, one said, " You must
come away now, and get a warrant in the
" "Warrant ! — I '11 have my money," shouted
the excited man, repeating his assault at the
A scuffle inside, and a violent struggle, were
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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-
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
" I'll get a coach, and accompany you,"
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,"
" Would to Heaven I could say so !" replied
his companion, who will be now known as
" 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
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 ?"
" I snatched it from the hand of somebody
who lifted it from the table," replied Titley.
"And how did you get in?" inquired
" 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
" 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
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
" 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,"
" 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
" 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
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
" The truth is," replied Titley, " I never
should have ventured into the den, but for the
" 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
" 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,"
" 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
" 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.
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 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
" My attorney says, after something they
call a term, next November," replied Titley,
" and they lay the damages at five thousand
" 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 ?"
" 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-
" Yes, but, if I have to pay five thousand
for the sport, it will be expensive fun," re-
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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-
" 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 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,"
" 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,'
" ' 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
" 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
" < 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
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 235
" ' Hark for'ard ! hark for'ard !' hallooed
" ' Save me ! save me V screamed the
" 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
" 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
" I'm delighted beyond measure," said
Titley. " What a piece of unexpected, sweet
" What shall we do to-morrow ?" inquired
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
"Bravo!" exclaimed Wilmott; "it will
not hurt your hounds a bit."
" Nothing can hurt them," replied the
" 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
" And a pair of breeches from me," added
" With a pair of capital top-boots I can
furnish, there you are complete," said Wil-
" 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
" 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
" 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-
" No matter," said Wilmott, " we'll walk
" 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
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
" 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
" I must be fresh for to-morrow," replied
the squire ; " but a parting glass will take
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
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-
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
" Master hasn't said a word about it," said
" 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
" 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-
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 ?"
"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
" 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
At the conclusion of the warning, Jack's
ears were saluted with a loud crack from Mr.
" 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
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
" There's the squire," said Tom—" Mr. Wil-
mott — a better rider never heeled a spur —
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,
" 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
" 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
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
" He was in my wheat stubble last night,
sir," replied a farmer.
" By the side of the nutwood cover?" asked
" 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-
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
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
" 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
" There's not his equal," observed Wilmott,
holding his impetuous horse back with all his
" 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-
" 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,"
" 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
" 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
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
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
" 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
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
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
" If I thought you would," rejoined Agnes,
" the dignity should be enjoyed alone."
" Listen !" exclaimed Kate, quickly.
A deep-toned note echoed through the
" 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
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
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-
" 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
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
" I sincerely trust no accident will happen,"
" 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
" 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
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
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
"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
" 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
" 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
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?
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
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
" Then something has made you anxious.
Pray tell me what it is. I have no secret
from you," rejoined Kate, in an imploring
" 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
"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-
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
" Will uncle accompany us ? " inquired
" I believe not," replied Kate ; " he has to
attend the quarter sessions to-day."
And both went to prepare themselves for
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
" 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 ? "
" 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
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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
" Ah, my pet," said she, " what, you wish
for the gallop, do you ! "
" Let me assist you to mount," said
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
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
" 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
" 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
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-
" 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
" Not in the least," replied Titley.
" Here's your horse, my dear fellow," said
Wilmott, who had succeeded in catching the
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-
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.
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
" 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-
" 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
" 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-
" 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
" But it makes me fear he is dissipated,"
" 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-
" That is well," replied he. " JSTow regain
your smiles, and come to the squire. I left
him examining Kate upon the cause of your
" And what did poor Kate reply ? " in-
" 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
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
" 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,"
" 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
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
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
" 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-
Mr. Bolton drew his fingers across his eyes
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
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
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.
F. SHOBERL, JUN., 51, RUPERT STREET, HAYMARKET,
PRINTER TO H. R. H. PRINCE ALBERT.
hBiKSIW, ' 8 -""™