(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

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

LI E> RARY 

OF THE 
U N IVLRSITY 
Of ILLINOIS 

623 



UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN 

The person charging this material is responsible for its 

renewal or return to the library on or before the due date. 

The minimum fee for a lost item is $125.00, $300.00 

for bound journals. 

Theft, mutilation, and underlining of books are reasons 

for disciplinary action and may result in dismissal from 

the University. Please note: self-stick notes may result in 

torn pages and lift some inks. 

Renew via the Telephone Center at 217-333-8400, 

846-262-1510 (toll-free) orcirclib@uiuc.edu. 

Renew online by choosing the My Account option at: 

http://www.library.uiuc.edu/catalog/ 



OCT 4 2008 



Digitized by tine Internet Arcinive 

in 2009 with funding from 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 



http://www.archive.org/details/oldenglishgentle02mill 



THE 



OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN, 



OR, 



THE FIELDS AND THE WOODS. 



BY 



JOHN MILLS, ESQ. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. n. 



LONDON: 
HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER. 

GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 

1841. 



LONDON : 
F. SHOBKKL, JUX., 51, RUPERT STREET, HAYMARKET, 
PRINTER TO H. R. H. PRINCE ALBERT 






THE 



OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE huntsman's WEDDING. 

" Methinks, a father 

Is, at the nuptial of his son, a guest 

That best becomes the table ." 

A THIN crust of snow covered the ground, 
just permitting the points of the grass to peep 
above its surface, as the old whipper-in strode 
from his cottage door towards the Hall. A 
keen wind nipped his nose, and benumbed his 
fingers, each step crisping under his tread, 
as he bustled along. Scarcely a cloud was 
visible, but the rays of the sun were pale, 

VOL. II. B 



2 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

and gave little warmth to the bleached earth. 
Myriads of sparkling gems danced and flashed 
in the light. Flocks of chilled birds covered 
the thorns, and pecked the red berries for 
want of more dainty fare. The robin perched 
himself upon the leafless bough, and whistled 
his winter song. It was Christmas morning — 
a bright, cold, bracing day. 

" Ah !" exclaimed Mr, Bolton, " here's a 
day for Will's throw ofl". All things in sea- 
son's my motto. Hot weather for haymaking ; 
southerly winds and cloudy skies for fox- 
hunting ; snow and frost for matrimony. Hot 
days don't suit the con-nubial start. They 
put the parties out of condition." 

The church clock had just struck ten, when 
the bells rung a joyous peal. Far away in the 
clear, frosty air the sounds were borne. 
Through wood and vale, far and wide, the 
merry din announced the huntsman's wed- 
ding. 

Along the path, leading from the church 
to the Hall, returned the bridal party. Wil- 
liam and his bride walked in advance, followed 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 3 

by Kate and Agnes, who, by their own desire, 
acted as bridesmaids. The squire and Mr. 
Bolton succeeded them. The curate, Wil- 
mott, and Titley, followed. Then came thirty 
of the squire's friends, who regularly joined 
the hounds, all dressed in scarlet, and equipped 
for the chase. The rear was brought up by 
Peter Bumstead, Jack Tiggle, and the rest 
of the domestics. 

" l^ow then," said the squire, entering the 
servants' hall, " let us have the bowl." 

In a few minutes a large, old-fashioned 
china bowl was brought in by the butler. To 
the brim it was filled with spiced wine, which 
sent a fragrant steam to the ceiling. Eoasted 
apples hissed and floated in the capacious 
vessel, and a large ladle was buried within an 
inch of the fawn-foot handle in its contents. 

" Glasses all round," ordered the squire. 
" Now fill away," continued he, setting the 
example. 

In a short period all were charged. 

" Here's health, long life, and happiness to 
William Bolton and his pretty wife," said 

B 2 



4 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

the squire, in a loud voice, and emptying his 
' goblet. 

The toast met with an enthusiastic recep- 
tion. Each seemed desirous to evince the 
sincerity of his feelings, as the glass to friend- 
ship was raised and quaffed. Eough but 
honest grasps were exchanged ; hearts beat 
quick and light ; and not one in that merry 
company felt a throb of envy, jealousy, or 
malice. 

In the artificial scenes of more refined so- 
ciety, on the freezing stage where Fashion's 
starched and hollow form frets her hour, how 
different the springs of action ! The honeyed 
word, garnished with smiles, drops from tongues 
steeped in slander's gall ; the glance of seem- 
ing sympathy and kindness, from eyes of the 
basilisk's temper. Hypocrisy lurks in every 
gesture of the puppet crowd, and yet each 
actor thinks his mask impenetrable. The aim 
of society is to deceive, by assuming a garb 
not suited to the shape beneath. How many 
breasts would cease to sigh if the fetters of 
dissimulation were broken ! Self-respect, that 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 5 

most enviable of all feelings, would reign pa- 
ramount, and fair honesty be the root for fair 
deeds to grow from. 

*' Now, William Bolton, my son," said 
Tom, after all had drained their glasses, '' tip 
'em a virgin o-ration — parliament folks call 
'em maiden speeches ; / call 'em virgin o-ra- 
tions." 

Will scraped the sand from the white bricks, 
unbuttoned his breeches pockets, rebuttoned 
them, and exhibited signs of some confusion. 

" Put 'em at it, Will," said Tom, encou- 
ragingly. 

" I'm at fault, governor," replied Will, 
"but here goes for a blind un. My good 
master, gentlemen o' the hunt, and friends — " 

"Stop, Will," said Tom; "you should 
have placed me after the gentlemen o' the 
hunt. Never put your father in the ruck, 
my boy — he's a leader." 

" Beg your pardon, governor," rejoined 
Will, smiling. " I feel as if I was pounded. 
However, I must try to get across country. 
The kindness we — that is, my little wife here, 
and myself — have met with from all present. 



6 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

is a great deal too much for me to talk about. 
I feel it here," said William, placing his hand 
upon his heart, " but something in my throat 
is so large that I can't give it room.'* 

" He can't swallow it, you see," suggested 
Mr. Bolton, with a serious face. 

There was much difficulty in concealing the 
mirth caused by the old whipper-in's attempted 
assistance. William made a long pause to 
regain a becoming gravity, and Fanny, who 
leaned upon his arm, hid her merry face be- 
hind her husband's shoulder. At last. Will, 
as if at his wit's end, burst out with a loud 
voice, made musical by the feeling that spoke 
in it : — " From my soul I thank ye ; and 
may God bless you all ! and that's all I can 
say." 

Vociferous cheering followed the hunts- 
man's brief speech. All the assembly shook 
hands with him, and many enjoyed the privi- 
lege of saluting the bride under the huge 
miseltoe. Among the candidates for this pri- 
vilege was Jack Tiggle, who unceremoniously 
snatched a kiss, and at the same time winked 
his left eye at the gamekeeper. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 7 

" That was a sweet un, that was, Mr. Bum- 
stead," said he, approaching Peter. 

" I know what you'd get if she was a wife 
of mine," replied Peter, sulkily. 

'^ Liberty to do so at my pleasure, no 
doubt," rejoined Jack. 

A few hours passed gaily enough, when 
the dinner-bell boomed forth the welcome 
tidings of the prepared meal. At the head of 
one of three long tables, groaning under the 
weight of its substantial dishes, sat the squire. 
On each side of him were the ladies ; Wil- 
mott was at the bottom, with the curate and 
his friend Titley flanking him right and left. 
William sat at the head of another board, 
having his wife on one side of him, and his 
father on the other. At the remaining table 
were Peter, with his evil genius. Jack Tiggle, 
close to his side, and old Striver acting as vice- 
president. The gentlemen of the hunt, with 
the Scourfield tenantry, were seated at the 
squire's table. The domestics and William's 
invited guests placed themselves as it suited 
their inclinations at the others. 



8 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

After a brief but suitable blessing from the 
curate, oif flew the bright covers, and for a 
few moments the fragrant steam enveloped 
the company, as if a thick fog had suddenly 
forced itself through the chinks of the floor. 
Then such a clatter of knives, forks, and 
plates rung through the hall ! Barons of beef 
dwindled from their huge dimensions, like 
snow in the bright sunshine ; plump capons 
became mere shadows of their former great- 
ness ; and at length the disappearance of 
haunches of fat venison, pheasants, hares, tur- 
keys, with some large solid plum-puddings, 
announced the conclusion of the feast. 

The choicest wine from the vast cellars was 
brought in by the gouty butler. Magnums 
of rosy port, faded from its pristine colour by 
time, and round which the spider had twined 
his clinging web in days long past, were dug 
from their sawdust grave. Madeira, bright 
as keen wit, gurgled from the disgorging 
bottle, and bowls of odoriferous punch stood 
creaming at convenient distances. 

After the squire had pledged the whole of 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 9 

the company, and many a loyal and patriotic 
toast had been given, " Clear away for the 
dance," said he ; " heap more logs on the 
fire, and tune up your fiddle, Striver." 

In a few moments chairs and tables were 
stowed away, and Striver, mounted on one of 
them in a corner of the room, commenced 
scraping a merry tune. On each side ranged 
the company, and, with the light step of boy- 
hood, the squire led off the country -dance 
with the bride. Down the middle and up 
again, they tripped to the inspiring strain from 
Striver's bow. 

To Mr. Bolton's indescribable surprise and 
gratification, Kate challenged him to dance 
with her. Tom's eyes glistened as his graceful 
young mistress gave him her hand to join in 
the " fantastic dance." 

" Spring and winter," growled Peter, as 
a slight pang of envy shot through his 
breast. 

The observation was not lost upon Mr. 
Bolton, who, with a look of mingled indigna- 
tion and pride, gave a hazardous flourish to 

b5 



10 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

lead off his fair partner with, and to prove 
the springy capacity of his heels. 

" Capital, capital !" hallooed the squire, de- 
lighted to see Tom's successful attempt " to 
poise in air, and measure to the sound." 

Dance after dance, and reel after reel, suc- 
ceeded each other, till at length fatigue began 
to display itself, not only in the wearied vota- 
ries of Terpsychore, but also in old Striver's 
digits. 

" Keep it up," cried Tom. " For'ard, 
for'ard; we're not run into yet." 

And his white top-boots skipped up and 
down with the speed of a much younger man, 
as he set in a quick reel to Fanny. 

" But I," said Striver, dropping his fiddle, 
*' am trapped with the fore pads." 

" Then we're checked," replied Tom, 
coming to a stand. 

" Check-mated," added the curate, dwelling 
upon his favourite game. 

" Why don't you dance, Peter ?" inquired 
Wilmott. 

" Ah, sir ! that's what I want to know," 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 11 

said Jack Tiggle ; '' I've been asking him all 
the evening. I'm quite ." 

Jack's speech was cut short by a tumultuous 
peal of laughter bursting from his lips. 

Peter eyed Jack with a penetrating look ; 
and, after an instant's reflection, slapped his 
leg with his broad hand, and exclaimed, " I 
thought there was something wrong ! — Thun- 
der and lightning ! " and off went Peter, with 
an awkward gait, out of the hall, muttering 
rough oaths. 

" What's the matter ?" asked the squire. 

" I don't know," replied Wilmott. " But I 
think Jack has been playing one of his tricks 
upon Peter." 

Jack had nearly succeeded in getting out 
of the hall unobserved, when the squire, see- 
ing him sneaking away, called him back. 

" What have you been doing ?" inquired he, 
seizing Jack by the ear. 

" Nothing, sir," squealed Jack ; a usual 
reply with him when interrogated respecting 
his misdeeds. 

" Tell me," added the squire, giving him a 
pinch. 



12 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

*'0h, oh, oh!" squeaked Jack. "I will, 
sir, if you please.*' 

The company formed a group round the mis- 
chievous Jack Tiggle, anticipating, with plea- 
sure, the adventure to be related. 

" If you please, sir," commenced he, with 
an humble voice and supplicating manner, 
*' Mr. Bumstead has a favourite shirt." 

" A what f " said the squire. 

*' A favourite shirt, with a ruffle in front, 
sir," replied Jack. 

" Well ! go on," said the squire. 

" Mr. Bumstead," continued Jack, '' thinks 
nobody can fig out the frill like my mother 
can. And so, when he means to sport his 
favourite shirt, he gets my mother to wash and 
iron it for him. The night before last, I saw 
what pains she took with it, and, after it was 
done, she asked me to take it home." Jack 
faltered here, and hesitated to go on. " You 
won't be angry with me, sir?" said he, inter- 
rogatively. 

" Perhaps not," replied the squire, longing 
to hear the result. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 13 

" There was a spoonful or two of starch left 
in a cup," continued Jack, " which I took 
away with me when mother gave me the shirt ; 
and, before I got to Mr. Bumstead's house, I 
—I " 

" Well, well ! what did you ? " asked his 
master, with impatience. 

" I starched the tail ! " replied Jack. 

The men haw-hawed, and the females hung 
their heads and tittered, as Jack finished the 
account of his trick. The squire gave him a 
gentle slap on the shoulders, which had in it 
more of approbation than reproof, and laughed 
for several minutes. Mr. Bolton was equally 
pleased, and repeated his belief of "an unruly 
whelp making a good, steady hound." 

The night waned, and, as the majority ap- 
peared tired with dancing, it was proposed 
that Mr. Bolton should relate a story. It 
should be observed, that Tom was noted for 
being a first-rate teller of a story. 

Forming a ring round the cheerful wood 
fire — and a very wide one it was — all were 
silent for the old whipper-in's tale. With a 



14 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

dignified air, Mr. Bolton seated himself in the 
centre, and, after sipping a small quantity of 
punch, he drew a silk handkerchief across his 
lips, and said he would relate a simple fact, 
which took place when he was a hoy : — 

" Five and thirty years ago, there was a 
maiden lady, of an uncertain age (for the mark 
was out of her tooth," said Tom, by way of 
parenthesis), " living within five miles of the 
market- town of Highbridge. Nature had not 
been over-bountiful to her with regard to fe- 
male charms, considering she had nothing 
good but her legs ; but these were clippers. 
Her hair was thin and red. One of her eyes 
looked up the chimney, while the other 
squinted in the pot. Her teeth were always 
taking liberties with her lips : and as to her 
mouth, it almost swallowed up the rest of her 
face. In short, she had no good points but 
her legs, and they, as I said afore, were 
clippers. 

"It is not very surprising, therefore, that 
this lady was exceedingly proud of the only 
attractions she possessed. They say women 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 15 

are vainer than men. How that may be I 
can't say ; but I know this lady would stan4 
the whole live-long day before a looking-glass, 
to admire her legs ; and I never heard of a 
man being quite so vain as that. ' It's a la- 
mentable thing,' thought Miss Bebee, which 
was her name, ' that I can't wear tights ; for 
Where's the use of possessing such treasures, 
without the opportunity of displaying them ?' 
This she had repeated to herself during many 
successive years, on every occasion when she 
admired her legs — which was daily. She al- 
ways walked in the most public roads when 
the wind blew strong, hoping a sudden gust 
might cause her charms to be known and ap- 
preciated, without the commission of any im- 
propriety on her part. Through the mud she 
tramped, holding her dress well up, for the 
same purpose. But whether their complexion 
was so changed from the mire that they were 
unrecognised, or that dame Fortune was per- 
verse, and wouldn't favour the design, I can't 
say ; but years rolled on, and no one was a 
bidder for possession of the only handsome 
features of Miss Bebee's person. 



16 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Now, it SO happened, one morning in Jan- 
uary — much such a day as this — a fine, dry, 
frosty day — that Miss Bebee, after a hasty 
glance at her legs in the glass, entered a bright 
yellow po'-chaise to go to Highbridge. It 
was market-day ; and, as Miss Bebee jolted 
along, and saw the ruddy faces, the top-boots, 
and gilt-buttoned coats of the farmers journey- 
ing to Highbridge, serious thoughts flitted 
through her brain, as to whether or not it 
w^ould be proper and expedient for her to stick 
a leg out of each front window of the po'-chaise, 
to attract the attention of the passers-by. 
This, however, she abstained from doing, re- 
serving the show-off for her arrival. 

" ' Drive to the market-hill,' said Miss 
Bebee to her driver, an old, deaf postboy. 

" ' Where, marm ?' asked the old postboy. 

*' ' To the market-hill,' screamed Miss 
Bebee. 

" ' I can't hear,' replied the driver. 

" ' To the market-hill,' again screeched Miss 
Bebee. 

" ^ I must get down fust,' rejoined the old 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 17 

postboy, getting off his horse, and limping to 
the door of the chaise. 

" Miss Behee never permitted an oppor- 
tunity to be lost for a display ; and, as the 
driver tugged at the rusty handle, she placed 
her legs in an attractive position. 

*' ' Where did you say, marm ?' inquired 
the old postboy, craning in his neck, and 
twisting his best ear for'ards. 

" ' To — the — market — hill,' replied Miss 
Bebee, at the top of her voice, and purple 
in the face with exertion. 

" ' Very good, marm,' rejoined the old post- 
boy, and on they proceeded. 

" Design often fails where accident suc- 
ceeds, is the moral of this tale," sagely ob- 
served Mr. Bolton. " Scarcely had the crazy 
old yellow po'-chaise bumped a yard upon the 
stones of Highbridge, when out fell the bot- 
tom, and Miss Bebee, with a scream, found 
herself mounted^on the perch." 

A roar of laughter interrupted Tom's tale. 
With a serious face, he motioned for silence ; 
and, when it was obtained, he added — 



18 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" There was no saddle." 

Again Tom was interrupted. Minutes 
elapsed ere he could proceed. Eoar after 
roar succeeded each other, and were echoed 
and re-echoed through the old hall, until every 
rafter seemed to shake with hearty, unre- 
strained mirth. At length, something like 
order was restored, and Mr. Bolton continued 
his story. 

" As you may suppose," said Tom, " a 
pair of legs under a po-'chaise, with the toes 
just touching the ground, and seeming to be 
running a race with the wheels, attracted 
many eyes in Highb ridge. Among other 
astonished spectators, was a Mr. Timothy 
Stubbs, grocer, who, while weighing some 
plums, caught a side glance of the legs. Out 
of his shop rushed Timothy; but, treading on 
his long white apron, it tripped him up, and 
down he fell headlong into the gutter. No- 
thing daunted, up got Stubbs, and joined the 
crowd in full chase after the legs. 

" ' Stop, stop !' shouted everybody; but the 
order was unheard by the old postboy. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 19 

" ' My legs, my precious legs !' bawled Miss 
Bebee, using her best endeavours to keep up 
with the wheels. Still the old postboy kept 
on towards the market-hill at a gentle trot, 
and the crowd increased every moment. 

" ' What splendid legs ! ' gasped Timothy, 
out of breath, and nearing the po'-chaise at 
every stride. ' I never saw such a mould ;' 
and, as he continued to run and gaze, the 
more he admired them. 

" At last, the market hill was reached, and 
the chaise came to a stop. Sooner than I can 
describe, Timothy seized the handle, and flung 
open the door. There was Miss Bebee, with 
her hands clutching the front part of the 
chaise, leaning for'ard in true jockey style, as 
if preparing for another start. 

"'I hope you're not hurt, ma'am,* said 
Timothy. 

'' ' He, he !' simpered Miss Bebee. ' No- 
thing of consequence.' 

" With this, Timothy assisted her off the 
perch, and, dragging her through the door, 
placed her once more upon her favourite fea- 



20 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

tures. With the exception of a little stiifness, 
Miss Bebee suffered no apparent inconvenience 
from her ride ; and, within three months from 
that day, she was handed into the same po'- 
chaise, with a new bottom, as the better half 
of Timothy Stubbs, the grocer of Highbridge." 



Mr. Bolton's story was much liked by his 
auditors, who laughed from the beginning to 
the end of it. 

" Fill your glasses round," said the squire ; 
" we'll take our parting glass, for it's getting 
late." 

" We must have a song first," observed 
Wilmott. 

" Perhaps Mr. Titley will favour us," said 
Agnes. 

" With profound pleasure," replied Titley, 
who seemed to enjoy the scene as much as 
anybody present. 

" That's right, my boy," said the squire. 
*' Now then, silence." 

In a fine mellow voice, Titley sung the fol- 
lowing words : — 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 21 

" Who frowns to night? Not one that's here. 

Each heart beats true and sound : 
Smiles beam like sunlight — not a tear 

Steals from an eye around. 

Chorus — None frown to-night, &c. 

" For we can look upon the past, 

And feel no sorrow nigh ; 
Our pleasure's not too bright to last. 

Our fears ne'er cause a sigh. 

None frown to-night, &c. 

*' Then drink, my friends ; let each one say. 

When Time has cull'd the flowers. 
My life was as a summer's day. 

Passed with the laughing hours. 

None frown to-night," &c. 

At the end of Titley's song, he received 
much applause, and, at a signal from the 
squire, all rose to take " a bumper at parting." 
Friendly shakes of the hand were exchanged, 
and one by one retired to rest. As William 
and his bride left the hall, three hearty cheers 
were given, and Mr. Bolton's voice was heard 
above the rest. Soon after the squire and his 
friends had departed, none remained before 
the flickering embers on the hearth, except 
Jack Tiggle and Peter, who had returned, 
after changing his starched shirt. Jack sat 



2£ THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN, 

at one corner of the wide chimney-piece, while 
Peter occupied the other. After his resolu- 
tion had failed him several times, Jack at 
length said, " It's nearly daylight, Mr. Bum- 
stead." 

Peter raised his hands from his knees, and, 
trying to look exceedingly grave at Jack, 
replied in a strangely thick voice that "he 
was aware of the fact." 

" Shall I help you to bed, sir ?" rejoined 
Jack, respectfully. 

*' If you — don't — starch — my — tail — 
again," replied Peter, who began to discover 
that nothing was steady except himself, " you 
may — master — John — Tig - Tig - Tiggle, you 
d — d — rascal !" 

" Lean on me," said Jack, assisting Peter 
from his chair ; " I'll see you home." 

The pale light of a winter's morning was 
just tinging the horizon, and the stars were 
hiding from mortal gaze, as Jack, reeling 
beneath the staggerings of his companion, 
quitted the Hall. 

" Jack," said Peter, after they had gone a 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 23 

little way, " I really-— think you -'re — drunk, 
sir." 

** Why do you think so ?" said Jack. 

"Because — you — don't — seem — to — me — 
to walk straight," rejoined Peter. 



24 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A PAIR OF 
TOP-BOOTS. 

" Now it is the time of night. 
That the graves, all gaping wide, 
Every one lets forth his sprite. 
In the church-way paths to glide." 

It was the tenth night after William's 
wedding, and a week from the departure of 
the squire for London, when the old whipper- 
in occupied a cozy seat before the fire, in his 
son's new dwelling. Eanny was plying her 
needle diligently before a small work-table, 
placed between her and Mr. Bolton, while 
her husband sat by her side, preparing a pipe 
for his father. 

" There, governor," said William, cram- 
ming the last piece of the fragrant weed into 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 25 

the bowl, and offering the pipe to his father, 
** blow away your melancholy spirits.'* 

" Ah !" sighed Tom, " I feel very close to 
the ground now, my son. Horses out of con- 
dition — squire away — Miss Kate — Miss 
Agnes — Mr. Wilmott— Mr. Titley — all 
gone. Ah ! I wonder what frosts were made 
for !" 

" Perhaps to try your patience, Mr. 
Bolton," suggested Eanny. 

" I am the most patient man alive," said 
Mr. Bolton, giving vent to a volume of 
smoke ; " but I can't stand frost." 

^' It will break by and by," replied Wil- 
liam, " and then you'll enjoy the fun the 
more." 

" Wisely said," rejoined Tom. " True, 
very true." 

" Would you like a little spiced ale with 
your pipe ?" inquired Fanny, with a sly look 
at her father-in-law. 

Mr. Bolton withdrew the pipe from his 
lips, and, placing his hand on his abdominal 
regions, replied that he thought he should — 

VOL. II. C 



26 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

for he felt " a little queer just there — a sort of 
a sinking." 

With pleased alacrity Fanny procured the 
desired beverage ; and after Mr. Bolton had 
taken a long pull at it, wiped his lips, and 
saluted his daughter-in-law, he seemed much 
refreshed. 

" There," said he ; " now, if we had but 
Joe Jogalong here, to tell us one of his 
pleasant fireside stories, I should be all right 
again. Can't you tip us something, Will ? 
None of your love and murder stuff, that you 
used to mollify Fanny with, in your courting 
days — something fit for a huntsman to tell, 
and a whipper-in to hear — something sport- 
ing like — something racy — ha ! ha !" and 
the old man laughed heartily at his own 
pun. 

" Well, governor, I don't know but I could 
recollect a story, that Mr. Wilmott's groom 
told us t'other night at the Chequers, over a 
jug of ale — only Fanny mightn't like it, for 
it's all about a pair of boots." 

*'A huntsman's wife and a whipper-in's 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 27 

daughter-in-law not like to hear about a pair 
of boots ! Nonsense !" ejaculated Tom. 

Fanny declared she should like to hear 
Will's story, of all things. Accordingly, the 
lire was made up, the candle trimmed, Mr. 
Bolton replenished his pipe, Fanny placed 
herself in a listening attitude, and William, in 
a distinct and musical voice, commenced 

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A PAIR OF TOP-BOOTS. 

" It was in the merry month of May, 
' when bees from flower to flower sip honey,' 
that we — the boots whose history i§ about to 
be recorded — were turned over from the dark 
fingers of a disciple of St. Crispin to those of 
a coatless, dirty urchin, to be conveyed to our 
destined home. After looking at all the print- 
shops in his way and out of his way, observing, 
with laudable curiosity, everything worthy of 
notice, and successfully abstracting from the 
fruit-stalls divers quantities of trifling luxuries, 
without returning a fair equivalent for the 
same — it being a theory with him that pro- 
perty should not be selfishly appropriated, 

c 2 



28 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

especially apples, to which he was partial — 
he, at length, gave a knock and ring at the 
door of a proud mansion in Piccadilly. A 
servant, dressed in a dashing livery of scarlet 
and white, powdered wig, silk stockings, and 
gold buckles in his pumps, opened the door. 
Upon seeing our worthy bearer, he extracted 
a toothpick from his waistcoat-pocket, and 
evinced his contempt for the cause of his dis- 
turbance, by commencing a silent attack upon 
his masticators. 

" Our bearer was awe-struck at the magnifi- 
cent person who stood before him, and meekly 
inquired ' if one Mr. Smith lived there ? ' 

" ' Mr. ivho f ' ferociously inquired the 
footman. 

" ' Mr. Smith, sir,' repeated the boy. 

*' ' How dare you put such a preposterous 
interrogatory to me ! you snivelling offspring 
of a female jackass,' rejoined the footman ; 
' you knew ' one Smith' could not possibly live 
here.' 

" ' No, sir, I didn't,' said the boy. 

^' ' I insist upon it that you did. You 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 29 

knew it well enough. Smith, indeed ! ' ex- 
claimed the man of consequence, his nose 
twisting into a perfect curl, with aristocratic 
disgust at the plebeian name. 

" The label appended to one of our straps 
was read over and over again by the boy, but 
no new light broke in upon him. 

" ' Hold up the boots, that I may peruse 
the name,' said the footman. 

" We were accordingly suspended in close 
proximity to the prominent feature of the 
flunky's countenance. 

" ' Ah ! I thought so. Yes, yes, no doubt 
from the first,' soliloquised the footman. 
' Do you know, superlative of noodles, that 
S — m — y — t — h — e spells Smythe ; and that 
Sir Horatio St. Vincent Easselas de Vere 
Smythe is not to be inquired for as one Mr. 
Smith. Now think of that, and give my 
compliments to your master, and tell him the 
sooner he kicks you out of his service the 
earlier he'll please me.' 

" With this we were consigned to Sir Hora- 
tio's gentleman, not sorry to be free from the 



30 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

dingy paws of the boy, who, with open mouth, 
stood wondering, long after the door was 
closed, how human wisdom could be brought 
to such perfection as to be capable of disco- 
vering the distinction between ' Smyth' and 
' Smythe.' 

" ' A pair of boots, Sir Horatio,' introduced 
us to our owner, a young, dashing-looking 
gentleman, who w^as employed in his dressing- 
room. 

" ' Just in the nick of time. Get the per- 
suaders,' said Sir Horatio to the much-altered 
footman, who now seemed humility personified. 

" A pair of boothooks w^ere produced, and, 
after much exertion, we were at length ' per- 
suaded' to adjust ourselves to the feet of the 
tortured baronet, whose countenance expressed 
the pain attendant on squeezing a tolerably 
large foot into rather a small boot. 

" ' I wish you had my favourite corns in- 
stead of me,' groaned Sir Horatio. 

" * I wish I had, sir,' replied the footman, 
with affected earnestness. 

** ' You wish nothing of the kind,' rejoined 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 31 

Sir Horatio. ' Now are you not a hypocritical 
villain ? ' 

" ' Yes, I am, sir,' meekly replied the foot- 
man. This admission soothed the tyrannical 
Sir Horatio, who, after threatening our ex- 
termination for pressing too closely upon his 
pedal extremities, coolly proceeded to com- 
plete his toilet. 

" ' Thomas is to ride the coh,' said Sir 
Horatio. 

" ' Yes, sir. And what horse will you 
please to ride. Sir Horatio?' inquired the 
attendant, as if pleading for his life. 

" ' He, he, he ! ' simpered his master, * I've 
an idea that I shall not please the animal I 
ride to-day. He, he, he ! not bad. I'll have 
Galopade. And say, if any one calls, that I 
am at St. Alban's steeple-chase.' 

" In the course of half an hour, we were on 
the road to St. Albans, going at furious speed ; 
it being a maxim with Sir Horatio to ride in- 
variably as if the prince of darkness kicked 
him every inch of the way. Clouds of dust 
rose and covered our polished surface. The 
bright spurs which ornamented us began to 



32 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

redden from the continued pricking of the ex- 
hausted horse, and our pristine charms were 
much faded as we came to the terminus of our 
journey. 

" ' That's pretty travelling, Gaylad — twenty 
miles in an hour and seven minutes' — said our 
master, to a small, strong, thick-set man, as he 
dismounted from his jaded horse. 

*' ' It would stump up timber, an' no mis- 
take,' replied the little man. ' A 'oss made 
o' steel couldn't stand it.' 

" ' Never mind, there are more where Galo- 
pade came from,' replied Sir Horatio. 

" ' Gallop-hard, you call her, do you ?' 
said Mr. Gaylad. ' Well, then, you've given 
Gallop-hard a hard gallop — ha, ha, ha !' 

" ' What horse do you ride, Gaylad ?' in- 
quired Sir Horatio, dismounting. 

" ' I crosses the crack, old Flyaway,' re- 
plied the jockey. 

" ' Shall you win ?' asked our master. 

" * If we can keep enough wind in our bel- 
lows,' replied Mr. Gaylad, with a professional 
look of importance. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 33 

" * Now, Gaylad,' whispered Sir Horatio, 
' if there is a secret, let me into it ; for I 
must win a lump to-day.' 

" ' I like to do business with you. Sir Ho- 
ratio, because we understand each other,' 
said the jockey. ' I'll tell ye how the event 
will come off to a moral. The crack '11 make 
play, and win if he can last. If he can't, An- 
telope will. There, now go and stick it 
on thick, and don't forget me for the wrinkle, 
after the diversion.' 

"In a few minutes we were in the midst 
of dukes, lords, marquisses, horse-dealers, 
blacklegs, pickpockets, and other worthy and 
unworthy members of society, who crowd a 
betting-ring all under the influence of the or- 
gan of acquisitiveness. 

" ' Seven to one against Humbug. Five to 
two against Antelope. Three to one against 
Moonraker. A hundred to ten against 
Sneaking Jerry :' such were the various offers 
called out by the interested in the betting- 
ring. 

" Our master accepted most of the heavy 

c5 



34 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

bets offered against Flyaway, and laid a great 
deal of money against many of the other horses. 

'' ' My book's closed,' said he to a man 
who offered a bet. 

" ' I hope it's a good un,' whispered Gay- 
lad ; and, taking the volume from Sir Horatio, 
he commenced perusing its contents with 
much interest; 

" ' That'll do,' said the jockey, giving the 
book a smack of satisfaction, and returning it 
to our master. ' You'll hook a couple of cool 
thousands.' 

" ' If you put Flyaway in,' said Sir Horatio, 
^ you'll have two hundred out of them.' 

" ' Then in he goes to a moral,' replied 
Gay lad. 

" Fifteen noble horses were brought from 
their stables, at the order given for prepa- 
ration, and, after the process of saddling, their 
jockeys mounted, dressed in variegated silk 
and satin jackets. ' The crack,' a large boned 
horse, was the object of attraction, and 
opinions differed as to his being able to last 
the distance. Gaylad was mounted upon him, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 35 

dressed in a green and gold livery ; and, as 
he passed us, he gave a knowing wink, which 
clearly signified he was a very clever fellow 
in his own opinion. Sir Horatio returned the 
wink, and the two appeared on very excellent 
terms with themselves and each other. 

*' All was now bustle and confusion, every 
one being deeply interested in the race, or 
wishing to appear so ; pushing, crowding, 
treading without remorse upon each other's 
feet, and hurrying either to the starting or to 
the winning-post. 

" ' Come, you Grecian, vy don't yer boil us 
up a gallop, and steer clear of a gen'l'm?' said 
a costermonger in a donkey-cart to a brother 
whip. 

" ' Now, Bumptious ! vun would be dis- 
posed for to think the old un had sold her 
mangle,' replied the other, 

" Sir Horatio was standing with the foot 
of one of us placed in the stirrup, preparing to 
mount Gralopade, when the amusing little re- 
partee took place between the rival donkey- 
cart proprietors. It attracted his atten- 



36 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEIVIAN. 

tion so much that Sir Horatio imagined a 
sudden and painful pressure upon his favourite 
foot was caused by the plebeian hoof of an 
effeminate-looking quill-driver, standing close 
to him. In an instant, thwack, thwack, 
thwack, came Sir Horatio's riding-whip upon 
the shoulders of the supposed offender, who 
started and jumped about like a parched pea 
upon a drumhead. 

" ' I'll teach you to tread on my boot, you 
white-jawed snob !' said Horatio. 

" ' Tread on your boot, sir!' exclaimed the 
individual, rubbing his smarting shoulders. 
' I never touched your boot, sir. And I tell 
you what, sir, you have committed an assault, 
sir. And I'll bring an action for damages, sir.' 

" ' Damages be d — d !' replied Sir Horatio. 
^ If you say another word, I'll thrash you 
within a hair's breadth of your beggarly ex- 
istence.' 

"The unfortunate individual immediately 
receded twenty yards upon hearing this 
friendly warning ; and Sir Horatio threw him- 
self into the saddle, and was on the point of 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 37 

starting, when his groom informed him it was 
the horse's foot, and not the man's, that did 
the mischief. 

" ' Indeed ! Then I was in error,' replied 
Sir Horatio, quite unconcerned at the trifling 
mistake. 

" Our master, and consequently ourselves, 
were now stationed at the winning-post, where, 
after remaining a short period, the assembled 
motley group shouted, ' Here they come ! 
Plyaway's first, Antelope's second, and Sneak- 
ing Jerry's third.' 

" ' Flyaway against the two, for five hun- 
dred,' hallooed Sir Horatio, flushed with ex- 
citement. 

" ' That's a bet,' replied the facetious cos- 
termonger, which much pleased the ragged 
portion of the mobility. 

"The two horses. Flyaway and Antelope, 
were now neck and neck, taking the fences so 
exactly together, that it was impossible to 
form any conclusion as to which would be the 
winner. Their respective riders were using 
all their energies to increase the speed. Whip 



38 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEIVIAN. 

and spur were applied with unrelenting perse- 
verance, and the reins were rolled with that 
peculiar twist which stimulates the horse to 
exertion. Still no perceptible advantage was 
gained by either. On they came, as if linked 
together, topping banks and hedges, clearing 
brooks and ditches, with perfect equality of 
pace and power. 

'' The last barrier, previous to entering the 
meadow where the winning flag fluttered, con- 
sisted of a high bank, with a wide ditch on 
both sides. The jockeys prepared for the 
rasper. Their horses dashed straight at it. 
' Over,' cried Gaylad, throwing out his whip 
hand. Elyaway cleared the leap, but fell 
from exhaustion on reaching the ground, and 
his jockey whisked in the thin air, like a 
shuttlecock. Antelope jumped across the 
bank, scrambled for an instant, and then fell 
powerless into the ditch beneath, carrying his 
rider with him. 

" Directly Gaylad rose from embracing the 
turf, he shook himself, and, exclaiming ' All 
right !' proceeded to excite the prostrate horse 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. S9 

to rise, by a gentle hint from his tormentor ; 
but the poor creature groaned, and at each 
attempt to get up fell again. 

" ' Up you must get,' said the irritated 
jockey. * If you can't carry me in, I must 
carry you.' 

" Sir Horatio and others proceeded to assist 
the tired and breathless animal from the 
ground, with as much despatch as possible. 

" ' Now, Gay lad, for Heaven's sake, get 
on,' said the baronet, pale with anxiety and 
excitement. 

" The third horse. Sneaking Jerry, now ap- 
proached. Flyaway turned his head to look 
at his antagonist, and with a bound the noble 
creature galloped forwards, requiring neither 
whip nor spur to reach the goal foremost in 
the race. This was no sooner accomplished 
than, with a staggering rear, he fell lifeless to 
the earth. 

" ' That's good pilotage — touch and go,' 
said Gaylad, with a satisfactory chuckle. 

" ' Poor old Flyaway I' exclaimed Sir Ho- 
ratio; 'I'm truly sorry the gallant fellow's 



40 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

dead. Ton my honour, I should have pre- 
ferred the death of my nearest relation.' 

" ' Ha, ha, ha ! that's capital !' said the 
jockey. ' But what's the odds ! He died like 
a trump, in his glory, and not as half of 'em 
do, in the knacker's amputation shop.' 

"The baronet and Gray lad were so elated 
with their success, that it was resolved they 
should dine together. After the dinner, the 
wine passed very freely, and not many hours 
elapsed before each became assured that he 
was the finest fellow imaginable. 

" ' I say. Gay lad, give me a song,' said 
Sir Horatio, in rather a peculiar and inarticu- 
late voice. 

" ' Upon my — honour,' replied the jockey, 

at a loss for security, ' I never could ' 

and a hiccup cut short the sentence. 

" ' The deuce you — can't,' rejoined Sir Ho- 
ratio, upsetting a decanter; Hhen we must 
emigrate, for diversion. By the by, I enter- 
tained an — an — an idea — that a fellow — trod 
on my — boot, this (hiccup) morning — so I 
thrashed the miserable — Gaylad, he was a — 
a — d — d miserable (hiccup) adverb.' 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLE^UN. 41 

'* ' Was he, by G — d !' said the jockey. 

" * I give you my word — he was -^ a mere 
— (three hiccups) shoestring,' replied Sir Ho- 
ratio. 

"'Sarved him right,' rejoined Gaylad. 
' Hit him again — he hasn't a friend in the 
world.* 

" ' So I will,' replied Sir Horatio, rising 
with the assistance of the edge of the table. 
' Let's go and — pul — pul — pulverize the — 
inde — cli — nable — adverb.' 

" They now proceeded to the stable-yard of 
the inn, and, after parading up and down in a 
serpentine for a few minutes, discovered the 
object of their search, leaning against a 
water-butt, quietly puffing a cigar. His hat 
was placed carelessly on one side, and, from 
the ease and comfort of his deportment, he 
seemed to have buried in oblivion the unplea- 
sant rencontre of the morning. 

" ' I had the — felicity of — of horsewhipping 
you this — morning,' said Sir Horatio, drag- 
ging Gaylad with him close to the unoffending 
stranger. 



42 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" ' Yes, sir,' fiercely replied lie ; ' and * 

" ' I'll thrash you — again — this — evening,' 
interrupted Sir Horatio. 

" ' What, sir ! Eh, sir !' exclaimed the 
terrified adverb, assuming a posture of de- 
fence. 

" ' It's no use your doing that,' said Gaylad, 
in a friendly voice, and shaking his head. 
' You'd much better take it quietly.' 

" ' Much — better,' added the baronet. 

" ' JSTever,' replied the stranger, ' never.' 

" ' I'm going to — to — chastise you — ^you 
wretched — interro — gation, for ' 

" ' What, sir ? I say for what, sir ?' in- 
quired the alarmed individual. 

" ' Do tell him, Gaylad, for I — quite for- 
get,' replied the baronet. 

" ' You're going to be licked for — for — for 
nothing — which of course you deserve, you 
know,' said the jockey, in a convincing tone. 

" ' Ah ! yes, that's it. I knew — it was — 
for something,' added Sir Horatio. 

" The persecuted one was stultified at the 
charge. He gazed with wondering looks first 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 43 

at one and then at the other of his accusers. 
At last he stammered out — 

" * I'm in the law ; and, without going into 
the merits of the case, I beg to submit there's 
a flaw in the pleadings ; so your case is dis- 
missed with costs.' 

" And, seizing the edge of the water-butt, 
he pulled it to the ground, dashing its con- 
tents over the baronet and Gay lad. 

As soon as Sir Horatio had recovered from 
his profound astonishment at having the ta- 
bles, or, more properly, the water-butt, turned 
upon him, he sent the toe of one of us with a 
hearty good will against the terminus of the 
offender. However, after a dozen good kicks, 
the unhappy individual could bear no more un- 
resistingly. The British lion was roused with- 
in his breast, and, clawing hold of the baro- 
net, they pulled, scufiled, reeled, and in a few 
seconds down they rolled into the mud, effec- 
tually altering for the worse the appearance of 
all parties. 

" ' The devil ! ' said Sir Horatio, rising, 
' he's — he's — spoiled my boots !' 



44 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" And so he had, sure enough, to our great 
future discomfort ; for the change in our 
hitherto immaculate appearance caused the 
dandy baronet to discard us from his favour, 
and his valet sold us for an old song." 



William paused as he finished the sentence. 

" That's not all," asked Tom, " is it ?" 

" No," replied William ; " but I thought 
you might be tired of the top-boots." 

" Not at all," replied Mr. Bolton ; " I 
should like to hear some more of what they've 
got to say." 

Fanny replenished Tom's glass with the 
tempting liquid, and, after his pipe had been 
re-filled, the trio settled themselves in easy po- 
sitions, and William resumed his tale. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 45 



CHAPTEE XIX. 

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A PAIR OF TOP-BOOTS, 

(continued.) 

" For aught that ever I could read. 

Could ever hear by tale or history. 

The course of true love never did run smooth." 

^' The next change in our circumstances 
called upon us to adorn, in a somewhat faded 
condition, the short, bandy legs of a superan- 
nuated postboy at the George Inn, Hounslow 
Heath. With body carelessly reclined against 
the corner post of the stable-yard, and crossed 
feet, he cast a sheep's eye towards the great 
metropolis, and occasionally the reverse way, 
anticipating the approach of a carriage re- 
quiring fresh horses. At length one was 
visible in the distance, rattling along with 
four horses at full gallop. 



46 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" * Now then, bring out the first two pair,' 
hallooed he ; * and don't come the undertaker's 
move.' 

Before the horses could be brought from 
their stalls, an elegant dark green chariot 
dashed up to the entrance. The riders of the 
reeking animals jumped from their saddles, 
the groom in the rumble sprung from his seat, 
and the flushed countenance of a handsome, 
military-looking young man simultaneously 
popped itself out of the window. 

" ' Quick, quick !' exclaimed he. 

*' ' In less than no time, sir,' replied our 
wearer. 

" ' Clap on them traces, old butter-thumbs,' 
said the groom. 

" ' Your veels vants vatering,' squeaked a 
postboy in embryo, pointing to the smoking 
axles. 

" ' How long are you going to be ?' impa- 
tiently asked the gentleman ; ' I never saw 
such a set of idle, awkward scamps in all my 
life.' 

" ' All right, sir,' replied the servant, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 47 

touching his hat, and springing into the 
rumble. 

" Away we started at furious speed, a bar- 
gain having been quickly struck between the 
groom and the postboys, that they were to ride 
the whole of the stage at full gallop, for two 
sovereigns each. 

" What postboy would not ride an eight- 
mile stage as hard as he could go, for two 
sovereigns? Is there such a curiosity ex- 
tant ? 

"Our respected master rode the wheel-horses, 
and, careless of the pole rubbing our very 
soles out, fulfilled his agreement to the letter. 
Not an instant did he relent from stimulating 
the horses to their full speed. ' Keep 'em 
on the stretch like fiddle-strings,' cried he to 
his partner on the leaders. ' We'll make 'em 
fly.' 

" We had proceeded about two miles, and 
were descending a steep hill, when one of the 
pole-chains snapped. Our master made known 
the accident to the rider before him, and, with 
exquisite skill, twisted the carriage on to a 



48 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

bank, and stopped it without any material 
damage. The young man stuck his head out 
of the window, and passionately inquired the 
cause of our stopping. 
* " ' Chain broke, sir,' was the laconic reply. 

« ' What shall we do ! what shall we 
do ! ' exclaimed a female voice from the 
chariot. 

" * Emily, youll certainly drive me mad,' 
said the young man. ' Gracious heavens ! 
I'm distracted,' said he, clutching his hair. 

" ' I'm fainting, Charles, I'm fainting !' 
screamed the voice from inside the carriage. 

" • Emily, for Heaven's sake ! for my sake ! 
don't at this moment !' said the young man, 
opening the door, and jumping out. 

" He had scarcely done so when the groom 
exclaimed, — 

" ' Get in, sir ! get in ! Here they come, 
by St. George !' and he pushed his master un- 
ceremoniously into the carriage. 

" ' Who ! when ! where ! Let me see ! 
Gracious heavens ! Boys, ride for your lives ! 
A hundred pounds if you get through the 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 49 

next gate before that carriage on the top of 
the hill there. Go on ! go on !' 

" Such were the confused exclamations, 
offers, and orders, of the distracted Charles, 
who appeared frantic at seeing a phaeton ap- 
proaching, at full speed, not so much as a 
mile distant. 

" * How shall we escape, dear Charles ? 
Do tell me, love,' entreated Emily. 

" ' I shall certainly go mad ! Go on — 
give it them — that's it ! He gains upon us. 
Stop on the other side of the gate. Do you 
hear?' hallooed Charles. 

" * Ay, ay, sir — all right,' replied our 
master. 

" On rushed the horses at a reckless speed, 
the postboys using their best endeavours to 
reach the gate, now about half a mile off. 
The carriage in pursuit was also being pro- 
pelled at an inordinate rate down the hill. 
It rolled from one side to the other, and ap- 
peared every moment in danger of being 
upset. Standing up in it might be seen a 
fine old gentleman, with locks as white as the 

VOL. II. D 



50 THE OLD ENGLISH' GENTLEIVL^N. 

driven snow, looking through a glass at the 
chariot he was chasing with so much evident 
determination of capture. Now and then, 
he would encourage his postillions by shaking 
a well-filled purse at them. Then whip and 
spur were applied afresh, and the horses urged 
forwards to the utmost stretch of their power. 

'' * We shall catch them; ha, ha, ha!' 
laughed the old gentleman. 'The piratical 
rascal, I shall grapple him,' said he, plainly 
seeing that he was gaining upon the pursued 
at every stride. 

" In a handful of seconds we reached the 
desired gate, and stopped as suddenly as our 
impetus would permit. But many yards 
before the carriage could be stopped, Charles 
and the servant leaped from their seats, and 
jumped into the door of the toll-gate house. 
The former seized the turnpike-man by the 
throat, and said, — 

" ' Give me the key of the gate, or I'll 
strangle you on the spot.' 

" ' Have mercy on us !' exclaimed the 
terrified man, who thought he had got into 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 51 

the hands of a lunatic ; ' I've a wife and ten 
helpless babbies.' 

" * Where's the key ?' roared Charles, 
squeezing him. 

" ' There it is," gurgled the man ; ' I've a 
wife and " 

" Bang went the gate, which prevented the 
repeated sentence from being heard. The 
key was quickly turned in the lock by Charles, 
and on dashed the carriage at its former rate. 
Scarcely had it proceeded a hundred yards 
when the phaeton arrived at the obstructing 
barrier. 

" ' Gate, gate !' shouted the postillions. 

" ' Gate, you scoundrel ! open that gate !' 
bawled the old gentleman, in a terrific 
passion. 

" ' T'other one's stole the key, and I can't,' 
replied the bewildered toll-keeper. 

" ' Then I'll be the death of you,' rejoined 
the old gentleman, * you villain, I will !' 

" ' I fear it's no go,' said one of the riders. 

" ' The cunning rascal !' exclaimed the old 
gentleman ; ^ just as he was within my grasp 

D 2 



LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF \imm 



52 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

to escape me. But I'll have him yet. Which 
is the fastest horse ?' inquired he. 

" * This is the clipper, an' no mistake,' re- 
plied one of the postillions, pointing to the 
horse he was on. 

" * Get off, then — shorten the stirrups — 
give me your whip ; now your spurs. There,' 
said the gentleman, climbing into the saddle. 
' Will he leap ?' 

" ' He'll try, sir, if you put him at it stiff,' 
was the reply. 

" The old gentleman tightened his rein, 
turned his horse's head towards the hedge on 
the roadside, and driving the inexperienced 
animal forwards, had the greatest difficulty 
in saving himself from a summerset, as the 
animal suddenly stopped in his career, and 
refused the jump. Again he was tried ; but 
he declined. The postillions stood grinning, 
and appeared much pleased at the old gentle- 
man's courage, or ' pluck,' as they called it. 

" ' Give him another trial, sir ; I'll tip him 
a hint from behind,' said one of them, crack- 
ing his whip. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 5S 

*' Again the reluctant horse was urged to 
perform a part quite out of his line, and the 
promised hint being given in the shape of a 
severe cut with the whip, he half scrambled, 
half tumbled through the brambles into the 
ditch on the opposite side. After a great 
deal of splashing on his part, and holding on 
by the mane and pummel of the saddle by 
the old gentleman, they effected a landing in 
the field. They then proceeded a few yards 
along the side of the ditch, when again the 
horse was required to try his skill at a leap, 
at which he did not evince so great aversion. 
He had been upon the road the greater por- 
tion of his life, and, with the delight of a fish 
regaining its native element, he sprung with 
desperate courage over both ditch and hedge, 
regaining his long-used road on the other 
side of the locked gate. 

" The postillions cheered, the toll-gate man 
grumbled about ' evading the toll,' and the old 
gentleman galloped away in pursuit of the 
fugitives. On they rattled as fast as the horse 
could go, and he clearly caught some of the 



54 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

enthusiasm of his rider, for, in the whole course 
of his posting career, he never displayed such 
energy and good will. 

" * It's all over with us!' exclaimed Charles, 
as he caught a glimpse of the pursuing horse- 
man, and throwing himself back despondingly 
in the carriage. 

" ' Charles, love ! do tell me what you 
mean,' entreated Emily. 

" ' Mean !' replied he. * I mean, my angel, 
that the governor will overtake us in less than 
three minutes.' 

" ' Oh, dear me ! I shall faint, Charles,' 
said Emily, seizing him by the neck. ' Tell 
me how we can escape, dear.' 

" ' Escape is impossible, for although, 
Emily, you're a dove, alas ! you have no wings,' 
replied Charles. ' See, there he comes on 
horseback. Oh ! that the brute would tumble.' 

" ' Charles, recollect, sir, that brute is my 

father, a kind, good ' and a flood of tears 

cut short Emily's rejoinder. 

*' ' I meant the horse, not the rider, dear,' 
said Charles. ' Stop, stop,' cried he ; ' it's no 
use going on. We must be overtaken.' 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 55 

" The postboys obeyed the mandate by 
reining in their foaming steeds, and bringing 
the carriage to a sudden stop. 

" ' Now for a pretty scene/ said Charles, 
with a melancholy visage, anticipating with 
anything but pleasurable sensations a meeting 
with ' the governor.' 

" In a few brief seconds the old gentleman 
arrived at a gallop, breathless, at the side of 
the carriage. Large drops of perspiration 
trickled down his rubicund countenance, and 
he sternly gazed upon his daughter and the 
abashed Charles. There was a long, silent 
pause, as if each was afraid to break it. At 
length the old gentleman said, in a voice 
trembling with emotion — 

"'Did I deserve this, Emily?' 

" ' Permit me, sir,' said Charles, in a firm, 
but respectful manner, ' to explain this affair, 
and take upon myself the blame ; for I alone 
have caused it. I acquainted you with the 
feelings of mutual attachment existing be- 
tween your daughter and myself, and without 
the slightest concealment told you of my 



56 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

situation and prospects. Thej were, you re- 
plied, unobjectionable ; but that you would 
not consent to Emily becoming the wife of a 
soldier. I expostulated with you, but failed, 
after a great many attempts, to overcome 
your objection. As the only alternative left, 
therefore, to possess your daughter, I, with 
great difficulty, persuaded her to become mine 
without your consent, and we were on the 
road .' 

*' ' To the devil, sir,' interrupted the old 
gentleman. 

'* ' Pray forgive us, papa,' said Emily, in 
such an entreating, bewitching manner, that 
no father could withstand. He, however, 
was not too hasty in overlooking such a serious 
piece of insubordination, as an attempt at a 
runaway match. A stern frown bent his brows, 
although a smile played about his lips, not- 
withstanding his endeavours to suppress it. 

" ' You two rascals,' said he ; ' you thought 
to escape me with your manoeuvres, but I was 
too much for you, old as I am, you scamps !' 

'' * Yes, sir,' added Charles ; ' I admit that 
I did all in my power to succeed ; but .' 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 57 

"'I beat ye,' added the old gentleman, 
with great satisfaction at his success ; ' and, 
yet,' continued he, after a pause, during 
which the horses were recovering from their 
great exertions, and the riders were wiping 
the heat-drops from their foreheads, '' per- 
haps I was as wrong with my obstinate and 
silly objection, as you, Charles, in being so 
very hasty. I forgive ye from my heart ; you 
can't say, however, but my plan beat yours, 
and that Emily will now be your wife with 
my consent.' 

" The road was retraced, and we accompa- 
nied as happy a trio as ever took ' hasty 
steps.' " 



*' That's all very well," said Mr. Bolton, as 
VTilliam finished the account of the runaway 
match ; " but a gal that would bolt from her 
father, wouldn't be over-nice about doing the 
like by her husband. That's my opinion." 

" That depends upon circumstances," re- 
plied Fanny ; " if a parent has no reason to 
object, but obstinately refuses his consent, I 

D 5 



58 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

think youug people are quite right to run 
away." 

" Pooh, pooh ! Mrs. B.," rejoined Tom ; 
'* never advocate a bolt. Runaway colts are 
sure to bruise or bog themselves. They'd 
better champ the bit, you may depend." 
" Well, I wouldn't," said Fanny. 
" Ha, ha ! what, you'd take to leather, would 
you !" replied Tom. 

" To be sure, I would," rejoined Fanny. 
" You see, governor," said William, " we 
should have made a start of it, in case of a 
check." 

'* Check!" repeated Mr. Bolton; "I was 
too glad for you to buckle on the tether. In 
harness, my boy; running as a match pair 
now ; ha, ha, ha ! Check, indeed !" 

" Shall I tell you any more about the 
boots ?" inquired Will. 

" Not to-night, my son," replied Tom. 
" I'm a bit too much like a dormouse in 
winter for a long yarn. But, if you'll finish 
it to-morrow night, well and good." 

" To be sure I will, governor," rejoined his 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 59 

son ; " and, as you don't want me to talk any 
more at a long stretch, why here goes for a 
cloud. Just one pipe suits me." 

" It did me once, Will," said Mr. Bolton. 

" But two, or even three, are nearer the 
bull's-eye, now-a-days." 

William and his father smoked their pipes 
almost in silence, and, as the latter took his 
last whiff, he observed Fanny was dozing in 
her chair. 

" Ah !" softly exclaimed the old whipper- 
in, " it's time for roosting;" and, rising from 
his chair, he said, " good night," and left the 
cottage for his own. 



()0 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTEE XX. 

PARTRIDGE SHOOTING. 

" When icicles hang by the wall. 

And Dick, the shepherd, blows his nail. 

And Tom bears logs into the hall. 
And milk comes frozen home in pail. 

When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul. 

Then nightly sings the staring owl." 

Upon the ground the snow lay thickly, 
and crisped beneath the tread. The leafless 
boughs were furred over with haze-frost, spark- 
ling in the light. Cold and piercing was the 
wind, as it whistled through the trees and 
jarring casement. Birds stood with ruffled 
feathers, burying first one leg and then the 
other in their downy breasts. It was a 
morning in the depth of winter. Peter strode 
across the park, closely buttoned in his shoot- 
ing-jacket, with a scarlet comforter twisted 
round his neck and chin, and in which he con- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 61 

trived to bury the end of his nose. A white 
cotton night-cap Avas pulled over his ears, and 
his hat pressed close to his brow. Tinder his 
right arm he squeezed a double-barrel gun, 
both hands fathoming his breeches'-pockets. 
A brace of liver and white pointers, very much 
alike, wdth a large brown spaniel, kept close to 
his heels. Striver, with his cat-cap turned 
inside out for greater warmth, walked by the 
side of the keeper, taking two steps to his 
companion's one, and Jack Tiggle followed, 
with a huge game-bag strapped across his 
shoulders. 

" It's too cold to last," observed Striver. 

" I hope so," replied Peter, coughing at 
the end of the sentence, when his breath 
seemed like the eruption of a volcano. 

" I can't feel my fingers," said Jack. 

'' It would be a good job if you never 
could," replied the keeper, in his usual surly 
tone, " for then you might be kept out of 
mischief, perhaps." 

" Indeed, Mr. Bumstead," rejoined Jack. 
" That's your opinion, is it ? Mine's t'other 
way." 



62 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Your opinion !" added Peter ; " we've 
come to a pretty pass, when boi/s talk o' their 
opinions, I'm a-thinkin'." 

" Eemember," returned Jack, " I once 
told you a story about a young donkey and 
an old jackass." 

*The keeper turned abruptly round, and, ex- 
tracting a heavy dog-whip from one of his 
capacious pockets, held it in a threatening 
manner over Jack's shoulders. 

" Ah !" exclaimed Jack, lifting a finger, 
and shaking his head as a warning, "mind, 
Mr. Bumstead, mind what you're about." 

Down came the lash ; but it fell upon the 
loins of the unoffending spaniel. 

" Come to heel," roared the keeper, for- 
getting the dog was in the desired position, 
and continuing his walk with a growl of dis- 
satisfaction. 

Jack tittered his triumph, and followed him. 

" The red-legs can't run this morning," said 
Striver ; " they'll lay close enough in the 
hedgerows, with this snow on the ground." 

" I suppose they will," replied Peter, 
striding over a fence into a turnip-field. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 63 

"Hold up, Sapho, hold up, Komp," said 
he, when the pointers bounded forward. 

" Come in," continued the keeper, inflicting 
an angry kick upon the ribs of the spaniel, as 
she evinced an inclination to join the pointers 
in the run. " What are you about, Nell ? 
what are you about, Nell?" inquired he, 
thonging the unfortunate Nell, who squealed 
lustily, as she rolled in the snow. Her last 
expostulatory squeak was dying away into 
silence, when Striver called "To ho !" 

" To ho, Eomp !" hallooed Peter, lifting 
his hand as the dog came to a point ; when 
Sapho, who was scouring a distant part of the 
field, caught the signal, and stood in a mo- 
ment, as if petrified. Motionless the animal 
turned her head towards her companion, with 
her eager eyeballs staring from their sockets. 

Peter regarded the picture-like attitude of 
the dogs with a look of pride, and said, 
" That's what I call not amiss for first season 
pups." 

" Button — " commenced Striver. 

" Bother Button," interrupted the keeper, 
proceeding towards Komp. 



64 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Click, click, went the locks as Peter pre 
pared the ready trigger, and clutched his gun 
in a convenient posture for the shot. 

" Softly, Eomp, softly," said he, as the dog 
seemed too eager for the spring, and gently 
moved her lifted fore-foot as he approached. 

When within a few feet of her, a large 
covey rose. In an instant the keeper's gun 
was brought to bear. Bang, bang ! roared 
the noisy piece, and right and left the victims 
were struck. One fell riddled through the 
head ; but the other mounted like a soaring 
lark. High into the air it rose, winging a 
perpendicular flight towards the blue firma- 
ment; but, when it had reached a strange 
height, down it came within a short distance 
of Sapho, who rushed towards it. 

" Down charge, Saph — o," bawled the 
keeper. 

In a moment the order was obeyed; the 
dog crouched to the earth, scarcely daring to 
lift her head from it. 

^' Obedient as whipped children," observed 
the trapper. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 65 

" Without the whip, too," replied Peter. 
" I seldom touch 'em. Such bred uns as them 
don't require much o' the flax," added he, re- 
charging his gun. 

When this was accomplished, and the 
nipples capped, l^ell was ordered to fetch 
the game. First one bird was brought by 
the pleased retriever, and deposited at the 
feet of the keeper, with such care that not 
a feather was ruffled, and then away she 
went to seek for the other. A little jealousy 
was evinced on the part of Romp at this stage 
of the proceedings. Up she started from 
her recumbent posture ; but the harsh warn- 
ing from the keeper brought her again to the 
ground. After a little seeking, JN^ell found 
the dead partridge, and, playfully tossing her 
head as she came along, laid it by the side of 
the other. Peter picked up the birds, and, 
after depositing them in Jack's game-bag, 
gave the order to " hold up." 

" I marked those birds," said Jack. 

" Where are they ?" inquired Peter. 

*' In the osier-ground," replied Jack. 

" Where they may stop," rejoined the 



66 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN 

keeper. " I want some o' the Frenchmen, 
not the grey hirds." 

Not ^ye minutes had elapsed when Eomp 
flew round in her gallop, and, in a half curve, 
came to a stanch point. 

*' Something close hy, I know," whispered 
Peter. 

Without any signal being given, Sapho 
backed, and stood motionless to her compa- 
panion's find. 

First looking at one dog and then the other, 
Peter's features were illuminated with plea- 
sure. Without saying a word, he pointed to 
them, for Striver's special observance of their 
excellence. As they approached the spot 
where Romp was pointing, a rabbit leaped 
from a form. The roar of one barrel clanged 
through the air, and over tumbled the rabbit ; 
but still neither of the dogs stirred. Coolly 
the keeper charged again, and silently strode 
towards Romp. Round he walked ; but no- 
thing rose. At length he proceeded close to 
her, when he perceived a frightened hare 
crouched immediately under the dog's jaws. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. b? 

" Steady, steady, Eomp," said Peter, in a 
suppressed voice, knowing the severe trial she 
was about undergoing for so young a dog. 

Slightly he touched the leaves which shel- 
tered panting puss, wlien, with a skip, she fled 
from her form, and rushed across the field. 
Romp leaped three or four yards as the hare 
rose, but dropped flat on the ground as the 
chiding voice of the keeper reached her. At 
a long distance the hare shewed her ears above 
the turnips, when Peter's unerring aim brought 
her upon her back without a struggle. 

" JSTo fault to find there, I think," said Pe- 
ter, exultingly. " How the squire will love 
them dogs next season !" continued he. 

" I'd prefer your shooting any thing instead 
of hares," observed Jack. 

" Why so ?" asked Peter. 

" Because they're so heavy to carry," re- 
joined Jack. 

" Ah !" exclaimed Peter, " lazy folks never 
come to no good. When I was a boy, no- 
thing pleased me more than carrying three 
brace o' Jack hares." 



68 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Ho, ho, ho !" laughed Jack; " that beats 
cock-fighting, that does. But I suppose you 
meant to add, the less the distance the more 
you were pleased, eh, Mr. Bumstead ?" 

The keeper returned no answer to this 
query ; but, having reloaded his gun, ordered 
l^ell to bring the hare. 

" What a whacker ! " exclaimed Jack, as 
Nell dragged rather than carried the hare to 
her master, who handed it to Jack. 

'' A leash more o' them ," said he. 

'' Won't be carried by me," interrupted 
Jack ; *^ so think of that before you blaze at 
them." 

Without deigning to notice this mutinous 
declaration, Peter waved his hand, and the 
dogs recommenced hunting. 

" You haven't picked the rabbit up yet," 
said Jack. 

"True," replied Peter; "I forgot that. 
Seek lost, JS'ell." 

" She has it," observed Striver. " I never 
saw a better one than her to find dead or 
wounded game." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 69 

"And never will," replied Peter. "The 
only fault she has is a leetle too much anxiety." 

" You'll find some snipes yonder, I expect," 
said the trapper, pointing to a marsh on the 
verge of the river. 

" I don't want to find many o' them, with 
these dogs," replied the keeper. " With old 
ones it does no harm ; but snipe-shooting with 
young dogs slacks their mettle and spoils 'em." 

At this moment, Sapho came to a steady 
point in a hedgerow, and Romp returned the 
compliment which had been paid to her, by 
backing it. 

" Steady, my maid," said the keeper. " I'll 
go on the opposite side," continued he, " while 
you two go a little ahead on this." 

Observing Peter's instructions, Striver and 
Jack proceeded towards the spot where Sapho 
was. From the bank of the ditch where she 
stood, a French partridge rose, and had just 
topped the hedge, when the keeper's gun 
blazed at it. The bird winced, but continued 
its course. Again the roar echoed o'er hill 
and dale, when plump the dead bird fell on 



70 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

the margin of the river, and, as it reached the 
ground, a scared snipe rose with a shrill, piping 
noise, but dipped again ere it had proceeded 
far. 

" Did you hear that ?" asked the trapper. 

"Ay, and see him too," replied Peter. 
" But stop a bit," continued he ; " we shall 
find more o' these red-legged warmin about 
here." 

Scarcely had he said this, when another 
gay-plumed partridge whir-r-d from the hedge, 
and escaped unscathed. His safety was owing 
to the keeper's barrels being unprepared. 

'' Bother my 'numb'd fingers !" exclaimed 
Peter, squeezing on the caps. 

" Look out," said Jack, hearing a flutter in 
the ditch, and out flew a leash of birds. The 
two first had scarcely topped the fence, when 
they were dropped almost simultaneously by 
the keeper. 

" Down they come, and no mistake," said 
Jack, peeping through the hedge at the birds 
fluttering on the ground. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 71 

*' They lay like logs this morning," observed 
the trapper. 

" This is just the mornin' to cripple the 
Frenchmen," returned Peter. 

'' Won't you go after that snipe now ?" in- 
quired Striver. 

" Hush !" replied the keeper, seeing Eomp 
drawing warily up the ditch. " There's more 
here," continued he. ^' A running one, for a 
thousand to nothing." 

The pointer crept with the same caution 
as a cat would use after a mouse. At length 
she stopped, and up rose a bird, flying directly 
over Peter's head. He chuckled an inward 
laugh as the dead partridge bounded on the 
hard ground. 

*' I never miss 'em," said he. " Fetch him 
here, good Nell." 

After the bird was bagged, Peter desired 
Striver and Jack to keep the pointers with 
them, while he and S^ell went to look for the 
snipe. 

The trapper took from his pocket some 
couples, and, buckling them on the dogs' 



72 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

necks, led them through a gap in the 
hedge. 

" There," said he, leaning on his " spud," 
" now we shall see a smart shot, if he finds 
him." 

"Which there's little doubt of," added 
Jack. 

Peter was now walking on the edge of the 
frozen stream, closely followed by Nell, when, 
from among some withered water-flags, a flock 
of teal sprung. In a body they rose from the 
sedges, and scarcely had gained a score yards 
on the wing, when a destructive volley was 
poured into them by the keeper. 

" Capital ! famous ! " said he, seeing the 
wounded ducks fall upon the ice. " l^o less 
than two couple and a half, I'm a thinkin. 
Bring 'em here, Nell." 

On to the glassy surface Nell jumped, and 
rolled over and over as she slipped upon it. 

'' Never mind, old gal," said Peter, laugh- 
ing. " Try again." 

" What pretty little ducks," observed Jack, 
arriving in a run to the spot, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 73 

" They're uncommon fat, too," said Peter, 
feeling the weight of one, as he took it from 
Nell's jaws, and dropped it into the game- 
bag. " There," continued he, taking the fifth 
teal from the retriever, " that'll make a good 
basket for the squire in London. We'll shut 
up shop for to-day." 



VOL. II. £ 



74 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTEE XXI. 

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A PAIR OF TOP-BOOTS. 

(concluded.) 

*' For herein Fortune shews herself — 

It is still her use 



To let the wretched man outlive his wealth. 
To view, with hollow eye and wrinkled brow, 
An age of poverty." 

The following evening Mr. Bolton was 
sitting in the most comfortable posture he 
could assume before the fire in his son's cot- 
tao-e, and waftino: volumes of smoke from his 
lips, when he drew his pipe suddenly from 
them, and said, " Come, Will, finish the story 
you were telling me last night. I want to 
know what becomes of the boots." 

" You shall, governor," replied the hunts- 
man. " But wait until Fanny has put away 
the tea-things ; they make such a clattering 
noise," 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 75 

" I've finished now," said Fanny, closing a 
cupboard. 

" Very good," returned William, seating 
himself opposite to his father. " Then here 
goes ;" and he recommenced 

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A PAIR OF 
TOP-BOOTS. 

" Shortly after the adventure just related, 
we were pawned for half-a-crown by the old 
postboy, to ' raise the wind,' as he expressed 
it. Three months had we remained neo^lected 
in the pawnbroker's shop, and beheld many a 
scene of misery there, when, just before the 
prescribed hour for closing the business of 
the day, in the dreary month of l^ovember, 
a person entered, of so peculiar an appear- 
ance, that we were at once curious to learn 
the purport of his visit. He was nearly six 
feet in height — thin, and pale. Long, straight, 
black hair hung upon the spot where the col- 
lar of a coat should have been, but where only 
a remnant remained ; a rusty, black silk neck- 
erchief was carefully pinned over a bosom, 

E 2 



76 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

there was every reason to suspect, devoid of 
a second covering ; a shabby suit of clothes, 
originally intended for one of much shorter 
stature, stuck in tatters about his person ; a 
crushed, silk hat was pulled over his eyes, and 
his chilled feet shuffled with difficulty in a 
pair of worn-out slippers. As he stood in the 
broad glare of a gas-light which flared upon 
his attenuated figure, and care-worn, furrowed 
features, an object of greater wretchedness can- 
not be imao:ined. With shakino- hand, which 
seemed seldom to have performed a menial's 
office, so white and delicate were the wasted 
fingers, he unwrapped several small pieces of 
paper, and at length offered a plain, gold ring 
to the pawnbroker. 

" ' Why, what's this ?' inquired Mr. Crouch. 

" ' You will find it pure gold,' replied the 
dejected applicant. ' Give me all you can 
upon it.' 

" ' What a merry fellow you are,' rejoined 
Mr. Crouch, looking at him intently. ' When- 
ever I see you it makes me think of what a 
ghost in debt would look like ; and when you 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 77 

speak, it puts me in mind of a corpse with a 
severe cold.' 

" The pawnbroker ended his lively similies 
"with a laugh that caused some minutes to 
elapse before he could proceed with the loan. 

" * No matter what I put you in mind of,' 
rejoined the spiritless man. ' You are too 
familiar with misfortune to be capable of 
compassion for even my wretchedness. But 
you might refrain from jesting with calamity 
so bitter — so very bitter.' 

"In so melancholy and broken-hearted a 
tone were the last few words uttered — so truly 
worn to the last dregs of affliction did the 
speaker seem — that even the pawnbroker 
looked sorry for his heartless levity ; and in 
almost a kind voice, approaching to that in 
which, perchance, he spoke in childhood's 
generous hour, before he had learned to traffic 
for pence with the wants of the afflicted, he 
said — 

'*' Come, come, I didn't mean to hurt your 
feelings. Don't come the melancholy with 
one ; I can't abide it, as it were.' 



78 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" ' If you knew all,' rejoined the afflicted 
man, * indeed you would. But, no matter. 
Give me all you can afford upon the ring, and 
let me go.' 

*' ' Well, now, I can't give you more than 
two half-crowns on it,' said Mr. Crouch, in 
a conciliatory tone. 

" ' Well, give me that,' replied the unhappy 
being, with tears slowly trickling down his 
thin hollow cheeks. 

" ' I tell you what it is,' observed the pawn- 
broker, ' you seem to me to be pretty con- 
siderably stumped up. And, though our pro- 
fession, as it were, is not remarkable for a 
particular giveable nature, I'll fork out half a 
sovereign without security, if you'll tell me 
your history, as it were.' 

" An incredulous look passed over the fea- 
tures of the object of Mr. Crouch's commisse- 
ration. He could not believe that he heard 
correctly, until the kind offer was repeated. 

'' * You may think it singular,' observed 
Mr. Crouch, ' but I will. So, tip us a tale 
of your prostration, for I see you have been a 
gentleman.' 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 79 

** ' You have seen me before this evenmg,' 
said the man. 

" ' I know that as well as you,' replied the 
pawnbroker. ' And you call yourself on the 
tickets John Steel. Is that your right name ?' 

" ' No,' rejoined he ; ' my proper name is 
James Buchan — generally known as Colonel 
Buchan. In such places as these, few, I sup- 
pose, give their real names,' observed the 
colonel. 

" ' That's true,' replied Crouch ; 'but, 
what's the use of such 'umbug. If people 
arn't ashamed to come in their proper persons 
to borrow the brads of us, why should they be 
ashamed of putting their proper names ? It's 
what I call 'umbug, as it were.' 

" The colonel made no observation when the 
pawnbroker delivered this sagacious opinion ; 
and he continued : — 

" * If people were as particular about doing 
actions that other people consider not quite 
the thing, as they are of having 'em known, 
there wouldn't be quite so many done, as it 
were. But, colonel, p'rhaps you'll tip us a 



80 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

little o' your history, and then I'll be as good 
as my word.' 

" ' I must sit while I relate it to you,' re- 
plied the colonel, *for I am too weak to stand.' 

" ' Certainly, colonel, certainly,' rejoined 
Mr. Crouch ; ' I shan't take in any more to- 
night ; so come into my parlour, and we'll 
have a glass over it.' 

" With this the pawnbroker ushered his as- 
tonished guest into a small back parlour at the 
end of the shop, where a cheerful little fire 
blazed away, giving an air of comfort to the 
contracted apartment, and shedding its glow- 
ing rays on the smoked and dingy walls. A 
large antique chair, (once a proud baron's 
seat) was wheeled within a few feet of the 
grate by the philanthropic pawnbroker, and 
his guest was invited to occupy its easy 
cushion. 

"■ ' There,' said Mr. Crouch, ' make your 
miserable life 'appy, while I assist Bill in 
shuttin' up the shop. Here, you Bill.' 

" * Sir,' replied Bill, making his appear- 
ance. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 81 

" ' We'll close,' said the pawnbroker. 

" * Yes, sir,' replied Bill, with a grin of de- 
light. 

" We feel it our duty to describe this Bill, 
ere we proceed with the colonel's story. He 
was a short squab youth, of about seventeen, 
with a face so blanched and sodden, that it 
appeared to have been poulticed. His eyes, 
the colour of a boiled fish, were so prominent 
and so wide open, that he constantly looked 
as if he was in a fright ; like angels, and tmlike 
tax-gatherers' visits, his hairs were ' few and 
far between ' upon his pink and shiny scalp. 
His teeth were even and gigantic, but, from 
the propensity of smoking penny cigars, and 
totally dispensing with a toothbrush, their 
hue was any thing but pearly. The costume 
which adorned Bill's person consisted of a pro- 
miscuous collection of unredeemed pledges. 
His coat was a bright claret, with a black 
velvet collar, formerly the property of a dan- 
cing-master. The waistcoat was of black 
cloth, and was intended originally for a very 
portly citizen, addicted to turbot and turtle- 

E 5 



vS2 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

soup ; and his trousers were light hlue, the 
* cast-offs ' of an artillery-officer. Over this 
dress, Bill wore a long, black linen apron, 
upon which he was constantly treading, 
which caused him to trip at every second 
step. 

" After closing the shutters, and fixing the 
bars and bolts. Bill was dismissed for the 
night, with strict injunctions to go straight 
home, and re-appear * by times' in the morn- 
ing. After he was gone, Mr. Crouch produced 
one bottle, two glasses, two tea-spoons, and 
some sugar, which he placed on a small round 
table before the colonel ; and then, taking a 
chair, he sat down opposite to him, with that 
sudden movement which people frequently 
adopt when self-satisfied. 

The cork was drawn with a musical pop, 
and the exciting beverage gurgled from the 
bottle into the glasses. 

" ' Hot with, or cold without ?' asked Mr. 
Crouch. 

" ' Hot with,' laconically replied the co- 
lonel. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 83 

" * Here's better luck, colonel," said the 
pawnbroker. 

'' JS^o sooner had this * sentiment ' escaped 
Mr. Crouch, than his visiter became much 
agitated. An expression of rage darted from 
his flashing eyes, and his teeth snapped toge- 
ther, as he dashed the glass from his hand 
upon the floor, shivering it into atoms. The 
pawnbroker was greatly alarmed at the con- 
duct of his guest, and looked wistfully at the 
door, as if for an opportunity to escape. 

" ' Don't be frightened,' said his visitor ; 
' I beg your pardon. But those words are 
enough to drive me mad,' continued he, pres- 
sing his fingers upon his throbbing temples. 

" ' I don't mind the glass a bit ; but I was 
a little alarmed,' said Mr. Crouch, with 
strong endeavours to regain his composure. 

" Another glass was got, and, after an ex- 
change of 'pledges,' the colonel commenced 
his story : — 

" On coming of age I was put in possession 
of a large property, producing an income of 
six thousand a year. My parents had died 



84^ THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

just two years before, and a careful friend of 
my father was appointed my guardian. Con- 
sidering it his duty to keep me from all pos- 
sible temptation, he supplied me with but 
little money, and watched me so narrowly, 
that, up to the period of my reaching twenty- 
one, I was totally ignorant of what are falsely 
called, the pleasures of a man of fortune. 
Scarcely, however, was I my own master, 
when parasites flocked around me, to fawn 
upon and rob me. One would sell me a horse 
for six times its real value ; another would 
borrow large sums of me, never to be re- 
turned : and so on. Would to Heaven this 
had been the worst ! By mere accident I was 
introduced to a Mr. Horace Russel, one of 
those refined swindlers known by the equi- 
vocal title of ' a man about town.' He was 
handsome in person, accomplished, and truly 
elegant in manner. His dress was at once 
extravagant and neat ; his equipage dashing 
and attractive. On our first acquaintance, 
the assumed frankness of his conversation 
made me wish for a continued intimacy with 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 85 

him. He spoke of the absolute necessity of 
my avoiding indiscriminate associates ; of the 
shameful means resorted to by sharpers to 
victimize young, unsuspecting men ; v^rished 
me to consider him as my disinterested friend 
in all matters ; confided to me his pecuniary 
resources, his pedigree and connexions. And 
I, in return for his confidence, unhesitatingly 
gave him mine. 

*' About a fortnight after our first meeting, 
not a day passed without Eussel being with 
me. At the Opera, theatre, park, indeed 
everywhere, he was like my shadow ; and, 
day by day, he so wormed himself into my 
confidence and esteem, that no advice or sug- 
gestion was expressed by him, but I im- 
plicitly obeyed it. 

" We were at the Opera one Saturday 
night, when Eussel, indulging, as usual, in his 
quizzing remarks upon the surrounding women, 
suddenly exclaimed, in a totally different 
tone, ' What an angelic face !' 

" I raised my glass, and saw one of those 
fascinating countenances which, the more you 



86 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

gaze upon them, the more you feel inclined to 
gaze. Leaning one arm on the front of a centre 
box, sat a girl simply but elegantly attired. 
Her hair, which was jet black, and shiny as 
the raven's wing, fell in careless ringlets over 
shoulders white as speckless ivory. Her 
large dark eyes were intently bent upon the 
stage, and she appeared to listen to each note 
of the magic strains with the interest of an 
enthusiastic novice. Her appearance was so 
strikingly beautiful that all eyes were directed 
towards her box. 

" ' I must find out who she is,' said Eussel, 
leavinof me. ' I never saw her here before.' 

" The Opera was listened to by the fair 
girl with so much interest that she appeared 
completely unconscious of the observation be- 
stowed upon her from every quarter of the 
house ; and in a scene where her feelings be- 
came strongly excited, she forgot the want of 
its reality, and startled every auditor by 
uttering a loud, piercing scream. In a mo- 
ment the curtain of the box was drawn, and 
the fair interrupter concealed from view. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 87 

" A short time after this, I saw Eussel 
pushing his way towards me, with an un- 
usual degree of roughness for a locality so 
refined. 

" * How fortunate, was it not ?' said he, re- 
joining me. 

" ' What do you mean ?' said I. 

" ' Didn't you see me in her box ?' re- 
plied he. 

'^ ' 'No ; I saw you no more after you left 
me,' I rejoined. 

" ' How strange !' said he : ' I thought you 
could not have kept your eyes from such a 
beauty. Listen. I was peeping into the 
door of her box, when she gave such a cry, 
that involuntarily I sprung in, and, disregard- 
ing an old boy who had seized her in his arms, 
I charitably relieved him of his burthen. We, 
that is, /, carried her into the crush-room, 
where she soon recovered from her nervous 
agitation ; and, receiving many thanks for 
my attention from the old boy, and one kind 
look from his daughter, as he called her, the 
carriage was ordered. I accompanied them 



88 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

to it (by the way, a very neat turn out), and 
received from the old boy this card, as he 
bid me adieu.' 

" ' I wish it had been my chance,' said I, 
as Eussel finished his adventure. 

" ' Well,' replied he, ' we will call to- 
gether, and see how she looks by daylight.' 

" ' With all my heart,' I rejoined, hastily. 

" * Ah, ah, you sly dog ! I know that,' said 
he, laughing. " But come, we'll leave this 
place for better diversion.' 

" After partaking of our usual sumptuous 
supper, and indulging freely in wine, we pro- 
ceeded in search of what Eussel described 
as diversion. While passing a magnificent 
building, he asked me if ever I had been 
in 's. 

" * I never was in any gambling-house,' I 
replied. 

" ' Don't call it by such a vulgar epithet ; 
it's a club-house — the first in London,' rejoined 
Eussel. ' Come, I'll shew you the interior of 
it,' said he, mounting the flight of steps. 

" I felt a shock thrill through my frame as 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 89 

I entered, for the first time in my life, a place 
where ruin, irretrievable, quick, and certain, 
weaves its clinging mesh, and snares its vic- 
tims, without leaving a loophole for their 
escape. So flattering is the fiend presiding 
over the gamester's fate, that, with the softest 
feather, steeped in hope's most glowing co- 
lours, he severs the last thread which holds 
him from the abyss ere he knows that he's 
upon the brink. 

" Russel preceded me into the room appro- 
priated to play, and I remarked his exchang- 
ing familiar nods with some engaged at hazard. 
This surprised me, for I never heard him 
mention that he frequented houses of this 
sort. I was standing at the corner of the 
table, which was surrounded by men, both 
young and old, engaged deeply in the game, 
when I was politely asked to sit down, by a 
gentlemanly-looking person. I did so, and 
looked round for Eussel, but could not see 
him. 

" In a few minutes the dice-box, which 
was passed in rotation, came to me. 



90 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" ' Take the box, sir,' said a man, offering 
it to me with his rake. 

" All eyes were upon me, and, with a feel- 
ing which often dictates indiscretion in youth, 
that I should appear silly if I did not imitate 
others, I drew forth a note, and, throwing it 
on a part of the table upon which w^as the 
word ' In,' broadly printed, I shook the box, 
and called * seven,' as I had heard others do. 

" ' Seven 's the main,' called the man with 
the rake. 

" I rattled the dice and threw. 

" ' Eleven 's a nick,' added the same indi- 
vidual. 

" My note was unfolded, and two counters, 
with fifty marked on each, handed to me. 

" ' Well done,' whispered Eussel from be- 
hind me. * Give them a benefit. Here, I '11 
assist you.' 

" And, suiting the action to the word, he 
took one of my counters, and commenced 
playing. He doubled the stake, and again 
the box came to me. At each round I became 
more interested in the game, and kept in- 
creasing my stakes at each succeeding venture. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 91 

At last I would have risked all my money at 
a cast, had not Russel said, ' Not too fast ; 
it's the pace that kills.' 

" With fluctuating fortune, and maddened 
with excitement, I continued to play until 
the first rays of the morning sun streamed 
into the hot room, and the lamps became 
pale in the flood of light. 

" ' It's time to leave,' said Eussel, rising 
from his chair ; ' change your counters ; you 
have won enough to-night, and so have I.' 

" Upon receiving money for my counters, 
I found I had won two thousand pounds. 

" On the following morning Eussel called 
early, and congratulated me upon * doing the 
knowing ones.' He reminded me of the 
beauty at the opera, and proposed that we 
should avail ourselves of the opportunity of 
calling that morning. To this I readily 
assented. 

" ' What's the name on the card ?' I in- 
quired. 

" ' I forget,' replied he. ' But here 's the 
bit of pasteboard. Sir Thomas Harcourt, 
Stanhope Terrace, Hyde Park.' 



92 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" We drove to the door in Eussel's cab ; 
and the brief inquiry of * at home ? ' being an- 
swered in the affirmative, we entered the hall. 
After mounting a stone staircase, we were 
shewn into an elegant room, furnished and 
ornamented with exquisite taste. Beautiful 
birds were suspended in capacious cages in an 
adjoining conservatory filled with the choicest 
plants. Large globes contained the brightest 
fish. Drawing implements, a harp, and guitar, 
were also in the room. 

" In a short time the door opened, and 
Miss Harcourt entered with her father. At 
the opera, I thought her beautiful ; but how 
much more lovely did she appear dressed in a 
simple white morning-gown, devoid of any 
ornaments except a long string of jet beads 
encircling her waist ! Her figure was tall and 
stately. Her eyes were dark blue, fringed 
with long black lashes, which enviously hid 
most of their beaming glances. Her nose, 
purely Grecian, appeared chiselled by some 
faultless sculptor ; and, upon a neck fibred 
over with blue veins, her long tresses swept, 
parted from a forehead high and expanded. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 98 

" After the formal introductions had been 
gone through, the conversation turned upon 
the event of the preceding night. Eussel 
frankly admitted that he was looking into the 
box at the moment Miss Harcourt screamed. 
She laughed, and said, ' It was seldom she 
visited theatres, on account of her father's 
health ; that he prevailed upon her to go, and 
the interest she took in the fate of the heroine 
made her forget where she was.' 

" Her father, a benevolent-looking gentle- 
man, but very lame, and evidently in bad 
health, was much amused at the affair. He 
added, ' Emily is quite secluded here, with 
me and my old enemy, the gout.' 

" We remained a considerable time, and, 
after pressing invitations from Sir Thomas to 
call again, we left our cards, and separated. 

" ' Isn't she beautiful ? ' 1 exclaimed, as 
soon as we were seated in the cab. 

" * Perfectly,' replied Eussel. ' And now 
you have the way clear, make the best use of it.' 

" ' Easier said than done,' rejoined I. 

'" ' Not much. Follow my advice, and it'g 



94 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

settled in a month. Call again immediately ; 
make yourself agreeable, as you did this morn- 
ing ; tell the pa' you are worth six thousand 
a-year, and marry her,' said Eussel, with as 
much sang f void as if the affair had been ar- 
ranged previously to the interview. 

" To recount the way in which I became a 
frequent visitor at the house of Sir Thomas 
Harcourt is needless. It is sufficient to say 
that, within a few weeks of our first meeting, 
Emily and I were plighted to each other, with 
the full consent of her father. 

'' Before our marriage, I offered to settle 
two thousand a year upon Emily ; but her too- 
confiding spirit refused any settlement. * I 
know,' she said, ' it's the custom with mer- 
chants in matrimony to barter and traffic with 
assumed affections ; but there must be nothing 
of the kind with us. To me it is repugnant 
and unnatural.' 

" It was the mutual wish of Sir Thomas and 
Emily that we should reside together after our 
union, for a long residence abroad had so im- 
paired his constitution that the vigilant care 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 95 

of his child was almost indispensable to his 
life. 

" Although highly connected, Sir Thomas 
was by no means wealthy, the chief part of his 
income being derived from a pension granted 
to him for military services to his country. 

" It was just three months after my marriage 
that I again entered a gaming-house with Eus- 
sel. He had often said of an evening, when 
visiting us, ' Let us go and have a fling at 
hazard.' But, from some cause or other, not 
disinclination, I had been compelled to de- 
cline. On the occasion I speak of, leaving 
my wife for the first time, we again went to a 
ofaminof-house. There were not more than 
three persons in the room when we entered, 
and they were not playing. 

" ' The bank won't be open for two hours,' 
said a man, sitting on the edge of the hazard- 
table, and swinging his legs carelessly to 
and fro ; ' shall we have a friendly rubber 
first?' 

" ' I hate whist,' replied Eussel ; ' but 
we'll have a round game, if that suit you.' 



96 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" ' With all my heart. What say ye ?' 
inquired the same person of the other two. 

" * What's to be the game and stakes ? ' 
asked one. 

" ' Loo, and unlimited, for what I care,' 
replied Eussel. 

" ' Come on, then,' was the reply. 

" * Will you join or not ? ' said Russel to 
me, preparing the cards with a rapid shuffle. 

" I joined the party, and we commenced. 

" I won the first three successive pools. 
Flushed with success, I played at random, 
while the professed gamesters, calm and col- 
lected, lost and won with equal coolness. My 
good luck deserted me after the first few 
hands. Careless of the chances of the game, 
which were narrowly watched and taken ad- 
vantage of hy the others, I continued to lose 
pool after pool. In half an hour I was penny- 
less, and, mentioning this to Eussel, he said, 
' Oh ! never mind, draw cheques, or give 
I TJ's. Your luck will turn again pre- 
sently.' 

" I wrote upon my cards of address various 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 97 

sums as they were required, and, in the course 
of an hour, my case was exhausted. Pen, ink, 
and paper were brought, and I then drew upon 
my banker. 

" ' We shall be interrupted in this room 
presently,' said Eussel ; ' let us have a private 
one.' 

" We rose from the table, and proceeded 
to the room adjoining, where we recommenced 
the game. Long we sat. Hour after hour 
fled, and I felt sick as the glimmering lamp 
began to fade before the bright sun of a sum- 
mer's morning. I knew my loss must be very 
heavy, but the amount I knew not. Yet so 
desirous was I to continue the play, that I 
complained when Kussel, who was a large 
winner, proposed to cease the game. The 
cards were thrown upon the table, and all 
rose. 

" I wended my way towards home just as the 
sun was darting his cheerful rays down the 
empty thoroughfares. Russel accompanied 
me to my house, and consoled me for my loss 
by saying, ' You've not lost the money ; it's 

VOL. n. F 



98 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

nothing more than lent. After you are re- 
freshed this morning, take up the I U's, 
and have a good revenge in the evening.' 

" Before he left me, an appointment was 
made to have my ' revenge ' at night. For 
the first time I opened the hall door with a 
trembling hand, and a feeling of shame. I 
Avas about to creep up stairs, when a loud, 
convulsive sob came from the room I was 
passing. Upon entering it I saw my poor 
Avife reclining upon a sofa, dressed as when I 
left her ; her face was buried in her hands, 
and her breast heaved as if ready to burst. 
As softly as possible I said, ' Emily !' and en- 
twined my arms round her. 

" Unaware of my entrance, she screamed 
with minded feelino;s of terror and delioht. 
I quieted her fears, and, to her unceasing in- 
quiries of the cause of my absence, told a lie 
— a first, a wicked lie. My reply was, 
that ' I had been watching the sick, perchance 
death-bed of a friend, suddenly seized with ill- 
ness.' Believing me, all her suspicions va- 
nished, and she looked the happiness through 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 99 

her swollen eyes which could not be spoken. 
So ended my second act on the stage of 
ruin. 

" It would be superfluous to relate the re- 
sults of my continued play after this night. 
Of course my w ife soon discovered my infatua- 
tion for the gaming-table, and by every en- 
treaty tried to uproot the evil passion. On 
her bended knees she begged of me to abstain 
from it, but to no purpose. I had lost 
thousands upon thousands, and, with a mad- 
man's determination, I resolved to win them 
back. 

" Sir Thomas, becoming acquainted with my 
growing evil, used every argument to dissuade 
me from the course I was pursuing. Ap- 
proaching death was hurried upon him by the 
anxiety he endured at my conduct ; and, in a 
word, he died one night, while I was in deep 
play at a fashionable gambling-house with 
Eussel. 

" Emily, now left solely to me for support, 
by her endearments and lonely situation, pre- 
vented me for a time from pursuing my ruinous 

F 'Z 



100 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

career. Day by day, however, the inex- 
pressible longing increased — and again I 
went. 

"' Weeks flew past with just sufficient vari- 
ation of fortune to induce me to hope for a 
retrieval of my losses. All my money being 
exhausted, bills were discounted to an im- 
mense amount. At length, I was compelled 
to mortgage my estate ; and now, those mag- 
gots of existence, the lawyers, got hold of 
me. Delays, purposely occasioned, in getting 
money to take up my notes, brought the 
sheriff's officers. Arrest after arrest took 
place. Heavy costs were accumulated ; and, 
in order to bo released from a spunging-house, 
on one occasion, I had to assign my furniture, 
horses, carriages, and almost every thing I 
possessed. 

" I was now in the vortex. There was no 
retreating. My poor wife wasted away, and 
drooped like a plucked lily. I saw^ the horror 
of my position ; but how was I to prevent the 
impending ruin? Nothing remained but a 
change of luck, which I felt must come. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 101 

" After the assignment of my property, 
Kussel left suddenly for Paris, not even com- 
ing to say farewell ! It was now I discovered 
he was in league with keepers of gaming- 
houses, bill-discounters, and other such vipers. 
Late — too late I saw that I had been the 
dupe of this heartless villain. 

" One night, I was pacing the little room I 
had taken for a lodging, almost mad with 
racking thoughts. Emily sat with her wan 
features bent upon her attenuated hands. She 
saw my mental agony, and, approaching me 
with as kind a look as ever, she suddenly fell 
upon the floor. I snatched her in my arms, 
and thought it was a fainting-fit. Her hand 
was pressed close to her side, and murmuring 
* she should be better soon,' gradually she fell 
into a soft sleep upon my bosom. Thus she re- 
mained for a quarter of an hour, when, start- 
ing up, she exclaimed, * My heart ! my 
heart !' 

" God have mercy upon me ! I could hear 
the heavy throbs. 

" ' I am dying,' she faltered, pressing her 



102 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

bloodless lips to mine. ' We shall be happy 
in heaven. God bless ' 

" Speechless with horror, I clasped her to 
me, and saw her eyes becoming lustreless with 
the film of death. A few long-drawn sighs, 
and I was alone — beggared, friendless, and 
alone ! 

" For many weeks I was devoid of reason. 
At length, time and nature overcame the 
disease of the mind, and, with four hundred 
pounds, the last of my sacrificed property, I 
quitted London for the repose of a country 
village. Daily I found my little remaining 
money becoming less, and, desperate from 
circumstances, I again returned to my former 
haunts. Pound by pound was lost, until the 
last shilling was expended. I then sold and 
pledged the few trinkets I had remaining, till, 
falling from one step to another, I at last 
parted with my wardrobe ; and sometimes, 
even with a single shilling, I hastened to the 
gaming-table. 

" ISTot a single article of value was left 
except this ring. I saved it as long as any 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 103 

thing remained to raise a sixpence upon. 
Great Heaven ! this ring was " 

" The wretched creature groaned, and he 
clutched Mr. Crouch by the arm. 

" * What ?' asked the pawnbroker. 

" * Ml/ wife's iveddi7ig'7nng ! ' 

" Even the pawnbroker felt shocked as he 
heard the last words. He looked at the 
ruined wretch, as he threw himself back into 
the chair, without saying a word. A silence 
reigned for many minutes. At length, Mr. 
Crouch rose, and, shaking his companion by 
the hand, said, ' You shall sleep here to- 
night.' 

" He slept there already, the eternal sleep 
of death. The sudden remembrance of the 
gamester's accumulated miseries ended them, 
even in the pawnbroker's parlour." 



Long before William had concluded the 
history of the Top-Boots, Mr. Bolton was 
dozing. At intervals, he caught a few words, 
and murmured his disapprobation at young 
men leavino: their wives when the sun was 



104 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

down. As Will ceased to speak, he roused 
himself from his half-slumber, shook himself, 
rose, and, having put on his greatcoat, lighted 
his lamp. '* Good night, Fanny," added he, 
" and mind what I tell ye — don't let Will 
bark at the moon." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 105 



CHAPTEK XXII. 

THE SQUIRE'S VISIT TO LONDON. 

*' O, sir, to wilful men. 

The injuries that they themselves procure 

Must be their schoolmasters." 

On the evening of his arrival in London, 
the squire, soon after he had taken his usual 
allowance of port, summoned a busy waiter 
of the hotel, in the vicinity of the theatres, 
where he always stopped when on a visit to 
the great metropolis, and, with an appearance 
of fatigue, ordered him to bring a chamber- 
candle. 

** Are you tired, squire?" asked Wilmott, 
who was sitting on a sofa with Kate, while 
Titley stood with Agnes in the recess of a 

F 5 



106 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

window, looking at the busy throng passing 
and repassing. 

" Yes, Wilmott, my boy," replied the 
squire ; '* I feel as cramped as a caged bird. 
The inside of a coach was not made for me." 

" But, dear father," added Kate, " if you 
had gone outside, as you wished, the cold 
might have severely injured you." 

" Well, well, my love," exclaimed the 
squire, impatiently ; " you wouldn't let me 
try it; so, there's an end of that. Good 
night, girls and boys," added he, recovering 
his temper as he rose to go. 

Before effecting his retreat, however, he 
was scrambled for by Kate and Agnes, and 
received some very ardent salutes from both. 

" There, there, ye jades," said he, smiling, 
and pushing them away. " God bless you 
all ; good night." 

" The squire's out of his element," said 
Titley, " and flounders about as I did in that 
fellow Larkins's duck-pond." 

"Yes," replied Agnes; "but I think he 
will get out of the mud with less damage." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 107 

"Oh," rejoined Titley, "don't talk of 
damages. Since that unlucky fall, scarcely 
a week has passed, but I've heard of things 
called declarations, pleas, rejoinders, re- 
butters, briefs, witnesses, judges, juries, da- 
mages. Heaven have mercy on me !" 

Titley's face bore such a ludicrous ap- 
pearance of annoyance at the remembrance 
of his lawsuit, that it was impossible to keep 
from laughing ; and the girls and Wilmott 
startled the squire with a sudden peal of 
mirth, just as he w^as stepping into bed. 

" In a few days all will be over," said Wil- 
mott. 

" Yes," replied Titley ; " but what a plea- 
sant anticipation — to be talked of, and 
laughed at in court — made the sport of the 
newspapers — and misrepresented in every 
particular by that rascal Fiddylee's counsel." 

Titley was getting Avarm upon his subject, 
when Kate said, " I think, Agnes, we had 
better retire. Papa will expect us to rise 
early to-morrow, and I am sure you must be 
fatigued. So, gentlemen, with your leave, we'll 



108 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

take our departure. Be with us soon in the 
morning," continued she. 

" How far is your hotel from here ?" in- 
quired Agnes. 

*' About a quarter of a mile," replied Wil- 
mott. 

" Come to breakfast," said Kate ; '^ I know 
my father expects you." 

Why should it not be recorded ? Lips 
met ; bright eyes darted forth tender glances ; 
hands mingled with hands, and taper waists 
were clasped, as the last "good night" was 
breathed. 

It was past midnight. Scarcely a sound 
was to be heard. IS^ow and then, the roll of 
a solitary coach rumbled in the distance, and 
dying away left the dull streets wrapped in 
silence. The hoarse voice of a solitary 
watchman called the hour, as if to warn the 
thief of his approach, and then again all was 
hushed. The cold moon shed from her 
curtain of azure blue, studded with brilliant 
and innumerable gems, her bright rays upon 
the sleeping city. A keen, smarting breeze 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 109 

whistled through the ahandoned thorough- 
fares, and, as the consumptive child of vice 
crouched in the portal, she drew her tattered 
shawl closer, and cursed the cough that gave 
a hollow echo of death's decree ! The youth- 
ful rioter, senseless from excess, reeled upon 
the bleached pavement, and spluttered forth 
his empty, heartless laugh. It was the time 
for the contented to be at rest — for the 
wretched and weary to think of their 
miseries. 

An hour elapsed after all had become 
quiet in the hotel, when Agnes rose from the 
bed on which she had thrown herself without 
undressing. She wrapped a cloak round her 
person, and, putting on a close cottage- 
bonnet, crept softly from her bedroom on to 
the staircase. Noiselessly she descended the 
long flight of stairs, and, by the light of a 
dim lamp which swung to and fro in the 
passage, from the current of air passing over 
the ill-fastened door, she cautiously proceeded 
to unfasten the creaking bolts. 

" Is that you, Bet ?" said a sleepy voice, 
from a small room, close to Agnes. 



1 1 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Hush !" replied Agnes, pushing open the 
door, and seeing a man sitting at his ease 
before a good fire. 

" Why who are you ?" asked the man, 
rubbing his heavy eyelids, and staring as if 
an apparition stood before him. 

" I am staying here." 

" Oh ! yes, miss ; I beg yer pardon, miss," 
interrupted the man, rising, and bowing with 
anxious humility. " Shall I call the chamber- 
maid, miss ?" 

" JVTo ; but I am going out for an hour or 
two, and I wish you to remain awake until 
my return," replied Agnes, giving him a sove- 
reign. ^' If you do so, I shall give you an- 
other when I come back." 

The man took the proffered money, and ap- 
peared as if he was in a dream. He enjoyed 
the salary of ten shillings a week for stopping 
up every night as porter, and here was a lady 
promising a month's wages for one night's 
work. 

'' At the slightest knock I expect you to 
open the door," said Agnes. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. Ill 

" The kick of a flea would be sufficient, 
miss," replied the porter. 

" And not a word's to be spoken," said 
Agnes. 

" Mum's the word, miss," replied the man, 
giving' her an impudent wink. 

Without observing the porter's look, Agnes 
left the house. Across the Strand she tripped, 
and, hurrying up one of the cross streets, she 
entered Co vent Garden Market. Through the 
crowd of men and women unloading heavily- 
laden waggons Agnes ran, and pulled the bell 
at the entrance of a large hotel. Minutes 
fled, but no one answered the summons. Again 
she pulled, when the heavy doors swung open 
upon their hinges. 

" Is Mr. Eanger within ?" asked Agnes of 
the individual standing before her. 

*' Well, now, you're a pretty creetur for to 
come and disturb a feller's rest, and to ax for 
gen'l'men at this time o' night — bean't ye ?" 
said a little sour-looking man. " If ye'r not 
off in a twinklin' I'll have you shopped, my 
painted tit." 



112 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEjVUN. 

The threatener would have closed the doors 
without further ceremony, had not his quick 
ears caught the jink of money. 

" Here are five shillings for you," said 
Agnes ; " now tell me if Mr. Eanger is 
within." 

** Yes, marm," replied the little man, much 
improved in his manner; *^ but the gen'l'man's 
a-bed." 

" If you will take this note to him, and 
bring me an answer, I shall give you five shil- 
lings more," said Agnes. 

" Marm, you're very generous — may yer 
never want a tizzy ! But it's as much as my 
place is w^orth," replied the man. 

" I assure you no harm can come of your 
doing as I ask you," said Agnes. 

" "Well, marm, I'll run the risk for once. 
Step in here while I go," replied the man, 
looking round to see if they were watched. 
" Pray, marm, don't sneeze or cough, or I 
shall be cooked to a cinder," added he, in a 
nervous voice ; " master's so 'cute to things 
o' this sort." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. J 1 3 

Agnes stood just on the inside of the en- 
trance, while the man hastened up stairs with 
her note. She could hear the murmur of 
voices. A door opened ; then the sounds be- 
came more audible. Did she recognize those 
voices ? Yes ; they were those of Wilmott 
and Titley. 

*' Merciful heaven ! " exclaimed she, as a 
quick footstep descended the stairs. A mo- 
ment more, and she was clasped in Eanger's 
embrace. 

" Come up, dear Agnes," said he. 

" Stop, Charles," she replied ; " who are 
on the stairs ?" 

" No one," rejoined he, " except the night 
porter. " 

" Are you sure ? " asked Agnes, with tre- 
pidation. 

" Quite sure," was the reply. 

Without further comment they proceeded 
up the staircase. Just as Agnes had reached 
the first floor, a door opened within a yard of 
her, and out came Titley. She started, and 
could scarcely suppress an exclamation ; but, 



1 1 4 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

instantly recovering herself, she lowered her 
head, and hurried past him. 

"• Good night, Eanger," said Titley. " Ha, 
ha, ha ! I shall require a bribe to keep the 
secret, remember. Bon repos to ye. What 
a sly dog ! ha, ha, ha !" 

Eanger took no notice of Titley's banter- 
ing, but opened the door of a small sitting- 
room opposite, and secured it with bolt and 
lock upon Agnes. As they entered, Titley 
stared at them, and continued to look at the 
closed door with intense astonishment. He 
appeared as if suddenly deprived of speech 
and action. At length he ejaculated — 

" It could not be ! And yet the appear- 
ance — the very dress ; bah ! w^hat folly !" and 
he turned upon his heel into the apart- 
ment. 

" Dear Charles," said Agnes, as soon as 
they had exchanged many tender endearments, 
" I could not wait till to-morrow. How long 
it is since I have seen you ; and how pale you 
are !" 

**' But it was imprudent for you to come at 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 115 

this time, Agnes," said he, half reproach- 
fully. 

" I differ with you," replied Agnes ; " I 
should have been missed had I come in the 
daytime." 

" Well, I must not blame you, dearest," 
rejoined Charles. " Tell me how you have 
been, and how our good uncle and cousin 
are ?" 

" Well, " replied Agnes, " very well. 
Would to Heaven, Charles, you could be 
persuaded to inform him of your situation !" 
continued she, in a supplicating tone. 

" Not yet, Agnes," rejoined he, " not quite 
yet. Daily I am in expectation of " 

" So you have been for months," inter- 
rupted Agnes. " Why not consent to see 
him, dispel his present fears for your safety, 
and render all of us happy ?" 

" Why must I repeat my resolution ! " he 
irritably rejoined ; " I never will meet the 
good old man, except as I left him — free from 
the stain of dishonour." 

"But you m^e free from it," said Agnes. 



116 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" As you are," replied he. '' But not from 
the accusation and its withering effects. Cir- 
cumstances — conclusive evidence in the opi- 
nions of those who judged me — were so strong 
and clear, that you would have said ' guilty.' " 

" JNTo, no, no !" said Agnes ; "I never 
could suppose you capable of a dishonourable 
act." 

" If you had heard the evidence, you would," 
replied he. " Indeed, you must." 

'' I see it is still useless to urge you," re- 
plied Agnes ; " and, therefore, we will leave 
the subject." 

" Pray do," rejoined he. " I feel certain 
in a short time matters will brighten." 

" We must hope so," added Agnes. " How 
long have you known the gentleman who ad- 
dressed you in the passage just now ?" inquired 
she. 

"A few weeks only," he replied. "Look 
here," continued he, holding a candle close to 
his face, and exhibiting a newly-healed wound : 
"that gentleman saved me from being mur- 
dered." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 117 

*' Merciful Providence !" exclaimed Agnes, 
seeing where the frightful gash had heen. 
*' What a wound ! But tell me the particu 
lars, Charles. Where and how did you re- 
ceive it ?" 

A slight redness spread over the features 
of Agnes' brother — as the reader must have 
long since conjectured him to be — when this 
question was asked. 

" Oh ! in a — in a slight disturbance one 
night," he replied, in a confused manner. 

Agnes remarked his confusion; and the 
thought that Titley, too, might frequent 
scenes of dissipation, added to the pang. 

" Titley has a friend here," remarked 
Charles, after a slight break in the conver- 
sation. 

" Have you seen him ?" inquired Agnes. 

" No," replied he ; " but I was told by him 
that he had." 

" That friend," rejoined Agnes, " is Wil- 
mott Ashley," 

" Agnes," said her brother, sternly, ** I 
thought you would have informed me of this 
before." 



118 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

/ 

" I was ignorant of their being here, and of 
their intention of coming, until I heard their 
voices in the passage," replied Agnes. ** But 
I hope you will consent to see Wilmott," con- 
tinued she. 

" Upon one condition only," rejoined her 
brother. 

" IS^ame it," said Agnes. 

*' That he does not importune me to break 
my obstinate determination, as you call it," 
replied Charles, "and to pledge his sacred 
honour neither directly nor indirectly to inform 
my uncle or any one of my arrival." 

" It must be as you say," said Agnes, sorrow- 
fully. " But I am certain inquiries will soon be 
made respecting you. JS^o letters have been 
received for upwards of a twelvemonth, and 
I think my uncle intends going to-morrow, 
for the purpose of gaining information." 

" He can learn nothing until the next mail," 
replied Charles ; and with a smile he added, 
" I have provided information for him. I left 
a letter in India, Avhich will be duly sent to 
my uncle. He must have it as soon as any 
news can come." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 119 

" You will be gazetted," said Agnes. 

" Yes," replied her brother ; " if that 
should be seen by him, or should he discover 
my disgrace by any means, I leave this country 
for ever." 

Neither spoke for some minutes. At length, 
Agnes said — 

" I will do all in my power to prevent his 
gaining any knowledge of it. I see it would 
only add to our affliction." 

"It would," rejoined her brother, " if my 
eternal exile would be an addition." 

" Can you doubt it ?" said Agnes, in a 
voice trembling with emotion. 

" !N"o, dear Agnes," replied her brother. 
" But you are so anxious for that which I am 
equally desirous to prevent, I sometimes fear 
you will betray my situation. Forgive me if 
I wrong you." 

'* Then fear it no longer," rejoined Agnes. 
" I will use all my endeavours to have your 
secret kept inviolable." 

'' Thank you, my dear sister, a thousand 
thanks !" warmly ejaculated Charles. '' Give 
me time, and all shall be well." 



120 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

"We will live in hope," said Agnes. 
" And, as you still insist on secrecy, I think 
it better you should not see Wilmott." 

" I have always thought so," replied her 
brother. 

*' I will communicate to him your unalter- 
able determination," said Agnes ; " and then I 
am sure he would have no great desire to see 
you ; for his express object was to urge you 
to make known to your uncle the circum- 
stances of your unhappy case." 

" That has been decided," briefly responded 
Charles. 

" I believe he would take no further step, 
with a pledge to keep all proceedings from 
the knowledge of his old friend," said Agnes. 

" Then he must learn "no more. We must 
not meet, except as strangers," replied her 
brother. 

'* Is he ignorant of your assumed name ?" 
inquired Agnes. 

*' I hope so," rejoined Charles, " or I 
would leave here to-night. It is unfortunate 
he should have come here at all. Has Titley," 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 121 

continued Charles, *'been often to my uncle's 
house ?" 

" Oh ! very often," responded Agnes. 

" Then, you are intimate with him," said 
her brother. 

" I have seen a good deal of him," replied 
Agnes, blushing, and inclined to explain her 
delicate position with Titley. But, from 
some inexplicable cause, the words died upon 
her lips. 

Charles did not notice his sister's con- 
fusion, but said, — 

" I am thinkino' whether he recoonized 
you." 

** I am certain he could not," replied 
Agnes. 

" I don't feel so sure," said he. '* For 
some time I heard him standing in the pas- 
sage after we had come into this room. But, 
perhaps, we have nothing to fear from that, 
and it is foolish policy to anticipate evil." 

" True," responded Agnes. " That shall 
be our motto, dear Charles. But there is 
one thing I must mention," continued she, 

VOL. II. G 



1 22 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" which has given me great trouble. What 
can you want such large sums of money for ? 
This, and your looks, have occasioned much 
uneasiness to me." 

Charles was silent. His tongue refused to 
utter a deceptive reply, and he looked the 
guilt he feared to confess. 

" Pray speak," said Agnes. " If you have 
been imprudent, be so no more." 

'' God bless you, Agnes !" exclaimed her 
brother, clasping her to his heart ; " you are 
too kind, and I will not deceive you. I have 
been imprudent. The same horrid infatua- 
tion possesses me — the dice-box has been my 
earthly, and will be my eternal ruin !" 

" No, no, no !" quickly replied Agnes, — 
" say not so. I feared this ! For Heaven's 
sake, turn from the evil practice ! Continue 
your exertions to reclaim your former honour- 
able position in life, and become the example 
for men to follow^ not to avoid." 

A choking sob burst from the young man's 
lips — it was one of penitence and shame. 
There is a touching appeal in the tear 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 123 

stealing from the eye of woman ; but, when 
it is shed by man — bold, fearless man — how 
much greater is the effect of the silent advo- 
cate ! Pride seals the reservoir of grief. He 
would rather his heart should bleed, than for 
his enemy to see him weep. Sometimes, 
however, sorrow melts the binding seal, and, 
in briny drops, even strong man reveals his 
pent-up misery. 

Agnes was equally moved. She saw with 
what agony her brother admitted his indis- 
cretion, and felt almost a regret at having 
pressed the confession from him. 

" You must not think, Agnes," said he, 
" of what I have told you, or you will begin 
to suspect me as others have done." 

** Indeed, I shall not," replied his sister. 
** You told me, when w^e first met, that you 
had committed great follies of this descrip- 
tion. I then thought, as I now do, the 
admission an extenuation of them." 

" How shall I be sufficiently grateful ?" 
said Charles. 

" By never frequenting such scenes again," 

G 2 



124 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

replied Agnes. " Oh ! Charles ! reflect for 
a moment upon what you have suffered 
already. Think of the situation you are 
now in, solely from this horrid infatuation. 
And remember the certain fate of a gambler 
— perdition itself." 

" I not only promise you to abstain from 
the vicious habit," replied her brother, '' but 
I swear most solemnly to do so." 

" Enough," said Agnes, " I feel you will 
not break your vow." 

" I will not," responded Charles, firmly. 

" It is very late," observed his sister ; " I 
will return." 

"I'll accompany you," said Charles, throw- 
ing on his cloak. 

" During our stay in London," said Agnes, 
'' I shall come here every other night ; for we 
cannot meet in the day." 

'' Cannot you come every night ?" asked her 
brother ; " I will always be at the comer of 
the hotel." 

" The risk of discovery would be too 
great," responded Agnes. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 125 

" Be it so, then," said Charles. 

As they descended the staircase, Agnes 
heard the creaking of a door. Looking in 
the direction of the noise, she saw an eye 
fixed upon her. 



126 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLE^L4N. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE SERPENTINE IN A FROST. 

" An envious, sneaping frosty 

That bites the first-born infants of the spring." 

Hyde Park was thronged with persons 
hurrying to the banks of the Serpentine, to see 
the fleet skaters cut their fantastic figures. 
Eows of elegant equipages lined the edge of 
the river, and thousands were enjoying the 
pleasure bestowed by '* Jack Frost." Over the 
transparent ice the smooth steel glided, and 
the roar of countless feet, sweeping along, 
could be heard far away from the moving 
scene. Now and then, a shout announced 
the fall of some luckless novice, and a peal of 
laughter echoed in the distance. 

The squire was walking close to the river. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 127 

between Wilmott and Titley. Unusual ani- 
mation glowed in his features, and he was 
addressing the two with great earnestness. 

" My dear boys," said he, " I told you 
both, when my consent was asked, that I 
wished the girls not to throw oif their maiden 
names too soon. I love all of ye ; and no- 
thing is so consoling to me, as to know they 
will have good protectors when I'm no longer 
here. But I don't admire early unions ; there 
are so many objections to them." 

" You cannot deem ours such, sir," said 
Wilmott. 

" "Well, well ! not exactly so, perhaps," 
rejoined the squire ; " but, still, I think you 
should wait with patience till the period named 
in the first instance." 

" My dear sir," said Titley, " we have no 
patience. Pray grant our petition, for — I 
give you the honour of a gentleman — there 's 
not a grain of patience in the four of us." 

" Come, that's honest," replied the squire ; 
" I believe every word of it. And since, 
Titley, you've forgotten the haw-haw, he-he 



128 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

system altogether, I think it would be unjust 
to deny your request. Take them ; and may 
you be as happy as I wish ye !" 

At the conclusion of the squire's reply, his 
hands were seized simultaneously by his com- 
panions, and he had to endure a pressing 
proof of their sincere satisfaction. 

" In May, then," observed Wilmott, ** I'm 
to become your son-in-law." 

" And I your nephew," added Titley ; 
" but not in law, then, I hope." 

" No, no ! " replied the squire, " you '11 be 
out of law by that time." 

" I told Kate," said Wilmott, " of our 
object in getting you out this morning. As 
it has proved so successful, I will hasten back 
to impart the agreeable intelligence." 

" I'll join you in the expedition," said 
Titley. 

" Stop, Titley," said the squire, " I want 
you to remain with me ; Wilmott can bring 
the girls here ; I am certain they'll be de- 
lighted to come." 

" As you please," replied Titley. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 129 

Wilmott hastened away, with a promise to 
return as quickly as possible. 

" Now, Titley," said the squire, '* I'm 
going to astonish you." 

" How ?" inquired Titley. 

" You see that dirty-looking rascal there, 
letting out skates," replied the squire. 

" I do," rejoined his companion. 

" Then I'm going to hire a pair of him," 
said the squire, dragging Titley to a seat, 
and ordering the man to buckle on the 
skates. 

" It's nearly twenty years since I had a 
pair on," observed the squire. 

" Pray be very careful, squire,'^ replied 
Titley, " or they'll run from under you, and 
you may chance to fall on " 

*' Don't enter into particulars," interrupted 
the squire, laughing. 

After a great deal of arrangement, the 
squire was launched off the bank on to the 
ice. Wanting confidence in his capacities, 
he at first -hesitated to make a start ; but, 
gaining resolution, he pushed forward, and in 

G 5 



130 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

a few minutes he was skimming over the 
glassy surface, with the swiftness and gaiety 
of a freed schoolboy. 

"I've a great mind," said he, coming to 
where Titley was standing, " to try the off- 
side edge. I think I could manage it." 

" It's a dangerous experiment," replied 
Titley, " as you are out of practice." 

" I'll make a trial," rejoined the squire ; 
" for a fall is the worst that can happen." 

He was about to attempt the feat, when 
Wilmott and the ladies drove up in a neat 
hired carriage ; for the old family vehicle 
never made its appearance in London. 

" Look ! " said Wilmott ; " the squire *s 
skating." 

" What ! " exclaimed Kate, in surprise. 
" Dear father," continued she, '' pray be more 
considerate, and come off the ice ; I fear you 
will meet with some accident." 

" Accident ! " repeated the squire ; and, as 
if inspired by the presence of the girls, he 
gave a sudden impetus to his feet, flourished 
a figure of eight, cut a circle, commonly known 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 131 

as "a spread-eagle," then away he went, 
threading through the moving crowd, and 
presently became lost to view. 

Wilmott and Kate walked a short distance 
before Agnes and Titley, and all were in the 
highest of spirits. 

" And so you had but little difficulty with 
uncle?" said Agnes. 

" None at all," replied Titley. 

" 1 told Kate you would not," rejoined 
Agnes. " But which was the successful 
pleader ? " 

" Honours divided," replied he. 

"I wonder what Mr. Bolton will say to 
our arrangements," said Wilmott. 

" The dear old man will cry with joy," 
replied Kate. " Fanny told me he would 
allow no one about the Hall to whisper an 
opinion concerning our union ; he considered 
it disrespectful." 

** He is one of the best fellows living," re- 
joined Wilmott. 

'' But an eccentric being in most of his 
ideas," added Kate. 



132 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Particularly upon religious subjects," re- 
sponded Wilmott. 

" I shall write to Mr. Smit this evening," 
said Kate, " to tell him of my father's kind 
consent. He is so old and good a friend, 
that he would consider me -neglectful to keep 
it a secret from him, even for a day." 

" Do so," replied Wilmott ; " and tell 
him to inform the old whipper-in. It will 
make him happy beyond description." 

" You may do so in a postscript," said 
Kate. 

They continued to walk along the bank for 
some time, without seeing the squire. So 
crowded was the ice, that it was impossible to 
recognize a person a few yards distant. Agnes 
had her eyes bent upon the ground, and with 
heightened colour was listening to her lover's 
soft tale, when she heard a well-known voice 
address him. She raised her eyes, and there 
stood her brother. A slight shudder trembled 
through her frame, and, without knowing it, 
she pressed hard upon Titley's arm. 

" Are you unwell ?" he asked, seeing the 
altered appearance of Agnes. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 133 

" Oh, no !" she replied, " I am rather cold, 
nothing more." 

She could not refrain from looking in the 
direction Charles went ; but he had disap- 
peared. Titley noticed all that had passed. 
With contracted brow and bewildered look, 
he silently proceeded with Agnes. Occa- 
sionally he was on the point of communica- 
ting his thoughts to her ; but then again they 
seemed so unfounded and ridiculous, that he 
could not make up his mind to do so. 

" A famous run I've had," said the squire, 
suddenly emerging from a group of skaters. 
His face was the colour of vermillion with the 
healthful exertion, and he panted for breath 
like a pressed hare. 

** Leave off now, father," said Kate ; " I 
am sure you must be tired." 

" Not very, my love," replied he ; " but 
I'll come to a check ; so off with the skates, 
you sir," continued he to the owner of them. 
" I much question if you boys will beat that 
at my age," said the squire, with pride. 

" I couldn't do it now," replied Wilmott. 



134 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

'' And now for a good dinner," added the 
squire, beckoning the carriage to approach ; 
" and I'll try my skill upon that." 

All got into the carriage but Titley, who 
said he would join them in the course of an 
hour. 

*^ Why not come with us ?" asked the 
squire ; " there's room on the box, or I'll take 
it, if you're too proud." 

" That's not the case, I assure you," re- 
plied Titley; "but there's an acquaintance 
here, whom I wish to speak to." 

He looked penetratingly at Agnes as he 
uttered these words, and fancied he saw her 
tremble slightly. 

" Oh, very well," said the squire ; " then 
we shall see you presently ;" and off the car- 
riage rolled. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 135 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

DOUBTS AND DIFFICULTIES. 

*' Trifles light as air 

Are to the jealous confirmations strong 

As proofs of holy writ." 

" What makes you so dull this morning ?" 
asked Wilmott of his friend, as they sat at 
breakfast. 

" A sudden fit of ennui ^"^ replied Titley. 

" I'll inform Agnes Scourfield of your com- 
plaint," rejoined Wilmott ; "I dare say she 
can devise means for dispelling it." 

" I suspect not," responded Titley, in a 
tone of ill-concealed vexation. 

" What !" exclaimed his companion, " do 
I hear correctly? Has there been one of 
those little interesting scenes, a quarrel, in the 
lover's drama?" 



136 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

'' No," replied Titley ; " but listen to me 
patiently. I fear you will ridicule what I am 
going to say. Indeed, the absurdity of the 
affair must appear to you so great, that even 
now I am reluctant to communicate it." 

" Curtail the preface, my dear fellow," said 
Wilmott ; ** however provoking to mirth your 
subject may be, I will listen to it with the 
gravity of Tom Bolton at fault." 

" Upon second thoughts," continued Tit- 
ley, "I will not. If I have aroused your 
curiosity, calm the plebeian sensation, if you 
can, and excuse me." 

" By all that's perplexing !" exclaimed Wil- 
mott, " what is the matter with you ? Are 
you moon-struck ?" 

*' I think it not unlikely," replied Titley ; 
" but for the present I'll keep my cause of 
annoyance secret. I cannot but think it 
must be one of imagination only, and yet to 
disbelieve ocular demonstration is a difficult 
task." 

" Our eyes are not the most deceptive or- 
gans we possess," rejoined Wilmott. " But 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 137 

pray reconsider your decision, and confide to 
me this puzzling disturber of your peace." 

" No," said Titley, " I am as disinclined 
to do so, as a few moments since I was de- 
sirous." 

*' Your inclination's of the weather-vane 
order," replied Wilmott. " However, do as 
you like. But should I be of moody dispo- 
sition this morning, or have occasion to rub 
my brow like a confused philosopher, I'll 
explain the reason to the ladies." 

" At what hour do we join them?" inquired 
Titley. 

" At one," replied Wilmott. 

" Have you any engagement before then ?" 
asked Titley. 

'' Yes," replied Wilmott ; " I shall leave 
you now, and we'll meet at that hour in the 
Adelphi." 

" Be it so then," added Titley, " for I've a 
letter or two to write." 

"Should I arrive before you," said Wilmott, 
smiling, " shall I prepare Agnes for the 
ruffled state of your nerves ?" 



138 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" You'll oblige me by not mentioning any 
thing that has occurred," replied his friend. 

" I see," rejoined Wilmott, " there's one 
who could guess a great deal from a small 
hint. However, I will comply with your re- 
quest to the letter." 

" Thanks," said Titley. " By the time we 
meet I shall have regained my placidity of 
temper. Adieu." 

" Now to seek poor Agnes," said Wilmott 
to himself, as he wended his way towards the 
Adelphi, " about this mule-headed brother of 
hers. I hope we shall have an opportunity 
of a conference this morning." 

When he entered the passage of the hotel, 
Agnes was waiting on the stairs. She mo- 
tioned for him to stop, and, hurrying down, 
led him into a small room. 

" Here," she said, " we can have a few 
minutes to ourselves. Kate is practising, and 
my uncle has gone out." 

" To the point then, at once, for we must 
be as brief as possible," said Wilmott. " Have 
you seen Charles ?" 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 139 

" I have, several times, by stealth," replied 
Agnes ; " but find him as unreasonable as 
ever. He will not be induced to coincide 
with our views." 

" When and where can I find him ?" in- 
quired he. 

" It is not of the smallest use your seeing 
him," replied Agnes. " Indeed, he has put 
it out of your power. Not ten minutes be- 
fore your arrival I received this note." 

Wilmott took the proffered note, and read 
its contents. 
" My dear Agnes, 

" Circumstances have occurred which 
render it politic for us to meet no more at 
present. I have quitted town, to join a friend 
just returned from India, and by whom I an- 
ticipate most important intelligence. I will 
write to you in a few days. 

" Your affectionate brother, 

" Charles Scourfield." 

" You are ignorant, then, where he has 
gone ?" said Wilmott. 

" Quite so," replied Agnes. 

" What course shall we adopt ?" inquired he. 



140 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Matters must remain as they are at pre- 
sent," replied Agnes. " He was so sanguine 
at our last interview, of being able to clear 
his character from imputation, that I pro- 
mised not only to remain silent, but to pre- 
vent, if possible, my uncle becoming indirectly 
acquainted with the transaction." 

" I think we shall be much blamed in the 
sequel," rejoined Wilmott. 

" I fear so," said Agnes ; " but nothing 
else can be done than to fall in with his views. 
If we did otherwise, knowing his fiery and 
determined disposition, he would immediately 
leave this country, and become, perhaps, lost 
to us for ever." 

, " Did he name a probable time for this 
mystery to be cleared up in ?" asked Wilmott. 

" IsFo defined period," replied Agnes : " but 
he hoped it had nearly arrived." 

" I am bound to remain silent upon what 
has passed," said Wilmott. " But so diame- 
trically opposed am I to your brother's con- 
duct that I will advise nothing ; nor will I 
listen to any thing further in the business, un- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 141 

less his uncle is to be made acquainted with 
it." 

" I told Charles so," said Agnes. 

*' When the explanation takes place," con- 
tinued Wilmott — " and soon it must, for I'm 
sure the squire will quickly learn the state of 
affairs — he will consider himself unjustly de- 
ceived by all of us." 

" Under the circumstances, I hope not," 
replied Agnes. 

" But I am certain he will," rejoined Wil- 
mott. " I believe now he imagines something 
is wrong." 

" No, he does not," said Agnes, " for a 
letter came this morning from India, which 
Charles left there previous to his departure ; 
and it has quite dispelled all my uncle's fears. 
Kate wept with joy when it came, and, I've 
no doubt, wondered at my not expressing 
more delight at its arrival ; for I could not 
assume the hypocrite to perfection." 

" Then they both think he is still in India,'' 
observed Wilmott. 

" Yes," replied Agnes. 



142 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Then I must say your brother is acting a 
most culpable part," rejoined he, passionately. 

Wilmott saw how much his hasty obser- 
vation wounded the feelings of Agnes, and 
scarcely had he made it before he regretted 
having done so. " God knows," continued 
he, in a soothing voice, ** I wish to consider 
him free from blame as you do, Agnes. 
But his continued obstinacy, the deceiving his 
best friend, the career which we have great 
reason to suppose he has been running since 
his return, and the disgrace under which he 
labours, whether justly or unjustly we can- 
not say, make me think active measures should 
be adopted, instead of passively submitting to 
his caprices." 

"I feel — I know he is innocent," said 
Agnes. " That he has been guilty of follies, 
he admits," continued she ; " but I am cer- 
tain no crime stains his breast. He has 
solemnly promised not to again commit them, 
and I have implicit faith in his sincerity." 

" You wish, then, to permit him to take 
the steps he has chosen ?" said Wilmott. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 143 

" Most decidedly," replied Agnes ; ''for 
otherwise I am convinced ruin would ensue." 

" Ee it so," rejoined Wilmott ; " and may 
all be well, is my fervent prayer." 

*' When I learned nothing could induce my 
brother," observed Agnes, " to make known 
his misfortune to my uncle, I said you would 
not wish to meet him under the circum- 
stances." 

" You were right," replied Wilmott ; "I 
will not see him until he's more reasonable in 
his decisions." 

" You cannot be blamed for keeping the 
transaction from my uncle," said Agnes. 
" All you know^, you're bound in honour to 
hold secret, which is sufficient justification." 

" I fear not the obloquy," replied Wilmott, 
" but the end of all this plotting. I never 
think beneficial results can arise from con- 
cealed or deceptive means." 

'' It is heartfelt shame that prevents Charles 
from being so open and candid as you wish 
him to be," said Agnes. " He knows that 
he can but make an assertion of his innocence 



144 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLE^LIN. 

against apparently indisputable evidence. Still, 
buoyed up with hope, he believes time will 
shew that which he is now unable to prove — 
his entire freedom from all the imputations 
laid to his charge, and even believed of him." 

" We will trust that such may be the case," 
responded Wilmott ; *' no one will rejoice 
more than myself." 

** I believe you, Wilmott," rejoined Agnes. 
'' And now that we have arrived at this con- 
clusion, we'll join fair Kate, whom I hear war- 
bling like one of her favourite nightingales." 

Upon going into the room, Wilmott saw 
the squire poring over the contents of a letter, 
while Kate was singing a blithe, thrilling song, 
with the spirit of an uncaged bird. 

^^ Here, Wilmott," said the squire, coming 
to him in a brisk trot, and thrusting the let- 
ter into his hands, " you find us as happy as 
kingfishers among tittlebats. Read that," 

Wilmott tried to appear gratified as he 
glanced over the lines ; but it was a poor 
attempt. He folded the paper, and, returning 
it to the squire, murmured " that he was glad 
news had arrived at last," 



• THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 145 

" To be sure, my boy, you are," replied the 
squire. *' Now I shall sleep again the whole 
of the night, and not be tossing about for 
half of it, as I have done for weeks past." 

*' And my pale-faced Agnes will regain her 
long-lost roses," said Kate, clasping her cou- 
sin to her bosom. 

** Not while we remain in this smoky re- 
gion, I fear," said the squire. " But the 
thaw has commenced, and in another three 
days we'll start for Scourfield Hall." 

" I am quite ready for the journey home," 
added Kate ; " I much wish to return." 

** A London life is ill suited to you," said 
Wilmott. 

*' For a few days the novelty 's pleasing," 
replied she ; " but now I feel like a tethered 
bird longing for my wood, again." 

*' You shall soon be there, my love," said 
the squire, " for I'm equally anxious to get 
home." 

" Is our departure fixed ?" inquired Agnes. 

" Yes, my dear," replied the squire ; " on 
Saturday next we double back." 

VOL. II. H 



146 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

"Titley will be glad to hear this intelli- 
gence," said Wilmott ; " for, since his arrival 
in town, I never saw such an alteration in 
any man. His spirits are so depressed." 

" It's a good sign," said the squire ; " he'll 
become a thorough-going fox -hunter before 
next season. I know what he wants — Yoiks, 
for'ard ! whoo-hoop ! is the music to brace a 
fellow^'s nerves." 

"Where's Mr. Titley this morning?" in- 
quired Agnes. 

" I expect him instantly," replied Wilmott. 
" He told me he should be here at one." 

" We have a box at Drury Lane to-night," 
said Kate, " to see the pantomime. " Will 
you condescend to accompany us little chil- 
dren ? " 

" They'll be as much pleased as w^e shall," 
said the squire. " Children, indeed ! If a 
man couldn't laugh at a pantomime, the sooner 
he's run to earth the better. There's nothing 
on the stage like a pantomime. I'm ready 
to laugh and cry at the same moment, 
when I see one. There's that thieving, mis- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 147 

cliievoiis rascal the clown always at some 
monkey-trick or other. Then old, gouty 
pantaloon — what fun it is to see him floored ! 
I enjoy it all as 1 did when I was a round- 
faced schoolboy of thirteen." 

" But what is there to make you cry, 
squire ?" asked Wilmott. 

'' The remembrance, my dear boy, of the 
same scene in years gone by ; of those with 
whom I roared in childish glee, now slumber- 
ing beneath the daisy-speckled sod ; and the 
thought, when the curtain falls, that I too 
may have seen my last pantomime." 



H ^ 



148 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

THE ASSIZE COURT, AND THE TRIAL. 

" Contention, like a horse 

Full of high feeding;, madly hath broke loose. 

And bears down all before him." 

Francis Eiddylee, Esq., gentleman by act 
of parliament, rose from his bed one drizzling 
morning in February, earlier than his usual 
custom, and proceeded to make his toilet 
with more than ordinary care and precision. 
A small kettle sang its satisfaction at its 
warm quarters, upon the hob of a fierce, 
crackling fire in the stove, and the attorney 
poured some of the steaming contents into a 
chipped teacup. Then a well-worn, well- 
strapped razor was produced, with a piece of 
coarse, yellow soap. After smearing some 
of it upon his chin, he dipped the stumps of 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 149 

a few hog's bristles into the hot water, and 
with a motion which the members of a useful 
profession adopt when whitewashing walls, 
eifected a lather of proper consistency. Care- 
fully the not over-keen edge was then drawn 
across the stubborn crop, before a cracked 
looking-glass, and, after some laborious reap- 
ing, which squeezed — mirabile dictu! — some 
tears from the lawyer's eyes, Fiddylee con- 
cluded the operation of shaving — an opera- 
tion it is difficult to fancy a lawyer perform- 
ing without thinking of his clients. 

The extreme corner of a towel was now 
moistened in the cup, and carefully drawn 
over the stiffened corners of his eyes, and the 
scraped portion of his countenance. With a 
fresh dip he damped the backs of his hands, 
paying particular attention to the wrinkles of 
his knuckles ; and then, after a general dry- 
rub, the attorney considered himself washed 
and shaved. 

A calico shirt, with linen wristbands, was 
taken from a chair before the fire, and put on 
with extreme care, in order that the starched 



150 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

frill in front might not be disarranged. A 
thick, greasy, bone comb then separated his 
combined locks, and pulled them back from 
his low, pointed forehead, excepting one, 
which was left to curl in that graceful form 
not unfrequently seen upon the brows of 
butcher boys. A white cravat was then 
drawn round his thin neck, and tied in a 
widely spreading bow. Wide, drab trousers 
were pulled over a pair of thick shoes ; and 
cotten stockings peeped in relief between 
them. 

" There !" exclaimed the attorney, regard- 
ing himself in the glass with a satisfied air ; 
** I'm of opinion that would do for West- 
minster Hall." 

He then arranged a silver watch-guard over 
a buff-coloured waistcoat, and, slipping on a 
blue coat with large gilt buttons, announced 
his toilet complete, by a triumphant applica- 
tion of his pocket-handkerchief. 

'' I wish that chaise would come now," 
said he ; "for I'll breakfast when I get there. 
A po'chaise !" continued Fiddylee, with the 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 151 

proud look of a hero — " a yellow po'chaise ! 
Ah ! that's the way for gentlemen to travel ! 
None o' your common stages for we members 
of the learned profession. Exclusive vehicles 
— yellow po'chaises for us — especially when 
we are sure of making other people pay for 
them." 

The attorney was getting excited with the 
reflection of his dignity, when the rumble of 
wheels caught his ear. On looking out of the 
window, his eyes flashed with pleasure at be- 
holding a carriage, of the description men- 
tioned, with a postboy mounted, in a blue 
jacket and white hat. 

" Here it is," said Fiddylee. " Now for 
the glory of the assizes !" 

A quick rap came at his chamber-door. 

'' Come in," was the order. 

*' Please, sir," snuflled a lad, with a chalky 
face, making his appearance, " your coach is 
awaitin'." 

'' Where's the blue bag, Mr. Bubbs ?" in- 
quired the attorney, who invariably thus 
addressed his clerk, for effect. 



152 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Cram full o' dummies in the coach, sir," 
replied the sagacious Bubbs. 

" Where's the green one, sir ?" asked his 
master. 

" Chok full o' big books, sir, in the 
coach," said the Iqoj. 

" And Where's the red bag, Mr. Bubbs ?" 
asked the lawyer, with a smirk and a titter. 

" Cram full o' papers in re Larkins wersus 
Titley, sir," responded the boy. — ''AH in the 
coach, sir." 

" That's well," rejoined the attorney. 
" Now, go down and open the carriage-door, 
for I'm ready," said he, drawing on a pair of 
white cotton gloves. " Say, if any clients 
call, I am at the assizes, and be sure you pop 
their names down in the day-book. We 
mustn't have them call for nothing." 

" I'll mind, sir," rejoined the clerk. 

Fiddylee bent forward in the chaise, as it 
rattled through the village, in order that he 
might be seen by his inimical neighbours. 
IS^othing gains the temporary approbation of 
the vulgar so effectually as display. Those 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 153 

who would have hooted at the unpopular 
attorney at another time, regarded him with 
looks of favour, as he was whirled along at a 
dashing pace, in a yellow " po'chaise." This 
effect w^as not lost upon Fiddylee, who, by the 
time he arrived at the assize town of Weston, 
was on the very best of terms with himself. 

" What's to pay ?" inquired he, alighting 
at the door of the " Swan and Neck of 
Mutton." 

"The stage is ten mile, sir," replied the 
driver, " at one and threepence a mile." 

"There's the money," rejoined Fiddylee, 
counting the silver into his hand. 

" Postboy, sir, if you please," said the lad. 

"Ah!" exclaimed the attorney; "that's 
a charge not allowed on taxation, I think." 

The boy stared. 

"Let me reflect," said Fiddylee. "A 
gratuity to driver, so much. IN'o," continued 
he, " that item would be struck out. I can't 
doit." 

" You don't mean that, sir, do ye ?" said 
the boy, with a doubting stare. 

H 5 



15 h THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Decidedly I do," replied Mr. Fiddylee. 

'* What ! nothing for driving of ye ?" per- 
sisted the boy. " Who ever hear'd tell o' 
that ? Why ! it's all I gets, 'cept my grub. 
But you don't mean it, Mr. Fiddylee !" 

" I tell you it wouldn't be allowed on 
taxation. I should have to pay it myself !" 

This last reason seemed almost as decisive 
to the postboy as it evidently was to the 
lawyer, and, after a sulky pause, he at last 
appeared to acquiesce in it, leaving the room 
with a sneer of inexpressible contempt, and a 
half aside, " Well, you^re a nice genTman, I 
don't think." 

Had Fiddylee heard the various opinions 
uninterruptedly expressed of him by the dis- 
appointed postboy, during the entire two 
hours that he remained in the yard of the 
" Swan and Neck of Mutton," he would have 
had sufficient grounds to maintain half a dozen 
actions for defamation. 

A strong waiter seized the heavy bags, and 
skipped after the attorney into the hotel. 

The following morning, a few minutes be- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 155 

fore nine, Fiddylee squeezed himself through 
a crowd of anxious-looking persons into the 
body of the court. As he entered, bearing 
the red bag in his hand, and followed closely 
by a porter with the others, he was glanced 
at eagerly by two young men, wearing new 
wigs and unworn gowns, sitting on a back 
seat appropriated for briefless members of the 
bar. One of them had a very fat, red face, 
which, being sprinkled over with red spots, 
led the observer to conjecture that " cold with- 
out" was more palatable to him than Coke 
upon Littleton, or Blackstone's Commentaries. 
The other was a little man, with thin wire 
spectacles, balanced upon the end of a turn- 
up nose. His wig inclined to the left side, 
and he looked so incapable of being abashed, 
so shrewd and keen, that the attorney at once 
decided upon him for the junior counsel. 

" I say. Vellum," said the little barrister to 
his friend, " there's something in the trap, I 
think." 

'' Bah !" exclaimed the other, resting his 
chin upon his thumbs ; " not for us." 



156 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

The attorney arranged his three large bags 
before him, placing those with the dummies 
and books on each side, while the one con- 
taining the legitimate lumber occupied the 
centre. Diving his hand into it, he extracted 
a thick brief, and approached the expectant 
counsel. 

" Your name, sir," said Fiddylee, with his 
blandest smile. 

" Sharp," replied the barrister, bowing. 

'' Mr. Sharp, five guineas," said the at- 
torney, taking a pen and endorsing the brief. 

The virgin may gaze at her betrothed with 
delight, and the mother may look at her first- 
born with ecstacy, but neither can derive more 
pleasure than the barrister does when he eyes 
his maiden brief, and " fingers the fee." With 
shaking hand Sharp signed his name, and 
slipped the money into his pocket. 

" Who am I with?" he inquired. 

" Sir Thomas Bluster," replied the attorney. 

" How do we stand on the list ?" asked the 
barrister. 

" Fourth from the top," replied Fiddylee 



THE OI,D ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 157 

" Directly Sir Thomas comes, we'll have a 
short consultation," continued he. 

!N'ow the bustle of the court commenced. 
Jurymen hastened to the box ; witnesses 
blocked up the passages ; gowns rustled along 
as the counsel took their seats ; attorneys and 
their clerks rushed to and fro ; opposing 
suitors looked all uncharitableness at each 
other ; and, with bows from the bar, and 
gapes from the mob, the judge, robed in 
scarlet and ermine, took his seat. 

" Silence," roared the usher, striking his 
wand sharply against a desk, " silence in the 
court." 

" D'ye think we'll gain the day, zur ?" in- 
quired Humphrey Larkins. 

** Hush ! " replied his attorney, " you 
mustn't speak now." 

" Well, but d'ye think we'll gain the day, 
I axes ye ?" again asked his client, puffing 
forth a strong effluvia of beer. 

" Silence there !" hallooed the usher. 

" You be dom'd !" replied Humphrey. " I 
wull speak if I loikes." 



158 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

All eyes were bent upon the delinquent. 
The judge peeped over his spectacles, and in a 
moment more Humphrey Larkins would have 
found himself in durance vile ; but Fiddylee 
dexterously clutched his client by the arm, 
and dragged him out of the court. 

*' You'll ruin me," gasped the attorney, 
gaining the street. 

" The sooner the better, you cur," said a 
voice close to his ear. 

The lawyer turned, and there stood Mr. 
Bolton, with a frown upon his brow that might 
have caused stronger nerves to tremble than 
the attorney's. 

Scarcely had Fiddylee proceeded a dozen 
yards from Mr. Bolton, when he met the 
squire, Wilmott, and Titley, walking side by 
side. Truth must be told. A slight, i^ery 
slight red tinge spread itself over the lawyer's 
features, and he felt, for the first time in his 
life, ashamed of himself. The three passed 
him with averted looks, and entered the court. 

" Go into that public-house," said Fiddylee 
to his refractory client, " and wait there till 
I come or send for you." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 159 

" Let's have a drop for good luck afore ye 
go, master larjer," said Humphrey. 

" 'Not now," replied the attorney ; " wait 
till it's over." 

It was just two o'clock ; and the old whip- 
per-in was getting tired of standing in the 
closely-crowded court, when *' Larkins against 
Titley" was bawled out by a man with a 
strong voice. 

" May it please your lordship and gentle- 
men of the jury," commenced Mr. Sharp, 
" this " 

" Wait one moment," interrupted Sir Tho- 
mas Bluster; " I've not seen my brief. 
Where can it be ?" he continued, turning over 
a large heap of papers upon the table before 
him. '' I'm retained in this case, I believe." 

" Yes, Sir Thomas," replied his learned 
friend ; " my brief is so endorsed." 

" Ah ! yes, yes ! here it is," rejoined Sir 
Thomas. " Proceed, sir, proceed." 

The pleadings were opened in form by Mr. 
Sharp, and Sir Thomas, at the same time, 
threw his eye over the sheets of his brief, and 



163 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

glanced at the proofs. Having accomplished 
this task, he made a few notes, and took a 
pinch of snuff. " Some of our witnesses, Sir 
Thomas," whispered Fiddylee, " are reluctant 
ones." 

" Humph ! ah !" exclaimed Sir Thomas. 

" Most are opposed to us," said the attorney. 

" So much the better," responded Sir Tho- 
mas ; ''I admire them. The case stands a 
greater chance of success, sir, with such wit- 
nesses." 

The attorney sat down between his blue and 
green bags, and when Sir Thomas rose to 
state the plaintiff's case, regarded the advo- 
cate with profound attention. At the con- 
clusion of the customary prelude. Sir Thomas 
said, " In the whole course of his professional 
experience, no case had come before him 
where the rights of a free-bom Briton had 
been so shamefully infringed as in the one he 
was about to submit to their attention. For 
ages, long since swept into the abyss of ob- 
livion, it had been the triumphant, unfading 
ivy-twined wreath in our glorious constitution, 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 16 1 

that an Englishman's home was his castle; 
his broad lands, won by his ancestor's heart's 
blood, sacred from the trespasser's destroying 
foot-mark. What could be more gratifying 
than this sublime law, affording its sheltering 
wing for the poorest cottager, as well as the 
rich and estated earl? what more criminal 
than a w^anton disregard of it ?" 

Sir Thomas paused, and gave a professional 
look at the jury, to discover the effect he was 
producing. Two or three of the wooden- 
faced gentlemen in the box were discussing 
the probable price of barley on the ensuing 
market-day ; one was peeping at a newspaper, 
slyly placed in his hat ; and two more were 
comparing samples of oats. The advocate 
saw the want of attention in the dispensers of 
justice, and, giving the table a loud smack, 
continued, at the top of his voice — 

" G-entlemen of the jury !" 

Each one started, and fixed his eyes upon 
the counsel. 

" As twelve free and enlightened subjects 
of this realm, sitting there," said Sir Thomas, 



162 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

pointing to the box, '' sworn before the Euler 
of events to give a verdict according to the 
evidence produced, and your own irreproach- 
able consciences, I ask you — can there be any 
act committed where the offended laws have 
greater reason to demand retribution ?" 

The barrister again stopped, and the jury- 
men, thinking themselves personally appealed 
to, began to elbow each other; and, before 
Sir Thomas could resume, the foreman started 
up, and said, " My brother jurors, sir, think 
that, of the two, a bloody murder is somewhat 
worse." 

The judge screwed up his grave mouth, the 
barristers grinned, the people laughed, and 
Sir Thomas smilingly replied, " That was cer- 
tainly a matter of opinion." 

It was some time before order could be re- 
gained. At length silence was restored, and 
the counsel proceeded. 

" I will now state the simple facts," said 
the barrister, " and proceed to support them 
by indisputable evidence. The plaintiff is an 
honest, industrious, and sober farmer." (This 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 163 

last attribute, as applied to Humphrey Lar- 
kins at the moment in question, was more 
than doubtful.) '' The soil he tills belongs 
to him, and, although not wealthy, he is one 
of that respectable class — an independent 
landholder. The defendant, according to my 
instructions, is a gentleman much devoted to 
field sports, particularly to fox-hunting." 

Here a " Ha, ha ! " was heard from a so- 
norous voice. 

" Hush, governor !" said William, clapping 
his hand over his father's mouth, and effectu- 
ally checking Mr. Bolton's loud laugh. The 
officers were directed to discover the disturber, 
and eject him ; but the old whipper-in escaped 
their vigilance. 

" I say, Titley," whispered the squire, 
" you're an immortalized Nimrod." 

" Wait a moment," said Wilmott ; " he'll 
be proud of his description presently." , 

Sir Thomas Bluster then described, in glow- 
ing colours, " the desperate manner in which 
fox-hunters ride, the mischief they frequently 
occasion to the land, the fences they break 



164^ THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

down, and the necessity for making them ade- 
quately compensate for all damages caused by 
their reckless sport." He then detailed the 
immediate cause for this action, and at last 
arrived at the important point of Titley's in- 
troduction to the duck-pond. 

" Gentlemen of the jury," continued the 
learned counsel, " can your fertile imagina- 
tions picture a more startling effect than this 
produced among the geese and their interesting 
progenies, the goslings ! I venture to antici- 
pate your reply in the negative. Perchance — 
and it is not an extravagant conjecture — they 
never ventured into the water again with their 
former happy confidence. Indeed, I have a 
witness to prove one gosling was never seen 
to damp its feet afterwards. This is a serious 
subject for reflection ! And I trust your ver- 
dict, this day, will prove, to an admiring 
public, that even a goose shall not be dis- 
regarded by the fostering laws of this great 
country." 

'' Is my learned friend alluding to the plain- 
tiff? " inquired Titley's counsel, a tall, thin 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 165 

gentleman, with a pointed nose. There was 
a sneer about his lips which signified a capa- 
city for snarling. 

" I am alluding to his wrongs, sir," replied 
Sir Thomas; " I am stating the shameful in- 
juries he and his property have sustained, sir; 
I am advocating the cause of the oppressed, 
sir, before the most immaculate earthly tribu- 
nal this sublunary planet can boast of — an 
English court and jury. And, with the full 
assurance that my appeal will not be made in 
vain, I leave my client's case in the hands of 
those who never turn an unwilling or indiffe- 
rent ear to the claims of justice." 

A murmur of approbation ran through the 
court as Sir Thomas took his seat. 

" Thomas Bolton," said Mr. Sharp, rising. 

" Thomas Bolton," bawled the usher. 

" Thomas Bolton" was carried from mouth 
to mouth, and resounded through the court, 
and the passages leading to it. 

*' Here, here ! " replied the old whipper-in, 
briskly stepping forward. " What are ye all 
yapping for ? I'm not deaf." 



166 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

His lordship looked in astonishment at Tom 
as he mounted the witness-box. His appear- 
ance was certainly novel, for nothing could 
prevent him from attiring himself in his scar- 
let coat, tops, cap, and spurs. To an expos- 
tulation of his son's, he replied, ** It w^as a 
professional matter, and as such he should 
adopt the costume." 

" You swear — " said a man, offering Mr. 
Bolton the book. 

" Only when Pm in a passion," interrupted 
Tom. 

" Silence in the court !" bawled the usher, 
as fresh symptoms of laughter exhibited them- 
selves. 

The oath now was administered to Tom, 
and, when he was told by Mr. Sharp to stand 
forward, and look at the jury, he turned up 
the cuffs of his coat, as if preparing for a little 
self-defence, instead of an examination as a 
witness. 

"You're whipper-in to Mr. Scourfield, I 
believe," said Mr. Sharp. 

"To the squire's pack o' crack hounds I 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. l67 

am," replied Mr. Bolton, proudly, " and was 
before you were hatched." 

'* Come, sir," rejoined Mr. Sharp, sharply ; 
** answer my questions respectfully, and don't 
digress." 

" I never crane, swerve, or flinch," re- 
sponded Tom ; "so lead away." 

" Were you acting in your capacity on the 
fourteenth of last February?" inquired the 
counsel. 

" I was ; and a splitting run we had," re- 
plied Tom. 

*'Was the defendant with you?" asked 
Mr. Sharp. 

" Mr. Powis Titley certainly was at cover," 
replied the old whipper-in. 

" Do you remember any particular occur- 
rence that took place on that day ?" inquired 
the barrister. 

" I should think I did," replied Mr. Bolton, 
looking hard at the judge, and winking his 
left eye. 

" Relate it," said the counsel, 

" I'd rather not," replied Tom. 



168 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

"But I insist, sir," rejoined Mr. Sharp. 
" You are bound to reply." 

" Well, if I must, I must !" rejoined Mr. 
Bolton. " But it's cruel to gaff a willing 
jade. Mr. Titley was well trounced for his 
ignorance, and it's too bad to repeat it. He 
was only fit to line a bandbox, but he's regular 
built leather now." 

'' No digression, sir. State the particu- 
lars," said the counsel. 

"The long and short of the matter is, 
then," replied Tom, "he tallyhoed a squirrel 
perched in a tree." 

" And what then ?" asked the barrister. 

" He was made sport of by the gentlemen 
o' the hunt," rejoined Mr. Bolton. 

After some other imimportant answers from 
the old whipper-in, he was asked if the de- 
fendant followed the hounds. 

" Against his will, if he did," replied Tom ; 
'^ but, as I don't carry eyes in my back, I 
didn't see." 

Nothing more could be extracted from Mr. 
Bolton. "He didn't know, and he didn't 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 169 

see," were the general replies to all the ques- 
tions put to him. In vain the junior counsel 
snapped like a dog at the reach of his chain ; in 
vain Sir Thomas Bluster took the witness from 
the inexperienced junior, and by every trick and 
manoeuvre tried to browbeat Mr. Bolton into 
giving a siipporting answer to the plaintiff's 
case. All was useless; and Tom was told 
** he might go down," by the enraged counsel, 
in the sort of voice that is used to dislodge 
an interloping cur. 

" I have nothing to cross-examine him 
upon, I think," observed Titley's sarcastic 
advocate. 

William was next placed in the box ; but, 
after some whispering between Sir Thomas 
and Piddylee, was told to "go down." 

" Call John Chawbacon," said Sir Thomas. 

" John Chawbacon !" echoed far and wide ; 
and, shortly after the summons, John Chaw- 
bacon made his appearance. 

" What is your occupation, Mr. Chaw- 
bacon?" inquired Sir Thomas, after the wit- 
ness had been sworn. 

VOL. II. I 



170 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEIVLVN. 

" Ize be 'orsekeeper an' ploughmun to Mas- 
ter Largins, zur," replied John. 

'' Very good," said the barrister. " Now 
think before you reply to my questions." 

The witness had been well drilled by Fid- 
dylee. For weeks he had repeated the same 
story, and the united talent of the English bar 
could not have varied a single word. It had 
been a task of great difficulty for John's brain 
to take possession of the instructed facts ; but, 
once in, nothing could effect an ejectment of 
them. 

" Was ploughing on the fourteenth of last 
February — remembered it, because it was St. 
Valentine's day — sent a valentine to his sweet- 
heart. Saw Squire Scourfield's hounds on 
that day. Saw the fox — ^knew it to be a fox, 
and not a donkey. Saw the dogs and hunts- 
men in pursuit. They made a great noise — 
liked a noise, and hallooed himself hoarse. 
All were dressed in scarlet, except one — that 
one was the defendant. None came over his 
master's land but defendant. Never saw any 
man so desperate before — rode at everything 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 171 

he came at — cleared two drains and a water- 
furrow. Saw him bear towards the pond, and 
flog his horse cruelly. Was sorry for the ani- 
mal, and glad to see the rider floored in the 
duck-pond. Believed it served him right. 
Never saw ducks, geese, and goslings, so 
frightened before. Believes some had fits, 
two died, and one never would take a swim 
again. Caught defendant's horse — took it to 
him — received half-a-crown for the job." 

" That's my case," said Sir Thomas, taking 
his seat. 

" You have said the ducks, geese, and gos- 
lings, were greatly alarmed," remarked Tit- 
ley's counsel, rising to cross-examine the wit- 
ness. 

" Every veather stood on end," replied 
John. 

'^ Pray, how do you know they were not 
drakes and ganders ?" asked the counsel. 

" How do I know you bean't an old wo- 
man ?" replied Mr. Chawbacon, sulkily. 

" You may go, friend Chawbacon," rejoined 
the barrister. 

I 2 



172 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

The counsel then commenced the defence. 
Long he dwelt upon the facts as they really 
took place, and much he regretted there was 
no evidence to support them. A man's in- 
tentions were often difficult to prove ; but 
still they were not always to be discredited, 
because they needed facts to bear them out. 
He assured the jury his unhappy client was 
as averse to a dip in the mud as they them- 
selves could possibly be, and was quite as 
frightened at finding himself in the duck-pond, 
as the ducks and geese were at being driven 
out of it. It was a pure accident that caused 
his immersion ; not any inclination of his own. 
He begged the jury to remember we were 
not at all times free agents. And, when we 
were not so, was it " seasoning mercy with 
justice" to hold us responsible for our actions ? 
They would say no. The defendant was a 
trespasser against his will, and was absolutely 
pitched into the present mess. He spoke 
figuratively, and was not alluding to the mire, 
but to the law, which was quite as capable of 
dirtying a man's fingers, and blackening his 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 173 

character. What man, referring to the simple 
fact, would volmitarily stick his head into the 
mud ! He believed there was not such an 
eccentric being living. Never in the course 
of his practice did he feel greater confidence 
that justice would be triumphant. He should 
not trespass upon the attention or time of the 
court any longer; but leave his case in the 
hands of the intelligent jury he had the ho- 
nour of addressing. 

His lordship summed up, and the jury found 
a verdict for the plaintiff, damages five hun- 
dred pounds. 



174 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTEE XXVI. 

LOVE AND ANGLING. 

" O, how this spring of love resembleth 
The uncertain glory of an April day. 

Which now shows all the beauty of the sun. 
And by and by a cloud takes all away !" 

Upon the flowerless ground the sun streamed 
his bright rays, and a soft wind fanned the face 
of Nature, as she woke from her w^inter's 
trance. The young gay morn broke over hill 
and dale with flashing beams ; the gurgling 
brook danced in the flood of light, and sparkled 
in its radiancy. There was a buoyancy in the 
air which lifted the spirit of life. It was the 
bursting of spring from ice-bearded w^inter's 
cold embrace ; the severing his last tie from 
the chilled earth. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEIVLVN. 175 

" I think no more about it," said Wilmott, 
to his friend Titley, as they wended their way 
from Woodland Kookery towards the Hall ; 
'' it's all settled now." 

*'The deuce it is!" replied Titley; *' my 
solicitors, Twist, Screw, and Ruinem, have a 
different opinion, I think." 

" Their opinions correspond with mine," 
rejoined Wilmott, " or I am much mis- 
taken." 

" How so ?" inquired Titley. 

" They received a blank cheque immediately 
after the trial, to defray the costs and da- 
mages," replied Wilmott. 

** Eeally, this should have been named to 
me first," rejoined his friend ; " I'm sincerely 
obliged to you ." 

" Stop, stop," interrupted Wilmott, " your 
thanks are not due to me." 

" To whom, then ?" inquired Titley. 

" To the squire," replied Wilmott ; " and, 
if you wish to please him, you'll express your 
obligations as briefly as possible." 

" But I cannot accept this," said Titley. 



176 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" IS^onsense," rejoined Wilmott ; " if you 
tell him so, he'll be greatly offended." 

When they approached the Hall, they saw 
the squire standing at the window of his 
sporting repository, fixing a reel upon a fish- 
ing-rod. The easement was open, and Kate 
was leaning with her clasped hands upon one 
of his shoulders, while Agnes occupied a si- 
milar position upon the other. Directly the 
squire saw his companions coming, he sung 
out — 

" Come away, come away to the stream. 
And we'll try the fisherman's skill, 

By hooking the jack and the bream 
In the pool at the side of the mill." 

'' Well done, squire !" said Wilmott; " you 
sing like a May- bird." 

" And feel like one this morning, my boy," 
replied the squire ; " here's delicious wea- 
ther." 

" Papa's wilder than a goshawk to-day," 
said Kate ; ''we can do nothing with him." 

"To be sure ye can't," replied the squire ; 
" they've been trying to take my rod from me, 
Wilmott, and playing all manner of tricks, the 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 177 

minxes; but I made them call peccavi, the 
rogues !" 

" Do you fish this morning ?" inquired 
Agnes of Titley. 

" I said I would," replied he ; " but, if you 
can bear with resignation ray society, I should 
prefer remaining here." 

'* I think we can do so," replied Agnes, 
smiling, *' can we not, cousin?" 

*' It will not be too much for our patience, 
I believe," replied Kate. 

'' Do as you like," said the squire ; "if you 
prefer stopping at home, do so. If not. Bum- 
stead and Striver have prepared your tackle." 

" His nerves have not become settled from 
the shock they received in court," observed 
Wilmott. 

" I'll not have another word spoken about 
that," said the squire ; *' let the subject pass 
as if it had never been." 

" But I must say something to you con- 
cerning it, squire," said Titley. 

" Not a syllable," replied the squire, waving 

1 5 



178 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

his hand ; " I'll not hear a word more of the 
affair ; so don't vex me by attempting it." 

'' Why stay there, gentlemen ?" asked 
Kate ; ** we have not forbidden your pre- 
sence." 

" Stop where you are, Wilmott," said the 
squire ; "or we shall not get away till noon." 

Bumstead, Striver, and Button now ap- 
peared ; the two former carrying landing-nets 
and baskets ; the latter bearing himself with 
dignity, close to the heels of his master. 

" All ready ?" asked the squire. 

'' Yes, sir," replied Peter, touching his 
hat. 

" Who's got the minnows, frogs, and mice?" 
inquired the squire. 

" I trapped them, sir," replied Striver ; 
" here they are," said he, pointing to the 
basket slung over his shoulder. 

" Here's your rod, Wilmott," said the 
squire, handing him one out of the window. 
" I'll be with you in a moment." 

" Mr. Titley is far more gallant than you 
are, Wilmott," said Kate, pouting. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 179 

" Nay," replied he; "I thought you deemed 
me perfection, in gallantry." 

'' JS'ot I, indeed," she rejoined. "You are 
too constantly occupied in sporting. Scarcely 
a morning do you pass with me, while Mr. 
Titley is as seldom from us." 

" Shall I sham a headache, and decline 
going with the squire ?" said Wilmott. 

'' Do," replied Kate, laughing ; '' it will be 
such fun." 

" iNTow then, Wilmott, come along," said 
the squire, emerging from the hall, armed for 
the piscatory sport. 

" Sudden indisposition, my dear sir," re- 
plied Wilmott, " prevents my accompanying 
you this morning." 

" What !" exclaimed the squire, amazed. 

" Sudden indisposition," rejoined Wilmott, 
putting his hand to his head ; " a pain here." 

" I see — yes, yes," rejoined the squire. 
" Well, well ! make yourselves happy. I shall 
be home at four. A pain here ! ha, ha, ha !" 

And off the squire started towards the 
river, followed by Peter, Striver, and Button. 



180 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Where did you see this fresh water 
shark ?" inquired the squire, as they walked 
along the hank of the stream. 

" In deep ripple hole, sir," replied Striver. 

" What do you think he weighs ?" asked 
the gamekeeper. 

" Twenty pounds, if an ounce. Don't he. 
Button ?" said Striver, with his usual appeal 
to the sagacious Button. 

" Why, you don't think the dog knows 
any thing about the weight of fish, do ye ?" 
inquired Peter. 

'' Better than many a Christian," replied 
the old trapper. 

For half a mile their way was on the verge 
of one of the most beautiful brooks in England. 
A double row of willows drooped their grace- 
ful branches upon its bosom, and mingled with 
the rapid stream as it swept murmuring along. 
Thick, yellow osier-beds reared their waving 
forms upon one side, as far as the eye could 
reach, while acres of tall rushes rustled in the 
breeze on the other. Here the heron would 
stand and watch for his finny prey ; the teal 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 181 

waddle among the hiding flags, and the moor- 
hen pick her slimy meal. It was the spot of 
all others for the wild denizens of the stream 
— a rude, uncultivated, solitary place. 

" He laid just there, this morning, sir," 
said Striver, pointing between two patches of 
green rushes. 

" Shall I try him with a frog ?" asked the 
squire. 

" A minnow would be best, I think," re- 
plied Peter. 

Striver produced the little pink from his 
store, and commenced baiting a hook with 
great ingenuity, while Button sat on his 
haunches to watch the proceedings. 

The squire examined his reel to see if it 
was free, and, when all was ready, he gathered 
the line into a neat coil, and made a cast across 
the stream. Slowly he drew it towards him, 
and when about the centre there was a sudden 
check to its course. In an instant the line 
flew through the rings, and the reel whir-r-rd 
round with great velocity. 

" He's got it," said Striver, rubbing his 
hands with delight. 



182 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLE^UN. 

" And a thumper he is," added Peter, 
watching the proceedings. 

Yard after yard of the twisted cord con- 
tinued to roll away, and the squire, full of 
excitement, clutched the bending rod with 
both hands as it yielded to the force. Much 
of the line was expended before the reel 
stopped, when the squire, inclining his rod, 
began to wind it up. Scarcely, however, had 
he given two or three turns, when again the 
fish started and whirled the reel round at its 
former rate. 

" He'll not be taken in a jiffy," observed 
Striver, " will he, Button ?" 

Button was too much occupied in the sport 
to pay any regard to the question. On the 
edge of the bank he stood, with pricked ears 
and stiffened tail, to observe the squire's gene- 
ralship in landing the pike. 

" He'll take away all the line, sir," said 
Peter. 

*' Not he," replied the squire. 

Again the fish stopped in his career. 

" He'll come much nearer this time, you'll 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 183 

see," said the squire, carefully winding up the 
reel. 

The line was becoming tight, and the squire 
had some little difficulty to gather it in, when, 
with a tremendous spring, the pike leaped 
several feet out of the water, and started off 
once more at astonishing speed. 

" That's a thirty pound fish," said the 
squire. " And if he's landed within half an 
hour it will be good work." 

" We shall get this under him," said Peter, 
holding out the landing-net, "before that time, 
sir." 

" I think not," rejoined the squire, "by 
his pranks." 

To and fro the fish was played by the scien- 
tific squire, who never appeared more flushed 
with pleasure. 

" I'll have you," said he. " You can't 
escape." 

" He's gorged the bait, sir," said Striver. 

*' I see he has," responded the squire ; "it's 
all right." 

" Shall I try and get the net under him 



181 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

now, sir ?" asked Peter, as the fish appeared 
withm reach. 

" ISTo," replied the squire ; " I'll manage it 
all myself. I've hooked him, and I'll land 
him." 

The struggles of the pike now became less 
violent. Occasionally he lay still upon the 
surface of the water, and permitted himself to 
be drawn quietly towards the shore ; then, 
with a sudden strike, down he dived, and 
lashed the water into a white foam. 

** He'll die game," observed Striver. 

" As a bull-dog," added Peter. 

" There's not much more run in him," said 
the squire. " Stand close to me with the 
pole." 

The fish was dragged once more to the top 
of the water, which he continued to dash with 
his fan into a thick spray. 

" He's not beaten yet, sir," said Peter. 

'' There's another stroke in him, I think," 
responded the squire. 

He was right in his conjecture. When 
within a few yards of the bank, the pike 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 185 

gave a jump, and darted away with the same 
vigour as at the moment he took the hook. 
But it was his last struggle. Presently, 
flapping his tail, the exhausted fish suffered 
himself to be drawn along ; and, when 
within reach, the squire took the landing- 
net from Peter, and placed it under his 
captive. 

" There," said he, with the gratification of 
a successful sportsman, " you're mine." 

Upon the bank the gaping pike was drawn, 
and exhibited a form of great dimensions. 

'' I'll bet a glass of ale," said Striver, " he's 
over thirty pounds." 

" Ah !" exclaimed the squire, " you may 
say five over." 

" It was more than half an hour's work, 
sir," observed Striver, looking at his round 
silver watch. 

'' How much more ?" asked Peter. 

" Pive minutes," replied Striver. 

" And quick work too, for such a fish," 
added the squire. 

Peter lifted the fish, and, leaving it in the 



186 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

net, hoisted it upon his back. Striver as- 
sisted the squire in arranging the tackle; 
and, at the conclusion, the party took their 
way towards home. 

" Have you seen any more otter seals ?" 
asked the squire, looking at a mud-bank. 

" No, sir, thank God," replied the old 
trapper. 

When the squire departed upon his fishing 
excursion, Titley and Agnes strolled through 
the pleasure-grounds, leaving Kate and Wil- 
mott in the breakfast room. As they pro- 
ceeded, Titley became thoughtful and silent ; 
and Agnes, in a playful manner, questioned 
him about the cause of his moody muteness. 
For some time he evaded giving a reply, but 
at length said — . 

" I think it right you should know, al- 
though you'll laugh at me." 

" If my spirits were not unusually good 
this morning," replied Agnes, '' I would pro- 
mise to abstain from such an indulgence ; 
but, as they are, you must bear with me." 

" I am sure you will give me credit for 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 187 

believing," rejoined he, seriously, '* that I 
could scarcely mistake another living person 
for yourself." 

" I know of nothing to prevent my en- 
tertaining such a belief," said Agnes. 

" And yet," Titley hesitated, " on the night 
of our arrival in London I saw some one in 
our hotel so strongly resembling you, that the 
impression really haunts me. I cannot but 
think of it." 

" Indeed !" exclaimed Agnes, with feigned 
surprise ; but her voice faltered, and she bent 
her face towards the ground. 

^N^othing more was said for a few moments, 
and Titley was more puzzled than ever at 
the manner of Agnes receiving his commu- 
nication. Instead of treating it with ridicule, 
as he expected, she seemed confused and 
grave. 

" It's very strange," observed he, com- 
muning with himself. 

'^ What's very strange ?" said Agnes, re- 
covering her self-possession. 



188 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

'' That I should have been so deceived," he 
replied, " for I must have been, of course." 

'' Do you wish me to say that I followed 
you to your hotel ?" asked Agnes, forcing a 
smile upon her features. 

" No," replied he, " if you did not." 

" If r rejoined Agnes. 

There was a frown upon her brow, and her 
eyes flashed with indignation as she uttered 
this. Titley felt awkward, and replied that 
the deception was so great, he had since 
thought, and could think of nothing else. 

" Then pray make the attempt," responded 
Agnes, " for I'm certain you can be far more 
agreeably employed." 

" We'll dismiss the subject then," said 
Titley ; " but I never was so mistaken. It 
appeared to me that I saw you as clearly as 
I do now." 

" And did you think seriously I was there?" 
inquired Agnes. 

" IN'o," replied he, " I did not. But we 
met, by accident, in Hyde Park, a person 
with whom I am slightly acquainted ; and 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 189 

, but no matter; there's no occasion to 

explain." 

" But I think there is," said Agnes. 

" To do so will only add to the absurdity," 
responded Titley. 

" Well," rejoined Agnes, " if you fear to 
state the particulars of this dream, I must 
excuse you. But no more of these illusions, 
remember." 

" Forgive my folly," said Titley ; " I'll not 
trouble you or myself with them again." 

Through the bright, green laurels they 
walked, and the sun began to decline before 
their steps were bent homeward. As they 
passed from the shade of an old, thick 
holly-bush, they saw the squire approach, with 
his trophy of success. 

" Come here, Titley," hallooed he. " Ah ! 
you should have seen the sport I had with 
that fellow," said the squire, pointing to the 
pike suspended in the net. 

'^ What a monster !" exclaimed Agnes. 

" He must have given you some trouble," 
observed Titley. 



190 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Trouble ! " repeated the squire ; " some 
of the best fun I ever had in my life. By 
Jupiter, he pulled like an ox." 

** Weighs five an' thirty pounds, ma'am," 
said Striver. " Don't he. Button ?" 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 191 



CHAPTER XXVIl. 

BRIGHTENING PROSPECTS — A RUN WITH THE 
ROYAL HOUNDS. 

'' True hope is swift, and flies with eagle's wings ; 
Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings." 

*' And all will be explained, Anstruther," 
said Charles Scourfield, to a sallow-com- 
plexioned, tall, and thin young man, with 
straight, black hair hanging in heavy masses 
over his ears. 

^* I've no doubt of it," was the reply, in a 
languid voice. " If I had not been so con- 
foundedly croaky, nothing should have in- 
duced me to have left before the court-martial 
was over. But " 

Here a short, dry cough interrupted the 
speaker. 



192 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Charles sat at the head of a sofa, placed 
before a fierce fire ; upon the sofa reclined his 
companion. The apartment was small, and 
very hot ; but the invalid shivered occasion- 
ally, and complained of cold. 

" You had better resolve to start for 
London immediately," said Charles. " There's 
not a doctor to be trusted in Portsmouth." 

" With this bilious fit I dare not attempt 
the journey," responded his companion. '""But 
in a day or two I shall be better." 

"How did the voyage suit you ?" inquired 
Charles. 

" The thought of it is enough to destroy 
me," replied Anstruther. " I did nothing 
but wish myself dead, from the hour of 
sailing until I landed." 

"But you're better now?" rejoined 
Charles. 

" IS^ot much," said his companion. 

" The pure air of England will soon restore 
you," added Charles. 

" Perhaps so," responded Anstruther ; " but 
Pm so shaken that I almost despair of it." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 193 

*' Never despair," said Charles. " Ke- 
member the ordeal I have passed." 

" Ay," replied his companion, with a 
melancholy shake of his head, *'you have 
iron nerves, and spirits of cork. But I was 
always a poor subject for a vertical sun to 
dart his rays upon, and to bear the knocks 
and rubs of wayward Fortune." 

" We frequently fear the shadow more 
than the substance," rejoined Charles. " I 
have endeavoured to shrink from neither, 
and have generally found reality has not a 
tenth of the real trouble which anticipation 
pictures." 

'' You are right," said Anstruther. " In 
ninety nine cases out of a hundred this is 
so. Still there are exceptions ; and I am 
one." 

" Nonsense !" said Charles. " But come, 
don't let us talk of troubles. JSTot three 
days ashore in Old England, after ten years' 
absence, there should not be a thought but 
of pleasure and happiness." 

" And there shall not be to-night," re- 

VOL. II. K 



194 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

sponded his companion, energetically spring- 
ing from his recumbent attitude. " No ! 
Charles ! I brought you glorious intelligence, 
and to-night I'll forget my own sorrows to 
be happy with you." 

"Well said," added Charles. "I feel 
satisfied your health will be restored within a 
few months ; so let's tell old tales, and forget 
our cares." 

" With all my soul," responded his com- 
panion. " We'll have a jug of burnt claret, 
and smoke like Turks. But no hazard, eh ?" 

" Not a throw," said Charles, firmly. '' I 
told you of my promise ; and, by Heaven, I'll 
keep it !" 

" Do, my dear fellow," added Anstruther ; 
"and I'll try to imitate your excellent 
example ; although a little ' chicken' is very 
tempting." 

" And very ruinous," said Charles. " If I 
had not given way to its influence how many 
trials should I have escaped !" 

" It was a villanous conspiracy, and not 
the play, which distressed you. Kemember," 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 195 

said his companion, "all injuries should be 
traced to their legitimate sources, and not 
thrown upon extraneous ones." 

" Still, I must trace all my troubles to the 
dice," replied Charles. " If I had not 
gambled, the heartless scheme could not have 
been practised." 

*' Some other might, equally shameful," 
rejoined his companion : " and, perchance, 
one that would not have been discovered as 
this must, and is by this time." 

" Thank God !" exclaimed Charles, clasp- 
ing his hands fervently. " I thought — I 
k7iew it would ! Against the cold dictates 
of probability, I felt that truth must burst 
through the clinging cerements of artifice and 
baseness." 

" Shall you inform your friends now of the 
circumstances ?" inquired Anstruther. 

" No," replied Charles ; " I shall wait until 
I hear the result of the trial. Then," said 
he, seizing his companion's hand, " we'll go to 
the old Hall together, and make the roof ring 
again. How I wish to meet them !" 

K 2 



196 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

**I see no reason for your keeping aloof 
now," rejoined Anstruther. " I can bear 
testimony " 

"Yes, yes," interrupted Charles; *'but I 
have decided to remain as I am until every 
thing is clear and settled." 

" You'll inform your excellent sister of the 
events that have transpired," said his friend. 

" Not exactly," replied Charles. " I shall 
state to her the certainty of an early consum- 
mation of my hopes ; but not the circumstances 
in detail." 

" Why not ?" asked Anstruther. 

" Because she would not be able to conceal 
her delight," responded Charles. " And I 
am determined to have the affair maintained 
as it has been, till the proper hour arrives for 
disclosing it." 

" As that cannot be long, perhaps you are 
right," rejoined his companion. " But I 
should be so anxious to join them at the ' old 
house at home,' that I should not act wit]i 
such caution." 

" Shall I ring the bell ?" inquired Charles. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 197 

" Yes," replied his friend. " We'U make 
ourselves comfortable, if my cough will 
permit." 

A brisk little waiter, with a napkin under 
his left arm, answered the summons. 

" A jug of burnt claret," said Anstruther. 

" Yessir," answered the waiter. 

" Let it be well spiced," added Charles. 

" Yessir." 

" And bring some good cigars." 

*' Yessir." 

" I wonder if any of those bipeds can say 
no ?" observed Anstruther, as the waiter closed 
the door. 

" It 's a rare occurrence to hear," said 
Charles. 

" I'll ask him, when he returns," added 
Anstruther, " to express a negative." 

When the waiter brought in the jug of 
smoking claret, Anstruther said to him, seri- 
ously, " Pray did you ever say ' no ' in the 
course of your life ? " 

" Yessir," replied the waiter. 

" Then you can say * no ? ' " 



198 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

'' Yessir." 

" Will you oblige me by saying * no ?' " 
asked Anstruther. 

" Yessir," again replied the waiter. 

'' Then do so," said Charles. 

" Yessir," still persisted the waiter ; and 
he was dismissed without expressing a nega- 
tive, amidst the loud mirth of his interrogators. 

" We have discussed the Indian news," said 
Charles, offering a cigar to his friend ; " and 
I've told you all that has occurred since my 
arrival. What shall we do for amusement ?" 

" Spin a yarn," replied Anstruther, pledg- 
ing his friend in a bumper. 

" I'm the worst in the world for that, as 
you know," replied Charles; "and you are 
among the best when your spirits and health 
will let you. Will you try one now ? " 

" Why, this wine has revived me," replied 
his companion ; " and I think my cough will 
not offer any great interruption." 

" Then give me one of your sporting pranks," 
added Charles. 

" With all my heart," responded Anstru- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 199 

ther. *' Draw near, so that I may not be 
obliged to speak too loud." 

Charles placed a chair close to his compa- 
nion, who, knocking the ashes from his cigar, 
commenced the following adventure, premising 
that it was a simple relation of what he had 
witnessed with his own eyes > — 

" It was about a year previous to my going 
abroad, that I went to the inn at Salt Hill, 
one cold and dreary night, early in March, 
The host received me with a profusion of 
smiles and bows, holding the stirrup while I 
dismounted, and offering to see my horse 
attended to, whilst I obtained those consoli- 
tary indispensables — refreshments. But a 
sportsman's maxim being to attend to the 
wants of his horse ere he thinks of himself, I 
declined the offer, and proceeded to the stable 
with my favourite. 

" ' A likely hanimal, this 'oss, sir,' said the 
little bandy-legged ostler. 

" ' Yes,' replied I ; ' there never was a 
better ; the rasper cannot be too great, or the 
run too long.' 



^00 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" ' So I'd a hidea, from his shape an' make, 
sir,' rejoined he ; * bit of a warmint, tho', I 
suspect.' 

" ' High-couraged ; but an excellent tem- 
per,' said I. 

" ' Them's my pips ! ' exclaimed the ostler. 
' Nothing like blood an' bone, from the king 
to the 'oss, sir.' 

" ' The meet will be great to-morrow,' I 
observed. ' Have you any gentlemen sleeping 
here ? ' 

" ' Only one, sir. Our stables, however, 
are full o' 'osses, and, taking the lump, I never 
seed greater clippers. But,' added he, laugh- 
ing, ' I suspect some on 'em '11 shake their 
tails afore to-morrow at this time; for old 
Eipley 's to be turned out, I hear.' 

" ' Indeed ! ' said I. 

" * Yes,' responded my loquacious friend. 
' That 'oss next to yourn,' continued he, * be- 
longs to the gen'l'man wot's sleeping here. 
A wery spicy kid he is, and no mistake.' 

" I looked at the animal, and, to my de- 
light, saw it was my friend McDonald's pic- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 201 

ture of a horse. He was a superb creature ; 
his blood as pure as that of the Ptolemies, 
and his silky coat black and shining as po- 
lished jet. His limbs were perfect symmetry, 
shaped in Nature's faultless mould. 

" ' That's the only horse coveted by me in 
preference to my own,' I observed ; * and 
still, I think, Whitefoot here can do as much 
across a stiff country.' 

" ' A uncommon good match they'd be, by 
what I can judge, sir,' responded the ostler. 

* Howsomdever,' said he, addressing the horse, 

* you're done up for this night, my fine feller, 
and, if I don't mistake, you'll be done up 
to-morrow night.' 

" On proceeding to the house, I found 
McDonald, sprawled upon a couple of chairs 
before a roasting fire, joking with a pretty, 
smart chambermaid, who was holding a candle 
and warming-pan. As soon as he saw me, he 
sprang up, and, seizing my hand, said, ' My 
dear Anstruther, how are you? I was just 
going to my dormitory, for I had nobody to 
talk with except Susan here, who began to 

k5 



202 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

get tired. Susan, my dear, take away that 
candle and sheet- warmer ; we intend being 
very comfortable previous to availing ourselves 
of your kindness. Now, my boy, for the 
feast of reason and the flow of soul.' " 

"After discussing some excellent viands, and 
due quantities of foaming ale, we commenced 
relating anecdotes and adventures over a bowl 
of capacious dimensions, containing a fluid 
composed of extreme opposites — sweets and 
sours, strong waters, and waters unadulte- 
rated ; in other words — glorious punch ; bet- 
ter, I swear, than that undefined compound 
— ambrosial nectar; only it was not ladled 
out by that queen of ladlers, the evergreen 
Hebe. 

" I told you, proceeded M'Donald, that 
I am to be married this day week. Well — 
just before the adventure* I am going to relate 
/ to you, I made Ellen a solemn promise — a 
loijer's promise, remember ; a thing of the 
pie-crust order — made to be broken — that I 
would never hunt any more. But, on the 

♦ The details of this adventure are literally true. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEIHAN. 203 

occasion in question, I had set my heart on a 
run. What was to be done? To state my 
wish to Ellen in direct terms was out of the 
question ; so I took a lesson out of Eeynard's 
own book, and proceeded by stratagem. 
* Ellen,' said I, ' you must persuade your 
father to take you to the hunt on Thurs- 
day.' 

" * Papa has already offered to do so,' she 
replied ; ' but I shall not go unless you accom- 
pany us.' 

" ' Nothing would give me so much plea- 
sure,' I rejoined; 'but promising you never 
to hunt again, of course, it is impossible.' 

" ' But you can ride with us and see it,' 
she added. 

" * Eide in the carriage and see it ! ' I 
exclaimed ; ' it would break my heart ; and,' 
said I, in an under tone, just sufficient for her 
to hear, ' it will almost do so if I keep away.' 

" God bless her ! If you could have seen 
her at that moment ; she looked so beautifully 
unhappy. I felt such a rascal. Her large 
blue eyes filled with tears ; but — Heaven for- 



204 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

give me ! — I weighed to-morrow's sport against 

her tears, and they were found wanting. 
" ' You wish to ride,' she said, ' do you ?' 
" I gave her a kiss, and wdiispered, ' If you 

will consent this once, it really shall be my 

last hunt.' 

' Morning is beautiful everywhere.' 

** I awoke about six. The glorious orb of 
day was just tinging the sky with varied and 
glowing hues. The refreshing tears of morn- 
ing sparkled brilliantly upon Flora's lap. The 
birds were singing joyously their matin thanks- 
givings, setting a worthy example to beings of 
a larger growth. In plainer language, it was 
a very fine morning. 

" Upwards of fifty noble horses were being 
paraded in their hoods and clothes round a 
paddock in front of my window. My horse 
was among the number; and, as he proudly 
arched his neck, and disdained to touch the 
earth with his daisy trimmers, I determined 
he should this day win a wreath, by putting 
his best leg foremost. 

" Carriages, tandems, buggies, gigs, dog- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 205 

carts, donkey-carts, every description of ve- 
hicle, from the ancient and dilapidated to the 
most dashing four-in-hand, now came rattling 
to the door. 

" Here he comes, here he comes !" shouted 
the assembled crowd. 

" Five or six hundred yards from the inn, 
a beautiful carriage, with four horses, ap- 
proached. The harness was ornamented with 
silver coronets, which glittered in the sun; 
and, as if conscious of their attractive appear- 
ance, the high-blooded animals lifted their feet 
nearly to their chests as they came tearing 
along. It was the arrival of the master of 
the hounds and his friends, consisting of young 
and sporting noblemen. 

" Preparations were now made for the sport. 
Some were mounting, others were dismounting 
against their inclinations ; and, as a new dis- 
ciple of IS^imrod found himself biting the dust, 
loud laughed the merry crowd, much to the 
discomforture of the fallen hero. 

" M'Donald was talking to some ladies in 
a carriage, when his horse plunged forward, 



206 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

and, from some fright, became very restive. 
He reared upon his haunches, whirled round 
and round, snorted with distended nostrils, 
and his eyeballs seemed to dart forth fire. At 
every plunge he approached the carriage again, 
where the ladies were sitting speechless with 
terror. The gallant rider appeared glued to 
the saddle, and used every exertion to prevent 
nearing the spot where the ladies were. The 
horse's fury increased, and, when within a few 
feet of the carriage, finding no other means 
left, McDonald plunged the rowels deep into 
his flanks, and, lunging him with all his power, 
hurled the excited creature to the ground. 

*' One of the ladies screamed, ' He's killed, 
he's killed !' and sank fainting upon the seat 
of the carriage. 

" But McDonald, to the astonishment of all 
who witnessed the accident, was not in the 
slightest degree injured; and, disengaging 
himself from the stirrups, he struck the pros- 
trate horse, and, making him rise, mounted 
again, as if nothing had occurred, amid innu- 
merable cheers and compliments. He pro- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 207 

ceeded to the carriage, where I joined him, 
and found the lady who had fainted, a young 
and lovely girl, just recovering from her fright. 
The dazzling brilliancy of her eyes was most 
striking, increased, no doubt, by the excite- 
ment she had undergone. Her lips were 
white with fear, and, although suffering from 
intense emotion, a more beautiful creature I 
never saw. 

"'Ellen,' said McDonald, "don't be so 
alarmed, I am not injured. Come, come, let 
me introduce my friend to you.' 

"As I bowed, and saw the unshed drops 
swimming in her eyes, I thought the pleasure 
of a day's hunting ought not to be purchased 
at the price of such tears. 

" ' Pray,' she said, addressing me, ' prevail 
upon him not to ride that mad wretch, for I, 
apparently, have no influence. Oh, do not !' 
she exclaimed, clasping her hands beseech- 
ingly, ' pray do not, Donald.' 

" ' Ellen, do not be so childish. You gave 
me your consent to ride, and, because the Car- 
dinal had a caper, you now wish me to look 



208 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

ike a man-milliner, and get into that bandbox 
of a carriage. A pretty exhibition I should 
make,' replied M'Donald, somewhat irritated. 

" ' Do as you please, Donald,' she rejoined. 
' But really you make me most unhappy.' 

" He then went close to her, and, leaning 
upon the side of the carriage, whispered some- 
thing, which in a moment made the anxious 
girl appear consoled and happy. Her fea- 
tures beamed with sunny smiles, and all re- 
mains of tears were at once dispelled. 

" I entertained little doubt but that it was 
a promise not to proceed, but merely start 
with the hounds, for the sake of appearance. 
This, however, was only surmise. 

" Lord , with his gold dog couples slung 

across his shoulders, the badge of master to 
his majesty's buck-hounds, gave the signal for 
the sport to commence. At least five hundred 
gentlemen, dressed in scarlet, and mounted on 
the finest horses, lined the road to where the 
deer-cart was stationed, in the centre of a 
spacious grass field. Numerous carriages and 
crowds of pedestrians surrounded it. At 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 209 

some short distance, the royal hounds were 
placed, with the huntsman and whippers-in, 
splendidly accoutred in scarlet and gold. 

" Expectation being raised to the highest, 
the word was given for the deer-cart to be 
unfastened. Open flew the door, and out leaped 
the noble stag. He paused for a moment, 
and stared at the surrounding multitude; then, 
turning slowly his erect head, he sniffed the 
wind, and, stretching out his pliant limbs, 
bounded off like a winged arrow from a yew 
bow. Aw^ay he scudded, topping wall, brook, 
and hedge, without brushing the tallest twig. 

" I lingered near where McDonald's devoted 
Ellen sat, and, as he was leaving the side of 
the carriage, I saw her give him a searching 
look. 

'' ' Heaven preserve you, Donald ! ' she 
said. ' Eemember your promise.' But he 
could scarcely have heard what she uttered ; 
for, the moment his horse felt that he was to 
move, he bounded in the air like an antelope, 
anticipating the enjoyment he was about to 
have. 



210 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLE^L^. 

" ' Hold hard, gentlemen, ' shouted the 
huntsman. * Plenty of time ; let 'em get 
at it.' 

" In a few seconds on swept the deep-toned, 
musical pack, realising Somerville's beautiful 
description : — 

*' * Hark ! from yon covert, where those towering oaks 

Above the humble copse aspiring rise. 

What glorious triumphs burst in every gale 

Upon our ravished ears ! The hunters shout. 

The clanging horns swell their sweet, winding notes. 

The pack wide opening load the trembling air 

With various melody ; from tree to tree 

The propagated cry redoubling bounds. 

And winged zephyrs waft the floating joy 

Through all the regions near. 

The puzzling pack unravel, wile by wile. 

Maze within maze.' 

" My horse required, as usual, coaxing and 
caressing to be persuaded to remain behind the 
majority; for, believing the run would be 
great, I endeavoured to curb his impetuosity 
as much as possible. But the numbers sweep- 
ing past caused him to pull and fret, until the 
perspiration trickled in streams from his glassy 
coat, and the soaked reins slipped through my 
fingers as I fruitlessly pulled upon him. On 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 211 

he was determined to go at his own pace, and 
on he rushed. Losing all control over him, the 
mad but noble creature carried me with the 
swiftness of an untrapped pigeon. Over des- 
perate and unnecessary leaps he whirled me, 
proud of his prowess, and reckless of conse- 
quences. At length I soothed him with my 
voice, but not sufficiently to guide him. A 
railed fence was within a few yards of us, to 
which he was making a direct course. The 
speed at which he was going was alone suffi- 
cient to render it impossible for him to clear 
it. As we neared, however, I gave him his 
head, and, striking my spurs deep into his 
sides, he bounded from the earth, and pitched 
me head foremost to the ground. 

" Heaven only knows how far I was sent ; 
but it appeared to me I should never reach 
the ground. Millions of stars flashed in my 
eyes, as I rose on my knees to discover the 
damages. Blood was flowing, which, upon 
examination, proved to proceed from the pro- 
minent feature of my face. I got up from 
the ground, and found my horse standing un- 



212 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

injured, gazing stedfastly in the direction of 
the hounds ; his sleek ears were pricked for- 
ward, and large drops of sweat rolled from his 
body, and from his fetlocks a clear stream 
trickled to the earth. I examined my limbs, 
and, finding them whole and sound, with the 
exception of some slight contusions, I again 
mounted. Not a horseman in sight ; not a 
sound to be heard. I listened and strained 
my ears to catch a sound that might lead me 
in the direction of the chace ; but all had 
gone far, far away. 

" After sitting for a few minutes in my 
saddle, I prepared to return, thinking my 
pleasure was at an end. While slowly pro- 
ceeding down a lane, I caught a distant cry, 
and felt assured it was the deep -toned note of 
the baying hound. I galloped in the direc- 
tion of it, and, clearing a thickset hoUybush 
fence, I saw the object of pursuit, the antlered 
stag, flying along the bank of the Thames. 
I halted, and watched him. He stopped at 
intervals, and seemed undetermined what 
course to take to baffle his relentless pur- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 213 

suers. At length he drew back from the verge 
of the stream, and rushed towards it ; then, 
suddenly stopping upon the brink, he turned 
his head in a listening posture. 

" The hounds could now be heard distinctly 
approaching, when, gently gliding into the 
water, with his head thrown back, he buffeted 
the rapid stream, and, landing on the opposite 
side, he continued his rapid flight. The hounds 
came to the spot where the stag took the wa- 
ter, and were at fault, not discovering imme- 
diately what course he had taken. I was not 
anxious they should find it out very soon, feel- 
ing the eJSect of my tumble still ringing in my 
ears. 

'' The flower of the field now arrived ; all 
the cocktails were shaken off, and the select 
few left in their glory alone. In a handful 
of moments, the leader, a gallant old hound, 
placed his nostrils to the water's edge, and 
gave one deep, beautiful cry, as much as to 
say, ' this way, my friends,' when all obeyed 
the mandate by springing into the river, and 
following the track of their victim. But, if 



214 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

the dogs were so willing and ready to wet 
their coats, the sportsmen were not. 

*' * What shall we do ?' inquired a gentle- 
man in a bright and spotless pink coat. 
" ' There's not a bridge for seven miles.' 

" I took my horse quietly to the edge of 
the bank, and, giving him a pat on the neck, 
set the example of the quickest mode of cross- 
ing the water, by going into it. After a little 
difficulty in reaching the other side, I jumped 
from his back, and, scrambling up the bank, 
safely landed. My horse placed his fore-feet 
on the side, and sprung out with a loud neigh, 
much pleased at regaining the shore. 

" M'Donald now approached on the Car- 
dinal, covered with white foam. Without 
hesitation he urged his horse to take the wa- 
ter; but, to the evident annoyance of his 
master, he unequivocally declined a swim. 
Whip and spur were applied with the effect of 
creating only a few decided kicks and plunges. 
M'Donald became enraged at his refusing, and 
began to apply the tormentors without mercy, 
but all to no purpose. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 215 

" finding force of no avail, he determined 
upon stratagem. Dismounting, he tied his 
pocket-handkerchief over the horse's eyes, and, 
taking him thus blinded about thirty yards 
from the river, drove him towards it at full 
speed. Over the bank they fell with such 
force, that both sunk in an instant, and re- 
mained under water for some time. When 
they came up, the horse commenced plunging 
violently, and M'Donald endeavoured to reach 
over his head to take off the handkerchief ; 
but from the maddened creature's struggles, 
he could not accomplish it. At length, McDo- 
nald rose in his stirrups, and, stretching out 
as far as possible, almost effected his object, 
when, losing his balance, he fell over the 
horse's head, taking the reins with him. From 
some unaccountable misfortune these became 
entangled round his body, and prevented his 
disengaging himself from the blind and strug- 
gling animal. The horse, infuriated with fear, 
raised himself out of the water as far as pos- 
sible, and with short jumps dragged his ill- 
fated master with him. Both hurried along 



216 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

with the rapid current, while every exertion 
was being used to render assistance. The 
horse rolled from one side to the other, snorted 
and plunged ; till at last, worn out with vio- 
lent and useless exertion, he buried his head 
between his knees, and both sank, leaving but a 
few air-bubbles to rise and burst, where, but 
a moment before, one loving and beloved, in 
the exuberance of manhood's strength and 
beauty, gasped for life thoughtlessly sacrificed. 
" I galloped to the nearest cottage for as- 
sistance. The frightened cottager followed 
me with ropes, with all possible speed. When 
we arrived at the river, upon the edge lay the 
lifeless body of M'Donald. His pale and 
ashy countenance was turned upwards, upon 
which the beams of the sun glowed faintly. 
By some means he had been taken from the 
water, and a vein had been opened. But alas .! 
the heart refused its functions ; the blood re- 
fused to flow. I thought of Ellen, the beau- 
tiful, heart-broken Ellen ; and (shall I confess 
it !) tears came to my relief. Others around 
followed my example; and there might be 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 217 

seen the rough hunter brushing the tear of 
sincere sorrow from his cheek, for the fate of 
the gallant McDonald." 



"Is this adventure unimbellished ?" in- 
quired Charles. 

" A plain truth, unvarnished with fiction," 
replied Anstruther. 

"What became of Ellen?" said Charles; 
" how did she receive the direful intelligence ?" 

" I heard," replied his companion, " that 
she never spoke afterwards, and never shed a 
tear. The morning following the death of her 
lover, she was found gazing at his miniature ; 
at least they thought she was ; but the eyes 
were dim and sightless. She was dead ; her 
heart had withered, like a beauteous flower, 
blasted by lightning. p.^^t^ ^> ^ ^ J~. 



VOL. II, 



218 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

THE WIDOW BEWITCHED. 

" Love's heralds should be thoughts. 
Which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams. 
Driving back shadows over low'ring hills : 
Therefore do nimble-pinion'd doves draw love. 
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings." 

The two chimney-corners of Mrs. Tiggle's 
apartment, which served for " a kitchen, a 
parlour, and all," were occupied respectively 
by her hopeful son Jack, and his friend Peter 
Bumstead, the surly. The former was engaged 
in twisting some waxed thread about the 
bleached bone of a chicken, yclept the '' merry 
thought," to construct, for his own special 
amusement and edification, an instrument 
known as a " skip jack." The latter sat with 
his hands crossed upon his knees, and looked 
vacantly upon the industrious fingers of his 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 219 

companion. A thoughtful cloud hung low- 
eringly upon the gamekeeper's brow, and a 
continued restless movement of his hobnailed 
boots upon the snow-white hearth showed 
that Peter's feelings were not of the tranquil 
order. Xow and then he cast an oblique 
glance at Mrs. Tiggle, who, with extraordi- 
nary care, was crimping the bosom-ruffle of 
his favourite shirt. The good dame's red, 
round, healthy face glowed with unusual radi- 
ancy. Upon her lips a smile of triumph played, 
and, as she knew that Peter's impassioned 
gaze was bent upon her, a gentle sigh heaved 
from her capacious but tender bosom, and 
Mrs. Tiggle softly murmured that " she felt 
she didn't know how." 

" I can't stand it no longer," ejaculated 
Peter, suddenly rising from his chair, and as- 
suming an attitude worthy of Demosthenes 
himself, " I can't stand it no longer," he re- 
peated, " or I shall bust." 

" What !" exclaimed Jack. 

" Bust," replied Peter, firmly, bringing his 
heavy fist with a crash upon the trembling table. 

L 2 



220 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Mr. Bumstead," said Mrs. Tiggle, in a 
faint voice, *'you put me all in a twitter." 

"And me in a devil of a shake," added 
Jack, afraid he was ahout receiving payment 
for an old score; "pray what have I done 
now ?" inquired he. 

"'Nothing, my dear John," replied Peter, 
in such an affectionate tone that it even startled 
himself. 

" jN^othing, my dear John," repeated Jack, 
with his mouth wide open, and his eyes 
stretched to the utmost limit of their capaci- 
ties. He had never before been so addressed 
by Mr. Bumstead ; and the change alarmed 
him. 

" ISTo," continued Peter, " and, if you had, 
I wouldn't lick ye now ; not for your mother's 
sake." 

Jack was confounded. He looked at Mr. 
Bumstead for an explanation of this sudden 
change which had come over the spirit of his 
actions, and a slight conception bubbled in 
Jack's cerebrum that the gamekeeper's brain 
was not entirely free from the thick fumes of 
strong ale. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 221 

Mrs. Tiggle folded the finished shirt, and 
sighed again. 

" Ah !" responded Peter. He tried to imi- 
tate the sound; but the attempt was more 
like the grunt of a discontented pig, than the 
echo from a lone- worn heart. 

A pause ensued. Jack still continued to 
wonder, and was about interrogating for the 
cause of all these startling effects, when, after 
some unsuccessful attempts, Peter's courage 
became screwed to the speaking point. 

" How would you relish a father, my dear 
John ? " inquired he, taking the labour-har- 
dened hands of Mrs. Tiggle between his own, 
and blushing the colour of a scraped mangel- 
wurzle root. 

" I don't want no fathers," replied Jack, 
gloomily, a sudden light breaking through the 
misty mystery. " Pve had one, haven't I ? 
No one wants two on 'em, I suppose," conti 
nued he. 

" The nestling hand of a parent," said Pe- 
ter, " is " 

" Any thing but a light un," interrupted 
Jack, tapping his shoulders significantly. 



222 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLE]VL^. 

" But I wasn't a parent on them occasions/' 
argued Peter. 

" That's a fact," observed Jack. 

** Nor you a son," said Mr. Bumstead. 

" Very true," added Jack ; *' particularly 
when I soused you at the otter-hunt." 

" Ah, you playful rogue ! " replied Peter, 
lifting his foot, and inflicting the slightest 
possible kick upon Master Tiggle's extreme 
rear. 

*' Well, mother," observed Jack, " what 
do you say to giving me another father ?" 

" Sat/ /" exclaimed Peter, placing one arm 
round the portly waist of the widow, and fold- 
ing the other to his bosom. " Would she break 
her Bumstead's heart ! would she skin his 
tender soul, and tree it like a trapped tom- 
cat ! would she collar a doe hare in April, and 
strangle her like a blind mongrel pup ! would 
she gaff a spawning salmon ! would she foot a 
pheasant's nest ! would she " 

" No, no, no," interrupted Mrs. Tiggle, 
bathed in melting tears, and hiding her mois- 
tened cheeks in her Bumstead's waistcoat. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 223 

*' I knew it, my cooing wooddove," re- 
joined the victorious Peter, snatching a kiss 
from the willing Mrs. Tiggle's lips. " Cru- 
elty, thy name ain't woman," poetically re- 
marked the excited Bumstead, concluding the 
chaste salute. 

*' So I am to have another dad, am I ! " 
said Jack. '' It's a wise child, I've heard, as 
knows his own father," continued he. " But, 
when a chap has a couple on 'em to pick from, 
that doubles the odds." 

" Shake hands with your parent that is to 
be," said Mr. Bumstead in an uncertain voice. 
Something appeared to have risen suddenly in 
his throat ; he was becoming visibly affected 
with the solemnity of the occasion. 

" Honour him," observed Mrs. Tiggle, with 
an admonitory shake of her head, and pointed 
finger, '' that your days may be long in the 
land " 

"• My governor ploughed, and mother 
gleaned in," said Jack, cutting short his es- 
teemed parent's lecture. " So tip us your 
fin, dad the second." 



224 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

The first friendly grasp was exchanged by 
the mercurial Jack and his intended father-in- 
law. 

" Wonders will never cease," said the for- 
mer, withdrawing his tingling fingers from 
Peter's clutch. " Who 'd have thought we 
should have shaken paws a few days since ?" 

" A christian would," replied Mrs. Tiggle. 
*' Ah, Jack ! you should pay more regard to 
what the parson says. Doesn't he tell us when 
we are smited on one cheek, we should offer 
the other to be smoted ?" 

"In course he does," coincided Peter; 
" in course he does." 

" Then why don't you make a profit by what 
he says, Mr. Bumstead ?" asked Jack. " I'm 
a-thinkin' you never coaxed me to stick a 
quill in your left calf, after I'd shoved one 
into the right, eh ?" 

" No," replied Peter, rather tripped by 
Jack's argument. " But then, you see, a-a-a 
calf ain't a cheek." 

" Certainly not," said Mrs. Tiggle, with a 
sagacious smack of the palms of her hands. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 225 

" certainly not. A calf can't be promiscusly . 
called a cheek." 

" That don't signify," argued Jack; " what 
he means is, we oughtn't to kick for a bruised 
shin, but let t'other have a whack pa- 
tiently." 

" It's agin all natur' to have one's shins 
kicked without squalling," replied Mrs. Tig^ 
gle ; " so he can't mean that." 

" You are such a plain woman, mother," 
said Jack ; " you can't take the road from a 
direction-post without it travels with you." 

'* A plain woman, am I ! " replied Mrs. 
Tiggle, adjusting her cap. " I'm in hopes all 
folks don't think so. And as to travelling 
with direction-posts — the only post I remem- 
ber travelling with, was with you to market 
last week." 

" Famous ! " ejaculated Mr. Bumstead ; 
" haw, haw, haw ! famous I Why, Jack, my 
son that is to be, your dear mother was down 
upon you, like a swallow upon a gay-fly." 

" You'll find her sharp enough," rejoined 
Jack, " or I'm much mistaken." 

l5 



226 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

A gentle tap at the door here attracted 
their attention. 

" Come in," said Mrs. Tiggle ; when the 
door swung open upon its creaking hinges, 
and exhibited the figure of Mr. Bolton upon 
the threshold. 

" Good evening, sir," was Mrs. Tiggle's re- 
spectful salutation, as she bobbed a curtsey, 
and stood with ready hand to usher her guest 
into the room. 

" The same to you, marm," replied Tom, 
touching his hat, and striding into the apart- 
ment. 

Jack rose from his chair, and, shaking a 
stuffed cushion to make a soft seat, invited 
the old whipper-in to occupy it. 

" He'll make a good un yet," said Tom, 
giving Jack a pull of the ear; " when his 
knawing days are over." 

" How do you find yourself this evening ?" 
inquired Peter. 

" Getting more coltish every hour, I be- 
lieve," replied Tom. " Nothing but wed- 
dings now-a-days, eh, Mrs, Tiggle ? Ah ! 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 227 

you need n't put your head in that flour poke 
— I know all about it." 

" It's settled," audibly whispered Peter. 

" Settled ! of course its settled !" rejoined 
Mr. Bolton. " I'm settled — every thing's 
settled. I shall dance on my head when all 
these events come off. I feel that Time's 
hour-glass is turned ; the old codger is run- 
ning the sand through once more for me. I'm 
no longer the old whipper-in, but young 
Tom Bolton, a harum-scarum, random, helter- 
skelter, tearaway, flyaway, dashing, splash- 
ing, rascal. That's what / am," concluded 
he ; but when he would have done so, had not 
his wind been expended, it is diflScult to say. 

" Now, Mrs. T." resumed Tom ; " when 
are you to be christened Mrs. B., eh ?" 

"Lor', sir," replied Mrs. Tiggle; "how 
absquatuated you make a body feel, to be 
sure !" 

" Absquat— what !" said Mr. Bolton; "isn't 
it natural for a body to feel a sort of a queer 
all-overishness on the eve of a wedding, I 
should like to know ?" 



22 S THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" In course it is," replied Peter ; " in 
course it is, Mr. Bolton. I feel a wonderful 
rum sort of a tittilation in all my sinies." 

" Sinews, Peter, sinews," observed Mr. 
Bolton, with a patronizing air. 

" I meant sinews," rejoined Peter, humbly ; 
** we were just coming to the day, sir, when 
you knocked," continued he. 

" Then it isn't fixed," said Mr. Bolton. 

" No, sir," replied Mrs. Tiggle ; " I can't 
say the precise day to-night." 

" Then I'll do it for you," said Tom. " This 
day month's the ticket. It's the last day o' 
the season," continued he, with an elongated 
visage. ^' The very last run before summer 
has darkened the sprouting corn. Oh dear 
me !" sighed the old whipper-in, " it's like 
going to a funeral. One's spirits can't rise on 
a blank day, and what day so blank as the last 
day o' the season ! Not one in the almanack." 

" But I shouldn't like you to be out of con- 
dition on this occasion, sir," said Peter. 

'' The greater the drain, the more necessary 
the supply," rejoined Tom ; " if a man is 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 229 

down upon his hocks, he requires more stimu- 
lants, than if he was going it cheerily on his 
daisy -trimmers." 

*' Well !" observed Mrs. Tiggle, spreading 
a coarse, but ivory-complexioned cloth upon 
the table ; ^* I won't be a stumbling-block to 
the arrangement ; so let it be this day month." 

" Bravely said," added Tom, and, rising 
from his recumbent attitude in the easy chair's 
embrace, he pulled from his pocket a large 
square silk handkerchief, and, after wiping his 
lips with scrupulous care, with a very grave 
and matter-of-course expression of counte- 
nance, he seized Mrs. Tiggle in his arms, and 
imprinted a loud kiss upon her fat and rosy 
cheek. 

" That's a sauce mother's palate hasn't been 
tickled with a long time," said Jack. 

'' The greater relish, then," replied Tom, 
screwing up his lips, as if they had enjoyed a 
luxury. 

A dark thunderish appearance hovered about 
Mr. Bumstead's feaitures when the old whip- 
per-in's lips smacked together. An unusual 



230 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

phosphoric light flashed in his eyes, and he 
looked as if enduring the animal-magnetic in- 
fluence of the green-eyed monster. This effect 
was not lost upon Mr. Bolton, who, with a 
broad honest laugh, said — 

" IN'one o' your bristles, Peter. These 
feathers," pushing his fingers through his few 
grey hairs, " are too thin and seared for that. 
A toothless hound doesn't travel far for 



" Lady," interrupted Peter, anticipating 
with fear the sequel of Mr. Bolton's simile. 

Tom smiled at the gamekeeper's suddenly 
acquired refinement, 

" You're right," rejoined he ; '' but still 
he'll bend his shanks to one o' the pack, or 
he's not thorough-bred." 

During this discussion, Mrs. Tiggle and 
Jack busied themselves in preparing the re- 
freshments. A boiled fowl was almost done 
to a hiss in the saucepan; sliced potatoes 
crackled and snapped in a frying-pan ; some 
rashers of bacon steamed fragrantly between 
two plates ; a tin pan of roasted cheese sent 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 231 

forth its strong fumes reeking to the ceiling, 
and with some fancifully moulded fresh butter, 
Mrs. Tiggle's culinary display gave promise of 
no ordinary share of creature-comforts for 
Peter's future life. 

Jack vanished for a few minutes, bearing in 
his hand a large empty brown jug, and, upon 
again making his appearance, it was frothed 
to the brim with foaming ale. Then his mo- 
ther dived into a deep cupboard, and from 
this secret depository produced a black bottle, 
containing a liquid not publicly swallowed by 
teetotallers, but administered medicinally in 
private. 

A look of pride illumined the features of 
Mr. Bumstead as he gazed on the prelimina- 
ries ; nor was this look less intense from the 
spur of a sharp appetite. 

'' Come, gentlemen," said Mrs. Tiggle, 
when all things were in readiness, " fall to. 
You're as welcome as the sun in June." 

'' That's the truth, I know," responded the 
gamekeeper. 

" Av, there's nothing like truth, Peter," 



232 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

added Mr. Bolton, drawing his chair close to 
the table, and sticking a fork into the breast 
of the chicken, " there's nothing like truth. 
Poor old Striver could never bear to hear the 
truth. I remember the last season but six he 
ever hallooed to the pack, just about the be- 
ginning of it, we were wide of home, and 
hunting a strange country, when I saw a nasty 
spear or two fresh planted in the centre of a 
furze cover. I told Striver of this, and, said I, 
there'll be mischief here before we get out of 
it. ' 'No, there won't,' replied the obstinate 
old mule. But he felt there would be. Well ! 
in a little time I saw a suspicious trap baited 
with fresh lamb. I'll de d — d, said I, if there 
won't be pen-an'-ink presently. ' l^o, there 
won't,' growled the old mouse-hunt ; but he 
knew there would, only he was too iron- 
headed to listen to the gospel. Well ! in a 
few seconds more — Bath buns and buckskin 
breeches ! such a cry rung through the wood ; 
it sounded like the ghost of a hound tasting 
the brimstone lash. ' Hark to Challenger,' 
hallooed Striver. It was a hark, indeed !" 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 233 

said Mr. Bolton, severing the liver- wing from 
the chicken's body, and poising his knife and 
fork to recount the sequel. " There was as 
good a hound as ever opened, with his fore-legs 
in a strong trap, both broken clean above the 
ancles." 

" Porgive us our sins !" exclaimed Peter, 
who had often caused a similar accident to 
canine trespassers, and the reminiscence was 
any thing but pleasing. 

" I told you so, said I," continued the old 
whipper-in ; " I knew there'd be trouble, and 
there'll be more, if we don't shift our ground. 
* No there won't,' again growled Striver, 
looking as black as a starless night, and as 
blind to the truth as ever. Hardly had I 
said this, when a gun flashed from the side of 
the cover, and immediately after it we heard 
the squire roaring out in a dreadful passion. I 
haven't known him in one since. We gal- 
loped to him, and there lay a fine dog-fox 
shot clean through the head, close at his feet. 
What a row there was ! and well there might 
be. Every one looked like a mad dog, and 



234 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

when I told them of poor Challenger's fate, I 
thought all would have blown up like gun- 
powder." 

'' And who did it ?" inquired Jack, when 
Mr. Bolton paused to dismember a side bone. 

" A white-livered farmer, afraid of his 
wheat," replied Mr. Bolton. " I saw him 
skulking off; and, giving the view holloa, 
such a drubbing that poor devil got from 
twenty whips, I shall never forget. But," 
added the old whipper-in, gravely, " that 
wasn't the worst of it." 

''What was?" inquired Peter. 

" He was found dead as a door-nail the 
next morning," replied Mr. Bolton, " sticking 
head foremost in a horse-pond." 

" Preserve us !" exclaimed Mrs. Tiggle, 
horrified. " What, murdered ?" 

" No," replied Tom, soothingly, " no, no, 
no, my charming Mrs. Tiggle. The jury sat 
nine hours upon the body, and, after a patient 
investigation, as the County Herald described 
it, they brought in a verdict of, 'It sarved 
him right.' " 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 235 

" A proper one too," said the gamekeeper. 
" A very proper one." 

" Who did it ?" inquired Jack. 

" Ah !" exclaimed the old whipper-in, wink- 
ing his left eye, " that's a different cast. Of 
course, nobody was suspected. Striver wasn't 
mentioned. E^o, no, it wouldn't have been 
right. He didn't ride sly and drive the yelp- 
ing cur into the mire with the butt-end of 
his whip. Oh no ! certainly not. But then, 
d'ye see, he doesn't like to be told so." 

^' Why not?" asked the unsophisticated 
Mrs. Tiggle. 

" Because," replied Tom, in a lowered voice, 
and looking cautiously into every nook and 
corner of the room, " he can't bear to think 
of the truth." 

The old Dutch clock, which had tick-tocked 
for thirty years 'neath Mrs. Tiggle's hospitable 
roof, struck the tenth hour before the rem- 
nants of the supper were abandoned. 

" There's a favour I would ask," said Peter, 
throwing down his knife and fork, his ap- 
petite being more than satiated. '* I'm won- 
derful basliful, and always was. If, Mr. 



236 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Bolton, you'd just mention our case to the 
squire, instead of me, it would be a mortal 
respite, I can tell ye." 

*' I'll do it," replied Tom, burying his nose 
in the froth of a quart of ale. 

"And I, sir," said Jack, "have a — " 
but here he paused. 

" Take a pull at the pot, and at him again," 
suggested the old whipper-in, offering Jack 
the foaming beer. " Let your note be full 
and deep on a right scent. Never hunt back, 
but hark for'ard, remember." 

" I was going to say," recommenced Jack, 
" if you would get the squire to let me be 
under you, sir, and learn to become a whipper- 
in, I'd worship you, Mr. Bolton, boots and 
all." 

Jack's sincerity was portrayed in his un- 
disguised enthusiasm. Every nerve seemed 
to thrill with interest, as he expressed his 
desire. 

" An ounce of blood's worth a pound of 
bone," said Tom, giving Jack a thump of en- 
couragement between his shoulders. " Here's 
breedin' here. None o' your puddle wish- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 237 

wash runs in these veins, but clear, out-an'- 
out, genuine English blood. I always thought 
so, Mrs. Tiggle." 

The mother looked with pride upon the 
object of Mr. Bolton's praise, and Jack blushed 
for the first time in his life. 

'' Give me your hand, my boy," continued 
Tom. " There, from this hour, you're second 
whip to the Scourfield hunt. Eide straight 
to hounds, be respectful to the field, keep a 
muzzle on your tongue ; but when ye halloo, 
let it be music that'll charm the angels. None 
o' your thin, penny-trumpet squeaks for me. 
Let your heart be in your voice, like a true 
sportman's, full of ardour, strength, and man- 
hood. Striver's cheer was always like a frog- 
eating Frenchman's. Listen to my son Will's 
— there's a peal ! A Bolton was always ce^ 
lebrated for his cheer," remarked the old 
whipper-in, with a sparkle of pride flitting in 
his eyes. 

" I'll do nothing but what you tell me, sir," 
replied the excited Jack, with shadows of 
scarlet coats, black caps, and leather breeches, 
dancing in his heated imagination. 



238 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" Only to think," added Mrs. Tiggle, wiping 
the salt drops of pleasure from her eyes, " my 
son the second whip. Bless us ! What'U all 
the neighbours say ?" 

" That our family's on the riz," replied 
Peter, kicking over a chair in the warmth of 
his gratification. 

" This day month," said Mr. Bolton, de- 
liberately, " he shall mount the livery. On 
your wedding-day he shall purple the skirts of 
a bit of pink for the first time. Yes, on the 
last day o' the season. I'll arrange all these 
matters with the squire to-morrow." 

" I can never thank you enough, sir," said 
Jack, almost melted with emotion. 

"The last day," continued Mr. Bolton, 
without noticing the observation, " will be, 
what may be called, your first regular one. 
It's my fancy this should be so, that, in after 
years, you may remember well Tom ^Bolton, 
the whipper-in." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 239 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

EARLY MORNING — THE EMBRYO WHIPPER- 
IN — THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCENT. 

'^ This morning,, like the spirit of a youth 
That means to be of note, begins betimes." 

^N^ATURE was waking from repose; the 
sun's rays were bursting from the dewy ver- 
dure, like hope's bright hue upon the weep- 
ing heart ; the spring flowers unclasped their 
leaves to the cheerful light, with dewdrops 
sparkling in every cup ; the air rang with the 
songs of birds ; and, as Agnes threw open her 
casement, and regarded the enchanting scene 
with smiles, 

" Which went, and came, and disappeared 
Like glancing sunbeams on the dimpled water. 
Shaded by trees," 

she felt a gladness in her heart, long since a 
stran<^er to its beating. 



240 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

*' And all will be well," she said, reading 
a letter, and afterwards placing it in her 
bosom ; " all will be well at last. Till now, 
there was a mockery in the sound — the mere 
echo of despair. But now 1 feel these words, 
so often spoken by him, will be realized — the 
prediction fulfilled. Thank God !" 

And, bending her knees, with features up- 
turned to the blue vault of heaven, Agnes 
breathed a prayer to Him who listens to the 
holy thanks of the grateful, and is not deaf to 
the cries of the wretched. 

It was very early, and, with the exception 
of a few domestics, most of the inhabitants of 
Scourfield Hall were wrapped in easy slumber. 
Agnes put on a bonnet, and, throwing a shawl 
over her shoulders, descended the staircase. 
As she passed the squire's bed-room, she 
heard him snoring most lustily, and was half 
inclined to disturb his sound repose; but, 
after a moment's hesitation, she left him in 
the land of vapoury dreams and shadows of 
the brain. 

A servant, with sleepy eyes and yawning 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 241 

mouth, stood leaning on her broom in the 
hall, and seemed to doubt the correctness of 
her vision, when Agnes appeared, equipped for 
a morning's walk. The antique massive door 
swung open, and Agnes hastened towards the 
flower-garden. 

" I wonder where Miss Agnes be a-going 
to thus early !" soliloquized the domestic. 
" She's as blithe as a bee, while I'm as drowsy 
as an owl. If I was a lady-born, would I get 
up, that's all !" 

This sort of self-questioning was followed 
by the annihilation of a large web, which an 
incautious spider had woven within reach of 
the sweeping brush. It hung from an old 
oak beam, and its intricate meshes were 
worthy of a cunning lawyer's study. So en- 
tangling was the crafty work, so luring the 
position, that an attorney, however sly, could 
scarcely have outwitted the spider in spread- 
ing a net for his victims. 

What difference is there between a spider 
and an attorney of the general order ? The 
one preys upon insects, the other upon men. 

VOL. II. M 



212 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Both live only for the destruction of others. 
Oh ! that a broom would come and sweep 

them anywhere ; so that we might speak 

of them as things that had passed away ! 

Against a grey-mossed wall, the boundary 
of the flower-garden, an old ivy-plant crept, 
and spread its twining branches. Far and wide, 
high and low, this climber of the ruin, and of 
the seared and hollow oak, sent forth his lux- 
uriant foliage. Among the thick, broad leaves, 
busy birds were building ; and, as if conscious 
of security, the nimble-winged architects con- 
tinued their operations, notwithstanding Agnes 
was a close observer of them. The flapping 
leaves rustled with the work, and so absorbed 
was Agnes in watching their movements, that 
she was unaware of the approach of any one, 
until a hand lightly fell upon her shoulder. 
Upon turning quickly round, she saw Wil- 
mott. 

" What, so early !" he exclaimed. " I 
little thought you could shake off drowsy 
sleep so soon as this." 

^' Then you wronged me in thought," re- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 243 

plied Agnes, smiling. " I not only can rise 
so early, but am partial to it." 

"Then why not practise it oftener?" re- 
joined Wilmott. 

" Because I've no companion for my walks," 
said Agnes. *' Kate cannot be persuaded to 
get up one minute before it's necessary to pre- 
pare for breakfast." 

" Let us go under her window, and rouse 
her," responded Wilmott. 

" I must tell you first," said Agnes, "I've 
had another letter from dear Charles. Here 
it is," she added, giving it to him. 

After Wilmott had read the epistle, he ex- 
claimed — 

" Heaven be praised ! This mystery will 
at length be cleared. But, is it not strange 
he should have neglected to inform you of the 
particulars?" 

" ^0," replied Agnes. " It is so like 
him. But, from his manner of writing, I am 
certain all is on the eve of explanation." 

" 1 agree with you," added Wilmott, 

m2 



y?44 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" And, as we have done hitherto, we must 
continue to do — wait patiently for events." 

" Yes," said Agnes ; "and I am certain 
our patience will not be called upon to en- 
dure a much longer trial." 

" May it be so !" responded Wilmott. 

Without any further observation being 
made upon the subject, they proceeded to- 
wards the 'Hall. When within a few yards of 
Kate's bed-room window^ they stopped sud- 
denly, to listen to the words of a song which 
came swelling from the opened casement. 

*'0h! 'tis lovel}' to wake at the early hour. 

With a heart unclouded by care, 
Wlien the dew is kissing the opening flower, 

Like a spirit hovering there. 

Oh ! 'tis lovely to watch the butterfly's wing 

Flitting in the new-born day : 
He's the herald of summer; a careless thing, 

Dancing all his life away. 

'Tis lovely to hear the song of the bird 

Trilling from the hawthorn-tree ; — 
'Tis as gladsome a sound as on earth is heard — 

Warbled from a breast that's free. 

Oh ! 'tis lovely to wake," &c. 

*' Dear Kate !" said Agnes, as her cousin 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 245 

finished her «ong. '' How merry and lights 
hearted she is !" ^ 

^' May she never be less so than now !" 
responded Wilmott. 

" She is rising, I think," added Agnes, 

" I'll throw a pebble at the window to see," 
said Wilmott. 

A small stone was jerked with precision 
against a pane, and hastily Kate looked out 
of the window, but as quickly withdrew 
again. Her toilet was but just begun; a 
slight dressing-robe only was carelessly folded 
across her bosom, and her long hair hung 
dishevelled over her shoulders. A bright 
flush was upon her cheek, pink and fresh as 
the bloom of an opening rose. Never did 
she look more lovely ; and, as Wilmott caught 
a glimpse of her, he thought of pictured 
Hebe, and other fantastic images of poets' 
brains. 

" Hilloa ! you rascals, what are ye about, 
eh ?" said a well-known voice. 

Wilmott and Agnes looked towards the 
quarter whence it came, and there saw the 



246 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

projected visage of the squire. A white cotton 
nightcap surmounted his brows, and some- 
thing like astonishment was depicted upon 
his features. 

" Why it isn't past six, is it ?" he in- 
quired. 

" No," replied Wilmott and Agnes, in the 
same breath. 

Ah !" rejoined the squire, rubbing his 
hands with glee, " I thought I couldn't have 
overslept. 'No, no, no ! I haven't done such 
a thing for twenty years and more." 

" What an ugly nightcap you wear, 
uncle !" said Agnes, with a merry laugh. 

" Ugly, my love !" replied the squire, 
pulling it up a little, and sticking it on one 
side. " It's a beauty, I think." 

" You certainly display no taste in its 
arrangement," said Wilmott. 

" Nonsense, ye chatterers," responded the 
squire. "It keeps my head warm, and that's 
enough for me. But, bless my soul ! what's 
this ?" 

The squire's expression of astonishment 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 247 

was caused by the appearance of Jack Tiggle, 
mounted on one of his old favourite horses, 
coming at a foot-pace down the park, with 
Mr. Bolton walking by his side. Jack was 
dressed in a neat, scarlet coat, black velvet 
cap, buckskin-breeches and top-boots. A 
white cravat was tied very neatly round his 
neck. Tom was the artiste, and altogether 
Jack looked the very essence of a whipper-in. 
With majestic stateliness they arrived oppo- 
site the squire, who cried out, — 

" Why, Tom ! what's this about, eh? " 

" I'm giving him a lesson, sir," replied 
Mr. Bolton ; " and, next to Will, he's the 
likeliest pupil I've ever seen." 

" You'll spoil him if you talk in that way," 
said Wilmott. 

" Will I ?" responded Tom, significantly, 
and cracking the thong of his heavy whip. 
" Sugar and flax is the stuff for the young 
uns. Spoil him, indeed !" and again the lash 
snapped in the air. 

" Can he halloo ?" inquired the squire. 

"He could, sir," replied Mr. Bolton; 



248 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" but I think it's all out of him now ; isn't 
it, Jack ?" 

^' Yes, sir, I'm hoarser than an old rook," 
said Jack, in a deep, cracked voice. 

" He's been at it for an hour," observed 
the old whipper-in ; '' and his lungs must be 
tough leather to stand that as well as they 
have !" 

"Is he to go with us to-day?" asked the 
squire. 

" No, sir," replied the old whipper-in. 
" Next Friday is the time fixed. And, please 
God, he'll not look a tailor among us." 

" As you please, Tom, as you please," said 
the squire. 

" I don't wish him to go before, sir, 
for more reasons than one," continued Mr. 
Bolton. " He might get into difficulties, 
which, as I heard a man say, who knew a 
good deal about difficulties of all sorts — a re- 
tired bum, sir — " 

" A what ?" said the squire. 

" A bum, sir," replied Tom, — " a sheriff's 
bum. He said people got into scrapes just 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 249 

like blind puppies scramble into mire. Head 
over heels they go plump into 'em, because 
their eyes ain't open to the danger. ISTow, 
this boy, Jack, is but little better than a 
blind puppy yet ; but," said Mr. Bolton, 
with much energy, " I'll open his peepers 
before many days are over, or I'm much mis- 
taken." 

" And so you intend he should take your 
place, I suppose," said Agnes, quizzing the 
old whipper-in. 

" Not while I live, miss," replied Tom, 
shaking his head — ''not while I live. But 
he shall be ready for the empty saddle when 
I'm earthed." 

" Don't talk in that fashion," said the 
squire. "When you're run down, I shall 
want breath too, I know." 

Kate now joined the party, and, as she 
gave a hand to Wilmott, she held up the 
other menacingly, as if to inflict a chastise- 
ment. 

" You deserve it," she said. 

M 5 



250 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" What for ?" asked the squire. 

"Pray take off that frightful cap, dear 
father, and get ready for breakfast," replied 
Kate, without noticing the query. 

" The order's obeyed," rejoined the squire, 
popping in his head. 

" Good morning, Mr. Bolton," said Kate, 
approaching the old whipper-in. " I hope 
your pupil's efforts are satisfactory." 

" Thank ye, miss," replied Tom. " His 
attempts are praiseworthy." 

The lauded object sat in his saddle with 
the pride of a laurel-crowned hero. His new 
boots pinched him ; but the pain was scarcely 
felt. The buckskins were a tight fit, and 
very uncomfortable ; but he heeded not the 
annoyance. The cap pressed heavily upon 
his forehead, and bound his brow as if made 
of iron ; but the weight was, like the crown 
to a king, a pleasurable burden. 

" I hope you'll be a good and attentive 
lad," said Kate, " and no longer so mis- 
chievous, particularly with your intended 
father-in-law." 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 251 

** No, ma'am," replied Jack, touching his 
cap ; " I've promised Mr. Bolton to give up 
playing the monkey." 

" And he'll keep it, too, miss, I know," said 
Tom. 

" I hope so," added Kate. 

" The scent will be good to-day, I think," 
observed Wilmott. 

" There's every likelihood for it, sir," said 
Tom ; " but there's no accounting for scent. 
I've studied, for many years, to discover the 
laws by which scent is governed, but can't 
make it out to my satisfaction." 

" Still we know a good scenting-day from 
a bad one," responded Wilmott. 

" We're aware of effects," rejoined Mr. 
Bolton, sagely, " but remain ignorant of 
causes ; as, for instance, a sunshiny day is not 
good for hunting ; but a warm day without sun 
is generally a perfect one. In some mists scent 
will lie, in others not at all. During a white 
frost it's breast-high, as it also is when frost is 
quite gone ; but, at the time of its going off, 
scent won't lie a bit. It scarcely ever lies 



252 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

with a north or an east wind ; but with a 
southerly one, and a mild westerly, it will. 
If you see the dogs rolling about, and the 
cobwebs hanging upon the bushes, you may 
be certain of no hunting. These you see, sir," 
continued Tom, " are points gained from care- 
ful observation ; and we can make as sure of 
their correctness, as the sailor can of the nee- 
dle heading to the north; but, at the same 
time, we're just as blind as to the cause for 
the effect." 

After delivering this philosophic opinion, 
Mr. Bolton bowed to his auditors, and moved 
off with Jack. 

" A delightful old man," exclaimed Kate 
" how I like to hear him talk !" 

" He's one of the most singular old fellows 
in the world," said Wilmott ; " but a more 
honest heart never beat." 

" Mr. Titley is very late this morning," 
observed Kate. 

" Say, rather, we are unusually early," 
replied Kate. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 253 

" There's an old saying," added Wilmott, 
smiling, " which admits of a more refined 
version than the original — that talking of 
shadows substances appear. See, the object 
of our attention approaches." 



254 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEIVLVN. 



CHAPTEE XXX. 

BUTTON AND THE BADGER. 

" This night, raethinks, is but the daylight sick. 

It looks a little paler ; 'tis a day. 

Such as the day is when the sun is hid." 

It was a bright moonlight night, and just 
nine o'clock, when Striver, accompanied by 
Button, entered a cover on the margin of the 
heath. A thick mist was rising, and already 
the broom and furze were spangled over with 
the moisture. At each step the trapper took 
with his dog, they l)rushed the wet from the 
boughs, and now and then Button sneezed his 
dissatisfaction at the prospect of catching cold 
from this untimely visit. 

" You may snuffle, Button," said his master; 
" I don't care for that. If you've been at 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 255 

work all day, so have I ; and if there's more 
to do, which there is, we must do it." 

Button continued to hang his head and tail 
sulkily, notwithstanding this pithy argument, 
and tracked his master's footsteps with any 
thing but his accustomed pleasure. 

"You'll alter your tune presently," con- 
tinued the old trapper, " or I'm amazingly 
deceived." 

Button gave a sharp cry, as much as to 
inquire the nature of the business they were 
upon. 

" Ah ! yes, yes ; you want to know all my 
movements," said Striver ; " you 're more 
curious than any old woman." 

Button rubbed his head against the legs of 
his master. 

" You may coax all ye like," continued 
Striver ; " but I shan't tell you what I'm 
about. You'll see in a minute, my boy, and 
then I expect you'll be brisk enough." 

Button anticipated the moment for this 
nimble display, by pricking up his ears and 
raisinor his short tail. 



256 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

As they entered deeper into the wood, its 
denizens became frightened at the interlopers. 
The hare stopped from cropping the bitter 
weed, and, listening for an instant to make 
sure that her fears were not groundless, away 
she scudded to a more secluded spot. The 
nimble rabbit fled to his burrow with a palpi- 
tating heart, and the wood-pigeon rattled from 
her roost on the wings of fear. From the 
dark shade of the fir the pheasant peered, and, 
after the disturbers had passed, he shook his 
bright plumage, and settled again to rest. 

About the centre of the wood, Striver 
stopped, and looked carefully at the entrance 
of a large hole dug in the sand. By the light 
of the moon, he was enabled to see fresh tracks 
made on the verge of the earth. 

" He's out. Button," said Striver, exult- 
ingly. " Yes, he hasn't returned," continued 
he, looking carefully at the marks in the 
sand. 

The shrewd Button now seemed to compre- 
hend the whole matter. He skipped here 
and there ; placed his nose to the hole, and 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 257 

suddenly became quite an altered Button. 
At length, his joy was not confined to silent 
expression ; but, as many an incautious dog 
has done before him, he ventured to give 
tongue to those feelings which discretion 
should have taught him to suppress. 

" Quiet — Flames and flax ! What are ye 
after ?" said Striver, lifting his foot, and almost 
inclined to make Button feel the weight of it. 

The reproved Button immediately squatted 
down upon his haunches, and watched his 
master's proceedings silently 

From under his arm the old trapper pro- 
duced three sacks, with drawing-strings run 
through their mouths. With great caution 
he placed one in the hole, and fixed the end 
of the string to a convenient stub. A few 
yards from this earth there was another, but 
not quite so large. Here he put another sack 
just in the same manner. 

" I couldn't find any more this morning," 
soliloquised Striver ; " but there must be 
another somewhere ; they always have three, 
at the very least. Where can the other be ?" 



258 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Scarcely had the old trapper delivered him- 
self of this query, when suddenly he fell back- 
wards into a luxuriant furze-bush. The long 
sharp prickles made sad havoc with Striver's 
flesh ere he could rise from his recumbent 
posture, and, with muttered curses, he rubbed 
the wounds, and, between smiles and frowns, 
discovered that the third earth, secreted among 
some thick broom, was the cause of his 
tumble. 

" A lucky fall. Button ; a lucky fall !" said 
Striver, pushing the last sack into the hole, 
and tieing the string as he had done the 
others. 

The ardent Button perceived the prelimi- 
nary arrangements were complete. He stood 
with restless eye and quivering nostrils, curbed 
impatience swelling every vein. Like a 
crouched tiger, he waited for the moment to 
spring and hunt his victim down. . 

Striver saw, with pride, the willingness of 
his favourite. A smile separated the old 
man's lips as, with folded arms, he looked at 
Button for a few moments, ere he gave the 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 259 

desired signal. Stooping down, he caressed 
the eager animal, and whispered, " Softly, 
Button ; softly, my hoy." And, after a short 
pause, he waved his hand, and said, " Hold 
up." 

Away rushed Button. Through furze and 
broom, bush and briar, the dog crashed. With 
his nose bent to the earth. Button pursued the 
badger's track, but gave no tongue as he hunted 
on ; and, within a few brief seconds, Striver 
lost all sounds of the pursuer. On a clear 
wind, and in a listening attitude, the old trap- 
per stood. He grasped a thick ashen stick, 
and kept his eyes fixed on the hole in which 
he had placed the first sack. 

^' He '11 make for that, I think," whis- 
pered he. 

JS^ow was the reign of silence. In the 
thick, deep wood not a sound was to be heard. 
The dazzling moonbeams streamed upon the 
earth, and stole in silver streaks between the 
mingling branches of the grove. A thick 
mist hung like a bridal veil upon tree and 
flower, shading, but not concealing, the co- 



260 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

vered charms. The wind was hushed like a 
child at rest ; scarcely a young leaf flapped in 
his gentle breath. It was a night for lovers 
to love in. 

" Hist," said Striver, to himself, as a slight 
noise caught his watchful ear, and, kneeling, 
he bent it to the ground to listen with greater 
facility. Again the sound was heard, and the 
trapper rising, and bending forwards, seemed 
to anticipate a speedy view of the badger. 
JS^ow a rustling was plainly heard ; on it came 
closer and closer. In the stillness of the 
night, boughs and twigs cracked and snapped, 
as if animals of larger growth than Button 
and the badger were making their way through 
them. 

At last, within three yards of where Striver 
was standing, the badger appeared, closely 
followed by Button. The trapper made a 
blow at the fugitive as he passed him, but he 
missed his aim. The gallant Button, how- 
ever, was more successful. His victim was 
diving into the sack, when the dog seized him 
by his loose skin, and flung him back several 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 261 

feet. The badger turned to the bite, and 
snapped his teeth through Button's shoulder. 
Over and over they rolled. Striver rushed to 
the rescue, and tried to inflict a deadly blow 
upon the enemy; but the struggles of the two 
were so great, that he dared not risk the 
chance of injuring Button. The badger, in 
his usual way, had thrown himself upon his 
back, and with his sharp claws and teeth was 
inflicting deep gashes in poor Button's body. 
With a hearty good-will, the courageous But- 
ton retaliated, by clutching his enemy by the 
throat, and shaking him with more than his 
natural strength. 

"He'll kill him — I know he will," said 
Striver, in a woful voice, and seizing Button 
by the tail, he lifted him up by this orna- 
mental member, in order to get a fair blow at 
the badger. The attempt was futile ; Button 
was not to be drawn off by his tail. With a 
strong and sudden twist he disengaged his 
master's hold, and, with a loud, angry growl, 
sent his teeth deeper into his victim's wind^ 
pipe. 



262 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

Nails and grinders the badger used vigo- 
rously ; but the firm hold of Button upon his 
throat began to weaken him. He blew up 
his skin, and, by every manoeuvre, tried to 
loosen the gripe ; but Button knew too well 
for him the importance of sticking to that 
tender spot. 

What shall T do ? " exclaimed Striver ; 
" he'll kill him — I know he will. You're 
not a match for him, Button, I tell ye ; it's a 
heavy weight against a light un." 

Button, however, was of a different opinion. 
He discovered, sooner than his master, that 
his enemy was getting the worst of it, and 
renewed his exertions in the deadly conflict. 
From countless veins in Button's body, the 
blood streamed in crimson currents, while 
very little flowed from the badger. But, 
as no doubt the experienced Button wisely 
thought, it is better in fighting to lose blood 
than breath. The thick skin of the badger 
prevented his arteries from being opened ; but 
it afforded no protection to the loss of his 
wind, which momentarily became worse. Af- 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 263 

ter some very violent struggles, to which Stri- 
ver fruitlessly endeavoured to put a speedy 
end, the animals lay motionless, held down by 
each other's jaws. 

" They're both dead," sobbed Striver, who 
was about, catching up Button, when a waspish 
growl informed him of the error of his con- 
jecture. 

The bloody feud recommenced. Button 
placed his fore-paws upon the neck of his 
enemy, and literally stretched the windpipe 
from his throat. Still the badger was not 
beaten. He continued to carve deep gashes 
with his claws, and made his strong teeth 
meet as he varied his bite in poor Button's 
carcase. l^ot once did the cunning dog 
change his gripe. He knew victory depended 
upon retaining hold of his enemy's throat, 
and there he held him with the firmness of a 
screwed vice. 

At length the badger became exhausted. 
His struggles became fainter, and, as he lay 
almost breathless, Striver watched an oppor- 
tunity to inflict a stunning blow^ upon his 



264 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

head. The defeated animal opened his clasped 
jaws, and permitted one of Button's mangled 
feet to drop from between them. For this act 
of lenity Button returned a vigorous shake, 
and, finding no farther renewal of the fray by 
his opponent, he released his teeth from their 
tough duty, and shook himself for refreshment. 

" Stop a bit, Button," said Striver, " Til 
finish him." 

Blow after blow was repeated upon the 
badger from Striver's cudgel, till at last no 
signs of life remained. Then the trapper 
seized Button, who was industriously engaged 
in licking his wounds, and, holding him in his 
arms, he carefully examined the bleeding in- 
juries. Numerous and deep they proved, and 
tears swam in the old man's eyes as he per- 
ceived one of his favourite's feet was lamen- 
tably crushed. 

" You'll limp for life," said the trapper ; 
" and may I be flayed alive if I wouldn't pre- 
fer being lame than seeing you so !" 

Button, notwithstanding his pain, wagged 
his tail at this expressed affection from his 
master. 



, THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. ^65 

" Lie there till I take up the sacks," said 
Striver, pulling off his coat and spreading it 
on the ground as a bed for Button. " We 
must get home as soon as we can, to dress 
your wounds, poor fellow." 

The sacks were soon taken from the earths, 
and the body of the badger placed in one of 
them. Throwing it over one shoulder, Striver 
lifted Button under his arm, and took his way 
homewards. 

^' You must have a dip in the river, Button, 
although it is cold," said the trapper, as 
Button's blood trickled down his fingers. 
" There's nothing like a running stream for a 
flesh wound." 

Proceeding towards the bank of the river, 
which was not far off, Striver continued to 
caress and talk to his dog. 

" I'll have a new cap made of this warmint's 
skin," said he, " and when I hear 'em talk of 
dogs' pluck, Button, I'll show it to them, and 
relate the fight you had to-night, my boy. 
You were a wonder from your infancy. I 
recollect you bit a kitten's tail off before you 

VOL. II. N 



266 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

were two months old ; and when the old 
woman that owned her threw you into a pond 
for doing it, you scrambled out again, and 
yapped at her afterwards. I said then you'd 
be a wonder, and so you are." 

Coming to the stream, Striver picked out 
a convenient spot, and laved the body and 
limbs of his favourite. In the moonlit water 
Button was placed with as much gentleness as 
if he had been a tender child. His sores 
were cleaned, and from his sleek skin all stains 
of gore removed. With a fevered tongue he 
lapped the clear water, and soon became much 
refreshed. After wiping him with his hand- 
kerchief, Striver wrapped his coat about 
Button to shield him from the cold, and con- 
tinued his road towards home. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 267 



GHAPTEE XXXI. 

THE HUNTSMAN'S BIRTHRIGHT. 

" May he live 
Longer than I have time to tell his years! 
Ever belov'd and loving — 
And, when old Time shall lead him to his end. 
Goodness and he fill up one monument." 

" This is my birthday," cries the infant, as 
he wakes from his sleep. Smiles dimple his 
plump, rosy cheeks as he thinks of grand- 
mamma's present. Away he bounds from his 
little cot, and in another moment is clasped 
in a young loving mother's arms. With what 
rapture she presses her boy, her only boy, to 
her fond bosom ! Kiss after kiss is printed 
upon his lips, and, as she craves a blessing 
for him, she feels in that brief moment the 
ecstacy of years. 

N 2 



2G8 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

" This is my birthday," says the old man. 
Sorrowfully he shakes his few bleached locks, 
and thinks of former years long since passed 
away. Well he remembers his truant school- 
boy tricks. Again he rambles in the vale 
with his heart's first chosen one. By his side 
she listens to his tale of love, breathed in 
words which sink deep into her breast. Once 
more he is surrounded by the companions of 
his youth ; their merry shouts ring in his ears, 
and their laugh is echoed in his memory. But 
where are they all ? Alas ! the old man is 
alone. 

It was on a rough, boisterous night, the 
fourteenth of March, that William's cottage 
contained more inmates than were ever be- 
fore assembled within its walls at any one 
time. At a round table sat Mr. Bolton, 
playing " all fours" wdth Mrs. Tiggle, while 
the attentive Peter watched her cards and 
scored the board. Most of the domestics 
from the Hall, with William and Fanny, 
were arranging themselves for a country dance ; 
while the village fiddler, mounted on an 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 269 

empty flour-tub in a corner of the room, wavS 
tuning, " Singing Sukey." Striver was placed 
in the easy chair close to the fire, with the 
maimed Button couched upon his knees. At 
a side table Jack was fully occupied in carving 
slices from a large ham. Whether his knife 
slipped occasionally, cannot be ascertained 
with any degree of precision ; but, certain it 
is, that now and then a tit-bit of lean, of con- 
venient proportions, fell upon the dish, and 
was no sooner there than it was conveyed to 
Jack's epicurean palate. Gouty Bob, the 
butler, was mixing some potent beverage in a 
wide and deep china bowl. From time to 
time he sipped a spoonful of the fragrant drink, 
and, after adding a lump or two of sugar, 
then, giving another gentle squeeze of the 
iemon, and popping in a shaving more of lime, 
he smacked his lips, and patted those regions 
surgically described as abdominal. 

" It'll do, Jack," said Bob. 

" I don't believe it," responded Jack. 

Now, if some extraordinary convulsion of 
nature had suddenly lifted the roof from Bob's 



270 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

head, and exposed the blinking, twinkling 
stars, in place of the whitewashed ceiling, Bob 
could not have evinced greater astonishment. 
To doubt the quality of his palate — it was 
sacrilege; to question his opinion of punch 
— it was felony. 

It was some time before the butler could 
resolve on what steps to take for revenging 
this foul affront. If the punch-bowl had been 
deep enough, there can be little doubt Jack 
would have been drowned in good liquor, as a 
certain royal personage was treated in the 
" good old days," when men wore swords as 
wasps do stings. But, as this was not the 
case, Bob determined upon a more pleasant 
mode of vindicating his honour. Filling a 
round, fat-looking glass with the abused com- 
position, he offered it to Jack, saying, 

" Drink that. Let it rest in your throat 
as if it was a mile long, and then confess 
yourself an unbelieving, miserable specimen of 
a know-nothing." 

Jack obeyed the instructions faithfully. 
When he had done so, with a very equivocal 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 271 

expression of modesty, he eyed the butler 
shrewdly, and said, " Mr. Bob, I am." 

Bob was satisfied. 

The fiddler flourished his bow; all were 
ready, and off they went, to as merry a tune 
as ever was scraped from catgut. 

"Trip it lightly," said Tom; " we'll join 
ye presently. High, low, Jack, and the game, 
ma'am," continued he, pegging the score. 

" I wish I could dance as well as you, sir," 
said Peter. " You're a capital one at it." 

" I'm obliged for your praise," replied 
Mr. Bolton, with the smile of a flattered 
courtier. " But in the beginning, Peter," 
added he, *' you were never designed for a 
dancer." 

^' Indeed !" exclaimed Mrs. Tiggle. 

" Providence models his creatures for 
especial and various purposes," continued Mr. 
Bolton. " The blood-horse is formed for speed ; 
the cart-horse for strength ; the fox-hound 
possesses fine powers of smell ; the gaze- 
hound great quickness of sight : and so on, 
throughout the links of the animal creation." 



272 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLE^UN. 

" How I like to hear him talk !" ejaculated 
Peter. 

" But why isn't Mr. Bumstead suited 
for dancing ?" inquired Mrs. Tiggie. 

" Because, ma'am," replied Tom, in a sup- 
pressed voice, " he's much too leady in the 
stern." 

Peter blushed at the mention of this dis- 
qualification, and heartily wished dame Nature 
had shaped him for " the poetry of motion ; 
and, while Mr. Bolton gallantly led Mrs. 
Tiggie to the dance, he shuffled up the aban- 
doned cards, and, snapping the ends quickly 
through his fingers, seemed to be giving vent 
to some partly smothered feelings of chagrin. 

On the white-sanded floor the party shuffled, 
whirled, and skipt, with light heels and lighter 
hearts. A new spring was given to the dance 
when the old whipper-in joined it. He twisted 
his heavy partner here and there ; between 
the filed line he galloped her up and down, 
until the rubicund countenance of Mrs. Tiofo-le 
became of the melting order. 

" You're out of wind, ma'am," said Mr. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 273 

Bolton, considerately. " And, if truth must 
be told, I'm panting a little." 

" You'd better sit, my dear Mrs. T," whis- 
pered Peter, " or I fear you'll become too 
moist." 

"Thank'e, Mr. Bumstead, I -will," replied 
Mrs. Tiggle, with her most winning look at 
the ensnared gamekeeper. 

" Don't, pray don't," said Peter, beseech- 
ingly, " or them looks '11 singe me into ashes." 

Mrs. Tiggle smiled at the compliment, 
and swallowed a large glass of punch which 
Peter handed to her. 

The inspiring strains from the fiddle ceased, 
while all partook of Bob's matchless mixture. 
Erom Mr. Bolton to the fiddler, who were 
the highest and the most humble there, in the 
butler's opinion, he regarded each as the glass 
was taken from his lips. When Tom refilled 
his goblet immediately after emptying it, and 
gave his customary demonstrative smack of 
satisfaction, Bob rubbed his knees and chuckled 
with delight. 

" It's as rich as oil, Mr. Bolton, isn't it ?" 



274 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

said Bob. " It hangs about a man's mouth 
like honey in a comb. A man couldn't die 
with that in his mouth," continued the en- 
thusiastic butler. " It would keep his body 
and soul together even against his will." 

" Hush ! Bob, hush !" replied the old whip- 
per-in, reprovingly ; "we mustn't discuss re- 
ligious subjects here." 

Half an hour had just elapsed, and most 
appeared to have recovered from their exer- 
tions, when William desired the fiddler to 
stick some fresh rosin on his bow, and strike 
music from the tightened string. 

" Come, Striver," said the young hunts- 
man, " give over nursing Button, and join us 
in a fling. " 

" No, William, no," replied the trapper ; 
" my dancing days are over." 

" You won't refuse me as a partner," said 
Fanny, who wore as pretty little caps now 
she was a wife as previous to her marriage — 
a rule not invariably adopted by ladies in the 
holy state of matrimony. 

" A corpse would do his best, ma'am, if 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 275 

axed by you," replied Striver, displacing But- 
ton from his knees, and joining Mrs. Bolton 
in the dance. 

" There's a merry set," said Tom to Peter, 
as he watched the dance, seated in a snug 
place quite out of the way, with some very 
substantial and excellent viands placed on a 
table before them. 

" It does one's heart good to see 'em," re- 
plied the gamekeeper, carving a large slice 
from a thick round of beef. " I could look 
at 'em for ever." 

It is questionable to which Peter alluded, 
the refreshments or the dancers ; but, as he 
gazed only upon the beef when he delivered 
the observation, the former appeared to be 
the engrossing subject to which he referred. 

That " Time flies fast," every body says and 
sings ; but when does he fly so fast as at a revel 
like the one we are now assisting at in fancy ? 
He loiters idly with his scythe when mowing 
the unsightly weeds in the choked path of 
life : but when he comes to a gay flower, with 
what pleasure the old fellow whets his edge, 



276 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

and severs it from the root ! He is the curer 
of all evils, because the destroyer of all created 
things. Joys and sorrows — pleasures and 
pains — he obliterates them all from the sen- 
sitive nerve, and the susceptible brain. The 
most fragile and the most lasting works of 
man are equally breathed upon by Time, and 
become as if they had never been. 

The night was far advanced before the dance 
was deserted. Between the gusts of the bois- 
terous wind which howled outside, a few 
strokes from the hall- clock were heard, when 
William said, 

'^ We are creeping into the early hours, 
my friends; let us try the contents of my 
wife's larder by way of a wind up." 

Again the ready Bob was desired to fill the 
punch-bowl. Crowding round the table, the 
guests partook of the good cheer provided. 
Mr. Bolton hob-an'-nobbed with every body ; 
he kissed his daughter-in-law, and threatened 
Mrs. Tiggle with a similar infliction, which 
caused a convulsive twitching in Peter's fea- 
tures. 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 277 

" Do you feel stiff in the joints, Striver ? " 
inquired Mr. Bolton. 

" 1^0, sir," replied the trapper; " but as 
lissim as a fitchew." 

" Well said," rejoined Tom. " Fill a bum- 
per ; you're as blithe as a cock lark. I mean, 
too, that bumpers should be filled all round," 
added he. 

The glasses were filled to the brim as di- 
rected, and, as the old whipper-in rose, voices 
were silenced, and all noise ceased. 

" My friends," commenced Tom, " this is 
my son Will's birthnight, and I think you'll 
agree with me, few nights of our lives have 
been spent more agreeably. Just about this 
time," said Mr. Bolton, pulling from his fob 
a thick silver watch, and gazing with a smile 
upon its dial, " seven an' twenty years ago 
Will was hatched. When I was told that I 
was a father, a warm spark seemed to glow 
internally, never felt by me before, and from 
that moment it has never been extinguished. 
It may have been the glowworm spark of 
pride ; and if it was, my friends, the cause 



278 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

was sufficient for the effect, for, of all the 
plump, fat babbies I ever heard of, Will beat 
'em all to shavings." 

Loud applause and laughter interrupted 
Mr. Bolton's progress. 

" Silence ! silence ! " hallooed Tom, good- 
humouredly waving his hand. 

" Silence ! " roared Jack, seconding Mr. 
Bolton's request. 

" He was, indeed," continued the old 
whipper-in. " I looked at his legs first, 
when he was presented to me wrapped up in 
one of the late Mrs. Bolton's flannel petti- 
coats, and saw at once Nature had blessed 
him with well-shaped shins for embracing a 
horse's ribs. ' He's born to ride well,' said 
I to Striver there, who was present at the 
time ; and my words were proved true before 
I expected. He was n't four year old when 
the squire saw the young care-nought climb 
upon the back of a yearling, and ride him 
about the park like the wind, until the colt 
dropped from exhaustion. As in duty bound, 
I scolded Will for doing it ; but may I be 



THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 279 

whipped if I didn't feel prouder of him for 
this act than many a better one since ! Like 
all young fellows of his kidney — and I don't 
disguise it from his wife — he was a little too 
fond of courting the lasses ; but it was his 
only fault that I could discover. And, al- 
though I'm his father, I say, without fear 
of contradiction, a better son, taking him 
all in all, a parent was never blest with. To 
have alloAved somebody else to propose the 
toast I'm about to give ye, might, perhaps, 
have been more in accordance with stiif- 
necked rules. But, as we are not governed 
by any such vapourish humbug, I beg to pro- 
pose the long life, health, happiness, and 
prosperity of my son Will, the squire's 
huntsman. May he have many returns of 
this night !" 

Long before Mr. Bolton had arrived at the 
climax of his speech, his auditors were impa- 
tient to give scope to their enthusiasm. The 
hurrah which burst from every tongue drowned 
the noise of the raging wind without. On the 
keen blast the sound was carried, and echo 



280 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 

answered it far away from the scene of festive 
mirth. 

It was whispered in the village, but never 
absolutely authenticated, that, on this memo- 
rable night, Mr. Bolton was assisted to bed 
by Peter Bumstead and Jack Tiggle. 



END OF VOL. II. 



LONDON : 

V. 3H0BERL, JUN., 51, RUPERT STREET, HAYMARRKT, 

PRINTER TO H. R. H. PRINCE ALBERT. 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA 



3 0112 051399084