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OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN,
THE FIELDS AND THE WOODS.
JOHN MILLS, ESQ.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER.
GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
F. SHOBKKL, JUX., 51, RUPERT STREET, HAYMARKET,
PRINTER TO H. R. H. PRINCE ALBERT
OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
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-
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
In a short period all were charged.
" Here's health, long life, and happiness to
William Bolton and his pretty wife," said
4 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
the squire, in a loud voice, and emptying his
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
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-
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-
" 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
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
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
The observation was not lost upon Mr.
Bolton, who, with a look of mingled indigna-
tion and pride, gave a hazardous flourish to
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
" 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
" 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
" What's the matter ?" asked the squire.
" I don't know," replied Wilmott. " But I
think Jack has been playing one of his tricks
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
" Tell me," added the squire, giving him a
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-
" 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
" 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
"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
" ' I can't hear,' replied the driver.
" ' To the market-hill,' again screeched Miss
" ^ 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
" 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
'' ' 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
" We must have a song first," observed
" Perhaps Mr. Titley will favour us," said
" With profound pleasure," replied Titley,
who seemed to enjoy the scene as much as
" 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-
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
*' 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,
** Why do you think so ?" said Jack.
"Because — you — don't — seem — to — me —
to walk straight," rejoined Peter.
24 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A PAIR OF
" 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
" 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
" Wisely said," rejoined Tom. " 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
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
" 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
" 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,
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
" 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
" ' 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
" ' 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
" ' 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
" ' A pair of boots, Sir Horatio,' introduced
us to our owner, a young, dashing-looking
gentleman, who w^as employed in his dressing-
" ' 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
" ' 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
" ' 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-
" Our master accepted most of the heavy
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
" ' 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
" ' If you put Flyaway in,' said Sir Horatio,
^ you'll have two hundred out of them.'
" ' Then in he goes to a moral,' replied
" 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
" ' 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
" ' 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-
"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
" ' Indeed ! Then I was in error,' replied
Sir Horatio, quite unconcerned at the trifling
" 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-
" ' 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
" 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
" 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
" ' 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-
" ' 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-
"'Sarved him right,' rejoined Gaylad.
' Hit him again — he hasn't a friend in the
" ' 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
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-
" ' 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
" ' 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
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A PAIR OF TOP-BOOTS,
" 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
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
" ' Clap on them traces, old butter-thumbs,'
said the groom.
" ' Your veels vants vatering,' squeaked a
postboy in embryo, pointing to the smoking
" ' 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
" ' All right, sir,' replied the servant,
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 47
touching his hat, and springing into the
" 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
" What postboy would not ride an eight-
mile stage as hard as he could go, for two
sovereigns? Is there such a curiosity ex-
"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
" 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
" * 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
" ' 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
" * 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
" 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
" * Where's the key ?' roared Charles,
" ' 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
" ' Gate, gate !' shouted the postillions.
" ' Gate, you scoundrel ! open that gate !'
bawled the old gentleman, in a terrific
" ' 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
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
" ' 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
*' ' To the devil, sir,' interrupted the old
'* ' 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
" The road was retraced, and we accompa-
nied as happy a trio as ever took ' hasty
*' 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
58 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
think youug people are quite right to run
" 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!" 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
William and his father smoked their pipes
almost in silence, and, as the latter took his
last whiff, he observed Fanny was dozing in
" 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.
" 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
" 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
" Indeed, Mr. Bumstead," rejoined Jack.
" That's your opinion, is it ? Mine's t'other
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-
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
" 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
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 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
Without any signal being given, Sapho
backed, and stood motionless to her compa-
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-
" 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
Without deigning to notice this mutinous
declaration, Peter waved his hand, and the
dogs recommenced hunting.
" You haven't picked the rabbit up yet,"
"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
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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
" This is just the mornin' to cripple the
Frenchmen," returned Peter.
'' Won't you go after that snipe now ?" in-
" 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
*' 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
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
" There," said he, leaning on his " spud,"
" now we shall see a smart shot, if he finds
"Which there's little doubt of," added
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.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A PAIR OF TOP-BOOTS.
*' 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
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 75
" I've finished now," said Fanny, closing a
" Very good," returned William, seating
himself opposite to his father. " Then here
goes ;" and he recommenced
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A PAIR OF
" 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,
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
" ' 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
" 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
'*' 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
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
" ' 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
"■ ' 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-
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 81
" ' We'll close,' said the pawnbroker.
" * Yes, sir,' replied Bill, with a grin of de-
" 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-
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
" 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.
" ' Hot with,' laconically replied the co-
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 83
" * Here's better luck, colonel," said the
'' 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
" * How fortunate, was it not ?' said he, re-
" ' What do you mean ?' said I.
" ' Didn't you see me in her box ?' re-
'^ ' '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
" * I never was in any gambling-house,' I
" ' 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
" 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
" I rattled the dice and threw.
" ' Eleven 's a nick,' added the same indi-
" 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
" 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
" ' What's the name on the card ?' I in-
" ' 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
" 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
" 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
" ' 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 ? '
" ' Loo, and unlimited, for what I care,'
" ' 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-
" 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
" ' We shall be interrupted in this room
presently,' said Eussel ; ' let us have a private
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" Emily, now left solely to me for support,
by her endearments and lonely situation, pre-
vented me for a time from pursuing my ruinous
100 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
career. Day by day, however, the inex-
pressible longing increased — and again I
"' 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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-
" 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
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-
** Are you tired, squire?" asked Wilmott,
who was sitting on a sofa with Kate, while
Titley stood with Agnes in the recess of a
106 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
window, looking at the busy throng passing
" 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-
" 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-
*' About a quarter of a mile," replied Wil-
" 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
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
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
'' 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
" 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
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
** Yes, marm," replied the little man, much
improved in his manner; *^ but the gen'l'man's
" 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
*' Merciful heaven ! " exclaimed she, as a
quick footstep descended the stairs. A mo-
ment more, and she was clasped in Eanger's
" Come up, dear Agnes," said he.
" Stop, Charles," she replied ; " who are
on the stairs ?"
" No one," rejoined he, " except the night
" Are you sure ? " asked Agnes, with tre-
" 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-
" 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
**' But it was imprudent for you to come at
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 115
this time, Agnes," said he, half reproach-
" I differ with you," replied Agnes ; " I
should have been missed had I come in the
" Well, I must not blame you, dearest,"
rejoined Charles. " Tell me how you have
been, and how our good uncle and cousin
" 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
" 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
" 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
"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-
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-
" Have you seen him ?" inquired Agnes.
" No," replied he ; " but I was told by him
that he had."
" That friend," rejoined Agnes, " is Wil-
" Agnes," said her brother, sternly, ** I
thought you would have informed me of this
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-
" Upon one condition only," rejoined her
" 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
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
*' 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
" 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
'* Is he ignorant of your assumed name ?"
*' 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
" Oh ! very often," responded Agnes.
" Then, you are intimate with him," said
" 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
Charles did not notice his sister's con-
fusion, but said, —
" I am thinkino' whether he recoonized
** I am certain he could not," replied
" 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
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 ?"
" By never frequenting such scenes again,"
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
"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 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.
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
" "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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
** He is one of the best fellows living," re-
'' But an eccentric being in most of his
ideas," added Kate.
132 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
" Particularly upon religious subjects," re-
" 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
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,
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
*^ 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
" Oh, very well," said the squire ; " then
we shall see you presently ;" and off the car-
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 135
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
" 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
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
" 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-
*' 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
" At one," replied Wilmott.
" Have you any engagement before then ?"
'' Yes," replied Wilmott ; " I shall leave
you now, and we'll meet at that hour in the
" 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
" 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-
" 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
" 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
" 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,"
" But I am certain he will," rejoined Wil-
mott. " I believe now he imagines something
" 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,''
" 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
"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-
" You were right," replied Wilmott ; "I
will not see him until he's more reasonable in
" 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
*' 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
" 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
"Where's Mr. Titley this morning?" in-
" 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."
148 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
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
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
" There !" exclaimed the attorney, regard-
ing himself in the glass with a satisfied air ;
** I'm of opinion that would do for West-
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
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
'' 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
" 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
" 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
"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
" You don't mean that, sir, do ye ?" said
the boy, with a doubting stare.
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
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
'' 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
" Your name, sir," said Fiddylee, with his
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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-
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
" 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
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-
" 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
" 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
'' 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
" Silence in the court !" bawled the usher,
as fresh symptoms of laughter exhibited them-
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
"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
" 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
" I was ; and a splitting run we had," re-
*'Was the defendant with you?" asked
" 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
" I should think I did," replied Mr. Bolton,
looking hard at the judge, and winking his
" 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
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
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
" 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
" You have said the ducks, geese, and gos-
lings, were greatly alarmed," remarked Tit-
ley's counsel, rising to cross-examine the wit-
" Every veather stood on end," replied
'^ 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
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-
174 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
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-
" 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
" 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-
" 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
" 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
" 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
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-
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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 ?"
'' 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
" Shall I try him with a frog ?" asked the
" A minnow would be best, I think," re-
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
" 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
*' 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
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,
" I think not," rejoined the squire, "by
To and fro the fish was played by the scien-
tific squire, who never appeared more flushed
" I'll have you," said he. " You can't
" He's gorged the bait, sir," said Striver.
*' I see he has," responded the squire ; "it's
" Shall I try and get the net under him
181 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
now, sir ?" asked Peter, as the fish appeared
" ISTo," replied the squire ; " I'll manage it
all myself. I've hooked him, and I'll land
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
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
" 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
'' 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
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
" 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
" 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
" 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?"
" 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
" But I think there is," said Agnes.
" To do so will only add to the absurdity,"
" Well," rejoined Agnes, " if you fear to
state the particulars of this dream, I must
excuse you. But no more of these illusions,
" 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,"
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
BRIGHTENING PROSPECTS — A RUN WITH THE
'' 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
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
" 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
" 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
'' You are right," said Anstruther. " In
ninety nine cases out of a hundred this is
so. Still there are exceptions ; and I am
" 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
" 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
" 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
*' 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
" 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 !"
196 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
**I see no reason for your keeping aloof
now," rejoined Anstruther. " I can bear
"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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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.
" And bring some good cigars."
" I wonder if any of those bipeds can say
no ?" observed Anstruther, as the waiter closed
" It 's a rare occurrence to hear," said
" 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.
" Will you oblige me by saying * no ?' "
" 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,"
" 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
" ' 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
" 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
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
" 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-
" * Papa has already offered to do so,' she
replied ; ' but I shall not go unless you accom-
" ' 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,'
" * 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
' 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
"'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
'' ' 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
210 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLE^L^.
" ' Hold hard, gentlemen, ' shouted the
huntsman. * Plenty of time ; let 'em get
" 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
'' 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-
" A plain truth, unvarnished with fiction,"
"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~.
218 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
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.
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
" 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
" ISTo," continued Peter, " and, if you had,
I wouldn't lick ye now ; not for your mother's
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
THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 221
Mrs. Tiggle folded the finished shirt, and
" 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-
" 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
" 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/'
" 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
*' 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
*' 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
"• 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-
" 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-
" 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
" 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."
226 THE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN.
A gentle tap at the door here attracted
" Come in," said Mrs. Tiggle ; when the
door swung open upon its creaking hinges,
and exhibited the figure of Mr. Bolton upon
" 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-
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 ?"
" 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
" 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
*' 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
" 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
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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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-
'' 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
" 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
Jack's sincerity was portrayed in his un-
disguised enthusiasm. Every nerve seemed
to thrill with interest, as he expressed his
" 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
" 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
" 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 OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN. 239
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
" 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
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
" 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-
" 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-
" 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-
" Heaven be praised ! This mystery will
at length be cleared. But, is it not strange
he should have neglected to inform you of the
" ^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,
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 !"
" She is rising, I think," added Agnes,
" I'll throw a pebble at the window to see,"
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'
" 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
" Why it isn't past six, is it ?" he in-
" No," replied Wilmott and Agnes, in the
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
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,"
" 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
"Is he to go with us to-day?" asked the
" 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
" 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-
" And so you intend he should take your
place, I suppose," said Agnes, quizzing the
" Not while I live, miss," replied Tom,
shaking his head — ''not while I live. But
he shall be ready for the empty saddle when
" 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-
" You deserve it," she said.
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
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
" I hope so," added Kate.
" The scent will be good to-day, I think,"
" 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
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,"
" Say, rather, we are unusually early,"
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.
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
Button gave a sharp cry, as much as to
inquire the nature of the business they were
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
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
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-
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
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
"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^
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
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-
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
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
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-
" 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
, 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
^' 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
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
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.
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
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
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
^' 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
" 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
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
"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
" 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
'^ 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-
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,"
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.
" 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
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.
V. 3H0BERL, JUN., 51, RUPERT STREET, HAYMARRKT,
PRINTER TO H. R. H. PRINCE ALBERT.
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA
3 0112 051399084