Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

99

the few directions I gave, all would have been well. Come along, my boy, and see what Mrs Vandervrow hath in store. Both cellar and pantry, thank God, are well furnished, and the blue bed-room is at your service. It is now too late to think of Bucklersbury." So I gave my arm to Mr Pouncer, crossed the street, opened our parterre-gate with one hand, and lent him a friendly shove with the other. "Pass on, my good Sir," said I; "the door's before you. To my utter astonishment, he sprung back as if from the brink of a precipice, threw Mr Doby's packet on the street, put himself in a hostile position, and indignantly exclaimed, "What the devil do you mean, Sir? none of your tricks upon travellers. Though it may suit some people's children to bivouac under a thorn, or pillow at the root of a hedge, thank God, none of my mother's sons, and there are seven of us, were ever so pitifully billeted. Confound all moon-stricken Millenniumites! say I." Having expended his gall of bitterness in these words, the infatuated young man scampered off as fast as his legs could carry him. Thus, Mr Editor, have I truly narrated the whole of his very extraordinary demeanour, and leave you to jealouse what might have been the cause thereof.

My own private opinion seems to be, that poor Mr Pouncer is much afflicted with what we call visual aberrations, or optical illusion, according to the text of Messrs Troughton and Dollond, our famous spyglass-makers, otherwise he certainly would never have mistaken a row of handsome, well-finished houses, for a thorn hedge. Be that as it may, the lad certainly exercised a very becoming discretion in leaving Mr Doby's parcel, though I felt rather huffed at the manner in which he delivered it; but we must endeavour to pocket little affronts of this sort, and dismiss them from our remembrance. With best wishes for your prosperity, both spiritual and temporal, and kind love to our men at arms, brave fellows all, I beg leave to remain, as before,

[blocks in formation]

The Fuselier, (continued.) Mrs Talbot's affecting story took possession of my heart, and interested every generous emotion so warmly in her behalf, that the bread before me, in all probability, would have remained unbroken, and the jug of ale untasted, had she not laid her hand familiarly on my shoulder, and said, "Make free, Mr Doby, and help yourself to such as I have. Brown bread, small beer, whey, butter, and skim-milk cheese, are great rarities at Welkin wold, and therefore," continued she, with a motherly smile, "it is to be hoped that cottage dainties will be the more acceptable. Silver and gold have I none, but when Willie comes hame," clasping her hands firmly together, "the treasure on which my poor heart fondly dotes, O how wealthy I will be!" A crowd of paternal emotions choaked her utterance, the tear sprung in her eye, and every feature declared that her soul was ready to faint.

O that I had been a Dey, or a Pasha, or an Ali Khan, clothed with absolute authority, how speedily the oppressor would have felt its weight! Happiness, saith the philosopher, is pretty equally distributed amongst us, and being a species of property that no man, save the righteous owner, can possibly enjoy, he that bereaves a neighbour of his portion is worse than a robber, and merits the death; yet there are men who hesitate not to despoil us of our heavenly patrimony, and wantonly eat the happiness of their fellow-beings as bread, though, like unto Pharaoh's lean kine, they appear not a whit the sleeker. Of this genus was the redoubted Squire Jumbo, a man from whose grave the peasant will never pluck a weed. But to resume my journey. The day being pretty far advanced, I returned a few acknowledgments to Mrs Talbot, for the good cheer she had set before me, and arose from her table greatly refreshed, because her bread was sweet, and her drink was pleasant. She accompanied me to the door, and we parted. The reader is no doubt most anxious to know what became of this poor woman and her ill-used boy, in whose fate every gentle peruser of these presents must needs be

interested, and willingly would I gratify him in that, and indeed every other particular; but, to use a parliamentary phrase, the time is not yet come, and he must therefore content himself, for the present, with a very small portion of information, to wit, On my return to Norfolk, a few years thereafter, in order to make good my Vows unto her who is the mother of my children, I called at Mrs Talbot's house, and was informed by the incumbent, a cross-grained old dame, whom an over-kind husband had indulged with a separate establishment, that, on or about the preceding Whitsuntide, the widow disposed of her life-interest in what little landed property appertained to her late husband, and departed, no one knew where.

Having thus far acquitted myself to the reader's satisfaction, I humbly hope that he will not oppose my taking the road in good earnest, accompanied by Mrs Talbot's best wishes. The sudden and very unceremonious manner in which Abershaw and his colleague fell upon me, together with the receipt for dusting their jackets, which I certainly expected, had they returned with a reinforcement, induced me to keep a sharp look-out, and reconnoitre every passenger with a jealous eye; but not one individual did I fall in with, capable of disputing my right of path-way for one moment, had he been so disposed; all of them appeared submissively docile, passive to a man, and thoroughly broken to the yoke of servitude. I came up to a waggoner, whose obsequious mien and debased conversation affected me much." Countryman,” said I, "where, in the name of wonder, are you travelling to with such a load of thingum-thangums, nick-nacks, and whirligigs?" Whoy, measter," replied the rustic, "I'se baund to Kaistle-Roising, please Goad, with Gaffer Naggle's thrashing mousheen. Labouring folk, now-a-days, have little or nowt to do and they'll have less by-and-by, when nick-nacks, as thee calls them, rumble in every barn. Owld Gaffer says, they'll supersede the flail soumtoime, but that matters nowt. We've gotten the proi

·

mest work-house in all Norfolk, and this leg o' moine," rubbing his shin and grinning most piteously, "gets worser and worser every day, blessed be Goad for all his mercies." "Poor fellow," said I," it grieves me to see you trudging after a team, with such an unseemly leg," for it was much swollen, and affected his walking very considerably; "I think Mr Naggle would have manifested his loving-kindness in a more Christian manner, had he kept you at home, picking potatoes in his barn, or shelling peas in his kitchen. Much do I fear, my friend, that this Gaffer of yours is no great things. He possesseth either a soft head or a hard heart-perhaps both. What sort of a blade is he?' "Gaffer Naggle's a broath of a boy," quoth the waggoner, "and his woife's the idol of owld and young. T'other day she said to I'se dame, Goody Snaffle, thee's a hard-woarking, industerous woman, and deserves encouragement. See if I doan't speak a goodish word to Farmer Bluff, the parish overseer, for another shilling a-week to fatten thy pot. Blessings on her, for she's a koind, koind body, and owld Gaffer himsen said to I, no further agone than yesterday, That leg o' thine, Joe, looks 'nation queer. If thee's a good boy, and minds thy p's and q's, blame if I doan't have a try at laying thy bones on the shelf, thee knows where.' Aye, aye, there's worser fellows than owld Gaffer Naggle, though he swears mainly and hits hardish at toimes; but this I can safely say, betoide him what wou'd, he never flogged I aboon once a-week in his loife, and that's a tale that neither man nor moather on the farm can tell." "Hits hardish and flogs once a-week! Good God!" exclaimed I," why don't you take the fellow before a Justice of the Peace, and have him punished?" "Nay, nay, measter," replied poor Joey, "we know a trick worth two o' that. Joustice o' Peace wou'd send us to the tread-mill for being saucy." The waggoner and I conversed in this manner without interruption, until a young fellow, who stood at the door of a little road-side ale-house, apparently on the look-out for a compa

"

• Moather, i. c. girl, wench, spinster, &c.

me altogether inevitable; but, in the midst of their cavilling, a voice, like unto that of many waters, thundered in their ears, "You fellor at the Dun Cow, come along." By gowls," exclaimed Joey, starting to his feet, "that's I'se measter!" and without so much as casting a thanksgiving glance to the parlour window, he hobbled off as fast as his lame leg would permit, removed his nose-bags, and took the road, whistling a rueful tune. Anxious to witness the meeting between him and old Gaffer, I settled with Mrs Yeasty, and took my departure also. The Castle of Rising, wherein Isabella, the wretched consort of our unhappy Edward, of Bannockburn celebrity, ended her days, stands on elevated ground, and commands a fine view of the adjacent country. Though much dilapidated by time, and fast crumbling into decay, a sufficiency remains to convince the traveller, that, in ancient times, it was a strong-hold of some consequence. The Borough of Rising hath shared its fate, being reduced to a mean, straggling village, famed for nothing in God's earth save its antiquity, and the absurd privilege which it still retains, of sending two Burgesses to Parliament. On approaching this queen of enfranchised sepulchres, I descried two men, one of them in livery, the other a paunchy old fellow in plain clothes, standing on the castle-hill, apparently on very friendly terms; but when Joey's waggon drew near, he in homely apparel shook hands with the gravy lapper, bowed most respectfully unto him, and leisurely waddled down a little zig-zag foot-way leading to the highroad. As he advanced, I took the liberty of examining his countenance, which certainly was a curiosity of the kind. Features may be compared to pumps and slippers on a cordwainer's sign-board, because they usually tell, and pretty correctly too, what sort of wares the proprietor has treasured up in his store-house; but Gaffer Naggle, on whose face I am now enlarging, presented to me the most vacant front that ever mortal man

nion, persuaded him to halt his team and enjoy himself, in some such words as these: "Coum, coum, Joey lad, hang on thee nose-bags, and join I for hoalf-a-point. It's a poor heart that never rejoices." I thought so too, and ordered each of them a pot of home-brewed, cheese and bread, and a pipe; for which the poor fellows were truly thankful, and failed not to drink my health most devoutly. Having thus far contributed to their enjoyments, I retired to a small parlour, that commanded the road, and sat down, being somewhat fatigued, and lacking a little refreshment. The landlady's mutton-ham was truly excellent, and her October equal to any I ever tasted; so that between eating and drinking, and listening to the conversation of my out-door friends, the most agreeable half-hour slipt away that I ever forgathered with. The waggoner questioned his companion, who belonged to a neighbouring parish, (the which information I gathered from their discourse,) how he fared in his new situation? to which the other replied, with much naiveté, "Tol lol, Joey, pretty bobbish. We've plenty o' good owld Suffolk whang *, mash'd turmets, and croak mutton, every third day. But I'se baund to have foive and noinpence a-week, and foind mysen,-thrappence moar, thee knows, than some folk can brag on." "What some folk dost mean?" quoth the waggoner, lifting up his voice, "I'd have thee to know, Dick, that I'se foive and six, with pigs keep and parquisites, is better than thee's foive and noine, with nowt else in God's world besoide; and then, when owld age overtakes us boath, what a poor look-out thee hast gotten! Whoy, Dicky Poychle, I'se workhouse is a palace, and thine's a pig-stye." Dick felt rather nettled at Joey's degrading comparison, and audibly upheld the honour of his parish asylum with fluency, whilst the waggoner strove with all his might to pull it down; and so furiously did they assail each other, in the long-run, with evil language, that hostilities appeared unto

Suffolk whang, a kind of cheese spoken of by Bloomfield, in his "Farmer's Boy," on account of its durability. When thrown into a hog's trough, saith our intelligent author, the sapient grunters presently discover that it is" too large to swallow, and too hard to bite,"

[ocr errors][merged small]

clapt eyes on. Not a single hieroglyphic was pencilled thereon to tell an inquisitive fellow, like myself, whether the owner was saint, sinner, Turk, or Christian. However, on gaining the turnpike road, he hoisted his colours, such as they were, and presently the aforesaid visage, that whilom appeared so devoid of character, became like unto a thunder-cloud pregnant with wrath, or, more properly speaking, that peculiar species of ire that undulates the front of an over-fed ox when about to gore a field-mouse. With out saying one word, good, bad, or indifferent, Gaffer Naggle seized Joey by the collar, and lashed him like a brute. Let no man elevate his nose, and say with a sneer, "Pray what was become of your famous hazel, Mr Doby, that had broken more heads than ever a stick in the whole county of Norfolk? Had I been there, the waggoner's hide would have gone scot free." Very likely, my good sir; but it so happened, that Gaffer fell upon him very suddenly, and plied his flogger with such dexterity, that before I had scampered over my lee-way, (some ten or a dozen strides) the poor devil was on his knees, crying for quarter. "Hold, my good man!" said I, arresting the assailant's uplifted arm; "one whack more will ruin you in my good opinion for ever and ever, unless the culprit is a sinner of the first magnitude. What parish church hath he robbed, or what parish priest hath he slain ?" "Parish church and parish priest!" growled the farmer; what devil dost mean? the fellor deserves his whacks, though he never robbed a church nor slew a priest in's loife. Han't he been guzzling at the Dun Cow for an hour and moare, in place o' fetching whome I'se thrashing mousheen. Devil thrash him for ligging so loang. Only see how the two randigo* millwrights laugh i' their sleeves at having nowt to do-dom them." 66 Softly, my good friend," quoth I; "not so fast; the poor soul rested his lame leg just thirty minutes and a quarter, by this time-piece,” (lugging out the gold repeater that uncle Hubert made me

a present of when he got home his new chronometer, previous to his embarking for India,) "and whatever blame may have accumulated during that period, the whole burthen thereof must be laid on my shoulders," presenting them to Gaffer with great humility of aspect, "because it was I that tempted your servant to sin with a mug of ale." He surveyed me from top to toe without uttering a word, until his face became a perfect blank, and every evil-disposed feature sculked off, the Lord knows where; then Gaffer Naggle clapt his hand on my shoulder, and said, "Dang it, thee's

a

66

rumish-looking chap, and wears an owld head on young shoulders pretty fairish. Step into the Grey Mare, and call for what thee loikes best; all good fellows are welcome on election-day, and I've done a worser turn, in Joan's parlour, than smoaked half a pipe at thee's lug. Here, Joe," slipping a few halfpence into the waggoner's hand, go and sin no moar. Tell Nan Pomeroy, as thee goas past the Mare, to be sure and put on her best bib and tucker, because I and Mr Jerry, and a few friends, will be there by-and-by." To my very great surprise, Joey pocketed the largess with abundance of thankful scrapes, and hopped away as merry as a maltman. Thus, by means of fair words, together with a judicious display of my gold repeater and its appendages, was I enabled to deliver him from the enemy without striking a blow. By the bye, I would advise no gentleman traveller, when perambulating the county of Norfolk, to put his argumentative forces in array against those of the natives, unless he hath a pair of silver-mounted spectacles ready to pop on his nose, a gold chain and seals to play with, or a few sovereigns to jink loosely in his hand, because the most substantial reason he can possibly muster will avail him not, unless they are backed out by at least the appearance of property. When the waggoner left us, I proceeded to thank Mr Naggle, in my very best language, for his proffered kindness, and declared how sorry I was that business of

Randigo, i. e. renegado. The machinists in question were from Dumfries-shire, and consequently merited the appellation, all interlopers being randigos.

the utmost importance called me to Lynn without delay, otherwise I certainly would have done myself the honour of taking a whiff with him; "because," said I, "the gentleman whom a good and faithful servant speaks so very handsomely of, is worth being honoured; and never did a waggoner in this world extol an indulgent mastermore highly than the poor fellow whom you have just now dismissed from your presence, and sent on his way rejoicing." Gaffer was so exceedingly pleased with the sprinkling of whitewash, that I felt some difficulty in persuading him to dispense with my presence at the Grey Mare Tavern; and so perfectly reconciled was he to Joey Snaffle, in whose behalf I interested myself not a little, that I have every reason to believe the old fellow would set about procuring him a birth in the parish workhouse without delay, the consummation of every labouring man's earthly ambition in those parts.

Castle-Rising, as the reader well knoweth, is a decayed Borough, chiefly inhabited by husbandmen, whose dwellings make but a so-andso appearance; and as there is neither Cross, Court-house, nor public edifice of any description whatever, to arrest the traveller's attention, I passed along at a smart pace, looking out for the Grey Mare, in order to treat my eyes with a squint at the election-bustle, which I fully expected to behold. How far they were gratified, will appear in due time. A little way on, I descried a sign-board swinging at the end of an antiquelooking house, from a clumsy pole projecting through the thatch, and naturally concluded that the Mare was in sight; but, on my nearer approach, lo and behold it was the Black Bull! On a wooden bench by the door sat a parcel of clean-shaven rustics, robed in white smockfrocks, each with a mug of ale in his hand, a pipe in his cheek, and a blue favour pinned to the crown of his hat. Their latter ends were cased in sheepskin breeches, their legs in buskins of the same material, and their feet might have vied with those of a fulling mill, being tenanted, if I may so express myself, into leather blocks, fashioned like

Anonymous Literature.-No. VIII.

[Jan.

66

shoes, laced tight to their ancles, and soundly bottomed with hob-nails. tors, for such I took them to be, "Friend," said I to one of the elec"whereabouts is the Grey Mare?" much simplicity, To which the fellow replied, with whome, to be sure-doan't thee hear Whoy, she's at her?" I listened for a moment or so, and distinguished, amongst the hubspeechifier lecturing away at the folbub of tongues, that of a female lowing rate-" Devil ride a-begging Pomeroy, and coum whome without on that jolter-head o' thine, Tim burnt the bottom out o' our good new a nag. What hast thee been doing? sauce-pan, as I'm a sinful woman, and chopped up sage and rue with Jerry wont look at it. Get out o' my the veal stuffing. Gads-flesh, Mr sight this precious moment, thou graceless good-for-nowt. Lay a few parsley sprigs about the venison dish, Poll Blowse, and wipe off thee's vile thumb marks. O thou slovenly slut ! house and my housewifery, was he to What would Mr Jerry say of my lazy lump o' flesh, Kate Gaffle, run see such untidiness? Where's that scuttle. Throw a shovelful under the to? O, here she coums with the coalpot, huzzy, and give Gaffer Naggle's hard dumplings a good rattling boil. Devil choak him with the hindmost, say I, for treating the electors like spaniel dogs. They've never sat down squire farmed them out to old Gaffer to a full trencher dinner, since the 'bacco included. Curse his monopoat eighteen-pence a-head, beer and lizing sides!" To this internal hurricane, a still, small voice replied, in the most submissive tone I ever listened to, 66 Blessings on thee, Joan, mainly. Doan't thee see how eydentdoan't fret, and stew, and rampage so ly the moathers and I are doing, and scheming, and contriving for the best? Have a little patience, and I'll be chatter, Tim Pomeroy," replied the bound to say, that-" "Howld thees lecturer, "and nobody will know pering tongue o' thine, thou poor acthat thee's a ninny. Rot that whimsaid I to myself; "the gray mare's tionless musk-worm." "Ho, ho!" ing inclined to see the heroine in her the better horse, it seems;" and feelglory, I slipt into the Black Bull, and certainly beheld a landlady al

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »