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The obsequious son-in-law laughed very heartily at the witticisms of his father-inlaw. He then nictated his left eye in a familiar wink, and archly observed, “ daughters do not so easily find husbands, that good matches are not met with at any turn, and they who meet with clever and sensible men are fortunate in these times.” Perhaps in the sly depth of Mr. Jingles' insinuations something of a double entendre was here given.
It may suffice to inform the reader that after a long conversation on the part of Mr. Jingles, it was definitely agreed that the Jingleses should leave London, and take
up their permanent abode with the new proprietor of Elleringay Manor.
The citymerchant declared he would decline a great portion of his present business, and henceforth confine himself to private speculations, which matters could very well be transacted by letter, and a monthly visit to the metropolis. The solicitor quite agreed with him, and, in under-toned accents, muttered something about his inheriting an ample income
without business. Without delay orders were issued for the speedy repair and furnishing of their mansion. The trio were continually talking of the new prospects and new life about to be entered upon, and much happiness seemed unquestionably in store.
Mr. Gabriel Gubbins now deemed it expedient to imitate the example of his respected employer; and he vowed within himself that he would retire too. Years of toil and patient assiduity had rewarded him with a competence amply sufficient for his moderate wants, and why not now, ere age had set its hand too sternly on his brow, rest from his labours ? When he reflected on the ease and comfort consequent on a withdrawal from his vocation, he at once panted to flee away and cultivate his mignonette and geraniums in country calm. It was, we repeat, a glorious thought to Gabriel to lay down his pen, and find tranquility beyond the lowering smoke and noisy din of that bewildering city in which he had passed the entirety of his life.
His governor made to him a free gift of all printed books, fixtures, and furniture at the offices, and these Gabriel very expeditiously converted into a certain number of pounds sterling. After all it was not without a sigh that Mr. Gubbins tore himself from the sombre rooms in which he had passed more than half his existence. The very highlegged stool on which he sat, and which had become worn and polished by years of friction from his nether man, was regarded as an old friend; the silent companions in the way of chairs, pictures, and desks, on which his bodily eye had gazed for many a bygone year, were now parted with reluctantly. But however inconsistent it may seem, a sort of attachment may spring up for things that are dumb and things inanimate.
It was decided that Gabriel should, with all necessary expedition, be despatched to Elleringay, in order to superintend the improvements, and make all in readiness for the new family. This was an occupation that well accorded with his tastes, because it vested in his hands a little power, and because it was his peculiar liking to issue commands to and instruct others. He, of course, took up his residence at the village inn, and though he was not deemed an incognito M.P., yet by the airs he assumed, and the large words to which he gave utterance, a sort of respect was conceded. He did not fail to impress the credulous villagers with the great wealth and importance of the new squire; but unfortunately a prejudice already existed against the new proprietor, and his conduct towards the De Bohuns had, for its baseness, been magnified, and shaded of darker hue than even the facts had warranted. When the Jedediah Cleishbotham took, as usual, his seat in the ingle, when worthy Fallow came according to his wont to regale himself at even, and when other of those artless denizens assembled at the Plough, a fine field was presented for Mr. Gubbins to expatiate on the virtues, the influence, the dignity of those great London families, the Clinchers and the Jingleses. But, alas ! all he said was coldly received, the dominie smoked his pipe; as Gabriel vauntingly went on, he gave an ironical “ahem !” and looked in fixity at Fallow, whose huge, fat features were gathered into a withering scorn. Yes-honest Fallow recollected the unpleasant mistake into which he had fallen in a previous conjecture as to the standing and character of Mr. Gubbins, and the learned man in the corner, though he had not the candour to confess his error, did on the occasion referred to, in some measure, echo the sentiments of his friend and neighbour.
The Londoner conceived it his prerogative to be the chief spokesman in those evening assemblies, and he detailed one marvellous story after another in such continuous volubility, that scarcely any one was heard but himself. Now the schoolmaster did not relish such loquaciousness on the part of a stranger, and though he did not give credence to one half he said, yet he feared to throw
on the gauntlet of contradiction. Gabriel had signally defeated him on one occasion, and he wisely refrained from again entering the lists to be vanquished, well knowing that