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“ What sport
Still, nearly daft as Robert was, he was generally asked where there was anything going on ; and more than one young la- But we will not tell about that, as he is only one of the very small deer of our story.
By the time the ladies took their departure, Mr. Jawleyford had somewhat recovered from the annoyance of his disappointment ; and as they retired he rang the bell, and desired Spigot to set in the horse-shoe table, and bring a bottle of the “
green seal,” being the colour affixed on the bottles of a four-dozen hamper of port ("curious old port at 48s.") that had arrived from “ Wintle and Co.” by rail (goods-train of course) that morning
“ There !” exclaimed Jawleyford, as Spigot placed the heavy richly cut decanter on the horse-shoe table. “ There !” repeated he, drawing the green curtain as if to shade it from the fire, but in reality to hide the dulness the recent shaking had given it; “ that wine,” said he, “is a quarter of a century in bottle, at the very least."
“ Indeed,” observed Mr. Sponge ; “time it was drunk.” “A quarter of a century!” gaped Robert Foozle.
“Quarter of a century if it's a day," replied Jawleyford, smacking his lips as he set down his glass after imbibing the precious beverage.
“Very fine," observed Soapey; adding, as he sipped off his glass, “it's odd to find tawny wine so full-bodied.”
“Well, now tell us all about your day's proceedings,” said Jawleyford, thinking it advisable to change the conversation at once. had you
lord ?” “Oh, why, I really can't tell you much,” drawled Soapey, with an air of bewilderment. “Strange country-strange faces--nobody I knew, and”
“Ah, true," replied Jawleyford,"true. It occurred to me after you were gone, that perhaps you might not know any one. Ours, you see, is rather an out-of-the-way country ; very few of our people go to town, or indeed anywhere else ; they are all tarry-at-home birds. But they'd receive you with great politeness, I'm sure--if they knew you came from here, at least," added he.
Soapey was silent, and took a great gulp of the dull Wintle, to save himself from answering.
“Was my Lord Scamperdale out ?" asked Jawleyford, seeing he was not going to get a reply:
" Why, I can really hardly tell you that,” replied Soapey. “There were two men out, either of whom might be him; at least, they both seemed to take the lead, and—and—” he was going say “d-n the people," but he thought he might as well keep that to himself.
Stout, hale-looking men, dressed much alike, with great broad tortoise-shell-rimmed spectacles on ?" asked Jawleyford.
“ Just so," replied Soapey.
“Ah, you are right then,” rejoined Jawleyford ; "it would be my lord.”
“ And who was the other ?" inquired Soapey.
“Oh, that beast, Jack Spraggon," replied sawleyford, curling up his nose as if he was going to be sick ; “one of the most odious wretches under the sun. I really don't know any man that I have so great a dislike to, so utter a contempt for, as that beast Jack, as they call him.”
“ What is he?" asked Soapey.
“Oh, just a hanger-on of his lordship’s: the creature has nothingnothing whatever ; he lives on my lord-eats his venison, drinks his claret, rides his horses, bullies those his lordship doesn't like to tackle with, and makes himself generally useful, as servants-of-all-work say when they advertise for places."
“ He seems like a man of that sort,” observed Soapey, as he thought over the compliments the two had paid him. “Well
, who else had you out, then ?" asked Jawleyford. “ Was Tom Washball there ?"
No," replied Soapey ; "he wasn't out, I know.” “Ah, that's unfortunate,” observed Jawleyford, helping himself and passing the bottle to Soapey. “ Tom's a capital fellow-a perfect gentleman-great friend of mine. If he'd been out you'd have had nothing to do but mention my name, and he'd have put you all right in a minute. Who else was there, then?” continued he.
6 There was a tall man in black, on a good-looking young brown horse, rather rash at his fences, but a fine style of goer.”
“What !” exclaimed Jawleyford, “a man in drab cords and jackboots, with the flipes of his hat rather turning upwards ?"
“ Just so," replied Soapey; " and a double ribbon for a hat-string."
“ That's Master Blossomnose," observed Jawleyford, scarcely able to contain his indignation. “ That's Master Blossomnose,” repeated he, taking a back hand at the port in the excitement of the moment. “ More to his credit if he were to stay at home and attend to his parish, added Jawleyford; meaning, it would have been more to his credit if he had fulfilled his engagement to him in the evening, instead of going out hunting in the morning.
The two then sat silent for a time, Soapey seeing where the sore place was,
and Robert Foozle as usual seeing nothing. “Ah, well,” observed Jawleyford, at length breaking silence, “it was unfortunate you went this morning. I did my best to prevent you—told you what a long way
However, never mind, we will put all right to-morrow. His lordship, I'm sure, will be most happy to see you. So help yourself," continued he, passing the “Wintle," "and we will drink his health, and success to foxhunting.”
Soapey filled a bumper and drank his lordship's health, with the accompaniment as desired; and turning to Robert Foozle, who was doing likewise, said, " Are you fond of hunting, sir?"
“Yes, I'm fond of hunting," replied Foozle.
The green seal” being demolished, Jawleyford ordered a bottle of the 6 other," attributing the slight discoloration (which he did not discover until they had nearly finished the bottle) to change of atmosphere in the outer cellar. Soapey tackled vigorously with the new comer, which was better than the first; and Robert Foozle, drinking, as he spoke, by pattern, kept filling away, much to Jawleyford's dissatisfaction, who was compelled to order a third. During the progress of its demolition, the host's tongue became considerably loosened. He talked of hunting and the charms of the chase-of the good fellowship it produced ; and expatiated on the advantages it was of to the country in a national point of view, promoting as it did a spirit of manly enterprise, and encouraging our unrivalled
breed of horses ; both of which he looked upon as national objects, well worthy the attention of enlightened men like himself.
Jawleyford was a great patron of the chase ; and his keeper, Watson, always had a bag-fox ready to turn down when my lord's hounds met there. Jawleyford's covers were never known to be drawn blank. Though they had been shot in the day before, they always held a fox the next-if a fox was wanted.
Soapey being quite at home on the subject of horses and hunting, lauded all his papa-in-law's observations up to the skies; occasionally considering whether it would be advisable to sell him a horse, and thinking, if he did, whether he should let him have one of the three he had down, or should get old Buckram to buy some quiet screw that would stand a little work and yield him (Soapey) a little profit, and yet not demolish the great patron of English sports. The more Jawleyford drank, the more energetic he became, and the greater pleasure he anticipated from the meet of the morrow. He docked the lord, and spoke of
Scamperdale” as an excellent fellow—a real, good, hearty, honest, English gentleman-a man that “ the more you knew the more you liked ;” all of which was very encouraging to Soapey. Spigot at length appeared to read the tea and coffee riot-act, when Jawleyford, determined not to be done out of another bottle, pointing to the nearly-emptied decanter, observed to Robert Foozle, “I suppose you'll not take any more wine?" To which Robert replied, “No, I'll not take any more wine.” Whereupon, pushing out his chair, and throwing away his napkin, Jawleyford arose and led the way to the drawing-room, followed by Soapey and this entertaining young gentleman.
A round game followed tea; which, in its turn, was succeeded by a massive silver tray, chiefly decorated with cold water and tumblers ; and as the various independent clocks in the drawing-room began chiming and striking eleven, Mr. Jawleyford thought he would try to get rid of Foozle by asking him if he hadn't better stay all night.
“ Yes, I think I'd better stay all night,” replied Foozle.
“But won't they be expecting you at home, Robert ?” asked Jawleyford, not feeling disposed to be caught in his own trap.
“Yes, they'll be expecting me at home," replied Foozle.
“Then, perhaps, you had better not alarm them by staying,” suggested Jawleyford.
“ No, perhaps I'd better not alarm them by staying,” repeated Foozle. Whereupon they all rose, and wishing him a very good night, Jawleyford handed him over to Spigot, who transferred him to Brown, who passed him to Snell, to button into his booby-hutch.
After talking Robert over, and expatiating on the misfortune it would be to have such a son, Jawleyford rang the bell for the banquet of water to be taken away; and ordering breakfast half-an-hour earlier than usual, our friends dispersed to bed.
THE F. H. H. AGAIN.
GENTLEMEN unaccustomed to public hunting often make queer figures of themselves when they go out. We have seen them in all sorts of odd
dresses, half foxhunters half fishermen, half foxhunters half sailors, with now and then a good sturdy cross of the farmer.
Mr. Jawleyford was a cross between a military man and a dandy, with a slight touch of the squire. The green-and-gold Bumperkin foragingcap, with the letters “B. Y. C.” (Bumperkin Yeomanry Cavalry) in front, was cocked jauntily on one side of his badger-pyed head, while he played sportively with the patent leather strap-now toying with it on his lip, now dropping it below his chin, now hitching it up on to the peak. He had a tremendously stiff stock on-so hard that no pressure made it wrinkle, and so high that his pointed gills could hardly peer above it. His coat was a bright green cut-away—made when collars were worn very high and very hollow, and when waists were supposed to be about the middle of a man's back, Jawleyford's back-buttons occupying that remarkable position. These, which were of dead gold with a bright rim, represented a hare full stretch for her life, and were the buttons of the old Muggeridge hunt--a hunt that had died many years ago from want of the necessary funds (801.) to carry
The coat, which was singlebreasted and velvet-collared, was extremely swallow-tailed, presenting a remarkable contrast to the barge-built, roomy roundabouts of the members of the “F. H. H.," or Flat Hat Hunt; the collar rising behind, in the shape of a gothic arch, exhibited all the stitchings and threadings incident to that department of the garment.
But if Mr. Jawleyford's coat went to “hare,” his waistcoat was all for the “ fox.” On a bright blue ground he sported such an infinity of “heads," that there is no saying that he would have been safe in a kennel of unentered or unsteady hounds. One thing, to be sure, was in his favour-namely, that they were just as much like cats' heads as foxes'. The coat and waistcoat were old stagers, but his nether man was encased in rhubarb-coloured tweed pantaloons of the newest make-a species of material extremely soft and comfortable to wear, but not so well adapted for roughing it across country. These had a broad brown stripe down the sides, and were shaped out over the foot of his fine French polished paper boots, the heels of which were decorated with long-necked, ringing spurs. Thus attired, with a little silver-mounted whip which he kept flourishing about, he encountered Mr. Sponge in the entrance hall, after breakfast-a meal that we have not thought it necessary to say anything about. Mr. Soapey, like all men who are “extremely natty” themselves, men who wouldn't have a button out of place if it was ever so, hardly knew what to think of Jawleyford's turn-out. It was clear he was no sportsman; and then came the question, whether he was of the privileged few who may do what they like, and who can carry off any kind of absurdity. Whatever uneasiness Sponge felt on that score, Jawleyford, however, was quite at his ease, and swaggered about like an aide-de-camp at a review.
“Well, we should be going, I suppose,” said he, drawing on a pair of half-dirty kid gloves, and sabreing the air with his whip.
“ Is Lord Scamperdale punctual ?" asked Soapey. “ Tol-lol,” replied Jawleyford, “ tol-lol.”
“He'll wait for you, I suppose ?" observed Soapey, thinking to try Jawleyford on that unerring criterion of favour.
Why, if he knew I was coming, I dare say he would,” replied Jawleyford slowly and deliberately, feeling it was 'now no time for flashing.
“ If he knew I was coming I dare say he would," repeated he ; " indeed, I make no doubt he would : but one doesn't like putting great men out of their way; besides which, it's just as easy to be punctual as otherwise. When I was in the Bumperkin-
“But your horse is on, isn't it?" interrupted Soapey; "he'll see your horse there, you know."
“ Horse on, my dear fellow !” exclaimed Jawleyford, “ horse on? No, certainly not. How should I get there myself if my horse' was on?"
“ Hack, to be sure,” replied Soapey, striking a light for his cigar.
“Ah, but then I should have no groom to go with me," observed Jawleyford; adding, “One must make a certain appearance, you
know. But come, my dear Mr. Sponge, Mr. Spoapey Sponge," continued he, laying hold of our hero's arm, “ let us get to the door, for that cigar of yours will fumigate the whole house ; and Mrs. Jawleyford hates the smell of tobacco.
Spigot, with his attendants in livery, here put a stop to the confab by hurrying past, drawing the bolts, and throwing back the spacious folding doors as if royalty itself were coming out.
The noise they made was heard outside ; and on reaching the top of the spacious flight of steps, Soapey's piebald in charge of a dirty village lad, and Jawleyford's steeds with a sky-blue groom, were seen scuttling under the portico, for the owners to mount. The Jawleyford cavalry was none of the best; but Jawleyford was pleased with it, and that is a great thing. Indeed, a thing had only to be Jawleyford's, to make Jawleyford excessively fond of it.
" There!" exclaimed he, as they reached the third step from the bottom. “There !" repeated he, seizing Soapey by the arm, “ that's what I call shape. You don't see such an animal as that every day,” pointing to a not badly-formed, but evidently worn-out, over-knee'd bay, that stood knuckling and trembling for Jawleyford to mount.
* One of the has beens,' I should say," replied Soapey, puffing a cloud of smoke right past Jawleyford's nose; adding, “It's a pity but you could get him four new legs.”
“Faith, I don't see that he wants anything of the sort," retorted Jawleyford, nettled as well at the smoke as the observation.
“Well, where 'ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise,'” replied Soapey, with another great puff, which nearly blinded Jawleyford. “Get on, and let's see how he goes," added he, passing on to the piebald as he spoke.
Mr. Jawleyford then mounted; and having settled himself into a military seat, touched the old screw with the spur, and set off at a canter. The piebald, either mistaking the portico for a booth, and thinking it was a good place to exhibit in, or that he had done enough work the day before (Leather, we may here add, by way of parenthesis
, having taken the change out of him with a second fox after Mr. Sponge had gone home), the piebald here proceeded to die in the most approved form; and not all Soapey's “ Come-up's” or kicks could induce him to rise before he had gone through the whole ceremony. At length, with a mane full of gravel, a side well smeared, and a " Wilkinson & Kidd" sadly scratched, the ci-devant actor arose, much to the relief of the village lad, who, having indulged in a gallop as he brought him from Lucksford, expected his death would be laid to his door. No sooner
Sept. – VOL. LXXXVII. NO. CCCXLV.