« ForrigeFortsæt »
to defend himself most energetically, and demonstrate that, as he called it himself, in hunting phraseology, "the line" he took was the safest, but was interrupted by Busheton:
"Never mind that cantankersome Lesley, Billy, my boy! jealousy. Now, just leave him to me for a minute, and I'll set you right. A fact creditable in the highest degree to our brother Haughton has come within my knowledge, and I think it right to make public an incident which redounds to the honour of that distinguished member of the H bar."
"What the devil is he at," growled Master Billy, getting suspicious at the friendly assistance tendered in such a grandiloquent strain.
"Silence, ingrate!" cried Busheton, while we all with one voice called for "Order."
Haughton relapsed into silence, and Busheton continued: "You are aware, gentlemen, that our brother has a weakness for luggage, and that to see him starting for circuit, between hat-cases, portmanteaus, trunks, carpet-bags, desks, sticks, umbrellas, fishing-rods, &c., you cannot persuade yourself but that he is going by long sea to India. It was my fortune, whether good or ill I do not say, to be at the terminus in Dublin when our brother Haughton arrived with his usual array of traps, which occupied the carman and four porters to get on the train in time, friend William cursing and fizzing about in the most frantic manner at having, amongst other things, either forgotten or lost, in coming to the station, his third great-coat and one of his railway wrappers. I have now stated one fact, forming a leading feature in my friend's case necessary to be understood. Let me remind you of another. Oh, disciples of Hoyle and Major A.! you are never, even in the most dreary of towns, at a loss for a couple of packs of cards wherever Billy is to be found. Is he not sowing for himself a rich crop of gratitude, which he will one day reap ?"
"That reptile lying
Isn't that his vocation?" interrupted Lesley. "Insult added to injury," continued Busheton. on the sofa, with his hands in his breeches-pockets, won three pounds ten shillings from the amiable William last night. To continue my narrative, however, and let me hope free from those unseemly interruptions, you are now aware, gentlemen, that we are in our fourth town since leaving Dublin, and I have observed, as we journeyed onwards, that our brother Haughton's heap of luggage became small by degrees and beautifully less, owing to the graceful abandon with which he dashed out of every town, and his remembering only when he was some twelve or fifteen miles on his way from the town, that he had forgotten some of his travelling paraphernalia. When we left T, he had with him something like the ordinary amount of traps which anybody else would take with him—one portmanteau, a hat-case, a great-coat, and a railway wrapper. It so happened that when we were getting into the train at the T station, the down train to C- came up. It was dark, and there was a good deal of confusion about the right train to get into. Fearing that Master Billy would go wrong some way or other, I got him into my carriage, with his hat-case in his hand, and his mind for once at ease, as he had given his portmanteau in charge to one of the railway porters to be put into the luggage van. After getting in here, all was bustle and confusion with the crowd of men rushing backwards and for
Such were the
wards getting their things together, and making inquiries about conveyances into the town. I quietly extricated my one small portmanteau, which, turning porter for the nonce, I took on my shoulders, and went out to secure a car. Having engaged one, and placed my portmanteau on it, I returned to the platform for Haughton. The crowd had cleared away a little, but it was rather by the sound of angry and expostulating tones that I traced Master William, at the extreme end, actually dancing with rage, cursing, and spluttering like a red-hot poker in a bucket of cold water. Such conduct was monstrous !' Such neglect was disgraceful!' 'He would write to the directors!' He had nothing but the clothes on his back!' He would bring an action against the company! The servants should be all dismissed!' sounds which reached my ear, together with some of the most vigorous expletives in the English language, and one or two invented expressly for the occasion. On inquiry I found that our worthy brother had, after all his care, botched the thing by neglecting to inform the porter, "the stupidest scoundrel that ever was!' that he was coming here, and the consequence was, in the confusion, that Mr. William's portmanteau was put into the down train to C, and was at the moment some eighty miles away on its destination. The telegraphs have not yet been completed, and so up to the present time (some forty-eight hours) the unfortunate young man, reduced to the lowest stage of destitution, has actually to borrow my shirts, and we made our triumphant entry into this town, William clinging to the last of his household goods-his hat-case, which contained a dozen of shirt collars, and four packs of cards. Say, brethren, has he not earned our lasting gratitude-and should we not contribute to relieve his miserable condition?"
Busheton's story was received with a roar of applause, and Haughton was going to bore us with some explanations in his usual vociferous way, when a rather strong knock was heard at the door, and somebody sang out, Here are the men who have been dining with the judges !" and hardly was the street-door opened when we heard some person rushing up-stairs, from the steps evidently taking each flight in two bounds, and a tall, handsome young man, of a clear olive complexion, and quite beardless, wrapped in a frieze great-coat, which reached to his heels, burst into the room.
"There is Haughton at his confounded portmanteau, I'll engage, and offering to lay five to two that he will prove it to be all the porter's fault," was his first exclamation on entering. "I knew, by the confounded rumpus, that you fellows must have been stirring him up. Give me an old clay pipe, and cut some tobacco, somebody," he continued, taking off his over-coat; "I'm starved for a smoke."
The bustle created by Hevinge's entrance (that was his name) diverted my attention from the man who came after him, and who, being slightly lame, had ascended the stairs in a more leisurely way than his companion, and, coming in quietly, had settled himself with his cigar in a comfortable corner near the fire. My attention was, however, principally attracted by Hevinge, who, after taking off his great-coat, appeared in evening costume of the most soigné description (the dinner with the judges was an affair of great ceremony), and I must confess the contrast between the elegantly-dressed, handsome man, with his well-cut aristocratic features and thorough-bred looks, and the black clay pipe from
which he was extracting volumes of smoke, had for me a peculiar interest.
"I say, Hevinge," said one of the men, "had you a pleasant dinner with the judges?"
"This is glorious Cavendish!" was the reply; "those cigars are only fit for young ladies. Oh, ask Hartley about our party; I want to smoke and do settle a table for a rubber." And he continued diligently his task of "cloud compelling."
The hint about the whist-table was acted on at once, as our original party, which was six, by the addition of the two new comers, formed the necessary number for a couple of rubbers. While the tablecloths were being settled, Lesley woke up again.
"Did Norris" (this was a hard-working man, who eschewed the whist parties as something frightful) "bore you all, talking about contingent remainders and that kind of stuff?"
"Rather," said Hartley; "but we have to thank him for drawing a mot of Lord Plunket's from old T which I for one never heard
"Let us hear it," cried several. "Well, you must know," continued Hartley, "beside Hevinge, Norris, and myself, for juniors, we had the father, and and (a couple of old Q.C.s), "at dinner, and as T and the old fellows got talking about old times, his lordship thawed a good deal, and the whole thing was much pleasanter and less formal than usual. After dinner was removed and we settled quietly to our claret, that confounded Norris began about the right of the landlord to distrain when the reversion was gone, and to jaw the old man about that case of Pluck v. Digges, in which I believe the court differed on that very point. Ah,' said the old man, with his usual quiet, gentlemanly smile, I remember we had a good deal of difficulty about that case. Lord Plunket was our chief then, and I was the junior member of the court. Judge who was with the plaintiff, sat on one side of him, and Judge differed from us all, on the other, and in the course of the argument, whenever counsel on one side or the other cited a case bearing in favour of their own views, each would nudge his lordship most diligently, or pull at his robe, to attract his particular attention. "Well, T"said he to me, when we were rising, "this is a most tiresome case; and as for me, it is nothing but" (turning to the other judges) "pluck on one side and digs (Digges) on the other.'
"Gentlemen," said Hevinge, "if you mean to play whist you may as well commence, as my landlady says the character of her house will be ruined from the disreputable hours you are leading me into, and I must, therefore, be in before twelve."
"What a crammer!" was Busheton's answer; "the latest man of the lot, who has so often seduced me into commencing to play écarté at halfpast two in the morning, until our candles were gone, even after every irregular of the corps was reposing in the arms of Morpheus. Ah, Edward, you are a bad 'un, ruining my health and crakter with unearthly hours and much tobacco. We may as well indulge him, however." And so saying, we rose to take our places and to cut for partners, after which, with the exception of an occasional flying shot, and a perfect burst of approval and congratulations on one side, and mutual recriminations
as to good play on the other, after the conclusion of each rubber, together with sundry vexed points as to which side laid the five to two, or six to four on the rubber, we passed the remainder of the evening in that unbroken silence and attention to business which the noble game of whist demands from its votaries. It boots not to mention how many cigars I smoked, or how many cups of tea I drank (intoxicating fluids don't agree with whist, and were consequently not produced), or how I relished a smoking hot tumbler of brandy punch before facing the outer atmosphere, or what hour in the morning it was, or how one man could not recognise his lodgings, there being no numbers on the houses, and wanted to know "what a saddler's shop was like with its shuts up," it is enough that I arrived safe in my domicile, and shall not soon forget the friendly welcome I received on circuit, or the hearty, odd, and entertaining friends with whom I spent that evening, my first on the H- bar.
THE GIPSY GIRL.
BY MARY C. F. MONCK.
THY Courtly speech is all in vain,
Time was when I had dreams of love,
But that at last is o'er.
Go woo the wind that bends yon tree,
And be the creature of thy will,
So then in truth shall I.
I tell thee all thy flatteries
Fall idly on mine ear,
Thy words are dull, and cold, and tame
To some I used to hear.
Thou trifler with a thousand hearts!
Thou never canst have known
The love that twines its hopes and fears
I had a lover, he was one
Who dwelt beyond the sea;
And in those days how fair was life!
But he was slain. One sudden blow
Were I to listen to thy vows,
But were my heart yet free to love,
No glance could ever answer find
In word or look of mine.
Oh! let me seek my people's tents,
I scorn the wealth of shining gems
The deer is lying in the fern,
The fawn is bounding through the brake,
'Tis many a month since I have seen
I sicken of this perfumed air,
This floor with carpets decked;
I tremble at the hard, stern eyes,
I would I might awake once more
And feel the morning incense rise
Those scented waters have no charm
To cool my aching brow
Oh, for the diamond drops that hang
On every forest bough!
The dells and glades, where not alone
My steps were wont to roam,
Have heard fond words that sought to paint
My future foreign home.
I must be free to wander there,
For, parted though we be,
The haunts we shared have soothing tongues
I must be free-life wasteth fast,
With nature's lovely solitudes
And nature's children nigh.
Nay, plead not sooner shall thy hand
The summer lightning bind,
Than thy false love shall wean my thoughts
From all I've left behind.