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thinking the lady had better mind her p's and q's if she meant to stay there.
Ah, well," rejoined Mrs. Mansell, now ringing a concealed bell in the wall, which immediately produced an amazingly smart, handsomely. dressed housemaid-for the old lord would have none but handsome women about him-of whom she said, addressing Mrs. Blunt, "this young 'oman will show you through the state apartments, and, by the time you've done with them, you'll find me in the picter gallery."
So saying, Mrs. Mansell made a sort of half-mock, half-respectful curtsey to the "no-better-than-they-should-be's," as she thought them, and looking at the maid as much as to say "you'll not get much out of them," withdrew the way she came.
The housemaid, taking her cue from her predecessor, just as the old post-boys used to take their threepenny hints from those who brought up the chaise, proceeded to open first one bedroom door and then another, announcing, as she flourished her hand at the beds, this as the room that Queen Caroline slept in, that as the one the Duke of Somebody died in, another as the room Lord Heartycheer was born in, all of which information was a good deal lost upon Mrs. Blunt, who was busy thinking what room she would choose for her daughter. Beautiful as they all were, each succeeding one eclipsed its predecessor in splendour; so the more Mrs. Blunt saw, the more she was bewildered. And now, while the ladies are thus genially employed, let us take a glance at the gentlemen below.
"WHAT the deuce did you bring that nasty old baggage here for?" asked his lordship, sotto voce, of Jug, as soon as the folding-doors shut out the back views of the retreating ladies" what the deuce did you bring that nasty old baggage here for?" repeated he, quite beside himself with vexation.
Why, she would come! she would come!" exclaimed the halffrightened Jug. "I did all I could to prevent her."
"Ord rot her!" continued his lordship, stamping furiously, "she'll spoil all our sport-she'll spoil all our sport. I didn't want her-I didn't want her. I thought you and the girl would ride over together, and we'd have a nice quiet day to ourselves. I made it expressly for you, my dear fellow-I made it expressly for you. Old Pitcher said to me the last time I saw him in Brookes's, Heartycheer, my boy, I wish you'd notice my grandson, whose quartered beside you;' and I said to him, 'My dear Pitcher, you're the oldest friend I have in the world, the very oldest, and there's nothing I wouldn't do to serve you. I'll not only call on your grandson, but I'll call on the colonel, and so interest him in his behalf;' and seeing the young lady, I thought it would be the very thing to get you over together, for they all like a sprig of nobility; but I never wanted that old woman for a moment-never wanted that old woman for a moment."
"Well, I told her that! I told her that!" vociferated little pig-eyes, "but she said the colonel insisted on her coming-wouldn't hear of his daughter going without her—indeed she did," asserted Jug, now spluttering with vehemence.
"Well," mused his lordship, biting his lips and button-holing little Jug, "it's a bad job, a deuced bad job; but I'll tell you what you must do-you must ease me of the old body as much as you can, you know— ease me of the old body as much you can, you know-you understand, eh ?"
"Oh, yes,” replied Jug, "I'll do anything in that way—I'll do anything in that way-only tell me what to do.
Why," said his lordship, "I can manage her here, you know; the difficulty will be about hunting, you know; and I shouldn't like to disappoint Miss Angelena, whose come in her habit, and all so smart.'
"Just so," assented Jug, who had a natural horror of hunting, though, like many jolly subs., he occasionally punished himself by partaking of the chase. "Well," continued he, "as far as hunting's concerned, I'm really quite indifferent about it to-day-any other day would suit me quite as well-better, indeed, for I've got a pair of boots on that are anything but comfortable; and if one's boots don't fit, one's breeches seldom do either; and when one's garments arn't right," continued Jug, hitching and pulling away at a pair of his father's old leathers, that didn't seem to have the slightest idea of doing what they ought, "there's very little pleasure or enjoyment."
Quite true," assented his lordship-"quite true. I know nothing so nasty as ill-fitting clothes, unless, indeed, it is a nasty old bundle of dirty finery such as that you've brought here; however," continued he, calming down, "we'll say no more about that-we'll say no more about that; you'll manage the old jade-you'll manage the old jade; and now, if you'll excuse me for half a minute," added his lordship, drawing the ivory-knobbed bell-handle, "I'll send for Dicky Thorndyke, and give him his cue."
"Он, Dicky!" said his lordship, in an under tone, as that huntingequipped worthy emerged from the steward's-room, where he was having a little refreshment, and approached his lordship respectfully in the grand entrance-hall-" oh, Dicky," repeated he, in a tone of despair, "here's a pretty kettle of fish; old Mother B.'s come with her daughter, and whatever I'm to do I don't know."
"S-0-0-0," mouthed Dicky, drawing a long face.
"It's the most unfortunate thing that ever occurred," continued his lord ship.
"It is so," said Dicky, conning the matter over.
"Mr. Jug says he'll be good enough to keep her engaged while we slip off with the daughter, so you must have all things quick and ready for a start."
By all means, my lord," assented Dicky, with a touch of his fore
"The difficulty will be keeping her quiet after we've gone," observed his lordship, in an under tone.
"Oh, I think that might be manished," replied Dicky-"I think that might be manished; lock up their post-boy, and don't let him have any 'orses."
"Well," considered his lordship, "that might do."
"Or," continued Dicky, briskly," give her a little somethin' soothin'." "That was what I was thinking," whispered his lordship, winking his right eye-"that was what I was thinking. If you could see Doiley and tell him to mix her some-not over strong, you know, but just a moderate dose-we might reckon upon having her quiet for a few hours at least." "And Mr. Jug?" asked Dicky.
Oh-why-ha-hem-Mr. Jug must just take his chance, you know. It won't do for Doiley to tell him; and if he has a mind to drink it, why-ha-hem-he'll just go to sleep, too, that'll be all."
"Just so, my lord," assented Dicky-"just so ;" adding, “then what would your lordship think of drawing first ?"
"First," mused his lordship-" first," repeated he; adding, "don't know, I'm sure-this confounded interruption's put me so out-what would you think ?"
"There's the Grove, and Kiss-me-quick Hill, both sure finds," observed Dicky; "but we might rouse young Mr. Kyleycalfe, and if he was once to come to us we should never get rid on him, for he's no more sense nor delicacy nor a pig."
"No more he has," assented his lordship, who recollected how Kyleycalfe persecuted him one day when he had the beautiful Empress of Morocco out on the sly. "Dash it all! what shall we do ?" continued
his lordship, stamping furiously on the soft rug.
Dicky for once was mute.
"Couldn't you send to Kyleycalfe's, think you," asked his lordship, "with your compliments, and say you're going to draw Rougshaw Brake, that would draw him off the other ?"
"Well," said Dicky, "only it might stir up Harry Shoveller, or Mr. Whickenrake, or some of the Fatacres people, for they're all of a litter like."
They are so," assented his lordship, now more bothered than ever. "How would it do," asked Dicky, after a pause, "to run a drag, say from Choplaw Wood over Broomfield Common, through Steventon Chase and Lingfield down to Mrs. Easylove's ?"
"That would do!" ejaculated his lordship-" that would do," repeated he, delighted at his huntsman's sagacity" the very thing, I should say;" adding, "only it would be well to let Mrs. 'Love know we're coming."
By all means," assented Dicky-"by all means; send little Charley Bates off with a note at once."
"Or stay," continued his lordship, thinking it over, "how would it do," asked he, "to send Mrs. Mansell, think you, in the incog. chaise with dry things for us both in case we got wet.'
"A very good idea," replied Dicky-" a very good idea," repeated he; "then she'll be on the spot, and have everything ready against you arrive, for these old postin'-houses are not to be depended upon for comfort since railways were interduced."
They're not," replied his lordship-"far from it; Mrs. 'Love's was very cold the last time I was there; so now," continued he, button-holing his huntsman, "I'll send Mrs. Mansell to you, and you'll see and start her at once with dry things of all sorts, you know, ladies' as well as gentlemen's, and then you be ready to turn out the instant you are wantedthe instant you are wanted," repeated his lordship, energetically. Nov.-VOL. XCVI. NO. CCCLXXXIII.
"By all means," assented Dicky.
"You must have the drag run in time mind, and arrange to lift it occasionally, so that we may check and look about us a little, you know."
"By all means," assented Dicky.
"And don't forget the soothing syrup," enjoined the lord.
Certainly not," replied the huntsman.
"Tell Doiley mulled claret's the best thing to give it in," added his lordship.
"By all means," assented the huntsman.
JUST as his lordship got back to Jug, the faintest possible tinkle of a little bell in the cornice at the far end of the room announced that the ladies had entered the picture-gallery, his lordship having had the bell placed in communication with the door, in order that he might know when visitors entered, and go and enjoy their admiration of the voluptuous paintings and statues with which it abounded from private peepholes he had established in various parts of the wall.
"Now," said he to our pliant little friend Jug, as he heard the significant bell, 66 we will join the ladies, if you please, and remember—I'll take care of the old lady now, if you'll have the kindness to relieve guard, as it were, when we go to hunt-that's to say, after luncheon, you knowI'll slip away, and you must ply her with wine, liqueurs, or whatever you
think will do her good."
"I will," replied the dragoon, with great heartiness.
They then left the room arm-in-arm together, and found things just as his lordship anticipated, the housemaid having returned her charge to Mrs. Mansell; with a sneer and a chuck of her chin, as much as to say, there's fine copper company for you, that estimable lady had ushered them into the splendid picture-gallery ranging along the whole west side of the castle, and was commencing her horse-in-the-mill descriptions in a tone of hard-strained civility, when his lordship and Jug entered from the other end, and found our fair friends ranged before a voluptuous Etty that generally brought spectators up short.
"This," said Mrs. Mansell, pointing to the picture, "is the great Mr. Apollo, a gent much given to the ladies. He co'abited with Wenus in the Island of Rhodes, where it rained gold, and the earth was clothed, as you see, with lilies and roses. Among other young ladies he made love to was Miss Daphne, who, 'owever, liked a youngerer gent better nor him-Mr. Apollo, therefore, who was an artful man, persuaded the youth to dress up as a gal, and keep company with the nymphs. They, you see, want him to bathe with them in the river near London, which the youth refusing to do, his sex was discovered, and he was stabbed to the "eart with many daggers."
"Poor young man," sighed Mrs. Blunt.
"Ah, that's a fine thing-a very fine thing, Mrs.-Mrs.-Mrs.Blunt," hemmed his lordship, coming too quickly upon them to allow of a retreat" that's a very fine thing," repeated he; "the figures of the ladies, I take it, to be quite perfection-you almost fancy you can feel them in the water, it's so lambent and clear." Then, turning to Mrs.
Mansell, he said-"Thank'e, thank'e-we needn't detain you, though;" adding, in a whisper, "Mr. Thorndyke wants to see you."
Whereupon Mrs. Mansell made a most respectful curtsey, leaving the further lionisation of the ladies to his lordship, whom she couldn't help thinking a good deal resembled Mr. Apollo.
His lordship then took Mrs. Blunt on his arm, and proceeded to explain and expatiate to a very uncultivated mind. Still she was all in the assenting, enthusiastic mood, though her encomiums were sometimes misplaced. So they strolled down the fine gallery, followed by Angelena and Jug, the latter making faces at his lordship, and grimacing as he went. That," said his lordship, nodding at the back of a full-length statue occupying a newly-erected pedestal on the floor of the gallery, "of course you know; it's Power's Greek Slave, that was so much run after by all the young gentlemen at the Great Exhibition. That's an exact copy of it," continued he; "just got it home-gave a thousand-no, I'm wrong, fifteen hundred pounds for it. The figure's beautiful-very beautiful, certainly-full and voluptuous, without any Hottentot Venusish exaggeration about it; but there's a something about the face," continued he, turning the figure round on the pivot-"there's a something about the face that I don't like an air of pensive melancholy, if you observe."
"Well, but she's a slave, you know," observed Ängelena, smartly, now falling into line with Jug before the statue.
True, my dear-true,"
of the expression that I question; on the contrary, it's quite correct— quite correct-only the face reminds me of one of the most consummate hypocrites I ever met in my life girl-a with just the same mild, subdued expression of countenance, but who was as heartless a hypocrite as ever breathed a girl so full of artful purity, that you would have thought she hadn't a worldly, mercenary idea in her head, and yet whose soul run upon money, and nothing but money. I really believe she'd have jilted a D'Orsay for any rich Bullock and Hulker out of the City."
"'Orrid wretch!" exclaimed Mrs. Blunt; who, like many mammas, professed a thorough contempt for wealth.
Just as his lordship got to this virtuous period of his indignation, a softly-stepping servant, in a gorgeous white tie, and plain clothes that shone resplendently new, minced up, and announced in a half-whisper that luncheon was on the table; whereupon the peer vented the balance of his wrath upon the lady by declaring that he could "whip the figure;” and then again getting old furs on his arm, he led the way to the splendid banqueting-room that we had the pleasure of introducing to our readers on the Heartycheer Castle day, where, in newspaper phraseology, there was again a sumptuous display of every delicacy of the season. Our friends, after their long drive in the bracing wintry air, wanted little persuasion on the part of their noble host to induce them to fall to with hearty good-will, while his lordship, who was not a luncheon-eater, sat eyeing the party, and planning how to get the lively young lady away. Well," at length said he, looking at his diminutive watch as he rose from his chair on seeing Angelena was done, though mamma still plodded steadily on over a third plateful of Perigord pie-"well, don't hurry yourself, my dear Mrs.-Mrs.-Mrs. Blunt, whatever you do," laying his hand on her shoulder-" don't hurry yourself, pray-make yourself quite at home, do; and while you are eating, if your lovely daughter will