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back him he was not so much afraid. He even, when unusually elevated with punch, his favourite liquor, would declare that he did not mind her at all; 'what harm could a woman's scolding do ? And though his courage would ooze out somewhat as he approached his own door, and ascended the three steep steps, and listened to her sharp, angry tread in the passage, (for her very footsteps were to Peter's practised ear the precursors of the coming lecture,) yet, on the whole, whilst shielded by his champion and protector, the jolly butcher, he got on pretty well, and was perhaps as happy as a man linked to a domineering woman can well expect to be.
Mr. Lane's removal was a terrible stroke to Peter. The distance, it was true, was only half a mile; but the every-day friend, the next-door neighbour, was gone; and the poor poulterer fretted and pined, and gave up his club and his parish-meetings, grew thinner and thinner, and paler and paler, and seemed dwindling away into nothing. He avoided his old friend during his frequent visits to the Butter-market, and even refused Mrs. Lane's kind and pressing invitations to come and see them at Sunham. His sister's absence or presence had ceased to make any difference in him; his spirits were altogether gone, and his very heart seemed breaking.
Affairs were in this posture, when, one fine afternoon in the beginning of October, Stephen was returning across Sunham Common from a walk that he had been taking over some of his pastures, which lay at a little distance from his house. He was quite unaccompanied, unless, indeed, his pet dog, Smoker, might be termed his companion-an animal of high blood and great sagacity, but so disguised by his insupportable fatness, that I myself, who have generally a tolerable eye when a greyhound is in question, took him for some new-fangled quadruped from foreign parts, --some monstrous mastiff from the Anthropophagi, or Brobdignaggian pointer. Smoker and his master were marching leisurely up Sunham Common, under the shade of a noble avenue of oaks, terminating at one end by a spacious open grove of the same majestic tree; the sun at one side of them, just sinking beneath the horizon, not making his usual “ golden set,” but presenting to the eye a ball of ruddy light; whilst the vapoury clouds on the east were suffused with a soft and delicate blush, like the reflection of roses on an alabaster vase; the bolls of the trees stood out in an almost brassy brightness, and large portions of the foliage of the lower branches were bathed, as it were, in gold; whilst the upper boughs retained the rich russet brown of the season; the green turf beneath was pleasant to the eye and to the tread, fragrant with thyme and aromatic herbs, and dotted here and there'with the many-coloured fungi of autumn ;-the rooks were returning to their old abode in the oak-tops ; children of all ages were gathering acorns underneath ; and the light smoke was curling from the picturesque cottages, with their islets of gardens, which, intermingled with straggling horses, cows, and sheep, and intersected by irregular pools of water, dotted the surface of the village green.
It was a scene in which a poet or a painter would have delighted. Our good friend Stephen was neither. He paced along, supporting himself on a tall, stout hoe, called a paddle, which, since he had turned farmer, he had assumed instead of his usual walking-stick, for the pur
pose of eradicating docks and thistles ; now beheading a weed-Now giving a jerk amongst a drift of fallen leaves, and sending them dancing on the calm autumnal air;--Now catching on the end of his paddle an acorn, as it fell from the tree, and sending it back amongst the branches like a shuttlecock;--now giving a rough, but hearty caress to his faith. ful attendant Smoker, as the affectionate creature poked his long nose into his hand ;-now whistling the beginning of oue tune, now humming the end of another; whilst a train of thoughts-pleasant and unpleasant, merry and sad-went whirling along his brain. Who can describe or remember the visions of half an hour-the recollections of half a mile ? First Stephen began gravely to calculate the profits of those upland pastures called and known by the name of the Sunham crofts; the number of tons of hay contained in the ricks, the value of the grazing, and the deductions to be made for labour, manure, tithe, and poor-rate,--the land-tax, thought Stephen to himself, being redeemed ;-athen poor little Dinah Keep crossed his path, and dropped her modest curtsey, and brought to mind her bedridden father, and his night-mare, Jacob Jones, who had refused to make this poor cripple the proper allowance; and Stephen cursed Jacob in his heart, and resolved to send Dinah a bit of mutton that very evening ;—then Smoker went beating about in a patch of furze by the side of the avenue, and Stephen diverged from his path to help him, in hopes of a hare;-then, when that hope was fairly gone, and Stephen and Smoker had resumed their usual grave and steady pace, a sow, browsing among the acorns, with her young family, caught his notice and Smoker's, who had like to have had an affair with her in defence of one of the little pigs, whilst his master stopped to guess her weight. “ Full fourteen score," thought Stephen, " as she stands; what would it be if fatted ?-twenty, at least. A wonderful fine animal ! I should like one of the breed." Then he recollected how fond Peter Jenkins used to be of roast pig ;-then he wondered what was the matter with poor Peter;—and just at that point of his cogitations he heard a faint voice cry “ Stephen !” and turning round to ascertain to whom the voice belonged, found himself in front of Peter himself, looking more shadowy than ever in the deepening twilight.
Greetings, kind and hearty, passed between the sometime neighbours, and Smoker was by no means behindhand in expressing his pleasure at the sight of an old friend. They sat down on a bank of turf, and moss, and thyme, formed by a water-channel, which had been cut to drain the avenue in winter; and the poor poulterer poured his griefs into the sympathising ear of his indignant friend. ..." And now she's worse than ever,” quoth Peter ; “ I think soon that she'll want the key of the till. She won't let me go to the club, or the vestry, or the mayor's dinner: and now the Tories have got hold of her, and if there should happen to be an election, she won't let me vote." 3.6 Marry, and get rid of her, man !--that's my advice," shouted Stephen. “ Dang it! if I'd be managed by any woman that ever was born. Marry, and turn her out of doors!” vociferated Stephen Lane, striking his paddle into the bank with such vehemence, that that useful implement broke in the effort to pull it out again “Marry, I say !" shouted Stephen..
“How can I ?" rejoined the meek man of chickens ; " she won't let me."
“Won't let him !” ejaculated the ex-butcher, with something like contempt. “Won't let him! Afore I'd let any woman dare to hinder me— Howsomever, men are not all alike. Some are as vicious as a herd of wild bulls, and some as quiet as a flock of sheep. Every man to his nature. Is there any lass whom you could fancy, Peter, provided a body could manage this virago of a sister of yours? Does any pretty damsel run in your head ?"
“ Why, I can't but say,” replied Peter, (and, doubtless, if there had been light enough to see him, Peter, whilst saying it, blushed like a young girl,).“ I can't but confess,” said the man of the dove-cot, - that there is a little maiden- Did you ever see Lucy Clements ?”.
“What !” rejoined the hero of the cleaver, “ Lucy Clements! Did I ever see her! Lucy Clements—the dear little girl that, when her father first broke, and then died broken-hearted, refused to go and live in case and plenty in Sir John's family here, (and I always respected my lady for making her the offer,) as nursery governess, because she would not leave her sick grandmother, and who has stayed with her ever since, waiting on the poor old woman, and rearing poultry "
“She's the best fattener of turkeys in the country," interrupted Peter.
“Rearing poultry," proceeded Stephen," and looking after the garden by day, and sitting up half the night at needlework! Lucy Clements-the prettiest girl within ten miles, and the best! Lucy Clements -whom my mistress (and she's no bad judge of a young woman) loves as if she was her own daughter. Lucy Clements !--dang it, man! you shall have her. But does Lucy like you ?”
“ I don't think she dislikes me," answered Peter modestly. We've had a deal of talk when I have been cheapening her poultry,-buying, I should say; for, God knows, even if I had not liked her as I do, I never could have had the heart to bate her down. And I'm a great favourite with her good grandmother; and you know what a pleasure it would be to take care of her, poor old lady, as long as she lives, and how comfortably we could all live together in the Butter-market. Only Judith— "
“ Hang Judith!-you shall have the girl, man!” again ejaculated Stephen, thumping the broken paddle against the ground—“ You shall have her, I say?”
“ But think of Judith! And then, since Jacob Jones has got hold of her- "
“ Jacob Jones!” exclaimed Stephen, in breathless astonishment.
“Yes. Did not I tell you that she was converted to the Tories ? Jacob Jones has got hold of her; and he and she both say that I'm in a consumption, and want me to quarrel with you, and to make my will, and leave all to her, and make him executor; and then I do believe they would worry me out of my life, and marry before. I was cold in my coffin, and dance over my grave,” sighed poor Peter.
.“ Jacob Jones!” muttered Stephen to himself, in soliloquy; “ Jacob Jones !” And then, after ten minutes hard musing, during which he pulled off his hat, and wiped his face, and smoothed down his shining hair, and broke the remains of his huge paddle to pieces, as if it had
been a willow twig, he rubbed his hands with a mighty chuckle, and cried, with the voice of a Stentor, “ Dang it, I have it !!
“ Hark’ye, man !” continued he, addressing Peter, who had sat pensively on one side of his friend, whilst Smoker reposed on the other“ Hark’ye, man ! you shall quarrel with me, and you shall make your will. Send Lawyer Davis to me to-night; for we must see that it shall be only a will, and not a conveyance or a deed of gift; and you shall also take to your bed. Send Thomson, the apothecary, along with Davis: they're good fellows, both; and will rejoice in humbugging Miss Judith. And then you shall insist on Jacob's marrying Judith, and shall give her five hundred pounds down,--that's a fair fortune, as times go; I don't want to cheat the woman ;-besides, it's worth anything to be quit of her;—and then they shall marry. Marriages are made in heaven, as my mistress says; and if that couple don't torment each other's heart out, my name's not Stephen. And when they are fairly gone off on their bridal excursion,--to Windsor, maybe; aye, Mistress Judith used to want to see the Castle--off with them to Windsor from the church door ;-and then for another will, and another wedding-hey, Peter and a handsome marriage-settlement upon little Lucy. We'll get her and her grandmother to my house to-morrow, and my wife will see to the finery. Off with you, man! Don't stand there, between laughing and crying; but get home, and set about it. And mind you don't forget to send Thomson and Lawyer Davis to me this very evening.” - Ånd home went Stephen, chuckling; and, as he said, it was done,aye, within a fortnight from that very day; and the two couples were severally as happy and as unhappy as their several qualities could make them-Mr. and Mrs. Jones finding so much employment in plaguing each other, that the good poulterer and his pretty wife, and Stephen, and the hamlet of Sunham, were rid of them altogether. ::
GREAT ruler of the rule! . .
Science's dearest living treasure !
Wholesale match-maker between bricks and mortar, p":1}," And founder of-albeit unclassed-a school, . Pr Where principles yet unacknowledged taught are !
Sticker of stucco, Mentor of cement!
Lord of the ladder that has Fame at the end on't!
Whose genius still is shown in the ascendant! ,1?,
Whilst I essay,
After my way,
Let men of vain pretence
Declare that thou, my Wilkins,
A mal-constructor art, and one that ill kens
And that indeed
Thou still dost need,
So archly span
And swear thou hast dealt hard with Priscian,
'Twill fret them.
Give them but grins-
That angry Gwilt
And vainly thou didst then
Psha! pish! their sallies
Are but malice.
Rest but on stories ;
A jobbing undertaker, who
St. Martin's porch.
What dost thou care?
In thy peculiar mind we see
And out of what would be
To any man but thee
Yea, and when thou dost dream
* The “ Literary Gazette," although strictly a sheet, is here termed by poetic license a quilt.