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Poor Peter !-alas ! though St. Dunstan was quick,
To the bottom had sunk,
And was spied by a monk, Stone dead, like poor Clarence, half drowned and half drunk. In vain did St. Dunstan exclaim “ Vade retro Strongbeerum! discede a Lay.fratre Petro !"
Queer Latin, you'll say
That præfix of " Lay, And Strongbeerum!—I own they'd have call’d me a blockhead if At school I had ventured to use such a Vocative, 'Tis a barbarous word, and to me it's a query If you find it in Patrick, Morell, or Moreri ; But the fact is, the Saint was uncommonly flurried, And apt to be loose in his Latin when hurried; At a time, too, like this, you can well understand, That he had not, like Bentley, an Ainsworth at hand. The Brown-stout, however, obeys to the letter, Quite as well as if talk'd to, in Latin much better,
By a grave Cambridge Johnian,
Or graver Oxonian,
When once a man's dead
There's no more to be said,
BY CHARLES HOOTON.
Briefly details a slight love-skirmish between Sammy and Miss Sowersoft, which
took place before Colin, while that youth was supposed to be asleep, and also illustrates the manner in which old maids sometimes endeavour to procure themselves husbands.—Colin's employment at the lodge.--He becomes involved in a dilemma, which threatens unheard-of consequences.
AFTER Colin had spent some twenty minutes where we left him at the conclusion of the eleventh chapter, he crept into bed. The room in which he lay being partly in the roof, admitted only of a very small window in the upright portion of the wall, and that was placed so close to the floor as to throw very little light into the apartment, except during a strong day or moonlight.
The candle being extinguished, Colin could see nothing save a small
square of dim light where the window was. Below stairs he could hear the muttering of voices, as Miss Sowersoft dabbed Pale. thorpe's eyes with her cloth and warm water; and in the false floor over his head the sound of rats, who were at work in the roof, making noise sufficient over their labours to have kept awake, during the whole night, any person less accustomed to that kind of nocturnal en. tertainment than the inhabitants of country-houses usually are. Colin could usually have slept soundly had all the rats in Christendom been let loose in a legion about him, but he could not sleep to-night. It was pitch-dark; he was in a strange place, with brutal employers, who disliked him only because he had offered to relieve a poor old man of some portion of his labours. Who knew-for such things have been heard of, and passionate men often took their revenge, regardless of consequences—who knew, as Mr. Palethorpe was to occupy the adjoining bed, that he might not take advantage of his sleep, and steal out in the night to murder him? He might do so, and then throw him down the brook, as he had threatened, or perhaps bury him deep in the garden, and say in the morning that he had run away.
With these, and similar imaginations, did Colin keep himself awake in a feverish state of terror during a space of time which to him seemed almost endless ; for, however groundless and ridiculous such fears may be deemed by the stouthearted reader who peruses this by broad daylight, he must be pleased to call to mind that poor Colin was nei. ther of an age nor in a situation in which great account is commonly made of probabilities. The boy's fancies were at length interrupted by the appearance of something more real. A light shot through the chinks of the door, and run an ignis-fatuus kind of chase
round the walls and ceiling, as it advanced up stairs in the hands of the maid Sally. Shortly afterwards the door was gently pushed open; and while Colin's heart beat violently against the bars of its cage, and his breath came short and loud, like that of a sleeper in a troubled dream, he saw a huge warming-pan flaring through its twenty eyes with red hot cinders, protruded through the opening, and at the other end of the handle Miss Sally herself. She placed her candle down in the passage, in order to avoid awakening Colin with its light, and then commenced warming Mr. Palethorpe's bed with that peculiar skill and delicacy of touch, which at once betrayed the experienced hand of a mistress. By the time that operation was about finished, the feet of two other individuals creeping cautiously up were heard on the stairs. Then a voice whispered circumspecily, but earnestly,
· Now, Sammy, make haste and get in while it is nice and hot, or else it will do you no good ; and in a minute or two I'll be up again with that warm posset, so that you can have it when you've lain down."
Sammy and Miss Sowersoft then entered, the latter having come up stairs with no other intention, apparently, than that of frustrating by her presence any design which Palethorpe might else have had of reward. ing Sally for her trouble with a gentle salute upon the cheek. Having seen the maid safe out of the chamber, Miss Maria returned down stairs.
Colin now began to tremble in earnest; for he indistinctly heard Palethorpe muttering words of violence against every one of them with. out exception, and threatening to kick the house upside down before another day was over his head. By and by the cautious approach of his footsteps towards Colin's bed caused the boy to peep out through the meerest chink between his eyelids, when he beheld the hideous face of the farming.man almost close to his own, with its huge swollen and blackened features fixed in an expression of deep malice upon him, and a ponderous clenched fist held threateningly near his face, as the horrible gazer muttered between his forcibly closed teeth,
“ I'll pay you your wages for this, young man! I'll reckon with you in a new fashion before long! You shall repent this night to the last end of your life, that shall you! I could split your skull now, if
you were not asleep. But you may rest this time !"
Saying which, he retired to bed. Immediately afterwards Miss Ma. ria Sowersoft glided noiselessly in, with a huge basin of treacle-posset in one hand, and one of her own linen nightcaps, which she had been heating by the fire, in the other. This last-named article she at once proceeded to place on Sammy's head, and tie under his chin; because the long tabs with which it was supplied, would cover his bruised face much better than any cap of his own. As Colin glanced from under the clothes, he could scarcely forbear laughing, in spite of his fears, at the odd combination which his mistress's Cupid suggested,- of a copper.
coloured, black.bearded face, with the primly-starched, snowy frillings of a woman's nightcap.
“ Is he asleep, Sammy?" asked Miss Maria in a low whisper. “A deal faster than he deserves to be," replied that worthy.
“ I will just step across, and see,” observed the lady; and accord. ingly trod lightly over the floor in order to assure herself of the fact. Colin's closed eyes, his silence, and his quick full breathing, confirmed her in the pleasing delusion; and she returned to Palethorpe's bedsider and deposited herself in a chair with the remark that, under those cir. cumstances, she would sit with him a few minutes. As she gazed with admiration on the uncouth countenance of Palethorpe, set, like a picture, in the white frame of her own cap ; and watched him deliberately transfer spoonful after spoonful of the posset from the basin into the ill-shaped hole in his own face, she heaved a profound sigh, which seemed one moment to inflate her bosom like a balloon, and the next to collapse it again as closely as poor Cocking's parachute. Palethorpe went on with his posset.
“Ay, dear!" she sighed again.
“ What's amiss, meesis ?" asked Sammy, as soon as the emptied basin left him at liberty to speak.
"Nothing, Sammy,—nothing. Ay, dear! I'm quite well, as far as that goes," replied Miss Maria very despondingly.
“ But you have summat not right, I'm sure,” persisted he.
“ It does not signify much,” she again remarked ; " it will be all the same a few years
hence.” “You've tired yourself to death with that mangle, I suppose ?” said Sammy.
“ Oh, no!” she exclaimed in a tone of voice which betrayed some slight offence at the vulgarity of his suggestion ; "it is a very differ. ent mangle to that. I am sure I am mangled enough by people's indifference."
“Why, as for that," replied Sammy, trying to exculpate himself from any charge of neglect, “ you are meesis of th’ house, and don't want to be pressed to your meat and drink like a visiter."
“ Meat and drink !" she exclaimed, as though indignant that such animal ideas should degrade the present elevation of her soul, “ I care nothing about meat and drink, not I. You seem as if you
could see nothing, though people make the plainest allusions that female proprie. ty considers decent for any woman to do."
Mr. Palethorpe looked astonished as he observed,
“Well, I'm sure, meesis, you can't say that ever I made any allusions to female propriety."
“ No,—that's it! there it is !" sighed Miss Maria ; 4 though you
get all the fat of the land, and are treated more like a gentleman in the house than like what you are, you never make the least allusions.” Palethorpe protested that under those circumstances he ought to feel all the more ashamed of himself if he did make allusions, or else other people would think it very odd of him.
u Oh, then the truth's out at last, is it ?" said Miss Maria, " you have other people, have you ? Ay, dear !" and she apparently fell a crying. “It's impossible, then, for all the goodness in the world to make any impression. Oh, Sammy-Sammy !"
Saying which she rose up, with her handkerchief to her eyes, and walked towards the door, muttering as she went, that since he seemed so very fond of other people, other people might feed him, as that was the last posset he would ever have from her hands. Mr. Palethorpe endeavoured several times to recall her, but Miss Sowersoft's new jealousy of other people had rendered her inexorable ; and, in the course of a few more seconds her own chamber-door was heard to slam to, and to be most resolutely bolted and locked behind her. Our worthy uttered a discontented groan, and composed himself to sleep; an example which Colin was enabled some long time after to follow ; though not before his weariness had completely overpowered his fears of danger from the savage sharer of his dormitory.
While yet in the middle of his slumber, and busy with a dream of home, which placed him again in the bright warm sunshine by the step of his mother's door, Colin was suddenly startled by the dragging of every inch of bed-covering from off him, and the not very sparing application of a hand-whip about his body, while the voice of Pale. thorpe summoned him, under the courteous title of a lazy heavy. headed young rascal, to turn out, and get himself off to work. It was nearly broad day.light; and our hero obeyed the summons with considerable alacrity, though not without informing his driver at the same time that there was no occasion for a whip to him, because a word would have done quite as well, if not better.
" Then you shall have both, to make sure, and plenty of them too," replied Mr. Palethorpe. “If long scores are ever to be cleared off, we should begin to pay 'em betimes ; and I have a score chalked on for you that will want interest before it is discharged, I know. Mark, you will have this every morning regularly if you are not down stairs as the clock strikes six, neither sooner nor later. If you get up too soon, I shall lay on you just the same as if you got up too late,--for a right hour is a right hour, and six exactly is our time. I'll make
feel where your mistake was, my boy, when you thought of coming mester here! There's last night's job I owe you for yet, and a good price you shall pay for it, or else I don't know how to reckon !"
A blow on the right ear, and another on the left, immediately