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lady more rigid. “She never rode," she condescended to say, " in public vehicles." Jem entreated again; but “she was accustomed to be driven by her own coachman."
12. It was in vain that in answer he praised the quietness of his team, the safety of his patent boxes, besides promising the utmost steadiness and sobriety on his own part. Miss Norman still looked perseveringly at the back of the coachbox; which, on an unlucky assurance that “ he would take as much care of her as of his own mother,” she exchanged for a steady gaze at the side window, opposite to the coachman, so long as he remained in the presence.
13. "By your leave, Ma'am," said Humphrey, putting his hand to his hat, and keeping it there, “Mr. Wade be a very civil-spoken careful whip, and his coach loads very respectable society. There's Sir Vincent Ball on the box.”
14. “ If Sir Vincent chooses to degrade himself, it is no rule for me,” retorted the lady, without turning her head ; when, lo! Sir Vincent appeared himself, and politely endeavored to persuade her out of her prejudices. It was useless. Miss Norman's ancestors had one and all expressed a very decided opinion against stage-coaches, by never getting into one; and “ she did not feel disposed to disgrace a line longer than common, by riding in any carriage but her own.”
15. Sir Vincent bowed and retreated. So did Jem Wade. The stage rattled away at an indignant gallop. By way of passing the time, I thrice repeated my offers to the obdurate old maiden, and endured as many rebuffs. I was contemplating a fourth trial, when a signal was made from the car. riage-window, and Humphrey, hat in hand, opened the door,
“ Procure me a post chaise.”
16. “A po-shay!" echoed Humphrey, but, like an Irish echo, with some variation from his original—“Bless ye! Ma'am, there bean't such a thing to be had ten miles round—no, not for love nor money. Why, bless ye, it be election time, and there bean't coach, cart, nor dog-barrow, but what be gone to it!"
17. “ No matter,” said the mistress, drawing herself up with an air of lofty resignation. “I revoke my order; for it is far, very far, from the kind of riding that I prefer. And Humphrey-"
18. Another pause in our proceeding, during which a company of ragged boys, who had been blackberrying, came up, and planted themselves, with every symptom of vulgar curiosity, around the carriage.
THE INCONVENIENCE OF PRIDE.
1. Miss Norman had now no single glass through which she could look without encountering a group of low-life faces staring at her with all their might. Still the pride of the Normans sustained her. She sat more rigidly erect than ever, occasionally favoring the circle with a most awful threatening look, accompanied ever by the same five words :
"I CHOOSE to be alone."
2. It is easy to say choose, but more difficult to have one's choice. The blackberry boys chose to remain. I confess I took pity on the pangs even of unwarrantable pride, and urged my proposal again with some warmth ; but it was repelled with absolute scorn.
“Fellow, you are insolent."
3. After a tedious interval, in which her mind had doubtless looked abroad as well as, inward, fresh tapping at the window, she summoned the obsequious Humphrey to receive orders.
“Present my compliments at the Grove--and the loan of the chariot will be esteemed a favor."
“By your leave, Ma'am, if I may speak—" “ You may not."
4. Humphrey closed the door, but remained a minute gazing on the panel. If he meditated any expostulation, he gave it
up, and proceeded to drive away the boys, one of whom was astride on the dead Plantagenet, a second grinning through his collar, and two more preparing to play at horses with the reins.
5. Then away Humphrey went, and I found the time grow tedious in his absence. I had almost made up my mind to follow his example, when hope revived at the sound of wheels; and up came a tax-cart, carrying four inside, namely, two wellgrown porkers, Master Bardell the pig-butcher, and his foreman Samuel Slark, or, as he was more commonly called, Sam the Sticker. They inquired, and I explained in a few words the lady's dilemma, taking care to forewarn them, by relating the issue of my own attempts in her behalf.
6. “Mayhap you warn’t half purlite enough,” observed Sam, with a side wink at his master. “ It an't a bit of a scrape, and a civil word, as will get a strange lady up into a strange gemman's gig. It wants a warmth-like, and making on her feel at home. Only let me alone with her, for a persuader, and I'll have her up in our cart—my master's that is to say--afore you can see whether she has feet or hoofs.”
In a moment the speaker was at the carriage-door, smoothing down his sleek forelocks, bowing, and using his utmost eloquence, even to the repeating most of his arguments twice over. 7. It was quite unnecessary for Miss Norman to say
she had never ridden in a cart with two pigs and two butchers; and she did not say it. She merely turned away her head from the man, to be addressed by the master, at the other window, the glass of which she had just let down for a little air. “ A taxed cart, Madam,” he said, “ mayn't be exactly the wehicle, accustomed to, and so forth ; but thereby, considering respective ranks of lifes, why, the more honor done to
your humbles, which, as I said afore, will take every care, and observe the respectful; likewise in distancing the two pigs."
8. The sudden drawing up of the window, so violently as to shiver the glass, showed sufficiently in what light Miss Norman viewed Master Bardell's behavior It was an unlucky smash, for it afforded what the tradesmen would have called “ an advantageous opening" for pouring in a fresh stream of eloquence; and the Sticker, who shrewdly estimated the convenience of the breach, came round the back of the carriage, and as junior counsel“ followed on the same side.” The lady was invincible.
9. The blackberry boys had departed, the evening began to close in, and no Humphrey made his appearance. The butcher's horse was on the fret, and his swine grumbled at the delay. The master and man fell into consultation, and favored me afterwards with the result, the Sticker being the orator. “It was man's duty,” he said, “ to look after women, pretty or ugly, young or old; it was what we all came into the world to do, namely, to make ourselves comfortable and agreeable to the fair sex.”
10. As for himself, “purtecting females was his nature, and he should never be easy agin, if so be he left the lady on the road; and providing a female wouldn't be purtected with her own free will, she ought to be compelled to, like any other live beast unsensible to its own good. Them was his sentiments, and his master followed 'em up."
11. I attempted to reason with them, but my consent had clearly been only asked as a compliment. The lady herself hastened the catastrophe. Whether she had overheard the debate, or the amount of long pent-up emotion became too overwhelming for its barriers, I know not; but Pride gave way to Nature, and a short hysteric scream proceeded from the carriage. Miss Norman was in fits !
12. We contrived to get her seated on the step of the vehicle, where the butchers supported her, fanning her with their hats, whilst I ran off to a little pool near at hand for
some cold water. It was the errand only of some four or five minutes, but when I returned, the lady, only half conscious, had been caught up, and there she sat, in the cart, between the two butchers. They were already on the move.
13. I jumped into my own gig, and put my horse to his speed; but I had lost my start, and when I came up with them, they were already galloping into W- Unfortunately her residence was at the further end of the town, and thither I saw her conveyed, screaming in concert with the two pigs, and answered by the shouts of the whole rabblement of the place, who knew Miss Norman quite as well, by sight, as “her own carriage !"
Here lies, fast asleep, awake me who can ?