Imágenes de páginas












" Love rules the court, the Fleet, the grove,
Rules men below, and saints above,
For love is heav'n, and heav'n is love."

We must still leave Captain Oliphant and Peter in the lane,—the one conversing with Farmer Drag, and the other ruminating upon how many possible puns there are in a calf's head, and put the reader still a little more uu fait as to the state of affairs at Jaspar Hall. Mrs. Dredgely wrote a flaming account of Captain Oliphant's adventures to Mr. Rubasore, for which she got unlimitedly scolded, and received positive orders to admit no one upon the premises until he should make his appearance. This, as the middle-aged gentleman desired, was communicated as a respectful wish to Miss Belmont, which had the effect of increasing her dislike to switch pigtails. About a fortnight after the first, Captain Oliphant contrived to have another short meeting with Rosa, which meeting by some means came to the knowledge of Mrs. Dredgely. A third is about to take place immediately. We will now return to the captain and Farmer Drag.

The Captain had been pumping the farmer, more particularly as to the point, if any other gentleman besides

himself was ever known to be attentive to Miss Belmont,

-Miss Belmont and her maid attentively listening all the while. It was in these words that the sprightly sailor terminated his question.

“Now, farmer, just give us some notion whether the coast is quite clear at the Hall. Has no enemy hove in sight- no long shore lubber?".

This was too much for Peter. “Hem! hem! hem !" he bawled out. I

“Hem, hem, hem !” resounded from the foot-path on the other side of the hedge.

Captain Oliphant got pettish upon the subject. "Den your hemming!”

But Peter was nothing daunted. “Ah, sir,” said he, "I see, after all, you cannot bear to have your conversation hemmed into any tolerable limits of propriety.”

This speech was rather a dangerous one. His master burst out anew. “ The devil take the rascal," he exclaimed; "the scoundrel will, at last, pun me out of all patience, and himself out of a good place.”

This speech had a very damp effect upon the murderer of words. He touched his hat respectfully, and fell back, muttering to himself, “ If master means that for wit, it is bad-if for fact, worse.”

The captain then continued his discourse with Drag, from whom he learned that a report had got about that Mr. Rubasore was really getting too sweet upon his ward, and that Mrs. Dredgeley was nothing better than a spy, that he had placed in the house to watch all her actions.

“Great guns and small arms! what sits the wind in that quarter, my deep-sca-lead-".

“Hem, hem, hein!" said Peter, in a very moderate voice.

“Hem, hem, hem !” said Rosa and her maid, amidst immoderate laughter.

“Here we are, Captain Oliphant,” continued Rosa, “ you know the old song about the man who was wonderous wise, and scratched out his eyes by jumping through a quick-set hedge ?"

“My heart, my life !—my compass, my—this hedge is most particularly thorny-my dearest Rosa--"

“ Hem !” said Peter, " there's vox et pretty nell, after all."

“I will finish the rhyme to your comfort, captain.”

" And when he saw his eyes were out, with all his might and

main, He jump'd back through the quickset hedge, and scratch'd them

in again.”

The captain got through the hedge, however, with the loss only of his hat and his heart.

“ You Peter," said the captain, “hand my hat over here, and break through yourself.”

“ Indeed I can't, sir ; the reasons against it are too pointed.”

“Go round, Nelly, to the stile, and bring the young man with you after the captain."

Locked arm-in-arm, Rosa and Oliphant walked up towards the Hall, keeping, however, the footpath under the hedge-row elms.

“Here, young man," said Nelly, making her appearance in turn; “ come round by the stile.”

“ Ah, splendid woman, but rustical !” ejaculated Peter. “ I'm sure you must be pretty Nell, though vox is not absent when you are present."

“ Yes, my name do happen to be Nelly; and as to pretty, thank’ye, sir," said the girl, courtesying.

“ Hast got a sweetheart, Nelly ?" continued Peter, patronisingly.

“ Thank ye, sir. Yes; it's no secret, all the country know it.”

- You are blessed in the extent of your confidants. What may be the happy youth's name ?"

“Oh, they call him, sir, about these parts, Poaching Jack. All malice, you know.”

“ Nell, pretty Nell, as you love a poacher, you can have no objection to my poaching a little on Jack's ma

nor ?"

" What do you mean, Mr. Saucychaps ?" said the lady, bridling up.

“ Only a specimen of my manner," and with this he made overt demonstration of snatching a kiss, which demonstration was met on Nelly's part by a severe Cornish slap on the face, that made Peter's eyes see double. He looked a little grim at first, at this specimen of Nelly's manners; but he rubbed his cheeks, and clapped a salve to them in the shape of another pun, and all was well again.

" A smart thing well applied, Nelly;" and then regard

« AnteriorContinuar »