Imágenes de páginas

with great alacrity, lighted a candle, you think I was very late?" asked and conducted her guest to his apart. Jacob." Oh ! I don't know," ree ment; while Sally, contrary to her plied Mrs Philpot; “ when gentle usual custom, reclined herself in her men get together, they don't think mistress's great arm-chair, yawned how time goes." Poor Jacob was quite three or four times, and then exclaim delighted, and, as it was dusk, and by ed, “Heigho! it's getting very late! I no means, as he conceived, a scandalwish my husband would come home!" ous proceeding, he forth with put one

Now, although we have a very mean arm round Mrs Philpot's neck, and opinion of those who cannot keep a stole a kiss, whereat she said, “ Oh secret of importance, we are not fond dear me! how could you think of do. of useless mysteries, and therefore ing such a thing?" and immediately think proper to tell the reader that the squeezed herself past him, and ran teetorum in question, had the peculiar into the house, where Sally sat, in the property of causing those who played arm-chair before mentioned, with a therewith, to lose all remembrance of handkerchief over her head, pretende their former character, and to adopt ing to be asleep. that of their antagonists in the game. “Come, my dear,” said Jacob to During the process of spinning, the his wife, “ I'm glad to see you in such personal identity of the two players good-humour. You shall make me a was completely changed. Now, on glass of rum and water, and take some the evening of this memorable day, of it yourself.”—“I must go into the Jacob Philpot, the landlord of the back kitchen for some water then," rampant Red Lion, had spent a few replied his wife, and away she ran, and convivial hours with mine host of the Jacob followed her, marvelling still Blue Boar, a house on the road-side, more at her unusual alacrity. “My about two miles from Stockwell; and dear," quoth he, “ I am sorry to give the two publicans had discussed the you so much trouble," and again he put ale, grog, and tobacco in the manner his arm round her neck. "La, sir !" customary with Britons, whose insig- she cried, “ if you don't let me go, I'll nia are roaring rampant red lions, call out, I declare."-" He, he-ha, green dragons, blue boars, &c. There ha!” said Jacob; “call out! that's a fore, when Jacob came home, he be good one, however! a man's wife calle gan to call about him, with the air of ing out because her husband's a-going one who purposeth that his arrival to kiss her!”-“What do you mean?" shall be no secret; and very agreeably asked Mrs Philpot; “ I'm sure it's a surprised was he when Mrs Philpot shame to use a poor girl so !"-"A ran out from the house, and assisted poor girl!” exclaimed the landlord, him to dismount, for Jacob was some- ahem! was once, mayhap."_“I don't wliat rotund; and yet more did he value your insinivations that,said Mrs marvel when, instead of haranguing Philpot, snapping her fingers; I him in a loud voice, (as she had whilom wonder what you take me for!"-" So done on similar occasions, greatly to ho!” thought her spouse," she's come his discomfiture,) sbe good-humour- to herself now; I thought it was all eilly said that she would lead his nag a sham; but I'll coax her a bit;" so to the stable, and then go and call he fell in with her apparent whim, l'hilip the ostler. “Humph!” said and called ber a good girl; but still the host of the Lion, leaning with his she resisted his advances, and asked back against the door-post, “ after a him what he took her for. “ Take calm comes a storm. She'll make up you for !” cried Jacob, “ why, for my tor this presently, I'll warrant." But own dear Sally to be sure, so don't Mrs Philpot put up the horse, and make any more fuss."-"I have a called Philip, and then returned in great mind to run out of the house," peace and quietness, and attempted to said she, “and never enter it any pass into the house, without uttering more." a word to her lord and master.

This threat gave no sort of alarm to " What's the matter with you, my Jacob, but it somewhat tickled his dear?" asked Jacob Philpot; ~ a'n't fancy, and he indulged himself in a you well?"-" Yes, sir," replied Mrs very hearty laugh, at the end of which Philpot, " very well, I thank you. he good-humouredly told her to go to But pray take away your leg, and let bed, and he would follow her presentme go into the house."-" But didn't ly, as soon as he bad looked after his

horse, and pulled off his boots. This got a job to do early in the morning, proposition was no sooner made, than and then I shall be ready for it.” So the good man's ears were suddenly the two friends sat down, and had grasped from behind, and his head was scarcely begun to enjoy themselves, shaken and twisted about, as though when another rap was heard at the it had been the purport of the assail. window, and mine host recognised the ant to wrench it from his shoulders. voice of Peter Brown, who came with Mrs Philpot instantly made her escape the same complaint against his wife, from the kitchen, leaving her spouse and was easily persuaded to join the in the hands of the enraged Sally, who, party, each declaring that the women under the influence of the teetotum must have contrived to meet, during delusion, was firmly persuaded that their absence from home, and all get she was justly inflicting wholesome fuddled together. Matters went on discipline upon her husband, whom pleasantly enough for some time, while she had, as she conceived, caught in they continued to rail against the the act of making love to the maid. women ; but, when that subject was Sally was active and strong, and Jacob exhausted, George Syms, the shoe. Philpot was, as before hinted, some maker, began to talk about shoeing what obese, and, withal, not in excel- horses; and Peter Brown, the black lent"wind;" consequently it was some smith, averred that he could make a time ere he could disengage himself; pair of jockey boots with any man for and then he stood panting and blow- fifty miles round. The host of the ram. ing, and utterly lost in astonishment, pant Red Lion considered these tbings while Sally saluted him with divers at first as a sort of joke, which he had appellations, which it would not be no doubt, from such good customers, seemly here to set down.

was exceedingly good, though he could When Jacob did find his tongue, not exactly comprehend it: but when however, he answered her much in Peter Brown answered to the name of the same style; and added, that he George Syms, and George Syms rehad a great mind to lay a stick about sponded to that of Peter Brown, he her back. “What! strike a woman! was somewhat more bewildered, and Eh-would you, you coward ?" and could not help thinking that his guests immediately she darted forward, and, had drunk quite enough. He, howas she termed it, put her mark upon ever, satisfied himself with the reflechim with her nails, whereby his rubie tion that that was no business of his, cund countenance was greatly disfi and that “a man must live by his gured, and his patience entirely ex- trade.” With the exception of these hausted: but Sally was too nimble, apparent occasional cross purposes, and made her escape up stairs. So conversation went on as well as could the landlord of the Red Lion, having be expected under existing circumgot rid of the two mad or drunken stances, and the three unfortunate women, very philosopbically resolved husbands sat and talked, and drank, to sit down for half an hour by him- and smoked, till tired nature cried, self, to think over the business, while “hold, enough!" he took his “ night-cap." He had In the meanwhile, Mrs George scarcely brewed the ingredients, when Syms, who had been much scandalized he was roused by a rap at the window; at the appearance of Peter Brown be and, in answer to his enquiry of neath her bedroom window, where“who's there?" he recognised the voice into he vehemently solicited admitof his neighbour, George Syms, and, tance, altogether in the most public of course, immediately admitted him; and unblushing manner; she, poor for George was a good customer, and, soul ! lay, for an hour, much disturbconsequently, welcome at all hours. ed in her mind, and pondering on the “My good friend," said Syms, “I extreme impropriety of Mr Brown's daresay you are surprised to see me conduct, and its probable consequences. here at this time of night; but I can't She then began to wonder where her get into my own house. My wife is own goodman could be staying so late; drunk, I believe.”-“And so is mine," and, after much tossing and tumbling quoth the landlord;" so, sit you down to and fro, being withal a woman of a and make yourself comfortable. Hang warm imagination, she discerned, in me if I think I'll go to bed to-night!" her mind's eye, divers scenes, which No more will I," said Syms; “I've might probably be then acting, and in

which George Syms appeared to be

“Mind what they read in godly books, taking a part that did not at all meet her approbation. Accordingly she

And not take people by their looks ;" arose, and throwing her garments for they would not be pleased to be about her, with a degree of elegant judged in that manner themselves; negligence, for which the ladies of and the poor fellows in question have, Stockwell have long been celebrated, generally, been travelling all night, she incontinently went to the house not in a, but walking over of Peter Brown, at whose bedroom rough roads, and assisting their weary window she perceived a head. With and over-worked cavalry up and down the intuitive knowledge of costume a succession of steep hills. possessed by ladies in general, she in- In consequence of this practice, the siantly, through the murky night, dis two forsaken matrons encountered covered that the cap on the said head Moses Brown, a first cousin of Peter's, was of the female gender; and there who had just dispatched his waggonforc boldly went up thereunto, and er on a commercial enterprise of the said, “ Mrs Brown, have you seen any description just alluded to. Moses thing of my husband?”—“ What !” had heard voices as he passed the Lion; exclaimed Mrs Brown, “haven't you and being somewhat of a curious turn, seen him ? Well, I'd have you see had discovered, partly by listening, after him pretty quickly, for he was and partly by the aid of certain cracks, here, just where you stand now, more holes, and ill-fitting joints in the shutthan two hours ago, talking all man ters, who the gentlemen were whose ner of nonsense to me, and calling me good-will and pleasure it was " to vex bis dear Betsy, so that I was quite the dull ear of night” with their unashamed of him. But, howsomever, timely mirth. Moses, moreover, was you needn't be uneasy about me, for a meek man, and professed to be exyou know I wouldn't do anything tremely sorry for the two good women improper on no account. But have you who had two such roaring, rattling seen any thing of iny Peter ?"_“I blades for their husbands: for, by this believe I have,” replied Mrs Syms, and time, the bacchanalians, having eximinediately related the scandalous hausted their conversational powers, conduct of ihe smith beneath her win, had commenced a series of songs. So, dow; and then the two ladies agreed under his guidance, the ladies reconto sally forth in search of their two noitred the drunken two through the « worthless, good-for-nothing, drunk cracks, holes, and ill-fitting joints en husbands."

aforesaid. Now it is a custom with those who Poor George Syms was, by this time, get their living by carrying coal, when regularly “done up," and dosing in they are aboui to convey it to any con- his chair; but Peter Brown, the smith, siderable distance, to commence their was still in his glory, and singing, in journey at such an hour as to reach no small voice, a certain song, which the first turnpike a little after mid was by no means fitting to be chanted night, that they may be enabled to go in the ear of his spouse. As for Ja. out and return home within the twen. cob Philpot, the landlord, he sat erect ty-four hours, and thus save the ex- in his chair, with the dogged resolupense of the toll, which they would tion of a man who feels that he is at otherwise have to pay twice. " This is his post, and is determined to be "no the secret of those apparently lazy fel, starter.” At this moment Sally made lows, whom the Bath ladies and dana her appearance in the room, in the dies sometimes view with horror and same sort of dishabille as that worn by surprise, sleeping in the day-time, in, the ladies at the window, and comon, or under carts, benches, or wagmenced a very unceremonious ha. gons. It hath been our lot, when in rangue to George Syms and Peter the city of waters, to hear certain of Brown, telling them that they ought these theoretical “ political econo to be ashamed of themselves, not to mists” remark somewhat harshly on have been at home hours ago; “ as this mode of taking a siesta. We for this fellow,” said she, giving poor should recommend them henceforth Philpot a tremendous box on the car, to attend to the advice of Peter Pindar, “I'll make him remember it, I'll war. and

rant.” Jacob hereupon arose in great wrath ; but ere he could ascertain pre- at seeing and hearing, as he imagined, cisely the exact centre of gravity, Sally his own wife act and speak in this settled his position by another cuff, shameful manner before his face, may which made his eyes twinkle, and sent be “ more easily imagined than descri. him reeling back into his seat. Seeing bed ;" but his genuine wife, who be. these things, the ladies without began, longed, as he conceived, to the drunken as fox:hunters say, to "give tongue," man, hung so close about his neck and vociferously demanded adinite that he found it impossible to escape. tance; whereupon Mrs Philpot put George Syms, however, was utterly her head out from a window above, and unable to rise, andsat, with an idiota told them that she would be down and like simper upon his face, as if giving let them in in a minute, and that it was himself up to a pleasing delusion, a great pity gentlemen should ever get while his wife, was patting, and coaxtoo much beer : and then she popped ing, and wheedling himn in every way, in her head, and in less than the stie to induce him to get upon his legs and pulated time, ran down stairs and try to go home. At length, as he va. opened the street door; and so the cantly stared about, hecaught a glimpse wives were admitted to their deline of Mrs Brown, whom, to save repetiquent husbands ; but meek Moses tion, we may as well call his teetotum Brown went his way, having a wife at wife, hanging about his neighbour's home, and having no desire to abide neck. This sight effectually roused the storm which he saw was coming him, and before Mrs Syms was aware

Peter Brown was, as we said before, of his intention, he started up and ran in high feather; and, therefore, when furiously at Peter Brown, who receis he saw Mrs Syms, whom he (acting ved him much in the manner that under the teetotum delusion) mistook might be expected, with a salutation for the wife of his own particular bo. in “ the bread. basket," which sent som, he gaily accosted her, “Ah, old himn reeling on the floor. As a matter girl !- Is it you? What! you've come of course, Mrs Syms took the part of to your senses, eh? Slept it off, I sup. her fallen husband, and put her mark pose. Well, well ; never mind! For upon Mr Peter Brown; and, as a mate give and forget, I say. I never saw you ter of course, Mrs Peter Brown took so before, I will say that for you, how the part of her spouse, and commenever. So, give us a buss, old girl ! and ced an attack on Mrs Syms. let us go home;" and without cere- In the meanwhile Sally had not been mony he began to suit the action to idle. After chastening Jacob Philpot the word, whereupon the real Mrs to her heart's content, she, with the Brown flew to Mrs Syms' assistance, assistance of Mrs Philpot and Philip and, by hanging round Peter's neck, the hostler, who was much astonished enabled her friend to escape. Mrs to hear her“ order the mistress about," Syms, immediately she was released, conveyed him up stairs, where he was began to shake up her drowsy George, deposited, as he was, upon a spare who, immediately he opened his eyes, bed, to“ take his chance," as she said, scarcely knowing where he was, mare “and sleep off his drunken fit.” Sally velled much to find himself thus han. then returned to the scene of strife dled by, as he supposed, his neigh- and desired the “company” to go bour's wife: but with the maudlin about their business, for she should cunning of a drunken man, he thought not allow any thing more to " be call. it was an excellent joke, and therefore ed for ” that night. Having said this threw his arms round her, and began with an air of authority, she left the to hug her with a wondrous and un room ; and though Mrs Syms and Mrs usual degree of fondness, whereby the Brown were greatly surprised thereat, poor woman was much affected, and they said nothing, inasmuch as they called him her dear George, and said were somewhat ashamed of their own she knew it was not his fault, but appearance, and had matters of more “all along of that brute," pointing to importance than Sally's eccentricity Peter Brown, that he had drunk hiin, to think of, as Mrs Syms had been self into such a state. “Come along, cruelly wounded in her new shawl, my dear," she concluded, “ let us go which she hal impruilently thrown and leave him-I don't care if I never over her shoulders; and the left side of see him any more.”

the lace on Mrs Brown's cap had been The exasperation of Peter Brown, torn away in the recent conflict. Mrs and shook the stranger warmly by the parlour for the parson and the strange hand, and told him that he should be old gentleman ; and when the mutton happy to see him whenever he came was placed upon the table, the latter that way again ; and then nodding to hoped they should have the pleasure Mr Stanhope and the landlady, went of Mrs Philpot's company; but she out at the front door, mounted the looked somewhat doubtfully till the horse that stood there, and rode away. parson said, “ Come, come, mother, “ Where's the fellow going?” critd don't make a bother about it; sit Mrs Philpot; “ Hillo! Jacob, I say !” down, can't you, when the gentleman

-“Well, mother," said the Reverend bids you.” Therefore she smoothed Mr Stanhope, “what's the matter her apron and made one at the dinner now?” but Mrs Philpot had reached table, and conducted herself with so the front of the house, and continued much precision, that the teetotum to shout, “ Hillo! hillo, come back, I parson looked upon her with consitell you !"-" That woman is always derable surprise, while she regarded doing some strange thing or other," him with no less, inasmuch as he observed Mr Stanhope to the stranger. talked in a very unclerical manner; “ What on earth can possess her to and, among other strange things, swore go calling after the parson in that that his wife was as “ drunk as blazes” manner ?"-"I declare he's rode off the night before, and winked at her, with squire Jones's horse," cried Mrs and behaved altogether in a style very Philpot, re-entering the house. « To unbecoming a minister in his own be sure he has," said Mr Stanhope; parish. “ he borrowed it on purpose to go to At one o'clock there was a great the Old Boar.”—“Did he?” exclaimed sensation caused in the village of the landlady; " and without telling Stockwell, by the appearance of their me a word about it! But I'll Old Boar reverend pastor and the elderly stranhim, I promise you !”-“Don't make ger, sitting on the bench which went such a fool of yourself, mother,” said round the tree, which stood before the parson; "it can't signify twopence the sign of the roaring, rampant Red to you where he goes." -"Can't it?" Lion, cach with a long pipe in his rejoined Mrs Philpot. “I'll tell you mouth, blowing clouds, which would what, your worship "-" Don't not have disgraced the most inveterate worship me, woman,” exclaimed the sinoker of the “ black diamond" frateetotum landlord parson;" worship! ternity, and ever and anon moistenwhat nonsense now! Why, you've been ing their clay with “ heavy wet," taking your drops again this inorning, from tankards placed upon a small I think. Worship, indeed! To be table, which Mrs Philpot had proa sure, I did once, like a fool, promise to vided for their accommodation. The worship you; but if my time was to little boys and girls first approached come over again, I know what within a respectful distance, and then But, never mind now-don't you see ran away giggling to tell their com. it's twelve o'clock? Come, quick, let panions; and they told their mothers, us have what there is to eat, and then who came and peeped likewise ; and we'll have a comfortable pipe under the many were diverted, and many were tree. What say you, sir?"-" With scandalized at the sight: yet the par. all my heart," replied the elderly son seemed to care for none of these stranger. Mrs Philpot could make things, but cracked his joke, and sipnothing of the parson's speech about pod his ale, and smoked bis pipe, with worshipping her ; but the order for as much easy nonchalance as if he had something to eat was very distinct; been in his own arm-chair at the recand though she felt much surprised tory. Yet it must be confessed that thereat, as well as at the proposed now and then there was a sort of equismoking under the tree, she, nevere vocal remark made by him, as though theless, was much gratified that so he had some faint recollection of his unusual an order should be given on former profession, although he evinthat particular day, as she had a come. ced not ihe emallest sense of shame at what better dinner than usual, name the change which had been wrought ly, a leg of mutton upon the spit. in him. Indeed this trifling imperTherefore she bustled about with ex- fection in the change of identity apceeding good-will, and Sally spread a pears to have attended such trausforclean cloth upon the table in the little mations in general, and might have

« AnteriorContinuar »