Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

are

gloomy month of November. I had thing in short was comfortless and for been detained in the course of a jour- lorn, excepting a crew of hard drinking ney by a slight indisposition, from ducks

, assembled like boon compan which I was recovering, but I was still ions round a puddle, and making feverish, and was obliged to keep with- riotouš noise over their liquor. in doors all day in an inn 'of the small. I was lonely and listless, and wanted town of Derby. A wet Sunday in a amusement. My room soon became country inn!' whoever has had the insupportable; I abandoned it and luck to experience one can alone judge sought what is called the travellers of my situation. The rain pattered room. This is a public room set against the casements; the bells tolled apart at most inns for the accommofor church with a melancholy sound. dation of a class of wayfarers called I went to the windows in quest of travellers 'or riders ;" a kind of comsomething to amuse the eye ; but it mercial knights errant, who are inces, seemed as if I had been placed com- santly scouring the kingdom in gigs, pletely out of the reach of all amuse- on horseback, or by coach. They ment. The windows of my bed room the only successors that I know of at looked out among tiled roofs and stacks the present day to the knights errant of chimneys, while those of my sitting of yore. They lead the same kind of soom commanded a full view of the adventurous roving life, only changing stable yard. I know of nothing more the lance for a driving whip, the buckcalculated to make a man sick of this ter for a pattern card, and the coat of world than a stable yard on a rainy mail for an upper Benjamin. Instead day. The place was littered with wet of vindicating the charms of peerless straw that had been kicked about by beauty, they rove about spreading the travellers and stable-boys. In one fame and standing of some substantia comer was a stagnant pool of water tradesman or manufacturer, and are surrounding an island of muck ; there ready at any time to bargain in his were several half drowned fowls crowd-name; it being the fashion now-a-days ed together under a cart, among which to trade, instead of fight with one was a miserable crest-fallen cock, another. As the room of the hostel, drenched out of all life and spirit; his in the good old fighting times, would be drooping tail matted as it were into a hung round at night with the armour single feather, along which the water of way-worn warriors, such as coats of trickled from his back ; near the cart mail, falchions, and yawning helmets ; was a half dozing cow, chewing the so the travellers' room is garnished cud and standing patiently to be rained with the harnessing of their successors, on, with wreaths of vapour rising from with box-coats, whips of all kinds, her reeking hide a wall-eyed horse spurs, gaiters, and oil-cloth covered tired of the loneliness of the stable was hats. poking his spectral head out of a win- I was in hopes of finding some of dow, with the rain dripping on it from these worthies to talk with, but was the eaves , an unhappy cur chained to disappointed. There were indeed two a dog house hard by, uttered something or three in the room, but I could make

a just and a yelpa drab of a kitchen wench ing his breakfast, quarrelling with his tramped backwards and forwards bread and butter and huffing the waitthrough the yard, in pattens, looking er; another. buttoned on a pair of as sulky as the weather itself ; every gaiters with many execrations at Boots

[graphic]

for not having cleaned his shoes well ; | patter, excepting that now and then I skhard sat áfuthming on the table was enlivened by the idea of a brisk with his fingers, and looking at the shower from the rattling of the drops rain as it streamed down the window upon a passing umbrella.co glass; they all appeared infected by It was quite refreshing (if I may the weather, and disappeared the one be allowed a hacknied phrase of the after the other without exchanging'a day) when in the course of the morning

wentek busdads to go to a horn blew, and a stage coach whirled a. I sauntered to the window, and stood through the

street

, with outside passenqazing at the people picking their way gers stuck all over it eowering under to church with petticoats hoisted mid- cotton'umbreHas, and seethed together, leg high and dripping umbrellas. The and reeking with the steams of wet Bell ceased to toll and the streets be-box-coats and upper Benjamins. dame silent. "I then amused myself The sound brought out from their with watching the daughters of a lurking places a crew of vagabond boys tradesman opposite ; who, being con- and vagabond dogs, and the carrottyfined to the house for fear of wetting headed hostler, and that non-descript their Sunday finery, played off their animal ycleped Boots, and all the other charms at the front windows, to fas- vagabond race that infest the purlieus cinate the chance tenants of the inn. of an inn; but the bustle was tran

They at length were summoned away sient; the coach again whirled on its bywa vigilant" vinegar-faced mother, way, and boy and dog and hostler and and I had nothing further from with boots all slunk back again to their out to amuse me. Oct 2

holes ; the street again became silent, What was I to do to pass away the and the rain continued to rain on.longtired day. I was sadly nervous In fact their was no hope of its clearand lonely, and every thing about an ing up, the barometer pointed to rainy im seems calculated to make a dull weather; mine hostess's tortoise-shell day ten times duller ; old newspapers cat sat by the fire washing her face smelling of beer and tobacco smoke and rubbing her paws over her ears, and which I had already read half a and on referring to their almanack I dozen of times ; good for nothing found a direful prediction stretching books, that were worse than rainy from the top of the page to the botweather I tired myself to death with tom, through the whole month "ex an old volume of the Ladies Maga- pecto-much-1-rain--about--this žineI read all the common place time !" to krs at vena námes of ambitious travellers scratched I was dreadfully hipped. The hours On' the panes of glassthe eternal seemed as if they would never creep families of the Smiths, and the Browns, by. The very ficking of the clock and the Jacksons, and the Johnsons, became irksome. At length the still ana al the other sons and I decy-ness of the house was interrupted by phered several scraps of fatiguing inn- the ringing of a bell: Shortly after Í window poetry, which I have met with heard the voice of a waiter at the bar in all parts of the worldoute to The stout gentleman in No. 13,

The day continued lowering and wants his breakfast. Tea and butter gloomy; the slovenly ragged spongy and bread with ham and eggs; the clouds drifted heavily along; there was eggs not to be too much done. no variety even in the rain ;

In such a situation as mine, every one dull monotonous patter-patter incident is of importance. Here was 1978 85

a

Ashrew

a subject presented to my mind, and and live in a state militant with the ample exercise for my imagination.household.

min day I am prone to paint pictures to myself, The hostess got into a fume. vih and on this occasion I had some ma- should observe that she was a brisk terials to work upon. Had the guest coquetish woman;

little of a upstairs. been mentioned as Mr. but very pretty withal; with 4, ning Smith, or Mr. Brown, or Mr. Jacks compoop for a husband, as shrews, Ares son, or Mr. Johnson, or merely, as apt to have, She rated the servants " the gentleman in-No. 13," it would roundly for their negligence in sending have been a perfect blank to me. I up.so bad a breakfast, but said not should have thought nothing of it ; word against the stout gentleman: by but “the stout. Gentlemen !"-the which I clearly perceived that he must very name had something in it of be a man of consequence, entitled te the picturesque. It at once gave the make a noise and to give trouble at size; it embodied the personage to my country inn-other eggs and ham and mind's eye, and my fancy did the rest. butter and bread were sent up, Then

He was stout, or, as some term it, appeared to be more graciously, ten lusty; in all probability therefore he ceived ; at least there was no further was advanced in life, some people ex- complaint. panding as they grow old. By his I had not made many turns about breakfasting rather late, and in his own the travellers room, when there was room, he must be a man accustomed another, ringing. Shortly afterwards to live at his ease and above the neces- there was a stir and an inquesta about sity of early rising; no doubt a round, the house. The stout gentleman rosy, lusty old gentleman.it wanted the Times or the Chronicle i There was another violent ringing. newspaper. I set him down there, The stout gentleman was impatient for fore for a whig; or rather, from his his breakfast. He was evidently a being so absolute and lordly, when man of importance; "well to do in he had a chance, I suspected him of the world;" accustomed to be prompt-, being a radical Hunt I had heard ly waited upon; of a keen appetite was a large man : “ who knows, and a little cross when hungry; "per- thought I, “ but it is Hunt himselt. haps," thought I," he may be some My curiosity began to be awakened London Alderman; or who knows I enquired of the waiter who was the but he may be a Member of Parlia- stout gentleman that was making ment." IT -yryirf y}{

this stir; but I could get no informare The breakfast was sent up and there tion : nobody seemed to know his was a short interval of silence ; he was name. The landlords of bustling inda doubtless making the tea. Presently seldom trouble their heads about there was a violent ringing; and be-, names or accupations of their transient fore it could be answered another ring guests. The colour of

of soraibh ing still more violent. Bless me the shape or size of th

of the person, is what a choleric old gentleman!". The enough to suggest a travelling, namet waiters came down in a huff The It is either the tall gentleman, or the butter was rancid, the eggs were over- short gentleman, or the gentleman done, the ham was too salt :the black, or the gentleman imispulsa stout gentleman was evidently nice in lour ; or, as in the present instance, his eating; one of those who eat and the stout gentleman ; a designation of growl and keep the waiter in a trot, I the kind once hit on, answers every

all

be

[ocr errors]

purpose, and

sayes all further inquiry, spend inoney freely it was no rule. Rain-rain-rain; pitiless, cease. She'd have no servant inaids of her's less rain No such thing as putting treated in that way, when they were a foot out of doors, and no occupation about their work, that's what she of amusement within. By and by I wouldn't.” heard some one walking over head, it As I hate squabbles, particularly was in the stout gentleman's room.-- with women, and above all with pretty He evidently was a large man by the women, I slunk back into my room Heaviness of his tread, and an old and partly closed the door ; but my man froin his wearing such creaking curiosity was too much exeited not to soles." He is doubtless," thought listen. The landlady. marched intredo ta soine rich old square toes of re- i pidly to the enemy's citadel, and engular habits, and is now taking exet- tered it with a storm: the door closed cise after breakfast."

after her. I heard her voice in high I now read all the advertisements windy clamour for a moment or two, of coaches and hotels that were stuck then it gradually subsided like a gust about the mantlepiece. The Ladies' of wind in a garret ; then there was a Magazine had become an abomination laugh ; then I heard nothing more. to me; it was as tedious as the day After a little while my landlady came itself. I wandered out, not knowing out with an odd smile on her face, adwhat to do, and ascended again to my justing her cap, which was a little on room, I had not been there long, one side: as she went down stairs when there was a squall from a neigh. I heard the landlord ask her what was bouring bed room-a door opened the matter, she said, “ nothing at all, and shut violently : a. chambermaid only the girl's a fool." . I was more that I had remarked for having a rud- than ever perplexed what to make of dy good humoured face, ran down this unaccountable personage, who stairs

, in 4 violent flurry. The stout could put a good natured.chambermaid gentleman had been rude to her. in a passion, and send away a terma

This sent a whole host of my de- gant landlady in smiles. He could duetions to the deuce in a moment. not be so old, nor cross, por ugly

unknown personage could not be neither. an old gentleman, for old gentlemen I had to go to work at his picture are not apt to be opstreperous to again, and to paint him entirely difshambermaids. He could not be a ferent. I now set him down for one young gentleman, for young gentle- of those stout gentlemen that are fremen are not apt to inspire such indig- quently met with swaggering about the nation. He must be a middle-aged doors of country inns; moist, merry gentleman, and confoundedly ugly into fellowsin Belcher bandkerchiefs, whose the bargain, or the girl would not have bulk is a little assisted by malt liquors ; taken the matter in such terrible dud- men, who have seen the world, and geon.s. I confess I was sorely puzzled. been sworn at Highgate ; ; who are

In a few minutes I heard the voice used to tavern life ; up to all the tricks of my landlady. I caught a glance of tapsters, and knowing in the ways of her as she came up stairs ; her face of sinful publicans; free-livers on a glaring, her cap flaring, her tongue small scale ; who are prodigal within wagging the whole way. ... She'd the compass of a guinea ; who call all have no such doings in her house the waiters by name : laugh with the she'd rearrant! If gentlemen diul maids, gossip with the landlady at the

The

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

bar, and prose over a pint of port or mysterious kept his room, and, as far a glass of negus after dinner. 12 as I could judge, his chair,

for I did 94 The morning wore away in forming not Keår him move. In the meanthese and similar surmises. As fast time, as the day advanced, the tråas I wove one system of belief some vellers' room began to be frequented. movement of the unknown would

com- Some, who had just arrived, came in pletely overturn it, and throw all my buttoned up in box coats; others came thoughts again into confusion. Such home who had been dispersed about are the solitary operations of a feverish the town. Some took dinner, and mind. I was, as I have said, extreme- some took tea. Had I been in a difly nervous ; and the continual medi- ferent mood, I should have found entations in the concerns of this invisi- tertainment in studying this peculiar ble personage began to have its effect : class of men. There were two espeI was getting a fit of the fidgets. cially, who were regular wags of the

Dinner-time came, I hoped the road, and up to all the standsng jokes stout gentleman might dine in the tra- of travellers. They had a thousand sly svellers' room, and that I might at things to say to the waiting maia, length get a view of his person ; but whom they called Louisa, and Etheno he had dinner served in his own linda, and a dozen other fine names, room. What could be the meaning changing the name every time, and of this solitude and mystery ? He chuckling amazingly at their own could not be a radical: there was some- waggery. My mind, however, thing too aristocrátical in thus keeping become completely engrossed by the himself apart from the rest of the stout gentleman. He had kept my world, and condemning himself to his fancy in chace during a long day, and own dull company on a rainy day, and it was not now to be diverted from the then, too, he lived too well for a dis- scent.

boog Seontented politician. He seemed to The evening gradually wore away. expatiate on a variety of dishes, and The travellers read the papers two or to sit over his wine like a jolly friend three times over. Some drew round of good living. Indeed, my doubts the fire and told long stories about on this head were soon at an end; for their horses, about their adventures, he could not have finished his first their overturns and breakings-down. bottle before I could faintly hear him They discussed the credits of different shumming a tone, and on listening merchants and different inns; and the

I found it to be * God save the two wags told several choice anecdotes King." "Twas plain then he was no of pretty chambermaids and kind land"radical but a faithful subject; one that ladies; all this passed as they were

grew loyal over his bottle, and was quietly taking what they called their ready to stand by king and constitu- nightcaps, that is to say, strong glasses tion, when he could stand by nothing of brandy and water and sugar, or else. But who could he be! My some other mixture of the kind ; after

conjectures began to run wild. Was which they, one after another, rang for she not 'some person of distinction tra- * Boots” and the chambermaid, and

velling incogsGod knows !" said I walked off to bed in old shoes cut
wat my wit's end ; - it may be some of down into marvelously uncomfortable
the royal family, for aught I know, for slippers.
they are all stout gentlemen!" There was only one man left, a short-
do t'he weather continued rainy. The legged löng bodied, plethoric fellow,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »