« ElőzőTovább »
ing off his low-crowned hat bowed and waved it repeatedly to the company, while Mrs. Jorrocks acknowledged the compliment by frequent kisses of her hand, and Belinda's face became suffused with blushes at the publicity and novelty of her situation. Having sufficiently exercised their lungs, hats began to rest upon their owners' heads, handkerchiefs were returned to their reticules, and amid a general buzz and exclamation of applause a rush was made at the carriage to get a closer view of Belinda. "By Jove, what a beautiful girl!" exclaimed Captain Percival, eyeing Belinda through his glass. "Did you ever see such eyes? s?" asked a second. "Handsomest creature I ever beheld! What a quiz the old girl is!" "Is she her daughter?" inquired a third of Captain Doleful, who was busy marshalling the procession. "Lots of money I suppose?" "He looks like a rich fellow, with that great sack of a M'Intosh. The servant girl's not bad-looking." "Miss for my money, I'm in love with her already. I wish she'd stand up and let's see her size." "I lay a guinea she's a clipper. There's a hand! I'll be bound for it she has a good foot and ankle. None of your hairy-heel'd ones." "He looks like a jolly old dog. We shall have lots of dinners, I dare say." Doleful's face wrinkled into half its usual size with delight, for he plainly saw he had made a hit; and most fortunate were those who had cultivated his friendship through the medium of the subscription-books at the libraries, for the two-guinea subscribers were immediately presented to the trio, while the guinea men were let in at intervals as the procession moved along.'-vol. į. pp. 170, 171.
From the balcony of the Dragon the M.C. addresses the assembled beauty, fashion, Turf, Road, and Chase of Handley Cross, in an oration, which Mrs. Jorrocks and Belinda hear from the front drawing-room with tremours of agitated delight. Doleful closes, and the great Jorrocks, having cast aside his dingy white M'Intosh, and set wig and whiskers straight, steps forth :
"Ow are ye all?" said Mr. Jorrocks with the greatest familiarity, nodding round to the meeting, and kissing his hand. Opes you are well. You see I've come down to be master of your 'ounds, and first of all I'll explain to you what I means by the word master. Some people call a man a master of 'ounds wot sticks an 'orn in his saddle, and blows when he likes, but leaves everything else to the 'untsman. That's not the sort of master of 'ounds I mean to be. Others call a man a master of 'ounds wot puts in the paper Mr. So-and-so's 'ounds meet on Monday, at the Loin o' Lamb; on Wednesday, at the Brisket o'Weal; and on Saturday, at the Frying-pan; and after that, jest goes out or not, as suits his conwenience-but that's not the sort of master of 'ounds I means to be. Again, some call themselves masters of 'ounds, when they pay the difference atwixt the subscription and the cost, leaving the management of matters, the receipt of money, payment of damage, and all them sort of partiklars, to the secretary-but that's not the sort of master of 'ounds I means to be. Still, I means to ride with an 'orn in my saddle. Yonder it is, see," said he, pointing to the package
package behind the carriage, "a reg'lar Percival, silver mouth-piece, deep cupp'd—and I means to adwertise the 'ounds in the paper, and not go sneakin' about like some of them beggarly Cockney 'unts, that look more as if they were goin' to rob a hen-roost than 'unt a fox, but, havin' fixed the meets, I shall attend them most punctual and regler, and take off my 'at to all payin' subscribers as they come up (cheers)."
How very good is Jorrocks's thus early joining in the cry against Cockneys! He proceeds :-
""Of all sitivations under the sun, none is more enviable or more 'onerable than that of a master of fox-'ounds! Talk of a M.P.! vot's an M.P. compared to an M.F.H.? Your M.P. lives in a tainted hatmosphere among other M.P.s, and loses his consequence by the commonness of the office, and the scoldings he gets from his constituents; but an M.F.H. holds his levee in the stable, his levee in the kennel, and his levee in the 'unting-field-is great and important everywhere-has no one to compete with him, no one to find fault, but all join in doing honour to him to whom honour is so greatly due (cheers). And oh, John Jorrocks! my good frind," continued the worthy grocer, fumbling the silver in his smallclothes with upturned eyes, "to think that you, after all the ups and downs of life-the crossins and jostlins of merchandise and ungovernable trade-the sortin of sugars-the mexing of teas-the postins of ledgers, and handlin of inwoices, should have arrived at this distinguished post, is most miraculously wonderful, most singularly queer. Gentlemen, this is the proudest moment of my life! (cheers.) I've now reached the top-rail in the ladder of my hambition! (renewed cheers). Binjimin!" he hallooed out to the boy below; "Binjimin! I say, give an eye to them 'ere harticles behind the chay -the children are all among the Copenhagen brandy and marmeylad! Vy don't you vollop 'em? Vere's the use of furnishing you with a vip, I vonder?"
"To resume," said he, after he had seen the back of the carriage cleared of the children, and the marmalade and things put straight. ""Unting, as I have often said, is the sport of kings-the image of war without its guilt, and only five-and-twenty per cent. of its danger. I doesn't know what the crazeyologists may say, but I believes my head is nothin' but one great bump of 'unting (cheers). 'Unting fills my thoughts by day, and many a good run I have in my sleep. I'm none of your fine, dandified, Rotten-row swells, that only ride out to ride 'ome again, but I loves the smell of the mornin' hair, and the werry mud on my tops when I comes home of an evenin' is dear to my 'eart (cheers). Oh, my frinds! if I could but go to the kennel now, get out the 'ounds, find my fox, have a good chivey, and kill him—for no day is good to me without blood-I’d—I'd—I'd—drink three pints of port after dinner instead of two! (loud cheers.) .... We'll soon get acquainted, and then you'll say that John Jorrocks is the man for your money. At present I've done-hoping werry soon to meet you all in the field-for the present I says adieu."
'Hereupon Mr. Jorrocks bowed, and, kissing his hand, backed out of
the balcony, leaving his auditory to talk him over at their leisure.'vol. i. pp. 182-186.
The dramatis persona are now mustered, and the play begins: but we have no desire to anticipate the satisfaction with which it is sure to be studied as a whole. It will be guessed that the plot embraces a keen rivalry between Mrs. Barnington and Mrs. Jor· rocks in the salon-while the new M.F.H. gives his morning to the kennel, his day to the field, his evenings to the mahogany'-that public balls and fancy balls occur at proper intervals-and that the interest of the new dynasty is much promoted by the charms of Belinda. Benjamin undertakes the office of whipper-in under the tea-merchant-but Jorrocks by and by establishes, even to his own satisfaction, his incompetency to hunt the pack himself—and hereupon much trouble and alarm ensue. The grocer's blood is upin for a penny in for a pound: albeit the subscriptions come in poorly, a real huntsman must be hired-otherwise the honour and glory of Great Coram Street are gone. Mr. Jorrocks advertises in Bell's Life,' and the letters that pour in are far too good not to be exemplified:
'Sir,--On hearing you want a huntsman, I take the liberty of writing to enquire after the place I thoroly understand my business either as groom or coachman and have been accustomed with hounds I live at present with John Jones Esq at Warminster as groom and gardner where I leave on Thursday first if you want a servant I shall be glad to serve you as I am a married man
"To Mr. Jorrocks, Esq., Handley Cross.'
'Your obedient servant
Dear Sir,-I take Liberty of writing those Few Lines to you Hereing that you are In Want of A Servant And I Am in Want of A Situation If you Have No Objections And I have Been in the Racing Stables Seven Years And My Age is 23 And Stands About 65 foot 64 And My Wages Will Be 30£ A Year And If you thought I Should Suit You Direct to Mark Spraggon, North-fleet And for My Caracter Inquire of Major Barns of Horton Hall Near York And My Weight is A bout 9 stone. I am disengaged in the woman way
Your humble Servant
James Pigg-a Newcastle-man-or Scotchman, as Mr. Jorrocks calls him-at length obtains the envied situation, and James's rough honesty, keenness, and local songs (or national melodies as his master phrases it) do credit to the North, whatever his drinking and swearing may do. Pigg is quite a character, and an
admirable foil to the tricking, lazy rascality of the Cockney boy Benjamin.
But Benjamin has other foils. We beg to give a scene in the harness-room at the Dragon-just before the Newcastle-man arrives. Here we have Benjamin in the full double importance of the whipper-in to a gentleman huntsman, and the London gamin among snobs. The party is a most interesting one: first and foremost, seated on an inverted horsepail, immediately before the fire, appears Mr. Samuel Strong:
' In stature he was of the middle height, square-built, and terribly clumsy. Nor were the defects of nature at all counteracted by the advantages of dress, for Strong was clad in a rural suit of livery, consisting of a footman's morning jacket, with a standing-up collar made of darkgrey cloth, plentifully besprinkled with large brass buttons, with a raised edge, as though his master were expecting his crest from the Heralds' College. Moreover, the jacket, either from an original defect in its construction, or from that propensity to shrink which inferior cloths unfortunately have, had so contracted its dimensions that the waistbuttons were half-way up Samuel's back, and the lower ones were just where the top ones ought to be. The shrinking of the sleeves placed a pair of large serviceable-looking hands in nervously striking relief. The waistcoat, broad blue and white stripe, made up lengthwise, was new, and probably the tailor, bemoaning the scanty appearance of Sam's nether man, had determined to make some atonement to his front, for the waistcoat extended full four inches below his coat, and concealed the upper part of a very baggy pair of blue plush shorts, that were met again by very tight drab gaiters, that evidently required no little ingenuity to coax together to button. A six-shilling hat, with a narrow silver band, and binding of the same metal, and a pair of darned white Berlin gloves, completed the costume of this figure servant.
Binjimin" was the very converse of Samuel-a little puny, pale-faced, gin-drinking-looking Cockney, with a pair of roving pig eyes, peering from below his lank white hair, cut evenly round his head, as though it had been done by the edges of a barber's basin.
'Ŏn the boiler-side of the fire, away from the door-for no one has a greater regard for No. 1 than himself-sat the renowned Benjamin Brady, in a groom's drab frock-coat reaching down to his heels, a skyblue waistcoat, patent cord breeches, with grey worsted stockings, and slippers, airing a pair of very small mud-stained top-boots before the fire, occasionally feeling the scratches on his face, and the bites the fox inflicted on his nose the previous day. Next him sat the "first pair boy out," a grey-headed old man of sixty, whose jacket, breeches, boots, entire person in fact, were concealed by a long brown-holland thing, that gave him the appearance of sitting booted and spurred in his night-shirt. Then came the ostler's lad, a boy of some eight or nine years old, rolling about on the flags, playing with the saddle-room cat; and the circle was made out by Bill Brown (Dick the ostler's one-eyed helper), "Tom," a return postboy, and a lad who assisted Bill Brown, the one
eyed helper of Dick the ostler, when Dick himself was acting the part of assistant-waiter in the Dragon, as was the case on this occasion.
"When will your hounds be going out again, think ye, Mr. Benjamin?" was the question put by Samuel Strong to our sporting Leviathan.
"'Ang me if I knows," replied the boy, with the utmost importance, turning his top-boots before the fire. "It's precious little consequence, I thinks, ven we goes out again, if that gallows old governor of ours persists in 'unting the 'ounds himself. I've all the work to do! Bless ye, we should have lost 'ounds, fox, and all, yesterday, if I hadn't rid like the werry wengeance. See 'ow I've scratched my mug," added he, turning up a very pasty countenance. "If I'm to 'unt the 'ounds, and risk my neck at every stride, I must have the wages of a 'untsman, or blow me tight the old 'un may suit himself.'
"What 'n a chap is your old gen'leman?" inquired the "first pair boy out."
"Oh, hang if I knows," replied Benjamin; "precious rum 'un, I assure you. Whiles, he's werry well-then it's Bin this, and Bin that, and you'll be a werry great man, Bin, and such like gammon; and then the next minute, perhaps, he's in a regular sky-blue, swearing he'll cut my liver and lights out, or bind me apprentice to a fiddler-but then L knows the old fool, and he knows he carnt do without me, so we just battle and jog on the best way we can together."
""You'll have good wage, I 'spose?" rejoined Samuel with a sigh, for his "governor" only gave him ten pounds a year, and no perquisites, or "stealings," as the Americans honestly call them.
"Precious little of that, I assure you," replied Benjamin-" at least the old warment never pays me. He swears he pays it to our old 'oman; but I believe he pockets it himself, an old ram; but I'll have a reckoning with him some of these odd days. What 'n a blackguard 's your master?"
"Hush!" replied Samuel, astonished at Ben's freedom of speech, a thing not altogether understood in the country. "A bad 'un, I'll be bound," continued the little rascal, "or he wouldn't see you mooning about in such a rumbustical apology for a coat, with laps that scarce cover you decently;" reaching behind the aged postboy, and taking up Mr. Samuel's fan-tail as he spoke. "I never sees a servant in a cutty coat without swearing his master's a screw. Now these droll things, such as you have on, are just vot the great folks in London give their flunkies to carry coals and make up fires in, but never to go staring from home with. Then your country folks get hold of them, and think, by clapping such clowns as you in them, to make people believe that they have other coats at home. Tell the truth now, old baggy-breeches, have you another coat of any sort?"
"Yee'as," replied Samuel Strong, "I've a fustian one."
"Vot, you a fustian coat!" repeated Benjamin in astonishment; "vy, I thought you were a flunky!'
"So I am," replied Samuel, "but I looks, arter a hus and shay as well."