host of lacqueys all habited in the richly-laced orange-coloured
livery of Monthermer, examining the cocks, and betting with
each other as to their prowess in the coming trial of skill ; — this
backing a grey, that a ginger, another a red with black breast, and
a fourth a pied-pile. Again there were two or three huntsmen in
scarlet coats, and as many gamekeepers in dark green jackets —
though what these gentry could be doing there it was difficult to
coficeive, unless they had been summoned from the Castle, to swell
out their lord's already too numerous train.
At the side door of the inn stood another party, consisting of
our old acquaintances, Pud^ey, Bellairs, and Chassemouche, with
their sparkish friends, Tibbits and Trickett. The two latter cox-
combs had just returned from a stroll through the town, and
were regaling Bellairs and the French valet with an account of the
conquests they had achieved among the pretty girls of Bury.
Tibbits, it appeared, by his own showing, had been eminently
IID THE SPJEJ^DTHKUfT.
successful. The whole party agreed, however, that Bury was un-
commonly dull, and if they had not some amusement in scouring
the streets at night with their masters, breaking the lamps, beating
the watch, and wrenching off knockers, they should not know
how to spend their time.
The arrival of Sir Hugh Poynings and his family was a source
of infinite satisfaction to these amiable personages, because they
foresaw that some disturbance must ensue ; and even if the prin-
cipals failed to quarrel, which seemed next to impossible, they
could get up a little brawl on their own account with the servants
from Reedham. With this design, they scarcely made way for
Arthur Poynings as he passed them, after dismounting and con-
signing his steed to the ostler, and Mr. Tibbits received a cuff
on the ear for his especial insolence; an indignity he would
have resented if he had dared. But he was too much daunted by
Arthur's fierce looks to retaliate, and when the young gentleman
shook his whip menacingly at him, he retreated behind his com-
panions, who offered him no support. Arthur, however, had no
sooner disappeared, than with one accord they began to abuse him^
and Mr. Tibbits swore a great oath that he would be revenged
upon him before the morrow.
Just then Sir Hugh's coachman, Beccles, came into the yard with
his horses, and the whole pack instantly set upon him, jeering him,
his cattle, and his master, and telling him he should not have a stall
in the stable unless he fought for it. Now Beccles was a sturdy
fellow, and did not budge an inch. Letting go the bridle of the
horse he was leading, he put himself into an attitude of de-
fence, and shouted to his fellow-servants, who at once answered
the summons, and arranged themselves beside him. As there
seemed to be every prospect of a fight, the whole yard was instantly
on the alert. The liveried menials deserted the game-cocks in
the hope of witnessing a more exciting contest. Trainers, jockeys,
cockers, grooms, stable-boys, and ostlers rushed forward, and a
ring was speedily formed ; but before a blow could be struck a
scream was heard, and with loud cries a female forced her way
through the crowd to the combatants. It was Mrs. Pinchbeck
At sight of her Tibbits turned pale, and made an effort to slink
off. But he was kept in his place by those around, till a pair of
arms, flung round his neck, effectually secured him.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. HI
From wliat could be collected in the midst of Mrs. Pinchbeck's
sobs and hysterical ejaculations, it appeared that the gay and
gallant Tibbits had married her some five years ago, at which time
she was the young widow — and the very pretty widow too, though
she said it, that shouldn't — of an old haberdasher in Cheapside,
yclept Duckweed, to whom the insinuating Tibbits had been
apprenticed. Having spent all her money, and ruined her
business by his gross neglect, the wretch absconded — basely de-
serted her — inhuman monster that he was ! — whereupon, having
no other resource, she who had once lived in affluence, and had
been doted upon by her departed Duckweed — a duck he was, if
ever there was one on earth ! — she, who had never even waited
upon herself in her dear Ducky's time, was forced to go into ser-
vice. (Here a flood of tears drowned her utterance for a moment.)
Friends she had in Bungay, — relatives of her dear Ducky, — and
they didn't turn their backs on her, notwithstanding her mis-
fortunes, but procured her a situation as lady's maid to Lady
Poynings — a situation she didn't blush to say — though Tibbits
might blush to hear it — that she had filled to her ladyship's entire
contentment. Her ladyship and Miss Poynings knew she had once
moved in genteel circles, and treated her accordingly. " Pinch-
beck, you are not a common domestic," my lady said; " you must
have your own room, and your own table." " Pinchbeck, you
must come and sit with me," Miss Lucy would often say, ** for
I like your society better than that of the noisy fox-hunters
down stairs." Pinchbeck, she added in explanation, was her
maiden name, and she resumed it, when she was abandoned by
Tibbits. Never, since the day he left her, till ffcat moment, had
she set eyes on her worthless spouse — never heard a word of him —
and she never should have done, she felt quite sure, if she had
not accidentally popped upon him ! But she would show him what
an injured wife's rights were, unless he arranged matters to her
satisfaction — that she would !
Leaving the tender couple to adjust their differences as best
they could, we may mention that their meeting caused a cessation
of hostilities between the adherents of the houses of Monthermer
and Poynings. Instead of fighting, the stalwart lads of Reedham
shook hands heartily with their lace-bedizened, silken-hosed, pow-
dered antagonists of the Castle ; and sundry tankards of strosg ale,
112 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
called for by the chiefs on both sides, completed the amicable un-
If Arthur had looked up at all, when he rode into the inn-yard,
instead of occupying himself with matters of infinitely less concern,
he must have seen, at an open window on the first floor — -just
above the great gilded sign of the Angel — a very pretty face, the
owner of which was anxiously, but vainly, striving to attract his
attention by slightly coughing, and waving a handkerchief. But
as he looked everywhere but in the right direction, the pretty face
lost its smile, the red lips pouted, and she who owned them leaned
so far out of the casement as almost to endanger her personal
safety. How could Mr. Arthur be so stupid? What could he be
dreaming about, to keep his eyes constantly fixed on the ground?
Perhaps he didn't wish to see her? No, she would never believe
that. Come what would, she was determined to have a word with
him, so down stairs she darted, and reached the passage leading to
the yard-door just as the young gentleman entered by it. No
mistake now as to his being glad to see her. He uttered an excla-
mation of surprise and delight, and almost caught her in his arms,
as she sprang towards him.
'* So, then, you can see me at last, sir," Lettice Rougham cried.
" I thought you wished to avoid me, but I was resolved you
shouldn't. Horses and grooms seem to interest you now more
than our sex. But don't you know that if you would learn your
fortune you should consult the stars. Had you done so just now,
you would have beheld "
" A little angel," Arthur supplied, gallantly.
"Yes, — paintdd on a signboard," Lettice laughed. "But you
have lost your memory as well as your sight, sir. Why don't you
inquire about my mistress?"
" You don't give me time, Lettice. Is she here?"
" Yes, sir, she is here, or you wouldn't see me. We're staying
in the house — but we're confined to our own room, and never stir
out of it — that is, very seldom. My mistress wouldn't remain
here a minute, if she'd any choice, but her cruel tyrant of a father
drags her about like a slave. Of course, I share her captivity. I
hope you're come to release us, sir."
" I don't see how I can help you, Lettice."
'^ l^ou don't ! Then you're not the brave knight I took you for.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 113
Perhaps you don't like to run the risk of another wound. And
that reminds me that I ought to ask about the hurt you got when
you last visited us at the Castle. How are you getting on ?
You look tolerably well. Of course, you've heard of the gay
doings we're to have here to-night ?"
"I've heard nothing as yet, Lettice. I've only this moment
arrived. What gay doings do you refer to ?"
" Mr. Montherraer's grand masked ball. It takes place in this
house to-night, and as everybody's talking about it, I thought
somebody might have mentioned it to you. All the fine folks of
Bury are invited, and most of 'em are coming. O, it'll be a splen-
did ball ! no expense spared, as you may suppose, since Mr. Mon-
thermer gives the entertainment. The long room is adorned with
mirrors, and festooned with flowers — the floors are chalked — and
there's to be a band of musicians from London in the orchestra.
When the company are tired of dancing, they are to sit down to
such a supper, sir."
" Very tempting, no doubt. But I presume your mistress does
not mean to attend this ball, Lettice ?"
" Entirely against her own inclination, sir — entirely. But Mr.
Fairlie insists upon it, — and she daren't refuse, poor soul ! You'd
better go too, to take care of her. Put on a domino and mask, and
no one will find you out. I see you'll do it."
** You are always ready to promote mischief, Lettice, and a
worse plan than yours might be devised. But I cannot consent
to it, for many reasons."
" I'll dispose of the reasons at once if you'll state them," Let-
" Well then, first and foremost, I'm not alone here. Sir Hugh
and Lady Poynings are with me — and my sister."
" Pooh! that's easily settled. The old people will retire to rest
before the ball begins, and need never be aware of your pre-
sence at it. And why not bring Miss Lucy with you ? I'm sure
slie would like it. I'll find her a dress — a perfect disguise."
'' You arrange matters very readily, Lettice ; but there are dif-
ficulties you cannot get over."
" I see none whatever, sir, unless you create them yourself. Miss
Lucy, I'm certain, will be enchanted with the scheme — so will my
mistress — so will you — and so shall I — for I must have a share in
114 THE SPEin)THRirT.
it. But I mustn't stand talking here, or I sKall be noticed. I
shall tell ray mistress she may expect to meet you."
"On no account, Lettice."
" But I shall — and I shall deliver a great many messages which
■ you ought to have sent her. If you want me, mount to the second
floor — the second, mind — walk down the corridor and tap against
the last door on the right."
So saying, she tripped away.
And just in time, for scarcely was she gone, than Sir Hugh
Poynings, whose angry tones had for some moments before been
resounding in the hall, now strode down the passage, and met
his son. The old baronet was in a towering passion.
" What's the matter, sir?" Arthur inquired.
" Why, sir, starvation is the matter — no dinner is the matter —
no wine is the matter. We can't have a joint or a roast fowl,
or a bottle of claret, unless it pleases Mr. Gage Monthermer. We
can't have a bed except in the garret. Mr. Monthermer has taken
the whole house — bedrooms, parlours, kitchen, larder, cellars, and
stables. It's no longer the Angel, it's the Monthermer Arms; and
young Gage — and be hanged to him — is landlord, and not old
Briscoe. 'Sdeath ! sir, things are come to a pretty pass, when one
can't call for what one likes at an inn, without being told that Mr.
Monthermer must be consulted."
" You amaze me, sir."
"And well I may — but I shall amaze you still more before I've
done. Old Briscoe has just been with me, to explain, with many
apologies, how matters stand. He confesses he can scarcely call
the house his own. He will do his best to make me com-
fortable under the circumstances, and if he fails, he hopes I will ex-
cuse him. He was never so perplexed before. His honoured guest
and patron, as he styles Gage, pays like a prince — throws about his
money, right and left, as if it were of no value — never looks at a bill,
but tosses it over to Fairlie — but then he expects to have all his own
way, and won't bear the slightest interference. Everything and
everybody must bow to him. What he wills is law. No person
of inferior quality to himself must enter the house — unless invited.
Not a bad rule that, i' faith, if properly carried out. Then, if a
guest's looks don't please him, he must go, or the house will be
made too hot to hold him. He served Dick Jernigan of Somerly
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 115
SO yesterday. Dick was obliged to decamp. And the night before
last, two maltsters from Woodbridge, with their wives, decent folk
enough, had been smuggled into the house without Gage's leave
— but the dog heard of 'em, and though they had gone to roost
more than an hour, he had 'em out of bed, ay, and into the
street, too. Oons ! I can't help laughing when I think on't."
'* Surely you are jesting, sir, in saying that we can't dine here
without Gage's permission ?"
" Egad ! it's no jesting matter with me, Arthur. I'm as hungry
as a hunter after my journey. But I tell ye, sir, old Briscoe
daren't serve a dinner in private for the life of him."
" Well, sir, we must dine in public then — that's all. There's
an ordinary in this house — the best in Bury — ^to which all the
young gallants in the town resort. We must put up with their
company for the sake of the meal. It's about the hour of dinner."
" Ay, but the ordinary is no longer an ordinary. One person
pays all charges instead of each paying for liimself Tlie young
gallants you speak of dine here daily — but only as Gage's guests.
Unless we choose to be considered in the same light we can have
no place at the table. Zounds and the devil ! — I beg your pardon,
boy — but it's enough to make a parson swear."
" Have a little patience, sir."
*' That's what the chaplain says. As well preach patience to the
winds as to an empty stomach. I'm in no humour for it. If I
could only stay my appetite with a cold pasty or a chine of pork, I
might be patient. But it serves me right," he groaned, " for leav-
ing my own comfortable mansion, where I had only to ask and
have. I won't remain in this inhospitable hole another minute.
The horses shall be put to again at once, and we'll be off to Long
Melford, or Sudbury."
*' Your pardon, sir, — that will never do. We mustn't let Gage
and his friends accuse us of poltronery. Remember your own say-
ing, which you learnt from your father, and he from his fathei* : —
' No Poynings ever retreated.' "
"True, i' faith! and as you say, Arthur, our sudden departure
wt might be misconstrued. Poltronery ! — zounds I — that's a word must
K never be applied to a Po3aiings. No one shall charge us with
■L^want of mettle. Udzooks ! boy, we'll stand our ground in spite of
^Brem. But we are likely to have as little sleep as food. This riotous
116 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
young prodigal gives a masked ball and supper to-night — in this
house, sir. He has hired musicians from London — and the devil
knows "what besides !"
"I have heard as much, sir; but as it is not probable he will
honour us with an invitation to the ball, we need not concern our-
selves about it."
"I wish I could shut my ears to all the sounds of catgut-
scraping, and caper-cutting, certain to assail 'em," Sir Hugh
groaned. " It'll be the death of your poor mother, who is troubled
with nerves. Then there's Lucy ! — why, zounds ! Arthur, when
she heard of this masked ball, she said she should like nothing so
much as to be present at it ! I cut the silly jade's longing short,
pretty quickly, I can promise you."
" Girls have strange fancies, sir; and no wonder Lucy, who has
seen nothing of the kind, and may have been dazzled by descrip-
tions she has heard of such assemblages, should be seized with a
transient desire to be present at the ball. But it will pass off, since
you have pointed out its impropriety."
" I trust so ; but at any rate, I'm sure she'll not be sorry at my
change of plans. She looked plaguily downcast when I expressed
my determination of leaving Bury at once. Oddslife ! she may
dance with Pinchbeck to the sound of the fiddles in her own
chamber — ha! ha!"
Arthur joined in his father's lusty laughter, and they repaired
to the large room in front of the hotel, to which the old baronet
had been conducted on his arrival. Here they found the two
ladies and the chaplain, in a state of uncertainty as to their move-
ments ; and Sir Hugh having communicated his intention of re-
maining where he was, the announcement was favourably received
by all, especially by Lucy, who could not restrain her delight.
" I couldn't bear the thought of quitting Bury so soon !" she
cried. " Never mind dinner — or supper — I don't feel hungry in
the least — and as to a bed, it doesn't matter — I can sleep very well
in the carriage."
"And see all the folks go to the masked-ball, eh?" Sir Hugh
cried. " No — no, Loo, you shall be locked up in your room ; and
your mother shall keep the key. — Not a bad notion that of the
carriage, though," he mentally ejaculated. " I've a good mind to
take possession of it myself. I should be out of hearing of the
THE SPENDTHRIFT. \17
confounded fiddles. Wrapped up in a blanket, with a nightcap
over my ears and a pillow to rest on, I should be just as comfort-
able as in my own bed. By Heavens ! I'll do it. But as to dinner
and supper, I can dispense with neither. If that silly girl has no
appetite, others have — and deuced keen ones, too !"
Shortly afterwards, and while his father was engaged with the
chaplain in planning an assault on the larder, Arthur drew his
sister into the recess of a window, and detailed to her his conversa-
tion with Lettice.
'* Oh ! how fortunate that papa has altered his mind !" Lucy ex-
claimed. " If I had missed seeing Clare Fairlie I should have
gone distracted. And you, Arthur ! are not you delighted at the
prospect of meeting her again ? Nay, don't sigh, and put on such
a long face — see her you will before the night's spent. We mtist
go to the masked ball."
" But you are to be locked up in your own chamber, as you
have just heard."
" Pshaw ! — Papa was only joking."
" Oh, no, he's in earnest, rely upon it."
" Well then, Pinchbeck shall steal the key, and let me out. Go
to the ball I will."
" You take it for granted I shall accompany you."
"Of course. You'd never allow nie to go alone, — as I should,
if you refused. But I know you won't stay away since Clare
Fairlie is to be there."
" Her presence at it offers a great temptation to me I must
admit. But I don't like you to witness such a scene. Loo."
" If Clare witnesses it, I may. No one will recognise me — for
I shan't unmask. And I shall have you, mon preux chevalier^ as a
protector, in case of need."
" I can't get rid of my scruples. I ought not to yield to a
giddy girl like you."
" Giddy as I am I can take care of myself So you consent, —
yes I — yes ! — I'll have no denial."
" But suppose my consent obtained, — what are we to do for
masks and dominoes ? — Again, we have no tickets."
" Don't raise any more objections, Arthur, for I won't listen to
them. Lettice Rougham will provide everything requisite. I
118 THE SPENDTHEIFT.
must see her at once. I shall find her, you say, in the first room
on the left — second staircase?"
" No ; the last room on the right. Stay ! Don't you perceive
who is approaching ? You'll meet him in the hall to a certainty,
if you go out now."
As Arthur spoke, a sight met Lucy's gaze that riveted her to
the spot. Two running-footmen, in the Monthermer livery, dashed
up to the door of the inn, and one of them loudly rang the bell,
summoning forth Mr. Briscoe, several waiters, and a long train of
lacqueys. The landlord had just reached the bottom of the steps
as a splendid carriage drove up. It was such an equipage as had
never before been seen in Bury — of the newest town make —
richly gilded — sumptuously appointed — and having its panels em-
blazoned with the proud armorial bearings of Monthermer. In
an instant the broad space in front of the hotel was half filled
with a curious crowd who had followed the carriage, vociferating
with delight at its splendour, and the unwonted spectacle of the
running-footmen. Many of these pressed forward to see Gage
alight, and the lacqueys had to draw up in lines, to prevent intru-
sion, and keep a passage clear for their master and Mrs. Jenyns.
'• Come away!" Arthur cried to his sister; but she was unable
to obey the mandate ; — apparently fascinated by what she beheld.
Oh, how handsome Gage looked, she thought, as he placed his
small, well-gloved hand on Briscoe's arm while descending — how
graceful was his deportment — how modish his manner ! And how
well his rich attire became him. If the young coxcomb had
sought an opportunity of displaying his fine person to advantage,
he could not have found one better than the present. Many
admiring eyes besides Lucy's were fixed on him, and he seemed
fully aware of the circumstance — for he kept Briscoe for a few
minutes in idle discourse, after alighting from the carriage. During
this interval he went through all the most approved forms of
foppery ; setting his laced cravat ; placing his feathered hat over
his flowing peruke ; flourishing his clouded cane ; taking snufl
from a jewelled snuff-box, with a grace and air peculiar to him-
self; smiling listlessly ; and throwing himself — so his fair observers
deemed — into the most becoming posture imaginable. Thus he
rested until he had allowed them ample time to examine his
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 119
splendid attire; to criticise (if they could) his azure velvet coat,
with its wide, deep cuffs embroidered with silver; his white satin
waistcoat with its luxuriant pockets laced like the coat; his silken
hose with silver clocks and the finely turned limbs they encased;
and his red-heeled shoes, secured by magnificent diamond buckles.
All at once Gage raised his eyes, and discovering Lucy at the
window, made her a gracious congee, which caused her instantly
to retire and hide her blushes.
120 THE SPENDTHKIFT.
CAUDS OE INVITATION TO THE BALL ARE SENT TO LADY POYNINGS AND HEE
What happened after Lucy's retreat from the window she knew
not, but she had scarcely recovered from the confusion into which
she was thrown by Gage's salutation, when Mr. Briscoe made
his appearance? with a silver salver in his hand, having several cards
of invitation upon it, and a smile on his rosy countenance. He was
charged, he said, by his honoured guest and patron, Mr. Monthermer,
to bear these cards to Lady Poynings and her party, and entreat
the favour of their company at the masked-ball to-night.
"Hang the masked-ball," Sir Hugh exclaimed. '^Will Mr.
Monthermer let us have dinner, Briscoe, — that's the question ?"
*' I am happy to be able to answer it most satisfactorily, Sir
Hugh. My honoured guest and patron bade me say he should be
delighted if you and Mr. Arthur would dine with him at the ordi-
nary. The ladies," he added, " must be served in their own
"/dine with him!" the old baronet bounced out. "'Sdeath!
sir, rd rather starve."
*' At your worship's pleasure. But "
"But what, sir?"
" I was going to observe that my honoured guest does not make
your attendance at the ordinary compulsory."
" I should hope not, Briscoe. Zounds! I should like to see him
drag me to the table. He'd have a tough job, I promise him."
" My honoured guest has no such intention, Sir Hugh. Far
from it. His injunctions to me are to treat your worship with
every deference. 'I have the utmost respect for Sir Hugh,
Briscoe,' his honour says ; ' and though we have the misfortune to
differ in opinion on some points, I can never forget what is due
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 121
to my father's oldest and best friend, as well as to one of the first
men in the county.' "
^' The young gentleman has a very proper appreciation of your
merits, Sir Hugh," the chaplain remarked.
" He displays better feeling than I expected," the old baronet
rejoined, considerably mollified; "but I'm sorry I can't dine with