'' My honoured guest begs you will entirely consult your own
inclinations, Sir Hugh — dine with him, or in your own room, at
" But not at his expense, Briscoe. That must not be.'
" Pardon me, Sir Hugh, that is the only point on which he is
"I think. Sir Hugh, you had better accept Mr. Monther-
mer's hospitality," the chaplain observed — the poor fellow was
suffering extremities of hunger like the old baronet. " He means
" Yes, yes, I'm quite sure he does," Lucy subjoined.
" Well, well, I can't stand out against you all. Be it as you
will, Briscoe. Only let us have something to eat quickly. I'm
" And so am I," the chaplain muttered.
" Dinner shall be served directly, Sir Hugh," the landlord re-
joined ; " and I'll engage you shall complain neither of the dishes
nor the wine. Allow me to offer these cards to your ladyship."
" Zounds! — no — take 'em away, Briscoe," Sir Hugh roared.
" I think, my dear, they had better be left," Lady Poynings
observed. " We should not offer Gage an affront in return for
" But you don't mean to go to the ball, madam ?" the old
baronet cried, staring at her.
^' Of course not," she rejoined, taking the tickets and placing
them on the mantelpiece. " There they will remain undisturbed
till to-morrow morning."
" Not undisturbed, mamma," Lucy said to herself, with a furtive
glance at Arthur.
mk '* Make our compliments to Mr. Monthermer, Briscoe," Lady
HI Poynings added, " and say we are infinitely obliged to him."
^B " I will, my lady," the landlord repKed, bowing profoundly.
^H'* So far so good," he muttered, as he left the room.
122 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
PIPES AND PUNCH.
Contrary to his expectations, Sir Hugh fared sumptuously
that day. A copious dinner was followed by a magnum of ad-
mirable claret, and the claret was succeeded by a bowl of deli-
cious punch. The ladies disappeared early, and Arthur soon
afterwards followed their example, leaving the old baronet and the
chaplain alone together. Parson Chedworth had entirely allayed
the pangs of hunger, had drunk his share — and Arthur's too — of
the claret, and now felt in a state of perfect beatitude. Not abso-
lutely perfect: he yearned for a pipe, and at length ventured to
give audible expression to his desires. The old baronet acquiesced :
in fact, he was a great smoker himself So pipes were called for,
and when the host appeared with them, the attentive fellow took
the opportunity of inqidring, in his customary deferential manner,
whether his worship approved of the punch; and being answered
in the affirmative, begged permission to prepare another bowl.
" My honoured guest and patron," he said, with a low bow,
" has again enjoined me to leave nothing undone to satisfy your
worship. I told him you had ordered a bowl of punch, and he bade
me brew it strong and good. ' Plenty of rack and sugar, Briscoe,'
quoth he; ' Sir Hugh must have of the best.' "
" Your honoured guest has a design upon our heads, methinks,"
the old baronet rejoined, as he proceeded to light his pipe. " How-
ever, I must needs own your punch is excellent, Briscoe."
" I have a character to lose, Sir Hugh, seeing I am accounted
the best brewer of punch in Bury. Give me leave to taste the
liquor, gentlemen. A leetle m.ore of the old rum might improve
THE SPENDTHEIFT. 123
" Oddslife ! no," Sir Hugli exclaimed ; " you will blow off
our brainpans, Briscoe. Not a drop more rum an you love me !"
" Ha ! ha ! ha ! Your honour is pleased to be facetious."
" Ay, his honour is always jocular over his cups, Mr. Briscoe,"
the chaplain cried, his fat cheeks quivering with laughter. " Brew
as you Hst, sir — brew as you list. You are the best judge of the
right proportions of the mixture — though it's a rare compound, as
it is," he added, filling his glass to the brim, and smacking has lips
over its contents — " no fault can be found with it."
** I shall try and mend it, nevertheless, with the next brewage,
your reverence," the landlord rejoined, shuffling off.
" I defy you to do it, Mr. Briscoe, — I defy you," Parson Ched-
worth shouted after him, with a mellow laugh.
The second bowl of punch proved more potential than the first,
though neither of the two joyous souls complained of it; but when
the landlord proposed a third. Sir Hugh raised no objection, but
insisted upon more lime-juice.
*' Your honour will spoil the drink," Briscoe said, in a depre-
catory tone. " Cohsider, Sir Hugh, my reputation is at stake."
" Ay, you are bound to maintain it at all hazards," the chaplain
roared. " Too much lime-juice would be a mortal heresy. Away
with you, sir," he added, winking at the host, who took the hint
"Egad! parson," Sir Hugh exclaimed, as soon as they were
alone, " since we are forced to dine at Gage's expense, we'll make
him suffer exorbitantly — ^ha ! ha ! Help yourself."
While the twain were thus convivially employed, time wore
away insensibly. Evening approached and found them still en-
gaged with their pipes and glasses. At length. Lady Poynings, think-
ing they must have had enough — perhaps too much — sent Arthur
to try and break up the sitting ; but as he failed, she went herself
with Lucy, though with no better success. Sir Hugh was not in a
mood to be disturbed in the midst of his enjoyments. He meant
to make a night of it, he said, with the parson. They had never
drunk such delicious punch before. Its only fault was too much
lime-juice — too little he meant. Wouldn't her ladyship taste it ?
A glass would do Loo no harm. Her ladyship had better retire to
rest before the silly folk came* to the masked-ball ; — but she must
be sure to lock Loo up in her chamber, first. What was the little
J 24 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
gipsy about that sKe di dn't buss Mm ? There, they had better
go now ; and her ladyship need give herseh" no further concern
about him. He and the chaplain should take a quiet snooze in
the carriage. He had arranged it all with Briscoe. He wished
her and Loo a good night !
Lady Poynings did not approve of her lord's arrangement, but
aware that, under the circumstances, opposition would be idle, she
reluctantly retired with her daughter.
Lucy, we must not omit to state, had taken advantage of her
short stay in the room to approach the chimney-piece unperceived,
and possess herself of the tickets for the ball.
An hour after this, and before the first guest had arrived at the
ball, the two topers were fast asleep in their chairs.
Briscoe peeped in, and seeing how matters stood, withdrew with
a chuckle. The last bowl of punch had done the business.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 125
A PEEP AT THE MASKED BALL.
Great was the uproar outside the Angel, as soon after nine
o'clock those invited to the masked-ball began to arrive. The
spacious area in front of the hotel was thronged by dense masses,
through which carriages and sedan-chairs with difficulty forced
tlieir way. Footmen and link boys kept up a continual clamour;
tlie former laying about them, right and left, with tall canes,
and the latter thrusting oil-dripping flambeaux in the faces of
such of the spectators as pressed too forward. But notwithstanding
a few squabbles with the chairmen and coachmen and their satel-
lites, the bulk of the crowd was in high good humour, and vastly
amused by the various habits of the masqueraders. Droll and
fantastic characters pleased them most, and figures in motley, sca-
ramouches, pierrots, polchinellos, harlequins, and other buffoons
were received with shouts of laughter. Some of these jested
with the lookers-on, especially the gentler portion of them, as
tliey passed along, and many a smart repartee was exchanged ;
the damsels being always ready with a rejoinder, and giving as
good as they received. Bury has always been renowned for the
beauty and liveliness of its fair inhabitants, and on this occasion its
reputation for both qualities was fully maintained. Never were a
collection of prettier girls brought together in the same space —
most of them boasting the charming blond locks for which, as well
as foY other personal attractions, the female denizens of our English
^lontpellier have, time out of mind, been celebrated.
But we must now leave this merry concourse, with its squeezing,
its trampling, its pushing forward and pushing back, its laughing
faces lighted up by the flashing torches, its jokes, its fun, and its
126 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
pretty girls — though we regret to part with them ; we must
leave it, we say, and follow the guests inside. Most of them,
indeed, have arrived, for they have kept pouring in in unin-
terrupted succession for nearly an hour. Large as it is, the ball-
room must be nearly full, the crowd think, and they are right.
How many turbaned Turks, high-heeled mandarins, cavaliers in
the costume of the Merry Monarch, Dutchmen in enormous trunk-
hose, stately Spaniards and grave Venetians in velvet mantles,
silken doublets, and hose — how many comical personages with
huge paunches and boltster-like legs, some with two faces, at front
and back, so ingeniously disposed that you could not tell which
was the right one — how many black dominoes and pink dominoes
— how many burly friars, quack doctors and pilgrims — how
many sultanas and shepherdesses, Grecian nymphs and Indian
princesses, double-faced women, lit partners for the doubled-
faced men, antiquated village dames in steeple-crowned hats,
supporting themselves with crutch-handled sticks, and attended by
lightsome and trimly-attired peasant girls — how many such cha-
racters and how many others entered the wide-opened portals of
the Angel that night we pause not to inquire — suffice it, that
when they had all been ushered into the ball-room by Mr. Briscoe
and his attendants, too much space was not left for the dancers.
As may be supposed, nothing had been neglected to give splen-
dour and attraction to the ball. The room was magnificently
decorated, and scores of perfumed tapers shed lustre on the motley
groups. Borees and courantos — those lively dances of the day —
were performed to enchanting strains from a powerful orchestra.
Each musician was an artist of renown. Bouquets of the choicest
flowers were offered to all the ladies. Cooling drinks of every kind
and delicious hot-house fruits were served at a buffet, to refresh the
dancers after their fatigues, and sustain them till supper came, at
midnight, the marvels of which were discussed beforehand, though
the reality far exceeded any anticipation formed of it. It was a
repast worthy of a Roman Sybarite, abounding in tempting viands
and exquisite wines, while plate and crystal glasses, brought for
the occasion from Monthermer Castle, decked the board.
But we are anticipating, and must go back to an earlier period
of the evening. The majority of the guests had arrived, and,
dancing had already commenced, when a black domino, the upper
THE SPENDTHEIFT. 12t
part of whose features was covered by a mask without curtain,
quitted a group of maskers of which he was the centre, and re-
paired to the ante-chamber. Several bright eyes followed him, for,
despite his disguise, he was known to be the giver of the revel, and
more than one fair challenger strove to arrest his progress. But he
had matter on hand that claimed his immediate attention, and
went on. On reaching the ante-chamber he found the .person
he expected, amidst a host of other attendants, male and female,
and beckoned him to him. Briscoe — for it was he — instantly
obeyed the summons.
" Are they come?" Grage demanded. " I have carefully scruti-
nised every mask on its entrance into the room, but have not been
able to detect them."
" They are not yet arrived, your honour. I have marked their
tickets, so they cannot pass in undiscovered. I will take particular
notice of their dresses, and point them out to your honour."
'* And you have disposed of Sir Hugh and the chaplain?"
'* All has been done according to your honour's directions," the
host replied, with a chuckle. And he was going to furnish some
more information relative to the individuals in question, when a
trio of masqueraders entered the room, and cut him short. " Here
they are, as I live !" he cried, hurrying forward, as the new comers
presented their tickets.
The two foremost masquers represented a Spanish hidalgo and
his wife, or sister — she might be either, of course. Of the senora
or senorita first, for she was eminently piquante and attractive. A
basquiiia of black silk, richly fringed with the finest lace, allowed,
from its shortness, a view of feet and limbs that would have done
credit to an Andalusian, and even a true daughter of Seville could
not have moved more gracefully or more bewitchingly than did
her present representative. A thick mantilla fastened at the back
of her head, and descending over the shoulders, partially concealed
her features, but what could be discerned of them through this
veil gave evidence of extraordinary beauty. What with her fas-
cinating deportment and grace of person, she seemed calculated to
create a prodigious sensation amongst the assemblage she was about
to join.^ Her costume would have been incomplete if she had
wanted the Spanish dona's telegraph of love-messages, — a fan.
She carried one in her hand, and understood its use too, for as she
128 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
passed Gage its gentle rustle, plainly as whispered words, incited
him to follow her.
Her companion, upon whose arm she leaned, was apparelled as a
Spanish nobleman of the sixteenth century, and so well did he
sustain the character by haughtiness of carriage, that he might have
been taken for a veritable grandee. Of his countenance no judg-
ment could be formed, since he was closely masked, but it was only
fair to suppose it must correspond with his extremely handsome
Behind this striking pair came a very pretty page, clad in
a white satin doublet and hose, with a sky-blue velvet mantle.
He had a sword by his side, and his broad-leaved white hat had a
drooping feather in it. A profusion of blond ringlets fell over his
shoulders. He was closely masked like the others. Daintier limbs
than this page owned were never seen ; but though his figure was
slight almost to effeminacy, he bore himself gallantly, and had
all the airs of a grown man. Mr. Briscoe and the ushers in the
ante-chamber had a taste of his superciliousness and foppery,
and he chucked some of the flower-girls under the chin, as they
offered him bouquets.
Satisfied that these were the persons he expected, Gage stepped
behind a screen and threw off his domino, almost instantly
appearing again as the Earl of Rochester, in a splendid court
dress of Charles II. 's time. Thus attired, and putting on a cur-
tained mask, he re-entered the ball-room.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 129
THE TWO PAGES.
Mr. Briscoe thought all the guests must have arrived, but
he was mistaken. Soon after Gage's disappearance three fresh
masquers presented themselves, cards in hand, at the outer door of
the ante-chamber. At sight of them the landlord was quite startled,
and the usher and other attendants were equally amazed. The cause
of this general astonishment was the remarkable resemblance offered
by the new comers to three personages who had recently preceded
them, and had attracted particular attention on their entrance.
Here were a second Spanish hidalgo and his dame followed by a
dainty little page. Not only was hidalgo number two attired exactly
like hidalgo number one — certain minutiae of costume being care-
fully observed in both cases, — but he appeared to be just the same
height, just as well-proportioned, and just as haughty of carriage
as his predecessor* Like him, too, he wore a collar of gold with
an order attached to it, and had the cross of Santiago embroidered
on his mantle. The second dona looked quite as bewitching as
the first, and was arrayed in the same style, with a black man-
tilla and basquina — moving with equal grace, and managing her
fan with equal coquetry. There was not a pin to choose between
them. Then the page was the very double of the pretty little
coxcomb who had gone before, and might have been his twin-
brother. Blond ringlets, white satin habiliments, limbs of almost
feminine beauty, foppish and forward manners — all were the same.
The flower-girls simpered as he approached them, and pressed
their bouquets upon him, hoping he would treat them as the first
young rogue had done, and they were not disappointed.
Mr. Briscoe was bewildered. Who were they ? What could
130 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
it mean? Could they be the original hidalgo and his com-
panions ? Impossible ! Nevertheless, in his perplexity^ the land-
lord went to the open door of the ball-room, and satisfied himself
that the others were there, amidst the crowd.
But the mystery increased. The tickets were delivered, and
proved to be marked exactly in the same way the others had been.
After all, then, theee might be the very persons his honoured
patron expected. Who could tell ?
At the risk of appearing intrusive, Mr. Briscoe begged the
hidalgo would do him the favour to step behind the screen for a
moment, and take off his mask. But the don declined, and the
senora, tapping the host playfully with her fan, inquired if he was
master of the revel, that he presumed to question them. At the
same tijne the page, disengaging himself from the flower-girls, who
had crowded round him, came up, and with a wave of his hand
pushing Briscoe aside, all three passed on and entered the ball-
Here they presently mingled with the crowd, and nothing was
left the host but to take an early opportunity of informing his
honoured patron of the trick that had been played with the
Half the ball-room was in motion when Gage returned to it, and he
could only, now and then, catch a glimpse of the lovely figure of the
first senora as she flew past with her partner — the stately hidalgo
— in a gavot. However, he did not give himself much concern.
He had but to wait a few minutes, and the dance would be over.
She would then be disengaged, and he might, without impro-
priety, claim her hand for a rigadoon or a jig, and so obtain the
interview he sought.
While he was looking on, much amused by the efforts of a
cumbrously-clad Dutchman to keep pace with the brisk strains
from the orchestra, he felt his mantle gently plucked, and turning
beheld the page. The youth beckoned to him to withdraw a little
from the crowd, and when they were sufliciently removed to be
out of hearing, said archly: " So you are in pursuit of the fair
dame I serve ? Nay, it will be useless to deny it. I know your
design, but am not going to betray it, either to her brother, or a
certain lady, who would be sure to thwart you, if she had the least
inkling of it. I can help you if you choose to confide in me."
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 131
" Upon my word I am greatly indebted to you, young sir,"
Gage replied. " But as mistakes are not uncommon at a masked-
ball, let me ask whom you take me for ?"
"I take you for one who may be better and happier than he is
now, if he does not throw away his present chance."
" You would have me reform and marry — eh ?" Gage rejoined,
with a laugh.
"I would; and if you will promise to turn over a new leaf,
I will engage to find you a charming wife."
" Egad, I thought so. But to tell you the truth, my young
Mentor, I have abandoned all idea of matrimony. It is not in the
least to my taste. Amusement is all I want, and in seeking an
interview vsdth your captivating mistress I have no further thought
than to pass half an hour agreeably."
*' I am out of all patience with you," the page cried, " and shall
caution my lady's brother not to let you approach her."
*' Your lady will not thank you for your interference. Her chief
motive in coming to this ball, as you must know, was to meet
me, and if you throw any obstacles in the way you will cause her
** You are a great coxcomb, and flatter yourself all women are
in love with you."
" I am vain enough to think some are not altogether indifferent
to my merits, and amongst the number I may count your adorable
" If my mistress were of my mind and my spirit, she would die
rather than let you know how much she cares for you."
" Luckily your mistress does not resemble you in all respects.
And now, before we part, treat me to a glimpse of your face. It
ought to be pretty to match such a figure."
"Pretty or not, I don't intend you to behold it. And I beg
you will reserve all your fine compliments for those who heed them.
They are quite wasted upon me."
" Then you are not a woman, as I deemed you?"
" You shall find I can draw a sword if you provoke me or insult
my mistress, so don't presume upon my belonging to the softer sex.
I am more dangerous than you think. I'll wager you what you
please that I make love to Mrs. Jenyns before the evening's
over; — ay, and that she listens to me."
132 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
" Pshaw ! she will laugh at you."
" You are afraid to bet."
"To bet with a stripling like you would be ridiculous."
" You dare not point out Mrs. Jenyns to me."
" I would do so at once, but i' faith I know not the disguise
she has assumed."
"A mere evasion. Never mind! I'll find her out without
your assistance, and if she laughs at me, as you say she will, she
won't laugh at my lady's brother. He shall put her to the proof."
"A saucy young coxcomb!" Gage exclaimed, as the other
A general promenade now took place, but Monthermer did not
care to quit his position, since it enabled him, without trouble, to
scrutinise the various masks passing in review, as well as to converse
with those he pleased ; and he felt sure the circling stream would
soon land the fair Spaniard at his feet. Ere many minutes, he
perceived her slowly approaching, still leaning on the arm of the
stately hidalgo, and he was preparing to step forward and address
her, when Mr. Briscoe, whom he had noticed struggling through
the motley crowd, succeeded in forcing his way up to him. The
corpulent landlord had got terribly squeezed, and his gouty feet
had been trodden upon, so that between pain and want of breath
he could scarcely make himself understood.
" An' please your honour," he commenced, — " the tick — tick —
tickets Mercy on us ! how my poor feet are crushed !"
" If you have anything to tell me, Briscoe — be quick!" Gage
*' I beg your honour's pardon," the landlord gasped — " I was
about to say Oh ! what an awful twinge !"
" Well, — well, — another time. I can't attend to you now.
I've business on hand. Hobble back as fast as you can, and for
your own sake keep out of the crowd." ■
" Your honour is very considerate. I would I had kept out of
it — but the mischief's done. I shall be lame for a month. My
duty required me to acquaint your honour that the tickets "
*' Deuce take the tickets! Stand aside, my good fellow, or I
shall miss her. I must speak to that Spanish lady."
** But I entreat your honour to hear me first,"
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 133
*' Out of my way, sir !"
"Ay, out of the way, huge porpoise!" a youthful voice ex-
claimed behind him.
Glancing over his shoulder to see who spoke, the landlord beheld
the page. '■
*' Ah! are you there, little jackanapes?" he cried. "Beware
of him, your honour. He is a cheat — an impostor."
" Mend your speech, sirrah host," the page retorted, " or I will
clip off your ears."
"What! — here again, young saucebox!" Gage exclaimed.
" Have you discovered her?"
" Discovered whom ?" the page demanded.
" Why, Mrs. Jenyns, to be sure. Have you forgotten it already?
You were to make love to her, you know — and so was your lady's
brother — ha! ha!"
" Yes, so we were, — I recollect it now," the page replied, after a
moment's hesitation. " I have a very treacherous memory."
" I should think so," Mr. Briscoe remarked. " Do you chance
to remember where you got your ticket ?"
"What means this impertinence?" the page exclaimed. "I
received my card of invitation from Mr. Monthermer, of course."
" Marked, no doubt?" the landlord said.
" It might be marked for aught I know to the contrary; but
what is this to the purpose ?"
" A great deal — as his honour will comprehend."
" His honour comprehends that you are a very tiresome fellow,
and wishes you far enough, with all his heart," the page rejoined,
^* Don't you perceive you are in the Avay, man?"