same way as Mark Rougham, and he internally resolved to inquire
into the matter on the first opportunity. But the opportunity never
came. With a really kind heart and good disposition, he was so
etigrossed by pleasure, and so averse to trouble of any kind, that
he was sure to let things take their course, even though aware that
it was in a wrong direction. Besides, he stood in great awe of
Mr. Fairlie, and it was only very rarely that he ventured to differ
with him in opinion, for though seemingly easy and complying, the
steward made it evident by his manner that he did not like
interference. In regard to Mark Rougham, Mr. Fairlie volun-
teered an explanation to Gage as they rode home, which appeared
to satisfy the young gentleman. For his own part, the steward
declared, he was glad Mr. Monthermer had reinstated Mark, for
though a thick-headed dolt, and as obstinate as one of his own hogs,
he believed him to be a well-meaning fellow in the main. He
could well afford to pay an increased rent for Cowbridge Farm,
but did not choose to do so. He had been often latterly in
arrear. Other people were ready and willing to take the farm at a
higher rent. In fulfilment of his duty to Mr. Monthermer, he
(Mr. Fairlie) did not conceive he had any option but to act as he
had done towards Rougham, and turn him out ; though the pro-
ceeding might appear harsh, and was decidedly against his own
" It won't do to listen to the complaints of these people, I as-
sure you, sir," he concluded. " They will impose upon your good-
nature if they cap. The less you see of them the better â till you
understand how to deal with them."
** I will never be a hard landlord, Fairlie," Gage said.
" No fear of that, sir," the other rejoined with a smile, " or you
are not your father's son. But you must not err on the other side,
and be too yielding, or there will be no end to their demands.
Leave them to me."
This was all that passed on the subject.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 26
HOW SIR RANDAL DE MESCHINES PROPOSED TO CURE GAGE OF HIS PASSION.
Mr. Fairlie got on very well witTi the visitors, and the visitors
got on very well with Mr. Fairlie. They met each other half-way.
At first, the new comers, not knowing their man, regarded the
steward with dislike, as a probable bar to their projects, but tKey
soon found out that he was anything but unfavourably disposed
towards them. A race in the park, between Comus and Gaylass,
proposed by Lord Melton, was warmly supported by Mr. Fairlie
â and he only laughed when Gage, who backed the mare, lost a
heavy bet upon her to the noble lord. He might well laugh, for
he had gone halves with the titled blackleg. Brice Bunbury
borrowed a trifle from him, and was told by Fairlie, who acted as
paymaster, he might make free with the liberal young gentleman's
purse. Fairlie, we may be sure, didn't mean to supply him in
this way for nothing. Nat Mist and Jack Brassey were more
easily won over, being accessible on the side of good living.
The most sumptuous repasts were daily prepared, and the cellar
was ransacked for its choicest wines. Some port as old as
Charles the Second's time was produced, and much admired, espe-
cially by Nat Mist ; so Mr. Fairlie took care a bottle of it should
ever after be set before him. Jack Brassey was a great gourmand,
and his tastes in this particular were carefully studied. The cook
achieved wonders, and Jack did ample justice to her performances.
Cards and dice were introduced each evening, without the slightest
opposition from Mr. Fairlie, though he could not be unaware of the
full extent of Gage's losings, since he was chancellor of the exche-
quer. It seemed a positive pleasure to him to hand over a hundred
or two of a morning to Beau Freke or Sir Randal. Thus en-
couraged, the two latter gentlemen began to meditate a bolder
96 THE SPENDTHBIPT.
stroke, and though they hardly breathed a word of their inten-
tions to each other, it would almost seem that their secret thoughts
were divined by Mr. Fairlie, for, one day, while discharging Gage's
debts of honour as usual, he remarked to them, with a significance
not to be misunderstood, " You are so lucky, gentlemen, that out
of consideration for my young friend, I ought to check his ten-
dency to play, or bid him select less skilful opponents. However,
he must buy his experience â I am quite aware of that. I only
wish I could go shares with you, for then, if you happened to
make a hit â a good hit, mind â I might chance to come in for a
"Foregad! Mr. Fairlie," Beau Freke cried, "you would seem
to insinuate that we ought to win three thousand pounds."
" I insinuate nothing, sir, but if you do win that amount "
" You will expect a third of it," Sir Randal said, concluding
the sentence. *' Agreed, Mr. Fairlie. Henceforth, you are asso-
ciated with us. Our winnings are your winnings. â A precious
rascal ! But we must have him with us," he added to the Beau, as
they left the room, " or he'll spoil our play â that's certain."
It will not be supposed that a youth of Gage's confiding disposi-
tion would hesitate to disclose his secret griefs to his friends, espe-
cially to such of them as he fancied would sympathise witli him ;
but he chose an odd time for making the revelation, and did it in
an odd way. One morning, while under the hands of Chasse-
mouche, and while Beau Freke and Sir Randal were sipping
their chocolate beside him, he suddenly started up, and breaking
away from the astonished coiffeur, who stood staring at him, open-
mouthed, with comb and curling-irons uplifted, and with his queue
almost erect with astonishment, uttered a few frantic and unin-
telligible ejaculations, and proceeded to describe himself as the un-
luckiest dog in the whole world.
* 'What's the matter?" the Beau inquired, tranquilly regarding hini.
" I cannot chase her image from my breast," Gage pursued. " I'm
wretched â distracted."
" Whose image?" Sir Randal demanded. " I thought you had
long since forgotten Colombo Mirepoix?"
" I heard there was a little milliner in St. James's-street whom
you cast eyes on," Beau Freke said. " Is she the cause of your
affliction? If so, egad, we'll send Brice for her at once."
THE SPENDTHRIFT, 27
" This is a vraie affaire de coeur, messieurs," Chassemouche said.
" Mon maitre est eperdument amoureux â I tell him he shall console
himselfâ but he will not believe me. He fret â pauvre monsieur,
how he fret â he break his heart â and about what? â a prude.*^
'"Pieace, Chassemouche. Clare is not a prude."
** Soh ! we have learnt her name, at all events," Sir Rjmdal said.
" Messieurs, I appeal to you," Chassemouche cried. " Am I wrong
to style that demoiselle a prude, who shall refuse un si bon parti
comme raon maitre â refuse him when he kneel at her feet, and offer
her his hand? â and she not his equal, messieurs, who ought to feel
flattee â honoree by his notice."
" Silence, I say, Chassemouche," Gage roared.
" Pardon, monsieur. My devotion make me speak. It is
Mademoiselle Clare Fairlie of whom monsieur est si amoureux.
Jugez, messieurs, if I am wrong in saying she ought to be fi^re of
the admiration of such a one as my master."
" Once more I bid you hold your peace, Chassemouche."
" Is it possible you can have offered this girl marriage, Mon-
thermer?" Beau Freke asked.
" Monsieur, you juge it impossible â but it is perfectly true,
parole d'honneur !" Chassemouche replied.
" You do not contradict him, Montherraer, and I must therefore
conclude Chassemouche is right. 'Sdeath ! what could put such a
thought into your head? You must be bewitched. Marry at your
time of life â with your fortune â your position. Marry Fairlie's
" Exactly what I say to monsieur," Chassemouche interposed.
"- Ten â twen:ty years hence, it will be time enough to think of a
wiie,"^ the Beau pursued. " It were madness now.**
** Word for word what I tell him," Chassemouche said. " Monsieur
doit prendre une femme quand il a jete le premier feu de sa jeunesse.
He wiU tire of Mademoiselle Clare in a month."
" Chassemouche, I'll strangle you, if you go on thuff," Gage cried,
" Faith r you've had a narrow escape, Monthermer/' Sir Randal
said; "and I congratulate you upon it. It is Dot erery woman who
would have let you off so easily."
" I tell him that too," the loquacious valet remarked.
28 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
" But what can be her motive for refusing you?" the young
'* She say he is too much of a rake," Chassemouche replied, with
" Poh ! poh ! an idle reason. She must have another. Of course,
she's handsome, or you wouldn't be in love with her, Monther-
" She's a divinity," Gage cried, rapturously.
"And the goddess inhabits this paradise? Strange she h-as not
dazzled us with her presence. Her father locks her up, I suppose?'
" Mais non, monsieur," Chassemouche replied. " Mr. Fairlie scold
â no matter â she not leave her room."
" My curiosity is piqued," Meschines cried. '* I must contrive to
see her. She may listen to me, though she won't to you, Monther-
" Sir Randal, I will not permit this," Gage cried, sternly.
" Let him alone," Beau Freke said. " Cost what it will, you
must be cured of this foolish passion." "
" But, my good fellow, I shall die under the operation."
" Die ! pshaw ! You will live to laugh at your infatuation."
'^ After all, there is no risk. Her heart is as hard as marble. Try
her, if you like, Meschines."
" I mean to do so," the young baronet replied.
'^Zounds!" Gage cried, with a sudden pang, "I was wrong in
giving you permission. I recal it."
" It is too late," Sir Randal replied, with a laugh. " Why fear, if
you think she is proof against me?"
" Oui, n'ayez pas peur, monsieur," Chassemouche said, with a
grin. " Asseyez-vous, je vous en prie, et laissez-moi finir de vous
His master's toilette completed, Chassemouche quitted the room.
On the landing-place he was met by Bellairs, who informed him
Mr. Fairlie desired to speak with him.
" Corbleu ! What about?" the Frenchman demanded.
" Can't say," the valet replied; *^but he seems in a terrible fume."
And the trembling coiffeur bent his steps towards the steward's
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 29
INTKODTJCING AUTHUR POYNENGS OF REEDHAM AND HIS SISTER LUCYâ A LETTER
FROM CLARE FAIRLIE.
Sir Hugh Poynings of Reedham was one of Warwick de
Monthermer's oldest and most valued friends ; and if things had
turned out as they ought (which they rarely do), the two worthy
gentlemen would have been united by ties stronger than those of
mere regard â namely, by a family alliance. Lucy Poynings was
destined by her father for Gage, and showed no inclination to
thwart the old gentleman's designs. Squire Warwick was equally
desirous of the match ; but his son could not be induced to be-
come a consenting party to the plan.
Very pretty, very amiable and accomplished was Lucy, and cal-
culated, it would seem, in all respects to make the young fellow
happy â only he could not be brought to think so. He liked her
well enough ; but she did not interest him in the least. When a
boy, he used to call her his "little wife," but he dropped the tender
appellation as he advanced in years and began to understand its im-
port. Lucy played charmingly on the harpsichord, and sang some
of Dr. Arne's and Dr. Pepuch's airs very sweetly ; but he cared
not to listen to her music or singing. Any one else pleased
him just as well as Lucy as a partner in a minuet or a jig, though
she was accounted a most graceful dancer. She had the softest
blue eyes imaginable, and the fairest skin : unluckily, the eyes that
did most execution with Gage were of the opposite hue, and the
complexion he chiefly admired was that of a brunette. So Lucy,
not being wanting in discernment, nor destitute of proper spirit,
declared to her father (though her tearful eyes contradicted the
assertion) that she could never think of Gage as a husband. Sir
Hugh laughed at her, and said she didn't know her own mind.
30 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
and would change it before she was a year older â she must
leave him to judge what was best for her â he should dispose of
her as he saw fit, and so forth. But he came round to her opinion
in the end. Squire Warwick, also, perceiving it would be useless
to argue the matter with his son, though surprised and vexed at
the lad's insensibility to so fine a girl as Lucy, gave up the che-
rished idea of Gage's marriage with the daughter of his old friend
â not without considerable regret.
Lucy Poynings had a brother, Arthur, about two years older
than herself who had been Gage's constant playmate during boy-
hood ; and at this pleasant period of life the two lads were never
happy apart, and little dreamed that their friendship could be
interrupted. But as their respective characters began to be deve-
loped, and very opposite qualities and tastes in each to be dis-
played, the warmth of their feelings rapidly cooled down, and
from being inseparable, they were rarely together,
A fine high-spirited youth was Arthur Poynings â handsome
withal, well-made, well-grown, fair-haired, and with light blue eyes
like those of his sister. But he liad notliing of the fop .about
him. He excelled in all manly exercises, and even as a lad was
considered the most straightforward rider in Suffolk. He thought
Gage too much of a coxcomb and a Sybarite; while Gage thought
him rustic, ill-dressed, ill-bred, and only one degree better than a
clown. A sort of rivalry sprang up between the lads in the hunting-
field, and they had frequent disputes as to which was the best horse-
man ; till these were settled by yomig Poynings, who performed an
extraordinary feat, which Gage dared not undertake. Our two
youths were next.at Oxford together^ but little intimacy was kept up
between them there; especially after Squire Warwick's death, when
Gage launched out into such extravagance and folly, Arthur did
not read very hard it is true ;; but neither did he drink, game, or
riot, and he was therefore styled a milksop, a hypocrite, and a
sneak, by Gage's associates, though you may be sure none of these
opprobrious epithets could be justly applied to him. Jack Brassey
even went so far as to molest him, but he liad reason to repent his
rashness ; and the severe chastisemeiLt .he rejceived operated .as a
wholesome lesson to the others. Arthur was not annoyed afterwards.
Sir Hugh iind Lady Poynings with theijc family had been bidden
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 31
to the festivities at Monthermer Castle, when its young lord attained
his majority, but they coldly declined the invitation; for, in fact,
the old baronet disapproved so much of Gage's scandalous proceed-
ings, and was so incensed against him for his folly and the little
respect he displayed for his father's memory, that he coidd scarcely
bear to hear his name mentioned. Sir Hugh declared he would
not countenance such goings on by his presence ; nor should any
one belonging to him enter the young rake's disorderly house,
much less Lady Poynings, or Lucy. The latter alone attempted
to defend the young man, for whom she still nourished a
strong affection. He was very young, she said, and might
reform â nay, he was sure to reform, and make a shining cha-
racter in time. Sir Hugh angrily bade her hold her tongue â she
knew nothing about rakes â they never reformed till ruined in
health and estate â she had had a lucky escape. It was well
Squire Warwick was in his grave â or his son's misconduct would
have hurried him there. Poor Lucy heaved a sigh, and thought
she would take Gage with all his faults. Young women are more
lenient towards our indiscretions, and more hopeful of our amend-
ment, than flinty-hearted seniors, who judge of us by themselves.
However, there was another circumstance connected with Mon-
thermer Castle and its inmates of which Sir Hugh was ignorant;
but if he had been aware of it, it would have been sufficient in
itself to deter him from going there â or allowing his son to
go there. The old baronet was one of those who had early seen
through Felix Fairlie, and he had determined to expose him
to the master he was sure he was wronging ; but, unluckily, he
postponed his intention until too late. He thought the steward a
consummate rascal and hypocrite ; and all FairHe's subsequent ac-
tions convinced him of the correctness of his opinion. Judge, then,
what would have been his rage and mortification, if he had known
that his son â his only son â the heir to his title â should have
dreamed of uniting himself to FairUe's daughter. Yet such was
the case, as we shall see presently. Sir Hugh was exceedingly
proud, and if Fairlie had been an honest man, he would have
deemed the connexion a misalliance: as it was, he would have
held it to be utterly disgraceful and dishonouring to his son, and
never to be forgiven on his own pari.
32 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
Arthur Poynings did not think of this when he fell in love
with Clare Fairlie; or rather, he was over head and ears in love
with her before he thought of his father's opinion at all. When
fairly in the scrape, he began to consider how to get out of it.
Sir Hugh, he felt, would be very angry at first, but he was sure to
relent in time; and Clare was so sweet a creature she could not
fail to win hirn over. Thus he argued, as lovers always argue,
when similarly circumstanced. Luckily, Sir Hugh was not tried.
And now for the history of Arthur's passion.
Lucy Poynings had been long acquainted with Clare Fairlie,
and thinking her the most beautiful creature she had ever seen, as
well as the most amiable, she spoke of her in such rapturous terms
to Arthur, that she naturally roused his curiosity to behold the
marvel. The desire was not long ungratified, and the young man
owned that his sister had good reason for her commendation.
In brief, he fell in love with Clare â violently in love â and
made Lucy the confidante of his passion. The heedless girl
did not discourage him, for she thought as little of the conse-
quences as he did himself, and never stopped to reflect whether
Sir Hugh and Lady Poynings might like the match or not.
She only considered how delightful it would be to have such
a charming sister-in-law as Clare ; and when matters, as she
conceived, had made sufficient progress â for Arthur and the
steward's daughter frequently met, and the young man fancied his
attentions were not disagreeable to the object of his affections â
she willingly consented to speak to Clare on his behalf, and to
plead his cause with her, if it required pleading, which she did
Imagine her distress on finding Arthur's suit hopeless, and Clare
her own rival.
Though the flame of jealousy was kindled in her bosom on
making the discovery, it was quickly extinguished when she learnt
Clare's determination in regard to Gage. Lucy was too much in
love herself not to know the cost of the sacrifice which the other
was prepared to make ; nor could she refuse her her profoundest
sympathies. They mingled their tears together for a brief space,
those two unhappy maidens, unable to afford each other any solace;
and then separated, with sentiments of increased mutual regard.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 33
The intelligence conveyed to him by his sister filled Arthur with
bit^r disappointment, and drove him almost to despair. Till then,
he had not known how deeply he loved. He became moody
and unsociable, neglected the exercises of which he had been
hitherto so fond, and execrated Gage as the cause of his misery.
So changed was he in manner and appearance, that Sir Hugh
could not help noticing the alteration, and wondering what could
be the matter with him â half suspecting, as he told Lady Poynings,
that the lad must be in love, and have met with some disappoint-
ment. Yet who could refuse his son â the future Sir Arthur
Poynings ? So handsome too, â the girls were all dying for him.
Could it be that proud little minx, Lady Alicia Man vers? â Lady
Poynings did not choose to enlighten him, though she was in the
But a still harder trial was reserved for Arthur, as we shall
proceed to show. A few days after Beau Freke and the others
had arrived at Mon therm er Castle, a letter was secretly delivered
to Lucy. It was from Clare Fairlie, and ran as follows:
" We must preserve him from ruin â yes, from ruin, Lucy.
The danger is imminent. He is surrounded by a set of gamblers,
who are daily winning large sums of money from him, and who,
it is quite evident, will never leave him so long as he has anything
" You will wonder at his infatuation, and, indeed, it is incon-
ceivable, for he can scarcely be blind to their designs. Yet such
is the singular irresolution â what shall I call it ? â weakness of his
character, that, once caught in toils like these, he will not make
an effort to escape from them ; though the silken meshes might
be burst in a moment.
*' He must be freed, Lucy, or he is lost. But how ?
*' I cannot help him â and I will tell you why â though the
avowal is made with pain and shame, and is only wrung from mc
by circumstances. He I am bound to love, revere, and obey,
is, I fear, in some way a party to the schemes of these wicked
persons. I judge so from many reasons; but chiefly, because
he stands by, an apparently calm spectator, while his former
ward, whom he ought to counsel and protect, is shamefully
34 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
plundered in the way I have described. He is sharp-sighted
enough, and must know these men are little better than shar|jers
â ^yet not a word of remonstrance from him. He seems to like
them, and willingly enters into all their plans. Cards and dice
are introduced every evening, and the company remain at play
till a late hour â with invariably the same results, so far as Gage is
concerned. He never wins. But in spite of his constant ill-luck,
he perseveres, and, as I am told, doubles his stakes. You will per-
ceive how this must end.
"I have told my father what I think ; and I never knew him
so greatly offended with me as upon this occasion. He spoke so
harshly, that I really dare not mention the subject to him
again. He asked me how I ventured to meddle with matters
in which I had no concern ! What business was it of mine if
Mr. Monthermer played ! Mr. Monthermer was his own master ;
could do as he pleased ; and would naturally resent any improper
control over his actions â and such he should never attempt â and
he would advise no one else to attempt it. If I had been his
wife â (O, Lucy, he knew how those words would wound me, but
he did not heed my anguish) â I might have had a right to interfere
â but now, having thrown away my chance, I had none. He had
already affirmed that Gage's destiny for good or evil rested with
me ; and if I chose to cast him off, and the young man fell into
bad courses, I must bear the blame, and not repine. (O, Lucy, I
felt there might be truth in this â ^but I could not â could not â
marry him !) As to the apprehensions I appeared to entertain of
Gage's ruin, they were idle. He would take care he did not go
too far. But he must be taught prudence, at any cost. Experience
was a dear schoolmistress, but the only one in his case. (This
sounded well, but I felt little confidence in the sincerity of the
'â¢' My father then went on to say that the gentlemen who were
staying in the house, and whom I had chosen to designate as
sharpers, were, most of them, young men of the first rank and
fashion, of high honour, and incapable of resorting to any tricks
at play such as I had hinted at. If he had suspected any such mal-
practices, he would have been the first to denounce them ; but I
might rest assured I was mistaken. (But no, â I am not mistaken,
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 35
" My information must have been derived from my maid, Lettice
(my father continued), and he was surprised I should listen to silly
tittle-tattle from the servants'-hall. Servants always calumniate
their masters, and attribute the worst motives to their actions. Ac-
cording to this class of persons, there is no respectability of character
out of livery. Servants never cheat at cards, nor use false dice â
not they ! â but their masters invariably do. If Beau Freke and
Sir Randal Meschines are sharpers, and their valets know it, why
do they stay with them? There had been much mischievous talk
of late below stairs (my father added), and he had found it necessary