pleasantest manner possible. Let me see, we have just been nine
months together — nine months ! — almost an existence, Harry."
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 97
" You may pass double the time with Monthermer."
" No, I shan't. I shall tire of him in less than a year. I feel I
shall. He's handsome, well-bred, good-natured, but somehow
not entirely to my taste. I wonder whether I shall ever really love
" Then you own you never did love me? Nay, you may deal
frankly with me now.'*
" Well then, frankly, I never did ; but don't distress yourself.
I loved you as much as I shall ever love Monthermer."
"At all events, we part good friends?"
" I shall always be delighted to see you."
So saying, she gracefully extended her hand to him. Dashwood
pressed it to his lips, and departed without another word.
Next morning, while Mrs. Jenyns was sitting in an elegant
dishabille, sipping her chocolate, Mr. Fairlie was announced.
After a few preliminary remarks the steward begged to have a few
words in private with her, and Mrs. Clive, at a sign from Peg,
" First of all, madam, let me give you the thousand pound which
Mr. Monthermer lost to you yesterday," Mr. Fairhe said, producing
a rouleau of notes.
"Your pardon, sir," the pretty actress said, with a captivating
smile, which, if the steward's breast had not been adamant, must
have melted it — "you only owe me half that sura."
" Only half, madam ! — Surely Mr. Monthermer betted a thou-
sand pounds with you ?"
" Very true, Mr. Fairlie, and depend on it, I am not going to
let him off. But between you and me the case is different. You
have only to pay me five hundred."
" I don't exactly understand you, madam."
" Then you are duller than I fancy, Mr. Fairlie. Come, sir —
there must be a proper understanding between us. I know you
manage Mr. Monthermer's affairs "
" You are right, madam. He commits them entirely to my
"You can therefore control his expenses, if you please?"
" Very likely, madam — if I see occasion."
" You no doubt comprehend what my relations with Mr. Mon-
thermer are likely to be?"
98 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
" I have some idea, madam."
" And you have no objection?"
'* You will have none — you can have none, when you have
heard me out. Mr. Monthermer is violently in love with me."
*' So it appears, madam."
" He will gratify all my caprices. He will ruin himself for my
" It must be my care to prevent that consummation, madam ^"
" I don't think you could prevent it, sir. At all events you
" Won't, madam?"
"No; because it will be your interest to act in concert with me.
You hold the strings of the young gentleman's purse, and when
you open it for me, you can help yourself. In other words, you
shall go shares with me."
" Upon my word, madam, you arrange matters in a most extra-
ordinary way, I must own."
" Don't I?" she cried, laughing. " O, Mr. Fairlie, I see we
shall be great friends. I understand your character perfectly. To
tell you the truth, I came down to Newmarket — not to see poor
Dashwood — ^but to meet Monthermer. I had heard all about him
from Sir Randal de Meschines, who has just returned to town —
and about you, too, my good sir. Sir Randal said he would in-
troduce his friend when he came to town, but I resolved to be
beforehand with him. And so I set off at once to Newmarket."
" Admirably managed, on my faith. But you woman have far
more cleverness than we can ever pretend to."
" Yes, you will find me an efficient ally. Now tell me can-
didly, Mr. Fairlie. If I had taken the thousand pounds you
offered me just now — and had not made my present proposition —
would you not have done your best to defeat my object, and prevent
this young man from attaching himself to me?"
'' You deal in such a straightforward manner, madam, that I
should be treating you most unworthily if I did not give a candid
answer. I would have prevented the haison. Nay, I will confess
still more. Gage would have been with you before this, but I
stopped him till I had had an interview with you, by the result of
which I meant to be governed."
THE 8PEWDTHRIPT. 99
" And are you quite satisfied with me now?"
" Quite, madam."
" Then send Gage to me. I want to see him. Stay ! you have
not given me the five hundred pounds."
" Here are the notes, madam. Mr. Monthermer shall be with
you presently. I have the honour to kiss your hand."
As soon as the door was closed by the steward, Peg threw
herself back in her chair, and burst into an immoderate fit of
"Was there ever so consummate a rascal! Sir Randal de-
scribed him exactly. But clever and unscrupulous as he is, it
shall go hard if I don't outwit him. And now for my poor
despairing swain. I must make myself look as captivating as I
With this she summoned Mrs. Clive, and with her aid had just
disposed her fair tresses in the most becoming manner, and
rearranged her costume, when the door was thrown open, and Gage
was at her feet.
The Temptress had prevailed.
WJO THE SPENDTKRIPT.
WHEBEIN SEVEKAL PERSONAGES CONNECTED WITH THIS HISTORY FIND THEIR
WAY TO THE ANGEL AT BURY ST. EDMUND's.
Sir Hugh Poynings was one of the proudest men in Suffolk,
and his feelings may, therefore, be imagined when he learnt that
his son had been secretly attached to Felix Fairlie's daughter, and
had even offered her his hand. That Clare was beautiful, ac-
complished, irreproachable — all that could be desired in woman,
except that she was not well-born — weighed nothing with him.
The connexion was degrading — dishonouring — and he would
sooner Arthur had fallen by the sword of De Meschines, than
have seen him so mated. At least, in the first transports of
his rage, he affirmed as much to Lady Poynings, who, when
their son was brought home wounded, could conceal nothing
from her husband. Remonstrances, at first, appeared unavailing
with the indignant old gentleman. All that could be urged in
Arthur's behalf by his mother, in her affectionate anxiety to ex-
culpate him, served only to inflame Sir Hugh still more.
" What ! you attempt to defend him, Lady Poynings !" he ex-
claimed. " Zounds ! madam, you will drive me distracted. You
are as bad as he. Do you suppose for a moment, if you had been
in the same sphere of life as this girl, and had owned a
knavish steward for sire, instead of a gentleman of a lineage
as ancient as my own — if you had been a Fairlie instead of a
Bourchier — do you think, under such circumstances, I should ever
have married you? I know better what is due to my ancestors.
They shall never be disgraced by me. Until now I always
thought Arthur shared my sentiments. Undoubtedly, I have some-
times regretted an over-familiarity in his manner towards those
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 101
beneath him, a want of sufficient self-respect, — a want of a little of
my dignity, in short ; but I attributed these faults to his excessive
good-nature, and never anticipated any ill consequences from his
too great condescension. I now see my error. My excuse is,
that I could not believe a son of mine — a Poynings — a proud
Poynings, as we have been styled for centuries, though we shall
probably lose the designation now — I could not believe, I say, that
a son of mine could be capable of such folly."
" You must recollect that the affections are not always under
our control. Sir Hugh."
" Nonsense, madam; my affections were always under proper
control, and why should not Arthur's be so? But even if ho
were in love with this girl, there is no reason why he should marry
her. And to crown the absurdity — to heighten the disgrace —
you tell me she has rejected him. A pretty story, forsooth ! Why
we shall be the laughing-stock of the whole county. I shall go
mad with shame and vexation."
Lady Poynings thought it best to let her husband's passion
evaporate, and as he grew somewhat calmer, she again ventured
to refer to Arthur's hurt.
" Is he severely wounded?" Sir Hugh inquii:ed, with an expres-
sion of anxiety which, notwithstanding his efforts, he failed to
" Not dangerously, I trust ; but he suffers much pain, though he
bears it with great fortitude. Peyton is now dressing his wound.
You will hear the report presently." And perceiving that the old
baronet's heart was rapidly softening, she went on : "I do not say
you have not just grounds of anger, my dear, but the turn that
affairs have taken, unlucky in some respects, though fortunate in
others — at least in your view of the case — may induce you to
overlook the past, and extend forgiveness to our poor boy. His
love for Clare Fairlie, and his rejection by her, need not surprise
you so much. Gage Monthermer was just as much enamoured
of her, and equally unsuccessful in his suit."
" Indeed ! you surprise me, madam. But Gage Monthermer is
no rule for our son. Because he is a prodigal and a rake, is it
desirable that Arthur should resemble him ?"
" Certainly not, my dear. But entertaining the poor opinion
you do of Clare Fairlie, it is due to her to state that her motives
102 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
for rejecting Gage were disparity of position and unsuitableness
of character, while her rejection of Arthur was occasioned by
her attachment to Gage."
" On my soul ! a noble-spirited girl. Her rascally father must
have laid a trap for his silly ward. I see it all now. Her conduct
is most praiseworthy, and I admit I have wronged her. She can-
not have a spice of Fairlie in her composition. I fear Lucy would
not have shown so much discretion and self-denial. She would
have taken Gage with all his faults, or I am much mistaken."
" Well, my dear, Lucy might hope to reform him."
" Pshaw ! Gage will never reform," Sir Hugh exclaimed.
" What a pair of madcaps are our children 1 What is to be done
with them ?"
"That must be for after-consideration, Sir Hugh. Our first
business is to get Arthur well again, and to ensure this he must
have your forgiveness. The certainty that you are not offended
will do him more good than the surgeon."
" Well — well — tell him I am very angry "
"Nay, I will say you are not angry at all, but much dis-
" But, zounds ! madam, I am angry — I am furious. I will rate
him soundly when I see him."
" You will do nothing of the sort, my dear. I know you better.
When you see how much our son, suffers, you will use every en-
deavour to alleviate his anguish."
" Well, I can't hold out against your entreaties. I will go to
him at once. Pray Heaven his wound be not dangerous. If any-
thing happens to him, I'll cut the throat of that sharper — that
bravo, De Meschines, myself. Come along, madam."
It is needless to say, after this, that Arthur was forgiven, and
that his father was constant in his attendance upon him. As to
Lucy, — reproaching herself as she did with being the cause of her
brother's mischance, she could not sufficiently manifest her devotion
Young Poynings was blessed with a vigorous constitution, and
his wound speedily healed. In less than a month the surgeon pro-
nounced him cured. Meanwhile, Lucy had been seized with an
ardent desire to visit London, and set to work to coax her good-
natured papa into compliance with her wishes. Sir Hugh, not
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 103
perhaps comprehending the real motive that influenced the re-
quest, was not unwilling to gratify her, and her brother, though
he did nothing to aid the project, would not interfere with it.
Accordingly, a visit of the family to town for a couple of months
was resolved on, and preparations made for it. All was in readi-
ness; and as Arthur had now perfectly recovered, it was not neces-
sary to delay the journey on his account.
On a fine morning in the middle of May, Sir Hugh's cum-
brous travelling carriage, with four horses attached to it, and laden
like a waggon, with boxes, portmanteaus, and all kinds of luggage,
wheeled round in front of the hall. In those days a journey to town
was an event to most country gentlemen, and to Sir Hugh Poynings
it was an extraordinary event, for he had not been to London for
ten years and upwards. He sighed as he took leave of his large
and comfortable mansion, and wondered how he could ever have
made up his mind to quit it — but there was no help now. The
carriage was at the door, and go he must. Lady Poynings, Lucy,
and Parson Ched worth, the chaplain, were already deposited in the
lumbering vehicle, and Sir Hugh, still groaning dismally, seated
himself beside them. Mrs. Pinchbeck, Lucy*s maid, and three other
women servants found accommodation behind, and two lacqueys
were seated with the fat coachman on the box. Arthur preferred
travelling on horseback, and did not start quite so early as the
others, but promised to overtake them long before they reached Bury
St. Edmund's, which it was fixed should be the limit of the first
Just at starting some little display was made by the coachman,
who trotted his horses merrily through the park, two miles of
which he had to traverse before he gained the road, and he again
urged them on as he approached the village of Reedham — all the
inhabitants of which came forth to salute Sir Hugh, my lady, and
Miss Lucy, and wish them a pleasant journey and speedy return —
but the first pretence of a hill brought the smoking team to a walk,
and after that they went on leisurely enough — never exceeding four
miles an hour. Indeed, it must be owned that the state of the roads
was so abominably bad that rapid travelling was out of the question.
More than once the carriage stuck fast in a rut, and great exertions
on the part of the two footmen were required to get it out. In this
way much time was necessarily lost ; but to such delays people at
104 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
that period were accustomed, and took them as matters of course.
Sir Hugh grumbled, but sat still; while Lucy, tired of talking to
the prosy chaplain, looked out of the window for Arthur, but
could discern nothing of him.
On setting out, instead of taking the road to Bury St. Edmund's,
young Poynings rode in the opposite direction, shaping his course
towards Monthermer Castle. Did he intend to bid farewell to
Clare ? No : for though she was uppermost in his thoughts, and
though he would have given much to catch even a glimpse of her,
his purpose was not a stolen visit, which he felt would be a betrayal
of his father's renewed confidence. His destination was Cow-
bridge Farm. Having heard nothing of Mark Rougham since
the worthy yeoman had helped to transport him to Reedham,
he wanted to thank him for his services on that occasion. As
he rode tolerably fast, and took the shortest road, he was not long
in reaching Mark's dwelling, but on entering the yard, he was
surprised to perceive a stranger at the door, brought thither by
the sound of the horse's footsteps.
To his inquiries from this personage, whom he recognised as a
farmer named Abel Skinner, he was informed that poor Rougham
had again been forcibly ejected by Fairlie, and this time, no doubt,
with the young Squire's consent. So at least Skinner affirmed,
and he declared he had seen the order signed by Gage. Mark
had gone away with his family, no one knew whither.
" Why did he not come to me ?" Arthur exclaimed. ** I would,
have given him and his wife a home."
" I can't say, your honour," Skinner replied ; *' but Mark be
self-willed and proud, and most like he ha' gotten some scheme o'
his own to carry out — leastways I thinks so."
" But where is he ? Can he not be found ?"
" I dare say he can, your honour, if saarch be made for him,"
Skinner rejoined. " If I should light on him, shan I send him
over to Reedham ?"
^^ Yes — yes — but stay ! I forget myself. I am going to London,
and shall be absent for more than a month. Hark'ee, Skinner,
you must find out Mark for me. I will make it worth your while.
Bid him go with his family to Reedham, and take up his abode
there till I return, or give further directions respecting him. Here
THE SPENDTHRIFT. lOfil
is a guinea, and I will add a couple more hereafter, if you do my
bidding expeditiously and well."
" I'll do my best, your honour may rest assured," Skinner re-
plied ; ** and at the same time your honour will be pleased to
understand that it be no fawt o' mine that poor Mark ha' lost his
farm. I be reet sorry for him ; an' I'd turn out to-morrow if he
could come back. But that's impossible, as yo' may weel suppose."
" Ay, ay, I know that. But do not fail to execute my orders."
" Your honour may depend on me."
In less than an hour after this, Arthur had gained the high
road to Bury, and come in sight of the carriage slowly toiling up
a hill. ♦
But he contented himself with keeping it in view. If he had
been less preoccupied, the ride through this lovely part of Suffolk
would have been enchanting. Even as it was, he was not quite
insensible to the beauties of the surrounding scenery, but now and
then paused for a brief space to look about him. At one of
these halts the fair town of Bury St. Edmund's met his eye,
crowning a hill, some three miles off, and he was gazing at it
admiringly, when he perceived Lucy wave her handkerchief to
Thus summoned, he could no longer tarry behind, and had
just ridden up to receive the scolding he so richly merited, when
the noise of wheels was heard rapidly approaching.
In another moment a superb coach, gilded and of the newest
mode, dashed by them, drawn by a pair of blood horses of great
swiftness. Two persons were inside it : one of these, who sat on
the left, and nearest to Lucy, was a lady — young, and of extraor-
dinary beauty, but with a certain boldness of expression, noticeable
even in a passing glance. She was evidently laughing at the anti-
quated travelling carriage, and regarding Lucy with an insolent
stare, called her companion's attention to her.
The other turned round, and as his features became revealed
I to Lucy, and their eyes met for a moment, she uttered an excla-
mation, and fell back in the carriage.
*' What's the matter, my dear Lady Poynings cried, anxiously.
" Nothing — nothing," Lucy gasped.
106 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
claimed. And the truth flashing upon him, he said no more. Arthur,
who was riding on the further side of the carriage, stole a glance at
his sister, and saw in her mantling cheeks and confusion how much
she was affected.
After awhile conversation revived, and Lucy in some measure
recovered her composure ; but no allusion was made to the incident
that had just occurred, or to Gage. Ere long they entered Bury;
mounted the steep street leading to the central part of the town ;
and crossing a wide open space, drew up in front of the Angel.
Down the steps of this renowned hotel came the portly landlord,
Mr. Briscoe, as fast as his gout would permit him — ^hile servants
of all kinds rushed forth to welcome the new comers.
Sir Hugh thought there was something odd and constrained in
the landlord's manner when he announced his intention of putting
up at the house for the night, and inquired what he could have for
dinner. Mr. Briscoe hemmed and ha'd, bowed and scraped, but
gave no direct answer as he ushered the old baronet, the chaplain,
and the two ladies into a large room, commanding from its windows
a full view of the venerable abbey-gate on the opposite side of the
square, and the grey walls and monastic ruins beyond it.
And now let us see how Gage chanced to be at Bury.
Thus it was. Instead of returning to town after the meeting
at Newmarket, as she originally intended, Mrs. Jen3ms decided upon
spending a week or two in the country — with what motive we
shall explain presently ; and proceeding to Bury, she took up her
quarters at the Angel. Of course Gage accompanied her. The
manager of the theatre in Goodman's-fields wrote to the pretty
actress in despair, imploring, nay commanding her immediate
return, and threatening her with a heavy fine in case of refusal.
She laughed at his entreaties and menaces, and replied that she
needed repose. She was amusing herself very much at the
prettiest and most salubrious town in England — had charming
rides and drives every day — and though she was sorry to dis-
appoint her numerous admirers, her health must be cared for.
She might return in a fortnight — or in a month — or not at all.
He might inflict any fine he pleased. Mr. Monthermer would
With all her cupidity, Mrs. Jenyns had not managed to enrich
THE SPENDTHRIFT. lOT
herself. Excessively extravagant, and vying in her equipages
and establishment with a lady of the first quality, she was ever in
debt. That she remained on the stage was owing to love of ex-
citement and admiration; and besides, the robe of the actress
served to turn off the darts of scandal. Her chief failing was
love of play. A confirmed gambler, she was almost always
unlucky. When a woman games she seldom stops half-way, — and
so it was with Peg Jenyns. She came to the gaming-table with
hundreds in her pocket, and covered with costly trinkets, and left
without a guinea or a ring. In this way she had been frequently
reduced to the greatest straits, but somehow or other had always
contrived to right herself.
Amongst those who had won large sums from her was Sir
Randal de Meschines ; but then he often lent her money when
in difficulties, and there seemed now to be an understanding
between them, as he employed her in some of his schemes.
By his instigation she undertook the journey to Newmarket, and
having succeeded almost beyond her expectations, she was un-
willing to concede a share of the spoil. Indeed, as she had to
divide with Mr. Fairlie, according to her bargain with the steward,
her gains would be terribly diminished by a like process with Sir
Randal. She therefore feigned a sudden inclination to stay at
Bury, professing to be enchanted with the town and its beautiful
environs, and Gage willingly assented to the arrangement. The
poor dupe was infatuated by her witcheries, and squandered large
suras upon her. Fresh amusements were constantly devised for
her, so, time passed on pleasantly enough. Everything Mrs.
Jenyns fancied must be procured — no matter at what cost.
Shortly after his arrival Gage took possession of the whole
liotel, and sent for all his servants from the Castle, so the house
was just like his own, and he gave large dinners and other enter-
tainments daily. But great as were his general expenses, the chief
inroads upon Gage's purse were made by play. Though Mrs.
Jenyns lost to everybody else, she won from him; and as cards
were introduced each evening — merely to pass the time — her
gains in the course of a week were considerable. Fairlie could
have told how much exactly, for he kept an accurate account.
But she was not allowed to carry on this game undisturbed.
Sir Randal had received a hint as to what was gomg on — pro-
108 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
bably from his ally, Brice Bunbury, who had never quitted Gage —
and felt the necessity of immediate interference. Beau Freke quite
concurred with him in opinion. If left to herself, Peg Jenyns
might outwit them. She had cleverness enough for anything.
No time must be lost if they intended to thwart her plans. Brice
Bunbury could not be trusted — besides, he was a poor hand, and
drank too much. So the confederates set out for Bury at once.
Gage was surprised to see them, and not over well pleased,
though he put a good face on the matter. Mrs. Jenyns "quite
understood the cause of their coming, and waited to see what
move they would make.
Thus affairs stood, when the number of guests at the Angel
was increased by the unexpected arrival of the party from Reed-
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 109
MBS. PINCHBECK ACCIDBNTALLT DISCOVERS HEE RUNAWAY HUSBAND — ARTHUR MEETS
LETTICE ROUGHAM, AND HEARS OF A GRAND MASKED BALL TO BE GIVEN AT THE
ANGEL — LUCY TRIES TO PERSUADE HER BROTHER TO TAKE HER TO THE BALL.
A PRINCE of the blood might have been quartered at the
Angel. The inn-yard was crowded with equipages of various
kinds, and the stables were full of horses. On this side were
trainers from Newmarket and jockeys discussing the respective
merits of half a dozen splendid racers which had just been brought
home after exercise by the grooms ; on that, cock-masters and
breeders were taking their valiant birds out of deep straw baskets
or bags, and shielding their spurs with stuffed rolls of leather, in
order that they might not hurt themselves while sparring for prac-
tice on the straw. Round the latter individuals were collected a