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moment the boat gave a roll, and he wound up the inquiry by a donation
to the fishes. "Who am I?" replied Mr. Jorrocks, as soon as he was done,
"I'll soon tell ye that - I'm Mr. JORROCKS! Jorrocks wersus Cheatum, in
fact - now that you have got your bullying toggery off, I'll be 'appy to
fight ye either by land or sea." "Oh-h-h-h!" groaned the sergeant at the
mention of the latter word, and thereupon he put his head over the boat
and paid his second subscription. Mr. Jorrocks stood eyeing him, and
when the sergeant recovered, he observed with apparent mildness and
compassion, "Now, my dear sergeant, to show ye that I can return good
for evil, allow me to fatch you a nice 'ot mutton chop!" "Oh-h-h-h-h!"
groaned the sergeant, as though he would die. "Or perhaps you'd prefer
a cut of boiled beef with yellow fat, and a dab of cabbage?" an
alternative which was too powerful for the worthy citizen himself - for,
like Sterne with his captive, he had drawn a picture that his own
imagination could not sustain - and, in attempting to reach the side
of the boat, he cascaded over the sergeant, and they rolled over each
other, senseless and helpless upon deck.

"Mew, mew," screamed the seagulls; - "creak, creak," went the
cordage; - "flop, flop," went the sails; round went the white basins, and
the steward with the mop; and few passengers would have cared to have
gone overboard, when, at the end of three hours' misery, the captain
proclaimed that they were running into still water off Boulogne. This
intimation was followed by the collection of the passage money by the
mate, and the jingling of a tin box by the steward, under the noses of
the party, for perquisites for the crew. Jorrocks and the sergeant
lay together like babes in the wood until they were roused by this
operation, when, with a parting growl at his companion, Mr. Jorrocks got
up; and though he had an idea in his own mind that a man had better live
abroad all his life than encounter such misery as he had undergone, for
the purpose of returning to England, he recollected his intended work
upon France, and began to make his observations upon the town of
Boulogne, towards which the vessel was rapidly steaming. "Not half so
fine as Margate," said he; "the houses seem all afraid of the sea, and
turn their ends to it instead of fronting it, except yon great white
place, which I suppose is the baths"; and, taking his hunting telescope
out of his pocket, he stuck out his legs and prepared to make an
observation. "How the people are swarming down to see us!" he exclaimed.
"I see such a load of petticoats - glad Mrs. J - - ain't with us; may
have some fun here, I guess. Dear me, wot lovely women! wot ankles! beat
the English, hollow - would give something to be a single man!" While he
made these remarks, the boat ran up the harbour in good style, to the
evident gratification of the multitude who lined the pier from end to
end, and followed her in her passage. "Ease her! stop her!" at last
cried the captain, as she got opposite a low wooden guard-house, midway
down the port. A few strokes of the paddles sent her up to the quay,
some ropes were run from each end of the guard-house down to the boat,
within which space no one was admitted except about a dozen soldiers or
custom-house officers - in green coats, white trousers, black sugar-loaf
"caps," and having swords by their sides - and some thick-legged
fisherwomen, with long gold ear-rings, to lower the ladder for
disembarkation. The idlers, that is to say, all the inhabitants of
Boulogne, range themselves outside the ropes on foot, horseback, in
carriages, or anyhow, to take the chance of seeing someone they know,
to laugh at the melancholy looks of those who have been sick, and to
criticise the company, who are turned into the guarded space like a
flock of sheep before them.

Mr. Jorrocks, having scaled the ladder, gave himself a hearty and
congratulatory shake on again finding himself on terra firma, and
sticking his hat jauntily on one side, as though he didn't know what
sea-sickness was, proceeded to run his eye along the spectators on one
side of the ropes; when presently he was heard to exclaim, "My vig,
there's Thompson! He owes us a hundred pounds, and has been doing
these three years." And thereupon he bolted up to a fine looking young
fellow - with mustachios, in a hussar foraging cap stuck on one side of
his head, dressed in a black velvet shooting-jacket, and with half a
jeweller's shop about him in the way of chains, brooches, rings and
buttons - who had brought a good-looking bay horse to bear with his chest
against the cords. "Thompson," said Mr. Jorrocks, in a firm tone of
voice, "how are you?" "How do ye do, Mister Jorrocks," drawled out the
latter, taking a cigar from his mouth, and puffing a cloud of smoke over
the grocer's head. "Well, I'm werry well, but I should like to have a
few moments' conversation with you." "Would ye?" said Thompson, blowing
another cloud. "Yes, I would; you remember that 'ere little bill you got
Simpkins to discount for you one day when I was absent; we have had it
by us a long time now, and it is about time you were taking it up." "You
think so, do you, Mister Jorrocks; can't you renew it? I'll give you a
draft on Aldgate pump for the amount." "Come, none of your funning with
me, I've had enough of your nonsense: give me my pewter, or I'll have
that horse from under you; for though it has got the hair rubbed off
its near knee, it will do werry well to carry me with the Surrey
occasionally." "You old fool," said Thompson, "you forget where you are;
if I could pay you your little bill, do you suppose I would be here? You
can't squeeze blood out of a turnip, can ye? But I'll tell you what, my
covey, if I can't give you satisfaction in money, you shall give me the
satisfaction of a gentleman, if you don't take care what you are about,
you old tinker. By Jove, I'll order pistols and coffee for two to-morrow
morning at Napoleon's column, and let the daylight through your carcass
if you utter another syllable about the bill. Why, now, you stare as
Balaam did at his ass, when he found it capable of holding an argument
with him!"

And true enough, Jorrocks was dumbfounded at this sort of reply from a
creditor, it not being at all in accordance with the _Lex mercatoria_,
or law of merchants, and quite unknown on 'Change. Before, however, he
had time to recover his surprise, all the passengers having entered the
roped area, one of the green-coated gentry gave him a polite twist
by the coat-tail, and with a wave of the hand and bend of his body,
beckoned him to proceed with the crowd into the guard-house. After
passing an outer room, they entered the bureau by a door in the middle
of a wooden partition, where two men were sitting with pens ready to
enter the names of the arrivers in ledgers.

"Votre nom et designation?" said one of them to Mr. Jorrocks - who, with
a bad start, had managed to squeeze in first - to which Mr. Jorrocks
shook his head. "Sare, what's your name, sare?" inquired the same
personage. "JORROCKS," was the answer, delivered with great emphasis,
and thereupon the secretary wrote "Shorrock." " - Monsieur Shorrock,"
said he, looking up, "votre profession, Monsieur? Vot you are, sare?" "A
grocer," replied Mr. Jorrocks, which caused a titter from those behind
who meant to sink the shop. "Marchand-Epicier," wrote the bureau-keeper.
"Quel age avez-vous, Monsieur? How old you are, sare?" "Two pound
twelve," replied Mr. Jorrocks, surprised at his inquisitiveness. "No,
sare, not vot monnay you have, sare, hot old you are, sare." "Well, two
pound twelve, fifty-two in fact." Mr. Jorrocks was then passed out,
to take his chance among the touts and commissionaires of the
various hotels, who are enough to pull passengers to pieces in their
solicitations for custom. In Boulogne, however, no man with money is
ever short of friends; and Thompson having given the hint to two
or three acquaintances as he rode up street, there were no end of
broken-down sportsmen, levanters, and gentlemen who live on the interest
of what they owe other people, waiting to receive Mr. Jorrocks. The
greetings on their parts were most cordial and enthusiastic, and even
some who were in his books did not hesitate to hail him; the majority of
the party, however, was composed of those with whom he had at various
tunes and places enjoyed the sports of the field, but whom he had never
missed until they met at Boulogne.

Their inquiries were business-like and familiar: - "are ye, Jorrocks?"
cried one, holding out both hands. "How are ye, my lad of wax? Do you
still play billiards? - Give you nine, and play you for a Nap." "Come
to my house this evening, old boy, and take a hand at whist for old
acquaintance sake," urged the friend on his left; "got some rare
cogniac, and a box of beautiful Havannahs." "No, Jorrocks, - dine with
me," said a third, "and play chicken-hazard." "Don't," said a fourth,
confidentially, "he'll fleece ye like fun". "Let me put your name
down to our Pigeon Club; only a guinea entrance and a guinea
subscription - nothing to a rich man like you." "Have you any coin to
lend on unexceptionable personal security, with a power of killing and
selling your man if he don't pay?" inquired another. "Are they going
to abolish the law of arrest? 'twould be very convenient if they did."
"Will you discount me a bill at three months?" "Is B - - out of the
Bench yet?" "Who do they call Nodding Homer in your hunt?" "Oh,
gentlemen, gentlemen!" cried Mr. Jorrocks, "go it gently, go it gently!
Consider the day is 'ot, I'm almost out of breath, and faint for want of
food. I've come all the way from Angle-tear, as we say in France, and
lost my breakfast on the wogaye. Where is there an inn where I can
recruit my famished frame? What's this?" looking up at a sign, "'Done a
boar in a manger,' what does this mean? - where's my French dictionary?
I've heard that boar is very good to eat." "Yes, but this boar is to
drink," said a friend on the right; "but you must not put up at a house
of that sort; come to the Hôtel d'Orleans, where all the best fellows
and men of consequence go, a celebrated house in the days of the
Boulogne Hunt. Ah, that was the time, Mr. Jorrocks! we lived like
fighting-cocks then; you should have been among us, such a rollicking
set of dogs! could hunt all day, race maggots and drink claret all
night, and take an occasional by-day with the hounds on a Sunday. Can't
do that with the Surrey, I guess. There's the Hôtel d'Orleans," pointing
to it as they turned the corner of the street; "splendid house it is.
I've no interest in taking you there, don't suppose so; but the sun of
its greatness is fast setting - there's no such shaking of elbows as
there used to be - the IOU system knocked that up. Still, you'll be very
comfortable; a bit of carpet by your bedside, curtains to your windows,
a pie-dish to wash in, a clean towel every third day, and as many
friends to dine with you as ever you like - no want of company in
Boulogne, I assure you. Here, Mr. W - - ," addressing the innkeeper who
appeared at the door, "this is the very celebrated Mr. Jorrocks, of whom
we have all heard so much, - take him and use him as you would your own
son; and, hark ye (aside), don't forget I brought him."

"Garsoon," said Jorrocks, after having composed himself a little during
which time he was also composing a French speech from his dictionary
and Madame de Genlis's[20] _Manuel du Voyageur_, "A che hora [ora] si
pranza?" looking at the waiter, who seemed astonished. "Oh, stop!" said
he, looking again, "that's Italian - I've got hold of the wrong column.
A quelle heure dine - hang me if I know how to call this chap - dine
[spelling it], t'on?" "What were you wishing to say, sir?" inquired the
waiter, interrupting his display of the language. "Wot, do you speak
English?" asked Jorrocks in amazement. "I hope so, sir," replied the
man, "for I'm an Englishman." "Then, why the devil did you not say so,
you great lout, instead of putting me into a sweat this 'ot day
by speaking French to you?" "Beg pardon, sir, thought you were a
Frenchman." "Did you, indeed?" said Jorrocks, delighted; "then, by Jove,
I do speak French! Somehow or other I thought I could, as I came over.
Bring me a thundering beef-steak, and a pint of stout, directly!" The
Hôtel d'Orleans being a regular roast-beef and plum-pudding sort of
house, Mr. Jorrocks speedily had an immense stripe of tough beef and
boiled potatoes placed before him, in the well-windowed _salle à
manger_, and the day being fine he regaled himself at a table at an open
window, whereby he saw the smart passers-by, and let them view him in
return.

[Footnote 20: For the benefit of our "tarry-at-home" readers, we should
premise that Madame de Genlis's work is arranged for the convenience of
travellers who do not speak any language but their own; and it consists
of dialogues on different necessary subjects, with French and Italian
translations opposite the English.]

Sunday is a gay day in France, and Boulogne equals the best town in
smartness. The shops are better set out, the women are better dressed,
and there is a holiday brightness and air of pleasure on every
countenance. Then instead of seeing a sulky husband trudging behind a
pouting wife with a child in her arms, an infallible sign of a Sunday
evening in England, they trip away to the rural _fête champêtre_, where
with dancing, lemonade, and love, they pass away the night in temperate
if not innocent hilarity. "Happy people! that once a week, at least,
lay down their cares, and dance and sing, and sport away the weights of
grievance, which bow down the spirit of other nations to the earth."

The voyage, though short, commenced a new era in Mr. Jorrocks's life,
and he entirely forget all about Sunday and Dover dullness the moment he
set foot on sprightly France, and he no more recollected it was Sunday,
than if such a day had ceased to exist in the calendar. Having bolted
his steak, he gave his Hessians their usual flop with his handkerchief,
combed his whiskers, pulled his wig straight, and sallied forth,
dictionary in hand, to translate the signs, admire the clever little
children talking French, quiz the horses, and laugh at everything
he didn't understand; to spend his first afternoon, in short, as
nine-tenths of the English who go "abroad" are in the habit of doing.

Early the next morning. Mr. Jorrocks and the Yorkshireman, accompanied
by the commissionnaire of the Hôtel d'Orleans, repaired to the upper
town, for the purpose of obtaining passports, and as they ascended the
steep street called La grand Rue, which connects the two towns, they
held a consultation as to what the former should be described. A
"Marchand-Epicier" would obtain Mr. Jorrocks no respect, but, then, he
objected to the word "Rentier." "What is the French for fox-'unter?"
said he, after a thoughtful pause, turning to his dictionary. There was
no such word. "Sportsman, then? Ay, Chasseur! how would that read? John
Jorrocks, Esq., Chasseur, - not bad, I think," said he. "That will do,"
replied the Yorkshireman, "but you must sink the Esquire now, and
tack 'Monsieur' before your name, and a very pretty euphonious sound
'Monsieur Jorrocks' will have; and when you hear some of the little
Parisian grisettes lisp it out as you turn the garters over on their
counters, while they turn their dark flashing eyes over upon you, it
will be enough to rejuvenate your old frame. But suppose we add to
'Chasseur' - 'Member of the Surrey Hunt?'" "By all means," replied
Mr. Jorrocks, delighted at the idea, and ascending the stairs of the
Consulate three steps at a time.

The Consul, Mons. De Horter, was in attendance sitting in state, with
a gendarme at the door and his secretary at his elbow. "_Bonjour,_
Monsieur," said he, bowing, as Mr. Jorrocks passed through the lofty
folding door; to which our traveller replied, "The top of the morning to
you, sir," thinking something of that sort would be right. The Consul,
having scanned him through his green spectacles, drew a large sheet of
thin printed paper from his portfolio, with the arms of France placed
under a great petticoat at the top, and proceeded to fill up a request
from his most Christian Majesty to all the authorities, both civil and
military, of France, and also of all the allied "pays," "de laisser
librement passer" Monsieur John Jorrocks, Chasseur and member of the
Hont de Surrey, and plusieurs other Honts; and also, Monsieur Stubbs,
native of Angleterre, going from Boulogne to Paris, and to give them aid
and protection, "en cas de besoin," all of which Mr. Jorrocks - like
many travellers before him - construed into a most flattering compliment
and mark of respect, from his most Christian Majesty to himself.

Under the word "signalement" in the margin, the Consul also drew the
following sketch of our hero, in order, as Mr. Jorrocks supposed, that
the King of the Mouncheers might know him when he saw him:

"Age de 52 ans
Taille d'un mètre 62 centimetres
Perruque brun
Front large
Yeux gris-sanguin
Nez moyen
Barbe grisâtre
Vizage ronde
Teint rouge."

He then handed it over to Mr. Jorrocks for his signature, who, observing
the words "Signature du Porteur" at the bottom, passed it on to the
porter of the inn, until put right by the Consul, who, on receiving his
fee, bowed him out with great politeness.

Great as had been the grocer's astonishment at the horses and carts that
he had seen stirring about the streets, his amazement knew no bounds
when the first Paris diligence came rolling into town with six
horses, spreading over the streets as they swung about in all
directions - covered with bells, sheep-skins, worsted balls, and foxes'
brushes, driven by one solitary postilion on the off wheeler. "My vig,"
cried he, "here's Wombwell's wild-beast show! What the deuce are they
doing in France? I've not heard of them since last Bartlemy-fair, when I
took my brother Joe's children to see them feed. But stop - this is full
of men! My eyes, so it is! It's what young Dutch Sam would call a male
coach, because there are no females about it. Well, I declare, I am
almost sorry I did not bring Mrs. J - - . Wot would they think to see
such a concern in Cheapside? Why, it holds half a township - a perfect
willage on wheels. My eyes, wot a curiosity! Well, I never thought to
live to see such a sight as this! - wish it was going our way that I
might have a ride in it. Hope ours will be as big." Shortly after theirs
did arrive, and Mr. Jorrocks was like a perfect child with delight. It
was not a male coach, however, for in the different compartments were
five or six ladies. "Oh, wot elegant creatures," cried he, eyeing them;
"I could ride to Jerusalem with them without being tired; wot a thing it
is to be a bachelor!"

The Conducteur - with the usual frogged, tagged, embroidered jacket, and
fur-bound cap - having hoisted their luggage on high, the passengers who
had turned out of their respective compartments to stretch their legs
after their cramping from Calais, proceeded to resume their places.
There were only two seats vacant in the interior, or, as Mr. Jorrocks
called it, the "middle house," consequently the Yorkshireman and he
crossed legs. The other four passengers had corner-seats, things much
coveted by French travellers. On Mr. Stubbs's right sat an immense
Englishman, enveloped in a dark blue camlet cloak, fastened with bronze
lionhead clasps, a red neckcloth, and a shabby, napless, broad-brimmed,
brown hat. His face was large, round, and red, without an atom of
expression, and his little pig eyes twinkled over a sort of a mark that
denoted where his nose should have been; in short, his head was more
like a barber's wig block than anything else, and his outline would have
formed a model of the dome of St. Paul's. On the Yorkshireman's left
was a chattering young red-trousered dragoon, in a frock-coat and flat
foraging cap with a flying tassel. Mr. Jorrocks was more fortunate than
his friend, and rubbed sides with two women; one was English, either
an upper nursery-maid or an under governess, but who might be safely
trusted to travel by herself. She was dressed in a black beaver bonnet
lined with scarlet silk, a nankeen pelisse with a blue ribbon, and
pea-green boots, and she carried a sort of small fish-basket on her
knee, with a "plain Christian's prayer book" on the top. The other was
French, approaching to middle age, with a nice smart plump figure, good
hazel-coloured eyes, a beautiful foot and ankle, and very well dressed.
Indeed, her dress very materially reduced the appearance of her age,
and she was what the milliners would call remarkably well "got up." Her
bonnet was a pink satin, with a white blonde ruche surmounted by a rich
blonde veil, with a white rose placed elegantly on one side, and her
glossy auburn hair pressed down the sides of a milk-white forehead, in
the Madonna style. - Her pelisse was of "violet-des-bois" figured silk,
worn with a black velvet pelerine and a handsomely embroidered collar.
Her boots were of a colour to match the pelisse; and a massive gold
chain round her neck, and a solitary pearl ring on a middle finger, were
all the jewellery she displayed. Mr. Jorrocks caught a glimpse of her
foot and ankle as she mounted the steps to resume her place in the
diligence, and pushing the Yorkshireman aside, he bundled in directly
after her, and took up the place we have described.

The vehicle was soon in motion, and its ponderous roll enchanted the
heart of the grocer. Independently of the novelty, he was in a humour to
be pleased, and everything with him was _couleur de rose_. Not so the
Yorkshireman's right-hand neighbour, who lounged in the corner, muffled
up in his cloak, muttering and cursing at every jolt of the diligence,
as it bumped across the gutters and jolted along the streets of
Boulogne. At length having got off the pavement, after crushing along at
a trot through the soft road that immediately succeeds, they reached the
little hill near Mr. Gooseman's farm, and the horses gradually relaxed
into a walk, when he burst forth with a tremendous oath, swearing that
he had "travelled three hundred thousand miles, and never saw horses
walk up such a bit of a bank before." He looked round the diligence in
the expectation of someone joining him, but no one deigned a reply, so,
with a growl and a jerk of his shoulders, he again threw himself into
his corner. The dragoon and the French lady then began narrating the
histories of their lives, as the French people always do, and Mr.
Jorrocks and the Yorkshireman sat looking at each other. At length Mr.
Jorrocks, pulling his dictionary and _Madame de Genlis_ out of his
pocket, observed, "I quite forgot to ask the guard at what time we
dine - most important consideration, for I hold it unfair to takes one's
stomach by surprise, and a man should have due notice, that he may tune
his appetite accordingly. I have always thought, that there's as much
dexterity required to bring an appetite to table in the full bloom of
perfection, as there is in training an 'oss to run on a particular
day. - Let me see," added he, turning over the pages of _de Genlis_ - "it
will be under the head of eating and drinking, I suppose. - Here it
is - (opens and reads) - 'I have a good appetite - I am hungry - I am werry
hungry - I am almost starved' - that won't do - 'I have eaten
enough' - that won't do either - 'To breakfast' - no. - But here it is, by
Jingo - 'Dialogue before dinner' - capital book for us travellers, this
Mrs. de Genlis - (reads) 'Pray, take dinner with us to-day, I shall give
you plain fare.' - That means rough and enough, I suppose," observed Mr.
Jorrocks to the Yorkshireman. - "'What time do we dine to-day? French:
A quelle heure dinons-nous aujourd'hui? - Italian: A che hora (ora)
si prancey (pranza) oggi?'" "Ah, Monsieur, vous parlez Français à
merveille," said the French lady, smiling with the greatest good nature
upon him. "A marble!" said Mr. Jorrocks, "wot does that mean?"
preparing to look it out in the dictionary. "Ah, Monsieur, I shall you
explain - you speak French like a natif." "Indeed!" said Mr. Jorrocks,
with a bow, "I feel werry proud of your praise; and your English is
quite delightful. - By Jove," said he to the Yorkshireman, with a most
self-satisfied grin, "you were right in what you told me about the
gals calling me Monsieur. - I declare she's driven right home to my
'art - transfixed me at once, in fact."

Everyone who has done a little "voyaging," as they call it in France,
knows that a few miles to the south of Samer rises a very steep hill,


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Online LibraryRobert Smith SurteesJorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities → online text (page 13 of 22)