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pinions round a puddle, and making a riotous THE STOUT GENTLEMAN.
noise over their liquor. ROMANCE.
I was loncly and listless, and wanted amusement,
My room soon became insupportable. I abandoned It was a rainy Sunday, in the gloomy month of it, and sought what is technically called the travel, November. I had been detained, in the course of Jers' room. This is a public room set apart at a joursey, by a slight indisposition, from which most inns for the accommodation of a class of way. I was recovering; but I was still feverish, and was farers, called travellers, or riders; a kind of com, obliged to keep within doors all day, in an ion of mercial knights-errant, who are incessantly scoorthe small town of Derby. A wet Sunday in a coun. ing the kingdom in gigs, on horseback, or by coach. try ind-whoever bas bad the luck to experience They are the only successors, that I know of at the obe, can alone judge of my situation. The rain present day, to the knights-erraot of yore. They parlered against the casements; the bells tolled for lead the same kind of roving adventurous life, only church with a melancholy sound. I went to the changing the lance for a driving whip, the buckler windows in quest of something to amuse the eye; for a pattern card, and the coat of mail for an upbut it seemed as if I had been placed.completely per Benjamin. Instead of vindicating the charms out of the reach of all amusement. The windows of peerless beauty, they rove about, spreading the of my bed room looked out among tiled roofs and fame and standing of some substantial tradesman stacks of chimneys, while those of my sitting-room or manufacturer, and are ready at any time to bar. commanded a full view of the stable-yard. I gain in his name; it being the fashion now-a-days koow of pothing more calculated to make a man o trade instead of fight with one another. As the sick of this world than a stable-yard on a rainy day. room of the hostel in the good old fighting times The place was littered with straw that had been would be hung round at night with the armour of kicked about by travellers and stable-boys. In way-worn warriors, such as coats of mail, falchions, obe corner was a stagnant pool of water, surround- and yawning helmets ; so the travellers' room is ing an island of muck; there were several half-garnished with the harnessing of their successors, drowded fowls, crowded together under a cart, with box-coats, whips of all kinds, spurs, gaiters, among which was a miserable crest-fallen cock, and oil-cloth covered hats. dreached out of all life and spirit; his drooping I was in hopes of finding some of these wortbieg tail matted, as it were, into a single feather, along to talk with, but was disappointed. There were, which the water trickled from his back ; near the indeed, two or three in the room ; but I could make cart was a balf-doziog cow, chewing the cud, and nothing of them. Que was just finishing his breakstanding patiently to be rained on, with wreaths of fast, quarrelling with his bread and butter, and vapoor rising from her reeking bide; a wall-eyed hufting the waiter ; another buttoned on a pair of horse, tired of the loneliness of the stable, was poko gaiters, with many execrations at boots for nog ieg bis spectral head out of a window, with the having cleaned his shoes well; a third sat drunrain dripping on it from the eares; an unhappy cur, ming on the table with his fingers, and looking at clained to a dog-house hard by, uttered something the rain as it streamed down the window-glass : esery now and then between a bark and a yelp ; they all appeared infected by the weather, and disa drab of a kitchen-wench tramped backwards and appeared one after the other, wijhout exchanging forwards through the yard in pattens, looking as a word. solky as the weather itself; every thing, in short, I sauntered to the window, and stood gazing at yas comfortless and forlorn, excepting a crew of the people, picking their way to church, with pettis hard-dripking ducks, assembled like boon com- lcnais hoisted mid-leg high and dripping umbrel
Jas. The bell ceased to toll, and the streets became its way, and boy and dog, and hostler and boots, silent. I then amused myself with watching the all sluok back to their holes ; the street agaio daughters of a tradesman opposite, who being con- became silent, and the rain continued to rain on. fined to the house for fear of wetting their Sunday In fact, there was no hope of its clearing up: the finery, played off their charms at the front windows, barometer pointed to rainy weather ; mine hostess's to fascinate the chance tenants of the inn. They tortoise-shell cat sat by the fire washing her face, at length were summoned away by a vigilant vine- and rubbing her paws over her ears; and on regar-faced mother, and I had nothing farther from ferring to the almanack, I found a direful predic. without to amuse me.
tion stretching from the top of the page to the bot. What was I to do to pass awry the long-lived tom, through the whole month, Expect-much day? I was sadly nervous and lonely; and every | -rain-about--this-ime.” thing about an inn seems calculated to make a dull I was dreadfully hipped. The hours seemed as day ten times duller. Old newspapers, sinelling if they would never creep by. The very ticking of beer and tobacco-smoke, and which I had already of the clock became irksome. At length the stills read half a dozen times : Good for nothing books, ness of the house was interrupted by the ringing of that were worse than rainy weather. I bored my- a bell. Shortly after, I heard the voice of a waiter self to death with an old volume of the Lady's Ma- at the bar, “ The stout gentleman in No. 13. wants gazine. I read all the common-place names of his breakfast. Tea, and bread and butter, with ainbitious travellers scrawled on the panes of glass; ham and «ggs; the eggs not to be too much done." the eternal families of the Smiths and the Browns, In such a situation as mine, every incident was of and the Jacksons, and the Johnsons, and all the importance. Here was a subject of speculation other sons ; and I deciphered several scraps of fa- presented to my mind ; and ample exercise for my tiguing inn-window poetry, which I have met with imagination. I am prone to paint pictures to my. in all parts of the world.
self, and on this occasion I had some materials to The day continued lowering and gloomy'; the work upon. Had the guest up-stairs been menslovenly, ragged, spongy clouds, drifted heavily tioned as Mr. Smith, or Mr. Brown, or Mr. Jackalong į there was no variety even in the rain ; it son, or merely as "the gentleman in No. 13,” it was one dull, continued, monotonons patter-patter. would have been a perfect blank to me; I should patter, excepting that now and then I was enliven- have thought nothing of it; but “ the stont gentle. cd by the idea of a brisk shower, from the rattling man!” the very name had something in it of the of the drops upon a passing umbrella.
picturesque, It at once gave the size ; it embo. It was quite refreshing (if I may be allowed a died the personage to my mind's eye; and my backneyed phrase of the day) when, in the course fancy did ihe rest, of the morning, a horn blew, and a stage-coach He was stout, or as some term it, lusty ; in all whirled through the street, with outside passengers probability, therefore, he was advanced in life, stuck all over it, cowering under cotton umbrellas, , some people expanding as they grow old. By his and seethed together, and reeking with the steams breakfasting rather late, and in his own room, be of wet box-coats and upper Benjamins.
must be a man accustomed to live at his ease, and The sound brought out from their lurking-places above the necessity of early rising ; no doubt a a crew of vagabond boys, and vagabond dogs, and round, rosy, lusty old gentleman. the carroty-headed hostler, and that non-descript There was another violent ringing. The stou animal, ycleped bouts, and all the other vagabond gentleman was impatient for his breakfast. HO race tbat infest the parlieus of an ino; but the was evidently a man of inportance; “ well to d bustle was transient ; the coach again wbirled on in the world;" accustomed to be promptly waite
upon; of a keen appetite, and a little cross when sient griests. The colour of a coal, he shape or bungry. ** Perhaps,” thought I,“ he may be some size of the person, is enough to suggest a travelling London alderman ; or who knows but he may be naine. It is either the tall gentleman, or the short a member of parliament !"
gentleman, or the gentleman in black, or the gentle. · The breakfast was sent up, and there was a short man in snufi colour; or, as in the present instance, ioterval of silence ; he was doubiless making the the stout gentleman; a designation of the kind tea. Presently there was a violent ringing; and once hit on, answers every purpose, and saves all before it could be answered, another ringing still further inquiry. Rain-rain-rain! pitiless ceasemore violent. “Bless me! what a choleric old less rain! No such thing as putting a foot out of geatleman !" The waiter came down in a huff. doors, and no occupation or amusement within. The butter was rancid! the eggs were overdone ; By and by Theard some one walking over-head. It the bam was too salt; the stout gentleman was was in the stout gentleman's room. He evidentiy evidently pice in his eating ; one of those who eat was a large man, hylle heaviness of his tread; and and growl, and keep the waiter on the trot, and an old man from his wearing such creaking soles. live in a state militant with the household. The “ He is doubtless," thought I, some rich old hostess got into a fume. I should observe that square-toes of regular habits, and is now taking she was a brisk coquettish woman ; a little of a exercise after breakfast." shrew, and something of slammerkin, but very pret. I had to go to work at this picture again, and in ty withal ; with a niocompoop for a husband, as paint him entirely different. I now set him down shrews are apt to have. She rated the servants for one of those stout gentlemen that are frequently roundly for their negligence in sending up so bad met with, swaggering about the doors of country a break fasi, but said not a word against the stout inns. Moist merry fellows, in Belcher handker. gentleman; by which I clearly perceived, that he chiefs, whose bulk is a little assisted by malt li. must be a man of consequence, entitled to make a quors. Men who have seen the world, and been noise, and to give trouble at a country inn. Other sworn at Higligate ; who are used to tavern life ; eggs and ham, and bread and butter, were sent up. up to all the tricks of tapsters, and knowing in the They appeared to be more graciously received; at ways of sinful publicans. Free livers on a small leasi there was no further complaint. I had not scale, who are prodigal within the compass of a made many turns about the travellers' room, when guinea ; who call all the waters by name, tousle there was another ringing. Shortly afterwards, the maids, gossip with the landlady at the bar, and there was a stir aod an inquest about the house. prose over a pint of port, or a giass of negus after The stout gentleman wanted the Times or Chroni- dinner. The morning wore away in forming of ele newspaper. I set him down, therefore, for a these and similar surmises. As fast as I wove one wbig; or rather, from his being so absolute and system of belief, some movement of the unknown lordly where he had a chance, I suspected him of would completely overturn it, and throw all my being a radical. Hunt, I had heard, was a large thoughts again into confusion. Such are the solia man; " who knows,” thought I, “ but it is Huntiary operations of a feverish mind. I was, as I himself."
have said, extremely nervous ; and the continual My curiosity began to be awakened. I inquired meditation on the concern: of this invisible person. of ibe waiter, who was this stout gentleman tha: age began to have its effect. I was getting a fit of was inaking all this stir ; but I could get no infor- the fidgets. Dinner-time came. I hoped the stout mation. Nobody seemed to know his naine. The gentleman might dine in the travellers' room, landlords of bustling inns seldoin trouble their that I might at length get a view of his person ; heads about the names or occupations of their tran- but no, he had dinner served in his owo room
What could be the meaning of this solitude and round the fire, and told long stories, about their mystery? He could not be a radical ; there was horses, about their adventures, their overturns, and something too aristocratical in thus kéeping him- breakings down. They discussed the credits of dif self apart from the rest of this world, and con:lemn- ferent merchants, and different inns; and the tw ing himself to his own dull company throughout a wags told several choice anecdotes of pretty chamrainy day. And then, too, he lived too well for a bermaids and landladies. All this passed as they discontented politician. He seemed to expatiate were quietly taking what they called their night. on a variety of dishes, and to sit over his wine like, caps, that is in say, strong glasses of brandy and a jolly friend of good living. Indeed, my doubts water and sugar, or some other mixture of the on this head were soon at an end ; for he could not kind, after which, they, one after another, rung for have finished his first bottle, before I could faintly boots and the chambermaid, and walked off to bed hear him humming a lune; and, on listening, I in old shoes cut down into marvellously uncomfound it to be “God save the King.” 'Twas fortable slippers. There was only one man left: plain, then, he was no radical, but a faithful sub- a short-legged, long-hodied, plethoric fellow, with ject; one that grew loval over his bottle, and was a very large sandy head, He sat by himself, with ready to stand by king and constitution, when he a glass of port-wine negus, and a spoon ; sipping, could stand by nothing else. But who could he and stirring, and meditating, and sipping, until be! My conjectures began to rux wild. Was he nothing was left but the spoon, Hegradually fell not some personage of distinction travelling incog? asleep, but upright in his chair, with the empty “ Who knows !” said I, at my wit's end ; "it may glass standing before him; and the candle seemed be one of the royal family, for onight I know, for to fall asleep too, for the wick grew long and black, they are all stout gentlemen.” The weather con- and cabbaged at the end, and dimmed the little tinued rainy. The mysterious unknown kept his light that remained in the chamber. The gloom room, and, as far I could judge, his chair, for I that low prevailed was contagions. Around hung did not hear him mave. In the mean time, as the the shapeless and almost spectral box-coats of dea day advanceil, the travellers' room began to be parted travellers, long since buried in deep sleep. frequented. Some, who had just arrived, came in I only heard the ticking of the clock, with the buttoned up in box-cvats; others came home who deep-drawn breathings of the sleeping toper, and had been dispersed about the town. Some took the drippings of the rain, drop-drop-drop, from their dinners, and some their tea. Had I been in a the eaves of the house. The church-bells chimed different mood, I should have found entertainment midnight. All at once the stout gentleman began in studying this peculiar class of men. There were to walk over-head, pacing slowly backwards and two, especially, who were regular wags of the road, forwards. There was something extremely awful and up to all the standing jokes of travellers. in all this, especially to one in my state of nerves. They had a thousand sly things to say to the wait. These ghastly great-coats, these guitural breathings, ing inaid, whom they called Louisa and Ethelinda, and the creaking footsteps of thi: mysterious being. and a dozen other fine names, changing the name His steps grew fainter and fainter, and at length every time, and chuckling amazingly at their own died away. I could bear it no longer. I was waggery. My mind, however, had become com- wound up to the desperation of a hero of romance. pletely engrossed by the stout gentleman. He had Behe who, or what he may,” said I to myself, kept my fancy in clase during a long day, and it i'll have a sight of him!" I seized a chamber was not now to be diverted from the scent. candle, and hurried up to No. 13. The door
The evening gradually wore away, the travellers stood ajar. I hesitated, I entered. The room read the papers two or three times uver, some drew was deserted. There stood a large broad-bottomed
elbow-chair at a table, on wbich was an empty
IRISH READING. leebler, and a Ti.szes newspaper, and the room smelt powerfully of Stilton cheese. The mysteri;ling attention, caused his sign to be set upside
An American citizen, for the purpose of arrestous stranger had evidently but just retired. I tarned off, sorely disappointed, to my room,
One day, while the rain was pouring down.
which had beec changed to the front of the house. As ! vered direcily opposite, standing with some gra.
down with great violence, an Irishman was discowest along the corridor, I saw a large pair of boots, vity upon his head, and fixing his eyes stedfastly bed-chamber. They doubtless belonged to the un- upon the sign. On an enquiry being made of this known; but it would not do to disturb so redoubt inverted gentleman, why he stood in so singular able a personage in his den. He might discharge
an attitude, he answered, “ I am trying to read
that sign.” a pistel, or something worse, at my head. I went to bed, therefore, and lay awake half the night in a terribly nervous state, and even when I fell Relations take the greatest Jiberties, and give asleep. I was still haunted in my dreams by the the least assistance. If a stranger cannot help us idea of the stout gentleman and his wax-topped with his purse, he will not insult us with his comboots
ments; but with relations, it inostly happens, that I slept rather late the next morning, and was they are the veriest misers with regard to their awakened by some stir er bustle in the house, which property, but perfect prodigals in the article of I could not at first comprehend ; until getting advice. more awake, I found there was a mail.coach
SATIRE. starting from the door. Suddenly there was a cry
Strong and sharp as our wit may be, it is not so from below,“ The gentleman bas forgot his úm- strong as the memory of fools, por so keen as their brella! look for the gentleman's umbrella in No. resentinent; he that was not strength of mind, to 13.!" I heard an immediate scampering of a forgive, is by no meanz so weak as to forget; and chamber-maid along the passage, and a :hrill reply it is much more easy to do a cruel thing, than to a sbe rao, “ Here it is! here's the gentleman's say a severe one. umbrella !”
The mysterious stranger was then on the point of setting off. This was the only chance I could sors of all religions have agreed ; to persecute all
There are only two things in which the profes. ever have of koowing hin. I sprang out of bed, other sects, and to plunder their own. scrambled to the window, snatched aside the curtains, and just caught a glimpse of the rear of a
THE THRIVING TRADESMAN. person getting in at the coach-door. The skirts When a couple of broom-men bad chatted one day of a brown coat parted behind, and gave me a full On a number of things in a sociable way, view of the broad disk of a pair of drab breeches. A new subject they started; says Jack, “ My The door closed,-“ All right!” was the word,
friend, Joe, the coach whirled off,--and that was all I ever I have long been most plaguedly puzzled to know saw of the stout gentleman !
How you manage to sell your brooms cheaper than
mine, TREASON NEVER PROSPERS.
As I steal the materials."'«. I like your design,
But improvement, you know, is the soul of each Treason does never prosper; wħat's the reason ? trade, Wby, when it prospers, noge dare call it treason. So the brooms wbich I sell, I steal ready made."