Crundle Castle

(Early story from The Rectory Magazine: circa 1850)



`MY dear Miss Primmins' said the kind and comfortable lady, Mrs Cogsby, a burly good-natured body, engaged in that most delightful occupation of gardening on a summer evening, which consisted of amputating a few dead rosebuds with an enormous and sanguinary looking knife, apparently constructed originally for the rather unusual purpose of murdering crocodiles, but which she employed on the present occasion with no more apparent emotion than if it were the most delicate lady's penknife. `My dear Miss Primmins, you mustn't think of going a step further, before you've come in, and had a glass of elder wine. Besides you haven't seen my darling Guggy this age, and he's so improved!' The said darling Guggy was a rather over-grown boy of about 6 years old, the delight of his mother, and the utter detestation of all the neighbourhood, who were miserably victimised by Mrs Cogsby for whole evenings together, admiring him and hearing of his performances. He was always carried into the room by his mother's express desire, though it was noticed by the more observant of her visitors that the nurse only took him up outside the door, indeed it was impossible for any human nurse to have carried him 10 yards without dropping.

`Rely, Mem,' began the present victim, a sickly decayed looking young lady, of considerably over 70, who screwed all her words with some difficulty out of one of the smallest mouths, `rely, Mem, I kiddnt think of intrewding on your seclusion.' But Mrs Cogsby would hear of no excuse, and she was soon seated in the parlour, where in the course of 1/2 an hour, 8 or 10 other victims were assembled, and the darling Guggy was introduced.

`Oh! what a charming boy!' was the general exclamation on his first appearance, the charming boy meanwhile standing at his mother's knee with his thumb in his mouth, vouchsafing not a word to any of the company; `I really must show you,' began Mrs Cogsby, `a remarkable production of Guggy's. It's a portrait of his father, wonderfully like him, (a universal elevation of eye-brows) only the poor dear man wouldn't look at it, when I shewed it him today, but went off in a fluff.' (Probably a combination of flurry and huff, a confusion of words being one of Mrs Cogsby's peculiarities.) At this moment a gentle knock was heard at the door.


ON the door being opened, Mr Cogsby senior timidly entered the room: he cast an anxious glance around him, detected Miss Primmins in the act of examining his portrait, and with a faint shriek of horror, sunk into a chair. Mrs Cogsby flew to him, and by dint of a well directed battery of the most energetic slaps on the back, succeeded in restoring the vital spark. `My dear Alfred,' she murmured reproachfully in his ear, as soon as she saw signs of returning consciousness, `to think that you should yield to this weakness! you, to whom I'm sure I've been more than a mother.' `I beg your pardon, ma'am' interposed a pale tall young man, leaning over a chair, with a large head of a small stick constantly in his mouth, `but do you happen to be his--grandmother?' `Sir!' said Mrs Cogsby with a withering glance, which silenced him in a moment. Even in that awful moment she had the presence of mind to ring the bell. `Show that person out!' said she faintly, and the young man, rather astounded at the effect of his speech, followed the indignant maid-servant, who saw that the mistress had received some insult, though what it was she was by no means clear. The danger over Mrs Cogsby began to think it was her turn to have a scene, and accordingly began, `The brute! the beast!!! to call--a young lady--n-not 30--t-to call her--a granan-an-mother--oh!' and here, having reached the climax, she fell, executing her favourite manoeuvre of sinking upon a sofa in a picturesque attitude.

The next moment a yell of agony was heard from Guggy, the feet of that beauteous infant being just discernible protruding from under his mother's dress.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.