our hero Mr Sponge’s Sancho Panza, in his fox-hunting, fortune-hunting career, and disseminate in remote parts his doctrines of the real honour and dignity of servitude. Now to the inspection.

Peter Leather, having a peephole as well as his master, on seeing Mr Sponge arrive, had given himself an extra rub over, and covered his dirty shirt with a clean, well-tied, white kerchief and a whole coloured scarlet waistcoat, late the property of one of his noble employers, in hopes that Sponge’s visit might lead to something. Peter was about sick of the suburbs, and thought, of course, that he couldn’t be worse off than where he was.

‘Here’s Mr Sponge wants some osses,’ observed Mr Buckram, as Leather met them in the middle of the little yard, and brought his right arm round with a sort of military swing to his forehead: ‘what ’ave we in?’ continued Buckram, with the air of a man with so many horses that he didn’t know what were in and what were out.

‘Vy we ’ave Rumbleton in,’ replied Leather, thoughtfully, stroking down his hair as he spoke, ‘and we ’ave Jack o’Lanthorn in, and we ’ave the Camel in, and there’s the little Hirish oss with the sprig tail -- Jack- a-Dandy, as I calls him, and the Flyer will be in tonight, he’s jest out a hairing, as it were, with old Mr Callipash.’

‘Ah, Rumbleton won’t do for Mr Sponge,’ observed Buckram, thoughtfully, at the same time letting go a tremendous avalance of silver down his trouser pocket, ‘Rumbleton won’t do,’ repeated he, ‘nor Jack-a- Dandy nouther.’

‘Why, I wouldn’t commend neither on ’em,’ replied Peter, taking his cue from his master, ‘only ven you axes me vot there’s in, you knows vy I must give you a cor-rect answer, in course.’

‘In course,’ nodded Buckram.

Leather and Buckram had a good understanding in the lying line, and had fallen into a sort of tacit arrangement, that if the former was staunch about the horses he was at liberty to make the best terms he could for himself. Whatever Buckram said, Leather swore to, and they had established certain signals and expressions that each understood.

‘I’ve an unkimmon nice oss,’ at length observed Mr Buckram, with a scrutinising glance at Sponge, ‘and an oss in hevery respect werry like your work, but he’s an oss I’ll candidly state, I wouldn’t put in everyone’s ’ands, for, in the fust place, he’s wery walueous, and in the second, he requires an ossman to ride; howsomever, as I knows that you can ride, and if you doesn’t mind taking my ’ead man,’ jerking his elbow at Leather, ‘to look arter him, I wouldn’t mind ’commodatin’ on you, prowided we can ’gree upon terms.’

‘Well, let’s see him,’ interrupted Sponge, ‘and we can talk about terms after.’

‘Certainly, sir, certainly,’ replied Buckram, again letting loose a reaccumulated rush of silver down his pocket. ‘Here, Tom! Joe! Harry! where’s Sam?’ giving the little tinkler of a bell a pull as he spoke.

‘Sam be in the straw ’ouse,’ replied Leather, passing through a stable; into a wooden projection beyond, where the gentleman in question was enjoying a nap.

‘Sam!’ said he, ‘Sam!’ repeated he, in a louder tone, as he saw the object of his search’s nose popping through the midst of the straw.

What now!’ exclaimed Sam, starting up, and looking wildly around; ‘what now?’ repeated he, rubbing his eyes with the backs of his hands.

‘Get out Ercles,’ said Leather, sotto voce.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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