A New Scheme

OUR FRIEND SOAPEY was now in good feather; he had got a large price for his good-for-nothing horse, with a very handsome bonus for not getting him back, making him better off than he had been for some time. Gentleman of his calibre are generally extremely affluent in everything except cash. They have bills without end -- bills that nobody will touch, and book debts in abundance -- book debts entered with metallic pencils in curious little clasped pocketbooks, with such utter disregard of method that it would puzzle an accountant to comb them into anything like shape.

It is true, what Mr Sponge got from Mr Waffles were bills -- but they were good bills, and of such reasonable date as the most exacting of the Jew tribe would ‘do’ for twenty per cent Mr Sponge determined to keep the game alive, and getting Hercules and Multum in Parvo together again, he added a showy piebald hack, that Buckram had just got from some circus people, who had not been able to train him to their work.

The question now was, where to man0156uvre this imposing stud -- a problem that Mr Sponge quickly solved.

Among the many strangers who rushed into indiscriminate friendship with our hero at Laverick Wells, was Mr Jawleyford, of Jawleyford Court, in --shire. Jawleyford was a great humbug. He was a fine, off- hand, open-hearted, cheery sort of fellow, who was always delighted to see you, would start at the view, and stand with open arms in the middle of the street, as though quite overjoyed at the meeting. Though he never gave dinners, nor anything where he was, he asked everybody, at least everybody who did give them, to visit him at Jawleyford Court. If a man was fond of fishing, he must come to Jawleyford Court, be must, indeed; he would take no refusal, he wouldn’t leave him alone till he promised. He would show him such fishing -- no waters in the world to compare with his. The Shannon and the Tweed were not to be spoken of in the same day as his waters in the Swiftley.

Shooting, the same way. ‘By Jove! are you a shooter? Well, I’m delighted to hear it. Well, now, we shall be at home all September, and up to the middle of October, and you must just come to us at your own time, and I will give you some of the finest partridge and pheasant shooting you ever saw in your life; Norfolk can show nothing to what I can. Now, my good fellow say the word; do say you’ll come, and then it will be a settled thing, and I shall look forward to it with such pleasure!’

He was equally magnanimous about hunting, though, like a good many people who have ‘had their hunts,’ he pretended that his day was over, though he was a most zealous promoter of the sport. So he asked everybody who did hunt to come and see him and what with his hearty, affable manner, and the unlimited nature of his invitations, he generally passed for a deuced hospitable, good sort of fellow, and came in for no end of dinners and other entertainments for his wife and daughters, of which he had two -- daughters, we mean, not wives. His time was about up at Laverick Wells when Mr Sponge arrived there; nevertheless, during the few days that remained to them, Mr Jawleyford contrived to scrape a pretty intimate acquaintance with a gentleman whose wealth was reported to equal, if it did not exceed, that of Mr Waffles himself. The following was the closing scene between them:

‘Mr Sponge,’ said he, getting our hero by both hands in Culeyford’s Billiard Room, and shaking them as though he could not bear the idea of separation; ‘my dear Mr Sponge,’ added he, ‘I grieve to say we’re going tomorrow; I had hoped to have stayed a little longer, and to have enjoyed the pleasure of your most agreeable society.’ (This was true; he would have stayed, only his banker wouldn’t let him have any more money.) ‘But, however, I won’t say adieu,’ continued he; ‘no, I won’t say adieu! I live, as you perhaps know, in one of the best hunting counties in England -- my Lord Scamperdale’s -- Scamperdale and I are like brothers; I can do whatever I like with him -- he has, I may say, the finest pack of hounds in the world; his huntsman, Jack Frostyface, I really believe, cannot be surpassed. Come, then, my dear fellow,’ continued Mr Jawleyford, increasing the grasp and shake of the hands, and looking most earnestly in Sponge’s face, as if deprecating a refusal; ‘come then, my dear fellow, and see us; we will do whatever we can to entertain and make you comfortable. Scamperdale shall keep our side of the country till you come; there are capital stables at Lucksford, close to the station, and you shall have a stall for your hack

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