man. Even on horseback, and in his hunting clothes, in which he looked far the best, he was only a coarse, square, bull-headed looking man, with the hard, dry, round, matter-of-fact features that never look young, and yet somehow never get old. Indeed, barring the change from brown to grey of his short stubby whiskers, which he trained with great care into a curve almost on to his cheek-bone, he looked very little older at the period of which we are writing than he did a dozen years before, when he was Lord Hardup. These dozen years, however, had brought him down in his doings.

The dinners had gradually dwindled away altogether, and he had had all the large tablecloths and napkins rough dried and locked away against he got married; an event that he seemed more anxious to provide for the more unlikely it became. He had also abdicated the main body of the mansion, and taken up his quarters in what used to be the steward’s room; into which he could creep quietly by a side door opening from the outer entrance, and so save frequent exposure to the cold and damp of the large cathedral-like hall beyond. Through the steward’s room, was what used to be the muniment room, which he converted into a bedroom for himself; and a little further along the passage was another small chamber, made out of what used to be the plate-room, whereof Jack, or whoever was in office, had the possession. All three rooms were furnished in the roughest, coarsest, homeliest way -- his lordship wishing to keep all the good furniture against he got married. The sitting-room, or parlour as his lordship called it, had an old grey drugget for a carpet, an old round black mahogany table on castors, that the last steward had ejected as too bad for him, four semicircular wooden-bottomed walnut smoking-chairs; an old spindle- shanked sideboard, with very little middle, over which swung a few book-shelves, with the termination of their green strings surmounted by a couple of foxes’ brushes. Small as the shelves were, they were larger than his lordship wanted -- two books, one for Jack and one for himself, being all they contained; while the other shelves were filled with hunting-horns, odd spurs, knots of whipcord, piles of halfpence, lucifer match-boxes, gun-charges, and suchlike miscellaneous articles.

His lordship’s fare was as rough as his furniture. He was a great admirer of tripe, cow-heel, and delicacies of that kind; he had tripe twice a-week -- boiled one day, fried another. He was also a great patron of beefsteaks, which he ate half raw, with slices of cold onion served in a saucer with water.

It was a beefsteak-and-batter-pudding day on which the foregoing run took place; and his lordship and Jack having satisfied nature off their respective dishes -- for they only had vegetables in common -- and having finished off with some very strong Cheshire cheese, wheeled their chairs to the fire, while Bags the butler cleared the table and placed it between them. They were dressed in full suits of flaming large- checked red-and-yellow tartans, the tartan of that noble clan the ‘Stunners,’ with black-and-white Shetland hose and red slippers. His lordship and Jack had related their mutual adventures by cross visits to each other’s bedrooms while dressing; and, dinner being announced by the time they were ready, they had fallen to, and applied themselves diligently to the victuals, and now very considerately unbuttoned their many-pocketed waistcoats and stuck out their legs, to give it a fair chance of digesting. They seldom spoke much until his lordship had had his nap, which he generally took immediately after dinner; but on this particular night he sat bending forward in his chair, picking his teeth and looking at his toes, evidently ill at ease in his mind. Jack guessed the cause, but didn’t say anything. Sponge, he thought, had beat him.

At length his lordship threw himself back in his chair, and stretching his little queer legs out before him, began to breathe thicker and thicker, till at last he got the melody up to a grunt. It was not the fine generous snore of a sleep that he usually enjoyed, but, short, fitful, broken naps, that generally terminated in spasmodic jerks of the arms or legs. These grew worse, till at last all four went at once, like the limbs of a Peter Waggey, when, throwing himself forward with a violent effort, he awoke; and finding his horse was not a-top of him, as he thought, he gave vent to his feelings in the following ejaculations:

‘Oh, Jack, I’m onhappy!’ exclaimed he. ‘I’m distressed!’ continued he. ‘I’m wretched!’ added he, slapping his knees. ‘I’m perfectly miserable!’ he concluded, with a strong emphasis on the ‘miserable.’

‘What’s the matter?’ asked Jack, who was half asleep himself.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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