one thing to tell a man, if he comes your way, you’ll be glad to see him, and another to ask him to come bag and baggage, as this impudent Mr Sponge has done,’ added he.

‘Certainly,’ replied Mrs Jawleyford, who saw where the shoe was pinching her bear.

‘I wish he was off,’ observed Jawleyford, after a pause. ‘He bothers me excessively -- I’ll try and get rid of him by saying we are going from home.’

‘Where can you say we are going to?’ asked Mrs Jawleyford.

‘Oh, anywhere,’ replied Jawleyford; ‘he doesn’t know the people about here: the Tewkesburys, the Woolertons, the Browns -- anybody.’

Before they had got any definite plan of proceeding arranged, Mr Sponge returned from the chase.

‘Ah, my dear sir!’ exclaimed Jawleyford, half gaily, half moodily, extending a couple of fingers as Sponge entered his study; ‘we thought you had taken French leave of us, and were off.’

Mr Sponge asked if his groom had not delivered his note.

‘No,’ replied Jawleyford, boldly, though he had it in his pocket; ‘at least, not that I’ve seen. Mrs Jawleyford, perhaps, may have got it,’ added he.

‘Indeed!’ exclaimed Sponge; ‘it was very idle of him. He then proceeded to detail to Jawleyford what the reader already knows, how he had lost his day at Larkhall Hill, and had tried to make up for it by going to the crossroads.

‘Ah!’ exclaimed Jawleyford, when he was done; ‘that’s a pity -- great pity -- monstrous pity -- never knew anything so unlucky in my life.’

‘Misfortunes will happen,’ replied Sponge, in a tone of unconcern.

‘Ah, it wasn’t so much the loss of the hunt I was thinking of,’ replied Jawleyford, ‘as the arrangements we have made in consequence of thinking you were gone.’

‘What are they?’ asked Sponge.

‘Why, my Lord Barker, a great friend of ours -- known him from a boy -- just like brothers, in short -- sent over this morning to ask us all there -- shooting party, charades, that sort of thing -- and we accepted.’

‘But that need make no difference,’ replied Sponge; ‘I’ll go too.’

Jawleyford was taken aback. He had not calculated upon so much coolness.

‘Well,’ stammered he, ‘that might do, to be sure; but -- if -- I’m not quite sure that I could take anyone --’

‘But if you’re as thick as you say, you can have no difficulty,’ replied our friend.

‘True,’ replied Jawleyford; ‘but then we go a large party ourselves -- two and two’s four,’ said he, ‘to say nothing of servants; besides, his lordship mayn’t have room -- house will most likely be full.’

‘Oh, a single man can always be put up; shake-down -- anything does for him,’ replied Sponge.

‘But you would lose your hunting,’ replied Jawleyford. ‘Barkington Tower is quite out of Lord Scamperdale’s country.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page 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.