A Dinner and a Deal

Another grand dinner, on a more extensive scale than its predecessor, marked the day of this glorious run.

‘There’s goin’ to be a great blow out,’ observed Mr Spraggon to Mr Sponge, as, crossing his hands and resting them on the crown of his head, he threw himself back in his easy-chair, to recruit after the exertion of concocting the description of the run.

‘How d’ye know?’ asked Sponge.

‘Saw by the dinner table as we passed,’ replied Jack; adding, ‘it reaches nearly to the door.’

‘Indeed,’ said Sponge, ‘I wonder who’s coming?’

‘Most likely Guano, again; indeed, I know he is, for I asked his groom if he was going home, and he said no; and Lumpleg, you may be sure, and possibly old Blossomnose, Slapp, and, very likely, young Pacey.’

‘Are they chaps with any ‘‘go’’ in them? -- shake their elbows, or anything of that sort?’ asked Sponge, working away as if he had the dice-box in his hand.

‘I hardly know,’ replied Jack, thoughtfully. ‘I hardly know. Young Pacey, I think, might be made summut on; but his uncle, Major Screw, looks uncommon sharp arter him, and he’s a minor.’

‘Would he pay?’ asked Sponge, who, keeping as he said, ‘no books,’ was not inclined to do business on ‘tick.’

‘Don’t know,’ replied Jack, squinting at half-cock; ‘don’t know -- would depend a good deal, I should say, upon how it was done. It’s a deuced unhandsome world this. If one wins a trifle of a youngster at cards, let it be ever so openly done, it’s sure to say one’s cheated him, just because one happens to be a little older, as if age had anything to do with making the cards come right.’

‘It’s an ungenerous world,’ observed Sponge, ‘and it’s no use being abused for nothing. What sort of a genius is Pacey? Is he inclined to go the pace?’

‘Oh, quite,’ replied Jack; ‘his great desire is to be thought a sportsman.’

‘A sportsman or a sporting man?’ asked Sponge.

‘W-h-o-y! I should say p’raps a sportin’ man more than the sportsman,’ replied Jack. ‘He’s a great lumberin’ lad, buttons his great stomach into a Newmarket cut-away, and carries a betting-book in his breast pocket.’

‘Oh, he’s a bettor, is he!’ exclaimed Sponge, brightening up.

‘He’s a raw poult of a chap,’ replied Jack; ‘just ready for anything -- in a small way, at least -- a chap that’s always offering two to one in half-crowns. He’ll have money, though, and can’t be far off age. His father was a great spectacle-maker. You have heard of Pacey’s spectacles?’

‘Can’t say as how I have,’ replied Sponge; adding, ‘they are more in your line than mine.’

The further consideration of the youth was interrupted by the entrance of a footman with hot water, who announced that dinner would be ready in half an hour.

‘Who’s there coming?’ asked Jack.

‘Don’t know ’xactly, sir,’ replied the man; ‘believe much the same party as yesterday, with the addition of Mr Pacey; Mr Miller, of Newton; Mr Fogo, of Bellevue; Mr Brown, of the Hill; and some others, whose names I forget.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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