He showed several others, with little better success, Mr Sponge seeming rather to take a pleasure in finding ridiculous likenesses, instead of helping his host out in his conceits. The stick-mania was a failure, as far as Mr Sponge was concerned. Neither were the peregrinations about the farms, or ter-ri-to-ry, as Jog called his estate, more successful; a man’s estate, like his children, being seldom of much interest to any but himself.

Jog and Sponge were soon most heartily sick of each other. Nor did Mrs Jog’s charms, nor the voluble enunciation of ‘Obin and Ichard,’ followed by ‘Bah, bah, black sheep,’ &c., from that wonderful boy, Gustavus James, mend matters; for the young rogue having been in Mr Sponge’s room while Murry Ann was doing it out, had torn the back off Sponge’s Mogg, and made such a mess of his toothbrush, by cleaning his shoes with it, as never was seen.

Mr Sponge soon began to think it was not worth while staying at Puddingpote Bower for the mere sake of his keep, seeing there was no hunting to be had from it, and it did not do to keep hack hunters idle, especially in open weather. Leather and he, for once, were of the same opinion, and that worthy shook his head, and said Mr Crowdey was ‘awful mean,’ at the same time pulling out a sample of bad ship oats, that he had got from a neighbouring ostler, to show the ‘stuff’ their ‘osses’ were a eatin’ of. The fact was, Jog’s beer was nothing like so strong as Mr Puffington’s; added to which, Mr Crowdey carried the principles of the poor-law union into his own establishment, and dieted his servants upon certain rules. Sunday, roast beef, potatoes, and pudding under the meat; Monday, fried beef, and stick-jaw (as they profanely called a certain pudding); Wednesday, leg of mutton, and so on. The allowance of beer was a pint and a half per diem to Bartholomew, and a pint to each woman; and Mr Crowdey used to observe from the head of the servants’ dinner-table on the arrival of each cargo, ‘Now this (puff) beer is to (wheeze) a month, and, if you choose to drink it in a (gasp) day, you’ll go without any for the rest of the (wheeze) time;’ an intimation that had a very favourable effect upon the tap. Mr Leather, however, did not like it. ‘Puffington’s servants,’ he said, ‘had beer whenever they chose,’ and he thought it ‘awful mean,’ restricting the quantity. Mr Jog, however, was not to be moved. Thus time crawled heavily on.

Mr and Mrs Jog had a long confab one night on the expediency of getting rid of Mr Sponge. Mrs Jog wanted to keep him on till after the christening, while Jog combated her reasons by representing the improbability of its doing Gustavus James any good having him for a godpapa, seeing Sponge’s age, and the probability of his marrying himself. Mrs Jog, however, was very determined; rather too much so, indeed, for she awakened Jog’s jealousy, who lay tossing and tumbling about all through the night

He was up very early, and as Mrs Jog was falling into a comfortable nap, she was aroused by his well- known voice hallooing as loud as he could in the middle of the entrance-passage.

‘Bartholo-me-e-w!’ the last syllable being pronounced or prolonged like the mew of a cat.

‘Bartholo-me-e-w!’ repeated he, not getting an answer to the first shout.

‘Murry Ann!’ shouted he, after another pause.

‘Murry Ann!’ exclaimed he, still louder.

Just then, the iron latch of a door at the top of the house opened, and a female voice exclaimed hurriedly over the banisters --

‘Yes, sir! here, sir! comin’, sir! comin’!’

‘Oh, Murry Ann (puff), that’s (wheeze) you, is it?’ asked Jog, still speaking at the top of his voice.

‘Yes, sir,’ replied Mary Ann.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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