Puddingpote Bower

We must now back the train a little, and have a look at Jog and Co.

Mr and Mrs Jog had had another squabble after Mr Sponge’s departure in the morning, Mr Jog reproving Mrs Jog for the interest she seemed to take in Mr Sponge, as shown by her going to the door to see him amble away on the piebald hack. Mrs Jog justified herself on the score of Gustavus James, with whom she was quite sure Mr Sponge was much struck, and to whom, she made no doubt, he would leave his ample fortune. Jog, on the other hand, wheezed and puffed into his frill, and reasserted that Mr Sponge was as likely to live as Gustavus James, and to marry and to have a bushel of children of his own; while Mrs Jog rejoined that he was ‘sure to break his neck’ -- breaking their necks being, as she conceived, the inevitable end of foxhunters. Jog, who had not prosecuted the sport of hunting long enough to be able to gainsay her assertion, though he took especial care to defer the operation of breaking his own neck as long as he could, fell back upon the expense and inconvenience of keeping Mr Sponge and his three horses, and his saucy servant, who had taught their domestics to turn up their noses at his diet table; above all, at his stick-jaw and undeniable small-beer. So they went fighting and squabbling on, till at last the scene ended as usual, by Mrs Jogglebury bursting into tears, and declaring that Jog didn’t care a farthing either for her or her children. Jog then bundled off, to try and fashion a most incorrigible- looking, knotty blackthorn into a head of Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst. He afterwards took a turn at a hazel that he thought would make a Joe Hume. Having occupied himself with these till the children’s dinner- hour, he took a wandering, snatching sort of meal, and then put on his paletot, with a little hatchet in the pocket, and went off in search of the raw material in his own and the neighbouring hedges.

Evening came, and with it came Jog, laden, as usual, with an armful of gibbies, but the shades of night followed evening ere there was any tidings of the sporting inmates of his house. At length just as Jog was taking his last stroll prior to going in for good, he espied a pair of vacillating white breeches coming up the avenue with a clearly drunken man inside them. Jog stood straining his eyes watching their movements, wondering whether they would keep the saddle or come off -- whenever the breeches seemed irrevocably gone, they invariably recovered themselves with a jerk or a lurch -- Jog now saw it was Leather on the piebald, and though he had no fancy for the man, he stood to let him come up, thinking to hear something of Sponge. Leather in due time saw the great looming outline of our friend and came staring and shaking his head endeavouring to identify it. He thought at first it was the Squire -- next he thought it wasn’t -- then he was sure it wasn’t.

‘Oh! it’s you, old boy, is it?’ at last exclaimed he, pulling up beside the large holly against which our friend had placed himself, ‘It’s you, old boy, is it?’ repeated he, extending his right hand and nearly overbalancing himself, adding as he recovered his equilibrium, ‘I thought it was the old Woolpack at first, nodding his head towards the house. ‘Well,’ spluttered he, pulling up, and sitting, as he thought, quite straight in the saddle, ‘we’ve had the finest day’s sport and the most equitable drink I’ve enjoyed for many a long day. ’Ord bless us, what a gent that Sir ’Arry is! He’s the sort of man that should have money. I’m blowed, if I were queen, but I’d melt all the great blubber-headed fellows like this ’ere Crowdey down, and make one sich man as Sir ’Arry out of the ’ole on ’em. Beer! they don’t know wot beer is there! nothin’ but the werry strongest hale, instead of the puzzon one gets at this awful mean place, that looks like nothin’ but the weshin’ o’ brewers’ haprons. O! I ’umbly begs pardon,’ exclaimed he, dropping from his horse on to his knees on discovering that he was addressing Mr Crowdey -- ‘I thought it was Robins, the mole- ketcher.’

‘Thought it was Robins, the mole-catcher,’ growled Jog; ‘what have you to do with (puff) Robins, the (wheeze) mole-catcher?’

Jog boiled over with indignation. At first he thought of kicking Leather, a feat that his suppliant position made extremely convenient, if not tempting. Prudence, however, suggested that Leather might have him up for the assault. So he stood puffing and wheezing and eyeing the bleared-eyed, brandy-nosed old drunkard with, as he thought, a withering look of contempt; and then, though the man was drunk, and the night was dark, he waddled off, leaving Mr Leather on his once white breeches’ knees. If Jog had had reasonable time, say an hour or an hour and twenty minutes, to improvise it in, he would have

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