said something uncommonly sharp; as it was he left him with the pertinent enquiry we have recorded -- ‘What have you to do with Robins, the mole-catcher?’ We need hardly say that this little incident did not at all ingratiate Mr Sponge with his host, who re-entered his house in a worse humour than ever. It was insulting a gentleman on his own ter-ri-tory -- bearding an Englishman in his own castle. ‘Not to be borne (puff),’ said Jog.

It was now nearly five o’clock, Jog’s dinner-hour, and still no Mr Sponge. Mrs Jog proposed waiting half an hour, indeed she had told Susan, the cook, to keep the dinner back a little, to give Mr Sponge a chance, who could not possibly change his tight hunting things for his evening tights in the short space of time that Jog could drop off his loose flowing garments, wash his hands, and run the comb through his lank, candle-like hair.

Five o’clock struck, and Jog was just applying his hand to the rat red-and-black worsted bell-pull, when Mrs Jog announced what she had done.

‘Put off the dinner (wheeze), put off the dinner (puff),’ repeated he, blowing furiously into his clean shirt- frill, which stuck up under his nose like a hand-saw; ‘put off the dinner (wheeze), put off the dinner (puff), I wish you wouldn’t do such (wheeze) things without consulting (gasp) me.’

‘Well, but, my dear, you couldn’t possibly sit down without him,’ observed Mrs Jog, mildly.

‘Possibly! (puff), possibly! (wheeze),’ repeated Jog. ‘There’s no possibly in the matter,’ retorted he, blowing more furiously into the frill.

Mrs Jog was silent.

‘A man should conform to the (puff) hours of the (wheeze) house,’ observed Jog, after a pause.

‘Well, but, my dear, you know hunters are always allowed a little law,’ observed Mrs Jog.

‘Law! (puff), law! (wheeze),’ retorted Jog. ‘I never want any law,’ thinking of Smiler v. Jogglebury.

Half-past five o’clock came, and still no Sponge; and Mrs Jog, thinking it would be better to arrange to have something hot for him when he came, than to do further battle with her husband, gave the bell the double ring indicative of ‘bring dinner.’

‘Nay (puff), nay (wheeze); when you have (gasp)ed so long,’ growled Jog, taking the other tack, ‘you might as well have (wheez)ed a little longer’--snorting into his frill as he spoke.

Mrs Jogglebury said nothing, but slipped quietly out, as if after her keys, to tell Susan to keep so-and-so in the meat-screen, and have a few potatoes ready to boil against Mr Sponge arrived. She then sidled back quietly into the room. Jog and she presently proceeded to that all-important meal, Jog blowing out the company-candles on the side table as he passed.

Jog munched away with a capital appetite; but Mrs Jog, who took the bulk of her lading in at the children’s dinner, sat trifling with the contents of her plate, listening alternately for the sound of horses’ hooves outside, and for nursery squalls in.

Dinner passed over, and the fruity port and sugary sherry soon usurped the places that stick-jaw pudding and cheese had occupied.

‘Mr (puff) Sponge must be (wheeze), I think,’ observed Jog, hauling his great silver watch out, like a bucket, from his fob, on seeing that it only wanted ten minutes to seven.

‘Oh, Jog!’ exclaimed Mrs Jog, clasping her beautiful hands, and casting her bright beady eyes up to the low ceiling.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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