Nonsuch House Again

Poor Jog again varied his hints the next morning. After sundry prefatory ‘Murry Anns!’ and ‘Bar-tho-lo- mews!’ he at length got the latter to answer, when, raising his voice so as to fill the whole house, he desired him to go to the stable, and let Mr Sponge’s man know his master would be (wheezing) away.

‘You’re wrong there, old buck,’ growled Leather, as he heard the foregoing; ‘he’s half way to Sir ’Arry’s by this time.’

And, sure enough, Mr Sponge was, as none knew better than Leather, who had got him his horse, the hack being indisposed -- that is to say, having been out all night with Mr Leather on a drinking excursion, Leather having just got home in time to receive the purplecoated, bare-footed runner of Nonsuch House, who dropped in, en passant, to see if there was anything to stow away in his roomy trouser-pockets, and leave word that Sir Harry was going to hunt, and would meet before the house.

Leather, though somewhat muzzy, was sufficiently sober to be able to deliver this message, and acquaint Mr Sponge with the impossibility of his ‘ridin’ the ’ac.’ Indeed, he truly said, that he had ‘been hup with him all night, and at one time thought it was all hover with him,’ the all-overishness consisting of Mr Leather being nearly all over the hack’s head, in consequence of the animal shying at another drunken man lying across the road.

Mr Sponge listened to the recital with the indifference of a man who rides hack-horses, and coolly observed that Leather must take on the chestnut, and he would ride the brown to cover.

‘Couldn’t, sir, couldn’t,’ replied Leather, with a shake of the head and a twinkle of his roguish, watery grey eyes.

‘Why not?’ asked Mr Sponge, who never saw any difficulty.

‘Oh, sur,’ replied Leather, in a tone of despondency, ‘it would be quite unpossible. Consider wot a day the last one was; why he didn’t get to rest till three the next mornin’.’

‘It’ll only be walking exercise,’ observed Mr Sponge; ‘do him good.’

‘Better valk the chestnut,’ replied Mr Leather; ‘Multum in Parvo hasn’t ’ad a good day this I don’t know wen, and will be all the better of a bucketin’.’

‘But I hate crawling to cover on my horse,’ replied Mr Sponge, who liked cantering along with a flourish.

‘You’ll ’ave to crawl if you ride ’Ercles,’ observed Leather, ‘if not walk. Bless you! I’ve been a nussin’ of him and the ’ack most the ’ole night.’

‘Indeed!’ replied Mr Sponge, who began to be alarmed lest his hunting might be brought to an abrupt termination.

‘True, as I’m ’ere,’ rejoined Leather. ‘He’s just as much off his grub as he vos when he com’d in; never see’d an ’oss more reg’larly dished -- more --’

‘Well, well,’ said Mr Sponge, interrupting the catalogue of grievances; ‘I s’pose I must do as you say -- I s’pose I must do as you say: what sort of a day is it?’

‘Vy, the day’s not a bad day; at least, that’s to say, it’s not a wery haggrivatin’ day. I’ve seen a betterer day, in course; but I’ve also seen many a much worser day, and days at this time of year, you know, are apt to change -- sometimes, in course, for the betterer -- sometimes, in course, for the worser.’

Is it a frost?’ snapped Mr Sponge, tired of his loquacity.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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