Gently with the cheney!’ exclaimed Lady Scattercash, who was too much used to such scenes to care about the belligerents. Bob Spangles caught Ladofwax’s arm at the nick of time, and saved the saucer.

‘Hout! you (hiccup) fellows are always (hiccup)ing,’ exclaimed Sir Harry. ‘I declare I’ll have you both (hiccup)ed over to keep the peace.’

They then broke out into wordy recrimination and abuse, each declaring that he wouldn’t stay a day longer in the house if the other remained; but as they had often said so before, and still gave no symptoms of going, their assertion produced little effect upon anybody. Sir Harry would not have cared if all his guests had gone together. Peace and order being at length restored, the conversation again turned upon Mr Sponge.

‘I suppose we must have another (hiccup) hunt soon,’ observed Sir Harry.

‘In course,’ replied Bob Spangles; ‘it’s no use keeping the hungry brutes unless you work them.’

‘You’ll have a bagman, I presume,’ observed Captain Seedeybuck, who did not like the trouble of travelling about the country to draw for a fox.

‘Oh, yes,’ replied Sir Harry; ‘Watchorn will manage all that. He’s always (hiccup) in that line. We’d better have a hunt soon, and then Mr (hiccup) Bugles, you can see it.’ Sir Harry addressing himself to a gentleman he was as anxious to get rid of as Mr Jogglebury Crowdey was to get rid of Mr Sponge.

No; Mr Bugles won’t go out any more,’ replied Lady Scattercash, peremptorily. ‘He was nearly killed last time;’ her ladyship casting an angry glance at her husband, and a very loving one on the object of her solicitude.

‘Oh, nought’s never in danger!’ observed Bob Spangles.

‘Then you can go, Bob,’ snapped his sister.

‘I intend,’ replied Bob.

‘Then (hiccup), gentlemen, I think I’ll just write this Mr (hiccup) What’s-his-name to (hiccup) over here,’ observed Sir Harry, ‘and then he’ll be ready for the (hiccup) hunt whenever we choose to (hiccup) one.’

The proposition fell stillborn among the party.

‘Don’t you think we can do without him,’ at last suggested Captain Seedeybuck.

I think so,’ observed the elder Spangles, without looking up from his plate.

‘Who is it?’ asked Lady Scattercash.

‘The man that was here the other morning -- the man in the queer chestnut-coloured boots,’ replied Mr Orlando Bugles.

‘Oh, I think he’s rather good-looking; I vote we have him,’ replied her ladyship.

That was rather a damper for Sir Harry; but upon reflection, he thought he could not be worse off with Mr Sponge and Mr Bugles than he was with Mr Bugles alone; so, having finished a poor appetiteless breakfast, he repaired to what he called his ‘study,’ and with a feeble, shaky hand, scrawled an invitation to Mr Sponge to come over to Nonsuch House, and take his chance of a run with his hounds. He then sealed and posted the letter without further to-do.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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