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like a drop of the oat-male tay, an' a fine thing it is, I could give you some of the best in the county.”
“ Will you answer me one question, friend ?” said Mr. Johnson, after pausing for some moments to gather patience.
“ As far as my knowledge goes, sir," replied the landlord, with a quiet bow.
“ On what do you support your guests in this house ?"
“ On what heaven gives me, sir, surely, day after day, taking the fling as it comes.”
“ Leave me those potatoes,” said Mr. Johnson ; “ I see I have nothing better to expect.”
Why then 'twould be droll if you had,” said the landlord, “ for the whole parish gives it up to them, that they are the best potatoes that was ever dug out of the ground.”
In a few minutes, Mr. Johnson's bell again summoned the landlord to the parlour. The latter made his appearance with the same courteous bow, and the same obsequious “ What's wanting, please your honour ?"
Have you any listen in the house ?" was the query of the guest.
“ Listing !” exclaimed the landlord, in a grave and rather lofty tone; Oh, no, sir, there's none o' my people listing.-It's not come to that with us yet, any way."
“ Psha !” replied Mr. Johnson, “ I dont't mean
listing for soldiers—but cloth listen to nail on that door ;-there's such a draught!"
“ There's nothing of the kind in the house, please your honour,” said the host, shaking his head.
“ Well then throw on some more turf on the fire, and shut the door after you, which, 1 perceive, nobody in this house ever thinks it necessary to do.”
The man obeyed; and Mr. Johnson began to read a provincial paper which lay on the table. In a few minutes the chimney puffed clouds of smoke, and again the house-bell summoned the landlord to the room.
He entered at this time with a smile of peculiar mischief and shrewdness.
66 Oh! murder, murder !” he exclaimed, “ what a mortal sight o'smoke!”
“ Well, what's to be done about it?” said his guest.
“Oh, then I don't know, sir," he replied, with much apparent concern, and yet with something like an inclination to smile ; but if your honour would leave the door open, just the weeniest little peep in the world, it will all clear in a minute."
“But then the cold draught, friend-it would be the death of me.”
“ Well, a dawny piece of the window, then ?”
“ You stupid man, wouldn't the draught be as bad from the window as the door?”
Oh, then, dear knows,” exclaimed the man, tossing his hands up in despair ; “ I'm fairly lost between the whole of 'em. I don't know what I'll do with your honour, nor where I'll put you."
“Give me a light,” groaned Mr. Johnson," and shew me to my sleeping-room."
This was done ; but a hard bed, and scanty covering rendered it only an exchange of one suffering for another. Mr. Johnson resolved that his first measure, in the morning, should be to change his quarters. What was his astonishment and consternation, however, after he had dressed, to discover that his pocket-book, containing all the money which he had brought with him, was not to be found. Inquiry was fruitless; and the landlord threw out more than one hint of his doubt as to whether any loss had really taken place. This doubly incensed the young nobleman, and made him regret his having ever trusted himself, thus unprotected, in such a land.
Still, however, wishing to preserve his incognito, he resolved to remain for some days, at the inn, until he should obtain a remittance from his banker. He wrote accordingly, and gave the letter to the landlord, that he might send it to the nearest post town. By this awkward circumstance, Mr. John Johnson was reduced almost to his last sovereign, and the appearances which he chose to assume for the preservation of his incognito, rendered it improbable that many persons would be willing to afford him a long credit.
He spent several days within the cover of bis apartment—talking with his landlord on the state of the country, and listening with that fascinating curiosity which attracts interest even while it inspires apprehension, to numberless tales of Rockite murders, post-boys shot from behind hedges, and houses burned about the ears of the inmates. These narratives contributed, together with the terrific accounts put forward in the alarmist newspapers, to increase his fears a hundred-fold, and to make him regret that he had ever ventured his life among so murderous a generation.
He regretted it still more acutely, when, after a second application to his banker, he received no answer nor acknowledgment of his letter. This circumstance was peculiarly annoying, as, during his sojourn here, he had not rendered himself a favourite with the people of the inn. The air of superiority which Lord Ulla was accustomed to assume, sometimes unconsciously manifested itself in the demeanour of Mr. John Johnson, and the landlord began to feel indignant at his complaints of smoking chimneys, and draughts, and undressed dinners. him up with cookery, indeed!” his guest heard him say, as he left the apartment on one occasion, “ I wish I was sure of getting my money for what's past and gone. What I'm thinking is, that the nobles are down to fourpence with him.”
One morning, Mr. John Johnson was seated at
the breakfast table, on which was placed a quantity of material, sufficient to make a considerable company contented. This profusion has always a strange appearance in the eyes of an Englishman who is accustomed to the Lilliputian frugality that is manifested in the service of a London coffeehouse. The door suddenly opened, and the landlord advanced to the table,
“ I'd take it as a favour, sir,” he said, “ if you'd oblige me with the loan of five pounds. There's a neat cow below street at the cant, and I'll want beef against the gentlemen come to the races.”
Mr. John Johnson could not conceal his confusion.
“ I should be most happy to accommodate you,” said he, “ but, upon my honour, 1-1-am quite drained at present. If a few days would answer
“ No, sir—'twould not answer,” the man replied gruffly, “ who ever heard of a cow being canted for a few days running ?”
“ Perhaps," said Mr. Johnson, “ if you send your man to the office he would find a letter there for me?"
“ Long ago this morning, sir, my man was at the office, and there's nothing for you. I'm tired of sending to the office for you. I'm sorry to say it, Mr. Johnson, but I'm afraid 'tis humbugging me you are, sir.”
“ Humbugging, fellow ?"