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« Fellow !” the landlord shouted out, glad of a quarrel,
no fellow for a rogue or a sponge, Mr. John Johnson.”
" Why, you scoundrel, what do you mean to insinuate ?"
“ I mean to insinuate, that I have my doubts if you're anything better. That's what I mean to insinuate. And I'll tell you what's more again ; I mean to insinuate that there's company coming here to the races, and that I'd be obliged to you if you'd make yourself scarce in these rooms; there's the long and the short of it now.”
“ Stay, my good fellow," said Lord Ulla, conscious that he was likely to profit little in a contest of this nature, “ the fact is, I have written to my banker, and, by some mischance, I have not been able to obtain an answer.”
“ Poh! that's the old story always. I declare, look-it sickens me to hear you talking of yourself and your banker. I believe he might put all you ever lodged with him into his waistcoat pocket in small change. You have as much bankers as I have of prime ministers—and that isn't one."
“ You are an impudent rascal ! ”
“ Cut out of my house now this moment, since you call me an impudent rascal. There's the door open for you."
“Why, you inhospitable fellow, you would not turn me out alone, now, and the country in such a state !"
“ Country in a sad state ! And what state is it in, Mr. John Johnson ? How mighty genteel you are, indeed! Why then you may go from this to Cork, and if you'll meet a greater rogue than yourself on the way, I'll give you leave to call me another, for company. Pack away with yourself now, if you please.”
“ Very well! I tell you I can make you repent this."
6 You're welcome, as soon as you like. That's what vexes me entirely, now, is the airs you take upon yourself. If it was Lord Ulla himself was there, he couldn't speak prouder, nor give more trouble.”
Why, fool that you are—I tell you that I am"
Nothing. Give me my hat—and take care of my valise until I send my servant for it. What do you sneer at, you scoundrel ?”
“ Nothing. Only some thoughts that were coming into my mind when you talked of your servant. Why then, you're the foolishest young man I think I ever saw. Good morning to you. Here, although you didn't behave so well, still I declare you have a touch of a gentleman with you that I like. Here's a paper of sandwiches, put 'em in your pocket against the road.”
Without condescending to return any other reply than was conveyed in a look of fierce anger, Mr. John Johnson left the door of the hotel, and took his way across the mountains, towards the residence of his own agent, which was about fifteen miles from the spot where he stood.
Necessity taught him the art of walking upon the ground, in which, until now, his education had been very deficient.
He discovered, also, that he was capable of standing upright in the face of a tolerable gale, by the mere force of gravitation ; and actually sustained two very severe showers of rain without melting away. Fifteen miles in one day, however, for a person who had not practised walking, was a little too much; and it was with dismay that Mr. Johnson saw the sun go down behind him, while he was yet pacing wearily along the side of a lonely mountain, over which a few wretched cabins were scattered at long intervals. The night threatened to be stormy, and its threats did not prove vain, like those of a bully. His long abstinence had induced him to bestow more reflection on the rejected paper of sandwiches than his pride would have willingly permitted ; and the fear of not being able to procure some equivalent, formed no small part of his anxiety. Indeed it was unreasonable to suppose that he could procure anything fit to be laid even before Mr. John Johnson, in such a wilderness as this.
The night advanced, and his apprehensions increased with the darkness. He would not venture to ask for a lodging in one of the mountain huts, for
how did he know but it was there the white-boys lived. And yet was it so safe to be out on such a night? Who knew but he might run full butt up against a rebel, in the darkness ? Horrible !-And even if he were fortunate enough to escape, what a terrible thing it was to pass the night out in such a place, with a thorough draught running from the east to the west, enough to give a man his death of cold. He thought of passing the night like Julius Cæsar, under the shelter of one of the cabin walls ; but, after leaning in that position for a few minutes, he discovered that he and Julius Cæsar were different men.
While he was diliberating, he found himself staggering through a sink of stagnant water, which lay unseen on his path, and arrived with a pint of the liquid in each boot on the opposite side. This made him jump to a conclusion.
The slough in question formed a sort of ornamental lake, in front of one of those mountain villas beforementioned. No other course was now left him than to apply for assistance at the cottage ; and, reversing the principle of Hamlet, he chose rather to fly to ills he knew not of, than to bear those ills he had.
The door was opened by a meagre looking man, in wretched attire, who held a rush-light in his hand, and looked with an expression of surprise and half-forgotten sorrow on the stranger. The squalidness of his appearance caused a coldness to fall on the heart of the young nobleman, who would bave preferred damp feet to the chances of a night's lodging beneath the same roof with so ill-looking an individual.
“ 'Twould not be worth our while to refuse you a lodging," said the man, in answer to his request
_“ in a house that won't be our own to-morrow. Walk in, and welcome.”
Mr. Johnson entered, and showed by his countenance, as he stared around the apartment, that he did not think there could be much hardship in being ejected from such a dwelling as this. A few crazy hay-bottomed chairs, and a small table, constituted nearly all the furniture ; and the floor, which was of clay, was moistened into a puddle in most places, from the dropping of the roof.
“ Put down the rest of the faggots, Mary, honey,” said the man, “ let us have the benefit of them for this night, at any rate, since it is to be the last, and there's no use in sparing them, when we can't take them with us.”
Two little girls, as pale and squalid as their father, proceeded to rekindle the dying embers, by heaping on fresh fuel, and stooping forward on their little hands to illumine it with their breath. This picture, coupled with the surrounding misery, reminded him of the lines in that magnificent poem of “ Darkness :"