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Valentine, a most elegant youth, and one of those same gay “young cavaliers who kissed their hands to Agnes," when she walked abroad, and who had, moreover, very reasonable hopes that his attentions were favourably received. “Traitor! did I not see thee e'en now deliver a letter to yon dunder-headed bumpkin !a walking popinjay !-the mark of ridicule, at whom every finger points.”
“I confess -I confess," replied Andrew calmly, “ that I did deliver unto his most fine worship a letter indited by the hands of my fair mistress."
“And addressed to him ? ” cried Master Valentine, in jealous apprehension.
“Nay, there was no address," said Andrew, “except' in the delivery thereof."
"Then it must have been intended for me.” . .' . “ It was I confess it was,” replied Andrew. I
“ And, darest thou tell me this?” cried Master Valentine, raising his walking-staff.
“Nay, spare my shoulders," said the page, “for I have spared thine, Sir Valentine, seeing that that very billet contained a thrashing. I do not allude to the up-strokes or the down-strokes in which the fair hand of my mistress hath writ the same; but, of a verity, no more nor less than a sound drubbing. Master Wynstone, depend on't, will receive the contents in full, to his heart's discontent."
“ Thou double-tongued, double-faced rogue, explain this riddle !” exclaimed Master Valentine, somewhat appeased, and sorely puzzled.
And Andrew forth with informed him that Agnes had scarcely written her letter, when her guardian, coming suddenly in, had discovered her before she had superscribed it, and that he took the unfortunate billet, and, summoning Andrew into his presence, with mock politeness, bade him instantly deliver it to the “ gallant suitor of Mistress Agnes,” who, op her part strongly but vainly protested against this arbitrary proceeding. But the page on his way overhearing Hardinge inform the sturdy porter of his establishment that he suspected “ there might be an intruder in the court that night,” and ordering him to prepare a couple of stout oaken staves to give him a “ welcome,” he had taken the liberty to peep into the un. fortunate epistle, and wisely concluding from its ambiguous terms that it might suit Master Wynstone as well (or better, under the circumstances,) as Master Valentine, he had cunningly delivered it accordingly, vowing that he really knew no other gallant suitor, or as such acknowledged at the house, than the aforesaid Master Wynstone.
The lover, of course, loudly applauded, and amply rewarded the adroit and faithful Master Andrew, who, gleefully putting up the well-earned nobles, declared that “really serving two masters was not only very easy, but extremely pleasant and profitable withal.”
The appointed hour at length arrived ; and with it the delighted Master Wynstone and his music, quite perfect in a most bewitching serenade, as crammed with conceits as a wedding-cake with confectionary.
The door of the courtyard stood“ grinning” most invitingly open, and he stepped in.
But scarcely had he struck an attitude and his guitar, and war
bled forth the half of the first stanza of his amatory ditty, when his voice suddenly changed to a squall or shriek, which ran through several bars with shakes and variations altogether quite novel in the vocal art; for the incensed Hardinge, aided by his porter, fell so furiously upon the unfortunate Knight of the Wooden Cask, that his cries alarmed the watch, who rushed pell-mell into the court, with their staves and lanterns, by the light of which the astonished Master Hardinge discovered the woeful features of his most dear young friend. Terribly alarmed, he led the tender lover (tender, at least, from the drubbing he had received,) into his mansion, and loudly summoned all his household.
But, alas ! it proved a night of trouble. Agnes, Beatrice, and Andrew, were all missing!
A whole week elapsed before the merchant obtained any tidings of the fugitives ; and then an applicant, in the person of Master Valentine, formally waited upon the guardian in the character of his ward's husband, for an immediate arrangement of her affairs.
THE THREE EPOCHS.
Ou! what is the Past but a desolate shrine,
W. EDWARDS SKAITE.
JOURNAL OF OLD BARNES, THE PANTALOON,
ON A TRIP TO PARIS, 1830.
“At nine appartements à louer garni' out of ten they refused to take us and our tricks in; so I told Seymour to carry his windmill back to the hotel, and Ronaldson to follow him with the property swans; and presently I had the satisfaction to see Seymour blown round the corner, windmill and all.
“Harlequin now came to us, and we succeeded in hiring lodgings. Harlequin (the Jew-Frenchman) introduced me to his wife. Looked like a screw, though he informed me that she was the best of creatures. Made an agreement to lodge and board with Mr. and Mrs. Harlequin, and returned to the hotel to pay our bill. Great row with the ladies about the charges : very extravagant. Swore considerably in English, and made them take off one-third of the amount. Did the hotel-keeper, as I found he wanted to do me. I paid him in English shillings, instead of francs !-ha! ha! Off to our new apartments, 39, Rue Chaussée d'Antan. No dinner ordered. That looked rather ominous as regarded the boarding part of the business. Gave the screw a scrutinising glance, and went to Mr. Wood's to dinner. Good English dinner, bottled porter, St. Emilion wine, and grog to qualify. Stayed till evening, laughing and talking. Told them how I served Ellar, the harlequin, who came over here with me five years ago, and we lived together in the house of a Madame Bambayet. Good old creature! we were both in love with her. I believed I pretended more than I really felt, or I should never have got my stockings mended; but I found out that she liked Ellar the better of the two. She had seen his neat figure in the patched jacket, and that had tickled her fancy. I was jealous as most pantaloons are,—and I hit upon an ingenious and diabolical expedient to disgust Madame Bambayet with Ellar. I succeeded. She looked upon him with horror ever afterwards. The pantomime in which we both played at the theatre had a great run; it was the first English pantomime that had been carried over there for many years, consequently we had no rehearsals after it was produced, and nothing to occupy our time in the morning ; so sometimes we used to amuse ourselves by going to St. Cloud, and angling in the Seine, where we caught a sort of gudgeon. Our bait was a box of gentles; and this box was kept with our other tackle in the closet of our double-bedded room. One night it so happened that I came home earlier than usual. I had quarrelled with Ellar about this same Madame Bambayet. So, when I got in, out of revenge, I boldly emptied the contents of the gentle-box into Ellar's bed, underneath the sheet; got into my own bed, and pretended to go to sleep. Ellar soon came home, and retired to rest. I chuckled; for I knew that Madame Bambayet would come into our room the first thing in the morning, to see whether we wanted anything. Madame did come in; and, peering about, she saw what she did not quite understand : those gentles that found Mr. Ellar's bed too warm for them had made their way on to the shining tile-floor, and there were hundreds of them hopping and rolling in all directions. She exclaimed Grand Dieu ! ques que c'est?' Ellar was asleep; so I quietly pointed to him, and said, 'He could not help it, but he was subject to them !' Oh! I wish you could have seen the look of horror depicted on the old lady's physiognomy! Ah! les vilaines bêtes !' Ellar waking, and raising himself up, shook off another hundred, and Madame Bambayet hastened as quickly as possible out of the room.
“When I went down stairs the old lady proposed sending for a medical man; but I told her 'it was of no use ; that it was all over, and Mr. Ellar was only troubled that way three or four times a year, and that it was a great relief to his constitution.
“I settled his business with Madame Bambayet, for she never paid him any attention afterwards, and did not wonder at his always looking so pale; in fact, she was glad when he was gone! •
“I went home about ten o'clock to my new apartment (dog-hole), which Mrs. Jew-Frenchman-Harlequin was to get ready for me, or, more properly speaking, a clothes cupboard, into which they had crammed a bedstead, table, chair, washing-stand, so that I could hardly turn myself round. Grumbled to myself, but quite loud enough for my hostess to hear me. Got into bed grumbling, and endeavoured to go to sleep; but a sort of French ladybird, called 'punaises,' (dictionary,) attacked me at all points, and I was obliged to get up in my own defence, and slay away as fast as possible. This amusement lasted till daylight, about three o'clock, when they sounded a retreat ; and glad enough I was to observe their numbers disappear. By degrees I so far got them under that I fell into a sort of slumber till seven ; when I disturbed my hostess and her spouse, and Columbine and her mamma, to breakfast. Queer breakfast for boarders: weak, watery coffee, stale bread, no eggs, not a bit of cold meat. "How did you rest?' inquired our landlady.- Oh,' replied Columbine's mamma, * charmingly. "I am delighted that we are out of that nasty hotel. We feel quite another thing.'— 'And pray, Mr. Barnes, how did you sleep? I hope you found everything comfortable ?'- Very,' said I; 'but I wish I had stayed at the hotel, instead of coming here to be eaten up alive.'-'What?' said the hostess, eaten up! I am sure we slept beautiful; and I did not feel or see one ; there is not, I am sure, a single punaise in the place.' - Madam,' said I gravely, “there may not be a single one in the place ; but I assure you that there are many married ones, ay, and with very large families. As a proof, I requested her to inspect, and make a report of the desperate havoc I bad made among such a host of nightly-marauding, blood-thirsty sleep-destroyers. I now made up my mind to be peremptory; and if things were not put into comfortable order, that I would imitate another actor,—that I would be Mr. Decamp. I saw by the sudden twinkle of the Jew-Frenchman's eye that he did not want to lose me as a boarder and lodger, and the screw-driver glanced at the screw! Harlequin looked at his wife. “Everything shall be quite right, depend upon it, to-night, Mr. Barnes.'- I am not to be caught,' says I.• We will catch everything,' replied my hostess. I was still salky ; I had not been pleased with what they called breakfast. I had been offered some very shy coffee. I like tea better. I said so; but the next morning it had not improved-instead of shy coffee we had shy tea. Upon my hinting that I should take up my future quarters at Mr. Wood's house of entertainment, Mrs. Harlequin winked to her husband, (as she fancied, un perceived by me, and with an insinuating