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Mary Kamworth, who leaned on him with the familiarity of an old acquaintance, and chatted gaily with him. The buzz of conversation, which filled the apartment when I entered, ceased for a second of deep silence; and then followed a peal of laughter so long and vociferous, that in my momentary anger I prayed some one might burst a bloodvessel, and frighten the rest. I put on a look of indescribable indignation, and cast a glance of what I intended should be most withering scorn on the assembly; but alas! my infernal harlequin costume ruined the effect; and confound me, if they did not laugh the louder. I turned from one to the other with the air of a man who marks out victims for his future wrath; but with no better success; at last, amid the continued mirth of the party, I made my way toward where Waller stood absolutely suffocated with laughter, and scarcely able to stand without support.
"Waller," said I, in a voice half-tremulous with rage and shame together; "Waller, if this rascally trick be yours, rest assured no former term of intimacy between us shall
Before I could conclude the sentence, a bustle at the door of the room called every attention in that direction; I turned and beheld Colonel Kamworth, followed by a strong posse comitatus of constables, tipstaffs, etc., armed to the teeth, and evidently prepared for vigorous battle. Before I was able to point out my woes to my kind host, he burst out with:
"So, you scoundrel, you impostor, you d-d young villain; pretending to be a gentleman, you get admission into a man's house, and dine at his table, when your proper place had been behind his chair! How far he might have gone, Heaven can tell, if that excellent young gentleman, his master, had not traced him here this morning-but you'll pay dearly for it, you young rascal, that you shall."
"Colonel Kamworth," said I, drawing myself proudly up, and I confess exciting new bursts of laughter, "Colonel Kamworth, for the expressions you have just applied to me, a heavy reckoning awaits you; not, however, before another individual now present shall atone for the insult he has dared to pass upon me." Colonel Kamworth's passion at this declaration knew no bounds; he cursed and swore absolutely like a madman, and vowed that transportation for life would be a mild sentence for such iniquity.
Waller, at length, wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes, interposed between the colonel and his victim, and begged that I might be forgiven; "for, indeed, my dear sir," said he, "the poor fellow is of rather respectable parentage, and such is his taste for good society that he'd run any risk to be among his betters, although, as in the present case, the exposure brings a rather heavy retribution; however, let me deal with him. Come, Henry," said he, with an air of insufferable superiority, "take my tilbury into town, and wait for me at the George. I shall endeavour to make your peace with my excellent friend, Colonel Kamworth; and the best mode you can contribute to that object is to let us have no more of your society."
I cannot attempt to picture my rage at these words; however, escape from this diabolical predicament was my only present object; and I rushed from the room, and springing into the tilbury at the door, drove down the avenue at the rate of fifteen miles per hour, amid the united cheers, groans, and yells of the whole servants' hall, who seemed to enjoy my "detection," more even than their betters. Meditating vengeance, sharp, short, and decisive, on Waller, the colonel, and every one else, in the infernal conspiracy against me, for I utterly forgot every vestige of our agreement in the
surprise by which I was taken, I reached Cheltenham. Unfortunately, I had no friend there to whose management I could commit the bearing of a message, and was obliged, as soon as I could procure suitable costume, to hasten up to Coventry, where the th dragoons were then quartered. I lost no time in selecting an adviser, and taking the necessary steps to bring Master Waller to a reckoning; and on the third morning we again reached Cheltenham, I thirsting for vengeance, and bursting still with anger; not so my friend, however, who never could discuss the affair with common gravity, and even ventured every now and then on a sly illusion to my yellow shorts. As we passed the last toll-bar, a travelling carriage came whirling by, with four horses, at a tremendous pace; and as the morning was frosty, and the sun scarcely risen, the whole team were smoking and steaming, so as to be half invisible. We both remarked on the precipitancy of the party; for as our own pace was considerable, the two vehicles passed like lightning. We had scarcely dressed, and ordered breakfast, when a more than usual bustle in the yard called us to the window; the waiter, who came in at the same instant, told us that four horses were ordered out to pursue a young lady who had eloped that morning with an officer.
"Ah, our friend in the green travelling chariot, I'll be bound," said my companion; but as neither of us knew that part of the country, and I was too engrossed by my own thoughts, I never inquired further. As the chaise in chaise drove round to the door, I looked to see what the pursuer was like; and as he issued from the inn, recognised my ci devant host, Colonel Kamworth. I need not say my vengeance was sated at once; he had lost his daughter, and Waller was on the road to be married. Apologies and explanations came
in due time, for all my injuries and sufferings; and I confess, the part which pleased me most was, that I saw no more of Jack for a considerable period after; he started for the Continent, where he has lived ever since on a small allowance, granted by his father-in-law, and never paying me the stipulated sum, as I had clearly broken the compact.
CONTRAST this Oliver with my right honourable friend Sir Jabesh Windbag, Mr. Facing-both-Ways, Viscount Mealymouth, Duke of Windlestraw, or what other Cagliostro, Cagliostrino, Cagliostraccio, the course of Fortune and Parliamentary Majorities has constitutionally guided to that dignity, any time during these last sorrowful hundred-andfifty years! Windbag, weak in the faith of a God, which he believes only at church on Sundays, if even then; strong only in the faith that Paragraphs and Plausibilities bring votes; that Force of Public Opinion, as he calls it, is the primal Necessity of Things, and highest God we haveWindbag, if we will consider him, has a problem set before him which may be ranged in the impossible class. He is a Columbus minded to sail to the indistinct country of NoWHERE, to the indistinct country of WHITHERWARD, by the friendship of those same waste-tumbling Water-Alps and howling waltz of All the Winds; not by conquest of them and in spite of them, but by friendship of them, when once they have made up their mind! He is the most original Columbus I ever saw. Nay, his problem is not an impossible one: he will infallibly arrive at that same country of NOWHERE; his indistinct Whitherward will be a Thitherward! In the Ocean Abysses and Locker of Davy Jones, there certainly enough do he and his ship's company, and all their cargo and navigatings, at last find lodgment.
Oh, Windbag, my right honourable friend, in very truth