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Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities Part 11

Give me some wittles!" The return of his appetite being a most favourable symptom, Mr. Stubbs discharged the doctor, and forthwith ordered a _dejeuner a la fourchette_, to which Mr. Jorrocks did pretty fair justice, though trifling in comparison with his usual performances.

They then got into a Versailles diligence that stopped at the door, and rattling along at a merry pace, very soon reached Paris and the Rue des Mauvais-Garcons.

"Come up and see the Countess," said Mr. Jorrocks as they arrived at the bottom of the flight of dirty stairs, and, with his hands behind his back and his sword dragging at his heels, he poked upstairs, and opening the outer door entered the apartment. He passed through the small ante-room without observing his portmanteau and carpet-bag on the table, and there being no symptoms of the Countess in the next one, he walked forward into the bedroom beyond.

Before an English fire-place that Mr. Jorrocks himself had been at the expense of providing, snugly ensconced in the luxurious depths of a well-cushioned easy chair, sat a monstrous man with a green patch on his right eye, in slippers, loose hose, a dirty grey woollen dressing-gown, and black silk nightcap, puffing away at a long meerschaum pipe, with a figure of Bacchus on the bowl. At a sight so unexpected Mr. Jorrocks started back, but the smoker seemed quite unconcerned, and casting an unmeaning grey eye at the intruder, puffed a long-drawn respiration from his mouth.

"How now!" roared Mr. Jorrocks, boiling into a rage, which caused the monster to start upon his legs as though he were galvanised. "Vot brings you here?"

"Sprechen sie Deutsch?" responded the smoker, opening his eye a little wider, and taking the pipe from his mouth. "Speak English, you fool,"

bawled Mr. Jorrocks. "Sie sind sehr unverschamt" (you are very impudent), replied the Dutchman with a thump on the table. "I'll run you through the gizzard!" rejoined Mr. Jorrocks, half drawing his sword,--"skin you alive, in fact!" when in rushed the Countess and threw herself between them.

Now, Mynheer Van Rosembom, a burgomaster of Flushing, was an old friend of the Countess's, and an exceedingly good paying one, and having cast up that morning quite unexpectedly by the early diligence from Dunkirk, and the Countess being enraged at Mr. Jorrocks for not sharing the honours of his procession in the cab on the previous day, and believing, moreover, that his treasury was pretty well exhausted, thought she could not do better than instal Rosembom in his place, and retain the stakes she held for the Colonel's board and lodging.

This arrangement she kept to herself, simply giving Rosembom, who was not a much better Frenchman than Col. Jorrocks, to understand that the room would be ready for him shortly, and Agamemnon was ordered to bundle Mr. Jorrocks's clothes into his portmanteau and bag, and place them in readiness in the ante-room. Rosembom, fatigued with his journey, then retired to enjoy his pipe at his ease, while the Countess went to the Marche St. Honore to buy some sour crout, roast beef, and prunes for his dinner.

"Turn this great slush-bucket out of my room!" cried Mr. Jorrocks, as the Countess rushed into his apartment. "Vot's he doing here?"

"Doucement, mon cher Colonel," said she, clapping him on the back, "he sall be my brodder." "Never such a thing!" roared Mr. Jorrocks, eyeing him as he spoke. "Never such a thing! no more than myself--out with him, I say, or I'll cut my stick--_toute suite--_directly!"

"Avec tout mon coeur!" replied the Countess, her choler rising as she spoke. "You're another," rejoined Mr. Jorrocks, judging by her manner that she called him something offensive--"Vous ete one mauvaise woman!"

"Monsieur," said the Countess, her eyes flashing as she spoke, "vous etes un polisson!--von rascal!--von dem villain!--un charlatan!--von nasty--bastely--ross bif!--dem dog!" and thereupon she curled her fingers and set her teeth on edge as though she would tear his very eyes out. Rosembom, though he didn't exactly see the merits of the matter, exchanged his pipe for the poker, so what with this, the sword, and the nails, things wore a very belligerent aspect.

Mr. Stubbs, as usual, interposed, and the Countess, still keeping up the semblance of her rage, ordered them to quit her apartment directly, or she would have recourse to her old friends the police. Mr. Stubbs was quite agreeable to go, but he hinted that she might as well hand over the stakes that had been entrusted to her keeping on the previous day, upon which she again indulged in a torrent of abuse, swore they were a couple of thieves, and that Mr. Jorrocks owed her far more than the amount for board and lodging. This made the Colonel stare, for on the supposition that he was a visitor, he had been firing away his money in all directions, playing at everything she proposed, buying her bonnets, Perigord pies, hiring remises, and committing every species of extravagance, and now to be charged for what he thought was pure friendship, disgusted him beyond expression.

The Countess speedily summoned the porter, the man of letters of the establishment, and with his aid drew Mr. Jorrocks out a bill, which he described as "reaching down each side of his body and round his waist,"

commencing with 2 francs for savon, and then proceeding in the daily routine of cafe, 1 franc; dejeuner a la fourchette, 5 francs; diner avec vin, 10 francs; tea, 1 franc; souper, 3 francs; bougies, 2 francs; appartement, 3 francs; running him up a bill of 700 francs; and when Mr.

Stubbs remonstrated on the exorbitance of the charges, she replied, "It sall be, sare, as small monnaie as sail be consistent avec my dignified respectability, you to charge."

There seemed no help for the matter, so Mr. Stubbs paid the balance, while Mr. Jorrocks, shocked at the duplicity of the Countess, the impudence of Rosembom, and the emptiness of his own pockets, bolted away without saying a word.

That very night the Malle-Poste bore them from the capital, with two cold fowls, three-quarters of a yard of bread, and a bottle of porter, for Mr. Jorrocks on the journey, and ere another sun went down, the sandy suburbs of Calais saw them toiling towards her ramparts, and rumbling over the drawbridges and under the portcullis, that guard the entrance to her gloomy town. Calais! cold, cheerless, lifeless Calais!

Whose soul has ever warmed as it approached thy town? but how many hearts have turned with sickening sorrow from the mirthless tinkling of thy bells!

"We'll not stay here long I guess," said Mr. Jorrocks as the diligence pulled up at the post-office, and the conducteur requested the passengers to descend. "That's optional," said a bystander, who was waiting for his letters, looking at Mr. Jorrocks with an air as much as to say, what a rum-looking fellow you are, and not without reason, for the Colonel was attired in a blue sailor's jacket, white leathers, and jack-boots, with the cocked hat and feather. The speaker was a middle-aged, middle-statured man, with a quick intelligent eye, dressed in a single-breasted green riding-coat, striped toilinette waistcoat, and drab trousers, with a whip in his hand. "Thank you for nothing!"

replied Mr. Jorrocks, eyeing him in return, upon which the speaker turned to the clerk and asked if there were any letters for Monsieur Apperley or Nimrod. "NIMROD!" exclaimed Mr. Jorrocks, dropping on his knees as though he were shot. "Oh my vig what have I done? Oh dear! oh dear! what a dumbfounderer--flummoxed I declare!"

"Hold up! old 'un," said Nimrod in astonishment; "why, what's the matter now? You don't owe me anything I dare say!"

"Owe you anything! yes, I does," said Mr. Jorrocks, rising from the ground, "I owes you a debt of gratitude that I can never wipe off--you'll be in the day-book and ledger of my memory for ever and a year."

"Who are you?" inquired Nimrod, becoming more and more puzzled, as he contrasted his dialect with his dress.

"Who am I? Why, I'm Mister Jorrocks."

"Jorrocks, by Jove! Who'd have thought it! I declare I took you for a horse-marine. Give us your hand, old boy. I'm proud to make your acquaintance."

"Ditto to you, sir, twice repeated. I considers you the werry first man of the age!"--and thereupon they shook hands with uncommon warmth.

"You've been in Paris, I suppose," resumed Nimrod, after their respective digits were released; "were you much gratified with what you saw? What pleased you most--the Tuileries, Louvre, Garden of Plants, Pere la Chaise, Notre Dame, or what?"

"Why now, to tell you the truth, singular as it may seem, I saw nothing but the Tuileries and Naughty Dame.--I may say a werry naughty dame, for she fleeced me uncommonly, scarcely leaving me a dump to carry me home."

"What, you've been among the ladies, have you? That's gay for a man at your time of life."

"Yes, I certainlie have been among the ladies,--countesses I may say--but, dash my vig, they are a rum set, and made me pay for their acquaintance. The Countess Benwolio certainlie is a bad 'un."

"Oh, the deuce!--did that old devil catch you?" inquired Nimrod.

"Vot, do you know her?"

"Know her! ay--everybody here knows her with her black boy. She's always on the road, and lives now by the flats she catches between Paris and the coast. She was an agent for Morison's Pills--but having a fractious Scotch lodger that she couldn't get out, she physicked him so dreadfully that he nearly died, and the police took her licence away. But you are hungry, Mr. Jorrocks, come to my house and spend the evening, and tell me all about your travels."

Mr. Stubbs objected to this proposition, having just learned that the London packet sailed in an hour, so the trio adjourned to Mr. Roberts's, Royal Hotel, where over some strong eau-de-vie they cemented their acquaintance, and Mr. Jorrocks, finding that Nimrod was to be in England the following week, insisted upon his naming a day for dining in Great Coram Street.

"Permits" to embark having been considerately granted "gratis" by the Government for a franc apiece, at the hour of ten our travellers stepped on board, and Mr. Jorrocks, having wrapped himself up in his martial cloak, laid down in the cabin and, like Ulysses in Ithaca, as Nimrod would say, "arrived in London Asleep."

XI. A RIDE TO BRIGHTON ON "THE AGE"

_(In a very "Familiar Letter" to Nimrod)_

DEAR NIMROD,

You have favoured myself, and the sporting world at large, with a werry rich high-flavoured account of the great Captain Barclay, and his extonishing coach, the "Defiance"; and being werry grateful to you for that and all other favours, past, present, and to come, I take up my grey goose quill to make it "obedient to my will," as Mr. Pope, the poet, says, in relating a werry gratifying ride I had on the celebrated "Brighton Age," along with Sir Wincent Cotton, Bart., and a few other swells. Being, as you knows, of rather an emigrating disposition, and objecting to make a nick-stick of my life by marking down each Christmas Day over roast-beef and plum pudding, cheek-by-jowl with Mrs. J---- at home, I said unto my lad Binjimin--and there's not a bigger rogue unhung--"Binjimin, be after looking out my Sunday clothes, and run down to the Regent Circus, and book me the box-seat of the 'Age,' for I'm blow'd if I'm not going to see the King at Brighton (or 'London-sur-Mary,' as James Green calls it), and tell the pig-eyed book-keeper it's for Mr. Jorrocks, and you'll be sure to get it."

Accordingly, next day, I put in my appearance at the Circus, dressed in my best blue Saxony coat, with metal buttons, yellow waistcoat, tights, and best Hessians, with a fine new castor on my head, and a carnation in my button-hole. Lots of chaps came dropping in to go, and every one wanted the box-seat. "Can I have the box-seat?" said one.--"No, sir; Mr.

Jorrocks has it." "Is the box-seat engaged?" asked another.--"Yes, sir; Mr. Jorrocks has taken it." "Book me the box," said a third with great dignity.--"It's engaged already." "Who by?"--"Mr. Jorrocks"; and so they went on to the tune of near a dozen. Presently a rattling of pole chains was heard, and a cry was raised of "Here's Sir Wincent!" I looks out, and saw a werry neat, dark, chocolate-coloured coach, with narrow red-striped wheels, and a crest, either a heagle or a unicorn (I forgets which), on the door, and just the proprietors' names below the winder, and "The Age," in large gilt letters, below the gammon board, drawn by four blood-like, switch-tailed nags, in beautiful highly polished harness with brass furniture, without bearing reins--driven by a swellish-looking young chap, in a long-backed, rough, claret-coloured benjamin, with fancy-coloured tyes, and a bunch of flowers in his button-hole--no coachman or man of fashion, as you knows, being complete without the flower. There was nothing gammonacious about the turn-out; all werry neat and 'andsome, but as plain as plain could be; and there was not even a bit of Christmas at the 'orses' ears, which I observed all the other coaches had. Well, down came Sir Wincent, off went his hat, out came the way-bill, and off he ran into the office to see what they had for him. "Here, coachman," says a linen-draper's "elegant extract," waiting outside, "you've to deliver this (giving him a parcel) in the Marine Parade the instant you get to Brighton. It's Miss---- 's bustle, and she'll be waiting for it to put on to go out to dinner, so you musn't lose a moment, and you may charge what you like for your trouble." "Werry well," says Sir Wincent, laughing, "I'll take care of her bustle. Now, book-keeper, be awake. Three insides here, and six out. Pray, sir," touching his hat to me, "are you booked here? Oh! Mr.

Jorrocks, I see. I begs your pardon. Jump up, then; be lively! what luggage have you?" "Two carpet-bags, with J. J., Great Coram Street, upon them." "There, then we'll put them in the front boot, and you'll have them under you. All right behind? Sit tight!" Hist! off we go by St. Mertain's Church into the Strand, to the booking-office there.

The streets were werry full, but Sir Wincent wormed his way among the coal-wagons, wans, busses, coaches, bottom-over-tops,--in wulgar French, "cow sur tate," as they calls the new patent busses--trucks, cabs, &c., in a marvellous workmanlike manner, which seemed the more masterly, inasmuch as the leaders, having their heads at liberty, poked them about in all directions, all a mode Francey, just as they do in Paris. At the Marsh gate we were stopped. A black job was going through on one side, and a haw-buck had drawn a great yellow one 'oss Gravesend cruelty wan into the other, and was fumbling for his coin.

"Now, Young Omnibus!" cried Sir Wincent, "don't be standing there all day." The man cut into his nag, but the brute was about beat. "There, don't 'it him so 'ard (hard)," said Sir Wincent, "or you may hurt him!"

When we got near the Helephant and Castle, Timothy Odgkinson, of Brixton Hill, a low, underselling grocer, got his measly errand cart, with his name and address in great staring white letters, just in advance of the leaders, and kept dodging across the road to get the sound ground, for the whole line was werry "woolley" as you calls it. "Come, Mister independent grocer! go faster if you can," cries Sir Wincent, "though I think you have bought your horse where you buy your tea, for he's werry sloe." A little bit farther on a chap was shoving away at a truck full of market-baskets. "Now, Slavey," said he, "keep out of my way!" At the Helephant and Castle, and, indeed, wherever he stopped, there were lots of gapers assembled to see the Baronet coachman, but Sir Wincent never minded them, but bustled about with his way-bill, and shoved in his parcels, fish-baskets, and oyster-barrels like a good 'un. We pulled up to grub at the Feathers at Merstham, and 'artily glad I was, for I was far on to famish, having ridden whole twenty-five miles in a cold, frosty air without morsel of wittles of any sort. When the Bart. pulled up, he said, "Now, ladies and gentlemen--twenty minutes allowed here, and let me adwise you to make the most of it." I took the 'int, and heat away like a regular bagman, who can always dispatch his ducks and green peas in ten minutes.

We started again, and about one hundred yards below the pike stood a lad with a pair of leaders to clap on, for the road, as I said before, was werry woolley. "Now, you see, Mr. Jorrocks," said Sir Wincent, "I do old Pikey by having my 'osses on this side. The old screw drew me for four shillings one day for my leaders, two each way, so, says I, 'My covey, if you don't draw it a little milder, I'll send my 'osses from the stable through my friend Sir William Jolliffe's fields to the other side of your shop,' and as he wouldn't, you see here they are, and he gets nothing."

The best of company, they say, must part, and Baronets "form no exception to the rule," as I once heard Dr. Birkbeck say. About a mile below the halfway 'ouse another coach hove in sight, and each pulling up, they proved to be as like each other as two beans, and beneath a mackintosh, like a tent cover, I twigged my friend Brackenbury's jolly phiz. "How are you, Jorrocks?" and "How are you, Brack?" flew across like billiard-balls, while Sir Wincent, handing me the ribbons, said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you all a good morning and a pleasant ride," and Brack having done the same by his coach and passengers, the two heroes met on terry firmey, as we say in France, to exchange way-bills and directions about parcels. "Now," said Sir Wincent, "you'll find Miss----'s bustle under the front seat--send it off to the Marine Parade the instant you get in, for she wants it to make herself up to-night for a party." "By Jove, that's lucky," said Brackenbury, "for I'll be hanged if I haven't got old Lady----'s false dinner-set of ivories in my waistcoat pocket, which I should have forgot if you hadn't mentioned t'other things, and then the old lady would have lost her blow-out this Christmas. Here they are," handing out a small box, "and mind you leave them yourself, for they tell me they are costly, being all fixed in coral, with gold springs, and I don't know what--warranted to eat of themselves, they say." "She has lost her modesty with her teeth, it seems," said Sir Wincent. "Old women ought to be ashamed to be seen out of their graves after their grinders are gone. I'll pound it the old tabby carn't be under one hundred. But quick! who does that d----d parrot and the cock-a-too belong to that you've got stuck up there? and look, there's a canary and all! I'll be d----d if you don't bring me a coach loaded like Wombwell's menagerie every day! Well, be lively! 'Twill be all the same one hundred years hence.--All right? Sit tight! Good night!"

"Well, Mr. Jorrocks, it's long since we met," said Brackenbury, looking me over--"never, I think, since I showed you way over the Weald of Sussex from Torrington Wood, on the gallant wite with the Colonel's 'ounds! Ah, those were rare days, Mr. Jorrocks! we shall never see their like again! But you're looking fresh. Time lays a light hand on your bearing-reins! I hope it will be long ere you are booked by the Gravesend Buss. You don't lush much, I fancy?" added he, putting a lighted cigar in his mouth. "Yes, I does," said I--"a good deal; but I tells you what, Brackenbury, I doesn't fumigate none--it's the fumigation that does the mischief," and thereupon we commenced a hargument on the comparitive mischief of smoking and drinking, which ended without either being able to convince the other. "Well, at all events, you gets beefey, Brackenbury," said I; "you must be a couple of stone heavier than when we used to talliho the 'ounds together. I think I could lead you over the Weald now, at all ewents if the fences were out of the way," for I must confess that Brack was always a terrible chap at the jumps, and could go where few would follow.

We did the journey within the six hours--werry good work, considering the load and the state of the roads. No coach like the "Age"--in my opinion. I was so werry much pleased with Brack's driving, that I presented him with a four-in-hand whip.

I put up at Jonathan Boxall's, the Star and Garter, one of the pleasantest and best-conducted houses in all Brighton. It is close to the sea, and just by Mahomed, the sham-poor's shop. I likes Jonathan, for he is a sportsman, and we spin a yarn together about 'unting, and how he used to ride over the moon when he whipped in to St. John, in Berkshire. But it's all talk with Jonathan now, for he's more like a stranded grampus now than a fox-hunter. In course I brought down a pair of kickseys and pipe-cases, intending to have a round with the old muggers, but the snow put a stop to all that. I heard, however, that both the Telscombe Tye and the Devil's Dike dogs had been running their half-crown rounds after hares, some of which ended in "captures," others in "escapes," as the newspapers terms them. I dined at the Albion on Christmas Day, and most misfortunately, my appetite was ready before the joints, so I had to make my dinner off Mary Ann cutlets, I think they call them, that is to say, chops screwed up in large curl papers, and such-like trifles. I saw some chaps drinking small glasses of stuff, so I asked the waiter what it was, and, thinking he said "Elixir of Girls,"

I banged the table, and said, "Elixir of Girls! that's the stuff for my money--give me a glass." The chap laughed, and said, "Not Girls, sir, but Garus"; and thereupon he gave another great guffaw.

It is a capital coffee-room, full of winders, and finely-polished tables, waiters in silk stockings, and they give spermaceti cheese, and burn Parmesan candles. The chaps in it, however, were werry unsociable, and there wasn't a man there that I would borrow half a crown to get drunk with. Stickey is the landlord, but he does not stick it in so deep as might be expected from the looks of the house, and the cheese and candles considered. It was a most tempestersome night, and, having eaten and drank to completion, I determined to go and see if my aunt, in Cavendish Street, was alive; and after having been nearly blown out to France several times, I succeeded in making my point and running to ground. The storm grew worser and worser, and when I came to open the door to go away, I found it blocked with snow, and the drifts whirling about in all directions. My aunt, who is a werry feeling woman, insisted on my staying all night, which only made the matter worse, for when I came to look out in the morning I found the drift as high as the first floor winder, and the street completely buried in snow. Having breakfasted, and seeing no hopes of emancipation, I hangs out a flag of distress--a red wipe--which, after flapping about for some time, drew three or four sailors and a fly-man or two. I explained from the winder how dreadfully I was situated, prayed of them to release me, but the wretches did nothing but laugh, and ax wot I would give to be out. At last one of them, who acted as spokesman, proposed that I should put an armchair out of the winder, and pay them five shillings each for carrying me home on their shoulders. It seemed a vast of money, but the storm continuing, the crowd increasing, and I not wishing to kick up a row at my aunt's, after offering four and sixpence, agreed to their terms, and throwing out a chair, plumped up to the middle in a drift.

Three cheers followed the feat, which drew all the neighbours to the winders, when about half a dozen fellows, some drunk, some sober, and some half-and-half, pulled me into the chair, hoisted me on to their shoulders, and proceeded into St. James's Street, bellowing out, "Here's the new member for Brighton! Here's the boy wot sleeps in Cavendish Street! Huzzah, the old 'un for ever! There's an elegant man for a small tea-party! Who wants a fat chap to send to their friends this Christmas?" The noise they made was quite tremendious, and the snow in many places being up to their middles, we made werry slow progress, but still they would keep me in the chair, and before we got to the end of the street the crowd had increased to some hundreds. Here they began snow-balling, and my hat and wig soon went flying, and then there was a fresh holloa. "Here's Mr. Wigney, the member for Brighton," they cried out; "I say, old boy, are you for the ballot? You must call on the King this morning; he wants to give you a Christmas-box." Just then one of the front bearers tumbled, and down we all rolled into a drift, just opposite Daly's backey shop. There were about twenty of us in together, but being pretty near the top, I was soon on my legs, and seeing an opening, I bolted right forward--sent three or four fellows flying--dashed down the passage behind Saxby's wine vaults, across the Steyne, floundering into the drifts, followed by the mob, shouting and pelting me all the way. This double made some of the beggars over-shoot the mark, and run past the statute of George the Fourth, but, seeing their mistake, or hearing the other portion of the pack running in the contrary direction, they speedily joined heads and tails, and gave me a devil of a burst up the narrow lane by the Wite 'Orse 'Otel. Fortunately Jonathan Boxall's door was open, and Jonathan himself in the passage bar, washing some decanters. "Look sharp, Jonathan!" said I, dashing past him as wite as a miller, "look sharp! come out of that, and be after clapping your great carcase against the door to keep the Philistines out, or they'll be the death of us both." Quick as thought the door was closed and bolted before ever the leaders had got up, but, finding this the case, the mob halted and proceeded to make a deuce of a kick-up before the house, bellowing and shouting like mad fellows, and threatening to pull it down if I did not show. Jonathan got narvous, and begged and intreated me to address them. I recommended him to do it himself, but he said he was quite unaccustomed to public speaking, and he would stand two glasses of "cold without" if I would. "Hot with,"

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