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Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities Part 13

_Mr. J._ Haw! haw! haw! werry good, Mr. Spiers. I owe you one. Not bad soup though--had it from Birch's. Let me send you some; and pray lay into it, or I shall think you don't like it. Mr. Happerley, let me send you some--and, gentlemen, let me observe, once for all, that there's every species of malt liquor under the side table. Prime stout, from the Marquess Cornwallis, hard by. Also ale, table, and what my friend Crane there calls lamen_table_--he says, because it's so werry small--but, in truth, because I don't buy it of him. There's all sorts of drench, in fact, except water--thing I never touch--rots one's shoes, don't know what it would do with one's stomach if it was to get there. Mr. Crane, you're eating nothing. I'm quite shocked to see you; you don't surely live upon hair? Do help yourself, or you'll faint from werry famine.

Belinda, my love, does the Yorkshireman take care of you? Who's for some salmon?--bought at Luckey's, and there's both Tallyho and Tantivy sarce to eat with it. Somehow or other I always fancies I rides harder after eating these sarces with fish. Mr. Happerley Nimrod, you are the greatest man at table, consequently I axes you to drink wine first, according to the book of etiquette--help yourself, sir. Some of Crane's particklar, hot and strong, real stuff, none of your wan de bones (vin de beaume) or rot-gut French stuff--hope you like it--if you don't, pray speak your mind freely, now that we have Crane among us. Binjimin, get me some of that duck before Mr. Spiers, a leg and a wing, if you please, sir, and a bit of the breast.

_Mr. Spiers._ Certainly, sir, certainly. Do you prefer a right or left wing, sir?

_Mr. Jorrocks._ Oh, either. I suppose it's all the same.

_Mr. Spiers._ Why no, sir, it's not exactly all the same; for it happens there is only one remaining, therefore it must be the _left_ one.

_Mr. J._ (chuckling). Haw! haw! haw! Mr. S----, werry good that--werry good indeed. I owes you two.

"I'll trouble you for a little, Mr. Spiers, if you please," says Crane, handing his plate round the windmill.

"I'm sorry, sir, it is all gone," replies Mr. Spiers, who had just filled Mr. Jorrocks's plate; "there's nothing left but the neck,"

holding it up on the fork.

"Well, send it," rejoins Mr. Crane; "neck or nothing, you know, Mr.

Jorrocks, as we say with the Surrey."

"Haw! haw! haw!" grunts Mr. Jorrocks, who is busy sucking a bone; "haw!

hawl haw! werry good, Crane, werry good--owes you one. Now, gentlemen,"

added he, casting his eye up the table as he spoke, "let me adwise ye, before you attack the grouse, to take the hedge (edge) off your appetites, or else there won't be enough, and, you know, it does not do to eat the farmer after the gentlemen. Let's see, now--three and three are six, six brace among eight--oh dear, that's nothing like enough. I wish, Mrs. J----, you had followed my adwice, and roasted them all. And now, Binjimin, you're going to break the windmill with your clumsiness, you little dirty rascal! Why von't you let Batsay arrange the table?

Thank you, Mr. Crane, for your assistance--your politeness, sir, exceeds your beauty." [A barrel organ strikes up before the window, and Jorrocks throws down his knife and fork in an agony.] "Oh dear, oh dear, there's that cursed horgan again. It's a regular annihilator. Binjimin, run and kick the fellow's werry soul out of him. There's no man suffers so much from music as I do. I wish I had a pocketful of sudden deaths, that I might throw one at every thief of a musicianer that comes up the street.

I declare the scoundrel has set all my teeth on edge. Mr. Nimrod, pray take another glass of wine after your roast beef.--Well, with Mrs. J---- if you choose, but I'll join you--always says that you are the werry cleverest man of the day--read all your writings--anny-tommy (anatomy) of gaming, and all. Am a hauthor myself, you know--once set to, to write a werry long and elaborate harticle on scent, but after cudgelling my brains, and turning the thing over and over again in my mind, all that I could brew on the subject was, that scent was a werry rum thing; nothing rummer than scent, except a woman."

"Pray," cried Mrs. Jorrocks, her eyes starting as she spoke, "don't let us have any of your low-lifed stable conversation here--you think to show off before the ladies," added she, "and flatter yourself you talk about what we don't understand. Now, I'll be bound to say, with all your fine sporting hinformation, you carn't tell me whether a mule brays or neighs!"

"Vether a mule brays or neighs?" repeated Mr. Jorrocks, considering.

"I'll lay I can!"

"Which, then?" inquired Mrs. Jorrocks.

"Vy, I should say it brayed."

"Mule bray!" cried Mrs. Jorrocks, clapping her hands with delight, "there's a cockney blockhead for you! It brays, does it?"

_Mr. Jorrocks. _I meant to say, neighed.

"Ho! ho! ho!" grinned Mrs. J----, "neighs, does it? You are a nice man for a fox-'unter--a mule neighs--thought I'd catch you some of these odd days with your wain conceit."

"Vy, what does it do then?" inquired Mr. Jorrocks, his choler rising as he spoke. "I hopes, at all ewents, he don't make the 'orrible noise you do."

"Why, it screams, you great hass!" rejoined his loving spouse.

A single, but very resolute knock at the street door, sounding quite through the house, stopped all further ebullition, and Benjamin, slipping out, held a short conversation with someone in the street, and returned.

"What's happened now, Binjimin?" inquired Mr. Jorrocks, with anxiety on his countenance, as the boy re-entered the room; "the 'osses arn't amiss, I 'ope?"

"Please, sir, Mr. Farrell's young man has come for the windmill--he says you've had it two hours," replied Benjamin.

"The deuce be with Mr. Farrell's young man! he does not suppose we can part with the mill before the cloth's drawn--tell him to mizzle, or I'll mill him. 'Now's the day and now's the hour'; who's for some grouse?

Gentlemen, make your game, in fact. But first of all let's have a round robin. Pass the wine, gentlemen. What wine do you take, Stubbs."

"Why, champagne is good enough for me."

_Mr. Jorrocks,_ I dare say; but if you wait till you get any here, you will have a long time to stop. Shampain, indeed! had enough of that nonsense abroad--declare you young chaps drink shampain like hale.

There's red and wite port, and sherry, in fact, and them as carn't drink, they must go without.

X. was expensive and soon became poor, Y. was the wise man and kept want from the door.

"Now for the grouse!" added he, as the two beefs disappeared, and they took their stations at the top and bottom of the table. "Fine birds, to be sure! Hope you havn't burked your appetites, gentlemen, so as not to be able to do justice to them--smell high--werry good--gamey, in fact.

Binjimin. take an 'ot plate to Mr. Nimrod--sarve us all round with them."

The grouse being excellent, and cooked to a turn, little execution was done upon the pastry, and the jellies had all melted long before it came to their turn to be eat. At length everyone, Mr. Jorrocks and all, appeared satisfied, and the noise of knives and forks was succeeded by the din of tongues and the ringing of glasses, as the eaters refreshed themselves with wine or malt liquors. Cheese and biscuit being handed about on plates, according to the _Spirit of Etiquette_. Binjimin and Batsay at length cleared the table, lifted off the windmill, and removed the cloth. Mr. Jorrocks then delivered himself of a most emphatic grace.

The wine and dessert being placed on the table, the ceremony of drinking healths all round was performed. "Your good health, Mrs.

J----.--Belinda, my loove, your good health--wish you a good 'usband.--Nimrod, your good health.--James Green, your good health.--Old _verd antique's_ good health.--Your uncle's good health.--All the Green family.--Stubbs, your good health.--Spiers, Crane, etc." The bottles then pass round three times, on each of which occasions Mrs. Jorrocks makes them pay toll. The fourth time she let them pass; and Jorrocks began to grunt, hem, and haw, and kick the leg of the table, by way of giving her a hint to depart. This caused a dead silence, which at length was broken by the Yorkshireman's exclaiming "horrid pause!"

"Horrid paws!" vociferated Mrs. J----, in a towering rage, "so would yours, let me tell you, sir, if you had helped to cook all that dinner": and gathering herself up and repeating the words "horrid paws, indeed, I like your imperence," she sailed out of the room like an exasperated turkey-cock; her face, from heat, anger, and the quantity she had drank, being as red as her gown. Indeed, she looked for all the world as if she had been put into a furnace and blown red hot. Jorrocks having got rid of his "worser half," as he calls her, let out a reef or two of his acre of white waistcoat, and each man made himself comfortable according to his acceptation of the term. "Gentlemen," says Jorrocks, "I'll trouble you to charge your glasses, 'eel-taps off--a bumper toast--no skylights, if you please. Crane, pass the wine--you are a regular old stop-bottle--a turnpike gate, in fact. I think you take back hands--gentlemen, are you all charged?--then I'll give you THE NOBLE SPORT OF FOX-'UNTING! gentlemen, with three times three, and Crane will give the 'ips--all ready--now, ip, 'ip, 'ip, 'uzza, 'uzza, 'uzza--'ip, 'ip, 'ip, 'uzza, 'uzza, 'uzza--'ip, 'ip, 'ip, 'uzza, 'uzza, 'uzza.--one cheer more, 'UZZA!" After this followed "The Merry Harriers," then came "The Staggers," after that "The Trigger, and bad luck to Cheatum,"

all bumpers; when Jorrocks, having screwed his courage up to the sticking-place, called for another, which being complied with, he rose and delivered himself as follows:

"Gentlemen, in rising to propose the toast which I am now about to propose--I feel--I feel--(Yorkshireman--'very queer?') J---- No, not verry queer, and I'll trouble you to hold your jaw (laughter).

Gentlemen, I say, in rising to propose the toast which I am about to give, I feel--I feel--(Crane--'werry nervous?') J---- No, not werry nervous, so none of your nonsense; let me alone, I say. I say, in rising to propose the toast which I am about to give, I feel--(Mr.

Spiers--'very foolish?' Nimrod--'very funny?' Crane--'werry rum?') J---- No, werry proud of the distinguished honour that has been conferred upon me--conferred upon me--conferred upon me--distinguished honour that has been conferred upon me by the presence, this day, of one of the most distinguished men--distinguished men--by the presence, this day, of one of the most distinguished men and sportsmen--of modern times (cheers.) Gentlemen--this is the proudest moment of my life! the eyes of England are upon us! I give you the health of Mr. Happerley Nimrod." (Drunk with three times three.)

When the cheering, and dancing of the glasses had somewhat subsided, Nimrod rose and spoke as follows:

"Mr. Jorrocks, and gentlemen",

"The handsome manner in which my health has been proposed by our worthy and estimable host, and the flattering reception it has met with from you, merit my warmest acknowledgments. I should, indeed, be unworthy of the land which gave me birth, were I insensible of the honour which has just been done me by so enlightened and distinguished an assembly as the present. My friend, Mr. Jorrocks, has been pleased to designate me as one of the most distinguished sportsmen of the day, a title, however, to which I feel I have little claim: but this I may say, that I have portrayed our great national sports in their brightest and most glowing colours, and that on sporting subjects my pen shall yield to none (cheers). I have ever been the decided advocate of many sports and exercises, not only on account of the health and vigour they inspire, but because I feel that they are the best safeguards on a nation's energies, and the best protection against luxury, idleness, debauchery, and effeminacy (cheers). The authority of all history informs us, that the energies of countries flourished whilst manly sports have flourished, and decayed as they died away (cheers). What says Juvenal, when speaking of the entry of luxury into Rome?"

Saevior armis Luxuria incubuit, victumque ulciscitur orbem.

"And we need only refer to ancient history, and to the writings of Xenophon, Cicero, Horace, or Virgil, for evidence of the value they have all attached to the encouragement of manly, active, and hardy pursuits, and the evils produced by a degenerate and effeminate life on the manners and characters of a people (cheers). Many of the most eminent literary characters of this and of other countries have been ardently attached to field sports; and who, that has experienced their beneficial results, can doubt that they are the best promoters of the _mens sana in corpore sano_--the body sound and the understanding clear (cheers)?

Gentlemen, it is with feelings of no ordinary gratification that I find myself at the social and truly hospitable board of one of the most distinguished ornaments of one of the most celebrated Hunts in this great country, one whose name and fame have reached the four corners of the globe--to find myself after so long an absence from my native land--an estrangement from all that has ever been nearest and dearest to my heart--once again surrounded by these cheerful countenances which so well express the honest, healthful pursuits of their owners. Let us then," added Nimrod, seizing a decanter and pouring himself out a bumper, "drink, in true Kentish fire, the health and prosperity of that brightest sample of civic sportsmen, the great and renowned JOHN JORROCKS!"

Immense applause followed the conclusion of this speech, during which time the decanters buzzed round the table, and the glasses being emptied, the company rose, and a full charge of Kentish fire followed; Mr. Jorrocks, sitting all the while, looking as uncomfortable as men in his situation generally do.

The cheering having subsided, and the parties having resumed their seats, it was his turn to rise, so getting on his legs, he essayed to speak, but finding, as many men do, that his ideas deserted him the moment the "eyes of England" were turned upon him, after two or three hitches of his nankeens, and as many hems and haws, he very coolly resumed his seat, and spoke as follows:

"Gentlemen, unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I am taken quite aback by this werry unexpected compliment (cheers); never since I filled the hancient and honerable hoffice of churchwarden in the populous parish of St. Botolph Without, have I experienced a gratification equal to the present. I thank you from the werry bottom of my breeches-pocket (applause). Gentlemen, I'm no horator, but I'm a honest man (cheers).

I should indeed be undeserving the name of a sportsman--undeserving of being a member of that great and justly celebrated 'unt, of which Mr.

Happerley Nimrod has spun so handsome and flattering a yarn, if I did not feel deeply proud of the compliment you have paid it. It is unpossible for me to follow that great sporting scholar fairly over the ridge and furrow of his werry intricate and elegant horation, for there are many of those fine gentlemen's names--French, I presume--that he mentioned, that I never heard of before, and cannot recollect; but if you will allow me to run 'eel a little, I would make a few hobservations on a few of his hobservations.--Mr. Happerley Nimrod, gentlemen, was pleased to pay a compliment to what he was pleased to call my something 'ospitality. I am extremely obliged to him for it. To be surrounded by one's friends is in my mind the 'Al' of 'uman 'appiness (cheers).

Gentlemen, I am most proud of the honour of seeing you all here to-day, and I hope the grub has been to your likin' (cheers), if not, I'll discharge my butcher. On the score of quantity there might be a little deficiency, but I hope the quality was prime. Another time this shall be all remedied (cheers). Gentlemen, I understand those cheers, and I'm flattered by them--I likes 'ospitality!--I'm not the man to keep my butter in a 'pike-ticket, or my coals in a quart pot (immense cheering).

Gentlemen, these are my sentiments, I leaves the flowers of speech to them as is better acquainted with botany (laughter)--I likes plain English, both in eating and talking, and I'm happy to see Mr. Happerley Nimrod has not forgot his, and can put up with our homely fare, and do without pantaloon cutlets, blankets of woe,[27] and such-like miseries."

[Footnote 27: "Blanquette de veau."]

"I hates their 'orse douvers (hors-d'oeuvres), their rots, and their poisons (poissons); 'ord rot 'em, they near killed me, and right glad am I to get a glass of old British black strap. And talking of black strap, gentlemen, I call on old Crane, the man what supplies it, to tip us a song. So now I'm finished--and you, Crane, lap up your liquor and begin!" (applause).

Chapter end

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