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Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities Part 9

And what's this?" eyeing a lot of liqueur glasses full of eau de vie.

"Chasse-cafe, Monsieur," said the _garcon_. "Chasse calf--chasse calf--what's that? Oh, I twig--what we call 'shove in the mouth' at the Free-and-Easy. Yes, certainly, give me a glass." "You shall take some dessert," said the Countess, handing him over some peaches and biscuits.

"Well, I'll try my hand at it, if it will oblege your ladyship, but I really have had almost enough." "And some abricot," said she, helping him to a couple of fine juicy ones. "Oh, thank you, my lady, thank you, my lady, I'm nearly satisfied." "Vous ne mangez pas," said she, giving him half a plate of grapes. "Oh, my lady, you don't understand me--I can't eat any more--I am regularly high and dry--chock full--bursting, in fact." Here she handed him a plate of sponge-cakes mixed with bon-bons and macaroons, saying, "Vous etes un pauvre mangeur--vous ne mangez rien, Monsieur." "Oh dear, she does not understand me, I see.--Indeed, my lady, I cannot eat any more.--Ge woudera, se ge could-era, mais ge can-ne-ra pas!" "Well, now, I've travelled three hundred thousand miles, and never heard such a bit of French as that before," said the fat man, chuckling.

IX. MR. JORROCKS IN PARIS

As the grey morning mist gradually dispersed, and daylight began to penetrate the cloud that dimmed the four squares of glass composing the windows of the diligence, the Yorkshireman, half-asleep and half-awake, took a mental survey of his fellow-travellers.--Before him sat his worthy friend, snoring away with his mouth open, and his head, which kept bobbing over on to the shoulder of the Countess, enveloped in the ample folds of a white cotton nightcap.--She, too, was asleep and, disarmed of all her daylight arts, dozed away in tranquil security. Her mouth also was open, exhibiting rather a moderate set of teeth, and her Madonna front having got a-twist, exposed a mixture of brown and iron-grey hairs at the parting place. Her bonnet swung from the roof of the diligence, and its place was supplied by a handsome lace cap, fastened under her chin by a broad-hemmed cambric handkerchief.

Presently the sun rose, and a bright ray shooting into the Countess's corner, awoke her with a start, and after a hurried glance at the passengers, who appeared to be all asleep, she drew a small ivory-cased looking-glass from her bag, and proceeded to examine her features. Mr.

Jorrocks awoke shortly after, and with an awful groan exclaimed that his backbone was fairly worn out with sitting. "Oh dear!" said he, "my behind aches as if I had been kicked all the way from Hockleyhole to Marylebone. Are we near Paris? for I'm sure I can't find seat any longer, indeed I can't. I'd rather ride two hundred miles in nine hours, like H'osbaldeston, than be shut up in this woiture another hour. It really is past bearing, and that's the long and short of the matter."

This exclamation roused all the party, who began yawning and rubbing their eyes and looking at their watches. The windows also were lowered to take in fresh air, and on looking out they found themselves rolling along a sandy road, lined on each side with apple-trees, whose branches were "groaning" with fruit. They breakfasted at Beaumont, and had a regular spread of fish, beef-steak, mutton-chops, a large joint of hot roast veal, roast chickens, several yards of sour bread, grapes, peaches, pears, and plums, with vin ordinaire, and coffee au lait; but Mr. Jorrocks was off his feed, and stood all the time to ease his haunches.

Towards three in the afternoon they caught the first glimpse of the gilded dome of the Hospital of Invalids, which was a signal for all the party to brush up and make themselves agreeable. Even the three-hundred-thousand miler opened out, and began telling some wonderful anecdotes, while the Countess and Mr. Jorrocks carried on a fierce flirtation, or whatever else they pleased to call it. At last, after a deal of jargon, he broke off by appealing to the Yorkshireman to know what "inn" they should "put up at" in Paris. "I don't know, I'm sure," said he; "it depends a good deal upon how you mean to live. As you pay my shot it does not do for beggars to be choosers; but suppose we try Meurice's" "Oh no," replied Mr. Jorrocks, "her ladyship tells me it is werry expensive, for the English always pay through the nose if they go to English houses in Paris; and, as we talk French, we can put up at a French one, you know." "Well, then, we can try one of the French ones in the Rue de la Paix." "Rue de la Pay! no, by Jove, that won't do for me--the werry name is enough--no Rue de la Pay for me, at least if I have to pay the shot." "Well, then, you must get your friend there to tell you of some place, for I don't care twopence, as long as I have a bed, where it is." The Countess and he then laid their heads together again, and when the diligence stopped to change horses at St. Denis, Mr. Jorrocks asked the Yorkshireman to alight, and taking him aside, announced with great glee that her ladyship, finding they were strangers in the land, had most kindly invited them to stay with her, and that she had a most splendid house in the Rue des Mauvais-Garcons, ornamented with mirrors, musical clocks, and he didn't know what, and kept the best company in all France, marquesses, barons, viscounts, authors, etc.

Before the Yorkshireman had time to reply, the conducteur came and hurried them back into the diligence, and closed the door with a bang, to be sure of having his passengers there while he and the postilion shuffled the cards and cut for a glass of _eau-de-vie_ apiece.

The Countess, suspecting what they had been after, resumed the conversation as soon as Mr. Jorrocks was seated.--"You shall manger cinque fois every day," said she; "cinque fois," she repeated.--"Humph!"

said Mr. Jorrocks to himself, "what can that mean?--cank four--four times five's twenty--eat twenty times a day--not possible!" "Oui, Monsieur, cinque fois," repeated the Countess, telling the number off on her fingers--"Cafe at nine of the matin, dejeuner a la fourchette at onze o'clock, diner at cinque heure, cafe at six hour, and souper at neuf hour." "Upon my word," replied Mr. Jorrocks, his eyes sparkling with pleasure, "your offer is werry inwiting. My lady," said he, bowing before her, "Je suis--I am much flattered." "And, Monsieur?" said she, looking at the Yorkshireman. He, too, assured her that he was very much flattered, and was beginning to excuse himself, when the Countess interrupted him somewhat abruptly by turning to Mr. Jorrocks and saying, "He sall be your son--n'est ce pas?" "No, my lady, I've no children,"

replied he, and the Countess's eyes in their turn underwent a momentary illumination.

The Parisian barrier was soon reached, and the man taken up to kick about the jaded travellers' luggage at the journey's end. While this operation was going on in the diligence yard, the Countess stuck close to Mr. Jorrocks, and having dispatched Agamemnon for a fiacre, bundled him in, luggage and all, and desiring her worthy domestic to mount the box, and direct the driver, she kissed her hand to the Yorkshireman, assuring him she would be most happy to see him, in proof of which, she drove away without telling him her number, or where the Rue des Mauvais-Garcons was.

Paris is a charming place after the heat of the summer has passed away, and the fine, clear, autumnal days arrive. Then is the time to see the Tuileries gardens to perfection, when the Parisians have returned from their chateaus, and emigrating English and those homeward bound halt to renovate on the road; then is the time that the gayest plants put forth their brightest hues, and drooping orange flowers scent the air which silvery fountains lend their aid to cool.

On a Sunday afternoon, such as we have described, our friend Mr. Stubbs (who since his arrival had been living very comfortably at the Hotel d'Hollande, in expectation of Mr. Jorrocks paying his bill) indulged in six sous' worth of chairs--one to sit upon and one for each leg--and, John Bull-like, stretched himself out in the shade beneath the lofty trees, to view the gay groups who promenaded the alleys before him.

First, there came a helmeted cuirassier, with his wife in blue satin, and a little boy in his hand in uniform, with a wooden sword, a perfect miniature of the father; then a group of short-petticoated, shuffling French women, each with an Italian greyhound in slips, followed by an awkward Englishman with a sister on each arm, all stepping out like grenadiers; then came a ribbon'd chevalier of the Legion of Honour, whose hat was oftener in his hand than on his head, followed by a nondescript looking militaire with fierce mustachios, in shining jack-boots, white leathers, and a sort of Italian military cloak, with one side thrown over the shoulder, to exhibit the wearer's leg, and the bright scabbard of a large sword, while on the hero's left arm hung a splendidly dressed woman. "What a figure!" said the Yorkshireman to himself, as they came before him, and he took another good stare.--"Yet stay--no, impossible!--Gracious Heaven! it can't be--and yet it is--by Jove, it's Jorrocks!"

"Why now, you old imbecile," cried he, jumping off his chairs and running up to him, "What are you after?" bursting into a loud laugh as he looked at Mr. Jorrocks's mustachios (a pair of great false ones). "Is there no piece of tomfoolery too great for you? What's come across you now? Where the deuce did you get these things?" taking hold of the curls at one side of his mustachios.

"How now?" roared Mr. Jorrocks with rage and astonishment. "How now! ye young scaramouch, vot do you mean by insulting a gentleman sportsman in broad daylight, in the presence of a lady of quality? By Jingo," added he, his eyes sparkling with rage, "if you are not off before I can say 'dumpling' I'll run you through the gizzard and give your miserable carcass to the dogs," suiting the action to the word, and groping under his cloak for the hilt of his sword.--A crowd collected, and the Yorkshireman perceiving symptoms of a scene, slunk out of the melee, and Mr. Jorrocks, after an indignant shake or two of his feathers and curl of his mustachios, pursued his course up the gardens.

This was the first time they had met since their arrival, which was above a week before; indeed, it was nine days, for the landlord of the house where the Yorkshireman lived had sent his "little bill" two days before this, it being an established rule of his house, and one which was conspicuously posted in all the rooms, that the bills were to be settled weekly; and Mr. Stubbs had that very morning observed that the hat of Monsieur l'Hote was not raised half so high from his head, nor his body inclined so much towards the ground as it was wont to be--a pretty significant hint that he wanted his cash.--Now the Yorkshireman, among his other accomplishments, had a turn for play, and unfortunately had been at the Salon the night before, when, after continuous run of ill-luck, he came away twelve francs below the amount of the hotel-keeper's bill, consequently a rumpus with Mr. Jorrocks could not have taken place at a more unfortunate moment. Thinking, however, a good night's rest or two might settle him down, and put all matters right, he let things alone until the Tuesday following, when again finding Monsieur's little "memoire" on one side of his coffeecup, and a framed copy of the "rules and regulations" of the house on the other, he felt constrained to take some decisive step towards its liquidation.

Accordingly, having breakfasted, he combed his hair straight over his face, and putting on a very penitential look, called a cab, and desired the man to drive him to the Rue des Mauvais-Garcons.--After zigzagging, twisting, and turning about in various directions, they at last jingled to the end of a very narrow dirty-looking street, whose unswept pavement had not been cheered by a ray of sunshine since the houses were built.

It was excessively narrow, and there were no flags on either side; but through the centre ran a dribbling stream, here and there obstructed by oyster-shells, or vegetable refuse, as the water had served as a plaything for children, or been stopped by servants for domestic purposes. The street being extremely old, of course the houses were very large, forming, as all houses do in Paris, little squares entered by folding doors, at one side of which, in a sort of lodge, lives the Porter--"Parlez au Portier"--who receives letters, parcels, and communications for the several occupiers, consisting sometimes of twenty or thirty different establishments in one house. From this functionary may be learned the names of the different tenants. Having dismissed his cab, the Yorkshireman entered the first gateway on his left, to take the chance of gaining some intelligence of the Countess. The Porter--a cobbler by trade--was hammering away, last on knee, at the sole of a shoe, and with a grin on his countenance, informed the Yorkshireman that the Countess lived next door but one. A thrill of fear came over him on finding himself so near the residence of his indignant friend, but it was of momentary duration, and he soon entered the courtyard of No.

3--where he was directed by an unshaved grisly-looking porter, to proceed "un troisieme," and ring the bell at the door on the right-hand side. Obedient to his directions, the Yorkshireman proceeded to climb a wide but dirty stone staircase, with carved and gilded balusters, whose wall and steps had known no water for many years, and at length found himself on the landing opposite the very apartment which contained the redoubtable Jorrocks. Here he stood for a few seconds, breathing and cooling himself after his exertions, during which time he pictured to himself the worthy citizen immersed in papers deeply engaged in the preparation of his France in three volumes, and wished that the first five minutes of their interview were over. At length he mustered courage to grasp a greasy-looking red tassel, and give a gentle tinkle to the bell. The door was quickly opened by Agamemnon in dirty loose trousers and slippers, and without a coat. He recognised his fellow-traveller, and in answer to his inquiry if Monsieur Jorrocks was at home, grinned, and answered, "Oh oui, certainement, Monsieur le Colonel Jorrockes est ici," and motioned him to come in. The Yorkshireman entered the little ante-room--a sort of scullery, full of mops, pans, dirty shoes, dusters, candlesticks--and the first thing that caught his eye was Jorrocks's sword, which Agamemnon had been burnishing up with sandpaper and leather, lying on a table before the window. This was not very encouraging, but Agamemnon gave no time for reflection, and opening half a light salmon-coloured folding door directly opposite the one by which he entered, the Yorkshireman passed through, unannounced and unperceived by Mr. Jorrocks or the Countess, who were completely absorbed in a game of dominoes, sitting on opposite sides of a common deal table, whose rose-coloured silk cover was laid over the back of a chair. Jorrocks was sitting on a stool with his back to the door, and the Countess being very intent on the game, Mr. Stubbs had time for a hasty survey of the company and apartment before she looked up. It was about one o'clock, and of course she was still _en deshabille_, with her nightcap on, a loose _robe de chambre_ of flannel, and a flaming broad-striped red-and-black Scotch shawl thrown over her shoulders, and swan's-down-lined slippers on her feet. Mr. Jorrocks had his leather pantaloons on, with a rich blue and yellow brocade dressing-gown, and blue morocco slippers to match. His jack-boots, to which he had added a pair of regimental heel-spurs, were airing before a stove, which contained the dying embers of a small log. The room was low, and contained the usual allowance of red figured velvet-cushioned chairs, with brass nails; the window curtains were red-and-white on rings and gilded rods; a secretaire stood against one of the walls, and there was a large mirror above the marble mantelpiece, which supported a clock surmounted by a flying Cupid, and two vases of artificial flowers covered with glass, on one of which was placed an elegant bonnet of the newest and most approved fashion. The floor, of highly polished oak, was strewed about with playbills, slippers, curl-papers, boxes, cards, dice, ribbons, dirty handkerchiefs, etc.; and on one side of the deal table was a plate containing five well-picked mutton-chop bones, and hard by lay Mr. Jorrocks's mustachios and a dirty small tooth-comb.

Just as the Yorkshireman had got thus far in his survey, the Countess gave the finishing stroke to the game, and Mr. Jorrocks, jumping up in a rage, gave his leathers such a slap as sent a cloud of pipe-clay flying into his face. "Vous avez the devil's own luck"; exclaimed he, repeating the blow, when, to avoid the cloud, he turned short round, and encountered the Yorkshireman.

"How now?" roared he at the top of his voice, "who sent for you? Have you come here to insult me in my own house? I'll lay my soul to an 'oss-shoe, I'll be too many for ye! Where's my sword?"

"Now, my good Mr. Jorrocks," replied the Yorkshireman very mildly, "pray, don't put yourself into a passion--consider the lady, and don't let us have any unpleasantness in Madame la Duchesse Benvolio's house,"

making her a very low bow as he spoke, and laying his hand on his heart.

"D--n your displeasancies!" roared Jorrocks, "and that's swearing--a thing I've never done since my brother Joe fobbed me of my bottom piece of muffin. Out with you, I say! Out with ye! you're a nasty dirty blackguard; I'm done with you for ever. I detest the sight of you and hate ye afresh every time I see you!"

"Doucement, mon cher Colonel," interposed the Countess, "ve sall play anoder game, and you sall had von better chance," clapping him on the back as she spoke. "I von't!" bellowed Jorrocks. "Turn this chap out first. I'll do it myself. H'Agamemnon! H'Agamemnon! happortez my sword!

bring my sword! tout suite, directly!"

"Police! Police! Police!" screamed the Countess out of the window; "Police! Police! Police!" bellowed Agamemnon from the next one; "Police!

Police! Police!" re-echoed the grisly porter down below; and before they had time to reflect on what had passed, a sergeant's file of the National Guard had entered the hotel, mounted the stairs, and taken possession of the apartment. The sight of the soldiers with their bright bayonets, all fixed and gleaming as they were, cooled Mr. Jorrocks's courage in an instant, and, after standing a few seconds in petrified astonishment, he made a dart at his jack-boots and bolted out of the room. The Countess Benvolio then unlocked her secretaire, in which was a plated liqueur-stand with bottles and glasses, out of which she poured the sergeant three, and the privates two glasses each of pure _eau-de-vie,_ after which Agamemnon showed them the top of the stairs.

In less than ten minutes all was quiet again, and the Yorkshireman was occupying Mr. Jorrocks's stool. The Countess then began putting things a little in order, adorned the deal table with the rose-coloured cover--before doing which she swept off Mr. Jorrocks's mustachios, and thrust a dirty white handkerchief and the small tooth-comb under the cushion of a chair--while Agamemnon carried away the plate with the bones. "Ah, le pauvre Colonel," said the Countess, eyeing the bones as they passed, "he sall be von grand homme to eat--him eat toujours--all day long--Oh, him mange beaucoup--beaucoup--beaucoup. He is von vare amiable man, bot he sall not be moch patience. I guess he sall be vare rich--n'est ce pas? have many guinea?--He say he keep beaucoup des chiens--many dogs for the hont--he sail be vot dey call rom customer (rum customer) in Angleterre, I think."

Thus she went rattling on, telling the Yorkshireman all sorts of stories about the _pauvre_ Colonel, whom she seemed ready to change for a younger piece of goods with a more moderate appetite; and finding Mr.

Stubbs more complaisant than he had been in the diligence, she concluded by proposing that he should accompany the Colonel and herself to a _soiree-dansante_ that evening at a friend of hers, another Countess, in the "Rue des Bons-Enfants."

Being disengaged as usual, he at once assented, on condition that the Countess would effect a reconciliation between Mr. Jorrocks and himself, for which purpose she at once repaired to his room, and presently reappeared arm-in-arm with our late outrageously indignant hero. The Colonel had been occupying his time at the toilette, and was _en grand costume_--finely cleaned leathers, jack-boots and brass spurs, with a spick and span new blue military frock-coat, hooking and eyeing up to the chin, and all covered with braid, frogs, tags, and buttons.

"Dere be von beau garcon!" exclaimed the Countess, turning him round after having led him into the middle of the room--"dat habit does fit you like vax." "Yes," replied Mr. Jorrocks, raising his arms as though he were going to take flight, "but it is rather tight--partiklarly round the waist--shouldn't like to dine in it. What do you think of it?"

turning round and addressing the Yorkshireman as if nothing had happened--"suppose you get one like it?" "Do," rejoined the Countess, "and some of the other things--vot you call them, Colonel?"

"What--breeches?" "Yes, breeches--but the oder name--vot you call dem?"

"Oh, leathers?" replied Mr. Jorrocks. "No, no, another name still." "I know no other. Pantaloons, perhaps, you mean?" "No, no, not pantaloons."

"Not pantaloons?--then I know of nothing else. You don't mean these sacks of things, called trousers?" taking hold of the Yorkshireman's.

"No, no, not trousers." "Then really, my lady, I don't know any other name." "Oh, yes, Colonel, you know the things I intend. Vot is it you call Davil in Angleterre?" "Oh, we have lots of names for him--Old Nick, for instance."--"Old Nick breeches," said the Countess thoughtfully; "no, dat sall not be it--vot else?" "Old Harry?" replied Mr.

Jorrocks.--"Old Harry breeches," repeated the Countess in the hopes of catching the name by the ear--"no, nor dat either, encore anoder name, Colonel." "Old Scratch, then?" "Old Scratch breeches," re-echoed the Countess--"no, dat shall not do."--"Beelzebub?" rejoined Mr. Jorrocks.

"Beelzebub breeches," repeated the Countess--"nor dat." "Satan, then?"

said Mr. Jorrocks. "Oh oui!" responded the Countess with delight, "satan! black satan breeches--you shall von pair of black satan breeches, like the Colonel."

"And the Colonel will pay for them, I presume?" said the Yorkshireman, looking at Mr. Jorrocks.

"I carn't," said Mr. Jorrocks in an undertone; "I'm nearly cleaned out, and shall be in Short's Gardens before I know where I am, unless I hold better cards this evening than I've done yet. Somehow or other, these French are rather too sharp for me, and I've been down upon my luck ever since I came.--Lose every night, in fact, and then they are so werry anxious for me to have my rewenge, as they call it, that they make parties expressly for me every evening; but, instead of getting my rewenge, I only lose more and more money.--They seem to me always to turn up the king whenever they want him.--To-night we are going to a Countess's of werry great consequence, and, as you know ecarte well, I'll back your play, and, perhaps, we may do something between us."

This being all arranged, Mr. Stubbs took his departure, and Mr. Jorrocks having girded on his sword, and the Countess having made her morning toilette, they proceed to their daily promenade in the Tuileries Gardens.

A little before nine that evening, the Yorkshireman again found himself toiling up the dirty staircase, and on reaching the third landing was received by Agamemnon in a roomy uniform of a chasseur--dark green and tarnished gold, with a cocked-hat and black feather, and a couteau de chasse, slung by a shining patent-leather belt over his shoulder. The opening of the inner door displayed the worthy Colonel sitting at his ease, with his toes on each side of the stove (for the evenings had begun to get cool), munching the last bit of crust of the fifth Perigord pie that the Countess had got him to buy.--He was extremely smart; thin black gauze-silk stockings, black satin breeches; well-washed, well-starched white waistcoat with a rolling collar, showing an amplitude of frill, a blue coat with yellow buttons and a velvet collar, while his pumps shone as bright as polished steel.

The Countess presently sidled into the room, all smirks and smiles as dressy ladies generally are when well "got up." Rouge and the milliner had effectually reduced her age from five and forty down to five and twenty. She wore a dress of the palest pink satin, with lilies of the valley in her hair, and an exquisitely wrought gold armlet, with a most Lilliputian watch in the centre.

Mr. Jorrocks having finished his pie-crust, and stuck on his mustachios, the Countess blew out her bougies, and the trio, preceeded by Agamemnon with a lanthorn in his hand, descended the stairs, whose greasy, muddy steps contrasted strangely with the rich delicacy of the Countess's beautifully slippered feet. Having handed them into the voiture, Agamemnon mounted up behind, and in less than ten minutes they rumbled into the spacious courtyard of the Countess de Jackson, in the Rue des Bons-Enfants, and drew up beneath a lofty arch at the foot of a long flight of dirty black-and-white marble stairs, about the centre of which was stationed a _lacquey de place_ to show the company up to the hall.

The Countess de Jackson (the wife of an English horse-dealer) lived in an _entresol au troisieme_, but the hotel being of considerable dimensions, her apartment was much more spacious than the Countess Benvolio's. Indeed, the Countess de Jackson, being a _marchande des modes_, had occasion for greater accommodation, and she had five low rooms, whereof the centre one was circular, from which four others, consisting of an ante-room, a kitchen, a bedroom, and _salle a manger_, radiated.

Agamemnon having opened the door of the _fiacre_, the Countess Benvolio took the Yorkshireman's arm, and at once preceded to make the ascent, leaving the Colonel to settle the fare, observing as they mounted the stairs, that he was "von exceeding excellent man, but vare slow."

"Madame la Contesse Benvolio and Monsieur Stoops!" cried the _lacquey de place_ as they reached the door of the low ante-room, where the Countess Benvolio deposited her shawl, and took a final look at herself in the glass. She again took the Yorkshireman's arm and entered the round ballroom, which, though low and out of all proportion, had an exceedingly gay appearance, from the judicious arrangement of the numerous lights, reflected in costly mirrors, and the simple elegance of the crimson drapery, festooned with flowers and evergreens against the gilded walls. Indeed, the hotel had been the residence of an ambassador before the first revolution, and this _entresol_ had formed the private apartment of his Excellency. The door immediately opposite the one by which they entered, led into the Countess de Jackson's bedroom, which was also lighted up, with the best furniture exposed and her toilette-table set out with numberless scent bottles, vases, trinkets, and nick-nacks, while the _salle a manger_ was converted into a card-room. Having been presented in due form to the hostess, the Yorkshireman and his new friend stood surveying the gay crowd of beautiful and well-dressed women, large frilled and well-whiskered men, all chatting, and bowing, and dancing, when a half-suppressed titter that ran through the room attracted their attention, and turning round, Mr. Jorrocks was seen poking his way through the crowd with a number of straws sticking to his feet, giving him the appearance of a feathered Mercury. The fact was, that Agamemnon had cleaned his shoes with the liquid varnish (french polish), and forgetting to dry it properly, the carrying away half the straw from the bottom of the _fiacre_ was the consequence, and Mr. Jorrocks having paid the Jehu rather short, the latter had not cared to tell him about it.

The straws were, however, soon removed without interruption to the gaiety of the evening. Mr. Stubbs, of course, took an early opportunity of waltzing with the Countess Benvolio, who, as all French women are, was an admirable dancer, and Jorrocks stood by fingering and curling his mustachios, admiring her movements but apparently rather jealous of the Yorkshireman. "I wish," said he after the dance was over, "that you would sit down at _ecarte_ and let us try to win some of these mouncheers' tin, for I'm nearly cleaned out. Let us go into the cardroom, but first let us see if we can find anything in the way of nourishment, for I begin to be hungry. Garsoon," said he catching a servant with a trayful of _eau sucree_ glasses, "avez-vous kick-shaws to eat?" putting his finger in his mouth--"ge wouderay some refreshment."

"Oh, oui," replied the garcon taking him to an open window overlooking the courtyard, and extending his hand in the air, "voila, monsieur, de tres bon rafraichissement."

The ball proceeded with the utmost decorum, for though composed of shopkeepers and such like, there was nothing in their dress or manner to indicate anything but the best possible breeding. Jorrocks, indeed, fancied himself in the very elite of French society, and, but for a little incident, would have remained of that opinion. In an unlucky moment he took it into his head he could waltz, and surprised the Countess Benvolio by claiming her hand for the next dance. "It seems werry easy," said he to himself as he eyed the couples gliding round the room;--"at all ewents there's nothing like trying, 'for he who never makes an effort never risks a failure.'" The couples were soon formed and ranged for a fresh dance. Jorrocks took a conspicuous position in the centre of the room, buttoned his coat, and, as the music struck up, put his arm round the waist of his partner. The Countess, it seems, had some misgivings as to his prowess in the dancing line, and used all her strength to get him well off, but the majority of the dancers started before him. At length, however, he began to move, and went rolling away in something between a gallop and a waltz, effecting two turns, like a great cart-wheel, which brought him bang across the room, right into the track of another couple, who were swinging down at full speed, making a cannon with his head against both theirs, and ending by all four coming down upon the hard boards with a tremendous crash--the Countess Benvolio undermost, then the partner of the other Countess, then Jorrocks, and then the other Countess herself. Great was the commotion, and the music stopped; Jorrocks lost his wig, and split his Beelzebub breeches across the knees, while the other gentleman cracked his behind--and the Countess Benvolio and the other Countess were considerably damaged; particularly the other Countess, who lost four false teeth and broke an ear-ring. This, however, was not the worst, for as soon as they were all scraped together and set right again, the other Countess's partner attacked Jorrocks most furiously, calling him a _sacre-nom de-Dieu'd bete_ of an Englishman, a mauvais sujet, a cochon, etc., then spitting on the floor--the greatest insult a Frenchman can offer--he vapoured about being one of the "grand nation," "that he was brave--the world knew it," and concluded by thrusting his card--"Monsieur Charles Adolphe Eugene, Confiturier, No. 15 bis, Rue Poupee"--into Jorrocks's face. It was now Jorrocks's turn to speak, so doubling his fists, and getting close to him, he held one to his nose, exclaiming, "D--n ye, sir, je suis--JORROCKS!--Je suis an Englishman! je vous lick within an inch of your life! --Je vous kick!--je vous mill!--je vous flabbergaster!" and concluded by giving him his card, "Monsieur le Colonel Jorrocks, No 3, Rue des Mauvais-Garcons."

A friend of the confectioner's interposed and got him away, and Mr.

Stubbs persuaded Mr. Jorrocks to return into the cardroom, where they were speedily waited upon by the friend of the former, who announced that the Colonel must make an apology or fight, for he said, although Jorrocks was a "Colonel Anglais," still Monsieur Eugene was of the Legion of Honour, and, consequently, very brave and not to be insulted with impunity. All this the Yorkshireman interpreted to Mr. Jorrocks, who was most anxious to fight, and wished it was light that they might go to work immediately. Mr. Stubbs therefore told the confectioner's friend (who was also his foreman), that the Colonel would fight him with pistols at six o'clock in the Bois de Boulogne, but no sooner was the word "pistols" mentioned than the friend exclaimed, with a grimace and shrug of his shoulders, "Oh horror, no! Monsieur Adolphe is brave, but he will not touch pistols--they're not weapons of his country."

Jorrocks then proposed to fight him with broad swords, but this the confectioner's foreman declined on behalf of his principal, and at last the Colonel suggested that they could not do better than fight it out with fists. Now, the confectioner was ten years younger than Jorrocks, tall, long-armed, and not over-burthened with flesh, and had, moreover, taken lessons of Harry Harmer, when that worthy had his school in Paris, so he thought the offer was a good one, and immediately closed with it.

Jorrocks, too, had been a patron of the prize-ring, having studied under Bill Richmond, the man of colour, and was reported to have exhibited in early life (incog.) with a pugilist of some pretensions at the Fives-court, so, all things considered, fists seemed a very proper mode of settling the matter, and that being agreed upon, each party quitted the Countess de Jackson's--the confectioner putting forth all manner of high-flown ejaculations and prayers for success, as he groped about the ante-room for his hat, and descended the stairs. "Oh! God of war!" said he, throwing up his hands, "who guided the victorious army of this grand nation in Egypt, when, from the pyramids, forty centuries beheld our actions--oh, brilliant sun, who shone upon our armies at Jaffa, at Naples, Montebello, Marengo, Austerlitz, Jena, and Algiers, who blessed our endeavours, who knowest that we are brave--brave as a hundred lions--look down on Charles Adolphe Eugene, and enable him to massacre and immolate on the altar of his wrath, this sacre-nom de-Dieu'd beastly hog of an Englishman"--and thereupon he spit upon the flags with all the venom of a viper.

Jorrocks, too, indulged in a few figures of speech, as he poked his way home, though of a different description. "Now blister my kidneys," said he, slapping his thigh, "but I'll sarve him out! I'll baste him as Randall did ugly Borrock. I'll knock him about as Belcher did the Big Ilkey Pigg. I'll damage his mug as Turner did Scroggins's. I'll fib him till he's as black as Agamemnon--for I do feel as though I could fight a few."

The massive folding doors of the Porte-Cocher at the Hotel d'Hollande had not received their morning opening, when a tremendous loud, long, protracted rat-tat-tat-tat-tan, sounded like thunder throughout the extensive square, and brought numerous nightcapped heads to the windows, to see whether the hotel was on fire, or another revolution had broken out. The _maitre d'hotel_ screamed, the porter ran, the _chef de cuisine_ looked out of his pigeon-hole window, and the _garcons_ and male _femmes des chambres_ rushed into the yard, with fear and astonishment depicted on their countenances, when on peeping through the grating of the little door, Mr. Jorrocks was descried, knocker in hand, about to sound a second edition. Now, nothing is more offensive to the nerves of a Frenchman than a riotous knock, and the impertinence was not at all migitated by its proceeding from a stranger who appeared to have arrived through the undignified medium of a co-cou.[23] Having scanned his dimensions and satisfied himself that, notwithstanding all the noise, Jorrocks was mere mortal man, the porter unbolted the door, and commenced a loud and energetic tirade of abuse against "Monsieur Anglais," for his audacious thumping, which he swore was enough to make every man of the National Guard rush "to arms." In the midst of the torrent, very little of which Mr. Jorrocks understood, the Yorkshireman appeared, whom he hurried into the _co-cou_, bundled in after him, cried "ally!" to the driver, and off they jolted at a miserably slow trot.

Chapter end

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