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   Chapter 63 A STARTLING ANNOUNCEMENT.

Ask Mamma By R. S. Surtees Characters: 6155

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


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HE proverbial serenity of Poodles was disturbed one dull winter afternoon by our old friend General Binks banging down the newly-arrived evening paper with a vehemence rarely witnessed in that quiet quarter. Mr. Dorfold, who was dosing as usual with outstretched leg's before the fire, started up, thinking the General was dying. Major Mustard's hat dropped off, Mr. Pioser let fall the "Times Supplement," Mr. Crowsfoot ceased conning the "Post" Alemomh, the footman, stood aghast, and altogether there was a general cessation of every thing-Beedles was paralyzed.

The General quickly followed up the blow with a tremendous oath, and seizing Colonel Callender's old beaver hat instead of his own new silk one, flung frantically out of the room, through the passage and into St. James's Street, as if bent on immediate destruction.

All was amazement! What's happened the General Something must have gone wrong with the General! The General-the calmest, the quietest, the most, placid man in the world-suddenly convulsed with such a violent paroxysm. He who had neither chick nor child, nor anything to care about, with the certainty of an Earldom, what could have come over him?

"I'll tell you," exclaimed Mr. Bullion who had just dropped in on his way from the City: "I'll tell you," repeated he. taking up the paper which the General had thrown down. "His bank's failed! Heard some qweerish hints as I came down Cornhill:" and forthwith! Bullion turned to the City article, and ran his accustomed eye down its contents.

"Funds opened heavily. Foreign stocks quiet. About £20,000 in bar gold. The John Brown arrived from China. Departure of the Peninsular Mail postponed," and so on; but neither failures, nor rumours of failures, either of bankers or others, were there.

Very odd-what could it be, then? must be something in the paper. And again the members resolved themselves into a committee of the whole house to ascertain what it was.

The first place that a lady would look to for the solution of a mystery of this sort, is, we believe, about the last place that a man would look to, namely, the births, deaths, and marriages; and it was not until the sensation had somewhat subsided, and Tommy White was talking of beating up the General's quarter in Bury Street, to hear what it was, that his inseparable-that "nasty covetous body Cuddy Flintoff," who had been plodding very perseveringly on the line, at length hit off what astonished him as much as we have no doubt it will the reader, being neither more nor less than the following very quiet announcement at the end of the list of marriages:-

"This morning, at St. Barnabas, by the Rev. Dr. Duff, the Right Hon. The Earl of Ladythorne, to Emma, widow of the late Wm, Pringle, Esq."

The Earl of Ladythorne married to Mrs. Pringle! Well done our fair friend of the frontispiece! The pure white camellias are succeeded by a coronet! The borrowed velvet dress replaced by anything she likes to own. Who would have thought it!

But wonders will never cease; for on thi

s eventful day Mr. George Gallon was seen driving the Countess's old coach companion, Mrs. Margerum, from Cockthorpe Church, with long white rosettes flying at Tippy Tom's head, and installing her mistress of the Rose and Crown, at the cross roads; thus showing that truth is stranger than fiction. "George," we may add, has now taken the Flying Childers Inn at Eversley Green, where he purposes extending his "Torf" operations, and we make no doubt will be heard of hereafter.

Of our other fair friends we must say a few parting words on taking a reluctant farewell.

Though Miss Clara, now Lady Mainchance, is not quite so good a housekeeper as Sir Moses could have wished, she is nevertheless extremely ornamental at the head of his table; and though she has perhaps rather exceeded with Gillow, the Major promises to make it all right by his superior management of the property. Mr. Mordecai Nathan has been supplanted by our master of "haryers," who has taken a drainage loan, and promises to set the water-works playing at Pangburn Park, just as he did at Yammerton Grange. He means to have a day a week there with his "haryers," which, he says, is the best way of seeing a country.

Miss de Glancey has revised Barley Hill Hall, for which place his Highness now appears in Burke's "Landed Gentry," very considerably; and though she has not been to Gillow, she has got the plate out of the drawing-room, and made things very smart. She keeps John in excellent order, and rides his grey horse admirably. Blurkins says "the grey mare is the better horse," but that is no business of ours.

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Of all the brides, perhaps, Miss Flora got the best set down; for the Woolpack's house was capitally furnished, and he is far happier driving his pretty wife about the country with a pair of pyebald ponies, making calls, than in risking his neck across country with hounds-or rather after them.

Of all our beauties, and thanks to Leech we have dealt in nothing else, Miss Harriet alone remains unsettled with her two strings to her bow-fine Billy and Rowley Abingdon; though which is to be the happy man remains to be seen.

We confess we incline to think that the Countess will be too many for the Yammertons; but if she is, there is no great harm done; for Harriet is very young, and the Owl is a safe card in the country where men are more faithful than they are in the towns. Indeed, fine Billy is almost too young to know his own mind, and marrying now would only perhaps involve the old difficulty hereafter of father and son wanting top boots at the same time, supposing our friend to accomplish the difficult art of sitting at the Jumps.

So let us leave our hero open. And as we have only aimed at nothing but the natural throughout, we will finish by proposing a toast that will include as well the mated and the single of our story, as the mated and the single all the world over, namely, the old and popular one of "The single married, and the married happy!" drunk with three times three and one cheer more! HOO-RAY!

THE END.

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