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   Chapter 39 No.39

Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour By Robert Smith Surtees Characters: 27536

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


Writing A Run

he first fumes of excitement over, after a run with a kill, the field begin to take things more coolly and veraciously, and ere long some of them begin to pick holes in the affair. The men of the hunt run it up, while those of the next hunt run it down. Added to this there are generally some cavilling, captious fellows in every field who extol a run to the master's face, and abuse it behind his back. So it was on the present occasion. The men of the hunt-Charley Slapp, Lumpleg, Guano, Crane, Washball, and others-lauded and magnified it into something magnificent; while Fossick, Fyle, Wake, Blossomnose, and others of the 'Flat Hat Hunt,' pronounced it a niceish thing-a pretty burst; and Mr. Vosper, who had hunted for five-and-twenty seasons without ever subscribing one farthing to hounds, always declaring that each season was 'his last,' or that he was going to confine himself entirely to some other pack, said it was nothing to make a row about, that he had seen fifty better things with the Tinglebury harriers, and never a word said.

'Well,' said Sponge to Spraggon, between the whiffs of a cigar, as they rode together; 'it wasn't so bad, was it?'

'Bad!-no,' squinted Jack, 'devilish good-for Puff, at least,' adding, 'I question he's had a better this season.'

'Well, we are in luck,' observed Tom Washball, riding up and joining them; 'we are in luck to have a satisfactory thing with you great connoisseurs out.'

'A pretty thing enough,' replied Jack, 'pretty thing enough.'

'Oh, I don't mean to say it's equal to many we've had this season,' replied Washball; 'nothing like the Boughton Hill day, nor yet the Hembury Forest one; but still, considering the meet and the state of the country-'

'Hout! the country's good enough,' growled Jack, who hated Washball; adding, 'a good fox makes any country good'; with which observation he sidled up to Sponge, leaving Washball in the middle of the road.

'That reminds me,' said Jack, sotto voce to Sponge, 'that the crittur wants his run puffed, and he thinks you can do it.'

'Me!' exclaimed Sponge, 'what's put that in his head?'

'Why, you see,' exclaimed Jack, 'the first time you came out with our hounds at Dundleton Tower, you'll remember-or rather, the first time we saw you, when your horse ran away with you-somebody, Fyle, I think it was, said you were a literary cove; and Puff, catchin' at the idea, has never been able to get rid of it since: and the fact is, he'd like to be flattered-he'd be uncommonly pleased if you were to "soft sawder" him handsomely.'

'Me!' exclaimed Sponge; 'bless your heart, man, I can't write anything-nothing fit to print, at least.'

'Hout, fiddle!' retorted Spraggon, 'you can write as well as any other man; see what lots of fellows write, and nobody ever finds fault.'

'But the spellin' bothers one,' replied Sponge, with a shake of his elbow and body, as if the idea was quite out of the question.

'Hang the spellin',' muttered Jack, 'one can always borrow a dictionary; or let the man of the paper-the editor, as they call him-smooth out the spellin'. You say at the end of your letter, that your hands are cold, or your hand aches with holdin' a pullin' horse, and you'll thank him to correct any inadvertencies-you needn't call them errors, you know.'

'But where's the use of it?' exclaimed Sponge; 'it'll do us no good, you know, praisin' Puff's pack, or himself, or anything about him.'

'That's just the point,' said Jack, 'that's just the point. I can make it answer both our purposes,' said he, with a nudge of the elbow, and an inside-out squint of his eyes.

'Oh, that's another matter,' replied our friend; 'if we can turn the thing to account, well and good-I'm your man for a shy.'

'We can turn it to account,' rejoined Jack; 'we can turn it to account-at least I can; but then you must do it. He wouldn't take it as any compliment from me. It's the stranger that sees all things in their true lights. D'ye understand?' asked he eagerly.

'I twig,' replied Sponge.

'You write the account,' continued Jack, 'and I'll manage the rest.'

'You must help me,' observed Sponge.

'Certainly,' replied Jack; 'we'll do it together, and go halves in the plunder.'

'Humph,' mused Sponge: 'halves,' said he to himself. 'And what will you give me for my half?' asked he.

'Give you!' exclaimed Jack, brightening up. 'Give you! Let me see,' continued he, pretending to consider-'Puff's rich-Puff's a liberal fellow-Puff's a conceited beggar-mix it strong,' said Jack, 'and I'll give you ten pounds.'

'Make it twelve,' replied Sponge, after a pause.

If Jack had said twelve. Sponge would have asked fourteen.

'Couldn't,' said Jack, with a shake of the head; 'it really isn't with (worth) the money.'

The two then rode on in silence for some little distance.

'I'll tell you what I'll do,' said Jack, spurring his horse, and trotting up the space that the other had now shot ahead. 'I'll split the difference with you!'

'Well, give me the sov.,' said Sponge, holding out his hand for earnest.

'Why, I haven't a sov. upon me,' replied Jack; 'but, honour bright, I'll do what I say.'

'Give me eleven golden sovereigns for my chance,' repeated Sponge slowly, in order that there might be no mistake.

'Eleven golden sovereigns for your chance,' repeated Jack.

'Done!' replied Sponge.

'Done!' repeated Jack.

'Let's jog on and do it at once while the thing's fresh in our minds,' said Jack, working his horse into a trot.

Sponge did the same; and the grass-siding of Orlantire Parkwall favouring their design, they increased the trot to a canter. They soon passed the park's bounds, and entering upon one of those rarities-an unenclosed common, angled its limits so as to escape the side-bar, and turning up Farningham Green lane, came out upon the Kingsworth and Swillingford turnpike within sight of Hanby House.

'We'd better pull up and walk the horses gently in, p'raps,' observed Sponge, reining his in.

'Ah! I was only wantin' to get home before the rest,' observed Jack, pulling up too.

They then proceeded more leisurely together.

'We'd better get into one of our bedrooms to do it,' observed Jack, as they passed the lodge. 'Just so,' replied Sponge, adding, 'I dare say we shall want all the quiet we can get.'

'Oh no!' said Jack; 'the thing's simple enough-met at such a place-found at such another-killed at so and so.'

'Well, I hope it will,' said Sponge, riding into the stable-yard, and resigning his steed to the care of his groom.

Jack did the same by Sponge's other horse, which he had been riding, and in reply to Leather's inquiry (who stood with his right hand ready, as if to shake hands with him), 'how the horse had carried him?' replied:

'Cursed ill,' and stamped away without giving him anything.

'Ah, you're a gen'leman, you are,' muttered Leather, as he led the horse away. 'Now, come!' exclaimed Jack to Sponge, 'come! let's get in before any of those bothersome fellows come'; adding, as he dived into a passage, 'I'll show you the back way.'

After passing a scullery, a root-house, and a spacious entrance-hall, upon a table in which stood the perpetual beer-jug and bread-basket, a green baize door let them into the regions of upper service, and passing the dashed carpets of the housekeeper's room and butler's pantry, a red baize door let them into the far-side of the front entrance. Having deposited their hats and whips, they bounded up the richly carpeted staircase to their rooms.

Hanby House, as we have already said, was splendidly furnished. All the grandeur did not run to the entertaining rooms; but each particular apartment, from the state bedroom down to the smallest bachelor snuggery, was replete with elegance and comfort.

Like many houses, however, the bedrooms possessed every imaginable luxury except boot-jacks and pens that would write. In Sponge's room for instance, there were hip-baths, and foot-baths, a shower-bath, and hot and cold baths adjoining, and mirrors innumerable; an eight-day mantel-clock, by Moline of Geneva, that struck the hours, half-hours, and quarters: cut-glass toilet candlesticks, with silver sconces; an elegant zebra-wood cabinet; also a beautiful davenport of zebra-wood, with a plate-glass back, containing a pen rug worked on silver ground, an ebony match box, a blue crystal, containing a sponge pen-wiper, a beautiful envelope-case, a white-cornelian seal, with 'Hanby House' upon it, wax of all colours, papers of all textures, envelopes without end-every imaginable requirement of correspondence except a pen that would write. There were pens, indeed-there almost always are-but they were miserable apologies of things; some were mere crow-quills-sort of cover-hacks of pens, while others were great, clumsy, heavy-heeled, cart-horse sort of things, clotted up to the hocks with ink, or split all the way through-vexatious apologies, that throw a person over just at the critical moment, when he has got his sheet prepared and his ideas all ready to pour upon paper; then splut-splut-splutter goes the pen, and away goes the train of thought. Bold is the man who undertakes to write his letters in his bedroom with country-house pens. But, to our friends. Jack and Sponge slept next door to each other; Sponge, as we have already said, occupying the state-room, with its canopy-topped bedstead, carved and panelled sides, and elegant chintz curtains lined with pink, and massive silk-and-bullion tassels; while Jack occupied the dressing-room, which was the state bedroom in miniature, only a good deal more comfortable. The rooms communicated with double doors, and our friends very soon effected a passage.

'Have you any 'baccy?' asked Jack, waddling in in his slippers, after having sucked off his tops without the aid of a boot-jack.

'There's some in my jacket pocket,' replied Sponge, nodding to where it hung in the wardrobe; 'but it won't do to smoke here, will it?' asked he.

'Why not?' inquired Jack.

'Such a fine room,' replied Sponge, looking around.

'Oh, fine be hanged!' replied Jack, adding, as he made for the jacket, 'no place too fine for smokin' in.'

Having helped himself to one of the best cigars, and lighted it, Jack composed himself cross-legged in an easy, spring, stuffed chair, while Sponge fussed about among the writing implements, watering and stirring up the clotted ink, and denouncing each pen in succession, as he gave it the initiatory trial in writing the word 'Sponge.'

'Curse the pens!' exclaimed he, throwing the last bright crisp yellow thing from him in disgust. 'There's not one among 'em that can go!-all reg'larly stumped up.'

'Haven't you a penknife?' asked Jack, taking the cigar out of his mouth.

'Not I,' replied Sponge.

'Take a razor, then,' said Jack, who was good at an expedient.

'I'll take one of yours,' said Sponge, going into the dressing-room for one. 'Hang it, but you're rather too sharp,' exclaimed Jack, with a shake of his head.

'It's more than your razor 'll be when I'm done with it,' replied Sponge.

Having at length, with the aid of Jack's razor, succeeded in getting a pen that would write, Mr. Sponge selected a sheet of best cream-laid satin paper, and, taking a cane-bottomed chair, placed himself at the table in an attitude for writing. Dipping the fine yellow pen in the ink, he looked in Jack's face for an idea. Jack, who had now got well advanced in the cigar, sat squinting through his spectacles at our scribe, though apparently looking at the top of the bed.

'Well?' said Sponge, with a look of inquiry.

'Well,' replied Jack, in a tone of indifference.

'How shall I begin?' asked Sponge, twirling the pen between his fingers, and spluttering the ink over the paper.

'Begin!' replied Jack, 'begin, oh, begin, just as you usually begin.'

'As a letter?' asked Sponge.

'I 'spose so,' replied Jack; 'how would you think?'

'Oh, I don't know,' replied Sponge. 'Will you try your hand?' added he, holding out the pen.

'Why, I'm busy just now, you see,' said he, pointing to his cigar, 'and that horse of yours' (Jack had ridden the redoubtable chestnut, Multum-in-Parvo, who had gone very well in the company of Hercules) pulled so confoundedly that I've almost lost the use of my fingers,' continued he, working away as if he had got the cramp in both hands; 'but I'll prompt you,' added he, 'I'll prompt you.'

'Why don't you begin then?' asked Sponge.

'Begin!' exclaimed Jack, taking the cigar from his lips; 'begin!' repeated he, 'oh, I'll begin directly-didn't know you were ready.'

Jack then threw himself back in his chair, and sticking out his little bandy legs, turned the whites of his eyes up to the ceiling, as if lost in meditation.

'Begin,' said he, after a pause, 'begin, "This splendid pack had a stunning run."'

'But we must put what pack first,' observed Sponge, writing the words 'Mr. Puffington's hounds' at the top of the paper. 'Well,' said he, writing on, 'this stunning pack had a splendid run.'

'No, not stunning pack,' growled Jack, 'splendid pack-"this splendid pack had a stunning run."'

'Stop!' exclaimed Sponge, writing it down; 'well,' said he looking up, 'I've got it.'

'This stunning pack had a splendid run,' repeated Jack, squinting away at the ceiling.

'I thought you said splendid pack,' observed Sponge.

'So I did,' replied Jack.

'You said stunning just now,' rejoined he.

'Ah, that was a slip of the tongue,' said Jack. 'This splendid pack had a stunning run,' repeated Jack, appealing again to his cigar for inspiration; 'well, then,' said he, after a pause, 'you just go on as usual, you know,' continued he, with

a flourish of his great red hand.

'As usual!' exclaimed Sponge, 'you don't s'pose one's pen goes of itself.'

'Why, no,' replied Jack, knocking the ashes off his cigar on to the arabesque-patterned tapestry carpet-'why, no, not exactly; but these things, you know, are a good deal matter of course; just describe what you saw, you know, and butter Puff well, that's the main point.'

'But you forget,' replied Sponge, 'I don't know the country, I don't know the people, I don't know anything at all about the run-I never once looked at the hounds.'

'That's nothin',' replied Jack, 'there'd be plenty like you in that respect. However,' continued he, gathering himself up in his chair as if for an effort, 'you can say-let me see what you can say-you can say, "this splendid pack had a stunning run from Hollyburn Hanger, the property of its truly popular master, Mr. Puffington," or-stop,' said Jack, checking himself, 'say, "the property of its truly popular and sporting master, Mr. Puffington." The cover's just as much mine as it's his,' observed Jack; 'it belongs to old Sir Timothy Tensthemain, who's vegetating at Boulogne-sur-Mer, but Puff says he'll buy it when it comes to the hammer, so we'll flatter him by considering it his already, just as we flatter him by calling him a sportsman-sportsman!' added Jack, with a sneer, 'he's just as much taste for the thing as a cow.'

'Well,' said Sponge, looking up, 'I've got "truly popular and sporting master, Mr. Puffington,"' adding, 'hadn't we better say something about the meet and the grand spread here before we begin with the run?'

'True,' replied Jack, after a long-drawn whiff and another adjustment of the end of his cigar; 'say that "a splendid field of well-appointed sportsmen"-'

'A splendid field of well-appointed sportsmen,' wrote Sponge.

'"Among whom we recognized several distinguished strangers and members of Lord Scamperdale's hunt." That means you and I,' observed Jack.

'"Of Lord Scamperdale's hunt-that means you and I"'-read Sponge, as he wrote it.

'But you're not to put in that; you're not to write "that means you and I," my man,' observed Jack.

'Oh, I thought that was part of the sentence,' replied Sponge.

'No, no,' said Jack; 'I meant to say that you and I were the distinguished strangers and members of Lord Scamperdale's hunt; but that's between ourselves, you know.'

'Good,' said Sponge; 'then I'll strike that out,' running his pen through the words 'that means you and I.' 'Now get on,' said he, appealing to Jack, adding, 'we've a deal to do yet.'

'Say,' said Jack, '"after partaking of the well-known profuse and splendid hospitality of Hanby House, they proceeded at once to Hollyburn Hanger, where a fine seasoned fox-though some said he was a bag one-"'

'Did they?' exclaimed Sponge, adding, 'well, I thought he went away rather queerly.'

'Oh, it was only old Bung the brewer, who runs down every run he doesn't ride.'

'Well, never mind,' replied Sponge, 'we'll make the best of it, whatever it was'; writing away as he spoke, and repeating the words 'bag one' as he penned them.

'"Broke away,"' continued Jack:

'"In view of the whole field,"' added Sponge. 'Just so,' assented Jack.

'"Every hound scoring to cry, and making the "-the-the-what d'ye call the thing?' asked Jack.

'Country,' suggested Sponge.

'No,' replied Jack, with a shake of the head.

'Hill and dale?' tried Sponge again.

'Welkin!' exclaimed Jack, hitting it off himself-'"makin' the welkin ring with their melody!" makin' the welkin ring with their melody,' repeated he, with exultation.

'Capital!' observed Sponge, as he wrote it.

'Equal to Littlelegs,'[2] said Jack, squinting his eyes inside out.

'We'll make a grand thing of it,' observed Sponge.

'So we will,' replied Jack, adding, 'if we had but a book of po'try we'd weave in some lines here. You haven't a book o' no sort with you that we could prig a little po'try from?' asked he.

'No,' replied Sponge thoughtfully. 'I'm afraid not; indeed, I'm sure not. I've got nothin' but Mogg's Cab Fares.'

'Ah, that won't do,' observed Jack, with a shake of the head. 'But stay,' said he, 'there are some books over yonder,' pointing to the top of an Indian cabinet, and squinting in a totally different direction. 'Let's see what they are,' added he, rising, and stumping away to where they stood. I Promessi Sposi, read he off the back of one. 'What can that mean! Ah, it's Latin,' said he, opening the volume. Contes à ma Fille, read he off the back of another. 'That sounds like racin',' observed he, opening the volume, 'it's Latin too,' said he, returning it. 'However, never mind, we'll "sugar Puff's milk," as Mr. Bragg would say, without po'try.' So saying, Mr. Spraggon stumped back to his easy-chair. 'Well, now,' said he, seating himself comfortably in it, 'let's see where did we go first? "He broke at the lower end of the cover, and, crossing the brook, made straight for Fleecyhaugh Water Meadows, over which," you may say, "there's always a ravishing scent."' 'Have you got that?' asked Jack, after what he thought a sufficient lapse of time for writing it.

'"Ravishing scent,"' repeated Sponge as he wrote the words.

'Very good,' said Jack, smoking and considering. '"From there,"' continued he, '"he made a bit of a bend, as if inclining for the plantations at Winstead, but, changing his mind, he faced the rising ground, and crossing over nearly the highest part of Shillington Hill, made direct for the little village of Berrington Roothings below."'

'Stop!' exclaimed Sponge, 'I haven't got half that; I've only got to "the plantations at Winstead."' Sponge made play with his pen, and presently held it up in token of being done.

'Well,' pondered Jack, 'there was a check there. Say,' continued he, addressing himself to Sponge, '"Here the hounds came to a check."'

'Here the hounds came to a check,' wrote Sponge. 'Shall we say anything about distance?' asked he.

'P'raps we may as well,' replied Jack. 'We shall have to stretch it though a bit.'

'Let's see,' continued he; 'from the cover to Berrington Roothings over by Shillington Hill and Fleecyhaugh Water Meadows will be-say, two miles and a half or three miles at the most-call it four, well, four miles-say four miles in twelve minutes, twenty miles an hour,-too quick-four miles in fifteen minutes, sixteen miles an hour; no-I think p'raps it'll be safer to lump the distance at the end, and put in a place or two that nobody knows the name of, for the convenience of those who were not out.'

'But those who were out will blab, won't they?' asked Sponge.

'Only to each other,' replied Jack. 'They'll all stand up for the truth of it as against strangers. You need never be afraid of over-eggin' the puddin' for those that were out.'

'Well, then,' observed Sponge, looking at his paper to report progress, 'we've got the hounds to a check. "Here the hounds came to a check,"' read he. 'Ah! now, then,' said Jack, in a tone of disgust, 'we must say summut handsome of Bragg; and of all conceited animals under the sun, he certainly is the most conceited. I never saw such a man! How that unfortunate, infatuated master of his keeps him, I can't for the life of me imagine. Master! faith, Bragg's the master,' continued Jack, who now began to foam at the mouth. 'He laughs at old Puff to his face; yet it's wonderful the influence Bragg has over him. I really believe he has talked Puff into believing that there's not such another huntsman under the sun, and really he's as great a muff as ever walked. He can just dress the character, and that's all.' So saying Jack wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his red coat preparatory to displaying Mr. Bragg upon paper.

'Well, now we are at fault,' said Jack, motioning Sponge to resume; 'we are at fault; now say, "but Mr. Bragg, who had ridden gallantly on his favourite bay, as fine an animal as ever went, though somewhat past mark of mouth-" He is a good horse, at least was,' observed Jack, adding, 'I sold Puff him, he was one of old Sugarlip's,' meaning Lord Scamperdale's.

'Sure to be a good 'un, then,' replied Sponge, with a wink, adding, 'I wonder if he'd like to buy any more?'

'We'll talk about that after,' replied Jack, 'at present let us get on with our run.'

'Well,' said Sponge, 'I've got it: "Mr. Bragg, who had ridden gallantly on his favourite bay, as fine an animal as ever went, though somewhat past mark of mouth-"'

'"Was well up with his hounds,"' continued Jack, '"and with a gently, Rantipole! and a single wave of his arm, proceeded to make one of those scientific casts for which this eminent huntsman is so justly celebrated." Justly celebrated!' repeated Jack, spitting on the carpet with a hawk of disgust; 'the conceited self-sufficient bantam-cock never made a cast worth a copper, or rode a yard but when he thought somebody was looking at him.'

'I've got it,' said Sponge, who had plied his pen to good purpose.

'Justly celebrated,' repeated Jack, with a snort. 'Well, then, say, "Hitting off the scent like a workman"-big H, you know, for a fresh sentence-"they went away again at score, and passing by Moorlinch farm buildings, and threading the strip of plantation by Bexley Burn, he crossed Silverbury Green, leaving Longford Hutch to the right, and passing straight on by the gibbet at Harpen." Those are all bits of places, observed Jack, 'that none but the country folks know; indeed, I shouldn't have known them but for shootin' over them when old Bloss lived at the Green. Well, now, have you got all that?' asked he.

'"Gibbet at Harpen,"' read Sponge, as he wrote it.

'"Here, then, the gallant pack, breaking from scent to view,"' continued Jack, speaking slowly, '"ran into their fox in the open close upon Mountnessing Wood, evidently his point from the first, and into which a few more strides would have carried him. It was as fine a run as ever was seen, and the hunting of the hounds was the admiration of all who saw it. The distance couldn't have been less than"-than-what shall we say?' asked Jack.

'Ten, twelve miles, as the crow flies,' suggested Sponge.

'No,' said Jack,' that would be too much. Say ten'; adding, 'that will be four miles more than it was.'

'Never mind,' said Sponge, as he wrote it; 'folks like good measure with runs as well as ribbons.'

'Now we must butter old Puff,' observed Spraggon.

'What can we say for him?' asked Sponge; 'that he never went off the road?'

'No, by Jove!' said Jack; 'you'll spoil all if you do that: better leave it alone altogether than do that. Say, "the justly popular owner of this most celebrated pack, though riding good fourteen stone" (he rides far more,' observed Jack; 'at least sixteen; but it'll please him to make out that he can ride fourteen), "led the welters, on his famous chestnut horse, Tappey Lappey."'

'What shall we say about the rest?' asked Sponge; 'Lumpleg, Slapp, Guano, and all those?'

JACK AND MR. SPONGE WRITE AN ARTICLE FOR THE SWILLINGFORD PAPER

'Oh, say nothin',' replied Jack; 'we've nothin' to do with nobody but Puff, and we couldn't mention them without bringin' in our Flat Hat men too-Blossomnose, Fyle, Fossick, and so on. Besides, it would spoil all to say that Guano was up-people would say directly it couldn't have been much of a run if Guano was there. You might finish off,' observed Jack, after a pause, 'by saying that "after this truly brilliant affair, Mr. Puffington, like a thorough sportsman, and one who never trashes his hounds unnecessarily-unlike some masters," you may say, "who never know when to leave off" (that will be a hit at Old Scamp,' observed Jack, with a frightful squint), '"returned to Hanby House, where a distinguished party of sportsmen-" or, say, "a distinguished party of noblemen and gentlemen"-that'll please the ass more-"a large party of noblemen and gentlemen were partaking of his"-his-what shall we call it?'

'Grub!' said Sponge.

'No, no-summut genteel-his-his-his-"splendid hospitality!"' concluded Jack, waving his arm triumphantly over his head.

'Hard work, authorship!' exclaimed Sponge, as he finished writing, and threw down the pen.

'Oh, I don't know,' replied Jack, adding, 'I could go on for an hour.'

'Ah, you!-that's all very well,' replied Sponge, 'for you, squatting comfortably in your arm-chair: but consider me, toiling with my pen, bothered with the writing, and craning at the spelling.'

'Never mind, we've done it,' replied Jack, adding, 'Puff'll be as pleased as Punch. We've polished him off uncommon. That's just the sort of account to tickle the beggar. He'll go riding about the country, showing it to everybody, and wondering who wrote it.'

'And what shall we send it to?-the Sporting Magazine, or what?' asked Sponge.

'Sporting Magazine!-no,' replied Jack; 'wouldn't be out till next year-quick's the word in these railway times. Send it to a newspaper-Bell's Life, or one of the Swillingford papers. Either of them would be glad to put it in.'

'I hope they'll be able to read it,' observed Sponge, looking at the blotched and scrawled manuscript.

'Trust them for that,' replied Jack, adding, 'If there's any word that bothers them, they've nothing to do but look in the dictionary-these folks all have dictionaries, wonderful fellows for spellin'.'

Just then a little buttony page, in green and gold, came in to ask if there were any letters for the post; and our friends hastily made up their packet, directing it to the editor of the Swillingford 'guide to glory and freeman's friend'; words that in the hurried style of Mr. Sponge's penmanship looked very like 'guide to grog, and freeman's friend.'

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