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for Saturday, as proposed to him the one nor the other, with the disadvanprevious day.
tages of both. Uncle Van knew Mr. Comberwood It had not always been so. He had as a solicitor often employed by cer- not been brought up to it: on the tain shipping firms, and was pretty sure contrary, he had been gradually brought about his going down to Ringhurst down to it by the power in his house, every Saturday afternoon. To his care against which revolt was impossible, he promised to confide me. Indeed he because so evidently impolitic. As had been, he said, commissioned by a boy—that is, as a Dutch boy-he Mr. Comberwood to help him on this had been accustomed to take religious occasion in the theatricals.
duties in as easy a way as his father, “Are you going to act ? ” asked my with his long, big-bowled pipe, had done father.
before him. They worshipped with “ No, no; be-he-he," answered their hats on, in a frigid manner, and Uncle Van, spanning his spectacles, sat in a plain, undecorated building, and fitting them into his eyes with fitted up apparently with loose boxes, his finger and thumb. “No, I can not or, more devoutly speaking, sheep-pens. acts ”—he sometimes varied his broken for the fold. In Dutch devotion there English with plural terminations—“and was no outward show, and not much I am not as-ked. I should not go-he- inward fervour. When he had married he-he-if I was as-ked-he-he-he,"— Miss Colvin she had been moderately here he chuckled and spluttered- Evangelical to begin with, and ultra“ because Eliza toes tink all wrong Evangelical to go on with. She consuch tings, and she woult not 'ave sidered, that, however clear-headed her accept te invitation.”
husband might be on business, “out of “She never goes to any public amuse- it he has," she said, “no more mind ment, does she ?” asked my father than a jelly-fish." Now a jelly-fish is
“No. Ven I goes I goes alone,” not remarkable for intellect. She consaid Uncle Van, making a noise in his stituted herself his director, but not his throat resembling a weak watch-spring confessor. There is a marked distincgone suddenly wrong. This sound was tion between the two. A director expressive of his intense delight.
may advise and shape a course : but a “I think the Comberwoods know confessor must have a penitent, or his Herbert," observed my father, meaning office is a sinecure. Herbert Pritchard.
Uncle Van was willing to abide by her “I tink zo. P'raps he goes town directions as long as he was allowed to tese time, but I ton't know. I vill remain in peace and quietness, which ask Combervoots ; I shall zee 'im to- meant as long as he had a good dinner morrow. Cecil, you comes to me on at a reasonable hour, and was not interSaturtay morning, and we go to te rupted in his doze, and his pipe, after zity togeters-kee-kee-kee."
it. Mrs. Clym had long ago conceded Kee-kee-kee is the only way I can the pipe. After all, it was not a point invent to represent the peculiar watch- of doctrine but of practice, and might spring chuckle in Uncle Van's throat. perhaps be gradually given up. It led
If he could have made my father's to no excesses, as Van, though of trust an excuse for staying away from generally fishy nature, was not troubled home all Saturday, I know he would with thirst. So he was permitted to gladly have availed himself of the smoke-dry himself like one of his opportunity.
own country's herrings, and he was Saturday was to Uncle Van worse happy. than Sunday Sunday was a decided day. It was one thing : and Monday she was bent upon reforming her houseand all the other days up to Saturday hold's Saturday. She determined were another. But Saturday was neither commence Sunday on Saturday, as t
Jews begin their Sabbath on Friday at to be done : not to take the goods the sunset.
gods had provided. He would stay "But te Jews," said Uncle Van, away on Saturdays, and dine elsewhere. "leave off teir Sabbat on Saturtay, and But then, how to explain this absence at zunzet-he-he-he !—and she tont. from home? Would Madame believe Bezite, vat 'ave her relishion to toes viz that he merely stayed away to dine ? my tinner ?”
Suppose he obtained permission first ? He complained to his friends, not to An honest idea, and worthy of a wellher.
regulated husband. But how? Aunt Van had commenced her re- To get round Mrs. Clym was a forms. She had abolished Saturday hazardous proceeding. She was so dining—or rather, dining late on Satur- angular, and perpendicular, and she days.
offered so small a chance of a footing, There was, to her mind, something that the first pointed prejudice, sticking more devotional in tea than in dinner. out abruptly, would knock you back There was an unction of solace to the into the water. spiritually-minded in buttered toast; and I do not believe in Hannibal's receipt an incentive to heroic virtue in hot tea. for getting through an obstacle. Sweet Late dinner was of the world, worldly. oil sounds more like the thing than Tea was, somehow, more congenial to vinegar. piety. It never occurred to her that the Clym thought of emollients. With only thing celestial about tea was the other wives diamonds are the best diploheathen empire whence it came. Mrs. matists. Mrs. Clym was not to be Clym never admitted into her presence bought: that is, at that price. anything in the shape of a joke. Uncle Uncle Van would have, hopelessly and Clym kept such as he knew to himself. helplessly, gradually settled down to like He pronounced jokes "jox," with a it, as untravelled Englishmen, abroad short vowel.
for the first time, pretend a pleasure in Before dinner he would say, “I vill becoming accustomed to the greasiest tell you some goot jox when my vife's foreign cookery, had it not been for a gone to te trawn-room."
friend, who showed him that to succumb When he did tell them, they were was to eat the lotos and be lost. very mild : always such funny harmless This friend's name was Pipkison. things as one oyster might tell another, I cannot pass him over with bare menand slobber over afterwards. But on tion of his name. Pipkison was one Saturday nights there would be, hence of the most popular men in London. forth, no more guests, and no chance for He was a Worshipful Brother, with a his "jox.”
company of letters after his surname in "I cannot come 'ome to colt meats single file ; he was a Fellow with nine ant tea," exclaimed poor Uncle Van, in letters of the alphabet, every one of them my father's presence.
pregnant with meaning. He was a Merry Sir John wouldn't interfere between Shepherd, an Ancient Druid, a Redoubtman and wife.
able Buffalo, a Knight of something or At the first of these reform dinners other, a Mystic of the Rosicrucian Mr. Clym very nearly burst into tears. Order, and a number of numerous other He meditated a peaceful solution, with social, fraternal, and professedly levelhis pipe in his mouth. He slept on the ling-up societies, whose bond of union subject, but could make nothing of it. is common subscription for a dinner, The servants, he was told, found it so whose acolytes are publicans, and whose convenient, the children liked it; his stoutestsupporters are husbands, ready to wife, of course, did. He represented the welcome a solemn excuse for dining out government in a minority. He appealed. periodically. Their charity begins in to the country; the country couldn't conviviality, and is co-extensive with it. help him. There was only one thing Their hymn is “ And so say all of us." Their aim, dignified by high-sounding and no scandal-monger, which is á mar titles, and disguised under cloaks of vellous thing when said of a man, the moralities and mysteries, is to establish life of whose conversation was small jolly-good-fellowship, among Brothers of talk, and who was perpetually being the Bottle, all the world over.
questioned by everyone as to how everyBut apart from being all these worthies one else was getting on. rolled into one, Pipkison was the kind- Half the world doesn't know how est-hearted and most good-natured ba. the other half lives. Best not, if one chelor to be found in or out of a Govern half is to be called, French fashion, the ment office, where he laboured from demi-monde. Pipkison lived between ten to four, and spoke on deep sub- the two halves, and knew all about both, jects with high officials face to face, and without really concerning himself about with clerks and underlings through either. Pipkison was this Pip when I speaking-pipes, which instruments he was a boy. He is this Pip now, unperformed on with much ease and ele- changed. gance, and great conciseness of diction, Being such an one as I have shown arrived at by long official practice. him, it was only in the natural course
Pipkison went everywhere worth going of things that be should know Uncle to, and knew everybody worth know. Van, as he knew everybody. Stopping ing. He also knew anybody, and was my uncle in the Exchange, as he was to be met, like a geranium on a bleak moodily walking, frowning at the pavecliff, when least expected. He was of ment, jingling his keys in one pocket no particular age : and as far as con- and balancing them, as it were, with viviality went, he was for all and any their value in halfpence in the other, time. He was never too buoyant; he Mr. Pipkison called outwas never over-fatigued. He fitted into “Hullo, Van! Woa, Van!” which all sorts of society, like a master-keywas Pipkison's waggery. into every kind of lock. He knew “He-he-he!” laughed Uncle Van, everything, and did a little of it well with his usual jelly-fish way. “ Always and unobtrusively. He never got him- your jox-eh? He-he-he!” and he self, or anyone else, into trouble. He laughed again, taking one hand out of received as many communications as a his trouser pocket to fix his spectacles letter-box, and kept them till called for on, so as to have a better look at Piplegitimately. All his acquaintances were kison. Then he said equally dear to him. He had one "Vell ?" friend : just one-an invalid, bedridden Pipkison answered himin the prime of life, by whose bedside “Where shall we dine to-day? I'm he would sit and chat regularly every not speaking like an advertisement, but Sunday. He never allowed any engage- I mean it." ment (save absence from London, which “He-he-he! I vas tinking tat mowas rare, and then he wrote his friend a ment. You zee my wife-he-he-he! cheery letter, full of gossip) to interfere she's a deucet goot voman, but I with this duty. This poor fellow's tink only tea at six o'clock on Saturtay name was Yennick.
von't do. Il faut dîner.” Did Pip, in passing through Covent “Of course," replied Pipkison; then Garden on his morning's walk to his with a wink, and indicating Uncle Van's office (under Government), see flowers ribs with his forefinger, “How about fresh and beautiful, and fruit in its the Burlington Baa-lambs?” season, it straightway occurred to “Hey ?> He-he-he! Vat?" asked him that poor Yennick couldn't get at Uncle Clym. He laughed because he those luxuries for himself. In another thought Pipkison had made one of his hour fruit and flowers were at Yennick's “jox," which he had missed. door, with Mr. Pipkison's compliments. “Burlington Baa-lambs, Van! You The kindest-hearted creature, Pipkison, must be a Baa-lamb!”.
"He-he-he!" snorted Mr. Clym ; "te dine with me and be my love. By the Baa-lamb—vat is he?”.
way, Comberwood told me about want"The Baa-lamb," replied Mr. Pip, ing some professional person to drill “is a gregarious creature who dines on them in their theatricals. I've got the Saturday at two o'clock, in company with very man. He's an eminent Baa-lamb, others of the Burlington flock, which, and you'll meet him at dinner this aftermeeting in a pleasant pasturage in the noon. Good-bye." And off he went.. neighbourhood of the Burlington Arcade “Funny fel-low-he-he-he!” said (whence this name), make a circuit of Uncle Van to himself; “vat tit he other grass lands, returning on the last mean by 'pen,' and 'ruminate?'" He Saturday of the year to their ancient considered a bit, then shrugged his inclosure as aforesaid. That is the shoulders. “Vun of his "jox."" poetical account. That is what the He saw at once that for this Saturday, gods call us. Mortals would denomi- at all events, he had obtained a fair nate our society a social club, dining excuse. He had “ to see a professional out every Saturday early, and not going person on behalf of Mr. Comberwood, home till evening."
solicitor," and this, without further ex“I coult get home by seven, eh?" planation, would be quite sufficient for asked Uncle Van, much interested. Mrs. Clym when he returned home in "By six if necessary."
the evening. Besides, he necdn't be Uncle Van thought he could manage late. He could dispose of me by a midthis. He would dine with the Baa-lambs day train, dine with the Lambs, and be and return home to tea. He would run back for seven o'clock tea at home. with the hare, and hunt with the baa This being settled, we proceeded to lambs.
Mr. Comberwood's office in Gray's Inn. " Are there many ?”
His clerk informed us that Mr. Comber"Baa-lambs ?” asked Pipkison : then wood had intended going by the two answered, seeing that Mr. Clym had o'clock train to Ringhurst, but had intended this; “yes, there are Barristers changed his mind. However, if I were qualified as members of the Baa—you to travel by that train, I should find the observe. Bar-Baa— "
carriage waiting to meet me. This was “He-he-he! I zee. Yes. Bar," said enough for Uncle Van, who forthwith Uncle Van, nodding like a loose-headed took me to the station, and having, by toy figure on a Christmas bon-bon box. giving me in charge to the guard, labelled
"Then there are literary men, Baa me, as it were, for my destination, he lambs of the Pen.”
hurried off to keep, as I learnt afterMr. Clym thought over this. “Pen, wards, his appointment with Pipkison eh?” He didn't see it.
—whereof we shall meet an important "You begin well as a Baa-lamb,” said result later on. Mr. Pip, “as I see you are a ruminating I did not like to move about much, or animal."
take my eyes off the guard, who seemed “He-he-he!” Uncle Van in fits. to have plenty to do without troubling This joke had really tickled him. Re- himself any further about me. covering his seriousness and his spec- While I was wondering whether I tacles, which were slipping off his nose, should ever get to Ringhurst, a slouchhe announced his determination thus ing young man, in an oily green velve
"I say-he-he-he!—I'll be a Baa- teen costume, touched his hat to me in lamb."
a bashful sort of way, and hoped Master Mr. Pip solemnly grasped his hand, Colvin was quite well. and appeared to invoke a blessing on “Why, it's Charles Edmund !” said I, the neophyte. Then he, in a deeply recognizing little Julie's brother. tragic manner, addressed Uncle Clym. He had grown enormously, and spread
"Meet me here at two precisely. At out into hands and feet. I felt that I half-past we must to the meadow. Come ought to shake hands with him (three
him the fresh air and put money in his pocket, along with some ammytoors in the country, so as he's to meet them "
Here he was suddenly called off by my guard—under whose eye I did not feel justified in shaking hands with him again. However, after he had finished his job he returned to me, looked carefully after my luggage, put me in the right carriage, and finally reappeared just as the train was starting with a bottle of lemonade opened, two oranges, and two sponge-cakes in a bag.
This was so kind of him, and I was so much affected by it, that I had scarcely time either to thank him or to ask him to take some refreshment himself, when the engine, snorting, puffing as hard as if it were quite out of condition for a long run, pulled us away from the platform, like an impatient companion insisting upon lugging you off in a hurry, and Charles Edmund disappeared.
“I wish Julie had been with him," I said to myself. We were on our way to Ringhurst.
of my hands would have slipped into one of his easily), and that if I didn't he'd think I was proud. So I held out mine to him, and rather hoped that nobody saw 118.
“Thank ye, Master Colvin," he said; I'm quite well, an' I'm gettin' on. I ain't a greaser now.”
“No, indeed !” I returned, being vaguely glad to hear this on account of my own position in society.
“No,” he continued, “I'm porter now. I'm workin' into it, and I'll be a guard in time. Inspector p’raps."
"I hope so, I'm sure. How's your father?” I was becoming atrociously patronising. He was ever so much taller and bigger than I was, being, indeed, by my side quite an ogre.
“Gettin' on capital lately, Master Colvin,” he replied. He evidently liked calling me Master Colvin, and was rather pleased and amused by my patronage.
Little Julie's out of an engagement now ; she was in the pantomime at the Lane last year. Sally-Beatrice Sarah, you know—she's coming out in the Op'ra, I b'lieve, at Paris ; but we ain't seen her for a long time. Lottie's still helping Madame Glissande. Father would ha' gone with Julie to Portsmouth for a week to see Aunt Jane "
“Nurse Davis ?"
“Yes, Master Colvin, she's very well, thank you ; I'm sure she'd be glad to hear as I've seen you. I'll tell her; she's a comin' up soon.”
“Is she? I should like to see her.” I said this partly out of politeness, and partly because I really meant it. Children can be as snobbish as their elders. Master Cecil Colvin, standing on the platform talking to Charles Edmund, was unconsciously developing snobbery. It was new to him, and he was hot and uncomfortable in the performance.
“Yes, mother — she's very well, Master Colvin, thank you ”—for I had not asked after her—"said as it would do father good to go for a little fresh air, and take a holiday while he was doing nothing; and so he'd ha' gone, but just then a friend told him as there was something for him to do as ’ud give
THE COMBERWOOD FAMILY - ALICE —
FIRST IMPRESSIONS-A WORD ON HANDS -NEW WORLD-THE ARRIVAL OF AN IMPORTANT PERSON – DESCRIPTION DEFERRED.
A VISIT to Ringhurst was a great change to a town boy like myself, whose only acquaintance with countryhouses was what I had made with such exteriors as I had seen during our walks on half-holidays.
Between twelve and thirteen I was man enough to travel alone, with my five pounds reduced to four pounds ten shillings, and to like my independence. With delight I hailed Austin and his younger brother, Dick, who wasn't at our school, as they in turn waved their hats to me from the platform. There was a beautiful carriage to meet us, with which I mentally compared my father's brougham, wherein I very rarely had the pleasure of riding.