Abbildungen der Seite

perty, and I have suffered myself to be fooled out of my business; my girls are gone, and I gave up a fine connexion to become your wife.” “And,” said Cuthbert, still clinging to the hope that she really did love him, “for himself alone,” “ and I am still ready to fulfil the engagement.” Tom Noddy—thought Nubley. “Are you?” said the lady. “Thank you for nothing. I am not likely to throw myself away upon an old bankrupt.” “Oh ' Mrs. Brandyball,” said Kitty, in a tone which delighted Nubley, who entertained a sanguine expectation that the exposure of the roundabout governess's real character would work well in bringing the truant heart of the elder o back to its natural, or, at least, its most congenial orne. . “Oh !” cried the infuriated woman, “I don't know what you mean by oh Miss. My belief is that you care about as much for your “Pappy,” as you call him, as I do. You loved him for what you thought you could get, and I–but no matter, I must be paid, and that directly—I say, directly, Sir,” looking at Nubley, “for all that is due for the board and education of the girls.” To attempt a description of Cuthbert's countenance, or the agitation of his frame, while the great lady in the little parhour was fulminating all these her denunciations, would be impossible; he turned deadly pale, his limbs quivered, and he sank back like a corpse against the back of the sofa. Kitty rushed out of the room, and, in less than a minute, returned with Hutton and some water. Nubley rose from his seat, and lifted poor Cuthbert up. “It's all very fine, fainting,” said Mrs. Brandyball, “but tricks upon travellers won’t do. I have been imposed upon, ruined, destroyed.” “Hold your tongue, Ma'am,” said Nubley. “I shall do no such thing, Sir,” screamed his female antagonist. “This is my house, and I shall do as I please in it. “I am very glad, Ma'am,” said Nubley, “to find that it is your house, because in that case my poor friend here is not responsible for any portion of either rent or furniture.” * I don’t mean that, Sir,” exclaimed the lady, while Hutton was endeavouring to restore poor Cuthbert to a sense of his situation. “He is responsible.” “Ah!” said Nubley, “ so you say, Ma'am.” “Say,” screamed she, “I not only say, but know. Who WOL. is. 18

is to pay the bills which have been just brought in, besides others that I expect 4–Who is to pay the upholsterer's bill —the jeweller's bill—the 25 “You, Ma'am,” said Nubley:—“that's a settler—eh ! don't you see 1–if-and see what a virtue there is in an if– if you, out of pure love and affection for my respected bit of archment in calice pantaloons, had married him, he, poor ear body, would have been in for it: but, no, there is no responsibility, Ma'am ; he admits eighteen shillings and sixpence for a toothpick, for which, in his name, I will pay; but as for the rest, that's your own affair, and you may go and whistle for it, old lady.” “Old what, Sir " said Mrs. Brandyball: Old devil—thought Nubley. “You are extremely civil, Sir,” said she ; “but that won’t do.” “Yes, it will,” said Nubley. “If you will show me any authority from Cuthbert to you to use his name and obtain credit at these shops, then I will not deny his liability; but, if not ** “Mr. Gurney,” said the lady to my recovering brother, “do you not recollect the jeweller's bill 3–did you not get credit there—eh {" “Yes,” said Cuthbert—“eh !—dear, yes—I - own that eighteen shillings—eh, dear!—and sixpence—-for a toothpick; but ** “A what l” cried the lady. “Do you mean to say ** “I mean to say, Ma'am,” said Nubley, “that my friend here is not answerable for any extravagant bills of yours.” “Then, Sir,” said the lady, walking up to Nubley, in a kind of Amazonian march, “who is to pay them " “You, Ma'am, if you please,” answered Nubley, by no means intimidated with her manner of approach; “Mr. Gurney shall pay you every farthing due to you for the education of the girls, and whatever you choose to charge for board and lodging, but * > “ Board and lodging, you vulgar monster!” cried the lady; “do I keep a boarding-house—a lodging-house?” “Yes,” said Nubley, “both—and something worse for all I know—only don't be saucy. Now, I'll tell you—you thought you had duped and deluded this poor dear friend of mine—a piece of parchment in calico, eh?—into marrying {j and if it hadn't pleased Providence to ruin him beforeand, then you'd have had him now; when he gets out of his fainting-fit he’ll find exactly the sort of wife he would

[ocr errors]

will just tot up your account for the schooling and that, I'll arrange the whole matter. I don't think it would be pleasant for my friend to stay here any longer; and his circumstances will not allow him, as you know, to support his present mode of living.” “I never make out accounts,” said the lady, “especially for persons situated as I have been relatively with the poor old man. I only want to know if you will pay the tradesmen's bills which I have incurred in expectation of the union of your friend with myself.” “Not one penny, Ma'am,” said Nubley. “What, not the jeweller's " “No—not a farthing, Ma'am,” said Nubley, “beyond the eighteen shillings and sixpence for the tooth-pick, which he admits.” “Tooth-pick 1" said the lady, with a sneer, evidently intended to convey an expression of contempt derogatory to poor Cuthbert's “ivory.” “A greater scamp I never heard of,” said Mrs. Brandyball ; “but l’ll hunt him—pursue him—I’ll have the money.” *No, you won't,” said Nubley; “you are luckily found out, Ma'am ; and if my friend is ruined to a certain extent, he is saved from a much worse ruin which was in store for him.” At this moment, Kate returned, having been evidently crying. She was dressed for a start—bonnet, shawl, &c. “Oh, Miss Pert, you are come,” said Mrs. Brandyball; “much good you'll come to, my dear (with a sneer). And where are you going to 1—to the linen-draper's prentice, or the dancing-master 3" - “I’m going,” said Kate, bursting into a flood of tears, “with my poor dear father-in-law, wherever he goes.” “Affectionate love!” said Mrs. Brandyball; “going with Pappy " “Yes, Ma'am,” said Kate, “to the world’s end with him; and if it hadn't been for what I learned under your roof, I never should have deserved the insults you have cast upon me. “Fine girl!” said Mrs. Brandyball; “a very fit daughter for a bankrupt impostor.” “Ma’am,” said Nubley, “we are rather pressed for time —will you make out your bill, and we—” “There's no bill,” said Cuthbert, recovering from his trance, and seeming really to awaken to a “sense of his condition"— “Mrs. B. has had five hundred pounds last week.”

“Oh "said Nubley; “tolder lol lol!—five hundred pounds —that's a settler —we want no bills. Hutton—pack up— pack up—make haste, we are going.” “Yes,” said the lady, “but the bills I have incurred—” “I tell you again, you must pay them,” said Nubley. “No, no,” said Cuthbert, “let me do what is right—I would rather—eh dear!” “Rather,” said Nubley, “you are a bankrupt—you can do nothing—no l—old parchment in calico!—I'll take you out of this, and whenever you find it inconvenient to settle those accounts of the jeweller, upholsterer, and other similar sort of people—” “Yes, Sir,” said Mrs. Brandyball, attentively, and with a degree of mingled interest and civility. 44 Recollect, Ma'am, the old proverb about the slip between the cup and the lip—but don't trouble Mr. Gurney; you have got the goods—you will have to pay for them. And so now, Hutton, how do we get on 7" “The carriage is at the door,” said Hutton, to whom, in point of fact, Nubley, upon his first arrival, had given instructions to get horses ready—the appropriate appearance of which startled poor Cuthbert, and made Kitty as happy as possible. “So,” said the lady, “you are going—are you!” Nobody answered, but all proceeded in their different modes of preparing for a departure. here are several ways in which rage, disappointment, vengeance, jealousy, despair, &c. &c. &c. may be exhibited. The great heart of the combustible Brandyball was not to be trifled with; with her it must be all or nothing; either the explosion would be something that nobody could withstand, or all the elements of confusion must be hidden under a bushel. She saw that she had over-reached herself; a few days more would have united her to Cuthbert, and, bankrupt or not, all her expensive bills, run up, not upon his personal responsibility, but upon the contingency of his marriage, would have fallen upon him, and by so much the more have decreased the dividend on his estate; but this was not destined to be—she was quite lawyer enough to know that. The failure of her eat object beat her down, and the very recollection of the wning flattering devotion she had paid to the poor invalid whom she, in the plenitude of her rage, had now denounced, drove her to the conclusion that her best course would be to treat the parting trio with what she considered contempt; and therefore, when the carriage was announced packed and ready, she struck her forehead with her hand, and ran out of the

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »