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duced stumplets, or, in common phrase, kittened, the interest of the
CHAPTER XXIII. fact was augmented by the unusual
THE DOWN WELSH MAIL. variety exhibited by the kittens. One resembled the mother A DRIVE across the country, from caudally as much as in colour; Parkesbury to the nearest station one was a perfect black Manx, on the Great Western Railway, entirely tailless; and the third enabled Guy to avoid a return to resembled an ordinary domestic London, and afforded him some cat.
two hours more of his mother's For his mother Guy produced society than he would have other. one of the wonders of the French wise enjoyed. He struck the great workshop, one of those delicate, artery of traffic a full quarter of an toy-like conveniences, in which hour before the arrival of the neither Sheffield, nor Birmingham, mail train; and, on being conducted nor London have ever rivalled by the guard to the carriage deFrench handicraft. It was a little voted to the Plumport passengers, ivory case, with engraved steel lock found himself again in the company and hinges, containing a set of work of his former fellow-traveller, Mr. ing implements—thimble, scissors, Thomas Slingsby. bodkin, needle-case, and stiletto, Mr. Slingsby on this occasion of gold and steel. It was fortu. had abandoned his suit of varied nate for Mrs. Carrington, in this and splendid tartans for an attire matter, that Lady Ullswater was more suitable to hot weather. not at home when Guy called. Trousers of a light material, and a Not but that the mother would colour in which a reddish brown have had the preference, had both seemed to qualify a pale drab, were claimants on the loving gratitude surmounted by a double-breasted of the young man been in presence salmon-coloured Marsala waistcoat. at the same time; but it was a The shirt-front was of a Nankeen weakness of his character to give hue, varied by longitudinal stripes of the best he had, and the first of purple, with pink coral studs; but claimant of those two would have the collar was white, and the neckhad the etui. It is to be feared tie was of a delicate dove-coloured that, if Guy could have persuaded satin. The coat, a species of short himself that Philippa would have tunic, was of a brown mixture, accepted such a souvenir, it would umbes shot with white, and he not have seen daylight at Parkes- wore over it a whitish dust coat of bury.
thin alpaca. The wide-brimmed “And you really like it, Guy ? hat was of white felt, and the You think you shall continue to do attire was completed by a pair of SO. As soon as you have quite shining patent leather boots, of made up your mind I shall make that wonderful structure that adarrangements for leaving."
mits gores of an elastic material at “ You leave Parkesbury, mam- the side, being at the same time ma?”
garnished in front with numerous “ Where should my home be sinecure buttons—boots that probut near you, Guy ? Under your claim themselves to be shams at roof, or iny roof, till you bring me the top of their voice. The ex. a daughter; and then as near as I pression is hardly metaphorical; can find a nook.”
for boots of that sort always creak.
This splendour of attire was the
more readily commended to the he would you. Heard of him, I notice of Guy Carrington from the suppose ?" fact that Mr. Slingsby occupied “Yes, I have seen him.” two seats of the carriage by ar “Seen him!” said the other, a ranging himself in the shape of a little starting up; “then you have capital W., or more correctly speak- the opportunity of judging for ing, in that of a capital L., as the yourself of the truth of what I rise of the foot did not sufficiently say. You found him very civil, no balance that of the back to make a doubt.” proper-turned W. His knees, “No,” said Guy, “I did not that is to say, were supported by think him particularly civil.” the division between the seats, so “Is not that the very thing I that he sat in one, with his legs in told you?” replied the other. “No, another. He had a cigar with an no, there's no catching him withamber mouthpiece in his lips. out plenty of corn in the sieve.
"Told you we should meet You didn't mention my name to again," quoth Mr. Slingsby. him, I suppose.” “Going down to the Works ?"
It certainly had not occurred to “Yes,” said Guy, “I have just Guy to do so. come from Paris."
“Better not,” said the other, “Ah," said the other, “if you “much better not. You would had called on me first I could have seen him change colour like a have given you some first-rate lobster when it is boiled. Why?” introductions at Paris. There's no what do you think I said to him ; making one's way in the world inquired Mr. Slingsby, who had without good introductions."
now recommenced drawing freely “I had good introductions." on his imagination.
“ Hah! had you now—the Baron, Guy had no idea. I suppose ?”
“Sir,” said the other, “he in“ Yes, that was one."
sulted me something about the “Very little use. Never asked Athens and Pyrenees Railway with you to dinner, I'll bet five shillings," which he had to do. He wanted said Mr. Thomas Slingsby.
to chouse me out of some shares. Guy acknowledged that he did “Mr. Duke,' said I, you are a not.
duke now, but in two minutes you “ That's what I say," insisted will be a mangled mass of dog's the other. “For a thing to be good, meat if you repeat that last observait must be good. It doesn't do to tion;'and he took the hint,” added be all of one side. A man may Mr. Slingsby, looking fiercely, yet think no small beer of himself, admiringly, at his own closed and and yet be no more use to you than ponderous fist. oats to a horse when the ostler has “After all, what can you expect greased his teeth. There's the of a Frenchman ?” he resumed ; Duke of Forçada—now he's another “ look at their education. Poor instance."
little beggars, locked up in their “Instance of what ?” asked Guy. licees at five years old, and never
“ Instance of being no use. I've out of the sight of schoolmasters had that man running after me," and their spies till they are eighteen said Mr. Thomas Slingsby, draw. or nineteen; what can you expect ing on his imagination-“ like a of them? If there is one class of terrier, and then when he had got people that I have a greater con. what he wanted, no more thinking tempt for than another,” said Mr. of asking me to his house than Slingsby, “it's schoolmasters."
"How would you get on without they grow up, if there are any goodthem?” said Guy
looking servant-maids, they come “Here, in this country, strange to romp with them, quite naturally, to say," said the other, finally Keeps lads out of mischief, out of abandoning the stump of his cigar, the public-house, and bad company, “they are necessary evils—why, I and keeps the girls lively and fond should like to know, why necessary ? of their place. Then a young man Look at America-little plague grows up without any sneaking with the schoolmaster there, you shame and bashfulness, isn't afraid may take your oath; lads quite in to speak to a woman if he sees dependent at sixteen.”
her. I have known many a good "Then how would you propose chance lost just by a chap's being to train them till they are sixteen?” bashful.”
“With a good practical training," “You think, then, that confidence replied Mr. Šlingsby, loftily. “Teach is the great thing for success ? " them as boys what they want to “Strange to say,” said the other, know as men. What do lads learn "all my mistakes in life have arisen at Oxford or Cambridge, now ? from want of confidence, not want Boating and driving, and a little of self-respect—not so bad as that, useless Latin and Greek. What but a sort of hanging back. But use is Latin and Greek ? Boating live and learn. Some horses can't is all very well, but give a boy a stand too much corn, but none are dog and a gun, and he'll educate the worse for a good feed at proper himself, without a tutor in a square times.” cap and silk petticoats."
“Well,” said Guy, who began “Would you give them nothing for a few seconds to feel as if his but a dog and a gun?”
own education had been sadly un“A sound, practical education; practical, but who now became that's what I observed. Let them much amused, “then you would learn to read, and to write, and to give a day-school elementary educypher, at a good day-school. Never cation, and a free run of the house; keep 'em locked up in the nursery; what else?” that's the way to make molly “I don't object to a little parlez coddles. If there is one man for vous," said the other; “ not neces. whom I have a greater contempt sary, but, if a French master comes than another, it's a molly-coddle.” handy, it does no harm. Strange to
Guy wished to know how to avoid say, I often quite forget my French, becoming a molly-coddle.
though; not that it much matters. "Give 'em the run of the house," You see all foreigners, especially replied Mr. Slingsby. “Let them Frenchmen, are so confoundedly see what the servants are after. ignorant and self-opinionated, that How could you tell when a potato the less you have to do with them was properly boiled or a chop done the better, except in the way of with the gravy in it, if you'd never business. Then make 'em come to been in the kitchen, I should like you." to know? How is a man to order “You led me to understand that servants about properly, if he you had a large foreign connecdoesn't know how to do their work tion.” better than they do?”
“So I have so I have," said " Then the children would grow Mr. Slingsby. “A good horse is up with the servants ? "
never a bad colour. Business is “Quite right too,” said the other. business, if it comes from the old “Acquire knowledge of life. As gentleman himself, and must be
attended to accordingly.” And Mr. “No," said Guy. Slingsby lighted another cigar. “ See much of her ?”
Guy was not a connoisseur in "No." tobacco. But he observed that the Mr. Slingsby evidently meditated odour of the small dark-coloured a further attack on the subject of roll now in process of consump- Lady Frances. Then he thought tion was, to his unsophisticated better of it, and smoked. The train taste, more nauseous than that of slackened, approaching Swindon. the larger narcotic preparation in- “ Take my advice, and let me order flicted on him on the former you a glass of brandy and water," journey. He was looking with the said he, extricating his long legs effort of one who seeks to calculate from the carriage. “Waitress how long it will be before the won't try any tricks upon me. I enemy is reduced to its last ash, know too well what is the right when Mr. Slingsby, observing the sort. Have a glass ?” direction of his eyes, emitted a pro. And disgusted with Guy's unfuse volume of smoke, and said, sociable negatives, Mr. Slingsby “Have a weed ? Prime cheroots; entered into a lively and confidennothing worth smoking but che- tial conversation with one of the roots. Try one."
young women behind the counter. Guy, remembering the former profession of faith in something called Havannah, said, “I thought Havannahs were the best.”
CHAPTER XXIV. “ Aha, my boy," said the
SLINGSBY, SKIPPER, AND CO. smoker ; “can put you up to a wrinkle. You'll often hear of Ha. MR. THOMAS SLINGSBY appeared vannahs that are good-never be- to be engaged in a large and lieve them; Havannah is dead. His multifarious business in many parts foreman has carried on the busi. of the world. He was a partner, ness, but it's not the same thing as perhaps a sole partner, in many in the old man's time. No, no- firms. There were Thomas Slingsstick to cheroots; won't you have by and Co., of Lower Thames
street, and Skipper and Slingsby, “Thank you—no."
of Plumport, and Slingsby, Skip“Great mistake," said the other. per and Co., of Gloucester, and “However, that's your affair. We perhaps even more ; and Mr. were talking about education. Thomas Slingsby was perpetually Well, when a lad gets to fourteen, oscillating between these various or sixteen at the latest, put him at centres of attraction like a great the desk. Get him to real work plaid-coated pendulum. By the time he's eighteen or nine. The offices of this widely diffused teen you've made a man of him; firm in the town of Plumport confit for anything. You'd hardly sisted in one large room looking out believe it, now, but I was in busi over a convenient yard, accessible ness for myself before I was one by canal, by road, and by railway. and-twenty.”
A little wooden railing ran across “ Very early!”
this room inside the door. Within “Why, yes—very early-hardly the railing were two large desks— gives a man time to turn round. or rather one large double desk, Mean to marry and settle one of at which people had to stand, or to these days, though. Lady Frances perch upon high stools to write ; tt Plumville ?"
and a leather-covered writing table,
one ? »
with room for a writer to sit on “ Italian-no—parle Engleesh," each side with his legs under the said Mr. Slingsby. middle, between the little pillars “Monsieur parle Francais ?”. full of drawers.
“He says he's a Frenchman," Three or four clerks were gene- said the clerk. rally more or less busy in the room, “How can he be a Frenchman which contained, moreover, a copy- and an Italian too, you booby?” ing press, a large press or cupboard said his master. full of lettered drawers and pigeon. “Mosso—no parle Françaisholes, and a number of oblong parle Engleesh.” shields of cardboard, hung to hooks Mr. Macrocleptos dived in his on the wall, each of which was the pocket-produced a huge pocket cover of a pile of various sized book, selected from its depth a papers.
folded paper, entered within the It was the habit of Mr. Thomas rail, and advancing close to Mr. Slingsby to transact business aloud Thomas Slingsby, looked up in his in the office. Not that he dictated face. He came so close, and the after the manner of Mr. MacAn. difference of height was so great, drew; on the contrary, he either that his head bent back till his wrote or addressed his own letters, face was nearly horizontal. or gave general directions how to “Well,” said Mr. Slingsby, write them to a clerk. But he when he had read his note, “then talked freely and openly with all you can speak English ?” who came to do business. He “Ver leetle,” said Mr. Macroliked to be open and above board cleptos. to them.
What can we do for you here, Mr. Slingsby was in his office, eh?" reading the newspaper; three clerks “I-want-sipment for rotaie,” were diligently writing. “ Tele- said the Greek contractor. graph to Messrs. Slingsby and “What's rotaie ?” said the Co.," said he, “and ask if there is Other. any more intelligence."
“Vot you call rail.” A small man stealthily entered “Oh-shipping for rails—very the office. He looked round in a well. We're your people for that. deprecating manner. It is un Rails from Plumville Works I necessary to describe him, for it was suppose ?" no other than M. Macrocleptos. Mr. Macrocleptos nodded.
“Messire Slingbee," said he, “Where to ?” with a low bow to the clerk nearest “Pireé-dat is Aten. Grees, the door. The clerk pointed with you know,” explained the Greek, his pen to his master, and con- who knew no English. tinued writing.
“Very well — nothing easier. “I am Mr. Thomas Slingsby, Freight's now much fallen. Let of the firm of Skipper and Slings- you know price per ton?” by," said he,“ and ready for any “'Ow much," said the Greek, commands. Here I sit at the in a confidential whisper. receipt of custom.”
Mr. Slingsby kept dodging back“Il Signor parla Italiano ?” wards to avoid the actual contact on " What does he say?" said Mr. which Mr. Macrocleptos seemed Slingsby inquiringly to all his bent. As he put one leg back, the clerks.
other put the corresponding one “He says that he's an Italian," forward, so that they performed a answered one.
sort of orbit about the great desk,