108 TYLNEY HALL. and parish ; both of which she contemptuously refused to communicate. Luckily the announcement of dinner interrupted any further conversation on the subject, and the mind of the magistrate, like that of Justice Greedy, took a turn towards
TYLNEY HALL. 109 yoicks ! which said quite as much, and seized the hand of the Justice and shook it heartily. He had been longing in secret to introduce the subject which lay uppermost in his heart ; and this fortunate coupling of Grace with Ringwood seemed to have broken the ice before him. 4< Egad, neighbour," he said, " I'm not much used to link my ideas together with : dog-couples but this toasting of your daughter and my son has put a strange thought into my head. They are both of an age, both of a height, or thereabouts, and one is my heir, and the other your heiress, which is as fair a start as heart can wish. Suppose we were to lay an even pony or two, which will be married first ? It would be a sporting thing ; and if Grace comes in winner, I shall enjoy what I never enjoyed before the loss of my money !" " Why then done, for a hundred !" said the Justice, who, like country gentlemen in general, was in some degree a sportsman ; and the generous influence of the grape, moreover, pre-disposed him to enter into the whim. " " Twice ! cried Sir Mark. " " Done ! again replied the Justice. " Three times?" " Done ! done ! and done I" cried the Justice ; " and there I must stop. And pray endorse your betting-book, ' strictly private/ with its entry of a certain gambling magistrate, who may have to-morrow to suspend a publican's licence, for allowing card-playing, Jonas Hanway, for instance, and his whist club at " The Rabbits." " You may suspend me with the licence," said Sir Mark, " when you can find any one to swear to their playing. But be easy about the betting-book ; we will be only upon honour." " By the way, Sir Mark," said the magistrate, " there is a third chance in the said matrimonial race, that we have both overlooked ; the possibility of the parties coining to the church neck and neck at the same time ! " A dead heat by Jove ! " exclaimed the Baronet, with well-feigned surprise, "and an old jockey and racer like me, to forget that such events may come off! Egad, neighbour, it would not be a bad way of hedging our money, eh ? " "