Why going to bed, confound him, intoxicated intoxicated

by three o'clock."

" "


Pooh, pooh, pooh said the Deputy.

" I shouldn't mind," continued Twigg, " if he made a

beast of himself like a gentleman. I've seen the genteelest

people get tipsy towards tea-time. But here he is, unsober

before dinner no ; manners, no breeding, no nothing.

any body


drunk but him ? No says you, not a soul ;

common politeness would dictate, the visitors first."


In this strain the indignant Ex-Sheriff was eloquently

proceeding, when, suddenly, a drop of rain, as big as a

bullet, fell splashing on the bald head of the Deputy ; and

then came a flash of lightning so vivid, and a clap of thun-

der so astounding, that in his confusion the host himself

led a retreat into the house, followed by the company en

masse, the gardener and Pompey, loaded with the helpless

carcass of Twigg, junior, bringing up the rear. The cub

was immediately consigned to his chamber, with a fervent

parental wish that he might be bed-ridden for a month to

come; but the mother, who had recovered from her swoon,

fell into a fit of tenderness, and apologised that her poor

son, being so close confined to business, was apt, when he

had a day's pleasure, to overdo himself. " It will be a

frightful storm," she added, as a fiery izzard seemed written

on the distant sky, " but, thank goodness, here we all

are, with a good roof over our heads."

" Not all ; yonder are some that want the whipper-in,"

whispered Sir Mark to the Justice, at the same time directing

his attention to the window : and the Magistrate's brow

darkened to match the Baronet's, as Grace was seen lean-

ing on Raby's arm, and Miss Twigg actually clinging to

Ringwood, in their progress towards the house. The two

fathers exchanged a gloomy and significant glance, nor did

their features brighten when, at the make-shift banquet

which followed, the same couples chose to sit together,

evidently enjoying the casual dearth of glass and china that

compelled Grace and Raby to take wine from the same

tumbler, and Flora and her votary to partake of fruit with

only one dessert plate between them. The countenance of

Mrs. Twigg, on the contrary, beamed with joy and triumph

at witnessing the hopeful flirtation of Matilda with the

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