Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

than before. • Brother John,' quoth

came very well in character.

• Brother Old Crab, coming in between the claps John,' said he, 'you have got a sad of thunder, hard words pay no bills; trick of swearing-leave it off, it is vulit were well if you could swear yourself gar and wicked. It may be vulgar,' out of debt, but that is no such easy said Mr Decastro, but as to being matter : a word with you by-and-by wicked, nobody knows what that word upon swearing: in the mean time, a means but you parsons.' 'Dost know word upon your worldly matters; you the reason ?' quoth Old Crab. 'No,' have an income of twenty thousand · said Mr Decastro, what is it?' 'Bepounds a-year, and cannot make both cause, brother John, thou art an ass.' ends meet; the devil is in it if this be 'You parsons,' said Mr Decastro, 'tell not enough to buy meat, drink, and men they are wicked, as doctors tell cloth, for a man's family if he had a men they are sick, and sell as much wife that bred like a rabbit :-you have nauseous stuff for the soul as they do only two children, brother John, and for the body, to answer the same end, have got some gravel in your shoes videlicet, to pick people's pockets. The already; you will get into jail, you more fool you, brother John,' quoth blockhead. Mr Decastro asked him, Old Crab,'to call in both the physician with an oath, if he got all the rents paid and the parson when you lay sick of a in the north, where his estates lay. fever : but more of this another time. • Never made a better gathering, John,' I leave London to-morrow for the north, quoth Old Crab; "there was a little so give us thine hand, brother John : behind last time, but all's paid up to a be careful;—and remember these words :' penny, and that's more than your trades- upon which Old Crab took a bit of chalk men can say, the worse luck for them, out of his pocket, and wrote the followbrother John.' 'You look at me as if Í ing short sentence upon a large mahocould help it, brother Bat; if there's no gany door, in letters big enough for a more money the rascals must wait.' man to creep through, But they will not wait,' quoth Old

Be FRUGAL,' Crab; "they say you're a young man, and, shaking hands with his brother and it will

do you good to stop you in John, left the room, time.' "They’re devilish kind when their own interest lies in the way to “ As soon as Old Crab was gone out serve a man; they will arrest me?'

of the room, Mrs Decastro came into 'There are three of them that only wait it, for she heard him go, and so might to see me again, brother John, and if I

any who could hear a clap of thun. come empty-handed they will put exe

der ; for his loud voice, his thick boots, cutions into your house; they bade me

and his heavy oaken towel, made altotell you so.' 'A civil message !' said

gether a monstrous noise. What is Mr Decastro. 'A civil fool's head !'

this ?' said she, looking at the chalk on quoth Old Crab ; ' I tell you I have got the door. Upon which Mr Decastro no more money, what am I to do? drive explained matters. • What a vulgar the disease from one joint to another; beast it is,' said she, which compliment borrow ?'. What's five thousand pounds

was meant for Old Crab. 'I wish, to a man of my property ?' said Mr Decastro; “it is but the prick of a pin, the likeness of a human being to do

my dear, you would get something in though it smarted a little at first;

your business for you, and turn this borrow the money, brother, Bat, and huge bear out of the house.' Old Crab pay the scoundrels directly.' 'I have

was a man of vast stature. done it,' quoth Old Crab; "it was but to

find an honest man, my dear,' said Mr return it if you did not agree to it.'

Decastro, 'that will take all the trouble Why didn't you tell me so," said Mr for nothing as brother Bat does ?' Decastro; 'what is the good of making

• Well,' said she, ' I had rather pay and a man fret ?'

* Some bad liquors get be cheated than be plagued with that better by fretting; I had a mind to try great bear.”the experiment upon your constitution,' quoth Old Crab. “Now, look

Bat's exhortation has, however, very you, brother John, I have promised to little effect, for we find

next year that pay this money back again next year “if Mr Decastro had played the devil with five per cent interest ; so that will the year before, he had played the

that is year, it will add to the weight of the devil and his dam in the last; next year's expenses—this by way of to say, he and his wife together, who, memorandum, be frugal. Old Crab instead of making the memorable

a parson, 80 a little preaching sentence which Old Crab had chalked

.

"Can you

was

folks say.

up on the drawing-room door the women here presently. I would have rule of their conduct and a better a little talk with you. Upon which was not to be seen upon the door at Old Crab seized his brother by the Delphos—had squirted money away arm, as a kite would a lark by the like kennel water.” Old Crab lets wing, and off he carried him, with as him alone, and the creditors very much

ease, into the library; when, soon come down on the spendthrift, having shut the door, he read him a who

lecture that lasted two hours, the “Drew upon his banker like a dragon : subject of which was profligacy, atheat last he drew a bill which the banker ism, and bad company." Acting could not answer, and for this reason, upon Bat's advice, who had in vain viz. he had no more money: so the

tried to get him out of London, Mr man who came last drew a blank, and

Decastro calls his debts in, and "his he was not the only one. Mr Decastro had not paid half what he owed before

creditors came about him in a full the cat was gone and her skin too, as

gallop like a troop of horse, and it would bave puzzled a

charged him with their bills in a very wiser man than Mr Decastro to pay a gallant manner." All they owed in bill without money, so those whom he the world lying "in mountains of could not pay in money be paid in pro- paper on the table before them,” Mr mises; which is a sort of payment that and Mrs Decastro, both of them is not in full of all demands. Now what

somewhat deficient in arithmetical Mr Decastro had not in him people could knowledge, set to work to ascertain not get out of him, so a great many of the amount. the civilest of his tradesmen-for the saucy ones came first-were forced to sit “They went to work again after dinner, down gentlemen of the future tense, and kept on summing until five o'clock videlicet, those that shall or will be paid. the next day, when they came to a grand Time ran on as fast as Mr Decastro ran total which frightened them both out of in debt, and brought round another year their wits; for they had made it out that with all the encumbrances of the for- Mr Decastro owed more money than mer two upon its back added to its would pay off the national debt. Mrs

At Lady-day Old Crab came as Decastro wrung her hands; Mr Deusual, paid his brother's rents into the castro gave himself a dismal blow on the banker's hands, and left town without forehead, and they went to bed very well seeing him ; be had already seen more satisfied in one thing, viz. that they than was good of him. When a man were ruined. The morrow happened gets well into the mud, the exertion to be Sunday, a day in which all tradesone uses to draw one leg up sinks the men's shops, and books, and mouths other still deeper than it was before ; are shut as far as business and money this was Mr Decastro's case, for the matters go, which made it a day of first step he took when he got his rest to Mr and Mrs Decastro, who money from the north was, to pay the thought they might as well sleep in civil men who had been so polite as to

their beds as at church, so they staid take promises instead of cash the last at home and slept soundly without the year; now when thes were all paid help of a sermon. This made Mr Dethere was nothing left for the saucy

castro fresh for the affairs of the next ones, who came about Mr Decastro's night, when he put some things into a head and ears like a nest of hornets. portmanteau in the middle watch, took Old Crab had an eye upon his brother, a servant and a couple of horses, and and knew how he was going on. rode out of the gayest city in the world

Nothing will cure this crack-brained as if it had been all on fire, leaving a coxcomb but a good smarting,' quóth note to inform Mrs Decastro that he he; ‘John is not in parliament this time, was gone on business into the north." for the electors did not get drunk and of course did not choose him, so the next Mr Decastro gallops away till he visit I pay him may be in jail.' Petticraft arrives at Oaken Grove, Old Crab's the lawyer told Old Crab how matters farm in the north, which is close to went on from time to time."

the family estate and castle. Bat, Brother Bat, coming to town at though the elder brother, has been Lady-day, finds his brother in a ter- disinherited by his father in favour rible state of mind, thinking himself of John; and subsequently taking utterly ruined. “Come into the li orders, lives at the rectory of Oaken brary,' says Bat, ‘we shall have the Grove, and manages his farm.

own.

** Hide me, brother Bat, hide me from tressed lady sitting with her children the world!' says John, 'forlam a beggar. in very disconsolate mood, and “bade At which words the poor gentleman wept. her prepare to go back with him into Old Crab knew his brother to be in some very great mistake, but was willing to house." However, Old Crab, being

the north, but she refused to leave the make the best of it, and said, 'Look youquite resolved to get her out of Lonmy advice in time: if those words which don, resorted to å very effectual exI chalked up upon your door, some pedient. The house in London had years ago, had been made the rule of once been a Lord Delamere's, and your conduct, you had no cause to sit had passed into Mr Decastro's hands by my fireside with your stupid head for a play debt; and Mr Decastro, between your knees sniv'ling like a to be revenged on Lord Delamere for blockhead.' 'Do not abuse a man in distress, brother Bat,' said he, sobbing children into the street. However,

a quarrel, had turned him and his "O that you had never been disinherited ! Lord Delamere was now a rich man, O that I had never come to the estates ! I might have lived frugally, like you,

and Old Crab, who knew the story, upon a little, and never come to want offering him the refusal of the house, and beggary ! _ Hold up your head, he re-purchases it. Mrs Decastro, on you fool, and answer me some questions? learning this, falls into a terrible you have called in your debts, you say, fright, for she expects, as she reasonand cast up all that you owe ; what is ably might, that Lord Delamere will the total ?'' When Mr Decastro named now revenge the injury. the sum, Old Crab fell a-laughing. Mr Old Crab and she have a very Decastro said it was inhuman to laugh at animated dialogue when they meet; his miseries, however he might deserve but she gets very little comfort from them all."

him, as he insists on her leaving Old Crab, however, does not un

London forthwith. Her sister-in-law, deceive him as to his exaggerated Lady Budemere, coming in to conestimate of his liabilities, but thinks dole with her, asks if she has not it better to leave him in error-and applied to Bat. “I fell into an takes the opportunity, while he is in agony in his presence,” says. Mrs this state of alarm and despair, to Decastro, “and I might have kicked

open a plan of works against his and sprawled about the floor in conbrother's infidelity, and brought his vulsions for anything he cared about artillery to bear upon his profligate the matter ; he stood in the room and vicious life.” After some argu- like the statue of Hercules leanment

ing on his club, and took no more

notice of me than if a great cat had “: Upon my soul,' said Mr Decastro, squalled.” 'I had no idea that these parsons had so much to say for themselves;' and began

While poor Mrs Decastro is thus to think, and wisely enough, that it expiating her extravagance in the would be no disparagement to his abilities purgatory of a house filled with to be convinced by the same arguments, workmen, taking down and packing and believe in the same things, which a furniture, and making ready for the Newton, an Addison, and a Locke had new proprietor, and of which she been convinced by, and believed in, has only three rooms left sacred to before him. Old Crab now put some her privacy, Old Crab is settling good books into his brother's hands, with the creditors. One of these, which gave great furtherance to his ar:

Sir John O., who had lent Mr Deguments, and left him to meditate upon,

castro four thousand pounds, is so and to digest, what had been said. He nettled at the parson's sarcastic treatthen set off for London, armed at all points, to meet Mr Decastro's creditors." ment that he called him an imper

tinent rascal, and struck him a violent While Mr Decastro is thus in the blow on the head. way to be converted to Christianity,

“It was a little lucky for the baronet his wife is in a very unpleasant posi- that Old Crab had left his oaken towel tion in her fine house in London, to with his hat and his bundle of papers in whose relief Old Crab was coming, the other room, though good fortune was like a knight-errant, with all speed. not all on his side, for a doctor had come The knight-errant' finds the dis- to visit a patient in the house and left his hat and cane upon a chair at hand, The same post which brings Mr seeing which Old Crab seized Sir John Decastro this comfortable news, also 0. by his collar, and gave him the doc- brings orders from Old Crab for rentor's cane as long as it held out, and to dering the castle fit for the reception the baronet's cost it was a pretty tough of its owners. It is described as a one, and somewhat larger than a man's magnificent old place, and, as Bat two thumbs put together, Sir John had taken care to keep it in repair, was miserably beaten, for he could no more contend with a man of Old Crab's it is soon rendered commodious. vast strength and stature than he could

“ Matters were now prepared at the with old Hercules, and was not a little old castle for the reception of his family ; glad to see the cane fly in pieces and

the beds were all warmed, rooms well get rid of the iron ferrule which armed aired, owls and jackdaws smoked out of its point like a thimble, and gave him

the chimneys, toads as broad as a pair of a great deal of trouble. As soon as

bellows, and lizards as long as a man's Old Crab found nothing to be left of leg, had been driven out of the cellars, the cane in his hand but the golden and the spiders had all notice to quit head and the silk ribbon, he let his vic

with a great broom at their tails. Mr tim go, and asked him if he had a mind

Decastro's dead stock had been come to give him another knock on the pate ?"

some time, and disposed of in the proHaving accomplished the payment himself, and Mrs B. Decastro, when

per places under the eye and order of of the creditors to the satisfaction of the day came to bring the living. Now all, Bat finds no difficulty now in Mr Decastro was walking, as usual, on getting Mrs Decastro out of London, the banks of the lake in a deep muse for she had had a terrible fright upon family matters, with more runfrom hearing Lord Delamere in the ning in his head than was running out house; and when Old Crab came of it, his hat pulled over his eyes, his thundering up the stairs to tell Mrs hands thrust into his breeches' pockets, Decastro the stage-coach was at the

and his cane stuck in his left boot, door, “she jumped into it with as

when, all on a sudden, he ran against much joy as if she could have jumped

Old Crab, who took it into his head to into Paradise.”

stand still, seeing him a-coming, and Meanwhile Mr Decastro (are you

put out an elbow to receive the momen

tum of his brother's body. 'How now, following us, reader? do you catch

brother John?' quoth he. "I have the humour of the thing ?) was in a brought your wife and family out of the very perturbed state of mind at south-hold up thine head, man, and Oaken Grove, not entirely about his look the world in the face again--all's worldly affairs, for “though he had paid, and your creditors kicked out of run away from all other creditors,

the creation. Mr Decastro was much conscience knocked at his door with affected at the sight of his brother, but a long bill ;” and we find him one

we have not time to draw his picture, day in a state of great agony, partly den made him feel just as if his heart

when bouncing upon Old Crab on a sudfrom remorse at his ill-spent life, partly from grief at seeing his pater- hands and many thanks for services now

was dipt in cold water. Shaking of nal woods and fields spread out before passed, and sundry questions upon divers him, which he fancies are forfeited for matters.—'What is all mine in the north, ever, when Old Crab's pretty little brother Bat ?' daughter Julia brings him the follow- Old Crab. Every acre, John, and ing letter :

the old castle to boot-all's sold in the

south : but you will find bread and * BROTHER JOHN,

cheese here, and a good house to eat it "I have paid all your debts, and set in, if you have wit enough in your you clear of all the world: but it hath head to keep a good house over it, and ovat you all you were worth in the know when you are well. I have just mouth to do it: all the property in the put your wife and family into the castle, north is still your own. A plank hath and come out to look for you. been saved out of the wreck, it is the Mr Decastro. Well, but how can thruiture of your house in London-it this be, brother Bat? my wife and I in on the road to the north-I shall set made out the aggregate debt to beout with your wife and family in three 0. C. A fool's reckoning—and what days' time. Yours,

else could be expected when two fools " BARTHOLOMEW DECASTRO.” laid their heads together? I paid away

one hundred and ninety thousand pounds amongst your tenants, and keep up the to redeem your body from your credi- credit of the family: the old mansiontors, and your soul from the devil, I house is never the worse for wear, and I hope, at the same time, which is more am sure no gentleman needs be ashamed to the purpose; for both were in a hope- to live in it: it is a noble place, brother ful way, this running as fast into hell as John, the more's the pity the family that into a jail, and that they might both should ever run away from it. do at the same time and go the same “ Mr D. When I leave it, brother Bat, way.

you shall read the burial-service over "Mr D. Brother Bat, the talk which my body; when I go out of it I'll go out we have had together has made another of it with my heels foremost and a man of me: I believe all that you have wooden suit upon my back. l'll go no told me to be true, because I cannot more amongst the vipers and scorpions prove it to be false; and I am apt to of the world : I have felt their teeth and think it no very easy matter to deceive venom in my flesh. If I go into London me; for, though books and I were never again, ram me into a cannon with a much acquainted, I never heard of a fool charge of gunpowder at my tail and being born in our family.

shoot me into it. O. C. Peace be to the fools, John! I “ 0. C. I say again the third time, remember when your mother was all's well, brother John, if you hold in brought to bed of an ass; and the way the same mind; it is early days with you in which you have gone on for some yet-time will try matters. Let us walk Fears past puts no great addition to up to the castle ; your wife and children the wisdom of the family : but you are

will be glad to see you." come to be another man, you say; pray what sort of a gentleman is he?

Mr and Mrs Decastro are now com“Mr D. One of your own making,

fortably settled in the old castle in brother Bat, as far as opinion goes ; I the north, where the scene for the am brought over by your arguments most part lies, considerably astonto your creed ; there is more in them, ished at finding themselves so much I will fairly own, than I ever expected richer than they expected. Mr Deto find, or I can gainsay, which weighs castro has, as we have seen, quite not a little with me: I have got my made up his mind never to venture catechism by heart since you have been back into the gay world, but he is gone, can answer any question in it, not so confident of his wife's firmness and understand both question and answer by the help of your little book of to resist temptation. He hits upon explanations : in a word, I am become

a notable plan to get her to join in a Christian, and am willing to be con

his

purpose. firmed the first opportunity.

“A woman,” says he, “is like a "0. C. All's well if you hold in the weathercock; if she goes stiff, a little mind, John; and you have been a stub- sweet oil will sometimes do the busiborn piece of stuff :—be but as obstinate ness; we must oil her over when we in the right as you were in the wrong, meet, and see how matters will be ; and you shall be made a missionary by then a little breath of wind, perhaps, order of Government to convert London

will turn her like the weathercock to Christianity; and it is high time it aforesaid.” In pursuance of this were looked to before we send out another cargo of parsons to convert the Machiavelian policy, he proceeds, at savages, when there is so much work to the first opportunity, to open a conbe done at home. I can't see what the versation, in which he compliments plague can be expected in foreign parts her on her good sense—so much when they have let the devil beat them superior, he says, to his own, and of upon their own dungbill.

which the readiness with which she "Mr. D. The conversion of the place left London is a notable sign; preis like to be put off for the present, if it tends to believe that her fondness for waits till I come into it; for by the pleasure was all assumed merely to glory of the stars I'll never run my head humour and indulge him ; that she into the smoke of it again, as long as the motion of my body lies under the direc- fashionable follies ; that, being now

had ever been ready to contemn all tion of my will.

"0. C. I say again all's well, brother disgusted with his own folly, he will John, if you hold in that mind: you

no longer tax her patience by drag. have enough left here in the north, ging her into scenes so uncongenial now all's paid, to live like a nobleman to her, and which he has now resolved

« AnteriorContinuar »