ABSTRACT

On our arrival at the Magpie and Punchbowl, we found the ferocious Grimes seated alone in the parlour, with an empty pot in his st, and a short pipe in his mouth, warbling an uncouth melody. ‘Hilloah! my boys, I’m glad you’re come,’ quoth he; ‘I was just going to turn into my truckle-bed; the old girl hasn’t le the bar this blessed day; the devil a pull at the tap have I had,’ and he made a signi cant motion with his horny hand expressive of the act of drawing beer; ‘and no more chalk on the slate for Jack Grimes, d-me.’ Wisp speedily soothed his querulous feelings by o ering to stand treat for a su ciency of ale, and proposed an adjournment into the bar, where previously he had engaged a bed for me. ‘I have managed it all with Betsy,’ said Grimes, in one of those con dential whispers which serve to reach the most inattentive bystander; ‘we’re to cut our stick254 in a few days; I’ve got her thumb to it;255 an elopement, d-me; what a sentimental turn out! ha, ha!’ and he burst into a vociferous laugh: ‘well, it’s a d-sight better than tossing three days and nights on a tar-barrel, eh!’ an event, by the bye, which served as a constant reference to Grimes, when he would fain spin out his discourse. ‘Here we are, mother,’256 cried he, addressing the landlady familiarly; ‘and that for your threats,’ snapping his ngers; ‘here’s a gentleman o ers to tip up for the guzzle – don’t you, Wisp? Come, let us have some ale, for I am as dry as an alligator when the Nile is backward in coming forward; not a drop has passed my lips this day;’ and this eccentric individual con rmed the assertion with his accustomed oath.