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WALTER CHILDE.

BY MR. BULLER OF BRAZEN NOSE.

CANTO VI.

MEANTIME, suppose them safely housed and drest

For Lady Poyntz's entertainment grand,
Whereto at this set time were bid the best,

And choicest company of Berkshire land.
Poor Walter had, though for time sorely press'd

Ten thousand interrogatories to stand
From good Dame Alice, which his speed delay'd,
And took him full ten minutes to evade.

Scarce was he usher'd, when a friendly gripe

Took his hand captive. “My good fellow Wat!
Delighted-got your note. So all was ripe

For near ten years, till Catberine Seymour's plot
Brought it to bear? Your visage is a type

Of your supreme good fortune, which is not
More than I wish'd, Heav'n knows! but past my hope.
You're one of us now—'Gad, you 'll have full scope.
“And such a creature ! all you could desire-

A little termagant till six years old :
I knew the chit; all Spanish dash and fire,

But well brought up; a heart of first-rate mould:
Not that she'd suit a common-place esquire ;

But for a man of mettle, true and bold
Of word and action, she'd face fire and water-,
Just what you'd look for in a soldier's daughter.
“ None know on't but my mother, Forde, and I.

I put Jack Shirley on another scent.
There's dancing here, and so forth, by and by;

And our coach, by the time your things are sent,
Will take you home whene'er you wish to try

A change from all this county botherment.
We dine with you to-morrow ; Forde, a cousin
Or two, and our three selves; just half a dozen.
“How d’ye like Catherine ?-quite off-hand and arch ;

Don't mind her nonsense-she is sound at heart.
And so she told you all ?-you stole a march

On us, Sir Benedict :-decisive, smart,
As in your o'er-sea project (devil starch

The old fellow's hide who drove you to that start,
And tan his hide for pettifogger's vellum !
He dines no more at our house, I can tell him.)
“ Forde is a gentleman; and, by the by,

He's here, on the qui vive, to wish you joy;
Oh! and about your client. Forde and I

Had settled to remove Webb's cause, my boy,
Up to the London courts, that you might try

Your hand again'twould have ensured employ.
But that you want not now. I wrote you word,

But you had started. How betimes you stirr'd!
VOL. 11.

37

« Now for my mother ; it is nearly three,

And we are starving. Dinner quickly, John. Oh, there she is besieged ; e'en let her be.

That fool the mayor !-Shirley and I push'd on
To warn you, for poor Alice Ward, you see,

Ran frantic to his office, and the son
Of an old owl - There, don't you see him now?
What do you think of his bedizend frow ?
“ You don't mind meeting Barebone here, poor devil ?

He got most terribly set down to.day
By th’ foreman, so I wish'd to make the civil

For once ; the fellow's harmless in his way;
The old man is a pest, a public evil ;

But he can scarce last long : the son, they say, Has his good points, though weak. Forde, here's your man ; Now ask him how he likes his backwood plan. " Don't wring his hand off. So it seems we both

Fought upon different sides at Roundway Down ? I knew it not last night, I'll take my oath.

Forde, you kept snug our friend's by-gone renown.
Our standard, too—I well remember, troth,

That desperate mêlée,-I with a crack'd crown
Was left for-Dinner! truce to our debate :
Forde hands your wife, my boy ; look you for Kate."
What Walter's answers were, I quite forget ;

And, if I recollected, time slips fast.
There was old armour and a buhl beauffet

In the great dining-hall to which they pass'd ; But how the party look'd, or what they ate,

Things of the knife-and-fork-and-needle cast, The milliners and cooks could tell, no doubt, Who drest the dinner and the diners-out.

The ladies gone, and drank with cordial cheer.

Up rose Sir Henry Poyntz. “John, more Bordeaux. Mr. High Sheriff, friends and gentles dear,

And comrades whom I served with years ago,
Charge glasses ;-I wont say, when emptied clear,

Discharge them o'er your heads; none here, I know,
Are roysterers, and in mercy we must spare
Poor Lady Poyntz's curious Venice ware.

Pledge me, I pray, as neighbours, to the health

Of my friend Counsellor and Captain Childe. He was (I smuggle no one here by stealth,)

A tough King Charles's man; but these his wild
And fighting days are over, and by wealth

And station we may find him reconciled
To the existing state of matters, such
As Heaven decrces--they have not served us much.
“Some may think otherwise ; whoe'er they bc,

They'll find a right good neighbour in my friend.
His health, then, and I thank your courtesy,

That hath borne this my prosing to an end." The toast was echo'd as we hear and see

When men in social intercourse unbend With wine and chat :-thought Walter, “Oh, ye powers ! Now! and this same time four-and-twenty hours !"

No time for thought, though ; there not often is,

When summon'd by the tacit requisition Of silence. Reader, whether sage or quiz,

If you stood never yet in this position,
I pity you in prospect

;—what a whiz
Of crude ideas, all struggling for admission,
Rush to your pate, defying all arrangement!
Bolt something out you must, to scape derangement.

But he, well-grounded in forensic art,

And feeling his own self-esteem touch'd nearly, Spoke, as he always acted, from his heart,

And said his short say manfully and clearly.
He added, “It is now my bounden part,

As on due thought I purposed most sincerely,
To make one person reparation due.
Sir,” (turning to poor Barebone,) " it is you.

I fancied it my duty yesterday

To state what roused your spirit as a son; What I say now, I was prepared to say

When, last night's converse hardly yet begun, Some other subject drew your thoughts away ;

In fact a first brief, whether lost or won, Tempts lawyers to o'erstep the strict propriety Which should prevail in business and society.

“ Observe, however, for I'll not deny it,

I hold your father, jury, judge, and all,
Clean wrong in law, and mean, please God, to try it

With all good speed, in Westminster's old hall.
But that's no cause, at least I can't espy it,

That need occasion—I'll not say a brawl
Between us, but a single angry thought.
I beg your pardon, for I feel I ought.”

I need not give the bravos which ensued

From guests, mayor, sheriff, host; nor need I say Hands were exchanged. Poor Barebone, who had stew'd

And fretted with vexation half the day,
Mumbled acknowledgment and gratitude,

And really felt most anxious to repay
Tho generous tact which colour'd his own case,
And brought him off with unexpected grace.

Anon he clear'd his throat, and pledged his word,

Both in his own and in his father's name, The case and cost should be forthwith referr'd

To any two friends there,—twas all the same. This tit-for-tat proceeding, simply stir'd

By impulse, and a sense of honest shame, Gain'd him, he quickly found, much estimation, And turn'd out worth his whole past education.

The tables were removed a whit perchance

Earlier than usual in that jovial day,
As the great hall was wanted for the dance ;

And on the bowling-green the gentles stray
By twos and threes; the time did now advance

To six, and Walter long'd to get away
To-not his own home, surely; yet the force
Of Poyntz's words implied it so, of course.

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