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I was to leave home for the first time to go to Westminster. In vain did my youthful companions (some of whom were passing their holidays from that then celebrated school) attempt to convince me of the delights of Dean's Yard, the football in the cloisters, the cricket at Tothill Fields, the rowing and sailing on the river, the skating on the duck-pond, the shooting near the Willow-walk, the fights with the skies, i. e. blackguards, and above all, the jolly " tucks-in" at the establishments of the purveyors of edibles and buvables to the college, from Mouger the Jew, with his basket of sour oranges, flavourless grapes, acrid plums, and saccharine lollypops, to the tavern then patronized by the Westminster boys, in Bridge-street, near Palace Yard. But none of these anticipated pleasures could reconcile me to the thought of leaving home, to be separated from my younger brothers and sisters (for at this period I had as many junior to me as senior), to take leave of my parents for what I then thought an age—two months, to leave my pony Aladdin to the mercy of the groom, to part with Young Tip, the son of the canine friend of my childhood, and to bid goodbye to a troop of friends, the housekeeper Old Mother Burridge, as we then called a buxom widow of six or seven-and-thirty, Tom Prior the huntsman, Jem Curtis and Will Lathams, the whipper-in, John Farndale the gamekeeper, and last not least, Farmer Harris, who had enjoyed the delightful task of teaching my “young idea how to shoot,” had “entered” me with the foxhounds, and showed me the way across the country, he being himself one of the fastest men in the whole county. But time circled on; and the day previous to my departure for Westminster arrived. It was a glorious morning, and there was a lawn meeting of the foxhounds : although sadly dispirited at the thought of where I should be “ that time tomorrow," I mounted my pony, and, with a merry-hearted party, trotted off to a small wood within a mile of the house. There we immediately found, and in the ardour of the chase I had no time left me for reflection. After a brilliant run of five-and-thirty minutes we killed in the open-a rare occurrence in the wooded and hilly county of Sussex; and I was fortunate enough to get the brush—more a mark of kindness than desert, for although I rode forward I was not up to my usual form. Upon our return home, a proposition was made that we should wind up the shooting season in the home preserves ; and as the hour of the hounds meeting in those days was ten o'clock punctually, we were equipped for the field by one o'clock. Our sport was excellent, and I could not help contrasting this day with those of the next two months. Before dinner I gave strict injunctions to the groom to look well after Aladdin, and gave Young Tip over to the care of the gamekeeper. I then proceeded to my room, to superintend that awful task of packing; and what confusion here presented itself to me! Upon one chair lay my hunting-whip and spurs ; my shooting apparatus on a sofa ; while the floor was literally filled with articles of dress scattered about, like the leaves that strew the celebrated vale of Valambrosa. My fishing-tackle was stowed away in the wardrobe ; my mantelpiece was stocked with shot-cartridges, Aints, skates, foxes' brushes, wires which I had taken in the woods, fives'-balls and rackets, feathers for artificial flies, balls of twine for landing-nets, bonces and marbles ; in one corner of the room was a selection of ash plants for whips and walking-sticks; in another, cricket-bats and stumps ; and a huge glass case fitted with stuffed birds

and animals, which had fallen to my gun, or been ferreted by me, shewed what my prowess had been in the field. How all my necessaries," as they call them in the army, were to be put within the wooden walls of a schoolboy's deal box, was a problem I did not venture to attempt to solve ; and I left the elucidation of it to that most useful of all useful “helps"—the steward's-room boy, who valeted me. Making a most elaborate toilet—for I was a juvenile Brummel in those days I descended to the drawing-room, where a large party of country neighbours were assembled. The dinner went off with great spirit; the Nimrods and ramrods were equally delighted with their day's sport; bumper toasts were given when the ladies had left the room, for at that period the continental fashion of retiring almost immediately after the fair sex had not been introduced. Unlike the present fashion, it was a very late hour before (to adopt a line of one of Planche's clever parodies) “ John informed the company he'd taken up the tea.” No sooner did we enter the drawingroom than a carpet-dance was proposed ; and as waltzs and quadrilles were not even in perspective existence, we were compelled to be satisfied with what is now deemed a sad vulgarity--the English country-dance. This led to a cotillon, and it was nearly one o'clock before Sir Roger de Coverley wound up the amusements of the night. As I said “ goodnight” to relatives and friends, I remembered that in five hours the carriage was to be at the door, to convey me to the coach which passed within two miles of the house. I will not attempt to describe my feelings as I entered my own room : a cheerful wood-fire blazed on the hearth ; it was a bright moonlight night ; I looked out of my

window upon the ancestral trees, and in the language of the novellist, " threw myself upon my couch, and gave way to a flood of tears.” Nature came to my relief ; and after a few hours' repose, in which the scenes of the day flitted before me, I was awaked by the entrance of the housemaid, to light my fire. The window-curtains were thrown open, the candles lighted, and, to my dismay, I saw that the ground was partially covered with snow: shivering and shaking before a wood fire, that emitted more smoke than heat, I made my toilet, and descended into the breakfastroom, where a footman, in rather a slovenly attire, who was suffering from the effects of late and early hours, and no small quantity of negus and punch which he had appropriated to himself between the drawing and stewards' room, was now laying the cloth. My meal was prepared, but I turned from it with disgust; and rushing into my parents' rooms, took an affectionate farewell of them and my brothers and sisters. The carriage was at the door, my box placed within it, with a huge hamper containing school-boys' luxuries, the gift of the housekeeper, by its side, and a small paper gave me the list of the condiments Mrs. Burridge's kindness had prepared for me :-plum-cake, oranges, apples, almonds, raisins, currant jelly, biscuits, and strawberry jam. A brace of pheasants and a hare for my new tutor, my father's old schoolfellow, were hung on the lamps, while a basket of provisions for the road, enough to satisfy the appetites of the six inside passengers -- should the coach be full-were handed to me as I took my seat by the side of the underbutler, who was to escort me to Dean's Yard. After a dull and miserable drive through fields and plantations, that were most familiar to mescenes of youthful joys--we reached the ** Load of Hay,” a small wayside inn ; and at the door of it, to my great delight, I saw my friends Tom Prior and the gamekeeper waiting to receive me. They had bestirred the whole house, and I found a cheerful fire blazing in the kitchen. But I was not allowed to enjoy the comfort of it for many minutes, for the ostler, who had been upon the look-out, speedily entered and told us that the coach was in sight. The huntsman pressed both my hands, and wished me health and happiness, at the same time presenting me with a most beautiful hunting whip, as a remembrance of his regard ; while honest John Farndale, the gamekeeper, merely said —" Take care of yourself, Master Percy ; I'll look after Young Tip, and perhaps you'll allow me to put this collar round his neck,” displaying at the same time one of chain steel, with my names engraved at full length upon the plate. I tried to thank my two old sporting companions, but had scarcely uttered a word, when the landlord informed me that my luggage was packed, and that Jem-so the coachman was called—was ready.

"No hurry, young gentleman ;" said the above-mentioned knight of the ribands, “ I've a few minutes to spare.”

This was a delicate hint to me, as I was told by the huntsman to “stand a drop of purl," which I accordingly did ; and after warming himself thoroughly both without and within, the coachman-a specimen of that class in those days, fat, burly, and bloated-handed me in, then mounted the box, and after “ hying,” “ya-hipping,” and “gy-alonging," succeeded in getting the heavy vehicle, à six-inside coach, and its lumbering cattle into a trot. I then turned round to look at my companions, but although no great studier of Lavater, their physiognomies did not please me. There was an over-fed London grazier, rude both in health and manners ; an antiquated spinster, redolent of musk and Macassar ; a fat nurse and a squalling child, whose appetite could not be satisfied with gingerbread nuts and oranges, and whose temper could not be controlled by certain shakings and scoldings; a pert bread-and butter Miss (niece to the venerable specimen of virginity), who was returning to a finishing establishment at Clapham, and who divided her time between reading a dog's-ear'd book of sonnets, and ogling the only other passenger left me to describe. He, as I afterwards discovered, was a lawyer's clerk in a celebrated firm in Lincoln's Inn, and was as complete a buffoon and practical jester as it ever was my misfortune to encounter. Billy Sanders—so he was called—had attempted to be the Theodore Hook of a small coterie of limbs of the law.

He had got up a stupid second-hand hoax, which flashed in the pan ; and having failed in this, he was content to show his humour by breaking lamps, flooring "Charleys," wrenching off knockers, and sending barrels and hampers of stones, dead rats, and oyster-shells as Christmas presents to his friends in the country, who, seeing them marked game, with occasionally a pheasant's feather or hare's foot protruding, never discovered the joke until the carriage was duly paid, and the handsome cadeau opened amidst the smiles and jeers of the servants. Sanders was a buck of the first water ; for in those days the terms “ dandy” and “ exquisite” were scarcely known. His costume was a caricature of the dress of the time, which, being the period of the Peninsular campaign, bad given rise to a military style ; and the Bond-street lounger appeared as did young Latitat upon this occasion, in a lightish grey great coat and cape, imitation military buttons, trousers, or rather over-alls of a darker colour, strapped with white leather, with an opening on the sides, near the boots, fastened together with loops or buttons. A steel curb chain from the top loop going under the boot, which added to the noise of the fixed military spur, made a prodigious rattling over the stone pavement. Mr. Sanders had always an eye to business ; and hearing that I was well connected, he paid me every attention during the journey ; but fini...; that the old maid was awfully afraid of robbers, he indulged us nearly the whole way up with stories of the highwaymen of the day. One anecdote he told us, which I have never yet forgotten, and although nearly forty years have elapsed since that period, I can even now “ in my mind's eye” see the startling effect his dramatic powers produced upon the inside passengers, as he recounted the story. The grazier dropped his chin, and looked what the world call • flabbergasted.” The fat nurse ejaculated Oh, my!” “ Oh dear!” and “Bless me!” The prim old lady shook like an aspen leaf ; and the young Miss was all attention, intending to embody the incident in a story for the " Polite Museum of Literature.”

Two travellers were journeying together over a dreary common,' began the lawyer, “when one remarked to the other that he trusted they should not fall in with any highwaymen, as he had one hundred pounds secreted in his boot.”

“Oh!" said the grazier with a start, feeling his breast pocket, where evidently his treasure was.

Sanders proceeded :—“ They had not gone many miles before they came to a most secluded spot, where four cross roads met.”

“Bless me !" cries the nurse, “I hope this wasn't the place.”

The new-made earth round the finger-post,” continued the clerk, “ and a gibbet at some little distance, with a body suspended in chains to it, showed that two victims had lately suffered the extreme penalty of the law: they had been companions in crime, and having robbod the mail, had killed the guard. An offer of a free pardon, and two hundred pounds reward, had been proclaimed, when one of the wretches actuated by vile lucre, turned king's evidence, and split upon his friend. Although he had taken part in the robbery, as he did not fire the fatal ball his pardon was granted ; but on the morning of the execution of his partner in guilt, remorse seized hold of him, and by his own hand he rid the country of a villain.”

Here one of the horses gibbed at a hill, and the tremulous virgin was nearly thrown into an hysterical fit.

“But to my story—The two travellers reached the spot I have described ; the wind whistled across the heath ; the chain of the gibbet clanked.''

Here the coach stopped suddenly, and the pole-chain made a noise very akin to that which Sanders was describing.

• The birds of carrion hovered over the new-made grave ; the body of the murderer da igled in the air.”

At this moment the strap of the tarpaulin on the roof broke from a sudden jerk, and swinging against the window broke it into atoms.

“Oh! oh! oh!” ejaculated my companions.

“Well, as they passed the gibbet, three men suddenly rushed forward, determined, as they swore with a dreadful imprecation, to have the money or the lives of the travellers.

"Spare our lives ! Take all I have,' said one, here it is !

offering a handful of silver ; but my companion has a larger sum hid away in his left boot.'

"• Traitor !' exclaimed the other ; while the highwaymen, with black faces and cocked pistols, proceeded to take off his boots.

“ If you've spoken false,' shouted one of the marauders, . I'll give you an ounce of lead for your pains.'

“He's spoken truth!' responded the searcher. Here's a prize!-a hundred pound in Bank of England notes !'

“Securing the prize, the two travellers were blindfolded, and bound to the finger-post, while the horse was taken out of their gig and turned loose on the common. It was an hour before they were released from their position, during which period the ill-used victim vented his imprecations pretty loudly. Upon reaching the next town, where a deposition was made before the magistrate, the worthy justice commented in rather a severe strain upon the base conduct of the wretch who would act so treacherous a part.

“ Hear my palliation !' meekly said the accused.
** Oh, stand down !' responded the inan in authority.

“One word !' continued the other. “My object in the declaration I made was not to screen myself at another's expense. I knew that my companion had a hundred pounds hid in his boot. I had twelve hundred pounds in my waistband. Had I been searched, that sum must have been discovered. I thought it better to sacrifice the smaller to the larger sum. I now return the money I was the means of his being deprived of, and in future recommend him to be more prudent in keeping his own counsel.'”

Here the coach drove up to the door of that excellent hostellerie, the King's Arms at Godalming, where the father of the present popular host, Mr. Moon, was ready to receive us. Our dinner went off dully. I was too dispirited to eat. Despite of a few practical jokes, such as throwing marbles into the fire, to crack all over the room, emptying the cayenne bottle into the porter, placing detonating balls upon the chairs of the company, filling the salt-cellars with white pounded sugar, all of which feats were performed by Mr. Sanders, while we were warming ourselves in the kitchen. But I must get on with my journey : After a drive of nearly twelve hours we approached the metropolis, then badly and most dimly lighted ; and it was not until near seven o'clock that the “ Highflyer" coach pulled up at the Golden Cross, Charing Cross, having been thirteen hours in accomplishing a journey of sixty-three miles, and which, in our days, would take a man from London to Liverpool and back, or to Exeter three times in the same number of hours. After paying our fares, taking leave of Mr. Sanders, who promised to call some day in Dean's Yard, our luggage was deposited in a hackneycoach, and we were driven to the town family-mansion. My uncle was temporarily residing there, but, unfortunately for me, was from home for a day or two, so that, instead of finding a welcome from this kindhearted relative, I was shown into a huge cold drawing-room, with a newly lighted fire, where the furniture had on its winter gear, and all looked dull and disconsolate. The housekeeper soon made her appearance-a prim and portly woman ; and instead of allowing me to run into her snuggery, warm myself by the crackling fire, and make my way to the sweet stores, she formally told me that tea would shortly be served,

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