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it to, or even to converse with, but us and his servants ? and, as for them, I should be much surprised if their master is half so happy, for there is a great deal of merriment in their hall, though none at all in his dining-room. . Indeed, Jim Juniper says he would much rather drink punch with Simcoe, the butler, than claret with my lord.
6. There is merriment then in the hall ?"
“ Yes; but only when my lord is out of the way, for if within hearing he stops it all.”
“ You quite amaze me,” said I, “and I should be glad if you
could account for it." “ Why, you see,” returned he, “I can look as far into a mill-stone as another. I am sorry to say my lord marquess, though so great a man, is
66 What ?"
And even if I were not his confidential lawyer—that is to say, for the Northumberland estate, which, by the bye, and between ourselves—but I hope I am safe (here he looked round the room and at the door).
“Oh, quite so," returned I; “ depend upon it our conversation
goes no further.” “ Well, I only meant,” proceeded he, “ that the marquess saying all men in office are rogues, and you being one, you might
Here I laughed so heartily, that it stopped him. After a moment he went on, by observing,
« Even if I did not know that the Northumberland, and, as I have heard, almost all his other
property, is dipt beyond recovery-at least by him, which is enough to make any one look black-still it is easy to see that there is something else that gnaws him; and that is the reason why, after being not over amused alone, he likes to amuse himself with laughing at the gauger, who, I must say, is a neat article in his way."
66 And you ?”
“O, me! Why, he has often business to talk about, and pours out his complaints to me, not only against the country bankers for being so costive about advances, but also against the world in general, particularly the politicians in it, all of whom, he says, are fools or knaves, envious, lying, and slandering, treacherous, and I know not what besides. Hence, he says, he would rather live in woods by himself, and eat nuts like a squirrel, than receive and give feasts, as he used to do in London and Northamptonshire; and that's the reason why he has shut himself up in Castle Dull, which had not been inhabited for fifty years, till he came down to it a few months ago. But mind, you are upon honour, poz, and won't peach ; for it would get me into a devil of a scrape, being a confidential agent,
you know, if, though it be true, I were to tell the world he is done up."
I again assured my trusty chum and mirror of confidants that he was safe, and thanking him for this information, which was to me very important, or might be so, in the affair I had
in the affair I had in hand, I discharged the reckoning, and remounting my chaise, proceeded on my journey.
I ARRIVE AT THE MARQUESS'S CASTLE.—AN
ACCOUNT OF IT,
Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle ;
SHAKSPEARE.- Richard II.
BELFORD Castle, or Tower, for both names were common to it, was, as I have said, still twenty miles off, and it was evening (the sun being set) when I approached it. Parrot's account of the intervening country, particularly after I got to the town of Belford, was by no means exaggerated. Such a black, naked, wet moor, or rather morass, could hardly be seen, even in the wilder parts of Northumberland. I say wilder, because the beauties of the Tyne, the noble site of Hexham, and many other fine lines of the county, have always been admired by me.
Here, however, if a man was intent upon finding a place to increase his disgusts at the world, I
thought he could not have succeeded better than the marquess, when his election fell upon the spot in which this ancestral fortress had been placed. It must have been of this bleak and iron region that old Canterbury thought, when, speculating how to secure the country from the inroads of the Scot, while Henry V. warred in France, he assures his master,
“ They of those marches, gracious sovereign,
Shall be a wall sufficient to defend
According to their present appearance, the good archbishop might rather have said, that no wall was necessary, for there was nothing to pilfer. Except, indeed, the castle itself, and the park surrounding it, abruptly starting up, like an oasis in the desert, there was nothing to be seen for miles but slate quarries and wet heather, on which browsed a score or two skeletons of cattle and stunted sheep.
By the park.gate was a mere country hovel, by way of lodge, out of which issued a dirty old Hecate, to open it, without shoes or stockings, and with only one petticoat, in which, too, there was more than one rent.
When I entered the park, what struck me was, its wild and uncultivated look, though a paradise to the surrounding country. The ground plot of it was rather peculiar, composed of hills of different