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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


288 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. have greatly exceeded their ideas of economy. A thorough blood-a “good once-had-been”-was accordingly procured : and as they could not think of enjoying themselves separately, they had recourse to the contrivance of ‘‘ rideand- tie.” In this way, alternately riding and walking, they frequently went ten or twelve miles into the country of a morning. Neither of the two friends were good horsemen ; and the sorry appearance of the old hack, with the awkwardness of the riders, exposed them sometides to the ridicule of the neighbouring villagers. One day, Sunday too, it happened to be, they were proceeding down hill to Lasswade, where they calculated on arriving for dinner before sermon should be finished. Contrary to their usual custom, both were mounted at once, and Rosinante was jogging on very stiffly under the unusual burden, a,mid the jeers of a few idlers, who were attracted by the oddness of the spectacle. Perceiving that the parish church was about to pour forth its assembled worshippers, and anxious, if they could not get out of sight, at least to cut as smart a figure as possible, they had just spurred their veteran charger into something like a canter ; when 10 ! an unlucky stone came in contact with his foot, and away he rolled head foremost down the hill ! Overwhelmed with confusion, and stunned by the fall, the worthy equestrians were glad to effect a speedy retreat, and to drown all remembrance of the accident in an extra libation. ’ Though fond of good fellowship, and possessing a keen relish for the ludicrous, Mr. Cooper displayed, both in appearance and in manner, a high degree of dignity, and well knew how to exact the respect he was invariably prepared to yield to others. He was naturally of a proud and impetuous temper, but generous and warm-hearted. The unknown fate of his brother, with whom he had parted at Newcastle, often recurred painfully to his recollection. He could scarcely hope, still there was a probability that sooner or later some intelligence of him might transpire. One day, when absent in the county, a person called at the shop, apparently very anxious to see Mr. Cooper, but he would neither explain his business nor leave his address. At a late hour he repeated his visit for the third time, and was informed that, though still absent, he would be certain to find him by ten o’clock next morning. All this appeared mysterious enough to Mr. Cooper when apprised of the circumstance. He inquired minutely as to the personal appearance of the strangerhe became thoughtful-and was heard to utter involuntarily, “If he be the person I suspect, to-morrow will be the happiest day of my existence.” In this frame of mind he retired to a sleepless pillow, having first given directions that the stranger should be instantly admitted the moment he arrived. To-morrow came-the person called at the hour appointed-was shown into the parlourand Mr. Cooper, in a state not easily to be described, hastened down stairs to meet-whom ?-an impertinent tax-collector I demanding arrears that had been long ago settled, and for which the receipts were in his possession. The pleasing dream thus rudely dissipated-rage gave way to every other feeling ; and, on rushing down at the terrible noise that ensued, Mr. Cooper’s family
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