Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 3/Evan Harrington - Part 22
EVAN HARRINGTON; or, HE WOULD BE A GENTLEMAN.
BY GEORGE MEREDITH.
CHAPTER XXVIII.TOM COGGLESBY'S PROPOSITION.
The appearance of a curricle and a donkey-cart within the gates of Beckley Court, produced a sensation among the men of the lower halls, and a couple of them rushed out, with the left calf considerably in advance, to defend the house from violation. Towards the curricle they directed what should have been a bow, but was a nod. Their joint attention was then given to the donkey-cart, in which old Tom Cogglesby sat alone, bunchy in figure, bunched in face, shrewd grey eyes twinkling under the bush of his eyebrows.
"Oy, sir—you! my man!" exclaimed the tallest of the pair, resolutely. "This won't do. Don't you know driving this 'ere sort of conveyance slap along the gravel 'ere, up to the pillars 'ere, 's unparliamentary? Can't be allowed. Now, right about. Aimmediate!"
This address, accompanied by a commanding elevation of the dexter hand, seemed to excite Mr. John Raikes far more than Old Tom. He alighted from his perch in haste, and was running up to the stalwart figure, crying "Fellow! fellow!" when, as you tell a dog to lie down, Old Tom called out, "Be quiet, sir!" and Mr. John Raikes halted with prompt military obedience.
The sight of the curricle acting satellite to the donkey-cart quite staggered the two footmen.
"Are you lords?" sang out Old Tom.
A burst of laughter from the friends of Mr. John Raikes, in the curricle, helped to make the powdered gentlemen aware of a sarcasm, and one, with no little dignity, replied that they were not lords.
"Are ye judges?"
"We are not."
"Oh! Then come and hold my donkey."