Which concerns itself with a hay-cart, and a belligerent Waggoner
It was upon a certain August morning that George Bellew shook the dust of London from his feet, and, leaving Chance, or Destiny to direct him, followed a hap-hazard course, careless alike of how, or when, or where; sighing as often, and as heavily as he considered his heart-broken condition required,—which was very often, and very heavily,—yet heeding, for all that, the glory of the sun, and the stir and bustle of the streets about him.
Thus it was that, being careless of his ultimate destination, Fortune condescended to take him under her wing, (if she has one), and guided his steps across the river, into the lovely land of Kent,—that county of gentle hills, and broad, pleasant valleys, of winding streams and shady woods, of rich meadows and smiling pastures, of grassy lanes and fragrant hedgerows,—that most delightful land which has been called, and very rightly, “The Garden of England.”
It was thus, as has been said, upon a fair August morning, that Bellew set out on what he termed “a walking tour.” The reservation is necessary because Bellew’s idea of a walking-tour is original, and quaint. He began very well, for Bellew,—in the morning he walked very nearly five miles, and, in the afternoon, before he was discovered, he accomplished ten more on a hay-cart that happened to be going in his direction.
He had swung himself up among the hay, unobserved by the somnolent driver, and had ridden thus an hour or more in that delicious state between waking, and sleeping, ere the waggoner discovered him, whereupon ensued the following colloquy:
The waggoner. (Indignantly) Hallo there! what might you be a doing of in my hay?
Bellew. (Drowsily) Enjoying myself immensely.
The waggoner. (Growling) Well, you get out o’ that, and sharp about it.
Bellew. (Yawning) Not on your life! No sir,—’not for Cadwallader and all his goats!’
The waggoner. You jest get down out o’ my hay,—now come!
Bellew. (Sleepily) Enough, good fellow,—go to!—thy voice offends mine ear!
The waggoner. (Threateningly) Ear be blowed! If ye don’t get down out o’ my hay,—I’ll come an’ throw ye out.
Bellew. (Drowsily) ’Twould be an act of wanton aggression that likes me not.
The waggoner. (Dubiously) Where be ye goin’?
Bellew. Wherever you like to take me; Thy way shall be my way, and—er—thy people—(Yawn) So drive on, my rustic Jehu, and Heaven’s blessings prosper thee!
Saying which, Bellew closed his eyes again, sighed plaintively, and once more composed himself to slumber.
But to drive on, the Waggoner, very evidently, had no mind; instead, flinging the reins upon the backs of his horses, he climbed down from his seat, and spitting on his hands, clenched them into fists and shook them up at the yawning Bellew, one after the other.