So there was no great love between the only son and only daughter of the younger line of the Ruthyns.
I was curious to learn all that Milly could tell me of this new inmate of Bartram-Haugh; and Milly was communicative without having a great deal to relate, and what I heard from her tended to confirm my own disagreeable impressions about him. She was afraid of him. He was a ’woundy ugly customer in a wax, she could tell me.’ He was the only one ’she ever knowed as had pluck to jaw the Governor.’ But he was ’afeard on the Governor, too.’
His visits to Bartram-Haugh, I heard, were desultory; and this, to my relief, would probably not outlast a week or a fortnight. ’He was such a fashionable cove:’ he was always ’a gadding about, mostly to Liverpool and Birmingham, and sometimes to Lunnun, itself.’ He was ’keeping company one time with Beauty, Governor thought, and he was awfully afraid he’d a married her; but that was all bosh and nonsense; and Beauty would have none of his chaff and wheedling, for she liked Tom Brice;’ and Milly thought that Dudley never ‘cared a crack of a whip for her.’ He used to go to the Windmill to have ‘a smoke with Pegtop;’ and he was a member of the Feltram Club, that met at the ‘Plume o’ Feathers.’ He was ‘a rare good shot,’ she heard; and ’he was before the justices for poaching, but they could make nothing of it.’ And the Governor said ’it was all through spite of him—for they hate us for being better blood than they.’ And ’all but the squires and those upstart folk loves Dudley, he is so handsome and gay—though he be a bit cross at home.’ And, ’Governor says, he’ll be a Parliament man yet, spite o’ them all.’
Next morning, when our breakfast was nearly ended, Dudley tapped at the window with the end of his clay pipe—a ‘churchwarden’ Milly called it—just such a long curved pipe as Joe Willet is made to hold between his lips in those charming illustrations of ’Barnaby Rudge’—which we all know so well—and lifting his ‘wide-awake’ with a burlesque salutation, which, I suppose, would have charmed the ‘Plume of Feathers,’ he dropped, kicked and caught his ‘wide-awake,’ with an agility and gravity, as he replaced it, so inexpressibly humorous, that Milly went off in a loud fit of laughter, with the ejaculation—
‘Did you ever?’
It was odd how repulsively my confidence in my original identification always revived on unexpectedly seeing Dudley after an interval.
I could perceive that this piece of comic by-play was meant to make a suitable impression on me. I received it, however, with a killing gravity; and after a word or two to Milly, he lounged away, having first broken his pipe, bit by bit, into pieces, which he balanced in turn on his nose and on his chin, from which features he jerked them into his mouth, with a precision which, along with his excellent pantomime of eating them, highly excited Milly’s mirth and admiration.