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PUNCH’S PENCILLINGS—NO. X.
[Illustration: THE DINER-OUT.]
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THE OMEN OUTWITTED:
OR, HOW HIS REVERENCE’S HEELS TOOK STEPS TO SAVE HIS HEAD.
“So, Dick, I mean your ‘reverence,’ you like the blessed old country as well as ever, eh, lad?”
“As well, ay, almost better. My return to it is like the meeting of long-parted friends—the joy of the moment is pure and unalloyed—all minor faults are forgotten—all former goodness rushes with double force from the recollection to the heart, and the renewal of old fellowship grafts new virtues (the sweet fruits of regretted absence) upon him who has been the chosen tenant of our ‘heart of hearts.’”
“His reverence’s health—three times three (empty them heeltaps, Jack, and fill out of the fresh jug)—now, boys, give tongue. That’s the raal thing; them cheers would wake the seven sleepers after a dose of laudanum. Bless you, and long life to you! That’s the worst wish you’ll find here.”
“I know that right well, uncle. I know it, feel it, and most heartily thank you all.”
“Enough said, parson. By dad, Dick, its mighty droll to be calling you, that was but yesterday a small curly-pated gossoon, by that clerical mouthful of a handle to your name. But do you find us altered much?”
“There is no change but Time’s—that has fallen lightly. To be sure, yesterday I was looking for the heads of my strapping cousins at the bottom button of their well-filled waistcoats, and, before Jack’s arrival, meant to do a paternal and patriarchal ‘pat’ on his, at somewhere about that altitude; a ceremony he must excuse, as the little lad of my mind has thought proper to expand into a young Enniskillen of six feet three.”
“He’s a mighty fine boy—the lady-killing vagabone!” said the father, with a kind look of gratified pride; and then added, as if to stop the infection of the vanity, “and there’s no denying he’s big enough to be better.” Here a slight scrimmage at the door of the dining-room attracted the attention of the “masther.”
“What’s the meaning of that noise, ye vagabones?”
“Spake up, Mickey.”
“Is it me?” “It is.” “Not at all, by no means. Let Paddy do it, or Tim Carroll; they’re used to going out wid the car, and don’t mind spaking to the quality.” “Take yourselves out o’that, or let me know what you want, and be pretty quick about it, too.”
The result of this order was the appearance of Tim Carroll in the centre of the room—a dig between the shoulders, and vigorously-applied kick behind, hastening him into that somewhat uneasy situation, with a degree of expedition perfectly marvellous.