“Oh! didn’t you know you were done, sir?”
became general at the winding up of the tune. Boys with their elders frisked as they chimed it, casting an emphasis of infinite relish on the declaration ‘done’; as if they delighted in applying it to Mr. Pole, though at their own expense.
Soon a verse grew up:—
march’d and call’d on Mister Pole,
Who hadn’t a penny, upon his soul,
For Ipley came and took the whole,
And didn’t you know you were done, sir!”
I need not point out to the sagacious that Hillford and not Mr. Pole had been ‘done;’ but this was the genius of the men who transferred the opprobrium to him. Nevertheless, though their manner of welcoming misfortune was such, I, knowing that there was not a deadlier animal than a ‘done’ Briton, have shudders for Ipley.
We relinquished the stream of an epic in turning away from these mighty drums.
Mr. Pole stood questioning all who surrounded him: “What could I do? I couldn’t subscribe to both. They don’t expect that of a lord, and I’m a commoner. If these fellows quarrel and split, are we to suffer for it? They can’t agree, and want us to pay double fines. This is how they serve us.”
Mr. Barrett, rather at a loss to account for his excitement, said, that it must be admitted they had borne the trick played upon them, with remarkable good humour.
“Yes, but,” Mr. Pole fumed, “I don’t. They put me in the wrong, between them. They make me uncomfortable. I’ve a good mind to withdraw my subscription to those rascals who came first, and have nothing to do with any of them. Then, you see, down I go for a niggardly fellow. That’s the reputation I get. Nothing of this in London! you make your money, pay your rates, and nobody bothers a man.”
“You should have done as our darling here did, papa,” said Adela. “You should have hinted something that might be construed a promise or not, as we please to read it.”
“If I promise I perform,” returned Mr. Pole.
“Our Hillford people have cause for complaint,” Mr. Barrett observed. And to Emilia: “You will hardly favour one party more than another, will you?”
“I am for that poor man Jim,” said Emilia, “He carried my harp evening after evening, and would not even take sixpence for the trouble.”
“Are you really going to sing there?”
“Didn’t you hear? I promised.”
“Do you know what it is you have promised?”
Adela glided to her sisters near at hand, and these ladies presently hemmed Emilia in. They had a method of treating matters they did not countenance, as if nature had never conceived them, and such were the monstrous issue of diseased imaginations. It was hard for Emilia to hear that what she designed to do was “utterly out of the question and not to be for one moment thought of.” She reiterated, with the same interpreting stress, that she had given her promise.