be satisfied. And then the betting—what
a deal we may make by the betting—and that
we shall have all to ourselves, you, I, and the young
woman; the brewer will have no hand in that.
I can manage to raise ten pounds, and if by flashing
that about I don’t manage to make a hundred,
call me horse.’ ‘But suppose,’
said I, ’the party should lose, on whom you sport
your money, even as the birds did?’ ‘We
must first make all right,’ said the landlord,
’as I told you before; the birds were irrational
beings, and therefore couldn’t come to an understanding
with the others, as you and the young woman can.
The birds fought fair; but I intend that you and the
young woman should fight cross.’ ‘What
do you mean by cross?’ said I. ‘Come,
come,’ said the landlord, ’don’t
attempt to gammon me; you in the ring, and pretend
not to know what fighting cross is! That won’t
do, my fine fellow; but as no one is near us, I will
speak out. I intend that you and the young woman
should understand one another, and agree beforehand
which should be beat; and if you take my advice, you
will determine between you that the young woman shall
be beat, as I am sure that the odds will run high upon
her, her character as a fist-woman being spread far
and wide, so that all the flats who think it will
be all right will back her, as I myself would, if
I thought it would be a fair thing.’ ‘Then,’
said I, ’you would not have us fight fair?’
‘By no means,’ said the landlord, ’because
why?—I conceives that a cross is a certainty
to those who are in it, whereas by the fair thing
one may lose all he has.’ ‘But,’
said I, ‘you said the other day that you liked
the fair thing.’ ’That was by way
of gammon,’ said the landlord; ’just, do
you see, as a Parliament cove might say, speechifying
from a barrel to a set of flats, whom he means to
sell. Come, what do you think of the plan?’
‘It is a very ingenious one,’ said I.
‘Ain’t it?’ said the landlord.
’The folks in this neighbourhood are beginning
to call me old fool; but if they don’t call me
something else, when they sees me friends with the
brewer, and money in my pocket, my name is not Catchpole.
Come, drink your ale, and go home to the young gentlewoman.’
‘I am going,’ said I, rising from my seat,
after finishing the remainder of the ale.
‘Do you think she’ll have any objection?’
said the landlord.
‘To do what?’ said I.
‘Why, to fight cross.’
‘Yes, I do,’ said I.
‘But you will do your best to persuade her?’
‘No, I will not,’ said I.
‘Are you fool enough to wish to fight fair?’
‘No,’ said I, ‘I am wise enough
to wish not to fight at all.’
‘And how’s my brewer to be paid?’
said the landlord.
‘I really don’t know,’ said I.
‘I’ll change my religion,’ said
Another visit—A la Margutte—Clever