It was not badly carried out; Prince Henry, when he did not giggle, acted beautifully; and Falstaff really did very well, though his eyes were often directed downwards, and the curious, by standing on tiptoe, obtained not only a view of Prince Hal’s pink petticoat, but of a great Shakespeare laid open on the floor; and a very low bow on the part of the heir apparent, when about to change places with his fat friend, was strongly suspected of being for the purpose of turning over a leaf. It was with great spirit that the parting appeal was given, “Banish fat Jack, and banish all the world!” And there was great applause when fat Jack and Prince Hal jumped up and drew the screen forward again; though Uncle Geoffrey and Aunt Mary were cruel enough to utter certain historical and antiquarian doubts as to whether the Prince of Wales was likely to wear the three feathers and ribbon of the garter in his haunts at Eastcheap.
In the concluding scene the deputy lieutenant’s uniform made a great figure, with the addition of the long-breasted waistcoat, a white scarf, and the white cockade, adorning Alex, who, with a boot-jack under his arm, looked as tall and as rigid as he possibly could, with a very low bow, which was gracefully returned by a royal personage in a Scottish bonnet, also bearing the white cockade, a tartan scarf, and the blue ribbon. Altogether, Prince Charles Edward and the Baron of Bradwardine stood confessed; the character was solemnly read, and the shoe pulled off, or supposed to be, as the lower screen still remained to cut off the view; and then the Baron indulged in a lengthy yawn and stretch, while Prince Charlie, skipping into the midst of the audience, danced round Mr. Langford, asking if he had guessed it.
Beatrice had not judged amiss when she thought charade-acting an amusement likely to take the fancy of her cousins. The great success of her boot-jack inspired both Frederick and Henrietta with eagerness to imitate it; and nothing was talked of but what was practicable in the way of scenes, words, and decorations. The Sutton Leigh party were to dine at the Hall again on Thursday, and it was resolved that there should be a grand charade, with all the splendour that due preparation could bestow upon it. “It was such an amusement to grandpapa,” as Beatrice told Henrietta, “and it occupied Fred so nicely,” as she said to her father; both which observations being perfectly true, Mr. Geoffrey Langford was very willing to promote the sport, and to tranquillise his mother respecting the disarrangement of her furniture.