'Here! Thou'st no delight in following the hounds as an Englishwoman should have,' said the gentleman. 'See to this here. That'll please thee perhaps.'
The lady smiled, sat down at a little distance from him, and glanced at Barnaby with a look of pity.
'He's an idiot, the woman says,' observed the gentleman, shaking his head; 'I don't believe it.'
'Are you his mother?' asked the lady.
She answered yes.
'What's the use of asking HER?' said the gentleman, thrusting his hands into his breeches pockets. 'She'll tell thee so, of course. Most likely he's hired, at so much a day. There. Get on. Make him do something.'
Grip having by this time recovered his urbanity, condescended, at Barnaby's solicitation, to repeat his various phrases of speech, and to go through the whole of his performances with the utmost success. The corks, and the never say die, afforded the gentleman so much delight that he demanded the repetition of this part of the entertainment, until Grip got into his basket, and positively refused to say another word, good or bad. The lady too, was much amused with him; and the closing point of his obstinacy so delighted her husband that he burst into a roar of laughter, and demanded his price.
Barnaby looked as though he didn't understand his meaning. Probably he did not.
'His price,' said the gentleman, rattling the money in his pockets, 'what dost want for him? How much?'
'He's not to be sold,' replied Barnaby, shutting up the basket in a great hurry, and throwing the strap over his shoulder. 'Mother, come away.'
'Thou seest how much of an idiot he is, book-learner,' said the gentleman, looking scornfully at his wife. 'He can make a bargain. What dost want for him, old woman?'
'He is my son's constant companion,' said the widow. 'He is not to be sold, sir, indeed.'
'Not to be sold!' cried the gentleman, growing ten times redder, hoarser, and louder than before. 'Not to be sold!'
'Indeed no,' she answered. 'We have never thought of parting with him, sir, I do assure you.'
He was evidently about to make a very passionate retort, when a few murmured words from his wife happening to catch his ear, he turned sharply round, and said, 'Eh? What?'
'We can hardly expect them to sell the bird, against their own desire,' she faltered. 'If they prefer to keep him--'
'Prefer to keep him!' he echoed. 'These people, who go tramping about the country a-pilfering and vagabondising on all hands, prefer to keep a bird, when a landed proprietor and a justice asks his price! That old woman's been to school. I know she has. Don't tell me no,' he roared to the widow, 'I say, yes.'
Barnaby's mother pleaded guilty to the accusation, and hoped there was no harm in it.
'No harm!' said the gentleman. 'No. No harm. No harm, ye old rebel, not a bit of harm. If my clerk was here, I'd set ye in the stocks, I would, or lay ye in jail for prowling up and down, on the look-out for petty larcenies, ye limb of a gipsy. Here, Simon, put these pilferers out, shove 'em into the road, out with 'em! Ye don't want to sell the bird, ye that come here to beg, don't ye? If they an't out in double-quick, set the dogs upon 'em!'
They waited for no further dismissal, but fled precipitately, leaving the gentleman to storm away by himself (for the poor lady had already retreated), and making a great many vain attempts to silence Grip, who, excited by the noise, drew corks enough for a city feast as they hurried down the avenue, and appeared to congratulate himself beyond measure on having been the cause of the disturbance. When they had nearly reached the lodge, another servant, emerging from the shrubbery, feigned to be very active in ordering them off, but this man put a crown into the widow's hand, and whispering that his lady sent it, thrust them gently from the gate.
This incident only suggested to the widow's mind, when they halted at an alehouse some miles further on, and heard the justice's character as given by his friends, that perhaps something more than capacity of stomach and tastes for the kennel and the stable, were required to form either a perfect country gentleman, a thoroughbred Englishman, or a genuine John Bull; and that possibly the terms were sometimes misappropriated, not to say disgraced.