'There's Harry Thompson!'
'Where?' said Belinda, applying her glass to her eye.
'Lor, so it is! He don't see us, does he?'
'No, I don't think he does' replied the captain. 'Bless my soul, how very singular!'
'What?' inquired Belinda.
'There's Mary Golding, too.'
'Lor!--where?' (Up went the glass again.)
'There!' said the captain, pointing to one of the young ladies before noticed, who, in her bathing costume, looked as if she was enveloped in a patent Mackintosh, of scanty dimensions.
'So it is, I declare!' exclaimed Mrs. Captain Waters. 'How very curious we should see them both!'
'Very,' said the captain, with perfect coolness.
'It's the reg'lar thing here, you see,' whispered Mr. Cymon Tuggs to his father.
'I see it is,' whispered Mr. Joseph Tuggs in reply. 'Queer, though--ain't it?' Mr. Cymon Tuggs nodded assent.
'What do you think of doing with yourself this morning?' inquired the captain. 'Shall we lunch at Pegwell?'
'I should like that very much indeed,' interposed Mrs. Tuggs. She had never heard of Pegwell; but the word 'lunch' had reached her ears, and it sounded very agreeably.
'How shall we go?' inquired the captain; 'it's too warm to walk.'
'A shay?' suggested Mr. Joseph Tuggs.
'Chaise,' whispered Mr. Cymon.
'I should think one would be enough,' said Mr. Joseph Tuggs aloud, quite unconscious of the meaning of the correction. 'However, two shays if you like.'
'I should like a donkey SO much,' said Belinda.
'Oh, so should I!' echoed Charlotta Tuggs.
'Well, we can have a fly,' suggested the captain, 'and you can have a couple of donkeys.'
A fresh difficulty arose. Mrs. Captain Waters declared it would be decidedly improper for two ladies to ride alone. The remedy was obvious. Perhaps young Mr. Tuggs would be gallant enough to accompany them.
Mr. Cymon Tuggs blushed, smiled, looked vacant, and faintly protested that he was no horseman. The objection was at once overruled. A fly was speedily found; and three donkeys--which the proprietor declared on his solemn asseveration to be 'three parts blood, and the other corn'--were engaged in the service.
'Kim up!' shouted one of the two boys who followed behind, to propel the donkeys, when Belinda Waters and Charlotta Tuggs had been hoisted, and pushed, and pulled, into their respective saddles.
'Hi--hi--hi!' groaned the other boy behind Mr. Cymon Tuggs. Away went the donkey, with the stirrups jingling against the heels of Cymon's boots, and Cymon's boots nearly scraping the ground.
'Way--way! Wo--o--o -!' cried Mr. Cymon Tuggs as well as he could, in the midst of the jolting.
'Don't make it gallop!' screamed Mrs. Captain Waters, behind.
'My donkey WILL go into the public-house!' shrieked Miss Tuggs in the rear.
'Hi--hi--hi!' groaned both the boys together; and on went the donkeys as if nothing would ever stop them.
Everything has an end, however; even the galloping of donkeys will cease in time. The animal which Mr. Cymon Tuggs bestrode, feeling sundry uncomfortable tugs at the bit, the intent of which he could by no means divine, abruptly sidled against a brick wall, and expressed his uneasiness by grinding Mr. Cymon Tuggs's leg on the rough surface. Mrs. Captain Waters's donkey, apparently under the influence of some playfulness of spirit, rushed suddenly, head first, into a hedge, and declined to come out again: and the quadruped on which Miss Tuggs was mounted, expressed his delight at this humorous proceeding by firmly planting his fore-feet against the ground, and kicking up his hind-legs in a very agile, but somewhat alarming manner.
This abrupt termination to the rapidity of the ride, naturally occasioned some confusion. Both the ladies indulged in vehement screaming for several minutes; and Mr. Cymon Tuggs, besides sustaining intense bodily pain, had the additional mental anguish of witnessing their distressing situation, without having the power to rescue them, by reason of his leg being firmly screwed in between the animal and the wall.