Page:Ainsworth's Magazine - Volume 1.djvu/23

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7
THE MISERS DAUGHTER.

head of hair, sir, very fine; but must lose it. Very well for Cheshire—but wont do in London. The ladies will laugh at you. Nothing so ungenteel as one's own hair. I've a fine head of hair myself, but can't wear it. Must have a wig. Wigs are as essential to a gentleman's head now a days as lace to his clothes. I have wigs of all sorts, all fashions, all prices; the minor bob; the Sunday buckle; the bob-major; the apothecary's bush; the physical and chirurgical tie; the scratch, or blood's skull covering; the Jehu's Jemmy, or white and all white; the campaign; and the Ramellies. If you'll step in, I'll shew you the last new perriwig—the Villiers—brought in on the great beau of that name,—have heard of him, I dare say, sir,—and which all our brights, smarts, putts, and jemmies, are wearing. I have the counterpart of Beau Villiers's own perriwig, which, between ourselves—for it must go no farther—I obtained from his gentleman, Mr. Crackenthorpe Cripps. It is quite a wonder. Do step in, sir, and look at it. It will quite ravish you."

"Thank you, friend; I am content with the covering nature has given to my head," replied Randulph.

"And with very good reason, sir," replied Peter; "but fashion, sir,—fashion is arbitrary, and has decreed that no man shall wear his own hair. Therefore, you must, perforce, adopt the perriwig."

"Will you shew me Mr. Scarve's residence, or must I apply for information elsewhere?" cried the young man, wearied with the barber's loquacity.

"Not so fast, sir, not so fast," replied Peter. "I must tell you something about the old gentleman first. Do you know him, sir?"

Randulph Crew uttered a hasty negative.

"Then I do" continued Peter. "Terrible miser, sir, terrible; denies himself all the comforts of existence; makes his family and servants live upon a bare bone for a week; thinks of nothing but his gold; and as to his daughter—"

"Oh, he has a daughter, has he?" interrupted Randulph. "I was not aware of it. Is she at all like him?"

"Like him, no!" echoed Peter. "She's beautiful beyond description." But thinking such commendation rather injudicious in the present case, he added, "at least some people say so, but, for my own part, I can see nothing to admire in her."

"Well, perhaps I may see her, and judge for myself," replied Randulph.

"Perhaps you may," quavered Peter. "He is just the man to captivate her," he thought. "I wish I could misdirect him. But most probably Jacob wont admit him."

"And now, friend, will you shew me the house?" cried Randulph.

"With pleasure, sir, with pleasure," replied Peter, pointing to the opposite habitation; "there it is,—at the corner."

Vexed at having been detained so long and so unnecessarily, Randulph Crew turned his horse's head, and, dismounting before the miser's door, knocked loudly against it with the butt-end of his heavy riding-whip. Peter anxiously watched his proceedings, but as no answer was returned to the summons, he began to hope the young man would go away. But in this he was disappointed, for the latter renewed his application, and did not desist till checked by the gruff voice of Jacob Post, who shouted from a little grated window, through which he reconnoitred the intruder, "Halloo! what's the matter? who's there?"

"Is Mr. Scarve at home?" asked Randulph. "I want to see him."

"Then you can't," rejoined Jacob, in his harshest accents, but which sounded like music in the ears of the attentive Peter.