WHAT WILL LIE DO WITH IT? 641
morning banished from the city, and are now on our way to — any other city ; eh, Hag ? "
" And the old man was not with the Phenomenon ? What has become of her, then ? "
" Perhaps she may be with him at his house, if he has one ; only she was not with him on the Rialto or Corn-market. She was with him two years ago, I know ; and he and she were bet- ter off then than he is now, I suspect. And that is why it did me good. Sir, to see him a peddler — a common peddler — fallen into the sere, like the man he abandoned ! "
" Humph ! where were they two years ago ? "
" At a village not far from Humberston. He had a pretty house. Sir, and sold baskets ; and the girl was there too, favored by a great lad}' — a Marchioness, Sir ! Gods ! "
" Marchioness i* — near Humberston ? The Marchioness of Montfort, I suppose."
" Likely enough ; I don't remember. All 1 know is, that two years ago my old clown was my tyrannical manager ; and he said to me, with a sneer, ' Old Gentleman Waife, whom you used to bully, and his Juliet Araminta, are in clover.' And the mocking varlet went on to say that when he last visited Humberston, in the race-week, a young tradesman, who was courting the Colum- bine, whose young idea I myself taught to shoot on the light fantastic toe, treated that Columbine and one of her sister train (being, indeed, her aunt, who has since come out at the Surrey in Desdemona) to a picnic in a fine park. (That's discipline ! — ha, ha !) And there. Sir, Columbine and her aunt saw Waife on the other side of a stream by which they sat carousing.'"
" The clown perhaps said it to spite you."
" Columbine herself confirmed his tale, and said that, on re- turning to the Village Inn for the Triumphal Car (or bus) which brought them, she asked if a Mr. Waife dwelt thereabouts, and was told, ' Yes, with his granddaughter.' And she went on ask- ing, till all came out as the clown reported. And Columbine had not even the gratitude, the justice, to expose that villain — not even to say he had been my perfidious servant ! She had the face to tell me 'she thought it might harm him, and he was a kind old soul.' Sir, a Columbine whose toes I had rapped scores of times before they could be turned out, was below con- tempt ! but when my own clown thus triumphed over me, in parading before my vision the bloated prosperity of mine enemy, it went to my heart like a knife; and we had words on it, Sir, and — I left him to his fate. But a peddler ! Gentleman Waife 41