Page:Yorkshire Oddities, Incidents and Strange Events.djvu/152

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Yorkshire Oddities and Incidents.

parish; and so God bless you, and I wish you a good journey." Metcalf set forward with the parson's benediction, and stopped every night with the colonel. On coming to Wetherby, he arrived at the inn before him, as usual, and told the landlord of his approach, who asked him by what means he had become acquainted with that, and was informed by him how he had preceded the colonel the whole week, this being Saturday, and they had left town on Monday noon. The colonel arriving, ordered Metcalf into his room, and proposed halting till Monday, but Metcalf replied, "With your leave, sir, I shall go to Harrogate to-night, and meet you there on Monday." So he set off for Knaresborough that night, and met the colonel at Harrogate on Monday, as he had said.

Metcalf became now in great request as a performer at Ripon assembly, which was resorted to by many families of distinction, such as Sir Walter Blacket of Newby; Sir John Wray, Sir R. Graham, Squire Rhodes, Squire Aislaby of Studley, and many others. When he played alone, it was usual with him after the assembly to set off for Harrogate or Knaresborough; but when he had an assistant he remained all night at Ripon to keep him company, his partner being afraid to ride in the dark.

Finding himself worth £15 (a larger sum than he ever had before), and a main of cocks having been made in the neighbourhood, he became a party, and lost two-thirds of his whole fortune. The remaining £5 he laid out on a horse which was to run at York a few days later; and had the good fortune to win the last wager.

Metcalf still followed cock-fighting, cards, and racing, but continued to play at the assemblies; but his profession interfered with his sports, and he cast about in his mind how to obtain an independence. Now it fell out that about this time a Miss Benson, daughter of the host of the Royal