On our Way homewards Buckthorne assured me that this Dribble had been the prime wit and great wag of the school in their boyish days, and one of those unlucky urchins denominated bright geniuses. As he perceived me curious respecting his old school-mate, he promised to take me with him, in his proposed visit to Green Arbour court.
Clair, a half-breed, our interpreter, to whom we could only address measured monosyllables with any hope of imparting ideas, but always faithful, frank and wise; Kewashawkonce, the guide, a man of push and a genuine wag; Kawaybawgo, a huge hunter, whose old long shot-gun has banged over almost every acre of these wilds; Metagooe, a sleepy, thick-headed fellow; and Waisonbekton, young and active, always ready for work or burden and constantly alert for new and interesting things in Nature.
He says all these things are clericalism, are utopianism, that the world wags in its own way, and that it must be allowed to wag in its own way, that all this associating with the lower classes only serves to put false and dangerous ideas into their heads. Now, my friend has been told that she must either leave her brother, or lie to him, by doing secretly what she has hitherto done openly.
However, I believe I have persuaded her that he meant no harm. The room is rather full of them to-night. Wag and most of the rest are rehearsing a play which they mean to present before I go. Slim, who happens not to be wanted for a time, is manoeuvring on the table, facing me, and is trying to produce a portrait of me which shall be a little less libellous than his first effort.
However, by aid of poor Watch, I contrived to obtain a supply of food; for I sent him home with a note to Annie fastened upon his chest; and in less than an hour back he came, proud enough to wag his tail off, with his tongue hanging out from the speed of his journey, and a large lump of bread and of bacon fastened in a napkin around his neck.
Now, the good doctor was a wag, and the captain, for fun, a very monkey. The aspirant for invaliding sat himself down again at one end of the table, as the captains did at the other. Wine, anchovies, sandwiches, oysters, and other light and stimulating viands were produced to make a relishing lunch.
Life at Mildenham was lonely, save for Winton's hunting cronies, and they but few, for his spiritual dandyism did not gladly suffer the average country gentleman and his frigid courtesy frightened women. Besides, as Betty had foreseen, tongues did wag those tongues of the countryside, avid of anything that might spice the tedium of dull lives and brains.
If the animal got two rods in advance of us, a word was sufficient to check him until we came up, when, receiving our praise with an acknowledgment in the shape of a wag of his tail, he would trot on with renewed watchfulness. We observed that our course led us towards the spot where we had been digging a few minutes before, and as we neared the clearing our watchfulness increased.
"This," said the wag, "will make your figures not only life-like, but even eloquently expressive." Bruno followed this advice; "And this method," says Vasari, "as it pleased Bruno and other dull people of that day, so does it equally satisfy certain simpletons of our own, who are well served by artists as commonplace as themselves.
At four o'clock the sentries roused the others, and having taken a cup of coffee and some cold meat and bread, and led the horses down to the stream while the Kaffirs were loading up the packets and bundles, they mounted at five o'clock and set off at a trot, Jack and Japhet, a name suggested by Field, who was the wag of the party, were allowed to ride on two of the horses that carried the lightest burdens.