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Mr. Schnackenberger; Or, Two Masters For One Dog
by [?]




The sun had just set, and all the invalids at the baths of B—- had retired to their lodgings, when the harsh tones of welcome from the steeple announced the arrival of a new guest. Forthwith all the windows were garrisoned with young faces and old faces, pretty faces and ugly faces; and scarce one but was overspread with instantaneous merriment–a feu-de-joie of laughter, that travelled up the street in company with the very extraordinary object that now advanced from the city gates. Upon a little, meagre, scare-crow of a horse, sate a tall, broad-shouldered young fellow, in a great-coat of bright pea-green, whose variegated lights and shades, from soaking rains and partial dryings, bore sullen testimony to the changeable state of the weather for the last week. Out of this great-coat shot up, to a monstrous height, a head surmounted by a huge cocked hat, one end of which hung over the stem, the other over the stern of the horse: the legs belonging to this head were sheathed in a pair of monstrous boots, technically called ‘field-pieces,’ which, descending rather too low, were well plaistered with flesh-coloured mud. More, perhaps, in compliance with the established rule, than for any visible use, a switch was in the rider’s hand; for to attribute to such a horse, under such a load, any power to have quitted a pace that must have satisfied the most rigorous police in Poland, was obviously too romantic. Depending from his side, and almost touching the ground, rattled an enormous back-sword, which suggested to the thinking mind a salutary hint to allow free passage, without let or unseasonable jesting, to Mr. Jeremiah Schnackenberger, student at the University of X—-. He, that might be disposed to overlook this hint, would certainly pay attention to a second, which crept close behind the other in the shape of a monstrous dog, somewhat bigger than the horse, and presenting on every side a double tier of most respectable teeth. Observing the general muster of the natives, which his appearance had called to the windows, the rider had unslung and mounted a pipe, under whose moving canopy of clouds and vapours he might advance in greater tranquillity: and during this operation, his very thoughtful and serious horse had struck up a by-street–and made a dead stop, before his rider was aware, at the sign of the Golden Sow.

Although the gold had long since vanished from the stone beast, and, to say the truth, every part of the house seemed to sympathise admirably with the unclean habits of its patron image, nevertheless, Mr. Jeremiah thought proper to comply with the instincts of his horse; and, as nobody in the street, or in the yard, came forward to answer his call, he gave himself no further trouble, but rode on through the open door right forwards into the bar.



‘The Lord, and his angels, protect us!–As I live, here comes the late governor!’ ejaculated the hostess, Mrs. Bridget Sweetbread; suddenly startled out of her afternoon’s nap by the horse’s hoofs–and seeing right before her what she took for the apparition of Don Juan; whom, as it afterwards appeared, she had seen in a pantomime the night before.

‘Thunder and lightning! my good woman,’ said the student laughing, ‘would you dispute the reality of my flesh and blood?’

Mrs. Bridget, however, on perceiving her mistake, cared neither for the sword nor for the dog, but exclaimed, ‘Why then, let me tell you, Sir, it’s not the custom in this country to ride into parlours, and disturb honest folks when they’re taking their rest. Innkeeping’s not the trade it has been to me, God he knows: but, for all that, I’ll not put up with such work from nobody.’