A rap at Tom Ingoldsby's door the following morning startled him as he was shaving; -- he cut his chin.
'Come in,-and be d -- d to you!' said the martyr, pressing his thumb on the scarified epidermis. -- The door opened, and exhibited Mr Barney Maguire.
'Well, Barney, what is it?' quoth the sufferer, adopting the vernacular of his visitant.
'The master, sir -- '
'Well, what does he want?'
'The loanst of a breeches, plase your honour.'
'Why, you don't mean to tell me -- By Heaven, this is too good!' shouted Tom, bursting into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. 'Why, Barney, you don't mean to say the ghost has got them again!'
Mr Maguire did not respond to the young squire's risibility; the cast of his countenance was decidedly serious.
'Faith, then, it's gone they are, sure enough! Hasn't meself been looking over the bed, and under the bed, and in the bed, for the matter of that, and divil a ha'p'orth of breeches is there to the fore at all: -- I'm bothered entirely!'
'Hark'ee! Mr Barney,' said Tom, incautiously removing his thumb, and letting a crimson stream 'incarnadine the multitudinous' lather that plastered his throat, -- 'this may be all very well with your master, but you don't humbug me, sir: -- tell me instantly what have you done with the clothes?'
This abrupt transition from 'lively to severe' certainly took Maguire by surprise, and he seemed for an instant as much disconcerted as it is possible to disconcert an Irish gentleman's gentleman.
'Me? is it meself, then, that's the ghost to your honour's thinking?' said he, after a moment's pause, and with a slight shade of indignation in his tones: 'is it I would stale the master's things? -- and what would I do with them?'
'That you best know: -- what your purpose is I can't guess, for I don't think you mean to 'stale' them, as you call it; but that you are concerned in their disappearance, I am satisfied. Confound this blood! -- give me a towel, Barney.'
Maguire acquitted himself of the commission. 'As I've a sowl, your honour,' said he solemnly, 'little it is meself knows of the matter: and after what I seen -- '
'What you've seen! Why, what have you seen? -- Barney, I don't want to enquire into your flirtations; but don't suppose you can palm off your saucer eyes and gig-lamps upon me!'
'Then, as sure as your honour's standing there I saw him: and why wouldn't I, when Miss Pauline was to the fore as well as meself, and -- '
'Get along with your nonsense,leave the room, sir!'
'But the master?' said Barney imploringly; 'and without a breeches? -- sure he'll be catching cowld! -- '
'Take that, rascal!' replied Ingoldsby, throwing a pair of pantaloons at, rather than to, him: 'but don't suppose, sir, you shall carry on your tricks here with impunity; recollect there is such a thing as a tread-mill, and that my father is a county magistrate.'
Barney's eye flashed fire, -- he stood erect, and was about to speak; but, mastering himself, not without an effort, he took up the garment, and left the room as perpendicular as a Quaker.