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´╗┐Title: Venus in Boston; - A Romance of City Life
Author: Thompson, George, 1823-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Venus in Boston; - A Romance of City Life" ***

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VENUS IN BOSTON;

A Romance of City Life.



 "Ah, Vice! how soft are thy voluptuous ways!
 While boyish blood is mantling, who can 'scape
 The fascination of thy magic gaze?
 A Cherub-hydra round us dost thou gape,
 And mould to every taste, thy dear, delusive shape."
                                BYRON'S CHILDE HAROLD


{First published 1849}


CONTENTS

  VENUS IN BOSTON;

  A Romance of City Life


  INTRODUCTION                                            3

  CHAPTER I. _The blind Basket-maker and his family._     3

  CHAPTER II. _Innocence in the Grip of Lust._            7

  CHAPTER III. _The Rescue._                             17

  CHAPTER IV. _A night in Ann street._                   20

  CHAPTER V. _The Chevalier and the Duchess._            52

  CHAPTER VI. _The Stolen Package._                      75

  CHAPTER VII. _Showing the operations of Jew Mike._     90

  CHAPTER VIII. _The Chambers of Love._                  98

[Illustration: Frontispiece to _Venus in Boston_, 1850 edition. By
courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library.]



INTRODUCTION


I conceive it to be a prominent fault of most of the tales of fiction
that are written and published at the present day, that they are not
sufficiently _natural_--their style is too much exaggerated--and in
aiming to produce startling effects, they depart too widely from the
range of probability to engage the undivided interest of the enlightened
and judicious reader. Believing as I do that the romance of reality--the
details of common, everyday life--the secret history of things hidden
from the public gaze, but of the existence of which there can be no
manner of doubt--are endowed with a more powerful and absorbing interest
than any extravagant flight of imagination can be, it shall be my aim in
the following pages to adhere as closely as possible to truth and
reality; and to depict scenes and adventures which have actually
occurred, and which have come to my knowledge in the course of an
experience no means limited--an experience replete with facilities for
acquiring a perfect insight into human nature, and a knowledge of the
many secret springs of human action.

The most favorable reception which my former humble productions have met
with, at the hands of a kind and indulgent public, will, I trust,
justify the hope that the present Tale may meet with similar
encouragement. It certainly shall not prove inferior to any of its
predecessors in the variety of its incidents or the interest of its
details; and as a _romance of city life_, it will amply repay the
perusal of all country readers, as well as those who reside in cities.

With these remarks, preliminary and explanatory, I proceed at once to
draw the curtain, and unfold the opening scene of my drama.



CHAPTER I

_The blind Basket-maker and his family._


It was a winter's day, and piercing cold; very few pedestrians were to
be seen in Boston, and those few were carefully enveloped in warm cloak
and great coats, for the weather was of that intense kind that chills
the blood and penetrates to the very bone. Even Washington street--that
great avenue of wealth and promenade of fashion, usually thronged with
the pleasure-seeking denizens of the metropolis--was comparatively
deserted, save by a few shivering mortals, who hurried on their way with
rapid footsteps, anxious to escape from the relentless and iron grasp
of hoary winter. And yet on that day, and in that street, there stood
upon the pavement directly opposite the "Old South Church," a young girl
of about the age of fourteen years, holding in her hand a small basket
of fruit, which she offered to every passer-by. Now there was nothing
very extraordinary in this, neither was there anything very unusual in
the meek and pleading look of the little fruit girl, as she timidly
raised her large blue eyes to the face of every one who passed her--for
such humble callings, and such mute but eloquent appeals, are the common
inheritance of many, very many of God's poor in large cities, and do not
generally attract any great degree of notice from the careless (and too
often unfeeling) children of prosperity;--but there was something in the
appearance of the pale, sad girl, as, in her scant attire she shivered
in the biting wind, not often met with in the humble disciples of
poverty--a certain subdued, gentle air, partaking of much unconscious
grace, that whispered of better days gone by.

At length the clock in the steeple of the "Old South" pronounced that
the dinner hour had arrived--and despite the intense cold, the street
soon became alive with people hurrying to and fro; for what weather can
induce a hungry man to neglect that important era in the events of the
day--his _dinner_? This perfumed exquisite hurried by to fulfil an
appointment and dine at Parker's; the more sober and economical citizen
hastened on his way to "feed" at some establishment of less pretensions
and more moderate prices; while the mass of the diners-out repaired to
appease their hunger at the numerous cheap refectories that abound in
the neighborhood. But the poor, forlorn little fruit girl stood
unnoticed by the passing throng, which like the curtain of a river
hurried by, leaving her upon its margin, a neglected, drooping flower.

"Ah," she murmured--"why will they not buy my fruit? I have not taken a
single penny to-day, and how can I return home to poor grandfather and
my little brother, without food? Good people, could you but see them,
your hearts would be softened--." And the tears rolled down her cheeks.

While thus soliloquizing, she had not noticed the approach of a little
old man, in a faded, threadbare suit, and with a care-worn, wrinkled
countenance. He stopped short when he saw that she was weeping, and in
an abrupt, yet not unkind manner, inquired--

"My child, why do you weep?"

The girl looked up through her tears at the stranger, and in a few
artless words related her simple story. She was an orphan, and with her
little brother, lived with her grandfather. They were very poor, and
were wholly dependent upon a small pittance which the grandfather (who
was blind) daily earned by basket making, together with the very small
profits which she realized by the sale of fruit in the streets. Her
grandfather was very ill, and unable to work, and the poor family had
not tasted food that day.

"Poor thing!" exclaimed the little old man when she had concluded her
affecting narrative. He straightaway began fumbling in his pockets, and
it seemed with no very satisfactory result, for he muttered--"The devil!
I have no money--not a copper; bah! I can give you nothing. But hold!
where do you live, my child?"

The girl stated her place of residence, which was in an obscure but
respectable section of the city. The little old man produced a greasy
memorandum book, and a stump of a pencil, with which he noted down the
direction; then, uttering a grunt of satisfaction, but without saying a
single word, he resumed his walk, and was soon lost in the crowd.

Evening came, and with it a furious snow-storm. Madly the wind careered
through the streets--now fiercely dashing the snow into the faces of
such unfortunate travellers as chanced to be abroad in that wild
weather--now shaking the roofs of crazy old houses--and now tearing away
in the distance with a howl of triumph at its power. The storm fiend was
abroad--the elements were at war, and yet in the midst of that furious
tumult, the poor fruit girl was toiling on her way towards her humble
home. She reached it at last. It was a poor and lowly place, the abode
of humble but decent poverty; yet the angel of peace had spread her
wings there, and contentment had sat with them at their frugal board.
True, it was but a garret; yet that little family, with hearts united by
holy love, felt that to them it was a _home_. And then its little window
commanded a distant view of a shining river, and green, pleasant fields
beyond; and all day long, in fine weather, the cheerful sunshine looked
in upon them, casting a gleam of gladness upon their hearts. It had been
a happy home to the blind basket-maker and his grandchildren; but alas!
sickness had laid its heavy hand upon the aged man, and want and
wretchedness had become their portion.

The girl entered with a sad heart, for she brought no relief to the
hungering and sorrowing inmates of that lowly dwelling. Without saying a
word she seated herself at the bed-side of her grandfather, and taking
his hand in hers, bedewed it with her tears. The old man turned towards
her, and said--

"Thou art weeping, Fanny--what distresses thee? Tears are for the aged
and the sorrowing--not for the young. Thou hast not brought us
food?--well, well; the will of Heaven be done! I shall soon be in the
grave, and then thou and Charley--"

"No, no, grandfather, pray don't say so," cried the poor girl, sobbing
as if her heart would break--"what should we do without you? Heaven may
spare you many happy years. I can work for you, and--"

"So can I, too," rejoined her brother Charley, a lad eight or nine years
of age--"and only to-day I got a promise from Mr. Scott the tailor, that
I might, when a little older, run of errands for him, and my wages will
be a dollar and a half a week--only think how much money I shall earn!"

"Thou art a brave little man," said the grandfather--"but, my children,
let us put our trust in God, and if it is His will that my earthly
pilgrimage should end, be it so! Thank Heaven, I owe nothing, and can
die at peace with all the world."

It had long been Fanny's custom to occupy an hour or so every evening,
in reading to her grandfather. But that evening she did not, as usual,
draw up the little table, and open the pages of some well-thumbed,
ancient volume, to read, for perhaps the twentieth time, of the valorous
deeds of some famed knight of the olden time, or mayhap, of the
triumphant death of some famed martyr for religion's sake. For alas! the
frugal but wholesome meal which had always preceded the reading of those
ancient chronicles, was now wanting; and the little family sat
listening to the raging of the pitiless storm without and counting the
weary moments as they passed.

The bell in a neighboring steeple had just told the hour of nine, when,
as the echo of that last stroke died away in the distance, a heavy step
was heard ascending the stairs that led to their humble apartment. As
the sound approached nearer, Fanny heard a voice occasionally giving
utterance to expressions of extreme irritation and impatience,
accompanied by certain sounds indicating that the person, whoever it
might be, often stumbled upon the dark, narrow and somewhat dilapidated
stair-case. "Blood and bomb-shells!" exclaimed a voice--"I shall never
reach the top, and my shins are broken. The devil! there I go again.
Corporal Grimsby, thou art an ass, and these stairs are the devil's
trap!" And here the luckless unknown paused a moment to breathe, rub his
shins, and refresh himself with an emphatic imprecation upon all dark
and broken stair-cases in general, but upon _that_ one in particular. At
this moment, Fanny made her appearance at the landing with a light, and
was astonished to behold her new acquaintance of that afternoon, the
little old man who had inquired her residence. A most rueful expression
sat upon his visage, and he carried upon one arm a huge basket. The
friendly light enabled him soon to reach the end of his journey; he
entered the little room without ceremony, and depositing his burden upon
the table, exclaimed--

"Hark'ee, child, I am an old soldier, am not apt to grumble at trifles,
[_illegible word_] and blunderbusses! I never before got into such a
snarl.--Mounting the ramparts of the enemy was mere child's play to it!"
Here he began to take out the contents of the basket, meanwhile keeping
up a running commentary, during which his countenance wore an expression
of the most intense ill-humor, in strange contrast with the evident
benevolence of his character and intentions. He found fault with
everything which he had brought, although, in truth, the articles were
all of excellent quality.

"Here," said he, with a growl of dissatisfaction--"is a pair of
chickens--starved, skinny imps, for which I paid double their value to
that knave of a poultry merchant--bah! And here are some French rolls,
that I'll be sworn are as hard as the French cannon balls that were
thrown at Austerlitz. These vegetables are well enough, and this pastry
hath a savory smell, but pistols and cutlasses! this wine _looks_ as
sour as General Grouty's face on a grand parade. Let me draw the cork
and taste--no, by the nose of Napoleon! it is excellent--fit for the
great Frederick himself. Here, child, haste and spread a cloth, for I am
hungrier than a Cossack. Powder and shot! we shall have a supper fit for
a Field Marshal!"

By this time the eccentric but kind old man had placed upon the table
all the materials of an excellent and substantial repast. This done, he
turned to the grandfather of Fanny, who had listened to his speech with
much astonishment, and exclaimed--

"Cheer thee up, old friend, cheer thee up, and pick a bone with us;
here, wash the cobwebs from thy throat by a hearty draught from this
flask. I am an old soldier, and love all men; I stand on no ceremony; so
fall to, fall to!"

Saying this, he seated himself at the table, and having seen that all
were duly supplied with a liberal portion of the edibles, commenced the
attack with [_illegible word_] truly surprising. Nor were the others at
all backward in emulating so good an example. The grandfather, whose
illness had mainly been produced by a lack of those little luxuries so
essential to the debilities and infirmities of advanced age, after
partaking sparingly of what was set before him, felt himself much
bettered and refreshed thereby; and Fanny, who had dried her tears, and
satisfied the cravings of hunger, smiled her gratitude upon the kind
provider. Little Charley had already become much attached to "good
Corporal Grimsby," who had given him such a nice supper--while the
latter gentleman, having finished his meal, drew forth an antiquated
pipe, having a Turk's head for the bowl and a coiled serpent for the
stem, which having lighted, he proceeded to smoke with much gravity and
thoughtfulness. Not a word did he utter, but smoked away in silence,
until the clock struck ten; then pocketing his pipe, and depositing the
now empty flask and dishes in the basket, he announced his intention of
departing. The grandfather was cut short in a grateful acknowledgment of
the stranger's kindness, by the abrupt exit of that singular personage,
who bolted down stairs with a precipitancy that was truly alarming,
scarce waiting for Fanny to light him down.

This singular visit was of course the subject of much surprise and
conjecture in the little family of the blind basket-maker; but when
Fanny related how the stranger had accosted her in the street, and
inquired her residence, they concluded that he was some eccentric but
benevolent person, who had taken that method of contributing to the
relief of their wants.

And who was this queer little old man, so shabby and threadbare--so
"full of strange oaths,"--so odd in his manner, so kind in his
heart--calling himself Corporal Grimsby--who had come forward at that
opportune moment to supply a starving family with food? Time will show.



CHAPTER II

_Innocence in the Grip of Lust._


The day which succeeded the stormy night described in the last chapter,
was an unusually fine one. The sun shone clear and bright, and many
people were abroad to enjoy the fine bracing air, and indemnify
themselves for having been kept within doors on the preceding day. The
streets were covered with an ample garment of snow, and the merry music
of the sleigh-bells was heard in every direction.

At an early hour, Fanny Aubrey (for that was the name of our little
heroine,) issued from her dwelling, and taking the sunny side of the
streets, resumed her accustomed perambulations, with her basket on her
arm. Fanny was small for her age, but exceedingly pretty; her eyes were
of a dark blue--her hair a rich auburn--her features radiant with the
inexpressible charm of youth and innocence. I have said that her air was
superior to her condition; in truth, every motion of hers had in it a
certain winning grace, and her step was light as a fawn's, although her
figure was not without a certain degree of plumpness, which gave ample
promise of a speedy voluptuous development. Though plumpness in the
female figure is considered to be incompatible with perfect grace, I
agree with those who regard it as decidedly preferable to an excessive
thinness, though the latter be accompanied with the lightness of a
zephyr, and the grace of a sylph.

Dress is sometimes acknowledged to be a sign of character--and the dress
of Fanny Aubrey certainly indicated the native refinement of her
mind--for though poor in material and faded by long use, it was well put
on and scrupulously neat--indeed, there was something almost coquettish
in the style of her bonnet and the arrangement of her scanty shawl--too
scanty, alas! to shield her adequately from the inclemency of the
weather.

As she passed along the street, her beauty and prepossessing appearance
attracted the attention of many gay loiterers, who regard her with
various feelings of admiration, pity and surprise that one so lovely
should pursue so humble an occupation; nor were there wanting many
well-dressed libertines, young and old, who gazed with eyes of lustful
desire upon the fair young creature, evidently so unprotected and so
poor.

Reader, pardon us if for one brief moment we pause to contemplate the
black and hideous character of THE SEDUCER. Should the teeming hosts of
hell's dominions meet in grand convention, amid the mysterious darkness
and lurid flames of their eternal abode--should that infernal conclave
of murderers, robbers, monsters of iniquity, perpetrators of damning
crimes; possessors of black hearts and polluted souls on earth, whose
mighty sins had sunk them in that burning pit--should all those lost
spirits select from among their number, _one fiend_, the worst of them
all, to represent them _all_ on earth--unite within his being _all_ the
crimes of which they had collectively been guilty--to show mankind how
vast and stupendous have been _all_ the sins perpetrated since the
creation of the globe--_that fiend_ could not cast a blacker shadow upon
human nature than doth the seducer of female innocence. Oh! if there be
one wretch living who deserves to be cast forth from the society of his
fellow men--if there be one who deserves to be trod on as a venomous
insect, and crushed as the vilest reptile that crawls--it is he who
calmly and deliberately sets himself about the hellish task of
accomplishing the ruin of a weak, confiding woman--and then, having
sipped the sweets and inhaled the fragrance of the flower, tramples it
beneath his feet. Will not the thunderbolts of Omnipotent wrath shatter
the perjured soul of such a villain?

But to resume. Fanny Aubrey pursued her walk, and was so fortunate as to
escape the insults (except such as were conveyed in glances,) of the
many libertines who are ever ready to take advantage of a female in a
situation like hers. As she was passing a magnificent mansion in a
quarter of the city mainly occupied by the residences of the
aristocracy, a beautiful young lady alighted from a splendid sleigh, and
observing the little fruit girl, beckoned her to approach. Fanny
modestly complied, and the young lady, with one of the sweetest smiles
imaginable selected an orange from her basket, and taking out a purse,
presented her with a bright gold coin.

"I have no change, Miss," said Fanny, in some confusion.

"Keep the money, my poor girl," rejoined the young lady, with a look of
deep compassion, as a tear of pity dimmed her bright eyes--"I am sure
you need it; you are much too pretty for such an employment. If you will
try and pass this way to-morrow at about this time, you may see me
again."

Amid Fanny's heartfelt thanks, the young lady entered the mansion, and
the door was closed.

Poor Fanny! she resumed her journey with a light heart. She never before
had possessed so much money. Five dollars! the sum seemed inexhaustible,
and she began to devise a thousand plans to expend it to advantage--and
the fact that she herself was not included in any of those plans, was a
beautiful illustration of the unselfishness of her character. Not for a
moment did she dream of appropriating it to the purchase of a good warm
shawl or dress for herself, although, poor girl! she so much needed
both. She would buy a nice comfortable rocking-chair for her
grandfather; or a thick great-coat for little Charley--she couldn't make
up her mind which, she loved them both so much--yet when she thought of
the poor, sick, blind old man, a holy pity triumphed over sisterly
affection, and she resolved upon the rocking-chair. Then she determined
to hasten homewards to communicate her good fortune to her friends; and
on her way she could not help thinking of the beautiful young lady who
had given her the money, of her sweet smile, and the kind words she had
spoken; and wondered if she should really see her again the next day.
These thoughts, and the hope of seeing her benefactress again, made her
feel very happy; and she was hastening towards her home with a glad
heart, when her footsteps were arrested by a crowd of those dissolute
young females, who pervade every section of the city, and are
universally known as "apple girls."

These girls are usually from ten to fifteen years of age, and are
proverbial for their vicious propensities and dishonesty. Under pretence
of selling their fruit, they are accustomed to penetrate into the
business portions of the city particularly; and in doing this they have
two objects in view. In the first place, if on entering an office or
place of business, they find nobody in, an opportunity is afforded them
for plunder; and it is needless to say they are ever ready to steal and
carry off whatever they can lay their hands on. Secondly, these girls
have been brought up in vice from their infancy; they are, for the most
part, neither more nor less than common prostitutes, and will freely
yield their persons to whoever will pay for the same.--Should the
merchant, or lawyer, or man of business, into whose office one of these
"apple girls" may chance to intrude, solicit her favors (and there are
many miscreants, _respectable_ ones, too, who do this, as we shall
show,) and offer her a small pecuniary reward, he has only to lock his
door and draw his curtains, to accomplish his object without the
slightest difficulty. Thus, their ostensible employment of selling fruit
is nothing but a cloak for their real trade of prostitution and
thieving. The profanity and obscenity of their conversation alone, is a
sufficient evidence of their true character.

The girls whom we have mentioned as having encountered Fanny on her
return home, were a squalid and dirty set, though several of them were
not destitute of good looks, as far as form and features were
concerned. They surrounded her with many a fierce oath and ribald jest,
and it was easy to see that they were jealous of her superior
cleanliness of person and respectability of character.

"Ha, ha!" cried one, a dirty-faced wench of thirteen, clutching Fanny
fiercely by the arm, while the poor girl stood afraid and trembling in
the midst of that elfish crew--"ha, ha! here is my fine lady, with her
smooth face and clean gown, who disdains to keep company with us, and do
as we do! Let us tear off her clothes, and roll her in the mire!"

They were proceeding to act upon this suggestion, when Fanny, bewildered
and speechless with terror, dropped her gold coin, which she held in her
hand, upon the ground. It was instantly snatched up by one of the gang,
who was immediately attacked by the others, and a fierce struggle
ensued, for the possession of the coin, the young wretches tearing,
scratching and biting each other like so many wild cats. During this
conflict, Fanny made off as fast as she could run, but was followed and
overtaken by one of the gang, a large girl of fifteen, who was known
among her companions by the pleasing title of "Sow Nance." She was a
thief and prostitute of the most desperate and abandoned character,
hideously ugly in person, and of a disposition the most ferocious and
deceitful.--Laying her brawny hand upon Fanny's shoulder, she said, in a
hoarse and croaking voice--

"See here, Miss What's-yer-name, I wants to speak to you, if you please.
You needn't be afraid of me, for I won't hurt you. Them thieving hussies
has got your money, and you must make up your loss the best way you can.
Look at my basket--you see it's empty, don't yer? I've sold all my fruit
already, and if you'll go with me, I'll show you a nice gentleman who
will buy all the fruit in your little basket, and pay you well, too.
It's not far--will you go with me?"

The prospect of effecting a speedy sale of her stock in trade, was too
tempting to be resisted by poor Fanny, especially in view of the severe
loss she had just sustained, in being robbed of the money which the kind
young lady had given her. She therefore gladly consented to accompany
Sow Nance to the nice gentleman who would pay her so well for the
contents of her basket.

Poor, innocent, unsuspecting Fanny! she little thought that the
abandoned creature at her side was leading her into a snare, imminently
dangerous to her peace of mind and future happiness! "I will save up
money enough to buy grandfather a rocking-chair, after all," thought
she, as she gaily trudged onward, while ever and anon Sow Nance would
glare savagely at her from the corners of her snake-like eyes. It is one
of the worst qualities peculiar to corrupt human nature, the hatred with
which the wicked and abandoned regard the innocent and pure. Fanny had
never in the slightest degree injured the wretch who was plotting her
ruin;--and Sow Nance had no other reason for hating her, than because
she herself was a guilty and polluted being, while Fanny she knew to be
without stain or blemish.

In about a quarter of an hour they reached a handsome brick house in
South street.

"This is the place," said Sow Nance, as she rang the door bell; the
summons was immediately answered by an old negro woman, who, exchanging
a significant look with Nance, admitted them, and ushered them into a
large parlor. The apartment was handsomely furnished, the walls adorned
with many pictures, and the floor covered with a very rich carpet.

"Sit down, young ladies, and I will call Mr. Tickels down," said the old
negro woman, as she left the room; in a few moments, a gentleman
entered, and regarded Fanny with a gaze so piercing, that the poor girl
was covered with confusion.

The gentleman was, to all appearances, full sixty years of age; he was a
large, portly man, with very gray hair and a very red face: he was
attired in a dressing-gown and slippers, and wore a magnificent diamond
pin in his shirt frill.

This man was one of those wealthy beasts whose lusts run riot on the
innocence of young females--whose crimes outnumbered the gray hairs upon
his head, and whose riches were devoted to no other purpose than the
procurement of victims for his appetite, and the gratification of his
abominable passions.

A vague, strange fear stole over Fanny, while this gentleman thus viewed
her so closely--a fear which she could not define, yet which rendered
her excessively uneasy. Apparently the survey was satisfactory to the
gentleman--for he smiled, and in doing so displayed two rows of teeth
not unlike the fangs of a wolf. Then he beckoned Sow Nance to follow him
from the room, and held a whispered conversation with her in the
passage.

"Who is she, Nance?" asked the gentleman.

"Not _one of us_," was the reply, "she sells fruit, and is poor, but her
folks are respectable;--you must pay me well for bringing her here, for
she's handsome."

"True; but are you sure she has never--"

"_Sure!_" replied Nance, almost fiercely--"I'll take my oath on it;
hasn't she always kept away from us, and ain't all the girls hating her
like h----l, 'cause she's virtuous? Don't you suppose _I_ know?"

"Good," said the gentleman; and taking a gold coin from his pocket, he
gave it to Nance, who, stooping down, secreted it in her stocking; then
she noiselessly opened the front door and left the house, singing in a
hoarse voice, as she sped on her way towards Ann street, (where she
lived,) these barbarous words:--

    "The lamb to the wolf is sold, sold, sold;
    No more she'll return to her fold, fold, fold--
    And Sow Nance will dare another to snare,
    And the wolf shall have her for gold, gold, gold!"

The gentleman (I use the word _ironically_, reader,) re-entered the
parlor, advanced to where Fanny was seated, and laying his heavy hand
upon the young girl's shoulder, glued his polluted lips to her pure
cheek. She sprang from his profaning grasp with a cry of terror, and
fled towards the door--it was _locked_! The gentleman laughed, and
said--

"No, no, my pretty bird, you cannot escape from your cage so easily; and
why should you wish to? Your cage shall have golden wires, and you shall
be fed on delicacies, my little flutterer--so smooth the feathers of
your bright wings, my dear, and sing your sweetest notes!"

Fanny burst into tears, and fell on her knees before the old
libertine.--Young and innocent as she was, a dark suspicion of his
purpose came like a shadow over her soul, and she cried in piteous
accents--

"Pray, good sir, let me go home to my poor grandfather and my little
brother--they will be expecting me, and will feel worried at my absence.
Surely, sir, you will not have the heart to harm me--I am but a poor
fruit girl, without father or mother. Pray let me go, sir."

That appeal, made touching by the youth and innocence of the speaker,
and by her profound distress, might have melted a heart of iron--but it
moved not the stony heart of the old villain, and he looked upon her
with his cold, hard eyes, and his disgusting smile, as he said--

"Your tears make you doubly interesting, my sweet child. I am afraid
that your poor grandfather and your little brother, as you call them,
will be obliged to wait a long while for your return, let them worry
ever so much at your absence. You say truly that I have not the heart to
harm you, a poor fruit girl,--no, I will make a lady of you; and as you
have, you say, neither father nor mother, I will supply their place, my
pretty dear, and be your _lover_ into the bargain. Those coarse garments
shall be changed for silks and satins,--that shining hair shall be made
radiant with gems,--jewels shall sparkle on that fair neck, and on those
taper fingers,--you shall ride in a carriage, and have servants to wait
on you,--and you shall sleep on a downy bed, and live in a grand house,
like this. Say, will not all these fine things be better than selling
fruit in the cold streets?"

But the sobbing girl implored him to let her go home. The gentleman
ground his teeth with rage.

"Well, well," said he, after a brief pause, and speaking in an assumed
tone of kindness, "you _shall_ go home, since you wish it." He rang a
bell, and the old negro woman appeared, to whom he whispered for a few
moments, and then left the room.

"Come, Miss," said the old wench, addressing Fanny, with a grin that was
anything but encouraging or expressive of a friendly feeling--"come with
me up stairs, and wash the tears from your pretty face; then you shall
go home--ha, ha, ha!"

It was a demon's laugh, full of malice and hatred; yet Fanny smiled
through her tears, for she saw not the old wretch's malignity, and only
thought of her escape from the danger which had menaced her, and
anticipated the happiness she should feel when once more in safety
beneath her own humble roof, in the society of all she held dear on
earth. Joyfully did she follow the old wench up stairs and into an
apartment still more handsomely furnished than the one below; but what
was her astonishment and affright, when her sable conductress gave her a
violent push which threw her violently to the floor, and then quickly
left the room and locked the door! A presentiment that she was
imprisoned, and for the worst of purposes, flashed through her mind, and
she made the apartment resound with her shrieks. But, alas! no help was
near--no friendly hand was there to burst open the door of her prison,
and rescue her from a house, within whose walls she was threatened with
the worst fate that can befall a helpless maiden--the loss of her honor.
Her loud shrieks penetrated not beyond the precincts of that massive
building--her calls for help were answered only by the taunting laugh of
the black hag outside, who loaded her with alternate abuse, threats, and
curses. At last, exhausted and despairing, poor Fanny threw herself upon
the carpet, and prayed--oh, how earnestly!--that no harm might happen to
her, which could call the blush of shame to her cheek, or make her poor
grandfather think of her as a lost, polluted thing.

Somewhat relieved by this, (and who shall say that a holy whisper
breathed not into her pure heart the assurance that she should pass
unscathed through the fiery furnace?) she arose with a calmer spirit,
and began to survey the apartment in which she was confined. It was a
large room, very elegantly furnished, containing a piano, and a
profusion of paintings. On examining one of these, Fanny turned away
with a burning cheek--for it was one of those immodest productions of
the French school, which show how art and talent can be perverted to the
basest uses. She looked at no more of the pictures, but went to a window
and looked out. The view from thence was not extensive, but merely
included a garden of moderate size, surrounded by a high wall; the
prospect was not a pleasant one, for instead of blooming flowers, the
appropriate divinities of such a place, nothing was to be seen but a
smooth surface of snow, relieved here and there by gaunt trees, whose
leafless branches waved mournfully in the breeze, seeming to sing a
requiem for the departed summer.

Fanny turned sadly away from this gloomy prospect, and seating herself
upon a luxurious sofa, abandoned herself to the melancholy reflections
engendered by her situation. Soon the fortitude which she had summoned
to her aid, deserted her, and as the increasing darkness of the room
betokened the approach of night, a thousand fears chilled her heart. She
was alone in that strange house--no friends were near--the treatment she
had received from the gentleman and his negro menial, indicated that
neither of them would hesitate to do her mischief, if they were so
inclined--what if they should murder her--or, dreadful thought! first
outrage, and then despatch her! While employed in such terrible
meditations as these, the darkness increased; grim shadows hovered
around, and dim but terrific shapes seemed to glide towards the
trembling girl. She groped her way towards the window, and looked
out--there was no moon, and not a star glimmered in the firmament. Soon
the darkness grew so intense, that had she held her hand close to her
eyes, she could not have seen it.

Every moment augmented her fears; and sinking down in one corner, she
pressed her hands to her aching eyes, as if to shut out some hideous
spectacle.

Not long had she been thus, when a mortal terror, to which all her other
fears were as nothing, seized her; she shivered with horror, and cold
perspiration started from every pore of her skin--for her sense of
hearing, painfully acute, detected the presence of a _moving object_ in
the room--she heard the rustle of garments--a footstep--the sound of
breathing; she strained her eyes through the intense darkness, but could
distinguish nothing. The moving object approaching her, nearer and
nearer--it seemed to be groping in search of her--and her blood froze
with horror when at last a cold hand touched her cheek, and she beheld a
pair of eyes glaring at her through the gloom. A low, mocking laugh--a
whispered curse--and the object glided away; then Fanny lost all
consciousness.

When she recovered from the swoon into which she had fallen, daylight
was shining through the windows. Hours passed away, and no one came to
invade the girl's solitude. At about noon, the door was unlocked, and
the old negro woman appeared, bearing a plate of provisions and a basket
full of clothing. Placing the food before Fanny, the hag bade her eat, a
request readily complied with, as she had fasted since the preceding
day. While she was eating, the old negress regarded her with a hideous
grin, and eyes expressing all the malignity of a serpent; and at the
conclusion of the repast, asked her--

"Well, Miss, how did you pass the night?"

Fanny related the fearful visitation she had experienced, and implored
to be released from her confinement; the black woman laughed
disdainfully.

"No, no, Miss," said she, "my master will never let you go until of your
own free will, you become his own little lady, and take him for a lover.
Listen to me, girl: I am going to speak for your own good. My master is
very fond of young ladies such as you, and goes to every expense to get
them into the house; but he never likes to _force_ them to his wishes,
his delight being to have them _willing_ to receive him as a lover--do
you understand? But those silly girls who are _not_ willing, he shuts up
in this room, which is haunted by a fearful spectre, who every night
visits the obstinate girl, and sometimes punishes her dreadfully, until
she consents to my master's wishes."

Fanny shuddered--and the old black woman continued, in a gentler tone--

"Now won't you, to avoid this fearful spectre, consent to become my
master's little lady? I am sure you will, my dear. See--I have brought
you some fine clothes to wear, so that you may be fit to receive Mr.
Tickels this afternoon, as he intends to visit you. Now, don't fail to
be very good and kind to him, for he loves you very much, and will make
a fine lady of you. Come, let us take off those old clothes, and put on
this beautiful silk dress that has been bought on purpose for you."

We have so far depicted Fanny as a very timid, gentle girl; but she was
not destitute of a becoming spirit.--When, therefore, she heard that old
wretch so calmly and deliberately talk of her surrendering herself to
dishonor and shame, the flush of indignation mantled her cheek; she
arose, and boldly confronting her tormentor, said, with spirit and
determination--

"I _will not_ wear your fine clothes, nor become the slave of your
master's will! He is a villain for keeping me here--and you are a
wretch, a wicked wretch, for trying to tempt me to do wrong. I am not
afraid of the spectre you speak of, for God will protect me, and keep me
from harm. You may kill me, if you like, but I will not--_will not_ be
guilty of the wickedness you wish me to commit; and if ever I get free
from this bad place, you and your master shall be made to suffer for
treating me so. Remember this, you nasty old black devil--remember
this!"

The negress quailed before the young girl, whose singular beauty was
enhanced ten-fold by the glow of indignation on her cheek and the
sparkle of anger in her eye. Then, without saying a word, she left the
room, locking the door after her.

Half an hour elapsed, and the wench again made her appearance; in her
hand she carried a short, stout piece of rope. With the fury of a
tigress, and a countenance (black as she was) livid with rage, she flew
at the young girl, tore every shred of clothing from her person, and
then beat her cruelly with the rope, until her fair skin was covered in
various places with black and blue marks. In vain poor Fanny implored
for mercy; the black savage continued to beat her until obliged to
desist by sheer exhaustion. Throwing herself breathless into a chair,
she said, with a fierce oath--

"So, Miss--I'm a nasty old black devil, am I? You impudent hussy, how
dare you use such language to me? But I'll learn you better. You shall
be more civil, and do as my master wishes, and obey me in everything, or
I'll not leave a whole bone in your skin. Now put on these new clothes
instantly, or I solemnly swear I'll not leave off beating you, until you
lie at my feet, a corpse!"

Poor Fanny was obliged to obey--for, apart from the black woman's
threat, she had no alternative but to put on the costly garments which
had been procured for her, her own clothes being torn to pieces; and of
course she did not wish to remain in a state of nudity. She therefore
dressed herself--and in truth, the garments were well selected, and
fitted her to a charm. Even when attired in her old clothes, she had
looked exceedingly pretty; but now, dressed in an elegant costume which
displayed her fine shape and budding charms to the best advantage, she
was positively beautiful. Even the old black woman could not help
smiling with satisfaction at her improved appearance.

"She is a choice tit-bit for my master's appetite," thought she,
chuckling to herself; and then she brought water, and made Fanny wash
the traces of tears from her face, and arrange her rich auburn hair
neatly and tastefully. This done, the negress departed, after telling
the young girl to prepare to receive Mr. Tickels in the course of the
afternoon.

What must have been the reflections of that poor young creature, while
dreading the entrance of the hoary villain who sought her ruin? We can
but imagine them: doubtless she thought with agony of her poor
grandfather and little Charley, both of whom she knew would suffer all
the anguish of uncertainty and fear, with reference to her fate. Then,
perhaps, her mind reverted to the happiness she used to enjoy within the
hallowed precincts of her humble home--which, humble as it was, and
devoid of every luxury, and many comforts, was nevertheless endeared to
her by a thousand tender associations, and had been to her as an ark of
safety from the storms of life. Her thoughts next dwelt upon the kind
young lady, who had given her the gold coin, and whose sweet smile and
pitying words still lingered in her heart. And should she ever see those
dear relatives or that kind friend again? Or if she did, would she be
able to look them in the face as a pure and stainless girl, or would she
blush in their presence with a consciousness of degradation? But she was
interrupted in these painful meditations by the sound of the key turning
in the lock; and a moment afterwards Mr. Tickels entered the room, and
advanced towards her. On observing her improved appearance, a smile of
intense satisfaction overspread his bloated face and sensual
features--and his eyes rested admiringly upon her form, which, though
not ripened, was beginning to assume a voluptuous fullness that
betokened approaching womanhood. Taking her hand, he drew her to a sofa
and seated her by his side. How tumultuously her heart beat with
apprehension and fear!--and the old _gentleman's_ first words were by no
means calculated to allay her alarm.

"My charming little girl," said he, raising her hand to his lips--"how
beautiful you look! A _fruit girl_!--by heavens, you are fit to be a
duchess! Such sweet blue eyes--such luxuriant hair--such pure Grecian
features--such a complexion, the rose blending with the lily--such a
snowy breast, expanding into the two "apples of love!" And that little
foot, peeping so coquettishly from beneath the skirts of your dress,
should ever be encased in a satin slipper, and press naught but rich and
downy carpets in the magnificent saloons of aristocratic wealth! Nay,
nay, my little trembler, be not afraid, but listen to me: I love you
more than words can express--you are the star of my life, and your
lustre shall light me on my way to more than celestial felicity. Hear me
still further: the world bows the knee to me because I am rich--thus do
I kneel to you, my angel, for you are beautiful. You shall dwell with me
in a mansion, to which, in point of splendor, this is nothing. I will
have a _boudoir_ prepared expressly for your use; it shall be lined with
pink satin, and in summer the windows will overlook a beautiful garden,
full of choice fruits and rare flowers; a sparkling fountain shall play
in its centre, and your ears will be ravished with the melody of birds.
You shall wander in that garden as much as you choose, and when you are
tired, you shall repose in a shady arbor, and dream of love and its
thousand blisses. In the winter season, like this, the opera, the
ballroom, the theatre, shall minister to your pleasure; and in those
places, none shall surpass you in splendor of dress or magnificence of
jewels. Say, _belissima_, will you give me your love in exchange for all
these things?"

While uttering the above wild rhapsody, (which is given at length in
order to show the temptations with which the old libertine sought to
allure his intended victim,) he had kneeled at her feet, and, despite
her resistance, encircled her waist with his arm.

And did that poor girl--the daughter of poverty--the child of
want--whose home was a garret, and who was familiar with the chills of
winter and the cravings of hunger,--did she, while listening to the
splendid promises of the rich man who knelt at her feet, for a moment
waver in her pride of virtue, or even dream of accepting his brilliant
offers? No! for even had she no other scruples, a host of holy memories
encircled her heart, as a shield of power against the tempter's
wiles,--the memory of home, of the two loved beings she had left there,
of former happiness in a more elevated sphere; and of a gentle mother,
whose beauty and virtues she had inherited, whose counsels she
remembered, and who was sleeping in the churchyard.

Disengaging herself from the libertine's embrace, and thoroughly aroused
to a sense of her danger, and the necessity of making all the resistance
she was capable of, to preserve her chastity and honor, the young girl,
losing all sense of fear, poured forth a torrent of indignant eloquence
that for the time completely abashed and overcame the hoary and
lecherous villain.

"No, sir--I will not, cannot love you; I hate and despise you, old
wretch that you are, seeking to tempt a poor child like me to her ruin.
Oh! you are rich, and have the manners of a gentleman before the
world,--and yet you are more base, mean and cowardly than the commonest
ruffian that ever stole a purse or cut a throat! Let me go hence, I
command you; you dare not refuse me, for I know there is a law to
protect _me_, as well as the richest and the highest, and I will go to
those who execute the law, and have you dragged to the bar of justice to
answer for this outrage. Do you hear, sir?--let me go from this accursed
place, or dread the power of the law and the vengeance of Almighty God!"

The libertine quailed before the flashing eyes and proud scorn of his
intended victim; his discomfiture, however, lasted but for a moment. His
red face grew black with the passions of rage and lust combined; he
muttered a fierce curse, and springing forward, seized her in his
vice-like grasp, and forced her towards the sofa, exclaiming--

"Curses on you, little hell-bird, since neither persuasions nor promises
will make you mine, it shall be done by force. Nay, if you scream so, by
the powers of darkness I'll strangle you!"

In all human probability he would have been as good as his word, for
Fanny continued to scream louder and louder; when suddenly Mr. Tickels
received a blow on the head that brought him to the ground, and a voice
cried out--

"Broad-swords and bomb-shells! I am just in time!"

While the libertine lay sprawling upon the carpet, Fanny turned to thank
her deliverer; and what was her astonishment and joy when she beheld the
wrinkled, care-worn face, and odd, shabby garments of--Corporal Grimsby.



CHAPTER III

_The Rescue._


"By the nose of Napoleon!" cried the worthy Corporal, clasping Fanny in
his arms,--"this is fortunate. Attacked the enemy in the rear--drove him
from his position,--completely routed him, and left him wounded on the
field; and you, my dear child, are the spoils of war!"

Mr. Tickels arose with difficulty from his prostrate position, rubbing
his forehead, which was decorated with a token of the Corporal's vigor,
in the shape of a huge bump not included in the science of phrenology.
Turning fiercely to the latter gentleman, and quivering with rage, he
demanded--

"Death and fury, sir! how dare you intrude into this room,--into this
house? Who are you, and what in the devil's name brings you here? Speak,
you villain, or--"

"Hold!" cried the Corporal, his face crimsoning with anger, for he was a
choleric little old gentleman, was the Corporal, and as quick to become
enraged as to do a good action; "hold! No man shall call me villain with
impunity; I shot two rascally Dons at Madrid for the same word, and by
God, sir, if _you_ repeat it, I'll cane you within an inch of your
life!"

Mr. Tickels was as great a coward as a scoundrel; and though he was a
much more powerful man than the Corporal, he deemed it prudent not to
enrage the fierce little old gentleman more than necessary. He therefore
adopted a milder tone, and asked,--

"Well, sir, what is your business here?"

"To convey this poor child to her home and friends," replied the
Corporal, sternly. "It matters not how I ascertained her whereabouts;
'tis enough to know that I arrived here in time to rescue her from your
brutality. You shall pay dearly for this outrage, damn you!" added the
Corporal, again getting into a passion, and turning very red in the
face. "But come, my child, let us leave the den of this old hyena, and
go to your poor grandfather and little Charley."

Mr. Tickels closed the door, and placed his back against it with a
determined air.

"You are mistaken, sir," said he, calmly,--"if you suppose that you can
thus force yourself into my house, and into my private apartments, and
without explanation kidnap or carry off a young person whose presence
here is no affair of yours. Do you know me, sir? I am the Honorable
Timothy Tickels, ex-member of Congress, men are not in the habit of
questioning my motives or interfering with my actions. I am rich, and my
influence is unbounded, and, were I so disposed, I could have you
severely punished for the assault which you have committed on me. Your
dress and appearance indicate poverty, although your language evinces
that you have enjoyed more elevated fortunes; I am disposed to be not
only merciful, but generous. Come, sir--leave this young person with me,
unmolested; depart from this house quietly, and say nothing about what
you have seen, and here is a fifty dollar bill for you. When you need
more, come to me, and you shall have it."

The Honorable Mr. Tickels drew from his well-filled wallet a bank-note
for the amount named, and handed it to the Corporal, who regarded it
with a curious smile, and twirled it in his fingers. His smile may have
been one of gratification at receiving the money--but it looked very
much like a sneer of contempt for the donor and his bribe.

"Now is it not strange," quoth the Corporal, soliloquizing,--"that this
dirty little bit of paper--its intrinsic value not one cent, its
representative value fifty dollars,--is it not strange, I say, that this
flimsy trifle, that an instant's application to the sickly flame of a
penny candle would destroy, can procure food for the starving, clothing
for the naked, shelter for the homeless? Great is thy power,
money!--thou art the key to many of earth's pleasures,--the magic wand,
which can summon a host of delights to gild the existence of thy
votaries; thou cans't buy roses to strew life's rugged pathway--but thou
cans't not, O great deity at whose shrine all men kneel, thou cans't not
cleanse the polluted soul, still the troubled conscience, or dim the
pure surface of unsullied honor. Nor cans't thou purchase _me_, thou
sordid dross. Guns and grappling-irons!" abruptly added the Corporal,
abandoning his philosophical strain, and getting into a towering
passion,--"would you bribe me to desert my post as a guardian of
innocence, and turn traitor to every principle of honor in my
heart?--Bah!" and crumpling the bill in his hand, he threw it into the
face of the Honorable Mr. Tickels, much to that individual's amazement.

"What do you mean, sir?" he demanded, "do you scorn my gift?"

"Yes!" thundered the little Corporal, "you and your gift may go to the
devil together; and hark'ee, sir, perhaps 'tis well that you should know
who _I_ am, as you have so formally introduced yourself to me; I am--"

The remainder of the sentence was whispered in the ear of his listener,
but the effect was magical. The Honorable Mr. Tickels started, and
rapidly surveyed the person and countenance of the Corporal; then he
reddened with confusion, and began to murmur a broken apology for his
conduct, in which he was interrupted rather abruptly.

"Not a word, sir, not a word," said the little old gentleman, "all your
apologies cannot remove from my mind the impression created by your
treatment of this poor child; and, sir," (here the Corporal again lost
his temper) "you cannot destroy my conviction that you are the d----dest
scoundrel that ever went unhung! Consider yourself fortunate if you are
not held legally responsible for your forcible detention of the young
girl in your house, and for your attempted outrage on her person,--damn
you! Come, my child, this gentleman will no longer oppose our exit from
his mansion."

The Corporal was right; the Honorable Mr. Tickels offered not the
slightest objection to their departure, but on the contrary ushered them
down stairs with great politeness, and held open the street door for
them to pass out.

When Fanny found herself once more in the open street, out of the power
of her persecutor, and on the way to her home and friends, her gratitude
to her deliverer knew no bounds; she thanked the good Corporal a
thousand times, and spoke of the approaching meeting with her
grandfather and brother with rapture. Soon they reached their place of
destination; once more the young girl stood in the humble apartment
wherein all her affections were centered;--once more her aged
grandfather clasped her in his arms, and again did she receive the fond
kiss of fraternal love from the lips of her brother.

As soon as they had left the residence of the Honorable Mr. Tickels, in
South street, the gentleman locked himself up in his study, threw
himself into a chair, and actually began tearing his hair with rage and
vexation.

"Hell and furies!" cried he--"to be thus fooled and baffled at the very
moment when my object was about to be accomplished--to have that
luscious morsel snatched from my grasp, when I was just about to taste
its sweets. The thought is madness! And, in the name of wonder, how came
HE to know that she was here, and why does _he_ interest himself in her
at all? I dare not trifle with _him_! Were some poor, poverty-stricken
devil to constitute himself her champion, I might crush him at once; but
_he_ is above my reach. No matter; she shall yet be mine--I swear it, by
all the powers of hell! I care not whether by open violence, or secret
abduction, or subtle stratagem; I shall gain possession of her person,
and once in my power, not all the angels in heaven, or men on earth, or
fiends in hell, shall tear her from my grasp.--Ah, by Beelzebub, well
tho't of!--I know the mistress of a house of prostitution (of which
house I am the _owner_,) beneath whose den, as she has often told me,
there is a secret cellar, which she has had privately constructed, and
to which there is no access except through a panel in her chamber--which
panel and the method of opening it, are known only to her, and a few
persons in whom she can place implicit confidence.--This brothel-keeper
told me, too, that she had the cellar made as a safe depository for
young females who had been abducted from their homes,--a place of
security from the search of friends, and the police. In that
subterranean retreat, (which she informed me, is luxuriantly furnished,
although the light of day never penetrates there,) these stolen girls
are compelled to receive the visits of their lovers; and there, amid the
gloom and silence of that underground prison they are initiated in all
the mysteries of prostitution. By heaven 'tis the very place for my
little fruit girl; she shall be abducted and conveyed there--and once
safely lodged in these secret "Chambers of Love," HE who spoiled by
sport to-day, shall in vain search for her. Let him come, bringing with
him the myrmidons of the law; and let them search my house--then let
them, if they choose, go to the brothel, beneath the foundation of which
the girl is hidden, and search _that_ house, too,--ha, ha, ha! They will
search for her in vain. But _how_ to abduct her--there's the rub! Tush!
when did my ingenuity ever fail me, when appetite was to be fed or
revenge gratified? Courage, Timothy Tickels, courage! Thy star, though
dim at present, shall soon be in the ascendant!"

Such were the reflections of the old libertine, as he sat in his study
after the departure of the Corporal and Fanny; and he was so delighted
at the thought of a safe asylum for the latter, that, with restored good
humor he applied himself to the discussion of a bottle of wine, and
then, stretching himself comfortably on a sofa, fell asleep and dreamed
of the subterranean "Chamber of Love," and the little fruit girl.



CHAPTER IV

_A night in Ann street._


We proceed now to show how the Corporal discovered the fact that Fanny
Aubrey was confined in the mansion of the Honorable Mr. Tickels, in
South street.

Great was the consternation and alarm of the blind basket-maker and
little Charley, as the day passed away and evening came on, without the
return of Fanny. They were agitated with a thousand fears for her
safety, for both their lives were bound up in hers, and they doted on
her with an affection rendered doubly ardent by their poverty and almost
complete isolation from the world. In the midst of their distress,
Corporal Grimsby entered, bringing, as on the evening before, a basket
of provisions. To him they communicated the intelligence that Fanny had
not returned; and the eccentric old man, without waiting to hear the
recital of their fears, threw the basket on the table, bolted
precipitately down stairs, and walked away towards Ann street with a
rapidity that betokened the existence of some fixed purpose in his mind.
Meanwhile, his reflections ran somewhat in the following strain, and
were half muttered aloud, as he trudged quickly onward, now nearly
upsetting a foot passenger and receiving a malediction on his
awkwardness, and then bruising his unlucky shins against lampposts and
other street fixtures.

"By the nose of Napoleon! what can have become of the little minx? lost
or stolen?--most probably the latter, for in this infernal city a pretty
girl like her, so unprotected and so poor, can no more traverse the
streets with safety, than can a fine fat goose waddle into the den of a
wolf unharmed. Curses on these lampposts, I am always breaking my neck
against them--bah! Well, to consider: but why the devil do I interest
myself in this little girl at all? Is it because I am a lonely, solitary
old codger, with neither chick nor child to bless me with their love,
and whom I may love in return? Bah! no--that can't be; and yet, somehow,
there is a vacant corner in my old heart, and the image of that little
girl seems to fill it exactly. I am an old fool, and yet--damn you, sir,
what d'ye mean by running against me, eh!--and yet, it did me more good
to see that hungry family last night, eat the food that I had provided
for them, than it did when I, Gregory Grimsby, was promoted to the
elevated rank of Corporal. Now about this little girl--I'll bet my
three-cornered cock'd hat against a pinch of Scotch snuff that she has
been abducted--entrapped into the power of some scoundrel for the worst
of purposes. That's the most natural supposition that I can get at. Now
display thy logic, Corporal: thy supposed scoundrel must be rich, for
poor men can seldom afford such expensive luxuries as mistresses; being
rich implies that he is _respectable_--so the world says and
thinks--bah! Being respectable, he would not compromise his character by
engaging personally in such a low business as entrapping a girl; no--he
would employ an _agent_; and such an agent must necessarily be a very
low person, whether male or female--if a male, he is a ruffian--if a
female, she is a strumpet--and where do ruffians and strumpets, of the
_lower orders_ (for even in crime there is an aristocracy)[A] where do
they usually reside? why, in a congenial atmosphere--in the lowest
section of the city; and what is the lowest section of this city? why,
_Ann street_, to be sure. Truly, Corporal Grimsby, thou art an admirable
logician! So now I am on my way to Ann street, to explore its dens, in
the hope (a vain one, I fear) of finding the supposed agent who was
employed by the supposed rich scoundrel to abduct, kidnap, or entrap my
little Fanny. Should I be so fortunate as to find that agent, money will
readily induce him or her to divulge the place where the girl is hid;
for the principle of "honor among thieves" has, I believe, but an
imaginary existence."

[A] The honest Corporal was right; the well-dressed, gentlemanly,
speculating, wholesale swindler would scorn to associate with the needy
wretch who protracts a miserable existence by small pilferings--and the
fashionable courtezan who promenades Washington street and "sees
company" at a splendidly furnished brothel, can perceive not the
slightest resemblance between her position in society and that of the
wretched troll who practises indiscriminate prostitution in some low
"crib" in Ann street. And yet philosophy and common sense both level all
moral distinction between the two conditions.--A noble murderer once
protested against being hung on the same gallows with a
chimney-sweep--there was aristocracy with a vengeance! We opine that the
lofty and arrogant pretensions of some of our "nabobs," who are often of
obscure and sometimes of ignominious birth, are scarcely less ridiculous
than the aristocratic notions of a gentlemanly rascal who robs _a la
mode_ and picks a pocket with gentility and grace!

Leaving the Corporal to explore the intricate labyrinths of Ann street,
(in the hope of obtaining some clew to the fate of Fanny Aubry,) thou
wilt have the kindness, gentle reader, to accompany us into one of the
squalid dens of that great sewer of vice and crime. But first we pause
to read and admire the sign which decorates the exterior of a "crib"
opposite Keith's Alley, and which, with a peculiarity of orthography
truly amusing, notifies you that it is a "_Vittlin Sollor._" (This sign
remains there to this day.) Passing on, we cannot fail to be impressed
with the "mixed" nature of the society of the place; colored ladies and
gentlemen (by far the most decent portion of the population) are every
where to be seen, thronging the side-walks, indulging in boisterous
laughter; loafers of every description are lounging about, whose
tattered garments indicate the languishing condition of their wardrobes;
great, ruffianly fellows stare at you with eyes expressive of the
villainy that prompts to robbery and murder;--miserable men, ghastly
women, and dirty children obstruct the pathway, and annoy you with their
oaths and ribald jests. Let us descend this steep flight of steps, and
enter this cellar. Be not too fastidious in regard to the odor of the
place, for _eau de cologne_ and otto of rose are not exactly the
commodities disposed of here, the place being devoted to the sale of
that beverage classically termed "rot-gut," and eatables which, unlike
wine, are by no means improved in flavor by age. There is the "bar," and
the red-nosed gentleman behind it seems to be one of its best patrons. A
wooden bench extends around the apartment, and upon it are seated about
twenty persons of both sexes. A brief sketch of a few of the "ladies" of
this goodly company may prove interesting, from the fact that the names
are real, and belong to prostitutes who even now inhabit the regions of
Ann street.

That handsome, finely-formed female, with dark eyes and hair in
ringlets, and who is also very neatly dressed, is "Kitty Cling-cling,"
who has been termed the "belle of Ann street." That lady in a red dress,
with hair uncommonly short, (she having only recently dispensed with a
wig,) is Joannah Westman, of Fleet street, and Liverpool Jane from the
same _respectable_ neighborhood. This renowned "Lady" of the town was
(and is) distinguished by a huge scar on her left cheek, which seems to
be the exact impression of a gin bottle, probably thrown in some brawl
in Liverpool, her native place. Then there is Lize Whittaker, from
Lowell, who "ties up" at the corner of Fleet and Ann streets. Then we
notice two ladies who rejoice in the mellifluous names of "Bald-head"
and "Cockroach," and who are both worthy representatives from Keith's
Alley. These, with a small sprinkling of ebony lasses and their
attendant cavaliers, make up the very respectable assemblage.

And now everybody brightens up, as a couple of colored gentlemen enter
the cellar, and seating themselves upon a raised platform termed by
courtesy "the orchestra," commence tuning a fiddle and base viol,
preparatory to a dance by "all the characters."--Away the musicians
glide into the harmonious measures of a gay quadrille--and to say the
truth, the music is excellent, for Picayune and Joe are very skillful
performers on their respective instruments; and are well qualified to
play for a much more select and fashionable auditory. And now the
voluptuous Kitty Cling-cling is led to the centre of the festive hall by
a sable mariner, and begins to foot it merrily to the dulcet strains;
while Bald-head and Cockroach find partners in two African geniuses,
whose dress and general appearance would most decidedly exclude them
from admission into a fancy ball at Brigham's. Away they go, through all
the intricate mazes of the giddy dance. But see--a crowd of well-dressed
but dissipated young men enter the cellar, their wild looks and
disordered attire plainly indicating that they are on a regular "time."
Those young men have been imbibing freely at some fashionable saloon in
Court or Hanover street, and have come to consummate the evening's "fun"
by having a dance with the fallen goddesses of Ann street. With a
facetious perversity, they select as partners the most hideous of the
negro women, and "mix in" the dance with a relish that could not be
surpassed if their partners were each a Venus, and the cellar a
magnificent hall of Terpsichore. The dance concluded, they throw down a
handful of silver upon the counter, and invite "all hands to take a
drink," but very rarely drink themselves in such a place, well knowing
the liquor to be unworthy the palate of men accustomed to the superior
beverages of the aristocratic establishments. At the completion of this
ceremony, they take their departure, to visit some other "crib," and
repeat the same performances.

But let us (supposing ourselves to be invisible) pass from the dance
hall and enter the adjoining apartment, which is smaller. Seated around
a rough deal table are about thirty men and women, engaged in smoking
and drinking. The room is dimly lighted by a couple of tallow candles,
stuck in bottles; the walls are black with dust and smoke, and the
aforesaid table and a few benches constitute the entire furniture of the
room. The general frequenters of the cellar are not admitted to this
place, it being especially reserved for the use of those ladies and
gentlemen who gain their living on the principle of an equal division of
property--or in other words, _thieves_. In this room, secure from being
overheard by the uninitiated and vulgar crowd, they could "ply the
lush," and "blow a cloud," while they talked over their exploits and
planned new depredations. The room was called the "Pig Pen," and the
society who resorted there classed themselves under the expressive tide
of "Grabbers." Although not a regularly organized association, it had a
sort of leader or captain whose authority was generally recognized. This
gentleman was called "Jew Mike," from the fact of his belonging to the
Hebrew persuasion; he was a gigantic, swarthy ruffian, with a long,
black and most repulsive features, and was dressed in a style decidedly
"flash," his coat garnished with huge brass buttons, and his fingers
profusely adorned with jewelry of the same material. He had recently
graduated from the State Prison, where he had served a term of ten years
for manslaughter, as the jury termed it; although it was universally
regarded as one of the most cold-blooded and atrocious murders ever
committed. To sum up the character of this man in a few words, he was a
most desperate and blood-thirsty villain, capable of perpetrating the
most enormous crimes; and dark hints were sometimes thrown out by his
associates in reference to his former career; some said that he was an
escaped murderer from the South; others that he had been a pirate; while
all united in bearing unqualified testimony as to the villainy of his
character and the number and blackness of his crimes. He could not plead
_ignorance_ in extenuation of his manifold enormities, for he possessed
an education that would have qualified him to move in a respectable
sphere of society, had he been so disposed. Upon his right was seated no
less a personage that "Sow Nance," the hideous girl who had that day
entrapped poor Fanny Aubry into the power of Mr. Tickels; she was much
intoxicated, and by the maudlin fondness which she displayed for Jew
Mike, it was easy to surmise the nature of the relation existing between
her and him. Included in the company were several other "apple girls,"
whose proficiency as thieves entitled them to the distinction of being
considered as competent "Grabbers;" each one of these wretched young
creatures had her lover, of "fancy man," who was generally some low,
petty thief--although, among the male portion of the assembly, there
were several expert and daring robbers, the most distinguished of whom
was Jew Mike himself, whose skill as a burglar had elevated him to the
highly honorable position of captain of the "Grabbers."

The "lush" was freely handed round, and the company soon grew "half seas
over;" then came wildly exaggerated narratives of exploits in robbery,
thieving, and almost every species of crime, interspersed with smutty
anecdotes and obscene songs, in which the females of the company were
not a whit behind the males. At length Jew Mike himself was vociferously
called on for either a song or a story; and not being a vocalist, the
gentleman preferred entertaining his friends with the latter; so,
clearing his throat by an enormous draught of brandy, he began as
follows:


                         JEW MIKE'S STORY

  "You see, lads and lasses, a year or two before I came to this
  accursed country to be _jugged for a ten spot_, for manslaughter, (it
  was a clear murder, though, and a good piece of work, too,) I was a
  nobleman's butler in the great city of London. Ah, _that_ was the
  place for a man to get a living in! No decent "Grabber," would stoop
  to petty stealing there; beautiful burglaries, yielding hundreds of
  pounds in silver plate; elegant highway robberies, producing piles of
  guineas and heaps of diamond watches,--that was the business followed
  by lads of the cross at that time in England. Well, there's no use in
  crying over spilt milk, any how; I was obliged to step out of England
  when the country got too hot to hold me, and if I returned there, by
  G----! my life wouldn't be worth a moment's purchase. And now to go on
  with my story. I was a nobleman's butler, and glorious times I had of
  it--little to do, plenty of pickings and stealings, free access to the
  pantry and wine-cellar, and enjoying terms of easy intimacy with the
  prettiest chambermaid in London. The only drawback upon my happiness
  was Lord Hawley's _valet_, a Frenchman, named Lagrange, who had been
  in his lordship's service many years, and was regarded as a remarkably
  honest and faithful man,--and so he was; but those qualities which
  rendered him valuable to his lordship, of course rendered him devilish
  obnoxious to me,--for he suspected my real character, and was
  continually playing the spy upon me, and informing my master of all my
  little peccadilloes. For instance, his lordship would send for me in
  his library, and say, sternly,--'Simpson, my valet Lagrange informs me
  that you are improperly intimate with one of the female domestics; you
  must stop it, or quit my service.' And perhaps the next day he would
  again summon me before him, and, with that cursed valet grinning
  maliciously at me from behind his chair, say to me,--'Simpson, I hear
  that you make too free with my wine, and are frequently intoxicated;
  stop it, or I shall dismiss you.' In short, Lagrange was the bane of
  my existence, and I secretly swore to be terribly revenged upon him
  for his tattling propensities. You'll soon see how well I kept my
  oath.

  "My Lady Hawley was a very gay, dissipated and beautiful woman, and I
  had long been aware that during my master's absence she was in the
  habit of receiving the clandestine visits of a handsome young officer
  of dragoons. To tell the truth, I used to admit him to the house, and
  see that no one was in the way to observe him enter her ladyship's
  chamber, for which services I received very liberal rewards from both
  her ladyship, and Captain St. Clair. Lord Hawley doted upon his wife,
  who was many years younger than himself; and often have I laughed in
  my sleeve when I thought what a cuckold she made of him. But he
  suspected nothing of the kind; I was the only person, besides the
  parties, who knew of the intrigue; even Lagrange, artful spy as he
  was, did not discover it. My master, who was addicted to gambling, was
  absent until a late hour every night, at Crockford's; and thus her
  ladyship had every opportunity to enjoy frequent interviews with her
  lover. As I knew of her frailty, I had her completely in my power; and
  often I was tempted to threaten her with exposure, unless she would
  "come down" handsomely with a thousand pounds or so, and grant me _any
  other favor_ that I might choose to demand, as the price of my
  silence,--for, as I said before, she was a beautiful woman, and a
  butler has feelings as ardent as those of a captain of dragoons.

  "Well, matters continued very quiet and agreeable, until late one
  night, after I had gone to bed, I heard a low but hurried knock at the
  door of my room. I arose, hastily threw on a few garments, and opened
  the door, when to my astonishment in rushed Lady Hawley, in her
  night-dress, and threw herself into a chair, breathless with
  agitation. Almost instantly the thought flashed through my mind that
  her intrigue had been discovered; cautiously closing the door, I
  advanced towards her ladyship, and in a respectful manner inquired why
  she had honored me with a visit so unexpected, and what might be the
  cause of her evident agitation, at the same time assuring her of my
  assistance, should she require it. She fixed her proud, beautiful eyes
  upon my face, and said, in a voice trembling with emotion,--

  "'Good heavens, Simpson, only think of it, my foolish affair with
  Captain St. Clair is discovered!'

  "'Is it possible, your ladyship?' I cried, 'and may I ask who--'

  "'His lordship's valet, Lagrange, saw me, half an hour ago, conducting
  the Captain to the private stair-case which leads to the garden,'
  replied her ladyship, shuddering, and shading her face with her hands.

  "'And might not your ladyship purchase his silence?' I asked. She
  replied,--

  "'I have just come from his room; you know how obstinate he is,--how
  entirely devoted to his lordship,--how blindly honest and faithful
  he has ever been,--how singularly averse to receiving presents from
  any source whatever, fearing it might have the appearance of bribery.
  I went to his room, and offered him a hundred guineas if he would
  solemnly swear never to reveal what he had seen. In a tone of cold
  indifference he said, 'I must do my duty to his lordship, to whom I am
  bound by the strongest ties of gratitude, even at the sacrifice of
  your ladyship's honor.' I entreated him, almost on my knees, to give
  the required promise; I offered to double, nay, treble the sum that I
  had named, but no; he turned from me, almost with disdain, (the
  low-born menial!) and requested me to retire, as I must be aware of
  the impropriety of such a visit, at such an hour. Perceiving the
  uselessness of attempting to bribe him to secrecy, I left him, cursing
  him for his obstinacy, and came direct to you. Heavens!' added her
  ladyship, drawing her robe over her partially denuded bosom, 'how
  desperate the fear of exposure has made me, that in this indecent
  attire I go at midnight to the chambers of male servants!--Simpson,
  can you help me in this dreadful emergency? You have heretofore proved
  faithful to me,--do not desert me now. _Lagrange must be
  silenced!_--do you understand me? At any cost,--at any risk,--his
  babbling tongue must be hushed, _by you_, for you are the only person
  whom I can trust in the affair. Yes, he must never speak the word that
  will proclaim my dishonor to the world!'

  "'_At any cost_, your ladyship?' rejoined I, fixing my eyes steadily
  upon hers, for her despair rendered me bold, and I was not one to
  suffer an opportunity to slip by unimproved.

  "'I understand you, fellow!' she replied, with a hysterical laugh and
  a glance of scorn,--'and much as I despise you, I answer yes! at any
  cost. But, gracious Heavens, what do I say? _you_, a menial, a
  base-born servitor! But no matter; even _that_ is far preferable to
  exposure. Good God! to think of being cast off by his lordship with
  loathing and contempt, despised and hated by my relatives,--an eternal
  blot upon my name,--forever excluded from the sphere of society of
  which I am the star and centre,--no, that shall never, never be.
  Silence Lagrange--silence him forever,--then ask of me any favor, and
  it shall not be denied.'

  "I approached her ladyship; she was pale as marble, but how superbly
  beautiful! Her glossy hair, all disordered, hung in rich masses upon
  her uncovered shoulders; her seductive night-dress but imperfectly
  concealed the glories of her divine form,--her heaving bosom, so
  voluptuous and fair, was more than half disclosed to my gaze. With a
  palpitating heart I laid my trembling hand upon one of her plump,
  white shoulders. Never shall I forget the majestic rage and scorn of
  her look, as she started to her feet, and stood before me in all the
  pride of her imperial beauty.

  "'Fellow,' she said, with desperate calmness, 'you are bold; but
  perhaps I ought to have expected this. I perceive that you are
  disposed to take every advantage of my situation. Be it so, then; but
  not until you have _earned the reward_, can you claim it. Remember
  this. Fortunately, his lordship is out of town, and will not return
  until the day after to-morrow; but oh! how unfortunate that his
  accursed valet did not accompany him! Lagrange pretended to be ill,
  and was left behind, and my lord was attended by another servant. No
  matter,--you will have an opportunity to dispose of this French spy
  ere the return of his master. I care not what method you take to
  silence his tongue,--but be secret and sure; and when the work is
  done, you shall have your reward--not before.'

  "Having thus spoken, her ladyship swept out of the room with the air
  of a queen, leaving me to devise the best method of silencing Lagrange
  forever. I could not mistake her ladyship's meaning; she wished me to
  _murder_ the man. Now, the fact is, ladies and gentlemen, murder's a
  devilish ticklish business, any how; not that I ever had any false
  delicacy in relation to the wickedness of the thing--pshaw! nothing of
  the kind,--you'll all believe me when I assure you that I'd as soon
  cut a human throat, as wring the neck of a chicken, for that matter;
  but then the consequences of a discovery are so ducedly unpleasant,
  and although I am confident in my own mind that I am destined to
  terminate my existence ornamented with a hempen cravat, I have never
  had any desire to hasten that consummation. So I didn't altogether
  relish the job which her ladyship had given me; but when I thought of
  her surpassing beauty, my hesitation vanished like mists before the
  rising sun, and I resolved to do it.

  "Several times the next day I tried to provoke Lagrange into a
  quarrel, but the wily rascal, as if divining my intentions, only
  shrugged his shoulders and smiled in the cold and sarcastic manner
  peculiar to him. This enraged me greatly, and after applying the most
  abusive epithets to him, I finally struck him. But all availed
  nothing; unlike the majority of his countrymen, the fellow was cold
  and passionless, even under insults and blows. I had provided myself
  with a sharp butcher's knife, which I carried in my sleeve, ready to
  plunge into his heart, had he offered to attack me in return; and thus
  I hoped to make it appear that I had slain him in self-defence. But
  his admirable coolness and self-possession defeated that scheme,--and
  I saw that I would be obliged to slay him deliberately at the first
  opportunity.

  "That opportunity was not long wanting.

  "During the afternoon he had occasion to visit the wine vault, of
  which I alone had the key; I accompanied him thither, and while he was
  engaged in selecting some malt liquor for the servants' table, I said
  to him,--

  "'Monsieur Lagrange, you are acquainted with a secret that intimately
  concerns her ladyship; what use do you intend to make of this
  knowledge?'

  "The Frenchman very coolly intimated that it was none of my business,
  and continued his employment. His back was towards me; I approached
  nearer to him, and said, in a low tone--

  "'You infernal, backbiting, sneaking scoundrel, you have often
  betrayed me to my master, and would now betray her ladyship. You shall
  not live to do it--die like a dog, as you are!'

  "While thus addressing him, I had drawn forth my knife; and as I
  uttered the last words, I plunged it with all my force into his left
  side, up to the very handle. The blade passed directly through his
  heart, and without a groan he fell dead at my feet.

  "No remorse--no sorrow for the bloody deed I had committed, found
  entrance to my soul; on the contrary, I gazed at the corpse with
  savage exultation. 'That babbling tongue is now forever hushed,'
  thought I; and then, as a sudden strange thought struck me, I
  added--'and that tongue shall be my passport to a bliss more exquisite
  than the joys of Paradise.' With an untrembling hand I cut off the
  dead man's tongue, secured it about me, and having hid the body behind
  a row of wine casks, left the cellar, securely locked the door, and
  then went about my usual avocations, resolving to dispose of the
  corpse that night in some manner that should avert suspicion from me,
  for I had every confidence in my own ingenuity.

  "Towards evening, I sought and obtained an interview with her
  ladyship, in private. She advanced to meet me with a hurried step and
  sparkling eyes.

  "'Simpson, _is it done_?' she asked, in a tone of extreme agitation,
  and laying her delicate hand on my arm.

  "'It is, your ladyship,' was my reply, producing and holding before
  her the bloody evidence of the deed--'and here is the tongue of
  Lagrange,--the tongue that would have proclaimed your shame and
  effected your ruin, had its owner lived; but he now lies a cold
  corpse, and this once mischievous member is now as powerless as a
  piece of carrion beneath a butcher's shamble.'

  "'And the body--how will you dispose of that?' she asked, shuddering,
  and turning from the sickening spectacle with disgust.

  "'To-night it shall be sunk deep in the waters of the Thames,' I
  replied; and then, in a more familiar manner than I had as yet
  ventured to assume, I reminded her ladyship of the _reward_ she had
  promised me, as soon as the job should be completed. Again she
  shuddered;--and turned deadly pale; and with a bitter smile, which
  seemed to me to be expressive of hatred and contempt combined, she
  answered--

  "'You are right, Simpson; you have obeyed my wishes, and merit your
  reward,--but not now, not now! Come to my chamber at midnight; I shall
  expect you,--you understand. Go now--leave me; remove all traces of
  your crime. I shall take care to have a quantity of plate removed from
  the house to-night, and destroyed, and when his lordship returns
  to-morrow, he will imagine that Lagrange, despite his supposed
  faithfulness and integrity, has absconded and stolen the plate,--that
  will account to him for the valet's sudden disappearance. Leave me.'

  "'Remember, at midnight, your ladyship,' said I, and left her; but
  when I had closed the door of the apartment, I imagined that I heard
  her give utterance to a scornful laugh. However, I attributed it to
  her gratification at the death of Lagrange, and descending to the wine
  cellar, I busied myself in washing away the stains of blood from the
  floor. How impatiently I longed for the arrival of midnight! the hour
  that was to bring with it the reward of my crime!

  "During the evening, I paid a visit to a noted "_boozing ken_" in St.
  Giles', which bore the very suitable appellation of the "Jolly
  Thieves." Here I engaged two desperate fellows of my
  acquaintance--(for I went on a _crack_, now and then, myself, just to
  keep my hand in,)--to make away with the body of Lagrange; they were
  to come to the rear of my master's house, an hour after midnight,
  provided with a sack and some means of conveyance; and, for a liberal
  reward, they promised to carry off the corpse, and, having attached a
  heavy weight to it, sink it in the Thames,--although I felt assured
  in my own mind, that, instead of giving it to the fishes, they would
  make a more profitable disposition of it, by selling it to some
  surgeon for dissection;--body-snatching being a part of their
  profession, as well as burglary and murder. Having made this important
  arrangement, and paid them a good round sum in advance, (for I was
  well provided with money,) I returned to my master's house, which I
  reached about eleven o'clock.

  "At length the welcome midnight hour arrived, and with a beating heart
  I repaired to the chamber of her ladyship. It was a large apartment,
  furnished with exquisite taste and elegance,--in fact, a perfect bower
  of the graces; and, to my somewhat voluptuous mind, not the least
  attractive feature of it, was a magnificent and luxurious _bed_,
  mysteriously hidden beneath a profuse cloud of snowy drapery, heavily
  laden with costly lace. I had already pictured to myself the delights
  of an amorous dalliance within that bower of Venus, with one whose
  glorious beauty could not have been surpassed by that of the ardent
  goddess herself--but how grievously was I doomed to be disappointed,
  at the very moment when I fancied my triumph certain! But I must not
  anticipate my story.

  "In answer to my respectful, and I must own, somewhat timid, knock at
  the chamber door, I heard the musical but subdued voice of her
  ladyship bidding me to 'come in.' I entered, and having softly closed
  the door, noiselessly turned the key in the lock, and advanced to
  where she was seated by a table, upon which there stood wine, and
  materials of a _recherche_ supper. Drawing a chair close to her
  ladyship, I seated myself, and gazed at her long and ardently, while
  she, apparently unconscious of my presence, seemed to be deeply
  engaged in perusing a splendid volume of Byron's poems.

  "Surprised and not perfectly at ease, in consequence of her silence
  and abstraction (for she had not even glanced at me,) I at length
  ventured to observe--

  "'Your ladyship sees that I am punctual; as of course I could not
  neglect to keep so delightful an appointment.'

  "Still she answered nothing, nor even raised her eyes from the book!
  During the silence of some minutes that ensued, I had an excellent
  opportunity to feast my eyes upon the seraphic loveliness of her face,
  and the admirable proportions of her queen-like form. She was dressed
  with studied simplicity, and in a style half _neglige_, infinitely
  more fascinating than the most elaborate full dress. A robe of snowy
  whiteness, made so as to display her plump, soft arms, and fine,
  sloping shoulders, and entirely without ornament, constituted her
  attire; and a single white rose alone relieved the jet darkness of her
  clustering hair. She was seated in a manner that enabled me to view
  her profile to the best advantage; I was never more forcibly struck
  with its purely classical and Grecian outlines; and I observed that a
  soft expression of melancholy was blended with the usual _hauteur_
  that sat enthroned upon her angelic features.

  "As I gazed admiringly upon the beautiful woman, whom I could almost
  imagine to be a being from a celestial world, I could not help saying
  to myself--

  "'After all, she is an adulteress and a murderess; and is now about to
  sacrifice her person to me, the instrument of her murderous wishes.
  Why, what a devil is here, in the form of a lovely woman, whose beauty
  would seem to proclaim her a tenant of the skies, while the black
  depravity of her heart fits her only for the companionship of the
  fiends below! Why do I hesitate and tremble in her presence? She is in
  my power--my _slave_! Yet, by heavens, what a superb creature! A
  thousand passionate devils are dancing in her brilliant eyes--her lips
  are moist with the honey of love--and her form seems to glow with
  ardent but hidden fires! Come, let me delay no longer, but speak to
  her in the language befitting a master to his slave!'

  "'Lady,' said I, in a tone familiar, yet not disrespectful--'why this
  reserve and silence? You know for what purpose I come thus at midnight
  to your chamber--it is by your own appointment, and to receive the
  reward of a difficult and dangerous service which I have performed for
  you. Nay, I see that you have anticipated my coming, by preparing this
  delicate and acceptable feast for our entertainment. Is it not so, my
  charmer? And you have dressed yourself in this bewitching style of
  chaste simplicity, solely to please me--am I right? But come; though
  you have not yet spoken or looked at me, sweet coquette that you are,
  I read in your bright eyes the confirmation of my hopes. Let us first
  banquet upon the delights of love, and then sip the ruby contents of
  the sparkling wine-cup, which I'll swear are not one half so sweet as
  the nectar of your lips, which now I taste.'

  "I clasped her in my arms as I spoke, and attempted to imprint a kiss
  upon her lips; but she hurled me from her with disdain, and said, with
  an air of lofty dignity--

  "'Dog, how dare you thus intrude into the sanctity of my chamber? and
  how dared you for a moment presume to think that I intended to keep
  the promise which, in my eagerness to have Lagrange silenced, I gave
  you? Know that, sooner than submit to your base and loathsome
  embraces, I'd brave exposure and even death itself! If _money_ will
  satisfy you, name your sum, and be it ever so great, it shall be paid
  to you; but presume not to think that Lady Adelaide Hawley can ever so
  far forget her birth and rank, as to debase herself with such as you.'

  "'_Money_, your ladyship, was not what I bargained for,' I boldly
  replied; for the scorn and contempt with which she treated me, stung
  me to the quick, and enraged me beyond all measure. 'If your ladyship
  refuses to perform, honorably and fairly, your part of the contract,
  you must take the consequences; you shall be proclaimed as an
  adulteress, and as an accessory to the crime of murder.'

  "'Fool!' she cried--yet her countenance indicated the fear she really
  felt, notwithstanding the boldness of her words--'fool! expose me at
  your peril! You dare not, for your own neck would be stretched in
  payment for your treachery, while your charges against me, low,
  miserable menial that you are, would never be believed--never! Such
  accusations against me, a peeress of the realm, and a lady whose
  reputation has never been assailed, would but add to the general
  belief in your own guilt, and the certainty of your fate; such charges
  would be regarded as a paltry subterfuge, and no one would credit
  them. Go, fellow--the bat cannot consort with the eagle, nor can such
  as you aspire to even the most distant familiarity with persons of my
  rank. Depart, instantly; and to-morrow you shall receive a pecuniary
  reward that will amply compensate you for the disappointment you now
  feel.'

  "With these words she turned away from me, waving her hand in token
  that the conference was closed; but I was enraged and desperate, as
  much by the scorn of her manner as by the disappointment I felt. A
  hell of passion was burning in my heart; and I said to her, in a low,
  deep tone--

  "'Woman, you shall be mine, even if I am obliged to commit another
  murder--I swear it! I hesitated not at perpetrating a deed of blood;
  nor will I hesitate now to obtain, by violence and even bloodshed, the
  reward you promised me for that deed! Lady, be wise; we are alone at
  this silent hour--I am powerful and you are helpless. Consent, then,
  or--'

  "She interrupted me with a scornful laugh, that rendered me almost
  frantic with fury. Reason forsook me; I lost all self-control, and
  rushed upon her with the ferocity of a madman, determined to strangle
  her.

  "Ere I could lay my grasp upon her, I was seized with a force that
  nearly stunned me. I arose with difficulty, and to my astonishment
  beheld the handsome countenance and glittering uniform of her
  ladyship's favored lover, Captain St. Clair!

  "'Villain,' said he, in his usual cold and haughty manner, (he was of
  noble blood, and as proud as Lucifer,) 'you little imagined that I was
  a witness of the entire scene in which you have played so praiseworthy
  a part! Upon my honor, you are the most ambitious of butlers! Cooks
  and chambermaids are not sufficiently delicate for your fastidious
  taste, forsooth!--but you must aspire to ladies of noble birth! Faith,
  I should not be surprised to hear of your attempting an intrigue with
  her gracious Majesty, the Queen! Hark'ee, fellow, begone! and thank my
  moderation that I do not punish you upon the spot, for your infernal
  presumption! Yet I would scorn to tarnish the lustre of my good sword
  with the blood of such a thing as thou!'

  "'Captain,' said I, boldly, (for I am no coward, ladies and gentlemen,
  as you all know,) 'as you have seen fit to play the spy, it is fair to
  presume that you are acquainted with the circumstances upon which my
  claim to the favor of this lady is based. At her instigation, and
  prompted by her promises of reward, I have murdered Lord Hawley's
  valet, Lagrange, in order to prevent his revealing to his master, the
  criminal intimacy existing between you and her ladyship. Now, Captain,
  I submit it to you as a man of honor--having committed such a deed,
  and exposed myself to such a fearful risk, am I not entitled to the
  reward promised by her ladyship? without the hope of which reward, I
  never would have bedewed my hands in the blood of my fellow servant.
  And can I justly be blamed for claiming that reward, and even for
  attempting to obtain it by force, since I have faithfully earned it?'

  "The Captain laughed, half in good nature, half in scorn, and said--

  "'Faith, you are a well-spoken knave, and appeal to my honor as if you
  were my equal; and I am half inclined to pardon your presumption on
  account of your wit. Now listen, my good fellow;--her ladyship, as a
  measure of policy, wished to have a certain person removed, who was
  possessed of a dangerous secret; now you were the only available agent
  she could employ to effect that removal. But you demanded a certain
  favor, (which shall be nameless,) as the price of your services, and
  would accept of no other remuneration. The danger was imminent; what
  could her ladyship do? The man must be disposed of, even at the
  sacrifice of truth; her ladyship gave the required promise (_intending
  never to keep it_,) you performed the service, and very properly, I
  own, come to receive your reward. Of course, you perceive the
  impossibility of a compliance with your wishes. No intrigue can exist
  between the patrician and the plebeian--you are low-born, she of the
  noblest blood of the kingdom. Are you so blind, man, that you cannot
  see--or are you so stupid that you cannot comprehend--the repugnance
  which her ladyship must naturally feel at the very idea of an amorous
  intimacy existing between a high-born lady and--good heavens!--a
  _butler_? Here, my good fellow, is a purse, containing fifty
  guineas--I will double the sum to-morrow. Now go; and remember that
  you have everything to expect from our generosity, in a pecuniary
  point of view; but a repetition of your demand for her ladyship's
  favors, will most assuredly result to your lasting disadvantage.'

  "Seeing the folly of attempting to press my claim further, I sneaked
  out of the room, with very much the air of a disconcerted cur with his
  tail between his legs, to use a simile more expressive than elegant.
  The moment I had entered my own chamber, the clock in a neighboring
  steeple proclaimed the hour of two, and then for the first time I
  remembered the appointment which I had made with my two particular
  friends, from the "Jolly Thieves," in reference to the disposal of
  Lagrange's body. The hour appointed for meeting them, was passed; and
  suddenly a thought struck me--a strange thought--which had no sooner
  flashed through my mind, than I resolved to act upon its suggestion.
  'Twas a glorious plan of revenge, and one which could only have
  emanated from my fertile imagination.

  "'The corpse of the Frenchman shall become the instrument of my
  vengeance,' thought I, chuckling with glee. 'I shall not need the
  assistance of those two fellows now--and, if they are still lurking
  about the house, I will reward them for their trouble and send them
  away. Ah, lucky thought--lucky thought!'

  "I found my two friends in waiting for me; they grumbled much at my
  want of punctuality, but their murmurings were hushed when I paid them
  liberally, and dismissed them, saying that I had discovered a much
  safer and more convenient method of disposing of the body, than the
  plan originally proposed, and therefore should not require their
  assistance.--They departed, rejoicing at their good fortune in being
  freed from a difficult and dangerous task, and congratulating
  themselves on having received as much money as they had been promised
  for its performance.

  "Taking with me a dark lantern, I descended noiselessly into the wine
  vault, and having secured the massive iron door, proceeded to execute
  my plan of vengeance. Comrades, can you guess what that plan was? No,
  I'll swear you cannot. But listen, and you shall hear.

  "Placing my light in a convenient position, I dragged the dead body of
  Lagrange from its place of concealment; then I bent over it, and
  examined the ghastly countenance. The features were pale and rigid,
  the teeth firmly set, and the glassy eyes wide open and staring. The
  awful expression of those dead orbs seemed, bold as I was, to freeze
  my very soul as with the power of a basilisk. For a single moment I
  repented the deed; but that feeling soon passed, and I rejoiced at it.

  "It occurred to me to search the pockets of my victim; I did so, and
  found a small sum of money, and a sealed letter, addressed to Lord
  Hawley. The valet had probably intended to despatch that letter to his
  master that afternoon--which design was frustrated by his sudden death
  by my hand. Eagerly I broke the seal, and read as follows:--

    "'LONDON.

    "'My lord.--Should your lordship have possibly designed extending
    your visit to Berkshire beyond the time originally allotted to the
    same, I entreat your lordship to set aside every
    consideration--every engagement, however pressing or important its
    nature may be, and to return immediately to town. Something has
    occurred, in the conduct of her ladyship, intimately affecting your
    lordship's honor. To relieve your lordship from any painful
    uncertainty that may be occasioned by this indefinite announcement,
    you will pardon me for stating plainly, that I myself saw her
    ladyship and Captain St. Clair, under circumstances that admitted of
    but one opinion in reference to the nature of the intimacy existing
    between them. Simpson, the butler, whom I am persuaded is in the
    confidence of her ladyship and the Captain, this afternoon
    questioned me in regard to my knowledge of the affair, and the use I
    intended to make of that knowledge; and he, not deeming my replies
    satisfactory, abused and struck me. My duty to your lordship
    prevented any retaliation on my part; and that duty, (the offspring
    of humble gratitude for your lordship's many acts of generous
    kindness to me, both in this country and in France,) now impels me
    to communicate these unpleasant facts--which I do, with sincere
    sorrow for her ladyship's indiscretion, and every desire for the
    preservation of your lordship's honor.

                                 "'From your lordship's humble servant,
                                                     "'LOUIS LAGRANGE.'

  "This letter, so characteristic of the polished, wily and educated
  Frenchman, was written in the French language, with which I was well
  acquainted, I therefore easily translated it. After a careful perusal,
  I placed it in my pocket-book--for I was well aware that it might one
  day prove a valuable auxiliary to me, should I feel disposed to inform
  my master of his wife's infidelity, and his lordship then could not
  doubt the truth of his own favorite and faithful servant, in whom he
  had the most unbounded confidence.

  "'Oh, scornful Lady Hawley and sarcastic Captain St. Clair!' I could
  not forbear exclaiming--'ye shall both be caught in a net of your own
  making, when ye least expect it! My lady will be turned out of doors
  as an adulteress; and my gentleman will perhaps be shot through the
  head by the husband he has wronged! Patience, patience, good Simpson;
  thou shalt yet riot in the very satiety of thy vengeance. But now to
  put in operation my first method--an ingenious one it is, too--of
  avenging my wrongs!'

  "Among the various wines with which the extensive cellar was
  abundantly stocked, was a large cask containing a particular kind, of
  a very rich and peculiar flavor; and of this wine I knew Lady Hawley,
  who was a luxurious woman, very fastidious in her taste, to be
  especially fond. Captain St. Clair, too, preferred it above all other
  kinds; and at the midnight suppers which he so often enjoyed with her
  ladyship, the ruby contents of this particular cask was most
  frequently called into requisition, as I well know, for I had been
  accustomed to carry it from the cellar to the door of the bed-chamber
  wherein the amorous pair indulged in the joys both of Venus and of
  Bacchus. The wine had been imported by his lordship, who was a _bon
  vivant_, from Bordeaux and was particularly valued for its rich color,
  solid body, and substantial yet delicate flavor, rivalling in these
  qualities, perhaps, that classic beverage, the famed Greek wine.

  "'I will add to the exquisite flavor of this wine,' said I--'her
  ladyship and her lover shall banquet on human blood; the corruption of
  a putrifying corpse shall be mingled with the sparkling fluid that
  nourishes their unholy passions.'

  "With but little difficulty, and less noise, (for I well understood
  such matters,) I removed the head of the cask, which I found to be
  about half full. How luxurious was the odor that arose from the dark
  liquid, fragrant with spices! Taking a small vessel, I drank a
  bumper--then another. My blood instantly became charged with a
  thousand fires; my heart seemed to swell with mighty exultation; my
  brain seemed to swim in a sea of delight. I laughed with mad glee to
  think of the superb vengeance I was about to wreak on my enemies; then
  I raised the corpse of Lagrange with Herculean strength, thrust it
  into the cask, and pressed it into the smallest possible compass; but
  found to my inexpressible chagrin, that it would be absolutely
  impossible to re-adjust the head of the cask, unless the body was in
  some manner made smaller. After a few moments' reflection, a happy
  thought struck me. I hesitated not a moment, but drew a sharp clasp
  knife from my pocket, deliberately severed the head from the body, and
  thrust it into the cask. Then, without the least difficulty, I
  replaced the top of the cask, and my work was accomplished.

  "I repaired to my chamber but slept not, as you may suppose; the
  events of that day and night had been of a nature too singularly
  exciting to admit of repose. Shortly after I had retired, I heard Lady
  Hawley conduct her lover to the back stair-case; there was a sound of
  kissing, and a whispered appointment made for another meeting, on a
  night when his lordship would probably be absent. 'Yes, and at that
  interview, my amorous pair,' thought I, 'shall you taste of the wine
  which I have improved by an addition which you little suspect, but
  with which you shall one day be made acquainted.' And then I laughed
  till the tears rolled down my cheeks.

  "Lord Hawley returned at the expected time, and immediately inquired
  for his valet, Lagrange. The gentleman was, of course, among the
  missing; and I overheard her ladyship announcing to her husband that
  the Frenchman had absconded, carrying off plate and jewelry to a
  considerable amount. Lord Hawley was extremely shocked and grieved on
  receiving this (false) intelligence; and I heard him mutter, as he
  retired in great perturbation of mind to his study,--'What, can it be
  possible?--Lagrange, whom I esteemed to be the most honest and
  faithful fellow in the world--of whose fidelity I have had so many
  evidences,--whom I have often benefitted,--can it be that _he_ has
  deserted and robbed me? Then indeed do I believe all mankind to be
  false as hell!'

  "A week passed, and nothing occurred in Hawley House worthy of
  mention. At the expiration of that time, his lordship went on a short
  journey, (connected with some political object,) which would occasion
  him a fortnight's absence from home. Then was her ladyship and the
  captain in clover! and then was afforded me an opportunity to set
  before them the wine which I had enriched by my famous _addition_!

  "Not deeming it necessary to adopt the usual precautions, my lady
  feasted, toyed and dallied with her handsome lover in her own private
  apartments, fearing no detection, as she was certain that her husband
  would not return before the specified time, and as I was the only
  person aware of the captain's presence in the house; she feared not,
  thinking that I dared not betray her, as she imagined that I was
  completely in her power on account of the murder I had committed.
  Pretty fool! she little thought of the plan I had formed for her
  destruction, and that of her haughty and hated paramour.

  "I waited on them at table in my humblest and most respectful manner;
  and I could perceive that they inwardly congratulated themselves on
  having, as they thought, completely subdued me, and bribed me to
  eternal silence with regard to their amours.

  "At their very first banquet, (for the splendor of their repasts
  merited that high-sounding title,) I was requested to bring from the
  cellar a decanter of their _favorite_ wine. You may be sure I did not
  mistake the cask, comrades. I drew from the cask which contained the
  corpse of Lagrange, a quantity of the wine, and holding it to the
  light, observed with intense satisfaction that it had assumed a darker
  tinge--it looked just like blood. For a moment I was tempted to
  _taste_ it; but damn me! bad and blood-thirsty as I was, I could not
  do _that_. The corpse had been soaking in the wine a full week; I was
  convinced that the liquid was pretty thoroughly impregnated with the
  flavor of my scientific improvement; and even my stomach revolted at
  the idea of drinking wine tainted and reeking with the dead flesh and
  blood of the man I had murdered.

  "I placed the wine on the table before my lady and the Captain; and I
  am free to confess that I trembled somewhat, in view of the
  possibility of their detecting, at the first taste, the trick which I
  had played them. Very nervous was I, when the Captain slowly poured
  out a wine glass full, and raised it to his lips; but how delighted
  was I, when he drained every drop of it with evident satisfaction,
  smacked his lips, and said to the lady--

  "'By my faith, Adelaide, 'tis a drink for the gods! How that wine
  improves by age! Never before has it tasted so rich, so fruity, so
  delicious! Observe what a firm body it has--what deep, rich color--a
  fitting hue for a soldier's beverage, for 'tis red as blood. Allow me
  to fill your ladyship's glass, that you may judge of its improved and
  wonderful merits.'

  "Her ladyship drank, and pronounced it excellent. I was in silent
  extacies. 'Drink the blood and essence of the murdered dead, ye fools,
  and call it sweet as honey to your taste!' I mentally said--'ere many
  days your souls shall be made sick with the knowledge of _what_ ye
  have drank!'

  "The guilty pair were not in the slightest degree reserved in my
  presence; on the contrary they jested, they talked, they indulged in
  familiarities before my face, in a manner that astonished me not a
  little. Comrades, none of you have seen much of fashionable life, I
  take it; for although you all belong to the very best society in Ann
  street, you can't reasonably be supposed to have much of an idea of
  society as 'tis seen in the mansion of an English nobleman. Therefore,
  if you don't think my yarn already too tedious, (it's as true as
  gospel, every word of it, upon the unsullied honor of a gentleman!)
  and if you'd like to know something of the capers of rich and
  fashionable people in high life, I'll tell you, in as few words as
  possible, some of the sayings and doings of my lady Hawley and her
  handsome lover, Captain St. Clair, as witnessed by me, at the time of
  which I have been speaking, in London."

Jew Mike paused to take breath and "wet his whistle;" while all his
listeners eagerly requested him to "go on" with his yarn. During the
progress of the narrative, an old, comical looking man, not over well
dressed, had entered the room, unnoticed; and seating himself in one
corner, he pulled a pipe from his pocket, lighted it, and began to
smoke, at the same time taking a keen and intelligent survey of the
motley assembly. Jew Mike, having quenched his thirst, resumed his
story. [The reader will be good enough to observe, that while we give
the substance of this worthy gentleman's narrative, we pretend not to
give his precise words. It is highly probable that he adapted his
language to the humble capacities of his low and illiterate auditors;
and we have taken the liberty to clothe his ideas in words better suited
to the more intelligent and refined understandings of our readers.]

  "Well, ladies and gentlemen," said Jew Mike--"as I was saying, Lady
  Hawley and Captain St. Clair got so bad that they never minded my
  presence a bit, but talked and acted before me with as much freedom as
  if I were both deaf and blind. My lady would dress herself in the
  Captain's uniform, which fitted her to a charm, for she was a large,
  magnificent woman, while he was of no great stature for a man,
  although exceedingly well-made and handsome. Not was that all: the
  Captain would attire himself in her splendid garments, and, but for
  his moustache and imperial, might have passed for a very handsome
  woman. And, to carry out the idea still further, my lady would pretend
  to take very wild and improper liberties with her lover, which he
  would affect to resent with all the indignation proper to his assumed
  sex. Then they would roll and tumble upon the soft carpet until they
  were quite spent and breathless; after which the Captain would run
  into the chamber, and conceal himself beneath, behind, or _in_ the
  bed; she would follow in pursuit, close the chamber door, and--I would
  apply my eye to the key-hole; but as I am a polite man, and as there
  are ladies present, (ahem!) you'll excuse me for not entering into
  particulars.

  "So much for their actions, now for their words. I was attending them
  at supper one night, and to say the truth they were both of them
  highly elevated in consequence of having too profusely imbibed their
  favorite wine, seasoned with the _essence of Lagrange,_ the name which
  I had privately given it. The Captain was very slightly attired, and
  my lady had on nothing but a very _intimate_ garment, which revealed
  rather more than it concealed--for they had just before been playing
  the very interesting game of "hide and seek," and had not yet resumed
  all their appropriate garments. I had formerly regarded lady Hawley as
  the very _beau ideal_ of all that was dignified, haughty and majestic;
  but that night she looked lewd and sensual, in an eminent degree, and
  appeared utterly reckless of all decency. She exposed her person in a
  manner that astonished me, and seemed to abandon herself without
  reserve, to all the promptings of her voluptuous nature. Her
  appearance, conversation and actions were not without their influence
  on me, you may be sure; and if ever I envied mortal man, it was that
  young officer, who could revel at will in the arms of the beautiful
  wanton at his side.

  "The Captain, reclining his head upon her fair bosom, said--

  "'And so Adelaide, in a few days your odious husband will return, and
  terminate these rapturous blisses. Why in the devil's name don't the
  accursed old man die of apoplexy, or break his neck, or get shot in a
  duel, or do something to relieve us of his hated interference with our
  stolen joys?'

  "'Ah, St. Clair,' answered the lady, with a glance of passion--'would
  that the old man were dead! Since I have tasted the sweets of your
  society--since I first listened to the music of your voice, and since
  first this heart beat tumultuously against yours, my whole nature is
  changed--my blood is turned to fire; my religion is my love for you;
  my deity is your image, and my heaven--is in your arms. Oh,' she
  suddenly exclaimed, as the rich blood mantled on her face and
  neck--'how terrible it is for a young and passionate woman to be
  linked in marriage to an old, impotent, cold, passionless being, who
  claims the name of _man_, but is not entitled to it! And then if she
  solaces herself with a lover--as she must, or die--she is continually
  agitated with fears of her husband's jealousy, and the dread of
  discovery. Like the thirsty traveller in a barren waste, her soul
  yearns for an ocean of delights--and pants and longs in vain.
  Husband--would that there was no such word, no such relation as it
  implies--'tis slavery, 'tis madness, to be chained for life to but one
  source of love, when a thousand streams would not satiate or overflow.
  Yet the world--the world--disgraces and condemns such as I am, if
  discovered; it points to my withered husband, and says--'there is your
  only _lawful_ love.' Heavens! the very thought of him sickens and
  disgusts me; _he_ a lover! He is no more to be compared to thee, my
  St. Clair, than is the withered leaf of autumn to the ripe peach or
  juicy pomegranate!'

  "'By all the gods of war,' exclaimed the Captain, fired with
  admiration at her beauty and the fervor of her passion for him, and
  straining her to his breast in a perfect phrenzy of transport--'thy
  husband shall be no longer a stumbling-block between us, angel of my
  soul; I will insult him--he will challenge me--we will fight--I am the
  best shot in Europe, and he will be shot through the heart, if the
  cold dotard have one. Yet stay--damn it, why not have him disposed of
  after the manner of the valet? Ha, ha! a good thought! Simpson, what
  say you? Will you do it for a couple of hundred guineas, and without
  laying claim to the favors of her ladyship?'

  "The last sentence was uttered with a very palpable sneer; it enraged
  me, for by it I was reminded of the manner in which I had been
  swindled out of the reward promised for my other murder. Besides, the
  man's cool villainy, and the woman's shameless lechery, disgusted me,
  bad as I was; for they belonged to that class which professes all the
  gentility, refinement and virtue in the world; and to hear the one
  glorying in adultery, and the other deliberately proposing murder,
  afforded such a damnable instance of the sublime hypocrisy peculiar to
  the "upper ten" of society, that I became desperately angry, and
  answered the Captain in a manner that astonished him.--You will
  remember, comrades, that as great a villain as I am, I am no
  hypocrite, and was never accused of being one. And yet hypocrisy
  prevails in every department of life. Look," continued Jew Mike,
  getting into a philosophical strain, and stroking his enormous beard
  with an air of profound complacency--"Look at that venerable looking
  old gentleman, who every Sabbath stands in his pulpit to declaim
  against wickedness and fleshy lusts. Mark his libidinous eye, as he
  follows that painted strumpet to her filthy den. There's hypocrisy.
  Then turn your eyes toward a sister city, and mark that grey-headed,
  sanctimonious editor, who every week solemnly prates of honesty,
  sobriety, and their kindred virtues. 'What an excellent man he is,'
  exclaim the whole tribe of fat, tea-drinking old women in mob-caps,
  raising their pious eyes and snuffy noses to heaven.--Ha, ha, ha! Why,
  ladies and gentlemen, that editor is so cursedly dishonest and so
  im--_mensely_ mean, that his hair wouldn't stay black, but turned to a
  dirty white before its time--so mean, his food won't digest easy--his
  shirt won't dry when washed--his clothes won't fit him--the cholera
  won't have him--musquitoes won't bite him--and if, after his lean
  carcass is huddled under the turf, his cunning little soul should
  attempt to crawl through the key-hole of hell's gate, the devil, whose
  lacky he has ever been, would kick him with as much disgust as this
  _fraction_ once displayed in kicking a poor wretch whom he had
  beggared, starved and ruined!

  "But I see, comrades, that you begin to grow impatient at this
  moralizing--and well you may, for 'tis always distasteful to look at
  such reptiles as we have been contemplating. Well, to take up the
  thread of my yarn, which I shall bring to a close as speedily as
  possible, for 'tis getting late.--When the Captain proposed that I
  should murder Lord Hawley, his and her ladyship's hypocrisy enraged me
  to such an extent, that I boldly looked him in the face, and said to
  him--

  "'Say, who is the greater villain, you or I? You, who prate of your
  birth, rank and position in life, and propose a murder, or I, making
  no pretensions whatever, I that have committed a murder at the
  instigation of one of your class, in the hope of reward? Look you,
  Captain; neither you nor your noble strumpet at your side shall bribe
  me to commit further crime. Wretches that you both are, false in honor
  and in truth, know that I am already fearfully revenged upon you--and
  your exposure is at hand. Another murder, indeed!--_have you not both
  drank blood enough?_'

  "This last sentence I uttered with such significance that the Captain
  started and turned pale. 'What mean you, scoundrel?' he demanded.

  "'Follow me, both of you, to the wine cellar!' I exclaimed in answer,
  fully determined to reveal the awful truth to them at once. Astonished
  and subdued by the impressiveness of my manner and the singularity of
  my words, they obeyed. Having seized a light from the table, I led
  the way to the cellar, and advanced to the cask wherein rotted the
  remains of the murdered Lagrange.

  "The scene must have been a striking one, comrades. There was the vast
  vault, dimly lighted by a single wax taper; around were many black and
  mouldering casks containing the juice of the grape, some of which was
  of a great age. Before one of those casks, much larger than the
  others, stood I, brandishing aloft the implement with which I was
  about to break open that strange tomb, and disclose its awful secret.
  Beside me, dressed in the slight garments I have already described,
  their pale countenances expressive of mingled curiosity and fear,
  stood Lady Hawley and Captain St. Clair, whom I thus addressed--

  "'This cask, may it please your ladyship and the Captain, contains the
  wine which you both are so extremely fond of. You have observed, with
  some surprise, that its flavor has of late much improved. I shall now,
  with your permission, show you the cause of that improvement, for
  which--ha, ha, ha!--you are solely indebted to me. The opening of this
  cask will disclose a mystery that you have never dreamed of. Look!'

  "They both strained forward in eager expectation. A few blows sufficed
  to remove the head of the cask. Horror! a sickening stench arose, and
  there became visible the headless trunk of a human being. That portion
  of the body which was not immersed in the wine, was putrid. 'Look
  here!' cried I, in mad triumph, plunging my arm into the cask, and
  drawing forth the ghastly head of Lagrange. I held aloft the horrid
  trophy of my vengeance; there were the dull, staring eyes, the
  distorted features, and drops of wine oozed from between the set
  teeth. With a long, loud shriek, her ladyship fell to the ground
  insensible; muttering fierce curses on me, the Captain turned to raise
  her, and profiting by the opportunity, I escaped from the cellar and
  fled from the house. Making the best of my way to the 'Jolly Thieves,'
  in St. Giles, I sought safety and concealment there, where I had ample
  leisure to mature my future plans.

  "In a day or two I saw it announced in one of the newspapers that a
  cask had been found floating in the river Thames, which on opening was
  found to contain the body and head of a man, and a quantity of wine.
  The circumstance gave rise to the supposition that the body had been
  procured by some surgeon for dissection, and for some reason had been
  abandoned and thrown overboard. The cask and its contents had, of
  course, been thrown into the river through the agency of the Captain;
  and the affair gave rise to neither excitement nor investigation.

  "Meanwhile, Lord Hawley had returned to town. No sooner was I apprised
  of the fact, than I sent him the following blunt and somewhat rude
  epistle--for I felt too keen a thirst for vengeance on my enemies to
  admit of my being very choice or respectful in my language, even to a
  nobleman:--

    "'My lord,--you are a cuckold. Do you doubt it? I can prove it,
    beyond the shadow of a doubt. Captain Eugene St. Clair is your
    lady's lover--she is his mistress. For a long time past, she has,
    during your absence, received him into her chamber. You are laughed
    at by the pretty pair, as a withered, impotent old dotard. You know
    the handwriting of your late valet, Lagrange. Accompanying this is a
    letter written by him, to you; before he had an opportunity of
    sending it to you, he was _made away with_, through the
    instrumentality of your amiable wife, who had every reason to
    suppose that he would betray her. The tale trumped up by the noble
    harlot about the Frenchman's having stolen your property and fled,
    is a lie. My lord, I think you have reason to be grateful to me for
    exposing the guilty parties; if so, any pecuniary reward which you
    may see fit to send me, by one of your servants, (I am at the _Jolly
    Thieves_, in St. Giles,) will be gratefully accepted by

                                                       MICHAEL SIMPSON.'

  "I thus freely disclosed my place of concealment to his lordship,
  because I apprehended no danger to myself, knowing that the nobleman
  was a man of honor, who would not injure the person who had rendered
  him such an important service as to put him on the track to avenge his
  wrongs. And I also anticipated receiving a liberal reward for my
  information; nor was I disappointed,--for that very evening a servant
  in the Hawley livery called at the _Jolly Thieves_, and presented me
  with a small package, which on opening I found to contain bank notes
  to the amount of five hundred pounds, and the following note, which
  though in his lordship's handwriting, bore neither address nor
  signature:--

    "'Here is the reward of your information. Accept, also, my thanks.
    The proof you have furnished of the truth of your statement, admits
    of no doubt. I know how to punish the w**e and her blackguard
    paramour. You had better leave the country, for I can surmise what
    agency _you_ had in the affair of Lagrange's disappearance; but as
    you were the tool of others, I stoop not to molest you. Should the
    event, however, gain notoriety, _the law_ of course, will not prove
    equally considerate.'

  "I was overjoyed! Five hundred pounds, and the certainty of having
  ruined my enemies! That night I gave a sumptuous supper to all the
  frequenters of the _Jolly Thieves_; and a jolly time we had of it,
  I'll assure you, comrades. The most respectable men in London were
  present at the feast; there were nine cracksmen, five highwaymen,
  twelve pickpockets, two murderers, three gentlemen who had escaped
  from transportation, and a smart sprinkling of small workmen, in the
  way of _fogle hunters_, (handkerchief thieves,) and _body snatchers_,
  (grave robbers). Full forty of us sat down to a smoking supper of
  stewed tripe and onions,--ah, how my mouth waters to think of it now!
  And then the _lush_!--gallons of ale, rivers of porter, and oceans of
  grog! Every gentleman present volunteered a song; and when it came to
  be my turn, I gave the following, which, (being something of a poet,)
  I had myself composed, expressly for the occasion, to the air of the
  _Brave Old Oak_:--


  SONG OF THE JOLLY THIEF.

    "A song to the thief, the jolly, jolly thief,
      Who has plied his trade so long;--
    May he ne'er come down to the judge's frown,
      Or the cells of Newgate strong.
    'Tis a noble trade, where a living's made
    By an art so bold and free;
    May he never be snug in a cold, stone jug,
    Or swing from a two-trunk'd tree!

    CHORUS
    Then here's to the thief, the jolly thief
    Who plies his trade so bold--
    May he never see a turnkey's key,
    Or sleep in a prison cold!

  "This song was received with the most uproarious applause by the
  jovial crew; and we separated at a late hour, after giving three
  groans for the new police.

  "A few days passed away. I never neglected each morning to carefully
  peruse all the newspapers; and just as I was beginning to despair of
  ever seeing any announcement calculated to assure me that my enemies
  were overthrown, I had the intense satisfaction of reading the
  following paragraph in the _Times_:--

  "'AN AFFAIR OF HONOR. Yesterday morning, his lordship Viscount Hawley
  and the Honorable Captain Eugene St. Clair had a hostile meeting in
  the suburbs of London. Circumstances of a delicate nature, of which we
  are not at liberty to speak at present, are reported to have led to
  the difficulty between the noble gentlemen. At the first fire Captain
  St. Clair fell, and upon examination it was found that he had been
  shot through the heart. He died instantly. His lordship was uninjured,
  and immediately departed for the Continent unaccompanied by her
  ladyship.'

  "I danced with delight when I read this paragraph. 'My vengeance is
  already half accomplished,' thought I. But what had become of Lady
  Hawley? The newspapers, from day to day and from week to week, were
  silent with respect to her fate. At length I began to fear that her
  ladyship, after all, was destined to escape uninjured by my endeavors
  to effect her ruin. Was I right? You shall see.

  "Nearly two years passed away, during which time, with the aid of my
  five hundred pounds, I had set up a first-rate public house in a
  populous and respectable neighborhood, and was making money. I have
  little doubt but that the sign of '_The Red Cask_' is still remembered
  in that vicinity--for that was the name which, actuated by a strange
  whim, I had given to my tavern; and the same was illustrated by a huge
  swinging sign in front, on which was painted the representation of a
  large cask overflowing with blood--which, I need scarcely tell you,
  was a sly and humorous allusion to the affair of Lagrange's
  murder.--Well, one cold, stormy winter's night, when the wind was
  howling like ten thousand devils around the house, I was seated in my
  comfortable tap-room, making myself extremely happy over a reeking
  jarum of hot rum punch. I was alone, for the hour was late, and all my
  guests had departed; when suddenly, during a pause in the clatter of
  the elements, I heard a low, timid knock at my outer door, which faced
  on the street.--Supposing it to be either some thirsty policeman, or a
  belated traveller anxious to escape from the fury of the storm, I
  arose and unbarred the door; as I opened it, a fierce gust of wind
  rushed in, so piercing cold, that it seemed to chill me to the very
  marrow of my bones; and at the same moment I beheld a human form
  crouching down under the narrow archway over the door, as if vainly
  endeavoring to shield herself from the fury of the tempest. I knew it
  was a woman, for I caught a glimpse at an old bonnet and tattered
  shawl. She shivered with the cold, which even made my teeth chatter,
  stout and rugged as I was. 'What do you want?' I demanded roughly--for
  I was impatient at having been thus unseasonably interrupted while
  paying my devotions to the mug of hot rum punch, in front of a rousing
  fire. As she made no immediate reply, I was about to bid her begone
  and shut the door, when she said, in a faint, yet earnest tone--'Oh,
  sir, for God's sake, as you hope for mercy yourself hereafter, let me
  come in for a moment--only a moment--that I may warm my benumbed and
  freezing limbs!' I paused a moment; I am not naturally hard-hearted,
  unless there is something to be gained by it; and besides, I felt a
  kind of curiosity to see what sort of a creature it was who wandered
  the streets that awful night, destitute and houseless; so I bade her
  come in, and with difficulty she followed me into the tap-room;
  placing a seat for her near the fire, I resumed my own, and while
  leisurely sipping my punch, a good opportunity was afforded me to
  examine her narrowly. She was probably about twenty years of age, but
  much suffering had made her look older. Though her features were worn
  and wasted, and though her cheeks were hollow by the pinchings of
  want, she was beautiful; her eyes were large, lustrous and eminently
  expressive, and two or three stray curls of luxuriant hair peeped from
  beneath her old, weather stained bonnet. Her form was tall, and
  graceful in its outlines; but what particularly struck me was the
  singular whiteness and delicacy of her hands, which plainly indicated
  that she had never been accustomed to labor of any kind. Her dress was
  wretched in the extreme, and was scarce sufficient to cover her
  nakedness, much less shield her from the inclemency of the
  weather,--nay, my inquisitive researches soon convinced me that the
  miserable gown she wore was, excepting an old shawl, her _only
  garment_--no under clothing, not even stockings,--and her feet (I
  noticed that they were small and symmetrical,) were only separated
  from the cold sidewalk by thin and worn-out shoes.--Yet,
  notwithstanding all her poverty and wretchedness, there was about her
  a look of subdued pride, which, though in strange contrast with her
  garb, well became her general air, and regular handsome features.
  Everything about her, excepting her dress, convinced me that she had
  fallen from better days, and, somehow, that look of pride struck me as
  being strangely familiar; yet I racked my brain in vain to recall from
  the dreamy past some image that I could identify with the female
  before me, who sat in front of my blazing fire and warmed her chilled
  limbs with every appearance of the most intense satisfaction.

  "Her superior air commanded my involuntary respect. 'Madam,' said I,
  'are you hungry?' She eagerly answered in the affirmative; I placed
  provisions before her, and she ate with an appetite almost ravenous. I
  then gave her some mulled wine, which seemed to revive her greatly;
  and she returned me her thanks in a manner so lady-like and refined (a
  manner, however, which insensibly partook of a peculiar and indirect
  kind of _hauteur_, as remarkable in her tone as in the expression of
  her features,) that I was more than ever satisfied that she had
  descended to her present wretched situation, certainly from a
  respectable, if not from a very superior, order of society.

  "'You have benefitted me greatly, sir, and I thank you,' said she,
  inclining her head towards me with an air almost condescending. 'I
  assure you, you have not bestowed your _assistance_ (she didn't say
  _charity_, observe!) upon a habitual mendicant or common person. I am
  by birth a lady; you will pardon me for declining to state the causes
  of my present condition. Again I thank you.'

  "The devil, comrades! here was a starving, freezing beggar woman whom
  I had picked out of the street, and warmed and fed, playing the
  condescending, reserved lady, forsooth! and abashing and humbling me
  by her d----d lofty, proud looks! Ha, ha, ha! and yet I liked it,
  mightily; the joke was too good; and so I continued to 'madam' her,
  until at last I actually detected her on the very point of calling me
  'fellow;' but fortunately for her, she checked herself in time to
  escape being turned into the street forthwith.

  "And yet the superiority of her air and the haughtiness of her manner
  had for me an indescribable charm, no less than her beauty; and I
  resolved, if possible, to make her my mistress, for I doubted not that
  when she should become nourished and strengthened by proper food and
  rest, she would make a very desirable companion for a man of my
  amorous temperament. However, I did not broach the subject at that
  time, but contented myself with seeing that she was comfortably
  provided for that night, under the charge of one of the females of the
  house, to whom I gave money with which to provide the strange lady
  with proper and respectable clothing in the morning. The next day I
  had occasion to go away at an early hour, and did not return until
  late in the afternoon, and on entering my little parlor, I was
  surprised at beholding a lady, handsomely dressed, who advanced
  towards me with an air of dignified politeness. Her rich hair was most
  tastefully arranged; her neat dress closely fitted a slender but
  elegant shape, and I was struck with the dazzling fairness and purity
  of her complexion, and the patrician cast of her features. A second
  glance told me it was the female whom I had relieved the previous
  night; and I became aware of the fact that the strange lady was no
  other than Lady Adelaide Hawley!

  "She did not recognize me, for I was much changed, in consequence of
  having removed the huge beard which I had worn, while in her husband's
  service. You may imagine my triumph at finding the proud lady an
  inmate of my house and a dependent on my bounty, under circumstances
  so humiliating to her and so gratifying to me; and you may well
  believe that I lost no time in giving her to understand the nature of
  the reward I expected in return for my hospitality. Would you believe
  it? She actually repulsed me with scorn, and began to talk of her
  birth, and the superiority of her rank to mine! Her confounded pride
  had now become altogether ridiculous; and somewhat enraged, I told her
  who I was. She started, regarded me for a moment with a scrutinizing
  look, and burst into tears, saying--'It is so, indeed! My punishment
  is just; I am humbled and degraded before the very menial I despised.
  Take, me, Simpson; do with me as you will; crime levels all ranks. Yet
  stay; I am still feeble; delay the consummation of your triumph for
  one week. During that period I shall regain the strength I have lost,
  and the beauty that has faded; then shall I be a fitting partner for
  your bed.' I consented; two or three days passed, and I was rejoiced
  to perceive that she daily grew in strength and beauty, and was fast
  regaining that voluptuousness of person which had formerly
  distinguished her. She related to me, at my request, the particulars
  of her downfall. She had been cast off by her husband and rejected by
  her relations with scorn and curses, when the fact of her adultery
  with St. Clair was discovered.--Entirely friendless and without
  resources, she was compelled to place herself under the protection of
  a gentleman of fashion and pleasure, who rioted on her luxuriant
  charms for a brief season, until possession and excess produced
  satiety, the sure forerunner of disgust--she was then thrown aside as
  a worthless toy, to make room for some fresh favorite. Rendered
  desperate by her situation, she became an _aristocratic courtezan_,
  freely sacrificing her person to every nobleman and gentleman of rank
  who chose to pay liberally for her favors. In this manner she
  subsisted for a time in luxury--but at last, her patrons (as is always
  the case) grew tired of her; she had become

    "Like a thrice-told tale,
    Vexing the dull ears of a drowsy man,"

  and was again thrown upon the world without resources. Her indomitable
  pride still clung to her, through all her misfortunes; and though she
  plainly saw that her amours with the aristocracy were at an end
  forever, she disdained to seek meaner lovers among the humbler
  classes. Every offer made to her by men of medium rank, was spurned by
  the proud harlot with supreme contempt. 'I am a companion for
  nobility--not for the grovelling masses,' she would reply, in answer
  to all such offers; nor did the pinchings of want and hunger even for
  a moment shake her resolution, or disarm her prejudices. She might,
  had she been disposed, have still lived in comfort and even splendor,
  by becoming an inmate of some fashionable brothel; but as in such an
  establishment she would be required to bestow her favors
  indiscriminately on men of all ranks, who could pay for the same, she
  recoiled from the idea with disgust. Thus did the pride of this
  singular woman triumph over her wants and poverty; when on the very
  verge of starvation, with the means of relief within her grasp, the
  thought--'I am of noble birth,' would sustain her, and enable her to
  resist successfully the longings of hunger and the sufferings
  incidental to a homeless life. No scrupulous delicacy prevented her
  from accepting any assistance, pecuniary or otherwise, that might be
  offered to her; she even did not hesitate to ask for charity, in tones
  of _affected_ humility; but the all-pervading principle, PRIDE OF
  BIRTH, implanted within her breast, imperiously restrained her from
  bestowing the favors of her patrician person upon 'vulgar plebeians;'
  and, in consequence, she had sunk lower and lower in want, destitution
  and misery, until driven, on that terrible winter's night, to
  supplicate for a slight and temporary relief at the door of one whom
  she had formerly so much despised, but on whom she was now so
  dependent.

  "It was a cold evening, and her ladyship and myself were seated before
  a comfortable fire. An abundance of wholesome food, and every comfort
  which it was in my power to procure for her, had improved her
  appearance greatly. Her form had regained much of its natural
  roundness, and her countenance had recovered all its original beauty.
  She was gazing pensively into the fire; while I regarded _her_ with an
  eye of admiration, and a heart full of amorous longings. At length I
  broke the silence. 'To-morrow night, madam,' said I, 'the week for
  which you stipulated, will have expired.' She sighed deeply, and
  murmured, in an almost inaudible tone, 'It is so, indeed.' Noticing
  the sigh which accompanied her words, a frown of displeasure gathered
  on my brow; but it was almost instantly dispelled, in the delight I
  felt at my approaching happiness. 'Yes,' I continued, 'to-morrow night
  I shall be the happiest of men; but madam, why delay until to-morrow
  night that felicity which may as well be enjoyed to-night? You can
  never be more beautiful or more voluptuous than you are at this
  moment.' During the utterance of these words, I had drawn my chair
  close to hers, and encircled her enchanting waist with my arm; I felt
  her heart throbbing wildly beneath my hand, which had invaded the
  snowy regions of her swelling charms--and I took it to be the wild
  throbbing of passion. We were alone--not a soul was stirring in the
  house; propitious moment! How longingly I gazed upon her dewy lips,
  which reminded me of the lines in Moore's _Anacreon_--which, I
  suppose, is all Latin and Greek to you, comrades:--

    "Her lips, so rich in blisses,
    Sweet petitioners for kisses!
    Pouting nest of bland persuasion,
    Ripely suing Love's invasion."

  And they did not long sue in vain; for such vigorous salute as I gave
  them would have put even Captain St. Clair to the blush. While thus
  tasting the honey of the sweetest and most luscious pair of lips in
  the three kingdoms, I fancied that I felt her trembling with delight
  in my arms; but too soon did I become aware that she was only
  shuddering with disgust; for by a vigorous effort she struggled from
  my embrace, and, breathless and panting, said--'Not now, Simpson, not
  now, I entreat, I implore you! To-morrow night, the week's exemption
  which I craved, will be completed,--then--then--at this hour--you
  may--you will find me in my chamber; _then_, so help me God! I will
  offer no resistance; but now, not now!' I surveyed her ladyship with
  some surprise; her eyes sparkled like diamonds, and her face, neck and
  bosom were suffused with a ruddy, glowing hue. 'As you please, madam,'
  I coldly rejoined, for I was provoked at her violent and unexpected
  resistance--'as you please; but remember, I am no longer to be trifled
  with. To-morrow night be it, then; and see that you do not repeat this
  obstinacy of conduct, for I will then accomplish my object, even if I
  have to resort to force and violence!' '_I will not then resist you_,
  I swear it!' said she, with much solemnity of manner, and then
  added--'one favor I will ask of you: permit me to remain all day
  to-morrow in my chamber, and do not even attempt to see me, until
  twelve o'clock to-morrow night, at which hour you will find me waiting
  for your appearance.' I agreed to this request; and she bade me
  good-night in a tone almost cheerful, as she left the room to seek her
  chamber.

  "The next day and the next evening passed;--the midnight hour arrived.
  I closed my house, and repaired to the chamber which had been
  assigned to the use of my lady guest. Finding the door unlocked, I
  softly entered the apartment; it was a spacious room, tolerably well
  furnished, and the bed was shrouded by muslin curtains; a lighted
  candle stood upon the table; glancing around I saw nobody. 'She is in
  bed,' thought I, and every nerve in my body thrilled with delight at
  the thought. I approached the bed, and drew aside the curtain. There
  she lay--but how very still! 'She sleeps,' thought I, somewhat
  surprised; and bending over in the dim light of the unsnuffed candle,
  I kissed her lips--heavens! what made them so very cold--and why was
  the hand which I had lasciviously laid upon her bosom, dampened with a
  warm liquid? I rushed to the table, seized the candle, and returned to
  the bed-side. There she lay--DEAD! The life-blood was welling from an
  awful gash in her left breast; her right hand grasped a dagger--the
  instrument of her death; the bed on which she lay was literally soaked
  with her blood, and my hand was stained with it. Then I comprehended
  her words--'_I will not then resist you!_' I staggered back,
  horror-stricken; the shadow of remorse for the first time darkened my
  soul; I would have wrested the dagger from her lifeless hand, and
  plunged it into my own heart, but in the agonies of death she had
  clutched it too firmly to admit of my easily tearing it from her
  grasp. I turned from the bed, and again placed the candle upon the
  table; I sat down by it, with the cold perspiration starting from
  every pore. Ha! what is this? a letter, and addressed to me? I had not
  observed it before. Eagerly I tore it open, and instantly recognized
  the elegant handwriting of her ladyship--not a blot, not a misformed
  letter marred the beautiful chirography of the missive; it was written
  with the same grace and precision that had in former days
  characterized her ladyship's notes of invitation to her splendid
  parties. As near as I can remember, it read as follows:--

  "'Death is preferable to the dishonor of your vile embraces. Were you
  a man of birth, gladly would I accept the protection of your arms; but
  Lady Adelaide Hawley can never become the mistress of a menial. I
  welcome death, as it will preserve me from staining the purity of my
  noble blood by cohabitation with such as _thou_ art. May heaven pity
  and forgive me!'

  "After I had read this characteristic note, I reflected deeply upon
  the tragic event--her suicide. Innocent as I was of her death, might I
  not be arrested as her murderer?[B] Circumstances were strong against
  me; how could I prove my innocence? Many men have been hung on
  circumstantial evidence less strong. Though I had escaped detection on
  a murder which I had actually committed, I now feared that I should
  suffer for a deed of which I was not guilty. The gallows arose before
  my excited fancy, in all its terrors; my throat seemed encircled by
  the fatal rope.--I determined to fly the country; instantly acting
  upon this impulse, I left the chamber, and hastily collected together
  all my money (which was considerable) and valuables. Then I left the
  house, and seeking a safe asylum in an obscure party of the city,
  remained there until an opportunity was afforded me to take ship to
  America. I arrived here--soon spent all my money--was hauled up for a
  murder--was convicted of manslaughter only, and did the State service
  for a period of ten years in the stone institution at Charlestown;
  served out my time--and here I am. Now, comrades, you have heard my
  story; that it has been a long one, and a dry one, I grant--at all
  events, the narration of it has made _me_ confoundedly dry. Here's a
  health to jolly thieves all the world over, and confusion to honesty,
  the law, and the police!"

[B] Acute and sagacious as Jew Mike was, it did not occur to him, in his
trepidation and alarm, that the note which he had just read, and which
was in Lady Hawley's own handwriting, would clearly exonerate him from
all suspicion of his having murdered her. But guilt is sometimes
singularly short-sighted, and Mike, as cunning a villain as he was,
threw aside or perhaps destroyed the only evidence he could have
possibly produced to substantiate his innocence.

Jew Mike did honor to his own toast in a bumper of brandy; nor were the
others backward in following his example. Sow Nance, who had just awoke
from a sound sleep, swore it was the most capital story she had ever
heard in her life, which opinion she enforced by many oaths that we need
not repeat. 'Charcoal Bill' and 'Indian Marth' were loud in their
expressions of delight; and Jew Mike had the satisfaction of perceiving
that he had pleased his audience, and made himself the hero of the
night. A general conversation followed, which lasted until the Jew, as
chairman of the meeting and Captain of the _Grabbers_, called the
assembly to order, and announced that Sow Nance had the
floor;--whereupon silence was restored, and that lady gave utterance to
the following words, in a hoarse voice.--Her remarks were copiously
interspersed with oaths, which, out of respect for the reader's feelings
and our own credit, we omit:--

  "Well, gals and fellers, being as how my Mike here has been a blowin'
  off his gas, I might as well blow mine. You all know how I first came
  to be se-duced, don't yer? It was a rich State street lawyer wot first
  did it, when I was 'leven years old. Ha, ha, ha! a jolly old cock he
  was, with a bald head and a face all over red pimples--he used to be
  mighty fond of us girls, I tell yer. Maybe I didn't use to suck the
  money out of him, by threatenin' to _blow_ on him--well, I did! Yer
  all know how I had a young-'un, and how--ha, ha, ha!--the brat was
  found, the next day after it was born, dead in the _Black Sea_; it
  never died no nat'ral death that young-'un didn't, yer can bet yer
  life; the old Cor'ner wasn't far out of the way when he said in his
  werdict that the child had been strangled! The State street lawyer was
  its father, I believe, tho' I can't say for certain, I had so many
  partick'lar friends; for if I _ain't_ werry good-looking, I've got
  winnin' ways. I came from a first-rate family, I did; my father was
  hung for killing my mother--one of my brothers has also danced a horn
  pipe in the air, and another is under sentence of death, off South,
  for beating a woman's brains out with a fire shovel, and choking her
  five children with a dishcloth. He's one of the true breed, he is. I
  ain't no dishonor to my family, either; for besides that strangling
  business, (mind, I didn't say _I_ did it!) I once pitched a drunken
  sailor down stairs, which accidentally broke his neck, after I had
  lightened his pockets of what small change he had about him.--To tell
  the honest truth, I'm rather too ugly to make much money by doing
  business myself; so I've gone into the business of picking up young,
  good-looking gals, coaxing them off, and getting them into the houses
  of my regular customers, who pay me well, at so much a head. My best
  customer is the rich Mr. Tickels, who lives in South street; many's
  the young gal I've carried to him, and many's the dollar I've earned
  by it. Look here--do you see this five dollar gold piece? I earned it
  this morning by coaxing a gal to go with me to Mr. Tickel's house; she
  was a little beauty, I tell yer, and I'll bet she won't come out of
  that house the same as she went in, no how. She was a fruit gal, but
  she wasn't one of us; her name, I believe was Fanny--"

"Blood and battering-rams!"

This singular exclamation was made by the comical looking old man, who
had entered the "Pig Pen" unperceived, and had been seated in the corner
unnoticed by any of the company. He had arisen from his seat, and stood
in an attitude which betokened profound interest and great astonishment.
For a moment the whole gang, male and female, regarded him with surprise
and suspicion; then Jew Mike sprang forward, seized him by the throat,
shook him strongly, and in a rough, fierce voice, demanded:--

"Death and the devil, old scoundrel, how came you here? Who are
you?--are you a police spy--one of Marshal Threekey's gang? Speak,
d----n you, before I break every bone in your accursed old carcass!"

It was a singular contrast, between the great, powerful ruffian, and the
little old man--nevertheless, the latter individual (who, the reader
need scarcely be told, was no other than our eccentric friend, the
Corporal,) did not tamely submit to such rough treatment; extricating
himself, with much agility, from the grasp of the Jew, he dealt that
worthy such a quick and stinging blow in the region of his left ear,
that it laid him sprawling on the floor, at the same moment exclaiming--

"Skulls and skeletons! do you take me for a child? Nay, come on again,
if you are so disposed, and by the nose of Napoleon! I'll beat you to a
jelly!"

It is difficult to say what might have been the fate of the gallant
Corporal, had a second encounter taken place, for the Jew arose from the
floor with a howl of rage, his dark face livid with passion. But,
fortunately for our friend, at this crisis there stepped forward a big,
brawny, double-jointed Irishman, with a fist like a shoulder of mutton;
this gentleman gloried in the title of 'Cod-mouth Pat,' in humorous
allusion to the peculiar formation of his 'potato trap,' an aperture in
his head which might have been likened either to a cellar door or a coal
scuttle.

"Och, be the powers, Misther Jew Mike," said Pat, placing himself
between the Corporal and his gigantic antagonist--"be asy, and lave the
owld gintlman alone; he's a brave little man intirely, and it's myself
that'll fight for him. Whoop! show me the man that 'od harm my friend,
and be the holy poker, and that's a good oath, I'll raise a lump on his
head as big as the hill of Howth, and that's no small one!"

The good-hearted Irishman's interference saved the Corporal from a
severe beating, if not from being killed outright--for the Jew dared not
engage in a personal conflict with a man of Pat's resolution and
strength. Yet any ordinary observer could not have failed to notice the
look of deadly vengeance that gleamed in his eyes, indicating that he
would not soon forget or forgive the blow he had received.

At that moment, a loud noise resembling the crash of decanters and
glasses, mingled with loud oaths and yells of defiance, which sounds
proceeded from the adjoining dance cellar, plainly indicated that one of
those "bloody rows" for which Ann street is famous, had commenced. Such
a scene was too much the element of Cod-mouth Pat for him to remain
tranquil during its progress; with an unearthly yell he grasped a short,
thick cudgel which he always carried, and leaving the "Pig Pen," plunged
into the thickest of the fight. Many a black eye and broken head
attested the vigor of his arm; but the glory of his achievements did not
screen him from being borne to the watchhouse, nor did his valor prevent
the magistrate in the morning from inflicting upon him a very decent
fine, which drew from him the indignant remark that--"'Tis a great
country, any how, where a man can't have a ginteel bit of a fight
without paying for it!"

The Corporal's case again looked desperate, when Pat left the "Pig Pen,"
for he was then without a protector from the vengeance of Jew Mike. But
the Jew did not appear inclined to assail the old man personally, though
his ferocious eyes still gleamed with rage. Standing apart, he held a
whispered conversation with Sow Nance, during which the Corporal could
occasionally overhear the words--'spy,' 'danger,' 'police,' 'murder,'
and the like. At last they seemed to arrive at some definite conclusion;
for the Jew came forward, and said--

"Old fellow, whoever you are, you have heard too much of our private
discourse, for our safety.--We must confine you, until such time as you
may succeed in convincing us that you meant no foul play in thus
intruding into our secret rendezvous."

The Corporal began to speak, but the Jew fiercely commanded him to be
silent. Meanwhile, Sow Nance had procured a rope, and ere the old man
was aware of her intention, she had seized and pinioned his arms with
great dexterity.

"Into the _Black Hole_ with him!" shouted the Jew. The poor Corporal was
hurried from the room, through a low, narrow door, along a dark, winding
passage, and soon found himself in a spacious cellar, crowded with
negroes, who were drinking "blue ruin" and smoking vile cigars. This
resort of the "colored society" was a place of the most degraded and
vicious kind, frequented by the lowest of the black population of Ann
street. At that period, respectable public houses for the exclusive
accommodation of the colored aristocracy, were very rare; and it is only
recently that the enterprise and public spirit of Mr. William E. Ambush
has established a _recherche_ and elegant Saloon in Belknap street,
bearing the poetical cognomen of "_The Gazelle_." We allude to this
latter place for the purpose of showing that however degraded may be the
colored denizens of Ann street, and however low their resorts, there are
nevertheless those of the same complexion who are elevated in their
notions of propriety, and strictly exclusive in their associations.

"Hallo, here--where's Pete York?" demanded the Jew, looking around upon
the sable assembly with an air of authority.

A small, very black and hideous looking negro stepped forward in answer
to the name, with a grin that would not have disgraced the very devil
himself.

"Dat's me, master," said he. (It may be as well to remark here, that
this negro was soon afterwards sentenced to be hung for an atrocious
murder, in Ann street. His sentence was, however, commuted by the
Governor to imprisonment for life. He is now comfortably located in the
Charlestown State Prison.)

"Well, then, you black scorpion, I wish you to take charge of this old
fellow, and let him not escape, as you value your life. Keep him here
safely for a day or two, and I'll reward you well for your trouble.
Sooner than let him escape, _kill him_--do you hear?"

The negro _did_ hear, and perfectly comprehended, also. He replied not
in words, but in expressive pantomime. Drawing a knife from his belt, he
passed his finger approvingly along its glittering edge--then he drew it
lightly across his own throat, in the immediate vicinity of his
windpipe; by which actions he meant to intimate that should the old
gentleman, with whose guardianship he had the honor to be entrusted,
manifest the least inclination to "give him the slip," he, Mr. Peter
York, would, in the most scientific manner, merely cut his throat from
ear to ear, as a particular token of his warm personal regard. Jew Mike
appeared perfectly satisfied with the assurance thus eloquently
conveyed, and, accompanied by Sow Nance, left the cellar, leaving the
Corporal to the tender mercies of as desperate a band of villains and
cut-throats as ever prowled about in the dark alleys and underground
dens of Ann street.

"Now, my good fellow," said the old gentleman, addressing the negro
whose prisoner he now was--"you had better instantly unbind me, and
suffer me to take my departure from this infernal trap. Give me my
liberty, and I will pay you ten times the sum that your Jew friend can
afford to give you for detaining me here. What say you?"

"Oh, you shut up!" responded Pete York--"you s'pose I'm going to b'lieve
any such gas as dat? You look like paying more money than Jew Mike, and
not a decent coat on your back! Hush up your mouf, or you'll get this
knife a-twixt your ribs in less than no time."

The black ruffian, in order to convince his prisoner that he meant what
he said, pressed the sharp point of his knife so closely to the
Corporal's breast, that it penetrated the skin. Mr. York, having thus
practically admonished his victim to preserve silence, (which the
Corporal thought it best to do, under the circumstances,) called to
another negro, who was indulging in deep potations at the bar, in
company with his "ladye love," a wench whose personal attractions
consisted of a knotty head, flat nose, and mouth of immoderate
dimensions--and that she _was_ attractive to her lover, was afterwards
manifested by the fact that in a fit of jealousy he murdered a rival in
her affections; for which amusement he was hung in the yard of the
Leverett street jail on the 25th day of May, 1849, in the presence of a
very jovial party, who were highly delighted with the exhibition.

"Wash Goode," cried Mr. Peter York, addressing that gentleman with a
familiar abbreviation of his patriotic Christian name--"look yeah, a
moment, will you nigger?"

Mr. Washington Goode crossed the cellar, and desired to know in what way
he could be serviceable to his particular friend and boon companion, Mr.
Peter York. The latter gentleman explained himself in a few words.

"Jew Mike has put this old white man under my charge," said he, "for a
few days, and I don't know where the h----l to keep him. What shall I do
with the old son of a----?"

"Why, put him in de coal-hole, to be sure," replied the other, with a
boisterous laugh at his own ingenious suggestion.

Mr. York signified his approval of this plan, and dragging the poor
Corporal into the dark passage which he had traversed in going to the
cellar, he seized a large iron ring, opened a trap door, and violently
pushed his victim into the dark and yawning chasm. Then he shut down the
trap door, securely fastened it and departed.

The unfortunate Corporal fell a distance of about eight feet, and landed
upon a soft, damp bed of earth, with but little personal injury. It will
be recollected that his arms had been pinioned by Sow Nance; but, by a
desperate effort, the old man succeeded in freeing himself from his
bonds. He then essayed to examine and explore the dismal pit into which
he had been thrown--which, in the intense darkness that prevailed, was a
task of no little danger. However, he cautiously began to grope about,
and soon became satisfied that the place was of considerable extent.

It will readily be inferred that our friend Corporal Grimsby was a man
of dauntless courage; but, notwithstanding this, a thrill of terror
nearly paralysed his limbs, when, while exploring the dungeon into which
he had been thrown, his feet came in contact with an object, which, on
examination, he discovered to be a human skeleton. The dread of being
left to starve and perish in that dismal den, in such awful company,
well nigh overcame both his philosophy and courage; and seating himself
upon the damp earth, he abandoned himself to those feelings of
despondency naturally engendered by his situation.

A man placed in such circumstances, in the midst of intense darkness,
can "take no note of time." An hour of horror will sometimes seem an
age, while a week of unalloyed pleasure will often glide by seemingly
with the same rapidity as a few fleeting moments. It may have been one
hour--it may have been ten--that the Corporal sat on the floor of his
dungeon; when suddenly he was startled by the noise of the trap-door
above his head being opened, and looking up, he beheld Sow Nance gazing
down upon him, holding in her hand a lantern. After regarding him
intently for a few moments, she thus addressed him:--

"Say, old chap, what'll yer give me if I help yer to 'scape from this
hole? Yer don't look as if yer had any money--but if yer have, pay me
well, and I'll get you out."

"Lower down a ladder or a rope, and raise me from this infernal trap,
and you shall have this purse--see, 'tis full of gold!" replied the
Corporal, at the same time producing from his pocket a purse which was
evidently well lined with the "needful."

Nance uttered an exclamation of surprise and pleasure, and then
disappeared; in a few minutes she returned and lowered a ladder into the
pit; the Corporal rapidly ascended, and soon stood at the side of his
deliverer, whom he could not avoid thanking warmly, as he gave her the
purse. Bidding him follow her, she conducted him through the dark
passage; they entered the "Pig Pen," which was empty--passed through the
dance cellar without attracting any attention, and to the intense joy of
the Corporal, he found himself standing in the open air, with the sun
shining brightly, and no one to hinder his departure from those corrupt
regions of sin and horror.

He distinctly remembered that Sow Nance had boasted of having enticed a
young girl to the abode of Mr. Tickels in South street. Now this latter
individual was known to him as a libertine and a villain; and inwardly
praying that he might not be too late to rescue his fair young friend
(for he doubted not it was Fanny Aubrey,) from the power of such a
monster, in season to preserve her virtue undefiled, he made the best of
his way to South street. The reader knows how he rushed into the room
just as Tickels was preparing to consummate the outrage, and how he laid
the villain sprawling upon the floor, exclaiming--

"Broad-swords and bomb-shells! I am just in time!"

We have now seen the manner in which Corporal Grimsby discovered the
whereabouts of Fanny Aubrey: and the mystery of his having arrived at a
moment so very opportune, is explained.



CHAPTER V

_The Chevalier and the Duchess._


A period of six months elapsed, and it was now the month of
June--voluptuous June, clad in the gorgeous livery of summer. A great
change had taken place in the circumstances of several of the most
prominent characters of our narrative. The grandfather of Fanny--the
blind old basket-maker--had been "gathered to his fathers," and was
sleeping in a humble but honorable grave. The excellent old Corporal,
having seen the remains of his aged friend consigned to its kindred
dust, had procured a comfortable and delightful asylum for the two
orphans in the family of a valued friend of his--an elderly gentleman
whom we shall call Mr. Goldworthy; he was a retired merchant, possessing
an ample fortune, and was a widower, having an only daughter, with whom
he resided in a splendid mansion in Howard street. Miss Alice
Goldworthy, (then in her eighteenth year,) was one of those rare
creatures who seldom bless this grovelling earth with their bright
presence. She was truly an admirable combination of excellent personal
and mental qualities, and possessed in an eminent degree that beautiful
art (so seldom attained) of making all who came within the sphere of her
genial influence, _perfectly happy_. But her most amiable characteristic
was her good heart, which prompted her to entirely overlook every
consideration of self, in her desire to benefit others. We have now, in
our mind's eye, the exquisite original from whom we imperfectly draw
this beautiful character; her pure soul looks gently forth from the
azure depths of her soft eyes; lovely in her smile, for it is the glad
sunshine of a happy heart--but has that heart ne'er known affliction or
grief? Ah, yes; the harsh world hath, in former times, bruised that
gentle sanctuary of all womanly virtue, by its rude contact; but an
o'er-ruling Providence would not suffer the blighting storms of life to
crush the sweet flower that bent resignedly to the blast--for the angels
in heaven are not more pure and holy than she. Peace be with her, now
and forever! and should her eyes e'er encounter these humble lines, she
will pardon their unknown author for having ventured to gild his pages
with her beautiful character--for he has gazed upon her as upon a star,
shipping with a serene and softened lustre from the blue vault of
heaven.

Her domestic accomplishments were not inferior to her social virtues. In
the charming (because truthful) words of an unpretending but excellent
poet--

    "She had read
    Her father's well-filled library with profit,
    And could talk charmingly; then she could sing
    And play, too, passably, and dance with spirit;
    Yet she was knowing in all needle-work,
    And shone in dairy and kitchen, too
    As in the parlor."

When Fanny Aubrey was ushered into the presence of this amiable young
lady, she started with surprise and pleasure--for she instantly
recognized in her the kind young lady who had presented her with the
gold coin on the memorable day when she was entrapped by Sow Nance into
the house of Mr. Tickels. The recognition was mutual; Miss Alice
instantly remembered the pretty fruit girl whose appearance had so much
interested her; and warmly did she welcome both the young orphans, as
future inmates of her family. Fanny had never before lived in such a
grand house, surrounded by every appliance of luxurious wealth; yet the
unbounded kindness of Miss Alice and her worthy father soon placed her
perfectly at her ease. Excellent teachers were provided for her and her
brother Charles--and, under the fostering care of their generous
patrons, they promised to become ornaments to the elevated sphere of
society in which they were probably destined to move.

Time passed on, and nothing occurred to interrupt the smooth current of
Fanny's existence, until it was deemed advisable to engage a person
properly qualified to give her instructions on that indispensable
fixture to a fashionable parlor--the piano-forte. A teacher of some
reputed talent was employed for this purpose; he was a Mr. Price, of
Charlestown--and has since rendered himself somewhat famous for his
amours in the above city with a married lady whom we shall call Mrs.
Stout; he had for some time been giving her lessons on the piano--but
the husband suspected that he was in the habit of imparting to her
secrets more profound than those of music; he accordingly placed himself
in a position to observe the operations of the parties--and soon
detected them under circumstances of a very unequivocal character.
Rushing in, he severely castigated the gay Lothario, who, laboring under
the great disadvantage of having his costume seriously disarranged,
could only implore for mercy, while he assumed the abject posture so
faithfully depicted by a talented artist, in the engraving which
accompanies this chapter. Long previous to this humorous event, Mr.
Price was, as we have stated, engaged to instruct the pretty Fanny
Aubrey in the science and mystery of the noble instrument of which he
was a well-known professor; but he soon began to indulge in such
alarming familiarities with his fair pupil, that she acquainted her
friends with his conduct, and the consequence was that Mr. Price
received a very dishonorable dismissal from the house. Nature has been
very miserly of her favors to this amorous music teacher: his
countenance resembles that of an unwashed charcoal merchant, while his
manners are utterly devoid of anything like gentlemanly refinement.--We
are no great critic of the art of piano teaching; but we opine that it
is rather unnecessary, in the first stages of the instruction, to clasp
a lady's waist, or even to bring one's mouth in too close proximity to
her rosy lips. It leads a sensitive female, or a fastidious gentleman to
suspect the existence of a strong desire to enjoy a more familiar
intimacy with a feminine pupil, and is apt to result in the teacher's
ignominious ejection from the house and family which he attempts to
dishonor.

With the exception of Mr. Price's insults, (from which she easily
escaped by appealing to her kind patrons for protection,) Fanny's life
passed on happily and quietly for some time; until one evening, on
entering the parlor, she was startled by seeing no less a person than
the Hon. Timothy Tickels, of South street, in familiar and friendly
conversation with Mr. Goldworthy and Miss Alice. Mr. Tickels himself
started and turned pale on beholding the maid whom he had attempted to
dishonor under circumstances of such peculiar atrocity; however, he
quickly recovered himself, and bowed low as Mr. Goldworthy presented her
to him, saying--

"Mr. Tickels, this is Miss Aubrey, the young lady whom I spoke to you
about, as having recently come to reside with me. Fanny, this is an old
and much esteemed friend of mine, who has expressed a great desire to
see you, and whom, I am sure, you will love and respect for his piety
and moral excellence!"

Fanny coldly returned the salutations of the lecherous old hypocrite,
whom she had such a good reason to hate and despise; it was evident to
her that he had imposed on her worthy patrons, who really believed him
to be a man of unblemished moral and religious character. During the
evening, other company came in, and Tickels, having placed himself at
Fanny's side, whispered in her ear--

"My dear young lady, I see you recognize me; I also knew you instantly;
for God's sake do not expose me! I am sincerely sorry for the wrong I
meditated against you--I have since repented in sackcloth and ashes.
Promise me, I entreat you, that you will not whisper a word in regard to
that infamous affair to Miss Alice or her father--or, indeed, to any one
else; promise me, angel that you are--will you not?"

Fanny reflected a few moments, during which she asked herself--"What is
the right course for me to pursue in this matter? It will be very wrong
for me to ruin this man by exposing him, if he has sincerely repented.
The Bible tells us to forgive our enemies--ought I not to forgive him?
Yes, I will; my heart and conscience tell me it will be right to do so.
Mr. Tickels," she added, aloud--"I forgive you for having tried to
injure me, and, if you have truly repented, I will never say anything
about the affair which you wish to have kept secret."

How artlessly and ingenuously she pronounced those words of forgiveness,
to a man who had tried to inflict upon her the greatest injury that can
befall woman--a man who, even at that moment, in the black hypocrisy of
his heart, gloated upon her youthful charms as the wolf doth feast his
savage eyes upon the innocent lamb! Yes, and even at that moment, too,
his polluted soul was hatching an infernal plan to get her again in his
power, in a place where no aid was ever likely to wrest her from his
grasp--a place established for purposes of lust and outrage, to which he
had alluded, (in his soliloquy after the rescue of Fanny by the
Corporal,) as the "Chambers of Love."

"Ah, my young paragon of virtue," said the old hypocrite to himself--"it
is all very well for you to prate of forgiveness; but I'll have you in
the 'Chambers' in less than a month--then see if you can again escape
me! In that luxurious underground retreat, from whose mysterious recess
no cry can reach the ears of prying mortals above--there, amid the
sumptuousness of an Oriental palace, will I riot on those charms of
thine, which now I dare but gaze upon! I'll make thee a slave to every
extravagant caprice of my passion; I'll become a god of pleasure, and
thou, my beautiful blonde, shall be my ministering angel; for me shalt
thou fill the glittering wine-cup with the sparkling gem of the grape;
for me shalt thou sing at the banquet, and preside as Venus at the rosy
couch of love."

Such were the thoughts that passed through the mind of the disgusting
old voluptuary, while his lying tongue gave utterance to words like the
following:--

"A thousand thanks, my kind young lady, for that promise! Ah, if you
only knew how beautiful you are, you would not so much blame me for my
folly--my wickedness. But I'll say no more, as such language seems to
pain you. I have, by long fasting and sincere prayer, succeeded in
cleansing my heart from every impure desire--I can now view you with the
holy feelings--the passionless regard, of a father for his daughter. My
dear child, forget not your promise to refrain from exposing an erring
fellow mortal; and may Heaven bless you!"

Poor, unsuspecting Fanny!--could she have seen the black heart of the
smooth villain who addressed her with such pious humility, how well she
might have exclaimed, with Byron--

    "Thy love is lust, thy friendship all cheat,
    Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit."

Mr. Tickels continued to visit the Goldworthys frequently; and they, far
from suspecting his real character, always received him with the
familiarity of an old friend. They noticed that Fanny treated him with
marked coolness and reserve; this they thought but little of, however,
merely regarding it as an excess of diffidence.

It is now necessary that we introduce a new character on the stage. This
was a gentleman who bore the rather aristocratic title of the "Chevalier
Duvall," and was supposed to be a foreigner of distinguished birth; and
if noble lineage ever indicated itself by splendid personal or mental
gifts, then was the Chevalier entitled to the fullest belief when he
declared himself to have descended from one of the noblest families of
France--for a man of more superb and commanding beauty never won the
heart of a fair lady. We confess ourselves rather opposed to the
prevailing tastes of authors, who make all their heroes and heroines
perfect paragons of personal beauty--but, in the present instance, we
are dealing, not with an imaginary creation, but with an actual
character. The Chevalier, then, was a man of a thousand; elegant in his
carriage, superbly graceful in every movement, possessing a form of
perfect symmetry, and a countenance faultlessly handsome, no wonder that
he captivated the hearts of many lovely damsels, and made no unfavorable
impression upon the mind of the fair Alice Goldworthy, whom he had
casually met in polished society, and whose admiration he had enlisted,
as much by the charms of inimitable wit as by the graces of his
matchless person. What wonder that the gentle girl, all unskilled as she
was in the ways of the world, should receive his frequent visits with
pleasure; and when her kind father intimated to her that her lover was a
man possessing no visible resources, and was besides very unwilling to
allude to his former history, which was involved in much obscurity, what
wonder that she made herself his champion, and assured her father that
he (the Chevalier) was everything that the most fastidious could desire.
And the good old man, never very inquisitive or meddlesome in what he
considered the affairs of others, and satisfied that his daughter's
views of her lover must be correct, forbore to pain her further by any
insinuations derogatory to the Chevalier's character, and made no
objections to his oft-repeated visits.

Delicious was that dream of love to the pure-hearted maiden! Her lover
was to her the _beau ideal_ of manhood; so delicate in his attentions,
so uniformly respectful in his behavior. What if mystery _did_ exist in
reference to his history and resources?--when did Love ever stop to make
inquiries relative to descent or dollars? As long as she believed Duvall
to be an honorable and good man, she would have deserted her luxurious
home and shared poverty and exile with him, if necessary. Ah, how often
does Love, in the best and purest natures, triumph over filial affection
and every consideration of worldly or pecuniary advantage.

"My Alice," said Duvall, as they were seated in Mr. Goldworthy's
luxurious parlor, at that most delightful period of the
day--twilight--bewitching season, when day softly melts into the embrace
of night!--"_My_ Alice, there is much connected with my name and
fortunes that must be to you a profound mystery; but, believe me, my
name is untainted with dishonor, and my fortunes are free from disgrace.
A solemn vow prevents me from explaining myself further, until the
blissful moment when I can call you wife; then, idol of my soul, shall
you know all. Behold this right hand; it has never committed an action
that could make this cheek blush with shame. And now, fairest among
women, when shall I claim this soft hand as my own lawful prize?"

The day was named, and the happy Alice was for the first time clasped to
the bosom of her lover.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the hour of noon, on the next day, a gentleman might have been
standing on the steps of the Tremont House, gazing with an eye of
abstraction upon the passing throng. The age of this gentleman might
have been a matter of dubious inquiry; he was not young, you'd swear at
the first glance, and yet, after you had gazed two minutes into his
superb countenance, you would be as ready to swear that he was not over
thirty, or thirty-five at most. In truth, he was one of those singular
persons whose external appearance defies you to form any opinion as to
their age, with any hope of coming within twenty years of the truth. Not
a single gray hair could be seen among the glossy curls that fell over
his noble forehead--not a wrinkle disfigured the smooth surface of his
dark, beautiful skin--and yet there was _something_ that we cannot
define or describe, in the expression of his eyes, which now flashed
with all the fire of youth, and then grew almost dim as with the shadows
of advancing age--a something that indicated to any acute observer that
the elegant stranger had passed the prime of manhood.

He was dressed with tasteful simplicity. A splendid black suit set off
his fine form to advantage; yet his attire was utterly devoid of
ornament. Many were the bright eyes that glanced admiringly at his
handsome person; yet he seemed unconscious of the admiration he excited,
and gazed upon the passing crowd with all the calm complacency of a
philosopher.

This gentleman was the Chevalier Duvall. Not long had he been standing
upon the steps of the Tremont House, when he was accosted by an elderly
gentleman of a portly appearance, whom he cordially greeted with every
token of familiar friendship.

The portly old gentleman was the Honorable Timothy Tickels; he and the
Chevalier had long been intimate friends, having frequently met at the
house of Mr. Goldworthy. After the usual compliments, Mr. Tickels
remarked to his friend--

"By the way, my dear Chevalier, you remember that you long since
promised to introduce me to a sister of yours, whose charms you highly
extolled. I am anxious to see if she really merits your somewhat
extravagant praise. I have a few hours of leisure to-day, and if you
will present me to her, I shall be delighted."

"Certainly, my good sir, certainly," rejoined the Chevalier--"the
distance is but trifling, and if you will do me the honor to accompany
me, to my humble abode, you shall be made acquainted with the most
beautiful woman in Boston. My sister is called the _Duchess_, and as
mystery is the peculiar characteristic of myself and family, you will
have the kindness to address her by that title."

Mr. Tickels expressed his thanks; and the two gentlemen proceeded to
Somerset street, wherein stood the residence of the Chevalier. It was a
house of modest exterior, very plain but respectable in appearance; yet
the interior was furnished very handsomely. On entering the house,
Duvall directed a servant to inform the Duchess that he had brought a
gentleman to be introduced to her; and in about a quarter of an hour the
lady sent word that she was prepared to receive her brother and his
friend in her _boudoir_. Accordingly, the gentlemen ascended to that
apartment; and on entering, Mr. Tickels stood for a few moments rooted
to the floor with astonishment.

It was a small chamber, but furnished with every indication of the most
exquisite taste. Fresh flowers, smiling from beautiful vases, scented
the air with their delicious perfume; classic statuary adorned every
corner, and gorgeous drapery at the windows excluded the glare of day,
producing a kind of soft twilight. Voluptuous paintings, with frames
superbly carved and gilded, ornamented the walls; and the footsteps fell
noiseless on the rich and yielding Turkish carpet. A splendid harp and
piano evinced the musical taste of the tenant of that elegant retreat.

But it was not the fragrance of flowers, or the beauties of sculpture,
or the divine skill of the painter, that enthralled the senses of Mr.
Tickels, and caused him to pause as if spell-bound in the centre of the
room. No--his gaze was riveted upon a female form that reclined upon a
sofa; and now we are almost inclined to throw down our pen in despair,
for we are conscious of our inability to describe such a glorious
perfection of womanly beauty as met the enraptured gaze of a man, whose
sensual nature amply qualified him to appreciate such charms as she
possessed.

She was not what the world calls a _young_ woman; yet thirty
years--thirty summers--had not dim'd the lustre of her beauty. Truly,
she was the VENUS OF BOSTON! A brow, expansive and intellectual--hair of
silken texture, that fell in massive luxuriance from beneath a jewelled
head-dress which resembled the coronet of a duchess--cheeks that glowed
with the rosy hue of health and a thousand fiery passions--eyes that
sparkled with that peculiar expression so often seen in women of an
ardent, impetuous nature, now languishing, melting with tender desires,
now darting forth arrows of hate and rage--these were the
characteristics of the Duchess! There she lay, the very personification
of voluptuousness--large in stature, full in form, and exquisitely
beautiful in feature! Her limbs (once the model of a renowned sculptor
at Athens,) would have crazed Canova, and made Powers break his "Greek
Slave" into a thousand fragments; and those limbs--how visible they were
beneath the light, transparent gauze which but partially covered them!
Her leg, with its exquisite ankle and swelling calf,--faultless in
symmetry,--was terminated by a tiny foot which coquettishly played with
a satin slipper on the carpet,--a slipper that would have driven
Cinderella to the commission of suicide. Her ample waist had never been
compressed by the wearing of corsets, or any other barbarous tyranny of
fashion; yet it was graceful, and did not in the least degree approach
an unseemly obesity; and how magnificently did it expand into a glorious
bust, whereon two "hillocks of snow" projected their rose-tinted peaks,
in sportive rivalry--revealed, with bewildering distinctness, by the
absence of any concealing drapery! When she smiled, her lips, like "wet
coral," parted, and displayed teeth of dazzling whiteness, and when she
laughed, she did so _musically_. Her hand would have put Lord Byron in
extacies, and her taper fingers glittered with costly gems. Such was the
glorious creature who entranced the senses of the Honorable Timothy
Tickels on entering her luxurious _boudoir_.

She greeted her brother the Chevalier with a smile, and his friend with
a graceful inclination of her head; but she did not arise, for which she
apologized by stating that she was afflicted with a slight lameness
caused by a recent fall. Then she glided into a discourse so witty, so
fascinating, that Mr. Tickels was charmed beyond expression.

"I must really chide you, Chevalier," said she, turning to her
brother--"for not having afforded me the gratification of an earlier
introduction to your friend; for I now have the honor of making his
acquaintance under extremely unfavorable circumstances;--almost an
invalid, and arrayed in this slovenly _dishabille_. My dear Mr.
Tickels," she added, "you must not look at me, for I am really ashamed
of having been caught in this deplorable plight."

Admirable stroke of art!--to apologize to an accomplished libertine, for
liberally displaying to his amorous gaze charms that would have moved a
marble statue!

"Magnificent Duchess," quoth Mr. Tickels, drawing nearer to her, and
eagerly surveying the exposed charms of her splendid person--"offer no
apology for feasting my eyes on beauty such as yours. I am no fulsome
flatterer when I declare to you, that you are the queen and star of all
the beautiful women it has ever been my lot to behold! You are not
offended at my familiarity?"

The Duchess only said "fie!" and pouted for a moment, so as to display
her ripe lips to advantage; and then her face became radiant with a
smile that made Mr. Tickels' susceptible heart beat against his ribs
like the hammer on a blacksmith's anvil.

The Chevalier rose. "You must excuse me, both of you," said he, as he
took up his hat--"I have got an engagement which will oblige me to
deprive myself of the pleasure of your agreeable company for the
present. So _au revoir_--make yourself perfectly at home, my dear Mr.
Tickels; and it will be your own fault if you do not ripen the intimacy
which has this day commenced between yourself and the Duchess."

The Chevalier departed, and Mr. Tickels was alone with the magnificent
Duchess.

The old libertine spoke truly when he declared that he had never before
seen such a beautiful woman. Accustomed as he was to the society of
ladies, in whose company he always assumed a degree of familiarity that
was almost offensive, he was nevertheless so awed and intoxicated by the
divine loveliness of the Duchess, that, when he found himself alone with
her, he completely lost his usual self-possession, and could only
declare his admiration by his glances--not by words. For a few minutes
she coquettishly toyed with her fan--then she carelessly passed her
jewelled hand over her queenly brow to remove the clustering hair; and
finally, with an arch glance, she complimented Mr. Tickels on his
taciturnity, and laughingly enquired if he was always thus silent in the
society of ladies?

"Madam," replied Mr. Tickels--"I am struck dumb by your unsurpassable
beauty. Forgive me, but my tongue is mute in the presence of such a
divinity."

"Fie, sir! I must scold you if you flatter me," responded the Duchess,
as her cheeks were suffused with a charming blush--"and yet I find it
very hard to be angry with you, for your compliments are clothed in
language so elegant, that they are far from being odious. Here is my
hand, in token of my forgiveness."

She gave him her hand--a hand so white, so soft, so exquisitely
delicate, that its touch thrilled through the entire frame of Mr.
Tickels. Involuntarily he raised it to his lips, and knelt down before
her;--then suddenly recollecting himself, he arose, murmuring a confused
apology for his rudeness. Her brilliant eyes were turned upon his, with
a soft expression, like that of languishing desire; and partly rising
from the sofa, she made room for Mr. Tickels to seat himself at her
side. This action she accompanied by a gesture of invitation; and
eagerly did the old gentleman sink down upon the soft and yielding sofa.
At first he sat at a respectful distance from her; but gradually he
edged closer and closer, until their persons touched. Still she
manifested not the slightest displeasure; and at last, maddened by his
close proximity to such matchless charms--for lust very often triumphs
over prudence--he ventured to steal his arm around her voluptuous waist.
To his inexpressible delight, she did not repulse him; and then how
wildly palpitated his heart, as he gazed down into those swelling
regions of snow, within whose mysterious depths a score of little Cupids
might have nested! Bolder and bolder grew the excited old voluptuary, as
he found that she did not resist his amorous advances; her fragrant
breath fanned his cheek, and the glances of her lustrous eyes dazzled
his senses. Her ripe lips were provokingly near to his--why not taste
their nectar? He pressed her closer to him, and she turned her charming
face full towards him, and seemed, with an arch smile, to challenge him
to bear off the prize. One little inch alone intervened between her rosy
mouth and his own _watering_ one; in a moment 'twas done! He had stolen
a kiss, and received in return a playful tap with her fan. Who, that has
once ravished a kiss from the divine lips of a lovely woman, does not
feel inclined to repeat the offence? Again and again he kissed her; and
finally, almost beside himself with rapture, he glued his hot lips to
her neck, her shoulders, her bosom. Then Mr. Tickels became sensible
that he had gone too far--for she disengaged herself from his embrace,
and said, with an air of offended dignity--

"You seem to forget yourself, sir; my foolish complacency to the friend
of my brother has, I fear, led me to permit liberties, which have
engendered in your breast desires injurious to my honor. I confess that
I was, for a moment, overcome by certain feelings which I possess, in
common with all others of the human family; nay, I will even admit that
I am of a nature peculiarly ardent and susceptible; and your refined
gallantry, and my close contact with your really very agreeable person,
aroused my passions, and caused me to forget my prudence until your
liberties became so intimate that I feared for the safety of my honor. I
must not forget my position as a lady of character and birth; and I
trust that you will remember your pretensions to the title of a
gentleman."

"Forgive me, beautiful Duchess," cried Tickels, in tones the most
abject--"on my bended knees I implore your pardon. What man, possessing
heart and soul, could view such heavenly charms as thine, without being
betrayed into an indiscretion? But forgive me, and I will ask no greater
favor than to be allowed to kiss that beauteous hand."

"I am not angry with you," said the Duchess, giving him her hand, which
he raised reverently to his lips, "for I can fully appreciate the
feelings which prompted your conduct; therefore, I willingly
forgive,--and now that we are good friends again, you may come and sit
by my side, provided you will promise to be very good, and neither kiss
me or clasp my waist with your arm. So, sir, that is very well--but why
do you gaze so intently at my pretty shoulders and--but, good heavens!
until this moment I was unconscious of my almost naked condition; if you
will persist in looking at me, I must positively cover myself with a
shawl."

"Charming Duchess, that would be worse sacrilege than to cover a costly
jewel with tow-cloth," rejoined Tickels; and the lady smiled at his
gallantry, as she remarked--

"Nevertheless, naughty man, you must not take advantage of my negligent
and slight attire to devour my person with your eyes. Besides, I am too
_em bon point_ for either grace or beauty, and am naturally anxious to
conceal that defect."

"Defect!" exclaimed Tickels,--"if there is one single defect in your
glorious person, then is Venus herself a pattern of ugliness. The
voluptuous fullness of your form is your most delightful attribute."

A silence of some minutes ensued, during which the old libertine
continued his longing gaze, while the lady took up and fondly caressed a
beautiful little lap-dog, whose snowy fleece was prettily set off by a
silver collar, musical with bells. How Tickels envied the little animal,
when its mistress placed it in her bosom, and bestowed upon it every
epithet of tender endearment!

"Poor Fido!" at length said the lady, with a soft sigh,--"thou art the
sole companion of my solitude. You would scarcely believe, Mr. Tickels,
how devotedly I am attached to this little creature, and how much he
loves me in return. He will only take his food from my hand, and I feed
him on the most delicate custards. Every morning I wash him carefully in
rose water, and he is my constant bed-fellow at night. ('Lucky dog!'
sighed Tickels.) I have only his society to dispel the _ennui_ of my
solitude;--but, now I think of it, I have other sources of amusement:
for there are my books, my music, my flowers. By the way, are you fond
of music? Yes, I know you are; for you are a gentleman of too much
elegant refinement of mind, not to love the divine harmony of sweet
sounds. And now I shall put your gallantry to the test by requesting you
to bring my harp hither; and to reward you for your trouble, you shall
hear a song."

The instrument was placed before her, and she sang, with exquisite
feeling and pathos, the beautiful song commencing with--

    "'Twere vain to tell thee all I feel,
    Or say for thee I sigh."

Tickels, to do him justice, was a true connoisseur in music; and warmly
did he express his gratification at the performance, particularly as the
Duchess accompanied the words by glances expressive of every tender
emotion.

"Heigho! what can have become of the Chevalier? Devoted as he is to the
erratic pursuits of a man of fashion, he is seldom at home, and
consequently I see but little of him." Thus spoke the Duchess, after a
long pause which had begun to be embarrassing.

"Do you long for his return?" asked Tickels--"will not my society
compensate for his absence?"

"Oh, yes!" laughingly replied the lady--"you are gallant and agreeable;
whereas my brother is often moody and abstracted. Besides, you know, a
_brother_ cannot of course be such a pleasant companion to a lady,
as--as--I had almost said a _lover_. In truth, I am willing to confess
that you are a dear, delightful old gentleman, and I am half in love
with you already. Nay, don't squeeze my hand so, or I shall repent
having made the declaration."

"You are a sweet creature," rejoined Tickels--"and very cruel for having
afforded me a glimpse of heaven, and then shut out the prospect from my
longing gaze. But tell me, how is it that you and your brother are so
completely isolated in society? Certainly you must have relatives and
many friends; yet you complain of solitude. If my question is not
impertinent, will you tell me?--for a woman of your extraordinary beauty
and accomplishments never finds it difficult to surround herself with a
circle of admirers, and loneliness is an evil with which she never need
be afflicted. To say merely that I feel interested in you, would fail to
express the degree of admiration with which I regard you; and it would
afford me an unspeakable pleasure to hear the history of your life, from
those rosy lips."

"Alas!" exclaimed the Duchess, as a tear dim'd for a moment the lustre
of her fine eyes--"my story is but a short and sad one. Such as it is,
however, you shall have it. I was born beneath the fair skies of sunny
France; my parents were noble and rich--my father, the Duke D'Alvear,
could even boast of royal blood in his veins, while my mother was
closely allied to several of the most aristocratic families in the
kingdom. Reared in the lap of luxury, my childhood passed like a
pleasant dream, with nothing to disturb its quiet, until I had reached
my fifteenth year, at which period I lost both my parents by a
catastrophe so sudden, so dreadful, that when you hear its particulars,
you will not blame me for weeping as I do now." Here the lady's voice
was broken by many sobs--but she soon recovered her composure, and
continued her narrative.

"My mother was beautiful but frail--which was in her case peculiarly
unfortunate, for my father was the most jealous of men. He had reason to
suppose that a handsome young Count was too intimate with her; keeping
his suspicions profoundly secret, he made preparations for a long
journey, and having announced his intention of remaining abroad several
months, he departed from Paris. That very night, at midnight, he
abruptly returned, proceeded directly to my mother's chamber, and found
the Count St. Cyr in her arms. The guilty pair were taken too much by
surprise to attempt resistance or escape, and both were slain on the
spot by my father, who had provided himself with weapons for that
purpose. The Duke then went to his own chamber--the report of a pistol
was heard soon afterwards, and the unfortunate man was found dead, with
his brains scattered over the carpet. Thus in one fatal night were my
only brother and myself made orphans--nor was this our only misfortune,
for the notary who had the charge of our joint patrimony, absconded, and
left us penniless. Why need I dwell on the painful details of our
poverty and its attendant miseries? Suffice it to say that I resisted a
hundred offers from men of rank and wealth, who would have maintained me
in luxury had I consented to part with the priceless gem of my virtue.
Yes--I resisted each tempting proposal, for poverty itself was sweeter
to me than dishonor. We came to America, and finally to Boston; the
Chevalier, by giving private lessons in the sword exercise, supports us
both in a style of quiet comfort--but I charge you, sir, never let that
fact be known, for the gossiping world must never learn that the son of
France's proudest noble has so degenerated as to _labor_ for his
support. Of course, with our modest means, we can mix but little in the
gay and fashionable world--as for myself, I prefer to remain at home,
and see but few persons except my brother and such of his intimate
friends as he occasionally brings home with him. My retired habits have
preserved me from the matrimonial speculations of gentlemen, of which I
am very glad, for I do not think I shall ever marry; and the seclusion
of my life has also saved me from the dishonorable proposals of amorous
gentlemen, who are ever ready to insult a good-looking woman provided
she is poor, and they are wealthy. Unfortunately for me, I have a
constant craving for male society; and when thrown into the company of
an agreeable man, be he young or old, passions which have never been
gratified will assert their supremacy in my breast, and I often tremble
lest, in a moment of delirium, I surrender my person unresisting to the
arms of a too fascinating seducer. This weakness of my ardent nature has
already several times nearly brought me to ruin; and when your arms just
now encircled me, and your lips were pressed to mine, the dizzy delight
which I experienced would, in a few moments, have made me your victim,
had I not, by a powerful effort, overcome that intoxication of my senses
which was fast subduing me; I escaped from your arms, and thank heaven!
my honor is preserved. Now, sir, I have frankly told you all; you
certainly will not censure me for my misfortunes--and I trust you will
not blame me for those propensities of nature to which we are all
subject, and which are so peculiarly strong in me as to render their
subjection an act of heroic self-denial."

Thus ended the narrative of the Duchess; and it may well be imagined
that her words inflamed the passions of her listener more than ever. To
have that splendid creature sit by his side, and candidly confess to him
that the ardor of her soul yearned for enjoyments which cold prudence
would not permit her to indulge in,--what could have been more provoking
to his already excited feelings? Mr. Tickels gazed earnestly at her for
a few minutes, and his mind was decided; he resolved, if possible, to
_reason_ her into a compliance with his wishes.

"Madam," said he, assuming a tone of profound respect--"you are an
educated and accomplished lady; your mind is of the most elevated and
superior order. You can reflect, and reason, and view things precisely
as they are, without any exaggeration. Look abroad upon the world, and
you will see all mankind engaged exactly alike--each man and woman is
pursuing that course which he or she deems best calculated to promote
his or her happiness; and happiness is the essence of _pleasure_. Your
miser hoards gold--that is _his_ source of pleasure; your vain woman
seeks pomp, and display, and adorns her person with many jewels--from
all of which she derives _her_ pleasure; and as the child is pleased
with its rattle, so is the musty antiquarian with his antique
models--so is the traveller with his journeyings and explorations--so is
the soldier with glory--and so is the lady of warm impulses with her
secret amours. All seek to extract pleasure from the pursuit of some
darling object most congenial with their passions, their tastes, their
preferences. Why, then, should any one seek to set aside the order of
things universal--the routine of nature? As consistently might we
disturb the harmonious operation of some complex machinery, as to act in
opposition to the great fundamental law of human nature--viz: _that
every created being, endowed with a ruling passion, should seek its
legitimate gratification_. By legitimate gratification, I mean, that
indulgence which interferes not with the enjoyments or interests of
others. The miser should not accumulate his gold at the expense of
another; the libertine should not revel in beauty's arms, by force; the
lady must make a willing sacrifice--thus nobody is injured--and thus the
pleasure is _legitimate_; though bigoted churchmen and canting
hypocrites may declaim on the sin of carnal indulgences unsanctioned by
the priest and his empty ceremonies. Fools! NATURE, and her laws, and
her promptings, and her desires, spurn the trammels of form and custom,
and reign triumphant over the hollow mummery of the parson and his pious
foolery.

"Now, dear madam," continued the artful logician, (whose words belied
his own sentiments, and his own belief,) "supposing that you admit all
these premises; what do we next arrive at? Let me be plain, since you
have been so candid with me. You have admitted that the prevailing and
all-absorbing passion of your nature is--an intense desire to enjoy that
delicious communion which had its origin in the garden of Eden. Why
deprive yourself of the gratification you long for? Why do you hunger
for the fruit which is within your reach? Why disregard the promptings
of nature? Why obstinately turn aside from a bliss which is the rightful
inheritance of every man and woman on the face of the earth? And,
lastly, why are you so cruel to me, whom you have been pleased to
pronounce agreeable? Answer me, charming Duchess, and answer me as your
own generous heart and good sense shall dictate."

The Duchess was silent for a short time, and appeared to reflect
profoundly; then she said, in a tone and manner singularly earnest--

"Listen to me, my friend--for that you are such, I am very sure. I do
not deprive myself of the pleasures of which you speak, in consequence
of any scruples, moral or religious. I have no respect for the
institution of matrimony, or its obligations; I laugh at the doctrines
of those who speak of the crime of an indulgence in Love's pleasures,
without the sanction of the church. I agree with you that we all have
derived from nature the _right_ to feed our diversified passions
according to their several cravings; but while we are authorized, by the
very laws of our being, to seek those delights of sense for which we
yearn, a perverted and ridiculous PUBLIC OPINION prohibits such
indulgences, unless under certain restrictions, and accompanied by
certain forms. Now, though this public opinion undoubtedly _is_
ridiculous and perverted, it must nevertheless be respected,
particularly by a lady; otherwise the world, (which is public opinion,)
calls her a harlot--points at her the finger of scorn--excludes her from
all decent society, and she is forever disgraced and ruined. I must
preserve my reputation and position as a lady, no matter at what cost,
or what sacrifice; ardently as I long for the delights of love, I shall
never, to enjoy them, surrender my personal freedom by marriage, or my
character by yielding to the solicitations of a lover,--unless, in the
latter case, I should unfortunately, while in the intoxication of
excited passion, grant the favors which he asks; which I pray heaven may
never happen to me! It is all very well, sir," continued the Duchess,
assuming a tone of arch vivacity--"it is all very well for you _men_ to
be in such continual readiness to indulge in the joys of Venus, whenever
opportunity presents itself; for this odious public opinion is very
lenient with you, gay deceivers that you are, and kindly pardons and
even smiles at your amorous frailties; but we poor women, good heavens!
must not swerve six inches from the straight path of rectitude marked
out for us, under pain of eternal condemnation and disgrace; and thus we
are either driven into matrimony, or are obliged to deprive ourselves of
a bliss (to use your own language) which is the rightful inheritance of
every man and woman on the face of the earth. Well," added the Duchess,
in a tone of mock melancholy which was irresistibly charming,--"poor _I_
must submit to the stern decree, as well as the rest of those
unfortunate mortals called women;--unfortunate because they _are_ women,
and because they are even more ardent in their passions than those who
have the happiness to be men. Let me congratulate you, sir, on your
felicity in belonging to a sex which possesses the exclusive privilege
of unrestricted amative enjoyment; and I am sure you will not refuse to
sympathize with me on my misfortune, in having been born one of those
wretched beings who are doomed to be forever shut out from a Paradise
for which they long,--a Paradise whose bright portals are guarded by the
savage monster, Public Opinion, which ruthlessly denies the admission
within its flowery precincts, of every poor daughter of Eve."

Mr. Tickels had listened with breathless attention to the words of the
Duchess; he plainly saw that she was not to be subdued by _argument_.
"Her only vulnerable point lies though the avenue of the passions,"
thought he--"for according to her own confession, she was intoxicated
with rapture when encircled by my arms, and when receiving my ardent
kisses; and only escaped the entire surrender of her person to me, by a
powerful effort. My course, then, is plain--I must delicately and
gradually venture on familiarities which are best calculated to arouse
her sensibilities, without incurring her suspicions as to my ultimate
object. I must--I shall succeed; for, by heaven! if I should fail to
make this exquisite creature mine, I'll eat my own heart with vexatious
disappointment!"

"My dear madam," said he, taking the unresisting hand of the Duchess in
both of his, and gently pawing it in a manner that would have been
disgusting to a spectator--"what can I say, after your candid avowal?
Simply, that you are the most ingenuous, the most delightful creature in
the world. I love you to distraction; and yet I will not urge you to
depart from the course which you seem determined to pursue, though by
adhering to that course you deprive me, as well as yourself, of the most
exquisite delights this world can afford. Nevertheless, let us be
friends, if we cannot be lovers. See, my hair is gray; I am old enough
to be your father; will you not confer upon me a daughter's love? Ah,
that bewitching smile is a token of assent. Thanks, sweet one; now, you
know, a father should be the recipient of all his daughter's little joys
and sorrows--he should be made acquainted with all her pretty plans and
all her naughty wishes; is it not so, my charming daughter?[C] Again
your soft smile answers, yes. And when the daughter thus bestows her
confidence upon her father, she leans her head upon his bosom, and his
protecting arm embraces her lovely waist--thus, as I now do yours. He
places his venerated hand in her fair breast--thus--and feels the
pulsations of her pure heart; ah! methinks this little heart of thine,
sweet one, beats more violently than comports with its proper freedom
from fond and gentle longings; thy father must reprove thee, thou
delightful offender--yet he forgives thee with this loving kiss--nay,
start not, for 'tis a father's privilege. How dewy are thy lips, my
daughter, and thy breath is fragrant with the odor of a thousand
flowers--'tis thy father tells thee so! Pretty flutterer, why dost thou
tremble? I will not harm thee. Ah, is it so?--dost thou tremble with the
bliss of being held in a father's arms, and pressed to his heart? Why
doth this bosom heave--why do thine eyes sparkle as if with fire, and
thy cheeks glow with the rosy hue of a ripe peach? What meaneth that
longing, languishing, earnest, voluptuous look? Doth my daughter yearn
after the soft joys of Venus?--Confess it, and I'll forgive thee; for
thou art a passionate darling, and such desires as now swell within my
breast become thee well, for they are nature's promptings, and enhance
thy beauty. Ah, ha! that blush, glowing like a cloud at sunset, assures
me that I am not mistaken. Yes, hide thy radiant face in my bosom, and
let me gather thee closer to my heart--my life--my treasure! Let me no
longer play the father; let me be thy lover--thy all--thy own
Timothy--thy chosen Tickels! Ah, my bird, have I caught thee at
last?--thou art mine--mine--mine--"

Every circumstance of position and the lady's compliance seemed about to
confer upon Mr. Tickels the boon which he so eagerly desired, when at
that critical moment the Duchess uttered a piercing scream, and pointed
frantically upward to a large mirror that hung directly over the sofa
upon which they were partially reclining; the old libertine glanced
hurriedly up at the mirror, and to his horror he saw there reflected the
figure of the Chevalier Duvall, standing in the centre of the room. He
had entered abruptly and noiselessly, and was contemplating the scene
before him with every appearance of astonishment and rage.

[C] As an apology for the insertion of this silly, sickening rhapsody of
the old libertine, the author begs to state that he introduced it, (as
well as other speeches of a like character,) for the purpose of
painting, in strong colors, the disgusting lechery of a man, whose
primal passions had degraded him to the level of a brute. He would also
assure the reader that the character of old Tickels is drawn from a
living original, whose real name sounds very much like the curious
cognomen that has been assigned him. It will readily be observed that
during the entire scene between him and the Duchess, the latter makes
him her complete tool--encouraging him to take the very liberties which
she affects to resent, and even while declaring her firm intention of
remaining virtuous, using language most calculated to inspire him with
the thought of being able to enjoy her charms in the end. Her object in
all this will be shown towards the conclusion of the chapter. It has
been the author's design to portray, in the character of the Duchess, an
accomplished, artful, fascinating and totally depraved woman, possessing
the beauty of an angel, and the heart of a devil--precisely such a one
as could not fail to enslave and victimize such a sensual old wretch as
Mr. Tickels; how far this design has been successful, the intelligent
and discerning reader is left to judge. In the Chevalier Duvall will be
recognized one of those splendid villains, whose superb rascality is
cloaked beneath the mantle of a fine person, elegant address, and the
assumption of every quality likely to interest and please the credulous
people whom he _honors_ with his patronising friendship.

The Duchess hid her face in her hands, and sobbed violently, as if
overcome with shame and affright; while old Tickels, pale and trembling
with fear, (for he was a most detestable coward,) fell upon his knees,
and gazed upon the Chevalier with an expression of countenance that
plainly indicated the terror which froze his blood, and rendered him
speechless--for the position in which he and the Duchess had been
detected, would, he well knew, admit of no explanation--no equivocation.

"God of heaven!" said Duvall, in a voice whose calmness rendered it
doubly impressive and terrible--"am I the sport of some delusion--some
conjuror's trick? Do I dream--or do these eyes actually behold that
which appalls my soul? Speak, Duchess--for sister I will not call
you--and you, white-faced craven--what is the meaning of this scene?"

But neither the Duchess nor Mr. Tickels could utter one word in reply.

"Damnation!" exclaimed the Chevalier, drawing a pistol from his pocket,
and cocking it--"answer me, one of you, and that quickly, or there will
be blood spilled here!"

This brought Mr. Tickels to his senses; he arose from his knees and
stammered forth--

"My dear sir--don't shoot, for God's sake--put up that pistol, and I'll
explain all. I--that is--you know, my dear Chevalier--as a man of the
world--beautiful woman--strong temptation--"

"Hold, sir!" cried the Chevalier--"say no more, in that strain, or you
die upon the instant. Duchess, tell me the meaning of all this."

The lady raised her tearful eyes imploringly to the stern face of her
brother, and said, in a voice rendered indistinct by her sobs--

"Oh, brother! pardon your erring sister, who, in a moment of weakness,
forgot her proud and unsullied name! You know the fire and passion of my
nature; and you know the resolution with which I have heretofore
struggled against it. I am inexperienced--unused to the ways of the
world--unaccustomed to the artifices of wicked men. Debarred as I am
from male society, what wonder that, in the company of a male, I should
be overcome by the weakness of a woman's nature? Forgive me, Chevalier,
I implore you--indeed, my honor is preserved; your timely intervention
prevented the consummation of my ruin."

"Sister," rejoined Duvall, gazing at her with a softened aspect--"I _do_
forgive you, your honor being still undefiled; I know the power of your
passions, notwithstanding your many excellent qualities; and I can
scarcely wonder at your momentary weakness, when an accomplished villain
tempts you to ruin. Hereafter, dear sister, govern those unruly passions
with a rod of iron; remember the grandeur of our ancestral house and
name, and let that remembrance be your safeguard.--As for you, sir,"
continued the Chevalier, turning savagely towards Mr. Tickels, while
his magnificent features grew dark with terrible rage--"as for you, sir,
you have betrayed my confidence and abused my hospitality; I introduced
you into this house, supposing you to be a man of honor and a friend.
You have attempted the seduction of my sister; you have basely tried to
take advantage of the weakness of an inexperienced and unsuspecting
woman; but more than all this, sir--and my blood boils with fury at the
thought!--you would have tarnished the unstained name and honor of a
kingly race! Look you, sir, these wrongs demand instant reparation--one
or both of us must die. Here are two pistols; take your choice; place
yourself at the distance of six paces from me, and let impartial Fate
decide the issue!"

"But, my dear sir," cried the old villain, almost beside himself with
terror--"I can't--I don't want to be killed--my God, sir, I never fired
a pistol in all my life. Can't we settle this matter in some other way?
Will not _money_--"

"Money!" exclaimed me Chevalier, scornfully--"fool, can money heal a
wounded honor, or wipe away the odium of your insults? Choose your
weapon, sir!"

"Mercy--mercy!" cried the dastard, falling on his knees before his stern
antagonist--"I am rich, let me depart in safety, and I'll give you a
cheque for a hundred--"

The Chevalier cocked a pistol.

"Five hundred--," groaned Tickels.

The pistol was raised, and pointed at his head.

"A thousand dollars!" yelled the victim, his face streaming with a cold
perspiration, his hair bristling, and his teeth chattering with fright.

The Chevalier paused, and said, after a few moments' reflection--

"After all, to make such men as you disgorge a portion of their wealth,
is a punishment as severe as any that I can inflict upon you. You are a
coward and dare not fight; I wish not to murder you in cold blood. I
will content myself with exposing your infamous conduct to the
world--publishing your rascality in every newspaper, and you will be
kicked like a dog from all decent society; this will I do, unless you
immediately fill me out a cheque for the sum of five thousand dollars."

"Five thousand devils!" growled Tickels, gaining courage as he believed
his life to be in no imminent danger--"what! five thousand dollars for
only having kissed and toyed a little with a pretty woman, without
having reaped any substantial benefit? No, no, my friend--you can't come
it; you are, to use a vulgar phrase, cutting it rather fat; I'm not so
precious green as you think. I don't mind giving you a couple of
hundred, or so, for what fun I've had, but five thousand--whew! rather a
high price for the amusement, considering what a remarkably
free-and-easy lady your sister is!"

"No more of this!" thundered the Chevalier, in a tone that made Mr.
Tickels leap two feet into the air--"instantly give me a cheque for the
sum that I demand, or by my royal grandfather's beard, (an oath I dare
not break,) I'll blow your head into fragments!--Look at that clock; it
now lacks one minute of the hour; that minute I give you to decide; if,
at the expiration of that period, you do not consent to do as I request,
you die!"

The muzzle of the pistol was placed in very close proximity to the
victim's head; there was no alternative--life was exceedingly sweet to
Mr. Tickels, although the wickedness of half a century rested heavily on
his soul; in a few seconds more, unless he consented to give up a
portion of his basely acquired wealth, he had every reason to fear that
soul would be ushered into a dark and unfathomable eternity. No wonder,
then, that he tremulously said--

"Put up your weapon; I will do as you require."

Writing materials were soon brought, and in a few minutes the Chevalier
was the possessor of a cheque on a State street bank, bearing the
substantial autograph of Timothy Tickels.

"Now, sir," said Duvall, depositing the valuable document in his
pocket-book--"you are at liberty to depart. I am confident that you
will, for your own sake, keep this affair a profound secret; and so far
as myself and much-injured sister are concerned, you may rest assured
that nothing shall ever be said calculated to compromise your
reputation. I cannot avoid expressing my regret that a man of your
advanced age, and high standing in society, should descend so low as to
manifest such base and grovelling sensuality--such unprincipled
libertinism--especially towards a lady who has heretofore regarded you
as a friend. Go, sir, and seek some other victim, if you will--but
confine your amours to your own class, and do not again aspire to the
favors of a lady in whose veins flows the noblest blood of France!"

Mr. Tickels took his leave of the indignant brother and his much-injured
sister, with a very ill grace; and bent his steps towards his own house,
grinding his teeth with impotent rage. The loss of his money, and the
mortifying disappointment he had experienced, rendered him furious, and
he muttered as he strode thro' the streets with hasty and irregular
steps--

"Eternal curse on my ill fortune! Five thousand dollars gone at one fell
swoop--but hah! the money's nothing, when I think of my being cheated
out of the enjoyment of such celestial charms as those possessed by that
splendid enchantress!--At the very critical moment--when she lay panting
and unresisting in my arms--with all her glorious beauties spread out
before me, like the delicious materials of a dainty feast--just as the
cup of joy was raised to my eager lips, and I was about to quaff its
bewildering contents, to be balked by the unexpected entrance of that
accused Chevalier. Confusion!--I shall go mad with vexation. **** Well,
'tis of no use to grumble about what can't be helped; let me rather turn
my attention to future joys, concerning which there can be no
disappointment. My plans are all arranged; in a few days my pretty Fanny
Aubrey will be an inmate of the luxurious "Chambers of Love." Ha, ha!
_that_ thought almost reconciles me to the loss of the Duchess--though,
egad! _she_ is a luscious piece, all fire, all sentiment, all
enthusiasm! But oh! five thousand dollars, five thousand dollars! *** But
let me see: where is the infernal trap of that scoundrel, _Jew Mike_,
whom Sow Nance recommended as a fellow well qualified to abduct my
pretty Fanny, and convey her to the "Chambers?" Ah, good; his address is
in my memorandum book: _'Inquire for the Pig Pen, No.--Ann street, any
night after midnight._' Ugh! I don't like this venturing among
cut-throats and thieves, at such untimely hours; but nothing risk,
nothing have; and anything for love!"

The reader's attention is now summoned to the scene which transpired
between the Chevalier and the Duchess, immediately after the departure
of Mr. Tickels from the house.

The Duchess, who had been sitting upon the sofa, bathed in tears and
sobbing as if her heart would break, jumped up, bounded across the
carpet in a series of graceful pirouettes, and then, throwing herself
upon the floor, indulged in a peal of silvery laughter that made the
room fairly echo, exclaiming--

"What a d----d old fool that man is! Oh, I shall die--I shall positively
suffocate with mirth!"

The Chevalier, throwing aside every appearance of indignation and
dignity, placed himself in that humorous and rather vulgar position,
sometimes adopted by jocose youths, who wish to intimate to their
friends the fact that any individual has been most egregiously "sucked
in." Fearing that the uninitiated may not readily comprehend this
pantomimic witticism, we may as well state, for their enlightenment,
that it is accomplished by applying the thumb to the tip of the nose,
and executing a series of gyrations with the open hand; the whole affair
being a very playful and ingenious invention, much practised by
newsboys, cabmen, second-hand clothes dealers, and sporting gentlemen.

"A cool five thousand!" shouted the Chevalier, abandoning this comic
picture, and "squaring off" at his reflection in the mirror, in the most
approved style of the pugilistic art--as if he were about to give
himself a "punch in the head," for being such a funny, clever dog;
"bravo! I'll go and get the cheque cashed at once; and then hurrah for a
brilliant season of glorious dissipation! But, my Duchess, how the devil
did you mange to get the old fool so infatuated--so crazy with passion?
for I stood over ten minutes looking at both of you through the
key-hole, before I entered the room, and I never before saw a man act so
extravagantly ludicrous; it was only with extreme difficulty that I
could keep myself from laughing outright. And you, witch that you are,
looked as if you were panting and dying with amorous desires. By my
soul, 'twas admirably done!"

The Duchess smiled with gratification at the praise; and arising from
the carpet, on which she had been literally _rolling_ in the excess of
her mirth, threw herself upon the sofa in an attitude of voluptuous
abandonment; and while complacently viewing her matchless leg, she
said--

"For your especial entertainment, my Chevalier, I will relate all that
transpired between me and the old goat, after your departure. At first,
he assailed me with a profusion of silly, sickening compliments on my
beauty; I blushed, (you know how well I _can_ blush, when I try,) and
assured him that his praises were divine--so eloquent, so elegantly
conveyed--and yet I thought them intolerably stupid. Then I gave him my
hand to kiss; and its contact with his lips made him as amorous as I
could possibly desire. He knelt at my feet; then arose, apologizing for
his rudeness. I threw all my powers of fascination into my looks, and
permitted him to take a seat by my side, on the sofa. At first, he sat
apart from me; but at last, gaining courage, he moved close to me, and
gently placed his arm around my waist; of course, I did not repulse him.
With secret joy I observed the eagerness with which he regarded such
parts of my person as were exposed--and I took good care to reveal it
liberally; how the odious old wretch gloated upon this bust, which you,
my Chevalier, pronounce so charming! At last, he kissed me--ugh! how
horribly the old creature's breath smelt! But I pretended to be more
pleased than angry; and from my lips his nauseous mouth wandered to my
neck, my shoulders, my bosom. I fairly shuddered as he besmeared me with
his disgusting kisses; and thinking that he had gone far enough, for
that time, I burst from his embrace, and reproached him (but not too
severely,) for his rude behavior--taking good care, however, to fan his
passions into a still fiercer flame, by telling him that my reason for
particularly dreading such familiarities, was, that they had a tendency
to excite my own desires to a degree that was dangerous to my honor. As
I foresaw, this artful assurance was received by him with ill-concealed
delight. He begged my pardon; it is needless to say, I forgave him, and
suffered him to resume his seat at my side, on condition that he would
take no further liberties, knowing very well that he could not long keep
his promise. Then came more compliments; I sang and played for him, and
he was beyond measure delighted. After a short conversation on the
secluded manner in which I lived, and the loneliness which I felt, I
confessed to him that I was half in love with him; while at the same
time I thought him the most disgusting old brute in existence. In return
for my pleasing lie, he pressed my hand fervently, and requested me to
relate to him the story of my life, from "my own rosy lips," as he said.
My Chevalier, you know what splendid powers of imagination, and what a
rich, prolific fancy I possess; and well I may--for am I not a leading
contributor to a fashionable ladies' magazine, besides being the
authoress of "Confessions of a Voluptuous Young Lady of High Rank," and
also the editress of the last edition of the "Memoirs of Miss Frances
Hill?" Well, I entertained my aged admirer with a pretty little
impromptu "romance," "got up expressly for the occasion," as the
playbills have it; and he religiously believed every word of it--though,
of course, it contained not one single word of truth in it. I told him
that _my brother_ and myself--ha, ha!--were the children of some Duke
Thingumby, (whose name I have forgotten already,) who was one of the
greatest nobles in France; yes, faith--our venerable papa had royal
blood in his veins, while our mamma, bless her dear soul, was 'closely
allied to several of the most aristocratic families in the kingdom.'
Then I trumped up a cock-and-bull story about papa killing mamma in a
fit of jealousy, having caught her in a naughty fix with the young Count
Somebody-or-other, whom he also slew, and then, to wind up the fun, went
to his own chamber and shot himself--great booby as he was! Next, the
notary who had charge of our princely fortune, "stepped out," as they
say, and left us, poor orphans, without the price of a penny roll. I was
intensely virtuous, of course, resisted a hundred tempting offers to
become the kept mistress of men of wealth and rank--we came to America,
and settled in Boston, where you now obtain for us a comfortable
subsistence by privately teaching the use of the small sword. Ah, my
Chevalier, wasn't that brought in well? Then I went on to lament that
my passions were so fiery that I could not enjoy the society of an
agreeable man without danger to my honor; and concluded my story by
hinting to Mr. Tickels that my virtue had never been in such peril, as
when his arms had embraced me--for, said I, my senses were fast becoming
intoxicated; and in a few moments more I should have been your victim,
had I not, by a powerful effort, escaped from the sweet delirium which
was stealing over my soul. Thus you will see, Chevalier, that my story
and its accompanying remarks were both judicious and appropriate; my
victim manifested the most intense interest during the recital, and I
could plainly perceive the exciting effect which the concluding words of
my narrative had upon him.

    "My story being done,
    He gave me for my pains a world of sighs."

"After the completion of my delightful little romance," continued the
Duchess, "the venerable goat attempted to subdue me by the force of
_argument_; and, to do him justice, I must say that his philosophy, if
not very rational, was at least very profound. He went over the entire
field of moral subtleties, and proved himself an excellent sophist. He
argued that as nature had given me passions, I was justified in
gratifying them, despite the opinions of the world and the prohibitions
of decent society. Much more he said that I have forgotten; but the
drift of his remarks was, that as I had admitted him to be the most
charming and agreeable person in the world, I could not do a better
thing than to throw myself into his arms, and enjoy with him, as he
said, 'the rightful inheritance of every man and every woman on the
face of the earth.'"

"In reply to his specious reasoning, I assured him that I couldn't think
of complying with his wishes, as I should thereby lose my reputation and
position in society, as a lady--which was, I added, the only
consideration that restrained me from testing those joys which he had so
eloquently depicted; for as to any scruples, moral or religious, I had
none whatever. Then I congratulated him on his happiness in belonging to
a sex having the privilege of amative delights, with almost perfect
impunity; and deplored my own hard fate--'for', said I, 'am I not a
woman, and are not women sternly prohibited from tasting the joys of
love unsanctioned by the empty forms of matrimony, under pain of having
their names and characters forever blasted and disgraced?'

"Well, my Chevalier, the old wretch, seeing that he was not likely to
accomplish his object by argument, adopted a new plan. Instantly, he
dropped the lover, and became the fond and doting father, in which
sacred capacity he proceeded to take liberties to which his former
familiarities were as nothing. He began by reminding me of his gray hair
and advanced age; then he asked permission to regard me as a daughter,
to which I made no objection, as I wished to see how far he would
operate during the personation of that character--though I shrewdly
suspected that his actions would be anything but fatherly. Therefore,
when he again clasped my waist, and made me lean against him, I did not
repulse him, for his conduct was in furtherance of _our_ plans; and I
also permitted him, (though with extreme disgust on my part,) to toy
with my breasts, and kiss me again and again, all of which he did under
cover of his holy privileges as a father! The moment had then arrived
for _me_ to play _my_ part; and though the old rascal's conduct and
person were loathsome to me in the extreme, I affected all the languor,
flutter, and ardor of passionate longings; which he perceived with the
most extravagant demonstrations of delight--"

"I know all the rest," interrupted the Chevalier, almost suffocated with
laughter, in which the merry Duchess joined him--"I applied my eye to
the key-hole just at that moment, and saw the old goat, as you properly
term him, hugging you with the ferocity of a bear; I heard him say--'Let
me no longer play the father; let me be thy lover--thy all--thy own
Timothy--thy chosen Tickels!' Ha, ha, ha! was anything so richly
ludicrous. And, by Jove, how admirably you acted, my Duchess! You
appeared absolutely dying with rapture--your eyes seemed to express a
thousand soft wishes--your face glowed as if with the heat of
languishing desire; how wildly you seemed to abandon your person to his
lascivious embraces! and yet I know the disgust which you must have felt
towards him, at that very moment; for he was anything but a comely
object, with his gray hair disordered, his bloated countenance red as
fire, and his dress indecently disarranged. At that moment I noiselessly
stole into the room; and just at the very instant when the old fool
thought himself sure of his prey, you screamed, and pointed to my
reflection in the mirror. The result was precisely as I expected; too
cowardly to fight, afraid of his life, and anxious to preserve his
reputation, he preferred giving me the handsome sum of five thousand
dollars--which money we very much needed, and which will last us a long
time, provided we exercise a reasonable degree of economy. That last
five hundred, which we extracted from the parson, lasted us but little
over a month; let us be more discreet hereafter, my Duchess--we may live
splendidly, but not extravagantly; for old age will come on us
by-and-by, and your beauty will fade--then what is to become of us,
unless we have a snug competency in reserve? And really, my dear, you
must curtail your personal expenditures; you recollect but a week ago
you gave two hundred dollars for that diamond coronet you have on--and
you are constantly purchasing costly dresses and superb shawls. Do you
not observe the plainness of my attire? Believe me, an elegant
simplicity of dress is far more attractive to men of taste, than gaudy
apparel can possibly be."

"Have you done sermonizing?" cried the Duchess, good-humoredly--"really,
you would make an admirable parson; and a far better one, I am sure,
than the reverend gentleman whom we wheedled out of the five hundred
dollars. But go at once and get the cheque cashed; you shall give me
exactly one half, and we both shall have the privilege of expending our
several portions as we choose."

"Agreed," said the Chevalier,--"but I have a little business to transact
in my _workshop_, before I go to the bank. What are you laughing at?"

"Oh," answered the Duchess--"I cannot help thinking of that amusing old
goat, Mr. Tickels. The recollection of that man will certainly kill me!
The idea of your passing me off as your sister was so rich; he little
suspected that for years we have been tender lovers and co-partners in
the business of fleecing amorous gentlemen out of their money. And then
to represent myself as the daughter of a French nobleman!--Why, my
father gained a very pretty living by going around the streets with a
hand-organ, on which he played with exquisite skill, and was accompanied
in his perambulations by a darling little monkey named Jacko--poor
Jacko! he came to his death by being choked with a roasted potato. My
mother, rest her soul! was an excellent washerwoman, but her unfortunate
fondness for strong drink resulted in her being provided with bed and
board in the alms house, in which excellent institution she died, having
first conferred upon the world the benefit of bringing me into
existence; therefore, instead of having first seen the light within the
marble walls of a French palace, I drew my first breath in the sick ward
of a pauper's home. At ten years of age I was a _ballet girl_ at the
theatre; at fourteen, my Chevalier, it was my good fortune to meet you;
you initiated me, not only into the mysteries of love, but into the art
of making money with far greater facility than as a _figurante_ in the
opera. You christened me 'Duchess,'--took the title of 'Chevalier,' and
together we have led a life of profit, of pleasure, and of charming
variety."

"And I," rejoined the Chevalier, "can boast of a parentage as
distinguished as your own. My father was an English thief and
pickpocket; he took pains to teach me the science of his profession, and
I will venture to affirm that I can remove a gentleman's watch or
pocket-book as gracefully as could my venerated sire himself, whose
career was rather abruptly terminated one fine morning in consequence of
a temporary valet having tied his neckcloth too tightly: he was hung in
front of Newgate jail, for a highway robbery, in which he acquired but
little glory and less profit,--for he only shot an old woman's poodle
dog, and stole a leather purse full of halfpence. My mother was a very
pretty waiting woman at an ordinary tavern; one night she abruptly
stepped out and sailed for America, carrying with her my unfinished
self, and the silver spoons. I saw you--admired you--made you my
mistress, and partner in business, the profitable nature of which is
proved by our being now possessed of the very pretty sum of five
thousand dollars, the result of three hours' operation."

"You have yet one grand stroke of art to accomplish, which will place us
both on the very pinnacle of fortune," said the Duchess. "I allude, of
course, to your approaching marriage with Miss Alice Goldworthy."

The Chevalier's brow darkened, and his handsome features assumed an
expression of uneasiness.

"That," said he, "is the only business in which I ever faltered. Poor
young lady! she is so good, so pure, so confidingly affectionate, that
my heart sinks within me when I think of the ruin which her marriage
with me will bring upon her. When I gaze into her lovely countenance,
and hear the tones of her gentle voice, remorse for the wrong that I
contemplate towards her, strikes me to the soul, and I feel that I am a
wretch indeed."

"Pooh!" exclaimed the Duchess, her lips curling with disdain--"you grow
very sentimental indeed! Perhaps you really _love_ this girl?"

"No, Duchess, no--but I pity her; a devil cannot love an angel. There
was a time when my soul was unstained with guilt or crime--then might I
have aspired to the bliss of loving such a divine creature as Alice; but
now--villain as I am there can be no sympathy between my heart and
hers. Well, well--the die is cast; I will wed her, for I covet the
splendid fortune which she will inherit on the death of her father. You
know that the wedding day will soon arrive; but how I dread its
approach! for I fear that ere I can embrace my bride within the sacred
nuptial couch, she will discover that which I can never remove or
entirely conceal--that _fatal mark_, the brand of crime, which I carry
upon my person. She loves me; but her love would be changed to hate,
were she to see that horrid emblem of guilt."

"You must conceal it from her view," rejoined the Duchess,
shuddering--"or it will spoil all. The marriage would be annulled by the
discovery of that detestable mark."

"Let us trust to fortune," said the Chevalier.--"I must leave you now,
and shut myself up for an hour or so in my _workshop_. Afterwards, I
shall go and convert the cheque into substantial cash."

Duvall left the room, and ascended to the highest story in the building.
Here he entered a small apartment, which contained many curious and
remarkable things. A small printing press stood in one corner; in
another was a pile of paper, and other materials; tools of almost every
description lay scattered about, among which were the necessary
implements for robbery and burglary. An experienced police officer would
have instantly pronounced the place a secret den for the printing of
counterfeit bank-notes--and so it was. The gallant Chevalier was the
most expert and dangerous counterfeiter in the country.

Seating himself at a trunk, on which stood writing materials, he drew
forth the cheque which Mr. Tickels had given him. Having examined it
long and narrowly, he took a pen and paper, and wrote an exact copy of
it; this he did so admirably, that Mr. Tickels himself would have been
puzzled to point out the original and genuine cheque which he had
written.

"This will do," said the Chevalier, communing with himself--"to-day I
will draw five thousand dollars; and within a week I will _send_ and
draw five thousand more; and it shall be done so adroitly, that I will
never be suspected. Hurrah! Chevalier Duvall, thy star is on the
ascendant!"

That afternoon the gentleman presented the cheque at the bank; it was
promptly paid, and he returned to the Duchess, with whom he celebrated
the brilliant success of the operation, by a magnificent supper.



CHAPTER VI

_The Stolen Package.--The Midnight Outrage.--The Marriage, and Awful
Discovery._


A very merry party were assembled in the elegant parlor of Mr.
Goldworthy's superb mansion in Howard street about two weeks after the
events described in the last chapter. There was Fanny Aubrey herself,
looking prettier than ever, with her splendid hair tastefully braided,
her graceful, _petite_ form set off to advantage by an elegant dress,
and her lovely countenance radiant with the hues of health and
happiness. Then there was her friend and benefactress, Miss Alice,
looking very beautiful, her face constantly changing from smiles to
blushes--for the next day was to witness her marriage with the Chevalier
Duvall. At her side was seated her lover and affianced husband, his
dark, handsome features lighted up with an expression of proud triumph,
almost amounting to scorn. Then there was Corporal Grimsby, very shabby,
very sarcastic, and very droll; near him sat the Honorable Timothy
Tickels, wearing upon his sensual countenance a look of uneasiness, and
occasionally betraying a degree of nervous agitation that indicated a
mind ill at ease. At intervals he would glance suspiciously and
stealthily at the Chevalier--for that was their first meeting since his
scandalous adventure with the Duchess, and he was not without a fear
that he might be exposed, in the presence of that very respectable
company, in which case his reputation would be forever ruined; but his
fears were groundless--the Chevalier had not the remotest idea of
exposing him, having his own reasons for keeping the affair profoundly
secret; and he saluted and conversed with Mr. Tickels with as much
composure and politeness as though nothing had ever happened to disturb
the harmony of their friendship. Mr. Goldworthy himself was present, and
also a nephew of his--a handsome youth of nineteen, named Clarence
Argyle; he was studying the profession of medicine at a Southern
University, and was on a visit at his uncle's house. It was evident, by
the assiduity of his attentions to Fanny Aubrey, that the mental and
personal charms of the fair maid were not without their effect upon him;
and it was equally evident by the pleased smile with which she listened
to his entertaining conversation--addressed to _her_ ear alone--that the
agreeable young stranger had impressed her mind by no means unfavorably.
Fanny's brother, Charles, completed the party.

It will be necessary to explain here, that the old Corporal had never
exposed the rascally conduct of Mr. Tickels towards Fanny, in
consequence of the young lady's having earnestly entreated him not to do
so. He had never before met the old libertine at the house of Mr.
Goldworthy; and (until informed of the fact by Fanny,) was ignorant that
he (Tickels) was in the habit of visiting there, as a friend of the
family. He treated him with coldness and reserve; but otherwise gave no
indication of the contempt which he felt for the unprincipled old
wretch.

As Mr. Goldworthy surveyed, with a smiling aspect, the sociable group
which surrounded him, little did he suspect that the man who on the
morrow was to become his son-in-law--who was to lead to the altar his
only child, that pure and gentle girl--little, we say, did he suspect
that the Chevalier Duvall was in reality a branded villain of the
blackest dye--a man whose soul was stained by the commission of almost
every crime on the dark catalogue of guilt. And as little did he think
that his warm political and personal friend, the Honorable Timothy
Tickels--the man of ample wealth, of unbounded influence, of exalted
reputation--was at heart an abandoned and licentious scoundrel, who had
basely tried to accomplish the ruin of a poor orphan girl, and was even
at that very moment gloating over an infernal plan which he had formed,
for getting her completely in his power, where no human aid was likely
to reach her.

"To-morrow, my Alice," whispered the Chevalier in the ear of the
blushing object of his villainous designs--"to-morrow, thou are mine!
Oh, the devotion of a life-time shall atone to you for the sacrifice you
make, in wedding an unknown stranger, whose birth and fortunes are
shrouded in a veil of mystery."

"Thy birth and fortunes are nothing to me," responded Alice, softly, as
a tear of happiness trembled in her eyes--"so long as thy heart is
faithful and true."

What wonder that the Chevalier's false heart grew cold in his breast, at
the simple words of the confiding, gentle, unsuspecting creature whom he
designed to ruin? But still he hesitated not; "her father's gold is the
glittering prize which I shall gain by this marriage," thought he; and
the vile, sordid thought stimulated him on, despite the remonstrances of
his better nature.

"When I return to the University, we will write to each other often,
will we not?" said Clarence Argyle to Fanny, in a tone that could not be
overheard by the others of the party; and the fair girl yielded a
blushing consent to the proposal, so congenial to her own inclination.
The whisper and the blush were both observed by old Tickels, who said to
himself--

"Humph! 'tis easy to see that those two unfledged Cupids are already
over head and ears in love with each other. Have a care, Master
Argyle--thy pretty mistress may be lost to thee to-morrow; go back to
thy books and thy studies--for she is not for thee. Ah, the devil! I
like not the look which that impertinent old fellow, who calls himself
Corporal Grimsby, fastens upon me--it seems as if he read the secret
thoughts of my soul! He has once already snatched from my grasp my
destined prey; let him beware how he interferes a second time, for Jew
Mike is in my employ, and his knife is sharp and his aim sure!"

"That d----d scoundrel, Tickels, meditates mischief, I am convinced,"
thought the Corporal, whose keen and penetrating gaze had been for some
time riveted upon the old libertine--"and I feel convinced that my
pretty Fanny is the object of his secret machinations. Beware, old Judas
Iscariot!--you'll not get off so easy the next time I catch you at your
tricks."

"And so, my dear Mr. Tickels, you are again a candidate for Congress,"
remarked Mr. Goldworthy, during a pause in the conversation.

"I again have that distinguished honor," was the pompous reply. "My
party stands in great need of my services and influence in the House at
the present crisis."

"No doubt," dryly observed the Corporal--"I would suggest that your
first public act be the introduction of a bill for the punishment of
seduction, and the protection of poor orphan girls."

Mr. Tickels writhed beneath the sarcasm, and turned deadly pale,
although he and his tormentor were the only persons present who
comprehended the secret meaning of the words--for Fanny was too much
engrossed in conversation with Argyle, to heed the remark.

"And, my good sir," rejoined the Chevalier, who was resolved to improve
so good an opportunity to wound the old reprobate to the quick,
(although he was ignorant of the application of the Corporal's
words,)--"do not, I beseech you, neglect to insert a clause in your
bill, providing also for the punishment of those respectable old
wretches who bring ruin and disgrace upon families, by the seduction of
wives--of daughters--or of _sisters_! I confess myself interested in the
passage of such an act, in consequence of a wealthy old scoundrel having
once dared to insult grievously a near female relative of mine. The name
of this old wretch--"

Tickels cast an imploring look at the Chevalier, and the latter was
silent--but upon his lips remained an expression of withering scorn; for
villain as he himself was, he detested the other for his consummate
hypocrisy. The vicious frequently hate others for possessing the same
evil qualities that characterise themselves. The character of the
Chevalier was doubtless hypocritical in its nature; but _his_ hypocrisy
was, in our opinion, far less contemptible than that of Tickels; the
former was a hypocrite for pecuniary gain; the latter, for the
gratification of the basest and most grovelling propensities that can
disgrace humanity.

"Gentlemen--gentlemen!" cried Mr. Goldworthy, amazed at the turn which
the conversation had taken, and comprehending neither of the
allusions--"I beg you to remember that there are ladies present."

"Blood and bayonets!" exclaimed the Corporal--"you are right: I forgot
the ladies, my worthy host, and crave your pardon and theirs, for my
indiscreet (though I must say, _devilish appropriate_) remarks!"

The Chevalier also apologized, though with less circumlocution than the
worthy Corporal; and nothing further occurred to disturb either the
harmony of the company, or the equanimity of Mr. Tickels, until Mr.
Goldworthy, with a countenance full of astonishment and alarm, announced
to his guests that he had, during the evening, lost from his pocket a
package of bank-notes and valuable papers, amounting to some thousands
of dollars, which he had procured for investment the following day in an
extensive mercantile speculation--for although retired from active
business, he still frequently ventured large sums in operations which
were generally successful.

For half an hour previous to making his fearful discovery, he had been
in private and earnest conversation with the Chevalier, concerning some
arrangements relative to the approaching marriage.

"It is indeed astonishing--what can have become of it?" cried the old
gentleman, searching every pocket in vain for the missing package. "I am
certain that 'twas safely in my possession scarce one hour ago,"
continued he; and summoning a couple of servants, he commanded a
diligent search to be made in every part of the room--but still in vain;
no package was to be found.

Everybody present, with but one exception, expressed their concern and
astonishment; that exception was Fanny Aubrey; she was much agitated,
and pale as death.

It was suggested by the Chevalier and several others, that he must have
dropped the package in the street, as it could not be found in the
house. In reply to this, Mr. Goldworthy said--

"No, no, my friend--I will swear that I lost it in this very room,
within an hour. Plague on it! what particularly vexes me, is, that it
comprised all my present available capital--and to have it disappear in
such a d----d unaccountable, mysterious manner! Why, curse it," cried
the old gentleman, getting more and more angry--"if I didn't know the
thing to be impossible, I should suspect that there was an accomplished
pickpocket in the room!"

"So should I," dryly observed the Corporal; and so said the Hon. Mr.
Tickels, also.

The Chevalier arose, and said, with calm dignity--

"Gentlemen, I conceive that an insinuation has been made, derogatory to
our honor. Mr. Goldworthy, your words indirectly imply a suspicion; I
must request you, sir, to explain your words, and to state distinctly
whether or no you suppose that any person present has robbed you. I also
suggest that all here be carefully searched."

"Good heavens, my dear Chevalier!" cried Mr. Goldworthy, much
excited--"can you think for a moment that I suspect you or these
gentlemen, of an act so base and contemptible? Pardon my hasty words;
vexation at my great loss (a serious one, I assure you,) for a moment
overcame my temper. Let the package go to the devil, sooner than its
loss should occasion the least uneasiness to any of us. Come, my dear
friends, let's say no more about it."

Harmony was once more restored; but still Fanny Aubrey looked so pale
and agitated, that Miss Alice, crossing over to where she sat, anxiously
inquired if she were unwell? The poor girl essayed to reply, but could
not; it was evident to her friend, that she was struggling with feelings
of the most painful nature. She pressed Alice's hand, burst into tears,
and abruptly left the room.

"The poor girl is either very unwell, or very much troubled about
something," whispered Alice to her cousin Clarence--"I will go and
comfort her;" and having made her excuses to the company, she left the
room, and followed Fanny to her chamber.

Her departure was the signal for the guests to take their leave of their
worthy host. Mr. Goldworthy warmly pressed the Chevalier's hand at
parting, and said to him--

"To-morrow, my dear sir, you will be my son-in-law. Be kind to my Alice,
she is a good girl, and worthy of you. God bless you both! I did intend
to advance you a sum of money, sufficient to enable you to begin
housekeeping in handsome style; but the loss of that large sum of money
to-night will, I fear, place it out of my power to assist you much, at
present. However, I shall endeavor to raise a respectable sum for you,
in the course of a few days. Meantime, you and Alice must be my guests;
and I am not sure but that I shall insist upon your continually residing
beneath my roof--for I am a lonely old man, and so accustomed to the
kind attentions and sweet society of my only daughter, that to part with
her would deprive me of half my earthly joys. Farewell--may you and her
be happy together!"

Tears stood in the eyes of the good old man, as he uttered these words;
and again the conscience of the Chevalier upbraided him for his
contemplated villainy--but still he paused not nor faltered in carrying
out his diabolical schemes.

Meanwhile, the following scene occurred in Fanny's chamber, to which
Alice had repaired for the purpose of ascertaining the cause of the
young girl's agitation and tears.

"What is the matter, my dear sister? For such I will call you," said
Alice, clasping her arms around the weeping girl, who had thrown herself
upon the bed without undressing.

"Oh, my friend, my benefactress!" cried Fanny--"how can I help feeling
so distressed, when I know that your happiness is about to be destroyed
forever?"

"My happiness destroyed!" cried Alice, surprised and alarmed--"what mean
you! Do you allude to my marriage to-morrow with the Chevalier Duvall?
Yes, I see you do. Silly girl, that marriage will render me the happiest
of women; what reason have you for supposing otherwise? The Chevalier
loves me, and I sincerely reciprocate his affection; so dry your tears,
for you know you are to be bridesmaid, and smiles better become you than
tears."

These words were spoken in the kindest and gentlest tone; but Fanny
exclaimed--

"Miss Alice, you are cruelly deceived in that man."

"Deceived!" cried the young lady--"what mystery is hidden in your words?
Oh, if you love me, Fanny--and you have often told me that you
did--instantly explain the meaning of your dreadful declaration."

"Listen to me, Miss Alice," said Fanny, with a calmness that strangely
contrasted with her previous agitation--"and I will tell you plainly
what I have seen, and what I think. To you I owe everything: the
comforts of a home, the kindness of a friend, and the benefits of a
superior education, now enjoyed by my brother and myself--two poor
orphans, who, but for your benevolence, would be dependent upon the
world's cold charity. My gratitude I can never express; my heart alone
can feel it--but oh! believe me, I would gladly lay down my life to
promote your happiness. How, then, can I see future years of misery
awaiting you, without tears of anguish--without feeling an intense
anxiety to preserve you from a fate ten times worse than death?"

"Do not interrupt me, I pray you," continued Fanny, seeing that Alice
was about to speak--"To-morrow you are engaged to be married to the man
calling himself the Chevalier Duvall. When I first saw him, I was struck
with his beauty and accomplishments--his brilliant wit, and graceful
manners; and when, in sisterly confidence, you informed me that he was
your affianced husband, you know how warmly I congratulated you on
having won the affections of a man who, as I then believed, was in every
way calculated to make you happy.

"Alice, I tell you that man is a villain!" cried Fanny, with startling
emphasis--"I saw him pick your father's pocket of the money that was
lost; yes, I alone saw him do it; _that_ was the cause of my agitation
and tears. Do not marry him, for he is a robber and a scoundrel!"

"Say no more, Miss Aubrey," said Alice, rising with an air of cold
dignity, which plainly indicated her entire disbelief of the statement
she had just heard--"Say no more: you have mistaken your position, when
you seek to prejudice me against a gentleman whom I am so soon to call
my husband. Nay, not a word more--I will not listen to you. The
Chevalier Duvall is the very soul of honor; and to accuse _him_--how can
I say it?--of the crime of _theft_, is so preposterous that it would be
ludicrous under any other circumstances. Fanny, I can scarcely believe
that you have been actuated by _jealousy_ in telling this dreadful
story; I will try to think that your eyes deceived you, and that you
really _thought_ that you saw the Chevalier do as you have said. But oh!
how mistaken you are, unhappy girl! when you impute such a crime to one
of the noblest and best of men."

"But, Miss Alice," cried Fanny, almost angrily--for she was certain of
the truth of her statement--"I tell you that I am not mistaken; I saw--"

"Silence, I entreat--I command you!" cried the young lady, now
thoroughly indignant at the disgraceful accusation which had been
brought against her lover--"speak not another word to me on this odious
subject, or you forfeit my friendship forever. Good night; learn in
future to be more discreet."

So saying, Alice left the unhappy young girl to her bitter tears. Soon
wearied nature asserted her rights, and she sobbed herself to sleep. But
her slumbers were disturbed by hideous dreams: in fancy she again saw
the magnificent Chevalier dexterously abstract the package of money from
Mr. Goldworthy's pocket--then she thought that the brilliant stranger
stood over her, and surveyed her with an expression of fearful menace.
The scene again changed; she was alone, in a vast and splendid
apartment, reclining upon a sumptuous couch; delicious music, from
invisible minstrels, soothed her soul into a sort of dreamy and
voluptuous trance; an unearthly happiness filled her heart--her senses
were intoxicated with delight. Suddenly, in the dim distance, she saw a
Hideous Object, and the blood went tingling through her veins with
terror; it had the form of a gigantic reptile; slowly it crawled towards
the couch on which she lay; dim grew the light from the sparkling
chandeliers--heavy grew the air with noxious odors; the Hideous Object
crouched beneath the bed; she heard its deep breathing--its heavy sighs;
then it reared its awful form above her, and then approached its ghastly
head to hers; she felt its foul breath upon her cheek--its green
dragon-like eyes penetrated her soul, and made her brain dizzy--it
fanned her by the flapping of its mighty wings. It breathed into her ear
vile whispers, tempting her to crime. It placed its huge vulture's claw
upon her heart, as if to tear it from her breast. She awoke.

Gracious heavens! there--there--at her bed-side, stood a human form, its
countenance dark and threatening--the savage features almost totally
concealed by masses of black and shaggy hair. A rough, hard hand rested
upon her breast, and a pair of fierce, cruel eyes struck terror to her
soul.

She uttered one piercing scream, and fainted. The report of a pistol was
heard; then hasty footsteps descended the stair-case; the hall was
rapidly traversed--the street door was opened and shut with a loud
noise--and all was still.

In a few minutes the affrightened inmates of the mansion, half dressed,
were hastening to the scene of the late tumult; Mr. Goldworthy and his
daughter Alice were among them. What was the astonishment and dismay of
the startled group, on discovering that Fanny Aubrey was nowhere to be
found, while at her chamber door, wounded and bleeding, lay the
insensible form of Clarence Argyle!

They raised the young gentleman, and placed him upon the bed; a
physician, who fortunately resided next door, and was almost instantly
upon the spot, pronounced the wound severe, but not dangerous. He had
been shot in the breast; the ball was with some difficulty extracted,
and the patient rendered as comfortable as possible.

But where was the clue to all this fearful mystery? What had become of
Fanny Aubrey? Who had dared to enter that house at midnight, and after
nearly murdering one of the inmates, carry off a young lady? What was
the _object_ of the perpetrator of the outrage? These were the questions
uttered by everybody present; but no one could answer them.

Both Mr. Goldworthy and Alice watched over the sufferer during that
night. Towards morning, he revived sufficiently to tell them all he knew
of the dreadful occurrence which had taken place. His chamber adjoined
that of Fanny; he had been aroused from his slumbers by her piercing
scream; instantly leaping from his bed, he rushed into the young lady's
apartment, and saw a tall, black-visaged ruffian standing over her
apparently insensible form, in the act of dragging her from the couch.
The villain turned suddenly, drew a pistol upon the young gentleman, and
fired. Clarence fell, severely wounded, and remained unconscious of
everything, until he found himself stretched upon a bed of pain, with
his uncle and cousin watching him with affectionate solicitude.

On learning that poor Fanny had disappeared--undoubtedly carried off by
the ruffian whom he had seen in her chamber--the grief and rage of
Clarence knew no bounds. Regardless of his wound and sufferings, he
would have arisen from his bed and gone in pursuit of the ravisher, had
he not been restrained by his more considerate relatives, who
represented to him the folly and danger of his undertaking such a
hopeless task, in his precarious state of health. Overcome by their
united persuasions, as well as by a consciousness of his own bodily
weakness, he contented himself with his uncle's assurance that every
effort would immediately be made to discover the whereabouts of poor
Fanny, and restore her to her friends.

Early the next morning, Corporal Grimsby, as being the friend and
guardian of the missing girl, was apprised of the fact of her abduction.
It is needless for us to repeat all the singular oaths with which the
eccentric, good old man expressed his honest indignation, when he
received the alarming intelligence; suffice it to say, he swore by the
nose of Napoleon, and by his own whiskers, (an oath which he used only
on very solemn occasions,) never to rest until he had discovered Fanny,
his darling _protege_, and severely punished her rascally kidnapper.

A dark suspicion crossed his mind that the villain Tickels was at the
bottom of the business; acting upon the first impulse of the moment, he
instantly proceeded to the residence of the old libertine, forced his
way into his presence, and boldly accused him of the deed. Mr. Tickels
was perfectly on his guard, for he had expected such a visit; with cool
politeness he assured the Corporal that until that moment he knew
nothing of the matter; he was sorry that his _friend_ should suspect him
of any participation in such a piece of rascality; he had long since
cleansed and purified himself of the wicked and silly passion which he
at one time felt for Miss Aubrey; he sincerely hoped that nothing
unpleasant would befall her; he'd do all in his power to seek her out;
and concluded by coolly inviting the Corporal to breakfast with him.

"Breakfast with the devil!" cried the old man, indignantly--"sooner
would I sit down to table in social companionship with--with _Jew Mike_
himself!" and as he uttered these words, he gazed keenly into the
other's countenance. Tickels started, and turned deadly pale; the
Corporal, with a sarcastic smile, bowed with mock politeness, and
withdrew.

"Swords and carving-knives! I thought so," he muttered, after he had
left the house--"a masterly stroke, that; a masterly stroke! This
villain Jew Mike is the _cher amie_ of Sow Nance, as she is called; and
Nance is in the confidence of Tickels; what wonder that the dirty slut
recommended her _pal_ and paramour to the old libertine, as a fit agent
to abduct my poor Fanny--and what wonder that he was employed to
accomplish that object? But first, I'll hasten to Mr. Goldworthy's
house, and question the young man who was wounded; if his description of
the villain corresponds with the appearance of Jew Mike, then there can
be no further doubt on the subject, and I shall know what course to
pursue. Egad! how old Tickels changed color when I mentioned Jew Mike!
His confusion alone indicated his guilt. 'Sdeath; I have no time to
lose; may heaven preserve and guard that poor, persecuted orphan girl!"

On reaching Mr. Goldworthy's house, he requested to be conducted
immediately to Clarence's chamber. In answer to his inquiries, the young
man stated that the villain who had wounded him was a tall, powerfully
built person, his face almost entirely concealed by a profusion of black
hair. The Corporal rubbed his hands with glee.

"Jew Mike, by the bones of the great Mogul!" he exclaimed--"and now that
I am on the right scent, I shall soon ferret out the ravenous wolves
that have carried my poor lamb to their infernal den. Ah, Corporal
Grimsby, thou art a cunning dog!" So saying, he departed on his
benevolent errand of endeavoring to rescue Fanny Aubrey from the power
of her enemies.

       *       *       *       *       *

That evening, from every window of Mr. Goldworthy's princely mansion in
Howard street, shone brilliant lights. It was the eve appointed for the
marriage of Alice and the Chevalier Duvall.

In consequence of the melancholy and startling events which took place
in the house on the preceding night--the severe wounding of Clarence,
and the abduction of Fanny--it had been suggested by both Alice and her
father, that it would be proper to defer the performance of the ceremony
for a short time, or until the fate of the missing girl could be
ascertained; the Chevalier, however, strongly opposed this proposition,
and assuming the authority of an accepted suitor, delicately but firmly
insisted that the marriage should take place that evening, as had been
previously arranged "for," said he, "to defer the consummation of our
happiness will not assist in the recovery of Miss Aubrey. When I become
your husband, my Alice, I can with far more propriety aid in seeking the
lost one, for were we to remain unmarried, my interest in the poor young
lady might be imputed to improper or even dishonorable motives."

This reasoning had the desired effect; it was decided that the marriage
ceremony should not be postponed.

Alice had not communicated to the Chevalier the story which Fanny had
told her, concerning the affair of the lost package of money--for as she
utterly disbelieved the tale, (imputing it to the effects of an excited
imagination,) she had no desire to wound the feelings of her lover by
acquainting him with the absurd charge (as she thought) which had been
brought against him. How blind is love to the imperfections, the faults,
and even the crimes of the object of its adoration! We believe it is
Shakespeare who says:

    "Love looks not with the eye, but with the mind,
    And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind."

The folding doors which separated the two spacious parlors in Mr.
Goldworthy's house were thrown open, forming a vast hall, brilliantly
illuminated by superb chandeliers, and decorated with every appliance of
modern elegance and taste. About a dozen relatives and friends of the
family had assembled to witness the ceremony; among them were several of
the wealthiest members of the Boston aristocracy. There was the
gray-headed millionaire, who has made his name famous by the
magnificence of his donations to public institutions which are already
wealthy enough; but then such liberal gifts are heralded in the
newspapers, and his name is blazoned forth as the great philanthropist;
and--it really is so troublesome to give to the suffering poor; besides,
the world seldom hears of deeds of unostentatious charity. Now, we are
one of those plain people who like to look at things in the light of
common reason, without regard to high-sounding titles, or lofty
associations; and it is our unpretending opinion that the God of charity
and mercy looks down with much greater approbation upon the act of
feeding a starving family, or comfortably clothing a few of His naked
little ones, than upon the bestowal of twenty or thirty thousand dollars
on this or that University, for the purpose of endowing a Professor of
Humbugonomy, that he may initiate a class of learned blockheads into the
mysteries of star-gazing, patient-killing, legal fleecing, or cheating
the devil by turning parson.

Besides the gray-headed millionaire, to whom we have thus particularly
alluded, there was the young lady who boasts of being heiress to
hundreds of thousands of dollars; consequently, of course, she is
unanimously voted to be "charming--divine--perfection!" Her beauty is
pronounced angelic; her accomplishments are the theme of universal
admiration. "Oh, she is an unsurpassable creature!" exclaim the whole
tribe of contemptible, sycophantic, brainless calves in broadcloth, who
are ever ready to fall down and worship the golden emblem of themselves.
And yet she is pug-nosed, freckle-faced, and red-headed; insolent to her
equals, coarsely familiar with her inferiors; her vulgarity is without
wit, her affectation is devoid of elegance or grace; ignorant and
stupid, the meanest kitchen wench would suffer by a comparison with
her. In striking contrast with this ludicrous specimen of degraded
aristocracy, there were several young ladies present who were really
lovely and accomplished women. These were the personal friends of Alice;
they had come to witness her nuptials with the magnificent Chevalier.

Precisely as the clock struck eight, Duvall entered the apartment, and
saluted the company with that exquisite and gentlemanly grace for which
he was distinguished. With difficulty could the assembled guests refrain
from expressing their admiration aloud; for his appearance was
singularly grand and imposing. In his dress, not the slightest approach
to foppery could be detected; all was faultless elegance. In his dark
eyes and on his proud features an observer could read the lofty triumph
which he felt; for was not he, an unknown and perhaps penniless
adventurer, about to wed the beautiful and accomplished daughter of one
of Boston's "merchant princes"?

Soon the clergyman arrived, and Alice was summoned to take her part in
the solemn ceremony which was about to be performed. She was dressed in
simple white, her only ornaments consisting of a few natural flowers
among the rich clusters of her shining hair.

She was very beautiful; the flush of happiness suffused her cheeks--her
eyes sparkled with ineffable joy. Oh, terrible sacrifice!

The ceremony proceeds; the solemn words are spoken. 'Tis all
over--friends crowd around with their congratulations--there are smiles,
and blushes, and tears; but a deep sense of happiness pervades every
heart. Alice is the wife of Duvall, by the sacred rites of the church,
in the sight of Heaven, and before men. The Chevalier pressed her madly
to his heart, while

    "Unto the ground she cast her modest eye,
    And, ever and anon, with rosy red,
    The bashful blush her snowy cheeks did dye."

Then came music, and the merry dance--and finally, a repast, that
rivalled in luxury the banquet of an emperor. In the midst of the
supper, in obedience to the secret signal of one of her bridesmaids,
Alice stole away, and was conducted by a charming _coterie_ of her
female friends, to Hymen's sacred retreat, the nuptial chamber--which
nothing should induce us to invade, gentle reader, were it not necessary
to do so in order to develop a scene in our narrative, which cannot
possibly be omitted.

It was an apartment of but moderate size; yet it was a gem of luxurious
comfort. Everything was in the most perfect taste; and it was evident by
a certain refined delicacy in all the arrangements, that the fair Alice
herself had superintended the preparations. Happy the man who should
bestow the first chaste kiss of wedded love, upon the pure lips of a
lovely bride, within that soft bower of voluptuousness!

She is disrobed; from her virgin limbs are removed the snowy garments;
she is coquettishly arrayed in the seductive costume of bewitching
night! She blushes, and is almost painfully embarrassed; for never
before have her glowing charms been contemplated thus, even by female
eyes. She finds herself at last reclining within the luxurious folds of
the magnificent nuptial couch; then her kind friends kiss her--bid her
a smiling good-night--and leave her to await the coming of her husband.
For the first time, her bosom heaves tumultuously with emotions which
she acknowledges to be delightful, though she cannot comprehend them.

But where, meanwhile, is the happy bridegroom? He is at the head of the
splendid board, responding to the many toasts which are proposed in his
honor, and that of his lovely and expectant bride. Again and again he
fills the goblet, and quaffs the foaming champagne. He fascinates
everybody by his rare eloquence--his inimitable wit; Mr. Goldworthy
congratulates himself on his good fortune in having secured so
charming--so talented a son-in-law. The dark eyes of the Chevalier
sparkle almost fearfully; his superb countenance is flushed with wine
and passion. This rosy god of the grape has nearly conquered him; he is
more than half intoxicated. Losing his habitual caution, he launches
forth into the recital of the most brilliant and daring adventures in
intrigue, fraud and robbery, he relates these events with a gusto that
would seem to indicate his having taken a leading part in them himself.
The guests are startled, and view him with an admiration mixed with
fear. The Chevalier drinks deeper and deeper. Wilder and more exciting
grow his narratives; he tells strange tales of the Italian banditti--of
pirates upon the Spanish main--of dashing French pickpockets--of bold
English highwaymen--of desperate American burglars, and of expert
counterfeiters. Mr. Goldworthy, at last, begins to regard him with a
feeling akin to suspicion. "Who can this man be," he mentally asks
himself--"that talks so familiarly of every species of crime and
villainy? Is he a fitting husband for my pure and gentle daughter? Can
he have been a participant in those lawless adventures which he so
eloquently describes? I like not the dark frown upon his brow, nor the
fierce glances of his eyes. But tush! of what am I thinking? I must not
harbor unjust suspicions against the husband of my child; he is merely
somewhat excited by the generous wine, and probably derived his
knowledge of these matters from the romances of the day. 'Tis best that
he should drink no more at present; I will therefore hint to him that it
is high time for a loyal bridegroom to retire to the arms of his
expectant bride. He surely will not disregard so tempting a suggestion,
for my Alice is very like her mother, and egad! on _my_ wedding night,
twenty years ago, I needed no second hint to induce me to fly eagerly to
_her_ arms. Ah, I was young then, and old age plays sad havoc with us!"

The worthy old gentleman whispered a few moments in the ear of the
Chevalier. The latter arose with a flushed cheek and a flashing eye.

"Thanks for the hint, good father-in-law," he cried, draining another
goblet of wine--"I have paid my devoirs to Bacchus; now will I worship
at the shrine of Venus!"

With rather an unsteady gait he left the apartment, and, under the
guidance of two lovely, blushing, tittering damsels, sought the nuptial
chamber. At the door of that sacred retreat, his fair guides left him.
He entered--and the black-hearted villain, stained with a thousand
crimes, stood in the presence of angel purity.

And now, fain would we draw a curtain over what followed--but if we did
so, our task would be incomplete. We therefore pass over the delicate
details with as much rapidity as the nature of the case will admit.

The Chevalier advanced to the couch, and viewed his bride; evading his
ardent gaze, she turned away, her maiden cheek glowing with blushes.
Upon the snowy pillow, in rich masses, lay her luxuriant hair; her
modestly veiled bosom, whose voluptuousness of outline no drapery could
entirely conceal, heaved tumultuously with gushing joy, and holy
happiness, and pure passion, and maidenly fear. Her small, exquisite
hand, on whose taper fore-finger glittered a magnificent diamond ring,
(her husband's gift,) rested upon the gorgeous counterpane, like a
snow-flake upon a cluster of roses.

Still the Chevalier profanes not that pure form with his unhallowed
touch; perchance some unseen power, the guardian of spotless innocence,
restrains him. Placing himself before the splendid mirror, he begins to
remove his superb garments with a deliberation and a composure that
astonishes even himself.

As each article of dress is successively thrown aside, the magnificent
symmetry of that man's unrivalled form becomes more and more apparent.
Though of a build unusually powerful, his limbs possess all the grace
and suppleness of the Apollo Belvedere. He is one of those rare
combinations of strength and beauty, so often represented by classic
statuary, yet so seldom seen in a living model.

His task is at length completed; he is in the primeval costume of
nature. Complacently he surveys his reflection in the mirror; for he is
fully conscious of his great personal advantages, and, in the vanity of
his heart, he wishes to display them to the enraptured gaze of his
bride. And she--who will say that she does not stealthily contemplate
his symmetrical proportions with secret satisfaction--for what woman
could, under such peculiar circumstances, be indifferent to the physical
advantages possessed by the man of her choice?

Alas! how suddenly did poor Alice's golden dream of happiness vanish
forever!

For there--upon her husband's naked breast--in black characters of
damning distinctness--is _branded_ the ghastly, hideous
words--"CONVICTED FELON!!"

Alice uttered one piercing scream, and fainted.

The marriage guests below had not yet departed. They heard that awful
cry, which seemed to be the very concentration of all human anguish. Mr.
Goldworthy started to his feet, and his cheeks grew ashy pale.

"My friends," said he, in a low tone--"there is something wrong with my
child. Remain here, and I will ascertain the cause of this strange
outcry."

Having armed himself with a pistol, he repaired to his daughter's
chamber, which he entered without ceremony; for when does a father stand
on ceremony, when he believes the safety of his only child to be in
danger? There, in the centre of the room, confused and abashed, stood
the nude form of the Chevalier; and there, upon his breast, did Mr.
Goldworthy behold the accursed brand of crime which had horrified his
daughter, and elicited her piercing scream.

"_Convicted felon!_" gasped the old gentleman, almost disbelieving the
evidence of his own senses. "Good God! am I dreaming, or do I actually
behold that awful badge of infamy branded upon the flesh of the husband
of my child! Almighty heaven, thy judgments are inscrutable, but this
blow is too much--too much!"

He buried his face in his hands, and wept bitterly. The Chevalier, by a
powerful effort, recovered his accustomed assurance and presence of
mind.

"Come, my good sir," said he--"don't get in such a bad way about a few
insignificant letters which are stamped upon me. I pledge you my honor
'twas merely done in jest, in a thoughtless moment. Pray retire, and
leave me to console my bride for her silly fright."

"Liar and villain!" cried the old man--"would'st thou, with a red-hot
iron, brand such words as _those_ upon thee, in jest? Thou are a
convicted scoundrel--an impostor--a murderer, for aught I know. Thou
hast no claim upon my poor girl, who now lies there, insensible; the
marriage is null and void!"

"Pooh--nonsense!" said the Chevalier, very coolly--"you make a devil of
a fuss about a very small matter. This brand is but the consequence of a
youthful folly--crime, if you will--of which I have long since repented,
I assure you. A ruffled shirt will always conceal it from the world's
prying gaze; your daughter and yourself are the only persons who will
ever know of its existence; why, then, should it interfere with our
matrimonial arrangements?"

"Dare you parley with me, villain?" cried Mr. Goldworthy, growing more
and more indignant at the other's impudent assurance. "Hark'ee, sir," he
continued, "the mystery which has always surrounded you, has been
anything but favorable to your reputation, for _honest_ men are seldom
reluctant to disclose all that concerns their past career and present
pursuits. But your damnable effrontery, and the accursed fascination of
your manners, overcame all our suspicions relative to you; you were
regarded as an honorable man, and a gentleman. Unfortunately, my Alice
loved you, and in an evil moment I consented to your union. This
evening, at the wine table, when you discoursed so learnedly and
eloquently upon the exploits of daring villains, the thought struck me
that you must have derived your knowledge of them from personal
intimacy; but I instantly discarded the suspicion as unworthy of myself
and unjust to you. But now--now your guilt can no longer be questioned,
for its history is written there, upon your breast! Scoundrel, I might
hand you over to the iron grasp of the law, but I will not; resume your
garments, and leave this chamber--for your vile presence contaminates
the very atmosphere, and 'tis no place for you!"

"No, you will not hand me over to the law, neither will you expose me,"
said the Chevalier, his lip curling with proud disdain. "Listen to me,
old man: you are right--I _am_ a villain--nay, more; I glory in the
title. Am I not candid with you?--and yet you, yourself, will be as
anxious as I can be, to keep the world ignorant of the fact that I am a
villain,--for will the aristocratic Mr. Goldworthy consent that the
public shall know that his beautiful daughter Alice is married to a
branded criminal? Being perfectly safe, what need is there of
concealment on my part? Know, then, that I am an escaped convict from
Botany Bay, to which colony I was transported from England, for an
atrocious crime. This brand upon my breast was placed there as a
punishment for having attempted to murder one of my guards. I have been
a pirate, a robber, a highwayman, a burglar, and (but let me whisper
this word in your ear,) a _murderer_! Ha, ha, ha! how do you like your
son-in-law now?"

"Monster, out of my sight!" cried the old man, shuddering.

"Softly, softly," said the Chevalier, with imperturbable calmness--"you
have not heard all yet; of my skill as a pickpocket, you yourself have
had ample proof, for 'twas I who relieved you of the valuable package
last night; yet you dare not prosecute me--for am I not your son-in-law?
But curses on my own indiscretion, in allowing wine to overcome my
habitual prudence! For had I not been partially intoxicated, think you
this mark of guilt would have been so easily discovered? No, believe
me--"

"Silence, villain!" thundered Mr. Goldworthy, no longer able to contain
his indignation at the cool effrontery of the Chevalier--"I have bandied
words with you too long already; you see this pistol?--you are unarmed;
I give you five minutes to dress yourself and leave the house; if you
are not gone at the end of that time, I swear by the living God to shoot
you through the head."

These last words were pronounced with a calmness that left no doubt of
their sincerity on the mind of the Chevalier. Villain as he was, he was
brave even to desperation; yet he had no particular wish to be hurried
into eternity so unceremoniously. He therefore commenced dressing
himself, while Mr. Goldworthy stood with the pistol cocked and pointed
at his head with a deadly aim.

Meanwhile, the unfortunate Alice recovered from her swoon. Starting up
in bed, she cast a hurried glance at her father and the discomfited
Chevalier. That glance was sufficient to reveal to her the true state of
affairs; and covering her face with her hands, she wept bitterly.

Who can comprehend the depth and devotedness of woman's love? Could it
be possible that there still lingered in her crushed heart a single atom
of affection for that branded villain, who had so cruelly deceived her?
Philosophy may condemn her--human reason itself may scoff at her--but
from her pure heart could not utterly be obliterated the sincere and
holy love which she had conceived for that unworthy object. To her might
have been applied the beautiful words of the poet Campbell:

          "Let the eagle change his plume,
    The leaf its hue, the flower its bloom,
    But ties around that heart were spun
    Which would not, could not be undone."

Before the expiration of the prescribed five minutes, the Chevalier was
dressed, and ready to depart. Turning towards Alice, he regarded her
with a look which was eloquently expressive of grief, remorse and
sorrow. His breast heaved convulsively; he was evidently struggling with
the most powerful emotions. A single tear rolled down his cheek--he
hastily wiped it away--murmured, "Farewell, Alice, forever!"--and
reminded by an imperious gesture from her father that the scene could
continue no longer, he turned calmly and walked out of the room. Mr.
Goldworthy followed him to the street door, and saw him depart from the
house; then, with a deep-drawn sigh, he returned to his guests, who were
naturally eager to know the nature of the difficulty. In answer to their
inquiries, the old gentleman said--

"My dear friends, do not, I entreat you, press me for an explanation of
this most melancholy affair. Suffice it for me to say, the Chevalier
Duvall has proved himself to be utterly unworthy of my daughter. The
marriage which has taken place, though not legally void, is _morally_
so. I beg of everyone present to respect my feelings as a father and as
a man, so far as to preserve a strict silence in reference to this
painful matter. The Chevalier Duvall has departed from the house, and
will never see my daughter more."

The required promise was given, and the guests took their leave,
experiencing feelings of a far different nature from those which had
animated them at the commencement of the evening. They had come in the
happy anticipation of witnessing the consummation of a beloved friend's
felicity; they went away oppressed by a painful uncertainty as to the
nature of the difficulty which had arisen in reference to the husband,
and chilled by a fear that the earthly happiness of poor Alice was
destroyed forever.

The Chevalier returned to the Duchess, to apprise her of the total ruin
of his matrimonial schemes, in consequence of the _fatal brand_ upon his
person having been discovered; and we return to Fanny Aubrey, who had
been conveyed by Jew Mike to the "_Chambers of Love_," in obedience to
the directions given him by the Hon. Timothy Tickels.



CHAPTER VII

_Showing the operations of Jew Mike and his coadjutors.--The necessity
of young ladies looking beneath their beds, before retiring to rest._


We have seen in what manner Jew Mike escaped from the house of Mr.
Goldworthy, bearing off the insensible form of Fanny Aubrey; but as the
reader may be curious to learn how the ruffian gained entrance to the
house, and to the chamber of the young lady, we shall briefly explain.

In the first place, it is perhaps understood that old Tickels applied to
Sow Nance for assistance in the business of abducting Fanny, and
conveying her to that den of iniquity called the "Chambers of
Love,"--which place will be hereafter described. Nance, on being applied
to, informed her employer that she had a "_love cull_," (paramour,) who
was exactly suited to the business, and who would, for a proper
compensation, engage to do the job. Tickels was delighted with the
proposal, and eagerly desired to have an early interview with her
accommodating lover. But there was a difficulty; Jew Mike had an
invincible repugnance to going abroad under any circumstances, inasmuch
as he had recently been engaged in a heavy burglary, and the pleasure of
his company was earnestly sought after by police officer Storkfeather
and other indefatigables. He was safely housed in the "Pig Pen," and
regarded it as decidedly unsafe to venture out, even to execute a piece
of work as profitable as the one which Mr. Tickels wished him to
perform. It was finally arranged that the latter gentleman would call on
Mike at the "Pen," on a certain evening. This was done; and the result
of that interview was, that Mike, for and in consideration of receiving
the sum of one hundred dollars, agreed to carry off Fanny Aubrey, and
deposit her safely in the "Chambers of Love."

To obviate the possibility of Mike's being overhauled by his old friends
the police officers, it was arranged that a cab should be at his entire
disposal; the same vehicle would serve to convey the young lady with
secrecy and rapidity to the place destined for her imprisonment. Tickels
engaged to have Mike privately introduced into the house of Mr.
Goldworthy, and it was effected in this manner.

On the night previous to the abduction, at about the hour of nine, a cab
was driven through Ann street, and halted in front of the dance cellar
which communicated with the "Pig Pen." The driver of this vehicle was a
sable individual, who has since attained some notoriety under the
cognomen of "Jonas." He is intimately acquainted with the location and
condition of every house of prostitution in Boston, and enjoys the
familiar acquaintance of many white courtezans of beauty and fashion,
not a few of whom (so 'tis said,) testify their appreciation of his
valuable services in bringing them profitable custom, by freely granting
him those delightful privileges which are usually extended to white
patrons only, who can pay well for the same. Jonas has lately become the
editor and proprietor of that valuable periodical known as the "Key to
the Chambers of Love," which is a _card_ containing a list of almost
every bower of pleasure in Boston, with the names of their keepers. It
is a document which is extensively patronized by the sporting bloods.
This fortunate darkey it was, then, who was employed in the delicate
matter, the progress of which we are now describing.

He had no sooner halted his cab, as we have stated, than there
cautiously issued from the cellar an individual carefully concealed from
observation by a huge slouched hat and cloak. This, it is almost
needless to say, was Jew Mike himself. Having greeted Jonas with the
assurance of "all right," he quickly entered the cab, and the sable
driver started his horse towards Howard street at a slapping pace.

In the neighborhood of the Athenaeum, the cab paused, and Mike got out.
He was instantly joined by the Hon. Mr. Tickels, who said to Jonas--

"Drive away, and be on this spot again, with your horse and cab,
precisely at twelve o'clock. Remain here until one; if by that time Mike
does not make his appearance, you will know that the job can't be done
to-night, and you need wait no longer. To-morrow night, be on this spot
again, at twelve, and remain until one--and don't fail to repeat this
every night until Mike appears with the young woman he is to carry off.
For every night that you come here, you shall be paid five dollars. Do
you understand?"

"Yes, indeed, ole hoss," replied the delighted Jonas, displaying his
mouthful of dominoes--"dat five dollars ebery night will 'nable dis
colored person to shine at de balls of de colored society dis winter;
perhaps be de manager--yah, yah, yah!" When giving utterance to his
peculiar laugh, Jonas makes a noise as if he were undergoing the process
of being choked to death by a fat sausage. Having thus given vent to his
satisfaction, he mounted his cab and drove off. When he had departed,
Tickels drew Mike within the dark shadow of a building, and, in
whispered tones, thus addressed him:--

"I have, as you are aware, succeeded in bribing one of Goldworthy's
servants to admit you into the house, and conceal you until the
favorable moment arrives for you to bear off the prize. Whether you do
it to-night, or to-morrow night, or the next, you must be sure to do it
only between the hours of twelve and one, for only during that interval
of time will Jonas and his cab be in waiting for you. When the time for
action arrives, you must satisfy yourself that all is still in the
house--that all have retired. I have ascertained that Goldworthy and his
household almost invariably retire to rest at ten o'clock; therefore, it
is reasonable to suppose that they are all asleep by twelve. At that
hour, if you think the coast is clear, steal cautiously forth from your
place of concealment, and noiselessly enter the young lady's chamber;
this you will have no difficulty in doing, for I have taken the pains to
ascertain that she never takes the precaution to lock the door."

"But," interrupted Jew Mike--"in that large mansion, containing so many
apartments, how shall I know for certainty which particular room the
young woman sleeps in?"

"I have anticipated and provided for that difficulty," rejoined
Tickels--"although the servant whom I have bribed, could doubtless
direct you to the chamber. Here, on this sheet of paper, I have drawn a
diagram of the entire building; by studying it for a few minutes, you
will readily be enabled to find your way to any part of the house.--To
resume: you will enter the chamber, and assure yourself that the young
lady is sleeping; this is an important point, because, if she should
chance to be awake, and observe you, she would naturally scream with
affright, which would ruin everything. Well, having satisfied yourself,
beyond a doubt, that she is fast asleep, you will softly approach the
bed, and, in the twinkling of an eye, _bind and gag her!_ so that she
will be utterly incapable of voice or motion. Then take her in your
arms, steal noiselessly down stairs, and make your exit by the front
door, which will be left unlocked for that purpose. Having reached the
street, leap with your precious burden into the cab, and Jonas will
drive you with all speed to the 'Chambers.' Take off your shoes when in
the house, and your footsteps will be less liable to be heard. Now,
Mike, I have one request to make: I know the laxity of your principles
with respect to the virtue of honesty, and admire your system of
appropriation--but steal nothing, not even the merest trifle, in the
house. I will tell you why I require this of you; when the young lady is
missed, if property is also missed, they will naturally suppose that
both she and the valuables have been carried off by some marauder; for
they could never believe _her_ to be guilty of theft; and their
affection for her would prompt them to make every effort for her
recovery. If, on the contrary, no property disappears with her, they may
possibly think that she has voluntarily eloped, and will be apt to
trouble themselves very little about her, for her supposed ingratitude
will arouse their indignation. Do you not perceive and acknowledge the
force of my argument?"

Jew Mike replied that he certainly did, and assured his worthy employer
that he would, for the first time in his life, refrain from stealing,
even where he had an excellent opportunity.

"This heroic self-denial on your part is worthy of the highest
commendation," said Mr. Tickels. "I have but one more observation to
make, and then I will detain you no longer. If it should unfortunately
happen that you are detected in this business, for God's sake don't
bring my name in connection with it. Tell them that your design was to
rob the house; they will send you to jail, and no matter how many
charges may be brought against you, I have money and influence
sufficient to procure your liberation. Now, my good fellow, do you
consent to this?"

Mike answered affirmatively; and the two proceeded towards Mr.
Goldworthy's house. Fortunately for their operations, there was no moon,
and the night was intensely dark; therefore, they were by no means
likely to be observed by any prying individual or inquisitive
Charley--besides, the gentlemen who belong to the latter class, prefer
rather to indulge in a comfortable doze on some door-step, than to go
prowling about, impertinently interfering with the business of
enterprising burglars and others, who "prefer darkness rather than
light."

The Hon. Mr. Tickels and Jew Mike, having reached Mr. Goldworthy's
house, stationed themselves in front of the door, and after a short
pause, to assure themselves that all was right, the former worthy gave
utterance to three distinct coughs, which were, however, rendered in a
very low tone. The signal was answered almost immediately; the door was
softly opened, and a man made his appearance; this was the unfaithful
servant who had been bribed to admit a villain into his master's house.

"Is everything all right, Cushing?" asked Tickels, in a whisper.

"Yes, sir," replied the fellow, in the same tone--"there's no one
stirring in the house except myself, as Mr. Goldworthy and the ladies
have gone to the theatre, and have not yet returned; and as to the other
servants, they have all gone to bed."

"That's well," remarked Tickels--"now, Mike, this man will conceal you
in some safe place. If the business can be done to-night, do it; if not,
defer it until a favorable opportunity presents itself. You know all the
arrangements; therefore I need not repeat them. Fulfil your contract,
and come to me for your reward. Good night."

He departed. Cushing desired Jew Mike to follow him into the house; the
latter obeyed, and was conducted into a small room, which the servant
gave him to understand was his sleeping chamber.

"Is this to be my place of concealment?" demanded Jew Mike, glancing
around with a growl of dissatisfaction--"damn it, you couldn't hide a
mouse here without its being discovered."

"That's true enough," rejoined Cushing--"you can't hide here, that's
certain. I confess I am at a loss where to put you. There's no time to
be lost, for I expect my master and the ladies to return every instant.
Hell and furies, there's the carriage now! they have come!"

It was true; a carriage stopped at the door, and they could hear the
voices and footsteps of people entering the house.

"We are lost!" cried Cushing, pale with fear--"yet stay; there is but
one way of escaping immediate detection. Have you the courage to hide
in--in--"

"Courage!" exclaimed Mike, in great rage--"show me a place of
concealment, and I'll stow myself in it, if it be hell itself! Our
enterprise must not fail by my being discovered here."

"Quick, then--this way--follow me--softly, softly," whispered the
other, conducting Mike up a flight of stairs, and into a handsomely
furnished bed-chamber.

"This," said Cushing--"is the room in which Miss Fanny Aubrey sleeps;
the young lady whom you are to carry off. It is the best place in the
world for you to conceal yourself in, for your victim will be almost
within your grasp. Quick--stow yourself _under the bed_, in the farthest
corner. She will not discover you, if you keep perfectly quiet, for you
will be screened from view by the thick curtains of the bed. If you
cannot do the job to-night, you must remain in your hiding-place all day
to-morrow--and indeed, you must not think of stirring forth, until the
moment arrives for you to carry off Miss Fanny. I will contrive to
supply you with food and drink. Hark!--by God, somebody is coming
up-stairs. I must be off--under the bed with you--quick, quick!"

In a twinkling was Jew Mike snugly ensconced beneath the bed, while
Cushing hastily left the chamber, and repaired to his own room.

Within the space of one minute afterwards, Fanny Aubrey entered her
chamber, accompanied by a maid-servant bearing a light.

"You may set down the candle, Matilda, if you please, dear," said Fanny,
in her sweet, gentle voice--"and leave me, for I shall not need your
assistance to undress me."

"Indeed, Miss, axing your pardon, I shall do no such thing," responded
Matilda, who was a buxom, good-humored, and rather good-looking young
woman; and with a kind of respectful familiarity, she began to perform
upon her young mistress the delicate and graceful duties of a _femme de
chambre_. "You are very silly, Matilda, thus to insist on waiting on
_me_; I, that am as poor as yourself, and was brought up as nothing but
a fruit girl."

"Lor, Miss!" cried Matilda, holding up her hands with a sort of pious
horror--"how can you compare yourself with the likes of me? You were
born to be a lady, and I am so happy to be your servant--your own
ladies' maid! You will have a fine husband one of these days, Miss. Now,
if I might make so bold, there is that pretty young gentleman, Miss
Alice's cousin, Master Clarence--"

"Hush, Matilda," interrupted Fanny, blushing deeply--"what has Master
Clarence to do with me? you are a silly creature. Make haste and undress
me, since you will do it, for I am so tired and sleepy!"

Matilda did as she was desired, but being, like all other ladies' maids,
very talkative, kept up a 'running commentary' on the charms of her
young mistress, as ladies' maids are very apt to do.

"What beautiful hair!" quoth the abigail, in an under tone, as if she
were merely holding a sociable chat with herself--"for all the world
like skeins of golden thread; and what a fair skin! just like a heap of
snow, or a newly washed sheet spread out to bleach. Patience alive! this
pretty arm beats Mrs. Swelby's wax-work all hollow; and these
beautiful--"

"You vex me to death with your nonsense, Matilda," cried Fanny--"how
tiresome you are! Pray be silent."

Thus rebuked, the ladies' maid continued her task in silence. When the
young lady was disrobed, and about to retire to bed, she was startled
by a sudden exclamation of Matilda's--

"Bless me, Miss! what noise was that? It sounded as if somebody was hid
somewhere in this very chamber."

They both paused and listened; all was again still. Fanny, as well as
her maid had certainly heard a slight noise, which seemed to have been
produced by a slow and cautious movement, and sounded like the rustling
of a curtain.

"Twas nothing but the noise of the night-breeze agitating the window
curtains," remarked Fanny, at length, with a smile.

Ah! neither she, nor her maid, saw the two fearful eyes that were
glaring at them from among the intricate folds of the curtain, beneath
the bed!--Neither saw they the dark and hideous countenance of the
ruffian that lay concealed there.

"Well, Miss," said Matilda, not over half re-assured by the words of her
mistress--"it may be nothing, as you say; but, for my part, I never go
to bed a single night in the year, without first _looking under the bed_
to see that nobody is hid away there. And I advise you to do the same,
Miss; and I am sure you would, if you only knew what happened to my
cousin Bridget."

"And what was that, pray?" asked Fanny, as she got into bed, and settled
herself comfortably, in order to listen to what happened to cousin
Bridget--all her fears in regard to the noise which she had heard,
having vanished.

"Why, you see, miss," said Matilda, seating herself at the
bed-side,--"cousin Bridget was cook in a gentleman's family in this
city, and a very nice body she was, and is to this day. In the same
family there lived a young man as was a coachman, very good-looking, and
very attentive to Biddy, as we call her for shortness, miss. But, though
he was desperate in love with my cousin, she would give him no
encouragement, and the poor fellow pined away, and neglected his
wittles, and grew thin in flesh, until, from being called Fat Tom, he
got to be nicknamed the 'Natomy, which means a skeleton. It was in vain,
miss, that poor 'Natomy threatened to take to hard drinking, or pizen
himself with Prooshy acid, unless she took pity on him--not a smile, or
a kiss, or a hope could he get from cousin Biddy. Now, between
ourselves, I really think she had a sort of a sneaking notion after him;
you know, miss, that we women folks like to tease the men, by making
them think that we hate 'em, when all the time we are dead in love with
'em. Well, matters and things went on pretty much as I have said, for
some times; until something happened that made a great change in the
feelings of cousin Biddy towards Tom the coachman. Biddy slept in a nice
little bed-room in the attic--all by herself; and Tom slept in another
nice little bed-room in the attic--all by _himself_, too. Well, miss,
one night Biddy went to a fancy ball in Ann street, given in honor of
her brother's wife's second cousin, Mrs. MacFiggins, having been blessed
with three twins at a birth; she danced very late, and drank a great
deal of hot toddy, which made her so nervous that she had to go home in
a hackney-coach. She went to bed, but the toddy made her feel so very
uncomfortable, that she had to get up again, during the night; and she
happened, by accident, to reach her hand under the bed--and what do you
think, miss? her hand caught hold of something--she pulled it towards
her, out from under the bed--and oh, my gracious! what must have been
the feelings of the poor body, when she found that she had taken hold of
a man's--_nose!_ and, what was worse than all, that nose belonged to
Tom, the coachman! My poor cousin Biddy, on making this awful discovery,
gave a low scream, and fainted; and then--and then, miss--in about half
an hour, when she came to her senses, on finding that nobody, except
Tom, had heard her scream, she felt so kind of _put out_ about the whole
matter, that she agreed to marry Tom, if he would promise never to say
nothing about it. He agreed, and in a few weeks afterwards they were man
and wife. I heard this story, miss, from Biddy's own lips, and it's as
true as gospel. So that is the reason why I look under my bed every
night, to see if anybody is hid away there; because the very idea of
having a man _under_ a body's bed, is so awful! But bless me, miss--you
are fast asleep already, and I dare say you haven't heard half of my
story."

Matilda was right; Fanny had fallen asleep at the most interesting point
of the foregoing narrative, and she was therefore in blissful ignorance
of the catastrophe by which cousin Biddy became the wife of Tom the
coachman. The ladies' maid, muttering her indignation at the very little
interest manifested in her story, by her young mistress, left the
chamber, and took herself off to bed, leaving the candle burning upon
the table.

Half an hour passed; all throughout the house was profoundly still. The
deep and regular breathing of Fanny indicated that she slept soundly. A
small clock in the chamber proclaimed the hour of midnight. Scarce had
the tiny sounds died away in silence, when the hideous head of Jew Mike
cautiously emerged from beneath the bed. The ruffian noiselessly crept
forth from his place of concealment, and stood over the fair sleeper.
Having satisfied himself of the soundness of her slumbers, he drew from
his pocket the handkerchief and cord with which he intended to gag and
bind her.

At that moment, Fanny stirred, and partially awoke; quick as lightning,
Jew Mike crouched down upon the carpet, and crawled beneath the bed. To
his inexpressible mortification and rage, the young lady arose from the
couch, advanced to the table, and having snuffed the candle, and thrown
a shawl over her shoulders, seated herself, and taking up a book, began
to read. The truth is, she felt herself rather restless and unwell, and
determined to while away an hour or so by perusing a few chapters in the
work of a favorite author.

The clock struck one, and then Jew Mike knew that his villainous plans
could not be carried out that night. A few minutes afterwards, the negro
Jones, who had, since twelve o'clock, been waiting with his horse and
cab near Mr. Goldworthy's house in Howard street, drove off--the sable
genius muttering, as he urged his 'fast crab' onward--

"Five dollars for to-night, and five dollars more for to-morrow
night--dat I'm sure of, any how; gorry, dis nigger's in luck."

After the lapse of fifteen or twenty minutes, Fanny Aubrey closed her
book, and again retired to bed. Again she slept; and for that night, she
was safe. Mike knew that the cab had departed, and was obliged to defer
the execution of his scheme until the next night, or even for a longer
period, if a favorable opportunity did not then occur.

Poor Fanny! during the remainder of that night her slumbers were
attended by peaceful and pleasant dreams. What if she had known that
beneath her couch there lurked a desperate and bloody ruffian,
impatiently awaiting the hour when he could bear her off to a fate worse
than death!

Slowly wore the night away; and at length the cheerful rays of the
morning sun, shining upon the beautiful countenance of the fair sleeper,
awoke her from her slumbers. She arose--gracefully as a young fawn did
she spring from the chaste embraces of her luxurious couch, and caroling
forth a gay air--the gushing gladness of her happy heart--she proceeded
to perform the duties of her toilet. Now, like a naiad at a fountain,
does she lave that charming face and those ductile limbs in the limpid
and rose-scented waters of a portable bath, sculptured in marble and
supported by four little Cupids with gilded wings; then, like the fabled
mermaid, does she arrange her shining hair in that style of beautiful
simplicity which is so becoming, and so seldom successfully
accomplished, even by women of undoubted taste. The amorous mirror
glowingly reflects her young and budding charms, as she coquettishly
admires the loveliness of her delicious little person, half-blushing at
the sight of her own voluptuous nudity. Little does she suspect that the
savage eyes of a concealed ruffian are gloating with lecherous delight
upon her exposed form!

In happy unconsciousness of this hideous scrutiny, the young lady having
completed the preliminary arrangements of her toilet, proceeded to array
herself in a charming and delicate morning costume. Although it could
not be said that

    "Her snowy breast was bare to ready spoil
    Of hungry eyes,"

yet these lines from _Thomson's Seasons_ might be applied to her, with
peculiar force:--

    "Her polished limbs
    Veil'd in a simple robe, their best attire,
    Beyond the pomp of dress; for loveliness
    Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
    But is, when unadorn'd, adorn'd the most."

She was scarcely dressed, when the breakfast bell sounded its welcome
peal; and she hastened below to take her place at the hospitable family
table.

During the whole of that day, Jew Mike did not venture to stir once from
his retreat. In the forenoon, a female domestic came and arranged the
bed, without discovering him; after a while, Fanny came into the
chamber, to dress for dinner, which being done, she withdrew without
suspecting the presence of the villainous Jew Mike, who again had an
opportunity of feasting his eyes on her denuded charms. Late in the
afternoon, much to the joy of the ruffian, who was half starved, Cushing
stole into the chamber, bringing with him some provisions and a bottle
of wine; those he hastily passed under the bed, and abruptly retired,
for he was apprehensive of being detected in the room, which would have
ruined all.

Night came on. Mike was a witness of the scene which took place between
Alice Goldworthy and Fanny, wherein the latter charged the Chevalier
with having stolen the packet of money. The reader knows how Fanny was
afterwards awakened from her sleep by a horrid dream, and how she
discovered the form of a man bending over her--that man was, of course,
Jew Mike. It will be recollected that the young girl screamed and
fainted; that Clarence Argyle rushed into the chamber, and was instantly
shot down by Mike--and that the ruffian made his escape from the house,
bearing off the unfortunate girl in his arms.

Jonas was waiting at a short distance from the house; Mike hastily
entered the cab with his burden, and the negro drove rapidly towards
Warren street, wherein was located the "Chambers of Love."

The vehicle halted before a house of decent exterior; Jew Mike came out,
bearing the still insensible girl; the door of the house opened, and he
entered; then the door closed, and all was still. With a low chuckle of
satisfaction, Jonas whipped his horse into a gallop, and away he rattled
through the silent and deserted streets.



CHAPTER VIII

_The Chambers of Love.--Conclusion._


On entering the house in Warren street with his burden, Jew Mike passed
through a dark passage, and entered a large, well-lighted and
well-furnished room. Here he was received by a rather stout and
extremely good-looking female, the landlady of the house, who rejoiced
in the peculiar title of Madame Hearthstone. Notwithstanding the
lateness of the hour, several courtezans of the ordinary class were
lounging about, or indolently conversing with a few intimate male
friends, who were probably their private lovers, or _pimps_.

"Well," said Madame Hearthstone, with a smile of satisfaction--"you have
caught the bird at last, I see; but she must not remain here, for when
she recovers from her swoon, she may take it into her head to scream, or
make a disturbance, which might be heard in the street. We will carry
her below to the _Chambers_, and there she may make as much noise as she
pleases--there's no possibility of her ever being overheard by people
above ground!"

In obedience to her directions, Jew Mike again took the young girl in
his arms, and followed Madame out of the room, while she bore a light.
She led the way into a bed-chamber on the second floor, which apartment
was furnished with that luxury so invariably found in the bowers of
land-ladies of pleasure, who care but little for the comfort of their
_boarders_, so long as they themselves are "in clover."'

The walls of Madame's chamber were beautifully adorned with fancy paper,
representing panels in gilded frames, decorated with wreaths of flowers.
The lady advanced towards one of these panels, and kneeling down upon
the floor, touched a secret spring; instantly a door, which had
previously been invisible, sprang open, revealing an aperture large
enough to admit a person standing upright.

The reader must not be surprised that the landlady should thus expose to
Jew Mike the means of entering her private rendezvous; for Mike was
perfectly in her confidence, having often before been employed to convey
victims to that den, and being already well acquainted with the mystery
of the secret panel.

They entered the aperture--the landlady bearing the light, and the
ruffian carrying the unconscious form of Fanny Aubrey. Having carefully
closed the panel behind them, they began to descend a long flight of
steps, so steep and narrow, that extreme care was necessary to enable
them to preserve their footing.

Down, down they went, seemingly far into the bowels of the earth. At
length they arrived at the bottom, and a stout oaken door intercepted
their further progress. The landlady produced a key, and the door swung
back upon its massive hinges; they entered a vast apartment, fitted up
in a style of splendor almost equal to the fabled magnificence of a
fairy palace.

The hall was of circular shape, surmounted by a dome, from which hung a
superb chandelier, which shed a brilliant light over the gilded
ornaments and voluptuous paintings that adorned the walls. In the centre
stood a table, laden with fruits and wines, around which were seated
half a dozen young females, all very beautiful, and several of them
nearly half naked. Two of these girls, who were more modestly dressed
than the others, seemed sad and dispirited; their four companions,
however, appeared vicious and reckless in the extreme.

"Girls," said the landlady, addressing them--"I have brought you a new
sister; she has come to learn the delightful mysteries of Venus. Give
her all the instruction in your power, and learn her the arts and ways
of a finished courtezan."

Jew Mike laid Fanny upon a sofa; the girls crowded around her, and
regarded her with looks of interest and joy.

"She is very pretty," said one of them, a bold, wanton looking young
creature, of rare beauty, her seductive form wholly revealed beneath a
single light gauze garment, such as are worn by ballet girls--"I will
become her teacher; I will show her how to turn the brains of men crazy
with passion, and bring the proudest of them grovelling at her feet.
Oh,'tis delightful to humble the lords of creation, as they call
themselves, and make them whine for our favors like so many sick
spaniels!"

"You are a girl of spirit, Julia," said the landlady, regarding her with
a look of admiration--"and will make a splendid courtezan."

"But," cried Julia, with sparkling eyes and a heaving breast--"when
_shall_ I become a courtezan? How long must I remain here, pining for
the embraces of fifty men, and enduring the impotent caresses of but
one, and _he_, bah! a fellow of no more fire or animation, of _power_,
than a lump of ice!"

"Have patience, my love," rejoined the landlady--"Mr. Lawyer may be a
poor lover, but he is a profitable patron; so long as he pays liberally
for your exclusive favors in these 'Chambers,' you must receive him, for
you will share the profits, when you 'turn out.' And now see what you
can do in the way of restoring this new comer, for her _owner_ will be
here soon, to see her. Carry her into the _Satin Chamber_, which is to
be her room, and when she revives, make her partake of some
refreshments."

The landlady and Jew Mike left the hall; the massive door was relocked,
and ascended to the upper regions of the house, leaving Fanny Aubrey to
the care of the inmates of the luxurious Chambers below.

The Satin Chamber was an apartment of moderate dimensions, which
adjoined the principal hall. It was completely lined throughout with
white satin, which produced an effect so voluptuous as to defy
description. Into this gorgeous bower of lust the girls carried Fanny,
and laid her down upon a soft and yielding couch.

Restoratives were applied, and she was speedily brought to a state of
consciousness. Her wonder and astonishment may easily be imagined, when,
on starting up, she found herself in that strange place, surrounded by a
group of showily dressed females, some of them indecently nude.

Without answering her eager inquiries, as to where she was, and how she
came there, they brought her wine and other refreshments, of which they
compelled her to partake.

"You are in a place of safety, and among friends," said one of them, a
beautiful brunette of sixteen, whose glossy hair fell in rich masses
upon her naked shoulders and bosom.--This abandoned young creature was a
Jewess, named Rachel; her own wild, lascivious passions had been the
cause of her being brought to the 'Chambers,' rather than the arts of
the man who was at that time enjoying her delectable favors.

"Yes, dear," chimed in the voluptuous Julia--"we are your sisters, and
it will be our task to teach you the delights of love, while you remain
among us.--But come, girls; let us leave our sister to repose; she is a
little Venus, and will dream of Cupid's pleasures, and when she awakes
from her soft slumbers, she may find herself in the arms of an impetuous
lover.--Happy girl! I envy her the bliss which she is soon to
experience, because it is to her, as yet, a bliss _untasted_."

Each of the embryo Cyprians kissed the intended victim; some did it
almost passionately, as if their libidinous natures derived a
gratification even in kissing one of their own sex; some did it
laughingly, with whispered words of encouragement and congratulation;
but one of them, less hardened than the rest, dropped a tear of pity on
her cheek, and in a gentle, yet faltering voice, murmured--"Poor girl, I
am sorry for you!" They departed, and Fanny was left alone--alone with
her tears, her troubled thoughts, and a thousand fears; for she
remembered having seen the ruffian at her bed-side, and although she
recollected nothing of what had subsequently occurred, still she doubted
not that she had been carried to the place where she found herself, for
some terrible purpose.

The six 'daughters of Venus' returned to the principal hall, and had
scarcely resumed their places at the table, when the door was opened,
and an old gentleman entered. He was a very tall, erect, slim personage,
dressed in blue broadcloth, his neck neatly enveloped in a white cravat,
garnished with a shirt collar of uncommon magnitude. Judging from
appearances, he might formerly have been an individual of rather comely
presence; but, strange to say, he was almost entirely destitute of a
_nose_--the place formerly occupied by that important feature, being now
supplied by a stump of flesh little larger than an ordinary pimple. This
deformity gave his face an aspect extremely ludicrous, if not positively
disgusting; and was the result of an indiscreet amour in former times,
which not only communicated the fiery brand of destruction to his nasal
organ, but also effectually disqualified him from any further direct
indulgence in the amorous gambols of Venus. Thus painfully afflicted,
'Tom Lawyer,' as he has always been familiarly called, was obliged to
content himself with such enjoyments as lay within the limited range of
his physical powers--enjoyments which, though rather unsatisfactory,
were nevertheless expensive; yet his immense wealth enabled him to
command them. To explain: he would maintain in luxury some beautiful
young female, with whom he would pass a portion of his leisure time in
harmless dalliance--therefore was he the _patron_ of the voluptuous
Julia, whom he kept strictly secluded in the 'Chambers,' fearing that
her unsatisfied passions would seek their 'legitimate gratification,'
were an opportunity afforded her to do so.

As he entered, Julia affected the utmost delight at seeing him, and
rushing into his arms, almost devoured him with kisses; and then she
followed him into an adjoining chamber, her beautiful countenance
wearing an expression of ill-concealed disgust.--They entered--the door
was closed, and--we dare not describe what followed.

       *       *       *       *       *

At an early hour, on the morning succeeding these events, Jew Mike
called on the Hon. Mr. Tickels, for the purpose of receiving the one
hundred dollars, which had been promised him as the reward of his
villainy in abducting Fanny Aubrey.

On learning that the infamous project had been crowned with complete
success, the old libertine was overjoyed beyond measure; but when Mike
demanded the one hundred dollars, his face lengthened--for he was
avaricious as well as villainous, and his recent loss of five thousand
dollars, in favor of the Chevalier and the Duchess, made him exceedingly
loth to part with a cool hundred so easily.--Not exactly knowing the
sort of a man he had to deal with, he assumed a stern tone and aspect,
and said--

"One hundred dollars, for two nights' work! Do you take me for a fool?
Here, fellow, is twenty dollars for you, and I consider you are well
paid for your trouble."

"But sir," remarked Mike--"you know you promised--"

"Pooh!--promises are nothing; when a man wants to get possession of a
pretty girl, he'll promise anything; when she is once in his power, he
is not so liberal. Here, take your twenty dollars, and be off!"

"And this is my reward and thanks for the risk I have run!" demanded Jew
Mike, bitterly.

"I've no time to waste words with you," rejoined Tickels, haughtily--"I
know you; you're an old offender, and I could send you to prison, if I
chose, without paying you a cent.--Once more, take the money, or leave
it."

"Then you would break your contract with me? Be it so--keep your money;
but, by God! I'll drink your heart's blood for this! My name is Jew
Mike, and I have said it. Farewell, till we meet again!"

He rushed from the house, leaving Tickels divided by joy at having saved
a hundred dollars, and fear, in consequence of the ruffian's savage
threat.

Five minutes after Mike's departure, Corporal Grimsby entered, announced
the abduction of Fanny Aubrey from the house of her friends, on the
preceding night, and boldly accused Tickels of having been the cause of
that outrage. The details of this interview are related in the sixth
chapter of this narrative; it is consequently unnecessary to repeat
them.

Satisfied in his own mind that old Tickels was at the bottom of the
business, and that Jew Mike was the agent employed, the Corporal made
the best of his way to Ann street, resolved to find the Jew, and prevail
upon him, by bribes, to disclose the place where Fanny had been carried.
During the whole of that day, he searched in vain; Mike was nowhere to
be found;--towards evening, however, as the old gentleman was about to
abandon the search in despair, he was informed by 'Cod-mouth Pat,' whom
he had enlisted in his service, that Mike had just been seen to enter
the 'Pig Pen.' With some difficulty, our friend contrived to gain an
entrance to that 'crib,' where he had the satisfaction to find the
object of his anxious search brooding over a half pint of gin. The
ruffian instantly recognised in the Corporal, the person who had escaped
from the 'Coal Hole,' some time previously, but every hostile feeling
vanished, when the old man announced the object of his visit to be the
discovery of Fanny Aubrey, and the punishment of the villain Tickels.

Without entering into details which might prove tedious, suffice it to
say that Jew Mike agreed to conduct the Corporal to the place where
Fanny was confined, on condition that the punishment of old Tickels
should be left entirely to him, (Mike). This was assented to, and the
pair instantly set out, in a cab, for the 'Chambers of Love,' in Warren
street--the Corporal, eager to rescue poor Fanny from the power of her
persecutors, and the Jew thirsting to revenge himself upon his employer,
for having refused to give him the stipulated reward.

       *       *       *       *       *

That same evening, at about the hour of seven, the Hon. Timothy Tickels
issued from his residence in South street, and proceeded towards Warren
street, which having reached, he entered the mansion of Madame
Hearthstone. That lady, with a significant smile, conducted him to her
chamber, and opened the secret panel; they descended the steps, and Mr.
Tickels was ushered in the grand hall of the 'Chambers of Love.' The
landlady pointed to the door of the apartment to which Fanny Aubrey had
been conveyed; the old libertine opened the door, and entered.

In a few moments a piercing scream is heard--then another; but alas!
those sounds could not be heard above, from the depths of that
voluptuous tomb. But hark!--there is a noise without--nearer and nearer
comes the tumult--the great door is burst open with a tremendous crash,
and Jew Mike rushes in, followed by Corporal Grimsby. "This way!"
shouts the Jew--"Forward!" responds the gallant Corporal. They reach the
door of the _Satin Chamber_--they open it.

"Brick-bats and paving-stones! just in time again!"

There, upon a satin couch, her dress disordered and torn, her face
flushed, her hair in wild disorder, her bosom naked and bleeding, lay
Fanny Aubrey, panting, writhing, fiercely struggling in the ruffian
grasp of the villain Tickels, who savagely turned and confronted the
intruders. In an instant, he was stunned by a powerful blow from the
gigantic fist of Jew Mike, and Fanny was folded in the arms of her
preserver, the brave old Corporal.

They left that underground hell--the Corporal, bearing the now overjoyed
Fanny in his arms, and Jew Mike, half carrying, half dragging the
insensible form of old Tickels. They reached the chamber above, and
emerged from the secret panel; the affrightened inmates of the house
offered no resistance; they entered the cab which was in waiting, and
were driven to the residence of the Corporal, who, with his fair young
_protege_, alighted, and entered the house; then Jew Mike and his victim
were driven to Ann street, and the vehicle halted before the cellar
which led to the 'Pig Pen.'

The night was very dark, and no one observed the Jew, as, issuing from
the cab, he descended into the cellar, bearing in his powerful arms the
unconscious form of Tickels. Fortunately for him, he passed through the
cellar and 'Pig Pen,' without exciting much notice, as the hour was too
early for the usual revellers of the place to assemble, and those who
saw him, merely supposed that he was carrying some drunken friend to a
place of safety from the police--a sight common enough in that region.
Mike needed no light to guide his footsteps, he traversed the dark
passage, he seized the iron ring, and drew up the trap door of the 'Coal
Hole,' from which the Corporal so providentially escaped. Then, with a
deep curse, he cast the old libertine into the dark abyss, closed the
entrance, and departed.

When Tickels revived, and found himself in that loathsome place, he rent
the air with his cries and supplications; but no aid came to the
crime-polluted wretch, and in a few days he sank beneath the combined
effects of despair, starvation, and the foetid atmosphere, and miserably
perished.



CONCLUSION


The Conclusion of a Tale is like the end of a journey: the Author throws
aside his pen and foolscap as the tired traveller does the dusty
garments of the road, and stretching himself at ease, looks back upon
the various companions of his erratic ramblings.

The curiosity of the reader is doubtless highly excited to know who
"Corporal Grimsby" is. Circumstances, we regret to say, will not permit
us to state definitely--but should a guess be made that the worthy old
Corporal, and a certain Capt. S----, commander of a Revenue Cutter,
were one and the same person, we will venture to say that the conjecture
would not be far removed from the actual truth.

The "Chevalier Duvall" and the "Duchess" still continue in their
brilliant career of crime, in Boston. We regret that the limits of the
present work have not permitted us to record more fully their
extraordinary operations in voluptuous intrigue and stupendous fraud.

Fanny Aubrey is again a happy inmate of the family of Mr. Goldworthy.
Poor Alice, although a shade has been cast over her pure life by the
dark villainy of the Chevalier, has been restored to a state of
comparative felicity by the constant kindness and sympathy of her
relatives and friends.

"Jew Mike" has gone on a professional tour to the South and West. "Sow
Nance" has become the most abandoned prostitute in Ann street.

Dear reader, thanking thee for the patience with which thou hast
accompanied us in our devious wanderings, and hoping that thou hast not
always found us to be a dull companion, we bid thee farewell.





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use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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