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´╗┐Title: Men's Wives
Author: Thackeray, William Makepeace, 1811-1863
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 "Men's Wives" ***

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MEN'S WIVES

By William Makepeace Thackeray



Contents.

The Ravenswing.

I. Which is entirely introductory--contains an account of Miss Crump,
her suitors, and her family circle.

II. In which Mr. Walker makes three attempts to ascertain the dwelling
of Morgiana.

III. What came of Mr. Walker's discovery of the "Bootjack."

IV. In which the heroine has a number more lovers, and cuts a very
dashing figure in the world.

V. In which Mr. Walker falls into difficulties, and Mrs. Walker makes
many foolish attempts to rescue him.

VI. In which Mr. Walker still remains in difficulties, but shows great
resignation under his misfortunes.

VII. In which Morgiana advances towards fame and honour, and in which
several great literary characters make their appearance.

VIII. In which Mr. Walker shows great prudence and forbearance.


Mr. and Mrs. Frank Berry.

I. The fight at Slaughter House.

II. The combat at Versailles.


Dennis Haggarty's wife.



MEN'S WIVES, BY G. FITZ-BOODLE



THE RAVENSWING



CHAPTER I. WHICH IS ENTIRELY INTRODUCTORY--CONTAINS AN ACCOUNT OF MISS
CRUMP, HER SUITORS, AND HER FAMILY CIRCLE.

In a certain quiet and sequestered nook of the retired village of
London--perhaps in the neighbourhood of Berkeley Square, or at any
rate somewhere near Burlington Gardens--there was once a house of
entertainment called the "Bootjack Hotel." Mr. Crump, the landlord, had,
in the outset of life, performed the duties of Boots in some inn even
more frequented than his own, and, far from being ashamed of his origin,
as many persons are in the days of their prosperity, had thus solemnly
recorded it over the hospitable gate of his hotel.

Crump married Miss Budge, so well known to the admirers of the festive
dance on the other side of the water as Miss Delancy; and they had
one daughter, named Morgiana, after that celebrated part in the "Forty
Thieves" which Miss Budge performed with unbounded applause both at
the "Surrey" and "The Wells." Mrs. Crump sat in a little bar, profusely
ornamented with pictures of the dancers of all ages, from Hillisberg,
Rose, Parisot, who plied the light fantastic toe in 1805, down to the
Sylphides of our day. There was in the collection a charming portrait of
herself, done by De Wilde; she was in the dress of Morgiana, and in the
act of pouring, to very slow music, a quantity of boiling oil into one
of the forty jars. In this sanctuary she sat, with black eyes, black
hair, a purple face and a turban, and morning, noon, or night, as you
went into the parlour of the hotel, there was Mrs. Crump taking tea
(with a little something in it), looking at the fashions, or reading
Cumberland's "British Theatre." The Sunday Times was her paper, for she
voted the Dispatch, that journal which is taken in by most ladies of her
profession, to be vulgar and Radical, and loved the theatrical gossip in
which the other mentioned journal abounds.

The fact is, that the "Royal Bootjack," though a humble, was a very
genteel house; and a very little persuasion would induce Mr. Crump, as
he looked at his own door in the sun, to tell you that he had himself
once drawn off with that very bootjack the top-boots of His Royal
Highness the Prince of Wales and the first gentleman in Europe. While,
then, the houses of entertainment in the neighbourhood were loud in
their pretended Liberal politics, the "Bootjack" stuck to the good old
Conservative line, and was only frequented by such persons as were of
that way of thinking. There were two parlours, much accustomed, one for
the gentlemen of the shoulder-knot, who came from the houses of their
employers hard by; another for some "gents who used the 'ouse," as Mrs.
Crump would say (Heaven bless her!) in her simple Cockniac dialect, and
who formed a little club there.

I forgot to say that while Mrs. C. was sipping her eternal tea or
washing up her endless blue china, you might often hear Miss Morgiana
employed at the little red-silk cottage piano, singing, "Come where the
haspens quiver," or "Bonny lad, march over hill and furrow," or "My art
and lute," or any other popular piece of the day. And the dear girl sang
with very considerable skill, too, for she had a fine loud voice, which,
if not always in tune, made up for that defect by its great energy and
activity; and Morgiana was not content with singing the mere tune, but
gave every one of the roulades, flourishes, and ornaments as she heard
them at the theatres by Mrs. Humby, Mrs. Waylett, or Madame Vestris.
The girl had a fine black eye like her mamma, a grand enthusiasm for
the stage, as every actor's child will have, and, if the truth must be
known, had appeared many and many a time at the theatre in Catherine
Street, in minor parts first, and then in Little Pickle, in Desdemona,
in Rosina, and in Miss Foote's part where she used to dance: I have not
the name to my hand, but think it is Davidson. Four times in the week,
at least, her mother and she used to sail off at night to some place of
public amusement, for Mrs. Crump had a mysterious acquaintance with
all sorts of theatrical personages; and the gates of her old haunt "The
Wells," of the "Cobourg" (by the kind permission of Mrs. Davidge), nay,
of the "Lane" and the "Market" themselves, flew open before her
"Open sesame," as the robbers' door did to her colleague, Ali Baba
(Hornbuckle), in the operatic piece in which she was so famous.

Beer was Mr. Crump's beverage, diversified by a little gin, in the
evenings; and little need be said of this gentleman, except that he
discharged his duties honourably, and filled the president's chair at
the club as completely as it could possibly be filled; for he could not
even sit in it in his greatcoat, so accurately was the seat adapted to
him. His wife and daughter, perhaps, thought somewhat slightingly of
him, for he had no literary tastes, and had never been at a theatre
since he took his bride from one. He was valet to Lord Slapper at the
time, and certain it is that his lordship set him up in the "Bootjack,"
and that stories HAD been told. But what are such to you or me? Let
bygones be bygones; Mrs. Crump was quite as honest as her neighbours,
and Miss had five hundred pounds to be paid down on the day of her
wedding.

Those who know the habits of the British tradesman are aware that he has
gregarious propensities like any lord in the land; that he loves a joke,
that he is not averse to a glass; that after the day's toil he is happy
to consort with men of his degree; and that as society is not so far
advanced among us as to allow him to enjoy the comforts of splendid
club-houses, which are open to many persons with not a tenth part of his
pecuniary means, he meets his friends in the cosy tavern parlour, where
a neat sanded floor, a large Windsor chair, and a glass of hot something
and water, make him as happy as any of the clubmen in their magnificent
saloons.

At the "Bootjack" was, as we have said, a very genteel and select
society, called the "Kidney Club," from the fact that on Saturday
evenings a little graceful supper of broiled kidneys was usually
discussed by the members of the club. Saturday was their grand night;
not but that they met on all other nights in the week when inclined for
festivity: and indeed some of them could not come on Saturdays in the
summer having elegant villas in the suburbs, where they passed the
six-and-thirty hours of recreation that are happily to be found at the
end of every week.

There was Mr. Balls, the great grocer of South Audley Street, a warm
man, who, they say, had his twenty thousand pounds; Jack Snaffle, of the
mews hard by, a capital fellow for a song; Clinker, the ironmonger:
all married gentlemen, and in the best line of business; Tressle, the
undertaker, etc. No liveries were admitted into the room, as may be
imagined, but one or two select butlers and major-domos joined the
circle; for the persons composing it knew very well how important it
was to be on good terms with these gentlemen and many a time my lord's
account would never have been paid, and my lady's large order never have
been given, but for the conversation which took place at the "Bootjack,"
and the friendly intercourse subsisting between all the members of the
society.

The tiptop men of the society were two bachelors, and two as fashionable
tradesmen as any in the town: Mr. Woolsey, from Stultz's, of the famous
house of Linsey, Woolsey and Co. of Conduit Street, Tailors; and Mr.
Eglantine, the celebrated perruquier and perfumer of Bond Street, whose
soaps, razors, and patent ventilating scalps are know throughout Europe.
Linsey, the senior partner of the tailors' firm had his handsome mansion
in Regent's Park, drove his buggy, and did little more than lend his
name to the house. Woolsey lived in it, was the working man of the firm,
and it was said that his cut was as magnificent as that of any man in
the profession. Woolsey and Eglantine were rivals in many ways--rivals
in fashion, rivals in wit, and, above all, rivals for the hand of
an amiable young lady whom we have already mentioned, the dark-eyed
songstress Morgiana Crump. They were both desperately in love with her,
that was the truth; and each, in the absence of the other, abused his
rival heartily. Of the hairdresser Woolsey said, that as for Eglantine
being his real name, it was all his (Mr. Woolsey's) eye; that he was in
the hands of the Jews, and his stock and grand shop eaten up by usury.
And with regard to Woolsey, Eglantine remarked, that his pretence
of being descended from the Cardinal was all nonsense; that he was a
partner, certainly, in the firm, but had only a sixteenth share; and
that the firm could never get their moneys in, and had an immense number
of bad debts in their books. As is usual, there was a great deal of
truth and a great deal of malice in these tales; however, the gentlemen
were, take them all in all, in a very fashionable way of business, and
had their claims to Miss Morgiana's hand backed by the parents. Mr.
Crump was a partisan of the tailor; while Mrs. C. was a strong advocate
for the claims of the enticing perfumer.

Now, it was a curious fact, that these two gentlemen were each in
need of the other's services--Woolsey being afflicted with premature
baldness, or some other necessity for a wig still more fatal--Eglantine
being a very fat man, who required much art to make his figure at all
decent. He wore a brown frock-coat and frogs, and attempted by all sorts
of contrivances to hide his obesity; but Woolsey's remark, that, dress
as he would, he would always look like a snob, and that there was
only one man in England who could make a gentleman of him, went to the
perfumer's soul; and if there was one thing on earth he longed for (not
including the hand of Miss Crump) it was to have a coat from Linsey's,
in which costume he was sure that Morgiana would not resist him.

If Eglantine was uneasy about the coat, on the other hand he attacked
Woolsey atrociously on the score of his wig; for though the latter went
to the best makers, he never could get a peruke to sit naturally upon
him and the unhappy epithet of Mr. Wiggins, applied to him on one
occasion by the barber, stuck to him ever after in the club, and
made him writhe when it was uttered. Each man would have quitted the
"Kidneys" in disgust long since, but for the other--for each had an
attraction in the place, and dared not leave the field in possession of
his rival.

To do Miss Morgiana justice, it must be said, that she did not encourage
one more than another; but as far as accepting eau-de-Cologne and
hair-combs from the perfumer--some opera tickets, a treat to Greenwich,
and a piece of real Genoa velvet for a bonnet (it had originally been
intended for a waistcoat), from the admiring tailor, she had been
equally kind to each, and in return had made each a present of a lock
of her beautiful glossy hair. It was all she had to give, poor girl!
and what could she do but gratify her admirers by this cheap and artless
testimony of her regard? A pretty scene and quarrel took place between
the rivals on the day when they discovered that each was in possession
of one of Morgiana's ringlets.

Such, then, were the owners and inmates of the little "Bootjack,"
from whom and which, as this chapter is exceedingly discursive and
descriptive, we must separate the reader for a while, and carry him--it
is only into Bond Street, so no gentleman need be afraid--carry him into
Bond Street, where some other personages are awaiting his consideration.

Not far from Mr. Eglantine's shop in Bond Street, stand, as is very well
known, the Windsor Chambers. The West Diddlesex Association (Western
Branch), the British and Foreign Soap Company, the celebrated attorneys
Kite and Levison, have their respective offices here; and as the names
of the other inhabitants of the chambers are not only painted on the
walls, but also registered in Mr. Boyle's "Court Guide," it is quite
unnecessary that they should be repeated here. Among them, on the
entresol (between the splendid saloons of the Soap Company on the first
floor, with their statue of Britannia presenting a packet of the soap to
Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, and the West Diddlesex Western Branch
on the basement)--lives a gentleman by the name of Mr. Howard Walker.
The brass plate on the door of that gentleman's chambers had the word
"Agency" inscribed beneath his name; and we are therefore at liberty
to imagine that he followed that mysterious occupation. In person Mr.
Walker was very genteel; he had large whiskers, dark eyes (with a slight
cast in them), a cane, and a velvet waistcoat. He was a member of a
club; had an admission to the opera, and knew every face behind the
scenes; and was in the habit of using a number of French phrases in his
conversation, having picked up a smattering of that language during a
residence "on the Continent;" in fact, he had found it very convenient
at various times of his life to dwell in the city of Boulogne, where
he acquired a knowledge of smoking, ecarte, and billiards, which was
afterwards of great service to him. He knew all the best tables in
town, and the marker at Hunt's could only give him ten. He had some
fashionable acquaintances too, and you might see him walking arm-in-arm
with such gentlemen as my Lord Vauxhall, the Marquess of Billingsgate,
or Captain Buff; and at the same time nodding to young Moses, the
dandy bailiff; or Loder, the gambling-house keeper; or Aminadab, the
cigar-seller in the Quadrant. Sometimes he wore a pair of moustaches,
and was called Captain Walker; grounding his claim to that title upon
the fact of having once held a commission in the service of Her Majesty
the Queen of Portugal. It scarcely need be said that he had been through
the Insolvent Court many times. But to those who did not know his
history intimately there was some difficulty in identifying him with the
individual who had so taken the benefit of the law, inasmuch as in
his schedule his name appeared as Hooker Walker, wine-merchant,
commission-agent, music-seller, or what not. The fact is, that though he
preferred to call himself Howard, Hooker was his Christian name, and it
had been bestowed on him by his worthy old father, who was a clergyman,
and had intended his son for that profession. But as the old gentleman
died in York gaol, where he was a prisoner for debt, he was never able
to put his pious intentions with regard to his son into execution; and
the young fellow (as he was wont with many oaths to assert) was thrown
on his own resources, and became a man of the world at a very early age.

What Mr. Howard Walker's age was at the time of the commencement of this
history, and, indeed, for an indefinite period before or afterwards, it
is impossible to determine. If he were eight-and-twenty, as he asserted
himself, Time had dealt hardly with him: his hair was thin, there were
many crows'-feet about his eyes, and other signs in his countenance
of the progress of decay. If, on the contrary, he were forty, as Sam
Snaffle declared, who himself had misfortunes in early life, and vowed
he knew Mr. Walker in Whitecross Street Prison in 1820, he was a very
young-looking person considering his age. His figure was active and
slim, his leg neat, and he had not in his whiskers a single white hair.

It must, however, be owned that he used Mr. Eglantine's Regenerative
Unction (which will make your whiskers as black as your boot), and, in
fact, he was a pretty constant visitor at that gentleman's emporium;
dealing with him largely for soaps and articles of perfumery, which he
had at an exceedingly low rate. Indeed, he was never known to pay Mr.
Eglantine one single shilling for those objects of luxury, and, having
them on such moderate terms, was enabled to indulge in them pretty
copiously. Thus Mr. Walker was almost as great a nosegay as Mr.
Eglantine himself: his handkerchief was scented with verbena, his hair
with jessamine, and his coat had usually a fine perfume of cigars, which
rendered his presence in a small room almost instantaneously remarkable.
I have described Mr. Walker thus accurately, because, in truth, it
is more with characters than with astounding events that this little
history deals, and Mr. Walker is one of the principal of our dramatis
personae.

And so, having introduced Mr. W., we will walk over with him to Mr.
Eglantine's emporium, where that gentleman is in waiting, too, to have
his likeness taken.

There is about an acre of plate glass under the Royal arms on Mr.
Eglantine's shop-window; and at night, when the gas is lighted, and the
washballs are illuminated, and the lambent flame plays fitfully over
numberless bottles of vari-coloured perfumes--now flashes on a case
of razors, and now lightens up a crystal vase, containing a hundred
thousand of his patent tooth-brushes--the effect of the sight may be
imagined. You don't suppose that he is a creature who has those odious,
simpering wax figures in his window, that are called by the vulgar
dummies? He is above such a wretched artifice; and it is my belief
that he would as soon have his own head chopped off, and placed as a
trunkless decoration to his shop-window, as allow a dummy to figure
there. On one pane you read in elegant gold letters "Eglantinia"--'tis
his essence for the handkerchief; on the other is written "Regenerative
Unction"--'tis his invaluable pomatum for the hair.

There is no doubt about it: Eglantine's knowledge of his profession
amounts to genius. He sells a cake of soap for seven shillings, for
which another man would not get a shilling, and his tooth-brushes go off
like wildfire at half-a-guinea apiece. If he has to administer rouge or
pearl-powder to ladies, he does it with a mystery and fascination which
there is no resisting, and the ladies believe there are no cosmetics
like his. He gives his wares unheard-of names, and obtains for them sums
equally prodigious. He CAN dress hair--that is a fact--as few men in
this age can; and has been known to take twenty pounds in a single
night from as many of the first ladies of England when ringlets were in
fashion. The introduction of bands, he says, made a difference of two
thousand pounds a year in his income; and if there is one thing in the
world he hates and despises, it is a Madonna. "I'm not," says he, "a
tradesman--I'm a HARTIST" (Mr. Eglantine was born in London)--"I'm a
hartist; and show me a fine 'ead of air, and I'll dress it for nothink."
He vows that it was his way of dressing Mademoiselle Sontag's hair, that
caused the count her husband to fall in love with her; and he has a lock
of it in a brooch, and says it was the finest head he ever saw, except
one, and that was Morgiana Crump's.

With his genius and his position in the profession, how comes it, then,
that Mr. Eglantine was not a man of fortune, as many a less clever has
been? If the truth must be told, he loved pleasure, and was in the hands
of the Jews. He had been in business twenty years: he had borrowed a
thousand pounds to purchase his stock and shop; and he calculated that
he had paid upwards of twenty thousand pounds for the use of the one
thousand, which was still as much due as on the first day when he
entered business. He could show that he had received a thousand dozen
of champagne from the disinterested money-dealers with whom he usually
negotiated his paper. He had pictures all over his "studios," which had
been purchased in the same bargains. If he sold his goods at an enormous
price, he paid for them at a rate almost equally exorbitant. There
was not an article in his shop but came to him through his Israelite
providers; and in the very front shop itself sat a gentleman who was the
nominee of one of them, and who was called Mr. Mossrose. He was there to
superintend the cash account, and to see that certain instalments were
paid to his principals, according to certain agreements entered into
between Mr. Eglantine and them.

Having that sort of opinion of Mr. Mossrose which Damocles may have had
of the sword which hung over his head, of course Mr. Eglantine hated his
foreman profoundly. "HE an artist," would the former gentleman exclaim;
"why, he's only a disguised bailiff! Mossrose indeed! The chap's name's
Amos, and he sold oranges before he came here." Mr. Mossrose, on his
side, utterly despised Mr. Eglantine, and looked forward to the day when
he would become the proprietor of the shop, and take Eglantine for a
foreman; and then it would HIS turn to sneer and bully, and ride the
high horse.

Thus it will be seen that there was a skeleton in the great perfumer's
house, as the saying is: a worm in his heart's core, and though to all
appearance prosperous, he was really in an awkward position.

What Mr. Eglantine's relations were with Mr. Walker may be imagined from
the following dialogue which took place between the two gentlemen at
five o'clock one summer's afternoon, when Mr. Walker, issuing from his
chambers, came across to the perfumer's shop:--

"Is Eglantine at home, Mr. Mossrose?" said Walker to the foreman, who
sat in the front shop.

"Don't know--go and look" (meaning go and be hanged); for Mossrose also
hated Mr. Walker.

"If you're uncivil I'll break your bones, Mr. AMOS," says Mr. Walker,
sternly.

"I should like to see you try, Mr. HOOKER Walker," replies the undaunted
shopman; on which the Captain, looking several tremendous canings at
him, walked into the back room or "studio."

"How are you, Tiny my buck?" says the Captain. "Much doing?"

"Not a soul in town. I 'aven't touched the hirons all day," replied Mr.
Eglantine, in rather a desponding way.

"Well, just get them ready now, and give my whiskers a turn. I'm going
to dine with Billingsgate and some out-and-out fellows at the 'Regent,'
and so, my lad, just do your best."

"I can't," says Mr. Eglantine. "I expect ladies, Captain, every minute."

"Very good; I don't want to trouble such a great man, I'm sure.
Good-bye, and let me hear from you THIS DAY WEEK, Mr. Eglantine."
"This day week" meant that at seven days from that time a certain bill
accepted by Mr. Eglantine would be due, and presented for payment.

"Don't be in such a hurry, Captain--do sit down. I'll curl you in one
minute. And, I say, won't the party renew?"

"Impossible--it's the third renewal."

"But I'll make the thing handsome to you;--indeed I will."

"How much?"

"Will ten pounds do the business?"

"What! offer my principal ten pounds? Are you mad, Eglantine?--A little
more of the iron to the left whisker."

"No, I meant for commission."

"Well, I'll see if that will do. The party I deal with, Eglantine, has
power, I know, and can defer the matter no doubt. As for me, you know,
I'VE nothing to do in the affair, and only act as a friend between you
and him. I give you my honour and soul, I do."

"I know you do, my dear sir." The last two speeches were lies. The
perfumer knew perfectly well that Mr. Walker would pocket the ten
pounds; but he was too easy to care for paying it, and too timid to
quarrel with such a powerful friend. And he had on three different
occasions already paid ten pounds' fine for the renewal of the bill in
question, all of which bonuses he knew went to his friend Mr. Walker.

Here, too, the reader will perceive what was, in part, the meaning of
the word "Agency" on Mr. Walker's door. He was a go-between between
money-lenders and borrowers in this world, and certain small sums always
remained with him in the course of the transaction. He was an agent for
wine, too; an agent for places to be had through the influence of
great men; he was an agent for half-a-dozen theatrical people, male and
female, and had the interests of the latter especially, it was said,
at heart. Such were a few of the means by which this worthy gentleman
contrived to support himself, and if, as he was fond of high living,
gambling, and pleasures of all kinds, his revenue was not large enough
for his expenditure--why, he got into debt, and settled his bills that
way. He was as much at home in the Fleet as in Pall Mall, and quite as
happy in the one place as in the other. "That's the way I take things,"
would this philosopher say. "If I've money, I spend; if I've credit,
I borrow; if I'm dunned, I whitewash; and so you can't beat me down."
Happy elasticity of temperament! I do believe that, in spite of his
misfortunes and precarious position, there was no man in England whose
conscience was more calm, and whose slumbers were more tranquil, than
those of Captain Howard Walker.

As he was sitting under the hands of Mr. Eglantine, he reverted to "the
ladies," whom the latter gentleman professed to expect; said he was a
sly dog, a lucky ditto, and asked him if the ladies were handsome.

Eglantine thought there could be no harm in telling a bouncer to a
gentleman with whom he was engaged in money transactions; and so, to
give the Captain an idea of his solvency and the brilliancy of his
future prospects, "Captain," said he, "I've got a hundred and eighty
pounds out with you, which you were obliging enough to negotiate for me.
Have I, or have I not, two bills out to that amount?"

"Well, my good fellow, you certainly have; and what then?"

"What then? Why, I bet you five pounds to one, that in three months
those bills are paid."

"Done! five pounds to one. I take it."

This sudden closing with him made the perfumer rather uneasy; but he was
not to pay for three months, and so he said, "Done!" too, and went on:
"What would you say if your bills were paid?"

"Not mine; Pike's."

"Well, if Pike's were paid; and the Minories' man paid, and every single
liability I have cleared off; and that Mossrose flung out of winder, and
me and my emporium as free as hair?"

"You don't say so? Is Queen Anne dead? and has she left you a fortune?
or what's the luck in the wind now?"

"It's better than Queen Anne, or anybody dying. What should you say to
seeing in that very place where Mossrose now sits (hang him!)--seeing
the FINEST HEAD OF 'AIR NOW IN EUROPE? A woman, I tell you--a
slap-up lovely woman, who, I'm proud to say, will soon be called Mrs.
Heglantine, and will bring me five thousand pounds to her fortune."

"Well, Tiny, this IS good luck indeed. I say, you'll be able to do a
bill or two for ME then, hay? You won't forget an old friend?"

"That I won't. I shall have a place at my board for you, Capting; and
many's the time I shall 'ope to see you under that ma'ogany."

"What will the French milliner say? She'll hang herself for despair,
Eglantine."

"Hush! not a word about 'ER. I've sown all my wild oats, I tell you.
Eglantine is no longer the gay young bachelor, but the sober married
man. I want a heart to share the feelings of mine. I want repose. I'm
not so young as I was: I feel it."

"Pooh! pooh! you are--you are--"

"Well, but I sigh for an 'appy fireside; and I'll have it."

"And give up that club which you belong to, hay?"

"'The Kidneys?' Oh! of course, no married man should belong to such
places: at least, I'LL not; and I'll have my kidneys broiled at home.
But be quiet, Captain, if you please; the ladies appointed to--"

"And is it THE lady you expect? eh, you rogue!"

"Well, get along. It's her and her Ma."

But Mr. Walker determined he wouldn't get along, and would see these
lovely ladies before he stirred.

The operation on Mr. Walker's whiskers being concluded, he was arranging
his toilet before the glass in an agreeable attitude: his neck out,
his enormous pin settled in his stock to his satisfaction, his eyes
complacently directed towards the reflection of his left and favourite
whisker. Eglantine was laid on a settee, in an easy, though melancholy
posture; he was twiddling the tongs with which he had just operated on
Walker with one hand, and his right-hand ringlet with the other, and he
was thinking--thinking of Morgiana; and then of the bill which was to
become due on the 16th; and then of a light-blue velvet waistcoat with
gold sprigs, in which he looked very killing, and so was trudging round
in his little circle of loves, fears, and vanities. "Hang it!" Mr.
Walker was thinking, "I AM a handsome man. A pair of whiskers like mine
are not met with every day. If anybody can see that my tuft is dyed, may
I be--" When the door was flung open, and a large lady with a curl
on her forehead, yellow shawl, a green-velvet bonnet with feathers,
half-boots, and a drab gown with tulips and other large exotics painted
on it--when, in a word, Mrs. Crump and her daughter bounced into the
room.

"Here we are, Mr. E," cries Mrs. Crump, in a gay folatre confidential
air. "But law! there's a gent in the room!"

"Don't mind me, ladies," said the gent alluded to, in his fascinating
way. "I'm a friend of Eglantine's; ain't I, Egg? a chip of the old
block, hay?"

"THAT you are," said the perfumer, starting up.

"An 'air-dresser?" asked Mrs. Crump. "Well, I thought he was; there's
something, Mr. E., in gentlemen of your profession so exceeding, so
uncommon distangy."

"Madam, you do me proud," replied the gentleman so complimented, with
great presence of mind. "Will you allow me to try my skill upon you, or
upon Miss, your lovely daughter? I'm not so clever as Eglantine, but no
bad hand, I assure you."

"Nonsense, Captain," interrupted the perfumer, who was uncomfortable
somehow at the rencontre between the Captain and the object of his
affection. "HE'S not in the profession, Mrs. C. This is my friend
Captain Walker, and proud I am to call him my friend." And then aside to
Mrs. C., "One of the first swells on town, ma'am--a regular tiptopper."

Humouring the mistake which Mrs. Crump had just made, Mr. Walker thrust
the curling-irons into the fire in a minute, and looked round at the
ladies with such a fascinating grace, that both, now made acquainted
with his quality, blushed and giggled, and were quite pleased. Mamma
looked at 'Gina, and 'Gina looked at mamma; and then mamma gave 'Gina a
little blow in the region of her little waist, and then both burst out
laughing, as ladies will laugh, and as, let us trust, they may laugh
for ever and ever. Why need there be a reason for laughing? Let us laugh
when we are laughy, as we sleep when we are sleepy. And so Mrs. Crump
and her demoiselle laughed to their hearts' content; and both fixed
their large shining black eyes repeatedly on Mr. Walker.

"I won't leave the room," said he, coming forward with the heated iron
in his hand, and smoothing it on the brown paper with all the dexterity
of a professor (for the fact is, Mr. W. every morning curled his own
immense whiskers with the greatest skill and care)--"I won't leave the
room, Eglantine my boy. My lady here took me for a hairdresser, and so,
you know, I've a right to stay."

"He can't stay," said Mrs. Crump, all of a sudden, blushing as red as a
peony.

"I shall have on my peignoir, Mamma," said Miss, looking at the
gentleman, and then dropping down her eyes and blushing too.

"But he can't stay, 'Gina, I tell you: do you think that I would, before
a gentleman, take off my--"

"Mamma means her FRONT!" said Miss, jumping up, and beginning to laugh
with all her might; at which the honest landlady of the "Bootjack," who
loved a joke, although at her own expense, laughed too, and said that no
one, except Mr. Crump and Mr. Eglantine, had ever seen her without the
ornament in question.

"DO go now, you provoking thing, you!" continued Miss C. to Mr. Walker;
"I wish to hear the hoverture, and it's six o'clock now, and we shall
never be done against then:" but the way in which Morgiana said "DO go,"
clearly indicated "don't" to the perspicacious mind of Mr. Walker.

"Perhaps you 'ad better go," continued Mr. Eglantine, joining in this
sentiment, and being, in truth, somewhat uneasy at the admiration which
his "swell friend" excited.

"I'll see you hanged first, Eggy my boy! Go I won't, until these ladies
have had their hair dressed: didn't you yourself tell me that Miss
Crump's was the most beautiful hair in Europe? And do you think that
I'll go away without seeing it? No, here I stay."

"You naughty wicked odious provoking man!" said Miss Crump. But, at the
same time, she took off her bonnet, and placed it on one of the side
candlesticks of Mr. Eglantine's glass (it was a black-velvet bonnet,
trimmed with sham lace, and with a wreath of nasturtiums, convolvuluses,
and wallflowers within), and then said, "Give me the peignoir, Mr.
Archibald, if you please;" and Eglantine, who would do anything for her
when she called him Archibald, immediately produced that garment, and
wrapped round the delicate shoulders of the lady, who, removing a sham
gold chain which she wore on her forehead, two brass hair-combs set with
glass rubies, and the comb which kept her back hair together--removing
them, I say, and turning her great eyes towards the stranger, and giving
her head a shake, down let tumble such a flood of shining waving heavy
glossy jetty hair, as would have done Mr. Rowland's heart good to see.
It tumbled down Miss Morgiana's back, and it tumbled over her shoulders,
it tumbled over the chair on which she sat, and from the midst of it her
jolly bright-eyed rosy face beamed out with a triumphant smile, which
said, "A'n't I now the most angelic being you ever saw?"

"By Heaven! it's the most beautiful thing I ever saw!" cried Mr. Walker,
with undisguised admiration.

"ISN'T it?" said Mrs. Crump, who made her daughter's triumph her own.
"Heigho! when I acted at 'The Wells' in 1820, before that dear girl was
born, _I_ had such a head of hair as that, to a shade, sir, to a shade.
They called me Ravenswing on account of it. I lost my head of hair when
that dear child was born, and I often say to her, 'Morgiana, you came
into the world to rob your mother of her 'air.' Were you ever at 'The
Wells,' sir, in 1820? Perhaps you recollect Miss Delancy? I am that Miss
Delancy. Perhaps you recollect,--

     "'Tink-a-tink, tink-a-tink,
         By the light of the star,
       On the blue river's brink,
         I heard a guitar.

     "'I heard a guitar,
         On the blue waters clear,
       And knew by its mu-u-sic,
         That Selim was near!'

You remember that in the 'Bagdad Bells'? Fatima, Delancy; Selim,
Benlomond (his real name was Bunnion: and he failed, poor fellow, in
the public line afterwards). It was done to the tambourine, and dancing
between each verse,--

     "'Tink-a-tink, tink-a-tink,
         How the soft music swells,
       And I hear the soft clink
         Of the minaret bells!

     "'Tink-a--'"

"Oh!" here cried Miss Crump, as if in exceeding pain (and whether Mr.
Eglantine had twitched, pulled, or hurt any one individual hair of that
lovely head I don't know)--"Oh, you are killing me, Mr. Eglantine!"

And with this mamma, who was in her attitude, holding up the end of her
boa as a visionary tambourine, and Mr. Walker, who was looking at her,
and in his amusement at the mother's performances had almost forgotten
the charms of the daughter--both turned round at once, and looked at
her with many expressions of sympathy, while Eglantine, in a voice of
reproach, said, "KILLED you, Morgiana! I kill YOU?"

"I'm better now," said the young lady, with a smile--"I'm better, Mr.
Archibald, now." And if the truth must be told, no greater coquette than
Miss Morgiana existed in all Mayfair--no, not among the most fashionable
mistresses of the fashionable valets who frequented the "Bootjack." She
believed herself to be the most fascinating creature that the world ever
produced; she never saw a stranger but she tried these fascinations upon
him; and her charms of manner and person were of that showy sort which
is most popular in this world, where people are wont to admire most that
which gives them the least trouble to see; and so you will find a tulip
of a woman to be in fashion when a little humble violet or daisy of
creation is passed over without remark. Morgiana was a tulip among
women, and the tulip fanciers all came flocking round her.

Well, the said "Oh" and "I'm better now, Mr. Archibald," thereby
succeeded in drawing everybody's attention to her lovely self. By the
latter words Mr. Eglantine was specially inflamed; he glanced at Mr.
Walker, and said, "Capting! didn't I tell you she was a CREECHER? See
her hair, sir: it's as black and as glossy as satting. It weighs fifteen
pound, that hair, sir; and I wouldn't let my apprentice--that blundering
Mossrose, for instance (hang him!)--I wouldn't let anyone but myself
dress that hair for five hundred guineas! Ah, Miss Morgiana, remember
that you MAY ALWAYS have Eglantine to dress your hair!--remember that,
that's all." And with this the worthy gentleman began rubbing delicately
a little of the Eglantinia into those ambrosial locks, which he loved
with all the love of a man and an artist.

And as for Morgiana showing her hair, I hope none of my readers will
entertain a bad opinion of the poor girl for doing so. Her locks were
her pride; she acted at the private theatre "hair parts," where she
could appear on purpose to show them in a dishevelled state; and that
her modesty was real, and not affected may be proved by the fact that
when Mr. Walker, stepping up in the midst of Eglantine's last speech,
took hold of a lock of her hair very gently with his hand, she cried
"Oh!" and started with all her might. And Mr. Eglantine observed
very gravely, "Capting! Miss Crump's hair is to be seen and not to be
touched, if you please."

"No more it is, Mr. Eglantine!" said her mamma. "And now, as it's come
to my turn, I beg the gentleman will be so obliging as to go."

"MUST I?" cried Mr. Walker; and as it was half-past six, and he was
engaged to dinner at the "Regent Club," and as he did not wish to make
Eglantine jealous, who evidently was annoyed by his staying, he took his
hat just as Miss Crump's coiffure was completed, and saluting her and
her mamma, left the room.

"A tip-top swell, I can assure you," said Eglantine, nodding after him:
"a regular bang-up chap, and no MISTAKE. Intimate with the Marquess of
Billingsgate, and Lord Vauxhall, and that set."

"He's very genteel," said Mrs. Crump.

"Law! I'm sure I think nothing of him," said Morgiana.

And Captain Walker walked towards his club, meditating on the beauties
of Morgiana. "What hair," said he, "what eyes the girl has! they're as
big as billiard-balls; and five thousand pounds. Eglantine's in luck!
five thousand pounds--she can't have it, it's impossible!"

No sooner was Mrs. Crump's front arranged, during the time of which
operation Morgiana sat in perfect contentment looking at the last French
fashions in the Courrier des Dames, and thinking how her pink satin
slip would dye, and make just such a mantilla as that represented in the
engraving--no sooner was Mrs. Crump's front arranged, than both ladies,
taking leave of Mr. Eglantine, tripped back to the "Bootjack Hotel" in
the neighbourhood, where a very neat green fly was already in waiting,
the gentleman on the box of which (from a livery-stable in the
neighbourhood) gave a knowing touch to his hat, and a salute with his
whip, to the two ladies, as they entered the tavern.

"Mr. W.'s inside," said the man--a driver from Mr. Snaffle's
establishment; "he's been in and out this score of times, and looking
down the street for you." And in the house, in fact, was Mr. Woolsey,
the tailor, who had hired the fly, and was engaged to conduct the ladies
that evening to the play.

It was really rather too bad to think that Miss Morgiana, after going to
one lover to have her hair dressed, should go with another to the play;
but such is the way with lovely woman! Let her have a dozen admirers,
and the dear coquette will exercise her power upon them all: and as a
lady, when she has a large wardrobe, and a taste for variety in dress,
will appear every day in a different costume, so will the young and
giddy beauty wear her lovers, encouraging now the black whiskers, now
smiling on the brown, now thinking that the gay smiling rattle of an
admirer becomes her very well, and now adopting the sad sentimental
melancholy one, according as her changeful fancy prompts her. Let us not
be too angry with these uncertainties and caprices of beauty; and depend
on it that, for the most part, those females who cry out loudest against
the flightiness of their sisters, and rebuke their undue encouragement
of this man or that, would do as much themselves if they had the chance,
and are constant, as I am to my coat just now, because I have no other.

"Did you see Doubleyou, 'Gina dear?" said her mamma, addressing that
young lady. "He's in the bar with your Pa, and has his military coat
with the king's buttons, and looks like an officer."

This was Mr. Woolsey's style, his great aim being to look like an army
gent, for many of whom he in his capacity of tailor made those splendid
red and blue coats which characterise our military. As for the royal
button, had not he made a set of coats for his late Majesty, George
IV.? and he would add, when he narrated this circumstance, "Sir, Prince
Blucher and Prince Swartzenberg's measure's in the house now; and what's
more, I've cut for Wellington." I believe he would have gone to St.
Helena to make a coat for Napoleon, so great was his ardour. He wore a
blue-black wig, and his whiskers were of the same hue. He was brief and
stern in conversations; and he always went to masquerades and balls in a
field-marshal's uniform.

"He looks really quite the thing to-night," continued Mrs. Crump.

"Yes," said 'Gina; "but he's such an odious wig, and the dye of his
whiskers always comes off on his white gloves."

"Everybody has not their own hair, love," continued Mrs. Crump with a
sigh; "but Eglantine's is beautiful."

"Every hairdresser's is," answered Morgiana, rather contemptuously;
"but what I can't bear is that their fingers is always so very fat and
pudgy."

In fact, something had gone wrong with the fair Morgiana. Was it that
she had but little liking for the one pretender or the other? Was it
that young Glauber, who acted Romeo in the private theatricals, was far
younger and more agreeable than either? Or was it, that seeing a
REAL GENTLEMAN, such as Mr. Walker, with whom she had had her first
interview, she felt more and more the want of refinement in her other
declared admirers? Certain, however, it is, that she was very reserved
all the evening, in spite of the attentions of Mr. Woolsey; that she
repeatedly looked round at the box-door, as if she expected someone to
enter; and that she partook of only a very few oysters, indeed, out of
the barrel which the gallant tailor had sent down to the "Bootjack," and
off which the party supped.

"What is it?" said Mr. Woolsey to his ally, Crump, as they sat together
after the retirement of the ladies. "She was dumb all night. She never
once laughed at the farce, nor cried at the tragedy, and you know she
laughs and cries uncommon. She only took half her negus, and not above a
quarter of her beer."

"No more she did!" replied Mr. Crump, very calmly. "I think it must
be the barber as has been captivating her: he dressed her hair for the
play."

"Hang him, I'll shoot him!" said Mr. Woolsey. "A fat foolish effeminate
beast like that marry Miss Morgiana? Never! I WILL shoot him. I'll
provoke him next Saturday--I'll tread on his toe--I'll pull his nose."

"No quarrelling at the 'Kidneys!'" answered Crump sternly; "there shall
be no quarrelling in that room as long as I'm in the chair!"


"Well, at any rate you'll stand my friend?"

"You know I will," answered the other. "You are honourable, and I like
you better than Eglantine. I trust you more than Eglantine, sir. You're
more of a man than Eglantine, though you ARE a tailor; and I wish with
all my heart you may get Morgiana. Mrs. C. goes the other way, I know:
but I tell you what, women will go their own ways, sir, and Morgy's
like her mother in this point, and depend upon it, Morgy will decide for
herself."

Mr. Woolsey presently went home, still persisting in his plan for the
assassination of Eglantine. Mr. Crump went to bed very quietly, and
snored through the night in his usual tone. Mr. Eglantine passed some
feverish moments of jealousy, for he had come down to the club in the
evening, and had heard that Morgiana was gone to the play with his
rival. And Miss Morgiana dreamed, of a man who was--must we say
it?--exceedingly like Captain Howard Walker. "Mrs. Captain So-and-so!"
thought she. "Oh, I do love a gentleman dearly!"

And about this time, too, Mr. Walker himself came rolling home from
the "Regent," hiccupping. "Such hair!--such eyebrows!--such eyes! like
b-b-billiard-balls, by Jove!"



CHAPTER II. IN WHICH MR. WALKER MAKES THREE ATTEMPTS TO ASCERTAIN THE
DWELLING OF MORGIANA.

The day after the dinner at the "Regent Club," Mr. Walker stepped over
to the shop of his friend the perfumer, where, as usual, the young man,
Mr. Mossrose, was established in the front premises.

For some reason or other, the Captain was particularly good-humoured;
and, quite forgetful of the words which had passed between him and Mr.
Eglantine's lieutenant the day before, began addressing the latter with
extreme cordiality.

"A good morning to you, Mr. Mossrose," said Captain Walker. "Why, sir,
you look as fresh as your namesake--you do, indeed, now, Mossrose."

"You look ash yellow ash a guinea," responded Mr. Mossrose, sulkily. He
thought the Captain was hoaxing him.

"My good sir," replies the other, nothing cast down, "I drank rather too
freely last night."

"The more beast you!" said Mr. Mossrose.

"Thank you, Mossrose; the same to you," answered the Captain.

"If you call me a beast, I'll punch your head off!" answered the young
man, who had much skill in the art which many of his brethren practise.

"I didn't, my fine fellow," replied Walker. "On the contrary, you--"

"Do you mean to give me the lie?" broke out the indignant Mossrose, who
hated the agent fiercely, and did not in the least care to conceal his
hate.

In fact, it was his fixed purpose to pick a quarrel with Walker, and to
drive him, if possible, from Mr. Eglantine's shop. "Do you mean to give
me the lie, I say, Mr. Hooker Walker?"

"For Heaven's sake, Amos, hold your tongue!" exclaimed the Captain, to
whom the name of Hooker was as poison; but at this moment a customer
stepping in, Mr. Amos exchanged his ferocious aspect for a bland grin,
and Mr. Walker walked into the studio.

When in Mr. Eglantine's presence, Walker, too, was all smiles in a
minute, sank down on a settee, held out his hand to the perfumer, and
began confidentially discoursing with him.

"SUCH a dinner, Tiny my boy," said he; "such prime fellows to eat
it, too! Billingsgate, Vauxhall, Cinqbars, Buff of the Blues, and
half-a-dozen more of the best fellows in town. And what do you think the
dinner cost a head? I'll wager you'll never guess."

"Was it two guineas a head?--In course I mean without wine," said the
genteel perfumer.

"Guess again!"

"Well, was it ten guineas a head? I'll guess any sum you please,"
replied Mr. Eglantine: "for I know that when you NOBS are together, you
don't spare your money. I myself, at the "Star and Garter" at Richmond,
once paid--"

"Eighteenpence?"

"Heighteenpence, sir!--I paid five-and-thirty shillings per 'ead. I'd
have you to know that I can act as a gentleman as well as any other
gentleman, sir," answered the perfumer with much dignity.

"Well, eighteenpence was what WE paid, and not a rap more, upon my
honour."

"Nonsense, you're joking. The Marquess of Billinsgate dine for
eighteenpence! Why, hang it, if I was a marquess, I'd pay a five-pound
note for my lunch."

"You little know the person, Master Eglantine," replied the Captain,
with a smile of contemptuous superiority; "you little know the real
man of fashion, my good fellow. Simplicity, sir--simplicity's the
characteristic of the real gentleman, and so I'll tell you what we had
for dinner."

"Turtle and venison, of course:--no nob dines without THEM."

"Psha! we're sick of 'em! We had pea soup and boiled tripe! What do you
think of THAT? We had sprats and herrings, a bullock's heart, a baked
shoulder of mutton and potatoes, pig's-fry and Irish stew. _I_ ordered
the dinner, sir, and got more credit for inventing it than they ever
gave to Ude or Soyer. The Marquess was in ecstasies, the Earl devoured
half a bushel of sprats, and if the Viscount is not laid up with a
surfeit of bullock's heart, my name's not Howard Walker. Billy, as I
call him, was in the chair, and gave my health; and what do you think
the rascal proposed?"

"What DID his Lordship propose?"

"That every man present should subscribe twopence, and pay for my share
of the dinner. By Jove! it is true, and the money was handed to me in
a pewter-pot, of which they also begged to make me a present. We
afterwards went to Tom Spring's, from Tom's to the 'Finish,' from the
'Finish' to the watch-house--that is, THEY did--and sent for me, just as
I was getting into bed, to bail them all out."

"They're happy dogs, those young noblemen," said Mr Eglantine; "nothing
but pleasure from morning till night; no affectation neither--no HOTURE;
but manly downright straightforward good fellows."

"Should you like to meet them, Tiny my boy?" said the Captain.

"If I did sir, I hope I should show myself to be gentleman," answered
Mr. Eglantine.

"Well, you SHALL meet them, and Lady Billingsgate shall order her
perfumes at your shop. We are going to dine, next week, all our set,
at Mealy-faced Bob's, and you shall be my guest," cried the Captain,
slapping the delighted artist on the back. "And now, my boy, tell me how
YOU spent the evening."

"At my club, sir," answered Mr. Eglantine, blushing rather.

"What! not at the play with the lovely black-eyed Miss--What is her
name, Eglantine?

"Never mind her name, Captain," replied Eglantine, partly from prudence
and partly from shame. He had not the heart to own it was Crump, and he
did not care that the Captain should know more of his destined bride.

"You wish to keep the five thousand to yourself--eh, you rogue?"
responded the Captain, with a good-humoured air, although exceedingly
mortified; for, to say the truth, he had put himself to the trouble
of telling the above long story of the dinner, and of promising to
introduce Eglantine to the lords, solely that he might elicit from that
gentleman's good-humour some further particulars regarding the young
lady with the billiard-ball eyes. It was for the very same reason, too,
that he had made the attempt at reconciliation with Mr. Mossrose which
had just so signally failed. Nor would the reader, did he know Mr. W.
better, at all require to have the above explanation; but as yet we are
only at the first chapter of his history, and who is to know what the
hero's motives can be unless we take the trouble to explain?

Well, the little dignified answer of the worthy dealer in bergamot,
"NEVER MIND HER NAME, CAPTAIN!" threw the gallant Captain quite aback;
and though he sat for a quarter of an hour longer, and was exceedingly
kind; and though he threw out some skilful hints, yet the perfumer was
quite unconquerable; or, rather, he was too frightened to tell: the
poor fat timid easy good-natured gentleman was always the prey of
rogues,--panting and floundering in one rascal's snare or another's. He
had the dissimulation, too, which timid men have; and felt the presence
of a victimiser as a hare does of a greyhound. Now he would be quite
still, now he would double, and now he would run, and then came the end.
He knew, by his sure instinct of fear, that the Captain had, in asking
these questions, a scheme against him, and so he was cautious, and
trembled, and doubted. And oh! how he thanked his stars when Lady
Grogmore's chariot drove up, with the Misses Grogmore, who wanted their
hair dressed, and were going to a breakfast at three o'clock!

"I'll look in again, Tiny," said the Captain, on hearing the summons.

"DO, Captain," said the other: "THANK YOU;" and went into the lady's
studio with a heavy heart.

"Get out of the way, you infernal villain!" roared the Captain, with
many oaths, to Lady Grogmore's large footman, with ruby-coloured tights,
who was standing inhaling the ten thousand perfumes of the shop; and the
latter, moving away in great terror, the gallant agent passed out, quite
heedless of the grin of Mr. Mossrose.

Walker was in a fury at his want of success, and walked down Bond Street
in a fury. "I WILL know where the girl lives!" swore he. "I'll spend a
five-pound note, by Jove! rather than not know where she lives!"

"THAT YOU WOULD--I KNOW YOU WOULD!" said a little grave low voice, all
of a sudden, by his side. "Pooh! what's money to you?"

Walker looked down: it was Tom Dale.

Who in London did not know little Tom Dale? He had cheeks like an apple,
and his hair curled every morning, and a little blue stock, and always
two new magazines under his arm, and an umbrella and a little brown
frock-coat, and big square-toed shoes with which he went PAPPING down
the street. He was everywhere at once. Everybody met him every day, and
he knew everything that everybody ever did; though nobody ever knew what
HE did. He was, they say, a hundred years old, and had never dined at
his own charge once in those hundred years. He looked like a figure out
of a waxwork, with glassy clear meaningless eyes: he always spoke with
a grin; he knew what you had for dinner the day before he met you, and
what everybody had had for dinner for a century back almost. He was
the receptacle of all the scandal of all the world, from Bond Street
to Bread Street; he knew all the authors, all the actors, all the
"notorieties" of the town, and the private histories of each. That is,
he never knew anything really, but supplied deficiencies of truth and
memory with ready-coined, never-failing lies. He was the most benevolent
man in the universe, and never saw you without telling you everything
most cruel of your neighbour, and when he left you he went to do the
same kind turn by yourself.

"Pooh! what's money to you, my dear boy?" said little Tom Dale, who had
just come out of Ebers's, where he had been filching an opera-ticket.
"You make it in bushels in the City, you know you do---in thousands.
I saw you go into Eglantine's. Fine business that; finest in London.
Five-shilling cakes of soap, my dear boy. I can't wash with such.
Thousands a year that man has made--hasn't he?"

"Upon my word, Tom, I don't know," says the Captain.

"YOU not know? Don't tell me. You know everything--you agents. You KNOW
he makes five thousand a year--ay, and might make ten, but you know why
he don't."

"Indeed I don't."

"Nonsense. Don't humbug a poor old fellow like me. Jews--Amos--fifty per
cent., ay? Why can't he get his money from a good Christian?"

"I HAVE heard something of that sort," said Walker, laughing. "Why, by
Jove, Tom, you know everything!"

"YOU know everything, my dear boy. You know what a rascally trick that
opera creature served him, poor fellow. Cashmere shawls--Storr and
Mortimer's--'Star and Garter.' Much better dine quiet off pea-soup and
sprats--ay? His betters have, as you know very well."

"Pea-soup and sprats! What! have you heard of that already?"

"Who bailed Lord Billingsgate, hey, you rogue?" and here Tom gave a
knowing and almost demoniacal grin. "Who wouldn't go to the 'Finish'?
Who had the piece of plate presented to him filled with sovereigns? And
you deserved it, my dear boy--you deserved it. They said it was only
halfpence, but I know better!" and here Tom went off in a cough.

"I say, Tom," cried Walker, inspired with a sudden thought, "you, who
know everything, and are a theatrical man, did you ever know a Miss
Delancy, an actress?"

"At 'Sadler's Wells' in '16? Of course I did. Real name was Budge. Lord
Slapper admired her very much, my dear boy. She married a man by the
name of Crump, his Lordship's black footman, and brought him five
thousand pounds; and they keep the 'Bootjack' public-house in Bunker's
Buildings, and they've got fourteen children. Is one of them handsome,
eh, you sly rogue--and is it that which you will give five pounds to
know? God bless you, my dear dear boy. Jones, my dear friend, how are
you?"

And now, seizing on Jones, Tom Dale left Mr. Walker alone, and proceeded
to pour into Mr. Jones's ear an account of the individual whom he had
just quitted; how he was the best fellow in the world, and Jones KNEW
it; how he was in a fine way of making his fortune; how he had been in
the Fleet many times, and how he was at this moment employed in looking
out for a young lady of whom a certain great marquess (whom Jones knew
very well, too) had expressed an admiration.

But for these observations, which he did not hear, Captain Walker, it
may be pronounced, did not care. His eyes brightened up, he marched
quickly and gaily away; and turning into his own chambers opposite
Eglantine's, shop, saluted that establishment with a grin of triumph.
"You wouldn't tell me her name, wouldn't you?" said Mr. Walker. "Well,
the luck's with me now, and here goes."

Two days after, as Mr. Eglantine, with white gloves and a case of
eau-de-Cologne as a present in his pocket, arrived at the "Bootjack
Hotel," Little Bunker's Buildings, Berkeley Square (for it must
out--that was the place in which Mr. Crump's inn was situated),
he paused for a moment at the threshold of the little house of
entertainment, and listened, with beating heart, to the sound of
delicious music that a well-known voice was uttering within.

The moon was playing in silvery brightness down the gutter of the humble
street. A "helper," rubbing down one of Lady Smigsmag's carriage-horses,
even paused in his whistle to listen to the strain. Mr. Tressle's man,
who had been professionally occupied, ceased his tap-tap upon the coffin
which he was getting in readiness. The greengrocer (there is always a
greengrocer in those narrow streets, and he goes out in white Berlin
gloves as a supernumerary footman) was standing charmed at his little
green gate; the cobbler (there is always a cobbler too) was drunk, as
usual, of evenings, but, with unusual subordination, never sang except
when the refrain of the ditty arrived, when he hiccupped it forth with
tipsy loyalty; and Eglantine leaned against the chequers painted on
the door-side under the name of Crump, and looked at the red illumined
curtain of the bar, and the vast well-known shadow of Mrs. Crump's
turban within. Now and again the shadow of that worthy matron's hand
would be seen to grasp the shadow of a bottle; then the shadow of a
cup would rise towards the turban, and still the strain proceeded.
Eglantine, I say, took out his yellow bandanna, and brushed the beady
drops from his brow, and laid the contents of his white kids on his
heart, and sighed with ecstatic sympathy. The song began,--

         "Come to the greenwood tree, [1]
          Come where the dark woods be,
          Dearest, O come with me!
     Let us rove--O my love--O my love!
                             O my-y love!

(Drunken Cobbler without)
                             O my-y love!"

"Beast!" says Eglantine.

         "Come--'tis the moonlight hour,
          Dew is on leaf and flower,
          Come to the linden bower,
     Let us rove--O my love--O my love!
   Let us ro-o-ove, lurlurliety; yes, we'll rove, lurlurliety,
   Through the gro-o-ove, lurlurliety--lurlurli-e-i-e-i-e-i!

(Cobbler, as usual)--
                             Let us ro-o-ove," etc.

"YOU here?" says another individual, coming clinking up the street, in
a military-cut dress-coat, the buttons whereof shone very bright in the
moonlight. "YOU here, Eglantine?--You're always here."

"Hush, Woolsey," said Mr. Eglantine to his rival the tailor (for he
was the individual in question); and Woolsey, accordingly, put his
back against the opposite door-post and chequers, so that (with poor
Eglantine's bulk) nothing much thicker than a sheet of paper could pass
out or in. And thus these two amorous caryatides kept guard as the song
continued:--

          "Dark is the wood, and wide,
           Dangers, they say, betide;
           But, at my Albert's side,
     Nought, I fear, O my love--O my love!

          "Welcome the greenwood tree,
           Welcome the forest tree,
           Dearest, with thee, with thee,
     Nought I fear, O my love--O ma-a-y love!"

Eglantine's fine eyes were filled with tears as Morgiana passionately
uttered the above beautiful words. Little Woolsey's eyes glistened, as
he clenched his fist with an oath, and said, "Show me any singing that
can beat THAT. Cobbler, shut your mouth, or I'll break your head!"

But the cobbler, regardless of the threat, continued to perform the
"Lurlurliety" with great accuracy; and when that was ended, both on his
part and Morgiana's, a rapturous knocking of glasses was heard in the
little bar, then a great clapping of hands, and finally somebody shouted
"Brava!"

"Brava!"

At that word Eglantine turned deadly pale, then gave a start, then a
rush forward, which pinned, or rather cushioned, the tailor against the
wall; then twisting himself abruptly round, he sprang to the door of the
bar, and bounced into that apartment.

"HOW ARE YOU, MY NOSEGAY?" exclaimed the same voice which had shouted
"Brava!" It was that of Captain Walker.

At ten o'clock the next morning, a gentleman, with the King's button
on his military coat, walked abruptly into Mr. Eglantine's shop, and,
turning on Mr. Mossrose, said, "Tell your master I want to see him."

"He's in his studio," said Mr. Mossrose.

"Well, then, fellow, go and fetch him!"

And Mossrose, thinking it must be the Lord Chamberlain, or Doctor
Praetorius at least, walked into the studio, where the perfumer was
seated in a very glossy old silk dressing-gown, his fair hair hanging
over his white face, his double chin over his flaccid whity-brown
shirt-collar, his pea-green slippers on the hob, and on the fire the pot
of chocolate which was simmering for his breakfast. A lazier fellow
than poor Eglantine it would be hard to find; whereas, on the contrary,
Woolsey was always up and brushed, spick-and-span, at seven o'clock; and
had gone through his books, and given out the work for the journeymen,
and eaten a hearty breakfast of rashers of bacon, before Eglantine had
put the usual pound of grease to his hair (his fingers were always as
damp and shiny as if he had them in a pomatum-pot), and arranged his
figure for the day.

"Here's a gent wants you in the shop," says Mr. Mossrose, leaving the
door of communication wide open.

"Say I'm in bed, Mr. Mossrose; I'm out of sperrets, and really can see
nobody."

"It's someone from Vindsor, I think; he's got the royal button," says
Mossrose.

"It's me--Woolsey," shouted the little man from the shop.

Mr. Eglantine at this jumped up, made a rush to the door leading to his
private apartment, and disappeared in a twinkling. But it must not be
imagined that he fled in order to avoid Mr. Woolsey. He only went away
for one minute just to put on his belt, for he was ashamed to be seen
without it by his rival.

This being assumed, and his toilet somewhat arranged, Mr. Woolsey was
admitted into his private room. And Mossrose would have heard every
word of the conversation between those two gentlemen, had not Woolsey,
opening the door, suddenly pounced on the assistant, taken him by
the collar, and told him to disappear altogether into the shop: which
Mossrose did; vowing he would have his revenge.

The subject on which Woolsey had come to treat was an important one.
"Mr. Eglantine," says he, "there's no use disguising from one another
that we are both of us in love with Miss Morgiana, and that our chances
up to this time have been pretty equal. But that Captain whom you
introduced, like an ass as you were--"

"An ass, Mr. Woolsey! I'd have you to know, sir, that I'm no more a hass
than you are, sir; and as for introducing the Captain, I did no such
thing."

"Well, well, he's got a-poaching into our preserves somehow. He's
evidently sweet upon the young woman, and is a more fashionable chap
than either of us two. We must get him out of the house, sir--we must
circumwent him; and THEN, Mr. Eglantine, will be time enough for you and
me to try which is the best man."

"HE the best man?" thought Eglantine; "the little bald unsightly
tailor-creature! A man with no more soul than his smoothing-hiron!" The
perfumer, as may be imagined, did not utter this sentiment aloud, but
expressed himself quite willing to enter into any HAMICABLE arrangement
by which the new candidate for Miss Crump's favour must be thrown over.
It was accordingly agreed between the two gentlemen that they should
coalesce against the common enemy; that they should, by reciting many
perfectly well-founded stories in the Captain's disfavour, influence the
minds of Miss Crump's parents, and of herself, if possible, against this
wolf in sheep's clothing; and that, when they were once fairly rid of
him, each should be at liberty, as before, to prefer his own claim.

"I have thought of a subject," said the little tailor, turning very red,
and hemming and hawing a great deal. "I've thought, I say, of a pint,
which may be resorted to with advantage at the present juncture, and in
which each of us may be useful to the other. An exchange, Mr. Eglantine:
do you take?"

"Do you mean an accommodation-bill?" said Eglantine, whose mind ran a
good deal on that species of exchange.

"Pooh, nonsense, sir! The name of OUR firm is, I flatter myself, a
little more up in the market than some other people's names."

"Do you mean to insult the name of Archibald Eglantine, sir? I'd have
you to know that at three months--"

"Nonsense!" says Mr. Woolsey, mastering his emotion. "There's no use
a-quarrelling, Mr. E.: we're not in love with each other, I know that.
You wish me hanged, or as good, I know that!"

"Indeed I don't, sir!"

"You do, sir; I tell you, you do! and what's more, I wish the same
to you--transported, at any rate! But as two sailors, when a boat's
a-sinking, though they hate each other ever so much, will help and bale
the boat out; so, sir, let US act: let us be the two sailors."

"Bail, sir?" said Eglantine, as usual mistaking the drift of the
argument. "I'll bail no man! If you're in difficulties, I think you had
better go to your senior partner, Mr Woolsey." And Eglantine's cowardly
little soul was filled with a savage satisfaction to think that his
enemy was in distress, and actually obliged to come to HIM for succour.

"You're enough to make Job swear, you great fat stupid lazy old barber!"
roared Mr. Woolsey, in a fury.

Eglantine jumped up and made for the bell-rope. The gallant little
tailor laughed.

"There's no need to call in Betsy," said he. "I'm not a-going to eat
you, Eglantine; you're a bigger man than me: if you were just to fall on
me, you'd smother me! Just sit still on the sofa and listen to reason."

"Well, sir, pro-ceed," said the barber with a gasp.

"Now, listen! What's the darling wish of your heart? I know it, sir!
you've told it to Mr. Tressle, sir, and other gents at the club. The
darling wish of your heart, sir, is to have a slap-up coat turned out of
the ateliers of Messrs. Linsey, Woolsey and Company. You said you'd give
twenty guineas for one of our coats, you know you did! Lord Bolsterton's
a fatter man than you, and look what a figure we turn HIM out. Can any
firm in England dress Lord Bolsterton but us, so as to make his Lordship
look decent? I defy 'em, sir! We could have given Daniel Lambert a
figure!"

"If I want a coat, sir," said Mr. Eglantine, "and I don't deny it,
there's some people want a HEAD OF HAIR!"

"That's the very point I was coming to," said the tailor, resuming the
violent blush which was mentioned as having suffused his countenance
at the beginning of the conversation. "Let us have terms of mutual
accommodation. Make me a wig, Mr. Eglantine, and though I never yet cut
a yard of cloth except for a gentleman, I'll pledge you my word I'll
make you a coat."

"WILL you, honour bright?" says Eglantine.

"Honour bright," says the tailor. "Look!" and in an instant he drew
from his pocket one of those slips of parchment which gentlemen of his
profession carry, and putting Eglantine into the proper position, began
to take the preliminary observations. He felt Eglantine's heart
thump with happiness as his measure passed over that soft part of the
perfumer's person.

Then pulling down the window-blind, and looking that the door was
locked, and blushing still more deeply than ever, the tailor seated
himself in an arm-chair towards which Mr. Eglantine beckoned him, and,
taking off his black wig, exposed his head to the great perruquier's
gaze. Mr. Eglantine looked at it, measured it, manipulated it, sat
for three minutes with his head in his hand and his elbow on his knee,
gazing at the tailor's cranium with all his might, walked round it twice
or thrice, and then said, "It's enough, Mr. Woolsey. Consider the job
as done. And now, sir," said he, with a greatly relieved air--"and now,
Woolsey, let us 'ave a glass of curacoa to celebrate this hauspicious
meeting."

The tailor, however, stiffly replied that he never drank in a morning,
and left the room without offering to shake Mr. Eglantine by the hand:
for he despised that gentleman very heartily, and himself, too, for
coming to any compromise with him, and for so far demeaning himself as
to make a coat for a barber.

Looking from his chambers on the other side of the street, that
inevitable Mr. Walker saw the tailor issuing from the perfumer's shop,
and was at no loss to guess that something extraordinary must be in
progress when two such bitter enemies met together.



CHAPTER III. WHAT CAME OF MR WALKER'S DISCOVERY OF THE "BOOTJACK."

It is very easy to state how the Captain came to take up that proud
position at the "Bootjack" which we have seen him occupy on the evening
when the sound of the fatal "Brava!" so astonished Mr. Eglantine.

The mere entry into the establishment was, of course, not difficult. Any
person by simply uttering the words "A pint of beer," was free of the
"Bootjack;" and it was some such watchword that Howard Walker employed
when he made his first appearance. He requested to be shown into a
parlour, where he might repose himself for a while, and was ushered into
that very sanctum where the "Kidney Club" met. Then he stated that the
beer was the best he had ever tasted, except in Bavaria, and in some
parts of Spain, he added; and professing to be extremely "peckish,"
requested to know if there were any cold meat in the house whereof he
could make a dinner.

"I don't usually dine at this hour, landlord," said he, flinging down
a half-sovereign for payment of the beer; "but your parlour looks so
comfortable, and the Windsor chairs are so snug, that I'm sure I could
not dine better at the first club in London."

"ONE of the first clubs in London is held in this very room," said Mr.
Crump, very well pleased; "and attended by some of the best gents in
town, too. We call it the 'Kidney Club'."

"Why, bless my soul! it is the very club my friend Eglantine has so
often talked to me about, and attended by some of the tip-top tradesmen
of the metropolis!"

"There's better men here than Mr. Eglantine," replied Mr. Crump, "though
he's a good man--I don't say he's not a good man--but there's better.
Mr. Clinker, sir; Mr. Woolsey, of the house of Linsey, Woolsey and Co--"

"The great army-clothiers!" cried Walker; "the first house in town!"
and so continued, with exceeding urbanity, holding conversation with Mr.
Crump, until the honest landlord retired delighted, and told Mrs. Crump
in the bar that there was a tip-top swell in the "Kidney" parlour, who
was a-going to have his dinner there.

Fortune favoured the brave Captain in every way. It was just Mr. Crump's
own dinner-hour; and on Mrs. Crump stepping into the parlour to ask the
guest whether he would like a slice of the joint to which the family
were about to sit down, fancy that lady's start of astonishment at
recognising Mr. Eglantine's facetious friend of the day before. The
Captain at once demanded permission to partake of the joint at the
family table; the lady could not with any great reason deny this
request; the Captain was inducted into the bar; and Miss Crump, who
always came down late for dinner, was even more astonished than her
mamma, on beholding the occupier of the fourth place at the table. Had
she expected to see the fascinating stranger so soon again? I think she
had. Her big eyes said as much, as, furtively looking up at Mr. Walker's
face, they caught his looks; and then bouncing down again towards her
plate, pretended to be very busy in looking at the boiled beef and
carrots there displayed. She blushed far redder than those carrots, but
her shining ringlets hid her confusion together with her lovely face.

Sweet Morgiana! the billiard-ball eyes had a tremendous effect on the
Captain. They fell plump, as it were, into the pocket of his heart; and
he gallantly proposed to treat the company to a bottle of champagne,
which was accepted without much difficulty.

Mr. Crump, under pretence of going to the cellar (where he said he had
some cases of the finest champagne in Europe), called Dick, the boy,
to him, and despatched him with all speed to a wine merchant's, where a
couple of bottles of the liquor were procured.

"Bring up two bottles, Mr. C.," Captain Walker gallantly said when Crump
made his move, as it were, to the cellar and it may be imagined after
the two bottles were drunk (of which Mrs. Crump took at least nine
glasses to her share), how happy, merry, and confidential the whole
party had become. Crump told his story of the "Bootjack," and whose boot
it had drawn; the former Miss Delancy expatiated on her past theatrical
life, and the pictures hanging round the room. Miss was equally
communicative; and, in short, the Captain had all the secrets of the
little family in his possession ere sunset. He knew that Miss cared
little for either of her suitors, about whom mamma and papa had a little
quarrel. He heard Mrs. Crump talk of Morgiana's property, and fell more
in love with her than ever. Then came tea, the luscious crumpet, the
quiet game at cribbage, and the song--the song which poor Eglantine
heard, and which caused Woolsey's rage and his despair.

At the close of the evening the tailor was in a greater rage, and the
perfumer in greater despair than ever. He had made his little present
of eau-de-Cologne. "Oh fie!" says the Captain, with a horse-laugh, "it
SMELLS OF THE SHOP!" He taunted the tailor about his wig, and the honest
fellow had only an oath to give by way of repartee. He told his stories
about his club and his lordly friends. What chance had either against
the all-accomplished Howard Walker?

Old Crump, with a good innate sense of right and wrong, hated the man;
Mrs. Crump did not feel quite at her ease regarding him; but Morgiana
thought him the most delightful person the world ever produced.

Eglantine's usual morning costume was a blue satin neck-cloth
embroidered with butterflies and ornamented with a brandy-ball brooch, a
light shawl waistcoat, and a rhubarb-coloured coat of the sort which, I
believe, are called Taglionis, and which have no waist-buttons, and made
a pretence, as it were, to have no waists, but are in reality adopted by
the fat in order to give them a waist. Nothing easier for an obese man
than to have a waist; he has but to pinch his middle part a little, and
the very fat on either side pushed violently forward MAKES a waist,
as it were, and our worthy perfumer's figure was that of a bolster cut
almost in two with a string.

Walker presently saw him at his shop-door grinning in this costume,
twiddling his ringlets with his dumpy greasy fingers, glittering with
oil and rings, and looking so exceedingly contented and happy that the
estate-agent felt assured some very satisfactory conspiracy had been
planned between the tailor and him. How was Mr. Walker to learn what the
scheme was? Alas! the poor fellow's vanity and delight were such, that
he could not keep silent as to the cause of his satisfaction; and rather
than not mention it at all, in the fulness of his heart he would have
told his secret to Mr. Mossrose himself.

"When I get my coat," thought the Bond Street Alnaschar, "I'll hire
of Snaffle that easy-going cream-coloured 'oss that he bought from
Astley's, and I'll canter through the Park, and WON'T I pass through
Little Bunker's Buildings, that's all? I'll wear my grey trousers with
the velvet stripe down the side, and get my spurs lacquered up, and a
French polish to my boot; and if I don't DO for the Captain, and the
tailor too, my name's not Archibald. And I know what I'll do: I'll hire
the small clarence, and invite the Crumps to dinner at the 'Gar and
Starter'" (this was his facetious way of calling the "Star and Garter"),
"and I'll ride by them all the way to Richmond. It's rather a long ride,
but with Snaffle's soft saddle I can do it pretty easy, I dare say." And
so the honest fellow built castles upon castles in the air; and the last
most beautiful vision of all was Miss Crump "in white satting, with a
horange flower in her 'air," putting him in possession of "her lovely
'and before the haltar of St. George's, 'Anover Square." As for Woolsey,
Eglantine determined that he should have the best wig his art could
produce; for he had not the least fear of his rival.

These points then being arranged to the poor fellow's satisfaction, what
does he do but send out for half a quire of pink note-paper, and in a
filagree envelope despatch a note of invitation to the ladies at the
"Bootjack":--


"BOWER OF BLOOM, BOND STREET:

"Thursday.

"MR. ARCHIBALD EGLANTINE presents his compliments to Mrs. and Miss
Crump, and requests the HONOUR AND PLEASURE of their company at the
'Star and Garter' at Richmond to an early dinner on Sunday next.

"IF AGREEABLE, Mr. Eglantine's carriage will be at your door at three
o'clock, and I propose to accompany them on horseback, if agreeable
likewise."


This note was sealed with yellow wax, and sent to its destination; and
of course Mr. Eglantine went himself for the answer in the evening: and
of course he told the ladies to look out for a certain new coat he was
going to sport on Sunday; and of course Mr. Walker happens to call the
next day with spare tickets for Mrs. Crump and her daughter, when the
whole secret was laid bare to him--how the ladies were going to Richmond
on Sunday in Mr. Snaffle's clarence, and how Mr. Eglantine was to ride
by their side.

Mr. Walker did not keep horses of his own; his magnificent friends at
the "Regent" had plenty in their stables, and some of these were at
livery at the establishment of the Captain's old "college" companion,
Mr. Snaffle. It was easy, therefore, for the Captain to renew his
acquaintance with that individual. So, hanging on the arm of my Lord
Vauxhall, Captain Walker next day made his appearance at Snaffle's
livery-stables, and looked at the various horses there for sale or
at bait, and soon managed, by putting some facetious questions to Mr.
Snaffle regarding the "Kidney Club," etc. to place himself on a friendly
footing with that gentleman, and to learn from him what horse Mr.
Eglantine was to ride on Sunday.

The monster Walker had fully determined in his mind that Eglantine
should FALL off that horse in the course of his Sunday's ride.

"That sing'lar hanimal," said Mr. Snaffle, pointing to the old horse,
"is the celebrated Hemperor that was the wonder of Hastley's some years
back, and was parted with by Mr. Ducrow honly because his feelin's
wouldn't allow him to keep him no longer after the death of the first
Mrs. D., who invariably rode him. I bought him, thinking that p'raps
ladies and Cockney bucks might like to ride him (for his haction is
wonderful, and he canters like a harm-chair); but he's not safe on any
day except Sundays."

"And why's that?" asked Captain Walker. "Why is he safer on Sundays than
other days?"

"BECAUSE THERE'S NO MUSIC in the streets on Sundays. The first gent that
rode him found himself dancing a quadrille in Hupper Brook Street to
an 'urdy-gurdy that was playing 'Cherry Ripe,' such is the natur of the
hanimal. And if you reklect the play of the 'Battle of Hoysterlitz,' in
which Mrs. D. hacted 'the female hussar,' you may remember how she
and the horse died in the third act to the toon of 'God preserve the
Emperor,' from which this horse took his name. Only play that toon to
him, and he rears hisself up, beats the hair in time with his forelegs,
and then sinks gently to the ground as though he were carried off by a
cannon-ball. He served a lady hopposite Hapsley 'Ouse so one day, and
since then I've never let him out to a friend except on Sunday, when, in
course, there's no danger. Heglantine IS a friend of mine, and of course
I wouldn't put the poor fellow on a hanimal I couldn't trust."

After a little more conversation, my lord and his friend quitted Mr.
Snaffle's, and as they walked away towards the "Regent," his Lordship
might be heard shrieking with laughter, crying, "Capital, by jingo!
exthlent! Dwive down in the dwag! Take Lungly. Worth a thousand pound,
by Jove!" and similar ejaculations, indicative of exceeding delight.

On Saturday morning, at ten o'clock to a moment, Mr. Woolsey called at
Mr. Eglantine's with a yellow handkerchief under his arm. It contained
the best and handsomest body-coat that ever gentleman put on. It fitted
Eglantine to a nicety--it did not pinch him in the least, and yet it was
of so exquisite a cut that the perfumer found, as he gazed delighted
in the glass, that he looked like a manly portly high-bred gentleman--a
lieutenant-colonel in the army, at the very least.

"You're a full man, Eglantine," said the tailor, delighted, too, with
his own work; "but that can't be helped. You look more like Hercules
than Falstaff now, sir, and if a coat can make a gentleman, a gentleman
you are. Let me recommend you to sink the blue cravat, and take the
stripes off your trousers. Dress quiet, sir; draw it mild. Plain
waistcoat, dark trousers, black neckcloth, black hat, and if there's a
better-dressed man in Europe to-morrow, I'm a Dutchman."

"Thank you, Woolsey--thank you, my dear sir," said the charmed perfumer.
"And now I'll just trouble you to try on this here."

The wig had been made with equal skill; it was not in the florid style
which Mr. Eglantine loved in his own person, but, as the perfumer said,
a simple straightforward head of hair. "It seems as if it had grown
there all your life, Mr. Woolsey; nobody would tell that it was not
your nat'ral colour" (Mr. Woolsey blushed)--"it makes you look ten year
younger; and as for that scarecrow yonder, you'll never, I think, want
to wear that again."

Woolsey looked in the glass, and was delighted too. The two rivals shook
hands and straightway became friends, and in the overflowing of his
heart the perfumer mentioned to the tailor the party which he had
arranged for the next day, and offered him a seat in the carriage and
at the dinner at the "Star and Garter." "Would you like to ride?" said
Eglantine, with rather a consequential air. "Snaffle will mount you, and
we can go one on each side of the ladies, if you like."

But Woolsey humbly said he was not a riding man, and gladly consented to
take a place in the clarence carriage, provided he was allowed to bear
half the expenses of the entertainment. This proposal was agreed to by
Mr. Eglantine, and the two gentlemen parted to meet once more at the
"Kidneys" that night, when everybody was edified by the friendly tone
adopted between them.

Mr. Snaffle, at the club meeting, made the very same proposal to Mr.
Woolsey that the perfumer had made; and stated that as Eglantine was
going to ride Hemperor, Woolsey, at least, ought to mount too. But he
was met by the same modest refusal on the tailor's part, who stated that
he had never mounted a horse yet, and preferred greatly the use of a
coach.

Eglantine's character as a "swell" rose greatly with the club that
evening.

Two o'clock on Sunday came: the two beaux arrived punctually at the door
to receive the two smiling ladies.

"Bless us, Mr. Eglantine!" said Miss Crump, quite struck by him, "I
never saw you look so handsome in your life." He could have flung his
arms around her neck at the compliment. "And law, Ma! what has happened
to Mr. Woolsey? doesn't he look ten years younger than yesterday?" Mamma
assented, and Woolsey bowed gallantly, and the two gentlemen exchanged a
nod of hearty friendship.

The day was delightful. Eglantine pranced along magnificently on his
cantering armchair, with his hat on one ear, his left hand on his side,
and his head flung over his shoulder, and throwing under-glances at
Morgiana whenever the "Emperor" was in advance of the clarence. The
"Emperor" pricked up his ears a little uneasily passing the Ebenezer
chapel in Richmond, where the congregation were singing a hymn, but
beyond this no accident occurred; nor was Mr. Eglantine in the least
stiff or fatigued by the time the party reached Richmond, where he
arrived time enough to give his steed into the charge of an ostler, and
to present his elbow to the ladies as they alighted from the clarence
carriage.

What this jovial party ate for dinner at the "Star and Garter" need
not here be set down. If they did not drink champagne I am very much
mistaken. They were as merry as any four people in Christendom; and
between the bewildering attentions of the perfumer, and the manly
courtesy of the tailor, Morgiana very likely forgot the gallant Captain,
or, at least, was very happy in his absence.

At eight o'clock they began to drive homewards. "WON'T you come into the
carriage?" said Morgiana to Eglantine, with one of her tenderest looks;
"Dick can ride the horse." But Archibald was too great a lover of
equestrian exercise. "I'm afraid to trust anybody on this horse," said
he with a knowing look; and so he pranced away by the side of the little
carriage. The moon was brilliant, and, with the aid of the gas-lamps,
illuminated the whole face of the country in a way inexpressibly lovely.

Presently, in the distance, the sweet and plaintive notes of a bugle
were heard, and the performer, with great delicacy, executed a religious
air. "Music, too! heavenly!" said Morgiana, throwing up her eyes to the
stars. The music came nearer and nearer, and the delight of the company
was only more intense. The fly was going at about four miles an hour,
and the "Emperor" began cantering to time at the same rapid pace.

"This must be some gallantry of yours, Mr. Woolsey," said the romantic
Morgiana, turning upon that gentleman. "Mr. Eglantine treated us to the
dinner, and you have provided us with the music."

Now Woolsey had been a little, a very little, dissatisfied during the
course of the evening's entertainment, by fancying that Eglantine, a
much more voluble person than himself, had obtained rather an undue
share of the ladies' favour; and as he himself paid half of the
expenses, he felt very much vexed to think that the perfumer should take
all the credit of the business to himself. So when Miss Crump asked if
he had provided the music, he foolishly made an evasive reply to her
query, and rather wished her to imagine that he HAD performed that
piece of gallantry. "If it pleases YOU, Miss Morgiana," said this artful
Schneider, "what more need any man ask? wouldn't I have all Drury Lane
orchestra to please you?"

The bugle had by this time arrived quite close to the clarence carriage,
and if Morgiana had looked round she might have seen whence the music
came. Behind her came slowly a drag, or private stage-coach, with
four horses. Two grooms with cockades and folded arms were behind;
and driving on the box, a little gentleman, with a blue bird's-eye
neckcloth, and a white coat. A bugleman was by his side, who performed
the melodies which so delighted Miss Crump. He played very gently and
sweetly, and "God save the King" trembled so softly out of the brazen
orifice of his bugle, that the Crumps, the tailor, and Eglantine
himself, who was riding close by the carriage, were quite charmed and
subdued.

"Thank you, DEAR Mr. Woolsey," said the grateful Morgiana; which made
Eglantine stare, and Woolsey was just saying, "Really, upon my word,
I've nothing to do with it," when the man on the drag-box said to the
bugleman, "Now!"

The bugleman began the tune of--

     "Heaven preserve our Emperor Fra-an-cis,
      Rum tum-ti-tum-ti-titty-ti."

At the sound, the "Emperor" reared himself (with a roar from Mr.
Eglantine)--reared and beat the air with his fore-paws. Eglantine flung
his arms round the beast's neck; still he kept beating time with
his fore-paws. Mrs. Crump screamed: Mr. Woolsey, Dick, the clarence
coachman, Lord Vauxhall (for it was he), and his Lordship's two grooms,
burst into a shout of laughter; Morgiana cries "Mercy! mercy!" Eglantine
yells "Stop!"--"Wo!"--"Oh!" and a thousand ejaculations of hideous
terror; until, at last, down drops the "Emperor" stone dead in the
middle of the road, as if carried off by a cannon-ball.

Fancy the situation, ye callous souls who laugh at the misery of
humanity, fancy the situation of poor Eglantine under the "Emperor"! He
had fallen very easy, the animal lay perfectly quiet, and the perfumer
was to all intents and purposes as dead as the animal. He had not
fainted, but he was immovable with terror; he lay in a puddle, and
thought it was his own blood gushing from him; and he would have lain
there until Monday morning, if my Lord's grooms, descending, had not
dragged him by the coat-collar from under the beast, who still lay
quiet.

"Play 'Charming Judy Callaghan,' will ye?" says Mr. Snaffle's man,
the fly-driver; on which the bugler performed that lively air, and up
started the horse, and the grooms, who were rubbing Mr. Eglantine down
against a lamp-post, invited him to remount.

But his heart was too broken for that. The ladies gladly made room for
him in the clarence. Dick mounted "Emperor" and rode homewards. The
drag, too, drove away, playing "Oh dear, what can the matter be?" and
with a scowl of furious hate, Mr. Eglantine sat and regarded his rival.
His pantaloons were split, and his coat torn up the back.

"Are you hurt much, dear Mr. Archibald?" said Morgiana, with unaffected
compassion.

"N-not much," said the poor fellow, ready to burst into tears.

"Oh, Mr. Woolsey," added the good-natured girl, "how could you play such
a trick?"

"Upon my word," Woolsey began, intending to plead innocence; but the
ludicrousness of the situation was once more too much for him, and he
burst out into a roar of laughter.

"You! you cowardly beast!" howled out Eglantine, now driven to
fury--"YOU laugh at me, you miserable cretur! Take THAT, sir!" and he
fell upon him with all his might, and well-nigh throttled the tailor,
and pummelling his eyes, his nose, his ears, with inconceivable
rapidity, wrenched, finally, his wig off his head, and flung it into the
road.

Morgiana saw that Woolsey had red hair. [2]



CHAPTER IV. IN WHICH THE HEROINE HAS A NUMBER MORE LOVERS, AND CUTS A
VERY DASHING FIGURE IN THE WORLD.

Two years have elapsed since the festival at Richmond, which, begun so
peaceably, ended in such general uproar. Morgiana never could be brought
to pardon Woolsey's red hair, nor to help laughing at Eglantine's
disasters, nor could the two gentlemen be reconciled to one another.
Woolsey, indeed, sent a challenge to the perfumer to meet him with
pistols, which the latter declined, saying, justly, that tradesmen had
no business with such weapons; on this the tailor proposed to meet
him with coats off, and have it out like men, in the presence of their
friends of the "Kidney Club". The perfumer said he would be party to no
such vulgar transaction; on which, Woolsey, exasperated, made an oath
that he would tweak the perfumer's nose so surely as he ever entered the
club-room; and thus ONE member of the "Kidneys" was compelled to vacate
his armchair.

Woolsey himself attended every meeting regularly, but he did not evince
that gaiety and good-humour which render men's company agreeable in
clubs. On arriving, he would order the boy to "tell him when that
scoundrel Eglantine came;" and, hanging up his hat on a peg, would scowl
round the room, and tuck up his sleeves very high, and stretch, and
shake his fingers and wrists, as if getting them ready for that pull
of the nose which he intended to bestow upon his rival. So prepared, he
would sit down and smoke his pipe quite silently, glaring at all, and
jumping up, and hitching up his coat-sleeves, when anyone entered the
room.

The "Kidneys" did not like this behaviour. Clinker ceased to come.
Bustard, the poulterer, ceased to come. As for Snaffle, he also
disappeared, for Woolsey wished to make him answerable for the
misbehaviour of Eglantine, and proposed to him the duel which the latter
had declined. So Snaffle went. Presently they all went, except the
tailor and Tressle, who lived down the street, and these two would
sit and pug their tobacco, one on each side of Crump, the landlord, as
silent as Indian chiefs in a wigwam. There grew to be more and more room
for poor old Crump in his chair and in his clothes; the "Kidneys" were
gone, and why should he remain? One Saturday he did not come down to
preside at the club (as he still fondly called it), and the Saturday
following Tressle had made a coffin for him; and Woolsey, with the
undertaker by his side, followed to the grave the father of the
"Kidneys."

Mrs. Crump was now alone in the world. "How alone?" says some innocent
and respected reader. Ah! my dear sir, do you know so little of human
nature as not to be aware that, one week after the Richmond affair,
Morgiana married Captain Walker? That did she privately, of course; and,
after the ceremony, came tripping back to her parents, as young people
do in plays, and said, "Forgive me, dear Pa and Ma, I'm married, and
here is my husband the Captain!" Papa and mamma did forgive her, as why
shouldn't they? and papa paid over her fortune to her, which she carried
home delighted to the Captain. This happened several months before the
demise of old Crump; and Mrs. Captain Walker was on the Continent with
her Howard when that melancholy event took place; hence Mrs. Crump's
loneliness and unprotected condition. Morgiana had not latterly seen
much of the old people; how could she, moving in her exalted sphere,
receive at her genteel new residence in the Edgware Road the old
publican and his wife?

Being, then, alone in the world, Mrs. Crump could not abear, she said,
to live in the house where she had been so respected and happy: so she
sold the goodwill of the "Bootjack," and, with the money arising from
this sale and her own private fortune, being able to muster some sixty
pounds per annum, retired to the neighbourhood of her dear old "Sadler's
Wells," where she boarded with one of Mrs. Serle's forty pupils. Her
heart was broken, she said; but, nevertheless, about nine months after
Mr. Crump's death, the wallflowers, nasturtiums, polyanthuses, and
convolvuluses began to blossom under her bonnet as usual; in a year she
was dressed quite as fine as ever, and now never missed "The Wells," or
some other place of entertainment, one single night, but was as regular
as the box-keeper. Nay, she was a buxom widow still, and an old flame of
hers, Fisk, so celebrated as pantaloon in Grimaldi's time, but now doing
the "heavy fathers" at "The Wells," proposed to her to exchange her name
for his.

But this proposal the worthy widow declined altogether. To say truth,
she was exceedingly proud of her daughter, Mrs. Captain Walker. They
did not see each other much at first; but every now and then Mrs. Crump
would pay a visit to the folks in Connaught Square; and on the days when
"the Captain's" lady called in the City Road, there was not a single
official at "The Wells," from the first tragedian down to the call-boy,
who was not made aware of the fact.

It has been said that Morgiana carried home her fortune in her own
reticule, and, smiling, placed the money in her husband's lap; and hence
the reader may imagine, who knows Mr. Walker to be an extremely selfish
fellow, that a great scene of anger must have taken place, and many
coarse oaths and epithets of abuse must have come from him, when he
found that five hundred pounds was all that his wife had, although he
had expected five thousand with her. But, to say the truth, Walker was
at this time almost in love with his handsome rosy good-humoured simple
wife. They had made a fortnight's tour, during which they had been
exceedingly happy; and there was something so frank and touching in the
way in which the kind creature flung her all into his lap, saluting
him with a hearty embrace at the same time, and wishing that it were a
thousand billion billion times more, so that her darling Howard might
enjoy it, that the man would have been a ruffian indeed could he have
found it in his heart to be angry with her; and so he kissed her in
return, and patted her on the shining ringlets, and then counted over
the notes with rather a disconsolate air, and ended by locking them up
in his portfolio. In fact, SHE had never deceived him; Eglantine
had, and he in return had out-tricked Eglantine and so warm were his
affections for Morgiana at this time that, upon my word and honour, I
don't think he repented of his bargain. Besides, five hundred pounds in
crisp bank-notes was a sum of money such as the Captain was not in the
habit of handling every day; a dashing sanguine fellow, he fancied there
was no end to it, and already thought of a dozen ways by which it should
increase and multiply into a plum. Woe is me! Has not many a simple soul
examined five new hundred-pound notes in this way, and calculated their
powers of duration and multiplication?

This subject, however, is too painful to be dwelt on. Let us hear what
Walker did with his money. Why, he furnished the house in the Edgware
Road before mentioned, he ordered a handsome service of plate, he
sported a phaeton and two ponies, he kept a couple of smart maids and
a groom foot-boy--in fact, he mounted just such a neat unpretending
gentleman-like establishment as becomes a respectable young couple on
their outset in life. "I've sown my wild oats," he would say to his
acquaintances; "a few years since, perhaps, I would have longed to cut
a dash, but now prudence is the word; and I've settled every farthing of
Mrs. Walker's fifteen thousand on herself." And the best proof that the
world had confidence in him is the fact, that for the articles of plate,
equipage, and furniture, which have been mentioned as being in his
possession, he did not pay one single shilling; and so prudent was he,
that but for turnpikes, postage-stamps, and king's taxes, he hardly had
occasion to change a five-pound note of his wife's fortune.

To tell the truth, Mr. Walker had determined to make his fortune. And
what is easier in London? Is not the share-market open to all? Do
not Spanish and Columbian bonds rise and fall? For what are companies
invented, but to place thousands in the pockets of shareholders and
directors? Into these commercial pursuits the gallant Captain now
plunged with great energy, and made some brilliant hits at first
starting, and bought and sold so opportunely, that his name began to
rise in the City as a capitalist, and might be seen in the printed list
of directors of many excellent and philanthropic schemes, of which there
is never any lack in London. Business to the amount of thousands was
done at his agency; shares of vast value were bought and sold under his
management. How poor Mr. Eglantine used to hate him and envy him, as
from the door of his emporium (the firm was Eglantine and Mossrose now)
he saw the Captain daily arrive in his pony-phaeton, and heard of the
start he had taken in life.

The only regret Mrs. Walker had was that she did not enjoy enough of her
husband's society. His business called him away all day; his business,
too, obliged him to leave her of evenings very frequently alone; whilst
he (always in pursuit of business) was dining with his great friends at
the club, and drinking claret and champagne to the same end.

She was a perfectly good-natured and simple soul, never made him a
single reproach; but when he could pass an evening at home with her
she was delighted, and when he could drive with her in the Park she was
happy for a week after. On these occasions, and in the fulness of her
heart, she would drive to her mother and tell her story. "Howard drove
with me in the Park yesterday, Mamma;" and "Howard has promised to
take me to the Opera," and so forth. And that evening the manager, Mr.
Gawler, the first tragedian, Mrs. Serle and her forty pupils, all the
box-keepers, bonnet-women--nay, the ginger-beer girls themselves at "The
Wells," knew that Captain and Mrs. Walker were at Kensington Gardens,
or were to have the Marchioness of Billingsgate's box at the Opera. One
night--O joy of joys!--Mrs. Captain Walker appeared in a private box
at "The Wells." That's she with the black ringlets and Cashmere shawl,
smelling-bottle, and black-velvet gown, and bird of paradise in her hat.
Goodness gracious! how they all acted at her, Gawler and all, and how
happy Mrs. Crump was! She kissed her daughter between all the acts, she
nodded to all her friends on the stage, in the slips, or in the
real water; she introduced her daughter, Mrs. Captain Walker, to the
box-opener; and Melvil Delamere (the first comic), Canterfield (the
tyrant), and Jonesini (the celebrated Fontarabian Statuesque), were all
on the steps, and shouted for Mrs. Captain Walker's carriage, and waved
their hats, and bowed as the little pony-phaeton drove away. Walker, in
his moustaches, had come in at the end of the play, and was not a little
gratified by the compliments paid to himself and lady.

Among the other articles of luxury with which the Captain furnished
his house we must not omit to mention an extremely grand piano, which
occupied four-fifths of Mrs. Walker's little back drawing-room, and at
which she was in the habit of practising continually. All day and all
night during Walker's absences (and these occurred all night and all
day), you might hear--the whole street might hear--the voice of the lady
at No. 23, gurgling, and shaking, and quavering, as ladies do when they
practise. The street did not approve of the continuance of the noise;
but neighbours are difficult to please, and what would Morgiana have had
to do if she had ceased to sing? It would be hard to lock a blackbird in
a cage and prevent him from singing too. And so Walker's blackbird, in
the snug little cage in the Edgware Road, sang and was not unhappy.

After the pair had been married for about a year, the omnibus that
passes both by Mrs. Crump's house near "The Wells," and by Mrs. Walker's
street off the Edgware Road, brought up the former-named lady almost
every day to her daughter. She came when the Captain had gone to his
business; she stayed to a two-o'clock dinner with Morgiana; she drove
with her in the pony-carriage round the Park; but she never stopped
later than six. Had she not to go to the play at seven? And, besides,
the Captain might come home with some of his great friends, and he
always swore and grumbled much if he found his mother-in-law on the
premises. As for Morgiana, she was one of those women who encourage
despotism in husbands. What the husband says must be right, because he
says it; what he orders must be obeyed tremblingly. Mrs. Walker gave up
her entire reason to her lord. Why was it? Before marriage she had been
an independent little person; she had far more brains than her Howard.
I think it must have been his moustaches that frightened her, and caused
in her this humility.

Selfish husbands have this advantage in maintaining with easy-minded
wives a rigid and inflexible behaviour, viz. that if they DO by any
chance grant a little favour, the ladies receive it with such transports
of gratitude as they would never think of showing to a lord and master
who was accustomed to give them everything they asked for; and hence,
when Captain Walker signified his assent to his wife's prayer that she
should take a singing-master, she thought his generosity almost divine,
and fell upon her mamma's neck, when that lady came the next day, and
said what a dear adorable angel her Howard was, and what ought she not
to do for a man who had taken her from her humble situation, and raised
her to be what she was! What she was, poor soul! She was the wife of a
swindling parvenu gentleman. She received visits from six ladies of her
husband's acquaintances--two attorneys' ladies, his bill-broker's lady,
and one or two more, of whose characters we had best, if you please,
say nothing; and she thought it an honour to be so distinguished: as
if Walker had been a Lord Exeter to marry a humble maiden, or a noble
prince to fall in love with a humble Cinderella, or a majestic Jove
to come down from heaven and woo a Semele. Look through the world,
respectable reader, and among your honourable acquaintances, and say if
this sort of faith in women is not very frequent? They WILL believe in
their husbands, whatever the latter do. Let John be dull, ugly, vulgar,
and a humbug, his Mary Ann never finds it out; let him tell his stories
ever so many times, there is she always ready with her kind smile; let
him be stingy, she says he is prudent; let him quarrel with his best
friend, she says he is always in the right; let him be prodigal, she
says he is generous, and that his health requires enjoyment; let him
be idle, he must have relaxation; and she will pinch herself and
her household that he may have a guinea for his club. Yes; and every
morning, as she wakes and looks at the face, snoring on the pillow by
her side--every morning, I say, she blesses that dull ugly countenance,
and the dull ugly soul reposing there, and thinks both are something
divine. I want to know how it is that women do not find out their
husbands to be humbugs? Nature has so provided it, and thanks to her.
When last year they were acting the "Midsummer Night's Dream," and all
the boxes began to roar with great coarse heehaws at Titania hugging
Bottom's long long ears--to me, considering these things, it seemed that
there were a hundred other male brutes squatted round about, and treated
just as reasonably as Bottom was. Their Titanias lulled them to sleep
in their laps, summoned a hundred smiling delicate household fairies to
tickle their gross intellects and minister to their vulgar pleasures;
and (as the above remarks are only supposed to apply to honest women
loving their own lawful spouses) a mercy it is that no wicked Puck is
in the way to open their eyes, and point out their folly. Cui bono? let
them live on in their deceit: I know two lovely ladies who will read
this, and will say it is just very likely, and not see in the least,
that it has been written regarding THEM.

Another point of sentiment, and one curious to speculate on. Have
you not remarked the immense works of art that women get through? The
worsted-work sofas, the counterpanes patched or knitted (but these are
among the old-fashioned in the country), the bushels of pincushions,
the albums they laboriously fill, the tremendous pieces of music they
practise, the thousand other fiddle-faddles which occupy the attention
of the dear souls--nay, have we not seen them seated of evenings in a
squad or company, Louisa employed at the worsted-work before mentioned,
Eliza at the pincushions, Amelia at card-racks or filagree matches, and,
in the midst, Theodosia with one of the candles, reading out a novel
aloud? Ah! my dear sir, mortal creatures must be very hard put to it for
amusement, be sure of that, when they are forced to gather together in
a company and hear novels read aloud! They only do it because they can't
help it, depend upon it: it is a sad life, a poor pastime. Mr. Dickens,
in his American book, tells of the prisoners at the silent prison,
how they had ornamented their rooms, some of them with a frightful
prettiness and elaboration. Women's fancy-work is of this
sort often--only prison work, done because there was no other
exercising-ground for their poor little thoughts and fingers; and hence
these wonderful pincushions are executed, these counterpanes woven,
these sonatas learned. By everything sentimental, when I see two kind
innocent fresh-cheeked young women go to a piano, and sit down opposite
to it upon two chairs piled with more or less music-books (according to
their convenience), and, so seated, go through a set of double-barrelled
variations upon this or that tune by Herz or Kalkbrenner--I say, far
from receiving any satisfaction at the noise made by the performance,
my too susceptible heart is given up entirely to bleeding for the
performers. What hours, and weeks, nay, preparatory years of study, has
that infernal jig cost them! What sums has papa paid, what scoldings has
mamma administered ("Lady Bullblock does not play herself;" Sir Thomas
says, "but she has naturally the finest ear for music ever known!");
what evidences of slavery, in a word, are there! It is the condition
of the young lady's existence. She breakfasts at eight, she does
"Mangnall's Questions" with the governess till ten, she practises till
one, she walks in the square with bars round her till two, then she
practises again, then she sews or hems, or reads French, or Hume's
"History," then she comes down to play to papa, because he likes music
whilst he is asleep after dinner, and then it is bed-time, and the
morrow is another day with what are called the same "duties" to be gone
through. A friend of mine went to call at a nobleman's house the other
day, and one of the young ladies of the house came into the room with a
tray on her head; this tray was to give Lady Maria a graceful carriage.
Mon Dieu! and who knows but at that moment Lady Bell was at work with
a pair of her dumb namesakes, and Lady Sophy lying flat on a
stretching-board? I could write whole articles on this theme but peace!
we are keeping Mrs. Walker waiting all the while.

Well, then, if the above disquisitions have anything to do with the
story, as no doubt they have, I wish it to be understood that, during
her husband's absence, and her own solitary confinement, Mrs. Howard
Walker bestowed a prodigious quantity of her time and energy on the
cultivation of her musical talent; and having, as before stated, a very
fine loud voice, speedily attained no ordinary skill in the use of it.
She first had for teacher little Podmore, the fat chorus-master at "The
Wells," and who had taught her mother the "Tink-a-tink" song which has
been such a favourite since it first appeared. He grounded her well, and
bade her eschew the singing of all those "Eagle Tavern" ballads in which
her heart formerly delighted; and when he had brought her to a certain
point of skill, the honest little chorus-master said she should have a
still better instructor, and wrote a note to Captain Walker (enclosing
his own little account), speaking in terms of the most flattering
encomium of his lady's progress, and recommending that she should take
lessons of the celebrated Baroski. Captain Walker dismissed Podmore
then, and engaged Signor Baroski, at a vast expense; as he did not fail
to tell his wife. In fact, he owed Baroski no less than two hundred and
twenty guineas when he was--But we are advancing matters.

Little Baroski is the author of the opera of "Eliogabalo," of the
oratorio of "Purgatorio," which made such an immense sensation, of songs
and ballet-musics innumerable. He is a German by birth, and shows such
an outrageous partiality for pork and sausages, and attends at church so
constantly, that I am sure there cannot be any foundation in the story
that he is a member of the ancient religion. He is a fat little man,
with a hooked nose and jetty whiskers, and coal-black shining eyes, and
plenty of rings and jewels on his fingers and about his person, and a
very considerable portion of his shirtsleeves turned over his coat to
take the air. His great hands (which can sprawl over half a piano, and
produce those effects on the instrument for which he is celebrated) are
encased in lemon-coloured kids, new, or cleaned daily. Parenthetically,
let us ask why so many men, with coarse red wrists and big hands,
persist in the white kid glove and wristband system? Baroski's gloves
alone must cost him a little fortune; only he says with a leer, when
asked the question, "Get along vid you; don't you know dere is a
gloveress that lets me have dem very sheap?" He rides in the Park; has
splendid lodgings in Dover Street; and is a member of the "Regent Club,"
where he is a great source of amusement to the members, to whom he tells
astonishing stories of his successes with the ladies, and for whom he
has always play and opera tickets in store. His eye glistens and his
little heart beats when a lord speaks to him; and he has been known to
spend large sums of money in giving treats to young sprigs of fashion at
Richmond and elsewhere. "In my bolyticks," he says, "I am consarevatiff
to de bag-bone." In fine, he is a puppy, and withal a man of
considerable genius in his profession.

This gentleman, then, undertook to complete the musical education
of Mrs. Walker. He expressed himself at once "enshanted vid her
gababilities," found that the extent of her voice was "brodigious," and
guaranteed that she should become a first-rate singer. The pupil was
apt, the master was exceedingly skilful; and, accordingly, Mrs. Walker's
progress was very remarkable: although, for her part, honest Mrs. Crump,
who used to attend her daughter's lessons, would grumble not a little at
the new system, and the endless exercises which she, Morgiana, was made
to go through. It was very different in HER time, she said. Incledon
knew no music, and who could sing so well now? Give her a good English
ballad: it was a thousand times sweeter than your "Figaros" and
"Semiramides."

In spite of these objections, however, and with amazing perseverance and
cheerfulness, Mrs. Walker pursued the method of study pointed out to her
by her master. As soon as her husband went to the City in the morning
her operations began; if he remained away at dinner, her labours still
continued: nor is it necessary for me to particularise her course of
study, nor, indeed, possible; for, between ourselves, none of the
male Fitz-Boodles ever could sing a note, and the jargon of scales and
solfeggios is quite unknown to me. But as no man can have seen persons
addicted to music without remarking the prodigious energies they display
in the pursuit, as there is no father of daughters, however ignorant,
but is aware of the piano-rattling and voice-exercising which go on in
his house from morning till night, so let all fancy, without further
inquiry, how the heroine of our story was at this stage of her existence
occupied.

Walker was delighted with her progress, and did everything but pay
Baroski, her instructor. We know why he didn't pay. It was his nature
not to pay bills, except on extreme compulsion; but why did not Baroski
employ that extreme compulsion? Because, if he had received his money,
he would have lost his pupil, and because he loved his pupil more than
money. Rather than lose her, he would have given her a guinea as well
as her cachet. He would sometimes disappoint a great personage, but he
never missed his attendance on HER; and the truth must out, that he was
in love with her, as Woolsey and Eglantine had been before.

"By the immortel Chofe!" he would say, "dat letell ding sents me mad vid
her big ice! But only vait avile: in six veeks I can bring any voman
in England on her knees to me and you shall see vat I vill do vid my
Morgiana." He attended her for six weeks punctually, and yet Morgiana
was never brought down on her knees; he exhausted his best stock of
"gomblimends," and she never seemed disposed to receive them with
anything but laughter. And, as a matter of course, he only grew more
infatuated with the lovely creature who was so provokingly good-humoured
and so laughingly cruel.

Benjamin Baroski was one of the chief ornaments of the musical
profession in London; he charged a guinea for a lesson of three-quarters
of an hour abroad, and he had, furthermore, a school at his own
residence, where pupils assembled in considerable numbers, and of that
curious mixed kind which those may see who frequent these places of
instruction. There were very innocent young ladies with their mammas,
who would hurry them off trembling to the farther corner of the room
when certain doubtful professional characters made their appearance.
There was Miss Grigg, who sang at the "Foundling," and Mr. Johnson,
who sang at the "Eagle Tavern," and Madame Fioravanti (a very doubtful
character), who sang nowhere, but was always coming out at the Italian
Opera. There was Lumley Limpiter (Lord Tweedledale's son), one of the
most accomplished tenors in town, and who, we have heard, sings with
the professionals at a hundred concerts; and with him, too, was Captain
Guzzard, of the Guards, with his tremendous bass voice, which all the
world declared to be as fine as Porto's, and who shared the applause of
Baroski's school with Mr. Bulger, the dentist of Sackville Street, who
neglected his ivory and gold plates for his voice, as every unfortunate
individual will do who is bitten by the music mania. Then among
the ladies there were a half-score of dubious pale governesses and
professionals with turned frocks and lank damp bandeaux of hair under
shabby little bonnets; luckless creatures these, who were parting with
their poor little store of half-guineas to be enabled to say they were
pupils of Signor Baroski, and so get pupils of their own among the
British youths, or employment in the choruses of the theatres.

The prima donna of the little company was Amelia Larkins, Baroski's own
articled pupil, on whose future reputation the eminent master staked his
own, whose profits he was to share, and whom he had farmed, to this end,
from her father, a most respectable sheriff's officer's assistant, and
now, by his daughter's exertions, a considerable capitalist. Amelia is
blonde and blue-eyed, her complexion is as bright as snow, her ringlets
of the colour of straw, her figure--but why describe her figure? Has not
all the world seen her at the Theatres Royal and in America under the
name of Miss Ligonier?

Until Mrs. Walker arrived, Miss Larkins was the undisputed princess of
the Baroski company--the Semiramide, the Rosina, the Tamina, the Donna
Anna. Baroski vaunted her everywhere as the great rising genius of the
day, bade Catalani look to her laurels, and questioned whether Miss
Stephens could sing a ballad like his pupil. Mrs. Howard Walker arrived,
and created, on the first occasion, no small sensation. She improved,
and the little society became speedily divided into Walkerites and
Larkinsians; and between these two ladies (as indeed between Guzzard and
Bulger before mentioned, between Miss Brunck and Miss Horsman, the two
contraltos, and between the chorus-singers, after their kind) a great
rivalry arose. Larkins was certainly the better singer; but could
her straw-coloured curls and dumpy high-shouldered figure bear any
comparison with the jetty ringlets and stately form of Morgiana? Did not
Mrs. Walker, too, come to the music-lesson in her carriage, and with a
black velvet gown and Cashmere shawl, while poor Larkins meekly stepped
from Bell Yard, Temple Bar, in an old print gown and clogs, which she
left in the hall? "Larkins sing!" said Mrs. Crump, sarcastically; "I'm
sure she ought; her mouth's big enough to sing a duet." Poor Larkins had
no one to make epigrams in her behoof; her mother was at home tending
the younger ones, her father abroad following the duties of his
profession; she had but one protector, as she thought, and that one
was Baroski. Mrs. Crump did not fail to tell Lumley Limpiter of her own
former triumphs, and to sing him "Tink-a-tink," which we have previously
heard, and to state how in former days she had been called the
Ravenswing. And Lumley, on this hint, made a poem, in which he compared
Morgiana's hair to the plumage of the Raven's wing, and Larkinissa's to
that of the canary; by which two names the ladies began soon to be known
in the school.

Ere long the flight of the Ravenswing became evidently stronger, whereas
that of the canary was seen evidently to droop. When Morgiana sang, all
the room would cry "Bravo!" when Amelia performed, scarce a hand
was raised for applause of her, except Morgiana's own, and that the
Larkinses thought was lifted in odious triumph, rather than in sympathy,
for Miss L. was of an envious turn, and little understood the generosity
of her rival.

At last, one day, the crowning victory of the Ravenswing came. In the
trio of Baroski's own opera of "Eliogabalo," "Rosy lips and rosy wine,"
Miss Larkins, who was evidently unwell, was taking the part of the
English captive, which she had sung in public concerts before royal
dukes, and with considerable applause, and, from some reason, performed
it so ill, that Baroski, slapping down the music on the piano in a fury,
cried, "Mrs. Howard Walker, as Miss Larkins cannot sing to-day, will
you favour us by taking the part of Boadicetta?" Mrs. Walker got up
smilingly to obey--the triumph was too great to be withstood; and, as
she advanced to the piano, Miss Larkins looked wildly at her, and stood
silent for a while, and, at last, shrieked out, "BENJAMIN!" in a tone of
extreme agony, and dropped fainting down on the ground. Benjamin looked
extremely red, it must be confessed, at being thus called by what
we shall denominate his Christian name, and Limpiter looked round at
Guzzard, and Miss Brunck nudged Miss Horsman, and the lesson concluded
rather abruptly that day; for Miss Larkins was carried off to the next
room, laid on a couch, and sprinkled with water.

Good-natured Morgiana insisted that her mother should take Miss Larkins
to Bell Yard in her carriage, and went herself home on foot; but I don't
know that this piece of kindness prevented Larkins from hating her. I
should doubt if it did.

Hearing so much of his wife's skill as a singer, the astute Captain
Walker determined to take advantage of it for the purpose of increasing
his "connection." He had Lumley Limpiter at his house before long, which
was, indeed, no great matter, for honest Lum would go anywhere for a
good dinner--and an opportunity to show off his voice afterwards,
and Lumley was begged to bring any more clerks in the Treasury of his
acquaintance; Captain Guzzard was invited, and any officers of the
Guards whom he might choose to bring; Bulger received occasional
cards:--in a word, and after a short time, Mrs. Howard Walker's
musical parties began to be considerably suivies. Her husband had the
satisfaction to see his rooms filled by many great personages; and once
or twice in return (indeed, whenever she was wanted, or when people
could not afford to hire the first singers) she was asked to parties
elsewhere, and treated with that killing civility which our English
aristocracy knows how to bestow on artists. Clever and wise aristocracy!
It is sweet to mark your ways, and study your commerce with inferior
men.

I was just going to commence a tirade regarding the aristocracy
here, and to rage against that cool assumption of superiority which
distinguishes their lordships' commerce with artists of all sorts: that
politeness which, if it condescends to receive artists at all, takes
care to have them altogether, so that there can be no mistake about
their rank--that august patronage of art which rewards it with a silly
flourish of knighthood, to be sure, but takes care to exclude it from
any contact with its betters in society--I was, I say, just going to
commence a tirade against the aristocracy for excluding artists from
their company, and to be extremely satirical upon them, for instance,
for not receiving my friend Morgiana, when it suddenly came into my head
to ask, was Mrs. Walker fit to move in the best society?--to which query
it must humbly be replied that she was not. Her education was not such
as to make her quite the equal of Baker Street. She was a kind honest
and clever creature; but, it must be confessed, not refined. Wherever
she went she had, if not the finest, at any rate the most showy gown
in the room; her ornaments were the biggest; her hats, toques, berets,
marabouts, and other fallals, always the most conspicuous. She drops
"h's" here and there. I have seen her eat peas with a knife (and Walker,
scowling on the opposite side of the table, striving in vain to catch
her eye); and I shall never forget Lady Smigsmag's horror when she
asked for porter at dinner at Richmond, and began to drink it out of the
pewter pot. It was a fine sight. She lifted up the tankard with one of
the finest arms, covered with the biggest bracelets ever seen; and had
a bird of paradise on her head, that curled round the pewter disc of the
pot as she raised it, like a halo. These peculiarities she had, and has
still. She is best away from the genteel world, that is the fact. When
she says that "The weather is so 'ot that it is quite debiliating;" when
she laughs, when she hits her neighbour at dinner on the side of the
waistcoat (as she will if he should say anything that amuses her), she
does what is perfectly natural and unaffected on her part, but what
is not customarily done among polite persons, who can sneer at her
odd manners and her vanity, but don't know the kindness, honesty, and
simplicity which distinguish her. This point being admitted, it follows,
of course, that the tirade against the aristocracy would, in the present
instance, be out of place--so it shall be reserved for some other
occasion.

The Ravenswing was a person admirably disposed by nature to be happy.
She had a disposition so kindly that any small attention would satisfy
it; was pleased when alone; was delighted in a crowd; was charmed with
a joke, however old; was always ready to laugh, to sing, to dance, or to
be merry; was so tender-hearted that the smallest ballad would make her
cry: and hence was supposed, by many persons, to be extremely affected,
and by almost all to be a downright coquette. Several competitors for
her favour presented themselves besides Baroski. Young dandies used to
canter round her phaeton in the park, and might be seen haunting her
doors in the mornings. The fashionable artist of the day made a drawing
of her, which was engraved and sold in the shops; a copy of it was
printed in a song, "Black-eyed Maiden of Araby," the words by Desmond
Mulligan, Esquire, the music composed and dedicated to MRS. HOWARD
WALKER, by her most faithful and obliged servant, Benjamin Baroski; and
at night her Opera-box was full. Her Opera-box? Yes, the heiress of the
"Bootjack" actually had an Opera-box, and some of the most fashionable
manhood of London attended it.

Now, in fact, was the time of her greatest prosperity; and her husband
gathering these fashionable characters about him, extended his "agency"
considerably, and began to thank his stars that he had married a woman
who was as good as a fortune to him.

In extending his agency, however, Mr. Walker increased his expenses
proportionably, and multiplied his debts accordingly. More furniture and
more plate, more wines and more dinner-parties, became necessary; the
little pony-phaeton was exchanged for a brougham of evenings; and we may
fancy our old friend Mr. Eglantine's rage and disgust, as he looked from
the pit of the Opera, to see Mrs. Walker surrounded by what he called
"the swell young nobs" about London, bowing to my Lord, and laughing
with his Grace, and led to carriage by Sir John.

The Ravenswing's position at this period was rather an exceptional
one. She was an honest woman, visited by that peculiar class of our
aristocracy who chiefly associate with ladies who are NOT honest. She
laughed with all, but she encouraged none. Old Crump was constantly at
her side now when she appeared in public, the most watchful of mammas,
always awake at the Opera, though she seemed to be always asleep; but no
dandy debauchee could deceive her vigilance, and for this reason Walker,
who disliked her (as every man naturally will, must, and should dislike
his mother-in-law), was contented to suffer her in his house to act as a
chaperon to Morgiana.

None of the young dandies ever got admission of mornings to the little
mansion in the Edgware Road; the blinds were always down; and though you
might hear Morgiana's voice half across the Park as she was practising,
yet the youthful hall-porter in the sugar-loaf buttons was instructed to
deny her, and always declared that his mistress was gone out, with the
most admirable assurance.

After some two years of her life of splendour, there were, to be sure, a
good number of morning visitors, who came with SINGLE knocks, and asked
for Captain Walker; but these were no more admitted than the dandies
aforesaid, and were referred, generally, to the Captain's office,
whither they went or not at their convenience. The only man who obtained
admission into the house was Baroski, whose cab transported him thrice
a week to the neighbourhood of Connaught Square, and who obtained ready
entrance in his professional capacity.

But even then, and much to the wicked little music-master's
disappointment, the dragon Crump was always at the piano, with her
endless worsted work, or else reading her unfailing Sunday Times; and
Baroski could only employ "de langvitch of de ice," as he called it,
with his fair pupil, who used to mimic his manner of rolling his eyes
about afterwards, and perform "Baroski in love" for the amusement of her
husband and her mamma. The former had his reasons for overlooking the
attentions of the little music-master; and as for the latter, had she
not been on the stage, and had not many hundreds of persons, in jest or
earnest, made love to her? What else can a pretty woman expect who is
much before the public? And so the worthy mother counselled her daughter
to bear these attentions with good humour, rather than to make them a
subject of perpetual alarm and quarrel.

Baroski, then, was allowed to go on being in love, and was never in the
least disturbed in his passion; and if he was not successful, at least
the little wretch could have the pleasure of HINTING that he was, and
looking particularly roguish when the Ravenswing was named, and assuring
his friends at the club, that "upon his vort dere vas no trut IN DAT
REBORT."

At last one day it happened that Mrs. Crump did not arrive in time for
her daughter's lesson (perhaps it rained and the omnibus was full--a
smaller circumstance than that has changed a whole life ere now)--Mrs.
Crump did not arrive, and Baroski did, and Morgiana, seeing no great
harm, sat down to her lesson as usual, and in the midst of it down
went the music-master on his knees, and made a declaration in the most
eloquent terms he could muster.

"Don't be a fool, Baroski!" said the lady--(I can't help it if her
language was not more choice, and if she did not rise with cold dignity,
exclaiming, "Unhand me, sir!")--"Don't be a fool!" said Mrs. Walker,
"but get up and let's finish the lesson."

"You hard-hearted adorable little greature, vill you not listen to me?"

"No, I vill not listen to you, Benjamin!" concluded the lady. "Get up
and take a chair, and don't go on in that ridiklous way, don't!"

But Baroski, having a speech by heart, determined to deliver himself
of it in that posture, and begged Morgiana not to turn avay her divine
hice, and to listen to de voice of his despair, and so forth; he seized
the lady's hand, and was going to press it to his lips, when she said,
with more spirit, perhaps, than grace,--

"Leave go my hand, sir; I'll box your ears if you don't!"

But Baroski wouldn't release her hand, and was proceeding to imprint
a kiss upon it; and Mrs. Crump, who had taken the omnibus at a
quarter-past twelve instead of that at twelve, had just opened the
drawing-room door and was walking in, when Morgiana, turning as red as
a peony, and unable to disengage her left hand, which the musician held,
raised up her right hand, and, with all her might and main, gave her
lover such a tremendous slap in the face as caused him abruptly to
release the hand which he held, and would have laid him prostrate on
the carpet but for Mrs. Crump, who rushed forward and prevented him from
falling by administering right and left a whole shower of slaps, such as
he had never endured since the day he was at school.

"What imperence!" said that worthy lady; "you'll lay hands on my
daughter, will you? (one, two). You'll insult a woman in distress, will
you, you little coward? (one, two). Take that, and mind your manners,
you filthy monster!"

Baroski bounced up in a fury. "By Chofe, you shall hear of dis!" shouted
he; "you shall pay me dis!"

"As many more as you please, little Benjamin," cried the widow.
"Augustus" (to the page), "was that the Captain's knock?" At this
Baroski made for his hat. "Augustus, show this imperence to the door;
and if he tries to come in again, call a policeman: do you hear?"

The music-master vanished very rapidly, and the two ladies, instead of
being frightened or falling into hysterics, as their betters would have
done, laughed at the odious monster's discomfiture, as they called him.
"Such a man as that set himself up against my Howard!" said Morgiana,
with becoming pride; but it was agreed between them that Howard should
know nothing of what had occurred, for fear of quarrels, or lest he
should be annoyed. So when he came home not a word was said; and only
that his wife met him with more warmth than usual, you could not have
guessed that anything extraordinary had occurred. It is not my fault
that my heroine's sensibilities were not more keen, that she had not the
least occasion for sal-volatile or symptom of a fainting fit; but so it
was, and Mr. Howard Walker knew nothing of the quarrel between his wife
and her instructor until--

Until he was arrested next day at the suit of Benjamin Baroski for two
hundred and twenty guineas, and, in default of payment, was conducted by
Mr. Tobias Larkins to his principal's lock-up house in Chancery Lane.



CHAPTER V. IN WHICH MR. WALKER FALLS INTO DIFFICULTIES, AND MRS. WALKER
MAKES MANY FOOLISH ATTEMPTS TO RESCUE HIM.

I hope the beloved reader is not silly enough to imagine that Mr.
Walker, on finding himself inspunged for debt in Chancery Lane, was
so foolish as to think of applying to any of his friends (those great
personages who have appeared every now and then in the course of this
little history, and have served to give it a fashionable air). No, no;
he knew the world too well; and that, though Billingsgate would give him
as many dozen of claret as he could carry away under his belt, as the
phrase is (I can't help it, madam, if the phrase is not more genteel),
and though Vauxhall would lend him his carriage, slap him on the back,
and dine at his house,--their lordships would have seen Mr. Walker
depending from a beam in front of the Old Bailey rather than have helped
him to a hundred pounds.

And why, forsooth, should we expect otherwise in the world? I observe
that men who complain of its selfishness are quite as selfish as the
world is, and no more liberal of money than their neighbours; and I am
quite sure with regard to Captain Walker that he would have treated a
friend in want exactly as he when in want was treated. There was only
his lady who was in the least afflicted by his captivity; and as for the
club, that went on, we are bound to say, exactly as it did on the day
previous to his disappearance.

By the way, about clubs--could we not, but for fear of detaining the
fair reader too long, enter into a wholesome dissertation here on the
manner of friendship established in those institutions, and the noble
feeling of selfishness which they are likely to encourage in the male
race? I put out of the question the stale topics of complaint, such as
leaving home, encouraging gormandising and luxurious habits, etc.; but
look also at the dealings of club-men with one another. Look at the rush
for the evening paper! See how Shiverton orders a fire in the dog-days,
and Swettenham opens the windows in February. See how Cramley takes
the whole breast of the turkey on his plate, and how many times Jenkins
sends away his beggarly half-pint of sherry! Clubbery is organised
egotism. Club intimacy is carefully and wonderfully removed from
friendship. You meet Smith for twenty years, exchange the day's news
with him, laugh with him over the last joke, grow as well acquainted as
two men may be together--and one day, at the end of the list of members
of the club, you read in a little paragraph by itself, with all the
honours,

     MEMBER DECEASED.
     Smith, John, Esq.;

or he, on the other hand, has the advantage of reading your own name
selected for a similar typographical distinction. There it is, that
abominable little exclusive list at the end of every club-catalogue--you
can't avoid it. I belong to eight clubs myself, and know that one year
Fitz-Boodle, George Savage, Esq. (unless it should please fate to remove
my brother and his six sons, when of course it would be Fitz-Boodle, Sir
George Savage, Bart.), will appear in the dismal category. There is that
list; down I must go in it:--the day will come, and I shan't be seen in
the bow-window, someone else will be sitting in the vacant armchair:
the rubber will begin as usual, and yet somehow Fitz will not be there.
"Where's Fitz?" says Trumpington, just arrived from the Rhine. "Don't
you know?" says Punter, turning down his thumb to the carpet. "You led
the club, I think?" says Ruff to his partner (the OTHER partner!), and
the waiter snuffs the candles.

                    *****

I hope in the course of the above little pause, every single member of
a club who reads this has profited by the perusal. He may belong, I
say, to eight clubs; he will die, and not be missed by any of the five
thousand members. Peace be to him; the waiters will forget him, and his
name will pass away, and another great-coat will hang on the hook whence
his own used to be dependent.

And this, I need not say, is the beauty of the club-institutions. If it
were otherwise--if, forsooth, we were to be sorry when our friends died,
or to draw out our purses when our friends were in want, we should be
insolvent, and life would be miserable. Be it ours to button up our
pockets and our hearts; and to make merry--it is enough to swim down
this life-stream for ourselves; if Poverty is clutching hold of our
heels, or Friendship would catch an arm, kick them both off. Every man
for himself, is the word, and plenty to do too.

My friend Captain Walker had practised the above maxims so long and
resolutely as to be quite aware when he came himself to be in distress,
that not a single soul in the whole universe would help him, and he took
his measures accordingly.

When carried to Mr. Bendigo's lock-up house, he summoned that gentleman
in a very haughty way, took a blank banker's cheque out of his
pocket-book, and filling it up for the exact sum of the writ, orders Mr.
Bendigo forthwith to open the door and let him go forth.

Mr. Bendigo, smiling with exceeding archness, and putting a finger
covered all over with diamond rings to his extremely aquiline nose,
inquired of Mr. Walker whether he saw anything green about his face?
intimating by this gay and good-humoured interrogatory his suspicion
of the unsatisfactory nature of the document handed over to him by Mr.
Walker.

"Hang it, sir!" says Mr. Walker, "go and get the cheque cashed, and be
quick about it. Send your man in a cab, and here's a half-crown to pay
for it." The confident air somewhat staggers the bailiff, who asked him
whether he would like any refreshment while his man was absent getting
the amount of the cheque, and treated his prisoner with great civility
during the time of the messenger's journey.

But as Captain Walker had but a balance of two pounds five and twopence
(this sum was afterwards divided among his creditors, the law expenses
being previously deducted from it), the bankers of course declined to
cash the Captain's draft for two hundred and odd pounds, simply writing
the words "No effects" on the paper; on receiving which reply Walker,
far from being cast down, burst out laughing very gaily, produced a real
five-pound note, and called upon his host for a bottle of champagne,
which the two worthies drank in perfect friendship and good-humour. The
bottle was scarcely finished, and the young Israelitish gentleman who
acts as waiter in Cursitor Street had only time to remove the flask and
the glasses, when poor Morgiana with a flood of tears rushed into her
husband's arms, and flung herself on his neck, and calling him her
"dearest, blessed Howard," would have fainted at his feet; but that he,
breaking out in a fury of oaths, asked her how, after getting him into
that scrape through her infernal extravagance, she dared to show her
face before him? This address speedily frightened the poor thing out
of her fainting fit--there is nothing so good for female hysterics as a
little conjugal sternness, nay, brutality, as many husbands can aver who
are in the habit of employing the remedy.

"My extravagance, Howard?" said she, in a faint way; and quite put off
her purpose of swooning by the sudden attack made upon her--"Surely, my
love, you have nothing to complain of--"

"To complain of, ma'am?" roared the excellent Walker. "Is two hundred
guineas to a music-master nothing to complain of? Did you bring me such
a fortune as to authorise your taking guinea lessons? Haven't I raised
you out of your sphere of life and introduced you to the best of the
land? Haven't I dressed you like a duchess? Haven't I been for you such
a husband as very few women in the world ever had, madam?--answer me
that."

"Indeed, Howard, you were always very kind," sobbed the lady.

"Haven't I toiled and slaved for you--been out all day working for you?
Haven't I allowed your vulgar old mother to come to your house--to my
house, I say? Haven't I done all this?"

She could not deny it, and Walker, who was in a rage (and when a man is
in a rage, for what on earth is a wife made but that he should vent his
rage on her?), continued for some time in this strain, and so abused,
frightened, and overcame poor Morgiana that she left her husband fully
convinced that she was the most guilty of beings, and bemoaning his
double bad fortune, that her Howard was ruined and she the cause of his
misfortunes.

When she was gone, Mr. Walker resumed his equanimity (for he was not
one of those men whom a few months of the King's Bench were likely to
terrify), and drank several glasses of punch in company with his host;
with whom in perfect calmness he talked over his affairs. That he
intended to pay his debt and quit the spunging-house next day is a
matter of course; no one ever was yet put in a spunging-house that did
not pledge his veracity he intended to quit it to-morrow. Mr. Bendigo
said he should be heartily glad to open the door to him, and in the
meantime sent out diligently to see among his friends if there were
any more detainers against the Captain, and to inform the Captain's
creditors to come forward against him.

Morgiana went home in profound grief, it may be imagined, and could
hardly refrain from bursting into tears when the sugar-loaf page asked
whether master was coming home early, or whether he had taken his key;
she lay awake tossing and wretched the whole night, and very early in
the morning rose up, and dressed, and went out.

Before nine o'clock she was in Cursitor Street, and once more joyfully
bounced into her husband's arms; who woke up yawning and swearing
somewhat, with a severe headache, occasioned by the jollification of the
previous night: for, strange though it may seem, there are perhaps no
places in Europe where jollity is more practised than in prisons for
debt; and I declare for my own part (I mean, of course, that I went
to visit a friend) I have dined at Mr. Aminadab's as sumptuously as at
Long's.

But it is necessary to account for Morgiana's joyfulness; which was
strange in her husband's perplexity, and after her sorrow of the
previous night. Well, then, when Mrs. Walker went out in the morning,
she did so with a very large basket under her arm. "Shall I carry the
basket, ma'am?" said the page, seizing it with much alacrity.

"No, thank you," cried his mistress, with equal eagerness: "it's only--"

"Of course, ma'am," replied the boy, sneering, "I knew it was that."

"Glass," continued Mrs. Walker, turning extremely red. "Have
the goodness to call a coach, sir, and not to speak till you are
questioned."

The young gentleman disappeared upon his errand: the coach was called
and came. Mrs. Walker slipped into it with her basket, and the page went
downstairs to his companions in the kitchen, and said, "It's a-comin'!
master's in quod, and missus has gone out to pawn the plate." When the
cook went out that day, she somehow had by mistake placed in her basket
a dozen of table-knives and a plated egg-stand. When the lady's-maid
took a walk in the course of the afternoon, she found she had occasion
for eight cambric pocket-handkerchiefs, (marked with her mistress's
cipher), half-a-dozen pair of shoes, gloves, long and short, some silk
stockings, and a gold-headed scent-bottle. "Both the new cashmeres is
gone," said she, "and there's nothing left in Mrs. Walker's trinket-box
but a paper of pins and an old coral bracelet." As for the page, he
rushed incontinently to his master's dressing-room and examined every
one of the pockets of his clothes; made a parcel of some of them, and
opened all the drawers which Walker had not locked before his departure.
He only found three-halfpence and a bill stamp, and about forty-five
tradesmen's accounts, neatly labelled and tied up with red tape.
These three worthies, a groom who was a great admirer of Trimmer the
lady's-maid, and a policeman a friend of the cook's, sat down to a
comfortable dinner at the usual hour, and it was agreed among them all
that Walker's ruin was certain. The cook made the policeman a present of
a china punch-bowl which Mrs. Walker had given her; and the lady's-maid
gave her friend the "Book of Beauty" for last year, and the third volume
of Byron's poems from the drawing-room table.

"I'm dash'd if she ain't taken the little French clock, too," said the
page, and so indeed Mrs. Walker had; it slipped in the basket where
it lay enveloped in one of her shawls, and then struck madly and
unnaturally a great number of times, as Morgiana was lifting her store
of treasures out of the hackney-coach. The coachman wagged his head
sadly as he saw her walking as quick as she could under her heavy load,
and disappearing round the corner of the street at which Mr. Balls's
celebrated jewellery establishment is situated. It is a grand shop, with
magnificent silver cups and salvers, rare gold-headed canes, flutes,
watches, diamond brooches, and a few fine specimens of the old masters
in the window, and under the words--

     BALLS, JEWELLER,

you read

       Money Lent.

in the very smallest type, on the door.

The interview with Mr. Balls need not be described; but it must have
been a satisfactory one, for at the end of half an hour Morgiana
returned and bounded into the coach with sparkling eyes, and told the
driver to GALLOP to Cursitor Street; which, smiling, he promised to do,
and accordingly set off in that direction at the rate of four miles an
hour. "I thought so," said the philosophic charioteer. "When a man's
in quod, a woman don't mind her silver spoons;" and he was so delighted
with her action, that he forgot to grumble when she came to settle
accounts with him, even though she gave him only double his fare.

"Take me to him," said she to the young Hebrew who opened the door.

"To whom?" says the sarcastic youth; "there's twenty HIM'S here. You're
precious early."

"To Captain Walker, young man," replied Morgiana haughtily; whereupon
the youth opening the second door, and seeing Mr. Bendigo in a flowered
dressing-gown descending the stairs, exclaimed, "Papa, here's a lady for
the Captain." "I'm come to free him," said she, trembling, and holding
out a bundle of bank-notes. "Here's the amount of your claim, sir--two
hundred and twenty guineas, as you told me last night." The Jew took the
notes, and grinned as he looked at her, and grinned double as he looked
at his son, and begged Mrs. Walker to step into his study and take a
receipt. When the door of that apartment closed upon the lady and his
father, Mr. Bendigo the younger fell back in an agony of laughter, which
it is impossible to describe in words, and presently ran out into a
court where some of the luckless inmates of the house were already
taking the air, and communicated something to them which made those
individuals also laugh as uproariously as he had previously done.

Well, after joyfully taking the receipt from Mr. Bendigo (how her cheeks
flushed and her heart fluttered as she dried it on the blotting-book!),
and after turning very pale again on hearing that the Captain had had a
very bad night: "And well he might, poor dear!" said she (at which Mr.
Bendigo, having no person to grin at, grinned at a marble bust of
Mr. Pitt, which ornamented his sideboard)--Morgiana, I say, these
preliminaries being concluded, was conducted to her husband's apartment,
and once more flinging her arms round her dearest Howard's neck, told
him with one of the sweetest smiles in the world, to make haste and
get up and come home, for breakfast was waiting and the carriage at the
door.

"What do you mean, love?" said the Captain, starting up and looking
exceedingly surprised.

"I mean that my dearest is free; that the odious little creature is
paid--at least the horrid bailiff is."

"Have you been to Baroski?" said Walker, turning very red.

"Howard!" said his wife, quite indignant.

"Did--did your mother give you the money?" asked the Captain.

"No; I had it by me" replies Mrs. Walker, with a very knowing look.

Walker was more surprised than ever. "Have you any more by you?" said
he.

Mrs. Walker showed him her purse with two guineas. "That is all, love,"
she said. "And I wish," continued she, "you would give me a draft to pay
a whole list of little bills that have somehow all come in within the
last few days."

"Well, well, you shall have the cheque," continued Mr. Walker, and began
forthwith to make his toilet, which completed, he rang for Mr. Bendigo,
and his bill, and intimated his wish to go home directly.

The honoured bailiff brought the bill, but with regard to his being
free, said it was impossible.

"How impossible?" said Mrs. Walker, turning very red: and then very
pale. "Did I not pay just now?"

"So you did, and you've got the reshipt; but there's another detainer
against the Captain for a hundred and fifty. Eglantine and Mossrose, of
Bond Street;--perfumery for five years, you know."

"You don't mean to say you were such a fool as to pay without asking if
there were any more detainers?" roared Walker to his wife.

"Yes, she was though," chuckled Mr. Bendigo; "but she'll know better the
next time: and, besides, Captain, what's a hundred and fifty pounds to
you?"

Though Walker desired nothing so much in the world at that moment as
the liberty to knock down his wife, his sense of prudence overcame his
desire for justice: if that feeling may be called prudence on his part,
which consisted in a strong wish to cheat the bailiff into the idea that
he (Walker) was an exceedingly respectable and wealthy man. Many worthy
persons indulge in this fond notion, that they are imposing upon the
world; strive to fancy, for instance, that their bankers consider
them men of property because they keep a tolerable balance, pay little
tradesmen's bills with ostentatious punctuality, and so forth--but the
world, let us be pretty sure, is as wise as need be, and guesses our
real condition with a marvellous instinct, or learns it with curious
skill. The London tradesman is one of the keenest judges of human nature
extant; and if a tradesman, how much more a bailiff? In reply to the
ironic question, "What's a hundred and fifty pounds to you?" Walker,
collecting himself, answers, "It is an infamous imposition, and I owe
the money no more than you do; but, nevertheless, I shall instruct
my lawyers to pay it in the course of the morning: under protest, of
course."

"Oh, of course," said Mr. Bendigo, bowing and quitting the room, and
leaving Mrs. Walker to the pleasure of a tete-a-tete with her husband.

And now being alone with the partner of his bosom, the worthy gentleman
began an address to her which cannot be put down on paper here; because
the world is exceedingly squeamish, and does not care to hear the whole
truth about rascals, and because the fact is that almost every other
word of the Captain's speech was a curse, such as would shock the
beloved reader were it put in print.

Fancy, then, in lieu of the conversation, a scoundrel, disappointed and
in a fury, wreaking his brutal revenge upon an amiable woman, who sits
trembling and pale, and wondering at this sudden exhibition of wrath.
Fancy how he clenches his fists and stands over her, and stamps and
screams out curses with a livid face, growing wilder and wilder in his
rage; wrenching her hand when she wants to turn away, and only stopping
at last when she has fallen off the chair in a fainting fit, with
a heart-breaking sob that made the Jew-boy who was listening at the
key-hole turn quite pale and walk away. Well, it is best, perhaps, that
such a conversation should not be told at length:--at the end of
it, when Mr. Walker had his wife lifeless on the floor, he seized a
water-jug and poured it over her; which operation pretty soon brought
her to herself, and shaking her black ringlets, she looked up once more
again timidly into his face, and took his hand, and began to cry.

He spoke now in a somewhat softer voice, and let her keep paddling on
with his hand as before; he COULDN'T speak very fiercely to the poor
girl in her attitude of defeat, and tenderness, and supplication.
"Morgiana," said he, "your extravagance and carelessness have brought me
to ruin, I'm afraid. If you had chosen to have gone to Baroski, a word
from you would have made him withdraw the writ, and my property wouldn't
have been sacrificed, as it has now been, for nothing. It mayn't be yet
too late, however, to retrieve ourselves. This bill of Eglantine's is
a regular conspiracy, I am sure, between Mossrose and Bendigo here: you
must go to Eglantine--he's an old--an old flame of yours, you know."

She dropped his hand: "I can't go to Eglantine after what has passed
between us," she said; but Walker's face instantly began to wear a
certain look, and she said with a shudder, "Well, well, dear, I WILL
go." "You will go to Eglantine, and ask him to take a bill for the
amount of this shameful demand--at any date, never mind what. Mind,
however, to see him alone, and I'm sure if you choose you can settle the
business. Make haste; set off directly, and come back, as there may be
more detainers in."

Trembling, and in a great flutter, Morgiana put on her bonnet and
gloves, and went towards the door. "It's a fine morning," said Mr.
Walker, looking out: "a walk will do you good; and--Morgiana--didn't you
say you had a couple of guineas in your pocket?"

"Here it is," said she, smiling all at once, and holding up her face to
be kissed. She paid the two guineas for the kiss. Was it not a mean act?
"Is it possible that people can love where they do not respect?" says
Miss Prim: "_I_ never would." Nobody asked you, Miss Prim: but recollect
Morgiana was not born with your advantages of education and breeding;
and was, in fact, a poor vulgar creature, who loved Mr. Walker, not
because her mamma told her, nor because he was an exceedingly eligible
and well-brought-up young man, but because she could not help it, and
knew no better. Nor is Mrs. Walker set up as a model of virtue: ah, no!
when I want a model of virtue I will call in Baker Street, and ask for a
sitting of my dear (if I may be permitted to say so) Miss Prim.

We have Mr. Howard Walker safely housed in Mr. Bendigo's establishment
in Cursitor Street, Chancery Lane; and it looks like mockery and want of
feeling towards the excellent hero of this story (or, as should rather
be said, towards the husband of the heroine) to say what he might have
been but for the unlucky little circumstance of Baroski's passion for
Morgiana.

If Baroski had not fallen in love with Morgiana, he would not have given
her two hundred guineas' worth of lessons; he would not have so far
presumed as to seize her hand, and attempt to kiss it; if he had not
attempted to kiss her, she would not have boxed his ears; he would not
have taken out the writ against Walker; Walker would have been free,
very possibly rich, and therefore certainly respected: he always said
that a month's more liberty would have set him beyond the reach of
misfortune.

The assertion is very likely a correct one; for Walker had a flashy
enterprising genius, which ends in wealth sometimes; in the King's Bench
not seldom; occasionally, alas! in Van Diemen's Land. He might have been
rich, could he have kept his credit, and had not his personal expenses
and extravagances pulled him down. He had gallantly availed himself of
his wife's fortune; nor could any man in London, as he proudly said,
have made five hundred pounds go so far. He had, as we have seen,
furnished a house, sideboard, and cellar with it: he had a carriage, and
horses in his stable, and with the remainder he had purchased shares
in four companies--of three of which he was founder and director, had
conducted innumerable bargains in the foreign stocks, had lived and
entertained sumptuously, and made himself a very considerable income. He
had set up THE CAPITOL Loan and Life Assurance Company, had discovered
the Chimborazo gold mines, and the Society for Recovering and Draining
the Pontine Marshes; capital ten millions; patron HIS HOLINESS THE POPE.
It certainly was stated in an evening paper that His Holiness had made
him a Knight of the Spur, and had offered to him the rank of Count; and
he was raising a loan for His Highness, the Cacique of Panama, who had
sent him (by way of dividend) the grand cordon of His Highness's order
of the Castle and Falcon, which might be seen any day at his office in
Bond Street, with the parchments signed and sealed by the Grand Master
and Falcon King-at-arms of His Highness. In a week more Walker would
have raised a hundred thousand pounds on His Highness's twenty per cent.
loan; he would have had fifteen thousand pounds commission for himself;
his companies would have risen to par, he would have realised his
shares; he would have gone into Parliament; he would have been made a
baronet, who knows? a peer, probably! "And I appeal to you, sir," Walker
would say to his friends, "could any man have shown better proof of his
affection for his wife than by laying out her little miserable money as
I did? They call me heartless, sir, because I didn't succeed; sir, my
life has been a series of sacrifices for that woman, such as no man ever
performed before."

A proof of Walker's dexterity and capability for business may be seen
in the fact that he had actually appeased and reconciled one of his
bitterest enemies--our honest friend Eglantine. After Walker's marriage
Eglantine, who had now no mercantile dealings with his former agent,
became so enraged with him, that, as the only means of revenge in his
power, he sent him in his bill for goods supplied to the amount of
one hundred and fifty guineas, and sued him for the amount. But Walker
stepped boldly over to his enemy, and in the course of half an hour they
were friends.

Eglantine promised to forego his claim; and accepted in lieu of it three
hundred-pound shares of the ex-Panama stock, bearing twenty-five per
cent., payable half-yearly at the house of Hocus Brothers, St. Swithin's
Lane; three hundred-pound shares, and the SECOND class of the order
of the Castle and Falcon, with the riband and badge. "In four years,
Eglantine, my boy, I hope to get you the Grand Cordon of the order,"
said Walker: "I hope to see you a KNIGHT GRAND CROSS, with a grant of a
hundred thousand acres reclaimed from the Isthmus."

To do my poor Eglantine justice, he did not care for the hundred
thousand acres--it was the star that delighted him--ah! how his fat
chest heaved with delight as he sewed on the cross and riband to his
dress-coat, and lighted up four wax candles and looked at himself in
the glass. He was known to wear a great-coat after that--it was that he
might wear the cross under it. That year he went on a trip to Boulogne.
He was dreadfully ill during the voyage, but as the vessel entered
the port he was seen to emerge from the cabin, his coat open, the star
blazing on his chest; the soldiers saluted him as he walked the streets,
he was called Monsieur le Chevalier, and when he went home he entered
into negotiations with Walker to purchase a commission in His Highness's
service. Walker said he would get him the nominal rank of Captain, the
fees at the Panama War Office were five-and-twenty pounds, which
sum honest Eglantine produced, and had his commission, and a pack of
visiting cards printed as Captain Archibald Eglantine, K.C.F. Many a
time he looked at them as they lay in his desk, and he kept the cross in
his dressing-table, and wore it as he shaved every morning.

His Highness the Cacique, it is well known, came to England, and had
lodgings in Regent Street, where he held a levee, at which Eglantine
appeared in the Panama uniform, and was most graciously received by
his Sovereign. His Highness proposed to make Captain Eglantine his
aide-de-camp with the rank of Colonel, but the Captain's exchequer
was rather low at that moment, and the fees at the "War Office" were
peremptory. Meanwhile His Highness left Regent Street, was said by some
to have returned to Panama, by others to be in his native city of Cork,
by others to be leading a life of retirement in the New Cut, Lambeth;
at any rate was not visible for some time, so that Captain Eglantine's
advancement did not take place. Eglantine was somehow ashamed to mention
his military and chivalric rank to Mr. Mossrose, when that gentleman
came into partnership with him; and kept these facts secret, until
they were detected by a very painful circumstance. On the very day when
Walker was arrested at the suit of Benjamin Baroski, there appeared in
the newspapers an account of the imprisonment of His Highness the Prince
of Panama for a bill owing to a licensed victualler in Ratcliff Highway.
The magistrate to whom the victualler subsequently came to complain
passed many pleasantries on the occasion. He asked whether His Highness
did not drink like a swan with two necks; whether he had brought any
Belles savages with him from Panama, and so forth; and the whole court,
said the report, "was convulsed with laughter when Boniface produced a
green and yellow riband with a large star of the order of the Castle
and Falcon, with which His Highness proposed to gratify him, in lieu of
paying his little bill."

It was as he was reading the above document with a bleeding heart that
Mr. Mossrose came in from his daily walk to the City. "Vell, Eglantine,"
says he, "have you heard the newsh?"

"About His Highness?"

"About your friend Valker; he's arrested for two hundred poundsh!"

Eglantine at this could contain no more; but told his story of how he
had been induced to accept three hundred pounds of Panama stock for
his account against Walker, and cursed his stars for his folly. "Vell,
you've only to bring in another bill," said the younger perfumer;
"swear he owes you a hundred and fifty pounds, and we'll have a writ out
against him this afternoon."

And so a second writ was taken out against Captain Walker.

"You'll have his wife here very likely in a day or two," said Mr.
Mossrose to his partner; "them chaps always sends their wives, and I
hope you know how to deal with her."

"I don't value her a fig's hend," said Eglantine. "I'll treat her like
the dust of the hearth. After that woman's conduct to me, I should like
to see her have the haudacity to come here; and if she does, you'll see
how I'll serve her."

The worthy perfumer was, in fact, resolved to be exceedingly
hard-hearted in his behaviour towards his old love, and acted over at
night in bed the scene which was to occur when the meeting should take
place. Oh, thought he, but it will be a grand thing to see the proud
Morgiana on her knees to me; and me a-pointing to the door, and saying,
"Madam, you've steeled this 'eart against you, you have;--bury the
recollection of old times, of those old times when I thought my 'eart
would have broke, but it didn't--no: 'earts are made of sterner stuff. I
didn't die, as I thought I should; I stood it, and live to see the woman
I despised at my feet--ha, ha, at my feet!"

In the midst of these thoughts Mr. Eglantine fell asleep; but it
was evident that the idea of seeing Morgiana once more agitated him
considerably, else why should he have been at the pains of preparing
so much heroism? His sleep was exceedingly fitful and troubled; he saw
Morgiana in a hundred shapes; he dreamed that he was dressing her hair;
that he was riding with her to Richmond; that the horse turned into a
dragon, and Morgiana into Woolsey, who took him by the throat and choked
him, while the dragon played the key-bugle. And in the morning when
Mossrose was gone to his business in the City, and he sat reading the
Morning Post in his study, ah! what a thump his heart gave as the lady
of his dreams actually stood before him!

Many a lady who purchased brushes at Eglantine's shop would have given
ten guineas for such a colour as his when he saw her. His heart beat
violently, he was almost choking in his stays: he had been prepared for
the visit, but his courage failed him now it had come. They were both
silent for some minutes.

"You know what I am come for," at last said Morgiana from under her
veil, but she put it aside as she spoke.

"I--that is--yes--it's a painful affair, mem," he said, giving one look
at her pale face, and then turning away in a flurry. "I beg to refer
you to Blunt, Hone, and Sharpus, my lawyers, mem," he added, collecting
himself.

"I didn't expect this from YOU, Mr. Eglantine," said the lady, and began
to sob.

"And after what's 'appened, I didn't expect a visit from YOU, mem.
I thought Mrs. Capting Walker was too great a dame to visit poor
Harchibald Eglantine (though some of the first men in the country DO
visit him). Is there anything in which I can oblige you, mem?"

"O heavens!" cried the poor woman; "have I no friend left? I never
thought that you, too, would have deserted me, Mr. Archibald."

The "Archibald," pronounced in the old way, had evidently an effect on
the perfumer; he winced and looked at her very eagerly for a moment.
"What can I do for you, mem?" at last said he.

"What is this bill against Mr. Walker, for which he is now in prison?"

"Perfumery supplied for five years; that man used more 'air-brushes than
any duke in the land, and as for eau-de-Cologne, he must have bathed
himself in it. He hordered me about like a lord. He never paid me one
shilling--he stabbed me in my most vital part--but ah! ah! never mind
THAT: and I said I would be revenged, and I AM."

The perfumer was quite in a rage again by this time, and wiped his fat
face with his pocket-handkerchief, and glared upon Mrs. Walker with a
most determined air.

"Revenged on whom? Archibald--Mr. Eglantine, revenged on me--on a poor
woman whom you made miserable! You would not have done so once."

"Ha! and a precious way you treated me ONCE," said Eglantine: "don't
talk to me, mem, of ONCE. Bury the recollection of once for hever!
I thought my 'eart would have broke once, but no: 'earts are made of
sterner stuff. I didn't die, as I thought I should; I stood it--and I
live to see the woman who despised me at my feet."

"Oh, Archibald!" was all the lady could say, and she fell to sobbing
again: it was perhaps her best argument with the perfumer.

"Oh, Harchibald, indeed!" continued he, beginning to swell; "don't call
me Harchibald, Morgiana. Think what a position you might have held if
you'd chose: when, when--you MIGHT have called me Harchibald. Now
it's no use," added he, with harrowing pathos; "but, though I've been
wronged, I can't bear to see women in tears--tell me what I can do."

"Dear good Mr. Eglantine, send to your lawyers and stop this horrid
prosecution--take Mr. Walker's acknowledgment for the debt. If he is
free, he is sure to have a very large sum of money in a few days, and
will pay you all. Do not ruin him--do not ruin me by persisting now. Be
the old kind Eglantine you were."

Eglantine took a hand, which Morgiana did not refuse; he thought about
old times. He had known her since childhood almost; as a girl he dandled
her on his knee at the "Kidneys;" as a woman he had adored her--his
heart was melted.

"He did pay me in a sort of way," reasoned the perfumer with
himself--"these bonds, though they are not worth much, I took 'em for
better or for worse, and I can't bear to see her crying, and to trample
on a woman in distress. Morgiana," he added, in a loud cheerful voice,
"cheer up; I'll give you a release for your husband: I WILL be the old
kind Eglantine I was."

"Be the old kind jackass you vash!" here roared a voice that made Mr.
Eglantine start. "Vy, vat an old fat fool you are, Eglantine, to give up
our just debts because a voman comes snivelling and crying to you--and
such a voman, too!" exclaimed Mr. Mossrose, for his was the voice.

"Such a woman, sir?" cried the senior partner.

"Yes; such a woman--vy, didn't she jilt you herself?--hasn't she been
trying the same game with Baroski; and are you so green as to give up
a hundred and fifty pounds because she takes a fancy to come vimpering
here? I won't, I can tell you. The money's as much mine as it is yours,
and I'll have it or keep Walker's body, that's what I will."

At the presence of his partner, the timid good genius of Eglantine,
which had prompted him to mercy and kindness, at once outspread its
frightened wings and flew away.

"You see how it is, Mrs. W.," said he, looking down; "it's an affair
of business--in all these here affairs of business Mr. Mossrose is the
managing man; ain't you, Mr. Mossrose?"

"A pretty business it would be if I wasn't," replied Mossrose, doggedly.
"Come, ma'am," says he, "I'll tell you vat I do: I take fifty per shent;
not a farthing less--give me that, and out your husband goes."

"Oh, sir, Howard will pay you in a week."

"Vell, den, let him stop at my uncle Bendigo's for a week, and come out
den--he's very comfortable there," said Shylock with a grin. "Hadn't
you better go to the shop, Mr. Eglantine," continued he, "and look after
your business? Mrs. Walker can't want you to listen to her all day."

Eglantine was glad of the excuse, and slunk out of the studio; not into
the shop, but into his parlour; where he drank off a great glass of
maraschino, and sat blushing and exceedingly agitated, until Mossrose
came to tell him that Mrs. W. was gone, and wouldn't trouble him any
more. But although he drank several more glasses of maraschino, and went
to the play that night, and to the Cider-cellars afterwards, neither
the liquor, nor the play, nor the delightful comic songs at the cellars,
could drive Mrs. Walker out of his head, and the memory of old times,
and the image of her pale weeping face.

Morgiana tottered out of the shop, scarcely heeding the voice of Mr.
Mossrose, who said, "I'll take forty per shent" (and went back to his
duty cursing himself for a soft-hearted fool for giving up so much of
his rights to a puling woman). Morgiana, I say, tottered out of the
shop, and went up Conduit Street, weeping, weeping with all her eyes.
She was quite faint, for she had taken nothing that morning but the
glass of water which the pastry-cook in the Strand had given her, and
was forced to take hold of the railings of a house for support just as
a little gentleman with a yellow handkerchief under his arm was issuing
from the door.

"Good heavens, Mrs. Walker!" said the gentleman. It was no other than
Mr. Woolsey, who was going forth to try a body-coat for a customer. "Are
you ill?--what's the matter?--for God's sake come in!" and he took her
arm under his, and led her into his back-parlour, and seated her, and
had some wine and water before her in one minute, before she had said
one single word regarding herself.

As soon as she was somewhat recovered, and with the interruption of
a thousand sobs, the poor thing told as well as she could her little
story. Mr. Eglantine had arrested Mr. Walker: she had been trying to
gain time for him; Eglantine had refused.

"The hard-hearted cowardly brute to refuse HER anything!" said loyal Mr.
Woolsey. "My dear," says he, "I've no reason to love your husband, and I
know too much about him to respect him; but I love and respect YOU, and
will spend my last shilling to serve you." At which Morgiana could only
take his hand and cry a great deal more than ever. She said Mr. Walker
would have a great deal of money in a week, that he was the best of
husbands, and she was sure Mr. Woolsey would think better of him when
he knew him; that Mr. Eglantine's bill was one hundred and fifty pounds,
but that Mr. Mossrose would take forty per cent. if Mr. Woolsey could
say how much that was.

"I'll pay a thousand pound to do you good," said Mr. Woolsey, bouncing
up; "stay here for ten minutes, my dear, until my return, and all shall
be right, as you will see." He was back in ten minutes, and had called
a cab from the stand opposite (all the coachmen there had seen and
commented on Mrs. Walker's woebegone looks), and they were off for
Cursitor Street in a moment. "They'll settle the whole debt for twenty
pounds," said he, and showed an order to that effect from Mr. Mossrose
to Mr. Bendigo, empowering the latter to release Walker on receiving Mr.
Woolsey's acknowledgment for the above sum.

"There's no use paying it," said Mr. Walker, doggedly; "it would only
be robbing you, Mr. Woolsey--seven more detainers have come in while my
wife has been away. I must go through the court now; but," he added in a
whisper to the tailor, "my good sir, my debts of HONOUR are sacred, and
if you will have the goodness to lend ME the twenty pounds, I pledge you
my word as a gentleman to return it when I come out of quod."

It is probable that Mr. Woolsey declined this; for, as soon as he was
gone, Walker, in a tremendous fury, began cursing his wife for dawdling
three hours on the road. "Why the deuce, ma'am, didn't you take a cab?"
roared he, when he heard she had walked to Bond Street. "Those writs
have only been in half an hour, and I might have been off but for you."

"Oh, Howard," said she, "didn't you take--didn't I give you my--my last
shilling?" and fell back and wept again more bitterly than ever.

"Well, love," said her amiable husband, turning rather red, "never mind,
it wasn't your fault. It is but going through the court. It is no great
odds. I forgive you."



CHAPTER VI. IN WHICH MR. WALKER STILL REMAINS IN DIFFICULTIES, BUT SHOWS
GREAT RESIGNATION UNDER HIS MISFORTUNES.

The exemplary Walker, seeing that escape from his enemies was hopeless,
and that it was his duty as a man to turn on them and face them, now
determined to quit the splendid though narrow lodgings which Mr.
Bendigo had provided for him, and undergo the martyrdom of the Fleet.
Accordingly, in company with that gentleman, he came over to Her
Majesty's prison, and gave himself into the custody of the officers
there; and did not apply for the accommodation of the Rules (by which
in those days the captivity of some debtors was considerably lightened),
because he knew perfectly well that there was no person in the wide
world who would give a security for the heavy sums for which Walker was
answerable. What these sums were is no matter, and on this head we do
not think it at all necessary to satisfy the curiosity of the reader. He
may have owed hundreds--thousands, his creditors only can tell; he paid
the dividend which has been formerly mentioned, and showed thereby his
desire to satisfy all claims upon him to the uttermost farthing.

As for the little house in Connaught Square, when, after quitting her
husband, Morgiana drove back thither, the door was opened by the page,
who instantly thanked her to pay his wages; and in the drawing-room, on
a yellow satin sofa, sat a seedy man (with a pot of porter beside him
placed on an album for fear of staining the rosewood table), and the
seedy man signified that he had taken possession of the furniture in
execution for a judgment debt. Another seedy man was in the dining-room,
reading a newspaper, and drinking gin; he informed Mrs. Walker that
he was the representative of another judgment debt and of another
execution:--"There's another on 'em in the kitchen," said the page,
"taking an inwentory of the furniture; and he swears he'll have you took
up for swindling, for pawning the plate."

"Sir," said Mr. Woolsey, for that worthy man had conducted Morgiana
home--"sir," said he, shaking his stick at the young page, "if you give
any more of your impudence, I'll beat every button off your jacket:" and
as there were some four hundred of these ornaments, the page was silent.
It was a great mercy for Morgiana that the honest and faithful tailor
had accompanied her. The good fellow had waited very patiently for her
for an hour in the parlour or coffee-room of the lock-up house, knowing
full well that she would want a protector on her way homewards; and his
kindness will be more appreciated when it is stated that, during
the time of his delay in the coffee-room, he had been subject to the
entreaties, nay, to the insults, of Cornet Fipkin of the Blues, who was
in prison at the suit of Linsey, Woolsey and Co., and who happened to be
taking his breakfast in the apartment when his obdurate creditor entered
it. The Cornet (a hero of eighteen, who stood at least five feet three
in his boots, and owed fifteen thousand pounds) was so enraged at the
obduracy of his creditor that he said he would have thrown him out of
the window but for the bars which guarded it; and entertained serious
thoughts of knocking the tailor's head off, but that the latter, putting
his right leg forward and his fists in a proper attitude, told the
young officer to "come on;" on which the Cornet cursed the tailor for a
"snob," and went back to his breakfast.

The execution people having taken charge of Mr. Walker's house, Mrs.
Walker was driven to take refuge with her mamma near "Sadler's Wells,"
and the Captain remained comfortably lodged in the Fleet. He had some
ready money, and with it managed to make his existence exceedingly
comfortable. He lived with the best society of the place, consisting of
several distinguished young noblemen and gentlemen. He spent the morning
playing at fives and smoking cigars; the evening smoking cigars and
dining comfortably. Cards came after dinner; and, as the Captain was
an experienced player, and near a score of years older than most of his
friends, he was generally pretty successful: indeed, if he had received
all the money that was owed to him, he might have come out of prison
and paid his creditors twenty shillings in the pound--that is, if he had
been minded to do so. But there is no use in examining into that point
too closely, for the fact is, young Fipkin only paid him forty pounds
out of seven hundred, for which he gave him I.O.U.'s; Algernon Deuceace
not only did not pay him three hundred and twenty which he lost at blind
hookey, but actually borrowed seven and sixpence in money from Walker,
which has never been repaid to this day; and Lord Doublequits actually
lost nineteen thousand pounds to him at heads and tails, which he never
paid, pleading drunkenness and his minority. The reader may recollect a
paragraph which went the round of the papers entitled--

"Affair of honour in the Fleet Prison.--Yesterday morning (behind the
pump in the second court) Lord D-bl-qu-ts and Captain H-w-rd W-lk-r (a
near relative, we understand, of his Grace the Duke of N-rf-lk) had
a hostile meeting and exchanged two shots. These two young sprigs of
nobility were attended to the ground by Major Flush, who, by the way,
is FLUSH no longer, and Captain Pam, late of the ---- Dragoons. Play is
said to have been the cause of the quarrel, and the gallant Captain is
reported to have handled the noble lord's nose rather roughly at one
stage of the transactions."

When Morgiana at "Sadler's Wells" heard these news, she was ready to
faint with terror; and rushed to the Fleet Prison, and embraced her lord
and master with her usual expansion and fits of tears: very much to that
gentleman's annoyance, who happened to be in company with Pain and Flush
at the time, and did not care that his handsome wife should be seen
too much in the dubious precincts of the Fleet. He had at least so much
shame about him, and had always rejected her entreaties to be allowed to
inhabit the prison with him.

"It is enough," would he say, casting his eyes heavenward, and with a
most lugubrious countenance--"it is enough, Morgiana, that _I_ should
suffer, even though your thoughtlessness has been the cause of my ruin.
But enough of THAT! I will not rebuke you for faults for which I know
you are now repentant; and I never could bear to see you in the midst
of the miseries of this horrible place. Remain at home with your mother,
and let me drag on the weary days here alone. If you can get me any more
of that pale sherry, my love, do. I require something to cheer me in
solitude, and have found my chest very much relieved by that wine. Put
more pepper and eggs, my dear, into the next veal-pie you make me. I
can't eat the horrible messes in the coffee-room here."

It was Walker's wish, I can't tell why, except that it is the wish of
a great number of other persons in this strange world, to make his
wife believe that he was wretched in mind and ill in health; and all
assertions to this effect the simple creature received with numberless
tears of credulity: she would go home to Mrs. Crump, and say how her
darling Howard was pining away, how he was ruined for HER, and with what
angelic sweetness he bore his captivity. The fact is, he bore it with so
much resignation that no other person in the world could see that he
was unhappy. His life was undisturbed by duns; his day was his own from
morning till night; his diet was good, his acquaintances jovial, his
purse tolerably well supplied, and he had not one single care to annoy
him.

Mrs. Crump and Woolsey, perhaps, received Morgiana's account of her
husband's miseries with some incredulity. The latter was now a daily
visitor to "Sadler's Wells." His love for Morgiana had become a warm
fatherly generous regard for her; it was out of the honest fellow's
cellar that the wine used to come which did so much good to Mr. Walker's
chest; and he tried a thousand ways to make Morgiana happy.

A very happy day, indeed, it was when, returning from her visit to the
Fleet, she found in her mother's sitting-room her dear grand rosewood
piano, and every one of her music-books, which the kind-hearted tailor
had purchased at the sale of Walker's effects. And I am not ashamed
to say that Morgiana herself was so charmed, that when, as usual, Mr.
Woolsey came to drink tea in the evening, she actually gave him a kiss;
which frightened Mr. Woolsey, and made him blush exceedingly. She
sat down, and played him that evening every one of the songs which
he liked--the OLD songs--none of your Italian stuff. Podmore, the old
music-master, was there too, and was delighted and astonished at the
progress in singing which Morgiana had made; and when the little party
separated, he took Mr. Woolsey by the hand, and said, "Give me leave to
tell you, sir, that you're a TRUMP."

"That he is," said Canterfield, the first tragic; "an honour to human
nature. A man whose hand is open as day to melting charity, and whose
heart ever melts at the tale of woman's distress."

"Pooh, pooh, stuff and nonsense, sir," said the tailor; but, upon my
word, Mr. Canterfield's words were perfectly correct. I wish as much
could be said in favour of Woolsey's old rival, Mr. Eglantine, who
attended the sale too, but it was with a horrid kind of satisfaction
at the thought that Walker was ruined. He bought the yellow satin
sofa before mentioned, and transferred it to what he calls his
"sitting-room," where it is to this day, bearing many marks of the best
bear's grease. Woolsey bid against Baroski for the piano, very nearly
up to the actual value of the instrument, when the artist withdrew from
competition; and when he was sneering at the ruin of Mr. Walker, the
tailor sternly interrupted him by saying, "What the deuce are YOU
sneering at? You did it, sir; and you're paid every shilling of your
claim, ain't you?" On which Baroski turned round to Miss Larkins,
and said, Mr. Woolsey was a "snop;" the very word, though pronounced
somewhat differently, which the gallant Cornet Fipkin had applied to
him.

Well; so he WAS a snob. But, vulgar as he was, I declare, for my part,
that I have a greater respect for Mr. Woolsey than for any single
nobleman or gentleman mentioned in this true history.

It will be seen from the names of Messrs. Canterfield and Podmore
that Morgiana was again in the midst of the widow Crump's favourite
theatrical society; and this, indeed, was the case. The widow's little
room was hung round with the pictures which were mentioned at the
commencement of the story as decorating the bar of the "Bootjack;" and
several times in a week she received her friends from "The Wells," and
entertained them with such humble refreshments of tea and crumpets as
her modest means permitted her to purchase. Among these persons Morgiana
lived and sang quite as contentedly as she had ever done among the
demireps of her husband's society; and, only she did not dare to own it
to herself, was a great deal happier than she had been for many a day.
Mrs. Captain Walker was still a great lady amongst them. Even in his
ruin, Walker, the director of three companies, and the owner of the
splendid pony-chaise, was to these simple persons an awful character;
and when mentioned they talked with a great deal of gravity of his being
in the country, and hoped Mrs. Captain W. had good news of him. They all
knew he was in the Fleet; but had he not in prison fought a duel with a
viscount? Montmorency (of the Norfolk Circuit) was in the Fleet too;
and when Canterfield went to see poor Montey, the latter had pointed out
Walker to his friend, who actually hit Lord George Tennison across the
shoulders in play with a racket-bat; which event was soon made known to
the whole green-room.

"They had me up one day," said Montmorency, "to sing a comic song, and
give my recitations; and we had champagne and lobster-salad: SUCH nobs!"
added the player. "Billingsgate and Vauxhall were there too, and left
college at eight o'clock."

When Morgiana was told of the circumstance by her mother, she hoped her
dear Howard had enjoyed the evening, and was thankful that for once he
could forget his sorrows. Nor, somehow, was she ashamed of herself for
being happy afterwards, but gave way to her natural good-humour without
repentance or self-rebuke. I believe, indeed (alas! why are we made
acquainted with the same fact regarding ourselves long after it is past
and gone?)--I believe these were the happiest days of Morgiana's whole
life. She had no cares except the pleasant one of attending on her
husband, an easy smiling temperament which made her regardless of
to-morrow; and, add to this, a delightful hope relative to a certain
interesting event which was about to occur, and which I shall not
particularise further than by saying, that she was cautioned against too
much singing by Mr. Squills, her medical attendant; and that widow Crump
was busy making up a vast number of little caps and diminutive cambric
shirts, such as delighted GRANDMOTHERS are in the habit of fashioning.
I hope this is as genteel a way of signifying the circumstance which
was about to take place in the Walker family as Miss Prim herself could
desire. Mrs. Walker's mother was about to become a grandmother. There's
a phrase! The Morning Post, which says this story is vulgar, I'm sure
cannot quarrel with that. I don't believe the whole Court Guide would
convey an intimation more delicately.

Well, Mrs. Crump's little grandchild was born, entirely to the
dissatisfaction, I must say, of his father; who, when the infant was
brought to him in the Fleet, had him abruptly covered up in his cloak
again, from which he had been removed by the jealous prison doorkeepers:
why, do you think? Walker had a quarrel with one of them, and the wretch
persisted in believing that the bundle Mrs. Crump was bringing to her
son-in-law was a bundle of disguised brandy!

"The brutes!" said the lady; "and the father's a brute, too," said she.
"He takes no more notice of me than if I was a kitchen-maid, and of
Woolsey than if he was a leg of mutton--the dear blessed little cherub!"

Mrs. Crump was a mother-in-law; let us pardon her hatred of her
daughter's husband.

The Woolsey compared in the above sentence both to a leg of mutton and
a cherub, was not the eminent member of the firm of Linsey, Woolsey, and
Co., but the little baby, who was christened Howard Woolsey Walker, with
the full consent of the father; who said the tailor was a deuced good
fellow, and felt really obliged to him for the sherry, for a frock-coat
which he let him have in prison, and for his kindness to Morgiana. The
tailor loved the little boy with all his soul; he attended his mother
to her churching, and the child to the font; and, as a present to his
little godson on his christening, he sent two yards of the finest white
kerseymere in his shop, to make him a cloak. The Duke had had a pair of
inexpressibles off that very piece.

House-furniture is bought and sold, music-lessons are given, children
are born and christened, ladies are confined and churched--time, in
other words, passes--and yet Captain Walker still remains in prison!
Does it not seem strange that he should still languish there between
palisaded walls near Fleet Market, and that he should not be restored to
that active and fashionable world of which he was an ornament? The fact
is, the Captain had been before the court for the examination of his
debts; and the Commissioner, with a cruelty quite shameful towards
a fallen man, had qualified his ways of getting money in most severe
language, and had sent him back to prison again for the space of nine
calendar months, an indefinite period, and until his accounts could
be made up. This delay Walker bore like a philosopher, and, far from
repining, was still the gayest fellow of the tennis-court, and the soul
of the midnight carouse.

There is no use in raking up old stories, and hunting through files
of dead newspapers, to know what were the specific acts which made the
Commissioner so angry with Captain Walker. Many a rogue has come before
the Court, and passed through it since then: and I would lay a wager
that Howard Walker was not a bit worse than his neighbours. But as he
was not a lord, and as he had no friends on coming out of prison, and
had settled no money on his wife, and had, as it must be confessed, an
exceedingly bad character, it is not likely that the latter would
be forgiven him when once more free in the world. For instance, when
Doublequits left the Fleet, he was received with open arms by his
family, and had two-and-thirty horses in his stables before a week
was over. Pam, of the Dragoons, came out, and instantly got a place as
government courier--a place found so good of late years (and no wonder,
it is better pay than that of a colonel), that our noblemen and gentry
eagerly press for it. Frank Hurricane was sent out as registrar of
Tobago, or Sago, or Ticonderago; in fact, for a younger son of good
family it is rather advantageous to get into debt twenty or thirty
thousand pounds: you are sure of a good place afterwards in the
colonies. Your friends are so anxious to get rid of you, that they will
move heaven and earth to serve you. And so all the above companions of
misfortune with Walker were speedily made comfortable; but HE had no
rich parents; his old father was dead in York jail. How was he to start
in the world again? What friendly hand was there to fill his pocket with
gold, and his cup with sparkling champagne? He was, in fact, an object
of the greatest pity--for I know of no greater than a gentleman of his
habits without the means of gratifying them. He must live well, and
he has not the means. Is there a more pathetic case? As for a mere low
beggar--some labourless labourer, or some weaver out of place--don't
let us throw away our compassion upon THEM. Psha! they're accustomed
to starve. They CAN sleep upon boards, or dine off a crust; whereas
a gentleman would die in the same situation. I think this was poor
Morgiana's way of reasoning. For Walker's cash in prison beginning
presently to run low, and knowing quite well that the dear fellow could
not exist there without the luxuries to which he had been accustomed,
she borrowed money from her mother, until the poor old lady was a sec.
She even confessed, with tears, to Woolsey, that she was in particular
want of twenty pounds, to pay a poor milliner, whose debt she could not
bear to put in her husband's schedule. And I need not say she carried
the money to her husband, who might have been greatly benefited by
it--only he had a bad run of luck at the cards; and how the deuce can a
man help THAT?

Woolsey had repurchased for her one of the Cashmere shawls. She left it
behind her one day at the Fleet prison, and some rascal stole it there;
having the grace, however, to send Woolsey the ticket, signifying the
place where it had been pawned. Who could the scoundrel have been?
Woolsey swore a great oath, and fancied he knew; but if it was Walker
himself (as Woolsey fancied, and probably as was the case) who made away
with the shawl, being pressed thereto by necessity, was it fair to call
him a scoundrel for so doing, and should we not rather laud the delicacy
of his proceeding? He was poor: who can command the cards? But he did
not wish his wife should know HOW poor: he could not bear that she
should suppose him arrived at the necessity of pawning a shawl.

She who had such beautiful ringlets, of a sudden pleaded cold in the
head, and took to wearing caps. One summer evening, as she and the baby
and Mrs. Crump and Woolsey (let us say all four babies together) were
laughing and playing in Mrs. Crump's drawing-room--playing the most
absurd gambols, fat Mrs. Crump, for instance, hiding behind the sofa,
Woolsey chuck-chucking, cock-a-doodle-dooing, and performing those
indescribable freaks which gentlemen with philoprogenitive organs will
execute in the company of children--in the midst of their play the baby
gave a tug at his mother's cap; off it came--her hair was cut close to
her head!

Morgiana turned as red as sealing-wax, and trembled very much; Mrs.
Crump screamed, "My child, where is your hair?" and Woolsey, bursting
out with a most tremendous oath against Walker that would send Miss Prim
into convulsions, put his handkerchief to his face, and actually wept.
"The infernal bubble-ubble-ackguard!" said he, roaring and clenching his
fists.

As he had passed the Bower of Bloom a few days before, he saw Mossrose,
who was combing out a jet-black ringlet, and held it up, as if for
Woolsey's examination, with a peculiar grin. The tailor did not
understand the joke, but he saw now what had happened. Morgiana had sold
her hair for five guineas; she would have sold her arm had her husband
bidden her. On looking in her drawers it was found she had sold almost
all her wearing apparel; the child's clothes were all there, however.
It was because her husband talked of disposing of a gilt coral that
the child had, that she had parted with the locks which had formed her
pride.

"I'll give you twenty guineas for that hair, you infamous fat coward,"
roared the little tailor to Eglantine that evening. "Give it up, or I'll
kill you-"

"Mr. Mossrose! Mr. Mossrose!" shouted the perfumer.

"Vell, vatsh de matter, vatsh de row, fight avay, my boys; two to one
on the tailor," said Mr. Mossrose, much enjoying the sport (for Woolsey,
striding through the shop without speaking to him, had rushed into the
studio, where he plumped upon Eglantine).

"Tell him about that hair, sir."

"That hair! Now keep yourself quiet, Mister Timble, and don't tink for
to bully ME. You mean Mrs. Valker's 'air? Vy, she sold it me."

"And the more blackguard you for buying it! Will you take twenty guineas
for it?"

"No," said Mossrose.

"Twenty-five?"

"Can't," said Mossrose.

"Hang it! will you take forty? There!"

"I vish I'd kep it," said the Hebrew gentleman, with unfeigned regret.
"Eglantine dressed it this very night."

"For Countess Baldenstiern, the Swedish Hambassador's lady," says
Eglantine (his Hebrew partner was by no means a favourite with the
ladies, and only superintended the accounts of the concern). "It's this
very night at Devonshire 'Ouse, with four hostrich plumes, lappets, and
trimmings. And now, Mr. Woolsey, I'll trouble you to apologise."

Mr. Woolsey did not answer, but walked up to Mr. Eglantine, and snapped
his fingers so close under the perfumer's nose that the latter started
back and seized the bell-rope. Mossrose burst out laughing, and the
tailor walked majestically from the shop, with both hands stuck between
the lappets of his coat.

"My dear," said he to Morgiana a short time afterwards, "you must
not encourage that husband of yours in his extravagance, and sell the
clothes off your poor back that he may feast and act the fine gentleman
in prison."

"It is his health, poor dear soul!" interposed Mrs. Walker: "his chest.
Every farthing of the money goes to the doctors, poor fellow!"

"Well, now listen: I am a rich man" (it was a great fib, for Woolsey's
income, as a junior partner of the firm, was but a small one); "I can
very well afford to make him an allowance while he is in the Fleet, and
have written to him to say so. But if you ever give him a penny, or sell
a trinket belonging to you, upon my word and honour I will withdraw
the allowance, and, though it would go to my heart, I'll never see you
again. You wouldn't make me unhappy, would you?"

"I'd go on my knees to serve you, and Heaven bless you," said the wife.

"Well, then, you must give me this promise." And she did. "And now,"
said he, "your mother, and Podmore, and I have been talking over
matters, and we've agreed that you may make a very good income for
yourself; though, to be sure, I wish it could have been managed any
other way; but needs must, you know. You're the finest singer in the
universe."

"La!" said Morgiana, highly delighted.

"_I_ never heard anything like you, though I'm no judge. Podmore says he
is sure you will do very well, and has no doubt you might get very good
engagements at concerts or on the stage; and as that husband will never
do any good, and you have a child to support, sing you must."

"Oh! how glad I should be to pay his debts and repay all he has done for
me," cried Mrs. Walker. "Think of his giving two hundred guineas to Mr.
Baroski to have me taught. Was not that kind of him? Do you REALLY think
I should succeed?

"There's Miss Larkins has succeeded."

"The little high-shouldered vulgar thing!" says Morgiana. "I'm sure I
ought to succeed if SHE did."

"She sing against Morgiana?" said Mrs. Crump. "I'd like to see her,
indeed! She ain't fit to snuff a candle to her."

"I dare say not," said the tailor, "though I don't understand the thing
myself: but if Morgiana can make a fortune, why shouldn't she?"

"Heaven knows we want it, Woolsey," cried Mrs. Crump. "And to see her on
the stage was always the wish of my heart:" and so it had formerly been
the wish of Morgiana; and now, with the hope of helping her husband and
child, the wish became a duty, and she fell to practising once more from
morning till night.

One of the most generous of men and tailors who ever lived now promised,
if further instruction should be considered necessary (though that he
could hardly believe possible), that he would lend Morgiana any sum
required for the payment of lessons; and accordingly she once more
betook herself, under Podmore's advice, to the singing school. Baroski's
academy was, after the passages between them, out of the question,
and she placed herself under the instruction of the excellent English
composer Sir George Thrum, whose large and awful wife, Lady Thrum,
dragon of virtue and propriety, kept watch over the master and the
pupils, and was the sternest guardian of female virtue on or off any
stage.

Morgiana came at a propitious moment. Baroski had launched Miss Larkins
under the name of Ligonier. The Ligonier was enjoying considerable
success, and was singing classical music to tolerable audiences; whereas
Miss Butts, Sir George's last pupil, had turned out a complete failure,
and the rival house was only able to make a faint opposition to the new
star with Miss M'Whirter, who, though an old favourite, had lost her
upper notes and her front teeth, and, the fact was, drew no longer.

Directly Sir George heard Mrs. Walker, he tapped Podmore, who
accompanied her, on the waistcoat, and said, "Poddy, thank you; we'll
cut the orange boy's throat with that voice." It was by the familiar
title of orange boy that the great Baroski was known among his
opponents.

"We'll crush him, Podmore," said Lady Thrum, in her deep hollow voice.
"You may stop and dine." And Podmore stayed to dinner, and ate cold
mutton, and drank Marsala with the greatest reverence for the great
English composer. The very next day Lady Thrum hired a pair of horses,
and paid a visit to Mrs. Crump and her daughter at "Sadler's Wells."

All these things were kept profoundly secret from Walker, who received
very magnanimously the allowance of two guineas a week which Woolsey
made him, and with the aid of the few shillings his wife could bring
him, managed to exist as best he might. He did not dislike gin when he
could get no claret, and the former liquor, under the name of "tape,"
used to be measured out pretty liberally in what was formerly Her
Majesty's prison of the Fleet.

Morgiana pursued her studies under Thrum, and we shall hear in the next
chapter how it was she changed her name to RAVENSWING.



CHAPTER VII. IN WHICH MORGIANA ADVANCES TOWARDS FAME AND HONOUR, AND IN
WHICH SEVERAL GREAT LITERARY CHARACTERS MAKE THEIR APPEARANCE.

"We must begin, my dear madam," said Sir George Thrum, "by unlearning
all that Mr. Baroski (of whom I do not wish to speak with the slightest
disrespect) has taught you!"

Morgiana knew that every professor says as much, and submitted to
undergo the study requisite for Sir George's system with perfect good
grace. Au fond, as I was given to understand, the methods of the two
artists were pretty similar; but as there was rivalry between them, and
continual desertion of scholars from one school to another, it was
fair for each to take all the credit he could get in the success of
any pupil. If a pupil failed, for instance, Thrum would say Baroski had
spoiled her irretrievably; while the German would regret "Dat dat yong
voman, who had a good organ, should have trown away her dime wid dat old
Drum." When one of these deserters succeeded, "Yes, yes," would either
professor cry, "I formed her; she owes her fortune to me." Both of them
thus, in future days, claimed the education of the famous Ravenswing;
and even Sir George Thrum, though he wished to ecraser the Ligonier,
pretended that her present success was his work because once she had
been brought by her mother, Mrs. Larkins, to sing for Sir George's
approval.

When the two professors met it was with the most delighted cordiality
on the part of both. "Mein lieber Herr," Thrum would say (with some
malice), "your sonata in x flat is divine." "Chevalier," Baroski would
reply, "dat andante movement in w is worthy of Beethoven. I gif you
my sacred honour," and so forth. In fact, they loved each other as
gentlemen in their profession always do.

The two famous professors conduct their academies on very opposite
principles. Baroski writes ballet music; Thrum, on the contrary, says
"he cannot but deplore the dangerous fascinations of the dance," and
writes more for Exeter Hall and Birmingham. While Baroski drives a cab
in the Park with a very suspicious Mademoiselle Leocadie, or Amenaide,
by his side, you may see Thrum walking to evening church with his lady,
and hymns are sung there of his own composition. He belongs to the
"Athenaeum Club," he goes to the Levee once a year, he does
everything that a respectable man should; and if, by the means of this
respectability, he manages to make his little trade far more profitable
than it otherwise would be, are we to quarrel with him for it?

Sir George, in fact, had every reason to be respectable. He had been a
choir-boy at Windsor, had played to the old King's violoncello, had
been intimate with him, and had received knighthood at the hand of his
revered sovereign. He had a snuff-box which His Majesty gave him, and
portraits of him and the young princes all over the house. He had also
a foreign order (no other, indeed, than the Elephant and Castle of
Kalbsbraten-Pumpernickel), conferred upon him by the Grand Duke when
here with the allied sovereigns in 1814. With this ribbon round his
neck, on gala days, and in a white waistcoat, the old gentleman looked
splendid as he moved along in a blue coat with the Windsor button, and
neat black small-clothes, and silk stockings. He lived in an old tall
dingy house, furnished in the reign of George III., his beloved master,
and not much more cheerful now than a family vault. They are awfully
funereal, those ornaments of the close of the last century--tall gloomy
horse-hair chairs, mouldy Turkey carpets with wretched druggets to guard
them, little cracked sticking-plaster miniatures of people in tours and
pigtails over high-shouldered mantelpieces, two dismal urns on each side
of a lanky sideboard, and in the midst a queer twisted receptacle
for worn-out knives with green handles. Under the sideboard stands a
cellaret that looks as if it held half a bottle of currant wine, and
a shivering plate-warmer that never could get any comfort out of the
wretched old cramped grate yonder. Don't you know in such houses the
grey gloom that hangs over the stairs, the dull-coloured old carpet that
winds its way up the same, growing thinner, duller, and more threadbare
as it mounts to the bedroom floors? There is something awful in the
bedroom of a respectable old couple of sixty-five. Think of the old
feathers, turbans, bugles, petticoats, pomatum-pots, spencers, white
satin shoes, false fronts, the old flaccid boneless stays tied up in
faded riband, the dusky fans, the old forty-years-old baby linen, the
letters of Sir George when he was young, the doll of poor Maria who died
in 1803, Frederick's first corduroy breeches, and the newspaper which
contains the account of his distinguishing himself at the siege of
Seringapatam. All these lie somewhere, damp and squeezed down into glum
old presses and wardrobes. At that glass the wife has sat many times
these fifty years; in that old morocco bed her children were born. Where
are they now? Fred the brave captain, and Charles the saucy colleger:
there hangs a drawing of him done by Mr. Beechey, and that sketch by
Cosway was the very likeness of Louisa before--

"Mr. Fitz-Boodle! for Heaven's sake come down. What are you doing in a
lady's bedroom?"

"The fact is, madam, I had no business there in life; but, having had
quite enough wine with Sir George, my thoughts had wandered upstairs
into the sanctuary of female excellence, where your Ladyship nightly
reposes. You do not sleep so well now as in old days, though there is no
patter of little steps to wake you overhead."

They call that room the nursery still, and the little wicket still hangs
at the upper stairs: it has been there for forty years--bon Dieu! Can't
you see the ghosts of little faces peering over it? I wonder whether
they get up in the night as the moonlight shines into the blank vacant
old room, and play there solemnly with little ghostly horses, and the
spirits of dolls, and tops that turn and turn but don't hum.

Once more, sir, come down to the lower storey--that is to the Morgiana
story--with which the above sentences have no more to do than this
morning's leading article in The Times; only it was at this house of
Sir George Thrum's that I met Morgiana. Sir George, in old days, had
instructed some of the female members of our family, and I recollect
cutting my fingers as a child with one of those attenuated green-handled
knives in the queer box yonder.

In those days Sir George Thrum was the first great musical teacher
of London, and the royal patronage brought him a great number of
fashionable pupils, of whom Lady Fitz-Boodle was one. It was a long long
time ago: in fact, Sir George Thrum was old enough to remember persons
who had been present at Mr. Braham's first appearance, and the old
gentleman's days of triumph had been those of Billington and Incledon,
Catalani and Madame Storace.

He was the author of several operas ("The Camel Driver," "Britons
Alarmed; or, the Siege of Bergen-op-Zoom," etc. etc.), and, of course,
of songs which had considerable success in their day, but are forgotten
now, and are as much faded and out of fashion as those old carpets which
we have described in the professor's house, and which were, doubtless,
very brilliant once. But such is the fate of carpets, of flowers, of
music, of men, and of the most admirable novels--even this story will
not be alive for many centuries. Well, well, why struggle against Fate?

But, though his heyday of fashion was gone, Sir George still held his
place among the musicians of the old school, conducted occasionally
at the Ancient Concerts and the Philharmonic, and his glees are
still favourites after public dinners, and are sung by those old
bacchanalians, in chestnut wigs, who attend for the purpose of amusing
the guests on such occasions of festivity. The great old people at
the gloomy old concerts before mentioned always pay Sir George marked
respect; and, indeed, from the old gentleman's peculiar behaviour to his
superiors, it is impossible they should not be delighted with him, so he
leads at almost every one of the concerts in the old-fashioned houses in
town.

Becomingly obsequious to his superiors, he is with the rest of the world
properly majestic, and has obtained no small success by his admirable
and undeviating respectability. Respectability has been his great card
through life; ladies can trust their daughters at Sir George Thrum's
academy. "A good musician, madam," says he to the mother of a new pupil,
"should not only have a fine ear, a good voice, and an indomitable
industry, but, above all, a faultless character--faultless, that is, as
far as our poor nature will permit. And you will remark that those young
persons with whom your lovely daughter, Miss Smith, will pursue her
musical studies, are all, in a moral point of view, as spotless as that
charming young lady. How should it be otherwise? I have been myself the
father of a family; I have been honoured with the intimacy of the wisest
and best of kings, my late sovereign George III., and I can proudly show
an example of decorum to my pupils in my Sophia. Mrs. Smith, I have the
honour of introducing to you my Lady Thrum."

The old lady would rise at this, and make a gigantic curtsey, such a
one as had begun the minuet at Ranelagh fifty years ago; and, the
introduction ended, Mrs. Smith would retire, after having seen the
portraits of the princes, his late Majesty's snuff-box, and a piece of
music which he used to play, noted by himself--Mrs. Smith, I say, would
drive back to Baker Street, delighted to think that her Frederica had
secured so eligible and respectable a master. I forgot to say that,
during the interview between Mrs. Smith and Sir George, the latter would
be called out of his study by his black servant, and my Lady Thrum would
take that opportunity of mentioning when he was knighted, and how he
got his foreign order, and deploring the sad condition of OTHER musical
professors, and the dreadful immorality which sometimes arose in
consequence of their laxness. Sir George was a good deal engaged to
dinners in the season, and if invited to dine with a nobleman, as he
might possibly be on the day when Mrs. Smith requested the honour of
his company, he would write back "that he should have had the sincerest
happiness in waiting upon Mrs. Smith in Baker Street, if, previously, my
Lord Tweedledale had not been so kind as to engage him." This letter,
of course, shown by Mrs. Smith to her friends, was received by them with
proper respect; and thus, in spite of age and new fashions, Sir George
still reigned pre-eminent for a mile round Cavendish Square. By the
young pupils of the academy he was called Sir Charles Grandison;
and, indeed, fully deserved this title on account of the indomitable
respectability of his whole actions.

It was under this gentleman that Morgiana made her debut in public life.
I do not know what arrangements may have been made between Sir George
Thrum and his pupil regarding the profits which were to accrue to the
former from engagements procured by him for the latter; but there was,
no doubt, an understanding between them. For Sir George, respectable as
he was, had the reputation of being extremely clever at a bargain; and
Lady Thrum herself, in her great high-tragedy way, could purchase a pair
of soles or select a leg of mutton with the best housekeeper in London.

When, however, Morgiana had been for some six months under his tuition,
he began, for some reason or other, to be exceedingly hospitable, and
invited his friends to numerous entertainments: at one of which, as I
have said, I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Walker.

Although the worthy musician's dinners were not good, the old knight
had some excellent wine in his cellar, and his arrangement of his party
deserves to be commended.

For instance, he meets me and Bob Fitz-Urse in Pall Mall, at whose
paternal house he was also a visitor. "My dear young gentlemen," says
he, "will you come and dine with a poor musical composer? I have some
Comet hock, and, what is more curious to you, perhaps, as men of wit,
one or two of the great literary characters of London whom you would
like to see--quite curiosities, my dear young friends." And we agreed to
go.

To the literary men he says: "I have a little quiet party at home: Lord
Roundtowers, the Honourable Mr. Fitz-Urse of the Life Guards, and a few
more. Can you tear yourself away from the war of wits, and take a quiet
dinner with a few mere men about town?"

The literary men instantly purchase new satin stocks and white gloves,
and are delighted to fancy themselves members of the world of fashion.
Instead of inviting twelve Royal Academicians, or a dozen authors, or
a dozen men of science to dinner, as his Grace the Duke of ---- and the
Right Honourable Sir Robert ---- are in the habit of doing once a
year, this plan of fusion is the one they should adopt. Not invite all
artists, as they would invite all farmers to a rent dinner; but they
should have a proper commingling of artists and men of the world. There
is one of the latter whose name is George Savage Fitz-Boodle, who-- But
let us return to Sir George Thrum.

Fitz-Urse and I arrive at the dismal old house, and are conducted up the
staircase by a black servant, who shouts out, "Missa Fiss-Boodle--the
HONOURABLE Missa Fiss-Urse!" It was evident that Lady Thrum had
instructed the swarthy groom of the chambers (for there is nothing
particularly honourable in my friend Fitz's face that I know of, unless
an abominable squint may be said to be so). Lady Thrum, whose figure is
something like that of the shot-tower opposite Waterloo Bridge, makes a
majestic inclination and a speech to signify her pleasure at receiving
under her roof two of the children of Sir George's best pupils. A
lady in black velvet is seated by the old fireplace, with whom a stout
gentleman in an exceedingly light coat and ornamental waistcoat is
talking very busily. "The great star of the night," whispers our host.
"Mrs. Walker, gentlemen--the RAVENSWING! She is talking to the famous
Mr. Slang, of the ---- Theatre."

"Is she a fine singer?" says Fitz-Urse. "She's a very fine woman."

"My dear young friends, you shall hear to-night! I, who have heard every
fine voice in Europe, confidently pledge my respectability that the
Ravenswing is equal to them all. She has the graces, sir, of a Venus
with the mind of a Muse. She is a siren, sir, without the dangerous
qualities of one. She is hallowed, sir, by her misfortunes as by her
genius; and I am proud to think that my instructions have been the means
of developing the wondrous qualities that were latent within her until
now."

"You don't say so!" says gobemouche Fitz-Urse.

Having thus indoctrinated Mr. Fitz-Urse, Sir George takes another of his
guests, and proceeds to work upon him. "My dear Mr. Bludyer, how do you
do? Mr. Fitz-Boodle, Mr. Bludyer, the brilliant and accomplished
wit, whose sallies in the Tomahawk delight us every Saturday. Nay, no
blushes, my dear sir; you are very wicked, but oh! SO pleasant. Well,
Mr. Bludyer, I am glad to see you, sir, and hope you will have
a favourable opinion of our genius, sir. As I was saying to Mr.
Fitz-Boodle, she has the graces of a Venus with the mind of a Muse. She
is a siren, without the dangerous qualities of one," etc. This
little speech was made to half-a-dozen persons in the course of the
evening--persons, for the most part, connected with the public journals
or the theatrical world. There was Mr. Squinny, the editor of the
Flowers of Fashion; Mr. Desmond Mulligan, the poet, and reporter for
a morning paper; and other worthies of their calling. For though
Sir George is a respectable man, and as high-minded and moral an old
gentleman as ever wore knee-buckles, he does not neglect the little arts
of popularity, and can condescend to receive very queer company if need
be.

For instance, at the dinner-party at which I had the honour of
assisting, and at which, on the right hand of Lady Thrum, sat the oblige
nobleman, whom the Thrums were a great deal too wise to omit (the sight
of a lord does good to us commoners, or why else should we be so anxious
to have one?). In the second place of honour, and on her ladyship's left
hand, sat Mr. Slang, the manager of one of the theatres; a gentleman
whom my Lady Thrum would scarcely, but for a great necessity's sake,
have been induced to invite to her table. He had the honour of leading
Mrs. Walker to dinner, who looked splendid in black velvet and turban,
full of health and smiles.

Lord Roundtowers is an old gentleman who has been at the theatres five
times a week for these fifty years, a living dictionary of the stage,
recollecting every actor and actress who has appeared upon it for half a
century. He perfectly well remembered Miss Delancy in Morgiana; he knew
what had become of Ali Baba, and how Cassim had left the stage, and was
now the keeper of a public-house. All this store of knowledge he
kept quietly to himself, or only delivered in confidence to his next
neighbour in the intervals of the banquet, which he enjoys prodigiously.
He lives at an hotel: if not invited to dine, eats a mutton-chop
very humbly at his club, and finishes his evening after the play at
Crockford's, whither he goes not for the sake of the play, but of the
supper there. He is described in the Court Guide as of "Simmer's Hotel,"
and of Roundtowers, county Cork. It is said that the round towers really
exist. But he has not been in Ireland since the rebellion; and his
property is so hampered with ancestral mortgages, and rent-charges, and
annuities, that his income is barely sufficient to provide the modest
mutton-chop before alluded to. He has, any time these fifty years, lived
in the wickedest company in London, and is, withal, as harmless, mild,
good-natured, innocent an old gentleman as can readily be seen.

"Roundy," shouts the elegant Mr. Slang, across the table, with a voice
which makes Lady Thrum shudder, "Tuff, a glass of wine."

My Lord replies meekly, "Mr. Slang, I shall have very much pleasure.
What shall it be?"

"There is Madeira near you, my Lord," says my Lady, pointing to a tall
thin decanter of the fashion of the year.

"Madeira! Marsala, by Jove, your Ladyship means!" shouts Mr. Slang. "No,
no, old birds are not caught with chaff. Thrum, old boy, let's have some
of your Comet hock."

"My Lady Thrum, I believe that IS Marsala," says the knight, blushing a
little, in reply to a question from his Sophia. "Ajax, the hock to Mr.
Slang."

"I'm in that," yells Bludyer from the end of the table. "My Lord, I'll
join you."

"Mr. ----, I beg your pardon--I shall be very happy to take wine with
you, sir."

"It is Mr. Bludyer, the celebrated newspaper writer," whispers Lady
Thrum.

"Bludyer, Bludyer? A very clever man, I dare say. He has a very loud
voice, and reminds me of Brett. Does your Ladyship remember Brett, who
played the 'Fathers' at the Haymarket in 1802?"

"What an old stupid Roundtowers is!" says Slang, archly, nudging Mrs.
Walker in the side. "How's Walker, eh?"

"My husband is in the country," replied Mrs. Walker, hesitatingly.

"Gammon! _I_ know where he is! Law bless you!--don't blush. I've been
there myself a dozen times. We were talking about quod, Lady Thrum. Were
you ever in college?"

"I was at the Commemoration at Oxford in 1814, when the sovereigns were
there, and at Cambridge when Sir George received his degree of Doctor of
Music."

"Laud, Laud, THAT'S not the college WE mean."

"There is also the college in Gower Street, where my grandson--"

"This is the college in QUEER STREET, ma'am, haw, haw! Mulligan, you
divvle (in an Irish accent), a glass of wine with you. Wine, here, you
waiter! What's your name, you black nigger? 'Possum up a gum-tree, eh?
Fill him up. Dere he go" (imitating the Mandingo manner of speaking
English)

In this agreeable way would Mr. Slang rattle on, speedily making himself
the centre of the conversation, and addressing graceful familiarities to
all the gentlemen and ladies round him.

It was good to see how the little knight, the most moral and calm of
men, was compelled to receive Mr. Slang's stories and the frightened air
with which, at the conclusion of one of them, he would venture upon
a commendatory grin. His lady, on her part too, had been laboriously
civil; and, on the occasion on which I had the honour of meeting this
gentleman and Mrs. Walker, it was the latter who gave the signal for
withdrawing to the lady of the house, by saying, "I think, Lady Thrum,
it is quite time for us to retire." Some exquisite joke of Mr. Slang's
was the cause of this abrupt disappearance. But, as they went upstairs
to the drawing-room, Lady Thrum took occasion to say, "My dear, in
the course of your profession you will have to submit to many such
familiarities on the part of persons of low breeding, such as I fear Mr.
Slang is. But let me caution you against giving way to your temper
as you did. Did you not perceive that _I_ never allowed him to see my
inward dissatisfaction? And I make it a particular point that you should
be very civil to him to-night. Your interests--our interests depend upon
it."

"And are my interests to make me civil to a wretch like that?"

"Mrs. Walker, would you wish to give lessons in morality and behaviour
to Lady Thrum?" said the old lady, drawing herself up with great
dignity. It was evident that she had a very strong desire indeed to
conciliate Mr. Slang; and hence I have no doubt that Sir George was to
have a considerable share of Morgiana's earnings.

Mr. Bludyer, the famous editor of the Tomahawk, whose jokes Sir George
pretended to admire so much (Sir George who never made a joke in his
life), was a press bravo of considerable talent and no principle, and
who, to use his own words, would "back himself for a slashing article
against any man in England!" He would not only write, but fight on a
pinch; was a good scholar, and as savage in his manner as with his
pen. Mr. Squinny is of exactly the opposite school, as delicate as
milk-and-water, harmless in his habits, fond of the flute when the state
of his chest will allow him, a great practiser of waltzing and dancing
in general, and in his journal mildly malicious. He never goes beyond
the bounds of politeness, but manages to insinuate a great deal that is
disagreeable to an author in the course of twenty lines of criticism.
Personally he is quite respectable, and lives with two maiden aunts at
Brompton. Nobody, on the contrary, knows where Mr. Bludyer lives. He has
houses of call, mysterious taverns, where he may be found at particular
hours by those who need him, and where panting publishers are in the
habit of hunting him up. For a bottle of wine and a guinea he will write
a page of praise or abuse of any man living, or on any subject, or on
any line of politics. "Hang it, sir!" says he, "pay me enough and I will
write down my own father!" According to the state of his credit, he
is dressed either almost in rags or else in the extremest flush of the
fashion. With the latter attire he puts on a haughty and aristocratic
air, and would slap a duke on the shoulder. If there is one thing more
dangerous than to refuse to lend him a sum of money when he asks for it,
it is to lend it to him; for he never pays, and never pardons a man to
whom he owes. "Walker refused to cash a bill for me," he had been heard
to say, "and I'll do for his wife when she comes out on the stage!" Mrs.
Walker and Sir George Thrum were in an agony about the Tomahawk; hence
the latter's invitation to Mr. Bludyer. Sir George was in a great tremor
about the Flowers of Fashion, hence his invitation to Mr. Squinny. Mr.
Squinny was introduced to Lord Roundtowers and Mr. Fitz-Urse as one of
the most delightful and talented of our young men of genius; and Fitz,
who believes everything anyone tells him, was quite pleased to have
the honour of sitting near the live editor of a paper. I have reason to
think that Mr. Squinny himself was no less delighted: I saw him giving
his card to Fitz-Urse at the end of the second course.

No particular attention was paid to Mr. Desmond Mulligan. Political
enthusiasm is his forte. He lives and writes in a rapture. He is,
of course, a member of an inn of court, and greatly addicted to
after-dinner speaking as a preparation for the bar, where as a young man
of genius he hopes one day to shine. He is almost the only man to whom
Bludyer is civil; for, if the latter will fight doggedly when there is
a necessity for so doing, the former fights like an Irishman, and has a
pleasure in it. He has been "on the ground" I don't know how many
times, and quitted his country on account of a quarrel with Government
regarding certain articles published by him in the Phoenix newspaper.
With the third bottle, he becomes overpoweringly great on the wrongs
of Ireland, and at that period generally volunteers a couple or more of
Irish melodies, selecting the most melancholy in the collection. At five
in the afternoon, you are sure to see him about the House of Commons,
and he knows the "Reform Club" (he calls it the Refawrum) as well as if
he were a member. It is curious for the contemplative mind to mark those
mysterious hangers-on of Irish members of Parliament--strange runners
and aides-de-camp which all the honourable gentlemen appear to possess.
Desmond, in his political capacity, is one of these, and besides his
calling as reporter to a newspaper, is "our well-informed correspondent"
of that famous Munster paper, the Green Flag of Skibbereen.

With Mr. Mulligan's qualities and history I only became subsequently
acquainted. On the present evening he made but a brief stay at the
dinner-table, being compelled by his professional duties to attend the
House of Commons.

The above formed the party with whom I had the honour to dine. What
other repasts Sir George Thrum may have given, what assemblies of men
of mere science he may have invited to give their opinion regarding his
prodigy, what other editors of papers he may have pacified or rendered
favourable, who knows? On the present occasion, we did not quit the
dinner-table until Mr. Slang the manager was considerably excited
by wine, and music had been heard for some time in the drawing-room
overhead during our absence. An addition had been made to the Thrum
party by the arrival of several persons to spend the evening,--a man to
play on the violin between the singing, a youth to play on the piano,
Miss Horsman to sing with Mrs. Walker, and other scientific characters.
In a corner sat a red-faced old lady, of whom the mistress of the
mansion took little notice; and a gentleman with a royal button, who
blushed and looked exceedingly modest.

"Hang me!" says Mr. Bludyer, who had perfectly good reasons for
recognising Mr Woolsey, and who on this day chose to assume his
aristocratic air; "there's a tailor in the room! What do they mean by
asking ME to meet tradesmen?"

"Delancy, my dear," cries Slang, entering the room with a reel, "how's
your precious health? Give us your hand! When ARE we to be married? Make
room for me on the sofa, that's a duck!"

"Get along, Slang," says Mrs. Crump, addressed by the manager by her
maiden name (artists generally drop the title of honour which people
adopt in the world, and call each other by their simple surnames)--"get
along, Slang, or I'll tell Mrs. S.!" The enterprising manager replies by
sportively striking Mrs. Crump on the side a blow which causes a great
giggle from the lady insulted, and a most good-humoured threat to box
Slang's ears. I fear very much that Morgiana's mother thought Mr. Slang
an exceedingly gentlemanlike and agreeable person; besides, she was
eager to have his good opinion of Mrs. Walker's singing.

The manager stretched himself out with much gracefulness on the sofa,
supporting two little dumpy legs encased in varnished boots on a chair.

"Ajax, some tea to Mr. Slang," said my Lady, looking towards that
gentleman with a countenance expressive of some alarm, I thought.

"That's right, Ajax, my black prince!" exclaimed Slang when the negro
brought the required refreshment; "and now I suppose you'll be wanted in
the orchestra yonder. Don't Ajax play the cymbals, Sir George?"

"Ha, ha, ha! very good--capital!" answered the knight, exceedingly
frightened; "but ours is not a MILITARY band. Miss Horsman, Mr. Craw,
my dear Mrs. Ravenswing, shall we begin the trio? Silence, gentlemen, if
you please; it is a little piece from my opera of the 'Brigand's Bride.'
Miss Horsman takes the Page's part, Mr. Craw is Stiletto the Brigand, my
accomplished pupil is the Bride;" and the music began.

          "THE BRIDE.

     "My heart with joy is beating,
        My eyes with tears are dim;

          "THE PAGE.

     "Her heart with joy is beating
        Her eyes are fixed on him;

          "THE BRIGAND.

     "My heart with rage is beating,
        In blood my eye-balls swim!"

What may have been the merits of the music or the singing, I, of course,
cannot guess. Lady Thrum sat opposite the tea-cups, nodding her head
and beating time very gravely. Lord Roundtowers, by her side, nodded his
head too, for awhile, and then fell asleep. I should have done the same
but for the manager, whose actions were worth of remark. He sang with
all the three singers, and a great deal louder than any of them; he
shouted bravo! or hissed as he thought proper; he criticised all the
points of Mrs. Walker's person. "She'll do, Crump, she'll do--a splendid
arm--you'll see her eyes in the shilling gallery! What sort of a
foot has she? She's five feet three, if she's an inch! Bravo--slap
up--capital--hurrah!" And he concluded by saying, with the aid of the
Ravenswing, he would put Ligonier's nose out of Joint!

The enthusiasm of Mr. Slang almost reconciled Lady Thrum to the
abruptness of his manners, and even caused Sir George to forget that
his chorus had been interrupted by the obstreperous familiarity of the
manager.

"And what do YOU think, Mr. Bludyer," said the tailor, delighted that
his protegee should be thus winning all hearts: "isn't Mrs. Walker a
tip-top singer, eh, sir?"

"I think she's a very bad one, Mr. Woolsey," said the illustrious
author, wishing to abbreviate all communications with a tailor to whom
he owed forty pounds.

"Then, sir," says Mr. Woolsey, fiercely, "I'll--I'll thank you to pay me
my little bill!"

It is true there was no connection between Mrs. Walker's singing and
Woolsey's little bill; that the "THEN, sir," was perfectly illogical on
Woolsey's part; but it was a very happy hit for the future fortunes of
Mrs. Walker. Who knows what would have come of her debut but for that
"Then, sir," and whether a "smashing article" from the Tomahawk might
not have ruined her for ever?

"Are you a relation of Mrs. Walker's?" said Mr. Bludyer, in reply to the
angry tailor.

"What's that to you, whether I am or not?" replied Woolsey, fiercely.
"But I'm the friend of Mrs. Walker, sir; proud am I to say so, sir; and,
as the poet says, sir, 'a little learning's a dangerous thing,' sir;
and I think a man who don't pay his bills may keep his tongue quiet at
least, sir, and not abuse a lady, sir, whom everybody else praises,
sir. You shan't humbug ME any more, sir; you shall hear from my attorney
to-morrow, so mark that!"

"Hush, my dear Mr. Woolsey," cried the literary man, "don't make a
noise; come into this window: is Mrs. Walker REALLY a friend of yours?"

"I've told you so, sir."

"Well, in that case, I shall do my utmost to serve her and, look you,
Woolsey, any article you choose to send about her to the Tomahawk I
promise you I'll put in."

"WILL you, though? then we'll say nothing about the little bill."

"You may do on that point," answered Bludyer, haughtily, "exactly as
you please. I am not to be frightened from my duty, mind that; and mind,
too, that I can write a slashing article better than any man in England:
I could crush her by ten lines."

The tables were now turned, and it was Woolsey's turn to be alarmed.

"Pooh! pooh! I WAS angry," said he, "because you abuse Mrs. Walker,
who's an angel on earth; but I'm very willing to apologise. I
say--come--let me take your measure for some new clothes, eh! Mr. B.?"

"I'll come to your shop," answered the literary man, quite appeased.
"Silence! they're beginning another song."

The songs, which I don't attempt to describe (and, upon my word and
honour, as far as I can understand matters, I believe to this day that
Mrs. Walker was only an ordinary singer)--the songs lasted a great deal
longer than I liked; but I was nailed, as it were, to the spot, having
agreed to sup at Knightsbridge barracks with Fitz-Urse, whose carriage
was ordered at eleven o'clock.

"My dear Mr. Fitz-Boodle," said our old host to me, "you can do me the
greatest service in the world."

"Speak, sir!" said I.

"Will you ask your honourable and gallant friend, the Captain, to drive
home Mr. Squinny to Brompton?"

"Can't Mr. Squinny get a cab?"

Sir George looked particularly arch. "Generalship, my dear young
friend--a little harmless generalship. Mr. Squinny will not give much
for MY opinion of my pupil, but he will value very highly the opinion of
the Honourable Mr. FitzUrse."

For a moral man, was not the little knight a clever fellow? He had
bought Mr. Squinny for a dinner worth ten shillings, and for a ride in
a carriage with a lord's son. Squinny was carried to Brompton, and set
down at his aunts' door, delighted with his new friends, and exceedingly
sick with a cigar they had made him smoke.



CHAPTER VIII. IN WHICH MR. WALKER SHOWS GREAT PRUDENCE AND FORBEARANCE.

The describing of all these persons does not advance Morgiana's story
much. But, perhaps, some country readers are not acquainted with the
class of persons by whose printed opinions they are guided, and are
simple enough to imagine that mere merit will make a reputation on the
stage or elsewhere. The making of a theatrical success is a much more
complicated and curious thing than such persons fancy it to be. Immense
are the pains taken to get a good word from Mr. This of the Star, or Mr.
That of the Courier, to propitiate the favour of the critic of the day,
and get the editors of the metropolis into a good humour,--above all, to
have the name of the person to be puffed perpetually before the public.
Artists cannot be advertised like Macassar oil or blacking, and they
want it to the full as much; hence endless ingenuity must be practised
in order to keep the popular attention awake. Suppose a great actor
moves from London to Windsor, the Brentford Champion must state that
"Yesterday Mr. Blazes and suite passed rapidly through our city; the
celebrated comedian is engaged, we hear, at Windsor, to give some of his
inimitable readings of our great national bard to the MOST ILLUSTRIOUS
AUDIENCE in the realm." This piece of intelligence the Hammersmith
Observer will question the next week, as thus:--"A contemporary, the
Brentford Champion, says that Blazes is engaged to give Shakspearian
readings at Windsor to "the most illustrious audience in the realm." We
question this fact very much. We would, indeed, that it were true; but
the MOST ILLUSTRIOUS AUDIENCE in the realm prefer FOREIGN melodies to
THE NATIVE WOOD-NOTES WILD of the sweet song-bird of Avon. Mr. Blazes
is simply gone to Eton, where his son, Master Massinger Blazes, is
suffering, we regret to hear, under a severe attack of the chicken-pox.
This complaint (incident to youth) has raged, we understand, with
frightful virulence in Eton School."

And if, after the above paragraphs, some London paper chooses to attack
the folly of the provincial press, which talks of Mr. Blazes, and
chronicles his movements, as if he were a crowned head, what harm is
done? Blazes can write in his own name to the London journal, and say
that it is not HIS fault if provincial journals choose to chronicle
his movements, and that he was far from wishing that the afflictions of
those who are dear to him should form the subject of public comment,
and be held up to public ridicule. "We had no intention of hurting the
feelings of an estimable public servant," writes the editor; "and our
remarks on the chicken-pox were general, not personal. We sincerely
trust that Master Massinger Blazes has recovered from that complaint,
and that he may pass through the measles, the whooping-cough, the fourth
form, and all other diseases to which youth is subject, with comfort to
himself, and credit to his parents and teachers." At his next appearance
on the stage after this controversy, a British public calls for Blazes
three times after the play; and somehow there is sure to be someone with
a laurel-wreath in a stage-box, who flings that chaplet at the inspired
artist's feet.

I don't know how it was, but before the debut of Morgiana, the English
press began to heave and throb in a convulsive manner, as if indicative
of the near birth of some great thing. For instance, you read in one
paper,--

"Anecdote of Karl Maria Von Weber.--When the author of 'Oberon' was in
England, he was invited by a noble duke to dinner, and some of the most
celebrated of our artists were assembled to meet him. The signal being
given to descend to the salle-a-manger, the German composer was invited
by his noble host (a bachelor) to lead the way. 'Is it not the fashion
in your country,' said he, simply, 'for the man of the first eminence to
take the first place? Here is one whose genius entitles him to be first
ANYWHERE.' And, so saying, he pointed to our admirable English composer,
Sir George Thrum. The two musicians were friends to the last, and Sir
George has still the identical piece of rosin which the author of the
'Freischutz' gave him."--The Moon (morning paper), June 2.

"George III. a composer.--Sir George Thrum has in his possession the
score of an air, the words from 'Samson Agonistes,' an autograph of the
late revered monarch. We hear that that excellent composer has in store
for us not only an opera, but a pupil, with whose transcendent merits
the elite of our aristocracy are already familiar."--Ibid., June 5.

"Music with a Vengeance.--The march to the sound of which the 49th and
75th regiments rushed up the breach of Badajoz was the celebrated air
from 'Britons Alarmed; or, The Siege of Bergen-op-Zoom,' by our famous
English composer, Sir George Thrum. Marshal Davoust said that the
French line never stood when that air was performed to the charge of the
bayonet. We hear the veteran musician has an opera now about to
appear, and have no doubt that Old England will now, as then, show its
superiority over ALL foreign opponents."--Albion.

"We have been accused of preferring the produit of the etranger to the
talent of our own native shores; but those who speak so, little know
us. We are fanatici per la musica wherever it be, and welcome merit dans
chaque pays du monde. What do we say? Le merite n'a point de pays, as
Napoleon said; and Sir George Thrum (Chevalier de l'Ordre de l'Elephant
et Chateau de Kalbsbraten-Pumpernickel,) is a maestro whose fame
appartient a l'Europe.

"We have just heard the lovely eleve, whose rare qualities the Cavaliere
has brought to perfection,--we have heard THE RAVENSWING (pourquoi
cacher un nom que demain un monde va saluer?), and a creature more
beautiful and gifted never bloomed before dans nos climats. She sang
the delicious duet of the 'Nabucodonosore,' with Count Pizzicato, with
a bellezza, a grandezza, a raggio, that excited in the bosom of the
audience a corresponding furore: her scherzando was exquisite, though we
confess we thought the concluding fioritura in the passage in Y flat a
leetle, a very leetle sforzata. Surely the words,

     'Giorno d'orrore,
      Delire, dolore,
      Nabucodonosore,'

should be given andante, and not con strepito: but this is a faute bien
legere in the midst of such unrivalled excellence, and only mentioned
here that we may have SOMETHING to criticise.

"We hear that the enterprising impresario of one of the royal theatres
has made an engagement with the Diva; and, if we have a regret, it is
that she should be compelled to sing in the unfortunate language of our
rude northern clime, which does not preter itself near so well to the
bocca of the cantatrice as do the mellifluous accents of the Lingua
Toscana, the langue par excellence of song.

"The Ravenswing's voice is a magnificent contra-basso of nine octaves,"
etc.--Flowers of Fashion, June 10.

"Old Thrum, the composer, is bringing out an opera and a pupil. The
opera is good, the pupil first-rate. The opera will do much more than
compete with the infernal twaddle and disgusting slip-slop of Donizetti,
and the milk-and-water fools who imitate him: it will (and we ask the
readers of the Tomahawk, were we EVER mistaken?) surpass all these; it
is GOOD, of downright English stuff. The airs are fresh and pleasing,
the choruses large and noble, the instrumentation solid and rich, the
music is carefully written. We wish old Thrum and his opera well.

"His pupil is a SURE CARD, a splendid woman, and a splendid singer. She
is so handsome that she might sing as much out of tune as Miss Ligonier,
and the public would forgive her; and sings so well, that were she as
ugly as the aforesaid Ligonier, the audience would listen to her. The
Ravenswing, that is her fantastical theatrical name (her real name is
the same with that of a notorious scoundrel in the Fleet, who invented
the Panama swindle, the Pontine Marshes' swindle, the Soap swindle--HOW
ARE YOU OFF FOR SOAP NOW, Mr. W-lk-r?)--the Ravenswing, we say, will do.
Slang has engaged her at thirty guineas per week, and she appears next
month in Thrum's opera, of which the words are written by a great ass
with some talent--we mean Mr. Mulligan.

"There is a foreign fool in the Flowers of Fashion who is doing his best
to disgust the public by his filthy flattery. It is enough to make
one sick. Why is the foreign beast not kicked out of the paper?"--The
Tomahawk, June 17.

The first three "anecdotes" were supplied by Mulligan to his paper,
with many others which need not here be repeated: he kept them up
with amazing energy and variety. Anecdotes of Sir George Thrum met you
unexpectedly in queer corners of country papers: puffs of the English
school of music appeared perpetually in "Notices to Correspondents" in
the Sunday prints, some of which Mr. Slang commanded, and in others over
which the indefatigable Mulligan had a control. This youth was the soul
of the little conspiracy for raising Morgiana into fame: and humble as
he is, and great and respectable as is Sir George Thrum, it is my belief
that the Ravenswing would never have been the Ravenswing she is but for
the ingenuity and energy of the honest Hibernian reporter.

It is only the business of the great man who writes the leading articles
which appear in the large type of the daily papers to compose those
astonishing pieces of eloquence; the other parts of the paper are
left to the ingenuity of the sub-editor, whose duty it is to select
paragraphs, reject or receive horrid accidents, police reports,
etc.; with which, occupied as he is in the exercise of his tremendous
functions, the editor himself cannot be expected to meddle. The fate
of Europe is his province; the rise and fall of empires, and the great
questions of State demand the editor's attention: the humble puff,
the paragraph about the last murder, or the state of the crops, or the
sewers in Chancery Lane, is confided to the care of the sub; and it
is curious to see what a prodigious number of Irishmen exist among the
sub-editors of London. When the Liberator enumerates the services of his
countrymen, how the battle of Fontenoy was won by the Irish Brigade, how
the battle of Waterloo would have been lost but for the Irish regiments,
and enumerates other acts for which we are indebted to Milesian heroism
and genius--he ought at least to mention the Irish brigade of the press,
and the amazing services they do to this country.

The truth is, the Irish reporters and soldiers appear to do their duty
right well; and my friend Mr. Mulligan is one of the former. Having the
interests of his opera and the Ravenswing strongly at heart, and being
amongst his brethren an exceedingly popular fellow, he managed matters
so that never a day passed but some paragraph appeared somewhere
regarding the new singer, in whom, for their countryman's sake, all his
brothers and sub-editors felt an interest.

These puffs, destined to make known to all the world the merits of
the Ravenswing, of course had an effect upon a gentleman very closely
connected with that lady, the respectable prisoner in the Fleet, Captain
Walker. As long as he received his weekly two guineas from Mr. Woolsey,
and the occasional half-crowns which his wife could spare in her almost
daily visits to him, he had never troubled himself to inquire what her
pursuits were, and had allowed her (though the worthy woman longed with
all her might to betray herself) to keep her secret. He was far from
thinking, indeed, that his wife would prove such a treasure to him.

But when the voice of fame and the columns of the public journals
brought him each day some new story regarding the merits, genius, and
beauty of the Ravenswing; when rumours reached him that she was the
favourite pupil of Sir George Thrum; when she brought him five guineas
after singing at the "Philharmonic" (other five the good soul had spent
in purchasing some smart new cockades, hats, cloaks, and laces, for her
little son); when, finally, it was said that Slang, the great manager,
offered her an engagement at thirty guineas per week, Mr. Walker became
exceedingly interested in his wife's proceedings, of which he demanded
from her the fullest explanation.

Using his marital authority, he absolutely forbade Mrs. Walker's
appearance on the public stage; he wrote to Sir George Thrum a letter
expressive of his highest indignation that negotiations so important
should ever have been commenced without his authorisation; and he wrote
to his dear Slang (for these gentlemen were very intimate, and in the
course of his transactions as an agent Mr. W. had had many dealings
with Mr. S.) asking his dear Slang whether the latter thought his friend
Walker would be so green as to allow his wife to appear on the stage,
and he remain in prison with all his debts on his head?

And it was a curious thing now to behold how eager those very creditors
who but yesterday (and with perfect correctness) had denounced Mr.
Walker as a swindler; who had refused to come to any composition with
him, and had sworn never to release him; how they on a sudden became
quite eager to come to an arrangement with him, and offered, nay, begged
and prayed him to go free,--only giving them his own and Mrs. Walker's
acknowledgment of their debt, with a promise that a part of the lady's
salary should be devoted to the payment of the claim.

"The lady's salary!" said Mr. Walker, indignantly, to these gentlemen
and their attorneys. "Do you suppose I will allow Mrs. Walker to go on
the stage?--do you suppose I am such a fool as to sign bills to the full
amount of these claims against me, when in a few months more I can walk
out of prison without paying a shilling? Gentlemen, you take Howard
Walker for an idiot. I like the Fleet, and rather than pay I'll stay
here for these ten years."

In other words, it was the Captain's determination to make some
advantageous bargain for himself with his creditors and the gentlemen
who were interested in bringing forward Mrs. Walker on the stage. And
who can say that in so determining he did not act with laudable prudence
and justice?

"You do not, surely, consider, my very dear sir, that half the amount of
Mrs. Walker's salaries is too much for my immense trouble and pains in
teaching her?" cried Sir George Thrum (who, in reply to Walker's note,
thought it most prudent to wait personally on that gentleman). "Remember
that I am the first master in England; that I have the best interest in
England; that I can bring her out at the Palace, and at every concert
and musical festival in England; that I am obliged to teach her every
single note that she utters; and that without me she could no more sing
a song than her little baby could walk without its nurse."

"I believe about half what you say," said Mr. Walker.

"My dear Captain Walker! would you question my integrity? Who was it
that made Mrs. Millington's fortune,--the celebrated Mrs. Millington,
who has now got a hundred thousand pounds? Who was it that brought out
the finest tenor in Europe, Poppleton? Ask the musical world, ask
those great artists themselves, and they will tell you they owe their
reputation, their fortune, to Sir George Thrum."

"It is very likely," replied the Captain, coolly. "You ARE a good
master, I dare say, Sir George; but I am not going to article Mrs.
Walker to you for three years, and sign her articles in the Fleet. Mrs.
Walker shan't sing till I'm a free man, that's flat: if I stay here till
you're dead she shan't."

"Gracious powers, sir!" exclaimed Sir George, "do you expect me to pay
your debts?"

"Yes, old boy," answered the Captain, "and to give me something handsome
in hand, too; and that's my ultimatum: and so I wish you good morning,
for I'm engaged to play a match at tennis below."

This little interview exceedingly frightened the worthy knight, who
went home to his lady in a delirious state of alarm occasioned by the
audacity of Captain Walker.

Mr. Slang's interview with him was scarcely more satisfactory. He
owed, he said, four thousand pounds. His creditors might be brought to
compound for five shillings in the pound. He would not consent to allow
his wife to make a single engagement until the creditors were satisfied,
and until he had a handsome sum in hand to begin the world with. "Unless
my wife comes out, you'll be in the Gazette yourself, you know you will.
So you may take her or leave her, as you think fit."

"Let her sing one night as a trial," said Mr. Slang.

"If she sings one night, the creditors will want their money in full,"
replied the Captain. "I shan't let her labour, poor thing, for the
profit of those scoundrels!" added the prisoner, with much feeling. And
Slang left him with a much greater respect for Walker than he had ever
before possessed. He was struck with the gallantry of the man who could
triumph over misfortunes, nay, make misfortune itself an engine of good
luck.

Mrs. Walker was instructed instantly to have a severe sore throat. The
journals in Mr. Slang's interest deplored this illness pathetically;
while the papers in the interest of the opposition theatre magnified it
with great malice. "The new singer," said one, "the great wonder which
Slang promised us, is as hoarse as a RAVEN!" "Doctor Thorax pronounces,"
wrote another paper, "that the quinsy, which has suddenly prostrated
Mrs. Ravenswing, whose singing at the Philharmonic, previous to her
appearance at the 'T.R----,' excited so much applause, has destroyed the
lady's voice for ever. We luckily need no other prima donna, when that
place, as nightly thousands acknowledge, is held by Miss Ligonier." The
Looker-on said, "That although some well-informed contemporaries had
declared Mrs. W. Ravenswing's complaint to be a quinsy, others, on
whose authority they could equally rely, had pronounced it to be a
consumption. At all events, she was in an exceedingly dangerous state;
from which, though we do not expect, we heartily trust she may recover.
Opinions differ as to the merits of this lady, some saying that she was
altogether inferior to Miss Ligonier, while other connoisseurs declare
the latter lady to be by no means so accomplished a person. This point,
we fear," continued the Looker-on, "can never now be settled; unless,
which we fear is improbable, Mrs. Ravenswing should ever so far recover
as to be able to make her debut; and even then, the new singer will
not have a fair chance unless her voice and strength shall be fully
restored. This information, which we have from exclusive resources, may
be relied on," concluded the Looker-on, "as authentic."

It was Mr. Walker himself, that artful and audacious Fleet prisoner, who
concocted those very paragraphs against his wife's health which appeared
in the journals of the Ligonier party. The partisans of that lady were
delighted, the creditors of Mr. Walker astounded, at reading them.
Even Sir George Thrum was taken in, and came to the Fleet prison in
considerable alarm.

"Mum's the word, my good sir!" said Mr. Walker. "Now is the time to make
arrangements with the creditors."

Well, these arrangements were finally made. It does not matter how many
shillings in the pound satisfied the rapacious creditors of Morgiana's
husband. But it is certain that her voice returned to her all of a
sudden upon the Captain's release. The papers of the Mulligan faction
again trumpeted her perfections; the agreement with Mr. Slang was
concluded; that with Sir George Thrum the great composer satisfactorily
arranged; and the new opera underlined in immense capitals in the
bills, and put in rehearsal with immense expenditure on the part of the
scene-painter and costumier.

Need we tell with what triumphant success the "Brigand's Bride" was
received? All the Irish sub-editors the next morning took care to have
such an account of it as made Miss Ligonier and Baroski die with envy.
All the reporters who could spare time were in the boxes to support
their friend's work. All the journeymen tailors of the establishment of
Linsey, Woolsey, and Co. had pit tickets given to them, and applauded
with all their might. All Mr. Walker's friends of the "Regent Club"
lined the side-boxes with white kid gloves; and in a little box by
themselves sat Mrs. Crump and Mr. Woolsey, a great deal too much
agitated to applaud--so agitated, that Woolsey even forgot to fling down
the bouquet he had brought for the Ravenswing.

But there was no lack of those horticultural ornaments. The theatre
servants wheeled away a wheelbarrow-full (which were flung on the stage
the next night over again); and Morgiana, blushing, panting, weeping,
was led off by Mr. Poppleton, the eminent tenor, who had crowned her
with one of the most conspicuous of the chaplets.

Here she flew to her husband, and flung her arms round his neck. He was
flirting behind the side-scenes with Mademoiselle Flicflac, who had
been dancing in the divertissement; and was probably the only man in
the theatre of those who witnessed the embrace that did not care for it.
Even Slang was affected, and said with perfect sincerity that he wished
he had been in Walker's place. The manager's fortune was made, at least
for the season. He acknowledged so much to Walker, who took a week's
salary for his wife in advance that very night.

There was, as usual, a grand supper in the green-room. The terrible Mr.
Bludyer appeared in a new coat of the well-known Woolsey cut, and the
little tailor himself and Mrs. Crump were not the least happy of the
party. But when the Ravenswing took Woolsey's hand, and said she never
would have been there but for him, Mr. Walker looked very grave,
and hinted to her that she must not, in her position, encourage the
attentions of persons in that rank of life. "I shall pay," said he,
proudly, "every farthing that is owing to Mr. Woolsey, and shall employ
him for the future. But you understand, my love, that one cannot at
one's own table receive one's own tailor."

Slang proposed Morgiana's health in a tremendous speech, which elicited
cheers, and laughter, and sobs, such as only managers have the art of
drawing from the theatrical gentlemen and ladies in their employ. It
was observed, especially among the chorus-singers at the bottom of the
table, that their emotion was intense. They had a meeting the next day
and voted a piece of plate to Adolphus Slang, Esquire, for his eminent
services in the cause of the drama.

Walker returned thanks for his lady. That was, he said, the proudest
moment of his life. He was proud to think that he had educated her for
the stage, happy to think that his sufferings had not been in vain, and
that his exertions in her behalf were crowned with full success. In her
name and his own he thanked the company, and sat down, and was once more
particularly attentive to Mademoiselle Flicflac.

Then came an oration from Sir George Thrum, in reply to Slang's toast
to HIM. It was very much to the same effect as the speech by Walker,
the two gentlemen attributing to themselves individually the merit of
bringing out Mrs. Walker. He concluded by stating that he should always
hold Mrs. Walker as the daughter of his heart, and to the last moment of
his life should love and cherish her. It is certain that Sir George was
exceedingly elated that night, and would have been scolded by his lady
on his return home, but for the triumph of the evening.

Mulligan's speech of thanks, as author of the "Brigand's Bride," was, it
must be confessed, extremely tedious. It seemed there would be no end
to it; when he got upon the subject of Ireland especially, which somehow
was found to be intimately connected with the interests of music and the
theatre. Even the choristers pooh-poohed this speech, coming though it
did from the successful author, whose songs of wine, love, and battle,
they had been repeating that night.

The "Brigand's Bride" ran for many nights. Its choruses were tuned on
the organs of the day. Morgiana's airs, "The Rose upon my Balcony"
and the "Lightning on the Cataract" (recitative and scena) were on
everybody's lips, and brought so many guineas to Sir George Thrum that
he was encouraged to have his portrait engraved, which still may be
seen in the music-shops. Not many persons, I believe, bought proof
impressions of the plate, price two guineas; whereas, on the contrary,
all the young clerks in banks, and all the FAST young men of the
universities, had pictures of the Ravenswing in their apartments--as
Biondetta (the brigand's bride), as Zelyma (in the "Nuptials of
Benares"), as Barbareska (in the "Mine of Tobolsk"), and in all her
famous characters. In the latter she disguises herself as a Uhlan, in
order to save her father, who is in prison; and the Ravenswing looked so
fascinating in this costume in pantaloons and yellow boots, that Slang
was for having her instantly in Captain Macheath, whence arose their
quarrel.

She was replaced at Slang's theatre by Snooks, the rhinoceros-tamer,
with his breed of wild buffaloes. Their success was immense. Slang gave
a supper, at which all the company burst into tears; and assembling
in the green-room next day, they, as usual, voted a piece of plate to
Adolphus Slang, Esquire, for his eminent services to the drama.

In the Captain Macheath dispute Mr. Walker would have had his wife
yield; but on this point, and for once, she disobeyed her husband and
left the theatre. And when Walker cursed her (according to his wont) for
her abominable selfishness and disregard of his property, she burst
into tears and said she had spent but twenty guineas on herself and baby
during the year, that her theatrical dressmaker's bills were yet unpaid,
and that she had never asked him how much he spent on that odious French
figurante.

All this was true, except about the French figurante. Walker, as the
lord and master, received all Morgiana's earnings, and spent them as
a gentleman should. He gave very neat dinners at a cottage in Regent's
Park (Mr. and Mrs. Walker lived at Green Street, Grosvenor Square), he
played a good deal at the "Regent;" but as to the French figurante, it
must be confessed, that Mrs. Walker was in a sad error: THAT lady and
the Captain had parted long ago; it was Madame Dolores de Tras-os-Montes
who inhabited the cottage in St. John's Wood now.

But if some little errors of this kind might be attributable to the
Captain, on the other hand, when his wife was in the provinces, he was
the most attentive of husbands; made all her bargains, and received
every shilling before he would permit her to sing a note. Thus he
prevented her from being cheated, as a person of her easy temper
doubtless would have been, by designing managers and needy
concert-givers. They always travelled with four horses; and Walker was
adored in every one of the principal hotels in England. The waiters flew
at his bell. The chambermaids were afraid he was a sad naughty man, and
thought his wife no such great beauty; the landlords preferred him to
any duke. HE never looked at their bills, not he! In fact his income was
at least four thousand a year for some years of his life.

Master Woolsey Walker was put to Doctor Wapshot's seminary, whence,
after many disputes on the Doctor's part as to getting his half-year's
accounts paid, and after much complaint of ill-treatment on the little
boy's side, he was withdrawn, and placed under the care of the Reverend
Mr. Swishtail, at Turnham Green; where all his bills are paid by his
godfather, now the head of the firm of Woolsey and Co.

As a gentleman, Mr. Walker still declines to see him; but he has not,
as far as I have heard, paid the sums of money which he threatened to
refund; and, as he is seldom at home the worthy tailor can come to Green
Street at his leisure. He and Mrs. Crump, and Mrs. Walker often take the
omnibus to Brentford, and a cake with them to little Woolsey at school;
to whom the tailor says he will leave every shilling of his property.

The Walkers have no other children; but when she takes her airing in the
Park she always turns away at the sight of a low phaeton, in which sits
a woman with rouged cheeks, and a great number of overdressed children
and a French bonne, whose name, I am given to understand, is Madame
Dolores de Tras-os-Montes. Madame de Tras-os-Montes always puts a great
gold glass to her eye as the Ravenswing's carriage passes, and looks
into it with a sneer. The two coachmen used always to exchange queer
winks at each other in the ring, until Madame de Tras-os-Montes lately
adopted a tremendous chasseur, with huge whiskers and a green and gold
livery; since which time the formerly named gentlemen do not recognise
each other.

The Ravenswing's life is one of perpetual triumph on the stage; and, as
every one of the fashionable men about town have been in love with her,
you may fancy what a pretty character she has. Lady Thrum would die
sooner than speak to that unhappy young woman; and, in fact, the Thrums
have a new pupil, who is a siren without the dangerous qualities of one,
who has the person of Venus, and the mind of a Muse, and who is coming
out at one of the theatres immediately. Baroski says, "De liddle
Rafenschwing is just as font of me as effer!" People are very shy about
receiving her in society; and when she goes to sing at a concert, Miss
Prim starts up and skurries off in a state of the greatest alarm, lest
"that person" should speak to her.

Walker is voted a good, easy, rattling, gentlemanly fellow, and nobody's
enemy but his own. His wife, they say, is dreadfully extravagant: and,
indeed, since his marriage, and in spite of his wife's large income,
he has been in the Bench several times; but she signs some bills and
he comes out again, and is as gay and genial as ever. All mercantile
speculations he has wisely long since given up; he likes to throw a
main of an evening, as I have said, and to take his couple of bottles at
dinner. On Friday he attends at the theatre for his wife's salary, and
transacts no other business during the week. He grows exceedingly stout,
dyes his hair, and has a bloated purple look about the nose and cheeks,
very different from that which first charmed the heart of Morgiana.

By the way, Eglantine has been turned out of the Bower of Bloom, and now
keeps a shop at Tunbridge Wells. Going down thither last year without a
razor, I asked a fat seedy man lolling in a faded nankeen jacket at the
door of a tawdry little shop in the Pantiles, to shave me. He said in
reply, "Sir, I do not practise in that branch of the profession!" and
turned back into the little shop. It was Archibald Eglantine. But in the
wreck of his fortunes he still has his captain's uniform, and his grand
cross of the order of the Castle and Falcon of Panama.

                    *****

POSTSCRIPT.

G. Fitz-Boodle, Esq., to O. Yorke, Esq.

ZUM TRIERISCHEN HOP, COBLENZ: July 10, 1843.

MY DEAR YORKE,--The story of the Ravenswing was written a long time
since, and I never could account for the bad taste of the publishers of
the metropolis who refused it an insertion in their various magazines.
This fact would never have been alluded to but for the following
circumstance:--

Only yesterday, as I was dining at this excellent hotel, I remarked a
bald-headed gentleman in a blue coat and brass buttons, who looked
like a colonel on half-pay, and by his side a lady and a little boy
of twelve, whom the gentleman was cramming with an amazing quantity of
cherries and cakes. A stout old dame in a wonderful cap and ribands was
seated by the lady's side, and it was easy to see they were English, and
I thought I had already made their acquaintance elsewhere.

The younger of the ladies at last made a bow with an accompanying blush.

"Surely," said I, "I have the honour of speaking to Mrs. Ravenswing?"

"Mrs. Woolsey, sir," said the gentleman; "my wife has long since left
the stage:" and at this the old lady in the wonderful cap trod on my
toes very severely, and nodded her head and all her ribands in a most
mysterious way. Presently the two ladies rose and left the table, the
elder declaring that she heard the baby crying.

"Woolsey, my dear, go with your mamma," said Mr. Woolsey, patting the
boy on the head. The young gentleman obeyed the command, carrying off a
plate of macaroons with him.

"Your son is a fine boy, sir," said I.

"My step-son, sir," answered Mr. Woolsey; and added, in a louder voice,
"I knew you, Mr. Fitz-Boodle, at once, but did not mention your name
for fear of agitating my wife. She don't like to have the memory of old
times renewed, sir; her former husband, whom you know, Captain Walker,
made her very unhappy. He died in America, sir, of this, I fear"
(pointing to the bottle), "and Mrs. W. quitted the stage a year before I
quitted business. Are you going on to Wiesbaden?"

They went off in their carriage that evening, the boy on the box making
great efforts to blow out of the postilion's tasselled horn.

I am glad that poor Morgiana is happy at last, and hasten to inform
you of the fact. I am going to visit the old haunts of my youth at
Pumpernickel. Adieu.

Yours,

G. F.-B.



MR. AND MRS. FRANK BERRY.



CHAPTER I. THE FIGHT AT SLAUGHTER HOUSE.

I am very fond of reading about battles, and have most of Marlborough's
and Wellington's at my fingers' ends; but the most tremendous combat I
ever saw, and one that interests me to think of more than Malplaquet or
Waterloo (which, by the way, has grown to be a downright nuisance, so
much do men talk of it after dinner, prating most disgustingly about
"the Prussians coming up," and what not)--I say the most tremendous
combat ever known was that between Berry and Biggs the gown-boy, which
commenced in a certain place called Middle Briars, situated in the midst
of the cloisters that run along the side of the playground of Slaughter
House School, near Smithfield, London. It was there, madam, that your
humble servant had the honour of acquiring, after six years' labour,
that immense fund of classical knowledge which in after life has been so
exceedingly useful to him.

The circumstances of the quarrel were these:--Biggs, the gown-boy (a
man who, in those days, I thought was at least seven feet high, and was
quite thunderstruck to find in after life that he measured no more than
five feet four), was what we called "second cock" of the school; the
first cock was a great big, good-humoured, lazy, fair-haired fellow,
Old Hawkins by name, who, because he was large and good-humoured, hurt
nobody. Biggs, on the contrary, was a sad bully; he had half-a-dozen
fags, and beat them all unmercifully. Moreover, he had a little brother,
a boarder in Potky's house, whom, as a matter of course, he hated and
maltreated worse than anyone else.

Well, one day, because young Biggs had not brought his brother his
hoops, or had not caught a ball at cricket, or for some other equally
good reason, Biggs the elder so belaboured the poor little fellow, that
Berry, who was sauntering by, and saw the dreadful blows which the
elder brother was dealing to the younger with his hockey-stick, felt
a compassion for the little fellow (perhaps he had a jealousy against
Biggs, and wanted to try a few rounds with him, but that I can't vouch
for); however, Berry passing by, stopped and said, "Don't you think
you have thrashed the boy enough, Biggs?" He spoke this in a very civil
tone, for he never would have thought of interfering rudely with the
sacred privilege that an upper boy at a public school always has of
beating a junior, especially when they happen to be brothers.

The reply of Biggs, as might be expected, was to hit young Biggs with
the hockey-stick twice as hard as before, until the little wretch howled
with pain. "I suppose it's no business of yours, Berry," said Biggs,
thumping away all the while, and laid on worse and worse.

Until Berry (and, indeed, little Biggs) could bear it no longer, and the
former, bouncing forward, wrenched the stick out of old Biggs's hands,
and sent it whirling out of the cloister window, to the great wonder of
a crowd of us small boys, who were looking on. Little boys always like
to see a little companion of their own soundly beaten.

"There!" said Berry, looking into Biggs's face, as much as to say, "I've
gone and done it;" and he added to the brother, "Scud away, you little
thief; I've saved you this time."

"Stop, young Biggs!" roared out his brother after a pause; "or I'll
break every bone in your infernal scoundrelly skin!"

Young Biggs looked at Berry, then at his brother, then came at his
brother's order, as if back to be beaten again; but lost heart, and ran
away as fast as his little legs could carry him.

"I'll do for him another time," said Biggs. "Here, under-boy, take my
coat;" and we all began to gather round and formed a ring.

"We had better wait till after school, Biggs," cried Berry, quite cool,
but looking a little pale. "There are only five minutes now, and it will
take you more than that to thrash me."

Biggs upon this committed a great error; for he struck Berry slightly
across the face with the back of his hand, saying, "You are in a funk."
But this was a feeling which Frank Berry did not in the least entertain;
for, in reply to Biggs's back-hander, and as quick as thought, and with
all his might and main--pong! he delivered a blow upon old Biggs's nose
that made the claret spirt, and sent the second cock down to the ground
as if he had been shot.

He was up again, however, in a minute, his face white and gashed with
blood, his eyes glaring, a ghastly spectacle; and Berry, meanwhile,
had taken his coat off, and by this time there were gathered in the
cloisters, on all the windows, and upon each other's shoulders, one
hundred and twenty young gentlemen at the very least, for the news had
gone out through the playground of "a fight between Berry and Biggs."

But Berry was quite right in his remark about the propriety of deferring
the business, for at this minute Mr. Chip, the second master, came down
the cloisters going into school, and grinned in his queer way as he saw
the state of Biggs's face. "Holloa, Mr. Biggs," said he, "I suppose you
have run against a finger-post." That was the regular joke with us at
school, and you may be sure we all laughed heartily: as we always did
when Mr. Chip made a joke, or anything like a joke. "You had better go
to the pump, sir, and get yourself washed, and not let Doctor Buckle see
you in that condition." So saying, Mr. Chip disappeared to his duties in
the under-school, whither all we little boys followed him.

It was Wednesday, a half-holiday, as everybody knows, and boiled-beef
day at Slaughter House. I was in the same boarding-house with Berry,
and we all looked to see whether he ate a good dinner, just as one would
examine a man who was going to be hanged. I recollected, in after-life,
in Germany, seeing a friend who was going to fight a duel eat five larks
for his breakfast, and thought I had seldom witnessed greater courage.
Berry ate moderately of the boiled beef--BOILED CHILD we used to call it
at school, in our elegant jocular way; he knew a great deal better than
to load his stomach upon the eve of such a contest as was going to take
place.

Dinner was very soon over, and Mr. Chip, who had been all the while
joking Berry, and pressing him to eat, called him up into his study,
to the great disappointment of us all, for we thought he was going to
prevent the fight; but no such thing. The Reverend Edward Chip took
Berry into his study, and poured him out two glasses of port-wine, which
he made him take with a biscuit, and patted him on the back, and went
off. I have no doubt he was longing, like all of us, to see the battle;
but etiquette, you know, forbade.

When we went out into the green, Old Hawkins was there--the great
Hawkins, the cock of the school. I have never seen the man since, but
still think of him as of something awful, gigantic, mysterious: he who
could thrash everybody, who could beat all the masters; how we longed
for him to put in his hand and lick Buckle! He was a dull boy, not very
high in the school, and had all his exercises written for him. Buckle
knew this, but respected him; never called him up to read Greek plays;
passed over all his blunders, which were many; let him go out of
half-holidays into the town as he pleased: how should any man dare to
stop him--the great calm magnanimous silent Strength! They say he licked
a Life-Guardsman: I wonder whether it was Shaw, who killed all those
Frenchmen? No, it could not be Shaw, for he was dead au champ d'honneur;
but he WOULD have licked Shaw if he had been alive. A bargeman I know he
licked, at Jack Randall's in Slaughter House Lane. Old Hawkins was too
lazy to play at cricket; he sauntered all day in the sunshine about the
green, accompanied by little Tippins, who was in the sixth form, laughed
and joked at Hawkins eternally, and was the person who wrote all his
exercises.

Instead of going into town this afternoon, Hawkins remained at Slaughter
House, to see the great fight between the second and third cocks.

The different masters of the school kept boarding-houses (such as
Potky's, Chip's, Wickens's, Pinney's, and so on), and the playground, or
"green" as it was called, although the only thing green about the place
was the broken glass on the walls that separate Slaughter House from
Wilderness Row and Goswell Street--(many a time have I seen Mr. Pickwick
look out of his window in that street, though we did not know him
then)--the playground, or green, was common to all. But if any stray
boy from Potky's was found, for instance, in, or entering into, Chip's
house, the most dreadful tortures were practised upon him: as I can
answer in my own case.

Fancy, then, our astonishment at seeing a little three-foot wretch, of
the name of Wills, one of Hawkins's fags (they were both in Potky's),
walk undismayed amongst us lions at Chip's house, as the "rich and rare"
young lady did in Ireland. We were going to set upon him and devour or
otherwise maltreat him, when he cried out in a little shrill impertinent
voice, "TELL BERRY I WANT HIM!"

We all roared with laughter. Berry was in the sixth form, and Wills or
any under-boy would as soon have thought of "wanting" him, as I should
of wanting the Duke of Wellington.

Little Wills looked round in an imperious kind of way. "Well," says he,
stamping his foot, "do you hear? TELL BERRY THAT HAWKINS WANTS HIM!"

As for resisting the law of Hawkins, you might as soon think of
resisting immortal Jove. Berry and Tolmash, who was to be his
bottle-holder, made their appearance immediately, and walked out into
the green where Hawkins was waiting, and, with an irresistible audacity
that only belonged to himself, in the face of nature and all the
regulations of the place, was smoking a cigar. When Berry and Tolmash
found him, the three began slowly pacing up and down in the sunshine,
and we little boys watched them.

Hawkins moved his arms and hands every now and then, and was evidently
laying down the law about boxing. We saw his fists darting out every now
and then with mysterious swiftness, hitting one, two, quick as thought,
as if in the face of an adversary; now his left hand went up, as if
guarding his own head, now his immense right fist dreadfully flapped
the air, as if punishing his imaginary opponent's miserable ribs. The
conversation lasted for some ten minutes, about which time gown-boys'
dinner was over, and we saw these youths, in their black horned-button
jackets and knee-breeches, issuing from their door in the cloisters.
There were no hoops, no cricket-bats, as usual on a half-holiday. Who
would have thought of play in expectation of such tremendous sport as
was in store for us?

Towering among the gown-boys, of whom he was the head and the tyrant,
leaning upon Bushby's arm, and followed at a little distance by many
curious pale awe-stricken boys, dressed in his black silk stockings,
which he always sported, and with a crimson bandanna tied round his
waist, came BIGGS. His nose was swollen with the blow given before
school, but his eyes flashed fire. He was laughing and sneering with
Bushby, and evidently intended to make minced meat of Berry.

The betting began pretty freely: the bets were against poor Berry. Five
to three were offered--in ginger-beer. I took six to four in raspberry
open tarts. The upper boys carried the thing farther still: and I know
for a fact, that Swang's book amounted to four pound three (but he
hedged a good deal), and Tittery lost seventeen shillings in a single
bet to Pitts, who took the odds.

As Biggs and his party arrived, I heard Hawkins say to Berry, "For
heaven's sake, my boy, fib with your right, and MIND HIS LEFT HAND!"

Middle Briars was voted to be too confined a space for the combat, and
it was agreed that it should take place behind the under-school in
the shade, whither we all went. Hawkins, with his immense silver
hunting-watch, kept the time; and water was brought from the pump close
to Notley's the pastrycook's, who did not admire fisticuffs at all on
half-holidays, for the fights kept the boys away from his shop. Gutley
was the only fellow in the school who remained faithful to him, and
he sat on the counter--the great gormandising brute!--eating tarts the
whole day.

This famous fight, as every Slaughter House man knows, lasted for two
hours and twenty-nine minutes, by Hawkins's immense watch. All this time
the air resounded with cries of "Go it, Berry!" "Go it, Biggs!" "Pitch
into him!" "Give it him!" and so on. Shall I describe the hundred and
two rounds of the combat?--No!--It would occupy too much space, and the
taste for such descriptions has passed away. [3]

1st round. Both the combatants fresh, and in prime order. The weight
and inches somewhat on the gown-boy's side. Berry goes gallantly in,
and delivers a clinker on the gown-boy's jaw. Biggs makes play with his
left. Berry down.

                    *****

4th round. Claret drawn in profusion from the gown-boy's grogshop. (He
went down, and had his front tooth knocked out, but the blow cut Berry's
knuckles a great deal.)

                    *****

15th round. Chancery. Fibbing. Biggs makes dreadful work with his
left. Break away. Rally. Biggs down. Betting still six to four on the
gown-boy.

                    *****

20th round. The men both dreadfully punished. Berry somewhat shy of his
adversary's left hand.

                    *****

29th to 42nd round. The Chipsite all this while breaks away from the
gown-boy's left, and goes down on a knee. Six to four on the gown-boy,
until the fortieth round, when the bets became equal.

                    *****

102nd and last round. For half-an-hour the men had stood up to each
other, but were almost too weary to strike. The gown-boy's face hardly
to be recognised, swollen and streaming with blood. The Chipsite in
a similar condition, and still more punished about his side from his
enemy's left hand. Berry gives a blow at his adversary's face, and falls
over him as he falls.

The gown-boy can't come up to time. And thus ended the great fight of
Berry and Biggs.

And what, pray, has this horrid description of a battle and parcel of
schoolboys to do with Men's Wives?

What has it to do with Men's Wives?--A great deal more, madam, than you
think for. Only read Chapter II., and you shall hear.



CHAPTER II. THE COMBAT AT VERSAILLES.

I afterwards came to be Berry's fag, and, though beaten by him daily, he
allowed, of course, no one else to lay a hand upon me, and I got no more
thrashing than was good for me. Thus an intimacy grew up between us,
and after he left Slaughter House and went into the dragoons, the honest
fellow did not forget his old friend, but actually made his appearance
one day in the playground in moustaches and a braided coat, and gave
me a gold pencil-case and a couple of sovereigns. I blushed when I took
them, but take them I did; and I think the thing I almost best recollect
in my life, is the sight of Berry getting behind an immense bay
cab-horse, which was held by a correct little groom, and was waiting
near the school in Slaughter House Square. He proposed, too, to have me
to "Long's," where he was lodging for the time; but this invitation
was refused on my behalf by Doctor Buckle, who said, and possibly with
correctness, that I should get little good by spending my holiday with
such a scapegrace.

Once afterwards he came to see me at Christ Church, and we made a show
of writing to one another, and didn't, and always had a hearty mutual
goodwill; and though we did not quite burst into tears on parting, were
yet quite happy when occasion threw us together, and so almost lost
sight of each other. I heard lately that Berry was married, and am
rather ashamed to say, that I was not so curious as even to ask the
maiden name of his lady.

Last summer I was at Paris, and had gone over to Versailles to meet a
party, one of which was a young lady to whom I was tenderly--But, never
mind. The day was rainy, and the party did not keep its appointment;
and after yawning through the interminable Palace picture-galleries, and
then making an attempt to smoke a cigar in the Palace garden--for which
crime I was nearly run through the body by a rascally sentinel--I was
driven, perforce, into the great bleak lonely place before the Palace,
with its roads branching off to all the towns in the world, which Louis
and Napoleon once intended to conquer, and there enjoyed my favourite
pursuit at leisure, and was meditating whether I should go back to
"Vefour's" for dinner, or patronise my friend M. Duboux of the "Hotel
des Reservoirs" who gives not only a good dinner, but as dear a one as
heart can desire. I was, I say, meditating these things, when a carriage
passed by. It was a smart low calash, with a pair of bay horses and a
postilion in a drab jacket that twinkled with innumerable buttons, and
I was too much occupied in admiring the build of the machine, and
the extreme tightness of the fellow's inexpressibles, to look at the
personages within the carriage, when the gentleman roared out "Fitz!"
and the postilion pulled up, and the lady gave a shrill scream, and
a little black-muzzled spaniel began barking and yelling with all his
might, and a man with moustaches jumped out of the vehicle, and began
shaking me by the hand.

"Drive home, John," said the gentleman: "I'll be with you, my love, in
an instant--it's an old friend. Fitz, let me present you to Mrs. Berry."

The lady made an exceedingly gentle inclination of her black-velvet
bonnet, and said, "Pray, my love, remember that it is just dinner-time.
However, never mind ME." And with another slight toss and a nod to the
postilion, that individual's white leather breeches began to jump up
and down again in the saddle, and the carriage disappeared, leaving me
shaking my old friend Berry by the hand.

He had long quitted the army, but still wore his military beard,
which gave to his fair pink face a fierce and lion-like look. He was
extraordinarily glad to see me, as only men are glad who live in a small
town, or in dull company. There is no destroyer of friendships like
London, where a man has no time to think of his neighbour, and has
far too many friends to care for them. He told me in a breath of his
marriage, and how happy he was, and straight insisted that I must
come home to dinner, and see more of Angelica, who had invited me
herself--didn't I hear her?

"Mrs. Berry asked YOU, Frank; but I certainly did not hear her ask ME!"

"She would not have mentioned the dinner but that she meant me to ask
you. I know she did," cried Frank Berry. "And, besides--hang it--I'm
master of the house. So come you shall. No ceremony, old boy--one or two
friends--snug family party--and we'll talk of old times over a bottle of
claret."

There did not seem to me to be the slightest objection to this
arrangement, except that my boots were muddy, and my coat of the morning
sort. But as it was quite impossible to go to Paris and back again in
a quarter of an hour, and as a man may dine with perfect comfort to
himself in a frock-coat, it did not occur to me to be particularly
squeamish, or to decline an old friend's invitation upon a pretext so
trivial.

Accordingly we walked to a small house in the Avenue de Paris, and were
admitted first into a small garden ornamented by a grotto, a fountain,
and several nymphs in plaster-of-Paris, then up a mouldy old steep stair
into a hall, where a statue of Cupid and another of Venus welcomed us
with their eternal simper; then through a salle-a-manger where covers
were laid for six; and finally to a little saloon, where Fido the dog
began to howl furiously according to his wont.

It was one of the old pavilions that had been built for a pleasure-house
in the gay days of Versailles, ornamented with abundance of damp Cupids
and cracked gilt cornices, and old mirrors let into the walls, and
gilded once, but now painted a dingy French white. The long low windows
looked into the court, where the fountain played its ceaseless dribble,
surrounded by numerous rank creepers and weedy flowers, but in the midst
of which the statues stood with their bases quite moist and green.

I hate fountains and statues in dark confined places: that cheerless,
endless plashing of water is the most inhospitable sound ever heard. The
stiff grin of those French statues, or ogling Canova Graces, is by no
means more happy, I think, than the smile of a skeleton, and not so
natural. Those little pavilions in which the old roues sported were
never meant to be seen by daylight, depend on't. They were lighted up
with a hundred wax-candles, and the little fountain yonder was meant
only to cool their claret. And so, my first impression of Berry's
place of abode was rather a dismal one. However, I heard him in the
salle-a-manger drawing the corks, which went off with a CLOOP, and that
consoled me.

As for the furniture of the rooms appertaining to the Berrys, there
was a harp in a leather case, and a piano, and a flute-box, and a huge
tambour with a Saracen's nose just begun, and likewise on the table
a multiplicity of those little gilt books, half sentimental and half
religious, which the wants of the age and of our young ladies have
produced in such numbers of late. I quarrel with no lady's taste in that
way; but heigho! I had rather that Mrs. Fitz-Boodle should read "Humphry
Clinker!"

Besides these works, there was a "Peerage," of course. What genteel
family was ever without one?

I was making for the door to see Frank drawing the corks, and was
bounced at by the amiable little black-muzzled spaniel, who fastened his
teeth in my pantaloons, and received a polite kick in consequence, which
sent him howling to the other end of the room, and the animal was just
in the act of performing that feat of agility, when the door opened
and madame made her appearance. Frank came behind her, peering over her
shoulder with rather an anxious look.

Mrs. Berry is an exceedingly white and lean person. She has thick
eyebrows, which meet rather dangerously over her nose, which is Grecian,
and a small mouth with no lips--a sort of feeble pucker in the face as
it were. Under her eyebrows are a pair of enormous eyes, which she is
in the habit of turning constantly ceiling-wards. Her hair is rather
scarce, and worn in bandeaux, and she commonly mounts a sprig of laurel,
or a dark flower or two, which with the sham tour--I believe that is the
name of the knob of artificial hair that many ladies sport--gives her
a rigid and classical look. She is dressed in black, and has invariably
the neatest of silk stockings and shoes: for forsooth her foot is a fine
one, and she always sits with it before her, looking at it, stamping it,
and admiring it a great deal. "Fido," she says to her spaniel, "you have
almost crushed my poor foot;" or, "Frank," to her husband, "bring me a
footstool:" or, "I suffer so from cold in the feet," and so forth; but
be the conversation what it will, she is always sure to put HER FOOT
into it.

She invariably wears on her neck the miniature of her late father, Sir
George Catacomb, apothecary to George III.; and she thinks those two men
the greatest the world ever saw. She was born in Baker Street, Portman
Square, and that is saying almost enough of her. She is as long, as
genteel, and as dreary, as that deadly-lively place, and sports, by
way of ornament, her papa's hatchment, as it were, as every tenth Baker
Street house has taught her.

What induced such a jolly fellow as Frank Berry to marry Miss Angelica
Catacomb no one can tell. He met her, he says, at a ball at Hampton
Court, where his regiment was quartered, and where, to this day, lives
"her aunt Lady Pash." She alludes perpetually in conversation to that
celebrated lady; and if you look in the "Baronetage" to the pedigree
of the Pash family, you may see manuscript notes by Mrs. Frank Berry,
relative to them and herself. Thus, when you see in print that Sir John
Pash married Angelica, daughter of Graves Catacomb, Esquire, in a neat
hand you find written, AND SISTER OF THE LATE SIR GEORGE CATACOMB, OF
BAKER STREET, PORTMAN SQUARE: "A.B." follows of course. It is a wonder
how fond ladies are of writing in books, and signing their charming
initials! Mrs. Berry's before-mentioned little gilt books are scored
with pencil-marks, or occasionally at the margin with a!--note of
interjection, or the words "TOO TRUE, A.B." and so on. Much may be
learned with regard to lovely woman by a look at the books she reads in;
and I had gained no inconsiderable knowledge of Mrs. Berry by the ten
minutes spent in the drawing-room, while she was at her toilet in the
adjoining bedchamber.

"You have often heard me talk of George Fitz," says Berry, with an
appealing look to madame.

"Very often," answered his lady, in a tone which clearly meant "a great
deal too much." "Pray, sir," continued she, looking at my boots with all
her might, "are we to have your company at dinner?"

"Of course you are, my dear; what else do you think he came for? You
would not have the man go back to Paris to get his evening coat, would
you?"

"At least, my love, I hope you will go and put on YOURS, and change
those muddy boots. Lady Pash will be here in five minutes, and you know
Dobus is as punctual as clockwork." Then turning to me with a sort of
apology that was as consoling as a box on the ear, "We have some friends
at dinner, sir, who are rather particular persons; but I am sure when
they hear that you only came on a sudden invitation, they will excuse
your morning dress.--Bah! what a smell of smoke!"

With this speech madame placed herself majestically on a sofa, put out
her foot, called Fido, and relapsed into an icy silence. Frank had long
since evacuated the premises, with a rueful look at his wife, but never
daring to cast a glance at me. I saw the whole business at once: here
was this lion of a fellow tamed down by a she Van Amburgh, and fetching
and carrying at her orders a great deal more obediently than her little
yowling black-muzzled darling of a Fido.

I am not, however, to be tamed so easily, and was determined in this
instance not to be in the least disconcerted, or to show the smallest
sign of ill-humour: so to renouer the conversation, I began about Lady
Pash.

"I heard you mention the name of Pash, I think?" said I. "I know a lady
of that name, and a very ugly one it is too."

"It is most probably not the same person," answered Mrs. Berry, with
a look which intimated that a fellow like me could never have had the
honour to know so exalted a person.

"I mean old Lady Pash of Hampton Court. Fat woman--fair, ain't she?--and
wears an amethyst in her forehead, has one eye, a blond wig, and dresses
in light green?"

"Lady Pash, sir, is MY AUNT," answered Mrs. Berry (not altogether
displeased, although she expected money from the old lady; but you know
we love to hear our friends abused when it can be safely done).

"Oh, indeed! she was a daughter of old Catacomb's of Windsor, I
remember, the undertaker. They called her husband Callipash, and her
ladyship Pishpash. So you see, madam, that I know the whole family!"

"Mr. Fitz-Simons!" exclaimed Mrs. Berry, rising, "I am not accustomed to
hear nicknames applied to myself and my family; and must beg you,
when you honour us with your company, to spare our feelings as much as
possible. Mr. Catacomb had the confidence of his SOVEREIGN, sir, and Sir
John Pash was of Charles II.'s creation. The one was my uncle, sir; the
other my grandfather!"

"My dear madam, I am extremely sorry, and most sincerely apologise
for my inadvertence. But you owe me an apology too: my name is not
Fitz-Simons, but Fitz-Boodle."

"What! of Boodle Hall--my husband's old friend; of Charles I.'s
creation? My dear sir, I beg you a thousand pardons, and am delighted
to welcome a person of whom I have heard Frank say so much. Frank!" (to
Berry, who soon entered in very glossy boots and a white waistcoat), "do
you know, darling, I mistook Mr. Fitz-Boodle for Mr. Fitz-Simons--that
horrid Irish horse-dealing person; and I never, never, never can pardon
myself for being so rude to him."

The big eyes here assumed an expression that was intended to kill me
outright with kindness: from being calm, still, reserved, Angelica
suddenly became gay, smiling, confidential, and folatre. She told me she
had heard I was a sad creature, and that she intended to reform me, and
that I must come and see Frank a great deal.

Now, although Mr. Fitz-Simons, for whom I was mistaken, is as low
a fellow as ever came out of Dublin, and having been a captain in
somebody's army, is now a blackleg and horse-dealer by profession; yet,
if I had brought him home to Mrs. Fitz-Boodle to dinner, I should have
liked far better that that imaginary lady should have received him with
decent civility, and not insulted the stranger within her husband's
gates. And, although it was delightful to be received so cordially
when the mistake was discovered, yet I found that ALL Berry's old
acquaintances were by no means so warmly welcomed; for another old
school-chum presently made his appearance, who was treated in a very
different manner.

This was no other than poor Jack Butts, who is a sort of small artist
and picture-dealer by profession, and was a dayboy at Slaughter House
when we were there, and very serviceable in bringing in sausages,
pots of pickles, and other articles of merchandise, which we could not
otherwise procure. The poor fellow has been employed, seemingly, in the
same office of fetcher and carrier ever since; and occupied that post
for Mrs. Berry. It was, "Mr. Butts, have you finished that drawing for
Lady Pash's album?" and Butts produced it; and, "Did you match the silk
for me at Delille's?" and there was the silk, bought, no doubt, with the
poor fellow's last five francs; and, "Did you go to the furniture-man in
the Rue St. Jacques; and bring the canary-seed, and call about my
shawl at that odious dawdling Madame Fichet's; and have you brought the
guitar-strings?"

Butts hadn't brought the guitar-strings; and thereupon Mrs. Berry's
countenance assumed the same terrible expression which I had formerly
remarked in it, and which made me tremble for Berry.

"My dear Angelica," though said he with some spirit, "Jack Butts isn't
a baggage-waggon, nor a Jack-of-all-trades; you make him paint pictures
for your women's albums, and look after your upholsterer, and your
canary-bird, and your milliners, and turn rusty because he forgets your
last message."

"I did not turn RUSTY, Frank, as you call it elegantly. I'm very much
obliged to Mr. Butts for performing my commissions--very much obliged.
And as for not paying for the pictures to which you so kindly allude,
Frank, _I_ should never have thought of offering payment for so paltry a
service; but I'm sure I shall be happy to pay if Mr. Butts will send me
in his bill."

"By Jove, Angelica, this is too much!" bounced out Berry; but the little
matrimonial squabble was abruptly ended, by Berry's French man flinging
open the door and announcing MILADI PASH and Doctor Dobus, which two
personages made their appearance.

The person of old Pash has been already parenthetically described. But
quite different from her dismal niece in temperament, she is as jolly an
old widow as ever wore weeds. She was attached somehow to the Court, and
has a multiplicity of stories about the princesses and the old King,
to which Mrs. Berry never fails to call your attention in her grave,
important way. Lady Pash has ridden many a time to the Windsor hounds;
she made her husband become a member of the Four-in-hand Club, and has
numberless stories about Sir Godfrey Webster, Sir John Lade, and the
old heroes of those times. She has lent a rouleau to Dick Sheridan,
and remembers Lord Byron when he was a sulky slim young lad. She says
Charles Fox was the pleasantest fellow she ever met with, and has not
the slightest objection to inform you that one of the princes was very
much in love with her. Yet somehow she is only fifty-two years old, and
I have never been able to understand her calculation. One day or other
before her eye went out, and before those pearly teeth of hers were
stuck to her gums by gold, she must have been a pretty-looking body
enough. Yet, in spite of the latter inconvenience, she eats and
drinks too much every day, and tosses off a glass of maraschino with a
trembling pudgy hand, every finger of which twinkles with a dozen, at
least, of old rings. She has a story about every one of those rings, and
a stupid one too. But there is always something pleasant, I think, in
stupid family stories: they are good-hearted people who tell them.

As for Mrs. Muchit, nothing need be said of her; she is Pash's
companion; she has lived with Lady Pash since the peace. Nor does my
Lady take any more notice of her than of the dust of the earth. She
calls her "poor Muchit," and considers her a half-witted creature. Mrs.
Berry hates her cordially, and thinks she is a designing toad-eater,
who has formed a conspiracy to rob her of her aunt's fortune. She never
spoke a word to poor Muchit during the whole of dinner, or offered to
help her to anything on the table.

In respect to Dobus, he is an old Peninsular man, as you are made to
know before you have been very long in his company; and, like most army
surgeons, is a great deal more military in his looks and conversation,
than the combatant part of the forces. He has adopted the
sham-Duke-of-Wellington air, which is by no means uncommon in veterans;
and, though one of the easiest and softest fellows in existence, speaks
slowly and briefly, and raps out an oath or two occasionally, as it is
said a certain great captain does. Besides the above, we sat down to
table with Captain Goff, late of the ---- Highlanders; the Reverend
Lemuel Whey, who preaches at St. Germains; little Cutler, and the
Frenchman, who always WILL be at English parties on the Continent, and
who, after making some frightful efforts to speak English, subsides and
is heard no more. Young married ladies and heads of families generally
have him for the purpose of waltzing, and in return he informs his
friends of the club or the cafe that he has made the conquest of a
charmante Anglaise. Listen to me, all family men who read this! and
never LET AN UNMARRIED FRENCHMAN INTO YOUR DOORS. This lecture alone is
worth the price of the book. It is not that they do any harm in one case
out of a thousand, Heaven forbid! but they mean harm. They look on our
Susannas with unholy dishonest eyes. Hearken to two of the grinning
rogues chattering together as they clink over the asphalte of
the Boulevard with lacquered boots, and plastered hair, and waxed
moustaches, and turned-down shirt-collars, and stays and goggling eyes,
and hear how they talk of a good simple giddy vain dull Baker
Street creature, and canvass her points, and show her letters, and
insinuate--never mind, but I tell you my soul grows angry when I think
of the same; and I can't hear of an Englishwoman marrying a Frenchman
without feeling a sort of shame and pity for her. [4]

To return to the guests. The Reverend Lemuel Whey is a tea-party man,
with a curl on his forehead and a scented pocket-handkerchief. He ties
his white neckcloth to a wonder, and I believe sleeps in it. He brings
his flute with him; and prefers Handel, of course; but has one or two
pet profane songs of the sentimental kind, and will occasionally lift
up his little pipe in a glee. He does not dance, but the honest fellow
would give the world to do it; and he leaves his clogs in the passage,
though it is a wonder he wears them, for in the muddiest weather he
never has a speck on his foot. He was at St. John's College, Cambridge,
and was rather gay for a term or two, he says. He is, in a word, full of
the milk-and-water of human kindness, and his family lives near Hackney.

As for Goff, he has a huge shining bald forehead, and immense bristling
Indian-red whiskers. He wears white wash-leather gloves, drinks fairly,
likes a rubber, and has a story for after dinner, beginning, "Doctor, ye
racklackt Sandy M'Lellan, who joined us in the West Indies. Wal, sir,"
etc. These and little Cutler made up the party.

Now it may not have struck all readers, but any sharp fellow conversant
with writing must have found out long ago, that if there had been
something exceedingly interesting to narrate with regard to this dinner
at Frank Berry's, I should have come out with it a couple of pages
since, nor have kept the public looking for so long a time at the
dish-covers and ornaments of the table.

But the simple fact must now be told, that there was nothing of the
slightest importance occurred at this repast, except that it gave me an
opportunity of studying Mrs. Berry in many different ways; and, in spite
of the extreme complaisance which she now showed me, of forming, I am
sorry to say, a most unfavourable opinion of that fair lady. Truth to
tell, I would much rather she should have been civil to Mrs. Muchit,
than outrageously complimentary to your humble servant; and as she
professed not to know what on earth there was for dinner, would it not
have been much more natural for her not to frown, and bob, and wink,
and point, and pinch her lips as often as Monsieur Anatole, her French
domestic, not knowing the ways of English dinner-tables, placed anything
out of its due order? The allusions to Boodle Hall were innumerable,
and I don't know any greater bore than to be obliged to talk of a place
which belongs to one's elder brother. Many questions were likewise asked
about the dowager and her Scotch relatives, the Plumduffs, about whom
Lady Pash knew a great deal, having seen them at Court and at Lord
Melville's. Of course she had seen them at Court and at Lord Melville's,
as she might have seen thousands of Scotchmen besides; but what mattered
it to me, who care not a jot for old Lady Fitz-Boodle? "When you write,
you'll say you met an old friend of her Ladyship's," says Mrs. Berry,
and I faithfully promised I would when I wrote; but if the New Post
Office paid us for writing letters (as very possibly it will soon), I
could not be bribed to send a line to old Lady Fitz.

In a word, I found that Berry, like many simple fellows before him, had
made choice of an imperious, ill-humoured, and underbred female for a
wife, and could see with half an eye that he was a great deal too much
her slave.

The struggle was not over yet, however. Witness that little encounter
before dinner; and once or twice the honest fellow replied rather
smartly during the repast, taking especial care to atone as much
as possible for his wife's inattention to Jack and Mrs. Muchit, by
particular attention to those personages, whom he helped to everything
round about and pressed perpetually to champagne; he drank but little
himself, for his amiable wife's eye was constantly fixed on him.

Just at the conclusion of the dessert, madame, who had bouded Berry
during dinner-time, became particularly gracious to her lord and master,
and tenderly asked me if I did not think the French custom was a good
one, of men leaving table with the ladies.

"Upon my word, ma'am," says I, "I think it's a most abominable
practice."

"And so do I," says Cutler.

"A most abominable practice! Do you hear THAT?" cries Berry, laughing,
and filling his glass.

"I'm sure, Frank, when we are alone you always come to the
drawing-room," replies the lady, sharply.

"Oh, yes! when we're alone, darling," says Berry, blushing; "but now
we're NOT alone--ha, ha! Anatole, du Bordeaux!"

"I'm sure they sat after the ladies at Carlton House; didn't they, Lady
Pash?" says Dobus, who likes his glass.

"THAT they did!" says my Lady, giving him a jolly nod.

"I racklackt," exclaims Captain Goff, "when I was in the Mauritius, that
Mestress MacWhirter, who commanded the Saxty-Sackond, used to say, 'Mac,
if ye want to get lively, ye'll not stop for more than two hours after
the leddies have laft ye: if ye want to get drunk, ye'll just dine at
the mass.' So ye see, Mestress Barry, what was Mac's allowance--haw,
haw! Mester Whey, I'll trouble ye for the o-lives."

But although we were in a clear majority, that indomitable woman, Mrs.
Berry, determined to make us all as uneasy as possible, and would take
the votes all round. Poor Jack, of course, sided with her, and Whey said
he loved a cup of tea and a little music better than all the wine of
Bordeaux. As for the Frenchman, when Mrs. Berry said, "And what do you
think, M. le Vicomte?"

"Vat you speak?" said M. de Blagueval, breaking silence for the first
time during two hours. "Yase--eh? to me you speak?"

"Apry deeny, aimy-voo ally avec les dam?"

"Comment avec les dames?"

"Ally avec les dam com a Parry, ou resty avec les Messew com on
Onglyterre?"

"Ah, madame! vous me le demandez?" cries the little wretch, starting up
in a theatrical way, and putting out his hand, which Mrs. Berry took,
and with this the ladies left the room. Old Lady Pash trotted after her
niece with her hand in Whey's, very much wondering at such practices,
which were not in the least in vogue in the reign of George III.

Mrs. Berry cast a glance of triumph at her husband, at the defection;
and Berry was evidently annoyed that three-eighths of his male forces
had left him.

But fancy our delight and astonishment, when in a minute they all three
came back again; the Frenchman looking entirely astonished, and the
parson and the painter both very queer. The fact is, old downright Lady
Pash, who had never been in Paris in her life before, and had no notion
of being deprived of her usual hour's respite and nap, said at once to
Mrs. Berry, "My dear Angelica, you're surely not going to keep these
three men here? Send them back to the dining-room, for I've a thousand
things to say to you." And Angelica, who expects to inherit her aunt's
property, of course did as she was bid; on which the old lady fell into
an easy chair, and fell asleep immediately,--so soon, that is, as
the shout caused by the reappearance of the three gentlemen in the
dining-room had subsided.

I had meanwhile had some private conversation with little Cutler
regarding the character of Mrs. Berry. "She's a regular screw,"
whispered he; "a regular Tartar. Berry shows fight, though, sometimes,
and I've known him have his own way for a week together. After dinner
he is his own master, and hers when he has had his share of wine; and
that's why she will never allow him to drink any."

Was it a wicked, or was it a noble and honourable thought which came
to us both at the same minute, to rescue Berry from his captivity? The
ladies, of course, will give their verdict according to their gentle
natures; but I know what men of courage will think, and by their jovial
judgment will abide.

We received, then, the three lost sheep back into our innocent fold
again with the most joyous shouting and cheering. We made Berry (who
was, in truth, nothing loth) order up I don't know how much more claret.
We obliged the Frenchman to drink malgre lui, and in the course of
a short time we had poor Whey in such a state of excitement, that he
actually volunteered to sing a song, which he said he had heard at some
very gay supper-party at Cambridge, and which begins:

     "A pye sat on a pear-tree,
      A pye sat on a pear-tree,
      A pye sat on a pear-tree,
        Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, heigh-ho!"

Fancy Mrs. Berry's face as she looked in, in the midst of that
Bacchanalian ditty, when she saw no less a person than the Reverend
Lemuel Whey carolling it!

"Is it you, my dear?" cries Berry, as brave now as any Petruchio. "Come
in, and sit down, and hear Whey's song."

"Lady Pash is asleep, Frank," said she.

"Well, darling! that's the very reason. Give Mrs. Berry a glass, Jack,
will you?"

"Would you wake your aunt, sir?" hissed out madame.

"NEVER MIND ME, LOVE! I'M AWAKE, AND LIKE IT!" cried the venerable Lady
Pash from the salon. "Sing away, gentlemen!"

At which we all set up an audacious cheer; and Mrs. Berry flounced back
to the drawing-room, but did not leave the door open, that her aunt
might hear our melodies.

Berry had by this time arrived at that confidential state to which a
third bottle always brings the well-regulated mind; and he made a clean
confession to Cutler and myself of his numerous matrimonial annoyances.
He was not allowed to dine out, he said, and but seldom to ask his
friends to meet him at home. He never dared smoke a cigar for the life
of him, not even in the stables. He spent the mornings dawdling in
eternal shops, the evenings at endless tea-parties, or in reading
poems or missionary tracts to his wife. He was compelled to take physic
whenever she thought he looked a little pale, to change his shoes and
stockings whenever he came in from a walk. "Look here," said he, opening
his chest, and shaking his fist at Dobus; "look what Angelica and that
infernal Dobus have brought me to."

I thought it might be a flannel waistcoat into which madame had
forced him; but it was worse: I give you my word of honour it was a
PITCH-PLASTER!

We all roared at this, and the doctor as loud as anyone; but he vowed
that he had no hand in the pitch-plaster. It was a favourite family
remedy of the late apothecary Sir George Catacomb, and had been put on
by Mrs. Berry's own fair hands.

When Anatole came in with coffee, Berry was in such high courage, that
he told him to go to the deuce with it; and we never caught sight of
Lady Pash more, except when, muffled up to the nose, she passed through
the salle-a-manger to go to her carriage, in which Dobus and the parson
were likewise to be transported to Paris. "Be a man, Frank," says she,
"and hold your own"--for the good old lady had taken her nephew's part
in the matrimonial business--"and you, Mr. Fitz-Boodle, come and see him
often. You're a good fellow, take old one-eyed Callipash's word for it.
Shall I take you to Paris?"

Dear kind Angelica, she had told her aunt all I said!

"Don't go, George," says Berry, squeezing me by the hand. So I said I
was going to sleep at Versailles that night; but if she would give a
convoy to Jack Butts, it would be conferring a great obligation on him;
with which favour the old lady accordingly complied, saying to him,
with great coolness, "Get up and sit with John in the rumble, Mr.
What-d'ye-call-'im." The fact is, the good old soul despises an artist
as much as she does a tailor.

Jack tripped to his place very meekly; and "Remember Saturday," cried
the Doctor; and "Don't forget Thursday!" exclaimed the divine,--"a
bachelor's party, you know." And so the cavalcade drove thundering down
the gloomy old Avenue de Paris.

The Frenchman, I forgot to say, had gone away exceedingly ill long
before; and the reminiscences of "Thursday" and "Saturday" evoked by
Dobus and Whey, were, to tell the truth, parts of our conspiracy; for in
the heat of Berry's courage, we had made him promise to dine with us all
round en garcon; with all except Captain Goff, who "racklacted" that he
was engaged every day for the next three weeks: as indeed he is, to
a thirty-sous ordinary which the gallant officer frequents, when not
invited elsewhere.

Cutler and I then were the last on the field; and though we were for
moving away, Berry, whose vigour had, if possible, been excited by the
bustle and colloquy in the night air, insisted upon dragging us back
again, and actually proposed a grill for supper!

We found in the salle-a-manger a strong smell of an extinguished lamp,
and Mrs. Berry was snuffing out the candles on the sideboard.

"Hullo, my dear!" shouts Berry: "easy, if you please; we've not done
yet!"

"Not done yet, Mr. Berry!" groans the lady, in a hollow sepulchral tone.

"No, Mrs. B., not done yet. We are going to have some supper, ain't we,
George?"

"I think it's quite time to go home," said Mr. Fitz-Boodle (who, to say
the truth, began to tremble himself).

"I think it is, sir; you are quite right, sir; you will pardon me,
gentlemen, I have a bad headache, and will retire."

"Good-night, my dear!" said that audacious Berry. "Anatole, tell the
cook to broil a fowl and bring some wine."

If the loving couple had been alone, or if Cutler had not been an
attache to the embassy, before whom she was afraid of making herself
ridiculous, I am confident that Mrs. Berry would have fainted away on
the spot; and that all Berry's courage would have tumbled down lifeless
by the side of her. So she only gave a martyrised look, and left the
room; and while we partook of the very unnecessary repast, was good
enough to sing some hymn-tunes to an exceedingly slow movement in the
next room, intimating that she was awake, and that, though suffering,
she found her consolations in religion.

These melodies did not in the least add to our friend's courage. The
devilled fowl had, somehow, no devil in it. The champagne in the glasses
looked exceedingly flat and blue. The fact is, that Cutler and I were
now both in a state of dire consternation, and soon made a move for
our hats, and lighting each a cigar in the hall, made across the little
green where the Cupids and nymphs were listening to the dribbling
fountain in the dark.

"I'm hanged if I don't have a cigar too!" says Berry, rushing after us;
and accordingly putting in his pocket a key about the size of a shovel,
which hung by the little handle of the outer grille, forth he sallied,
and joined us in our fumigation.

He stayed with us a couple of hours, and returned homewards in perfect
good spirits, having given me his word of honour he would dine with us
the next day. He put his immense key into the grille, and unlocked it;
but the gate would not open: IT WAS BOLTED WITHIN.

He began to make a furious jangling and ringing at the bell; and in
oaths, both French and English, called upon the recalcitrant Anatole.

After much tolling of the bell, a light came cutting across the crevices
of the inner door; it was thrown open, and a figure appeared with a
lamp,--a tall slim figure of a woman, clothed in white from head to
foot.

It was Mrs. Berry, and when Cutler and I saw her, we both ran away as
fast as our legs could carry us.

Berry, at this, shrieked with a wild laughter. "Remember to-morrow, old
boys," shouted he,--"six o'clock;" and we were a quarter of a mile off
when the gate closed, and the little mansion of the Avenue de Paris was
once more quiet and dark.

The next afternoon, as we were playing at billiards, Cutler saw Mrs.
Berry drive by in her carriage; and as soon as rather a long rubber was
over, I thought I would go and look for our poor friend, and so went
down to the Pavilion. Every door was open, as the wont is in France, and
I walked in unannounced, and saw this:

He was playing a duet with her on the flute. She had been out but for
half-an-hour, after not speaking all the morning; and having seen Cutler
at the billiard-room window, and suspecting we might take advantage
of her absence, she had suddenly returned home again, and had flung
herself, weeping, into her Frank's arms, and said she could not bear to
leave him in anger. And so, after sitting for a little while sobbing on
his knee, she had forgotten and forgiven every thing!

The dear angel! I met poor Frank in Bond Street only yesterday; but he
crossed over to the other side of the way. He had on goloshes, and is
grown very fat and pale. He has shaved off his moustaches, and, instead,
wears a respirator. He has taken his name off all his clubs, and lives
very grimly in Baker Street. Well, ladies, no doubt you say he is right:
and what are the odds, so long as YOU are happy?



DENNIS HAGGARTY'S WIFE.


There was an odious Irishwoman who with her daughter used to frequent
the "Royal Hotel" at Leamington some years ago, and who went by the name
of Mrs. Major Gam. Gam had been a distinguished officer in His Majesty's
service, whom nothing but death and his own amiable wife could overcome.
The widow mourned her husband in the most becoming bombazeen she could
muster, and had at least half an inch of lampblack round the immense
visiting tickets which she left at the houses of the nobility and gentry
her friends.

Some of us, I am sorry to say, used to call her Mrs. Major Gammon; for
if the worthy widow had a propensity, it was to talk largely of herself
and family (of her own family, for she held her husband's very cheap),
and of the wonders of her paternal mansion, Molloyville, county of Mayo.
She was of the Molloys of that county; and though I never heard of the
family before, I have little doubt, from what Mrs. Major Gam stated,
that they were the most ancient and illustrious family of that part of
Ireland. I remember there came down to see his aunt a young fellow
with huge red whiskers and tight nankeens, a green coat, and an awful
breastpin, who, after two days' stay at the Spa, proposed marriage to
Miss S----, or, in default, a duel with her father; and who drove a
flash curricle with a bay and a grey, and who was presented with much
pride by Mrs. Gam as Castlereagh Molloy of Molloyville. We all agreed
that he was the most insufferable snob of the whole season, and were
delighted when a bailiff came down in search of him.

Well, this is all I know personally of the Molloyville family; but at
the house if you met the widow Gam, and talked on any subject in life,
you were sure to hear of it. If you asked her to have peas at dinner,
she would say, "Oh, sir, after the peas at Molloyville, I really don't
care for any others,--do I, dearest Jemima? We always had a dish in the
month of June, when my father gave his head gardener a guinea (we had
three at Molloyville), and sent him with his compliments and a quart of
peas to our neighbour, dear Lord Marrowfat. What a sweet place Marrowfat
Park is! isn't it, Jemima?" If a carriage passed by the window, Mrs.
Major Gammon would be sure to tell you that there were three carriages
at Molloyville, "the barouche, the chawiot, and the covered cyar." In
the same manner she would favour you with the number and names of the
footmen of the establishment; and on a visit to Warwick Castle (for this
bustling woman made one in every party of pleasure that was formed from
the hotel), she gave us to understand that the great walk by the river
was altogether inferior to the principal avenue of Molloyville Park.
I should not have been able to tell so much about Mrs. Gam and her
daughter, but that, between ourselves, I was particularly sweet upon a
young lady at the time, whose papa lived at the "Royal," and was under
the care of Doctor Jephson.

The Jemima appealed to by Mrs. Gam in the above sentence was, of course,
her daughter, apostrophised by her mother, "Jemima, my soul's darling?"
or, "Jemima, my blessed child!" or, "Jemima, my own love!" The
sacrifices that Mrs. Gam had made for that daughter were, she said,
astonishing. The money she had spent in masters upon her, the illnesses
through which she had nursed her, the ineffable love the mother bore
her, were only known to Heaven, Mrs. Gam said. They used to come into
the room with their arms round each other's waists: at dinner between
the courses the mother would sit with one hand locked in her daughter's;
and if only two or three young men were present at the time, would be
pretty sure to kiss her Jemima more than once during the time whilst the
bohea was poured out.

As for Miss Gam, if she was not handsome, candour forbids me to say she
was ugly. She was neither one nor t'other. She was a person who wore
ringlets and a band round her forehead; she knew four songs, which
became rather tedious at the end of a couple of months' acquaintance;
she had excessively bare shoulders; she inclined to wear numbers of
cheap ornaments, rings, brooches, ferronnieres, smelling-bottles, and
was always, we thought, very smartly dressed: though old Mrs. Lynx
hinted that her gowns and her mother's were turned over and over again,
and that her eyes were almost put out by darning stockings.

These eyes Miss Gam had very large, though rather red and weak, and used
to roll them about at every eligible unmarried man in the place. But
though the widow subscribed to all the balls, though she hired a fly
to go to the meet of the hounds, though she was constant at church, and
Jemima sang louder than any person there except the clerk, and though,
probably, any person who made her a happy husband would be invited down
to enjoy the three footmen, gardeners, and carriages at Molloyville, yet
no English gentleman was found sufficiently audacious to propose.
Old Lynx used to say that the pair had been at Tunbridge, Harrogate,
Brighton, Ramsgate, Cheltenham, for this eight years past; where they
had met, it seemed, with no better fortune. Indeed, the widow looked
rather high for her blessed child: and as she looked with the contempt
which no small number of Irish people feel upon all persons who get
their bread by labour or commerce; and as she was a person whose
energetic manners, costume, and brogue were not much to the taste of
quiet English country gentlemen, Jemima--sweet, spotless flower--still
remained on her hands, a thought withered, perhaps, and seedy.

Now, at this time, the 120th Regiment was quartered at Weedon Barracks,
and with the corps was a certain Assistant-Surgeon Haggarty, a large,
lean, tough, raw-boned man, with big hands, knock-knees, and carroty
whiskers, and, withal, as honest a creature as ever handled a lancet.
Haggarty, as his name imports, was of the very same nation as Mrs. Gam,
and, what is more, the honest fellow had some of the peculiarities which
belonged to the widow, and bragged about his family almost as much as
she did. I do not know of what particular part of Ireland they were
kings; but monarchs they must have been, as have been the ancestors of
so many thousand Hibernian families; but they had been men of no small
consideration in Dublin, "where my father," Haggarty said, "is as well
known as King William's statue, and where he 'rowls his carriage, too,'
let me tell ye."

Hence, Haggarty was called by the wags "Rowl the carriage," and several
of them made inquiries of Mrs. Gam regarding him: "Mrs. Gam, when you
used to go up from Molloyville to the Lord Lieutenant's balls, and had
your townhouse in Fitzwilliam Square, used you to meet the famous Doctor
Haggarty in society?"

"Is it Surgeon Haggarty of Gloucester Street ye mean? The black Papist!
D'ye suppose that the Molloys would sit down to table with a creature of
that sort?"

"Why, isn't he the most famous physician in Dublin, and doesn't he rowl
his carriage there?"

"The horrid wretch! He keeps a shop, I tell ye, and sends his sons out
with the medicine. He's got four of them off into the army, Ulick and
Phil, and Terence and Denny, and now it's Charles that takes out the
physic. But how should I know about these odious creatures? Their mother
was a Burke, of Burke's Town, county Cavan, and brought Surgeon Haggarty
two thousand pounds. She was a Protestant; and I am surprised how she
could have taken up with a horrid odious Popish apothecary!"

From the extent of the widow's information, I am led to suppose that the
inhabitants of Dublin are not less anxious about their neighbours than
are the natives of English cities; and I think it is very probable that
Mrs. Gam's account of the young Haggartys who carried out the medicine
is perfectly correct, for a lad in the 120th made a caricature of
Haggarty coming out of a chemist's shop with an oilcloth basket under
his arm, which set the worthy surgeon in such a fury that there would
have been a duel between him and the ensign, could the fiery doctor have
had his way.

Now, Dionysius Haggarty was of an exceedingly inflammable temperament,
and it chanced that of all the invalids, the visitors, the young squires
of Warwickshire, the young manufacturers from Birmingham, the young
officers from the barracks--it chanced, unluckily for Miss Gam and
himself, that he was the only individual who was in the least smitten
by her personal charms. He was very tender and modest about his love,
however, for it must be owned that he respected Mrs. Gam hugely, and
fully admitted, like a good simple fellow as he was, the superiority of
that lady's birth and breeding to his own. How could he hope that he, a
humble assistant-surgeon, with a thousand pounds his Aunt Kitty left
him for all his fortune--how could he hope that one of the race of
Molloyville would ever condescend to marry him?

Inflamed, however, by love, and inspired by wine, one day at a picnic at
Kenilworth, Haggarty, whose love and raptures were the talk of the whole
regiment, was induced by his waggish comrades to make a proposal in
form.

"Are you aware, Mr. Haggarty, that you are speaking to a Molloy?"
was all the reply majestic Mrs. Gam made when, according to the usual
formula, the fluttering Jemima referred her suitor to "Mamma." She left
him with a look which was meant to crush the poor fellow to earth; she
gathered up her cloak and bonnet, and precipitately called for her fly.
She took care to tell every single soul in Leamington that the son of
the odious Papist apothecary had had the audacity to propose for her
daughter (indeed a proposal, coming from whatever quarter it may,
does no harm), and left Haggarty in a state of extreme depression and
despair.

His down-heartedness, indeed, surprised most of his acquaintances in and
out of the regiment, for the young lady was no beauty, and a doubtful
fortune, and Dennis was a man outwardly of an unromantic turn, who
seemed to have a great deal more liking for beefsteak and whisky-punch
than for women, however fascinating.

But there is no doubt this shy uncouth rough fellow had a warmer and
more faithful heart hid within him than many a dandy who is as handsome
as Apollo. I, for my part, never can understand why a man falls in love,
and heartily give him credit for so doing, never mind with what or
whom. THAT I take to be a point quite as much beyond an individual's own
control as the catching of the small-pox or the colour of his hair. To
the surprise of all, Assistant-Surgeon Dionysius Haggarty was deeply and
seriously in love; and I am told that one day he very nearly killed the
before-mentioned young ensign with a carving-knife, for venturing to
make a second caricature, representing Lady Gammon and Jemima in a
fantastical park, surrounded by three gardeners, three carriages, three
footmen, and the covered cyar. He would have no joking concerning them.
He became moody and quarrelsome of habit. He was for some time much more
in the surgery and hospital than in the mess. He gave up the eating, for
the most part, of those vast quantities of beef and pudding, for which
his stomach used to afford such ample and swift accommodation; and when
the cloth was drawn, instead of taking twelve tumblers, and singing
Irish melodies, as he used to do, in a horrible cracked yelling voice,
he would retire to his own apartment, or gloomily pace the barrack-yard,
or madly whip and spur a grey mare he had on the road to Leamington,
where his Jemima (although invisible for him) still dwelt.

The season at Leamington coming to a conclusion by the withdrawal of the
young fellows who frequented that watering-place, the widow Gam retired
to her usual quarters for the other months of the year. Where these
quarters were, I think we have no right to ask, for I believe she had
quarrelled with her brother at Molloyville, and besides, was a great
deal too proud to be a burden on anybody.

Not only did the widow quit Leamington, but very soon afterwards the
120th received its marching orders, and left Weedon and Warwickshire.
Haggarty's appetite was by this time partially restored, but his love
was not altered, and his humour was still morose and gloomy. I am
informed that at this period of his life he wrote some poems relative to
his unhappy passion; a wild set of verses of several lengths, and in
his handwriting, being discovered upon a sheet of paper in which a
pitch-plaster was wrapped up, which Lieutenant and Adjutant Wheezer was
compelled to put on for a cold.

Fancy then, three years afterwards, the surprise of all Haggarty's
acquaintances on reading in the public papers the following
announcement:

"Married, at Monkstown on the 12th instant, Dionysius Haggarty, Esq.,
of H.M. 120th Foot, to Jemima Amelia Wilhelmina Molloy, daughter of the
late Major Lancelot Gam, R.M., and granddaughter of the late, and niece
of the present Burke Bodkin Blake Molloy, Esq., Molloyville, county
Mayo."

"Has the course of true love at last begun to run smooth?" thought I, as
I laid down the paper; and the old times, and the old leering bragging
widow, and the high shoulders of her daughter, and the jolly days with
the 120th, and Doctor Jephson's one-horse chaise, and the Warwickshire
hunt, and--and Louisa S----, but never mind HER,--came back to my mind.
Has that good-natured simple fellow at last met with his reward? Well,
if he has not to marry the mother-in-law too, he may get on well enough.

Another year announced the retirement of Assistant-Surgeon Haggarty
from the 120th, where he was replaced by Assistant-Surgeon Angus
Rothsay Leech, a Scotchman, probably; with whom I have not the least
acquaintance, and who has nothing whatever to do with this little
history.

Still more years passed on, during which time I will not say that I kept
a constant watch upon the fortunes of Mr. Haggarty and his lady; for,
perhaps, if the truth were known, I never thought for a moment about
them; until one day, being at Kingstown, near Dublin, dawdling on
the beach, and staring at the Hill of Howth, as most people at that
watering-place do, I saw coming towards me a tall gaunt man, with a pair
of bushy red whiskers, of which I thought I had seen the like in former
years, and a face which could be no other than Haggarty's. It was
Haggarty, ten years older than when we last met, and greatly more grim
and thin. He had on one shoulder a young gentleman in a dirty tartan
costume, and a face exceedingly like his own peeping from under a
battered plume of black feathers, while with his other hand he was
dragging a light green go-cart, in which reposed a female infant of some
two years old. Both were roaring with great power of lungs.

As soon as Dennis saw me, his face lost the dull puzzled expression
which had seemed to characterise it; he dropped the pole of the go-cart
from one hand, and his son from the other, and came jumping forward to
greet me with all his might, leaving his progeny roaring in the road.

"Bless my sowl," says he, "sure it's Fitz-Boodle? Fitz, don't you
remember me? Dennis Haggarty of the 120th? Leamington, you know? Molloy,
my boy, hould your tongue, and stop your screeching, and Jemima's too;
d'ye hear? Well, it does good to sore eyes to see an old face. How fat
you're grown, Fitz; and were ye ever in Ireland before? and a'n't ye
delighted with it? Confess, now, isn't it beautiful?"

This question regarding the merits of their country, which I have
remarked is put by most Irish persons, being answered in a satisfactory
manner, and the shouts of the infants appeased from an apple-stall
hard by, Dennis and I talked of old times; I congratulated him on his
marriage with the lovely girl whom we all admired, and hoped he had a
fortune with her, and so forth. His appearance, however, did not bespeak
a great fortune: he had an old grey hat, short old trousers, an old
waistcoat with regimental buttons, and patched Blucher boots, such as
are not usually sported by persons in easy life.

"Ah!" says he, with a sigh, in reply to my queries, "times are changed
since them days, Fitz-Boodle. My wife's not what she was--the beautiful
creature you knew her. Molloy, my boy, run off in a hurry to your mamma,
and tell her an English gentleman is coming home to dine; for you'll
dine with me, Fitz, in course?" And I agreed to partake of that meal;
though Master Molloy altogether declined to obey his papa's orders with
respect to announcing the stranger.

"Well, I must announce you myself," said Haggarty, with a smile. "Come,
it's just dinner-time, and my little cottage is not a hundred yards
off." Accordingly, we all marched in procession to Dennis's little
cottage, which was one of a row and a half of one-storied houses, with
little courtyards before them, and mostly with very fine names on the
doorposts of each. "Surgeon Haggarty" was emblazoned on Dennis's gate,
on a stained green copper-plate; and, not content with this, on the
door-post above the bell was an oval with the inscription of "New
Molloyville." The bell was broken, of course; the court, or garden-path,
was mouldy, weedy, seedy; there were some dirty rocks, by way of
ornament, round a faded glass-plat in the centre, some clothes and
rags hanging out of most part of the windows of New Molloyville, the
immediate entrance to which was by a battered scraper, under a broken
trellis-work, up which a withered creeper declined any longer to climb.

"Small, but snug," says Haggarty: "I'll lead the way, Fitz; put your hat
on the flower-pot there, and turn to the left into the drawing-room."
A fog of onions and turf-smoke filled the whole of the house, and gave
signs that dinner was not far off. Far off? You could hear it frizzling
in the kitchen, where the maid was also endeavouring to hush the crying
of a third refractory child. But as we entered, all three of Haggarty's
darlings were in full roar.

"Is it you, Dennis?" cried a sharp raw voice, from a dark corner in
the drawing-room to which we were introduced, and in which a dirty
tablecloth was laid for dinner, some bottles of porter and a cold
mutton-bone being laid out on a rickety grand piano hard by. "Ye're
always late, Mr. Haggarty. Have you brought the whisky from Nowlan's?
I'll go bail ye've not, now."

"My dear, I've brought an old friend of yours and mine to take pot-luck
with us to-day," said Dennis.

"When is he to come?" said the lady. At which speech I was rather
surprised, for I stood before her.

"Here he is, Jemima my love," answered Dennis, looking at me. "Mr.
Fitz-Boodle: don't you remember him in Warwickshire, darling?"

"Mr. Fitz-Boodle! I am very glad to see him," said the lady, rising and
curtseying with much cordiality.

Mrs. Haggarty was blind.

Mrs. Haggarty was not only blind, but it was evident that smallpox
had been the cause of her loss of vision. Her eyes were bound with a
bandage, her features were entirely swollen, scarred and distorted by
the horrible effects of the malady. She had been knitting in a corner
when we entered, and was wrapped in a very dirty bedgown. Her voice to
me was quite different to that in which she addressed her husband. She
spoke to Haggarty in broad Irish: she addressed me in that most odious
of all languages--Irish-English, endeavouring to the utmost to disguise
her brogue, and to speak with the true dawdling distingue English air.

"Are you long in I-a-land?" said the poor creature in this accent. "You
must faind it a sad ba'ba'ous place, Mr Fitz-Boodle, I'm shu-ah! It was
vary kaind of you to come upon us en famille, and accept a dinner sans
ceremonie. Mr. Haggarty, I hope you'll put the waine into aice, Mr.
Fitz-Boodle must be melted with this hot weathah."

For some time she conducted the conversation in this polite strain, and
I was obliged to say, in reply to a query of hers, that I did not find
her the least altered, though I should never have recognised her but for
this rencontre. She told Haggarty with a significant air to get the wine
from the cellah, and whispered to me that he was his own butlah; and the
poor fellow, taking the hint, scudded away into the town for a pound of
beefsteak and a couple of bottles of wine from the tavern.

"Will the childhren get their potatoes and butther here?" said a
barefoot girl, with long black hair flowing over her face, which she
thrust in at the door.

"Let them sup in the nursery, Elizabeth, and send--ah! Edwards to me."

"Is it cook you mane, ma'am?" said the girl.

"Send her at once!" shrieked the unfortunate woman; and the noise of
frying presently ceasing, a hot woman made her appearance, wiping her
brows with her apron, and asking, with an accent decidedly Hibernian,
what the misthress wanted.

"Lead me up to my dressing-room, Edwards: I really am not fit to be seen
in this dishabille by Mr. Fitz-Boodle."

"Fait' I can't!" says Edwards; "sure the masther's at the butcher's, and
can't look to the kitchen-fire!"

"Nonsense, I must go!" cried Mrs. Haggarty; and Edwards, putting on a
resigned air, and giving her arm and face a further rub with her apron,
held out her arm to Mrs. Dennis, and the pair went upstairs.

She left me to indulge my reflections for half-an-hour, at the end of
which period she came downstairs dressed in an old yellow satin, with
the poor shoulders exposed just as much as ever. She had mounted a
tawdry cap, which Haggarty himself must have selected for her. She had
all sorts of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings in gold, in garnets,
in mother-of-pearl, in ormolu. She brought in a furious savour of musk,
which drove the odours of onions and turf-smoke before it; and she
waved across her wretched angular mean scarred features an old cambric
handkerchief with a yellow lace-border.

"And so you would have known me anywhere, Mr. Fitz-Boodle?" said she,
with a grin that was meant to be most fascinating. "I was sure you
would; for though my dreadful illness deprived me of my sight, it is a
mercy that it did not change my features or complexion at all!"

This mortification had been spared the unhappy woman; but I don't
know whether, with all her vanity, her infernal pride, folly, and
selfishness, it was charitable to leave her in her error.

Yet why correct her? There is a quality in certain people which is
above all advice, exposure, or correction. Only let a man or woman have
DULNESS sufficient, and they need bow to no extant authority. A dullard
recognises no betters; a dullard can't see that he is in the wrong;
a dullard has no scruples of conscience, no doubts of pleasing, or
succeeding, or doing right; no qualms for other people's feelings, no
respect but for the fool himself. How can you make a fool perceive he is
a fool? Such a personage can no more see his own folly than he can see
his own ears. And the great quality of Dulness is to be unalterably
contented with itself. What myriads of souls are there of this admirable
sort,--selfish, stingy, ignorant, passionate, brutal; bad sons, mothers,
fathers, never known to do kind actions!

To pause, however, in this disquisition, which was carrying us far off
Kingstown, New Molloyville, Ireland--nay, into the wide world wherever
Dulness inhabits--let it be stated that Mrs. Haggarty, from my brief
acquaintance with her and her mother, was of the order of persons just
mentioned. There was an air of conscious merit about her, very hard to
swallow along with the infamous dinner poor Dennis managed, after
much delay, to get on the table. She did not fail to invite me to
Molloyville, where she said her cousin would be charmed to see me; and
she told me almost as many anecdotes about that place as her mother used
to impart in former days. I observed, moreover, that Dennis cut her
the favourite pieces of the beefsteak, that she ate thereof with great
gusto, and that she drank with similar eagerness of the various strong
liquors at table. "We Irish ladies are all fond of a leetle glass of
punch," she said, with a playful air, and Dennis mixed her a powerful
tumbler of such violent grog as I myself could swallow only with some
difficulty. She talked of her suffering a great deal, of her sacrifices,
of the luxuries to which she had been accustomed before marriage,--in
a word, of a hundred of those themes on which some ladies are in the
custom of enlarging when they wish to plague some husbands.

But honest Dennis, far from being angry at this perpetual, wearisome,
impudent recurrence to her own superiority, rather encouraged the
conversation than otherwise. It pleased him to hear his wife discourse
about her merits and family splendours. He was so thoroughly beaten
down and henpecked, that he, as it were, gloried in his servitude, and
fancied that his wife's magnificence reflected credit on himself. He
looked towards me, who was half sick of the woman and her egotism, as
if expecting me to exhibit the deepest sympathy, and flung me glances
across the table as much as to say, "What a gifted creature my Jemima
is, and what a fine fellow I am to be in possession of her!" When the
children came down she scolded them, of course, and dismissed them
abruptly (for which circumstance, perhaps, the writer of these pages
was not in his heart very sorry), and, after having sat a preposterously
long time, left us, asking whether we would have coffee there or in her
boudoir.

"Oh! here, of course," said Dennis, with rather a troubled air, and
in about ten minutes the lovely creature was led back to us again by
"Edwards," and the coffee made its appearance. After coffee her husband
begged her to let Mr. Fitz-Boodle hear her voice: "He longs for some of
his old favourites."

"No! DO you?" said she; and was led in triumph to the jingling old
piano, and with a screechy wiry voice, sang those very abominable old
ditties which I had heard her sing at Leamington ten years back.

Haggarty, as she sang, flung himself back in the chair delighted.
Husbands always are, and with the same song, one that they have heard
when they were nineteen years old probably; most Englishmen's tunes have
that date, and it is rather affecting, I think, to hear an old gentleman
of sixty or seventy quavering the old ditty that was fresh when HE was
fresh and in his prime. If he has a musical wife, depend on it he thinks
her old songs of 1788 are better than any he has heard since: in fact
he has heard NONE since. When the old couple are in high good-humour the
old gentleman will take the old lady round the waist, and say, "My dear,
do sing me one of your own songs," and she sits down and sings with her
old voice, and, as she sings, the roses of her youth bloom again for a
moment. Ranelagh resuscitates, and she is dancing a minuet in powder and
a train.

This is another digression. It was occasioned by looking at poor
Dennis's face while his wife was screeching (and, believe me, the former
was the more pleasant occupation). Bottom tickled by the fairies could
not have been in greater ecstasies. He thought the music was divine;
and had further reason for exulting in it, which was, that his wife was
always in a good humour after singing, and never would sing but in that
happy frame of mind. Dennis had hinted so much in our little colloquy
during the ten minutes of his lady's absence in the "boudoir;" so, at
the conclusion of each piece, we shouted "Bravo!" and clapped our hands
like mad.

Such was my insight into the life of Surgeon Dionysius Haggarty and his
wife; and I must have come upon him at a favourable moment too, for poor
Dennis has spoken, subsequently, of our delightful evening at Kingstown,
and evidently thinks to this day that his friend was fascinated by
the entertainment there. His inward economy was as follows: he had his
half-pay, a thousand pounds, about a hundred a year that his father
left, and his wife had sixty pounds a year from the mother; which the
mother, of course, never paid. He had no practice, for he was absorbed
in attention to his Jemima and the children, whom he used to wash, to
dress, to carry out, to walk, or to ride, as we have seen, and who
could not have a servant, as their dear blind mother could never be left
alone. Mrs. Haggarty, a great invalid, used to lie in bed till one, and
have breakfast and hot luncheon there. A fifth part of his income was
spent in having her wheeled about in a chair, by which it was his duty
to walk daily for an allotted number of hours. Dinner would ensue, and
the amateur clergy, who abound in Ireland, and of whom Mrs. Haggarty
was a great admirer, lauded her everywhere as a model of resignation and
virtue, and praised beyond measure the admirable piety with which she
bore her sufferings.

Well, every man to his taste. It did not certainly appear to me that SHE
was the martyr of the family.

"The circumstances of my marriage with Jemima," Dennis said to me, in
some after conversations we had on this interesting subject, "were the
most romantic and touching you can conceive. You saw what an impression
the dear girl had made upon me when we were at Weedon; for from the
first day I set eyes on her, and heard her sing her delightful song of
'Dark-eyed Maiden of Araby,' I felt, and said to Turniquet of ours, that
very night, that SHE was the dark-eyed maid of Araby for ME--not that
she was, you know, for she was born in Shropshire. But I felt that I had
seen the woman who was to make me happy or miserable for life. You know
how I proposed for her at Kenilworth, and how I was rejected, and how I
almost shot myself in consequence--no, you don't know that, for I said
nothing about it to anyone, but I can tell you it was a very near thing;
and a very lucky thing for me I didn't do it: for,--would you believe
it?--the dear girl was in love with me all the time."

"Was she really?" said I, who recollected that Miss Gam's love of those
days showed itself in a very singular manner; but the fact is, when
women are most in love they most disguise it.

"Over head and ears in love with poor Dennis," resumed that worthy
fellow, "who'd ever have thought it? But I have it from the best
authority, from her own mother, with whom I'm not over and above good
friends now; but of this fact she assured me, and I'll tell you when and
how.

"We were quartered at Cork three years after we were at Weedon, and it
was our last year at home; and a great mercy that my dear girl spoke
in time, or where should we have been now? Well, one day, marching
home from parade, I saw a lady seated at an open window, by another who
seemed an invalid, and the lady at the window, who was dressed in the
profoundest mourning, cried out, with a scream, 'Gracious, heavens! it's
Mr. Haggarty of the 120th.'

"'Sure I know that voice,' says I to Whiskerton.

"'It's a great mercy you don't know it a deal too well,' says he: 'it's
Lady Gammon. She's on some husband-hunting scheme, depend on it, for
that daughter of hers. She was at Bath last year on the same errand, and
at Cheltenham the year before, where, Heaven bless you! she's as well
known as the "Hen and Chickens."'

"'I'll thank you not to speak disrespectfully of Miss Jemima Gam,' said
I to Whiskerton; 'she's of one of the first families in Ireland, and
whoever says a word against a woman I once proposed for, insults me,--do
you understand?'

"'Well, marry her, if you like,' says Whiskerton, quite peevish: 'marry
her, and be hanged!'

"Marry her! the very idea of it set my brain a-whirling, and made me a
thousand times more mad than I am by nature.

"You may be sure I walked up the hill to the parade-ground that
afternoon, and with a beating heart too. I came to the widow's house. It
was called 'New Molloyville,' as this is. Wherever she takes a house for
six months she calls it 'New Molloyville;' and has had one in Mallow,
in Bandon, in Sligo, in Castlebar, in Fermoy, in Drogheda, and the deuce
knows where besides: but the blinds were down, and though I thought I
saw somebody behind 'em, no notice was taken of poor Denny Haggarty,
and I paced up and down all mess-time in hopes of catching a glimpse of
Jemima, but in vain. The next day I was on the ground again; I was just
as much in love as ever, that's the fact. I'd never been in that way
before, look you; and when once caught, I knew it was for life.

"There's no use in telling you how long I beat about the bush, but when
I DID get admittance to the house (it was through the means of young
Castlereagh Molloy, whom you may remember at Leamington, and who was
at Cork for the regatta, and used to dine at our mess, and had taken a
mighty fancy to me)--when I DID get into the house, I say, I rushed in
medias res at once; I couldn't keep myself quiet, my heart was too full.

"Oh, Fitz! I shall never forget the day,--the moment I was inthrojuiced
into the dthrawing-room" (as he began to be agitated, Dennis's brogue
broke out with greater richness than ever; but though a stranger may
catch, and repeat from memory, a few words, it is next to impossible for
him to KEEP UP A CONVERSATION in Irish, so that we had best give up all
attempts to imitate Dennis). "When I saw old mother Gam," said he, "my
feelings overcame me all at once. I rowled down on the ground, sir, as
if I'd been hit by a musket-ball. 'Dearest madam,' says I, 'I'll die if
you don't give me Jemima.'

"'Heavens, Mr. Haggarty!' says she, 'how you seize me with surprise!
Castlereagh, my dear nephew, had you not better leave us?' and away he
went, lighting a cigar, and leaving me still on the floor.

"'Rise, Mr. Haggarty,' continued the widow. 'I will not attempt to deny
that this constancy towards my daughter is extremely affecting, however
sudden your present appeal may be. I will not attempt to deny that,
perhaps, Jemima may have a similar feeling; but, as I said, I never
could give my daughter to a Catholic.'

"'I'm as good a Protestant as yourself, ma'am,' says I; 'my mother was
an heiress, and we were all brought up her way.'

"'That makes the matter very different,' says she, turning up the whites
of her eyes. 'How could I ever have reconciled it to my conscience to
see my blessed child married to a Papist? How could I ever have taken
him to Molloyville? Well, this obstacle being removed, _I_ must put
myself no longer in the way between two young people. _I_ must sacrifice
myself; as I always have when my darling girl was in question. YOU shall
see her, the poor dear lovely gentle sufferer, and learn your fate from
her own lips.'

"'The sufferer, ma'am,' says I; 'has Miss Gam been ill?'

"'What! haven't you heard?' cried the widow. 'Haven't you heard of the
dreadful illness which so nearly carried her from me? For nine weeks,
Mr. Haggarty, I watched her day and night, without taking a wink of
sleep,--for nine weeks she lay trembling between death and life; and I
paid the doctor eighty-three guineas. She is restored now; but she is
the wreck of the beautiful creature she was. Suffering, and, perhaps,
ANOTHER DISAPPOINTMENT--but we won't mention that NOW--have so pulled
her down. But I will leave you, and prepare my sweet girl for this
strange, this entirely unexpected visit.'

"I won't tell you what took place between me and Jemima, to whom I was
introduced as she sat in the darkened room, poor sufferer! nor describe
to you with what a thrill of joy I seized (after groping about for it)
her poor emaciated hand. She did not withdraw it; I came out of that
room an engaged man, sir; and NOW I was enabled to show her that I had
always loved her sincerely, for there was my will, made three years
back, in her favour: that night she refused me, as I told ye. I would
have shot myself, but they'd have brought me in non compos; and my
brother Mick would have contested the will, and so I determined to live,
in order that she might benefit by my dying. I had but a thousand pounds
then: since that my father has left me two more. I willed every shilling
to her, as you may fancy, and settled it upon her when we married, as we
did soon after. It was not for some time that I was allowed to see
the poor girl's face, or, indeed, was aware of the horrid loss she had
sustained. Fancy my agony, my dear fellow, when I saw that beautiful
wreck!"

There was something not a little affecting to think, in the conduct of
this brave fellow, that he never once, as he told his story, seemed to
allude to the possibility of his declining to marry a woman who was not
the same as the woman he loved; but that he was quite as faithful to
her now, as he had been when captivated by the poor tawdry charms of the
silly Miss of Leamington. It was hard that such a noble heart as this
should be flung away upon yonder foul mass of greedy vanity. Was it
hard, or not, that he should remain deceived in his obstinate humility,
and continue to admire the selfish silly being whom he had chosen to
worship?

"I should have been appointed surgeon of the regiment," continued
Dennis, "soon after, when it was ordered abroad to Jamaica, where it now
is. But my wife would not hear of going, and said she would break her
heart if she left her mother. So I retired on half-pay, and took this
cottage; and in case any practice should fall in my way--why, there is
my name on the brass plate, and I'm ready for anything that comes. But
the only case that ever DID come was one day when I was driving my wife
in the chaise; and another, one night, of a beggar with a broken head.
My wife makes me a present of a baby every year, and we've no debts; and
between you and me and the post, as long as my mother-in-law is out of
the house, I'm as happy as I need be."

"What! you and the old lady don't get on well?" said I.

"I can't say we do; it's not in nature, you know," said Dennis, with a
faint grin. "She comes into the house, and turns it topsy-turvy. When
she's here I'm obliged to sleep in the scullery. She's never paid her
daughter's income since the first year, though she brags about her
sacrifices as if she had ruined herself for Jemima; and besides, when
she's here, there's a whole clan of the Molloys, horse, foot, and
dragoons, that are quartered upon us, and eat me out of house and home."

"And is Molloyville such a fine place as the widow described it?" asked
I, laughing, and not a little curious.

"Oh, a mighty fine place entirely!" said Dennis. "There's the oak park
of two hundred acres, the finest land ye ever saw, only they've cut all
the wood down. The garden in the old Molloys' time, they say, was the
finest ever seen in the West of Ireland; but they've taken all the glass
to mend the house windows: and small blame to them either. There's a
clear rent-roll of thirty-five hundred a year, only it's in the hand of
receivers; besides other debts, for which there is no land security."

"Your cousin-in-law, Castlereagh Molloy, won't come into a large
fortune?"

"Oh, he'll do very well," said Dennis. "As long as he can get credit,
he's not the fellow to stint himself. Faith, I was fool enough to put my
name to a bit of paper for him, and as they could not catch him in Mayo,
they laid hold of me at Kingstown here. And there was a pretty to do.
Didn't Mrs. Gam say I was ruining her family, that's all? I paid it by
instalments (for all my money is settled on Jemima); and Castlereagh,
who's an honourable fellow, offered me any satisfaction in life. Anyhow,
he couldn't do more than THAT."

"Of course not: and now you're friends?"

"Yes, and he and his aunt have had a tiff, too; and he abuses her
properly, I warrant ye. He says that she carried about Jemima from place
to place, and flung her at the head of every unmarried man in England
a'most--my poor Jemima, and she all the while dying in love with me!
As soon as she got over the small-pox--she took it at Fermoy--God bless
her, I wish I'd been by to be her nurse-tender--as soon as she was
rid of it, the old lady said to Castlereagh, 'Castlereagh, go to the
bar'cks, and find out in the Army List where the 120th is.' Off she came
to Cork hot foot. It appears that while she was ill, Jemima's love for
me showed itself in such a violent way that her mother was overcome, and
promised that, should the dear child recover, she would try and bring us
together. Castlereagh says she would have gone after us to Jamaica."

"I have no doubt she would," said I.

"Could you have a stronger proof of love than that?" cried Dennis. "My
dear girl's illness and frightful blindness have, of course, injured her
health and her temper. She cannot in her position look to the children,
you know, and so they come under my charge for the most part; and her
temper is unequal, certainly. But you see what a sensitive, refined,
elegant creature she is, and may fancy that she's often put out by a
rough fellow like me."

Here Dennis left me, saying it was time to go and walk out the children;
and I think his story has matter of some wholesome reflection in it for
bachelors who are about to change their condition, or may console some
who are mourning their celibacy. Marry, gentlemen, if you like; leave
your comfortable dinner at the club for cold-mutton and curl-papers at
your home; give up your books or pleasures, and take to yourselves wives
and children; but think well on what you do first, as I have no doubt
you will after this advice and example. Advice is always useful in
matters of love; men always take it; they always follow other people's
opinions, not their own: they always profit by example. When they see a
pretty woman, and feel the delicious madness of love coming over them,
they always stop to calculate her temper, her money, their own money,
or suitableness for the married life.... Ha, ha, ha! Let us fool in this
way no more. I have been in love forty-three times with all ranks and
conditions of women, and would have married every time if they would
have let me. How many wives had King Solomon, the wisest of men? And is
not that story a warning to us that Love is master of the wisest? It is
only fools who defy him.

I must come, however, to the last, and perhaps the saddest, part of poor
Denny Haggarty's history. I met him once more, and in such a condition
as made me determine to write this history.

In the month of June last I happened to be at Richmond, a delightful
little place of retreat; and there, sunning himself upon the terrace,
was my old friend of the 120th: he looked older, thinner, poorer,
and more wretched than I had ever seen him. "What! you have given up
Kingstown?" said I, shaking him by the hand.

"Yes," says he.

"And is my lady and your family here at Richmond?"

"No," says he, with a sad shake of the head; and the poor fellow's
hollow eyes filled with tears.

"Good heavens, Denny! what's the matter?" said I. He was squeezing my
hand like a vice as I spoke.

"They've LEFT me!" he burst out with a dreadful shout of passionate
grief--a horrible scream which seemed to be wrenched out of his heart.
"Left me!" said he, sinking down on a seat, and clenching his great
fists, and shaking his lean arms wildly. "I'm a wise man now, Mr.
Fitz-Boodle. Jemima has gone away from me, and yet you know how I loved
her, and how happy we were! I've got nobody now; but I'll die soon,
that's one comfort: and to think it's she that'll kill me after all!"

The story, which he told with a wild and furious lamentation such as is
not known among men of our cooler country, and such as I don't like now
to recall, was a very simple one. The mother-in-law had taken possession
of the house, and had driven him from it. His property at his marriage
was settled on his wife. She had never loved him, and told him this
secret at last, and drove him out of doors with her selfish scorn and
ill-temper. The boy had died; the girls were better, he said, brought up
among the Molloys than they could be with him; and so he was quite alone
in the world, and was living, or rather dying, on forty pounds a year.

His troubles are very likely over by this time. The two fools who caused
his misery will never read this history of him; THEY never read godless
stories in magazines: and I wish, honest reader, that you and I went to
church as much as they do. These people are not wicked BECAUSE of
their religious observances, but IN SPITE of them. They are too dull to
understand humility, too blind to see a tender and simple heart under
a rough ungainly bosom. They are sure that all their conduct towards my
poor friend here has been perfectly righteous, and that they have given
proofs of the most Christian virtue. Haggarty's wife is considered by
her friends as a martyr to a savage husband, and her mother is the angel
that has come to rescue her. All they did was to cheat him and desert
him. And safe in that wonderful self-complacency with which the fools
of this earth are endowed, they have not a single pang of conscience for
their villany towards him, consider their heartlessness as a proof and
consequence of their spotless piety and virtue.



FOOTNOTES

[Footnote 1: The words of this song are copyright, nor will the
copyright be sold for less than twopence-halfpenny.]

[Footnote 2: A French proverbe furnished the author with the notion of
the rivalry between the Barber and the Tailor.]

[Footnote 3: As it is very probable that many fair readers may not
approve of the extremely forcible language in which the combat is
depicted, I beg them to skip it and pass on to the next chapter, and to
remember that it has been modelled on the style of the very best writers
of the sporting papers.]

[Footnote 4: Every person who has lived abroad can, of course, point out
a score of honourable exceptions to the case above hinted at, and knows
many such unions in which it is the Frenchman who honours the English
lady by marrying her. But it must be remembered that marrying in France
means commonly fortune-hunting: and as for the respect in which marriage
is held in France, let all the French novels in M. Rolandi's library be
perused by those who wish to come to a decision upon the question.]





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