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´╗┐Title: Night and Morning, Volume 3
Author: Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron, 1803-1873
Language: English
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                           THE WORKS

                              OF

                     EDWARD BULWER LYTTON

                         (LORD LYTTON)


                       NIGHT AND MORNING

                           Book III



CHAPTER I.

               "The knight of arts and industry,
               And his achievements fair."
     THOMSON'S _Castle of Indolence: Explanatory Verse to Canto II._

In a popular and respectable, but not very fashionable quartier in Paris,
and in the tolerably broad and effective locale of the Rue ----, there
might be seen, at the time I now treat of, a curious-looking building,
that jutted out semicircularly from the neighbouring shops, with plaster
pilasters and compo ornaments.  The _virtuosi_ of the _quartier_ had
discovered that the building was constructed in imitation of an ancient
temple in Rome; this erection, then fresh and new, reached only to the
_entresol_.  The pilasters were painted light green and gilded in the
cornices, while, surmounting the architrave, were three little statues--
one held a torch, another a bow, and a third a bag; they were therefore
rumoured, I know not with what justice, to be the artistical
representatives of Hymen, Cupid and Fortune.

On the door was neatly engraved, on a brass plate, the following
inscription:

                  "MONSIEUR LOVE, ANGLAIS,
                       A L'ENTRESOL."

And if you had crossed the threshold and mounted the stairs, and gained
that mysterious story inhabited by Monsieur Love, you would have seen,
upon another door to the right, another epigraph, informing those
interested in the inquiry that the bureau, of M. Love was open daily from
nine in the morning to four in the afternoon.

The office of M. Love--for office it was, and of a nature not
unfrequently designated in the "_petites affiches_" of Paris--had been
established about six months; and whether it was the popularity of the
profession, or the shape of the shop, or the manners of M. Love himself,
I cannot pretend to say, but certain it is that the Temple of Hymen--as
M. Love classically termed it--had become exceedingly in vogue in the
Faubourg St.--.  It was rumoured that no less than nine marriages in the
immediate neighbourhood had been manufactured at this fortunate office,
and that they had all turned out happily except one, in which the bride
being sixty, and the bridegroom twenty-four, there had been rumours of
domestic dissension; but as the lady had been delivered,--I mean of her
husband, who had drowned himself in the Seine, about a month after the
ceremony, things had turned out in the long run better than might have
been expected, and the widow was so little discouraged; that she had been
seen to enter the office already--a circumstance that was greatly to the
credit of Mr. Love.

Perhaps the secret of Mr. Love's success, and of the marked superiority
of his establishment in rank and popularity over similar ones, consisted
in the spirit and liberality with which the business was conducted.  He
seemed resolved to destroy all formality between parties who might desire
to draw closer to each other, and he hit upon the lucky device of a
_table d'hote_, very well managed, and held twice a-week, and often
followed by a _soiree dansante_; so that, if they pleased, the aspirants
to matrimonial happiness might become acquainted without _gene_.  As he
himself was a jolly, convivial fellow of much _savoir vivre_, it is
astonishing how well he made these entertainments answer.  Persons who
had not seemed to take to each other in the first distant interview grew
extremely enamoured when the corks of the champagne--an extra of course
in the _abonnement_--bounced against the wall.  Added to this, Mr. Love
took great pains to know the tradesmen in his neighbourhood; and, what
with his jokes, his appearance of easy circumstances, and the fluency
with which he spoke the language, he became a universal favourite.  Many
persons who were uncommonly starched in general, and who professed to
ridicule the bureau, saw nothing improper in dining at the _table
d'hote_.  To those who wished for secrecy he was said to be wonderfully
discreet; but there were others who did not affect to conceal their
discontent at the single state: for the rest, the entertainments were so
contrived as never to shock the delicacy, while they always forwarded the
suit.

It was about eight o'clock in the evening, and Mr. Love was still seated
at dinner, or rather at dessert, with a party of guests.  His apartments,
though small, were somewhat gaudily painted and furnished, and his
dining-room was decorated _a la Turque_.  The party consisted-first, of a
rich _epicier_, a widower, Monsieur Goupille by name, an eminent man in
the Faubourg; he was in his grand climacteric, but still _belhomme_; wore
a very well-made _peruque_ of light auburn, with tight pantaloons, which
contained a pair of very respectable calves; and his white neckcloth and
his large gill were washed and got up with especial care.  Next to
Monsieur Goupille sat a very demure and very spare young lady of about
two-and-thirty, who was said to have saved a fortune--Heaven knows how--
in the family of a rich English _milord_, where she had officiated as
governess; she called herself Mademoiselle Adele de Courval, and was very
particular about the de, and very melancholy about her ancestors.
Monsieur Goupille generally put his finger through his _peruque_, and
fell away a little on his left pantaloon when he spoke to Mademoiselle de
Courval, and Mademoiselle de Courval generally pecked at her bouquet when
she answered Monsieur Goupille.  On the other side of this young lady sat
a fine-looking fair man--M. Sovolofski, a Pole, buttoned up to the chin,
and rather threadbare, though uncommonly neat.  He was flanked by a
little fat lady, who had been very pretty, and who kept a boarding-house,
or _pension_, for the English, she herself being English, though long
established in Paris.  Rumour said she had been gay in her youth, and
dropped in Paris by a Russian nobleman, with a very pretty settlement,
she and the settlement having equally expanded by time and season: she was
called Madame Beavor.  On the other side of the table was a red-headed
Englishman, who spoke very little French; who had been told that French
ladies were passionately fond of light hair; and who, having L2000. of
his own, intended to quadruple that sum by a prudent marriage.  Nobody
knew what his family was, but his name was Higgins.  His neighbour was an
exceedingly tall, large-boned Frenchman, with a long nose and a red
riband, who was much seen at Frascati's, and had served under Napoleon.
Then came another lady, extremely pretty, very _piquante_, and very gay,
but past the _premiere jeunesse_, who ogled Mr. Love more than she did
any of his guests: she was called Rosalie Caumartin, and was at the head
of a large _bon-bon_ establishment; married, but her husband had gone
four years ago to the Isle of France, and she was a little doubtful
whether she might not be justly entitled to the privileges of a widow.
Next to Mr. Love, in the place of honour, sat no less a person than the
Vicomte de Vaudemont, a French gentleman, really well-born, but whose
various excesses, added to his poverty, had not served to sustain that
respect for his birth which he considered due to it.  He had already been
twice married; once to an Englishwoman, who had been decoyed by the
title; by this lady, who died in childbed, he had one son; a fact which
he sedulously concealed from the world of Paris by keeping the unhappy
boy--who was now some eighteen or nineteen years old--a perpetual exile
in England.  Monsieur de Vaudemont did not wish to pass for more than
thirty, and he considered that to produce a son of eighteen would be to
make the lad a monster of ingratitude by giving the lie every hour to his
own father!  In spite of this precaution the Vicomte found great
difficulty in getting a third wife--especially as he had no actual land
and visible income; was, not seamed, but ploughed up, with the small-pox;
small of stature, and was considered more than _un peu bete_.  He was,
however, a prodigious dandy, and wore a lace frill and embroidered
waistcoat.  Mr. Love's vis-a-vis was Mr. Birnie, an Englishman, a sort of
assistant in the establishment, with a hard, dry, parchment face, and a
remarkable talent for silence.  The host himself was a splendid animal;
his vast chest seemed to occupy more space at the table than any four of
his guests, yet he was not corpulent or unwieldy; he was dressed in
black, wore a velvet stock very high, and four gold studs glittered in
his shirt-front; he was bald to the crown, which made his forehead appear
singularly lofty, and what hair he had left was a little greyish and
curled; his face was shaved smoothly, except a close-clipped mustache;
and his eyes, though small, were bright and piercing.  Such was the
party.

"These are the best _bon-bons_ I ever ate," said Mr. Love, glancing at
Madame Caumartin.  "My fair friends, have compassion on the table of a
poor bachelor."

"But you ought not to be a bachelor, Monsieur Lofe," replied the fair
Rosalie, with an arch look; "you who make others marry, should set the
example."

"All in good time," answered Mr. Love, nodding; "one serves one's
customers to so much happiness that one has none left for one's self."

Here a loud explosion was heard.  Monsieur Goupille had pulled one of the
_bon-bon_ crackers with Mademoiselle Adele.

"I've got the motto!--no--Monsieur has it: I'm always unlucky," said the
gentle Adele.

The epicier solemnly unrolled the little slip of paper; the print was
very small, and he longed to take out his spectacles, but he thought that
would make him look old.  However, he spelled through the motto with some
difficulty:--

               "Comme elle fait soumettre un coeur,
               En refusant son doux hommage,
               On peut traiter la coquette en vainqueur;
               De la beauty modeste on cherit l'esclavage."

     [The coquette, who subjugates a heart, yet refuses its tender
     homage, one may treat as a conqueror: of modest beauty we cherish
     the slavery.]

"I present it to Mademoiselle," said he, laying the motto solemnly in
Adele's plate, upon a little mountain of chestnut-husks.

"It is very pretty," said she, looking down.

"It is very _a propos_," whispered the _epicier_, caressing the _peruque_
a little too roughly in his emotion.  Mr. Love gave him a kick under the
table, and put his finger to his own bald head, and then to his nose,
significantly.  The intelligent _epicier_ smoothed back the irritated
_peruque_.

"Are you fond of _bon-bons_, Mademoiselle Adele?  I have a very fine
stock at home," said Monsieur Goupille.  Mademoiselle Adele de Courval
sighed: "_Helas_! they remind me of happier days, when I was a _petite_
and my dear grandmamma took me in her lap and told me how she escaped the
guillotine: she was an _emigree_, and you know her father was a marquis."

The _epicier_ bowed and looked puzzled.  He did not quite see the
connection between the _bon-bons_ and the guillotine.  "You are _triste_,
Monsieur," observed Madame Beavor, in rather a piqued tone, to the Pole,
who had not said a word since the _roti_.

"Madame, an exile is always _triste_: I think of my _pauvre pays_."

"Bah!" cried Mr. Love.  "Think that there is no exile by the side of a
_belle dame_."

The Pole smiled mournfully.

"Pull it," said Madame Beavor, holding a cracker to the patriot, and
turning away her face.

"Yes, madame; I wish it were a cannon in defence of _La Pologne_."

With this magniloquent aspiration, the gallant Sovolofski pulled lustily,
and then rubbed his fingers, with a little grimace, observing that
crackers were sometimes dangerous, and that the present combustible was
_d'une force immense_.

                    "Helas!  J'ai cru jusqu'a ce jour
                    Pouvoir triompher de l'amour,"

     [Alas!  I believed until to-day that I could triumph over love.]

said Madame Beavor, reading the motto.  "What do you say to that?"

"Madame, there is no triumph for _La Pologne_!"  Madame Beavor uttered a
little peevish exclamation, and glanced in despair at her red-headed
countryman.  "Are you, too, a great politician, sir?"  said she in
English.

"No, mem!--I'm all for the ladies."

"What does he say?"  asked Madame Caumartin.

"_Monsieur Higgins est tout pour les dames_."

"To be sure he is," cried Mr. Love; "all the English are, especially with
that coloured hair; a lady who likes a passionate adorer should always
marry a man with gold-coloured hair--always.  What do _you_ say,
Mademoiselle Adele?"

"Oh, I like fair hair," said Mademoiselle, looking bashfully askew at
Monsieur Goupille's peruque.  "Grandmamma said her papa--the marquis--
used yellow powder: it must have been very pretty."

"Rather _a la sucre d' orge_," remarked the _epicier_, smiling on the
right side of his mouth, where his best teeth were.  Mademoiselle de
Courval looked displeased.  "I fear you are a republican, Monsieur
Goupille."

"I, Mademoiselle.  No; I'm for the Restoration;" and again the _epicier_
perplexed himself to discover the association of idea between
republicanism and _sucre d'orge_.

"Another glass of wine.  Come, another," said Mr. Love, stretching across
the Vicomte to help Madame Canmartin.

"Sir," said the tall Frenchman with the riband, eying the _epicier_ with
great disdain, "you say you are for the Restoration--I am for the Empire
--_Moi_!"

"No politics!" cried Mr. Love.  "Let us adjourn to the salon."

The Vicomte, who had seemed supremely _ennuye_ during this dialogue,
plucked Mr. Love by the sleeve as he rose, and whispered petulantly,
"I do not see any one here to suit me, Monsieur Love--none of my rank."

"_Mon Dieu!_"  answered Mr. Love: "_point d' argent point de Suisse_.  I
could introduce you to a duchess, but then the fee is high.  There's
Mademoiselle de Courval--she dates from the Carlovingians."

"She is very like a boiled sole," answered the Vicomte, with a wry face.
"Still-what dower _has_ she?"

"Forty thousand francs, and sickly," replied Mr. Love; "but she likes a
tall man, and Monsieur Goupille is--"

"Tall men are never well made," interrupted the Vicomte, angrily; and he
drew himself aside as Mr. Love, gallantly advancing, gave his arm to
Madame Beavor, because the Pole had, in rising, folded both his own arms
across his breast.

"Excuse me, ma'am," said Mr. Love to Madame Beavor, as they adjourned to
the salon, "I don't think you manage that brave man well."

"_Ma foi, comme il est ennuyeux avec sa Pologne_," replied Madame Beavor,
shrugging her shoulders.

"True; but he is a very fine-shaped man; and it is a comfort to think
that one will have no rival but his country.  Trust me, and encourage him
a little more; I think he would suit you to a T."

Here the attendant engaged for the evening announced Monsieur and Madame
Giraud; whereupon there entered a little--little couple, very fair, very
plump, and very like each other.  This was Mr. Love's show couple--his
decoy ducks--his last best example of match-making; they had been married
two months out of the bureau, and were the admiration of the
neighbourhood for their conjugal affection.  As they were now united,
they had ceased to frequent the table d'hote; but Mr. Love often invited
them after the dessert, _pour encourager les autres_.

"My dear friends," cried Mr. Love, shaking each by the hand, "I am
ravished to see you.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Monsieur and
Madame Giraud.  the happiest couple in Christendom;--if I had done
nothing else in my life but bring them together I should not have lived
in vain!"

The company eyed the objects of this eulogium with great attention.

"Monsieur, my prayer is to deserve my _bonheur_," said Monsieur Giraud.

"_Cher ange_!"  murmured Madame: and the happy pair seated themselves
next to each other.

Mr. Love, who was all for those innocent pastimes which do away with
conventional formality and reserve, now proposed a game at "Hunt the
Slipper," which was welcomed by the whole party, except the Pole and the
Vicomte; though Mademoiselle Adele looked prudish, and observed to the
_epicier_, "that Monsieur Lofe was so droll, but she should not have
liked her _pauvre grandmaman_ to see her."

The Vicomte had stationed himself opposite to Mademoiselle de Courval,
and kept his eyes fixed on her very tenderly.

"Mademoiselle, I see, does not approve of such _bourgeois_ diversions,"
said he.

"No, monsieur," said the gentle Adele.  "But I think we must sacrifice
our own tastes to those of the company."

"It is a very amiable sentiment," said the _epicier_.

"It is one attributed to grandmamma's papa, the Marquis de Courval.  It
has become quite a hackneyed remark since," said Adele.

"Come, ladies," said the joyous Rosalie;  "I volunteer my slipper."

"_Asseyez-vous donc_," said Madame Beavor to the Pole.  Have you no games
of this sort in Poland?"

"Madame, _La Pologne_ is no more," said the Pole.  "But with the swords
of her brave--"

"No swords here, if you please," said Mr. Love, putting his vast hands on
the Pole's shoulder, and sinking him forcibly down into the circle now
formed.

The game proceeded with great vigour and much laughter from Rosalie, Mr.
Love, and Madame Beavor, especially whenever the last thumped the Pole
with the heel of the slipper.  Monsieur Giraud was always sure that
Madame Giraud had the slipper about her, which persuasion on his part
gave rise to many little endearments, which are always so innocent among
married people.  The Vicomte and the _epicier_ were equally certain the
slipper was with Mademoiselle Adele, who defended herself with much more
energy than might have been supposed in one so gentle.  The _epicier_,
however, grew jealous of the attentions of his noble rival, and told him
that he _gene'_d mademoiselle; whereupon the Vicomte called him an
_impertinent_; and the tall Frenchman, with the riband, sprang up and
said:

"Can I be of any assistance, gentlemen?"

Therewith Mr. Love, the great peacemaker, interposed, and reconciling the
rivals, proposed to change the game to _Colin Maillard-Anglice_, "Blind
Man's Buff."  Rosalie clapped her hands, and offered herself to be
blindfolded.  The tables and chairs were cleared away; and Madame Beaver
pushed the Pole into Rosalie's arms, who, having felt him about the face
for some moments, guessed him to be the tall Frenchman.  During this time
Monsieur and Madame Giraud hid themselves behind the window-curtain.

"Amuse yourself, men ami," said Madame Beaver, to the liberated Pole.

"Ah, madame," sighed Monsieur Sovolofski, "how can I be gay!  All my
property confiscated by the Emperor of Russia!  Has _La Pologne_ no
Brutus?"

"I think you are in love," said the host, clapping him on the back.

"Are you quite sure," whispered the Pole to the matchmaker, that Madame
Beavor has _vingt mille livres de rentes_?"

"Not a _sous_ less."

The Pole mused, and, glancing at Madame Beavor, said, "And yet, madame,
your charming gaiety consoles me amidst all my suffering;" upon which
Madame Beavor called him "flatterer," and rapped his knuckles with her
fan; the latter proceeding the brave Pole did not seem to like, for he
immediately buried his hands in his trousers' pockets.

The game was now at its meridian.  Rosalie was uncommonly active, and
flew about here and there, much to the harassment of the Pole, who
repeatedly wiped his forehead, and observed that it was warm work, and
put him in mind of the last sad battle for _La Pologne_.  Monsieur
Goupille, who had lately taken lessons in dancing, and was vain of his
agility--mounted the chairs and tables, as Rosalie approached--with
great grace and gravity.  It so happened that, in these saltations, he
ascended a stool near the curtain behind which Monsieur and Madame Giraud
were ensconced.  Somewhat agitated by a slight flutter behind the folds,
which made him fancy, on the sudden panic, that Rosalie was creeping that
way, the _epicier_ made an abrupt pirouette, and the hook on which the
curtains were suspended caught his left coat-tail,

            "The fatal vesture left the unguarded side;"

just as he turned to extricate the garment from that dilemma, Rosalie
sprang upon him, and naturally lifting her hands to that height where she
fancied the human face divine, took another extremity of Monsieur
Goupille's graceful frame thus exposed, by surprise.

"I don't know who this is. _Quelle drole de visage_!"  muttered Rosalie.

"_Mais_, madame," faltered Monsieur Goupille, looking greatly
disconcerted.

The gentle Adele, who did not seem to relish this adventure, came to the
relief of her wooer, and pinched Rosalie very sharply in the arm.

"That's not fair.  But I will know who this is," cried Rosalie, angrily;
"you sha'n't escape!"

A sudden and universal burst of laughter roused her suspicions--she drew
back--and exclaiming, "_Mais quelle mauvaise plaisanterie; c'est trop
fort_!"  applied her fair hand to the place in dispute, with so hearty a
good-will, that Monsieur Goupille uttered a dolorous cry, and sprang from
the chair leaving the coat-tail (the cause of all his woe) suspended upon
the hook.

It was just at this moment, and in the midst of the excitement caused by
Monsieur Goupille's misfortune, that the door opened, and the attendant
reappeared, followed by a young man in a large cloak.

The new-comer paused at the threshold, and gazed around him in evident
surprise.

"Diable!" said Mr. Love, approaching, and gazing hard at the stranger.
"Is it possible?--You are come at last?  Welcome!"

"But," said the stranger, apparently still bewildered, "there is some
mistake; you are not--"

"Yes, I am Mr. Love!--Love all the world over.  How is our friend Gregg?
--told you to address yourself to Mr. Love,--eh?--Mum!--Ladies and
gentlemen, an acquisition to our party.  Fine fellow, eh?--Five feet
eleven without his shoes,--and young enough to hope to be thrice married
before he dies.  When did you arrive?"

"To-day."

And thus, Philip Morton and Mr. William Gawtrey met once more.



CHAPTER II.

"Happy the man who, void of care and strife,
In silken or in leathern purse retains
A splendid shilling !"--The Splendid Shilling.

"And wherefore should they take or care for thought,
The unreasoning vulgar willingly obey,
And leaving toil and poverty behind.
Run forth by different ways, the blissful boon to find."
WEST'S _Education_.

"Poor, boy! your story interests me.  The events are romantic, but the
moral is practical, old, everlasting--life, boy, life.  Poverty by itself
is no such great curse; that is, if it stops short of starving.  And
passion by itself is a noble thing, sir; but poverty and passion
together--poverty and feeling--poverty and pride--the poverty one is not
born to,--but falls into;--and the man who ousts you out of your
easy-chair, kicking you with every turn he takes, as he settles himself
more comfortably--why there's no romance in that--hard every-day life,
sir!  Well, well:--so after your brother's letter you resigned yourself
to that fellow Smith."

"No; I gave him my money, not my soul.  I turned from his door, with a
few shillings that he himself thrust into my hand, and walked on--I cared
not whither--out of the town, into the fields--till night came; and then,
just as I suddenly entered on the high-road, many miles away, the moon
rose; and I saw, by the hedge-side, something that seemed like a corpse;
it was an old beggar, in the last state of raggedness, disease, and
famine.  He had laid himself down to die.  I shared with him what I had,
and helped him to a little inn.  As he crossed the threshold, he turned
round and blessed me.  Do you know, the moment I heard that blessing a
stone seemed rolled away from my heart?  I said to myself, 'What then!
even I can be of use to some one; and I am better off than that old man,
for I have youth and health.' As these thoughts stirred in me, my limbs,
before heavy with fatigue, grew light; a strange kind of excitement
seized me.  I ran on gaily beneath the moonlight that smiled over the
crisp, broad road.  I felt as if no house, not even a palace, were large
enough for me that night.  And when, at last, wearied out, I crept into a
wood, and laid myself down to sleep, I still murmured to myself, 'I have
youth and health.'  But, in the morning, when I rose, I stretched out my
arms, and missed my brother!  .  .  .  In two or three days I found
employment with a farmer; but we quarrelled after a few weeks; for once
he wished to strike me; and somehow or other I could work, but not serve.
Winter had begun when we parted.--Oh, such a winter!--Then--then I knew
what it was to be houseless.  How I lived for some months--if to live it
can be called--it would pain you to hear, and humble me to tell.  At
last, I found myself again in London; and one evening, not many days
since, I resolved at last--for nothing else seemed left, and I had not
touched food for two days--to come to you."

"And why did that never occur to you before?"!

"Because," said Philip, with a deep blush,--"because I trembled at the
power over my actions and my future life that I was to give to one, whom
I was to bless as a benefactor, yet distrust as a guide."

"Well," said Love, or Gawtrey, with a singular mixture of irony and
compassion in his voice; "and it was hunger, then, that terrified you at
last even more than I?"

"Perhaps hunger--or perhaps rather the reasoning that comes from hunger.
I had not, I say, touched food for two days; and I was standing on that
bridge, from which on one side you see the palace of a head of the
Church, on the other the towers of the Abbey, within which the men I have
read of in history lie buried.  It was a cold, frosty evening, and the
river below looked bright with the lamps and stars.  I leaned, weak and
sickening, against the wall of the bridge; and in one of the arched
recesses beside me a cripple held out his hat for pence.  I envied him!--
he had a livelihood; he was inured to it, perhaps bred to it; he had no
shame.  By a sudden impulse, I, too, turned abruptly round--held out my
hand to the first passenger, and started at the shrillness of my own
voice, as it cried 'Charity.'"

Gawtrey threw another log on the fire, looked complacently round the
comfortable room, and rubbed his hands.  The young man continued,--

"'You should be ashamed of yourself--I've a great mind to give you to the
police,' was the answer, in a pert and sharp tone.  I looked up, and saw
the livery my father's menials had worn.  I had been begging my bread
from Robert Beaufort's lackey!  I said nothing; the man went on his
business on tiptoe, that the mud might not splash above the soles of his
shoes.  Then, thoughts so black that they seemed to blot out every star
from the sky--thoughts I had often wrestled against, but to which I now
gave myself up with a sort of mad joy--seized me: and I remembered you.
I had still preserved the address you gave me; I went straight to the
house.  Your friend, on naming you, received me kindly, and without
question placed food before me--pressed on me clothing and money--
procured me a passport--gave me your address--and now I am beneath your
roof.  Gawtrey, I know nothing yet of the world but the dark side of it.
I know not what to deem you--but as you alone have been kind to me, so it
is to your kindness rather than your aid, that I now cling--your kind
words and kind looks-yet--" he stopped short, and breathed hard.

"Yet you would know more of me.  Faith, my boy, I cannot tell you more at
this moment.  I believe, to speak fairly, I don't live exactly within the
pale of the law.  But I'm not a villain!  I never plundered my friend and
called it play!--I never murdered my friend and called it honour!--I
never seduced my friend's wife and called it gallantry!"  As Gawtrey said
this, he drew the words out, one by one, through his grinded teeth,
paused and resumed more gaily: "I struggle with Fortune; _voila tout_!
I am not what you seem to suppose--not exactly a swindler, certainly not
a robber!  But, as I before told you, I am a charlatan, so is every man
who strives to be richer or greater than he is.

"I, too, want kindness as much as you do.  My bread and my cup are at your
service.  I will try and keep you unsullied, even by the clean dirt that
now and then sticks to me.  On the other hand, youth, my young friend,
has no right to play the censor; and you must take me as you take the
world, without being over-scrupulous and dainty.  My present vocation
pays well; in fact, I am beginning to lay by.  My real name and past life
are thoroughly unknown, and as yet unsuspected, in this quartier; for
though I have seen much of Paris, my career hitherto has passed in other
parts of the city;--and for the rest, own that I am well disguised!  What
a benevolent air this bald forehead gives me--eh?  True," added Gawtrey,
somewhat more seriously," if I saw how you could support yourself in a
broader path of life than that in which I pick out my own way, I might
say to you, as a gay man of fashion might say to some sober stripling--
nay, as many a dissolute father says (or ought to say) to his son, 'It is
no reason you should be a sinner, because I am not a saint.'  In a word,
if you were well off in a respectable profession, you might have safer
acquaintances than myself.  But, as it is, upon my word as a plain man,
I don't see what you can do better."  Gawtrey made this speech with so
much frankness and ease, that it seemed greatly to relieve the listener,
and when he wound up with, "What say you?  In fine, my life is that of a
great schoolboy, getting into scrapes for the fun of it, and fighting his
way out as he best can!--Will you see how you like it?"  Philip, with a
confiding and grateful impulse, put his hand into Gawtrey's.  The host
shook it cordially, and, without saying another word, showed his guest
into a little cabinet where there was a sofa-bed, and they parted for the
night.  The new life upon which Philip Morton entered was so odd, so
grotesque, and so amusing, that at his age it was, perhaps, natural that
he should not be clear-sighted as to its danger.

William Gawtrey was one of those men who are born to exert a certain
influence and ascendency wherever they may be thrown; his vast strength,
his redundant health, had a power of themselves--a moral as well as
physical power.  He naturally possessed high animal spirits, beneath the
surface of which, however, at times, there was visible a certain
undercurrent of malignity and scorn.  He had evidently received a
superior education, and could command at will the manner of a man not
unfamiliar with a politer class of society.  From the first hour that
Philip had seen him on the top of the coach on the R---- road, this man
had attracted his curiosity and interest; the conversation he had heard
in the churchyard, the obligations he owed to Gawtrey in his escape from
the officers of justice, the time afterwards passed in his society till
they separated at the little inn, the rough and hearty kindliness Gawtrey
had shown him at that period, and the hospitality extended to him now,--
all contributed to excite his fancy, and in much, indeed very much,
entitled this singular person to his gratitude.  Morton, in a word, was
fascinated; this man was the only friend he had made.  I have not thought
it necessary to detail to the reader the conversations that had taken
place between them, during that passage of Morton's life when he was
before for some days Gawtrey's companion; yet those conversations had
sunk deep in his mind.  He was struck, and almost awed, by the profound
gloom which lurked under Gawtrey's broad humour--a gloom, not of
temperament, but of knowledge.  His views of life, of human justice and
human virtue, were (as, to be sure, is commonly the case with men who
have had reason to quarrel with the world) dreary and despairing; and
Morton's own experience had been so sad, that these opinions were more
influential than they could ever have been with the happy.  However in
this, their second reunion, there was a greater gaiety than in their
first; and under his host's roof Morton insensibly, but rapidly,
recovered something of the early and natural tone of his impetuous and
ardent spirits.  Gawtrey himself was generally a boon companion; their
society, if not select, was merry.  When their evenings were disengaged,
Gawtrey was fond of haunting cafes and theatres, and Morton was his
companion; Birnie (Mr. Gawtrey's partner) never accompanied them.
Refreshed by this change of life, the very person of this young man
regained its bloom and vigour, as a plant, removed from some choked
atmosphere and unwholesome soil, where it had struggled for light and
air, expands on transplanting; the graceful leaves burst from the long-
drooping boughs, and the elastic crest springs upward to the sun in the
glory of its young prime.  If there was still a certain fiery sternness
in his aspect, it had ceased, at least, to be haggard and savage, it even
suited the character of his dark and expressive features.  He might not
have lost the something of the tiger in his fierce temper, but in the
sleek hues and the sinewy symmetry of the frame he began to put forth
also something of the tiger's beauty.

Mr. Birnie did not sleep in the house, he went home nightly to a lodging
at some little distance.  We have said but little about this man, for, to
all appearance, there was little enough to say; he rarely opened his own
mouth except to Gawtrey, with whom Philip often observed him engaged in
whispered conferences, to which he was not admitted.  His eye, however,
was less idle than his lips; it was not a bright eye: on the contrary, it
was dull, and, to the unobservant, lifeless, of a pale blue, with a dim
film over it--the eye of a vulture; but it had in it a calm, heavy,
stealthy watchfulness, which inspired Morton with great distrust and
aversion.  Mr. Birnie not only spoke French like a native, but all his
habits, his gestures, his tricks of manner, were, French; not the French
of good society, but more idiomatic, as it were, and popular.  He was not
exactly a vulgar person, he was too silent for that, but he was evidently
of low extraction and coarse breeding; his accomplishments were of a
mechanical nature; he was an extraordinary arithmetician, he was a very
skilful chemist, and kept a laboratory at his lodgings--he mended his own
clothes and linen with incomparable neatness.  Philip suspected him of
blacking his own shoes, but that was prejudice.  Once he found Morton
sketching horses' heads--_pour se desennuyer_; and he made some short
criticisms on the drawings, which showed him well acquainted with the
art.  Philip, surprised, sought to draw him into conversation; but Birnie
eluded the attempt, and observed that he had once been an engraver.

Gawtrey himself did not seem to know much of the early life of this
person, or at least he did not seem to like much to talk of him.  The
footstep of Mr. Birnie was gliding, noiseless, and catlike; he had no
sociality in him--enjoyed nothing--drank hard--but was never drunk.
Somehow or other, he had evidently over Gawtrey an influence little less
than that which Gawtrey had over Morton, but it was of a different
nature: Morton had conceived an extraordinary affection for his friend,
while Gawtrey seemed secretly to dislike Birnie, and to be glad whenever
he quitted his presence.  It was, in truth, Gawtrey's custom when Birnie
retired for the night, to rub his hands, bring out the punchbowl, squeeze
the lemons, and while Philip, stretched on the sofa, listened to him,
between sleep and waking, to talk on for the hour together, often till
daybreak, with that bizarre mixture of knavery and feeling, drollery and
sentiment, which made the dangerous charm of his society.

One evening as they thus sat together, Morton, after listening for some
time to his companion's comments on men and things, said abruptly,--

"Gawtrey! there is so much in you that puzzles me, so much which I find
it difficult to reconcile with your present pursuits, that, if I ask no
indiscreet confidence, I should like greatly to hear some account of your
early life.  It would please me to compare it with my own; when I am
your age, I will then look back and see what I owed to your example."

"My early life! well--you shall hear it.  It will put you on your guard,
I hope, betimes against the two rocks of youth--love and friendship."
Then, while squeezing the lemon into his favourite beverage, which Morton
observed he made stronger than usual, Gawtrey thus commenced:


                  THE HISTORY OF A GOOD-FOR-NOTHING.



CHAPTER III.

               "All his success must on himself depend,
               He had no money, counsel, guide, or friend;
               With spirit high John learned the world to brave,
               And in both senses was a ready knave."--CRABBE.

"My grandfather sold walking-sticks and umbrellas in the little passage
by Exeter 'Change; he was a man of genius and speculation.  As soon as he
had scraped together a little money, he lent it to some poor devil with a
hard landlord, at twenty per cent., and made him take half the loan in
umbrellas or bamboos.  By these means he got his foot into the ladder,
and climbed upward and upward, till, at the age of forty, he had amassed
L5,000.  He then looked about for a wife.  An honest trader in the
Strand, who dealt largely in cotton prints, possessed an only daughter;
this young lady had a legacy, from a great-aunt, of L3,220., with a small
street in St. Giles's, where the tenants paid weekly (all thieves or
rogues-all, so their rents were sure).  Now my grandfather conceived a
great friendship for the father of this young lady; gave him a hint as to
a new pattern in spotted cottons; enticed him to take out a patent, and
lent him L700. for the speculation; applied for the money at the very
moment cottons were at their worst, and got the daughter instead of the
money,--by which exchange, you see, he won L2,520., to say nothing of the
young lady.  My grandfather then entered into partnership with the worthy
trader, carried on the patent with spirit, and begat two sons.  As he
grew older, ambition seized him; his sons should be gentlemen--one was
sent to College, the other put into a marching regiment.  My grandfather
meant to die worth a plum; but a fever he caught in visiting his tenants
in St. Giles's prevented him, and he only left L20,000. equally divided
between the sons.  My father, the College man" (here Gawtrey paused a
moment, took a large draught of the punch, and resumed with a visible
effort)--"my father, the College man, was a person of rigid principles--
bore an excellent character--had a great regard for the world.  He
married early and respectably.  I am the sole fruit of that union; he
lived soberly, his temper was harsh and morose, his home gloomy; he was a
very severe father, and my mother died before I was ten years old.  When
I was fourteen, a little old Frenchman came to lodge with us; he had been
persecuted under the old _regime_ for being a philosopher; he filled my
head with odd crotchets which, more or less, have stuck there ever since.
At eighteen I was sent to St. John's College, Cambridge.  My father was
rich enough to have let me go up in the higher rank of a pensioner, but
he had lately grown avaricious; he thought that I was extravagant; he
made me a sizar, perhaps to spite me.  Then, for the first time, those
inequalities in life which the Frenchman had dinned into my ears met me
practically.  A sizar! another name for a dog!  I had such strength,
health, and spirits, that I had more life in my little finger than half
the fellow-commoners--genteel, spindle-shanked striplings, who might have
passed for a collection of my grandfather's walking-canes--bad in their
whole bodies.  And I often think," continued Gawtrey, "that health and
spirits have a great deal to answer for!  When we are young we so far
resemble savages who are Nature's young people--that we attach prodigious
value to physical advantages.  My feats of strength and activity--the
clods I thrashed--and the railings I leaped--and the boat-races I won--
are they not written in the chronicle of St. John's?  These achievements
inspired me with an extravagant sense of my own superiority; I could not
but despise the rich fellows whom I could have blown down with a sneeze.
Nevertheless, there was an impassable barrier between me and them--a
sizar was not a proper associate for the favourites of fortune!  But
there was one young man, a year younger myself, of high birth, and the
heir to considerable wealth, who did not regard me with the same
supercilious insolence as the rest; his very rank, perhaps, made him
indifferent to the little conventional formalities which influence
persons who cannot play at football with this round world; he was the
wildest youngster in the university--lamp-breaker--tandem-driver--mob-
fighter--a very devil in short--clever, but not in the reading line--
small and slight, but brave as a lion.  Congenial habits made us
intimate, and I loved him like a brother--better than a brother--as a dog
loves his master.  In all our rows I covered him with my body.  He had
but to say to me, 'Leap into the water,' and I would not have stopped to
pull off my coat.  In short, I loved him as a proud man loves one who
stands betwixt him and contempt,--as an affectionate man loves one who
stands between him and solitude.  To cut short a long story: my friend,
one dark night, committed an outrage against discipline, of the most
unpardonable character.  There was a sanctimonious, grave old fellow of
the College, crawling home from a tea-party; my friend and another of his
set seized, blindfolded, and handcuffed this poor wretch, carried him,
_vi et armis_, back to the house of an old maid whom he had been courting
for the last ten years, fastened his pigtail (he wore a long one) to the
knocker, and so left him.  You may imagine the infernal hubbub which his
attempts to extricate himself caused in the whole street; the old maid's
old maidservant, after emptying on his head all the vessels of wrath she
could lay her hand to, screamed, 'Rape and murder!'  The proctor and his
bull-dogs came up, released the prisoner, and gave chase to the
delinquents, who had incautiously remained near to enjoy the sport.  The
night was dark and they reached the College in safety, but they had been
tracked to the gates.  For this offence I was expelled."

"Why, you were not concerned in it?"  said Philip.

"No; but I was suspected and accused.  I could have got off by betraying
the true culprits, but my friend's father was in public life--a stern,
haughty old statesman; my friend was mortally afraid of him--the only
person he was afraid of.  If I had too much insisted on my innocence, I
might have set inquiry on the right track.  In fine, I was happy to prove
my friendship for him.  He shook me most tenderly by the hand on parting,
and promised never to forget my generous devotion.  I went home in
disgrace: I need not tell you what my father said to me: I do not think
he ever loved me from that hour.  Shortly after this my uncle, George
Gawtrey, the captain, returned from abroad; he took a great fancy to me,
and I left my father's house (which had grown insufferable) to live with
him.  He had been a very handsome man--a gay spendthrift; he had got
through his fortune, and now lived on his wits--he was a professed
gambler.  His easy temper, his lively humour, fascinated me; he knew the
world well; and, like all gamblers, was generous when the dice were
lucky,--which, to tell you the truth, they generally were, with a man who
had no scruples.  Though his practices were a little suspected, they had
never been discovered.  We lived in an elegant apartment, mixed
familiarly with men of various ranks, and enjoyed life extremely.  I
brushed off my college rust, and conceived a taste for expense: I knew
not why it was, but in my new existence every one was kind to me; and I
had spirits that made me welcome everywhere.  I was a scamp--but a
frolicsome scamp--and that is always a popular character.  As yet I was
not dishonest, but saw dishonesty round me, and it seemed a very
pleasant, jolly mode of making money; and now I again fell into contact
with the young heir.  My college friend was as wild in London as he had
been at Cambridge; but the boy-ruffian, though not then twenty years of
age, had grown into the man-villain."

Here Gawtrey paused, and frowned darkly.

"He had great natural parts, this young man-much wit, readiness, and
cunning, and he became very intimate with my uncle.  He learned of him
how to play the dice, and a pack the cards--he paid him L1,000. for the
knowledge!"

"How! a cheat?  You said he was rich."

"His father was very rich, and he had a liberal allowance, but he was
very extravagant; and rich men love gain as well as poor men do!  He had
no excuse but the grand excuse of all vice--SELFISHNESS.  Young as he was
he became the fashion, and he fattened upon the plunder of his equals,
who desired the honour of his acquaintance.  Now, I had seen my uncle
cheat, but I had never imitated his example; when the man of fashion
cheated, and made a jest of his earnings and my scruples--when I saw him
courted, flattered, honoured, and his acts unsuspected, because his
connections embraced half the peerage, the temptation grew strong, but I
still resisted it.  However, my father always said I was born to be a
good-for-nothing, and I could not escape my destiny.  And now I suddenly
fell in love--you don't know what that is yet--so much the better for
you.  The girl was beautiful, and I thought she loved me--perhaps she
did--but I was too poor, so her friends said, for marriage.  We courted,
as the saying is, in the meanwhile.  It was my love for her, my wish to
deserve her, that made me iron against my friend's example.  I was fool
enough to speak to him of Mary--to present him to her--this ended in her
seduction."  (Again Gawtrey paused, and breathed hard.)  "I discovered
the treachery--I called out the seducer-he sneered, and refused to fight
the low-born adventurer.  I struck him to the earth--and then we fought.
I was satisfied by a ball through my side! but he," added Gawtrey,
rubbing his hands, and with a vindictive chuckle,--"He was a cripple for
life!  When I recovered I found that my foe, whose sick-chamber was
crowded with friends and comforters, had taken advantage of my illness to
ruin my reputation.  He, the swindler, accused me of his own crime: the
equivocal character of my uncle confirmed the charge.  Him, his own high-
born pupil was enabled to unmask, and his disgrace was visited on me.  I
left my bed to find my uncle (all disguise over) an avowed partner in a
hell, and myself blasted alike in name, love, past, and future.  And
then, Philip--then I commenced that career which I have trodden since--
the prince of good-fellows and good-for-nothings, with ten thousand
aliases, and as many strings to my bow.  Society cast me off when I was
innocent.  Egad, I have had my revenge on society since!--Ho! ho! ho!"

The laugh of this man had in it a moral infection.  There was a sort of
glorying in its deep tone; it was not the hollow hysteric of shame and
despair--it spoke a sanguine joyousness!  William Gawtrey was a man whose
animal constitution had led him to take animal pleasure in all things: he
had enjoyed the poisons he had lived on.

"But your father--surely your father--"

"My father," interrupted Gawtrey, "refused me the money (but a small sum)
that, once struck with the strong impulse of a sincere penitence, I
begged of him, to enable me to get an honest living in a humble trade.
His refusal soured the penitence--it gave me an excuse for my career
and conscience grapples to an excuse as a drowning wretch to a straw.
And yet this hard father--this cautious, moral, money-loving man, three
months afterwards, suffered a rogue--almost a stranger--to decoy him into
a speculation that promised to bring him fifty per cent.  He invested in
the traffic of usury what had sufficed to save a hundred such as I am
from perdition, and he lost it all.  It was nearly his whole fortune; but
he lives and has his luxuries still: be cannot speculate, but he can
save: he cared not if I starved, for he finds an hourly happiness in
starving himself."

"And your friend," said Philip, after a pause in which his young
sympathies went dangerously with the excuses for his benefactor; "what
has become of him, and the poor girl?"

"My friend became a great man; he succeeded to his father's peerage--a
very ancient one--and to a splendid income.  He is living still.  Well,
you shall hear about the poor girl!  We are told of victims of seduction
dying in a workhouse or on a dunghill, penitent, broken-hearted, and
uncommonly ragged and sentimental.  It may be a frequent case, but it is
not the worst.  It is worse, I think, when the fair, penitent, innocent,
credulous dupe becomes in her turn the deceiver--when she catches vice
from the breath upon which she has hung--when she ripens, and mellows,
and rots away into painted, blazing, staring, wholesale harlotry--when,
in her turn, she ruins warm youth with false smiles and long bills--and
when worse--worse than all--when she has children, daughters perhaps,
brought up to the same trade, cooped, plumper, for some hoary lecher,
without a heart in their bosoms, unless a balance for weighing money may
be called a heart.  Mary became this; and I wish to Heaven she had rather
died in an hospital!  Her lover polluted her soul as well as her beauty:
he found her another lover when he was tired of her.  When she was at the
age of thirty-six I met her in Paris, with a daughter of sixteen.  I was
then flush with money, frequenting salons, and playing the part of a fine
gentleman.  She did not know me at first; and she sought my acquaintance.
For you must know, my young friend," said Gawtrey, abruptly breaking off
the thread of his narrative, "that I am not altogether the low dog you
might suppose in seeing me here.  At Paris--ah! you don't know Paris--
there is a glorious ferment in society in which the dregs are often
uppermost!  I came here at the Peace, and here have I resided the greater
part of each year ever since.  The vast masses of energy and life, broken
up by the great thaw of the Imperial system, floating along the tide, are
terrible icebergs for the vessel of the state.  Some think Napoleonism
over--its effects are only begun.  Society is shattered from one end to
the other, and I laugh at the little rivets by which they think to keep
it together.

     [This passage was written at a period when the dynasty of Louis
     Philippe seemed the most assured, and Napoleonism was indeed
     considered extinct.]

"But to return.  Paris, I say, is the atmosphere for adventurers--new
faces and new men are so common here that they excite no impertinent
inquiry, it is so usual to see fortunes made in a day and spent in a
month; except in certain circles, there is no walking round a man's
character to spy out where it wants piercing!  Some lean Greek poet put
lead in his pockets to prevent being blown away;--put gold in your
pockets, and at Paris you may defy the sharpest wind in the world,--yea,
even the breath of that old AEolus--Scandal!  Well, then, I had money--no
matter how I came by it--and health, and gaiety; and I was well received
in the coteries that exist in all capitals, but mostly in France, where
pleasure is the cement that joins many discordant atoms.  Here, I say, I
met Mary and her daughter, by my old friend--the daughter, still
innocent, but, sacra! in what an element of vice!  We knew each other's
secrets, Mary and I, and kept them: she thought me a greater knave than I
was, and she intrusted to me her intention of selling her child to a rich
English marquis.  On the other hand, the poor girl confided to me her
horror of the scenes she witnessed and the snares that surrounded her.
What do you think preserved her pure from all danger?  Bah! you will
never guess!  It was partly because, if example corrupts, it as often
deters, but principally because she loved.  A girl who loves one man
purely has about her an amulet which defies the advances of the
profligate.  There was a handsome young Italian, an artist, who
frequented the house--he was the man.  I had to choose, then, between
mother and daughter: I chose the last."

Philip seized hold of Gawtrey's hand, grasped it warmly, and the good-
for-nothing continued--

"Do you know, that I loved that girl as well as I had ever loved the
mother, though in another way; she was what I fancied the mother to be;
still more fair, more graceful, more winning, with a heart as full of
love as her mother's had been of vanity.  I loved that child as if she
had been my own daughter.  I induced her to leave her mother's house--I
secreted her--I saw her married to the man she loved--I gave her away,
and saw no more of her for several months."

"Why?"

"Because I spent them in prison!  The young people could not live upon
air; I gave them what I had, and in order to do more I did something
which displeased the police; I narrowly escaped that time; but I am
popular--very popular, and with plenty of witnesses, not over-scrupulous,
I got off!  When I was released, I would not go to see them, for my
clothes were ragged: the police still watched me, and I would not do them
harm in the world!  Ay, poor wretches! they struggled so hard: he could
got very little by his art, though, I believe, he was a cleverish fellow
at it, and the money I had given them could not last for ever.  They
lived near the Champs Elysees, and at night I used to steal out and look
at them through the window.  They seemed so happy, and so handsome, and
so good; but he looked sickly, and I saw that, like all Italians, he
languished for his own warm climate.  But man is born to act as well as
to contemplate," pursued Gawtrey, changing his tone into the allegro;
"and I was soon driven into my old ways, though in a lower line.  I went
to London, just to give my reputation an airing, and when I returned,
pretty flush again, the poor Italian was dead, and Fanny was a widow,
with one boy, and enceinte with a second child.  So then I sought her
again, for her mother had found her out, and was at her with her devilish
kindness; but Heaven was merciful, and took her away from both of us: she
died in giving birth to a girl, and her last words were uttered to me,
imploring me--the adventurer--the charlatan--the good-for-nothing--to
keep her child from the clutches of her own mother.  Well, sir, I did
what I could for both the children; but the boy was consumptive, like his
father, and sleeps at Pere-la-Chaise.  The girl is here--you shall see
her some day.  Poor Fanny! if ever the devil will let me, I shall reform
for her sake.  Meanwhile, for her sake I must get grist for the mill.  My
story is concluded, for I need not tell you all of my pranks--of all the
parts I have played in life.  I have never been a murderer, or a burglar,
or a highway robber, or what the law calls a thief.  I can only say, as I
said before, I have lived upon my wits, and they have been a tolerable
capital on the whole.  I have been an actor, a money-lender, a physician,
a professor of animal magnetism (that was lucrative till it went out of
fashion, perhaps it will come in again); I have been a lawyer, a house-
agent, a dealer in curiosities and china; I have kept a hotel; I have set
up a weekly newspaper; I have seen almost every city in Europe, and made
acquaintance with some of its gaols; but a man who has plenty of brains
generally falls on his legs."

"And your father?"  said Philip; and here he spoke to Gawtrey of the
conversation he had overheard in the churchyard, but on which a scruple
of natural delicacy had hitherto kept him silent.

"Well, now," said his host, while a slight blush rose to his cheeks,
"I will tell you, that though to my father's sternness and avarice I
attribute many of my faults, I yet always had a sort of love for him; and
when in London I accidentally heard that he was growing blind, and living
with an artful old jade of a housekeeper, who might send him to rest with
a dose of magnesia the night after she had coaxed him to make a will in
her favour.  I sought him out--and--but you say you heard what passed."

"Yes; and I heard him also call you by name, when it was too late, and I
saw the tears on his cheeks."

"Did you?  Will you swear to that?"  exclaimed Gawtrey, with vehemence:
then, shading his brow with his band, he fell into a reverie that lasted
some moments.

"If anything happen to me, Philip," he said, abruptly, "perhaps he may
yet be a father to poor Fanny; and if he takes to her, she will repay him
for whatever pain I may, perhaps, have cost him.  Stop! now I think of
it, I will write down his address for you--never forget it--there!  It is
time to go to bed."

Gawtrey's tale made a deep impression on Philip.  He was too young, too
inexperienced, too much borne away by the passion of the narrator, to see
that Gawtrey had less cause to blame Fate than himself.  True, he had
been unjustly implicated in the disgrace of an unworthy uncle, but he had
lived with that uncle, though he knew him to be a common cheat; true, he
had been betrayed by a friend, but he had before known that friend to be
a man without principle or honour.  But what wonder that an ardent boy
saw nothing of this--saw only the good heart that had saved a poor girl
from vice, and sighed to relieve a harsh and avaricious parent?  Even the
hints that Gawtrey unawares let fall of practices scarcely covered by the
jovial phrase of "a great schoolboy's scrapes," either escaped the notice
of Philip, or were charitably construed by him, in the compassion and the
ignorance of a young, hasty, and grateful heart.



CHAPTER IV.

          "And she's a stranger
          Women--beware women."--MIDDLETON.

          "As we love our youngest children best,
          So the last fruit of our affection,
          Wherever we bestow it, is most strong;
          Since 'tis indeed our latest harvest-home,
          Last merriment 'fore winter!"
          WEBSTER, _Devil's Law Case_.

          "I would fain know what kind of thing a man's heart is?
          I will report it to you; 'tis a thing framed
          With divers corners!"--ROWLEY.

I have said that Gawtrey's tale made a deep impression on Philip;--that
impression was increased by subsequent conversations, more frank even
than their talk had hitherto been.  There was certainly about this man a
fatal charm which concealed his vices.  It arose, perhaps, from the
perfect combinations of his physical frame--from a health which made his
spirits buoyant and hearty under all circumstances--and a blood so fresh,
so sanguine, that it could not fail to keep the pores of the heart open.
But he was not the less--for all his kindly impulses and generous
feelings, and despite the manner in which, naturally anxious to make the
least unfavourable portrait of himself to Philip, he softened and glossed
over the practices of his life--a thorough and complete rogue, a
dangerous, desperate, reckless daredevil.  It was easy to see when
anything crossed him, by the cloud on his shaggy brow, by the swelling of
the veins on the forehead, by the dilation of the broad nostril, that he
was one to cut his way through every obstacle to an end,--choleric,
impetuous, fierce, determined.  Such, indeed, were the qualities that
made him respected among his associates, as his more bland and humorous
ones made him beloved.  He was, in fact, the incarnation of that great
spirit which the laws of the world raise up against the world, and by
which the world's injustice on a large scale is awfully chastised; on a
small scale, merely nibbled at and harassed, as the rat that gnaws the
hoof of the elephant:--the spirit which, on a vast theatre, rises up,
gigantic and sublime, in the heroes of war and revolution--in Mirabeaus,
Marats, Napoleons: on a minor stage, it shows itself in demagogues,
fanatical philosophers, and mob-writers; and on the forbidden boards,
before whose reeking lamps outcasts sit, at once audience and actors, it
never produced a knave more consummate in his part, or carrying it off
with more buskined dignity, than William Gawtrey.  I call him by his
aboriginal name; as for his other appellations, Bacchus himself had not
so many!

One day, a lady, richly dressed, was ushered by Mr. Birnie into the
bureau of Mr. Love, alias Gawtrey.  Philip was seated by the window,
reading, for the first time, the _Candide_,--that work, next to
_Rasselas_, the most hopeless and gloomy of the sports of genius with
mankind.  The lady seemed rather embarrassed when she perceived Mr. Love
was not alone.  She drew back, and, drawing her veil still more closely
round her, said, in French:

"Pardon me, I would wish a private conversation."  Philip rose to
withdraw, when the lady, observing him with eyes whose lustre shone
through the veil, said gently: "But perhaps the young gentleman is
discreet."

"He is not discreet, he is discretion!--my adopted son.  You may confide
in him--upon my honour you may, madam!"  and Mr. Love placed his hand on
his heart.

"He is very young," said the lady, in a tone of involuntary compassion,
as, with a very white hand, she unclasped the buckle of her cloak.

"He can the better understand the curse of celibacy," returned Mr. Love,
smiling.

The lady lifted part of her veil, and discovered a handsome mouth, and a
set of small, white teeth; for she, too, smiled, though gravely, as she
turned to Morton, and said--

"You seem, sir, more fitted to be a votary of the temple than one of its
officers.  However, Monsieur Love, let there be no mistake between us; I
do not come here to form a marriage, but to prevent one.  I understand
that Monsieur the Vicomte de Vaudemont has called into request your
services.  I am one of the Vicomte's family; we are all anxious that he
should not contract an engagement of the strange and, pardon me,
unbecoming character, which must stamp a union formed at a public
office."

"I assure you, madam," said Mr. Love, with dignity, "that we have
contributed to the very first--"

"_Mon Dieu_!"  interrupted the lady, with much impatience, "spare me a
eulogy on your establishment: I have no doubt it is very respectable; and
for _grisettes_ and _epiciers_ may do extremely well.  But the Vicomte is
a man of birth and connections.  In a word, what he contemplates is
preposterous.  I know not what fee Monsieur Love expects; but if he
contrive to amuse Monsieur de Vaudemont, and to frustrate every
connection he proposes to form, that fee, whatever it may be, shall be
doubled.  Do you understand me?"

"Perfectly, madam; yet it is not your offer that will bias me, but the
desire to oblige so charming a lady."

"It is agreed, then?"  said the lady, carelessly; and as she spoke she
again glanced at Philip.

"If madame will call again, I will inform her of my plans," said Mr.
Love.

"Yes, I will call again.  Good morning!"  As she rose and passed Philip,
she wholly put aside her veil, and looked at him with a gaze entirely
free from coquetry, but curious, searching, and perhaps admiring--the
look that an artist may give to a picture that seines of more value than
the place where he finds it would seem to indicate.  The countenance of
the lady herself was fair and noble, and Philip felt a strange thrill at
his heart as, with a slight inclination of her' head, she turned from the
room.

"Ah!"  said Gawtrey, laughing, "this is not the first time I have been
paid by relations to break off the marriages I had formed.  Egad! if one
could open a _bureau_ to make married people single, one would soon be a
Croesus!  Well, then, this decides me to complete the union between
Monsieur Goupille and Mademoiselle de Courval.  I had balanced a little
hitherto between the _epicier_ and the Vicomte.  Now I will conclude
matters.  Do you know, Phil, I think you have made a conquest?"

"Pooh!" said Philip, colouring.

In effect, that very evening Mr. Love saw both the _epicier_ and Adele,
and fixed the marriage-day.  As Monsieur Goupille was a person of great
distinction in the Faubourg, this wedding was one upon which Mr. Love
congratulated himself greatly; and he cheerfully accepted an invitation
for himself and his partners to honour the _noces_ with their presence.

A night or two before the day fixed for the marriage of Monsieur Goupille
and the aristocratic Adele, when Mr. Birnie had retired, Gawtrey made his
usual preparations for enjoying himself.  But this time the cigar and the
punch seemed to fail of their effect.  Gawtrey remained moody and silent;
and Morton was thinking of the bright eyes of the lady who was so much
interested against the amours of the Vicomte de Vaudemont.

At last, Gawtrey broke silence:

"My young friend," said he, "I told you of my little _protege_; I have
been buying toys for her this morning; she is a beautiful creature;
to-morrow is her birthday--she will then be six years old.  But--but--"
here Gawtrey sighed--"I fear she is not all right here," and he touched
his forehead.

"I should like much to see her," said Philip, not noticing the latter
remark.

"And you shall--you shall come with me to-morrow.  Heigho! I should not
like to die, for her sake!"

"Does her wretched relation attempt to regain her?"

"Her relation!  No; she is no more--she died about two years since!  Poor
Mary!  I--well, this is folly.  But Fanny is at present in a convent;
they are all kind to her, but then I pay well; if I were dead, and the
pay stopped,--again I ask, what would become of her, unless, as I before
said, my father--"

"But you are making a fortune now?"

"If this lasts--yes; but I live in fear--the police of this cursed city
are lynx-eyed; however, that is the bright side of the question."

"Why not have the child with you, since you love her so much?  She would
be a great comfort to you."

"Is this a place for a child--a girl?"  said Gawtrey, stamping his foot
impatiently.  "I should go mad if I saw that villainous deadman's eye bent
upon her!"

You speak of Birnie.  How can you endure him?"

"When you are my age you will know why we endure what we dread--why we
make friends of those who else would be most horrible foes: no, no--
nothing can deliver me of this man but Death.  And--and--" added Gawtrey,
turning pale, "I cannot murder a man who eats my bread.  There are
stronger ties, my lad, than affection, that bind men, like galley-slaves,
together.  He who can hang you puts the halter round your neck and leads
you by it like a dog."

A shudder came over the young listener.  And what dark secrets, known
only to those two, had bound, to a man seemingly his subordinate and
tool, the strong will and resolute temper of William Gawtrey?

"But, begone, dull care!"  exclaimed Gawtrey, rousing himself.  "And,
after all, Birnie is a useful fellow, and dare no more turn against me
than I against him!  Why don't you drink more?

     "Oh! have you e'er heard of the famed Captain Wattle?"

and Gawtrey broke out into a loud Bacchanalian hymn, in which Philip
could find no mirth, and from which the songster suddenly paused to
exclaim:--

"Mind you say nothing about Fanny to Birnie; my secrets with him are not
of that nature.  He could not hurt her, poor lamb! it is true--at least,
as far as I can foresee.  But one can never feel too sure of one's lamb,
if one once introduces it to the butcher!"

The next day being Sunday, the bureau was closed, and Philip and Gawtrey
repaired to the convent.  It was a dismal-looking place as to the
exterior; but, within, there was a large garden, well kept, and,
notwithstanding the winter, it seemed fair and refreshing, compared with
the polluted streets.  The window of the room into which they were shown
looked upon the green sward, with walls covered with ivy at the farther
end.  And Philip's own childhood came back to him as he gazed on the
quiet of the lonely place.

The door opened--an infant voice was heard, a voice of glee-of rapture;
and a child, light and beautiful as a fairy, bounded to Gawtrey's breast.

Nestling there, she kissed his face, his hands, his clothes, with a
passion that did not seem to belong to her age, laughing and sobbing
almost at a breath.

On his part, Gawtrey appeared equally affected: he stroked down her hair
with his huge hand, calling her all manner of pet names, in a tremulous
voice that vainly struggled to be gay.

At length he took the toys he had brought with him from his capacious
pockets, and strewing them on the floor, fairly stretched his vast bulk
along; while the child tumbled over him, sometimes grasping at the toys,
and then again returning to his bosom, and laying her head there, looked
up quietly into his eyes, as if the joy were too much for her.

Morton, unheeded by both, stood by with folded arms.  He thought of his
lost and ungrateful brother, and muttered to himself:

"Fool! when she is older, she will forsake him!"

Fanny betrayed in her face the Italian origin of her father.  She had
that exceeding richness of complexion which, though not common even in
Italy, is only to be found in the daughters of that land, and which
harmonised well with the purple lustre of her hair, and the full, clear
iris of the dark eyes.  Never were parted cherries brighter than her dewy
lips; and the colour of the open neck and the rounded arms was of a
whiteness still more dazzling, from the darkness of the hair and the
carnation of the glowing cheek.

Suddenly Fanny started from Gawtrey's arms, and running up to Morton,
gazed at him wistfully, and said, in French:

"Who are you?  Do you come from the moon?  I think you do."  Then,
stopping abruptly, she broke into a verse of a nursery-song, which she
chaunted with a low, listless tone, as if she were not conscious of the
sense.  As she thus sang, Morton, looking at her, felt a strange and
painful doubt seize him.  The child's eyes, though soft, were so vacant
in their gaze.

"And why do I come from the moon?"  said he.

"Because you look sad and cross.  I don't like you--I don't like the
moon; it gives me a pain here!" and she put her hand to her temples.
"Have you got anything for Fanny--poor, poor Fanny?" and, dwelling on the
epithet, she shook her head mournfully.

"You are rich, Fanny, with all those toys."

"Am I?  Everybody calls me poor Fanny--everybody but papa;" and she ran
again to Gawtrey, and laid her head on his shoulder.

"She calls me papa!" said Gawtrey, kissing her; "you hear it?  Bless
her!"

"And you never kiss any one but Fanny--you have no other little girl?"
said the child, earnestly, and with a look less vacant than that which
had saddened Morton.

"No other--no--nothing under heaven, and perhaps above it, but you!" and
he clasped her in his arms.  "But," he added, after a pause--"but mind
me, Fanny, you must like this gentleman.  He will be always good to you:
and he had a little brother whom he was as fond of as I am of you."

"No, I won't like him--I won't like anybody but you and my sister!"

"Sister!--who is your sister?"

The child's face relapsed into an expression almost of idiotcy.  "I don't
know--I never saw her.  I hear her sometimes, but I don't understand what
she says.--Hush! come here!" and she stole to the window on tiptoe.
Gawtrey followed and looked out.

"Do you hear her, now?" said Fanny.  "What does she say?"

As the girl spoke, some bird among the evergreens uttered a shrill,
plaintive cry, rather than song--a sound which the thrush occasionally
makes in the winter, and which seems to express something of fear, and
pain, and impatience.  "What does she say?--can you tell me?" asked the
child.

"Pooh! that is a bird; why do you call it your sister?"

"I don't know!--because it is--because it--because--I don't know--is it
not in pain?--do something for it, papa!"

Gawtrey glanced at Morton, whose face betokened his deep pity, and
creeping up to him, whispered,--

"Do you think she is really touched here?  No, no,--she will outgrow it--
I am sure she will!"

Morton sighed.

Fanny by this time had again seated herself in the middle of the floor,
and arranged her toys, but without seeming to take pleasure in them.

At last Gawtrey was obliged to depart.  The lay sister, who had charge of
Fanny, was summoned into the parlour; and then the child's manner
entirely changed; her face grew purple--she sobbed with as much anger as
grief.  "She would not leave papa--she would not go--that she would not!"

"It is always so," whispered Gawtrey to Morton, in an abashed and
apologetic voice.  "It is so difficult to get away from her.  Just go and
talk with her while I steal out."

Morton went to her, as she struggled with the patient good-natured
sister, and began to soothe and caress her, till she turned on him her
large humid eyes, and said, mournfully,

"_Tu es mechant, tu_.  Poor Fanny!"

"But this pretty doll--" began the sister.  The child looked at it
joylessly.

"And papa is going to die!"

"Whenever Monsieur goes," whispered the nun, "she always says that he is
dead, and cries herself quietly to sleep; when Monsieur returns, she says
he is come to life again.  Some one, I suppose, once talked to her about
death; and she thinks when she loses sight of any one, that that is
death."

"Poor child!"  said Morton, with a trembling voice.

The child looked up, smiled, stroked his cheek with her little hand, and
said:

"Thank you!--Yes! poor Fanny!  Ah, he is going--see!--let me go too--
_tu es mechant_."

"But," said Morton, detaining her gently, "do you know that you give him
pain?--you make him cry by showing pain yourself.  Don't make him so
sad!"

The child seemed struck, hung down her head for a moment, as if in
thought, and then, jumping from Morton's lap, ran to Gawtrey, put up her
pouting lips, and said:

"One kiss more!"

Gawtrey kissed her, and turned away his head.

"Fanny is a good girl!" and Fanny, as she spoke, went back to Morton, and
put her little fingers into her eyes, as if either to shut out Gawtrey's
retreat from her sight, or to press back her tears.

"Give me the doll now, sister Marie."

Morton smiled and sighed, placed the child, who struggled no more, in the
nun's arms, and left the room; but as he closed the door he looked back,
and saw that Fanny had escaped from the sister, thrown herself on the
floor, and was crying, but not loud.

"Is she not a little darling?"  said Gawtrey, as they gained the street.

"She is, indeed, a most beautiful child!"

"And you will love her if I leave her penniless," said Gawtrey, abruptly.
"It was your love for your mother and your brother that made me like you
from the first.  Ay," continued Gawtrey, in a tone of great earnestness,
"ay, and whatever may happen to me, I will strive and keep you, my poor
lad, harmless; and what is better, innocent even of such matters as sit
light enough on my own well-seasoned conscience.  In turn, if ever you
have the power, be good to her,--yes, be good to her! and I won't say a
harsh word to you if ever you like to turn king's evidence against
myself."

"Gawtrey!" said Morton, reproachfully, and almost fiercely.

"Bah!--such things are!  But tell me honestly, do you think she is very
strange--very deficient?"

"I have not seen enough of her to judge," answered Morton, evasively.

"She is so changeful," persisted Gawtrey.  "Sometimes you would say that
she was above her age, she comes out with such thoughtful, clever things;
then, the next moment, she throws me into despair.  These nuns are very
skilful in education--at least they are said to be so.  The doctors give
me hope, too.  You see, her poor mother was very unhappy at the time of
her birth--delirious, indeed: that may account for it.  I often fancy
that it is the constant excitement which her state occasions me that
makes me love her so much.  You see she is one who can never shift for
herself.  I must get money for her; I have left a little already with the
superior, and I would not touch it to save myself from famine!  If she
has money people will be kind enough to her.  And then," continued
Gawtrey, "you must perceive that she loves nothing in the world but me
--me, whom nobody else loves!  Well--well, now to the shop again!"

On returning home the _bonne_ informed them that a lady had called, and
asked both for Monsieur Love and the young gentleman, and seemed much
chagrined at missing both.  By the description, Morton guessed she was
the fair _incognita_, and felt disappointed at having lost the interview.



CHAPTER V.

          "The cursed carle was at his wonted trade,
          Still tempting heedless men into his snare,
          In witching wise, as I before have said;
          But when he saw, in goodly gear array'd,
          The grave majestic knight approaching nigh,
          His countenance fell."--THOMSON, _Castle of Indolence_.

The morning rose that was to unite Monsieur Goupille with Mademoiselle
Adele de Courval.  The ceremony was performed, and bride and bridegroom
went through that trying ordeal with becoming gravity.  Only the elegant
Adele seemed more unaffectedly agitated than Mr. Love could well account
for; she was very nervous in church, and more often turned her eyes to
the door than to the altar.  Perhaps she wanted to run away; but it was
either too late or too early for the proceeding.  The rite performed, the
happy pair and their friends adjourned to the _Cadran Bleu_, that
_restaurant_ so celebrated in the festivities of the good citizens of
Paris.  Here Mr. Love had ordered, at the _epicier's_ expense, a most
tasteful entertainment.

"_Sacre_! but you have not played the economist, Monsieur Lofe," said
Monsieur Goupille, rather querulously, as he glanced at the long room
adorned with artificial flowers, and the table _a cingitante couverts_.

"Bah!" replied Mr. Love, "you can retrench afterwards.  Think of the
fortune she brought you."

"It is a pretty sum, certainly," said Monsieur Goupille, "and the notary
is perfectly satisfied."

"There is not a marriage in Paris that does me more credit," said Mr.
Love; and he marched off to receive the compliments and congratulations
that awaited him among such of the guests as were aware of his good
offices.  The Vicomte de Vaudemont was of course not present.  He had not
been near Mr. Love since Adele had accepted the _epicier_.  But Madame
Beavor, in a white bonnet lined with lilac, was hanging, sentimentally,
on the arm of the Pole, who looked very grand with his white favour; and
Mr. Higgins had been introduced, by Mr. Love, to a little dark Creole,
who wore paste diamonds, and had very languishing eyes; so that Mr.
Love's heart might well swell with satisfaction at the prospect of the
various blisses to come, which might owe their origin to his benevolence.
In fact, that archpriest of the Temple of Hymen was never more great than
he was that day; never did his establishment seem more solid, his
reputation more popular, or his fortune more sure.  He was the life of
the party.

The banquet over, the revellers prepared for a dance.  Monsieur Goupille,
in tights, still tighter than he usually wore, and of a rich nankeen,
quite new, with striped silk stockings, opened the ball with the lady of
a rich _patissier_ in the same Faubourg; Mr. Love took out the bride.
The evening advanced; and after several other dances of ceremony,
Monsieur Goupille conceived himself entitled to dedicate one to connubial
affection.  A country-dance was called, and the _epicier_ claimed the
fair hand of the gentle Adele.  About this time, two persons not hitherto
perceived had quietly entered the room, and, standing near the doorway,
seemed examining the dancers, as if in search for some one.  They bobbed
their heads up and down, to and fro stopped--now stood on tiptoe.  The
one was a tall, large-whiskered, fair-haired man; the other, a little,
thin, neatly-dressed person, who kept his hand on the arm of his
companion, and whispered to him from time to time.  The whiskered
gentleman replied in a guttural tone, which proclaimed his origin to be
German.  The busy dancers did not perceive the strangers.  The bystanders
did, and a hum of curiosity circled round; who could they be?--who had
invited them?--they were new faces in the Faubourg--perhaps relations to
Adele?

In high delight the fair bride was skipping down the middle, while
Monsieur Goupille, wiping his forehead with care, admired her agility;
when, to and behold! the whiskered gentleman I have described abruptly
advanced from his companion, and cried:

"_La voila!--sacre tonnerre!_"

At that voice--at that apparition, the bride halted; so suddenly indeed,
that she had not time to put down both feet, but remained with one high
in the air, while the other sustained itself on the light fantastic toe.
The company naturally imagined this to be an operatic flourish, which
called for approbation.  Monsieur Love, who was thundering down behind
her, cried, "Bravo!" and as the well-grown gentleman had to make a sweep
to avoid disturbing her equilibrium, he came full against the whiskered
stranger, and sent him off as a bat sends a ball.

"_Mon Dieu_!"  cried Monsieur Goupille.  "_Ma douce amie_--she has
fainted away!"  And, indeed, Adele had no sooner recovered her, balance,
than she resigned it once more into the arms of the startled Pole, who
was happily at hand.

In the meantime, the German stranger, who had saved himself from falling
by coming with his full force upon the toes of Mr. Higgins, again
advanced to the spot, and, rudely seizing the fair bride by the arm,
exclaimed,--

"No sham if you please, madame--speak!  What the devil have you done with
the money?"

"Really, sir," said Monsieur Goupille, drawing tip his cravat, "this is
very extraordinary conduct!  What have you got to say to this lady's
money?--it is _my_ money now, sir!"

"Oho! it is, is it?  We'll soon see that. _Approchez donc, Monsieur
Favart, faites votre devoir_."

At these words the small companion of the stranger slowly sauntered to
the spot, while at the sound of his name and the tread of his step, the
throng gave way to the right and left.  For Monsieur Favart was one of
the most renowned chiefs of the great Parisian police--a man worthy to
be the contemporary of the illustrious Vidocq.

"_Calmez vous, messieurs_; do not be alarmed, ladies," said this
gentleman, in the mildest of all human voices; and certainly no oil
dropped on the waters ever produced so tranquillising an effect as that
small, feeble, gentle tenor.  The Pole, in especial, who was holding the
fair bride with both his arms, shook all over, and seemed about to let
his burden gradually slide to the floor, when Monsieur Favart, looking at
him with a benevolent smile, said--

"_Aha, mon brave!  c'est toi.  Restez donc.  Restez, tenant toujours la
dame_!"

The Pole, thus condemned, in the French idiom, "always to hold the dame,"
mechanically raised the arms he had previously dejected, and the police
officer, with an approving nod of the head, said,--

"_Bon,! ne bougez point,--c'est ca_!"

Monsieur Goupille, in equal surprise and indignation to see his better
half thus consigned, without any care to his own marital feelings, to the
arms of another, was about to snatch her from the Pole, when Monsieur
Favart, touching him on the breast with his little finger, said, in the
suavest manner,--

"_Mon bourgeois_, meddle not with what does not concern you!"

"With what does not concern me!"  repeated Monsieur Goupille, drawing
himself up to so great a stretch that he seemed pulling off his tights
the wrong way.  "Explain yourself, if you please!  This lady is my wife!"

"Say that again,--that's all!" cried  the whiskered stranger, in most
horrible French, and with a furious grimace, as he shook both his fists
just under the nose of the _epicier_.

"Say it again, sir," said Monsieur Goupille, by no means daunted; "and
why should not I say it again?  That lady is my wife!"

"You lie!--she is mine!" cried the German; and bending down, he caught
the fair Adele from the Pole with as little ceremony as if she had never
had a great-grandfather a marquis, and giving her a shake that might have
roused the dead, thundered out,--

"Speak!  Madame Bihl!  Are you my wife or not?"

"_Monstre_!"  murmured Adele, opening her eyes.

"There--you hear--she owns me!"  said the German, appealing to the
company with a triumphant air.

"_C'est vrai_!"  said the  soft voice of the policeman.  And now, pray
don't let us disturb your amusements any longer.  We have a fiacre at the
door.  Remove your lady, Monsieur Bihl."

"Monsieur Lofe!--Monsieur Lofe!" cried, or rather screeched the
_epicier_, darting across the room, and seizing the _chef_ by the tail of
his coat, just as he was half way through the door, "come back! _Quelle
mauvaise plaisanterie me faites-vous ici_?  Did you not tell me that lady
was single?  Am I married or not:  Do I stand on my head or my heels?"

"Hush-hush! _mon bon bourgeois_!"  whispered Mr. Love; "all shall be
explained to-morrow!"

"Who is this gentleman?"  asked Monsieur Favart, approaching Mr. Love,
who, seeing himself in for it, suddenly jerked off the _epicier_, thrust
his hands down into his breeches' pockets, buried his chin in his cravat,
elevated his eyebrows, screwed in his eyes, and puffed out his cheeks, so
that the astonished Monsieur Goupille really thought himself bewitched,
and literally did not recognise the face of the match-maker.

"Who is this gentleman?"  repeated the little officer, standing beside,
or rather below, Mr. Love, and looking so diminutive by the contras that
you might have fancied that the Priest of Hymen had only to breathe to
blow him away.

"Who should he be, monsieur?"  cried, with great pertness, Madame Rosalie
Caumartin, coming to the relief, with the generosity of her sex.--"This
is Monsieur Lofe--_Anglais celebre_.  What have you to say against him?"

"He has got five hundred francs of mine!" cried the epicier.

The policeman scanned Mr. Love, with great attention.  "So you are in
Paris again?--_Hein!--vous jouez toujours votre role_!

"_Ma foi_!" said Mr. Love, boldly; "I don't understand what monsieur
means; my character is well known--go and inquire it in London--ask the
Secretary of Foreign Affairs what is said of me--inquire of my
Ambassador--demand of my--"

"_Votre passeport, monsieur_?"

"It is at home.  A gentleman does not carry his passport in his pocket
when he goes to a ball!"

"I will call and see it--_au revoir_!  Take my advice and leave Paris; I
think I have seen you somewhere!"

"Yet I have never had the honour to marry monsieur!"  said Mr. Love, with
a polite bow.

In return for his joke, the policeman gave Mr. Love one look-it was a
quiet look, very quiet; but Mr. Love seemed uncommonly affected by it;
 he did not say another word, but found himself outside the house in a
twinkling.  Monsieur Favart turned round and saw the Pole making himself
as small as possible behind the goodly proportions of Madame Beavor.

"What name does that gentleman go by?"

"So--vo--lofski, the heroic Pole," cried Madame Beavor, with sundry
misgivings at the unexpected cowardice of so great a patriot.

"Hein! take care of yourselves, ladies.  I have nothing against that
person this time.  But Monsieur Latour has served his apprenticeship at
the galleys, and is no more a Pole than I am a Jew."

"And this lady's fortune!" cried Monsieur Goupitle, pathetically; "the
settlements are all made--the notaries all paid.  I am sure there must be
some mistake."

Monsieur Bihl, who had by this time restored his lost Helen to her
senses, stalked up to the _epicier_, dragging the lady along with him.

"Sir, there is no mistake!  But, when I have got the money, if you like
to have the lady you are welcome to her."

"Monstre!" again muttered the fair Adele.

"The long and the short of it," said Monsieur Favart, "is that Monsieur
Bihl is a _brave garcon_, and has been half over the world as a courier."

"A courier!" exclaimed several voices.

"Madame was nursery-governess to an English _milord_.  They married, and
quarrelled--no harm in that, _mes amis_; nothing more common.  Monsieur
Bihl is a very faithful fellow; nursed his last master in an illness that
ended fatally, because he travelled with his doctor.  Milord left him a
handsome legacy--he retired from service, and fell ill, perhaps from
idleness or beer.  Is not that the story, Monsieur Bihl?"

"He was always drunk--the wretch!" sobbed Adele.  "That was to drown my
domestic sorrows," said the German; "and when I was sick in my bed,
madame ran off with my money.  Thanks to monsieur, I have found both, and
I wish you a very good night."

"_Dansez-vous toujours, mes amis_," said the officer, bowing.  And
following Adele and her spouse, the little man left the room--where he
had caused, in chests so broad and limbs so doughty, much the same
consternation as that which some diminutive ferret occasions in a burrow
of rabbits twice his size.

Morton had outstayed Mr. Love.  But he thought it unnecessary to linger
long after that gentleman's departure; and, in the general hubbub that
ensued, he crept out unperceived, and soon arrived at the _bureau_.  He
found Mr. Love and Mr. Birnie already engaged in packing up their
effects.

"Why--when did you leave?" said Morton to Mr. Birnie.

"I saw the policeman enter."

"And why the deuce did not you tell us?" said Gawtrey.

"Every man for himself.  Besides, Mr. Love was dancing," replied Mr.
Birnie, with a dull glance of disdain.  "Philosophy," muttered Gawtrey,
thrusting his dresscoat into his trunk; then, suddenly changing his
voice, "Ha! ha! it was a very good joke after all--own I did it well.
Ecod! if he had not given me that look, I think I should have turned the
tables on him.  But those d---d fellows learn of the mad doctors how to
tame us.  Faith, my heart went down to my shoes--yet I'm no coward!"

"But, after all, he evidently did not know you," said Morton; "and what
has he to say against you?  Your trade is a strange one, but not
dishonest.  Why give up as if---"

"My young friend," interrupted Gawtrey, "whether the officer comes after
us or not, our trade is ruined; that infernal Adele, with her fabulous
_grandmaman_, has done for us.  Goupille will blow the temple about our
ears.  No help for it--eh, Birnie?"

"None."

"Go to bed, Philip: we'll call thee at daybreak, for we must make clear
work before our neighbours open their shutters."

Reclined, but half undressed, on his bed in the little cabinet, Morton
revolved the events of the evening.  The thought that he should see no
more of that white hand and that lovely mouth, which still haunted his
recollection as appertaining to the _incognita_, greatly indisposed him
towards the abrupt flight intended by Gawtrey, while (so much had his
faith in that person depended upon respect for his confident daring, and
so thoroughly fearless was Morton's own nature) he felt himself greatly
shaken in his allegiance to the chief, by recollecting the effect
produced on his valour by a single glance from the instrument of law.
He had not yet lived long enough to be aware that men are sometimes the
Representatives of Things; that what the scytale was to the Spartan hero,
a sheriff's writ often is to a Waterloo medallist: that a Bow Street
runner will enter the foulest den where Murder sits with his fellows, and
pick out his prey with the beck of his forefinger.  That, in short, the
thing called LAW, once made tangible and present, rarely fails to palsy
the fierce heart of the thing called CRIME.  For Law is the symbol of all
mankind reared against One Foe--the Man of Crime.  Not yet aware of this
truth, nor, indeed, in the least suspecting Gawtrey of worse offences
than those of a charlatanic and equivocal profession, the young man mused
over his protector's cowardice in disdain and wonder: till, wearied with
conjectures, distrust, and shame at his own strange position of
obligation to one whom he could not respect, he fell asleep.

When he woke, he saw the grey light of dawn that streamed cheerlessly
through his shutterless window, struggling with the faint ray of a candle
that Gawtrey, shading with his hand, held over the sleeper.  He started
up, and, in the confusion of waking and the imperfect light by which he
beheld the strong features of Gawtrey, half imagined it was a foe who
stood before him.

"Take care, man," said Gawtrey, as Morton, in this belief, grasped his
arm.  "You have a precious rough gripe of your own.  Be quiet, will you?
I have a word to say to you."  Here Gawtrey, placing the candle on a
chair, returned to the door and closed it.

"Look you," he said in a whisper, "I have nearly run through my circle of
invention, and my wit, fertile as it is, can present to me little
encouragement in the future.  The eyes of this Favart once on me, every
disguise and every double will not long avail.  I dare not return to
London: I am too well known in Brussels, Berlin, and Vienna--"

"But," interrupted Morton, raising himself on his arm, and fixing his
dark eyes upon his host,--"but you have told me again and again that you
have committed no crime; why then be so fearful of discovery?"

"Why," repeated  Gawtrey, with a slight  hesitation which he instantly
overcame, "why! have not you yourself learned that appearances have the
effect of crimes?--were you not chased as a thief when I rescued you from
your foe, the law?--are you not, though a boy in years, under an alias,
and an exile from your own land?  And how can you put these austere
questions to me, who am growing grey in the endeavour to extract sunbeams
from cucumbers--subsistence from poverty?  I repeat that there are
reasons why I must avoid, for the present, the great capitals.  I must
sink in life, and take to the provinces.  Birnie is sanguine as ever; but
he is a terrible sort of comforter!  Enough of that.  Now to yourself:
our savings are less than you might expect; to be sure, Birnie has been
treasurer, and I have laid by a little for Fanny, which I will rather
starve than touch.  There remain, however, 150 napoleons, and our
effects, sold at a fourth their value, will fetch 150 more.  Here is your
share.  I have compassion on you.  I told you I would bear you harmless
and innocent.  Leave us while yet time."

It seemed, then, to Morton that Gawtrey had divined his thoughts of shame
and escape of the previous night; perhaps Gawtrey had: and such is the
human heart, that, instead of welcoming the very release he had half
contemplated, now that it was offered him, Philip shrank from it as a
base desertion.

"Poor Gawtrey!"  said he, pushing back the canvas bag of gold held out to
him, "you shall not go over the world, and feel that the orphan you fed
and fostered left you to starve with your money in his pocket.  When you
again assure me that you have committed no crime, you again remind me
that gratitude has no right to be severe upon the shifts and errors of
its benefactor.  If you do not conform to society, what has society done
for me?  No! I will not forsake you in a reverse.  Fortune has given you
a fall.  What, then, courage, and at her again!"

These last words were said so heartily and cheerfully as Morton sprang
from the bed, that they inspirited Gawtrey, who had really desponded of
his lot.

"Well," said he, "I cannot reject the only friend left me; and while I
live--.  But I will make no professions.  Quick, then, our luggage is
already gone, and I hear Birnie grunting the rogue's march of retreat."

Morton's toilet was soon completed, and the three associates bade adieu
to the _bureau_.

Birnie, who was taciturn and impenetrable as ever, walked a little before
as guide.  They arrived, at length, at a _serrurier's_ shop, placed in an
alley near the Porte St. Denis.  The _serrurier_ himself, a tall,
begrimed, blackbearded man, was taking the shutters from his shop as they
approached.  He and Birnie exchanged silent nods; and the former, leaving
his work, conducted them up a very filthy flight of stairs to an attic,
where a bed, two stools, one table, and an old walnut-tree bureau formed
the sole articles of furniture.  Gawtrey looked rather ruefully round the
black, low, damp walls, and said in a crestfallen tone:

"We were better off at the Temple of Hymen.  But get us a bottle of wine,
some eggs, and a frying-pan.  By Jove, I am a capital hand at an omelet!"

The _serrurier_ nodded again, grinned, and withdrew.

"Rest here," said Birnie, in his calm, passionless voice, that seemed to
Morton, however, to assume an unwonted tone of command.  "I will go and
make the best bargain I can for our furniture, buy fresh clothes, and
engage our places for Tours."

"For Tours?"  repeated Morton.

"Yes, there are some English there; one can live wherever there are
English," said Gawtrey.

"Hum!"  grunted Birnie, drily, and, buttoning up his coat, he walked
slowly away.

About noon he returned with a bundle of clothes, which Gawtrey, who
always regained his elasticity of spirit wherever there was fair play to
his talents, examined with great attention, and many exclamations of
"_Bon!--c'est va_."

"I have done well with the Jew," said Birnie, drawing from his coat
pocket two heavy bags.  "One hundred and eighty napoleons.  We shall
commence with a good capital."

"You are right, my friend," said Gawtrey.

The _serrurier_ was then despatched to the best restaurant in the
neighbourhood, and the three adventurers made a less Socratic dinner than
might have been expected.



CHAPTER VI.

          "Then out again he flies to wing his marry round."
                                THOMPSON'S _Castle of Indolence_.

          "Again he gazed, 'It is,' said he, 'the same;
          There sits he upright in his seat secure,
          As one whose conscience is correct and pure.'"--CRABBE.

The adventurers arrived at Tours, and established themselves there in a
lodging, without any incident worth narrating by the way.

At Tours Morton had nothing to do but take his pleasure and enjoy
himself.  He passed for a young heir; Gawtrey for his tutor--a doctor in
divinity; Birnie for his valet.  The task of maintenance fell on Gawtrey,
who hit off his character to a hair; larded his grave jokes with
university scraps of Latin; looked big and well-fed; wore knee-breeches
and a shovel hat; and played whist with the skill of a veteran vicar.  By
his science in that game he made, at first, enough; at least, to defray
their weekly expenses.  But, by degrees, the good people at Tours, who,
under pretence of health, were there for economy, grew shy of so
excellent a player; and though Gawtrey always swore solemnly that he
played with the most scrupulous honour (an asseveration which Morton, at
least, implicitly believed), and no proof to the contrary was ever
detected, yet a first-rate card-player is always a suspicious character,
unless the losing parties know exactly who he is.  The market fell off,
and Gawtrey at length thought it prudent to extend their travels.

"Ah!"  said Mr. Gawtrey, "the world nowadays has grown so ostentatious
that one cannot travel advantageously without a post-chariot and four
horses."  At length they found themselves at Milan, which at that time
was one of the El Dorados for gamesters.  Here, however, for want of
introductions, Mr. Gawtrey found it difficult to get into society.  The
nobles, proud and rich, played high, but were circumspect in their
company; the _bourgeoisie_, industrious and energetic, preserved much of
the old Lombard shrewdness; there were no _tables d'hote_ and public
reunions.  Gawtrey saw his little capital daily diminishing, with the
Alps at the rear and Poverty in the van.  At length, always on the _qui
vive_, he contrived to make acquaintance with a Scotch family of great
respectability.  He effected this by picking up a snuff-box which the
Scotchman had dropped in taking out his handkerchief.  This politeness
paved the way to a conversation in which Gawtrey made himself so
agreeable, and talked with such zest of the Modern Athens, and the tricks
practised upon travellers, that he was presented to Mrs. Macgregor; cards
were interchanged, and, as Mr. Gawtrey lived in tolerable style, the
Macgregors pronounced him "a vara genteel mon."  Once in the house of a
respectable person, Gawtrey contrived to turn himself round and round,
till he burrowed a hole into the English circle then settled in Milan.
His whist-playing came into requisition, and once more Fortune smiled
upon Skill.

To this house the pupil one evening accompanied the tutor.  When the
whist party, consisting of two tables, was formed, the young man found
himself left out with an old gentleman, who seemed loquacious and good-
natured, and who put many questions to Morton, which he found it
difficult to answer.  One of the whist tables was now in a state of
revolution, viz., a lady had cut out and a gentleman cut in, when the
door opened, and Lord Lilburne was announced.

Mr. Macgregor, rising, advanced with great respect to this personage.

"I scarcely ventured to hope you would coom, Lord Lilburne, the night is
so cold."

"You did not allow sufficiently, then, for the dulness of my solitary inn
and the attractions of your circle.  Aha!  whist, I see."

"You play sometimes?"

"Very seldom, now; I have sown all my wild oats, and even the ace of
spades can scarcely dig them out again."

"Ha!  ha!  vara gude."

"I will look on;" and Lord Lilburne drew his chair to the table, exactly
opposite to Mr. Gawtrey.

The old gentleman turned to Philip.

"An extraordinary man, Lord Lilburne; you have heard of him, of course?"

"No, indeed; what of him?"  asked the young man, rousing himself.

"What of him?" said the old gentleman, with a smile; "why the newspapers,
if you ever read them, will tell you enough of the elegant, the witty
Lord Lilburne; a man of eminent talent, though indolent.  He was wild in
his youth, as clever men often are; but, on attaining his title and
fortune, and marrying into the family of the then premier, he became more
sedate.  They say he might make a great figure in politics if he would.
He has a very high reputation--very.  People do say that he is still fond
of pleasure; but that is a common failing amongst the aristocracy.
Morality is only found in the middle classes, young gentleman.  It is a
lucky family, that of Lilburne; his sister, Mrs. Beaufort--"

"Beaufort!" exclaimed Morton, and then muttered to himself, "Ah, true--
true; I have heard the name of Lilburne before."

"Do you know the Beauforts?  Well, you remember how luckily Robert,
Lilburne's brother-in-law, came into that fine property just as his
predecessor was about to marry a--"

Morton scowled at his garrulous acquaintance, and stalked abruptly to the
card table.

Ever since Lord Lilburne had seated himself opposite to Mr. Gawtrey, that
gentleman had evinced a perturbation of manner that became obvious to the
company.  He grew deadly pale, his hands trembled, he moved uneasily in
his seat, he missed deal, he trumped his partner's best diamond; finally
he revoked, threw down his money, and said, with a forced smile, "that
the heat of the room overcame him."  As he rose Lord Lilburne rose also,
and the eyes of both met.  Those of Lilburne were calm, but penetrating
and inquisitive in their gaze; those of Gawtrey were like balls of fire.
He seemed gradually to dilate in his height, his broad chest expanded, he
breathed hard.

"Ah, Doctor," said Mr. Macgregor, "let me introduce you to Lord
Lilburne."

The peer bowed haughtily; Mr. Gawtrey did not return the salutation, but
with a sort of gulp, as if he were swallowing some burst of passion,
strode to the fire, and then, turning round, again fixed his gaze upon
the new guest.

Lilburne, however, who had never lost his self-composure at this strange
rudeness, was now quietly talking with their host.

"Your Doctor seems an eccentric man--a little absent--learned, I suppose.
Have you been to Como, yet?"

Mr. Gawtrey remained by the fire beating the devil's tattoo upon the
chimney-piece, and ever and anon turning his glance towards Lilburne, who
seemed to have forgotten his existence.

Both these guests stayed till the party broke up; Mr. Gawtrey apparently
wishing to outstay Lord Lilburne; for, when the last went down-stairs,
Mr. Gawtrey, nodding to his comrade and giving a hurried bow to the host,
descended also.  As they passed the porter's lodge, they found Lilburne
on the step of his carriage; he turned his head abruptly, and again met
Mr. Gawtrey's eye; paused a moment, and whispered over his shoulder:

"So we remember each other, sir?  Let us not meet again; and, on that
condition, bygones are bygones."

"Scoundrel!"  muttered Gawtrey, clenching his fists; but the peer had
sprung into his carriage with a lightness scarcely to be expected from
his lameness, and the wheels whirled within an inch of the soi-disant
doctor's right pump.

Gawtrey walked on for some moments in great excitement; at length he
turned to his companion,--

"Do you guess who Lord Lilburne is?  I will tell you my first foe and
Fanny's grandfather!  Now, note the justice of Fate: here is this man--
mark well--this man who commenced life by putting his faults on my own
shoulders!  From that little boss has fungused out a terrible hump.  This
man who seduced my affianced bride, and then left her whole soul, once
fair and blooming--I swear it--with its leaves fresh from the dews of
heaven, one rank leprosy, this man who, rolling in riches, learned to
cheat and pilfer as a boy learns to dance and play the fiddle, and (to
damn me, whose happiness he had blasted) accused me to the world of his
own crime!--here is this man who has not left off one vice, but added to
those of his youth the bloodless craft of the veteran knave;--here is
this man, flattered, courted, great, marching through lanes of bowing
parasites to an illustrious epitaph and a marble tomb, and I, a rogue
too, if you will, but rogue for my bread, dating from him my errors and
my ruin!  I--vagabond--outcast--skulking through tricks to avoid crime--
why the difference?  Because one is born rich and the other poor--because
he has no excuse for crime, and therefore no one suspects him!"

The wretched man (for at that moment he was wretched) paused breathless
from his passionate and rapid burst, and before him rose in its marble
majesty, with the moon full upon its shining spires--the wonder of Gothic
Italy--the Cathedral Church of Milan.

"Chafe not yourself at the universal fate," said the young man, with a
bitter smile on his lips and pointing to the cathedral; "I have not lived
long, but I have learned already enough to know this? he who could raise
a pile like that, dedicated to Heaven, would be honoured as a saint; he
who knelt to God by the roadside under a hedge would be sent to the house
of correction as a vagabond.  The difference between man and man is
money, and will be, when you, the despised charlatan, and Lilburne, the
honoured cheat, have not left as much dust behind you as will fill a
snuff-box.  Comfort yourself, you are in the majority."



CHAPTER VII.

                                "A desert wild
          Before them stretched bare, comfortless, and vast,
          With gibbets, bones, and carcasses defiled."
                          THOMPSON'S _Castle of Indolenece_.

Mr. Gawtrey did not wish to give his foe the triumph of thinking he had
driven him from Milan; he resolved to stay and brave it out; but when he
appeared in public, he found the acquaintances he had formed bow
politely, but cross to the other side of the way.  No more invitations to
tea and cards showered in upon the jolly parson.  He was puzzled, for
people, while they shunned him, did not appear uncivil.  He found out at
last that a report was circulated that he was deranged; though he could
not trace this rumour to Lord Lilburne, he was at no loss to guess from
whom it had emanated.  His own eccentricities, especially his recent
manner at Mr. Macgregor's, gave confirmation to the charge.  Again the
funds began to sink low in the canvas bags, and at length, in despair,
Mr. Gawtrey was obliged to quit the field.  They returned to France
through Switzerland--a country too poor for gamesters; and ever since the
interview with Lilburne, a great change had come over Gawtrey's gay
spirit: he grew moody and thoughtful, he took no pains to replenish the
common stock, he talked much and seriously to his young friend of poor
Fanny, and owned that he yearned to see her again.  The desire to return
to Paris haunted him like a fatality; he saw the danger that awaited him
there, but it only allured him the more, as the candle does the moth
whose wings it has singed.  Birnie, who, in all their vicissitudes and
wanderings, their ups and downs, retained the same tacit, immovable
demeanour, received with a sneer the orders at last to march back upon
the French capital.  "You would never have left it, if you had taken my
advice," he said, and quitted the room.

Mr. Gawtrey gazed after him and muttered, "Is the die then cast?"

"What does he mean?" said Morton.

"You will know soon," replied Gawtrey, and he followed Birnie; and from
that time the whispered conferences with that person, which had seemed
suspended during their travels, were renewed.

            .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

One morning, three men were seen entering Paris on foot through the Porte
St. Denis.  It was a fine day in spring, and the old city looked gay with
its loitering passengers and gaudy shops, and under that clear blue
exhilarating sky so peculiar to France.

Two of these men walked abreast, the other preceded them a few steps.
The one who went first--thin, pale, and threadbare--yet seemed to suffer
the least from fatigue; he walked with a long, swinging, noiseless
stride, looking to the right and left from the corners of his eyes.  Of
the two who followed, one was handsome and finely formed, but of swarthy
complexion, young, yet with a look of care; the other, of sturdy frame,
leaned on a thick stick, and his eyes were gloomily cast down.

"Philip," said the last, "in coming back to Paris--I feel that I am
coming back to my grave!"

"Pooh--you were equally despondent in our excursions elsewhere."

"Because I was always thinking of poor Fanny, and because--because--
Birnie was ever at me with his horrible temptations!"

"Birnie!  I loathe the man!  Will you never get rid of him?"

"I cannot!  Hush! he will hear us.  How unlucky we have been! and now
without a son in our pockets--here the dunghill--there the gaol!  We are
in his power at last!"

"His power! what mean you?"

"What ho! Birnie!" cried Gawtrey, unheeding Morton's question.  "Let us
halt and breakfast: I am tired."

"You forget!--we have no money till we make it," returned Birnie,
coldly.--"Come to the _serrurier's_ he will trust us."



CHAPTER VIII.

          "Gaunt Beggary and Scorn with many bell-hounds more."
          THOMSON'S _Castle of Indolence_.

          "The other was a fell, despiteful fiend."--Ibid.

          "Your happiness behold! then straight a wand
          He waved, an anti-magic power that hath
          Truth from illusive falsehood to command."--Ibid.

          "But what for us, the children of despair,
          Brought to the brink of hell--what hope remains?
          RESOLVE, RESOLVE!"--Ibid.

It may be observed that there are certain years in which in a civilised
country some particular crime comes into vogue.  It flares its season,
and then burns out.  Thus at one time we have Burking--at another,
Swingism--now, suicide is in vogue--now, poisoning tradespeople in apple-
dumplings--now, little boys stab each other with penknives--now, common
soldiers shoot at their sergeants.  Almost every year there is one crime
peculiar to it; a sort of annual which overruns the country but does not
bloom again.  Unquestionably the Press has a great deal to do with these
epidemics.  Let a newspaper once give an account of some out-of-the-way
atrocity that has the charm of being novel, and certain depraved minds
fasten to it like leeches.  They brood over and revolve it--the idea
grows up, a horrid phantasmalian monomania; and all of a sudden, in a
hundred different places, the one seed sown by the leaden types springs
up into foul flowering.

     [An old Spanish writer, treating of the Inquisition, has some very
     striking remarks on the kind of madness which, whenever some
     terrible notoriety is given to a particular offence, leads persons
     of distempered fancy to accuse themselves of it.  He observes that
     when the cruelties of the Inquisition against the imaginary crime of
     sorcery were the most barbarous, this singular frenzy led numbers to
     accuse themselves of sorcery.  The publication and celebrity of the
     crime begat the desire of the crime.]

But if the first reported aboriginal crime has been attended with
impunity, how much more does the imitative faculty cling to it.  Ill-
judged mercy falls, not like dew, but like a great heap of manure, on the
rank deed.

Now it happened that at the time I write of, or rather a little before,
there had been detected and tried in Paris a most redoubted coiner.  He
had carried on the business with a dexterity that won admiration even for
the offence; and, moreover, he had served previously with some
distinction at Austerlitz and Marengo.  The consequence was that the
public went with instead of against him, and his sentence was transmuted
to three years' imprisonment by the government.  For all governments in
free countries aspire rather to be popular than just.

No sooner was this case reported in the journals--and even the gravest
took notice, of it (which is not common with the scholastic journals of
France)--no sooner did it make a stir and a sensation, and cover the
criminal with celebrity, than the result became noticeable in a very
large issue of false money.

Coining in the year I now write of was the fashionable crime.  The police
were roused into full vigour: it became known to them that there was one
gang in especial who cultivated this art with singular success.  Their
coinage was, indeed, so good, so superior to all their rivals, that it
was often unconsciously preferred by the public to the real mintage.  At
the same time they carried on their calling with such secrecy that they
utterly baffled discovery.

An immense reward was offered by the _bureau_ to any one who would betray
his accomplices, and Monsieur Favart was placed at the head of a
commission of inquiry.  This person had himself been a _faux monnoyer_,
and was an adept in the art, and it was he who had discovered the
redoubted coiner who had brought the crime into such notoriety.  Monsieur
Favart was a man of the most vigilant acuteness, the most indefatigable
research, and of a courage which; perhaps, is more common than we
suppose.  It is a popular error to suppose that courage means courage in
everything.  Put a hero on board ship at a five-barred gate, and, if he
is not used to hunting, he will turn pale; put a fox-hunter on one of the
Swiss chasms, over which the mountaineer springs like a roe, and his
knees will knock under him.  People are brave in the dangers to which
they accustom themselves, either in imagination or practice.

Monsieur Favart, then, was a man of the most daring bravery in facing
rogues and cut-throats.  He awed them with his very eye; yet he had been
known to have been kicked down-stairs by his wife, and when he was drawn
into the grand army, he deserted the eve of his first battle.  Such, as
moralists say, is the inconsistency of man!

But Monsieur Favart was sworn to trace the coiners, and he had never
failed yet in any enterprise he undertook.  One day he presented himself
to his chief with a countenance so elated that that penetrating
functionary said to him at once--

"You have heard of our messieurs!"

"I have: I am to visit them to-night."

"Bravo! How many men will you take?"

"From twelve to twenty to leave without on guard.  But I must enter
alone.  Such is the condition: an accomplice who fears his own throat too
much to be openly a betrayer will introduce me to the house--nay, to the
very room.  By his description it is necessary I should know the exact
locale in order to cut off retreat; so to-morrow night I shall surround
the beehive and take the honey."

"They are desperate fellows, these coiners, always; better be cautious."

"You forget I was one of them, and know the masonry."  About the same
time this conversation was going on at the bureau of the police, in
another part of the town Morton and Gawtrey were seated alone.  It is
some weeks since they entered Paris, and spring has mellowed into summer.

The house in which they lodged was in the lordly quartier of the Faubourg
St. Germain; the neighbouring streets were venerable with the ancient
edifices of a fallen noblesse; but their tenement was in a narrow, dingy
lane, and the building itself seemed beggarly and ruinous.  The apartment
was in an attic on the sixth story, and the window, placed at the back of
the lane, looked upon another row of houses of a better description, that
communicated with one of the great streets of the quartier.  The space
between their abode and their opposite neighbours was so narrow that the
sun could scarcely pierce between.  In the height of summer might be
found there a perpetual shade.

The pair were seated by the window.  Gawtrey, well-dressed, smooth-
shaven, as in his palmy time; Morton, in the same garments with which he
had entered Paris, weather-stained and ragged.  Looking towards the
casements of the attic in the opposite house, Gawtrey said, mutteringly,
"I wonder where Birnie has been, and why he has not returned.  I grow
suspicious of that man."

"Suspicious of what?"  asked Morton.  "Of his honesty?  Would he rob
you?"

"Rob me!  Humph--perhaps! but you see I am in Paris, in spite of the
hints of the police; he may denounce me."

"Why, then, suffer him to lodge away from you?"

"Why?  because, by having separate houses there are two channels of
escape.  A dark night, and a ladder thrown across from window to window,
he is with us, or we with him."

"But wherefore such precautions?  You blind--you deceive me; what have
you done?--what is your employment now?  You are, mute.  Hark you,
Gawtrey.  I have pinned my fate to you--I am fallen from hope itself!  At
times it almost makes me mad to look back--and yet you do not trust me.
Since your return to Paris you are absent whole nights--often days; you
are moody and thoughtful-yet, whatever your business, it seems to bring
you ample returns."

"You think that," said Gawtrey, mildly, and with a sort of pity in his
voice; "yet you refuse to take even the money to change those rags."

"Because I know not how the money was gained.  Ah, Gawtrey, I am not too
proud for charity, but I am for--" He checked the word uppermost in his
thoughts, and resumed--

"Yes; your occupations seem lucrative.  It was but yesterday Birnie gave
me fifty napoleons, for which he said you wished change in silver."

"Did he?  The ras--  Well!  and you got change for them?"

"I know not why, but I refused."

"That was right, Philip.  Do nothing that man tells you."

"Will you, then, trust me?  You are engaged in some horrible traffic! it
may be blood!  I am no longer a boy--I have a will of my own--I will not
be silently and blindly entrapped to perdition.  If I march thither, it
shall be with my own consent.  Trust me, and this day, or we part
to-morrow."

"Be ruled.  Some secrets it is better not to know."

"It matters not.  I have come to my decision--I ask yours."

Gawtrey paused for some moments in deep thought.  At last he lifted his
eyes to Philip, and replied:

"Well, then, if it must be.  Sooner or later it must have been so; and I
want a confidant.  You are bold, and will not shrink.  You desire to know
my occupation--will you witness it to-night?"

"I am prepared: to-night!"

Here a step was heard on the stairs--a knock at the door--and Birnie
entered.

He drew aside Gawtrey, and whispered him, as usual, for some moments.

Gawtrey nodded his head, and then said aloud--

"To-morrow we shall talk without reserve before my young friend.
To-night he joins us."

"To-night!--very well," said Birnie, with his cold sneer.  He must take
the oath; and you, with your life, will be responsible for his honesty?"

"Ay! it is the rule."

"Good-bye, then, till we meet," said Birnie, and withdrew.

"I wonder," said Gawtrey, musingly, and between his grinded teeth,
"whether I shall ever have a good fair shot at that fellow?  Ho! ho!"
and his laugh shook the walls.

Morton looked hard at Gawtrey, as the latter now sank down in his chair,
and gazed with a vacant stare, that seemed almost to partake of
imbecility, upon the opposite wall.  The careless, reckless, jovial
expression, which usually characterised the features of the man, had for
some weeks given place to a restless, anxious, and at times ferocious
aspect, like the beast that first finds a sport while the hounds are yet
afar, and his limbs are yet strong, in the chase which marks him for his
victim, but grows desperate with rage and fear as the day nears its
close, and the death-dogs pant hard upon his track.  But at that moment
the strong features, with their gnarled muscle and iron sinews, seemed to
have lost every sign both of passion and the will, and to be locked in a
stolid and dull repose.  At last he looked up at Morton, and said, with a
smile like that of an old man in his dotage--

"I'm thinking that my life has been one mistake!  I had talents--you
would not fancy it--but once I was neither a fool nor a villain!  Odd,
isn't it?  Just reach me the brandy."

But Morton, with a slight shudder, turned and left the room.

He walked on mechanically, and gained, at last, the superb _Quai_ that
borders the Seine; there, the passengers became more frequent; gay
equipages rolled along; the white and lofty mansions looked fair and
stately in the clear blue sky of early summer; beside him flowed the
sparkling river, animated with the painted baths that floated on its
surface: earth was merry and heaven serene his heart was dark through
all: Night within--Morning beautiful without!  At last he paused by that
bridge, stately with the statues of those whom the caprice of time
honours with a name; for though Zeus and his gods be overthrown, while
earth exists will live the worship of Dead Men;--the bridge by which you
pass from the royal Tuileries, or the luxurious streets beyond the Rue de
Rivoli, to the Senate of the emancipated People, and the gloomy and
desolate grandeur of the Faubourg St. Germain, in whose venerable haunts
the impoverished descendants of the old feudal tyrants, whom the birth of
the Senate overthrew, yet congregate;--the ghosts of departed powers
proud of the shadows of great names.  As the English outcast paused
midway on the bridge, and for the first time lifting his head from his
bosom, gazed around, there broke at once on his remembrance that terrible
and fatal evening, when, hopeless, friendless, desperate, he had begged
for charity of his uncle's hireling, with all the feelings that then (so
imperfectly and lightly touched on in his brief narrative to Gawtrey) had
raged and blackened in his breast, urging to the resolution he had
adopted, casting him on the ominous friendship of the man whose guidance
he even then had suspected and distrusted.  The spot in either city had a
certain similitude and correspondence each with each: at the first he had
consummated his despair of human destinies--he had dared to forget the
Providence of God--he had arrogated his fate to himself: by the first
bridge he had taken his resolve; by the last he stood in awe at the
result--stood no less poor--no less abject--equally in rags and squalor;
but was his crest as haughty and his eye as fearless, for was his
conscience as free and his honour as unstained?  Those arches of stone--
those rivers that rolled between, seemed to him then to take a more
mystic and typical sense than belongs to the outer world--they were the
bridges to the Rivers of his Life.  Plunged in thoughts so confused and
dim that he could scarcely distinguish, through the chaos, the one streak
of light which, perhaps, heralded the reconstruction or regeneration of
the elements of his soul;--two passengers halted, also by his side.

"You will be late for the debate," said one of them to the other.  "Why
do you stop?"

"My friend," said the other, "I never pass this spot without recalling
the time when I stood here without a son, or, as I thought, a chance of
one, and impiously meditated self-destruction."

"You!--now so rich--so fortunate in repute and station--is it possible?
How was it?  A lucky chance?--a sudden legacy?"

"No: Time, Faith, and Energy--the three Friends God has given to the
Poor!"

The men moved on; but Morton, who had turned his face towards them,
fancied that the last speaker fixed on him his bright, cheerful eye, with
a meaning look; and when the man was gone, he repeated those words, and
hailed them in his heart of hearts as an augury from above.

Quickly, then, and as if by magic, the former confusion of his mind
seemed to settle into distinct shapes of courage and resolve.  "Yes," he
muttered; "I will keep this night's appointment--I will learn the secret
of these men's life.  In my inexperience and destitution, I have suffered
myself to be led hitherto into a partnership, if not with vice and crime,
at least with subterfuge and trick.  I awake from my reckless boyhood--my
unworthy palterings with my better self.  If Gawtrey be as I dread to
find him--if he be linked in some guilty and hateful traffic; with that
loathsome accomplice--I will--"  He paused, for his heart whispered,
"Well, and even so,--the guilty man clothed and fed thee!"  "I will,"
resumed his thought, in answer to his heart--"I will go on my knees to
him to fly while there is yet time, to work--beg--starve--perish even--
rather than lose the right to look man in the face without a blush, and
kneel to his God without remorse!"

And as he thus ended, he felt suddenly as if he himself were restored to
the perception and the joy of the Nature and the World around him; the
NIGHT had vanished from his soul--he inhaled the balm and freshness of
the air--he comprehended the delight which the liberal June was
scattering over the earth--he looked above, and his eyes were suffused
with pleasure, at the smile of the soft blue skies.  The MORNING became,
as it were, a part of his own being; and he felt that as the world in
spite of the storms is fair, so in spite of evil God is good.  He walked
on--he passed the bridge, but his step was no more the same,--he forgot
his rags.  Why should he be ashamed?  And thus, in the very flush of this
new and strange elation and elasticity of spirit, he came unawares upon a
group of young men, lounging before the porch of one of the chief hotels
in that splendid Rue de Rivoli, wherein Wealth and the English have made
their homes.  A groom, mounted, was leading another horse up and down the
road, and the young men were making their comments of approbation upon
both the horses, especially the one led, which was, indeed, of uncommon
beauty and great value.  Even Morton, in whom the boyish passion of his
earlier life yet existed, paused to turn his experienced and admiring eye
upon the stately shape and pace of the noble animal, and as he did so, a
name too well remembered came upon his ear.

"Certainly, Arthur Beaufort is the most enviable fellow in Europe."

"Why, yes," said another of the young men; "he has plenty of money--is
good-looking, devilish good-natured, clever, and spends like a prince."

"Has the best horses!"

"The best luck at roulette!"

"The prettiest girls in love with him!"

"And no one enjoys life more.  Ah! here he is!"

The group parted as a light, graceful figure came out of a jeweller's
shop that adjoined the hotel, and halted gaily amongst the loungers.
Morton's first impulse was to hurry from the spot; his second impulse
arrested his step, and, a little apart, and half-hid beneath one of the
arches of the colonnade which adorns the street, the Outcast gazed upon.
the Heir.  There was no comparison in the natural personal advantages of
the two young men; for Philip Morton, despite all the hardships of his
rough career, had now grown up and ripened into a rare perfection of form
and feature.  His broad chest, his erect air, his lithe and symmetrical
length of limb, united, happily, the attributes of activity and strength;
and though there was no delicacy of youthful bloom upon his dark cheek,
and though lines which should have come later marred its smoothness with
the signs of care and thought, yet an expression of intelligence and
daring, equally beyond his years, and the evidence of hardy, abstemious,
vigorous health, served to show to the full advantage the outline of
features which, noble and regular, though stern and masculine, the artist
might have borrowed for his ideal of a young Spartan arming for his first
battle.  Arthur, slight to feebleness, and with the paleness, partly of
constitution, partly of gay excess, on his fair and clear complexion, had
features far less symmetrical and impressive than his cousin: but what
then?  All that are bestowed by elegance of dress, the refinements of
luxurious habit, the nameless grace that comes from a mind and a manner
polished, the one by literary culture, the other by social intercourse,
invested the person of the heir with a fascination that rude Nature alone
ever fails to give.  And about him there was a gaiety, an airiness of
spirit, an atmosphere of enjoyment which bespoke one who is in love with
life.

"Why, this is lucky!  I'm so glad to see you all!" said Arthur Beaufort,
with that silver-ringing tone and charming smile which are to the happy
spring of man what its music and its sunshine are to the spring of earth.
"You must dine with me at Verey's.  I want something to rouse me to-day;
for I did not get home from the _Salon_* till four this morning."

     *[The most celebrated gaming-house in Paris in the day before
     gaming-houses were suppressed by the well-directed energy of the
     government.]

"But you won?"

"Yes, Marsden.  Hang it!  I always win: I who could so well afford to
lose: I'm quite ashamed of my luck!"

"It is easy to spend what one wins," observed Mr. Marsden, sententiously;
"and I see you have been at the jeweller's!  A present for Cecile?  Well,
don't blush, my dear fellow.  What is life without women?"

"And wine?" said a second.  "And play?" said a third.  "And wealth?" said
a fourth.

"And you enjoy them all!  Happy fellow!" said a fifth.  The Outcast
pulled his hat over his brows, and walked away.

"This dear Paris," said Beaufort, as his eye carelessly and unconsciously
followed the dark form retreating through the arches;--"this dear Paris!
I must make the most of it while I stay!  I have only been here a few
weeks, and next week I must go."

"Pooh--your health is better: you don't look like the same man."

"You think so really?  Still I don't know: the doctors say that I must
either go to the German waters--the season is begun--or--"

"Or what?"

"Live less with such pleasant companions, my dear fellow!  But as you
say, what is life without--"

"Women!"

"Wine!"

"Play!"

"Wealth!"

"Ha! ha.  'Throw physic to the dogs: I'll none of it!'"

And Arthur leaped lightly on his saddle, and as he rode gaily on, humming
the favourite air of the last opera, the hoofs of his horse splashed the
mud over a foot-passenger halting at the crossing.  Morton checked the
fiery exclamation rising to his lips; and gazing after the brilliant form
that hurried on towards the Champs Elysees, his eye caught the statues on
the bridge, and a voice, as of a cheering angel, whispered again to his
heart, "TIME, FAITH, ENERGY!"

The expression of his countenance grew calm at once, and as he continued
his rambles it was with a mind that, casting off the burdens of the past,
looked serenely and steadily on the obstacles and hardships of the
future.  We have seen that a scruple of conscience or of pride, not
without its nobleness, had made him refuse the importunities of Gawtrey
for less sordid raiment; the same feeling made it his custom to avoid
sharing the luxurious and dainty food with which Gawtrey was wont to
regale himself.  For that strange man, whose wonderful felicity of
temperament and constitution rendered him, in all circumstances, keenly
alive to the hearty and animal enjoyments of life, would still emerge, as
the day declined, from their wretched apartment, and, trusting to his
disguises, in which indeed he possessed a masterly art, repair to one of
the better description of restaurants, and feast away his cares for the
moment.  William Gawtrey would not have cared three straws for the curse
of Damocles.  The sword over his head would never have spoiled his
appetite!  He had lately, too, taken to drinking much more deeply than he
had been used to do--the fine intellect of the man was growing thickened
and dulled; and this was a spectacle that Morton could not bear to
contemplate.  Yet so great was Gawtrey's vigour of health, that, after
draining wine and spirits enough to have despatched a company of fox-
hunters, and after betraying, sometimes in uproarious glee, sometimes in
maudlin self-bewailings, that he himself was not quite invulnerable to
the thyrsus of the god, he would--on any call on his energies, or
especially before departing on those mysterious expeditions which kept
him from home half, and sometimes all, the night--plunge his head into
cold water--drink as much of the lymph as a groom would have shuddered to
bestow on a horse--close his eyes in a doze for half an hour, and wake,
cool, sober, and collected, as if he had lived according to the precepts
of Socrates or Cornaro!

But to return to Morton.  It was his habit to avoid as much as possible
sharing the good cheer of his companion; and now, as he entered the,
Champs Elysees, he saw a little family, consisting of a young mechanic,
his wife, and two children, who, with that love of harmless recreation
which yet characterises the French, had taken advantage of a holiday in
the craft, and were enjoying their simple meal under the shadow of the
trees.  Whether in hunger or in envy, Morton paused and contemplated the
happy group.  Along the road rolled the equipages and trampled the steeds
of those to whom all life is a holiday.  There, was Pleasure--under those
trees was Happiness.  One of the children, a little boy of about six
years old, observing the attitude and gaze of the pausing wayfarer, ran
to him, and holding up a fragment of a coarse kind of cake, said to him,
willingly, "Take it--I have had enough!"  The child reminded Morton of
his brother--his heart melted within him--he lifted the young Samaritan
in his arms, and as he kissed him, wept.

The mother observed and rose also.  She laid her hand on his own: "Poor
boy! why do you weep?--can we relieve you?"

Now that bright gleam of human nature, suddenly darting across the sombre
recollections and associations of his past life, seemed to Morton as if
it came from Heaven, in approval and in blessing of this attempt at
reconciliation to his fate.

"I thank you," said he, placing the child on the ground, and passing his
hand over his eyes,--"I thank you--yes!  Let me sit down amongst you."
And he sat down, the child by his side, and partook of their fare, and
was merry with them,--the proud Philip!--had he not begun to discover the
"precious jewel" in the "ugly and venomous" Adversity?

The mechanic, though a gay fellow on the whole, was not without some of
that discontent of his station which is common with his class; he vented
it, however, not in murmurs, but in jests.  He was satirical on the
carriages and the horsemen that passed; and, lolling on the grass,
ridiculed his betters at his ease.

"Hush!" said his wife, suddenly; "here comes Madame de Merville;" and
rising as she spoke, she made a respectful inclination of her head
towards an open carriage that was passing very slowly towards the town.

"Madame de Merville!" repeated the husband, rising also, and lifting his
cap from his head.  "Ah! I have nothing to say against her!"

Morton looked instinctively towards the carriage, and saw a fair
countenance turned graciously to answer the silent salutations of the
mechanic and his wife--a countenance that had long haunted his dreams,
though of late it had faded away beneath harsher thoughts--the
countenance of the stranger whom he had seen at the bureau of Gawtrey,
when that worthy personage had borne a more mellifluous name.  He started
and changed colour: the lady herself now seemed suddenly to recognise
him; for their eyes met, and she bent forward eagerly.  She pulled the
check-string--the carriage halted--she beckoned to the mechanic's wife,
who went up to the roadside.

"I worked once for that lady," said the man with a tone of feeling; "and
when my wife fell ill last winter she paid the doctors.  Ah, she is an
angel of charity and kindness!"

Morton scarcely heard this eulogium, for he observed, by something eager
and inquisitive in the face of Madame de Merville, and by the sudden
manner in which the mechanic's helpmate turned her head to the spot in
which he stood, that he was the object of their conversation.  Once more
he became suddenly aware of his ragged dress, and with a natural shame--a
fear that charity might be extended to him from her--he muttered an
abrupt farewell to the operative, and without another glance at the
carriage, walked away.

Before he had got many paces, the wife however came up to him,
breathless. "Madame de Merville would speak to you, sir!" she said, with
more respect than she had hitherto thrown into her manner.  Philip paused
an instant, and again strode on--

"It must be some mistake," he said, hurriedly: "I have no right to expect
such an honour."

He struck across the road, gained the opposite side, and had vanished
from Madame de Merville's eyes, before the woman regained the carriage.
But still that calm, pale, and somewhat melancholy face, presented itself
before him; and as he walked again through the town, sweet and gentle
fancies crowded confusedly on his heart.  On that soft summer day,
memorable for so many silent but mighty events in that inner life which
prepares the catastrophes of the outer one; as in the region, of which
Virgil has sung, the images of men to be born hereafter repose or glide--
on that soft summer day, he felt he had reached the age when Youth begins
to clothe in some human shape its first vague ideal of desire and love.

In such thoughts, and still wandering, the day wore away, till he found
himself in one of the lanes that surround that glittering Microcosm of
the vices, the frivolities, the hollow show, and the real beggary of the
gay City--the gardens and the galleries of the Palais Royal.  Surprised
at the lateness of the hour, it was then on the stroke of seven, he was
about to return homewards, when the loud voice of Gawtrey sounded behind,
and that personage, tapping him on the back, said,--

"Hollo, my young friend, well met!  This will be a night of trial to you.
Empty stomachs produce weak nerves.  Come along! you must dine with me.
A good dinner and a bottle of old wine--come! nonsense, I say you shall
come! _Vive la joie_!"

While speaking, he had linked his arm in Morton's, and hurried him on
several paces in spite of his struggles; but just as the words _Vive la
joie_ left his lips, he stood still and mute, as if a thunderbolt had
fallen at his feet; and Morton felt that heavy arm shiver and tremble
like a leaf. He looked up, and just at the entrance of that part of the
Palais Royal in which are situated the restaurants of Verey and Vefour,
he saw two men standing but a few paces before them, and gazing full on
Gawtrey and himself.

"It is my evil genius," muttered Gawtrey, grinding his teeth.

"And mine!" said Morton.

The younger of the two men thus apostrophised made a step towards Philip,
when his companion drew him back and whispered,--"What are you about--do
you know that young man?"

"He is my cousin; Philip Beaufort's natural son!"

"Is he? then discard him for ever.  He is with the most dangerous knave
in Europe!"

As Lord Lilburne--for it was he--thus whispered his nephew, Gawtrey
strode up to him; and, glaring full in his face, said in a deep and
hollow tone,--"There is a hell, my lord,--I go to drink to our meeting!"
Thus saying, he took off his hat with a ceremonious mockery, and
disappeared within the adjoining restaurant, kept by Vefour.

"A hell!" said Lilburne, with his frigid smile; "the rogue's head runs
upon gambling-houses!"

"And I have suffered Philip again to escape me," said Arthur, in
self-reproach: for while Gawtrey had addressed Lord Lilburne, Morton had
plunged back amidst the labyrinth of alleys.  "How have I kept my oath?"

"Come! your guests must have arrived by this time.  As for that wretched
young man, depend upon it that he is corrupted body and soul."

"But he is my own cousin."



"Pooh! there is no relationship in natural children: besides, he will
find you out fast enough.  Ragged claimants are not long too proud to
beg."

"You speak in earnest?" said Arthur, irresolutely.  "Ay! trust my
experience of the world--Allons!"

And in a _cabinet_ of the very _restaurant_, adjoining that in which the
solitary Gawtrey gorged his conscience, Lilburne, Arthur, and their gay
friends, soon forgetful of all but the roses of the moment, bathed their
airy spirits in the dews of the mirthful wine.  Oh, extremes of life!
Oh, Night!  Oh, Morning!



CHAPTER IX.

"Meantime a moving scene was open laid,
That lazar house."--THOMSON'S _Castle of Indolence_.

It was near midnight.  At the mouth of the lane in which Gawtrey resided
there stood four men.  Not far distant, in the broad street at angles
with the lane, were heard the wheels of carriages and the sound of music.
A lady, fair in form, tender of heart, stainless in repute, was receiving
her friends!

"Monsieur Favart," said one of the men to the smallest of the four; "you
understand the conditions--20,000 francs and a free pardon?"

"Nothing more reasonable--it is understood.  Still I confess that I
should like to have my men close at hand.  I am not given to fear; but
this is a dangerous experiment."

"You knew the danger beforehand and subscribed to it: you must enter
alone with me, or not at all.  Mark you, the men are sworn to murder him
who betrays them.  Not for twenty times 20,000 francs would I have them
know me as the informer.  My life were not worth a day's purchase.  Now,
if you feel secure in your disguise, all is safe.  You will have seen
them at their work--you will recognise their persons--you can depose
against them at the trial--I shall have time to quit France."

"Well, well! as you please."

"Mind, you must wait in the vault with them till they separate.  We have
so planted your men that whatever street each of the gang takes in going
home, he can be seized quietly and at once.  The bravest and craftiest of
all, who, though he has but just joined, is already their captain;--him,
the man I told you of, who lives in the house, you must take after his
return, in his bed.  It is the sixth story to the right, remember: here
is the key to his door.  He is a giant in strength; and will never be
taken alive if up and armed."

"Ah, I comprehend!--Gilbert" (and Favart turned to one of his companions
who had not yet spoken) "take three men besides yourself, according to
the directions I gave you,--the porter will admit you, that's arranged.
Make no noise.  If I don't return by four o'clock, don't wait for me, but
proceed at once.  Look well to your primings.  Take him alive, if
possible--at the worst, dead.  And now--anon ami--lead on!"

The traitor nodded, and walked slowly down the street.  Favart, pausing,
whispered hastily to the man whom he had called Gilbert,--

"Follow me close--get to the door of the cellar-place eight men within
hearing of my whistle--recollect the picklocks, the axes.  If you hear
the whistle, break in; if not, I'm safe, and the first orders to seize
the captain in his room stand good."

So saying, Favart strode after his guide.  The door of a large, but ill-
favoured-looking house stood ajar--they entered-passed unmolested through
a court-yard--descended some stairs; the guide unlocked the door of a
cellar, and took a dark lantern from under his cloak.  As he drew up the
slide, the dim light gleamed on barrels and wine-casks, which appeared to
fill up the space.  Rolling aside one of these, the guide lifted a trap-
door, and lowered his lantern.  "Enter," said he; and the two men
disappeared.

               .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

The coiners were at their work.  A man, seated on a stool before a desk,
was entering accounts in a large book.  That man was William Gawtrey.
While, with the rapid precision of honest mechanics, the machinery of the
Dark Trade went on in its several departments.  Apart--alone--at the foot
of a long table, sat Philip Morton.  The truth had exceeded his darkest
suspicions.  He had consented to take the oath not to divulge what was to
be given to his survey; and when, led into that vault, the bandage was
taken from his eyes, it was some minutes before he could fully comprehend
the desperate and criminal occupations of the wild forms amidst which
towered the burly stature of his benefactor.  As the truth slowly grew
upon him, he shrank from the side of Gawtrey; but, deep compassion for
his friend's degradation swallowing up the horror of the trade, he flung
himself on one of the rude seats, and felt that the bond between them was
indeed broken, and that the next morning he should be again alone in the
world.  Still, as the obscene jests, the fearful oaths, that from time to
time rang through the vault, came on his ear, he cast his haughty eye in
such disdain over the groups, that Gawtrey, observing him, trembled for
his safety; and nothing but Philip's sense of his own impotence, and the
brave, not timorous, desire not to perish by such hands, kept silent the
fiery denunciations of a nature still proud and honest, that quivered on
his lips.  All present were armed with pistols and cutlasses except
Morton, who suffered the weapons presented to him to lie unheeded on the
table.

"_Courage, mes amis_!" said Gawtrey, closing his book,--"_Courage_!"--a
few months more, and we shall have made enough to retire upon, and enjoy
ourselves for the rest of the days.  Where is Birnie?"

"Did he not tell you?"  said one of the artisans, looking up.  "He has
found out the cleverest hand in France, the very fellow who helped
Bouchard in all his five-franc pieces.  He has promised to bring him
to-night."

"Ay, I remember," returned Gawtrey, "he told me this morning,--he is a
famous decoy!"

"I think so, indeed!"  quoth a coiner; "for he caught you, the best head
to our hands that ever _les industriels_ were blessed with--_sacre
fichtre_!"

"Flatterer!"  said Gawtrey, coming from the desk to the table, and
pouring out wine from one of the bottles into a huge flagon--"To your
healths!"

Here the door slided back, and Birnie glided in.

"Where is  your booty, _mon brave_?"  said  Gawtrey.  "We only coin
money; you coin men, stamp with your own seal, and send them current to
the devil!"

The coiners, who liked Birnie's ability (for the ci-devant engraver was
of admirable skill in their craft), but who hated his joyless manners,
laughed at this taunt, which Birnie did not seem to heed, except by a
malignant gleam of his dead eye.

"If you mean the celebrated coiner, Jacques Giraumont, he waits without.
You know our rules.  I cannot admit him without leave."

"_Bon_! we give it,--eh, messieurs?"  said Gawtrey.  "Ay-ay," cried
several voices.  "He knows the oath, and will hear the penalty."

"Yes, he knows the oath," replied Birnie, and glided back.

In a moment more he returned with a small man in a mechanic's blouse.
The new comer wore the republican beard and moustache--of a sandy grey--
his hair was the same colour; and a black patch over one eye increased
the ill-favoured appearance of his features.

"_Diable_!  Monsieur Giraumont! but you are more like Vulcan than
Adonis!" said Gawtrey.

"I don't know anything about Vulcan, but I know how to make five-franc
pieces," said Monsieur Giraumont, doggedly.

"Are you poor?"

"As a church mouse!  The only thing belonging to a church, since the
Bourbons came back, that is poor!"

At this sally, the coiners, who had gathered round the table, uttered the
shout with which, in all circumstances, Frenchmen receive a _bon mot_.

"Humph!" said Gawtrey.  "Who responds with his own life for your
fidelity?"

"I," said Birnie.

"Administer the oath to him."

Suddenly four men advanced, seized the visitor, and bore him from the
vault into another one within.  After a few moments they returned.

"He has taken the oath and heard the penalty."

"Death to yourself, your wife, your son, and your grandson, if you betray
us!"

"I have neither son nor grandson; as for my wife, Monsieur le Capitaine,
you offer a bribe instead of a threat when you talk of her death."

"Sacre! but you will be an addition to our circle, _mon brave_!"  said
Gawtrey, laughing; while again the grim circle shouted applause.

"But I suppose you care for your own life."

"Otherwise I should have preferred starving to coming here," answered the
laconic neophyte.

"I have done with you.  Your health!"

On this the coiners gathered round Monsieur Giraumont, shook him by the
hand, and commenced many questions with a view to ascertain his skill.

"Show me your coinage first; I see you use both the die and the furnace.
Hem!  this piece is not bad--you have struck it from an iron die?--right
--it makes the impression sharper than plaster of Paris.  But you take
the poorest and the most dangerous part of the trade in taking the home
market.  I can put you in a way to make ten times as much--and with
safety.  Look at this!"--and Monsieur Giraumont took a forged Spanish
dollar from his pocket, so skilfully manufactured that the connoisseurs
were lost in admiration--"you may pass thousands of these all over
Europe, except France, and who is ever to detect you?  But it will
require better machinery than you have here."

Thus conversing, Monsieur Giraumont did not perceive that Mr. Gawtrey had
been examining him very curiously and minutely.  But Birnie had noted
their chief's attention, and once attempted to join his new ally, when
Gawtrey laid his hand on his shoulder, and stopped him.

"Do not speak to your friend till I bid you, or--" lie stopped short, and
touched his pistols.

Birnie grew a shade more pale, but replied with his usual sneer:

"Suspicious!--well, so much the better!"  and seating himself carelessly
at the table, lighted his pipe.

"And now, Monsieur Giraumont," said Gawtrey, as he took the head of the
table, "come to my right hand.  A half-holiday in your honour.  Clear
these infernal instruments; and more wine, mes amis!"

The party arranged themselves at the table.  Among the desperate there is
almost invariably a tendency to mirth.  A solitary ruffian, indeed, is
moody, but a gang of ruffians are jovial.  The coiners talked and laughed
loud.  Mr. Birnie, from his dogged silence, seemed apart from the rest,
though in the centre.  For in a noisy circle a silent tongue builds a
wall round its owner.  But that respectable personage kept his furtive
watch upon Giraumont and Gawtrey, who appeared talking together, very
amicably.  The younger novice of that night, equally silent, seated
towards the bottom of the table, was not less watchful than Birnie.  An
uneasy, undefinable foreboding had come over him since the entrance of
Monsieur Giraumont; this had been increased by the manner of Mr. Gawtrey.
His faculty of observation, which was very acute, had detected something
false in the chief's blandness to their guest--something dangerous in the
glittering eye that Gawtrey ever, as he spoke to Giraumont, bent on that
person's lips as he listened to his reply.  For, whenever William Gawtrey
suspected a man, he watched not his eyes, but his lips.

Waked from his scornful reverie, a strange spell chained Morton's
attention to the chief and the guest, and he bent forward, with parted
mouth and straining ear, to catch their conversation.

"It seems to me a little strange," said Mr. Gawtrey, raising his voice so
as to be heard by the party, "that a coiner so dexterous as Monsieur
Giraumont should not be known to any of us except our friend Birnie."

"Not at all," replied Giraumont; "I worked only with Bouchard and two
others since sent to the galleys.  We were but a small fraternity--
everything has its commencement."

"_C'est juste: buvez, donc, cher ami_!"

The wine circulated.  Gawtrey began again:

"You have had a bad accident, seemingly, Monsieur Giraumont.  How did you
lose your eye?"

"In a scuffle with the _gens d' armes_ the night Bouchard was taken and I
escaped.  Such misfortunes are on the cards."

"C'est juste: buvez, donc, Monsieur Giraumont!"

Again there was a pause, and again Gawtrey's deep voice was heard.

"You wear a wig, I think, Monsieur Giraumont?  To judge by your eyelashes
your own hair has been a handsomer colour."

"We seek disguise, not beauty, my host; and the police have sharp eyes."

"_C'est juste: buvez, donc-vieux Renard_!  When did we two meet last?"

"Never, that I know of."

"_Ce n'est pas vrai! buvez, donc, MONSIEUR FAVART_!"

At the sound of that name the company started in dismay and confusion,
and the police officer, forgetting himself for the moment, sprang from
his seat, and put his right hand into his blouse.

"Ho, there!--treason!"  cried Gawtrey, in a voice of thunder; and he
caught the unhappy man by the throat.  It was the work of a moment.
Morton, where he sat, beheld a struggle--he heard a death-cry.  He saw
the huge form of the master-coiner rising above all the rest, as
cutlasses gleamed and eyes sparkled round.  He saw the quivering and
powerless frame of the unhappy guest raised aloft in those mighty arms,
and presently it was hurled along the table-bottles crashing--the board
shaking beneath its weight--and lay before the very eyes of Morton, a
distorted and lifeless mass.  At the same instant Gawtrey sprang upon the
table, his black frown singling out from the group the ashen, cadaverous
face of the shrinking traitor.  Birnie had darted from the table--he was
half-way towards the sliding door--his face, turned over his shoulder,
met the eyes of the chief.

"Devil!" shouted Gawtrey, in his terrible voice, which the echoes of the
vault gave back from side to side.  "Did I not give thee up my soul that
thou mightest not compass my death?  Hark ye! thus die my slavery and all
our secrets!"  The explosion of his pistol half swallowed up the last
word, and with a single groan the traitor fell on the floor, pierced
through the brain--then there was a dead and grim hush as the smoke
rolled slowly along the roof of the dreary vault.

Morton sank back on his seat, and covered his face with his hands.  The
last seal on the fate of THE MAN OF CRIME was set; the last wave in the
terrible and mysterious tide of his destiny had dashed on his soul to the
shore whence there is no return.  Vain, now and henceforth, the humour,
the sentiment, the kindly impulse, the social instincts which had
invested that stalwart shape with dangerous fascination, which had
implied the hope of ultimate repentance, of redemption even in this
world.  The HOUR and the CIRCUMSTANCE had seized their prey; and the
self-defence, which a lawless career rendered a necessity, left the
eternal die of blood upon his doom!

"Friends, I have saved you," said Gawtrey, slowly gazing on the corpse of
his second victim, while he turned the pistol to his belt.  "I have not
quailed before this man's eye" (and he spurned the clay of the officer as
he spoke with a revengeful scorn) "without treasuring up its aspect in my
heart of hearts.  I knew him when he entered--knew him through his
disguise--yet, faith, it was a clever one!  Turn up his face and gaze on
him now; he will never terrify us again, unless there be truth in ghosts!"

Murmuring and tremulous the coiners scrambled on the table and examined
the dead man.  From this task Gawtrey interrupted them, for his quick eye
detected, with the pistols under the policeman's blouse, a whistle of
metal of curious construction, and he conjectured at once that danger was
at hand.

"I have saved you, I say, but only for the hour.  This deed cannot sleep.
See, he had help within call!  The police knew where to look for their
comrade--we are dispersed.  Each for himself.  Quick, divide the spoils!
_Sauve qui peat_!"

Then Morton heard where he sat, his hands still clasped before his face,
a confused hubbub of voices, the jingle of money, the scrambling of feet,
the creaking of doors.  All was silent!

A strong grasp drew his hands from his eyes.

"Your first scene of life against life," said Gawtrey's voice, which
seemed fearfully changed to the ear that beard it.  "Bah! what would you
think of a battle?  Come to our eyrie: the carcasses are gone."

Morton looked fearfully round the vault.  He and Gawtrey were alone.  His
eyes sought the places where the dead had lain--they were removed--no
vestige of the deeds, not even a drop of blood.

"Come, take up your cutlass, come!"  repeated the voice of the chief, as
with his dim lantern--now the sole light of the vault--he stood in the
shadow of the doorway.

Morton rose, took up the weapon mechanically, and followed that terrible
guide, mute and unconscious, as a Soul follows a Dream through the House
of Sleep!



CHAPTER X.

               "Sleep no more!"--_Macbeth_

After winding through gloomy and labyrinthine passages, which conducted
to a different range of cellars from those entered by the unfortunate
Favart, Gawtrey emerged at the foot of a flight of stairs, which, dark,
narrow, and in many places broken, had been probably appropriated to
servants of the house in its days of palmier glory.  By these steps the
pair regained their attic.  Gawtrey placed the lantern on the table and
seated himself in silence.  Morton, who had recovered his self-possession
and formed his resolution, gazed on him for some moments, equally
taciturn.  At length he spoke:

"Gawtrey!"

"I bade you not call me by that name," said the coiner; for we need
scarcely say that in his new trade he had assumed a new appellation.

"It is the least guilty one by which I have known you," returned Morton,
firmly.  "It is for the last time I call you by it!  I demanded to see by
what means one to whom I had entrusted my fate supported himself.  I have
seen," continued the young man, still firmly, but with a livid cheek and
lip, "and the tie between us is rent for ever.  Interrupt me not! it is
not for me to blame you.  I have eaten of your bread and drunk of your
cup.  Confiding in you too blindly, and believing that you were at least
free from those dark and terrible crimes for which there is no expiation
--at least in this life--my conscience seared by distress, my very soul
made dormant by despair, I surrendered myself to one leading a career
equivocal, suspicious, dishonourable perhaps, but still not, as I
believed, of atrocity and bloodshed.  I wake at the brink of the abyss--
my mother's hand beckons to me from the grave; I think I hear her voice
while I address you--I recede while it is yet time--we part, and for
ever!"

Gawtrey, whose stormy passion was still deep upon his soul, had listened
hitherto in sullen and dogged silence, with a gloomy frown on his knitted
brow; he now rose with an oath--

"Part! that I may let loose on the world a new traitor!  Part! when you
have seen me fresh from an act that, once whispered, gives me to the
guillotine!  Part--never! at least alive!"

"I have said it," said Morton, folding his arms calmly; I say it to your
face, though I might part from you in secret.  Frown not on me, man of
blood!  I am fearless as yourself!  In another minute I am gone."

"Ah! is it so?"  said Gawtrey; and glancing round the room, which
contained two doors, the one concealed by the draperies of a bed,
communicating with the stairs by which they had entered, the other with
the landing of the principal and common flight: he turned to the former,
within his reach, which he locked, and put the key into his pocket, and
then, throwing across the latter a heavy swing bar, which fell into its
socket with a harsh noise,--before the threshold he placed his vast bulk,
and burst into his loud, fierce laugh: "Ho! ho!  Slave and fool, once
mine, you were mine body and soul for ever!"

"Tempter, I defy you! stand back!"  And, firm and dauntless, Morton laid
his hand on the giant's vest.

Gawtrey seemed more astonished than enraged.  He looked hard at his
daring associate, on whose lip the down was yet scarcely dark.

"Boy," said he, "off! do not rouse the devil in me again!  I could crush
you with a hug."

"My soul supports my body, and I am armed," said Morton, laying hand on
his cutlass.  "But you dare not harm me, nor I you; bloodstained as you
are, you gave me shelter and bread; but accuse me not that I will save my
soul while it is yet time!--Shall my mother have blessed me in vain upon
her death-bed?"

Gawtrey drew back, and Morton, by a sudden impulse, grasped his hand.

"Oh! hear me-hear me!"  he cried, with great emotion.  "Abandon this
horrible career; you have been decoyed and betrayed to it by one who can
deceive or terrify you no more!  Abandon it, and I will never desert you.
For her sake--for your Fanny's sake--pause, like me, before the gulf
swallow us.  Let us fly!--far to the New World--to any land where our
thews and sinews, our stout hands and hearts, can find an honest mart.
Men, desperate as we are, have yet risen by honest means.  Take her, your
orphan, with us.  We will work for her, both of us.  Gawtrey! hear me.
It is not my voice that speaks to you--it is your good angel's!"

Gawtrey fell back against the wall, and his chest heaved.

"Morton," he said, with choked and tremulous accent, "go now; leave me to
my fate!  I have sinned against you--shamefully sinned.  It seemed to me
so sweet to have a friend; in your youth and character of mind there was
so much about which the tough strings of my heart wound themselves, that
I could not bear to lose you--to suffer you to know me for what I was.
I blinded--I deceived you as to my past deeds; that was base in me: but I
swore to my own heart to keep you unexposed to every danger, and free
from every vice that darkened my own path.  I kept that oath till this
night, when, seeing that you began to recoil from me, and dreading that
you should desert me, I thought to bind you to me for ever by implicating
you in this fellowship of crime.  I am punished, and justly.  Go, I
repeat--leave me to the fate that strides nearer and nearer to me day by
day.  You are a boy still--I am no longer young.  Habit is a second
nature.  Still--still I could repent--I could begin life again.  But
repose!--to look back--to remember--to be haunted night and day with
deeds that shall meet me bodily and face to face on the last day--"

"Add not to the spectres!  Come--fly this night--this hour!"

Gawtrey paused, irresolute and wavering, when at that moment he heard
steps on the stairs below.  He started--as starts the boar caught in his
lair--and listened, pale and breathless.

"Hush!--they are on us!--they come!" as he whispered, the key from
without turned in the wards--the door shook.  "Soft! the bar preserves us
both--this way."  And the coiner crept to the door of the private stairs.
He unlocked and opened it cautiously.  A man sprang through the aperture:

"Yield!--you are my prisoner!"

"Never!" cried Gawtrey, hurling back the intruder, and clapping to the
door, though other and stout men were pressing against it with all their
power.

"Ho! ho!  Who shall open the tiger's cage?"

At both doors now were heard the sound of voices.  "Open in the king's
name, or expect no mercy!"

"Hist!" said Gawtrey.  "One way yet--the window--the rope."

Morton opened the casement--Gawtrey uncoiled the rope.  The dawn was
breaking; it was light in the streets, but all seemed quiet without.  The
doors reeled and shook beneath the pressure of the pursuers.  Gawtrey
flung the rope across the street to the opposite parapet; after two or
three efforts, the grappling-hook caught firm hold--the perilous path was
made.

"On!--quick!--loiter not!"  whispered Gawtrey; "you are active--it seems
more dangerous than it is--cling with both hands-shut your eyes.  When on
the other side--you see the window of Birnie's room,--enter it--descend
the stairs--let yourself out, and you are safe."

"Go first," said Morton, in the same tone: "I will not leave you now: you
will be longer getting across than I shall.  I will keep guard till you
are over."

"Hark! hark!--are you mad?  You keep guard! what is your strength to
mine?  Twenty men shall not move that door, while my weight is against
it.  Quick, or you destroy us both!  Besides, you will hold the rope for
me, it may not be strong enough for my bulk in itself.  Stay!--stay one
moment.  If you escape, and I fall--Fanny--my father, he will take care
of her,--you remember--thanks!  Forgive me all!  Go; that's right!"

With a firm impulse, Morton threw himself on the dreadful bridge; it
swung and crackled at his weight.  Shifting his grasp rapidly--holding
his breath--with set teeth-with closed eyes--he moved on--he gained the
parapet--he stood safe on the opposite side.  And now, straining his eyes
across, he saw through the open casement into the chamber he had just
quitted.  Gawtrey was still standing against the door to the principal
staircase, for that of the two was the weaker and the more assailed.
Presently the explosion of a fire-arm was heard; they had shot through
the panel.  Gawtrey seemed wounded, for he staggered forward, and uttered
a fierce cry; a moment more, and he gained the window--he seized the
rope--he hung over the tremendous depth!  Morton knelt by the parapet,
holding the grappling-hook in its place, with convulsive grasp, and
fixing his eyes, bloodshot with fear and suspense, on the huge bulk that
clung for life to that slender cord!

"Le voiles!  Le voiles!"  cried a voice from the opposite side.  Morton
raised his gaze from Gawtrey; the casement was darkened by the forms of
his pursuers--they had burst into the room--an officer sprang upon the
parapet, and Gawtrey, now aware of his danger, opened his eyes, and as he
moved on, glared upon the foe.  The policeman deliberately raised his
pistol--Gawtrey arrested himself--from a wound in his side the blood
trickled slowly and darkly down, drop by drop, upon the stones below;
even the officers of law shuddered as they eyed him--his hair bristling
--his cheek white--his lips drawn convulsively from his teeth, and his
eyes glaring from beneath the frown of agony and menace in which yet
spoke the indomitable power and fierceness of the man.  His look, so
fixed--so intense--so stern, awed the policeman; his hand trembled as he
fired, and the ball struck the parapet an inch below the spot where
Morton knelt.  An indistinct, wild, gurgling sound-half-laugh, half-yell
of scorn and glee, broke from Gawtrey's lips.  He swung himself on--near
--near--nearer--a yard from the parapet.

"You are saved!"  cried Morton; when at the moment a volley burst from
the fatal casement--the smoke rolled over both the fugitives--a groan, or
rather howl, of rage, and despair, and agony, appalled even the hardest
on whose ear it came.  Morton sprang to his feet and looked below.  He
saw on the rugged stones far down, a dark, formless, motionless mass--the
strong man of passion and levity--the giant who had played with life and
soul, as an infant with the baubles that it prizes and breaks--was what
the Caesar and the leper alike are, when the clay is without God's
breath--what glory, genius, power, and beauty, would be for ever and for
ever, if there were no God!

"There is another!" cried the voice of one of the pursuers.  "Fire!"

"Poor Gawtrey!" muttered Philip.  "I will fulfil your last wish;" and
scarcely conscious of the bullet that whistled by him, he disappeared
behind the parapet.



CHAPTER XI.

                         "Gently moved
          By the soft wind of whispering silks."--DECKER.

The reader may remember that while Monsieur Favart and Mr. Birnie were
holding commune in the lane, the sounds of festivity were heard from a
house in the adjoining street.  To that house we are now summoned.

At Paris, the gaieties of balls, or soirees, are, I believe, very rare in
that period of the year in which they are most frequent in London.  The
entertainment now given was in honour of a christening; the lady who gave
it, a relation of the new-born.

Madame de Merville was a young widow; even before her marriage she had
been distinguished in literature; she had written poems of more than
common excellence; and being handsome, of good family, and large fortune,
her talents made her an object of more interest than they might otherwise
have done.  Her poetry showed great sensibility and tenderness.  If
poetry be any index to the heart, you would have thought her one to love
truly and deeply.  Nevertheless, since she married--as girls in France
do--not to please herself, but her parents, she made a _mariage de
convenance_.  Monsieur de Merville was a sober, sensible man, past middle
age.  Not being fond of poetry, and by no means coveting a professional
author for his wife, he had during their union, which lasted four years,
discouraged his wife's liaison with Apollo.  But her mind, active and
ardent, did not the less prey upon itself.  At the age of four-and-twenty
she became a widow, with an income large even in England for a single
woman, and at Paris constituting no ordinary fortune.  Madame de
Merville, however, though a person of elegant taste, was neither
ostentatious nor selfish; she had no children, and she lived quietly in
apartments, handsome, indeed, but not more than adequate to the small
establishment which--where, as on the Continent, the costly convenience
of an entire house is not usually incurred--sufficed for her retinue.
She devoted at least half her income, which was entirely at her own
disposal, partly to the aid of her own relations, who were not rich, and
partly to the encouragement of the literature she cultivated.  Although
she shrank from the ordeal of publication, her poems and sketches of
romance were read to her own friends, and possessed an eloquence seldom
accompanied with so much modesty.  Thus, her reputation, though not blown
about the winds, was high in her own circle, and her position in fashion
and in fortune made her looked up to by her relations as the head of her
family; they regarded her as _femme superieure_, and her advice with them
was equivalent to a command.  Eugenie de Merville was a strange mixture
of qualities at once feminine and masculine.  On the one hand, she had a
strong will, independent views, some contempt for the world, and followed
her own inclinations without servility to the opinion of others; on the
other hand, she was susceptible, romantic, of a sweet, affectionate, kind
disposition.  Her visit to M. Love, however indiscreet, was not less in
accordance with her character than her charity to the mechanic's wife;
masculine and careless where an eccentric thing was to be done--curiosity
satisfied, or some object in female diplomacy achieved--womanly,
delicate, and gentle, the instant her benevolence was appealed to or her
heart touched.  She had now been three years a widow, and was
consequently at the age of twenty-seven.  Despite the tenderness of her
poetry and her character, her reputation was unblemished.  She had never
been in love.  People who are much occupied do not fall in love easily;
besides, Madame de Merville was refining, exacting, and wished to find
heroes where she only met handsome dandies or ugly authors.  Moreover,
Eugenie was both a vain and a proud person--vain of her celebrity and
proud of her birth.  She was one whose goodness of heart made her always
active in promoting the happiness of others.  She was not only generous
and charitable, but willing to serve people by good offices as well as
money.  Everybody loved her.  The new-born infant, to whose addition to
the Christian community the fete of this night was dedicated, was the
pledge of a union which Madame de Merville had managed to effect between
two young persons, first cousins to each other, and related to herself.
There had been scruples of parents to remove--money matters to adjust--
Eugenie had smoothed all.  The husband and wife, still lovers, looked up
to her as the author, under Heaven, of their happiness.

The gala of that night had been, therefore, of a nature more than usually
pleasurable, and the mirth did not sound hollow, but wrung from the
heart.  Yet, as Eugenie from time to time contemplated the young people,
whose eyes ever sought each other--so fair, so tender, and so joyous as
they seemed--a melancholy shadow darkened her brow, and she sighed
involuntarily.  Once the young wife, Madame d'Anville, approaching her
timidly, said:

"Ah! my sweet cousin, when shall we see you as happy as ourselves?  There
is such happiness," she added, innocently, and with a blush, "in being a
mother!--that little life all one's own--it is something to think of
every hour!"

"Perhaps," said Eugenie, smiling, and seeking to turn the conversation
from a subject that touched too nearly upon feelings and thoughts her
pride did not wish to reveal--"perhaps it is you, then, who have made our
cousin, poor Monsieur de Vaudemont, so determined to marry?  Pray, be
more cautious with him.  How difficult I have found it to prevent his
bringing into our family some one to make us all ridiculous!"

"True," said Madame d'Anville, laughing.  "But then, the Vicomte is so
poor, and in debt.  He would fall in love, not with the demoiselle, but
the dower. _A propos_ of that, how cleverly you took advantage of his
boastful confession to break off his liaisons with that _bureau de
mariage_."

"Yes; I congratulate myself on that manoeuvre.  Unpleasant as it was to
go to such a place (for, of course, I could not send for Monsieur Love
here), it would have been still more unpleasant to have received such a
Madame de Vaudemont as our cousin would have presented to us.  Only
think--he was the rival of an _epicier_!  I heard that there was some
curious _denouement_ to the farce of that establishment; but I could
never get from Vaudemont the particulars.  He was ashamed of them, I
fancy."

"What droll professions there are in Paris!"  said Madame d'Anville.  "As
if people could not marry without going to an office for a spouse as we
go for a servant!  And so the establishment is broken up?  And you never
again saw that dark, wild-looking boy who so struck your fancy that you
have taken him as the original for the Murillo sketch of the youth in
that charming tale you read to us the other evening?  Ah! cousin, I think
you were a little taken with him.  The _bureau de mariage_ had its
allurements for you as well as for our poor cousin!"  The young mother
said this laughingly and carelessly.

"Pooh!" returned Madame de Merville, laughing also; but a slight blush
broke over her natural paleness.  "But a propos of the Vicomte.  You know
how cruelly he has behaved to that poor boy of his by his English wife--
never seen him since he was an infant--kept him at some school in
England; and all because his vanity does not like the world to know that
he has a son of nineteen!  Well, I have induced him to recall this poor
youth."

"Indeed! and how?"

"Why," said Eugenie, with a smile, "he wanted a loan, poor man, and I
could therefore impose conditions by way of interest.  But I also managed
to conciliate him to the proposition, by representing that, if the young
man were good-looking, he might, himself, with our connections, &c., form
an advantageous marriage; and that in such a case, if the father treated
him now justly and kindly, he would naturally partake with the father
whatever benefits the marriage might confer."

"Ah! you are an excellent diplomatist, Eugenie; and you turn people's
heads by always acting from your heart.  Hush!  here comes the Vicomte"

"A delightful ball," said Monsieur de Vaudemont, approaching the hostess.
"Pray, has that young lady yonder, in the pink dress, any fortune?  She
is pretty--eh?  You observe she is looking at me--I mean at us!"

"My dear cousin, what a compliment you pay to marriage!  You have had two
wives, and you are ever on the _qui vive_ for a third!"

"What would you have me do?--we cannot resist the overtures of your
bewitching sex.  Hum--what fortune has she?"

"Not a _sou_; besides, she is engaged."

"Oh! now I look at her, she is not pretty--not at all.  I made a mistake.
I did not mean her; I meant the young lady in blue."

"Worse and worse--she is married already.  Shall I present you?"

"Ah, Monsieur de Vaudemont," said Madame d'Anville; "have you found out a
new bureau de mariage?"

The Vicomte pretended not to hear that question.  But, turning to
Eugenie, took her aside, and said, with an air in which he endeavoured to
throw a great deal of sorrow, "You know, my dear cousin, that, to oblige
you, I consented to send for my son, though, as I always said, it is very
unpleasant for a man like me, in the prime of life, to hawk about a great
boy of nineteen or twenty.  People soon say, 'Old Vaudemont and younq
Vaudemont.'  However, a father's feelings are never appealed to in vain."
(Here the Vicomte put his handkerchief to his eyes, and after a pause,
continued,)--"I sent for him--I even went to your old _bonne_, Madame
Dufour, to make a bargain for her lodgings, and this day--guess my grief
--I received a letter sealed with black.  My son is dead!--a sudden
fever--it is shocking!"

"Horrible! dead!--your own son, whom you hardly ever saw--never since he
was an Infant!"

"Yes, that softens the blow very much.  And now you see I must marry.  If
the boy had been good-looking, and like me, and so forth, why, as you
observed, he might have made a good match, and allowed me a certain sum,
or we could have all lived together."

"And your son is dead, and you come to a ball!"

"_Je suis philosophe_," said the Vicomte, shrugging his shoulders.  "And,
as you say, I never saw him.  It saves me seven hundred francs a-year.
Don't say a word to any one--I sha'n't give out that he is dead, poor
fellow!  Pray be discreet: you see there are some ill-natured people who
might think it odd I do not shut myself up.  I can wait till Paris is
quite empty.  It would be a pity to lose any opportunity at present, for
now, you see, I must marry!" And the philosophe sauntered away.



CHAPTER XII.

                    GUIOMAR.
          "Those devotions I am to pay
          Are written in my heart, not in this book."

                 Enter RUTILIO.
          "I am pursued--all the ports are stopped too,
          Not any hope to escape--behind, before me,
          On either side, I am beset."
          BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER, _The Custom of the Country_

The party were just gone--it was already the peep of day--the wheels of
the last carriage had died in the distance.

Madame de Merville had dismissed her woman, and was seated in her own
room, leaning her head musingly on her hand.

Beside her was the table that held her MSS. and a few books, amidst which
were scattered vases of flowers.  On a pedestal beneath the window was
placed a marble bust of Dante.  Through the open door were seen in
perspective two rooms just deserted by her guests; the lights still
burned in the chandeliers and girandoles, contending with the daylight
that came through the half-closed curtains.  The person of the inmate was
in harmony with the apartment.  It was characterised by a certain grace
which, for want of a better epithet, writers are prone to call classical
or antique.  Her complexion, seeming paler than usual by that light, was
yet soft and delicate--the features well cut, but small and womanly.
About the face there was that rarest of all charms, the combination of
intellect with sweetness; the eyes, of a dark blue, were thoughtful,
perhaps melancholy, in their expression; but the long dark lashes, and
the shape of the eyes, themselves more long than full, gave to their
intelligence a softness approaching to languor, increased, perhaps, by
that slight shadow round and below the orbs which is common with those
who have tasked too much either the mind or the heart.  The contour of
the face, without being sharp or angular, had yet lost a little of the
roundness of earlier youth; and the hand on which she leaned was,
perhaps, even too white, too delicate, for the beauty which belongs to
health; but the throat and bust were of exquisite symmetry.

"I am not happy," murmured Eugenie to herself; "yet I scarce know why.
Is it really, as we women of romance have said till the saying is worn
threadbare, that the destiny of women is not fame but love.  Strange,
then, that while I have so often pictured what love should be, I have
never felt it.  And now,--and now," she continued, half rising, and with
a natural pang--"now I am no longer in my first youth.  If I loved,
should I be loved again?  How happy the young pair seemed--they are never
alone!"

At this moment, at a distance, was heard the report of fire-arms--again!
Eugenie started, and called to her servant, who, with one of the waiters
hired for the night, was engaged in removing, and nibbling as he removed,
the re mains of the feast.  "What is that, at this hour?--open the window
and look out!"

"I can see nothing, madame."

"Again--that is the third time.  Go into the street and look--some one
must be in danger."

The servant and the waiter, both curious, and not willing to part
company, ran down the stairs, and thence into the street.

Meanwhile, Morton, after vainly attempting Birnie's window, which the
traitor had previously locked and barred against the escape of his
intended victim, crept rapidly along the roof, screened by the parapet
not only from the shot but the sight of the foe.  But just as he gained
the point at which the lane made an angle with the broad street it
adjoined, he cast his eyes over the parapet, and perceived that one of
the officers had ventured himself to the fearful bridge; he was pursued--
detection and capture seemed inevitable.  He paused, and breathed hard.
He, once the heir to such fortunes, the darling of such affections!--he,
the hunted accomplice of a gang of miscreants!  That was the thought that
paralysed--the disgrace, not the danger.  But he was in advance of the
pursuer--he hastened on--he turned the angle--he heard a shout behind
from the opposite side--the officer had passed the bridge: "it is but one
man as yet," thought he, and his nostrils dilated and his hands clenched
as he glided on, glancing at each casement as he passed.

Now as youth and vigour thus struggled against Law for life, near at hand
Death was busy with toil and disease.  In a miserable _grabat_, or
garret, a mechanic, yet young, and stricken by a lingering malady
contracted by the labour of his occupation, was slowly passing from that
world which had frowned on his cradle, and relaxed not the gloom of its
aspect to comfort his bed of Death.  Now this man had married for love,
and his wife had loved him; and it was the cares of that early marriage
which had consumed him to the bone.  But extreme want, if long continued,
eats up love when it has nothing else to eat.  And when people are very
long dying, the people they fret and trouble begin to think of that too
often hypocritical prettiness of phrase called "a happy release."  So the
worn-out and half-famished wife did not care three straws for the dying
husband, whom a year or two ago she had vowed to love and cherish in
sickness and in health.  But still she seemed to care, for she moaned,
and pined, and wept, as the man's breath grew fainter and fainter.

"Ah, Jean!" said she, sobbing, "what will become of me, a poor lone
widow, with nobody to work for my bread?"  And with that thought she took
on worse than before.

"I am stifling," said the dying man, rolling round his ghastly eyes.
"How hot it is!  Open the window; I should like to see the light-daylight
once again."

"Mon Dieu! what whims he has, poor man!"  muttered the woman, without
stirring.

The poor wretch put out his skeleton hand and clutched his wife's arm.

"I sha'n't trouble you long, Marie!  Air--air!"

"Jean, you will make yourself worse--besides, I shall catch my death of
cold.  I have scarce a rag on, but I will just open the door."

"Pardon me," groaned the sufferer; "leave me, then."  Poor fellow!
perhaps at that moment the thought of unkindness was sharper than the
sharp cough which brought blood at every paroxysm.  He did not like her
so near him, but he did not blame her.  Again, I say,--poor fellow!  The
woman opened the door, went to the other side of the room, and sat down
on an old box and began darning an old neck-handkerchief.  The silence
was soon broken by the moans of the fast-dying man, and again he
muttered, as he tossed to and fro, with baked white lips:

"_Je m'etoufee_!--Air!"

There was no resisting that prayer, it seemed so like the last.  The wife
laid down the needle, put the handkerchief round her throat, and opened
the window.

"Do you feel easier now?"

"Bless you, Marie--yes; that's good--good.  It puts me in mind of old
days, that breath of air, before we came to Paris.  I wish I could work
for you now, Marie."

"Jean! my poor Jean!"  said the woman, and the words and the voice took
back her hardening heart to the fresh fields and tender thoughts of the
past time.  And she walked up to the bed, and he leaned his temples, damp
with livid dews, upon her breast.

"I have been a sad burden to you, Marie; we should not have married so
soon; but I thought I was stronger.  Don't cry; we have no little ones,
thank God.  It will be much better for you when I am gone."

And so, word after word gasped out--he stopped suddenly, and seemed to
fall asleep.

The wife then attempted gently to lay him once more on his pillow--the
head fell back heavily--the jaw had dropped--the teeth were set--the eyes
were open and like the stone--the truth broke on her!

"Jean--Jean!  My God, he is dead! and I was unkind to him at the last!"
With these words she fell upon the corpse, happily herself insensible.

Just at that moment a human face peered in at the window.  Through that
aperture, after a moment's pause, a young man leaped lightly into the
room.  He looked round with a hurried glance, but scarcely noticed the
forms stretched on the pallet.  It was enough for him that they seemed to
sleep, and saw him not.  He stole across the room, the door of which
Marie had left open, and descended the stairs.  He had almost gained the
courtyard into which the stairs had conducted, when he heard voices below
by the porter's lodge.

"The police have discovered a gang of coiners!"

"Coiners!"

"Yes, one has been shot dead!  I have seen his body in the kennel;
another has fled along the roofs--a desperate fellow!  We were to watch
for him.  Let us go up-stairs and get on the roof and look out."

By the hum of approval that followed this proposition, Morton judged
rightly that it had been addressed to several persons whom curiosity and
the explosion of the pistols had drawn from their beds, and who were
grouped round the porter's lodge.  What was to be done?--to advance was
impossible: and was there yet time to retreat?--it was at least the only
course left him; he sprang back up the stairs; he had just gained the
first flight when he heard steps descending; then, suddenly, it flashed
across him that he had left open the window above--that, doubtless, by
that imprudent oversight the officer in pursuit had detected a clue to
the path he had taken.  What was to be done?--die as Gawtrey had done!--
death rather than the galleys.  As he thus resolved, he saw to the right
the open door of an apartment in which lights still glimmered in their
sockets.  It seemed deserted--he entered boldly and at once, closing the
door after him.  Wines and viands still left on the table; gilded
mirrors, reflecting the stern face of the solitary intruder; here and
there an artificial flower, a knot of riband on the floor, all betokening
the gaieties and graces of luxurious life--the dance, the revel, the
feast--all this in one apartment!--above, in the same house, the pallet--
the corpse--the widow--famine and woe!  Such is a great city! such, above
all, is Paris! where, under the same roof, are gathered such antagonist
varieties of the social state!  Nothing strange in this; it is strange
and sad that so little do people thus neighbours know of each other, that
the owner of those rooms had a heart soft to every distress, but she did
not know the distress so close at hand.  The music that had charmed her
guests had mounted gaily to the vexed ears of agony and hunger.  Morton
passed the first room--a second--he came to a third, and Eugenie de
Merville, looking up at that instant, saw before her an apparition that
might well have alarmed the boldest.  His head was uncovered--his dark
hair shadowed in wild and disorderly profusion the pale face and
features, beautiful indeed, but at that moment of the beauty which an
artist would impart to a young gladiator--stamped with defiance, menace,
and despair.  The disordered garb--the fierce aspect--the dark eyes, that
literally shone through the shadows of the room-all conspired to increase
the terror of so abrupt a presence.

"What are you?--What do you seek here?"  said she, falteringly, placing
her hand on the bell as she spoke.  Upon that soft hand Morton laid his
own.

"I seek my life!  I am pursued!  I am at your mercy!  I am innocent!  Can
you save me?"

As he spoke, the door of the outer room beyond was heard to open, and
steps and voices were at hand.

"Ah!" he exclaimed, recoiling as he recognised her face.  "And is it to
you that I have fled?"

Eugenie also recognised the stranger; and there was something in their
relative positions--the suppliant, the protectress--that excited both her
imagination and her pity.  A slight colour mantled to her cheeks--her
look was gentle and compassionate.

"Poor boy! so young!" she said.  "Hush!"

She withdrew her hand from his, retired a few steps, lifted a curtain
drawn across a recess--and pointing to an alcove that contained one of
those sofa-beds common in French houses, added in a whisper,--

"Enter--you are saved."

Morton obeyed, and Eugenie replaced the curtain.



CHAPTER XIII.

                         GUIOMAR.
          "Speak!  What are you?"

                        RUTILIO.
          "Gracious woman, hear me.  I am a stranger:
          And in that I answer all your demands."
           _Custom of the Country_.

Eugenie replaced the curtain.  And scarcely had she done so ere the steps
in the outer room entered the chamber where she stood.  Her servant was
accompanied by two officers of the police.

"Pardon, madame," said one of the latter; "but we are in pursuit of a
criminal.  We think he must have entered this house through a window
above while your servant was in the street.  Permit us to search?"

"Without doubt," answered Eugenie, seating herself.  "If he has entered,
look in the other apartments.  I have not quitted this room."

"You are right.  Accept our apologies."

And the officers turned back to examine every corner where the fugitive
was not.  For in that, the scouts of Justice resembled their mistress:
when does man's justice look to the right place?

The servant lingered to repeat the tale he had heard--the sight he had
seen.  When, at that instant, he saw the curtain of the alcove slightly
stirred.  He uttered an exclamation-sprung to the bed--his hand touched
the curtain--Eugenie seized his arm.  She did not speak; but as he turned
his eyes to her, astonished, he saw that she trembled, and that her cheek
was as white as marble.

"Madame," he said, hesitating, "there is some one hid in the recess."

"There is!  Be silent!"

A suspicion flashed across the servant's mind.  The pure, the proud, the
immaculate Eugenie!

"There is!--and in madame's chamber!"  he faltered unconsciously.

Eugenie's quick apprehensions seized the foul thought.  Her eyes flashed
--her cheek crimsoned.  But her lofty and generous nature conquered even
the indignant and scornful burst that rushed to her lips.  The truth!--
could she trust the man?  A doubt--and the charge of the human life
rendered to her might be betrayed.  Her colour fell--tears gushed to her
eyes.

"I have been kind to you, Francois.  Not a word."  "Madame confides in
me--it is enough," said the Frenchman, bowing, with a slight smile on his
lips; and he drew back respectfully.

One of the police officers re-entered.

"We have done, madame; he is not here.  Aha! that curtain!"

"It is madame's bed," said Francois.  "But I have looked behind."

"I am most sorry to have disarranged you," said the policeman, satisfied
with the answer; "but we shall have him yet."  And he retired.

The last footsteps died away, the last door of the apartments closed
behind the officers, and Eugenie and her servant stood alone gazing on
each other.

"You may retire," said she at last; and taking her purse from the table,
she placed it in his hands.

The man took it, with a significant look.  "Madame may depend on my
discretion."

Eugenie was alone again.  Those words rang in her ear,--Eugenie de
Merville dependent on the discretion of her lackey!  She sunk into her
chair, and, her excitement succeeded by exhaustion, leaned her face on
her hands, and burst into tears.  She was aroused by a low voice; she
looked up, and the young man was kneeling at her feet.

"Go--go!"  she said: "I have done for you all I can."

"You heard--you heard--my own hireling, too!  At the hazard of my own good
name you are saved.  Go!"

"Of your good name!"--for Eugenie forgot that it was looks, not words,
that had so wrung her pride--"Your good name," he repeated: and glancing
round the room--the toilette, the curtain, the recess he had quitted--all
that bespoke that chastest sanctuary of a chaste woman, which for a
stranger to enter is, as it were, to profane--her meaning broke on him.
"Your good name--your hireling!  No, madame,--no!"  And as he spoke, he
rose to his feet.  "Not for me, that sacrifice!  Your humanity shall not
cost you so dear.  Ho, there!  I am the man you seek."  And he strode to
the door.

Eugenie was penetrated with the answer.  She sprung to him--she grasped
his garments.

"Hush! hush!--for mercy's sake!  What would you do?  Think you I could
ever be happy again, if the confidence you placed in me were betrayed?
Be calm--be still.  I knew not what I said.  It will be easy to undeceive
the man--later--when you are saved.  And you are innocent,--are you not?"

"Oh, madame," said Morton, "from my soul I say it, I am innocent--not of
poverty--wretchedness--error--shame; I am innocent of crime.  May Heaven
bless you!"

And as he reverently kissed the hand laid on his arm, there was something
in his voice so touching, in his manner something so above his fortunes,
that Eugenie was lost in her feelings of compassion, surprise, and
something, it might be, of admiration in her wonder.

"And, oh!" he said, passionately, gazing on her with his dark, brilliant
eyes, liquid with emotion, "you have made my life sweet in saving it.
You--you--of whom, ever since the first time, almost the sole time, I
beheld you--I have so often mused and dreamed.  Henceforth, whatever
befall me, there will be some recollections that will--that--"

He stopped short, for his heart was too full for words; and the silence
said more to Eugenie than if all the eloquence of Rousseau had glowed
upon his tongue.

"And who, and what are you?"  she asked, after a pause.

"An exile--an orphan--an outcast!  I have no name!  Farewell!"

"No--stay yet--the danger is not past.  Wait till my servant is gone to
rest; I hear him yet.  Sit down--sit down.  And whither would you go?"

"I know not."

"Have you no friends?"

"Gone."

"No home?"

"None."

"And the police of Paris so vigilant!"  cried Eugenie, wringing her
hands.  "What is to be done?  I shall have saved you in vain--you will be
discovered!  Of what do they charge you?  Not robbery--not--"

And she, too, stopped short, for she did not dare to breathe the black
word, "Murder!"

"I know not," said Morton, putting his hand to his forehead, "except of
being friends with the only man who befriended me--and they have killed
him!"

"Another time you shall tell me all."

"Another time!" he exclaimed, eagerly--"shall I see you again?"

Eugenie blushed beneath the gaze and the voice of joy.  "Yes," she said;
"yes.  But I must reflect.  Be calm be silent.  Ah!--a happy thought!"

She sat down, wrote a hasty line, sealed, and gave it to Morton.

"Take this note, as addressed, to Madame Dufour; it will provide you with
a safe lodging.  She is a person I can depend on--an old servant who
lived with my mother, and to whom I have given a small pension.  She has
a lodging--it is lately vacant--I promised to procure her a tenant--go--
say nothing of what has passed.  I will see her, and arrange all.  Wait!
--hark!--all is still.  I will go first, and see that no one watches you.
Stop," (and she threw open the window, and looked into the court.)  "The
porter's door is open--that is fortunate!  Hurry on, and God be with
you!"

In a few minutes Morton was in the streets.  It was still early--the
thoroughfares deserted-none of the shops yet open.  The address on the
note was to a street at some distance, on the other side of the Seine.
He passed along the same Quai which he had trodden but a few hours since
--he passed the same splendid bridge on which he had stood despairing, to
quit it revived--he gained the Rue Faubourg St. Honore.  A young man in a
cabriolet, on whose fair cheek burned the hectic of late vigils and
lavish dissipation, was rolling leisurely home from the gaming-house, at
which he had been more than usually fortunate--his pockets were laden
with notes and gold.  He bent forwards as Morton passed him.  Philip,
absorbed in his reverie, perceived him not, and continued his way.  The
gentleman turned down one of the streets to the left, stopped, and called
to the servant dozing behind his cabriolet.

"Follow that passenger! quietly--see where he lodges; be sure to find out
and let me know.  I shall go home with out you."  With that he drove on.

Philip, unconscious of the espionage, arrived at a small house in a quiet
but respectable street, and rang the bell several times before at last he
was admitted by Madame Dufour herself, in her nightcap.  The old woman
looked askant and alarmed at the unexpected apparition.  But the note
seemed at once to satisfy her.  She conducted him to an apartment on the
first floor, small, but neatly and even elegantly furnished, consisting
of a sitting-room and a bedchamber, and said, quietly,--

"Will they suit monsieur?"

To monsieur they seemed a palace.  Morton nodded assent.

"And will monsieur sleep for a short time?"

"Yes."

"The bed is well aired.  The rooms have only been vacant three days
since.  Can I get you anything till your luggage arrives?"

"No."

The woman left him.  He threw off his clothes--flung himself on the bed--
and did not wake till noon.

When his eyes unclosed--when they rested on that calm chamber, with its
air of health, and cleanliness, and comfort, it was long before he could
convince himself that he was yet awake.  He missed the loud, deep voice
of Gawtrey--the smoke of the dead man's meerschaum--the gloomy garret--
the distained walls--the stealthy whisper of the loathed Birnie; slowly
the life led and the life gone within the last twelve hours grew upon his
struggling memory.  He groaned, and turned uneasily round, when the door
slightly opened, and he sprung up fiercely,--

"Who is there?"

"It is only I, sir," answered Madame Dufour.  "I have been in three times
to see if you were stirring.  There is a letter I believe for you, sir;
though there is no name to it," and she laid the letter on the chair
beside him.  Did it come from her--the saving angel?  He seized it.  The
cover was blank; it was sealed with a small device, as of a ring seal.
He tore it open, and found four billets de banque for 1,000 francs each,
--a sum equivalent in our money to about L160.

"Who sent this, the--the lady from whom I brought the note?"

"Madame de Merville? certainly not, sir," said Madame Dufour, who, with
the privilege of age, was now unscrupulously filling the water-jugs and
settling the toilette-table.  "A young man called about two hours after
you had gone to bed; and, describing you, inquired if you lodged here,
and what your name was.  I said you had just arrived, and that I did not
yet know your name.  So he went away, and came again half an hour
afterwards with this letter, which he charged me to deliver to you
safely."

A young man--a gentleman?"

"No, sir; he seemed a smart but common sort of lad."  For the
unsophisticated Madame Dufour did not discover in the plain black frock
and drab gaiters of the bearer of that letter the simple livery of an
English gentleman's groom.

Whom could it come from, if not from Madame de Merville?  Perhaps one of
Gawtrey's late friends.  A suspicion of Arthur Beaufort crossed him, but
he indignantly dismissed it.  Men are seldom credulous of what they are
unwilling to believe.  What kindness had the Beauforts hitherto shown
him?--Left his mother to perish broken-hearted--stolen from him his
brother, and steeled, in that brother, the only heart wherein he had a
right to look for gratitude and love!  No, it must be Madame de Merville.
He dismissed Madame Dufour for pen and paper--rose--wrote a letter to
Eugenie--grateful, but proud, and inclosed the notes.  He then summoned
Madame Dufour, and sent her with his despatch.

"Ah, madame," said the _ci-devant bonne_, when she found herself in
Eugenie's presence.  "The poor lad! how handsome he is, and how shameful
in the Vicomte to let him wear such clothes!"

"The Vicomte!"

"Oh, my dear mistress, you must not deny it.  You told me, in your note,
to ask him no questions, but I guessed at once.  The Vicomte told me
himself that he should have the young gentleman over in a few days.  You
need not be ashamed of him.  You will see what a difference clothes will
make in his appearance; and I have taken it on myself to order a tailor
to go to him.  The Vicomte--must pay me."

"Not a word to the Vicomte as yet.  We will surprise him," said Eugenie,
laughing.

Madame de Merville had been all that morning trying to invent some story
to account for her interest in the lodger, and now how Fortune favoured
her!

"But is that a letter for me?"

"And I had almost forgot it," said Madame Dufour, as she extended the
letter.

Whatever there had hitherto been in the circumstances connected with
Morton, that had roused the interest and excited the romance of Eugenie
de Merville, her fancy was yet more attracted by the tone of the letter
she now read.  For though Morton, more accustomed to speak than to write
French, expressed himself with less precision, and a less euphuistic
selection of phrase, than the authors and _elegans_ who formed her usual
correspondents; there was an innate and rough nobleness--a strong and
profound feeling in every line of his letter, which increased her
surprise and admiration.

"All that surrounds him--all that belongs to him, is strangeness and
mystery!"  murmured she; and she sat down to reply.

When Madame Dufour departed with that letter, Eugenie remained silent and
thoughtful for more than an hour, Morton's letter before her; and sweet,
in their indistinctness, were the recollections and the images that
crowded on her mind.

Morton, satisfied by the earnest and solemn assurances of Eugenie that
she was not the unknown donor of the sum she reinclosed, after puzzling
himself in vain to form any new conjectures as to the quarter whence it
came, felt that under his present circumstances it would be an absurd
Quixotism to refuse to apply what the very Providence to whom he had anew
consigned himself seemed to have sent to his aid.  And it placed him,
too, beyond the offer of all pecuniary assistance from one from whom he
could least have brooked to receive it.  He consented, therefore, to all
that the loquacious tailor proposed to him.  And it would have been
difficult to have recognised the wild and frenzied fugitive in the
stately form, with its young beauty and air of well-born pride, which the
next day sat by the side of Eugenie.  And that day he told his sad and
troubled story, and Eugenie wept: and from that day he came daily; and
two weeks--happy, dreamlike, intoxicating to both--passed by; and as
their last sun set, he was kneeling at her feet, and breathing to one to
whom the homage of wit, and genius, and complacent wealth had hitherto
been vainly proffered, the impetuous, agitated, delicious secrets of the
First Love.  He spoke, and rose to depart for ever--when the look and
sigh detained him.

The next day, after a sleepless night, Eugenie de Merville sent for the
Vicomte de Vaudemont.



CHAPTER XIV.

               "A silver river small
               In sweet accents
               Its music vents;
               The warbling virginal
               To which the merry birds do sing,
               Timed with stops of gold the silver string."
               _Sir Richard Fanshawe_.

One evening, several weeks after the events just commemorated, a
stranger, leading in his hand, a young child, entered the churchyard of
H----.  The sun had not long set, and the short twilight of deepening
summer reigned in the tranquil skies; you might still hear from the trees
above the graves the chirp of some joyous bird;--what cared he, the
denizen of the skies, for the dead that slept below?--what did he value
save the greenness and repose of the spot,--to him alike the garden or
the grave!  As the man and the child passed, the robin, scarcely scared
by their tread from the long grass beside one of the mounds, looked at
them with its bright, blithe eye.  It was a famous plot for the robin--
the old churchyard!  That domestic bird--"the friend of man," as it has
been called by the poets--found a jolly supper among the worms!

The stranger, on reaching the middle of the sacred ground, paused and
looked round him wistfully.  He then approached, slowly and hesitatingly,
an oblong tablet, on which were graven, in letters yet fresh and new,
these words:--

                                 TO THE
                 MEMORY OF ONE CALUMNIATED AND WRONGED
                     THIS BURIAL-STONE IS DEDICATED
                              BY HER SON.

Such, with the addition of the dates of birth and death, was the tablet
which Philip Morton had directed to be placed over his mother's bones;
and around it was set a simple palisade, which defended it from the tread
of the children, who sometimes, in defiance of the beadle, played over
the dust of the former race.

"Thy son!"  muttered the stranger, while the child stood quietly by his
side, pleased by the trees, the grass, the song of the birds, and reeking
not of grief or death,--"thy son!--but not thy favoured son--thy darling
--thy youngest born; on what spot of earth do thine eyes look down on
him?  Surely in heaven thy love has preserved the one whom on earth thou
didst most cherish, from the sufferings and the trials that have visited
the less-favoured outcast.  Oh, mother--mother!--it was not his crime--
not Philip's--that he did not fulfil to the last the trust bequeathed to
him!  Happier, perhaps, as it is!  And, oh, if thy memory be graven as
deeply in my brother's heart as my own, how often will it warn and save
him!  That memory!--it has been to me the angel of my life!  To thee--to
thee, even in death, I owe it, if, though erring, I am not criminal,--if
I have lived with the lepers, and am still undefiled!"  His lips then
were silent--not his heart!

After a few minutes thus consumed he turned to the child, and said,
gently and in a tremulous voice, "Fanny, you have been taught to pray--
you will live near this spot,--will you come sometimes here and pray that
you may grow up good and innocent, and become a blessing to those who
love you?"

"Will papa ever come to hear me pray?"

That sad and unconscious question went to the heart of Morton.  The child
could not comprehend death.  He had sought to explain it, but she had
been accustomed to consider her protector dead when he was absent from
her, and she still insisted that he must come again to life.  And that
man of turbulence and crime, who had passed unrepentant, unabsolved, from
sin to judgment: it was an awful question, "If he should hear her pray?"

"Yes!" said he, after a pause,--"yes, Fanny, there is a Father who will
hear you pray; and pray to Him to be merciful to those who have been kind
to you.  Fanny, you and I may never meet again!"

"Are you going to die too? _Mechant_, every one dies to Fanny!"  and,
clinging to him endearingly, she put up her lips to kiss him.  He took
her in his arms: and, as a tear fell upon her rosy cheek, she said,
"Don't cry, brother, for I love you."

"Do you, dear Fanny?  Then, for my sake, when you come to this place, if
any one will give you a few flowers, scatter them on that stone.  And now
we will go to one whom you must love also, and to whom, as I have told
you, _he_ sends you; he who--Come!"

As he thus spoke, and placed Fanny again on the ground, he was startled
to see: precisely on the spot where he had seen before the like
apparition--on the same spot where the father had cursed the son, the
motionless form of an old man.  Morton recognised, as if by an instinct
rather than by an effort of the memory, the person to whom he was bound.

He walked slowly towards him; but Fanny abruptly left his side, lured by
a moth that flitted duskily over the graves.

"Your name, sir, I think, is Simon Gawtrey?" said Morton.  "I have came
to England in quest of you."

"Of me?" said the old man, half rising, and his eyes, now completely
blind, rolled vacantly over Morton's person--"Of me?--for what?--Who are
you?--I don't know your voice!"

"I come to you from your son!"

"My son!" exclaimed the old man, with great vehemence,--"the reprobate!--
the dishonoured!--the infamous!--the accursed--"

"Hush! you revile the dead!"

"Dead!"  muttered the wretched father, tottering back to the seat he had
quitted,--"dead!" and the sound of his voice was so full of anguish, that
the dog at his feet, which Morton had not hitherto perceived, echoed it
with a dismal cry, that recalled to Philip the awful day in which he had
seen the son quit the father for the last time on earth.

The sound brought Fanny to the spot; and, with a laugh of delight, which
made to it a strange contrast, she threw herself on the grass beside the
dog and sought to entice it to play.  So there, in that place of death,
were knit together the four links in the Great Chain;--lusty and blooming
life--desolate and doting age--infancy, yet scarce conscious of a soul--
and the dumb brute, that has no warrant of a Hereafter!

"Dead!--dead!"  repeated the old man, covering his sightless balls with
his withered hands.  "Poor William!"

"He remembered you to the last.  He bade me seek you out--he bade me
replace the guilty son with a thing pure and innocent, as he had been had
he died in his cradle--a child to comfort your old age!  Kneel, Fanny, I
have found you a father who will cherish you--(oh! you will, sir, will
you not?)--as he whom you may see no more!"

There was something in Morton's voice so solemn, that it awed and touched
both the old man and the infant; and Fanny, creeping to the protector
thus assigned to her, and putting her little hands confidingly on his
knees, said--

"Fanny will love you if papa wished it.  Kiss Fanny."

"Is it his child--his?"  said the blind man, sobbing.  "Come to my heart;
here--here!  O God, forgive me!"  Morton did not think it right at that
moment to undeceive him with regard to the poor child's true connexion
with the deceased: and he waited in silence till Simon, after a burst of
passionate grief and tenderness, rose, and still clasping the child to
his breast, said--

"Sir, forgive me!--I am a very weak old man--I have many thanks to give--
I have much, too, to learn.  My poor son! he did not die in want,--did
he?"

The particulars of Gawtrey's fate, with his real name and the various
aliases he had assumed, had appeared in the French journals, had been
partially copied into the English; and Morton had expected to have been
saved the painful narrative of that fearful death; but the utter
seclusion of the old man, his infirmity, and his estranged habits, had
shut him out from the intelligence that it now devolved on Philip to
communicate.  Morton hesitated a little before he answered:

"It is late now; you are not yet prepared to receive this poor infant at
your home, nor to hear the details I have to state.  I arrived in England
but to-day.  I shall lodge in the neighbourhood, for it is dear to me.
If I may feel sure, then, that you will receive and treasure this sacred
and last deposit bequeathed to you by your unhappy son, I will bring my
charge to you to-morrow, and we will then, more calmly than we can now,
talk over the past."

"You do not answer my question," said Simon, passionately; "answer that,
and I will wait for the rest.  They call me a miser!  Did I send out my
only child to starve?  Answer that!"

"Be comforted.  He did not die in want; and he has even left some little
fortune for Fanny, which I was to place in your hands."

"And he thought to bribe the old miser to be human!  Well--well--well--I
will go home."

"Lean on me!"

The dog leapt playfully on his master as the latter rose, and Fanny slid
from Simon's arms to caress and talk to the animal in her own way.  As
they slowly passed through the churchyard Simon muttered incoherently to
himself for several paces, and Morton would not disturb, since he could
not comfort, him.

At last he said abruptly, "Did my son repent?"

"I hoped," answered Morton, evasively, "that, had his life been spared,
he would have amended!"

"Tush, sir!--I am past seventy; we repent!--we never amend!"  And Simon
again sunk into his own dim and disconnected reveries.

At length they arrived at the blind man's house.  The door was opened to
them by an old woman of disagreeable and sinister aspect, dressed out
much too gaily for the station of a servant, though such was her reputed
capacity; but the miser's affliction saved her from the chance of his
comment on her extravagance.  As she stood in the doorway with a candle
in her hand, she scanned curiously, and with no welcoming eye, her
master's companions.

"Mrs. Boxer, my son is dead!"  said Simon, in a hollow voice.

"And a good thing it is, then, sir!"

"For shame, woman!"  said Morton, indignantly.  "Hey-dey! sir! whom have
we got here?"

"One," said Simon, sternly, "whom you will treat with respect.  He brings
me a blessing to lighten my loss.  One harsh word to this child, and you
quit my house!"

The woman looked perfectly thunderstruck; but, recovering herself, she
said, whiningly--

"I! a harsh word to anything my dear, kind master cares for.  And, Lord,
what a sweet pretty creature it is!  Come here, my dear!"

But Fanny shrunk back, and would not let go Philip's hand.

"To-morrow, then," said Morton; and he was turning away, when a sudden
thought seemed to cross the old man,--

"Stay, sir--stay!  I--I--did my son say I was rich?  I am very, very
poor--nothing in the house, or I should have been robbed long ago!"

"Your son told me to bring money, not to ask for it!"

"Ask for it!  No; but," added the old man, and a gleam of cunning
intelligence shot over his face,--"but he had got into a bad set.  Ask!--
No!--Put up the door-chain, Mrs. Boxer!"

It was with doubt and misgivings that Morton, the next day, consigned the
child, who had already nestled herself into the warmest core of his
heart, to the care of Simon.  Nothing short of that superstitious
respect, which all men owe to the wishes of the dead, would have made him
select for her that asylum; for Fate had now, in brightening his own
prospects, given him an alternative in the benevolence of Madame de
Merville.  But Gawtrey had been so earnest on the subject, that he felt
as if he had no right to hesitate.  And was it not a sort of atonement to
any faults the son might have committed against the parent, to place by
the old man's hearth so sweet a charge?

The strange and peculiar mind and character of Fanny made him, however,
yet more anxious than otherwise he might have been.  She certainly
deserved not the harsh name of imbecile or idiot, but she was different
from all other children; she felt more acutely than most of her age, but
she could not be taught to reason.  There was something either oblique or
deficient in her intellect, which justified the most melancholy
apprehensions; yet often, when some disordered, incoherent, inexplicable
train of ideas most saddened the listener, it would be followed by
fancies so exquisite in their strangeness, or feelings so endearing in
their tenderness, that suddenly she seemed as much above, as before she
seemed below, the ordinary measure of infant comprehension.  She was like
a creature to which Nature, in some cruel but bright caprice, has given
all that belongs to poetry, but denied all that belongs to the common
understanding necessary to mankind; or, as a fairy changeling, not,
indeed, according to the vulgar superstition, malignant and deformed, but
lovelier than the children of men, and haunted by dim and struggling
associations of a gentler and fairer being, yet wholly incapable to learn
the dry and hard elements which make up the knowledge of actual life.

Morton, as well as he could, sought to explain to Simon the peculiarities
in Fanny's mental constitution.  He urged on him the necessity of
providing for her careful instruction, and Simon promised to send her to
the best school the neighbourhood could afford; but, as the old man
spoke, he dwelt so much on the supposed fact that Fanny was William's
daughter, and with his remorse, or affection, there ran so interwoven a
thread of selfishness and avarice, that Morton thought it would be
dangerous to his interest in the child to undeceive his error.  He,
therefore,--perhaps excusably enough--remained silent on that subject.

Gawtrey had placed with the superior of the convent, together with an
order to give up the child to any one who should demand her in his true
name, which he confided to the superior, a sum of nearly L300., which he
solemnly swore had been honestly obtained, and which, in all his shifts
and adversities, he had never allowed himself to touch.  This sum, with
the trifling deduction made for arrears due to the convent, Morton now
placed in Simon's hands.  The old man clutched the money, which was for
the most in French gold, with a convulsive gripe: and then, as if ashamed
of the impulse, said--

"But you, sir--will any sum--that is, any reasonable sum--be of use to
you?"

"No! and if it were, it is neither yours nor mine--it is hers.  Save it
for her, and add to it what you can."

While this conversation took place, Fanny had been consigned to the care
of Mrs. Boxer, and Philip now rose to see and bid her farewell before he
departed.

"I may come again to visit you, Mr. Gawtrey; and I pray Heaven to find
that you and Fanny have been a mutual blessing to each other.  Oh,
remember how your son loved her!"

"He had a good heart, in spite of all his sins.  Poor William!"  said
Simon.

Philip Morton heard, and his lip curled with a sad and a just disdain.

If when, at the age of nineteen, William Gawtrey had quitted his father's
roof, the father had then remembered that the son's heart was good,--the
son had been alive still, an honest and a happy man.  Do ye not laugh, O
ye all-listening Fiends! when men praise those dead whose virtues they
discovered not when alive?  It takes much marble to build the sepulchre--
how little of lath and plaster would have repaired the garret!

On turning into a small room adjoining the parlour in which Gawtrey sat,
Morton found Fanny standing gloomily by a dull, soot-grimed window, which
looked out on the dead walls of a small yard.  Mrs. Boxer, seated by a
table, was employed in trimming a cap, and putting questions to Fanny in
that falsetto voice of endearment in which people not used to children
are apt to address them.

"And so, my dear, they've never taught you to read or write?  You've been
sadly neglected, poor thing!"

"We must do our best to supply the deficiency," said Morton, as he
entered.

"Bless me, sir, is that you?"  and the gouvernante bustled up and dropped
a low courtesy; for Morton, dressed then in the garb of a gentleman, was
of a mien and person calculated to strike the gaze of the vulgar.

"Ah, brother!"  cried Fanny, for by that name he had taught her to call
him; and she flew to his side.  "Come away--it's ugly there--it makes me
cold."

"My child, I told you you must stay; but I shall hope to see you again
some day.  Will you not be kind to this poor creature, ma'am?  Forgive
me, if I offended you last night, and favour me by accepting this, to
show that we are friends."  As he spoke, he slid his purse into the
woman's hand.  "I shall feel ever grateful for whatever you can do for
Fanny."

"Fanny wants nothing from any one else; Fanny wants her brother."

"Sweet child!  I fear she don't take to me.  Will you like me, Miss
Fanny?"

"No! get along!"

"Fie, Fanny--you remember you did not take to me at first.  But she is so
affectionate, ma'am; she never forgets a kindness."

"I will do all I can to please her, sir.  And so she is really master's
grandchild?"  The woman fixed her eyes, as she spoke, so intently on
Morton, that he felt embarrassed, and busied himself, without answering,
in caressing and soothing Fanny, who now seemed to awake to the
affliction about to visit her; for though she did not weep--she very
rarely wept--her slight frame trembled--her eyes closed--her cheeks, even
her lips, were white--and her delicate hands were clasped tightly round
the neck of the one about to abandon her to strange breasts.

Morton was greatly moved.  "One kiss, Fanny! and do not forget me when we
meet again."

The child pressed her lips to his cheek, but the lips were cold.  He put
her down gently; she stood mute and passive.

"Remember that he wished me to leave you here," whispered Morton, using
an argument that never failed.  "We must obey him; and so-God bless you,
Fanny!"

He rose and retreated to the door; the child unclosed her eyes, and gazed
at him with a strained, painful, imploring gaze; her lips moved, but she
did not speak.  Morton could not bear that silent woe.  He sought to
smile on her consolingly; but the smile would not come.  He closed the
door, and hurried from the house.

From that day Fanny settled into a kind of dreary, inanimate stupor,
which resembled that of the somnambulist whom the magnetiser forgets to
waken.  Hitherto, with all the eccentricities or deficiencies of her
mind, had mingled a wild and airy gaiety.  That was vanished.  She spoke
little--she never played--no toys could lure her--even the poor dog
failed to win her notice.  If she was told to do anything she stared
vacantly and stirred not.  She evinced, however, a kind of dumb regard to
the old blind man; she would creep to his knees and sit there for hours,
seldom answering when he addressed her, but uneasy, anxious, and
restless, if he left her.

"Will you die too?"  she asked once; the old man understood her not, and
she did not try to explain.  Early one morning, some days after Morton
was gone, they missed her: she was not in the house, nor the dull yard
where she was sometimes dismissed and told to play--told in vain.  In
great alarm the old man accused Mrs. Boxer of having spirited her away,
and threatened and stormed so loudly that the woman, against her will,
went forth to the search.  At last she found the child in the churchyard,
standing wistfully beside a tomb.

"What do you here, you little plague?"  said Mrs. Boxer, rudely seizing
her by the arm.

"This is the way they will both come back some day!  I dreamt so!"

"If ever I catch you here again!"  said the housekeeper, and, wiping her
brow with one hand, she struck the child with the other.  Fanny had never
been struck before.  She recoiled in terror and amazement, and, for the
first time since her arrival, burst into tears.

"Come--come, no crying! and if you tell master I'll beat you within an
inch of your life!"  So saying, she caught Fanny in her arms, and,
walking about, scolding and menacing, till she had frightened back the
child's tears, she returned triumphantly to the house, and bursting into
the parlour, exclaimed, "Here's the little darling, sir!"

When old Simon learned where the child had been found he was glad; for it
was his constant habit, whenever the evening was fine, to glide out to
that churchyard--his dog his guide--and sit on his one favourite spot
opposite the setting sun.  This, not so much for the sanctity of the
place, or the meditations it might inspire, as because it was the
nearest, the safest, and the loneliest spot in the neighbourhood of his
home, where the blind man could inhale the air and bask in the light of
heaven.  Hitherto, thinking it sad for the child, he had never taken her
with him; indeed, at the hour of his monotonous excursion she had
generally been banished to bed.  Now she was permitted to accompany him;
and the old man and the infant would sit there side by side, as Age and
Infancy rested side by side in the graves below.  The first symptom of
childlike interest and curiosity that Fanny betrayed was awakened by the
affliction of her protector.  One evening, as they thus sat, she made him
explain what the desolation of blindness is.  She seemed to comprehend
him, though he did not seek to adapt his complaints to her understanding.

"Fanny knows," said she, touchingly; "for she, too, is blind here;" and
she pressed her hands to her temples.  Notwithstanding her silence and
strange ways, and although he could not see the exquisite loveliness
which Nature, as in remorseful pity, had lavished on her outward form,
Simon soon learned to love her better than he had ever loved yet: for
they most cold to the child are often dotards to the grandchild.  For her
even his avarice slept.  Dainties, never before known at his sparing
board, were ordered to tempt her appetite, toy-shops ransacked to amuse
her indolence.  He was long, however, before he could prevail on himself
to fulfil his promise to Morton, and rob himself of her presence.  At
length, however, wearied with Mrs. Boxer's lamentations at her ignorance,
and alarmed himself at some evidences of helplessness, which made him
dread to think what her future might be when left alone in life, he
placed her at a day-school in the suburb.  Here Fanny, for a considerable
time, justified the harshest assertions of her stupidity.  She could not
even keep her eyes two minutes together on the page from which she was to
learn the mysteries of reading; months passed before she mastered the
alphabet, and, a month after, she had again forgot it, and the labour was
renewed.  The only thing in which she showed ability, if so it might be
called, was in the use of the needle.  The sisters of the convent had
already taught her many pretty devices in this art; and when she found
that at the school they were admired--that she was praised instead of
blamed--her vanity was pleased, and she learned so readily all that they
could teach in this not unprofitable accomplishment, that Mrs. Boxer
slyly and secretly turned her tasks to account and made a weekly
perquisite of the poor pupil's industry.  Another faculty she possessed,
in common with persons usually deficient, and with the lower species--
viz., a most accurate and faithful recollection of places.  At first Mrs.
Boxer had been duly sent, morning, noon, and evening, to take her to, or
bring her from, the school; but this was so great a grievance to Simon's
solitary superintendent, and Fanny coaxed the old man so endearingly to
allow her to go and return alone, that the attendance, unwelcome to both,
was waived.  Fanny exulted in this liberty; and she never, in going or in
returning, missed passing through the burial-ground, and gazing wistfully
at the tomb from which she yet believed Morton would one day reappear.
With his memory she cherished also that of her earlier and more guilty
protector; but they were separate feelings, which she distinguished in
her own way.

"Papa had given her up.  She knew that he would not have sent her away,
far--far over the great water, if he had meant to see Fanny again; but
her brother was forced to leave her--he would come to life one day, and
then they should live together!"

One day, towards the end of autumn, as her schoolmistress, a good woman
on the whole, but who had not yet had the wit to discover by what chords
to tune the instrument, over which so wearily she drew her unskilful
hand--one day, we say, the schoolmistress happened to be dressed for a
christening party to which she was invited in the suburb; and,
accordingly, after the morning lessons, the pupils were to be dismissed
to a holiday.  As Fanny now came last, with the hopeless spelling-book,
she stopped suddenly short, and her eyes rested with avidity upon a large
bouquet of exotic flowers, with which the good lady had enlivened the
centre of the parted kerchief, whose yellow gauze modestly veiled that
tender section of female beauty which poets have likened to hills of
snow--a chilling simile!  It was then autumn; and field, and even garden
flowers were growing rare.

"Will you give me one of those flowers?"  said Fanny, dropping her book.

"One of these flowers, child!  why?"

Fanny did not answer; but one of the elder and cleverer girls said--

"Oh! she comes from France, you know, ma'am, and the Roman Catholics put
flowers, and ribands, and things, over the graves; you recollect, ma'am,
we were reading yesterday about Pere-la-Chaise?"

"Well! what then?"

"And Miss Fanny will do any kind of work for us if we will give her
flowers."

"My brother told me where to put them;--but these pretty flowers, I never
had any like them; they may bring him back again!  I'll be so good if
you'll give me one, only one!"

"Will you learn your lesson if I do, Fanny?"

"Oh! yes!  Wait a moment!"

And Fanny stole back to her desk, put the hateful book resolutely before
her, pressed both hands tightly on her temples,--Eureka! the chord was
touched; and Fanny marched in triumph through half a column of hostile
double syllables!

From that day the schoolmistress knew how to stimulate her, and Fanny
learned to read: her path to knowledge thus literally strewn with
flowers!  Catherine, thy children were far off, and thy grave looked gay!

It naturally happened that those short and simple rhymes, often sacred,
which are repeated in schools as helps to memory, made a part of her
studies; and no sooner had the sound of verse struck upon her fancy than
it seemed to confuse and agitate anew all her senses.  It was like the
music of some breeze, to which dance and tremble all the young leaves of
a wild plant.  Even when at the convent she had been fond of repeating
the infant rhymes with which they had sought to lull or to amuse her,
but now the taste was more strongly developed.  She confounded, however,
in meaningless and motley disorder, the various snatches of song that
came to her ear, weaving them together in some form which she understood,
but which was jargon to all others; and often, as she went alone through
the green lanes or the bustling streets, the passenger would turn in pity
and fear to hear her half chant--half murmur--ditties that seemed to suit
only a wandering and unsettled imagination.  And as Mrs. Boxer, in her
visits to the various shops in the suburb, took care to bemoan her hard
fate in attending to a creature so evidently moon-stricken, it was no
wonder that the manner and habits of the child, coupled with that strange
predilection to haunt the burial-ground, which is not uncommon with
persons of weak and disordered intellect; confirmed the character thus
given to her.

So, as she tripped gaily and lightly along the thoroughfares, the
children would draw aside from her path, and whisper with superstitious
fear mingled with contempt, "It's the idiot girl!"--Idiot--how much more
of heaven's light was there in that cloud than in the rushlights that,
flickering in sordid chambers, shed on dull things the dull ray--esteeming
themselves as stars!

Months-years passed--Fanny was thirteen, when there dawned a new era to
her existence.  Mrs. Boxer had never got over her first grudge to Fanny.
Her treatment of the poor girl was always harsh, and sometimes cruel.
But Fanny did not complain, and as Mrs. Boxer's manner to her before
Simon was invariably cringing and caressing, the old man never guessed
the hardships his supposed grandchild underwent.  There had been scandal
some years back in the suburb about the relative connexion of the master
and the housekeeper; and the flaunting dress of the latter, something
bold in her regard, and certain whispers that her youth had not been
vowed to Vesta, confirmed the suspicion.  The only reason why we do not
feel sure that the rumour was false is this,--Simon Gawtrey had been so
hard on the early follies of his son!  Certainly, at all events, the
woman had exercised great influence over the miser before the arrival of
Fanny, and she had done much to steel his selfishness against the ill-
fated William.  And, as certainly, she had fully calculated on succeeding
to the savings, whatever they might be, of the miser, whenever Providence
should be pleased to terminate his days.  She knew that Simon had, many
years back, made his will in her favour; she knew that he had not altered
that will: she believed, therefore, that in spite of all his love for
Fanny, he loved his gold so much more, that be could not accustom himself
to the thought of bequeathing it to hands too helpless to guard the
treasure.  This had in some measure reconciled the housekeeper to the
intruder; whom, nevertheless, she hated as a dog hates another dog, not
only for taking his bone, but for looking at it.

But suddenly Simon fell ill.  His age made it probable he would die.  He
took to his bed--his breathing grew fainter and fainter--he seemed dead.
Fanny, all unconscious, sat by his bedside as usual, holding her breath
not to waken him.  Mrs. Boxer flew to the bureau--she unlocked it--she
could not find the will; but she found three bags of bright gold guineas:
the sight charmed her.  She tumbled them forth on the distained green
cloth of the bureau--she began to count them; and at that moment, the old
man, as if there were a secret magnetism between himself and the guineas,
woke from his trance.  His blindness saved him the pain that might have
been fatal, of seeing the unhallowed profanation; but he heard the chink
of the metal.  The very sound restored his strength.  But the infirm are
always cunning--he breathed not a suspicion.  "Mrs. Boxer," said he,
faintly, "I think I could take some broth."  Mrs. Boxer rose in great
dismay, gently re-closed the bureau, and ran down-stairs for the broth.
Simon took the occasion to question Fanny; and no sooner had he learnt
the operation of the heir-expectant, than he bade the girl first lock the
bureau and bring him the key, and next run to a lawyer (whose address he
gave her), and fetch him instantly.

With a malignant smile the old man took the broth from his handmaid,--
"Poor Boxer, you are a disinterested creature," said he, feebly; "I
think you will grieve when I go."

Mrs. Boxer sobbed, and before she had recovered, the lawyer entered.
That day a new will was made; and the lawyer politely informed Mrs. Boxer
that her services would be dispensed with the next morning, when he
should bring a nurse to the house.  Mrs. Boxer heard, and took her
resolution.  As soon as Simon again fell asleep, she crept into the room-
led away Fanny--locked her up in her own chamber--returned--searched for
the key of the bureau, which she found at last under Simon's pillow--
possessed herself of all she could lay her hands on--and the next morning
she had disappeared forever!  Simon's loss was greater than might have
been supposed; for, except a trifling sum in the savings bank, he, like
many other misers, kept all he had, in notes or specie, under his own
lock and key.  His whole fortune, indeed, was far less than was supposed:
for money does not make money unless it is put out to interest,--and the
miser cheated himself.  Such portion as was in bank-notes Mrs. Boxer
probably had the prudence to destroy; for those numbers which Simon could
remember were never traced; the gold, who could swear to?  Except the
pittance in the savings bank, and whatever might be the paltry worth of
the house he rented, the father who had enriched the menial to exile the
son was a beggar in his dotage.  This news, however, was carefully
concealed from him by the advice of the doctor, whom, on his own
responsibility, the lawyer introduced, till he had recovered sufficiently
to bear the shock without danger; and the delay naturally favoured Mrs.
Boxer's escape.

Simon remained for some moments perfectly stunned and speechless when the
news was broken to him.  Fanny, in alarm at his increasing paleness,
sprang to his breast.  He pushed her away,--"Go--go--go, child," he
said; "I can't feed you now.  Leave me to starve."

"To starve!"  said Fanny, wonderingly; and she stole away, and sat
herself down as if in deep thought.  She then crept up to the lawyer as
he was about to leave the room, after exhausting his stock of commonplace
consolation; and putting her hand in his, whispered, "I want to talk to
you--this way:"--She led him through the passage into the open air.
"Tell me," she said, "when poor people try not to starve, don't they
work?"

"My dear, yes."

"For rich people buy poor people's work?"

"Certainly, my dear; to be sure."

"Very well.  Mrs. Boxer used to sell my work.  Fanny will feed grandpapa!
Go and tell him never to say 'starve' again."

The good-natured lawyer was moved.  "Can you work, indeed, my poor girl?
Well, put on your bonnet, and come and talk to my wife."

And that was the new era in Fanny's existence!  Her schooling was
stopped.  But now life schooled her.  Necessity ripened her intellect.
And many a hard eye moistened,--as, seeing her glide with her little
basket of fancy work along the streets, still murmuring her happy and
bird-like snatches of unconnected song--men and children alike said with
respect, in which there was now no contempt, "It's the idiot girl who
supports her blind grandfather!"  They called her idiot still!





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