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Title: Bentley's Miscellany, Volume II
Author: Various
Language: English
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                               BENTLEY'S
                              MISCELLANY.

                               VOL. II.

                                LONDON:
                           RICHARD BENTLEY,
                        NEW BURLINGTON STREET.

                                 1837.


                                LONDON:
                      PRINTED BY SAMUEL BENTLEY,
                     Dorset Street, Fleet Street.



ADDRESS.


Twelve months have elapsed since we first took the field, and every
successive number of our Miscellany has experienced a warmer reception,
and a more extensive circulation, than its predecessor.

In the opening of the new year, and the commencement of our new volume,
we hope to make many changes for the better, and none for the worse;
and, to show that, while we have one grateful eye to past patronage,
we have another wary one to future favours; in short, that, like the
heroine of the sweet poem descriptive of the faithlessness and perjury
of Mr. John Oakhum, of the Royal Navy, we look two ways at once.

It is our intention to usher in the new year with a very merry
greeting, towards the accomplishment of which end we have prevailed
upon a long procession of distinguished friends to mount their hobbies
on the occasion, in humble imitation of those adventurous and
aldermanic spirits who gallantly bestrode their foaming chargers on the
memorable ninth of this present month, while

    "The stones did rattle underneath,
    As if Cheapside were mad."

These, and a hundred other great designs, preparations, and surprises,
are in contemplation, for the fulfilment of all of which we are already
bound in two volumes cloth, and have no objection, if it be any
additional security to the public, to stand bound in twenty more.

        BOZ.

        30th November, 1837.



  CONTENTS
  OF THE
  SECOND VOLUME.


  SONGS of the Month--July, by "Father Prout;" August; September, by
  "Father Prout;" October, by J.M.; November, by C.D.; December, by
  Punch                                 Pages 1, 109, 213, 321, 429, 533

  Papers by Boz:
    Oliver Twist, or the Parish Boy's Progress,    2, 110, 215, 430, 534
    The Mudfog Association for the Advancement of Everything         397

  Poetry by Mrs. Cornwell Baron Wilson:
    Elegiac Stanzas                                                   16
    Lady Blue's Ball                                                 380
    My Father's Old Hall                                             453

  Fictions of the Middle Ages: The Butterfly Bishop, by Delta         17

  A New Song to the Old Tune of Kate Kearney                          25

  What Tom Binks did when he didn't know what to do with himself      26

  A Gentleman Quite                                                   36

  The Foster-Child                                                    37

  The White Man's Devil-house, by F.H. Rankin                        46

  A Lyric for Lovers                                                  50

  The Remains of Hajji Baba, by the Author of "Zohrab"            51,166

  Shakspeare Papers, by Dr. Maginn:
    No. III. Romeo                                                    57
         IV. Midsummer Night's Dream--Bottom the Weaver              370
          V. His Ladies--Lady Macbeth                                550

  The Piper's Progress, by Father Prout                               67

  Papers by J.A. Wade:
    No. II. Darby the Swift                                           68
       III. The Darbiad                                              464
    Song of the Old Bell                                             196
    Serenade to Francesca                                            239
    Phelim O'Toole's Nine Muse-ings on his Native County             319

  Papers by Captain Medwin:
    The Duel                                                          76
    Mascalbruni                                                      254
    The Last of the Bandits                                          585

  The Monk of Ravenne                                                 81

  A Marine's Courtship, by M. Burke Honan                             82

  Family Stories, by Thomas Ingoldsby:
    No. VI. Mrs. Botherby's Story--The Leech of Folkestone            91
       VII. Patty Morgan the Milkmaid's Story--Look at the Clock     207

  What though we were Rivals of yore, by T. Haynes Bayly             124

  Papers by the Author of "Stories of Waterloo:"
    Love in the City                                                 125
    The Regatta, No. I.: Run Across Channel                          299
    Legends--of Ballar; the Church of the Seven; and the Tory
      Islanders                                                      527

  Three Notches from the Devil's Tail, or the Man in the Spanish
    Cloak, by the Author of "Reminiscences of a Monthly Nurse"       135

  The Serenade                                                       149

  The Portrait Gallery, by the Author of "The Bee Hive"
    No. III. The Cannon Family                                       150
         IV. Journey to Boulogne                                     454

  A Chapter on Laughing                                              163

  A Muster-chaunt for the Members of the Temperance Societies        165

  My Uncle: a Fragment                                               175

  Why the Wind blows round St. Paul's, by Joyce Jocund               176

  Papers by C. Whitehead:
    Rather Hard to Take                                              181
    The Narrative of John Ward Gibson                                240

  Nights at Sea, by the Old Sailor:
    No. IV. The French Captain's Story                               183
         V. The French Captain's Story                               471
        VI. Jack among the Mummies                                   610

  Midnight Mishaps, by Edward Mayhew                                 197

  The Dream                                                          206

  Genius, or the Dog's-meat Dog, by Egerton Webbe                    214

  The Poisoners of the Seventeenth Century, by George Hogarth:
    No. I. The Marchioness de Brinvilliers                           229
       II. Sir Thomas Overbury                                       322

  Smoke                                                              268

  Some Passages in the Life of a Disappointed Man                    270

  The Professor, by Goliah Gahagan                                   277

  Biddy Tibbs, who cared for Nobody, by H. Holl                      288

  The Key of Granada                                                 303

  Glorvina, the Maid of Meath, by J. Sheridan Knowles                304

  An Excellent Offer, by Marmaduke Blake                             340

  The Autobiography of a Good Joke                                   354

  The Secret, by M. Paul de Kock                                     360

  The Man with the Club-foot                                         381

  A Remonstratory Ode to Mr. Cross on the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius,
    by Joyce Jocund                                                  413

  Memoirs of Beau Nash                                               414

  Grub-street News                                                   425

  The Confessions of an Elderly Gentleman                            445

  The Relics of St. Pius                                             462

  A few Inquiries                                                    470

  Lines occasioned by the Death of Count Borowlaski                  484

  A Chapter on Widows                                                485

  Petrarch in London                                                 494

  Adventures in Paris, by Toby Allspy:
    The Five Floors                              No. I. 495; No. II. 575

  Martial in Town                                                    507

  Astronomical Agitation--Reform of the Solar System                 508

  The Adventures of a Tale, by Mrs. Erskine Norton                   511

  When and Why the Devil Invented Brandy                             518

  The Wit in spite of Himself, by Richard Johns                      521

  The Apportionment of the World, from Schiller                      549

  Ode to the Queen                                                   568

  Suicide                                                            569

  The Glories of Good Humour                                         591

  Song of the Modern Time                                            594

  Capital Punishments in London Eighty Years ago--Earl Ferrers       595

  A Peter Pindaric to and of a Fog, by Punch                         606

  The Castle by the Sea                                              623

  Legislative Nomenclature                                           624

  Nobility in Disguise, by Dudley Costello                           626

  Another Original of "Not a Drum was heard,"                        632

  Index                                                              633



ILLUSTRATIONS.

BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.


                                                              Page

  Oliver Twist--The Dodger's way of going to work                2

  A Marine's Courtship                                          82

  Oliver Twist recovering from the fever                       110

  Midnight Mishaps                                             197

  Oliver Twist and his affectionate Friends                    215

  A Disappointed Man                                           270

  The Autobiography of a Good Joke                             354

  The Secret                                                   360

  Oliver Twist returns to the Jew's den                        430

  The Confessions of an Elderly Gentleman                      445

  Oliver Twist instructed by the Dodger                        533

  Jack among the Mummies                                       610


  Portrait of Beau Nash, by W. Greatbach                       414



BENTLEY'S MISCELLANY.



SONG OF THE MONTH. No. VII.

July, 1837.

BEING A BAPTISMAL CHAUNT FOR THE BIRTH OF OUR SECOND VOLUME, AS SUNG
(IN CHARACTER) BY FATHER PROUT.

(Tune "_The groves of Blarney_.")

"Ille ego qui quondam," &c. &c.--_Æneid._


            I.

    In the month of Janus,
    When Boz to gain us,
    Quite "miscellaneous,"
      Flashed his wit so keen,
    One, (Prout they call him,)
    In style most solemn,
    Led off the volume
      Of his magazine.


            II.

    Though MAGA, 'mongst her
    Bright set of youngsters,
    Had many songsters
      For her opening tome;
    Yet she would rather
    Invite "the Father,"
    And an indulgence gather
      From the Pope of Rome.


            III.

    And, such a beauty
    From head to shoe-tie,
    Without dispute we
      Found her first boy,
    That she det_a_rmined,
    There's such a charm in 't,
    The Father's _sarmint_
      She'd again employ.


            IV.

    While other children
    Are quite bewilderin',
    'Tis joy that fill'd her in
      This bantling; 'cause
    What eye but glistens,
    And what ear but listens,
    When the clargy christens
      A babe of Boz?


            V.

    I've got a scruple
    That this young pupil
    Surprised its parent
      Ere her time was sped;
    Else I'm unwary,
    Or, 'tis she's a fairy,
    For in January
      She was brought to bed.


            VI.

    This infant may be
    A six months' baby,
    But may his cradle
      Be blest! say I;
    And luck defend him!
    And joy attend him!
    Since we can't mend him,
      Born in July.


            VII.

    He's no abortion,
    But born to fortune,
    And most opportune,
      Though before his time;
    Him, Muse, O! nourish,
    And make him flourish
    Quite Tommy-Moorish
      Both in prose and rhyme!


            VIII.

    I remember, also,
    That this month they call so,
    From Roman JULIUS
      The "_Cæsarian_" styled;
    Who was no gosling,
    But, like this Boz-ling,
    From birth a dazzling
      And precocious child!

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!



OLIVER TWIST;

OR, THE PARISH BOY'S PROGRESS.

BY BOZ.

ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.


CHAPTER THE NINTH.

CONTAINING FURTHER PARTICULARS CONCERNING THE PLEASANT OLD GENTLEMAN,
AND HIS HOPEFUL PUPILS.

It was late next morning when Oliver awoke from a sound, long sleep.
There was nobody in the room beside, but the old Jew, who was boiling
some coffee in a saucepan for breakfast, and whistling softly to
himself as he stirred it round and round with an iron spoon. He would
stop every now and then to listen when there was the least noise below;
and, when he had satisfied himself, he would go on whistling and
stirring again, as before.

Although Oliver had roused himself from sleep, he was not thoroughly
awake. There is a drowsy, heavy state, between sleeping and waking,
when you dream more in five minutes with your eyes half open, and
yourself half conscious of everything that is passing around you, than
you would in five nights with your eyes fast closed, and your senses
wrapt in perfect unconsciousness. At such times, a mortal knows just
enough of what his mind is doing to form some glimmering conception of
its mighty powers, its bounding from earth and spurning time and space,
when freed from the irksome restraint of its corporeal associate.

Oliver was precisely in the condition I have described. He saw the Jew
with his half-closed eyes, heard his low whistling, and recognised the
sound of the spoon grating against the saucepan's sides; and yet the
self-same senses were mentally engaged at the same time, in busy action
with almost everybody he had ever known.

When the coffee was done, the Jew drew the saucepan to the hob, and,
standing in an irresolute attitude for a few minutes as if he did not
well know how to employ himself, turned round and looked at Oliver, and
called him by his name. He did not answer, and was to all appearance
asleep.

After satisfying himself upon this head, the Jew stepped gently to the
door, which he fastened; he then drew forth, as it seemed to Oliver,
from some trap in the floor, a small box, which he placed carefully
on the table. His eyes glistened as he raised the lid and looked in.
Dragging an old chair to the table, he sat down, and took from it a
magnificent gold watch, sparkling with diamonds.

[Illustration: Oliver amazed at the Dodger's Mode of 'going to work']

"Aha!" said the Jew, shrugging up his shoulders, and distorting every
feature with a hideous grin. "Clever dogs! clever dogs! Staunch to the
last! Never told the old parson where they were; never peached upon old
Fagin. And why should they? It wouldn't have loosened the knot, or kept
the drop up a minute longer. No, no, no! Fine fellows! fine fellows!"

With these, and other muttered reflections of the like nature, the
Jew once more deposited the watch in its place of safety. At least
half a dozen more were severally drawn forth from the same box, and
surveyed with equal pleasure; besides rings, brooches, bracelets, and
other articles of jewellery, of such magnificent materials and costly
workmanship that Oliver had no idea even of their names.

Having replaced these trinkets, the Jew took out another, so small
that it lay in the palm of his hand. There seemed to be some very
minute inscription on it, for the Jew laid it flat upon the table, and,
shading it with his hand, pored over it long and earnestly. At length
he set it down as if despairing of success, and, leaning back in his
chair, muttered,

"What a fine thing capital punishment is! Dead men never repent; dead
men never bring awkward stories to light. The prospect of the gallows,
too, makes them hardy and bold. Ah, it's a fine thing for the trade!
Five of them strung up in a row, and none left to play booty or turn
white-livered!"

As the Jew uttered these words, his bright dark eyes which had been
staring vacantly before him, fell on Oliver's face; the boy's eyes
were fixed on his in mute curiosity, and, although the recognition was
only for an instant--for the briefest space of time that can possibly
be conceived,--it was enough to show the old man that he had been
observed. He closed the lid of the box with a loud crash, and, laying
his hand on a bread-knife which was on the table, started furiously up.
He trembled very much though; for, even in his terror, Oliver could see
that the knife quivered in the air.

"What's that?" said the Jew. "What do you watch me for? Why are you
awake? What have you seen? Speak out, boy! Quick--quick! for your life!"

"I wasn't able to sleep any longer, sir," replied Oliver, meekly. "I am
very sorry if I have disturbed you, sir."

"You were not awake an hour ago?" said the Jew, scowling fiercely on
the boy.

"No--no, indeed, sir," replied Oliver.

"Are you sure?" cried the Jew, with a still fiercer look than before,
and a threatening attitude.

"Upon my word I was not, sir," replied Oliver, earnestly. "I was not,
indeed, sir."

"Tush, tush, my dear!" said the Jew, suddenly resuming his old manner,
and playing with the knife a little before he laid it down, as if to
induce the belief that he had caught it up in mere sport. "Of course I
know that, my dear. I only tried to frighten you. You're a brave boy.
Ha! ha! you're a brave boy, Oliver!" and the Jew rubbed his hands with
a chuckle, but looked uneasily at the box notwithstanding.

"Did you see any of these pretty things, my dear?" said the Jew, laying
his hand upon it after a short pause.

"Yes, sir," replied Oliver.

"Ah!" said the Jew, turning rather pale. "They--they're mine, Oliver;
my little property. All I have to live upon in my old age. The folks
call me a miser, my dear,--only a miser; that's all."

Oliver thought the old gentleman must be a decided miser to live in
such a dirty place, with so many watches; but, thinking that perhaps
his fondness for the Dodger and the other boys cost him a good deal
of money, he only cast a deferential look at the Jew, and asked if he
might get up.

"Certainly, my dear,--certainly," replied the old gentleman. "Stay.
There's a pitcher of water in the corner by the door. Bring it here,
and I'll give you a basin to wash in, my dear."

Oliver got up, walked across the room, and stooped for one instant to
raise the pitcher. When he turned his head, the box was gone.

He had scarcely washed himself and made everything tidy by emptying
the basin out of the window, agreeably to the Jew's directions, than
the Dodger returned, accompanied by a very sprightly young friend whom
Oliver had seen smoking on the previous night, and who was now formally
introduced to him as Charley Bates. The four then sat down to breakfast
off the coffee and some hot rolls and ham which the Dodger had brought
home in the crown of his hat.

"Well," said the Jew, glancing slyly at Oliver, and addressing himself
to the Dodger, "I hope you've been at work this morning, my dears."

"Hard," replied the Dodger.

"As nails," added Charley Bates.

"Good boys, good boys!" said the Jew. "What have _you_ got, Dodger?"

"A couple of pocket-books," replied that young gentleman.

"Lined?" inquired the Jew with trembling eagerness.

"Pretty well," replied the Dodger, producing two pocket-books, one
green and the other red.

"Not so heavy as they might be," said the Jew, after looking at the
insides carefully; "but very neat, and nicely made. Ingenious workman,
ain't he, Oliver?"

"Very, indeed, sir," said Oliver. At which Mr. Charles Bates laughed
uproariously, very much to the amazement of Oliver, who saw nothing to
laugh at, in anything that had passed.

"And what have you got, my dear?" said Fagin to Charley Bates.

"Wipes," replied Master Bates: at the same time producing four
pocket-handkerchiefs.

"Well," said the Jew, inspecting them closely; "they're very good
ones,--very. You haven't marked them well, though, Charley; so the
marks shall be picked out with a needle, and we'll teach Oliver how to
do it. Shall us, Oliver, eh?--Ha! ha! ha!"

"If you please, sir," said Oliver.

"You'd like to be able to make pocket-handkerchiefs as easy as Charley
Bates, wouldn't you, my dear?" said the Jew.

"Very much indeed, if you'll teach me, sir," replied Oliver.

Master Bates saw something so exquisitely ludicrous in this reply
that he burst into another laugh; which laugh meeting the coffee he
was drinking, and carrying it down some wrong channel, very nearly
terminated in his premature suffocation.

"He is so jolly green," said Charley when he recovered, as an apology
to the company for his unpolite behaviour.

The Dodger said nothing, but he smoothed Oliver's hair down over
his eyes, and said he'd know better by-and-by; upon which the old
gentleman, observing Oliver's colour mounting, changed the subject by
asking whether there had been much of a crowd at the execution that
morning. This made him wonder more and more, for it was plain from
the replies of the two boys that they had both been there; and Oliver
naturally wondered how they could possibly have found time to be so
very industrious.

When the breakfast was cleared away, the merry old gentleman and
the two boys played at a very curious and uncommon game, which was
performed in this way:--The merry old gentleman, placing a snuff-box in
one pocket of his trousers, a note-case in the other, and a watch in
his waistcoat-pocket, with a guard-chain round his neck, and sticking
a mock diamond pin in his shirt, buttoned his coat tight round him,
and, putting his spectacle-case and handkerchief in the pockets,
trotted up and down the room with a stick, in imitation of the manner
in which old gentlemen walk about the streets every hour in the day.
Sometimes he stopped at the fire-place, and sometimes at the door,
making belief that he was staring with all his might into shop-windows.
At such times he would look constantly round him for fear of thieves,
and keep slapping all his pockets in turn, to see that he hadn't lost
anything, in such a very funny and natural manner, that Oliver laughed
till the tears ran down his face. All this time the two boys followed
him closely about, getting out of his sight so nimbly every time he
turned round, that it was impossible to follow their motions. At last
the Dodger trod upon his toes, or ran upon his boot accidentally, while
Charley Bates stumbled up against him behind; and in that one moment
they took from him with the most extraordinary rapidity, snuff-box,
note-case, watch-guard, chain, shirt-pin, pocket-handkerchief,--even
the spectacle-case. If the old gentleman felt a hand in any one of his
pockets, he cried out where it was, and then the game began all over
again.

When this game had been played a great many times, a couple of young
ladies came to see the young gentlemen, one of whom was called Bet and
the other Nancy. They wore a good deal of hair, not very neatly turned
up behind, and were rather untidy about the shoes and stockings. They
were not exactly pretty, perhaps; but they had a great deal of colour
in their faces, and looked quite stout and hearty. Being remarkably
free and agreeable in their manners, Oliver thought them very nice
girls indeed, as there is no doubt they were.

These visitors stopped a long time. Spirits were produced, in
consequence of one of the young ladies complaining of a coldness in her
inside, and the conversation took a very convivial and improving turn.
At length Charley Bates expressed his opinion that it was time to pad
the hoof, which it occurred to Oliver must be French for going out; for
directly afterwards the Dodger, and Charley, and the two young ladies
went away together, having been kindly furnished with money to spend,
by the amiable old Jew.

"There, my dear," said Fagin, "that's a pleasant life, isn't it? They
have gone out for the day."

"Have they done work, sir?" inquired Oliver.

"Yes," said the Jew; "that is, unless they should unexpectedly come
across any when they are out; and they won't neglect it if they do, my
dear, depend upon it."

"Make 'em your models, my dear, make 'em your models," said the Jew,
tapping the fire-shovel on the hearth to add force to his words;
"do everything they bid you, and take their advice in all matters,
especially the Dodger's, my dear. He'll be a great man himself, and
make you one too, if you take pattern by him. Is my handkerchief
hanging out of my pocket, my dear?" said the Jew, stopping short.

"Yes, sir," said Oliver.

"See if you can take it out, without my feeling it, as you saw them do
when we were at play this morning."

Oliver held up the bottom of the pocket with one hand as he had seen
the Dodger do, and drew the handkerchief lightly out of it with the
other.

"Is it gone?" cried the Jew.

"Here it is, sir," said Oliver, showing it in his hand.

"You're a clever boy, my dear," said the playful old gentleman, patting
Oliver on the head approvingly; "I never saw a sharper lad. Here's a
shilling for you. If you go on in this way, you'll be the greatest man
of the time. And now come here, and I'll show you how to take the marks
out of the handkerchiefs."

Oliver wondered what picking the old gentleman's pocket in play had to
do with his chances of being a great man; but thinking that the Jew,
being so much his senior, must know best, followed him quietly to the
table, and was soon deeply involved in his new study.



CHAPTER THE TENTH.

OLIVER BECOMES BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH THE CHARACTERS OF HIS NEW
ASSOCIATES, AND PURCHASES EXPERIENCE AT A HIGH PRICE. BEING A SHORT BUT
VERY IMPORTANT CHAPTER IN THIS HISTORY.


For eight or ten days Oliver remained in the Jew's room, picking the
marks out of the pocket-handkerchiefs, (of which a great number were
brought home,) and sometimes taking part in the game already described,
which the two boys and the Jew played regularly every day. At length
he began to languish for the fresh air, and took many occasions of
earnestly entreating the old gentleman to allow him to go out to work
with his two companions.

Oliver was rendered the more anxious to be actively employed by what
he had seen of the stern morality of the old gentleman's character.
Whenever the Dodger or Charley Bates came home at night empty-handed,
he would expatiate with great vehemence on the misery of idle and
lazy habits, and enforce upon them the necessity of an active life by
sending them supperless to bed: upon one occasion he even went so far
as to knock them both down a flight of stairs; but this was carrying
out his virtuous precepts to an unusual extent.

At length one morning Oliver obtained the permission he had so eagerly
sought. There had been no handkerchiefs to work upon, for two or three
days, and the dinners had been rather meagre. Perhaps these were
reasons for the old gentleman's giving his assent; but, whether they
were or no, he told Oliver he might go, and placed him under the joint
guardianship of Charley Bates and his friend the Dodger.

The three boys sallied out, the Dodger with his coat-sleeves tucked up
and his hat cocked as usual, Master Bates sauntering along with his
hands in his pockets, and Oliver between them, wondering where they
were going, and what branch of manufacture he would be instructed in
first.

The pace at which they went was such a very lazy, ill-looking saunter,
that Oliver soon began to think his companions were going to deceive
the old gentleman, by not going to work at all. The Dodger had a
vicious propensity, too, of pulling the caps from the heads of small
boys and tossing them down areas; while Charley Bates exhibited some
very loose notions concerning the rights of property, by pilfering
divers apples and onions from the stalls at the kennel sides, and
thrusting them into pockets which were so surprisingly capacious, that
they seemed to undermine his whole suit of clothes in every direction.
These things looked so bad, that Oliver was on the point of declaring
his intention of seeking his way back in the best way he could, when
his thoughts were suddenly directed into another channel by a very
mysterious change of behaviour on the part of the Dodger.

They were just emerging from a narrow court not far from the open
square in Clerkenwell, which is called, by some strange perversion of
terms, "The Green," when the Dodger made a sudden stop, and, laying his
finger on his lip, drew his companions back again with the greatest
caution and circumspection.

"What's the matter?" demanded Oliver.

"Hush!" replied the Dodger. "Do you see that old cove at the
book-stall?"

"The old gentleman over the way?" said Oliver. "Yes, I see him."

"He'll do," said the Dodger.

"A prime plant," observed Charley Bates.

Oliver looked from one to the other with the greatest surprise, but was
not permitted to make any inquiries, for the two boys walked stealthily
across the road, and slunk close behind the old gentleman towards whom
his attention had been directed. Oliver walked a few paces after them,
and, not knowing whether to advance or retire, stood looking on in
silent amazement.

The old gentleman was a very respectable-looking personage, with a
powdered head and gold spectacles; dressed in a bottle-green coat with
a black velvet collar, and white trousers: with a smart bamboo cane
under his arm. He had taken up a book from the stall, and there he
stood, reading away as hard as if he were in his elbow-chair in his
own study. It was very possible that he fancied himself there, indeed;
for it was plain, from his utter abstraction, that he saw not the
book-stall, nor the street, nor the boys, nor, in short, anything but
the book itself, which he was reading straight through, turning over
the leaves when he got to the bottom of a page, beginning at the top
line of the next one, and going regularly on with the greatest interest
and eagerness.

What was Oliver's horror and alarm as he stood a few paces off, looking
on with his eye-lids as wide open as they would possibly go, to see the
Dodger plunge his hand into this old gentleman's pocket, and draw from
thence a handkerchief, which he handed to Charley Bates, and with which
they both ran away round the corner at full speed!

In one instant the whole mystery of the handkerchiefs, and the watches,
and the jewels, and the Jew, rushed upon the boy's mind. He stood for
a moment with the blood tingling so through all his veins from terror,
that he felt as if he were in a burning fire; then, confused and
frightened, he took to his heels, and, not knowing what he did, made
off as fast as he could lay his feet to the ground.

This was all done in a minute's space, and the very instant that Oliver
began to run, the old gentleman, putting his hand to his pocket, and
missing his handkerchief, turned sharp round. Seeing the boy scudding
away at such a rapid pace, he very naturally concluded him to be the
depredator, and, shouting "Stop thief!" with all his might, made off
after him, book in hand.

But the old gentleman was not the only person who raised the hue and
cry. The Dodger and Master Bates, unwilling to attract public attention
by running down the open street, had merely retired into the very first
doorway round the corner. They no sooner heard the cry, and saw Oliver
running, than, guessing exactly how the matter stood, they issued forth
with great promptitude, and, shouting "Stop thief!" too, joined in the
pursuit like good citizens.

Although Oliver had been brought up by philosophers, he was
not theoretically acquainted with their beautiful axiom that
self-preservation is the first law of nature. If he had been, perhaps
he would have been prepared for this. Not being prepared, however,
it alarmed him the more; so away he went like the wind, with the old
gentlemen and the two boys roaring and shouting behind him.

"Stop thief! stop thief!" There is a magic in the sound. The
tradesman leaves his counter, and the carman his waggon; the butcher
throws down his tray, the baker his basket, the milkman his pail,
the errand-boy his parcels, the schoolboy his marbles, the paviour
his pick-axe, the child his battledore: away they run, pell-mell,
helter-skelter, slap-dash, tearing, yelling, and screaming, knocking
down the passengers as they turn the corners, rousing up the dogs, and
astonishing the fowls; and streets, squares, and courts re-echo with
the sound.

"Stop thief! stop thief!" The cry is taken up by a hundred voices, and
the crowd accumulate at every turning. Away they fly, splashing through
the mud, and rattling along the pavements; up go the windows, out run
the people, onward bear the mob: a whole audience desert Punch in the
very thickest of the plot, and, joining the rushing throng, swell the
shout, and lend fresh vigour to the cry, "Stop thief! stop thief!"

"Stop thief! stop thief!" There is a passion _for hunting something_
deeply implanted in the human breast. One wretched, breathless child,
panting with exhaustion, terror in his looks, agony in his eye, large
drops of perspiration streaming down his face, strains every nerve to
make head upon his pursuers; and as they follow on his track, and gain
upon him every instant, they hail his decreasing strength with still
louder shouts, and whoop and scream with joy "Stop thief!"--Ay, stop
him for God's sake, were it only in mercy!

Stopped at last. A clever blow that. He's down upon the pavement,
and the crowd eagerly gather round him; each new comer jostling and
struggling with the others to catch a glimpse. "Stand aside!"--"Give
him a little air!"--"Nonsense! he don't deserve it."--"Where's the
gentleman?"--"Here he is, coming down the street."--"Make room there
for the gentleman!"--"Is this the boy, sir?"--"Yes."

Oliver lay covered with mud and dust, and bleeding from the mouth,
looking wildly round upon the heap of faces that surrounded him, when
the old gentleman was officiously dragged and pushed into the circle
by the foremost of the pursuers, and made this reply to their anxious
inquiries.

"Yes," said the gentleman in a benevolent voice, "I am afraid it is."

"Afraid!" murmured the crowd. "That's a good un."

"Poor fellow!" said the gentleman, "he has hurt himself."

"I did that, sir," said a great lubberly fellow stepping forward; "and
preciously I cut my knuckle agin' his mouth. _I_ stopped him, sir."

The fellow touched his hat with a grin, expecting something for
his pains; but the old gentleman, eyeing him with an expression of
disgust, looked anxiously round, as if he contemplated running away
himself; which it is very possible he might have attempted to do, and
thus afforded another chase, had not a police officer (who is always
the last person to arrive in such cases) at that moment made his way
through the crowd, and seized Oliver by the collar. "Come, get up,"
said the man roughly.

"It wasn't me indeed, sir. Indeed, indeed, it was two other boys," said
Oliver, clasping his hands passionately, and looking round: "they are
here somewhere."

"Oh no, they ain't," said the officer. He meant this to be ironical;
but it was true besides, for the Dodger and Charley Bates had filed off
down the first convenient court they came to. "Come, get up."

"Don't hurt him," said the old gentleman compassionately.

"Oh no, I won't hurt him," replied the officer, tearing his jacket half
off his back in proof thereof. "Come, I know you; it won't do. Will you
stand upon your legs, you young devil?"

Oliver, who could hardly stand, made a shift to raise himself upon his
feet, and was at once lugged along the streets by the jacket-collar at
a rapid pace. The gentleman walked on with them by the officer's side;
and as many of the crowd as could, got a little a-head, and stared back
at Oliver from time to time. The boys shouted in triumph, and on they
went.



CHAPTER THE ELEVENTH

     TREATS OF MR. FANG THE POLICE MAGISTRATE, AND FURNISHES A SLIGHT
     SPECIMEN OF HIS MODE OF ADMINISTERING JUSTICE.

The offence had been committed within the district, and indeed in the
immediate neighbourhood of a very notorious metropolitan police-office.
The crowd had only the satisfaction of accompanying Oliver through two
or three streets, and down a place called Mutton-hill, when he was led
beneath a low archway and up a dirty court into this dispensary of
summary justice, by the back way. It was a small paved yard into which
they turned; and here they encountered a stout man with a bunch of
whiskers on his face, and a bunch of keys in his hand.

"What's the matter now?" said the man carelessly.

"A young fogle-hunter," replied the man who had Oliver in charge.

"Are you the party that's been robbed, sir?" inquired the man with the
keys.

"Yes, I am," replied the old gentleman; "but I am not sure that this
boy actually took the handkerchief. I--I'd rather not press the case."

"Must go before the magistrate now, sir," replied the man. "His worship
will be disengaged in half a minute. Now, young gallows."

This was an invitation for Oliver to enter through a door which he
unlocked as he spoke, and which led into a small stone cell. Here he
was searched, and, nothing been found upon him, locked up.

This cell was in shape and size something like an area cellar, only not
so light. It was most intolerably dirty, for it was Monday morning, and
it had been tenanted since Saturday night by six drunken people. But
this is nothing. In our station-houses, men and women are every night
confined on the most trivial _charges_--the word is worth noting--in
dungeons, compared with which, those in Newgate, occupied by the most
atrocious felons, tried, found guilty, and under sentence of death, are
palaces! Let any man who doubts this, compare the two.

The old gentleman looked almost as rueful as Oliver when the key grated
in the lock; and turned with a sigh to the book which had been the
innocent cause of all this disturbance.

"There is something in that boy's face," said the old gentleman to
himself as he walked slowly away, tapping his chin with the cover of
the book in a thoughtful manner, "something that touches and interests
me. _Can_ he be innocent? He looked like--By the bye," exclaimed the
old gentleman, halting very abruptly, and staring up into the sky, "God
bless my soul! where have I seen something like that look before?"

After musing for some minutes, the old gentleman walked with the same
meditative face into a back ante-room opening from the yard; and
there, retiring into a corner, called up before his mind's eye a vast
amphitheatre of faces over which a dusky curtain had hung for many
years. "No," said the old gentleman, shaking his head; "it must be
imagination."

He wandered over them again. He had called them into view, and it was
not easy to replace the shroud that had so long concealed them. There
were the faces of friends and foes, and of many that had been almost
strangers, peering intrusively from the crowd; there were the faces of
young and blooming girls that were now old women; there were others
that the grave had changed to ghastly trophies of death, but which the
mind, superior to his power, still dressed in their old freshness and
beauty, calling back the lustre of the eyes, the brightness of the
smile, the beaming of the soul through its mask of clay, and whispering
of beauty beyond the tomb, changed but to be heightened, and taken from
earth only to be set up as a light to shed a soft and gentle glow upon
the path to Heaven.

But the old gentleman could recall no one countenance of which Oliver's
features bore a trace; so he heaved a sigh over the recollections he
had awakened; and being, happily for himself, an absent old gentleman,
buried them again in the pages of the musty book.

He was roused by a touch on the shoulder, and a request from the
man with the keys to follow him into the office. He closed his book
hastily, and was at once ushered into the imposing presence of the
renowned Mr. Fang.

The office was a front parlour, with a panneled wall. Mr. Fang sat
behind a bar at the upper end; and on one side the door was a sort of
wooden pen in which poor little Oliver was already deposited, trembling
very much at the awfulness of the scene.

Mr. Fang was a middle-sized man, with no great quantity of hair; and
what he had, growing on the back and sides of his head. His face was
stern, and much flushed. If he were really not in the habit of drinking
rather more than was exactly good for him, he might have brought an
action against his countenance for libel, and have recovered heavy
damages.

The old gentleman bowed respectfully, and, advancing to the
magistrate's desk, said, suiting the action to the word, "That is my
name and address, sir." He then withdrew a pace or two; and, with
another polite and gentlemanly inclination of the head, waited to be
questioned.

Now, it so happened that Mr. Fang was at that moment perusing a leading
article in a newspaper of the morning, adverting to some recent
decision of his, and commending him, for the three hundred and fiftieth
time, to the special and particular notice of the Secretary of State
for the Home Department. He was out of temper, and he looked up with an
angry scowl.

"Who are you?" said Mr. Fang.

The old gentleman pointed with some surprise to his card.

"Officer!" said Mr. Fang, tossing the card contemptuously away with the
newspaper, "who is this fellow?"

"My name, sir," said the old gentleman, speaking _like_ a gentleman,
and consequently in strong contrast to Mr. Fang,--"my name, sir, is
Brownlow. Permit me to inquire the name of the magistrate who offers
a gratuitous and unprovoked insult to a respectable man, under the
protection of the bench." Saying this, Mr. Brownlow looked round the
office as if in search of some person who would afford him the required
information.

"Officer!" said Mr. Fang, throwing the paper on one side, "what's this
fellow charged with?"

"He's not charged at all, your worship," replied the officer. "He
appears against the boy, your worship."

His worship knew this perfectly well; but it was a good annoyance, and
a safe one.

"Appears against the boy, does he?" said Fang, surveying Mr. Brownlow
contemptuously from head to foot. "Swear him."

"Before I am sworn I must beg to say one word," said Mr. Brownlow;
"and that is, that I never, without actual experience, could have
believed----"

"Hold your tongue, sir!" said Mr. Fang peremptorily.

"I will not, sir!" replied the spirited old gentleman.

"Hold your tongue this instant, or I'll have you turned out of the
office!" said Mr. Fang. "You're an insolent impertinent fellow. How
dare you bully a magistrate!"

"What!" exclaimed the old gentleman, reddening.

"Swear this person!" said Fang to the clerk. "I'll not hear another
word. Swear him!"

Mr. Brownlow's indignation was greatly roused; but, reflecting that
he might only injure the boy by giving vent to it, he suppressed his
feelings, and submitted to be sworn at once.

"Now," said Fang, "what's the charge against this boy? What have you
got to say, sir?"

"I was standing at a book-stall--" Mr. Brownlow began.

"Hold your tongue, sir!" said Mr. Fang. "Policeman!--where's the
policeman? Here, swear this man. Now, policeman, what is this?"

The policeman with becoming humility related how he had taken the
charge, how he had searched Oliver and found nothing on his person; and
how that was all he knew about it.

"Are there any witnesses?" inquired Mr. Fang.

"None, your worship," replied the policeman.

Mr. Fang sat silent for some minutes, and then, turning round to the
prosecutor, said, in a towering passion,

"Do you mean to state what your complaint against this boy is, fellow,
or do you not? You have been sworn. Now, if you stand there, refusing
to give evidence, I'll punish you for disrespect to the bench; I will,
by ----"

By what, or by whom, nobody knows, for the clerk and jailer coughed
very loud just at the right moment, and the former dropped a heavy book
on the floor; thus preventing the word from being heard--accidentally,
of course.

With many interruptions, and repeated insults, Mr. Brownlow contrived
to state his case; observing that, in the surprise of the moment, he
had run after the boy because he saw him running away, and expressing
his hope that, if the magistrate should believe him, although not
actually the thief, to be connected with thieves, he would deal as
leniently with him as justice would allow.

"He has been hurt already," said the old gentleman in conclusion. "And
I fear," he added, with great energy, looking towards the bar,--"I
really fear that he is very ill."

"Oh! yes; I dare say!" said Mr. Fang, with a sneer. "Come; none of your
tricks here, you young vagabond; they won't do. What's your name?"

Oliver tried to reply, but his tongue failed him. He was deadly pale,
and the whole place seemed turning round and round.

"What's your name, you hardened scoundrel?" thundered Mr. Fang.
"Officer, what's his name?"

This was addressed to a bluff old fellow in a striped waistcoat, who
was standing by the bar. He bent over Oliver, and repeated the inquiry;
but finding him really incapable of understanding the question, and
knowing that his not replying would only infuriate the magistrate the
more, and add to the severity of his sentence, he hazarded a guess.

"He says his name's Tom White, your worship," said this kind-hearted
thief-taker.

"Oh, he won't speak out, won't he?" said Fang. "Very well, very well.
Where does he live?"

"Where he can, your worship," replied the officer, again pretending to
receive Oliver's answer.

"Has he any parents?" inquired Mr. Fang.

"He says they died in his infancy, your worship," replied the officer,
hazarding the usual reply.

At this point of the inquiry Oliver raised his head, and, looking round
with imploring eyes, murmured a feeble prayer for a draught of water.

"Stuff and nonsense!" said Mr. Fang; "don't try to make a fool of me."

"I think he really is ill, your worship," remonstrated the officer.

"I know better," said Mr. Fang.

"Take care of him, officer," said the old gentleman, raising his hands
instinctively; "he'll fall down."

"Stand away, officer," cried Fang savagely; "let him if he likes."

Oliver availed himself of the kind permission, and fell heavily to the
floor in a fainting fit. The men in the office looked at each other,
but no one dared to stir.

"I knew he was shamming," said Fang, as if this were incontestable
proof of the fact. "Let him lie; he'll soon be tired of that."

"How do you propose to deal with the case, sir?" inquired the clerk in
a low voice.

"Summarily," replied Mr. Fang. "He stands committed for three
months,--hard labour of course. Clear the office."

The door was opened for this purpose, and a couple of men were
preparing to carry the insensible boy to his cell, when an elderly man
of decent but poor appearance, clad in an old suit of black, rushed
hastily into the office, and advanced to the bench.

"Stop, stop,--don't take him away,--for Heaven's sake stop a moment,"
cried the new-comer, breathless with haste.

Although the presiding geniuses in such an office as this, exercise
a summary and arbitrary power over the liberties, the good name, the
character, almost the lives of his Majesty's subjects, especially of
the poorer class, and although within such walls enough fantastic
tricks are daily played to make the angels weep thick tears of blood,
they are closed to the public, save through the medium of the daily
press. Mr. Fang was consequently not a little indignant to see an
unbidden guest enter in such irreverent disorder.

"What is this? Who is this? Turn this man out. Clear the office," cried
Mr. Fang.

"I will speak," cried the man; "I will not be turned out,--I saw it
all. I keep the book-stall. I demand to be sworn. I will not be put
down. Mr. Fang, you must hear me. You dare not refuse, sir."

The man was right. His manner was bold and determined, and the matter
was growing rather too serious to be hushed up.

"Swear the fellow," growled Fang with a very ill grace. "Now, man, what
have you got to say?"

"This," said the man: "I saw three boys--two others and the prisoner
here--loitering on the opposite side of the way, when this gentleman
was reading. The robbery was committed by another boy. I saw it done,
and I saw that this boy was perfectly amazed and stupified by it."
Having by this time recovered a little breath, the worthy book-stall
keeper proceeded to relate in a more coherent manner the exact
circumstances of the robbery.

"Why didn't you come here before?" said Fang after a pause.

"I hadn't a soul to mind the shop," replied the man; "everybody that
could have helped me had joined in the pursuit. I could get nobody till
five minutes ago, and I've run here all the way."

"The prosecutor was reading, was he?" inquired Fang, after another
pause.

"Yes," replied the man, "the very book he has got in his hand."

"Oh, that book, eh?" said Fang. "Is it paid for?"

"No, it is not," replied the man, with a smile.

"Dear me, I forgot all about it!" exclaimed the absent old gentleman,
innocently.

"A nice person to prefer a charge against a poor boy!" said Fang,
with a comical effort to look humane. "I consider, sir, that you have
obtained possession of that book under very suspicious and disreputable
circumstances, and you may think yourself very fortunate that the owner
of the property declines to prosecute. Let this be a lesson to you, my
man, or the law will overtake you yet. The boy is discharged. Clear the
office!"

"D--me!" cried the old gentleman, bursting out with the rage he had
kept down so long, "d--me! I'll----"

"Clear the office!" roared the magistrate. "Officers, do you hear?
Clear the office!"

The mandate was obeyed, and the indignant Mr. Brownlow was conveyed
out, with the book in one hand and the bamboo cane in the other, in a
perfect phrenzy of rage and defiance.

He reached the yard, and it vanished in a moment. Little Oliver Twist
lay on his back on the pavement, with his shirt unbuttoned and his
temples bathed with water: his face a deadly white, and a cold tremble
convulsing his whole frame.

"Poor boy, poor boy!" said Mr. Brownlow bending over him. "Call a
coach, somebody, pray, directly!"

A coach was obtained, and Oliver, having been carefully laid on one
seat, the old gentleman got in and sat himself on the other.

"May I accompany you?" said the book-stall keeper looking in.

"Bless me, yes, my dear friend," said Mr. Brownlow quickly. "I forgot
you. Dear, dear! I've got this unhappy book still. Jump in. Poor
fellow! there's no time to lose."

The book-stall keeper got into the coach, and away they drove.



ELEGIAC STANZAS.

BY MRS. CORNWELL BARON WILSON.


    Why mourn we for her, who in Spring's tender bloom,
      And the sweet blush of womanhood, quitted life's sphere?
    Why weep we for her? Thro' the gates of the tomb
      She has pass'd to the regions undimm'd by a tear!

    To the spirits' far land in the mansions above,
      Unsullied, thus early her soul wing'd its flight;
    While she bask'd in the beams of affection and love,
      And knew not the clouds that oft shadow their light!

    Fate's hand pluck'd the bud ere it blossom'd to fame,
      No withering canker its leaflets had known;
    The ministering angels her fellowship claim,
      And rejoice o'er a spirit as pure as their own!

    While she knew but life's purer and tenderer ties,
      The guardian who watches life's path from our birth
    Call'd home the bright being Heav'n form'd for the skies
      Ere its bloom had been ting'd by the follies of earth!

    Alas! while the light of her young spirit's flame
      Shone a day-star of Hope to illumine us here,
    The messenger-seraph too suddenly came,
      And bore his bright charge to her own native sphere!

    Yet mourn not for her, who, in Spring's tender bloom,
      Has made life a desert to those left behind;
    Like the rose-leaf, tho' wither'd, still yielding perfume,
      In our hearts, ever fragrant, her memory is shrin'd!



FICTIONS OF THE MIDDLE AGES.

BY DELTA.

THE BUTTERFLY BISHOP.


Amongst the numerous grievances complained of, during the reigns of the
Anglo-Norman sovereigns, none gave more uneasiness than the inhuman
severity of the forest-laws; they disgusted those nobles not in the
confidence of the monarch, oppressed the people, and impoverished the
country.

The privilege of hunting in the royal forests was confined to the king
and his favourites, who spent the greater portion of their time, not
engaged in active warfare, in that diversion; many of them pursued wild
beasts with greater fury than they did enemies of their country, and
became as savage as the very brutes they hunted.

The punishment for hunting or destroying game in royal forests, or
other property belonging to the crown, was very severe: the offender
was generally put to death; but, if he could afford to pay an enormous
mulct to the king, the sentence was commuted either to dismemberment or
tedious imprisonment.

The propensity of the dignified clergy to follow secular pastimes,
especially that of hunting, is well known: they were ambitious to
surpass the laity in the number and splendid livery of their huntsmen,
and to excel in making the woods resound with the echo of their bugles;
many of them are recorded for their skill in the aristocratic and manly
amusement of the chase. Few persons, however, either ecclesiastic
or secular, equalled Peter de Roches, Bishop of Winchester, in his
fondness for, and prowess in, the chase.

Peter had spent the prime of his life as a soldier,[1] and having
rendered King John essential service in such capacity, that monarch
conferred upon him the lucrative office of Bishop of Winchester, and he
thenceforth became a curer of souls instead of a destroyer of bodies.

Peter's appointment as a bishop afforded him ample time to devote to
the fascinating employment of chasing the "full-acorned boar" and
stealthy fox: he thought the hunter's shout, the winding notes of the
clanging horn, and the joyous bark of the hounds, much sweeter music
than the nasal chaunt of the drowsy monks.

It happened one day that Peter, (who was, according to the Chronicle of
Lanercost,[2] a proud and worldly man,--as was too often the case with
bishops of that period,) with a bugle dangling at his belt, and mounted
upon a fiery steed, attended by a vast retinue of men, horses, and
hounds, was in hot pursuit of a wary old fox; his courser,--more fleet
than the mountain roe, scarce bruising the grass with his iron-shod
hoofs,--like Bucephalus of Macedon, took fright at his own shadow, and
became unmanageable; nor were all the skill and spur of the rider able
to check his impetuous speed: the harder the bishop pulled, the more
unruly became his steed; the bridle now suddenly snapped in twain,
and the bishop was left to the fate that awaited him. Velocipede,
for so the horse was called, now seemed exultingly to bound over the
deepest ditches, and to clear the highest thorny-twining hedge with the
greatest ease: nothing could moderate his foaming rage; he resembled
more the far-famed Pegasus of Medusan blood, than the palfrey of a
gentle bishop. The retinue, and eager hounds, notwithstanding their
utmost endeavour to keep pace with their master, were left far behind.

Peter, having no control over his flying barbary, awaited with truly
apostolic calmness and gravity the issue of his wondrous ride,
seriously expecting every minute a broken neck or leg; or, perchance,
to have his preaching spoilt by the dislocation of a jaw-bone.--Such
thoughts will frequently obtrude themselves into the minds of men
encompassed with similar difficulties, let their presence of mind be
never so great.

After half an hour's ride in such unepiscopal speed, which can only
be compared to that of a steam-engine upon the Manchester railroad,
Velocipede suddenly stopped before a magnificent castle with frowning
battlements and a gloomy moat. The bishop, wondering at what he saw,
was struck dumb with astonishment; for he well knew that so extensive a
castle had not hitherto existed in his diocese, nor did he know of any
such in England. Velocipede seemed also at his wits' end, and commenced
frisking and gamboling about; and, in making a devotional curvet to
the castle, threw the gallant, but unprepared bishop, over his head.
Peter was either stunned or entranced by the fall,--whether his senses
ever returned the reader must determine for himself when he has perused
what follows: the bishop, however, always declared that he was never
senseless, and that he could preach as well after, as before his fall.

No sooner was the bishop safely located upon the verdant down by the
reverential feelings of the awe-struck Velocipede, than the castle's
drawbridge fell, and an aged seneschal, of rubicund-tinted face, with
at least fifty liveried lackeys in fanciful suits, ran to assist the
bishop, and help him to regain his legs.

By the aid of a restorative cordial the bishop was resuscitated, and,
upon coming to himself, was welcomed by the seneschal to the castle of
Utopia.

The bishop looked aghast.

"My lord bishop," said the seneschal, "the king, our master, has
been long expecting you; he is all impatient to embrace you: hasten,
my lord, hasten your steps into the castle; the wines are cooled,
the supper is ready; oh, such a supper! my mouth waters at the very
smell thereof! Four wild turkeys smoke upon the spit, seven bitterns,
six-and-twenty grey partridges, two-and-thirty red-legged ones, sixteen
pheasants, nine woodcocks, nineteen herons, two-and-thirty rooks,
twenty ring-doves, sixty leverets, twelve hares, twenty rabbits, and an
ocean of Welsh ones, (enough to surfeit all the mice, and kill every
apoplectic person in the world,) twenty kids, six roebucks, eight
he-goats, fifteen sucking wild-boars, a flock of wild-ducks, to say
nothing of the sturgeons, pikes, jacks, and other fish, both fresh and
saltwater, besides ten tons of the most exquisite native oysters: and
then there are flagons, goblets, and mead-cups overflowing with frothy
ale, exhilarating wine, and goodly mead, all longing to empty their
contents into our parched and ready stomachs, which are unquenchable
asbestos; for we drink lustily, my lord, and eat powdered beef salted
at Shrovetide, to season our mouths, and render them rabid for liquid
in the same proportion as a rabid dog avoids it."

The seneschal here paused to take breath, for his description of the
supper exhausted the wind-trunk of his organ; and the bishop, seizing
the opportunity of its being replenished, said,

"Peace, hoary dotard! thou hast mistaken thy man; I am Peter de Roches,
Bishop of Winchester, and Protector of England during the king's
sojourn abroad."

"You need not tell _me_ what I already know," replied the seneschal;
"though, it seems, I must again remind _you_ that my lord the king
awaits your coming within the castle walls, and has prepared a
sumptuous supper, with all manner of good cheer, to greet you."

"Supper!" said the bishop in astonishment, "I have not yet dined;
besides I never eat supper."

"The devil take your inhuman fashion, then!" replied the seneschal:
"in extreme necessity I might forego a dinner, provided I had eaten
an overwhelming breakfast; but I would as soon die as go without my
supper. To go to bed without supper is a base and aristocratic custom;
I say it is an error offensive to nature, and nature's dictates; all
fasting is bad save breakfasting. That wicked pope who first invented
fasting ought to have been baked alive in the papal kitchen."

To the latter part of the seneschal's speech the bishop mentally
assented; but he merely said,

"Go to, thou gorged dullard, and tell thy master to gormandize without
me."

"Well, go I suppose I must, if you will not come," returned the
seneschal, "for I cannot longer tarry here. Ah, Sir Bishop, did you
feel the gnawings of my stomach, you would be glad to throw some food
to the hungry mastiff that seems feeding upon my very vitals!"

"Hold thy balderdash!" said the bishop, who had become very irritated,
and would have sworn, had it been etiquette to do so in those days,
at the effusive and edacious harangue of the seneschal. "Verily, thy
hunger and thirst have gotten the better of thy wits! Whence comest
thou?"

"From within the pincernary of that castle, where I have been
indefatigably filling the goblets," answered the seneschal, smacking
his lips. "_Sitio! sitio!_ my parched mouth moistens at the thought!
Oh! the lachryma Christi, the nectar, the ambrosia, and the true
Falernian! Ah! Sir Bishop, some persons drink to quench their thirst,
but I drink to prevent it."

"Pshaw!" said the bishop, "the wine that thou hast already drunken hath
fuddled thy brains."

"By a gammon of the saltest bacon!" returned the seneschal, "I have
more sense of what is good in my little finger than your reverence has
in your whole pate, or you would not stand shilly-shambling here whilst
so goodly a supper waits within."

The bishop was highly incensed at the seneschal's reflection upon his
pate, and would have followed, had he dared, the slashing example of
his namesake, and have smitten off the ear of this high-priest of
the pantry; (for he always wore a sword, even in the pulpit, firmly
believing in the efficacy of cold steel, knowing from experience that
it would make a deeper and more lasting impression upon human obduracy
than the most eloquent preaching;) but the bishop was deterred by
prudential reflections from such sanguinary vengeance.

How long the confabulation between the bishop and the loquacious
seneschal would have lasted, and to what extent the patience of the
former might have been tried, it would at this remote period be
difficult to determine, especially as the Lanercost Chronicle does not
inform us. At any rate, it was cut shorter than it would have been, by
the approach of twenty youthful knights, clad in superb armour, and
riding upon horses caparisoned in most costly and gorgeous trappings;
they dismounted, and made a low obeisance. The bishop returned it as
lowly as bishops generally do, unless they are bowing to the premier
during the vacancy of an archbishoprick. The knights advanced; but
Peter remained as firm and majestic as the rock of Gibraltar.

"Sir Bishop," said the chief of the knights, a youth with a most
beautiful and smiling face, "we are come to request your speedy
attendance upon our lord the king, who with any other than yourself
would have been much displeased at your perverse absence, after you
have been bidden by the steward of the household."

The bishop rubbed, shut, and opened his eyes.--"Am I bewitched,"
thought he to himself, "or do I dream?"

"Neither the one nor the other," said the knight, who perfectly
understood the bishop's cogitations.

"No? What, then, does all this mean?" inquired the bishop. "When did my
lord the king return from Picardy?"

"Proceed into the castle," replied the knight, "and let him answer for
himself."

"If these people consider this a joke," thought the bishop, "I by no
means think it one. At all events, come what come may, I will follow up
this strange adventure, and be even with these gentlemen. I have not a
bishop's garment," said he, addressing the seneschal; "how can I appear
before the king, accoutred as I am?"

"Knowing how much you are addicted to hunting," returned the seneschal,
"the king will assuredly receive you in your usual costume."

"Tut, fool!" said the bishop sneeringly; "do you forget, or has your
time been so engrossed with epicurean pursuits, that you have not
learnt how a guest, though bidden, was punished because he attended a
supper-party without a proper garment? Find me a becoming dress, and I
will instantly attend his highness' pleasure."

"If you will condescend to follow me," said the youthful knight, "a
sacerdotal dress shall be procured for you."

The bishop, nodding assent, was then conducted in solemn silence into
the wardrobe of the castle, where the obsequious attendants soon
arrayed him in a dress fit for a bishop to sit with the king at supper
in. It was not such unpretending costume as that in which bishops are
at present apparelled; but robes of the tinctured colours of the East,
which were more apt to remind both the wearer and the beholders of
mundane pomps and vanities, than of the humility and simplicity of
Christianity. The alb was of most dazzling white, the dalmatica of
gold tissue, the stole was embroidered with precious stones, and the
chasuble, of purple velvet wrought with orfraise, was also studded with
costly orient gems.

The bishop thus splendidly accoutred was conducted with great state
and solemnity into the banqueting-room, one of the most magnificent
and spacious of the kind. It excelled everything he had ever before
seen: odoriferous and fragrant perfumes, fit for a Peri[3] to feed
on, saluted his nose; his sight was dazzled by splendid and radiant
illuminations, the most exquisite music stole upon his ear, and
laughter and mirth seemed to be universal; every face (there were many
hundreds in the room) was decked with a smile; there wanted but one
thing to complete the enchantment of the scene,--the light of woman's
laughing eye.

As the bishop entered the hall, five hundred harpers in an instant
twanged their harps; and the air resounded with trumpets, clarions,
fifes, and other musical instruments, not omitting the hollow drum.

The bishop, being tainted with the superstitious feelings of the
age, easily persuaded himself that he was in an enchanted palace; he
therefore determined to conform to every custom that prevailed in the
assembled company, and by that means he hoped to ingratiate himself
with the presiding spirit. When he had reached the centre of the hall,
the king (he wore a robe of rich crimson velvet, furred with ermine,
over a dalmatica flowered with gold, rubies, emeralds, pearls, and
diamonds, and on his head was a splendid crown beyond estimation,)
descended from a throne of the purest crystal, and advanced to meet the
bishop. As he passed the obsequious nobles, he received their servile
adulation with a smile, and, extending his arms, folded the bishop in a
royal embrace. The latter surveyed with some awe the brawny shoulders
of the king, and regarded with much respect the amber-coloured locks
hanging in great profusion down his musculous back. The bishop thought
that the aquiline nose, the expansive brow, the large clear azure eye,
and the ruddy complexion of his host, about as much resembled those of
his own monarch as a terrible-looking bull-dog does a snarling mongrel.
But he kept his complimentary thoughts of his host to himself, as he
was not at any time of a communicative spirit,--he was a proud, not a
vain man,--and he moreover did not know how his compliment might be
received.

The king handed the bishop to the upper end of the hall, and placed him
at his right hand. No sooner were they seated than twenty trumpeters,
in a gallery at the lower end of the room, blew, as the signal for
supper to be served up, three such electrifying blasts, that, had the
building not been as substantial as beautiful, it must have been shaken.

As the loquacious seneschal, in tempting the bishop to quicken his
steps to supper, has put us in possession of many of the various
articles provided for this festive entertainment, we shall not weary
our reader by recapitulating them; but content ourselves with stating
that, in addition to the solid fare, there were exquisite and delicate
fruits and viands, with wines and liqueurs of the choicest quality and
flavour. The supper-service was of the most superb description, frosted
silver and burnished gold; the goblets, vases, and wine-cups were of
crystal, mounted in gold richly carved. Such a feast the bishop had
never seen or tasted; and yet he was, like many of his predecessors
and successors too, perfectly familiar with the charms of eating and
drinking.

Nothing produces good-fellowship, intimacy, and conviviality more than
a good supper. We do not mean the cold, formal, and pompous supper
given to a fashionable party of the present day; but such as were
peculiar to by-gone days, when the table groaned under hot and solid
joints, and the company, with good appetites as provocatives, ate
and drank right heartily,--when glee and joy sat merrily upon every
face, and the glass went briskly round. Even misanthropes or proud men
could not be insensible to such festive scenes; their hearts would
necessarily warm as the exhilarating wine washed away their gloomy and
proud thoughts.

The bishop soon became familiar with his host, ate, drank, laughed,
and was merry; (we will not so scandalise the Bench as to presume that
he was drunk, although the Chronicle of Lanercost insinuates as much;)
the conversation was brilliant, the wit bright and poignant, and the
repartees flashed, and often rebounded upon the discharger.

To put a direct or pointed question at any time is, to say the least
of it, ungentlemanly; it very often gives dire offence, is seldom
admired or tolerated even by your most intimate acquaintance; and men
are seldom guilty of it, unless in their cups, or with a desire of
insulting:--how unpalatable must it be to royalty! As we know it was
the bishop's desire to keep upon good terms with his host, it is but
natural to infer that he would not intentionally insult him by any
rude question. If, therefore, any rudeness occurred on the part of the
bishop, it is charitable to set it down to inebriation, or perhaps to
the bishop's habit of putting questions in the confessional.

To the ineffable surprise of the king, the bishop was so injudicious as
to ask his host, in the most direct and pointed manner, who he was, and
whence he came there.

No sooner had the bishop attempted to satisfy his prying curiosity by
what appeared to him a very natural question, than the hall shook as if
Nature were indignant at his presumptuous inquiry; the whole place was
filled with an effulgent lambent light so brilliant, that it entirely
eclipsed the blaze of the variegated lamps that burned in the hall; a
low murmuring wind followed. The king's eyes seemed to flash liquid
fire as he answered, "Know me for what I am,--Arthur, formerly lord of
the whole monarchy of Britain, son of the mighty Pendragon, and the
illustrious founder of the Order of the Round Table."

The bishop, having a firm heart and buxom valour, was far from being
daunted, as most men in a similar situation would have been, and he
inquired whether the story then current was true, that King Arthur
was not dead, but had been carried away by fairies into some pleasant
place, where he was to remain for a time, and then return again
and reign in as great authority as ever; or whether he died by the
sword-wounds he received from the sons of the king of the Picts;
and if so, whether his soul was saved, and come to revisit this
sublunary world. The bishop, meditating authorship, asked a thousand
other questions relative to the immortality of the soul; and so
subtle were they, that, had they been put in these days of sciolism
and charlatanry, his fame would have been as brilliant, lasting, and
deserved as that of the noble editor of Paley's Theology.

Whether King Arthur did not choose to satisfy the bishop's curiosity,
or whether, judging from the usual depth of the human mind, he thought
the immortality of the soul a subject too deep and mystic for such
moonshine treatises as have been written concerning it, the Chronicle
of Lanercost does not inform us. It merely states, that to all the
bishop's searching questions Arthur only replied, "_Verè expecto
misericordiam Dei magnam_." He had no sooner uttered those words than
a roar, like the falling of mighty waters such as Niagara's was heard,
and from the incense-altar another blaze of transcendent light issued:
the whole assembly, excepting the bishop, prostrated themselves and
chaunted a hymn, which he, mistaking for a bacchanal-venatical chorus,
heartily joined in. Upon this outrage of public decency, the chaunt
instantly terminated with a crash resembling what is ignorantly called
the falling of a thunderbolt; the altar again smoked, and horrible and
clamorous noises issued therefrom, like the bellowing of buffaloes, the
howling of wolves, the snarling and barking of hounds, the neighing of
horses, the halloo of huntsmen, and the blasts of brazen trumpets, all
in heterogeneous mingle. The smoke gradually assumed the appearance
of a host of hunters; one of them, evidently their chief, fixed his
glaring eyes upon the bishop, and frowned awfully. The bishop did not
admire the looks of the hunter-chief, and even winced a little when he
raised his ghastly arm, (as a self-satisfied orator does when about
to enforce some appalling clap-trap sentiment,) and said in a gruff
growl, "I am Nimrod, of hunting fame, and such a hunter was I as the
world had not before, or since, or will ever have again. Yet was I
no monopolizer of game, or murderer of men to preserve it, as some
have unjustly charged me. I loved the chase, and taught my subjects
to love it too; but thou, oh Bishop Peter, hast been a cruel hunter,
and strict preserver of game. The tongues thou hast dilacerated, the
ears and noses thou hast cut off, and the wretches thou hast slain,
form an awful catalogue of cruelty, and one that will require tears of
blood to wash out. Hearken to the lamentations of thy victims, and the
bewailings of the widows and orphans thy cruelty hath made! Hadst thou
not been so peerless and bold a hunter, I should not have condescended
to warn you of the terrible fate you will experience in the world to
come, unless you mend your ways. Lover and encourager that I was, and
interested as I still am in that manly sport, I would sooner that it
were entirely lost to the world than it should be disgraced by human
bloodshed. List, I say, to the cries of the victims whom thou hast
sacrificed at the altar of Diana, thy divinity!" Loud lamentations were
now heard, and a hideous group of dismembered menacing ghosts flitted
rapidly before the bishop's wondering sight. He closed his eyes to
avoid their angry looks; one writer insinuates that he swooned, but we
think that unlikely. Be it, however, as it may, upon his opening his
eyes he neither saw Nimrod, his crew, nor any of the victims of the
forest-laws. They had every one of them disappeared!

King Arthur, like a brave and magnanimous prince, soon forgot and
forgave the bishop's want of good breeding in asking impertinent
questions; though he severely chid him for having split so many human
noses, and dismembered Christians without the slightest remorse, for so
trifling an offence as infraction of the forest-laws: and that, too,
within the very precinct of Winchester Castle, where the Round Table
was preserved. The bishop thought those offences anything but trifling,
and that the souls as well as bodies of the offenders merited the
severest punishment, instead of commiseration.

King Arthur then denounced the concupiscence of the dignitaries of the
church, and their appetite for, and easy digestion of, the good things
of the world; and he declared that they regarded nothing but sensual
gratification, and wasted their precious lives in banqueting, hawking,
and hunting. He entreated the bishop to leave off his hunting habits,
and to take unto those that were more episcopal and less sanguinary. He
told him that it would add considerably to his mundane happiness, and
tend more to his salvation than ten thousand thoughtless repetitions of
the "pater noster" and twelve thousand of the "ave Maria." So much did
King Arthur say, needless here to be repeated, that the bishop mentally
resolved to profit by the king's advice. But it occurred to him that
he could not suddenly leave off hunting without assigning a sufficient
reason for his determination; and that if he related what had befallen
him, his being a bishop would not entitle him to credit, nor protect
him from the derision of his sovereign and his courtiers; for who would
believe his most solemn asseveration that he had seen Nimrod, and
conversed and supped with King Arthur?

King Arthur, perceiving what was agitating the bishop's ideas,
determined to assist in fulfilling so righteous a resolve as the bishop
was meditating.

"Extend your right hand," said Arthur; the bishop complied. "Shut it,"
said Arthur; the bishop did as he was told. "Now open it," continued
Arthur. The bishop opened his hand, and there flew therefrom an
exquisitely beautiful butterfly.

The bishop, notwithstanding all that he had just before seen and heard,
now in real good earnest believed himself bewitched, and heartily
wished that he had never forsaken the profession of a soldier for that
of a bishop, to be subject to miracles; for in those days miracles and
visions only occurred to the dignified clergy.

King Arthur, compassionating the bishop's perturbation, said, "Whenever
in relating your adventure any one doubts it, you shall afford him
sufficient autopsy of its verity by sending, at all seasons of the
year, a butterfly from your hand, in memorial of me and of your
virtuous resolution."

The bishop cordially thanked King Arthur for his kindness and
consideration, and swore by the face at Lucca, (his favourite oath,)
that as long as he lived, he would never again sound the bugle, follow
hounds, nor punish man, woman, or child for infringing the game-laws;
and that he would moreover exert all his influence with King John to
relax the inhuman severity of the forest-laws.

No sooner had the bishop made a solemn adjuration to that effect than
he felt a stunning blow upon his head, which deprived him of all
sensation. When he recovered, he found himself lying where Velocipede
had thrown him, and the brute quietly grazing by his side.

The bishop vaulted upon his saddle, spurred his steed, and galloped off
as fast as the creature could go. After a ride of about five miles,
he found his attendants anxiously seeking him. He related all that
had occurred, to their great awe and astonishment; but when they had
autoptical evidence of the truth of his narration, by his letting loose
a mealy-winged butterfly from his hand, their fear and wonder exceeded
all bounds.

The bishop's adventure was soon bruited abroad, and thousands flocked
from all parts of England, Scotland, Ireland, and even the Continent,
to see the man who had supped with King Arthur, and seen the hunter
Nimrod. Many more came to witness a miracle performed: a circumstance
of rare occurrence to the vulgar in those days, miracles, as we have
above observed, being reserved for the private view of bishops and
monks. Those pilgrimaging to Winchester always sought and received
a blessing from the butterfly hand of the bishop as soon as he was
satisfied that a liberal oblation had been made at the high altar of
his cathedral.

The frequent repetition of the miracle obtained for Peter the
appellation of the BUTTERFLY BISHOP; and the offerings at the high
altar so greatly augmented his revenue, that he never once repented of
his promise to King Arthur. His time was so occupied in performing the
miracle and blessing the people, that he had no time, whatever was his
inclination, for hunting.

The Chronicler ends this strange story in the following words "_Quid in
hoc anima Arthuri mortalis adhuc docere voluerit, perpendat qui meliùs
conjicere poterit_:"--which, for the benefit of our female readers,
may be rendered thus,--"What the still mortal soul of Arthur wished to
teach by this, let him consider who can best interpret."

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: Matthew Paris describes him as "_Vir equestris ordinis, et
in rebus bellicis eruditus_."]

[Footnote 2: The original words are, "_Idem vir vanus et mundanus, ut
nimis inolevit nostris pontificibus_."]

[Footnote 3: The Peris of Persian romance are supposed to feed upon the
choicest odours; by which food they overcome their bitterest enemies
the Deevs, (with whom they wage incessant war,) whose malignant nature
is impatient of fragrance.]



A NEW SONG TO THE OLD TUNE OF "KATE KEARNEY."


    O, say have you heard of Duvernay?
    They tell me she's able to earn a
        Hundred pounds in a night,
        Such crowds she'll delight--
    What _danseuse_ is like to Duvernay?

    If you e'er go to see this Duvernay,
    Just notice her when she shall turn a
        Most sweet pirouette,
        And you'll never regret
    Forking out to behold this Duvernay.

    Would you know where you may see Duvernay?
    You must go to Pall-mall, and just turn a
        Little up a wide street,
        When the Opera you'll meet,
    And there you'll behold this Duvernay.

    Tell me not of Leroux or Taglioni;
    One's too stout, and the other's too bony:
        If you see them all three,
        You'll be thinking with me,
    Of all dancers the flow'r is Duvernay.

        F.G.

        _City of London Institution,
        Aldersgate-street._



WHAT TOM BINKS DID WHEN HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH HIMSELF.


Is it creditable to that very respectable academical abstraction,
that indefatigable pioneer to the march of intellect, (which some
imagine to be the rogues' march,) the _schoolmaster_, notwithstanding
his ubiquity, and his being lately abroad on his travels, that the
medical faculty, with all their appliances of pill and book, have not
up to this hour been able to devise a remedy for a very common-place
disorder, so feelingly enunciated in that touching and eloquent
exclamation, "I really don't know what to do with myself!" or to
ascertain in what category of diseases incident to humanity it is
to be placed? Like hydrophobia, it has baffled the ingenuity of the
faculty, who summarily disposed of the evil between two feather-beds;
and, though no effectual remedy has been devised for this pet malady, a
feather-bed, or an easy-chair, has been found to operate as a sedative.
One thing is clear; that, of all the ills that flesh or spirit is heir
to, this interesting disorder possesses as respectable a degree of
obstinacy and virulency as ever humanity had to cope with.

Talk of being dunned for your own or anybody else's debt; talk of a
favourite horse or dog falling sick just as you are ready to mount,
and the scent reeking hot on the stubble; of being bored, no matter
with what; talk--even if one is put to that--of the devil; and what
are all these petty annoyances to that sublime of _blue-devilism_ to
which a poor devil is reduced, when, in his extremity, he reposes his
hands on his "fair round belly," or thrusts them to the very bottom of
his breeches' pockets, with not a cross there to keep the devil out,
and feelingly exclaims, "I really don't know what to do with myself!"
One may double the corner on a dun, or stop his mouth for three months
together with a promissory note, though at the end of that period it
may be as fructifying as any note of admiration; or, at worst, pay him
and be d--d to him, and there's an end. That biped Shank's mare is a
very respectable animal, which you may borrow; or any body else's who
may be disposed to lend. In case of a _bore_, you may retaliate, and
_perforate_ in your turn. You may defy the devil, though backed with
this world, and his own, and the flesh to boot. But when that _ne
plus ultra_ of blue-devilism attacks you, what's the remedy? I don't
know--do you? but this I know; that it is the most rascally, &c. &c.
&c. kind of malady, will be generally admitted.

Your poor devil at the East-end, and your devil-may-care fellow of
the West-end, are equally honoured by its visitation; while your
happy, active middle-man, who stands aloof from either end, sturdily
bids it defiance, and slams the door in its face. Under the influence
of this visitor it is that sundry pious pilgrimages are made to
the foot of Waterloo or Blackfriars' bridges, to steal out of life
through an archway, unless the dear enthusiast is interrupted by a
meddling officious waterman, and his senses gently wooed back by the
resuscitating apparatus and warm blankets of the Humane Society. Will
Sprightly, with four thousand a-year unincumbered, doesn't know what
to do with himself, and straightway falls to the agreeable occupation
of encumbering it, and, when it will bear no more, he finds he cannot
bear himself, and incontinently flies from one state of suspense to
another, and hangs himself; or, should the ruling passion be strong
in death, and he is desirous even then to cut a figure, why, he cuts
his throat; or, the report of a pistol will give you a pretty correct
intimation of his whereabouts, and his probable occupation. "Temporary
insanity" is uniformly the verdict of your "crowner's 'quest" on such
occasions; even a physician of any repute will honestly state on
ordinary occasions, particularly when the patient has the benefit of
his skill and experience in helping him to leave this wicked world,
that he died of such and such a disorder, and will manfully state the
name of the disorder, and the world gives him credit for his skill and
integrity. Would gentlemen serving upon "crowners' 'quests" imitate
this heroic example, instead of recording the foolish verdict of
"temporary insanity," they would say, "The deceased _didn't know what
to do with himself_!" This would be intelligible, and the faculty might
stumble upon a remedy; but "temporary insanity" is too transitory,
too fugitive to be grappled with, too vague and indefinite in its
very name ever to do any good, and the patient is generally "past all
surgery" before one suspects he is attacked with insanity, be it ever
so temporary or evanescent: but in honestly recording that "he didn't
know what to do with himself, _and thereby came by his death_," it
would be but doing justice to that interesting malady. Thus it could be
easily observed in all its stages, from its incipient symptoms at the
gaming or any other well-garnished table, where it sometimes takes its
rise, through all its phases and evolutions, till the malady comes to
a _head_, and a man blows out his brains. The disease, through each of
these changes, might be stayed in its progress, and society might be
benefited by the honesty of the verdict.

Shade of the "mild Abernethy!" how many thousands of thy patients
laboured under this disorder! and how often did thy sagacious and
provident spirit turn the halter into a skipping-rope, and, in order
that thy patients should live, insist upon a few mouthfuls the less!

To a feeling very near akin to this, Tom Binks found himself reduced,
as, about twelve at noon, he flung himself into an easy-chair, and
sought, from the appliances of its downy cushions, a lenitive for
his wounded spirit. His feet on the fender, the fire gently stirred,
the curtains still undrawn and shutting out the garish sun, his eye
fixed on the glowing landscape formed by the fantastic combination
of the embers in the grate, the corners of his fine mouth drawn down
in hopeless despondency, as if nothing on earth could elevate them,
his hands clasped over his knees, he sat, not knowing what to do with
himself.

The room in which Binks sat was small, but elegant; pictures of the
most costly description covered the walls,--the most exquisite that
owned him or anybody else as _master_; gold and silver had done their
work. On the polished surface of the tables were thrown the most
amusing works of the day, the last new novel, the lively magazine,
the gay album, the serious review, all exhibiting on the same board
like so many brethren of the _Ravel family_, in the most alluring
and seductive shapes; but they exhibited in vain. With all these
elements of happiness around him, what _could_ Binks sigh for? With
easy possessions, he was the most uneasy of human beings. Did he play,
fortune was always in the best humour with him: in the billiard-room
the ball bounded from his cue to its destination; in the field his shot
was unerring, and the papers regularly chronicled the murder, or the
music, of his gun: no man stood better with _ins_ and outs; his maiden
speech was said to be _shy_, simply because it _was_ maiden, but full
of promise. With the ladies he was whatever he or they pleased; but
now you could "brain him with my lady's fan" as he sits vegetating, or
cogitating, on a pile of cushions, his breakfast scarcely touched, and
hardly sensible of his shaggy friend that lay couched at his feet, with
his snout buried in the hearth-rug, and his bloodshot eye occasionally
wandering in search of a regard from his listless master.

At an early age Binks had contrived to run through half the Continent
and his fortune together; he had travelled from "Dan to Beersheba,"
and all was barren; and, at twenty-three, the gay Binks had serious
notions that _this_ was not the best of all possible worlds, and that
_that_ world, commonly known as the other, to distinguish it from
this, might hold out a store of enjoyment of higher zest and relish
than the common-place realities of this. Whether he should wait for
his turn when the passage to it might become quite natural, or force
his way _vi et armis_, that is, with a pistol in hand, (for some
folks _will_ be impatient, and enter in at a breach,) was a matter
that sorely perplexed him. Tired of this hum-drum life, which a man
of common activity can exhaust of its most stimulating excitements in
a few years, was it surprising that he wished for _another_? But the
doubt that it was a better, would sometimes intrude itself, and agitate
the very powder in the pan of the pistol that lay before him on the
breakfast table. Now that the murder is out, it must be confessed that
Binks had a notion of shooting himself.

What heroic resolves he then made! What a noble contempt for this
world he then exhibited as he resolutely eyed the pistol, curiously
scanned its silver mounting, saw that the powder was in the pan,
looked anxiously around to see that none intruded, or should deprive
him of the honour of falling by his own hand: still he hesitated; he
lifted the deadly weapon with one hand, and with the other a volume of
Shakspeare, which opened at the play of _Hamlet_, and, by the hasty
glance which he threw on it, he perceived that "the Eternal had set his
canon 'gainst self-slaughter," and Binks was perplexed. It became now
a matter not so much of life and death as of simple calculation; on
one side there was a pistol _for_, and on the other a _canon 'gainst_
self-slaughter. In this state of indecision, thus sorely beset with
adverse arguments, what did Binks do? Why, he acted somewhat like a
sensible man; he yielded to the heavier weight of metal,--the great-gun
of Shakspeare carried it; and he consented to live, drew the charge,
lest he should return to it, (for he knew his man,) and made up his
mind that Shakspeare was a sensible fellow. Have you ever felt as
if your very heart-strings were tugged at by wild horses, when the
infernal host of _blues_, marshalled by the devil himself, have taken
the field against your peace, and that you don't know what to do with
yourself?

    "Throw but a stone, the giant dies."

Very good; but a pebble of such potency is not always at hand,
particularly in a drawing-room. Do something, no matter what: go into
the open air; there's your window invitingly open, and, provided it is
not too far from the ground, 'tis but a step in advance to the shock
that may rouse you. Turn financier,--chancellor of your own exchequer;
there's your tailor's bill lying on the table, wooing you to analyze
its soft items; give it a first reading, and pass it. What a relief,
on such occasions, is the presence of any living creature!--your sleek
tabby,--no,--that fellow doesn't know what to do with himself neither.
Your playful little Italian grey-hound, whose playfulness is the very
poetry of motion. And Binks found no relief in these gentle appliances.
There he lies, flung upon his ottoman, and dallying with its downy
cushions, with his foot of almost feminine symmetry coquetting with
his morocco slipper, jerking it off and on according to the intensity
of the fit. Ponto stands before him. Noble dog, Ponto! He, too, has
his turn at the slipper, and seizes it in his huge mouth, and gambols
round the room with it, and now crouches with it before his master,
and earnestly looks at him, and those two eyes of his suggest a
double-barrelled gun, and this puts a pistol into his head, and there
it was at hand, lying on the table, just ready for a charge.

"Mr. Cently," said a servant, half-opening the door; and Binks
indolently extended the forefinger of his jewelled hand to his visitor.

"Very glad to see you, Cently; this mortgage, I suppose--"

"Is over due, Mr. Binks,--must redeem, though. I shan't let it out
of the family. The sum is large--hard to get--bad times. Fine dog
that--bulls and bears are very sulky to-day on 'Change.--Dear me, a
murderous-looking pistol that, sir--muzzle to muzzle--then brains
against the wall."

"Provided he has them," said Binks.

"Every man has a little--quality's the thing. I have to meet Scrip
in the City at two--no time to lose, sir;" and Binks, who was made
aware of the necessity of a visit to the City, to arrange the terms
of a loan, put himself under the plastic hands of Bedo, and in a few
minutes the pair were rolling towards the City in Cently's carriage,
which thundered along, scarcely waiting to take the necessary turns,
and narrowly escaped running down several old women of both sexes, till
they came to Charing-Cross.

"Money is scarce in these times," said Cently, as a sprinkling of cabs
and omnibuses impeded their course; "broad acres are fine things. I
mustn't let them go. The sum is large--ten per cent."

All this, and a few other equally interesting particulars, were lost
upon the abstract Binks, who was quietly lolling back in the carriage,
and exercising his optics and calculating powers on the size, number,
and colours of the tom-cats as they sunned themselves on the gutters,
or held attic intercourse with one another, between May-fair and
Temple-bar.

"You understand me," continued Cently; "let me see; how many thousands?
I think it cannot be under fourscore,--great amount that!"

"Not quite so many," said Binks; "I only counted sixty, and I'm correct
to a tail; bet you a rump and dozen on it."

"On what, sir?"

"On the cats, Cently."

"Ha! ha! Very facetious, Mr. Binks; but I'm not joking.

"You bore me, Cently. Set me down here. Go, and do the needful;
and when all's ready to sign and seal, you'll find me here;" and
Binks alighted from the carriage, and ascended the stairs of the
Mansion-house, which was then alive with sounds and sights of gladness:
a kind of fancy-fair was being held there for the benefit of some
charitable institution, and the _élite_ of the North, and wealth of
the East and West ends were combined in the holy cause of charity. He
entered, and mingled with the gay groups that promenaded the hall,
which was converted into a bazaar, where beauty and _bijouterie_ lured
the careless purchaser,--where a thousand soft things were said and
handled, and the angel of charity spread her wings over a scene where
streamed and flaunted many a silken banner, and pointed to every little
stand. "Happy country!" thought Binks, "that, amid all the anxieties
and contentions of commerce and politics, remembers in these noble
institutions the cause of the widow and the orphan. This must be the
surest mart for beauty when she's found at a stand in the sacred cause
of charity. Here the thoughtless forget themselves, and think of
others; here the merchant is generous, and forgets his change."

"I ain't a-going to be done out of my half-crown that way neither,
ma'am," said a burly little personage in top-boots and perspiration
to a lovely girl who presided at a stand, and who was trying to lure
a supplementary half-crown, the balance of a half-sovereign, which,
after much grumbling, he consented to pay for a shaking mandarin. The
thorough-bass in which this was uttered roused Binks from his reverie,
and, on looking round, he beheld the lovely girl in playful yet earnest
contention for the half-crown, which the fat little man finally
surrendered to a few persuasive looks, and good-humouredly pocketed his
shaking mandarin and his chagrin together, and marched off.

Binks approached, and as she raised her eyes from the gay assortment
before her, still animated with the pious contention in which she was
engaged, they encountered those of Binks, who was riveted to the spot
gazing at the beautiful creature that stood before him. He turned over
a few articles, and became at once deeply immersed in the gay little
miscellany before him. She would show everything.--Yes,--the articles
were of the best description; and Binks felt those taper fingers, as
they tossed them about, as if they were busy with his heart-strings;
and the perverse Binks asked twenty different questions, and got as
many answers eloquent and sweet: and then there were looks lustrous and
shy, and blushes deep and enchanting; and she would go on expatiating
on the beauty of her _bijouterie_, and he would stand absorbed and
drinking in the sweet sound of a voice that was modulated with the
sweetest harmony,--and she would help him to a pair of gloves. Binks
took several pairs. The first he tried on were very perverse,--too
tight; and the fairest hands in the City would distend them, and she
would help to draw them on; and then their palms would meet, and their
fingers seek one another, and the taper finger of the sweet girl and
the jewelled hand of Binks would be imprisoned unconsciously for a few
seconds in the same glove.

"I shall take the whole," said he, and Julia (for that was her name)
was delighted; and Binks was asking for more, and pulled out,--not his
purse, but the disappointed hand that was seeking for it.--The purse
was not there.

No doubt it was that very civil gentleman that rubbed against him as
he was stepping out of the carriage, and apologised. Here was a grab
at heart-strings and purse-strings together. He drew out a box set
with brilliants,--it would stand him at a pinch,--and took a small one
from the stand, and he would exchange boxes. And this was love,--love
at first sight,--which we would match all the world over with any at
second sight.

    "Oh, love! no habitant of earth art thou."

Henceforth shalt thou take thy _stand_ at a bazaar, and we shall bare
our bosom to thy shafts, provided they be tipped with a little charity,
and drawn in the holy cause of a benevolent institution! The hours
lingered on as if they too had come to a stand, the evening stole
on apace, group after group vanished from the bazaar, and Binks and
Julia were still in sweet and endearing communion with each other. The
evening was chilly, and he would help on her splendid cachmere; and the
loveliest arm in the City leant on Binks as he led her down the steps
of the Mansion-house. The evening was fine, and he would see her home;
and both wondered to find themselves at her father's door. And then
there was a sweet good-night, and kind looks, and gentle pressings of
the hand, and promises to meet again.

"Want a coach, sir?" said a heavy-coated, slouched-hat brother of the
cab to Binks, as he stood wondering at himself, his adventure, and the
fairy figure that a smart servant in livery had just closed the door
upon.

"Yes--no,--I--I'll walk, friend,--the night's fine;" which healthy
resolution he was induced to take from certain reminiscences, and his
purse, though absent, was thought of with regret.

And Binks trod his perilous way through the "palpable obscure" of
the City with buoyant spirits, as if a pinion lifted every limb,
notwithstanding a little plebeian pressure from without through
Cheapside, as often as he forgot his own side of the way; and he
entered his club the happiest dog that ever moonlight, or its rival
luminary gas-light, shone upon, and surrendered himself to the
intoxicating influence of the only draught of pure pleasure he ever
quaffed.

Julia Deering was the only daughter of a rather comfortable trader, a
man well to do in the world,--that is, in the City. Business--business
was at once his solace and his pride, and any pursuit or avocation in
life of which that bustling noun-substantive was not the principal
element, was an abomination in his sight. The West-end, he thought,
had no business where it stood. He looked upon it as a huge fungus,
the denizens thereof good for nothing; and lords--no matter of what
creation--he looked upon with the most supreme contempt. Julia was his
only child, and, next his business, the sole object of his solicitude.
She grew into loveliness and womanhood amid the smoke and seclusion of
her father's premises; and, though turned of "quick seventeen," yet he
thought that her settlement in the world, like the settlement of an
account with an old house in the City, might take place at any time.
Any hint to the contrary, whether through the eloquent and suggestive
looks of the maiden herself, or the unequivocal assiduity of City
beaux, was sure to make the old man peevish.

Julia, with a world of sense, had a spice of romance about her. She
loved the West-end, or anything pertaining to it, as much as her father
hated it. A noble mirror in her little boudoir, as she toyed and
coquetted with her budding beauties before it, frequently hinted that
she might be a fine lady; which could only come to pass by her becoming
the wife of something like a lord. City beaux were her aversion. They
looked at her through _stocks_, and she often wished their necks in
them.

Many were the stolen visits to the City which Binks made to see his
young betrothed. His suit prospered,--Julia was everything he could
wish; but as fathers _will_ be in the way on such occasions,--how can
they be so hard-hearted?--and as something like his consent was deemed
necessary, Binks, through the medium of a friend, had the old man's
sentiments sounded on the subject; and a decided refusal, couched in
no very flattering terms, was the result. "I cannot disguise from
you," said Julia one evening to Binks, after he had communicated to
her the disastrous intelligence, "that there is much to encounter in
my father's disposition. He is old and wealthy, with only myself to
inherit it; and--would you believe it?--he has the greatest aversion
to a man of rank, and thinks superior manners and accomplishments only
a cover to heartlessness and deceit; and, what is strange, he has
repeatedly said he will never consent to my union with anybody as long
as he is in anything like health,--in short, till he is no longer able
to protect me himself."

"That is strange indeed!" said Binks, as he hung with the tenderest
rapture on the confiding frankness and simplicity of his fair
companion; "your father's objections are no less serious than strange."

"Can nothing," inquired Julia despondingly, "be done to get over them?"
Had Echo been present, she would have said, "Get over them."

"There can, there can," said Binks with transport; "I have it. So long
as your father is in good health, he will never give his consent to
your marriage. Now he is old: and suppose he can be persuaded that
he _looks_ ill,--such things, you know, are done,--and contrive that
he shall keep his bed for a few days; and then,--and then, my dear
girl, let the affair be again pressed upon him." And Binks met the
ingenuous blush and smile of his young betrothed as she acquiesced
with an embrace, in which was blended more heartfelt rapture than ever
he experienced in the dissipated round of tumultuous and exciting
pleasures.

"The times are certainly very bad, Julia," said old Deering to his
daughter, as they were at breakfast one morning together; "I never
recollect them so bad;" and he helped himself to a large slice of ham.

"They may be bad, pa," said the daughter; "but you mustn't take it so
much to heart. Everybody notices how ill you look since the firm of
Dobody and Sons went."

The old man suspended a piece of ham, that he had impaled on a fork,
midway between his mouth and plate; and, planting his right hand on his
thigh, he looked earnestly at the girl.

"What connexion, hussey, has that failure with my looks or my books
either? As long as I can keep both free from blotches, I don't care a
fig for what the world says. But I do believe, girl, that I am not
as well as either of us could wish,--I am fallen off in my appetite.
I _could_ finish my ham,--three slices,--and a few eggs; but I am a
little changed, Julia. Hussey, you've a sharp eye; and to notice it!"

"Lord! pa," said the insidious Julia, "all your acquaintance notice it.
Mr. Coserly was the first to notice it."

"And what did the rascal say?"

"Why, pa, he said nothing; but there was a great deal in _that_. When
certain people say little or nothing, they mean a great deal; and when
there is a great deal of meaning in what one does not say, why, it's a
very dangerous thing; isn't it, pa?"

"Very true, child, very true. But what can we have for dinner to-day,
Julia? I expect an old friend of mine, Mr. Tibbs over the way; a very
proper, industrious, well-to-do-in-the-world kind of man is honest Dick
Tibbs. He owes me a trifle,--but that is nothing between us. He is none
of your West-end chaps,--no lack-silver spendthrift,--no hair-lipped,
hair-brained scamp, with all his fortune on his back, like a pedlar
and his wallet.--Another cup of tea, Julia.--As I was saying, honest
Dick Tibbs is----' But what's the matter with the girl? Why, there's
the tea running out of the urn these last two minutes about the floor.
Why, Julia, what _is_ the matter? Ah! I see how it is--I thought as
much. Ye're a cunning pair. But not yet a while, Julia; time enough,
girl,--time enough. When your dear mother was----"

"I--I--wo-o-on't be Mrs. Ti-i-bbs for all that, pa," hysterically
sobbed Julia; "I won't be married----"

"That's a dear love!" whimpered the old man; "don't think of marrying
him yet until I'm----. But I'm pretty strong yet. I'll live, so I will,
till--ugh!--ugh!--these rheumatics--as long as--Deuce take this old
cough!"

"As long as God pleases, pa; as long as God pleases," said Julia; and
she slid her arm coaxingly round her father's neck, and wiped away the
perspiration that stood like whip-cord upon his brow; and he fell to
musing on the girl's words, and left his breakfast unfinished.

In the course of that week, through the industry of his daughter,
the old man was plagued wherever he went with condolence and
inquiries about his health, which he heard with all the petulance and
irritability of a miser upon whose hoards an unexpected demand is to be
made. He accordingly dosed himself with physic, gorged himself at his
meals, and took such peculiar pains to preserve his health after this
fashion as would have deprived any other person of it.

A circumstance at length occurred that bade fair to supersede the
necessity of Julia's pious artifice, and to produce ill looks in
abundance in the old man. A house with which he was connected failed,
and involved him in its ruin. This was a blow that smote the old man
to the heart, and he sank under it. Everything was surrendered to the
creditors; and his house, with its splendid furniture, was submitted to
the hammer of the auctioneer.

On the morning of that day a note was put into Binks' hands; it
was from Julia, and to the effect "that as her father's ruin left
her no alternative but to share his lot, she could not, under such
circumstances, think of involving him in their ruin, and begged he
would think no further of the matter."

"Poor girl!" said Binks, as he gazed on the note that told so briefly
of so much calamity. What a real _bonâ-fide_ misfortune was, crushing
and accumulating, and, as it were, breaking the man's heart within him,
he had no idea of, except what the pathetic in a novel, or the chapter
of accidents in a newspaper, furnished. These things were well enough
to read, and to talk about, at a clear fire-side; but for a substantial
display of energetic and effective sympathy, by succouring the
distressed, it was what he did not think himself capable of. A second
time, however, he mastered his indolence, and drove to Julia's house.

What a situation was it in, and what a sight did it present! If there
is in this world a scene more harrowing to human feeling than another,
'tis that presented by one's house on the eve of an auction,--a scene
of "confusion worse confounded." The tossing about and displacing,
by strange hands, of articles that from time and association have
become part and parcel of ourselves, linked with a thousand sweet
recollections, and the innocent display of which was a source of
dearest household pleasure, now parcelled and ticketed out, and
catalogued, for the curious and malevolent hands and eyes of strangers!
Our dearest and holiest places of privacy intruded upon; our sweet
little nooks and haunts, which are, as it were, set apart for the
most favoured of our household gods, and where only the footsteps of
tenderest love should be heard, now echoing and teeming with strange
sounds and sights!

What a sad volume, and in boards too, is a piece of carpeting piled in
a corner of a room, revealing the unsightly seams of the naked floor;
and "the decent clock," with its hands either broken or pointed to the
wrong hour! The bleak and cheerless hearth, every brick of which was
an object for the vacant and listless gaze of a pensive abstraction,
the scene of sweet gambols and merry gossipings, all are sad mementos
of the "base uses" to which the iron hand of necessity will convert
objects dear to us from the sweetest household associations.

Elevated in his pulpit, the eloquent Mr. Touchem, the auctioneer,
presided; and, seated beside him, the very picture of
broken-heartedness, was old Deering, bent, and leaning forward on his
gold-headed cane, his eye vacant and listless, looking at every article
with the curiosity of a child, speaking not a word, and only betraying
his interest in the scene by a sympathetic stamp of his cane on the
floor whenever the nervous and grating click of the auctioneer's hammer
on his desk announced the sale of some favourite article. There was
one lot only which he showed any anxiety to possess, and as the porter
handed it round, the old man's countenance gleamed with pleasure as
his eye wistfully followed it: it was the representation of a little
spaniel worked in worsted, and the joint work of Julia and his deceased
wife.

"Rascal!" exclaimed the old man, as the porter somewhat roughly rubbed
the dust off it, "be tender of the poor thing. That's Julia's. I--I bid
for that; I bid five pounds for that," said the old man, in a voice
scarcely articulate with emotion.

"Six pounds," said a voice in the crowd.

"Who bids against me?" muttered old Deering, as he ran his eye over
the group whence the voice issued. "It was the work of my poor child's
hands, and of her dear departed mother. Another pound for it, Mr.
Auctioneer."

The same voice bid against him.

The old man raised himself in his chair, gazed wistfully and
imploringly in the direction of the voice, and sank back in sullen
resignation in his chair.

"Going for eight pounds--once--twice--the last time!" and the sharp and
sudden click of the auctioneer's hammer, as it fell, came with a harsh
grating sound on the ear of the old man, as he groaned, and muttered
something between a curse and an entreaty.

Old Deering, notwithstanding the utter ruin of his fortune, still
continued, from sheer force of habit, to frequent his old haunts;
and his drooped and wasted figure, with his well-known _tops_ and
gold-headed cane, might be seen loitering about the purlieus of the
Exchange, inquiring the price of stocks with as much anxiety as ever,
and wondering at the ill-manners of some persons who, from his rambling
and incoherent expressions, looked upon him as somewhat crazed. He was
in truth so.

This was the time for the active benevolence of Binks to show itself;
for, except when his indolence stood in the way, he had a heart. He
saw Julia, and gave her the most decided assurances of his unaltered
attachment, as the old man's malady threatened to become serious. He
privately purchased a neat little cottage outside town, and had all
the furniture (for he attended the auction, and arranged that every
article of it should be bought in,) conveyed to it. He took particular
care--for he consulted Julia on the details--that the disposition of
the furniture in the new house should, as nearly as circumstances would
permit, be exactly the same as in the house in town. Her father's
easy-chair, pictures, books, the pianoforte,--for almost every article
had been preserved by the management of Binks,--were put into something
like their accustomed places; and little Fidelio, the object of
contention at the auction, looked quite as brisk as ever, enshrined in
his glass-case over the mantelpiece, not a whit the worse for having
his jacket dusted. Change of air, and absence from the scene of his
former activity, was suggested as the best remedy for the malady of the
old man.

To this little cottage Julia and her father drove one day, on pretence
of looking for a suitable residence, such as became their altered
circumstances. This little cottage struck his fancy, and he expressed a
wish to see it. A very agreeable young man showed them over the house.
The more he examined it, the more he liked it; every thing in it was so
like what he once had.

"Why, Julia, this is your pianoforte! let me hear you play; I'll know
it among a thousand;" and Julia played "sweet home" for him,--an air
her father always liked. His eye glistened as she played; it reminded
him of better days and his old house in the City, and he dropped into
his easy-chair. "And Fidelio, the little spaniel! Why, how is this,
Julia?--And this gentleman?" and he looked alternately at Binks and
Julia. "Ah, hussey! I see how it is; but it's an odd way of coming
together."

       *       *       *       *       *

And Binks was happy--happy as the day was long. Julia and he were
married. The gay Binks, like another Hercules, gave up his _club_ when
he married, and was content with his love in a cottage, with no other
interruption to his happiness than the occasional pettishness of the
old man, who could never well forgive Binks for outbidding him for
Fidelio at the auction. And the malady of _not knowing what to do with
himself_ never afterwards attacked him, now that the odds were two to
one against it.

        S.Y.



A GENTLEMAN QUITE.


    In Bentley's May number I read of a goose,
    Whose aim in this life was to be of some use;
    Now _I_ always act on the opposite plan,
    And endeavour to take the least trouble I can:
    I sing at no concert, I dance at no ball,--
    I'm a gentleman quite, and of no use at all!

    When invited to dinner, I'd much rather starve,
    Than attempt for some hungry half-dozen to carve;
    And folks do exist, who, when dishes are nice,
    Won't scruple to send their plates up to you twice:
    All vainly for sauces on me do they call,--
    I'm a gentleman quite, and of no use at all!

    If ask'd for some verses an album to fill,
    I don't plead want of time, but admit want of skill;
    There's nothing ungentlemanlike in a dunce,
    So I state the plain fact, and save trouble at once;
    For, rather than write, I'd mend shoes in a stall,--
    I'm a gentleman quite, and of no use at all!

    When doom'd to the Opera with ladies to go,
    I'm not quite so green as to play the old beau;
    The fiddlers and dancers are paid to amuse,
    And, to stand on their level, is what I don't choose.
    When over, for footman or coach I don't bawl,--
    I'm a gentleman quite, and of no use at all!

    Of my club in Pall Mall I was very soon cured,
    They wanted to make me a sort of a steward;
    Those persons must surely have owed me a grudge,
    To wish me to work as an amateur drudge.
    A suggestion so horrible made my flesh crawl;
    I'm a gentleman quite, and of no use at all!

    I've an uncle, or nephew, or kin of some kind,
    Who, to sit in St. Stephen's, once felt much inclin'd;
    To his vulgar committee he added my name;
    When my poor valet read it, he redden'd with shame.
    With no mob from the hustings will I ever brawl,--
    I'm a gentleman quite, and of no use at all!

    But Death's the great leveller: every one knows
    Gentility's essence is graceful repose,
    And the grave yields repose that must charm e'en a Turk;
    No labour or toil there, the worm does the work.
    When shrouded, and coffin'd, and under a pall,
    Man's a gentleman quite, he's of no use at all!

        May, 1837.
        J.S.



THE FOSTER-CHILD.


"Ten years to-day! Mercy on us, time does fly indeed! it seems but
yesterday. And here she sat, her beautiful fair face all reddened by
the heat, as in her childish romps she puffed with might and main the
fire in this very grate. Dear heart, how sweet a child it was surely!
Well, David, say what folks will, I'm convinced there was a fate about
it."

Before I relate how far David coincided in this opinion of his "gude
wife," I will mention to whom and to what she alluded, and how I had
an opportunity of declaring a similar conviction. Seated, after a kind
reception by the master and matron, in their best room in the workhouse
of L----, at my request they were proceeding to gratify my curiosity,
raised by a picture which hung between the windows. The subject and
execution were striking: it had been hit off at one of those luckiest
moments for the artist, when, unconsciously, the study presented that
inspiration to the task which so rarely occurs in what is termed "a
sitting for a likeness." On a three-legged stool, with one foot raised
upon the fender, and an old pair of bellows resting on her lap, in
the act of blowing the fire,--long clustering locks, the brightest
yellow that ever rivalled sunbeams, flowing from a head turned towards
her right shoulder, from which a coarse holland pinafore had slipt by
the breaking of one of the fastenings,--sat a child, apparently eight
or nine years of age, in whose face beamed more beauty, spirit, and
intelligence than surely ever were portrayed on canvass. Well might the
good dame cry, "Dear heart, how sweet a child it was!" Never before or
since have I beheld its equal; and the vivid recollection of the wonder
I then felt, will never cease to throw its light upon the page of
memory till time turns over the new leaf of existence. What admirable
grace! how exquisitely free! she seemed indeed to inhale the breath
that panting look bespoke a lack of. What joyous fire in her large blue
eyes! and then the parted laughing lips, and small pearl teeth! the
attitude how careless, and most natural! all appeared as much to live
as if all actual. But, little do I hope, gentle reader, to excite in
you as lively an interest for the original, by my weak tints of simple
black and white, as the glowing colours of the picture roused in me. I
will not attempt it; but at once proceed with the story appertaining
to the object of my inquiry, as narrated by the worthy matron of "the
house."

"Do you tell the tale, Bessum," said honest David, addressing his
spouse, whose name, from Elizabeth and Betsy, had undergone this
farther proof of the liberties married folks take with one another.
"Do you tell the tale, and, if needs be, I can help you on, where you
forget any part of it."

"Ah! you're a 'cute fellow, David," said Elizabeth; "you know how to
set an easy task as well as any one, 'specially when it's for yourself
to go about; but, never mind, I wun't rate 'e for 't, for I know 'tis a
sad subject for you to deal with."

Bessum was evidently right, for the tear that stood trembling for a
moment in the corner of David's eye as she spoke, rolled unheeded down
his cheek; while the handkerchief that seemed to have been taken from
across his knees for the purpose of concealing the simplicity of the
tribute his honest heart was paying, was employed, for at least the
tenth time that day, to brush the irreverent dust from the picture of
his "poor dear child."

I was affected to a degree for which I was unable to account, by the
touching sigh poor David heaved as he replaced the handkerchief on his
knees, and resigned himself to the pangs my curiosity was about to
inflict on him. There was a tender melancholy in the kind creature's
face that seemed to mark the lacerated feelings of intense affection.
I could have pressed him to my breast in sympathy of his sufferings,
for I was already a sharer of his grief before I knew the cause of it.
It was at this moment that the dame began her story in the words of my
commencement.

"Ten years to-day," said she, "since that picture was painted, sir."

"Ah, my poor dear child!" sighed David; from which ejaculation I
inferred that I was about to hear a tale, of which his own daughter
was the heroine: but I was soon undeceived by his wife, who thus
proceeded:--

"It ben't necessary to go farther back into the dear child's life than
to the day on which she was first placed with me to nurse. Who she is
has nought to do with what she is, or the story of her life; certain
sure it is she was the loveliest babe I ever saw, and I and David were
as proud of her as if she were our own, bless her dear heart! How
everybody talked about her! and how all the folks did love her too,
surely! I can't tell ye, sir, how beautiful she was; and, as she grew,
her beauty kept good pace with her years, I promise you. She was nine
years old the day the painter came to make a likeness of her for her
father. Here she sat in this very room, just as you see her in the
picture, sir: she had run in from the garden where she had been at
romps with poor George, and was puffing away at the fire with an old
pair of bellows which she found among the lumber in the tool-house,
when the gentleman, whom she did not notice at first, was arranging his
matters for the painting of the picture. It was at the moment that she
turned round to see who was in the room, that, as he said, he was so
struck with her lovely face he could have taken her likeness if he had
not seen her a moment longer; and, sure enough, he was not out much in
his reckoning, for scarcely had he taken his pencil in his hand before
the little mad-cap bounded out of the room, and ran off to her playmate
in the garden. That is a copy of the picture, sir; and if the poor dear
child were sitting here as she was on that day, she couldn't look more
like herself than that painting does to me."

David was in the very act of again converting his handkerchief into a
duster; but, after a momentary struggle, for once in a way he pressed a
corner of it to his eyes, and kept his seat.

"Of all those, barring myself and David," continued the dame, "who
loved the sweet child,--as, to be sure, everybody did more or
less,--none seemed to dote on her so much as the young gentleman who
was then our village doctor's assistant, and poor George."

"And, pray, who was poor George?" said I.

"Ah! sir, his is a sorry story too; but of that anon. He was a
gentleman born, sir, bless his dear soul! but, before he was barely out
of his teens, study and such like turned his wits, and poor George was
placed in our care, an idiot. Oh! how he would watch and wait upon his
"young mistress," as he used to call the dear child! and Harri--for
so we nicknamed our little Harriet--seemed to look up to him for all
her amusements and happiness. Good heart! to see him racing round the
garden till he was fairly tired and beat for breath, trundling her
in the wheelbarrow, and fancying himself her coachman; and then how
he'd follow her wherever she went, as if to protect her; always at
a distance when he fancied she didn't wish him with her, but never
out of sight. She appeared to be his only care; his poor head seemed
filled with nothing but thoughts of her. His friends used to send
him trinkets, and money, and baubles, to amuse him; and his greatest
pride was to take little Harri into his room, and show her his stores,
hang his gilt chains and beads about her neck, seat her in his large
arm-chair, and stand behind it as if he were her footman, and play
all kinds of pranks to make her laugh; for he seemed pleased when she
laughed at him, though he wouldn't bear a smile from anybody else at
the same cause. His senses served him at times, and then he would fall
into fits of the bitterest melancholy as he sat looking in our sweet
child's face, as if reflecting how much he loved her, and how little
his wandering mind was able to prove his affection! Ah, poor dear
fellow! it's well his sufferings ended when they did, for they would
have been terrible indeed if he had lived till now; but all who loved
her best, fell off from her either by death or desertion when her day
of trouble came."

David's resolution was plainly wavering as to the application of his
handkerchief, when Bessum gave it the turn in favour of the picture on
perceiving her husband's emotion, by adding,

"As for David and myself, you know, sir, we are nobody; it would be
strange indeed if we could ever have turned our backs upon the dear
child."

"God forbid!" said David; and little Harri's portrait received the
extra polish breathed upon it by a deep sigh, previous to the ordinary
one emanating solely from the handkerchief. "God forbid!" repeated
David, and Bessum added a hearty amen as she resumed her story.

"As the sweet child grew up," continued she, "she was the talk of all
tongues far and near; and, before she was fifteen, sir, gentlefolks
came from all parts to see her. A fine time we had of it surely;
first one pretence, and then another, kept us answering questions
and inquiries about her all day long. As for Dame Beetle, who kept a
little shop, and sold gloves, over the way, just facing this window,
she made a pretty penny by the beauty of our sweet child, although the
old simpleton thought it was the goodness of her gloves that brought
her so many gentlemen customers. Why, I have known no fewer than five
or six of the neighbouring squires,--ay, and lords too,--so difficult
to fit, that they've been standing over the little counter by the hour
together; but I warrant not to much purpose, as far as the real object
of their visit was concerned. No sooner did horse, or gig, or carriage
stop in the village, than dear Mr. George,--that is him that was with
the doctor, you know, sir."

"Oh, his name was George too?"

"Yes, that it was, sir; and down here he would run as fast as legs
could carry him, and his first question was always, 'David, where is
little Harri? Take her into the garden.' And here he would sit till
the gentlefolks opposite were gone away. If ever one creature did dote
upon another, Mr. George loved that sweet child. Ah! would to Heaven
he had lived to make her his wife! but it's all fate, and so I suppose
it's for the best as it is; though I would have died sooner than things
should have fallen out as they have, if that could have prevented it!"

"A thousand times over," responded David, with a fond glance at the
picture. "I'd rather never have been born than have lived to weep over
the ruin of such heavenly beauty and goodness."

A chill of horror struck upon my heart as I repeated with inquiring
emphasis the word that had produced it.

"The ruin!" said I; "impossible!" and as I raised my eyes towards
heaven at the thought of such a sacrifice, they caught those of the
victim in the picture. I could have wept aloud, so powerful was the
influence of the gaze that I encountered. There sat the loveliest
creature that the world e'er saw,--an artless, careless child, health,
hope, and happiness beaming in her sweet fair face; her lips, although
the choicest target for his aim, the foil of Cupid's darts, so pure, so
modest was the smile that parted them; her eyes, the beacon-lights of
virgin chastity; her joyous look, the Lethe where pale Care could come
but to be lost,--it scared off Woe! And were these made for Ruin to
write shame upon! Oh, man!--monster!--ingrate fiend!--I was roused from
my reverie by the perseverance of the good dame, who thus took up the
thread of her discourse, that my exclamation had broken:

"Ah, poor Mr. George! if he had lived, all would have been well. I
make bold to say, for certain sure, they would have been man and wife
by this time; for though she used to go on finely at 'that doctor,'
as the darling girl used to call him, because he was the cause of her
being taken into the garden so often, without knowing why,--for all
that, she loved him in her heart, poor dear! as well she might; for,
as I said before, he fairly doted upon her. And yet, so delicate was
his noble mind, he could never as it were talk seriously to her,--that
is to say, not to make any kind of love to her, you know, sir. He had
known her from a precious babe; and although his whole heart and soul,
I do believe, were set upon one day making her his wife, if so be as
she should not refuse him of her own free will, still he felt so almost
like a father to her, though he was not more than eight or nine years
older than she, that he never could bring himself to fairly pay court
to her as a lover, you see."

"God bless his noble heart!" said David, as he rested his elbow on his
knee, and his chin on the palm of his hand; "he always said he should
be drowned: there's fate again, Bessum, sure enough."

"And did he die by drowning?" said I.

"Ay, sir," replied the dame; "and scarce was he dead, as if they only
waited for that, than our sweet child's misfortunes began."

"Destiny, indeed!" thought I, as a superstitious feeling seemed to
prepare me for the proofs of it.

"She was just sixteen, and that's nearly five years ago, when she lost
him who would have been more than all the world to her, as a body may
say, and when Lieutenant H---- brought permission from a certain
quarter to court her for his wife. Heavy was my poor heart at the
thought of parting with the dear child; but more so ten times over,
though I couldn't tell why, at the idea of who I was going to part with
her to. She, poor darling, was proud of the conceit of being married,
and pleased with the gold lace and cocked-hat of the young sailor. I
don't believe the thought of love for him ever once entered her head:
but that was nothing, for she would have loved any one who behaved
kindly to her; and then to be a wife, and her own mistress, and the
mistress of a house! Alack-a-day! she little knew what she was doing
when she promised her hand where her heart had not gone before, and
where none was beating for her. But it was well she made no objection,
for it was to be, whether or no; so she was spared at least the pain
of being forced against her will. Well, sir, the wedding-day came,
and never do I remember such a day as it was. In vain did the bells
ring and the sun shine; folks, spite of all, and of themselves too,
couldn't be merry: they smiled, and talked, and tried to appear gay;
but, to my plain, honest thinking, there was not a light heart in the
village. Poor George, to be sure, was dancing with delight, for he saw
the preparations, and the fine clothes, and he heard the bells ringing
and the neighbours talking, and he understood that all was for and
about his lady, as he then called his old playmate; and the idea of
so much fuss and bustle on her account made him as proud and happy as
if he were to be the sharer of it. Little did he imagine that it was
to end in robbing him of the only comfort of his hapless life, poor
fellow; and as the bride and bridegroom came from church, where to the
very altar he had followed like a guardian saint, his watchful eye
faithful in its duty to the last, he picked up here and there a flower
that the villagers had strewn, on which she trod, and stuck them in a
row in the button-holes of his waistcoat. But when the time came that
our dear sweet child was to be torn from our arms, then was a scene
I never shall forget. She bade us one by one good-b'ye, as if she
didn't dream of being gone from us a day. It fairly seemed as though
Providence had deprived her of all thought. But when she came to take
her leave of George, she appeared to shrink from bidding him farewell.
She took his hand, and with a fluttering smile said, 'George, I am
going for a ride,' and she was gone! For full three hours after, George
was missing; and when the twilight made us stir to find where he could
be, there by the garden-gate he stood, with the old wheelbarrow at his
side, his handkerchief spread out upon it, as he was wont to do when
he used to wheel his little playmate in it years agone,--there was he
waiting till she should come 'to ride.' Poor, poor creature! he had no
idea of the journey that she meant, when she told him she was going for
a ride. He knew that he had been her coachman many a time and oft, and
he thought of no other carriage than that which he had driven. I burst
out a-crying at the very sight of him. There he stood, as confident
that she was coming as if he had seen her on the threshold of the door
with her gypsy hat on her head. Three hours he had waited; and when I
saw him, it would have melted a heart of stone to watch his look, and
think upon the misery in store for him. The sun had gone down, and
there was not a sound to hear, but now and then the melancholy pipe
of a robin, or the distant tinkle of a sheep-bell. Everything seemed
sorrowing in silence at our loss; and he that would pine most, alone
was ignorant of it. I hadn't courage to call him away and tell him his
misfortune; but when David brought him in, and told him that his lady
had gone for a ride with the 'new footman,' as the poor fellow called
the lieutenant, the anguish in his face was more woeful than you can
think of, sir. Every day at the same hour he brought the wheelbarrow
to the garden-gate, and kept it there till sunset; then, till he went
to bed, he'd sit arranging the withered flowers in his waistcoat. He
was never obstinate in refusing to do as he was desired; but, unless
he had been bidden to eat and drink, no morsel would have passed his
lips: he never thought of hunger or of thirst; his little mistress, his
old playmate, and, as he thought her, his only friend, alone occupied
his mind, that never wandered now. It was fixed upon one object, and on
that it dwelt. Ten months he pined and lingered for his loss; and then,
more sensible than he had ever been before, poor George, sir, died!"

"And happy for him that he is no more," said I, anticipating the sequel
of little Harri's story. "He has gone down to the cold bed, it is true;
but his pillow is far smoother than the down that is pressed in vain
for quiet and repose by the heartless and unfeeling."

"True, very true, sir," said David, and I was half in doubt whether the
handkerchief would be put in requisition again; but it kept its place
across the knees of my host, and Bessum continued. "From the day she
left us, sir, we saw no more of our dear child for two years; but sad
was the tale that reached us in the mean while. Think of her wrongs,
sir;--the man who had taken her, to be parted but by death, left her
the very next day, after he had robbed scores of honest hearts of the
chance of proving the sincerity of their love by a life of cherishing
and devotion."

"God forgive him!" said David, "for I never can."

"The gallows pardon him! for I never would," cried I.--"And what became
of the deserted wife?"

Bessum, who had for nearly an hour stifled the feelings to which
she was all that time hankering to give vent, finding this either
too seasonable or powerful an occasion to resist, burst into tears;
while David, as a counterpoise to the grief which he had heretofore
monopolised, evinced a well-timed symptom of stoicism, by folding up
his handkerchief at least three times as small as the usual dimensions
which laundresses or common consent have established time out of mind
as its proper limit, and then thrusting it into the salt-box pocket of
his coat, as being the last place, at that particular crisis, to which,
under the influence of his senses, he certainly must have intended its
destination.

"I shall make short work of the rest on't, I promise ye, sir," sobbed
the tender-hearted foster-mother; "it ben't much use to dwell upon the
finish."

"End it at once," said I, impatient of farther melancholy detail.

"Twenty-four hours had not passed, sir, after the heartless fellow
had become a husband, before he was aboard ship, and on his way to
the Indies. He had completed his bargain; he had married our blessed
child, and received his wages for the job. He took her to the house
of one of her relations near London, and without telling her whither
he was going, or when, if ever, he should return, left her as I have
described. Fancy the sweet soul's sufferings, sir!--think what she
felt when she found herself a widow before she was fairly a wife! Oh!
my heart bleeds when I recollect her wrongs! Well, sir, she pined and
fretted till those with whom she lived would fain to have got rid of
her, I promise you; and it was not long before they had their wish."

"And did the poor child die of her distress?" said I. "Alas! so young!"

"Not just then, sir. You'll scarcely think that the worst of her
troubles had yet to come; but so it was, poor dear! As fate would have
it, she was one day met and followed home by a gentleman, who, she
could not help observing, appeared so struck with her, that, though he
did not offer to speak to her, he seemed determined upon finding where
she lived. Every day for more than a week did he watch the house nearly
all day long; and when at last she went out of doors, he made the best
of the opportunity, and began in the most woeful manner to tell her
how much he loved her, and what he was suffering on her account, and
to beg and pray of her not to be angry with him for what he could not
help. Well, sir, he spoke so mild and respectful, and seemed so truly
miserable, that the wretched widow couldn't find it in her heart to
speak harshly to him, and so at first she made no answer at all. He
told her that he saw she had something on her mind that distressed
her, and said he felt certain sure he could make her happy, and that
not even her displeasure should make him cease from the attempt. And,
sure enough, to her, poor thing! he seemed to be as good as his word;
for, though she forbade him to approach her in any way again, still
he hovered about the house as much as ever, and wrote such letters,
telling of his misery and anxiety on her account, that, tired out by
the ill-treatment of those to whose tender mercies she was abandoned,
sinking under the pangs of her desertion, and beset by the arts and
entreaties of a fine young man, who seemed to speak so fairly for her
comfort and good, in an evil hour the poor distracted and deluded
creature flew to his arms for that protection which in vain was pledged
her by a husband. I have already told you that, in my opinion, she
never had a thought of any love for the man she had married. It is not
to be wondered at, then, that one, who at least professed himself to
be all that a husband should be, found no great difficulty or delay
in gaining her affections and confidence in return. In short, her
young heart, that had never before known the feeling, was now fixed
upon this man with all the fondness and devotion of a first love. It
was no hard matter, therefore, for him to persuade her to whatever
he liked; and the first advice he gave her for her good, was to take
a house in the neighbourhood of one of the parks, which he made his
home, eating, drinking, and riding about at her expense. Well, sir, for
several months this was a life of uninterrupted happiness for our poor
Harri. She had quiet or company as she liked, and the society of him
that she loved to madness. The first sign of interruption to the joys
that, alas! are always too dearly bought at the sacrifice she had made,
was the news of the arrival in England of her husband, and, within
two days after that, his appearance at her house. Here was a fine to
do, indeed! She was alone in her drawing-room, and no one else in the
house but the two maid-servants. In vain did she entreat and resist
him; by main force he carried her out of the house; put her into a
hackney-coach, without bonnet or shawl; and drove away with her to the
house of his mother. That man was born to be her torment and ruin, sir.
He had left her when he ought most to have been in her company, and
he returned when his desertion had driven her in misery and despair
to seek for happiness, in the expectation of which with him he had
deceived her,--to disturb the comfort his heartlessness had neglected
to afford her. Don't fancy that he loved her, sir. 'Twas no such thing,
as I shall soon make clear to you. However, not six hours after she
had been taken away, the dear child was home again, and in the arms of
the man she would have risked her life for. Here was devotion, sir!
She got out of a one-pair of stairs window, by letting herself down
with the bed-clothes as far as they would reach, and by jumping the
rest; and just as she had been taken from her home, without a bit of
outdoor covering, off she set, in the cold and wet of a December night,
and had to walk for full a mile and a half before she got the coach
that carried her home. Did her husband love her, sir? Day after day he
rode or walked past the house, and sent letters to her; but never once
offered to seek out the man that kept his wife from him. _Can_ he have
loved her, sir? To leave her in the quiet possession of another, and
take himself off again to the Indies! So much for the husband:--and now
for the lover, as he called himself. Matters, I don't know what, took
him to France, and he was to return to her who was weary of her life in
his absence, within a month. He had not been gone a fortnight before
she received a letter from him, written in a French prison, where he
was confined for debt. That hour she started post for Dover, and in
three days they were on their road home together. Little Harri had
released the man she adored, and brought him away from his troubles in
triumph and joy."

David's handkerchief, notwithstanding the depth into which it had been
plunged, and the compactness with which it had been doubled up, was out
of his pocket, unfolded, and across his knees in an instant; evincing
a conviction in the mind of its proprietor that that part of Bessum's
story was approaching to narration which would certainly call for its
application in the united capacities to which David was in the habit of
appropriating it.

The dame resumed; for I should mention that she had made a preparatory
pause, in the interval of which she took occasion to fortify herself
for the coming trial with a considerable pinch of Scotch snuff.

"They didn't reach home, sir," said she, "for more than a fortnight;
for they stayed a day here, and a day there, to see the sights, and
such like; and because she, poor dear! was in no condition for much
hurry, though she had forgotten that, when she started, as she did
every thing but her devoted love for him she went to rescue. But,
when they did arrive, dearly did our sweet child pay for the fault
a husband's cruelty had driven her to commit, and bitter was the
punishment of Providence: but it was all fate, I'm sure it was; it
must have been; for surely her crime did not call for such a dreadful
judgment as befell her. Oh, good heart, sir! think of the poor dear
after all she had undergone in a journey to a foreign land, where she
had never been before, and all alone, too, sir, without a friend to
help or to advise her! She had left a house fitted and furnished like
a little palace, as a body may say; the homestead of her high-priced,
fatal happiness. Think of her reaching what she thought a home, and
finding none! She was soon to be a mother, and she had not a bed to lay
her down upon! In the short time that she had been away, the servant in
whose charge she left her house, by the help and advice of a villain
she kept company with, had carried off every thing, under the pretence
that she was moving for her mistress! Ah! you may look surprised, sir,
and with reason, _but 'tis just as true as you and I sit here_."

"God's will be done!" sobbed David, as he buried his face in his
handkerchief with both his hands. "She's out of harm's way now, Bessum.
God's will be done!" and the simple-hearted man wept like a boy. The
tears ran so fast down the sorrowful face of the poor dame, that the
relief they afforded her enabled her to proceed to the climax of little
Harri's misfortunes.

"She didn't rave and take on, sir," said Bessum. "The hand of destiny
was on her, and she felt it. As calmly as though nothing had occurred,
she bade the coachman drive to a certain hotel; she seemed to reckon
but for a moment between what she had lost and what she had regained,
and she was satisfied with the account as it stood. All in the world
for which she cared was still spared to her,--she had herself preserved
him, the author of her dishonour, the cause of her loss, and, the
only compensation for it, the father of her child! These were all she
prized; and he who was one and all, now sat beside her. With a smile of
resignation, confidence, and content, she looked in his face, and said,
"What's to be done?"

The eyes upon the canvass seemed to ask _me_ for an answer: I felt that
I could beg subsistence for such a woman; become a drudge, a slave, or
yield my life up for her sake.

"And what was his reply?" cried I.

"Good advice--good advice, sir," sobbed Bessum. "_He asked her if she
did not think she had better go to her old nurse!_"

Mute with amazement and disgust, I sank back in my chair.

"What!" cried I, when the power of articulation returned; "was that the
good advice?"

"Ay, sir,--ay! that was all the comfort our poor dear got from her
_lover_; she asked him for no more. She didn't upbraid him. He had
dealt her death-blow, and she followed his advice; she came to her old
nurse, sir,--God be praised!--and I and David closed her precious eyes
for ever, after they had lingered, in their last dim sight, on the
lifeless image of him, whose name, with her forgiveness, and prayer to
Heaven for his happiness, were the last words upon her sweet, sweet
lips!"

"And if a special hand is not upraised to strew his path of life with
tenfold the sharp pangs that he employed to drive his victim to an
early grave," cried I, "it can only be that it has already crushed the
monster into death."

My heart was faint and sick at the recital I had heard. I returned to
my inn; and all that night--for it was in vain that I attempted to
sleep--I mused upon this awful dispensation of the wrath of Heaven, and
the dread severity with which the wisdom of vindictive Providence had
stricken the transgression of poor little Harri!

EUGENIUS.



THE WHITE MAN'S DEVIL-HOUSE.

A FRAGMENT.

BY F. HARRISON RANKIN.

"There is a magic in the craft."


Exoterics surmise it to consist in "winks and nods," proverbially
of equal inspiration to steeds labouring under the dispensation of
_gutta serena_. Mesmer's Animal Magnetism was nothing to the invisible
"tractors." Ticklings of the palm have been surmised; talismanic
numbers have been hinted at; sounds inaudible have been suggested;
together with certain "melodious twangs," awakening pineal sympathy.
Mrs. Veal's ghost, from De Foe's autopsy of the apparition, evidently
held no less a grade in the scale of shadowy society than that of
Master Mason.

John Locke, the philosopher, subsequently one of the fraternity, opined
that the art embraced sorcery, alchemy, the transmutation of essences
and of metals, together with similar common-place desiderata.

Whatever the nature of the spell, its sway is wide. Affinity of feeling
generated by it runs round the world. It may be found in the land of
the Chinese, of the Arab, the Red Indian, and the wild Tartar; in the
frozen circle, habitat of all seals excepting Solomon's, and in the
burning desert,

    "Terra domibus negata."

Our story relates to the last pleasant locality.

Upon the windward coast of Africa, in a situation calculated to warm
the coolest temperament, stands a European settlement,--a pimple of
civilization upon the fiery face of a barbarous continent.

"Once upon a time" a lodge had existed there. Its members had ceased to
melt, having gradually melted away; for the constant flux and reflux
of white residents, the brief sojourn of many, and the death of an
appropriate portion, rapidly vary the population of the little colony.
After a lapse of years, however, it was not long since determined that
the lodge should be re-opened.

The house formerly used had become ineligible; and, in the true spirit
of a mason-soldier, a gallant captain offered to receive his brothers
in his own wing of the barracks.

This building was advantageously situated. It crowned the summit of a
high conical hill; so that, although the deluges of the rainy season
were fast approaching, it could with much facility be closely and
effectually tiled. But here, art was still in her swaddling bands; and
although, in our accomplished country, bricklayers and plasterers are
as "plenty as blackberries," in her colony no tiler could be found.

The name of Solyma,--that prince of architects, and prototype of modern
Wrens and Barrys,--his glory, and his power over things seen and
unseen, were familiar, especially to the black Mahometan population, to
the sojourning Foulah, and the travelled Mandingo; but they possessed
neither his skill nor his secret, being as mournfully ignorant of his
workmanlike perfections as they are of the name of the mother of Moses.
A tiler, however, was indispensable; and here arose a difficulty.
What black man, Mahometan or pagan, could be induced to receive
instruction; and, regardless of the prophet Mahmoud on the one hand,
and, on the other, of Satan,--the principal object of fervid worship
amongst the infidels of those hot parts,--to hazard his well-being in
this world, and his sombre soul in the next, by tiling the edifice?

Various were the negro gentlemen invited; but few possessed "hearts
big enough." No wonder that in the gold-dust country they should prove
deficient in the "_æs triplex!_" One refused upon the very admissible
ground that the masons had been accustomed to attend service in the
colonial church once annually; and that, claiming to himself the same
liberty of conscience which he allowed to others,--being by birth, and
subsequently by conviction, of that extensive religious "persuasion"
called Pagans, and of the particular sect of the said popular church
which worships the devil and reverences dead men's teeth,--he must
decline compromising his religious principles, and sanctioning by his
presence the heterodox tenets of the English colonial chaplain.

A second, however, had forsaken the Heathen modes of his ancestors,
and had waxed into a fervent proselyte, under missionary auspices, in
all respects save a tough hereditary prejudice in favour of a genteel
establishment of eight or ten wives

    "To grind his corn,"

as Mungo Park poetically saith, but

    "To pound his rice,"

as it doubtless ran in the original and vernacular glote, whether
Fantee, Mandingo, Cosso, Bullum, or Soosoo. This strange conjugal whim,
be it remarked, generally is as unalienable, tenaciously tenable, and
adhesive to the negro taste, as "roast pig" was to the palate of the
mortal Charles Lamb and the immortal "Elia."

This reclaimed pagan, however, professed that he would rather dine
on fried soles, that unclean piscatorial; masticate dog's flesh
before it had become putrid; disbelieve in witchcraft; or put away a
spouse, however freckled, than adjoin himself unto a society whose
nominal master indeed might be the Honourable Colonial Secretary, but
whose real spiritual president, he well knew, could be no other than
Beelzebub the _Bugaboog_, whose ways he had renounced.[4]

The remaining mass of the negro "ton" declined their services on
reasons no less satisfactory. They appealed to the yet living
reputation of the deceased lodge, which they characterized as
_prononcée_ to a degree; for the spirit of the building, once redolent
of mysteries and fraternity, prolongs a posthumous existence in their
imaginings, awful and evitabund. It is desolate, for none will enter
it; it is crumbling, for none will repair it; it is shunned as the
favourite triclinium of Sathana, Beelzeboub, and Ashtaroth; it is known
as

    "THE WHITE MAN'S DEVIL-HOUSE."

As incredulous a negress as ever succumbed to Obeah asserted that, from
its vague interior, bells were heard to toll, and chains to clank, at
the lone hour of midnight, twelve,--when the "sun lived in the bush;"
and that many a rash eye had been scared away by goblin apparitions
and rank sights. With her own orbs, whilst stealthily prying through a
window, had she beheld no less a potentate than Satan himself, sucking
the blood of a white cock, and feeding a dead man with palaver sauce.

The idea of secret and mysterious associations is not new to the
negroes; they have not borrowed it from the white man. A short
reference to the nature of such as are familiar to them will throw
light upon the awe with which they regarded the old Devil-House of the
white man, and declined the privilege of _entrée_ at the new one.

Their own hidden fraternities existed in gigantic organisation,
and with withering power, long before the diseased and "craw-craw"
complexion of European discoverers was known to the natural inheritors
of Warren's jet blacking. Evil rites attend them; and bodily
mutilation, and the chance of slavery, are united to supernatural
horrors. Well aware of this, they naturally imagine similar diabolic
mysteries to constitute the "working" of white man's freemasonry: nay,
more; recognising the superiority, the mastery of the whites in all
things that come under their observation, they take for granted that
the same exists in matters which they do not witness, and, if their own
orgies are terrific, they suppose that those of the white man must be
intensely more so.

Of all men they are most horribly superstitious, and, in consequence,
are victims also to superstitious horrors of the first magnitude. The
forest, or bush, the air, the streams, the ground, swarm with a surplus
population of Satan's imps and witches. Each moment and each step
expose the wayfarer to the gripe of some malicious fiend. To evade the
unwholesome clutch, the limbs are ornamented with charms and talismans,
with dead men's hair and leopards' teeth. To deprecate and conciliate
these animavorous specimens of African zoology no pains are spared, and
temples named "Devil-Houses" witness the placatory sacrifices to the
spirit of evil.

But this will not suffice. It is not enough simply to protect the
person. Associations are formed which recognise the necessity of
watching over Satan's interests, by visiting with direful vengeance
such members of the tribe at large as may have treated his majesty
with less respect than his station entitles him to expect. There are
liberalists and spiritual republicans even in Africa.

Some writers, in noticing these associations as similar to freemasonry,
have fallen into the same error with the black colonists aforesaid, who
refused their aid to tile the lodge because they confounded it with
their own tremendous and execrable fraternities.

The secret sisterhoods of Africa have their own peculiar charms
and peculiar annoyances. The initiated maidens enjoy much respect,
and a singular liability to be sold to the slave-factory; and many
inducements are held out to the grand-mistress of the order to dispose
of her gentle sisters in this manner, since a well-built maiden,
warranted of clever action, of unblemished points, and sound lungs,
will find bidders at a hundred hard dollars at any respectable bazaar
between Senegal and Guinea. "Inshallah!" (God be praised!) as the
Mahometan slave-merchant thankfully observed.

The honour, however, compensates for the danger, and they love to
entwine the privileged emblem of their order, the ivory circlets, in
the hair; an ornament that glads the heart of the simple ebony maid, as
feathers and brilliants rejoice that of the blonde or the nut-brown.

The initiations, alas! are attended with ungentle mutilation of the
person; and the trembling and weeping girl is blindfolded, that she
may never know the woman who lacerated her. Gashes, however, on the
face, arms, breast, and back, are favourite ornaments; they are the
unpretending substitutes for rouge and cosmetics. The society is in a
flourishing state, and the worshipful mistress derives a considerable
revenue by the sale of refractory maidens. The guilt generally arises
in the practice of witchcraft and sorcery;--accomplishments assiduously
cultivated by the young ladies of Nigritia.

But, to return to our story. Enough has been said to explain how it
happened that ideas of awe rested amongst the black colonists upon "The
White Man's Devil-House."

The night was of that deep-toned glory unimagined save by those who
have watched the firmament of a tropical sky. No moon was up; but the
moon-like planets threw upon the sultry ground shadows of man and horse
as they slowly wound round the long mountain path that led from the
sea-washed capital at its foot, to the summit of the Barrack Hill. As a
higher elevation was gained, the suffocating breath of the low grounds
became tempered by the land breeze, that floated down by the channel
of the wide river, and flung itself rudely upon the hill side. Yet
the still, close atmosphere, and the distant flickering of purple and
golden lightning far away to the east over the lands of savage nations,
warned against loitering for the chance of a tornado. By ones and
twos the little straggling brotherhood alighted at the barrack gates;
and there, thousands of miles from Old England and the fire-side of
home, men unconnected by birth, by interests, or by office, met, and
cordially felt that they were related. Just before entering the chamber
whose secrets are bound as by adamant, the eye fell upon a figure
sitting in the verandah in the very dignity of overmastering terror.
His aspect told that he was following the poet's advice,

    "Nimium ne crede colori!"

He was a black man awaiting the ceremony of initiation with much the
same intensity of interest that enlivens the criminal at execution.
He appeared the living representative of that fear-stricken island
tree whose trembling leaves distil a sympathetic dew. He was an
old serjeant of the Royal African Corps. Years of discipline had
taught him reverence for the tastes of his superiors; and when
invited by his officer to tile the lodge, overcome on the one hand
by the condescension of the captain, and overwhelmed on the other by
misgivings of latent Satanic cajolery, he had plunged into the Rubicon.
If his commander had deemed it expedient to form an alliance with so
powerful a prince as the prince of darkness, what business had he to do
with it? He had fought at Waterloo, and would fight at any time against
the devil himself if ordered to the charge; but he had never expected
to serve in the same company. However, he sturdily denied flinching
from the approaching trial of his courage.

The negro's burnished face smartened up when all was over. Rumour,
whose numerous tongues, if well pickled, would pair off with all the
boiled turkeys cooked in Christendom on a Christmas-day, and leave
plenty to spare, told the tale of wonder in "quarter less no time," how
Serjeant B. had become a member of white man's purrah; how he had sat
down to supper with Captain ---- on one side, the devil on the other,
and the chief judge opposite; how the serjeant thought he recognised
the "old gentleman" as a comrade in the Peninsula; and how the "old
gentleman" politely acknowledged similar remembrances, and took wine
with him; and how they had parted, with mutual hopes and promises of
meeting again at some future day, in the hot season, not in "the rains."

The more the woolly-headed men and maidens of his inquisitive
acquaintance interrogated the serjeant himself concerning his adventure
on that fearful night, the more he would not tell them a word about
the matter; and, to this moment, no mysteries are more mysterious, no
secrets more arcane, than those which trouble the black population of
the little colony respecting "The White Man's Devil-House."

FOOTNOTE:

[Footnote 4: It is curious that whilst the Hebrew word Beelzebub means
"prince of flies," Bugaboo, in negro language, signifies "the white
ant," which is deemed the devil's familiar.]



A LYRIC FOR LOVERS.


    Love launch'd a gallant little craft,
      Complete with every rope;
    In golden words was painted aft--
      "The Cupid, Captain Hope."
    Pleasure was rated second-mate,
      And Passion made to steer;
    The guns were handed o'er to Fate,
      To Impulse sailing-gear.

    Merrily roved the thoughtless crew
      Amidst the billows' strife;
    But soon a sail bore down,--all knew
      'Twas Captain Reason's "Life."
    And Pleasure left, though Passion said
      He'd guard her safe from all harms.
    'Twas vain; for Fate ramm'd home the lead,
      While Love prepared the small-arms.

    A storm arose! The canvass now
      Escaped from Impulse' hand,
    While headstrong Passion dash'd the prow
      Swift on a rocky strand.
    "All's lost!" each trembling sailor cried;
      "Bid Captain Hope adieu!"
    But in his life-boat Reason hied
      To save the silly crew.

    Impulse the torrents overwhelm,
      But Pleasure 'scaped from wreck;
    Love, making Reason take the helm,
      Chain'd Passion to the deck.
    "I thought you were my foe; but now,"
      Said Love, "we'll sail together;
    Reason, henceforth through life shalt thou
      My pilot be for ever!"



REMAINS OF HAJJI BABA.


CHAPTER VII.

My great anxiety now was to reach the foot of the English throne as
soon as possible; and I consulted my infidel friend upon the safest,
easiest, and least public manner of putting my project into execution.
I had thought it right to place sufficient confidence in him to inform
him that I was an agent of the King of Persia, commissioned to make
certain proposals to the King of England; but that it was not my
intention to insist upon an _istakbal_, or deputation, upon my entry
into the principal city, or to demand either maintenance or lodging at
the expense of the nation: in short, I wished to be as little known as
possible. He assured me that the most private manner of travelling was
a public coach. This rather appeared paradoxical, for how could I be
private and public at the same time? but, after certain explanations, I
found that he was right; particularly when he assured me that in point
of expense the private mode of conveyance cost about seven times more
than the public.

Accordingly, the next morning, having, through the interference of my
friend, paid what was due to the owner of the caravanserai, I seated
myself in the corner of a handsome coach, drawn by four fine horses,
which appeared at the door on purpose for my convenience. My friend
seated himself by my side, Mahboob was placed on the outside, and we
drove off at such a rate, that I neither had time to find out whether
the hour was fortunate, or indeed to ascertain which was the direction
of Mecca, much less to say my prayers.

We had not proceeded far, when we stopped, and a third person
ascended, and took possession of the corner opposite to me. He was a
coarse-looking infidel, with a sallow face covered with hair: bushy
eyebrows, dirty in appearance, and, as far as I could discover, wishing
to look like one of the people, although he might be of the race of the
_omrah_. He said nothing upon entrance,--not even the English _Selam
alekum_, which I had long learned to be expressed by the words "Good
morning, and fine day;" but there he sat, as if the orifice of his
mouth had been closed by a stroke of fate. The cast of his eye as it
glanced upon me was not that of hospitality; and I was certain that,
had he been an Arab, I should not have heard the sound of his pestle
and mortar braying the coffee for me in token of welcome.

I discovered that my friend's name, who had hitherto thrown his shadow
over me, was Jān Pûl, words which surprised me, because they are
pure Persian, and might be interpreted, "Soul, Money!" Although the
new-comer eyed me with little kindness of aspect, yet, when he looked
at my friend Jān, there was a slight indication of respect; but
still he said nothing.

We had scarcely cleared the town, when the coach again stopped, and we
discovered stepping out of a handsome equipage, with servants and men
in _kalaats_ to help him, an infidel, who, after some delay taken up
in providing for his comfort and accommodation, was helped into our
conveyance, and he occupied the fourth and last place in it. He was
a handsome man, cleanly and handsomely dressed, full of fair forms
and politeness; a perfect contrast to his predecessor, and upon whose
whole bearing and manners was inscribed, in legible characters, _sahib
najib_, or gentleman.

He was as civil to me as his predecessor had been the contrary. Having
ascertained that I was a Persian, he welcomed me to his country in a
form of words different from those used in Persia; but in so doing,
he not only made my heart glad, but made his own face white. He then
complimented me upon belonging to a nation whose people willingly
obeyed and upheld the authority of their king, and who were satisfied
to live under the laws of their ancient monarchy. I had so long been
unaccustomed to receive compliments, that, upon hearing this from the
sahib najib, I almost thought myself in Persia again, and was about
preparing a suitable answer,--one in which I intended at once to uphold
the dignity of my sovereign and to exhibit my own individual readiness
of wit,--when an uncouth sound proceeded from the unclean infidel,
almost the first sign of life which he had given, that made me start,
stopped my eloquence, and threw all the sugared words which I had
prepared, back into my throat again. As far as I could understand, the
purport of this inauspicious noise was to announce to the sahib najib
that he had said something in the words he had addressed to me to
which he did not agree, for I perceived anger and disgust arise in his
countenance, while the looks of "Soul Money," though not much given to
change, also became lowering.

"Surely, sir," said the sahib najib, addressing the unclean infidel
still with courtesy in his manner,--"surely you will allow, in
these unsettled times, that loyalty to one's king, and obedience to
established laws, is a subject worthy of compliment."

"I allow nothing," replied the other, looking straight forward, "but
what is for the good of the people."

Upon this there arose a discussion so long and so animated, that it
lasted almost all the way to the foot of the English throne, and of
which I could with difficulty catch the meaning, so new were most of
the words used to my ears.

The sahib najib's argument was full of words such as these;
the constitution--vested rights--ancient privileges--funded
property--established church--landed interest; and although we were
driving through a country more prosperous to my eye than even the
regions of Mahomet's paradise could be, surrounded by every luxury, and
he apparently the lord of wealth and luxury, still he seemed to persist
that he was ruined and reduced to beggary, that his country was on the
brink of perdition, and that nothing remained for him to do but to sit
down for the rest of his days upon the nummud of despair, and to eat
the bitter rind of grief.

The rough infidel, on the contrary, argued that constitutional rights,
funded property, land, church, laws, and a great many more things, of
the import of which I was ignorant, but of which I promised to acquire
knowledge, all, he argued, were alone to be turned to the use of the
people; and thus I began to have some little idea of what was meant by
that People Shah of whom we had heard so much in Persia.

"What!" said the sahib najib, "when you see the constitution in danger,
do not you perceive that it will endanger the happiness of the people
whose cause you advocate?"

"I do not see that it is in danger," said the other. "If my boat is
sinking because we carry too much sail, shall I not trim my sails and
inspect my ballast?"

"But by trimming your boat you would throw all your cargo overboard,
and thus lose all you have," answered the other.

This part of the conversation I understood, and then I said, "I now
understand: when a camel is overladen, and cannot proceed, on account
of the weight of his burthen, either the camel will die, or I must
lighten his burthen."

"Very good," said the rough man, who now for the first time cast
the shadow of his condescension over me. "You are the lord of quick
understanding, and see things."

"But," said his well-dressed antagonist, "I neither agree that the boat
is badly trimmed, or that the camel is overladen:" then, turning to me,
he said, "Surely, sir, you, who have been bred and born a Mussulman,
who have let your beard grow according to old-established custom, who
have washed your hands and feet in accordance to the precepts of your
law,--you would not change all at once, because some new sect in your
country were to arise and say, 'Cut off your beard, cease to wash, pray
in a new manner, and say to Mahomet, You are a false prophet;' you
could not in your conscience do so."

"_Astafarallah!_" said I, blowing over my shoulders at the same time,
"am I mad to eat such a profusion of abomination!"

"You are a man of perfection," said he. "I am sure the more you see of
my country and get acquainted with its present condition, the more you
will agree with me."

I looked towards my friend Jān Pûl, who hitherto had not uttered a
word, and said, "This sahib says nothing. Perhaps owing to his saying
less than we do, he may be the lord of more wisdom than all our heads
put together."

"What can I say," said Jān calmly, "when there is much to be said
on both sides? The highest wisdom is to gather experience from the
past, and apply it to the necessities of the future."

"Agreed," said the rough man: "we must therefore reform."

"Agreed," said the smooth man: "reform is useless."

I immediately perceived how the matter stood, and, with that
penetration for which all Persians are famous, I discovered the true
state of the whole country. I saw that the people were divided into two
sects, as much opposed to each other as Jews are to true believers;
that plain sense had as little chance in the controversy as a sober man
may have in the brawls of two drunkards; and that, before things get
straight, each of the drunkards must be sobered by breaking their shins
in stumbling over a stone, or their heads by carrying them too high.


CHAPTER VIII.

We continued to drive onwards: the faster we went, the more the
infidels argued. I sat in my corner guessing my way through their
words, and already making up in my mind the sort of letter which I
should write to the Asylum of the Universe upon the state of this
extraordinary country, whilst my silent friend, with his hook-stick and
close-buttoned coat, shut his eyes and slumbered; only occasionally
giving signs of life. At length we arrived at a house which I
supposed might be a caravanserai, after the Franc fashion, open to
true believers, for, on looking up I saw painted upon a board an
elephant with a castle upon its back. I began to think this might be
in compliment to me, seeing that elephants are part of the state of
Persian monarchs: but I was mistaken, because, instead of taking any
notice of me, the sahib najib, on the contrary, did not show his usual
civility; but, putting his head out of the window, he asked one of the
bystanders, "Is there any news astir?"

"Nothing particular," said an unconcerned infidel; "nothing. The papers
say, 'A man threw a stone and has broken the king's head!'"

"There," said the smooth man to the rough, "there, that comes of your
reform!"

"I deny that," said the other: "on the contrary, it comes of your
no-reform."

"Why, surely," answered the sahib najib, "if you had not taught the
people not to respect their king, to despise his nobles, and to laugh
at the laws, such an atrocity never would have happened."

"No, indeed, it never would," retorted the other, "if you had made such
changes that the people would love their king, respect his nobles, and
be satisfied with the laws."

"Then you think stoning your king a right thing to do?" said one.

"Then you allow making him odious," answered the other, "is what ought
to be done?"

"Will a stone get up and throw itself?"

"Will a man complain unless he be aggrieved?"

"Hallo! my friend," said the sahib najib to the bystander, "what is
said about this atrocious act, eh?"

"Why, some say, 'Poor king!' others say, 'Poor stone!'" answered the
bystander in the coolest manner possible.

At this I began truly to have an insight into things, and could not
help exclaiming in the bottom of my gullet, "_Allah Allah, il Allah!_
There is but one Allah!"

"You understood what that man said?" said Jān Pûl to me, with a
sigh, and in a low voice.

"_Belli_, yes," said I, "wonderful! The men of this country are lions
without saints. Allah! Allah! to throw a stone at the king, and no
executioner by, to cut the wretch's head off."

"No, no," said he, "that must be proved; first, whether it was a stone;
second, whether it was a man who threw it; and, third, whether it hit
the king's head, or some other head."

"_Aman, aman!_ Mercy, mercy!" I exclaimed; "let me return to Persia. If
so little is said about breaking the king's head, where shall I turn
for justice if some one cuts off my ears? Well may the people want
reform!"

"I will just prove to you, sir," said the soft infidel, "that this case
just proves that we want no reform."

"How!" said I, "break your king's head, and nobody to mend it!"

"That is not the case," said he. "If a people have so much security
from the laws, that not even the poorest wretch, even for a crime
of such magnitude, can be condemned without proof against him and a
full trial, surely they cannot complain: they are all equal in the
eye of the law, and more they cannot want." He said this in great
exultation, having obtained, as he conceived, a complete triumph over
his adversary, and eyed him with appropriate scorn.

The rough man looked as if his head went round and round, and as if he
were come to a full stop; but, pulling up the two ends of his shirt,--I
suppose to show that he had one,--he said, "If the people have one good
law, is that a reason why they should not have more? The great man may
get his head broke,--he is rich and mighty, a little salve cures him,
and he is as rich and happy as ever; but the poor man who has broken
it, save the satisfaction of making a good throw, he remains as poor
and miserable as ever."

"Then, sir," said the sahib najib, "you would have what can never
be,--you would have perfect equality amongst mankind?"

"Yes, truly," exclaimed the other; "because, if all were equal, there
would be no heads broken, and no stones thrown."

This, too, I understood, and said, "What words are these? All men
cannot be kings, nor can they all be viziers, nor all khans. I, who
know nothing of your extraordinary customs, I can understand that. Were
I to think of being anything but what I am, might not my neighbour
think so too; and if I wished to be him, and he me, why, then the
world would soon be upside down, and from one end of the universe to
the other there would be nothing but clutching of beards, and cries of
justice, and no justice!"

"Whatever you may say," said the rough infidel, "we must have more
equality in our country than we have at present, or else the world will
turn upside down. The rich must be poorer, and the poor richer."

During this conversation we were in rapid motion, driving through
streets lighted up as magnificently as if the Shah himself had ordered
a feast of fire-works, and ornamented by shops exhibiting such riches,
that not all the wealth brought from Hind by Nadir Shah, or amassed by
the Sofi, could compare to it.

"Strange," thought I to myself, "that this people are not satisfied
with their lot!" Passing by a splendid shop, resplendent with cutlery,
part of my instructions came into my head, and I said to the rough
man, "In the name of the Prophet, do you still make penknives and
broad-cloth?"

At this question my companion stared, and said, "Penknives and
broad-cloth, did you say? Why, we have more penknives and broad-cloth
than we know what to do with. We have made so much and so many, that
the whole world has more of them than it wants; and the poor creatures,
the manufacturers, are starving for want of work. Surely this wants
reform."

This was delightful news for me, and I longed to send an immediate
courier to the Shah to inform him of the important fact.

"Whose fault is it?" said the soft man, determined not to be beaten on
any ground. "If manufacturers will do too much, whose fault is it but
their own? Unless you make a reform in common sense, surely no other
reform is needful."

By this time the coach had stopped, and I found that we had reached our
last menzil. The rough man got out first; but just as he was stepping
down, in order to ensure the last word, he exclaimed, "We want reform
not only in that, but in everything else,--more particularly in rotten
boroughs."

At these two last words, the soft man became evidently angered, his
liver turning into blood, whilst his face became red. "Rotten boroughs,
indeed! the country is lost for ever if one borough is disfranchised."

These words were totally new to my ears, and what they meant I knew
not; but I became quite certain that the rough man had hit the smooth
man in a sore place. But I was in the seventh heaven at the end of
their controversy. I had never heard such warmth of argument, not since
that famous dispute at the Medressah, in Ispahan, between two famous
Mollahs, the one a suni, the other a shiah, whether the children of the
true faith, in washing according to the prescribed law, were to let the
water run from the hand to the elbow, or whether from the elbow to the
hand. They argued for three whole moons, and neither were convinced;
and so they remain to this day, each in his own persuasion.

"How will it be possible," thought I, "to unravel this intricate
question? It is plain these English are a nation of madmen. Oh! could
they but take one look at my country, where the will of one man is
all in all,--where no man's head is safe on his shoulders for one
moment,--where, if he heaps up riches in the course of many years,
they may be taken from him in an hour,--where he does not even think
for himself, much less speak,--where man is as withering grass of
the field, and life as the wind blowing over it; could they but know
this, short would be their controversies. They would praise Allah with
gratitude for their condition, be content with their fate, and drive
all wish of change from their thoughts, as threatening the overthrow of
their happiness."



SHAKSPEARE PAPERS.--No. III.

ROMEO.

    "Of this unlucky sort our Romeus is one,
    For all his hap turns to mishap, and all his mirth to mone."

        _The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet._


"Never," says Prince Escalus, in the concluding distich of Romeo and
Juliet,

    "--was there story of more woe
    Than this of Juliet and her Romeo."

It is a story which, in the inartificial shape of a black-letter
ballad, powerfully affected the imagination, and awakened the
sensibilities, of our ancestors, and in the hands of Shakspeare has
become the love-story of the whole world. Who cares for the loves of
Petrarch and Laura, or of Eloisa and Abelard, compared with those of
Romeo and Juliet? The gallantries of Petrarch are conveyed in models
of polished and ornate verse; but, in spite of their elegance, we feel
that they are frosty as the Alps beneath which they were written. They
are only the exercises of genius, not the ebullitions of feeling; and
we can easily credit the story that Petrarch refused a dispensation
to marry Laura, lest marriage might spoil his poetry. The muse, and
not the lady, was his mistress. In the case of Abelard there are many
associations which are not agreeable; and, after all, we can hardly
help looking upon him as a fitter hero for Bayle's Dictionary than a
romance. In Romeo and Juliet we have the poetry of Petrarch without its
iciness, and the passion of Eloisa free from its coarse exhibition. We
have, too, philosophy far more profound than ever was scattered over
the syllogistic pages of Abelard, full of knowledge and acuteness as
they undoubtedly are.

But I am not about to consider Romeo merely as a lover, or to use him
as an illustration of Lysander's often-quoted line,

    "The course of true love never did run smooth."

In that course the current has been as rough to others as to Romeo;
who, in spite of all his misfortunes, has wooed and won the lady of his
affections. That Lysander's line is often true, cannot be questioned;
though it is no more than the exaggeration of an annoyed suitor to
say that love has _never_ run smoothly. The reason why it should be
so generally true, is given in "Peveril of the Peak" by Sir Walter
Scott; a man who closely approached to the genius of Shakspeare in
depicting character, and who, above all writers of imagination, most
nearly resembled him in the possession of keen, shrewd, every-day
common-sense, rendered more remarkable by the contrast of the romantic,
pathetic, and picturesque by which it is in all directions surrounded.

"This celebrated passage

    ['Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,' &c.]

which we have prefixed to this chapter, [chap. xii. vol. i. Peveril
of the Peak,] has, like most observations of the same author, its
foundation in real experience. The period at which love is felt most
strongly is seldom that at which there is much prospect of its being
brought to a happy issue. In fine, there are few men who do not look
back in secret to some period of their youth at which a sincere and
early affection was repulsed or betrayed, or became abortive under
opposing circumstances. It is these little passages of secret history,
which leave a tinge of romance in every bosom, scarce permitting us,
even in the most busy or the most advanced period of life, to listen
with total indifference to a tale of true love."[5]

These remarks, the justice of which cannot be questioned, scarcely
apply to the case of Romeo. In no respect, save that the families
were at variance, was the match between him and Juliet such as not
to afford a prospect of happy issue; and everything indicated the
possibility of making their marriage a ground of reconciliation between
their respective houses. Both are tired of the quarrel. Lady Capulet
and Lady Montague are introduced in the very first scene of the play,
endeavouring to pacify their husbands; and, when the brawl is over,
Paris laments to Juliet's father that it is a pity persons of such
honourable reckoning should have lived so long at variance. For Romeo
himself old Capulet expresses the highest respect, as being one of the
ornaments of the city; and, after the death of Juliet, old Montague,
touched by her truth and constancy, proposes to raise to her a statue
of gold. With such sentiments and predispositions, the early passion of
the Veronese lovers does not come within the canon of Sir Walter Scott;
and, as I have said, I do not think that Romeo is designed merely as an
exhibition of a man unfortunate in love.

I consider him to be meant as the character of an _unlucky_ man,--a
man who, with the best views and fairest intentions, is perpetually so
unfortunate as to fail in every aspiration, and, while exerting himself
to the utmost in their behalf, to involve all whom he holds dearest
in misery and ruin. At the commencement of the play an idle quarrel
among some low retainers of the rival families produces a general riot,
with which he has nothing to do. He is not present from beginning to
end; the tumult has been so sudden and unexpected, that his father is
obliged to ask

    "What set this ancient quarrel new abroach?"

And yet it is this very quarrel which lays him prostrate in death
by his own hand, outside Capulet's monument, before the tragedy
concludes. While the fray was going on, he was nursing love-fancies,
and endeavouring to persuade himself that his heart was breaking for
Rosaline. How afflicting his passion must have been, we see by the
conundrums he makes upon it:

    "Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
    Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;
    Being vex'd, a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears.[6]
    What is it else?--a madness most discreet,
    A choking gall, and a preserving sweet."--

And so forth. The sorrows which we can balance in such trim antitheses
do not lie very deep. The time is rapidly advancing when his sentences
will be less sounding.

    "It is my lady; oh, it is my love!
    O that she knew she were!"--

speaks more touchingly the state of his engrossed soul than all the
fine metaphors ever vented. The supercilious Spartans in the days of
their success prided themselves upon the laconic brevity of their
despatches to states in hostility or alliance with them. When they were
sinking before the Macedonians, another style was adopted; and Philip
observed that he had taught them to lengthen their monosyllables. Real
love has had a contrary effect upon Romeo. It has abridged his swelling
passages, and brought him to the language of prose. The reason of the
alteration is the same in both cases. The brevity of the Spartans
was the result of studied affectation. They sought, by the insolence
of threats obscurely insinuated in a sort of demi-oracular language,
to impose upon others,--perhaps they imposed upon themselves,--an
extravagant opinion of their mysterious power. The secret was found
out at last, and their anger bubbled over in big words and lengthened
sentences. The love of Rosaline is as much affected on the part of
Romeo, and it explodes in wire-drawn conceits.

    "When the devout religion of mine eye
      Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires;
    And those who often drown'd could never die,
      Transparent heretics, be burnt for liars.
    One fairer than my love!--the all-seeing sun
    Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun."

It is no wonder that a gentleman who is so clever as to be able to say
such extremely fine things, forgets, in the next scene, the devout
religion of his eye, without any apprehension of the transparent
heretic being burnt for a liar by the transmutation of tears into the
flames of an _auto da fe_. He is doomed to discover that love in his
case is not a madness most discreet when he defies the stars; there are
then no lines of magnificent declamation.

    "Is it even so? then I defy you, stars!
    Thou knowest my lodging: get me ink and paper,
    And hire post-horses; I will hence to-night."

Nothing can be plainer prose than these verses. But how were they
delivered? Balthazar will tell us.

    "Pardon me, sir; I dare not leave you thus:
    Your looks are pale and wild, and do import
    Some misadventure."

Again, nothing can be more quiet than his final determination:

    "Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night."

It is plain Juliet,--unattended by any romantic epithet of love. There
is nothing about "Cupid's arrow," or "Dian's wit;" no honeyed word
escapes his lips,--nor again does any accent of despair. His mind is
so made up,--the whole course of the short remainder of his life so
unalterably fixed, that it is perfectly useless to think more about it
He has full leisure to reflect without disturbance upon the details of
the squalid penury which made him set down the poor apothecary as a
fit instrument for what now had become his "need;" and he offers his
proposition of purchasing that soon-speeding gear which is to hurry him
out of life, with the same business-like tone as if he were purchasing
a pennyworth of sugar-candy. When the apothecary suggests the danger
of selling such drugs, Romeo can reflect on the folly of scrupling
to sacrifice life when the holder of it is so poor and unfortunate.
Gallant and gay of appearance himself, he tells his new-found
acquaintance that bareness, famine, oppression, ragged misery, the
hollow cheek and the hungry eye, are fitting reasons why death should
be desired, not avoided; and with a cool philosophy assures him that
gold is worse poison than the compound which hurries the life-weary
taker out of the world. The language of desperation cannot be more
dismally determined. What did the apothecary think of his customer as
he pocketed the forty ducats? There you go, lad,--there you go, he
might have said,--there you go with that in your girdle that, if you
had the strength of twenty men, would straight despatch you. Well do
I know the use for which you intend it. To-morrow's sun sees not you
alive. And you philosophise to me on the necessity of buying food and
getting into flesh. You taunt my poverty,--you laugh at my rags,--you
bid me defy the law,--you tell me the world is my enemy. It may be
so, lad,--it may be so; but less tattered is my garment than your
heart,--less harassed by law of one kind or another my pursuit than
yours. What ails that lad? I know not, neither do I care. But that
he should moralise to me on the hard lot which I experience,--that
he, with those looks and those accents, should fancy that I, amid
my beggarly account of empty boxes, am less happy than he,--ha! ha!
ha!--it is something to make one laugh. Ride your way, boy: I have your
forty ducats in my purse, and you my drug in your pocket. And the law!
Well! What can the executioner do worse to me in my penury and my age
than you have doomed for yourself in your youth and splendour. I carry
not my hangman in my saddle as I ride along. And the curses which the
rabble may pour upon my dying moments,--what are they to the howling
gurgle which, now rising from your heart, is deafening your ears?
Adieu, boy,--adieu!--and keep your philosophy for yourself. Ho! ho! ho!

But had any other passion or pursuit occupied Romeo, he would have been
equally unlucky as in his love. Ill fortune has marked him for her own.
From beginning to end he intends the best; but his interfering is ever
for the worst. It is evident that he has not taken any part in the
family feud which divides Verona, and his first attachment is to a lady
of the antagonist house.[7] To see that lady,--perhaps to mark that
he has had no share in the tumult of the morning,--he goes to a ball
given by Capulet, at which the suitor accepted by the family is to be
introduced to Juliet as her intended husband. Paris is in every way an
eligible match.

    "Verona's summer hath not such a flower."

He who has slain him addresses his corse as that of the "noble County
Paris," with a kindly remembrance that he was kinsman of a friend slain
in Romeo's own cause. Nothing can be more fervent, more honourable,
or more delicate than his devoted and considerate wooing. His grief
at the loss of Juliet is expressed in few words; but its sincerity is
told by his midnight and secret visit to the tomb of her whom living he
had honoured, and on whom, when dead, he could not restrain himself
from lavishing funereal homage. Secure of the favour of her father, no
serious objection could be anticipated from herself. When questioned
by her mother, she readily promises obedience to parental wishes, and
goes to the ball determined to "look to like, if looking liking move."
Everything glides on in smooth current till the appearance of him
whose presence is deadly. Romeo himself is a most reluctant visitor.
He apprehends that the consequences of the night's revels will be the
vile forfeit of a despised life by an untimely death, but submits to
his destiny. He foresees that it is no wit to go, but consoles himself
with the reflection that he "means well in going to this mask." His
intentions, as usual, are good; and, as usual, their consequences are
ruinous.

He yields to his passion, and marries Juliet. For this hasty act he has
the excuse that the match may put an end to the discord between the
families. Friar Lawrence hopes that

            "this alliance may so happy prove
    To turn your households' rancour into love."

It certainly has that effect in the end of the play, but it is by the
suicidal deaths of the flower and hope of both families. Capulet and
Montague tender, in a gloomy peace the hands of friendship, over the
untimely grave of the poor sacrifices to their enmity. Had he met
her elsewhere than in her father's house, he might have succeeded in
a more prosperous love. But there his visit is looked upon by the
professed duellist Tybalt, hot from the encounter of the morning,
and enraged that he was baulked of a victim, as an intrusion and an
insult. The fiery partisan is curbed with much difficulty by his uncle;
and withdraws, his flesh trembling with wilful choler, determined to
wreak vengeance at the first opportunity on the intruder. It is not
long before the opportunity offers. Vainly does Romeo endeavour to
pacify the bullying swordsman,--vainly does he protest that he loves
the name of Capulet,--vainly does he decline the proffered duel. His
good intentions are again doomed to be frustrated. There stands by
his side as mad-blooded a spirit as Tybalt himself, and Mercutio,
all unconscious of the reasons why Romeo refuses to fight, takes up
the abandoned quarrel. The star of the unlucky man is ever in the
ascendant. His ill-omened interference slays his friend. Had he kept
quiet, the issue might have been different; but the power that had
the steerage of his course had destined that the uplifting of his
sword was to be the signal of death to his very friend. And when
the dying Mercutio says, "Why the devil came you between us? I was
hurt under your arm;" he can only offer the excuse, which is always
true, and always unavailing, "I thought all for the best." All his
visions of reconciliation between the houses are dissipated. How can
he now avoid fighting with Tybalt? His best friend lies dead, slain
in his own quarrel, through his own accursed intermeddling; and the
swaggering victor, still hot from the slaughter, comes back to triumph
over the dead. Who with the heart and spirit of a man could under such
circumstances refrain from exclaiming,

    "Away to heaven, respective lenity!
    And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now."

Vanish gentle breath, calm words, knees humbly bowed!--his weapon
in an instant glitters in the blazing sun; and as with a lightning
flash,--as rapidly and resistlessly,--before Benvolio can pull his
sword from the scabbard, Tybalt, whom his kindred deemed a match for
twenty men, is laid by the side of him who but a moment before had
been the victim of his blade. What avails the practised science of
the duellist, the gentleman of the very first house, of the first and
second cause!--how weak is the immortal passado, or the punto reverso,
the hay, or all the other learned devices of Vincent Saviola, against
the whirlwind rage of a man driven to desperation by all that can rouse
fury or stimulate hatred! He sees the blood of his friend red upon the
ground; the accents of gross and unprovoked outrage ring in his ears;
the perverse and obstinate insolence of a bravo confident in his skill,
and depending upon it to insure him impunity, has marred his hopes; and
the butcher of the silk button has no chance against the demon which he
has evoked. "A la stoccata" carries it not away in this encounter; but
Romeo exults not in his death. He stands amazed, and is with difficulty
hurried off, exclaiming against the constant fate which perpetually
throws him in the way of misfortune. Well, indeed, may Friar Lawrence
address him by the title of "thou fearful man!"--as a man whose career
through life is calculated to inspire terror. Well may he say to him
that

    "Affliction is enamour'd of thy parts,
    And thou art wedded to calamity."

And slight is the attention which Romeo pays to the eloquent arguments
by which it is proved that he had every reason to consider himself
happy. When the friar assures him that

    "A pack of blessings lights upon thy back,
    Happiness courts thee in her best array,"

the nurse may think it a discourse of learning and good counsel, fit to
detain an enraptured auditor all the night. Romeo feels it in his case
to be an idle declamation, unworthy of an answer.

The events which occur during his enforced absence, the haste
of Paris to be wedded, the zeal of old Capulet in promoting the
wishes of his expected son-in-law, the desperate expedient of the
sleeping-draught,[8] the accident which prevented the delivery of the
friar's letter, the officious haste of Balthazar to communicate the
tidings of Juliet's burial, are all matters out of his control. But the
mode of his death is chosen by himself; and in that he is as unlucky as
in everything else. Utterly loathing life, the manner of his leaving it
must be instantaneous. He stipulates that the poison by which he is to
die shall not be slow of effect. He calls for

            "such soon-speeding gear
    As will disperse itself through all the veins,
    That the life-weary taker may fall dead."

He leaves himself no chance of escape. Instant death is in his hand;
and, thanking the true apothecary for the quickness of his drugs, he
scarcely leaves himself a moment with a kiss to die. If he had been
less in a hurry,--if he had not felt it impossible to delay posting off
to Verona for a single night,--if his riding had been less rapid, or
his medicine less sudden in its effect, he might have lived. The friar
was at hand to release Juliet from her tomb the very instant after the
fatal phial had been emptied. That instant was enough: the unlucky man
had effected his purpose just when there was still a chance that things
might be amended. Those who wrote the scene between Romeo and Juliet
which is intended to be pathetic, after her awakening and before his
death, quite mistake the character of the hero of the play. I do not
blame them for their poetry, which is as good as that of second-rate
writers of tragedy in general; and think them, on the whole, deserving
of our commendation for giving us an additional proof how unable clever
men upon town are to follow the conceptions of genius. Shakspeare, if
he thought it consistent with the character which he had with so much
deliberation framed, could have written a parting scene at least as
good as that with which his tragedy has been supplied; but he saw the
inconsistency, though his unasked assistants did not. They tell us they
did it to consult popular taste. I do not believe them. I am sure that
popular taste would approve of a recurrence to the old play in all its
parts; but a harlotry play-actor might think it hard upon him to be
deprived of a "point," pointless as that point may be.

Haste is made a remarkable characteristic of Romeo,--because it is at
once the parent and the child of uniform misfortune. As from the acorn
springs the oak, and from the oak the acorn, so does the temperament
that inclines to haste predispose to misadventure, and a continuance
of misadventure confirms the habit of haste. A man whom his rashness
has made continually unlucky, is strengthened in the determination to
persevere in his rapid movements by the very feeling that the "run"
is against him, and that it is of no use to think. In the case of
Romeo, he leaves it all to the steerage of Heaven, _i. e._ to the heady
current of his own passions; and he succeeds accordingly. All through
the play care is taken to show his impatience. The very first word he
speaks indicates that he is anxious for the quick passage of time.

    "_Ben._ Good morrow, cousin.

    _Rom._ Is the day so young?

    _Ben._ But new struck nine.

    _Rom._ Ay me, sad hours seem long."

The same impatience marks his speech in the moment of death:

                          "O true apothecary,
    Thy drugs are quick!"

From his first words to his last the feeling is the same. The lady of
his love, even in the full swell of her awakened affections, cannot
avoid remarking that his contract is

    "Too rash, too unadvised, too sudden,
    Too like the lightning, which does cease to be
    Ere one can say, It lightens."

When he urges his marriage on the friar,

    "_Rom._ O let us home: I stand on sudden haste.

    _Friar._ Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast."

The metaphors put into his mouth are remarkable for their allusions to
abrupt and violent haste. He wishes that he may die

    "As violently as hasty powder fired
    Doth hurry from the fatal cannon's womb."

When he thinks that Juliet mentions his name in anger, it is

                            "as if that name,
    Shot from the deadly level of a gun,
    Did murder her."

When Lawrence remonstrates with him on his violence, he compares the
use to which he puts his wit to

    "Powder in a skilless soldier's flask;"

and tells him that

    "Violent delights have violent ends,
    And in their triumph die; like fire and powder,
    Which, as they kiss, consume."

Lightning, flame, shot, explosion, are the favourite parallels to the
conduct and career of Romeo. Swift are his loves; as swift to enter his
thought, the mischief which ends them for ever. Rapid have been all the
pulsations of his life; as rapid, the determination which decides that
they shall beat no more.

A gentleman he was in heart and soul. All his habitual companions
love him: Benvolio and Mercutio, who represent the young gentlemen of
his house, are ready to peril their lives, and to strain all their
energies, serious or gay, in his service. His father is filled with
an anxiety on his account so delicate, that he will not venture to
interfere with his son's private sorrows, while he desires to discover
their source, and if possible to relieve them. The heart of his mother
bursts in his calamity; the head of the rival house bestows upon him
the warmest panegyrics; the tutor of his youth sacrifices everything to
gratify his wishes; his servant, though no man is a hero to his _valet
de chambre_, dares not remonstrate with him on his intentions, even
when they are avowed to be savage-wild,

    "More fierce, and more inexorable far,
    Than empty tigers or the roaring sea,"--

but with an eager solicitude he breaks his commands by remaining as
close as he can venture, to watch over his safety. Kind is he to all.
He wins the heart of the romantic Juliet by his tender gallantry: the
worldly-minded nurse praises him for being as gentle as a lamb. When
it is necessary or natural that the Prince or Lady Montague should
speak harshly of him, it is done in his absence. No words of anger or
reproach are addressed to his ears save by Tybalt; and from him they
are in some sort a compliment, as signifying that the self-chosen
prize-fighter of the opposing party deems Romeo the worthiest
antagonist of his blade. We find that he fights two blood-stained
duels, but both are forced upon him; the first under circumstances
impossible of avoidance, the last after the humblest supplications to
be excused.

                  "O begone!
    By Heaven, I love thee better than myself,
    For I came hither armed against myself.
    Stay not; begone!--live, and hereafter say
    A madman's mercy bade thee run away."

With all the qualities and emotions which can inspire affection and
esteem,--with all the advantages that birth, heaven, and earth could
at once confer,--with the most honourable feelings and the kindliest
intentions,--he is eminently an unlucky man. The record of his actions
in the play before us does not extend to the period of a week; but
we feel that there is no dramatic straining to shorten their course.
Everything occurs naturally and probably. It was his concluding week;
but it tells us all his life. Fortune was against him; and would have
been against him, no matter what might have been his pursuit. He was
born to win battles, but to lose campaigns. If we desired to moralize
with the harsh-minded satirist, who never can be suspected of romance,
we should join with him in extracting as a moral from the play

    "Nullum habes numen, si sit prudentia; sed te
    Nos facimus, Fortuna, deam, cœloquê locamus;"

and attribute the mishaps of Romeo, not to want of fortune, but of
prudence. Philosophy and poetry differ not in essentials, and the stern
censure of Juvenal is just. But still, when looking on the timeless
tomb of Romeo, and contemplating the short and sad career through which
he ran, we cannot help recollecting his mourning words over his dying
friend, and suggest as an inscription over the monument of the luckless
gentleman,

    "I THOUGHT ALL FOR THE BEST."

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 5: Was Sir Walter thinking of his own case when he wrote this
passage? See his Life by Lockhart, vol. i. p. 242. His family used to
call Sir Walter _Old Peveril_, from some fancied resemblance of the
character.]

[Footnote 6: Is there not a line missing?]

[Footnote 7: Rosaline was niece of Capulet. The list of persons invited
to the ball is

    "Signior Martino, and his wife and daughters;
    County Anselm[o], and his beauteous sisters;
    The lady widow of Vetruvio;
    Signior Placentio, and his lovely nieces;
    Mercutio, and his brother Valentine;
    Mine uncle Capulet, his wife and daughters;
    _My fair niece Rosaline_; [and] Livia;
    Signior Valentio, and his cousin Tybalt;
    Lucio, and the lively Helena."

I have altered _Anselme_ to the Italian form _Anselmo_, and in the
seventh line inserted _and_. I think I may fairly claim this list as
being in verse. It is always printed as prose.]

[Footnote 8: Is there not some mistake in the length of time that this
sleeping-draught is to occupy, if we consider the text as it now stands
to be correct? Friar Lawrence says to Juliet, when he is recommending
the expedient,

    "Take thou this phial, being then in bed,
    And this distilled liquor drink thou off:
    When presently through all thy veins shall run
    A cold and drowsy humour, which shall seize
    Each vital spirit, &c.
    And in this borrow'd likeness of shrunk death
    Thou shalt remain _full two and forty hours_,
    And then awake as from a pleasant sleep."

Juliet retires to bed on Tuesday night, at a somewhat early hour. Her
mother says after she departs, "'Tis now near night." Say it is eleven
o'clock: forty-two hours from that hour bring us to five o'clock in the
evening of Thursday; and yet we find the time of her awakening fixed
in profound darkness, and not long before the dawn. We should allow at
least ten hours more, and read,

    "Thou shalt remain full _two and fifty_ hours,"--

which would fix her awakening at three o'clock in the morning, a time
which has been marked in a former scene as the approach of day.

    "_Cap._ Come, stir, stir, stir! The second cock has crow'd,--
    The curfew bell hath rung,--'tis three o'clock."

Immediately after he says, "Good faith, 'tis day." This observation may
appear superfluously minute; but those who take the pains of reading
the play critically will find that it is dated throughout with a most
exact attention to hours. We can time almost every event. Ex. gr.
Juliet dismisses the nurse on her errand to Romeo when the clock struck
nine, and complains that she has not returned at twelve. At twelve
she does return, and Juliet immediately proceeds to Friar Lawrence's
cell, where she is married without delay. Romeo parts with his bride
at once, and meets his friends while "the day is hot." Juliet at the
same hour addresses her prayer to the fiery-footed steeds of Phœbus,
too slowly for her feelings progressing towards the west. The same
exactness is observed in every part of the play.

I may remark, as another instance of Romeo's ill luck, the change of
the original wedding-day. When pressed by Paris, old Capulet says that
"Wednesday is too soon,--on Thursday let it be;" but afterwards, when
he imagines that his daughter is inclined to consult his wishes, he
fixes it for Wednesday, even though his wife observes that Thursday is
time enough. Had this day not been lost, the letter of Friar Lawrence
might still have been forwarded to Mantua to explain what had occurred.]



THE PIPER'S PROGRESS.

BY FATHER PROUT.


                1.

    When I was a boy
      In my father's mud edifice,
    Tender and bare
      As a pig in a sty;
    Out of the door as I
      Looked with a steady phiz,
    Who but Thade Murphy,
      The piper, went by;
    Says Thady, "But few play
    This music--can _you_ play?"
    Says I, "I can't tell,
      For I never did try."
    So he told me that _he_ had a charm
      To make the pipes purtily speak;
    Then squeezed a bag under his arm,
      When sweetly they set up a squeak!
        _Fa-ra-la la-ra-la loo!_

      _Och hone!
      How he handled the drone!
        And then the sweet music he blew
      Would have melted the heart of a stone!_


                I.

    Pater me clauserat
    Domi homunculum;
    Grunniens sus erat
      Comes, ut mos:
    Transibat tibicen
    Juxta domunculam,
    Quando per januam
      Protuli os;
    Ille ait impromptu,
    "Hâc tibiâ num tu,
    Ut te sine sumptu
      Edoceam, vis?"
    Tum pressit amiculam
    Sub ulnâ vesiculam
    Quæ sonum reddidit
      Vocibus his:
    _Fa-ra-la la-ra-la loo!_

        Φευ, ϕευ!
      _Modo flens, modo flans,
        Magico_ ελελευ
      _Cor et aurem vel lapidi dans!_


                2.

    "Your pipe," says I, "Thady,
      So neatly comes over me,
    Naked I'll wander
      Wherever it blows;
    And, if my poor parents
      Should try to recover me,
    Sure it won't be
      By describing my clothes.
    The music I hear now
    Takes hold of my ear now,
    And leads me all over
      The world by the nose."
    So I follow'd his bagpipe so sweet,
      And I sung, as I leapt like a frog,
      "Adieu to my family seat,
      So pleasantly placed in a bog!"
        _Fa-ra-la la-ra-la loo!_

      _Och hone!
      How we handled the drone!
        And then the sweet music we blew
      Would have melted the heart of a stone!_


                II.

    Cui ego tum: "Tu sic, ah!
    Me rapis musicâ,
    Ut sequar nudulus
      Tibicen, te!
    Et si pater, testibus,
    Quærat me, vestibus,
    Redibit, ædepol!
      Vacuâ re.
    Sic melos quod audio
    Me replet gaudio
    Ut trahor campos et
      Flumina trans;"
    Jam linquo rudibus
    Hic in paludibus,
    "Patris tigurium
      Splendidè stans."
        _Fa-ra-la la-ra-la loo!_

        _Dum tibicen, tu,
      Modo flens, modo flans,
        Iteras_ ελελευ,
      _Cor et aurem vel lapidi dans._


                3.

    Full five years I follow'd him,
      Nothing could sunder us;
    Till he one morning
      Had taken a sup,
    And slipt from a bridge
      In a river just under us,
    Souse to the bottom
      Just like a blind pup.
    He roar'd, and he bawl'd out;
    And I also call'd out,
    "Now, Thady, my friend,
      Don't you mean to come up?" ...
    He was dead as a nail in a door;
      Poor Thady was laid on the shelf.
    So I took up his pipes on the shore,
      And now I've set up for myself.
        _Fa-ra-la la-ra-la loo!_

      _Och hone!
      Don't I handle the drone,
        And play such sweet music? I too,
      Can't I soften the heart of a stone?_


                III.

    Ut arte sic magicâ
    Egi quinquennium,
    Magistro tragica
      Accidit res;
    Bacchi nam numine,
    Pontis cacumine
    Dum staret, flumine
      Labitur pes!
    "E sinu fluctuum,
    O puer, duc tuum
    (Clamat) didascalum,
      Fer opem nans!" ...
    Ast ego renuo;
    Et sumens denuò
    Littore tibias
      Sustuli, fans,
        _Fa-ra-la la-ra-la loo!_

          Φευ, ϕευ!
        _Modo flens, modo flans,
          Magico_ ελελευ
      _Cor et aurem vel lapidi dans!_



DARBY THE SWIFT;

OR,

THE LONGEST WAY ROUND IS THE SHORTEST WAY HOME.


CHAPTER II.

    "Aspettar' e non venire!"

The Sunday after Darby _lingeringly_ started, I began to think it
would be just as well to make "assurance doubly sure;" so I despatched
a letter by post to my friend at Bally----, conveying similar
instructions and advice to those contained in that entrusted to "_the
running footman_" of my establishment. In three days I received a
satisfactory answer, so I was at rest upon that point; but, as to
Darby, I was quite at a loss. I turned over and over in my mind the
various mishaps that might have befallen him by the way; but all to
no purpose. I called up Eileen, and asked her what she thought about
it. Her replies, mixed up, as they were, with her wild immoderate
laughter, afforded me nothing beyond a sympathy with her mirth, which
certainly was most infective. Reader, I am not a portrait-painter;
but, nevertheless, I will attempt to give you an outline of Eileen. In
the first place, she was a poor girl, (else she would not have been
_my_ servant,) born of honest parents; but, if fate had placed her
in a higher sphere, she had natural accomplishments enough to have
graced it,--namely, youth, beauty, and health,--and, beyond these,
an intellectual, though uneducated, refinement of thought, when, _by
chance_, she was serious; for gaiety seemed to be an indispensable
element of her being. She was eighteen years of age,--well, what do
I say?--beautifully formed, had eyes like violets, cheeks like roses,
hair, when it was dishevelled (despite Goldsmith's satire), like a
weeping willow in a sunset, and--but, hold! I must not go further, lest
I be suspected of being enamoured of the original; so I will give up
the remaining parts of the picture, and leave them to your imagination!

The Friday after Darby's setting out I was sitting in my room,
very quietly poring over something or other of no importance,--I
forget exactly what, but I think it was some speech in the House
of Lords,--when a knock at the door agreeably disturbed me from an
incipient somnolency, occasioned by a new and unprofitable line of
reading.

"Come in!" said I. "Who is it? and what do you want?"

"It's only _me_, sir," said Eileen, laughing, as usual. "There's a
cr_a_ther below that wants to speak to you, sir."

"Who is it?" said I.

"I don't well know, sir," replied she; "but I think he's some relation
to poor Darby, that ye sent to Bally---- last Friday afternoon."

"Oh! then send him up; he may account in some way for the extraordinary
absence of his relative, said I.

"Sure, an' it's myself, an' no relation at all," shouted Darby from
below, indignantly.

"_Oh! widdy-eelish!_" cried Eileen, breaking out into her hearty wild
laugh, that was sure to set at defiance anything like gravity!

"Come up, Darby," said I. "I thought we should never have seen you
again."

"Troth, an' the same thing came into my head more than oncet, masther.
What the divil are ye laughin' at, honey?" said he (entering the room)
to Eileen, who still continued her most boisterous mirth.

"Go down stairs, Evelina," said I, "and leave Darby and me alone!"

She did so; but whispered something in his ear as she passed, which
made him so furious that I thought he would have knocked her down,
had she not adroitly escaped him by shutting the door after her, and
holding the handle on the outside so tightly that his efforts to open
it and follow her were abandoned in a moment as fruitless.

"What is the meaning of all this?" said I, severely. "Did you mean to
strike the girl?"

"Strike the _caileen_, yir honour? Oh, the Lord forbid! but, if I cotch
her upon the stairs out o' yir honor's sight, maybe I wudn't give her
cherry-lips a _pogue_ (yir honor knows what a _pogue_ is) that wud
drive her sweetheart crazy for a month o' Sundays!"

"Where have you been all this while?" inquired I, not willing to notice
his speech.

"Oh then, sure!" said he, in a most mournful tone, "masther,
I've had the divil's own time of it, sir, since you were so
unfortunate as to part with me, yir honor, on that same journey to
Bally--Bally--Bally--bad luck to it! what do they call it?"

"What has happened?" inquired I, anxiously, thinking he might have
later news than my post-letter of three days before had conveyed.

"Happened, yir honour! to who?" said Darby, with a wild look of
concern. "I hope the family, Christians, bastes, and all, not barrin'
the pig that had the measles, are in good health, and well to do as
when I left them. Has the bracket hin taken to standin' upon one leg
yit, sir, since she lost the other through that baste of a bull-dog
belongin' to the parson? I'd lay three of her eggs she'll never forget
the affront he put upon her then!"

"We are all well here," said I; "but give me some account of what has
befallen you on your journey, that delayed you so long."

"Troth, an' I'll tell ye, masther," replied Darby, "in no time. Have ye
five minutes to spare, sir?"

"Yes," said I; "let me hear."

"Well then, sir," commenced he, "you may remimber that it was on a
Friday you took l_a_ve of me--last Friday of all--Friday was never a
_looky_ day by _say_ or by land: ye see, I didn't go far afore I met
with a disappointment, for I met a berrin' comin' right _fornenst_
me--what _coud_ I do but turn back, in dacency, with it?--and, after
I'd _keen'd_ about a mile with the mourners, I made bould to ax who was
the body that was makin' a blackberry _ov_ himself."

"A blackberry!" interrupted I.

"Yes, yir honor, a blackberry," replied Darby: "do ye know that, let
it shoot never so far, it's sure to come back as near as it can to the
root of it where it first started; and so arn't we all blackberries? As
the priest says on Ash-_Wendsday_, "Remember, man, you are but dust,
and into dust you must return." Now, I've known bigger _dusts_ in their
lifetime than they were turned out of afterward, when they took to
studyin' astron_a_my with

    'The tops of their toes,
    And the tip of their nose,
    Turn'd up to the roots of the daisies!'

But, whose berrin' should it be, after all, but ould Jemmy Cullen,
the piper's! Ye know Jemmy Cullen, yir honour? him that used to play
the organ on the pipes at high-mass durin' Christmas an' Easter. Oh!
he was the boy to lilt at a weddin' or a wake! but, p_a_ce be width
'im--God rest his sowl! as I said when I saw the _scragh_ put over him
for the first time. Well, ye know, yir honor, that oncet upon the same
road width them I coudn't do more nor less than wet our clay together;
so, after walkin' the corpse three times round the churchyard of
Glassin-oge--Were ye ever berried there, sir?--I mane, wud ye like to
be berried there, sir?"

"Not just yet," said I.

"Oh, the Lord forbid, sir!" cried Darby. "I didn't mane that, by
no manes. God send ye many days, and _prosprous_ ones too! But
there's a taste in chusin' a berrin'-ground as well as there is in a
drawin'-room," said he, looking around him.

"So there may be," said I; "but that is only the whim or notion of a
living man. When he dies, all churchyards are the same to him; he then
can have no considerations about the matter."

"That's all very true, sir," replied Darby; "but would ye like to be
burnt after the breath was out o' ye?"

"I could have neither liking nor disliking," answered I; "for I should
be an insensible mass of matter."

"But mightn't yir ghost, sir, like to see ye were comfortably provided
for? I mane yir honor's dead body that's alive an' in good health now,
an' long may it continue so!"

"Oh! never mind," said I; "neither you nor I, Darby, know much about
those things; so go on with your story."

"Thank ye, sir!" said Darby, and resumed. "I was sayin', sir, as how
we went to wet our clay together at the '_Three Jolly Pigeons_.' Yir
honor knows the 'Three Jolly Pigeons,' facing the ould hawthorn o'
Goldsmith, in the village of AUBURN hard by here, eh? Sure, an' I've
heer'd as much as how they want to take the merits of the whole place
to themselves over in England somewhere, as if it couldn't spake
plainly for itself that it was bred and born here in ould Ireland ages
ago! Isn't the '_Desarted Village_' a b_u_tiful histhory, masther? Lame
Kelly, the poet, says, it bates the world for makin' the heart soft.
It's myself that never passes the spot without a tear in my eye, like a
widow's pig, as the sayin' is. There's the ruins of the d_a_cent church
on the hill all in b_u_tiful repair to this hour, and the parson's
house, and the schoolmaster Tom Allen's, and the common, and the pond,
width the geese upon it still, as if it was only yistherday, an' the
ould hawthorn--bad _look_ to their taste that built a stone wall round
about it like a _jail_! What did the blessed tree ever do that it
should be put in pound in that manner o' way?"

Gentle shade of GOLDSMITH! amongst the many tributes to thy immortal
genius, receive kindly the simple but honest homage of poor Darby.
He may not be able to appreciate thee in all thy varied splendour of
moral and intellectual worth; but he has a heart full of benevolence
like thine own, and, although a poor Irish serf, has feeling and
fancy enough to reverence the spots thou hast consecrated by the
thousand-spelled wand of thy muse!

"Darby," said I, "I promised you something on your return (though you
did not come back as soon as I expected); there's a guinea for you."

"Augh, thin, may the light of Heaven break yir last sleep!" said Darby;
"but isn't it too much, masther?"

"You are welcome to it," said I; "go on with your story."

"Thank ye, sir!" replied he. "Whereabouts was I when I left off?"

"Just where you are now," said I.

"Beggin' yir honor's pardon, I think I was at the 'Three Jolly
Pigeons.'"

"Be it so," said I, "go on."

"Well, as I was sayin', when we damp'd the grief a trifle at the
_sheebeen_ width a drop of the rale _stone turf_, I takes up the kish
again; but first I put my hand in the straw to see if the _dog-een_ was
comfortable, and there he was to be sure, warm an' nice as a new-laid
egg: so, wishin' the rest of the company every amusement in life, I
set out on my travels agen. Just as I was in the doorway, Ned Coffey,
the _whisperer_,--ye know Ned Coffey, yir honor, that brakes in the
wild _coults_ width a charm he's got? Well, anyhow, if he didn't laugh
so as if his mother was a horse; but I never minded him, only went on
wonderin' to myself what cud av' made him so humoursome at a berrin'.
Well, never mind that, I went on beautifully for a time, as good as an
hour an' a half, when, all of a suddent, leppin' a ditch, the hayband
I had acrass my breast bruk, and let the _clieve_ fall _clane_ in the
dirty puddle. 'Oh, _hannamandhioul_!' says I, 'what'll the masther say
to this?' The words were scarce past my lips when a _squake_ that 'ud
av' split the ears of a pitcher came out o' the _clieve_, an' after
that a gruntin', such as I never _heer'd_ come from mortal man afore,
barrin' it was a pig under a gate!"

"What could it have been?" inquired I, affecting a grave concern; "it
was not my dog Squib, surely?"

"Who the _nagers_ else could it be?" said Darby. "Only, after crassing
myself three times, and turnin' up the basket wid' my _horse_, I found
he was bewitched into the shape of a porker, as purty a young pig sure
enough, about seven weeks ould, as I'd wish to clap eyes on."

"A pig!" exclaimed I. "Why, he returned home that very night in his own
shape."

"Well then, see that, now," said Darby, "thuv', for my own part, I
think it was all Ned Coffey's doin; but, be that as it may, I was never
so frightened in all my born days, for I tuk to my heels, an' was out
o' sight in no time, like a _haro_! tho' I hadn't far to go to be that
same, for it was pitch-dark; so, to keep myself company, I began singin'

    'The first o' my pranks was in little Rathshane,
    Where love, just like whiskey, popp'd into my brain;
    For Ally Magoolagh, a n_a_te little sowl,
    As tall and as _strate_ as a shaverman's pole!'

'Augh! thin, _was_ she?' says a voice that I cudn't see, tho' 'twas
close to my left ear! 'Who's there?' says I. 'Where?' says it, on th'
other side. 'Anywhere,' says I, 'to plaze ye;' and wid that I fell into
a could sweat, for I began to think it was Mihilmas Eve, an' divil a
grain of salt I had about me to keep me from harm! 'Crass o' Christ on
us!' says I, 'an' God bless ye!' for I thought it was one of the good
people, yir honor! so I made up my mind to get in-_doors_ as soon as I
could. But that wasn't so aisy as wishin', for there wasn't a village
nearer than five miles, nor a cabin by the way-side. At last I spies
a light at a distance in the fields aff the road, and away we set, I
and my _horse_, full gallup. Oh! many's the ditch we cleared without
seein'; but still, never a bit did we come nearer to the light! 'Is it
a _Will_,' says I to myself, 'or a _Jack_?' an' wid that out it goes on
a suddent, and l_a_ves me up to my chin in a bog. Augh! then, hadn't I
a cruel time of it there? I was, for all the world, like a _flay_ on
Father Fogarty's pock-mark'd nose, or a blind horse in a tan-yard,--no
sooner out o' one hole than into another! At last I got upon dry land,
and wasn't I thankful for that same? for I got hoult ov a stone wall
that directed me straight on to a gate that was only hasp'd; so I
opened it, an' let myself out upon a _rodeiene_, that I knew by the
tracks o' the wheels; so, turnin' myself round three times for _look_,
(and bad _look_ it was,) I steps out into a ditch that was handy by the
way-side,--for it was acrass the _rodeiene_ I went 'stead of lengthways
either up or down; but how could I do betther in the dark? Well, afther
a while floundherin' about like a litther of pups in a bag, I got on
my feet agen clane out o' the mud, shiverin' an' shakin' as if I had
Jack Nulty's ague 'pon me! 'Well,' says I to myself, 'it was _looky_ I
stopp'd to have a drop at the berrin', or I'd av' nothin' to keep the
could out o' me now! It was Providence as well as dacency that put it
into my head!"

"If you had not stopped," said I, "you would not have been overtaken by
the night, and exposed to such a disagreeable accident!"

"Well, sure, yir honor," replied Darby, "somethin' else might av'
happened, an' who knows but it might 'a been worse?--there's no sayin'
or accountin' for such things. Well, be that as it may, I began to
walk on, feelin' afore me width my _horse_ (that never forsook me
all the time) whether I was in the right road or not, till at last I
comes all ov a suddent into the middle o' the town o' Lanesbro', with
_raal_ candles (none ov yir _wisps_ or _lantherns_) burnin' in every
window. Maybe I didn't know where I was then! So, mountin' my horse,
sir, strad-legs, away I _canther'd_, blessin' my stars that I got on
my journey so well and so far, width only a wettin' in the bog-holes
an' ditches, and a scratch or two on my hands an' cheeks, that I made
nothin' ov. 'Where will we put up for the night,' says I to my horse;
but yir honor knows the _crathur_ cudn't answer me: so I tuk my own
advice, an' went sthraight to 'The Cat and Bagpipes.' 'Will I get a
lodgin' here the night?' says I to the lan'lady.--'Who are ye?' says
she.--'Who am I!' I says; 'I'm yir honor's servant, on a mission,'
says I, mentionin' yir name, masther.--'Can ye pay for a bed?' says
she.--'Can money do it?' says I.--'To be sure,' says she.--'Then, look
here,' says I; an' wid that I show'd her four and sixpence--for I only
spent sixpence at the berrin'.--'Go into the kitchen,' says she, 'an'
I'll see what I can do for ye.'--'Thank ye, ma'am,' says I. So I goes
my ways into the kitchen, and sits down by the hob. That was very
agreeable for a time; but, when I dried myself, an' wanted to go to
bed after a drop or two, how d'ye think they sarved me? only sure, yir
honor, by putting me in bed with a _furrener_,--nothin' more nor less
than a _black_, savin' yir presence,--for it was the _fair_ night o'
the town, and beds were scarce, an' not to be had for love or money; so
I was _oblidged_ to sleep double, plaze ye, sir, in a two-bedded room.
They tould me he was only a _sweep_; but he turned out to be a _raal_
black, to my sorrow!"

"In what way?" inquired I.

"Oh! in many ways, sir," replied Darby. "First and forenenst, he
prevented me takin' my natural rest afore midnight; for I took a Bible
oath on a child's catechism that I wouldn't enther the room where he
was afore the _good people_ were gone to roost; for who knows what they
might have made of me? Lord bless ye! they'd av' turn'd every hair o'
my head into pump-handles, if they liked, afore morn! so I thought it
best to sit up a while, an' kick up a bit ov a dance in the kitchen
width Katheen the maid, an' two or three other _spreesans_ that were
inclined for the fun; an' fine sport we had, to be sure, to the tune of
'_The Hare in the Corn_,' and '_Roger de Cuvverly_,'--did ye ever trip
it to 'Roger de Cuvverly,' yir honor? Oh! it's an illigant cure for the
gout!"

"I never dance," said I.

"An' more's the sorrow!" said Darby, "for ye've a fine pair o' legs o'
yir own, an' it's a pity that a lame piper shudn't be the better o'
them some night or other!"

"We'll see about that," said I; "holiday-time is coming."

"Thank ye, and long life to yir honor! Will ye give us the barn, sir,
for a hop width the girls a-comin' Christmas?"

"Yes," said I, "and a barrel of ale into the bargain."

"Oh! then won't that be illigant?" said Darby, cutting an anticipatory
caper on the carpet. "An' won't yir honor dance yirself, sir?"

"I have said already that I never dance," replied I. "Go on."

"Yes, sir, imm_a_diately," said he, and continued. "Well, after a
bit we had a game o' blindman's buff, an', to be sure, _raal_ fun it
was while it lasted, and that was till we got into the little hours;
an' many's the trick we play'd one another, till myself felt the
miller throwin' dust in my eyes; so, givin' Katheen the wink that I
was goin' aff slily, I tould her to call me early in the morn, an'
left the party to themselves. I soon tuk aff me, an' was asleep in no
time; but in less than half an hour I had a most wonderful _drame_.
I thought I was the first paycock that ever wore a tail in Paradise;
an' maybe I wasn't proud o' myself, s_a_ted in the tree of knowledge,
width Adam an' Eve, _ketchin'_ flies width their mouth open, lookin'
at me for wonder. 'Arrah! _cushlah!_' says Adam to his wife; 'isn't
it a b_u_tiful sight?'--'Troth, an' it is,' says she; 'avick! I hope
he won't fly away, for I'd like to make a pet ov 'im. I'll just step
in_doors_ for the blundherbuss!' When I came to this part o' my
_drame_, the blood o' me ran could, an' I couldn't think what was
the matther width me, barrin' it was the night-_mare_; but it was no
such thing, for I turned on th' other side, and thought then I was a
race-_horse_ on the Curragh of Kildare, an' yir honor clappin' spurs
into me within twenty yards of the winnin' post! Well, that was better
than t'other; but, as I was dr_a_ming in this fashion, I began to think
they'd never call me at all, when Katheen, yir honor,--the purty little
girl, sir, that kept me up so late the night afore, dancin' with her
in the back-kitchen,--gave a _puck_ at the door with her fist, that
sent in one of the panels, and dumb-foundered quite an ould clock on
the back of it, that was pointin' width its two hands to some hour last
year. 'Who the divil's that?' says I.--'It's only me,' says she, with
a voice like a sp_a_king-trumpet, or a chorus of ganders. (I think the
crather had a could upon her.) 'Arrah! d'ye never mane to l_a_ve off
sleepin'?'--'What o'clock is it, alanna!' says I.--'Oh! the same hour
it was this time yisterday, I suppose,' says she, 'for the clock is
_down_.'--'Faith! it is,' says I, nate and cl_a_ne upon the _flooer_;
'but never mind that, the sun's _up_!'--'Ay,' says Katheen, 'this two
hours or more.'--'And so wud I,' says I, 'if I had as far to travel in
the day as he has!'--'Augh!' said Katheen, 'you lazy _puckaun_, did
ye never hear that the early bird _ketches_ the worm?'--'Troth, an' I
did,' says I, 'putting on my shirt; 'but what an _ummadhaun_ the worm
must be to get up afore him.'--'An' over an' above,' says Katheen, 'the
man that was on the road betimes in the mornin' found a purse.'--'Ay!'
says I, 'but the poor divil that lost it was there first.'--'Oh, the
_divil_ be width ye! stop there till ye're stiff av ye like,' said
Katheen, and run down stairs afore I could say Jack Robison. Well,
then, yir honor, I was soon drest an' up; so, as I'd _ped_ my way _the
night_, I had _nawthin'_ to do but pass clane through the kitchen in
the mornin', an' take to the road agen, when I saw Katheen a-lightin'
the fire. I just stepped towards her for a kiss _a-dhurrus_, when she
cried murther in Irish, loud enough to waken the whole house; so I
thought I'd have nothin' more to do width her this time, and went my
ways p_a_ceably. It was a fine mornin', barrin' the mist, that wudn't
let ye see a yard afore ye at a time, an', to be sure, I _kep_ it up
at a fine rate 'till I r_a_ched the town of Kilcronan. But, what d'ye
think happened me there, yir honor?"

"I'm sure I cannot say," said I.

"Well, then, I'll tell ye, sir. As I was passin' by a pawnbroker's that
was settin' out his goods for sale, what did I see but a lookin'-glass
starin' me in the face, an' a blackamoor's head in the middle of it.
Well, I look'd, and look'd, and look'd agen, but divil a bit was it
like me; so, turnin' 'pon my heel, 'Bad look to them!' says I, 'they've
woke the _wrong man_;' for yir honor remimbers that I slept width a
_furrener_ the night afore, and left orders to be called early; so I
had nothin' for it but run back agen as hard as I could lay foot to
ground for twelve honest miles; and lucky sure it was that the fog was
so thick as ye could cut it with a knife, or I'd av' 'ad the divil's
own time of it on the way. But, as it happened, I met nobody that knew
me, 'cept blind M'Diarmot the sign-painther."

"Sign-painter!" exclaimed I. "I thought you said he was blind."

"Augh! sure it was afore he lost his eye-sight," said Darby, "that he
was the most illigant sign-painther in the county. Didn't he paint
_The Pig and Thrush_ for Mat Sleven; an' _The Three Blacks_, that ye'd
take for two twins, they're so like one anuther; and _The Red Herrin'_
for Pat Gaveny in the market, that look'd so _salt_ it made yir mouth
wather to that degree, that ye cudn't help, passin' by, goin' in to
have a drop. Oh! it brought powers of custom anyhow!"

"How did he lose his eyes?" inquired I.

"He didn't lose them at all, sir," replied Darby, "only the sight o'
_one_ o' them, (for he never had th' other,) an' that was all through
Molly, _the Lump_, that advised him, (bad win' to her!) to use cr_a_me
when he had a could upon his intellects after the _typus_; so he mistuk
a pot o' white lead for the same, one evenin' that he had a drop too
much, and fairly painted himself blind; for from that hour to this he
can't see a hole in a forty-fut laddher. And more's the pity, for he
had plenty o' _drawin'_ about the counthry to do; an' now his dog has
got into the _line_ ov it for him, the crathur! Well, anyhow, knowin'
he was a jidge o' colours, I ax'd him to feel my face, an' tell me what
was the matther width it; so he puts his hand upon me, an' may I never
die, masther, if it didn't turn as black as a crow as soon as he drew
it acrass my cheek! 'Well,' says I, 'this b_a_tes cock-fightin'!' But I
soon found out the trick they played me; for M'Diarmot, when he smelt
his hand, said there was s_u_t and goose-gr_a_se upon it. So ye see,
yir honor, the truth was, they blackened my face in the kitchen afore
they put me to sleep with the black, that I mightn't know which was
myself in the mornin'. May they live till the ind o' the world, that
the divil may have a race after them, say I, for that same!"



THE DUEL.


I was educated, said a French gentleman whom I met in quarantine, at
Poitiers, though Lusignan is my native town.

Poitiers is well known to the antiquary as having possessed a Roman
amphitheatre, of which, however, when I was at that university, only
a vault, supposed to have been a cage for the wild beasts, remained.
This cage, from the solidity of the masonry, and the enormous size of
the blocks, seemed indestructible, but was not so; for when I last
visited Poitiers, and asked for the key of the cavern, I found that it
no longer existed, and that on the site had been constructed the inn of
the "Trois Pelerins."

It is a stone's throw from the Salle d'Armes, a place with which I had
been better acquainted than with the schools. To revive my ancient
recollection, I entered the _salle_, and found there an inhabitant of
the town whom I had known at college. He proposed that we should dine
together at the "Trois Pelerins;" and, after drinking as good a bottle
of wine as it afforded, he related to me what a few days before, in
the very room where we were sitting, had happened at a dinner of the
collegians. It was ordered for twelve; but, one of the party having
invited a friend, the number swelled to thirteen.

It is said that superstition supplies the place of religion; I
have observed this to be the case with the most sceptical of my
acquaintance: and thus this number thirteen occasioned some remarks,
and the stranger was looked upon with no very favourable eye, and
considered as a supernumerary, who brought with him ill luck.

One of the set at last summoned resolution enough to say,

"I do not dine thirteen."

"Nor I," said another.

"Nor I," was repeated on all sides.

The guest, naturally embarrassed at this rudeness, got up, and was
about to retire, when Alfonse, to whom he came as an _umbra_, proposed
an ingenious expedient for doing away with the evil augury, and said,

"There is one way of annulling the proverb that threatens death in
the course of the year to one of a party of thirteen; that way is,
to decide which of us shall fight a duel this evening, or to-morrow
morning."

"Done!" cried all the students at a breath.

"Shall it be among ourselves?" said one of them.

"No," replied the author of the proposition; "for then two of us would
have to fight, whereas it ought to be the thirteenth."

"Right," said all the young men.

"Then let it be with one of the officers of the garrison."

"Be it so," said Alfonse; "we will make a pool, as usual, at the
_café_, all thirteen of us; and----"

"The first out," said the student.

"No," interrupted Alfonse, "that would be a bad omen; it shall be the
winner."

"Agreed!" replied all, and they sate down to table with as much gaiety
and _insouciance_ as if nothing had been said.

The stranger, just as the soup was being put on the table, got up, and
with a magisterial tone of voice addressed the assembly. "Gentlemen,"
said he, "I feel suddenly inspired with a sublime idea. We are about
to eat and drink in the ruins of Roman greatness (alluding to the
amphitheatre). Let us imitate that people in every thing that is
great. Nothing could be more splendid than the games of the gladiators
which were celebrated over the tombs of the mighty dead,--nothing more
sumptuous than the festivals held at their funerals. This is probably
also a funereal fête; with this difference, that it is held before, and
not after death. Let Poitiers therefore rival Rome in her magnificence;
let this _cena_ be in honour of the mighty remains over which we are
sitting; let it be _morituro_,--sacred to him who is about to perish."

"Bravo!" exclaimed the guests one and all; "a splendid idea, by
Jove!--a splendid _cena_ be it!"

"Open the windows!" cried Alfonse. The windows were opened. As soon
as the soup was served, smash went all the plates into the yard, and
shivered against the pavement. So, during the rest of dinner, every
plate as fast as it was cleared, every bottle as soon as emptied,
followed their fellows. One might perceive, by the practised dexterity
of this feat, that it was not the first time they had played the same
game.

During the first course nothing particular occurred to disturb their
harmony; but it so happened that the _rôti_, which is, as you know, in
France always served last, was burnt. Then there arose a general burst
of indignation.

"Send the cook!" exclaimed they all to the waiters.

"Order up the cook! Here, cook! cook!" was the universal cry.

But the _chef_ was not forthcoming.

Alfonse, the president, then said, "Must I go myself and fetch him?"

This menace had its effect: the _pauvre chef_, pale as death, and
all cotton cap in hand, crawled into the room. He was greeted with
deafening shouts.

"Come here!" said Alfonse. "Do you take us for the officers? What do
you mean by serving us in this manner,--eh?"

The man of the spit stammered out an apology. Alfonse looked at him
askance.

"If I served you right," said he, "I should make you eat this
detestable _rôti_ of yours; but, as it is the first time of happening,
my chastisement shall be a paternal one. Hold out your cotton cap."

The _chef_ obeyed, and Alfonse turned out of a dish into it an enormous
clouted cream (_omelet soufflé_), and said,

"Come, now, on with the cap, and see you don't first spill a drop."

He was forced to comply; and the unhappy Ude (_udus_), his face and
white jacket streaming with the contents of the _plat_, was followed
out of the room with hisses and bursts of laughter.

Thus went on the dinner, and with it a concert of broken plates,
dishes, glasses, and bottles, accompanied by noises of all sorts, which
rose to _fortissimo_ as the wine, of which they drank to excess, got
into their heads.

The dessert, which succeeded the second course, was ended by what
they called a salad. This salad was thus mixed. They turned up the
four corners of the table-cloth, and rolled therein all the fragments
that were left. At this juncture the waiters disappeared, conjecturing
shrewdly that, if they stayed any longer, the feast might be too grand
for them. In short, when all that remained of the dessert was bundled
well up, the collegians got on the table, and, at the risk of cutting
their feet with the fragments of the crockery, and the splinters of
the glass, danced thereon, till everything was pounded, smashed, and
broken. Then the table-cloth, with all it contained, (the salad,) was
thrown out of the window; after it the table, then the chairs, then the
rest of the furniture, and, when there was nothing more to destroy, the
frenzied youths thought they could do no better than throw themselves
out; and all the thirteen "followed the leader," Alfonse, and jumped
from the first floor into the court.

There is a saying, that over drunkards watches an especial Providence.
But there are, it seems, two; for the students, on this occasion, found
one of their own, which doubtless befriended them in this mad leap.
Certain it is that none of the party met with the slightest accident,
and, gloriously drunk, they rushed out into the street, after the most
remarkable orgie that had taken place for some time at Poitiers.

They made a brilliant _entrée_ into the _café_,--a general place of
rendezvous for the students and officers when they were not at daggers
drawn.

Two of the latter were playing at billiards when they entered. But
Alfonse, without waiting till the game was ended, asked, or rather
demanded, in an authoritative tone, that the table should be given up
for a single pool to the thirteen.

Thinking that the object was, as usual, to decide who should pay for
the dinner, or the _demi-tasse et chasse_, the players did not seem
inclined to comply with this requisition; but when they learnt that a
more momentous affair, a duel, was on foot, they hastened to lay down
their cues. A duel! everything must yield to that!

There were but few military men present, for that very day there was
a _soirée_ at the general-commandant's of the garrison; and those
few consisted of veterans, who preferred passing the evening at the
_café_ to putting on silk-stockings and shoes, or of _chenapans_,
who in the regiment went by the name of _crans_, or _bourreaux des
cranes_. The old _grognards_, however, did not quit the room. The
_chenapans_ interchanged glances with each other; and one or two of the
sub-lieutenants, who had come to take their _demi-tasse_ before they
went to the ball, also remained. They had all more or less formed a
shrewd guess of what was to happen; and, for the honour of the service,
waited for the quarrel to break out.

In our schools and garrisons at Paris we are totally unacquainted with
that _esprit de corps_ which engages a whole regiment, and an entire
body of young men, in a duel, when two only are concerned; nor can we
form a notion how slight a thing a duel is considered, when it is the
custom to decide all questions sword in hand. Habit is all in all; and
people soon learn to think no more of fighting than going to breakfast.

It becomes a general endemic; and a person who, lost in the world of
Paris, where he is unknown, might hesitate about demanding satisfaction
for an insult however gross, would, in that atmosphere, be ready any
day, or hour of the day, to call a man out for merely looking at him.

The pool was begun. Never did a party, when a large sum of money
depended on the issue of the game, play with more care and caution
than those thirteen to decide which of them was to fight. By degrees
the players lost their three lives, and the number was at last reduced
to two; these two were the stranger guest and Alfonse. The lookers-on
watched anxiously every stroke. Those balls, that as they rolled
carried with them the fate of a man, were followed by earnest looks.
The officers came nearer and nearer, and ranged themselves round the
billiard. They were not a little interested to know whether they, or
rather one of them,--which they knew not,--was to enter the lists with
a freshman, no doubt unpractised in fencing, or with the most adroit
and terrible duellist of the university.

The chances were against them. The stranger lost.

A singular excitement was occasioned by the disappearance of the last
ball in the pocket. Some faces grew pale; but no one stirred from the
spot where he had been standing as a spectator. Alfonse looked steadily
round him, and made two or three times the circuit of the room, as
though he were in search, but in vain, of some one worth quarrelling
with. At last he perceived a sort of sub-lieutenant, originally
drum-major and _maître-d'armes_, and who boasted of having killed his
thirty pequins, sitting quietly in a corner. Alfonse walked straight
up to him, and, saluting him with a politeness that electrified the
company, said, in his cool way,

"Monsieur, I am exceedingly distressed at the situation in which I find
myself placed; but my honour is concerned, and you will allow me to
engage yours."

Without further preliminaries, he gave him a severe hit in the face.

The officer, who little expected so abrupt and unanswerable a mode of
provocation, sprang like a madman from his chair; and had not Alfonse,
with the activity and nimbleness of a cat, leaped with one bound on the
table, the ex-drum-major would probably have strangled him on the spot.

He was quickly at the aggressor's heels, when his own comrades stopped
him of their own accord, saying,

"Come, come! no child's play or boxing! the thing is too serious!
_C'est un combat à la mort!_"

"Where shall I find you to-morrow?" said one of the officers,
addressing Alfonse.

"Fix your ground," was the reply.

"No to-morrows!" said the officer who had received the blow; "this
instant!"

"This instant be it, if you please," replied Alfonso with the utmost
indifference.

"I shall not sleep to-night till that blow is avenged!" said the other,
foaming with rage.

"I, too, want to unnumb my hand. I have hurt my knuckles against your
cheek-bones," said Alfonse.

"Where would they fight at such a time of night as this?" observed some
of the officers.

"In the garden behind the _café_," cried the ancient _maître d'armes_;
"a sword in one hand, and a billiard-lamp in the other."

"But," said Alfonse, "I am tired. I know your style of fighting men,
_Crane_; you want to make me break ground, and drive me step by step
round the garden. Don't think it, my lad. Besides, the lamp may go out.
But, if you have no objection, the billiard-table will be a good arena.
We shall be well lighted, and there will be no means of drawing back a
foot.

"Be it so," said the other.

The doors were closed, and they laid hands on the waiters and the
proprietor of the _café_, who were going to the police. The swords were
then brought. The two adversaries cast lots for them, and then pulled
off their coats and waistcoats, and unbuttoned their shirts, to show
that they had nothing under.

Both then took their swords.

The officer wrapt round his hand a handkerchief, leaving both ends
dangling. Alfonse neglected this practice, the object of which was to
distract the attention of the adversary by the perpetual flutter of
their two white points, thus to turn away his attention from the sword.
But Alfonse had a manner of fighting of his own, and cared little for
these petty proceedings. He never looked at the steel; but, fixing his
eye on that of his antagonist, anticipated every motion that he made.

The two wrestlers, or gladiators I might say, got on the table
together, and, according to the terms or conditions agreed on between
the students and the officers, rested their swords on the toes of their
boots. A traveller from a commercial house who happened to be present,
and could have no interest in the scene other than what its novelty
excited, was fixed on to clap his hands three times, and at the third
the swords were upraised in the air, and the two combatants came to
guard.

A terrible silence reigned through the room, and for some seconds it
was only broken by the clashing of the steel; for both parties, as they
skirmished, were well aware that a single _faux pas_ was death. The
slightest stepping back, shrinking of the body, or leaping on one side,
must inevitably prove fatal.

The officer was a head and shoulders taller than Alfonse, and looked
as though he could crush him; but he little heeded this advantage, if
advantage it was, for he by degrees lowered his body till he was right
under the sword of his foe, and almost bent himself down upon the bed
of the table. No other change in his attitude then took place.

All at once the officer, taking this posture for the effect of fear,
made a furious lunge, which was parried with the greatest _sang froid_
and skill, and Alfonse allowed the officer to return to his ground
without attempting to return it. His adversary was deceived by this
sort of timid defence, and, become more adventurous, attacked him again
with increased fury,--so much so, that, thrown off his guard, his left
foot quitted the cushion of the table, against which it had been fixed.
Then it was that Alfonse made a rapid lunge at the officer's face. He
endeavoured to regain the ground he had lost, to resume his position.
The student would not give him time, and charged with impetuosity his
disconcerted enemy, who could only avoid his thrusts by keeping his
body bent backwards. Alfonse forced him to the edge of the table, when
his foot tripped, and at that moment drove the sword up to the hilt in
his heart.

The unhappy officer cried out "Hit! hit!" Then he raised himself to his
full height, and fell backwards from the top of the table to the floor.

Awful was the sound that the weight of that body made upon the boards
of the room! There was mixed up with it a feeling--a dread lest the
dead man should hurt himself in falling. Never did I see, for I was
present, so dreadful a contest! Never did I experience anything so
frightful as the silence of those two men,--as the flashing of their
swords by the light of the lamps,--as the fall of the vanquished, who,
disappearing behind the table, seemed at once to have been engulfed in
a tomb that opened from behind to receive him!



THE MONK OF RAVENNE.


    The Monk of Ravenne was daring and great,
    He had risk'd his life for the Church's estate;
    He was loved by all who the Virgin love,
    And the Pope and he were hand and glove;
    Not a deed was done by friars or men,
    But _that_ deed was known to the Monk of Ravenne.

    The Monk of Ravenne on his death-bed lay,
    His eyes were closed to the light of day,
    His ears drank in the fathers' prayers,
    And his soul shook off its earthly cares;
    Many a tongue and many a pen
    Moved in praise of the Monk of Ravenne.

    The Monk of Ravenne in the tomb was placed,
    With noble and fair the chapel was graced,
    The requiem rose with the organ's swell,
    And an hundred voices peal'd his knell;
    The lightning flash'd, and up started agen[9]
    The ghastly form of the Monk of Ravenne.

    "Fools!" cried the monk, "do you pray for _me_,
    Who have plunder'd you all, of every degree?
    I have blasted your fame, I have mock'd at your shrine,
    And now do I suffer this doom of mine,
    'Deserted of heaven, detested of men,
    Lost, body and soul, is the Monk of Ravenne!'"

        CLEIAUBUID.

FOOTNOTE:

[Footnote 9: _Vide_ Chaucer, &c.]



A MARINE'S COURTSHIP.

BY MICHAEL BURKE HONAN.

WITH AN ILLUSTRATION BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.


I have the honour to be one of that class of amphibious animals called
in his Majesty's service _sea-soldiers_; that is to say, I have the
honour to hold a commission in the noble, ancient, and most jolly body
of the Royal Marines. I am by profession, therefore, as well as by
nature, a miscellaneous individual; and circumstances have more than
once thrown me into situations where the desire to support the credit
of the cloth, added to my own stock of cheerful impudence, have carried
me through, in spite of difficulties which would have appalled another
man. I had the misfortune to be employed on board one of the ships
of the inner squadron in the Douro during the siege of Oporto. I do
not say misfortune out of any disrespect to the commodore, or to the
captain under whose command I was immediately placed, or to my brother
officers, for a more generous, convivial set of fellows could not be
got together; but I speak of the place, and of the people, and of the
few opportunities which were afforded me of showing off a handsome
uniform, and, I must say, rather a well-made person, which it inclosed.
Besides, I was kept on hard duty; and though there were some pretty
women who appeared on Sunday during the cessations of the usual shower
of shells from the Miguelite camp, yet there were so many competitors
for their smiles, that I really could not take the trouble of making
myself as amiable as I otherwise should, and, as I flatter myself, I
could. Don Pedro the emperor, who now sleeps with his fathers, and
whose heart is deposited in the cathedral of Oporto, was then without
the society of his imperial and beautiful wife; and, whether it was to
set a good example to his court, or to prevent his mind from dwelling
on the absence of his true love, he was one of the most active of my
rivals, and I protest there was not a pretty face in the whole town
that he had not the pleasure of paying his addresses to. The Marquis
of Loule, his brother-in-law, also separated from that most lovely
and most generous of Portuguese princesses who now sits nightly at
Lisbon, smiling on all the world from her box at the French theatre in
the _Rua dos Condes_, was regularly employed in the same operations;
and I never took a sly peep at a pair of dark and bewitching eyes
that I did not find the emperor or the marquis also reconnoitring.
The marquis is one of the handsomest men in Europe, but with the most
vacant expression possible. He wins every heart at first sight, but
he loses his conquests as fast as he makes them. Women may be caught
by glare; and a man of high rank, an Adonis in face and person, must
tell: but I'll be hanged if the dear creatures are such fools as we
think them; and the marquis's wife first, and every other flame of his
after, have dismissed him, on finding that his good looks and brains
were not measured by the same scale. Then there was the Count Villa
Flor, and several other martial grandees; not to speak of the generals
and colonels of regiments, and the well-built and well-whiskered
officers of the British and French Legion, and the captains and first
lieutenants of our squadron. I run over this list just to show what
difficulties I had to contend with; and that, if I did not turn
the head of the whole town, there was a numerous list of operative
love-makers who shared the market with me.

[Illustration: A Marine's Courtship]

About this time the senior captain of the squadron determined to
establish a signal-station to communicate with the ships of his
Britannic Majesty outside the bar; and, no fitting place being found
on the Pedroite side of the river, an application was made to General
San Martha, who commanded for the Miguelites, for permission to erect
a post on the left bank, which permission was most liberally granted.
A party was instantly set to work, and in the course of a few days a
flag-staff was hoisted; and a large house and court-yard given for
the accommodation of the officer and men who were to work it. As luck
would have it, I was selected for this service, in company with a
wild lieutenant of the fleet, and we soon established ourselves in a
comfortable quarter, having the permission to rove about among the
Miguelite grounds where we pleased, and to cross as usual to Oporto,
when leave of absence was to be procured.

We had not been long established at this fort, when the batteries
which the Miguelites had established at the mouth of the river began
to do their work in good earnest, and so effectually to close the
bar, that not only was the usual supply of provisions cut off, but
strong fears were entertained that the city would be reduced by famine
to capitulate. There was an abundance of salt fish, or _bacalhao_,
and a superfluity of port wine; but even the best fare will tire on
repetition, and you may be assured that salt fish for breakfast,
dinner, and supper was not very acceptable to the officers or the men.
Our commodore, with the foresight that distinguishes a British officer,
had provided for the coming difficulty; and had arranged with the
Miguelite general for an abundant supply of fresh provisions, meat,
poultry, and vegetables, for all the ships' crews, on the distinct
understanding that no part of it was to be passed over to the besieged
city. The squadron therefore lived in abundance, while the garrison was
half starved; and as we passed through the streets with our shining
red faces and sleek sides, puffed out by the good cheer our commodore
had provided, we formed a strong contrast to the lean and shrivelled
soldiers of glory, who were starving in honour of the charter. The
private families of the town also began to suffer, and the beauty of
many of the most admired, sensibly to diminish; salt fish and port wine
did not in combination make a healthy chyle: and I could observe that
the Oporto ladies, more carefully than before, wrapped their long dark
cloaks about them, to hide the ravages which short commons was making
in the plumpness of their persons.

It was at this moment that I conceived and executed the bold plan which
forms the subject of this paper, and from which all learned communities
may be informed that, for originality of thought and ability in the
execution, no adventurer can compare to a British marine.

The most beautiful maiden at Oporto was a Spanish girl called Carolina.
She was the daughter of the alcade of Ponte Vedra in Galicia, who had
fled some time before, from the retributive justice of the law, which
he himself had so long administered; he had died months before the
present period, leaving Carolina exposed to all the privations of a
besieged town, and to the temptations of a profligate and military
court. I never saw a more lovely creature: her eyes were as dark
as night, and her cheeks glowed with a warmth unknown in the cold
complexions of the north. Her person was faultless; her feet and her
hands were small: one could span her waist; and she walked with that
combination of majesty and grace which a Spanish woman can alone
assume. Poor Carolina was as good as she was beautiful; and though the
emperor, and his hopeful brother-in-law, and all the gay cavaliers
of the camp, were ready to throw themselves at her feet, she behaved
with a discretion which won her the good opinion of the whole army,
not to speak of the fleet, where such remarkable virtue could be fully
estimated. I among the rest of the inflammable multitude had been
struck with the magic charms of the angelic Carolina, and devoted
every moment of the occasional leave of absence which I procured, to
promenading up and down before her window, in the hope of catching a
glance of her beautiful eyes, and of attracting her regard to my own
beloved person. I was as much in love with her as a marine could be,
and my hopeless passion became so well known that it was a standing
joke at the mess-table, and our wicked wag of a commodore, who I
fancied was a little caught himself, never failed to inquire if I had
taken my usual walk, and met with the same good fortune.

You can easily imagine my delight when I heard that a scarcity was
making such rapid progress in the city, and when I found that even the
emperor's table was limited to the ordinary rations of _bacalhao_,
black bread, and port wine. I will own that my heart leaped for joy
when I ascertained from an emissary employed to watch the house of
Carolina that she too was experiencing the pangs of want, and that with
her scanty means she was unable to procure the common necessaries for
her sustenance. Our ships were abundantly supplied, as I have before
informed you; and the little signal-station which I occupied was the
abode of plenty. The Miguelites faithfully performed their engagement;
and day after day the regular supplies of beef, poultry, vegetables,
and fruit came in. The commodore of course respected the contract that
he had entered into; and though the emperor made several advances
to his favour, and though he was openly solicited on his behalf by
various officers of the staff, he refused to allow a pound of meat to
be passed into the city. Several of the British residents represented
their claims in a formal manner for his protection; but he did his duty
like a man, and he resolutely determined not to break the engagement
he had entered into with the general of Don Miguel, or compromise the
safety of his own crews by giving way to his good-nature. The value of
a leg of fowl may therefore be estimated; and it immediately occurred
to me that I could soften the obdurate heart of the beautiful Spaniard
by secretly conveying to her some portion of the stock which was
appropriated to our own table.

I therefore set about purloining a capital _gallina_; and when I had
secured it, in defiance of the jealous watch of the steward, I crammed
it into my pocket, and, asking leave to go on shore, started about the
close of day to try whether hunger, which breaks through stone walls,
would open the oak door of the charming Carolina. I soon found myself
in the well-known quarter, and before the house that contained my love;
and, after reconnoitring for an instant to see that the emperor or
his staff were not in the way, ran up to the first landing, where she
lived, and pulled the little bell-string which hung at the door. In
an instant I heard the pretty feet tapping along the passage, and the
soft voice of Carolina herself exclaiming "_Quien es?_" Who is there?
"It is I, a British officer, and a friend of yours," I replied; "I want
particularly to speak to you."

"Sir," said Carolina, "I have not the honour of your acquaintance."

"It is true, señorita; but I come to serve you, and my good intentions
will excuse the absence of ceremony."

"Sir, I must wish you a good day: I cannot accept a service from
strangers; I have not asked you for any."

"Stay, beautiful Carolina," I exclaimed; "I adore you."

"Sir, I have the honour to wish you good evening."

"Stay, angelic vision: I am an officer of Marines."

"What have I to do with the Marines?"

"I come to devote myself to you."

"Sir,--really sir, you carry the joke too far; I must dispense with
your unseasonable visit. I have again the honour to wish you good
evening."

Carolina was about to close the little slide of the door through which
this brief conversation had been carried on, when, growing desperate
with vexation, I held the slide open with one hand, while with the
other I pulled the fowl from my pocket, and held it dangling before her
face. Oh! if you had seen her look!--her eyes were fixed as Hamlet's
when he sees his father's ghost, her mouth opened, and two little
rivulets of water ran down at each side as when an alderman gets the
first odour of a well-kept haunch.

"Señorita," said I, eager to take advantage of the favourable
impression the vision of the fowl had made on my beloved; "this bird
is a proof of the warm interest which I take in your welfare. I have
heard that you were suffering from the severe affliction that has
fallen on this city; and, though I risk my character and the safety of
his Britannic Majesty's fleet by bringing into Oporto any part of the
provision allotted for the crews, I could not resist the impulse of
stealing this bird, which I now have the honour to lay at your feet."

The señorita answered not: pride on the one hand, and hunger on the
other, were struggling. The physical want prevailed over the moral
feeling. "Señor," said she, "I will accept the fowl, and cannot but
feel obliged by the interest you have taken in my welfare. Good night,
señor; it is getting late: I am certain you are anxious to return to
your ship." With these words she shut the little slide of the door,
and I remained in the passage, gaping with astonishment, confounded
with delight, and wondering at the new recipe I had invented for making
love. I waited for some time, hoping that the little wicket would be
again opened; but Carolina, I presume, was too much occupied with
the present I had made her to think of returning to bid me a second
farewell; and I descended the staircase, charmed beyond expression with
the result of my stratagem.

I kept, of course, my recipe for making love a profound secret; but
I did not venture to put it again into operation for two or three
days. I made, however, the accustomed regular survey of the street
in which Carolina resided, and watched with much interest for the
reception given to my rivals. I cannot express the delight with which
I witnessed them all, one after the other, refused admittance to her
house. "She is picking the bones of the fowl," thought I; "that is a
much better employment than listening to their stupid declarations. I
must take care to keep my mistress in good humour, and to improve the
favourable opinion she has already formed of me." I therefore watched
my opportunity; secured a duck out of the next basket of poultry, and
hastened on the wings of love to lay my treasure at her feet. No sooner
did my trembling hand pull the bell-cord, and my eager voice announce
my name, than I heard her gentle step in the passage, and soon the
little slide of the door was opened, and I felt my heart leap to my
mouth as I beheld her beautiful eye beaming on me with undisguised
satisfaction. To ensure my welcome, and to save the dear creature from
the pangs of expectation, I produced the duck, swinging it to and fro
before the wicket, as a nurse does a pretty toy that she offers to the
longing wishes of the child. Carolina smiled her sweetest smile; and,
when I pushed in the prize, she returned me thanks in so endearing a
manner that I lost all command of my reason, and poured out upon the
staircase a volume of protestations of eternal love which might have
served for the whole ship's company. From that hour my affair was done.
Carolina could not resist the voice of truth, and the tender proofs of
esteem which I alone had the power to offer. She refused to admit me
then, but promised to consult her aunt on the propriety of receiving
my visits; and that, if the discreet matron permitted it, she would be
too happy in my acquaintance. I entreated the dear girl not to delay
my happiness, and I fixed the following Thursday for the formidable
interview with the aunt.

I lay the whole of the next night awake, thinking over the present
which would be most acceptable to the old lady. I finally resolved to
purloin a small leg of lamb, which I observed hung up in the steward's
pantry; and, in order to make room for it in my pocket, I cut a great
hole in the bottom, so that the handle of the leg would hang down,
while the thicker part prevented it from slipping through. _Armed_
with my leg, I asked leave to go to Oporto, and received with joy the
accustomed friendly nod. I soon landed at the arsenal, and mounted
the long hill which led into the town, holding myself as straight as
possible, so that the exuberance of my pocket should not be perceived.
Unfortunately for me, a score of hungry dogs, which infest all
Portuguese towns, were holding a council of war at the quay when I
stept on shore; and one of them, getting scent of the end of the leg
of mutton which hung through the hole in my pocket, gave a hint to the
rest of the contraband which was going on, and I soon had the whole
train after me, sniffing at my tail, and making snaps at the tempting
morsel. I would have stooped to pick up a stone, which is the only way
of frightening a Portuguese street dog; but I was afraid to disarrange
the perpendicular, recollecting that, as I bent down, the end of the
leg of lamb would be visible. I therefore bore the annoyance as well as
I could, kicking out behind from time to time when my friends were most
troublesome.

Carolina and her aunt were at the window, probably expecting my
arrival, and enduring the grumbling recollections of an ill-digested
dinner of _bacalhao_, in the hope of a more wholesome supper being
provided for them through my care; but when they saw me turn the
corner of the street, and at least two dozen dogs smelling and sniffing
at my skirts, they both burst out into an uncontrollable fit of
laughter, and roared and roared again in a paroxysm of mirth. A crowd
of dandies were passing at the moment, watching the window of Carolina,
each hoping to be the favoured man; but when they heard the sudden
burst of merriment which proceeded from her window, they looked round
naturally for the cause, and they soon joined in the same chorus at my
expense, on seeing me parade, with all the gravity of a drum-major, at
the head of a legion of filthy curs.

To make my situation worse, I dared not enter the house of Carolina;
her character would be compromised by a visit in presence of so many
admirers: and I had the additional mortification of being obliged to
pass her door, and to walk a considerable distance until I escaped the
impertinence of the sneering puppies, though I could not shake off the
annoyance of those that followed at my heels. How gladly would I have
drawn my sword, and challenged the whole party! how cheerfully would I
have drawn the leg of lamb from my pocket, and stuffed it in the mouth
of each impertinent dandy! but not only was my own honour at stake, but
that of the British fleet, and I bore all in the king's name, and for
the credit of the service. I have been in many a hot engagement, but
I never suffered more than I did that day. At length, after doubling
through two or three by-streets, I got rid of my impudent macaroni, and
traced my way back again to the house of my beloved. She, with the old
lady, were watching me from the window; but, grown wiser by experience,
and probably afraid of losing a good supper, they did not laugh again
with the same violence. I observed, however, the wicked smile with
which my fair one retired to receive me at the door, and the suppressed
titter with which the maiden aunt pulled her head from the window.

The cursed dogs followed me up stairs, and it was with considerable
difficulty I could prevent the most insolent from forcing their way
with me into the presence of my mistress; but, after I got in, I heard
them growling and barking on the stairs. The neighbours wondered what
the deuce was the matter with the curs, or why they had come from their
usual haunts to that unfrequented quarter.

The señorita presented me in due form to her aunt.

"Allow me," said she, "to introduce to you, dear aunt, this gallant
English cavalier, Señor _Gallina_,--I beg pardon, Señor Marinero,--and
permit me to present to you, señor, my respected aunt, Donna Francisca
Azanares."

I made a low bow, but said nothing, seeing that my mistress thought
more of the fowl than of me; such is the way of the world, and those
who will win women must endure to have their pride occasionally
mortified. The old lady, however, covered me with compliments; she
was delighted to make my acquaintance; her niece had told her what an
amiable and gentlemanlike young man I was. I could observe, while the
aunt was hard at work overloading me with compliments, that Carolina
was taking a sly peep at the bulk of my pockets, and wondering what
kind of commodity it was that produced so misplaced a swelling on so
well-formed a young man as I flatter myself no one can deny I am; but,
just at this moment, the bevy of hungry curs at the door set up such a
howl in concert, that my angel was fain to cram her handkerchief into
her mouth to conceal her laughing, and I thought the old dame would go
into a fit, so violent was her merriment. Finding the case going thus
hard against me, I determined to strike a bold stroke for conquest; so,
slipping out my penknife, I slit up the pocket where the treasure lay,
and down fell the leg of lamb in all its natural beauty on the floor.
I thought the aunt would have fainted with delight, such an unexpected
vision of glory dazzled her understanding and her sight. The _bouquet_
of the meat was, I suppose, conveyed through the keyhole to the canine
multitude that still lined the stairs, and another universal howl
proclaimed their despair that it was beyond their reach.

I soon took my leave, to the delight of Carolina and her aunt. I think
I showed considerable tact in so doing; well knowing that a slice
off the leg of lamb would be more acceptable to both than all the
professions of admiration which I was prepared to make. I ventured on
two or three civil things, but I could see my beloved's eyes fixed upon
the handle of the leg; and it was evident the aunt was carrying on
an internal debate whether it should be boiled, broiled, roasted, or
stewed, or served up, according to the fashion of the province, with a
mass of garlic. The dogs were waiting for me in the passage, and they
eagerly followed me as I went down stairs; even the smell of my pocket
had its attraction for them, but they dropped off one by one when they
found the reality was gone. One old savoury rogue alone persecuted me
to the river side; and though I pelted him with stones, and kicked him
when I could, he still hung on my rear with his tongue out, licking the
shreds which dangled from my torn pocket.

The next day, when I went on board ship to make the usual report
to the captain, I found that a court of inquiry was going on into
the disappearance of the very leg of lamb which I had feloniously
purloined. The steward had reported the accident to the purveyor of
the mess, and he had called a council of war, who thought fit to make
an official report to the skipper; so that the readers will readily
imagine the agony of my feelings when I was asked to join the board,
and to assist in the investigation. Fortunately for me, one of the
aides-de-camp of the emperor had that morning come on board to request
of the captain some provision for the imperial table, protesting
that Don Pedro and his staff had nothing better than salt fish for
rations; which request the captain was compelled, by a strict sense
of duty, to refuse; and everybody set it down as certain, the instant
the circumstance was brought to mind, that it was the aide-de-camp
who stole the lamb. He had come wrapped up in his cloak, which was a
circumstance fatal to his character; and it was agreed by the whole
conclave that the gentleman with the gold-laced hat and large cloak
had been the thief. I blushed up to the eyes at the consciousness of
my guilt, and the dishonourable part I was playing in allowing an
innocent person to be wronged for my misdeed; but I recollected that
the young man was one of the party who ridiculed me the day before in
the presence of Carolina, and wounded vanity made me disregard the
twitchings of conscience.

In order to avoid suspicion, I lay quiet for a day or two, and allowed
Carolina and her aunt to feel the value of such an acquaintance as I
was, under existing circumstances. While engaged with the captain
on some official duty, the following morning, in his cabin, a young
officer was introduced who solicited an immediate audience. The
young man appeared buried in grief, and every now and then applied a
handkerchief to his eyes, to wipe off the unbidden tears which mocked
the sword which hung at his side. His profound sorrow and gentlemanlike
appearance interested the good heart of our excellent captain; he
begged him to be seated, and wished to know what service he could
render him. The young man could with difficulty master his emotion, and
the only words that were heard from him were, "My aunt!--my aunt!"

"Pray, sir, be composed;" said the captain, a little tired of the
display.

"I will, sir," replied the young man, giving a great gulp, as if to
swallow his misery, and applying his handkerchief to wipe off the tears
from both his swimming eyes. "Oh! sir," he continued, "my poor aunt,
she who reared me from a child, when I was left an unprotected orphan,
and has placed me in the station which I now hold, is at the point of
death, and the doctors all agree that nothing but _caldo di gallina_
(fowl broth) can save her life. You know the state which we are in at
Oporto, and that not a fowl is to be had if one offered a thousand
milreas for it; I come to you, as a man and a Christian, to beg you
will give me one single chicken from your larder."

"It is impossible," said the captain; "you know the convention we have
made with Santa Martha."

"I know all that," resumed the young man; "but you must admit, my dear
captain, that the convention is directed against the troops of Don
Pedro, and the inhabitants at large who support him; but surely an old
woman at the point of death was not contemplated by the treaty, and
I entreat you to save the life of this most deserving and venerable
of aunts." With these words the young officer again took out his
handkerchief, and gave way to a flood of tears that would have moved
the strictest disciplinarian that ever commanded a ship.

It was not to be wondered at that the soft heart of our benevolent
skipper was affected. He took the young man by the hand, and said, "My
dear fellow, I can do nothing for you; I have signed a convention, and
I cannot break it, were it to save the emperor's life: but go you to
my steward, and if you can manage to extract a fowl from what he has
prepared for my table, you may do so; but take care, I am not to know
anything about it."

I fancied the young fellow smiled in the midst of his grief at the
mention of the emperor; but he dried up his tears in double quick
time, and soon made his way to the steward's room, where I suppose he
contrived to settle his affair to his satisfaction. He called on the
following day to return his grateful thanks; but the captain would not
hear a word. I observed, however, that he went down to the steward's
cabin, and took a hasty leave as he went over the ship's side on his
return. He scarcely failed to pay us a daily visit, and made us all
take a strong interest in him and the recovery of this favourite aunt
to whom he was so devotedly attached.

This aunt, we found out afterwards, was the emperor; and so reduced was
the imperial table for a short time, that Don Pedro must have starved,
or lived on _bacalhao_, if this stratagem had not been adopted. The
young fellow acted his part in a consummate manner, and I am told he
boasts to this day of the trick he played the British squadron in the
Douro. The captain, I am also told, gave him a little of his mind,
having met him last year near the Admiralty, dressed out in fine
feathers, and swelling with the importance of new-born greatness. "How
is your aunt, you d---- lying Portuguese?" said the skipper. "If I ever
catch you on board my ship, I'll give you a rope's end, you dog!"

The more you beat one of the class of which this hero was a specimen,
the more he likes it. So our Pedroite friend shrugged up his shoulders,
and vanished in double quick time, the captain vociferating after him,
"How is your aunt, you lubber?"

Afraid of the consequences in case a discovery should take place, I
kept quiet for nearly a week together, until a little note, written in
a cramped hand, was brought for me to the signal-station, from which I
found by the confession of the aunt that Carolina was in despair at not
seeing me again, and that she was very ill from a salt-fish diet. I was
conscience-stricken at the consequences of my neglect, and determined
not to lose a moment in carrying provisions to my starving beauty; so,
running to a basket that had just been brought in from the Miguelite
market to be passed on board the commodore, I seized a turkey-poult,
feathers and all, and thrust it into the same coat-pocket which had
been enlarged to hold the leg of lamb. I asked and received leave to
go on shore, and pushed as fast as four oars could impel me to the
usual landing-place near the old nunnery. I saw some of the idle dogs
basking in the sun, but did not heed their presence, so filled was I
with the idea of my Carolina; and, jumping out of the boat, I ran along
the quay, totally unconscious of the sneers that my presence excited.
At last, when I got to the open rope-walk where the market is usually
held, the number of my canine assailants became increased; and one of
them, bolder than the rest, making a sudden snap at the head of the
young turkey, which hung down through the fatal hole in my pocket,
dragged its long neck to view, and exposed my shame to the assembled
multitude. A crowd immediately gathered round me, and a score of other
dogs began to contest the prize with him that held the head of the
turkey in his mouth. I was in despair, and drew my sword to rid me of
the cursed assailants; when, on the instant, as if to overwhelm me with
disgrace, the captain of the ship to which I belonged forced his way
through the crowd, and, laying his hand on my arm, told me to consider
myself under arrest.

The turkey-poult had by this time been torn from my pocket by the
perseverance of my tormentors. It was pulled from one to the other on
the ground; while the hungry citizens endeavoured to save its mangled
remains, and a running fight was kept up between them and the dogs,
which under other circumstances would have been highly amusing. My
heart was heavy, and I was incapable of enjoying the most palpable
joke. I walked slowly to the quay side, threw myself into the first
boat that offered, went on board my ship, gave up my sword to the
senior officer; was placed under a formal arrest, and told to prepare
myself for a court of inquiry. I must say that I felt more for poor
Carolina than I did for myself; and I could not help expressing
my anxiety on her account to one of the brother officers who came
to condole with me on my situation. The false friend, I was told
afterwards, profited by the hint; and, instead of committing himself as
I did, he hired a little cottage at the Miguelite side of the river,
under cover of the guns of the fleet, where he placed Carolina and her
aunt, and soon taught them to forget me. The worst of the affair was,
that General Santa Martha sent in a formal complaint to the consul
and the commodore of the squadron, and threatened to stop the usual
supply of provisions for the ships' use. A long correspondence took
place on the subject, which may be found now in the records of the
Foreign Office. I am glad to say, for the credit of the service, that
the affair was hushed up in the end, and the Miguelites consented to
give the required number of rations. I was made the victim of that
arrangement, and was glad to retire from the service on half-pay, to
escape being ignominiously dismissed by a court-martial. I now live a
miserable example of the doctrine of expediency. I entertain a horror
of young turkeys and of dogs, and would be gladly informed of some land
where neither of those odious creatures are to be met with.



FAMILY STORIES.--No. VI.--MRS. BOTHERBY'S STORY.

THE LEECH OF FOLKESTONE.


Reader, were you ever bewitched? I do not mean by a "white wench's
black eye," or by love-potions imbibed from a ruby lip; but, were you
ever really and _bonâ fide_ bewitched, in the true Matthew Hopkins
sense of the word? Did you ever, for instance, find yourself from head
to heel one vast complication of cramps? or burst out into sudorific
exudation like a cold thaw, with the thermometer at zero? Were your
eyes ever turned upside down, exhibiting nothing but their whites? Did
you ever vomit a paper of crooked pins? or expectorate Whitechapel
needles? These are genuine and undoubted marks of possession; and if
you never experienced any of them,--why, "happy man be his dole!"

Yet such things have been; yea, we are assured, on no mean authority,
still are.

The world, according to the best geographers, is divided into Europe,
Asia, Africa, America, and Romney Marsh. In this last-named and fifth
quarter of the globe, a witch may still be occasionally discovered in
favourable, _i. e._ stormy, seasons, weathering Dungeness Point in an
egg-shell, or careering on her broomstick over Dymchurch wall. A cow
may yet be sometimes seen galloping like mad, with tail erect, and an
old pair of breeches on her horns, an unerring guide to the door of
the crone whose magic arts have drained her udder. I do not, however,
remember to have heard that any conjuror has, of late, been detected in
the district.

Not many miles removed from the verge of this recondite region, stands
a collection of houses, which its maligners call a fishing-town, and
its well-wishers a Watering-place. A limb of one of the Cinque Ports,
it has (or lately had) a corporation of its own, and has been thought
considerable enough to give a second title to a noble family. Rome
stood on seven hills; Folkestone seems to have been built upon seventy.
Its streets, lanes, and alleys,--fanciful distinctions without much
real difference--are agreeable enough to persons who do not mind
running up and down stairs; and the only inconvenience at all felt by
such of its inhabitants as are not asthmatic, is when some heedless
urchin tumbles down a chimney, or an impertinent passenger peeps
into a garret window. At the eastern extremity of the town, on the
sea-beach, and scarcely above high-water mark, stood, in the good old
times, a row of houses then denominated "Frog-hole;" modern refinement
subsequently euphonized the name into "East-street:" but what's in
a name? the encroachments of Ocean have long since levelled all in
one common ruin. Here, in the early part of the seventeenth century,
flourished, in somewhat doubtful reputation, but comparative opulence,
a compounder of medicines, one Master Erasmus Buckthorne; the effluvia
of whose drugs from within, mingling agreeably with the "ancient and
fish-like smells" from without, wafted a delicious perfume throughout
the neighbourhood. At seven of the clock in the morning when Mrs.
Botherby's narrative commences, a stout Suffolk punch, about thirteen
hands and a half in height, was slowly led up and down before the door
of the pharmacopolist by a lean and withered lad, whose appearance
warranted an opinion, pretty generally expressed, that his master found
him as useful in experimentalizing as in household drudgery, and that,
for every pound avoirdupoise of solid meat, he swallowed at the least
two pounds troy-weight of chemicals and galenicals. As the town clock
struck the quarter, Master Buckthorne emerged from his laboratory, and,
putting the key carefully into his pocket, mounted the sure-footed cob
aforesaid, and proceeded up and down the acclivities and declivities of
the town with the gravity due to his station and profession. When he
reached the open country, his pace was increased to a sedate canter,
which, in somewhat more than half an hour, brought "the horse and his
rider" in front of a handsome and substantial mansion, the numerous
gable-ends and bayed windows of which bespoke the owner a man of
worship, and one well to do in the world.

"How now, Hodge Gardener?" quoth the leech, scarcely drawing bit; for
Punch seemed to be aware that he had reached his destination, and
paused of his own accord; "how now, man? How fares thine employer,
worthy Master Marsh? How hath he done? How hath he slept? My potion
hath done its office? Ha!"

"Alack! ill at ease, worthy sir,--ill at ease," returned the hind; "his
honour is up and stirring; but he hath rested none, and complaineth
that the same gnawing pain devoureth, as it were, his very vitals: in
sooth he is ill at ease."

"Morrow, doctor!" interrupted a voice from a casement opening on the
lawn. "Good morrow! I have looked for, longed for, thy coming this hour
and more; enter at once; the pasty and tankard are impatient for thine
attack!"

"Marry, Heaven forbid that I should baulk their fancy!" quoth the
leech _sotto voce_, as, abandoning the bridle to honest Hodge, he
dismounted, and followed a buxom-looking handmaiden into the breakfast
parlour.

There, at the head of his well-furnished board, sat Master Thomas
Marsh, of Marshton-Hall, a Yeoman well respected in his degree; one of
that sturdy and sterling class which, taking rank immediately below
the Esquire, (a title in its origin purely military,) occupied, in the
wealthier counties, the position in society now filled by the Country
Gentleman. He was one of those of whom the proverb ran:

    "A Knight of Cales,
    A Gentleman of Wales,
      And a Laird of the North Countree;
    A Yeoman of Kent,
    With his yearly rent,
      Will buy them out all three!"

A cold sirloin, big enough to frighten a Frenchman, filled the place of
honour, counter-checked by a game-pie of no stinted dimensions; while
a silver flagon o£ "humming-bub," _viz._ ale strong enough to blow a
man's beaver off, smiled opposite in treacherous amenity. The sideboard
groaned beneath sundry massive cups and waiters of the purest silver;
while the huge skull of a fallow-deer, with its branching horns,
frowned majestically above. All spoke of affluence, of comfort,--all
save the master, whose restless eye and feverish look hinted but too
plainly the severest mental or bodily disorder. By the side of the
proprietor of the mansion sat his consort, a lady now past the bloom of
youth, yet still retaining many of its charms. The clear olive of her
complexion, and "the darkness of her Andalusian eye," at once betrayed
her foreign origin; in fact, her "lord and master," as husbands were
even then, by a legal fiction, denominated, had taken her to his bosom
in a foreign country. The cadet of his family, Master Thomas Marsh, had
early in life been engaged in commerce. In the pursuit of his vocation
he had visited Antwerp, Hamburg, and most of the Hanse Towns; and had
already formed a tender connexion with the orphan offspring of one
of old Alva's officers, when the unexpected deaths of one immediate
and two presumptive heirs placed him next in succession to the family
acres. He married, and brought home his bride; who, by the decease
of the venerable possessor, heart-broken at the loss of his elder
children, became eventually lady of Marshton-Hall. It has been said
that she was beautiful, yet was her beauty of a character that operates
on the fancy more than the affections; she was one to be admired rather
than loved. The proud curl of her lip, the firmness of her tread,
her arched brow, and stately carriage, showed the decision, not to
say haughtiness of her soul; while her glances, whether lightening
with anger, or melting in extreme softness, betrayed the existence of
passions as intense in kind as opposite in quality. She rose as Erasmus
entered the parlour, and, bestowing on him a look fraught with meaning,
quitted the room, leaving him in unconstrained communication with his
patient.

"'Fore George, Master Buckthorne!" exclaimed the latter, as the leech
drew near, "I will no more of your pharmacy;--burn, burn--gnaw,
gnaw,--I had as lief the foul fiend were in my gizzard as one of your
drugs. Tell me, in the devil's name, what is the matter with me!"

Thus conjured, the practitioner paused, and even turned somewhat
pale. There was a perceptible faltering in his voice as, evading the
question, he asked, "What say your other physicians?"

"Doctor Phiz says it is wind,--Doctor Fuz says it is water,--and Doctor
Buz says it is something between wind and water."

"They are all of them wrong," said Erasmus Buckthorne.

"Truly, I think so," returned the patient. "They are manifest asses;
but you, good leech, you are a horse of another colour. The world talks
loudly of your learning, your skill, and cunning in arts the most
abstruse; nay, sooth to say, some look coldly on you therefore, and
stickle not to aver that you are cater-cousin with Beelzebub himself."

"It is ever the fate of science," murmured the professor, "to be
maligned by the ignorant and superstitious. But a truce with such
folly; let me examine your palate."

Master Marsh thrust out a tongue long, clear, and red as beet-root.
"There is nothing wrong there," said the leech. "Your wrist:--no; the
pulse is firm and regular, the skin cool and temperate. Sir, there is
nothing the matter with you!"

"Nothing the matter with me, Sir Potecary?" But I tell you there is
the matter with me,--much the matter with me. Why is it that something
seems ever gnawing at my heart-strings? Whence this pain in the region
of the liver? Why is it that I sleep not o' nights, rest not o' days?
Why----"

"You are fidgety, Master Marsh," said the doctor.

Master Marsh's brow grew dark; he half rose from his seat, supported
himself by both hands on the arms of his elbow-chair, and in accents of
mingled anger and astonishment repeated the word "Fidgety!"

"Ay, fidgety," returned the doctor calmly. "Tut, man, there is nought
ails thee save thine own overweening fancies. Take less of food, more
air, put aside thy flagon, call for thy horse; be boot and saddle the
word! Why,--hast thou not youth?"----

"I have," said the patient.

"Wealth, and a fair domain?"

"Granted," quoth Marsh cheerily.

"And a fair wife?"

"Yea," was the response, but in a tone something less satisfied.

"Then arouse thee, man, shake off this fantasy, betake thyself to thy
lawful occasions, use thy good hap, follow thy pleasures, and think no
more of these fancied ailments."

"But I tell you, master mine, these ailments are not fancied. I lose my
rest, I loathe my food, my doublet sits loosely on me,--these racking
pains. My wife, too,--when I meet her gaze, the cold sweat stands on my
forehead, and I could almost think----" Marsh paused abruptly, mused a
while, then added, looking steadily at his visitor, "These things are
not right; they pass the common, Master Erasmus Buckthorne."

A slight shade crossed the brow of the leech, but its passage was
momentary; his features softened to a smile, in which pity seemed
slightly blended with contempt. "Have done with such follies, Master
Marsh. You are well, an you would but think so. Ride, I say, hunt,
shoot, do anything,--disperse these melancholic humours, and become
yourself again."

"Well, I will do your bidding," said Marsh thoughtfully. "It may be so;
and yet,--but I will do your bidding. Master Cobbe of Brenzet writes me
that he hath a score or two of fat ewes to be sold a pennyworth; I had
thought to have sent Ralph Looker, but I will essay to go myself. Ho,
there!--saddle me the brown mare, and bid Ralph be ready to attend me
on the gelding."

An expression of pain contracted the features of Master Marsh as he
rose and slowly quitted the apartment to prepare for his journey; while
the leech, having bidden him farewell, vanished through an opposite
door, and betook himself to the private boudoir of the fair mistress of
Marshton, muttering as he went a quotation from a then newly-published
play,

              "Not poppy, nor mandragora,
    Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
    Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
    Which thou own'st yesterday."

       *       *       *       *       *

Of what passed at this interview between the Folkestone doctor and
the fair Spaniard, Mrs. Botherby declares she could never obtain
any satisfactory elucidation. Not that tradition is silent on the
subject,--quite the contrary; it is the abundance, not paucity, of the
materials she supplies, and the consequent embarrassment of selection,
that make the difficulty. Some have averred that the leech, whose
character, as has been before hinted, was more than thread-bare,
employed his time in teaching her the mode of administering certain
noxious compounds, the unconscious partaker whereof would pine and die
so slowly and gradually as to defy suspicion. Others there were who
affirmed that Lucifer himself was then and there raised _in propriâ
personâ_, with all his terrible attributes of horn and hoof. In
support of this assertion, they adduce the testimony of the aforesaid
buxom housemaid, who protested that the Hall smelt that evening
like a manufactory of matches. All, however, seem to agree that the
confabulation, whether human or infernal, was conducted with profound
secrecy, and protracted to a considerable length; that its object, as
far as could be divined, meant anything but good to the head of the
family; that the lady, moreover, was heartily tired of her husband;
and that, in the event of his removal by disease or casualty, Master
Erasmus Buckthorne, albeit a great philosophist, would have had no
violent objection to throw physic to the dogs, and exchange his
laboratory for the estate of Marshton, its live stock included. Some,
too, have inferred that to him did Madam Isabel seriously incline;
while others have thought, induced perhaps by subsequent events, that
she was merely using him for her purposes; that one José, a tall,
bright-eyed, hook-nosed stripling from her native land, was a personage
not unlikely to put a spoke in the doctor's wheel; and that, should
such a chance arise, the Sage, wise as he was, would, after all, run no
slight risk of being "bamboozled."

Master José was a youth well-favoured and comely to look upon. His
office was that of page to the dame; an office which, after long
remaining in abeyance, has been of late years revived, as may well be
seen in the persons of sundry smart hobbledehoys, now constantly to be
met with on staircases and in boudoirs, clad, for the most part, in
garments fitted tightly to the shape, the lower moiety adorned with a
broad strip of crimson or silver lace, and the upper with what the
first Wit of our times describes as "a favourable eruption of buttons."
The precise duties of this employment have never, as far as we have
heard, been accurately defined. The perfuming a handkerchief, the
combing a lap-dog, and the occasional presentation of a sippet-shaped
_billet doux_, are, and always have been, among them; but these a young
gentleman standing five foot ten, and aged nineteen "last grass," might
well be supposed to have outgrown. José, however, kept his place,
perhaps because he was not fit for any other. To the conference between
his mistress and the physician he had not been admitted; his post
was to keep watch and ward in the ante-room; and, when the interview
was concluded, he attended the lady and her visitor as far as the
court-yard, where he held, with all due respect, the stirrup for the
latter, as he once more resumed his position on the back of Punch.

Who is it that says "little pitchers have large ears?" Some deep
metaphysician of the potteries, who might have added that they have
also quick eyes, and sometimes silent tongues. There was a little
metaphorical piece of crockery of this class, who, screened by a huge
elbow-chair, had sat a quiet and unobserved spectator of the whole
proceedings between her mamma and Master Erasmus Buckthorne. This
was Miss Marian Marsh, a rosy-cheeked, laughter-loving imp of some
six years old; but one who could be mute as a mouse when the fit was
on her. A handsome and highly-polished cabinet of the darkest ebony
occupied a recess at one end of the apartment; this had long been a
great subject of speculation to little Miss. Her curiosity, however,
had always been repelled; nor had all her coaxing ever won her an
inspection of the thousand and one pretty things which its recesses no
doubt contained. On this occasion it was unlocked, and Marian was about
to rush forward in eager anticipation of a peep at its interior, when,
child as she was, the reflection struck her that she would stand a
better chance of carrying her point by remaining _perdue_. Fortune for
once favoured her: she crouched closer than before, and saw her mother
take something from one of the drawers, which she handed over to the
leech. Strange mutterings followed, and words whose sound was foreign
to her youthful ears. Had she been older, their import, perhaps, might
have been equally unknown.--After a while there was a pause; and then
the lady, as in answer to a requisition from the gentleman, placed in
his hand a something which she took from her toilette. The transaction,
whatever its nature, seemed now to be complete, and the article was
carefully replaced in the drawer from which it had been taken. A
long and apparently interesting conversation then took place between
the parties, carried on in a low tone. At its termination, Mistress
Marsh and Master Erasmus Buckthorne quitted the boudoir together. But
the cabinet!--ay, that was left unfastened; the folding-doors still
remained invitingly expanded, the bunch of keys dangling from the
lock. In an instant the spoiled child was in a chair; the drawer so
recently closed yielded at once to her hand, and her hurried researches
were rewarded by the prettiest little waxen doll imaginable. It was a
first-rate prize, and Miss lost no time in appropriating it to herself.
Long before Madam Marsh had returned to her _Sanctum_, Marian was
seated under a laurestinus in the garden, nursing her new baby with the
most affectionate solicitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Susan, look here; see what a nasty scratch I have got upon my hand,"
said the young lady, when routed out at length from her hiding-place to
her noontide meal.

"Yes, Miss, this is always the way with you! mend, mend, mend,--nothing
but mend! Scrambling about among the bushes, and tearing your clothes
to rags. What with you, and with madam's farthingales and kirtles, a
poor bower-maiden has a fine time of it!"

"But I have not torn my clothes, Susan, and it was not the bushes; it
was the doll: only see what a great ugly pin I have pulled out of it!
and look, here is another!" As she spoke, Marian drew forth one of
those extended pieces of black pointed wire, with which, in the days
of toupees and pompoons, our foremothers were wont to secure their
fly-caps and head-gear from the impertinent assaults of Zephyrus and
the "Little Breezes."

"And pray, Miss, where did you get this pretty doll, as you call
it?" asked Susan, turning over the puppet, and viewing it with a
scrutinizing eye.

"Mamma gave it me," said the child.--This was a fib!

"Indeed!" quoth the girl thoughtfully; and then, in half soliloquy,
and a lower key, "Well! I wish I may die if it doesn't look like my
master!--But come to your dinner, miss. Hark! the _bell is striking
One_!"

Meanwhile, Master Thomas Marsh, and his man Ralph, were threading the
devious paths, then, as now, most pseudonymously dignified with the
name of roads, that wound between Marshton-Hall and the frontier of
Romney Marsh. Their progress was comparatively slow; for, though the
brown mare was as good a roadster as man might back, and the gelding
no mean nag of his hands, yet the tracks, rarely traversed save by the
rude wains of the day, miry in the "bottoms," and covered with loose
and rolling stones on the higher grounds, rendered barely passable the
perpetual alternation of hill and valley.

The master rode on in pain, and the man in listlessness; although
the intercourse between two individuals so situated was much less
restrained in those days than might suit the refinement of a later age,
little passed approximating to conversation beyond an occasional and
half-stifled groan from the one, or a vacant whistle from the other.
An hour's riding had brought them among the woods of Acryse; and they
were about to descend one of those green and leafy lanes, rendered by
matted and over-arching branches alike impervious to shower or sunbeam,
when a sudden and violent spasm seized on Master Marsh, and nearly
caused him to fall from his horse. With some difficulty he succeeded
in dismounting, and seating himself by the road side. Here he remained
for a full half-hour in great apparent agony; the cold sweat rolled
in large round drops adown his clammy forehead, a universal shivering
palsied every limb, his eye-balls appeared to be starting from their
sockets, and to his attached, though dull and heavy serving-man, he
seemed as one struggling in the pangs of impending dissolution. His
groans rose thick and frequent; and the alarmed Ralph was hesitating
between his disinclination to leave him, and his desire to procure such
assistance as one of the few cottages, rarely sprinkled in that wild
country, might afford, when, after a long-drawn sigh, his master's
features as suddenly relaxed: he declared himself better, the pang had
passed away, and, to use his own expression, he "felt as if a knife had
been drawn from out his very heart." With Ralph's assistance, after a
while, he again reached his saddle; and, though still ill at ease from
a deep-seated and gnawing pain, which ceased not, as he averred, to
torment him, the violence of the paroxysm was spent, and it returned no
more.

Master and man pursued their way with increased speed, as, emerging
from the wooded defiles, they at length neared the coast; then, leaving
the romantic castle of Saltwood, with its neighbouring town of Hithe, a
little on their left, they proceeded along the ancient paved causeway,
and, crossing the old Roman road, or Watling, plunged again into the
woods that stretched between Lympne and Ostenhanger.

The sun rode high in the heavens, and its meridian blaze was powerfully
felt by man and horse, when, again quitting their leafy covert, the
travellers debouched on the open plain of Aldington Frith, a wide tract
of unenclosed country stretching down to the very borders of "the
Marsh" itself. Here it was, in the neighbouring chapelry, the site
of which may yet be traced by the curious antiquary, that Elizabeth
Barton, the "Holy Maid of Kent," had, something less than a hundred
years previous to the period of our narrative, commenced that series of
supernatural pranks which eventually procured for her head an unenvied
elevation upon London Bridge; and, though the parish had since enjoyed
the benefit of the incumbency of Master Erasmus's illustrious and
enlightened Namesake, yet, truth to tell, some of the old leaven was
even yet supposed to be at work. The place had, in fact, an ill name;
and, though Popish miracles had ceased to electrify its denizens,
spells and charms, operating by a no less wondrous agency, were
said to have taken their place. Warlocks, and other unholy subjects
of Satan, were reported to make its wild recesses their favourite
rendezvous, and that to an extent which eventually attracted the notice
of no less a personage than the sagacious Matthew Hopkins himself,
Witchfinder-General to the British government.

A great portion of the Frith, or Fright, as the name was then, and
is still, pronounced, had formerly been a Chace, with rights of
Free-warren, &c. appertaining to the Archbishops of the Province.
Since the Reformation, however, it had been disparked; and when Master
Thomas Marsh, and his man Ralph, entered upon its confines, the open
greensward exhibited a lively scene, sufficiently explanatory of
certain sounds that had already reached their ears while yet within the
sylvan screen which concealed their origin.

It was Fair-day: booths, stalls, and all the rude _paraphernalia_
of an assembly that then met as much for the purposes of traffic
as festivity, were scattered irregularly over the turf; pedlars,
with their packs; horse-croupers, pig-merchants, itinerant vendors
of crockery and cutlery, wandered promiscuously among the mingled
groups, exposing their several wares and commodities, and soliciting
custom. On one side was the gaudy riband, making its mute appeal to
rustic gallantry; on the other the delicious brandy-ball and alluring
lollipop, compounded after the most approved receipt in the "True
Gentlewoman's Garland," and "raising the waters" in the mouth of many
an expectant urchin.

Nor were rural sports wanting to those whom pleasure, rather than
business, had drawn from their humble homes. Here was the tall and
slippery pole, glittering in its grease, and crowned with the ample
cheese, that mocked the hopes of the discomfited climber. There the
fugitive pippin, swimming in water not of the purest, and bobbing
from the expanded lips of the juvenile Tantalus. In this quarter the
ear was pierced by squeaks from some beleaguered porker, whisking his
well-soaped tail from the grasp of one already in fancy his captor. In
that, the eye rested, with undisguised delight, upon the grimaces of
grinning candidates for the honours of the horse-collar. All was fun,
frolic, courtship, junketing, and jollity.

Maid Marian, indeed, with her lieges, Robin Hood, Scarlet, and Little
John, was wanting; Friar Tuck was absent; even the Hobby-horse had
disappeared: but the agile Morrice-dancers yet were there, and jingled
their bells merrily among stalls well stored with gingerbread, tops,
whips, whistles, and all those noisy instruments of domestic torture in
which scenes like these are even now so fertile.--Had I a foe whom I
held at deadliest feud, I would entice his child to a Fair, and buy him
a Whistle and a Penny-trumpet!

In one corner of the green, a little apart from the thickest of the
throng, stood a small square stage, nearly level with the chins of
the spectators, whose repeated bursts of laughter seemed to intimate
the presence of something more than usually amusing. The platform was
divided into two unequal portions; the smaller of which, surrounded
by curtains of a coarse canvass, veiled from the eyes of the profane
the _penetralia_ of this moveable temple of Esculapius, for such
it was. Within its interior, and secure from vulgar curiosity, the
Quack-salver had hitherto kept himself ensconced; occupied, no doubt,
in the preparation and arrangement of that wonderful _panacea_ which
was hereafter to shed the blessings of health among the admiring
crowd. Meanwhile his attendant Jack-pudding was busily employed on
the _proscenium_, doing his best to attract attention by a practical
facetiousness which took wonderfully with the spectators, interspersing
it with the melodious notes of a huge cow's horn. The fellow's costume
varied but little in character from that in which the late--(alas!
that we should have to write the word!)--the late Mr. Joseph Grimaldi
was accustomed to present himself before "a generous and enlightened
public:" the principal difference consisted in this, that the upper
garment was a long white tunic of a coarse linen, surmounted by
a caricature of the ruff then fast falling into disuse, and was
secured from the throat downwards by a single row of broad white
metal buttons. His legs were cased in loose wide trousers of the same
material; while his sleeves, prolonged to a most disproportionate
extent, descended far below the fingers, and acted as flappers in the
summersets and caracoles with which he diversified and enlivened his
antics. Consummate impudence, not altogether unmixed with a certain sly
humour, sparkled in his eye through the chalk and ochre with which his
features were plentifully bedaubed; and especially displayed itself in
a succession of jokes, the coarseness of which did not seem to detract
from their merit in the eyes of his applauding audience.

He was in the midst of a long and animated harangue explanatory of his
master's high pretensions; he had informed his gaping auditors that the
latter was the seventh son of a seventh son, and of course, as they
very well knew, an Unborn Doctor; that to this happy accident of birth
he added the advantage of most extensive travel; that in his search
after science he had not only perambulated the whole of this world,
but had trespassed on the boundaries of the next; that the depths of
Ocean and the bowels of the Earth were alike familiar to him; that
besides salves and cataplasms of sovereign virtue, by combining sundry
mosses, gathered many thousand fathom below the surface of the sea,
with certain unknown drugs found in an undiscovered island, and boiling
the whole in the lava of Vesuvius, he had succeeded in producing his
celebrated balsam of Crackapanoko, the never-failing remedy for all
human disorders, and which, a proper trial allowed, would go near to
reanimate the dead. "Draw near!" continued the worthy, "draw near, my
masters! and you, my good mistresses, draw near, every one of you! Fear
not high and haughty carriage; though greater than King or Kaiser,
yet is the mighty Aldrovando milder than mother's milk; flint to the
proud, to the humble he is as melting wax; he asks not your disorders,
he sees them himself at a glance--nay, without a glance; he tells your
ailments with his eyes shut! Draw near! draw near! the more incurable
the better! List to the illustrious Doctor Aldrovando, first Physician
to Prester John, Leech to the Grand Llama, and Hakim in Ordinary to
Mustapha Muley Bey!"

"Hath your master ever a charm for the toothache, an't please you?"
asked an elderly countryman, whose swollen cheek bespoke his interest
in the question.

"A charm!--a thousand, and every one of them infallible. Toothache,
quotha! I had hoped you had come with every bone in your body fractured
or out of joint. A toothache!--propound a tester, master o' mine,--we
ask not more for such trifles: do my bidding, and thy jaws, even with
the word, shall cease to trouble thee!"

The clown, fumbling a while in a deep leathern purse, at length
produced a sixpence, which he tendered to the jester. "Now to thy
master, and bring me the charm forthwith."

"Nay, honest man; to disturb the mighty Aldrovando on such slight
occasion were pity of my life: areed my counsel aright, and I will
warrant thee for the nonce. Hie thee home, friend; infuse this powder
in cold spring-water, fill thy mouth with the mixture, and sit upon thy
fire till it boils!"

"Out on thee for a pestilent knave!" cried the cozened countryman;
but the roar of merriment around bespoke the by-standers well pleased
with the jape put upon him. He retired, venting his spleen in audible
murmurs; and the mountebank, finding the feelings of the mob enlisted
on his side, waxed more impudent every instant, filling up the
intervals between his fooleries with sundry capers and contortions, and
discordant notes from the cow's horn.

"Draw near! draw near, my masters! Here have ye a remedy for every evil
under the sun, moral, physical, natural, and supernatural! Hath any man
a termagant wife?--here is that will tame her presently! Hath any one a
smoky chimney?--here is an incontinent cure!"

To the first infliction no man ventured to plead guilty, though there
were those standing by who thought their neighbours might have profited
withal. For the last-named recipe started forth at least a dozen
candidates. With the greatest imaginable gravity, Pierrot, having
pocketed their groats, delivered to each a small packet curiously
folded and closely sealed, containing, as he averred, directions
which, if truly observed, would preclude any chimney from smoking for
a whole year. They whose curiosity led them to dive into the mystery,
found that a sprig of mountain ash culled by moonlight was the charm
recommended, coupled, however, with the proviso that no fire should be
lighted on the hearth during the interval.

The frequent bursts of merriment proceeding from this quarter at length
attracted the attention of Master Marsh, whose line of road necessarily
brought him near this end of the fair; he drew bit in front of the
stage just as its noisy occupant, having laid aside his formidable
horn, was drawing still more largely on the amazement of "the public"
by a feat of especial wonder,--he was eating fire! Curiosity mingled
with astonishment was at its height; and feelings not unallied to alarm
were beginning to manifest themselves among the softer sex especially,
as they gazed on the flames that issued from the mouth of the living
volcano. All eyes indeed were fixed upon the fire-eater with an
intentness that left no room for observing another worthy who had now
emerged upon the scene. This was, however, no less a personage than
the _Deus ex machinâ_,--the illustrious Aldrovando himself. Short in
stature and spare in form, the sage had somewhat increased the former
by a steeple-crowned hat adorned with a cock's feather; while the thick
shoulder padding of a quilted doublet, surmounted by a falling band,
added a little to his personal importance in point of breadth. His
habit was composed throughout of black serge, relieved with scarlet
slashes in the sleeves and trunks; red was the feather in his hat,
red were the roses in his shoes, which rejoiced, moreover, in a pair
of red heels. The lining of a short cloak of faded velvet, that hung
transversely over his left shoulder, was also red. Indeed, from all
that we could ever see or hear, this agreeable alternation of red and
black appears to be the mixture of colours most approved at the court
of Beelzebub, and the one most generally adopted by his friends and
favourites. His features were sharp and shrewd, and a fire sparkled in
his keen grey eye much at variance with the wrinkles that ran their
irregular furrows above his prominent and bushy brows. He had advanced
slowly from behind his screen while the attention of the multitude
was absorbed by the pyrotechnics of Mr. Merryman, and, stationing
himself at the extreme corner of the stage, stood quietly leaning on
a crutch-handled walking-staff of blackest ebony, his glance steadily
fixed on the face of Marsh, from whose countenance the amusement he
had insensibly begun to derive had not succeeded in removing all
traces of bodily pain. For a while the latter was unobservant of the
inquisitorial survey with which he was regarded; the eyes of the
parties, however, at length met. The brown mare had a fine shoulder;
she stood pretty near sixteen hands. Marsh himself, though slightly
bowed by ill health and the "coming autumn" of life, was full six feet
in height. His elevation giving him an unobstructed view over the
heads of the pedestrians, he had naturally fallen into the rear of the
assembly, which brought him close to the diminutive Doctor, with whose
face, despite the red heels, his own was about upon a level.

"And what makes Master Marsh here?--what sees he in the mummeries of a
miserable buffoon to divert him when his life is in jeopardy?" said a
shrill cracked voice that sounded as in his very ear. It was the Doctor
who spoke.

"Knowest thou me, friend?" said Marsh, scanning with awakened interest
the figure of his questioner: "I call thee not to mind; and yet--stay,
where have we met?"

"It skills not to declare," was the answer; "suffice it we _have_
met,--in other climes, perchance,--and now meet happily again,--happily
at least for thee."

"Why truly the trick of thy countenance reminds me of somewhat I have
seen before, where or when I know not; but what wouldst thou with me?"

"Nay, rather what wouldst thou here, Thomas Marsh? What wouldst thou on
the Frith of Aldington?--is it a score or two of paltry sheep? or is it
something _nearer to thy heart_?"

Marsh started as the last words were pronounced with more than
common significance: a pang shot through him at the moment, and the
vinegar aspect of the _Charlatan_ seemed to relax into a smile half
compassionate, half sardonic.

"Grammercy," quoth Marsh, after a long-drawn breath, "what knowest thou
of me, fellow, or of my concerns? What knowest thou----"

"This know I, Master Thomas Marsh," said the stranger gravely, "that
thy life is even now perilled: evil practices are against thee; but no
matter, thou art quit for the nonce--other hands than mine have saved
thee! Thy pains are over. Hark! _the clock strikes One!_" As he spoke,
a single toll from the bell-tower of Bilsington came, wafted by the
western breeze, over the thick-set and lofty oaks which intervened
between the Frith and what had been once a priory. Dr. Aldrovando
turned as the sound came floating on the wind, and was moving, as
if half in anger, towards the other side of the stage, where the
mountebank, his fires extinct, was now disgorging to the admiring crowd
yard after yard of gaudy-coloured riband.

"Stay! Nay, prithee, stay!" cried Marsh eagerly, "I was wrong; in faith
I was. A change, and that a sudden and most marvellous, hath come over
me; I am free; I breathe again; I feel as though a load of years had
been removed; and--is it possible?--hast thou done this?"

"Thomas Marsh!" said the doctor, pausing, and turning for the moment on
his heel, "I have _not_; I repeat, that other and more innocent hands
than mine have done this deed. Nevertheless, heed my counsel well! Thou
art parlously encompassed; I, and I only, have the means of relieving
thee. Follow thy courses; pursue thy journey; but, as thou valuest
life, and more than life, be at the foot of yonder woody knoll what
time the rising moon throws her first beam upon the bare and blighted
summit that towers above its trees."

He crossed abruptly to the opposite quarter of the scaffolding, and
was in an instant deeply engaged in listening to those whom the cow's
horn had attracted, and in prescribing for their real or fancied
ailments. Vain were all Marsh's efforts again to attract his notice;
it was evident that he studiously avoided him; and when, after an hour
or more spent in useless endeavour, he saw the object of his anxiety
seclude himself once more within his canvass screen, he rode slowly
and thoughtfully off the field.--What should he do? Was the man a mere
quack? an impostor? His name thus obtained!--that might be easily done.
But then, his secret griefs; the doctor's knowledge of them; their
cure: for he felt that his pains were gone, his healthful feelings
restored! True; Aldrovando, if that were his name, had disclaimed all
co-operation in his recovery: but he knew or, he announced it. Nay,
more; he had hinted that he was yet in jeopardy; that practices--and
the chord sounded strangely in unison with one that had before vibrated
within him--that practices were in operation against his life! It was
enough! He would keep tryst with the Conjuror, if conjuror he were;
and, at least, ascertain who and what he was, and how he had become
acquainted with his own person and secret afflictions.

When the late Mr. Pitt was determined to keep out Buonaparte, and
prevent his gaining a settlement in the county of Kent, among other
ingenious devices adopted for that purpose, he caused to be constructed
what was then, and has ever since been, conventionally termed a
"Military canal." This is a not very practicable ditch, some thirty
feet wide, and nearly nine feet deep--in the middle, extending from the
town and port of Hithe to within a mile of the town and port of Rye, a
distance of about twenty miles; and forming, as it were, the cord of
a bow, the area of which constitutes that remote fifth quarter of the
globe spoken of by travellers. Trivial objections to the plan were made
at the time by cavillers; and an old gentleman of the neighbourhood,
who proposed, as a cheap substitute, to put up his own cocked-hat upon
a pole, was deservedly pooh-pooh'd down; in fact, the job, though
rather an expensive one, was found to answer remarkably well. The
French managed, indeed, to scramble over the Rhine, and the Rhone,
and other insignificant currents; but they never did, or could, pass
Mr. Pitt's "Military canal." At no great distance from the centre of
this cord rises abruptly a sort of woody promontory, in shape almost
conical, its sides covered with thick underwood; above which is seen a
bare and brown summit rising like an Alp in miniature. The "defence of
the nation" not being then in existence, Master Thomas Marsh met with
no obstruction in reaching this place of appointment long before the
time prescribed.

So much, indeed, was his mind occupied by his adventure and
extraordinary cure, that his original design had been abandoned, and
Master Cobbe remained unvisited. A rude hostel in the neighbourhood
furnished entertainment for man and horse; and here, a full hour before
the rising of the moon, he left Ralph and the other beasts, proceeding
to his rendezvous on foot and alone.

"You are punctual, Master Marsh," squeaked the shrill voice of the
Doctor, issuing from the thicket as the first silvery gleam trembled on
the aspens above. "'Tis well; now follow me, and in silence."

The first part of the command Marsh hesitated not to obey; the second
was more difficult of observance.

"Who and what are you? Whither are you leading me?" burst not
unnaturally from his lips; but all question was at once cut short by
the peremptory tones of his guide.

"Hush! I say; your finger on your lip; there be hawks abroad: follow
me, and that silently and quickly." The little man turned as he spoke,
and led the way through a scarcely perceptible path, or track, which
wound among the underwood. The lapse of a few minutes brought them to
the door of a low building so hidden by the surrounding trees that
few would have suspected its existence. It was a cottage of rather
extraordinary dimensions, but consisting of only one floor. No smoke
rose from its solitary chimney; no cheering ray streamed from its
single window, which was, however, secured by a shutter of such
thickness as to preclude the possibility of any stray beam issuing
from within. The exact size of the building it was in that uncertain
light difficult to distinguish, a portion of it seeming buried in the
wood behind. The door gave way on the application of a key, and Marsh
followed his conductor resolutely but cautiously along a narrow passage
feebly lighted by a small taper that winked and twinkled at its farther
extremity. The Doctor, as he approached, raised it from the ground,
and, opening an adjoining door, ushered his guest into the room beyond.
It was a large and oddly-furnished apartment, insufficiently lighted
by an iron lamp that hung from the roof, and scarcely illumined the
walls and angles, which seemed to be composed of some dark-coloured
wood. On one side, however, Master Marsh could discover an article
bearing strong resemblance to a coffin; on the other was a large oval
mirror in an ebony frame, and in the midst of the floor was described
in red chalk a double circle, about six feet in diameter, its inner
verge inscribed with sundry hieroglyphics, agreeably relieved at
intervals with an alternation of skulls and cross-bones. In the very
centre was deposited one skull of such surpassing size and thickness as
would have filled the soul of a Spurzheim or De Ville with wonderment.
A large book, a naked sword, an hour-glass, a chafing-dish, and a
black cat, completed the list of moveables; with the exception of a
couple of tapers which stood on each side the mirror, and which the
strange gentleman now proceeded to light from the one in his hand. As
they flared up with what Marsh thought a most unnatural brilliancy,
he perceived, reflected in the glass behind, a dial suspended over
the coffin-like article already mentioned: the hand was fast verging
towards the hour of nine. The eyes of the little Doctor seemed rivetted
on the horologe.

"Now strip thee, Master Marsh, and that quickly: untruss, I say!
discard thy boots, doff doublet and hose, and place thyself
incontinent in yonder bath." The visitor cast his eyes again upon the
formidable-looking article, and perceived that it was nearly filled
with water. A cold bath, at such an hour and under such auspices, was
anything but inviting: he hesitated, and turned his eyes alternately on
the Doctor and the Black Cat.

"Trifle not the time, man, an you be wise," said the former: "Passion
of my heart! let but yon minute-hand reach the hour, and, thou not
immersed, thy life were not worth a pin's fee!"

The Black Cat gave vent to a single Mew,--a most unnatural sound for a
mouser,--it seemed as it were mewed through a cow's horn!

"Quick, Master Marsh! uncase, or you perish!" repeated his strange
host, throwing as he spoke a handful of some dingy-looking powders
into the brasier. "Behold, the attack is begun!" A thick cloud rose
from the embers; a cold shivering shook the astonished Yeoman: sharp
pricking pains penetrated his ankles and the palms of his hands, and,
as the smoke cleared away, he distinctly saw and recognised in the
mirror the boudoir of Marshton Hall. The doors of the well-known ebony
cabinet were closed; but, fixed against them, and standing out in
strong relief from the contrast afforded by the sable background, was a
waxen image--of himself! It appeared to be secured and sustained in an
upright posture by large black pins driven through the feet and palms,
the latter of which were extended in a cruciform position. To the
right and left stood his wife and José; in the middle, with his back
towards him, was a figure which he had no difficulty in recognising as
that of the Leech of Folkestone. It had just succeeded in fastening the
dexter hand of the image, and was now in the act of drawing a broad and
keen-edged sabre from its sheath. The Black Cat mewed again. "Haste,
or you die!" said the Doctor. Marsh looked at the dial; it wanted but
four minutes of nine: he felt that the crisis of his fate was come. Off
went his heavy boots; doublet to the right, galligaskins to the left;
never was man more swiftly disrobed: in two minutes, to use an Indian
expression, "he was all face!" in another, he was on his back, and up
to his chin, in a bath which smelt strongly as of brimstone and garlick.

"Heed well the clock!" cried the Conjuror: "with the first stroke of
Nine plunge thy head beneath the water; suffer not a hair above the
surface: plunge deeply, or you are lost!"

The little man had seated himself in the centre of the circle upon the
large skull, elevating his legs at an angle of forty-five degrees. In
this position he spun round with a velocity to be equalled only by that
of a tee-totum, the red roses on his insteps seeming to describe a
circle of fire. The best buckskins that ever mounted at Melton had soon
yielded to such rotatory friction; but he spun on, the Cat mewed, bats
and obscene birds fluttered over head, Erasmus was seen to raise his
weapon, the clock struck!--and Marsh, who had "ducked" at the instant,
popped up his head again, spitting and sputtering, half choked with
the infernal mixture, which had insinuated itself into his mouth, and
ears, and nose. All disgust at his nauseous dip was, however, at once
removed, when, casting his eyes on the glass, he saw the consternation
of the party whose persons it exhibited. Erasmus had evidently made his
blow and failed; the figure was unmutilated; the hilt remained in the
hand of the striker, while the shivered blade lay in shining fragments
on the floor.

The Conjuror ceased his spinning, and brought himself to an anchor;
the Black Cat purred,--its purring seemed strangely mixed with the
self-satisfied chuckle of a human being. Where had Marsh heard
something like it before?

He was rising from his unsavoury couch, when a motion from the little
man checked him. "Rest where you are, Thomas Marsh; so far all goes
well, but the danger is not yet over!" He looked again, and perceived
that the shadowy triumvirate were in deep and eager consultation;
the fragments of the shattered weapon appeared to undergo a close
scrutiny. The result was clearly unsatisfactory; the lips of the
parties moved rapidly, and much gesticulation might be observed, but
no sound fell upon the ear. The hand of the dial had nearly reached
the quarter: at once the parties separated; and Buckthorne stood
again before the figure, his hand armed with a long and sharp-pointed
_misericorde_, a dagger little in use of late, but such as, a century
before, often performed the part of a modern oyster-knife, in tickling
the osteology of a dismounted cavalier through the shelly defences of
his plate-armour. Again he raised his arm. "Duck!" roared the Doctor,
spinning away upon his cephalic pivot: the Black Cat cocked his tail,
and seemed to mew the word "Duck!" Down went Master Marsh's head; but
one of his hands had unluckily been resting on the edge of the bath: he
drew it hastily in, but not altogether scathless; the stump of a rusty
nail, projecting from the margin of the bath, had caught and slightly
grazed it. The pain was more acute than is usually produced by such
trivial accident; and Marsh, on once more raising his head, beheld the
dagger of the leech sticking in the little finger of the wax figure,
which it had seemingly nailed to the cabinet door.

"By my truly, a scape o' the narrowest!" quoth the Conjuror; "the next
course, dive you not the readier, there is no more life in you than
in a pickled herring. What! courage, Master Marsh; but be heedful: an
they miss again, let them bide the issue!" He drew his hand athwart
his brow as he spoke, and dashed off the perspiration, which the
violence of his exercise had drawn from every pore. Black Tom sprang
upon the edge of the bath, and stared full in the face of the bather:
his sea-green eyes were lambent with unholy fire, but their marvellous
obliquity of vision was not to be mistaken,--the very countenance,
too!--Could it be?--the features were feline, but their expression
that of the Jack-Pudding? Was the Mountebank a Cat, or the Cat a
Mountebank?--it was all a mystery; and Heaven knows how long Marsh
might have continued staring at Grimalkin, had not his attention been
again called by Aldrovando to the magic mirror. Great dissatisfaction,
not to say dismay, seemed to pervade the conspirators; Dame Isabel was
closely inspecting the figure's wounded hand, while José was aiding the
pharmacopolist to charge a huge petronel with powder and bullets. The
load was a heavy one; but Erasmus seemed determined this time to make
sure of his object. Somewhat of trepidation might be observed in his
manner as he rammed down the balls, and his withered cheek appeared
to have acquired an increase of paleness; but amazement rather than
fear was the prevailing symptom, and his countenance betrayed no jot
of irresolution. As the clock was about to chime half-past nine, he
planted himself with a firm foot in front of the image, waved his
unoccupied hand with a cautionary gesture to his companions, and, as
they hastily retired on either side, brought the muzzle of his weapon
within half a foot of his mark. As the shadowy form was about to draw
the trigger, Marsh again plunged his head beneath the surface; and
the sound of an explosion, as of fire-arms, mingled with the rush of
water that poured into his ears. His immersion was but momentary, yet
did he feel as though half suffocated: he sprang from the bath, and,
as his eye fell on the mirror, he saw, or thought he saw, the Leech
of Folkestone lying dead on the floor of his wife's boudoir, his
head shattered to pieces, and his hand still grasping the stock of a
bursten petronel. He saw no more; his head swam, his senses reeled, the
whole room was turning round, and, as he fell to the ground, the last
impressions to which he was conscious were the chucklings of a hoarse
laughter and the mewings of a Tom Cat.

Master Marsh was found the next morning by his bewildered serving-man,
stretched before the door of the humble hostel at which he sojourned.
His clothes were somewhat torn and much bemired; and deeply did honest
Ralph marvel that one so staid and grave as Marsh of Marston should
thus have played the roisterer, missing perchance a profitable bargain
for the drunken orgies of midnight wassail, or the endearments of some
rustic light-o'-love. Tenfold was his astonishment increased when,
after retracing in silence their journey of the preceding day, the
Hall, on their arrival about noon, was found in a state of uttermost
confusion. No wife stood there to greet with the smile of bland
affection her returning spouse; no page to hold his stirrup, or receive
his gloves, his hat, and riding-rod. The doors were open, the rooms in
most admired disorder; men and maidens peeping, hurrying hither and
thither, and popping in and out, like rabbits in a warren. The lady of
the mansion was nowhere to be found.

José, too, had disappeared: the latter had been last seen riding
furiously towards Folkestone early in the preceding afternoon; to a
question from Hodge Gardener he had hastily answered, that he bore a
missive of moment from his mistress. The lean apprentice of Erasmus
Buckthorne declared that the page had summoned his master in haste
about six of the clock, and that they had rode forth together, as he
very believed, on their way back to the Hall, where he had supposed
Master Buckthorne's services to be suddenly required on some pressing
emergency. Since that time he had seen nought of either of them: the
grey cob, however, had returned late at night, masterless, with his
girths loose, and the saddle turned upside down.

Nor was Master Erasmus Buckthorne ever seen again. Strict search
was made through the neighbourhood, but without success; and it was
at length presumed that he must, for reasons which nobody could
divine, have absconded with José and his faithless mistress. The
latter had carried off with her the strong box, divers articles of
valuable plate, and jewels of price. Her boudoir appeared to have
been completely ransacked; the cabinet and drawers stood open, and
empty; the very carpet, a luxury then newly introduced into England,
was gone. Marsh, however, could trace no vestige of the visionary
scene which he affirmed to have been last night presented to his eyes.
Much did the neighbours marvel at his story: some thought him mad;
others, that he was merely indulging in that privilege to which, as
a traveller, he had a right indefeasible. Trusty Ralph said nothing,
but shrugged his shoulders; and, falling into the rear, imitated the
action of raising the wine-cup to his lips. An opinion, indeed, soon
prevailed, that Master Thomas Marsh had gotten, in common parlance,
exceedingly drunk on the preceding evening, and dreamt all that he had
so circumstantially related. This belief acquired additional credit
when they whom curiosity induced to visit the woody knoll of Aldington
Mount declared that they could find no building such as that described;
nor any cottage near, save one, indeed, a low-roofed hovel, once a
house of public entertainment, but now half in ruins. The "Old Cat
and Fiddle"--so was the tenement called--had been long uninhabited;
yet still exhibited the remains of a broken sign, on which the keen
observer might decypher something like a rude portrait of the animal
from which it derived its name. It was also supposed still to afford
an occasional asylum to the smugglers of the coast, but no trace of
any visit from sage or mountebank could be detected; nor was the wise
Aldrovando, whom many remembered to have seen at the fair, ever found
again on all that country-side. Of the runaways nothing was ever
certainly known. A boat, the property of an old fisherman who plied
his trade on the outskirts of the town, had been seen to quit the bay
that night; and there were those who declared that she had more hands
on board than Carden and his son, her usual complement; but, as a
gale came on, and the frail bark was eventually found keel upwards on
the Goodwin Sands, it was presumed that she had struck on that fatal
quicksand in the dark, and that all on board had perished.

Little Marian, whom her profligate mother had abandoned, grew up to be
a fine girl, and a handsome. She became, moreover, heiress to Marshton
Hall, and brought the estate into the Ingoldsby family by her marriage
with one of its scions.

It is a little singular that, on pulling down the old Hall in my
grandfather's time, a human skeleton was discovered among the rubbish,
under what particular part of the building I could never with any
accuracy ascertain; but it was found enveloped in a tattered cloth,
that seemed to have been once a carpet, and which fell to pieces almost
immediately on being exposed to the air. The bones were perfect,
but those of one hand were wanting; and the skull, perhaps from the
labourer's pick-axe, had received considerable injury.

The portrait of the fair Marian hangs yet in the Gallery of Tappington;
and near it is another, of a young man in the prime of life, whom
Mrs. Botherby pronounces her father. It exhibits a mild and rather
melancholy countenance, with a high forehead, and the picked beard and
moustaches of the seventeenth century. The signet-finger of the left
hand is gone, and appears, on close inspection, to have been painted
out by some later artist; possibly in compliment to the tradition,
which, _teste Botherby_, records that of Mr. Marsh to have gangrened,
and to have undergone amputation at the knuckle-joint. If really the
resemblance of the gentleman alluded to, it must have been taken at
some period antecedent to his marriage. There is neither date nor
painter's name; but, a little above the head, on the dexter side of the
picture, is an escutcheon, bearing Quarterly, Gules and Argent; in the
first quarter, a horse's head of the second; beneath it are the words
"_Ætatis suæ_, 26." On the opposite side is the following marks which
Mr. Simpkinson declares to be that of a Merchant of the Staple, and
pretends to discover in the anagram comprised in it all the characters
which compose the name of THOMAS MARSH, of MARSHTON.

[Illustration]

        THOMAS INGOLDSBY.



SONG OF THE MONTH. No. VIII.

August, 1837.


                   I.

    Of all the months in the twelve that fly
    So lightly on, and noiselessly by,
    There is not one who can show so fair
    As this, with its soft and balmy air.
    The light graceful corn waves to and fro,
    Tinging the earth with its richest glow;
    The forest trees in their state and might
    Proclaim that Summer is at his height.


                   II.

    Of all the months in the twelve that speed
    So quickly by, with so little heed
    From man, of the years that swiftly pass
    As an infant's breath from a polished glass,
    There is not one whose fading away
    Bears such a lesson to mortal clay,
    Warning us sternly, when in our prime,
    To look for the withering winter time.


                   III.

    I stood by a young girl's grave last night,
    Beautiful, innocent, pure, and bright,
    Who, in the bloom of her summer's pride,
    And all its loveliness, drooped and died.
    Since the sweetest flow'rs are soonest dust,
    As truest metal is quick to rust,
    Look for a change in that time of year,
    When Nature's works at their best appear.



OLIVER TWIST;

OR, THE PARISH BOY'S PROGRESS.

BY BOZ.

ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.


CHAPTER THE TWELFTH.

IN WHICH OLIVER IS TAKEN BETTER CARE OF, THAN HE EVER WAS BEFORE. WITH
SOME PARTICULARS CONCERNING A CERTAIN PICTURE.

The coach rattled away down Mount Pleasant and up Exmouth-street,--over
nearly the same ground as that which Oliver had traversed when he first
entered London in company with the Dodger,--and, turning a different
way when it reached the Angel at Islington, stopped at length before
a neat house in a quiet shady street near Pentonville. Here a bed was
prepared without loss of time, in which Mr. Brownlow saw his young
charge carefully and comfortably deposited; and here he was tended with
a kindness and solicitude which knew no bounds.

But for many days Oliver remained insensible to all the goodness of his
new friends; the sun rose and sunk, and rose and sunk again, and many
times after that, and still the boy lay stretched upon his uneasy bed,
dwindling away beneath the dry and wasting heat of fever,--that heat
which, like the subtle acid that gnaws into the very heart of hardest
iron, burns only to corrode and to destroy. The worm does not his work
more surely on the dead body, than does this slow, creeping fire upon
the living frame.

Weak, and thin, and pallid, he awoke at last from what seemed to have
been a long and troubled dream. Feebly raising himself in the bed, with
his head resting on his trembling arm, he looked anxiously round.

"What room is this?--where have I been brought to?" said Oliver. "This
is not the place I went to sleep in."

He uttered these words in a feeble voice, being very faint and weak;
but they were overheard at once, for the curtain at the bed's head was
hastily drawn back, and a motherly old lady, very neatly and precisely
dressed, rose as she undrew it, from an arm-chair close by, in which
she had been sitting at needle-work.

"Hush, my dear," said the old lady softly. "You must be very quiet,
or you will be ill again, and you have been very bad,--as bad as bad
could be, pretty nigh. Lie down again, there's a dear." With these
words the old lady very gently placed Oliver's head upon the pillow,
and, smoothing back his hair from his forehead, looked so kindly and
lovingly in his face, that he could not help placing his little
withered hand upon her's and drawing it round his neck.

[Illustration: Oliver recovering from Fever]

"Save us!" said the old lady, with tears in her eyes, "what a grateful
little dear it is. Pretty creetur, what would his mother feel if she
had sat by him as I have, and could see him now!"

"Perhaps she does see me," whispered Oliver, folding his hands
together; "perhaps she has sat by me, ma'am. I almost feel as if she
had."

"That was the fever, my dear," said the old lady mildly.

"I suppose it was," replied Oliver thoughtfully, "because Heaven is a
long way off, and they are too happy there, to come down to the bedside
of a poor boy. But if she knew I was ill, she must have pitied me even
there, for she was very ill herself before she died. She can't know
anything about me though," added Oliver after a moment's silence, "for
if she had seen me beat, it would have made her sorrowful; and her face
has always looked sweet and happy when I have dreamt of her."

The old lady made no reply to this, but wiping her eyes first, and her
spectacles, which lay on the counterpane, afterwards, as if they were
part and parcel of those features, brought some cool stuff for Oliver
to drink, and then, patting him on the cheek, told him he must lie very
quiet, or he would be ill again.

So Oliver kept very still, partly because he was anxious to obey the
kind old lady in all things, and partly, to tell the truth, because
he was completely exhausted with what he had already said. He soon
fell into a gentle doze, from which he was awakened by the light of
a candle, which, being brought near the bed, showed him a gentleman,
with a very large and loud-ticking gold watch in his hand, who felt his
pulse, and said he was a great deal better.

"You _are_ a great deal better, are you not, my dear?" said the
gentleman.

"Yes, thank you, sir," replied Oliver.

"Yes, I know you are," said the gentleman: "you're hungry too, an't
you?"

"No, sir," answered Oliver.

"Hem!" said the gentleman. "No, I know you're not. He is not hungry,
Mrs. Bedwin," said the gentleman, looking very wise.

The old lady made a respectful inclination of the head, which seemed
to say that she thought the doctor was a very clever man. The doctor
appeared very much of the same opinion himself.

"You feel sleepy, don't you, my dear?" said the doctor.

"No, sir," replied Oliver.

"No," said the doctor with a very shrewd and satisfied look. "You're
not sleepy. Nor thirsty, are you?"

"Yes, sir, rather thirsty," answered Oliver.

"Just as I expected, Mrs. Bedwin," said the doctor. "It's very natural
that he should be thirsty--perfectly natural. You may give him a little
tea, ma'am, and some dry toast without any butter. Don't keep him too
warm, ma'am; but be careful that you don't let him be too cold; will
you have the goodness?"

The old lady dropped a curtsey; and the doctor, after tasting the cool
stuff, and expressing a qualified approval thereof, hurried away: his
boots creaking in a very important and wealthy manner as he went down
stairs.

Oliver dozed off again soon after this, and when he awoke it was nearly
twelve o'clock. The old lady tenderly bade him good-night shortly
afterwards, and left him in charge of a fat old woman who had just
come, bringing with her in a little bundle a small Prayer Book and a
large nightcap. Putting the latter on her head, and the former on the
table, the old woman, after telling Oliver that she had come to sit up
with him, drew her chair close to the fire and went off into a series
of short naps, chequered at frequent intervals with sundry tumblings
forward and divers moans and chokings, which, however, had no worse
effect than causing her to rub her nose very hard, and then fall asleep
again.

And thus the night crept slowly on. Oliver lay awake for some time,
counting the little circles of light which the reflection of the
rushlight-shade threw upon the ceiling, or tracing with his languid
eyes the intricate pattern of the paper on the wall. The darkness and
deep stillness of the room were very solemn; and as they brought into
the boy's mind the thought that death had been hovering there for many
days and nights, and might yet fill it with the gloom and dread of his
awful presence, he turned his face upon the pillow and fervently prayed
to Heaven.

Gradually he fell into that deep tranquil sleep which ease from recent
suffering alone imparts; that calm and peaceful rest which it is pain
to wake from. Who, if this were death, would be roused again to all the
struggles and turmoils of life,--to all its cares for the present, its
anxieties for the future, and, more than all, its weary recollections
of the past!

It had been bright day for hours when Oliver opened his eyes; and when
he did so, he felt cheerful and happy. The crisis of the disease was
safely past, and he belonged to the world again.

In three days' time he was able to sit in an easy-chair well propped
up with pillows; and, as he was still too weak to walk, Mrs. Bedwin
had him carried down stairs into the little housekeeper's room, which
belonged to her, where, having sat him up by the fireside, the good
old lady sat herself down too, and, being in a state of considerable
delight at seeing him so much better, forthwith began to cry most
violently.

"Never mind me, my dear," said the old lady; "I'm only having a
regular good cry. There, it's all over now, and I'm quite comfortable."

"You're very, very kind to me, ma'am," said Oliver.

"Well, never you mind that, my dear," said the old lady; "that's got
nothing to do with your broth, and it's full time you had it, for the
doctor says Mr. Brownlow may come in to see you this morning, and we
must get up our best looks, because the better we look, the more he'll
be pleased." And with this, the old lady applied herself to warming up
in a little saucepan a basin full of broth strong enough to furnish
an ample dinner, when reduced to the regulation strength, for three
hundred and fifty paupers, at the very lowest computation.

"Are you fond of pictures, dear?" inquired the old lady, seeing that
Oliver had fixed his eyes most intently on a portrait which hung
against the wall just opposite his chair.

"I don't quite know, ma'am," said Oliver, without taking his eyes from
the canvass; "I have seen so few that I hardly know. What a beautiful
mild face that lady's is!"

"Ah," said the old lady, "painters always make ladies out prettier than
they are, or they wouldn't get any custom, child. The man that invented
the machine for taking likenesses might have known _that_ would never
succeed; it's a deal too honest,--a deal," said the old lady, laughing
very heartily at her own acuteness.

"Is--is that a likeness, ma'am?" said Oliver.

"Yes," said the old lady, looking up for a moment from the broth;
"that's a portrait."

"Whose, ma'am?" asked Oliver eagerly.

"Why, really, my dear, I don't know," answered the old lady in a
good-humoured manner. "It's not a likeness of anybody that you or I
know, I expect. It seems to strike your fancy, dear."

"It is so very pretty: so very beautiful," replied Oliver.

"Why, sure you're not afraid of it?" said the old lady, observing
in great surprise the look of awe with which the child regarded the
painting.

"Oh no, no," returned Oliver quickly; "but the eyes look so sorrowful,
and where I sit they seem fixed upon me. It makes my heart beat," added
Oliver in a low voice, "as if it was alive, and wanted to speak to me,
but couldn't."

"Lord save us!" exclaimed the old lady, starting; "don't talk in that
way, child. You're weak and nervous after your illness. Let me wheel
your chair round to the other side, and then you won't see it. There,"
said the old lady, suiting the action to the word; "you don't see it
now, at all events."

Oliver _did_ see it in his mind's eye as distinctly as if he had not
altered his position, but he thought it better not to worry the kind
old lady; so he smiled gently when she looked at him, and Mrs. Bedwin,
satisfied that he felt more comfortable, salted and broke bits of
toasted bread into the broth with all the bustle befitting so solemn a
preparation. Oliver got through it with extraordinary expedition, and
had scarcely swallowed the last spoonful when there came a soft tap at
the door. "Come in," said the old lady; and in walked Mr. Brownlow.

Now, the old gentleman came in as brisk as need be; but he had no
sooner raised his spectacles on his forehead, and thrust his hands
behind the skirts of his dressing-gown to take a good long look at
Oliver, than his countenance underwent a very great variety of odd
contortions. Oliver looked very worn and shadowy from sickness,
and made an ineffectual attempt to stand up, out of respect to his
benefactor, which terminated in his sinking back into the chair again;
and the fact is, if the truth must be told, that Mr. Brownlow's heart
being large enough for any six ordinary old gentlemen of humane
disposition, forced a supply of tears into his eyes by some hydraulic
process which we are not sufficiently philosophical to be in a
condition to explain.

"Poor boy, poor boy!" said Mr. Brownlow clearing his throat. "I'm
rather hoarse this morning, Mrs. Bedwin; I'm afraid I have caught cold."

"I hope not, sir," said Mrs. Bedwin. "Everything you have had has been
well aired, sir."

"I don't know, Bedwin,--I don't know," said Mr. Brownlow; "I rather
think I had a damp napkin at dinner-time yesterday: but never mind
that. How do you feel, my dear?"

"Very happy, sir," replied Oliver, "and very grateful indeed, sir, for
your goodness to me,"

"Good boy," said Mr. Brownlow stoutly. "Have you given him any
nourishment, Bedwin?--any slops, eh?"

"He has just had a basin of beautiful strong broth, sir," replied Mrs.
Bedwin, drawing herself up slightly, and laying a strong emphasis
on the last word, to intimate that between slops, and broth well
compounded, there existed no affinity or connexion whatsoever.

"Ugh!" said Mr. Brownlow, with a slight shudder; "a couple of glasses
of port wine would have done him a great deal more good,--wouldn't
they, Tom White,--eh?"

"My name is Oliver, sir," replied the little invalid with a look of
great astonishment.

"Oliver!" said Mr. Brownlow; "Oliver what? Oliver White,--eh?"

"No, sir, Twist,--Oliver Twist."

"Queer name," said the old gentleman. "What made you tell the
magistrate your name was White?"

"I never told him so, sir," returned Oliver in amazement.

This sounded so like a falsehood, that the old gentleman looked
somewhat sternly in Oliver's face. It was impossible to doubt him;
there was truth in every one of its thin and sharpened lineaments.

"Some mistake," said Mr. Brownlow. But, although his motive for looking
steadily at Oliver no longer existed, the old idea of the resemblance
between his features and some familiar face came upon him so strongly
that he could not withdraw his gaze.

"I hope you are not angry with me, sir," said Oliver, raising his eyes
beseechingly.

"No, no," replied the old gentleman.--"Gracious God, what's this!
Bedwin, look, look there!"

As he spoke, he pointed hastily to the picture above Oliver's head,
and then to the boy's face. There was its living copy,--the eyes, the
head, the mouth; every feature was the same. The expression was for the
instant so precisely alike, that the minutest line seemed copied with
an accuracy which was perfectly unearthly.

Oliver knew not the cause of this sudden exclamation, for he was not
strong enough to bear the start it gave him, and he fainted away.


CHAPTER THE THIRTEENTH

REVERTS TO THE MERRY OLD GENTLEMAN AND HIS YOUTHFUL FRIENDS, THROUGH
WHOM A NEW ACQUAINTANCE IS INTRODUCED TO THE INTELLIGENT READER, AND
CONNECTED WITH WHOM VARIOUS PLEASANT MATTERS ARE RELATED APPERTAINING
TO THIS HISTORY.

When the Dodger and his accomplished friend Master Bates joined in the
hue and cry which was raised at Oliver's heels, in consequence of their
executing an illegal conveyance of Mr. Brownlow's personal property,
as hath been already described with great perspicuity in a foregoing
chapter, they were actuated, as we therein took occasion to observe,
by a very laudable and becoming regard for themselves: and forasmuch
as the freedom of the subject and the liberty of the individual are
among the first and proudest boasts of a true-hearted Englishman, so
I need hardly beg the reader to observe that this action must tend to
exalt them in the opinion of all public and patriotic men, in almost
as great a degree as this strong proof of their anxiety for their own
preservation and safety goes to corroborate and confirm the little
code of laws which certain profound and sound-judging philosophers
have laid down as the mainsprings of all Madam Nature's deeds and
actions; the said philosophers very wisely reducing the good lady's
proceedings to matters of maxim and theory, and, by a very neat and
pretty compliment to her exalted wisdom and understanding, putting
entirely out of sight any considerations of heart, or generous impulse
and feeling, as matters totally beneath a female who is acknowledged by
universal admission to be so far beyond the numerous little foibles and
weaknesses of her sex.

If I wanted any further proof of the strictly philosophical nature
of the conduct of these young gentlemen in their very delicate
predicament, I should at once find it in the fact (also recorded in a
foregoing part of this narrative) of their quitting the pursuit when
the general attention was fixed upon Oliver, and making immediately for
their home by the shortest possible cut; for although I do not mean
to assert that it is the practice of renowned and learned sages at
all to shorten the road to any great conclusion, their course indeed
being rather to lengthen the distance by various circumlocutions and
discursive staggerings, like those in which drunken men under the
pressure of a too mighty flow of ideas are prone to indulge, still
I do mean to say, and do say distinctly, that it is the invariable
practice of all mighty philosophers, in carrying out their theories, to
evince great wisdom and foresight in providing against every possible
contingency which can be supposed at all likely to affect themselves.
Thus, to do a great right, you may do a little wrong, and you may take
any means which the end to be attained will justify; the amount of the
right or the amount of the wrong, or indeed the distinction between the
two, being left entirely to the philosopher concerned: to be settled
and determined by his clear, comprehensive, and impartial view of his
own particular case.

It was not until the two boys had scoured with great rapidity through a
most intricate maze of narrow streets and courts, that they ventured to
halt by common consent beneath a low and dark archway. Having remained
silent here, just long enough to recover breath to speak, Master Bates
uttered an exclamation of amusement and delight, and, bursting into an
uncontrollable fit of laughter, flung himself upon a door-step, and
rolled thereon in a transport of mirth.

"What's the matter?" inquired the Dodger.

"Ha! ha! ha!" roared Charley Bates.

"Hold your noise," remonstrated the Dodger, looking cautiously round.
"Do you want to be grabbed, stupid?"

"I can't help it," said Charley, "I can't help it. To see him splitting
away at that pace, and cutting round the corners, and knocking up
against the posts, and starting on again as if he was made of iron as
well as them, and me with the wipe in my pocket, singing out arter
him--oh, my eye!" The vivid imagination of Master Bates presented
the scene before him in too strong colours. As he arrived at this
apostrophe, he again rolled upon the door-step and laughed louder than
before.

"What'll Fagin say?" inquired the Dodger, taking advantage of the next
interval of breathlessness on the part of his friend to propound the
question.

"What!" repeated Charley Bates.

"Ah, what?" said the Dodger.

"Why, what should he say?" inquired Charley, stopping rather suddenly
in his merriment, for the Dodger's manner was impressive; "what should
he say?"

Mr. Dawkins whistled for a couple of minutes, and then, taking off his
hat, scratched his head and nodded thrice.

"What do you mean?" said Charley.

"Toor rul lol loo, gammon and spinnage, the frog he wouldn't, and high
cockolorum," said the Dodger with a slight sneer on his intellectual
countenance.

This was explanatory, but not satisfactory. Mr. Bates felt it so, and
again said, "What do you mean?"

The Dodger made no reply, but putting his hat on again, and gathering
the skirts of his long-tailed coat under his arms, thrust his tongue
into his cheek, slapped the bridge of his nose some half-dozen times in
a familiar but expressive manner, and then, turning on his heel, slunk
down the court. Mr. Bates followed, with a thoughtful countenance.

The noise of footsteps on the creaking stairs a few minutes after the
occurrence of this conversation roused the merry old gentleman as he
sat over the fire with a saveloy and a small loaf in his left hand, a
pocket-knife in his right, and a pewter pot on the trivet. There was
a rascally smile on his white face as he turned round, and, looking
sharply out from under his thick red eyebrows, bent his ear towards the
door and listened intently.

"Why, how's this?" muttered the Jew, changing countenance; "only two of
'em! Where's the third? They can't have got into trouble. Hark!"

The footsteps approached nearer; they reached the landing, the door was
slowly opened, and the Dodger and Charley Bates entered and closed it
behind them.

"Where's Oliver, you young hounds?" said the furious Jew, rising with a
menacing look: "where's the boy?"

The young thieves eyed their preceptor as if they were alarmed at his
violence, and looked uneasily at each other, but made no reply.

"What's become of the boy?" said the Jew, seizing the Dodger tightly by
the collar, and threatening him with horrid imprecations. "Speak out,
or I'll throttle you!"

Mr. Fagin looked so very much in earnest, that Charley Bates, who
deemed it prudent in all cases to be on the safe side, and conceived
it by no means improbable that it might be his turn to be throttled
second, dropped upon his knees, and raised a loud, well-sustained,
and continuous roar, something between an insane bull and a
speaking-trumpet.

"Will you speak?" thundered the Jew, shaking the Dodger so much that
his keeping in the big coat at all seemed perfectly miraculous.

"Why, the traps have got him, and that's all about it," said the Dodger
sullenly. "Come, let go o' me, will yer!" and, swinging himself at one
jerk clean out of the big coat, which he left in the Jew's hands, the
Dodger snatched up the toasting-fork and made a pass at the merry old
gentleman's waistcoat, which, if it had taken effect, would have let
a little more merriment out than could have been easily replaced in a
month or two.

The Jew stepped back in this emergency with more agility than could
have been anticipated in a man of his apparent decrepitude, and,
seizing up the pot, prepared to hurl it at his assailant's head. But
Charley Bates at this moment calling his attention by a perfectly
terrific howl, he suddenly altered its destination, and flung it full
at that young gentleman.

"Why, what the blazes is in the wind now!" growled a deep voice. "Who
pitched that 'ere at me? It's well it's the beer and not the pot as
hit me, or I 'd have settled somebody. I might have know'd as nobody
but an infernal rich, plundering, thundering old Jew could afford
to throw away any drink but water, and not that, unless he done the
River company every quarter. Wot's it all about, Fagin. D---- me if my
neckankecher an't lined with beer. Come in, you sneaking warmint; wot
are you stopping outside for, as if you was ashamed of your master.
Come in!"

The man who growled out these words was a stoutly-built fellow of about
five-and-forty, in a black velveteen coat, very soiled drab breeches,
lace-up half-boots, and grey cotton stockings, which enclosed a very
bulky pair of legs, with large swelling calves,--the kind of legs which
in such costume always look in an unfinished and incomplete state
without a set of fetters to garnish them. He had a brown hat on his
head, and a dirty belcher handkerchief round his neck, with the long
frayed ends of which, he smeared the beer from his face as he spoke;
disclosing when he had done so, a broad heavy countenance with a beard
of three days' growth, and two scowling eyes, one of which displayed
various parti-coloured symptoms of having been recently damaged by a
blow.

"Come in, d'ye hear?" growled this engaging-looking ruffian. A white
shaggy dog, with his face scratched and torn in twenty different
places, skulked into the room.

"Why didn't you come in afore?" said the man. "You're getting too proud
to own me afore company, are you. Lie down!"

This command was accompanied with a kick which sent the animal to the
other end of the room. He appeared well used to it, however; for he
coiled himself up in a corner very quietly without uttering a sound,
and, winking his very ill-looking eyes about twenty times in a minute,
appeared to occupy himself in taking a survey of the apartment.

"What are you up to? Ill-treating the boys, you covetous, avaricious,
in-sa-ti-a-ble old fence?" said the man, seating himself deliberately.
"I wonder they don't murder you; _I_ would if I was them. If I'd been
your 'prentice I'd have done it long ago; and--no, I couldn't have
sold you arterwards, though; for you're fit for nothing but keeping as
a curiosity of ugliness in a glass bottle, and I suppose they don't
blow them large enough."

"Hush! hush! Mr. Sikes," said the Jew, trembling; "don't speak so loud."

"None of your mistering," replied the ruffian; "you always mean
mischief when you come that. You know my name: out with it. I shan't
disgrace it when the time comes."

"Well, well, then, Bill Sikes," said the Jew with abject humility. "You
seem out of humour, Bill."

"Perhaps I am," replied Sikes. "I should think _you_ were rather out of
sorts too, unless you mean as little harm when you throw pewter pots
about, as you do when you blab and----"

"Are you mad?" said the Jew, catching the man by the sleeve, and
pointing towards the boys.

Mr. Sikes contented himself with tying an imaginary knot under his left
ear, and jerking his head over on the right shoulder; a piece of dumb
show which the Jew appeared to understand perfectly. He then in cant
terms, with which his whole conversation was plentifully besprinkled,
but which would be quite unintelligible if they were recorded here,
demanded a glass of liquor.

"And mind you don't poison it," said Mr. Sikes, laying his hat upon the
table.

This was said in jest; but if the speaker could have seen the evil leer
with which the Jew bit his pale lip as he turned round to the cupboard,
he might have thought the caution not wholly unnecessary, or the wish,
at all events, to improve upon the distiller's ingenuity not very far
from the old gentleman's merry heart.

After swallowing two or three glassfuls of spirits, Mr. Sikes
condescended to take some notice of the young gentlemen; which gracious
act led to a conversation in which the cause and manner of Oliver's
capture were circumstantially detailed, with such alterations and
improvements on the truth as to the Dodger appeared most advisable
under the circumstances.

"I'm afraid," said the Jew, "that he may say something which will get
us into trouble."

"That's very likely," returned Sikes with a malicious grin. "You're
blowed upon, Fagin."

"And I'm afraid, you see," added the Jew, speaking as if he had not
noticed the interruption, and regarding the other closely as he did
so,--"I'm afraid that, if the game was up with us, it might be up with
a good many more; and that it would come out rather worse for you than
it would for me, my dear."

The man started, and turned fiercely round upon the Jew; but the old
gentleman's shoulders were shrugged up to his ears, and his eyes were
vacantly staring on the opposite wall.

There was a long pause. Every member of the respectable coterie
appeared plunged in his own reflections, not excepting the dog, who
by a certain malicious licking of his lips seemed to be meditating an
attack upon the legs of the first gentleman or lady he might encounter
in the street when he went out.

"Somebody must find out what's been done at the office," said Mr. Sikes
in a much lower tone than he had taken since he came in.

The Jew nodded assent.

"If he hasn't peached, and is committed, there's no fear till he comes
out again," said Mr. Sikes, "and then he must be taken care on. You
must get hold of him, somehow."

Again the Jew nodded.

The prudence of this line of action, indeed, was obvious; but
unfortunately there was one very strong objection to its being adopted;
and this was, that the Dodger, and Charley Bates, and Fagin, and Mr.
William Sikes, happened one and all to entertain a most violent and
deeply-rooted antipathy to going near a police-office on any ground or
pretext whatever.

How long they might have sat and looked at each other in a state of
uncertainty not the most pleasant of its kind, it is difficult to say.
It is not necessary to make any guesses on the subject, however; for
the sudden entrance of the two young ladies whom Oliver had seen on a
former occasion caused the conversation to flow afresh.

"The very thing!" said the Jew. "Bet will go; won't you, my dear?"

"Wheres?" inquired the young lady.

"Only just up to the office, my dear," said the Jew coaxingly.

It is due to the young lady to say that she did not positively affirm
that she would not, but that she merely expressed an emphatic and
earnest desire to be "jiggered" if she would; a polite and delicate
evasion of the request, which shows the young lady to have been
possessed of that natural good-breeding that cannot bear to inflict
upon a fellow-creature the pain of a direct and pointed refusal.

The Jew's countenance fell, and he turned to the other young lady, who
was gaily, not to say gorgeously attired, in a red gown, green boots,
and yellow curl-papers.

"Nancy, my dear," said the Jew in a soothing manner, "what do _you_
say?"

"That it won't do; so it's no use a trying it on, Fagin," replied Nancy.

"What do you mean by that?" said Mr. Sikes, looking up in a surly
manner.

"What I say, Bill," replied the lady collectedly.

"Why, you're just the very person for it," reasoned Mr. Sikes: "nobody
about here, knows anything of you."

"And as I don't want 'em to, neither," replied Miss Nancy in the same
composed manner, "it's rayther more no than yes with me, Bill."

"She'll go, Fagin," said Sikes.

"No, she won't, Fagin," bawled Nancy.

"Yes she will, Fagin," said Sikes.

And Mr. Sikes was right. By dint of alternate threats, promises, and
bribes, the engaging female in question was ultimately prevailed upon
to undertake the commission. She was not indeed withheld by the same
considerations as her agreeable friend, for, having very recently
removed into the neighbourhood of Field-lane from the remote but
genteel suburb of Ratcliffe, she was not under the same apprehension of
being recognised by any of her numerous acquaintance.

Accordingly, with a clean white apron tied over the red gown, and the
yellow curl-papers tucked up under a straw bonnet,--both articles of
dress being provided from the Jew's inexhaustible stock,--Miss Nancy
prepared to issue forth on her errand.

"Stop a minute, my dear," said the Jew, producing a little covered
basket. "Carry that in one hand; it looks more respectable, my dear."

"Give her a door-key to carry in her t'other one, Fagin," said Sikes;
"it looks real and genivine like."

"Yes, yes, my dear, so it does," said the Jew, hanging a large
street-door key on the fore-finger of the young lady's right hand.
"There; very good,--very good indeed, my dear," said the Jew, rubbing
his hands.

"Oh, my brother! my poor, dear, sweet, innocent little brother!"
exclaimed Miss Nancy, bursting into tears, and wringing the little
basket and the street-door key in an agony of distress. "What has
become of him!--where have they taken him to! Oh, do have pity, and
tell me what's been done with the dear boy, gentlemen; do, gentlemen,
if you please, gentlemen."

Having uttered these words in a most lamentable and heart-broken tone,
to the immeasurable delight of her hearers, Miss Nancy paused, winked
to the company, nodded smilingly round, and disappeared.

"Ah! she's a clever girl, my dears," said the Jew, turning to his young
friends, and shaking his head gravely, as if in mute admonition to them
to follow the bright example they had just beheld.

"She's a honor to her sex," said Mr. Sikes, filling his glass, and
smiting the table with his enormous fist. "Here's her health, and
wishing they was all like her!"

While these and many other encomiums were being passed on the
accomplished Miss Nancy, that young lady made the best of her way to
the police-office; whither, notwithstanding a little natural timidity
consequent upon walking through the streets alone and unprotected, she
arrived in perfect safety shortly afterwards.

Entering by the back way, she tapped softly with the key at one of the
cell-doors and listened. There was no sound within, so she coughed and
listened again. Still there was no reply, so she spoke.

"Nolly, dear?" murmured Nancy in a gentle voice;--"Nolly?"

There was nobody inside but a miserable shoeless criminal, who had been
taken up for playing the flute, and who--the offence against society
having been clearly proved--had been very properly committed by Mr.
Fang to the House of Correction for one month, with the appropriate and
amusing remark that since he had got so much breath to spare, it would
be much more wholesomely expended on the treadmill than in a musical
instrument. He made no answer, being occupied in mentally bewailing
the loss of the flute, which had been confiscated for the use of the
county; so Miss Nancy passed on to the next cell, and knocked there.

"Well," cried a faint and feeble voice.

"Is there a little boy here?" inquired Miss Nancy with a preliminary
sob.

"No," replied the voice; "God forbid!"

This was a vagrant of sixty-five, who was going to prison for _not_
playing the flute, or, in other words, for begging in the streets, and
doing nothing for his livelihood. In the next cell was another man,
who was going to the same prison for hawking tin saucepans without a
licence, thereby doing something for his living in defiance of the
Stamp-office.

But as neither of these criminals answered to the name of Oliver, or
knew anything about him, Miss Nancy made straight up to the bluff
officer in the striped waistcoat, and with the most piteous wailings
and lamentations, rendered more piteous by a prompt and efficient use
of the street-door key and the little basket, demanded her own dear
brother.

"I haven't got him, my dear," said the old man.

"Where is he?" screamed Miss Nancy in a distracted manner.

"Why, the gentleman's got him," replied the officer.

"What gentleman? Oh, gracious heavins! what gentleman?" exclaimed Miss
Nancy.

In reply to this incoherent questioning, the old man informed the
deeply affected sister that Oliver had been taken ill in the office,
and discharged in consequence of a witness having proved the robbery
to have been committed by another boy not in custody; and that the
prosecutor had carried him away in an insensible condition to his own
residence, of and concerning which all the informant knew was, that it
was somewhere at Pentonville, he having heard that word mentioned in
the directions to the coachman.

In a dreadful state of doubt and uncertainty the agonised young woman
staggered to the gate, and then,--exchanging her faltering gait for
a good swift steady run, returned by the most devious and complicated
route she could think of, to the domicile of the Jew.

Mr. Bill Sikes no sooner heard the account of the expedition delivered,
than he very hastily called up the white dog, and, putting on his hat,
expeditiously departed, without devoting any time to the formality of
wishing the company good-morning.

"We must know where he is, my dears; he must be found," said the Jew,
greatly excited. "Charley, do nothing but skulk about, till you bring
home some news of him. Nancy, my dear, I must have him found: I trust
to you, my dear,--to you and the Artful for every thing. Stay, stay,"
added the Jew, unlocking a drawer with a shaking hand; "there's money,
my dears. I shall shut up this shop to-night: you'll know where to find
me. Don't stop here a minute,--not an instant, my dears!"

With these words he pushed them from the room, and carefully
double-locking and barring the door behind them, drew from its place of
concealment the box which he had unintentionally disclosed to Oliver,
and hastily proceeded to dispose the watches and jewellery beneath his
clothing.

A rap at the door startled him in this occupation. "Who's there?" he
cried in a shrill tone of alarm.

"Me!" replied the voice of the Dodger through the keyhole.

"What now?" cried the Jew impatiently.

"Is he to be kidnapped to the other ken, Nancy says?" inquired the
Dodger cautiously.

"Yes," replied the Jew, "wherever she lays hands on him. Find him, find
him out, that's all; and I shall know what to do next, never fear."

The boy murmured a reply of intelligence, and hurried down stairs after
his companions.

"He has not peached so far," said the Jew as he pursued his occupation.
"If he means to blab us among his new friends, we may stop his windpipe
yet."



WHAT THOUGH WE WERE RIVALS OF YORE.

A ROMANCE. BY HAYNES BAYLY.


                   I.

    "What though we were rivals of yore,
      It seems you the victor have proved,
    Henceforth we are rivals no more,
      For I must forget I have loved.
    You tell me you wed her to-day,
      I thank you for telling the worst;
    Adieu then! to horse, and away!--
      But, hold!--let us drink her health first!


                   II.

    "Alas! I confess I was wrong
      To cope with so charming a knight;
    Excelling in dance, and in song,
      Well-dress'd, _debonnaire_, and polite!
    So, putting all envy aside,
      I take a new flask from the shelf;
    Another full glass to the bride,
      And now a full glass to yourself.


                   III.

    "You'll drink a full bumper to me,
      So well I have borne my defeat?
    To the nymphs who the bridemaids will be,
      And to each of the friends you will meet.
    You are weary?--one glass to renew;
      You are dozing?--one glass to restore;
    You are sleeping?--proud rival, adieu!
      Excuse me for locking the door."


                   IV.

    There's a fee in the hand of the priest!
      There's a kiss on the cheek of the bride!
    And the guest she expected the least
      Is He who now sits by her side!
    Oh, well may the loiterer fail,
      _His_ love is the grape of the Rhine;
    And the spirit most sure to prevail
      Was never the spirit of wine.



LOVE IN THE CITY.

TO THE PUBLIC.


In the prefatory observations I thought advisable to make when placing
"Love in the City" before the world, I stated that my chief aim was
the restoration of the drama to its pristine purity by avoiding
those unnatural and superhuman agencies which modern writers have so
extensively indulged in. Opposing myself thus, to innovation, I have
ventured on one of the boldest changes in dramatic arrangement, by
postponing the performance of the overture until the commencement of
the second act. Having thus admitted my offending, I trust that, when
the reasons which induced it are explained and understood, I shall have
justified this daring step, and obtained a verdict of public acquittal.

Is there a frequenter of our theatres on a first night whose musical
sensibilities have not been lacerated by the noise and tumult
incidental to a crowded house? Let him achieve by desperate exertion a
favourable place in the undress circle,--suppose the theatre crammed
to the pigeon-holes, the orchestra already tuned, and every eye bent
upon the leader, awaiting his premonitory tap;--then, when the nervous
system should be quiescent, the ear open to receive delicious sounds,
the heart ready to expand itself into harmonious ecstacy,--at that
very moment of rapturous expectation has not his tranquillity been
annihilated by

    "Some giggling daughter of the queen of love"

pinching him in the ribs to acquaint him that he is "sitting on her
boa!" While, from that "_refugium peccatorum_," the shilling gallery,
infernal cries of "Down in the front!" "Music!" "Curse your pedigree!"
"Hats off!" "How's your mother?" drown even the double-drums, and
render the overture inaudible from the opening crash to the close.

To remedy this nuisance,--to allow the excited feelings of an
overcrowded house to subside sufficiently to enable the audience, by
presenting them with the first act, to judge how far the music of the
overture is adapted to the business of the stage,--these considerations
have induced me thus to postpone its performance, and with what success
the public will best decide.

Another, and a more agreeable duty, now devolves upon me,--to express
my ardent thanks to all and every to whom this drama is in any way
indebted for its brilliant and unparalleled success. To Messrs. Flight
and Robson; the commanding officers of the Foot and Fusileer Guards;
the King of the Two Sicilies; the Hereditary Prince of Coolavin; and
his serene highness the Duke of Darmstadt, I am eternally grateful.
To the performers, male and female, the composers, the orchestra at
large, scene-painters and scene-shifters, prompters and property-men,
box-keepers and check-takers, sentries and police, I present my
heartfelt acknowledgements. And to the most crowded and fashionable
audience that ever graced a metropolitan theatre, I shall only say,
that the rapturous and reiterated plaudits bestowed upon this drama
shall never fade from the recollection of their most devoted, very
humble, too fortunate, and ever grateful servant,

                    THE AUTHOR.

July 1, 1837.



LOVE IN THE CITY;

OR, ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.

A MELODRAMATIC EXTRAVAGANZA.

ACT II.


  _Grand Overture_,--composed jointly by Spohr, Haynes Bayly, Newkom,
  and Rossini, and performed by the largest orchestra ever collected in
  a European theatre, assisted by the Duke of Darmstadt's brass band,
  and the entire drums of the Foot and Fusileer Guards.

  In the course of the overture the following novelties will be
  introduced.

  _A duet_ upon the _double-drums_ with _one stick only_, by Mons.
  TAMBOURETTE, Member of the Legion of Honour, K.T.S., and drum-major to
  the _King of the Two Sicilies_.

  _Planxty Mac Swain_, and "_What have you got in your jug?_" with
  brilliant variations for the _Irish pipes_, by _Kalkbrenner_,--Mr.
  PATRICK HALLIGAN, Minstrel in ordinary to the Prince of Coolavin.

  _A capriccio_ on the _German flute_, by a _distinguished amateur_, who
  has lost four fingers and a thumb.

  _A grand fantasia_ (Henry Hertz) on _one piano by eight performers_.

  _Director_, Sir GEORGE SMART.

  _Conductor_, on _The Apollonicon_,--lent to the lessee for that night
  only,--Mr. PURKIS.

  _Leader_, Mr. T. COOKE,

  _The overture having been twice encored, bell rings, and curtain draws
  up._


ACT II.--SCENE I.

  A public-house, "Black Horse," in the Borough. A tap-room. _Mags_ and
  _Poppleton_ discovered drinking "heavy wet." _Mags_ rather fresh, and
  _Poppleton_ evidently the worse of liquor. _Mags_, after a long pull,
  deposits the pot upon the table.

  _Pop._--Now for your news, Mags.

  _Mags._                          I told you, worthy Pop,
  That Stubs and Smith put keepers on the shop.

  _Pop._--And how's our missus?

  _Mags._                        Why, hearty, when last seen
  With a Life-Guardsman, crossing Turnham-green.

  _Pop._--And honest Snags?

  _Mags (with emotion)._    Ah! would that epithet were true,
  Or I could keep the sad details from you!
  Snags is not _honest_!

    (_Poppleton buttons his coat, and puts himself into a boxing
    attitude._)

                         He has robb'd the till,
  And lost the money, betting at a mill!

    (_Noise without. Door opens. Enter Young Clipclose hastily._)

  _Mr. C._--What, Mags and Pop! the coves I wish'd to see
  Above all others. Curse my pedigree!

      AIR--_Mr. Clipclose._--("I've been roaming.")

      I've been nabb'd, sirs,--I've been nabb'd, sirs,--
        And bundled off direct to jail,
      By the villains when they grabb'd, sirs,
        And now I'm out upon stag-bail.

    (_Mr. C. seizes the pewter in his right hand._)

  _Mr. C._--Is this good stout?

  _Mags (feelingly)._           My honest master, quaff!
  You'll find it strengthening, real half-and-half.

      AIR--_Poppleton._--("Here we go up, up, up.")

      Come, Bob, take a sup, sup, sup!
        Let the liquor your stiff neck slide down, boy;
      There's nothing like keeping steam up,
        When a man's at the worst, and done brown, boy.

    (_Clipclose starts, looks anxiously at Mags._)

  _Mr. C._--How's all at home,--I mean on Ludgate-hill,--
  And have you heard the winner of the mill?

  _Mags (with considerable hesitation)._--We all, alas! for Fortune's
      frowns seem fix'd on.
  Poor Jerry Scout is bundled off to Brixton;
  The shop's done up; and, for your lady wife,
  I fear she's joined the Guards, yclept "The Life;"
  On other things, barring the fight, I'm barren,
  And Owen Swift was beat by Barney Aaron.

    (_Clipclose staggers across the room, and catches at the
    chimney-piece._)

  _Mr. C._--My wife levanted, and the shop done up!
  Mags, hand the quart; I need another sup.
  Othello like, Bob's occupation's done;
  For I back'd Owen freely two to one.
  Like Antony at Actium, this fell day
  Strips me of all, shop, cash, and lady gay.
  Would I had nerve to take myself away!

  _Pop._ (_aside._)--I'll watch him close. Although his looks are
    placid,
  He'll take a dose, I fear, of prussic acid.

    (_Enter Pot-boy._)

  _Pot-boy._--Is there a gent call'd Mr. Clipclose here?

  _Mr. C._--I am that wretched man!      (_Slaps his forehead._)

  _Pot-boy._                        Who pays the beer?

  _Pop._--I.

  _Pot-boy._--Here's a note. (_To Mr. C._) Lord, but the man looks
    queer!

    (_Mr. Clipclose reads it; jumps up, and whistles "Bobbing Joan."_)

      QUARTETTO.

      _Mags._

      Master, are you mad?

      _Mr. C._

      No; but I'm distracted.

      _Pot-boy._

      Times are wery bad,

      _Pop._

      And I in grief abstracted.

      _Mags._

      Odds! he'll take his life!

      _Mr. C._ (_kissing the billet._)

      Sweet note! thou'rt balm and manna!

      _Mags to Pop._ (_who is reading it over Mr. C.'s shoulder._) Is
      it from his wife?

      _Pop._ (_slaps his thigh._)

      No! from Miss Juliana!"

  _Clipclose_, when he reads it, rushes out; _Mags_ after him.
  _Poppleton_ attempts to follow, but is detained by pot-boy. He forks
  out tanner, and disappears. SOLO--_Apollonicon._ Hurried music
  descriptive of three cabs: _Clipclose_ in 793, at a rapid pace;
  _Mags_, 1659; _Poppleton_ 1847, pursuing. Scene closes.


SCENE II.

  Thompson and Fearon's, Holborn; gin-palace at full work; company less
  select than numerous, and ladies and gentlemen taking "some'ut short"
  at the counter. Enter, in full uniform. Captain Connor; O'Toole and
  Blowhard in shell jackets. They call for a flash of lightning, touch
  glasses affectionately, and bolt the ruin. The captain stumps down
  for all.

      GLEE--_Connor, O'Toole, and Blowhard._

      _Capt._

      Gin cures love, my boys, and gin cures the colic;

      _O'T._

      Gin fits a man for fight, or fits him for a frolic;

      _Blow._

      Come, we'll have another go, then hey for any rollic!

      _Trio._

      Come, we'll have another go, and hey then for a rollic!


  _Blow._--Lass! (_to an attendant, whom he chucks under the chin,_)
  some more jacky! Connor, do you still Bend at the shrine of her on
  Ludgate-hill?

  _OT. (contemptuously)._--Zounds! a cit's helpmate. That would never
  do. One of us Guards, and one of taste like you.

  _Capt._--Faith, honest Blowhard, and you, my pal, O'Toole, Tho' fond
  of flirting, yet your friend's no fool! Think ye that I could live
  upon my pay, And keep four wives on three and six a day? No. Let me
  have a monied mistress still, My El Dorado be a tradesman's till.
  Love fed by flimsies, is the love that thrives, And let the mercers
  keep the Guardsman's wives.

  _O'T._--I see how matters stand, my trump; enough.

  _Blow._ (_to O'T._)--He's wide awake, Tim. (_To the Capt._) Con.
  you're up to snuff!

  _Capt._--Come, one more round of jacky, and we part,-- I, to the
  peerless lady of my heart In Stamford-street;--to Knightsbridge
  barrack you; And mind don't split that I was out at Kew.

  (_They take each another johnny, shake hands, and separate. The scene
  closes._)


SCENE III.

  A drawing-room; doors in the flat; one opening into Miss Juliana
  Smashaway's boudoir, and the other to her bed-chamber. She is
  discovered standing at the window in a pensive attitude. She sighs
  heavily, and rubs her temples with "eau de Cologne."

  _Miss S._--He comes not--half-past four! Ah, fickle Connor! Is this
  thy plighted faith, and thrice-pledged honour? Was it for this, I
  waived a grocer's hand, And twice refused a counter in the Strand,
  Sent back an offer from a Tenth Hussar, And without warning left Soho
  bazaar, Rejected Griskin, that rich man of mutton; Shy'd Lincoln
  Stanhope, and cut Manners Sutton?

    (_Sudden noise. Voices without._)

  _1st voice._--Fare's sixteen-pence, and with one bob I'm shamm'd!
  Fork out the four-pence!

  _2nd voice._ First I'd see you d--d!

    (_Door opens. Clipclose rushes in, and embraces Miss Smashaway._)

  _Miss S._ (_with considerable spirit._)--Unhand me, fellow! Whence
  this bold intrusion? I think I'll faint, I feel in such confusion.


      DUET--_Clipclose and Miss S._--("Pray Goody.")

      _Mr. C._

      Oh, come, Juliana, lay aside your anger and surprise; One
      trifling kiss you'll scarcely miss, you know. I saw a ready
      pardon seal'd already in your eyes, Else, 'pon my soul! I scarce
      had ventur'd so.

      _Miss S._

      True, sir; but you, sir, Should recollect what's due, sir, To one
      so young and innocent

      _Mr. C._

      As pretty Missus Ju--. Oh, come, Miss S. do lay aside your anger
      and surprise; A trifling kiss you'll scarcely miss, you know. I
      saw a ready pardon seal'd already in your eyes, Else, 'pon my
      soul! I had not ventur'd so.

    (_Cab stops suddenly at the door. Miss S. looks out alarmed. Loud
    knocking. Alarum._)

  _Miss S._--Lost--lost for ever!

  _Mr. C._ Pray, madam, what's the matter?

  _Miss S._--Heard ye no broadsword on the pavement clatter?

  _Mr. C._--A broadsword! Zounds! My teeth begin to chatter!

  _Miss S._--Where shall I hide him?--(_Opens the chamber door._)--In,
  sir, or you 're dead.

  _Mr. C._--Can nothing save me?

  _Miss S._ Creep beneath the bed.

    (_Door opens. Mags peeps in._)

  _Mags._--She's quite alone. Oh, happy Matthew Mags!

    (_Maid-servant enters._)

  _Maid._--A chap's below who says he's Samuel Snags.

  _Mags._--I'm a done man; for that 'ere cove will blow me.

  _Miss S._--Follow me in, and I will safely stow ye.

    (_Enter Snags._)

  _Snags._--Divine Miss Smashaway, I humbly kneel To plead a passion
  you can never feel; A smile will save, a frown as surely kill, One
  who for you has robb'd his master's till.

  _Miss S._--Well, after that the man deserves some pity.-- Knocking
  again! and here comes my maid Kitty.

    (_Enter Maid._)

  _Maid._--One Mr. Poppleton.

  _Miss S._ Was ever one so courted?

  _Snags._--All's up with me; for life I'll be transported! Ma'am,
  could you save a lover?

  _Miss S._ Let me see. Oh, yes; the bed will surely cover three.

    (_Puts Snags into bed-chamber. Enter Poppleton._)

  _Pop._--Where is my charmer?

    (_Enter Maid, hastily._)

  _Maid_ (_to Pop._) Sir, you're dead as mutton; The Captain's come.
  Your life's not worth a button.

  _Pop._--Where shall I hide?

  _Miss S._ (_to the Maid._) Put him with t'other three; They're the
  same firm, "Clipclose and company."

    (_A heavy footstep is heard, and a sword strikes against the stairs.
    Enter the Captain, whistling "Darby Kelly."_)

  _Miss S._ (_flies into his arms._)--My own loved Guardsman, and my
  fancy beau. Oh, Terence Connor! (_Kissing him._)

  _Capt._ (_embracing her._)--Sweet Juliana, O!

  _Miss S._--Why did you dally, dearest; tell me all? Were you on guard?

  _Capt._ Yes, sweetest, at Whitehall.

  _Miss S._--Ah, you false man,--(_taps his cheek playfully,_)--I'll
  watch you close.

    (_Somebody sneezes within._)

  _Capt._ What's that?

  _Miss S._--Nothing, dear Terence, but the landlord's cat.

    (_Somebody coughs twice._)

  _Capt._--A cough!--another! Do cats cough so, my fair? Ha! her cheeks
  redden! Tell me who is there? That guilty look! Zounds! If my fears
  be true, He'll curse the hour he dared to visit you!

    (_Draws his sword, and rushes into the bed-chamber. Miss S. faints.
    Voices within._)

  _Capt._--A man!--my eyes! another!--and another! A fourth one still!

  _Snags._ I'm dead with fright!

  _Pop._ I smother!

    (_Capt. drives them before him into the drawing-room._)

  _Capt._ (_in a frenzy._)--Why, hell and Tommy! the maid whom I adore
  To prove untrue, and play me false with four! But all shall die!

    (_Captain Connor cuts No. 6. with his sword, while Clipclose and
    company fall upon their knees._)

  _Mags._ Oh, Lord! I'm dead already!

  _Capt._--Prepare for death!

  _Snags and Pop._ Indeed, sir, we an't ready.

  _Mr. C._--Probably, sir, affection for my wife Might plead my pardon,
  and reprieve my life.

    (_Enter, hastily, Mrs. Clipclose and Annette._)

  _Mrs. C._--Why, what's all this? What do my eyes discover? An errant
  husband, and a truant lover! (_Aside to Mr. C._)--Was it for this I
  gave my faith to you? (_Aside to Capt. C._)--Was it for this I drove
  you out to Kew, Paid cab and lunch, brown stout, and ruin blue?

    (_Capt. C. drops the point of his sword, and evinces great
    contrition for attempting the lives of the company, when enter an
    elderly pieman with a juvenile dealer in "all-hots," attended by
    two policemen. Pieman identifies Miss Smashaway._)

  _Pieman._--That 'ere flash madam hit me in the withers.

  _All-hot (pointing to Mr. Clipclose)._--And that cove knock'd my
  kitchen-range to shivers!

  _Mr. C._ (_to Policeman._)--Let me explain, sir.

  _Miss S._ Pray, sir, let me speak.

  _Policeman._--Silence! and keep your gammon for the beak.

    (_A rumbling noise heard underneath, attended by a disagreeable
    vapour._)

  _Policeman._--Zounds! what is this? it smothers me almost. Is it the
  gas-pipe?

  _Capt. C._ No, dash my wig! a ghost!

    (_Slow music. Apparition of Old Clipclose rises through the stage,
    dressed in a white shirt, and scarlet nightcap._)


      ROUNDELAY--_Ghost and Company._

      ("Good morrow to you, Madam Joan.")

      _Ghost._

      All in the family way, Whack-fal-li, fal-la-di-day! Are you met
      here to take tea? Whack-fal-li, &c. Or is it love-making you're
      come? Tol-de-re-lol, &c. Or to keep clear away from a bum?
      Whack-fal-li, &c.

      _Miss S._

      Oh, no, sir! we're going to jail, Whack-fal-li, &c. Unless,
      Mister Ghost, you'll go bail, Whack-fal-li, &c.

      _Policeman._

      A spectre, Miss S. will not do, Whack-fal-li, &c.

      (_To the Ghost._)

      Where the blazes! should we look for you? Whack-fal-li, &c.

      (_Enter Capt. C's four wives._)

      _1st Wife._

      Ah, Terry, you traitor, you're there! Whack-fal-li, &c.

      _2nd Wife._

      As usual, deceiving the fair! Whack-fal-li, &c.

      _3rd Wife._

      You'll pay dear enough for your pranks! Whack-fal-li, &c.

      _4th Wife._

      You're broke, and reduced to the ranks! Whack-fal-li, &c.

    (_Capt. C. seems thunderstruck, grinds his teeth passionately, then
    strikes his forehead, and sings._)

    AIR--_Capt. C._--("The night before Larey was stretch'd.")

      _Capt. C._

      By St. Patrick, I'm done for, at last! From a captain come down
      to a private. Terry Connor, your glory is past; A very nice pass
      to arrive at!

      (_To the Ghost._)

      I say, you old rum-looking swell, I would deem it a favour, and
      civil, In spite of your sulphur'ous smell, To take me down stairs
      to the devil, And get me a troop in his guards.

  _Ghost_ (_to the Capt._)--Shut your potato-trap! we still refuse--
  The corps's so moral--Life-Guardsmen and Blues.

  _4th Wife._--Cheer up, my Connor; 'twas in jest I spoke, When I
  affirm'd my best beloved was broke.

  _Ghost (addressing the company)._--Ladies and Gemmen, give the ghost
  a hearance, As this, his first, must be his last appearance. (_To
  Mr. and Mrs. Clipclose_)--Bent upon wedlock, and an heir, to vex ye,
  If toasted cheese had not brought apoplexy, I died asleep, and left
  my hard-won riches; Search the left pocket of my dark drab breeches;
  Open the safe, and there you'll find my will; Deal for cash only and
  stick to Ludgate-hill; Watch the apprentices, and lock the till; And
  quit the turf, the finish, and the mill; Turn a new leaf, and leave
  off former sins; Pay the pieman, and mend young "All-hot's" tins.

  _Mr. C._ (_doubtfully._)--Did you die rich, dad?

  _Ghost._ Rich as any Jew; And half a plum, son Bob, devolves on you.

  _Mrs. C._--What a dear ghost, to die when he was wanted! Will you
  forgive me?

  _Ghost._ Ma'am, your pardon's granted. My time's but short; but
  still, before I go, With Miss Juliana I would sport a toe.

  _Miss S._--With all my heart. What would your ghostship order?

  _Ghost._--Tell them to play, "Blue bonnets o'er the border."

  _Apollonicon_ strikes up the country-dance. _Ghost_ leads off with
  _Miss Smashaway_; the _Captain_ follows with _Mrs. Clipclose_;
  _Clipclose_, _Mags_, _Snags_, and _Poppleton_ each choose one of the
  _Captain's Wives_; the _Police_ dance with the _Ladies' Maids_; and
  the _Pieman_ with "_All-hot_." Twice down the middle, poussette, and
  form hands round. At the end of the dance, the _Ghost_ vanishes, and
  the remainder of the _dramatis personæ_ take hands, and advance to
  the stage-lights.

      GRAND FINALE--("There's nae luck about the house.")

      Dad's away, and we may play, Nor dread Old Grumpy's frown; Well
      may we say, "thrice happy day When Square-toes toddled down!"
      There's now luck about the house, There's now luck to a'; There's
      now luck about the house Since grumpy dad's awa!

  (_Curtain falls amid tremendous applause, and a call for the author._)


CRITICAL REMARKS BY AN M.P.

"I am not in the habit of frequenting the theatres, nor indeed any
public house, except the House of Commons; neither do I pretend to be
particularly conversant with the drama: but, by general consent, this
play has been declared not inferior to the happiest effort of the bard
of Avon, as player-people call William Shakspeare. I have not seen it
represented; for, the free list being suspended, prudence would not
permit me to attend. Had half-price been taken, I think I should have
gone to the two-shilling gallery; but this question is irrelevant.

"The author deserves well of his country. Indeed, his is a double
claim; and the debt consequently due by the public would amount to a
large _tottle_. No doubt the restoration of the drama is a matter of
some importance; but surely the diminution of drumsticks is one of
infinitely greater consideration!

"I perceive by the playbills,--one of which I was enabled to obtain
_gratis_,--that a gentleman called Tambourette performs upon two
drums with a single stick. Now, I call the public attention to this
important discovery; and, in these times of retrenchment and reform,
the introduction of this system into our military establishment should
be at once insisted on. The saving would be immense. Assuming that
there are one hundred and three battalions of foot, and, on an average,
twelve drums to each regiment,--a shameful waste of public money,
by-the-bye, one drum and fife being quite sufficient for each corps,
as they only alarm an enemy in war-time, and, in peace, destroy the
utility of servant-maids by seducing them eternally to the windows.
Well, even permitting this extravagant number to remain; by adopting
Mr. Tambourette's system of performance, one thousand two hundred and
thirty-six drumsticks would be saved to the country. Now, averaging the
cost of the smaller-sized drumstick at sixpence, and the larger at one
shilling, a reduction in the army estimates might be effected of _one
thousand one hundred and thirty-three small_ and _one hundred and three
large ones_; making a _tottle_ to the credit of the nation of 33_l._
9_s._ 6_d._!!!

"If the author will furnish me with the necessary information to enable
me to frame a bill, I will move for a return of the drummers attached
at present to the army: specifying their respective names, weights,
heights, and ages, and take the earliest opportunity of bringing the
matter before parliament.

        "J.H.

"July 1, 1837.

"P.S. If one thousand two hundred and thirty-six drumsticks be
dispensed with, it follows that a similar number of drummers'
hands will then remain unoccupied. Might not a _one-handed fife_
be introduced, or a pandean pipe substituted, and fifers totally
abolished? I see no reason why the same man should not play the drum
and fife together. This, indeed, would be a reduction worthy a reformed
parliament, and a tremendous saving to the public purse.

"J.H."



THREE NOTCHES FROM THE DEVIL'S TAIL; OR, THE MAN IN THE SPANISH CLOAK.

A TALE OF "ST. LUKE'S."


I had often met with him before in my travels, and had been much struck
with the peculiar acumen of his remarks whenever we entered into
conversation. His observations were witty, pungent, and sarcastic;
but replete with knowledge of men and things. He seemed to despise
book-knowledge of every kind, and argued that it only tended to
mislead. "I have good reason to be satisfied on this point," he said to
me one day at Vienna. "History is not to be relied on; a fact is told
a hundred different ways; the actions of men are misrepresented, their
motives more so; and as for travels, and descriptions of countries,
manners, customs, &c. I have found out that they are the most absurd
things in the world,--mere fables and fairy tales. Never waste your
time on such trash!"

I again met this gentleman in Paris; it was at a _salon d'écarté_;
and he amused me much by informing me of the names and circumstances
of the most distinguished persons present. Whether English, French,
or Germans, he knew something of the private history of each, some
ridiculous adventure or silly _contre-tems_. I marvelled how he could
have collected so great a store, such as it was, of anecdote and
information; how he carried it all in remembrance; and, still more, at
the perfect _sang-froid_ with which he detailed these things under the
very noses of the persons concerned, who would, had they heard them, no
doubt have made as many holes in his body with "penetrating lead" as
there are in a cullender.

To avoid getting into any scrape myself, I invited this _well-informed_
gentleman to spend an evening with me at my hotel, where, over a bottle
of claret, we might discuss some of those amusing matters, more, at
least, to my own ease. Before we separated, I pointed out a certain
Englishman to him, who was playing high, and did not notice us: I asked
him "If he knew anything respecting that gentleman?" I had my private
reasons for asking this question, unnecessary now to mention, and was
pleased to find my colloquial friend knew, as they say, "all about
him;" so we parted, with a promise on his side that on the following
evening he would visit me, and give me every particular.

He came punctually to appointment, but I could not prevail on him
to put off his large Spanish cloak, what they call technically "_an
all-rounder_;" he complained of cold, said he had been accustomed to
a _warm climate_, and sat down just opposite to me, when, without
hesitation, in a sort of business-like way, he entered at once into the
details I most wished to know respecting the young Englishman we had
left at the _salon d'écarté_; and left no doubt on my mind, from some
circumstances I already knew respecting him, that the account was most
veracious. I fell into a fit of musing in consequence of his narration,
which he did not interrupt by a single remark; but, fixing his eyes
upon me, seemed to be amusing himself with watching the progress of my
thoughts.

"It will never do!" said I, forgetting I was not alone; "he is not
worthy of her."

I stopped, and the stranger rose, gave me a peculiar significant look,
and was retiring, but I would not permit it; and, apologising for my
abstraction, insisted that he should finish the bottle with me: so he
sat down again, and we tried to converse as before, but it would not do.

There we sat, facing each other, and both nearly silent; and now it was
that I remembered I had never once seen this stranger without this same
Spanish cloak,--a very handsome one it is true, richly embroidered,
and decorated with Genoese velvet, and a superb clasp and chain of the
purest gold and finest workmanship. I pondered on this circumstance,
as I recollected that even in Italy and the Ionian islands, where
I had before met him by some extraordinary chance, as well as at
Constantinople and at Athens, he had always been enveloped in this same
most magnificent mantle. At last I thought of the fable of the man,
the sun, and the wind; so concluded that he wore this Spanish cloak to
guard him equally from heat and cold, to exclude the sun's rays and the
winter's winds; or, perhaps, I argued, he wears it to conceal the seedy
appearance of his inner garments, or sundry deficiencies of linen, &c.
"Things will wear out, and linen will lose its snowy whiteness, but
what the devil have I to do with the matter? Let him wear his cloak,
and sleep in it too, if it please him; why should I trouble my head
about it?"

"You are returning to England soon, sir," said, at length, the cloaked
stranger (but I am certain that I had not intimated such intention to
him); "I am proceeding there myself on some pressing business, and will
do myself the honour of there renewing our acquaintance."

I paused and hesitated ere I replied to this proposition. It is one
thing to invite an agreeable stranger to drink a bottle of claret with
you at an hotel in Paris, and another to bring him to the sanctuary
of your home, to the fireside of an Englishman, to the board of your
ancestors, to suffer him to gaze freely on the faces of your sisters,
and to pay his court at his ease to every other female relative beneath
the paternal roof!

The stranger saw my embarrassment, and seemed to penetrate the cause.
He gave me a smile of most inexplicable expression as he said,

"Your late father, Sir George F----, and myself, were old
acquaintances. We spent some months together at Rome, and met with a
few adventures there, which I dare say have never reached the ears of
his son."

This was said in his usual sarcastic way; but I could not endure that
he should allude in the slightest manner of disrespect to my deceased
father; so I answered, with much reserve, and some sign of displeasure,
"That I did not wish to pry into the youthful follies of so near a
relative; at the same time I thought it odd I never should have heard
my father mention that he had formed any particular intimacy with any
one at Rome, but, on the contrary, had even been given to understand
that all his recollections of the Eternal City were rather of an
_unpleasing_ nature."

"Did he never mention to you the baths of Caracalla?" demanded my
strange guest; "but it matters little, for the son of Sir George F----
merits every attention from me _on his own account_, as well as for the
sake of _another_----" He did not finish the sentence; but, folding
his cloak more closely round him, he made me a profound bow, something
between an Eastern salaam and the bow of a dancing-master, and politely
took his leave.

For two or three days I thought much of this extraordinary man; but
after that time I became so deeply interested in a Platonic _liaison_
with Madame de R----, the beautiful wife of a Parisian banker, that I
forgot him altogether. I had to read, as well as to write, sentimental
_billets-doux_ sometimes twice a day, for so often they passed between
my fair Platonist and myself. I had to select all her books, her
flowers, and to choose her ribbons. I know not how it might have ended,
for affairs began to wear a very critical aspect; but I was summoned to
England by an express. My beloved mother was dangerously ill. I tore
myself away, disregardful of the tears that gathered in the brightest
pair of eyes in the world, and travelled post-haste to Calais.

Scarcely had I put my foot on the deck of the vessel ere I perceived my
acquaintance of the Spanish cloak. There he was, walking up and down
the deck,--tall, erect, gentlemanly; there was his magnificent cloak,
without a wrinkle or a spot, the gloss still on it. I sat still, and
watched him, not without a sensation of annoyance, as I was not at
all in the humour just then to enter into conversation. I was uneasy
respecting the life of an only parent, and I had just parted with one
of the prettiest women in France, at the moment, too, when we both
wished Platonism in the same place its founder was, dead and buried;
but I might have saved myself the trouble of being annoyed, for the
stranger did not seem to recognise me, nor wish to speak to any one.
His carriage was lofty and reserved; his eye was proud, and sought to
_overlook_ the rest of the passengers as unworthy of its notice; and so
marked was his avoidance of myself, that I began to feel piqued, and to
imagine that my own personal appearance, if not our former knowledge of
each other, might have gained for me the honour of his notice. Never
before did I see so imperious an eye, or so magnificent a cloak!

The passage was a very boisterous one; and all the passengers, both
male and female, began to show evident signs enough that the human
animal was never intended by Nature to ride upon the ocean's billows.
Strange sounds were heard from the very depths of human stomachs, as if
in response to the roaring of the winds and the dashing of the waves! I
began to sympathise most sincerely with the unhappy sufferers; for such
sights and sounds are sure to affect the feelings of those who both
see and hear. In short, I began to look grave, and become squeamish.
I saw nothing but livid lips and blue cheeks around me,--a perfect
pandæmonium of wretchedness; yet there walked the stately man in the
cloak, perfectly unmoved in countenance and stomach. I perceived he had
lighted a cigar, which glowed of a bright red colour, and threw a glow
over his handsome features.

I grew still worse, and my disorder was coming to its climax, when the
eye of the stranger for the first time condescended to notice me, and
he bowed ceremoniously, with a smile which seemed to say, "I wish you
joy, young man, of your sea-sickness!" I turned from him, and sincerely
wished him in the same condition as myself and the other victims of the
wrath of Neptune. He advanced towards me.

"You look ill, sir!" he exclaimed. "Take the advice of an old sailor;
only try one of my cigars; _they are not of common use_; one or two
whiffs will drive away your nausea. I never knew them fail."

Now I loathe smoking at all times; it is a vulgar and idle amusement,
fit only, as a modern writer says, for "the swell-mob;" but at this
moment the thought of it was execrable. I could have hurled the
stranger, when he offered me one of his cigars already ignited, into
the sea.

"I never smoke, sir," said I, pettishly, "and I always get as far away
as I can from those who do. May I thank you to go a little to the
windward?"

"My dear sir, do not be obstinate," said the pertinacious stranger;
"we have many hours before we shall touch the shore, for you see
both wind and tide are against us. I assure you the remedy is always
efficacious;" and he handed me a lighted cigar, immediately under my
nose.

I snatched at the burning preparation, and flung it overboard, with
an exclamation of no gentle kind; it dropped into the boiling waves,
making a noise like a hissing red-hot iron, as it is put by the smith
into the water of the stone cistern.

"It is not of the slightest consequence," said my tormentor, affecting
to believe I had dropped the cigar by accident, "I have plenty more
in my case;" and with the most provoking coolness he lighted another
from his own, and presented it to me. I was puzzled what to do, for the
courtesy of this man was extreme. I was exceedingly sick, and wished
to get rid of him; for who likes to have a witness during the time of
Nature's distress? I therefore accepted his cigar, and turned from him,
with a very equivocal bow of acknowledgement.

There was something of a very refreshing nature in the smell of this
extraordinary-looking cigar, which was burning steadily in my hand.
I resolved to try its boasted efficacy; and accordingly put it to my
lips, and inhaled its fragrance. In a moment I was well, more than
well; for a delicious languor seized me. After that, my nerves were
braced, invigorated; I felt as a hunter does after a long day's sport,
hungry almost to famine, and I descended to the saloon, and called
lustily to the steward to bring me a cold fowl, a plate of ham, and a
bottle of porter. No more nausea, no more livid lips and blue cheeks.
All of a sudden I became eloquent, poetical, and brimful of the tender
passion. I wished to console some of my fair companions who were
languishing around me, and offered my cigar to all who would accept
it. Had it not been for an occasional thought of my mother's illness,
which would intrude upon me whether I wished it or not, what folly and
entanglement might I have got into with a pretty milliner on board,
just returned from Paris, with fashions in her head, and French levity
in her heart!

I ought to have acknowledged my obligation to the stranger for his
remedy; but I had conceived so insuperable a dislike to him, that I
could not account for it, and my only wish was to escape from his
society at Dover, as I feared he would offer to accompany me to London,
and I could hardly refuse him after the service he had rendered me. I
therefore lingered below some few minutes when we arrived, and looked
cautiously around me when I ascended the companion-ladder; but the
stranger was gone. I saw no trace of his august person then, or his
superb Spanish cloak.

I hastened on with four horses to ---- Square, and met my weeping
sisters. My mother still breathed; but that was all. The physicians
could not comprehend her malady, but agreed to call it a general
debility, an exhaustion of the vital energies, without any particular
complaint. She was extremely weak, but knew me instantly, and smiled
her welcome as I knelt and kissed her hand.

My mother was only of the middle age, which made it more strange that
physical weakness should thus overpower her. I inquired at what time
she was first seized; and on reference to my note-book, found out that
her first appearance of illness was at the _precise hour_ when the
stranger in the Spanish cloak was sitting with me at my hotel, and
talking to me of my father. Well! what of that? it was a mere chance!

It is no use disguising it. I am naturally superstitious. We can
no more help the frailties of our minds than the blemishes of our
features. As I sat by my declining mother's side, I pondered again and
again on this mysterious stranger. I recollected how he had cured me of
my sickness in a moment; how wonderfully he knew the private history
of every individual; and I ended by believing that there was something
of a supernatural agency about him. "Perhaps," thought I, starting up
suddenly, and speaking aloud, "perhaps this wonderful cigar of his
might recover my beloved mother." I searched every pocket, hoping that
a remnant of it might have remained: but, no; it had been whiffed away
by the ladies in the cabin, and I had not a vestige left.

When once an idea seizes hold on the mind, it scarcely ever lets go
its hold. I began to consider myself mad, yet could not prevent myself
from going out I knew not whither, to make inquiries for the cloaked
stranger, and request him to give me another of his marvellous cigars.
As I passed Louisa and Emily, my sisters, and----, now no more, they
were alarmed by the wildness of my looks, and endeavoured to arrest my
progress.

"I go to seek a remedy for my mother," exclaimed I, breaking from them,
and I darted from the house.

I made inquiries at all the principal hotels and club-houses for the
stranger in the magnificent cloak. The waiters at the Oriental, the
Travellers, and the Albion, had all seen him, but knew not his address
or name. I sought him in the parks, at the exhibitions; but could
not find him. At length I thought of the British Museum, but _why_ I
did so appears to me most mysterious; I drove instantly thither, and
ran through all the rooms with the most searching gaze. In George
the Fourth's splendid library there, seated at his ease by special
permission from Sir Henry Ellis, I beheld the man I sought, with a
large folio volume of Eastern learning spread open before him.

I felt ashamed to address him; for, had I not been most uncourteous,
most repulsive to him? and now I wanted another favour. I stood before
the table at which he sat, and watched his countenance as he seemed
engrossed with his Oriental literature; but it was only for a moment,
for he raised his eyes by some sudden impulse, and fixed them straight
upon me.

The stranger acknowledged me not even by a bow or a look of
recognition. I knew not what to say to him, yet the case was urgent.

"Pardon me, sir," I stammered out, "I fear I interrupt you; but----"

"Proceed, sir," said the stranger, coldly. "I am always ready to
listen to the son of Sir George F----, for I owe to the father some
obligation."

"You possess the power of allaying the most tormenting sickness by some
mysterious drug or preparation," I said, hesitating as I spoke: "that
was no common cigar. Have you other remedies?"

"A thousand," replied the stranger. "Pray go on."

"My mother lies dangerously ill; can you restore her?"

"May I behold the patient?" demanded the stranger, and an inexpressible
glance flashed from his brilliant eyes.

What made me tremble at this natural request? for such it might have
been deemed, since every medical man has free liberty to inquire into
the symptoms of the case before he prescribes.

Fixedly did his eyes rest on mine; they seemed as if turned to stone,
for they moved not in the slightest degree.

"I will _describe_ my mother's case to you, sir," I said, evasively.

He made me no answer; but, casting down his eyes, he calmly resumed
his reading, and I walked up and down the spacious apartment, in
which there were not above a dozen other persons, in a state of mind
resembling a chaos, occasionally glancing with angry eyes at the
reading stranger, who seemed perfectly composed, and unconscious of my
presence.

"What a fool am I!" said I, mentally; "what _harm_ can this man do my
dying mother? but, then, _she_ may see him--this being that resembles
a demi-god--and _she_ too of so peculiar a mind, so enamoured of all
that is great and wonderful; so romantic, too! Wretch that I am! is my
beloved mother's life to be sacrificed--at least the chance of saving
her--to a wild and jealous fantasy? No!" and I walked up again to the
table.

The stranger was rising as I approached him, had closed his book, and
returned it to the librarian. He would have passed me, but I laid my
hand upon his arm.

"Most extraordinary being!" said I, "_come_, I conjure you, and save my
mother!"

He entered my carriage without saying a word, and silently followed me
to the apartment of my languishing parent, who was dozing in a sort of
lethargic stupor, that appeared to be the precursor of death. My two
sisters stood gazing on her pale features, and---- was holding her thin
white hand in one of hers, and bathing it with her tears.

The stranger took my mother's hand from hers, and--I cannot be
mistaken, for I watched every movement--some strong agitation, some
convulsive spasm, passed over his countenance as he looked upon that
face which never had its equal yet on earth; but, whatever was his
emotion, he soon mastered it, and desired that a silver plate and lamp
might be brought to him.

From a small crystal box the stranger took out a brown preparation,
and, breaking it in two, placed them on the silver plate; then with
a slip of paper lighted from the lamp he ignited the substance so
placed, which sent up a pale blue flame, and a most intoxicating odour.
He desired that my mother should be raised in bed, even to a sitting
posture, when he placed the blazing plate immediately beneath her
nostrils, and some portion of the actual flame entered and curled about
her face. My sisters shrieked, but ---- spake not a word, and I waited
the result with agonised impatience.

"She revives! she revives!" exclaimed the latter, "and my blessed aunt
will live!"

It was true. Years have gone by, and _my mother is still alive_. Never
has she had an hour's illness from that hour. Was I grateful to the
stranger for saving a life so prized? No. In my heart I loathed him at
the very time he was heaping benefits upon me. And why? I detected a
look of wonder, and admiration, and gratitude, and a smile of ineffable
beauty directed towards him by one who----

Disguising as well as I was able the hatred that swelled within my
heart, I offered to place on the finger of this mysterious visitant a
ring of great value, that belonged once to my father. He started as
he saw it, and, pressing a secret spring in it that I knew not of,
restored it to me.

"It was a present from myself to him at Rome," he said, and his voice
faltered, "for a signal benefit conferred. Behold! there is my own
miniature!"

And it was so. Most exquisitely painted was there concealed, a minute
resemblance of himself. I now perceived, and I cursed him in my heart
for it, that ---- retained the ring, after having expressed her
astonishment at the fidelity of the likeness. I rudely snatched it from
her hand, and threw the ring from me.

"Theodore," said my mother, "give me that ring. I know full well who
it was presented that ring to him who is now no more. Marquis! I must
speak to you alone, but not now. Come hither to-morrow. Now, I beseech
you, retire!"

How dreadful is it to bear about with us the seeds of insanity. I have
felt them shoot and grow within me from my childhood. The fibres had
twined about my very being. _I knew_ that madness must some time or
other scorch my brain; I was full of delusions; I could behold nothing
clear with my mental vision. I once heard a learned physician say to my
father, "Take care of him, sir. Excitement may drive that boy mad. Do
not let him study too much; and, above all, I trust he will never meet
with disappointment in any affair of the heart."

Have I met with such? Let me not think about it, or----_And yet I am
not mad now._

From this time I became gloomy and morose, and always worse whenever
this accursed man in the Spanish cloak came to the house, which now
was very often. He charmed all but myself. I hated the sound of his
voice. My sisters would come and try to soothe me into sociability
and calmness. I repelled them with harshness and severity; and even
when my gentle cousin tried each soft persuasive art to lead me to his
presence, I taunted her in the cruellest manner with her hypocrisy, as
I chose to call her blandishments, and bade her "go to the fascinating
marquis, and heap her witcheries on him." Nothing could exceed the
patience of this devoted being, her sweetness of temper, her angelic
forbearance, but my own ferocity and hellish brutality; yet how did I
love her, even when I bitterly reviled her! Once, when I observed that
ring upon her finger, which my mother had permitted her to wear,--that
ring, bearing the portrait of _that man_,--I absolutely spurned her
from my presence, and wonder now that I did not murder her.

Cloud after cloud obscured the light of reason in my brain, and it
was deemed advisable by those who loved me still, notwithstanding my
growing malady, to have some one with me night and day, lest I should
lay violent hands upon myself, as if a life like mine were worth the
caring for.

An intelligent young man, one of my tenants, accepted this painful
task, and he performed it with gentleness and fidelity. He soon
perceived that I grew more furious when the voice or the name of the
Marquis ---- met my ears. He mentioned this circumstance to my mother,
and from that time the marquis was not permitted to enter the house.
I heard of this at first with incredulity, then with complacency.
By degrees I grew calmer. I was afterwards shown a letter from the
cloaked stranger, dated Rome; and it confirmed their assertions. I
once more enjoyed the society of my family, and basked in the smiles
of my beloved cousin. She was all kindness, all attention; and I began
to flatter myself that the ardent love I had borne her from my very
boyhood was returned. It was her reserve that before drove me from my
country.

To my great astonishment and delight, that young Englishman who had
interested me so much in the _salon d'écarté_ at Paris, was formally
refused by her who was dearer to me than life. He was of ancient
family, and of great possessions; I knew he loved her, and feared he
would gain her: but on my saying one day, as if by accident, in her
presence, "that I feared S---- gamed high, and consequently was not
worthy of the regard of any woman of discretion," she gave me a smile
of ineffable sweetness, and told me, "It was of little consequence to
her his frailties or his virtues; for she had long determined to give
him a refusal, and, in fact, had done so before he went to Paris."

I considered the _manner_ of my cousin, more than her mere words, as
encouragement to myself, and with all the ardour of my nature declared
to her my passion. These were her words in reply: "Theodore, I pretend
not to misunderstand you; and, if it be any comfort to you, believe
that I most tenderly return your affection. But, oh, my beloved cousin!
think how you have been afflicted,--and then ask yourself whether
I ought to listen to your proposals? whether you ought to marry?
Theodore, I solemnly promise you that, for your sake, never will I wed
another; but, oh! ask me not to become your wife whilst you are subject
to such a fearful malady."

In vain I represented to her that my late mental affliction had been
caused wholly by my fear of losing her, as I believed that detested
foreigner was exactly the man to charm her, and thus I considered her
lost to me for ever.

"This, dear Theodore," she answered, "is one of your delusions. You had
no cause why you should form such a preposterous notion,--a man old
enough to be my father, and----"

"That is true," said I, "there is disparity of years; but, then, what a
splendid being!"

"Yes," she replied coldly, "he wears a most magnificent cloak."

"Not always, sure?" I asked inquiringly, for I had never entered the
room where he was, since he had cured my mother. "Did he not remove it
when he dined and drank tea with you so often, and stayed so late, that
I could have torn him to pieces for it?"

"Softly, my beloved cousin," said the sweet girl, placing her soft
hand before my lips; "why are you so excited now when talking of this
stranger? _Your_ mother, Theodore, has been restored by him; and for
that service what do we not all owe him?"

"Was it for this," I said, "from gratitude alone, you wore that ring?"

"Yes, from gratitude only. Are you now satisfied?"

"Blessings on you, dearest, for your kindness!" I continued. "But say,
did you ever see him without that cloak?"

"Never, Theodore, never. It was always too hot or too cold; or he was
poorly, or some excuse or other. We never could persuade him to take
off that cloak."

I fell into a long reverie after this; nor could I blame her for her
decision. I knew myself that my brain was not steady, and consequently
I had no right to marry, to entail on my innocent offspring such a
calamity. But then this inexplicable stranger;--perhaps he had the
power to cure me,--he had already performed almost a miracle; if he
could but settle my head, my beloved cousin would become mine, and I
should be free from those fears that were constantly besetting me of
becoming incurably mad.

Nothing would now do but my immediately setting out for Rome to seek
the stranger with the large Spanish cloak. My mother did not think it
advisable that I should go alone; so it was determined that she, with
Louisa and Emily, accompanied by our sweet relative, should bear me
company to Italy, and thither we accordingly went. We lingered not on
our progress to look at curiosities, or paintings, or prospects. We
journeyed as fast as four horses could carry us, and arrived quite safe
at imperial Rome.

I was sorry to learn that the Marquis ---- was now at Naples; and,
after settling my family in an elegant villa a few miles from modern
Rome, I set off in quest of the man for whom I had an antipathy,
powerful, incurable; and for what purpose? To request his aid,
mysterious, perhaps sinful, to cure me of a disorder, of which the
consciousness was part of its calamity. The raving madman, at least, is
saved from _knowing_ his own misery.

I had not been an hour at Naples, attended by my favourite servant, the
young man who once acted to me as my keeper, when I saw from the window
of my hotel the cloaked stranger pass with a lady on his arm. But I
hesitated not,--I might lose him for ever; so I ran into the street,
and hastily accosted him.

What I said to him I know not, for my words were wild and ambiguous;
but he promised that he would dine with me the following day, although
his manners were even more reserved than when I spoke to him at the
Museum.

Our instincts ought ever to be attended to; the brute creation follow
nothing else, and _they_ commit no sin. The first time I saw this
stranger, he was looking at an inscription at Athens, and I felt a
secret desire to get from his presence; but he entangled me with
his talk, his knowledge of everything around, his high bearing, his
intelligent eyes, and his superb Spanish cloak.

Again we were seated at the same table, and I again requested him to
remove his mantle.

"Not yet," he said significantly; "but after the cloth is removed I
will, if you still wish it, take off this upper clothing."

Oh how sarcastically were these words pronounced! My heart beat
violently; I could not eat, and became abstracted and melancholy; not
a word was said respecting my request to him, nor did he ask me why I
sought him. He ate in silence, and seemed to have forgotten he was not
alone.

When the table was cleared, the stranger coolly took a book from under
his cloak, and began to read; whilst I, pondering on all I had ever
known of him, began to feel the most burning desire to see this man
once _without_ his cloak, and was determined to do my utmost to effect
it.

"The cloth _is_ now removed, signor," said I, "and you promised _then_
you would take off that everlasting garment."

"It displeases you, then?" retorted my companion. "_Is it not unsafe to
penetrate below the exterior of all things?_ Is not the surface ever
the most safe? Is not the _outer_ clothing of nature ever the most
beautiful to the eye? What deformity dwells in mines, in caverns, at
the bottom of the ocean! Nature wears a cloak as beautiful as mine: do
you wish also to strip off her covering as well as mine?"

"At this moment, signor," said I gloomily, "I was not thinking of
Nature at all, but of the strangeness of your ever wearing that cloak."

"Was it for this you came from England, Sir Theodore?" inquired the
marquis, "and sought me at Naples? The knowledge, I should deem, could
never compensate you for the loss of your cousin's society so many
days."

"It was not for this I sought you, noble marquis," I replied, piqued
at his irony; "but, when a man ever wears a cloak, it must be for some
purpose."

"Granted," slowly said my companion; "I have such purpose."

"Which you promised to unfold!" I exclaimed, with pertinacity. "Is it
still your pleasure so to do?"

"_It is necessary first that we should have no intruders_," he
answered, with a tone that froze me to the heart. Oh, how cutting, how
sarcastic did it sound in my ears!

"No person will enter this apartment save my faithful servant, Hubert;
therefore----"

"I promised to enlighten the master, and not the servant. If you insist
on this strange request, the door must be securely locked; there must
be no chance of interruption."

"Oh, what a fuss," I thought, "about a mantle! Why, _he_ must be mad
too! How can he cure me of an evil he has himself? Lock the door,
forsooth, because he takes off his cloak! But I must humour him, I
suppose, or he will find an excuse for breach of promise." As I thought
this, I walked to the door, locked it, and, placing the key upon the
table, merely said, "Now, signor, your promise?"

"Would it not be prudent, young gentleman," he observed, laying his
finger on my sleeve, "that you should speak of your request,--that one
that brought you hither, and which I should conceive of more importance
than the satisfying an idle curiosity,--would it not be wiser of you to
mention this previously to my taking off my cloak."

"Oh, what importance he attaches to so trifling a thing!" thought I;
"but, after all, the man is right; I had better attend to the most
essential, nor was I wise to couple two requests together."

"Signor Marquis," said I, "have you any cure for insanity?"

"_I cured your father_," was the answer, "and this your mother knows.
He in return did _me_ a service; he presented me with--this excellent
cloak."

I was more puzzled than ever; I had never before _heard_ that my poor
father had unsettled reason, but many circumstances made me now believe
it. I fancied too that my youngest sister gave indications of the same
disorder; she was growing melancholy and reserved. "Oh, heavens!"
thought I, "there will be more work for this man to do; I had better
invite him at once to England, and make him physician in ordinary to
our family."

"I have an engagement at nine," said the stranger; "have you any other
inquiries to make?"

"But, if you _cured_ my father, Signor Marquis," I observed, "how
is it that I have inherited the disease? Should not the _cure_ have
eradicated it for ever from him and his posterity?"

"Is it not enough that I prevented the display of such a malady during
his life? that I drove away the cloud that obscured his day, so that
the sun of reason shone brightly on him until his death? What had I
to do with future generations? with a race of men then unborn? _I
performed my contract_, and he was satisfied. Shall the son be more
difficult to please than the father?"

I interrupted him, "Oh, mysterious man! canst thou not cure the _root_
of this disease? stop its fatal progress? prevent the seed from
partaking of the nature of the plant?"

"Young man!" solemnly returned the marquis, "was not thy first
progenitor, the man who resided in Paradise, _mad_--essentially mad?
and has not his disease been carried on, in spite of all physicians,
down, down to the present hour? It is woven into man's very nature;
the warp and woof of which he is composed. I can check its open
manifestation in a single individual; but the evil will only be dammed
up during his time, to give it an increased impetus and power to those
who follow him. Art thou not an instance of this fact? Hast thou not
been madder than thy father?"

I groaned aloud. I remembered my own wild delusions, my sudden bursts
of passion. I even began to think that madness ruled me at that very
hour; that all I saw and heard was the coinage of a distempered brain.

At length I said, dejectedly, unknowing that I spoke aloud, "Then I
must never marry; my children will become worse than myself. Farewell
then----"

"Or rather," interrupted the cloaked stranger, "farewell to human
marriages altogether, if those who marry must be free from madness.
Why, 'tis the very sign they are so, their wishing to rivet fetters on
themselves; but, no matter. What have I to do with all the freaks and
frenzied institutions of such a set of driveling idiots?"

"Art thou not a man?"

"Thou shalt judge for thyself, thou insect of an hour!" and he
unclasped his cloak, and stood erect before me. Coiled around him like
a large boa-constrictor, reaching to his very throat,----But I sicken
as I write! The remembrance of that moment, how shall it be effaced?
Time deadens thousands of recollections, but has never weakened the
impression made upon me at that appalling moment!

The immense mass that wound its lengthy fibres round him, like a cable
of a ship, now became sensibly animated by life! I beheld it move, and
writhe, and unfold itself! I heard its extremity drop upon the floor!
I saw it extend itself, and creep along! More--more still descended;
fewer coils were round him! He turned himself to facilitate its
descent; and, when the enormous whole encircled him, still undulating
on the ground, that being looked towards me with one of those smiles,
that Satan might be supposed to use.

"Behold!" said he, pointing to the dark undulation on the floor,
"_behold the reason why I wear a cloak!_"

Insensibility closed up my senses. I could behold no more. When I
recovered, I was alone. The stranger had departed, leaving the door
ajar; but he had written on a slip of paper, and placed it just before
me, these words:

"The remedy I bestowed upon the father, for _his_ sake I will give unto
the son. _Three notches of the devil's tail_ will perfectly restore
you; but it must be cut off by the hand of _the purest person that you
know on earth_. _It will grow again!!_"

       *       *       *       *       *

I hastily caught up this paper on hearing the step of my attendant,
and placed it in my bosom. I think he saw the action, for he looked
mournfully on me, and shook his head. I told him I was ready to set off
instantly for Rome: his simple answer was,

"I wish we had remained there!"

"And _why_, Hubert?"

"You are pale as a sheeted corpse, and the boards of the floor are
_singed_, yet there has been no fire in the room!"

I looked where he pointed; and, in a serpentine form, I beheld the
traces of that enormous tail I had seen fall from the body of the
cloaked stranger, coiled round him as an immense serpent twines itself
around a tree. I shuddered at the sight. I felt my brain working; yet I
wrestled with the spirit of darkness within. I tried to persuade myself
that I had been overtaken only by a dream; that my whole acquaintance
with the pretended marquis was nothing but an illusion, a vision of the
imagination, an optic delusion, an hallucination of an excited state
of mind; but it would not do. There were the dark and calcined marks,
which it was my duty to account for to my host, who cared very little
how they were occasioned, so as he received an ample sum to have the
boards removed, and others in their place.

Our accounts were soon arranged, and I returned to my anxious family;
but my disorder was increasing hourly. The wildest imaginations haunted
and perplexed me. My beloved mother looked at me with tears swimming in
her eyes. My eldest sister strove, by a hundred stratagems, to dispel
the gloom that arose amongst us all. Emily sat, absorbed in her own
melancholy thoughts, a fellow-sufferer, I fancied, with myself. My
lovely, innocent, affectionate cousin held my fevered hand in one of
hers, and imploringly asked me to be tranquil; said she would sing to
me if I would try to sleep. I felt the gentle charm, and gave myself up
to it. I laid myself upon the sofa; and she, whose name I cannot utter,
sitting on a low stool by my side, sought to soothe me with her voice.


           THE SONG OF ----.

    "Come from Heaven, soft balmy Sleep,
      Since thou art an angel there!
    Come, and watch around him keep--
      Watch that I with thee will share.

    Strew thy poppies o'er his head,
      Calm the fever of his mind;
    All thy healing virtues shed,
      That he may composure find!"

"Oh, God!" I cried, jumping up; "and must I never call this angel mine?
Better to die at once, or lose all consciousness of what a wretch I am!"

"Hush, my dearest cousin! I have invoked an angel from the skies to
visit you; drive her not away by ill-timed violence; here, let me hold
your hand;" and she began again to murmur in a low tone,

    "Strew thy poppies o'er his head,
      Calm the fever of his mind."

and so I fell asleep.

When I awoke, my gentle cousin, (more constant than my heavenly
visitant, Sleep,) was still seated by my side; all the rest were gone;
candles burned on the table--it was midnight; I had slept for hours,
she yet retained my hand. I looked at her, and burst into tears.

"We are alone, Theodore," said my beloved; "tell me, I beseech you,
what is labouring on your mind. You have spoken strange things during
your sleep. You have declared that I had the power to restore you; can
I do this? Theodore, be candid! Were it to cost my life, I would gladly
lay it down to be of benefit to you."

I could not answer her; but I clasped my arms round that pure, angelic
form, and wept like an infant on her bosom.

"Can I do you service, Theodore? You deny not what your lips murmured
in sleep."

"You can restore my reason, for you are the purest person that I know
on earth."

"By what means? But, alas! you are wandering still; this is one of your
delusions! Would that it were in my power to heal thy mind, my dearest
cousin."

"In this, my heart's treasure, I am at least perfectly sane. _You have
the power to cure me._"

"Tell me the means."

I related to ---- the whole of my adventures at Naples. I hid nothing
from her excepting that our children might be infected with the same
disease. Many reasons prevented my naming this. She was too delicate
for me to allude to such a circumstance; I was willing to run all
hazards of my posterity inheriting so dreadful a disease. My father had
done as I intended to do; and the remedy was as open to _my_ offspring
as to myself, for had not the cloaked stranger told me that "the tail
would grow again"? Even without such growth, had it not notches enough
for a whole line of my posterity, supposing them all in want of such a
restorative.

There was a pause of a full minute ere she spoke; her cheek was
blanched, and her hand trembled in mine.

"Theodore, I know not what to think, whether from madness or from
sanity comes your wondrous tale; but I will go through it, come what
may. I will see this being; and, should he be indeed the author of all
evil, out of evil shall come good, for I have courage, for your dear
sake, to take from him the horrid remedy; but speak not of it, even
to your mother or your sisters. Ah, poor Emily! she too may need such
help! I will procure enough for her also."

Every thing was arranged. I was in that state that all I demanded was
granted to me, for they feared to oppose my wishes. I entered the
travelling carriage with my beautiful betrothed.

We had no attendants. We drove to the same hotel in which I had been
before. We were shown into the same room; but the marks upon the floor
were gone,--new boards were there. We ordered dinner _for three_; and I
went out in search of the cloaked stranger.

It may seem strange that those who seek the devil, should seek in vain;
but what is so perverse as the Origin of Evil?

Towards the close of day I however brought him in, as lofty,
proud-looking, and handsome as ever; his features bore the stamp of
angelic beauty; but, alas! the expression was--_the fallen angel_. He
saluted with much politeness, nay, even kindness, my lovely friend; and
we entered at once upon the business.

When he heard _who_ was to perform the operation, he absolutely turned
pale, and made a thousand objections. Some other person might be found;
but I, fool that I was! overruled them all, and insisted on it, that
she was the purest person that I knew on earth.

He then endeavoured to intimidate her; but she was resolute, though her
lip quivered. We had a long argument about it, and most subtle was his
reasoning. Yet he seemed as if he had no power absolutely to refuse.
Reluctantly he drew from a secret pocket in his cloak a small steel
hatchet, with many figures inscribed upon it. She received it at his
hands; but I observed a fixedness in her beautiful eyes, and a rigidity
about her mouth, that I did not like; still she grasped the shining
instrument, and hesitated not. But, when his cloak fell off, oh, what a
look of horror did those dear eyes assume!

Slowly descended the voluminous appendage; its extreme end fell on the
chair on which he had been sitting. She flew like lightning thither,
raised the glittering tool, marked the precise spot, and severed at a
blow "three notches of the devil's tail!"

"Take--take your remedy, dear Theodore!" she whispered, "for I cannot
touch it."

I stooped, and took the severed quivering part, _but could not hold
it for its heat_; so thrust it into my coat-pock; I then turned to
congratulate my deliverer, _but she was a lifeless corpse at my feet_;
and the stranger had vanished, I knew not and I cared not whither.

How often have I called on madness, or on death, to take from me the
memory of her loss! Neither would come! I have had no return of my
malady, but I have experienced anguish fourfold! The only benefit
derived has been that my sister Emily has been totally cured by the
specific that was so dearly purchased, for it proved efficacious in
both cases.

Perchance it may prove useful for the future members of our family,
should they be infected with this hereditary complaint; for myself, I
shall never need it for my offspring, my affections are buried in the
grave; but I have bequeathed it to my beloved sisters--with my hopes,
more than my belief, that it may prove effective,--"the _three notches
of the devil's tail_!"



TRANSLATION FROM UHLAND.

THE SERENADE.


    What soft low strains are these I hear
      That come my dreams between?
    Oh! mother, look! who may it be
      That plays so late at e'en?

    "I hear no sound, I see no form;
      Oh! rest in slumber mild:
    They'll bring no music to thee now,
      My poor, my sickly child!"

    It is not music of the earth
      That makes my heart so light;
    The angels call me with their songs,
      Oh! mother dear, good night!



THE PORTRAIT GALLERY.--No. III.


My friend was proceeding to relate many curious anecdotes of SIR RUBY
RATBOROUGH, when a row of several portraits of persons I had seen
abroad struck me. The librarian informed me that they were those of the
Cannon family, who had long resided on the Continent; and I immediately
recognised a most eccentric set of people, met so often, and at various
places, with such a rapidity of locomotion, that many fancied they were
gifted with ubiquity. The portraits, my conductor informed me, were
taken at Florence; and their history might serve as a hint to artists.
The painter had, unfortunately, commenced with the handsomest of the
girls; and, having somewhat flattered the likeness, of course the
family were delighted with his performance: but, when the older and the
uglier Cannons came to sit, no flattery could render their portraits
tolerable to them. The consequence was, that they were considered as
bad resemblances, and left on the painter's hand; the more favoured
young ones, of course, not being allowed by their indignant elders to
take theirs away. I had heard so much of this family that I requested
my friend to postpone our review of the political character, to give
me some account of these wandering emigrants; and he gratified my
curiosity by putting into my hands the following MS. containing a
sketch of their adventures at home and abroad, drawn out by Quintilian
Quaint.


THE CANNON FAMILY.

Who has not seen the Cannons in their Continental excursions? or, to
use Mrs. Cannon's malapropic expression, their _incontinental_ tours?
Whoever has strolled, or lounged, or lurked in a French _promenade_, a
Spanish _alameda_, or an Italian _corso_, has fallen upon some branch
of the family; nay, more properly, on two or three of them; for, if a
body perchance hits upon one individual of that numerous race, he is
sure to be rebounded on a brother or a sister, illustrating their name
by making what is called a _canon_ in billiard-room parlance.

So very _répandu_ is this moving train of curious ordnance, and
the young ladies have been so walked about, and stalked about, and
dragged about in pick-nicks, _déjeuners champêtres_, gipsy-parties,
marooning-parties, through woods and forests, hills and dales,
brushwood and underwood, that the witty Lady A---- called them _the
field-pieces_.

What took this family from their delightful box at Muckford, in
Shropshire, to visit France, and Italy, and Germany; to paddle in the
Seine, dabble in the Arno, and stroll with the rabble along the Rhine?
Surely it must have been love of the fine arts, or the cultivation of
foreign tongues, with the ladies; or pursuits of political economy,
statistics, or the study of men and manners, with the gentlemen. Not
in the least degree. The only paintings the fair part of the family
admired were their own lovely faces. All foreign tongues were as
foreign to them as Sanscrit. The only pursuit of polity that occupied
Messrs. Cannons', senior and juniors, was where to find cheap wines and
parsimonious amusements; their statistics, a census of the geese and
turkeys, turbots and mullets, brought to market; and their study of the
"varying shore o' the world" was, congregating with their countrymen,
who, like themselves, disported their nonentity in gambling-houses and
_restaurans_.

What was it then that induced the Cannons to quit their delightful
box in Shropshire? Simply because Lord Wittington and his family had
purchased the estate of Myrtle-Grove, near unto Wick-Hall,--the name
given by Mr. Cannon to his aforesaid delightful box. Now the motives
that induced Mr. Commodus Cannon to bestow upon this box the euphonious
appellation of _Wick-Hall_, arose from a natural association of ideas
and a proper sense of gratitude; for, be it known, that Mr. Commodus
Cannon had once been a tallow-chandler of great renown in the ward
of Candlewick, in which business he had realised a large fortune;
therefore, without much perplexity of the various ramifications of the
brain, its circumvolutions and ventricles, it may be conjectured why
his rural residence was denominated, despite all the arguments of the
ladies, _Wick-Hall_.

The next question that arose in the curious and impertinent minds of
those who must know the causation of all causes, was, how did it come
to pass that the arrival of the Earl of Wittington at Myrtle-Grove
should have induced, in a manner direct or indirect, the family of
an ex-tallow-chandler to migrate from a comfortable residence; to
have left Muckford and their Penates, their well-trimmed lawns, their
well-stocked gardens, their orchards and their paddocks, their dairy,
and their brew-house, and their wash-house, and their ice-house, and
their hot-house, their cosey fire-side and their snug bed-rooms, to
wander about the world, and dwell in cold and dreary, or in broiling
and stewing lodgings; drink sour _ordinaire_ wine instead of port,
sherry, gooseberry, and nut-brown October; be cheated and laughed at
by foreign servants, instead of being attended by worthy, homely, and
honest domestics; and become the ridicule of strangers, instead of
being respected and liked by their neighbours? How did it come to pass
that the Earl of Wittington's arrival should have driven the Cannons
away from their Eden? The reader who cannot guess it at once,--who
gives it up, like a hard riddle or a puzzling conundrum,--must be
stultified, unread, unsophisticated, never have subscribed to a
circulating library. However, as dulness of intellect is more a
misfortune than a fault, we shall kindly condescend to inform him.

Myrtle-Grove had long been untenanted. Mr. Cannon was the wealthiest
resident in or near the village; therefore was _Wick-Hall_ called "the
squire's mansion." Now, stupid, do you take?

Everybody has read Joe Miller. Now it may be recollected that, in that
valuable vade-mecum of _very delightful_ and _charming fellows_, there
is recorded the strange vanity of an ugly scholar in the College of
Navarre, who maintained most strenuously and syllogistically,--nay,
would have met any modern Crichton with a thesis on the subject to show
and prove, that he was the greatest man in the world; and he argued
that Europe being the finest part of the creation, France the most
delightful country in Europe, Paris the most splendid city in France,
the College of Navarre the most enlightened and precious establishment
in Paris, his room unquestionably the best chamber in the college, and
he most undoubtedly the greatest ornament in his room, _ergo_, he was
the greatest man in the world.

In the same train of ratiocination did the Cannons come to the
conclusion that they were the magnates, the top-sawyers, the leaders
of fashion of the village of Muckford. They patronised the Rev. Mr.
Muzzle, the curate, whose meek back was suited to the burthen of a wife
and eight little ones on fifty pounds a year; Mr. Hiccup, M.R.C.S.,
who, to the duties of his profession in the attendance of man and
beast, added the pursuits of rat and mole-catcher, perfumer, stationer,
and tobacconist; and Mr. Sniffnettle, the attorney, solicitor,
conveyancer, proctor, appraiser, auctioneer, poet-laureat and
parish-clerk. A _hop_ at Wick-Hall was anticipated with as much delight
by all the young and old ladies as the opening of Almacks; a game at
loo or twopenny long-whist offered all the attractions of Crockford's;
and the Sunday visits after church were as distinguished for figure and
fashion as a St. James's drawing-room on a birth-day.

This high patrician stand in society unfortunately made the Cannons
proud,--some say haughty, supercilious, and arrogant. It might have
been so; such is the nature of frail mortality, for, alas!

              "Pride has no other glass
    To show itself but pride; for supple knees
    Feed arrogance!"

and Mr. Muzzle, and Dr. Hiccup, and Mr. Sniffnettle, had their
_vertebræ_ and their articulations so greased, and oiled, and
anti-attritioned, that they would bob, and bend, and curl, and coil
like a tom-cat's tail, whenever they visited the mansion.

And strange dreams, and visions, and fantasies would be brewing in the
brains of Mr. Cannon, both when sleeping and awake. He was wealthy; the
Cannons had a dragon rampant for their crest, and _Crepo_ for their
motto,--a motto that was traced to the discovery of a bronze figure of
the Egyptian god Crepitus in the tomb of one of his noble ancestors.
To this proud circumstance the family also owed the Christian-name of
"Commodus," which the elder Cannon always bore,--Commodus being of
Gallic origin. Sometimes Mr. Commodus Cannon thought that he might
purchase a peerage by paying some damages incurred by indiscreet
influential personages; sometimes he fancied that he might be created
a baronet upon a mortgage, or a marriage of one of the Miss Cannons to
some broken-down nobleman.

But, alas! how transient are the visions of glory! of worldly
greatness! Greatness--that gaudy torment of our soul!

      "The wise man's fetter, and the rage of fools!"

Lord Wittington arrived, and the Countess of Wittington, and the Ladies
Desdemona Catson, and Arabella Catson, and Celestina Catson, and
Euripida Catson, and the Hon. Tom Catson, and the Hon. Brindle Catson,
with their aunt, Lady Tabby Catson; and all Muckford was in a state of
commotion, of effervescence, of ebullition, boiling over with hope and
fear. A comet wagging its tail over their steeple,--an eclipse, which
would have set all the Muckfordians smoking bits of glass, and picking
up fragments of broken bottles for astronomical observations,--could
not have occasioned such a stir as the arrival of four travelling
carriages, with dickeys and rumbles crowded with ladies' women,
and gentlemen's gentlemen, rattling away with four post-horses to
Myrtle-Grove.

And now were speculations busily at work. The minds of Mahomet and
Confucius, of Galileo and Copernicus, of Locke and Bacon, were idle
when compared to the brains of the Muckfordians. What was the point
in question? Was it the increase of business and of profit that
would accrue from the consumption of these wealthy visitors?--No.
Was it the advantages that might be derived from their parliamentary
connexions and ministerial interest?--No. Was it the hopes that
their residence might induce other rich families to inhabit the
neighbourhood?--No--no--no! If the reader cannot guess, he must have
lived at the antipodes, or in a desert, or never lived _in life_.
The question was, "I wonder if his lordship and her ladyship will
visit Wick-Hall?" No treaty of alliance, of commerce, of peace--no
protocol that ever issued from the most perfect cerebral organ in
Downing-street--was ever weighed with more momentous disquietude than
this question, "I wonder if his lordship and her ladyship will visit
Wick-Hall?"

"I should think not," observed Mrs. Curate Muzzle; "the Wittingtons are
great folks, and the Cannons were chandlers!"

"Tallow-chandlers, my dear madam," remarked Mrs. Doctor Hiccup.

"Had they even been wax-chandlers," added Mrs. Sniffnettle.

"Or corn-chandlers," replied Mrs. Hiccup.

"But a tallow-chandler," exclaimed Mr. Sniffnettle, who, as we have
seen, was the laureat of Muckford, "as Gay says,

    'Whether black, or lighter dies are worn,
    The chandler's basket, on his shoulders borne,
    With tallow spots thy coat.'"

This appropriate quotation not only drew forth a loud laugh of
approbation, but illumined the minds of the party as brightly as two
pounds of fours might have enlightened Mr. Hiccup's back-shop parlour
on a long-whist and welsh-rabbit night.

"I'm sure I wish them no harm," remarked Mrs. Muzzle, with a benevolent
smile; "but pride is a sad failing, which deserves to be brought down."

"Oh, the deuce mend them!" rejoined Mrs. Sniffnettle; "if they're
brought to their proper bearings a peg or two."

"Because they had a little dirty cash--the Lord knows how they made
it!--they were as pert as a pear-monger's horse!" exclaimed Mr. Hiccup.

"Pride comes first, shame comes after," added Mr. Sniffnettle.

"The priest forgets that he was a clerk," professionally observed Mrs.
Muzzle.

"I could put up with pride, now," said Mr. Hiccup, "from the
Wittingtons."

"Ay!" replied the poet, quoting Byron,

    'The vile are only vain, the great are proud.'"

"Exactly!" observed Mrs. Hiccup, who, like most persons doting upon
poesy, did not understand what she most admired.

Is it not strange that none of these ladies or gentlemen ever said "I
wonder if _we_ shall be invited to Myrtle-Grove?"

Whoever expected or fancied that on such an occasion such a thought
could have entered any well-disposed and educated mind must be an
ass. Who cares, if they are at the foot of the ladder, if those who
are climbing up are properly rolled down? There is no need of crying
"Heads below!" the grovellers will all get out of the way, and let the
tumblers roll in the mire to their hearts' content. I mean the hearts'
content of the lookers-on.

Now, while this most important point was discussed by the chief
authorities of Muckford, a question of still greater importance was
agitated at Wick-Hall.

"I wonder if we ought to call first upon the Wittingtons, or wait until
they call upon us?" said Mrs. Cannon, after dinner.

Mr. Commodus Cannon halted a glassful of port that was marching towards
his mouth, and kept it suspended in air like Mahomet's tomb.

Miss Molly Cannon delayed the cracking of a nut she had just introduced
between two ivory grinders.

Miss Biddy Cannon kept her hand under a roasted chestnut napkin,
unconscious of its temperature, without withdrawing it.

Miss Lucy Cannon cut into an orange she was carefully peeling with a
steel knife; a circumstance that would have produced a galvanic thrill
under other circumstances.

Miss Kitty Cannon filled a bumper of cherry brandy instead of "just the
least drop in the world."

Mr. Cannon, junior, drove a toothpick in his gums instead of his teeth.

George Cannon started, and trod on the cat's tail.

Cornelius Cannon (commonly called Colcannon, having had an Irish
godfather,) made a horrible mistake, by drinking out of his
finger-glass instead of his tumbler.

Peter Cannon used his damask napkin instead of a pocket-handkerchief;
and Oliver Cannon, who had been lolling and rocking his chair, rolled
off his centre of gravity.

A dead silence followed the important question. The ghost of
Chesterfield ought in mercy to have burst from his cerements to have
answered it. Mr. Cannon first ventured to give an opinion--a judicious
opinion.

"Why, as to the matter of that," he said, scratching his brown
wig,--which was, by-the-bye, an action which might have been called
manual tautology, since it was a scratch already,--"as to the matter of
that, it is clear that, if we are to be acquainted with his lordship,
they must call upon us, or we must call upon them."

Now, it is a matter worthy of consideration, that, in difficult and
knotty points, perspicuity of language seldom or ever elucidates
the business. Nothing could be more clear, more lucid, nay, more
pellucid, than Mr. Commodus Cannon's remark,--more self-evident, more
conclusive,--yet it only tended to make darkness visible. Mrs. Cannon,
who possessed greater powers of eloquence, was therefore imperiously
called upon for a rejoinder.

"If you could think, Mr. Cannon, of waiting until my Lord
What-do-you-call-him thinks proper to _honour_ us with a call, you are
a mean-spirited, petty-minded fellow. I'd have you to know we are every
inch as good as they are."

"To be sure we are!" replied all the Cannons in one simultaneous and
spontaneous roar, one well-fired volley of approbation without a
straggling shot,--all but Mr. Cannon senior, who remained as still as a
target.

"We owe nothing to nobody," added the speaker; "and can hold up our
heads as high as anybody that ever wore one."

This reloaded the Cannons, and another fire of coincidence was let off.

"If your nobility give themselves airs with us, let me tell you, Mr.
Cannon, just look at your crest and your motto, and show them that you
can let fly at them hollow."

All applauded except Mr. Cornelius Cannon, who was a good Latin scholar.

"For my part I wouldn't give a brass farthing--no, that's what I
wouldn't--to know them, as it's ten to one they will be shortly
wanting to borrow money from us; but, as we are neighbours, and we are
longer resident at Muckford, it's our business to leave our cards with
them, more especially as there's no _quality_ whatever in this here
neighbourhood but ourselves."

There was no necessity of putting this proposition to the vote; it was
carried by _nem. diss._ acclamations, and the visit fixed upon that day
week.

Now, strange to say, by one of those singular anomalies in the
human mind that puzzle metaphysicians, psychologists, materialists,
and immaterialists, although this acquaintance with the family of
Myrtle-Grove was not, to use Mrs. Cannon's expression, "worth a brass
farthing," everything in the house, from the furniture to the young
ladies, was turned topsy-turvy for a week. There was nothing but
dusting, and polishing, and furbishing, and scrubbing, and rubbing, and
bees'-waxing, and varnishing, and tweezing, and plucking, and puffing,
and blowing at all ends; and swearing, and cursing, and shouting from
the top of the stairs to come up, and bellowing from the foot of the
stairs to come down; and souls, and eyes, and blood, and bones were
sent the Lord knows where by the impatient gentlemen, while the ladies,
who were too well bred to pronounce the vulgar name of the infernal
regions, only wished every servant in the house a visit to the monarch
of that grilling kingdom every hour of the day; and every horse, and
every ass, nay, the very colts and fillies, shod and unshod, broken or
unbroken, were sent to and fro from Wick-Hall to the neighbouring town,
like buckets up and down a well, for silks, and ribands, and bobbins,
and laces, and caps, and bonnets, and feathers, furs, and furbelows,
and rouge-pots, and cold cream, and antique oil, and pomatum, and
washes, and lotions, Circassian and Georgian, that were ever employed
since the days of Jezebel to scrub out freckles and wrinkles, fill
up pits and creases, pucker relaxed fibres and relax puckerings,
eradicate warts, pimples, blossoms, excrescences, efflorescences,
and effluences; with collyria for red eyes, and ointments for crusty
eye-lids, liniments for gummy ankles, with odoriferous and balsamic
tooth-powders, and gargles; with stores of swan and goose down for
gigots, and rear-admirals, and polissons, and bussels; not to mention
the means of throwing out various forms that distinguish the _beau
idéal_ of the undulating line from the rigid severity of the straight
line and the acute angle; while all the wigs, tops, toupets, fronts,
tresses, plaits, curls, ringlets, black, brown, auburn, fair, and foxy,
were put into requisition.

It was not only physical brushing up that was resorted to; the mind
received a proper frizzing; and Debrett's Peerage and Joe Miller, the
Racing-calendar and the Court-guide, were studied during every leisure
moment; while all the scandal-registering Sunday papers were devoured
with avidity.

Various were the accidents that arose in this confusion. Biddy Cannon
broke a blood-vessel in straining her voice to D alt. in practising a
fashionable Italian song. A pet cat of the same (who had been trodden
on by George Cannon) was well nigh scalded to death by the overboiling
of a pipkin of oil of cucumber for Lucy Cannon's sunburns; and Kitty
Cannon caught a desperate sore-throat in trying to catch a hint of a
fashionable walking-dress one rainy morning that the Ladies Catsons
were riding out, peeping at them under a heavy shower from behind a
holly hedge. Poor Kitty Cannon was in a most piteous plight from having
made a trifling mistake in the use of some medicines sent her by Mr.
Hiccup; for, in a very great hurry to try on an invisible corset,
she rubbed her throat with some palma Christi oil, and swallowed a
hartshorn liniment that had been intended for external use. In her
burning agonies she of course kept the whole house in hot water, for
everybody was so busy that nobody could attend upon the poor sufferer;
who, unable to call out, and having torn up her bell by the roots, was
only able to attract attention to her wants by throwing every thing
she could lay hands on about the room, more especially water-jugs,
basins, physic bottles, and every vessel within her reach. Mrs. Cannon
swore she was an unnatural child; and her sisters accused her of being
ill-natured and jealous when she disturbed them in their important
occupations. In short, the Tower of Babel, or the Commons on an Irish
question, were nothing to Wick-Hall, in-doors and out-of-doors, where
the young Cannons were grooming, and docking, and trimming, and figging
their horses.

Mr. Commodus Cannon was the wisest of the party; he smoked his pipe,
muddled over a bowl of punch, and only ordered his scratch wig to be
_curled tight_, with the not unfrequent vulgar wish that the whole
family might be _blown_ to the same exiguous dimensions. He was
ambitious, but he did not like to be _bothered_ with any schemes but
his own.

The day, the great day, big with the fate of the Cannons, was drawing
nigh, and impatiently looked for, as a circumstance had taken place
which gave the Wick-Hall family much to think of and inwardly digest.

Lady Tabby Catson, his lordship's aunt, was subject to night-mare and
sleep-walking when in bed, and liable to fearful hysterics when out of
it. Her case was altogether most distressing, since, according to her
account, she could not lie on either side, was in agony when on her
back, and distracted in any other position. A physician was called in,
but, as he could only pay occasional visits, Mr. Hiccup was in constant
attendance; and as the Ladies Catsons were well supplied with novels,
and were of a most amiable disposition, Hiccup carried various new
publications to his daughters, who immediately ran to show them to the
Miss Cannons, calling the ladies by their Christian names with singular
impertinence,--such a book having been lent by the beautiful Lady
Arabella,--such a review by the lovely Lady Celestina. Moreover, Lady
Tabby Catson, during the intermissions of her ailments, had fits of
devotion that took her like stitches in the side, when Mr. Muzzle was
instantly sent for in one of the carriages. Thus were the curate and
the surgeon in constant attendance, and many little acts of kindness
shown to them by the family, such as presents of fruits and flowers,
all of which passed under the windows of Wick-Hall like the fearful
regal apparitions to Macbeth; and, what was still more offensive,
the favoured families, even the attorney, Sniffnettle, began to grow
rigid in their vertebræ though in the heat of summer, walking past the
Cannons with a mere nod of recognition, and preserving an insulting
perpendicularity.

There was no time to lose in recovering their lost ground, and the
day for commencing a campaign that would terminate in the utter
discomfiture of these vulgar intruders was fast approaching. But,
alas for human and mortal hopes! one hour,--nay, one half-hour,--one
quarter,--the time of reading a letter on foolscap paper, on letter
paper, on note paper, only a few lines written in an intelligible
unauthor-like hand, that required neither time nor spectacles, a hand
that could be read running,--and all the airy fabric of the Cannons'
visions was dissolved.

It was on a Friday morning, the day previous to the intended
visit,--one of those unlucky days in the calendar of human
disappointments, the fifth day of the month, which, according to
Hesiod, is inevitably calamitous; a day that gave birth to Pluto and
the Eumenides; a day when the earth brought forth the monster Typhon,
and those vile giants who dared the Father of the gods,--on this day
did Mr. Commodus Cannon draw on his stockings the wrong side, the
eldest Miss Cannon--I know not why or wherefore--took a morning walk
among the nettles, and her sister Biddy spilled salt at breakfast,
forgetting to propitiate the angry heavens by casting some over her
left shoulder. A thundering rap at the hall-door made the whole family
jump, start, and stare. A footman in the Wittington livery was at the
door! he delivered a letter! Oh! how all the young hearts did beat
and leap! and how the old fount of circulation of Mrs. Cannon did
palpitate, as in days of yore! Scarcely had the door been closed, when
the whole family, with the exception of Mr. Cannon, who was buttering
toast, rushed like a torrent, or a cataract, or any thing else you
like, to secure the missive, anxious as they were to ascertain its
contents. Much time was lost in scrambling for possession of the
letter, snatched alternately from hand to hand without any regard
to filial duty or the rights of primogeniture. At last the letter,
be-buttered, be-honeyed, be-marmaladed, and be-egged, fell into the
possession of Miss Cannon. But oh! horror! instead of the broad
armorial seal of the noble earl, the note was wafered!--ay, gentle
reader, wafered!--moreover, the wafer, still damp, had been broken, and
bent, and divided, exhibiting evident marks of having been moistened by
an abundant secretion of the salivary glands! Oh, fie, my Lord W.!

Philosophers and naturalists tell us there is a method in roasting
eggs; now there is a method in closing letters, which has lately
been adopted by a nobleman whom I have the honour to know, which may
be considered a wrinkle in politeness. To his superiors, such as
emperors, kings, popes, and newspaper editors, his lordship writes on
coloured, perfumed, ornamented, and gilt-edged satin paper, and he
closes his epistle with his armorials, six of which usually consume a
stick of odoriferous wax. To his equals, though they are but few, he
writes on paper somewhat inferior, with a smaller seal. To his titled
inferiors, plain note paper, with a crest and motto. To his untitled
correspondents, half a sheet of letter paper (it must be cut in an
uneven and ragged manner), with a fancy seal, that his noble blazon may
not be polluted by vulgar eyes. To people in business, cits, snobs, a
wafer--but still a wafer--gently dipped in water. But to solicitors,
postulants, petitioners, and humble applicants, he actually spits in
their faces in the same manner as the Earl of Wittington spat in the
crimson phiz of all the Cannons. But the offence did not rest there.
MR. CANNON was on the superscription! ay, a plain MR.! a _Mr._ that
could only be washed out in blood! a _Mr._ that would even make a
respectable tailor jump from his shopboard, and grasp his goose with
proper indignation.

"Lord Wittington, wishing to become the purchaser of Mr. Cannon's
paddock under Breakneck-Cliff, part of his domain, is willing to treat
with him, and will direct his steward to call upon him. His lordship
has been led to understand that Mr. Cannon's young men have been in the
practice of shooting on his grounds; now his lordship wishes it to be
distinctly understood that his keepers have received instructions to
proceed with all the severity of the laws against trespassers."

Mrs. Cannon of course fell into fits; Commodus Cannon cast his scratch
_jasey_ into the fire; some of the young ladies rushed out of the
room; others, in whom no rush had been left, drooped in or on various
supporting parts of the furniture. The _young men_, as his lordship had
dared to call Mr. Cannon's promising and amiable sons, bore the insult
with all the calm dignity of men wantonly offended; they only bit their
lips, turned pale and red, clenched their fists, and paced about the
room at the rate of fourteen miles per hour, while the words "young
men" were muttered and murmured in deadly indignation.

"I'll be d----d if the fellow ever gets my paddock! sooner see him, and
all his seed, breed, and generation, tumbling off Breakneck-Cliff!"

The allocution of Leonidas to his Spartan heroes at the Thermopylæ
could not have been more spirit-stirring than this short and pithy
speech of Commodus Cannon; even Mrs. Cannon, forgetting, in a moment
of just indignation, that female discretion that ought to characterise
a lady's language, could not help supporting the vote by an amendment,
exclaiming, "Ay, and doubly d----d too!"

"And, moreover," added Mr. Cannon, "I'll be blown if I don't stick my
paddock chokefull of buck-wheat, and not leave the fellow a pheasant or
a partridge,--that's what I will!"

It is difficult to say what dire plans of destruction and desolation
might not have been suggested in the family council, had not another
rap at the door, louder, if possible, and more authoritative than the
footman's, interrupted the discussion. All and every one ran to the
windows. Mr. Carrydot, Lord Wittington's steward, was at the entrance
of Wick-Hall, and desired a private interview with Mr. Cannon.

Mrs. Cannon reluctantly swept out of the room, followed by all the
young ladies and the _young men_.

Mr. Carrydot was a smart, dapper, little man, with a bald head, ferret
eyes, aquiline nose tipped with purple, and with a prying countenance
that would have picked out flaws in Magna Charta or the Bill of
Rights. His costume sable; but coat, waistcoat, and unavoidables to
match, were all of a different black, more or less rusty and shining;
his coat-sleeves, or rather cuffs, were short, and allowed his duty
wristbands to be seen puckered up above his hairy and meagre hands,
and bony, long, crooked fingers, with hooked nails in half mourning.
How comes it that the coat-sleeves of certain petty attorneys and
apothecaries are generally too short, save and excepting when they have
donned their Sabbath and visiting raiment? It surely must arise from
the usual practice of extending the arms beyond the limits of their
restrictions whenever a body is going to perform some dirty business,
possibly and probably that the said dirty business may not stain the
cloth they wear, since a cloth may be respectable although the wearer
may be as spotted as a panther. Mr. Carrydot walked, or rather stalked
in; and, without a bow or a preamble, seated himself, without being
asked to take a seat.

Cannon looked an encyclopedia of indignation.

"His lordship has directed me to call upon you, Mr. Cannon, regarding
the approaching county election. You can command several votes, sir?"

"Of course, sir," replied Mr. Cannon, with a proper emphasis and
conciseness.

"You are aware, sir, that his lordship intends to put up Mr. Elfin
Eelback, of Stoop-Lodge?"

"Well, sir! what's that to me? What do I care for his lordship's
candidate?"

Bravo, Cannon! Mrs. Cannon would have inflicted a kiss had she been
present.

Mr. Carrydot's eyes glared with indignation, and beamed with _ousters_
and _ejectments_, as he repeated the words, "What's that to you, sir!"

"Ay!" replied Cannon, giving the table a liberal thump. "What the devil
is it to me?"

"Why, his lordship desires that you will vote for Mr. Eelback."

"Then tell his lordship that I'd sooner see Mr. Eelback skinned alive!"

Cannon was furious. Carrydot was calm, nay, he smiled; for the fury of
Cannon spoke volumes of prospective _foreclosures_, and _distresses_,
and _rescous_, and _replevin_, and _denial_; more especially as Cannon
seemed to be a _good man_, with a silver urn and tea-pot on the table,
and every appearance of wealth and independence about the goods and
chattels on the premises. "You seem to forget, sir," he quietly
replied, "that you only hold Wick-Hall upon a lease, and that your
interest in the lease expires next Michaelmas."

This was a thunderbolt to Cannon, who had laid out upwards of three
thousand pounds on Wick-Hall.

"What, sir, if I refuse to vote for this Eelback?"

"You must turn out, sir, _nolens volens_; so sayeth the law!"

"But justice, sir?"

"So sayeth the law. Every man has a right to do what he likes with his
own, Mr. Cannon."

"What! whatever my political opinions may be?"

"You must poll for his lordship's candidate."

"This is infamous, oppressive, tyrannical!"

"Perhaps you may think so. Your politics, as you say, may differ from
those of his lordship, but his lordship must be in the right. _Primò_,
he is lord of the manor; _secundò_, his property in the county is very
considerable; and, _ergo_, he has a better right to know what is good
for the people than a mere tenant."

"But, sir, he has no right--"

"Once more, sir, every one has a right to do what he likes with his
own."

"Then, let me tell you, sir," replied Mr. Cannon, in a paroxysm of
rage, "that there cudgel is my own, and suppose I knocked you down with
it? This here foot is my own, and suppose I kicked you out of my house,
Mr. Thingembob?"

"In that case," replied Carrydot, with a tranquillity which would have
made Job himself smash all his crockery,--"In that case, sir, if you
made use of that _there_ cudgel, as you call it, the law would soon
make you _cut your stick_; and if you did make the aforesaid use of
that _there_ foot, unless you took _leg-bail_, you should pay dearly
for the experiment."

So saying, Mr. Carrydot took an enormous pinch of snuff, clapped on his
broad beaver with forensic dignity, pulled up his coat-sleeves still
higher with a twisting thrust of the hand, ready for anything--as the
Irish say--from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter, and bidding Cannon, in
a vulgar language unbecoming a solicitor, to prepare "to tip his rags
a gallop by roast-goose time," which in the dignified metaphorical
phraseology of the bar meaneth Michaelmas, he left Commodus Cannon to
his deep reflections.

He was roused from this apathetic state by the entrance of Mrs. Cannon.
"Well, sir?" said she, in an anxious tone. "Well, sir?"

"Mrs. Cannon, I regret it, but we _must_ have a revolution in this here
slavish, this here degraded country!"

"Lord-a-mercy! what has happened?" replied his affrighted lady.

"It is not what has happened, madam," replied the regenerated
free-born Briton; "it is what shall happen. By gums!--(he was already
beginning to be somewhat puritanical and sanctified; the day before,
nay, a few moments previous to Carrydot's entrance, he would have
sworn by G--, like any duke or marquis,)--by gums! this here proud
big-wig aristocracy must be brought down; nothing can save poor
England but the abolition of this insolent peerage, these hereditary
law-makers from father to son. I say, no peers! no bishops! no lords!
a yearly parliament! universal sufferance!--(it is presumed he meant
suffrage,)--vote by ballot! Throw up your pew, Mrs. Cannon! kick the
tax-gatherer down stairs! I'll kick the fat gold-laced beadle myself!
and tell Parson Muzzle that he's a humbug and a leech!"

Mrs. Cannon, and all the Cannons, great-guns and small-arms, were
terrified, and fancied the worthy man was out of his senses. She
proposed to send for Mr. Hiccup.

"Hiccup be d--d! Do you think, woman, that Hiccup would condescend to
come to you and me were we kicking in fits, dying with the pip, or had
swallowed a mutton-chop the wrong way? Hiccup is with his lordship,
with the Most noble, the Right honourable the Earl of Wittington, the
Right honourable the Lady Tabby Catson! If their noble fingers ached,
'twould be in the Gazette, so it would. If they got a surfeit from
cramming turtle down their noble throats, it would be in the papers!
Hiccup! the rascal! the Tory pill-gilder! wouldn't give a commoner, an
independent citizen, or an honest pauper, second-hand physic if a lord
wanted him! No, not to save a fellow Christian's life!"

All this was inexplicable to the open-mouthed and alarmed family, when
a sudden burst of tears followed this violent paroxysm; and the Cannon
circle, drawing round their chief with becoming uneasiness, were soon
made _au fait_ to the full extent of the fresh indignities offered
their name and fame.

What was to be done? To remain at Wick-Hall after such an insult would
have been the height of degradation; to keep possession of it at the
expense of conscience by voting for Mr. Eelback, an abnegation of a
freeman's independence. All was doubt; and the thoughts of the Cannon
family were, to use the words of Otway,

        "Like birds, that, frighted from their rest,
    Around the place where all was hush'd before,
    Flutter, and hardly flutter, and hardly settle anywhere,"

when another nerve-upsetting rapping at the hall once more interrupted
the busy circle. Mr. and Mrs. Grits were announced.

"Who is Mr. Grits?" exclaimed Mrs. Cannon.

The question was answered by Mrs. Grits in person; and in her, to
her utter horror, Mrs. Cannon recognised the daughter of Mr. Suet, a
carcase butcher, who had lived near them when Mr. C. was in the tallow
line.

To see her at Muckford appeared to Mrs. Cannon as wonderful as though
she had beheld the spirits of all the bullocks Mr. Suet had ever
slaughtered scampering about Smithfield. The ex-Miss Suet explained
matters. She had married Mr. Grits, a grocer, who had failed thrice,
once a bankrupt, and twice an insolvent, by which means he had realised
a tolerable independence; yet, for appearance sake, he preferred
improving his condition with the means of others, and had travelled
abroad as a _maître d'hôtel_, with the Wittingtons.

At another time,--nay, a few hours before their visit,--the Grits would
not have been received; now, in the distressed state of the family,
they were welcomed with cordiality.

But the mind sickens at the object of their visit,--to advise Mr.
Cannon to accede to his lordship's proposals, and not irritate a
powerful enemy by an idle show of independence!!--But to think of a
reconciliation brought about by a butcher's daughter and a butler!--No,
no, thrice no;--the breach was immeasurably widened. Mr. Cannon
stuttered and stammered all the insults that had been heaped upon him.
Mrs. Grits plainly saw that no pacification could be expected; and,
although she expressed the utmost regret, she was inwardly delighted,
as it did not exactly suit her views that she should be known to be
a butcher's daughter. She, therefore, seizing both Mrs. Cannon's
trembling hands in the kindest manner, attempted to console and advise
her.

"I can readily imagine, my dear friend, how much this overbearing
conduct of my lord should have annoyed you. Oh! he is as proud as
Lucifer when he goes to open his parliament! It is such men, my dear,
that make me abhor this horrible England."

"Ay, horrible England!" repeated Mr. Cannon with ferocity.

"I have lived too long in that dear delicious France, that _belle
France_, to exist, or rather vegetate, in this abominable country."

This word, "_France_," acted like a magic spell; it seemed a password,
a _Shibboleth_, an _open sesame_ to regions of delight.

"Ay, France is the country! only ask Mr. Grits."

"Oh, there's nothing like it!" responded Mr. Grits, a jolly red-faced
fellow, with an enormous abdomen, rendered more _salient_ by a flapped
white waistcoat.

"And such society, oh! such an opening for young people, oh! No one
asks who and what you are, only have the caraways! Lord bless me!
there was Mrs. Triplet, the pawnbroker of Islington's wife, married
her daughter Peg to a French count; and Mr. Rumstuff, the tailor in
the Minories, married his daughter to a general,--ay, a real general;
and then, such living, and such society, and such amusements! _Gardes
du corps_ with such nice moustaches, and _pâtés de truffes_, and
_omelettes soufflées_, and _bals champêtres_ at Tivoli, and _glasses_
at Tortoni's, and _poulets à la crapaudine_, and _salmis de lièvre_,
and then, the masked-balls at the opera, oh! and _des œufs à la
neige_, and _des œufs au miroir_! How many ways have the French of
cooking eggs, Mr. G.?"

"Three hundred and forty-three, Mrs. G."

"Only think of that! I make Mr. G. live upon eggs _à la coque_, _à la
tripe_. And then meat at fourpence per pound!"

"Fivepence halfpenny for prime joints, if you please, Mrs. G." added
Mr. G.

"And such poultry! such capons! You have no capons in England, my dear.
Bless us, they don't know what's what! and so many delicious ways of
cooking them, _chapon à la barbare_, _chapon à la Veluti_, _chapon au
parfait amour_; and then, the Hussars, and the Lancers, and the horse
and foot dragoons. Oh! women there may do whatever they like! and girls
may string lovers like a _brochette of ortolans_!"

In short, Mrs. Grits gave such a flattering account of France, its
pleasures, its cookery, and its economy, that it was decided that to
France the family should go. Mr. Cannon said he was too old to learn
to _parlez-vous_, but the ladies procured grammars and dictionaries,
to brush up their boarding-school education; and in ten days the whole
family were packed up in three travelling carriages, and set out for
Dover; their only domestics, Sam Surly, a Yorkshire coachman, and Sukey
Simper, a Kentish maid, whom we shall again find on the road.

Such is the ingratitude of mankind that all Muckford was delighted with
their departure. "_Hurrah! All the Cannons are gone off!_" exclaimed
Mr. Sniffnettle.

Lady Tabby Catson died soon after, leaving a handsome legacy to Mr.
Hiccup, the surgeon. Muzzle got a living, and resided at Wick-Hall,
the name of which he changed into _Cushion-Lodge_, alluding, no doubt,
to the _otium_ he enjoyed. Sniffnettle was made under-steward of Lord
Wittington's estate; and Mr. Grits opened an inn at the sign of the
_Mitre_, opposite _Cushion-Lodge_, and, as the Rev. Mr. Muzzle had been
appointed tutor to the youngest of the honourable Catsons, whenever
he saw the sign bearing the episcopal diadem swinging in the wind,
despite all humility, a warrantable ambition would often lead him to an
association of ideas in which a crosier acted as a favourite crotchet;
nay, in his sleep sometimes Queen Mab would tickle his nose until he
dreamt of bishopricks, _congés d'élire_, and visitation dinners, and
then he would suddenly awake and terrify Mrs. Muzzle, roaring out "NOLO
EPISCOPARI!"



A CHAPTER ON LAUGHING.

"And Laughter holding both his sides."--MILTON.


If you were to ask a learned physician to explain to you the peculiar
sensation termed laughter, it is more than likely he would astonish you
with an amazing profundity of erudition, ending in the sage conclusion
that he knows nothing more about the matter than that it is a very
natural emotion of the senses, generally originating with a good
joke, and not unfrequently terminating in a fit of indigestion. If he
happened to be (as there are many) a priggish quack, it is not unlikely
he would add as a sequel, that it was a most injurious and unmannerly
indulgence, particularly favouring a determination of blood to the
head, and decidedly calculated to injure the fine nerves of the facial
organ! If, on the contrary, he should be a good, honest follower of
Galen, he would not fail to pronounce it the most fearful enemy to his
profession, as being altogether incompatible with physic and the blues,
and, by way of illustration, he might go so far as to read a chapter of
Tom Hood's best, in order to prove the strength of his position.

Laughter--good, hearty, cheerful-hearted laughter--is the echo of
a happy spirit, the attribute of a cloudless mind. Life without it
were without hope, for it is the exuberance of hope. It is an emotion
possessed by man alone,--the happy light that relieves the dark picture
of life.

We laugh most, when we are young; the thoughts are then free and
unfettered, there is nothing to bind their fierce impulse, and we sport
with the passions with the bold daring of ignorance. Smiles and tears,
it has been observed, follow each other like gloom and sunshine; so
the childish note of mirth treads on the heels of sorrow. It was but
yesterday we noticed a little urchin writhing apparently in the agony
of anguish; he had been punished for some trivial delinquency, and his
little spirit resented it most gloriously. How the young dog roared!
His little chest heaved up and down; and every blue vein on his pure
forehead was apparent,--bursting with passion. Anon, a conciliatory
word was addressed to him by the offended _gouvernante_; a smile passed
over the boy's face; his little eyes, sparkling through a cloud of
tears, were thrown upwards; a short struggle between pride and some
other powerful feeling ensued; and then there burst forth such a peal
of laughter, so clear, so full, so round, it would have touched the
heart of a stoic!

Our natural passions and emotions become subdued, or altogether
changed, as we enter the world. The laugh of the schoolboy is checked
by the frown of the master. He is acquiring wisdom, and wisdom (ye
Gods, how dearly bought!) is incompatible with laughter. But still, at
times, when loosened from his shackles, the pining student will burst
forth as in days gone by: but he has no longer the cue and action
for passion he then had; the cares of the world have already mingled
themselves in his cup, and his young spirit is drooping beneath their
influence. The laughter of boyhood is a merry carol; but the first rich
blush has already passed away. The boy enters the world, full of the
gay buoyancy of youth. He looks upon those he meets as the playmates
of other hours. But Experience teaches him her lessons; the natural
feelings of his heart are checked; he may laugh and talk as formerly,
but the spell, the dreams that cast such a halo round his young days,
are dissipated and broken.

There are fifty different classes of laughers. There is your
smooth-faced politic laugher, your laugher by rule. These beings are
generally found within the precincts of a court, at the heels of some
great man, to whose conduct they shape their passions as a model. Does
his lordship say a _bon mot_, it is caught up and grinned at in every
possible manner till, the powers of grimace expended, his lordship is
pleased to change the subject, and strike a different chord. And it is
not astonishing. Who would refuse to laugh for a pension of two hundred
a year? Common gratitude demands it.

There is, then, your habitual laugher, men who laugh by habit, without
rhyme or reason. They are generally stout, piggy-faced gentlemen, who
eat hearty suppers, and patronise free-and-easys. They will meet you
with a grin on their countenance, which, before you have said three
sentences, will resolve itself into a simper, and terminate finally
in a stentorian laugh. These men may truly be said to go through life
laughing; but habit has blunted the finer edges of their sympathies,
and their mirth is but the unmeaning effusion of a weak spirit.
These personages generally go off in fits of apoplexy, brought on by
excessive laughter on a full stomach!

There is, then, your discontented cynical laugher, who makes a mask of
mirth to conceal the venom of his mind. It is a dead fraud that ought
not to be pardoned. Speak to one of these men of happiness, virtue, &c.
he meets you with a sneer, or a bottle-imp kind of chuckle; talk to him
of any felicitous circumstance, he checks you with a sardonic grin,
that freezes your best intentions. He is a type of the death's head the
Egyptians placed at their feasts to check exuberant gaiety.

There is, then, your fashionable simperer, your laugher _à-la-mode_,
your inward digester of small jokes and tittle-tattle. _He_
never laughs,--it is a vulgar habit; the only wonder is, that
he eats. People, he will tell you, should overcome these vulgar
propensities; they are abominable. A young man of this class is
generally consumptive, his lungs have no play, he is always weak and
narrow-chested; he vegetates till fifty, and then goes off, overcome
with a puff of _eau de rose_, or _millefleur_, he has encountered
accidentally from the pocket-handkerchief of a cheesemonger's wife!

Last of all, there is your real, good, honest laugher; the man who has
a heart to feel and sympathize with the joys and sorrows of others; who
has gone through life superior to its follies, and has learnt to gather
wisdom even from laughter. Such are the men who do honour to society,
who have learnt to be temperate in prosperity, patient in adversity;
and, who, having gathered experience from years, are content to drink
the cup of life mingled as it is, to enjoy calmly the sweeter portion,
and laugh at the bitter.

There is a strange affinity in our passions. The heart will frequently
reply to the saddest intelligence by a burst of the most unruly
laughter, the effigy of mirth. It seems as though the passion, like
a rude torrent, were too strong to pursue its ordinary course; but,
breaking forth from the narrow channel that confined it, rushed forth
in one broad impetuous stream. It is the voice of anguish that has
chosen a different garb, and would cheat the sympathies. But we have
ourselves been demonstrating the truth of our last proposition; for we
have been writing on laughter till we have grown sad. But what says the
old song?

    "To-night we'll merry, merry be,
        To-morrow we'll be sober."

So sadness, after all, is but joy deferred.



A MUSTER CHAUNT

FOR THE MEMBERS OF THE TEMPERANCE SOCIETIES.


        Wine! wine! fill up
        The sparkling cup
    With champagne hissing to the brim;
    For wit, and joy, and rapture, swim
    In bumpers. The grape's blood is mine;
    I'll steep my heart in it till it shine
        With the warm flush
        The purple blush
    Of wine!

        Wine! wine! the frown
        Of Care we'll drown
    In deep libations to the God
    Who planted first on Nysa's sod
    The branches of the illustrious vine.
    Bacchus, we worship at thy shrine!
        In Pleasure's bowers
        Swift fly the Hours
    Whose wings are wash'd with wine!

        Wine! wine! the brow
        Is mantling now;
    The eye is flashing with "the flow
    Of soul," the cheek has caught its glow;
    The lips are breathing words divine,
    While wreaths of song around them twine
        In glorious lays,
        Chaunting the praise
    Of racy wine!

        Wine! wine! fill up
        And quaff the cup
    To lovely woman! Drink again
    To all bold festive souls who drain
    The crystal bowl, and wear the sign
    Of bacchanals. Hurrah! we're there,
        Thou soul of joy!
        Immortal boy!
    God of immortal wine!



REMAINS OF HAJJI BABA.


CHAPTER IX.

I alighted with my friend at the caravanserai where the coach had
stopped, and there he advised me to put up for the night, promising to
come on the following morning to assist me in procuring a lodging.

"But first tell me," said I, "who are the two persons who were so
violently opposed to each other."

"The fair man," said he, "is one of our _omrahs_ or lords; the other is
one of the middle ranks, who has made himself conspicuous by advocating
the cause of the people. Our whole country is principally divided into
two factions, holding their opinions. There is also a moderate set who
do not partake of their violence, but unfortunately their voice is not
sufficiently heard. But we will talk more upon these matters again,"
said he, and then left me.

The next day he came, and without much difficulty succeeded in settling
me in a lodging, where I found everything prepared to receive me, as
well as if the Shah's chief tent-pitcher had preceded me to give the
requisite orders. The English habits, which I had acquired when here
before in the days of our embassy, returned as fast as I recognised
the objects which before had been familiar to my sight, but which had
been much obliterated by my absence in Persia. I again sat upon chairs
instead of my heels; again I ate with knives and forks instead of my
fingers; and once more I found myself called upon to walk about upon my
own legs with the activity of a Franc, instead of making use of a horse
to take me daily to attend the Shah's selam, or to sit at the Royal
Gate in attendance upon the Grand Vizier.

I had always a memory for localities; places which I had once seen I
scarcely ever forgot; thus I was at no loss to find my way about the
city. Of the language I remembered enough to make myself understood;
and so far I felt independent, and needed not the attendance of
a _mehmander_. I thanked my friend Jan for all his kindness; and
assured him, whenever I was in any difficulty, or whenever I required
information upon matters relating to his country, I would not fail to
call upon him.

The lodgings in which I had taken up my abode were situated in a
large house that looked upon a garden inclosed by iron spikes. It
was a better sort of caravanserai, greatly resorted to by people of
all nations; Francs, from different parts of Frangistan, who spoke
each their different language, and adapted themselves as well as they
could to the manners of the English. I was visited by the landlord,
a well-looking, well-spoken man, and his wife, an elderly lady, who,
having come once to see, as the English frequently say, that I was
comfortable, did not again trouble me by their presence. I occupied two
rooms; one to sit in and receive my guests, the other to sleep in. My
servant, Mahboob, slept in another room close to mine.

My first care was to walk out to take a survey of the city, in order to
discover those symptoms of ruin and poverty which I had so frequently
been assured were spreading over England, and marking her downfall.
I soon found myself in a street, of whose magnificence I had no
recollection. It seemed composed of entirely new houses. The shops,
which were opened on each side, were so brilliant, and seemed to be so
overflowing with merchandise and riches of all sorts, that my senses
seemed to have escaped from my head as I looked on in astonishment;
and ever and anon I found myself standing with my finger in my mouth,
exclaiming, "Bah! bah! bah!" "Is this decay?" thought I. "Can this
people be really on the brink of ruin? There must be something more in
this than I can understand." The street was positively more thronged
with men and women than even one of the most crowded bazars of Ispahan.
I saw more carriages, more horses, more carts, and more stir, than I
recollected to have seen when here before. Every one seemed busy, and
bustled along, as if all depended upon their haste. Whence they were
coming, whither going, who could say? Were they all thinking of ruin,
or were they bent upon happiness? I was longing to stop and ask each
person what had happened, so very uncommon was this state of things
compared with what I had been accustomed to witness in my own country,
or even in the European countries through which I had travelled. I
continued to walk through this astonishing street, thinking I should
never come to the end of it, when I reached a magnificent opening,
where, to my still greater astonishment, I discovered an unbounded
prospect of dazzling white palaces, standing amidst gardens and fields,
and looking like the habitations of the blessed in the seventh heaven
promised to us by the Prophet. "Can this be decay?" again I exclaimed.
"These people must have a different way of going to ruin, to the one
which I have been accustomed to contemplate. In my country ruin speaks
for itself. At Ispahan we see whole districts of broken walls which
once were houses, tottering mosques, deserted baths, and untenanted
caravanserais. But here, in the short space of twelve years, here is a
new creation; unbounded prosperity seems here to speak for itself; and,
if this be a country of paupers, what are we to call riches?"

As I was turning my steps homewards, I was struck all at once with the
conviction that I was near the spot (a spot which had never left my
imagination) where, enamoured as I then was of the moonfaced Bessy,
I proposed marriage to that heart-enslaver. I looked about me, and
recognised the very portal where, under a mutual umbrella,--as it
poured with rain,--I told her of my love. I recollected that, not
very far off, in this same street, lived her father, and mother, and
family; and I determined forthwith to seek them out, and to renew my
acquaintance. I paced along the street, looking upon every house with
uplifted eyes, in the hope of discovering some sign by which I might
recognise it; but the buildings were all so hopelessly alike that I
began to despair of hitting upon the right knocker. It came to my mind
that a lion's head held the knocker, because I had compared it in
former days to the face of the mamma Hogg herself; but, upon inspecting
the knockers, they all had lions' heads. What was to be done? "I will
try what Fate will do for me," thought I. So, judging that I was
somewhere near the spot, I boldly walked up to a door, and gave a knock
which, I remembered to have been told, indicated a man of consequence,
and, as it turned out, I was not mistaken. The door was opened, not by
a well-dressed servant, as it used to be, but by an old woman, who was
so surprised at seeing my strange figure that she would have shut it in
my face had I not quickly exclaimed,

"Is Mr. Hogg at home?"

"Mr. Hogg!" she exclaimed, in an astonished voice. "Mr. Hogg has
been dead ever so long. Can't you see by the hatchment?" Upon which
she pointed to a painting fixed upon the outside of the house,
which explained to me, what I had never known before, that, when
an Englishman dies, it is the custom to make a painting, as I
supposed, explanatory of the history of his life; for, afterwards,
in contemplating the said performance, I remarked a boar's head at
the top, whilst certain little swine seemed to be scattered about,
evidently indicating the name and origin of the family.

"But Mrs. Hogg is not dead too?" said I; "where is she, and Mrs.
Figsby?"

"La! sir; you're the Persian prince, I declare," said the old woman,
"of whom we all talk so much about." Upon which, she immediately
undertook to give me a history of the family since I had left England.
The father Hogg, it seems, had died not many months ago of apoplexy;
his widow was living in a neighbouring street, in a small house, with
her eldest daughter, who was still unmarried. Mrs. Figsby (alas! my own
Bessy!) occupied a handsome house nearly opposite to the one at the
door of which I now stood, and which the old woman pointed out to me;
the youngest daughter had married, and lived in the country.

Leaving the old woman, I immediately crossed the street, and knocked
at the Figsby gate, not without a certain palpitation of the heart. It
was opened by a brilliantly-dressed servant in a gaudy _kalaat_, with a
thick paste of white dust upon his head, and a bunch of ropes as thick
as tent-ropes at his shoulder. Two others stood in the hall.

"Is Mrs. Figsby at home, by the blessing of the Prophet?" said I.

He said "Yes," with hesitation, eyeing me well from head to foot; and,
delivering me over to the keeping of another man without a _kalaat_,
I was walked up stairs. When we came to the head of the stairs, he
stopped, and asked,

"Who shall I say?"

"Mirza Hajji Baba," I answered, recollecting well the whole ceremonial.

Upon which he opened the door, and exclaimed aloud, as well as I could
understand, "Mister Hatchababy,"--or some such name.

"Mister who?" exclaimed a female within, whom, when I entered, I
immediately recognised to be my former love, the moonfaced Bessy. But,
oh! now different from the lovely Bessy I had known her! Instead of
that light cypress-waisted figure which had charmed me so much, she was
now grown into a woman fat enough to be a Turk's wife. Her cheeks were
rounded into coarse cushions, behind which reposed her almost secluded
eyes. The beautiful throat of former days was scolloped into graduated
ridges; and those arms, which formerly were lovely by themselves, were
now so bound over with broad belts of golden bracelets, that they
looked like the well-fitted hoops of a wine-cask. The hair, which
flowed in ringlets over her brow and down her cheeks, was now confined
to two lumps of curls, which were placed in a dense cluster on either
side of her forehead; and her whole person, which formerly gave her the
appearance of a Peri, now exhibited a surface agreeable only to the
silk-mercer and the milliner who were called upon to clothe it.

A faint blush threw itself out over her forehead when she perceived me,
and she immediately came forward with her hand extended, and welcomed
me back to her country with great sincerity. She expressed all sorts of
surprises at seeing me, particularly as I had never been announced in
the public newspapers; assured me that Mr. Figsby, who was not at home,
would be delighted to see me; sent for her children, and exhibited a
vast number to me of all sizes, boys and girls; and repeated to me what
I had just heard from the old woman, the circumstances in which her
family were placed.

I expressed my satisfaction at seeing her so richly circumstanced in
the world, and that she should have made a marriage with a man who
seemed to be a favourite of Fortune, and whose luck appeared to be ever
on the rise. At this she sighed, and her features assumed a saddened
expression.

"'Twas true," she said, "that Figsby could not complain, and that, as
long as it lasted, it was all very well. But, prince!" she exclaimed,
"this is not the country you once knew it to be! Things are sadly
altered! The people have got a reform, 'tis true; and Figsby is
rejoiced, and hopes to be returned for Marylebone, and, who knows
whether he may not sit in the cabinet one of these days? But the
aristocracy they won't be quiet, do what you will, and they will drive
us on to a revolution at last, and oblige us to put them down, and
divide all their property amongst us; and, you know, that will be sad
work, particularly if Figsby should be made a lord before it takes
place."

All this was new language to me, and brought to my mind the
conversation which I had heard in the coach. "What news is this?"
thought I, "that women should thus talk the language of viziers, and
mix themselves in the business of state!"

"I thought that Figsby Sahib was a grocer," said I, to his much-altered
wife.

"A grocer, indeed!" said she, with considerable angry emphasis. "He is
a West-India merchant! A grocer, indeed!"

"How long is it," said I, "since he has left his private business for
public life?"

"Don't you know," said she, "the changes which have taken place since
you were here last? Rotten boroughs and nomination boroughs have been
abolished. Schedule A. and schedule B. have been all the fashion
of late; we talk of nothing else; and there are to be members for
Marylebone, and Figsby is canvassing as hard as he can; and I am sure,
prince, if you can help him with a vote, you will."

"A vote!" said I, "what does that mean?"

"It means," she answered, with some hesitation, "that you wish Figsby
may become a member of parliament, and sit in the house, and make
speeches, and give franks, and all that."

"If it is only to wish your husband may be all you desire," said I, "in
the name of the Imams you shall have my vote, and welcome."

"That's right!" said Bessy; "that's right! that's being an old friend
in truth. I knew that you would be on the right side, and stick up for
the people."

"But who is the people? is he a new Shah, or what?"

"Oh, the people!" said she; "the people! they are the sovereign people!
They are all the men and women you see walking about; they want their
rights--their rights--that's all!"

"All the men and women walking about!" exclaimed I. "What news is this?
They have got a king already. What do they want more?"

"They have, 'tis true," said she; "but what is that without their
rights?"

"I don't know what you mean about their rights," said I; "but we have a
Shah, and I know that if any Persian wanted anything more, and talked
about his rights, all that he would get for his pains would be the
_felek_--a good bastinado on the soles of his feet; that's what he
would get."

"Oh, la!" said Mrs. Figsby, "that may do for Persians, but it won't do
for Englishmen. They must be fairly represented; and, if such men as
Figsby are not elected, it is a great shame, and the country will go to
rack and ruin."

At this stage of our conversation a knocking at the door was heard,
and soon after entered the moonfaced Bessy's husband. I immediately
recognised my former rival, but great changes had taken place in his
person also. In former days he was happy to be allowed to take the
lowermost place in the _mejlis_ or assembly; now he walked in with an
air of consequence and protection. He came into the room with a noise
and bustle; his boots creaked most independently; he was all over
chains; and seemed strangled from the tightness of his clothes. He soon
got over his surprise at seeing me; and, before he had done shaking my
hand, he exclaimed,

"All is going as it ought to be! I have been at the meeting. I made
such a speech, Bessy, you would have been quite charmed. There is no
doubt of my coming in. We shall beat the Tories hollow."

"That is charming!" said his overjoyed wife. "Then you will be an M.P.,
and who knows what else! And here is the prince," said she, "who is
ready to give you his vote."

"That's right!" said the entranced grocer. "That's very kind of him!
But stop! let me see; are you a ten-pound householder? is your name
stuck up against the church-door? and have you paid your shilling?"

"_Allah! Allah!_" I exclaimed. "What do I know of all this? I am
nothing but a Persian Mirza. I am ignorant of your ten-pounds, your
church-doors, and your shillings. Do leave off this child's play, and
let us talk of other things."

"Other things!" cried one.

"Child's play!" exclaimed the other.

"It is the only thing now thought of," said the man.

"It is of the greatest consequence to the state, and to Marylebone,
that Figsby should be elected!" vociferated the lady.

I found that I had put my unlucky leg foremost on this occasion, and
so I thought of making my retreat; but, before I did so, after having
observed a look of recognition between husband and wife, Mr. Figsby
stept up to me, and said,

"We shall have a few of my political friends to dine with me in a few
days; I hope, prince, that we may be honoured with your company?"

I said, "_Inshallah!_ please Allah!" and then returned to my home.


CHAPTER X.

I returned to my lodging full of thought. What with the conversations
I had heard in the coach, what with the strange sayings of Mrs. Figsby
and her husband, I began to have my eyes a little more opened than
they were before. I considered that, notwithstanding the flourishing
exterior of things, and the general appearances of prosperity which
had struck my eyes, there might be truth in the rumours which had been
so current in Persia, that England was declining fast in greatness,
and was on the brink of ruin. I had occasionally seen madmen in my own
country, from whose brain all sense had fled when their minds were bent
upon a particular subject, but who still upon others were rational, and
acted like sane men. "May not that be the case here?" thought I; "and,
if all the nation has run mad by one common consent upon this desire
of change, they may have sapped the foundation of their real happiness
and prosperity, although they still build fine houses and exhibit
resplendent shops."

I determined, in conformity to my instructions from the asylum of
the universe, to present my letters to the English vizier; to have a
conversation with him, and then to settle whether I should deliver
the fortunate letter, of which I was the bearer, from the king of
kings to the King of England. Accordingly, I proceeded to a certain
dark and obscure street, where, on former occasions, I recollected
the sovereign had ordered his vizier to receive the ambassadors and
ministers of foreign powers, and there to transact their business, and,
sure enough, I found things just as I had left them; thus far there had
been no reform. I found no parade of guards, executioners, officers,
or heralds; but one little man seated in a great leather chair, and
through his interference I was introduced into a dark room, without a
single word of welcome being said, not even "Good morning," and "Fine
day;" and there I was left until the vizier could speak to me.

I waited what appeared to me a long time,--quite long enough to
consider, if this was an English palace, what must be an English
prison! At length another infidel invited me to follow him, and, after
having been paraded through a few rooms, I found myself in the presence
of one whom I first took for the vizier, but who I soon found was
only his deputy. He was very kind and civil, and asked my business in
courteous language; upon which I told him that I was just arrived from
the foot of the Persian throne, and was the bearer of a letter to the
English vizier, as well as to his royal master. He seemed pleased at
this information; but he asked me a question which made the wind fly
out of my head.

"Pray, sir," said he, "do you bring us any letter from our minister in
Persia? I do not think that we have been apprised of your mission."

Upon this I stroked down my beard, and, searching in the depths of
my wit for a ready answer, I answered that I was despatched from the
imperial stirrup as a courier, and not as a minister. "I have no letter
but this;" upon which I drew from my breast the grand vizier's letter,
which I delivered into his hand. He was at a loss whilst he unrolled
it, for he evidently did not know the top from the bottom; and all
communication must have ceased between us, had I not possessed the
translation, which I had prudently caused to be made at Tabriz by one
of my own countrymen who had received his education in England.

This, the vizier's deputy read over very attentively; and, as he read,
I observed certain smiles break out on his features, from which I
augured favourably. He then desired me to wait, whilst he took up the
papers, and left the room to lay them before his chief, saying not a
word of his own opinion upon their contents.

He soon returned, and, asking me to follow, he led the way into
an adjacent room, where I found the English vizier in person. The
appearance and manners of this personage were full of charm; and,
although a man in his high office had usually the power of awing me
into fear and diffidence of myself, still I felt no other sensations
than what were agreeable when he addressed me.

"I have been reading strange things in this letter," said the vizier.
"I am informed that my country is on the brink of ruin, and that
his majesty the Shah, apprehending disaster might accrue to my own
sovereign, has been pleased to offer him an asylum at his gate."

"That is, in truth, the object of my mission," said I. "You have spoken
right."

"But how," said the vizier, "has this information travelled to Persia?
It is new to me, as it is, I believe, to every member of his majesty's
government."

"How do I know?" I answered, with some little confusion; for, in truth,
I began to feel that I had come upon a fool's errand, and was about to
swallow much abomination. "Our news in Persia is not printed every day
upon paper as it is here, but comes to us as it may please the will of
Allah! The asylum of the universe, upon whom be blessings! who knows
all, and does all for the good of his subjects, was convinced of the
fact; the same was confirmed by all strangers arriving at his imperial
gate; and it was announced by the English minister himself that a great
change was about to take place in his country; that old counsels, which
had been followed since the recollection of the most ancient greybeards
of the country, were about to be abolished and replaced by new; and
that a certain thing, called People, whether man or beast we never
could discover, was on the point of obtaining supremacy, and despoiling
your reverend monarch, for whom the king of kings entertains the
highest friendship, of his ancient hereditary throne."

"Your news," observed the vizier, "was partly right, and partly false.
That a change has taken place in the government of this country," said
he, "is true; and our minister's words are confirmed. A change has
taken place; but change does not argue total destruction."

Recollecting that I was here at the fountain-head of information, and
that the vizier's words were words to be repeated to the king of kings,
I inquired, "As I am less than the least, may it please you to inform
your slave what is this change?"

"The principal change has been in giving the people a better means
than they had before of making their wishes known through their
representatives. You know, of course," said he, "what our 'parliament'
means?"

"Yes," said I. "I believe I am right in saying that a representative
means a man who is supposed to be a concentrated essence of the
thousands and tens of thousands of those who choose him; and that he
cries out 'black' or 'white' as the fit seizes him. A collection of
such men means a parliament."

"You have a tolerable notion of what I mean," said the vizier, smiling.
"Now, certain of these representatives could only cry out 'black' or
'white' as it choosed to please, not themselves, but certain khans or
omrahs of our country, who sent them instead of the people. That is the
principal change we have made."

"I understand--I understand!" I exclaimed, as if a new light had opened
upon me. "The omrahs, therefore, are displeased, and cry out 'Ruin!'
and the people are overjoyed, and cry out, 'We are sovereigns;' and
both are wrong."

The vizier seemed greatly amused with my great discovery, and then
entered into certain long explanations concerning the various topics
which I had heard discussed between the smooth and rough infidels whom
I had met in the coach, and which only tended to obscure the great
conclusion to which I had come by the light of my own wit. I allowed
him to talk, and he seemed pleased to do so, as if he were defending
himself from imputations, and of which, in truth, I understood not one
word. However, he seemed amazingly struck, when, in rising to go, I
said,

"It is plain, then, that some great mistake has been committed
somewhere; otherwise, why should this great country be so terribly torn
from one end of it to the other by animosities, which seem to have led
it to the brink of anarchy?"

"No great change," said he, "can take place without producing a great
shock of interests and opinions, and consequently animosities."

"And that is just what a good and wise government ought to avoid," said
I. "Our Shah is called _Zil Allah_, the Shadow of the Almighty; and,
according to the saying of one of our ancient sages, the acts of a king
ought to follow the same course perceivable in the dispensations of
Providence, and in the laws by which God, the great and good, directs
the fates of his creatures. All changes in government ought to be
as gradual as changes in the seasons. If a great change takes place
without a previous preparation of the people's minds, and an almost
imperceptible one in their habits, of course the sudden transition will
produce a shock so violent, that the mischief may perhaps be without
remedy. If, during the heats of summer, the Almighty were to give this
globe a sudden accelerated turn, and throw us at once into the snows of
winter, the effects might almost produce sudden death upon one half of
his creatures; but he allows the intervening autumn gradually to blend
the two extremes, and thus produces a healthy action in the operations
of nature."

He did not seem so much struck by the wisdom of this speech as I was,
and I was about leaving him, when I recollected the letter with which I
was charged from the _Shah-en-Shah_, the king of kings, and asked when
I should deliver it. He paused a little in thought, and then said,

"Perhaps it may be as well that we hear something from our minister
in Persia before you deliver your letter." Upon which, seeing that my
countenance was turned upside down, he said, with great kindness of
manner, "There will be no harm done if you deliver it immediately. The
King of England is ready to receive the application of every one, from
the peasant in the field to the greatest potentate."



MY UNCLE.

A FRAGMENT.


                                        He kept a store,
    A place of refuge to which all might fly
    In the dark hour of bleak adversity,
    When sunshine friends, like summer birds, had flown.
    He was misfortune's shield,--a goodly man!
    In fact, so kind a soul could scarce be found;
    For he would lend to any graceless wight
    A sum of money, and would never ask
    His bond or bill, or even say "Be sure
    To pay me this again next week, or so."
    _He never craved a debtor in his life!_

           *       *       *       *       *

    Around his house, in many a goodly pile,
    All sorts of wares were ranged in order nice,
    Shoes, hats, great-coats, and gowns, with many pairs
    Of certain parts of dress (not pantaloons),
    Which, it is said, some married females wear.
                                        Above his door
    Invitingly were hung three golden balls,
    As if to say, "Who pennyless would go?"
    Here is a banking-house, whence every man
    Who has an article to leave behind,
    May draw for cash, nor fear his cheque unpaid.

    Ah me! full many an ungrateful wight
    In this same store, without a sigh or tear,
    Parted his _bosom friend_, altho' he knew
    That friend must dwell among the _unredeemed_.



WHY THE WIND BLOWS ROUND ST. PAUL'S.

BY JOYCE JOCUND.


Whoever has walked round St. Paul's church-yard must have had good
evidence of the wind being always boisterous there, on the most balmy
day of spring, in summer's more sultry hour, in autumn's bracing time,
or in winter's chilling air; all tides and every season bear strong
testimony that the wind is ever blowing there, not in those gentle
gales that love to play and wanton round other edifices, but in such
rude, boisterous burstings, that the traveller is fain to look to his
footing, and put up with a _blow_ which is neither to be parried nor
returned. I cannot fix the precise date, but it was during the last
century, that a bit of a breeze was kicked up in the higher circles
among the Winds; and, from the strife that ensued, more serious
consequences seemed to threaten than were at first apprehended. Whether
the East was intent on going westward, or the North determined on
veering to the south, is of trifling import. From words the disputants
nearly came to blows, and the weathercocks were sadly put to their
shifts during all the changes that occurred: those who consulted them
found how little attention was paid to the cardinal points, which from
time immemorial had been considered their cardinal virtues; in short,
it was impossible to tell which way the wind lay. Nothing was to be
heard among them but wranglings, wailings, and contentions.

"As for you," roared old Boreas, addressing a mild-looking individual
personifying the South wind, "a poor, soft, effeminate creature, only
fit to breathe o'er a bed of violets, what, in the name of all that's
trifling, can you possibly presume to know?"

"I may not be so bluff as you, nor so excellent a bully," replied the
other; "yet I flatter myself that I am equally esteemed by mankind."

"Doubtless! by old maids, invalids, and anglers."

"And I prefer their welcome to the maledictions so lavishly heaped upon
you, by the aged, the gouty, and the suffering," was the rejoinder.

"Fie! fie!" lisped the West wind, an exquisite of the most exclusive
order. "If you persist, I shall positively arraign you at the bar of
good breeding and fashion."

"Which I believe is not situated on _my_ side Temple-bar," exclaimed
the East, in a tone that reminded one of the equinox.

"Your intimacy with the bar is confined to the Old Bailey," chirruped
his opponent, who commenced,

    "Cease rude Boreas, blustering railer:
    List ye."

At this personal attack the North looked particularly black, and the
East BLEW with increased violence.

"How the puppy squalls!" said the latter, in reference to the singing.

"Rather more melodious than your howling," replied the tormentor; for
the West wind is occasionally pretty sharp when its powers are exerted.

With this slight specimen you may suppose that the Winds began to get
very high; ill-natured replies followed angry remarks; while the East
wind distributed his usual cutting retorts with unsparing profusion. In
short, the only subject on which they appeared agreed was to perform
"The Storm," _ad libitum_, with hail and rain accompaniments. There
is an old adage, "as busy as the Devil in a high wind:" how busy
that may be, let others determine; but truly his Satanic Majesty was
never more occupied than on this memorable occasion, for he seemed
to have possessed the contending parties with an implacable spirit
of opposition, and contrived to divide his influence so impartially
that each played the very devil with the other. When the uproar had
sufficiently subsided to permit observation, it was clearly apparent
that the North, as was his wont, rather sided with the East, and the
South as plainly inclined to the West; so, after amusing himself with
their differences, the crafty instigator of the feud proposed that
the affair should be permitted to blow over, and, by way of cooling
themselves, that the four Winds should accompany him on a stroll
through London streets, towards the City; where he promised them plenty
of adventures, with many sights worthy their attention. After a few
more gusts of passion exhibited by the North and East, venting their
spite upon their more peaceful opponents, the party set forth on their
ramble, with something like outward decency of demeanour, although
opposition and dissatisfaction were rankling in their hearts. Their
cicerone pointed to a plot of ground in Hyde Park.

"Here," said he, "will be erected an imperishable monument to that
greatest of modern heroes, the victor of a hundred fights. In every
land shall his matchless deeds be known, and his fame proclaimed by----"

"The four Winds!" exclaimed they all.

"Yonder will be his town-residence," resumed their guide, "the scarcely
less than princely mansion of the nation's idol; yet, so evanescent is
popularity, and so great is the distinction between civil matters and
military, that coming years will display his windows barricaded against
the assaults of that people whose opinions are as changeable as the----"

"What?" said his hearers in a breath, ready to take offence should he
indulge in any _personal_ allusion.

"As changeable as--as the weather."

"Oh!" exclaimed the East, with a significant whistle, that sounded very
like the blast of a war-trumpet.

They walked some distance without further remark, until reaching
Pall-Mall.

"This," said the Devil, directing their attention to a range of
buildings on the right, "this will ere long disappear. Of yon regal
habitation, the scene of revelry and delight, not a vestige will
remain; vast local improvements will be completed, magnificent
residences erected; and here a lofty column shall be raised, on whose
'tall pillar, pointing to the skies,' will be placed the statue of a
princely commander----"

"Who will doubtless be _highly indebted_ to the people," observed the
North, in his most unpleasant manner.

"And what may be that heavy-looking temple opposite?" inquired the
East, pointing to the Opera-house.

"That is celebrated as the resort of beauty, rank, wealth, and fashion."

Here the West wind nodded his assent, as if perfectly cognisant of
affairs so particularly appertaining to _his_ quarter of the metropolis.

"Where the aristocracy of this kingdom assemble to lavish their wealth
and favours on foreign _artistes_, as they are called, while native
industry and talent are neglected and unrequited. But my sentimentality
outruns my prudence; _I_ patronise the Opera, notwithstanding," said
the Devil.

"And I," said the West.

Continuing their perambulation, they reached the present site of
Waterloo-bridge.

"A splendid structure," observed their conductor, "will here span that
mighty stream, on whose waves float a thousand argosies freighted with
riches from every distant land. Speculation will soon furnish means
sufficient for the enterprise, and----"

"The profits?" inquired old Boreas, too far _north_ to lose sight of
the main chance.

"Will be shared among the subscribers."

"By what rule?"

"_Short_ division," was the answer.

"This building on the right is Somerset House, where the Royal Academy
holds its annual exhibition of British artists, at which persons pay
a shilling to view their own portraits that have cost most exorbitant
sums, if painted by popular professors of the art."

"A noble institution," said the South, in simplicity of soul, "and most
encouraging to rising talent."

"Very," was the devilish dry reply.

"And where young exhibitors have fine opportunities afforded them to
profit by the experience, skill, and fostering care of their superiors."

"Exactly," said the Devil, with a malicious smile. "In the arrangement
and distribution of the pictures the committee show an intimate
knowledge of 'light and shade,' which is particularly instructive
to others. They appropriate all the 'light' to their own pictures,
and the 'shade' to their neighbours'. Yonder dirty-looking gate is
Temple-bar, where in the olden time traitors' heads stood in goodly
row, as plentiful as the portraits in the Exhibition, only that the
'bodies' never came to own them. But"--and here the Devil sighed like
a furnace--"innovation and improvement have destroyed all venerable
customs."

So, venting his regrets, they journeyed down Fleet-street, when the
attention of the gentle South was attracted to the large gloomy edifice
which is so prominent in that locality.

"Ah!" said their guide, "that is the Fleet."

"Where?" said the East, springing up at the idea of stiff breezes and
swelling sails; "I see no ships."

"Yet there is no lack of _craft_, I promise you," replied the Devil.
"One of the considerate laws of this realm declares that a debtor
shall pay in person what he is deficient in pocket: a sapient method to
man his Majesty's _fleet_, and as pretty a piece of legislation as _I_
would propose."

Turning from the prison and its solid-looking brickwork, the first
glimpse of St. Paul's met their astonished gaze. The strangers were
enraptured at that mighty monument of man's power and perseverance.
After surveying the exterior, the Winds expressed an eagerness to view
the inside of the cathedral; but their importunities were negatived
by their companion, who intimated in strong terms his repugnance to
such a proposition. "Besides," he observed, "which of you will pay the
twopences demanded for admission? By-the-bye, do me the favour to wait
here a few moments. Some most intimate and particular friends are now
assembled at the Chapter Coffee-house."

"Do not let us detain you unwillingly," growled the North.

"We are much indebted for your care and guidance," murmured the South.

"I feel more at home in my own quarter of the town," said the East;
"let me prove no hindrance."

"But promise me to remain,--rely upon my speedy return," said the Devil.

"Agreed!" roared the North, who seemed to think the spot a good place
to make himself heard.

"Then I depend upon your awaiting my coming. For the present, farewell!"

"_Au revoir!_" lisped the West, as the arch deceiver disappeared down
one of the narrow avenues which abound in that locality.

Well, the poor Winds went whistling up and down, looking at the shops,
watching the crowd, and amusing themselves as best they could under
such disagreeable circumstances. They made several rounds of the
church, the hands of the clock made several rounds of the dial, yet the
absent one appeared not; and their patience was nearly exhausted, when
the South modestly offered to sing them a song, if indeed such feeble
powers could lighten the time and lessen their suspense, and then
breathed the following words to a soft plaintive _air_:


SONG OF THE SOUTH.

                    I.

    I love to roam where the spice-groves send
      Their mingled sweets o'er the fragrant air,
    Where orange-blossoms their bright buds lend
      To weave a wreath for the blushing fair;
    And I waft each shining tress aside
    That shades the brow of the blooming bride.

                     II.

    I love to roam at the sunset hour,
      To breathe farewell to the parting day,
    And kiss the dew from each star-lit flower,
      That ever weeps as light fades away.
    Oh! I woo them all with my softest sighs,
    And gently whisper,--that Love never dies!

"Enough! enough!" grumbled the East; "I cannot waste my time in such
frivolities. Where is the fellow who brought us here?"

"Ay!" said the North, "does he fancy we have nothing better to occupy
us than attending his pleasure, dancing attendance?"

And thereat the watchers became mighty impatient. At length the North
declared that he had business of great importance that night upon the
coast.

"What fools we were to pledge ourselves! My engagements are
imperative,--go I must!" roared he with vehemence.

"And I," added the East, with similar violence.

"I have made an appointment in Bond-street," muttered the West,
mentioning the fashionable lounge of that period; "moreover, the
Countess of B---- expects me at her party. I am irrevocably bound to
the countess, and would not disappoint the sweet creature for worlds."

"I cannot remain alone in this gloomy place," sighed the South.

"Listen!" said the North, puffing himself up to an unusual pomposity,
even for him; "I have a plan to remedy the dilemma. I go,--that is
settled. You three can easily find an excuse for my absence."

"And mine," cried the East. "Two are very good company,--three damp
conversation."

"As I have nothing particular to communicate, I shall follow your
example," said the West, looking significantly at the East.

"I was assured the puppy would oppose me," grunted the latter; "'tis
his constant practice."

Thus affairs appeared in tolerable train for a repetition of the
former bickering, when it was at last decided, but not without much
turbulent and acrimonious feeling, that each should wait in turn,
and give timely notice to the others of the truant's arrival; and
with this understanding they separated, leaving one on guard. It
is hardly necessary to state that the Devil never reappeared. He
always leaves his votaries in the lurch; and on this occasion his
boon companions at the Chapter gave him such good cheer, that he
forgot the poor winds, who have ever since been alternately looking,
but in vain, for his arrival. To their honour be it told, that they
each and every one performed his promise of remaining for a stated
period, neither excepting the boisterous North, the cutting East, the
fashionable West, nor the gentle South. Their various watchings may be
easily distinguished by their respective degrees of violence in the
neighbourhood, and to this very hour is one of them to be heard either
roaring, blowing, moaning, or sighing for their emancipation. And this
accounts for the fact of their constant presence, and shows why "THE
WIND BLOWS ROUND ST. PAUL'S."

The tradition inculcates a moral. Had the four Winds pursued the "path
of duty," this trial had been spared them; but they listened to the
tempter. Let all profit by their example: Men, as well as Winds, should
"KEEP WITHIN COMPASS."



RATHER HARD TO TAKE.


    An artist--'tis not fair to tell his name;
      But one whom Fortune, in her freakish tricks,
      Saluted with less smiles than kicks,
    More to the painter's honour, and her shame,--
    Was one day deep engaged on his _chef d'œuvre_,
    (A painting worthy of the Louvre,)
    Dives and Lazarus the theme,--
    The subject was his earliest boyish dream!
    And, with an eye to colour, breadth, and tone,
      He painted, skilfully as he was able,
      The good things on the rich man's table,--
    Wishing they were, no doubt, upon his own;
    When suddenly his hostess--best of creatures!--
    Made visible her features,
    And to this world our artist did awaken:
      "A gentleman," she said, "from the next street,
      Had sent a special message in a heat,
    Wanting a likeness taken."
    The artist, with a calmness oft the effect
    Of tidings which we don't expect,
    Wip'd all his brushes carefully and clean,
    Button'd his coat--a coat which once had been,--
    Put on his hat, and with uncommon stress
    On the address,
    Went forth, revolving in his nob
    How his kind hostess, when he'd got the job,--
    Even before they paid him for his skill,--
    Would let him add a little to the bill.

    He found a family of six or seven,
      All grown-up people, seated in a row;
    There might be seen upon each face a leaven
      Of recent, and of decent woe,
    But that the artist, whose chief cares
    Were fix'd upon his own affairs,
    Gazed, with a business eye, to be acquainted
    Which of the seven wanted to be painted.

    But a young lady soon our artist greeted,
    Saying, in words of gentlest music, "Ah!--
    Pray, Mr. Thingo'me, be seated,--
    We want a likeness of our grandpapa."

    Such chances Fortune seldom deigns to bring:
    The very thing!
    How he should like
    To emulate Vandyke!
    Or, rather--still more glorious ambition--
    To paint the head like Titian,
    A fine old head, with silver sprinkled:
    A face all seam'd and wrinkled:--
    The painter's heart 'gan inwardly rejoice;
      But, as he pondered on that "fine old head,"
    Another utter'd, in a mournful voice,
      "But, sir, he's dead!"

    The artist was perplex'd--the case was alter'd:
      Distrust, stirr'd up by doubt, his bosom warps;
    "God bless my soul!" he falter'd;
      "But, surely, you can let me see the corpse?
    An artist but requires a hint:
    There are the features--give the cheeks a tint--
    Paint in the eyes--and, though the task's a hard 'un,
      You'll find the thing, I'll swear,
    As like as he can,--no, I beg your pardon,--
      As like as he _could_ stare!"

    "Alas! alas!" the eldest sister sigh'd,
    And then she sobb'd and cried,
    So that 'twas long ere she again could speak,--
    "We buried him last week!"

    The painter heaved a groan: "But, surely, madam,
      You have a likeness of the dear deceased;
      Some youthful face, whose age might be increased?"
    "No, no,--we haven't, sir, no more than Adam;
      Not in the least!"

    This was the strangest thing that e'er occurr'd;--
      "You'll pardon me," the baffled painter cried;
    "But, really, I must say, upon my word,
      You might have sent for me before he died."
    And then he turn'd to the surviving tribe,--
    "Can you describe
    But a few items, features, shape, and hue?
    I'll warrant, I'll still paint the likeness true!"

    "Why, yes, we could do that," said one: "let's see;
    He had a rather longish nose, like me."
    "No," said a second; "there you're wrong,
    His nose was not so very long."
    "Well, well," pursued the first; "his eyes
    Were rather smaller than the common size."
    "How?" cried a third, "how?--not at all;
    Not small--not small!"
    "Well, then, an oval face, extremely fine."
    "Yes," said the eldest son, "like mine."
    The painter gazed upon him in despair,--
    The fellow's face was square!

    "I have it," cried another, and arose;
    "But wait a moment, sir," and out she goes.
    With curiosity the artist burn'd--
    "What was she gone for?" but she soon return'd.
    "I knew from what _they_ said, to expect to gain
    A likeness of grandpa was quite in vain;
    But, not upon that point to dwell,
    I have got something here will do as well
    As though alive he for his portrait sat!"
      So, saying, with a curtsey low,
    She from behind, with much parade and show,
      Presented an old hat!

        C.W.



NIGHTS AT SEA;

_Or, Sketches of Naval Life during the War_.

BY THE OLD SAILOR.

No. IV.


                  "Impute it not a crime
    To me, or my swift passage, that I slide
    O'er sixteen years." * * *

                  "There's some ill planet reigns;
    I must be patient till the heavens look
    With an aspect more favourable."

        SHAKSPEARE.


There glides the dashing Spankaway over the smooth surface of the
ocean, whilst, close in her wake, moves the vanquished Hippolito.
The damages have been repaired so as to be scarcely perceptible; the
shot-holes have been well plugged and secured; and the two frigates
appear more like consorts on a cruise than enemies so recently engaged
in deadly strife. The breeze is a royal breeze; and gallantly the
beautiful ships are splitting the yielding waters, whilst the watches
are employed in necessary duties. Near the taffrail of the Spankaway
stand two prominent figures, both remarkably fine-looking men, who
might be taken for brother officers but for the difference in their
uniforms. The one on the larboard hand has his head erect, his chest
thrown forward, his left hand thrust into his waistcoat, and his
right foot in advance planted firmly on the deck; he is indulging in
high-wrought and proud feelings as he silently gazes on the prize; his
voice is not heard, but there is a speaking meaning in his look as he
contemplates the red cross of St. George upon a white field floating
majestically above the tricolour, whilst his own untarnished ensign
waves singly at his peak. The individual on the starboard hand has a
cast of melancholy on his countenance; his head is depressed, his arms
are folded on his breast; and, though sensible that he has done his
duty, and defended his command as long as his crew rendered it tenable,
yet he knows that he was not well supported by his fellow-citizens,
among whom equality is the order of the day; and he is suffering from
a sense of deep humiliation at the degraded condition in which he is
placed. These are the captains of the two frigates,--the victor and the
vanquished.

Upon the quarter-deck of the Hippolito is Mr. Seymour, hurrying to
and fro, issuing his orders, and rendering the prize as effective as
possible. There is a laughing glee upon his features that plainly
evidences the pleasure he cherishes in his heart; he looks around with
exaltation as he anticipates the moment when he himself shall have
such a desirable command. One step he makes sure of; a few hours more
may perform fresh wonders; and his mind, with all the vividness of a
seaman's hope, is making a hop, skip, and a jump progress to certain
conclusions favourable to promotion. The fact is, Seymour had been long
neglected; he was an excellent officer, and a brave man; had fought in
several actions, been severely wounded on more than one occasion; but
the coveted distinction had been withheld because he was not a first
lieutenant. Now, however, he made sure of it; and he already began to
feel the weight of the epaulette on the left shoulder, with an ardent
determination to do something that would transfer it to the right
shoulder.

But whither are the frigates steering? their heads are not on the
compass-point for a friendly port, but directly the reverse. Night
is coming on; they are running into the gulf of Genoa. There are the
Hieres, a little open on the larboard bow, just rising from the sea.
South-west should carry them to Gibraltar, and there are they going
away north-east.

"Your undertaking is rather hazardous, my lord," said Citizen Captain
Begaud; "there are ships of the line in the immediate neighbourhood,
and the English fleet may have again resumed its station."

"If the latter is the case," replied Lord Eustace, "I can run no
hazard; for Lord Nelson will have a bright eye upon the enemy. On
the other hand, the enterprise is worth a little risk; and, though I
despise the fellows who gave me the information, yet it is my duty, as
well as according with my inclination, to make the most of it."

"_Vous avez raison, milord_," rejoined the Frenchman; "_mais_--" he
paused: "_sacré!_ the rascal who told you merits the guillotine; he is
a disgrace to the _grande nation_."

"Well, I'm blow'd if I can make any thing o' this here!" exclaimed
old Savage, the boatswain, to his subordinate, Jack Sheavehole, as
they stood upon the forecastle; "it beats my larning out and out. Here
we captures a French frigate, and has all the prisoners in limbo,
when, instead of seeing her into a place of safety, why here we goes
happy-go-lucky right down into the bight of Ginoar, slap into the
enemy's teeth."

"Is that why you calls it a bite, Mr. Savage?" asked Jemmy Ducks,
touching his hat with all due respect.

"Calls what a bite, you egg-sucker?" responded the boatswain somewhat
roughly, at the presumption of the inquirer in addressing an officer of
his distinction so freely. "Calls what a bite?"

"Going into the enemy's teeth, sir!" answered the humble poulterer,
again touching his straw covering.

"Did you ever hear such an hignoramus, Jack?" said the boatswain to his
veteran mate, in a tone of extreme contempt.

"Why, for the matter o' that, not often, sir," answered the individual
addressed, "thof it is but nat'ral for him;" and, seeing that the
boatswain was twiddling his rattan with his fingers, as a prelude to
castigation, he turned to the poulterer, and, giving him a friendly
shove, exclaimed, "Away out o' that, Jemmy; there's the cow's babby
bleating for you;" and off he went.

"The sarvice is going to ----, Jack!" said Mr. Savage; "the captain
arn't half strict enough with them there 'long-shore lubbers, as pay no
more respect to an officer than they do to a timber-head! and, in the
regard o' that, his lordship himself too often speaks to 'em as if they
had flesh and blood like his own, when, Lord love you! they arn't got
never no such thing. And where his lordship is bound to now, puzzles my
calculations. I say, Muster Blueblazes," to the gunner, who approached
them, "what's all this here about?"

"Flannel cartridges," replied the gunner, passing on in a hurry, and
calling to his several mates to descend to the magazine.

"Flannel devils!" retorted old Savage. "That's all the answer I gets
for my pains! Pray, Muster Nugent, may I presume to ax you if you can
just deligthning my mind as to what cruise we're going on in this
course, seeing as it takes us slap down into the bight of the bay?"

"Gulf, Mr. Savage,--not bay," replied the junior lieutenant, "the gulf
of Genoa, named after a celebrated city that formerly monopolised the
commerce of the world. Christopher Columbus was a Genoese. Did you
never read about Christopher Columbus?"

"Can't say as I have, sir," returned the impatient boatswain; "are we
bound in chase of him, sir?"

"In chase of whom? Columbus?" responded the lieutenant, laughing; "why,
he's been dead nearly two hundred years. No, no, Mr. Savage; we're
going----"

"Mr. Nugent!" shouted Lord Eustace from the quarter-deck; and, to the
great vexation of the boatswain, who was on the _qui-vive_ to ascertain
where they were bound, the young officer instantly responded, and went
aft.

"That's just the way I'm al'ays sarved," said Savage petulantly, and
applying his rattan to the shoulders of a poor unfortunate lad who
passed him without touching the locks that hung clustering on his
forehead,--for hat or cap he had none. "Here's a pretty know-nothing!
Do you forget, sir, that an officer's an officer, sir? and it's
customary, sir, to pay proper respect, sir, to your superiors, sir,
your betters, sir, you scape-grace, lubberly blackguard, sir;" and
down came the stick at every "sir." The boy made the best of his way
across the forecastle; but was again stopped by the boatswain. "Come
back here, you wagabone. Don't you know, sir, that it's a great mark
of disrespect, sir, to run away when an officer's starting you, sir?
There, go along, you useless lumber! pretty regylations we shall have
by and by, when such hard bargains as you fall aboard the King's
biscuit! We're all going to the devil together, Jack!" and he turned to
look over the bows.

"If we are going to the devil," muttered Jack to the captain of the
forecastle, "I hopes he'll sarve out his infarnal favours as the
Lords of the Admiralty shares the prize-money,--three parts among the
officers."

Lovely is a Mediterranean twilight in those balmy months that breathe
the odorous incense of exulting Nature in all its richest perfumes!
then is the hour for contemplation! it is then the mind ranges over
its best affections; and hearts, though oceans divide them, hold a
mysterious communing with each other.

    "Deeper, oh twilight, let thy shades increase
    Till every feeling, every pulse, is peace."

It is the poet alone that can describe its influences, for the art of
the painter is baffled; he cannot produce the deepening tints as the
web of darkness appears to be progressively weaving over the face of
the heavens.

"I love this season," said Lord Eustace to his captive, as they still
stood side by side abaft; "there is a holy tranquillity about it that
calms every turbulent passion, and soothes the heart in its sorrow."

"_C'est vrai, milord_," returned the Frenchman, mournfully enough for
one of his country; "and yon star there," pointing to Algol in Medusa's
head, "has ever been to me the star of my destiny. Three days since
I quitted Toulon; that orb at night was dim, and a heavy foreboding
rested on my spirit; on the following night its brightness, even its
dimensions, had decreased, and then I knew the doom of my honour was at
hand."

"Whatever presentiment you might have had," said Lord Eustace, "rest
satisfied your honour remains untarnished. You fought your ship well,
and be assured my account of the action shall do you ample justice.
But I should like to know why you consider that particular star as
connected with your fortunes."

"You shall be gratified then," responded the Frenchman, "if you have no
objections to a tale of horror."

"None, none,--not in the least!" answered the noble captain; "the hour,
the quiet, the dubious light, it is just the time for such a thing.
Pray favour me, and I will gaze on the Gorgon, and listen with profound
attention."

"We are both of us young, my lord," commenced the Frenchman; "I am but
six-and-twenty, and you----"

"One year your junior, Monsieur Capitaine," uttered his lordship; "but
I fancy I have seen more active service than you?"

"Afloat, 'tis probable, my lord," rejoined Begaud. "I was not at first
destined for the marine: my early career was in the army of the North,
when your Duke of York, deserted by the allied powers, (who received
your money whilst they negotiated with the Directory,) retreated before
our victorious troops. But I am forestalling my narrative,--heaving
ahead of my reckoning, I think you'd call it. I am by birth a native
of Paris, and the night of my entering the world was one of wailing,
lamentation, and death. It was that on which three thousand persons
were killed and wounded during a grand exhibition of fire-works,
displayed in honour of the marriage of the Dauphin to the Archduchess
Antoinetta Maria. Thus was I ushered into existence amidst shrieks and
groans; and neither of my parents ever beheld their child. My father
perished in the streets; the circumstance was indiscreetly announced to
my mother; it brought on premature labour, and the living infant was
taken from a corpse. What could be expected of such an introduction
into life? I had an uncle residing upon the vine-clad hills that rise
near the banks of the Garonne, a few leagues from Bordeaux, and there
I passed my boyhood; but he was an austere man, and, having a large
family of his own, I was looked upon as an incumbrance, and the only
individual who appeared to commiserate my fate was an aged woman who
lived in a cottage upon the estate, and was looked upon as a sibyl of
no mean pretensions. She it was who first taught me to look upon yon
star, and watch its capricious changes, so as to connect them with the
occurrences of my life; and she it was who read my future fate on the
tablets of inspiration. And who was this female? Twenty years before
she had been the favourite of fortune, enjoying the luxuries of the
capital, yet with an unblemished reputation. She had an only child,--a
daughter, resplendent in her opening beauty of girlhood,--a type of
that loveliness with which we characterise the angels. She was seen in
the garden of the Tuileries by that depraved debauchee, the Fifteenth
Louis; his agents secretly forced her to the Parc aux Cerfs; and the
distracted mother, ascertaining the lost condition of her child, spoke
publicly and loudly of the cruel grievance. But there was a Bastile
then, monsieur," added he, with bitter emphasis, "engines of torture
and iron cages to silence babblers; and thither was the parent sent by
order of that monarch, who held the daughter in his unchaste embraces.
That fellow was a wretch, my lord. It was he, and such as he, that
deluged France with blood. The measure of their iniquity ran over. But
the Bourbons were ever an accursed race. The property of the mother
was seized upon by the emissaries of the police; and when a few years
afterwards, she was released from her imprisonment, it was to find
herself a homeless outcast, and her daughter,--the beauteous child
of her soul's affections,--the inmate of a madhouse. Kings should be
the protectors, the benefactors of their subjects; not their bane,
their curse, the agents of their torture. Monsieur, that woman was my
relative, and early did she stamp upon my young heart that hatred to
royalty which remains unconquerably the same to this very hour. Yes,
here it is," and he pressed his hand with energetic firmness over the
seat of life; "here,--here it is, and, like a memorial carved on the
bark of a sapling, it has become enlarged with my growth, and deeper
indented with my years. It is my fate, monsieur,--it is my fate.

"The days of my boyhood passed on in mental misery. I felt for the
injuries that had been heaped upon my only friend; I yielded to her
instructions to be prepared against the hour of vengeance, when
retributive justice should sweep tyranny from the throne; I nursed the
hope in the secret recesses of my breast; I cherished it in my heart's
core; it was the subject of my nightly dreams and waking thoughts; and,
whilst other lads sought amusement in boyish pastimes, the demon of
revenge led me into solitary nooks, where I hoarded up my ardent desire
to redress the wrongs of Madame T----. Such, monsieur, was Jacques
Begaud in his thirteenth year, when, tired of a vegetative life, I
quitted my uncle's house, which, though it had been a place of shelter,
had never been a home to me, and travelled on foot to Toulon. My small
stock of money was soon expended; but yet I wanted for nothing. A piece
of bread and a little fruit, with some wine, no one denied me; and,
monsieur, I felt the sweets of liberty. Why I went to Toulon I do not
know, for Paris was my aim; and Madame T---- had prophesied,--there was
something terrible in her denunciations,--she had prophesied desolation
and destruction to the house of the Bourbons; and as rumours were
spreading of disunion at court, so did she eagerly feed upon them,
and urge me to redress her wrongs. It is true the debauchee was in
his grave; but then there was his grandson, the celebration of whose
marriage had made me an orphan even before my birth; and, boy as I was,
with a mind care-worn and cankered, I even looked upon _that_ event as
a legitimate cause of hatred."

"But the star, the star!" exclaimed Lord Eustace; "I am anxious to
learn in what manner you considered yourself influenced by the star."

"Madame T---- made it the source of her divination," returned Citizen
Begaud. "She would sit and silently gaze upon it for hours; and at my
departure she bade me observe it on the first day of every month. If in
full splendour, my career for the time would be prosperous; if shorn
of its glory, I was then to expect adversity. I strictly followed her
directions, and my fortunes were as varied as the brightness of yon
orb. At Toulon I was much struck with the naval yard and arsenal; and
in the former I laboured for several months in the humble occupation
of an oakum-picker, gaining not only sufficient to keep life within
me, but even with my scanty pittance I contrived to save a small
sum, with which I traversed Corsica, and from thence embarked for
Sicily, where I narrowly escaped one of those dreadful visitations
which swallowed up so many thousands in its vortex. At Messina, where
I obtained temporary employ, one great source of delight to me was
standing on the rocky shore and viewing the fearful commotion of the
waters, as they rushed through the straits. To witness this spectacle I
have walked miles; and the roaring and tumbling of the billows excited
in my heart feelings of joyous pleasure. I had frequently observed a
youth of my own age similarly engaged. He stood with his arms behind
him looking down upon the troubled ocean, as if he wished to penetrate
its hidden depths, and search for undiscovered mysteries; he seemed
to view it as a monster with which he longed to cope, but was coolly
calculating the most appropriate method of effecting his purpose. His
dress was rather superior to mine, and he affected a dignity which
did not suit my companionable qualities. We never spoke; but whilst I
hurled the largest stones that I could lift into the boiling foam, and
saw them, heavy as they were, thrown floating on the surface by the
bubbling fury of the swelling billows, he looked calmly on, disdaining
to move a muscle of his countenance, though his brilliant eyes were
lighted up, and seemed to flash with intense delight. Sometimes I made
approaches to familiarity, but he cautiously repulsed all attempts at
acquaintance; and at length I forbore. Monsieur has been to Messina?"

Lord Eustace bowed acquiescence.

"It is a beautiful place, and I loved to look at the white buildings
thrown out in strong relief by the dark green forests behind them. My
evenings, when my occupation would admit, were passed upon the Marina,
watching the setting sun. One day I had walked to my usual spot for
witnessing the contest of the currents; and, as I had frequently done
before, I stripped, and plunged into the wave at a place where the
eddies had hollowed out an artificial bay. I loved to breast the surge,
to dash aside the threatening breaker, or dive beneath its power. My
limbs were strong and pliant; I was fearless in an element that is
seldom, if ever, conquered. The afternoon was sultry; there was an
oppressive heat, that seemed to steam from both land and water, for the
atmosphere above was clear and shining. My star had shone but dimly
the night before, portending danger; yet I knew not from what quarter
to expect it. After bathing, I dressed, and seated myself upon a rock,
enjoying the scene, when, on turning my head, I beheld the youth I
have mentioned at no great distance from me, standing on the extreme
angle of low rock that jutted into the sea. He looked more serious and
sedate than ever; there was a cast of melancholy on his features, and
he seemed to be involved in intensity of thought. Suddenly a darkness
overspread us, a heavy gloom arose; it was the work of a moment; I
felt my earth-embedded seat lifted up, and oscillating to and fro. I
saw huge pieces of solid rock rent from their mountain fastnesses,
and hurled, crashing and thundering, into the torrent that roared and
raged with unusual fury below. I beheld a wall of water rushing through
the strait, and, calling to mind the dimness of my star, I knew the
hour of trial was come: but I was too elevated to fear that mass of
liquid element that swept every thing before it, though the strife
that was apparently going on within the very bowels of the earth
left me but small prospect of escape. The awful phenomenon at first
paralysed my faculties, and I forgot the pale youth for the moment;
but, on looking again towards him, there he stood, still gazing on the
deep, whilst the heavy shocks of the earthquake were opening graves
for his fellow-creatures. Onward rushed the perpendicular wave, and in
an instant he was swept from his position into the maddened vortex of
the hissing foam. I saw the catastrophe, monsieur, and for a second or
two my spirit exulted in his overthrow; 'But he has parents,' thought
I, 'they will moan his loss; and yet I cannot save him if I would.'
The youth had disappeared beneath the mighty swell that inundated all
the adjacent shore; but again he arose upon the surface, and was borne
rapidly along past the spot where I was stationed. I had no home, no
parents, no one who cared for the destitute outcast, not a creature in
existence whose heart beat with affection for the child of misery; if I
perished, I perished, and there would be none to weep for me. Without
hesitation I sprang into that hissing foam, and was instantly thrown
half body out again by the turbulence of the underset, as it forced
itself to the surface. I struck out steadily and strongly with my arms
and feet, but could preserve very little command as the impetuous
waters rolled me over and over; but still I neared the object of my
solicitude, who kept afloat, and at length I was by his side. Yet what
could I do to aid him in his peril? 'Lift your head well up!' exclaimed
I; 'strike out boldly with the current. I will not leave you.' He
gave me one look; it was full of calm pride. I saw he was getting
weak and required help, yet he disdained to ask for it. _Mon Dieu!_
but that was a struggle for existence! and momentarily was strength
failing in that youth, whilst I felt my own gradually grow less.
'Dive!--dive!' shouted I, as I beheld that gigantic wave returning, in
all its terrible vengeance, to meet us; 'dive for your life!' But he
was nearly insensible to my call. I seized him by the shoulder, forced
him under as far as possible, and the enormous billow passed above our
heads. Once more the light of Heaven was on us,--once more we could
see the blue expanse as if resting like a canopy on the summits of the
mountains, and the eddy had whirled us to the entrance of an inlet,
where the water was comparatively tranquil. 'Save yourself,' said my
companion, 'I will do my best to follow. Save yourself, my friend.' I
know not how it was, but the appellation, 'my friend,' seemed to instil
fresh vigour into me. 'I will not abandon you,' shouted I; 'and, if you
can fetch the cove, we are both saved.'--'It is impossible,' answered
he; 'run no further hazard on my account.' His head was drooping,
nature was nearly exhausted; he swam deep, and I became sensible that,
unless by some desperate impulse, I could not save him. I swam close
to him, gave him one end of my neckerchief, and told him to grip it
tight; the other end I fixed between my teeth, and boldly tried for the
inlet. A wave assisted my endeavours; the swell bore me onward, but
it was towards a point where the sea was breaking fearfully high, and
the passage to the inlet was extremely narrow. My companion complied
with my injunctions; yet I could not forbear shuddering when I looked
at the craggy barrier that seemed to foretell our fate. We neared the
rocks, and, had the swell been rolling in, must have been dashed to
pieces; but, just as we approached, the wave was receding; it carried
us into the inlet stream. Hope cheered me on a few strokes more: the
water was undulating, but smooth; but that youth, that pale youth, had
disappeared. Still he could not be far distant. I turned, and dived;
long practice had rendered me perfectly familiar with the art. I saw
him sinking,--almost helpless; he was near the bottom. I went down
after him even lower, and, taking renewed impetus from striking my feet
against the ground, I bore him once more to the surface. The land was
only a few yards distant, but his weight overpowered me. I struggled
hard to gain the shore. Despair began to take possession of my mind; it
rendered me desperate. A few feet was all that divided us from safety,
when a dizziness came over me, my brain whirled, the waters were over
my mouth; I thought of the dimness of my star, and believed my minutes
were numbered. Another rally from the heart produced another effort;
my hands were on the rocks. I grappled them, but my fingers could not
retain their clutch; I slipped away: the water was deep even there,
and death seemed certain. Oh, God! how dreadful was that moment of
suspense! The burthen, which I still sustained, was inanimate, and I
was about to loose my hold of him, when another gigantic wave swept in;
it lifted me on to the flat that I had been striving for; it receded,
and left us on hard ground: the ocean had lost its prey. I stripped my
young companion, chafed his limbs; his heart still beat, and in about
half an hour he evinced signs of returning consciousness. That moment
was to me one of the happiest of my existence. In another hour he was
perfectly restored, though weak; and, leaning on my arm, we proceeded
towards the town. But where was Messina? that beautiful Messina that
we had quitted so recently? A mass of ruins! A scene of indescribable
confusion and dismay! The inhabitants had thronged to the mountains
for a place of refuge; and, as we entered the deserted streets, a
death-like stillness prevailed, broken only by the deep groan or the
shrill shriek of those who yet remained alive with shattered frames and
broken limbs, unable to escape. Houses were levelled with the ground.
Here yawned a hideous chasm that had buried its living victims; there
lay huge masses of stone with crushed and mutilated bodies beneath
them,--the dead and the dying. Oh! my lord, it was a fearful spectacle,
and my spirit drank in all its horrors. We sought the humble residence
in which I had found an asylum; no vestige of it remained. We looked
for the more noble mansion in which my companion had taken up his
abode; it was a chaos. Food there was plenty, Faro wine in abundance;
and we amply refreshed ourselves, whilst I own my heart swelled with
pride at the thought that we were the masters in this once noble city.
My companion expressed his gratitude for the services I had rendered
him; but he did it proudly. He said he was going to France; and my
heart yearned to revisit my native land. I remembered Madame T----, and
the solemn pledge I had given her: I longed to see Paris,--that Paris
of which I had heard so much; and I earnestly brooded on the schemes
which were to level royalty to the dust. You will say I was but a boy.
True! But what instruction was to others, deadly revenge was to me; it
had been my lesson conned at every season, my sole education,--and my
teacher fully competent to superintend her pupil.

"But Messina!--there it lay prostrate with the dust; churches thrown
down, and the sacred vestments scattered; public buildings in wreck,
hotels and palazzos as if they had never been. We were standing in the
square, when another shock tumbled the fragments hither and thither,
mingling them in greater confusion. My companion was for hastening
up the eminences to see who had escaped: I preferred remaining, as
all places were alike to me; besides, I was poor, wretchedly poor,
and there was the prospect of gold to be obtained. The pale youth did
not tell me his name, nor did I think to ask it: he gave me a small
silver medal that he had worn round his neck by way of remembrance,
and I presented him with a flat piece of whalebone on which in my idle
hours I had rudely carved my name. We parted, and in a short time my
hazardous enterprise was richly recompensed. I found what I coveted,
gold! I filled my slender pockets, and yet there was gold; I dug a
hole and buried my treasure, but still wealth almost unbounded lay
scattered in the streets. I hastened to the harbour; wrecks and dead
bodies were everywhere floating. A boat was drifting near the quay,
and, having secured her, I hastened back to the place where my riches
were concealed. But the marauders had entered the town, and I feared
that they would plunder me; so I returned to the boat and shoved off
from the shore, and there I lay in her bottom as she drove into the
bay, dreading detection, and fearing to lose my ill-acquired wealth.
I had been contented with a little when only a few copper coins had
been my fortune; but, now I was possessed of gold, I coveted that
which I had left behind. A brigantine that was making her escape from
the devastation picked me up. I offered the captain gold to give me a
passage to whatever place he might be going. My dress and appearance
bespoke poverty,--the glittering coin betrayed me: I was stripped
of every ducat, thrust into the boat again, and cast adrift upon a
tempestuous night. The only valuable I retained was the medal which I
slung round my neck next to my skin.

"Dark and dreary was the tumultuous ocean as my little vessel floated
at the mercy of the wind and sea; the gale howled fearfully over me,
the waves rolled angrily beneath me; no star illumined the vault of
heaven; but there was a glowing brilliancy of sparkling lustres on the
waters, as if the caverns of the deep had sent forth their gems to
supply the defection of the starry host. The billows threw up their
haughty heads crested with feathery foam, and the spray saturated
my clothes through and through: but the weather was warm to a child
of the North; and thus I continued for many long lonely hours, till
daylight once again appeared. And such a daylight! The storm had passed
away,--the gorgeous splendour of the sun as he arose from the horizon
was worth all the pain I had endured only to witness; but his cheering
rays came as kindly to my heart as they were welcome to my person.
It was like the smiling face of a friend to gladden the spirit in
adversity. I was at no great distance from the shore; yet so beautiful
was the scene, that, but for hunger, I should have been contented to
have remained gazing on the spectacle. The cravings of nature, however,
were powerful; I paddled to the rocks, landed, and hurried back to that
remnant of a town I had been so eager to quit. I found no difficulty
in appeasing my appetite: the inhabitants were returning in groups to
weep over their shattered dwellings, and, as they looked mournfully on
each other, most of them were uttering lamentations for a relative
or a friend. Piece by piece I was enabled to change my dress, and
make a more creditable appearance; and this, too, without being over
scrupulous as to the appropriation. I was unknown to every one, for
nobody remembered the poor child of labour. I made inquiry after my
companion of the former day, but could gain no intelligence of him;
and thus I wandered amongst the dust and ashes of ruins, an observer
unheeded and uncared for.

"But I well remembered the spot where I had hidden my treasure, and,
when the shades of evening shrouded the surrounding objects in their
gloom, I went stealthily towards it. No language can adequately
describe the perturbation of my mind; hope and fear, anticipations of
good and evil, the pleasures of anxious expectation, and the dread of
bitter disappointment, alternately held their influence over me. I
had not a marvedi in the world; but, if the place of concealment was
untouched, I was the possessor of wealth beyond my most sanguine wants
for years. I beheld the stone which I had rolled over the excavation,
at once to hide and to direct; its position was unchanged. I gazed
earnestly around,--I listened for a sound; but all was solitary and
silent. In ecstasy I rolled away the obstruction, thrust in my arm,
and, whilst my fingers clutched the golden heaps, my breast was on the
earth, and I could hear the beatings of my heart. Thus I lay for some
time indulging in delicious dreams of future enjoyment, not unmingled,
however, with those contemplations which had become harmonised with
every action of my existence. At various intervals I removed my gold
to a place of greater security, and soon after availed myself of an
opportunity of returning to Toulon with the captain who had first of
all landed me in Corsica. Oh, what anxious moments did I pass lest
another discovery should deprive me of my store! I did not dare to
close my eyes in sleep, lest my person or my small matter of luggage
should be searched. I no longer threw myself heedlessly down in any
spot to court repose. Suspicion and distrust poisoned the very source
of pleasure; I looked upon all men as my enemies, because I could
confide in none. But I reached Toulon unmolested, and without loss of
time I hastened to the cottage of Madame T----, vain-glorious of my
achievement----"

"Which, to my mind, looks most d----ly like thieving, monsieur," said
Lord Eustace warmly.

"My lord, I am sensible of the wrong I perpetrated," responded Citizen
Begaud; "but you seem to forget I was a boy, steeped in poverty to
the very lips, bound by a solemn pledge to a certain purpose, through
influences that had actuated me from my earliest remembrances. I looked
upon the gold as a means to further my views. I had no guide for my
youth, and my star----"

"Was, it seems, anything but an honourable one," added Lord Eustace,
interrupting him. "Yet, monsieur, I own your narrative has interested
me; and, under the hope that there is something of a redeeming quality
yet to come, I earnestly request the favour of its continuation."

The Frenchman bowed, and darkness hid both the frown on his brow and
the flush of anger on his cheek.

"Madame T---- had left the neighbourhood of Bordeaux, and gone to
Paris. Thither I followed; but all my efforts were unavailing to
discover her habitation. The internal state of the city was that of
dissatisfaction with the ruling powers; plots and conspiracies were
hatched, quarrels fomented, and the seeds of discord were rapidly
swelling to burst the earth that covered them, and spread into a tree
of monstrous growth. The _intriguantes_ industriously circulated
reports of the queen and the nobility, that were eagerly swallowed
by the lower orders, to increase and justify their hostility to the
great. At first I kept aloof from any decided course, and for two
years was a silent observer of all that was passing around me. I lived
frugally, so as neither to excite envy nor create suspicion; and I
saw with inexpressible satisfaction that the machinery was putting
together that would, when brought into full operation, decide the fate
of the Bourbons. I was almost daily in the vicinity of the palaces, and
frequently, whilst gazing on the beauty of the queen, my purposes were
shaken. Numerous opportunities offered to deprive the sovereign of his
life; but I disdained to become an assassin. Besides, it was not Louis
alone whose downfall I had been taught to consider an act of justice.
It was the whole of the privileged orders, of which he was the head and
chief; and a blow at him would have aroused the aristocrats to a sense
of impending danger.

"Such was the position of my own and public affairs when I had
attained my seventeenth year. But I had not passed the intermediate
time in indolence. I went to school, I studied hard, became an expert
swordsman, and tolerably proficient in the branches of general
education: I perused the works of authors both dead and living; I
tested their writings by a careful examination of men and manners.
But I had yet much to learn. One day I made an excursion on horseback
to Fontainbleau; the royal family were at the palace, and there was a
young female in the suite of her majesty--Why should I withhold the
fact? Monsieur, my soul was captivated by that angelic girl. I was not
aware that she had ever noticed or even seen me so as to recall my
features to remembrance; I had made no show of my attachment beyond
that silent adoration of the heart which the countenance is but too apt
to reveal. She it was who drew me towards Fontainbleau, under the hope
of obtaining a casual glance. I was wandering in the forest, nursing
the secret thoughts of her who controlled my actions: evening came
on, and darkness surprised me in one of the most retired parts. I was
too well inured to privations to heed the occurrence. The night was
serene and warm, and I prepared to pass it beneath the branches of some
venerable tree; in fact, I was sitting down for the purpose of repose,
when a shouting and the report of fire-arms at no great distance
aroused me to energy. The direction of the parties was well defined:
they might be friends or foes, honest men or thieves; to me it was a
matter of indifference, for in either case I should find a guide out of
the wood. Without a moment's hesitation I dashed through the tangled
briers, and on a nearer approach ascertained that a deadly conflict was
going on. A few minutes brought me to the scene of action; it was upon
the main road which I had missed, and the opening between the trees
admitted sufficient light to show two of the combatants stretched upon
the ground. There were still two to two engaged with swords; but one
of them fell soon after my arrival, and the survivor turned to assist
his fellow against the only opponent left. Whilst they were upon an
equality I did not care to interfere, especially as I knew not which
was the injured party; but the odds decided me at once, and, snatching
up a sword, I placed myself in attitude by the side of the solitary.
My antagonist was a skilful swordsman; but I had time to observe that
the individual whom I befriended was richly dressed, and by no means a
master of his weapon, whilst the person opposed to him was greatly his
inferior. I got close to him, parried a thrust from my own immediate
_engagé_, and returned by a side sleight upon his comrade, who received
it in his breast, and, staggering backwards with great violence, pulled
the sword from my hand and left me at the mercy of the other. His pass
was sure; but, dexterously evading it, the weapon only went through the
fleshy part of my arm, and the force with which it was given brought
it up to the hilt. We grappled together. I was young and vigorous, but
he possessed all the muscular strength and power of manhood. I felt
his grip upon my throat; we fell heavily together upon the earth. He
retained his superiority above me; and strangulation was rapidly going
on, when suddenly his hold relaxed, he sprang from me, rolled over
and over, and then stretched himself stiffly out a lifeless corpse.
The sword of the disengaged had passed through his heart. I was not
long in recovering sensibility, and on raising my head saw that we
were all down, wounded and bleeding. The gentleman in rich attire was
seated with his back against a tree, wiping the perspiration from his
forehead, and, on seeing me move, he exclaimed, 'Whoever you are, take
my best thanks. If you live, I will prove my sense of the obligation by
more than words; if you die, carry the gratitude of a nation with you
before your maker. But how is it? are you seriously or mortally hurt?
_Mon Dieu!_ this has been no boy's pastime, anyhow.' I assured him my
injuries were not severe; and, to prove the truth of my assertion, I
got up, went towards him, and tendered my assistance. '_Grace à Dieu!_'
said he, 'I have only a few scratches. But we must not remain here:
the rascals have driven off with the carriage to plunder it; they will
return directly to help their comrades. Are all my fellows dead?'
I felt the breasts of each to ascertain if there was any throbbing
of the heart. One of the servants and two of the robbers were yet
living, though desperately wounded, and I reported to that effect.
'We can expect nothing from them,' said he, 'and therefore must trust
to our own resources. You know the passages of the forest?' '_Non,
monsieur_,' returned I. 'My acquaintance with the forest has been only
that of a few hours. I am a stranger here, and was about to pass the
night between the trees when I heard the report of fire-arms.'--'Ah!
they shot my coachman,' said he, 'the villains; and my carriage has
the edicts in it for the royal sign-manual, with other matters. Bah!
there would be a pretty prize for the robbers did the rogues know
their worth.' This was uttered to himself, and apparently not designed
for me to hear. 'May I inquire the name and rank of the noble who so
opportunely saved my life?' asked I.--'All in good time, young man;
you should never listen to state secrets. Saved your life, eh? You
have been to court and have learned to flatter. Abandon it, young man:
flattery is bad enough in old age, but detestable from youth. I need no
such incitements to remembrance. Help me rise.' I obeyed. 'And now,'
continued he, 'we must find our way to the palace.'

"My heart leaped with joy at the thought: I should see, I should be
near the young Countess de M----. Ever prone to extravagance, the most
preposterous hopes and prospects filled my mind: I laughed outright.
'Are you mad?' inquired my companion. 'In what can you find cause for
mirth?'--'The heart knoweth its own bitterness,' returned I, 'and a
stranger intermeddleth not with its joy,'--'True, true,' responded
he. 'But come, let us strive to find our way.' He put his arm within
mine, and silently we traced the road for about two miles, when we
came to one of the lodges that formed a residence for a keeper, and
here we obtained horses and a guide, and in less than half an hour
we were within the walls of that venerable building the palace of
Fontainbleau. My companion had gained a ready admittance; his word of
command was almost electric, and at first I thought it was the Duke
of Orleans, but that his visit to the royal family would be deemed an
insult. At all events I was consigned to the care of an officer of the
household, and I had no cause to complain of my treatment. After the
lapse of an hour, an attendant summoned me to wait upon the individual
I had so timely rescued. My dress, from being torn by the brambles,
certainly was not much suited for the ostentatious gaiety of a court
at a period when extravagant profusion was considered as essential to
the prosperity of the nation; nor had it lost anything by the struggle
on the ground with the bandit. Still I obeyed without hesitation; and,
after passing through several gorgeous apartments, an officer with
a white wand arrested our further progress. He then tapped gently
at an inner door; there was the tinkling of a bell, the portal flew
back, and within was a resplendent blaze of light that dazzled and
confounded me. I was reassured, however, by the voice of my companion,
who uttered in a low voice, 'Enter, young man;' and obeying, I found
myself in the presence of the king and queen. Louis was seated at a
table covered with toys, and the young prince was on his knee. Marie
Antoinette was watching with the eye of maternal affection the playful
delight of her child; and, much as I had imbibed an undeviating hatred
to royalty, I could not behold the spectacle unmoved. Near her majesty
stood the young Countess de M----, and the fascination of her beauteous
eye enchained my faculties. In a few minutes the queen and her suite
retired, and my companion questioned me in the presence of the monarch
relative to my station in life, the cause of my being in the forest,
and on several other topics, all which I answered as best suited my own
purposes. Louis spake kindly to me, but his very kindness filled my
heart with bitter feelings; and when, turning to my companion of the
forest, he said, 'Monsieur Calonne, we must find some fitting service
for this youth,' I could have stabbed him through and through. This,
then, was Monsieur Calonne, the head of the ministry,--he who had
dared to propose a tax upon the privileged orders, and had assembled
the Notables to shame them into compliance with his scheme; this was
the man who had plunged the finances of the country into confusion
and ruin, for the purpose of bringing down the pride of the nobles
and the clergy, who had raised him to his elevated exaltation. His
place was one of danger and distrust: he aimed a severe blow at the
privileged orders, without conciliating the people; for, though the
latter applauded the equalizing system, yet they despised the minister
who, by his reckless profusion, was involving them in ruin. That night
I retired----"

"Sail, ho!" was shouted from the forecastle, and Lord Eustace
immediately started from his attitude of deep attention.

"Whereabouts is she?" demanded the officer of the watch, his voice
reverberating amongst the sails, and the most profound stillness
reigning fore and aft.

"Broad away on the starboard bow, sir," replied the look-out; and
Lord Eustace, being furnished with his night-glass, walked forward to
examine the stranger, leaving the recital of Citizen Captain Begaud to
be finished at another opportunity.



SONG OF THE OLD BELL.


    In an old village, amid older hills,
    That close around their verdant walls to guard
    Its tottering age from wintry winds, I dwell
    Lonely, and still, save when the clamorous rooks
    Or my own fickle changes wound the ear
    Of Silence in my tower!
                                           ANON.

    For full five hundred years I've swung
      In my old grey turret high,
    And many a different theme I've sung
      As the time went stealing by!
    I've peal'd the chaunt of a wedding morn;
      Ere night I have sadly toll'd,
    To say that the bride was coming, love-lorn,
      To sleep in the church-yard mould!
            Ding-dong,
                    My careless song;
            Merry and sad,
                    But neither long!

    For full five hundred years I've swung
      In my ancient turret high,
    And many a different theme I've sung
      As the time went stealing by!
    I've swell'd the joy of a country's pride
      For a victory far off won,
    Then changed to grief for the brave that died
      Ere my mirth had well begun!
            Ding-dong,
                    My careless song;
            Merry or sad,
                    But neither long!

    For full five hundred years I've swung
      In my breezy turret high,
    And many a different theme I've sung
      As the time went stealing by!
    I have chimed the dirge of a nation's grief
      On the death of a dear-loved king,
    Then merrily rung for the next young chief;
      As _told_, I can weep or sing!
            Ding-dong,
                    My careless song;
            Merry or sad,
                    But neither long!

    For full five hundred years I've swung
      In my crumbling turret high;
    'Tis time my own death-song were sung,
      And with truth before I die!
    I never could love the themes they gave
      My tyrannized tongue to tell:
    One moment for cradle, the next for grave--
      They've worn out the old church bell!
            Ding-dong,
                    My changeful song;
            Farewell now,
                    And farewell long!
                                               W.

[Illustration: Midnight Mishaps]



MIDNIGHT MISHAPS.

BY EDWARD MAYHEW.

WITH AN ILLUSTRATION BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.


Oh the rural suburbs of London!--the filthy suburbs!--where nothing is
green but the water, nothing natural but the dirt,--where the trees
are clipt into poles, and the hedges grow behind palings,--where "no
thoroughfare" forbids you to walk in one place, and the dust prevents
you from walking in another,--the filthy suburbs!

It was these delightful precincts of peace and "_caution_," retirement
and "_handsome rewards_," that Mr. Jacob Tweasle honoured with his
decided preference. This gentleman had inhabited a small shop at the
foot of Snow-hill for more than forty years, retailing tobacco to the
tradesmen, and cigars to the apprentices; and, having by supplying
other people's boxes gradually filled his own, he, how in his sixtieth
year, declined the manufacture of weeds for the cultivation of exotics.

An "Italian villa," beautifully situated in a back lane near Hornsey,
was pointed out to the tobacconist by a house-agent as particularly
"snug and retired." Before the ostentatious white front of this
"enviable residence" were exactly twenty square yards of lawn,
"delightfully wooded" by a solitary laburnum, which was approached over
a highly "ornamental Chinese bridge," crossing "a convenient stream
of water." The interior of the building it was "impossible for the
most fastidious to object to;" the rooms were so low, and the windows
so small, that the happy occupant always imagined himself a hundred
miles from the metropolis; the prospect, too, from the upper stories
"revelled in all the luxuries of the picturesque;" the dome of St.
Paul's lent magnificence to the distance, while the foreground was
enlivened by a brick-field.

Mr. Tweasle saw, approved, yet doubted. He did not know what to say
to it. There was, he acknowledged, everything that heart of man could
desire; the garden was walled in, and the steel-traps and cabbages
might be taken as fixtures; nevertheless he reached the bridge without
having made up his mind. There he paused, and gazed in anxious
meditation upon the black and heavy liquid that stagnated beneath.
"Can one fish here?" suddenly asked the tobacconist, at the same time
leaning over and disturbing the "convenient stream of water" with his
cane.

"_I_ never do myself," replied the agent, in such a manner as to imply
that other people frequently did; for Tweasle instantly inquired,

"What do they catch?"

The agent was puzzled. Was the Londoner really ignorant, or was this
a design to test the truth of all his former assertions? It was a
case which required extreme caution. "I am no angler myself,--I have
no time for that delightful recreation; but--I should think--that
eels--eels--probably--eels--might----"

"Stewed eels make a nice supper," interrupted Tweasle with gluttonous
simplicity. "Fish arn't to be got fresh in London."

"Fish ought to be eaten the moment it is taken from the water," cried
the agent with decision.

"My boy's got a fishing-rod," said Tweasle; and he took the Italian
villa on a repairing lease.

The announcement of this event created a "sensation" at the foot of
Snow-hill; the Rubicon was past; the business _was_ to be disposed of;
and, that no time might be lost, Mr. Tweasle, without taking off his
gloves, began to scribble an advertisement, while Mrs. Tweasle waddled
into the shop and insulted a customer.

All was confusion. To fly from the paternal protection of the Lord
Mayor, and emigrate off the stones, was no casual event to him who had
hitherto proudly exulted in the freedom of the city. Much was necessary
to reconcile the mind to so bold a measure. The lady undertook to pack
up everything that could be got in London, and purchase everything that
could not be got in the country. The gentleman, acting as a man should,
wholly neglected the domestic. He gave his attention to the noble arts
of agriculture and self-defence, botanical theories, treatises, and
directories. Horticultural implements, instruments, and improvements,
swords and pistols, guns and blunderbusses, detonating crackers for the
shutters, and alarums for the bedrooms, he spared neither trouble nor
expense to procure.

"Now, Hanney, dear," said Tweasle to his wife, surveying the weapons
which had just been sent home, "I thinks here's everything a contented
mind could desire: the thieves will know better than to come where we
are."

But the timid woman's ideas of defence were concentrated in a flannel
gown and a rattle; she looked more terrified than assured:--fire-arms
and accidents were, in her mind, synonymous; and her only answer was an
urgent entreaty that "those nasty things might be always so locked up
that _nobody could_ get at them."

In due time everything that the family thought they could possibly want
was procured; and when, to render the whole complete, Master Charles,
only son and heir, was commissioned to procure live stock from St.
Giles's, the boy returned with almond tumblers for pigeon-pies, and
bantam-cocks for poultry.

"New-laid eggs for breakfast!" chuckled his papa.

All being at length ready for starting on the following day, and as
the house was dismantled even to the junction of the bed-posts, the
family determined to pass their last evening in London, whispering soft
adieus to their more intimate acquaintance. At first Tweasle conducted
himself with becoming hypocrisy. He lamented his separation from the
"friends of his youth," and ate cake and drank wine with imposing
solemnity; but, as the ceremony was repeated, he committed himself by
an occasional smile, and at last slipped out something about "poor
devils, who were smoked to death like red herrings." Mrs. Tweasle was
shocked, and hurried her husband away; who, however, warmed into truth,
would not acknowledge his error or go to bed, but insisted on saying
good-b'ye to his old friend Gingham. They found the Ginghams preparing
for supper; and, on company arriving, the servant was whispered "to
bring up the beef," which Tweasle overhearing, he turned to the
hostess, and exultingly cried,

"Come and see us in the country, and I'll give you stewed eels and
chicken for supper."

"I'm very sorry _we've_ nothing _better_ than cold beef to offer _you_,
sir," replied the lady with a look; "but I can send out."

"Not for the world!" shouted Mrs. Tweasle, who was rejoiced when a
request to be seated relieved her from reiterating her conciliatory
wishes that no one would mind her good man, who during supper would
converse on no other subject than the pleasures of new-laid eggs and
the country, till, having finished one glass of gin and water, he
undertook to explain to his friend how it was that _he_ also could
leave off business like a squire. Nor was this personal investigation
of private family affairs rendered less unpleasant by the indelicate
egotism which induced the exhibitor to illustrate his friend's faults
by his own virtues; till, though repeatedly requested to "drop it,"
Tweasle wound up his harangue by calling his host a fool.

"You're a fool, Gingham. You might ha' been as well off as I am at the
present moment, if you hadn't lived at such a rate, like a fool."

The lady of the house instantly arose, and left the room in company
with her daughters, telling Mr. Tweasle "_they_ were going to bed;" and
Mr. Gingham leant over the table to inform his guest, "he had no wish
to quarrel."

Of the rest of that evening Tweasle the next day retained a very
confused recollection. He thought some one pushed him about in a
passage, and remembered his wife's assisting him to put on his
great-coat in the middle of the street.

At the appointed hour, the glass-coach which was to convey the family
from London stopped at the foot of Snow-hill. Mr. Tweasle was the first
to jump in; the person to whom the business had been advantageously
disposed of, gave his hand to Mrs. Tweasle, and then turned to say
farewell to her husband.

"All I've got in this blessed world I made in that shop," said Tweasle,
anxious to give his successor a high opinion of the bargain, and leave
a good name behind him. "The many--many--happy--peaceful days I've
seen in it!--I can't expect to see them again!--On a Saturday and on a
Monday I've often been fit to drop behind my own counter, quite worn
out with customers. I'm afraid I've done a rash thing; but I've this
consolation, I've left the business in good hands."

"Come, don't look dull, Tweasle," cried his wife, who was imposed on by
her husband's pathetics: "cheer up! You know trade ain't what it was,
and I'm sure the two last years must have been a 'losing game.'"

It is impossible to say whether he who had bought or he who had
sold the business looked most appalled by this untimely truth.
However, Tweasle was the first to recover himself: he took his victim
affectionately by the hand, and, leaning forward, whispered in
propitiatory confidential accents, "Always put a little white pepper in
Alderman Heavyside's Welsh, or he'll think you've adulterated it."

But the successor was hurt past such slender consolation. With lofty
integrity he spurned the advice of his deceiver; for, jerking his hand
away, and looking Tweasle sternly in the face, he said, "Sir, I shall
do my duty!" and he strutted into the shop; whereupon the coach began
to move.

Disposed by this little incident to sadness, its late occupant looked
at the house till his eyes watered. He was no longer a "public
man;" his opinion of the weather was now of no importance; he might
henceforth loiter over his dinner undisturbed by any thought of the
shop! Feelings such as these could not be suppressed, and Tweasle
was about to apostrophise, when his gentle partner startled him by
exclaiming,

"Thank our stars, we're off at last!" and, catching a glimpse of the
house as the coach turned into Hatton-garden, she added, "there's the
last of it, I hope; I never wish to set eyes on the hole again!"

"Don't be ungrateful," said Tweasle, chidingly. "That roof has
sheltered me near forty years."

"Well, it was a nuisance to live in it,--no place to dry a rag in but
the servant's bed-room."

"And Martha made you give her rum and water, mother, or else she
_would_ catch cold," added the son.

"Stop there!--stop there!--stop!" a voice was heard to cry.

"That can't be for us," observed Mrs. Tweasle.

As if in the spirit of matrimonial contradiction, her husband the next
moment exclaimed, "By George! it is though!"

It proved to be a debtor, who had journeyed to London in consequence
of some information which had been afforded him by an attorney. Three
hundred and odd pounds were in his pocket ready for disbursement, if
Mr. Tweasle would accompany him to an inn in the Borough, and there go
through the account This was vexatious. The _fear_ of losing the money
had long disturbed the late tobacconist's mental monotony, and now the
_certainty_ of its payment absolutely angered him. He turned to his
lady, and said to her in a voice of positive wrath,

"Hanney, I shall go. Don't you wait for me, do you hear? I shall walk
probably in the evening down to Hornsey,--when I've given a receipt for
the money. Now, sir, I'm at your service. Will you show the way?"

"Please to remember a poor fellow who wants works," said a florid
muscular mendicant, thrusting his huge hand close to the late
tobacconist's face.--"The fellow must have overheard the arrangement,"
thought Tweasle; and an undefined feeling of alarm took the roses from
his cheeks. As he hastily threw the man a few pence, he delivered some
very profound remarks upon the Vagrant Act.

"Hanney, dear," cried he in a loud voice, while the beggar was stooping
for the money, "don't make yourself uneasy, but set the steel-traps.
I have pistols,--mind that, love,--I have pistols!" for, afraid to
acknowledge his own terror, he found relief in supposing that others
were more timid than himself.

Leaving his wife, Tweasle walked to the inn, where he remained till all
the items of a long bill had been discussed, when the clock announced
the hour of nine, and then the debtor insisted on being asked to
supper, so that it was fairly half-past ten before Tweasle left the
Borough.

So long as the lights of London illumined his way, he proceeded in
comparative composure, only occasionally feeling at his coat-pockets
to assure himself that the pistols were safe; but when the unaided
darkness announced that he had quitted the extremest outskirts of the
metropolis, Mr. Tweasle paused, and audibly informed himself that "he
was not afraid:" on receiving which information, he buttoned his coat
closer, slapped his hat firmer on his cranium, frowned, and shook his
head; and, endeavouring to act bravery, took a pistol in either hand as
he marched onward with every symptom of excessive alarm.

He had not more than two miles farther to proceed, when the distant
notes of St. Paul's cathedral announced the hour of midnight. At
this time Tweasle was creeping along a lane rendered gloomy by high
and parallel hedges, which inclosed fruitful pastures, and prevented
grazing cattle from being impounded; at a little distance from him,
behind one of these "leafy screens," stood a "pensive brother,"--a fine
he-ass, which had retired thither to nibble the tender shoots of the
mellifluous hawthorn.

As the last vibration died away, he stumbled into a cart-rut. On
recovering his perpendicular, panting from the unnecessary exertion
he had used, the poor traveller stared around him, and endeavoured to
survey the place whereon he was standing. It was a gloomy spot,--one
unrelieved mass of shade, in which the clouded heavens seemed to
harmonize; everything was in awful repose,--the night was cold, but
not a zephyr was abroad. Painfully oppressed by the utter loneliness
of his position, a sense of extreme lassitude gradually crept over
Tweasle,--he closed his eyes, and shuddered violently; he could have
wept, but the fear of being afraid made him suppress the desire.

"This is a dreadful place!" he said aloud, with much gravity; "just
such a spot as a murder might be committed in. I'm very glad I'm armed."

Scarcely had he uttered the words, when the donkey thrust forward his
"pensive nose," and shook the hedge by pulling at a switch of more than
common luxuriance. "I'll sell my life dearly!" was Tweasle's first
sensation,--it could hardly be called idea, it was too confused,--as,
preparing for attack, he instinctively clapped one hand upon his money,
while with the other he presented a pistol towards the spot whence the
noise proceeded. Not being, as he expected, immediately assaulted, he
by a violent exertion of his mental powers so far mastered his bodily
alarm as to gulp first and then breathe. He listened,--all was still.
"They didn't know I was armed," thought Tweasle; "it was lucky I showed
them my determination:" and, in something bordering upon confidence in
the effects of his own courage, he ventured to whisper "Who's there?"
when, receiving no answer, he increased his demand to "Who's there, _I
say_?" in a somewhat louder voice. He was anxiously waiting the result
of this boldness on his part when the animal, probably attracted by
the sound, slowly moved towards the spot where Tweasle was standing.
"Ah! come--d--n--don't--now--I--I'm armed, you know!" screamed the
traveller, running about and wildly striking right and left with the
pistol, confident that the action this time had positively commenced;
but after some interval, becoming gradually convinced that he remained
unhurt, he was quite satisfied that nothing but the extraordinary
courage he had displayed could have saved him from this second
desperate attempt upon his life; and, somewhat anxious to support
the first dawn of his heroism, he said, or rather stammered, in a
voice not always distinct, "Now--now,--whoever you are,--don't go too
far, because it's no pleasure to me to shoot you;--but I will, if you
do:--so, in the King's name, who are you?--I _must_ fire if you won't
speak!"

The last appeal was made more in the tone of entreaty than command,
for Tweasle beheld a black mass thrust itself against the hedge,
evidently inspecting him. A rush of confused ideas, a tumult of strange
suspicions and surmises, a "_regular row_" of contending emotions,
deprived him of all self-control; and, if the pistol had not just
at that moment accidentally exploded, he had probably fallen to the
ground. As it was, the noise revived him; and, taking advantage of
the circumstance, with a ready conceit he cried out "_There!_" for
he had seen the object disappear, and heard a faint cry as of one in
agony,--whereon he walked from the place with every appearance of
impertinent composure.

But this simulation did not long continue. As he became more conscious,
he grew more agitated: he had probably shot a robber. For this he felt
no remorse, and was persuading himself he would repeat the act, when
he discovered that he had lost his pistols. This discovery gave him
a fearful shock,--he was unarmed! Now came another dread.--Was the
miscreant he had killed alone? or had he companions? Did not robbers
usually congregate in bands; and might he not be pursued? But Tweasle
was adopting the very best mode of avoiding such a danger, as, long
before he asked himself the question, his walk had quickened into a
sort of hand-gallop, which this fresh terror increased to the wild
speed of utter despair. Without slackening his pace, the affrighted man
had nearly reached his home, when a sharp blow across the shins brought
him to the ground, and, looking up, Tweasle perceived the mendicant of
the afternoon, and two other suspicious-looking fellows standing over
him. He could not speak; but, turning his face downwards, stretched
himself upon the earth.

"_Are you going to sleep there?_" inquired the beggar with a kick
that was violently anti-soporific; and, seeing that Tweasle naturally
writhed under the infliction, the fellow vociferated, "Come, that
didn't hurt you. It's no use shamming here."

"I shan't wait about, all night for him," cried a diminutive gentleman
disguised in a coalheaver's hat worn jockey-fashion, who, seizing
Tweasle by the collar, lifted him from the ground, and giving him a
shake that was sufficient to render any human nerves unsteady for
eternity, asked the tottering man in a voice of angry expostulation,
"Why the devil he couldn't stand still?"

Too terrified to offer the slightest opposition, the unhappy Tweasle
endeavoured to obey, which spirit of accommodation was repaid by the
most scrupulous attentions. With a delicate dexterity that scarcely
acquainted the owner of the abstraction, everything that his pockets
contained was removed without unnecessary delay; and Tweasle was
beginning to hope that the robbers would be content with their booty,
when one of the fellows, anxious to have his clothes also, told him in
the slang phraseology to undress, by shouting,

"Come, skin yourself."

"Skin _myself_!" cried Tweasle, understanding the words literally, and
bounding from the place in horror of what appeared to him a refinement
on even fictitious barbarity. "Skin _myself_!--You can't mean it. I
couldn't do it, if you'd give me the world.--It's impossible!--Oh,
heavens!"

"No flash,--it won't do,--you'll undress," said the taller of the three
with a calmness that thrilled his auditor.

"Oh! good gentlemen," continued Tweasle, wishing to touch their hearts
by saying something pathetic, "do consider I'm a married man!--think of
my poor wife!--think of my poor wife!"

"Carry her that 'ere with my compliments," cried the beggar, dashing
his fist into Tweasle's face; an act which was received by the rest as
an excellent joke.

"It will do you no good to ill-use a fellow-creature," replied Tweasle
distinctly, as though the blow had refreshed him. "Don't think I shall
resist; take what you please; only, as you are a man--in human form--in
this world and in the next----"

"Sugar me! You're just agoing it nicely!" interrupted the mendicant.
"I'm blowed if we pads don't teach more vartey than a bench of bishops.
Never in all my born life _borrowed on a friend_ that the beggar didn't
funk pious and grunt gospel."

"But it is a natural impossibility for any man to skin himself."

"We'll do it for you, if you don't begin."

"Oh my heart! No!--Think of something else;--I'm willing to do anything
but that."

"Stow that! Skin yourself,--shake them rags off your ugly pig of a
body;--undress, and be d--d to you!"

Mr. Tweasle, who from this last speech gathered enough to remove his
more horrible misgivings, delicately hinted at the inappropriateness of
the place for such a purpose, the coolness of the night, the dislike he
had to spectators at his toilet, and other things objectionable, but
without effect: his opposition only confirmed the robbers' resolution,
till a smart blow on the left cheek showed that they were inclined to
silence, if they could not convince him.

Reluctantly the old man began to unrobe, parting with his garments
one by one, and begging as a favour he might be allowed to retain
only his waistcoat, on the worthlessness of which he expatiated till
he convinced the plunderers it was of more value than its outside
promised, as proved to be the case, notes to the amount of several
hundreds being found pinned to the lining. They made many mock
apologies for depriving him of this; sarcastically complimenting him
for his modesty, which easily parted with other coverings, but blushed
to expose his bosom: then, kicking him till he fell to the earth, there
they left him.

Mrs. Tweasle reached the Italian villa as it was getting dusk, and
the family sat up till midnight expecting Mr. Tweasle's arrival. As
the hours advanced, the lady became alarmed, and sent Charles with
a tumbler of rum and water into the kitchen, who, on his return,
announced that Martha had declined the kitchen chair in favour of
John's knee. "Never mind," cried the lady, made considerate by her
fears; "such things are thought nothing of in the country." Whereupon
she proceeded, with a strange concatenation of ideas, to state her
opinion of second marriages; lamented that widows' caps were so
difficult to get up; drank a little more rum and water; endeavoured to
divert her mind with the Newgate Calendar, but could not enjoy it for
thinking how cruel it was of Mr. Tweasle not to come home earlier,
and openly protested against sleeping alone in a strange house; then
took upon herself, in Mr. Tweasle's absence, to read prayers and lock
up for the night. The signal for retiring being given, each took a
candlestick; but, before they separated, the mistress entreated all of
them to be very watchful in their sleep for fear of robbers, as she was
certain Mr. Tweasle would not be home that night, and did not know what
his absence might bring about.

The subject being once started, every one tarried to relate some
tale of midnight assassination; and all of them selected a strange
uninhabited dwelling as the scene of their agitating incidents. The
straw and half-opened packages which strewed the apartment gave the
place where they were congregated a cheerless aspect; and they were
excited to a degree of listening silence, and staring inquisitively at
one another, while John recounted how a lady of high respectability
chanced to be sitting by herself in the kitchen of a dilapidated
mansion about two hours after midnight, and looking thoughtfully, not
knowing what ailed her, at a round hole where a knot in the wainscot
had been thrust out, when she saw the large dark sparkling eye of a
most ferocious assassin peeping at her through the opening.

Just as John had reached this point of painful interest, the heavy foot
of a man was heard to pass hastily over the bridge, and the next moment
the front-door was violently shaken. The two females instantly pinioned
John by clinging round him with all the tenacity of terror, while at
the same time they were loud in their demands for that protection
which, had they needed it, he was by them effectually disabled from
affording; while Master Tweasle, seizing the rattle, and aiding
its noise with his voice, in no small degree increased the family
distraction; above which, however, was plainly heard some one without,
using his best endeavours to force the entrance. Whoever that some one
was, he appeared wholly unmindful of secrecy; which palpable contempt
of caution, and open disregard of whatever resistance the inhabitants
might be able to make, greatly increased their fear of the villain's
intentions. At each shock the door sustained, shrieks were uttered by
the women, accompanied by a very spirited movement by the boy upon
the rattle; and the interval between these assaults Mrs. Tweasle
employed in murmuring prayers and complaints to Heaven and John for the
protection of her life and property.

At last the assailant appeared to get exhausted; his attempts gradually
became weaker and less frequent. Emboldened by this, the family
ventured to the first-floor window, whence they could plainly see
what all agreed was a countryman in a white smock-frock pacing to
and fro in front of the house in all the bitterest rage of excessive
disappointment.

"Oh, the wretch!" cried Mrs. Tweasle. "What a good door that is! I make
no doubt he knew the furniture was not unpacked; and, if he could only
have got in, he would have carried it all off before morning: he must
have known Mr. Tweasle was not at home. Oh dear me!"

Soon after she had spoken, the man seemed to have conquered his
vexation, and, approaching the door, he gave a very decent double
knock; but, not receiving an answer, he knocked again somewhat louder,
and then with all his former violence frequently returned, making
actions as if he were vowing vengeance against the family, or calling
imprecations down upon their heads for their resistance: but of what
he said nothing could be heard, for this conduct so terrified the
women that they screamed and shrieked, and Master Tweasle, as before,
accompanied them on the rattle.

At length the robber, as if despairing of entrance, was seen to
retire, but it was only to change the point of assault; they watched
the villain move towards the back of the house; saw him, with a lofty
courage that disdained at broken bottles, scale the garden-wall; and to
their extreme delight, just as they were certain the _back_-door would
not hold out, beheld him approach the jessamine bower where John had on
the previous evening set one of the man-traps--and there he stayed.

A council of war was now held, which would have lasted till morning
had it not been interrupted by Master Charles's firing a blunderbuss
out of the window, thus bravely endeavouring to bring down the robber
at a long shot; and he would have repeated his aim till he had hit his
object, who might be distinctly seen making various strange contortions
near the jessamine bower, had not his mother forbidden him. The boy,
vexed by the check he received, mistook his ill-humour for bravery, and
pettishly volunteered to advance to the thief, if John would accompany
him on the expedition; but Mrs. Tweasle asked in surprise, "Was she to
be left alone at the mercy of Heaven, without protection?" and John,
with strong moral courage preferring duty to honour, rejected the
proposal.

"Well, then," said the lad, "come along, Martha."

"Oh!--_me?_" cried the girl: "oh, Master Charles!" for the boy, when he
requested her company, only thought that the exchange of a woman for a
man was a vast sacrifice on his part; he never once considered how the
substitution might affect the party it principally concerned.

Thus abandoned, he had stayed within, had not his mother insisted
that he should not stir out: filial obedience supplied the place of
resolution; he unbolted the back-door, and in a state of obstinate
alarm issued into the garden.

Advancing cautiously, and by a most circuitous way, the boy approached
the jessamine bower, and there discovered _his father_ writhing and
moaning, with one leg fast in a trap, which, according to his own
orders, had been set for the protection of the cabbages.

"Oh! my dear boy, don't fire any more. It's me, Charles! let me out of
this--I'm dying!"

"Why, if it isn't you, father!--only wait a bit----"

"_Wait!_--don't talk nonsense!" cried Tweasle, looking at his
unfortunate leg, which was held in the trap, and feeling his condition
aggravated by the supposition that it was one of choice.

"Yes, I'll fetch mother,"

"Hang your mother!--let me out of this!" ejaculated the poor man, who
was no ways desirous of continuing his agony that it might be made a
kind of domestic exhibition of; but, deaf to his parent's entreaties,
the boy ran away, quite full of his discovery. On the steps he met
the maid-servant, whom he rebuked with much coarseness for appearing
alarmed, and presently returned, marching like a conqueror at the head
of a triumph.

All were much surprised at beholding Mr. Tweasle in such a situation,
unrobed and wounded, shivering from cold and terror, and deprived
of all self-command by exhaustion and a man-trap. Mrs. Tweasle was
quite overpowered by the sight: her feelings rather claimed pity than
bestowed it; for while John was removing the steel trap from his
master's legs, she kept moaning, and entreating her husband _only_
to consider how his conduct had pained _her_. The poor maid-servant
displayed great goodness of heart; she tenderly bound her master's
naked legs, gently lifted him into the chair that was brought to convey
him into the house, and appeared quite to overcome the natural delicacy
of her sex in the praiseworthy endeavour to render a fellow-creature
every possible assistance; while John and Master Tweasle seemed more
inclined to converse on what had happened than to mingle in what was
taking place, repeatedly putting questions which the sufferer was
incapable of answering, as to wherefore he did that, or why he did not
do this.

Tweasle's injuries were rather painful than dangerous: in a few days he
was convalescent, and was beginning to grow valiant in his descriptions
of his midnight mishaps, when the following hand-bill was submitted to
his notice.

"Whereas a valuable male donkey, the property of Stephen Hedges, was on
the night of the 6th of May last maliciously shot at and killed by some
person or persons unknown; this is to give notice, that whoever will
render such information as shall lead to the conviction of the offender
or offenders, shall receive Five Pounds reward."

For some time after reading this, Tweasle appeared full of thought,
when he surprised his family by a sudden resolution to send Stephen
Hedges five pounds; nor could any remonstrance on the part of his
wife change his charitable purpose. No one could account for this: in
pence the late tobacconist had always been a pattern of benevolence;
but to give _pounds_ was not in the ordinary scale of his charity.
None could assign a reason for so boundless a beneficence, more than
they could comprehend why Tweasle should, whenever the subject was
mentioned, expatiate with so much feeling on "What the poor ass must
have suffered!"



TRANSLATION FROM UHLAND.

THE DREAM.


    In a garden fair were roaming
      Two lovers hand in hand;
    Two pale and shadowy creatures,
      They sat in that flowery land.

    On the lips they kiss'd each other,
      On the cheeks so full and smooth;
    They were lock'd in close embracings,
      They were blithe with the flush of youth.

    Two bells were tolling sadly,--
      The dream has pass'd away;
    She in the narrow cloister,
      He in a dungeon lay.



FAMILY STORIES, No. VII.

PATTY MORGAN THE MILKMAID'S STORY.


"LOOK AT THE CLOCK!"

                   FYTTE I.

    "Look at the Clock!" quoth Winifred Pryce,
      As she open'd the door to her husband's knock,
    Then paus'd to give him a piece of advice,
      "You nasty Warmint, look at the Clock!
          Is this the way, you
          Wretch, every day you
    Treat her who vow'd to love and obey you?
          Out all night!
          Me in a fright;
    Staggering home as it's just getting light!
    You intoxified brute! you insensible block!
    Look at the Clock!--Do.--Look at the Clock!"

    Winifred Pryce was tidy and clean,
    Her gown was a flower'd one, her petticoat green,
    Her buckles were bright as her milking cans,
    And her hat was a beaver, and made like a man's;
    Her little red eyes were deep set in their socket-holes,
    Her gown-tail was turn'd up, and tuck'd through the pocket-holes:
        A face like a ferret
        Betoken'd her spirit:
    To conclude, Mrs. Pryce was not over young,
    Had very short legs, and a very long tongue.

        Now David Pryce
        Had one darling vice;
    Remarkably partial to anything nice,
    Nought that was good to him came amiss,
    Whether to eat, or to drink, or to kiss!
        Especially ale--
        If it was not too stale
    I really believe he'd have emptied a pail;
        Not that in Wales
        They talk of their Ales;
    To pronounce the word they make use of might trouble you,
    Being spelt with a C, two Rs, and a W.

        That particular day,
        As I've heard people say,
    Mr. David Pryce had been soaking his clay,
    And amusing himself with his pipe and cheroots,
    The whole afternoon at the Goat in Boots,
        With a couple more soakers,
        Thoroughbred smokers,
    Both, like himself, prime singers and jokers;
    And, long after day had drawn to a close,
    And the rest of the world was wrapp'd in repose,
    They were roaring out "Shenkin!" and "Ar hydd y nos;"
    While David himself, to a Sassenach tune,
    Sang, "We've drunk down the Sun, boys! let's drink down the Moon!
        What have we with day to do?
        Mrs. Winifred Pryce, 'twas made for you!"
    At length, when they couldn't well drink any more,
    Old "Goat-in-Boots" shew'd them the door;
        And then came that knock,
        And the sensible shock
    David felt when his wife cried, "Look at the Clock
    For the hands stood as crooked as crooked might be,
    The long at the Twelve, and the short at the Three!

    This self-same Clock had long been a bone
    Of contention between this Darby and Joan;
    And often among their pother and rout,
    When this otherwise amiable couple fell out,
        Pryce would drop a cool hint,
        With an ominous squint
    At its case, of an "Uncle" of his, who'd a "Spout."
        That horrid word "Spout"
        No sooner came out,
    Than Winifred Pryce would turn her about,
        And with scorn on her lip,
        And a hand on each hip,
    "Spout" herself till her nose grew red at the tip,
        "You thundering willain,
        I know you'd be killing
    Your wife,--ay, a dozen of wives,--for a shilling!
        You may do what you please,
        You may sell my chemise,
    (Mrs. P. was too well-bred to mention her stock,)
    But I never will part with my Grandmother's Clock!"

    Mrs. Pryce's tongue ran long and ran fast;
    But patience is apt to wear out at last,
    And David Pryce in temper was quick,
    So he stretch'd out his hand, and caught hold of a stick;
    Perhaps in its use he might mean to be lenient,
    But walking just then wasn't very convenient,
        So he threw it, instead,
        Direct at her head.
        It knock'd off her hat;
        Down she fell flat;
    Her case, perhaps, was not much mended by that;
    But, whatever it was,--whether rage and pain
    Produc'd apoplexy, or burst a vein,
    Or her tumble induc'd a concussion of brain,
    I can't say for certain,--but this I can,
    When, sobered by fright, to assist her he ran,
    Mrs. Winifred Pryce was as dead as Queen Anne!

        The fearful catastrophe
        Named in my last strophe
    As adding to grim Death's exploits such a vast trophy,
    Soon made a great noise; and the shocking fatality
    Like wild-fire ran over the whole Principality.
    And then came Mr. Ap Thomas, the Coroner,
    With his jury to sit, some dozen or more, on her.
        Mr. Pryce, to commence
        His "ingenious defence,"
    Made a "pow'rful appeal" to the jury's "good sense,"
        "The world he must defy
        Ever to justify
    Any presumption of "Malice Prepense;"
        The unlucky lick
        From the end of the stick
    He "deplored," he was "apt to be rather too quick;"
        But, really, her prating
        Was so aggravating:
    Some trifling correction was just what he meant; all
    The rest, he assured them, was "quite accidental!"

        Then he called Mr. Jones,
        Who deposed to her tones,
    And her gestures, and hints about "breaking his bones."
    While Mr. Ap Morgan, and Mr. Ap Rhys
        Declared the Deceased
        Had styled him "a Beast,"
    And swore they had witness'd, with grief and surprise,
    The allusions she made to his limbs and his eyes.

    The jury, in fine, having sat on the body
    The whole day, discussing the case, and gin-toddy,
    Return'd about half-past eleven at night
    The following verdict, "We find, _Sarve her right!_"


                   FYTTE II.

    Mr. Pryce, Mrs. Winifred Pryce being dead,
    Felt lonely, and moped; and one evening he said
    He would marry Miss Davis at once in her stead.

        Not far from his dwelling,
        From the vale proudly swelling,
    Rose a mountain; its name you'll excuse me from telling,
    For the vowels made use of in Welsh are so few
    That the A and the E, the I, O, and the U,
    Have really but little or nothing to do;
    And the duty, of course, falls the heavier by far
    On the L, and the H, and the N, and the R.
        Its first syllable, "PEN,"
        Is pronounceable;--then
    Come two L Ls, and two H Hs, two F Fs, and an N;
    About half a score Rs, and some Ws follow,
    Beating all my best efforts at euphony hollow:
    But we shan't have to mention it often, so when
    We do, with your leave, we'll curtail it to "PEN."

        Well,--the moon shone bright
        Upon "PEN" that night,
    When Pryce, being quit of his fuss and his fright,
        Was scaling its side
        With that sort of stride
    A man puts out when walking in search of a bride.
        Mounting higher and higher,
        He began to perspire,
    Till, finding his legs were beginning to tire,
        And feeling opprest
        By a pain in his chest,
    He paus'd, and turn'd round to take breath, and to rest;
    A walk all up hill is apt, as we know,
    To make one, however robust, puff and blow,
    So he stopped, and look'd down on the valley below.

        O'er fell, and o'er fen,
        Over mountain and glen,
    All bright in the moonshine, his eye rov'd, and then
    All the Patriot rose in his soul, and he thought
    Of Wales, and her glories, and all he'd been taught
        Of her Heroes of old,
        So brave and so bold,--
    Of her Bards with long beards, and harps mounted in gold;
        Of King Edward the First,
        Of mem'ry accurst;
    And the scandalous manner in which he behaved,
        Killing Poets by dozens,
        With their uncles and cousins,
    Of whom not one in fifty had ever been shaved.
    Of the Court Ball, at which, by a lucky mishap,
    Owen Tudor fell into Queen Katherine's lap;
        And how Mr. Tudor
        Successfully woo'd her,
    Till the Dowager put on a new wedding ring,
    And so made him Father-in-law to the King.

    He thought upon Arthur, and Merlin of yore,
    On Gryffyth ap Conan, and Owen Glendour;
    On Pendragon, and Heaven knows how many more.
    He thought of all this, as he gazed, in a trice,
    And on all things, in short, but the late Mrs. Pryce;
    When a lumbering noise from behind made him start,
    And sent the blood back in full tide to his heart,
        Which went pit-a-pat
        As he cried out, "What's that?--
        That very queer sound?
        Does it come from the ground?
    Or the air,--from above, or below, or around?
        It is not like Talking,
        It is not like Walking,
    It's not like the clattering of pot or of pan,
    Or the tramp of a horse,--or the tread of a man,--
    Or the hum of a crowd,--or the shouting of boys,--
    It's really a deuced odd sort of a noise!
    Not unlike a Cart's,--but that can't be; for when
    Could "all the King's horses and all the King's men,"
    With Old Nick for a waggoner, drive one up "PEN?"

    Pryce, usually brimful of valour when drunk,
    Now experienced what schoolboys denominate "funk."
        In vain he look'd back
        On the whole of the track
    He had traversed; a thick cloud, uncommonly black,
    At this moment obscured the broad disc of the moon,
    And did not seem likely to pass away soon;
        While clearer and clearer,
        'Twas plain to the hearer,
    Be the noise what it might, it drew nearer and nearer,
    And sounded, as Pryce to this moment declares,
    Very much "like a Coffin a-walking up stairs."

        Mr. Pryce had begun
        To "make up" for a run,
    As in such a companion he saw no great fun,
        When a single bright ray
        Shone out on the way
    He had pass'd, and he saw with no little dismay
    Coming after him, bounding o'er crag and o'er rock,
    The deceased Mrs. Winifred's "Grandmother's Clock!!"
    Twas so!--it had certainly moved from its place,
    And come, lumbering on thus, to hold him in chase;
    'Twas the very same Head, and the very same Case,
    And nothing was alter'd at all but the Face!
    In that he perceived, with no little surprise,
    The two little winder-holes turn'd into eyes
        Blazing with ire,
        Like two coals of fire;
    And the "Name of the Maker" was changed to a Lip,
    And the Hands to a Nose with a very red tip.
    No!--he could not mistake it,--'twas SHE to the life!
    The identical Face of his dear defunct Wife!!

        One glance was enough,
        Completely "_Quant. Suff._"
    As the doctors write down when they send you their "stuff,"--
    Like a Weather-cock whirl'd by a vehement puff,
        David turn'd himself round;
        Ten feet of ground
    He clear'd, in his start, at the very first bound!

    I've seen people run at West-End Fair for cheeses,
    I've seen Ladies run at Bow Fair for chemises,
    At Greenwich Fair twenty men run for a hat,
    And one from a Bailiff much faster than that;
    At foot-ball I've seen lads run after the bladder,
    I've seen Irish Bricklayers run up a ladder,
    I've seen little boys run away from a cane,
    And I've seen, (that is, _read of_,) good running in Spain;
        But I never did read
        Of, or witness, such speed
    As David exerted that evening.--Indeed
    All I ever have heard of boys, women, or men,
    Falls far short of Pryce, as he ran over "PEN!"

        He reaches its brow,--
        He has past it, and now
    Having once gain'd the summit, and managed to cross it, he
    Rolls down the side with uncommon velocity;
        But, run as he will,
        Or roll down the hill,
    That bugbear behind him is after him still!
    And close at his heels, not at all to his liking,
    The terrible Clock keeps on ticking and striking,
        Till, exhausted and sore,
        He can't run any more,
    But falls as he reaches Miss Davis's door.
    And screams when they rush out, alarm'd at his knock,
    "Oh! Look at the Clock!--Do.--Look at the Clock!!"

    Miss Davis look'd up, Miss Davis look'd down,
    She saw nothing there to alarm her;--a frown
        Came o'er her white forehead,
        She said "It was horrid
    A man should come knocking at that time of night,
    And give her Mamma and herself such a fright;
        To squall and to bawl
        About nothing at all--"
    She begg'd "he'd not think of repeating his call,
        His late wife's disaster
        By no means had past her,"
    She'd "have him to know she was meat for his Master!"
    Then, regardless alike of his love and his woes,
    She turn'd on her heel as she turn'd up her nose.
        Poor David in vain
        Implored to remain,
    He "dared not," he said, "cross the mountain again."
        Why the fair was obdurate
        None knows,--to be sure, it
    Was said she was setting her cap at the Curate;--
    Be that as it may, it is certain the sole hole
    Pryce could find to creep into that night was the Coal-hole!
        In that shady retreat,
        With nothing to eat,
    And with very bruis'd limbs, and with very sore feet,
        All night close he kept;
        I can't say he slept;
    But he sigh'd, and he sobb'd, and he groan'd, and he wept,
        Lamenting his sins
        And his two broken shins,
    Bewailing his fate with contortions and grins,
    And her he once thought a complete _Rara Avis_,
    Consigning to Satan,--viz. cruel Miss Davis!

    Mr. David has since had a "serious call,"
    He never drinks ale, wine, or spirits, at all,
    And they say he is going to Exeter Hall
        To make a grand speech,
        And to preach, and to teach
    People that "they can't brew their malt-liquor too small!"
    That an ancient Welsh Poet, one PYNDAR AP TUDOR,
    Was right in proclaiming "ARISTON MEN UDOR!"
        Which means "The pure Element
        Is for the belly meant!"
    And that _Gin's_ but a _Snare_ of Old Nick the deluder!

    And "still on each evening when pleasure fills up,"
    At the old Goat-in-Boots, with metheglin, each cup,
        Mr. Pryce, if he's there,
        Will get into "the Chair,"
    And make all his _quondam_ associates stare
    By calling aloud to the landlady's daughter,
    "Patty! bring a cigar, and a glass of Spring Water!"
    The dial he constantly watches; and when
    The long hand's at the "XII," and the short at the "X,"
        He gets on his legs,
        Drains his glass to the dregs,
    Takes his hat and great-coat off their several pegs,
    With his President's hammer bestows his last knock,
    And says solemnly,--"Gentlemen!
                        "LOOK AT THE CLOCK!!!"

                            THOMAS INGOLDSBY.

_Tappington Everard, July 24._



SONG OF THE MONTH. No. IX.

September, 1837.


THE DOUBLE BARREL.

BY FATHER PROUT.

            Duo quisque Alpina coruscat
    Gæsa manu.--_Æneid. lib. 8._

     Παν πραγμα δυας εχει λαβας.--_Epictetus._


    SEPTEMBER the first on the moorland hath burst,
      And already with jocund carol
    Each NIMROD of NOUSE hurries off to the grouse,
      And has shouldered his DOUBLE BARREL;
    For well doth he ken, as he hies through the glen,
      That scanty will be _his_ laurel
                Who hath not
                On the spot
            (Should he miss a first shot)
      Some resource in a DOUBLE BARREL.

    'Twas the Goddess of Sport, in her woodland court,
      DIANA, first taught this moral,
    Which the Goddess of Love soon adopted, and strove
      To improve on the "double barrel."
    Hence her CUPID, we know, put two strings to his bow;
      And she laughs, when two lovers quarrel,
                At the lot
                Of the sot
            Who, to soothe him, han't got
      The resource of a DOUBLE BARREL.

    Nay, the hint was too good to lie hid in the wood,
      Or to lurk in two lips of coral;
    Hence the God of the Grape (who his betters would ape)
      Knows the use of a DOUBLE BARREL.
    His escutcheon he decks with a double XX,
      And his blithe _October_ carol
                Follows up
                With the sup
            Of a flowing ale-cup
      _September_'s DOUBLE BARREL.

    _Water-grass-hill, Kal. VII^{bres}._


GENIUS; OR, THE DOG'S-MEAT DOG.

BEING A SECOND "TAILED SONNET," IN THE ITALIAN MANNER.[10]

BY EGERTON WEBBE.

    "Hal, thou hast the most unsavoury similes."--_Falstaff._

    Since Genius hath the immortal faculty
      Of bringing grist to other people's mills,
      While for itself no office it fulfils,
    And cannot choose but starve amazingly,
    Methinks 'tis very like the dog's-meat dog,
      That 'twixt Black Friars and White sometimes I've seen,--
      Afflicted quadruped, jejune and lean,
    Whom none do feed, but all do burn to flog.

    For why? He draws the dog's-meat cart, you see,--
      Himself a dog. All dogs his coming hail,
      Long dogs and short, and dogs of various tail,
    Yea truly, every sort of dogs that be.
    Where'er he cometh him his cousins greet,
    Yet not for love, but only for the meat,--
              In Little Tower Street,
    Or opposite the pump on Fish-street Hill,
    Or where the Green Man is the Green Man still,
              Or where you will:--
    It is not he, but, ah! it is the cart
    With which his cousins are so loth to part;
              (That's nature, bless your heart!)
    And you'll observe his neck is almost stiff
    With turning round to try and get a sniff,
              As now and then a whiff,
    Charged from behind, a transient savour throws,
    That curls with hope the corners of his nose,
              Then all too quickly goes,
    And leaves him buried in conjectures dark,
    Developed in a sort of muffled bark.
              For I need scarce remark
    That that sagacious dog hath often guess'd
    There's something going on of interest
              Behind him, not confest;
    And I have seen him whisk with sudden start
    Entirely round, as he would face the cart,
              Which could he by no art,
    Because of cunning mechanism. Lord!
    But how a proper notion to afford?
              How possibly record,
    With any sort of mental satisfaction,
    The look of anguish--the immense distraction--
              Pictured in face and action,
    When, whisking round, he hath discovered there
    Five dogs,--all jolly dogs--besides a pair
              Of cats, most debonair,
    In high assembly met, sublimely lunching,
    Best horse's flesh in breathless silence munching,
              While he, poor beast! is crunching
    His unavailing teeth?--You must be sensible
    'Tis aggravating--cruel--indefensible--
              Incomprehensible.
    And to his grave I do believe he'll go,
    Sad dog's-meat dog, nor ever know
              Whence all those riches flow
    Which seem to spring about him where he is,
    Finding their way to every mouth but his.--
              I know such similes
    By some are censured as not being savoury;
    But still it's better than to talk of "knavery,"
              And "wretched authors' slavery,"
    With other words of ominous import.
    I much prefer a figure of this sort.
              And so, to cut it short,
    (For I abhor all poor rhetoric fuss,)
    Ask what the devil I mean--I answer thus,
              THAT DOG'S A GENIUS.

[Illustration: Oliver claimed by his Affectionate Friends]

FOOTNOTE:

[Footnote 10: For the former specimen, as well as some critical
account of the comic sonnets of the Italians, see the April number of
_Bentley's Miscellany_.]



OLIVER TWIST;

OR, THE PARISH BOY'S PROGRESS.

BY BOZ.

ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.


CHAPTER THE FOURTEENTH.

     COMPRISING FURTHER PARTICULARS OF OLIVER'S STAY AT MR. BROWNLOW'S,
     WITH THE REMARKABLE PREDICTION WHICH ONE MR. GRIMWIG UTTERED
     CONCERNING HIM, WHEN HE WENT OUT ON AN ERRAND.

Oliver soon recovered from the fainting-fit into which Mr. Brownlow's
abrupt exclamation had thrown him; and the subject of the picture was
carefully avoided, both by the old gentleman and Mrs. Bedwin, in the
conversation that ensued, which indeed bore no reference to Oliver's
history or prospects, but was confined to such topics as might amuse
without exciting him. He was still too weak to get up to breakfast;
but, when he came down into the housekeeper's room next day, his first
act was to cast an eager glance at the wall, in the hope of again
looking on the face of the beautiful lady. His expectations were
disappointed, however, for the picture had been removed.

"Ah!" said the housekeeper, watching the direction of Oliver's eyes.
"It is gone, you see."

"I see it is, ma'am," replied Oliver, with a sigh. "Why have they taken
it away?"

"It has been taken down, child, because Mr. Brownlow said, that, as it
seemed to worry you, perhaps it might prevent your getting well, you
know," rejoined the old lady.

"On, no, indeed it didn't worry me, ma'am," said Oliver. "I liked to
see it; I quite loved it."

"Well, well!" said the old lady, good-humouredly; "you get well as fast
as ever you can, dear, and it shall be hung up again. There, I promise
you that; now let us talk about something else."

This was all the information Oliver could obtain about the picture at
that time, and as the old lady had been so kind to him in his illness,
he endeavoured to think no more of the subject just then; so listened
attentively to a great many stories she told him about an amiable and
handsome daughter of hers, who was married to an amiable and handsome
man, and lived in the country; and a son, who was clerk to a merchant
in the West Indies, and who was also such a good young man, and wrote
such dutiful letters home four times a year, that it brought the tears
into her eyes to talk about them. When the old lady had expatiated a
long time on the excellences of her children, and the merits of her
kind good husband besides, who had been dead and gone, poor dear soul!
just six-and-twenty years, it was time to have tea; and after tea she
began to teach Oliver cribbage, which he learnt as quickly as she could
teach, and at which game they played, with great interest and gravity,
until it was time for the invalid to have some warm wine and water,
with a slice of dry toast, and to go cosily to bed.

They were happy days those of Oliver's recovery. Everything was so
quiet, and neat, and orderly, everybody so kind and gentle, that after
the noise and turbulence in the midst of which he had always lived, it
seemed like heaven itself. He was no sooner strong enough to put his
clothes on properly, than Mr. Brownlow caused a complete new suit, and
a new cap, and a new pair of shoes, to be provided for him. As Oliver
was told that he might do what he liked with the old clothes, he gave
them to a servant who had been very kind to him, and asked her to sell
them to a Jew, and keep the money for herself. This she very readily
did; and, as Oliver looked out of the parlour window, and saw the Jew
roll them up in his bag and walk away, he felt quite delighted to think
that they were safely gone, and that there was now no possible danger
of his ever being able to wear them again. They were sad rags, to tell
the truth; and Oliver had never had a new suit before.

One evening, about a week after the affair of the picture, as Oliver
was sitting talking to Mrs. Bedwin, there came a message down from Mr.
Brownlow, that if Oliver Twist felt pretty well, he should like to see
him in his study, and talk to him a little while.

"Bless us, and save us! wash your hands, and let me part your hair
nicely for you, child," said Mrs. Bedwin. "Dear heart alive! if we had
known he would have asked for you, we would have put you a clean collar
on, and made you as smart as sixpence."

Oliver did as the old lady bade him, and, although she lamented
grievously meanwhile that there was not even time to crimp the little
frill that bordered his shirt-collar, he looked so delicate and
handsome, despite that important personal advantage, that she went so
far as to say, looking at him with great complacency from head to foot,
that she really didn't think it would have been possible on the longest
notice to have made much difference in him for the better.

Thus encouraged, Oliver tapped at the study door, and, on Mr. Brownlow
calling to him to come in, found himself in a little back room, quite
full of books, with a window looking into some pleasant little gardens.
There was a table drawn up before the window, at which Mr. Brownlow
was seated reading. When he saw Oliver, he pushed the book away from
him, and told him to come near the table and sit down. Oliver complied,
marvelling where the people could be found to read such a great number
of books as seemed to be written to make the world wiser,--which is
still a marvel to more experienced people than Oliver Twist every day
of their lives.

"There are a good many books, are there not, my boy?" said Mr.
Brownlow, observing the curiosity with which Oliver surveyed the
shelves that reached from the floor to the ceiling.

"A great number, sir," replied Oliver; "I never saw so many."

"You shall read them if you behave well," said the old gentleman
kindly; "and you will like that, better than looking at the
outsides,--that is, in some cases, because there _are_ books of which
the backs and covers are by far the best parts."

"I suppose they are those heavy ones, sir," said Oliver, pointing to
some large quartos with a good deal of gilding about the binding.

"Not those," said the old gentleman, patting Oliver on the head, and
smiling as he did so; "but other equally heavy ones, though of a much
smaller size. How should you like to grow up a clever man, and write
books, eh?"

"I think I would rather read them, sir," replied Oliver.

"What! wouldn't you like to be a book-writer?" said the old gentleman.

Oliver considered a little while, and at last said he should think it
would be a much better thing to be a bookseller; upon which the old
gentleman laughed heartily, and declared he had said a very good thing,
which Oliver felt glad to have done, though he by no means knew what it
was.

"Well, well," said the old gentleman, composing his features, "don't be
afraid; we won't make an author of you, while there's an honest trade
to be learnt, or brick-making to turn to."

"Thank you, sir," said Oliver; and at the earnest manner of his reply
the old gentleman laughed again, and said something about a curious
instinct, which Oliver, not understanding, paid no very great attention
to.

"Now," said Mr. Brownlow, speaking if possible in a kinder, but at the
same time in a much more serious manner than Oliver had ever heard him
speak in yet, "I want you to pay great attention, my boy, to what I am
going to say. I shall talk to you without any reserve, because I am
sure you are as well able to understand me as many older persons would
be."

"Oh, don't tell me you are going to send me away, sir, pray!"
exclaimed Oliver, alarmed by the serious tone of the old gentleman's
commencement; "don't turn me out of doors to wander in the streets
again. Let me stay here and be a servant. Don't send me back to the
wretched place I came from. Have mercy upon a poor boy, sir; do!"

"My dear child," said the old gentleman, moved by the warmth of
Oliver's sudden appeal, "you need not be afraid of my deserting you,
unless you give me cause."

"I never, never will, sir," interposed Oliver.

"I hope not," rejoined the old gentleman; "I do not think you ever
will. I have been deceived before, in the objects whom I have
endeavoured to benefit; but I feel strongly disposed to trust you,
nevertheless, and more strongly interested in your behalf than I can
well account for, even to myself. The persons on whom I have bestowed
my dearest love lie deep in their graves; but, although the happiness
and delight of my life lie buried there too, I have not made a coffin
of my heart, and sealed it up for ever on my best affections. Deep
affliction has only made them stronger; it ought, I think, for it
should refine our nature."

As the old gentleman said this in a low voice, more to himself than to
his companion, and remained silent for a short time afterwards, Oliver
sat quite still, almost afraid to breathe.

"Well, well," said the old gentleman at length in a more cheerful
voice, "I only say this, because you have a young heart; and knowing
that I have suffered great pain and sorrow, you will be more careful,
perhaps, not to wound me again. You say you are an orphan, without a
friend in the world; and all the inquiries I have been able to make
confirm the statement. Let me hear your story; where you came from, who
brought you up, and how you got into the company in which I found you.
Speak the truth; and if I find you have committed no crime, you will
never be friendless while I live."

Oliver's sobs quite checked his utterance for some minutes; and just
when he was on the point of beginning to relate how he had been
brought up at the farm, and carried to the workhouse by Mr. Bumble, a
peculiarly impatient little double-knock was heard at the street-door,
and the servant, running up stairs, announced Mr. Grimwig.

"Is he coming up?" inquired Mr. Brownlow.

"Yes, sir," replied the servant. "He asked if there were any muffins in
the house, and, when I told him yes, he said he had come to tea."

Mr. Brownlow smiled, and, turning to Oliver, said Mr. Grimwig was an
old friend of his, and he must not mind his being a little rough in his
manners, for he was a worthy creature at bottom, as he had reason to
know.

"Shall I go down stairs, sir?" inquired Oliver.

"No," replied Mr. Brownlow; "I would rather you stopped here."

At this moment there walked into the room, supporting himself by
a thick stick, a stout old gentleman, rather lame in one leg, who
was dressed in a blue coat, striped waistcoat, nankeen breeches and
gaiters, and a broad-brimmed white hat, with the sides turned up with
green. A very small-plaited shirt-frill stuck out from his waistcoat,
and a very long steel watch-chain, with nothing but a key at the end,
dangled loosely below it. The ends of his white neckerchief were
twisted into a ball about the size of an orange;--the variety of
shapes into which his countenance was twisted defy description. He
had a manner of screwing his head round on one side when he spoke,
and looking out of the corners of his eyes at the same time, which
irresistibly reminded the beholder of a parrot. In this attitude he
fixed himself the moment he made his appearance; and, holding out a
small piece of orange-peel at arm's length, exclaimed in a growling,
discontented voice,

"Look here! do you see this? Isn't it a most wonderful and
extraordinary thing that I can't call at a man's house but I find a
piece of this cursed poor-surgeon's-friend on the staircase? I've been
lamed with orange-peel once, and I know orange-peel will be my death at
last. It will, sir; orange-peel will be my death, or I'll be content
to eat my own head, sir!" This was the handsome offer with which Mr.
Grimwig backed and confirmed nearly every assertion he made; and it
was the more singular in his case, because, even admitting, for the
sake of argument, the possibility of scientific improvements being ever
brought to that pass which will enable a gentleman to eat his own head
in the event of his being so disposed, Mr. Grimwig's head was such a
particularly large one, that the most sanguine man alive could hardly
entertain a hope of being able to get through it at a sitting, to put
entirely out of the question a very thick coating of powder.

"I'll eat my head, sir," repeated Mr. Grimwig, striking his stick upon
the ground. "Hallo! what's that?" he added, looking at Oliver, and
retreating a pace or two.

"This is young Oliver Twist, whom we were speaking about," said Mr.
Brownlow.

Oliver bowed.

"You don't mean to say that's the boy that had the fever, I hope?" said
Mr. Grimwig, recoiling a little further. "Wait a minute, don't speak:
stop--" continued Mr. Grimwig abruptly, losing all dread of the fever
in his triumph at the discovery; "that's the boy that had the orange!
If that's not the boy, sir, that had the orange, and threw this bit of
peel upon the staircase, I'll eat my head and his too."

"No, no, he has not had one," said Mr. Brownlow, laughing. "Come, put
down your hat, and speak to my young friend."

"I feel strongly on this subject, sir," said the irritable old
gentleman, drawing off his gloves. "There's always more or less
orange-peel on the pavement in our street, and I _know_ it's put there
by the surgeon's boy at the corner. A young woman stumbled over a bit
last night, and fell against my garden-railings; directly she got up I
saw her look towards his infernal red lamp with the pantomime-light.
'Don't go to him,' I called out of the window, 'he's an assassin,--a
man-trap!' So he is. If he is not----" Here the irascible old gentleman
gave a great knock on the ground with his stick, which was always
understood by his friends to imply the customary offer whenever it was
not expressed in words. Then, still keeping his stick in his hand, he
sat down, and, opening a double eye-glass which he wore attached to a
broad black riband, took a view of Oliver, who, seeing that he was the
object of inspection, coloured, and bowed again.

"That's the boy, is it?" said Mr. Grimwig, at length.

"That is the boy," replied Mr. Brownlow, nodding good-humouredly to
Oliver.

"How are you, boy?" said Mr. Grimwig.

"A great deal better, thank you, sir," replied Oliver.

Mr. Brownlow, seeming to apprehend that his singular friend was about
to say something disagreeable, asked Oliver to step down stairs, and
tell Mrs. Bedwin they were ready for tea, which, as he did not half
like the visitor's manner, he was very happy to do.

"He is a nice-looking boy, is he not?" inquired Mr. Brownlow.

"I don't know," replied Grimwig, pettishly.

"Don't know?"

"No, I don't know. I never see any difference in boys. I only know two
sorts of boys,--mealy boys, and beef-faced boys."

"And which is Oliver?"

"Mealy. I know a friend who's got a beef-faced boy; a fine boy they
call him, with a round head, and red cheeks, and glaring eyes; a horrid
boy, with a body and limbs that appear to be swelling out of the seams
of his blue clothes--with the voice of a pilot, and the appetite of a
wolf. I know him, the wretch!"

"Come," said Mr. Brownlow, "these are not the characteristics of young
Oliver Twist; so he needn't excite your wrath."

"They are not," replied Grimwig. "He may have worse."

Here Mr. Brownlow coughed impatiently, which appeared to afford Mr.
Grimwig the most exquisite delight.

"He may have worse, I say," repeated Mr. Grimwig. "Where does he come
from? Who is he? What is he? He has had a fever--what of that? Fevers
are not peculiar to good people, are they? Bad people have fevers
sometimes, haven't they, eh? I knew a man that was hung in Jamaica
for murdering his master; he had had a fever six times; he wasn't
recommended to mercy on that account. Pooh! nonsense!"

Now, the fact was, that, in the inmost recesses of his own heart, Mr.
Grimwig was strongly disposed to admit that Oliver's appearance and
manner were unusually prepossessing, but he had a strong appetite
for contradiction, sharpened on this occasion by the finding of the
orange-peel; and inwardly determining that no man should dictate to him
whether a boy was well-looking or not, he had resolved from the first
to oppose his friend. When Mr. Brownlow admitted that on no one point
of inquiry could he yet return any satisfactory answer, and that he
had postponed any investigation into Oliver's previous history until
he thought the boy was strong enough to bear it, Mr. Grimwig chuckled
maliciously, and demanded, with a sneer, whether the housekeeper was in
the habit of counting the plate at night; because, if she didn't find
a table-spoon or two missing some sunshiny morning, why, he would be
content to----, et cetera.

All this Mr. Brownlow, although himself somewhat of an impetuous
gentleman, knowing his friend's peculiarities, bore with great good
humour; and as Mr. Grimwig, at tea, was graciously pleased to express
his entire approval of the muffins, matters went on very smoothly, and
Oliver, who made one of the party, began to feel more at his ease than
he had yet done in the fierce old gentleman's presence.

"And when are you going to hear a full, true, and particular account
of the life and adventures of Oliver Twist?" asked Grimwig of Mr.
Brownlow, at the conclusion of the meal: looking sideways at Oliver as
he resumed the subject.

"To-morrow morning," replied Mr. Brownlow. "I would rather he was alone
with me at the time. Come up to me to-morrow morning at ten o'clock, my
dear."

"Yes, sir," replied Oliver. He answered with some hesitation, because
he was confused by Mr. Grimwig's looking so hard at him.

"I'll tell you what," whispered that gentleman to Mr. Brownlow; "he
won't come up to you to-morrow morning. I saw him hesitate. He is
deceiving you, my dear friend."

"I'll swear he is not," replied Mr. Brownlow, warmly.

"If he is not," said Mr. Grimwig, "I'll----" and down went the stick.

"I'll answer for that boy's truth with my life," said Mr. Brownlow,
knocking the table.

"And I for his falsehood with my head," rejoined Mr. Grimwig, knocking
the table also.

"We shall see," said Mr. Brownlow, checking his rising passion.

"We will," replied Mr. Grimwig, with a provoking smile; "we will."

As fate would have it, Mrs. Bedwin chanced to bring in at this moment a
small parcel of books which Mr. Brownlow had that morning purchased of
the identical bookstall-keeper who has already figured in this history;
which having laid on the table, she prepared to leave the room.

"Stop the boy, Mrs. Bedwin," said Mr. Brownlow; "there is something to
go back."

"He has gone, sir," replied Mrs. Bedwin.

"Call after him," said Mr. Brownlow; "it's particular. He's a poor man,
and they are not paid for. There are some books to be taken back, too."

The street-door was opened. Oliver ran one way, and the girl another,
and Mrs. Bedwin stood on the step and screamed for the boy; but there
was no boy in sight, and both Oliver and the girl returned in a
breathless state to report that there were no tidings of him.

"Dear me, I am very sorry for that," exclaimed Mr. Brownlow; "I
particularly wished those books to be returned to-night."

"Send Oliver with them," said Mr. Grimwig, with an ironical smile; "he
will be sure to deliver them safely, you know."

"Yes; do let me take them, if you please, sir," said Oliver; "I'll run
all the way, sir."

The old gentleman was just going to say that Oliver should not go out
on any account, when a most malicious cough from Mr. Grimwig determined
him that he should, and by his prompt discharge of the commission prove
to him the injustice of his suspicions, on this head at least, at once.

"You _shall_ go, my dear," said the old gentleman. "The books are on a
chair by my table. Fetch them down."

Oliver, delighted to be of use, brought down the books under his arm in
a great bustle, and waited, cap in hand, to hear what message he was to
take.

"You are to say," said Mr. Brownlow, glancing steadily at
Grimwig,--"you are to say that you have brought those books back,
and that you have come to pay the four pound ten I owe him. This is
a five-pound note, so you will have to bring me back ten shillings
change."

"I won't be ten minutes, sir," replied Oliver, eagerly; and, having
buttoned up the bank-note in his jacket pocket, and placed the books
carefully under his arm, he made a respectful bow, and left the room.
Mrs. Bedwin followed him to the street-door, giving him many directions
about the nearest way, and the name of the bookseller, and the name of
the street, all of which Oliver said he clearly understood; and, having
super-added many injunctions to be sure and not take cold, the careful
old lady at length permitted him to depart.

"Bless his sweet face!" said the old lady, looking after him. "I can't
bear, somehow, to let him go out of my sight."

At this moment Oliver looked gaily round, and nodded before he turned
the corner. The old lady smilingly returned his salutation, and,
closing the door, went back to her own room.

"Let me see; he'll be back in twenty minutes, at the longest," said Mr.
Brownlow, pulling out his watch, and placing it on the table. "It will
be dark by that time."

"Oh! you really expect him to come back, do you?" inquired Mr. Grimwig.

"Don't you?" asked Mr. Brownlow, smiling.

The spirit of contradiction was strong in Mr. Grimwig's breast at the
moment, and it was rendered stronger by his friend's confident smile.

"No," he said, smiting the table with his fist, "I do not. The boy
has got a new suit of clothes on his back, a set of valuable books
under his arm, and a five-pound note in his pocket; he'll join his old
friends the thieves, and laugh at you. If ever that boy returns to this
house, sir, I'll eat my head."

With these words he drew his chair closer to the table, and there the
two friends sat in silent expectation, with the watch between them. It
is worthy of remark, as illustrating the importance we attach to our
own judgments, and the pride with which we put forth our most rash and
hasty conclusions, that, although Mr. Grimwig was not a bad-hearted
man, and would have been unfeignedly sorry to see his respected
friend duped and deceived, he really did most earnestly and strongly
hope at that moment that Oliver Twist might not come back. Of such
contradictions is human nature made up!

It grew so dark that the figures on the dial were scarcely discernible;
but there the two old gentlemen continued to sit in silence, with the
watch between them.


CHAPTER THE FIFTEENTH.

SHEWING HOW VERY FOND OF OLIVER TWIST, THE MERRY OLD JEW AND MISS NANCY
WERE.

If it did not come strictly within the scope and bearing of my
long-considered intentions and plans regarding this prose epic (for
such I mean it to be,) to leave the two old gentlemen sitting with
the watch between them long after it grew too dark to see it, and
both doubting Oliver's return, the one in triumph, and the other in
sorrow, I might take occasion to entertain the reader with many wise
reflections on the obvious impolicy of ever attempting to do good to
our fellow-creatures where there is no hope of earthly reward; or
rather on the strict policy of betraying some slight degree of charity
or sympathy in one particularly unpromising case, and then abandoning
such weaknesses for ever. I am aware that, in advising even this slight
dereliction from the paths of prudence and worldliness, I lay myself
open to the censure of many excellent and respectable persons, who
have long walked therein; but I venture to contend, nevertheless, that
the advantages of the proceeding are manifold and lasting. As thus: if
the object selected should happen most unexpectedly to turn out well,
and to thrive and amend upon the assistance you have afforded him, he
will, in pure gratitude and fulness of heart, laud your goodness to
the skies; your character will be thus established, and you will pass
through the world as a most estimable person, who does a vast deal
of good in secret, not one-twentieth part of which will ever see the
light. If, on the contrary, his bad character become notorious, and
his profligacy a by-word, you place yourself in the excellent position
of having attempted to bestow relief most disinterestedly; of having
become misanthropical in consequence of the treachery of its object;
and of having made a rash and solemn vow, (which no one regrets more
than yourself,) never to help or relieve any man, woman, or child
again, lest you should be similarly deceived. I know a great number of
persons in both situations at this moment, and I can safely assert that
they are the most generally respected and esteemed of any in the whole
circle of my acquaintance.

But, as Mr. Brownlow was not one of these; as he obstinately persevered
in doing good for its own sake, and the gratification of heart it
yielded him; as no failure dispirited him, and no ingratitude in
individual cases tempted him to wreak his vengeance on the whole human
race, I shall not enter into any such digression in this place: and,
if this be not a sufficient reason for this determination, I have a
better, and, indeed, a wholly unanswerable one, already stated; which
is, that it forms no part of my original intention so to do.

In the obscure parlour of a low public-house, situate in the filthiest
part of Little Saffron-Hill,--a dark and gloomy den, where a flaring
gas-light burnt all day in the winter-time, and where no ray of sun
ever shone in the summer,--there sat, brooding over a little pewter
measure and a small glass, strongly impregnated with the smell of
liquor, a man in a velveteen coat, drab shorts, half-boots, and
stockings, whom, even by that dim light, no experienced agent of police
would have hesitated for one instant to recognise as Mr. William Sikes.
At his feet sat a white-coated, red-eyed dog, who occupied himself
alternately in winking at his master with both eyes at the same time,
and in licking a large, fresh cut on one side of his mouth, which
appeared to be the result of some recent conflict.

"Keep quiet, you warmint! keep quiet!" said Mr. Sikes, suddenly
breaking silence. Whether his meditations were so intense as to be
disturbed by the dog's winking, or whether his feelings were so wrought
upon by his reflections that they required all the relief derivable
from kicking an unoffending animal to allay them, is matter for
argument and consideration. Whatever was the cause, the effect was a
kick and a curse bestowed upon the dog simultaneously.

Dogs are not generally apt to revenge injuries inflicted upon them by
their masters; but Mr. Sikes's dog, having faults of temper in common
with his owner, and labouring perhaps, at this moment, under a powerful
sense of injury, made no more ado but at once fixed his teeth in one
of the half-boots, and, having given it a good hearty shake, retired,
growling, under a form: thereby just escaping the pewter measure which
Mr. Sikes levelled at his head.

"You would, would you?" said Sikes, seizing the poker in one hand, and
deliberately opening with the other a large clasp-knife, which he drew
from his pocket. "Come here, you born devil! Come here! D'ye hear?"

The dog no doubt heard, because Mr. Sikes spoke in the very harshest
key of a very harsh voice; but, appearing to entertain some
unaccountable objection to having his throat cut, he remained where he
was, and growled more fiercely than before, at the same time grasping
the end of the poker between his teeth, and biting at it like a wild
beast.

This resistance only infuriated Mr. Sikes the more; so, dropping upon
his knees, he began to assail the animal most furiously. The dog jumped
from right to left, and from left to right, snapping, growling, and
barking; the man thrust and swore, and struck and blasphemed; and the
struggle was reaching a most critical point for one or other, when, the
door suddenly opening, the dog darted out, leaving Bill Sikes with the
poker and the clasp-knife in his hands.

There must always be two parties to a quarrel, says the old adage;
and Mr. Sikes, being disappointed of the dog's presence, at once
transferred the quarrel to the new-comer.

"What the devil do you come in between me and my dog for?" said Sikes
with a fierce gesture.

"I didn't know, my dear, I didn't know," replied Fagin humbly--for the
Jew was the new-comer.

"Didn't know, you white-livered thief!" growled Sikes. "Couldn't you
hear the noise?"

"Not a sound of it, as I'm a living man, Bill," replied the Jew.

"Oh no, you hear nothing, you don't," retorted Sikes with a fierce
sneer, "sneaking in and out, so as nobody hears how you come or go. I
wish you had been the dog, Fagin, half a minute ago."

"Why?" inquired the Jew with a forced smile.

"'Cause the government, as cares for the lives of such men as you, as
haven't half the pluck of curs, lets a man kill his dog how he likes,"
replied Sikes, shutting the knife up with a very expressive look;
"that's why."

The Jew rubbed his hands, and, sitting down at the table, affected to
laugh at the pleasantry of his friend,--obviously very ill at his ease,
however.

"Grin away," said Sikes, replacing the poker, and surveying him with
savage contempt; "grin away. You'll never have the laugh at me, though,
unless it's behind a nightcap. I've got the upper hand over you, Fagin;
and, d--me, I'll keep it. There. If I go, you go; so take care of me."

"Well, well, my dear," said the Jew, "I know all that; we--we--have a
mutual interest, Bill,--a mutual interest."

"Humph!" said Sikes, as if he thought the interest lay rather more on
the Jew's side than on his. "Well, what have you got to say to me?"

"It's all passed safe through the melting-pot," replied Fagin, "and
this is your share. It's rather more than it ought to be, my dear; but
as I know you'll do me a good turn another time, and----"

"'Stow that gammon," interposed the robber impatiently. "Where is it?
Hand over!"

"Yes, yes, Bill; give me time, give me time," replied the Jew
soothingly. "Here it is--all safe." As he spoke, he drew forth an old
cotton handkerchief from his breast, and, untying a large knot in one
corner, produced a small brown-paper packet, which Sikes snatching from
him, hastily opened, and proceeded to count the sovereigns it contained.

"This is all, is it?" inquired Sikes.

"All," replied the Jew.

"You haven't opened the parcel and swallowed one or two as you come
along, have you?" inquired Sikes suspiciously. "Don't put on a injured
look at the question; you've done it many a time. Jerk the tinkler."

These words, in plain English, conveyed an injunction to ring the bell.
It was answered by another Jew, younger than Fagin, but nearly as vile
and repulsive in appearance.

Bill Sikes merely pointed to the empty measure, and the Jew, perfectly
understanding the hint, retired to fill it, previously exchanging a
remarkable look with Fagin, who raised his eyes for an instant as if
in expectation of it, and shook his head in reply so slightly that
the action would have been almost imperceptible to a third person.
It was lost upon Sikes, who was stooping at the moment to tie the
boot-lace which the dog had torn. Possibly if he had observed the brief
interchange of signals, he might have thought that it boded no good to
him.

"Is anybody here, Barney?" inquired Fagin, speaking--now that Sikes was
looking on--without raising his eyes from the ground.

"Dot a shoul," replied Barney, whose words, whether they came from the
heart or not, made their way through the nose.

"Nobody?" inquired Fagin in a tone of surprise, which perhaps might
mean that Barney was at liberty to tell the truth.

"Dobody but Biss Dadsy," replied Barney.

"Miss Nancy!" exclaimed Sikes. "Where? Strike me blind, if I don't
honor that 'ere girl for her native talents."

"She's bid havid a plate of boiled beef id the bar," replied Barney.

"Send her here," said Sikes, pouring out a glass of liquor; "send her
here."

Barney looked timidly at Fagin, as if for permission; the Jew remaining
silent, and not lifting his eyes from the ground, he retired, and
presently returned ushering in Miss Nancy, who was decorated with the
bonnet, apron, basket, and street-door key complete.

"You are on the scent, are you, Nancy?" inquired Sikes, proffering the
glass.

"Yes, I am, Bill," replied the young lady, disposing of its contents;
"and tired enough of it I am, too. The young brat's been ill and
confined to the crib; and----"

"Ah, Nancy, dear!" said Fagin, looking up.

Now, whether a peculiar contraction of the Jew's red eyebrows, and a
half-closing of his deeply-set eyes, warned Miss Nancy that she was
disposed to be too communicative, is not a matter of much importance.
The fact is all we need care for here; and the fact is, that she
suddenly checked herself, and, with several gracious smiles upon Mr.
Sikes, turned the conversation to other matters. In about ten minutes'
time, Mr. Fagin was seized with a fit of coughing, upon which Miss
Nancy pulled her shawl over her shoulders, and declared it was time
to go. Mr. Sikes, finding that he was walking a short part of her way
himself, expressed his intention of accompanying her: and they went
away together, followed at a little distance by the dog, who slunk out
of a back-yard as soon as his master was out of sight.

The Jew thrust his head out of the room door when Sikes had left it,
looked after him as he walked up the dark passage, shook his clenched
fist, muttered a deep curse, and then with a horrible grin reseated
himself at the table, where he was soon deeply absorbed in the
interesting pages of the Hue and Cry.

Meanwhile Oliver Twist, little dreaming that he was within so very
short a distance of the merry old gentleman, was on his way to the
bookstall. When he got into Clerkenwell he accidentally turned down a
by-street which was not exactly in his way; but not discovering his
mistake till he had got halfway down it, and knowing it must lead in
the right direction, he did not think it worth while to turn back, and
so marched on as quickly as he could, with the books under his arm.

He was walking along, thinking how happy and contented he ought to
feel, and how much he would give for only one look at poor little Dick,
who, starved and beaten, might be lying dead at that very moment, when
he was startled by a young woman screaming out very loud, "Oh, my dear
brother!" and he had hardly looked up to see what the matter was, when
he was stopped by having a pair of arms thrown tight round his neck.

"Don't!" cried Oliver struggling. "Let go of me. Who is it? What are
you stopping me for?"

The only reply to this, was a great number of loud lamentations from
the young woman who had embraced him, and who had got a little basket
and a street-door key in her hand.

"Oh my gracious!" said the young woman, "I've found him! Oh, Oliver!
Oliver! Oh, you naughty boy, to make me suffer such distress on your
account! Come home, dear, come. Oh, I've found him. Thank gracious
goodness heavins, I've found him!" With these incoherent exclamations
the young woman burst into another fit of crying, and got so dreadfully
hysterical, that a couple of women who came up at the moment asked a
butcher's boy, with a shiny head of hair anointed with suet, who was
also looking on, whether he didn't think he had better run for the
doctor. To which the butcher's boy, who appeared of a lounging, not to
say indolent disposition, replied that he thought not.

"Oh, no, no, never mind," said the young woman, grasping Oliver's hand;
"I'm better now. Come home directly, you cruel boy, come."

"What's the matter, ma'am?" inquired one of the women.

"Oh, ma'am," replied the young woman, "he ran away near a month ago
from his parents, who are hard-working and respectable people, and
joined a set of thieves and bad characters, and almost broke his
mother's heart."

"Young wretch!" said one woman.

"Go home, do, you little brute," said the other.

"I'm not," replied Oliver, greatly alarmed. "I don't know her. I
haven't got any sister, or father and mother either. I'm an orphan; I
live at Pentonville."

"Oh, only hear him, how he braves it out!" cried the young woman.

"Why, it's Nancy!" exclaimed Oliver, who now saw her face for the first
time, and started back in irrepressible astonishment.

"You see he knows me," cried Nancy, appealing to the bystanders. "He
can't help himself. Make him come home, there's good people, or he'll
kill his dear mother and father, and break my heart!"

"What the devil's this?" said a man, bursting out of a beer-shop, with
a white dog at his heels; "young Oliver! Come home to your poor mother,
you young dog! come home directly."

"I don't belong to them. I don't know them. Help! help!" cried Oliver,
struggling in the man's powerful grasp.

"Help!" repeated the man. "Yes; I'll help you, you young rascal! What
books are these? You've been a stealing 'em, have you? Give 'em here!"
With these words the man tore the volumes from his grasp, and struck
him violently on the head.

"That's right!" cried a looker-on, from a garret window. "That's the
only way of bringing him to his senses!"

"To be sure," cried a sleepy-faced carpenter, casting an approving look
at the garret-window.

"It'll do him good!" said the two women.

"And he shall have it, too!" rejoined the man, administering another
blow, and seizing Oliver by the collar. "Come on, you young villain!
Here, Bull's-eye, mind him, boy! mind him!"

Weak with recent illness, stupified by the blows and the suddenness
of the attack, terrified by the fierce growling of the dog and the
brutality of the man, and overpowered by the conviction of the
bystanders that he was really the hardened little wretch he was
described to be, what could one poor child do? Darkness had set in; it
was a low neighbourhood; no help was near; resistance was useless. In
another moment he was dragged into a labyrinth of dark, narrow courts,
and forced along them at a pace which rendered the few cries he dared
to give utterance to, wholly unintelligible. It was of little moment,
indeed, whether they were intelligible or not, for there was nobody to
care for them had they been ever so plain.

       *       *       *       *       *

The gas-lamps were lighted; Mrs. Bedwin was waiting anxiously at the
open door; the servant had run up the street twenty times, to see if
there were any traces of Oliver; and still the two old gentlemen sat
perseveringly in the dark parlour, with the watch between them.



THE POISONERS OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

BY GEORGE HOGARTH.


There are few things in the history of mankind more extraordinary
than the frightful extent to which the crime of secret poisoning was
carried, in several countries of Europe, during a large portion of the
seventeenth century. It appears to have taken its rise in Italy, where
it prevailed to a degree that is almost incredible. The instrument
chiefly used in its perpetration was a liquid called _aqua tofana_,
from the name of Tofania, its inventor, a woman who has acquired an
infamous celebrity. According to the account of Hoffmann, the famous
physician, this woman confessed that she had used this liquid in
poisoning above six hundred persons; and Gmelin says that more people
were destroyed by it than by the plague, which had raged for some
time before it came into use. This crime also prevailed, though for a
shorter time and to a smaller extent, in France; and was far from being
unknown in England. We intend to give our readers such information
as we have collected on this curious subject; and though the most
regular way might be to begin with the Signora Tofania herself, and
the diffusion of her practices in her own country, we prefer giving
at present the history of the most eminent of her followers, the
Marchioness de Brinvillier, whose atrocities created so much excitement
in France in the time of Louis the Fourteenth, as we shall thus be
enabled at once to place the matter in its most striking light. We
have consulted, we believe, most of the French works in which there
are any particulars respecting this lady; and our readers may take the
following as a faithful account of her life.

Marie-Marguerite d'Aubray was the daughter of M. d'Aubray, a gentleman
who held a considerable judicial office in Paris. In 1651 she married
the Marquis de Brinvillier. The match was a suitable one, both in
respect to station and property. The marquis had estates of thirty
thousand livres a-year; and his wife, who had two brothers and a
sister, brought him a fortune of two hundred thousand livres, with
the prospect of a considerable share of her father's inheritance. The
marchioness enjoyed the gifts of nature as well as of fortune. Her
figure was not remarkably handsome, but her face was round and pretty,
with a serene and quiet expression; and she had an air of innocence,
simplicity, and good-nature which gained the confidence of everybody
who had any intercourse with her.

The Marquis de Brinvillier was colonel of a regiment of foot. While on
service, he had contracted an intimacy with a gentleman of the name
of St. Croix, a captain of cavalry. There was some mystery about this
man's birth. It was known that he was from Montauban. Some thought him
an illegitimate scion of a noble house; others said he belonged to a
respectable family; but all agreed that he was totally destitute of the
gifts of fortune.

The part which this personage acted in the occurrences of which we are
about to give a sketch, makes it worth while to repeat the description
of him contained in some of the memoirs of the time. His countenance
was handsome and intelligent; he was remarkably courteous and obliging,
and entered into any benevolent or pious proposal with the same
alacrity with which he agreed to commit a crime. He was vindictive,
susceptible of love, and jealous to madness. His extravagance was
unbounded, and, being unsupported by any regular income, led him into
every sort of wickedness. Some years before his death, he assumed
an appearance of devotion, and it is said even wrote some tracts on
religious subjects.

The Marquis de Brinvillier was much addicted to pleasure. St. Croix
got into his good graces, and was introduced into his house. At first
he was only the husband's friend, but presently he became the wife's
lover; and their attachment became mutual. The dissipation of the
marquis's life prevented him from observing his wife's conduct, so
that the pair carried on a guilty commerce without any suspicion on
his part. His affairs became so disordered, that his wife succeeded,
on this ground, in obtaining a separation, and after this paid no
respect to decency or concealment in her connexion with her paramour.
Scandalous, however, as her conduct was, it made no impression on the
mind of the marquis, whose apathy induced the marchioness's father,
M. d'Aubray, to use his paternal authority. He obtained a _lettre de
cachet_ against St. Croix, who was arrested one day when he was in a
carriage with the marchioness, and carried to the Bastile, where he
remained for a year.

Absence, far from abating the marchioness's passion, only inflamed
it; and the constraint to which she found it necessary to subject
herself in order to prevent a second separation, inflamed it still
more. She conducted herself, however, with such apparent propriety,
that she regained her father's favour, and even his confidence. St.
Croix availed himself of the power which love had given him over his
mistress to root out every good principle or feeling from her mind.
Under his horrid lessons she became a monster, whose atrocities, we
hope and believe, have hardly ever been paralleled. He resolved to take
a dreadful revenge on the family of d'Aubray, and at the same time to
get his whole property into the possession of the marchioness, that
they might spend it together in guilty pleasures.

While St. Croix was in the Bastile, he had formed an acquaintance with
an Italian of the name of Exili, to whom he communicated his views.
Exili excited him to vengeance, and taught him the way to obtain it
with impunity. Poisoning may be called, _par excellence_, an Italian
art. With many fine qualities, vindictiveness and subtlety must be
acknowledged to be strong features in the character of that people; and
hence their early superiority in this art of taking the most deadly,
and at the same time the safest, revenge on their enemies. It appears,
accordingly, (as we have already said,) that it was from the Italians
that the poisoners of other countries derived their skill. They
acquired the art of composing poisons so disguised in their appearance
and subtle in their effects, that they baffled the penetration and art
of the physicians of that age. Some were slow, and consumed the vitals
of the victim by almost imperceptible degrees; others were sudden and
violent in their action; but few of them left any traces of their real
nature, for the symptoms they produced were generally so equivocal,
that they might be ascribed to many ordinary diseases. St. Croix
greedily devoured the instructions of his fellow-prisoner, and left
the Bastile prepared to exercise his infernal art.

His first object of vengeance was M. d'Aubray himself; and he soon
found means to persuade the daughter to become the agent in the
destruction of her father. The old gentleman had a house in the
country, where he used to spend his vacations. All his fondness for his
daughter, whom he now believed to have been "more sinned against than
sinning," had returned; and she, on her part, behaved to him with an
appearance of affectionate duty. She anxiously attended to his every
comfort; and, as his health had suffered from the fatigues of his
office, she employed herself in superintending the preparation of nice
and nourishing broths, which she gave him herself with every appearance
of tender care. It is needless to say that these aliments contained
some articles of Italian cookery; and the wretch, as she sat by his
bed-side, witnessing his sufferings and listening to his groans, shed
abundance of crocodile tears, while she eagerly administered to him
remedies calculated to insure the accomplishment of her object. But
neither the agonies of the poor old man, nor his touching expressions
of love and gratitude to the fiend at his side, could turn her for a
moment from her fell purpose. He was carried back to Paris, where in a
few days he sunk under the effects of the poison.

No suspicion was entertained of the cause of his death; the idea of
such a crime could not even have entered into the imagination of any
one. No external symptoms appeared, and the expedient of opening the
body was never thought of. The friends of the family were desirous only
of pitying and comforting them; and the inconsolable daughter, who had
tended her father with such filial piety, had the largest share of
sympathy. She returned as soon as possible to the arms of her paramour,
and made up for the restraint imposed on her during her father's life
by spending the money she had inherited by his death in undisguised
profligacy.

It afterwards appeared that this abandoned woman had made sure of
the efficacy of her drugs by a variety of experiments, not only upon
animals, but on human beings. She was in the habit of distributing to
the poor poisoned biscuits, prepared by herself, the effect of which
she found means to learn without committing herself. But this was not
enough: she desired to be an eye-witness of the progress and symptoms
of the effects produced by the poison; and for this purpose made the
experiment on Françoise Roussel, her maid, to whom she gave, by way of
treat, a plate of gooseberries and a slice of ham. The poor girl was
very ill, but recovered; and this was a lesson to St. Croix to make his
doses stronger.

Madame de Sevigné, in one of her letters, written at a time when the
public attention was engrossed by this strange affair, says, "La
Brinvillier used to poison pigeon-pies, which caused the death of many
people whom she had no intention of destroying. The Chevalier du Guet
was at one of these pretty dinners, and died of it two or three years
ago. When in prison, she asked if he was dead, and was told he was not.
'His life must be very tough, then,' said she. M. de la Rochefoucauld
declares that this is perfectly true."

M. d'Aubray's inheritance was not so beneficial to his infamous
daughter as she had expected. The best part of his property went to
his son, M. d'Aubray, who succeeded to his father's office, and another
brother a counsellor. It was necessary, therefore, to put them out of
the way also; and this task St. Croix, thinking his accomplice had done
enough for his purposes, took upon himself.

He had a villain at his devotion of the name of La Chaussée. This man
had been in his service, and he knew him to be a fit agent in any
atrocity. The marchioness got La Chaussée a place as servant to the
counsellor, who lived with his brother the magistrate, taking great
care to conceal from them that he had ever been in the service of
St. Croix. La Chaussée's employers promised him a hundred pistoles
and an annuity for life if he succeeded in causing the death of the
magistrate, who was their first object of attack. His anxiety to do
his business promptly made him fail in his first attempt. He gave the
magistrate a glass of poisoned wine and water; but the dose was too
strong: and no sooner had the magistrate put his lips to the glass,
than he cried, "Ah, you scoundrel, what is this you have given me?--do
you want to poison me?" He showed the liquid to his secretary, who,
having examined it in a spoon, said it was bitter, and had a smell
of vitriol. La Chaussée did not lose countenance, but, without any
appearance of confusion, took the glass and poured out the liquor,
saying that the younger M. d'Aubray's valet had taken some medicine
in this glass, which had produced the bitter taste. He got off with a
reprimand for his carelessness, and the matter was no more thought of.

This narrow escape from a discovery did not deter the murderers from
prosecuting their design; but they took more effectual measures for its
success, not caring though they should sacrifice by the same blow a
number of people with whom they had no concern.

In the beginning of April 1670, the magistrate went to pass the Easter
holidays at his house in the country. His brother the counsellor was of
the party, and was attended by La Chaussée. One day at dinner there was
a giblet-pie. Seven persons who eat of it became very ill, while those
who had not partaken of it suffered no uneasiness. The two brothers
were among the former, and had violent fits of vomiting. They returned
to Paris a few days afterwards, having the appearance of persons who
had undergone a long and violent illness.

St. Croix availed himself of this state of things to make sure of the
fruit of his crimes. He obtained from the marchioness two promissory
deeds, one for thirty thousand livres in his own name, and another
for twenty-five thousand livres in the name of Martin, one of his
familiars. The sum at first sight appears a small one, amounting only
to about two thousand three hundred pounds sterling; but the immense
difference in the value of money since the seventeenth century must be
taken into account. Such, however, at all events, was the price paid by
this demon for the death of her two brothers.

Meanwhile the elder d'Aubray became worse and worse; he could take no
sustenance, and vomited incessantly. The three last days of his life
he felt a fire in his stomach, which seemed to be consuming its very
substance. At length he expired on the 17th of June 1670. On being
opened, his stomach and _duodenum_ were black, and falling to pieces,
as if they had been put on a large fire; and the liver was burnt up
and gangrened. It was evident that he had been poisoned: but on whom
could suspicion fall?--there was no clue whatever to guide it. The
marchioness had gone to the country. St. Croix wrote her that the
magistrate was dead, and that, from his brother's situation, he must
soon follow. It so turned out. The unfortunate counsellor died, after
having lingered three months in excruciating torments; and he was so
far from suspecting La Chaussée of any hand in his death, that he left
him a legacy of three hundred livres, which was paid.

These three murders were still insufficient. There was yet a sister who
kept from the marchioness the half of the successions which she wished
to gain by the death of her father and brothers. The sister's life was
repeatedly attempted in the same way; but the shocking occurrences in
her family had made her suspicious, and her precautions preserved her.

The poor Marquis de Brinvillier was intended by his fury of a wife
for her next victim. "Madame de Brinvillier," says Madame de Sevigné
in another of her letters, "wanted to marry St. Croix, and for that
purpose poisoned her husband repeatedly. But St. Croix, who had
no desire to have a wife as wicked as himself, gave the poor man
antidotes; so that, having been tossed backward and forward in this
way, sometimes poisoned, and sometimes _un_poisoned, (_désempoisonné_),
he has, after all, got off with his life."

Though everybody was convinced that the father and his two sons had
been poisoned, yet nothing but very vague suspicions were entertained
as to the perpetrators of the crime. Nobody thought of St. Croix as
having had anything to do with it. He had for a long time ceased, to
all appearance, to have any connexion with Madame de Brinvillier; and
La Chaussée, the immediate agent, had played his part so well, that he
was never suspected.

At last the horrible mystery was discovered. St. Croix continued to
practise the art which had been so useful to him; and, as the poisons
he made were so subtle as to be fatal even by respiration, he used to
intercept their exhalations while compounding them by a glass mask
over his face. One day the mask by accident dropped off, and he fell
dead on the spot; "a death," says the French writer who mentions this
occurrence, "much too good for a monster who had inflicted it by long
and agonizing pangs on so many valuable citizens."[11] Having no
relations that were known, his repositories were sealed up by the
public authorities. When they were opened and examined, the first thing
which was found was a casket, in which was a paper in the following
terms:

"I earnestly request those into whose hands this casket may fall,
to deliver it into the hands of Madame la Marquise de Brinvillier,
residing in the Rue Neuve St. Paul, seeing that all that it contains
concerns and belongs to her only, and that it can be of no use to
any person in the world except herself; and, in case of her being
dead before me, to burn it, and all that it contains, without opening
or meddling with anything. And should any one contravene these my
intentions on this subject, which are just and reasonable, I lay the
consequences on their head, both in this world and the next; protesting
that this is my last will. Done at Paris this 25th May, afternoon,
1672. (Signed) De Sainte Croix."

The casket contained a number of parcels carefully sealed up, and
some phials containing liquids. The parcels were found to contain a
variety of drugs, which, having been submitted to the examination of
physicians, were found to be most subtle and deadly poisons. This was
ascertained by many experiments made upon pigeons, dogs, cats, and
other animals, all which were detailed in a formal report made on the
subject. It is stated in that report that no traces of the action of
the poison, either external or internal, appeared on the bodies of the
animals which had perished by it, and that it was impossible to detect
its existence by any chemical tests. It would appear, therefore, that
St. Croix had by his studies greatly increased in skill since the
deaths of the d'Aubray family. The poisons administered to them were of
a comparatively coarse and ordinary kind; they burnt up the stomach and
bowels, produced horrid torment, and left unequivocal marks of their
operation when any suspicion caused these marks to be sought for. But,
with the skill subsequently acquired, this hateful pair might have
destroyed thousands of their fellow-creatures with absolute impunity.
It is impossible to suppose that St. Croix could have been constantly
engaged, for a long series of years, in the composition of these secret
instruments of death without making use of them; and there is no saying
to what extent his work of destruction may have been carried.

The same casket contained ample evidence of the marchioness's share
in these transactions. There were a number of letters from her to St.
Croix, and the deed of promise which she had executed in his favour for
thirty thousand livres.

When the marchioness heard that St. Croix was dead, and that his
repositories had been sealed up, she showed the utmost anxiety to get
possession of the casket. At ten o'clock at night she came to the house
of the commissary who had affixed and taken off the seals, and desired
to speak with him. Being told by his clerk that he was asleep, she said
she had come to inquire about a casket which belonged to her, and which
she wished to get back, and would return next day. When she came back,
she was told that the casket could not be given up to her. Thinking it
high time, therefore, to take care of herself, she went off during the
following night, and took refuge in Liege; leaving, however, a power to
an attorney to appear for her and contest the validity of the promise
she had given to St. Croix. La Chaussée, too, had the impudence to put
in a claim to certain sums of money, which, as he pretended, belonged
to him, and which were deposited, in places which he mentioned, in St.
Croix's study. This proved that La Chaussée was acquainted with the
localities of a place into which it was to be presumed that St. Croix
admitted none but his confidants and confederates; and La Chaussée was
arrested on suspicion, which was greatly strengthened by the confusion
he betrayed when informed of the discoveries made at the removal of the
seals.

A judicial inquiry was now set on foot, and many witnesses examined.
Among others, Anne Huet, an apothecary's daughter, who was a sort of
servant of the marchioness, deposed, that one day, when the marchioness
was intoxicated, she had the imprudence to show the witness a little
box which she took out of a casket, and which, she said, contained the
means of getting rid of her enemies, and acquiring good inheritances.
Mademoiselle Huet saw that the box contained sublimate of mercury
in powder and in paste. Afterwards, when the fumes of the wine had
evaporated, the witness told the marchioness what she had said. "Oh,"
she said, "I was talking nonsense;" but at the same time she earnestly
begged her not to repeat what she had heard. The marchioness (this
witness added) was in the habit, when anything chagrined her, to say
she would poison herself. She said there were many ways of getting
rid of people when they stood in one's way,--a bowl of broth was as
good as a pistol-bullet. The girl added, that she had often seen La
Chaussée with Madame de Brinvillier, who chatted familiarly with him;
and that she had heard the marchioness say, "He is a good lad, and has
been very serviceable to me." Mademoiselle Villeray, another witness,
declared that she had seen La Chaussée on a very familiar footing with
Madame de Brinvillier; that she had seen them alone together since
the death of the magistrate; that, two days after the death of the
counsellor, she made La Chaussée hide himself behind the bed-curtains
when the magistrate's secretary came to see her. La Chaussée himself,
on his examination, admitted this fact. Other persons related that La
Chaussée, when he was asked how his master was during his illness, used
to say, "Oh, he lingers on, the----!" adding a coarse epithet; "he
gives us a deal of trouble. I wonder when he will kick the bucket."

On the 4th of March 1673, the court of La Tournelle pronounced a
sentence, whereby La Chaussée was convicted of having poisoned the
magistrate and the counsellor, and condemned to be broke alive
upon the wheel, after having been put to the question ordinary and
extraordinary, to discover his accomplices; and the Marchioness de
Brinvillier was condemned, by default, to be beheaded. Under the
torture, La Chaussée confessed his crimes, and gave a full account of
all the transactions we have related, in so far as he was connected
with them. He was executed in the Place de Grêve, according to his
sentence.

Desgrais, an officer of the Marechaussée, was sent to Liege to arrest
the marchioness. He was provided with an escort, and a letter from the
king to the municipality of that city, requesting that the criminal
might be delivered up. Desgrais was permitted to arrest her and carry
her to France.

She had retired to a convent, a sanctuary in which Desgrais durst
not attempt to seize her; he therefore had recourse to stratagem.
Disguising himself in an ecclesiastical habit, he paid her a visit,
pretending that, being a Frenchman, he could not think of passing
through Liege without seeing a lady so celebrated for her beauty and
misfortunes. He even went so far as to play the gallant, and his
amorous advances were as well received as he could desire. He persuaded
the lady to take a walk with him; but they had no sooner got into the
fields than the lover transformed himself into a police-officer. He
arrested the lady, and put her into the hands of his followers, whom he
had placed in ambush near the spot; and then, having obtained an order
from the authorities to that effect, he made a search in her apartment.
Under her bed he found a casket, which she vehemently insisted on
having returned to her, but without effect. She then tried to bribe one
of the officer's men, who pretended to listen to her, and betrayed her.
During her retreat she had carried on an intrigue with a person of the
name of Theria. To him she wrote a letter, (which she intrusted to her
confidant,) beseeching him to come with all haste and rescue her from
the hands of Desgrais. In a second letter she told him that the escort
consisted only of eight persons, who could easily be beaten by five. In
a third, she wrote to "her dear Theria," that if he could not deliver
her by open force, he might at least kill two out of the four horses
of the carriage in which she was, and thus, at least, get possession
of the casket, and throw it into the fire; otherwise she was lost.
Though Theria, of course, received none of his _chère amie_'s letters,
yet he went of his own accord to Maestricht, through which she was
to pass, and tried to corrupt the officers by an offer of a thousand
pistoles, if they would let her escape; but they were immovable. All
her resources being thus exhausted, she attempted to kill herself by
swallowing a pin; but it was taken from her by one of her guards.

Among the proofs against her, that which alarmed her the most was a
written confession containing a narrative of her life, kept by her in
the casket which she made such desperate efforts to recover. No wonder
she was now horrified at what she had thus committed to paper. In the
first article she declared herself an incendiary, confessing that
she had set fire to a house. Madame Sevigné, speaking of this paper,
says, "Madame de Brinvillier tells us, in her confession, that she was
debauched at seven years old, and has led an abandoned life ever since;
that she poisoned her father, her brothers, and one of her children;
nay, that she poisoned herself, to try the effect of an antidote. Medea
herself did not do so much. She has acknowledged this confession to be
of her writing,--a great blunder; but she says she was in a high fever
when she wrote it,--that it is mere frenzy,--a piece of extravagance
which no one can read seriously." In a subsequent letter, Madame de
Sevigné adds, "Nothing is talked of but the sayings and doings of
Madame de Brinvillier. She says in her confession that she has murdered
her father;--she was afraid, no doubt, that she might forget to accuse
herself of it. The peccadilloes which she is afraid of forgetting are
admirable!"

The proceedings of her trial are fully reported in the _Causes
Célèbres_. She found an able advocate in the person of M. Nivelle,
whose pleading in her behalf is exceedingly learned and ingenious.
He laboured hard to get rid of the confession; maintaining that this
paper was of the same nature as a confession made under the seal of
secrecy to a priest; and cited a number of precedents to show that
circumstances thus brought to light cannot be used in a criminal
prosecution. Her confused, evasive, and contradictory answers to
the questions put to her on her interrogatory by the court,--a very
objectionable step, by the way, of French criminal procedure,--were
considered as filling up the measure of evidence against her; though,
in this case, it was sufficiently ample without the aid either of her
confession or examinations before the judges. The _corpus delicti_ (in
the language of the law) was certain. The deaths of her two brothers by
poison were proved by the evidence of several medical persons; and the
testimony of other witnesses established the commission of these crimes
by St. Croix and her, through the instrumentality of La Chaussée.

At length, by a sentence of the supreme criminal court of Paris, on the
16th of July 1676, Madame de Brinvillier was convicted of the murder
of her father and her two brothers, and of having attempted the life
of her sister, and condemned to make the _amende honorable_ before the
door of the principal church of Paris, whither she was to be drawn in
a hurdle, with her feet bare, a rope about her neck, and carrying a
burning torch in her hands; from thence to be taken to the Place de
Grêve, her head severed from her body on a scaffold, her body burnt,
and her ashes thrown to the wind; after having been, in the first
place, put to the question ordinary and extraordinary, to discover her
accomplices.

Though she had denied her crimes as long as she had any hope of escape,
she confessed everything after condemnation. During the latter days
of her life, she was the sole object of public curiosity. An immense
multitude assembled to see her execution, and every window on her
way to the Place de Grêve was crowded with spectators. Lebrun, the
celebrated painter, placed himself in a convenient situation for
observing her, in order, probably, to make a study for his "Passions."
Among the spectators were many ladies of distinction, to some of whom,
who had got very near her, she said, looking them firmly in the face,
and with a sarcastic smile, "A very pretty sight you are come to see!"

Madame de Sevigné gives an account of this execution the day it took
place, in a tone of levity which is not a little offensive, and
unbecoming a lady of her unquestionable elegance and refinement.
"Well!" she says, "it is all over, and La Brinvillier is in the
air. Her poor little body was thrown into a large fire, and her
ashes scattered to the winds; so that we breathe her, and there is
no saying but this communication of particles may produce among us
some poisoning propensities which may surprise us. She was condemned
yesterday. This morning her sentence was read to her, and she was
shown the rack; but she said there was no occasion for it, for she
would tell everything. Accordingly she continued till four o'clock
giving a history of her life, which is even more frightful than people
supposed. She poisoned her father ten times successively before she
could accomplish her object; then her brothers; and her revelations
were full of love affairs and pieces of scandal. She asked to speak
with the procureur-général, and was an hour with him; but the subject
of their conversation is not known. At six o'clock she was taken in
her shift, and with a rope round her neck, to Nôtre Dame, to make the
_amende honorable_. She was then replaced in the hurdle, in which I
saw her drawn backwards, with a confessor on one side and the hangman
on the other. It really made me shudder. Those who saw the execution
say she ascended the scaffold with a great deal of courage. Never was
such a crowd seen, nor such excitement and curiosity in Paris." In
another letter the fair writer says, "A word more about La Brinvillier.
She died as she lived, that is boldly. When she went into the place
where she was to undergo the question, and saw three buckets of water,
'They surely are going to drown me,' she said; 'for they can't imagine
that I am going to drink all this.' She heard her sentence with great
composure. When the reading was nearly finished, she desired it to be
repeated, saying, 'The hurdle struck me at first, and prevented my
attending to the rest.' On her way to execution she asked her confessor
to get the executioner placed before her, 'that I may not see that
scoundrel Desgrais,' she said, 'who caught me.' Her confessor reproved
her for this sentiment, and she said, 'Ah, my God! I beg your pardon.
Let me continue, then, to enjoy this agreeable sight.' She ascended the
scaffold alone and barefooted, and was nearly a quarter of an hour in
being trimmed and adjusted for the block by the executioner; a piece of
great cruelty which was loudly murmured against. Next day persons were
seeking for her bones, for there was a belief among the people that she
was a saint. She had two confessors, she said; one of whom enjoined
her to tell everything, and the other said it was not necessary. She
laughed at this difference of opinion, and said, 'Very well, I am at
liberty to do as I please.' She did not please to say anything about
her accomplices. Penautier will come out whiter than snow. The public
is by no means satisfied."

This Penautier was a man of wealth and station, holding the office
of treasurer of the province of Languedoc and of the clergy. He was
discovered to have been intimately connected with St. Croix and Madame
de Brinvillier, and strongly suspected of having been a participator
in their crimes. He was accused by the widow of M. de Saint Laurent,
receiver-general of the clergy, of having employed St. Croix to poison
her husband, in order to obtain his place, and of having accomplished
this object by means of a valet whom St. Croix had got into her
husband's service. Penautier was put in prison; but Madame de Sevigné
says that the investigation was stifled by the influence of powerful
protectors, among whom were the Archbishop of Paris and the celebrated
Colbert. In one of her letters she says, "Penautier is fortunate; never
was a man so well protected. He will get out of this business, but
without being justified in the eyes of the world. Extraordinary things
have transpired in the course of this investigation; but they cannot
be mentioned." He was released, resumed the exercise of his offices,
and lived in his former splendour. The first people had no objection
to enjoy his luxurious table; but his character with the public was
irrecoverably gone. Cardinal de Bonzy, who had to pay some annuities
with which his archbishopric of Narbonne was burdened, survived all
the annuitants, and said that, thanks to his star! he had buried them.
Madame de Sevigné, seeing him one day in his carriage with Penautier,
said to a friend, "There goes the Archbishop of Narbonne with _his
star_!"

The Marquis of Brinvillier is never mentioned in the course of the
proceedings in this extraordinary case, and there are no traces of his
subsequent life. Madame de Sevigné says that he petitioned for the life
of his _chère moitié_. Wretched as he must have been, he is the less
entitled to sympathy because his own dissolute character contributed to
bring his misfortunes upon himself. He probably spent his latter days
in the deepest retirement, hiding himself from the world, as the bearer
of a name indissolubly associated with crime and infamy.

       *       *       *       *       *

(_This paper will be followed, in our next number, by another on the
same subject._)

FOOTNOTE:

[Footnote 11: This incident has suggested to Sir Walter Scott the
catastrophe of the diabolical Alasco, in _Kenilworth_:

"The old woman assured Varney that Alasco had scarce eaten or drunk
since her master's departure, living perpetually shut up in the
laboratory, and talking as if the world's continuance depended on what
he was doing there.

"'I will teach him that the world hath other claims on him,' said
Varney, seizing a light and going in search of the alchemist. He
returned, after a considerable absence, very pale, but yet with his
habitual sneer on his cheek and nostril. 'Our friend,' he said, 'has
exhaled.'

"'How! what mean you?' said Foster; 'run away--fled with my forty
pounds, that should have been multiplied a thousand fold? I will have
Hue and Cry!'

"'I will tell thee a surer way,' said Varney.

"'How! which way?' exclaimed Foster. 'I will have back my forty
pounds--I deemed them as surely a thousand pounds multiplied--I will
have back my in-put at the least.'

"'Go hang thyself, then, and sue Alasco in the devil's court of
Chancery, for thither he has carried the cause.'

"'How!--what dost thou mean?--is he dead?'

"'Ay, truly is he,' said Varney, 'and properly swollen already in the
face and body. He had been mixing some of his devil's medicines, and
the glass mask, which he used constantly, had fallen from his face, so
that the subtle poison entered the brain and did its work.'

"'_Sancta Maria!_' said Foster; 'I mean, God in his mercy preserve us
from covetousness and deadly sin!'"]



SERENADE TO FRANCESCA.

            "Quei trasporti soavi
    Ch'io provai nell' amore nascente!"


                   I.

    Under your casement, lady dear!
    A voice, that has slumber'd for many a year,
    Is waking to know if the same heart-vow
    That bound us erewhile doth bind us now.
      Waken! my early--only love!
      And be to my bosom its still sweet dove!

                   II.

    Under your casement, lady bright!
    The bird that you charm'd with your beauty's light
    Is singing again to his one loved flower,
    As often he sang in a happier hour!
      Waken! my early--only love!
      And be to my bosom its gentle dove!

                   III.

    Under your casement, lady fair!
    The heart that you often have vow'd to share
    Is beating to know if it still remain,
    A prisoner of heaven, in your dear chain!
      Waken! my early--only love!
      And be to my bosom its first sweet dove!

                                            W.



THE NARRATIVE OF JOHN WARD GIBSON.


CHAPTER I.

As I do not intend that any human being shall read this narrative
until after my decease, I feel no desire to suppress or to falsify
any occurrence or event of my life, which I may at the moment deem of
sufficient importance to communicate. I am aware how common a feeling,
even amongst those who have committed the most atrocious crimes,
this dread of entailing obloquy upon their memories is; but I cannot
say that I participate in it. Perhaps I wish to offer some atonement
to society for my many and grievous misdeeds; and, it may be, the
disclosures I am about to make will be considered an insufficient
expiation. I cannot help this, now. There is One from whom no secrets
are hid, by whom I am already judged.

I regret that I did not execute this wretched task long ago. Should I
live to complete it, I shall hold out longer than I expect; for I was
never ready at my pen, and words sometimes will not come at my bidding.
Besides, so many years have elapsed since the chief events I am about
to relate took place, that even _they_ no longer come before me with
that distinctness which they did formerly. They do not torture me now,
as of old times. The caustic has almost burnt them out of my soul. I
will, however, give a plain, and, as nearly as I am able, a faithful
statement. I will offer no palliation of my offences, which I do not
from my soul believe should be extended to me.

I was born on the 23rd of October 1787. My father was a watch-case
maker, and resided in a street in the parish of Clerkenwell. I went a
few months ago to look at the house, but it was taken down; indeed,
the neighbourhood had undergone an entire change. I, too, was somewhat
altered since then. I wondered at the time which of the two was the
more so.

My earliest recollection recalls two rooms on a second floor, meanly
furnished; my father, a tall, dark man, with a harsh unpleasing voice;
and my mother, the same gentle, quiet being whom I afterwards knew her.

My father was a man who could, and sometimes did, earn what people
in his station of life call a great deal of money; and yet he was
constantly in debt, and frequently without the means of subsistence.
The cause of this, I need hardly say, was his addiction to drinking.
Naturally of a violent and brutal temper, intoxication inflamed
his evil passions to a pitch--not of madness, for he had not that
excuse--but of frenzy. It is well known that gentleness and forbearance
do not allay, but stimulate a nature like this; and scenes of violence
and unmanly outrage are almost the sole reminiscences of my childhood.
Perhaps, the circumstance of my having been a sufferer in one of these
ebullitions, served to impress them more strongly upon my mind.

One evening I had been permitted to sit up to supper. My father had
recently made promises of amendment, and had given an earnest of his
intention by keeping tolerably sober during three entire days; and
upon this festive occasion,--for it was the anniversary of my mother's
marriage,--he had engaged to come home the instant he quitted his work.
He returned, however, about one o'clock in the morning, and in his
accustomed state. The very preparations for his comfort, which he saw
upon the table, served as fuel to his savage and intractable passions.
It was in vain that my mother endeavoured to soothe and to pacify him.
He seized a stool on which I was accustomed to sit, and levelled a blow
at her. She either evaded it, or the aim was not rightly directed, for
the stool descended upon my head, and fractured my skull.

The doctor said it was a miracle that I recovered; and indeed it was
many months before I did so. The unfeeling repulse I experienced from
my father when, on the first occasion of my leaving my bed, I tottered
towards him, I can never forget. It is impossible to describe the
mingled terror and hatred which entered my bosom at that moment, and
which never departed from it. It may appear incredible to some that a
child so young could conceive so intense a loathing against its own
parent. It is true, nevertheless; and, as I grew, it strengthened.

I will not dwell upon this wretched period of my life; for even to me,
at this moment, and after all that I have done and suffered, the memory
of that time is wretchedness.

One night, about two years afterwards, my father was brought home on a
shutter by two watchmen. He had fallen into the New River on his return
from a public-house in the vicinity of Sadler's Wells Theatre, and was
dragged out just in time to preserve for the present a worthless and
degraded life. A violent cold supervened, which settled upon his lungs;
and, in about a month, the doctor informed my mother that her husband
was in a rapid decline. The six months that ensued were miserable
enough. My mother was out all day, toiling for the means of subsistence
for a man who was not only ungrateful for her attentions, but who
repelled them with the coarsest abuse.

I was glad when he died, nor am I ashamed to avow it; and I almost felt
contempt for my mother when the poor creature threw herself upon the
body in a paroxysm of grief, calling it by those endearing names which
indicated a love he had neither requited nor deserved. Had I been so
blest as to have met with one to love me as that woman loved my father,
I had been a different, and a better, and, perhaps, a good man!

"Will you not kiss your poor father, John, and see him for the last
time?" said my mother on the morning of the funeral, as she took me by
the hand.

No; I would not. I was no hypocrite then. It is true I was terrified
at the sight of death, but that was not the cause. The manner in
which he had repulsed me nearly three years before, had never for a
moment departed from my mind. There was not a day on which I did not
brood upon it. I have often since recalled it, and with bitterness. I
remember it now.

My mother had but one relation in the world,--an uncle, possessed of
considerable property, who resided near Luton, in Bedfordshire. She
applied to him for some small assistance to enable her to pay the
funeral expenses of her husband. Mr. Adams--for that was her uncle's
name--sent her two guineas, accompanied by a request that she would
never apply to, or trouble him again. There was, however, one person
who stept forward in this extremity,--Mr. Ward, a tradesman, with whom
my mother had formerly lived as a servant, but who had now retired
from business. He offered my mother an asylum in his house. She was to
be his housekeeper; and he promised to take care of, and one day to
provide for, me. It was not long before we were comfortably settled in
a small private house in Coppice-row, where, for the first time in my
life, I was permitted to ascertain that existence was not altogether
made up of sorrow.

The old gentleman even conceived a strong liking, it may be called
an affection, for me. He had stood godfather to me at my birth; and
I believe, had I been his own son, he could not have treated me with
more tenderness. He sent me to school, and was delighted at the
progress I made, or appeared to make, which he protested was scarcely
less than wonderful; a notion which the tutor was, of course, not
slow to encourage and confirm. He predicted that I should inevitably
make a bright man, and become a worthy member of society; the highest
distinction, in the old gentleman's opinion, at which any human being
could arrive. Alas! woe to the child of whom favourable predictions are
hazarded! There never yet, I think, was an instance in which they were
not falsified.

We had been residing with Mr. Ward about three years, when a slight
incident occurred which has impressed itself so strongly upon my memory
that I cannot forbear relating it. Mr. Ward had sent me with a message
into the City, where, in consequence of the person being from home, I
was detained several hours. When I returned, it appeared that Mr. Ward
had gone out shortly after me, and had not mentioned the circumstance
of his having despatched me into the City. I found my mother in a state
of violent agitation. She inquired where I had been, and I told her.

"I can hardly believe you, John," she said; "are you sure you are
telling me the truth?"

I was silent. She repeated the question. I would not answer; and she
bestowed upon me a sound beating.

I bore my punishment with dogged sullenness, and retired into the back
kitchen; in a corner of which I sat down, and, with my head between
my hands, began to brood over the treatment I had received. Gradually
there crept into my heart the same feeling I remembered to have
conceived against my father,--a feeling of bitter malignity revived by
a fresh object. I endeavoured to quell it, to subdue it, but I could
not. I recalled all my mother's former kindness to me, her present
affection for me; and I reminded myself that this was the first time
she had ever raised her hand against me. This thought only nourished
the feeling, till the aching or my brain caused it to subside into
moody stupefaction.

I became calmer in about an hour, and arose, and went into the front
kitchen. My mother was seated at the window, employed at her needle;
and, as she raised her eyes, I perceived they were red with weeping. I
walked slowly towards her, and stood by her side.

"Mother!" I said, in a low and tremulous voice.

"Well, John; I hope you are a good boy now?"

"Mother!" I repeated, "you don't know how you have hurt me."

"I am sorry I struck you so hard, child; I did not mean to do it;" and
she averted her head.

"Not that--not that!" I cried passionately, beating my bosom with my
clenched hands. "It's here, mother--here. I told you the truth, and you
would not believe me."

"Mr. Ward has returned now," said my mother; "I will go ask him;" and
she arose.

I caught her by the gown. "Oh, mother!" I said, "this is the second
time you would not believe me. You shall not go to Mr. Ward yet!" and
I drew her into the seat. "Say first that you are sorry for it--only a
word. Oh, do say it!"

As I looked up, I saw the tears gathering in her eyes. I fell upon my
knees, and hid my face in her lap. "No, no; don't say anything now to
me--don't--don't!" A spasm rose from my chest into my throat, and I
fell senseless at her feet.

My mother afterwards told me that it was the day of the year on which
my father died, and she feared from my lengthened stay that I had come
to harm. Dear, good woman! Oh! that I might hope to see her once more,
even though it were but for one moment,--for we shall not meet in
heaven!

It was a cruel blow that deprived us of our kind protector! Mr. Ward
died suddenly, and without a will; and my mother and I were left
entirely unprovided with means. The old gentleman had often declared
his intention of leaving my mother enough to render her comfortable
during the remainder of her days, and had expressed his determination
of setting me on in the world immediately I became of a proper age.
It could hardly be expected that the heir-at-law would have fulfilled
these intentions, even had he been cognisant of them. He was a low
attorney, living somewhere in the neighbourhood of Drury-lane; and when
he attended the funeral, and during the hour or two he remained in
the house after it, it was quite clear that he had no wish to retain
anything that belonged to his late relative except his property, and
his valuable and available effects. He however paid my mother a month's
wages in advance, presented me a dollar to commence the world with,
shook hands with us, and wished us well.

It was not long before my mother obtained a situation as servant in a
small respectable family in King-street, Holborn; and, as I was now
nearly eleven years of age, it was deemed by her friends high time that
I should begin to get my own living. Such small influence, therefore,
as my mother could command, was set on foot in my behalf; and I at
length got a place as errand-boy to a picture-dealer in Wardour-street,
Oxford-street. The duties required of me in this situation, if not of a
valuable description, were, at least, various. I went with messages, I
attended sales, I kept the shop, I cleaned the knives and shoes, and,
indeed, performed all those services which it is the province of boys
to render, some of which are often created because there happens to be
boys to do them.

This routine was, for a time, irksome. When I recalled the happy days I
had spent under the roof of Mr. Ward, and the hopes and expectations he
had excited within me of a more prosperous commencement of life,--hopes
which his death had so suddenly destroyed,--it is not surprising that
I should have felt a degree of discontent of my condition, for which
I had no other cause. As I sat by the kitchen fire of an evening when
my day's work was done, I often pictured to myself the old man lying
where we had left him in the churchyard, mouldering insensibly away,
unconscious of rain, or wind, or sunshine, or the coming of night,
or the approach of day, wrapped in a shroud which would outlast its
wearer, and silently waiting for oblivion. These thoughts became less
frequent as time wore on; but I have never been able to dissociate the
idea of death from these hideous conditions of mortality.

My master, Mr. Bromley, when I first entered his service, was a man of
about the middle age, and of rather grave and formal manners. He had
not a bad heart; but I have since discovered that what appeared to my
boyish fancy a hard and cold selfishness was but the exterior of those
narrow prejudices which too many of that class, if not of all classes,
indulge, or rather inherit. He felt that a distance ought to be
preserved between himself and his servant; and what he thought he ought
to do, he always did; so that I had been with him a considerable period
before he even addressed a word to me which business did not constrain
him to utter.

He had a daughter, a girl about eighteen years of age. What a human
being was Louisa Bromley! She was no beauty; but she had a face whose
sweetness was never surpassed. I saw something like it afterwards in
the faces of some of Raffaele's angels. The broad and serene forehead,
the widely-parted eyebrow, the inexplicable mouth, the soul that
pervaded the whole countenance! I can never forget that face; and, when
I call it back to memory now, I admire it the more because, to use the
modern jargon, there was no _intellect_ in it. There was no thought,
no meditation or premeditation; but there was nature, and it was
good-nature.

Her gentleness and kindness soon won upon me. To be kind to me was
at all times the way to win me, and the only way. I cannot express
the happiness I felt at receiving and obeying any command from her.
A smile, or the common courtesy of thanks from her lips, repaid me a
hundred-fold for the performance of the most menial office.

I had now been with Mr. Bromley about four years. I employed my
leisure, of which I had a great deal, in reading. All the books I
could contrive to borrow, or that fell in my way, I devoured greedily.
Nor did I confine myself exclusively to one branch of reading,--I
cannot call it study. But my chief delight was to peruse the lives
of the great masters of painting, to make myself acquainted with the
history and the comparative merits of their several performances, and
to endeavour to ascertain how many and what specimens existed in this
country. I had, also, a natural taste for painting, and sometimes
surprised my master by the remarks I ventured to make upon productions
he might happen to purchase, or which had been consigned to him for
sale.

Meanwhile, I was permitted to go out in the afternoon of each alternate
Sunday. Upon these occasions I invariably went to see my mother. How
well can I remember the gloomy underground kitchen in which I always
found her, with her Bible before her on a small round table! With what
pleased attention did she listen to me when I descanted on the one
subject upon which I constantly dwelt,--the determination I felt, as
soon as I had saved money enough, and could see a little more clearly
into my future prospects, to take her from service, that she might come
and live with me! This was, in truth, the one absorbing thought--it
might almost be termed the one passion--of my existence at that time.
I had no other hope, no other feeling, than that of making her latter
years a compensation for the misery she must have endured during my
father's life.

One Sunday when I called, as usual, an old woman answered the door.
She speedily satisfied my inquiries after my mother. She had been
very ill for some days, and was compelled to keep her bed. My heart
sank within me. I had seen her frequently in former years disfigured
by her husband's brutality; I had seen her in pain, in anguish, which
she strove to conceal; but I had never known her to be confined to her
room. When I saw her now, young as I was, and unaccustomed to the sight
of disease, I involuntarily shrunk back with horror. She was asleep. I
watched her for a few minutes, and then stole softly from the room, and
returned to my master's house.

He was gone to church with his daughter. I followed thither, and waited
under the portico till they came forth. I quickly singled them out from
the concourse issuing from the church-doors. I drew my master aside,
and besought him to spare me for a few days, that I might go and attend
my mother, who was very ill.

"Is she dying?" he inquired.

I started. "No, not dying. Oh, no!"

"Well, John, I can't spare you: we are very busy now, you know."

And what was that to me? It is only on occasions like these, that the
value of one's services is recognised. I thought of this at the time.
I turned, in perplexity, to Louisa Bromley. She understood the silent
appeal, and interceded for me. I loved her for that; I could have
fallen down at her feet, and kissed them for it. She prevailed upon the
old man to let me go.

The people of the house at which my mother was a servant were kind, and
even friendly. They permitted me to remain with her.

I never left her side for more than half an hour at a time. She grew
worse rapidly, but I would not believe it. My mother, however, was
fully aware of her situation. She told me frequently, with a smile,
which I could not bear to see upon her face, it was so unlike joy, but
it was to comfort me,--she told me that she knew she was about to die,
and she endeavoured to impress upon me those simple maxims of conduct
for my future life which she had herself derived from her parents. She
must not die--must not; and I heard with impatience, and heedlessly,
the advice she endeavoured to bestow upon me.

She died. The old nurse told me she was dead. It could not be,--she
was asleep. My mother had told me not an hour before, that she felt
much better, and wanted a little sleep; and at that moment her hand was
clasped in mine. The lady of the house took me gently by the arm, and,
leading me into an adjoining room, began to talk to me in a strain, I
suppose, usually adopted upon such occasions,--for I knew not what she
said to me.

In about two hours I was permitted to see my mother again. There was
a change--a frightful change! The nurse, I remember, said something
about her looking like one asleep. I burst into a loud laugh. Asleep!
that blank, passive, impenetrable face like sleep--petrified sleep! I
enjoined them to leave me, and they let me have my own way; for, boy as
I was, they were frightened at me.

I took my mother's hand, and wrung it violently. I implored her to
speak to me once more, to repeat that she still loved me, to tell me
that she forgave all my faults, all my omissions, all my sins towards
her. And then I knew she _was_ dead, and fell down upon my knees to
pray; but I could not. Something told me that I ought not--something
whispered that I ought rather to----; but I was struck senseless upon
the floor.

The mistress of my mother, who was a good and worthy woman, offered to
pay her funeral expenses; but I would not permit it. Not a farthing
would I receive from her; out of my own savings I buried her.

If I could have wept--but I never could weep--when this calamity befell
me, I think that impious thought would never have entered my brain.
That thought was, that the Almighty was unjust to deprive me of the
only being in the world who loved me, who understood me, who knew that
I had a heart, and that, when it was hurt and outraged, my head was not
safe--not to be trusted. That thought remained with me for years.


CHAPTER II.

Five years elapsed. The grief occasioned by my mother's death having in
some measure subsided, my thoughts became concentrated upon myself with
an intensity scarcely to be conceived. A new passion took possession of
my soul: I would distinguish myself, if possible, and present to the
world another instance of friendless poverty overcoming and defying
the obstacles and impediments to its career. With this view constantly
before me, I read even more diligently than heretofore. I made myself a
proficient in the principles of mathematics; I acquired some knowledge
of mechanical science; but, above all, I took every opportunity of
improving my taste in the fine arts. This last accomplishment was soon
of infinite service to me; many gentlemen who frequented our shop were
pleased to take much notice of me; my master was frequently rallied
upon having a servant who knew infinitely more of his business than
himself; and my opinion on one or two remarkable occasions was taken in
preference to that of my employer.

Mr. Bromley naturally and excusably might have conceived no slight envy
of my acquirements; but he was not envious. Shall I be far wrong when
I venture to say, that few men are so, where pecuniary interest points
out the impolicy of their encouraging that feeling? Be this as it may,
he treated me with great kindness; and I was grateful for it, really
and strongly so. I had been long since absolved from the performance of
those menial duties which had been required of me when I first entered
his service; my wages were increased to an extent which justified me in
calling them by the more respectable term, salary; I was permitted to
live out of the house; and in all respects the apparent difference and
distance between my master and myself were sensibly diminished.

During this period of five years I never received one unkind word or
look from Louisa Bromley: and the affection I bore towards this young
woman, which was the affection a brother might have felt, caused me
to strive by every means at my command to advance the fortunes of her
father. And, indeed, the old man had become so attached to me,--partly,
and I doubt not unconsciously, because my talents were of value to
him,--that I should not have had the heart, even had my inclinations
prompted me, to desert him. It is certain that I might have improved my
own position by doing so.

At this time Frederick Steiner became acquainted with Mr. Bromley.
He was a young man about thirty years of age, of German descent, and
possessed of some property. The manners of Steiner were plausible,
he was apparently candid, his address indicated frankness and entire
absence of guile, and he was handsome; yet I never liked the man. It is
commonly supposed that women are gifted with the power of detecting the
worst points of the characters of men at the first glance. This gift
is withheld when they first behold the man they are disposed to love.
This, at any rate, was the case with Louisa Bromley.

Not to dwell upon this part of my narrative, in a few months Bromley's
daughter was married to Steiner, who was taken into partnership.

I must confess I was deeply mortified at this. I myself had conceived
hopes of one day becoming Bromley's partner; and my anxiety for the
happiness of his daughter led me to doubt whether she had not made a
choice which she might have occasion afterwards to deplore. However,
things went on smoothly for a time. Steiner was civil, nay, even
friendly to me; and the affection he evinced towards his little boy,
who was born about a year after the marriage, displayed him in so
amiable a light, that I almost began to like the man.

It was not very long, however, before Steiner and I came to understand
each other more perfectly. He was possessed with an overweening conceit
of his taste in pictures, and I on my part obstinately adhered to my
own opinion, whenever I was called upon to pronounce one. This led to
frequent differences, which commonly ended in a dispute, which Bromley
was in most cases called upon to decide. The old man, doubtless, felt
the awkwardness of his position; but, as his interest was inseparable
from a right view of the question at issue, he commonly decided with me.

Upon these occasions Steiner vented his mortification in sneers at
my youth, and ironical compliments to me upon my cleverness and
extraordinary genius; for both of which requisites, as he was signally
deficient in them, he especially hated me. I could have repaid his
hatred with interest, for I kept it by me in my own bosom, and it
accumulated daily.

I know not how it happened that the child wound itself round my heart,
but it was so. It seemed as though there were a necessity that, in
proportion as I detested Steiner, I must love his child. But the boy,
from the earliest moment he could take notice of anything, or could
recognise anybody, had attached himself to me; and I loved him,
perhaps for that cause, with a passionate fondness which I can scarcely
imagine to be the feeling even of a parent towards his child.

If I were not slow by nature to detect the first indications of
incipient estrangement, I think I should have perceived in less than
two years after Steiner had been taken into partnership by Mr. Bromley,
a growing reserve, an uneasy constraint in the manners of the latter,
and a studied, an almost formal civility on the part of his daughter. I
now think there must have been something of the kind, although it was
not at the time apparent to me. I am certain, at all events, there was
less cordiality, less friendship, in the deportment of Mrs. Steiner
towards me: a circumstance which I remember to have considered the
result of her altered situation. The terms of almost social equality,
however, were no longer observed.

One Mr. Taylor, a very extensive picture-dealer, who lived in the
Haymarket, made several overtures to me about this time. He had heard
many gentlemen of acknowledged taste speak of me in the highest terms;
and, in truth, I was now pretty generally recognised throughout the
trade as one of the best judges of pictures in London. I had more
than one interview, of his own seeking, with this gentleman. He made
me a most flattering and advantageous offer: he would have engaged my
services for a certain number of years, and at the expiration of the
period he would have bound himself to take me into partnership. I had
received many similar offers before, although none that could be for a
moment compared, on the score of emolument and stability, with this. I
rejected those for the sake of Bromley: I rejected this for my own.

Shall I be weak enough to confess it? The respect I bore the old
man even now; my affection for his daughter, my love for the child,
went some part of the way towards a reason for declining Taylor's
proposal; but it did not go all the way. I hated Steiner so intensely,
so mortally, and he supplied me daily with such additional cause of
hatred, that I felt a species of excitement, of delight, in renewing
from time to time my altercations with him: a delight which was
considerably increased by the fact that he was quite incapable of
competing with me in argument. There was another reason, which added
a zest, if anything could do so, to the exquisite pleasure I derived
from tormenting him,--the belief I entertained that Bromley and himself
dared not part with me: they knew my value too well. Bromley, at least,
I was well aware, was conscious enough of that.

I had been attending one day a sale of pictures, the property of a
certain nobleman whose collection, thirty years ago, was the admiration
of connoisseurs. Mr. ---- (I need not give his name, but he is still
living,) had employed me to bid for several amongst the collection;
and had requested my opinion of a few, the merit of which, although
strongly insisted upon, he was disposed to doubt. When I returned in
the evening, I saw Steiner in the shop waiting for me, and--for hate
is quick at these matters, quicker even than love--I knew that he
meditated a quarrel. I was not mistaken. He looked rather pale, and his
lip quivered slightly.

"And so," said he, "you have been holding several conversations with
Mr. Taylor lately; haven't you, Mr. Gibson?"

"Who told you that I had been holding conversations with him?"

"No matter: you have done so. Pray, may I ask the tenour of them?"

"Mr. Taylor wished to engage my services," I replied, "and I declined
to leave Mr. Bromley."

"That's not very likely," said Steiner with a sneer.

Steiner was right there; it was not very likely. He might with justice
consider me a fool for not having embraced the offer.

"I suppose," pursued Steiner in the same tone, "Mr. ---- would follow
you to your new situation. You would select his pictures for him as
usual, doubtless."

"Doubtless I should," said I with a cool smile that enraged him. "Mr.
---- would follow _me_ certainly, and many others would follow _him_,
Mr. Steiner."

"I'll tell you what it is," cried Steiner, and a flush overspread his
face; "Taylor has been using you for his own purposes. You have been
endeavouring to undermine our connexion, and have been serving him at
the same time that you have taken our wages."

It was not a difficult matter at any time to move me to anger. I
approached him, and with a glance of supreme scorn replied, "It is
false!--nay, I don't fear you--it's a lie,--an infamous lie!"

Steiner was a very powerful man, and in the prime of manhood; I was
young, and my limbs were not yet fixed,--not set. He struck me a
violent blow on the face. I resisted as well as I was able; but what
can weakness do against strength, even though it have justice on its
side? He seized me by the cravat, and, forcing his knuckles against my
throat, dealt me with the other hand a violent blow on the temple, and
felled me to the earth. O that I had never risen from it! It had been
better.

When I came to my senses, for the blow had for a while stunned me, I
arose slowly, and with difficulty. Steiner was still standing over me
in malignant triumph, and I could see in the expression of his eyes the
gratified conviction he felt of having repaid the long score of ancient
grudges in which he was indebted to me. His wife was clinging to his
arm, and as I looked into her face I perceived terror in it, certainly;
but there was no sympathy,--nay, that is not the word,--I could not
have borne that; there was no sorrow, no interest, no concern about me.
My heart sickened at this. Bromley was there also. He appeared slightly
perplexed; and, misconceiving the meaning of my glance, said coldly,
but hurriedly, "You brought it entirely upon yourself, Mr. Gibson."

I turned away, and walked to the other end of the shop for my hat. I
had put it on, and was about leaving them. As I moved towards the door,
I was nearly throwing down the little boy, who had followed me, and was
now clinging to the skirt of my coat, uttering in imperfect accents my
name. I looked down. The little thing wanted to come to me to kiss me.
Sweet innocent! there was one yet in the world to love me. I would have
taken the child in my arms; but Mrs. Steiner exclaimed abruptly, "Come
away, Fred,--do; I insist upon it, sir." From that time, and for a long
time, I hated the woman for it.

I retreated to my lodging, and slunk to my own room with a sense of
abasement, of degradation, of infamy, I had never felt before. Mrs.
Matthews, the woman of the house, who had answered the door to me,
and had perceived my agitation, followed me up stairs. She inquired
the cause, and was greatly shocked at the frightful contusion upon my
temple. I told her all, for my heart was nigh bursting, and would be
relieved. She hastened down stairs for an embrocation, which the good
woman had always by her, and, returning with it, began to bathe my
forehead.

"Wouldn't I trounce the villain for it," she said, as she continued to
apply the lotion.

"What did you say, Mrs. Matthews?" and I suddenly looked up.

"Why, that I'd have the rascal punished,--that's what I said. Hanging's
too good for such a villain."

The kind creature--I was a favourite of hers--talked a great deal more
to the same effect, and at last left me to procure a bottle of rum,
which, much to her surprise, for I was no drinker, I requested her to
fetch me.

How exquisite it was,--what a luxury to be left alone all to myself!
Punished!--the woman had said truly,--he must be punished. They, too,
must not escape. The ingratitude of the old man,--his insolence of
ingratitude was almost as bad as the conduct of Steiner. After what
I had done for him!--an old servant who had indeed served him!--who
had refused a certainty, a respectable station in society, perhaps a
fortune, for his sake! And he must escape,--he must go unpunished,--he
must revel in the consciousness of the impunity of his insult? _No._ I
swore that deeply; and, lest it should be possible that I could falter,
or perhaps renounce my intention, I confirmed that oath with another,
which I shudder to think of, and must not here set down.

I emptied the bottle of rum, but I was not drunk. When I went to bed I
was as sober as I am at this moment. I did not go to bed to sleep. My
senses were in a strange ferment. The roof of my head seemed to open
and shut, and I fancied I could hear the seething of my brain below. I
presently fell into a kind of stupor.

It was past midnight when I recovered from this swoon, and I started
from the bed to my feet. Something had been whispering in my ear, and I
listened for a moment in hideous expectation that the words--for I did
hear words--would be repeated; but all was silent. I struck a light,
and after a time became more composed. Even the furniture of the room
was company to me. Before morning I had shaped my plan of revenge, and
it was in accordance with the words that had been spoken to me. Oh, my
God! what weak creatures we are! This fantasy possessed, pervaded me;
it did not grow,--it did not increase from day to day,--it came, and it
overcame me.

I returned the next morning to Bromley's house, and requested to see
Steiner. I apologised to him for the words I had used on the previous
day, and requested to be permitted to remain in my situation, if Mr.
Bromley would consent to it, until I could turn myself round; and I
hoped, in the mean time, that what had taken place would be overlooked
and forgotten. Steiner received me with a kind of civil arrogance, and
went to confer with his partner. They presently returned together, and
my request, after an admonitory lecture, rather confusedly delivered,
from Bromley, was acceded to; Steiner warning me at the same time to
conduct myself with more humility for the future, under pain of similar
punishment.

I did do so, and for six months nothing could exceed the attention
I paid to business, the zeal I evinced upon every occasion, the
forbearance I exercised under every provocation. And I had need of
forbearance. Bromley had been entirely perverted by his son-in-law;
and the kind old man of former years was changed into a morose and
almost brutal blackguard--to me,--only to me. Mrs. Steiner had likewise
suffered the influence of her husband to undermine, and for the time
to destroy her better feelings; and she treated me upon all occasions,
not merely with marked coldness, but with positive insult. I need
hardly say that Steiner enjoyed almost to satiety the advantage he had
gained over me. Even the very servants of the house took the cue from
their superiors, and looked upon me with contempt and disdain. The
little boy alone, who had received express commands never to speak to
me, sometimes found his way into the shop, and as he clung round my
neck, and bestowed unasked kisses upon my cheek, my hatred of the rest
swelled in my bosom almost to bursting.

The persecution I endured thus long was intense torment to me; the
reader, whoever he may be, will probably think so. He will be mistaken.
It was a source of inconceivable, of exquisite pleasure. It was a
justification to me; it almost made the delay of my vengeance appear
sinful.

It was now the 22nd of December 1808. I cannot refrain from recording
the date. Steiner had been during the last six weeks at Antwerp, and
was expected to return in a day or two. He had purchased at a sale
in that city a great quantity of pictures, which had just arrived,
and were now in the shop. They were severally of no great value, but
the purchase had brought Bromley's account at the banker's to a very
low ebb. Mrs. Steiner and the child were going to spend the Christmas
holidays with some relatives residing at Canterbury. She passed through
the shop silently and without even noticing me, and hurried the boy
along lest he should wish--and he did make an effort to do so--to take
his farewell of me. It was evening at the time, and Bromley was in his
back parlour. I was busy in the shop that evening; it was business of
my own, which I transacted secretly. Having completed it, I did what
was rather unusual with me; I opened the door of the parlour, and bade
Bromley good night.

All that evening I hovered about the neighbourhood. I had not
resolution to go from it. Now that the time was come when I should be
enabled, in all human probability, to fulfil, to glut my vengeance, my
heart failed me. The feeling which had supported me during the last six
months, which had been more necessary to my soul than daily sustenance
to my body, had deserted me then, but that by a powerful effort I
contrived to retain it. While I deplored having returned to Bromley's
employment, and the abject apology I had made to Steiner, that very
step and its consequences made it impossible for me to recede. It must
be. It was my fate to do it, and it was theirs that it should be done.

What trivial incidents cling to the memory sometimes, when they are
linked by association to greater events! I was, I remember standing
at the door of a small chandler's shop in Dean-street, almost lost to
myself, and to all that was passing about me.

The woman of the house tapped me on the shoulder.

"Will you be so good," she said, "as to move on; you are preventing my
customers from entering the shop."

"My good woman," I said, "I hope there is no harm in my standing here?"

"Not much harm," replied the woman, good-humouredly. "I hope you have
been doing nothing worse to-day?"

I started, and gazed at the woman earnestly. She smiled.

"Why, bless the man! you look quite flurried. I haven't offended you, I
hope?"

"No, no!" I muttered hastily, and moved away. The agony I endured for
the next hour I cannot describe.

I passed Bromley's house several times from the hour of nine till
half-past. All was silent, all still. What if my design should not take
effect! I almost hoped that it would not; and yet the boy who cleaned
out the shop must inevitably discover it in the morning. I trembled at
the contemplation of that, and my limbs were overspread with a clammy
dew. It was too late to make a pretext of business in the shop at that
time of night. Bromley was at home, and might, nay would, suspect me.
I resolved to be on the premises the first thing in the morning, and
retired in a state of mind to which no subsequent occurrence of my life
was ever capable of reducing me.

It was about half-past eleven o'clock, or nearer to twelve, that the
landlord of the Green Man, in Oxford-street, entered the parlour where
I was sitting, gazing listlessly upon two men who were playing a game
at dominos.

"There is a dreadful fire," said he, "somewhere on the other side of
the street;--in Berwick or Wardour-street, I think."

I sprang to my feet, and rushed out of the house, and, turning into
Hanway-yard, ran down Tottenham-court road, crossed the fields, (they
are now built upon,) and never stopped till I reached Pancras Church.

As I leaned against the wall of the churchyard some men came along.

"Don't you see the fire, master?" said one, as they passed me.

Then, for the first time, I did see the fire, tingeing the clouds
with a lurid and dusky red, and at intervals casting a shower of
broken flame into the air, which expanded itself in wide-spreading
scintillations.

God of Heaven! what had I done? Why was I here? I lived in the
neighbourhood of Bromley's house, and they would be sending for me. The
landlord, too, would afterwards remember having seen me in his parlour,
and informing me of the fire in the neighbourhood, and I should be
discovered. These thoughts were the duration of a moment, but they
decided me. I ran back again in a frenzy of remorse and terror, and in
a few minutes was in Wardour-street.

The tumult and confusion were at their height. The noise of the
engines, the outcries of the firemen, the uproar of the crowd, faintly
shadowed forth the tumult in my mind at that moment. I made my way
through the dense mass in advance of me, and at length reached the
house.

Bromley had just issued from it, and was wringing his hands, and
stamping his naked feet upon the pavement. He recognised me, and seized
me wildly by the arms.

"Oh! my good God! Gibson," said he, "my child!"

"What child--what child?" cried I, eagerly.

"Mine--mine! and the infant! they are in there!"

"They are gone out of town; don't you remember?" I thought the sudden
fright had deprived him of his senses.

"No, no, no! they were too late! the coach was gone!"

With a loud scream I dashed the old man from me, and flew to the door,
which was open. I made my way through the stifling smoke that seemed
almost to block up the passage, and sprang up stairs. The bed-room door
was locked. With a violent effort I wrenched off the lock, and rushed
into the room.

All was darkness; but presently a huge tongue of flame swept through
the doorway, and, running up the wall, expanded upon the ceiling;
and then I saw a figure in white darting about the room with angular
dodgings like a terrified bird in a cage.

"Where is the child?" I exclaimed, in a voice of frenzy.

Mrs. Steiner knew me, and ran towards me, clasping me with both arms.
She shook her head wildly, and pointed she knew not where.

"Here, Gibson,--here," cried the child, who had recognised my voice.

I threw off my coat immediately, and, seizing the boy, wrapt him
closely in it.

"This way, madam,--this way; at once, for Heaven's sake!" and I dragged
her to the landing.

There was hell about me then! The flames, the smoke, the fire, the
howlings; it was a living hell! But there was a shriek at that
moment! Mrs. Steiner had left my side. Gracious Heavens! she had been
precipitated below! A sickness came upon me then,--a sensation of being
turned sharply round by some invisible power; and, with the child
tightly clasped in my arms, I was thrown violently forward into the
flames, that seemed howling and yearning to devour me.



MASCALBRUNI.


I have frequently observed that there are some people who haunt you
in all parts of the world, and to whom you have a sort of secret
antipathy, yet who, by an attraction in spite of repulsion, are
continually crossing your path, as though they were sent as emissaries
to link themselves with your destiny, or on the watch mysteriously to
bring it about. One person in particular, whose name I do not even
know, if he has one, I have met fifty times in as many different
places, and we each say to ourselves, "'Tis he!--what, again!" So with
a personage too well known at home and abroad, of whom, by a curious
concatenation of circumstances, I am enabled to become the biographer.

Geronymo Mascalbruni was the son of a pauper belonging to a village
whose name I forget, in the marshes of Ancona. He had begged his way
when a boy to Rome, and supported himself for some time there, by
attending at the doors of the courts of justice, and running on errands
for the advocates or the suitors. His intelligence and adroitness did
not escape the observation of one of the attorneys, who, wanting a lad
of all work, took Mascalbruni into his service, and taught him to read
and write; finding him useful in his office, and having no children of
his own, he at length adopted him, _in formâ pauperis_, and gave him
a small share in his business. This man of the law did not bear the
most exemplary of characters, and perhaps it was in order to conceal
some nefarious practices to which Mascalbruni was privy that he made
the clerk his associate. Perhaps also he discovered in his character a
hardihood, combined with cunning and chicanery, that made him a ready
instrument for his purposes, and thus enabled him, like Teucer, to
fight behind the shield of another. Under this worthy master--a worthy
disciple--Mascalbruni continued for some years; till at length, tired
of confinement to the desk, and having the taste early acquired for a
roving and profligate life revived, he, during his old benefactor's
confinement to his bed with a rheumatic attack, administered to him a
dose of poison instead of medicine, and having robbed him of all the
money and plate that was portable, and of certain _coupons_, and _bons_
in the Neapolitan and other funds, standing in his name, he decamped,
and reached Florence in safety.

Every one has heard of the laxity of the Roman police. The impunity
of offenders, even when their crimes are established by incontestable
proof, is notorious. The relations of the lawyer, contrary to all their
expectations, (for he had never recognised them,) had come into their
inheritance, and little regarded the means, having attained the end.
They perhaps, also, from having had no admission into the house during
the old miser's life, were ignorant of the strength of his coffers;
and the disappearance of the murderer, who, by a will which they
discovered and burnt, had been made his sole heir, was by them deemed
too fortunate a circumstance; so that they neither inquired into the
manner of his death, nor had any _post mortem_ examination of the body.
They gave their respectable relative a splendid funeral, erected to his
memory a tomb in one of the rival churches that front the Piazza del
Popolo, in which his many virtues were not forgotten, and established
an annual mass for his _povera anima_, that no doubt saved him

    "From many a peck of purgatorial coals."

Having quietly inurned the master, let us follow the man. The sum
which he carried with him is not exactly known, but it must have been
considerable. His stay in the Tuscan state was short, and we find
him with his ill-gotten wealth in "that common sewer of London and
of Rome," Paris. He was then about twenty years of age, had a good
person, talents, an insinuating address, and a sufficient knowledge
of the world, at least of the worst part of mankind, to avoid sinking
in that quagmire, which has swallowed up so many of the thoughtless
and inexperienced who have trusted to its flattering surface. In fact,
Nature seemed to have gifted him with the elements of an accomplished
sharper, and he seconded her attributes by all the resources of art.
He took an apartment in the Rue Neuve de Luxembourg, that street so
admirably situated between the Boulevards and the Gardens of the
Tuileries, and had engraven on his cards, "Il Marchese Mascalbruni." He
was attached to his name; it was a good, sonorous, well-sounding name;
and the addition of Marchese dovetailed well, and seemed as though it
had always, or ought always, to have belonged to it.

But before he made his _entrée_ in the world of Paris, he was aware
that he had much to learn; and, with the tact and nice sense of
observation and _disinvoltura nel maneggiar_ peculiar to his nature, he
soon set about accomplishing himself in the externals of a gentleman.
With this view he passed several hours a day in the _salle d'armes_,
where he made himself a first-rate fencer; and became so dexterous _au
tir_, that he could at the extremity of the gallery hit the bull's-eye
of the target at almost every other shot.

Pushkin himself was not more dexterous; and, like him, our hero in the
course of his career signalised himself by several rencontres which
proved fatal to his antagonists, into the details of but one of which
I shall enter. He heard that nothing gives a young man greater _éclat_
at starting into society than a duel. Among those who frequented
the _salle_ was an old officer who had served in the campaigns of
Napoleon, one of the _reliquiæ Danaum_, the few survivors of Moscow;
for those who did not perish on the road, mostly fell victims to the
congelations and fatigues of that memorable retreat. Mascalbruni,
now a match for the _maître d'armes_, frequently exercised with this
old _grognard_, who had the character of being a _crane_, if not a
_bourreau des cranes_;[12] and one day, before a numerous _gallerie_,
having struck the foil out of his hand, the fencer so far forgot
himself, in the shame and vexation of defeat by a youngster, as to pick
up the weapon and strike the Italian a blow on the shoulders with the
flat part of the foil, if it be not an Irishism so to call it. Those
who saw Mascalbruni at that moment would not have forgotten the traits
of his countenance. His eyes flashed with a sombre fire; his Moorish
complexion assumed a darker hue, as the blood rushed from his heart to
his brain in an almost suffocating tide; his breath came forth in long
and audible expirations; his features were convulsed with the rage
of a demoniac. I only describe what Horace Verney, who was present,
faithfully sketched from memory after the scene. Mascalbruni, tearing
off the button of his foil, vociferated, putting himself in position,
"_A la mort, à la mort!_" The lookers-on were panic-stricken; but the
silence was interrupted by the clinking of the steel. The aggressor
soon lay stretched in the agonies of death.

Though he had now taken his first degree, Mascalbruni's education
was not yet complete. He had made himself master of French, so as to
speak it almost without any of the accent of a foreigner; and having a
magnificent voice, he added to it all the science that one of his own
countrymen could supply, and became in the end a finished musician and
vocalist.

Such was the course of his studies; and now, with all the _préstige_ of
his singular _affaire_ to give him _éclat_, the Marchese Mascalbruni
made his _début_. By way of recreation, he had frequently gone into
the gambling-houses of the Palais Royal, and had been much struck with
these words, almost obliterated, on the walls of one of them, "_Tutus
veni, tutus abi._" Mascalbruni was determined to profit by the advice,
and to confirm its truth by one solitary exception--to come and depart
in safety, or rather a winner.

Mascalbruni invented a theory of his own, that has since been practised
by several of the _habitués_ of the hells, particularly by a man
denominated, in the _maisons de jeu_, L'Avocat. He won such enormous
sums of the bank, that, on his return to his lodgings one night, he was
assassinated, not without suspicion that he fell by the hands of some
kind bravo of the company. _Chi lo sa?_ But to revert to Mascalbruni.

_Impares numeri_ are said to be fortunate: strange to say, the number
three is the most so. Three was a mystic number. The triangle was
sacred to the Hindoos and Egyptians. There were three Graces, three
Furies, three Fates. He played a martingale of one, three, seven,
fifteen, &c. on triple numbers, _i. e._ after three of a colour, either
red or black, had come up, and not till then, he played, and opposed
its going a fourth; thus rendering it necessary that there should be
twelve or thirteen successive _coups_ of four, _et sequentia_, without
the intervention of a three. The gain, it is true, could not be great,
for he began with a five-franc piece: but it seemed sure; and so he
found it, making a daily profit of three or four louis in as many hours.

I have gone into this dry subject to show the character of the man, and
his imperturbable _sang-froid_. He did not, however, confine himself to
_rouge et noir_, but soon learned all the niceties of that scientific
game _écarté_. In addition to _sauter le coup_, which he practised with
an invisible dexterity, he used to file the ends of the fingers of
his right hand, so that he could feel the court-cards, which, having
a thicker coat of paint, are thus made easily sensible to the touch;
and would extract from each pack one or two, the knowledge of whose
non-existence was no slight advantage in discarding. He did not long
wait for associates in his art. There was formed at that time a club
in the Rue Richelieu on the principle of some of the English clubs,
it being entirely managed by a committee. Of this he became a member,
and afterwards got an introduction at the _salon_. Most of the English
at Paris joined this circle; and it was broken up in consequence of
the discovery of manœuvres and sleights of hand such as I have
described, but not until Mascalbruni had contrived to bear away a more
than equal share of the plunder. The English, of course, were the great
sufferers.

He now turned his face towards the Channel, and opened the campaign
in London on a much more extensive scale. He took up his quarters at
Higginbottom's hotel in the same year that young Napoleon came to
England, and only left it when it was given up to that lamented and
accomplished prince. It is not generally known that he ever visited
England. His sojourn in the capital was kept a profound secret. The
master of the hotel and all his servants took an oath of secrecy;
and Prince Esterhazy and the members of the Austrian embassy were
not likely to betray it. The prince passed a week with George the
Fourth at the Cottage at Windsor, and afterwards assisted at a
concert at the Hanover Square rooms, himself leading a concert on
the piano. This by the bye. Mascalbruni on that occasion attracted
all eyes, and fascinated all ears, and was greeted after a solo with
the loudest plaudits. He had now become the fashion, and, having
forged a letter from one of the cardinals at Rome to a patroness of
Almacks, obtained the _entrée_, and made one of the three hundred that
compose the world of London. You know, however, in this world that
there is another world--orb within orb--an _imperium in imperio_--the
Exclusives. It is difficult to define what the qualifications for an
exclusive are: it is not rank, connexion, talents, virtues, grace,
elegance, accomplishments. No. But I shall not attempt to explain the
inexplicable. Certain it is, however, that our hero was admitted into
the _coteries_ of this caste, as distinct--as much separated by a line
of demarcation drawn round them from the rest--as the Rajhpoot is from
the Raiot, who sprang, one from the head, the other from the heels of
Brahma.

It was on the daughter of one of these extra-exclusives that
Mascalbruni cast his eye. He flew at high game. The Honourable Miss M.
was the belle of the season. I remember seeing her the year before at a
fancy ball. A quadrille had been got up, for which were selected twelve
of the most beautiful girls to represent the twelve Seasons. Louisa
was May, and excelled the rest, (I do not speak of the present year,)
as much as that season of flowers does the other months. It was an
'incarnation of May!'--a metaphor of Spring, and Youth, and Morning!--a
rose-bud just opening its young leaves, that brings the swiftest
thought of beauty, though words cannot embody it:--a sylph borne by a
breath, a zephyr, as in the celebrated Hebe of John of Bologna, may
make intelligible the lightness of her step,--the ethereal grace of her
form. She was a nymph of Canova, without her affectation. Hers was the
poetry of motion,--

      "It was the soul, which from so fair a frame
      Look'd forth, and told us 'twas from heaven it came,"--

that would have been the despair of sculpture or poetry. I have never
seen but one who might compare with her, and she was engulfed that same
year in the waters of the inexorable Tiber,--Rosa Bathurst.[13]

Louisa M. was the only daughter of an Irish bishop. His see was one of
the most valuable in the sister island; and some idea may be formed
of his accumulated wealth, by the circumstance of his having received
thirty thousand pounds in one year by fines on the renewal of leases.
He had one son, then on a Continental tour with his tutor; but having
no entailed estates, and his fortune consisting of ready money, Louisa
was probably one of the _meilleures parties_ in the three kingdoms.

There was at that time a mania for foreign alliances. The grand tour,
which almost every family of distinction had taken, introduced a
rage for Continental customs and manners, which had in some degree
superseded our own.

A spring in Paris, and winter in Italy, left behind them regrets in
the minds of old and young, but especially the latter, who longed to
return to those scenes that had captivated their senses and seduced
their young imaginations. No language was spoken at the opera but
French or Italian,--no topics of conversation excited so much interest
as those which had formed the charm of their residence abroad,--and the
fair daughters of England drew comparisons unfavourable to fox-hunting
squires and insipid young nobles, when they thought of the accomplished
and fascinating foreigners from whom, in the first dawn of life, when
all their impressions were new and vivid, they had received such
flattering homage.

The mother of Louisa, still young, had not been insensible to
prepossessions; and had a _liaison_ at Rome, where she was
unaccompanied by her husband, the effects of which she had not
altogether eradicated.

It is said that the road to the daughter's affections is through
the heart of the mother. Certainly in Italy _cavalier-serventeism_
generally has this termination; and, though it is not yet openly
established in England, there are very many women in high life who have
some secret adorer, some favourite friend, to keep alive the flame
which too often lies smothered in the ashes of matrimony. I do not mean
that this attachment is frequently carried to criminal lengths; nor am
I ready to give much credence to the vain boastings of those foreigners
who, when they return to their own country, amuse their idle hours, and
idler friends, with a detailed account of their _bonnes fortunes_ in
London.

I shall not prostitute my narrative, had I the data for so doing, by
tracing step by step the well-organised scheme by which Mascalbruni
contrived to ingratiate himself with both the mother and the daughter.
He was young, handsome, and accomplished; an inimitable dancer, a
perfect musician. His dress, his stud, and cabriolet were in the best
taste, and he passed for a man of large fortune.

It may be asked how he supported this establishment? By play. Play,
in men whose means are ample, if considered a vice, is thought a very
venial one. He got admission into several clubs,--Crockford's among
the rest:--his games were _écarté_ and whist; games at which he was
without a match. Cool, cautious, and calculating, he lost with perfect
nonchalance, and won with the greatest seeming indifference.

There was a French _vicomte_, with whom he seemed to have no particular
acquaintance, but who was in reality his ally and confederate, and who
had accompanied him to England expressly that they might play into each
other's hands. He belonged to one of the oldest families, and had one
of those historical names that are a _passe par-tout_. I had seen him
at the _soirées_ of Paris, and he was in the habit at the _écarté_
table, if he had come without money, which was not unfrequently the
case, of claiming, when the division took place at the end of the game,
two napoleons; pretending that at its commencement he had bet one on
the winner. I need say no more.

He had signalised himself in several rencontres. I have him before
me now, as he used to appear in the Tuileries' gardens, with his
narrow hat, his thin face, and spare figure,--so spare, that sideways
one might as well have fired at the edge of a knife. To this man
Mascalbruni frequently pretended to have lost large sums, and it is
now well known that they divided the profits of their gains during the
season. No one certainly suspected either of unfair practices, though
their uniform success might have opened the eyes of the blindest. The
Marchioness of S.'s card-parties and those of Lady E. were a rich
harvest, as well as the private routs and _soirées_ to which they
obtained easy admission. Lady M. was well aware that Mascalbruni had a
_penchant_ for play; but it seemed to occupy so little of his thoughts
or intrench on his time, that it gave her no serious alarm.

I have not yet told you, however, as I ought to have done, that he was
a favoured suitor.

The bishop, who, by nature of his office, was seldom in town, was a
cypher in the family, and little thought of interfering with his lady
in the choice of a son-in-law.

But the season now drew to a close, and Mascalbruni received an
invitation to pass the summer at the episcopal palace in the Emerald
Isle. He had succeeded in gaining the affections, the irrevocable
affections of Louisa. Yes,--she loved him,

          "Loved him with all the intenseness of first love!"

Time seemed to her to crawl with tortoise steps when he was
absent,--but how seldom was that the case! They sang together those
duets of Rossini that are steeped in passion. How well did his deep and
mellow voice marry itself with her contralto! They rode together, not
often in the parks, but through those shady and almost unfrequented
lanes of which there are so many in the environs of the metropolis;
they waltzed together; they danced the mazourka together,--that dance
which is almost exclusively confined to foreigners, from the difficulty
of its steps, and the grace required in its mazes.

They passed hours together alone,--they read together those scenes of
Metastasio, so musical in words, so easily retained in the memory. But
why do I dwell on these details? When I look on this picture and on
that, I am almost forced to renounce the opinion that kindred spirits
can alone love; for what sympathy of soul could exist between beings so
dissimilar, so little made for each other? Poor Louisa!

Mascalbruni accompanied them to Ireland. That summer was a continual
fête. It was settled that the wedding was to take place on their return
to town the ensuing season.

In the mean time the intended marriage had been long announced in
the Morning Post, and was declared in due form to the son at Naples.
Louisa, who was her brother's constant correspondent, in the openness
of her heart did not conceal from him that passion, no longer, indeed,
a secret. Her letters teemed with effusions of her admiration for the
talents, the accomplishments, and the virtues, for such they seemed, of
her intended--her _promesso sposo_, and the proud delight that a very
few months would seal their union.

William, who had now had some experience of the Italians, and who had
looked forward to his sister's marrying one of his college friends, an
Irishman with large estates in their immediate neighbourhood, could not
help expressing his disappointment, though it was urged with delicacy,
at this foreign connexion. He wrote also to the bishop, and, after
obtaining from him all the necessary particulars as to the Marchese
Mascalbruni,--through what channel he became acquainted with them, by
what letter got introduced to Lady ----, lost no time in proceeding
to Rome, though the mountains were then infested by brigands, and the
Pontine marshes, for it was the month of September, breathed malaria.

Our consul was then at Cività Vecchia, but willingly consented to
accompany Mr. M. to Rome, in order to aid in the investigation. He
was intimate with Cardinal ----, and they immediately proceeded to
his palace. They found from him that he had never heard the name of
Mascalbruni; that there was no _marchese_ in the pontifical states so
called; and he unhesitatingly declared the letter to be a forgery, and
its writer an impostor.

They then applied to the police, who, after some days' inquiry,
discovered that a person answering the description given had quitted
Rome a few years before, and had been a clerk in the office of a
_notario_.

No farther evidence was necessary to convict Mascalbruni of being
a swindler; and, not trusting to a letter's safe arrival, Mr. M.
travelled night and day till he reached the palace at ----.

It is not difficult to imagine the scene that ensued,--the indignation
of the father, the vexation and self-reproaches of the mother, or the
heart-rending emotions of the unfortunate girl.

Mascalbruni at first, with great effrontery, endeavoured to brave the
storm; contended that Louisa was bound to him by the most sacred ties,
the most solemn engagements; that his she should be,--or, if not his,
that she should never be another's; denounced them as her murderers;
and ended with threats of vengeance,--vengeance that, alas! he too well
accomplished.

It is not very well known what now became of Mascalbruni; but there is
reason to believe that he lay _perdu_ somewhere in the neighbourhood,
watching like a vulture over the prey from which he had been driven,
the corpse of what was once Louisa.

A suspicious-looking person was frequently seen at night-fall prowling
about the environs of the palace; and Miss M.'s _femme de chambre_,
with whom he is said to have carried on an intrigue, was observed by
the servants in animated conversation with a stranger in the garb of a
peasant among the shrubberies and pleasure grounds.

It was through her medium that Mascalbruni gained intelligence of all
that was passing in the palace.

The shock which Louisa had sustained was so sudden, so severe, that,
acting on a frame naturally delicate, it brought on a brain fever.
Her ravings were so dreadful, and so extraordinary; and so revolting
was the language in which she at times clothed them, that even her
mother--and no other was allowed to attend her--could scarcely stay
by her couch. How perfect a knowledge of human nature has Shakspeare
displayed in depicting the madness of the shamelessly-wronged and
innocent Ophelia!--The fragments of those songs to which her broken
accents gave utterance, especially that which ends with

    "Who, in a maid, yet out a maid,
      Did ne'er return again,"

may suggest an idea of the wanderings of the poor sufferer's heated
imagination.

For some weeks her life hung on a thread; but the affectionate cares
and sympathy of a mother, and a sense of the unworthiness of the
object of her regard, at last brought back the dawn of reason; and her
recovery, though slow, was sufficiently sure to banish all anxiety.

The afflictions as well as the affections of woman are, if I may judge
by my own experience, less profoundly acute than those of our own
sex. Whether this be owing to constitution or education, or that the
superior delicacy and fineness of the nervous system makes them more
easily susceptible of new impressions to efface the old, I leave it to
the physiologist or the psychologist to explain. The river that is the
most ruffled at the surface is seldom the deepest. Thus with Miss M.
Her passion, like

    "A little brook, swoln by the melted snow,
    That overflows its banks, pour'd in her heart
    A scanty stream, and soon was dry again."[14]

In the course of three months the image of Mascalbruni, if not effaced
from her mind, scarcely awakened a regret; and, save that at times a
paleness overspread her cheek, rapidly chased by a blush, be it of
virgin innocence or shame, no one could ever have discovered in her
person or bearing any traces of the past.

At this time a paragraph appeared in the Court Journal of the day,
nearly in these words:

"Strange rumours are afloat in the Sister Island respecting a certain
Italian _marchese_, who figured at the clubs and about town during the
last season. Revelations of an extraordinary nature, that hastened
the return of the Honourable Mr. M. from the Continent, have led to
a rupture of the marriage of the belle of the season, which we are
authorised to say is definitively broken off."

It was a telegraph that the field was open for new candidates; but no
one on this side the water answered it. Louisa M. was no longer the
same,--the _préstige_ was fled,--the bloom of the peach was gone.

Scarcely had four months elapsed, however, when fresh preparations were
made for her marriage, and a day fixed for the nuptials.

The hour came; and behold, in the conventional language used on such
occasions, the happy pair, Lady M. the bride-maids, and a numerous
party of friends assembled in the chapel of the palace. The bishop
officiated.

The ceremony had already commenced, and the rite was on the point of
being ratified by that mystical type of union--the ring--when a figure
burst through the crowd collected about the doors; a figure more like a
spectre than a man.

So great a change had taken place in him, from the wild and savage
life that he had been leading among the mountains, the privations he
had endured, and the neglect of his person, that no one would have
recognised him for the observed of all observers, the once elegant and
handsome Mascalbruni. His hair, matted like the mane of a wild beast,
streamed over his face and bare neck. His cheek was fallen, his eyes
sunken in their sockets; yet in them burned, as in two dark caves, a
fierce and sombre fire. His lips were tremulous and convulsed with
passion; his whole appearance, in short, exhibited the same diabolical
rage and thirst of vengeance that had electrified the _salle d'armes_
in his memorable conflict. He advanced straight to the altar with long
and hurried steps, and, tearing aside the hands of the couple, the
ring fell over the communion rails to the ground. So profound was the
silence, so great the consternation and surprise the sight of this
apparition created in the minds of all, that the sound of the ring, as
it struck and rolled along the vaulted pavement, was audibly heard. It
was an omen of evil augury,--a warning voice as from the grave, to tell
of the death of premised joys--of hopes destroyed--of happiness for
ever crushed. He stood wildly waving his arms for a moment between the
pair, looking as though they had been transformed into stone, more like
two statues kneeling at a tomb than at the altar. Then he folded his
arms; gazed with a triumphant and ghastly smile at the bride; said, or
rather muttered, "Mine she is!" then, turning to the bridegroom, with a
sneer of scorn and mockery he howled, "Mine she has been; now wed her!"

With these laconic words he turned on his heel, and regained without
interruption the portal by which he had entered. So suddenly had all
this passed, so paralysed and panic-stricken were the spectators and
audience of this scene, that they could scarcely believe it to be other
than a dream, till they saw the bride extended without sense or motion
on the steps. Thus was she borne, the service being unconcluded, to her
chamber. The ceremony was privately completed the ensuing day.

No domestic felicity attended this ill-fated union. It was poisoned by
doubts and suspicions, and embittered by the memory of Mascalbruni's
words. "Mine she has been" continually rang in the husband's ears; and
on the anniversary of that eventful day, after a lingering illness of
many months, a martyr to disappointment and chagrin, she sunk into an
untimely grave.

The next we hear of Mascalbruni was his being at Cheltenham. There he
frequented the rooms under very different auspices, and had to compete
with another order of players than those he had been in the habit of
duping. He was narrowly watched, and detected in the act of pocketing
a queen from an _écarté_ pack. The consequence was his expulsion from
the club with ignominy. His name was placarded, and his fame, or rather
infamy, noised with a winged speed all over the United Kingdom.

It was no longer a place for him. In the course of the ensuing week the
following announcement was made in a well-known and widely-circulated
weekly paper. It was headed--


                      "_An Italian black sheep._

     "We hope in a short time to present our readers with the exploits
     of a new Count Fathom, a _soi disant_ marchese, better known than
     trusted, the two first syllables of whose name more than rhyme
     with _rascal_. And as it is our duty to un-_mask all_ such, we
     shall confine ourselves at present to saying that he has been
     weighed at a fashionable watering-place in Gloucestershire, and
     found wanting, or rather practising certain sleights of hand for
     which the charlatans of his own country are notorious. He had
     better sing small here!"

Mascalbruni took the vulgar hint. His funds were nearly exhausted, and
with but a few louis in his pocket he embarked at Dover, and once more
repaired to Paris.

His prospects were widely different from those with which he had left
it. To play the game I have described at _rouge et noir_, requires
a capital. Every respectable house was closed against him. He now
disguised his appearance, so that his former acquaintance should not be
able to recognise him, and frequented the lowest hells--those _cloacæ_,
the resort of all the _vilains_ and _chenapans_, the lowest dregs of
the metropolis. By what practices this _mauvais sujet_ contrived to
support life here for some years is best known to the police, where his
name stands chronicled pretty legibly; it is probable that he passed
much of that time in one of the prisons, or on the roads.

Eighteen months had now elapsed, and the Honourable Mr. M. with his
bride, to whom he had been a short time married, took an apartment in
the Rue d'Artois. A man in a cloak--an _embocado_,--which means one who
enwraps his face in his mantle so that only his eyes are visible,--was
observed from the windows often passing and repassing the hotel. The
novelty of the costume attracted the attention of Mrs. M.; and the
blackness of his eyes, and their peculiarly gloomy expression, made
her take him for a Spaniard. She more than once pointed him out to her
husband, and said one day, "Look, William, there stands that man again.
He answers your description of a bandit, and makes me shudder to look
at him."

"Don't be alarmed, dear," replied Mr. M. smilingly; "we are not at
Terracina. It will be time enough to be frightened then."

The recollection of Mascalbruni had been almost effaced from his mind;
but, had he met him face to face, it is not unlikely that he _would_
have remembered the villain who had destroyed the hopes of his family,
and marred their happiness for ever.

For some time he never went out at night unaccompanied by his wife, and
always in a carriage. But a day came when he happened to dine without
her in the Rue St. Honoré. The weather being fine, and the party a late
one, he sent away his cabriolet, and after midnight proceeded to walk
home. Paris was at that time very badly lighted; the _reverberées_ at
a vast distance apart, suspended between the houses, giving a very dim
and feeble ray. Few persons--there being then no _trottoirs_--were
walking at that hour; and it so happened that not a soul was stirring
the whole length of the street. But, within a few yards of his own
door, the figure I have described rushed from under the shadow of a
_porte cochère_, and plunged a dagger in his heart. He fell without a
groan, and lay there till the patrol passed, when he was conveyed, cold
and lifeless, to the arms of his bride, who was anxiously awaiting his
return. Her agony I shall not make the attempt to depict: there are
some sorrows that defy description.

Notwithstanding the boasted excellence of the Parisian police, the
author of this crime, who I need not say was Mascalbruni, remained
undiscovered.

Strange as it may appear, I am enabled to connect two more links in the
chain of this ruffian's history, and thus, as it were, to become his
biographer. Having been in town at the period when he was in the zenith
of his glory, and being slightly acquainted with the family whom,
like a pestilence, it was his lot to destroy and blight, I was well
acquainted with his person, and he with mine; indeed, once seen, it was
not easy to mistake his.

After two winters at Naples, I travelled, by the way of Ravenna and
Rimini, to Venice. The carnival was drawing to a close, and, on
quitting a _soirée_ at Madame Benzon's, I repaired to the Ridotta. The
place was crowded to excess with that mercurial population, who during
this saturnalia, particularly its last nights, mingle in one orgie, and
seem to endeavour, by a kind of intoxication of the senses, and general
licentiousness, to drown the memory of the destitution and wretchedness
to which the iron despotism of the Austrian has reduced them. The scene
had a sort of magnetic attraction in it.

I had neither mask nor domino, but it is considered rather _distingué_
for men to appear without them; and, as I had no love-affair to carry
on, it was no bad means of obtaining one, had I been so inclined.

Among the other groups, I observed two persons who went intriguing
round the _salle_, appearing to know the secrets of many of their
acquaintances, whom it seemed their delight to torment and persecute,
and whom, notwithstanding their masks, they had detected by the voice,
which, however attempted to be disguised, betrays more than the eyes,
or even the mouth, though it is the great seat of expression. The pair
wore fancy dresses. The domino of the man was of Persian or Turkish
manufacture, a rich silk with a purple ground, in which were inwoven
palm-leaves of gold, The costume of the lady, who seemed of a portly
figure, not the most symmetrical, was a rich Venetian brocade, such
as we see in the gorgeous pictures of Paul Veronese, and much in use
during the dogal times of the republic. As they passed me, I heard
the lady say, looking at me, "That is a foreigner." "_Si signora, è
Inglese_," was the reply; "_lo conosco_." Who this could be who knew
me,--me, almost a stranger at Venice, I was curious to discover. By the
slow and drawling accent peculiar to the Romans, I felt satisfied he
was one, and fancied that I had heard that voice before,--that it was
not altogether unfamiliar to me.

I was desirous of unravelling the secret, for such it was, as the
man did not address me; and I remained at the Ridotta much later
than I should otherwise have done, in order to find out my unknown
acquaintance. I therefore kept my eye on the couple, hoping that
accident might favour my wish.

On the last nights of the carnival it is common to sup at the
Ridotta, and I at length watched the _incognito_ into a box with his
_inamorata_, where he took off his mask, and whom should I discover
under it but the identical hero of romance, the villain Mascalbruni.

He was an acquaintance who might well shun _my_ recognition, and I was
not anxious he should see I had attracted _his_ observation. As I was
returning to my hotel on the Grand Canal, I asked the gondolier if he
knew one Signor Mascalbruni. These boatmen are a kind of Figaros, and,
like the agents of the Austrian police, are acquainted with the names
and address of almost every resident in Venice, especially of those
who frequent the public places. The man, however, did not know _my
friend_ by that name,--perhaps he had changed it. But when I described
his costume, he said that the signor was the _cavalier servente_ of a
Russian princess, who had taken for a year one of the largest palaces
in Venice. "_Il signor_," he added, "_canta come un angelo_."

The idea of coupling an angel and Mascalbruni together amused me. "An
angel of darkness!" I was near replying; but thought it best to be
silent.

I had no wish to encounter Mascalbruni a second time. I went the
next day to Fusina, and thence to Milan; indeed I had made all the
preparations for my departure, nothing being more dull than the
_Carême_ at Venice.

Two years after this adventure, I was travelling in the Grisons, after
having made a tour of the _petits cantons_, with my knapsack on my
back, and a map of Switzerland in my pocket, to serve the place of a
guide,--a description of persons to whom I have almost as great an
objection as to cicerones, preferring rather to miss seeing what I
should like to see, than to be told what I ought to like to see; not
that it has fallen to the lot of many guides, or travellers either, to
be present at a spectacle such as I am going to describe. I had been
pacing nine good leagues; and that I saw it was merely accidental, for
if _it_ had not come in my way, _I_ should not have gone out of mine to
witness it.

Coire, the capital of the Grisons, my place of destination for the
night, had just appeared, when I observed a great crowd collecting
together immediately in front, but at some distance off, the peasants
running in all directions from the neighbouring hills, like so many
radii to meet in a centre.

One of these crossed me; and, on inquiring of him the occasion of
all this haste and bustle, I learned that an execution was about to
take place. My informant added with some pride that the criminal was
not a Swiss, but an Italian. He seemed perfectly acquainted with all
the particulars of the event that had transpired, for he had been
present at the trial; and, as we walked along the road together, in
his _patois_,--bad German, and worse French, with here and there a
sprinkling of Italian,--he related to me in his own way what I will
endeavour to translate.

"An Englishman of about twenty years of age was travelling, as you
may be, on foot, about seven weeks ago, in this canton, having lately
crossed the St. Gothard from Bellinzona. He was accompanied by a
courier, whom he had picked up at Milan. They halted for some days in
our town, waiting for the young gentleman's remittances from Genoa,
where his letters of credit were addressed. On their arrival at Coire
they had a guide; but the Italian persuaded his master, who seemed
much attached to him, to discharge Pierre, on the pretence that he
was thoroughly acquainted with the country, and spoke the language,
which indeed he did. He was a dark brigand-looking fellow, with a
particularly bad expression of countenance, and a gloomy look about
his eyes; and, for my part, I am surprised that the young man should
have ventured to trust himself in his company, for I should not like to
meet his fellow on the road by myself even in the day-time. Well: the
Englishman's money, a good round sum,--they say, two hundred napoleons
d'or,--was paid him by an order on our bankers; and then they set out,
but not as before.

"They had only been two days in company, when the villainous Italian,
who either did not know the road over the mountains, or had purposely
gone out of the way, thought it a good opportunity of perpetrating
an act, no doubt long planned, which was neither more nor less than
despatching his master. It was a solitary place, and a fit one for a
deed of blood. A narrow path had been worn in the side of a precipice,
which yawned to the depth of several hundred feet over a torrent that
rushed, as though impatient of being confined, foaming and boiling
through a narrow chasm opened for itself through the rocks. I could
show you the spot, for I know it well, having a right of _commune_ on
the mountains; and have often driven my cows, after the melting of the
snows, up the pass, to feed on the herbage that, mixed with heath and
rhododendrons, forms a thick carpet under foot. It is a pasture that
makes excellent cheese.

"But, solitary as the place looks, the Italian did not know that there
are several _chalets_, mine among the rest, in the Alp; and herdsmen.
As for me, I happened to be down in the plain, or I might have been an
eye-witness of much of what I am about to describe. I was saying that
the spot seemed to suit his purpose; and his impatience to ease his
master of his gold was such, that, happily for the ends of justice, he
could not wait till night-fall, or none but (and here he pointed to
the sky) He above might have been privy to the crime. It was, however,
mid-day. Into the deep-worn pass I have mentioned runs a rivulet,
which, sparkling on the green bank, had made for itself a little
basin. The day was hot and sultry; and the young gentleman, tempted,
it would seem, by the gentle murmur of the water as it fell rippling
over the turf, and its crystal brightness, stooped down to drink. The
Italian watched this opportunity, sprung upon him like a tiger, and
plunged a dagger, which he always carried concealed about him, into the
Englishman's back. Fortunately, however, the point hit upon the belt in
which he carried his money, perhaps on the napoleons; for, before the
assassin could give him a second blow, he sprang up and screamed for
help, calling 'Murder, murder!'

"Three of the herdsmen whom I have mentioned heard the cries, and
came running towards the direction whence they proceeded, when they
discovered two men struggling with each other; but, before they could
reach them, one had fallen, and the other was in the act of rifling
him, in order afterwards to hurl him down the precipice into the bed
of the river. So intent was he on the former of these occupations,
that he did not perceive my countrymen till they seized him. He made
much resistance; but his dagger was not within his reach. They bound
his hands, and, together with the lifeless corpse of his master,
transported him to Coire, where, not to enter into the trial, he was
condemned to death.

"But he has been now some weeks in prison, in consequence of our not
being able to procure a _bourreau_; and we have been forced to send for
one to Bellinzona, no Grison being willing to perform the office. He
arrived last night; and how do you think, sir? According to our laws,
he is to be executed with a sword that has not been used for forty
years,--no murder having been committed in the canton during all that
period,--though no sword could be applied to better purpose than it
will in a few moments."

Whilst he was thus speaking, we reached the dense circle already
formed. On seeing a stranger approach, they made room for me; and
curiosity to witness this mode of execution, the remnant of barbarous
times, as well as to see the Italian, induced me to enter the Place de
Grève.

At the first glance I recognised Mascalbruni. He was stripped of his
shirt, and on his knees; by his side was a Jesuit to whom he had just
made his confession; and over him, on an elevation from the ground by
means of a large stone, stood the _prevôt_, with a sword of prodigious
length and antique shape, and covered with the rust of ages, pendent in
his hands.

The lower part of Mascalbruni's face was fallen, whilst all above the
mouth was drawn upward as from some powerful convulsion. The eyes, that
used to bear the semblance of living coals, had in them a concentrated
and sullen gloom. The cold and damp of the cell, and the scantiness of
his diet, which consisted of bread and water, had worn his cheek to the
bone, and given it the sallowness of one in the black stage of cholera.
His face was covered with a thick beard, every hair of which stood
distinct from its fellows; and his matted locks, thickly sprinkled with
grey, trailed over his ghastly features and neck in wild disorder.
His shoulders down to the waist were, as I said, bare; and they and
his arms displayed anatomically a muscular strength that might have
served as a model for a gladiator. Over all was thrown an air of utter
prostration moral and physical,--the desolation of despair.

A few yards to the right, the priest, with his eyes uplifted to heaven,
seemed absorbed in prayer; and between them the _bourreau_, who might
have superseded Tristan in his office, and been a dangerous rival in
the good graces of Louis the Eleventh. He called to mind a figure of
Rubens',--not the one who is turning round in the Descent of the Cross
at Antwerp, and saying to the thief, writhing in horrible contortions
after he has wrenched his lacerated foot from the nail, "_Sacre,
chien_,"--but a soldier in another of his pictures in the Gallery at
Brussels (the representation of some martyrdom,) who has just torn off
the ear of the saint with a pair of red-hot pincers, and is eyeing it
with a savage complacency.

It was, in short, exactly such a group, with its pyramidical form and
startling contrasts of colour and expression, as the great Flemish
painter could have desired.

A dead silence, which the natural horror, the novelty of the scene
created, prevailed among the assembled crowd; and it spoke well for the
morality and good feeling of the simple peasantry, that not a woman was
present on the occasion.

The hand of the swordsman was raised, and the stroke fell on the
neck of the culprit; but, horrible to say,--what was it then to
witness?--though given with no common vigour, so blunt was the
instrument, that, instead of severing the head, it only inflicted a
gash which divided the tendons of the neck, and the undecapitated body
fell doubled up, whilst only a few _gouts_ of blood issued from the
wound.

The tortured wretch's groans and exclamations found an echo in all
bosoms; and it was not till after two more sabre strokes that the head
lay apart, and rolled upwards in the dust. I then saw what I have heard
described of Charlotte Cordé, after she had been guillotined;--the
muscles of the face were convulsed as if with sensibility, and the eyes
glared with horrid meaning, as though the soul yet lingered there. Even
the executioner could scarcely meet their scowl without shuddering.

It was the first and last spectacle of this kind at which I mean ever
to be present; and I should not have awaited its awful termination,
could I have penetrated through the living wall that was a barrier to
my exit.

You may now guess from whom I obtained many of the details contained
in this memoir of Mascalbruni. It was from the confessor, who had
endeavoured, but in vain, to give him spiritual consolation in the
dungeon and at the block. The Jesuit and myself had mutual revelations
to make to each other, connecting the present with the past, and which
have enabled me to weave the dark tissue of his life's thread into
one piece. I repeat the last words of the good old man at our final
interview,--"May God have mercy on his soul!"

        F. MEDWIN.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 12: Military terms for a professed duellist, and a
duellist-killer.]

[Footnote 13: Singularly enough, when her body was discovered near
the Ponte Rotto, she was untouched by the fish, as though they even
ventured not to deface her celestial purity. She looked like a marble
form that slept.]

[Footnote 14: Faust.]



SMOKE.

    "A trifle light as air."


    Swift sang a broomstick, and with matchless lore
    Rehearsed the contents of a housemaid's drawer:
    Great Burns's genius shone sublime in lice;
    Old Homer epicised on frogs and mice;
    And, leaping from his swift Pindaric car,
    Great Byron eulogised the light cigar;
    Pope for a moment left the critic's chair,
    And sang the breezy fan that cools the fair;
    And he whose harp to loftiest notes was strung,
    E'en Mantua's Swan, the homely salad sung;
    Colossal Johnson, famed for dictionary,
    A sprig of myrtle; Cowper, a canary,
    Nor scorn'd the humble snail; and Goldsmith's lyre
    A haunch of venison nobly did inspire;--
    Of such light themes the loftiest lyres have spoke,
    And my small shell shall sound the praise of smoke.

      Essence sublime! serenely curling vapour!
    Fierce from a steam-boat, gentle from a taper,--
    Daughter of fire, descendant of the sun,
    Breath of the peaceful pipe and murderous gun,--
    How gloriously thou roll'st from chimneys high,
    To seek companion clouds amidst the sky!
    Thrice welcome art thou to the traveller's sight,
    And his heart hails thee with sincere delight;
    As soft thou sail'st amid the ethereal blue,
    Visions of supper float before his view!
    Emblem of peace in council, when profound
    The sacred calumet goes slowly round!
    Breath of the war, thou canopiest the fight,
    And veil'st the bloody field in murky night!
    Precursor of the cannon's deadly shot,
    And soft adorner of the peasant's cot;
    With Etna's roaring flames dost thou arise,
    And from the altar's top perfume the skies!

            I see thee now
            To the breezes bow,
        Thy spiral columns lightly bending
            In gentle whirls
            And graceful curls,
        Thy soft grey form with the azure blending.
        When Nature's tears in dewy showers descend,
        Close to the earth thine aerial form doth bend;
            But when in light
            And beauty bright,
        With radiant smile she gladdens all,
            And the sun's soft beam
            On thy shadowy stream
        Does in a ray of glory fall,
            Thou risest high
            'Mid the deep blue sky,
        Like a silver shaft from a fairy hall!

      When from the light cigar thy sweet perfume
    In od'rous cloudlets hovers round the room,
    Inspired by Fancy's castle-building power,
    Thy fragile form cheers many a lonely hour.
    O'er every wave thy misty flag is seen
    Careering lightly over billows green;
    And when, 'mid creaming foam and sparkling spray,
    Celestial Venus rose upon the day,
    Thy vapoury wreath the goddess did enshroud,
    And wrapt her beauties in a milk-white cloud.
    'Twas thou, majestic! led the way before
    Retreating Israel from th' Egyptian shore;
    From out thy sable cloud, 'mid lightning's flash,
    The trumpet's clangour and the thunder's crash,
    From Sinai's mount the law divine was given,
    Thy veil conceal'd the Majesty of Heaven!
    When sun, and moon, and heaven's bright hosts expire,
    And the great globe decays in flames of fire,
    Then shalt thou rise, thy banner be unfurl'd
    Above the smouldering ruins of the world!
                                       SNODGRASS.



SOME PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF A DISAPPOINTED MAN.

WITH AN ILLUSTRATION BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.


Are you a sympathetic reader? If not, I pray you to pass over the
few pages which constitute this article, and indulge your risible
propensity with the happier effusions of the laughing philosophers of
this Miscellany. I have no cachinnatory ambition, and would have my
leaves well watered, not with the sunny drops of joy, but with the
camomilical outpourings of sorrow.

Concluding that my request is granted, I will now proceed, sympathetic
reader, to narrate a few passages of my "strange, eventful history."

I am a disappointed man,--nay, I was even a disappointed baby; for
it was calculated that the parental anticipations of my forebears
would have been realised on the 1st of May 1792, whereas, by some
contradictory vagary of Dame Nature, I entered this valley of tears on
the 1st of April! This ought to have been considered prognosticatory
of my future disappointments, and the law of Sparta should have been
rigidly enforced; for what are crooked limbs to a crooked destiny?

It was the intention of my father (whose name was Jacob Wise) to have
had me christened after my maternal uncle, Theodosius Otter, Esq.; but,
having selected a stuttering godfather, I was unfortunately baptized
as "The-odd-dose-us Oth-er Wise." Nor was this the only disappointment
which attended me on this occasion, for the pew-opener having received
instructions to clean the copper coal-scuttle in the vestry-room, the
basin which contained the vitriol necessary for that purpose was by
some means or other placed in the font; and to this day I have more the
appearance of a tattooed Indian than a Christian Englishman.

My babyhood was composed of a series of disappointments. My hair was to
have been, in the words of the monthly nurse, "the most beautifulest
horburn," but sprouted forth a splendid specimen of that vegetable dye
called carroty. I was to have been "as straight as an arrow;" but a cup
of tea having been spilled over me as I lay in the servant's lap before
the kitchen fire, I became so dreadfully warped that I am now a sort of
demi-parenthesis, or, as a malicious punster once called me, "a perfect
bow."

I had the measles very mildly, as it was affirmed, for the whole
virulence of the disorder displayed itself in one enormous pustule on
the tip of my nose. This luminary so excited my infant wonder, that my
eyes (really fine for green) were continually riveted to the _spot_,
and have never forgotten it, for one or other of them is invariably
engaged in searching for the lost treasure.

I was not in convulsions above a dozen times during teething; but no
sooner had I completed my chaplet of pearls, than the striking-weight
of a Dutch clock which overhung my cradle dropped into my mouth, and
convinced me of the extreme simplicity of dental surgery.

[Illustration: A Disappointed Man]

My "going alone" was the source of an infinitude of anxieties to my
excellent mamma, who was so magnificently proportioned that it
was many months before I could make the circuit of her full-flounced
printed calico wrapper without resting. Poor mamma! she lost her life
from a singular mistake. The house in which we lived had taken fire,
and two good-natured neighbours threw Mrs. Wise out of the window
instead of a feather-bed. She alighted on the head of Captain S----,
who was then considered the _softest_ man in the three kingdoms, and
received little injury by the ejectment; but her feelings were so
lacerated by the mistake, that she refused all food, and lived entirely
by suction, till she died _from_ it.

I will pass over my school-days, merely observing _en passant_ that

      "Each day some unlucky disaster
    Placed me in the vocative case with my master,"

a squabby, tyrannical, double-jointed pedagogue. He was nicknamed
_Cane-and-Able_, and I can testify to the justness of the nomenclature.
At college the same _mis_-fortune attended me. There was ever an
under-current of disappointment, which rendered all my exertions
nugatory. If I was by accident "full of the god," I could never knock
down any one but a proctor. If I determined on keeping close in my
rooms, the wind immediately changed to N.E. by N. at which point my
chimneys smoked like a community of Ya-Mynheers. My maternal uncle,
Theodosius Otter, Esq. had signified that my expectations from him must
be regulated entirely by my academical distinctions, and I was "pluck'd
for my little-go." This occurred three months before the old booby's
death. My legacy consisted of a presentation to the Gooseborough free
school.

The time at length arrived for me to fall in love. I experienced the
first symptom of this epidemic at a bombazine ball in the city of
Norwich. Selina Smithers was the name of my fair enslaver: she was
about nineteen, fair as Russia tallow, tall, and somewhat slender.
Indeed her condition is perhaps better described by "the slightest
possible approximation to lanky." During one short quadrille she told
me of all her tastes, hopes, experience, family connexions, (including
a brother at sea,) expectations probable and possible, and of two
thousand seven hundred and forty-five pounds, fourteen shillings, and
sixpence, standing in her own name in the three and a half per cents.

With the last _chassez_ I was a victim. At the close of the ball I
handed Selina and her mamma into a green fly, and found the next
morning that I had a violent cold in my head, and a violent heat in my
heart.

As I flourished the brass knocker of Mrs. Smithers' door on the
following day, the clock of St. Andrew's church struck two; and
chimed a quarter past, as a girl strongly resembling a kidney-potato,
red and dirty, gave me ingress into a room with green blinds, seven
horsehair-bottomed chairs, a round mahogany table, four oil-paintings
(subjects and masters unknown), two fire-screens of yellow calico
fluted, and a very shabby square piano. On the music-rest was the song,
"We met,--'twas in a crowd." Singular coincidence,--_we_ met in a crowd!

The door opened, and Selina bounded into the room like a young fawn.
Our eyes met, and then simultaneously sought the carpet. I know not
what object her pale blue orbs encountered; but mine fell on the
half-picked head of a red herring! "Can it be possible," thought I,
"that Selina--Pshaw! her brother has returned from sea;" and to his
account I placed the body of the vulgar fish. I took her hand, and
gracefully led her to a chair, and then seated myself beside her. Our
conversation grew animated,--confiding. She recapitulated the amount
of her three and a half per cents, and in the most considerate manner
inquired into _my_ pecuniary situation. I was then possessed of seven
thousand pounds; for my father, during the three last years of his
life, had been twice burned out, and once sold up, and was thus enabled
to leave me independent. She could not conceal her delight at my
prosperous situation,--generous creature! Possessing affluence herself,
she rejoiced at the well-doing of others. Day after day passed in this
delightful manner, until I ventured to solicit her to become my wife.
Judge of my ecstasy when, bending her swan-like neck until her fair
cheek rested on the velvet collar of my mulberry surtout, she whispered
almost inaudibly,

"How can you ask me such a question?"

"How can I ask you such a question? Because--because it is necessary to
my happiness. Oh! name the happy hour when Hymen's chain--that chain
which has but one link--shall bind you to me for ever!"

She paused a moment, and then faltered out,

"To-morrow week."

I fell upon my knees. Selina did the same; for, in my joy at her
compliance, I had forgotten that one chair was supporting us both.

Oh, what a busy day was that which followed! I entered Skelton's (the
tailor's) shop with the journeymen. I ordered three complete suits!

As the rolls were taken into Quillit's parlour, I was shown into the
office. The worthy lawyer thrice scalded his throat in his anxiety to
comply with my repeated requests to "see him immediately." He came at
last. A few brief sentences explained the nature of my business, and he
hastened to accompany me to Selina. I was so excited by the novelty of
my situation, that I fell over the maid who was cleaning the step of
the door, and narrowly escaped dragging Quillit after. Had he fallen, I
shudder at the contemplation of the probable result; for he was a man
well to do in the world, and enjoyed a rotundity of figure unrivalled
in the good city of Norwich. His black waistcoat might have served for
a bill of fare to an eating-house, for it exhibited samples of all Mrs.
Glass's choicest preparations.

Away we went, realising the poet's description of Ajax and Camilla:

    "When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
    The line too labours, and the words move slow:
    Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,
    Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main."

We resembled Reason and Hope, or one of Pickford's barges and a
towing-horse.

The little brass knocker was again in my hand, the kidney-potato was
again at the door, and I led in the perspiring lawyer, but looked in
vain for that expression of admiration which I fondly anticipated would
have illumined his little grey eyes at the sight of my Venusian Selina.

"This is Mr. Quillit," said I.

"Indeed?" replied Selina.

"We have come, mum," said Quillit, "to arrange a very necessary
preliminary to the delicate ceremony which my friend Wise has informed
me will take place on this day week."

Selina blushed. Her mother (bless me! I've quite overlooked her!)
screwed up her face into an expression between laughing and crying; and
I--I pushed one hand through my hair, and the other into my breeches
pocket.

"Mum," continued Quillit, "our business this morning is to make the
arrangements for your marriage-settlement; and my friend Wise wishes to
know what part of your two thousand----"

"Seven hundred and forty-five pounds, fourteen shillings, and
sixpence," said I _sotto voce_.

"--You wish settled upon yourself."

"Oh, nothing,--I require nothing!" exclaimed Selina.

"Hur--!" said I, half rising from my chair in ecstasy at her
disinterestedness.

"Hem!" coughed Quillit, and took out his toothpick.

"Nothing!" I at length ejaculated. "No, Selina; you shall not be
subject to the accidents of fortune. Mr. Quillit, put down two thousand
pounds." And so he did.

The day before my intended nuptials I had paid my customary visit to
Selina, and it was arranged that the _settlement_ should be executed
(what a happy union of terms!) that night. I had left but a few minutes
when I missed my handkerchief. I returned for it. The kidney-potato
shot out of the house as I turned the corner of the street. I found
the door ajar, and, not considering any ceremony necessary, I walked
into the parlour. I had put my handkerchief into the left pocket of my
coat when I was somewhat startled by a burst of very boisterous male
and female merriment. I paused. A child's treble was then heard, and in
a moment after _a child_--_a live child_ entered the room crying most
piteously. It ceased on beholding me; and when its astonishment had
subsided, it sobbed out,

"I want mamma!"

"Mamma?" said I. "And who's mamma?"

My query was answered from the first floor.

"Come to mamma, dear!" shouted--Selina!

I don't know what the sensations of a humming-top in full spin may be,
but I should imagine they are very similar to those which I experienced
at this particular moment. When I recovered, I was stretched on the
hearth-rug with my head in the coal-scuttle, surrounded by my Selina,
her mother, the maid, and I suppose her "brother at sea."

"What is the matter, love?" said ---- You know whom I mean,--I can't
write her name again.

"Nothing, madam," I replied, "nothing; only I anticipated being married
to-morrow,--but I shall be disappointed."

The ensuing week I received notice of action for a breach of promise of
marriage; the ensuing term the cause was tried before an intelligent
jury; and the ensuing day Quillit handed me a bill for seven hundred
and sixty-two pounds, one shilling, and eightpence, being the amount
of damages and costs in Smithers _versus_ Wise. I paid Quillit, sold
my house and furniture at Norwich, and took up my abode at Bumbleby,
in Lancashire, resolving to be as love-proof as Miss Martineau, which
resolution I have religiously observed to this day.

I was, however, involved in one other tender affair, by proxy, which
produced me more serious annoyances than even my own.

I became acquainted with a merry good-looking fellow, of the name
of Thomas Styles, who had come from somewhere, and was related to
somebody, but no one recollected the who or the where. In the same town
lived an old gentleman, who rejoiced in the singular name of Smith. He
was blessed with one daughter and a wife. The latter did not reside
with him, having taken up her permanent residence in a small octagonal
stone building in the dissenters' burial ground. Styles, by one of
those accidents common in novels, but very occasional in real life,
had become acquainted with Miss Smith. They had gone through those
comparative states of feeling,--acquaintance, friendship, love; and,
when I was introduced to him, he was just in want of a good fellow to
help him into matrimony. I was just the boy; my expensive experience,
my good-nature, my leisure,--in short, there was nothing wanting to fit
me for this confidential character. Now, be it known that old Smith had
very strong parliamentary predilections, and one of his _sine quâ nons_
was, that his son-in-law should be M.P. for somewhere,--Puddle-dock
would do,--but an M.P. he must be. Politics were of no consequence; but
he must have a decided opinion that the Bumbleby railway would be most
beneficial, if carried through a swampy piece of ground which Smith had
recently purchased. Styles was of the same opinion; but then he was
only a member of the "Bull's-eye Bowmen," and Mr. Snuffmore's sixpenny
whist club. I had made myself particularly uncomfortable one afternoon,
in Styles' summer-house, with three glasses of brandy and water and
four mild havannas, when old Smith rushed in to announce the gratifying
intelligence that Mr. Topple, the member for our place, had fallen into
the crater of Mount Vesuvius, and that nothing had been heard from him
since, but a solitary interjection, in consequence of which there was a
vacancy in the representation. The writ had been issued, and so had an
address from Mr. Wiseman, a gentleman possessing every virtue under the
sun, save and except a due sense of the advantages of Smith's swamp to
the railway. This was conclusive. Smith made a speech, which, being for
interest and not for fame, was short and emphatic.

"Tom, you must contest this election, or never darken my doors again."

"My dear, sir," said Tom, "nothing would give me greater pleasure;
but----"

"I'll do all that. I'll form a committee _instanter_," replied Smith;
"leave all to me. Capital hand at an address--pith, nothing but pith.
Ever see my letter in support of the erection of a pound for stray
cattle?--pithy and conclusive:--'Inhabitants of Bumbleby, twenty
shillings make a pound.' The motion was carried."

"One moment," said Tom. "It will appear so presumptuous on my part,
unless a deputation waited on me."

"Certainly,--better, by all means,--I'll form one directly," said Smith.

"In the mean time, issue a placard to prevent the electors making
promises, and----"

"I will," said Smith. And so he did; for in an hour afterwards there
was not a dead wall in Bumbleby but was papered from one end to the
other.

"Other Wise," said Styles, as Smith waddled up the garden, "this won't
do for me. I couldn't make a speech of ten consecutive lines, if the
revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall were depending upon it."

"Pooh!" replied I, rolling my head about in that peculiar style which
an over-indulgence in bibicals will induce.

"It's a fact," replied Tom. "Now, my dear fellow, you can serve me and
your country at the same time. Smith would be equally gratified at your
return for Bumbleby; your opinions are the same as my own; and your
abilities require no panegyric from me."

Whether it was the suddenness of the probable glory, or the effect
of the tobacco and brandy and water, I sat speechless. Silence gives
consent, says an old adage, and so did the town of Bumbleby the next
morning, for every quarter cried out "Other Wise for ever!" It was
too late to retract; and accordingly I was nominated, seconded, and
unanimously elected by a show of hands. A poll was demanded; and, after
a short contest of two days, it was announced in very large letters,
and still larger figures,

      Wiseman,         786
      Other Wise,       92
            Majority,   --694

I was satisfied, and so was my party. During the preparation for this
unfortunate contest I had allowed Styles to draw _ad libitum_ upon my
banker. His friendship knew no bounds; his liberality was as boundless;
and so chagrined was he at the defeat I had experienced, that he left
the next morning without an adieu. I must confess that I was rather
disappointed at his sudden retreat, and considerably more so on finding
that his exertions in my behalf had reduced my income from four hundred
pounds to forty pounds per annum. For the first time I doubted his
friendship. Subsequent inquiries convinced me he was a scoundrel, and I
commenced an immediate pursuit of him, and an action at law.

Some three months afterwards, I was sauntering about the streets in
the neighbourhood of St. James's Square, when I encountered Styles.
His surprise was as great as mine, but not so enduring; for, advancing
towards me with all the coolness of the 1st of December, he exclaimed,

"Other Wise, how are you? I dare say you thought my sudden departure
odd; I did myself; but I couldn't help it. I'm sorry to hear how much
your contest has distressed you. I was the cause. Give me your check
for fifty pounds, and here's a bill for five hundred, due to-morrow."

Suiting the action to the word, he handed me an acceptance for that
amount inclosed in a dirty piece of paper. All this was so rapidly
said and done, that before I was aware of it I had given him a draft
on Drummond, shaken hands with him, and was mechanically discussing a
mutton-chop and a bottle of sherry, which I had unconsciously ordered
in the delirium which succeeded Styles' unheard-of generosity.

I went the next day to Messrs. Podge and Co. in Lombard-street, with my
promise-to-pay--Eldorado in my pocket. I entered the counting-house,
presented my bill, and fully expected to have received either
bank-notes or gold in exchange. I waited a few minutes, and was then
ushered into a back-room, and politely requested to account for this
money promissory document.

"From whom did you receive this bill?" said a gentleman with a powdered
head and an immense watch-chain.

"From Mr. Styles."

"Where does he live?"

"I don't know exactly; but I hope there is nothing irregular."

"You can step in, Banks," said the powdered head; and a stout well-fed
man, in a blue coat, with the City arms on the button, _did_ step
in, and very unceremoniously proceeded to inspect the contents of my
various pockets. "Conclusive!" said the powdered head, as he minutely
examined a small piece of crumpled paper which had occupied one of the
pockets of my small-clothes.

I was handed into a hackney-coach, and then into the Mansion-house,
where I was informed that I was to live rent-free for the next week in
his Majesty's jail of Newgate. The bill was a forgery!

The day of trial approached. I walked into the dock with _mens
conscia recti_ depicted on my countenance. I knew I was innocent of
any felonious intention or knowledge; and was certainly very much
_disappointed_ at being found guilty upon the silent evidence of
the little piece of crumpled paper, which was covered with pen and
ink experiments on the signature of John Allgold and Co. whose name
occupied the centre of Styles' bill. The recorder (in a very impressive
manner, I must allow, for his white handkerchief was waving about the
whole time) passed sentence of death upon me, and I was ordered to be
taken from thence, and on the Monday following to be hung by the neck
till I was dead. A pleasant termination, truly!

I was led, stupified by the result of my trial, back to the prison.
When I regained the use of my faculties, my awful situation became
horridly apparent. There was I, an innocent and injured man, condemned
to suffer the extreme penalty of the law. For endeavouring to gain
possession of my own, I was about to become a spectacle for the
fish-fags and costermongers of London,--to have my name handed down
to posterity by that undying trumpeter of evil-doers, Mr. Catnach, of
the Seven-dials, who alternately delights the public with "three yards
long of every new song, and all for a penny," and "the last dying
speech and confession" of those who, dreading to be bed-ridden, and
possessing an unconquerable aversion to doctors' stuff and virtue,
have danced upon nothing, and died with their shoes on. "How often,"
thought I, "have I seen a withered hag kneeling at the rails of an
area, exciting the sympathies and curiosity of servants of all-work,
and greasy melting cooks, by the recital of atrocities that the hand
of man never executed. 'Here's a full, true, and 'tickler account of a
horrid murder, which was performed in the New-cut, Lambeth, on the body
of a baked-'tater manufacturer, who was savagely and inhumanly murdered
by that ferocious and hard-hearted villain, Benjamin Burker;--here you
have the account how, arter putting a poor man's plaister, composed of
pitch and bird-lime, over the unhappy _indivigual's mouf_ until the
breath was out on his body, he shoved him into the oven, and lived
seven days and nights on baked taters and the manyfacterers.' Thus
might I be misrepresented. The thought was madness!"

The morning at length arrived for my execution; but, oh! the horrors
of the night that preceded it! Young, and in the full enjoyment of
life, the morrow was to bring me death! In a little week, the hand
which I then gazed on, would be a banquet for the red worm of the
grave. Even the mother who watched the cradle of my infancy would
have turned loathingly away from the corrupted mass; the earth which
covered me would be thought unhallowed, and my name would become
symbolical with crime. But even this, was nothing to the contemplation
of the scene I had still to enact. To be led forth "the observed of
all observers," who would look on me with an eye, not of pity, but of
morbid curiosity,--to hang quivering in the air,--and to feel, while
consciousness remained, that each shuddering of struggling nature was
imparting a savage delight to those who could be the willing witnesses
of the sacrifice of a fellow-creature! My brain sickened with its
agony, and I fell into a stupor which my jailor called sleep. I was
pinioned, and led forth to die. Life had now no charm for me,--I
was beyond the reach of hope, and death was a desired blessing. The
hangman's hands were about my neck,--the blood curdled in my veins
as I felt the deadly embrace of the cord. I longed for the signal of
departure; but I was again disappointed. I was reprieved,--for I awoke,
and found that the bill and all its frightful consequences were but
the result of having eaten a hearty supper of pork-chops very much
underdone! So I was once again a disappointed man, though, on this
occasion, I must own, most agreeably so.



THE PROFESSOR.--A TALE.

BY GOLIAH GAHAGAN.

"Why, then, the world's mine oyster."


CHAPTER I.

I have often remarked that, among other ornaments and curiosities,
Hackney contains more ladies' schools than are to be found in almost
any other village, or indeed city, in Europe. In every green rustic
lane, to every tall old-fashioned house there is an iron gate, an
ensign of blue and gold, and a large brass plate, proclaiming that a
ladies' seminary is established upon the premises. On one of these
plates is written--(or rather was,--for the pathetic occurrence which
I have to relate took place many years ago)--on one of these plates, I
say, was engraven the following inscription:

                            BULGARIA HOUSE.
            Seminary for Young Ladies from three to twenty.
                         BY THE MISSES PIDGE.

                       (Please wipe your shoes.)

The Misses Pidge took a limited number of young ladies, (as limited, in
fact, or as large as the public chose,) and instructed them in those
branches of elegant and useful learning which make the British female
so superior to all other shes. The younger ones learned the principles
of back-stitch, cross-stitch, bob-stitch, Doctor Watts's hymns, and
"In my cottage near a wood." The elder pupils diverged at once from
stitching and samplers: they played like Thalberg, and pirouetted like
Taglioni; they learned geography, geology, mythology, entomology,
modern history, and simple equations (Miss Z. Pidge); they obtained
a complete knowledge of the French, German, and Italian tongues, not
including English, taught by Miss Pidge; Poonah painting and tambour
(Miss E. Pidge); Brice's questions and elocution (Miss F. Pidge); and,
to crown all, dancing and gymnastics (which had a very flourishing look
in the Pidge prospectus, and were printed in German text,)--DANCING and
GYMNASTICS, we say, by Professor DANDOLO. The names of other professors
and assistants followed in modester type.

Although the signor's name was decidedly foreign, so English was
his appearance, and so entirely did he disguise his accent, that
it was impossible to tell of what place he was a native, if not of
London, and of the very heart of it; for he had caught completely the
peculiarities which distinguish the so-called cockney part of the City,
and obliterated his h's and doubled his v's, as if he had been for all
his life in the neighbourhood of Bow-bells. Signor Dandolo was a stout
gentleman of five feet nine, with amazing expanse of mouth, chest, and
whiskers, which latter were of a red hue.

I cannot tell how this individual first received an introduction to the
academy of the Misses Pidge, and established himself there. Rumours
say that Miss Zela Pidge at a Hackney ball first met him, and thus
the intimacy arose; but, since the circumstances took place which I
am about to relate, that young lady declares that _she_ was not the
person who brought him to Bulgaria House,--nothing but the infatuation
and entreaties of Mrs. Alderman Grampus could ever have induced her
to receive him. The reader will gather from this, that Dandolo's
after-conduct at Miss Pidge's was not satisfactory,--nor was it; and
may every mistress of such an establishment remember that confidence
can be sometimes misplaced; that friendship is frequently but another
name for villany.

But to our story. The stalwart and active Dandolo delighted for some
time the young ladies at Miss Pidge's by the agility which he displayed
in the dance, as well as the strength and manliness of his form, as
exhibited in the new amusement which he taught. In a very short time,
Miss Binx, a stout young lady of seventeen, who had never until his
appearance walked half a mile without puffing like an apoplectic Lord
Mayor, could dance the cachouca, swarm up a pole with the agility
of a cat, and hold out a chair for three minutes without winking.
Miss Jacobs could very nearly climb through a ladder (Jacob's ladder
he profanely called it); and Miss Bole ring such changes upon the
dumb-bells as might have been heard at Edmonton, if the bells could
have spoken. But the most promising pupil of Professor Dandolo, as
indeed the fairest young creature in the establishment of Bulgaria
House, was Miss Adeliza Grampus, daughter of the alderman whose name
we have mentioned. The pride of her mother, the idol of her opulent
father, Adeliza Grampus was in her nineteenth year. Eyes have often
been described; but it would require bluer ink than ours to depict
the orbs of Adeliza; the snow when it first falls in Cheapside is not
whiter than her neck,--when it has been for some days upon the ground,
trampled by dustmen and jarvies, trodden down by sweeps and gentlemen
going to business, not blacker than her hair. Slim as the Monument on
Fish-street-hill, her form was slender and tall: but it is needless to
recapitulate her charms, and difficult indeed to describe them. Let
the reader think of his first love, and fancy Adeliza. Dandolo, who
was employed to instruct her, saw her, and fancied her too, as many a
fellow of his inflammable temperament would have done in his place.

There are few situations in life which can be so improved by an
enterprising mind as that of a dancing-master,--I mean in a tender
or amatory point of view. The dancing-master has over the back, the
hands, the feet and shoulders of his pupils an absolute command; and,
being by nature endowed with so much authority, can speedily spread
his sway from the limbs to the rest of the body, and to the mind
inclusive. "_Toes a little more out, Miss Adeliza_," cries he with the
tenderest air in the world; "back a _little_ more straight," and he
gently seizes her hand, he raises it considerably above the level of
her ear, he places the tips of his left-hand fingers gently upon the
young lady's spine, and in this seducing attitude gazes tenderly into
her eyes! I say that no woman at any age can stand this attitude and
this look, especially when darted from such eyes as those of Dandolo.
On the two first occasions when the adventurer attempted this audacious
manœuvre, his victim blushed only and trembled; on the third she
dropped her full eyelids and turned ghastly pale. "A glass of water,"
cried Adeliza, "or I faint." The dancing-master hastened eagerly
away to procure the desired beverage, and, as he put it to her lips,
whispered thrillingly in her ear, "Thine, thine for ever, Adeliza!"

Miss Grampus sank back in the arms of Miss Binx, but not before her
raptured lover saw her eyes turning towards the ceiling, and her clammy
lips whispering the name of "Dandolo."

When Madame Schroeder, in the opera of Fidelio, cries, "Nichts, nichts,
mein Florestan," it is as nothing compared to the tenderness with which
Miss Grampus uttered that soft name.

"Dandolo!" would she repeat to her confidante, Miss Binx; "the name
was beautiful and glorious in the olden days; five hundred years
since, a myriad of voices shouted it in Venice, when one who bore it
came forward to wed the sea--the Doge's bride! the blue Adriatic! the
boundless and eternal main! The frightened Turk shrunk palsied at the
sound; it was louder than the loudest of the cannon, or the stormy
screaming of the tempest! Dandolo! how many brave hearts beat to hear
that name! how many bright swords flashed forth at that resistless
war-cry! Oh, Binx," would Adeliza continue, fondly pressing the arm of
that young lady, "is it not passing strange that one of that mighty
ducal race should have lived to this day, and lived to love _me_! But
I, too," Adeliza would add archly, "am, as you know, a daughter of the
sea."

The fact was, that the father of Miss Adeliza Grampus was a
shellfishmonger, which induced the young lady to describe herself as
a daughter of Ocean. She received her romantic name from her mother
after reading Miss Swipes's celebrated novel of Toby of Warsaw, and had
been fed from her youth upwards with so much similar literary ware,
that her little mind had gone distracted. Her father had sent her from
home at fifteen, because she had fallen in love with the young man who
opened natives in the shop, and had vowed to slay herself with the
oyster-knife. At Miss Pidge's her sentiment had not deserted her; she
knew all Miss Landon by heart, had a lock of Mr. Thomas Moore's hair or
wig, and read more novels and poetry than ever. And thus the red-haired
dancing-master became in her eyes a Venetian nobleman, with whom it was
her pride and pleasure to fall in love.

Being a parlour-boarder at Miss Pidge's seminary, (a privilege which
was acquired by paying five annual guineas extra,) Miss Grampus was
permitted certain liberties which were not accorded to scholars of the
ordinary description. She and Miss Binx occasionally strolled into the
village by themselves; they visited the library unattended; they went
upon little messages for the Misses Pidge; they walked to church alone,
either before or after the long row of young virgins who streamed
out on every Sabbath day from between the filigree iron railings of
Bulgaria House. It is my painful duty to state that on several of
these exclusive walks they were followed, or met, by the insidious and
attentive teacher of gymnastics.

Soon Miss Binx would lag behind, and--shall I own it?--would make up
for the lost society of her female friend by the company of a man,
a friend of the professor, mysterious and agreeable as himself. May
the mistresses of all the establishments for young ladies in this
kingdom, or queendom rather, peruse this, and reflect how dangerous
it is for young ladies of any age,--ay, even for parlour-boarders--to
go out alone! In the present instance Miss Grampus enjoyed a more
than ordinary liberty, it is true: when the elder Misses Pidge would
remonstrate, Miss Zela would anxiously yield to her request; and
why?--the reason may be gathered from the following conversation which
passed between the infatuated girl and the wily _maître de danse_.

"How, Roderick," would Adeliza say, "how, in the days of our first
acquaintance, did it chance that you always addressed yourself to that
odious Zela Pidge, and never deigned to breathe a syllable to me?"

"My lips didn't speak to you, Addly," (for to such a pitch of
familiarity had they arrived,) "but my heyes did."

Adeliza was not astonished by the peculiarity of his pronunciation,
for, to say truth, it was that commonly adopted in her native home and
circle. "And mine," said she tenderly, "they followed when yours were
not fixed upon them, for _then_ I dared not look upwards. And though
all on account of Miss Pidge you could not hear the accents of my
voice, you might have heard the beatings of my heart!"

"I did, I did," gasped Roderick; "I eard them haudibly. I never spoke
to you then, for I feared to waken that foul friend sispicion. I wished
to henter your seminary, to be continually near you, to make you love
me; therefore I wooed the easy and foolish Miss Pidge, therefore I took
upon me the disguise of--ha! ha!--of a dancing-master." (And the young
man's countenance assumed a grim and demoniac smile.) "Yes; I degraded
my name and my birthright,--I wore these ignoble trappings, and all for
the love of thee, my Adeliza!" Here Signor Dandolo would have knelt
down, but the road was muddy; and, his trousers being of nankeen, his
gallant purpose was frustrated.

But the story must out, for the conversation above narrated has
betrayed to the intelligent reader a considerable part of it. The fact
is, as we have said, that Miss Zela Pidge, dancing at the Hackney
assembly, was introduced to this man; that he had no profession,--no
means even of subsistence; that he saw enough of this lady to be aware
that he could make her useful to his purpose; and he who had been, we
believe it in our conscience, no better than a travelling mountebank or
harlequin, appeared at Bulgaria House in the character of a professor
of gymnastics. The governess in the first instance entertained for
him just such a _penchant_ as the pupil afterwards felt; the latter
discovered the weakness of her mistress, and hence arose Miss Pidge's
indulgence, and Miss Grampus's fatal passion.

"Mysterious being!" continued Adeliza, resuming the conversation which
has been broken by the above explanatory hints, "how did I learn to
love thee? Who art thou?--what dire fate has brought thee hither in
this lowly guise to win the heart of Adeliza?"

"Hadeliza," cried he, "you say well; _I am not what I seem_. I cannot
tell thee what I am; a tale of horror, of crime, forbids the dreadful
confession. But dark as I am, and wretched, nay, wicked and desperate,
I love thee, Hadeliza,--love thee with the rapturous devotion of purer
days: the tenderness of happier times! I am sad now and fallen, lady;
suffice it that I once was happy, ay, respectable."

Adeliza's cheek grew deadly pale, her step faltered, and she would have
fallen to the ground, had she not been restrained by the strong arm of
her lover. "I know not," said she, as she clung timidly to his neck,


"I know not, I hask not, if guilt's in that art, I know that I love
thee, whatever thou hart."

"_Gilt_ in my heart," said Dandolo, "gilt in the heart of Roderick?
No, never!" and he drew her towards him, and on her bonnet, her veil,
her gloves, nay, on her very cheeks, he imprinted a thousand maddening
kisses. "But say, my sweet one," continued he, "who art _thou_? I know
you as yet, only by your lovely baptismal name, and your other name of
Grampus."

Adeliza looked down and blushed. "My parents are lowly," she said.

"But how then came you at such a seminary?" said he; "twenty pound a
quarter, extras and washing not included."

"They are humble, but wealthy."

"Ha! who is your father?"

"An alderman of yon metropolis."

"An alderman! and what is his profession?"

"I blush to tell; he is--_an oystermonger_."

"AN OYSTERMONGER!" screamed Roderick in the largest capitals. "Ha!
ha! ha! this is too much!" and he dropped Adeliza's hand, and never
spoke to her during the rest of her walk. They moved moodily on for
some time, Miss Binx and the other young man marching astonished in
the rear. At length they came within sight of the seminary. "Here is
Bulgaria House," cried the maiden steadily; "Roderick, we must part!"
The effort was too much for her: she flung herself hysterically into
his arms.

But, oh, horror! a scream was heard from Miss Binx, who was seen
scuttling at double-quick time towards the school-house. Her young
man had bolted completely; and close at the side of the lovely though
imprudent couple, stood the angry--and justly angry--Miss Zela Pidge!

"Oh, Ferdinand," said she, "is it thus you deceive me? Did I bring you
to Bulgaria House for this?--did I give you money to buy clothes for
this, that you should go by false names, and make love to that saucy,
slammerkin, sentimental Miss Grampus? Ferdinand, Ferdinand," cried she,
"is this true,--can I credit my eyes?"

"D--your eyes!" said the signor angrily as he darted at her a withering
look, and retired down the street. His curses might be heard long
after he had passed. He never appeared more at Bulgaria House, for he
received his dismissal the next day.

That night all the front windows of the Miss Pidges' seminary were
smashed to shivers.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the following Thursday _two_ places were taken in the coach to town.
On the back seat sate the usher, on the front the wasted and miserable
Adeliza Grampus.

       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER II.

But the matter did not end here. Miss Grampus's departure elicited
from her a disclosure of several circumstances which, we must say,
in no degree increased the reputation of Miss Zela Pidge. The
discoveries which she made were so awkward, the tale of crime and
licentiousness revealed by her so deeply injurious to the character of
the establishment, that the pupils emigrated from it in scores. Miss
Binx retired to her friends at Wandsworth, Miss Jacobs to her relations
in Houndsditch, and other young ladies not mentioned in this history
to other and more moral schools; so that absolutely, at the end of a
single half year, such had been the scandal of the story, the Misses
Pidge were left with only two pupils,--Miss Dibble, the articled young
lady, and Miss Bole, the grocer's daughter, who came in exchange for
tea, candles, and other requisites supplied to the establishment by her
father.

"I knew it, I knew it!" cried Zela passionately, as she trod the
echoing and melancholy school-room; "he told me that none ever
prospered who loved him,--that every flower was blighted upon which he
shone! Ferdinand, Ferdinand! you have caused ruin there" (pointing to
the empty cupboards and forms); "but what is that to the blacker ruin
_here_!" and the poor creature slapped her heart, and the big tears
rolled down her chin, and so into her tucker.

A very, very few weeks after this, the plate of Bulgaria House was
removed for ever. That mansion is now designated "Moscow Hall, by Mr.
Swishtail and assistants:"--the bankrupt and fugitive Misses Pidge have
fled, Heaven knows whither! for the steamers to Boulogne cost more than
five shillings in those days.

Alderman Grampus, as may be imagined, did not receive his daughter
with any extraordinary degree of courtesy. "He was as grumpy," Mrs. G.
remarked, "on the occasion as a sow with the measles."--But had he not
reason? A lovely daughter who had neglected her education, forgotten
her morals for the second time, and fallen almost a prey to villains!
Miss Grampus for some months was kept in close confinement, nor ever
suffered to stir, except occasionally to Bunhill-row for air, and to
church for devotion. Still, though she knew him to be false,--though
she knew that under a different, perhaps a prettier name, he had
offered the same vows to another,--she could not but think of Roderick.

That _Professor_ (as well--too well--he may be called!) knew too
well her father's name and reputation to experience any difficulty
in finding his abode. It was, as every City man knows, in Cheapside;
and thither Dandolo constantly bent his steps: but though he marched
unceasingly about the mansion, he never (mysteriously) would pass it.
He watched Adeliza walking, he followed her to church; and many and
many a time as she jostled out at the gate of the Artillery-ground, or
the beadle-flanked portal of Bow, a tender hand would meet hers, an
active foot would press upon hers, a billet discreetly delivered was as
adroitly seized, to hide in the recesses of her pocket-handkerchief,
or to nestle in the fragrance of her bosom! Love! Love! how ingenious
thou art! thou canst make a ladder of a silken thread, or a weapon
of a straw; thou peerest like sunlight into a dungeon; thou scalest,
like forlorn hope, a castle wall; the keep is taken!--the foeman has
fled!--the banner of love floats triumphantly over the corpses of the
slain![15]

Thus, though denied the comfort of personal intercourse, Adeliza and
her lover maintained a frequent and tender correspondence. Nine times
at least in a week, she by bribing her maid-servant, managed to convey
letters to the Professor, to which he at rarer intervals, though with
equal warmth, replied.

"Why," said the young lady in the course of this correspondence, "why,
when I cast my eyes upon my Roderick, do I see him so wofully changed
in outward guise? He wears not the dress which formerly adorned him. Is
he poor?--is he in disguise?--do debts oppress him, or traitors track
him for his blood? Oh that my arms might shield him!--Oh that my purse
might aid him! It is the fondest wish of

        "ADELIZA G.

"P.S.--Aware of your fondness for shell-fish, Susan will leave a barrel
of oysters at the Swan with Two Necks, directed to you, as per desire.

        "AD. G.

"P.S.--Are you partial to kippered salmon? The girl brings three pounds
of it wrapped in a silken handkerchief. 'Tis marked with the hair of

        "ADELIZA.

"P.S.--I break open my note to say that you will find in it a small pot
of anchovy paste: may it prove acceptable. Heigho! I would that I could
accompany it.

        "A.G."

It may be imagined, from the text of this note, that Adeliza had
profited not a little by the perusal of Mrs. Swipes's novels; and
it also gives a pretty clear notion of the condition of her lover.
When that gentleman was a professor at Bulgaria House, his costume
had strictly accorded with his pretensions. He wore a black German
coat loaded with frogs and silk trimming, a white broad-brimmed
beaver, hessians, and nankeen tights. His costume at present was
singularly changed for the worse: a rough brown frock-coat dangled
down to the calves of his brawny legs, where likewise ended a pair of
greasy shepherd's-plaid trousers; a dubious red waistcoat, a blue or
bird's-eye neckerchief, and bluchers, (or half-boots,) remarkable for
thickness and for mud, completed his attire. But he looked superior to
his fortune; he wore his grey hat very much on one ear; he incessantly
tugged at his smoky shirt-collar, and walked jingling the halfpence
(when he had any) in his pocket. He was, in fact, no better than an
adventurer, and the innocent Adeliza was his prey.

Though the Professor read the first part of this letter with hope and
pleasure, it may be supposed that the three postscripts were still
more welcome to him,--in fact, he literally did what is often done in
novels, he _devoured_ them; and Adeliza, on receiving a note from him
the next day, after she had eagerly broken the seal, and with panting
bosom and flashing eye glanced over the contents,--Adeliza, we say, was
not altogether pleased when she read the following:

"Your goodness, dearest, passes belief; but never did poor fellow need
it more than your miserable, faithful Roderick. Yes! I _am_ poor,--I
_am_ tracked by hell-hounds,--I _am_ changed in looks, and dress, and
happiness,--in all but love for thee!

"Hear my tale! I come of a noble Italian family,--the noblest, ay,
in Venice. We were free once, and rich, and happy; but the Prussian
autograph has planted his banner on our towers,--the talents of his
haughty heagle have seized our wealth, and consigned most of our race
to dungeons. I am not a prisoner, only an exile. A mother, a bed-ridden
grandmother, and five darling sisters, escaped with me from Venice, and
now share my poverty and my home. But I have wrestled with misfortune
in vain; I have struggled with want, till want has overcome me.
Adeliza, I WANT BREAD!

"The kippered salmon was very good, the anchovies admirable. But, oh,
my love! how thirsty they make those who have no means of slaking
thirst! My poor grandmother lies delirious in her bed, and cries in
vain for drink. Alas! our water is cut off; I have none to give her.
The oysters was capital. Bless thee, bless thee! angel of bounty! Have
you any more sich, and a few shrimps? My sisters are _very_ fond of
them.

"Half-a-crown would oblige. But thou art too good to me already, and I
blush to ask thee for more. "Adieu, Adeliza,

        "the wretched but faithful
            "RODERICK FERDINAND,
            "(38th Count of Dandolo.)

        "Bell-yard, June --."

A shade of dissatisfaction, we say, clouded Adeliza's fair features
as she perused this note; and yet there was nothing in it which the
tenderest lover might not write. But the shrimps, the half-crown, the
horrid picture of squalid poverty presented by the count, sickened her
young heart; the innate delicacy of the woman revolted at the thought
of all this misery.

But better thoughts succeeded: her breast heaved as she read and
re-read the singular passage concerning the Prussian autograph, who had
planted his standard at Venice. "I knew it!" she cried, "I knew it!--he
is of noble race! O Roderick, I will perish, but I will help thee!"

Alas! she was not well enough acquainted with history to perceive that
the Prussian autograph had nothing to do with Venice, and had forgotten
altogether that she herself had coined the story which this adventurer
returned to her.

But a difficulty presented itself to Adeliza's mind. Her lover asked
for money,--where was she to find it? The next day the till of the shop
was empty, and a weeping apprentice dragged before the Lord Mayor. It
is true that no signs of the money were found upon him; it is true
that he protested his innocence; but he was dismissed the alderman's
service, and passed a month at Bridewell, because Adeliza Grampus had a
needy lover!

"Dearest," she wrote, "will three-and-twenty and sevenpence suffice?
'Tis all I have: take it, and with it the fondest wishes of your
Adeliza.

"A sudden thought! Our apprentice is dismissed. My father dines abroad;
I shall be in the retail establishment all the night, _alone_.

        "A.G."

No sooner had the Professor received this note than his mind was made
up. "I will see her," he said; "I will enter that accursed shop." He
did, and _to his ruin_.

       *       *       *       *       *

That night Mrs. Grampus and her daughter took possession of the bar or
counter, in the place which Adeliza called the retail establishment,
and which is commonly denominated the shop. Mrs. Grampus herself
operated with the oyster-knife, and served the Milton morsels to the
customers. Age had not diminished her skill, nor had wealth rendered
her too proud to resume at need a profession which she had followed
in early days. Adeliza flew gracefully to and fro with the rolls, the
vinegar bottle with perforated cork, and the little pats of butter.
A little boy ran backwards and forwards to the Blue Lion over the
way, for the pots of porter, or for the brandy and water, which some
gentlemen take after the play.

Midnight arrived. Miss Grampus was looking through the window, and
contrasting the gleaming gas which shone upon the ruby lobsters, with
the calm moon which lightened up the Poultry, and threw a halo round
the Royal Exchange. She was lost in maiden meditation, when her eye
fell upon a pane of glass in her own window: squeezed against this,
flat and white, was the nose of a man!--that man was Roderick Dandolo!
He seemed to be gazing at the lobsters more intensely than at Adeliza;
he had his hands in his pockets, and was whistling Jim Crow.[16]

Miss Grampus felt sick with joy; she staggered to the counter, and
almost fainted. The Professor concluded his melody, and entered at
once into the shop. He pretended to have no knowledge of Miss Grampus,
but _aborded_ the two ladies with easy elegance and irresistible
good-humour.

"Good evening, ma'am," said he, bowing profoundly to the _elder_ lady.
"What a precious hot evening, _to_ be sure!--hot, ma'am, and hungry, as
they say. I could not resist them lobsters, 'specially when I saw the
lady behind 'em."

At this gallant speech Mrs. Grampus blushed, or looked as if she would
blush, and said,

"Law, sir!"

"Law, indeed, ma'am," playfully continued the Professor; "you're a
precious deal better than law,--you're _divinity_, ma'am; and this, I
presume, is your sister?"

He pointed to Adeliza as he spoke, who, pale and mute, stood fainting
against a heap of ginger-beer bottles. The old lady was quite won by
this stale compliment.

"My daughter, sir," she said. "Addly, lay a cloth for the gentleman. Do
you take hoysters, sir, hor lobsters? Both is very fine."

"Why, ma'am," said he, "to say truth, I have come forty miles since
dinner, and don't care if I have a little of both. I'll begin, if you
please, with that there, (Lord bless its claws, they're as red as your
lips!) and we'll astonish a few of the natives afterwards, _by_ your
leave."

Mrs. Grampus was delighted with the manners and the appetite of the
stranger. She proceeded forthwith to bisect the lobster, while the
Professor in a _dégagé_ manner, his cane over his shoulder, and a
cheerful whistle upon his lips, entered the little parlour, and took
possession of a box and a table.

He was no sooner seated than, from a scuffle, a giggle, and a smack,
Mrs. Grampus was induced to suspect that something went wrong in the
oyster-room.

"Hadeliza!" cried she; and that young woman returned blushing now like
a rose, who had been as pale before as a lily.

Mrs. G. herself took in the lobster, bidding her daughter sternly to
stay in the shop. She approached the stranger with an angry air, and
laid the lobster before him.

"For shame, sir!" said she solemnly; but all of a sudden she began to
giggle like her daughter, and her speech ended with an "_Have done
now!_"

We were not behind the curtain, and cannot of course say what took
place; but it is evident that the Professor was a general lover of the
sex.

Mrs. Grampus returned to the shop, rubbing her lips with her fat
arms, and restored to perfect good-humour. The little errand-boy was
despatched over the way for a bottle of Guinness and a glass of brandy
and water.

"HOT WITH!" shouted a manly voice from the eating-room, and Adeliza was
pained to think that in her presence her lover could eat so well.

He ate indeed as if he had never eaten before: here is the bill as
written by Mrs. Grampus herself.

    "Two lobsters at 3_s._ 6_d._      7_s._  0_d._
    Sallit                              1      3
    2 Bottils Doubling Stott            2      4
    11 Doz. Best natifs                 7      4
    14 Pads of Botter                   1      2
    4 Glasses B & W.                    4      0
    Bredd (love & 1/2)                  1      2
    Brakitch of tumler                  1      6
                                       ---------
    "To Samuel Grampus,             1   5      9
        "At the Mermaid in Cheapside.

"Shell-fish in all varieties. N.B. a great saving in taking a quantity."

"A saving in _taking a quantity_," said the stranger archly. "Why,
ma'am, you ought to let me off _very cheap_;" and the Professor, the
pot-boy, Adeliza, and her mamma, grinned equally at this pleasantry.

"However, never mind the pay, missis," continued he; "we an't agoing
to quarrel about _that_. Hadd another glass of brandy and water to the
bill, and bring it me, when it shall be as I am now."

"Law, sir," simpered Mrs. Grampus, "how's that?"

"_Reseated_, ma'am, to be sure," replied he as he sank back upon the
table. The old lady went laughing away, pleased with her merry and
facetious customer; the little boy picked up the oyster-shells, of
which a mighty pyramid was formed at the Professor's feet.

"Here, Sammy," cried out shrill Mrs. Grampus from the shop, "go over to
the Blue Lion and get the gentleman his glass: but no, you are better
where you are, pickin' up them shells. Go you, Hadeliza; it is but
across the way."

Adeliza went with a very bad grace; she had hoped to exchange at
least a few words with him her soul adored; and her mother's jealousy
prevented the completion of her wish.

She had scarcely gone, when Mr. Grampus entered from his dinner-party.
But, though fond of pleasure, he was equally faithful to business:
without a word, he hung up his brass-buttoned coat, put on his hairy
cap, and stuck his sleeves through his apron.

As Mrs. Grampus was tying it, (an office which this faithful lady
regularly performed,) he asked her what business had occurred during
his absence.

"Not so bad," said she; "two pound ten to-night, besides one pound
eight to receive;" and she handed Mr. Grampus the bill.

"How many are there on 'em?" said that gentleman smiling, as his eye
gladly glanced over the items of the account.

"Why, that's the best of all: how many do you think?"

"If four did it," said Mr. Grampus, "they wouldn't have done badly
neither."

"What do you think of _one_?" cried Mrs. G. laughing, "and he an't done
yet. Haddy is gone to fetch him another glass of brandy and water."

Mr. Grampus looked very much alarmed. "Only one, and you say he an't
paid?"

"No," said the lady.

Mr. Grampus seized the bill, and rushed wildly into the dining-room:
the little boy was picking up the oyster-shells still, there were so
many of them; the Professor was seated on the table, laughing as if
drunk, and picking his teeth with his fork.

Grampus, shaking in every joint, held out the bill: a horrid thought
crossed him; he had seen that face before!

The Professor kicked sneeringly into the air the idle piece of paper,
and swung his legs recklessly to and fro.

"What a flat you are," shouted he in a voice of thunder, "to think I'm
a goin' to pay! Pay! I never pay--I'M DANDO!"

The people in the other boxes crowded forward to see the celebrated
stranger; the little boy grinned as he dropped two hundred and
forty-four oyster-shells, and Mr. Grampus rushed madly into his front
shop, shrieking for a watchman.

As he ran, he stumbled over something on the floor,--a woman and a
glass of brandy and water lay there extended. Like Tarquinia reversed,
Elijah Grampus was trampling over the lifeless body of Adeliza.

Why enlarge upon the miserable theme? The confiding girl, in returning
with the grog from the Blue Lion, had arrived at the shop only in time
to hear the fatal name of DANDO. She saw him, tipsy and triumphant,
bestriding the festal table, and yelling with horrid laughter! The
truth flashed upon her--she fell!

Lost to worldly cares in contemplating the sorrows of their idolized
child, her parents forgot all else beside. Mrs. G. held the
vinegar-cruet to her nostrils; her husband brought the soda-water
fountain to play upon her; it restored her to life, but not to sense.
When Adeliza Grampus rose from that trance she was a MANIAC!

But what became of _the deceiver_? The gormandizing ruffian, the lying
renegade, the fiend in human shape, escaped in the midst of this scene
of desolation. He walked unconcerned through the shop, his hat cocked
on one side as before, swaggering as before, whistling as before:
far in the moonlight might you see his figure; long, long in the
night-silence rang his demoniac melody of Jim Crow!

       *       *       *       *       *

When Samuel the boy cleaned out the shop in the morning, and made the
inventory of the goods, a silver fork, a plated ditto, a dish, and a
pewter pot were found to be wanting. Ingenuity will not be long in
guessing the name of _the thief_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Gentles, my tale is told. If it may have deterred one soul from vice,
my end is fully answered: if it may have taught to school-mistresses
carefulness, to pupils circumspection, to youth the folly of sickly
sentiment, the pain of bitter deception; to manhood the crime, the
_meanness_ of gluttony, the vice which it occasions, and the wicked
passions it fosters; if these, or any of these, have been taught by the
above tale, Goliah Gahagan seeks for no other reward.

NOTE. Please send the proceeds as requested per letter; the bearer
being directed not to give up the manuscript without.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 15: We cannot explain this last passage; but it is so
beautiful, that the reader will pardon the omission of sense, which the
author certainly could have put in if he liked.]

[Footnote 16: I know this is an anachronism; but I only mean that he
was performing one of the popular melodies of the time.--G.G.]



BIDDY TIBS, WHO CARED FOR NOBODY.


"Marry in thy youth!" This golden truth is writ in one of the "gates,"
or articles of the "Sadder." We know not if the eyes of Jacob Tibs ever
opened upon this questionable axiom; or whether the consciousness of
his own weakness was the load-star which lighted him, "poor darkened
traveller," to the _blessed state_. Be it as it might, Jacob, though
no longer in youth, and in spite of my Uncle Toby's showing that "love
is below a man,"--Jacob took unto himself a wife,--an unquestionable
_better half_, seeing his share was so small in the economy of domestic
life. But at how high a standard Jacob _ought_ to have placed his
happiness,--and marriage is with some supposed to be a good,--he held
it a plague, a sickness long in killing! Jacob, as we have before
stated, married, and from that seed his crops of evil sprung! _The
apple of his eye_, like that of the East, was ashes to his taste. Alas!
that Jacob ever married!

Biddy Tibs, "_who cared for nobody_," was, at the time we write, a
small withered piece of stale old age. In her husband's days,--and they
a bountiful Providence, or rather rope, had shortened; not that he
was hanged, for Jacob was a modest-minded man!--she made up in temper
what she lacked in size; which temper, in the opinion of many, was the
personal property of the devil! And as the most difficult conquest of
Mahomet was that of his wife, so it proved with Jacob, who vainly hoped
that, "as with time and patience the leaf of the mulberry-tree becomes
satin," so might his wife's temper from sour turn to sweet! How little
did Jacob appreciate the constancy of woman!

Jacob Tibs was part owner of a Liverpool West India trader, and of
which he was nominally the captain. But Mrs. T., in this as in all
other instances, was the great "captain's captain:" her lungs--and
never had a speaking-trumpet such lungs--were hurricane-proof! and
the title of "boatswain" was not improperly a sobriquet of this fair
cheapener of sugar, with which the vessel was ostensibly freighted,
though upon occasions she had more slaves than her husband on board;
so that, what with natural and human produce, Jacob climbed a golden
ladder. Tired with a "life of storms," he changed his vessel for a
house, the sea for a quiet town, and might have rested his old age in
peace; but, alas for Jacob! he was married!

Argus is reported to have slept,--can we wonder that Mrs. Tibs's two
eyes for once lost their vigilance, and left her husband the master of
himself, and one day--for that she passed a short distance off; and
Jacob resolved that this drop of comfort should prove a well; and in
truth it _did_, as will be shown. Old Jacob had friends, as who has
not that has anything to give?--and this day--the only one he could
look forward to with a smile since he had been "blessed"--he determined
should prove a golden one; and, spite of the servant-girl's warnings
of "How missus would wop him!" Jacob held a levee,--some dozen sons of
Eve, whose mouths sucked brandy like a sponge,--good old souls of a
good old age, whose modest wants 'bacca and brandy could supply.

Jacob held his levee! but as he boasted no privy purse, no stocking
with a foot of guineas, and no brandy but a bottle two-thirds full,
left by strange accident in the cupboard, what was to be done? For the
first time in his life Jacob was surprised into an act of rebellion;
and with a death-doing hammer in one hand, and a screwdriver in the
other, did Jacob invade the--to him--sanctity of the cellar. The lock
was wrenched, lights were stuck in empty bottles, and Jacob, who in
his young-going days had swilled it with the best, soon verified the
sentiment of Le Sage, that "a reformed drunkard should never be left
in a cellar." Now, whether joy or brandy had to answer for the sin,
we know not; but, certain it is, Jacob got drunk, and measured his
length--he was a tall man--upon the ground. Friends should be our
brothers in affliction; _his_ were true ones, and at happy intervals of
time they sank beside him, completely overcome,--showing how little was
their pride, how great their fellowship!

How long they might have continued in this undeniable state of bliss
would be an useless guess, for the last of Jacob's friends--and he
was no sudden faller-off--had scarcely deposited himself upon the
ground in happy indifference for his clothes, when the cracked-bell
voice of Mrs. Tibs, who had unexpectedly returned, roused the maid
into a consciousness that missus had come home! Domestic contentions
are at no time an interesting theme; and as most of our readers--we
allude to the married portion--have doubtless experienced them in
real life, romance would fall far short of the truth; the single we
advise to marry, and experience will teach them what we here pass
over. When Jacob's better half beheld her bottles empty, her casks
upturned, and her husband, for the first time since he had enjoyed
that felicity, deaf to the music of her voice, a bucket of water from
the well refreshed Jacob to a truth he would willingly have slept in
ignorance of,--that the wife of his bosom was alive, and he started as
a thief would at an opening door. She seized him by the collar, and,
showering the first-fruits of her passion upon him who could so well
appreciate it, the "boatswain" rose within her, and, after bestowing
sundry terms of approbation upon his boon companions, she turned them
out of the house, as the vulgar saying hath it, "with their tails
between their legs." Jacob would have slunk away, but Fortune willed it
otherwise. His "rib" shouted the word of command, "Tack, you lubber,
and be ---- to you!" Jacob recognised the voice,--how could he have
mistaken it?--and waited for orders. Now it so fell out, as Mrs. Tibs
ran for the bucket of water, her cap, in the press of business, caught
by a twig, dropped into the well, and eighteen-pence had been that day
expended in decoration. With the assistance of Nanny the maid, Jacob
was to be wound down in the bucket; and, spite of his appeals to the
contrary, with one foot in the tub, and both hands on the rope, he was
lowered, and half soused in water, until he reached the ribbon treasure
of his wife's head. The cap clutched in one hand, he was raised
dripping by the windlass. Each twist brought him nearer to the top,
when, sorrowful to relate, the rope gave way, and Jacob dropped like
lead into the well; a hollow splash was heard in the water, and Mrs
Tibs stood by in speechless agony. At length her grief found vent, and,
pitching her voice to its shrillest note, she cried, "Oh, my cap!"

Alas for Jacob! his head struck with swingeing force against the
bricks, where to this day the impression may be seen: he fell stunned
into the water, and before aid could be obtained, which Mrs. Tibs did
in less than two hours and a half, Jacob was dead!

Now, though Jacob was dead, he was not buried. A good wife is a jewel
to her husband: what must she be to his mortal remains? Biddy's
affection was too great to allow any but herself to be his undertaker,
and she contracted with a jobbing carpenter for a wooden shell. Jacob
never loved luxuries, and the pride of cloth covered not his outside,
gilt nails syllabled not his virtues. Four ploughmen were hired at a
shilling a-head--half-a-crown they had the uncharity to ask--to be his
bearers, and Jacob was lowered to what he had been for years a stranger
to--a house of peace!

       *       *       *       *       *

In the city of C----, famous for its antiquities, its cathedral,
and its hop-grounds, is a terrace, commanding an extensive view of
a cattle-market and the road beyond; along which road, one sunny
afternoon, a gentleman, or, for fear of mistakes, we will simply call
him an officer, rode on a piebald horse. Passing along, a certain
window on the terrace attracted his attention, and the officer on the
piebald horse kissed his hand to its fair occupant. Now, it so happened
that Miss Lauretta Birdseye was seated at the very next window, in
the very next house to that on which the officer had bestowed his
attentions; and no sooner was the kiss blown, than slam went the
window! A glazier who was passing felt himself a richer man by at least
three and sixpence. No sooner was the window closed, than--curtains
are always in the way--they were drawn aside, and a face was glued to
the glass, all eyes and wire ringlets. Another kiss from the officer
on the piebald horse. The lady nodded her head, and was thinking of
blushing; but as blushes, like hedge-side roses, are vulgar, and glass
so thick, her prudence whispered her not to be wasteful. As the rider
passed, the window was once more opened, and her head thrust out, to
see what to her was indeed a sight,--a man, as she thought, looking at
her,--when what should she behold at the next window but Laura Dyke,
"that impudent slut," as she said, "looking after the men!" Her modesty
was scandalized, and once more the window descended with a crash!

The following morning Miss Lauretta Birdseye knocked a gentle knock
at the dwelling of Mrs. Tibs, her next-door neighbour. The door was
opened by Laura, who filled the double capacity of drudge and niece
to her loving aunt Biddy Tibs. Since the demise of the late lamented
Jacob, she had led a life of widowhood, no man being found rash
enough to venture where Jacob had trod before. Years had passed, and
Biddy Tibs was old and withered, and her skin, like parchment, hung
dry and shrivelled! The fire of her youth was gone, but the embers
still remained: what her tongue had lost in might it had gained in
bitterness; she stabbed a reputation at each word, and mixed her gall
in every household hive! Such was Biddy Tibs; and, though possessed of
no mean wealth, her avarice clung like birdlime to her. Biddy had a
brother, an honest tradesman: his wife died young, and his children,
for he had two, a boy and a girl, were unto him gold and jewels!
Biddy held up her hands, and called it a tempting of Providence. Long
sickness and misfortunes--for brother Dick had friends--and serving
others, placed him in a debtors' prison! Without means, and lacking
food, Dick asked his sister's aid,--a score of pounds to make him a
man again. Biddy with thousands saw him want on;--saw him, sick and
feeble, die, a prisoner for a friend's debt, and his children without a
roof but heaven! Now, whether Biddy's conscience smote her,--and it was
speculated by some that she possessed that luxury,--we know not; but, a
few weeks after, her servant-girl, for some or for no fault, had been
turned out of doors in the middle of the night; and, as her place must
be supplied, pity came to Biddy's aid, and her niece, an interesting
girl of some sixteen years, was sent for. The boy, Teg, less fortunate,
was left to starve; but he was a shrewd youth, fourteen, and had
a squint eye, a sign of a kind of cunning, and, if a jest may be
pardoned, Teg always looked round the corner. Laura luxuriated in the
waggon; Teg, less fortunate, trudged behind, begging as he went his
food. But charity dwells not on the highway, and Teg's food was mostly
unasked; a turnip diet and a hedge-side bed ended not a youth who was
never born to be choked by indigestion.

Mrs. Tibs took in the girl, for she must have a drudge; Teg had a penny
given him, and the door shut in his face. Teg cried first, then got in
a passion, and, like most people in a pet, quarrelled with his bread
and butter; for he flung the penny through one of the parlour windows,
when, as ill luck would have it, it missed the head of his loving
aunt, and ended the days of a cracked tea-cup. Alas! that charity
should bring evil upon the giver! for, taking the window and cup into
consideration, Biddy's charity cost her shillings, when she had only
intended to bestow a penny.

Teg spat upon her threshold, and went, no one cared or knew whither.

       *       *       *       *       *

Laura was now eighteen, and opened the door to Miss Lauretta Birdseye,
who looked daggers of indignation,--for Laura was a pretty girl,--and
asked if Mrs. Tibs were at home. Laura's meek answer was, "Yes, Miss
Birdseye; will you walk in?" Lauretta did, and sat in the parlour
_tête-à-tête_ with Mrs. Tibs.

Mrs. Tibs was to the city of C---- what Ariadne's thread was to
Theseus,--the leading-string in all amours, all stolen meetings,
all clandestine marriages. Numberless were the wives and husbands,
maids and bachelors, who through her means had held communion sweet
with objects of their choice. Messages and letters were her peculiar
province; in fact, Biddy Tibs was a post-office in her own person; and
these praiseworthy efforts she exercised not altogether from mercenary
motives, though, to do her justice, her pride never stood in the way
where money was offered: but she loved mischief as a cat loves milk,
and would cheat for nothing, rather than not cheat at all. Now, as the
officer on the piebald horse had kissed his hand, as Lauretta thought,
to her, she could not rest until she had consulted old Tibby, for so
she was called. _There_ at all events she should know all about the
officer, and there, no doubt, the officer would inquire after her; and,
seated opposite old Tibby, the conversation began.

"Do you know, Mrs. Tibs," commenced Lauretta, "I am horrorfied to think
what the girls about here are come to; for _my_ part, you know, I hate
the men!"

"I know you do," chimed in Biddy; "your mother tells everybody so: but
them gals about here have no shame!"

"None!" and Lauretta rose with her subject. "As for those Greyham's
girls, I declare a man can't walk for them; and those Miss Highwaters,
they are no better than they should be, I know. Look how they dress!
and we all know what they have to live upon. And those Miss Cartriges,
with their thick ankles, waddling up and down, and looking after the
men: for _my_ part, I never walk without mother's with me, for those
nasty fellows do look at one so."

Here an indistinct "Hem!" escaped Biddy.

"But I never look at them again, like the girls about here! never!"

Biddy looked at her from under her grey eyes, but said nothing.

"Men," continued Miss B. "are such impudent fellows, especially
military men; and, would you think it? an officer on a piebald horse
actually kissed his hand to me yesterday afternoon!"

Old Tibby looked up with a face full of wonder and infidelity.

"Who would have thought it!" ejaculated Lauretta.

Biddy shook her head as she added, "Who, indeed!"

"But I let him know I wasn't one of those sort of people, for I shut
the window in his face, and I saw him kiss his hand again."

"What! after you had shut the window?" and Biddy looked a note of
interrogation in each eye.

"Oh--I--I saw him through the curtains."

"Ah!" was Tibby's echo. "And--well, I couldn't imagine who it could be
for."

"Who what was for?" inquired Miss B.

"A letter."

"A letter!" and Lauretta's voice fluttered.

"Yes," said Tibby; "but, knowing how much _you hated_ the men, I never
thought of you." Saying which, the old woman fumbled in her pocket,
and, taking a three-cornered note from a whole phalanx of others, read
the inscription,--"To Laura."

"People will call me Laura," said Lauretta, as she seized upon the
note, broke the seal, and read as follows:--"Sweet Laura,--When I saw
you at the window, and kissed my hand,"--twice, Mrs. Tibs,--"need I say
how I wished your rosy lips were near me; but, before many hours, I
trust I shall whisper in your ear the love I feel for my pretty little
angel." Lauretta held her breath till she was red in the face in a vain
endeavour to look celestial. The letter continued:--"And if my sweet
Laura will meet me on the 'Mount,' this evening, I will fly with her
from the misery she now suffers, to love and happiness. Should you not
be there, I shall return to the barracks, and put an immediate end to
the existence of your devoted,

        "AUGUSTUS GREEN HORN, Royal Rifle Corps."

Miss Birdseye felt twenty years younger at the intelligence,--for a man
must be in earnest when he threatens to kill himself,--and, with a true
tragedy uplifting of the hands, she exclaimed,

"Mrs. Tibs, I wouldn't have a man's death at my door for a world! No,
Augustus----" Further exclamation was cut short by a sort of titter
outside the parlour-door. Now none knew better than Lauretta Birdseye
how well a keyhole afforded sight and sound; and, throwing the door
suddenly open, she burst into the passage. A hurried footstep on the
stair convinced her of what she knew from experience to be a fact, that
by the time the door is opened the listener gets out of sight.

After sundry comments upon the meanness of listening, Lauretta informed
Mrs. Tibs, who sat like a cat watching a mouse, of her Christian
determination to save human life by sacrificing herself, all loth as
she was, to the officer of the piebald horse!

"It was the first time in her life," as she said, "a man had ever made
an appointment with her,"--who shall question the truth?--and her
delicacy yielded to her philanthropy!

Lauretta determined to go,--and, what is more, without her mother.

       *       *       *       *       *

The "Mount" alluded to in Augustus Green Horn's letter is a hill
planted round with winding hedges; and the lawn on which it stands
forms the principal promenade of all the little gentry, all the
small-consequence people, their pride stuck like a nosegay in their
button-holes, who look in looks of hot-bed consequence the dignity the
tradesman bows to.

It was a dark evening, and the cathedral clock struck nine as Lauretta
Birdseye passed through the gates of the broad walk. Her horror may be
imagined when she saw servant-maids and others,--who had nothing but
their character to live upon, stealing in and out the trees in loving
paces with--Lauretta shut her eyes--the fellows! 'Prentice boys were
here whispering golden precepts in the ears of willing maids, who, as
servant-maids are not supposed to blush, cried "La!" Lauretta hurried
across the green,--doubtless to escape such infamy,--to the foot of
the "Mount;" a man and some "impudent hussy" were coming down the way
she was to go up,--and, or her eyes deceived her, no less a hussy than
Laura Dyke! who, she shuddered to think, had picked up a new man.
Lauretta heard--or fancied she heard--a titter as they passed; and the
man--he looked very like an officer--laughed outright. Lauretta bridled
in the full virginity of three-and-thirty, and walked up the opposite
side! How long she walked up and down, this side and that side, from
the top to the bottom, and sate "like Patience" on one of the seats at
the top, we will not here describe. Suffice it, after waiting two hours
and three-quarters, a boy, who brought the candles, laid hold of her
in the dark, and, spite of her exertions to the contrary,--Lauretta
was strong and bony,--ravished a kiss! Whether the boy's taste was
not matured, or what, we know not, but he did not offer to repeat his
rashness; and Lauretta, who held kissing a vice, after telling him
"what a rude boy he was," and "hoping he would not do it again," walked
very slowly down the "Mount," waited ten minutes at the bottom, and
then, with a heavy heart went home to bed, strengthened in the truth
that men have no taste, and women no shame!

To her gentle summons on the next morning, Biddy herself opened the
door. Lauretta looked, and so did Biddy as she cried, "What you! then
where's that devil's niece of mine? the jade's been out all night,
and----"

"With some of the fellows, take my word for it. Mrs. Tibs, the age we
live in is a disgrace to our sex--look at _me_!"

"Well, if I do," half screamed the old woman, "I do more than the men
do. And haven't you been carried off after all? Oh! oh!" and Biddy
wheezed and chuckled like an old grey ape.

"Ma'm!" and Lauretta looked a vestal, "I am not aware, ma'm, what you
mean."

"What! not of the officer on the piebald horse?" Biddy's countenance
changed, and she turned white with passion as she added, "And that
beggar's slut of mine, I'll teach her to cross me!" But, as her eye
rested upon Lauretta, her face changed again, and pursed into a
thousand wrinkles as she chuckled, "How long did you wait? Oh! oh!" and
she gloated on the wincing countenance of her next-door neighbour.

"Mrs. Tibs!" and Lauretta spoke with the conscious dignity of a
Cleopatra; "I have had a strange thought about Laura, and I am afraid
we have made a little mistake."

"Mistake!" and Biddy's eyes opened like an owl's.

"Yes; for, after the officer kissed his hand, I opened the window, and
there I saw that good-for-nothing girl of yours looking after him, and
he _might_ have blown his filthy kisses to her; and last night,--I
won't be certain,--but I think I saw her coming down the 'Mount' with a
man, and he looked very like my dear Augus----"

The countenance of Biddy fell, and her skin became lead as she gasped,
"Bat that I was not to see it; that letter was for her after all!"

"Instead of _me_!" and Lauretta waxed wrathful as she added, "She heard
us read it through the key-hole. I thought I heard a titter."

Let us not mistake the passion of Biddy Tibs; it was not the ruin of
her niece grieved her,--no! she could get another servant from the
workhouse; but she had fattened on the idea that, Lucretia as Lauretta
was, she had at length stumbled on a Tarquin!--it was wine and oil to
her heart. But, to find herself cozened, to have hatched the wrong
egg!--her fury knew no bounds. She raved, and--we trust, for the
first time in her life--uttered curses, and in so wild a scream that
neighbours came running to her assistance; when, lashed by her own
temper, the amiable Biddy Tibs fell down in a swoon, having burst a
blood-vessel, and was carried to bed.

Miss Birdseye took the opportunity of informing a room-full of
attentive listeners, "that the shameless hussy, Laura Dyke, had
gone off with a man!" and so great was her horror, that, upon the
butcher-boy's bringing the meat, she wouldn't suffer him to come into
the passage, but kept the door ajar, for fear, as she said, "the fellow
should look at her!"

The sick lion was a baby to Biddy Tibs, and, though _she_ "cared for
nobody," everybody cared for her--last will and testament. Her wealth
had been looked upon by the telescopic eyes of an attentive few, who
brought her--as "trifles show respect"--trifles of the least ambitious
nature; and now, when Biddy was ill, and not likely to last above a day
or two, their consideration knew no bounds. One would bring her--they
were so cooling--some currants, on a cabbage leaf; another, a pot
of jam; a third, an invitation,--if she _could_ go, it would do her
so much good. Biddy was not expected to live the day. But--oh, the
ingratitude of this old creature!--ill as she was, her grey eyes looked
like glass upon them, and twinkled with a cunning light; and in the
course of the day she promised, in no less than six different quarters,
the house she lived in, and a legacy beside. How good are they who
wait upon the sick! but, though sick, Biddy, as the saying is, was
"hard to die," and the doctor was justly surprised, who, after giving
her over the preceding night, found her alive the next morning; and,
notwithstanding she had three doctors, in the space of a few weeks, as
her friends justly lamented, Biddy had cheated the devil, and, what was
of still more consequence, themselves of currants and jam.

In due course of time Mrs. Tibs was restored to health; and not only
left the city of C----, but her loving friends, who looked their last
of Biddy Tibs, "who cared for nobody."

       *       *       *       *       *

We have now to trace the history of Teg Dyke, who, we before said, was
a shrewd boy, and, like most shrewd children taught by bad example,
he became of the bad the worst. Driven from his aunt's door, without
shelter and without food, Teg turned his steps where chance directed,
and, "with Providence for his guide," before night-fall was some miles
on the London road. Begging or stealing his way, as accident and his
necessity compelled, the poor lad found himself sore-footed, hungry,
hopeless, in the outskirts of London, which then, even more than now,
was a huge nursery for crime,--a living chess-board, and circumstance
the player! Teg was ragged, and none would employ him; begging was so
unprofitable there was no living by it. Without food for two whole days
Teg grew desperate, and, tempted by the smell, stole from the door
of a cook-shop a plateful of savoury tit-bits,--the third lost that
morning; and, in the act of tasting, Teg was detected, seized, and,
by a merciful magistrate sent to the House of Correction. Teg, himself
no sinner, was here shut round by sin. Teg stole a meal, urged by the
crying wants of hunger, and he was here mated with those who held
theft a principle; and, like a bur, he clung to vice, since honesty
had cast him down: and, to say truth, Teg found more fellowship in
a jail, more communion, than in the outer world; for here they took
delight in teaching what they knew without a premium. Where else could
Teg have learnt a trade so cheaply? "The cove was quick and willing,"
and, respecting nothing else,--they must have been rogues,--respected
genius! Genius lies hid in corners; and Teg who, had his aunt not
thrust him from her door, might have become merely an honest man, sent
to jail for stealing what none would give him,--food,--became, with a
little practice, an accomplished thief!

Who shall say Biddy was to blame for shutting her door on so much
depravity? Again, was not her wisdom shown in her behaviour to her
niece? Should she have treated her with the least appearance of
kindness, who, driven like a dog, had the wickedness to stain her
threshold with ingratitude? Had she bestowed a sign of goodness upon
her, she had then deserved it. But, no; she had treated her niece like
a beast of burthen, and how had she returned her affection? Biddy
trembled as she thought of it!

Laura's ingratitude must have risen like a ghost upon her sleepless
eye! What must have been her self-accusation when, deserted by
the Honourable Augustus Green Horn, she found herself not only a
mother, but a beggar, halting in the streets, and with a pale and
stricken countenance suing for bread? Then, indeed, must her aunt's
loving-kindness have come in sweet dreams of the past, and whispered
love and gentleness! But Laura had a callous mind, and, strange to
say, never once felt her deprivation, or she would have sunk beneath
it, as an outcast from society, her freshness gone; her beauty, like
an autumn's leaf, seared, and cast forth unto the winds; her heart
bruised, and her hopes destroyed, she crawled at midnight through
the worst streets of London's worst quarter, the scoff of many, the
despised of all, the debauched victim of any, her child a cripple from
its birth, and in the malignity of a fever dead! And yet Laura, midst
all these evils, wept hot tears; but, what proved she must have been
dead to feeling, she never once thought of the motherly kindness of
Biddy Tibs.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some years had passed since Biddy turned her back upon the city of
C----, and left a name blushing with its good deeds behind her. She now
lived in a small town in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, where
her riches formed the subject of many an alehouse gossip. But, as old
age fell upon her, the vice of gold came with it, and she lived in a
crazy wooden house, without the fellowship of a breathing thing, and
for the best of reasons. No cat could live upon her fare, and hope to
be alive at the end of the month,--no dog was ever seen to stop at a
bone Biddy threw away; her charity never descended to her garden, nor
did the sparrows,--they knew it would be a waste of time;--and thus she
lived without kin and without kind, no servant being so little a feeder
as to live upon abuse. And it was noted as a peculiar fact, that, the
older she grew, the more evil grew her tongue. Characters fell like
grass before her. Young or old, weak or strong, all felt her lash! And
upon one occasion she made such inroads upon the chastity of two maiden
ladies, sisters, and worthy to be so of the far-famed Irish giant,
that, under pretence of tea and scandal, Biddy could not resist the
temptation; she was induced to pay them a visit. A stream ran through
these maiden sisters' grounds; and lifting Biddy in their arms,--a mere
shuttlecock to two such battledores,--she was gently dropt into the
water, where she enjoyed, what she had been for years a stranger to, a
comfortable wash. So runs the story; and Biddy, vowing vengeance and
the law, which last she obtained, for Biddy was rich, added so much by
her daily tales to their reputations, that in the end she remained sole
mistress of the field,--the maiden ladies leaving Biddy and the town
behind them.

It was a cold November night, the wind howled, and the rain beat
against the windows as Biddy Tibs sat in her room; the night was
without moon or stars, and the sky looked black as the old woman
peered through the window into the garden, and the fields at the back
of her house; the rain fell in streams, and the wind moaned like a
human voice. For an instant she saw, or thought she saw, a light
shoot across the garden. She looked, and looked, and--she closed the
shutters, and sat closer to the fire; and, rocking herself over it in
her chair, mumbled, "Blind eyes that I have!--how should a light get
there? I could see in the dark once like a cat; but now--" and the old
woman rocked over the fire, with her head bent double to the grate. A
rushlight with a long snuff burnt on the table, and the room looked
shadowy and full of forms.

'Twas midnight; but still Biddy sat within her chair, and rocked, and
rocked, and looking at the fire, as cinder after cinder blackened in
the grate, she muttered, and spoke as to herself, "They're none of
my getting,--none of my flesh! Didn't I feed, clothe her?--she ran
away from my roof, and let her want. A night like this will break her
spirit, and teach her what it is to be without one--'twill----" She
paused suddenly, and bent her ear as in the act of listening; her
grey eyes gazed round the room as she said, "It sounded like a door
creaking, or a bolt;" and again she listened. The candle burnt dimly on
the table, and the embers grew darker and darker as Biddy spread her
hands to catch their warmth, and muttered, "At night, one is full of
fancies; it's only the wind;" and, communing with herself, she added,
"I've paid them back their own, and given them lies for lies, and they
hate me for it: but they fear me, too,--that's one comfort,--for they
know I'm rich. Rich--ha! ha! there's a sly cupboard there," and she
pointed to a recess in the wall, where a concealed door stood half
ajar; "there's a nest holds more eggs than they think for; and if I had
liked--but the boy is none of mine--the boy--" A draught of air as from
an opened door made her look round. She sat frozen to her chair as the
figure of a man darkened in the room; a second, masked like his fellow,
stood in the shadow of the door; and Biddy, with a fixed stare, looked
like a corpse, blue-lipped and hollow-eyed. Her chair shook under her,
and her voice came not, though her mouth opened, and her throat worked
as if to scream! The man moved a step; it was electric! Biddy started
to her feet, and with a hollow voice cried "Murder!" The ruffian with
a curse darted at her throat, and, in a hissing whisper between his
teeth, cried, "Quiet, you hag, or I'll settle you!" Biddy, old and
feeble as she was, fastened with both hands upon his, and struggled
in his grip. The mask fell from his face, and with starting eyes
she looked at what seemed to scorch them, uttered a choking scream,
and--Let us draw the curtain.

The next morning speculation was busy that at so late an hour the
shutters of Mrs. Tibs's house remained unopened; she was an early
riser, and now 'twas noon; their knocking obtaining no answer, the door
was forced; and in the back room they found Biddy Tibs upon the ground,
dead, with a handkerchief knotted round her throat. The small cupboard
in the recess was thrown wide open, and her drawers forced; and it was
soon spread over the town that Biddy Tibs was murdered!

A few weeks had passed, and anxious and expectant thousands were seen
moving in a huge mass on the road to Tyburn. A man was to be hanged!
And, as the people have so little recreation, of course the roads were
thronged with delighted crowds, all hastening to the "gallows-tree."
Women yelled their execrations at the head of the pale and shaking
culprit, for he had murdered one of their own sex; and clapped and
shouted as the cart drew from under his clinging feet. Men, "as
it was only for a woman," "thought hanging too bad," and merely
hooted, groaned, and hissed. Indeed, so popular was the excitement,
that ladies--_real_ ones, for they paid guineas for a sight on a
waggon,--waved their handkerchief, and wondered such wretches were
suffered to exist.

As the last struggle of the swinging corpse left him stiff and dead, a
half-clothed and haggard woman asked, in a hoarse and shaking voice,
the name of the murderer.

"What, that 'ere?" was the reply, and a finger pointed to the stripling
figure of the hanging man; "he as murdered his aunt?--why Slashing
Bill, _alias_ Teg Dyke."

A scream--a wild and shrieking scream rang through the air, and Laura
dropt senseless.

The bulk of Mrs. Tibs's property came to her niece, but disease had
left her scarce a shadow of herself. Her eyes looked leaden! Want,
sorrow, and dissipation had writ their blight upon her, and, at the end
of six months,--an apothecary having been frequent in his visits,--poor
Laura was no more!

How different had been the fate of Biddy Tibs had she lent her brother
Dick the score of pounds! Teg would have been an honest tradesman like
himself, Laura a tradesman's wife, Biddy had lived for years, and the
pillow of her death-bed been smoothed by the hands of loving friends.
But, as it was, her brother died from want; Biddy fell, strangled by
her nephew's hand. He had been seen in a taproom, where the wealth of
the old woman who lived at the wooden house was talked of; part was
traced to him; his companion confessed; and Teg died a felon's death;
Laura, from the effects of want and dissipation!

Biddy's property was the subject of a law-suit between two of her
distant relations, which, to the best of our knowledge, remains
unsettled to this day!

In a village churchyard in the neighbourhood of London the grass grows
rank about a tombstone which is still pointed at as the grave of
"_Biddy Tibs, who cared for nobody!_"

        H. HOLL.



THE REGATTA.--No. I.

RUN ACROSS CHANNEL.


Once more upon the dark blue water! It is noon,--the sun shines
gloriously; the sea, undulated by a slight swell from the Atlantic,
falls gently on the beach, or breaks upon the beetling precipice which
forms the headland of Rathmore. The wind has almost "sighed itself
to rest," and, coming across the sparkling surface of the ocean in
partial eddies, ruffles it for a moment and passes on. Fainter and
fainter still,--nothing but an occasional cat's-paw is visible, far as
the helmsman's eye can range. The cutter has no longer steerage way;
the folds of the ample mainsail flap heavily as the yacht rolls in the
run of the tide, which, setting rapidly to the eastward, drifts the
unmanageable vessel along a chain of rocky islands, severed by some
tremendous convulsion from the main, to which they had been originally
united.

A more magnificent and a more varied scene than that visible from
the yacht's deck could not be imagined. A-beam lay the grey ruins of
Dunluce, lighted up by a flood of sunshine; the shores of Portrush,
with its scattered bathing-houses, and the highlands of Donegal at the
extreme distance, appeared astern. On the left was an expanse of ocean,
boundless, waveless, beautiful: the sea-gull was idly resting on the
surface, the puffin and the cormorant diving and appearing continually;
while a league off a man-of-war brig, covered to the very trucks with
useless canvass, lay as if she rode at anchor. Beyond the motionless
vessel, the Scottish coast was clearly defined; the bold outline of
the shores of Isla presented itself: and, half lost in the haze, the
cone of Jura showed yet more faintly. On the starboard bow the Giant's
Causeway rose from the water, and with a glass you could trace its
unequal surface of basaltic columns; while right ahead Bengore and
Rathlin completed this mighty panorama.

Nor was the cutter from which this scene was viewed an object void of
interest. She was a vessel of some seventy tons, displaying that beauty
of build and equipment for which modern yachts are so remarkable. The
low black hull was symmetry itself, while the taunt spars and topmast
displayed a cloud of sail, which at a short distance would appear to
require a bark of double the size to carry. Above deck everything was
simple and ship-shape; below, space had been accurately considered,
and not an inch was lost. Nothing could surpass the conveniency of the
cabins, or the elegance with which the fittings and furniture were
designed.

Four hours passed,--not a breath of wind stirred: a deader calm I
never witnessed. We drifted past the Causeway, and, leaving the
dangerous rock of Carrickbannon between us and the flying bridge of
Carrick-a-rede, found ourselves at five o'clock rolling in the sound of
Rathlin, with Churchbay and Ballycastle on either beam.

There is not in calm or storm a nastier piece of water than that which
divides the island from the main. Its currents are most rapid; and,
from the peculiar inequality of the bottom, in calms there is a heavy
and sickening roll, and in storms a cross and dangerous sea. Without
a leading wind, or plenty of it, a vessel finds it difficult to stem
the current; and, in making the attempt with a light breeze, a man is
regularly hung up until a change of tide enables him to slip through.

Judging from the outline of Rathlin, this island must have been
originally disparted from the main; and the whole bottom of the sound
evinces volcanic action. Nothing can be more broken and irregular than
the under surface. At one cast the lead rests at ten, and at the next
it reaches thirty fathoms. Beneath, all seems rifted rocks and endless
caverns, and easily accounts for the short and bubbling sea that flows
above. Everything considered, the loss of life occasioned by the
passage of this sound is trifling. For weeks together all communication
with the main land is frequently totally interrupted; and, until the
weather moderates, the hardiest islander will not dare to venture out.
But as the sea seldom gives up its dead, and the furious under-currents
sweep them far from the place where they perished, many a stranger has
here met his doom, and his fate remained a mystery for ever.

Still the calm continued, the tide was nearly done, and we had the
comfortable alternative of anchoring in Churchbay or drifting back
"to the place from whence we came." It would have vexed a saint, had
there been one on board. Calculating on a speedy and certain passage,
we had postponed our departure until the last hour. On Monday the
regatta would commence; and we should have been in the Clyde the day
before. A breeze for half an hour would have carried us clear of the
tides, and liberated us from this infernal sound; and every man on
board had whistled for it in vain. Dinner was announced, and, wearied
with rolling and flapping, we briskly obeyed the summons. I paused with
my foot within the companion: the master's eye was turned to the brig
outside us; mine followed in the same direction.

"It's coming--phew!" and he gave a low and lengthened whistle, as if
the tardy breeze required encouragement to bring it on. The light duck
in the brig's royals fluttered for a moment, and then blew gently out;
the top-gallant sails filled; presently the lower canvass told that
the wind had reached it. The vessel has steerage way again; the breeze
steals on, curling over the surface of the water, and in a few minutes
we too shall have it.

On it came: the short and lumbering motion of the yacht ceased; she
heeled gently over, and the table swung steadily as with increasing
velocity the vessel displaced the water, and flung it in sparkling
sheets from her bows. Next minute the master's voice gave comfortable
assurance from the skylight--"The breeze was true, and before sunset
there would be plenty of it."

Those who prefer the security of the king's highway to breasting "the
pathless deep," build upon the certainty with which their journeyings
shall terminate, and argue that there is safer dependence in trusting
to post-horses than to the agency of "wanton winds." No doubt there
is; the worst delay will arise from a lost shoe or a broken trace.
The traveller has few contingencies to dread; he will reach the Bear
for breakfast, and the Lion for dinner; and, if he be a borrower from
the night, he will be surely at the Swan, his halting-place, ere the
town-clock has ceased striking and the drum has beaten its _reveille_.
To me that very regularity is not to be endured; the wheels grate over
the same gravel that the thousand which preceded them have pressed
before; the same hedge, the same paling meets the eye; there hangs the
well-remembered sign; that waiter has been there these ten years,--ay,
the same laughing barmaid, and obsequious boots, and bustling hostler,
all with a smile of welcome, cold, mechanical, and insincere; not even
the novelty of a new face among them,--all rooted to their places like
the milestones themselves. Pish! one wearies of the road; it has no
danger, no interest, no excitement. Give me the deep blue water; its
very insecurity has charms for me. Is it calm?--mark yon cloud-bank in
the south! There is wind there, for a thousand! It comes, but right
ahead. No matter; my life for it, it will shift ere morning. Let it but
change a point or two, and we shall lie our course. It comes--and fair
at last, and, rushing forward with augmenting speed, the gallant vessel
disparts the sparkling waters, and the keel cleaves the wave that keel
never cleft before; and objects fade, and objects rise, while, "like
a thing of life," the good ship hurries on. Cold must that spirit be
which owns no elemental influence, nor feels buoyant as the bark that
bears him onward to his destination!

As dinner ended, the altered motion of the yacht announced that we had
rounded Ushet Point, and left the shelter of the island. We were now
in the channel which separates Rathlin from the Scotch coast, and the
cutter felt the rising swell as her sharp bows plunged in the wave,
and flung it aside as if in scorn. The hissing noise with which the
smooth and coppered sides slipped through the yielding waters marked
our increased velocity. Yet we experienced little inconvenience; on the
morocco-cushioned sofa even a Roman might have reclined in comfort.
To every movement of the yacht the table gave an accommodating swing:
fragile porcelain and frail decanter remained there in full security;
and, though the wine-glass was filled to the brim, the rosewood surface
on which it stood was unstained by a single drop. Human luxury cannot
surpass that which a well-appointed yacht affords.

When we left the cabin for the deck, a new scene and a new sky were
presented. Evening was closing in; the light blue clouds of morning
were succeeded by a dark and lowering atmosphere; the wind was
freshening, and it came in partial squalls, accompanied by drizzling
rain. Rathlin, and the Irish highlands were fading fast away, while
the tower on the Mull of Cantire flung its sparkling light over the
dark waters, as if soliciting our approach. Two or three colliers we
had passed, were steering for the Clyde close astern; while a Glasgow
steamer, bound for Derry, came puffing by, and in a short time was lost
in the increasing haze.

Is there on earth or sea an object of more interest or beauty than
that lone building which relieves the benighted voyager from his
uncertainty? In nothing has modern intelligence been more usefully
displayed than in the superior lighting of the British seas. Harbour,
and rock, and shoal, have each their distinguishing beacon; and, when
he once sees the chalk cliffs of his native island, the returning
mariner may count himself at home. Light after light rises from the
murky horizon: there, flaring with the brilliancy of a fixed star;
here, meteor-like, shooting out its stream of fire, and momentarily
disappearing. On, nothing doubting, speeds the adventurous sailor,
until the anchor falls from the bows, and the vessel "safely rides."

The light upon Cantire burns steadily, and in moderate weather it is
visible at the distance of fifteen miles. It stands high, being upwards
of two hundred and thirty feet above the level of the sea. We skirted
the base of the cliff it occupies, and steered for the little island
of Sanna. Momentarily the sea rose, the night grew worse, the dim and
hazy twilight faded away, the wind piped louder, and the rain came down
in torrents. When the weather looked threatening the cutter had been
put under easy canvass, and now a further reduction was required. The
mainsail was double-reefed, the third jib shifted for a smaller one,
all above and below "made snug," and on we hurried.

The night was dark as a witch's cauldron when, rounding Sanna, we
caught the Pladda lights, placed on opposite towers, and bearing
from each other N. and S. It was easy to discover that we had got
the shelter of the land, as the pitching motion of the yacht changed
to a rushing velocity; but, though we found a smoother sea, the wind
freshened, the rain fell with unabated violence, and the breeze,
striking us in sudden gusts as it roared through the openings of the
islands, half-flooded the deck with a boiling sea that broke over the
bows, or forced itself through the lee-scuppers. Anxious to end our
dreary navigation, "Carry on!" was the word, and light after light
rose, and was lost successively. We passed the lights on Cumray; and,
presently, that on Toward, in Dumbarton, minutely revolving, burst
on the sight after its brief eclipse with dazzling brilliancy; while
from the opposite shores of the Frith the beacons of Air and Trune
were now and then distinctly visible. Our last meteor guide told that
our midnight voyage was nearly ended, and the pier-light of Greenock
enabled us to feel our way through a crowd of shipping abreast the
town. "Stand by, for'ard!--let go!" The anchor fell, the chain went
clattering through the hawse-hole; in a few seconds the cutter swung
head to wind, and there we were, safe as in a wet dock!

We descended to the cabin, first discarding our outward coverings at
the foot of the companion ladder. We came down like mermen, distilling
from every limb, water of earth and sky in pretty equal proportions;
but, glory to the Prophet and Macintosh! Flushing petticoats,
pea-jackets, sou'westers, and India-rubber boots, proved garments of
such excellent endurance, notwithstanding a three hours' pitiless
pelting of spray and rain, that we shuffled off our slough, and showed
in good and dry condition, as if we had the while been snug in the
royal mail, or, drier yet, engaged at a meeting of the Temperance
Society. And then came supper,--they _can_ cook in yachts!--and we
had run ninety miles since dinner; and that lobster salad, and those
broiled bones, with the joyous prospect which bottles of varied tint
upon yonder locker-head present, all would make--ay--a teetotaller
himself forswear his vows for ever.

All is snug for the night. The men have shifted their wet clothes,
and, as their supper is preparing, they crowd around the galley fire;
and jest and "laugh suppressed" are audible. What a change these few
brief minutes have effected! To the dreary darkness of a flooded deck,
the luxury of this lighted and luxurious cabin has succeeded. The
wind whistles through the shrouds, the rain falls spattering on the
skylight,--what matter?--_we_ heed them not; they merely recall the
discomfort of the past, which gives a heightened zest to the pleasure
of the passing hour. On rolled "the sandman" Time! the dial's finger
silently pointing at his stealthy course, and warning us to separate.

Presently every sound below was hushed. All felt that repose which
comfort succeeding hardship can best produce. In my own cabin I
listened for a brief space to the growling of the storm; sleep laid his
"leaden mace upon my lids;" I turned indolently in my cot, muttering
with the honest Boatswain in the "Tempest,"

    "Blow till thou burst thy wind, if room enough!"

and next moment was "fast as a watchman."



THE KEY OF GRANADA.

"Many of the families of Ghar el Milah are descendants of the Spanish
Moors; and, though none of them have retained any portion of the
language of Spain, yet many still possess the keys of their houses in
Granada and other towns."--_Sir Grenville Temple's "Barbary States."_


                 I.

    I keep the key,--though banish'd
      From blest Granada long,
    Our glorious race has vanish'd,
      Or lives alone in song.
    Though strangers in Alhambra
      May, idly musing, gaze
    On all the dying splendours
      That round her ruins blaze;
    Those towers had once a home for me,
    And still I keep the sacred key!


                 II.

    Alas! my eyes may never
      That lovely land behold,
    Where many a gentle river
      Flows over sands of gold.
    The sparkling waves of Darro
      For me may flow in vain;
    No Moorish foot may wander
      In lost, but cherish'd Spain!
    Yet once her walls had room for me,
    And still I keep the sacred key!


                 III.

    There often comes in slumber
      A vision sad and clear,
    When through Elvira's portals
      Abdalla's hosts appear.
    The keys of lost Granada
      To other hands are given,
    And all the power of ages
      One fatal hour has riven!
    No name,--no home remains for me,--
    But still I keep the sacred key!



GLORVINA, THE MAID OF MEATH.

(_Concluded from Vol. I. page 619._)


The board was spread. He sat at it abstracted for a time. The dead
silence of the place at last recalled him to himself. He was alone! He
sprang from his seat, and darted breathlessly to the outward door! No
one was in sight. Niall heaved a sigh that seemed to rend his breast,
as he wished that the eyes which looked in vain were closed for ever.
He returned to the table of repast; he took a small chain of hair from
his neck; he laid it on the cover that was before him: he approached
the door again. But the keepsake, that had never left its seat for many
a year, was too precious to him to be so discarded. He returned: he
lifted it, and, thrusting it into his bosom, pressed it again and again
to his heart, then again and again to his lips, drinking his own tears,
that fell fast and thick upon the loved and about-to-be-relinquished
token; he looked at it as well as he could through his blinded eyes,
convulsively sobbing forth the name of Glorvina. He made one effort,
as it were a thing which called for all the power of resolution, to
achieve that he desired to accomplish; and, violently casting the gift
of Glorvina down again, he tore himself away!

Oh, the feet which retrace in disappointment the path which they trod
in hope, how they move! Through how different a region do they bear
us--and yet the same! Niall's limbs bore him from the retreat of
Glorvina as if they acted in obedience to a spirit repugnant to his
own. He cast his eyes this way and that way to divert his thoughts from
the subject that engrossed them, and fix them upon the beauties of the
landscape; but there was no landscape there. Mountain, wood, torrent,
river, lake, were obliterated! Nothing was present but Glorvina.
Rich she stood before him in the bursting bloom of young womanhood!
Features, complexion, figure, voice--everything changed; and, oh, with
what enhancing! Her eyes, in which, four years before, sprightliness,
frankness, kindness, and unconsciousness used to shine,--what looked
from them now? New spirits! things of the soul which time brings forth
in season. Expression,--that face of the heart,--the thousand things
that it told in the moment or two that Niall looked upon the face
of Glorvina! A faintness came over the young man; his limbs seemed
suddenly to fail him; he felt as if his respiration were about to stop;
he stood still, he staggered, utter unconsciousness succeeded.

Niall opened his eyes. Slowly recollection returned. He was aware
that he had fainted, but certainly not in the place where he was
reclining,--a bank a few paces from the road. The repulse he had
met with from Glorvina returned to his recollection in full force.
He sighed, and thrust his hand into his bosom to press it to his
overcharged heart. His hand felt something there it did not expect to
meet! It drew forth the token of Glorvina! Niall could scarce believe
his vision. He looked again and again at the precious gift; he pressed
it to his lips; he thrust it into his breast; snatched it thence to
his lips again, and looked at it again; divided between incredulity
and certainty, past agony and present rapture. He looked about him;
no one was in sight. "How came it here?" exclaimed he to himself.
"Glorvina! Glorvina!" he continued, in tender accents, "was it thy
hand that placed it here? Hast thou been near me when I knew it not?
Didst thou follow me in pity,--perhaps, O transporting thought! in
kindness,--guessing from the untasted repast and the abandoned pledge
that Niall had departed in despair? If so, then art thou still my own
Glorvina! then shalt thou yet become the wife of Niall!"

"The wife of Niall!" repeated the echo, and echo after echo took it up.

Niall listened till the last reverberation died away.

"The wife of Niall!" he reiterated, in a yet louder voice, in the tone
of which exultation and joy were mingled.

"The wife of Niall!" cried the voice of the unseen lips.

"Once more, kind spirit!" exclaimed Niall; "once more!"

"Once more!" returned the echo.

"The wife of Niall!" ejaculated the youth, exerting his voice to its
utmost capacity; but he heard not the voice of the echo. The arms of
Glorvina were clasped about his neck, and her bright face was laid upon
his cheek!

"Companion of my childhood!--friend!--brother!" she exclaimed; and
would have gone on, but checked herself, looked in his eyes for a
moment, her forehead and her cheeks one blush, and buried her face in
his breast.

"Glorvina! Glorvina!" was all that Niall could utter in the intervals
of the kisses which he printed thick upon her shining hair. "Glorvina!
Glorvina!"

"Come!" said Glorvina, with a voice of music such as harp never yet
awakened; "come!" and straight led the way to her retreat.

Slow was their gait as they walked side by side, touching each other.
They spake not many words for a time. With the youth all language
seemed to be concentred in the name of Glorvina; in the name of Niall
with the maid. Suddenly Niall paused.

"How many a time," exclaimed Niall, "when I have been miles and miles
away, have I thought of the days when we used to walk thus! only my
arm used then to be around your waist, while yours was laid upon my
shoulder. Are we not the same Niall and Glorvina we were then?" The
maid paused in her turn. She hesitated, but the next second her arm
was on the shoulder of Niall; Niall's arm was again the girdle of
Glorvina's waist. Language began to flow. Glorvina related minutely, as
maiden modesty would permit her, the cause of her secluded retirement
and reported death. As she spake, Niall drew her closer to him, and
she shrank not; he leaned his cheek to hers, and she drew not away;
he drank her breath as it issued in thrilling melody from her lips,
and she breathed it yet more freely; she ceased, and those lips were
in contact with his own, and not compulsively. Simultaneously Niall
and Glorvina paused once more; they gazed--they cast a glance of
thankfulness to heaven--gazed again--and, speechless and motionless,
stood locked in one another's arms.

"Glorvina!" cried a voice.

The maid started and turned. Malachi stood before his daughter, the
bard behind him.

"Niall!" said Malachi. The youth was at the feet of the king. In a
moment the maid was there also. Malachi stood with folded arms, looking
thoughtfully and somewhat sternly down upon the prostrate pair. No one
broke silence for a time.

The bard was the first to speak.

"Malachi," said the bard, "what is so strong as destiny? Whose speed is
so swift? Whose foot is so sure? Who can outrace it, or elude it? Thy
stratagem is found out. The Dane asks for thy fair child, although thou
told'st him she was in the custody of the tomb. If thou showest her
not to him, he will search for her. Niall has come in time. The voice
of the prophetic Psalter has called him hither; he has come to espouse
thy fair child; a bride thou must present her to the Dane. In the feast
must begin the fray; by the fray will the peace be begotten that shall
give safety and repose to the land. Malachi, reach forth thy hands!
Lift thy children from the earth, and take them to thy bosom; and bow
thy head in reverence to Fate!"

The aged king obeyed. He raised Glorvina and Niall from the earth; he
placed his daughter's hand in that of the youth: he extended his arms;
they threw themselves into them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bright shone the hall of Malachi at the bridal feast in honour of the
nuptials of Niall and Glorvina; rapturously it rang with the harp and
with the voice of many a minstrel; but the string of the bard was
silent; his thoughts were not at the board; his absent looks rebuked
the hour of mirth and gratulation; watchfulness was in them, and
anxiety, and alarm. Still the mirth halted not, nor slackened. The
king was joyous; on the countenances of Niall and Glorvina sat the
smile of supreme content; the spirits of the guests were quickening
fast with hilarity; and dancing eyes saluted every new visitor as he
entered,--for the gates of the castle were thrown open to all. Suddenly
the eyes of the whole assembly were turned upon the bard. He had
started from his seat, and stood in the attitude of one who listens.

"Hark!" he cried. He was obeyed. The uproar of the banquet subsided
into breathless attention; yet nothing was heard, though the bard stood
listening still. The feast was slowly renewed.

"Cormack," said Malachi, in a tone of mingled good-nature and sarcasm,
"what did you call upon us to listen to?"

"The sound of steps that come!" replied the bard with solemnity, and
slowly resuming his seat.

"It is the steps of thy fingers along the strings then!" rejoined the
king. "Come!--strike! A joyful strain!"

"No joyful strain I strike," said the bard, "till the land shall be
free from him whose footsteps now are turned towards thy threshold, and
shall cross it ere the feast is half gone by."

"No joyful strain thou'lt strike till then!" said the king. "Come, take
thy harp, old man, and show thy skill; and play not the prophet when it
befits thee to be the reveller!"

The bard responded not by word, action, or look, to the command or
request of Malachi. He sat, all expectation, on the watch for something
that his ear was waiting for.

"Nay, then," said the king, "an thou wilt not play the bard, whose
office 'tis, thy master will do it for thee!" and Malachi pushed back
his seat, and reached to the harp, which stood neglected beside the
bard: he drew it towards him; his breast supported it; he extended his
arms, and spread his fingers over the strings. "Now!" said Malachi.

"Now!" said the bard, starting up again, as the harsh blast of a
trumpet arrested the hand of the king on the point of beginning the
strain. Malachi started up too. All were upon their feet; and every eye
was fixed upon the portal of the hall, beneath which stood Turgesius
with a group of attendants.

"He is come!" said the bard. "The feast is not crowned without the
fray! He is come!" he repeated, as Malachi strode from his place, and
with extended hand approached the visitor, who smilingly bowed to his
welcome, and followed him to the head of the board, round which he cast
his eyes till they alighted upon Glorvina. Malachi pointed to the seat
beside himself, as Niall half gave place.

"No!--there!" said Turgesius, pointing to the side of Glorvina. He
approached the place where she sat with a cheek now as white as her
nuptial vest; the person next her mechanically resigned his seat, and
the rover took it.

"The cup!" cried Turgesius. It was handed to him. With kindling eyes he
lifted it, holding it for a second or two at full length; then, turning
his gaze upon the bride, he gave "The health of Glorvina!"

"Glorvina!--Glorvina and Niall!" rang around the board. The Dane
started to his feet, snatching the cup from his lips, that were about
to touch it; and lifting it commandingly on high, "Glorvina!" he
repeated, casting a glance of haughty defiance round him; and, taking
a deep draught, with another glance at the company, sat down, riveting
his eyes upon the bride.

The cloud of wrath overcast the bright face of Niall as he watched the
licentious Dane. Frequently did he start, as upon the point of giving
way to some rash impulse, and then immediately check himself. Now and
then he looked towards the king, and turned away in disappointment to
see that Malachi thought of nothing but the feast, and noted not the
daring gaze which the rover kept bending on his child. He looked round
the board, and saw with satisfaction that he was not the only one in
whom festivity had given place to indignation; and, with the smile
of fixed resolve, he interchanged glances with eyes lighted up with
spirits like his own.

Turgesius plied the cup; and, as he drained it, waxed more and more
audacious. Regardless of the sufferings of the fair maid who sat
lost in confusion, he praised aloud the charms of Glorvina, and gave
utterance to the unholy passion with which they had inspired him.
Nor had he arrived at the limits of his presumption yet. He caught
her delicate hand, and held it in spite of her gentle, remonstrating
resistance. He dared to raise it to his lips, and hold it there,
covering it with kisses, till, the dread of consequences lost in the
dismay of outraged modesty, the royal maid by a sudden effort wrested
it from him, at the same time springing upon her feet with the design
of flying from the board; but the bold stranger, anticipating her, was
up as soon as she, and, grasping her by the rich swell of her white
arms, constrained her from departing.

"No!" cried Turgesius, bending his insolent gaze upon the now burning
face and neck of Glorvina. "No! enchanting one! Thus may not the Dane
be served by the woman that inflames his soul with love," and at the
same moment attempted to throw his arms around her.

"Desist, robber!" thundered forth the voice of Niall, and, at the same
moment, a goblet directed by his unerring aim stretched the Dane upon
the floor. Outcry at once took place of revelry. The attendants of
Turgesius, baring their weapons, rushed in the direction of Niall, but
stopped short at the sight of treble the number of their glaives waving
around him. They looked not for such hinderance. Since the Dane had
got the upper hand, the Irish youth had been forbidden the practice or
wearing of arms. They stopped, and stood irresolute. The voice of the
king restored order.

Malachi had hitherto sat strangely passive. He noted not the distress
of Glorvina, the audacity of the Dane, or the gathering wrath of Niall;
but the act of violence which had just taken place aroused him from his
abstraction. He rose; and, extending his hand, commanded in a voice of
impressive authority that the sword should be sheathed, and the seats
resumed. Then calling to his attendants, he pointed to his prostrate
guest, and signed to them to raise him, assisting them himself, and
giving directions that he should be conveyed to his own chamber, and
laid upon his own couch. This being performed, he motioned to Glorvina
to withdraw from the hall, which she precipitately did, followed by
her bridemaidens and other female friends, and casting an anxious,
commiserating look upon Niall, whose wonder at the meaning of such a
farewell was raised to astonishment, when, turning towards the king, he
encountered the stern, repelling, and indignant gaze of Malachi.

"Niall!" said the king, in a voice of suppressed rage, "depart our
castle! Depart our realms! Withdraw from all alliance with our house!
Our honour has been stained by thee to-night in thy unparalleled
violation of the rights of hospitality. This roof never witnessed
before now, the person of a guest profaned by a blow from its master,
or from its master's friend. Consummation awaits not the rites that
have been performed to-day. The obligation of those rites shall be
dissolved! We mingle blood no further! Thou art henceforward an
alien--an outlaw; and at the peril of thy life thou crossest, after
this, our threshold, or the confines of our rule!" So saying, Malachi
resumed his seat, and sat pointing in the direction of the door. Niall
stood for a moment or two without attempting to move. His countenance,
his limbs, his tongue seemed frozen by dismay and despair. At length
he clasped his hands, and lifting them along with his eyes, to heaven,
turned slowly from the king, and strode from the bridal feast.

Niall felt his cloak twitched as he issued from the portal. It was the
bard, who had quitted the hall before him, and remained waiting for the
young man.

"Niall," said the reverend man, "wilt thou now believe in the song of
Destiny? From the knowledge of the past confide for the future. Hear
what the Psalter saith:--'_The Dane shall rise from the couch, and
shall sit at the feast again; but in the fray that shall follow that
feast, he shall fall to rise no more._' The mountains are lofty in
Moran, my son, where Slieve Dannard sits, with his feet in the sea, his
head in the cloud, and his back to the lake of the lonely shieling.
Turn thy steed thither! Lo, the sound of his feet! He is coming to
receive thee."

One on horseback appeared, leading another steed.

"Mount," cried the bard, "and be ready."

Niall was in the saddle. "Glorvina!" was all he could utter as he wrung
the old man's hand. Several others on horseback came up. They were the
friends of Niall, who had come to the bridal feast.

"Come!" cried one of them.

"Not yet," interposed the bard. "There are more to join you. Hear you
not their horses' feet? You cannot be too many in company. Listen!"

Another came up, and another.

"Spurs!" exclaimed the old man; and the band of friends were in motion,
and away. Little they spoke,--merely what sufficed to concert a plan
for future meetings; and they dropped off one by one as the destination
of each called him from the common track, till three of the party were
all that now remained together,--Niall and two others.

"We may progress softly now," remarked one of his companions. "We have
crossed the boundaries of Meath, and half an hour will bring my lord to
the place where he is to rest."

In the voice of the speaker Niall recognised that of one of the oldest
of Malachi's household.

"The place where I am to rest?" echoed Niall.

"Yes, my lord," rejoined the other. "It has been prepared for you; nor
must you leave it till night sets in again. You will then forward with
all speed till you are met by those who expect you, and will conduct
you to where you must repose again. It will take you four nights to
reach your place of destination, whither I precede you."

"They who foresaw, have provided," said Niall, sighing.

"They have," responded the other.

"Had I been gifted with their reach of sight," exclaimed the young man,
"I should have provided too, and Glorvina were now at my side! I would
not have waited for the bridal feast! I would have borne her away the
moment the holy man had blessed us."

No further word was uttered, till, suddenly striking down a path that
belted a small wood, they came all at once upon a hut, at the door of
which they halted.

"Alight!" said Niall's guide.

Niall alighted, but the other kept his saddle; though his companion,
the third of the riders, had dismounted, unobserved by Niall till now.

"And now, my lord, good night!" said he that remained on horseback.
"The door opens, and light streams from it. You see you are expected. I
leave one to wait upon you while I go forward to make preparations for
your further progress. So, again good night!" added he, putting spurs
to his steed.

Niall entered the hut, the hearth of which was blazing. He threw
himself into a seat before the fire, and looked around him. The door of
an inner apartment was open. He saw that a couch was ready for him,
and such a one as he could hardly expect to meet with, in such an abode.

"Come in!" said the owner of the hut,--an aged woman. "Come in!"

"What's the matter?" inquired Niall.

"Thy companion stands without," replied the dame, "and will not come
in. Come in!" she repeated, but with no better success.

"Come in, friend," said Niall. "Nay," added he, "there is no need of
ceremony here;" and rising, went to the door, and reached his hand
to the other, who hesitatingly took it. "Whoever thou art, we are
companions for the time!" exclaimed Niall; "and, if they have no other
couch for thee, I will even give thee share of my own!"

Niall felt that his companion trembled as he pulled towards him the
hand that he held. A seat, hastily placed, received the figure, which,
but for the now supporting arms of Niall, would have fallen. Niall
quickly threw open the folds of an ample cloak to give the owner air.
What was his amazement to discover the form of a female! His heart
stopped for a second or two at the thought that flashed across him!
Another moment decided a question almost as momentous to him as that
of life or death, when, removing a hat that was slouched over the face
of the stranger, the bridegroom beheld his bride! Niall gazed upon his
Glorvina half-swooning in his arms!

"Revive!--revive, my loved one! My own!--my bride!--my wife!--my
Glorvina!--revive!" rapidly ejaculated Niall. "Not so bright breaks
the sun out of the storm, as thou, sweetest, my vision now! Where, a
moment ago, could I have found, in my soul, hope--comfort--anything
that belongs to happiness?--and, lo! now it overflows, full beyond
measure with content--bliss--transport! Revive, my Glorvina! Speak to
me! Thy form is in my arms! They feel that they surround thee, yet
with a doubt. Assure me 'tis thyself! Pour on my entranced ear the
music of thy rich voice! Convince me that it is indeed reality!--no
dream--no vision--but Glorvina--my own Glorvina encircled within my
arms--enfolded to the breast of Niall!"

Half-suspended animation became suddenly restored; the blood rushed to
the face and neck of the fair bride; she made an effort as if she would
be released from the embrace in which she sat locked, but it resisted
her. She desisted. She fixed her full eyes upon her lover. Affection,
and modesty, and honour, were blended in the gaze which they bent upon
him! The soul of Niall felt subdued. His arms, gradually relaxing their
pressure, fell from the lovely form which they could have held prisoner
for ever. He dropped on his knee at her feet; he caught her hand, and
pressed it to his lips with the fervour and deference of duteous,
idolizing love.

"Niall," said Glorvina, "I am thy bride; I have plighted my troth to
thee! Whatever be my worth,--in person, feature, heart, and mind,--I am
thine!--all thine!--thine, as the hand that now is locked in thy own is
a part of me! Yet--" She faltered, and her eyes fell; and she raised
them not again till she had concluded what she meant to say. "Yet," she
resumed, "I had not left my father's roof this night to follow thee,
but from the dread of outrage when thou wast no longer near me. I came
with thee--unknown to thee--for protection; for by thy side alone I
feel security. I feel I have a right to find it!--nowhere so entitled
to it! nowhere so sure to meet it!"

Glorvina ceased. Niall, still kneeling, kept gazing upon her face,
watching her lids till she would raise them. Slowly she lifted them,
as again and again he breathed her sweet name; till at length her eyes
encountered Niall's, beaming with reverence and love. He drew her
gently towards him. She did not resist. She bowed her fair head till
it rested on his shoulder; her arm half encircled his neck! It was a
moment of unutterable bliss,--yet but a moment! The very next was one
of alarm. The hoofs of a steed were heard. Niall darted towards the
door; his sword flew from its scabbard.

"Who comes?" he exclaimed, in a voice of defiance.

"A friend," replied the horseman; "but a friend who is the forerunner
of foes. You are pursued. I had only a dozen minutes the start of
them,--if so much! Listen to the words of one who loves thee--the
words of Cormack--of the bard. 'Tell him,' said he, 'thus saith the
Psalter:--_The land must obtain her freedom ere the bridegroom his
rights. What the altar shall grant must be enjoyed by means of the
sword!_ Niall must journey on to the lake of the lonely shieling!
Thither shall gather to him the choice and true among the sons of the
land. Them shall he train in arms. Them shall he bring with him to
fetch his bride, long wedded ere a wife. Glorvina must return! Niall
stood confounded; but Glorvina was herself. She rose from her seat. She
approached the door, and listened.

"They are at hand!" she cried. "I hear their trampling. Niall, I am
resolved. 'Tis vain to resist fate. Its hand it is that severs us for
the present. Thy life is in peril if they find thee. I go to meet them.
I will thereby stop pursuit. Farewell!"

Niall heard not. Glorvina reached her hand to the horseman, who helped
her up behind him. Niall saw it not! She extended her white arms
towards him; he moved not. Once more she said farewell, and not a word
did he utter in reply. She departed. Niall took no more note of her
vanishing form, than the post of the door against which he was leaning.

       *       *       *       *       *

Malachi impatiently awaited the return of those whom he had despatched
in pursuit of his daughter; whose flight, a Dane imposed upon the
confidence of Malachi as a spy, had betrayed to the king. Sternly the
father fixed his eyes upon his child as she entered; but with amazement
encountered looks as firm, as indignant as his own. He forgot the
reproaches that stood ready upon his lips. He gazed, but spake not.
Glorvina broke silence.

"Why hast thou taken back by force," said the maid, "what thou gavest
of free will? To whose custody behoves it thee to give thy child--her
husband's, or the ravisher's? Didst thou not sanction the vow? Didst
thou not say '_amen_' to the blessing? Why are they then of no avail,
and through thee? Did not thy command as a father cease when thou
resignedst me to a husband? Why is it then resumed, and that husband
alive? Did not the holy man pronounce us one? Why stand I here then
in thy castle without him by my side? Love, honour, obedience, did I
swear to render him; why have I been constrained to desert him, and by
the father too who listened to the oath?"

The maiden paused. Malachi remained silent. Yet longer she awaited his
reply; still he spake not.

"Thou hast welcomed in thy hall," she resumed, "whom thou shouldst
have laid dead at thy threshold!" Her eyes now flashed as she spoke.
"Thou hast extended the hand where thou shouldst have opposed the
sword, though thou, and thine, and all allied to thee, had perished by
the sword. Thou, a king, hast made friends with a robber, who, after
stripping thy neighbours, advanced to plunder thee; and holdest that
friendship on at the risk of dishonour to thy child,--whose modesty
was outraged at thy board with impunity from thee to the offender, and
with injury to him who dared resent the wrong. The dread of similar
insult--if not of worse, stronger than the opposition of maiden
reserve, compelled that child--unasked, unexpected, unpermitted--to
fly for protection where protection had been promised, accepted,
and sanctioned, but never experienced yet; and scarce had she found
it when she was wrested from it, and brought back--brought back to
the hall which the spoiler, whom she dreads, is as free to enter as
she! And now--" She broke off. The eyes of Malachi were fixed on the
ground; confusion, and care, and regret, were in his looks; a tear was
trickling down his cheek! The maiden essayed to go on, but could not.
Resolution wavered--it yielded more and more--it melted utterly away;
she rushed towards her father, and fell, kneeling at his feet, and
dissolved into tears. Malachi threw his arms around his child, lifted
her to his breast, and held her there, mingling his tears with hers;
both unconscious that Turgesius had entered the apartment, and stood
glaring upon them.

"She is found then?" said Turgesius. The father and child started, and
withdrew from one another's embrace. "'Tis well!" continued he; "and
now I will speak to thee what I have long borne in my mind to tell
thee. I love thy daughter."

Malachi stared at the Dane. His self-possession seemed to have utterly
left him. Not so was it with Glorvina. She drew her tall and stately
figure up till it towered again, as she stood collected with an
expression of calm scorn upon her brow and lip. Her eyes were cast
coldly down; her arms were folded upon her breast; she moved no more
than a statue.

"I love thy daughter," repeated the Dane impatiently.

"Well?" faltered forth Malachi.

"Well!" echoed the Dane. "Dost thou not comprehend my speech? Is it not
enough to say I love her? Need I tell thee I would _have_ what I love?
Requirest thou such wasting of words? Well, then, I love thy child, and
desire that thou wilt give her to me!"

Malachi mechanically moved his hand in the direction of his belt, but
his sword was not there. He rose--he advanced towards Turgesius--he
fixed upon him a look of fire--his lips trembling, and his cheek
wavering between red and pale, his hands clenched and trembling.
Turgesius in spite of himself drew back a pace.

"Dane," said the king, in the voice of rage suppressed, yet ready
to break forth, "dost thou ask me for the honour of my child? Dost
thou offer to bring shame upon the roof that has given thee welcome,
refreshment, and repose,--the roof of a king!--a king of ancient
line!--a warrior, and thy host!"

Turgesius stood momentarily abashed.

"Thy honour!" at length he cried, "the honour of thy child can stand in
no peril from me--a conqueror who profits wherever he smiles!--whose
favour is honour, wealth, life!" he added emphatically,--"life, without
which wealth and honour are of little avail! Come!" continued he,
suddenly grasping the wrists of the old king as if in cordiality.
"Come! Be no wrath between us! Thy armed men are few, and those less
thy subjects than my slaves! My bands hover on the borders of thy
kingdom; a part of them are here with their master in the very heart
of it. True thou hast said. Thou hast been my host; thou hast received
me as thy friend! I would not thou shouldst turn me into thy foe; for
little, as thou knowest, it would avail thee. Talk not of things that
are only imaginary, but pay heed to those that are real; for it is they
that concern thee most. I love thy daughter. Give her to me, and 'tis
well! Refuse her to me, and it is well still--for I will have her!"

"Not with life in her!" exclaimed the frantic father, suddenly freeing
himself from the hold of the Dane, rushing up to his daughter, plucking
from her hair the large golden pin that held her tresses up, and
pointing it to her heart. Turgesius stood transfixed. Glorvina never
started nor flinched; but leaned her cheek forward upon her father's
breast, looking up in his face and smiling. The king arrested his hand.
The savage stood lost in amaze.

"I thank thee, O my father!" Glorvina at length exclaimed; "thou lovest
indeed thy child! It is destiny, and not thou, that has afflicted her.
But--listen to thy Glorvina. On one condition I consent to leave thy
hall, and present me at the castle of Turgesius to await his pleasure."

"Name it, fair maiden!" cried Turgesius, his eyes sparkling up.

"Twenty fair cousins have I," resumed Glorvina, "whose beauty far
surpasses mine. They shall accompany me to the hold of Turgesius; he
shall compare them with me, and if he finds one among them whom he
prefers, her shall he take as my ransom. I doubt not of their consent.
In ten days we shall present ourselves at his gate. Agrees he to wait
that time, and retire to his hold till it expires? The conqueror of a
king is not unworthy a king's daughter!"

Malachi stared in amaze upon his child. Not so Turgesius. The
countenance of the libertine was lighted up with triumph. "Be it so!"
he exclaimed. "At the expiration of ten days I shall expect thee,
attended as thou promisest; but if thou exceedest the time the half
of another day, thou wilt not blame me, fair one, if I come to fetch
thee?" He then approached Malachi, and taking the hand of the king
without questioning whether it was given or not, shook it. Glorvina's
hand next endured his obtrusive courtesy. He clasped it, raised it
to his audacious lips, kissed it; and, turning exultingly away, with
confident tread strode down the hall, and, summoning his attendants,
departed from the castle.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ere a week had elapsed, the solitudes of Moran were peopled with the
youth of the adjacent country. From miles they gathered; one spirit
animating the breasts of all, one resolve,--to free the land, or
perish! Readily they placed themselves under the command of Niall.
He had won fame even while yet a boy. Then he had no competitor in
the feats of strength or dexterity; while his ever-modest, generous
bearing, divested defeat of chagrin on the part of the unsuccessful.
Since then, he had sojourned with the Saxon, whose art of warfare
he had thoroughly mastered, trained by the greatest captain of that
nation. With avidity his young countrymen availed themselves of his
instructions, and learned a mode of attack and defence superior to that
they had hitherto known. They practised incessantly the advance, the
retreat, the wheel, the close and open order, the line, and the square,
the use of the javelin, the sword, and the shield. Hour after hour
their numbers swelled. The first quarter of the moon had witnessed the
commencement of their gathering; the fourth looked upon them, a host
prepared, and almost equal to give battle to the Dane.

"Welcome, son of Cuthell!" exclaimed Niall, to a youth who, on a steed
of foam, drew near. "Welcome! You see what a company we have here
to greet you," continued he. "You see how we banquet! You like our
revelry, and are come to make one among us! You are welcome, son of
Cuthell! right welcome!"

The youth gazed with wonder upon the bands that, reclined upon the
borders of the lake of the lonely shieling, were enjoying a moment's
repose in an interval of practice; then, turning upon Niall a look full
of sad import, alighted, took him kindly by the hand, and led him yet
further apart from the companions of his exile.

"Niall!" began the young man, "it is a stout heart that defies the
point of the spear, or the edge of the glaive; but greater is the
fortitude that cowers not before the unseen weapons of misfortune. My
soul is heavy with the tidings that I bring. Shall I speak them? Will
Niall hear them, and not allow his manly spirit to faint?"

"Speak them!" said Niall. "Stay! Whom concern they? The evil thou
wouldst avert hath nearly come to pass. My soul sickens already! To
whom do the tidings relate that demand such preparation? To whom _can_
they relate but to Glorvina?" The head of Niall dropped upon his breast.

"Injury," rejoined the other, "hath ever its solace with the
brave,--revenge!"

"It has!" exclaimed Niall, rearing his head, and directing towards his
friend a glance of fire. "Is the maid in danger, or hath she suffered
wrong? the wedded maid that plighted her troth to Niall: the bride that
has not pressed the bridal couch?"

"The couch that she shall press with another," resumed the young man,
"is spread for her in the castle of Turgesius!" He paused, alarmed at
the looks of Niall, from whose face the blood had fled.

"Go on!" said Niall, after a time, articulating with difficulty; and,
with clenched hands, folding his arms tightly upon his breast. "Go
on!" he repeated, observing that the young man hesitated. "Tell me the
whole! It is worse, I see, than I feared; but go on! Keep nothing from
me!"

"Turgesius has demanded thy bride for his mistress, and Glorvina----"
The son of Cuthell stopped short, as if what was to follow was more
than he had fortitude to give utterance to.

"Has consented?" interrogated Niall, with a look of furious distraction.

"Has consented," rejoined the young man,

Niall stood transfixed for a minute or two; then smote his forehead
fiercely with his hand, groaned, and cast himself upon the earth.

The son of Cuthell left him to himself for a time. He spake not to him
till he saw that his passion had got vent in tears; then he accosted
him.

"Revenge," said he, "stands upon its feet. It braces its arm for the
blow! Not to see thee thus did I spur my steed into foam soon as I
learned the news. Within a month did Glorvina promise to surrender
herself to the arms of the rover. Five days remain unexpired. Up! Call
thy friends around thee! inform them of the wrong, the dishonour that
awaits thee. Ask them to avenge thee. Not a spear but will be grasped;
not a foot but will be ready! You shall march upon the castle of
Malachi. You shall demand your bride. You shall have her!"

Niall sprang from the ground; he hastened towards his bands; his looks
and pace spoke the errand of wrath and impatience. His friends were
on their feet without the summons of his tongue. They simultaneously
closed around him when he drew near, eagerness and inquiry in their
eyes, whose sparkling vouched for spirits that were not slow to kindle.

Niall told what he came to say; no voice replied to him. Silently the
warriors formed themselves into the order of march; then turned their
eyes upon Niall, waiting his command. He raised his sword aloft, and
his eyes went along with it, followed by the eyes of all his little
host. Slowly he bent the knee. Not a knee besides but also kissed the
earth.

"To Meath!" exclaimed Niall, springing up.

"To Meath!" shouted every warrior, as the whole stood erect.

Niall placed himself in the van; he moved on; they followed him.

The last morning of the month lighted up the towers of Malachi; but
gloomy was the brow of their lord. He paced his hall with hurried
steps, every now and then casting an uneasy glance towards the door
that communicated with the interior of the castle. The bard was seated
near the exterior portal, his harp reclining on his breast, his arms
extended across his frame, his fingers spread over its strings. Lively
and loud was the chord that he struck, and bold was the strain that he
began.

"What kind of strain is that?" demanded the king, suddenly stopping,
and directing towards the aged man a look of reproachful displeasure.

"The strain befits the day and the deed," replied the bard, and went on.

"Peace!" commanded Malachi.

"Not till the feet are announced," rejoined the bard, "that bring
the strife which maketh peace;" and he resumed the strain with new,
redoubled fire, nor paused till the portal resounded with the summons
of one impatient for admittance.

The portal opened. Pale and breathless was he that passed in.

"Thy news?" demanded Malachi.

He whom he accosted tried to find utterance, but could not. He had come
in speed; his strength and breath were exhausted. He stood for a minute
or two, tottering; then staggered towards a seat.

"A friend is coming," said the bard; "but he wears the face of a foe.
Nor does he come alone; but prepared to demand what was forbidden;--to
take what was withheld. Niall, with a host of warriors, is at thy gate.
Thy bands that watch thy foe have left thy friend free to approach
thee; but he comes in the form of the avenger."

Scarcely had the bard pronounced the last word when the hall was half
filled with armed men; Niall at their head. Jaded, yet fierce, were his
looks. He strode at once up to the king, and stood silent for a time,
confronting him.

"Niall!" said the king, confounded; and paused.

"Yes," said Niall, "it is I! the son-in-law of thy own election, come
to demand his rights! Where is my bride, king of Meath? Where is thy
daughter? the wedded maid who, denied to the arms of her bridegroom,
has consented to surrender herself to unhallowed embraces! O, Malachi!
accursed was the day when thou gavest welcome to the stranger, whose
summons at thy gate was the knock which he gave with the hilt of his
sword,--was the blast of the horn of war! Low lies the glory of thy
race! From the king of a people art thou shrunk into the minion of a
robber, who, not content with making a mockery of thy crown, brings
openly pollution to thy blood! Where is thy child? Does the roof of her
father still shelter her head? or does she hang it in shame beneath
that of Turgesius? Where is she? Reply, O king, and promptly! for
desperation grasps the weapons that we bring, and which we have sworn
shall receive no sheaths at our hands but the breasts of those who
dishonour us!"

So spake the youth, his glaive in his hand, his frame trembling with
high-wrought passion, his eye flashing, and his cheek on fire with the
hectic of rage, when Glorvina entered the hall.

She did not hang her head; she bore it proudly erect. A tiara of
gems encircled her brow; fair fell a robe of green from her graceful
shoulders. A girdle of gold round her waist confined the folds of
her under-dress, swelling luxuriantly upwards and downwards, and
falling to within an inch of her ankles, each of which a palm of a
moderate span might encircle. She advanced three or four paces into
the apartment, right in the direction of Niall, and then stood still;
still fixing her eyes steadily upon her bridegroom with an expression
in which neither defiance nor deprecation, neither reproach nor fear,
neither recklessness nor shame, but love--all love--was apparent. Niall
scarcely breathed! An awe came over his chafed spirit as he surveyed
his bride. The more he looked, the more the clouds of wrath rolled away
from his soul, until not a vestige of tempest remained. He uttered
tenderly the name of Glorvina. He cast down his eyes in repentant
humility; he approached her, half hesitating, without raising them. He
sank on his knee at her feet; Glorvina recoiled at the posture of her
lover. She extended her shining arms; she caught his hands in hers; she
almost raised him herself from the earth, and vanished with him from
the hall.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Dane looked from the ramparts at his castle. Twenty of his
chiefs--the choicest--were about him. Expectation was painted in the
looks of all. Their eyes were directed towards the same quarter.

"They come!" at length exclaimed Turgesius. "The maiden hath kept her
word. Yonder they issue from the wood!"

"Those are soldiers!" remarked one.

"Her attendants," rejoined Turgesius; "she comes as a royal maiden
should!"

"Then she is well attended. I'll answer for a hundred spears already;
and more are coming on."

"Let them!" said Turgesius. "Though they double the number, it were but
twenty for each fair virgin, and the princess to go without. Turn out
our bands, that we may receive them with all due courtesy!"

Turgesius and his chiefs descended; they issued from the castle-gate;
the bands of the Dane were drawn up ready to give salutation to the
visitors. The Irish party drew near; they halted within fifty paces of
the walls, and, unfolding their ranks, presented to the eyes of the
Dane, Glorvina and her kinswomen, faithful to the appointment of the
royal maid. All were veiled. Turgesius and his chiefs approached them;
and Glorvina, when they drew near, removed the thick gauze from her
face.

"Chieftain!" she spake, "I am here to keep my word. Conduct us into thy
castle. Compare me there with my kinswomen. If thou findest amongst
them, her whom thou deemest more deserving thy love than I, accept her
in place of me, and let me return to my father."

"Be it so!" said Turgesius, casting a significant glance around him
upon his chiefs; and led the way, Glorvina and her companions following.

They passed into the hall of banquet. Turgesius led Glorvina to the
head of the board, but not to place her there. He turned; and, as she
looked down the chamber along with him, she saw that his chiefs had
likewise entered it, and her respiration became difficult, and a chill
passed over her frame.

"Chiefs!" cried Turgesius, "you see what choice of beauty the bounty of
Malachi has presented to your lord; but he cares not to avail himself
of it. He asks not a damsel even to remove her veil, content with the
charms of the fair Glorvina. Her does he lead to the banquet which has
been prepared for her within. Welcome ye the daughters of Meath! Leave
them no cause to tax the sons of the Dane with want of gallantry."
Turgesius took the hand of Glorvina.

"Stay!" interposed the maid: "the Irish maiden sits not at the banquet
with the glaive in the girdle of the warrior; for the cup engenders
ire as well as mirth, and blood may flow as well as wine. Before my
kinswomen withdraw their veils, let thy chieftains deposit their
weapons without the hall, and each as he returns accept the first
maiden that commits herself to his courtesy, and conduct her to her
seat, nor ask her to remove the guard of modesty till all are in their
places."

The chiefs waited not for the reply of Turgesius. They passed quickly
out of the hall; they returned unarmed. All was performed as Glorvina
prescribed. She waited not for the invitation of Turgesius. Of her own
accord she entered the apartment prepared for the rover and herself.
Closely he followed her. The door was closed after him. He sprang
towards her, and caught her to his breast. She shrieked, and disengaged
herself. Again he approached her; but stopped short at the sight of a
dagger, which gleamed in her hand.

"Listen!" cried Glorvina.

Her injunction was unneeded: sounds, not of revelry but of anguish,
proceeded from the hall, with a noise as of heavy weights cast
violently upon the floor. Turgesius grew pale. His eyes glared with
alarm and inquiry.

"Listen!" again cried the maid. Sounds came from without as though the
storm of battle were on. Turgesius waxed paler still. Surprise and
terror seemed to have bereft him of the power of motion. He shook from
head to foot.

"Behold!" exclaimed Glorvina, as the door of the apartment was burst
open, and Niall presented himself, grasping a reeking brand. The robber
tottered. Life was almost extinct as the youth, twisting his hand in
the grey hairs of Turgesius, dragged him from the apartment to his doom.

Not a Dane survived that day.

A second bridal feast graced the hall of Malachi. Niall and Glorvina
were the bridegroom and the bride. The bard sat beside them with his
harp; but that harp was not silent now, nor sad. No guest unbidden came
to the door of that hall. No fray turned the tide of their revelry.
And when the bright Glorvina retired, with downcast eyes and crimsoned
cheek, the bridegroom himself arose, and, bowing to the king, lifted
the brimming cup, and, having cast his eyes around the board, drank

        "TO GLORVINA, THE HEROINE OF MEATH!"



PHELIM O'TOOLE'S

NINE _MUSE_-INGS ON HIS NATIVE COUNTY.

Tune--"_Cruiskeen lawn._"


    Let others spend their time
    In roaming foreign clime,
    To furnish them with rhyme
          For books:
    They'll never find a scene
    Like Wicklow's valleys green,
    Wet-nurs'd, the hills between,
          With brooks--
          Brooks--brooks,--
    Wet-nurs'd, the hills between,
          With brooks!

    _Oh! if I had a station
    In that part of creation,
    I'd study the first CAWS like rooks--
          Rooks--rooks,--
    I'd study the first CAWS like rooks!_

              II.

    Oh! how the Morning loves
    To climb the _Sugar-Loaves_,[17]
    And purple their dwarf groves
          Of heath!
    While cottage smoke below
    Reflects the bloomy glow,
    As up it winds, and slow,
          Its wreath--
          Wreath--wreath,--
    As up it winds, and slow,
          Its wreath!

    _Oh! how a man does wonder him
    When he 'as the big CONE-UNDER-HIM,
    And ask'd to guess his home beneath--
          'Neath--'neath,--
    And ask'd to guess his home beneath!_

              III.

    And there's the _Dargle_ deep,
    Where breezeless waters sleep,
    Or down their windings creep
          With fear;
    Lest, by their pebbly tread,
    They shake some lily's head,
    And cause, untimely shed,
          A tear--
          Tear--tear,--
    And cause, untimely shed,
          A tear!

    _Oh! my native Dargle,
    Long may you rinse and gargle
    Your rocky throat with stream so clear,
          Clear--clear,--
    Your rocky throat with stream so clear!_

              IV.

    And there is _Luggalaw_,
    A gem without a flaw,
    With lake, and glen, and shaw,
          So still;
    The new moon loves to sip
    Its dew with her young lip,
    Then takes a ling'ring trip
          O'er hill--
          Hill--hill,--
    Then takes a ling'ring trip
          O'er hill!

    _Oh! hungry bards might dally
    For ever in this valley,
    And always get their fancy's fill--
          Fill--fill,--
    And always get their fancy's fill!_

              V.

    And there's the "_Divil's Glin_,"
    That devil ne'er was in,
    Nor anything like sin
          To blight:
    The Morning hurries there
    To scent the myrtle air;
    She'd stop, if she might dare,
          Till night--
          Night--night,--
    She'd stop, if she might dare,
          Till night!

    _Oh! ye glassy streamlets,
    That bore the rocks like gimlets,
    There's nothing like your crystal bright,
          Bright--bright,--
    There's nothing like your crystal bright!_

              VI.

    And there's Ovoca's vale,
    And classic Annadale,[18]
    Where Psyche's gentle tale
          Was told:
    Where MOORE'S fam'd waters meet,
    And mix a draught more sweet
    Than flow'd at Pindus' feet
          Of old--
          Old--old,--
    Than flow'd at Pindus' feet
          Of old!

    _Oh! all it wants is whiskey
    To make it taste more frisky;
    Then ev'ry drop would be worth gold--
          Gold--gold,--
    Then ev'ry drop would be worth gold!_

              VII.

    And there's the _Waterfall_,
    That lulls its summer hall
    To sleep with voice as small
          As bee's:
    But when the winter rills
    Burst from the inward hills,
    A rock-rent thunder fills
          The breeze--
          Breeze--breeze,--
    A rock-rent thunder fills
          The breeze!

    _Oh! if the LAND was taught her
    To FALL as well as WATER,
    How much it would poor tenants please,
          Please--please,--
    How much it would poor tenants please!_

              VIII.

    And if you have a mind
    For sweet, sad thoughts inclined,
    In _Glendalough_ you'll find
          Them nigh:--
    _Kathleen_ and _Kevin's_ tale
    So sorrows that deep vale,
    That birds all songless sail
          Its sky--
          Its sky--sky,--
    That birds all songless sail
          Its sky!

    _Oh! cruel Saint was Kevin
    To shun her eyes' blue heaven,
    Then drown her in the lake hard by--
          By--by,--
    Would I have sarved her so?--not I!_

              IX.

    And there's--But what's the use
    Of praising _Scalp_ or _Douce_?--
    The wide world can't produce
          Such sights:
    So I will sing adieu
    To Wicklow's hills so blue,
    And green vales glittering through
          Dim lights--
          Lights--lights,--
    And green vales glittering through
          Dim lights!

    _Oh! I could from December
    Until the next November
    MUSE on this way both days and nights,
          Nights--nights,--
    MUSE on this way both days and nights!_


FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 17: Two hills in the county of Wicklow, so called from their
conical shape.]

[Footnote 18: The residence of the late Mrs. Henry Tighe, the charming
authoress of "Psyche."]



SONG OF THE MONTH. No. X.

=October, 1837.=


                          I.

    You may talk of St. Valentine all his month round,
      And discourse about June for some brace of days longer;
    But no saint in the Kalendar ever was found,
      Throughout the whole year, either merrier or stronger
    Than his reverence to whom you must now fill your glass,--
      Many years to him, whether tipsy or sober!--
    And his name when you've heard, you will let the malt pass,
      Singing "Hip, hip, hurrah! here's success to October!"

                          II.

    Were I Dan Maclise, his sweet saintship I'd paint
      With his face like John Reeve's, and in each hand a rummer;
    And write underneath, "Oh! good luck to the saint
      Who comes in the days between winter and summer!"
    Yes, the jolly gay chap has well chosen his time,
      He is here as the leaves are beginning to yellow,
    For he knows it is not when the grapes are in prime
      That their juice is most fit for a hearty gay fellow.

                          III.

    And though, without leave from the council or pope,
      In Bentley's Miscellany I canonize him
    Thus late in the day, still I'm not without hope
      There are some who, perhaps, will not wholly despise him:
    Tis for such lads as they are, and each jolly lass,
      Who can smile on them whether they're tipsy or sober,
    That new saints should be made. Come, then, fill up each glass,
      And "Hip, hip, hurrah! one cheer more for October!"



THE POISONERS OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

BY GEORGE HOGARTH.

No. II.


Our Scottish Solomon, King James the First, amongst other instances
of wisdom, was especially addicted to favourites. During his whole
reign he was governed by a succession of minions. His prime favourite,
Buckingham, (the celebrated "Steeny,") was preceded in his affections
by a man little less remarkable, the Earl of Somerset. Robert Carr, a
young man of a respectable Scotch family, appeared at court very soon
after James's accession to the English crown. At a tilting-match, where
the king was present, Carr by an accident was thrown from his horse,
and had his leg broken. The king, who had been struck with his handsome
figure, made him be attended by his own surgeons, visited him daily,
and soon became immoderately fond of his society. The young favourite
did not neglect the means of advancement; before many months were over
he was knighted and made a gentleman of the bedchamber, and from that
time became all-powerful at court. There is a letter from Lord Thomas
Howard to Sir John Harrington, written about the year 1608, which
shows the feelings of the courtiers upon the subject. "Carr," says the
writer, "hath all the favours, as I told you before. The king teacheth
him Latin every morning, and I think some one should teach him English
too; for he is a Scottish lad, and hath much need of better language.
The king doth much covet his presence: the ladies, too, are not behind
hand in their admiration; for, I tell you, good knight, this fellow
is straight-limbed, well-favoured, and smooth-faced, with some sort
of cunning and show of modesty, though, God wot, he well knoweth when
to show his impudence. Your lady is virtuous, and somewhat of a good
housewife; has lived in a court in her time, and I believe you may
venture her forth again; but I know those would not so quietly rest,
were Carr to leer on their wives, as some do perceive, yea, and like it
well too they should be so noticed. If any mischance be to be wished,
'tis breaking a leg in the king's presence; for this fellow owes all
his favour to that bout. I think he hath better reason to speak well of
his own horse than the king's roan jennet. We are almost worn out in
our endeavours to keep pace with this fellow in his duty and labour to
gain favour, but in vain; where it endeth I cannot guess, but honours
are talked of speedily for him." These honours speedily followed, Carr
having been soon afterwards created Viscount Rochester.

Robert, Earl of Essex, the son of the unfortunate favourite of Queen
Elizabeth, had married, in the year 1603, the Lady Frances Howard,
eldest daughter of the Earl of Suffolk. The earl was only fourteen, and
his bride a year younger. Immediately after the marriage the young earl
was sent abroad on his travels, the countess remaining at court,--of
which she was one of the brightest ornaments. Under a form, however,
of singular loveliness, she concealed a mind of not less singular
depravity. When Essex returned, after a few years' absence, he found
her affections quite estranged from him. She had conceived a passion
for the handsome favourite, and received her husband with contemptuous
coldness; while she endeavoured, by her arts and allurements, to
captivate the object of her guilty flame. To these means she added
others more peculiarly characteristic of the age. There was a woman of
the name of Turner, a servant or dependant of the countess's family,
and with whom she appears to have associated much in her childhood and
youth. This woman was of an atrocious character, and soon succeeded in
making her patroness as wicked as herself. Mrs. Turner, as well as the
countess, had an illicit amour; and they were in the habit of resorting
to a Dr. Forman, a celebrated quack and dealer in magic, in order, by
means of love-philters and conjurations, to obtain the objects of their
wishes.

Whether Dr. Forman's charms prevailed, or the countess's own were
sufficient, Rochester was soon caught; and a guilty _liaison_ was
formed between them.

Sir Thomas Overbury was then Lord Rochester's secretary. He was an able
and accomplished man, in the prime of life, of a bold and aspiring
disposition; and, being high in the good graces of the reigning
favourite, appeared to be on the road to political distinction. To
the raw youth, who had had "greatness thrust upon him" so rapidly,
the services of a man of parts and experience were invaluable; and
Overbury, by acting as the guide and counsellor of the favourite,
directed, in a great measure, the movements of majesty itself.

Rochester made Overbury the confidant of his intrigue with Lady Essex;
and the secretary, in order to pay his court to his patron, encouraged
and assisted him in the prosecution of it. He even composed the
_billets-doux_ which the illiterate lover sent to his _inamorata_.

The countess, not content with the clandestine indulgence of her
adulterous passion, now conceived the idea of getting rid of her
husband. The intercourse between her and Rochester had become so
shameless and open that it was loudly talked of by the world; and
it appeared evident that a divorce from her husband, followed by a
marriage with her lover, was the only way to prevent their separation.
The countess, therefore, instituted proceedings against her husband for
a divorce, on grounds to which only a shameless and abandoned woman
could think of resorting. The favourite gained the king's sanction and
support to this scandalous suit; and, after a course of procedure which
is a disgrace to the judicature of that age, a sentence of divorce was
pronounced by judges influenced and intimidated by the king himself,
whose interference was grossly arbitrary and indecent. Within six weeks
after the divorce, Lady Essex was married to Rochester, whom the king
had previously created Earl of Somerset.

While his patron's connexion with Lady Essex was merely an adulterous
intrigue, Overbury had no objection to it; but he seems to have been
shocked and frightened at the idea of Lord Rochester's marrying a
woman of whose atrocious character he was well aware. He, therefore,
earnestly dissuaded Rochester from this marriage. One night, when they
were walking together in the gallery at Whitehall, Overbury made use of
the most earnest remonstrances.

"Well, my lord," he said, "if you do marry that base woman you will
utterly ruin your honour and yourself. You shall never do it by my
advice, or with my consent; and, if you do, you had best look to stand
fast."

"My own legs are strong enough to bear me up," cried Rochester, stung
with such language applied to a woman whose fascinations retained all
their power over him; "but, in faith, I will be even with you for
this." So saying, he flung away in a rage, and left the place. The
conference was terminated with such heat that the words of the speakers
were overheard by persons in an adjoining room, who soon had cause to
remember them.

Rochester allowed his resentment apparently to subside, and treated
his secretary as before. He even requested the king, as a mark of
favour, to appoint Overbury ambassador to Russia. The king complied;
and Overbury accepted the appointment with great alacrity. But this act
of kindness, as it seemed to be, on the part of Somerset, was the first
step to a deep and deadly revenge for the insult to the woman whom he
had resolved to marry, and whose fury he had roused by informing her of
what had passed.

Having allowed Overbury to accept the office which he had procured
for him, Somerset now advised him to decline it. "If you serve as
ambassador," he said, "I shall not be able to do you so much good as if
you remain with me. If you are blamed, or even committed for refusing,"
he added, "never mind: I will take care that you meet with no harm."
Overbury, in an evil hour, listened to this perfidious counsel, sent
his resignation to the king, and was instantly sent to the Tower.

Sent to the Tower for declining to accept an office! Even so. Such was
the "Divine right" of an absolute king, in England, in the seventeenth
century. Without even the shadow, or the accusation, of a crime, Sir
Thomas Overbury was immured in a dungeon, because he declined the
honour of being sent as ambassador to Russia.

This act of tyranny was committed at the instigation of the favourite;
and Overbury, in the Tower, was entirely in the hands of his enemies.
Somerset, in the first place, obtained from the king the dismissal of
the lieutenant of the Tower, and the appointment, in his stead, of Sir
Jervis Elwes, one of Somerset's creatures. One Richard Weston, who had
been shopman to an apothecary, was made under-keeper, and specially
charged with the custody of Overbury. This man had been an agent of
Lady Essex in her secret transactions with Dr. Forman and Mrs. Turner,
and in affording opportunities for her guilty meetings with Lord
Rochester at Mrs. Turner's house, and elsewhere, and was quite ready
to perpetrate any deed of darkness which they might desire. Weston,
thus become Overbury's keeper, confined him so closely that he was
scarcely permitted to see the light of day; and debarred him from all
intercourse with his family, relations, and friends.[19]

The associates in wickedness lost no time in commencing their
operations on their victim, whom they had determined to destroy by
degrees, so as to prevent suspicion. Weston, on the very day he became
Overbury's keeper, administered to him a slow poison, provided by Mrs.
Turner; and, from that time, some poisonous substance was mingled with
every article of food or drink which was given him. "He never ate
white salt," said one of the witnesses on the trials which afterwards
took place, "but there was white arsenic put into it. Once he desired
pig, and Mrs. Turner put into it _lapis costitus_ (lunar caustic). At
another time he had two partridges sent him from the court; and water
and onions being the sauce, Mrs. Turner put in cantharides instead of
pepper; so that there was scarce any thing that he did eat but there
was some poison mixed."

Under such treatment Overbury's constitution (which seems to have been
of extraordinary strength) began to give way. Relying on Rochester's
promise, that his refusal to accept the embassy should bring him to no
harm, he daily expected his release. After remaining in this state for
three or four weeks, he wrote to Rochester, urging him to remember his
promise, and received for answer that "the time would not suffer; but,
as soon as possible might be, he would hasten his delivery;" a promise
which he certainly intended to fulfil, though not in the sense in which
it was meant to be understood. By way of "hastening his delivery,"
Rochester sent him a letter, containing a white powder, which he
desired him to take. "It will," he said, "make you more sick; but fear
not: I will make this a means for your delivery, and the recovery of
your health." Unsuspicious of treachery, Overbury took the powder,
which acted upon him violently, and (as he indeed expected) increased
his sickness. Weston afterwards confessed that it was arsenic.

In this situation Overbury languished for two months, growing worse
and worse. His suspicions being now, to some extent, awakened, he
wrote to Rochester: "Sir,--I wonder you have not yet found means to
effect my delivery; but I remember you said you would be even with me,
and so indeed you are: but, assure yourself, my lord, if you do not
release me, but suffer me thus to die, my blood will be required at
your hands." Overbury appears to have remembered Rochester's threat
that he would be even with him for the manner in which he had spoken of
Lady Essex; but never seems to have dreamed that more was meant than
to punish him by a protracted imprisonment. He therefore was satisfied
with the explanations and excuses sent him by Lord Rochester, who
affected, at the same time, to show the utmost anxiety for his comfort.
He was daily visited by creatures of Lord Rochester and Lady Essex, who
delivered him encouraging messages from Rochester, and pretended to
furnish him with various comforts in the articles of food and drink,
which he could not otherwise have had in the Tower. To gratify a sickly
appetite he expressed a wish for tarts and jellies, which were provided
by Mrs. Turner, and sent to Elwes, the lieutenant of the Tower, to be
given to Overbury, by Lord Rochester and Lady Essex. These sweetmeats
were not poisoned at first; but the poisoned ones were accompanied
by a letter from Lady Essex to Elwes, in which she said, "I was bid
to tell you that in the tarts and jellies there are _letters_, but
in the wine none; and of that you may take yourself, and give your
wife, but, of the other, not. Give him these tarts and jelly this
night, and all shall be well." The meaning of the word, _letters_, is
sufficiently evident; but the countess afterwards removed any doubt
on the subject, by confessing, on her trial, that "by _letters_ she
meant poison." Rochester appears to have been then residing at some
little distance from town; for Lady Essex was the immediate agent in
these transactions, and carried on a correspondence with Rochester on
the subject. In one of his letters to her he expressed his wonder "that
things were not yet despatched;" on which she sent instructions to
Weston to despatch Overbury quickly. Weston's answer was, that he had
already given him as much as would poison twenty men. Still, however,
the victim survived. He was now reduced to extremity; but the patience
of his destroyers was exhausted, and they put an end to his sufferings
by a dose of corrosive sublimate. He died in October 1613, having been
for nearly six months in their hands. His body, carelessly wrapped in a
sheet, was buried in a pit on the very day of his death, without having
been seen by any of his friends, or the holding of a coroner's inquest;
though, as Elwes admitted on his trial, the duty of the lieutenant of
the Tower was, that if any prisoner died there, his body was to be
viewed, and an inquisition taken by the coroner. These circumstances
excited suspicion, and Overbury's relations were persuaded to take
some steps towards the prosecution of an inquiry: but the attempt was
defeated by the power and influence of the noble criminals.

The marriage between Rochester, now Earl of Somerset, and Lady Essex,
took place in February 1614, four months after the close of this
tragedy. It was celebrated with a pomp and splendour more befitting the
nuptials of a prince than those of a subject. The king himself gave
away the bride. A masque, according to the fashion of the times, was
exhibited by the courtiers, and another by the gentlemen of Gray's Inn;
their repugnance to this act of sycophancy having been overcome, it
is said, by the persuasions of Bacon,--a man whose moral deficiencies
formed a strange contrast to his almost superhuman vastness of
intellect. A splendid banquet, too, was given by the City, at which
the king, queen, and all the court, were present. But the public knew
enough of the open profligacy of this brilliant pair to look upon them
with indignation,--a feeling accompanied with abhorrence of the dark
deeds already strongly suspected.

Somerset was now at the height of his greatness; but he no longer
possessed the qualities which had gained him the king's favour. His
appearance and manners underwent a total change. His countenance became
care-worn and haggard; his dress neglected; his manners morose and
gloomy. The alteration was apparent to all; and the king became weary
of one who no longer ministered to his amusement. His majesty had now,
too, found a new favourite,--George Villiers, afterwards the famous
Duke of Buckingham, who gained James's affections by the same means
as Somerset himself had done,--a handsome person, graceful manners,
quick parts, and courtly obsequiousness. These two men became rivals
and enemies. Somerset was universally odious from his arrogance and
rapacity; and Villiers was looked upon with favour as the probable
instrument of his fall. Somerset, now aware of his danger, and
trembling for the discovery of his guilt when he might no longer have
the king for a protector, availed himself of his remaining influence
with James to obtain from him a pardon for all past offences. This
he begged as a safeguard against the consequences of any errors
into which he might have fallen in the high offices which he had
held, and the secret and important affairs with which it had been his
majesty's pleasure to intrust him. Strange to say, the king signed a
document, whereby he pardoned "all manner of treasons, misprisions of
treasons, murders, felonies, and outrages whatsoever, committed, or
to be committed," by Somerset. But, when this deed was carried to the
Lord Chancellor, he absolutely refused to affix the great seal to it,
declaring it to be absolutely illegal. No importunity could prevail on
him to yield; and Somerset remained without the shield with which he
had endeavoured to provide himself.

The rivalry between the favourites went on increasing; but the Earl
of Somerset's rank and standing still gave him the ascendancy. The
king wished them reconciled; and, for this purpose, desired Villiers
to wait on Somerset with a tender of his duty and attachment. But the
haughty earl, though he had received a hint that the king expected
this offer to be graciously received, spurned at it. "I will none of
your service," was his answer, "and you shall none of my favour. I
will, if I can, break your neck, and of that be confident." It was
immediately after this interview that an inquiry was set on foot into
the circumstances of Overbury's murder; and the supposition of a
contemporary writer is not improbable, that, "had Somerset complied
with Villiers, Overbury's death had still been raked up in his own
ashes."

The first step that appears to have been taken in this inquiry was a
private examination of Sir Jervis Elwes, the lieutenant of the Tower,
by the king himself, who piqued himself on his skill in conducting
judicial investigations; in which, indeed, he had acquired great
experience during his turbulent reign in Scotland. Pressed by the
king's questions, Elwes admitted his knowledge of Weston's intention
to poison his prisoner, but denied his own participation in the crime.
Weston, being apprehended and examined, admitted circumstances which
involved Mrs. Turner, and the Earl and Countess of Somerset. The
king issued his warrant for the commitment of the earl and countess
to private custody, which was executed on the 15th October 1615. The
circumstances attending this arrest, as related by a contemporary,
Sir Anthony Weldon, in his "_Court and Character of King James_," are
curious, and characteristic of that monarch.

"The day," says this writer, "the king went from Whitehall to
Theobald's, and so to Royston, the king sent for all the judges, (his
lords and servants encircling him,) where, kneeling down in the midst,
he used these words:--'My lords the judges, it is lately come to my
hearing that you have now in examination a business of poisoning. Lord,
in what a miserable condition shall this kingdom be, (the only famous
nation for hospitality in the world,) if our tables should become such
a snare as none could eat without danger of life, and that Italian
custom should be introduced among us! Therefore, my lords, I charge
you, as you will answer it at that great and dreadful day of judgment,
that you examine it strictly, without favour, affection, or partiality;
and, if you shall spare any guilty of this crime, God's curse light on
you and your posterity; and, if _I_ spare any that are guilty, God's
curse light on me and my posterity for ever!'"

We shall presently see how his majesty kept this solemn vow, uttered
in such awful terms. "The king, with this," continues Weldon, "took
his farewell for a time of London, and was accompanied with Somerset
to Royston, where, no sooner he brought him, but instantly took leave,
little imagining what viper lay among the herbs; nor must I forget to
let you know how perfect the king was in the art of dissimulation,
or, to give it his own phrase, kingcraft. The Earl of Somerset never
parted from him with more seeming affection than at this time, when he
knew Somerset would never see him more; and, had you seen that seeming
affection,--as the author himself did,--you would rather have believed
he was in his rising than setting. The earl, when he kissed his hand,
the king hung about his neck, slabbering his cheeks, saying, 'For God's
sake, when shall I see thee again? On my soul I shall neither eat nor
sleep until you come again.' The earl told him 'On Monday,'--this
being the Friday. 'For God's sake, let me!' said the king. 'Shall I?
shall I?' then lolled about his neck. 'Then, for God's sake, give thy
lady this kiss for me!' In the same manner at the stairs' head, at
the middle of the stairs, and at the stairs' foot. The earl was not
in his coach when the king used these very words in the hearing of
four servants, one of whom was Somerset's great creature, and of the
bed-chamber, who reported it instantly to the author of this history;
'I shall never see his face more.'"

It afterwards appeared that, when Somerset returned to London, he found
that his wife had received the fatal tidings of Weston's apprehension.
There was an apothecary of the name of Franklin who had been employed
by the countess and Mrs. Turner to procure the poisons. At a late hour
in the night Mrs. Turner was despatched to bring this man to the earl's
house. When he arrived, he found the countess in a state of violent
agitation. "Weston," she said, "was taken; he should likely be seized
immediately, and they should all be hanged." She went into an inner
room, where Franklin heard her conversing with her husband. On her
return she again urged Franklin to be silent, and made him swear not
to reveal any thing. "The lords," she told him, "if they examine you,
will put you in the hope of a pardon upon confession: but believe them
not; for, when they have got out of you what they want, we shall all be
hanged." "Nay, madam," said Mrs. Turner, who was in the room, "I will
not be hanged for you both." That same night, or next morning, the earl
and countess, with Mrs. Turner, were arrested, and committed to prison.

Weston was first tried. At first, by the direction of Serjeant
Yelverton, "an obliged servant of the house of Howard," he stood mute,
and refused to plead; but, after a few days, the terror of being
pressed to death overcame his resolution, and he pleaded "Not guilty."
The circumstances already detailed, in which he was concerned, were
fully proved. He himself confessed that he had been the medium of
the correspondence carried on between Lord Rochester and Lady Essex,
not only in regard to the poisoning of Overbury, but during their
adulterous intercourse; and he also confessed that, after Overbury's
death he had received, as a reward, one hundred and eighty pounds
from the countess, by the hands of Mrs. Turner. He was convicted, and
executed at Tyburn. At the time of his execution, Sir John Holles and
Sir John Wentworth, friends of the Earl of Somerset, went to Tyburn,
and urged Weston to deny what he had before confessed; but he refused
to do so: and these gentlemen were afterwards prosecuted in the
Star-Chamber for traducing the king's justice in these proceedings.

The next trial was that of Mrs. Turner. It excited intense interest,
as it involved, besides the murder of Overbury, the circumstances of
Lady Essex's connexion with Rochester. Some letters from the countess
to Mrs. Turner, and Forman the conjuror, were read, and are preserved
in the record of the proceedings. To Mrs. Turner, (whom she addresses
"Sweet Turner,") after complaining of her misery in her husband's
society, and giving vent to her passion for Rochester, she says, "As
you have taken pains all this while for me, so now do all you can,
for I was never so unhappy as now; for I am not able to endure the
miseries that are coming upon me, but I cannot be happy so long as
this man liveth: therefore, _pray for me_,(!) for I have need, and I
should be better if I had your company to ease my mind. Let _him_ know
this ill news" (her husband's insisting on cohabiting with her); if
I can get this done, you shall have as much money as you can demand:
this is fair-play. Your sister, FRANCES ESSEX." In a letter to Forman,
she says, "Sweet father,--I must still crave your love, although I
hope I have it, and shall deserve it better hereafter. Keep the lord
[Rochester] still to me, for that I desire; and be careful you name
me not to anybody, for we have so many spies that you must use all
your wits,--and all little enough, for the world is against me, and
the heavens favour me not. Only happy in your love, I hope you will
do me good; and, if I be ungrateful, let all mischief come unto me.
My lord is lusty and merry, and drinketh with his men; and all the
content he gives me is to abuse me, and use me as doggedly as before.
I think I shall never be happy in this world, because he hinders my
good; and will ever, I think so. Remember, I beg, for God's sake, and
get me out from this vile place. Your affectionate loving daughter,
FRANCES ESSEX." Some of the magical implements made use of by these
wretches, such as images, pictures, &c. were exhibited in court. "At
the showing of these," says the account in the _State Trials_, "there
was heard a crack from the scaffolds, which caused great fear, tumult,
and confusion among the spectators, and throughout the hall; every one
fearing hurt, as if the devil had been present, and grown angry to
have his workmanship showed by such as were not his scholars. There
was also a note showed in the court made by Dr. Forman, and written on
parchment, signifying what ladies loved what lords in court; but the
Lord Chief Justice would not suffer it to be read openly in court." The
scandal of the day was, that Coke suppressed the note because he found
his own wife's name at the beginning of it.

Mrs. Turner's share in the death of Overbury was amply proved; and Coke
pronounced sentence upon her, telling her that she had been guilty of
the seven deadly sins, among which he enumerated witchcraft and popery.
"Upon the Wednesday following," says the account of the trial, "she was
brought from the sheriff's in a coach to Newgate, and was there put
into a cart; and, _casting money often among the people as she went_,
she was carried to Tyburn, where she was executed, and whither many
men and women of fashion came in coaches to see her die; to whom she
made a speech, desiring them not to rejoice at her fall, but to take
example by her. She exhorted them to serve God, and abandon pride and
all other sins; related her breeding with the Countess of Somerset,
having had no other means to maintain her and her children but what
came from the countess; and said further, that, when her hand was once
in the business, she knew the revealing it would be her overthrow. The
which, with other like speeches, and great penitency there showed,
moved the spectators to great pity and grief for her."

Immediately after Mrs. Turner's execution, Sir Jervis Elwes, the
lieutenant of the Tower, was brought to trial. He was convicted upon
the evidence of the correspondence which he had held with the Earl
and Countess of Somerset, and also with the Earl of Northampton, the
countess's uncle; from which it appeared that that nobleman had been
deeply implicated in Overbury's murder. By the letters read on this and
some of the other trials it was shown that Northampton was not only
aware of Somerset's adulterous intercourse with his niece, but had
aided them in carrying it on; that he had been a principal promoter
of the scandalous divorce, and the equally scandalous marriage which
followed it; and that he was not only privy to the murder, but actively
instrumental in the steps taken to conceal the crime. He was, however,
freed by his death the preceding year from the earthly retribution
which would now have overtaken him. In the course of this trial the
name of Sir Thomas Monson, the chief falconer, was also implicated;
it having appeared that through his recommendation Weston had been
employed as Overbury's keeper, and that he was at least aware of the
crime. One of the principal pieces of evidence was the voluntary
confession of Franklin the apothecary, who had been employed to provide
the poisons. This man, among many other things, said, "Mrs. Turner came
to me from the countess, and wished me from her to get the strongest
poison I could for Sir Thomas Overbury. Accordingly I bought seven,
viz. aquafortis, white arsenic, mercury, powder of diamonds, lapis
costitus (lunar caustic), great spiders, and cantharides: all these
were given to Sir Thomas Overbury at several times." He declared also,
that the lieutenant knew of these poisons: "for that appeared," he
said, "by, many letters which he writ to the Countess of Essex, which
I saw, and thereby knew that he knew of this matter."--"For these
poisons," he further said, "the countess sent me rewards. She sent
many times gold by Mrs. Turner. She afterwards wrote unto me to buy
more poisons. I went unto her, and told her I was weary of it; and
I besought her upon my knees that she would use me no more in these
matters: but she importuned me, bade me go, and enticed me with fair
speeches and rewards; so she overcame me, and did bewitch me." The
cause of the poisoning, he said, as the countess told him, was because
Sir Thomas Overbury would pry so far into their suit (the divorce) as
he would put them down. He added, that, on the marriage-day of the
countess with Somerset, (which was after Overbury's death,) she sent
him twenty pounds by Mrs. Turner, and he was to have been paid by
the countess two hundred pounds per annum during his life. The Lord
Chief Justice, when he produced Franklin's confession upon this trial,
prefaced his reading of it by informing the court that this poor man,
not knowing Sir Jervis should come to his trial, had come to him that
morning at five o'clock, and told him that he was much troubled in his
conscience, and could not rest until he had made his confession: "and
it is such a one," added the Chief Justice, "as the eye of England
never saw, nor the ear of Christendom ever heard." Sir Jervis, who had
defended himself strenuously against the other articles of evidence,
was struck dumb by this unexpected disclosure. He was found guilty,
condemned, and executed, after having at the place of execution made a
full confession of his guilt.

Franklin was then tried, convicted, and executed, on his own confession
alone, to which, as it was entirely voluntary, he seems really to have
been prompted by remorse. In passing sentence upon him, the Lord Chief
Justice said, that, "knowing as much as he knew, if this had not been
found out, neither the court, city, nor any particular family, had
escaped the malice of this wicked cruelty."

Sir Thomas Monson was next arraigned, and strongly exhorted by the
crown lawyers to confess his crime; one of them (Hyde) declaring him
to be "as guilty as the guiltiest." The trial, however, was brought
to a strange and abrupt conclusion. In the middle of the preliminary
proceedings the culprit was suddenly carried off from the bar by a
party of yeomen of his majesty's guard, and taken to the Tower, from
whence he was soon afterwards liberated without further trial. This
singular interference is ascribed to some mysterious expressions
dropped by the Lord Chief Justice. "But the Lord Chief Justice Coke,"
says Sir Anthony Weldon, "in his rhetorical flourishes at Monson's
arraignment, vented some expressions as if he could discover more than
the death of a private person; intimating, though not plainly, that
Overbury's untimely remove had in it something of retaliation, as if
he had been guilty of the same crime towards Prince Henry; blessing
himself with admiration at the horror of such actions. In which he flew
so high a pitch that he was taken down by a court lure; Sir Thomas
Monson's trial laid aside, and he soon after set at liberty; and the
Lord Chief Justice's wings were clipt for it ever after." There can
be no doubt that the conduct of Coke on these trials was used as a
handle against him by his rival and enemy, Bacon, to deprive him of the
royal favour; and, that the manner in which his language on the above
and other occasions was represented (or misrepresented) to the king,
was one cause, at least, of his removal from his office a few months
afterwards. But this was not the only mystery connected with this
matter.

All these trials took place in close succession between the 19th of
October and the 4th of December 1615; but the principal criminals
were not tried till May following. During this interval the earl and
countess were frequently examined, and many efforts were made to bring
them to confession. On the 24th of May the countess was arraigned
before a commission of the peers. A graphic account of her demeanour is
given in the _State Trials_. The Clerk of the Crown addressed her:

"'Frances, Countess of Somerset, hold up thy hand!'

"She did so, and held it till Mr. Lieutenant told her she might put
it down; and then he read the indictment. The Countess of Somerset,
all the while the indictment was reading, stood, looking pale,
trembled, and shed some tears; and at the first naming of Weston in the
indictment, put her fan before her face, and there held it half covered
till the indictment was read.

"_Clerk._--'Frances, Countess of Somerset, what sayest thou? Art thou
guilty of this felony and murder, or not guilty?'

"The Lady Somerset, making an obeisance to the Lord High Steward,
answered, '_Guilty_,' with a low voice, but wonderful fearful."

After the proceedings consequent on this confession, she was asked in
the usual form what she could say for herself why judgment of death
should not be pronounced against her. Her answer was,

"I can much aggravate, but nothing extenuate, my fault. I desire mercy,
and that the lords will intercede for me with the king."

"This," says the account, "she spake humbly, fearfully, and so low,
that the Lord Steward could not hear it; but Mr. Attorney repeated it."

The Lord High Steward then sentenced her to the punishment of the law.

The earl's trial took place on the following day. He refused to follow
his wife's example, and pleaded Not guilty. The most remarkable feature
of this trial is the correspondence between Somerset and his victim.
The following passages are striking.

In Overbury's first letter to Somerset, after his imprisonment, he said,

"Is this the fruit of my care and love to you? Be these the fruits
of common secrets, common dangers? As a man, you cannot suffer me to
lie in this misery; yet your behaviour betrays you. All I entreat of
you is, that you will free me from this place, and that we may part
friends. Drive me not to extremities, lest I should say something
that you and I both repent. And I pray God that you may not repent
the omission of this my counsel in this place whence I now write this
letter."

Overbury afterwards writes,

"This comes under seal, and therefore I shall be bold. You told my
brother Ledcate that my unreverend style might make you neglect me.
With what face could you do this, who know you owe me for all the
fortune, wit, and understanding that you have."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Yet this shall not long serve your turn; for you and I, ere it be
long, will come to a public trial of another nature,--I upon the
rack, and you at your ease, and yet I must say nothing! When I heard
(notwithstanding my misery) how you went to your woman, curled your
hair, and in the mean time send me nineteen projects how I should cast
about for my liberty, and give me a long account of the pains you have
taken, and then go out of town! I wonder to see how much you should
neglect him to whom such secrets of all kinds have passed."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Well, all this vacation I have written the story between you and me;
how I have lost my friends for your sake; what hazard I have run; what
secrets have passed betwixt us; how, after you had won that woman by my
letters, you then concealed all your after proceedings from me; and how
upon this there came many breaches between us; of the vow you made to
be even with me, and sending for me twice that day that I was caught
in the trap, persuading me that it was a plot of mine enemies to send
me beyond sea, and urging me not to accept it, assuring me to free me
from any long trouble. On Tuesday I made an end of this, and on Friday
sent it to a friend of mine under eight seals; and if you persist still
to use me thus, assure yourself it shall be published. Whether I live
or die, your shame shall never die, but ever remain to the world, to
make you the most odious man living."

Overbury is aware that he has been betrayed and entrapped, and is left
by his treacherous patron to languish in a dungeon. He addresses him
in the bitterest and most indignant language, and threatens him with a
desperate and fatal revenge. He remembers, too, the threat which had
been applied to himself; knows himself to be in the power of the man
who used it; feels himself to be dying by inches, of maladies which the
most rigorous confinement could not have produced; and yet it never
enters his mind that his unscrupulous enemy may have determined, by his
death, to get rid of him and his dangerous secrets!

The evidence of Overbury's father is affecting. "After my son was
committed," he said, "I heard that he was very sick. I went to the
court and delivered a petition to the king, the effect whereof was,
that, in respect of my son's sickness, some physicians might have
access unto him. The king answered, that his own physician should go
to him; and then instantly sent him word by Sir W. Button that his
physician should presently go. Upon this, I only addressed myself to my
Lord of Somerset, and none else, who said my son should be presently
delivered, but dissuaded me from presenting any more petitions to the
king; which notwithstanding, I (seeing his freedom still delayed) did
deliver a petition to the king to that purpose, who said I should have
present answer. And my Lord of Somerset told me he should be suddenly
relieved; but with this, that neither I nor my wife must press to see
him, because that might protract his delivery, nor deliver any more
petitions to the king, because that might stir his enemies up against
him; and then," added the poor old man, "he wrote a letter to my wife,
to dissuade her from any longer stay in London."

This letter was, "Mrs. Overbury,--Your stay here in town can nothing
avail your son's delivery; therefore I would advise you to retire into
the country, and doubt not before your coming home you shall hear he is
a free man."

Thus did this monster amuse the unhappy parents with delusive hopes
till all was over; and he then wrote to the aged father the following
unparalleled letter:

"Sir,--Your son's love to me got him the malice of many, and they cast
those knots on his fortune that have cost him his life; so, in a kind,
there is none guilty of his death but I; and you can have no more cause
to commiserate the death of a son, than I of a friend. But, though
he be dead, you shall find me as ready as ever I was to do all the
courtesies that I possibly can to you and your wife, or your children.
In the mean time I desire pardon from you and your wife for your lost
son, though I esteem my loss the greater. And for his brother that is
in France, I desire his return, that he may succeed his brother in my
love."

Somerset defended himself stoutly. His desperate situation seems to
have sharpened his faculties. He cross-examined the witnesses with much
acuteness and presence of mind, made ingenious objections to their
testimony, and laboured to explain away the facts which could not
be denied. From eight in the morning till seven at night he exerted
himself with an energy worthy of a better cause; but in vain. He was
found guilty by the unanimous voice of his judges. He then desired a
death according to his degree; but this was denied him, and he received
the usual sentence of the law.

Thus were these great criminals brought to justice; and they received,
it may be supposed, the punishment of their crimes. No: they were
pardoned by the king,--nay more, received especial marks of royal
favour! They were imprisoned in the Tower till January 1621, when the
king, by an order in council, granted them the liberty of retiring to
a country-house. "Whereas his Majesty is graciously pleased," thus ran
the order, "to enlarge and set at liberty the Earl of Somerset and his
lady, now prisoners in the Tower of London, and that nevertheless it is
thought fit that both the said earl and his lady be confined to some
convenient place; it is therefore, according to his majesty's gracious
pleasure and command, ordered that the Earl of Somerset and his lady
do repair either to Greys or Cowsham, the Lord Wallingford's houses in
the county of Oxon, and remain confined to one or other of the said
houses, and within three m