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Title: Holiday Romance
Author: Dickens, Charles
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Holiday Romance" ***

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Transcribed from the 1905 Chapman and Hall “Hard Times and Reprinted
Pieces” edition by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org



                             HOLIDAY ROMANCE
                              In Four Parts


PART I.
INTRODUCTORY ROMANCE PROM THE PEN OF WILLIAM TINKLING, ESQ. {251}


THIS beginning-part is not made out of anybody’s head, you know.  It’s
real.  You must believe this beginning-part more than what comes after,
else you won’t understand how what comes after came to be written.  You
must believe it all; but you must believe this most, please.  I am the
editor of it.  Bob Redforth (he’s my cousin, and shaking the table on
purpose) wanted to be the editor of it; but I said he shouldn’t because
he couldn’t.  _He_ has no idea of being an editor.

Nettie Ashford is my bride.  We were married in the right-hand closet in
the corner of the dancing-school, where first we met, with a ring (a
green one) from Wilkingwater’s toy-shop.  _I_ owed for it out of my
pocket-money.  When the rapturous ceremony was over, we all four went up
the lane and let off a cannon (brought loaded in Bob Redforth’s
waistcoat-pocket) to announce our nuptials.  It flew right up when it
went off, and turned over.  Next day, Lieut.-Col. Robin Redforth was
united, with similar ceremonies, to Alice Rainbird.  This time the cannon
burst with a most terrific explosion, and made a puppy bark.

My peerless bride was, at the period of which we now treat, in captivity
at Miss Grimmer’s.  Drowvey and Grimmer is the partnership, and opinion
is divided which is the greatest beast.  The lovely bride of the colonel
was also immured in the dungeons of the same establishment.  A vow was
entered into, between the colonel and myself, that we would cut them out
on the following Wednesday when walking two and two.

Under the desperate circumstances of the case, the active brain of the
colonel, combining with his lawless pursuit (he is a pirate), suggested
an attack with fireworks.  This, however, from motives of humanity, was
abandoned as too expensive.

Lightly armed with a paper-knife buttoned up under his jacket, and waving
the dreaded black flag at the end of a cane, the colonel took command of
me at two P.M. on the eventful and appointed day.  He had drawn out the
plan of attack on a piece of paper, which was rolled up round a
hoop-stick.  He showed it to me.  My position and my full-length portrait
(but my real ears don’t stick out horizontal) was behind a corner
lamp-post, with written orders to remain there till I should see Miss
Drowvey fall.  The Drowvey who was to fall was the one in spectacles, not
the one with the large lavender bonnet.  At that signal I was to rush
forth, seize my bride, and fight my way to the lane.  There a junction
would be effected between myself and the colonel; and putting our brides
behind us, between ourselves and the palings, we were to conquer or die.

The enemy appeared,—approached.  Waving his black flag, the colonel
attacked.  Confusion ensued.  Anxiously I awaited my signal; but my
signal came not.  So far from falling, the hated Drowvey in spectacles
appeared to me to have muffled the colonel’s head in his outlawed banner,
and to be pitching into him with a parasol.  The one in the lavender
bonnet also performed prodigies of valour with her fists on his back.
Seeing that all was for the moment lost, I fought my desperate way hand
to hand to the lane.  Through taking the back road, I was so fortunate as
to meet nobody, and arrived there uninterrupted.

It seemed an age ere the colonel joined me.  He had been to the jobbing
tailor’s to be sewn up in several places, and attributed our defeat to
the refusal of the detested Drowvey to fall.  Finding her so obstinate,
he had said to her, ‘Die, recreant!’ but had found her no more open to
reason on that point than the other.

My blooming bride appeared, accompanied by the colonel’s bride, at the
dancing-school next day.  What?  Was her face averted from me?  Hah?
Even so.  With a look of scorn, she put into my hand a bit of paper, and
took another partner.  On the paper was pencilled, ‘Heavens!  Can I write
the word?  Is my husband a cow?’

In the first bewilderment of my heated brain, I tried to think what
slanderer could have traced my family to the ignoble animal mentioned
above.  Vain were my endeavours.  At the end of that dance I whispered
the colonel to come into the cloak-room, and I showed him the note.

‘There is a syllable wanting,’ said he, with a gloomy brow.

‘Hah!  What syllable?’ was my inquiry.

‘She asks, can she write the word?  And no; you see she couldn’t,’ said
the colonel, pointing out the passage.

‘And the word was?’ said I.

‘Cow—cow—coward,’ hissed the pirate-colonel in my ear, and gave me back
the note.

Feeling that I must for ever tread the earth a branded boy,—person I
mean,—or that I must clear up my honour, I demanded to be tried by a
court-martial.  The colonel admitted my right to be tried.  Some
difficulty was found in composing the court, on account of the Emperor of
France’s aunt refusing to let him come out.  He was to be the president.
Ere yet we had appointed a substitute, he made his escape over the
back-wall, and stood among us, a free monarch.

The court was held on the grass by the pond.  I recognised, in a certain
admiral among my judges, my deadliest foe.  A cocoa-nut had given rise to
language that I could not brook; but confiding in my innocence, and also
in the knowledge that the President of the United States (who sat next
him) owed me a knife, I braced myself for the ordeal.

It was a solemn spectacle, that court.  Two executioners with pinafores
reversed led me in.  Under the shade of an umbrella I perceived my bride,
supported by the bride of the pirate-colonel.  The president, having
reproved a little female ensign for tittering, on a matter of life or
death, called upon me to plead, ‘Coward or no coward, guilty or not
guilty?’  I pleaded in a firm tone, ‘No coward and not guilty.’  (The
little female ensign being again reproved by the president for
misconduct, mutinied, left the court, and threw stones.)

My implacable enemy, the admiral, conducted the case against me.  The
colonel’s bride was called to prove that I had remained behind the corner
lamp-post during the engagement.  I might have been spared the anguish of
my own bride’s being also made a witness to the same point, but the
admiral knew where to wound me.  Be still, my soul, no matter.  The
colonel was then brought forward with his evidence.

It was for this point that I had saved myself up, as the turning-point of
my case.  Shaking myself free of my guards,—who had no business to hold
me, the stupids, unless I was found guilty,—I asked the colonel what he
considered the first duty of a soldier?  Ere he could reply, the
President of the United States rose and informed the court, that my foe,
the admiral, had suggested ‘Bravery,’ and that prompting a witness wasn’t
fair.  The president of the court immediately ordered the admiral’s mouth
to be filled with leaves, and tied up with string.  I had the
satisfaction of seeing the sentence carried into effect before the
proceedings went further.

I then took a paper from my trousers-pocket, and asked, ‘What do you
consider, Col.  Redford, the first duty of a soldier?  Is it obedience?’

‘It is,’ said the colonel.

‘Is that paper—please to look at it—in your hand?’

‘It is,’ said the colonel.

‘Is it a military sketch?’

‘It is,’ said the colonel.

‘Of an engagement?’

‘Quite so,’ said the colonel.

‘Of the late engagement?’

‘Of the late engagement.’

‘Please to describe it, and then hand it to the president of the court.’

From that triumphant moment my sufferings and my dangers were at an end.
The court rose up and jumped, on discovering that I had strictly obeyed
orders.  My foe, the admiral, who though muzzled was malignant yet,
contrived to suggest that I was dishonoured by having quitted the field.
But the colonel himself had done as much, and gave his opinion, upon his
word and honour as a pirate, that when all was lost the field might be
quitted without disgrace.  I was going to be found ‘No coward and not
guilty,’ and my blooming bride was going to be publicly restored to my
arms in a procession, when an unlooked-for event disturbed the general
rejoicing.  This was no other than the Emperor of France’s aunt catching
hold of his hair.  The proceedings abruptly terminated, and the court
tumultuously dissolved.

It was when the shades of the next evening but one were beginning to
fall, ere yet the silver beams of Luna touched the earth, that four forms
might have been descried slowly advancing towards the weeping willow on
the borders of the pond, the now deserted scene of the day before
yesterday’s agonies and triumphs.  On a nearer approach, and by a
practised eye, these might have been identified as the forms of the
pirate-colonel with his bride, and of the day before yesterday’s gallant
prisoner with his bride.

On the beauteous faces of the Nymphs dejection sat enthroned.  All four
reclined under the willow for some minutes without speaking, till at
length the bride of the colonel poutingly observed, ‘It’s of no use
pretending any more, and we had better give it up.’

‘Hah!’ exclaimed the pirate.  ‘Pretending?’

‘Don’t go on like that; you worry me,’ returned his bride.

The lovely bride of Tinkling echoed the incredible declaration.  The two
warriors exchanged stony glances.

‘If,’ said the bride of the pirate-colonel, ‘grown-up people WON’T do
what they ought to do, and WILL put us out, what comes of our
pretending?’

‘We only get into scrapes,’ said the bride of Tinkling.

‘You know very well,’ pursued the colonel’s bride, ‘that Miss Drowvey
wouldn’t fall.  You complained of it yourself.  And you know how
disgracefully the court-martial ended.  As to our marriage; would my
people acknowledge it at home?’

‘Or would my people acknowledge ours?’ said the bride of Tinkling.

Again the two warriors exchanged stony glances.

‘If you knocked at the door and claimed me, after you were told to go
away,’ said the colonel’s bride, ‘you would only have your hair pulled,
or your ears, or your nose.’

‘If you persisted in ringing at the bell and claiming me,’ said the bride
of Tinkling to that gentleman, ‘you would have things dropped on your
head from the window over the handle, or you would be played upon by the
garden-engine.’

‘And at your own homes,’ resumed the bride of the colonel, ‘it would be
just as bad.  You would be sent to bed, or something equally undignified.
Again, how would you support us?’

The pirate-colonel replied in a courageous voice, ‘By rapine!’  But his
bride retorted, ‘Suppose the grown-up people wouldn’t be rapined?’
‘Then,’ said the colonel, ‘they should pay the penalty in blood.’—‘But
suppose they should object,’ retorted his bride, ‘and wouldn’t pay the
penalty in blood or anything else?’

A mournful silence ensued.

‘Then do you no longer love me, Alice?’ asked the colonel.

‘Redforth!  I am ever thine,’ returned his bride.

‘Then do you no longer love me, Nettie?’ asked the present writer.

‘Tinkling!  I am ever thine,’ returned my bride.

We all four embraced.  Let me not be misunderstood by the giddy.  The
colonel embraced his own bride, and I embraced mine.  But two times two
make four.

‘Nettie and I,’ said Alice mournfully, ‘have been considering our
position.  The grown-up people are too strong for us.  They make us
ridiculous.  Besides, they have changed the times.  William Tinkling’s
baby brother was christened yesterday.  What took place?  Was any king
present?  Answer, William.’

I said No, unless disguised as Great-uncle Chopper.

‘Any queen?’

There had been no queen that I knew of at our house.  There might have
been one in the kitchen: but I didn’t think so, or the servants would
have mentioned it.

‘Any fairies?’

None that were visible.

‘We had an idea among us, I think,’ said Alice, with a melancholy smile,
‘we four, that Miss Grimmer would prove to be the wicked fairy, and would
come in at the christening with her crutch-stick, and give the child a
bad gift.  Was there anything of that sort?  Answer, William.’

I said that ma had said afterwards (and so she had), that Great-uncle
Chopper’s gift was a shabby one; but she hadn’t said a bad one.  She had
called it shabby, electrotyped, second-hand, and below his income.

‘It must be the grown-up people who have changed all this,’ said Alice.
‘_We_ couldn’t have changed it, if we had been so inclined, and we never
should have been.  Or perhaps Miss Grimmer _is_ a wicked fairy after all,
and won’t act up to it because the grown-up people have persuaded her not
to.  Either way, they would make us ridiculous if we told them what we
expected.’

‘Tyrants!’ muttered the pirate-colonel.

‘Nay, my Redforth,’ said Alice, ‘say not so.  Call not names, my
Redforth, or they will apply to pa.’

‘Let ’em,’ said the colonel.  ‘I do not care.  Who’s he?’

Tinkling here undertook the perilous task of remonstrating with his
lawless friend, who consented to withdraw the moody expressions above
quoted.

‘What remains for us to do?’ Alice went on in her mild, wise way.  ‘We
must educate, we must pretend in a new manner, we must wait.’

The colonel clenched his teeth,—four out in front, and a piece of
another, and he had been twice dragged to the door of a dentist-despot,
but had escaped from his guards.  ‘How educate?  How pretend in a new
manner?  How wait?’

‘Educate the grown-up people,’ replied Alice.  ‘We part to-night.  Yes,
Redforth,’—for the colonel tucked up his cuffs,—‘part to-night!  Let us
in these next holidays, now going to begin, throw our thoughts into
something educational for the grown-up people, hinting to them how things
ought to be.  Let us veil our meaning under a mask of romance; you, I,
and Nettie.  William Tinkling being the plainest and quickest writer,
shall copy out.  Is it agreed?’

The colonel answered sulkily, ‘I don’t mind.’  He then asked, ‘How about
pretending?’

‘We will pretend,’ said Alice, ‘that we are children; not that we are
those grown-up people who won’t help us out as they ought, and who
understand us so badly.’

The colonel, still much dissatisfied, growled, ‘How about waiting?’

‘We will wait,’ answered little Alice, taking Nettie’s hand in hers, and
looking up to the sky, ‘we will wait—ever constant and true—till the
times have got so changed as that everything helps us out, and nothing
makes us ridiculous, and the fairies have come back.  We will wait—ever
constant and true—till we are eighty, ninety, or one hundred.  And then
the fairies will send _us_ children, and we will help them out, poor
pretty little creatures, if they pretend ever so much.’

‘So we will, dear,’ said Nettie Ashford, taking her round the waist with
both arms and kissing her.  ‘And now if my husband will go and buy some
cherries for us, I have got some money.’

In the friendliest manner I invited the colonel to go with me; but he so
far forgot himself as to acknowledge the invitation by kicking out
behind, and then lying down on his stomach on the grass, pulling it up
and chewing it.  When I came back, however, Alice had nearly brought him
out of his vexation, and was soothing him by telling him how soon we
should all be ninety.

As we sat under the willow-tree and ate the cherries (fair, for Alice
shared them out), we played at being ninety.  Nettie complained that she
had a bone in her old back, and it made her hobble; and Alice sang a song
in an old woman’s way, but it was very pretty, and we were all merry.  At
least, I don’t know about merry exactly, but all comfortable.

There was a most tremendous lot of cherries; and Alice always had with
her some neat little bag or box or case, to hold things.  In it that
night was a tiny wine-glass.  So Alice and Nettie said they would make
some cherry-wine to drink our love at parting.

Each of us had a glassful, and it was delicious; and each of us drank the
toast, ‘Our love at parting.’  The colonel drank his wine last; and it
got into my head directly that it got into his directly.  Anyhow, his
eyes rolled immediately after he had turned the glass upside down; and he
took me on one side and proposed in a hoarse whisper, that we should ‘Cut
‘em out still.’

‘How did he mean?’ I asked my lawless friend.

‘Cut our brides out,’ said the colonel, ‘and then cut our way, without
going down a single turning, bang to the Spanish main!’

We might have tried it, though I didn’t think it would answer; only we
looked round and saw that there was nothing but moon-light under the
willow-tree, and that our pretty, pretty wives were gone.  We burst out
crying.  The colonel gave in second, and came to first; but he gave in
strong.

We were ashamed of our red eyes, and hung about for half-an-hour to
whiten them.  Likewise a piece of chalk round the rims, I doing the
colonel’s, and he mine, but afterwards found in the bedroom looking-glass
not natural, besides inflammation.  Our conversation turned on being
ninety.  The colonel told me he had a pair of boots that wanted soling
and heeling; but he thought it hardly worth while to mention it to his
father, as he himself should so soon be ninety, when he thought shoes
would be more convenient.  The colonel also told me, with his hand upon
his hip, that he felt himself already getting on in life, and turning
rheumatic.  And I told him the same.  And when they said at our house at
supper (they are always bothering about something) that I stooped, I felt
so glad!

This is the end of the beginning-part that you were to believe most.



PART II.
ROMANCE.  FROM THE PEN OF MISS ALICE RAINBIRD {258}


THERE was once a king, and he had a queen; and he was the manliest of his
sex, and she was the loveliest of hers.  The king was, in his private
profession, under government.  The queen’s father had been a medical man
out of town.

They had nineteen children, and were always having more.  Seventeen of
these children took care of the baby; and Alicia, the eldest, took care
of them all.  Their ages varied from seven years to seven months.

Let us now resume our story.

One day the king was going to the office, when he stopped at the
fishmonger’s to buy a pound and a half of salmon not too near the tail,
which the queen (who was a careful housekeeper) had requested him to send
home.  Mr. Pickles, the fishmonger, said, ‘Certainly, sir; is there any
other article?  Good-morning.’

The king went on towards the office in a melancholy mood; for quarter-day
was such a long way off, and several of the dear children were growing
out of their clothes.  He had not proceeded far, when Mr. Pickles’s
errand-boy came running after him, and said, ‘Sir, you didn’t notice the
old lady in our shop.’

‘What old lady?’ inquired the king.  ‘I saw none.’

Now the king had not seen any old lady, because this old lady had been
invisible to him, though visible to Mr. Pickles’s boy.  Probably because
he messed and splashed the water about to that degree, and flopped the
pairs of soles down in that violent manner, that, if she had not been
visible to him, he would have spoilt her clothes.

Just then the old lady came trotting up.  She was dressed in shot-silk of
the richest quality, smelling of dried lavender.

‘King Watkins the First, I believe?’ said the old lady.

‘Watkins,’ replied the king, ‘is my name.’

‘Papa, if I am not mistaken, of the beautiful Princess Alicia?’ said the
old lady.

‘And of eighteen other darlings,’ replied the king.

‘Listen.  You are going to the office,’ said the old lady.

It instantly flashed upon the king that she must be a fairy, or how could
she know that?

‘You are right,’ said the old lady, answering his thoughts.  ‘I am the
good Fairy Grandmarina.  Attend!  When you return home to dinner,
politely invite the Princess Alicia to have some of the salmon you bought
just now.’

‘It may disagree with her,’ said the king.

The old lady became so very angry at this absurd idea, that the king was
quite alarmed, and humbly begged her pardon.

‘We hear a great deal too much about this thing disagreeing, and that
thing disagreeing,’ said the old lady, with the greatest contempt it was
possible to express.  ‘Don’t be greedy.  I think you want it all
yourself.’

The king hung his head under this reproof, and said he wouldn’t talk
about things disagreeing any more.

‘Be good, then,’ said the Fairy Grandmarina, ‘and don’t.  When the
beautiful Princess Alicia consents to partake of the salmon,—as I think
she will,—you will find she will leave a fish-bone on her plate.  Tell
her to dry it, and to rub it, and to polish it till it shines like
mother-of-pearl, and to take care of it as a present from me.’

‘Is that all?’ asked the king.

‘Don’t be impatient, sir,’ returned the Fairy Grandmarina, scolding him
severely.  ‘Don’t catch people short, before they have done speaking.
Just the way with you grown-up persons.  You are always doing it.’

The king again hung his head, and said he wouldn’t do so any more.

‘Be good, then,’ said the Fairy Grandmarina, ‘and don’t!  Tell the
Princess Alicia, with my love, that the fish-bone is a magic present
which can only be used once; but that it will bring her, that once,
whatever she wishes for, PROVIDED SHE WISHES FOR IT AT THE RIGHT TIME.
That is the message.  Take care of it.’

The king was beginning, ‘Might I ask the reason?’ when the fairy became
absolutely furious.

‘_Will_ you be good, sir?’ she exclaimed, stamping her foot on the
ground.  ‘The reason for this, and the reason for that, indeed!  You are
always wanting the reason.  No reason.  There!  Hoity toity me!  I am
sick of your grown-up reasons.’

The king was extremely frightened by the old lady’s flying into such a
passion, and said he was very sorry to have offended her, and he wouldn’t
ask for reasons any more.

‘Be good, then,’ said the old lady, ‘and don’t!’

With those words, Grandmarina vanished, and the king went on and on and
on, till he came to the office.  There he wrote and wrote and wrote, till
it was time to go home again.  Then he politely invited the Princess
Alicia, as the fairy had directed him, to partake of the salmon.  And
when she had enjoyed it very much, he saw the fish-bone on her plate, as
the fairy had told him he would, and he delivered the fairy’s message,
and the Princess Alicia took care to dry the bone, and to rub it, and to
polish it, till it shone like mother-of-pearl.

And so, when the queen was going to get up in the morning, she said, ‘O,
dear me, dear me; my head, my head!’ and then she fainted away.

The Princess Alicia, who happened to be looking in at the chamber-door,
asking about breakfast, was very much alarmed when she saw her royal
mamma in this state, and she rang the bell for Peggy, which was the name
of the lord chamberlain.  But remembering where the smelling-bottle was,
she climbed on a chair and got it; and after that she climbed on another
chair by the bedside, and held the smelling-bottle to the queen’s nose;
and after that she jumped down and got some water; and after that she
jumped up again and wetted the queen’s forehead; and, in short, when the
lord chamberlain came in, that dear old woman said to the little
princess, ‘What a trot you are!  I couldn’t have done it better myself!’

But that was not the worst of the good queen’s illness.  O, no!  She was
very ill indeed, for a long time.  The Princess Alicia kept the seventeen
young princes and princesses quiet, and dressed and undressed and danced
the baby, and made the kettle boil, and heated the soup, and swept the
hearth, and poured out the medicine, and nursed the queen, and did all
that ever she could, and was as busy, busy, busy as busy could be; for
there were not many servants at that palace for three reasons: because
the king was short of money, because a rise in his office never seemed to
come, and because quarter-day was so far off that it looked almost as far
off and as little as one of the stars.

But on the morning when the queen fainted away, where was the magic
fish-bone?  Why, there it was in the Princess Alicia’s pocket!  She had
almost taken it out to bring the queen to life again, when she put it
back, and looked for the smelling-bottle.

After the queen had come out of her swoon that morning, and was dozing,
the Princess Alicia hurried up-stairs to tell a most particular secret to
a most particularly confidential friend of hers, who was a duchess.
People did suppose her to be a doll; but she was really a duchess, though
nobody knew it except the princess.

This most particular secret was the secret about the magic fish-bone, the
history of which was well known to the duchess, because the princess told
her everything.  The princess kneeled down by the bed on which the
duchess was lying, full-dressed and wide awake, and whispered the secret
to her.  The duchess smiled and nodded.  People might have supposed that
she never smiled and nodded; but she often did, though nobody knew it
except the princess.

Then the Princess Alicia hurried down-stairs again, to keep watch in the
queen’s room.  She often kept watch by herself in the queen’s room; but
every evening, while the illness lasted, she sat there watching with the
king.  And every evening the king sat looking at her with a cross look,
wondering why she never brought out the magic fish-bone.  As often as she
noticed this, she ran up-stairs, whispered the secret to the duchess over
again, and said to the duchess besides, ‘They think we children never
have a reason or a meaning!’  And the duchess, though the most
fashionable duchess that ever was heard of, winked her eye.

‘Alicia,’ said the king, one evening, when she wished him good-night.

‘Yes, papa.’

‘What is become of the magic fish-bone?’

‘In my pocket, papa!’

‘I thought you had lost it?’

‘O, no, papa!’

‘Or forgotten it?’

‘No, indeed, papa.’

And so another time the dreadful little snapping pug-dog, next door, made
a rush at one of the young princes as he stood on the steps coming home
from school, and terrified him out of his wits; and he put his hand
through a pane of glass, and bled, bled, bled.  When the seventeen other
young princes and princesses saw him bleed, bleed, bleed, they were
terrified out of their wits too, and screamed themselves black in their
seventeen faces all at once.  But the Princess Alicia put her hands over
all their seventeen mouths, one after another, and persuaded them to be
quiet because of the sick queen.  And then she put the wounded prince’s
hand in a basin of fresh cold water, while they stared with their twice
seventeen are thirty-four, put down four and carry three, eyes, and then
she looked in the hand for bits of glass, and there were fortunately no
bits of glass there.  And then she said to two chubby-legged princes, who
were sturdy though small, ‘Bring me in the royal rag-bag: I must snip and
stitch and cut and contrive.’  So these two young princes tugged at the
royal rag-bag, and lugged it in; and the Princess Alicia sat down on the
floor, with a large pair of scissors and a needle and thread, and snipped
and stitched and cut and contrived, and made a bandage, and put it on,
and it fitted beautifully; and so when it was all done, she saw the king
her papa looking on by the door.

‘Alicia.’

‘Yes, papa.’

‘What have you been doing?’

‘Snipping, stitching, cutting, and contriving, papa.’

‘Where is the magic fish-bone?’

‘In my pocket, papa.’

‘I thought you had lost it?’

‘O, no, papa.’

‘Or forgotten it?’

‘No, indeed, papa.’

After that, she ran up-stairs to the duchess, and told her what had
passed, and told her the secret over again; and the duchess shook her
flaxen curls, and laughed with her rosy lips.

Well! and so another time the baby fell under the grate.  The seventeen
young princes and princesses were used to it; for they were almost always
falling under the grate or down the stairs; but the baby was not used to
it yet, and it gave him a swelled face and a black eye.  The way the poor
little darling came to tumble was, that he was out of the Princess
Alicia’s lap just as she was sitting, in a great coarse apron that quite
smothered her, in front of the kitchen-fire, beginning to peel the
turnips for the broth for dinner; and the way she came to be doing that
was, that the king’s cook had run away that morning with her own true
love, who was a very tall but very tipsy soldier.  Then the seventeen
young princes and princesses, who cried at everything that happened,
cried and roared.  But the Princess Alicia (who couldn’t help crying a
little herself) quietly called to them to be still, on account of not
throwing back the queen up-stairs, who was fast getting well, and said,
‘Hold your tongues, you wicked little monkeys, every one of you, while I
examine baby!’  Then she examined baby, and found that he hadn’t broken
anything; and she held cold iron to his poor dear eye, and smoothed his
poor dear face, and he presently fell asleep in her arms.  Then she said
to the seventeen princes and princesses, ‘I am afraid to let him down
yet, lest he should wake and feel pain; be good, and you shall all be
cooks.’  They jumped for joy when they heard that, and began making
themselves cooks’ caps out of old newspapers.  So to one she gave the
salt-box, and to one she gave the barley, and to one she gave the herbs,
and to one she gave the turnips, and to one she gave the carrots, and to
one she gave the onions, and to one she gave the spice-box, till they
were all cooks, and all running about at work, she sitting in the middle,
smothered in the great coarse apron, nursing baby.  By and by the broth
was done; and the baby woke up, smiling, like an angel, and was trusted
to the sedatest princess to hold, while the other princes and princesses
were squeezed into a far-off corner to look at the Princess Alicia
turning out the saucepanful of broth, for fear (as they were always
getting into trouble) they should get splashed and scalded.  When the
broth came tumbling out, steaming beautifully, and smelling like a
nosegay good to eat, they clapped their hands.  That made the baby clap
his hands; and that, and his looking as if he had a comic toothache, made
all the princes and princesses laugh.  So the Princess Alicia said,
‘Laugh and be good; and after dinner we will make him a nest on the floor
in a corner, and he shall sit in his nest and see a dance of eighteen
cooks.’  That delighted the young princes and princesses, and they ate up
all the broth, and washed up all the plates and dishes, and cleared away,
and pushed the table into a corner; and then they in their cooks’ caps,
and the Princess Alicia in the smothering coarse apron that belonged to
the cook that had run away with her own true love that was the very tall
but very tipsy soldier, danced a dance of eighteen cooks before the
angelic baby, who forgot his swelled face and his black eye, and crowed
with joy.

And so then, once more the Princess Alicia saw King Watkins the First,
her father, standing in the doorway looking on, and he said, ‘What have
you been doing, Alicia?’

‘Cooking and contriving, papa.’

‘What else have you been doing, Alicia?’

‘Keeping the children light-hearted, papa.’

‘Where is the magic fish-bone, Alicia?

‘In my pocket, papa.’

‘I thought you had lost it?’

‘O, no, papa!’

‘Or forgotten it?’

‘No, indeed, papa.’

The king then sighed so heavily, and seemed so low-spirited, and sat down
so miserably, leaning his head upon his hand, and his elbow upon the
kitchen-table pushed away in the corner, that the seventeen princes and
princesses crept softly out of the kitchen, and left him alone with the
Princess Alicia and the angelic baby.

‘What is the matter, papa?’

‘I am dreadfully poor, my child.’

‘Have you no money at all, papa?’

‘None, my child.’

‘Is there no way of getting any, papa?’

‘No way,’ said the king.  ‘I have tried very hard, and I have tried all
ways.’

When she heard those last words, the Princess Alicia began to put her
hand into the pocket where she kept the magic fish-bone.

‘Papa,’ said she, ‘when we have tried very hard, and tried all ways, we
must have done our very, very best?’

‘No doubt, Alicia.’

‘When we have done our very, very best, papa, and that is not enough,
then I think the right time must have come for asking help of others.’
This was the very secret connected with the magic fish-bone, which she
had found out for herself from the good Fairy Grandmarina’s words, and
which she had so often whispered to her beautiful and fashionable friend,
the duchess.

So she took out of her pocket the magic fish-bone, that had been dried
and rubbed and polished till it shone like mother-of-pearl; and she gave
it one little kiss, and wished it was quarter-day.  And immediately it
_was_ quarter-day; and the king’s quarter’s salary came rattling down the
chimney, and bounced into the middle of the floor.

But this was not half of what happened,—no, not a quarter; for
immediately afterwards the good Fairy Grandmarina came riding in, in a
carriage and four (peacocks), with Mr. Pickles’s boy up behind, dressed
in silver and gold, with a cocked-hat, powdered-hair, pink silk
stockings, a jewelled cane, and a nosegay.  Down jumped Mr. Pickles’s
boy, with his cocked-hat in his hand, and wonderfully polite (being
entirely changed by enchantment), and handed Grandmarina out; and there
she stood, in her rich shot-silk smelling of dried lavender, fanning
herself with a sparkling fan.

‘Alicia, my dear,’ said this charming old fairy, ‘how do you do?  I hope
I see you pretty well?  Give me a kiss.’

The Princess Alicia embraced her; and then Grandmarina turned to the
king, and said rather sharply, ‘Are you good?’  The king said he hoped
so.

‘I suppose you know the reason _now_, why my god-daughter here,’ kissing
the princess again, ‘did not apply to the fish-bone sooner?’ said the
fairy.

The king made a shy bow.

‘Ah! but you didn’t _then_?’ said the fairy.

The king made a shyer bow.

‘Any more reasons to ask for?’ said the fairy.

The king said, No, and he was very sorry.

‘Be good, then,’ said the fairy, ‘and live happy ever afterwards.’

Then Grandmarina waved her fan, and the queen came in most splendidly
dressed; and the seventeen young princes and princesses, no longer grown
out of their clothes, came in, newly fitted out from top to toe, with
tucks in everything to admit of its being let out.  After that, the fairy
tapped the Princess Alicia with her fan; and the smothering coarse apron
flew away, and she appeared exquisitely dressed, like a little bride,
with a wreath of orange-flowers and a silver veil.  After that, the
kitchen dresser changed of itself into a wardrobe, made of beautiful
woods and gold and looking glass, which was full of dresses of all sorts,
all for her and all exactly fitting her.  After that, the angelic baby
came in, running alone, with his face and eye not a bit the worse, but
much the better.  Then Grandmarina begged to be introduced to the
duchess; and, when the duchess was brought down, many compliments passed
between them.

A little whispering took place between the fairy and the duchess; and
then the fairy said out loud, ‘Yes, I thought she would have told you.’
Grandmarina then turned to the king and queen, and said, ‘We are going in
search of Prince Certainpersonio.  The pleasure of your company is
requested at church in half an hour precisely.’  So she and the Princess
Alicia got into the carriage; and Mr. Pickles’s boy handed in the
duchess, who sat by herself on the opposite seat; and then Mr. Pickles’s
boy put up the steps and got up behind, and the peacocks flew away with
their tails behind.

Prince Certainpersonio was sitting by himself, eating barley-sugar, and
waiting to be ninety.  When he saw the peacocks, followed by the
carriage, coming in at the window it immediately occurred to him that
something uncommon was going to happen.

‘Prince,’ said Grandmarina, ‘I bring you your bride.’  The moment the
fairy said those words, Prince Certainpersonio’s face left off being
sticky, and his jacket and corduroys changed to peach-bloom velvet, and
his hair curled, and a cap and feather flew in like a bird and settled on
his head.  He got into the carriage by the fairy’s invitation; and there
he renewed his acquaintance with the duchess, whom he had seen before.

In the church were the prince’s relations and friends, and the Princess
Alicia’s relations and friends, and the seventeen princes and princesses,
and the baby, and a crowd of the neighbours.  The marriage was beautiful
beyond expression.  The duchess was bridesmaid, and beheld the ceremony
from the pulpit, where she was supported by the cushion of the desk.

Grandmarina gave a magnificent wedding-feast afterwards, in which there
was everything and more to eat, and everything and more to drink.  The
wedding-cake was delicately ornamented with white satin ribbons, frosted
silver, and white lilies, and was forty-two yards round.

When Grandmarina had drunk her love to the young couple, and Prince
Certainpersonio had made a speech, and everybody had cried, Hip, hip,
hip, hurrah! Grandmarina announced to the king and queen that in future
there would be eight quarter-days in every year, except in leap-year,
when there would be ten.  She then turned to Certainpersonio and Alicia,
and said, ‘My dears, you will have thirty-five children, and they will
all be good and beautiful.  Seventeen of your children will be boys, and
eighteen will be girls.  The hair of the whole of your children will curl
naturally.  They will never have the measles, and will have recovered
from the whooping-cough before being born.’

On hearing such good news, everybody cried out ‘Hip, hip, hip, hurrah!’
again.

‘It only remains,’ said Grandmarina in conclusion, ‘to make an end of the
fish-bone.’

So she took it from the hand of the Princess Alicia, and it instantly
flew down the throat of the dreadful little snapping pug-dog, next door,
and choked him, and he expired in convulsions.



PART III.
ROMANCE.  FROM THE PEN OF LIEUT.-COL. ROBIN REDFORTH {266}


THE subject of our present narrative would appear to have devoted himself
to the pirate profession at a comparatively early age.  We find him in
command of a splendid schooner of one hundred guns loaded to the muzzle,
ere yet he had had a party in honour of his tenth birthday.

It seems that our hero, considering himself spited by a Latin-grammar
master, demanded the satisfaction due from one man of honour to
another.—Not getting it, he privately withdrew his haughty spirit from
such low company, bought a second-hand pocket-pistol, folded up some
sandwiches in a paper bag, made a bottle of Spanish liquorice-water, and
entered on a career of valour.

It were tedious to follow Boldheart (for such was his name) through the
commencing stages of his story.  Suffice it, that we find him bearing the
rank of Capt. Boldheart, reclining in full uniform on a crimson
hearth-rug spread out upon the quarter-deck of his schooner ‘The Beauty,’
in the China seas.  It was a lovely evening; and, as his crew lay grouped
about him, he favoured them with the following melody:

    O landsmen are folly!
    O pirates are jolly!
    O diddleum Dolly,
                   Di!

             _Chorus_.—Heave yo.

The soothing effect of these animated sounds floating over the waters, as
the common sailors united their rough voices to take up the rich tones of
Boldheart, may be more easily conceived than described.

It was under these circumstances that the look-out at the masthead gave
the word, ‘Whales!’

All was now activity.

‘Where away?’ cried Capt. Boldheart, starting up.

‘On the larboard bow, sir,’ replied the fellow at the masthead, touching
his hat.  For such was the height of discipline on board of ‘The Beauty,’
that, even at that height, he was obliged to mind it, or be shot through
the head.

‘This adventure belongs to me,’ said Boldheart.  ‘Boy, my harpoon.  Let
no man follow;’ and leaping alone into his boat, the captain rowed with
admirable dexterity in the direction of the monster.

All was now excitement.

‘He nears him!’ said an elderly seaman, following the captain through his
spy-glass.

‘He strikes him!’ said another seaman, a mere stripling, but also with a
spy-glass.

‘He tows him towards us!’ said another seaman, a man in the full vigour
of life, but also with a spy-glass.

In fact, the captain was seen approaching, with the huge bulk following.
We will not dwell on the deafening cries of ‘Boldheart! Boldheart!’ with
which he was received, when, carelessly leaping on the quarter-deck, he
presented his prize to his men.  They afterwards made two thousand four
hundred and seventeen pound ten and sixpence by it.

Ordering the sail to be braced up, the captain now stood W.N.W.  ‘The
Beauty’ flew rather than floated over the dark blue waters.  Nothing
particular occurred for a fortnight, except taking, with considerable
slaughter, four Spanish galleons, and a snow from South America, all
richly laden.  Inaction began to tell upon the spirits of the men.  Capt.
Boldheart called all hands aft, and said, ‘My lads, I hear there are
discontented ones among ye.  Let any such stand forth.’

After some murmuring, in which the expressions, ‘Ay, ay, sir!’  ‘Union
Jack,’ ‘Avast,’ ‘Starboard,’ ‘Port,’ ‘Bowsprit,’ and similar indications
of a mutinous undercurrent, though subdued, were audible, Bill Boozey,
captain of the foretop, came out from the rest.  His form was that of a
giant, but he quailed under the captain’s eye.

‘What are your wrongs?’ said the captain.

‘Why, d’ye see, Capt. Boldheart,’ replied the towering manner, ‘I’ve
sailed, man and boy, for many a year, but I never yet know’d the milk
served out for the ship’s company’s teas to be so sour as ‘tis aboard
this craft.’

At this moment the thrilling cry, ‘Man overboard!’ announced to the
astonished crew that Boozey, in stepping back, as the captain (in mere
thoughtfulness) laid his hand upon the faithful pocket-pistol which he
wore in his belt, had lost his balance, and was struggling with the
foaming tide.

All was now stupefaction.

But with Capt. Boldheart, to throw off his uniform coat, regardless of
the various rich orders with which it was decorated, and to plunge into
the sea after the drowning giant, was the work of a moment.  Maddening
was the excitement when boats were lowered; intense the joy when the
captain was seen holding up the drowning man with his teeth; deafening
the cheering when both were restored to the main deck of ‘The Beauty.’
And, from the instant of his changing his wet clothes for dry ones, Capt.
Boldheart had no such devoted though humble friend as William Boozey.

Boldheart now pointed to the horizon, and called the attention of his
crew to the taper spars of a ship lying snug in harbour under the guns of
a fort.

‘She shall be ours at sunrise,’ said he.  ‘Serve out a double allowance
of grog, and prepare for action.’

All was now preparation.

When morning dawned, after a sleepless night, it was seen that the
stranger was crowding on all sail to come out of the harbour and offer
battle.  As the two ships came nearer to each other, the stranger fired a
gun and hoisted Roman colours.  Boldheart then perceived her to be the
Latin-grammar master’s bark.  Such indeed she was, and had been tacking
about the world in unavailing pursuit, from the time of his first taking
to a roving life.

Boldheart now addressed his men, promising to blow them up if he should
feel convinced that their reputation required it, and giving orders that
the Latin-grammar master should be taken alive.  He then dismissed them
to their quarters, and the fight began with a broadside from ‘The
Beauty.’  She then veered around, and poured in another.  ‘The Scorpion’
(so was the bark of the Latin-grammar master appropriately called) was
not slow to return her fire; and a terrific cannonading ensued, in which
the guns of ‘The Beauty’ did tremendous execution.

The Latin-grammar master was seen upon the poop, in the midst of the
smoke and fire, encouraging his men.  To do him justice, he was no
craven, though his white hat, his short gray trousers, and his long
snuff-coloured surtout reaching to his heels (the self-same coat in which
he had spited Boldheart), contrasted most unfavourably with the brilliant
uniform of the latter.  At this moment, Boldheart, seizing a pike and
putting himself at the head of his men, gave the word to board.

A desperate conflict ensued in the hammock-nettings,—or somewhere in
about that direction,—until the Latin-grammar master, having all his
masts gone, his hull and rigging shot through, and seeing Boldheart
slashing a path towards him, hauled down his flag himself, gave up his
sword to Boldheart, and asked for quarter.  Scarce had he been put into
the captain’s boat, ere ‘The Scorpion’ went down with all on board.

On Capt. Boldheart’s now assembling his men, a circumstance occurred.  He
found it necessary with one blow of his cutlass to kill the cook, who,
having lost his brother in the late action, was making at the
Latin-grammar master in an infuriated state, intent on his destruction
with a carving-knife.

Capt. Boldheart then turned to the Latin-grammar master, severely
reproaching him with his perfidy, and put it to his crew what they
considered that a master who spited a boy deserved.

They answered with one voice, ‘Death.’

‘It may be so,’ said the captain; ‘but it shall never be said that
Boldheart stained his hour of triumph with the blood of his enemy.
Prepare the cutter.’

The cutter was immediately prepared.

‘Without taking your life,’ said the captain, ‘I must yet for ever
deprive you of the power of spiting other boys.  I shall turn you adrift
in this boat.  You will find in her two oars, a compass, a bottle of rum,
a small cask of water, a piece of pork, a bag of biscuit, and my Latin
grammar.  Go! and spite the natives, if you can find any.’

Deeply conscious of this bitter sarcasm, the unhappy wretch was put into
the cutter, and was soon left far behind.  He made no effort to row, but
was seen lying on his back with his legs up, when last made out by the
ship’s telescopes.

A stiff breeze now beginning to blow, Capt. Boldheart gave orders to keep
her S.S.W., easing her a little during the night by falling off a point
or two W. by W., or even by W.S., if she complained much.  He then
retired for the night, having in truth much need of repose.  In addition
to the fatigues he had undergone, this brave officer had received sixteen
wounds in the engagement, but had not mentioned it.

In the morning a white squall came on, and was succeeded by other squalls
of various colours.  It thundered and lightened heavily for six weeks.
Hurricanes then set in for two months.  Waterspouts and tornadoes
followed.  The oldest sailor on board—and he was a very old one—had never
seen such weather.  ‘The Beauty’ lost all idea where she was, and the
carpenter reported six feet two of water in the hold.  Everybody fell
senseless at the pumps every day.

Provisions now ran very low.  Our hero put the crew on short allowance,
and put himself on shorter allowance than any man in the ship.  But his
spirit kept him fat.  In this extremity, the gratitude of Boozey, the
captain of the foretop, whom our readers may remember, was truly
affecting.  The loving though lowly William repeatedly requested to be
killed, and preserved for the captain’s table.

We now approach a change of affairs.  One day during a gleam of sunshine,
and when the weather had moderated, the man at the masthead—too weak now
to touch his hat, besides its having been blown away—called out,

‘Savages!’

All was now expectation.

Presently fifteen hundred canoes, each paddled by twenty savages, were
seen advancing in excellent order.  They were of a light green colour
(the savages were), and sang, with great energy, the following strain:

    Choo a choo a choo tooth.
       Muntch, muntch.  Nycey!
    Choo a choo a choo tooth.
       Muntch, muntch.  Nycey!

As the shades of night were by this time closing in, these expressions
were supposed to embody this simple people’s views of the evening hymn.
But it too soon appeared that the song was a translation of ‘For what we
are going to receive,’ &c.

The chief, imposingly decorated with feathers of lively colours, and
having the majestic appearance of a fighting parrot, no sooner understood
(he understood English perfectly) that the ship was ‘The Beauty,’ Capt.
Boldheart, than he fell upon his face on the deck, and could not be
persuaded to rise until the captain had lifted him up, and told him he
wouldn’t hurt him.  All the rest of the savages also fell on their faces
with marks of terror, and had also to be lifted up one by one.  Thus the
fame of the great Boldheart had gone before him, even among these
children of Nature.

Turtles and oysters were now produced in astonishing numbers; and on
these and yams the people made a hearty meal.  After dinner the chief
told Capt. Boldheart that there was better feeding up at the village, and
that he would be glad to take him and his officers there.  Apprehensive
of treachery, Boldheart ordered his boat’s crew to attend him completely
armed.  And well were it for other commanders if their precautions—but
let us not anticipate.

When the canoes arrived at the beach, the darkness of the night was
illumined by the light of an immense fire.  Ordering his boat’s crew
(with the intrepid though illiterate William at their head) to keep close
and be upon their guard, Boldheart bravely went on, arm in arm with the
chief.

But how to depict the captain’s surprise when he found a ring of savages
singing in chorus that barbarous translation of ‘For what we are going to
receive,’ &c., which has been given above, and dancing hand in hand round
the Latin-grammar master, in a hamper with his head shaved, while two
savages floured him, before putting him to the fire to be cooked!

Boldheart now took counsel with his officers on the course to be adopted.
In the mean time, the miserable captive never ceased begging pardon and
imploring to be delivered.  On the generous Boldheart’s proposal, it was
at length resolved that he should not be cooked, but should be allowed to
remain raw, on two conditions, namely:

1. That he should never, under any circumstances, presume to teach any
boy anything any more.

2. That, if taken back to England, he should pass his life in travelling
to find out boys who wanted their exercises done, and should do their
exercises for those boys for nothing, and never say a word about it.

Drawing the sword from its sheath, Boldheart swore him to these
conditions on its shining blade.  The prisoner wept bitterly, and
appeared acutely to feel the errors of his past career.

The captain then ordered his boat’s crew to make ready for a volley, and
after firing to re-load quickly.  ‘And expect a score or two on ye to go
head over heels,’ murmured William Boozey; ‘for I’m a-looking at ye.’
With those words, the derisive though deadly William took a good aim.

‘Fire!’

The ringing voice of Boldheart was lost in the report of the guns and the
screeching of the savages.  Volley after volley awakened the numerous
echoes.  Hundreds of savages were killed, hundreds wounded, and thousands
ran howling into the woods.  The Latin-grammar master had a spare
night-cap lent him, and a long-tail coat, which he wore hind side before.
He presented a ludicrous though pitiable appearance, and serve him right.

We now find Capt. Boldheart, with this rescued wretch on board, standing
off for other islands.  At one of these, not a cannibal island, but a
pork and vegetable one, he married (only in fun on his part) the king’s
daughter.  Here he rested some time, receiving from the natives great
quantities of precious stones, gold dust, elephants’ teeth, and sandal
wood, and getting very rich.  This, too, though he almost every day made
presents of enormous value to his men.

The ship being at length as full as she could hold of all sorts of
valuable things, Boldheart gave orders to weigh the anchor, and turn ‘The
Beauty’s’ head towards England.  These orders were obeyed with three
cheers; and ere the sun went down full many a hornpipe had been danced on
deck by the uncouth though agile William.

We next find Capt. Boldheart about three leagues off Madeira, surveying
through his spy-glass a stranger of suspicious appearance making sail
towards him.  On his firing a gun ahead of her to bring her to, she ran
up a flag, which he instantly recognised as the flag from the mast in the
back-garden at home.

Inferring from this, that his father had put to sea to seek his long-lost
son, the captain sent his own boat on board the stranger to inquire if
this was so, and, if so, whether his father’s intentions were strictly
honourable.  The boat came back with a present of greens and fresh meat,
and reported that the stranger was ‘The Family,’ of twelve hundred tons,
and had not only the captain’s father on board, but also his mother, with
the majority of his aunts and uncles, and all his cousins.  It was
further reported to Boldheart that the whole of these relations had
expressed themselves in a becoming manner, and were anxious to embrace
him and thank him for the glorious credit he had done them.  Boldheart at
once invited them to breakfast next morning on board ‘The Beauty,’ and
gave orders for a brilliant ball that should last all day.

It was in the course of the night that the captain discovered the
hopelessness of reclaiming the Latin-grammar master.  That thankless
traitor was found out, as the two ships lay near each other,
communicating with ‘The Family’ by signals, and offering to give up
Boldheart.  He was hanged at the yard-arm the first thing in the morning,
after having it impressively pointed out to him by Boldheart that this
was what spiters came to.

The meeting between the captain and his parents was attended with tears.
His uncles and aunts would have attended their meeting with tears too,
but he wasn’t going to stand that.  His cousins were very much astonished
by the size of his ship and the discipline of his men, and were greatly
overcome by the splendour of his uniform.  He kindly conducted them round
the vessel, and pointed out everything worthy of notice.  He also fired
his hundred guns, and found it amusing to witness their alarm.

The entertainment surpassed everything ever seen on board ship, and
lasted from ten in the morning until seven the next morning.  Only one
disagreeable incident occurred.  Capt. Boldheart found himself obliged to
put his cousin Tom in irons, for being disrespectful.  On the boy’s
promising amendment, however, he was humanely released after a few hours’
close confinement.

Boldheart now took his mother down into the great cabin, and asked after
the young lady with whom, it was well known to the world, he was in love.
His mother replied that the object of his affections was then at school
at Margate, for the benefit of sea-bathing (it was the month of
September), but that she feared the young lady’s friends were still
opposed to the union.  Boldheart at once resolved, if necessary, to
bombard the town.

Taking the command of his ship with this intention, and putting all but
fighting men on board ‘The Family,’ with orders to that vessel to keep in
company, Boldheart soon anchored in Margate Roads.  Here he went ashore
well-armed, and attended by his boat’s crew (at their head the faithful
though ferocious William), and demanded to see the mayor, who came out of
his office.

‘Dost know the name of yon ship, mayor?’ asked Boldheart fiercely.

‘No,’ said the mayor, rubbing his eyes, which he could scarce believe,
when he saw the goodly vessel riding at anchor.

‘She is named “The Beauty,”’ said the captain.

‘Hah!’ exclaimed the mayor, with a start.  ‘And you, then, are Capt.
Boldheart?’

‘The same.’

A pause ensued.  The mayor trembled.

‘Now, mayor,’ said the captain, ‘choose!  Help me to my bride, or be
bombarded.’

The mayor begged for two hours’ grace, in which to make inquiries
respecting the young lady.  Boldheart accorded him but one; and during
that one placed William Boozey sentry over him, with a drawn sword, and
instructions to accompany him wherever he went, and to run him through
the body if he showed a sign of playing false.

At the end of the hour the mayor re-appeared more dead than alive,
closely waited on by Boozey more alive than dead.

‘Captain,’ said the mayor, ‘I have ascertained that the young lady is
going to bathe.  Even now she waits her turn for a machine.  The tide is
low, though rising.  I, in one of our town-boats, shall not be suspected.
When she comes forth in her bathing-dress into the shallow water from
behind the hood of the machine, my boat shall intercept her and prevent
her return.  Do you the rest.’

‘Mayor,’ returned Capt. Boldheart, ‘thou hast saved thy town.’

The captain then signalled his boat to take him off, and, steering her
himself, ordered her crew to row towards the bathing-ground, and there to
rest upon their oars.  All happened as had been arranged.  His lovely
bride came forth, the mayor glided in behind her, she became confused,
and had floated out of her depth, when, with one skilful touch of the
rudder and one quivering stroke from the boat’s crew, her adoring
Boldheart held her in his strong arms.  There her shrieks of terror were
changed to cries of joy.

Before ‘The Beauty’ could get under way, the hoisting of all the flags in
the town and harbour, and the ringing of all the bells, announced to the
brave Boldheart that he had nothing to fear.  He therefore determined to
be married on the spot, and signalled for a clergyman and clerk, who came
off promptly in a sailing-boat named ‘The Skylark.’  Another great
entertainment was then given on board ‘The Beauty,’ in the midst of which
the mayor was called out by a messenger.  He returned with the news that
government had sent down to know whether Capt. Boldheart, in
acknowledgment of the great services he had done his country by being a
pirate, would consent to be made a lieutenant-colonel.  For himself he
would have spurned the worthless boon; but his bride wished it, and he
consented.

Only one thing further happened before the good ship ‘Family’ was
dismissed, with rich presents to all on board.  It is painful to record
(but such is human nature in some cousins) that Capt. Boldheart’s
unmannerly Cousin Tom was actually tied up to receive three dozen with a
rope’s end ‘for cheekiness and making game,’ when Capt. Boldheart’s lady
begged for him, and he was spared.  ‘The Beauty’ then refitted, and the
captain and his bride departed for the Indian Ocean to enjoy themselves
for evermore.



PART IV.
ROMANCE FROM THE PEN OF MISS NETTIE ASHFORD {274}


THERE is a country, which I will show you when I get into maps, where the
children have everything their own way.  It is a most delightful country
to live in.  The grown-up people are obliged to obey the children, and
are never allowed to sit up to supper, except on their birthdays.  The
children order them to make jam and jelly and marmalade, and tarts and
pies and puddings, and all manner of pastry.  If they say they won’t,
they are put in the corner till they do.  They are sometimes allowed to
have some; but when they have some, they generally have powders given
them afterwards.

One of the inhabitants of this country, a truly sweet young creature of
the name of Mrs. Orange, had the misfortune to be sadly plagued by her
numerous family.  Her parents required a great deal of looking after, and
they had connections and companions who were scarcely ever out of
mischief.  So Mrs. Orange said to herself, ‘I really cannot be troubled
with these torments any longer: I must put them all to school.’

Mrs. Orange took off her pinafore, and dressed herself very nicely, and
took up her baby, and went out to call upon another lady of the name of
Mrs. Lemon, who kept a preparatory establishment.  Mrs. Orange stood upon
the scraper to pull at the bell, and give a ring-ting-ting.

Mrs. Lemon’s neat little housemaid, pulling up her socks as she came
along the passage, answered the ring-ting-ting.

‘Good-morning,’ said Mrs. Orange.  ‘Fine day.  How do you do?  Mrs. Lemon
at home!’

‘Yes, ma’am.’

‘Will you say Mrs. Orange and baby?’

‘Yes, ma’am.  Walk in.’

Mrs. Orange’s baby was a very fine one, and real wax all over.  Mrs.
Lemon’s baby was leather and bran.  However, when Mrs. Lemon came into
the drawing-room with her baby in her arms, Mrs. Orange said politely,
‘Good-morning.  Fine day.  How do you do?  And how is little
Tootleumboots?’

‘Well, she is but poorly.  Cutting her teeth, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Lemon.

‘O, indeed, ma’am!’ said Mrs. Orange.  ‘No fits, I hope?’

‘No, ma’am.’

‘How many teeth has she, ma’am?’

‘Five, ma’am.’

‘My Emilia, ma’am, has eight,’ said Mrs. Orange.  ‘Shall we lay them on
the mantelpiece side by side, while we converse?’

‘By all means, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Lemon.  ‘Hem!’

‘The first question is, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Orange, ‘I don’t bore you?’

‘Not in the least, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Lemon.  ‘Far from it, I assure you.’

‘Then pray _have_ you,’ said Mrs. Orange,—‘_have_ you any vacancies?’

‘Yes, ma’am.  How many might you require?’

‘Why, the truth is, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Orange, ‘I have come to the
conclusion that my children,’—O, I forgot to say that they call the
grown-up people children in that country!—‘that my children are getting
positively too much for me.  Let me see.  Two parents, two intimate
friends of theirs, one godfather, two godmothers, and an aunt.  _Have_
you as many as eight vacancies?’

‘I have just eight, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Lemon.

‘Most fortunate!  Terms moderate, I think?’

‘Very moderate, ma’am.’

‘Diet good, I believe?’

‘Excellent, ma’am.’

‘Unlimited?’

‘Unlimited.’

‘Most satisfactory!  Corporal punishment dispensed with?’

‘Why, we do occasionally shake,’ said Mrs. Lemon, ‘and we have slapped.
But only in extreme cases.’

‘_Could_ I, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Orange,—‘_could_ I see the establishment?’

‘With the greatest of pleasure, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Lemon.

Mrs. Lemon took Mrs. Orange into the schoolroom, where there were a
number of pupils.  ‘Stand up, children,’ said Mrs. Lemon; and they all
stood up.

Mrs. Orange whispered to Mrs. Lemon, ‘There is a pale, bald child, with
red whiskers, in disgrace.  Might I ask what he has done?’

‘Come here, White,’ said Mrs. Lemon, ‘and tell this lady what you have
been doing.’

‘Betting on horses,’ said White sulkily.

‘Are you sorry for it, you naughty child?’ said Mrs. Lemon.

‘No,’ said White.  ‘Sorry to lose, but shouldn’t be sorry to win.’

‘There’s a vicious boy for you, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Lemon.  ‘Go along with
you, sir.  This is Brown, Mrs. Orange.  O, a sad case, Brown’s!  Never
knows when he has had enough.  Greedy.  How is your gout, sir?’

‘Bad,’ said Brown.

‘What else can you expect?’ said Mrs. Lemon.  ‘Your stomach is the size
of two.  Go and take exercise directly.  Mrs. Black, come here to me.
Now, here is a child, Mrs. Orange, ma’am, who is always at play.  She
can’t be kept at home a single day together; always gadding about and
spoiling her clothes.  Play, play, play, play, from morning to night, and
to morning again.  How can she expect to improve?’

‘Don’t expect to improve,’ sulked Mrs. Black.  ‘Don’t want to.’

‘There is a specimen of her temper, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Lemon.  ‘To see her
when she is tearing about, neglecting everything else, you would suppose
her to be at least good-humoured.  But bless you! ma’am, she is as pert
and flouncing a minx as ever you met with in all your days!’

‘You must have a great deal of trouble with them, ma’am,’ said Mrs.
Orange.

‘Ah, I have, indeed, ma’am!’ said Mrs. Lemon.  ‘What with their tempers,
what with their quarrels, what with their never knowing what’s good for
them, and what with their always wanting to domineer, deliver me from
these unreasonable children!’

‘Well, I wish you good-morning, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Orange.

‘Well, I wish you good-morning, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Lemon.

So Mrs. Orange took up her baby and went home, and told the family that
plagued her so that they were all going to be sent to school.  They said
they didn’t want to go to school; but she packed up their boxes, and
packed them off.

‘O dear me, dear me!  Rest and be thankful!’ said Mrs. Orange, throwing
herself back in her little arm-chair.  ‘Those troublesome troubles are
got rid of, please the pigs!’

Just then another lady, named Mrs. Alicumpaine, came calling at the
street-door with a ring-ting-ting.

‘My dear Mrs. Alicumpaine,’ said Mrs. Orange, ‘how do you do?  Pray stay
to dinner.  We have but a simple joint of sweet-stuff, followed by a
plain dish of bread and treacle; but, if you will take us as you find us,
it will be _so_ kind!’

‘Don’t mention it,’ said Mrs. Alicumpaine.  ‘I shall be too glad.  But
what do you think I have come for, ma’am?  Guess, ma’am.’

‘I really cannot guess, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Orange.

‘Why, I am going to have a small juvenile party to-night,’ said Mrs.
Alicumpaine; ‘and if you and Mr. Orange and baby would but join us, we
should be complete.’

‘More than charmed, I am sure!’ said Mrs. Orange.

‘So kind of you!’ said Mrs. Alicumpaine.  ‘But I hope the children won’t
bore you?’

‘Dear things!  Not at all,’ said Mrs. Orange.  ‘I dote upon them.’

Mr. Orange here came home from the city; and he came, too, with a
ring-ting-ting.

‘James love,’ said Mrs. Orange, ‘you look tired.  What has been doing in
the city to-day?’

‘Trap, bat, and ball, my dear,’ said Mr. Orange, ‘and it knocks a man
up.’

‘That dreadfully anxious city, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Orange to Mrs.
Alicumpaine; ‘so wearing, is it not?’

‘O, so trying!’ said Mrs. Alicumpaine.  ‘John has lately been speculating
in the peg-top ring; and I often say to him at night, “John, _is_ the
result worth the wear and tear?”’

Dinner was ready by this time: so they sat down to dinner; and while Mr.
Orange carved the joint of sweet-stuff, he said, ‘It’s a poor heart that
never rejoices.  Jane, go down to the cellar, and fetch a bottle of the
Upest ginger-beer.’

At tea-time, Mr. and Mrs. Orange, and baby, and Mrs. Alicumpaine went off
to Mrs. Alicumpaine’s house.  The children had not come yet; but the
ball-room was ready for them, decorated with paper flowers.

‘How very sweet!’ said Mrs. Orange.  ‘The dear things!  How pleased they
will be!’

‘I don’t care for children myself,’ said Mr. Orange, gaping.

‘Not for girls?’ said Mrs. Alicumpaine.  ‘Come! you care for girls?’

Mr. Orange shook his head, and gaped again.  ‘Frivolous and vain, ma’am.’

‘My dear James,’ cried Mrs. Orange, who had been peeping about, ‘do look
here.  Here’s the supper for the darlings, ready laid in the room behind
the folding-doors.  Here’s their little pickled salmon, I do declare!
And here’s their little salad, and their little roast beef and fowls, and
their little pastry, and their wee, wee, wee champagne!’

‘Yes, I thought it best, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Alicumpaine, ‘that they should
have their supper by themselves.  Our table is in the corner here, where
the gentlemen can have their wineglass of negus, and their egg-sandwich,
and their quiet game at beggar-my-neighbour, and look on.  As for us,
ma’am, we shall have quite enough to do to manage the company.’

‘O, indeed, you may say so!  Quite enough, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Orange.

The company began to come.  The first of them was a stout boy, with a
white top-knot and spectacles.  The housemaid brought him in and said,
‘Compliments, and at what time was he to be fetched!’  Mrs. Alicumpaine
said, ‘Not a moment later than ten.  How do you do, sir?  Go and sit
down.’  Then a number of other children came; boys by themselves, and
girls by themselves, and boys and girls together.  They didn’t behave at
all well.  Some of them looked through quizzing-glasses at others, and
said, ‘Who are those?  Don’t know them.’  Some of them looked through
quizzing-glasses at others, and said, ‘How do?’  Some of them had cups of
tea or coffee handed to them by others, and said, ‘Thanks; much!’  A good
many boys stood about, and felt their shirt-collars.  Four tiresome fat
boys _would_ stand in the doorway, and talk about the newspapers, till
Mrs. Alicumpaine went to them and said, ‘My dears, I really cannot allow
you to prevent people from coming in.  I shall be truly sorry to do it;
but, if you put yourself in everybody’s way, I must positively send you
home.’  One boy, with a beard and a large white waistcoat, who stood
straddling on the hearth-rug warming his coat-tails, _was_ sent home.
‘Highly incorrect, my dear,’ said Mrs. Alicumpaine, handing him out of
the room, ‘and I cannot permit it.’

There was a children’s band,—harp, cornet, and piano,—and Mrs.
Alicumpaine and Mrs. Orange bustled among the children to persuade them
to take partners and dance.  But they were so obstinate!  For quite a
long time they would not be persuaded to take partners and dance.  Most
of the boys said, ‘Thanks; much!  But not at present.’  And most of the
rest of the boys said, ‘Thanks; much!  But never do.’

‘O, these children are very wearing!’ said Mrs. Alicumpaine to Mrs.
Orange.

‘Dear things!  I dote upon them; but they ARE wearing,’ said Mrs. Orange
to Mrs. Alicumpaine.

At last they did begin in a slow and melancholy way to slide about to the
music; though even then they wouldn’t mind what they were told, but would
have this partner, and wouldn’t have that partner, and showed temper
about it.  And they wouldn’t smile,—no, not on any account they wouldn’t;
but, when the music stopped, went round and round the room in dismal
twos, as if everybody else was dead.

‘O, it’s very hard indeed to get these vexing children to be
entertained!’ said Mrs. Alicumpaine to Mrs. Orange.

‘I dote upon the darlings; but it is hard,’ said Mrs. Orange to Mrs.
Alicumpaine.

They were trying children, that’s the truth.  First, they wouldn’t sing
when they were asked; and then, when everybody fully believed they
wouldn’t, they would.  ‘If you serve us so any more, my love,’ said Mrs.
Alicumpaine to a tall child, with a good deal of white back, in mauve
silk trimmed with lace, ‘it will be my painful privilege to offer you a
bed, and to send you to it immediately.’

The girls were so ridiculously dressed, too, that they were in rags
before supper.  How could the boys help treading on their trains?  And
yet when their trains were trodden on, they often showed temper again,
and looked as black, they did!  However, they all seemed to be pleased
when Mrs. Alicumpaine said, ‘Supper is ready, children!’  And they went
crowding and pushing in, as if they had had dry bread for dinner.

‘How are the children getting on?’ said Mr. Orange to Mrs. Orange, when
Mrs. Orange came to look after baby.  Mrs. Orange had left baby on a
shelf near Mr. Orange while he played at beggar-my-neighbour, and had
asked him to keep his eye upon her now and then.

‘Most charmingly, my dear!’ said Mrs. Orange.  ‘So droll to see their
little flirtations and jealousies!  Do come and look!’

‘Much obliged to you, my dear,’ said Mr. Orange; ‘but I don’t care about
children myself.’

So Mrs. Orange, having seen that baby was safe, went back without Mr.
Orange to the room where the children were having supper.

‘What are they doing now?’ said Mrs. Orange to Mrs. Alicumpaine.

‘They are making speeches, and playing at parliament,’ said Mrs.
Alicumpaine to Mrs. Orange.

On hearing this, Mrs. Orange set off once more back again to Mr. Orange,
and said, ‘James dear, do come.  The children are playing at parliament.’

‘Thank you, my dear,’ said Mr. Orange, ‘but I don’t care about parliament
myself.’

So Mrs. Orange went once again without Mr. Orange to the room where the
children were having supper, to see them playing at parliament.  And she
found some of the boys crying, ‘Hear, hear, hear!’ while other boys cried
‘No, no!’ and others, ‘Question!’ ‘Spoke!’ and all sorts of nonsense that
ever you heard.  Then one of those tiresome fat boys who had stopped the
doorway told them he was on his legs (as if they couldn’t see that he
wasn’t on his head, or on his anything else) to explain, and that, with
the permission of his honourable friend, if he would allow him to call
him so (another tiresome boy bowed), he would proceed to explain.  Then
he went on for a long time in a sing-song (whatever he meant), did this
troublesome fat boy, about that he held in his hand a glass; and about
that he had come down to that house that night to discharge what he would
call a public duty; and about that, on the present occasion, he would lay
his hand (his other hand) upon his heart, and would tell honourable
gentlemen that he was about to open the door to general approval.  Then
he opened the door by saying, ‘To our hostess!’ and everybody else said
‘To our hostess!’ and then there were cheers.  Then another tiresome boy
started up in sing-song, and then half a dozen noisy and nonsensical boys
at once.  But at last Mrs. Alicumpaine said, ‘I cannot have this din.
Now, children, you have played at parliament very nicely; but parliament
gets tiresome after a little while, and it’s time you left off, for you
will soon be fetched.’

After another dance (with more tearing to rags than before supper), they
began to be fetched; and you will be very glad to be told that the
tiresome fat boy who had been on his legs was walked off first without
any ceremony.  When they were all gone, poor Mrs. Alicumpaine dropped
upon a sofa, and said to Mrs. Orange, ‘These children will be the death
of me at last, ma’am,—they will indeed!’

‘I quite adore them, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Orange; ‘but they DO want
variety.’

Mr. Orange got his hat, and Mrs. Orange got her bonnet and her baby, and
they set out to walk home.  They had to pass Mrs. Lemon’s preparatory
establishment on their way.

‘I wonder, James dear,’ said Mrs. Orange, looking up at the window,
‘whether the precious children are asleep!’

‘I don’t care much whether they are or not, myself,’ said Mr. Orange.

‘James dear!’

‘You dote upon them, you know,’ said Mr. Orange.  ‘That’s another thing.’

‘I do,’ said Mrs. Orange rapturously.  ‘O, I DO!’

‘I don’t,’ said Mr. Orange.

‘But I was thinking, James love,’ said Mrs. Orange, pressing his arm,
‘whether our dear, good, kind Mrs. Lemon would like them to stay the
holidays with her.’

‘If she was paid for it, I daresay she would,’ said Mr. Orange.

‘I adore them, James,’ said Mrs. Orange, ‘but SUPPOSE we pay her, then!’

This was what brought that country to such perfection, and made it such a
delightful place to live in.  The grown-up people (that would be in other
countries) soon left off being allowed any holidays after Mr. and Mrs.
Orange tried the experiment; and the children (that would be in other
countries) kept them at school as long as ever they lived, and made them
do whatever they were told.



FOOTNOTES


{251}  Aged eight.

{258}  Aged seven.

{266}  Aged nine.

{274}  Aged half-past six.





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