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Title: Stories of Fortune
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stories of Fortune" ***

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_The Riverside Press Cambridge_



THE GOLD-BUG . . . . . . . . . _Edgar Allan Poe_

THE FAIRY-FINDER . . . . . . . _Samuel Lover_

MURAD THE UNLUCKY  . . . . . . _Maria Edgeworth_

THE CHILDREN OF THE PUBLIC . . _Edward Everett Hale_

THE RIVAL DREAMERS . . . . . . _John Banim_

THE THREEFOLD DESTINY  . . . . _Nathaniel Hawthorne_



  What ho! what ho! this fellow is dancing mad!
  He hath been bitten by the Tarantula.
                                _All in the Wrong._

Many years ago I contracted an intimacy with a Mr. William Legrand. He
was of an ancient Huguenot family, and had once been wealthy; but a
series of misfortunes had reduced him to want. To avoid the
mortification consequent upon his disasters, he left New Orleans, the
city of his forefathers, and took up his residence at Sullivan's
Island, near Charleston, South Carolina.

This island is a very singular one. It consists of little else than the
sea-sand, and is about three miles long. Its breadth at no point
exceeds a quarter of a mile. It is separated from the mainland by a
scarcely perceptible creek oozing its way through a wilderness of reeds
and slime, a favorite resort of the marsh-hen. The vegetation, as might
be supposed, is scant, or at least dwarfish. No trees of any magnitude
are to be seen. Near the western extremity, where Fort Moultrie stands,
and where are some miserable frame buildings, tenanted, during summer,
by the fugitives from Charleston dust and fever, may be found, indeed,
the bristly palmetto; but the whole island, with the exception of this
western point, and a line of hard, white beach on the sea-coast, is
covered with a dense undergrowth of the sweet myrtle, so much prized by
the horticulturists of England. The shrub here often attains the height
of fifteen or twenty feet, and forms an almost impenetrable coppice,
burdening the air with its fragrance.

In the inmost recesses of this coppice, not far from the eastern or
more remote end of the island, Legrand had built himself a small hut,
which he occupied when I first, by mere accident, made his
acquaintance. This soon ripened into friendship,--for there was much in
the recluse to excite interest and esteem. I found him well educated,
with unusual powers of mind, but infected with misanthropy, and subject
to perverse moods of alternate enthusiasm and melancholy. He had with
him many books, but rarely employed them. His chief amusements were
gunning and fishing, or sauntering along the beach and through the
myrtles, in quest of shells or entomological specimens;--his collection
of the latter might have been envied by a Swammerdam. In these
excursions he was usually accompanied by an old negro, called Jupiter,
who had been manumitted before the reverses of the family, but who
could be induced, neither by threats nor by promises, to abandon what
he considered his right of attendance upon the footsteps of his young
"Massa Will." It is not improbable that the relatives of Legrand,
conceiving him to be somewhat unsettled in intellect, had contrived to
instil this obstinacy into Jupiter, with a view to the supervision and
guardianship of the wanderer.

The winters in the latitude of Sullivan's Island are seldom very
severe, and in the fall of the year it is a rare event indeed when a
fire is considered necessary. About the middle of October, 18--, there
occurred, however, a day of remarkable chilliness. Just before sunset I
scrambled my way through the evergreens to the hut of my friend, whom I
had not visited for several weeks,--my residence being, at that time,
in Charleston, a distance of nine miles from the island, while the
facilities of passage and re-passage were very far behind those of the
present day. Upon reaching the hut I rapped, as was my custom, and
getting no reply, sought for the key where I knew it was secreted,
unlocked the door, and went in. A fine fire was blazing upon the
hearth. It was a novelty, and by no means an ungrateful one. I threw
off an overcoat, took an arm-chair by the crackling logs, and awaited
patiently the arrival of my hosts.

Soon after dark they arrived, and gave me a most cordial welcome.
Jupiter, grinning from ear to ear, bustled about to prepare some
marsh-hens for supper. Legrand was in one of his fits--how else shall I
term them?--of enthusiasm. He had found an unknown bivalve, forming a
new genus, and, more than this, he had hunted down and secured, with
Jupiter's assistance, a _scarabæus_ which he believed to be totally
new, but in respect to which he wished to have my opinion on the

"And why not to-night?" I asked, rubbing my hands over the blaze, and
wishing the whole tribe of _scarabæi_ at the devil.

"Ah, if I had only known you were here!" said Legrand, "but it's so
long since I saw you; and how could I foresee that you would pay me a
visit this very night of all others? As I was coming home I met
Lieutenant G----, from the fort, and, very foolishly, I lent him the
bug; so it will be impossible for you to see it until the morning. Stay
here to-night, and I will send Jup down for it at sunrise. It is the
loveliest thing in creation!"


"Nonsense! no!--the bug. It is of a brilliant gold color,--about the
size of a large hickory-nut,--with two jet-black spots near one
extremity of the back, and another, somewhat longer, at the other. The
_antennæ_ are--"

"Dey aint _no_ tin in him, Massa Will, I keep a tellin on you," here
interrupted Jupiter; "de bug is a goole-bug, solid, ebery bit of him,
inside and all, sep him wing,--neber feel half so hebby a bug in my

"Well, suppose it is, Jup," replied Legrand, somewhat more earnestly,
it seemed to me, than the case demanded, "is that any reason for your
letting the birds burn? The color"--here he turned to me--"is really
almost enough to warrant Jupiter's idea. You never saw a more brilliant
metallic lustre than the scales emit,--but of this you cannot judge
till to-morrow. In the mean time I can give you some idea of the
shape." Saying this, he seated himself at a small table, on which were
a pen and ink, but no paper. He looked for some in a drawer, but found

"Never mind," said he at length, "this will answer"; and he drew from
his waistcoat-pocket a scrap of what I took to be very dirty foolscap,
and made upon it a rough drawing with the pen. While he did this, I
retained my seat by the fire, for I was still chilly. When the design
was complete, he handed it to me without rising. As I received it, a
loud growl was heard, succeeded by a scratching at the door. Jupiter
opened it, and a large Newfoundland, belonging to Legrand, rushed in,
leaped upon my shoulders, and loaded me with caresses; for I had shown
him much attention during previous visits. When his gambols were over,
I looked at the paper, and, to speak the truth, found myself not a
little puzzled at what my friend had depicted.

"Well!" I said, after contemplating it for some minutes, "this _is_ a
strange _scarabæus_, I must confess: new to me: never saw anything like
it before,--unless it was a skull, or a death's-head,--which it more
nearly resembles than anything else that has come under _my_

"A death's-head!" echoed Legrand--"O--yes--well, it has something of
that appearance upon paper, no doubt. The two upper black spots look
like eyes, eh? and the longer one at the bottom like a mouth,--and then
the shape of the whole is oval."

"Perhaps so," said I; "but, Legrand, I fear you are no artist. I must
wait until I see the beetle itself, if I am to form any idea of its
personal appearance."

"Well, I don't know," said he, a little nettled, "I draw
tolerably,--_should_ do it at least,--have had good masters, and
flatter myself that I am not quite a blockhead."

"But, my dear fellow, you are joking, then," said I, "this is a very
passable _skull_,--indeed, I may say that it is a very _excellent_
skull, according to the vulgar notions about such specimens of
physiology,--and your _scarabæus_ must be the queerest _scarabæus_ in
the world if it resembles it. Why, we may get up a very thrilling bit
of superstition upon this hint. I presume you will call the bug
_scarabæus caput hominis_, or something of that kind,--there are many
similar titles in the Natural Histories. But where are the _antennæ_
you spoke of?"

"The _antennæ_!" said Legrand, who seemed to be getting unaccountably
warm upon the subject; "I am sure you must see the _antennæ_. I made
them as distinct as they are in the original insect, and I presume that
is sufficient."

"Well, well," I said, "perhaps you have,--still I don't see them"; and
I handed him the paper without additional remark, not wishing to ruffle
his temper; but I was much surprised at the turn affairs had taken; his
ill-humor puzzled me; and, as for the drawing of the beetle, there were
positively _no antennæ_ visible, and the whole _did_ bear a very close
resemblance to the ordinary cuts of a death's-head.

He received the paper very peevishly, and was about to crumple it,
apparently to throw it in the fire, when a casual glance at the design
seemed suddenly to rivet his attention. In an instant his face grew
violently red,--in another as excessively pale. For some minutes he
continued to scrutinize the drawing minutely where he sat. At length he
arose, took a candle from the table, and proceeded to seat himself upon
a sea-chest in the farthest corner of the room. Here again he made an
anxious examination of the paper, turning it in all directions. He said
nothing, however, and his conduct greatly astonished me; yet I thought
it prudent not to exacerbate the growing moodiness of his temper by any
comment. Presently he took from his coat-pocket a wallet, placed the
paper carefully in it, and deposited both in a writing-desk, which he
locked. He now grew more composed in his demeanor; but his original air
of enthusiasm had quite disappeared. Yet he seemed not so much sulky as
abstracted. As the evening wore away he became more and more absorbed
in revery, from which no sallies of mine could arouse him. It had been
my intention to pass the night at the hut, as I had frequently done
before, but, seeing my host in this mood, I deemed it proper to take
leave. He did not press me to remain, but, as I departed, he shook my
hand with even more than his usual cordiality.

It was about a month after this (and during the interval I had seen
nothing of Legrand) when I received a visit, at Charleston, from his
man, Jupiter. I had never seen the good old negro look so dispirited,
and I feared that some serious disaster had befallen my friend.

"Well, Jup," said I, "what is the matter now?--how is your master?"

"Why, to speak de troof, massa, him not so berry well as mought be."

"Not well! I am truly sorry to hear it. What does he complain of?"

"Dar! dat's it!--him neber plain of notin,--but him berry sick for all

"_Very_ sick, Jupiter!--why didn't you say so at once? Is he confined
to bed?"

"No, dat he aint!--he aint find nowhar,--dat's just whar de shoe
pinch,--my mind is got to be berry hebby bout poor Massa Will."

"Jupiter, I should like to understand what it is you are talking about.
You say your master is sick. Hasn't he told you what ails him?"

"Why, massa, taint worf while for to git mad about de matter,--Massa
Will say noffin at all aint de matter wid him,--but den what make him
go about looking dis here way, wid he head down and he soldiers up, and
as white as a gose? And den he keep a syphon all de time--"

"Keeps a what, Jupiter?"

"Keeps a syphon wid de figgurs on de slate,--de queerest figgurs I
ebber did see. Ise gittin to be skeered, I tell you. Hab for to keep
mighty tight eye pon him noovers. Todder day he gib me slip fore de sun
up and was gone de whole ob de blessed day. I had a big stick ready cut
for to gib him deuced good beating when he did come,--but Ise sich a
fool dat I hadn't de heart arter all,--he look so berry poorly."

"Eh?--what?--ah yes!--upon the whole I think you had better not be too
severe with the poor fellow,--don't flog him, Jupiter,--he can't very
well stand it,--but can you form no idea of what has occasioned this
illness, or rather this change of conduct? Has anything unpleasant
happened since I saw you?"

"No, massa, dey aint bin noffin onpleasant _since_ den,--'twas _fore_
den I'm feared,--'twas de berry day you was dare."

"How? what do you mean?"

"Why, massa, I mean de bug--dare now."

"The what?"

"De bug,--I'm berry sartain dat Massa Will bin bit somewhere bout de
head by dat goole-bug."

"And what cause have you, Jupiter, for such a supposition?"

"Claws enuff, massa, and mouff too. I nebber did see sich a deuced
bug,--he kick and he bite ebery ting what cum near him. Massa Will
cotch him fuss, but had for to let him go gin mighty quick, I tell
you--den was de time he must ha got de bite. I didn't like de look ob
de bug mouff, myself, no how, so I wouldn't take hold ob him wid my
finger, but I cotch him wid a piece ob paper dat I found. I rap him up
in de paper and stuff piece ob it in he mouff,--dat was de way."

"And you think, then, that your master was really bitten by the beetle,
and that the bite made him sick?"

"I don't tink noffin about it,--I nose it. What make him dream bout de
goole so much, if taint cause he bit by de goole-bug? Ise heerd bout
dem goole-bugs fore dis."

"But how do you know he dreams about gold?"

"How I know? why cause he talk about it in he sleep,--dat's how I

"Well, Jup, perhaps you are right; but to what fortunate circumstance
am I to attribute the honor of a visit from you to-day?"

"What de matter, massa?"

"Did you bring any message from Mr. Legrand?"

"No, massa, I bring dis here pissel"; and here Jupiter handed me a note
which ran thus:--

MY DEAR ----: Why have I not seen you for so long a time? I hope you
have not been so foolish as to take offence at any little _brusquerie_
of mine; but no, that is improbable.

Since I saw you I have had great cause for anxiety. I have something to
tell you, yet scarcely know how to tell it, or whether I should tell it
at all.

I have not been quite well for some days past, and poor old Jup annoys
me, almost beyond endurance, by his well-meant attentions. Would you
believe it?--he had prepared a huge stick, the other day, with which to
chastise me for giving him the slip, and spending the day, _solus_,
among the hills on the mainland. I verily believe that my ill looks
alone saved me a flogging.

I have made no addition to my cabinet since we met.

If you can in any way make it convenient, come over with Jupiter. _Do_
come. I wish to see you _to-night_, upon business of importance. I
assure you that it is of the _highest_ importance.

Ever yours,

There was something in the tone of this note which gave me great
uneasiness. Its whole style differed materially from that of Legrand.
What could he be dreaming of? What new crotchet possessed his excitable
brain? What "business of the highest importance" could _he_ possibly
have to transact? Jupiter's account of him boded no good. I dreaded
lest the continued pressure of misfortune had, at length, fairly
unsettled the reason of my friend. Without a moment's hesitation,
therefore, I prepared to accompany the negro.

Upon reaching the wharf, I noticed a scythe and three spades, all
apparently new, lying in the bottom of the boat in which we were to

"What is the meaning of all this, Jup?" I inquired.

"Him syfe, massa, and spade."

"Very true; but what are they doing here?"

"Him de syfe and de spade what Massa Will sis pon my buying for him in
de town, and de debbil's own lot of money I had to gib for em."

"But what, in the name of all that is mysterious, is your 'Massa Will'
going to do with scythes and spades?"

"Dat's more dan _I_ know, and debbil take me if I don't blieve 'tis
more dan he know, too. But it's all cum ob de bug."

Finding that no satisfaction was to be obtained of Jupiter, whose whole
intellect seemed to be absorbed by "de bug," I now stepped into the
boat and made sail. With a fair and strong breeze we soon ran into the
little cove to the northward of Fort Moultrie, and a walk of some two
miles brought us to the hut. It was about three in the afternoon when
we arrived. Legrand had been awaiting us in eager expectation. He
grasped my hand with a nervous _empressement_ which alarmed me and
strengthened the suspicions already entertained. His countenance was
pale even to ghastliness, and his deep-set eyes glared with unnatural
lustre. After some inquiries respecting his health, I asked him, not
knowing what better to say, if he had yet obtained the _scarabæus_ from
Lieutenant G----.

"O yes," he replied, coloring violently, "I got it from him the next
morning. Nothing should tempt me to part with that _scarabæus_. Do you
know that Jupiter is quite right about it?"

"In what way?" I asked, with a sad foreboding at heart.

"In supposing it to be a bug of _real gold_." He said this with an air
of profound seriousness, and I felt inexpressibly shocked.

"This bug is to make my fortune," he continued, with a triumphant
smile, "to reinstate me in my family possessions. Is it any wonder,
then, that I prize it? Since Fortune has thought fit to bestow it upon
me, I have only to use it properly and I shall arrive at the gold of
which it is the index. Jupiter, bring me that _scarabæus_!"

"What! de bug, massa? I'd rudder not go fer trubble dat bug,--you mus
git him for your own self." Hereupon Legrand arose, with a grave and
stately air, and brought me the beetle from a glass case in which it
was enclosed. It was a beautiful _scarabæus_, and, at that time,
unknown to naturalists,--of course a great prize in a scientific point
of view. There were two round black spots near one extremity of the
back, and a long one near the other. The scales were exceedingly hard
and glossy, with all the appearance of burnished gold. The weight of
the insect was very remarkable, and, taking all things into
consideration, I could hardly blame Jupiter for his opinion respecting
it; but what to make of Legrand's concordance with that opinion I could
not for the life of me tell.

"I sent for you," said he, in a grandiloquent tone, when I had
completed my examination of the beetle,--"I sent for you, that I might
have your counsel and assistance in furthering the views of Fate and of
the bug--"

"My dear Legrand," I cried, interrupting him, "you are certainly
unwell, and had better use some little precautions. You shall go to
bed, and I will remain with you a few days, until you get over this.
You are feverish and--"

"Feel my pulse," said he.

I felt it, and, to say the truth, found not the slightest indication of

"But you may be ill and yet have no fever. Allow me this once to
prescribe for you. In the first place, go to bed. In the next--"

"You are mistaken," he interposed; "I am as well as I can expect to be
under the excitement which I suffer. If you really wish me well, you
will relieve this excitement."

"And how is this to be done?"

"Very easily. Jupiter and myself are going upon an expedition into the
hills, upon the mainland, and, in this expedition, we shall need the
aid of some person in whom we can confide. You are the only one we can
trust. Whether we succeed or fail, the excitement which you now
perceive in me will be equally allayed."

"I am anxious to oblige you in any way," I replied; "but do you mean to
say that this infernal beetle has any connection with your expedition
into the hills?"

"It has."

"Then, Legrand, I can become a party to no such absurd proceeding."

"I am sorry--very sorry--for we shall have to try it by ourselves."

"Try it by yourselves! The man is surely mad!--but stay!--how long do
you propose to be absent?"

"Probably all night. We shall start immediately, and be back, at all
events, by sunrise."

"And will you promise me, upon your honor, that when this freak of
yours is over, and the bug business (good God!) settled to your
satisfaction, you will then return home and follow my advice
implicitly, as that of your physician?"

"Yes; I promise; and now let us be off, for we have no time to lose."

With a heavy heart I accompanied my friend. We started about four
o'clock,--Legrand, Jupiter, the dog, and myself. Jupiter had with him
the scythe and spades, the whole of which he insisted upon
carrying,--more through fear, it seemed to me, of trusting either of
the implements within reach of his master, than from any excess of
industry or complaisance. His demeanor was dogged in the extreme, and
"dat deuced bug" were the sole words which escaped his lips during the
journey. For my own part, I had charge of a couple of dark-lanterns,
while Legrand contented himself with the _scarabæus_, which he carried
attached to the end of a bit of whip-cord; twirling it to and fro, with
the air of a conjurer, as he went. When I observed this last plain
evidence of my friend's aberration of mind, I could scarcely refrain
from tears. I thought it best, however, to humor his fancy, at least
for the present, or until I could adopt some more energetic measures
with a chance of success. In the mean time I endeavored, but all in
vain, to sound him in regard to the object of the expedition. Having
succeeded in inducing me to accompany him, he seemed unwilling to hold
conversation upon any topic of minor importance, and to all my
questions vouchsafed no other reply than "we shall see!"

We crossed the creek at the head of the island by means of a skiff,
and, ascending the high grounds on the shore of the mainland, proceeded
in a northwesterly direction, through a tract of country excessively
wild and desolate, where no trace of a human footstep was to be seen.
Legrand led the way with decision; pausing only for an instant, here
and there, to consult what appeared to be certain landmarks of his own
contrivance upon a former occasion.

In this manner we journeyed for about two hours, and the sun was just
setting when we entered a region infinitely more dreary than any yet
seen. It was a species of table-land, near the summit of an almost
inaccessible hill, densely wooded from base to pinnacle, and
interspersed with huge crags that appeared to lie loosely upon the
soil, and in many cases were prevented from precipitating themselves
into the valleys below, merely by the support of the trees against
which they reclined. Deep ravines, in various directions, gave an air
of still sterner solemnity to the scene.

The natural platform to which we had clambered was thickly overgrown
with brambles, through which we soon discovered that it would have been
impossible to force our way but for the scythe; and Jupiter, by
direction of his master, proceeded to clear for us a path to the foot
of an enormously tall tulip-tree, which stood, with some eight or ten
oaks, upon the level, and far surpassed them all, and all other trees
which I had then ever seen, in the beauty of its foliage and form, in
the wide spread of its branches, and in the general majesty of its
appearance. When we reached this tree, Legrand turned to Jupiter, and
asked him if he thought he could climb it. The old man seemed a little
staggered by the question, and for some moments made no reply. At
length he approached the huge trunk, walked slowly around it, and
examined it with minute attention. When he had completed his scrutiny,
he merely said,--

"Yes, massa, Jup climb any tree he ebber see in he life."

"Then up with you as soon as possible, for it will soon be too dark to
see what we are about."

"How far mus go up, massa?" inquired Jupiter.

"Get up the main trunk first, and then I will tell you which way to
go--and here--stop! take this beetle with you."

"De bug, Massa Will!--de goole-bug!" cried the negro, drawing back in
dismay--"what for mus tote de bug way up de tree?--d--n if I do!"

"If you are afraid, Jup, a great big negro like you, to take hold of a
harmless little dead beetle, why you can carry it up by this string;
but, if you do not take it up with you in some way, I shall be under
the necessity of breaking your head with this shovel."

"What de matter now, massa?" said Jup, evidently shamed into
compliance; "always want for to raise fuss wid old nigger. Was only
funnin anyhow. _Me_ feered de bug! what I keer for de bug?" Here he
took cautiously hold of the extreme end of the string, and, maintaining
the insect as far from his person as circumstances would permit,
prepared to ascend the tree.

In youth, the tulip-tree, or _Liriodendron tulipiferum_, the most
magnificent of American foresters, has a trunk peculiarly smooth, and
often rises to a great height without lateral branches; but, in its
riper age, the bark becomes gnarled and uneven, while many short limbs
make their appearance on the stem. Thus the difficulty of ascension, in
the present case, lay more in semblance than in reality. Embracing the
huge cylinder, as closely as possible, with his arms and knees, seizing
with his hands some projections, and resting his naked toes upon
others, Jupiter, after one or two narrow escapes from falling, at
length wriggled himself into the first great fork, and seemed to
consider the whole business as virtually accomplished. The _risk_ of
the achievement was, in fact, now over, although the climber was some
sixty or seventy feet from the ground.

"Which way mus go now, Massa Will?" he asked.

"Keep up the largest branch,--the one on this side," said Legrand. The
negro obeyed him promptly, and apparently with but little trouble;
ascending higher and higher, until no glimpse of his squat figure could
be obtained through the dense foliage which enveloped it. Presently his
voice was heard in a sort of halloo.

"How much fudder is got for go?"

"How high up are you?" asked Legrand.

"Ebber so fur," replied the negro; "can see de sky fru de top ob de

"Never mind the sky, but attend to what I say. Look down the trunk and
count the limbs below you on this side. How many limbs have you

"One, two, tree, four, fibe,--I done pass fibe big limb, massa, pon dis

"Then go one limb higher."

In a few minutes the voice was heard again, announcing that the seventh
limb was attained.

"Now, Jup," cried Legrand, evidently much excited, "I want you to work
your way out upon that limb as far as you can. If you see anything
strange, let me know."

By this time what little doubt I might have entertained of my poor
friend's insanity was put finally at rest. I had no alternative but to
conclude him stricken with lunacy, and I became seriously anxious about
getting him home. While I was pondering upon what was best to be done,
Jupiter's voice was again heard.

"Mos feerd for to ventur pon dis limb berry far,--'tis dead limb putty
much all de way."

"Did you say it was a _dead_ limb, Jupiter?" cried Legrand in a
quavering voice.

"Yes, massa, him dead as de door-nail--done up for sartain--done
departed dis here life."

"What in the name of Heaven shall I do?" asked Legrand, seemingly in
the greatest distress.

"Do!" said I, glad of an opportunity to interpose a word; "why come
home and go to bed. Come, now!--that's a fine fellow. It's getting
late, and, besides, you remember your promise."

"Jupiter," cried he, without heeding me in the least, "do you hear me?"

"Yes, Massa Will, hear you ebber so plain."

"Try the wood well, then, with your knife, and see if you think it
_very_ rotten."

"Him rotten, massa, sure nuff," replied the negro in a few moments,
"but not so berry rotten as mought be. Mought ventur out leetle way pon
de limb by myself, dat's true."

"By yourself!--what do you mean?"

"Why I mean de bug. 'Tis _berry_ hebby bug. Spose I drop him down fuss,
and den de limb won't break wid just de weight ob one nigger."

"You infernal scoundrel!" cried Legrand, apparently much relieved,
"what do you mean by telling me such nonsense as that? As sure as you
drop that beetle I'll break your neck. Look here, Jupiter, do you hear

"Yes, massa, needn't hollo at poor nigger dat style."

"Well! now listen!--if you will venture out on the limb as far as you
think safe, and not let go the beetle, I'll make you a present of a
silver dollar as soon as you get down."

"I'm gwine, Massa Will,--deed I is," replied the negro very
promptly,--"mos out to the eend now."

"_Out to the end!_" here fairly screamed Legrand; "do you say you are
out to the end of that limb?"

"Soon be to de eend, massa,--o-o-o-o-oh! Lor-gol-a-marcy! what _is_ dis
here pon de tree?"

"Well!" cried Legrand, highly delighted, "what is it?"

"Why, taint noffin but a skull--somebody bin lef him head up de tree,
and de crows done gobble ebery bit ob de meat off."

"A skull, you say!--very well!--how is it fastened to the limb?--what
holds it on?"

"Sure nuff, massa; mus look. Why dis berry curous sarcumstance, pon my
word,--dare's a great big nail in de skull, what fastens ob it on to de

"Well, now, Jupiter, do exactly as I tell you,--do you hear?"

"Yes, massa."

"Pay attention, then!--find the left eye of the skull."

"Hum! hoo! dat's good! why, dare aint no eye lef at all."

"Curse your stupidity! do you know your right hand from your left?"

"Yes, I nose dat,--nose all bout dat,--'tis my lef hand what I chops de
wood wid."

"To be sure! you are left-handed; and your left eye is on the same side
as your left hand. Now, I suppose, you can find the left eye of the
skull, or the place where the left eye has been. Have you found it?"

Here was a long pause. At length the negro asked,--

"Is de lef eye of de skull pon de same side as de lef hand of de skull,
too?--cause de skull aint got not a bit ob a hand at all,--nebber mind!
I got de lef eye now,--here de lef eye! what mus do wid it?"

"Let the beetle drop through it, as far as the string will reach,--but
be careful and not let go your hold of the string."

"All dat done, Massa Will; mighty easy ting for to put de bug fru de
hole,--look out for him dare below!"

During this colloquy no portion of Jupiter's person could be seen; but
the beetle, which he had suffered to descend, was now visible at the
end of the string, and glistened, like a globe of burnished gold, in
the last rays of the setting sun, some of which still faintly illumined
the eminence upon which we stood. The _scarabæus_ hung quite clear of
any branches, and, if allowed to fall, would have fallen at our feet.
Legrand immediately took the scythe, and cleared with it a circular
space, three or four yards in diameter, just beneath the insect, and,
having accomplished this, ordered Jupiter to let go the string and come
down from the tree.

Driving a peg, with great nicety, into the ground, at the precise spot
where the beetle fell, my friend now produced from his pocket a
tape-measure. Fastening one end of this at that point of the trunk of
the tree which was nearest the peg, he unrolled it till it reached the
peg, and thence farther unrolled it, in the direction already
established by the two points of the tree and the peg, for the distance
of fifty feet,--Jupiter clearing away the brambles with the scythe. At
the spot thus attained a second peg was driven, and about this, as a
centre, a rude circle, about four feet in diameter, described. Taking
now a spade himself, and giving one to Jupiter and one to me, Legrand
begged us to set about digging as quickly as possible.

To speak the truth, I had no especial relish for such amusement at any
time, and, at that particular moment, would most willingly have
declined it; for the night was coming on, and I felt much fatigued with
the exercise already taken; but I saw no mode of escape, and was
fearful of disturbing my poor friend's equanimity by a refusal. Could I
have depended, indeed, upon Jupiter's aid, I would have had no
hesitation in attempting to get the lunatic home by force; but I was
too well assured of the old negro's disposition, to hope that he would
assist me, under any circumstances, in a personal contest with his
master. I made no doubt that the latter had been infected with some of
the innumerable Southern superstitions about money buried, and that his
fantasy had received confirmation by the finding of the _scarabæus_,
or, perhaps, by Jupiter's obstinacy in maintaining it to be "a bug of
real gold." A mind disposed to lunacy would readily be led away by such
suggestions,--especially if chiming in with favorite preconceived
ideas,--and then I called to mind the poor fellow's speech about the
beetle's being "the index of his fortune." Upon the whole, I was sadly
vexed and puzzled, but, at length, I concluded to make a virtue of
necessity,--to dig with a good will, and thus the sooner to convince
the visionary, by ocular demonstration, of the fallacy of the opinions
he entertained.

The lanterns having been lit, we all fell to work with a zeal worthy a
more rational cause; and, as the glare fell upon our persons and
implements, I could not help thinking how picturesque a group we
composed, and how strange and suspicious our labors must have appeared
to any interloper who, by chance, might have stumbled upon our

We dug very steadily for two hours. Little was said; and our chief
embarrassment lay in the yelpings of the dog, who took exceeding
interest in our proceedings. He, at length, became so obstreperous that
we grew fearful of his giving the alarm to some stragglers in the
vicinity;--or, rather, this was the apprehension of Legrand;--for
myself, I should have rejoiced at any interruption which might have
enabled me to get the wanderer home. The noise was, at length, very
effectually silenced by Jupiter, who, getting out of the hole with a
dogged air of deliberation, tied the brute's mouth up with one of his
suspenders, and then returned, with a grave chuckle, to his task.

When the time mentioned had expired, we had reached a depth of five
feet, and yet no signs of any treasure became manifest. A general pause
ensued, and I began to hope that the farce was at an end. Legrand,
however, although evidently much disconcerted, wiped his brow
thoughtfully and recommenced. We had excavated the entire circle of
four feet diameter, and now we slightly enlarged the limit, and went to
the farther depth of two feet. Still nothing appeared. The gold-seeker,
whom I sincerely pitied, at length clambered from the pit, with the
bitterest disappointment imprinted upon every feature, and proceeded,
slowly and reluctantly, to put on his coat, which he had thrown off at
the beginning of his labor. In the mean time I made no remark. Jupiter,
at a signal from his master, began to gather up his tools. This done,
and the dog having been unmuzzled, we turned in profound silence
towards home.

We had taken, perhaps, a dozen steps in this direction, when, with a
loud oath, Legrand strode up to Jupiter, and seized him by the collar.
The astonished negro opened his eyes and mouth to the fullest extent,
let fall the spades, and fell upon his knees.

"You scoundrel," said Legrand, hissing out the syllables from between
his clinched teeth,--"you infernal black villain!--speak, I tell
you!--answer me this instant, without prevarication!--which--which is
your left eye?"

"O, my golly, Massa Will! aint dis here my lef eye for sartin?" roared
the terrified Jupiter, placing his hand upon his _right_ organ of
vision, and holding it there with a desperate pertinacity, as if in
immediate dread of his master's attempt at a gouge.

"I thought so!--I knew it! hurrah!" vociferated Legrand, letting the
negro go, and executing a series of curvets and caracoles, much to the
astonishment of his valet, who, arising from his knees, looked, mutely,
from his master to myself, and then from myself to his master.

"Come! we must go back," said the latter, "the game's not up yet." And
he again led the way to the tulip-tree.

"Jupiter," said he, when we reached its foot, "come here! Was the skull
nailed to the limb with the face outwards, or with the face to the

"De face was out, massa, so dat de crows could get at de eyes good,
widout any trouble."

"Well, then, was it this eye or that through which you dropped the
beetle?"--here Legrand touched each of Jupiter's eyes.

"'Twas dis eye, massa,--de lef eye,--jis as you tell me," and here it
was his right eye that the negro indicated.

"That will do,--we must try it again."

Here my friend, about whose madness I now saw, or fancied that I saw,
certain indications of method, removed the peg which marked the spot
where the beetle fell, to a spot about three inches to the westward of
its former position. Taking, now, the tape-measure from the nearest
point of the trunk to the peg, as before, and continuing the extension
in a straight line to the distance of fifty feet, a spot was indicated,
removed, by several yards, from the point at which we had been digging.

Around the new position a circle, somewhat larger than in the former
instance, was now described, and we again set to work with the spades.
I was dreadfully weary, but, scarcely understanding what had occasioned
the change in my thoughts, I felt no longer any great aversion from the
labor imposed. I had become most unaccountably interested,--nay, even
excited. Perhaps there was something, amid all the extravagant demeanor
of Legrand,--some air of forethought, or of deliberation,--which
impressed me. I dug eagerly, and now and then caught myself actually
looking, with something that very much resembled expectation, for the
fancied treasure, the vision of which had demented my unfortunate
companion. At a period when such vagaries of thought most fully
possessed me, and when we had been at work perhaps an hour and a half,
we were again interrupted by the violent howlings of the dog. His
uneasiness, in the first instance, had been, evidently, but the result
of playfulness or caprice, but he now assumed a bitter and serious
tone. Upon Jupiter's again attempting to muzzle him, he made furious
resistance, and, leaping into the hole, tore up the mould frantically
with his claws. In a few seconds he had uncovered a mass of human
bones, forming two complete skeletons, intermingled with several
buttons of metal, and what appeared to be the dust of decayed woollen.
One or two strokes of a spade upturned the blade of a large Spanish
knife, and, as we dug farther, three or four loose pieces of gold and
silver coin came to light.

At sight of these, the joy of Jupiter could scarcely be restrained, but
the countenance of his master wore an air of extreme disappointment. He
urged us, however, to continue our exertions, and the words were hardly
uttered, when I stumbled and fell forward, having caught the toe of my
boot in a large ring of iron that lay half buried in the loose earth.

We now worked in earnest, and never did I pass ten minutes of more
intense excitement. During this interval we had fairly unearthed an
oblong chest of wood, which, from its perfect preservation and
wonderful hardness, had plainly been subjected to some mineralizing
process,--perhaps that of the bichloride of mercury. This box was three
feet and a half long, three feet broad, and two and a half feet deep.
It was firmly secured by bands of wrought-iron, riveted, and forming a
kind of open trellis-work over the whole. On each side of the chest,
near the top, were three rings of iron,--six in all,--by means of which
a firm hold could be obtained by six persons. Our utmost united
endeavors served only to disturb the coffer very slightly in its bed.
We at once saw the impossibility of removing so great a weight.
Luckily, the sole fastenings of the lid consisted of two sliding bolts.
These we drew back,--trembling and panting with anxiety. In an instant,
a treasure of incalculable value lay gleaming before us. As the rays of
the lanterns fell within the pit, there flashed upwards a glow and a
glare, from a confused heap of gold and of jewels, that absolutely
dazzled our eyes.

I shall not pretend to describe the feelings with which I gazed.
Amazement was, of course, predominant. Legrand appeared exhausted with
excitement, and spoke very few words. Jupiter's countenance wore, for
some minutes, as deadly a pallor as it is possible, in the nature of
things, for any negro's visage to assume. He seemed
stupefied,--thunder-stricken. Presently he fell upon his knees in the
pit, and, burying his naked arms up to the elbows in gold, let them
there remain, as if enjoying the luxury of a bath. At length, with a
deep sigh, he exclaimed, as if in a soliloquy,--

"And dis all cum ob de goole-bug! de putty goole-bug! de poor little
goole-bug, what I boosed in dat sabage kind ob style! Aint you shamed
ob yourself, nigger?--answer me dat!"

It became necessary, at last, that I should arouse both master and
valet to the expediency of removing the treasure. It was growing late,
and it behooved us to make exertion, that we might get everything
housed before daylight. It was difficult to say what should be done,
and much time was spent in deliberation,--so confused were the ideas of
all. We finally lightened the box by removing two thirds of its
contents, when we were enabled, with some trouble, to raise it from the
hole. The articles taken out were deposited among the brambles, and the
dog left to guard them, with strict orders from Jupiter neither, upon
any pretence, to stir from the spot, nor to open his mouth until our
return. We then hurriedly made for home with the chest; reaching the
hut in safety, but after excessive toil, at one o'clock in the morning.
Worn out as we were, it was not in human nature to do more immediately.
We rested until two, and had supper; starting for the hills immediately
afterwards, armed with three stout sacks, which, by good luck, were
upon the premises. A little before four we arrived at the pit, divided
the remainder of the booty, as equally as might be, among us, and,
leaving the holes unfilled, again set out for the hut, at which, for
the second time, we deposited our golden burdens, just as the first
faint streaks of the dawn gleamed from over the tree-tops in the east.

We were now thoroughly broken down; but the intense excitement of the
time denied us repose. After an unquiet slumber of some three or four
hours' duration, we arose, as if by preconcert, to make examination of
our treasure.

The chest had been full to the brim, and we spent the whole day and the
greater part of the next night in a scrutiny of its contents. There had
been nothing like order or arrangement. Everything had been heaped in
promiscuously. Having assorted all with care, we found ourselves
possessed of even vaster wealth than we had at first supposed. In coin
there was rather more than four hundred and fifty thousand
dollars,--estimating the value of the pieces, as accurately as we
could, by the tables of the period. There was not a particle of silver.
All was gold of antique date and of great variety,--French, Spanish,
and German money, with a few English guineas, and some counters, of
which we had never seen specimens before. There were several very large
and heavy coins, so worn that we could make nothing of their
inscriptions. There was no American money. The value of the jewels we
found more difficulty in estimating. There were diamonds,--some of them
exceedingly large and fine,--a hundred and ten in all, and not one of
them small; eighteen rubies of remarkable brilliancy; three hundred and
ten emeralds, all very beautiful; and twenty-one sapphires, with an
opal. These stones had all been broken from their settings and thrown
loose in the chest. The settings themselves, which we picked out from
among the other gold, appeared to have been beaten up with hammers, as
if to prevent identification. Besides all this, there was a vast
quantity of solid gold ornaments;--nearly two hundred massive finger
and ear rings;--rich chains,--thirty of these, if I
remember;--eighty-three very large and heavy crucifixes;--five gold
censers of great value;--a prodigious golden punch-bowl, ornamented
with richly chased vine-leaves and Bacchanalian figures; with two
sword-handles exquisitely embossed, and many other smaller articles
which I cannot recollect. The weight of these valuables exceeded three
hundred and fifty pounds avoirdupois; and in this estimate I have not
included one hundred and ninety-seven superb gold watches; three of the
number being worth each five hundred dollars, if one. Many of them were
very old, and as time-keepers valueless; the works having suffered,
more or less, from corrosion,--but all were richly jewelled and in
cases of great worth. We estimated the entire contents of the chest,
that night, at a million and a half of dollars; and, upon the
subsequent disposal of the trinkets and jewels (a few being retained
for our own use), it was found that we had greatly undervalued the

When, at length, we had concluded our examination, and the intense
excitement of the time had in some measure subsided, Legrand, who saw
that I was dying with impatience for a solution of this most
extraordinary riddle, entered into a full detail of all the
circumstances connected with it.

"You remember," said he, "the night when I handed you the rough sketch
I had made of the _scarabæus_. You recollect, also, that I became quite
vexed at you for insisting that my drawing resembled a death's-head.
When you first made this assertion I thought you were jesting; but
afterwards I called to mind the peculiar spots on the back of the
insect, and admitted to myself that your remark had some little
foundation in fact. Still, the sneer at my graphic powers irritated
me,--for I am considered a good artist,--and, therefore, when you
handed me the scrap of parchment, I was about to crumple it up and
throw it angrily into the fire."

"The scrap of paper, you mean," said I.

"No; it had much of the appearance of paper, and at first I supposed it
to be such, but when I came to draw upon it, I discovered it, at once,
to be a piece of very thin parchment. It was quite dirty, you remember.
Well, as I was in the very act of crumpling it up, my glance fell upon
the sketch at which you had been looking, and you may imagine my
astonishment when I perceived, in fact, the figure of a death's-head
just where, it seemed to me, I had made the drawing of the beetle. For
a moment I was too much amazed to think with accuracy. I knew that my
design was very different in detail from this,--although there was a
certain similarity in general outline. Presently I took a candle, and
seating myself at the other end of the room, proceeded to scrutinize
the parchment more closely. Upon turning it over, I saw my own sketch
upon the reverse, just as I had made it. My first idea, now, was mere
surprise at the really remarkable similarity of outline,--at the
singular coincidence involved in the fact that, unknown to me, there
should have been a skull upon the other side of the parchment,
immediately beneath my figure of the _scarabæus_, and that this skull,
not only in outline, but in size, should so closely resemble my
drawing. I say the singularity of this coincidence absolutely stupefied
me for a time. This is the usual effect of such coincidences. The mind
struggles to establish a connection,--a sequence of cause and
effect,--and, being unable to do so, suffers a species of temporary
paralysis. But, when I recovered from this stupor, there dawned upon me
gradually a conviction which startled me even far more than the
coincidence. I began distinctly, positively, to remember that there had
been _no_ drawing upon the parchment when I made my sketch of the
_scarabæus_. I became perfectly certain of this; for I recollected
turning up first one side and then the other, in search of the cleanest
spot. Had the skull been there then, of course I could not have failed
to notice it. Here was indeed a mystery which I felt it impossible to
explain; but, even at that early moment, there seemed to glimmer,
faintly, within the most remote and secret chambers of my intellect, a
glow-worm-like conception of that truth which last night's adventure
brought to so magnificent a demonstration. I arose at once, and putting
the parchment securely away, dismissed all further reflection until I
should be alone.

"When you had gone, and when Jupiter was fast asleep, I betook myself
to a more methodical investigation of the affair. In the first place I
considered the manner in which the parchment had come into my
possession. The spot where we discovered the _scarabæus_ was on the
coast of the mainland, about a mile eastward of the island, and but a
short distance above high-water mark. Upon my taking hold of it, it
gave me a sharp bite, which caused me to let it drop. Jupiter, with his
accustomed caution, before seizing the insect, which had flown towards
him, looked about him for a leaf, or something of that nature, by which
to take hold of it. It was at this moment that his eyes, and mine also,
fell upon the scrap of parchment, which I then supposed to be paper. It
was lying half buried in the sand, a corner sticking up. Near the spot
where we found it I observed the remnants of the hull of what appeared
to have been a ship's long-boat. The wreck seemed to have been there
for a very great while; for the resemblance to boat timbers could
scarcely be traced.

"Well, Jupiter picked up the parchment, wrapped the beetle in it, and
gave it to me. Soon afterwards we turned to go home, and on the way met
Lieutenant G----. I showed him the insect, and he begged me to let him
take it to the fort. Upon my consenting, he thrust it forthwith into
his waistcoat-pocket, without the parchment in which it had been
wrapped, and which I had continued to hold in my hand during his
inspection. Perhaps he dreaded my changing my mind, and thought it best
to make sure of the prize at once,--you know how enthusiastic he is on
all subjects connected with Natural History. At the same time, without
being conscious of it, I must have deposited the parchment in my own

"You remember that when I went to the table, for the purpose of making
a sketch of the beetle, I found no paper where it was usually kept. I
looked in the drawer, and found none there. I searched my pockets,
hoping to find an old letter, when my hand fell upon the parchment. I
thus detail the precise mode in which it came into my possession; for
the circumstances impressed me with peculiar force.

"No doubt you will think me fanciful,--but I had already established a
kind of _connection_. I had put together two links of a great chain.
There was a boat lying upon a sea-coast, and not far from the boat was
a parchment--_not a paper_--with a skull depicted upon it. You will, of
course, ask, 'Where is the connection?' I reply that the skull, or
death's-head, is the well-known emblem of the pirate. The flag of the
death's-head is hoisted in all engagements.

"I have said that the scrap was parchment, and not paper. Parchment is
durable,--almost imperishable. Matters of little moment are rarely
consigned to parchment; since, for the mere ordinary purposes of
drawing or writing, it is not nearly so well adapted as paper. This
reflection suggested some meaning--some relevancy--in the death's-head.
I did not fail to observe, also, the _form_ of the parchment. Although
one of its corners had been, by some accident, destroyed, it could be
seen that the original form was oblong. It was just such a slip,
indeed, as might have been chosen for a memorandum,--for a record of
something to be long remembered and carefully preserved."

"But," I interposed, "you say that the skull was _not_ upon the
parchment when you made the drawing of the beetle. How then do you
trace any connection between the boat and the skull,--since this
latter, according to your own admission, must have been designed (God
only knows how or by whom) at some period subsequent to your sketching
the _scarabæus_?"

"Ah, hereupon turns the whole mystery; although the secret, at this
point, I had comparatively little difficulty in solving. My steps were
sure, and could afford but a single result. I reasoned, for example,
thus: When I drew the _scarabæus_, there was no skull apparent upon the
parchment. When I had completed the drawing I gave it to you, and
observed you narrowly until you returned it. _You_, therefore, did not
design the skull, and no one else was present to do it. Then it was not
done by human agency. And nevertheless it was done.

"At this stage of my reflections I endeavored to remember, and _did_
remember, with entire distinctness, every incident which occurred about
the period in question. The weather was chilly, (O rare and happy
accident!) and a fire was blazing upon the hearth. I was heated with
exercise, and sat near the table. You, however, had drawn a chair close
to the chimney. Just as I placed the parchment in your hand, and as you
were in the act of inspecting it, Wolf, the Newfoundland, entered, and
leaped upon your shoulders. With your left hand you caressed him and
kept him off, while your right, holding the parchment, was permitted to
fall listlessly between your knees, and in close proximity to the fire.
At one moment I thought the blaze had caught it, and was about to
caution you, but, before I could speak, you had withdrawn it, and were
engaged in its examination. When I considered all these particulars, I
doubted not for a moment that _heat_ had been the agent in bringing to
light, upon the parchment, the skull which I saw designed upon it. You
are well aware that chemical preparations exist, and have existed time
out of mind, by means of which it is possible to write upon either
paper or vellum, so that the characters shall become visible only when
subjected to the action of fire. Zaffre, digested in _aqua regia_, and
diluted with four times its weight of water, is sometimes employed; a
green tint results. The regulus of cobalt, dissolved in spirit of
nitre, gives a red. These colors disappear at longer or shorter
intervals after the material written upon cools, but again become
apparent upon the re-application of heat.

"I now scrutinized the death's-head with care. Its outer edges--the
edges of the drawing nearest the edge of the vellum--were far more
_distinct_ than the others. It was clear that the action of the caloric
had been imperfect or unequal. I immediately kindled a fire, and
subjected every portion of the parchment to a glowing heat. At first,
the only effect was the strengthening of the faint lines in the skull;
but, upon persevering in the experiment, there became visible, at the
corner of the slip, diagonally opposite to the spot in which the
death's-head was delineated, the figure of what I at first supposed to
be a goat. A closer scrutiny, however, satisfied me that it was
intended for a kid."

"Ha! ha!" said I, "to be sure I have no right to laugh at you,--a
million and a half of money is too serious a matter for mirth,--but you
are not about to establish a third link in your chain,--you will not
find any especial connection between your pirates and a goat,--pirates,
you know, have nothing to do with goats; they appertain to the farming

"But I have just said that the figure was _not_ that of a goat."

"Well, a kid then,--pretty much the same thing."

"Pretty much, but not altogether," said Legrand. "You may have heard of
one _Captain_ Kidd. I at once looked upon the figure of the animal as a
kind of punning or hieroglyphical signature. I say signature; because
its position upon the vellum suggested this idea. The death's-head at
the corner diagonally opposite had, in the same manner, the air of a
stamp, or seal. But I was sorely put out by the absence of all else--of
the body to my imagined instrument--of the text for my context."

"I presume you expected to find a letter between the stamp and the

"Something of that kind. The fact is, I felt irresistibly impressed
with a presentiment of some vast good fortune impending. I can scarcely
say why. Perhaps, after all, it was rather a desire than an actual
belief;--but do you know that Jupiter's silly words, about the bug
being of solid gold, had a remarkable effect upon my fancy? And then
the series of accidents and coincidences,--these were so _very_
extraordinary. Do you observe how mere an accident it was that these
events should have occurred upon the _sole_ day of all the year in
which it has been, or may be, sufficiently cool for fire, and that
without the fire, or without the intervention of the dog at the precise
moment in which he appeared, I should never have become aware of the
death's-head, and so never the possessor of the treasure?"

"But proceed,--I am all impatience."

"Well; you have heard, of course, the many stories current,--the
thousand vague rumors afloat about money buried, somewhere upon the
Atlantic coast, by Kidd and his associates. These rumors must have had
some foundation in fact. And that the rumors have existed so long and
so continuously could have resulted, it appeared to me, only from the
circumstance of the buried treasure still _remaining_ entombed. Had
Kidd concealed his plunder for a time, and afterwards reclaimed it, the
rumors would scarcely have reached us in their present unvarying form.
You will observe that the stories told are all about money-seekers, not
about money-finders. Had the pirate recovered his money, there the
affair would have dropped. It seemed to me that some accident--say the
loss of a memorandum indicating its locality--had deprived him of the
means of recovering it, and that this accident had become known to his
followers, who otherwise might never have heard that treasure had been
concealed at all, and who, busying themselves in vain, because
unguided, attempts to regain it, had given first birth, and then
universal currency, to the reports which are now so common. Have you
ever heard of any important treasure being unearthed along the coast?"


"But that Kidd's accumulations were immense, is well known. I took it
for granted, therefore, that the earth still held them; and you will
scarcely be surprised when I tell you that I felt a hope, nearly
amounting to certainty, that the parchment so strangely found, involved
a lost record of the place of deposit."

"But how did you proceed?"

"I held the vellum again to the fire, after increasing the heat; but
nothing appeared. I now thought it possible that the coating of dirt
might have something to do with the failure; so I carefully rinsed the
parchment by pouring warm water over it, and, having done this, I
placed it in a tin pan, with the skull downwards, and put the pan upon
a furnace of lighted charcoal. In a few minutes, the pan having become
thoroughly heated, I removed the slip, and, to my inexpressible joy,
found it spotted, in several places, with what appeared to be figures
arranged in lines. Again I placed it in the pan, and suffered it to
remain another minute. Upon taking it off, the whole was just as you
see it now."

Here Legrand, having re-heated the parchment, submitted it to my
inspection. The following characters were rudely traced, in a red tint,
between the death's-head and the goat:--


"But," said I, returning him the slip, "I am as much in the dark as
ever. Were all the jewels of Golconda awaiting me upon my solution of
this enigma, I am quite sure that I should be unable to earn them."

"And yet," said Legrand, "the solution is by no means so difficult as
you might be led to imagine from the first hasty inspection of the
characters. These characters, as any one might readily guess, form a
cipher,--that is to say, they convey a meaning; but then, from what is
known of Kidd, I could not suppose him capable of constructing any of
the more abstruse cryptographs. I made up my mind, at once, that this
was of a simple species,--such, however, as would appear, to the crude
intellect of the sailor, absolutely insoluble without the key."

"And you really solved it?"

"Readily; I have solved others of an abstruseness ten thousand times
greater. Circumstances, and a certain bias of mind, have led me to take
interest in such riddles, and it may well be doubted whether human
ingenuity can construct an enigma of the kind which human ingenuity may
not, by proper application, resolve. In fact, having once established
connected and legible characters, I scarcely gave a thought to the mere
difficulty of developing their import.

"In the present case--indeed in all cases of secret writing--the first
question regards the _language_ of the cipher; for the principles of
solution, so far, especially, as the more simple ciphers are concerned,
depend upon, and are varied by, the genius of the particular idiom. In
general, there is no alternative but experiment (directed by
probabilities), of every tongue known to him who attempts the solution,
until the true one be attained. But, with the cipher now before us, all
difficulty was removed by the signature. The pun upon the word 'Kidd'
is appreciable in no other language than the English. But for this
consideration I should have begun my attempts with the Spanish and
French, as the tongues in which a secret of this kind would most
naturally have been written by a pirate of the Spanish main. As it was,
I assumed the cryptograph to be English.

"You observe there are no divisions between the words. Had there been
divisions, the task would have been comparatively easy. In such case I
should have commenced with a collation and analysis of the shorter
words, and, had a word of a single letter occurred, as is most likely
(_a_ or _I_, for example), I should have considered the solution as
assured. But, there being no division, my first step was to ascertain
the predominant letters, as well as the least frequent. Counting all, I
constructed a table, thus:

  Of the character 8 there are 33.
                   ;     "     26.
                   4     "     19.
                 $ )     "     16.
                   *     "     13.
                   5     "     12.
                   6     "     11.
                 + 1     "      8.
                   0     "      6.
                 9 2     "      5.
                 : 3     "      4.
                   ?     "      3.
                   ¶     "      2.
                -- .     "      1.

"Now, in English, the letter which most frequently occurs is _e_.
Afterwards, the succession runs thus: _a o i d h n r s t u y c f g l m
w b k p q x z_. _E_ predominates so remarkably that an individual
sentence of any length is rarely seen, in which it is not the
prevailing character.

"Here, then, we have, in the very beginning, the groundwork for
something more than a mere guess. The general use which may be made of
the table is obvious; but, in this particular cipher, we shall only
very partially require its aid. As our predominant character is 8, we
will commence by assuming it as the _e_ of the natural alphabet. To
verify the supposition, let us observe if the 8 be seen often in
couples,--for _e_ is doubled with great frequency in English,--in such
words, for example, as 'meet,' 'fleet,' 'speed,' 'seen,' 'been,'
'agree,' etc. In the present instance we see it doubled no less than
five times, although the cryptograph is brief.

"Let us assume 8, then, as _e_. Now, of all _words_ in the language,
'the' is most usual; let us see, therefore, whether there are not
repetitions of any three characters, in the same order of collocation,
the last of them being 8. If we discover repetitions of such letters,
so arranged, they will most probably represent the word 'the.' Upon
inspection, we find no less than seven such arrangements, the
characters being ;48. We may, therefore, assume that ; represents _t_,
4 represents _h_, and 8 represents _e_,--the last being now well
confirmed. Thus a great step has been taken.

"But, having established a single word, we are enabled to establish a
vastly important point; that is to say, several commencements and
terminations of other words. Let us refer, for example, to the last
instance but one, in which the combination ;48 occurs,--not far from
the end of the cipher. We know that the ; immediately ensuing is the
commencement of a word, and, of the six characters succeeding this
'the,' we are cognizant of no less than five. Let us set these
characters down, thus, by the letters we know them to represent,
leaving a space for the unknown--

  t eeth.

"Here we are enabled, at once, to discard the '_th_,' as forming no
portion of the word commencing with the first _t_; since, by experiment
of the entire alphabet for a letter adapted to the vacancy, we perceive
that no word can be formed of which this _th_ can be a part. We are
thus narrowed into

  t ee,

and, going through the alphabet, if necessary, as before, we arrive at
the word 'tree,' as the sole possible reading. We thus gain another
letter, _r_, represented by (, with the words 'the tree' in

"Looking beyond these words, for a short distance, we again see the
combination ;48, and employ it by way of _termination_ to what
immediately precedes. We have thus this arrangement:--

  the tree ;4($?34 the,

or, substituting the natural letters, where known, it reads thus:--

  the tree thr$?3h the.

"Now, if, in place of the unknown characters, we leave blank spaces, or
substitute dots, we read thus:--

  the tree thr...h the,

when the word '_through_' makes itself evident at once. But this
discovery gives us three new letters, _o_, _u_, and _g_, represented by
$ ? and 3.

"Looking, now, narrowly, through the cipher for combinations of known
characters, we find, not very far from the beginning, this arrangement,

  83(88, or egree,

which, plainly, is the conclusion of the word 'degree,' and gives us
another letter, _d_, represented by +.

"Four letters beyond the word 'degree,' we perceive the combination


"Translating the known characters, and representing the unknown by
dots, as before, we read thus:--


an arrangement immediately suggestive of the word 'thirteen,' and again
furnishing us with two new characters, _i_ and _n_, represented by 6
and *.

"Referring, now, to the beginning of the cryptograph, we find the


"Translating, as before, we obtain


which assures us that the first letter is _A_, and that the first two
words are 'A good.'

"It is now time that we arrange our key, as far as discovered, in a
tabular form, to avoid confusion. It will stand thus:--

  5 represents a
  +     "      d
  8     "      e
  3     "      g
  4     "      h
  6     "      i
  *     "      n
  $     "      o
  (     "      r
  ;     "      t

"We have, therefore, no less than ten of the most important letters
represented, and it will be unnecessary to proceed with the details of
the solution. I have said enough to convince you that ciphers of this
nature are readily soluble, and to give you some insight into the
_rationale_ of their development. But be assured that the specimen
before us appertains to the very simplest species of cryptograph. It
now only remains to give you the full translation of the characters
upon the parchment, as unriddled. Here it is:--

"'_A good glass in the bishop's hostel in the devil's seat forty-one
degrees and thirteen minutes northeast and by north main branch seventh
limb east side shoot from the left eye of the death's-head a bee line
from the tree through the shot fifty feet out._'"

"But," said I, "the enigma seems still in as bad a condition as ever.
How is it possible to extort a meaning from all this jargon about
'devil's seats,' 'death's-heads,' and 'bishop's hotels'?"

"I confess," replied Legrand, "that the matter still wears a serious
aspect, when regarded with a casual glance. My first endeavor was to
divide the sentence into the natural division intended by the

"You mean, to punctuate it?"

"Something of that kind."

"But how was it possible to effect this?"

"I reflected that it had been a _point_ with the writer to run his
words together without division, so as to increase the difficulty of
solution. Now, a not over-acute man, in pursuing such an object, would
be nearly certain to overdo the matter. When, in the course of his
composition, he arrived at a break in his subject which would naturally
require a pause, or a point, he would be exceedingly apt to run his
characters, at this place, more than usually close together. If you
will observe the manuscript in the present instance, you will easily
detect five such cases of unusual crowding. Acting upon this hint, I
made the division thus:--

"'_A good glass in the Bishop's hostel in the Devil's seat--forty-one
degrees and thirteen minutes--northeast and by north--main branch
seventh limb east side--shoot from the left eye of the death's-head--a
bee-line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out._'"

"Even this division," said I, "leaves me still in the dark."

"It left me also in the dark," replied Legrand, "for a few days; during
which I made diligent inquiry, in the neighborhood of Sullivan's
Island, for any building which went by the name of the 'Bishop's
Hotel'; for, of course, I dropped the obsolete word 'hostel.' Gaining
no information on the subject, I was on the point of extending my
sphere of search, and proceeding in a more systematic manner, when, one
morning, it entered into my head, quite suddenly, that this 'Bishop's
Hostel' might have some reference to an old family, of the name of
Bessop, which, time out of mind, had held possession of an ancient
manor-house, about four miles to the northward of the island. I
accordingly went over to the plantation, and reinstituted my inquiries
among the older negroes of the place. At length one of the most aged of
the women said that she had heard of such a place as _Bessop's Castle_,
and thought that she could guide me to it, but that it was not a
castle, nor a tavern, but a high rock.

"I offered to pay her well for her trouble, and, after some demur, she
consented to accompany me to the spot. We found it without much
difficulty, when, dismissing her, I proceeded to examine the place. The
'castle' consisted of an irregular assemblage of cliffs and rocks,--one
of the latter being quite remarkable for its height as well as for its
insulated and artificial appearance. I clambered to its apex, and then
felt much at a loss as to what should be next done.

"While I was busied in reflection, my eyes fell upon a narrow ledge in
the eastern face of the rock, perhaps a yard below the summit upon
which I stood. This ledge projected about eighteen inches, and was not
more than a foot wide, while a niche in the cliff just above it gave it
a rude resemblance to one of the hollow-backed chairs used by our
ancestors. I made no doubt that here was the 'devil's-seat' alluded to
in the manuscript, and now I seemed to grasp the full secret.

"The 'good glass,' I knew, could have reference to nothing but a
telescope; for the word 'glass' is rarely employed in any other sense
by seamen. Now here, I at once saw, was a telescope to be used, and a
definite point of view, _admitting no variation_, from which to use it.
Nor did I hesitate to believe that the phrases, 'forty-one degrees and
thirteen minutes,' and 'northeast and by north,' were intended as
directions for the levelling of the glass. Greatly excited by these
discoveries, I hurried home, procured a telescope, and returned to the

"I let myself down to the ledge, and found that it was impossible to
retain a seat upon it except in one particular position. This fact
confirmed my preconceived idea. I proceeded to use the glass. Of
course, the 'forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes' could allude to
nothing but elevation above the visible horizon, since the horizontal
direction was clearly indicated by the words, 'northeast and by north.'
This latter direction I at once established by means of a
pocket-compass; then, pointing the glass as nearly at an angle of
forty-one degrees of elevation as I could do it by guess, I moved it
cautiously up or down, until my attention was arrested by a circular
rift or opening in the foliage of a large tree that overtopped its
fellows in the distance. In the centre of this rift I perceived a white
spot, but could not, at first, distinguish what it was. Adjusting the
focus of the telescope, I again looked, and now made it out to be a
human skull.

"Upon this discovery I was so sanguine as to consider the enigma
solved; for the phrase, 'main branch, seventh limb, east side,' could
refer only to the position of the skull upon the tree, while 'shoot
from the left eye of the death's-head' admitted, also, of but one
interpretation, in regard to a search for buried treasure. I perceived
that the design was to drop a bullet from the left eye of the skull,
and that a bee-line, or, in other words, a straight line, drawn from
the nearest point of the trunk through 'the shot' (or the spot where
the bullet fell), and thence extended to a distance of fifty feet,
would indicate a definite point,--and beneath this point I thought it
at least _possible_ that a deposit of value lay concealed."

"All this," I said, "is exceedingly clear, and, although ingenious,
still simple and explicit. When you left the Bishop's Hotel, what

"Why, having carefully taken the bearings of the tree, I turned
homewards. The instant that I left 'the devil's seat,' however, the
circular rift vanished; nor could I get a glimpse of it afterwards,
turn as I would. What seems to me the chief ingenuity in this whole
business is the fact (for repeated experiment has convinced me it _is_
a fact) that the circular opening in question is visible from no other
attainable point of view than that afforded by the narrow ledge upon
the face of the rock.

"In this expedition to the 'Bishop's Hotel' I had been attended by
Jupiter, who had, no doubt, observed, for some weeks past, the
abstraction of my demeanor, and took especial care not to leave me
alone. But, on the next day, getting up very early, I contrived to give
him the slip, and went into the hills in search of the tree. After much
toil I found it. When I came home at night my valet proposed to give me
a flogging. With the rest of the adventure I believe you are as well
acquainted as myself."

"I suppose," said I, "you missed the spot, in the first attempt at
digging, through Jupiter's stupidity in letting the bug fall through
the right instead of through the left eye of the skull."

"Precisely. This mistake made a difference of about two inches and a
half in the 'shot',--that is to say, in the position of the peg nearest
the tree; and had the treasure been _beneath_ the 'shot,' the error
would have been of little moment; but 'the shot,' together with the
nearest point of the tree, were merely two points for the establishment
of a line of direction; of course the error, however trivial in the
beginning, increased as we proceeded with the line, and by the time we
had gone fifty feet threw us quite off the scent. But for my
deep-seated impressions that treasure was here somewhere actually
buried, we might have had all our labor in vain."

"But your grandiloquence, and your conduct in swinging the beetle,--how
excessively odd! I was sure you were mad. And why did you insist upon
letting fall the bug, instead of a bullet, from the skull?"

"Why, to be frank, I felt somewhat annoyed by your evident suspicions
touching my sanity, and so resolved to punish you quietly, in my own
way, by a little bit of sober mystification. For this reason I swung
the beetle, and for this reason I let it fall from the tree. An
observation of yours about its great weight suggested the latter idea."

"Yes, I perceive; and now there is only one point which puzzles me.
What are we to make of the skeletons found in the hole?"

"That is a question I am no more able to answer than yourself. There
seems, however, only one plausible way of accounting for them,--and yet
it is dreadful to believe in such atrocity as my suggestion would
imply. It is clear that Kidd,--if Kidd indeed secreted this treasure,
which I doubt not,--it is clear that he must have had assistance in the
labor. But, this labor concluded, he may have thought it expedient to
remove all participants in his secret. Perhaps a couple of blows with a
mattock were sufficient, while his coadjutors were busy in the pit;
perhaps it required a dozen,--who shall tell?"

[Transcriber's note: In this book the dagger and double dagger
characters were used in the cipher.  Since these two characters are not
part of the ISO-8859-1 character set, the + and $, respectively, were
substituted for them.]



"Finding a fortune," is a phrase often heard amongst the peasantry of
Ireland. If any man from small beginnings arrives at wealth, in a
reasonable course of time, the fact is scarcely ever considered as the
result of perseverance, superior intelligence, or industry; it passes
as a byword through the country that "he found a fortin"; whether by
digging up a "crock o' goold" in the ruins of an old abbey, or by
catching a Leprechaun and forcing him to "deliver or die," or
discovering it behind an old wainscot, is quite immaterial: the _when_
or _where_ is equally unimportant, and the thousand are satisfied with
the rumor, "He found a fortin." Besides, going into particulars
destroys romance,--and the Irish are essentially romantic,--and their
love of wonder is more gratified in considering the change from poverty
to wealth as the result of superhuman aid, than in attributing it to
the mere mortal causes of industry and prudence.

The crone of every village has plenty of stories to make her hearers
wonder, how fortunes have been arrived at by extraordinary short cuts;
and as it has been laid down as an axiom, "That there never was a fool
who had not a greater fool to admire him," so there never was any old
woman who told such stories without plenty of listeners.

Now, Darby Kelleher was one of the latter class, and there was a
certain collioch[1] who was an extensive dealer in the marvellous, and
could supply "wholesale, retail, and for exportation" any customer such
as Darby Kelleher, who not only was a devoted listener, but also made
an occasional offering at the cave of the sibyl, in return for her
oracular communications. This tribute generally was tobacco, as the
collioch was partial to chewing the weed; and thus Darby returned a
_quid pro quo_, without having any idea that he was giving a practical
instance of the foregoing well-known pun.

[Footnote 1: Old woman.]

Another constant attendant at the hut of the hag was Oonah Lenehan,
equally prone to the marvellous with Darby Kelleher, and quite his
equal in idleness. A day never passed without Darby and Oonah paying
the old woman a visit. She was sure to be "at home," for age and
decrepitude rendered it impossible for her to be otherwise; the utmost
limit of her ramble from her own chimney-corner being the seat of sods
outside the door of her hut, where, in the summer time, she was to be
found, so soon as the sunbeams fell on the front of her abode, and made
the seat habitable for one whose accustomed vicinity to the fire
rendered heat indispensable to comfort. Here she would sit and rock
herself to and fro in the hot noons of July and August, her own
appearance and that of her wretched cabin being in admirable keeping.
To a fanciful beholder the question might have suggested itself,
whether the hag was made for the hovel, or it for her; or whether they
had grown into a likeness of one another, as man and wife are said to
do, for there were many points of resemblance between them. The
tattered thatch of the hut was like the straggling hair of its
mistress, and Time, that had grizzled the latter, had covered the
former with gray lichens. To its mud walls, a strong likeness was to be
found in the tint of the old woman's shrivelled skin; they were both
seriously out of the perpendicular; and the rude mud and wicker chimney
of the edifice having toppled over the gable, stuck out, something in
the fashion of the doodeen, or short pipe, that projected from the old
woman's upper story; and so they both were smoking away from morning
till night; and to complete the similitude sadly, both were poor,--both
lonely,--both fast falling to decay.

Here were Darby Kelleher and Oonah Lenehan sure to meet every day.
Darby might make his appearance thus:--

"Good morrow, kindly, granny."

"The same to you, avick," mumbled out the crone.

"Here's some baccy for you, granny."

"Many thanks to you, Darby. I didn't lay it out for seeing you so
airly, the day."

"No, nor you wouldn't neither, only I was passin' this a way, runnin'
an arrand for the squire, and I thought I might as well step in and ax
you how you wor."

"Good boy, Darby."

"Throth an' it's a hot day that's in it, this blessed day. Phew! Faix,
it's out o' breath I am, and mighty hot intirely; for I was runnin'
a'most half the way, bekase it's an arrand, you see, and the squire
towld me to make haste, and so I did, and wint acrass the fields by the
short cut; and as I was passin' by the owld castle, I remembered what
you towld me awhile agon, granny, about the crock o' goold that is
there _for sartin_, if any one could come upon it."

"An' that's thrue indeed, Darby, avick,--and never heerd any other the
longest day I can remember."

"Well, well! think o' that!! O, then it's he that'll be the lucky
fellow that finds it."

"Thrue for you, Darby; but that won't be _antil it is laid out_ for
some one to rise it."

"Sure, that's what I say to myself often; and why mightn't it be my
chance to be the man that it was laid out for to find it?"

"There's no knowin'," mumbled the crone, mysteriously, as she shook the
ashes out of her tobacco-pipe, and replenished the _doodeen_ with some
of the fresh stock Darby had presented.

"Faix, an' that's thrue, sure enough. O, but you've a power o'
knowledge, granny!! Sure enough, indeed, there's no knowin'; but they
say there's great virtue in dhrames."

"That's ondeniable, Darby," said the hag, "and by the same token maybe
you'd step into the house and bring me out a bit o' 'live turf[2] to
light my pipe."

[Footnote 2: In Ireland the tobacco in a pipe is very generally ignited
by the application of a piece of burning turf, or, as it is
figuratively called, 'live turf.]

"To be sure, granny." And away went Darby to execute the commission.

While he was raking, from amongst the embers on the hearth, a piece of
turf sufficiently "alive" for the purpose, Oonah made her appearance
outside the hut, and gave the usual cordial salutation to the old
woman; just as she had done her civility, out came Darby, holding the
bit of turf between the two extremities of an osier twig, bent double
for the purpose of forming rustic tongs.

"Musha, an' is that you, Darby?" said Oonah.

"Who else would it be?" said Darby.

"Why, you towld me over an hour agone, down there in the big field,
that you wor in a hurry."

"And so I am in a hurry, and wouldn't be here, only I jist stepped in
to say God save you to the mother here, and to light her pipe for her,
the craythur."

"Well, don't be standin' there, lettin' the coal go black out, Darby,"
said the woman; "but let me light my pipe at wanst."

"To be sure, granny," said Darby, applying the morsel of lighted ember
to the bowl of her pipe, until the process of ignition had been
effected. "And now, Oonah, my darlint, if you're so sharp an other
people, what the dickens brings you here, when it is mindin' the geese
in the stubbles you ought to be, and not here? What would the misthriss
say to that, I wondher?"

"O, I left them safe enough, and they're able to take care of
themselves for a bit, and I wanted to ax the granny about a dhrame I

"Sure, so do I," said Darby; "and you know _first come first sarved_ is
a good owld sayin'. And so, granny, you own to it that there's a power
o' vartue in dhrames?"

A long-drawn whiff of the pipe was all the hag vouchsafed in return.

"O, then, but that's the iligant tabaccy! musha but it's fine and
sthrong, and takes the breath from one a'most, it's so good. Long life
to you Darby,--paugh!!"

"You're kindly welkim, granny. An' as I was sayin' about the
dhrames,--you say there's a power o' virtue in them."

"Who says agin it?" said the hag, authoritatively, and looking with
severity on Darby.

"Sure, an' it's not me you'd suspect o' the like? I was only goin' to
say that _myself_ had a mighty sharp dhrame last night, and sure I kem
to ax you about the maynin' av it."

"Well, avic, tell us your dhrame," said the hag, sucking her pipe with
increased energy.

"Well, you see," said Darby, "I dhremt I was goin' along a road, and
that all of a suddint I kem to _crass_ roads, and you know there's
great vartue in crass roads."

"That's thrue, avourneen!--paugh!!--go an."

"Well, as I was sayin', I kem to the crass roads, and soon afther I
seen four walls; now I think the four walls _manes_ the owld castle."

"Likely enough, avic."

"O," said Oonah, who was listening with her mouth as wide open as if
the faculty of hearing lay there, instead of in her ears, "sure, you
know the owld castle has only _three_ walls, and how could that be it?"

"No matther for that," said the crone, "it _ought_ to have four, and
that's the same thing."

"Well! well! I never thought o' that," said Oonah, lifting her hands in
wonder; "sure enough, so it ought!"

"Go an, Darby," said the hag.

"Well, I thought the greatest sight o' crows ever I seen flew out o'
the castle, and I think _that_ must mane the goold there is in it."

"Did you count how many there was?" said the hag, with great solemnity.

"Faith, I never thought o' that," said Darby, with an air of vexation.

"Could you tell me, itself, wor they odd or even, avic?"

"Faix, an' I could not say for _sartin_."

"Ah, that's it!!" said the crone, shaking her head in token of
disappointment. "How can I tell the maynin' o' your dhrame, if you
don't know how it kem out exactly?"

"Well, granny, but don't you think the crows was _likely_ for goold?"

"Yis,--if they flew heavy."

"Throth, then, an' now I remimber they did fly heavy, and I said to
myself there would be rain soon, the crows was flyin' so heavy."

"I wish you didn't dhrame o' rain, Darby."

"Why, granny? What harm is it?"

"O, nothin', only it comes in a crass place there."

"But it doesn't spile the dhrame, I hope?"

"O no. Go an."

"Well, with that, I thought I was passin' by Doolins the miller's, and
says he to me, 'Will you carry home this sack o' male for me?' Now, you
know, male is money, every fool knows!"

"Right, avic."

"And so I tuk the sack o' male an my shouldher, and I thought the
woight iv it was killin' me, just as if it _was_ a sack o' goold."

"Go an, Darby."

"And with that I thought I met with a cat, and that, you know, manes an
ill-nathur'd woman."

"Right, Darby."

"And says she to me, 'Darby Kelleher,' says she, 'you're mighty yollow,
God bless you; is it the jandhers you have?' says she. Now wasn't that
mighty sharp? I think the jandhers manes goold?"

"Yis, iv it was the yollow jandhers you dhremt iv, and not the black

"Well, it _was_ the yollow jandhers."

"Very good, avic; that's makin' a fair offer at it."

"I thought so, myself," said Darby, "more by token when there was a dog
in my dhrame next; and that's a frind, you know."

"Right, avic."

"And he had a silver collar an him."

"O, bad luck to that silver collar, Darby; what made you dhrame o'
silver at all?"

"Why, what harm?"

"O, I thought you knew bether nor to dhrame o' silver; why, cushla
machree, sure silver is a disappointment all the world over."

"O murther!" said Darby, in horror, "and is my dhrame spylte by that
blackguard collar?"

"Nigh hand indeed, but not all out. It would be spylte only for the
dog, but the dog is a frind, and so it will be only a frindly
disappointment, or maybe a fallin' out with an acquaintance."

"O, what matther," said Darby, "so the dhrame is to the good still!!"

"The dhrame _is_ to the good still; but tell me if you dhremt o' three
sprigs o' _spare_mint at the ind iv it?"

"Why, then, now I could not say for sartin, bekase I was nigh wakin' at
the time, and the dhrame was not so clear to me."

"I wish you could be sartin o' that."

"Why, I have it an my mind that there _was_ sparemint in it, bekase I
thought there was a garden in part iv it, and the sparemint was
_likely_ to be there."

"Sure enough, and so you did dhrame o' the three sprigs o' sparemint?"

"Indeed, I could a'most make my book-oath that I dhremt iv it. I'm
partly sartin, if not all out."

"Well, that's raysonable. It's a good dhrame, Darby."

"Do you tell me so!"

"'Deed an' it is, Darby. Now wait till the next quarther o' the new
moon, and dhrame again _then_, and you'll see what'll come of it."

"By dad an' I will, granny. O but it's you _has_ taken the maynin' out
of it beyant everything; and faix if I find the crock, it's yourself
won't be the worse iv it; but I must be goin', granny, for the squire
bid me to hurry, or else I would stay longer wid you. Good mornin' to
you--good mornin', Oonah! I'll see you to-morrow some time, granny."
And off went Darby, leisurely enough.

The foregoing dialogue shows the ready credulity of poor Darby; but it
was not in his belief of the "vartue of dhrames" that his weakness only
lay. He likewise had a most extensive creed as regarded fairies of all
sorts and sizes, and was always on the lookout for a Leprechaun. Now a
Leprechaun is a fairy of peculiar tastes, properties, and powers, which
it is necessary to acquaint the reader with. His taste as to occupation
is very humble, for he employs himself in making shoes, and he loves
retirement, being fond of shady nooks where he can sit alone and pursue
his avocation undisturbed. He is quite a hermit in this respect, for
there is no instance on record of two Leprechauns being seen together.
But he is quite a beau in his dress, notwithstanding, for he wears a
red square-cut coat, richly laced with gold, waistcoat and
inexpressibles of the same, cocked hat, shoes, and buckles. He has the
property of deceiving, in so great a degree, those who chance to
discover him, that none have ever yet been known whom he has not
overreached in the "keen encounter of the wits," which his meeting with
mortals always produces. This is occasioned by his possessing the power
of bestowing unbounded wealth on whoever can keep him within sight
until he is weary of the _surveillance_, and gives the ransom demanded,
and to this end, the object of the mortal who is so fortunate as to
surprise one is to seize him and never withdraw his eye from him, until
the threat of destruction forces the Leprechaun to produce the
treasure; but the sprite is too many for us clumsy-witted earthlings,
and is sure, by some device, to make us avert our eyes, when he
vanishes at once.

This Enchanted Cobbler of the meadows, Darby Kelleher was always on the
lookout for. But though so constantly on the watch for a Leprechaun, he
never had got even within sight of one, and the name of the
Fairy-Finder was bestowed upon him in derision. Many a trick too was
played upon him; sometimes a twig stuck amongst long grass, with a red
rag hanging upon it, has betrayed Darby into a cautious observance and
approach, until a nearer inspection, and a laugh from behind some
neighboring hedge, have dispelled the illusion. But this, though often
repeated, did not cure him, and no turkey-cock had a quicker eye for a
bit of red, or flew at it with greater eagerness, than Darby Kelleher;
and he entertained the belief that one day or other he would reap the
reward of all his watching, by finding a Leprechaun in good earnest.

But that was all in the hands of Fate, and must be waited for; in the
mean time there was the castle and the "crock o' goold" for a
certainty, and, under the good omens of the "sharp dhrame" he had, he
determined on taking that affair in hand at once. For his companion in
the labor of digging, and pulling the ponderous walls of the castle to
pieces, he selected Oonah, who was, in the parlance of her own class,
"a brave two-handed long-sided jack," and as great a believer in dreams
and omens as Darby himself; besides, she promised profound secrecy, and
agreed to take a small share of the treasure for her reward in
assisting to discover it.

For about two months Darby and Oonah labored in vain; but at last
something came of their exertions. In the course of their work, when
they occasionally got tired, they would sit down to rest themselves and
talk over their past disappointments and future hopes. Now it was
during one of these intervals of repose that Darby, as he was resting
himself on one of the coign-stones of the ruin, suddenly
discovered--that he was in love with Oonah.

Now Oonah happened to be thinking much in the same sort of way about
Darby, at that very moment, and the end of the affair was, that Darby
and Oonah were married the Sunday following.

The calculating Englishman will ask, Did he find the treasure before he
married the girl? The unsophisticated boys of the sod never calculate
on these occasions; and the story goes that Oonah Lenehan was the only
treasure Darby discovered in the old castle. Darby's acquaintances were
in high glee on the occasion, and swore he got _a great lob_; for
Oonah, be it remembered, was on the grenadier scale, or what in Ireland
is called "the full of a door," and the news spread over the country in
some such fashion as this:--

"Arrah, an' did you hear the news?"

"What news?"

"About Darby Kelleher."

"What of him?"

"Sure he found a fairy at last."

"Tare an ounty!"

"Thruth I'm tellin' you. He's married to Oonah Lenehan."

"Ha! ha! ha! by the powers it's she that is the rale fairy! musha, more
power to you, Darby, but you've cotched it in airnest now!"

But the fairy he had caught did not satisfy Darby so far as to make him
give up the pursuit for the future. He was still on the watch for a
Leprechaun; and one morning, as he was going to his work, he stopped
suddenly on his path, which lay through a field of standing corn, and
his eye became riveted on some object with the most eager expression.
He crouched, and crawled, and was making his way with great caution
towards the point of his attraction, when he was visited on the back of
the head with a thump that considerably disturbed his visual powers,
and the voice of his mother, a vigorous old beldame, saluted his ear at
the same time with a hearty, "Bad luck to you, you lazy thief, what are
you slindging there for, when it's minding your work you ought to be?"

"Whisht! whisht! mother," said Darby, holding up his hand in token of

"What do you mane, you omadhaun?"

"Mother, be quiet, I bid you! whisht! I see it!"

"What do you see?"

"Stoop down here. Straight forninst you, don't you see it as plain as a

"See what?"

"That little red thing."

"Well, what of it?"

"See there, how it stirs. O murther! it's goin' to be off afore I can
catch it. O murther! why did you come here at all, makin' a noise and
frightenin' it away?"

"Frightenin' what, you big fool?"

"The Leprechaun there. Whisht! it is quiet agin!"

"May the d----l run a huntin' wid you for a big omadhaun; why, you born
nath'ral, is it that red thing over there you mane?"

"Yis, to be sure it is; don't spake so loud, I tell you."

"Why, bad scran to you, you fool, it's a poppy it is, and nothin'
else." And the old woman went over to the spot where it grew, and
plucking it up by the roots threw it at Darby, with a great deal of
abuse into the bargain, and bade him go mind his work, instead of being
a "slindging vagabone, as he was."

It was some time after this occurrence, that Darby Kelleher had a
meeting with a certain Doctor Dionysius Mac Finn, whose name became
much more famous than it had hitherto been, from the wonderful events
that ensued in consequence.

Of the doctor himself it becomes necessary to say something. His father
was one Paddy Finn, and had been so prosperous in the capacity of a cow
doctor, that his son Denis, seeing the dignity of a professor in the
healing art must increase in proportion to the nobleness of the animal
he operates upon, determined to make the human, instead of the brute
creation, the object of his care. To this end he was assisted by his
father, who had scraped some money together in his humble calling, and
having a spice of ambition in him, as well as his aspiring son, he set
him up in the neighboring village as an apothecary. Here Denny enjoyed
the reputation of being an "iligant bone-setter," and cracked skulls,
the result of _fair_ fighting, and whiskey fevers were treated by him
on the most approved principles. But Denny's father was gathered unto
_his_ fathers, and the son came into the enjoyment of all the old man's
money: this, considering his condition, was considerable, and the
possession of a few hundred pounds so inflated the apothecary, that he
determined on becoming a "Doctor" at once. For this purpose he gave up
his apothecary's shop, and set off--where do you think?--to Spain. Here
he remained for some time, and returned to Ireland, declaring himself a
full physician of one of the Spanish universities; his name of Denny
Finn transformed into Doctor Dionysius Mac Finn, or, as his neighbors
chose to call it, Mac Fun, and fun enough the doctor certainly gave
birth to. The little money he once had was spent in his pursuit of
professional honors, and he returned to his native place with a full
title and an empty purse, and his practice did not tend to fill it. At
the same time there was a struggle to keep up appearances. He kept a
horse, or what he intended to be considered as such, but 'twas only a
pony, and if he had but occasion to go to the end of the village on a
visit, the pony was ordered on service. He was glad to accept an
invitation to dinner wherever he had the luck to get one, and the offer
of a bed, even, was sure to be accepted, because that insured breakfast
the next morning. Thus poor Doctor Dionysius made out the cause; often
asked to dinner from mingled motives of kindness and fun, for while a
good dinner was a welcome novelty to the doctor, the absurdities of his
pretension and manner rendered him a subject of unfailing diversion to
his entertainers. Now he had gone the round of all the snug farmers and
country gentlemen in the district, but at last he had the honor to
receive an invitation from _the_ squire himself, and on the appointed
day Doctor Dionysius bestrode his pony, attired in the full dress of a
Spanish physician, which happens to be _red_ from head to foot, and
presented himself at "The Hall."

When a groom appeared to take his "horse" to the stable, the doctor
requested that his steed might be turned loose into the lawn, declaring
it to be more wholesome for the animal than being cooped up in a house;
the saddle and bridle were accordingly removed, and his desire complied

The doctor's appearance in the drawing-room, attired as he was, caused
no small diversion, but attention was speedily called off from him by
the announcement of dinner, that electric sound that stimulates a
company at the same instant, and supersedes every other consideration
whatsoever. Moreover, the squire's dinners were notoriously good, and
the doctor profited largely by the same that day, and lost no
opportunity of filling his glass with the choice wines that surrounded
him. This he did to so much purpose, that the poor little man was very
far gone when the guests were about to separate.

At the doctor's request the bell was rung, and his horse ordered, as
the last remaining few of the company were about to separate, but every
one of them had departed, and still there was no announcement of the
steed being at the door. At length a servant made his appearance, and
said it was impossible to catch the doctor's pony.

"What do you mean by 'catch'?" said the squire. "Is it not in the

"No, sir."

Here an explanation ensued, and the squire ordered a fresh attempt to
be made to take the fugitive; but, though many fresh hands were
employed in the attempt, the pony baffled all their efforts; every
manoeuvre usually resorted to on such occasions, was vainly put in
practice. He was screwed up into corners, but no sooner was he there
than, squealing and flinging up his heels, he broke through the
blockade;--again his flank was turned by nimble runners, but the pony
was nimbler still; a sieve full of oats was presented as an inducement,
but the pony was above such vulgar tricks, and defied all attempts at
being captured.

This was the mode by which the doctor generally secured the offer of a
bed, and he might have been successful in this instance, but for a
knowing old coachman who was up to the trick, and out of pure fun chose
to expose it; so, bringing out a huge blunderbuss, he said, "Never
mind,--just let me at him, and I'll engage I'll make him stand."

"O my good man," said the doctor, "pray don't take so much trouble;
just let me go with you." And proceeding to the spot where the pony was
still luxuriating on the rich grass of the squire's lawn, he gave a low
whistle, and the little animal walked up to his owner with as much
tractability as a dog. The saddling and bridling did not take much
time, and the doctor was obliged to renounce his hopes of a bed and
to-morrow's breakfast, and ride home,--or homewards, I should say, for
it was as little his destiny as his wish to sleep at home that night:
for he was so overpowered with his potations, that he could not guide
the pony, and the pony's palate was so tickled by the fresh herbage,
that he wished for more of it, and finding a gate that led to a meadow
open by the roadside, he turned into the field, where he very soon
turned the doctor into a ditch, so that they had bed and board between
them to their heart's content.

The doctor and his horse slept and ate profoundly all night, and even
the "rosy-fingered morn," as the poets have it, found them in the
continuance of their enjoyment. Now it happened that Darby Kelleher was
passing along the path that lay by the side of the ditch where the
doctor was sleeping, and on perceiving him, Darby made as dead a set as
ever pointer did at game.

The doctor, be it remembered, was dressed in red. Moreover, he was a
little man, and his gold-laced hat and ponderous shoe-buckles completed
the resemblance to the being that Darby took him for. Darby was at last
certain that he had discovered a Leprechaun, and amaze so riveted him
to the spot, and anxiety made his pulse beat so fast, that he could not
move nor breathe for some seconds. At last he recovered himself, and
going stealthily to the spot where the doctor slept, every inch of his
approach made him more certain of the reality of his prize; and when he
found himself within reach of it, he made one furious spring, and flung
himself on the unfortunate little man, fastening his tremendous fist on
his throat, at the same time exclaiming in triumph, "Hurra!--by the
hoky, I have you at last!!"

The poor little doctor, thus rudely and suddenly aroused from his tipsy
sleep, looked excessively bewildered when he opened his eyes, and met
the glare of ferocious delight that Darby Kelleher cast upon him, and
he gurgled out, "What's the matter?" as well as the grip of Darby's
hand upon his throat would permit him.

"Goold's the matther," shouted Darby,--"Goold!--Goold!!--Goold!!!"

"What about Goold?" says the doctor.

"Goold!--yallow goold--that's the matther."

"Is it Paddy Goold that's taken ill again?" said the doctor, rubbing
his eyes. "Don't choke me, my good man; I'll go immediately," said he,
endeavoring to rise.

"By my sowl, you won't," said Darby, tightening his hold.

"For mercy's sake let me go!" said the doctor.

"Let you go indeed!--ow!--ow!"

"For the tender mercy--"

"Goold! goold! you little vagabone!"

"Well, I'm going, if you let me."

"Divil a step." And here he nearly choked him.

"Oh! murder!--for God's sake!"

"Whisht!!--you thief,--how _dar_ you say God, you divil's imp!!!"

The poor little man, between the suddenness of his waking and the
roughness of the treatment he was under, was in such a state of
bewilderment, that for the first time he now perceived he was lying
amongst grass and under bushes, and, rolling his eyes about, he

"Where am I?--God bless me!"

"Whisht! you little cruked ottomy--by the holy farmer, if you say God
agin, I'll cut your throat."

"What do you hold me so tight for?"

"Just for fear you'd vanish, you see. O, I know you well!"

"Then, my good man, if you know me so well, treat me with proper
respect, if you please."

"Divil send you respect. Respect indeed! that's a good thing. Musha bad
luck to your impidence, you thievin' owld rogue."

"Who taught you to call such names to your betters, fellow? How dare
you use a professional gentleman so rudely?"

"O, do you hear this!!--a profissionil gintleman! Arrah, do you think I
don't know you, you little owld cobbler?"

"Cobbler! Zounds, what do you mean, you ruffian? Let me go, sirrah!"
And he struggled violently to rise.

"Not a taste, 'scure to the step you'll go out o' this till you give me
what I want."

"What do you want, then?"


"Ho! ho! so you're a robber, sir; you want to rob me, do you?"

"Oh! what robbery it is!!--throth that won't do, as cunnin' as you
think yourself; you won't frighten me that way. Come, give it at
wanst,--you may as well. I'll never let go my grip o' you antil you
hand me out the goold."

"'Pon the honor of a gentleman, gold nor silver is not in my company. I
have fourpence halfpenny in my breeches-pocket, which you are welcome
to if you let go my throat."

"Fourpence hapny!!! Why, then, do you think me sitch a _gom_, all out,
as to put me off wid fourpence hapny; throth, for three sthraws, this
minit I'd thrash you within an inch o' your life for your impidence.
Come, no humbuggin'; out with the goold!"

"I have no gold. Don't choke me: if you murder me, remember there's law
in the land. You'd better let me go."

"Not a fut. Gi' me the goold, I tell you, you little vagabone!!" said
Darby, shaking him violently.

"Don't murder me, for Heaven's sake!"

"I will murdher you if you don't give me a hatful o' goold this minit."

"A hatful of gold! Why, whom do you take me for?"

"Sure I know you're a Leprechaun, you desaiver o' the world!"

"A Leprechaun!" said the doctor, in mingled indignation and amazement.
"My good man, you mistake."

"O, how soft I am! 'Twon't do, I tell you. I have you, and I'll howld
you; long I've been lookin' for you, and I cotch you at last, and by
the tarnal o' war I'll have your life or the goold."

"My good man, be merciful--you mistake--I'm no Leprechaun; I'm Doctor
Mac Finn."

"That won't do either! you think to desaive me, but 'twon't do;--just
as if I didn't know a docthor from a Leprechaun. Gi' me the goold, you
owld chate!"

"I tell you I'm Doctor Dionysius Mac Finn. Take care what you're
about!--there's law in the land; and I think I begin to know you. Your
name is Kelleher?"

"O, you cunnin' owld thief! O, then, but you are the complate owld
rogue; only I'm too able for you. You want to freken me, do you? O, you
little scrap o' deception, but you are deep!"

"Your name is Kelleher--I remember. My good fellow, take care; don't
you know I'm Doctor Mac Finn,--don't you see I am?"

"Why thin but you have the dirty yollow pinched look iv him, sure
enough; but don't I know you've only put it an you to desaive me;
besides, the doctor has dirty owld tatthers o' black clothes an him,
and isn't as red as a sojer, like you."

"That's an accident, my good man."

"Gi' me the goold this minit, and no more prate wid you."

"I tell you, Kelleher--"

"Howld your tongue, and gi' me the goold."

"By all that's--"

"Will you give it?"

"How can I?"

"Very well. You'll see what the ind of it 'ill be," said Darby, rising,
but still keeping his iron grip of the doctor. "Now, for the last time,
I ask you, will you gi' me the goold? or, by the powers o' wildfire,
I'll put you where you'll never see daylight antil you make me a rich

"I have no gold, I tell you."

"Faix, then I'll keep you till you find it," said Darby, who tucked the
little man under his arm, and ran home with him as fast as he could.

He kicked at his cabin door for admittance when he reached home,

"Let me in! let me in! Make haste; I have him."

"Who have you?" said Oonah, as she opened the door.

"Look at that!" said Darby in triumph; "I cotch him at last!"

"Weira then, is it a Leprechaun it is?" said Oonah.

"Divil a less," said Darby, throwing down the doctor on the bed, and
still holding him fast. "Open the big chest, Oonah, and we'll lock him
up in it, and keep him antil he gives us the goold."

"Murder! murder!" shouted the doctor. "Lock me up in a chest!!"

"Gi' me the goold, then, and I won't."

"My good man, you know I have not gold to give."

"Don't believe him, Darby jewel," said Oonah; "them Leprechauns is the
biggest liars in the world."

"Sure I know that!" said Darby, "as well as you. Oh! all the throuble
I've had wid him; throth only I'm aiqual to a counsellor for knowledge,
he'd have namplushed me long ago."

"Long life to you, Darby dear!"

"Mrs. Kelleher," said the doctor.

"O Lord!" said Oonah, in surprise, "did you ever hear the like o'
that?--how he knows my name!"

"To be sure he does," said Darby, "and why nat? sure he's a fairy, you

"I'm no fairy, Mrs. Kelleher. I'm a doctor,--Doctor Mac Finn."

"Don't b'lieve him, darlin'," said Darby. "Make haste and open the

"Darby Kelleher," said the doctor, "let me go, and I'll cure you
whenever you want my assistance."

"Well, I want your assistance now," said Darby, "for I'm very bad this
minit wid poverty; and if you cure me o' that, I'll let you go."

"What will become of me?" said the doctor in despair, as Darby carried
him towards the big chest which Oonah had opened.

"I'll tell you what'll become o' you," said Darby, seizing a hatchet
that lay within his reach; "by the seven blessed candles, if you don't
consint before night to fill that big chest full o' goold, I'll chop
you as small as aribs (herbs) for the pot." And Darby crammed him into
the box.

"O Mrs. Kelleher, be merciful to me," said the doctor, "and whenever
you're sick I'll attend you."

"God forbid!" said Oonah; "it's not the likes o' you I want when I'm
sick;--attind me, indeed! bad luck to you, you little imp, maybe you'd
run away with my babby, or it's a _Banshee_ you'd turn yourself into,
and sing for my death. Shut him up, Darby; it's not looky to be
howldin' discoorse wid the likes iv him."

"Oh!" roared the doctor, as his cries were stifled by the lid of the
chest being closed on him. The key was turned, and Oonah sprinkled some
holy water she had in a little bottle that hung in one corner of the
cabin over the lock, to prevent the fairy having any power upon it.

Darby and Oonah now sat down in consultation on their affairs, and
began forming their plans on an extensive scale, as to what they were
to do with their money, for have it they must, now that the Leprechaun
was fairly in their power. Now and then Darby would rise and go over to
the chest, very much as one goes to the door of a room where a naughty
child has been locked up, to know "if it be good yet," and giving a
thump on the lid would exclaim, "Well, you little vagabone, will you
gi' me the goold yet?"

A groan and a faint answer of denial was all the reply he received.

"Very well, stay there; but, remember, if you don't consint before
night I'll chop you to pieces." He then got his bill-hook, and began to
sharpen it close by the chest, that the Leprechaun might hear him; and
when the poor doctor heard this process going forward, he felt more
dead than alive; the horrid scraping of the iron against the stone
being interspersed with occasional interjectional passages from Darby,
such as, "Do you hear that, you thief? I'm gettin' ready for you." Then
away he'd rasp at the grindstone again, and, as he paused to feel the
edge of the weapon, exclaim, "By the powers, I'll have it as sharp as a

In the mean time it was well for the prisoner that there were many
large chinks in the chest, or suffocation from his confinement would
have anticipated Darby's pious intentions upon him; and when he found
matters likely to go so hard with him, the thought struck him at last
of affecting to be what Darby mistook him for, and regaining his
freedom by stratagem.

To this end, when Darby had done sharpening his bill-hook, the doctor
replied, in answer to one of Darby's summonses for gold, that he saw it
was in vain longer to deny giving it, that Darby was too cunning for
him, and that he was ready to make him the richest man in the country.

"I'll take no less than the full o' that chest," said Darby.

"You'll have ten times the full of it, Darby," said the doctor, "if
you'll only do what I bid you."

"Sure I'll do anything."

"Well, you must first prepare the mystificand-herum-brandherum."

"Tare an ouns, how do I know what that is?"

"Silence, Darby Kelleher, and attend to me: that's a magical ointment,
which I will show you how to make; and whenever you want gold, all you
have to do is to rub a little of it on the point of a pickaxe or your
spade, and dig wherever you please, and you will be sure to find

"O, think o' that! faix, an' I'll make plenty of it, when you show me.
How is it made?"

"You must go into the town, Darby, and get me three things, and fold
them three times in three rags torn out of the left side of a petticoat
that has not known water for a year."

"Faith, I can do that much, anyhow," said Oonah, who began tearing the
prescribed pieces out of her undergarment.

"And what three things am I to get you?"

"First bring me a grain of salt from a house that stands at

"Crass roads!" said Darby, looking significantly at Oonah. "By my sowl,
but it's my dhrame's comin' out!"

"Silence, Darby Kelleher," said the doctor with great solemnity; "mark
me, Darby Kelleher." And then he proceeded to repeat a parcel of
gibberish to Darby, which he enjoined him to remember, and repeat
again; but as Darby could not, the doctor said he should only write it
down for him, and, tearing a leaf from his pocket-book, he wrote in
pencil a few words, stating the condition he was in, and requesting
assistance. This slip of paper he desired Darby to deliver to the
apothecary in the town, who would give him a drug that would complete
the making of the ointment.

Darby went to the apothecary's as he was desired, and it happened to be
dinner-time when he arrived. The apothecary had a few friends dining
with him, and Darby was detained until they chose to leave the table,
and go, in a body, to liberate the poor little doctor. He was pulled
out of the chest amidst the laughter of his liberators and the fury of
Darby and Oonah, who both made considerable fight against being robbed
of their prize. At last the doctor's friends got him out of the house,
and proceeded to the town to supper, where the whole party kept getting
magnificently drunk, until sleep plunged them into dizzy dreams of
Leprechauns and Fairy-Finders.

The doctor for some days swore vengeance against Darby, and threatened
a prosecution; but his friends recommended him to let the matter rest,
as it would only tend to make the affair more public, and get him
nothing but laughter for damages.

As for Darby Kelleher, nothing could ever persuade him that it was not
a _real_ Leprechaun he had caught, which by some villanous contrivance,
on the Fairy's part, changed itself into the semblance of the doctor;
and he often said the great mistake he made was "givin' the little
vagabone so much time, for that if he had done right he'd have set
about cutting his throat at wanst."




It is well known that the grand seignior amuses himself by going at
night, in disguise, through the streets of Constantinople; as the
caliph, Haroun Alraschid, used formerly to do in Bagdad.

One moonlight night, accompanied by his grand vizier, he traversed
several of the principal streets of the city, without seeing anything
remarkable. At length, as they were passing a rope-maker's, the sultan
recollected the Arabian story of Cogia-Hassan Alhabal, the rope-maker,
and his two friends, Saad and Saadi, who differed so much in their
opinion concerning the influence of fortune over human affairs.

"What is your opinion on this subject?" said the grand seignior to his

"I am inclined, please your majesty," replied the vizier, "to think
that success in the world depends more upon prudence than upon what is
called luck, or fortune."

"And I," said the sultan, "am persuaded that fortune does more for men
than prudence. Do you not every day hear of persons who are said to be
fortunate or unfortunate? How comes it that this opinion should prevail
amongst men, if it be not justified by experience?"

"It is not for me to dispute with your majesty," replied the prudent

"Speak your mind freely; I desire and command it," said the sultan.

"Then I am of opinion," answered the vizier, "that people are often led
to believe others fortunate, or unfortunate, merely because they only
know the general outline of their histories; and are ignorant of the
incidents and events in which they have shown prudence or imprudence. I
have heard, for instance, that there are at present in this city two
men, who are remarkable for their good and bad fortune: one is called
_Murad the Unlucky_, and the other _Saladin the Lucky_. Now I am
inclined to think, if we could hear their stories, we should find that
one is a prudent and the other an imprudent character."

"Where do these men live?" interrupted the sultan. "I will hear their
histories from their own lips, before I sleep."

"Murad the Unlucky lives in the next square," said the vizier.

The sultan desired to go thither immediately. Scarcely had they entered
the square, when they heard the cry of loud lamentations. They followed
the sound till they came to a house of which the door was open, and
where there was a man tearing his turban, and weeping bitterly. They
asked the cause of his distress, and he pointed to the fragments of a
china vase, which lay on the pavement at his door.

"This seems undoubtedly to be beautiful china," said the sultan, taking
up one of the broken pieces; "but can the loss of a china vase be the
cause of such violent grief and despair?"

"Ah, gentlemen," said the owner of the vase, suspending his
lamentations, and looking at the dress of the pretended merchants, "I
see that you are strangers: you do not know how much cause I have for
grief and despair! You do not know that you are speaking to Murad the
Unlucky! Were you to hear all the unfortunate accidents that have
happened to me, from the time I was born till this instant, you would
perhaps pity me, and acknowledge I have just cause for despair."

Curiosity was strongly expressed by the sultan; and the hope of
obtaining sympathy inclined Murad to gratify it, by the recital of his
adventures. "Gentlemen," said he, "I scarcely dare invite you into the
house of such an unlucky being as I am; but, if you will venture to
take a night's lodging under my roof, you shall hear at your leisure
the story of my misfortunes."

The sultan and the vizier excused themselves from spending the night
with Murad; saying that they were obliged to proceed to their khan,
where they should be expected by their companions: but they begged
permission to repose themselves for half an hour in his house, and
besought him to relate the history of his life, if it would not renew
his grief too much to recollect his misfortunes.

Few men are so miserable as not to like to talk of their misfortunes,
where they have, or where they think they have, any chance of obtaining
compassion. As soon as the pretended merchants were seated, Murad began
his story in the following manner:--

"My father was a merchant of this city. The night before I was born, he
dreamed that I came into the world with the head of a dog and the tail
of a dragon; and that, in haste to conceal my deformity, he rolled me
up in a piece of linen, which unluckily proved to be the grand
seignior's turban; who, enraged at his insolence in touching his
turban, commanded that his head should be struck off.

"My father awaked before he lost his head, but not before he had lost
half his wits from the terror of his dream. He considered it as a
warning sent from above, and consequently determined to avoid the sight
of me. He would not stay to see whether I should really be born with
the head of a dog and the tail of a dragon; but he set out, the next
morning, on a voyage to Aleppo.

"He was absent for upwards of seven years; and during that time my
education was totally neglected. One day I inquired from my mother why
I had been named Murad the Unlucky. She told me that this name was
given to me in consequence of my father's dream; but she added that
perhaps it might be forgotten, if I proved fortunate in my future life.
My nurse, a very old woman, who was present, shook her head, with a
look which I shall never forget, and whispered to my mother loud enough
for me to hear, 'Unlucky he was, and is, and ever will be. Those that
are born to ill luck cannot help themselves; nor can any, but the great
prophet Mahomet himself, do anything for them. It is a folly for an
unlucky person to strive with his fate: it is better to yield to it at

"This speech made a terrible impression upon me, young as I then was;
and every accident that happened to me afterwards confirmed my belief
in my nurse's prognostic. I was in my eighth year when my father
returned from abroad. The year after he came home my brother Saladin
was born, who was named Saladin the Lucky, because the day he was born
a vessel freighted with rich merchandise for my father arrived safely
in port.

"I will not weary you with a relation of all the little instances of
good fortune by which my brother Saladin was distinguished, even during
his childhood. As he grew up, his success in everything he undertook
was as remarkable as my ill luck in all that I attempted. From the time
the rich vessel arrived, we lived in splendor; and the supposed
prosperous state of my father's affairs was of course attributed to the
influence of my brother Saladin's happy destiny.

"When Saladin was about twenty, my father was taken dangerously ill;
and as he felt that he should not recover, he sent for my brother to
the side of his bed, and, to his great surprise, informed him that the
magnificence in which we had lived had exhausted all his wealth; that
his affairs were in the greatest disorder; for, having trusted to the
hope of continual success, he had embarked in projects beyond his

"The sequel was, he had nothing remaining to leave to his children but
two large china vases, remarkable for their beauty, but still more
valuable on account of certain verses inscribed upon them in an unknown
character, which was supposed to operate as a talisman or charm in
favor of their possessors.

"Both these vases my father bequeathed to my brother Saladin; declaring
he could not venture to leave either of them to me, because I was so
unlucky that I should inevitably break it. After his death, however, my
brother Saladin, who was blessed with a generous temper, gave me my
choice of the two vases; and endeavored to raise my spirits, by
repeating frequently that he had no faith either in good fortune or ill

"I could not be of his opinion, though I felt and acknowledged his
kindness in trying to persuade me out of my settled melancholy. I knew
it was in vain for me to exert myself, because I was sure that, do what
I would, I should still be Murad the Unlucky. My brother, on the
contrary, was nowise cast down, even by the poverty in which my father
left us: he said he was sure he should find some means of maintaining
himself, and so he did.

"On examining our china vases, he found in them a powder of a bright
scarlet color; and it occurred to him that it would make a fine dye. He
tried it, and after some trouble, it succeeded to admiration.

"During my father's lifetime, my mother had been supplied with rich
dresses, by one of the merchants who was employed by the ladies of the
grand seignior's seraglio. My brother had done this merchant some
trifling favors; and, upon application to him, he readily engaged to
recommend the new scarlet dye. Indeed, it was so beautiful, that, the
moment it was seen, it was preferred to every other color. Saladin's
shop was soon crowded with customers; and his winning manners and
pleasant conversation were almost as advantageous to him as his scarlet
dye. On the contrary, I observed that the first glance at my melancholy
countenance was sufficient to disgust every one who saw me. I perceived
this plainly; and it only confirmed me the more in my belief in my own
evil destiny.

"It happened one day that a lady, richly apparelled and attended by two
female slaves, came to my brother's house to make some purchases. He
was out, and I alone was left to attend to the shop. After she had
looked over some goods, she chanced to see my china vase, which was in
the room. She took a prodigious fancy to it, and offered me any price
if I would part with it; but this I declined doing, because I believed
that I should draw down upon my head some dreadful calamity, if I
voluntarily relinquished the talisman. Irritated by my refusal, the
lady, according to the custom of her sex, became more resolute in her
purpose; but neither entreaties nor money could change my
determination. Provoked beyond measure at my obstinacy, as she called
it, she left the house.

"On my brother's return, I related to him what had happened, and
expected that he would have praised me for my prudence; but, on the
contrary, he blamed me for the superstitious value I set upon the
verses on my vase; and observed that it would be the height of folly to
lose a certain means of advancing my fortune, for the uncertain hope of
magical protection. I could not bring myself to be of his opinion; I
had not the courage to follow the advice he gave. The next day the lady
returned, and my brother sold his vase to her for ten thousand pieces
of gold. This money he laid out in the most advantageous manner, by
purchasing a new stock of merchandise. I repented, when it was too
late; but I believe it is part of the fatality attending certain
persons, that they cannot decide rightly at the proper moment. When the
opportunity has been lost, I have always regretted that I did not do
exactly the contrary to what I had previously determined upon. Often,
whilst I was hesitating, the favorable moment passed. Now this is what
I call being unlucky. But to proceed with my story.

"The lady, who bought my brother Saladin's vase, was the favorite of
the sultan, and all-powerful in the seraglio. Her dislike to me, in
consequence of my opposition to her wishes, was so violent, that she
refused to return to my brother's house while I remained there. He was
unwilling to part with me; but I could not bear to be the ruin of so
good a brother. Without telling him my design, I left his house,
careless of what should become of me. Hunger, however, soon compelled
me to think of some immediate mode of obtaining relief. I sat down upon
a stone, before the door of a baker's shop; the smell of hot bread
tempted me in, and with a feeble voice I demanded charity.

"The master baker gave me as much bread as I could eat, upon condition
that I should change dresses with him, and carry the rolls for him
through the city this day. To this I readily consented; but I had soon
reason to repent of my compliance. Indeed, if my ill luck had not, as
usual, deprived me at this critical moment of memory and judgment, I
should never have complied with the baker's treacherous proposal. For
some time before, the people of Constantinople had been much
dissatisfied with the weight and quality of the bread furnished by the
bakers. This species of discontent has often been the sure forerunner
of an insurrection; and, in these disturbances, the master bakers
frequently lose their lives. All these circumstances I knew; but they
did not occur to my memory, when they might have been useful.

"I changed dresses with the baker; but scarcely had I proceeded through
the adjoining streets with my rolls, before the mob began to gather
round me, with reproaches and execrations. The crowd pursued me even to
the gates of the grand seignior's palace; and the grand vizier, alarmed
at their violence, sent out an order to have my head struck off; the
usual remedy, in such cases, being to strike off the baker's head.

"I now fell upon my knees, and protested I was not the baker for whom
they took me; that I had no connection with him; and that I had never
furnished the people of Constantinople with bread that was not weight.
I declared I had merely changed clothes with a master baker, for this
day; and that I should not have done so, but for the evil destiny which
governs all my actions. Some of the mob exclaimed that I deserved to
lose my head for my folly; but others took pity on me, and whilst the
officer, who was sent to execute the vizier's order, turned to speak to
some of the noisy rioters, those who were touched by my misfortune
opened a passage for me through the crowd, and, thus favored, I
effected my escape.

"I quitted Constantinople: my vase I had left in the care of my
brother. At some miles' distance from the city, I overtook a party of
soldiers. I joined them; and learning that they were going to embark
with the rest of the grand seignior's army for Egypt, I resolved to
accompany them. If it be, thought I, the will of Mahomet that I should
perish, the sooner I meet my fate the better. The despondency into
which I was sunk was attended by so great a degree of indolence, that I
scarcely would take the necessary means to preserve my existence.
During our passage to Egypt, I sat all day long upon the deck of the
vessel, smoking my pipe; and I am convinced that if a storm had risen,
as I expected, I should not have taken my pipe from my mouth, nor
should I have handled a rope, to save myself from destruction. Such is
the effect of that species of resignation or torpor, whichever you
please to call it, to which my strong belief in _fatality_ had reduced
my mind.

"We landed, however, safely, contrary to my melancholy forebodings. By
a trifling accident, not worth relating, I was detained longer than any
of my companions in the vessel when we disembarked; and I did not
arrive at the camp till late at night. It was moonlight, and I could
see the whole scene distinctly. There was a vast number of small tents
scattered over a desert of white sand; a few date-trees were visible at
a distance; all was gloomy, and all still; no sound was to be heard but
that of the camels, feeding near the tents; and, as I walked on, I met
with no human creature.

"My pipe was now out, and I quickened my pace a little towards a fire,
which I saw near one of the tents. As I proceeded, my eye was caught by
something sparkling in the sand: it was a ring. I picked it up, and put
it on my finger, resolving to give it to the public crier the next
morning, who might find out its rightful owner: but by ill luck, I put
it on my little finger, for which it was much too large; and as I
hastened towards the fire to light my pipe, I dropped the ring. I
stooped to search for it amongst the provender on which a mule was
feeding; and the cursed animal gave me so violent a kick on the head,
that I could not help roaring aloud.

"My cries awakened those who slept in the tent, near which the mule was
feeding. Provoked at being disturbed, the soldiers were ready enough to
think ill of me; and they took it for granted that I was a thief, who
had stolen the ring I pretended to have just found. The ring was taken
from me by force; and the next day I was bastinadoed for having found
it: the officer persisting in the belief that stripes would make me
confess where I had concealed certain other articles of value, which
had lately been missed in the camp. All this was the consequence of my
being in a hurry to light my pipe, and of my having put the ring on a
finger that was too little for it; which no one but Murad the Unlucky
would have done.

"When I was able to walk again after my wounds were healed, I went into
one of the tents distinguished by a red flag, having been told that
these were coffee-houses. Whilst I was drinking coffee, I heard a
stranger near me complaining that he had not been able to recover a
valuable ring he had lost; although he had caused his loss to be
published for three days by the public crier, offering a reward of two
hundred sequins to whoever should restore it. I guessed that this was
the very ring which I had unfortunately found. I addressed myself to
the stranger, and promised to point out to him the person who had
forced it from me. The stranger recovered his ring; and, being
convinced that I had acted honestly, he made me a present of two
hundred sequins, as some amends for the punishment which I had unjustly
suffered on his account.

"Now you would imagine that this purse of gold was advantageous to me:
far the contrary; it was the cause of new misfortunes.

"One night, when I thought that the soldiers who were in the same tent
with me were all fast asleep, I indulged myself in the pleasure of
counting my treasure. The next day I was invited by my companions to
drink sherbet with them. What they mixed with the sherbet which I
drank, I know not; but I could not resist the drowsiness it brought on.
I fell into a profound slumber; and, when I awoke, I found myself lying
under a date-tree, at some distance from the camp.

"The first thing I thought of, when I came to my recollection, was my
purse of sequins. The purse I found still safe in my girdle; but, on
opening it, I perceived that it was filled with pebbles, and not a
single sequin was left. I had no doubt that I had been robbed by the
soldiers with whom I had drunk sherbet; and I am certain that some of
them must have been awake the night I counted my money; otherwise, as I
had never trusted the secret of my riches to any one, they could not
have suspected me of possessing any property; for, ever since I kept
company with them, I had appeared to be in great indigence.

"I applied in vain to the superior officers for redress: the soldiers
protested they were innocent; no positive proof appeared against them,
and I gained nothing by my complaint but ridicule and ill-will. I
called myself, in the first transport of my grief, by that name which,
since my arrival in Egypt, I had avoided to pronounce: I called myself
Murad the Unlucky! The name and the story ran through the camp; and I
was accosted afterwards, very frequently, by this appellation. Some
indeed varied their wit by calling me Murad with the purse of pebbles.

"All that I had yet suffered is nothing compared to my succeeding

"It was the custom at this time, in the Turkish camp, for the soldiers
to amuse themselves with firing at a mark. The superior officers
remonstrated against this dangerous practice, but ineffectually.
Sometimes a party of soldiers would stop firing for a few minutes,
after a message was brought them from their commanders; and then they
would begin again, in defiance of all orders. Such was the want of
discipline in our army, that this disobedience went unpunished. In the
mean time, the frequency of the danger made most men totally regardless
of it. I have seen tents pierced with bullets, in which parties were
quietly seated smoking their pipes, whilst those without were preparing
to take fresh aim at the red flag on the top.

"This apathy proceeded, in some, from unconquerable indolence of body;
in others, from the intoxication produced by the fumes of tobacco and
of opium; but in most of my brother Turks it arose from the confidence
which the belief in predestination inspired. When a bullet killed one
of their companions, they only observed, scarcely taking the pipes from
their mouths, 'Our hour is not yet come: it is not the will of Mahomet
that we should fall.'

"I own that this rash security appeared to me, at first, surprising;
but it soon ceased to strike me with wonder; and it even tended to
confirm my favorite opinion, that some were born to good and some to
evil fortune. I became almost as careless as my companions, from
following the same course of reasoning. It is not, thought I, in the
power of human prudence to avert the stroke of destiny. I shall perhaps
die to-morrow; let me therefore enjoy to-day.

"I now made it my study, every day, to procure as much amusement as
possible. My poverty, as you will imagine, restricted me from
indulgence and excess; but I soon found means to spend what did not
actually belong to me. There were certain Jews who were followers of
the camp, and who, calculating on the probability of victory for our
troops, advanced money to the soldiers; for which they engaged to pay
these usurers exorbitant interest. The Jew to whom I applied traded
with me also upon the belief that my brother Saladin, with whose
character and circumstances he was acquainted, would pay my debts, if I
should fall. With the money I raised from the Jew I continually bought
coffee and opium, of which I grew immoderately fond. In the delirium it
created, I forgot all my misfortunes, all fear of the future.

"One day, when I had raised my spirits by an unusual quantity of opium,
I was strolling through the camp, sometimes singing, sometimes dancing,
like a madman, and repeating that I was not now Murad the Unlucky.
Whilst these words were on my lips, a friendly spectator, who was in
possession of his sober senses, caught me by the arm, and attempted to
drag me from the place where I was exposing myself. 'Do you not see,'
said he, 'those soldiers, who are firing at a mark? I saw one of them,
just now, deliberately taking aim at your turban; and, observe, he is
now reloading his piece.' My ill luck prevailed even at this instant,
the only instant in my life when I defied its power. I struggled with
my adviser, repeating, 'I am not the wretch you take me for; I am not
Murad the Unlucky.' He fled from the danger himself: I remained, and in
a few seconds afterwards a ball reached me, and I fell senseless on the

"The ball was cut out of my body by an awkward surgeon, who gave me ten
times more pain than was necessary. He was particularly hurried, at
this time, because the army had just received orders to march in a few
hours, and all was confusion in the camp. My wound was excessively
painful, and the fear of being left behind with those who were deemed
incurable added to my torments. Perhaps, if I had kept myself quiet, I
might have escaped some of the evils I afterwards endured; but, as I
have repeatedly told you, gentlemen, it was my ill fortune never to be
able to judge what was best to be done, till the time for prudence was

"During that day, when my fever was at the height, and when my orders
were to keep my bed, contrary to my natural habits of indolence, I rose
a hundred times, and went out of my tent in the very heat of the day,
to satisfy my curiosity as to the number of the tents which had not
been struck, and of the soldiers who had not yet marched. The orders to
march were tardily obeyed, and many hours elapsed before our encampment
was raised. Had I submitted to my surgeon's orders, I might have been
in a state to accompany the most dilatory of the stragglers; I could
have borne, perhaps, the slow motion of a litter, on which some of the
sick were transported; but in the evening, when the surgeon came to
dress my wounds, he found me in such a situation that it was scarcely
possible to remove me.

"He desired a party of soldiers, who were left to bring up the rear, to
call for me the next morning. They did so; but they wanted to put me
upon the mule which I recollected, by a white streak on its back, to be
the cursed animal that had kicked me whilst I was looking for the ring.
I could not be prevailed upon to go upon this unlucky animal. I tried
to persuade the soldiers to carry me, and they took me a little way;
but, soon growing weary of their burden, they laid me down on the sand,
pretending that they were going to fill a skin with water at a spring
they had discovered, and bade me lie still, and wait for their return.

"I waited and waited, longing for the water to moisten my parched lips;
but no water came,--no soldiers returned; and there I lay, for several
hours, expecting every moment to breathe my last. I made no effort to
move, for I was now convinced my hour was come, and that it was the
will of Mahomet that I should perish in this miserable manner, and lie
unburied like a dog; a death, thought I, worthy of Murad the Unlucky.

"My forebodings were not this time just; a detachment of English
soldiers passed near the place where I lay: my groans were heard by
them, and they humanely came to my assistance. They carried me with
them, dressed my wound, and treated me with the utmost tenderness.
Christians though they were, I must acknowledge that I had reason to
love them better than any of the followers of Mahomet, my good brother
only excepted.

"Under their care I recovered; but scarcely had I regained my strength
before I fell into new disasters. It was hot weather, and my thirst was
excessive. I went out with a party, in hopes of finding a spring of
water. The English soldiers began to dig for a well, in a place pointed
out to them by one of their men of science. I was not inclined to such
hard labor, but preferred sauntering on in search of a spring. I saw at
a distance something that looked like a pool of water; and I pointed it
out to my companions. Their man of science warned me by his interpreter
not to trust to this deceitful appearance; for that such were common in
this country, and that, when I came close to the spot, I should find no
water there. He added that it was at a greater distance than I
imagined; and that I should, in all probability, be lost in the desert,
if I attempted to follow this phantom.

"I was so unfortunate as not to attend to his advice: I set out in
pursuit of this accursed delusion, which assuredly was the work of evil
spirits, who clouded my reason, and allured me into their dominion. I
went on, hour after hour, in expectation continually of reaching the
object of my wishes; but it fled faster than I pursued, and I
discovered at last that the Englishman, who had doubtless gained his
information from the people of the country, was right; and that the
shining appearance, which I had taken for water, was a mere deception.

"I was now exhausted with fatigue: I looked back in vain after the
companions I had left; I could see neither men, animals, nor any trace
of vegetation in the sandy desert. I had no resource but, weary as I
was, to measure back my footsteps, which were imprinted in the sand.

"I slowly and sorrowfully traced them as my guides in this unknown
land. Instead of yielding to my indolent inclinations, I ought,
however, to have made the best of my way back, before the evening
breeze sprung up. I felt the breeze rising, and, unconscious of my
danger, I rejoiced, and opened my bosom to meet it; but what was my
dismay when I saw that the wind swept before it all trace of my
footsteps in the sand. I knew not which way to proceed; I was struck
with despair, tore my garments, threw off my turban, and cried aloud;
but neither human voice nor echo answered me. The silence was dreadful.
I had tasted no food for many hours, and I now became sick and faint. I
recollected that I had put a supply of opium into the folds of my
turban; but, alas! when I took my turban up, I found that the opium had
fallen out. I searched for it in vain on the sand, where I had thrown
the turban.

"I stretched myself out upon the ground, and yielded without further
struggle to my evil destiny. What I suffered from thirst, hunger, and
heat cannot be described! At last I fell into a sort of trance, during
which images of various kinds seemed to flit before my eyes. How long I
remained in this state I know not; but I remember that I was brought to
my senses by a loud shout, which came from persons belonging to a
caravan returning from Mecca. This was a shout of joy for their safe
arrival at a certain spring, well known to them in this part of the

"The spring was not a hundred yards from the spot where I lay; yet,
such had been the fate of Murad the Unlucky, that he missed the
reality, whilst he had been hours in pursuit of the phantom. Feeble and
spiritless as I was, I sent forth as loud a cry as I could, in hopes of
obtaining assistance; and I endeavored to crawl to the place from which
the voices appeared to come. The caravan rested for a considerable time
whilst the slaves filled the skins with water, and whilst the camels
took in their supply. I worked myself on towards them; yet,
notwithstanding my efforts, I was persuaded that, according to my usual
ill fortune, I should never be able to make them hear my voice. I saw
them mount their camels! I took off my turban, unrolled it, and waved
it in the air. My signal was seen! The caravan came towards me!

"I had scarcely strength to speak: a slave gave me some water; and,
after I had drunk, I explained to them who I was, and how I came into
this situation.

"Whilst I was speaking, one of the travellers observed the purse which
hung to my girdle: it was the same the merchant, for whom I recovered
the ring, had given to me; I had carefully preserved it, because the
initials of my benefactor's name, and a passage from the Koran, were
worked upon it. When he gave it to me, he said that perhaps we should
meet again in some other part of the world, and he should recognize me
by this token. The person who now took notice of the purse was his
brother; and when I related to him how I had obtained it, he had the
goodness to take me under his protection. He was a merchant, who was
now going with the caravan to Grand Cairo: he offered to take me with
him, and I willingly accepted the proposal, promising to serve him as
faithfully as any of his slaves. The caravan proceeded, and I was
carried with it."


"The merchant, who was become my master, treated me with great
kindness; but, on hearing me relate the whole series of my unfortunate
adventures, he exacted a promise from me, that I would do nothing
without first consulting him. 'Since you are so unlucky, Murad,' said
he, 'that you always choose for the worst when you choose for yourself,
you should trust entirely to the judgment of a wiser or a more
fortunate friend.'

"I fared well in the service of this merchant, who was a man of a mild
disposition, and who was so rich that he could afford to be generous to
all his dependants. It was my business to see his camels loaded and
unloaded at proper places, to count his bales of merchandise, and to
take care that they were not mixed with those of his companions. This I
carefully did, till the day we arrived at Alexandria; when, unluckily,
I neglected to count the bales, taking it for granted that they were
all right, as I had found them so the preceding day. However, when we
were to go on board the vessel that was to take us to Cairo, I
perceived that three bales of cotton were missing.

"I ran to inform my master, who, though a good deal provoked at my
negligence, did not reproach me as I deserved. The public crier was
immediately sent round the city, to offer a reward for the recovery of
the merchandise; and it was restored by one of the merchants' slaves,
with whom we had travelled. The vessel was now under sail; my master
and I and the bales of cotton were obliged to follow in a boat; and
when we were taken on board, the captain declared he was so loaded that
he could not tell where to stow the bales of cotton. After much
difficulty, he consented to let them remain upon deck: and I promised
my master to watch them night and day.

"We had a prosperous voyage, and were actually in sight of shore, which
the captain said we could not fail to reach early the next morning. I
stayed, as usual, this night upon deck; and solaced myself by smoking
my pipe. Ever since I had indulged in this practice at the camp at El
Arish, I could not exist without opium and tobacco. I suppose that my
reason was this night a little clouded with the dose I took; but,
towards midnight, I was sobered by terror. I started up from the deck
on which I had stretched myself; my turban was in flames; the bale of
cotton on which I had rested was all on fire. I awakened two sailors,
who were fast asleep on deck. The consternation became general, and the
confusion increased the danger. The captain and my master were the most
active, and suffered the most in extinguishing the flames: my master
was terribly scorched.

"For my part, I was not suffered to do anything; the captain ordered
that I should be bound to the mast; and, when at last the flames were
extinguished, the passengers, with one accord, besought him to keep me
bound hand and foot, lest I should be the cause of some new disaster.
All that had happened was, indeed, occasioned by my ill luck. I had
laid my pipe down, when I was falling asleep, upon the bale of cotton
that was beside me. The fire from my pipe fell out, and set the cotton
in flames. Such was the mixture of rage and terror with which I had
inspired the whole crew, that I am sure they would have set me ashore
on a desert island, rather than have had me on board for a week longer.
Even my humane master, I could perceive, was secretly impatient to get
rid of Murad the Unlucky, and his evil fortune.

"You may believe that I was heartily glad when we landed, and when I
was unbound. My master put a purse containing fifty sequins into my
hand, and bade me farewell. 'Use this money prudently, Murad, if you
can,' said he, 'and perhaps your fortune may change.' Of this I had
little hopes, but determined to lay out my money as prudently as

"As I was walking through the streets of Grand Cairo, considering how I
should lay out my fifty sequins to the greatest advantage, I was
stopped by one who called me by my name, and asked me if I could
pretend to have forgotten his face. I looked steadily at him, and
recollected to my sorrow that he was the Jew Rachub, from whom I had
borrowed certain sums of money at the camp at El Arish. What brought
him to Grand Cairo, except it was my evil destiny, I cannot tell. He
would not quit me; he would take no excuses; he said he knew that I had
deserted twice, once from the Turkish and once from the English army;
that I was not entitled to any pay; and that he could not imagine it
possible that my brother Saladin would own me, or pay my debts.

"I replied, for I was vexed by the insolence of this Jewish dog, that I
was not, as he imagined, a beggar; that I had the means of paying him
my just debt, but that I hoped he would not extort from me all that
exorbitant interest which none but a Jew could exact. He smiled, and
answered that, if a Turk loved opium better than money, this was no
fault of his; that he had supplied me with what I loved best in the
world; and that I ought not to complain, when he expected I should
return the favor.

"I will not weary you, gentlemen, with all the arguments that passed
between me and Rachub. At last we compromised matters; he would take
nothing less than the whole debt: but he let me have at a very cheap
rate a chest of second-hand clothes, by which he assured me I might
make my fortune. He brought them to Grand Cairo, he said, for the
purpose of selling them to slave-merchants, who at this time of the
year were in want of them to supply their slaves; but he was in haste
to get home to his wife and family, at Constantinople, and therefore he
was willing to make over to a friend the profits of this speculation. I
should have distrusted Rachub's professions of friendship and
especially of disinterestedness; but he took me with him to the khan,
where his goods were, and unlocked the chest of clothes to show them to
me. They were of the richest and finest materials, and had been but
little worn. I could not doubt the evidence of my senses; the bargain
was concluded, and the Jew sent porters to my inn with the chest.

"The next day I repaired to the public market-place; and, when my
business was known, I had choice of customers before night: my chest
was empty,--and my purse was full. The profit I made, upon the sale of
these clothes, was so considerable, that I could not help feeling
astonishment at Rachub's having brought himself so readily to
relinquish them.

"A few days after I had disposed of the contents of my chest, a
Damascene merchant, who had bought two suits of apparel from me, told
me, with a very melancholy face, that both the female slaves who had
put on these clothes were sick. I could not conceive that the clothes
were the cause of their sickness; but soon afterwards, as I was
crossing the market, I was attacked by at least a dozen merchants, who
made similar complaints. They insisted upon knowing how I came by the
garments, and demanded whether I had worn any of them myself. This day
I had for the first time indulged myself with wearing a pair of yellow
slippers, the only finery I had reserved for myself out of all the
tempting goods. Convinced by my wearing these slippers that I could
have had no insidious designs, since I shared the danger, whatever it
might be, the merchants were a little pacified; but what was my terror
and remorse the next day, when one of them came to inform me that
plague-boils had broken out under the arms of all the slaves who had
worn this pestilential apparel! On looking carefully into the chest, we
found the word Smyrna written, and half effaced, upon the lid. Now, the
plague had for some time raged at Smyrna; and, as the merchants
suspected, these clothes had certainly belonged to persons who had died
of that distemper. This was the reason why the Jew was willing to sell
them to me so cheap; and it was for this reason that he would not stay
at Grand Cairo himself to reap _the profits of his speculation_.
Indeed, if I had paid attention to it at the proper time, a slight
circumstance might have revealed the truth to me. Whilst I was
bargaining with the Jew, before he opened the chest, he swallowed a
large dram of brandy, and stuffed his nostrils with sponge dipped in
vinegar: this he told me he did to prevent his perceiving the smell of
musk, which always threw him into convulsions.

"The horror I felt, when I discovered that I had spread the infection
of the plague, and that I had probably caught it myself, overpowered my
senses; a cold dew spread over all my limbs, and I fell upon the lid of
the fatal chest in a swoon. It is said that fear disposes people to
take the infection; however this may be, I sickened that evening, and
soon was in a raging fever. It was worse for me whenever the delirium
left me, and I could reflect upon the miseries my ill fortune had
occasioned. In my first lucid interval, I looked round and saw that I
had been removed from the khan to a wretched hut. An old woman, who was
smoking her pipe in the farthest corner of my room, informed me that I
had been sent out of the town of Grand Cairo by order of the cadi, to
whom the merchants had made their complaint. The fatal chest was burnt,
and the house in which I had lodged razed to the ground. 'And if it had
not been for me,' continued the old woman, 'you would have been dead,
probably, at this instant; but I have made a vow to our great prophet,
that I would never neglect an opportunity of doing a good action:
therefore, when you were deserted by all the world, I took care of you.
Here, too, is your purse, which I saved from the rabble; and, what is
more difficult, from the officers of justice: I will account to you for
every para that I have expended; and will moreover tell you the reason
of my making such an extraordinary vow.'

"As I believed that this benevolent old woman took great pleasure in
talking, I made an inclination of my head to thank her for her promised
history, and she proceeded; but I must confess I did not listen with
all the attention her narrative doubtless deserved. Even curiosity, the
strongest passion of us Turks, was dead within me. I have no
recollection of the old woman's story. It is as much as I can do to
finish my own.

"The weather became excessively hot; it was affirmed, by some of the
physicians, that this heat would prove fatal to their patients; but,
contrary to the prognostics of the physicians, it stopped the progress
of the plague. I recovered, and found my purse much lightened by my
illness. I divided the remainder of my money with my humane nurse, and
sent her out into the city, to inquire how matters were going on.

"She brought me word that the fury of the plague had much abated; but
that she had met several funerals, and that she had heard many of the
merchants cursing the folly of Murad the Unlucky, who, as they said,
had brought all this calamity upon the inhabitants of Cairo. Even
fools, they say, learn by experience. I took care to burn the bed on
which I had lain, and the clothes I had worn: I concealed my real name,
which I knew would inspire detestation, and gamed admittance, with a
crowd of other poor wretches, into a lazaretto, where I performed
quarantine, and offered up prayers daily for the sick.

"When I thought it was impossible I could spread the infection, I took
my passage home. I was eager to get away from Grand Cairo, where I knew
I was an object of execration. I had a strange fancy haunting my mind;
I imagined that all my misfortunes, since I left Constantinople, had
arisen from my neglect of the talisman upon the beautiful china vase. I
dreamed three times, when I was recovering from the plague, that a
genius appeared to me, and said, in a reproachful tone, 'Murad, where
is the vase that was intrusted to thy care?'

"This dream operated strongly upon my imagination. As soon as we
arrived at Constantinople, which we did, to my great surprise, without
meeting with any untoward accidents, I went in search of my brother
Saladin, to inquire for my vase. He no longer lived in the house in
which I left him, and I began to be apprehensive that he was dead; but
a porter, hearing my inquiries, exclaimed, 'Who is there in
Constantinople that is ignorant of the dwelling of Saladin the Lucky?
Come with me, and I will show it to you.'

"The mansion to which he conducted me looked so magnificent, that I was
almost afraid to enter lest there should be some mistake. But, whilst I
was hesitating, the doors opened, and I heard my brother Saladin's
voice. He saw me almost at the same instant that I fixed my eyes upon
him, and immediately sprang forward to embrace me. He was the same good
brother as ever, and I rejoiced in his prosperity with all my heart.
'Brother Saladin,' said I, 'can you now doubt that some men are born to
be fortunate, and others to be unfortunate? How often you used to
dispute this point with me!'

"'Let us not dispute it now in the public street,' said he, smiling;
'but come in and refresh yourself, and we will consider the question
afterwards at leisure.'

"'No, my dear brother,' said I, drawing back, 'you are too good: Murad
the Unlucky shall not enter your house, lest he should draw down
misfortunes upon you and yours. I come only to ask for my vase.'

"'It is safe,' cried he; 'come in, and you shall see it; but I will not
give it up till I have you in my house. I have none of these
superstitious fears: pardon me the expression, but I have none of these
superstitious fears.'

"I yielded, entered his house, and was astonished at all I saw! My
brother did not triumph in his prosperity; but, on the contrary, seemed
intent only upon making me forget my misfortunes: he listened to the
account of them with kindness, and obliged me by the recital of his
history; which was, I must acknowledge, far less wonderful than my own.
He seemed, by his own account, to have grown rich in the common course
of things; or, rather, by his own prudence. I allowed for his
prejudices, and, unwilling to dispute further with him, said, 'You must
remain of your opinion, brother; and I of mine: you are Saladin the
Lucky, and I Murad the Unlucky; and so we shall remain to the end of
our lives.'

"I had not been in his house four days when an accident happened, which
showed how much I was in the right. The favorite of the sultan, to whom
he had formerly sold his china vase, though her charms were now
somewhat faded by time, still retained her power, and her taste for
magnificence. She commissioned my brother to bespeak for her, at
Venice, the most splendid looking-glass that money could purchase. The
mirror, after many delays and disappointments, at length arrived at my
brother's house. He unpacked it, and sent to let the lady know it was
in perfect safety. It was late in the evening, and she ordered it
should remain where it was that night; and that it should be brought to
the seraglio the next morning. It stood in a sort of antechamber to the
room in which I slept; and with it were left some packages, containing
glass chandeliers for an unfinished saloon in my brother's house.
Saladin charged all his domestics to be vigilant this night, because he
had money to a great amount by him, and there had been frequent
robberies in our neighborhood. Hearing these orders, I resolved to be
in readiness at a moment's warning. I laid my scimitar beside me upon a
cushion; and left my door half open, that I might hear the slightest
noise in the antechamber or the great staircase. About midnight I was
suddenly awakened by a noise in the antechamber. I started up, seized
my scimitar, and the instant I got to the door, saw, by the light of
the lamp which was burning in the room, a man standing opposite to me,
with a drawn sword in his hand. I rushed forward, demanding what he
wanted, and received no answer; but, seeing him aim at me with his
scimitar, I gave him, as I thought, a deadly blow. At this instant, I
heard a great crash; and the fragments of the looking-glass, which I
had shivered, fell at my feet. At the same moment something black
brushed by my shoulder: I pursued it, stumbled over the packages of
glass, and rolled over them down the stairs.

"My brother came out of his room, to inquire the cause of all this
disturbance; and when he saw the fine mirror broken, and me lying
amongst the glass chandeliers at the bottom of the stairs, he could not
forbear exclaiming, 'Well, brother! you are indeed Murad the Unlucky.'

"When the first emotion was over, he could not, however, forbear
laughing at my situation. With a degree of goodness, which made me a
thousand times more sorry for the accident, he came down stairs to help
me up, gave me his hand, and said, 'Forgive me, if I was angry with you
at first. I am sure you did not mean to do me any injury; but tell me
how all this has happened.'

"Whilst Saladin was speaking, I heard the same kind of noise which had
alarmed me in the antechamber; but, on looking back, I saw only a black
pigeon, which flew swiftly by me, unconscious of the mischief he had
occasioned. This pigeon I had unluckily brought into the house the
preceding day; and had been feeding and trying to tame it for my young
nephews. I little thought it would be the cause of such disasters. My
brother, though he endeavored to conceal his anxiety from me, was much
disturbed at the idea of meeting the favorite's displeasure, who would
certainly be grievously disappointed by the loss of her splendid
looking-glass. I saw that I should inevitably be his ruin, if I
continued in his house; and no persuasions could prevail upon me to
prolong my stay. My generous brother, seeing me determined to go, said
to me, 'A factor, whom I have employed for some years to sell
merchandise for me, died a few days ago. Will you take his place? I am
rich enough to bear any little mistakes you may fall into, from
ignorance of business; and you will have a partner who is able and
willing to assist you.'

"I was touched to the heart by this kindness, especially at such a time
as this. He sent one of his slaves with me to the shop in which you now
see me, gentlemen. The slave, by my brother's directions, brought with
us my china vase, and delivered it safely to me, with this message:
'The scarlet dye that was found in this vase, and in its fellow, was
the first cause of Saladin's making the fortune he now enjoys: he
therefore does no more than justice, in sharing that fortune with his
brother Murad.'

"I was now placed in as advantageous a situation as possible; but my
mind was ill at ease, when I reflected that the broken mirror might be
my brother's ruin. The lady by whom it had been bespoken was, I well
knew, of a violent temper; and this disappointment was sufficient to
provoke her to vengeance. My brother sent me word this morning,
however, that, though her displeasure was excessive, it was in my power
to prevent any ill consequences that might ensue. 'In my power!' I
exclaimed; 'then, indeed, I am happy! Tell my brother there is nothing
I will not do to show him my gratitude, and to save him from the
consequences of my folly.'

"The slave who was sent by my brother seemed unwilling to name what was
required of me, saying that his master was afraid I should not like to
grant the request. I urged him to speak freely, and he then told me the
favorite declared nothing would make her amends for the loss of the
mirror but the fellow vase to that which she had bought from Saladin.
It was impossible for me to hesitate; gratitude for my brother's
generous kindness overcame my superstitious obstinacy; and I sent him
word I would carry the vase to him myself.

"I took it down this evening from the shelf on which it stood; it was
covered with dust, and I washed it, but unluckily, in endeavoring to
clean the inside from the remains of the scarlet powder, I poured hot
water into it, and immediately I heard a simmering noise, and my vase,
in a few instants, burst asunder with a loud explosion. These
fragments, alas! are all that remain. The measure of my misfortunes is
now completed! Can you wonder, gentlemen, that I bewail my evil
destiny? Am I not justly called Murad the Unlucky? Here end all my
hopes in this world! Better would it have been if I had died long ago!
Better that I had never been born! Nothing I ever have done or
attempted has prospered. Murad the Unlucky is my name, and ill fate has
marked me for her own."


The lamentations of Murad were interrupted by the entrance of Saladin.
Having waited in vain for some hours, he now came to see if any
disaster had happened to his brother Murad. He was surprised at the
sight of the two pretended merchants, and could not refrain from
exclamations on beholding the broken vase. However, with his usual
equanimity and good-nature, he began to console Murad; and, taking up
the fragments, examined them carefully, one by one joined them together
again, found that none of the edges of the china were damaged, and
declared he could have it mended so as to look as well as ever.

Murad recovered his spirits upon this. "Brother," said he, "I comfort
myself for being Murad the Unlucky, when I reflect that you are Saladin
the Lucky. See, gentlemen," continued he, turning to the pretended
merchants, "scarcely has this most fortunate of men been five minutes
in company before he gives a happy turn to affairs. His presence
inspires joy: I observe your countenances, which had been saddened by
my dismal history, have brightened up since he has made his appearance.
Brother, I wish you would make these gentlemen some amends for the time
they have wasted in listening to my catalogue of misfortunes, by
relating your history, which, I am sure, they will find rather more

Saladin consented, on condition that the strangers would accompany him
home, and partake of a social banquet. They at first repeated the
former excuse of their being obliged to return to their inn; but at
length the sultan's curiosity prevailed, and he and his vizier went
home with Saladin the Lucky, who, after supper, related his history in
the following manner:--

"My being called Saladin the Lucky first inspired me with confidence in
myself; though I own that I cannot remember any extraordinary instances
of good luck in my childhood. An old nurse of my mother's, indeed,
repeated to me, twenty times a day, that nothing I undertook could fail
to succeed, because I was Saladin the Lucky. I became presumptuous and
rash; and my nurse's prognostics might have effectually prevented their
accomplishment, had I not, when I was about fifteen, been roused to
reflection during a long confinement, which was the consequence of my
youthful conceit and imprudence.

"At this time there was at the Porte a Frenchman, an ingenious
engineer, who was employed and favored by the sultan, to the great
astonishment of many of my prejudiced countrymen. On the grand
seignior's birthday he exhibited some extraordinarily fine fireworks;
and I, with numbers of the inhabitants of Constantinople, crowded to
see them. I happened to stand near the place where the Frenchman was
stationed; the crowd pressed upon him, and I amongst the rest; he
begged we would, for our own sakes, keep at a greater distance, and
warned us that we might be much hurt by the combustibles which he was
using. I, relying upon my good fortune, disregarded all these cautions;
and the consequence was, that as I touched some of the materials
prepared for the fireworks, they exploded, dashed me upon the ground
with great violence, and I was terribly burnt.

"This accident, gentlemen, I consider as one of the most fortunate
circumstances of my life; for it checked and corrected the presumption
of my temper. During the time I was confined to my bed, the French
gentleman came frequently to see me. He was a very sensible man; and
the conversations he had with me enlarged my mind, and cured me of many
foolish prejudices, especially of that which I had been taught to
entertain, concerning the predominance of what is called luck, or
fortune, in human affairs. 'Though you are called Saladin the Lucky,'
said he, 'you find that your neglect of prudence has nearly brought you
to the grave even in the bloom of youth. Take my advice, and
henceforward trust more to prudence than to fortune. Let the multitude,
if they will, call you Saladin the Lucky; but call yourself, and make
yourself, Saladin the Prudent.'

"These words left an indelible impression on my mind, and gave a new
turn to my thoughts and character. My brother, Murad, has doubtless
told you that our difference of opinion, on the subject of
predestination, produced between us frequent arguments; but we could
never convince one another, and we each have acted, through life, in
consequence of our different beliefs. To this I attribute my success
and his misfortunes.

"The first rise of my fortune, as you have probably heard from Murad,
was owing to the scarlet dye, which I brought to perfection with
infinite difficulty. The powder, it is true, was accidentally found by
me in our china vases; but there it might have remained to this
instant, useless, if I had not taken the pains to make it useful. I
grant that we can only partially foresee and command events; yet on the
use we make of our own powers, I think, depends our destiny. But,
gentlemen, you would rather hear my adventures, perhaps, than my
reflections; and I am truly concerned, for your sakes, that I have no
wonderful events to relate. I am sorry I cannot tell you of my having
been lost in a sandy desert. I have never had the plague, nor even been
shipwrecked: I have been all my life an inhabitant of Constantinople,
and have passed my time in a very quiet and uniform manner.

"The money I received from the sultan's favorite for my china vase, as
my brother may have told you, enabled me to trade on a more extensive
scale. I went on steadily with my business; and made it my whole study
to please my employers, by all fair and honorable means. This industry
and civility succeeded beyond my expectations: in a few years, I was
rich for a man in my way of business.

"I will not proceed to trouble you with the journal of a petty
merchant's life; I pass on to the incident which made a considerable
change in my affairs.

"A terrible fire broke out near the walls of the grand seignior's
seraglio: as you are strangers, gentlemen, you may not have heard of
this event, though it produced so great a sensation in Constantinople.
The vizier's superb palace was utterly consumed; and the melted lead
poured down from the roof of the mosque of St. Sophia. Various were the
opinions formed by my neighbors respecting the cause of the
conflagration. Some supposed it to be a punishment for the sultan's
having neglected, one Friday, to appear at the mosque of St. Sophia;
others considered it as a warning sent by Mahomet, to dissuade the
Porte from persisting in a war in which we were just engaged. The
generality, however, of the coffee-house politicians contented
themselves with observing that it was the will of Mahomet that the
palace should be consumed. Satisfied by this supposition, they took no
precaution to prevent similar accidents in their own houses. Never were
fires so common in the city as at this period; scarcely a night passed
without our being wakened by the cry of fire.

"These frequent fires were rendered still more dreadful by villains,
who were continually on the watch to increase the confusion by which
they profited, and to pillage the houses of the sufferers. It was
discovered that these incendiaries frequently skulked, towards evening,
in the neighborhood of the bezestein, where the richest merchants store
their goods; some of these wretches were detected in throwing
_coundaks_, or matches, into the windows; and if these combustibles
remained a sufficient time, they could not fail to set the house on

"Notwithstanding all these circumstances, many even of those who had
property to preserve continued to repeat, 'It is the will of Mahomet,'
and consequently to neglect all means of preservation. I, on the
contrary, recollecting the lesson I had learned from the sensible
foreigner, neither suffered my spirits to sink with superstitious fears
of ill luck, nor did I trust presumptuously to my good fortune. I took
every possible means to secure myself. I never went to bed without
having seen that all the lights and fires in the house were
extinguished, and that I had a supply of water in the cistern. I had
likewise learned from my Frenchman that wet mortar was the most
effectual thing for stopping the progress of flames: I therefore had a
quantity of mortar made up in one of my outhouses, which I could use at
a moment's warning. These precautions were all useful to me: my own
house, indeed, was never actually on fire, but the houses of my
next-door neighbors were no less than five times in flames, in the
course of one winter. By my exertions, or rather by my precautions,
they suffered but little damage; and all my neighbors looked upon me as
their deliverer and friend: they loaded me with presents, and offered
more, indeed, than I would accept. All repeated that I was Saladin the
Lucky. This compliment I disclaimed, feeling more ambitious of being
called Saladin the Prudent. It is thus that what we call modesty is
often only a more refined species of pride. But to proceed with my

"One night I had been later than usual at supper, at a friend's house:
none but the watch were in the streets, and even they, I believe, were

"As I passed one of the conduits, which convey water to the city, I
heard a trickling noise; and, upon examination, I found that the cock
of the water-spout was half turned, so that the water was running out.
I turned it back to its proper place, thought it had been left unturned
by accident, and walked on; but I had not proceeded far before I came
to another spout and another, which were in the same condition. I was
convinced that this could not be the effect merely of accident, and
suspected that some ill-intentioned persons designed to let out and
waste the water of the city, that there might be none to extinguish any
fire that should break out in the course of the night.

"I stood still for a few moments, to consider how it would be most
prudent to act. It would be impossible for me to run to all parts of
the city, that I might stop the pipes that were running to waste. I
first thought of wakening the watch and the firemen, who were most of
them slumbering at their stations; but I reflected that they were
perhaps not to be trusted, and that they were in a confederacy with the
incendiaries; otherwise, they would certainly, before this hour, have
observed and stopped the running of the sewers in their neighborhood. I
determined to waken a rich merchant, called Damat Zade, who lived near
me, and who had a number of slaves whom he could send to different
parts of the city, to prevent mischief, and give notice to the
inhabitants of their danger.

"He was a very sensible, active man, and one that could easily be
wakened: he was not, like some Turks, an hour in recovering their
lethargic senses. He was quick in decision and action; and his slaves
resembled their master. He despatched a messenger immediately to the
grand vizier, that the sultan's safety might be secured; and sent
others to the magistrates, in each quarter of Constantinople. The large
drums in the janissary aga's tower beat to rouse the inhabitants; and
scarcely had this been heard to beat half an hour before the fire broke
out in the lower apartments of Damat Zade's house, owing to a
_coundak_, which had been left behind one of the doors.

"The wretches who had prepared the mischief came to enjoy it, and to
pillage; but they were disappointed. Astonished to find themselves
taken into custody, they could not comprehend how their designs had
been frustrated. By timely exertions, the fire in my friend's house was
extinguished; and though fires broke out, during the night, in many
parts of the city, but little damage was sustained, because there was
time for precautions; and by the stopping of the spouts, sufficient
water was preserved. People were awakened, and warned of the danger,
and they consequently escaped unhurt.

"The next day, as soon as I made my appearance at the bezestein, the
merchants crowded round, called me their benefactor, and the preserver
of their lives and fortunes. Damat Zade, the merchant whom I had
awakened the preceding night, presented to me a heavy purse of gold,
and put upon my finger a diamond ring of considerable value; each of
the merchants followed his example, in making me rich presents: the
magistrates also sent me tokens of their approbation; and the grand
vizier sent me a diamond of the first water, with a line written by his
own hand: 'To the man who has saved Constantinople.' Excuse me,
gentlemen, for the vanity I seem to show in mentioning these
circumstances. You desired to hear my history, and I cannot therefore
omit the principal circumstance of my life. In the course of
four-and-twenty hours, I found myself raised, by the munificent
gratitude of the inhabitants of this city, to a state of affluence far
beyond what I had ever dreamed of attaining.

"I now took a house suited to my circumstances, and bought a few
slaves. As I was carrying my slaves home, I was met by a Jew, who
stopped me, saying, in his language, 'My lord, I see, has been
purchasing slaves: I could clothe them cheaply.' There was something
mysterious in the manner of this Jew, and I did not like his
countenance; but I considered that I ought not to be governed by
caprice in my dealings, and that, if this man could really clothe my
slaves more cheaply than another, I ought not to neglect his offer
merely because I took a dislike to the cut of his beard, the turn of
his eye, or the tone of his voice. I therefore bade the Jew follow me
home, saying that I would consider of his proposal.

"When we came to talk over the matter, I was surprised to find him so
reasonable in his demands. On one point, indeed, he appeared unwilling
to comply. I required not only to see the clothes I was offered, but
also to know how they came into his possession. On this subject he
equivocated; I therefore suspected there must be something wrong. I
reflected what it could be, and judged that the goods had been stolen,
or that they had been the apparel of persons who had died of some
contagious distemper. The Jew showed me a chest, from which he said I
might choose whatever suited me best. I observed, that, as he was going
to unlock the chest, he stuffed his nose with some aromatic herbs. He
told me that he did so to prevent his smelling the musk with which the
chest was perfumed: musk, he said, had an extraordinary effect upon his
nerves. I begged to have some of the herbs which he used himself;
declaring that musk was likewise offensive to me.

"The Jew, either struck by his own conscience, or observing my
suspicions, turned as pale as death. He pretended he had not the right
key, and could not unlock the chest; said he must go in search of it,
and that he would call on me again.

"After he had left me, I examined some writing upon the lid of the
chest, that had been nearly effaced. I made out the word Smyrna, and
this was sufficient to confirm all my suspicions. The Jew returned no
more: he sent some porters to carry away the chest, and I heard nothing
of him for some time, till one day, when I was at the house of Damat
Zade, I saw a glimpse of the Jew passing hastily through one of the
courts, as if he wished to avoid me. 'My friend,' said I to Damat Zade,
'do not attribute my question to impertinent curiosity, or to a desire
to intermeddle with your affairs, if I venture to ask the nature of
your business with the Jew, who has just now crossed your court.'

"'He has engaged to supply me with clothing for my slaves,' replied my
friend, 'cheaper than I can purchase it elsewhere. I have a design to
surprise my daughter, Fatima, on her birthday, with an entertainment in
the pavilion in the garden; and all her female slaves shall appear in
new dresses on the occasion.'

"I interrupted my friend, to tell him what I suspected relative to this
Jew and his chest of clothes. It is certain that the infection of the
plague can be communicated by clothes, not only after months but after
years have elapsed. The merchant resolved to have nothing more to do
with this wretch, who could thus hazard the lives of thousands of his
fellow-creatures for a few pieces of gold: we sent notice of the
circumstance to the cadi, but the cadi was slow in his operations; and,
before he could take the Jew into custody, the cunning fellow had
effected his escape. When his house was searched, he and his chest had
disappeared: we discovered that he sailed for Egypt, and rejoiced that
we had driven him from Constantinople.

"My friend, Damat Zade, expressed the warmest gratitude to me. 'You
formerly saved my fortune: you have now saved my life; and a life yet
dearer than my own, that of my daughter Fatima.'

"At the sound of that name I could not, I believe, avoid showing some
emotion. I had accidentally seen this lady, and I had been captivated
by her beauty, and by the sweetness of her countenance; but as I knew
she was destined to be the wife of another, I suppressed my feeling,
and determined to banish the recollection of the fair Fatima forever
from my imagination. Her father, however, at this instant, threw into
my way a temptation which it required all my fortitude to resist.
'Saladin,' continued he, 'it is but just that you, who have saved our
lives, should share our festivity. Come here on the birthday of my
Fatima: I will place you in a balcony, which overlooks the garden, and
you shall see the whole spectacle. We shall have a _feast of tulips_,
in imitation of that which, as you know, is held in the grand
seignior's gardens. I assure you, the sight will be worth seeing; and
besides, you will have a chance of beholding my Fatima, for a moment,
without her veil.'

"'That,' interrupted I, 'is the thing I most wish to avoid. I dare not
indulge myself in a pleasure which might cost me the happiness of my
life. I will conceal nothing from you, who treat me with so much
confidence. I have already beheld the charming countenance of your
Fatima, but I know that she is destined to be the wife of a happier

"Damat Zade seemed much pleased by the frankness with which I explained
myself; but he would not give up the idea of my sitting with him, in
the balcony, on the day of the feast of tulips, and I, on my part,
could not consent to expose myself to another view of the charming
Fatima. My friend used every argument, or rather every sort of
persuasion, he could imagine to prevail upon me: he then tried to laugh
me out of my resolution; and, when all failed, he said, in a voice of
anger, 'Go, then, Saladin; I am sure you are deceiving me: you have a
passion for some other woman, and you would conceal it from me, and
persuade me you refuse the favor I offer you from prudence, when, in
fact, it is from indifference and contempt. Why could you not speak the
truth of your heart to me with that frankness with which one friend
should treat another?'

"Astonished at this unexpected charge, and at the anger which flashed
from the eyes of Damat Zade, who till this moment had always appeared
to me a man of a mild and reasonable temper, I was for an instant
tempted to fly into a passion and leave him: but friends, once lost,
are not easily regained. This consideration had power sufficient to
make me command my temper. 'My friend,' replied I, 'we will talk over
this affair to-morrow: you are now angry, and cannot do me justice; but
to-morrow you will be cool: you will then be convinced that I have not
deceived you; and that I have no design but to secure my own happiness
by the most prudent means in my power, by avoiding the sight of the
dangerous Fatima. I have no passion for any other woman.'

"'Then,' said my friend, embracing me, and quitting the tone of anger
which he had assumed only to try my resolution to the utmost,--'then,
Saladin, Fatima is yours.'

"I scarcely dared to believe my senses! I could not express my joy!
'Yes, my friend,' continued the merchant, 'I have tried your prudence
to the utmost; it has been victorious, and I resign my Fatima to you,
certain that you will make her happy. It is true, I had a greater
alliance in view for her: the pacha of Maksoud has demanded her from
me; but I have found, upon private inquiry, he is addicted to the
intemperate use of opium: and my daughter shall never be the wife of
one who is a violent madman one half the day, and a melancholy idiot
during the remainder. I have nothing to apprehend from the pacha's
resentment, because I have powerful friends with the grand vizier who
will oblige him to listen to reason, and to submit quietly to a
disappointment he so justly merits. And now, Saladin, have you any
objection to seeing the feast of tulips?'

"I replied only by falling at the merchant's feet, and embracing his
knees. The feast of tulips came, and on that day I was married to the
charming Fatima! The charming Fatima I continue still to think her,
though she has now been my wife some years. She is the joy and pride of
my heart; and, from our mutual affection, I have experienced more
felicity than from all the other circumstances of my life, which are
called so fortunate. Her father gave me the house in which I now live,
and joined his possessions to ours; so that I have more wealth even
than I desire. My riches, however, give me continually the means of
relieving the wants of others; and therefore I cannot affect to despise
them. I must persuade my brother Murad to share them with me, and to
forget his misfortunes: I shall then think myself completely happy. As
to the sultana's looking-glass, and your broken vase, my dear brother,"
continued Saladin, "we must think of some means--"

"Think no more of the sultana's looking-glass, or of the broken vase,"
exclaimed the sultan, throwing aside his merchant's habit, and showing
beneath it his own imperial vest. "Saladin, I rejoice to have heard,
from your own lips, the history of your life. I acknowledge, vizier, I
have been in the wrong, in our argument," continued the sultan, turning
to his vizier. "I acknowledge that the histories of Saladin the Lucky
and Murad the Unlucky favor your opinion, that prudence has more
influence than chance in human affairs. The success and happiness of
Saladin seem to me to have arisen from his prudence: by that prudence,
Constantinople has been saved from flames, and from the plague. Had
Murad possessed his brother's discretion, he would not have been on the
point of losing his head, for selling rolls which he did not bake: he
would not have been kicked by a mule, or bastinadoed for finding a
ring: he would not have been robbed by one party of soldiers, or shot
by another: he would not have been lost in a desert, or cheated by a
Jew; he would not have set a ship on fire; nor would he have caught the
plague, and spread it through Grand Cairo: he would not have run my
sultana's looking-glass through the body, instead of a robber: he would
not have believed that the fate of his life depended on certain verses
on a china vase: nor would he, at last, have broken this precious
talisman, by washing it with hot water. Henceforward, let Murad the
Unlucky be named Murad the Imprudent: let Saladin preserve the surname
he merits, and be henceforth called Saladin the Prudent."

So spake the sultan, who, unlike the generality of monarchs, could bear
to find himself in the wrong; and could discover his vizier to be in
the right, without cutting off his head. History further informs us
that the sultan offered to make Saladin a pacha, and to commit to him
the government of a province; but Saladin the Prudent declined this
honor, saying he had no ambition, was perfectly happy in his present
situation, and that, when this was the case, it would be folly to
change, because no one can be more than happy. What further adventures
befell Murad the Imprudent are not recorded; it is known only that he
became a daily visitor to the _Teriaky_; and that he died a martyr to
the immoderate use of opium.





New-Yorkers of to-day see so many processions, and live through so many
sensations, and hurrah for so many heroes in every year, that it is
only the oldest of fogies who tells you of the triumphant procession of
steamboats which, in the year 1824, welcomed General Lafayette on his
arrival from his tour through the country he had so nobly served. But,
if the reader wishes to lengthen out this story, he may button the next
silver-gray friend he meets, and ask him to tell of the broken English
and broken French of the Marquis, of Levasseur, and the rest of them;
of the enthusiasm of the people and the readiness of the visitors, and
he will please bear in mind that of all that am I.

For it so happened that on the morning when, for want of better lions
to show, the mayor and governor and the rest of them took the Marquis
and his secretary, and the rest of them, to see the orphan asylum in
Deering Street,--as they passed into the first ward, after having had
"a little refreshment" in the managers' room, Sally Eaton, the head
nurse, dropped the first courtesy to them, and Sally Eaton, as it
happened, held me screaming in her arms. I had been sent to the asylum
that morning with a paper pinned to my bib, which said my name was
Felix Carter.

"Eet ees verra fine," said the Marquis, smiling blandly.

"Ràvissant!" said Levasseur, and he dropped a five-franc piece into
Sally Eaton's hand. And so the procession of exhibiting managers
talking bad French, and of exhibited Frenchmen talking bad English,
passed on; all but good old Elkanah Ogden,--God bless him!--who
happened to have come there with the governor's party, and who loitered
a minute to talk with Sally Eaton about me.

Years afterwards she told me how the old man kissed me, how his eyes
watered when he asked my story, how she told again of the moment when I
was heard screaming on the doorstep, and how she offered to go and
bring the paper which had been pinned to my bib. But the old man said
it was no matter,--"only we would have called him Marquis," said he,
"if his name was not provided for him. We must not leave him here," he
said; "he shall grow up a farmer's lad, and not a little cockney." And
so, instead of going the grand round of infirmaries, kitchens,
bakeries, and dormitories with the rest, the good old soul went back
into the managers' room, and wrote at the moment a letter to John
Myers, who took care of his wild land in St. Lawrence County for him,
to ask him if Mrs. Myers would not bring up an orphan baby by hand for
him; and if, both together, they would not train this baby till he said
"Stop"; if, on the other hand, he allowed them, in the yearly account,
a hundred dollars each year for the charge.

Anybody who knows how far a hundred dollars goes in the backwoods, in
St. Lawrence County, will know that any settler would be glad to take a
ward so recommended. Anybody who knew Betsy Myers as well as old
Elkanah Ogden did, would know she would have taken any orphan brought
to her door, even if he were not recommended at all.

So it happened, thanks to Lafayette and the city council! that I had
not been a "Child of the Public" a day, before, in its great, clumsy,
liberal way, it had provided for me. I owed my healthy, happy home of
the next fourteen years in the wilderness to those marvellous habits,
which I should else call absurd, with which we lionize strangers.
Because our hospitals and poorhouses are the largest buildings we have,
we entertain the Prince of Wales and Jenny Lind alike, by showing them
crazy people and paupers. Easy enough to laugh at is the display; but
if, dear Public, it happen that by such a habit you ventilate your
Bridewell or your Bedlam, is not the ventilation, perhaps, a
compensation for the absurdity? I do not know if Lafayette was any the
better for his seeing the Deering Street Asylum; but I do know I was.

This is no history of my life. It is only an illustration of one of its
principles. I have no anecdotes of wilderness life to tell, and no
sketch of the lovely rugged traits of John and Betsy Myers,--my real
father and mother. I have no quest for the pretended parents, who threw
me away in my babyhood, to record. They closed accounts with me when
they left me on the asylum steps, and I with them. I grew up with such
schooling as the public gave,--ten weeks in winter always, and ten in
summer, till I was big enough to work on the farm,--better periods of
schools, I hold, than on the modern systems. Mr. Ogden I never saw.
Regularly he allowed for me the hundred a year till I was nine years
old, and then suddenly he died, as the reader perhaps knows. But John
Myers kept me as his son, none the less. I knew no change until, when I
was fourteen, he thought it time for me to see the world, and sent me
to what, in those days, was called a "Manual-Labor School."

There was a theory coming up in those days, wholly unfounded in
physiology, that if a man worked five hours with his hands, he could
study better in the next five. It is all nonsense. Exhaustion is
exhaustion; and if you exhaust a vessel by one stopcock, nothing is
gained or saved by closing that and opening another. The old up-country
theory is the true one. Study ten weeks and chop wood fifteen; study
ten more and harvest fifteen. But the "Manual-Labor School" offered
itself for really no pay, only John Myers and I carried over, I
remember, a dozen barrels of potatoes when I went there with my books.
The school was kept at Roscius, and if I would work in the carpenter's
shop and on the school farm five hours, why they would feed me and
teach me all they knew in what I had of the day beside.

"Felix," said John, as he left me, "I do not suppose this is the best
school in the world, unless you make it so. But I do suppose you can
make it so. If you and I went whining about, looking for the best
school in the world, and for somebody to pay your way through it, I
should die, and you would lose your voice with whining, and we should
not find one after all. This is what the public happens to provide for
you and me. We won't look a gift-horse in the mouth. Get on his back,
Felix; groom him well as you can when you stop, feed him when you can,
and at all events water him well and take care of him well. My last
advice to you, Felix, is to take what is offered you, and never
complain because nobody offers more."

Those words are to be cut on my seal-ring, if I ever have one, and if
Dr. Anthon or Professor Webster will put them into short enough Latin
for me. That is the motto of the "Children of the Public."

John Myers died before that term was out. And my more than mother,
Betsy, went back to her friends in Maine. After the funeral I never saw
them more. How I lived from that moment to what Fausta and I call the
Crisis is nobody's concern. I worked in the shop at the school, or on
the farm. Afterwards I taught school in neighboring districts. I never
bought a ticket in a lottery or a raffle. But whenever there was a
chance to do an honest stroke of work, I did it. I have walked fifteen
miles at night to carry an election return to the "Tribune's" agent at
Gouverneur. I have turned out in the snow to break open the road when
the supervisor could not find another man in the township.

When Sartain started his magazine, I wrote an essay in competition for
his premiums, and the essay earned its hundred dollars. When the
managers of the "Orphan Home," in Baltimore, offered their prizes for
papers on bad boys, I wrote for one of them, and that helped me on four
hard months. There was no luck in those things. I needed the money, and
I put my hook into the pork-barrel,--that is, I trusted the Public. I
never had but one stroke of luck in my life. I wanted a new pair of
boots badly. I was going to walk to Albany, to work in the State
library on the history of the Six Nations, which had an interest for
me. I did not have a dollar. Just then there passed Congress the bill
dividing the surplus revenue. The State of New York received two or
three millions, and divided it among the counties. The county of St.
Lawrence divided it among the townships, and the township of Roscius
divided it among the voters. Two dollars and sixty cents of Uncle Sam's
money came to me, and with that money on my feet I walked to Albany.
That I call luck! How many fools had to assent in an absurdity before I
could study the history of the Six Nations!

But one instance told in detail is better than a thousand told in
general, for the illustration of a principle. So I will detain you no
longer from the history of what Fausta and I call The Crisis.



I was at work as a veneerer in a piano-forte factory at Attica, when
some tariff or other was passed or repealed; there came a great
financial explosion, and our boss, among the rest, failed. He owed us
all six months' wages, and we were all very poor and very blue.
Jonathan Whittemore--a real good fellow, who used to cover the hammers
with leather--came to me the day the shop was closed, and told me he
was going to take the chance to go to Europe. He was going to the
Musical Conservatory at Leipsic, if he could. He would work his passage
out as a stoker. He would wash himself for three or four days at
Bremen, and then get work, if he could, with Voightlander or Von Hammer
till he could enter the Conservatory. By way of preparation for this he
wanted me to sell him my Adler's German Dictionary.

"I've nothing to give you for it, Felix, but this foolish thing,--it is
one of Burrham's tickets,--which I bought in a frolic the night of our
sleigh-ride. I'll transfer it to you."

I told Jonathan he might have the dictionary and welcome. He was doing
a sensible thing, and he would use it twenty times as much as I should.
As for the ticket, he had better keep it. I did not want it. But I saw
he would feel better if I took it,--so he indorsed it to me.

Now the reader must know that this Burrham was a man who had got hold
of one corner of the idea of what the Public could do for its children.
He had found out that there were a thousand people who would be glad to
make the tour of the mountains and the lakes every summer if they could
do it for half price. He found out that the railroad companies were
glad enough to put the price down if they could be sure of the thousand
people. He mediated between the two, and so "cheap excursions" came
into being. They are one of the gifts the Public gives its children.
Rising from step to step, Burrham had, just before the great financial
crisis, conceived the idea of a great cheap combination, in which
everybody was to receive a magazine for a year and a cyclopædia, both
at half price; and not only so, but the money that was gained in the
combination was to be given by lot to two ticket-holders, one a man and
one a woman, for their dowry in marriage. I dare say the reader
remembers the prospectus. It savors too much of the modern "Gift
Enterprise" to be reprinted in full; but it had this honest element,
that everybody got more than he could get for his money in retail. I
have my magazine, the old "Boston Miscellany," to this day, and I just
now looked out Levasseur's name in my cyclopædia; and, as you will see,
I have reason to know that all the other subscribers got theirs.

One of the tickets for these books, for which Whittemore had given five
good dollars, was what he gave to me for my dictionary. And so we
parted. I loitered at Attica, hoping for a place where I could put in
my oar. But my hand was out at teaching, and in a time when all the
world's veneers of different kinds were ripping off, nobody wanted me
to put on more of my kind,--so that my cash ran low. I would not go in
debt,--that is a thing I never did. More honest, I say, to go to the
poorhouse, and make the Public care for its child there, than to borrow
what you cannot pay. But I did not come quite to that, as you shall

I was counting up my money one night,--and it was easily done,--when I
observed that the date on this Burrham order was the 15th of October,
and it occurred to me that it was not quite a fortnight before those
books were to be delivered. They were to be delivered at Castle Garden,
at New York; and the thought struck me that I might go to New York, try
my chance there for work, and at least see the city, which I had never
seen, and get my cyclopædia and magazine. It was the least offer the
Public ever made to me; but just then the Public was in a collapse, and
the least was better than nothing. The plan of so long a journey was
Quixotic enough, and I hesitated about it a good deal. Finally I came
to this resolve: I would start in the morning to walk to the
lock-station at Brockport on the canal. If a boat passed that night
where they would give me my fare for any work I could do for them, I
would go to Albany. If not, I would walk back to Lockport the next day,
and try my fortune there. This gave me, for my first day's enterprise,
a foot journey of about twenty-five miles. It was out of the question,
with my finances, for me to think of compassing the train.

Every point of life is a pivot on which turns the whole action of our
after-lives; and so, indeed, of the after-lives of the whole world. But
we are so purblind that we only see this of certain special enterprises
and endeavors, which we therefore call critical. I am sure I see it of
that twenty-five miles of fresh autumnal walking. I was in tip-top
spirits. I found the air all oxygen, and everything "all right." I did
not loiter, and I did not hurry. I swung along with the feeling that
every nerve and muscle drew, as in the trades a sailor feels of every
rope and sail. And so I was not tired, not thirsty, till the brook
appeared where I was to drink; nor hungry till twelve o'clock came,
when I was to dine. I called myself, as I walked, "The Child of Good
Fortune," because the sun was on my right quarter, as the sun should be
when you walk, because the rain of yesterday had laid the dust for me,
and the frost of yesterday had painted the hills for me, and the
northwest wind cooled the air for me. I came to Wilkie's Cross-Roads
just in time to meet the Claremont baker and buy my dinner loaf of him.
And when my walk was nearly done, I came out on the low bridge at
Sewell's, which is a drawbridge, just before they raised it for a
passing boat, instead of the moment after. Because I was all right I
felt myself and called myself "The Child of Good Fortune." Dear reader,
in a world made by a loving Father, we are all of us children of good
fortune, if we only have wit enough to find it out, as we stroll along.

The last stroke of good fortune which that day had for me was the
solution of my question whether or no I would go to Babylon. I was to
go if any good-natured boatman would take me. This is a question, Mr.
Millionnaire, more doubtful to those who have not drawn their dividends
than to those who have. As I came down the village street at Brockport,
I could see the horses of a boat bound eastward, led along from level
to level at the last lock; and, in spite of my determination not to
hurry, I put myself on the long, loping trot which the St. Regis
Indians taught me, that I might overhaul this boat before she got under
way at her new speed. I came out on the upper gate of the last lock
just as she passed out from the lower gate. The horses were just put
on, and a reckless boy gave them their first blow after two hours of
rest and corn. As the heavy boat started off under the new motion, I
saw, and her skipper saw at the same instant, that a long new tow-rope
of his, which had lain coiled on deck, was suddenly flying out to its
full length. The outer end of it had been carried upon the lock-side by
some chance or blunder, and there some idle loafer had thrown the
looped bight of it over a hawser-post. The loafers on the lock saw, as
I did, that the rope was running out, and at the call of the skipper
one of them condescended to throw the loop overboard, but he did it so
carelessly that the lazy rope rolled over into the lock, and the loop
caught on one of the valve-irons of the upper gate. The whole was the
business of an instant, of course. But the poor skipper saw, what we
did not, that the coil of the rope on deck was foul, and so entangled
round his long tiller, that ten seconds would do one of three
things,--they would snap his new rope in two, which was a trifle, or
they would wrench his tiller-head off the rudder, which would cost him
an hour to mend, or they would upset those two horses, at this instant
on a trot, and put into the canal the rowdy youngster who had started
them. It was this complex certainty which gave fire to the double cries
which he addressed aft to us on the lock, and forward to the magnet
boy, whose indifferent intelligence at that moment drew him along.

I was stepping upon the gate-head to walk across it. It took but an
instant, not nearly all the ten seconds, to swing down by my arms into
the lock, keeping myself hanging by my hands, to catch with my right
foot the bight of the rope and lift it off the treacherous iron, to
kick the whole into the water, and then to scramble up the wet
lock-side again. I got a little wet, but that was nothing. I ran down
the tow-path, beckoned to the skipper, who sheered his boat up to the
shore, and I jumped on board.

At that moment, reader, Fausta was sitting in a yellow chair on the
deck of that musty old boat, crocheting from a pattern in "Godey's
Lady's Book. I remember it as I remember my breakfast of this morning.
Not that I fell in love with her, nor did I fall in love with my
breakfast; but I knew she was there. And that was the first time I ever
saw her. It is many years since, and I have seen her every day from
that evening to this evening. But I had then no business with her. My
affair was with him whom I have called the skipper, by way of adapting
this fresh-water narrative to ears accustomed to Marryat and Tom
Cringle. I told him that I had to go to New York; that I had not time
to walk, and had not money to pay; that I should like to work my
passage to Troy, if there were any way in which I could; and to ask him
this I had come on board.

"Waal," said the skipper, "'tain't much that is to be done, and Zekiel
and I calc'late to do most of that; and there's that blamed boy

This adjective "blamed" is the virtuous oath by which simple people,
who are improving their habits, cure themselves of a stronger epithet,
as men take to flag-root who are abandoning tobacco.

"He ain't good for nothin', as you see," continued the skipper
meditatively, "and you air, anybody can see that," he added. "Ef you've
mind to come to Albany, you can have your vittles, poor enough they are
too; and ef you are willing to ride sometimes, you can ride. I guess
where there's room for three in the bunks there's room for four.
'Tain't everybody would have cast off that blamed hawser-rope as neat
as you did."

From which last remark I inferred, what I learned as a certainty as we
travelled farther, that but for the timely assistance I had rendered
him I should have plead for my passage in vain.

This was my introduction to Fausta. That is to say, she heard the whole
of the conversation. The formal introduction, which is omitted in no
circle of American life to which I have ever been admitted, took place
at tea half an hour after, when Mrs. Grills, who always voyaged with
her husband, brought in the flapjacks from the kitchen. "Miss Jones,"
said Grills, as I came into the meal, leaving Zekiel at the
tiller,--"Miss Jones, this is a young man who is going to Albany. I
don't rightly know how to call your name, sir." I said my name was
Carter. Then he said, "Mr. Carter, this is Miss Jones. Mrs. Grills, Mr.
Carter. Mr. Carter, Mrs. Grills. She is my wife." And so our _partie
carrée_ was established for the voyage.

In these days there are few people who know that a journey on a canal
is the pleasantest journey in the world. A canal has to go through fine
scenery. It cannot exist unless it follow through the valley of a
stream. The movement is so easy that, with your eyes shut, you do not
know you move. The route is so direct, that when you are once shielded
from the sun, you are safe for hours. You draw, you read, you write, or
you sew, crochet, or knit. You play on your flute or your guitar,
without one hint of inconvenience. At a "low bridge" you duck your head
lest you lose your hat,--and that reminder teaches you that you are
human. You are glad to know this, and you laugh at the memento. For the
rest of the time you journey, if you are "all right" within, in

I rode one of those horses perhaps two or three hours a day. At locks I
made myself generally useful. At night I walked the deck till one
o'clock, with my pipe or without it, to keep guard against the
lock-thieves. The skipper asked me sometimes, after he found I could
"cipher," to disentangle some of the knots in his bills of lading for
him. But all this made but a little inroad in those lovely autumn days,
and for the eight days that we glided along,--there is one blessed
level which is seventy miles long,--I spent most of my time with
Fausta. We walked together on the tow-path to get our appetites for
dinner and for supper. At sunrise I always made a cruise inland, and
collected the gentians and black alder-berries and colored leaves, with
which she dressed Mrs. Grill's table. She took an interest in my
wretched sketch-book; and though she did not and does not draw well,
she did show me how to spread an even tint, which I never knew before.
I was working up my French. She knew about as much and as little as I
did, and we read Mad Reybaud's Clementine together, guessing at the
hard words, because we had no dictionary.

Dear old Grill offered to talk French at table, and we tried it for a
few days. But it proved he picked up his pronunciation at St.
Catherine's, among the boatmen there, and he would say _shwo_ for
"horses," where the book said _chevaux_. Our talk, on the other hand,
was not Parisian,--but it was not Catherinian,--and we subsided into
English again.

So sped along these blessed eight days. I told Fausta thus much of my
story, that I was going to seek my fortune in New York. She, of course,
knew nothing of me but what she saw, and she told me nothing of her

But I was very sorry when we came into the basin at Troy, for I knew
then that in all reason I must take the steamboat down. And I was very
glad--I have seldom in my life been so glad--when I found that she also
was going to New York immediately. She accepted, very pleasantly, my
offer to carry her trunk to the Isaac Newton for her, and to act as her
escort to the city. For me, my trunk,

                   "in danger tried,"
  Swung in my hand,--"nor left my side."

My earthly possessions were few anywhere. I had left at Attica most of
what they were. Through the voyage I had been man enough to keep on a
working-gear fit for a workman's duty. And old Grills had not yet grace
enough to keep his boat still on Sunday. How one remembers little
things! I can remember each touch of the toilet, as, in that corner of
a dark cuddy where I had shared "Zekiel's" bunk with him, I dressed
myself with one of my two white shirts, and with the change of raiment
which had been tight squeezed in my portmanteau. The old overcoat was
the best part of it, as in a finite world it often is. I sold my felt
hat to Zekiel, and appeared with a light travelling-cap. I do not know
how Fausta liked my metamorphosis. I only know that, like butterflies,
for a day or two after they go through theirs, I felt decidedly cold.

As Carter, the canal man, I had carried Fausta's trunk on board. As Mr.
Carter, I gave her my arm, led her to the gangway of the Newton, took
her passage and mine, and afterwards walked and sat through the
splendid moonlight of the first four hours down the river.

Miss Jones determined that evening to breakfast on the boat. Be it
observed that I did not then know her by any other name. She was to go
to an aunt's house, and she knew that if she left the boat on its early
arrival in New York, she would disturb that lady by a premature ringing
at her bell. I had no reason for haste, as the reader knows. The
distribution of the cyclopædias was not to take place till the next
day, and that absurd trifle was the only distinct excuse I had to
myself for being in New York at all. I asked Miss Jones, therefore, if
I might not be her escort still to her aunt's house. I had said it
would be hard to break off our pleasant journey before I had seen where
she lived, and I thought she seemed relieved to know that she should
not be wholly a stranger on her arrival. It was clear enough that her
aunt would send no one to meet her.

These preliminaries adjusted, we parted to our respective cabins. And
when, the next morning, at that unearthly hour demanded by Philadelphia
trains and other exigencies, the Newton made her dock, I rejoiced that
breakfast was not till seven o'clock, that I had two hours more of the
berth, which was luxury compared to Zekiel's bunk,--I turned upon my
other side and slept on.

Sorry enough for that morning nap was I for the next thirty-six hours.
For when I went on deck, and sent in the stewardess to tell Miss Jones
that I was waiting for her, and then took from her the check for her
trunk, I woke to the misery of finding that, in that treacherous two
hours, some pirate from the pier had stepped on board, had seized the
waiting trunk, left almost alone, while the baggage-master's back was
turned, and that, to a certainty, it was lost. I did not return to
Fausta with this story till the breakfast-bell had long passed and the
breakfast was very cold. I did not then tell it to her till I had seen
her eat her breakfast with an appetite much better than mine. I had
already offered up stairs the largest reward to anybody who would bring
it back which my scanty purse would pay. I had spoken to the clerk, who
had sent for a policeman. I could do nothing more, and I did not choose
to ruin her chop and coffee by ill-timed news. The officer came before
breakfast was over, and called me from table.

On the whole, his business-like way encouraged me. He had some clews
which I had not thought possible. It was not unlikely that they should
pounce on the trunk before it was broken open. I gave him a written
description of its marks; and when he civilly asked if "my lady" would
give some description of any books or other articles within, I readily
promised that I would call with such a description at the police
station. Somewhat encouraged, I returned to Miss Jones, and, when I led
her from the breakfast-table, told her of her misfortune. I took all
shame to myself for my own carelessness, to which I attributed the
loss. But I told her all that the officer had said to me, and that I
hoped to bring her the trunk at her aunt's before the day was over.

Fausta took my news, however, with a start which frightened me. All her
money, but a shilling or two, was in the trunk. To place money in
trunks is a weakness of the female mind which I have nowhere seen
accounted for. Worse than this, though,--as appeared after a moment's
examination of her travelling-_sac_,--her portfolio in the trunk
contained the letter of the aunt whom she came to visit, giving her her
address in the city. To this address she had no other clew but that her
aunt was Mrs. Mary Mason, had married a few years before a merchant
named Mason, whom Miss Jones had never seen, and of whose name and
business this was all she knew. They lived in a numbered street, but
whether it was Fourth Street, or Fifty-fourth, or One Hundred and
Twenty-fourth, or whether it was something between, the poor child had
no idea. She had put up the letter carefully, but had never thought of
the importance of the address. Besides this aunt, she knew no human
being in New York.

"Child of the Public," I said to myself, "what do you do now?" I had
appealed to my great patron in sending for the officer, and on the
whole I felt that my sovereign had been gracious to me, if not yet
hopeful. But now I must rub my lamp again, and ask the genie where the
unknown Mason lived. The genie of course suggested the Directory, and I
ran for it to the clerk's office. But as we were toiling down the pages
of "Masons," and had written off thirteen or fourteen who lived in
numbered streets, Fausta started, looked back at the preface and its
date, flung down her pencil in the only abandonment of dismay in which
I ever saw her, and cried "First of May! They were abroad until May.
They have been abroad since the day they were married!" So that genie
had to put his glories into his pocket, and carry his Directory back to
the office again.

The natural thing to propose was, that I should find for Miss Jones a
respectable boarding-house, and that she should remain there until her
trunk was found, or till she could write to friends who had this fatal
address, and receive an answer. But here she hesitated. She hardly
liked to explain why,--did not explain wholly. But she did not say that
she had no friends who knew this address. She had but few relations in
the world, and her aunt had communicated with her alone since she came
from Europe. As for the boarding-house, "I had rather look for work,"
she said bravely. "I have never promised to pay money when I did not
know how to obtain it; and that"--and here she took out fifty or sixty
cents from her purse--"and that is all now. In respectable
boarding-houses, when people come without luggage, they are apt to ask
for an advance. Or, at least," she added, with some pride, "I am apt to
offer it."

I hastened to ask her to take all my little store; but I had to own
that I had not two dollars. I was sure, however, that my overcoat and
the dress-suit I wore would avail me something, if I thrust them boldly
up some spout. I was sure that I should be at work within a day or two.
At all events, I was certain of the cyclopædia the next day. That
should go to old Gowan's,--in Fulton Street it was then,--"the moral
centre of the intellectual world," in the hour I got it. And at this
moment, for the first time, the thought crossed me, "If mine could only
be the name drawn, so that that foolish $5,000 should fall to me." In
that case I felt that Fausta might live in "a respectable
boarding-house" till she died. Of this, of course, I said nothing, only
that she was welcome to my poor dollar and a half, and that I should
receive the next day some more money that was due me.

"You forget, Mr. Carter," replied Fausta, as proudly as before,--"you
forget that I cannot borrow of you any more than of a
boarding-house-keeper. I never borrow. Please God, I never will. It
must be," she added, "that in a Christian city like this there is some
respectable and fit arrangement made for travellers who find themselves
where I am. What that provision is I do not know: but I will find out
what it is before this sun goes down."

I paused a moment before I replied. If I had been fascinated by this
lovely girl before, I now bowed in respect before her dignity and
resolution; and, with my sympathy, there was a delicious throb of
self-respect united, when I heard her lay down so simply, as principles
of her life, two principles on which I had always myself tried to live.
The half-expressed habits of my boyhood and youth were now uttered for
me as axioms by lips which I knew could speak nothing but right and

I paused a moment. I stumbled a little as I expressed my regret that
she would not let me help her,--joined with my certainty that she was
in the right in refusing,--and then, in the only stiff speech I ever
made to her, I said:--

"I am the 'Child of the Public.' If you ever hear my story, you will
say so too. At the least, I can claim this, that I have a right to help
you in your quest as to the way in which the public will help you. Thus
far I am clearly the officer in his suite to whom he has intrusted you.
Are you ready, then, to go on shore?"

Fausta looked around on that forlorn ladies' saloon, as if it were the
last link holding her to her old safe world.

  "Looked upon skylight, lamp, and chain,
   As what she ne'er might see again."

Then she looked right through me; and if there had been one mean
thought in me at that minute, she would have seen the viper. Then she
said sadly,--

"I have perfect confidence in you, though people would say we were
strangers. Let us go."

And we left the boat together. We declined the invitations of the noisy
hackmen, and walked slowly to Broadway.

We stopped at the station-house for that district, and to the attentive
chief Fausta herself described those contents of her trunk which she
thought would be most easily detected, if offered for sale. Her
mother's Bible, at which the chief shook his head; Bibles, alas!
brought nothing at the shops; a soldier's medal, such as were given as
target prizes by the Montgomery regiment, and a little silver canteen,
marked with the device of the same regiment, seemed to him better
worthy of note. Her portfolio was wrought with a cipher, and she
explained to him that she was most eager that this should be recovered.
The pocket-book contained more than one hundred dollars, which she
described, but he shook his head here, and gave her but little hope of
that, if the trunk were once opened. His chief hope was for this

"And where shall we send to you then, madam?" said he.

I had been proud, as if it were my merit, of the impression Fausta had
made upon the officer, in her quiet, simple, lady-like dress and
manner. For myself, I thought that one slip of pretence in my dress or
bearing, a scrap of gold or of pinchbeck, would have ruined both of us
in our appeal. But, fortunately, I did not disgrace her, and the man
looked at her as if he expected her to say, "Fourteenth Street." What
would she say?

"That depends upon what the time will be. Mr. Carter will call at noon,
and will let you know."

We bowed, and were gone. In an instant more she begged my pardon,
almost with tears; but I told her that if she also had been a "Child of
the Public," she could not more fitly have spoken to one of her
father's officers. I begged her to use me as her protector, and not to
apologize again. Then we laid out the plans which we followed out that

The officer's manner had reassured her, and I succeeded in persuading
her that it was certain we should have the trunk at noon. How much
better to wait, at least so far, before she entered on any of the
enterprises of which she talked so coolly, as of offering herself as a
nursery-girl, or as a milliner, to whoever would employ her, if only
she could thus secure an honest home till money or till aunt were
found. Once persuaded that we were safe from this Quixotism, I told her
that we must go on, as we did on the canal, and first we must take our
constitutional walk for two hours.

"At least," she said, "our good papa, the Public, gives us wonderful
sights to see, and good walking to our feet, as a better Father has
given us this heavenly sky and this bracing air."

And with those words the last heaviness of despondency left her face
for that day. And we plunged into the delicious adventure of exploring
a new city, staring into windows as only strangers can, revelling in
print-shops as only they do, really seeing the fine buildings as
residents always forget to do, and laying up, in short, with those
streets, nearly all the associations which to this day we have with

Two hours of this tired us with walking, of course. I do not know what
she meant to do next; but at ten I said, "Time for French, Miss Jones."
"_Ah oui,_" said she, "_mais où?_" and I had calculated my distances,
and led her at once into Lafayette Place; and, in a moment, pushed open
the door of the Astor Library, led her up the main stairway, and said,
"This is what the Public provides for his children when they have to

"This is the Astor," said she, delighted. "And we are all right, as you
say, here?" Then she saw that our entrance excited no surprise among
the few readers, men and women, who were beginning to assemble.

We took our seats at an unoccupied table, and began to revel in the
luxuries for which we had only to ask that we might enjoy. I had a
little memorandum of books which I had been waiting to see. She needed
none; but looked for one and another, and yet another, and between us
we kept the attendant well in motion. A pleasant thing to me to be
finding out her thoroughbred tastes and lines of work, and I was happy
enough to interest her in some of my pet readings; and, of course, for
she was a woman, to get quick hints which had never dawned on me
before. A very short hour and a half we spent there before I went to
the station-house again. I went very quickly, I returned to her very

The trunk was not found. But they were now quite sure they were on its
track. They felt certain it had been carried from pier to pier and
taken back up the river. Nor was it hopeless to follow it. The
particular rascal who was supposed to have it would certainly stop
either at Piermont or at Newburg. They had telegraphed to both places,
and were in time for both. "The day boat, sir, will bring your lady's
trunk, and will bring me Rowdy Rob, too, I hope," said the officer. But
at the same moment, as he rang his bell, he learned that no despatch
had yet been received from either of the places named. I did not feel
so certain as he did.

But Fausta showed no discomfort as I told my news. "Thus far," said
she, "the Public serves me well. I will borrow no trouble by want of
faith." And I,--as Dante would say,--and I, to her, "Will you let me
remind you, then, that at one we dine; that Mrs. Grills is now placing
the salt-pork upon the cabin table, and Mr. Grills asking the blessing;
and, as this is the only day when I can have the honor of your company,
will you let me show you how a Child of the Public dines, when his
finances are low?"

Fausta laughed, and said again, less tragically than before, "I have
perfect confidence in you,"--little thinking how she started my blood
with the words; but this time, as if in token, she let me take her hand
upon my arm, as we walked down the street together.

If we had been snobs, or even if I had been one, I should have taken
her to Taylor's, and have spent all the money I had on such a luncheon
as neither of us had ever eaten before. Whatever else I am, I am not a
snob of that sort. I show my colors. I led her into a little
cross-street which I had noticed in our erratic morning pilgrimage. We
stopped at a German baker's. I bade her sit down at the neat marble
table, and I bought two rolls. She declined lager, which I offered her
in fun. We took water instead, and we had dined, and had paid two cents
for our meal, and had had a very merry dinner, too, when the clock
struck two.

"And now, Mr. Carter," said she, "I will steal no more of your day. You
did not come to New York to escort lone damsels to the Astor Library or
to dinner. Nor did I come only to see the lions or to read French. I
insist on your going to your affairs, and leaving me to mine. If you
will meet me at the Library half an hour before it closes, I will thank
you; till then," with a tragedy shake of the hand, and a merry laugh,

I knew very well that no harm could happen to her in two hours of an
autumn afternoon. I was not sorry for her _congé_, for it gave me an
opportunity to follow my own plans. I stopped at one or two
cabinet-makers, and talked with the "jours" about work, that I might
tell her with truth that I had been in search of it; then I sedulously
began on calling upon every man I could reach named Mason. O, how often
I went through one phase or another of this colloquy:--

"Is Mr. Mason in?"

"That's my name, sir."

"Can you give me the address of Mr. Mason who returned from Europe last

"Know no such person, sir."

The reader can imagine how many forms this dialogue could be repeated
in, before, as I wrought my way through a long line of dry-goods cases
to a distant counting-room, I heard some one in it say, "No, madam, I
know no such person as you describe"; and from the recess Fausta
emerged and met me. Her plan for the afternoon had been the same with
mine. We laughed as we detected each other; then I told her she had had
quite enough of this, that it was time she should rest, and took her,
_nolens volens_, into the ladies' parlor of the St. Nicholas, and bade
her wait there through the twilight, with my copy of Clementine, till I
should return from the police-station. If the reader has ever waited in
such a place for some one to come and attend to him, he will understand
that nobody will be apt to molest him when he has not asked for

Two hours I left Fausta in the rocking-chair, which there the Public
had provided for her. Then I returned, sadly enough. No tidings of
Rowdy Rob, none of trunk, Bible, money, letter, medal, or anything.
Still was my district sergeant hopeful, and, as always, respectful. But
I was hopeless this time, and I knew that the next day Fausta would be
plunging into the war with intelligence-houses and advertisements. For
the night, I was determined that she should spend it in my ideal
"respectable boarding-house." On my way down town, I stopped in at one
or two shops to make inquiries, and satisfied myself where I would take
her. Still I thought it wisest that we should go after tea; and another
cross-street baker, and another pair of rolls, and another tap at the
Croton, provided that repast for us. Then I told Fausta of the
respectable boarding-house, and that she must go there. She did not say
no. But she did say she would rather not spend the evening there.
"There must be some place open for us," said she. "There! there is a
church-bell! The church is always home. Let us come there."

So to "evening meeting" we went, startling the sexton by arriving an
hour early. If there were any who wondered what was the use of that
Wednesday-evening service, we did not. In a dark gallery pew we sat,
she at one end, I at the other; and, if the whole truth be told, each
of us fell asleep at once, and slept till the heavy organ tones taught
us that the service had begun. A hundred or more people had straggled
in then, and the preacher, good soul, he took for his text, "Doth not
God care for the ravens?" I cannot describe the ineffable feeling of
home that came over me in that dark pew of that old church. I had never
been in so large a church before. I had never heard so heavy an organ
before. Perhaps I had heard better preaching, but never any that came
to my occasions more. But it was none of these things which moved me.
It was the fact that we were just where we had a right to be. No
impudent waiter could ask us why we were sitting there, nor any
petulant policeman propose that we should push on. It was God's house,
and, because his, it was his children's.

All this feeling of repose grew upon me, and, as it proved, upon Fausta
also. For when the service was ended, and I ventured to ask her whether
she also had this sense of home and rest, she assented so eagerly, that
I proposed, though with hesitation, a notion which had crossed me, that
I should leave her there.

"I cannot think," I said, "of any possible harm that could come to you
before morning."

"Do you know, I had thought of that very same thing, but I did not dare
tell you," she said.

Was not I glad that she had considered me her keeper! But I only said,
"At the 'respectable boarding-house' you might be annoyed by

"And no one will speak to me here. I know that from Goody Two-Shoes."

"I will be here," said I, "at sunrise in the morning." And so I bade
her good by, insisting on leaving in the pew my own great-coat. I knew
she might need it before morning. I walked out as the sexton closed the
door below on the last of the down-stairs worshippers. He passed along
the aisles below, with his long poker which screwed down the gas. I saw
at once that he had no intent of exploring the galleries. But I
loitered outside till I saw him lock the doors and depart; and then,
happy in the thought that Miss Jones was in the safest place in New
York,--as comfortable as she was the night before, and much more
comfortable than she had been any night upon the canal,--I went in
search of my own lodging.

"To the respectable boarding-house?"

Not a bit, reader. I had no shillings for respectable or disrespectable
boarding-houses. I asked the first policeman where his district station
was. I went into its office, and told the captain that I was green in
the city; had got no work and no money. In truth, I had left my purse
in Miss Jones's charge, and a five-cent piece, which I showed the
chief, was all I had. He said no word but to bid me go up two flights
and turn into the first bunk I found. I did so; and in five minutes was
asleep in a better bed than I had slept in for nine days.

That was what the Public did for me that night. I, too, was safe!

I am making this story too long. But with that night and its anxieties
the end has come. At sunrise I rose and made my easy toilet. I bought
and ate my roll,--varying the brand from yesterday's. I bought another,
with a lump of butter, and an orange, for Fausta. I left my portmanteau
at the station, while I rushed to the sexton's house, told his wife I
had left my gloves in church the night before,--as was the truth,--and
easily obtained from her the keys. In a moment I was in the
vestibule,--locked in,--was in the gallery, and there found Fausta,
just awake, as she declared, from a comfortable night, reading her
morning lesson in the Bible, and sure, she said, that I should soon
appear. Nor ghost, nor wraith, had visited her. I spread for her a
brown paper table-cloth on the table in the vestibule. I laid out her
breakfast for her, called her, and wondered at her toilet. How is it
that women always make themselves appear as neat and finished as if
there were no conflict, dust, or wrinkle in the world?

[Here Fausta adds, in this manuscript, a parenthesis, to say that she
folded her undersleeves neatly, and her collar, before she slept, and
put them between the cushions, upon which she slept. In the morning
they had been pressed--without a sad-iron.]

She finished her repast. I opened the church-door for five minutes. She
passed out when she had enough examined the monuments, and at a
respectable distance I followed her. We joined each other, and took our
accustomed morning walk; but then she resolutely said, "Good by," for
the day. She would find work before night,--work and a home. And I must
do the same. Only when I pressed her to let me know of her success, she
said she would meet me at the Astor Library just before it closed. No,
she would not take my money. Enough, that for twenty-four hours she had
been my guest. When she had found her aunt and told her the story, they
should insist on repaying this hospitality. Hospitality, dear reader,
which I had dispensed at the charge of six cents. Have you ever treated
Miranda for a day and found the charge so low? When I urged other
assistance she said resolutely, "No." In fact, she had already made an
appointment at two, she said, and she must not waste the day.

I also had an appointment at two; for it was at that hour that Burrham
was to distribute the cyclopædias at Castle Garden. The Emigrant
Commission had not yet seized it for their own. I spent the morning in
asking vainly for Masons fresh from Europe, and for work in
cabinet-shops. I found neither, and so wrought my way to the appointed
place, where, instead of such wretched birds in the bush, I was to get
one so contemptible in my hand.

Those who remember Jenny Lind's first triumph night at Castle Garden
have some idea of the crowd as it filled gallery and floor of that
immense hall when I entered. I had given no thought to the machinery of
this folly. I only know that my ticket bade me be there at two P.M.
this day. But as I drew near, the throng, the bands of policemen, the
long queues of persons entering, reminded me that here was an affair of
ten thousand persons, and also that Mr. Burrham was not unwilling to
make it as showy, perhaps as noisy, an affair as was respectable, by
way of advertising future excursions and distributions. I was led to
seat No. 3,671 with a good deal of parade, and when I came there I
found I was very much of a prisoner. I was late, or rather on the
stroke of two. Immediately, almost, Mr. Burrham arose in the front and
made a long speech about his liberality, and the public's liberality,
and everybody's liberality in general, and the method of the
distribution in particular. The mayor and four or five other well-known
and respectable gentlemen were kind enough to be present to guarantee
the fairness of the arrangements. At the suggestion of the mayor and
the police, the doors would now be closed, that no persons might
interrupt the ceremony till it was ended. And the distribution of the
cyclopædias would at once go forward, in the order in which the lots
were drawn,--earliest numbers securing the earliest impressions; which,
as Mr. Burrham almost regretted to say, were a little better than the
latest. After these had been distributed two figures would be
drawn,--one green and one red, to indicate the fortunate lady and
gentleman who would receive respectively the profits which had arisen
from this method of selling the cyclopædias, after the expenses of
printing and distribution had been covered, and after the magazines had
been ordered.

Great cheering followed this announcement from all but me. Here I had
shut myself up in this humbug hall, for Heaven knew how long, on the
most important day of my life. I would have given up willingly my
cyclopædia and my chance at the "profits," for the certainty of seeing
Fausta at five o'clock. If I did not see her then, what might befall
her, and when might I see her again? An hour before this certainty was
my own; now it was only mine by my liberating myself from this prison.
Still I was encouraged by seeing that everything was conducted like
clock-work. From literally a hundred stations they were distributing
the books. We formed ourselves into queues as we pleased, drew our
numbers, and then presented ourselves at the bureaux, ordered our
magazines, and took our cyclopædias. It would be done, at that rate, by
half past four. An omnibus might bring me to the Park, and a Bowery car
do the rest in time. After a vain discussion for the right of exit with
one or two of the attendants, I abandoned myself to this hope, and
began studying my cyclopædia.

It was sufficiently amusing to see ten thousand people resign
themselves to the same task, and affect to be unconcerned about the
green and red figures which were to divide the "profits." I tried to
make out who were as anxious to get out of that tawdry den as I was.
Four o'clock struck, and the distribution was not done. I began to be
very impatient. What if Fausta fell into trouble? I knew, or hoped I
knew, that she would struggle to the Astor Library, as to her only
place of rescue and refuge,--her asylum. What if I failed her there? I
who had pretended to be her protector! "Protector, indeed!" she would
say, if she knew I was at a theatre witnessing the greatest folly of
the age. And if I did not meet her to-day, when should I meet her? If
she found her aunt, how should I find her? If she did not find
her,--good God! that was worse,--where might she not be before twelve
hours were over? Then the fatal trunk! I had told the police agent he
might send it to the St. Nicholas, because I had to give him some
address. But Fausta did not know this, and the St. Nicholas people knew
nothing of us. I grew more and more excited, and when at last my next
neighbor told me that it was half past four, I rose and insisted on
leaving my seat. Two ushers with blue sashes almost held me down; they
showed me the whole assembly sinking into quiet. In fact, at that
moment Mr. Burrham was begging every one to be seated. I would not be
seated. I would go to the door. I would go out. "Go, if you please!"
said the usher next it, contemptuously. And I looked, and there was no
handle! Yet this was not a dream. It is the way they arrange the doors
in halls where they choose to keep people in their places. I could have
collared that grinning blue sash. I did tell him I would wring his
precious neck for him, if he did not let me out. I said I would sue him
for false imprisonment; I would have a writ of _habeas corpus_.

"_Habeas corpus_ be d----d!" said the officer, with an irreverent
disrespect to the palladium. "If you are not more civil, sir, I will
call the police, of whom we have plenty. You say you want to go out;
you are keeping everybody in."

And, in fact, at that moment the clear voice of the mayor was
announcing that they would not go on until there was perfect quiet; and
I felt that I was imprisoning all these people, not they me.

"Child of the Public," said my mourning genius, "are you better than
other men?" So I sneaked back to seat No. 3,671, amid the contemptuous
and reproachful looks and sneers of my more respectable neighbors, who
had sat where they were told to do. We must be through in a moment, and
perhaps Fausta would be late also. If only the Astor would keep open
after sunset! How often have I wished that since, and for less reasons!

Silence thus restored, Mr. A----, the mayor, led forward his little
daughter, blindfolded her, and bade her put her hand into a green box,
from which she drew out a green ticket. He took it from her, and read,
in his clear voice again, "No. 2,973!" By this time we all knew where
the "two thousands" sat. Then "nine hundreds" were not far from the
front, so that it was not far that that frightened girl, dressed all in
black, and heavily veiled, had to walk, who answered to this call. Mr.
A---- met her, helped her up the stair upon the stage, took from her
her ticket, and read, "Jerusha Stillingfleet, of Yellow Springs, who,
at her death, as it seems, transferred this right to the bearer."

The disappointed nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine joined in a
rapturous cheer, each man and woman, to show that he or she was not
disappointed. The bearer spoke with Mr. Burrham, in answer to his
questions, and, with a good deal of ostentation, he opened a
check-book, filled a check and passed it to her, she signing a receipt
as she took it, and transferring to him her ticket. So far, in dumb
show, all was well. What was more to my purpose, it was rapid, for we
should have been done in five minutes more, but that some devil tempted
some loafer in a gallery to cry, "Face! face!" Miss Stillingfleet's
legatee was still heavily veiled.

In one horrid minute that whole amphitheatre, which seemed to me then
more cruel than the Coliseum ever was, rang out with a cry of "Face,
face!" I tried the counter-cry of "Shame! shame!" but I was in disgrace
among my neighbors, and a counter-cry never takes as its prototype
does, either. At first, on the stage, they affected not to hear or
understand; then there was a courtly whisper between Mr. Burrham and
the lady; but Mr. A----, the mayor, and the respectable gentlemen,
instantly interfered. It was evident that she would not unveil, and
that they were prepared to indorse her refusal. In a moment more she
courtesied to the assembly; the mayor gave her his arm, and led her out
through a side door.

O, the yell that rose up then! The whole assembly stood up, and, as if
they had lost some vested right, hooted and shrieked, "Back! back!
Face! face!" Mr. A---- returned, made as if he would speak, came
forward to the very front, and got a moment's silence.

"It is not in the bond, gentlemen," said he. "The young lady is
unwilling to unveil, and we must not compel her."

"Face! face!" was the only answer, and oranges from up stairs flew
about his head and struck upon the table,--an omen only fearful from
what it prophesied. Then there was such a row for five minutes as I
hope I may never see or hear again. People kept their places,
fortunately, under a vague impression that they should forfeit some
magic rights if they left those numbered seats. But when, for a moment,
a file of policemen appeared in the orchestra, a whole volley of
cyclopædias fell like rain upon their chief, with a renewed cry of
"Face! face!"

At this juncture, with a good deal of knowledge of popular feeling, Mr.
A---- led forward his child again. Frightened to death the poor thing
was, and crying; he tied his handkerchief round her eyes hastily, and
took her to the red box. For a minute the house was hushed. A cry of
"Down! down!" and every one took his place as the child gave the red
ticket to her father. He read it as before, "No. 3,671!" I heard the
words as if he did not speak them. All excited by the delay and the
row, by the injustice to the stranger and the personal injustice of
everybody to me, I did not know, for a dozen seconds, that every one
was looking towards our side of the house, nor was it till my next
neighbor with the watch said, "Go, you fool," that I was aware that
3,671 was I! Even then, as I stepped down the passage and up the steps,
my only feeling was, that I should get out of this horrid trap, and
possibly find Miss Jones lingering near the Astor,--not by any means
that I was invited to take a check for $5,000.

There was not much cheering. Women never mean to cheer, of course. The
men had cheered the green ticket, but they were mad with the red one. I
gave up my ticket, signed my receipt, and took my check, shook hands
with Mr. A---- and Mr. Burrham, and turned to bow to the mob,--for mob
I must call it now. But the cheers died away. A few people tried to go
out, perhaps, but there was nothing now to retain any in their seats as
before, and the generality rose, pressed down the passages, and howled,
"Face! face!" I thought for a moment that I ought to say something, but
they would not hear me, and, after a moment's pause, my passion to
depart overwhelmed me. I muttered some apology to the gentlemen, and
left the stage by the stage-door.

I had forgotten that to Castle Garden there can be no back entrance. I
came to door after door, which were all locked. It was growing dark.
Evidently the sun was set, and I knew the library-door would be shut at
sunset. The passages were very obscure. All around me rang this horrid
yell of the mob, in which all that I could discern was the cry, "Face,
face!" At last, as I groped round, I came to a practicable door. I
entered a room where the western sunset glare dazzled me. I was not
alone. The veiled lady in black was there. But the instant she saw me
she sprang towards me, flung herself into my arms, and cried:--

"Felix, is it you?--you are indeed my protector!"

It was Miss Jones! It was Fausta! She was the legatee of Miss
Stillingfleet. My first thought was, "O, if that beggarly usher had let
me go! Will I ever, ever think I have better rights than the Public

I took her in my arms. I carried her to the sofa. I could hardly speak
for excitement. Then I did say that I had been wild with terror; that I
had feared I had lost her, and lost her forever; that to have lost that
interview would have been worse to me than death; for unless she knew
that I loved her better than man ever loved woman, I could not face a
lonely night, and another lonely day.

"My dear, dear child," I said, "you may think me wild; but I must say
this,--it has been pent up too long."

"Say what you will," she said after a moment, in which still I held her
in my arms; she was trembling so that she could not have sat upright
alone,--"say what you will, if only you do not tell me to spend another
day alone."

And I kissed her, and I kissed her, and I kissed her, and I said,
"Never, darling, God helping me, till I die!"

How long we sat there I do not know. Neither of us spoke again. For
one, I looked out on the sunset and the bay. We had but just time to
rearrange ourselves in positions more independent, when Mr. A---- came
in, this time in alarm, to say:--

"Miss Jones, we must get you out of this place, or we must hide you
somewhere. I believe, before God, they will storm this passage, and
pull the house about our ears."

He said this, not conscious, as he began, that I was there. At that
moment, however, I felt as if I could have met a million men. I started
forward and passed him, saying, "Let me speak to them." I rushed upon
the stage, fairly pushing back two or three bullies who were already
upon it. I sprang upon the table, kicking down the red box as I did so,
so that the red tickets fell on the floor and on the people below. One
stuck in an old man's spectacles in a way which made the people in the
galleries laugh. A laugh is a great blessing at such a moment.
Curiosity is another. Three loud words spoken like thunder do a good
deal more. And after three words the house was hushed to hear me. I

"Be fair to the girl. She has no father nor mother. She has no brother
nor sister. She is alone in the world, with nobody to help her but the
public--and me!"

The audacity of the speech brought out a cheer, and we should have come
off in triumph, when some rowdy--the original "face" man, I

"And who are you?"

If the laugh went against me now I was lost, of course. Fortunately I
had no time to think. I said without thinking,--

"I am the Child of the Public, and her betrothed husband!"

O heavens! what a yell of laughter, of hurrahings, of satisfaction with
a _dénouement_, rang through the house, and showed that all was well.
Burrham caught the moment, and started his band, this time
successfully,--I believe with "See the Conquering Hero." The doors, of
course, had been open long before. Well-disposed people saw they need
stay no longer; ill-disposed people dared not stay; the blue-coated men
with buttons sauntered on the stage in groups, and I suppose the worst
rowdies disappeared as they saw them. I had made my single speech, and
for the moment I was a hero.

I believe the mayor would have liked to kiss me. Burrham almost did.
They overwhelmed me with thanks and congratulations. All these I
received as well as I could,--somehow I did not feel at all
surprised,--everything was as it should be. I scarcely thought of
leaving the stage myself, till, to my surprise, the mayor asked me to
go home with him to dinner.

Then I remembered that we were not to spend the rest of our lives in
Castle Garden. I blundered out something about Miss Jones, that she had
no escort except me, and pressed into her room to find her. A group of
gentlemen was around her. Her veil was back now. She was very pale, but
very lovely. Have I said that she was beautiful as heaven? She was the
queen of the room, modestly and pleasantly receiving their
felicitations that the danger was over, and owning that she had been
very much frightened. "Until," she said, "my friend, Mr. Carter, was
fortunate enough to guess that I was here. How he did it," she said,
turning to me, "is yet an utter mystery to me."

She did not know till then that it was I who had shared with her the
profits of the cyclopædias.

As soon as we could excuse ourselves, I asked some one to order a
carriage. I sent to the ticket-office for my valise, and we rode to the
St. Nicholas. I fairly laughed as I gave the hackman at the hotel-door
what would have been my last dollar and a half only two hours before. I
entered Miss Jones's name and my own. The clerk looked, and said

"Is it Miss Jones's trunk which came this afternoon?"

I followed his finger to see the trunk on the marble floor. Rowdy Rob
had deserted it, having seen, perhaps, a detective when he reached
Piermont. The trunk had gone to Albany, had found no owner, and had
returned by the day boat of that day.

Fausta went to her room, and I sent her supper after her. One kiss and
"Good night" was all that I got from her then.

"In the morning," said she, "you shall explain."

It was not yet seven. I went to my own room and dressed, and tendered
myself at the mayor's just before his gay party sat down to dine. I
met, for the first time in my life, men whose books I had read, and
whose speeches I had by heart, and women whom I have since known to
honor; and, in the midst of this brilliant group, so excited had Mr.
A---- been in telling the strange story of the day, I was, for the
hour, the lion.

I led Mrs. A---- to the table; I made her laugh very heartily by
telling her of the usher's threats to me, and mine to him, and of the
disgrace into which I fell among the three thousand six hundreds. I had
never been at any such party before. But I found it was only rather
simpler and more quiet than most parties I had seen, that its good
breeding was exactly that of dear Betsy Myers.

As the party broke up, Mrs. A---- said to me,--

"Mr. Carter, I am sure you are tired, with all this excitement. You say
you are a stranger here. Let me send round for your trunk to the St.
Nicholas, and you shall spend the night here. I know I can make you a
better bed than they."

I thought as much myself, and assented. In half an hour more I was in
bed in Mrs. A----'s "best room."

"I shall not sleep better," said I to myself, "than I did last night."

That was what the Public did for me that night. I was safe again!



Fausta slept late, poor child. I called for her before breakfast. I
waited for her after. About ten she appeared, so radiant, so beautiful,
and so kind! The trunk had revealed a dress I never saw before, and the
sense of rest, and eternal security, and unbroken love had revealed a
charm which was never there to see before. She was dressed for walking,
and, as she met me, said,--

"Time for constitutional, Mr. Millionnaire."

So we walked again, quite up town, almost to the region of pig-pens and
cabbage-gardens which is now the Central Park. And after just the first
gush of my enthusiasm, Fausta said, very seriously:--

"I must teach you to be grave. You do not know whom you are asking to
be your wife. Excepting Mrs. Mason, No. 27 Thirty-fourth Street, sir,
there is no one in the world who is of kin to me, and she does not care
for me one straw, Felix," she said, almost sadly now. "You call
yourself 'Child of the Public.' I started when you first said so, for
that is just what I am.

"I am twenty-two years old. My father died before I was born. My
mother, a poor woman, disliked by his relatives and avoided by them,
went to live in Hoboken over there, with me. How she lived, God knows!
but it happened that of a strange death she died, I in her arms."

After a pause, the poor girl went on:--

"There was a great military review, an encampment. She was tempted out
to see it. Of a sudden, by some mistake, a ramrod was fired from a
careless soldier's gun, and it pierced her through the heart. I tell
you, Felix, it pinned my baby frock into the wound, so that they could
not part me from her till it was cut away.

"Of course every one was filled with horror. Nobody claimed poor me,
the baby. But the battalion--the Montgomery Battalion, it was, which
had, by mischance, killed my mother--adopted me as their child. I was
voted 'Fille du Regiment.' They paid an assessment annually, which the
colonel expended for me. A kind old woman nursed me."

"She was your Betsy Myers," interrupted I.

"And when I was old enough I was sent into Connecticut, to the best of
schools. This lasted till I was sixteen. Fortunately for me, perhaps,
the Montgomery Battalion then dissolved. I was finding it hard to
answer the colonel's annual letters. I had my living to earn,--it was
best I should earn it. I declined a proposal to go out as a missionary.
I had no call. I answered one of Miss Beecher's appeals for Western
teachers. Most of my life since has been a school-ma'am's. It has had
ups and downs. But I have always been proud that the Public was my
godfather; and, as you know," she said, "I have trusted the Public
well. I have never been lonely, wherever I went. I tried to make myself
of use. Where I was of use I found society. The ministers have been
kind to me. I always offered my services in the Sunday schools and
sewing-rooms. The school committees have been kind to me. They are the
Public's high chamberlains for poor girls. I have written for the
journals. I won one of Sartain's hundred-dollar prizes--"

"And I another," interrupted I.

"When I was very poor, I won the first prize for an essay on bad boys."

"And I the second," answered I.

"I think I know one bad boy better than he knows himself," said she.
But she went on. "I watched with this poor Miss Stillingfleet the night
she died. This absurd 'distribution' had got hold of her, and she would
not be satisfied till she had transferred that strange ticket, No.
2,973, to me, writing the indorsement which you have heard. I had had a
longing to visit New York and Hoboken again. This ticket seemed to me
to beckon me. I had money enough to come, if I would come cheaply. I
wrote to my father's business partner, and enclosed a note to his only
sister. She is Mrs. Mason. She asked me, coldly enough, to her house.
Old Mr. Grills always liked me,--he offered me escort and passage as
far as Troy or Albany. I accepted his proposal, and you know the rest."

When I told Fausta my story, she declared I made it up as I went along.
When she believed it,--as she does believe it now,--she agreed with me
in declaring that it was not fit that two people thus joined should
ever be parted. Nor have we been, ever!

She made a hurried visit at Mrs. Mason's. She prepared there for her
wedding. On the 1st of November we went into that same church which was
our first home in New York; and that dear old raven-man made us one.



Mr. Washington Irving has already given to the public a version of an
American legend, which, in a principal feature, bears some likeness to
the following transcript of a popular Irish one. It may, however, be
interesting to show this very coincidence between the descendants of a
Dutch transatlantic colony and the native peasantry of Ireland, in the
superstitious annals of both. Our tale, moreover, will be found
original in all its circumstances, that alluded to only excepted.

Shamus Dempsey returned a silent, plodding, sorrowful man, though a
young one, to his poor home, after seeing laid in the grave his aged,
decrepit father. The last rays of the setting sun were glorious,
shooting through the folds of their pavilion of scarlet clouds; the
last song of the thrush, chanted from the bough nearest to his nest,
was gladdening; the abundant though but half-matured crops around
breathed of hope for the future. But Shamus's bosom was covered with
the darkness that inward sunshine alone can illumine. The chord that
should respond to song and melody had snapped in it; for him the softly
undulating fields of light-green wheat, or the silken surfaced patches
of barley, made a promise in vain. He was poor, penniless, friendless,
and yet groaning under responsibilities: worn out by past and present
suffering, and without a consoling prospect. His father's corpse had
been just buried by a subscription among his neighbors, collected in an
old glove, a penny or a half-penny from each, by the most active of the
humble community to whom his sad state was a subject of pity. In the
wretched shed which he called "home," a young wife lay on a truss of
straw, listening to the hungry cries of two little children, and
awaiting her hour to become the weeping mother of a third. And the
recollection that but for an act of domestic treachery experienced by
his father and himself, both would have been comfortable and
respectable in the world, aggravated the bitterness of the feeling in
which Shamus contemplated this lot. He could himself faintly call to
mind a time of early childhood, when he lived with his parents in a
roomy house, eating and sleeping and dressing well, and surrounded by
servants and workmen; he further remembered that a day of great
affliction came, upon which strange and rude persons forced their way
into the house; and, for some cause his infant observation did not
reach, father, servants, and workmen (his mother had just died) were
all turned out upon the road, and doomed to seek the shelter of a mean
roof. But his father's discourse, since he gained the years of manhood,
supplied Shamus with an explanation of all these circumstances, as

Old Dempsey had been the youngest son of a large farmer, who divided
his lands between two elder children, and destined Shamus's father to
the Church, sending him abroad for education, and, during its course,
supplying him with liberal allowances. Upon the eve of ordination the
young student returned home to visit his friends; was much noticed by
neighboring small gentry of each religion; at the house of one of the
opposite persuasion from his met a sister of the proprietor, who had a
fortune in her own right; abandoned his clerical views for her smiles;
eloped with her; married her privately; incurred thereby the
irremovable hostility of his own family; but, after a short time, was
received, along with his wife, by his generous brother-in-law, under
whose guidance both became reputably settled in the house to which
Shamus's early recollections pointed, and where, till he was about six
years old, he passed indeed a happy childhood.

But, a little previous to this time, his mother's good brother died
unmarried, and was succeeded by another of her brothers, who had
unsuccessfully spent half his life as a lawyer in Dublin, and who,
inheriting little of his predecessor's amiable character, soon showed
himself a foe to her and her husband, professedly on account of her
marriage with a Roman Catholic. He did not appear to their visit,
shortly after his arrival in their neighborhood, and he never
condescended to return it. The affliction experienced by his sensitive
sister, from his conduct, entailed upon her a premature accouchement,
in which, giving birth to a lifeless babe, she unexpectedly died. The
event was matter of triumph rather than of sorrow to her unnatural
brother. For, in the first place, totally unguarded against the sudden
result, she had died intestate; in the next place, he discovered that
her private marriage had been celebrated by a Roman Catholic priest,
consequently could not, according to law, hold good; and again, could
not give to her nominal husband any right to her property, upon which
both had hitherto lived, and which was now the sole means of existence
to Shamus's father.

The lawyer speedily set to work upon these points, and with little
difficulty succeeded in supplying for Shamus's recollections a day of
trouble, already noticed. In fact, his father and he, now without a
shilling, took refuge in a distant cabin, where, by the sweat of his
parent's brow, as a laborer in the fields, the ill-fated hero of this
story was scantily fed and clothed, until maturer years enabled him to
relieve the old man's hand of the spade and sickle, and in turn labor
for their common wants.

Shamus, becoming a little prosperous in the world, rented a few acres
adjacent to his cabin and--married. The increase of his fields did not
quite keep pace with the increase of his cares, in the persons of
new-comers, for whose well-being he was bound to provide. His ray of
success in life soon became overclouded, by the calls of the landlord
and the tithe-proctor. In truth, three years after his marriage, he
received a notice which it were vain to oppose, to quit both his farm
and his cabin, and leave his few articles of furniture behind.

At this juncture his father was bedridden, and his wife advanced in her
third pregnancy. He put on his hat, walked to the door, fixed his eyes
upon the ruins of an old abbey which stood on the slope of an opposite
hill, and formed his plan for present measures. By the next evening he
had constructed a wattled shed, covered with rushes and leaves, against
a gable in the interior of the ruin. Clearing away the nettles and
other rank weeds enclosed by his new house, he discovered a long slab
on which was carved a cross and letters illegible to his eye; this he
made his hearthstone. To furnish the abode, he fetched two large
stones, as seats for his wife and himself, shook straw in either
corner, and laid in a bundle of twigs. Then he went to the cabin that
was no longer his, sent on his wife and two children to the abbey,
followed with his father on his back, and laid him upon one of the
straw couches. Two days afterwards the old man was a corpse. From his
pauper funeral we now see Shamus returning, and to such a home does he
bend his heavy steps.

If to know that the enemy of his father and mother did not thrive on
the spoils of his oppression could have yielded Shamus any consolation
in his lot, he had long ago become aware of circumstances calculated to
give this negative comfort. His maternal uncle enjoyed, indeed, his
newly acquired property only a few years after it came into his
possession. Partly on account of his cruelty to his relations, partly
from a meanness and vulgarity of character, which soon displayed itself
in his novel situation, and which, it was believed, had previously kept
him in the lowest walks of his profession as a Dublin attorney, he
found himself neglected and shunned by the gentry of his neighborhood.
To grow richer than any one who thus insulted him, to blazon abroad
reports of his wealth, and to watch opportunities of using it to their
injury, became the means of revenge adopted by the _parvenu_. His
legitimate income not promising a rapid accomplishment of this plan, he
ventured, using precautions that seemingly set suspicion at defiance,
to engage in smuggling adventures on a large scale, for which his
proximity to the coast afforded a local opportunity. Notwithstanding
all his pettifogging cleverness, the ex-attorney was detected, however,
in his illegal traffic, and fined to an amount which swept away half
his real property. Driven to desperation by the publicity of his
failure, as well as by the failure itself, he tried another grand
effort to retrieve his fortune; was again surprised by the revenue
officers; in a personal struggle with them, at the head of his band,
killed one of their body; immediately absconded from Ireland; for the
last twenty years had not been authentically heard of; but, it was
believed, lived under an assumed name in London, deriving an obscure
existence from some mean pursuit, of which the very nature enabled him
to gratify propensities to drunkenness and other vices, learned during
his first career in life.

All this Shamus knew, though only from report, inasmuch as his uncle
had exiled himself while he was yet a child, and without previously
having become known to the eyes of the nephew he had so much injured.
But if Shamus occasionally drew a bitter and almost savage
gratification from the downfall of his inhuman persecutor, no
recurrence to the past could alleviate the misery of his present
situation. He passed under one of the capacious open arches of the old
abbey, and then entered his squalid shed reared against its wall, his
heart as shattered and as trodden down as the ruins around him. No
words of greeting ensued between him and his equally hopeless wife, as
she sat on the straw of her bed, rocking to sleep, with feeble and
mournful cries, her youngest infant. He silently lighted a fire of
withered twigs on his ready-furnished hearthstone; put to roast among
their embers a few potatoes which he had begged during the day; divided
them between her and her crying children; and as the moon, rising high
in the heavens, warned him that night asserted her full empire over the
departed day, Shamus sank down upon the couch from which his father's
mortal remains had lately been borne, supperless himself, and
dinnerless, too, but not hungry; at least not conscious or recollecting
that he was.

His wife and little ones soon slept soundly, but Shamus lay for hours
inaccessible to nature's claims for sleep as well as for food. From
where he lay he could see, through the open front of his shed, out into
the ruins abroad. After much abstraction in his own thoughts, the
silence, the extent, and the peculiar desolation of the scene, almost
spiritualized by the magic effect of alternate moonshine and darkness,
of objects and of their parts, at last diverted his mind, though not to
relieve it. He remembered distinctly, for the first time, where he
was,--an intruder among the dwellings of the dead; he called to mind,
too, that the present was their hour for revealing themselves among the
remote loneliness and obscurity of their crumbling and intricate abode.
As his eye fixed upon a distant stream of cold light or of blank
shadow, either the wavering of some feathery herbage from the walls, or
the flitting of some night bird over the roofless aisle, made motion
which went and came during the instant of his alarmed start, or else
some disembodied sleeper around had challenged and evaded his vision so
rapidly as to baffle even the accompaniment of thought. Shamus would,
however, recur, during these entrancing aberrations, to his more real
causes for terror; and he knew not, and to this day cannot distinctly
tell, whether he waked or slept, when a new circumstance absorbed his
attention. The moon struck fully, under his propped roof, upon the
carved slab he had appropriated as a hearthstone, and turning his eye
to the spot, he saw the semblance of a man advanced in years, though
not very old, standing motionless, and very steadfastly regarding him;
the still face of the figure shone like marble in the nightbeam,
without giving any idea of the solidity of that material; the long and
deep shadows thrown by the forehead over the eyes left those unusually
expressive features vague and uncertain. Upon the head was a
close-fitting black cap, the dress was a loose-sleeved, plaited garment
of white, descending to the ground, and faced and otherwise checkered
with black, and girded round the loins; exactly the costume which
Shamus had often studied in a little framed and glazed print, hung up
in the sacristy of the humble chapel recently built in the neighborhood
of the ruin by a few descendants of the great religious fraternity to
whom, in its day of pride, the abbey had belonged. As he returned very
inquisitively, though, as he avers, not now in alarm, the fixed gaze of
his midnight visitor, a voice reached him, and he heard these strange

"Shamus Dempsey, go to London Bridge, and you will be a rich man."

"How will that come about, your reverence?" cried Shamus, jumping up
from the straw.

But the figure was gone; and stumbling among the black embers on the
remarkable place where it had stood, he fell prostrate, experiencing a
change of sensation and of observance of objects around, which might be
explained by supposing a transition from a sleeping to a waking state
of mind.

The rest of the night he slept little, thinking of the advice he had
received, and of the mysterious personage who gave it. But he resolved
to say nothing about his vision, particularly to his wife, lest, in her
present state of health, the frightful story might distress her; and,
as to his own conduct respecting it, he determined to be guided by the
future,--in fact, he would wait to see if his counsellor came again. He
did come again, appearing in the same spot at the same hour of the
night, and wearing the same dress, though not the same expression of
feature; for the shadowy brows now slightly frowned, and a little
severity mingled with the former steadfastness of look.

"Shamus Dempsey, why have you not gone to London Bridge, and your wife
so near the time when she will want what you are to get by going there?
Remember, this is my second warning."

"Musha, your reverence, an' what am I to do on Lunnon Bridge?"

Again he rose to approach the figure; again it eluded him. Again a
change occurred in the quality of the interest with which he regarded
the admonition of his visitor. Again he passed a day of doubt as to the
propriety of undertaking what seemed to him little less than a journey
to the world's end, without a penny in his pocket, and upon the eve of
his wife's accouchement, merely in obedience to a recommendation which,
according to his creed, was not yet sufficiently strongly given, even
were it under any circumstances to be adopted. For Shamus had often
heard, and firmly believed, that a dream or a vision, instructing one
how to procure riches, ought to be experienced three times before it
became entitled to attention.

He lay down, however, half hoping that his vision might thus recommend
itself to his notice. It did so.

"Shamus Dempsey," said the figure, looking more angry than ever, "you
have not yet gone to London Bridge, although I hear your wife crying
out to bid you go. And, remember, this is my third warning."

"Why, then, tundher-an-ouns, your reverence, just stop and tell me--"

Ere he could utter another word the holy visitant disappeared, in a
real passion at Shamus's qualified curse; and at the same moment his
confused senses recognized the voice of his wife, sending up from her
straw pallet the cries that betoken a mother's distant travail.
Exchanging a few words with her, he hurried away, professedly to call
up, at her cabin window, an old crone who sometimes attended the very
poorest women in Nance Dempsey's situation.

"Hurry to her, Noreen, acuishla, and do the best it's the will of God
to let you do. And tell her from me, Noreen--" He stopped, drawing in
his lip, and clutching his cudgel hard.

"Shamus, what ails you, avick?" asked old Noreen; "what ails you, to
make the tears run down in the gray o' the morning?"

"Tell her from me," continued Shamus, "that it's from the bottom o' the
heart I'll pray, morning and evening, and fresh and fasting, maybe, to
give her a good time of it; and to show her a face on the poor child
that's coming, likelier than the two that God sent afore it. And that
I'll be thinking o' picturing it to my own mind, though I'll never see
it far away."

"Musha, Shamus, what are you speaking of?"

"No matter, Noreen, only God be wid you, and wid her, and wid the
weenocks; and tell her what I bid you. More-be-token, tell her that
poor Shamus quits her in her throuble, with more love from the heart
out than he had for her the first day we came together; and I'll come
back to her at any rate, sooner or later, richer or poorer, or as bare
as I went; and maybe not so bare either. But God only knows. The top o'
the morning to you, Noreen, and don't let her want the mouthful o'
praties while I'm on my thravels. For this,"--added Shamus, as he
bounded off, to the consternation of old Noreen,--"this is the very
morning and the very minute that, if I mind the dhrame at all at all, I
ought to mind it; ay, without ever turning back to get a look from her,
that 'ud kill the heart in my body entirely."

Without much previous knowledge of the road he was to take, Shamus
walked and begged his way along the coast to the town where he might
hope to embark for England. Here, the captain of a merchantman agreed
to let him work his passage to Bristol, whence he again walked and
begged into London.

Without taking rest or food, Shamus proceeded to London Bridge, often
put out of his course by wrong directions, and as often by forgetting
and misconceiving true ones. It was with old London Bridge that Shamus
had to do (not the old one last pulled down, but its more reverend
predecessor), which, at that time, was lined at either side by quaintly
fashioned houses, mostly occupied by shop-keepers, so that the space
between presented, perhaps, the greatest thoroughfare then known in the
Queen of Cities. And at about two o'clock in the afternoon, barefooted,
ragged, fevered, and agitated, Shamus mingled with the turbid human
stream, that roared and chafed over the, as restless and as evanescent,
stream which buffeted the arches of old London Bridge. In a situation
so novel to him, so much more extraordinary in the reality than his
anticipation could have fancied, the poor and friendless stranger felt
overwhelmed. A sense of forlornness, of insignificance, and of terror
seized upon his faculties. From the stare, or the sneers, or the jostle
of the iron-nerved crowd, he shrank with glances of wild timidity, and
with a heart as wildly timid as were his looks. For some time he stood
or staggered about, unable to collect his thoughts, or to bring to mind
what was his business there. But when Shamus became able to refer to
the motive of his pauper journey, from his native solitudes into the
thick of such a scene, it was no wonder that the zeal of superstition
totally subsided amid the astounding truths he witnessed. In fact, the
bewildered simpleton now regarded his dream as the merest chimera.
Hastily escaping from the thoroughfare, he sought out some wretched
place of repose suited to his wretched condition, and there moaned
himself asleep, in self-accusations at the thought of poor Nance at
home, and in utter despair of all his future prospects.

At daybreak the next morning he awoke, a little less agitated, but
still with no hope. He was able, however, to resolve upon the best
course of conduct now left open to him; and he arranged immediately to
retrace his steps to Ireland, as soon as he should have begged
sufficient alms to speed him a mile on the road. With this intent he
hastily issued forth, preferring to challenge the notice of chance
passengers, even at the early hour of dawn, than to venture again, in
the middle of the day, among the dreaded crowds of the vast city. Very
few, indeed, were the passers-by whom Shamus met during his straggling
and stealthy walk through the streets, and those of a description
little able or willing to afford a half-penny to his humbled, whining
suit, and to his spasmed lip and watery eye. In what direction he went
Shamus did not know; but at last he found himself entering upon the
scene of his yesterday's terror. Now, however, it presented nothing to
renew its former impression. The shops at the sides of the bridge were
closed, and the occasional stragglers of either sex who came along
inspired Shamus, little as he knew of a great city, with aversion
rather than with dread. In the quietness and security of his present
position, Shamus was both courageous and weak enough again to summon up
his dream.

"Come," he said, "since I _am_ on Lunnon Bridge, I'll walk over every
stone of it, and see what good that will do."

He valiantly gained the far end. Here one house, of all that stood upon
the bridge, began to be opened; it was a public house, and, by a
sidelong glance as he passed, Shamus thought that, in the person of a
red-cheeked, red-nosed, sunk-eyed, elderly man, who took down the
window-shutters, he recognized the proprietor. This person looked at
Shamus, in return, with peculiar scrutiny. The wanderer liked neither
his regards nor the expression of his countenance, and quickened his
steps onward until he cleared the bridge.

"But I'll walk it over at the other side, now," he bethought, after
allowing the publican time to finish opening his house, and retire out
of view.

But, repassing the house, the man still appeared, leaning against his
door-jamb, and as if waiting for Shamus's return, whom, upon this
second occasion, he eyed more attentively than before.

"Sorrow's in him," thought Shamus, "have I two heads on me, that I'm
such a sight to him? But who cares about his pair of ferret-eyes? I'll
thrudge down the middle stone of it, at any rate!"

Accordingly he again walked towards the public house, keeping the
middle of the bridge.

"Good morrow, friend," said the publican, as Shamus a third time passed
his door.

"Sarvant kindly, sir," answered Shamus, respectfully pulling down the
brim of his hat, and increasing his pace.

"An early hour you choose for a morning walk," continued his new

"Brave and early, faix, sir," said Shamus, still hurrying off.

"Stop a bit," resumed the publican. Shamus stood still. "I see you're a
countryman of mine,--an Irishman; I'd know one of you at a look, though
I'm a long time out of the country. And you're not very well off on
London Bridge this morning, either."

"No, indeed, sir," replied Shamus, beginning to doubt his skill in
physiognomy, at the stranger's kind address; "but as badly off as a
body 'ud wish to be."

"Come over to look for the work?"

"Nien, sir; but come out this morning to beg a ha'-penny, to send me a
bit of the road home."

"Well, here's a silver sixpence without asking. And you'd better sit on
the bench by the door here, and eat a crust and a cut of cheese, and
drink a drop of good ale, to break your fast."

With profuse thanks, Shamus accepted this kind invitation, blaming
himself at heart for having allowed his opinion of the charitable
publican to be guided by the expression of the man's features.
"Handsome is that handsome does," was Shamus's self-correcting

While eating his bread and cheese, and drinking his strong ale, they
conversed freely together, and Shamus's heart opened more and more to
his benefactor. The publican repeatedly asked him what had brought him
to London; and though half out of prudence, and half out of shame, the
dreamer at first evaded the question, he felt it at last impossible to
refuse a candid answer to his generous friend.

"Why, then, sir, only I am such a big fool for telling it to you, it's
what brought me to Lunnon Bridge was a quare dhrame I had at home in
Ireland, that tould me just to come here, and I'd find a pot of goold."
For such was the interpretation given by Shamus to the vague admonition
of his visionary counsellor.

His companion burst into a loud laugh, saying, after it,--

"Pho, pho, man, don't be so silly as to put faith in nonsensical dreams
of that kind. Many a one like it I have had, if I would bother my head
with them. Why, within the last ten days, while you were dreaming of
finding a pot of gold on London Bridge, I was dreaming of finding a pot
of gold in Ireland."

"Ullaloo, and were you, sir?" asked Shamus, laying down his empty pint.

"Ay, indeed: night after night, an old friar with a pale face, and
dressed all in white and black, and a black skull-cap on his head, came
to me in a dream, and bid me go to Ireland, to a certain spot in a
certain county that I know very well, and under the slab of his tomb,
that has a cross and some old Romish letters on it, in an old abbey I
often saw before now, I'd find a treasure that would make me a rich man
all the days of my life."

"Musha, sir," asked Shamus, scarce able prudently to control his
agitation, "and did he tell you that the treasure lay buried there ever
so long under the open sky and the ould walls?"

"No; but he told me I was to find the slab covered in by a shed, that a
poor man had lately built inside the abbey for himself and his family."

"Whoo, by the powers!" shouted Shamus, at last thrown off his guard by
the surpassing joy derived from this intelligence, as well as by the
effects of the ale; and, at the same time, he jumped up, cutting a
caper with his legs, and flourishing his shillelagh.

"Why, what's the matter with you?" asked his friend, glancing at him a
frowning and misgiving look.

"We ax pardon, sir." Shamus rallied his prudence. "An' sure sorrow a
thing is the matter wid me, only the dhrop, I believe, made me do it,
as it ever and always does, good luck to it for the same. An' isn't
what we were spaking about the biggest _raumaush_[1] undher the sun,
sir? Only it's the laste bit in the world quare to me how you'd have
the dhrame about your own country, that you didn't see for so many
years, sir,--for twenty long years, I think you said, sir?" Shamus had
now a new object in putting his sly question.

[Footnote 1: Nonsense.]

"If I said so, I forgot," answered the publican, his suspicions of
Shamus at an end. "But it is about twenty years, indeed, since I left

"And by your speech, sir, and your dacency, I'll engage you were in a
good way in the poor place, afore you left it?"

"You guess correctly, friend." (The publican gave way to vanity.)
"Before misfortunes came over me, I possessed, along with a good
hundred acres besides, the very ground that the old ruin I saw in the
foolish dream I told you stands upon."

"An' so did my curse-o'-God's uncle," thought Shamus, his heart's blood
beginning to boil, though, with a great effort he kept himself
seemingly cool. "And this is the man fornent me, if he answers another
word I'll ax him. Faix, sir, and sure that makes your dhrame quarer
than ever; and the ground the ould abbey is on, sir, and the good acres
round it, did you say they lay somewhere in the poor county myself came

"What county is that, friend?" demanded the publican, again with a
studious frown.

"The ould County Monaghan, sure, sir," replied Shamus, very

"No, but the county of Clare," answered his companion.

"Was it?" screamed Shamus, again springing up. The cherished hatred of
twenty years imprudently bursting out, his uncle lay stretched at his
feet, after a renewed flourish of his cudgel. "And do you know who you
are telling it to this morning? Did you ever hear that the sisther you
kilt left a bit of a _gorsoon_ behind her, that one day or other might
overhear you? Ay," he continued, keeping down the struggling man, "_it
is_ poor Shamus Dempsey that's kneeling by you; ay, and that has more
to tell you. The shed built over the old friar's tombstone was built by
the hands you feel on your throttle, and that tombstone is his
hearthstone; and," continued Shamus, beginning to bind the prostrate
man with a rope, snatched from a bench near them, "while you lie here
awhile, an' no one to help you, in the cool of the morning, I'll just
take a start of you on the road home, to lift the flag and get the
threasure; and follow me if you dare! You know there's good money bid
for your head in Ireland,--so here goes. Yes, faith and wid
this--_this_ to help me on the way!" He snatched up a heavy purse which
had fallen from his uncle's pocket in the struggle. "And sure, there's
neither hurt nor harm in getting back a little of a body's own from
you. A bright good-morning, uncle dear!"

Shamus dragged his manacled relative into the shop, quickly shut to and
locked the door, flung the key over the house into the Thames, and the
next instant was running at headlong speed.

He was not so deficient in the calculations of common-sense as to think
himself yet out of his uncle's power. It appeared, indeed, pretty
certain, that neither for the violence done to his person, nor for the
purse appropriated by his nephew, the outlawed murderer would raise a
hue and cry after one who, aware of his identity, could deliver him up
to the laws of his country. But Shamus felt certain that it would be a
race between him and his uncle for the treasure that lay under the
friar's tombstone. His simple nature supplied no stronger motive for a
pursuit on the part of a man whose life now lay in the breath of his
mouth. Full of his conviction, however, Shamus saw he had not a moment
to lose until the roof of his shed in the old abbey again sheltered
him. So, freely making use of his uncle's guineas, he purchased a
strong horse in the outskirts of London, and to the surprise, if not
under heavy suspicions of the vender, set off at a gallop upon the road
by which he had the day before gained the great metropolis.

A ship was ready to sail at Bristol for Ireland; but, to Shamus's
discomfiture, she waited for a wind. He got aboard, however, and in the
darksome and squalid hold often knelt down and, with clasped hands and
panting breast, petitioned Heaven for a favorable breeze. But from
morning until evening the wind remained as he had found it, and Shamus
despaired. His uncle, meantime, might have reached some other port, and
embarked for their country. In the depth of his anguish he heard a
brisk bustle upon deck, clambered up to investigate its cause, and
found the ship's sails already half unfurled to a wind that promised to
bear him to his native shores by the next morning. The last light of
day yet lingered in the heavens: he glanced, now under way, to the quay
of Bristol. A group who had been watching the departure of the vessel
turned round to note the approach to them of a man who ran furiously
towards the place where they stood, pointing after her, and evidently
speaking with vehemence, although no words reached Shamus's ear.
Neither was his eye sure of this person's features; but his heart read
them distinctly. A boat shot from the quay; the man stood up in it, and
its rowers made a signal.

Shamus stepped to the gangway, as if preparing to hurl his pursuer into
the sea. The captain took a speaking-trumpet, and informing the boat
that he could not stop an instant, advised her to wait for another
merchantman, which would sail in an hour. And during and after his
speech his vessel ploughed cheerily on, making as much way as she was
adapted to accomplish.

Shamus's bosom felt lightened of its immediate terror, but not freed of
apprehension for the future. The ship that was to sail in an hour
haunted his thoughts: he did not leave the deck, and, although the
night proved very dark, his anxious eyes were never turned from the
English coast. Unusual fatigue and want of sleep now and then
overpowered him, and his senses swam in a wild and snatching slumber;
but from this he would start, crying out and clinging to the cordage,
as the feverish dream of an instant presented him with the swelling
canvas of a fast-sailing ship, which came, suddenly bursting through
the gloom of midnight, alongside of his own. Morning dawned, really to
unveil to him the object of his fears following almost in the wake of
her rival. He glanced in the opposite direction, and beheld the shores
of Ireland; in another hour he jumped upon them; but his enemy's face
watched him from the deck of the companion vessel, now not more than a
few ropes' lengths distant.

Shamus mounted a second good horse, and spurred towards home. Often did
he look back, but without seeing any cause for increased alarm. As yet,
however, the road had been level and winding, and therefore could not
allow him to span much of it at a glance. After noon it ascended a high
and lengthened hill, surrounded by wastes of bog. As he gained the
summit of this hill, and again looked back, a horseman appeared,
sweeping to its foot. Shamus galloped at full speed down the now
quickly falling road; then along its level continuation for about a
mile; and then up another eminence, more lengthened, though not so
steep as the former; and from it still he looked back, and caught the
figure of the horseman breaking over the line of the hill he had
passed. For hours such was the character of the chase; until the road
narrowed and began to wind amid an uncultivated and uninhabited
mountain wilderness. Here Shamus's horse tripped and fell; the rider,
little injured, assisted him to his legs, and, with lash and spur,
re-urged him to pursue his course. The animal went forward in a last
effort, and, for still another span of time, well befriended his rider.
A rocky valley, through which both had been galloping, now opened at
its farther end, presenting to Shamus's eye, in the distance, the
sloping ground, and the ruin which, with its mouldering walls,
encircled his poor home; and the setting sun streamed golden rays
through the windows and rents of the old abbey.

The fugitive gave a weak cry of joy, and lashed his beast again. The
cry seemed to be answered by a shout; and a second time, after a wild
plunge, the horse fell, now throwing Shamus off with a force that left
him stunned. And yet he heard the hoofs of another horse come
thundering down the rocky way; and, while he made a faint effort to
rise on his hands and look at his pursuer, the horse and horseman were
very near, and the voice of his uncle cried, "Stand!" at the same time
that the speaker fired a pistol, of which the ball struck a stone at
Shamus's foot. The next moment his uncle, having left his saddle, stood
over him, presenting a second pistol, and he spoke in a low but
distinct voice.

"Spawn of a beggar! This is not merely for the chance of riches given
by our dreams, though it seems, in the teeth of all I ever thought,
that the devil tells truth at last. No, nor it is not quite for the
blow; but it _is_ to close the lips that, with a single word, can kill
me. You die, to let me live!"

"Help!" aspirated Shamus's heart, turning itself to Heaven; "help me
but now, not for the sake of the goold either, but for the sake of them
that will be left on the wild world without me; for them help me, great

Hitherto his weakness and confusion had left him passive. Before his
uncle spoke the last words, his silent prayer was offered, and Shamus
had jumped upon his assailant. They struggled, and dragged each other
down. Shamus felt the muzzle of the pistol at his breast; heard it
snap,--but only snap; he seized and mastered it, and once more the
uncle was at the mercy of his nephew. Shamus's hand was raised to deal
a good blow; but he checked himself, and addressed the almost senseless
ears of his captive.

"No; you're my mother's blood, and a son of hers will never draw it
from your heart; but I can make sure of you again,--stop a bit."

He ran to his own prostrate horse, took off its bridle and its
saddle-girth, and with both secured his uncle's limbs, beyond all
possibility of the struggler being able to escape from their control.

"There," resumed Shamus, "lie there till we have time to send an ould
friend to see you, that, I'll go bail, will take good care of your four
bones. And do you know where I'm going now? You tould me, on Lunnon
Bridge, that you knew _that_, at least,"--pointing to the abbey,--"ay,
and the quare ould hearthstone that's to be found in it. And so, look
at this, uncle, honey,"--he vaulted upon his relative's horse,--"I'm
just goin' to lift it off o' the barrel-pot full of good ould goold,
and you have only to cry halves, and you'll get it, as sure as that the
big divvle is in the town you came from."

Nance Dempsey was nursing her new-born babe, sitting up in her straw,
and doing very well after her late illness, when old Noreen tottered in
from the front of the ruin, to tell her that "the body they were just
speaking about was driving up the hill mad, like as if 'twas his own
sperit in great throuble." And the listener had not recovered from her
surprise, when Shamus ran into the shed, flung himself kneeling by her
side, caught her in his arms, then seized her infant, covered it with
kisses, and then, roughly throwing it in her lap, turned to the
fireplace, raised one of the rocky seats lying near it, poised the
ponderous mass over the hearthstone, and shivered into pieces, with one
crash, that solid barrier between him and his visionary world of

"It's cracked he is, out an' out, of a certainty," said Nance, looking
terrified at her husband.

"Nothing else am I," shouted Shamus, after groping under the broken
slab; "an', for a token, get along with yourself out of this, owld

He started up and seized her by the shoulder. Noreen remonstrated. He
stooped for a stone; she ran; he pursued her to the arches of the ruin.
She stopped halfway down the descent. He pelted her with clods to the
bottom, and along a good piece of her road homewards; and then danced
back into his wife's presence.

"Now, Nance," he cried, "now that we're by ourselves, what noise is
this like!"

"And he took out han'fuls after han'fuls of the ould goold, afore her
face, my dear," added the original narrator of this story.

"An' after the gaugers and their crony, Ould Nick, ran off wid the
uncle of him, Nance and he, and the childer, lived together in their
father's and mother's house; and if they didn't live and die happy, I
wish that you and I may."



In the twilight of a summer eve, a tall, dark figure, over which long
and remote travel had thrown an outlandish aspect, was entering a
village, not in "Fairy Londe," but within our own familiar boundaries.
The staff on which this traveller leaned had been his companion from
the spot where it grew, in the jungles of Hindostan; the hat, that
overshadowed his sombre brow, had shielded him from the suns of Spain,
but his cheek had been blackened by the red-hot wind of an Arabian
desert, and had felt the frozen breath of an Arctic region. Long
sojourning amid wild and dangerous men, he still wore beneath his vest
the ataghan which he had once struck into the throat of a Turkish
robber. In every foreign clime he had lost something of his New England
characteristics; and, perhaps, from every people he had unconsciously
borrowed a new peculiarity; so that when the world-wanderer again trod
the street of his native village, it is no wonder that he passed
unrecognized, though exciting the gaze and curiosity of all. Yet, as
his arm casually touched that of a young woman, who was wending her way
to an evening lecture, she started, and almost uttered a cry.

"Ralph Cranfield!" was the name that she half articulated.

"Can that be my old playmate, Faith Egerton?" thought the traveller,
looking round at her figure, but without pausing.

Ralph Cranfield, from his youth upward, had felt himself marked out for
a high destiny. He had imbibed the idea,--we say not whether it were
revealed to him by witchcraft, or in a dream of prophecy, or that his
brooding fancy had palmed its own dictates upon him as the oracles of a
Sibyl,--but he had imbibed the idea, and held it firmest among his
articles of faith, that three marvellous events of his life were to be
confirmed to him by three signs.

The first of these three fatalities, and perhaps the one on which his
youthful imagination had dwelt most fondly, was the discovery of the
maid, who alone, of all the maids on earth, could make him happy by her
love. He was to roam around the world till he should meet a beautiful
woman, wearing on her bosom a jewel in the shape of a heart; whether of
pearl, or ruby, or emerald, or carbuncle, or a changeful opal, or
perhaps a priceless diamond, Ralph Cranfield little cared, so long as
it were a heart of one peculiar shape. On encountering this lovely
stranger, he was bound to address her thus:--"Maiden, I have brought
you a heavy heart. May I rest its weight on you?" And if she were his
fated bride,--if their kindred souls were destined to form a union here
below, which all eternity should only bind more closely,--she would
reply, with her finger on the heart-shaped jewel, "This token, which I
have worn so long, is the assurance that you may!"

And, secondly, Ralph Cranfield had a firm belief that there was a
mighty treasure hidden somewhere in the earth, of which the
burial-place would be revealed to none but him. When his feet should
press upon the mysterious spot, there would be a hand before him,
pointing downward,--whether carved of marble, or hewn in gigantic
dimensions on the side of a rocky precipice, or perchance a hand of
flame in empty air, he could not tell; but, at least, he would discern
a hand, the forefinger pointing downward, and beneath it the Latin word
EFFODE,--Dig! And digging thereabouts, the gold in coin or ingots, the
precious stones, or of whatever else the treasure might consist, would
be certain to reward his toil.

The third and last of the miraculous events in the life of this
high-destined man was to be the attainment of extensive influence and
sway over his fellow-creatures. Whether he were to be a king, and
founder of an hereditary throne, or the victorious leader of a people
contending for their freedom, or the apostle of a purified and
regenerated faith, was left for futurity to show. As messengers of the
sign, by which Ralph Cranfield might recognize the summons, three
venerable men were to claim audience of him. The chief among them, a
dignified and majestic person, arrayed, it may be supposed, in the
flowing garments of an ancient sage, would be the bearer of a wand, or
prophet's rod. With this wand, or rod, or staff, the venerable sage
would trace a certain figure in the air, and then proceed to make known
his heaven-instructed message; which, if obeyed, must lead to glorious

With this proud fate before him, in the flush of his imaginative youth,
Ralph Cranfield had set forth to seek the maid, the treasure, and the
venerable sage with his gift of extended empire. And had he found them?
Alas! it was not with the aspect of a triumphant man, who had achieved
a nobler destiny than all his fellows, but rather with the gloom of one
struggling against peculiar and continual adversity, that he now passed
homeward to his mother's cottage. He had come back, but only for a
time, to lay aside the pilgrim's staff, trusting that his weary manhood
would regain somewhat of the elasticity of youth, in the spot where his
threefold fate had been foreshown him. There had been few changes in
the village; for it was not one of those thriving places where a year's
prosperity makes more than the havoc of a century's decay; but like a
gray hair in a young man's head, an antiquated little town, full of old
maids, and aged elms, and moss-grown dwellings. Few seemed to be the
changes here. The drooping elms, indeed, had a more majestic spread;
the weather-blackened houses were adorned with a denser thatch of
verdant moss; and doubtless there were a few more gravestones in the
burial-ground, inscribed with names that had once been familiar in the
village street. Yet, summing up all the mischief that ten years had
wrought, it seemed scarcely more than if Ralph Cranfield had gone forth
that very morning, and dreamed a daydream till the twilight, and then
turned back again. But his heart grew cold, because the village did not
remember him as he remembered the village.

"Here is the change!" sighed he, striking his hand upon his breast.
"Who is this man of thought and care, weary with world wandering, and
heavy with disappointed hopes? The youth returns not, who went forth so

And now Ralph Cranfield was at his mother's gate, in front of the small
house where the old lady, with slender but sufficient means, had kept
herself comfortable during her son's long absence. Admitting himself
within the enclosure, he leaned against a great old tree, trifling with
his own impatience, as people often do in those intervals when years
are summed into a moment. He took a minute survey of the dwelling,--its
windows, brightened with the sky gleam, its doorway, with the half of a
millstone for a step, and the faintly traced path waving thence to the
gate. He made friends again with his childhood's friend, the old tree
against which he leaned; and glancing his eye adown its trunk, beheld
something that excited a melancholy smile. It was a half-obliterated
inscription,--the Latin word EFFODE,--which he remembered to have
carved in the bark of the tree, with a whole day's toil, when he had
first begun to muse about his exalted destiny. It might be accounted a
rather singular coincidence, that the bark, just above the inscription,
had put forth an excrescence, shaped not unlike a hand, with the
forefinger pointing obliquely at the word of fate. Such, at least, was
its appearance in the dusky light.

"Now a credulous man," said Ralph Cranfield carelessly to himself,
"might suppose that the treasure which I have sought round the world
lies buried, after all, at the very door of my mother's dwelling. That
would be a jest indeed!"

More he thought not about the matter; for now the door was opened, and
an elderly woman appeared on the threshold, peering into the dusk to
discover who it might be that had intruded on her premises, and was
standing in the shadow of her tree. It was Ralph Cranfield's mother.
Pass we over their greeting, and leave the one to her joy and the other
to his rest,--if quiet rest he found.

But when morning broke, he arose with a troubled brow; for his sleep
and his wakefulness had alike been full of dreams. All the fervor was
rekindled with which he had burned of yore to unravel the threefold
mystery of his fate. The crowd of his early visions seemed to have
awaited him beneath his mother's roof, and thronged riotously around to
welcome his return. In the well-remembered chamber--on the pillow where
his infancy had slumbered--he had passed a wilder night than ever in an
Arab tent, or when he had reposed his head in the ghastly shades of a
haunted forest. A shadowy maid had stolen to his bedside, and laid her
finger on the scintillating heart; a hand of flame had glowed amid the
darkness, pointing downward to a mystery within the earth; a hoary sage
had waved his prophetic wand, and beckoned the dreamer onward to a
chair of state. The same phantoms, though fainter in the daylight,
still flitted about the cottage, and mingled among the crowd of
familiar faces that were drawn thither by the news of Ralph Cranfield's
return, to bid him welcome for his mother's sake. There they found him,
a tall, dark, stately man, of foreign aspect, courteous in demeanor and
mild of speech, yet with an abstracted eye, which seemed often to
snatch a glance at the invisible.

Meantime the widow Cranfield went bustling about the house, full of joy
that she again had somebody to love, and be careful of, and for whom
she might vex and tease herself with the petty troubles of daily life.
It was nearly noon, when she looked forth from the door, and descried
three personages of note coming along the street, through the hot
sunshine and the masses of elm-tree shade. At length they reached her
gate, and undid the latch.

"See, Ralph!" exclaimed she, with maternal pride, "here is Squire
Hawkwood and the two other selectmen, coming on purpose to see you! Now
do tell them a good long story about what you have seen in foreign

The foremost of the three visitors, Squire Hawkwood, was a very
pompous, but excellent old gentleman, the head and prime mover in all
the affairs of the village, and universally acknowledged to be one of
the sagest men on earth. He wore, according to a fashion even then
becoming antiquated, a three-cornered hat, and carried a silver-headed
cane, the use of which seemed to be rather for flourishing in the air
than for assisting the progress of his legs. His two companions were
elderly and respectable yeomen, who, retaining an ante-revolutionary
reverence for rank and hereditary wealth, kept a little in the Squire's
rear. As they approached along the pathway, Ralph Cranfield sat in an
oaken elbow-chair, half unconsciously gazing at the three visitors, and
enveloping their homely figures in the misty romance that pervaded his
mental world.

"Here," thought he, smiling at the conceit,--"here come three elderly
personages, and the first of the three is a venerable sage with a
staff. What if this embassy should bring me the message of my fate!"

While Squire Hawkwood and his colleagues entered, Ralph rose from his
seat, and advanced a few steps to receive them; and his stately figure
and dark countenance, as he bent courteously towards his guests, had a
natural dignity; contrasting well with the bustling importance of the
Squire. The old gentleman, according to invariable custom, gave an
elaborate preliminary flourish with his cane in the air, then removed
his three-cornered hat in order to wipe his brow, and finally proceeded
to make known his errand.

"My colleagues and myself," began the Squire, "are burdened with
momentous duties, being jointly selectmen of this village. Our minds,
for the space of three days past, have been laboriously bent on the
selection of a suitable person to fill a most important office, and
take upon himself a charge and rule, which, wisely considered, may be
ranked no lower than those of kings and potentates. And whereas you,
our native townsman, are of good natural intellect, and well cultivated
by foreign travel, and that certain vagaries and fantasies of your
youth are doubtless long ago corrected,--taking all these matters, I
say, into due consideration, we are of opinion that Providence hath
sent you hither, at this juncture, for our very purpose."

During this harangue, Cranfield gazed fixedly at the speaker, as if he
beheld something mysterious and unearthly in his pompous little figure,
and as if the Squire had worn the flowing robes of an ancient sage,
instead of a square-skirted coat, flapped waistcoat, velvet breeches,
and silk stockings. Nor was his wonder without sufficient cause; for
the flourish of the Squire's staff, marvellous to relate, had described
precisely the signal in the air which was to ratify the message of the
prophetic Sage, whom Cranfield had sought around the world.

"And what," inquired Ralph Cranfield, with a tremor in his
voice,--"what may this office be, which is to equal me with kings and

"No less than instructor of our village school," answered Squire
Hawkwood; "the office being now vacant by the death of the venerable
Master Whitaker, after a fifty years' incumbency."

"I will consider of your proposal," replied Ralph Cranfield, hurriedly,
"and will make known my decision within three days."

After a few more words, the village dignitary and his companions took
their leave. But to Cranfield's fancy their images were still present,
and became more and more invested with the dim awfulness of figures
which had first appeared to him in a dream, and afterwards had shown
themselves in his waking moments, assuming homely aspects among
familiar things. His mind dwelt upon the features of the Squire, till
they grew confused with those of the visionary Sage, and one appeared
but the shadow of the other. The same visage, he now thought, had
looked forth upon him from the Pyramid of Cheops; the same form had
beckoned to him among the colonnades of the Alhambra; the same figure
had mistily revealed itself through the ascending steam of the Great
Geyser. At every effort of his memory he recognized some trait of the
dreamy Messenger of Destiny, in this pompous, bustling, self-important,
little great man of the village. Amid such musings, Ralph Cranfield sat
all day in the cottage, scarcely hearing and vaguely answering his
mother's thousand questions about his travels and adventures. At sunset
he roused himself to take a stroll, and, passing the aged elm-tree, his
eye was again caught by the semblance of a hand, pointing downward at
the half-obliterated inscription.

As Cranfield walked down the street of the village, the level sunbeams
threw his shadow far before him; and he fancied that, as his shadow
walked among distant objects, so had there been a presentiment stalking
in advance of him throughout his life. And when he drew near each
object, over which his tall shadow had preceded him, still it proved to
be one of the familiar recollections of his infancy and youth. Every
crook in the pathway was remembered. Even the more transitory
characteristics of the scene were the same as in bygone days. A company
of cows were grazing on the grassy roadside, and refreshed him with
their fragrant breath. "It is sweeter," thought he, "than the perfume
which was wafted to our ship from the Spice Islands." The round little
figure of a child rolled from a doorway, and lay laughing almost
beneath Cranfield's feet. The dark and stately man stooped down, and,
lifting the infant, restored him to his mother's arms. "The children,"
said he to himself,--and sighed, and smiled,--"the children are to be
my charge!" And while a flow of natural feeling gushed like a
wellspring in his heart, he came to a dwelling which he could nowise
forbear to enter. A sweet voice, which seemed to come from a deep and
tender soul, was warbling a plaintive little air, within.

He bent his head, and passed through the lowly door. As his foot
sounded upon the threshold, a young woman advanced from the dusky
interior of the house, at first hastily, and then with a more uncertain
step, till they met face to face. There was a singular contrast in
their two figures; he dark and picturesque,--one who had battled with
the world,--whom all suns had shone upon, and whom all winds had blown
on a varied course; she neat, comely, and quiet,--quiet even in her
agitation,--as if all her emotions had been subdued to the peaceful
tenor of her life. Yet their faces, all unlike as they were, had an
expression that seemed not so alien,--a glow of kindred feeling,
flashing upward anew from half-extinguished embers.

"You are welcome home!" said Faith Egerton.

But Cranfield did not immediately answer; for his eye had been caught
by an ornament in the shape of a Heart, which Faith wore as a brooch
upon her bosom. The material was the ordinary white quartz; and he
recollected having himself shaped it out of one of those Indian
arrowheads, which are so often found in the ancient haunts of the red
men. It was precisely on the pattern of that worn by the visionary
Maid. When Cranfield departed on his shadowy search he had bestowed
this brooch, in a gold setting, as a parting gift to Faith Egerton.

"So, Faith, you have kept the Heart!" said he, at length.

"Yes," said she, blushing deeply; then, more gayly, "and what else have
you brought me from beyond the sea?"

"Faith!" replied Ralph Cranfield, uttering the fated words by an
uncontrollable impulse, "I have brought you nothing but a heavy heart!
May I rest its weight on you?"

"This token, which I have worn so long," said Faith, laying her
tremulous finger on the Heart, "is the assurance that you may!"

"Faith! Faith!" cried Cranfield, clasping her in his arms, "you have
interpreted my wild and weary dream!"

Yes, the wild dreamer was awake at last. To find the mysterious
treasure, he was to till the earth around his mother's dwelling, and
reap its products! Instead of warlike command, or regal or religious
sway, he was to rule over the village children! And now the visionary
Maid had faded from his fancy, and in her place he saw the playmate of
his childhood! Would all, who cherish such wild wishes, but look around
them, they would oftenest find their sphere of duty, of prosperity, and
happiness, within those precincts, and in that station, where
Providence itself has cast their lot. Happy they who read the riddle,
without a weary world-search, or a lifetime spent in vain!

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stories of Fortune" ***

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