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William Makepeace Thackeray



CATHERINE:
A STORY

 

 

 

 

Contents

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1. Introducing to the reader the chief personages of this narrative.

2. In which are depicted the pleasures of a sentimental attachment.

3. In which a narcotic is administeredand a great deal of genteelsocietydepicted.

4. In which Mrs. Catherine becomes an honest woman again.

5. Contains Mr. Brock's autobiographyand other matter.

6. The adventures of the ambassadorMr. MacShane.

7. Which embraces a period of seven years.

8. Enumerates the accomplishments of Master Thomas BillingsintroducesBrock as Doctor Wood and announces the execution ofEnsignMacShane.

9. Interview between Count Galgenstein and Master Thomas Billingswhenhe informs the Count of his parentage.

10.Showing how Galgenstein and Mrs. Cat recognise each other inMaryleboneGardens and how the Count drives her home in his carrige.

11.Of some domestic quarrelsand the consequence thereof.

12.Treats of loveand prepares for death.

13.Being a preparation for the end.

Chapterthe Last.

AnotherLast Chapter.

 

 ADVERTISEMENT

The storyof "Catherine" which appeared in Fraser's Magazine in1839-40was written by Mr. Thackerayunder the name of IkeySolomonsJun.to counteract the injurious influence of somepopularfictions of that daywhich made heroes of highwaymen andburglarsand created a false sympathy for the vicious and criminal.

With thispurposethe author chose for the subject of his story awomannamed Catherine Hayeswho was burned at Tyburnin 1726forthedeliberate murder of her husbandunder very revoltingcircumstances. Mr. Thackeray's aim obviously was to describe thecareer ofthis wretched woman and her associates with such fidelityto truthas to exhibit the danger and folly of investing suchpersonswith heroic and romantic qualities.

 

CHAPTERI
Introducing to the reader the chief personages of thisnarrative.

At thatfamous period of historywhen the seventeenth century(after adeal of quarrellingking-killingreformingrepublicanisingrestoringre-restoringplay-writingsermon-writingOliver-CromwellisingStuartisingand Orangisingto besure) hadsunk into its gravegiving place to the lusty eighteenth;when Mr.Isaac Newton was a tutor of Trinityand Mr. Joseph AddisonCommissionerof Appeals; when the presiding genius that watched overthedestinies of the French nation had played out all the best cardsin hishandand his adversaries began to pour in their trumps; whenthere weretwo kings in Spain employed perpetually in running awayfrom oneanother; when there was a queen in Englandwith suchrogues forMinisters as have never been seennonot in our ownday; and aGeneralof whom it may be severely arguedwhether hewas themeanest miser or the greatest hero in the world; when Mrs.Masham hadnot yet put Madam Marlborough's nose out of joint; whenpeople hadtheir ears cut off for writing very meek politicalpamphlets;and very large full-bottomed wigs were just beginning tobe wornwith powder; and the face of Louis the Greatas his washanded into him behind the bed-curtainswaswhen issuing thenceobservedto look longerolderand more dismal daily. . . .

About theyear One thousand seven hundred and fivethat isin thegloriousreign of Queen Annethere existed certain charactersandbefell aseries of adventureswhichsince they are strictly inaccordancewith the present fashionable style and taste; since theyhave beenalready partly described in the "Newgate Calendar;" sincethey are(as shall be seen anon) agreeably lowdelightfullydisgustingand at the same time eminently pleasing and patheticmayproperly be set down here.

And thoughit may be saidwith some considerable show of reasonthatagreeably low and delightfully disgusting characters havealreadybeen treatedboth copiously and ablyby some eminentwriters ofthe present (andindeedof future) ages; though totread inthe footsteps of the immortal FAGIN requires a genius ofinordinatestrideand to go a-robbing after the late thoughdeathlessTURPINthe renowned JACK SHEPPARDor the embryo DUVALmay beimpossibleand not an infringementbut a wastefulindicationof ill-will towards the eighth commandment; though itmayonthe one handbe asserted that only vain coxcombs would dareto writeon subjects already described by men really and deservedlyeminent;on the other handthat these subjects have been describedso fullythat nothing more can be said about them; on the thirdhand(allowingfor the sake of argumentthree hands to one figureofspeech)that the public has heard so much of themas to bequitetired of roguesthievescutthroatsand Newgatealtogether;though all these objections may be urgedand each isexcellentyet we intend to take a few more pages from the "OldBaileyCalendar" to bless the public with one more draught from theStoneJug: yet awhile to listenhurdle-mountedand riding downthe OxfordRoadto the bland conversation of Jack Ketchand tohang withhim round the neck of his patientat the end of our andhishistory.  We give the reader fair noticethat we shall ticklehim with afew such scenes of villainythroat-cuttingand bodilysufferingin generalas are not to be foundnonot in; nevermindcomparisonsfor such are odious.

In theyear 1705thenwhether it was that the Queen of England didfeelseriously alarmed at the notion that a French prince shouldoccupy theSpanish throne; or whether she was tenderly attached totheEmperor of Germany; or whether she was obliged to fight out thequarrel ofWilliam of Orangewho made us pay and fight for hisDutchprovinces; or whether poor old Louis Quatorze did reallyfrightenher; or whether Sarah Jennings and her husband wanted tomake afightknowing how much they should gain by it; whatever thereasonwasit was evident that the war was to continueand therewas almostas much soldiering and recruitingparadingpike andgun-exercisingflag-flyingdrum-beatingpowder-blazingandmilitaryenthusiasmas we can all remember in the year 1801whattime theCorsican upstart menaced our shores.  A recruiting-partyandcaptain of Cutts's regiment (which had been so mangled atBlenheimthe year before) were now in Warwickshire; and having theirdepot atWarwickthe captain and his attendantthe corporalwereused totravel through the countryseeking for heroes to fill upthe gapsin Cutts's corpsand for adventures to pass away theweary timeof a country life.

OurCaptain Plume and Sergeant Kite (it was at this timeby thewaythatthose famous recruiting-officers were playing their pranksinShrewsbury) were occupied very much in the same manner withFarquhar'sheroes.  They roamed from Warwick to Stratfordand fromStratfordto Birminghampersuading the swains of Warwickshire toleave theplough for the Pikeand despatchingfrom time to timesmalldetachments of recruits to extend Marlborough's linesand toact asfood for the hungry cannon at Ramillies and Malplaquet.

Of thosetwo gentlemen who are about to act a very important part inourhistoryone only was probably a native of Britainwe sayprobablybecause the individual in question was himself quiteuncertainandit must be addedentirely indifferent about hisbirthplace;but speaking the English languageand having beenduring thecourse of his life pretty generally engaged in theBritishservicehe had a tolerably fair claim to the majestic titleofBriton.  His name was Peter Brockotherwise Corporal BrockofLordCutts's regiment of dragoons; he was of age about fifty-seven(even thatpoint has never been ascertained); in height about fivefeet sixinches; in weightnearly thirteen stone; with a chest thatthecelebrated Leitch himself might envy; an arm that was like anopera-dancer'sleg; a stomach so elastic that it would accommodateitself toany given or stolen quantity of food; a great aptitude forstrongliquors; a considerable skill in singing chansons de table ofnot themost delicate kind; he was a lover of jokesof which hemade manyand passably bad; when pleasedsimply coarseboisterousand jovial; when angrya perfect demon:  bullyingcursingstormingfightingas is sometimes the wont with gentlemenof hiscloth and education.

Mr. Brockwas strictlywhat the Marquis of Rodil styled himself inaproclamation to his soldiers after running awaya hijo de laguerra achild of war.  Not seven citiesbut one or two regimentsmightcontend for the honour of giving him birth; for his motherwhose namehe tookhad acted as camp-follower to a Royalistregiment;had then obeyed the Parliamentarians; died in Scotlandwhen Monkwas commanding in that country; and the first appearanceof Mr.Brock in a public capacity displayed him as a fifer in theGeneral'sown regiment of Coldstreamerswhen they marched fromScotlandto Londonand from a republic at once into a monarchy.Since thatperiodBrock had been always with the armyhe had hadtoosomepromotionfor he spake of having a command at the battleof theBoyne; though probably (as he never mentioned the fact) uponthe losingside.  The very year before this narrative commenceshehad beenone of Mordaunt's forlorn hope at Schellenbergfor whichservice hewas promised a pair of colours; he lost themhoweverand wasalmost shot (but fate did not ordain that his career shouldclose inthat way) for drunkenness and insubordination immediatelyafter thebattle; but having in some measure reinstated himself by adisplay ofmuch gallantry at Blenheimit was found advisable tosend himto England for the purposes of recruitingand remove himaltogetherfrom the regiment where his gallantry only rendered theexample ofhis riot more dangerous.

Mr.Brock's commander was a slim young gentleman of twenty-sixabout whomthere was likewise a historyif one would take thetrouble toinquire.  He was a Bavarian by birth (his mother being anEnglishlady)and enjoyed along with a dozen other brothers thetitle ofcount:  eleven of theseof coursewere penniless; one ortwo werepriestsone a monksix or seven in various militaryservicesand the elder at home at Schloss Galgenstein breedinghorseshunting wild boarsswindling tenantsliving in a greathouse withsmall means; obliged to be sordid at home all the yearto besplendid for a month at the capitalas is the way with manyothernoblemen.  Our young countCount Gustavus Adolphus MaximilianvonGalgensteinhad been in the service of the French as page to anobleman;then of His Majesty's gardes du corps; then a lieutenantandcaptain in the Bavarian service; and whenafter the battle ofBlenheimtwo regiments of Germans came over to the winning sideGustavusAdolphus Maximilian found himself among them; and at theepoch whenthis story commenceshad enjoyed English pay for a yearor more. It is unnecessary to say how he exchanged into his presentregiment;how it appeared thatbefore her marriagehandsome JohnChurchillhad known the young gentleman's motherwhen they werebothpenniless hangers-on at Charles the Second's court; it iswesayquiteuseless to repeat all the scandal of which we areperfectlymastersand to trace step by step the events of hishistory. Herehoweverwas Gustavus Adolphusin a small innin asmallvillage of Warwickshireon an autumn evening in the year1705; andat the very moment when this history beginshe and Mr.Brockhiscorporal and friendwere seated at a round table beforethekitchen-fire while a small groom of the establishment wasleading upand down on the village greenbefore the inn doortwoblackglossylong-tailedbarrel-belliedthick-flankedarch-neckedRoman-nosed Flanders horseswhich were the property ofthe twogentlemen now taking their ease at the "Bugle Inn." The twogentlemenwere seated at their ease at the inn tabledrinkingmountain-wine;and if the reader fancies from the sketch which wehave givenof their livesor from his own blindness and belief intheperfectibility of human naturethat the sun of that autumneveningshone upon any two men in county or cityat desk orharvestat Court or at Newgatedrunk or soberwho were greaterrascalsthan Count Gustavus Galgenstein and Corporal Peter Brockheisegregiously mistakenand his knowledge of human nature is notworth afig.  If they had not been two prominent scoundrelswhatearthlybusiness should we have in detailing their histories?  Whatwould thepublic care for them?  Who would meddle with dull virtuehumdrumsentimentor stupid innocencewhen viceagreeable viceis theonly thing which the readers of romances care to hear?

The littlehorse-boywho was leading the two black Flanders horsesup anddown the greenmight have put them in the stable for anygood thatthe horses got by the gentle exercise which they were nowtaking inthe cool evening airas their owners had not ridden veryfar orvery hardand there was not a hair turned of their sleekshiningcoats; but the lad had been especially ordered so to walkthe horsesabout until he received further commands from thegentlemenreposing in the "Bugle" kitchen; and the idlers of thevillageseemed so pleased with the beastsand their smart saddlesandshining bridlesthat it would have been a pity to deprive themof thepleasure of contemplating such an innocent spectacle.  OvertheCount's horse was thrown a fine red clothrichly embroidered inyellowworsteda very large count's coronet and a cipher at thefourcorners of the covering; and under this might be seen a pair ofgorgeoussilver stirrupsand above ita couple of silver-mountedpistolsreposing in bearskin holsters; the bit was silver tooandthehorse's head was decorated with many smart ribbons.  Of theCorporal'ssteedsuffice it to saythat the ornaments were inbrassasbrightthough not perhaps so valuableas those whichdecoratedthe Captain's animal.  The boyswho had been at play onthe greenfirst paused and entered into conversation with thehorse-boy;then the village matrons followed; and afterwardssaunteringby ones and twoscame the village maidenswho lovesoldiersas flies love treacle; presently the males began to arriveand lo!the parson of the parishtaking his evening walk with Mrs.Dobbsandthe four children his offspringat length joined himselfto hisflock.

To thisaudience the little ostler explained that the animalsbelongedto two gentlemen now reposing at the "Bugle:" one youngwith goldhairthe other old with grizzled locks; both in redcoats;both in jack-boots; putting the house into a bustleandcallingfor the best.  He then discoursed to some of his owncompanionsregarding the merits of the horses; and the parsonalearnedmanexplained to the villagersthat one of the travellersmust be acountor at least had a count's horse cloth; pronouncedthat thestirrups were of real silverand checked the impetuosityof hissonWilliam Nassau Dobbswho was for mounting the animalsand whoexpressed a longing to fire off one of the pistols in theholsters.

As thisfamily discussion was taking placethe gentlemen whoseappearancehad created so much attention came to the door of theinnandthe elder and stouter was seen to smile at his companion;afterwhich he strolled leisurely over the greenand seemed toexaminewith much benevolent satisfaction the assemblage ofvillagerswho were staring at him and the quadrupeds.

Mr. Brockwhen he saw the parson's band and cassocktook off hisbeaverreverentlyand saluted the divine:  "I hope your reverencewon'tbaulk the little fellow" said he; "I think I heard himcallingout for a rideand whether he should like my horseor hisLordship'shorseI am sure it is all one.  Don't be afraidsir!the horsesare not tired; we have only come seventy mile to-dayandPrinceEugene once rode a matter of fifty-two leagues (a hundred andfiftymiles)sirupon that horsebetween sunrise and sunset."

"Graciouspowers! on which horse?" said Doctor Dobbsvery solemnly.

"OnTHISsiron mineCorporal Brock of Cutts's black gelding'Williamof Nassau.' The Princesirgave it me after BlenheimfightforI had my own legs carried away by a cannon-balljust asI cut downtwo of Sauerkrauter's regimentwho had made the Princeprisoner."

"Yourown legssir!" said the Doctor.  "Gracious goodness!this ismore andmore astonishing!"

"Nononot my own legsmy horse's I meansir; and the Princegave me'William of Nassau' that very day."

To this nodirect reply was made; but the Doctor looked at Mrs.DobbsandMrs. Dobbs and the rest of the children at her eldestsonwhogrinned and said"Isn't it wonderful?"  The Corporaltothisanswered nothingbutresuming his accountpointed to theotherhorse and said"THAT horsesir good as mine is that horsewith thesilver stirrupsis his Excellency's horseCaptain CountMaximilianGustavus Adolphus von Galgensteincaptain of horse andof theHoly Roman Empire" (he lifted here his hat with much gravityand allthe crowdeven to the parsondid likewise).  "We call him'George ofDenmark' sirin compliment to Her Majesty's husband:he isBlenheim toosir; Marshal Tallard rode him on that dayandyou knowhow HE was taken prisoner by the Count."

"Georgeof DenmarkMarshal TallardWilliam of Nassau! this isstrangeindeedmost wonderful!  Whysirlittle are you aware thatthere arebefore youAT THIS MOMENTtwo other living beings whobear thesevenerated names!  My boysstand forward!  Look heresir: these children have been respectively named after our latesovereignand the husband of our present Queen."

"Andvery good names toosir; ayand very noble little fellowstoo; and Ipropose thatwith your reverence and your ladyship'sleaveWilliam Nassau here shall ride on George of DenmarkandGeorge ofDenmark shall ride on William of Nassau."

When thisspeech of the Corporal's was madethe whole crowd set upa loyalhurrah; andwith much gravitythe two little boys werelifted upinto the saddles; and the Corporal leading oneentrustedthe otherto the horse-boyand so together marched stately up anddown thegreen.

Thepopularity which Mr. Brock gained by this manoeuvre was verygreat; butwith regard to the names of the horses and childrenwhichcoincided so extraordinarilyit is but fair to statethatthechristening of the quadrupeds had only taken place about twominutesbefore the dragoon's appearance on the green.  For if thefact mustbe confessedhewhile seated near the inn windowhadkept apretty wistful eye upon all going on without; and the horsesmarchingthus to and fro for the wonderment of the villagewereonlyplacards or advertisements for the riders.

There wasbesides the boy now occupied with the horsesand thelandlordand landlady of the "Bugle Inn" another person connectedwith thatestablishment a very smarthandsomevaingigglingservant-girlabout the age of sixteenwho went by the familiarname ofCatand attended upon the gentlemen in the parlourwhilethelandlady was employed in cooking their supper in the kitchen.This youngperson had been educated in the village poor-houseandhavingbeen pronounced by Doctor Dobbs and the schoolmaster theidlestdirtiestand most passionate little minx with whom eitherhad everhad to doshe wasafter receiving a very small portion ofliteraryinstruction (indeed it must be stated that the young ladydid notknow her letters)bound apprentice at the age of nine yearsto Mrs.Scoreher relativeand landlady of the "Bugle Inn."

If MissCator Catherine Hallwas a slattern and a minxMrs.Score wasa far superior shrew; and for the seven years of herapprenticeshipthe girl was completely at her mistress's mercy.  Yetthoughwondrously stingyjealousand violentwhile her maid wasidle andextravagantand her husband seemed to abet the girlMrs.Score putup with the wench's airsidlenessand capriceswithouteverwishing to dismiss her from the "Bugle."  The fact isthatMissCatherine was a great beautyand for about two yearssinceher famehad begun to spreadthe custom of the inn had alsoincreasedvastly.  When there was a debate whether the farmersontheir wayfrom marketwould take t'other potCatherinebyappearingwith itwould straightway cause the liquor to beswallowedand paid for; and when the traveller who proposed ridingthat nightand sleeping at Coventry or Birminghamwas asked by MissCatherinewhether he would like a fire in his bedroomhe generallywasinduced to occupy italthough he might before have vowed toMrs. Scorethat he would not for a thousand guineas be absent fromhome thatnight.  The girl hadtoohalf-a-dozen lovers in thevillage;and these were bound in honour to spend their pence at thealehouseshe inhabited.  O womanlovely woman! what strong resolvescanst thoutwist round thy little finger! what gunpowder passionscanst thoukindle with a single sparkle of thine eye! what lies andfribblenonsense canst thou make us listen toas they were gospeltruth orsplendid wit! above all what bad liquor canst thou make usswallowwhen thou puttest a kiss within the cup and we are contentto callthe poison wine!

Themountain-wine at the "Bugle" wasin factexecrable; butMrs.Catwhoserved it to the two soldiersmade it so agreeable tothemthatthey found it a passableeven a pleasant tasktoswallowthe contents of a second bottle.  The miracle had beenwroughtinstantaneously on her appearance:  for whereas at that verymoment theCount was employed in cursing the winethe landladythewine-growerand the English nation generallywhen the young womanenteredand (choosing so to interpret the oaths) said"Comingyourhonour; Ithink your honour called "Gustavus Adolphus whistledstared ather very hardand seeming quite dumb-stricken by herappearancecontented himself by swallowing a whole glass ofmountainby way of reply.

Mr. Brockwashoweverby no means so confounded as his captain:he wasthirty years older than the latterand in the course offiftyyears of military life had learned to look on the mostdangerousenemyor the most beautiful womanwith the like daringdevil-may-caredetermination to conquer.

"Mydear Mary" then said that gentleman"his honour is alord; asgood as alordthat is; for all he allows such humble fellows as Iam todrink with him."

Catherinedropped a low curtseyand said"WellI don't know ifyou arejoking a poor country girlas all you soldier gentlemen do;but hishonour LOOKS like a lord:  though I never see oneto besure."

"Then"said the Captaingathering courage"how do you know I looklike onepretty Mary?"

"PrettyCatherine:  I mean Catherineif you pleasesir."

Here Mr.Brock burst into a roar of laughterand shouting with manyoaths thatshe was right at firstinvited her to give him what hecalled abuss.

PrettyCatherine turned away from him at this requestand mutteredsomethingabout "Keep your distancelow fellow! buss indeed; poorcountrygirl" etc. etc.placing herselfas if for protectiononthe sideof the Captain.  That gentleman looked also very angry; butwhether atthe sight of innocence so outragedor the insolence oftheCorporal for daring to help himself firstwe cannot say.  "HarkyeMr.Brock" he cried very fiercely"I will suffer no suchlibertiesin my presence:  rememberit is only my condescensionwhichpermits you to share my bottle in this way; take care I don'tgive youinstead a taste of my cane."  So sayinghein aprotectingmannerplaced one hand round Mrs. Catherine's waistholdingthe other clenched very near to the Corporal's nose.

Mrs. Catherinefor HER share of this action of the Count'sdroppedanother curtsey and said"Thank youmy Lord."  ButGalgenstein'sthreat did not appear to make any impression on Mr.Brockasindeed there was no reason that it should; for theCorporalat a combat of fisticuffscould have pounded hiscommanderinto a jelly in ten minutes; so he contented himself bysaying"Wellnoble Captainthere's no harm done; it IS an honourfor poorold Peter Brock to be at table with youand I AM sorrysureenough."

"IntruthPeterI believe thou art; thou hast good reasonehPeter? But never fearman; had I struck theeI never would havehurtthee."

"IKNOW you would not" replied Brocklaying his hand on his heartwith muchgravity; and so peace was madeand healths were drunk.MissCatherine condescended to put her lips to the Captain's glass;who sworethat the wine was thus converted into nectar; and althoughthe girlhad not previously heard of that liquorshe received thecomplimentas a complimentand smiled and simpered in return.

The poorthing had never before seen anybody so handsomeor sofinelydressed as the Count; andin the simplicity of her coquetryallowedher satisfaction to be quite visible.  Nothing could be moreclumsythan the gentleman's mode of complimenting her; but for thisperhapshis speeches were more effective than others more delicatewould havebeen; and though she said to each"Ohnowmy Lord"and "LaCaptainhow can you flatter one so?" and "Your honour'slaughingat me" and made such polite speeches as are used on theseoccasionsit was manifest from the flutter and blushand the grinofsatisfaction which lighted up the buxom features of the littlecountrybeautythat the Count's first operations had been highlysuccessful. When following up his attackhe produced from his necka smalllocket (which had been given him by a Dutch lady at theBrill)and begged Miss Catherine to wear it for his sakeandchuckedher under the chin and called her his little rosebudit wasprettyclear how things would go:  anybody who could see theexpressionof Mr. Brock's countenance at this event might judge oftheprogress of the irresistible High-Dutch conqueror.

Being of avery vain communicative turnour fair barmaid gave hertwocompanionsnot only a pretty long account of herselfbut ofmany otherpersons in the villagewhom she could perceive from thewindowopposite to which she stood.  "Yesyour honour" saidshe"myLordI mean; sixteen last Marchthough there's a many girl inthevillage that at my age is quite chits.  There's Polly Randallnowthatred-haired girl along with Thomas Curtis:  she's seventeenif she's adaythough he is the very first sweetheart she has had.Wellas Iam sayingI was bred up here in the village father andmotherdied very youngand I was left a poor orphanwellblessus! ifThomas haven't kissed her! to the care of Mrs. Scoremyauntwhohas been a mother to mea stepmotheryou know; and I'vebeen toStratford fairand to Warwick many a time; and there's twopeople whohave offered to marry meand ever so many who want toand Iwon't have none only a gentlemanas I've always said; not apoorclodpolelike Tom there with the red waistcoat (he was onethat askedme)nor a drunken fellow like Sam Blacksmith yonderhimwhose wifehas got the black eyebut a real gentlemanlike"

"Likewhommy dear?" said the Captainencouraged.

"Lasirhow can you?  Whylike our squireSir Johnwho rides insuch amortal fine gold coach; orat leastlike the parsonDoctorDobbsthat'shein the black gownwalking with Madam Dobbs inred."

"Andare those his children?"

"Yes: two girls and two boys; and only thinkhe calls one WilliamNassauand one George Denmark isn't it odd?"  And from the parsonMrs.Catherine went on to speak of several humble personages of thevillagecommunitywhoas they are not necessary to our storyneednot bedescribed at full length.  It was whenfrom the windowCorporalBrock saw the altercation between the worthy divine and hissonrespecting the latter's ridethat he judged it a fitting timeto stepout on the greenand to bestow on the two horses thosefamoushistorical names which we have just heard applied to them.

Mr.Brock's diplomacy wasas we have statedquite successful; forwhen theparson's boys had ridden and retired along with their mammaand papaother young gentlemen of humbler rank in the village wereplacedupon "George of Denmark" and "William of Nassau;"theCorporaljoking and laughing with all the grown-up people.  Thewomeninspite of Mr. Brock's agehis red noseand a certainsquint ofhis eyevowed the Corporal was a jewel of a man; andamong themen his popularity was equally great.

"Howmuch dost thee getThomas Clodpole?" said Mr. Brock to acountryman(he was the man whom Mrs. Catherine had described as hersuitor)who had laughed loudest at some of his jokes:  "how muchdost theeget for a week's worknow?"

Mr.Clodpolewhose name was really Bullockstated that his wagesamountedto "three shillings and a puddn."

"Threeshillings and a puddn! monstrous! and for this you toillike agalley-slaveas I have seen them in Turkey and Americaaygentlemenand in the country of Prester John!  You shiver out ofbed on icywinter morningsto break the ice for Ball and Dapple todrink."

"Yesindeed" said the person addressedwho seemed astounded atthe extentof the Corporal's information.

"Oryou clean pigstyand take dung down to meadow; or you actwatchdogand tend sheep; or you sweep a scythe over a great field ofgrass; andwhen the sun has scorched the eyes out of your headandsweatedthe flesh off your bonesand well-nigh fried the soul outof yourbodyyou go hometo what?three shillings a week and apuddn! Do you get pudding every day?"

"No;only Sundays."

"Doyou get money enough?"

"Nosure."

"Doyou get beer enough?"

"OhnoNEVER!" said Mr. Bullock quite resolutely.

"WorthyClodpolegive us thy hand:  it shall have beer enough thisdayor myname's not Corporal Brock.  Here's the moneyboy! thereare twentypieces in this purse:  and how do you think I got 'em?and how doyou think I shall get others when these are gone? byservingHer Sacred Majestyto be sure:  long life to herand downwith theFrench King!"

Bullockafew of the menand two or three of the boyspiped outan hurrahin compliment to this speech of the Corporal's:  but itwasremarked that the greater part of the crowd drew back the womenwhisperingominously to them and looking at the Corporal.

"Iseeladieswhat it is" said he.  "You arefrightenedandthink I ama crimp come to steal your sweethearts away.  What! callPeterBrock a double-dealer?  I tell you whatboysJack Churchillhimselfhas shaken this handand drunk a pot with me:  do you thinkhe'd shakehands with a rogue?  Here's Tummas Clodpole has never hadbeerenoughand here am I will stand treat to him and any othergentleman: am I good enough company for him?  I have moneylookyouandlike to spend it:  what should I be doing dirty actionsforhayTummas?"

Asatisfactory reply to this query was notof courseexpected bytheCorporal nor uttered by Mr. Bullock; and the end of the disputewasthathe and three or four of the rustic bystanders were quiteconvincedof the good intentions of their new friendandaccompaniedhim back to the "Bugle" to regale upon the promisedbeer. Among the Corporal's guests was one young fellow whose dresswould showthat he was somewhat better to do in the world thanClodpoleand the rest of the sunburnt ragged troopwho weremarchingtowards the alehouse.  This man was the only one of hishearerswhoperhapswas sceptical as to the truth of his stories;but assoon as Bullock accepted the invitation to drinkJohn Hayesthecarpenter (for such was his name and profession)said"WellThomasifthou goestI will go too."

"Iknow thee wilt" said Thomas:  "thou'lt goo anywhereCatty Hallisprovided thou canst goo for nothing."

"NayI have a penny to spend as good as the Corporal here."

"Apenny to KEEPyou mean:  for all your love for the lass at the'Bugle'did thee ever spend a shilling in the house?  Thee wouldn'tgo nowbut that I am going tooand the Captain here stands treat."

"Comecomegentlemenno quarrelling" said Mr. Brock.  "Ifthisprettyfellow will join usamen say I:  there's lots of liquorandplenty ofmoney to pay the score.  Comrade Tummasgive us thy arm.Mr. Hayesyou're a hearty cockI make no doubtand all such arewelcome. Come alongmy gentleman farmersMr. Brock shall have thehonour topay for you all."  And with thisCorporal Brockaccompaniedby Messrs. HayesBullockBlacksmithBaker's-boyButcherand one or two othersadjourned to the inn; the horsesbeingatthe same timeconducted to the stable.

Althoughwe havein this quiet wayand without any flourishing oftrumpetsor beginning of chaptersintroduced Mr. Hayes to thepublic;and althoughat first sighta sneaking carpenter's boy mayseemhardly worthy of the notice of an intelligent readerwho looksfor a goodcut-throat or highwayman for a heroor a pickpocket atthe veryleast:  this gentleman's words and actions should becarefullystudied by the publicas he is destined to appear beforethem undervery polite and curious circumstances during the courseof thishistory.  The speech of the rustic JuvenalMr. Clodpolehad seemedto infer that Hayes was at once careful of his money anda warmadmirer of Mrs. Catherine of the "Bugle:"  and boththechargeswere perfectly true.  Hayes's father was reported to be aman ofsome substance; and young Johnwho was performing hisapprenticeshipin the villagedid not fail to talk very big of hispretensionsto fortune of his enteringat the close of hisindenturesinto partnership with his father and of the comfortablefarm andhouse over which Mrs. John Hayeswhoever she might bewould oneday preside.  Thusnext to the barber and butcherandabove evenhis own masterMr. Hayes took rank in the village:  andit mustnot be concealed that his representation of wealth had madesomeimpression upon Mrs. Hall toward whom the young gentleman hadcast theeyes of affection.  If he had been tolerably well-lookingand notpalericketyand feeble as he was; if even he had beenuglybutwithal a man of spiritit is probable the girl's kindnessfor himwould have been much more decided.  But he was a poor weakcreaturenot to compare with honest Thomas Bullockby at leastnineinches; and so notoriously timidselfishand stingythatthere wasa kind of shame in receiving his addresses openly; andwhatencouragement Mrs. Catherine gave him could only be in secret.

But nomortal is wise at all times:  and the fact wasthat Hayeswho caredfor himself intenselyhad set his heart upon winningCatherine;and loved her with a desperate greedy eagerness anddesire ofpossessionwhich makes passions for women often so fierceandunreasonable among very cold and selfish men.  His parents(whosefrugality he had inherited) had tried in vain to wean himfrom thispassionand had made many fruitless attempts to engagehim withwomen who possessed money and desired husbands; but Hayeswasfor awonderquite proof against their attractions; andthoughquite ready to acknowledge the absurdity of his love for apennilessalehouse servant-girlnevertheless persisted in itdoggedly. "I know I'm a fool" said he; "and what's morethegirldoes notcare for me; but marry her I mustor I think I shall justdie: and marry her I will."  For very much to the credit of MissCatherine'smodestyshe had declared that marriage was with her asine quanonand had dismissedwith the loudest scorn andindignationall propositions of a less proper nature.

PoorThomas Bullock was another of her admirersand had offered tomarry her;but three shillings a week and a puddn was not to thegirl'stasteand Thomas had been scornfully rejected.  Hayes hadalso madeher a direct proposal.  Catherine did not say no:  she wastooprudent:  but she was young and could wait; she did not care forMr. Hayesyet enough to marry him(it did not seemindeedin theyoungwoman's nature to care for anybody)and she gave her adorerflatteringlyto understand thatif nobody better appeared in thecourse ofa few yearsshe might be induced to become Mrs. Hayes.It was adismal prospect for the poor fellow to live upon the hopeof beingone day Mrs. Catherine's pis-aller.

In themeantime she considered herself free as the windandpermittedherself all the innocent gaieties which that "charteredlibertine"a coquettecan take.  She flirted with all thebachelorswidowersand married menin a manner which didextraordinarycredit to her years:  and let not the reader fancysuchpastimes unnatural at her early age.  The ladies Heaven blessthem! areas a general rulecoquettes from babyhood upwards.LittleSHE'S of three years old play little airs and graces uponsmallheroes of five; simpering misses of nine make attacks uponyounggentlemen of twelve; and at sixteena well-grown girlunderencouragingcircumstances sayshe is prettyin a family of uglyeldersistersor an only child and heiressor a humble wench at acountryinnlike our fair Catherine is at the very pink and primeof hercoquetry:  they will jilt you at that age with an ease andarchinfantine simplicity that never can be surpassed in matureryears.

MissCatherinethenwas a franche coquetteand Mr. John Hayes wasmiserable. His life was passed in a storm of mean passions andbitterjealousiesand desperate attacks upon the indifference-rockof Mrs.Catherine's heartwhich not all his tempest of love couldbeatdown.  O cruel cruel pangs of love unrequited!  Mean roguesfeel themas well as great heroes.  Lives there the man in Europewho hasnot felt them many times? who has not kneltand fawnedandsupplicatedand weptand cursedand ravedall in vain; andpassedlong wakeful nights with ghosts of dead hopes for company;shadows ofburied remembrances that glide out of their graves ofnightsand whisper"We are dead nowbut we WERE once; and we madeyou happyand we come now to mock you: despairO loverdespairand die"?O cruel pangs! dismal nights! Now a sly demon creepsunder yournightcapand drops into your ear those softhope-breathingsweet wordsuttered on the well-remembered evening:thereinthe drawer of your dressing-table (along with the razorsandMacassar oil)lies the dead flower that Lady Amelia Wilhelminawore inher bosom on the night of a certain ballthe corpse of aglorioushope that seemed once as if it would live for eversostrong wasitso full of joy and sunshine:  therein yourwriting-deskamong a crowd of unpaid billsis the dirty scrap ofpaperthimble-sealedwhich came in company with a pair ofmuffeteesof her knitting (she was a butcher's daughterand did allshe couldpoor thing!)begging "you would ware them at collidgeand thinkof her who" married a public-house three weeksafterwardsand cares for you no more now than she does for thepot-boy. But why multiply instancesor seek to depict the agony ofpoormean-spirited John Hayes?  No mistake can be greater than thatoffancying such great emotions of love are only felt by virtuous orexaltedmen:  depend upon itLovelike Deathplays havoc amongthepauperum tabernasand sports with rich and poorwicked andvirtuousalike.  I have often fanciedfor instanceon seeing thehaggardpale young old-clothesmanwho wakes the echoes of ourstreetwith his nasal cry of "Clo'!"I have oftenI saidfanciedthatbesides the load of exuvial coats and breeches under which hestaggersthere is another weight on himan atrior cura at histailandwhile his unshorn lips and nose together are performingthatmockingboisterousJack-indifferent cry of "Clo'clo'!"whoknows whatwoeful utterances are crying from the heart within?There heischaffering with the footman at No. 7 about an olddressing-gown: you think his whole soul is bent only on the contestabout thegarment.  Psha! there isperhapssome faithless girl inHolywellStreet who fills up his heart; and that desultory Jew-boyis aperipatetic hell!  Take another instance: take the man in thebeef-shopin Saint Martin's Court.  There he isto all appearancesquitecalm:  before the same round of beef from morning tillsundownfor hundreds of years very likely.  Perhaps when theshuttersare closedand all the world tired and silentthere is HEsilentbut untired cuttingcuttingcutting.  You enteryou getyour meatto your likingyou depart; andquite unmovedonon hegoesreaping ceaselessly the Great Harvest of Beef.  You wouldfancy thatif Passion ever failed to conquerit had in vainassailedthe calm bosom of THAT MAN.  I doubt itand would givemuch toknow his history.

Who knowswhat furious Aetna-flames are raging underneath thesurface ofthat calm flesh-mountain who can tell me that thatcalmnessitself is not DESPAIR?

                   *          *         *

Thereaderif he does not now understand why it was that Mr. Hayesagreed todrink the Corporal's proffered beerhad better just readtheforegoing remarks over againand if he does not understandTHENwhysmall praise to his brains.  Hayes could not bear thatMr.Bullock should have a chance of seeingand perhaps making loveto Mrs.Catherine in his absence; and though the young woman neverdiminishedher coquetriesbuton the contraryrather increasedthem inhis presenceit was still a kind of dismal satisfaction tobemiserable in her company.

On thisoccasionthe disconsolate lover could be wretched to hisheart'scontent; for Catherine had not a word or a look for himbutbestowedall her smiles upon the handsome stranger who owned theblackhorse.  As for poor Tummas Bullockhis passion was neverviolent;and he was content in the present instance to sigh anddrinkbeer.  He sighed and dranksighed and drankand drank againuntil hehad swallowed so much of the Corporal's liquoras to beinduced toaccept a guinea from his purse also; and found himselfonreturning to reason and sobrietya soldier of Queen Anne's.

But oh!fancy the agonies of Mr. Hayes whenseated with theCorporal'sfriends at one end of the kitchenhe saw the Captain atthe placeof honourand the smiles which the fair maid bestowedupon him;whenas she lightly whisked past him with the Captain'ssuppershepointing to the locket that once reposed on the breastof theDutch lady at the Brilllooked archly on Hayes and said"SeeJohnwhat his Lordship has given me;" and when John's facebecamegreen and purple with rage and jealousyMrs. Catherinelaughedten times louderand cried "Comingmy Lord" in a voiceofshrilltriumphthat bored through the soul of Mr. John Hayes andleft himgasping for breath.

OnCatherine's other loverMr. Thomasthis coquetry had no effect:heandtwo comrades of hishad by this time quite fallen under thespell ofthe Corporal; and hopeglorystrong beerPrince Eugenepair ofcoloursmore strong beerher blessed Majestyplenty morestrongbeerand such subjectsmartial and bacchicwhirled throughtheirdizzy brains at a railroad pace.

And nowif there had been a couple of experienced reporters presentat the"Bugle Inn" they might have taken down a conversation onlove andwar the two themes discussed by the two parties occupyingthekitchen whichas the parts were sung togetherduetwiseformedtogether some very curious harmonies.  Thuswhile theCaptainwas whispering the softest nothingsthe Corporal wasshoutingthe fiercest combats of the war; andlike the gentleman atPenelope'stableon it exiguo pinxit praelia tota bero.  Forexample:

CAPTAIN. What do you say to a silver trimmingpretty Catherine?Don't youthink a scarlet riding-cloakhandsomely lacedwouldbecome youwonderfully well? and a grey hat with a blue featherand apretty nag to ride on and all the soldiers to present arms asyou passand say"There goes the Captain's lady"?  What do youthink of aside-box at Lincoln's Inn playhouseor of standing up toa minuetwith my Lord Marquis at?

CORPORAL. The ballsirran right up his elbowand was found thenext dayby Surgeon Splinter of ourswhere do you thinksir?upon myhonour as a gentleman it came out of the nape of his

CAPTAIN. Necklace and a sweet pair of diamond earringsMay hapand a little shower of patcheswhich ornament a lady's facewondrouslyand a leetle rouge thoughegad! such peach-cheeks asyoursdon't want it; fie! Mrs. CatherineI should think the birdsmust comeand peck at them as if they were fruit

CORPORAL. Over the wall; and three-and-twenty of our fellows jumpedafter me. By the Pope of Romefriend Tummasthat was a day! Hadyou seenhow the Mounseers looked when four-and-twenty rampaginghe-devilssword and pistolcut and thrustpell-mell came tumblinginto theredoubt!  Whysirwe left in three minutes as manyartillerymen'sheads as there were cannon-balls.  It was"Ahsacre!" "D- youtake that!"  "O mon Dieu!"  "Runhim through!""Ventrebleu!"and it WAS ventrebleu with himI warrant you; forbleuinthe French languagemeans "through;" and ventrewhyyouseeventre means

CAPTAIN. Waistswhich are worn now excessive long; and for thehoopsifyou COULD but see them stap my vitalsmy dearbut therewas a ladyat Warwick's Assembly (she came in one of my Lord'scoaches)who had a hoop as big as a tent:  you might have dinedunder itcomfortably; ha! ha! 'pon my faithnow

CORPORAL. And there we found the Duke of Marlborough seated alongwithMarshal Tallardwho was endeavouring to drown his sorrow overa cup ofJohannisberger wine; and a good drink toomy ladsonlynot tocompare to Warwick beer.  "Who was the man who has donethis?"said our noble General.  I stepped up.  "How manyheads wasit"says he"that you cut off?"  "Nineteen"says I"besideswoundingseveral." When he heard it (Mr. Hayesyou don't drink) I'mblest ifhe didn't burst into tears!  "Noble noble fellow"says he."Marshalyou must excuse me if I am pleased to hear of thedestructionof your countrymen.  Noble noble fellow! here's ahundredguineas for you."  Which sum he placed in my hand. "Nay"says theMarshal "the man has done his duty:" andpulling out amagnificentgold diamond-hilted snuff-boxhe gave me

MR.BULLOCK.  Whata goold snuff-box?  Waunsbut thee WAST inluckCorporal!

CORPORAL. Nonot the snuff-boxbut A PINCH OF SNUFFha!ha! run methrough the body if he didn't.  Could you but have seenthe smileon Jack Churchill's grave face at this piece ofgenerosity! Sobeckoning Colonel Cadogan up to himhe pinched hisEar andwhispered

CAPTAIN. "May I have the honour to dance a minuet with yourLadyship?" The whole room was in titters at Jack's blunder; forasyou knowvery wellpoor Lady Susan HAS A WOODEN LEG.  Ha! ha! fancya minuetand a wooden legheymy dear?

MRS.CATHERINE.  Gigglegigglegiggle:  he! he! he!  OhCaptainyou rogueyou

SECONDTABLE.  Haw! haw! haw!  Well you be a foony monSergeantzureenoff.

                   *          *         *

Thislittle specimen of the conversation must be sufficient.  Itwill showpretty clearly that EACH of the two military commanderswasconducting his operations with perfect success.  Three of thedetachmentof five attacked by the Corporal surrendered to him:  Mr.Bullocknamelywho gave in at a very early stage of the eveningandignominiously laid down his arms under the tableafter standingnot morethan a dozen volleys of beer; Mr. Blacksmith's boyand alabourerwhose name we have not been able to learn.  Mr. Butcherhimselfwas on the point of yieldingwhen he was rescued by thefuriouscharge of a detachment that marched to his relief:  his wifenamelywhowith two squalling childrenrushed into the "Bugle"boxedButcher's earsand kept up such a tremendous fire of oathsandscreams upon the Corporalthat he was obliged to retreat.Fixingthen her claws into Mr. Butcher's hairshe proceeded to draghim out ofthe premises; and thus Mr. Brock was overcome.  Hisattackupon John Hayes was a still greater failure; for that youngman seemedto be invincible by drinkif not by love:  and at theend of thedrinking-bout was a great deal more cool than theCorporalhimself; to whom he wished a very polite good-eveningascalmly hetook his hat to depart.  He turned to look at Catherineto besureand then he was not quite so calm:  but Catherine didnot giveany reply to his good-night.  She was seated at theCaptain'stable playing at cribbage with him; and though CountGustavusMaximilian lost every gamehe won more than he lostslyfellow!and Mrs. Catherine was no match for him.

It is tobe presumed that Hayes gave some information to Mrs. Scorethelandlady:  foron leaving the kitchenhe was seen to lingerfor amoment in the bar; and very soon after Mrs. Catherine wascalledaway from her attendance on the Countwhowhen he asked fora sack andtoastwas furnished with those articles by the landladyherself: andduring the half-hour in which he was employed inconsumingthis drinkMonsieur de Galgenstein looked very muchdisturbedand out of humourand cast his eyes to the doorperpetually;but no Catherine came.  At lastvery sulkilyhedesired tobe shown to bedand walked as well as he could (fortosay truththe noble Count was by this time somewhat unsteady on hislegs) tohis chamber.  It was Mrs. Score who showed him to itandclosed thecurtainsand pointed triumphantly to the whiteness ofthesheets.

"It'sa very comfortable room" said she"though not the best inthe house;which belong of right to your Lordship's worship; but ourbest roomhas two bedsand Mr. Corporal is in thatlocked anddouble-lockedwith his three tipsy recruits.  But your honour willfind thishere bed comfortable and well-aired; I've slept in itmyselfthis eighteen years."

"Whatmy good womanyou are going to sit upeh?  It's cruel hardon youmadam."

"Situpmy Lord? bless youno!  I shall have half of our Cat'sbed; as Ialways do when there's company."  And with this Mrs. Scorecurtseyedand retired.

Very earlythe next morning the active landlady and her bustlingattendanthad prepared the ale and bacon for the Corporal and histhreeconvertsand had set a nice white cloth for the Captain'sbreakfast. The young blacksmith did not eat with much satisfaction;but Mr.Bullock and his friend betrayed no sign of discontentexceptsuch as may be consequent upon an evening's carouse.  Theywalkedvery contentedly to be registered before Doctor Dobbswhowas alsojustice of the peaceand went in search of their slenderbundlesand took leave of their few acquaintances without muchregret: for the gentlemen had been bred in the workhouseand hadnotthereforea large circle of friends.

It wantedonly an hour of noonand the noble Count had notdescended. The men were waiting for himand spent much of theQueen'smoney (earned by the sale of their bodies overnight) whilethusexpecting him.  Perhaps Mrs. Catherine expected him tooforshe hadoffered many times to run up with my Lord's boots with thehot waterto show Mr. Brock the way; who sometimes condescended toofficiateas barber.  But on all these occasions Mrs. Score hadpreventedher; not scoldingbut with much gentleness and smiling.At lastmore gentle and smiling than evershe came downstairs andsaid"Catherine darlinghis honour the Count is mighty hungry thismorningand vows he could pick the wing of a fowl.  Run downchildtoFarmer Brigg's and get one:  pluck it before you bring ityou knowand we will make his Lordship a pretty breakfast."

Catherinetook up her basketand away she went by the back-yardthroughthe stables.  There she heard the little horse-boy whistlingandhissing after the manner of horseboys; and there she learnedthat Mrs.Score had been inventing an ingenious story to have herout of theway.  The ostler said he was just going to lead the twohorsesround to the door.  The Corporal had beenand they wereabout tostart on the instant for Stratford.

The factwas that Count Gustavus Adolphusfar from wishing to pickthe wingof a fowlhad risen with a horror and loathing foreverythingin the shape of foodand for any liquor stronger thansmallbeer.  Of this he had drunk a cupand said he should rideimmediatelyto Stratford; and whenon ordering his horseshe hadaskedpolitely of the landlady "why the d SHE always came upand whyshe did not send the girl" Mrs. Score informed the Countthat herCatherine was gone out for a walk along with the young manto whomshe was to be marriedand would not be visible that day.On hearingthis the Captain ordered his horses that momentandabused thewinethe bedthe housethe landladyand everythingconnectedwith the "Bugle Inn."

Out thehorses came:  the little boys of the village gathered round;therecruitswith bunches of ribands in their beaversappearedpresently;Corporal Brock came swaggering outandslapping thepleasedblacksmith on the backbade him mount his horse; while theboyshurrah'd.  Then the Captain came outgloomy and majestic; tohim Mr.Brock made a military salutewhich clumsilyand with muchgrinningthe recruits imitated.  "I shall walk on with these bravefellowsyour honourand meet you at Stratford" said the Corporal."Good"said the Captainas he mounted.  The landlady curtseyed;thechildren hurrah'd more; the little horse-boywho held thebridlewith one hand and the stirrup with the otherand expected acrown-piecefrom such a noble gentlemangot only a kick and acurseasCount von Galgenstein shouted"D- you allget out ofthe way!"and galloped off; and John Hayeswho had been sneakingabout theinn all the morningfelt a weight off his heart when hesaw theCaptain ride off alone.

O foolishMrs. Score!  O dolt of a John Hayes!  If the landlady hadallowedthe Captain and the maid to have their wayand meet but fora minutebefore recruitssergeantand allit is probable that noharm wouldhave been doneand that this history would never havebeenwritten.

When Countvon Galgenstein had ridden half a mile on the Stratfordroadlooking as black and dismal as Napoleon galloping from theromanticvillage of Waterloohe espieda few score yards onwardsat theturn of the roada certain object which caused him to checkhis horsesuddenlybrought a tingling red into his cheeksand madehis heartto go thumpthump! against his side.  A young lass wassaunteringslowly along the footpathwith a basket swinging fromone handand a bunch of hedge-flowers in the other.  She stoppedonce ortwice to add a fresh one to her nosegayand might have seenhimtheCaptain thought; but noshe never looked directly towardshimandstill walked on.  Sweet innocent! she was singing as ifnone werenear; her voice went soaring up to the clear skyand theCaptainput his horse on the grassthat the sound of the hoofsmight notdisturb the music.

    "When the kine had given a pailful
       And the sheep came bleating home
     Pollwho knew it would be healthful
       Went a-walking out with Tom.
     Hand in handsiron the landsir
       As they walked to and fro
     Tom made jolly love to Polly
       But was answered nonono."

TheCaptain had put his horse on the grassthat the sound of hishoofsmight not disturb the music; and now he pushed its head on tothe bankwhere straightway "George of Denmark" began chewing ofsuch asalad as grew there.  And now the Captain slid offstealthily;and smiling comicallyand hitching up his greatjack-bootsand moving forward with a jerking tiptoe stephejustas she wastrilling the last o-o-o of the last no in the above poemof TomD'Urfeycame up to herand touching her lightly on thewaistsaid

"Mydearyour very humble servant."

Mrs.Catherine (you know you have found her out long ago!) gave ascream anda startand would have turned pale if she could.  As itwassheonly shook all overand said

"Ohsirhow you DID frighten me!"

"Frightenyoumy rosebud! whyrun me throughI'd die rather thanfrightenyou.  Gadchildtell me nowam I so VERY frightful?"

"Ohnoyour honourI didn't mean that; only I wasn't thinking tomeet youhereor that you would ride so early at all:  forif youpleasesirI was going to fetch a chicken for your Lordship'sbreakfastas my mistress said you would like one; and I thoughtinstead ofgoing to Farmer Brigg'sdown Birmingham wayas she toldmeI'd goto Farmer Bird'swhere the chickens is bettersirmyLordImean."

"SaidI'd like a chicken for breakfastthe old cat! whyI told herI wouldnot eat a morsel to save me I was so druI mean I ate sucha goodsupper last night and I bade her to send me a pot of smallbeerandto tell you to bring it; and the wretch said you were goneout withyour sweetheart"

"What!John Hayesthe creature?  Ohwhat a naughty story-tellingwoman!"

"Youhad walked out with your sweetheartand I was not to see youany more;and I was mad with rageand ready to kill myself; I wasmy dear."

"Ohsir! prayPRAY don't."

"Foryour sakemy sweet angel?"

"Yesfor my sakeif such a poor girl as me can persuade noblegentlemen."

"Wellthenfor YOUR sakeI won't; noI'll live; but why live?Hell andfuryif I do live I'm miserable without you; I amyouknow I amyou adorablebeautifulcruelwicked Catherine!"

Catherine'sreply to this was "Labless me!  I do believe yourhorse isrunning away."  And so he was! for having finished his mealin thehedgehe first looked towards his master and pausedas itwereirresolutely; thenby a sudden impulseflinging up his tailand hishind legshe scampered down the road.

Mrs. Hallran lightly after the horseand the Captain after Mrs.Hall; andthe horse ran quicker and quicker every momentand mighthave ledthem a long chasewhen lo! debouching from a twist in theroadcamethe detachment of cavalry and infantry under Mr. Brock.The momenthe was out of sight of the villagethat gentleman haddesiredthe blacksmith to dismountand had himself jumped into thesaddlemaintaining the subordination of his army by drawing apistol andswearing that he would blow out the brains of any personwhoattempted to run.  When the Captain's horse came near thedetachmenthe pausedand suffered himself to be caught by TummasBullockwho held him until the owner and Mrs. Catherine came up.

Mr.Bullock looked comically grave when he saw the pair; but theCorporalgraciously saluted Mrs. Catherineand said it was a fineday forwalking.

"Lasirand so it is" said shepanting in a very pretty anddistressingway"but not for RUNNING.  I do protest ha! and vowthat Ireally can scarcely stand.  I'm so tired of running afterthatnaughty naughty horse!"

"HowdoCattern?" said Thomas.  "ZeeI be going azouldieringbecausethee wouldn't have me."  And here Mr. Bullock grinned. Mrs.Catherinemade no sort of replybut protested once more she shoulddie ofrunning.  If the truth were toldshe was somewhat vexed atthearrival of the Corporal's detachmentand had had very seriousthoughtsof finding herself quite tired just as he came in sight.

A suddenthought brought a smile of bright satisfaction in theCaptain'seyes.  He mounted the horse which Tummas still held."TIREDMrs Catherine" said he"and for my sake?  Byheavens! youshan'twalk a step farther.  Noyou shall ride back with a guard ofhonour! Back to the villagegentlemen! Rightabout face! ShowthosefellowsCorporalhow to rightabout face.  Nowmy dearmountbehind me on Snowball; he's easy as a sedan.  Put your dearlittlefoot on the toe of my boot.  There nowup! jump! hurrah!"

"THAT'Snot the wayCaptain" shouted out Thomasstill holding onto therein as the horse began to move.  "Thee woan't goo withhimwill theeCatty?"

But Mrs.Catherinethough she turned away her headnever let goher holdround the Captain's waist; and heswearing a dreadful oathat Thomasstruck him across the face and hands with his ridingwhip. The poor fellowwho at the first cut still held on to thereindropped it at the secondand as the pair galloped offsatdown onthe roadside and fairly began to weep.

"MARCHyou dog!" shouted out the Corporal a minute after.  And sohe did: and when next he saw Mrs. Catherine she WAS the Captain'slady sureenoughand wore a grey hatwith a blue featherand redriding-coattrimmed with silverlace.  But Thomas was then on abare-backedhorsewhich Corporal Brock was flanking round a ringand he wasso occupied looking between his horse's ears that he hadno time tocry thenand at length got the better of his attachment.

                   *          *         *

This beinga good opportunity for closing Chapter Iwe oughtperhapsto make some apologies to the public for introducing themtocharacters that are so utterly worthless; as we confess all ourheroeswith the exception of Mr. Bullockto be.  In this we haveconsultednature and historyrather than the prevailing taste andthegeneral manner of authors.  The amusing novel of "ErnestMaltravers"for instanceopens with a seduction; but then it isperformedby people of the strictest virtue on both sides:  andthere isso much religion and philosophy in the heart of theseducerso much tender innocence in the soul of the seducedthatbless thelittle dears! their very peccadilloes make one interestedin them;and their naughtiness becomes quite sacredso deliciouslyis itdescribed.  Nowif we ARE to be interested by rascallyactionslet us have them with plain facesand let them beperformednot by virtuous philosophersbut by rascals.  Anothercleverclass of novelists adopt the contrary systemand createinterestby making their rascals perform virtuous actions.  Againstthesepopular plans we here solemnly appeal.  We saylet yourrogues innovels act like roguesand your honest men like honestmen; don'tlet us have any juggling and thimble-rigging with virtueand viceso thatat the end of three volumesthe bewilderedreadershall not know which is which; don't let us find ourselveskindlingat the generous qualities of thievesand sympathising withtherascalities of noble hearts.  For our own partwe know what thepubliclikesand have chosen rogues for our charactersand havetaken astory from the "Newgate Calendar" which we hope to followout toedification.  Among the roguesat leastwe will havenothingthat shall be mistaken for virtues.  And if the Britishpublic(after calling for three or four editions) shall give upnotonly ourrascalsbut the rascals of all other authorswe shall becontent:weshall apply to Government for a pensionand think thatour dutyis done.

 

CHAPTERII
IN WHICH ARE DEPICTED THE PLEASURES OF ASENTIMENTALATTACHMENT.

It willnot be necessaryfor the purpose of this historyto followout veryclosely all the adventures which occurred to Mrs. Catherinefrom theperiod when she quitted the "Bugle" and became theCaptain'slady; for although it would be just as easy to show asnotthatthe young womanby following the man of her hearthadonlyyielded to an innocent impulseand by remaining with him for acertainperiodhad proved the depth and strength of her affectionfor himalthough we might make very tender and eloquent apologiesfor theerror of both partiesthe reader might possibly bedisgustedat such descriptions and such arguments:  whichbesidesarealready done to his hand in the novel of "Ernest Maltravers"beforementioned.

From thegentleman's manner towards Mrs. Catherineand from hisbrilliantand immediate successthe reader will doubtless haveconcludedin the first placethat Gustavus Adolphus had not a veryviolentaffection for Mrs. Cat; in the second placethat he was aprofessionallady-killerand therefore likely at some period toresume hisprofession; thirdlyand to concludethat a connectionso begunmustin the nature of thingsbe likely to end speedily.

And sotodo the Count justiceit wouldif he had been allowed tofollow hisown inclination entirely; for (as many young gentlemenwillandyet no praise to them) in about a week he began to beindifferentin a month to be wearyin two months to be angryinthree toproceed to blows and curses; andin shortto repent mostbitterlythe hour when he had ever been induced to present Mrs.Catherinethe toe of his bootfor the purpose of lifting her on tohis horse.

"Egad!"said he to the Corporal one daywhen confiding his griefsto Mr.Brock"I wish my toe had been cut off before ever it servedas aladder to this little vixen."

"Orperhaps your honour would wish to kick her downstairs with it?"delicatelysuggested Mr. Brock.

"Kickher! whythe wench would hold so fast by the banisters that ICOULD notkick her downMr. Brock.  To tell you a bit of a secretI HAVEtried as much not to kick her nononot kick hercertainly: that's ungentlemanly but to INDUCE her to go back tothatcursed pot-house where we fell in with her.  I have given hermanyhints"

"OhyesI saw your honour give her one yesterday with a mug ofbeer. By the lawsas the ale run all down her faceand sheclutched aknife to run at youI don't think I ever saw such ashe-devil! That woman will do for your honour some dayif youprovokeher."

"Dofor ME?  Nohang itMr. Brocknever!  She loves everyhair ofmy headsir:  she worships meCorporal.  Egadyes! she worshipsme; andwould much sooner apply a knife to her own weas and thanscratch mylittle finger!"

"Ithink she does" said Mr. Brock.

"I'msure of it" said the Captain.  "Womenlook youarelikedogstheylike to be ill-treated:  they like itsir; I know theydo. I never had anything to do with a woman in my life but Iill-treatedherand she liked me the better."

"Mrs.Hall ought to be VERY fond of you thensure enough!" said Mr.Corporal.

"Veryfond;haha! Corporalyou wag you and so she IS very fond.Yesterdayafter the knife-and-beer scene no wonder I threw theliquor inher face:  it was so dev'lish flat that no gentleman coulddrink it: and I told her never to draw it till dinner-time"

"Ohit was enough to put an angel in a fury!" said Brock.

"Wellyesterdayafter the knife businesswhen you had got thecarver outof her handoff she flings to her bedroomwill not eata bit ofdinner forsoothand remains locked up for a couple ofhours. At two o'clock afternoon (I was over a tankard)out comesthe littleshe-devilher face paleher eyes blearedand the tipof hernose as red as fire with sniffling and weeping.  Making formy hand'Max' says she'will you forgive me?'  'What!' says I.'Forgive amurderess?' says I.  'Nocurse menever!'  'Yourcrueltywill kill me' sobbed she.  'Cruelty be hanged!' says I;'didn'tyou draw that beer an hour before dinner?'  She could saynothing toTHISyou knowand I swore that every time she did soIwouldfling it into her face again.  Whereupon back she flounced toherchamberwhere she wept and stormed until night-time."

"Whenyou forgave her?"

"IDID forgive herthat's positive.  You see I had supped at the'Rose'along with Tom Trippet and half-a-dozen pretty fellows; and Ihad easeda great fat-headed Warwickshire landjunker what d'ye callhim?squireof forty pieces; and I'm dev'lish good-humoured whenI've wonand so Cat and I made it up:  but I've taught her never tobring mestale beer again haha!"

Thisconversation will explaina great deal better than anydescriptionof ourshowever eloquentthe state of things asbetweenCount Maximilian and Mrs. Catherineand the feelings whichtheyentertained for each other.  The woman loved himthat was thefact. Andas we have shown in the previous chapter how John Hayesamean-spirited fellow as ever breathedin respect of all otherpassions apigmywas in the passion of love a giantand followedMrs.Catherine with a furious longing which might seem at the firstto beforeign to his nature; in the like mannerand playing atcross-purposesMrs. Hall had become smitten of the Captain; andashe saidtrulyonly liked him the better for the brutality which shereceivedat his hands.  For it is my opinionmadamthat love is abodilyinfirmityfrom which humankind can no more escape than fromsmall-pox;and which attacks every one of usfrom the first duke inthePeerage down to Jack Ketch inclusive:  which has no respect forrankvirtueor roguery in manbut sets each in his turn in afever;which breaks out the deuce knows how or whyandraging itsappointedtimefills each individual of the one sex with a blindfury andlonging for some one of the other (who may be puregentleblue-eyedbeautifuland good; or vileshrewishsquintinghunchbackedand hideousaccording to circumstances and luck);which diesawayperhapsin the natural courseif left to have itswaybutwhich contradiction causes to rage more furiously thanever. Is not historyfrom the Trojan war upwards and downwardsfull ofinstances of such strange inexplicable passions?  Was notHelenbythe most moderate calculationninety years of age whenshe wentoff with His Royal Highness Prince Paris of Troy?  Was notMadame LaValliere ill-madeblear-eyedtallow-complexionedscraggyand with hair like tow?  Was not Wilkes the ugliestcharmingestmost successful man in the world?  Such instances mightbe carriedout so as to fill a volume; but cui bono?  Love is fateand notwill; its origin not to be explainedits progressirresistible: and the best proof of this may be had at Bow Streetany daywhere if you ask any officer of the establishment how theytake mostthieveshe will tell you at the houses of the women.They mustsee the dear creatures though they hang for it; they willlovethough they have their necks in the halter.  And with regardto theother positionthat ill-usage on the part of the man doesnotdestroy the affection of the womanhave we not numberlesspolice-reportsshowing howwhen a bystander would beat a husbandforbeating his wifeman and wife fall together on the interloperand punishhim for his meddling?

Thesepointsthenbeing settled to the satisfaction of allpartiesthe reader will not be disposed to question the assertionthat Mrs.Hall had a real affection for the gallant Countand grewas Mr.Brock was pleased to saylike a beefsteakmore tender asshe wasthumped.  Poor thingpoor thing! his flashy airs and smartlooks hadovercome her in a single hour; and no more is wanted toplungeinto love over head and ears; no more is wanted to make afirst lovewithand a woman's first love lasts FOR EVER (a man'stwenty-fourthor twenty-fifth is perhaps the best):  you can't killitdowhat you will; it takes rootand lives and even growsnevermind whatthe soil may be in which it is plantedor the bitterweather itmust bear often as one has seen a wallflower grow outof astone.

In thefirst weeks of their unionthe Count had at least beenliberal toher:  she had a horse and fine clothesand receivedabroadsome of those flattering attentions which she held at suchhighprice.  He hadhoweversome ill-luck at playor had beenforced topay some billsor had some other satisfactory reason forbeingpoorand his establishment was very speedily diminished.  Hearguedthatas Mrs. Catherine had been accustomed to wait on othersall herlifeshe might now wait upon herself and him; and when theincidentof the beer aroseshe had been for some time employed astheCount's housekeeperwith unlimited superintendence over hiscomforthis cellarhis linenand such matters as bachelors aredelightedto make over to active female hands.  To do the poorwretchjusticeshe actually kept the man's menage in the bestorder; norwas there any point of extravagance with which she couldbechargedexcept a little extravagance of dress displayed on thevery fewoccasions when he condescended to walk abroad with herandextravaganceof language and passion in the frequent quarrels theyhadtogether.  Perhaps in such a connection as subsisted betweenthisprecious couplethese faults are inevitable on the part of thewoman. She must be silly and vainand will pretty surely thereforebe fond ofdress; and she mustdisguise it as she willbeperpetuallymiserable and brooding over her fallwhich will causeher to beviolent and quarrelsome.

Suchatleastwas Mrs. Hall; and very early did the poor vainmisguidedwretch begin to reap what she had sown.

For a manremorse under these circumstances is perhaps uncommon.No stigmaaffixes on HIM for betraying a woman; no bitter pangs ofmortifiedvanity; no insulting looks of superiority from hisneighbourand no sentence of contemptuous banishment is readagainsthim; these all fall on the temptedand not on the tempterwho ispermitted to go free.  The chief thing that a man learnsafterhaving successfully practised on a woman is to despise thepoorwretch whom he has won.  The gamein factand the glorysuchas it isis all hisand the punishment alone falls upon her.Considerthisladieswhen charming young gentlemen come to woo youwith softspeeches.  You have nothing to winexcept wretchednessand scornand desertion.  Consider thisand be thankful to yourSolomonsfor telling it.

It came topassthenthat the Count had come to have a perfectcontemptand indifference for Mrs. Hall; how should he not for ayoungperson who had given herself up to him so easily? and wouldhave beenquite glad of any opportunity of parting with her.  Butthere wasa certain lingering shame about the manwhich preventedhim fromsaying at once and abruptly"Go!" and the poor thing didnot chooseto take such hints as fell out in the course of theirconversationand quarrels.  And so they kept on togetherhetreatingher with simple insultand she hanging on desperatelybywhateverfeeble twig she could findto the rock beyond which allwasnaughtor deathto her.

Wellafter the night with Tom Trippet and the pretty fellows at the"Rose"to which we have heard the Count allude in the conversationjustrecordedFortune smiled on him a good deal; for theWarwickshiresquirewho had lost forty pieces on that occasioninsistedon having his revenge the night after; whenstrange tosayahundred and fifty more found their way into the pouch of hisExcellencythe Count.  Such a sum as this quite set the youngnoblemanafloat againand brought back a pleasing equanimity to hismindwhich had been a good deal disturbed in the former difficultcircumstances;and in thisfor a little and to a certain extentpoor Cathad the happiness to share.  He did not alter the style ofhisestablishmentwhich consistedas beforeof herself and asmallperson who acted as scourerkitchen-wenchand scullion; Mrs.Catherinealways putting her hand to the principal pieces of thedinner;but he treated his mistress with tolerable good-humour; orto speakmore correctlywith such bearable brutality as might beexpectedfrom a man like him to a woman in her condition.  Besidesa certainevent was about to take placewhich not unusually occursincircumstances of this natureand Mrs. Catherine was expectingsoon tolie in.

TheCaptaindistrusting naturally the strength of his own paternalfeelingshad kindly endeavoured to provide a parent for the cominginfant;and to this end had opened a negotiation with our friend Mr.ThomasBullockdeclaring that Mrs. Cat should have a fortune oftwentyguineasand reminding Tummas of his ancient flame for her:but Mr.Tummaswhen this proposition was made to himdeclined itwith manyoathsand vowed that he was perfectly satisfied with hispresentbachelor condition.  In this dilemmaMr. Brock steppedforwardwho declared himself very ready to accept Mrs. Catherineand herfortune:  and might possibly have become the possessor ofbothhadnot Mrs. Catthe moment she heard of the proposedarrangementwith fire in her eyesand rage ohhow bitter! inher heartprevented the success of the measure by proceedingincontinentlyto the first justice of the peaceand there swearingbefore hisworship who was the father of the coming child.

Thisproceedingwhich she had expected would cause not a littleindignationon the part of her lord and masterwas received by himstrangelyenoughwith considerable good-humour:  he swore that thewench hadserved him a good trickand was rather amused at theangertheoutbreak of fierce rage and contumelyand the wretchedwretchedtears of heartsick desperationwhich followed herannouncementof this step to him.  For Mr. Brockshe repelled hisoffer withscorn and loathingand treated the notion of a unionwith Mr.Bullock with yet fiercer contempt.  Marry him indeed! aworkhousepauper carrying a brown-bess!  She would have died soonershe saidor robbed on the highway.  And soto do her justiceshewould: for the little minx was one of the vainest creatures inexistenceand vanity (as I presume everybody knows) becomes THEprinciplein certain women's hearts their moral spectaclestheirconsciencetheir meat and drinktheir only rule of right andwrong.

As for Mr.Tummasheas we have seenwas quite unfriendly to thepropositionas she could be; and the Corporalwith a good deal ofcomicalgravityvowed thatas he could not be satisfied in hisdearestwisheshe would take to drinking for a consolation:  whichhestraightway did.

"ComeTummas" said he to Mr. Bullock "since we CAN'T have thegirlof ourheartswhyhang itTummaslet's drink her health!"  TowhichBullock had no objection.  And so strongly did thedisappointmentweigh upon honest Corporal Brockthat even whenafterunheard-of quantities of beerhe could scarcely utter a wordhe wasseen absolutely to weepandin accents almostunintelligibleto curse his confounded ill-luck at being deprivednot of awifebut of a child:  he wanted one sohe saidtocomforthim in his old age.

The timeof Mrs. Catherine's couche drew neararrivedand was gonethroughsafely.  She presented to the world a chopping boywhomight useif he likedthe Galgenstein arms with a bar-sinister;and in hernew cares and duties had not so many opportunities asusual ofquarrelling with the Count:  whoperhapsrespected hersituationorat leastwas so properly aware of the necessity ofquiet toherthat he absented himself from home morningnoonandnight.

TheCaptain hadit must be confessedturned these continuedabsencesto a considerable worldly profitfor he playedincessantly;andsince his first victory over the WarwickshireSquireFortune had been so favourable to himthat he had atvariousintervals amassed a sum of nearly a thousand poundswhichhe used tobring home as he won; and which he deposited in a strongironchestcunningly screwed down by himself under his own bed.This Mrs.Catherine regularly madeand the treasure underneath itcould beno secret to her.  Howeverthe noble Count kept the keyand boundher by many solemn oaths (that he discharged at herhimself)not to reveal to any other person the existence of thechest andits contents.

But it isnot in a woman's nature to keep such secrets; and theCaptainwho left her for days and daysdid not reflect that shewould seekfor confidants elsewhere.  For want of a femalecompanionshe was compelled to bestow her sympathies upon Mr.Brock;whoas the Count's corporalwas much in his lodgingsandwho didmanage to survive the disappointment which he hadexperiencedby Mrs. Catherine's refusal of him.

About twomonths after the infant's birththe Captainwho wasannoyed byits squallingput it abroad to nurseand dismissed itsattendant. Mrs. Catherine now resumed her household dutiesandwasasbeforeat once mistress and servant of the establishment.As suchshe had the keys of the beerand was pretty sure of theattentionsof the Corporal; who becameas we have saidin theCount'sabsencehis lady's chief friend and companion.  After themanner ofladiesshe very speedily confided to him all her domesticsecrets;the causes of her former discontent; the Count's ill-treatmentof her; the wicked names he called her; the prices thatall hergowns had cost her; how he beat her; how much money he wonand lostat play; how she had once pawned a coat for him; how he hadfour newoneslacedand paid for; what was the best way ofcleaningand keeping gold-laceof making cherry-brandypicklingsalmonetc.etc.  Her confidences upon all these subjects used tofolloweach other in rapid succession; and Mr. Brock becameerelongquite as well acquainted with the Captain's history for thelast yearas the Count himself: for he was carelessand forgotthings;women never do.  They chronicle all the lover's smallactionshis wordshis headachesthe dresses he has wornthethings hehas liked for dinner on certain days; all whichcircumstancescommonly are expunged from the male brain immediatelyafter theyhave occurredbut remain fixed with the female.

To Brockthenand to Brock only (for she knew no other soul)Mrs.Catbreathedin strictest confidencethe history of the Count'swinningsand his way of disposing of them; how he kept his moneyscreweddown in an iron chest in their room; and a very lucky fellowdid Brockconsider his officer for having such a large sum.  He andCat lookedat the chest:  it was smallbut mighty strongsureenoughand would defy picklocks and thieves.  Wellif any mandeservedmoneythe Captain did ("though he might buy me a few yardsof thatlace I love so" interrupted Cat)if any man deservedmoneyhedidfor he spent it like a princeand his hand wasalways inhis pocket.

It mustnow be stated that Monsieur de Galgenstein hadduring Cat'sseclusioncast his eyes upon a young lady of good fortunewhofrequentedthe Assembly at Birminghamand who was not a littlesmitten byhis title and person.  The "four new coatslacedandpaid for"as Cat saidhad been purchasedmost probablyby hisExcellencyfor the purpose of dazzling the heiress; and he and thecoats hadsucceeded so far as to win from the young woman an actualprofessionof loveand a promise of marriage provided Pa wouldconsent. This was obtainedfor Pa was a tradesman; and I supposeevery oneof my readers has remarked how great an effect a title hason thelower classes.  Yesthank Heaven! there is about a freebornBriton acringing basenessand lickspittle awe of rankwhich doesnot existunder any tyranny in Europeand is only to be found hereand inAmerica.

All thesenegotiations had been going on quite unknown to Cat; andas theCaptain had determinedbefore two months were outto flingthat youngwoman on the pavehe was kind to her in the meanwhile:peoplealways are when they are swindling youor meditating aninjuryagainst you.

The poorgirl had much too high an opinion of her own charms tosuspectthat the Count could be unfaithful to themand had nonotion ofthe plot that was formed against her.  But Mr. Brock had:for he hadseen many times a gilt coach with a pair of fat whitehorsesambling in the neighbourhood of the townand the Captain onhis blacksteed caracolling majestically by its side; and he hadremarked afatpudgypale-haired woman treading heavily down thestairs ofthe Assemblyleaning on the Captain's arm:  all these Mr.Brock hadseennot without reflection.  Indeedthe Count one dayin greatgood-humourhad slapped him on the shoulder and told himthat hewas about speedily to purchase a regiment; whenby hisgreatgodsMr. Brock should have a pair of colours.  Perhaps thispromiseoccasioned his silence to Mrs. Catherine hitherto; perhapshe neverwould have peached at all; and perhapsthereforethishistorywould never have been writtenbut for a small circumstancewhichoccurred at this period.

"Whatcan you want with that drunken old Corporal always about yourquarters?"said Mr. Trippet to the Count one dayas they sat overtheirwinein the midst of a merry companyat the Captain's rooms.

"What!"said he.  "Old Brock?  The old thief has been moreuseful tome thanmany a better man.  He is as brave in a row as a lionascunning inintrigue as a fox; he can nose a dun at an inconceivabledistanceand scent out a pretty woman be she behind ever so manystonewalls.  If a gentleman wants a good rascal nowI canrecommendhim.  I am going to reformyou knowand must turn himout of myservice."

"Andpretty Mrs. Cat?"

"Ohcurse pretty Mrs. Cat! she may go too."

"Andthe brat?"

"Whyyou have parishesand what nothere in England.  Egad! if agentlemanwere called upon to keep all his childrenthere would benoliving:  nostap my vitals! Croesus couldn't stand it."

"Noindeed" said Mr. Trippet:  "you are right; and when agentlemanmarrieshe is bound in honour to give up such lowconnectionsas are useful when he is a bachelor."

"Ofcourse; and give them up I willwhen the sweet Mrs. Dripping ismine. As for the girlyou can have herTom Trippetif you take afancy toher; and as for the Corporalhe may be handed over to mysuccessorin Cutts's: for I will have a regiment to myselfthat'spoz; andto take with me such a swindlingpimpingthievingbrandy-facedrascal as this Brock will never do.  Egad! he's adisgraceto the service.  As it isI've often a mind to have thesuperannuatedvagabond drummed out of the corps."

Althoughthis resume of Mr. Brock's character and accomplishmentswas veryjustit came perhaps with an ill grace from Count GustavusAdolphusMaximilianwho had profited by all his qualitiesand whocertainlywould never have given this opinion of them had he knownthat thedoor of his dining-parlour was openand that the gallantCorporalwho was in the passagecould hear every syllable thatfell fromthe lips of his commanding officer.  We shall not sayafter thefashion of the story-booksthat Mr. Brock listened with aflashingeye and a distended nostril; that his chest heavedtumultuouslyand that his hand fell down mechanically to his sidewhere itplayed with the brass handle of his sword.  Mr. Kean wouldhave gonethrough most of these bodily exercises had he been actingthe partof a villain enraged and disappointed like Corporal Brock;but thatgentleman walked away without any gestures of any kindandas gentlyas possible.  "He'll turn me out of the regimentwillhe?"says hequite piano; and then added (con molta espressione)"I'lldo for him."

And it isto be remarked how generallyin cases of this naturegentlemenstick to their word.

 

CHAPTERIII
IN WHICH A NARCOTIC IS ADMINISTEREDAND A GREAT DEALOF GENTEELSOCIETY DEPICTED

When theCorporalwho had retreated to the street-door immediatelyon hearingthe above conversationreturned to the Captain'slodgingsand paid his respects to Mrs. Catherinehe found that ladyin highgood-humour.  The Count had been with hershe saidalongwith afriend of hisMr. Trippet; had promised her twelve yards ofthe laceshe coveted so much; had vowed that the child should haveas muchmore for a cloak; and had not left her until he had sat withher for anhouror moreover a bowl of punchwhich he made onpurposefor her.  Mr. Trippet stayed too.  "A mighty pleasantman"said she;"only not very wiseand seemingly a good deal in liquor."

"Agood deal indeed!" said the Corporal.  "He was sotipsy just nowthat hecould hardly stand.  He and his honour were talking to NanFantail inthe market-place; and she pulled Trippet's wig offforwanting tokiss her."

"Thenasty fellow!" said Mrs. Cat"to demean himself with suchlowpeople asNan Fantailindeed!  Whyupon my conscience nowCorporalit was but an hour ago that Mr. Trippet swore he never sawsuch apair of eyes as mineand would like to cut the Captain'sthroat forthe love of me.  Nan Fantailindeed!"

"Nan'san honest girlMadam Catherineand was a great favourite oftheCaptain's before someone else came in his way.  No one can say awordagainst her not a word."

"AndprayCorporalwho ever did?" said Mrs. Catrather offended."Anastyugly slut!  I wonder what the men can see in her?"

"Shehas got a smart way with hersure enough; it's what amuses themenand"

"Andwhat?  You don't mean to say that my Max is fond of her NOW?"said Mrs.Catherinelooking very fierce.

"Ohno; not at all:  not of HER; that is"

"Notof HER!" screamed she.  "Of whomthen?"

"Ohpsha! nonsense!  Of youmy dearto be sure; who else shouldhe carefor?  Andbesideswhat business is it of mine?"  Andherewiththe Corporal began whistlingas if he would have no moreof theconversation.  But Mrs. Cat was not to be satisfiednotsheandcarried on her cross-questions.

"Whylook you" said the Corporalafter parrying many ofthese"Whylook youI'm an old foolCatherineand I must blab.That manhas been the best friend I ever hadand so I was quiet;but Ican't keep it in any longernohang me if I can!  It's mybeliefhe's acting like a rascal by you:  he deceives youCatherine;he's a scoundrelMrs. Hallthat's the truth on't."

Catherineprayed him to tell all he knew; and he resumed.

"Hewants you off his hands; he's sick of youand so brought herethat foolTom Trippetwho has taken a fancy to you.  He has not thecourage toturn you out of doors like a man; though indoors he cantreat youlike a beast.  But I'll tell you what he'll do.  In amonth hewill go to Coventryor pretend to go thereon recruitingbusiness. No such thingMrs. Hall; he's going on MARRIAGEbusiness;and he'll leave you without a farthingto starve or torotforhim.  It's all arrangedI tell you:  in a monthyou areto bestarved into becoming Tom Trippet's mistress; and his honouris tomarry rich Miss Drippingthe twenty-thousand-pounder fromLondon;and to purchase a regiment; and to get old Brock drummedout ofCutts's too" said the Corporalunder his breath.  But hemight havespoken outif he chose; for the poor young woman hadsunk onthe ground in a real honest fit.

"Ithought I should give it her" said Mr. Brock as he procured aglass ofwater; andlifting her on to a sofasprinkled the sameover her. "Hang it! how pretty she is."

                   *          *         *

When Mrs.Catherine came to herself againBrock's tone with her waskindandalmost feeling.  Nor did the poor wench herself indulge inanysubsequent shiverings and hystericssuch as usually follow thefainting-fitsof persons of higher degree.  She pressed him forfurtherexplanationswhich he gaveand to which she listened witha greatdeal of calmness; nor did many tearssobssighsorexclamationsof sorrow or anger escape from her:  only when theCorporalwas taking his leaveand said to her point-blank" WellMrs.Catherineand what do you intend to do?" she did not reply aword; butgave a look which made him exclaimon leaving the room

"Byheavens! the woman means murder!  I would not be the Holofernesto lie bythe side of such a Judith as that not I!"  And he wenthis wayimmersed in deep thought.  When the Captain returned atnightshedid not speak to him; and when he swore at her for beingsulkysheonly said she had a headacheand was dreadfully ill;with whichexcuse Gustavus Adolphus seemed satisfiedand left hertoherself.

He saw herthe next morning for a moment:  he was going a-shooting.

Catherinehad no friendas is usual in tragedies and romancesnomysterioussorceress of her acquaintance to whom she could apply forpoisonsoshe went simply to the apothecariespretending at eachthat shehad a dreadful toothacheand procuring from them as muchlaudanumas she thought would suit her purpose.

When shewent home again she seemed almost gay.  Mr. Brockcomplimentedher upon the alteration in her appearance; and she wasenabled toreceive the Captain at his return from shooting in such amanner asmade him remark that she had got rid of her sulks of themorningand might sup with themif she chose to keep her good-humour. The supper was got readyand the gentlemen had thepunch-bowlwhen the cloth was clearedMrs. Catherinewith herdelicatehandspreparing the liquor.

It isuseless to describe the conversation that took placeor toreckon thenumber of bowls that were emptied; or to tell how Mr.Trippetwho was one of the guestsand declined to play at cardswhen someof the others beganchose to remain by Mrs. Catherine'ssideandmake violent love to her.  All this might be toldand theaccounthowever faithfulwould not be very pleasing.  Noindeed!And herethough we are only in the third chapter of this historywe feelalmost sick of the characters that appear in itand theadventureswhich they are called upon to go through.  But how can wehelpourselves?  The public will hear of nothing but rogues; and theonly wayin which poor authorswho must livecan act honestly bythe publicand themselvesis to paint such thieves as they are:notdandypoeticalrose-water thieves; but real downrightscoundrelsleading scoundrelly livesdrunkenprofligatedissolutelow; as scoundrels will be.  They don't quote PlatolikeEugeneAram; or live like gentlemenand sing the pleasantestballads inthe worldlike jolly Dick Turpin; or prate eternallyabout "tokalon" like that precious cantingMaltraverswhom weall of ushave read about and pitied; or die whitewashed saintslike poor"Biss Dadsy" in "Oliver Twist."  Nomy dearmadamyouand yourdaughters have no right to admire and sympathise with anysuchpersonsfictitious or real:  you ought to be made cordially todetestscornloatheabhorand abominate all people of thiskidney. Men of genius like those whose works we have above alludedtohaveno business to make these characters interesting oragreeable;to be feeding your morbid fanciesor indulging theirownwithsuch monstrous food.  For our partsyoung ladieswe begyou tobottle up your tearsand not waste a single drop of them onany one ofthe heroes or heroines in this history:  they are allrascalsevery soul of themand behave "as sich." Keep yoursympathyfor those who deserve it:  don't carry itfor preferenceto the OldBaileyand grow maudlin over the company assembledthere.

Justthenhave the kindness to fancy that the conversation whichtook placeover the bowls of punch which Mrs. Catherine preparedwas suchas might be expected to take place where the host was adissolutedare-devillibertine captain of dragoonsthe guests forthe mostpart of the same classand the hostess a young womanoriginallyfrom a country alehouseand for the present mistress totheentertainer of the society.  They talkedand they drankandthey grewtipsy; and very little worth hearing occurred during thecourse ofthe whole evening.  Mr. Brock officiatedhalf as theservanthalf as the companion of the society.  Mr. Thomas Trippetmadeviolent love to Mrs. Catherinewhile her lord and master wasplaying atdice with the other gentlemen:  and on this nightstrange tosaythe Captain's fortune seemed to desert him.  TheWarwickshireSquirefrom whom he had won so muchhad an amazingrun ofgood luck.  The Captain called perpetually for more drinkand higherstakesand lost almost every throw.  Three hundredfourhundredsix hundred all his winnings of the previous months wereswallowedup in the course of a few hours.  The Corporal looked on;andto dohim justiceseemed very grave assum by sumthe Squirescoreddown the Count's losses on the paper before him.

Most ofthe company had taken their hats and staggered off.  TheSquire andMr. Trippet were the only two that remainedthe latterstilllingering by Mrs. Catherine's sofa and table; and as sheaswe havestatedhad been employed all the evening in mixing theliquor forthe gamestershe was at the headquarters of love anddrinkandhad swallowed so much of each as hardly to be able tospeak.

The dicewent rattling on; the candles were burning dimwith greatlongwicks.  Mr. Trippet could hardly see the Captainand thoughtas far ashis muzzy reason would let himthat the Captain could notsee him: so he rose from his chair as well as he couldand felldown onMrs. Catherine's sofa.  His eyes were fixedhis face waspalehisjaw hung down; and he flung out his arms and saidin amaudlinvoice"Ohyou byoo-oo-oo-tifile CathrineI must have akick-kick-iss."

"Beast!"said Mrs. Catherineand pushed him away.  The drunkenwretchfell off the sofaand on to the floorwhere he stayed; andaftersnorting out some unintelligible soundswent to sleep.

The dicewent rattling on; the candles were burning dimwith greatlongwicks.

"Seven'sthe main" cried the Count.  "Four.  Three to twoagainstthecaster."

"Ponies"said the Warwickshire Squire.

RattlerattlerattlerattleclatterNINE.  ClapclapclapclapELEVEN.  Clutterclutterclutterclutter:  "Sevenit is"says theWarwickshire Squire.  "That makes eight hundredCount."

"Onethrow for two hundred" said the Count.  "But stop! Catgiveus somemore punch."

Mrs. Catcame forward; she looked a little paleand her handtrembledsomewhat.  "Here is the punchMax" said she. It wassteaminghotin a large glass.  "Don't drink it all" saidshe;"leaveme some."

"Howdark it is!" said the Counteyeing it.

"It'sthe brandy" said Cat.

"Wellhere goes!  Squirecurse you! here's your healthand badluck toyou!" and he gulped off more than half the liquor at adraught. But presently he put down the glass and cried"Whatinfernalpoison is thisCat?"

"Poison!"said she.  "It's no poison.  Give me the glass." And shepledgedMaxand drank a little of it.  "'Tis good punchMaxandof mybrewing; I don't think you will ever get any better."  Andshewent backto the sofa againand sat downand looked at theplayers.

Mr. Brocklooked at her white face and fixed eyes with a grim kindofcuriosity.  The Count sputteredand cursed the horrid taste ofthe punchstill; but he presently took the boxand made histhreatenedthrow.

As beforethe Squire beat him; and having booked his winningsrosefrom tableas well as he might and besought to lead him downstairs;which Mr.Brock did.

Liquor hadevidently stupefied the Count:  he sat with his headbetweenhis handsmuttering wildly about ill-luckseven's themainbadpunchand so on.  The street-door banged to; and thesteps ofBrock and the Squire were hearduntil they could be heardno more.

"Max"said she; but he did not answer.  "Max" said sheagainlaying herhand on his shoulder.

"Curseyou" said that gentleman"keep offand don't be layingyour pawsupon me.  Go to bedyou jadeor tofor what I care;and giveme first some more puncha gallon more punchdo youhear?"

Thegentlemanby the curses at the commencement of this littlespeechand the request contained at the end of itshowed that hislossesvexed himand that he was anxious to forget themtemporarily.

"OhMax!" whimpered Mrs. Cat"you don't want any more punch?"

"Don't! Shan't I be drunk in my own houseyou cursed whimperingjadeyou?  Get out!" and with this the Captain proceeded toadministera blow upon Mrs. Catherine's cheek.

Contraryto her customshe did not avenge itor seek to do soason themany former occasions when disputes of this nature had arisenbetweenthe Count and her; but now Mrs. Catherine fell on her kneesandclasping her hands and looking pitifully in the Count's facecried"OhCountforgive meforgive me!"

"Forgiveyou!  What for?  Because I slapped your face?  Haha!I'llforgive you againif you don't mind."

"Ohnonono!" said shewringing her hands.  "It isn'tthat.MaxdearMaxwill you forgive me?  It isn't the blow I don't mindthat;it's"

"It'swhatyou maudlin fool?"

"IT'STHE PUNCH!"

The Countwho was more than half seas overhere assumed an air ofmuch tipsygravity.  "The punch!  NoI never will forgive youthatlast glassof punch.  Of all the foulbeastly drinks I ever tastedthat wasthe worst.  NoI never will forgive you that punch."

"Ohit isn't thatit isn't that!" said she.

"Itell you it is thatyou!  That punchI say that punch was nobetterthan pawaw-oison."  And here the Count's head sank backand hefell to snore.

"ITWAS POISON!" said she.

"WHAT!"screamed hewaking up at onceand spurning her away fromhim. "Whatyou infernal murderesshave you killed me?"

"OhMax! don't kill meMax!  It was laudanum indeed it was. Youwere goingto be marriedand I was furiousand I went and got"

"Holdyour tongueyou fiend" roared out the Count; and with morepresenceof mind than politenesshe flung the remainder of theliquor(andindeedthe glass with it) at the head of Mrs.Catherine. But the poisoned chalice missed its markand fell righton thenose of Mr. Tom Trippetwho was left asleep and unobservedunder thetable.

Bleedingstaggeringswearingindeed a ghastly sightup sprangMr.Trippetand drew his rapier.  "Come on" says he;"never saydie! What's the row?  I'm ready for a dozen of you."  Andhe mademany blindand furious passes about the room.

"Curseyouwe'll die together!" shouted the Countas he too pulledout histoledoand sprang at Mrs. Catherine.

"Help!murder! thieves!" shrieked she.  "Save meMr.Trippetsaveme!"and she placed that gentleman between herself and the Countand thenmade for the door of the bedroomand gained itand boltedit.

"Outof the wayTrippet" roared the Count" out of the wayyoudrunkenbeast!  I'll murder herI will I'll have the devil'slife." And here he gave a swinging cut at Mr. Trippet's sword:  itsent theweapon whirling clean out of his handand through a windowinto thestreet.

"Takemy lifethen" said Mr. Trippet:  "I'm drunkbut I'ma mananddamme! will never say die."

"Idon't want your lifeyou stupid fool.  Hark youTrippetwakeand besoberif you can.  That woman has heard of my marriage withMissDripping."

"Twentythousand pound" ejaculated Trippet.

"Shehas been jealousI tell youand POISONED us.  She has putlaudanuminto the punch."

"Whatin MY punch?" said Trippetgrowing quite sober and losinghiscourage.  "O Lord! O Lord!"

"Don'tstand howling therebut run for a doctor; 'tis our onlychance." And away ran Mr. Trippetas if the deuce were at hisheels.

The Counthad forgotten his murderous intentions regarding hismistressor had deferred them at leastunder the consciousness ofhis ownpressing danger.  And it must be saidin the praise of aman whohad fought for and against Marlborough and Tallardthat hiscourage inthis trying and novel predicament never for a momentdesertedhimbut that he showed the greatest daringas well asingenuityin meeting and averting the danger.  He flew to thesideboardwhere were the relics of a supperand seizing themustardand salt potsand a bottle of oilhe emptied them all intoa juginto which he further poured a vast quantity of hot water.Thispleasing mixture he thenwithout a moment's hesitationplacedto hislipsand swallowed as much of it as nature would allow him.But whenhe had imbibed about a quartthe anticipated effect wasproducedand he was enabledby the power of this ingeniousextemporaneousemeticto get rid of much of the poison which Mrs.Catherinehad administered to him.

He wasemployed in these efforts when the doctor enteredalong withMr. Brockand Mr. Trippet; who was not a little pleased to hear thatthepoisoned punch had not in all probability been given to him.  Hewasrecommended to take some of the Count's mixtureas aprecautionarymeasure; but this he refusedand retired homeleavingthe Count under charge of the physician and his faithfulcorporal.

It is notnecessary to say what further remedies were employed bythem torestore the Captain to health; but after some time thedoctorpronouncing that the danger washe hopedavertedrecommendedthat his patient should be put to bedand that somebodyshould sitby him; which Brock promised to do.

"Thatshe-devil will murder meif you don't" gasped the poorCount. "You must turn her out of the bedroom; or break open thedoorifshe refuses to let you in."

And thisstep was found to be necessary; forafter shouting manytimesandin vainMr. Brock found a small iron bar (indeedhe hadtheinstrument for many days in his pocket)and forced the lock.The roomwas emptythe window was open:  the pretty barmaid of the"Bugle"had fled.

"Thechest" said the Count "is the chest safe?"

TheCorporal flew to the bedunder which it was screwedandlookedand said"It IS safethank Heaven!"  The window wasclosed. The Captainwho was too weak to stand without helpwasundressedand put to bed.  The Corporal sat down by his side;slumberstole over the eyes of the patient; and his wakeful nursemarkedwith satisfaction the progress of the beneficent restorer ofhealth.

When theCaptain awokeas he did some time afterwardshe foundvery muchto his surprisethat a gag had been placed in his mouthand thatthe Corporal was in the act of wheeling his bed to anotherpart ofthe room.  He attempted to moveand gave utterance to suchunintelligiblesounds as could issue through a silk handkerchief.

"Ifyour honour stirs or cries out in the leastI will cut yourhonour'sthroat" said the Corporal.

And thenhaving recourse to his iron bar (the reader will now seewhy he wasprovided with such an implementfor he had beenmeditatingthis coup for some days)he proceeded first to attemptto burstthe lock of the little iron chest in which the Count kepthistreasureandfailing in thisto unscrew it from the ground;whichoperation he performed satisfactorily.

"YouseeCount" said hecalmly"when rogues fall out there'sthedeuce topay.  You'll have me drummed out of the regimentwill you?I'm goingto leave it of my own accordlook youand to live like agentlemanfor the rest of my days.  Schlafen Sie wohlnobleCaptain: bon repos.  The Squire will be with you pretty early inthemorningto ask for the money you owe him."

With thesesarcastic observations Mr. Brock departed; not by thewindowasMrs. Catherine had donebut by the doorquietlyand sointo thestreet.  And whenthe next morningthe doctor came tovisit hispatienthe brought with him a story howat the dead ofnightMr.Brock had roused the ostler at the stables where theCaptain'shorses were kept had told him that Mrs. Catherine hadpoisonedthe Countand had run off with a thousand pounds; and howhe and alllovers of justice ought to scour the country in pursuitof thecriminal.  For this end Mr. Brock mounted the Count's besthorse thatvery animal on which he had carried away Mrs. Catherine:and thuson a single nightCount Maximilian had lost his mistresshis moneyhis horsehis corporaland was very near losing hislife.

 

CHAPTERIV.
IN WHICH MRS. CATHERINE BECOMES AN HONEST WOMAN AGAIN.

In thiswoeful plightmoneylesswifelesshorselesscorporallesswith a gagin his mouth and a rope round his bodyare we compelledto leavethe gallant Galgensteinuntil his friends and the progressof thishistory shall deliver him from his durance.  Mr. Brock'sadventureson the Captain's horse must likewise be pretermitted; forit is ourbusiness to follow Mrs. Catherine through the window bywhich shemade her escapeand among the various chances that befellher.

She hadone cause to congratulate herselfthat she had not herbaby ather back; for the infant was safely housed under the care ofa nurseto whom the Captain was answerable.  Beyond this herprospectswere but dismal:  no home to fly tobut a few shillingsin herpocketand a whole heap of injuries and dark revengefulthoughtsin her bosom:  it was a sad task to her to look eitherbackwardsor forwards.  Whither was she to fly?  How to live? Whatgoodchance was to befriend her?  There was an angel watching overthe stepsof Mrs. Catnot a good oneI thinkbut one of thosefrom thatunnameable placewho have their many subjects here onearthandoften are pleased to extricate them from worseperplexities.

Mrs. Catnowhad not committed murderbut as bad as murder; andas shefelt not the smallest repentance in her heart as she hadinthe courseof her life and connection with the Captainperformedandgloried in a number of wicked coquetriesidlenessesvanitiesliesfitsof angerslandersfoul abusesand what not she wasfairlybound over to this dark angel whom we have alluded to; and hedealt withherand aided heras one of his own children.

I do notmean to say thatin this straithe appeared to her in thelikenessof a gentleman in blackand made her sign her name inblood to adocument conveying over to him her soulin exchange forcertainconditions to be performed by him.  Such diabolical bargainshavealways appeared to me unworthy of the astute personage who issupposedto be one of the parties to them; and who would scarcely befoolenough to pay dearly for that which he can have in a few yearsfornothing.  It is notthento be supposed that a demon ofdarknessappeared to Mrs. Catand led her into a flaming chariotharnessedby dragonsand careering through air at the rate of athousandleagues a minute.  No such thing; the vehicle that was sentto aid herwas one of a much more vulgar description.

The"Liverpool carryvan" thenwhich in the year 1706 used toperformthe journey between London and that place in ten daysleftBirminghamabout an hour after Mrs. Catherine had quitted that town;and as shesat weeping on a hillsideand plunged in bittermeditationthe lumberingjingling vehicle overtook her.  Thecoachmanwas marching by the side of his horsesand encouragingthem tomaintain their pace of two miles an hour; the passengers hadsome ofthem left the vehiclein order to walk up the hill; and thecarriagehad arrived at the top of itandmeditating a brisk trotdown thedeclivitywaited there until the lagging passengers shouldarrive: when Jehucasting a good-natured glance upon Mrs.Catherineasked the pretty maid whence she was comeand whethershe wouldlike a ride in his carriage.  To the latter of whichquestionsMrs. Catherine replied truly yes; to the formerheranswer wasthat she had come from Stratford; whereasas we verywell knowshe had lately quitted Birmingham.

"Hastthee seen a woman pass this wayon a black horsewith alarge bagof goold over the saddle?" said Jehupreparing to mountupon theroof of his coach.

"Noindeed" said Mrs. Cat.

"Nora trooper on another horse after her no?  Wellthere be amortal rowdown Birmingham way about sich a one.  She have killedthey saynine gentlemen at supperand have strangled a Germanprince inbed.  She have robbed him of twenty thousand guineasandhave rodeaway on a black horse."

"Thatcan't be I" said Mrs. Catnaively"for I have but threeshillingsand a groat."

"Noit can't be theetrulyfor where's your bag of goold? andbesidesthee hast got too pretty a face to do such wicked things asto killnine gentlemen and strangle a German prince."

"Lawcoachman" said Mrs. Catblushing archly"LawcoachmanDOyou thinkso?"  The girl would have been pleased with a complimenteven onher way to be hanged; and the parley ended by Mrs. Catherinesteppinginto the carriagewhere there was room for eight people atleastandwhere two or three individuals had already taken theirplaces. For these Mrs. Catherine had in the first place to make astorywhich she did; and a very glib one for a person of her yearsandeducation.  Being asked whither she was boundand how she cameto bealone of a morning sitting by a road-sideshe invented a neathistorysuitable to the occasionwhich elicited much interest fromherfellow-passengers:  one in particulara young manwho hadcaught aglimpse of her face under her hoodwas very tender in hisattentionsto her.

Butwhether it was that she had been too much fatigued by theoccurrencesof the past day and sleepless nightor whether thelittlelaudanum which she had drunk a few hours previously now beganto actupon hercertain it is that Mrs. Cat now suddenly grew sickfeverishand extraordinarily sleepy; and in this state shecontinuedfor many hoursto the pity of all her fellow-travellers.At lengththe "carryvan" reached the innwhere horses andpassengerswere accustomed to rest for a few hoursand to dine; andMrs.Catherine was somewhat awakened by the stir of the passengersand thefriendly voice of the inn-servant welcoming them to dinner.Thegentleman who had been smitten by her beauty now urged her verypolitelyto descend; whichtaking the protection of his armsheaccordinglydid.

He madesome very gallant speeches to her as she stepped out; andshe musthave been very much occupied by themor wrapt up in herownthoughtsor stupefied by sleepfeverand opiumfor she didnot takeany heed of the place into which she was going:  whichhadshe doneshe would probably have preferred remaining in the coachdinnerlessand ill.  Indeedthe inn into which she was about tomake herentrance was no other than the "Bugle" from which she setforth atthe commencement of this history; and which thenas nowwas keptby her relativethe thrifty Mrs. Score.  That goodlandladyseeing a ladyin a smart hood and cloakleaningas iffaintupon the arm of a gentleman of good appearanceconcludedthem to beman and wifeand folks of quality too; and with muchdiscriminationas well as sympathyled them through the publickitchen toher own private parlouror barwhere she handed thelady anarmchairand asked what she would like to drink.  By thistimeandindeed at the very moment she heard her aunt's voiceMrs.Catherinewas aware of her situation; and when her companionretiredand the landladywith much officiousnessinsisted onremovingher hoodshe was quite prepared for the screech ofsurprisewhich Mrs. Score gave on dropping itexclaiming"Whylawbless usit's our Catherine!"

"I'mvery illand tiredaunt" said Cat; "and would give theworldfor a fewhours' sleep."

"Afew hours and welcomemy loveand a sack-posset too.  You dolook sadlytired and poorlysure enough.  AhCatCat! you greatladies aresad rakesI do believe.  I wager nowthat with all yourballsandcarriagesand fine clothesyou are neither so happy norso well aswhen you lived with your poor old auntwho used to loveyou so." And with these gentle wordsand an embrace or twowhichMrs.Catherine wondered atand permittedshe was conducted to thatvery bedwhich the Count had occupied a year previouslyandundressedand laid in itand affectionately tucked up by her auntwhomarvelled at the fineness of her clothesas she removed thempiece bypiece; and when she saw that in Mrs. Catherine's pocketthere wasonly the sum of three and fourpencesaidarchly"Therewas noneed of moneyfor the Captain took care of that."

Mrs. Catdid not undeceive her; and deceived Mrs. Score certainlywasforshe imagined the well-dressed gentleman who led Cat fromthecarriage was no other than the Count; andas she had heardfrom timeto timeexaggerated reports of the splendour of theestablishmentwhich he kept upshe was induced to look upon herniece withthe very highest respectand to treat her as if she werea finelady.  "And so she IS a fine lady" Mrs. Score hadsaidmonthsagowhen some of these flattering stories reached herandshe hadovercome her first fury at Catherine's elopement.  "Thegirlwas verycruel to leave me; but we must recollect that she is asgood asmarried to a noblemanand must all forget and forgiveyouknow."

Thisspeech had been made to Doctor Dobbswho was in the habit oftaking apipe and a tankard at the "Bugle" and it had been roundlyreprobatedby the worthy divine; who told Mrs. Scorethat the crimeofCatherine was only the more heinousif it had been committedfrominterested motives; and protested thatwere she a princesshewouldnever speak to her again.  Mrs. Score thought and pronouncedtheDoctor's opinion to be very bigoted; indeedshe was one ofthosepersons who have a marvellous respect for prosperityand acorrespondingscorn for ill-fortune.  Whenthereforeshe returnedto thepublic roomshe went graciously to the gentleman who had ledMrs.Catherine from the carriageand with a knowing curtseywelcomedhim to the "Bugle;" told him that his lady would not cometo dinnerbut bade her saywith her best love to his Lordshipthat theride had fatigued herand that she would lie in bed for anhour ortwo.

Thisspeech was received with much wonder by his Lordship; who wasindeednoother than a Liverpool tailor going to London to learnfashions;but he only smiledand did not undeceive the landladywhoherself went offsmilinglyto bustle about dinner.

The two orthree hours allotted to that meal by the liberalcoachmastersof those days passed awayand Mr. Coachmandeclaringthat hishorses were now rested enoughand that they had twelvemiles torideput the steeds toand summoned the passengers.  Mrs.Scorewhohad seen with much satisfaction that her niece was reallyillandher fever more violentand hoped to have her for many daysan inmatein her housenow came forwardand casting upon theLiverpooltailor a look of profound but respectful melancholysaid"MyLord (for I recollect your Lordship quite well)the ladyupstairsis so illthat it would be a sin to move her:  had I notbettertell coachman to take down your Lordship's trunksand thelady'sand make you a bed in the next room?"

Very muchto her surprisethis proposition was received with a roaroflaughter.  "Madam" said the person addressed"I'mnot a lordbut atailor and draper; and as for that young womanbefore to-dayI neverset eyes on her."

"WHAT!"screamed out Mrs. Score.  "Are not you the Count?  Doyoumean tosay that you a'n't Cat's?  DO you mean to say that youdidn'torder her bedand that you won't pay this here little bill?"And withthis she produced a documentby which the Count's lady wasmade herdebtor in a sum of half-a-guinea.

Thesepassionate words excited more and more laughter.  "Pay itmyLord"said the coachman; "and then come alongfor time presses.""Ourrespects to her Ladyship" said one passenger.  "Tellher myLord can'twait" said another; and with much merriment one and allquittedthe hotelentered the coachand rattled off.

Dumbpalewith terror and ragebill in handMrs. Score hadfollowedthe company; but when the coach disappearedher sensesreturned. Back she flew into the innoverturning the ostlernotdeigningto answer Doctor Dobbs (whofrom behind softtobacco-fumesmildly asked the reason of her disturbance)andboundingupstairs like a furyshe rushed into the room whereCatherinelay.

"Wellmadam!" said shein her highest key"do you mean that youhave comeinto this here house to swindle me?  Do you dare for tocome withyour airs hereand call yourself a nobleman's ladyandsleep inthe best bedwhen you're no better nor a common tramper?I'll thankyouma'amto get outma'am.  I'll have no sick paupersin thishousema'am.  You know your way to the workhousema'amand thereI'll trouble you for to go."  And here Mrs. Scoreproceededquickly to pull off the bedclothes; and poor Cat aroseshiveringwith fright and fever.

She had nospirit to answeras she would have done the day beforewhen anoath from any human being would have brought half-a-dozenfrom herin return; or a knifeor a plateor a leg of muttonifsuch hadbeen to her hand.  She had no spirit left for suchrepartees;but in reply to the above words of Mrs. Scoreand agreat manymore of the same kind which are not necessary for ourhistorybut which that lady uttered with inconceivable shrillnessandvolubilitythe poor wench could say littleonly sob andshiverand gather up the clothes againcrying"Ohauntdon'tspeakunkind to me!  I'm very unhappyand very ill!"

"Illyou strumpet! illbe hanged!  Ill is as ill does; and if youare illit's only what you merit.  Get out! dress yourself tramp!Get to theworkhouseand don't come to cheat me any more!  DressYourselfdo you hear?  Satin petticoat forsoothand lace to hersmock!"

Poorwretchedchatteringburningshivering Catherine huddled onherclothes as well she might:  she seemed hardly to know or seewhat shewas doingand did not reply a single word to the many thatthelandlady let fall.  Cat tottered down the narrow stairsandthroughthe kitchenand to the door; which she caught hold ofandpausedawhileand looked into Mrs. Score's faceas for one morechance. "Get outyou nasty trull!" said that ladysternlywitharmsakimbo; and poor Catherinewith a most piteous scream andoutgush oftearslet go of the door-post and staggered away intothe road.

                   *          *         *

"Whynoyesnoit is poor Catherine Hallas I live!" saidsomebodystarting upshoving aside Mrs. Score very rudelyandrunninginto the roadwig off and pipe in hand.  It was honestDoctorDobbs; and the result of his interview with Mrs. Cat wasthat hegave up for ever smoking his pipe at the "Bugle;" and thatshe laysick of a fever for some weeks in his house.

                   *          *         *

Over thispart of Mrs. Cat's history we shall be as brief aspossible;forto tell the truthnothing immoral occurred duringher wholestay at the good Doctor's house; and we are not going toinsult thereader by offering him silly pictures of pietycheerfulnessgood senseand simplicity; which are milk-and-watervirtuesafter alland have no relish with them like a good strongvicehighly peppered.  Wellto be short:  Doctor Dobbsthoughaprofoundtheologianwas a very simple gentleman; and before Mrs.Cat hadbeen a month in the househe had learned to look upon heras one ofthe most injured and repentant characters in the world;and hadwith Mrs. Dobbsresolved many plans for the future welfareof theyoung Magdalen.  "She was but sixteenmy loverecollect"said theDoctor; "she was carried offnot by her own wish either.The Countswore he would marry her; andthough she did not leavehim untilthat monster tried to poison heryet think what a fineChristianspirit the poor girl has shown! she forgives him asheartilymore heartilyI am surethan I do Mrs. Score for turningher adriftin that wicked way."  The reader will perceive somedifferencein the Doctor's statement and ourswhich we assure himis thetrue one; but the fact isthe honest rector had had his talefrom Mrs.Catand it was not in his nature to doubtif she hadtold him ahistory ten times more wonderful.

Thereverend gentleman and his wife then laid their heads together;andrecollecting something of John Hayes's former attachment toMrs. Catthought that it might be advantageously renewedshouldHayes bestill constant.  Having very adroitly sounded Catherine (soadroitlyindeedas to ask her "whether she would like to marryJohnHayes?")that young woman had replied"No.  She hadlovedJohn Hayeshe had been her earlyonly love; but she was fallennowandnot good enough for him."  And this made the Dobbs familyadmire hermore and moreand cast about for means to bring themarriageto pass.

Hayes wasaway from the village when Mrs. Cat had arrived there; buthe did notfail to hear of her illnessand how her aunt haddesertedherand the good Doctor taken her in.  The worthy Doctorhimselfmet Mr. Hayes on the green; andtelling him that somerepairswere wanting in his kitchen begged him to step in andexaminethem.  Hayes first said noplumpand then nogently; andthenpishedand then psha'd; and thentrembling very muchwentin: and there sat Mrs. Catherinetrembling very much too.

Whatpassed between them?  If your Ladyship is anxious to knowthink ofthat morning when Sir John himself popped the question.Couldthere be anything more stupid than the conversation which tookplace? Such stuff is not worth repeating:  nonot when uttered bypeople inthe very genteelest of company; as for the amorousdialogueof a carpenter and an ex-barmaidit is worse still.Suffice itto saythat Mr. Hayeswho had had a year to recoverfrom hispassionand hadto all appearancesquelled itwas overhead andears again the very moment he saw Mrs. Catand had all hiswork to doagain.

Whetherthe Doctor knew what was going onI can't say; but thismatter iscertainthat every evening Hayes was now in the rectorykitchenor else walking abroad with Mrs. Catherine:  and whethershe ranaway with himor he with herI shall not make it mybusinessto inquire; but certainly at the end of three months (whichmust becrowded up into this one little sentence)another elopementtook placein the village.  "I should have prevented itcertainly"saidDoctor Dobbs whereat his wife smiled; "but the young peoplekept thematter a secret from me."  And so he wouldhad he knownit; butthough Mrs. Dobbs had made several attempts to acquaint himwith theprecise hour and method of the intended elopementheperemptorilyordered her to hold her tongue.  The fact isthat thematter hadbeen discussed by the rector's lady many times.  "YoungHayes"would she say "has a pretty little fortune and trade of hisown; he isan only sonand may marry as he likes; andthough notspeciallyhandsomegenerousor amiablehas an undeniable love forCat (whoyou knowmust not be particular)and the sooner shemarrieshimI thinkthe better.  They can't be married at ourchurch youknowand"  "Well" said the Doctor"ifthey aremarriedelsewhereI can't help itand know nothing about itlookyou." And upon this hint the elopement took place:  whichindeedwaspeaceably performed early one Sunday morning about a monthafter;Mrs. Hall getting behind Mr. Hayes on a pillionand all thechildrenof the parsonage giggling behind the window-blinds to seethe pairgo off.

Duringthis month Mr. Hayes had caused the banns to be published atthe townof Worcester; judging rightly that in a great town theywouldcause no such remark as in a solitary villageand thither heconductedhis lady.  O ill-starred John Hayes! whither do the darkFates leadyou?  O foolish Doctor Dobbsto forget that young peopleought tohonour their parentsand to yield to silly Mrs. Dobbs'sardentpropensity for making matches!

                   *          *         *

The LondonGazette of the 1st April1706contains a proclamationby theQueen for putting into execution an Act of Parliament for theencouragementand increase of seamenand for the better andspeediermanning of Her Majesty's fleetwhich authorises alljusticesto issue warrants to constablespetty constablesheadboroughsand tything-mento enter andif need beto breakopen thedoors of any houses where they shall believe desertingseamen tobe; and for the further increase and encouragement of thenavytotake able-bodied landsmen when seamen fail.  This Actwhichoccupies four columns of the Gazetteand another of similarlength andmeaning for pressing men into the armyneed not bequoted atlength here; but caused a mighty stir throughout thekingdom atthe time when it was in force.

As one hasseen or heardafter the march of a great armya numberof roguesand loose characters bring up the rear; in like manneratthe tailof a great measure of Statefollow many roguish personalinterestswhich are protected by the main body.  The great measureof Reformfor instancecarried along with it much private jobbingandswindling as could be shown were we not inclined to deal mildlywith theWhigs; and this Enlistment Actwhichin order to maintaintheBritish glories in Flandersdealt most cruelly with the Britishpeople inEngland (it is not the first time that a man has beenpinched athome to make a fine appearance abroad)created a greatcompany ofrascals and informers throughout the landwho lived uponit; orupon extortion from those who were subject to itor notbeingsubject to it were frightened into the belief that they were.

When Mr.Hayes and his lady had gone through the marriage ceremonyatWorcesterthe formerconcluding that at such a place lodgingand foodmight be procured at a cheaper ratelooked about carefullyfor themeanest public-house in the townwhere he might deposit hisbride.

In thekitchen of this inna party of men were drinking; andasMrs. Hayesdeclinedwith a proper sense of her superiorityto eatin companywith such low fellowsthe landlady showed her and herhusband toan inner apartmentwhere they might be served inprivate.

Thekitchen party seemedindeednot such as a lady would choose tojoin. There was one huge lanky fellowthat looked like a soldierand had ahalberd; another was habited in a sailor's costumewith afascinatingpatch over one eye; and a thirdwho seemed the leaderof thegangwas a stout man in a sailor's frock and a horseman'sjack-bootswhom one might fancyif he were anythingto be ahorse-marine.

Of one ofthese worthiesMrs. Hayes thought she knew the figure andvoice; andshe found her conjectures were truewhenall of suddenthreepeoplewithout "With your leave" or "By your leave"burstinto theroominto which she and her spouse had retired.  At theirhead wasno other than her old friendMr. Peter Brock; he had hissworddrawnand his finger to his lipsenjoining silenceas itweretoMrs. Catherine.  He with the patch on his eye seizedincontinentlyon Mr. Hayes; the tall man with the halberd kept thedoor; twoor three heroes supported the one-eyed man; whowith aloudvoiceexclaimed"Down with your arms no resistance! you aremyprisonerin the Queen's name!"

And hereat this lockwe shall leave the whole company until thenextchapter; which may possibly explain what they were.

 

CHAPTERV
CONTAINS MR. BROCK'S AUTOBIOGRAPHYAND OTHER MATTERS.

"Youdon't sure believe these men?" said Mrs. Hayesas soon as thefirstalarm caused by the irruption of Mr. Brock and his companionshadsubsided.  "These are no magistrate's men:  it is buta trick torob you ofyour moneyJohn."

"Iwill never give up a farthing of it!" screamed Hayes.

"Yonderfellow" continued Mrs. Catherine"I knowfor all hisdrawnsword and fierce looks; his name is-"

"Woodmadamat your service!" said Mr. Brock.  "I amfollower toMr.Justice Gobbleof this town:  a'n't ITim?" said Mr.Brock tothe tallhalberdman who was keeping the door.

"Yesindeed" said Timarchly; "we're all followers of hishonourJusticeGobble."

"Certainly!"said the one-eyed man.

"Ofcourse!" cried the man in the nightcap.

"Isupposemadamyou're satisfied NOW?" continued Mr. BrockaliasWood. "You can't deny the testimony of gentlemen like these; andourcommission is to apprehend all able-bodied male persons who cangive nogood account of themselvesand enrol them in the service ofHerMajesty.  Look at this Mr. Hayes" (who stood trembling inhisshoes). "Can there be a bolderpropererstraighter gentleman?We'll havehim for a grenadier before the day's over!"

"TakeheartJohn don't be frightened.  Psha! I tell you I know theman"cried out Mrs. Hayes:  "he is only here to extort money."

"Ohfor that matterI DO think I recollect the lady.  Let me see;where wasit?  At BirminghamI thinkayat Birminghamaboutthe timewhen they tried to murder Count Gal"

"Ohsir!" here cried Madam Hayesdropping her voice at once from atone ofscorn to one of gentlest entreaty"what is it you want withmyhusband?  I know notindeedif ever I saw you before. For whatdo youseize him?  How much will you take to release himand let usgo? Name the sum; he is richand"

"RICHCatherine!" cried Hayes.  "Rich! O heavens! SirIhavenothingbut my hands to support me:  I am a poor carpentersirworkingunder my father!"

"Hecan give twenty guineas to be free; I know he can!" said Mrs.Cat.

"Ihave but a guinea to carry me home" sighed out Hayes.

"Butyou have twenty at homeJohn" said his wife.  "Givethesebravegentlemen a writing to your motherand she will pay; and youwill letus free thengentlemen won't you?"

"Whenthe money's paidyes" said the leaderMr. Brock.

"Ohin course" echoed the tall man with the halberd.  "What'sathriflingdetintionmy dear?" continued headdressing Hayes."We'llamuse you in your absenceand drink to the health of yourprettywife here."

Thispromiseto do the halberdier justicehe fulfilled.  He calledupon thelandlady to produce the desired liquor; and when Mr. Hayesflunghimself at that lady's feetdemanding succour from herandaskingwhether there was no law in the land

"There'sno law at the 'Three Rooks' except THIS!" said Mr. Brock inreplyholding up a horse-pistol.  To which the hostessgrinningassentedand silently went her way.

After somefurther solicitationsJohn Hayes drew out the necessaryletter tohis fatherstating that he was pressedand would not beset freeunder a sum of twenty guineas; and that it would be of nouse todetain the bearer of the letterinasmuch as the gentlemenwho hadpossession of him vowed that they would murder him shouldany harmbefall their comrade.  As a further proof of theauthenticityof the lettera token was added:  a ring that Hayesworeandthat his mother had given him.

Themissives wereafter some consultationentrusted to the care ofthe tallhalberdierwho seemed to rank as second in command of theforcesthat marched under Corporal Brock.  This gentleman was calledindifferentlyEnsignMr.or even Captain Macshane; his intimatesoccasionallyin sport called him Noseyfrom the prominence of thatfeature inhis countenance; or Spindleshinsfor the very reasonwhichbrought on the first Edward a similar nickname.  Mr. Macshanethenquitted Worcestermounted on Hayes's horse; leaving allparties atthe "Three Rooks" not a little anxious for his return.

This wasnot to be expected until the next morning; and a weary nuitde nocesdid Mr. Hayes pass.  Dinner was servedandaccording topromiseMr. Brock and his two friends enjoyed the meal along withthe brideand bridegroom.  Punch followedand this was taken incompany;then came supper.  Mr. Brock alone partook of thistheother twogentlemen preferring the society of their pipes and thelandladyin the kitchen.

"Itis a sorry entertainmentI confess" said the ex-corporal"anda dismalway for a gentleman to spend his bridal night; but somebodymust staywith youmy dears:  for who knows but you might take afancy toscream out of windowand then there would be murderandthe deuceand all to pay.  One of us must stayand my friends lovea pipesoyou must put up with my company until they can relieveguard."

The readerwill notof courseexpect that three people who were topass thenighthowever unwillinglytogether in an inn-roomshouldsit theredumb and moodyand without any personal communication; onthecontraryMr. Brockas an old soldierentertained hisprisonerswith the utmost courtesyand did all that lay in hispowerbythe help of liquor and conversationto render theirdurancetolerable.  On the bridegroom his attentions were a gooddealthrown away:  Mr. Hayes consented to drink copiouslybut couldnot bemade to talk much; andin factthe fright of the seizurethe fatehanging over him should his parents refuse a ransomandthetremendous outlay of money which would take place should theyaccede toitweighed altogether on his mind so much as utterly tounman it.

As forMrs. CatI don't think she was at all sorry in her heart tosee theold Corporal:  for he had been a friend of old times deartimes toher; she had had from himtooand felt for himnot alittlekindness; and there was really a very tenderinnocentfriendshipsubsisting between this pair of rascalswho relishedmuch anight's conversation together.

TheCorporalafter treating his prisoners to punch in greatquantitiesproposed the amusement of cards:  over which Mr. Hayeshad notbeen occupied more than an hourwhen he found himself soexcessivelysleepy as to be persuaded to fling himself down on thebeddressed as he wasand there to snore away until morning.

Mrs.Catherine had no inclination for sleep; and the Corporalequallywakefulplied incessantly the bottleand held with her agreat dealof conversation.  The sleepwhich was equivalent to theabsenceof John Hayes took all restraint from their talk.  Sheexplainedto Brock the circumstances of her marriagewhich we havealreadydescribed; they wondered at the chance which had broughtthemtogether at the "Three Rooks;" nor did Brock at allhesitate totell herat once that his calling was quite illegaland that hisintentionwas simply to extort money.  The worthy Corporal had nottheslightest shame regarding his own professionand cut many jokeswith Mrs.Cat about her late one; her attempt to murder the Countand herfuture prospects as a wife.

And herehaving brought him upon the scene againwe may as wellshortlynarrate some of the principal circumstances which befell himafter hissudden departure from Birmingham; and which he narratedwith muchcandour to Mrs. Catherine.

He rodethe Captain's horse to Oxford (having exchanged his militarydress fora civil costume on the road)and at Oxford he disposed of"Georgeof Denmark" a great bargainto one of the heads ofcolleges. As soon as Mr. Brockwho took on himself the style andtitle ofCaptain Woodhad sufficiently examined the curiosities oftheUniversityhe proceeded at once to the capital:  the only placefor agentleman of his fortune and figure.

Here hereadwith a great deal of philosophical indifferenceinthe DailyPostthe Courantthe Observatorthe Gazetteand thechiefjournals of those dayswhich he made a point of examining at"Button's"and "Will's" an accurate description of his personhisclothesand the horse he rodeand a promise of fifty guineas'reward toany person who would give an account of him (so that hemight becaptured) to Captain Count Galgenstein at BirminghamtoMr. Murfeyat the "Golden Ball" in the Savoyor Mr. Bates at the"BlewAnchor in Pickadilly."  But Captain Woodin an enormousfull-bottomedperiwig that cost him sixty poundswith highredheels tohis shoesa silver swordand a gold snuff-boxand alargewound (obtainedhe saidat the siege of Barcelona)whichdisfiguredmuch of his countenanceand caused him to cover one eyewas insmall dangerhe thoughtof being mistaken for CorporalBrockthedeserter of Cutts's; and strutted along the Mall with asgrave anair as the very best nobleman who appeared there.  He wasgenerallyindeedvoted to be very good company; and as hisexpenseswere unlimited ("A few convent candlesticks" my dearheused towhisper"melt into a vast number of doubloons")hecommandedas good society as he chose to ask for:  and it wasspeedilyknown as a fact throughout townthat Captain Woodwho hadservedunder His Majesty Charles III. of Spainhad carried off thediamondpetticoat of Our Lady of Compostellaand lived upon theproceedsof the fraud.  People were good Protestants in those daysand many aone longed to have been his partner in the pious plunder.Allsurmises concerning his wealthCaptain Woodwith muchdiscretionencouraged.  He contradicted no reportbut was quiteready toconfirm all; and when two different rumours were positivelyput tohimhe used only to laughand say"My dear sirI don'tmake thestories; but I'm not called upon to deny them; and I giveyou fairwarningthat I shall assent to every one of them; so youmaybelieve them or notas you please."  And so he had thereputationof being a gentlemannot only wealthybut discreet.  Intruthitwas almost a pity that worthy Brock had not been agentlemanborn; in which casedoubtlesshe would have lived anddied asbecame his station; for he spent his money like a gentlemanhe lovedwomen like a gentlemanhe would fight like a gentlemanhegambledand got drunk like a gentleman.  What did he want else?Only amatter of six descentsa little moneyand an estatetorender himthe equal of St. John or Harley.  "Ahthose were merrydays!"would Mr. Brock sayfor he lovedin a good old agetorecountthe story of his London fashionable campaign; "and when Ithink hownear I was to become a great manand to die perhaps ageneralIcan't but marvel at the wicked obstinacy of my ill-luck."

"Iwill tell you what I didmy dear:  I had lodgings inPiccadillyas if Iwere a lord; I had two large periwigsand three suits oflacedclothes; I kept a little black dressed out like a Turk; Iwalkeddaily in the Mall; I dined at the politest ordinary in CoventGarden; Ifrequented the best of coffee-housesand knew all theprettyfellows of the town; I cracked a bottle with Mr. Addisonandlent manya piece to Dick Steele (a sad debauched roguemy dear);andaboveallI'll tell you what I did the noblest stroke thatsure evera gentleman performed in my situation.

"Onedaygoing into 'Will's' I saw a crowd of gentlemen gatheredtogetherand heard one of them say'Captain Wood! I don't know theman; butthere was a Captain Wood in Southwell's regiment.' Egaditwas myLord Peterborough himself who was talking about me.  Soputtingoff my hatI made a most gracious conge to my Lordandsaid Iknew HIMand rode behind him at Barcelona on our entry intothat town.

"'Nodoubt you didCaptain Wood' says my Lordtaking my hand;'and nodoubt you know me:  for many more know Tom Foolthan TomFoolknows.'  And with thisat which all of us laughedmy Lordcalled fora bottleand he and I sat down and drank it together.

"Wellhe was in disgraceas you knowbut he grew mighty fond ofmeandwould you believe it?nothing would satisfy him butpresentingme at Court!  Yesto Her Sacred Majesty the Queenandmy LadyMarlboroughwho was in high feather.  Aytrulythesentinelson duty used to salute me as if I were Corporal Johnhimself! I was on the high road to fortune.  Charley Mordaunt usedto call meJackand drink canary at my chambers; I used to make oneat my LordTreasurer's levee; I had even got Mr. Army-SecretaryWalpole totake a hundred guineas as a compliment:  and he hadpromisedme a majority:  when bad luck turnedand all my fine hopeswereoverthrown in a twinkling.

"Youseemy dearthat after we had left that gabyGalgensteinhahawith a gag in his mouthand twopence-halfpennyin his pocketthe honest Count was in the sorriest plightin theworld; owing money here and there to tradesmena coolthousandto the Warwickshire Squire:  and all this on eighty poundsa year! Wellfor a little time the tradesmen held their hands;while thejolly Count moved heaven and earth to catch hold of hisdearCorporal and his dear money-bags over againand placardedevery townfrom London to Liverpool with descriptions of my prettyperson. The bird was flownhoweverthe money clean goneandwhen therewas no hope of regaining itwhat did the creditors dobut clapmy gay gentleman into Shrewsbury gaol:  where I wish he hadrottedfor my part.

"Butno such luck for honest Peter Brockor Captain Woodas he wasin thosedays.  One blessed Monday I went to wait on Mr. Secretaryand hesqueezed my hand and whispered to me that I was to be Majorof aregiment in Virginia the very thing:  for you seemy dearIdidn'tcare about joining my Lord Duke in Flanders; being prettywell knownto the army there.  The Secretary squeezed my hand (ithad afifty-pound bill in it) and wished me joyand called meMajorandbowed me out of his closet into the ante-room; andasgay as maybeI went off to the 'Tilt-yard Coffee-house' inWhitehallwhich is much frequented by gentlemen of our professionwhere Ibragged not a little of my good luck.

"Amongstthe company were several of my acquaintanceand amongstthem agentleman I did not much care to seelook you!  I saw auniformthat I knewred and yellow facingsCutts'smy dear; andthe wearerof this was no other than his Excellency GustavusAdolphusMaximilianwhom we all know of!

"Hestared me full in the faceright into my eye (t'other one waspatchedyou know)and after standing stock-still with his mouthopengavea step backand then a step forwardand then screechedout'It'sBrock!'

"'Ibeg your pardonsir' says I; 'did you speak to me?'

"'I'llSWEAR it's Brock' cries Galas soon as he hears my voiceand laidhold of my cuff (a pretty bit of Mechlin as ever you sawby theway).

"'Sirrah!'says Idrawing it backand giving my Lord a littletouch ofthe fist (just at the last button of the waistcoatmydeararare place if you wish to prevent a man from speaking toomuch: it sent him reeling to the other end of the room). 'Ruffian!'says I. 'Dog!' says I.  'Insolent puppy and coxcomb! what do youmean bylaying your hand on me?'

"'FaithMajoryou giv him his BILLYFUL' roared out a long Irishunattachedensignthat I had treated with many a glass of Nantz atthetavern.  And soindeedI had; for the wretch could not speakfor someminutesand all the officers stood laughing at himas hewrithedand wriggled hideously.

"'Gentlementhis is a monstrous scandal' says one officer.  'Menof rankand honour at fists like a parcel of carters!'

"'Menof honour!' says the Countwho had fetched up his breath bythistime.  (I made for the doorbut Macshane held me and said'Majoryou are not going to shirk himsure?'  Whereupon I grippedhis handand vowed I would have the dog's life.)

"'Menof honour!' says the Count.  'I tell you the man is adesertera thiefand a swindler!  He was my corporaland ran awaywith athou'

"'Dogyou lie!' I roared outand made another cut at him with mycane; butthe gentlemen rushed between us.

"'Obluthanowns!' says honest Macshane'the lying scounthrel thisfellowis!  GentlemenI swear be me honour that Captain Wood waswounded atBarcelona; and that I saw him there; and that he and Iran awaytogether at the battle of Almanzaand bad luck to us.'

"Youseemy dearthat these Irish have the strongest imaginationsin theworld; and that I had actually persuaded poor Mac that he andI werefriends in Spain.  Everybody knew Macwho was a character inhis wayand believed him.

"'Strikea gentleman' says I.  'I'll have your bloodI will.'

"'Thisinstant' says the Countwho was boiling with fury;  'andwhere youlike.'

"'MontagueHouse' says I.  'Good' says he.  And off we went. Ingood timetoofor the constables came in at the thought of such adisturbanceand wanted to take us in charge.

"Butthe gentlemen presentbeing military menwould not hear ofthis. Out came Mac's rapierand that of half-a-dozen others; andtheconstables were then told to do their duty if they likedor totake acrown-pieceand leave us to ourselves.  Off they went; andpresentlyin a couple of coachesthe Count and his friendsI andminedrove off to the fields behind Montague House.  Oh that vilecoffee-house!why did I enter it?

"Wecame to the ground.  Honest Macshane was my secondand muchdisappointedbecause the second on the other side would not make afight ofitand exchange a few passes with him; but he was an oldmajoracool old handas brave as steeland no fool.  Welltheswords aremeasuredGalgenstein strips off his doubletand I myhandsomecut-velvet in like fashion.  Galgenstein flings off hishatand Ihanded mine overthe lace on it cost me twenty pounds.I longedto be at himfor curse him! I hate himand know that hehas nochance with me at sword's-play.

"'You'llnot fight in that periwigsure?' says Macshane.  'Ofcoursenot' says Iand took it off.

"Mayall barbers be roasted in flames; may all periwigsbobwigsscratchwigsand Ramillies cocksfrizzle in purgatory from this dayforth tothe end of time!  Mine was the ruin of me:  what might Inot havebeen now but for that wig!

"Igave it over to Ensign Macshaneand with it went what I hadquiteforgottenthe large patch which I wore over one eyewhichpopped outfiercestaringand lively as was ever any eye in theworld.

"'Comeon!' says Iand made a lunge at my Count; but he sprang back(the dogwas as active as a hareand knewfrom old timesthat Iwas hismaster with the small-sword)and his secondwonderingstruck upmy blade.

"'Iwill not fight that man' says helooking mighty pale.  'Iswear uponmy honour that his name is Peter Brock:  he was for twoyears mycorporaland desertedrunning away with a thousand poundsof mymoneys.  Look at the fellow!  What is the matter with hiseye?why did hewear a patch over it?  But stop!' says he.  'I have moreproof. Hand me my pocket-book.' And from itsure enoughheproducedthe infernal proclamation announcing my desertion!  'See ifthe fellowhas a scar across his left ear' (and I can't saymydearbutwhat I have:  it was done by a cursed Dutchman at theBoyne). 'Tell me if he has not got C.R. in blue upon his right arm'(and thereit is sure enough).  'Yonder swaggering Irishman may behisaccomplice for what I know; but I will have no dealings with Mr.Brocksave with a constable for a second.'

"'Thisis an odd storyCaptain Wood' said the old Major who actedfor theCount.

"'Ascounthrelly falsehood regarding me and my friend!' shouted outMr.Macshane; 'and the Count shall answer for it.'

"'Stopstop!' says the Major.  'Captain Wood is too gallant agentlemanI am surenot to satisfy the Count; and will show usthat hehas no such mark on his arm as only private soldiers putthere.'

"'CaptainWood' says I'will do no such thingMajor.  I'll fightthatscoundrel Galgensteinor youor any of youlike a man ofhonour;but I won't submit to be searched like a thief!'

"'Noin coorse' said Macshane.

"'Imust take my man off the ground' says the Major.

"'Welltake himsir' says Iin a rage; 'and just let me have thepleasureof telling him that he's a coward and a liar; and that mylodgingsare in Piccadillywhereif ever he finds courage to meetmehe mayhear of me!'

"'Faugh!I shpit on ye all' cries my gallant ally Macshane.  Andsureenough he kept his wordor all butsuiting the action to itat anyrate.

"Andso we gathered up our clothesand went back in our separatecoachesand no blood spilt.

"'Andis it thrue now' said Mr. Macshanewhen we were alone'isit thruenowall these divvles have been saying?'  'Ensign' saysI'you'rea man of the world?'

"''Deedand I amand insign these twenty-two years.'

"'Perhapsyou'd like a few pieces?' says I.

"'Faithand I should; for to tell you the secred thrutI've nottastedmate these four days.'

"'WellthenEnsignit IS true' says I; 'and as for meatyoushall havesome at the first cook-shop.'  I bade the coach stopuntil hebought a platefulwhich he ate in the carriagefor mytime wasprecious.  I just told him the whole story:  at which helaughedand swore that it was the best piece of GENERALSHIP he everheard on. When his belly was fullI took out a couple of guineasand gavethem to him.  Mr. Macshane began to cry at thisand kissedmeandswore he never would desert me:  asindeedmy dearIdon'tthink he will; for we have been the best of friends eversinceandhe's the only man I ever could trustI think.

"Idon't know what put it into my headbut I had a scent of somemischiefin the wind; so stopped the coach a little before I gothomeandturning into a tavernbegged Macshane to go before me tomylodgingand see if the coast was clear:  which he did; and cameback to meas pale as deathsaying that the house was full ofconstables. The cursed quarrel at the Tilt-yard hadI supposesetthe beaksupon me; and a pretty sweep they made of it.  Ahmy dear!fivehundred pounds in moneyfive suits of laced clothesthreeperiwigsbesides laced shirtsswordscanesand snuff-boxes; andall to goback to that scoundrel Count.

"Itwas all over with meI sawno more being a gentleman for me;and if Iremained to be caughtonly a choice between Tyburn and afile ofgrenadiers.  My loveunder such circumstancesa gentlemancan't beparticularand must be prompt; the livery-stable was hardby where Iused to hire my coach to go to Courtha! ha!and wasknown as aman of substance.  Thither I went immediately.  'Mr.Warmmash'says I'my gallant friend here and I have a mind for aride and asupper at Twickenhamso you must lend us a pair of yourbesthorses.'  Which he did in a twinklingand off we rode.

"Wedid not go into the Parkbut turned off and cantered smartly uptowardsKilburn; andwhen we got into the countrygalloped as ifthe devilwere at our heels.  Bless youmy loveit was all done ina minute: and the Ensign and I found ourselves regular knights ofthe roadbefore we knew where we were almost.  Only think of ourfindingyou and your new husband at the 'Three Rooks'!  There's nota greaterfence than the landlady in all the country.  It was shethat putus on seizing your husbandand introduced us to the othertwogentlemenwhose names I don't know any more than the dead."

"Andwhat became of the horses?" said Mrs. Catherine to Mr. Brockwhen histale was finished.

"Ripsmadam" said he; "mere rips.  We sold them atStourbridgefairandgot but thirteen guineas for the two."

"AndandtheCountMax; where is heBrock?" sighed she.

"Whew!"whistled Mr. Brock.  "Whathankering after him still? Mydearheis off to Flanders with his regiment; andI make no doubtthere havebeen twenty Countesses of Galgenstein since your time."

"Idon't believe any such thingsir" said Mrs. Catherinestartingup veryangrily.

"Ifyou didI suppose you'd laudanum him; wouldn't you?"

"Leavethe roomfellow" said the lady.  But she recollectedherselfspeedily again; andclasping her handsand looking verywretchedat Brockat the ceilingat the floorat her husband(from whomshe violently turned away her head)she began to crypiteously: to which tears the Corporal set up a gentleaccompanimentof whistlingas they trickled one after another downher nose.

I don'tthink they were tears of repentance; but of regret for thetime whenshe had her first loveand her fine clothesand herwhite hatand blue feather.  Of the twothe Corporal's whistle wasmuch moreinnocent than the girl's sobbing:  he was a rogue; but agood-naturedold fellow when his humour was not crossed.  Surely ournovel-writersmake a great mistake in divesting their rascals of allgentlehuman qualities:  they have such and the only sad point tothink ofisin all private concerns of lifeabstract feelingsanddealingswith friendsand so onhow dreadfully like a rascal is toan honestman.  The man who murdered the Italian boyset him firstto playwith his children whom he lovedand who doubtless deploredhis loss.

 

CHAPTERVI
ADVENTURES OF THE AMBASSADORMR. MACSHANE.

If we hadnot been obliged to follow history in all respectsit isprobablethat we should have left out the last adventure of Mrs.Catherineand her husbandat the inn at Worcesteraltogether; forin truthvery little came of itand it is not very romantic orstriking. But we are bound to stick closelyabove allby THETRUTH thetruththough it be not particularly pleasant to read ofor totell.  As anybody may read in the "Newgate Calendar"Mr. andMrs. Hayeswere taken at an inn at Worcester; were confined there;wereswindled by persons who pretended to impress the bridegroom formilitaryservice.  What is one to do after that?  Had we beenwritingnovels instead of authentic historieswe might have carriedthemanywhere else we chose:  and we had a great mind to make Hayesphilosophisingwith Bolingbrokelike a certain Devereux; and Mrs.Catherinemaitresse en titre to Mr. Alexander PopeDoctorSacheverelSir John Reade the oculistDean Swiftor MarshalTallard;as the very commonest romancer would under suchcircumstances. But alas and alas! truth must be spokenwhateverelse is inthe wind; and the excellent "Newgate Calendar" whichcontainsthe biographies and thanatographies of Hayes and his wifedoes notsay a word of their connections with any of the leadingliteraryor military heroes of the time of Her Majesty Queen Anne.The"Calendar" saysin so many wordsthat Hayes was obligedtosend tohis father in Warwickshire for money to get him out of thescrapeand that the old gentleman came down to his aid.  By thistruth mustwe stick; and not for the sake of the most brilliantepisodenonot for a bribe of twenty extra guineas per sheetwould wedepart from it.

Mr.Brock's account of his adventure in London has given the readersome shortnotice of his friendMr Macshane.  Neither the wits northeprinciples of that worthy Ensign were particularly firm:  fordrinkpovertyand a crack on the skull at the battle of Steenkirkhad servedto injure the former; and the Ensign was not in his bestdayspossessed of any share of the latter.  He had reallyat oneperiodheld such a rank in the armybut pawned his half-pay fordrink andplay; and for many years past had livedone of thehundredthousand miracles of our cityupon nothing that anybodyknew ofor of which he himself could give any account.  Who has notacatalogue of these men in his list? who can tell whence comes theoccasionalclean shirtwho supplies the continual means ofdrunkennesswho wards off the daily-impending starvation?  Theirlife is awonder from day to day:  their breakfast a wonder; theirdinner amiracle; their bed an interposition of Providence.  If youand Imydear sirwant a shilling tomorrowwho will give it us?Will OURbutchers give us mutton-chops? will OUR laundresses clotheus inclean linen? not a bone or a rag.  Standing as we do (may itbe everso) somewhat removed from wantis there one ofus who doesnotshudder at the thought of descending into the lists to combatwith itand expect anything but to be utterly crushed in theencounter?

Not a bitof itmy dear sir.  It takes much more than you think forto starvea man.  Starvation is very little when you are used to it.Somepeople I know evenwho live on it quite comfortablyand maketheirdaily bread by it.  It had been our friend Macshane's soleprofessionfor many years; and he did not fail to draw from it suchalivelihood as was sufficientand perhaps too goodfor him.  Hemanaged todine upon it a certain or rather uncertain number of daysin theweekto sleep somewhereand to get drunk at least threehundredtimes a year.  He was known to one or two noblemen whooccasionallyhelped him with a few piecesand whom he helped inturn nevermind how.  He had other acquaintances whom he pesteredundauntedly;and from whom he occasionally extracted a dinneror acrownormayhapby mistakea goldheaded canewhich found its wayto thepawnbroker's.  When flush of cashhe would appear at thecoffee-house;when low in fundsthe deuce knows into what mysticcaves anddens he slunk for food and lodging.  He was perfectlyready withhis swordand when soberor better stilla very littletipsywasa complete master of it; in the art of boasting and lyinghe hadhardly any equals; in shoes he stood six feet five inches;and hereis his complete signalement.  It was a fact that he hadbeen inSpain as a volunteerwhere he had shown some gallantryhadhad abrain-feverand was sent home to starve as before.

Mr.Macshane hadhoweverlike Mr. Conradthe Corsairone virtuein themidst of a thousand crimeshe was faithful to his employerfor thetime being:  and a story is told of himwhich may or maynot be tohis creditviz. that being hired on one occasion by acertainlord to inflict a punishment upon a roturier who had crossedhislordship in his amoursheMacshanedid actually refuse fromthe personto be belabouredand who entreated his forbearancealarger sumof money than the nobleman gave him for the beating;which heperformed punctuallyas bound in honour and friendship.This talewould the Ensign himself relatewith muchself-satisfaction;and whenafter the sudden flight from Londonheand Brocktook to their roving occupationhe cheerfully submittedto thelatter as his commanding officercalled him always Majorandbating blunders and drunkennesswas perfectly true to hisleader. He had a notion andindeedI don't know that it was awrong onethat his profession was nowas beforestrictlymilitaryand according to the rules of honour.  Robbing he calledplunderingthe enemy; and hanging wasin his ideaa dastardly andcrueladvantage that the latter tookand that called for thesternestreprisals.

The othergentlemen concerned were strangers to Mr. Brockwho feltlittleinclined to trust either of them upon such a messageor withsuch alarge sum to bring back.  They hadstrange to saya similarmistruston their side; but Mr. Brock lugged out five guineaswhichhe placedin the landlady's hand as security for his comrade'sreturn;and Ensign Macshanebeing mounted on poor Hayes's ownhorsesetoff to visit the parents of that unhappy young man.  Itwas agallant sight to behold our thieves' ambassadorin a fadedsky-bluesuit with orange facingsin a pair of huge jack-bootsunconsciousof blackingwith a mighty basket-hilted sword by hissideanda little shabby beaver cocked over a large tow-periwigride outfrom the inn of the "Three Rooks" on his mission to Hayes'spaternalvillage.

It waseighteen miles distant from Worcester; but Mr. Macshaneperformedthe distance in safetyand in sobriety moreover (for suchhad beenhis instructions)and had no difficulty in discovering thehouse ofold Hayes:  towards whichindeedJohn's horse trottedincontinently. Mrs. Hayeswho was knitting at the house-doorwasnot alittle surprised at the appearance of the well-known greygeldingand of the stranger mounted upon it.

Flinginghimself off the steed with much agilityMr. Macshaneassoon ashis feet reached the groundbrought them rapidly togetherin orderto make a profound and elegant bow to Mrs. Hayes; andslappinghis greasy beaver against his heartand poking his periwigalmostinto the nose of the old ladydemanded whether he had the"shoopramehonour of adthressing Misthriss Hees?"

Havingbeen answered in the affirmativehe then proceeded to askwhetherthere was a blackguard boy in the house who would take "thehorse tothe steeble;" whether "he could have a dthrink ofsmall-beeror buthermilkbeingfaithuncommon dthry;" andwhetherfinally"he could be feevored with a few minutes' privateconversationwith her and Mr. Heeson a matther of consitherableimpartance." All these preliminaries were to be complied withbefore Mr.Macshane would enter at all into the subject of hisvisit. The horse and man were cared for; Mr. Hayes was called in;and not alittle anxious did Mrs. Hayes growin the meanwhilewithregard tothe fate of her darling son.  "Where is he?  How ishe?Is hedead?" said the old lady.  "Oh yesI'm sure he's dead!"

"Indeedmadamand you're misteeken intirely:  the young man isperfectlywell in health."

"Ohpraised be Heaven!"

"Butmighty cast down in sperrits.  To misfortunesmadamlook youthe bestof us are subject; and a trifling one has fell upon yourson."

Andherewith Mr. Macshane produced a letter in the handwriting ofyoungHayesof which we have had the good luck to procure a copy.It ranthus:

"HONOREDFATHER AND MOTHERThe bearer of this is a kind gentlemanwho hasleft me in a great deal of trouble.  Yesterdayat thistowneIfell in with some gentlemen of the queene's servas; afterdrinkingwith whomI accepted her Majesty's mony to enliste.RepentingthereofI did endeavour to escape; andin so doinghadthemisfortune to strike my superior officerwhereby I made myselfliable toDeathaccording to the rules of warr.  IfhoweverI paytwentyginnysall will be wel.  You must give the same to thebarerelsI shall be shott without fail on Tewsday morning.  And sono morefrom your loving son

                                              "JOHN HAYES.

"Frommy prison at Bristolthis unhappy Monday."

When Mrs.Hayes read this pathetic missiveits success with her wascompleteand she was for going immediately to the cupboardandproducingthe money necessary for her darling son's release.  Butthecarpenter Hayes was much more suspicious.  "I don't knowyousir"said he to the ambassador.

"Doyou doubt my honoursir?" said the Ensignvery fiercely.

"Whysir" replied Mr. Hayes "I know little about it one way orotherbutshall take it for grantedif you will explain a littlemore ofthis business."

"Isildom condescind to explean" said Mr. Macshane"for it'snotthe customin my rank; but I'll explean anything in reason."

"Praywill you tell me in what regiment my son is enlisted?"

"Incoorse.  In Colonel Wood's futmy dear; and a gallant corps itis as anyin the army."

"Andyou left him?"

"Onme soulonly three hours agohaving rid like a horse-jockeyeversince; as in the sacred cause of humanitycurse meevery manshould."

As Hayes'shouse was seventy miles from Bristolthe old gentlemanthoughtthis was marvellous quick ridingand socut theconversationshort.  "You have said quite enoughsir" said he"toshow methere is some roguery in the matterand that the wholestory isfalse from beginning to end."

At thisabrupt charge the Ensign looked somewhat puzzledand thenspoke withmuch gravity.  "Roguery" said he"Misthur Heesis asthrongterm; and whichin consideration of my friendship for yourfamilyIshall pass over.  You doubt your son's honouras therewrote byhim in black and white?"

"Youhave forced him to write" said Mr. Hayes.

"Thesly old divvle's right" muttered Mr. Macshaneaside. "Wellsirtomake a clean breast of ithe HAS been forced to write it.The storyabout the enlistment is a pretty fibif you willfrombeginningto end.  And what thenmy dear?  Do you think your son'sany betteroff for that?"

"Ohwhere is he?" screamed Mrs. Hayesplumping down on her knees."WeWILL give him the moneywon't weJohn?"

"Iknow you willmadamwhen I tell you where he is.  He is in thehands ofsome gentlemen of my acquaintancewho are at war with thepresentgovernmentand no more care about cutting a man's throatthan theydo a chicken's.  He is a prisonermadamof our sword andspear. If you choose to ransom himwell and good; if notpeace bewith him!for never more shall you see him."

"Andhow do I know you won't come back to-morrow for more money?"asked Mr.Hayes.

"Siryou have my honour; and I'd as lieve break my neck as myword"said Mr. Macshanegravely.  "Twenty guineas is thebargain.Take tenminutes to talk of ittake it thenor leave it; it's allthe sameto memy dear."  And it must be said of our friend theEnsignthat he meant every word he saidand that he considered theembassy onwhich he had come as perfectly honourable and regular.

"Andpraywhat prevents us" said Mr. Hayesstarting up in a rage"fromtaking hold of youas a surety for him?"

"Youwouldn't fire on a flag of trucewould yeyou dishonourableouldcivilian?" replied Mr. Macshane.  "Besides" sayshe"there'smorereasons to prevent you:  the first is this" pointing tohissword;"here are two more"and these were pistols; "and thelastand thebest of all isthat you might hang me and dthraw me andquarthermean yet never see so much as the tip of your son's noseagain. Look yousirwe run mighty risks in our professionit'snot allplayI can tell you.  We're obliged to be punctualtooorit's allup with the thrade.  If I promise that your son will die assure asfate to-morrow morningunless I return home safeourpeopleMUST keep my promise; or else what chance is there for me?You wouldbe down upon me in a moment with a posse of constablesand haveme swinging before Warwick gaol.  Poohmy dear! you neverwouldsacrifice a darling boy like John Hayeslet alone his ladyfor thesake of my long carcass.  One or two of our gentlemen havebeen takenthat way alreadybecause parents and guardians would notbelievethem."

"ANDWHAT BECAME OF THE POOR CHILDREN?" said Mrs. Hayeswho begantoperceive the gist of the argumentand to grow dreadfullyfrightened.

"Don'tlet's talk of themma'am:  humanity shudthers at thethought!" And herewith Mr. Macshane drew his finger across histhroat insuch a dreadful way as to make the two parents tremble."It'sthe way of warmadamlook you.  The service I have thehonour tobelong to is not paid by the Queen; and so we're obligedto makeour prisoners payaccording to established militarypractice."

No lawyercould have argued his case better than Mr. Macshane sofar; andhe completely succeeded in convincing Mr. and Mrs. Hayes ofthenecessity of ransoming their son.  Promising that the young manshould berestored to them next morningalong with his beautifulladyhecourteously took leave of the old coupleand made the bestof his wayback to Worcester again.  The elder Hayes wondered whothe ladycould be of whom the ambassador had spokenfor their son'selopementwas altogether unknown to them; but anger or doubt aboutthissubject was overwhelmed by their fears for their darling John'ssafety. Away rode the gallant Macshane with the money necessary toeffectthis; and it must be mentionedas highly to his creditthathe neveronce thought of appropriating the sum to himselfor ofdesertinghis comrades in any way.

His ridefrom Worcester had been a long one.  He had left that cityat noonbut before his return thither the sun had gone down; andthelandscapewhich had been dressed like a prodigalin purple andgoldnowappeared like a Quakerin dusky grey; and the trees bytheroad-side grew black as undertakers or physiciansandbendingtheirsolemn heads to each otherwhispered ominously amongthemselves;and the mists hung on the common; and the cottage lightswent outone by one; and the earth and heaven grew blackbut forsometwinkling useless starswhich freckled the ebon countenance ofthelatter; and the air grew colder; and about two o'clock the moonappeareda dismal pale-faced rakewalking solitary through thedesertedsky; and about fourmayhapthe Dawn (wretched'prentice-boy!)opened in the east the shutters of the Day:inotherwordsmore than a dozen hours had passed.  Corporal Brock hadbeenrelieved by Mr. Redcapthe latter by Mr. Sicklopthe one-eyedgentleman;Mrs. John Hayesin spite of her sorrows and bashfulnesshadfollowed the example of her husbandand fallen asleep by hissidesleptfor many hoursand awakened still under theguardianshipof Mr. Brock's troop; and all parties began anxiouslyto expectthe return of the ambassadorMr. Macshane.

Thatofficerwho had performed the first part of his journey withsuchdistinguished prudence and successfound the nighton hisjourneyhomewardswas growing mighty cold and dark; and as he wasthirstyand hungryhad money in his purseand saw no cause tohurryhedetermined to take refuge at an alehouse for the nightand tomake for Worcester by dawn the next morning.  He accordinglyalightedat the first inn on his roadconsigned his horse to thestableandentering the kitchencalled for the best liquor in thehouse.

A smallcompany was assembled at the innamong whom Mr. Macshanetook hisplace with a great deal of dignity; andhaving aconsiderablesum of money in his pocketfelt a mighty contempt forhissocietyand soon let them know the contempt he felt for them.After athird flagon of alehe discovered that the liquor was sourandemptiedwith much spluttering and grimacesthe remainder ofthe beerinto the fire.  This process so offended the parson of theparish(who in those good old times did not disdain to take the postof honourin the chimney-nook)that he left his cornerlookingwrathfullyat the offender; who without any more ado instantlyoccupiedit.  It was a fine thing to hear the jingling of the twentypieces inhis pocketthe oaths which he distributed between thelandlordthe guestsand the liquorto remark the sprawl of hismightyjack-bootsbefore the sweep of which the timid guests edgedfartherand farther away; and the languishing leers which he cast onthelandladyas with wide-spread arms he attempted to seize uponher.

When theostler had done his duties in the stablehe entered theinnandwhispered the landlord that "the stranger was riding JohnHayes'shorse:" of which fact the host soon convinced himselfanddid notfail to have some suspicions of his guest.  Had he notthoughtthat times were unquiethorses might be soldand one man'smoney wasas good as another'she probably would have arrested theEnsignimmediatelyand so lost all the profit of the score whichthe latterwas causing every moment to be enlarged.

In acouple of hourswith that happy facility which one may haveoftenremarked in men of the gallant Ensign's nationhe had managedto disgustevery one of the landlord's other guestsand scare themfrom thekitchen.  Frightened by his addressesthe landlady too hadtakenflight; and the host was the only person left in theapartment;who there stayed for interest's sake merelyand listenedmoodily tohis tipsy guest's conversation.  In an hour morethewholehouse was awakened by a violent noise of howlingcursesandpotsclattering to and fro.  Forth issued Mrs. Landlady in hernight-gearout came John Ostler with his pitchforkdownstairstumbledMrs. Cook and one or two guestsand found the landlord andensign onthe kitchen-floorthe wig of the latter lyingmuchsinged andemitting strange odoursin the fireplacehis facehideouslydistortedand a great quantity of his natural hair in thepartialoccupation of the landlord; who had drawn it and the headdowntowards himin order that he might have the benefit ofpummellingthe latter more at his ease.  In revengethe landlordwasundermostand the Ensign's arms were working up and down hisface andbody like the flaps of a paddle-wheel:  the man of war hadclearlythe best of it.

Thecombatants were separated as soon as possible; butas soon astheexcitement of the fight was overEnsign Macshane was found tohave nofurther powers of speechsenseor locomotionand wascarried byhis late antagonist to bed.  His sword and pistolswhichhad beenplaced at his side at the commencement of the eveningwerecarefullyput byand his pocket visited.  Twenty guineas in goldalargeknifeusedprobablyfor the cutting ofbread-and-cheesesomecrumbs of those delicacies and a paper oftobaccofound in the breeches-pocketsand in the bosom of thesky-bluecoatthe leg of a cold fowl and half of a raw onionconstitutedhis whole property.

Thesearticles were not very suspicious; but the beating which thelandlordhad received tended greatly to confirm his own and hiswife'sdoubts about their guest; and it was determined to send offin theearly morning to Mr. Hayesinforming him how a person hadlain attheir inn who had ridden thither mounted upon young Hayes'shorse. Off set John Ostler at earliest dawn; but on his way he wokeup Mr.Justice's clerkand communicated his suspicions to him; andMr. Clerkconsulted with the village bakerwho was always up early;and theclerkthe bakerthe butcher with his cleaverand twogentlemenwho were going to workall adjourned to the inn.

Accordinglywhen Ensign Macshane was in a truckle-bedplunged inthat deepslumber which only innocence and drunkenness enjoy in thisworldandcharming the ears of morn by the regular and melodiousmusic ofhis nosea vile plot was laid against him; and when aboutseven ofthe clock he wokehe foundon sitting up in his bedthreegentlemen on each side of itarmedand looking ominous.  Oneheld aconstable's staffand albeit unprovided with a warrantwould takeupon himself the responsibility of seizing Mr. Macshaneand ofcarrying him before his worship at the hall.

"Taranounsman!" said the Ensignspringing up in bedand abruptlybreakingoff a loud sonorous yawnwith which he had opened thebusinessof the day"you won't deteen a gentleman who's on life anddeath? I give ye my wordan affair of honour."

"Howcame you by that there horse?" said the baker.

"Howcame you by these here fifteen guineas?" said the landlordinwhosehandsby some processfive of the gold pieces haddisappeared.

"Whatis this here idolatrous string of beads?" said the clerk.

Mr.Macshanethe fact iswas a Catholicbut did not care to ownit: for in those days his religion was not popular.

"Baids? Holy Mother of saints! give me back them baids" said Mr.Macshaneclasping his hands.  "They were blestI tell youby hisholinessthe popsha!  I mane they belong to a darling littledaughter Ihad that's in heaven now:  and as for the money and thehorseIshould like to know how a gentleman is to travel in thiscounthrywithout them."

"Whyyou seehe may travel in the country to GIT 'em" hereshrewdlyremarked the constable; "and it's our belief that neitherhorse normoney is honestly come by.  If his worship is satisfiedwhy soincourseshall we be; but there is highwaymen abroadlookyou; andto our notionyou have very much the cut of one."

Furtherremonstrances or threats on the part of Mr. Macshane wereuseless. Although he vowed that he was first cousin to the Duke ofLeinsteran officer in Her Majesty's serviceand the dearestfriendLord Marlborough hadhis impudent captors would not believea word ofhis statement (whichfurtherwas garnished with atremendousnumber of oaths); and he wasabout eight o'clockcarried upto the house of Squire Ballancethe neighbouring justiceof thepeace.

When theworthy magistrate asked the crime of which the prisoner hadbeenguiltythe captors looked somewhat puzzled for the moment;sinceintruthit could not be shown that the Ensign had committedany crimeat all; and if he had confined himself to simple silenceand thrownupon them the onus of proving his misdemeanoursJusticeBallancemust have let him looseand soundly rated his clerk andthelandlord for detaining an honest gentleman on so frivolous acharge.

But thiscaution was not in the Ensign's disposition; and though hisaccusersproduced no satisfactory charge against himhis own wordswere quiteenough to show how suspicious his character was.  Whenasked hisnamehe gave it in as Captain Geraldineon his way toIrelandby Bristolon a visit to his cousin the Duke of Leinster.He sworesolemnly that his friendsthe Duke of Marlborough and LordPeterboroughunder both of whom he had servedshould hear of themanner inwhich he had been treated; and when the justicea slyoldgentlemanand one that read the Gazettesasked him at whatbattles hehad been presentthe gallant Ensign pitched on a couplein Spainand in Flanderswhich had been fought within a week ofeachotherand vowed that he had been desperately wounded at both;so thatat the end of his examinationwhich had been taken down bythe clerkhe had been made to acknowledge as follows: CaptainGeraldinesix feet four inches in height; thinwith a very longred noseand red hair; grey eyesand speaks with a strong Irishaccent; isthe first-cousin of the Duke of Leinsterand in constantcommunicationwith him:  does not know whether his Grace has anychildren;does not know whereabouts he lives in London; cannot saywhat sortof a looking man his Grace is:  is acquainted with theDuke ofMarlboroughand served in the dragoons at the battle ofRamillies;at which time he was with my Lord Peterborough beforeBarcelona. Borrowed the horse which he rides from a friend inLondonthree weeks since.  Peter Hobbsostlerswears that it wasin hismaster's stable four days agoand is the property of JohnHayescarpenter.  Cannot account for the fifteen guineas found onhim by thelandlord; says there were twenty; says he won them atcardsafortnight sinceat Edinburgh; says he is riding about thecountryfor his amusement:  afterwards says he is on a matter oflife anddeathand going to Bristol; declared last nightin thehearing ofseveral witnessesthat he was going to York; says he isa man ofindependent propertyand has large estates in Irelandanda hundredthousand pounds in the Bank of England.  Has no shirt orstockingsand the coat he wears is marked "S.S."  In his bootsiswritten"Thomas Rodgers" and in his hat is the name of the "Rev.DoctorSnoffler."

DoctorSnoffler lived at Worcesterand had lately advertised in theHue andCry a number of articles taken from his house.  Mr. Macshanesaidinreply to thisthat his hat had been changed at the innand he wasready to take his oath that he came thither in agold-lacedone.  But this fact was disproved by the oaths of manypersonswho had seen him at the inn.  And he was about to beimprisonedfor the thefts which he had not committed (the fact aboutthe hatbeingthat he had purchased it from a gentleman at the"ThreeRooks" for two pints of beer)he was about to be remandedwhenbeholdMrs. Hayes the elder made her appearance; and to herit wasthat the Ensign was indebted for his freedom.

Old Hayeshad gone to work before the ostler arrived; but when hiswife heardthe lad's messageshe instantly caused her pillion to beplacedbehind the saddleand mounting the grey horseurged thestable-boyto gallop as hard as ever he could to the justice'shouse.

Sheentered panting and alarmed.  "Ohwhat is your honourgoing todo to thishonest gentleman?" said she.  "In the name of Heavenlethim go!His time is precioushe has important businessbusiness oflife anddeath."

"Itould the jidge so" said the Ensign"but he refused totake mywordthesacred wurrd of honour of Captain Geraldine."

Macshanewas good at a single liethough easily flustered on anexamination;and this was a very creditable stratagem to acquaintMrs. Hayeswith the name that he bore.

"What!you know Captain Geraldine?" said Mr. Ballancewho wasperfectlywell acquainted with the carpenter's wife.

"Incoorse she does.  Hasn't she known me these tin years?  Arewenotrelated?  Didn't she give me the very horse which I rodeandto makebelavetould you I'd bought in London?"

"Lether tell her own story.  Are you related to Captain GeraldineMrs.Hayes?"

"Yesohyes!"

"Avery elegant connection!  And you gave him the horsedid youofyour ownfree-will?"

"Ohyes! of my own willI would give him anything.  Dodoyourhonourlet him go!  His child is dying" said the old ladyburstinginto tears.  "It may be dead before he gets tobefore hegetsthere.  Ohyour honouryour honourpraypraydon't detainhim!"

Thejustice did not seem to understand this excessive sympathy onthe partof Mrs. Hayes; nor did the father himself appear to benearly soaffected by his child's probable fate as the honest womanwhointerested herself for him.  On the contrarywhen she made thispassionatespeechCaptain Geraldine only grinnedand said"Nivermindmydear.  If his honour will keep an honest gentleman fordoingnothingwhylet himthe law must settle between us; and asfor thechildpoor thingthe Lord deliver it!"

At thisMrs. Hayes fell to entreating more loudly than ever; and asthere wasreally no charge against himMr. Ballance was constrainedto let himgo.

Thelandlord and his friends were making offrather confusedwhenEnsignMacshane called upon the former in a thundering voice tostopandrefund the five guineas which he had stolen from him.Again thehost swore there were but fifteen in his pocket.  Butwhenonthe Biblethe Ensign solemnly vowed that he had twentyand calledupon Mrs. Hayes to say whether yesterdayhalf-an-hourbefore heentered the innshe had not seen him with twenty guineasand thatlady expressed herself ready to swear that she hadMr.Landlordlooked more crestfallen than everand said that he had notcountedthe money when he took it; and though he did in his soulbelievethat there were only fifteen guineasrather than besuspectedof a shabby actionhe would pay the five guineas out ofhis ownpocket:  which he didand with the Ensign'sor rather Mrs.Hayes'sown coin.

As soon asthey were out of the justice's houseMr. Macshaneinthefulness of his gratitudecould not help bestowing an embraceupon Mrs.Hayes.  And when she implored him to let her ride behindhim to herdarling sonhe yielded with a very good graceand offthe pairset on John Hayes's grey.

"Whohas Nosey brought with him now?" said Mr. SicklopBrock'sone-eyedconfederatewhoabout three hours after the aboveadventurewas lolling in the yard of the "Three Rooks." It was ourEnsignwith the mother of his captive.  They had not met with anyaccidentin their ride.

"Ishall now have the shooprame bliss" said Mr. Macshanewithmuchfeelingas he lifted Mrs. Hayes from the saddle-"the shoopramebliss ofintwining two harrts that are mead for one another.  Oursmy dearis a dismal profession; but ah! don't moments like thismakeaminds for years of pain?  This waymy dear.  Turn to yourrightthen to your leftmind the stipand the third door roundthecorner."

All theseprecautions were attended to; and after giving hisconcertedknockMr. Macshane was admitted into an apartmentwhichhe enteredholding his gold pieces in the one handand a lady bythe other.

We shallnot describe the meeting which took place between motherand son. The old lady wept copiously; the young man was really gladto see hisrelativefor he deemed that his troubles were over.Mrs. Catbit her lipsand stood asidelooking somewhat foolish;Mr. Brockcounted the money; and Mr. Macshane took a large dose ofstrongwatersas a pleasing solace for his laboursdangersandfatigue.

When thematernal feelings were somewhat calmedthe old lady hadleisure tolook about herand really felt a kind of friendship andgoodwillfor the company of thieves in which she found herself.  Itseemed toher that they had conferred an actual favour on herinrobbingher of twenty guineasthreatening her son's lifeandfinallyletting him go.

"Whois that droll old gentleman?" said she; and being told that itwasCaptain Woodshe dropped him a curtseyand saidwith muchrespect"Captainyour very humble servant;" which compliment Mr.Brockacknowledged by a gracious smile and bow.  "And who is thisprettyyoung lady?" continued Mrs. Hayes.

"Whyhumohmotheryou must give her your blessing.  She is Mrs.JohnHayes."  And herewith Mr. Hayes brought forward hisinterestingladytointroduce her to his mamma.

The newsdid not at all please the old lady; who received Mrs.Catherine'sembrace with a very sour face indeed.  Howeverthemischiefwas done; and she was too glad to get back her son to beon such anoccasionvery angry with him.  Soafter a properrebukeshe told Mrs. John Hayes that though she never approved ofher son'sattachmentand thought he married below his conditionyet as theevil was doneit was their duty to make the best of it;and shefor her partwould receive her into her houseand makeher ascomfortable there as she could.

"Iwonder whether she has any more money in that house?" whisperedMr.Sicklop to Mr. Redcap; whowith the landladyhad come to thedoor ofthe roomand had been amusing themselves by thecontemplationof this sentimental scene.

"Whata fool that wild Hirishman was not to bleed her for more!"said thelandlady; "but he's a poor ignorant Papist.  I'm sure myman"(this gentleman had been hanged)"wouldn't have come away withsuch abeggarly sum."

"Supposewe have some more out of 'em?" said Mr. Redcap.  "Whatpreventsus?  We have got the old mareand the colt tooha! ha!and thepair of 'em ought to be worth at least a hundred to us."

Thisconversation was carried on sotto voce; and I don't knowwhetherMr. Brock had any notion of the plot which was arranged bythe threeworthies.  The landlady began it.  "Which punchmadamwill youtake?" says she.  "You must have something for thegood ofthe housenow you are in it."

"Incoorse" said the Ensign.

"Certainly"said the other three.  But the old lady said she wasanxious toleave the place; and putting down a crown-piecerequestedthe hostess to treat the gentlemen in her absence."Good-byeCaptain" said the old lady.

"Ajew!"cried the Ensign"and long life to youmy dear.  You gotme out ofa scrape at the justice's yonder; andsplit me! butInsignMacshane will remimber it as long as he lives."

And nowHayes and the two ladies made for the door; but the landladyplacedherself against itand Mr. Sicklop said"Nonomy prettymadamsyou ain't a-going off so cheap as that neither; you are notgoing outfor a beggarly twenty guineaslook youwe must havemore."

Mr. Hayesstarting backand cursing his fatefairly burst intotears; thetwo women screamed; and Mr. Brock looked as if thepropositionboth amused and had been expected by him:  but not soEnsignMacshane.

"Major!"said heclawing fiercely hold of Brock's arms.

"Ensign"said Mr. Brocksmiling.

"Arrweor arr we notmen of honour?"

"Ohin coorse" said Brocklaughingand using Macshane'sfavouriteexpression.

"Ifwe ARR men of honourwe are bound to stick to our word; andhark yeyou dirty one-eyed scoundrelif you don't immadiately makeway forthese leediesand this lily-livered young jontleman who'scrying sothe Meejor here and I will lug out and force you."  Andso sayinghe drew his great sword and made a pass at Mr. Sicklop;which thatgentleman avoidedand which caused him and his companionto retreatfrom the door.  The landlady still kept her position atitandwith a storm of oaths against the Ensignand against twoEnglishmenwho ran away from a wild Hirishmanswore she would notbudge afootand would stand there until her dying day.

"Faiththenneeds must" said the Ensignand made a lunge at thehostesswhich passed so near the wretch's throatthat shescreamedsank on her kneesand at last opened the door.

Down thestairsthenwith great stateMr. Macshane led the elderladythemarried couple following; and having seen them to thestreettook an affectionate farewell of the partywhom he vowedthat hewould come and see.  "You can walk the eighteen miles aisybetweenthis and nightfall" said he.

"WALK!"exclaimed Mr. Hayes.  "Whyhaven't we got Balland shallride andtie all the way?"

"Madam!"cried Macshanein a stern voice"honour beforeeverything. Did you notin the presence of his worshipvow anddeclarethat you gave me that horseand now d'ye talk of taking itbackagain?  Let me tell youmadamthat such paltry thricks illbecome aperson of your years and respectabilityand ought never tobe playedwith Insign Timothy Macshane."

He wavedhis hat and strutted down the street; and Mrs. CatherineHayesalong with her bridegroom and mother-in-lawmade the best oftheir wayhomeward on foot.

 

CHAPTERVII
WHICH EMBRACES A PERIOD OF SEVEN YEARS.

Therecovery of so considerable a portion of his property from theclutchesof Brock wasas may be imaginedno trifling source of joyto thatexcellent young manCount Gustavus Adolphus de Galgenstein;and he wasoften known to saywith much archnessand a properfeeling ofgratitude to the Fate which had ordained things sothattherobbery wasin realityone of the best things that could havehappenedto him:  forin event of Mr. Brock's NOT stealing themoneyhisExcellency the Count would have had to pay the whole totheWarwickshire Squirewho had won it from him at play.  He wasenabledin the present instanceto plead his notorious poverty asan excuse;and the Warwickshire conqueror got off with nothingexcept avery badly written autograph of the Count'ssimplyacknowledgingthe debt.

This pointhis Excellency conceded with the greatest candour; but(asdoubtlessthe reader may have remarked in the course of hisexperience)to owe is not quite the same thing as to pay; and fromthe day ofhis winning the money until the day of his death theWarwickshireSquire did neverby any chancetouch a single bobtizzytestermoidoremaravedidoubloontomaunor rupeeof thesum whichMonsieur de Galgenstein had lost to him.

That youngnobleman wasas Mr. Brock hinted in the littleautobiographicalsketch which we gave in a former chapterincarceratedfor a certain periodand for certain other debtsinthedonjons of Shrewsbury; but he released himself from them by thatnoble andconsolatory method of whitewashing which the law hasprovidedfor gentlemen in his oppressed condition; and he had notbeen aweek in Londonwhen he fell in withand overcameor put toflightCaptain Woodalias Brockand immediately seized upon theremainderof his property.  After receiving thisthe Countwithcommendablediscretiondisappeared from England altogether for awhile; norare we at all authorised to state that any of his debtsto histradesmen were dischargedany more than his debts of honouras theyare pleasantly called.

Havingthus settled with his creditorsthe gallant Count hadinterestenough with some of the great folk to procure for himself apostabroadand was absent in Holland for some time.  It was herethat hebecame acquainted with the lovely Madam Silverkoopthewidow of adeceased gentleman of Leyden; and although the lady wasnot atthat age at which tender passions are usually inspired beingsixty andthough she could notlike Mademoiselle Ninon del'Enclosthen at Parisboast of charms which defied the progressof timefor Mrs. Silverkoop was as red as a boiled lobsterand asunwieldyas a porpoise; and although her mental attractions did byno meansmake up for her personal deficienciesfor she wasjealousviolentvulgardrunkenand stingy to a miracle:  yet hercharms hadan immediate effect on Monsieur de Galgenstein; andhenceperhapsthe reader (the rogue! how well he knows the world!)will beled to conclude that the honest widow was RICH.

Suchindeedshe was; and Count Gustavusdespising the differencebetweenhis twenty quarterings and her twenty thousand poundslaidthe mostdesperate siege to herand finished by causing her tocapitulate;as I do believeafter a reasonable degree of pressingany womanwill do to any man:  suchat leasthas been MYexperiencein the matter.

The Countthen married; and it was curious to see how he whoas wehave seenin the case of Mrs. Cathad been as great a tiger anddomesticbully as any extantnowby degreesfell into a quietsubmissiontowards his enormous Countess; who ordered him up anddown as alady orders her footmanwho permitted him speedily not tohave awill of his ownand who did not allow him a shilling of hermoneywithout receiving for the same an accurate account.

How was itthat hethe abject slave of Madam Silverkoophad beenvictoriousover Mrs. Cat?  The first blow isI believethedecisiveone in these casesand the Countess had stricken it a weekaftertheir marriage; establishing a supremacy which the Countneverafterwards attempted to question.

We havealluded to his Excellency's marriageas in duty boundbecause itwill be necessary to account for his appearance hereafterin a moresplendid fashion than that under which he has hithertobeen knownto us; and just comforting the reader by the knowledgethat theunionthough prosperous in a worldly point of viewwasinrealityextremely unhappywe must say no more from this timeforth ofthe fat and legitimate Madam de Galgenstein.  Our darlingis Mrs.Catherinewho had formerly acted in her stead; and only inso much asthe fat Countess did influence in any way the destiniesof ourheroineor those wise and virtuous persons who have appearedand are tofollow her to her endshall we in any degree allow hername tofigure here.  It is an awful thing to get a glimpseas onesometimesdoeswhen the time is pastof some little little wheelwhichworks the whole mighty machinery of FATEand see how ourdestiniesturn on a minute's delay or advanceor on the turning ofa streetor on somebody else's turning of a streetor on somebodyelse'sdoing of something else in Downing Street or in Timbuctoonow or athousand years ago.  Thusfor instanceif Miss Pootsinthe year1695had never been the lovely inmate of a Spielhaus atAmsterdamMr. Van Silverkoop would never have seen her; if the dayhad notbeen extraordinarily hotthe worthy merchant would neverhave gonethither; if he had not been fond of Rhenish wine andsugarhenever would have called for any such delicacies; if he hadnot calledfor themMiss Ottilia Poots would never have broughtthemandpartaken of them; if he had not been richshe wouldcertainlyhave rejected all the advances made to her by Silverkoop;if he hadnot been so fond of Rhenish and sugarhe never would havedied; andMrs. Silverkoop would have been neither rich nor a widownor a wifeto Count von Galgenstein.  Naynor would this historyhave everbeen written; for if Count Galgenstein had not married therichwidowMrs. Catherine would never have

Ohmydear madam! you thought we were going to tell you.  Pooh!nonsense!no such thing!  not for two or three and seventy pages orsowhenperhapsyou MAY know what Mrs. Catherine never wouldhave done.

The readerwill rememberin the second chapter of these Memoirstheannouncement that Mrs. Catherine had given to the world a childwho mightbearif he chosethe arms of Galgensteinwith thefurtheradornment of a bar-sinister.  This child had been put out tonurse sometime before its mother's elopement from the Count; and asthatnobleman was in funds at the time (having had that success atplay whichwe duly chronicled)he paid a sum of no less than twentyguineaswhich was to be the yearly reward of the nurse into whosecharge theboy was put.  The woman grew fond of the brat; and whenafter thefirst yearshe had no further news or remittances fromfather ormothershe determinedfor a while at leastto maintainthe infantat her own expense; forwhen rebuked by her neighbourson thisscoreshe stoutly swore that no parents could ever deserttheirchildrenand that some day or other she should not fail to berewardedfor her trouble with this one.

Under thisstrange mental hallucination poor Goody Billingswho hadfivechildren and a husband of her owncontinued to give food andshelter tolittle Tom for a period of no less than seven years; andthough itmust be acknowledged that the young gentleman did not intheslightest degree merit the kindnesses shown to himGoodyBillingswho was of a very soft and pitiful dispositioncontinuedto bestowthem upon him:  becauseshe saidhe was lonely andunprotectedand deserved them more than other children who hadfathersand mothers to look after them.  Ifthenany differencewas madebetween Tom's treatment and that of her own broodit wasconsiderablyin favour of the former; to whom the largestproportionsof treacle were allotted for his breadand thehandsomestsupplies of hasty pudding.  Besidesto do Mrs. Billingsjusticethere WAS a party against him; and that consisted not onlyof herhusband and her five childrenbut of every single person intheneighbourhood who had an opportunity of seeing and becomingacquaintedwith Master Tom.

Acelebrated philosopher I think Miss Edgeworth has broached theconsolatorydoctrinethat in intellect and disposition all humanbeings areentirely equaland that circumstance and education arethe causesof the distinctions and divisions which afterwardsunhappilytake place among them.  Not to argue this questionwhichplacesJack Howard and Jack Thurtell on an exact levelwhich wouldhave us tobelieve that Lord Melbourne is by natural gifts andexcellencesa man as honestbraveand far-sighted as the Duke ofWellingtonwhich would make out that Lord Lyndhurst isin pointofprincipleeloquenceand political honestyno better than Mr.O'ConnellnotI sayarguing this doctrinelet us simply statethatMaster Thomas Billings (forhaving no otherhe took the nameof theworthy people who adopted him) was in his long-coatsfearfullypassionatescreaming and roaring perpetuallyand showingall theill that he COULD show.  At the age of twowhen hisstrengthenabled him to toddle abroadhis favourite resort was thecoal-holeor the dung-heap:  his roarings had not diminished in theleastandhe had added to his former virtues two new onesa loveoffighting and stealing; both which amiable qualities he had manyopportunitiesof exercising every day.  He fought his littleadoptivebrothers and sisters; he kicked and cuffed his father andmother; hefought the catstamped upon the kittenswas worsted ina severebattle with the hen in the backyard; butin revengenearlybeat a little sucking-pig to deathwhom he caught alone andramblingnear his favourite hauntthe dung-hill.  As for stealinghe stolethe eggswhich he perforated and emptied; the butterwhich heate with or without breadas he could find it; the sugarwhich hecunningly secreted in the leaves of a "Baker's Chronicle"thatnobody in the establishment could read; and thus from the pagesof historyhe used to suck in all he knewthieving and lyingnamely; inwhichfor his yearshe made wonderful progress.  If anyfollowersof Miss Edgeworth and the philosophers are inclined todisbelievethis statementor to set it down as overcharged anddistortedlet them be assured that just this very picture wasofall thepictures in the worldtaken from nature.  IIkey Solomonsonce had adear little brother who could steal before he could walk(and thisnot from encouragementforif you know the worldyoumust knowthat in families of our profession the point of honour issacred athomebut from pure nature)who could stealI saybefore hecould walkand lie before he could speak; and whoatfour and ahalf years of agehaving attacked my sister Rebecca onsomequestion of lollipopshad smitten her on the elbow with afire-shovelapologising to us by saying simply" herI wishit hadbeen her head!"  Deardear Aminadab!  I think of youandlaughthese philosophers to scorn.  Nature made you for that careerwhich youfulfilled:  you were from your birth to your dying ascoundrel;you COULDN'T have been anything elsehowever your lotwas cast;and blessed it was that you were born among the prigs--for hadyou been of any other professionalas! alas! what illsmight youhave done!  As I have heard the author of "Richelieu""SiameseTwins" etc. say "Poeta nascitur non fit" which meansthatthough hehad tried ever so much to be a poetit was all moonshine:in thelike mannerI say"ROAGUS nasciturnon fit."  Wehave itfromnatureand so a fig for Miss Edgeworth.

In thismannerthenwhile his fatherblessed with a wealthy wifewasleadingin a fine housethe life of a galley-slave; while hismothermarried to Mr. Hayesand made an honest women ofas thesaying iswas passing her time respectably in WarwickshireMr.ThomasBillings was inhabiting the same countynot cared for byeither ofthem; but ordained by Fate to join them one dayand havea mightyinfluence upon the fortunes of both.  Foras it has oftenhappenedto the traveller in the York or the Exeter coach to fallsnuglyasleep in his cornerand on awaking suddenly to find himselfsixty orseventy miles from the place where Somnus first visitedhim: aswe sayalthough you sit stillTimepoor wretchkeepsperpetuallyrunning onand so must run day and nightwith never apause or ahalt of five minutes to get a drinkuntil his dying day;let thereader imagine that since he left Mrs. Hayes and all theotherworthy personages of this historyin the last chaptersevenyears havesped away; during whichall our heroes and heroines havebeenaccomplishing their destinies.

Sevenyears of country carpenteringor rather tradingon the partof ahusbandof ceaseless scoldingviolenceand discontent on thepart of awifeare not pleasant to describe:  so we shall omitaltogetherany account of the early married life of Mr. and Mrs.JohnHayes.  The "Newgate Calendar" (to which excellentcompilationwe and theOTHER popular novelists of the day can never besufficientlygrateful) states that Hayes left his house three orfour timesduring this periodandurged by the restless humours ofhis wifetried several professions:  returninghoweveras he grewweary ofeachto his wife and his paternal home.  After a certaintime hisparents diedand by their demise he succeeded to a smallpropertyand the carpentering businesswhich he for some timefollowed.

Whatthenin the meanwhilehad become of Captain Woodor Brockand EnsignMacshane?the only persons now to be accounted for inourcatalogue.  For about six months after their capture and releaseof Mr.Hayesthose noble gentlemen had followedwith much prudenceandsuccessthat trade which the celebrated and polite DuvaltheingeniousSheppardthe dauntless Turpinand indeed many otherheroes ofour most popular novelshad pursuedor were pursuingin theirtime.  And so considerable were said to be Captain Wood'sgainsthat reports were abroad of his having somewhere a buriedtreasure;to which he might have added morehad not Fate suddenlycut shorthis career as a prig.  He and the Ensign wereshame tosaytransportedfor stealing three pewter-pots off a railing atExeter;and not being known in the townwhich they had only reachedthatmorningthey were detained by no further chargesbut simplycondemnedon this one.  For this misdemeanourHer Majesty'sGovernmentvindictively sent them for seven years beyond the sea;andasthe fashion then wassold the use of their bodies toVirginianplanters during that space of time.  It is thusalas!that thestrong are always used to deal with the weakand many anhonestfellow has been led to rue his unfortunate difference withthe law.

Thusthenwe have settled all scores.  The Count is in Hollandwith hiswife; Mrs. Cat in Warwickshire along with her excellenthusband;Master Thomas Billings with his adoptive parents in thesamecounty; and the two military gentlemen watching the progressandcultivation of the tobacco and cotton plant in the New World.All thesethings having passed between the actsdingaring-a-dingaring-a-dingledingledingthe drop draws upand thenext actbegins.  By the waythe play ENDS with a drop:  but thatis neitherhere nor there.

                   *          *         *

(Hereasin a theatrethe orchestra is supposed to play somethingmelodious. The people get upshake themselvesyawnand settledown intheir seats again.  "Porteraleginger-beercider"comesroundsqueezing through the legs of the gentlemen in the pit.Nobodytakes anythingas usual; and lo! the curtain rises again."Sh'shsh'shshshhh!  Hats off!" says everybody.)

                   *          *         *

Mrs. Hayeshad now been for six years the adored wife of Mr. Hayesand nooffspring had arisen to bless their loves and perpetuatetheirname.  She had obtained a complete mastery over her lord andmaster;and having hadas far as was in that gentleman's powereverysingle wish gratified that she could demandin the way ofdresstreats to Coventry and Birminghamdrinkand what not forthough ahard manJohn Hayes had learned to spend his money prettyfreely onhimself and her having had all her wishes gratifieditwasnatural that she should begin to find out some more; and thenext whimshe hit upon was to be restored to her child.  It may beas well tostate that she had never informed her husband of theexistenceof that phenomenonalthough he was aware of his wife'sformerconnection with the CountMrs. Hayesin their matrimonialquarrelsinvariably taunting him with accounts of her formersplendourand happinessand with his own meanness of taste incondescendingto take up with his Excellency's leavings.

Shedeterminedthen (but as yet had not confided her determinationto herhusband)she would have her boy; although in her sevenyears'residence within twenty miles of him she had never oncethought ofseeing him:  and the kind reader knows that when hisexcellentlady determines on a thinga shawlor an opera-boxor anewcarriageor twenty-four singing-lessons from Tamburinior anight atthe "Eagle Tavern" City Roador a ride in a 'bus toRichmondand tea and brandy-and-water at "Rose Cottage Hotel "thereaderhigh or lowknows that when Mrs. Reader desires a thinghave itshe will; you may just as well talk of avoiding her as ofavoidinggoutbillsor grey hairs and thatyou knowisimpossible. Ifor my parthave had all threeayand a wife too.

I say thatwhen a woman is resolved on a thinghappen it will; ifhusbandsrefuseFate will interfere (flectere si nequeoetc.; butquotationsare odious).  And some hidden power was working in thecase ofMrs. Hayesandfor its own awful purposeslending her itsaid.

Who hasnot felt how he works the dreadful conquering Spirit ofIll? Who cannot seein the circle of his own societythe fatedandforedoomed to woe and evil?  Some call the doctrine of destiny adarkcreed; butfor meI would fain try and think it a consolatoryone. It is betterwith all one's sins upon one's headto deemoneself inthe hands of Fatethan to thinkwith our fiercepassionsand weak repentances; with our resolves so loudso vainsoludicrouslydespicably weak and frail; with our dimwaveringwretchedconceits about virtueand our irresistible propensity towrongthat we are the workers of our future sorrow or happiness.If wedepend on our strengthwhat is it against mightycircumstance? If we look to ourselveswhat hope have we?  Lookback atthe whole of your lifeand see how Fate has mastered youand it. Think of your disappointments and your successes.  Has YOURstrivinginfluenced one or the other?  A fit of indigestion putsitselfbetween you and honours and reputation; an apple plops onyour noseand makes you a world's wonder and glory; a fit of povertymakes arascal of youwho wereand are stillan honest man;clubstrumpsor six lucky mains at dicemake an honest man forlife ofyouwho ever werewill beand are a rascal.  Who sendstheillness? who causes the apple to fall? who deprives you of yourworldlygoods? or who shuffles the cardsand brings trumpshonourvirtueand prosperity back again?  You call it chance; ayand soit ischance that when the floor gives wayand the rope stretchestightthepoor wretch before St. Sepulchre's clock dies.  Only withusclear-sighted mortals as we arewe can't SEE the rope by whichwe hangand know not when or how the drop may fall.

Butrevenons a nos moutons:  let us return to that sweet lamb MasterThomasand the milk-white ewe Mrs. Cat.  Seven years had passedawayandshe began to think that she should very much like to seeher childonce more.  It was written that she should; and you shallhear howsoon afterwithout any great exertions of hersback hecame toher.

In themonth of Julyin the year 1715there came down a road aboutten milesfrom the city of Worcestertwo gentlemen; not mountedTemplar-likeupon one horsebut having a horse between themasorry baywith a sorry saddleand a large pack behind it; on whicheach byturn took a ride.  Of the twoone was a man of excessivestaturewith red haira very prominent noseand a faded militarydress;while the otheran old weather-beatensober-lookingpersonagewore the costume of a civilian both man and dressappearingto have reached the autumnalor seedy state.  Howeverthe pairseemedin spite of their apparent povertyto be passablymerry. The old gentleman rode the horse; and hadin the course oftheirjourneyridden him two miles at least in every three.  Thetall onewalked with immense strides by his side; and seemedindeedasif he could have quickly outstripped the four-footedanimalhad he chosen to exert his speedor had not affection forhiscomrade retained him at his stirrup.

A shorttime previously the horse had cast a shoe; and this the tallman onfoot had gathered upand was holding in his hand:  it havingbeen votedthat the first blacksmith to whose shop they should comeshould becalled upon to fit it again upon the bay horse.

"Doyou remimber this counthryMeejor?" said the tall manwho waslookingabout him very much pleasedand sucking a flower.  "Ithinkthim greencornfields is prettier looking at than the d- tobackyoutyondtherand bad lack to it!"

"Irecollect the place right welland some queer pranks we playedhere sevenyears agone" responded the gentleman addressed as Major."Youremember that man and his wifewhom we took in pawn at the'ThreeRooks'?"

"Andthe landlady only hung last Michaelmas?" said the tall manparenthetically.

"Hangthe landlady! we've got all we ever would out of HERyouknow. But about the man and woman.  You went after the chap'smotherandlike a jackassas you arelet him loose.  Wellthewoman wasthat Catherine that you've often heard me talk about.  Ilike thewench  herfor I almost brought her up; and she wasfor a yearor two along with that scoundrel Galgensteinwho hasbeen thecause of my ruin."

"Theinferrnal blackguard and ruffian!" said the tall man; whowithhiscompanionhas no doubt been recognised by the reader.

"Wellthis Catherine had a child by Galgenstein; and somewhere herehard bythe woman lived to whom we carried the brat to nurse.  Shewas thewife of a blacksmithone Billings:  it won't be out of theway to getour horse shod at his houseif he is alive stilland wemay learnsomething about the little beast.  I should be glad to seethe motherwell enough."

"Do Iremimber her?" said the Ensign.  "Do I remimberwhisky?  SureI doandthe snivelling sneak her husbandand the stout old ladyhermother-in-lawand the dirty one-eyed ruffian who sold me theparson'shat that had so nearly brought me into trouble.  Oh but itwas a rarerise we got out of them chapsand the old landladythat'shanged too!"  And here both Ensign Macshane and MajorBrockor Woodgrinnedand showed much satisfaction.

It will benecessary to explain the reason of it.  We gave theBritishpublic to understand that the landlady of the "Three Rooks"atWorcesterwas a notorious fenceor banker of thieves; that isapurchaser of their merchandise.  In her hands Mr. Brock and hiscompanionhad left property to the amount of sixty or seventypoundswhich was secreted in a cunning recess in a chamber of the"ThreeRooks" known only to the landlady and the gentlemen whobankedwith her; and in this placeMr. Sicklopthe one-eyed manwho hadjoined in the Hayes adventurehis comradeand one or twoof thetopping prigs of the countywere free.  Mr. Sicklop had beenshot deadin a night attack near Bath:  the landlady had beensuddenlyhangedas an accomplice in another case of robbery; andwhenontheir return from Virginiaour two heroeswhose hopes oflivelihooddepended upon ithad bent their steps towards Worcesterthey werenot a little frightened to hear of the cruel fate of thehostessand many of the amiable frequenters of the "Three Rooks."All thegoodly company were separated; the house was no longer aninn. Was the money gone too?  At least it was worth while to lookwhichMessrs. Brock and Macshane determined to do.

The housebeing now a private oneMr. Brockwith a genius that wasabove hisstationvisited its ownerwith a huge portfolio underhis armandin the character of a painterrequested permission totake aparticular sketch from a particular window.  The Ensignfollowedwith the artist's materials (consisting simply of ascrewdriverand a crowbar); and it is hardly necessary to say thatwhenadmission was granted to themthey opened the well-known doorand totheir inexpressible satisfaction discoverednot their ownpeculiarsavings exactlyfor these had been appropriated instantlyon hearingof their transportationbut stores of money and goods tothe amountof near three hundred pounds:  to which Mr. Macshane saidthey hadas just and honourable a right as anybody else.  And sothey hadas just a right as anybody except the original owners:but whowas to discover them?

With thisbooty they set out on their journey anywherefor theyknew notwhither; and it so chanced that when their horse's shoecame offthey were within a few furlongs of the cottage of Mr.Billingsthe blacksmith.  As they came nearthey were saluted bytremendousroars issuing from the smithy.  A small boy was heldacross thebellowstwo or three children of smaller and largergrowthwere holding him downand many others of the village weregazing inat the windowwhile a manhalf-nakedwas lashing thelittle boywith a whipand occasioning the cries heard by thetravellers. As the horse drew upthe operator looked at the new-comers fora momentand then proceeded incontinently with his work;belabouringthe child more fiercely than ever.

When hehad donehe turned round to the new-comers and asked how hecouldserve them? whereupon Mr. Wood (for such was the name headoptedand by such we shall call him to the end) wittily remarkedthathowever he might wish to serve THEMhe seemed mightilyinclinedto serve that young gentleman first.

"It'sno joking matter" said the blacksmith:  "if I don'tserve himso nowhe'll be worse off in his old age.  He'll come to thegallowsas sure as his name is Bill-never mind what his name is."And sosayinghe gave the urchin another cut; which elicitedofcourseanother scream.

"Oh!his name is Bill?" said Captain Wood.

"Hisname's NOT Bill!" said the blacksmithsulkily.  "He'sno name;and noheartneither.  My wife took the brat inseven years agofrom abeggarly French chap to nurseand she kept himfor she wasa goodsoul" (here his eyes began to wink)"and she'sshe's gonenow"(here he began fairly to blubber).  "And d- himout oflovefor herIkept him tooand the scoundrel is a liar and a thief.Thisblessed daymerely to vex me and my boys herehe spoke ill ofherhedidand I'llcuthislifeoutIwill!" and with eachwordhonest Mulciber applied a whack on the body of little TomBillings;whoby shrill shrieksand oaths in trebleacknowledgedthereceipt of the blows.

"Comecome" said Mr. Wood"set the boy downand the bellowsa-going;my horse wants shoeingand the poor lad has had strappingenough."

Theblacksmith obeyedand cast poor Master Thomas loose.  As hestaggeredaway and looked back at his tormentorhis countenanceassumed anexpression which made Mr. Wood saygrasping hold ofMacshane'sarm"It's the boyit's the boy!  When his mother gaveGalgensteinthe laudanumshe had the self-same look with her!"

"Hadshe really now?" said Mr. Macshane.  "And preeMeejorwho WAShismother?"

"Mrs.Catyou fool!" answered Wood.

"Thenupon my secred word of honourshe has a mighty fine KITTENanyhowmydear.  Aha!"

"Theydon't DROWN such kittens" said Mr. Woodarchly; andMacshanetaking the allusionclapped his finger to his nose intoken ofperfect approbation of his commander's sentiment.

While theblacksmith was shoeing the horseMr. Wood asked him manyquestionsconcerning the lad whom he had just been chastisingandsucceededbeyond a doubtin establishing his identity with thechild whomCatherine Hall had brought into the world seven yearssince. Billings told him of all the virtues of his wifeand themanifoldcrimes of the lad:  how he stoleand foughtand liedandswore; andthough the youngest under his roofexercised the mostbanefulinfluence over all the rest of his family.  He wasdeterminedat lasthe saidto put him to the parishfor he didnot dareto keep him.

"He'sa fine whelpand would fetch ten pieces in Virginny" sighedtheEnsign.

"Crimpof Bristolwould give five for him" said Mr. Woodruminating.

"Whynot take him?" said the Ensign.

"Faithwhy not?" said Mr. Wood.  "His keepmeanwhilewillnot besixpence aday."  Then turning round to the blacksmith"Mr.Billings"said he"you will be surprisedperhapsto hear that Iknoweverything regarding that poor lad's history.  His mother wasanunfortunate lady of high familynow no more; his father a GermannoblemanCount de Galgenstein by name."

"Thevery man!" said Billings:  "a youngfair-haired manwho camehere withthe childand a dragoon sergeant."

"Countde Galgenstein by namewhoon the point of deathrecommendedthe infant to me."

"Anddid he pay you seven years' boarding?" said Mr. Billingswhowas quitealive at the very idea.

"Alassirnot a jot!  He diedsirsix hundred pounds in my debt;didn't heEnsign?"

"Sixhundredupon my secred honour!  I remember when he got intothe housealong with the poli"

"Psha!what matters it?" here broke out Mr. Woodlooking fiercelyat theEnsign.  "Six hundred pounds he owes me:  how was heto payyou? But he told me to take charge of this boyif I found him; andfound himI haveand WILL take charge of himif you will hand himover."

"Sendour Tom!" cried Billings.  And when that youth appearedscowlingand yet tremblingand preparedas it seemedfor anothercastigationhis fatherto his surpriseasked him if he waswilling togo along with those gentlemenor whether he would be agood ladand stay with him.

Mr. Tomreplied immediately"I won't be a good ladand I'd rathergo to than stay with you!"

"Willyou leave your brothers and sisters?" said Billingslookingverydismal.

"Hangmy brothers and sisters I hate 'em; andbesidesI haven'tgot any!"

"Butyou had a good motherhadn't youTom?"

Tom pausedfor a moment.

"Mother'sgone" said he"and you flog meand I'll go with thesemen."

"Wellthengo thy ways" said Billingsstarting up in a passion:"gothy ways for a graceless reprobate; and if this gentleman willtake youhe may do so."

After somefurther parleythe conversation endedand the nextmorningMr. Wood's party consisted of three:  a little boy beingmountedupon the bay horsein addition to the Ensign or himself;and thewhole company went journeying towards Bristol.

                   *          *         *

We havesaid that Mrs. Hayes hadon a suddentaken a fit ofmaternalaffectionand was bent upon being restored to her child;and thatbenign destiny which watched over the life of this luckyladyinstantly set about gratifying her wishandwithout cost toherself ofcoach-hire or saddle-horsesent the young gentleman veryquickly toher arms.  The village in which the Hayeses dwelt was buta very fewmiles out of the road from Bristol; whitheron thebenevolentmission abovehinted atour party of worthies werebound: and comingtowards the afternoonin sight of the house ofthat veryJustice Ballance who had been so nearly the ruin of EnsignMacshanethat officer narratedfor the hundredth timeand withmuch gleethe circumstances which had then befallen himand themanner inwhich Mrs. Hayes the elder had come forward to his rescue.

"Supposewe go and see the old girl?" suggested Mr. Wood.  "Noharmcan cometo us now."  And his comrade always assentingthey woundtheir waytowards the villageand reached it as the evening cameon. In the public-house where they restedWood made inquiriesconcerningthe Hayes family; was informed of the death of the oldcoupleofthe establishment of John Hayes and his wife in theirplaceandof the kind of life that these latter led together.  Whenall thesepoints had been imparted to himhe ruminated much:  anexpressionof sublime triumph and exultation at length lighted uphisfeatures.  "I thinkTim" said he at last"thatwe can makemore thanfive pieces of that boy."

"Ohin coorse!" said Timothy MacshaneEsquire; who always agreedwith his"Meejor."

"Incoorseyou fool! and how?  I'll tell you how.  This Hayesiswell to doin the worldand"

"Andwe'll nab him again haha!" roared out Macshane.  "BymysecredhonourMeejorthere never was a gineral like you at astrathyjam!"

"Peaceyou bellowing donkeyand don't wake the child.  The man iswell todohis wife rules himand they have no children.  Noweither shewill be very glad to have the boy back againand pay forthefinding of himor else she has said nothing about himand willpay us forbeing silent too:  orat any rateHayes himself will beashamed atfinding his wife the mother of a child a year older thanhismarriageand will pay for the keeping of the brat away.There'sprofitmy dearin any one of the casesor my name's notPeterBrock."

When theEnsign understood this wondrous argumenthe would fainhavefallen on his knees and worshipped his friend and guide.  Theybeganoperationsalmost immediatelyby an attack on Mrs. Hayes.Onhearingas she did in private interview with the ex-corporal thenextmorningthat her son was foundshe was agitated by both ofthepassions which Wood attributed to her.  She longed to have theboy backand would give any reasonable sum to see him; but shedreadedexposureand would pay equally to avoid that.  How couldshe gainthe one point and escape the other?

Mrs. Hayeshit upon an expedient whichI am given to understandisnotuncommon nowadays.  She suddenly discovered that she had a dearbrotherwho had been obliged to fly the country in consequence ofhavingjoined the Pretenderand had died in Franceleaving behindhim anonly son.  This boy her brother hadwith his last breathrecommendedto her protectionand had confided him to the charge ofa brotherofficer who was now in the countryand would speedilymake hisappearance; andto put the story beyond a doubtMr. Woodwrote theletter from her brother stating all these particularsandEnsignMacshane received full instructions how to perform the partof the"brother officer."  What consideration Mr. Woodreceived forhisserviceswe cannot say; only it is well known that Mr. Hayescaused tobe committed to gaol a young apprentice in his servicechargedwith having broken open a cupboard in which Mr. Hayes hadfortyguineas in gold and silverand to which none but he and hiswife hadaccess.

Havingmade these arrangementsthe Corporal and his little partydecampedto a short distanceand Mrs. Catherine was left to prepareherhusband for a speedy addition to his familyin the shape ofthisdarling nephew.  John Hayes received the news with anything butpleasure. He had never heard of any brother of Catherine's; she hadbeen bredat the workhouseand nobody ever hinted that she hadrelatives: but it is easy for a lady of moderate genius to inventcircumstances;and with liestearsthreatscoaxingsoathsandotherblandishmentsshe compelled him to submit.

Two daysafterwardsas Mr. Hayes was working in his shop with hisladyseated beside himthe trampling of a horse was heard in hiscourtyardand a gentlemanof huge staturedescended from itandstrodeinto the shop.  His figure was wrapped in a large cloak; butMr. Hayescould not help fancying that he had somewhere seen hisfacebefore.

"ThisI preshoom" said the gentleman"is Misther Hayesthat Ihave comeso many miles to seeand this is his amiable lady?  I wasthe mostintimate frindmadamof your laminted brotherwho diedin KingLewis's serviceand whose last touching letthers Idespatchedto you two days ago.  I have with me a further precioustoken ofmy dear friendCaptain Hallit is HERE."

And sosayingthe military gentlemanwith one armremoved hiscloakandstretching forward the other into Hayes's face almoststretchedlikewise forward a little boygrinning and sprawling inthe airand prevented only from falling to the ground by the holdwhich theEnsign kept of the waistband of his little coat andbreeches.

"Isn'the a pretty boy?" said Mrs. Hayessidling up to her husbandtenderlyand pressing one of Mr. Hayes's hands.

                   *          *         *

About thelad's beauty it is needless to say what the carpenterthought;but that nightand for many many nights afterthe ladstayed atMr. Hayes's.

 

CHAPTERVIII
ENUMERATES THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF MASTER THOMASBILLINGSINTRODUCES BROCK AS DOCTOR  WOOD AND ANNOUNCES THEEXECUTIONOF ENSIGN MACSHANE.

We areobligedin recording this historyto follow accurately thatgreatauthoritythe "Calendarium Newgaticum RoagorumqueRegisterium"of which every lover of literaturein the present dayknows thevalue; and as that remarkable work totally discards alltheunities in its narrativesand reckons the life of its heroesonly bytheir actionsand not by periods of timewe must follow inthe wakeof this mighty arka humble cock-boat.  When it pauseswepause;when it runs ten knots an hourwe run with the samecelerity;and asin order to carry the reader from the penultimatechapter ofthis work unto the last chapterwe were compelled tomake himleap over a gap of seven blank yearsten years more mustlikewisebe granted to us before we are at liberty to resume ourhistory.

Duringthat periodMaster Thomas Billings had been under theespecialcare of his mother; andas may be imaginedhe ratherincreasedthan diminished the accomplishments for which he had beenremarkablewhile under the roof of his foster-father.  And with thisadvantagethat while at the blacksmith'sand only three or fouryears ofagehis virtues were necessarily appreciated only in hisfamilycircle and among those few acquaintances of his own time oflife whoma youth of three can be expected to meet in the alleys orover thegutters of a small country hamletin his mothersresidencehis circle extended with his own growthand he began togiveproofs of those powers of which in infancy there had been onlyencouragingindications.  Thus it was nowise remarkable that a childof fouryears should not know his lettersand should have had agreatdisinclination to learn them; but when a young man of fifteenshowed thesame creditable ignorancethe same undeviating dislikeit waseasy to see that he possessed much resolution andperseverance. When it was remarkedtoothatin case of anydifferencehe not only beat the usherbut by no means disdained totormentand bully the very smallest boys of the schoolit was easyto seethat his mind was comprehensive and carefulas well ascourageousand grasping.  As it was said of the Duke of Wellingtonin thePeninsulathat he had a thought for everybody from LordHill tothe smallest drummer in the army in like manner TomBillingsbestowed HIS attention on high and low; but in the shape ofblows: he would fight the strongest and kick the smallestand wasalways atwork with one or the other.  At thirteenwhen he wasremovedfrom the establishment whither he had been senthe was thecock ofthe school out of doorsand the very last boy in.  He usedto let thelittle boys and new-comers pass him byand laugh; but healwaysbelaboured them unmercifully afterwards; and then it washesaidHISturn to laugh.  With such a pugnacious turnTom Billingsought tohave been made a soldierand might have died a marshal;butby anunlucky ordinance of fatehe was made a tailorand diedanevermind what for the present; suffice it to saythat he wassuddenlycut offat a very early period of his existenceby adiseasewhich has exercised considerable ravages among the Britishyouth.

Byconsulting the authority above mentionedwe find that Hayes didnotconfine himself to the profession of a carpenteror remain longestablishedin the country; but was inducedby the eager spirit ofMrs.Catherine most probablyto try his fortune in the metropolis;where helivedflourishedand died.  Oxford RoadSaint Giles'sandTottenham Court wereat various periods of his residence intowninhabited by him.  At one place he carried on the business ofgreengrocerand small-coalman; in anotherhe was carpenterundertakerand lender of money to the poor; finallyhe was alodging-housekeeper in the Oxford or Tyburn Road; but continued toexercisethe last-named charitable profession.

Lending ashe did upon pledgesand carrying on a pretty largetradeitwas not for himof courseto inquire into the pedigreeof all thepieces of platethe bales of clothswordswatcheswigsshoe-bucklesetc. that were confided by his friends to hiskeeping;but it is clear that his friends had the requisiteconfidencein himand that he enjoyed the esteem of a class ofcharacterswho still live in historyand are admired unto this veryday. The mind loves to think thatperhapsin Mr. Hayes's backparlourthe gallant Turpin might have hob-and-nobbed with Mrs.Catherine;that hereperhapsthe noble Sheppard might have crackedhis jokeor quaffed his pint of rum.  Who knows but that Macheathand PaulClifford may have crossed legs under Hayes's dinner-table?But whypause to speculate on things that might have been? whydesertreality for fond imaginationor call up from their honouredgraves thesacred dead?  I know not:  and yetin soothI can neverpassCumberland Gate without a sighas I think of the gallantcavalierswho traversed that road in old time.  Pious priestsaccompaniedtheir triumphs; their chariots were surrounded by hostsofglittering javelin-men.  As the slave at the car of the Romanconquerorshouted"Remember thou art mortal!"before the eyes oftheBritish warrior rode the undertaker and his coffintelling himthat hetoo must die!  Mark well the spot!  A hundred years agoAlbionStreet (where comic Power dweltMilesia's darling son)--AlbionStreet was a desert.  The square of Connaught was withoutitspenultimateandstrictly speakingNAUGHT.  The Edgware Roadwas then aroad'tis true; with tinkling waggons passing now andthenandfragrant walls of snowy hawthorn blossoms.  The ploughmanwhistledover Nutford Place; down the green solitudes of SovereignStreet themerry milkmaid led the lowing kine.  Herethenin themidst ofgreen fields and sweet airbefore ever omnibuses wereandwhenPineapple Turnpike and Terrace were alike unknown here stoodTyburn: and on the road towards itperhaps to enjoy the prospectstoodinthe year 1725the habitation of Mr. John Hayes.

One finemorning in the year 1725Mrs. Hayeswho had been abroadin herbest hat and riding-hood; Mr. Hayeswho for a wonder hadaccompaniedher; and Mrs. Springatta lodgerwho for aremunerationhad the honour of sharing Mrs. Hayes's friendship andtable: all returnedsmiling and rosyat about half-past teno'clockfrom a walk which they had taken to Bayswater.  Manythousandsof people were likewise seen flocking down the OxfordRoad; andyou would rather have thoughtfrom the smartness of theirappearanceand the pleasure depicted in their countenancesthatthey werejust issuing from a sermonthan quitting the ceremonywhich theyhad been to attend.

The factisthat they had just been to see a gentleman hangedacheappleasurewhich the Hayes family never denied themselves; andtheyreturned home with a good appetite to breakfastbraced by thewalkandtickled into hungeras it wereby the spectacle.  I canrecollectwhen I was a gyp at Cambridgethat the "men" used tohavebreakfast-parties for the very same purpose; and the exhibitionof themorning acted infallibly upon the stomachand caused theyoungstudents to eat with much voracity.

WellMrs.Catherinea handsomewell-dressedplumprosy woman ofthree orfour and thirty (and whenmy dearis a woman handsomerthan atthat age?)came in quite merrily from her walkand enteredtheback-parlourwhich looked into a pleasant yardor gardenwhereonthe sun was shining very gaily; and whereat a tablecoveredwith a nice white clothlaid out with some silver mugstooandknivesall with different crests and patternssat an oldgentlemanreading in an old book.

"Herewe are at lastDoctor" said Mrs. Hayes"and here's hisspeech." She produced the little halfpenny tractwhich to this dayis sold atthe gallows-foot upon the death of every offender.  "I'veseen amany men turned offto be sure; but I never did see one whobore itmore like a man than he did."

"Mydear" said the gentleman addressed as Doctor"he was ascooland asbrave as steeland no more minded hanging thantooth-drawing."

"Itwas the drink that ruined him" said Mrs. Cat.

"Drinkand bad company.  I warned himmy dearI warned him yearsago: and directly he got into Wild's gangI knew that he had not ayear torun.  Ahwhymy lovewill men continue such dangerouscourses"continued the Doctorwith a sigh"and jeopardy theirlives fora miserable watch or a snuff-boxof which Mr. Wild takesthree-fourthsof the produce?  But here comes the breakfast; andegadI amas hungry as a lad of twenty."

Indeedatthis moment Mrs. Hayes's servant appeared with a smokingdish ofbacon and greens; and Mr. Hayes himself ascended from thecellar (ofwhich he kept the key)bearing with him a tolerablylarge jugof small-beer.  To this repast the DoctorMrs. Springatt(the otherlodger)and Mr. and Mrs. Hayesproceeded with greatalacrity. A fifth cover was laidbut not used; the companyremarkingthat "Tom had very likely found some acquaintances atTyburnwith whom he might choose to pass the morning."

Tom wasMaster Thomas Billingsnow of the age of sixteen:  slimsmartfive feet ten inches in heighthandsomesallow incomplexionblack-eyed and black-haired.  Mr. Billings wasapprenticeto a tailorof tolerable practicewho was to take himintopartnership at the end of his term.  It was supposedand withreasonthat Tom would not fail to make a fortune in this business;of whichthe present head was one Beinkleidera German.Beinkleiderwas skilful in his trade (after the manner of hisnationwhich in breeches and metaphysics in inexpressibles andincomprehensiblesmay instruct all Europe)but too fond of hispleasure. Some promissory notes of his had found their way intoHayes'shandsand had given him the means not only of providingMasterBillings with a cheap apprenticeshipand a cheap partnershipafterwards;but would empower himin one or two years after theyoungpartner had joined the firmto eject the old one altogether.So thatthere was every prospect thatwhen Mr. Billings wastwenty-oneyears of agepoor Beinkleider would have to actnot ashismasterbut his journeyman.

Tom was avery precocious youth; was supplied by a doting motherwithplenty of pocket-moneyand spent it with a number of livelycompanionsof both sexesat playsbull-baitingsfairsjollyparties onthe riverand such-like innocent amusements.  He couldthrow amaintooas well as his elders; had pinked his manin arow atMadam King's in the Piazza; and was much respected at theRoundhouse.

Mr. Hayeswas not very fond of this promising young gentleman;indeedhehad the baseness to bear malicebecausein a quarrelwhichoccurred about two years previouslyheHayesbeing desiroustochastise Mr. Billingshad found himself not only quiteincompetentbut actually at the mercy of the boy; who struck himover thehead with a joint-stoolfelled him to the groundandswore hewould have his life.  The Doctorwho was then also alodger atMr. Hayes'sinterposedand restored the combatantsnottofriendshipbut to peace.  Hayes never afterwards attempted tolift hishand to the young manbut contented himself with hatinghimprofoundly.  In this sentiment Mr. Billings participatedcordially;andquite unlike Mr. Hayeswho never dared to show hisdislikeused on every occasion when they metby actionslookswordssneersand cursesto let his stepfather know the opinionwhich hehad of him.  Why did not Hayes discard the boy altogether?Becauseif he did sohe was really afraid of his lifeand becausehetrembled before Mrs. Hayeshis ladyas the leaf trembles beforethetempest in October.  His breath was not his ownbut hers; hismoneytoohad been chiefly of her gettingfor though he was asstingy andmean as mortal man can beand so likely to save muchhehad notthe genius for GETTING which Mrs. Hayes possessed.  She kepthis books(for she had learned to read and write by this time)shemade hisbargainsand she directed the operations of thepoor-spiritedlittle capitalist.  When bills became dueand debtorspressedfor timethen she brought Hayes's own professional meritsintoplay.  The man was as deaf and cold as a rock; never did poortradesmengain a penny from him; never were the bailiffs delayed onesingleminute from their prey.  The Beinkleider businessforinstanceshowed pretty well the genius of the two.  Hayes was forclosingwith him at once; but his wife saw the vast profits whichmight bedrawn out of himand arranged the apprenticeship and thepartnershipbefore alluded to.  The woman heartily scorned and spitupon herhusbandwho fawned upon her like a spaniel.  She lovedgoodcheer; she did not want for a certain kind of generosity.  Theonlyfeeling that Hayes had for anyone except himself was for hiswifewhomhe held in a cowardly awe and attachment:  he likeddrinktoowhich made him chirping and merryand acceptedwillinglyany treats that his acquaintances might offer him; but hewouldsuffer agonies when his wife brought or ordered from thecellar abottle of wine.

And nowfor the Doctor.  He was about seventy years of age.  He hadbeen muchabroad; he was of a sobercheerful aspect; he dressedhandsomelyand quietly in a broad hat and cassock; but saw nocompanyexcept the few friends whom he met at the coffee-house.  Hehad anincome of about one hundred poundswhich he promised toleave toyoung Billings.  He was amused with the ladand fond ofhismotherand had boarded with them for some years past.  TheDoctorinfactwas our old friend Corporal Brockthe ReverendDoctorWood nowas he had been Major Wood fifteen years back.

Anyone whohas read the former part of this history must have seenthat wehave spoken throughout with invariable respect of Mr. Brock;and thatin every circumstance in which he has appearedhe hasacted notonly with prudencebut often with genius.  The earlyobstacleto Mr. Brock's success was want of conduct simply.  Drinkwomenplayhow many a brave fellow have they ruined!had pulledBrock downas often as his merit had carried him up.  When a man'spassionfor play has brought him to be a scoundrelit at onceceases tobe hurtful to him in a worldly point of view; he cheatsand wins. It is only for the idle and luxurious that women retaintheirfascinations to a very late period; and Brock's passions hadbeenwhipped out of him in Virginia; where much ill-healthill-treatmenthard labourand hard foodspeedily put an end tothem. He forgot there even how to drink; rum or wine made this poordeclininggentleman so ill that he could indulge in them no longer;and so histhree vices were cured.

Had hebeen ambitiousthere is little doubt but that Mr. Brockonhis returnfrom transportationmight have risen in the world; buthe was oldand a philosopher:  he did not care about rising.  Livingwascheaper in those daysand interest for money higher:  when hehadamassed about six hundred poundshe purchased an annuity ofseventy-twopoundsand gave out why should he not? that he hadthecapital as well as the interest.  After leaving the Hayes familyin thecountryhe found them again in London:  he took up his abodewith themand was attached to the mother and the son.  Do yousupposethat rascals have not affections like other people? heartsmadam ayhearts and family ties which they cherish?  As theDoctorlived on with this charming family he began to regret that hehad sunkall his money in annuitiesand could notas he repeatedlyvowed hewouldleave his savings to his adopted children.

He felt anindescribable pleasure ("suave mari magno" etc.) inwatchingthe storms and tempests of the Hayes menage.  He used toencourageMrs. Catherine into anger whenhaplythat lady's fits ofcalm wouldlast too long; he used to warm up the disputes betweenwife andhusbandmother and sonand enjoy them beyond expression:theyserved him for daily amusement; and he used to laugh until thetears randown his venerable cheeks at the accounts which young Tomcontinuallybrought him of his pranks abroadamong watchmen andconstablesat taverns or elsewhere.

Whenthereforeas the party were discussing their bacon andcabbagebefore which the Reverend Doctor with much gravity saidgraceMaster Tom entered.  Doctor Woodwho had before been rathergloomyimmediately brightened upand made a place for Billingsbetweenhimself and Mrs. Catherine.

"Howdoold cock?" said that young gentleman familiarly.  "Howgoesitmother?"  And so sayinghe seized eagerly upon the jug ofbeerwhich Mr.Hayes had drawnand from which the latter was about tohelphimselfand poured down his throat exactly one quart.

"Ah!"said Mr. Billingsdrawing breath after a draught which he hadlearnedaccurately to gauge from the habit of drinking out of pewtermeasureswhich held precisely that quantity." Ah!" said Mr.Billingsdrawing breathand wiping his mouth with his sleeves"thisis very thin stuffold Squaretoes; but my coppers have beenred-hotsince last nightand they wanted a sluicing."

"Shouldyou like some aledear?" said Mrs. Hayesthat fond andjudiciousparent.

"Aquart of brandyTom?" said Doctor Wood.  "Your papawill rundown tothe cellar for it in a minute."

"I'llsee him hanged first!" cried Mr. Hayesquite frightened.

"Ohfienowyou unnatural father!" said the Doctor.

The veryname of father used to put Mr. Hayes in a fury.  "I'm nothisfatherthank Heaven!" said he.

"Nonor nobody else's" said Tom.

Mr. Hayesonly muttered "Base-born brat!"

"Hisfather was a gentlemanthat's more than you ever were!"screamedMrs. Hayes.  "His father was a man of spirit; no cowardlysneak of acarpenterMr Hayes!  Tom has noble blood in his veinsfor all hehas a tailor's appearance; and if his mother had had herrightshewould be now in a coach-and-six."

"Iwish I could find my father" said Tom; "for I think PollyBriggsand Iwould look mighty well in a coach-and-six."  Tom fanciedthatif hisfather was a count at the time of his birthhe must be aprincenow; andindeedwent among his companions by the latteraugusttitle.

"AyTomthat you would" cried his motherlooking at him fondly.

"Witha sword by my sideand a hat and feather there's never a lordat St.James's would cut a finer figure."

After alittle more of this talkin which Mrs. Hayes let thecompanyknow her high opinion of her sonwhoas usualtook careto showhis extreme contempt for his stepfatherthe latter retiredto hisoccupations; the lodgerMrs. Springattwho had never said aword allthis timeretired to her apartment on the second floor;andpulling out their pipes and tobaccothe old gentleman and theyoung onesolaced themselves with half-an-hour's more talk andsmoking;while the thrifty Mrs. Hayesopposite to themwas busywith herbooks.

"What'sin the confessions?" said Mr. Billings to Doctor Wood."Therewere six of 'em besides Mac:  two for sheepfourhousebreakers;but nothing of consequenceI fancy."

"There'sthe paper" said Woodarchly.  "Read for yourselfTom."

Mr. Tomlooked at the same time very fierce and very foolish; forthough hecould drinkswearand fight as well as any lad of hisinches inEnglandreading was not among his accomplishments.  "Itell youwhatDoctor" said he" you! have no bantering withmeforI'm not the man that will bear itme!" and he threw atremendousswaggering look across the table.

"Iwant you to learn to readTommy dear.  Look at your motherthereover herbooks:  she keeps them as neat as a scrivener nowand attwenty shecould make never a stroke."

"Yourgodfather speaks for your goodchild; and for methouknowestthat I have promised thee a gold-headed cane and periwig onthe firstday that thou canst read me a column of the Flying Post."

"Hangthe periwig!" said Mr. Tomtestily.  "Let mygodfather readthe paperhimselfif he has a liking for it."

Whereuponthe old gentleman put on his spectaclesand glanced overthe sheetof whity-brown paperwhichornamented with a picture ofa gallowsat the topcontained the biographies of the seven unluckyindividualswho had that morning suffered the penalty of the law.With thesix heroes who came first in the list we have nothing todo; buthave before us a copy of the paper containing the life ofNo. 7andwhich the Doctor read in an audible voice.

                    "CAPTAIN MACSHANE.

"Theseventh victim to his own crimes was the famous highwaymanCaptainMacshaneso well known as the Irish Fire-eater.

"TheCaptain came to the ground in a fine white lawn shirt andnightcap;andbeing a Papist in his religionwas attended byFatherO'FlahertyPopish priestand chaplain to the BavarianEnvoy.

"CaptainMacshane was born of respectable parentsin the town ofClonakiltyin Irelandbeing descended from most of the kings inthatcountry.  He had the honour of serving their Majesties KingWilliamand Queen Maryand Her Majesty Queen Annein Flanders andSpainandobtained much credit from my Lords Marlborough andPeterboroughfor his valour.

"Butbeing placed on half-pay at the end of the warEnsign Macshanetook toevil courses; andfrequenting the bagnios and dice-houseswasspeedily brought to ruin.

"Beingat this passhe fell in with the notorious Captain Woodandthey twotogether committed many atrocious robberies in the inlandcounties;but these being too hot to hold themthey went into thewestwhere they were unknown.  Herehoweverthe day ofretributionarrived; forhaving stolen three pewter-pots from apublic-housetheyunder false nameswere tried at Exeterandtransportedfor seven years beyond the sea.  Thus it is seen thatJusticenever sleeps; butsooner or latteris sure to overtake thecriminal.

"Ontheir return from Virginiaa quarrel about booty arose betweenthese twoand Macshane killed Wood in a combat that took placebetweenthem near to the town of Bristol; but a waggon coming upMacshanewas obliged to fly without the ill-gotten wealth:  so trueis itthat wickedness never prospers.

"Twodays afterwardsMacshane met the coach of Miss MacrawaScotchlady and heiressgoingfor lumbago and goutto the Bath.He atfirst would have robbed this lady; but such were his artsthat heinduced her to marry him; and they lived together for sevenyears inthe town of Eddenboroin Scotlandhe passing under thename ofColonel Geraldine.  The lady dyingand Macshane havingexpendedall her wealthhe was obliged to resume his former evilcoursesin order to save himself from starvation; whereupon herobbed aScotch lordby name the Lord of Whistlebinkieof a mullof snuff;for which crime he was condemned to the Tolbooth prison atEddenboroin Scotlandand whipped many times in publick.

"Thesedeserved punishments did not at all alter Captain Macshane'sdisposition;and on the 17th of February lasthe stopped theBavarianEnvoy's coach on Blackheathcoming from Doverand robbedhisExcellency and his chaplain; taking from the former his moneywatchesstara fur-cloakhis sword (a very valuable one); andfrom thelatter a Romish missalout of which he was then readingand acase-bottle."

"TheBavarian Envoy!" said Tom parenthetically.  "MymasterBeinkleiderwas his Lordship's regimental tailor in Germanyand isnow makinga Court suit for him.  It will be a matter of a hundredpounds tohimI warrant."

DoctorWood resumed his reading.  "Humhum! A Romish missalout ofwhich hewas readingand a case-bottle.

"Bymeans of the famous Mr. Wildthis notorious criminal wasbrought tojusticeand the case-bottle and missal have beenrestoredto Father O'Flaherty.

"Duringhis confinement in NewgateMr. Macshane could not bebrought toexpress any contrition for his crimesexcept that ofhavingkilled his commanding officer.  For this Wood he pretended anexcessivesorrowand vowed that usquebaugh had been the cause ofhisdeathindeedin prison he partook of no other liquoranddrunk abottle of it on the day before his death.

"Hewas visited by several of the clergy and gentry in his cell;amongothersby the Popish priest whom he had robbedFatherO'FIahertybefore mentionedwho attended him likewise in his lastmoments(if that idolatrous worship may be called attention)andlikewiseby the Father's patronthe Bavarian AmbassadorhisExcellencyCount Maximilian de Galgenstein."

As oldWood came to these wordshe paused to give them utterance.

"What! Max?" screamed Mrs. Hayesletting her ink-bottle fall overherledgers.

"Whybe hanged if it ben't my father!" said Mr. Billings.

"Yourfathersure enoughunless there be others of his nameandunless thescoundrel is hanged" said the Doctor sinking his voicehoweverat the end of the sentence.

Mr.Billings broke his pipe in an agony of joy.  "I think we'llhavethe coachnowMother" says he; "and I'm blessed if Polly Briggsshall notlook as fine as a duchess."

"PollyBriggs is a low slutTomand not fit for the likes of youhisExcellency's son.  Ohfie!  You must be a gentleman nowsirrah;and I doubt whether I shan't take you away from that odioustailor'sshop altogether."

To thisproposition Mr. Billings objected altogether; forbesidesMrs.Briggs before alluded tothe young gentleman was much attachedto hismaster's daughterMrs. Margaret Gretelor GretchenBeinkleider.

"No"says he.  "There will be time to think of that hereafterma'am. If my pa makes a man of mewhyof coursethe shop may goto thedeucefor what I care; but we had better waitlook youforsomethingcertain before we give up such a pretty bird in the handas this."

"Hespeaks like Solomon" said the Doctor.

"Ialways said he would be a credit to his old motherdidn't IBrock?"cried Mrs. Catembracing her son very affectionately.  "Acredit toher; ayI warranta real blessing!  And dost thou wantany moneyTom? for a lord's son must not go about without a fewpieces inhis pocket.  And I tell theeTommythou must go and seehisLordship; and thou shalt have a piece of brocade for awaistcoatthou shalt; ayand the silver-hilted sword I told theeof; butohTommyTommy! have a careand don't be a-drawing of itin naughtycompany at the gaming-housesor at the"

"Adrawing of fiddlesticksMother!  If I go to see my fatherImust havea reason for it; and instead of going with a sword in myhandIshall take something else in it."

"Thelad IS a lad of nous" cried Doctor Wood"although hismotherdoes spoilhim so cruelly.  Look youMadam Cat:  did you not hearwhat hesaid about Beinkleider and the clothes?  Tommy will justwait onthe Count with his Lordship's breeches.  A man may learn adeal ofnews in the trying on of a pair of breeches."

And so itwas agreed that in this manner the son should at firstmake hisappearance before his father.  Mrs. Cat gave him the pieceofbrocadewhichin the course of the daywas fashioned into asmartwaistcoat (for Beinkleider's shop was close byin CavendishSquare). Mrs. Gretelwith many blushestied a fine blue ribandround hisneck; andin a pair of silk stockingswith gold bucklesto hisshoesMaster Billings looked a very proper young gentleman.

"AndTommy" said his motherblushing and hesitating"shouldMaxshouldhis Lordship ask after yourwant to know if your motheris aliveyou can say she isand welland often talks of oldtimes. AndTommy" (after another pause)"you needn't sayanythingabout Mr.Hayes; only say I'm quite well."

Mrs. Hayeslooked at him as he marched down the streeta long longway. Tom was proud and gay in his new costumeand was not unlikehisfather.  As she lookedlo! Oxford Street disappearedand shesaw agreen commonand a villageand a little inn.  There was asoldierleading a pair of horses about on the green common; and inthe innsat a cavalierso youngso merryso beautiful!  Ohwhatslim whitehands he had; and winning wordsand tendergentle blueeyes! Was it not an honour to a country lass that such a noblegentlemanshould look at her for a moment?  Had he not some charmabout himthat she must needs obey when he whispered in her ear"Comefollow me!"  As she walked towards the lane that morninghowwell sheremembered each spot as she passed itand the look it worefor thelast time!  How the smoke was rising from the pastureshowthe fishwere jumping and plashing in the mill-stream!  There wasthechurchwith all its windows lighted up with goldand yonderwere thereapers sweeping down the brown corn.  She tried to sing asshe wentup the hillwhat was it?  She could not remember; but ohhow wellshe remembered the sound of the horse's hoofsas they camequickerquickernearernearer!  How noble he looked on his greathorse! Was he thinking of heror were they all silly words whichhe spokelast nightmerely to pass away the time and deceive poorgirlswith?  Would he remember themwould he?

"Catmy dear" here cried Mr. Brockalias Captainalias DoctorWood"here's the meat a-getting coldand I am longing for mybreakfast."

As theywent in he looked her hard in the face.  "Whatstill atityou sillygirl?  I've been watching you these five minutesCat; andbe hangedbut I think a word from Galgensteinand you would followhim as afly does a treacle-pot!"

They wentin to breakfast; but though there was a hot shoulder ofmutton andonion-sauceMrs. Catherine's favourite dishshe nevertouched amorsel of it.

In themeanwhile Mr. Thomas Billingsin his new clothes which hismamma hadgiven himin his new riband which the fair MissBeinkleiderhad tied round his neckand having his Excellency'sbreecheswrapped in a silk handkerchief in his right handturneddown inthe direction of Whitehallwhere the Bavarian Envoy lodged.Butbefore he waited on himMr. Billingsbeing excessivelypleasedwith his personal appearancemade an early visit to Mrs.Briggswho lived in the neighbourhood of Swallow Street; and whoafterexpressing herself with much enthusiasm regarding her Tommy'sgoodlooksimmediately asked him what he would stand to drink?Raspberrygin being suggesteda pint of that liquor was sent for;and sogreat was the confidence and intimacy subsisting betweenthese twoyoung peoplethat the reader will be glad to hear thatMrs. Pollyaccepted every shilling of the money which Tom Billingshadreceived from his mamma the day before; naycould withdifficultybe prevented from seizing upon the cut-velvet breecheswhich hewas carrying to the nobleman for whom they were made.Havingpaid his adieux to Mrs. PollyMr. Billings departed to visithisfather.

 

CHAPTERIX
INTERVIEW BETWEEN COUNT GALGENSTEIN AND MASTER THOMASBILLINGSWHEN HE INFORMS THE COUNT OF HIS PARENTAGE.

I don'tknow in all this miserable world a more miserable spectaclethan thatof a young fellow of five or six and forty.  The Britisharmythatnursery of valourturns out many of the young fellows Imean: whohaving flaunted in dragoon uniforms from seventeen tosix-and-thirty;having boughtsoldor swapped during that periodsome twohundred horses; having playedsayfifteen thousand gamesatbilliards; having drunk some six thousand bottles of wine; havingconsumed areasonable number of Nugee coatssplit many dozen pairsofhigh-heeled Hoby bootsand read the newspaper and the army-listdulyretire from the service when they have attained their eighthlustreand saunter through the worldtrailing from London toCheltenhamand from Boulogne to Parisand from Paris to Badentheiridlenesstheir ill-healthand their ennui.  "In themorningof youth"and when seen along with whole troops of theircompanionsthese flowers look gaudy and brilliant enough; but thereis noobject more dismal than one of them aloneand in itsautumnalor seedy state.  My friendCaptain Popjoyis one who hasarrived atthis conditionand whom everybody knows by his title ofFatherPop.  A kindersimplermore empty-headed fellow does notexist. He is forty-seven years oldand appears a younggood-lookingman of sixty.  At the time of the Army of Occupation hereally wasas good-looking a man as any in the Dragoons.  He nowuses allsorts of stratagems to cover the bald place on his headbycombingcertain thin grey sidelocks over it.  He hasin revengeapair ofenormous moustacheswhich he dyes of the richestblue-black. His nose is a good deal larger and redder than it usedto be; hiseyelids have grown flat and heavy; and a little pair ofredwatery eyeballs float in the midst of them:  it seems as if thelightwhich was once in those sickly green pupils had extravasatedinto thewhite part of the eye.  If Pop's legs are not so firm andmuscularas they used to be in those days when he took such leapsintoWhite's buckskinsin revenge his waist is much larger.  Hewears avery good coathoweverand a waistbandwhich he lets outafterdinner.  Before ladies he blushesand is as silent as aschoolboy. He calls them "modest women."  His society is chieflyamongyoung lads belonging to his former profession.  He knows thebest wineto be had at each tavern or cafeand the waiters treathim withmuch respectful familiarity.  He knows the names of everyone ofthem; and shouts out"Send Markwell here!" or"TellCuttrissto give us a bottle of the yellow seal!" or"Dizzy vooMonsureBorrelnoo donny shampang frappy" etc.  He always makesthe salador the punchand dines out three hundred days in theyear: the other days you see him in a two-franc eating-house atParisorprowling about Rupert Streetor St. Martin's Courtwhereyou get acapital cut of meat for eightpence.  He has decentlodgingsand scrupulously clean linen; his animal functions arestilltolerably well preservedhis spiritual have evaporated longsince; hesleeps wellhas no consciencebelieves himself to be arespectablefellowand is tolerably happy on the days when he isasked outto dinner.

Poor Popis not very high in the scale of created beings; butifyou fancythere is none loweryou are in egregious error.  Therewas once aman who had a mysterious exhibition of an animalquiteunknown tonaturalistscalled "the wusser."  Those curiousindividualswho desired to see the wusser were introduced into anapartmentwhere appeared before them nothing more than a little leanshrivelledhideous blear-eyed mangy pig.  Everyone cried out"Swindle!"and "Shame!"  "Patiencegentlemenbe heasy"said theshowman: "look at that there hanimal; it's a perfect phenomaly ofhugliness: I engage you never see such a pig."  Nobody ever hadseen. "Nowgentlemen" said he"I'll keep my promisehasperbill; andbad as that there pig islook at this here" (he showedanother). "Look at this hereand you'll see at once that it's AWUSSER." In like manner the Popjoy breed is bad enoughbut itservesonly to show off the Galgenstein race; which is WUSSER.

Galgensteinhad led a very gay lifeas the saying isfor the lastfifteenyears; such a gay onethat he had lost all capacity ofenjoymentby this timeand only possessed inclinations withoutpowers ofgratifying them.  He had grown to be exquisitely curiousandfastidious about meat and drinkfor instanceand all that hewanted wasan appetite.  He carried about with him a French cookwho couldnot make him eat; a doctorwho could not make him well; amistressof whom he was heartily sick after two days; a priestwhohad been afavourite of the exemplary Duboisand by turns used totickle himby the imposition of penanceor by the repetition of atale fromthe recueil of Noceor La Fare.  All his appetites werewasted andworn; only some monstrosity would galvanise them intomomentaryaction.  He was in that effete state to which manynoblemenof his time had arrived; who were ready to believe inghost-raisingor in gold-makingor to retire into monasteries andwearhair-shirtsor to dabble in conspiraciesor to die in lovewithlittle cook-maids of fifteenor to pine for the smiles or atthe frownsof a prince of the bloodor to go mad at the refusal ofachamberlain's key.  The last gratification he remembered to haveenjoyedwas that of riding bareheaded in a soaking rain for threehours bythe side of his Grand Duke's mistress's coach; taking thepas ofCount Krahwinkelwho challenged himand was run through thebody forthis very dispute.  Galgenstein gained a rheumatic gout byitwhichput him to tortures for many months; and was furthergratifiedwith the post of English Envoy.  He had a fortuneheasked nosalaryand could look the envoy very well.  FatherO'Flahertydid all the dutiesand furthermore acted as a spy overtheambassadora sinecure postfor the man had no feelingswishesoropinions absolutely none.

"Uponmy lifefather" said this worthy man"I care fornothing.You havebeen talking for an hour about the Regent's deathand theDuchess ofPhalarisand sly old Fleuryand what not; and I carejust asmuch as if you told me that one of my bauers at Galgensteinhad killeda pig; or as if my lacqueyLa Rose yonderhad made loveto mymistress."

"Hedoes!" said the reverend gentleman.

"AhMonsieur l'Abbe!" said La Rosewho was arranging his master'senormousCourt periwig"you arehelas! wrong.  Monsieur le Comtewill notbe angry at my saying that I wish the accusation weretrue."

The Countdid not take the slightest notice of La Rose's witbutcontinuedhis own complaints.

"Itell youAbbeI care for nothing.  I lost a thousand guineast'othernight at basset; I wish to my heart I could have been vexedabout it. Egad! I remember the day when to lose a hundred made mehalf madfor a month.  Wellnext day I had my revenge at diceandthrewthirteen mains.  There was some delay; a call for fresh bonesI think;and would you believe it? I fell asleep with the box in myhand!"

"Adesperate caseindeed" said the Abbe.

"Ifit had not been for KrahwinkelI should have been a dead manthat'spositive.  That pinking him saved me."

"Imake no doubt of it" said the Abbe.  "Had yourExcellency notrun himthroughhewithout a doubtwould have done the same foryou."

"Psha!you mistake my wordsMonsieur l'Abbe" (yawning).  "Imean whatcursed chocolate! that I was dying for want ofexcitement. Not that I cared for dying; nod me if I do!"

"WHENyou doyour Excellency means" said the Abbea fatgrey-hairedIrishmanfrom the Irlandois College at Paris.

HisExcellency did not laughnor understand jokes of any kind; hewas of anundeviating stupidityand only replied"SirI mean whatI say. I don't care for living:  nonor for dying either; but Ican speakas well as anotherand I'll thank you not to becorrectingmy phrases as if I were one of your cursed schoolboysand not agentleman of fortune and blood."

Herewiththe Countwho had uttered four sentences about himself (heneverspoke of anything else)sunk back on his pillows againquiteexhaustedby his eloquence.  The Abbewho had a seat and a table bythebedsideresumed the labours which had brought him into the roomin themorningand busied himself with paperswhich occasionallyhe handedover to his superior for approval.

PresentlyMonsieur la Rose appeared.

"Hereis a person with clothes from Mr. Beinkleider's.  Will yourExcellencysee himor shall I bid him leave the clothes?"

The Countwas very much fatigued by this time; he had signed threepapersand read the first half-a-dozen lines of a pair of them.

"Bidthe fellow come inLa Rose; andhark yegive me my wig:  onemust showone's self to be a gentleman before these scoundrels."And hetherefore mounted a large chestnut-colouredorange-scentedpyramid ofhorsehairwhich was to awe the new-comer.

He was alad of about seventeenin a smart waistcoat and a blueriband: our friend Tom Billingsindeed.  He carried under his armtheCount's destined breeches.  He did not seem in the least awedhoweverby his Excellency's appearancebut looked at him with agreatdegree of curiosity and boldness.  In the same manner hesurveyedthe chaplainand then nodded to him with a kind look ofrecognition.

"Wherehave I seen the lad?" said the father.  "OhI haveit!  Mygoodfriendyou were at the hanging yesterdayI think?"

Mr.Billings gave a very significant nod with his head.  "Inevermiss"said he.

"Whata young Turk!  And praysirdo you go for pleasureor forbusiness?"

"Business!what do you mean by business?"

"OhI did not know whether you might be brought up to the tradeoryourrelations be undergoing the operation."

"Myrelations" said Mr. Billingsproudlyand staring the Countfull inthe face"was not made for no such thing.  I'm a tailornowbutI'm a gentleman's son:  as good a manayas his lordshipthere: for YOU a'n't his lordship you're the Popish priest youare; andwe were very near giving you a touch of a few Protestantstonesmaster."

The Countbegan to be a little amused:  he was pleased to see theAbbe lookalarmedor even foolish.

"EgadAbbe" said he"you turn as white as a sheet."

"Idon't fancy being murderedmy Lord" said the Abbehastily;"andmurdered for a good work.  It was but to be useful to yonderpoorIrishmanwho saved me as a prisoner in FlanderswhenMarlboroughwould have hung me up like poor Macshane himself wasyesterday."

"Ah!"said the Countbursting out with some energy"I was thinkingwho thefellow could beever since he robbed me on the Heath.  Irecollectthe scoundrel now:  he was a second in a duel I had herein theyear six."

"Alongwith Major Woodbehind Montague House" said Mr. Billings."I'VEheard on it."  And here he looked more knowing than ever.

"YOU!"cried the Countmore and more surprised.  "And pray whothedevil AREyou?"

"Myname's Billings."

"Billings?"said the Count.

"Icome out of Warwickshire" said Mr. Billings.

"Indeed!"

"Iwas born at Birmingham town."

"Wereyoureally!"

"Mymother's name was Hayes" continued Billingsin a solemn voice."Iwas put out to a nurse along with John Billingsa blacksmith;and myfather run away.  NOW do you know who I am?"

"Whyupon honournow" said the Countwho was amused"uponhonourMr. BillingsI have not that advantage."

"Wellthenmy LordYOU'RE MY FATHER!"

Mr.Billings when he said this came forward to the Count with atheatricalair; andflinging down the breeches of which he was thebearerheld out his arms and staredhaving very little doubt butthat hisLordship would forthwith spring out of bed and hug him tohisheart.  A similar piece of naivete many fathers of familieshaveIhave no doubtremarked in their children; whonot caringfor theirparents a single doitconceiveneverthelessthat thelatter arebound to show all sorts of affection for them.  Hislordshipdid movebut backwards towards the walland began pullingat thebell-rope with an expression of the most intense alarm.

"Keepbacksirrah! keep back!  Suppose I AM your fatherdo youwant tomurder me?  Good heavens! how the boy smells of gin andtobacco! Don't turn awaymy lad; sit down there at a properdistance. AndLa Rosegive him some eau-de-Cologneand get a cupofcoffee.  Wellnowgo on with your story.  Egadmy dearAbbeIthink itis very likely that what the lad says is true."

"Ifit is a family conversation" said the Abbe"I had betterleaveyou."

"Ohfor Heaven's sakeno!  I could not stand the boy alone. NowMister ah!What's-your-name?  Have the goodness to tell yourstory."

Mr.Billings was woefully disconcerted; for his mother and he hadagreedthat as soon as his father saw him he would be recognised atonceandmayhapmade heir to the estates and title; in whichbeingdisappointedhe very sulkily went on with his narrativeanddetailedmany of those events with which the reader has already beenmadeacquainted.  The Count asked the boy's mother's Christian nameand beingtold ithis memory at once returned to him.

"What!are you little Cat's son?" said his Excellency.  "Byheavensmon cherAbbea charming creaturebut a tigress positively atigress. I recollect the whole affair now.  She's a little freshblack-hairedwomana'n't she? with a sharp nose and thick eyebrowsay? Ah yesyes!" went on my Lord"I recollect herIrecollecther. It was at Birmingham I first met her:  she was my LadyTrippet'swomanwasn't she?"

"Shewas no such thing" said Mr. Billingshotly.  "Heraunt keptthe 'BugleInn' on Waltham Greenand your Lordship seduced her."

"Seducedher!  Oh'gadso I did.  Stap menowI did.  YesImade herjump on my black horseand bore her off likelike Aeneasbore hiswife away from the siege of Rome! heyl'Abbe?"

"Theevents were precisely similar" said the Abbe.  "It iswonderfulwhat a memory you have!"

"Iwas always remarkable for it" continued his Excellency. "Wellwhere wasIat the black horse?  Yesat the black horse.  WellImountedher on the black horseand rode her en croupeegad haha!toBirmingham; and there we billed and cooed together like apair ofturtle-doves:  yes ha! that we did!"

"AndthisI supposeis the end of some of the BILLINGS?" said theAbbepointing to Mr. Tom.

"Billings!what do you mean?  Yes ohaha puna calembourg.  FidoncM.l'Abbe."  And thenafter the wont of very stupid peopleM. deGalgenstein went on to explain to the Abbe his own pun."Wellbut to proceed" cries he.  "We lived together atBirminghamand I wasgoing to be married to a rich heiressegad! when what doyou thinkthis little Cat does?  She murders meegad! and makes memanquerthe marriage.  Twenty thousandI think it was; and I wantedthe moneyin those days.  Nowwasn't she an abominable monsterthatmother of yoursheyMr. aWhat's-your-name?"

"Sheserved you right!" said Mr. Billingswith a great oathstartingup out of all patience.

"Fellow!"said his Excellencyquite aghast"do you know to whomyou speak?to a nobleman of seventy-eight descents; a count of theHoly RomanEmpire; a representative of a sovereign?  Haegad!Don'tstampfellowif you hope for my protection."

"Dnyour protection!" said Mr. Billingsin a fury.  "Curseyouand yourprotection too!  I'm a free-born Britonand no  FrenchPapist! And any man who insults my mother ayor calls me fellerhad betterlook to himself and the two eyes in his headI can tellhim!" And with this Mr. Billings put himself into the most approvedattitudeof the Cockpitand invited his fatherthe reverendgentlemanand Monsieur la Rose the valetto engage with him in apugilisticencounter.  The two latterthe Abbe especiallyseemeddreadfullyfrightened; but the Count now looked on with muchinterest;andgiving utterance to a feeble kind of chucklewhichlasted forabout half a minutesaid

"PawsoffPompey!  You young hangdogyou egadyesaha! 'ponhonouryou're a lad of spirit; some of your father's spunk in youhey? I know him by that oath.  Whysirwhen I was sixteenI usedto swearto swearegadlike a Thames watermanand exactly inthisfellow's way!  Buss memy lad; nokiss my hand.  Thatwilldo "andhe held out a very lean yellow handpeering from a pair ofyellowruffles.  It shook very muchand the shaking made all therings uponit shine only the more.

"Well"says Mr. Billings"if you wasn't a-going to abuse me normotherIdon't care if I shake hands with you.  I ain't proud!"

The Abbelaughed with great glee; and that very evening sent off tohis Courta most ludicrous spicy description of the whole scene ofmeetingbetween this amiable father and child; in which he said thatyoungBillings was the eleve favori of M. KitchEcuyerle bourreaudeLondresand which made the Duke's mistress laugh so much thatshe vowedthat the Abbe should have a bishopric on his return:  forwith suchstore of wisdomlook youmy sonwas the world governedin thosedays.

The Countand his offspring meanwhile conversed with somecordiality. The former informed the latter of all the diseases towhich hewas subjecthis manner of curing themhis greatconsiderationas chamberlain to the Duke of Bavaria; how he wore hisCourtsuitsand of a particular powder which he had invented forthe hair;howwhen he was seventeenhe had run away with acanonessegad! who was afterwards locked up in a conventand grewto besixteen stone in weight; how he remembered the time whenladies didnot wear patches; and how the Duchess of Marlboroughboxed hisears when he was so highbecause he wanted to kiss her.

All theseimportant anecdotes took some time in the tellingandwereaccompanied by many profound moral remarks; such as"I can'tabidegarlicnor white-winestap me! nor Sauerkrautthough hisHighnesseats half a bushel per day.  I ate it the first time atCourt; butwhen they brought it me a second timeIRefusedrefusedsplit me and grill me if I didn't!  Everybodystared;his Highness looked as fierce as a Turk; and that infernalKrahwinkel(my dearI did for him afterwards)that cursedKrahwinkelI saylooked as pleased as possibleand whispered toCountessFritsch'BlitzchenFrau Grafinn' says he'it's all overwithGalgenstein.'  What did I do?  I had the entreeanddemandedit. 'Altesse' says Ifalling on one knee'I ate no kraut atdinnerto-day.  You remarked it:  I saw your Highness remark it.'

"'IdidM.  le Comte' said his Highnessgravely.

"Ihad almost tears in my eyes; but it was necessary to come to aresolutionyou know.  'Sir' said I'I speak with deep grief toyourHighnesswho are my benefactormy friendmy father; but ofthis I amresolvedI WILL NEVER EAT SAUERKRAUT MORE:  it don'tagree withme.  After being laid up for four weeks by the last dishofSauerkraut of which I partookI may say with confidenceITDON'Tagree with me.  By impairing my healthit impairs myintellectand weakens my strength; and both I would keep for yourHighness'sservice.'

"'Tuttut!' said his Highness.  'Tuttuttut!'  Those were hisverywords.

"'Giveme my sword or my pen' said I.  'Give me my sword or my penand withthese Maximilian de Galgenstein is ready to serve you; butsuresurea great prince will pity the weak health of a faithfulsubjectwho does not know how to eat Sauerkraut?'  His Highness waswalkingabout the room:  I was still on my kneesand stretchedforward myhand to seize his coat.

"'GEHTZUM TEUFELSir!' said hein a loud voice (it means 'Go tothedeuce' my dear)'Geht zum Teufeland eat what you like!'With thishe went out of the room abruptly; leaving in my hand oneof hisbuttonswhich I keep to this day.  As soon as I was aloneamazed byhis great goodness and bountyI sobbed aloud cried likea child"(the Count's eyes filled and winked at the veryrecollection)"and when I went back into the card-roomstepping uptoKrahwinkel'Count' says I'who looks foolish now?'Hey thereLa Rosegive me the diamond  Yesthat was the very pun I madeand verygood it was thought.  'Krahwinkel' says I'WHO LOOKSFOOLISHNOW?' and from that day to this I was never at a Court-dayasked toeat Sauerkraut NEVER!"

"HeythereLa Rose!  Bring me that diamond snuff-box in the drawerof mysecretaire;" and the snuff-box was brought.  "Look atitmydear"said the Count"for I saw you seemed to doubt.  There isthebutton thevery one that came off his Grace's coat."

Mr.Billings received itand twisted it about with a stupid air.The storyhad quite mystified him; for he did not dare yet to thinkhis fatherwas a fool his respect for the aristocracy preventedhim.

When theCount's communications had ceasedwhich they did as soonas thestory of the Sauerkraut was finisheda silence of someminutesensued.  Mr. Billings was trying to comprehend thecircumstancesabove narrated; his Lordship was exhausted; thechaplainhad quitted the room directly the word Sauerkraut wasmentionedhe knew what was coming.  His Lordship looked for sometime athis son; who returned the gaze with his mouth wide open."Well"said the Count "wellsir?  What are you sitting there for?If youhave nothing to saysiryou had better go.  I had you hereto amuseme split me and not to sit there staring!"

Mr.Billings rose in a fury.

"Harkyemy lad" said the Count"tell La Rose to give theefiveguineasandahcome again some morning.  A nice well-grown younglad"mused the Countas Master Tommy walked wondering out of theapartment; "a pretty fellow enoughand intelligent too."

"Wellhe IS an odd fellowmy father" thought Mr. Billingsas hewalkedouthaving received the sum offered to him.  And heimmediatelywent to call upon his friend Polly Briggsfrom whom hehadseparated in the morning.

What wasthe result of their interview is not at all necessary totheprogress of this history.  Having made herhoweveracquaintedwith theparticulars of his visit to his fatherhe went to hismother'sand related to her all that had occurred.

Poorthingshe was very differently interested in the issue of it!

 

CHAPTERX.
  SHOWING HOW GALGENSTEIN AND MRS. CATRECOGNISE EACHOTHER INMARYLEBONE GARDENS AND HOW THE COUNT DRIVES HER HOME INHISCARRIAGE.

About amonth after the touching conversation above relatedtherewas givenat Marylebone Gardensa grand concert and entertainmentat whichthe celebrated Madame Amenaidea dancer of the theatre atPariswasto performunder the patronage of several English andforeignnoblemen; among whom was his Excellency the Bavarian Envoy.MadameAmenaide wasin factno other than the maitresse en titreof theMonsieur de Galgensteinwho had her a great bargain from theDuke deRohan-Chabot at Paris.

It is notour purpose to make a great and learned display hereotherwisethe costumes of the company assembled at this fete mightaffordscope for at least half-a-dozen pages of fine writing; and wemightgiveif need werespecimens of the very songs and music sungon theoccasion.  Does not the Burney collection of musicat theBritishMuseumafford one an ample store of songs from which tochoose? Are there not the memoirs of Colley Cibber? those of Mrs.Clarkthedaughter of Colley?  Is there not CongreveandFarquharnayand at a pinchthe "Dramatic Biography" or even theSpectatorfrom which the observant genius might borrow passagesandconstruct pretty antiquarian figments?  Leave we these triflesto meanersouls!  Our business is not with the breeches andperiwigswith the hoops and patchesbut with the divine hearts ofmenandthe passions which agitate them.  What needthereforehave we tosay that on this eveningafter the dancingthe musicand thefireworksMonsieur de Galgenstein felt the strange andwelcomepangs of appetiteand was picking a cold chickenalongwith someother friends in an arboura cold chickenwith anaccompanimentof a bottle of champagne when he was led to remarkthat avery handsome plump little personin a gorgeous stiff damaskgown andpetticoatwas sauntering up and down the walk runningoppositehis supping-placeand bestowing continual glances towardshisExcellency.  The ladywhoever she waswas in a masksuch asladies ofhigh and low fashion wore at public places in those daysand had amale companion.  He was a lad of only seventeenmarvellouslywell dressed indeedno other than the Count's ownsonMr.Thomas Billings; who had at length received from his motherthesilver-hilted swordand the wigwhich that affectionate parenthadpromised to him.

In thecourse of the month which had elapsed since the interviewthat hasbeen described in the former chapterMr. Billings hadseveraltimes had occasion to wait on his father; but though he hadaccordingto her wishesfrequently alluded to the existence of hismotherthe Count had never at any time expressed the slightest wishto renewhis acquaintance with that lady; whoif she had seen himhad onlyseen him by stealth.

The factisthat after Billings had related to her the particularsof hisfirst meeting with his Excellency; which endedlike many ofthe lattervisitsin nothing at all; Mrs. Hayes had found somepressingbusinesswhich continually took her to Whitehalland hadbeenprowling from day to day about Monsieur de Galgenstein'slodgings. Four or five times in the weekas his Excellency steppedinto hiscoachhe might have remarkedhad he chosena woman in ablackhoodwho was looking most eagerly into his eyes:  but thoseeyes hadlong since left off the practice of observing; and MadamCatherine'svisits had so far gone for nothing.

On thisnighthoweverinspired by gaiety and drinkthe Count hadbeenamazingly stricken by the gait and ogling of the lady in themask. The Reverend O'Flahertywho was with himand had observedthe figurein the black cloakrecognisedor thought he recognisedher. "It is the woman who dogs your Excellency every day" saidhe."Sheis with that tailor lad who loves to see people hanged yourExcellency'ssonI mean."  And he was just about to warn the Countof aconspiracy evidently made against himand that the son hadbroughtmost likelythe mother to play her arts upon him he wasjustaboutI sayto show to the Count the folly and danger ofrenewingan old liaison with a woman such as he had described Mrs.Cat to bewhen his Excellencystarting upand interrupting hisghostlyadviser at the very beginning of his sentencesaid"Egadl'Abbeyou are right it IS my sonand a mighty smart-lookingcreaturewith him.  Hey! Mr. What's-your-name Tomyou roguedon'tyou knowyour own father?"  And so sayingand cocking his beaver onone sideMonsieur de Galgenstein strutted jauntily after Mr.Billingsand the lady.

It was thefirst time that the Count had formally recognised hisson.

"Tomyou rogue" stopped at thisand the Count came up.  He hadawhitevelvet suitcovered over with stars and ordersa neat modestwig andbagand peach-coloured silk-stockings with silver clasps.The ladyin the mask gave a start as his  Excellency came forward."Lawmotherdon't squeege so" said Tom.  The poor woman wastremblingin every limbbut she had presence of mind to "squeege"Tom agreat deal harder; and the latter took the hintI supposeand wassilent.

Thesplendid Count came up.  Ye godshow his embroidery glitteredin thelamps!  What a royal exhalation of musk and bergamot camefrom hiswighis handkerchiefand his grand lace ruffles andfrills! A broad yellow riband passed across his breastand endedat his hipin a shining diamond cross a diamond crossand adiamondsword-hilt!  Was anything ever seen so beautiful?  Andmightnot a poorwoman tremble when such a noble creature drew near toheranddeignedfrom the height of his rank and splendourto lookdown uponher?  As Jove came down to Semele in statein his habitsofceremonywith all the grand cordons of his orders blazing abouthisimperial person thus dazzlingmagnificenttriumphantthegreatGalgenstein descended towards Mrs. Catherine.  Her cheeksglowedred-hot under her coy velvet maskher heart thumped againstthewhalebone prison of her stays.  What a delicious storm of vanitywas ragingin her bosom!  What a rush of long-pent recollectionsburstforth at the sound of that enchanting voice!

As youwind up a hundred-guinea chronometer with a two pennywatch-keyas by means of a dirty wooden plug you set all the watersofVersailles a-ragingand splashingand storming in like mannerand bylike humble agentswere Mrs. Catherine's tumultuous passionssetgoing.  The Countwe have saidslipped up to his sonandmerelysaying"How doTom?" cut the young gentleman altogetherandpassing round to the lady's sidesaid"Madam'tis a charmingeveningegadit is!"  She almost fainted:  it was the old voice.There hewasafter seventeen yearsonce more at her side!

Now I knowwhat I could have done.  I can turn out a quotation fromSophocles(by looking to the index) as well as another:  I can throwoff a bitof fine writing toowith passionsimilesand a moral atthe end. Whatprayis the last sentence but one but the veryfinestwriting?  Supposefor exampleI had made Maximilianas hestood bythe side of Catherinelook up towards the cloudsandexclaimin the words of the voluptuous Cornelius Nepos

    'Aenaoi nephelai
    'Arthoomen phanerai
     Droseran phusin euageetoik.t.l.

 

OrsupposeagainI had saidin a style still more popular:

The Countadvanced towards the maiden.  They both were mute for awhile; andonly the beating of her heart interrupted that thrillingandpassionate silence.  Ahwhat years of buried joys and fearshopes anddisappointmentsarose from their graves in the far pastand inthose brief moments flitted before the united ones!  How sadwas thatdelicious retrospectand ohhow sweet!  The tears thatrolleddown the cheek of each were bubbles from the choked andmoss-grownwells of youth; the sigh that heaved each bosom had somelurkingodours in itmemories of the fragrance of boyhoodechoesof thehymns of the young heart!  Thus is it everfor these blessedrecollectionsthe soul always has a place; and while crime perishesand sorrowis forgottenthe beautiful alone is eternal.

"Ogolden legendswritten in the skies!" mused De Galgenstein"yeshine asye did in the olden days!  WE changebut YE speak ever thesamelanguage.  Gazing in your abysmal depthsthe feeble ratioci"

         *          *         *          *         *

Therenoware six columns of the best writing to befound in thisor anyother book.  Galgenstein has quoted Euripides thricePlatoonceLycophron nine timesbesides extracts from the Latin syntaxand theminor Greek poets.  Catherine's passionate embreathings areof themost fashionable order; and I call upon the ingenious criticof the Xnewspaper to say whether they do not possess the realimpress ofthe giants of the olden timethe real Platonic smackina word? Not that I want in the least to show off; but it is aswellevery now and thento show the public what one CAN do.

Insteadhoweverof all this rant and nonsensehow much finer isthe speechthat the Count really did make!  "It is a very fineeveningegad it is!"  The "egad" did the whole business: Mrs. Catwas asmuch in love with him now as ever she had been; andgatheringup all her energiesshe said"It is dreadful hot tooIthink;"and with this she made a curtsey.

"Stiflingsplit me!" added his Excellency.  "What do you saymadamtoa rest in an arbourand a drink of something cool?"

"Sir!"said the ladydrawing back.

"Oha drink a drink by all means" exclaimed Mr. Billingswho wastroubledwith a perpetual thirst.  "ComemoMrs. JonesI mean.you'refond of a glass of cold punchyou know; and the rum here isprimeIcan tell you."

The ladyin the mask consented with some difficulty to the proposalof Mr.Billingsand was led by the two gentlemen into an arbourwhere shewas seated between them; and some wax-candles beinglightedpunch was brought.

She drankone or two glasses very eagerlyand so did her twocompanions;although it was evident to seefrom the flushed looksof both ofthemthat they had little need of any such stimulus.The Countin the midst of his champagneit must be saidhad beenamazinglystricken and scandalised by the appearance of such a youthasBillings in a public place with a lady under his arm.  He wasthe readerwill therefore understandin the moral stage of liquor;and whenhe issued outit was not merely with the intention ofexaminingMr. Billings's female companionbut of administering tohim somesound correction for venturingat his early period oflifetoform any such acquaintances.  On joining BillingshisExcellency'sfirst step was naturally to examine the lady.  Afterthey hadbeen sitting for a while over their punchhe bethought himof hisoriginal purposeand began to address a number of moralremarks tohis son.

We havealready given some specimens of Monsieur de Galgenstein'ssoberconversation; and it is hardly necessary to trouble the readerwith anyfurther reports of his speeches.  They were intolerablystupid anddull; as egotistical as his morning lecture had beenanda hundredtimes more rambling and prosy.  If Cat had been in thepossessionof her sober sensesshe would have seen in five minutesthat herancient lover was a ninnyand have left him with scorn;but shewas under the charm of old recollectionsand the sound ofthat sillyvoice was to her magical.  As for Mr. Billingsheallowedhis Excellency to continue his prattle; only frowningyawningcursing occasionallybut drinking continually.

So theCount descanted at length upon the enormity of youngBillings'searly liaisons; and then he told his ownin the yearfourwitha burgomaster's daughter at Ratisbonwhen he was in theElector ofBavaria's servicethenafter Blenheimwhen he had comeover tothe Duke of Marlboroughwhen a physician's wife at Bonnpoisonedherself for himetc. etc.; of a piece with the story ofthecanonesswhich has been recorded before.  All the tales weretrue. A cleverugly man every now and then is successful with theladies;but a handsome fool is irresistible.  Mrs. Cat listened andlistened. Good heavens! she had heard all these tales beforeandrecollectedthe place and the timehow she was hemming ahandkerchieffor Max; who came round and kissed hervowing that thephysician'swife was nothing compared to herhow he was tiredandlying onthe sofajust come home from shooting.  How handsome helooked! Cat thought he was only the handsomer now; and looked moregrave andthoughtfulthe dear fellow!

The gardenwas filled with a vast deal of company of all kindsandpartieswere passing every moment before the arbour where our triosat. About half-an-hour after his Excellency had quitted his ownbox andpartythe Rev. Mr. O'Flaherty came discreetly roundtoexaminethe proceedings of his diplomatical chef.  The lady in themask waslistening with all her might; Mr. Billings was drawingfigures onthe table with punch; and the Count talking incessantly.The FatherConfessor listened for a moment; and thenwith somethingresemblingan oathwalked away to the entry of the gardenswherehisExcellency's gilt coachwith three footmenwas waiting tocarry himback to London.  "Get me a chairJoseph" said hisReverencewho infinitely preferred a seat gratis in the coach."Thatfool" muttered he"will not move for this hour." Thereverendgentleman knew thatwhen the Count was on the subject ofthephysician's wifehis discourses were intolerably long; and tookuponhimselfthereforeto disappearalong with the rest of theCount'sparty; who procured other conveyancesand returned to theirhomes.

After thisquiet shadow had passed before the Count's boxmanygroups ofpersons passed and repassed; and among them was no otherthan Mrs.Polly Briggsto whom we have been already introduced.Mrs. Pollywas in company with one or two other ladiesand leaningon the armof a gentleman with large shoulders and calvesa fiercecock tohis hatand a shabby genteel air.  His name was Mr. Moffatand hispresent occupation was that of doorkeeper at a gambling-house inCovent Garden; wherethough he saw many thousands passdailyunder his eyeshis own salary amounted to no more thanfour-and-sixpenceweeklya sum quite insufficient to maintain himin therank which he held.

Mr. Moffathadhoweverreceived some fundsamounting indeedto amatter oftwelve guineaswithin the last monthand was treatingMrs.Briggs very generously to the concert.  It may be as well tosay thatevery one of the twelve guineas had come out of Mrs.Polly'sown pocket; whoin returnhad received them from Mr.Billings. And as the reader may remember thaton the day ofTommy'sfirst interview with his fatherhe had previously paid avisit toMrs. Briggshaving under his arm a pair of breecheswhichMrs.Briggs covetedhe should now be informed that she desiredthesebreechesnot for pincushionsbut for Mr. Moffatwho hadlong beenin want of a pair.

Havingthus episodically narrated Mr. Moffat's historylet us statethat hehis ladyand their friendspassed before the Count'sarbourjoining in a melodious chorus to a song which one of thesocietyan actor of Betterton'swas singing:

    "'Tis my willwhen I'm deadthat no tear shall be shed
       No 'Hic jacet' be graved on my stone;
     But pour o'er my ashes a bottle of red
       And say a good fellow is gone
           My brave boys!
       And say a good fellow is gone."

"Mybrave boys" was given with vast emphasis by the party; Mr.Moffatgrowling it in a rich bassand Mrs. Briggs in a soaringtreble. As to the noteswhen quavering up to the skiestheyexcitedvarious emotions among the people in the gardens.  "Silencethemblackguards!" shouted a barberwho was taking a pint of smallbeer alongwith his lady.  "Stop that there infernal screeching!"said acouple of ladieswho were sipping ratafia in company withtwo prettyfellows.

"Dangitit's Polly!" said Mr. Tom Billingsbolting out of theboxandrushing towards the sweet-voiced Mrs. Briggs.  When hereachedherwhich he did quicklyand made his arrival known bytippingMrs. Briggs slightly on the waistand suddenly bouncingdownbefore her and her friendboth of the latter drew backsomewhatstartled.

"LawMr. Billings!" says Mrs. Pollyrather coolly"is it you?Whothought of seeing you here?"

"Who'sthis here young feller?" says towering Mr. Moffatwith hisbassvoice.

"It'sMr. Billingscousina friend of mine" said Mrs. Pollybeseechingly.

"Ohcousinif it's a friend of yourshe should know better how toconducthimselfthat's all.  Har you a dancing-masteryoungfellerthat you cut them there capers before gentlemen?" growledMr.Moffat; who hated Mr. Billingsfor the excellent reason that helived uponhim.

"Dancing-masterbe hanged!" said Mr. Billingswith becoming spirit:"ifyou call me dancing-masterI'll pull your nose."

"What!"roared Mr. Moffat"pull my nose?  MY NOSE!  I'll tellyouwhatmyladif you durst move meI'll cut your throatcurse me!"

"OhMoffy cousinI mean'tis a shame to treat the poor boy so.Go awayTommy; do go away; my cousin's in liquor" whimpered MadamBriggswho really thought that the great doorkeeper would put histhreatinto execution.

"Tommy!"said Mr. Moffatfrowning horribly; "Tommy to me too?  Dogget out ofmy ssss-" SIGHT was the word which Mr. Moffat intendedto utter;but he was interrupted; forto the astonishment of hisfriendsand himselfMr. Billings did actually make a spring at themonster'snoseand caught it so firmlythat the latter could notfinish hissentence.

Theoperation was performed with amazing celerity; andhavingconcludeditMr. Billings sprang backand whisked from out itssheaththat new silver-hilted sword which his mamma had given him."Now"said hewith a fierce kind of calmness"now for thethroat-cuttingcousin:  I'm your man!"

How thebrawl might have endedno one can sayhad the twogentlemenactually crossed swords; but Mrs. Pollywith a wonderfulpresenceof mindrestored peace by exclaiming"Hushhush! thebeaksthebeaks!"  Upon whichwith one common instinctthe wholeparty madea rush for the garden gatesand disappeared into thefields. Mrs. Briggs knew her company:  there was something in thevery nameof a constable which sent them all a-flying.

Afterrunning a reasonable timeMr. Billings stopped.  But thegreatMoffat was nowhere to be seenand Polly Briggs had likewisevanished. Then Tom bethought him that he would go back to hismother;butarriving at the gate of the gardenswas refusedadmittanceas he had not a shilling in his pocket.  "I've left"saysTommygiving himself the airs of a gentleman"some friends inthegardens.  I'm with his Excellency the Bavarian henvy."

"Thenyou had better go away with him" said the gate people.

"ButI tell you I left him therein the grand circlewith a lady;andwhat's morein the dark walkI have left a silver-hiltedsword."

"Ohmy LordI'll go and tell him then" cried one of the porters"ifyou will wait."

Mr.Billings seated himself on a post near the gateand thereconsentedto remain until the return of his messenger.  The latterwentstraight to the dark walkand found the swordsure enough.Butinstead of returning it to its owner this discourteous knightbroke thetrenchant blade at the hilt; and flinging the steel awaypocketedthe baser silver metaland lurked off by the private doorconsecratedto the waiters and fiddlers.

In themeantimeMr. Billings waited and waited.  And what was theconversationof his worthy parents inside the garden?  I cannot say;but one ofthe waiters declared that he had served the great foreignCount withtwo bowls of rack-punchand some biscuitsin No. 3:that inthe box with him were first a young gentlemanwho wentawayanda ladysplendidly dressed and masked:  that when the ladyand hisLordship were aloneshe edged away to the further end ofthe tableand they had much talk:  that at lastwhen his Grace hadpressedher very muchshe took off her mask and said"Don't youknow menowMax?" that he cried out"My own Catherinethou artmorebeautiful " and wanted to kneel down and vow eternallove toher; but she begged him not to do so in a place where allthe worldwould see:  that then his Highness paidand they left thegardensthe lady putting on her mask again.

When theyissued from the gardens"Ho! Joseph la Rosemy coach!"shoutedhis Excellencyin rather a husky voice; and the men who hadbeenwaiting came up with the carriage.  A young gentlemanwho wasdosing onone of the posts at the entrywoke up suddenly at theblaze ofthe torches and the noise of the footmen.  The Count gavehis arm tothe lady in the maskwho slipped in; and he waswhisperingLa Rosewhen the lad who had been sleeping hit hisExcellencyon the shoulderand said"I sayCountyou can give MEa casthome too" and jumped into the coach.

WhenCatherine saw her sonshe threw herself into his armsandkissed himwith a burst of hysterical tears; of which Mr. Billingswas at aloss to understand the meaning.  The Count joined themlookingnot a little disconcerted; and the pair were landed at theirown doorwhere stood Mr. Hayesin his nightcapready to receivethemandastounded at the splendour of the equipage in which hiswifereturned to him.

 

CHAPTERXI
OF SOME DOMESTIC QUARRELSAND THE CONSEQUENCE THEREOF.

Aningenious magazine-writerwho lived in the time of Mr. Brock andthe Dukeof Marlboroughcompared the latter gentleman's conduct inbattlewhen he

     "In peaceful thought the field of death surveyed
      To fainting squadrons lent the timely aid;
      Inspired repulsed battalions to engage
      And taught the doubtful battle where to rage"

Mr. JosephAddisonI saycompared the Duke of Marlborough to anangelwhois sent by Divine command to chastise a guilty people

     "And pleased his Master's orders to perform
      Rides on the whirlwindand directs the storm."

The firstfour of these novel lines touch off the Duke's dispositionand geniusto a tittle.  He had a love for such scenes of strife:in themidst of them his spirit rose calm and supremesoaring (likean angelor notbut anyway the compliment is a very pretty one) onthebattle-clouds majesticand causing to ebb or to flow the mightytide ofwar.

But asthis famous simile might apply with equal propriety to a badangel asto a good oneit may in like manner be employed toillustratesmall quarrels as well as greata little familysquabblein which two or three people are engagedas well as avastnational disputeargued on each side by the roaring throats offivehundred angry cannon.  The poet meansin factthat the DukeofMarlborough had an immense genius for mischief.

Our friendBrockor Wood (whose actions we love to illustrate bythe veryhandsomest similes)possessed this genius in common withhis Grace;and was never so happyor seen to so much advantageaswhen hewas employed in setting people by the ears.  His spiritsusuallydullthen rose into the utmost gaiety and good-humour.When thedoubtful battle flaggedhe by his art would instantlyrestoreit.  Whenfor instanceTom's repulsed battalions ofrhetoricfled from his mamma's firea few words of apt sneer orencouragementon Wood's part would bring the fight round again; orwhen Mr.Hayes's fainting squadrons of abuse broke upon the stubbornsquares ofTom's bristling obstinacyit was Wood's delight to rallytheformerand bring him once more to the charge.  A great sharehad thisman in making those bad people worse.  Many fierce wordsand badpassionsmany falsehoods and knaveries on Tom's partmuchbitternessscornand jealousy on the part of Hayes and Catherinemight beattributed to this hoary old tempterwhose joy andoccupationit was to raise and direct the domestic storms andwhirlwindsof the family of which he was a member.  And do not letus beaccused of an undue propensity to use sounding wordsbecausewe comparethree scoundrels in the Tyburn Road to so many armiesand Mr.Wood to a mighty field-marshal.  My dear sirwhen you havewellstudied the world how supremely great the meanest thing inthis worldisand how infinitely mean the greatest I am mistakenif you donot make a strange and proper jumble of the sublime andtheridiculousthe lofty and the low.  I have looked at the worldfor mypartand come to the conclusion that I know not which iswhich.

Wellthenon the night when Mrs Hayesas recorded by ushad beento theMarylebone GardensMr. Wood had found the sincerestenjoymentin plying her husband with drink; so thatwhen Catherinearrived athomeMr. Hayes came forward to meet her in a mannerwhichshowed he was not only surlybut drunk.  Tom stepped out ofthe coachfirst; and Hayes asked himwith an oathwhere he hadbeen? The oath Mr. Billings sternly flung back again (with anotherin itscompany)and at the same time refused to give his stepfatherany sortof answer to his query.

"Theold man is drunkmother" said he to Mrs. Hayesas he handedthat ladyout of the coach (before leaving which she had to withdrawher handrather violently from the grasp of the Countwho wasinside). Hayes instantly showed the correctness of his surmise byslammingthe door courageously in Tom's facewhen he attempted toenter thehouse with his mother.  And when Mrs. Catherineremonstratedaccording to her wontin a very angry andsupercilioustoneMr. Hayes replied with equal haughtinessand aregularquarrel ensued.

Peoplewere accustomed in those days to use much more simple andexpressiveterms of language than are now thought polite; and itwould bedangerous to givein this present year 1840the exactwords ofreproach which passed between Hayes and his wife in 1726.Mr. Woodsat nearlaughing his sides out.  Mr. Hayes swore that hiswifeshould not go abroad to tea-gardens in search of vile Popishnoblemen;to which Mrs. Hayes repliedthat Mr. Hayes was a pitifullyingsneaking curand that she would go where she pleased.  Mr.Hayesrejoined that if she said much more he would take a stick toher. Mr. Wood whispered"And serve her right."  Mrs. Hayesthereuponswore she had stood his cowardly blows once or twicebeforebut that if ever he did so againas sure as she was bornshe wouldstab him.  Mr. Wood said"Curse mebut I like herspirit."

Mr. Hayestook another line of argumentand said"The neighbourswouldtalkmadam."

"Aythat they willno doubt" said Mr. Wood.

"Thenlet them" said Catherine.  "What do we care about theneighbours? Didn't the neighbours talk when you sent Widow Wilkinsto gaol? Didn't the neighbours talk when you levied on poor oldThomson? You didn't mind THENMrHayes."

"Businessma'amis business; and if I did distrain on Thomsonandlock upWilkinsI think you knew about it as much as I."

"I'faithI believe you're a pair" said Mr. Wood.

"Praysirkeep your tongue to yourself.  Your opinion isn't askedanyhow nonor your company wanted neither" cried Mrs. Catherinewithproper spirit.

At whichremark Mr. Wood only whistled.

"Ihave asked this here gentleman to pass this evening along withme. We've been drinking togetherma'am."

"Thatwe have"said Mr. Woodlooking at Mrs. Cat with the mostperfectgood-humour.

"Isayma'amthat we've been a-drinking together; and when we'vebeena-drinking togetherI say that a man is my friend.  DoctorWood is myfriendmadam the Reverend Doctor Wood.  We've passedtheevening in companytalking about politicsmadam politics andriddle-iddle-igion. We've not been flaunting in tea-gardensandogling themen."

"It'sa lie!" shrieked Mrs. Hayes.  "I went with Tom youknow Idid: the boy wouldn't let me rest till I promised to go."

"HanghimI hate him" said Mr. Hayes:  "he's always in myway."

"He'sthe only friend I have in the worldand the only being I carea pinfor" said Catherine.

"He'san impudent idle good-for-nothing scoundreland I hope to seehimhanged!" shouted Mr. Hayes.  "And praymadamwhosecarriagewas thatas you came home in?  I warrant you paid something for theride haha!"

"Anotherlie!" screamed Catand clutched hold of a supper-knife."Sayit againJohn Hayesandby  I'll do for you."

"Dofor me?  Hang me" said Mr. Hayesflourishing a stickandperfectlypot-valiant"do you think I care for a bastard and a?"

He did notfinish the sentencefor the woman ran at him like asavageknife in hand.  He bounded backflinging his arms aboutwildlyand struck her with his staff sharply across the forehead.The womanwent down instantly.  A lucky blow was it for Hayes andher: it saved him from deathperhapsand her from murder.

All thisscene a very important one of our drama might have beendescribedat much greater length; butin truththe author has anaturalhorror of dwelling too long upon such hideous spectacles:nor wouldthe reader be much edified by a full and accurateknowledgeof what took place.  The quarrelhoweverthough not moreviolentthan many that had previously taken place between Hayes andhis wifewas about to cause vast changes in the condition of thisunhappypair.

Hayes wasat the first moment of his victory very much alarmed; hefearedthat he had killed the woman; and Wood started up ratheranxiouslytoowith the same fancy.  But she soon began to recover.Water wasbrought; her head was raised and bound up; and in a shorttime Mrs.Catherine gave vent to a copious fit of tearswhichrelievedher somewhat.  These did not affect Hayes much they ratherpleasedhimfor he saw he had got the better; and although Catfiercelyturned upon him when he made some small attempt towardsreconciliationhe did not heed her angerbut smiled and winked inaself-satisfied way at Wood.  The coward was quite proud of hisvictory;and finding Catherine asleepor apparently sowhen hefollowedher to bedspeedily gave himself up to slumber tooandhad somepleasant dreams to his portion.

Mr. Woodalso went sniggering and happy upstairs to his chamber.Thequarrel had been a real treat to him; it excited the old man--tickledhim into good-humour; and he promised himself a rarecontinuationof the fun when Tom should be made acquainted with thecircumstancesof the dispute.  As for his Excellency the Counttheride fromMarylebone Gardensand a tender squeeze of the handwhichCatherine permitted to him on partinghad so inflamed thepassionsof the noblemanthatafter sleeping for nine hoursandtaking hischocolate as usual the next morninghe actually delayedto readthe newspaperand kept waiting a toy-shop lady fromCornhill(with the sweetest bargain of Mechlin lace)in order todiscourseto his chaplain on the charms of Mrs. Hayes.

Shepoorthingnever closed her lidsexcept when she would havehad Mr.Hayes imagine that she slumbered; but lay beside himtossingand tumblingwith hot eyes wide open and heart thumpingand pulseof a hundred and tenand heard the heavy hours tolling;and atlast the day came peeringhaggardthrough thewindow-curtainsand found her still wakeful and wretched.

Mrs. Hayeshad never beenas we have seenespecially fond of herlord; butnowas the day made visible to her the sleeping figureandcountenance of that gentlemanshe looked at him with a contemptandloathing such as she had never felt even in all the years of herweddedlife.  Mr. Hayes was snoring profoundly:  by his bedsideonhisledgerstood a large greasy tin candlestickcontaining a lanktallow-candleturned down in the shaft; and in the lower parthiskeyspurseand tobacco-pipe; his feet were huddled up in hisgreasythreadbare clothes; his head and half his sallow face muffledup in ared woollen nightcap; his beard was of several days' growth;his mouthwas wide openand he was snoring profoundly:  on a moredespicablelittle creature the sun never shone.  And to this sordidwretch wasCatherine united for ever.  What a pretty rascal historymight beread in yonder greasy day-bookwhich never left themiser! henever read in any other.  Of what a treasure were yonderkeys andpurse the keepers! not a shilling they guarded but waspickedfrom the pocket of necessityplundered from needywantonnessor pitilessly squeezed from starvation.  "A foolamiseranda coward!  Why was I bound to this wretch?" thoughtCatherine: "Iwho am high-spirited and beautiful (did not HE tellme so?); Iwhoborn a beggarhave raised myself to competenceandmight havemounted who knows whither? if cursed Fortune had notbaulkedme!"

As Mrs.Cat did not utter these sentimentsbut only thought themwe have aright to clothe her thoughts in the genteelest possiblelanguage;andto the best of our powerhave done so.  If thereaderexamines Mrs. Hayes's train of reasoninghe will notweshouldthinkfail to perceive how ingeniously she managed to fixall thewrong upon her husbandand yet to twist out someconsolatoryarguments for her own vanity.  This perverseargumentationwe have all of usno doubtemployed in our time.How oftenhave wewe poetspoliticiansphilosophersfamily-menfound charming excuses for our own rascalities in themonstrouswickedness of the world about us; how loudly have weabused thetimes and our neighbours!  All this devil's logic didMrs.Catherinelying wakeful in her bed on the night of theMarylebonefeteexert in gloomy triumph.

It musthoweverbe confessedthat nothing could be more just thanMrs.Hayes's sense of her husband's scoundrelism and meanness; forif we havenot proved these in the course of this historywe haveprovednothing.  Mrs. Cat had a shrewd observing mind; and if shewanted forproofs against Hayesshe had but to look before andabout herto find them.  This amiable pair were lying in a largewalnut-bedwith faded silk furniturewhich had been taken fromunder arespectable old invalid widowwho had become security for aprodigalson; the room was hung round with an antique tapestry(representingRebecca at the WellBathsheba BathingJudith andHolofernesand other subjects from Holy Writ)which had been manyscoretimes sold for fifty poundsand bought back by Mr. Hayes fortwointhose accommodating bargains which he made with younggentlemenwho received fifty pounds of money and fifty of tapestryinconsideration of their hundred-pound bills.  Against thistapestryand just cutting off Holofernes's headstood an enormousominousblack clockthe spoil of some other usurious transaction.Somechairsand a dismal old black cabinetcompleted the furnitureof thisapartment:  it wanted but a ghost to render its gloomcomplete.

Mrs. Hayessat up in the bed sternly regarding her husband.  Thereisbesurea strong magnetic influence in wakeful eyes soexamininga sleeping person (do not youas a boyremember wakingof brightsummer mornings and finding your mother looking over you?had notthe gaze of her tender eyes stolen into your senses longbefore youwokeand cast over your slumbering spirit a sweet spellof peaceand loveand fresh springing joy?)  Some such influencehadCatherine's looks upon her husband:  foras he slept underthemtheman began to writhe about uneasilyand to burrow his headin thepillowand to utter quickstrange moans and criessuch ashave oftenjarred one's ear while watching at the bed of thefeverishsleeper.  It was just upon sixand presently the clockbegan toutter those dismal grinding soundswhich issue from clocksat suchperiodsand which sound like the death-rattle of thedepartinghour.  Then the bell struck the knell of it; and with thisMr. Hayesawokeand looked upand saw Catherine gazing at him.

Their eyesmet for an instantand Catherine turned awayburningredandlooking as if she had been caught in the commission of acrime.

A kind ofblank terror seized upon old Hayes's soul:  a horrible icyfearandpresentiment of coming evil; and yet the woman had butlooked athim.  He thought rapidly over the occurrences of the lastnightthequarreland the end of it.  He had often struck herbeforewhen angryand heaped all kinds of bitter words upon her;butinthe morningshe bore no maliceand the previous quarrelwasforgottenorat leastpassed over.  Why should the lastnight'sdispute not have the same end?  Hayes calculated all thisand triedto smile.

"Ihope we're friendsCat?" said he.  "You know I was inliquorlastnightand sadly put out by the loss of that fifty pound.They'llruin medearI know they will."

Mrs. Hayesdid not answer.

"Ishould like to see the country againdear" said hein hismostwheedlingway.  "I've a minddo you knowto call in all our money?It's youwho've made every farthing of itthat's sure; and it's amatter oftwo thousand pound by this time.  Suppose we go intoWarwickshireCatand buy a farmand live genteel.  Shouldn't youlike tolive a lady in your own county again?  How they'd stare atBirmingham!heyCat?"

And withthis Mr. Hayes made a motion as if he would seize hiswife'shandbut she flung his back again.

"Coward!"said she"you want liquor to give you courageand thenyou'veonly heart enough to strike women."

"Itwas only in self-defencemy dear" said Hayeswhose couragehad allgone.  "You triedyou knowtoto"

"ToSTAB youand I wish I had!" said Mrs. Hayessetting her teethandglaring at him like a demon; and so saying she sprung out ofbed. There was a great stain of blood on her pillow.  "Look atit"said she. "That blood's of your shedding!" and at this Hayes fairlybegan toweepso utterly downcast and frightened was the miserableman. The wretch's tears only inspired his wife with a still greaterrage andloathing; she cared not so much for the blowbut she hatedthe man: the man to whom she was tied for ever for ever!  The barbetweenher and wealthhappinessloverank perhaps.  "If I werefree"thought Mrs. Hayes (the thought had been sitting at herpillow allnightand whispering ceaselessly into her ear)"If Iwere freeMax would marry me; I know he would: he said soyesterday!"

                   *          *         *

As if by akind of intuitionold Wood seemed to read all thiswoman'sthoughts; for he said that day with a sneerthat he wouldwager shewas thinking how much better it would be to be a Count'slady thana poor miser's wife.  "And faith" said he"aCount and achariot-and-sixis better than an old skinflint with a cudgel."  Andthen heasked her if her head was betterand supposed that she wasused tobeating; and cut sundry other jokeswhich made the poorwretch'swounds of mind and body feel a thousand times sorer.

Tomtoowas made acquainted with the disputeand swore hisaccustomedvengeance against his stepfather.  Such feelingsWoodwith adexterous malicewould never let rest; it was his joyatfirstquite a disinterested oneto goad Catherine and to frightenHayes: thoughin truththat unfortunate creature had no occasionforincitements from without to keep up the dreadful state of terroranddepression into which he had fallen.

Forfromthe morning after the quarrelthe horrible words andlooks ofCatherine never left Hayes's memory; but a cold fearfollowedhim a dreadful prescience.  He strove to overcome thisfate as acoward would to kneel to it for compassion to coax andwheedle itinto forgiveness.  He was slavishly gentle to Catherineand boreher fierce taunts with mean resignation.  He trembledbeforeyoung Billingswho was now established in the house (hismothersaidto protect her against the violence of her husband)andsuffered his brutal language and conduct without venturing toresist.

The youngman and his mother lorded over the house:  Hayes hardlydared tospeak in their presence; seldom sat with the family exceptat meals;but slipped away to his chamber (he slept apart now fromhis wife)or passed the evening at the public-housewhere he wasconstrainedto drinkto spend some of his beloved sixpences fordrink!

Andofcoursethe neighbours began to say"John Hayes neglectshiswife."  "He tyrannises over herand beats her." "Always at thepublic-houseleaving an honest woman alone at home!"

Theunfortunate wretch did NOT hate his wife.  He was used toHer fondof her as much as he could be fondsighed to be friendswith heragain repeatedly would creepwhimperingto Wood's roomwhen thelatter was aloneand begged him to bring about areconciliation. They WERE reconciledas much as ever they couldbe. The woman looked at himthought what she might be but for himandscorned and loathed him with a feeling that almost amounted toinsanity. What nights she lay awakeweepingand cursing herselfand him! His humility and beseeching looks only made him moredespicableand hateful to her.

If Hayesdid not hate the motherhoweverhe hated the boy hatedand fearedhim dreadfully.  He would have poisoned him if he had hadthecourage; but he dared not:  he dared not even look at him as hesat therethe master of the housein insolent triumph.  O God! howthe lad'sbrutal laughter rung in Hayes's ears; and how the stare ofhis fiercebold black eyes pursued him!  Of a truthif Mr. Woodlovedmischiefas he didhonestly and purely for mischief's sakehe hadenough here.  There was mean maliceand fierce scornandblackrevengeand sinful desireboiling up in the hearts of thesewretchedpeopleenough to content Mr. Wood's great master himself.

Hayes'sbusinessas we have saidwas nominally that of acarpenter;but sincefor the last few yearshe had added to itthat of alender of moneythe carpenter's trade had been neglectedaltogetherfor one so much more profitable.  Mrs. Hayes had exertedherselfwith much benefit to her husbandin his usurious business.She was aresoluteclear-sightedkeen womanthat did not lovemoneybutloved to be rich and push her way in the world.  Shewould havenothing to do with the trade nowhoweverand told herhusband tomanage it himself.  She felt that she was separated fromhim foreverand could no more be brought to consider her interestsasconnected with his own.

The manwas well fitted for the creeping and niggling of hisdastardlytrade; and gathered his moneysand busied himself withhislawyerand acted as his own bookkeeper and clerknot withoutsatisfaction. His wife's speculationswhen they worked in concertused oftento frighten him.  He never sent out his capital without apangandonly because he dared not question her superior judgmentand will. He began now to lend no more:  he could not let the moneyout of hissight.  His sole pleasure was to creep up into his roomand countand recount it.  When Billings came into the houseHayeshad takena room next to that of Wood.  It was a protection to him;for Woodwould often rebuke the lad for using Hayes ill:  and bothCatherineand Tom treated the old man with deference.

At last itwas after he had collected a good deal of his moneyHayesbegan to reason with himself"Why should I stay? stay to beinsultedby that boyor murdered by him?  He is ready for anycrime." He determined to fly.  He would send Catherine money everyyear. No she had the furniture; let her let lodgings that wouldsupporther.  He would goand live awayabroad in some cheapplace awayfrom that boy and his horrible threats.  The idea offreedomwas agreeable to the poor wretch; and he began to wind uphisaffairs as quickly as he could.

Hayeswould now allow no one to make his bed or enter his room; andWood couldhear him through the panels fidgeting perpetually to andfroopening and shutting of chestsand clinking of coin.  At theleastsound he would start upand would go to Billings's door andlisten. Wood used to hear him creeping through the passagesandreturningstealthily to his own chamber.

One daythe woman and her son had been angrily taunting him in thepresenceof a neighbour.  The neighbour retired soon; and Hayeswhohad gonewith him to the doorheardon returningthe voice ofWood inthe parlour.  The old man laughed in his usual saturninewayandsaid"Have a careMrs. Cat; for if Hayes were to diesuddenlyby the lawsthe neighbours would accuse thee of hisdeath."

Hayesstarted as if he had been shot.  "He too is in the plot"thoughthe.  "They are all leagued against me:  they WILL killme:they areonly biding their time."  Fear seized himand he thoughtof flyingthat instant and leaving all; and he stole into his roomandgathered his money together.  But only a half of it was there:in a fewweeks all would have come in.  He had not the heart to go.But thatnight Wood heard Hayes pause at HIS doorbefore he went tolisten atMrs. Catherine's.  "What is the man thinking of?" saidWood. "He is gathering his money together.  Has he a hoard yonderunknown tous all?"

Woodthought he would watch him.  There was a closet between the tworooms: Wood bored a hole in the paneland peeped through.  Hayeshad abrace of pistolsand four or five little bags before him onthetable.  One of these he openedand placedone by onefive-and-twentyguineas into it.  Such a sum had been due thatdayCatherinespoke of it only in the morning; for the debtor'sname hadby chance been mentioned in the conversation.  Hayescommonlykept but a few guineas in the house.  For what was heamassingall these?  The next dayWood asked for change for atwenty-poundbill.  Hayes said he had but three guineas.  Andwhenasked byCatherine where the money was that was paid the day beforesaid thatit was at the banker's.  "The man is going to fly"saidWood;"that is sure:  if he doesI know him he will leave hiswifewithout ashilling."

He watchedhim for several days regularly:  two or three more bagswere addedto the former number.  "They are pretty thingsguineas"thoughtWood"and tell no taleslike bank-bills."  And hethoughtover thedays when he and Macshane used to ride abroad in search ofthem.

I don'tknow what thoughts entered into Mr. Wood's brain; but thenext dayafter seeing young Billingsto whom he actually made apresent ofa guineathat young manin conversing with his mothersaid"Doyou knowmotherthat if you were freeand married theCountIshould be a lord?  It's the German lawMr. Wood says; andyou knowhe was in them countries with Marlborough."

"Aythat he would" said Mr. Wood"in Germany:  butGermany isn'tEngland;and it's no use talking of such things."

"Hushchild!" said Mrs. Hayesquite eagerly:  "how can ImarrytheCount?  Besidesa'n't I marriedand isn't he too great a lordfor me?"

"Toogreat a lord? not a whitmother.  If it wasn't for HayesImight be alord now.  He gave me five guineas only last week; butcurse theskinflint who never will part with a shilling."

"It'snot so bad as his striking your motherTom.  I had my stickupandwas ready to fell him t'other night" added Mr. Wood.  Andherewithhe smiledand looked steadily in Mrs. Catherine's face.She darednot look again; but she felt that the old man knew asecretthat she had been trying to hide from herself.  Fool! he knewit; andHayes knew it dimly:  and neverneversince that day ofthe galahad it left hersleeping or waking.  When Hayesin hisfearhadproposed to sleep away from hershe started with joy:she hadbeen afraid that she might talk in her sleepand so letslip herhorrible confession.

Old Woodknew all her history since the period of the Marylebonefete. He had wormed it out of herday by day; he had counselledher how toact; warned her not to yield; to procureat leastacertainprovision for her sonand a handsome settlement forherselfif she determined on quitting her husband.  The old manlooked onthe business in a proper philosophical lighttold herbluntlythat he saw she was bent upon going off with the Countandbade hertake precautions:  else she might be left as she had beenbefore.

Catherinedenied all these charges; but she saw the Count dailynotwithstandingand took all the measures which Wood hadrecommendedto her.  They were very prudent ones.  Galgenstein grewhourlymore in love:  never had he felt such a flame; not in thebest daysof his youth; not for the fairest princesscountessoractressfrom Vienna to Paris.

At lengthit was the night after he had seen Hayes counting hismoney-bagsoldWood spoke to Mrs. Hayes very seriously.  "Thathusband ofyoursCat" said he"meditates some treason; ayandfancies weare about such.  He listens nightly at your door and atmine: he is going to leave yoube sure on't; and if he leaves youhe leavesyou to starve."

"Ican be rich elsewhere" said Mrs. Cat.

"Whatwith Max?"

"Aywith Max:  and why not?" said Mrs. Hayes.

"Whynotfool!  Do you recollect Birmingham?  Do you think thatGalgensteinwho is so tender now because he HASN'T won youwill befaithfulbecause he HAS?  Pshawomanmen are not made so!  Don'tgo to himuntil you are sure:  if you were a widow nowhe wouldmarry you;but never leave yourself at his mercy:  if you were toleave yourhusband to go to himhe would desert you in afortnight!"

She mighthave been a Countess! she knew she mightbut for thiscursedbarrier between her and her fortune.  Wood knew what she wasthinkingofand smiled grimly.

"Besides"he continued"remember Tom.  As sure as you leave Hayeswithoutsome security from Maxthe boy's ruined:  he who might be alordifhis mother had butPsha! never mind:  that boy will go onthe roadas sure as my name's Wood.  He's a Turpin cock in his eyemy deararegular Tyburn look.  He knows too many of that sortalready;and is too fond of a bottle and a girl to resist and behonestwhen it comes to the pinch."

"It'sall true" said Mrs. Hayes.  "Tom's a high mettlesomefellowand wouldno more mind a ride on Hounslow Heath than he does a walknow in theMall."

"Doyou want him hangedmy dear?" said Wood.

"AhDoctor!"

"ItIS a pityand that's sure" concluded Mr. Woodknocking theashes outof his pipeand closing this interesting conversation."Itis a pity that that old skinflint should be in the way of bothyourfortunes; and he about to fling you overtoo!"

Mrs.Catherine retired musingas Mr. Billings had previously done;a sweetsmile of contentment lighted up the venerable features ofDoctorWoodand he walked abroad into the streets as happy a fellowas any inLondon.

 

CHAPTERXII
TREATS OF LOVEAND PREPARES FOR DEATH.

And tobegin this chapterwe cannot do better than quote a part ofa letterfrom M. l'Abbe O'Flaherty to Madame la Comtesse de X-at Paris:

"MADAMThelittle Arouet de Voltairewho hath come 'hither totake aturn in England' as I see by the Post of this morninghathbrought mea charming pacquet from your Ladyship's handswhichought torender a reasonable man happy; butalas! makes your slavemiserable. I think of dear Paris (and something more dear than allParisofwhichMadamI may not venture to speak further)I thinkof dearParisand find myself in this dismal Vitehallwherewhenthe fogclears upI can catch a glimpse of muddy Thamesand ofthat fatalpalace which the kings of England have been obliged toexchangefor your noble castle of Saint Germainsthat stands sostately bysilver Seine.  Trulyno bad bargain.  For my partIwould givemy grand ambassadorial saloonshangingsgildingsfeastsvaletsambassadors and allfor a bicoque in sight of theThuilleries'towersor my little cell in the Irlandois.

"Mylast sheets have given you a pretty notion of our ambassador'spublicdoings; now for a pretty piece of private scandal respectingthat greatman.  Figure to yourselfMadamhis Excellency is inlove;actually in lovetalking day and night about a certain fairone whomhe hath picked out of a gutter; who is well nigh fortyyears old;who was his mistress when he was in England a captain ofdragoonssome sixtyseventyor a hundred years since; who hathhad a sonby himmoreovera sprightly ladapprentice to a tailorofeminence that has the honour of making his Excellency's breeches.

"Sinceone fatal night when he met this fair creature at a certainplace ofpublique resortcalled Marylebone Gardensour Cyrus hathbeen analtered creature.  Love hath mastered this brainlessambassadorand his antics afford me food for perpetual mirth.  Hesits nowopposite to me at a table inditing a letter to hisCatherineand copying it from what do you think? from the 'GrandCyrus.' 'I swearmadamthat my happiness would be to offer youthis handas I have my heart long agoand I beg you to bear inmind thisdeclaration.'  I have just dictated to him the abovetenderwords; for our EnvoyI need not tell youis not strong atwriting orthinking.

"Thefair CatherineI must tell youis no less than a carpenter'swifeawell-to-do bourgeoisliving at the Tyburnor Gallows Road.She foundout her ancient lover very soon after our arrivalandhath amarvellous hankering to be a Count's lady.  A pretty littlecreatureis this Madam Catherine.  Billetsbreakfastsprettywalkspresents of silks and satinspass daily between the pair;butstrange to saythe lady is as virtuous as Dianaand hathresistedall my Count's cajoleries hitherto.  The poor fellow toldmewithtears in his eyesthat he believed he should have carriedher bystorm on the very first night of their meetingbut that hersonstepped into the way; and he or somebody else hath been in theway eversince.  Madam will never appear alone.  I believe it isthiswondrous chastity of the lady that has elicited this wondrousconstancyof the gentleman.  She is holding out for a settlement;who knowsif not for a marriage?  Her husbandshe saysis ailing;her loveris fool enoughand she herself conducts her negotiationsas I musthonestly ownwith a pretty notion of diplomacy."

                   *          *         *

This isthe only part of the reverend gentleman's letter thatdirectlyaffects this history.  The rest contains some scandalconcerninggreater personages about the Courta great share ofabuse ofthe Elector of Hanoverand a pretty description of aboxing-matchat Mr. Figg's amphitheatre in Oxford Roadwhere JohnWellsofEdmund Bury (as by the papers may be seen)master of thenoblescience of self-defencedid engage with Edward SuttonofGravesendmaster of the said science; and the issue of the combat.

"N.B." adds the Fatherin a postscript "Monsieur Figue givesahat to becudgelled for before the Master mount; and the whole ofthisfashionable information hath been given me by Monseigneur'ssonMonsieur Billingsgarcon-tailleurChevalier de Galgenstein."

Mr.Billings wasin facta frequent visitor at the Ambassador'shouse; towhose presence heby a general orderwas alwaysadmitted. As for the connection between Mrs. Catherine and herformeradmirerthe Abbe's history of it is perfectly correct; norcan it besaid that this wretched womanwhose tale now begins towear adarker huewasin anything but SOULfaithless to herhusband. But she hated himlonged to leave himand loved another:the endwas coming quicklyand every one of our unknowing actorsandactresses were to be implicatedmore or lessin thecatastrophe.

It will beseen that Mrs. Cat had followed pretty closely theinjunctionsof Mr. Wood in regard to her dealings with the Count;who grewmore heart-stricken and tender dailyas the completion ofhis wisheswas delayedand his desires goaded by contradiction.The Abbehas quoted one portion of a letter written by him; here isthe entireperformanceextractedas the holy father saidchieflyfrom theromance of the "Grand Cyrus".

          "Unhappy Maximilian unto unjust Catherina.

"MADAMItmust needs be that I love you better than any ever didsincenotwithstanding your injustice in calling me perfidiousIlove youno less than I did before.  On the contrarymy passion issoviolentand your unjust accusation makes me so sensible of itthat ifyou did but know the resentments of my souleyou wouldconfessyour selfe the most cruell and unjust woman in the world.You shallere longMadamsee me at your feete; and as you were myfirstpassionso you will be my last.

"Onmy knees I will tell youat the first handsom opportunitythatthegrandure of my passion can only be equalled by your beauty; ithathdriven me to such a fatall necessityas that I cannot hide themiserywhich you have caused.  Surethe hostil goddes havetoplague meordayned that fatal marridgeby which you are bound toone soinfinitly below you in degree.  Were that bond of ill-omindHymen cutin twayn witch binds youI swearMadamthat myhappinisswoulde be to offer you this handeas I have my harte longagoe. And I praye you to beare in minde this declaracionwhich Ihere signwith my handeand witch I pray you may one day be calledupon toprove the truth on.  Beleave meMadamthat there is nonein theWorld who doth more honor to your vertue than myselfenorwho wishesyour happinesse with more zeal than MAXIMILIAN.

"Frommy lodgings in Whitehallthis 25th of February.

"Tothe incomparable Catherinathesewith a scarlet sattenpetticoat."

The Counthad debated about the sentence promising marriage in eventof Hayes'sdeath; but the honest Abbe cut these scruples very shortby sayingjustlythatbecause he wrote in that mannerthere wasno needfor him to act so; that he had better not sign and addressthe notein full; and that he presumed his Excellency was not quiteso timidas to fancy that the woman would follow him all the way toGermanywhen his diplomatic duties would be ended; as they wouldsoon.

Thereceipt of this billet caused such a flush of joy and exultationto unhappyhappy Mrs. Catherinethat Wood did not fail to remarkitandspeedily learned the contents of the letter.  Wood had noneed tobid the poor wretch guard it very carefully:  it never fromthat dayforth left her; it was her title of nobilityher pass torankwealthhappiness.  She began to look down on her neighbours;her mannerto her husband grew more than ordinarily scornful; thepoor vainwretch longed to tell her secretand to take her placeopenly inthe world.  She a Countessand Tom a Count's son!  Shefelt thatshe should royally become the title!

About thistime and Hayes was very much frightened at theprevalenceof the rumourit suddenly began to be about in hisquarterthat he was going to quit the country.  The story was ineverybody'smouth; people used to sneer when he turned paleandweptandpassionately denied it.

It wassaidtoothat Mrs. Hayes was not his wifebut hisMistresseverybody had this story his mistresswhom he treatedmostcruellyand was about to desert.  The tale of the blow whichhad felledher to the ground was known in all quarters.  When hedeclaredthat the woman tried to stab himnobody believed him:  thewomen saidhe would have been served right if she had done so.  Howhad thesestories gone abroad?  "Three days moreand I WILL fly"thoughtHayes; "and the world may say what it pleases."

Ayfoolflyaway so swiftly that Fate cannot overtake thee:  hidesocunningly that Death shall not find thy place of refuge!

 

CHAPTERXIII
BEING A PREPARATION FOR THE END.

 

Thereaderdoubtlessdoth now partly understand what dark acts ofconspiracyare beginning to gather around Mr. Hayes; and possiblyhathcomprehended

1. That if the rumour was universally credited which declared thatMrs.Catherine was only Hayes's mistressand not his wife

She mightif she so inclinedmarry another person; and thereby notinjure herfame and excite wondermentbut actually add to herreputation.

2. That if all the world did steadfastly believe that Mr. Hayesintendedto desert this womanafter having cruelly maltreated her

Thedirection which his journey might take would be of noconsequence;and he might go to Highgateto EdinburghtoConstantinoplenaydown a welland no soul would care to askwhither hehad gone.

Thesepoints Mr. Hayes had not considered duly.  The latter case hadbeen putto himand annoyed himas we have seen; the former hadactuallybeen pressed upon him by Mrs. Hayes herself; whoin almostthe onlycommunication she had had with him since their lastquarrelhad asked himangrilyin the presence of Wood and hersonwhether he had dared to utter such liesand how it came topass thatthe neighbours looked scornfully at herand avoided her?

To thischarge Mr. Hayes pleadedvery meeklythat he was notguilty;and young Billingstaking him by the collarand clinchinghis fistin his faceswore a dreadful oath that he would have thelife ofhim if he dared abuse his mother.  Mrs. Hayes then spoke ofthegeneral report abroadthat he was going to desert her; whichif heattempted to doMr. Billings vowed that he would follow himtoJerusalem and have his blood.  These threatsand the insolentlanguageof young Billingsrather calmed Hayes than agitated him:he longedto be on his journey; but he began to hope that noobstaclewould be placed in the way of it.  For the first time sincemany dayshe began to enjoy a feeling something akin to securityand couldlook with tolerable confidence towards a comfortablecompletionof his own schemes of treason.

Thesepoints being duly settledwe are now arrivedO publicat apoint forwhich the author's soul hath been yearning ever since thishistorycommenced.  We are now comeO criticto a stage of thework whenthis tale begins to assume an appearance so interestinglyhorrificthat you must have a heart of stone if you are notinterestedby it.  O candid and discerning readerwho art sick ofthehideous scenes of brutal bloodshed which have of late come forthfrom pensof certain eminent witsif you turn awaydisgusted fromthe bookremember that this passage hath not been written for youor such asyouwho have taste to know and hate the style in whichit hathbeen composed; but for the publicwhich hath no suchtaste: forthe publicwhich can patronise four differentrepresentationsof Jack Sheppardfor the public whom its literaryprovidershave gorged with blood and foul Newgate garbageand towhom wepoor creatureshumbly following at the tail of our greathigh-priestsand prophets of the pressmayas in duty boundoffersome smallgift of our own:  a little mite trulybut given withgood-will. Come upthenfair Catherine and brave Count; appeargallantBrockand faultless Billings; hasten hitherhonest JohnHayes: the former chapters are but flowers in which we have beendeckingyou for the sacrifice.  Ascend to the altarye innocentlambsandprepare for the final act:  lo! the knife is sharpenedand thesacrificer ready!  Stretch your throatssweet onesforthe publicis thirstyand must have blood!

 

 

CHAPTERTHE LAST.

That Mr.Hayes had some notion of the attachment of Monsieur deGalgensteinfor his wife is very certain:  the man could not butperceivethat she was more gaily dressedand more frequently absentthanusual; and must have been quite aware that from the day of thequarreluntil the present periodCatherine had never asked him fora shillingfor the house expenses.  He had not the heart to offerhowever;norin truthdid she seem to remember that money was due.

Shereceivedin factmany sums from the tender Count.  Tom waslikewiseliberally provided by the same personage; who wasmoreovercontinually sending presents of various kinds to theperson onwhom his affections were centred.

One ofthese gifts was a hamper of choice mountain-winewhich hadbeen someweeks in the houseand excited the longing of Mr. Hayeswho lovedwine very much.  This liquor was generally drunk by WoodandBillingswho applauded it greatly; and many timesin passingthroughthe back-parlourwhich he had to traverse in order toreach thestairHayes had cast a tender eye towards the drink; ofwhichhadhe daredhe would have partaken.

On the 1stof Marchin the year 1726Mr. Hayes had gatheredtogetheralmost the whole sum with which he intended to decamp; andhaving onthat very day recovered the amount of a bill which hethoughtalmost hopelesshe returned home in tolerable good-humour;andfeelingso near was his period of departuresomething likesecurity. Nobody had attempted the least violence on him:  besideshe wasarmed with pistolshad his money in bills in a belt abouthispersonand really reasoned with himself that there was nodanger forhim to apprehend.

He enteredthe house about duskat five o'clock.  Mrs. Hayes wasabsentwith Mr. Billings; only Mr. Wood was smokingaccording tohis wontin the little back-parlour; and as Mr. Hayes passedtheoldgentleman addressed him in a friendly voiceandwondering thathe hadbeen such a strangerinvited him to sit and take a glass ofwine. There was a light and a foreman in the shop; Mr. Hayes gavehisinjunctions to that personand saw no objection to Mr. Wood'sinvitation.

Theconversationat first a little stiff between the two gentlemenbeganspeedily to grow more easy and confidential:  and soparticularlybland and good-humoured was Mr.or Doctor Woodthathiscompanion was quite caughtand softened by the charm of hismanner;and the pair became as good friends as in the former days oftheirintercourse.

"Iwish you would come down sometimes of evenings" quoth DoctorWood;"forthough no book-learned manMr. Hayeslook youyou area man ofthe worldand I can't abide the society of boys.  There'sTomnowsince this tiff with Mrs. Catthe scoundrel plays theGrank Turkhere!  The pair of 'embetwixt themhave completelygotten theupper hand of you.  Confess that you are beatenMasterHayesanddon't like the boy?"

"Nomore I do" said Hayes; "and that's the truth on't.  Aman dothnot liketo have his wife's sins flung in his facenor to beperpetuallybullied in his own house by such a fiery sprig as that."

"Mischiefsirmischief only" said Wood:  "'tis the fun ofyouthsirandwill go off as age comes to the lad.  Bad as you may thinkhim and heis as skittish and fiercesure enoughas a youngcolt-thereis good stuff in him; and though he hathor fancies hehaththeright to abuse every oneby the Lord he will let noneothers doso!  Last weeknowdidn't he tell Mrs. Cat that youserved herright in the last beating matter? and weren't they comingto knivesjust as in your case?  By my faiththey were.  Ayandat the"Braund's Head" when some fellow said that you were abloodyBluebeardand would murder your wifestab me if Tom wasn't up inan instantand knocked the fellow down for abusing of you!"

The firstof these stories was quite true; the second was only acharitableinvention of Mr. Woodand employeddoubtlessfor theamiablepurpose of bringing the old and young men together.  Theschemepartially succeeded; forthough Hayes was not so farmollifiedtowards Tom as to entertain any affection for a young manwhom hehad cordially detested ever since he knew himyet he feltmore atease and cheerful regarding himself:  and surely not withoutreason. While indulging in these benevolent sentimentsMrs.Catherineand her son arrivedand foundsomewhat to theirastonishmentMr. Hayes seated in the back-parlouras in formertimes; andthey were invited by Mr. Wood to sit down and drink.

We havesaid that certain bottles of mountain-wine were presented bythe Countto Mrs. Catherine:  these wereat Mr. Wood's suggestionproduced;and Hayeswho had long been coveting themwas charmed tohave anopportunity to drink his fill.  He forthwith began braggingof hisgreat powers as a drinkerand vowed that he could manageeightbottles without becoming intoxicated.

Mr. Woodgrinned strangelyand looked in a peculiar way at TomBillingswho grinned too.  Mrs. Cat's eyes were turned towards theground: but her face was deadly pale.

The partybegan drinking.  Hayes kept up his reputation as a toperandswallowed onetwothree bottles without wincing.  He grewtalkativeand merryand began to sing songs and to cut jokes; atwhich Woodlaughed hugelyand Billings after him.  Mrs. Cat couldnot laugh;but sat silent.

What ailedher?  Was she thinking of the Count?  She had been withMax thatdayand had promised himfor the next night at tenaninterviewnear his lodgings at Whitehall.  It was the first timethat shewould see him alone.  They were to meet (not a verycheerfulplace for a love-tryst) at St. Margaret's churchyardnearWestminsterAbbey.  Of thisno doubtCat was thinking; but whatcould shemean by whispering to Wood"Nono! for God's sakenottonight!"

"Shemeans we are to have no more liquor" said Wood to Mr. Hayes;who heardthis sentenceand seemed rather alarmed.

"That'sitno more liquor" said Catherine eagerly; "you have hadenoughto-night.  Go to bedand lock your doorand sleepMr.Hayes."

"ButI say I've NOT had enough drink!" screamed Hayes; "I'm goodforfivebottles moreand wager I will drink them too."

"Donefor a guinea!" said Wood.

"Doneand done!" said Billings.

"BeYOU quiet!" growled Hayesscowling at the lad.  "Iwill drinkwhat Ipleaseand ask no counsel of yours."  And he muttered somemorecurses against young Billingswhich showed what his feelingsweretowards his wife's son; and which the latterfor a wonderonlyreceived with a scornful smileand a knowing look at Wood.

Well! thefive extra bottles were broughtand drunk by Mr. Hayes;andseasoned by many songs from the recueil of Mr. Thomas d'Urfeyandothers.  The chief part of the talk and merriment was on Hayes'spart; asindeedwas naturalforwhile he drank bottle afterbottle ofwinethe other two gentlemen confined themselves to smallbeerbothpleading illness as an excuse for their sobriety.

And nowmight we depictwith much accuracythe course of Mr.Hayes'sintoxicationas it rose from the merriment of thethree-bottlepoint to the madness of the four from the uproariousquarrelsomenessof the sixth bottle to the sickly stupidity of theseventh;but we are desirous of bringing this tale to a conclusionand mustpretermit all consideration of a subject so curioussoinstructiveand so delightful.  Suffice it to sayas a matter ofhistorythat Mr. Hayes did actually drink seven bottles ofmountain-wine;and that Mr. Thomas Billings went to the "Braund'sHead"in Bond Streetand purchased anotherwhich Hayes likewisedrank.

"That'lldo" said Mr. Wood to young Billings; and they led Hayes upto bedwhitherin truthhe was unable to walk himself.

                   *          *         *

Mrs.Springattthe lodgercame down to ask what the noise was."'Tisonly Tom Billings making merry with some friends from thecountry"answered Mrs. Hayes; whereupon Springatt retiredand thehouse wasquiet.

                   *          *         *

Somescuffling and stamping was heard about eleven o'clock.

                   *          *         *

After theyhad seen Mr. Hayes to bedBillings remembered that hehad aparcel to carry to some person in the neighbourhood of theStrand;andas the night was remarkably finehe and Mr. Woodagreed towalk togetherand set forth accordingly.

(Herefollows a description of the THAMES AT MIDNIGHTin a finehistoricalstyle; with an account of LambethWestminstertheSavoyBaynard's CastleArundel Housethe Temple; of Old LondonBridgewith its twenty arches"on which be houses buildedso thatit seemethrather a continuall street than a bridge; "of Banksideand the"Globe" and the "Fortune" Theatres; of theferries acrossthe riverand of the pirates who infest the same namelytinklermenpetermenhebbermentrawlermen; of the fleet of bargesthat layat the Savoy steps; and of the long lines of slim wherriessleepingon the river banks and basking and shining in themoonbeams. A combat on the river is describedthat takes placebetweenthe crews of a tinklerman's boat and the water-bailiffs.Shoutinghis war-cry"St. Mary Overy a la rescousse!" thewater-bailiffsprung at the throat of the tinklerman captain.  Thecrews ofboth vesselsas if aware that the struggle of their chiefswoulddecide the contestceased hostilitiesand awaited on theirrespectivepoops the issue of the death-shock.  It was not longcoming. "Yielddog!" said the water-bailiff.  The tinklermancouldnot answerfor his throat was grasped too tight in the iron clenchof thecity champion; but drawing his snickersneehe plunged itseventimes in the bailiff's chest:  still the latter fell not. Thedeath-rattlegurgled in the throat of his opponent; his arms fellheavily tohis side.  Foot to footeach standing at the side of hisboatstood the brave men THEY WERE BOTH DEAD!  "In the name ofSt.ClementDanes" said the master"give waymy men!" andthrustingforwardhis halberd (seven feet longrichly decorated with velvetand brassnailsand having the city armsargenta cross gulesand in thefirst quarter a dagger displayed of the second)hethrust thetinklerman's boat away from his own; and at once thebodies ofthe captains plunged downdowndowndown in theunfathomablewaters.

After thisfollows another episode.  Two masked ladies quarrel atthe doorof a tavern overlooking the Thames:  they turn out to beStella andVanessawho have followed Swift thither; who is in theact ofreading "Gulliver's Travels" to GayArbuthnotBolingbrokeand Pope. Two fellows are sitting shuddering under a doorway; toone ofthem Tom Billings flung a sixpence.  He little knew that thenames ofthose two young men wereSamuel Johnson and RichardSavage.)

 

ANOTHERLAST CHAPTER.

Mr. Hayesdid not join the family the next day; and it appears thattheprevious night's reconciliation was not very durable; for whenMrs.Springatt asked Wood for HayesMr. Wood stated that Hayes hadgone awaywithout saying whither he was boundor how long he mightbeabsent.  He only saidin rather a sulky tonethat he shouldprobablypass the night at a friend's house.  "For my partI knowof nofriend he hath" added Mr. Wood; "and pray Heaven that hemaynot thinkof deserting his poor wifewhom he hath beaten andill-usedso already!"  In this prayer Mrs. Springatt joined; and sothese twoworthy people parted.

Whatbusiness Billings was about cannot be said; but he was thisnightbound towards Marylebone Fieldsas he was the night beforefor theStrand and Westminster; andalthough the night was verystormy andrainyas the previous evening had been fineold Woodgood-naturedlyresolved upon accompanying him; and forth theysalliedtogether.

Mrs.Catherinetoohad HER businessas we have seen; but this wasof a verydelicate nature.  At nine o'clockshe had an appointmentwith theCount; and faithfullyby that hourhad found her way toSaintMargaret's churchyardnear Westminster Abbeywhere sheawaitedMonsieur de Galgenstein.

The spotwas convenientbeing very lonelyand at the same timeclose tothe Count's lodgings at Whitehall.  His Excellency camebutsomewhat after the hour; forto say the truthbeing afreethinkerhe had the most firm belief in ghosts and demonsanddid notcare to pace a churchyard alone.  He was comfortedthereforewhen he saw a woman muffled in a cloakwho held out herhand tohim at the gateand said"Is that you?"  He took herhanditwas very clammy and cold; and at her desire he bade hisconfidentialfootmanwho had attended him with a torchto retireand leavehim to himself.

Thetorch-bearer retiredand left them quite in darkness; and thepairentered the little cemeterycautiously threading their wayamong thetombs.  They sat down on oneunderneath a tree it seemedto be; thewind was very coldand its piteous howling was the onlynoise thatbroke the silence of the place.  Catherine's teeth werechatteringfor all her wraps; and when Max drew her close to himandencircled her waist with one armand pressed her handshe didnotrepulse himbut rather came close to himand with her own dampfingersfeebly returned his pressure.

The poorthing was very wretched and weeping.  She confided to Maxthe causeof her grief.  She was alone in the worldalone andpenniless. Her husband had left her; she had that very day receiveda letterfrom him which confirmed all that she had suspected solong. He had left hercarried away all his propertyand would notreturn!

If we saythat a selfish joy filled the breast of Monsieur deGalgensteinthe reader will not be astonished.  A heartlesslibertinehe felt glad at the prospect of Catherine's ruin; for hehoped thatnecessity would make her his own.  He clasped the poorthing tohis heartand vowed that he would replace the husband shehad lostand that his fortune should be hers.

"Willyou replace him?" said she.

"Yestrulyin everything but the namedear Catherine; and when hediesIswear you shall be Countess of Galgenstein."

"Willyou swear?" she criedeagerly.

"Byeverything that is most sacred:  were you free nowI would"(and herehe swore a terrific oath) "at once make you mine."

We haveseen before that it cost Monsieur de Galgenstein nothing tomake thesevows.  Hayes was likelytooto live as long asCatherineas longat leastas the Count's connection with her;but he wascaught in his own snare.

She tookhis hand and kissed it repeatedlyand bathed it in hertearsandpressed it to her bosom.  "Max" she said"I AMFREE!Be mineand I will love you as I have done for years and years."

Maxstarted back.  "Whatis he dead?" he said.

"Nononot dead:  but he never was my husband."

He let goher handandinterrupting hersaid sharply"Indeedmadamifthis carpenter never was your husbandI see no cause whyIshould be.  If a ladywho hath been for twenty years themistressof a miserable country boorcannot find it in her heart toput upwith the protection of a nobleman a sovereign'srepresentativeshe may seek a husband elsewhere!"

"Iwas no man's mistress except yours" sobbed Catherinewringingher handsand sobbing wildly; "butO Heaven! I deserved this.Because Iwas a childand you sawand ruinedand leftmebecausein my sorrow and repentanceI wished to repair mycrimeandwas touched by that man's loveand married him becausehe toodeceives and leaves me becauseafter loving you madlyloving youfor twenty years I will not now forfeit your respectanddegrade myself by yielding to your willyou too must scorn me!It is toomuch too much O Heaven!"  And the wretched woman fellbackalmost fainting.

Max wasalmost frightened by this burst of sorrow on her partandwas comingforward to support her; but she motioned him awayandtakingfrom her bosom a lettersaid"If it were lightyou couldseeMaxhow cruelly I have been betrayed by that man who calledhimself myhusband.  Long before he married mehe was married toanother. This woman is still livinghe says; and he says he leavesme forever."

At thismoment the moonwhich had been hidden behind WestminsterAbbeyrose above the vast black mass of that edificeand poured aflood ofsilver light upon the little church of St. Margaret'sandthe spotwhere the lovers stood.  Max was at a little distance fromCatherinepacing gloomily up and down the flags.  She remained ather oldposition at the tombstone under the treeor pillaras itseemed tobeas the moon got up.  She was leaning against thepillarand holding out to Maxwith an arm beautifully white androundedthe letter she had received from her husband:  "Read itMax"she said:  "I asked for lightand here is Heaven's ownbywhich youmay read."

But Maxdid not come forward to receive it.  On a sudden his faceassumed alook of the most dreadful surprise and agony.  He stoodstillandstared with wild eyes starting from their sockets; hestaredupwardsat a point seemingly above Catherine's head.  Atlast heraised up his finger slowly and said"LookCat THEHEAD THEHEAD!"  Then uttering a horrible laughhe fell downgrovellingamong the stonesgibbering and writhing in a fit ofepilepsy.

Catherinestarted forward and looked up.  She had been standingagainst apostnot a tree the moon was shining full on it now; andon thesummit strangely distinctand smiling ghastlywas a lividhumanhead.

Thewretched woman fled she dared look no more.  And some hoursafterwardswhenalarmed by the Count's continued absencehisconfidentialservant came back to seek for him in the churchyardhewas foundsitting on the flagsstaring full at the headandlaughingand talking to it wildlyand nodding at it.  He was takenup ahopeless idiotand so lived for years and years; clanking thechainandmoaning under the lashand howling through long nightswhen themoon peered through the bars of his solitary celland heburied hisface in the straw.

                   *          *         *

There themurder is out!  And having indulged himself in a chapterof thevery finest writingthe author begs the attention of theBritishpublic towards it; humbly conceiving that it possesses someof thosepeculiar merits which have rendered the fine writing inotherchapters of the works of other authors so famous.

Withoutbragging at alllet us just point out the chief claims ofthe abovepleasing piece of composition.  In the first placeit isperfectlystilted and unnatural; the dialogue and the sentimentsbeingartfully arrangedso as to be as strong and majestic aspossible. Our dear Cat is but a poor illiterate country wenchwhohas comefrom cutting her husband's throat; and yetsee! she talksand lookslike a tragedy princesswho is suffering in the mostvirtuousblank verse.  This is the proper end of fictionand one ofthegreatest triumphs that a novelist can achieve:  for to makepeoplesympathise with virtue is a vulgar trick that any commonfellow cando; but it is not everybody who can take a scoundrelandcause usto weep and whimper over him as though he were a verysaint. Give a young lady of five years old a skein of silk and abrace ofnetting-needlesand she will in a short time turn you outa decentsilk purse anybody can; but try her with a sow's earandseewhether she can make a silk purse out of THAT.  That is the workfor yourreal great artist; and pleasant it is to see how many havesucceededin these latter days.

Thesubject is strictly historicalas anyone may see by referringto theDaily Post of March 31726which contains the followingparagraph:

"Yesterdaymorningearlya man's headthat by the freshness of itseemed tohave been newly cut off from the bodyhaving its own haironwasfound by the river's sidenear MillbankWestminsterandwasafterwards exposed to public view in St. Margaret's churchyardwherethousands of people have seen it; but none could tell who theunhappyperson wasmuch less who committed such a horrid andbarbarousaction.  There are various conjectures relating to thedeceased;but there being nothing certainwe omit them.  The headwas muchhacked and mangled in the cutting off."

The headwhich caused such an impression upon Monsieur deGalgensteinwasindeedonce on the shoulders of Mr. John Hayeswho lostit under the following circumstances.  We have seen how Mr.Hayes wasinduced to drink.  Mr. Hayes having been encouraged indrinkingthe wineand growing very merry therewithhe sang anddancedabout the room; but his wifefearing the quantity he haddrunkwould not have the wished-for effect on himshe sent away foranotherbottleof which he drank also.  This effectually answeredtheirexpectations; and Mr. Hayes became thereby intoxicatedanddeprivedof his understanding.

Hehowevermade shift to get into the other roomandthrowinghimselfupon the bedfell asleep; upon which Mrs. Hayes remindedthem ofthe affair in handand told them that was the most properjunctureto finish the business.

                   

*         *          *

Ringdingding! the gloomy green curtain dropsthe dramatispersonaeare duly disposed ofthe nimble candle snuffers put outthelightsand the audience goeth pondering home.  If the critictake thepains to ask why the authorwho hath been so diffuse indescribingthe early and fabulous acts of Mrs. Catherine'sexistenceshould so hurry off the catastrophe where a deal of theveryfinest writing might have been employedSolomons replies thatthe"ordinary" narrative is far more emphatic than anycompositionof his owncould bewith all the rhetorical graces which he mightemploy. Mr. Aram's trialas taken by the penny-a-liners of thosedayshadalways interested him more than the lengthened andpoeticalreport which an eminent novelist has given of the same.Mr.Turpin's adventures are more instructive and agreeable to him intheaccount of the Newgate Plutarchthan in the learned Ainsworth'sBiographicalDictionary.  And as he believes that the professionalgentlemenwho are employed to invest such heroes with the rewardsthat theirgreat actions meritwill go through the ceremony of thegrandcordon with much more accuracy and despatch than can be shownby themost distinguished amateur; in like manner he thinks that thehistory ofsuch investitures should be written by people directlyconcernedand not by admiring persons withoutwho must be ignorantof many ofthe secrets of Ketchcraft.  We very much doubt if Miltonhimselfcould make a description of an execution half so horrible asthe simplelines in the Daily Post of a hundred and ten years sincethat nowlies before us "herrlich wie am ersten Tag" as brightand cleanas on the day of publication.  Think of it! it has beenread byBelinda at her toiletscanned at "Button's" and "Will's"sneered atby witstalked of in palaces and cottagesby a busyrace inwigsred heelshoopspatchesand rags of all variety abusy racethat hath long since plunged and vanished in theunfathomablegulf towards which we march so briskly.

Where arethey?  "Afflavit Deus" and they are gone!  Hark!is notthe samewind roaring still that shall sweep us down? and yonderstands thecompositor at his types who shall put up a prettyparagraphsome day to say how"Yesterdayat his house in GrosvenorSquare"or "At Botany Bayuniversally regretted" died So-and-So.Into whatprofound moralities is the paragraph concerning Mrs.Catherine'sburning leading us!

Aytrulyand to that very point have we wished to come; forhavingfinished our delectable mealit behoves us to say a word ortwo by wayof grace at its conclusionand be heartily thankful thatit isover.  It has been the writer's object carefully to excludefrom hisdrama (except in two very insignificant instances merewalking-gentlemenparts)any characters but those of scoundrels ofthe veryhighest degree.  That he has not altogether failed in theobject hehad in viewis evident from some newspaper critiqueswhich hehas had the good fortune to see; and which abuse the taleof"Catherine" as one of the dullestmost vulgarand immoralworksextant. It is highly gratifying to the author to find that suchopinionsare abroadas they convince him that the taste for Newgateliteratureis on the waneand that when the public critic has rightdownundisguised immorality set before himthe honest creature isshocked atitas he should beand can declare his indignation ingood roundterms of abuse.  The characters of the tale ARE immoraland nodoubt of it; but the writer humbly hopes the end is not so.The publicwasin our notiondosed and poisoned by the prevailingstyle ofliterary practiceand it was necessary to administer somemedicinethat would produce a wholesome nauseaand afterwards bringabout amore healthy habit.

AndthankHeaventhis effect HAS been produced in very manyinstancesand that the "Catherine" cathartic has acted mostefficaciously. The author has been pleased at the disgust which hiswork hasexcitedand has watched with benevolent carefulness thewry facesthat have been made by many of the patients who haveswallowedthe dose.  Solomons remembersat the establishment inBirchinLane where he had the honour of receiving his educationthere usedto be administered to the boys a certain cough-medicinewhich wasso excessively agreeable that all the lads longed to havecolds inorder to partake of the remedy.  Some of our popularnovelistshave compounded their drugs in a similar wayand madethem sopalatable that a publiconce healthy and honesthas beenwell-nighpoisoned by their wares.  Solomons defies anyone to saythe likeof himself that his doses have been as pleasant aschampagneand his pills as sweet as barley-sugar; it has been hisattempt tomake vice to appear entirely vicious; and in thoseinstanceswhere he hath occasionally introduced something likevirtuetomake the sham as evident as possibleand not allow themeanestcapacity a single chance to mistake it.

And whathas been the consequence?  That wholesome nausea which ithas beenhis good fortune to create wherever he has been allowed topractisein his humble circle.

Has anyonethrown away a halfpenny worth of sympathy upon any personmentionedin this history?  Surely no.  But abler and more famousmen thanSolomons have taken a different plan; and it becomes everyman in hisvocation to cry out against suchand expose their errorsas best hemay.

Labouringunder such ideasMr. Isaac Solomonsjuniorproduced theromance ofMrs. Catand confesses himself completely happy to havebrought itto a conclusion.  His poem may be dullayand probablyis. The great Blackmorethe great Dennisthe great SpratthegreatPomfretnot to mention great men of our own time have theynot alsobeen dulland had pretty reputations too?  Be it grantedSolomonsIS dull; but don't attack his morality; he humbly submitsthatinhis poemno man shall mistake virtue for viceno manshallallow a single sentiment of pity or admiration to enter hisbosom forany character of the piece:  it beingfrom beginning toendascene of unmixed rascality performed by persons who neverdeviateinto good feeling.  And although he doth not pretend toequal thegreat modern authorswhom he hath mentionedin wit ordescriptivepower; yetin the point of moralhe meekly believesthat hehas been their superior; feeling the greatest disgust forthecharacters he describesand using his humble endeavour to causethe publicalso to hate them.

HorsemongerLane:  January 1840.

 

 

NOTES

*Thisas your Ladyship is awareis the polite name for HerMajesty'sPrison of Newgate.

*Anglicisedversion of the author's original Greek text.

*In the ingenious contemporary history of Moll Flandersa periwigismentioned as costing that sum.

*The authorit must be rememberedhas his lodgings and foodprovidedfor him by the government of his country.

*Anglicisedversion of the author's original Greek text.

*There WERE six columnsas mentioned by the accurate Mr.Solomons;but we have withdrawn two pages and three-quartersbecausealthough our correspondent has been excessively eloquentaccordingto customwe were anxious to come to the facts of thestory.Mr.Solomonsby sending to our officemay have the cancelledpassages.O.Y.

*Thiswas written in 1840.

*The description of the murder and the execution of the culpritswhich herefollows in the originalwas taken from the newspapers ofthe day. Coming from such a source they haveas may be imaginednoliterary merit whatever.  The details of the crime are simplyhorriblewithout one touch of even that sort of romance whichsometimesgives a little dignity to murder.  As such they preciselysuited Mr.Thackeray's purpose at the time which was to show therealmanners and customs of the Sheppards and Turpins who were thenthepopular heroes of fiction.  But nowadays there is no suchpurpose toserveand therefore these too literal details areomitted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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