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should be brought to bear, I flatter myself you will hear of my darkening the whole parish of Pancras, by grinding a gimlet through a gaspipe.” “ These frolics must cost something," said I.
Occasionally,” said my friend," but what of that? Every man has his pursuits—I have mine."
" I should think,” replied I,“ if you perform such extraordinary feats often, your pursuits must be innumerable.”
“What!” exclaimed Daly; “pursuits after me, you mean? I'm obliged to you for that-we shall be better acquainted—of that I am certain. One thing I must tell you of myself, because, although there is something equivocal in the outset of the adventure, I set it all to rights afterwards, and will prove to you that in fact all I did was done for fun-pure fun,"
I foresaw an awkward discovery of some sort by the prefatory deprecation of criticism ; however, I listened to my slight acquaintance with complacency and confidence.
“You must know,” said Daly, “ that I had a brother once,-long since dead,--and you must know that he was my elder brother, and he went abroad; I remained at home, and was my father's darling—he fancied nothing ever was like me on earth. I was the wittiest, if not the wisest fellow breathing, and I have seen my respectable parent shake his fat sides with laughing at my jokes till the tears ran down his rosy cheeks. I had a fault,-1 cannot distinctly aver that I have yet overcome it,-I was extravagant-extravagant in everything-extravagant in my jokes, extravagant in love-extravagant in money-matters. After my respected parent's death I lodged at an upholsterer's-occupied his first floor -excellent man !—but paid him no rent; on the contrary, borrowed a good deal of money of him.”
“ Indeed !” said I, “I-"
“Don't frown, Mr. Gurney,” interrupted Daly," it will all come right in the end. I'm as honest as a Parsee-don't be alarmed—I was then much younger than I am now; and although the world unjustly and ungenerously judge of a man by the foibles of his youth, don't you be prejudiced, but hear me. I borrowed money of him— I consulted him upon all occasions—he was delighted with me, I with him-reciprocity of feeling, you know, and all that sort of thing. My upholsterer was my cabinet-minister—who better? who fitter to be consulted when any new measure was on the tapis? So things went, on for a year, at the end of which, owed him fourteen hundred and seventy-two pounds thirteen shillings and ninepence halfpenny without the interest."
“ That was no joke, Mr. Daly,” said I.
“ No, but what followed was," continued my equivocal friend. cabinet-minister applied for funds- I had none at hand. I therefore quitted London, and retired to the blest shades of Holyrood---not that this sort of constraint was at all necessary, for my friend, the sofa-maker, never inquired after me."
Why then did you go ?” said I. “Why, I thought he might," replied Daly. “ After I had hovered about Scotland, seen the sights, shot some grouse,—and a pretty job I made of that, umph!-I retired to Edinburgh, and began to be anxious to return to London. I therefore took the resolution of killing myself.”
“ Horrible!” said I.
“ Most horrible!” replied he; " and I put that resolve into execu. tion.”
“ How?" I inquired.
“ By transmitting an account of my death to the metropolitan newspapers in these words— Died, at Antigua, on the 15th of March, in the 28th year of his age, Robert Fergusson Daly, Esq., son of the late Thomas Fergusson Daly, Esq., of St. Mary Axe, London.' What
purpose could that have answered ?” said I. “You shall hear,” said Daly. “ About ten days after this announcement, having incurred' for a suit of mourning, I proceeded to my friend the upholsterer. Dear me, I recollect his little white, bald head peering over his desk in the counting-house as well as if it were but yesterday--in I went-made a bow-up jumped my creditor,
“Ah, Mr. Daly,' cried he, then it is not true you are alive and merry.
• Upon which I, looking as grave as a judge, said, with a long-drawn sigh, 'Sir, I see you have fallen into the common mistake.'
“ Mistake, Sir,' said he, 'no mistake in the world! Why, I read in the newspapers
that you were dead. How those fellows do fib!" • • In this instance,' I replied, they are as true as the tides to the moon-or the needle to the Pole.'
“Why,' cried he, ‘you are not dead, for here you are !!
“So I am,' said I, but I am not the Mr, Daly who died in Antigua.'
“That's very clear,' said old cabinet-maker, 'for, as I said before, here you are.'
“Still,' said I, 'Sir,'— I thought the Sir good— you do not understand; I am the brother—the twin brother of poor Bob Daly who lived here with you, and who has died deep in your debt.'
««What!' exclaimed the upholsterer, you his brother! Impossible -ridiculous! Why, I should know you from a thousand by that little knob on your nose.
(“That may be, Sir,' said I; 'but I was born with a knob on my nose as well as my brother. I assure you he is in his grave at Anti
“ Nous verrons,
“This astounded him, and he was proceeding to ring the bell in order to call up the housemaid, who had made herself particularly familiar with my knob, in order to identify me, when I pacified him by fresh assurances that he was mistaken, and that I was come to settle the account due from my late brother to himself.” This,” said I,“ was all very funny, no doubt; but cui bono ?”
said Daly. “ The moment I talked of paying, all doubt ended; he felt convinced that it could not be me, for he was quite of opinion that at that time I had no notion of muddling away my income in paying bills. So he listened, looking all the while at my knob -you see the thing I mean, Mr. Gurney," said he, pointing to a pimple; “ till at last I begged to see his account—he produced it-I sighed --so did he.”
“Sir,' said he, this is--dear me, is it possible two people should be so much alike ?-your brother's last account before he went.'
"I could not help saying, 'He is gone to his last account now, Sir,'-if it had been to save my life-I never could check my fun.
"Lord, how like him that is!' said the upholsterer. «What is the amount ?' said I.
« « Fourteen hundred and seventy-two pounds, thirteen shillings, and ninepence halfpenny. As for interest, Mr. Daly, I don't want it.' : “Sir,' said I, drawing out of my pocket a handkerchief whiter than unsunned snow, I honour and reverence you. I can now account for the high respect and veneration with which my poor brother Bob spoke of you and wrote about you. You shall judge what he has done ;-he has died worth three thousand five hundred pounds; the claims upon him are numerous and heavy; in his letter--the last I ever received from him-he directs me to make an equitable division of his property.' “. Poor fellow!' said the cabinet-maker.
poor young creature, with three children,' said I, first claims his care.'
"Dear me!' said the man. Ah! I won't interfere then. No, no. I gave him credit farther than he asked it. I won't visit his sins upon those who, perhaps, are helpless.'
" There was something so kind in this, I was near betraying myself ; but I should have spoiled the joke.
“After them, continued I, you come next; and, having divided his assets fairly, he decided that he could, acting conscientiously towards others, afford to pay you five shillings in the pound; and accordingly I have brought you to-day a sum calculated at that rate—that is to say, three hundred and sixty-eight pounds, three shillings, and sixpence, for I don't descend to fractions.'
“Well, now,' said the honest old man,' I love and honour him for that. He needn't have paid me a farthing. I knew not where he was; --and to think of me on his death-bed !--that, Sir, shows good principle; and as you are so like him in everything else, and how like you are, to be sure !—I hope and trust, -don't be angry, Sir,--that you will follow the example he set you in the last act of his life.'
«« Then,' said I, ' you accept the proposal.'
“ Most happily, Sir,' said he. I honour his feelings. I had given the whole thing up. I thought he was hard-hearted, and a practised taker in of innocent men
““Sir' said I, bowing, you little knew my poor brother Bob if you thought that. Here, Sir, is the money; all I ask, as a satisfaction to the interesting young creature who survives him, is a receipt in full of all demands as against him.'
". In course, Mr. Daly,' said the upholsterer, taking the notes I proffered. Why, la! 'exclaimed he, I declare you have got the very ring on that I have seen a hundred times, with a leetel patent key twisted into the inside, that he used to wear.
"" Yes,' said I, rather taken aback at this; for with all my cunning I had forgotten to disring my finger for the occasion. “Yes, it was the only thing he left me; I wear it for his sake.'
"And how well it fits !' said the credulous cabinet-maker. “Often the case with twins,' said I. "Two hundred, three hundred, fifty, ten, eight guineas, and five shillings and sixpence; count it yourself.'
“And now,' said he, ' I am to give you a receipt in full; to be sure I will, I wish yoų would do me one favour, Sir,' continued he;
would let my housemaid Becky see you; she was very fond of your poor brother, and very attentive to him, and I should-Í know it is taking a great liberty—I should like her to see you.'
“I should be too happy,' said. I, trembling at the apprehension that the girl, who was more than usually civil to me while I lived in the lodgings, should make her appearance, convinced that she would not be deceived as to the identity, or believe in the story of two brothers having the same knobs to their noses ; 'but don't you think it might shock the poor girl ?'
“No, no, Sir,' said he, looking over a long black leather book for a proper stamp; Becky isn't frightened at trifles; shall I ring?'
“I could not help myself, and Becky was summoned. Luckily, however, she had just stepped out to get something, and satisfied, by the way in which the other servant conveyed the intelligence to her master, that it was not very probable she would soon return, I screwed my courage to the sticking-place, and remained until he had written, signed, and delivered my entire acquittance from my whole debt, in consideration of the receipt of 3681. 3s. 6d.; having secured which, I made my bow and quitted my upholsterer, not ill pleased with the adventure of the day.”
Yes, Sir," said I, after I had heard this narrative," but I see no joke in all this; it appears to me that a person less favourably disposed than myself would find a very different name for such a proceeding."
“So would anybody," said my valuable friend, “if it were not for the sequel. A short time after, I had the means to set all right, and I lost no time in doing so; I confessed my ruse to my worthy friend, made him laugh heartily at his own credulity, paid him the difference, and gave Becky a guinea or two.".
I honestly confess, that although my new friend polished off the end of his story with a few retributive facts, the account of his adventure with the cabinet-maker did not very much elevate him in my opinion, and I began again to repent of having hastily engaged myself as passenger in his boat, so appropriately, as he himself said, called a "funny.” The only consolation I could afford myself arose from the consideration that our connexion would not be of long duration—that it need never be renewed—that few people, if any, would see me in my way up the river—and that, from all I had heard of him from himself, he did not appear likely to die a watery death, so that my personal safety was rather guaranteed than not by my having placed myself under his command in our aquatic excursion.
I had never seen such a man before, nor have I ever seen such a one since: from the time he sat down to dinner till all was done, bis tongue never ceased-he was au fait at everything-played billiards better than anybody I ever saw--jumped higher-imitated birds and beasts, including men, women, and children better-caught more fish in an hour than ali the rest of the punters did in three-sang all sorts of songs-made speeches—and told stories of himself which would have made my poor mother's hair stand on end. One of his practical jokes, played off upon one of the ladies of our party, I must set down. She had never been at Richmond before, or if she had, knew none of the little peculiarities attached to it. He desired the waiter after dinner to bring some “maids of honour”-those cheesecakes for which the place has been time out of mind so celebrated. The lady stared and then laughed; Daly saw her
surprise, and elicited all he wanted—her innocent question of "What do you mean by maids of honour ?" “ Dear me," said he, “don't you know that this is so courtly a place, and so completely under the influence of state etiquette, that everything in Richmond is called after the functionaries of the palace? What are called cheesecakes elsewhere, are here called maids of honour; a capon is called a lord chamberlain; a goose is a lord steward; a roast pig is a master of the horse ; a pair of ducks, grooms of the bedchamber; and a gooseberry tart, a gentleman usher of the black rod; and so on.”
The unsophisticated lady was taken in; and with all the confidence which Daly's gravity inspired, when she actually saw the maids of honour make their appearance in the shape of the cheesecakes, she convulsed the whole party, by turning to the waiter and desiring him, in a a sweet but decided tone, to bring her a gentleman usher of the black rod, if they had one in the house, quite cold. · These were the sort of plaisantries (mauvaises, if you will) in which this most extraordinary person indulged. In the sequel, I had occasion to see his versatile powers more profitably engaged, and which led me to reflect somewhat more seriously upon the adventure of the upholsterer and the receipt in full of all demands.
The dinner was rather inconveniently despatched, in order to suit the convenience of the engaged performer, and by seven o'clock my new friend and myself were left to commence our voyage up the river. His spirits appeared even higher than they had been before, and I felt mya self, when consigned to his care, something in the same situation as the Irishman on the eagle's back : whither I was to be carried by his influence, or how to be dashed down when he got tired of me, I could not clearly comprehend ; nor were my apprehensions of consequences in any satisfactory degree diminished when my perilous companion commenced a violent wordy attack upon a very respectable round-bodied gentleman who was sitting squeezed into the stern-sheets of a skiff, floating most agreeably to himself adown the stream, the gentle south-west breeze giving the sail of his boat a shape very similar to that of his equally well-filled white dimity waistcoat.
“ Hallo," cried my friend Daly; " I say, you Sir, what are you doing in that boat?”
The suburban Josh maintained a dignified silence.
“I say, you Sir," continued the undaunted joker, “ what are you doing there? you have no business in that boat, and you
know it!" A slight yaw of the skiff into the wind's eye was the only proof of the stout navigator's agitation.
Still Daly was inexorable, and he again called to the unhappy mariner to get out of the boat. I tell you, my fat friend,” cried he, “ you have no business in that boat!”
Flesh and blood could not endure this reiterated declaration. The ire of the Cockney was roused. “No business in this boat, Sir!” cried he; “ what d'ye mean?” “I mean what I say,” said Daly ; you
have no business in it, and I'll prove it.”
“I think, Sir, you will prove no such thing," said the navigator, whose progress through the water was none of the quickest; “perhaps you don't know, Sir, that this is my own pleasure-boat?"