Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

least unpalatable, yet it certainly is not vitors of the household, as to whether where we find ourselves very comfort

they should or should not admit the able in life. The Chevalier de Lunatico,

chevalier, he succeeds, at length, in however, had just time to stir the blaz

persuading them to deliver his name ing pieces of wood on the hearth, and Harry Worrel to gaze round the well

in the dining-room, and patiently sits known room, recalling the memories of

down in an ante-chamber, to await the many a pleasant day, when Joey Pike response. returned with a quire of paper, which be dropped delicately before the latter

“This being arranged, Tom Hamilton gentleman, maintaining the most pro

led the way back to the dining-room, infound silence, for the purpose of dis

troducing the Chevalier de Lunatico.

It was proving Mrs. Muggins's charge of lo

a large, wide, old-fashioned

chamber, lined with dark oak, which quacity. “ The Chevalier de Lunatico, how.

reflected no ray of light. At one end, ever, seemed inclined to enter into con

between two pillars, was the beaufet, versation with bim : for after telling him

covered with a sufficient array of plate;

and down the middle was a table, which to see that his horse was not unsaddled, as he had another ride to take that night,

would have dined four-and-twenty peohe asked him what time the moon would

ple, with covers laid for three only ; be visible. Joey was seldom, if ever,

namely, the viscount, his son, and Tom found at fault; and on this occasion he

Hamilton. There was plenty of light gave the chevalier an account of the

upon the table, near the end of which very moment when the planet would

the party was congregated, and likewise rise, and when she would appear above

on the sideboard, behind the master of the neighbouring trees.

the house. There was plenty of dinner “ " We had last night,' he said,

also, arrayed in what the poet sublimely

calls 'a regular confusion,' and plenty of magnificent clare de Loon, and I trust that the same will be the case to-night,

wine, moreover, with very evident sympfor the sky is poorissimo.'.

toms of a good deal having been already I trust that it may be so,' said the

drunk. These particulars were gained chevalier; "and so, my good fellow,

at a single glance; but the eye of the

you have been seeking a place?'

chevalier rested with more deliberate “ • Yes, sir, yes,' replied Joey,' I

inquiry upon the faces of the two gen.

tlemen whom he found seated at the have been seeking what my Italian

table; and the first countenance he friends call a piazza, but I found none

scrutinized was that of the viscount. but the piazza of Covent-garden, which is certainly not the best place that any

He was a tall, large man, of about sixty, young man could find, especially when

with very black eyes, which perhaps he is somewhat subject to the tender

might have been fine ones in their day.

His face was very red, and very blotchy; Pas Joey, Joey,' cried the voice of the

and the eyes, the corners of the mouth, landlady. “That chattering boy is

and the wings of the nose had manifold

scarlet lines running about them, which teasing the gentlemen again this will never dom I shall be obliged to get rid

spoke of potations deep and strong. of him. Yet he is a clever boy, and a

His hair was whitish, his whiskers thin good one—I declare I do not know what

and poor, and his long eyebrows, as pure to doJoey, Joey, I say.'.

as snow, overhung the poppy garden of Organo, Organo,' cried Joey, 'she

his countenance, like a pent-house thatch

covered with snow. The two lower is an excellent woman, that Mrs. Mug

buttons of his waistcoat, and one in the gins, a good, motherly, excellent person, but she can't bear any person to

waistband of his breeches, were undone, talk but herself,' and thus saying, he

showing a part of his shirt, and easing hurried out of the room, leaving the

the protuberance of his stomach; and chevalier to his own meditations, and

at the moment the chevalier entered, he Harry Worrel to the composition of the

was carving some dish before him in a letter, which he had already begun.”

very slashing manner, scattering the sauce over the table-cloth, without any

very great reverence for its purity. The As the evening grows later, the che- son was not so tall as his father, and valier sets out to deliver the message

was altogether a very disagreeable lookwith which Worrel charges him, and

ing personage. He was inclined to be arrives at Outrun Castle at the time

fat, though not extremely so at that

moment. His countenance was white when the Honourable Henry Frederick Augustus Fitzurse is still at dinner

and pasty, with eyes much like a sheep

in shape and expression, thick lips, a with the noble lord, his father. After

good deal of curly whey-coloured whissome dalliance on the part of the ser- ker, and white ill-regulated hair. There

VOL. XXII.-No. 129.

2 A

was an affectation of groomishness about peer, laughing more heartily than ever. his dress, which was carried to the pitch Well, Freddy, my boy, we'll have a of having a leathern string to his watch; blaze at him.' and there was an uneasy conceit in his “But the Honourable Henry Fredecountenance, which told that he thought rick Augustus Fitzurse did not seem to not a little of himself, and was afraid of view the matter in the same light as his other people not thinking so much. At father. He turned very white in the the same time, there was a shy averting gills, bluish about the lips; his eyes got of the eye when any one gazed at him fish-like and glassy, and Tom Hamilton stedfastly, superadding to the rest of started up, cxclaiminghis beauties a sharper-like look, which • He's fainted to a dead certainty.' was all that was necessary to complete “ • Fainted !' cried the peer. No, the perfections of his countenance. He by — !he's drunk--that's what he is -was a large hipped man withal, though I'll soon sober him,' and pouring out a his legs were longish ; and this peculiar tumbler-full of water, he dashed the formation put him into unpleasant atti- whole unceremoniously in his son's face. tudes, both when he sat and when he The first application not succeeding, he walked. Having been introduced to both repeated it, exclaiming, Fred, you're father and son by Tom Hamilton, the drunk, d

me, you're drunk, and chevalier shook hands with the peer, here you've got to fight a duel to-morwho held out a great broad paw to him row morning! - Well, it does not signify, for that purpose, and took a seat be- Mr. Prismatico, or whatever your cursed tween him and the said Tom, facing the absurd name may be. Be so good as to hopeful heir of Outrun Castle.

present my compliments to your friend, * • What will you take, chevalier ?' Mr. Harry Worrel, and tell him, that exclaimed the viscount. •First of all, my son will have the honour of meeting a glass of wine with me-Hermitage? him in the narrow lane that runs under No_champagne? Tripe, Jeremy Tripe, the park-wall, to-morrow morning. He champagne to the chevalier.'”

will know the place well—we will have

it half-way between the park-gates and The convivialities of the evening the village, that whoever comes down, proceed, and yet nothing is intimated may not have far to go. He shall meet to the Honourable Henry Augustus

him; and d— me, if he doesn't, I'll

meet him myself.' Frederick of the object of the cheva

“ You will excuse me, my lord,' said lier's visit, when Tom Hamilton,

the Chevalier de Lunatico, but I do not touching De Lunatico's arm, draws

think that would exactly answer the forth Worrel's letter, and hands it

purpose; I never heard of such a thing across the table to the son of the peer. being done by deputy: and in the pre

sent instance, as the quarrel is about a “Why, what the devil's this ?' cried lady, it would be quite inadmissible. If Mr. Fitzurse. "Is it a begging letter?' your son does not appear upon the

“Or the prospectus of some grand ground himself, I must withdraw my discovery?' said the peer, laughing. party.'

“ . Or a subscription-list for building "* Oh, he shall come, sir, he shall a church ? demanded the son.

come,' cried the peer, You don't sup" Or an invitation to join the society pose he's afraid. He's drunk, sir ; I for the suppression of vice ?' shouted the tell you, he's only drunk. Why, sir, we peer, roaring with merriment,

had drunk three bottles of champagne “ . Is it from Wilberforce, or the before you came in. I understand all Archbishop of Canterbury, or Martin of about it-half-past five o'clock—the lane Galway?' demanded the son.

under the park-wall_half-way between Or Lord Brougham, or Macauley, the gates and the village. His father or Cox Savory, or Van Butchel ?' cried shot me just there, and I do not see why

my son should not shoot him. He's a "No,' answered the Chevalier de good shot,

always was a good shotLunatico, with a placid smile and a hey, Tom Hamilton ?' courteous inclination of the head; it “Devilish good, my lord,'cried Tom is from a young friend of mine, named Hamilton, ‘with a gun; don't know his Harry Worrel ; to request that the Ho. pistol capacities, but dare say he'll do. nourable Mr. Fitzurse will appoint any Come, chevalier, this business settled, place of meeting to-morrow, at half- I'll just say a word or two to you in the past five, for the purpose of settling next room, and then we won't detain certain differences between them-it you.' being Mr. Worrel's determination not • The chevalier accordingly made his to quit the ground alive, unless those bow and retired, accompanied by Tom differences are settled.'

Hamilton, who, as soon as the door was "A challenge, by jingo,' cried the closed, shrugged his shoulders, saying,

the peer

;

"A pretty job this, to be sure.' into a marriage with his son. The

Why, your friend brought it upon eighteenth chapter opens thus himself,' said the chevalier ; he wrote a very impertinent letter this morn

“ Reader, did you ever see a cat with ing'

a mouse? Did you ever see a child * Well, the thing's done, and can't

with a fly? Did you ever see a boy torbe helped,' cried Tom Hamilton. "The

menting a dog? Did you ever yourself old gentleman will bring him to the

feel inclined to make a fellow-creature ground-that's clear; I suppose we must linger with long impatience upon your cork him up with brandy. I say, che- sovereign will ? If so, you know quite valier, d-me, tell your friend not to

well the pleasure of teasing, and can kill him-wing him, man, wing him-sad

form a faint, a very faint idea of the thing for me if he were killed.

He's a

delight with which an author keeps his devilish good fellow, though an infernal public in suspense in regard to this or blackguard, I must own; but there's

that character, for whom, he is well capital shooting down here, in the sea

aware, he has created an interest. He son, and the fishing's excellent.'”

will do any thing to prolong your pain ;

he will lead you to totally different The duel scene which, with some scenes ; he will talk to you of totally slight exaggeration, is written with different people; he will favour you with much spirit, ends in the downfall of an interminable landscape, à la ; the Honourable Mr. Fitzurse, who, he will give you a page of pretty smartless from the effects of gunpowder

ness, à la

; he will detain you than pure terror, measures his

length two pages of soft nothing, a la on the grass. Worrel and the cheva

he will tease you with a load of frothy

philosophy, a la - ; he will venture lier, believing the man dead, hasten

to be dull and heavy, light and empty, from the spot, followed by Joey a twaddler or a bore, sooner than not Pike.

keep you upon the tenter hooks of susAt first we are told they proceed at pense, if he once knows he has tho. a leisurely, sauntering pace, as though roughly hooked you upon them. Such, they would not stoop to run away:

dear reader, you may think perhaps is but gradually accelerate their pace to

the case in the present instance; but in a good trot, when a tremendous hulla

good truth, you are mistaken, it was bulloo from the road behind, alarms

merely a sense of imperative duty that

led the writer to quit fair Laura Longthem.

more, and pursue the Chevalier de Lu.

natico along his appointed path. To ** We had better separate,' said return, however, to Outrun Castle, and Worrel. “Joey, take care of yourself, to the precise moment at which we left hide away the pistols somewhere it-Laura Longmore, being then, as the shrewdly, and let us all meet to-night reader recollects, seated in an arm-chair in Mr. Longmore's garden. I will take in the antiquated state room, with a across the country. Chevalier, you blazing wood fire before her, and the come up the bank here with me, and I

old-fashioned bed, with its carved pillars will show you a place of concealment.' and green and yellow bangings, behind ". No, no,' replied the chevalier

her; the viscount, with rubicund counlaughing, take care of yourself, my tenance, on one side, the housemaid on good friend. If I understood you rightly the other, and four or five stout serving last night, all they will do is to put me men of different grades and classes, in prison, and I should not much mind

forming a circle in front, like that which a fair insight into such an establish- waits the beck of royalty on certain days ment. I will join you to-night, if I am in March, April, May, and June. She not taken.'

herself, poor girl, was dazzled, bewil"Good-by, good-by, then,'. cried dered, and confused, besides being half Worrel, scrambling up the bank, and choked, so that she opened both her eyes disappearing amongst the bushes on the and her mouth, like some pretty little other side.

bird when dragged out of a trap by a

mischievous boy." Events now crowd on each other too fast for us to record here. The Meanwhile the castle is the scene of old philosopher's house is burned to a very different event-no less than the ground, and his lovely daughter the plot of Tom Hamilton to make rescued from the flames by her lover, the coroner, who attends on informaonly to fall afterwards into the power tion of the Honourable Mr. Fitzurse's of the lord of Outrun Castle, who death, actually hold his inquest over nurtures the scheme of forcing her the living gentleman.

" It was at the hour of two of the fol- Form in line, and make your bows like lowing day. The servants of Outrun

men!' Castle were marshalled in the hall. “ In the meanwhile Mr. Coroner had Every thing was prepared up stairs. recovered himself, and was reverently The noble viscount dressed as the shaking the tips of the two fingers newspapers say, in describing some cri. which the peer held out to him, while minal at the bar–in a decent suit of the peer himself was pinching his own mourning, was in the little-used library toe under the table, to prevent himself of his dwelling-house, with the windows from exploding: half closed, the corners of his mouth "A sad affair this, Mr. Gregory,' convulsively drawn down, and his eyes he said, a sad affair;' and thereupon twinkling with scarcely repressed fun, be was seized with a fit of coughing, when a large body of gentlemen, chosen which served his purpose very well; for, from amongst the neighbouring plough. under cover thereof, he got rid of a men, and other respectable householders, fit of laughter, which might otherwise arrived in a cart upon the gravelly es- have tbrown him into convulsions. planade before Outrun Castle, and began “. Shocking, my lord, shocking !' ascending the steps. Nearly at the same cried Mr. Gregory, to think of such a moment a personage with a shrewd, fellow as that young. Worrel daring to wind-cutting countenance, powder in shoot your lordship's son: but we'll his hair, a pig-tail behind, a black coat, manage him, my lord, we'll manage him covered with a blacker spencer, drab -though, to say the truth, I should not breeches, and continuations, came riding have ventured to hold an inquest in your up upon a hard-mouthed, malicious-look.

lordship's house, unless it had been by ing pony, and received the salutations

your own particular desire.' of the assembled jury as Mr. Crowner. “Oh, of course we inust have an

The worthy peer, unable to deny him- inquest,' said the peer, and a verdict self his joke, had determined upon re- of wilful murder, and all that sort of ceiving the whole quest in person, and thing. These gentlemen will all see the consequently the coroner and train were thing in the right point of view, I am ushered at once into the library, where sure;' and carrying forward his stout he sat in state. In then they walked, stomach with a stately air to the side of the crown officer at their head, feeling a the room where the jury were ranged in vast deal of respect for the peer who their Sunday best, bowing with all their was before him, and a vast deal of con- might, he took Mr. Gamaliel Dickens by tempt for the jury who were behind. the hand, making him blush, and simper, Thus, on entering the chamber, the and cry, ‘Lauk, my lord !' worthy gentleman, who was a ci-devant "Of course, Mr. Dickens,' said the attorney, paused suddenly to make a

peer, you all know what you came lowly reverence to the viscount; but here for? while his head was describing the seg. “. To sit upon the yoong gentleman's ment of a circle in its descent, a wor- boady,' replied Mr. Dickens, with a grin thy juror who followed, and who did which the peer didn't at that moment not expect this abrupt halt, was im. understand. pelled forward, partly by his own im- “* And to find a verdict of wilful petus, partly by that of the whole murder against the man that killed inquest behind; and treading first upon him, my good Gamaliel,' rejoined Lord the coroner's heels with his hob-nailed Outrun. shoes, and then endeavouring to fend “* Joost soa, joost soa, my lord,' rehimself off with his hands, he fairly plied the bumpkin ; 'ony way your lord. brought his worthy leader on his knees ship pleases.' at the feet of the peer. Up started “And you, Mr. Stubbs, continued the coroner again with sundry fierce the peer: this is a very shocking thing contortions of visage, and after three indeed, Mr. Stubbs.' hops of agony, he exclaimed

Woundy shocking indeed,' anGamaliel Dickens ! Gamaliel Dick. swered Mr. Stubbs. I made the young ens! The man's a born idiot, or I loard's leather gaiters: so hang me if I would commit him.'

doan't hang him as shot un.'" Dang it! Mr. Coroner,' cried Ga. "You are quite right, Mr. Stubbs,' maliel, taking himself by the forelock, said the peer: I dare say you are all • I couldn't help it, mun. It's all your of one mind? fault, Stubbs.'

6. Your humble servant to com. “Stubbs, with all the skill of an out. mand,' replied a third man upon the going minister, handed over the embar. line; and the volunteer sergeant at the rassment and the blame to his suc. end making a military salute, the peer ressor, and a voice from behind, belong- concluded the whole matter settled, ing to an ex-volunteer sergeant, was and pointing to the door that led into heard exclaiming

the dining-room, he said "Yarch! Right shoulders forward ! • There, Mr. Corener, is your jury room; and as you have doubtless all come the instant. Can we wonder that they a long way, I have taken care that you did so, having no knowledge whether should have wherewithal to pass the he was right or not, when we every day time of deliberation pleasantly. You will see, in the first legislative assembly in find roast beef and brimming ale for the the world, large bodies of men following jurors, and a chicken for the coroner, any self-confident fool that will lead with a bottle of Madeira, which, by them, knowing him to be wrong the jinga-I mean upon my honour_has whole time. gone twice round Cape Horn. This is “ The coroner knew better, but he all according to rule, I think, Mr. Co- said nothing upon that score, only comrover.'

manded Mr. Gamaliel Dickens, in an The coroner made a low bow, and authoritative tone, to say grace like a his mouth got juicy at the thought of Christian, which Mr.' Dickens did acthe Madeira, but nevertheless he judged cordingly, exclaimingfit, at all events, to propose a business- ««• For this here coroner's inquest, like plan, whether it was followed or Lord make us truly thankful.' not, and he asked

Amen,' said Mr. Stubbs, and down Had we not better view the body they sat again. first, my lord ?'

• The servants in the meanwhile, who "No,' replied the peer, in a solemn were collected to help them, nearly tone; 'I think refreshment will accumi- choked themselves with their fingers to nate your discernment;' adding, sotto prevent themselves from roaring with voce, the chicken will get cold.

laughter; but having received a hint "Oh!' said the coroner, and in he from their lord that it was not particuwalked into the dining-room, guided by larly necessary the perceptions of the a ware of the peer's hand.

jury should be very clear, they con"• Dang it,' said Stubbs to Dickens, tinued to supply them with abundance in a low voice, as he followed his com. of good ale till such time as the coroner manding officers, and beheld a mighty himself thought fit to interpose, and to sirloin still hissing and crackling at the give a hint that it was necessary they end of a long table, covered with re- should view the body. Immediately splendently white damask-Dang it, after these words were spoken, one of Dickens, I didn't know these quests was the attendants quitted the room, and such capital things. I hope there'll be another, after conversing with the coroa many more killed in the county.'. ner, benignly offered to show the jury

They is'nt all like this, I should the way, which they were certainly in think,' said Dickens.

no condition to discover themselves. “ In the meanwhile the whole party “ For his part, the crown officer advanced to the table; but a 'slight em- judged that it would be better to suffer barrassment ensued from the fact of them to make their inspection without his certain white napkins being laid down presence—there being yet about four between each knife and fork, concealing glasses of Madeira in the decanter. The within the labyrinth of their folds an jury therefore trooped out, and the coroexcellent piece of white bread.

ner remained with his wine, taking his “«What's this for ?' said Stubbs, as first glass leisurely enough, and picking he took his place.

his teeth between whiles: the next glass ". To keep the bread cosy, I should was somewhat more accelerated; but it think,' said Dickens, looking under his had scarcely found its way to his lips napkin. But at that moment all eyes when the voice of Stubbs was heard, were turned upon the volunteer ser- shouting aloud from the top of the geant, who was a man never embar- stairs-rassed about any thing. He saw the "Mr. Crowner! Mr. Crowner! will white napkin, he saw the fine red mo- you ha' the goodness joost to step up rocco chair; he was conscious that the and say whether I be to sit upon the garments of his nether man might not boady or not--them d

-d fellows won't leave the most delicate remembrance on let me get on.

I came here to sit upon the spot where it was placed. He re- the boady, and dang me I if I won't, if membered in his days of pipe-clay having I have law upon my side.' imprinted his exact proportions upon a “ This speech was delivered in the horse-hair seat at his colonel's. With a tone of a deeply-injured person, and the rapidity of combination indicative of the coroner exclaiming the idiots!' in a man of true genius, and without the tone of sovereign contempt, re-filled slightest hesitation to betray ignorance and re-emptied his glass, and rushed up or doubt, he seized the napkin, unfolded stairs, it, spread it upon his chair, and sat • The scene that was presented to down. Such is the force of ease and him at the door of Mr. Fitzurse's room self-confidence upon the minds of others, was rather shocking. The assembled that every man followed bis example on body of jurors filled up the entrance,

« PreviousContinue »